Page images
PDF
EPUB

DISTINGUISHED FROM

THE SLAVERY OF ENGLISH THEORISTS,

JUSTIFIED BY THE LAW OF NATURE,

EEV. SAMUEL SEABUBY, D.D.,

AUTHOR OF "DISCOURSES ON THE SUPREMACY AND OBLIGATION OF CONSCIENCE

"Atqui nos legem bonam a mala nulla alia nisi Nature Norma" dividere
possumus.'1Cicero De Leg., lib. i., sect. 16.

'; Civil Government has been, in all ages, a standing publication of the Law
Of Nature."Bishop Butler, Ser., 1 Tim. ii. 1-2.

NEW YOKE:

MASON JBROTHIEISS,
5 & T MERCER STREET.

1 861.

Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1861, by

MASON BR-OTHERS,

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of

New York.

STEREOTYPED BY PRINTED BY

Smith & Mcdougal, C. A. Altobd,

82 & 84 Beekman-st. 15 Yandewater-st

PREFACE.

The evil of sectional agitation, foreshadowed by the Father of his country, is upon us; and the North and the South are arrayed the one against the other.

One of the sources of our dissensions (in my judgment the original and chief source) is the opinion that has been extensively propagated, that slavery is a moral and social evil; that is (though the words are not generally used in their full significance), that it is wrong in morals and disgraceful in Christian and civilized society.

The fact that the Constitution of the United States covers Slave States as well as Free, is reason enough, in my opinion, why every man that lives under it should assume slavery to be neither morally wrong nor socially disreputable. . Slavery is no more forbidden by Scripture than by the Constitution, but is permitted by both; and I can not but think that modesty and good sense should have taught all citizens and all Christians who could not see the reason of the permission, to take it on the authority of th<d Constitution of their country and the Rule of their Faith, without an appeal to a higher law.

It is clearly repugnant to the genius of our government to mix up questions of morality, religion, and social life, with our national politics; and, as slavery, in some of its bearings, is- a legitimate and often necessary object of municipal legislation, it is the more to be regretted that it should be complicated with questions of morality, religion, and social reputation. Nevertheless, this has been done; and the natural consequences have followed;—rancor, and hatred, and deeply rooted alienations, such as no merely political discussions could engender.

My aim Is to help to withdraw from this vexed controversy, if it be possible, its moral, religious, and social element; that thus slavery, when it is made an object of national legislation, may be discussed and disposed of on merely economical and political grounds.

But to do any thing effectively in this way, it is necessary to take decided ground. The political differences on this subject may be accommodated by mutual concession and compromise, consistently with self-respect. But it is not so with the moral and social question. No bridge of compromise can be thrown over the chasm that separates truth, justice, and honor, from falsehood, injustice, and shame. The relation of master and slave, and -the claim of property involved in it, are either iust and honorable,' or unjust and base; and hence 1 see no other way to adjust the differences that exist in reference to this phase of the subject than to induce men to examine and decide, on rational grounds, the right or wrong of the question, before they attempt to heal the exacerbations that grow out of it.

The decision to which I am brought on this point, hj an investigation as careful as I am capable of making, is adverse to the general sentiment in the Northern States. I hope, however, this will be no bar to an impartial consideration of the reasons on which I shall endeavor to sustain it. With candid and ingenuous minds I am sure it will not be.

And if ever candor and ingenuousness were needful for any persons on any subject, they are needful for us at

« PreviousContinue »