THE extent to which most of the Churches in America are involved in the guilt of supporting the slave system is known to but few in this country.* So far from being even suspected by the great mass of the religious community here, it would not be believed but on the most indisputable evidence. Evidence of this character it is proposed now to present—applying to the Methodist Episcopal, the Baptist, the Presbyterian, and the Protestant Episcopal Churches. It is done with a single view to make the British Christian public acquainted with the real state of the case—in order that it may in the most intelligent and effective manner exert the influence it possesses with the American churches to persuade them to purify themselves from a sin that has greatly debased them, and that threatens in the end wholly to destroy them.
The following memoranda will assist English readers in more readily apprehending the force and scope of the evidence.
I. Of the twenty-six American States, thirteen are slave States. Of the latter, Maryland, Virginia, Kentucky, Missouri, and Tennessee (in part), are slave-selling States; the States south of them are slave-buying and slave-consuming States.
II. Between the slave-selling and slave-buying States, the slave-trade is carried on extensively and systematically. The
slave-trader, on completing his purchases for a single adventure, brings the gang together at a convenient point; confines
the men in double rows to a large chain running between the rows, by means of smaller lateral chains tightly riveted around
the wrists of the slaves, and con-
nected with the principal chain. They are in this way driven along the highways, (the small boys, the women, and girls following,) without any release from their chains till they arrive at the ultimate place of sale. Here they occupy barracoons, till they are disposed of, one by one, or in lots, to those who will give most for them.
III. Ministers and office-bearers, and members of churches are slave-holders—buying and selling slaves, (not as the regular slave-trader,) but as their convenience or interest may from time to time require. As a general rule, the itinerant preachers in the Methodist church are not permitted to hold slaves—but there are frequent exceptions to the rule, especially of late.
IV. There are, in the United States, about 2,487,113 slaves, and 386,069 free people of color. Of the slaves, 80,000 are members of the Methodist church; 80,000 of the Baptist; and about 40,000 of the other churches. These church members have no exemption from being sold by their owners as other slaves are. Instances are not rare of slave-holding members of churches selling slaves who are members of the same church with themselves. And members of churches have followed the business of slave-auctioneers.
V. In most of the slave States the master is not permitted formally to emancipate, unless the emancipated person be removed from the State, (which makes the formal act unnecessary,) or, unless by a special act of the legislature. If, however, he disregard the law and permit the slave to go at liberty and "do" for himself, the law—on the theory, that every slave ought to have a master to see to him—directs him to be sold for the benefit of the State. Instances of this, however, must be very rare. The people are better than their laws—for the writer, during a residence of more than thirty years in the slave States, never knew an instance of such a sale, nor has he ever heard of one that was fully proved to have taken place.
VI. There is no law in any of the slave States forbidding the slave-holder to remove his slaves to a free State; nor against
his giving the slaves themselves a "pass" for that purpose. The laws of some of the free States present obstructions to the settlement of colored
persons within their limits—but these obstructions are not insurmountable, and if the validity of the laws should be tried in the tribunals, it would be found they are unconstitutional.
VII. In the slave States a slave cannot be a witness in any case, civil or criminal, in which a white is a party. Neither can a free colored person, except in Louisiana.—Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, (free States,) make colored persons incompetent as witnesses in any case in which a white is a party. In Ohio, a white person can prove his own ("book") account, not exceeding a certain sum, by his own oath or affirmation. A colored person cannot, as against a white. In Ohio the laws regard all who are mulattoes, or above the grade of mulattoes, as white.
VIII. There is no law in the slave States, forbidding the several church authorities making slave-holding an offence, for which those guilty of it might be excluded from membership.
The Society of Friends exists in the slave States—it excludes slave-holders.
The United Brethren exist as a church in Maryland and Virginia, slave States. Their Annual Conference for these two States, (in which are thirty preachers,) met in February, [1840.]
The following is an extract from its minutes:—
"No charge is preferred against any (preachers,) except Franklin Echard and Moses Michael.
"It appeared in evidence that Moses Michael was the owner of a female slave, which is contrary to the discipline of our church. Conference therefore resolved, that unless brother Michael manumit or set free such slave in six months, he no longer be considered a member of our church."
IX. When ecclesiastical councils excuse themselves from acting for the removal of slavery from their respective communions
by saying, they cannot legislate for the abolition of slavery; that slavery is a civil or political institution—that it "belongs to Caesar," and not to the church to put an end to it, they shun the point at issue. To the
church member who is a debauchee, a drunkard, a seducer, a murderer, they find no difficulty in saying, "we cannot indeed
proceed against your person, or your property—this belongs to Caesar—to the tribunals of the country—to the legislature;—but we can suspend or
wholly cut you off from the communion of the church, with a view to your repentance and its purification." If a white member should by force or intimidation, day after day, deptive another white member of his property, the authorities of the churches would expel him from their body, should he refuse to make restitution or reparation, although it could not be enforced except through the tribunals over which they have no control. There is then, nothing to prevent these authorities from saying to the slave-holder—"cease being a slave-holder and remain in the church, or continue a slave-holder and go out of it: You have your choice."
X. The slave States make it penal, to teach the slaves to read. So also some of them to teach the free colored people to read. Thus a free colored parent may suffer the penalty for teaching his own children to read even the Scriptures. None of the slave-holding churches, or religious bodies, so far as is known, have, at any time, remonstrated with the legislatures against this iniquitous legislation, or petitioned for its repeal or modification. Nor have they reproved or questioned such of their members, as, being also members of the legislatures, sanctioned such legislation by their votes.
XI. There is no systematic instruction of the slave-members of churches, either orally or in any other way.
XII. Uniting with a church makes no change in the condition of slaves at home. They are thrown back just as before, among their old associates, and subjected to their corrupting influences.
XIII. But little pains are taken to secure their attendance at public worship, on Sundays.
XIV. The "house-servants" are rarely present at family-worship; the "field-hands," never.
XV. It is only one here and there who seems to have any intelligent views of the nature of Christianity, or of a future life.
XVI. In the Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian and Episcopal churches, the colored people, during service, sit in a particular
part of the house, now generally known as the negro pew. They are not permitted to sit in any other, nor to hire or purchase pews as other people, nor would they be permitted to
sit, even if invited, in the pews of white persons. This applies to all colored persons,
whether members or not, and even to licensed ministers of their respective connections. The "negro pew" is almost as rigidly kept up in the free States as in the slave.
XVII. In some of the older slave States, as Virginia, and South Carolina, churches, in their corporate character, hold slaves, who are generally hired out for the support of the minister. The following is taken from the Charleston Courier, of February 12th, 1835.
FIELD NEGROES, by Thomas Gadsden.
On Tuesday, the 17th Instant, will be sold, at the north of the Exchange, at ten o'clock, a prime gang of ten NEGROES, accustomed to the culture of cotton and provisions, belonging to the INDEPENDENT CHURCH, in Christ's Church Parish. * * * Feb. 6.
XVIII. Nor are instances wanting, in which Negroes are bequeathed for the benefit of the Indians, as the following Chancery notice, taken from a Savannah (Geo.) paper will show.
"Bryan Superior Court.
Between John J. Maxwell and others, Executors of Ann Pray, complainants, and
Mary Sleigh and others, Devisees and Legatees, under the will of Ann Pray, defendants.
"A Bill having been filed for the distribution of the estate of the Testatrix, Ann Pray, and it appearing that among other legacies in her will, is the following, viz. a legacy of one-fourth of certain negro slaves to the American Board of Commissioners for Domestic [Foreign it probably should have been] Missions for the purpose of sending the gospel to the heathen, and particularly to the Indians of this continent. It is on motion of the solicitors of the complainants ordered, that all persons claiming the said legacy, do appear and answer the bill of the complainants, within four months from this day. And it is ordered, that this order be published in a public Gazette of the city of Savannah, and in one of the Gazettes of Philadelphia, once a month, for four months.
"Extract from the minutes, Dec. 2nd, 1832.
INFLUENCES UNDER WHICH THE AMERICAN CHURCHES HAVE BEEN BROUGHT.
Charleston (City) Gazette.—"We protest against the assumption—the unwarrantable assumption—that slavery is ultimately to be extirpated from the Southern States. Ultimate abolitionists are enemies of the South, the same in kind, and only less in degree, than immediate abolitionists."
Washington (City) Telegraph.—"As a man, a Christian, and a citizen, we believe that slavery is right; that the condition of the slave-holding States, is the best existing organization of civil society."
Chancellor Harper, of South Carolina—"It is the order of nature and of GOD, that the being of superior faculties and knowledge, and therefore of superior power, should control and dispose of those who are inferior. It is as much in the order of nature, that men should enslave each other, as that other animals should prey upon each other."
Columbia (S. C.) Telescope.—"Let us declare, through the public journals of our country, that the question of slavery is not, and shall not be open to discussion—that the system is deep-rooted among us, and must remain for ever; that the very moment any private individual attempts to lecture upon its evils and immorality, and the necessity of putting means in operation to secure us from them, in the same moment his tongue shall be cut out and cast upon a dunghill."
Augusta (Geo.) Chronicle.—"He [Amos Dresser] should have been hung up as high as Haman, to rot upon the gibbet, until the wind whistled through his bones. The cry of the whole South should be death, INSTANT DEATH, to the abolitionist, wherever he is caught."
[Amos Dresser, now a missionary in Jamaica, was a theological student at Lane Seminary, near Cincinnati. In the vacation (August 1835) he undertook to sell Bibles in the State of Tennessee, with a view to raise means further to continue his studies. Whilst there, he fell under suspicion of being an abolitionist, was arrested by the Vigilance Committee, whilst attending a religious meeting in the neighborhood of Nashville, the Capital of the State, and after an afternoon and evening's inquisition condemned to receive twenty lashes on his naked body. The sentence was executed on him, between eleven and twelve o'clock on Saturday night, in the presence of most of the committee, and of an infuriated and blaspheming mob. The Vigilance Committee (an unlawful association) consisted of sixty persons. Of these, twenty-seven were members of churches; one, a religious teacher; another, the Elder who but a few days before, in the Presbyterian church, handed Mr. Dresser the bread and wine at the communion of the Lord's Supper.]
In the latter part of the summer of 1835, the slave-holders generally became alarmed at the progress of the abolitionists. Meetings were held throughout the South, to excite all classes of people to the requisite degree of exasperation against them. At one of these meetings, held at Clinton, Mississippi, it was
"That slavery through the South and West is not felt as an evil, moral or political, but it is recognised in reference to the actual, and not to any Utopian condition of our slaves, as a blessing both to master and slave."
"That it is our decided opinion, that any individual who dares to circulate, with a view to effectuate the designs of the abolitionists, any of the incendiary tracts or newspapers now in a course of transmission to this country, is justly worthy in the sight of God and man of immediate death; and we doubt not that such would be the punishrnent of any such offender in any part of the state of Mississippi where he may be found."
"That we recommend to the citizens of Mississippi, to encourage the cause of the American Colonization Society, so long as in good faith it concentrates its energies alone on the removal of the free people of color out of the United States."
"That the Clergy of the State of Mississippi, be hereby recommended at once to take a stand upon this subject, and that their further silence in relation thereto, at this crisis, will in our opinion, be subject to serious censure."
At Charleston, South Carolina, the Post Office was forced, the Anti-Slavery publications, which were there for distribution or further transmission to masters, taken out and made a bon-fire of in the street, by a mob of several thousand people.
A public meeting was appointed to be held a few days afterward, to complete, in the same spirit in which they were commenced, preparations for excluding Anti-Slavery publications from circulation, and for ferreting out persons uspected of favoring the doctrines of the abolitionists, that hey might be subjected to Lynch law. At this assembly the Charleston Courier informs us;
"The Clergy of all denominations attended in a body, lending their sanction to the proceedings, and adding by their presence to the impressive character of the scene."
It was there Resolved,—
"That the thanks of this meeting are due to the Reverend gentlemen of the clergy in this city, who have so promptly and so
effectually responded to public sentiment, by suspending their schools in which the free colored population were taught; and that this meeting
deem it a patriotic action, worthy of all praise, and proper to be imitated by other teachers of similar schools throughout the State."
The alarm of the Virginia slave-holders was not less—nor were the clergy in the city of Richmond, the capital, less prompt than the clergy in Charleston, to respond to "public sentiment." Accordingly, on the 29th July, they assembled together, and
"That we earnestly deprecate the unwarrantable and highly improper interference of the people of any other State with the domestic relations of master and slave.
"That the example of our Lord Jesus Christ and his apostles, in not interfering with the question of slavery, but uniformly recognising the relations of master and servant, and giving full and affectionate instruction to both, is worthy of the imitation of all ministers of the gospel.
"That we will not patronize nor receive any pamphlet or newspaper of the Anti-Slavery Societies, and that we will discountenance the circulation of all such papers in the community.
"That the suspicions which have prevailed to a considerable extent against ministers of the gospel and professors of religion in the State of Virginia, as identified with abolitionists are wholly unmerited—believing as we do, from extensive acquaintance with our churches and brethren, that they are unanimous in opposing the pernicious schemes of abolitionists."
THE METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH.
In 1780, four years before the Episcopal Methodist Church was regularly organized in the United States, the conference bore the following testimony against slavery:—
"The conference acknowledges that slavery is contrary to the laws of God, man, and nature, and hurtful to society; contrary to the dictates of conscience and true religion; and doing what we would not others should do unto us."
In 1784, when the church was fully organized, rules were adopted, prescribing the times at which members who were already slave-holders, should emancipate their slaves. These rules were succeeded by the following:—
"Every person concerned, who will not comply with these rules, shall have liberty quietly to withdraw from our society within the twelve months following the notice being given him as aforesaid; otherwise the assistants shall exclude him the society.
"No person holding slaves shall in future be admitted into society, or to the Lord's Supper, till he previously comply with these rules concerning slavery.
"Those who buy, sell, or give [slaves] away, unless on purpose to free them, shall be expelled immediately."
In 1785, the following language was held:—
"We do hold in the deepest abhorrence the practice of slavery, and shall not cease to seek its destruction by all wise and prudent means."
"We declare that we are more than ever convinced of the great evil of African slavery, which still exists in these United States."
"Every member of the society who sells a slave shall, immediately after full proof, be excluded from the society, &c."
"The Annual Conferences are directed to draw up addresses for the gradual emancipation of the slaves to the legislature."—"Proper committees shall be appointed by the Annual Conferences, out of the most respectable of our friends, for the conducting of the business; and the presiding elders, deacons, and travelling preachers, shall procure as many proper signatures as possible to the addresses; and give all the assistance in their power, in every respect to aid the committees and to further the blessed undertaking. Let this be continued from year to year till the desired end be accomplished."
In 1836, the General Conference met in May, in Cincinnati, a town of 46,000 inhabitants, and the metropolis of the free State of Ohio. An Anti-Slavery Society had been formed there a year or two before. A meeting of the society was appointed for the evening of the 10th of May, to which the abolitionists attending the conference as delegates were invited.* Of those who attended, two of them made remarks suitable to the occasion. On the 12th of May, Rev. S. G. Roszell presented in the conference the following preamble and resolutions:—
"Whereas, great excitement has pervaded this country on the subject of modern abolitionism, which is reported to have been increased in this city recently, by the unjustifiable conduct of two members of the General Conference in lecturing upon, and in favor of that agitating topic;—and whereas, such a course on the part of any of its members is calculated to bring upon this body the suspicion and distrust of the community, and misrepresent its sentiments in regard to the point at issue;—and whereas, in this aspect of the case, a due regard for its own character, as well as a just concern for the interests of the church confided to its care, demand a full, decided, and unequivocal expression of the views of the General Conference in the premises." Therefore,
"By the delegates of the Annual Conference in General Conference assembled, that they disapprove in the most unqualified sense, the conduct of the two members of the General Conference, who are reported to have lectured in this city recently, upon, and in favor of, modern abolitionism."
"By the delegates of the Annual Conferences in General Conference assembled,—that they are decidedly opposed to modern abolitionism, and wholly disclaim any right, wish, or intention, to interfere in the civil and political relation between master and slave, as it exists in the slave-holding States of this Union."
The preamble and resolutions were adopted—the first resolution by 122 to 11—the last by 120 to 14.
An address was received from the Methodist Wesleyan Conference in England, in which the Anti-Christian character of slavery, and the duty of the Methodist church was plainly, yet tenderly and affectionately presented for its consideration. The Conference refused to publish it.
In the Pastoral Address to the churches, are these passages:—
"It cannot be unknown to you, that the question of slavery in the United States, by the constitutional compact which hinds us together as a nation, is left to be regulated by the several State Legislatures themselves; and thereby is put beyond the control of the general government, as well as that of all ecclesiastical bodies; it being manifest, that in the slave-holding States themselves, the entire responsibility of its existence, or non-existence, rests with those State legislatures." * * * "These facts which are only mentioned here as a reason for the friendly admonition which we wish to give you, constrain us as your pastors, who are called to watch over your souls, as they must give account, to exhort you to abstain from all abolition movements and associations, and to refrain from patronizing any of their publications," &c. * *
"From every view of the subject which we have been able to take, and from the most calm and dispassionate survey of the whole ground, we have come to the conclusion, that the only safe, scriptural, and prudent way for us, both as ministers and people, to take, is, wholly to refrain from this agitating subject," &c.
The temper exhibited by the General Conference, was warmly sympathized in by many of the Local Conferences, not only in the slave States, but in the free.
The Ohio Annual Conference had a short time before,
"1. That we deeply regret the proceedings of the abolitionists, and
Anti-Slavery Societies in the free States, and the consequent excitement produced thereby in the slave States; that we, as a Conference, disclaim all connection and co-operation with, or belief in the same; and that we hereby recommend to our junior preachers, local brethren, and private members within our bounds, to abstain from any connection with them, or participation of their acts in the premises whatever."
"2. That those brethren and citizens of the North, who resist the abolition movements with firmness and moderation, are the true friends to the church, to the slaves of the South, and to the constitution of our common country," &c.
The New York Annual Conference met in June, 1836, and
"1. That this conference fully concur in the advice of the late General Conference, as expressed in their Pastoral Address."
"2. That we disapprove of the members of this conference patronising, or in any way giving countenance to a paper called 'Zion's Watchman,'* because in our opinion, it tends to disturb the peace and harmony of the body, by sowing dissensions in the church."
"3. That although we could not condemn any man, or withhold our suffrages from him on account of his opinions merely, in reference to, the subject of abolitionism, yet we are decidedly of the opinion that none ought to be elected to the office of a deacon, or elder, in our church, unless he give a pledge to the conference, that he will refrain from agitating the church with discussions on this subject, and the more especially as the one promises, 'reverently to obey them to whom the charge and government over him is committed, following with a glad mind and will, their godly admonitions:' and the other with equal solemnity, promises 'to maintain and set forward, as much as lieth in him, quietness, peace, and love among all Christian people, and especially among them that are, or shall be committed to his charge.'"
In 1838, the same Conference, Resolved:—
"As the sense of this conference, that any of its members, or probationers, who shall patronize Zion's Watchman, either by writing in commendation of its character, by circulating it, recommending it to our people, or procuring subscribers, or by collecting or remitting monies, shall be deemed guilty of indiscretion, and dealt with accordingly."
The Preachers—judging by the vote on the anti-abolition resolutions—were expected of course to conform to the advice in the Pastoral Address. The New York Conference, the most influential, set the example of exacting a pledge from the candidates for orders, that they would not agitate the subject of slavery in their congregations. The official newspapers of the connection, would, of course, be silent. Therefore, as a measure for wholly excluding the slavery question from the church, it was of the last importance that Zion's Watchman, an unofficial paper, and earnest in the Anti-Slavery cause, should be prevented from circulating among the members.
Having seen in what spirit the conferences of the free States were willing to act, we will now see what was the temper of the conferences in the slave States. They were not under the same necessity as the free State conferences, of guarding against agitation, by candidates for orders—for in the slave States, they are comparatively few, and being brought up under the influences of slavery, are considered sound on that subject. The point of most interest to the slave-holding professors of religion was, to steel their own consciences.
The Baltimore Conference resolved:—
"That in all cases of administration under the general rule in reference to buying and [or] selling men, women, and children, &c, it be, and hereby is recommended to all committees, as the sense and opinion of this conference, that the said rule be taken, construed and understood, so as not to make the guilt or innocence of the accused to depend upon the simple fact of purchase or sale of any such slave or slaves, but upon the attendant circumstances of cruelty, injustice or inhumanity, on the one hand, or those of kind purposes, or good intentions on the other, under which, the transactions shall have been 'perpetrated: and farther, it is recommended that in all such cases, the charge be brought for immorality, and the circumstances adduced as specifications under that charge."
THE GEORGIA ANNUAL CONFERENCE,
Resolved unanimously that:—
Whereas, there is a clause in the discipline of our church, which states that we are as much as ever convinced of the great evil of slavery; and whereas the said clause has been perverted by some, and used in such a manner as to produce the impression that the Methodist Episcopal church believed slavery to be a moral evil,"
"That it is the sense of the Georgia Annual Conference, that slavery, as it exists in the United States, is not a moral evil."
"That we view slavery as a civil and domestic institution, and one with which, as ministers of Christ, we have nothing to do, further than to ameliorate the condition of the slave, by endeavoring to impart to him and his master the benign influences of the religion of Christ, and aiding both on their way to heaven."
On the motion, it was Resolved unanimously,—
"That the Georgia Annual Conference regard with feelings of profound respect and approbation, the dignified course pursued by our several superintendents or bishops in suppressing the attempts that have been made by various individuals to get up and protract art excitement in the churches and country on the subject of abolitionism."
"That they shall have our cordial and zealous support in sustaining them in the ground they have taken."
SOUTH CAROLINA CONFERENCE.
The Rev. W. Martin, introduced resolutions, similar to those of the Georgia conference.
The Rev. W. Capers, D. D., after expressing his conviction that "the sentiment of the resolutions was universally held, not only by the ministers of that conference, but of the whole South;" and after stating, that the only true doctrine was, "it belongs to Cæsar, and not to the church," offered the following as a substitute:—
"Whereas, we hold that the subject of slavery in these United States is not one proper for the action of the church, but is exclusively appropriate to the civil authorities,"
"That this conference will not intermeddle with it, farther than to express our regret that it has ever been introduced, in any form, into any one of the judicatures of the church.
"Brother Martin accepted the substitute.
"Brother Betts asked, whether the substitute was intended as implying that slavery, as it exists among us, was not a moral evil? He understood it as equivalent to such a declaration.
"Brother Capers explained, that his intention was to convey that sentiment fully and unequivocally; and that he had chosen the form of the substitute for the purpose, not only of reproving some wrong doings at the North, but with reference also to the General Con-
ference. If slavery were a moral evil (that is sinful,) the church would be bound to take cognizance of it; but our affirmation is, that it is not a matter for her jurisdiction, but is exclusively appropriate to the civil government, and of course not sinful.
"The substitute was then unanimously adopted."
SENTIMENTS OF NON-SLAVE-HOLDING METHODIST MINISTERS.
Rev. N. Bangs, D. D., of New York:
"It appears evident, that however much the apostles might have deprecated SLAVERY as it then existed throughout the Roman empire, he did not feel it his duty, as an ambassador of Christ, to disturb those relations which subsisted between master and servants, by denouncing slavery as such a mortal sin, that they could not be servants of Christ in such a relation."
Rev. E. D. Simms, Professor in Randolph Macon College, a Methodist Institution:
"These extracts from HOLY WRIT UNEQUIVOCALLY ASSERT THE RIGHT OF PROPERTY IN SLAVES, together with the usual incidents of that right; such as the power of acquisition and disposition in various ways, according to municipal regulations. The right to buy and sell, and to transmit to children by way of inheritance, is clearly stated. The only restriction on the subject, is in reference to the market, in which slaves or bondsmen were to be purchased.
"Upon the whole, then, whether we consult the Jewish polity, instituted by God himself; or the uniform opinion and practice of mankind in all ages of the world; or the injunctions of the New Testament and the Moral Law; we are brought to the conclusion, that slavery is not immoral.
"Having established the point, that the first African slaves were legally brought into bondage, the right to detain their children in bondage, follows as an indispensable consequence.
"Thus we see, that the slavery which exists in America, was founded in right."
The Rev. Wilbur Fisk, D. D., late President of the [Methodist] Wesleyan University in Connecticut:
"The relation of master and slave, may and does, in many cases, exist under such circumstances, as free the master from the just charge and guilt of immorality.
"1 Cor. vii. 20—23.
"This text seems mainly to enjoin and sanction the fitting continuance of their present social relations; the freeman was to remain free, and the slave, unless emancipation should offer, was to remain a slave.
"The general rule of Christianity not only permits, but in supposable circumstances, enjoins a continuance of the master's authority.
"The New Testament enjoins obedience upon the slave as an obligation due to a present rightful authority."
Rev. Elijah Hedding, D. D., one of the six Methodist Bishops:
"The right to hold a slave is founded on this rule, 'Therefore, all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them; for this is the law and the prophets."—Ch. and Journal, Oct. 20, 1807.
SENTIMENTS OF SLAVE-HOLDING METHODIST MINISTERS.
The Rev. William Winans, of Mississippi, in the General Conference, in 1836:
"He was not born in a slave State—he was a Pennsylvanian by birth. He had been brought up to believe a slave-holder, as great a villain as a horse-thief; but he had gone to the South, and long residence there had changed his views; he had become a slave-holder on principle." * * * * "Though a slave-holder himself, no abolitionist felt more sympathy for the slave than he did—none had rejoiced more in the hope of a coming period, when the print of a slave's foot would not be seen on the soil." * * * "It was important to the interests of slaves, and in view of the question of slavery, that there be Christians who were slave-holders. Christian ministers should be slave-holders, and diffused throughout the South. Yes, sir, Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, should be slave holders:—yes, he repeated it boldly—there should be members, and deacons, and ELDERS and BISHOPS, too, who were slave-holders."
The Rev. J. Early, of Virginia, on the same occasion:
"SIR,—We have no energy. But if a majority of this conference have no energy—not enough of it, to protect their own honor from insult and degradation—be it known, that there are in the conference those who have—AND WHO OUGHT TO BE BY THEMSELVES. It is full time for you, sir, to speak out—to testify that you have some regard for yourselves—to say that you have some regard for your honor. Submit to this, sir! If we submit to this, we are prepared to submit to anything."
The Rev. J. H. Thornwell, at a public meeting held in South Carolina, supported the following resolutions:—
"That slavery as it exists in the South is no evil, and is consistent with the principles of revealed religion; and that all opposition to it arises from a misguided and fiendish fanaticism, which we are bound to resist in the very threshold.
"That all interference with this subject by fanatics is a violation of our civil and social rights—is unchristian and inhuman, leading necessarily to anarchy and bloodshed; and that the instigators am murderers and assassins.
"That any interference with this subject, on the part of Congress must lead to a dissolution of the Union."
The Rev. George W. Langhorne, of North Carolina, thus writes to the Editor of Zion's Watchman, under date, June 25th, 1836.
"I, sir, would as soon be found in the ranks of a banditti, as numbered with Arthur Tappan and his wanton co-adjutors. Nothing is more appalling to my feelings as a man, contrary to my principles as a Christian, and repugnant to my soul as a minister, than the insidious proceedings of such men.
"If you have not resigned your credentials as a minister of the Methodist Episcopal church, I really think that, as an honest man, you should now do it. In your ordination vows you solemnly promised to be obedient to those who have rule over you; and since they [the General Conference] have spoken, and that distinctly, too, on this subject, and disapprobate your conduct, I conceive you are bound to submit to their authority, or leave the church."
The Rev. J. C. Postell, in July, 1836, delivered an address at a public meeting at Orangeburgh Court-house, S. C., in which he maintains; 1. That slavery is a judicial visitation. 2. That it is not a moral evil. 3. That it is supported by the Bible. He thus argues his second point:—
"It is not a moral evil. The fact that slavery is of Divine appointment, would be proof enough with the Christian, that it could not be a moral evil. But when we view the hordes of savage marauders and human cannibals enslaved to lust and passion, and abandoned to idolatry and ignorance, to revolutionise them from such a state, and enslave them where they may have the gospel, and the privileges of Christians; so far from being a moral evil, it is a merciful visitation. If slavery was either the invention of man or a moral evil, it is logical to conclude, the power to create has the power to destroy. Why then has it existed? And why does it now exist amidst all the power of legislation in state and church, and the clamor of abolitionists? It is the Lord's DOINGS AND MARVELLOUS IN OUR EYES: and had it not been done for the best, God alone, who is able, long since would have overruled it. IT IS BY DIVINE APPOINTMENT."
On that occasion the same Rev. gentleman read a letter which he had addressed to the Editor of Zion's Watchman—of which the following are extracts:—
"To La Roy Sunderland, &c.
"Did you calculate to misrepresent the Methodist Discipline, and say it supported abolitionism, when the General Conference, in their late resolutions, denounced it as a libel on truth. 'Oh full of all subtlety, thou child of the devil!' all liars, saith the sacred volume, shall have their part in the lake of fire and brimstone.
"I can only give one reason why you have not been indicted for a libel—The law says, 'The greater the truth, the greater the
libel;' and as your paper has no such ingredient, it is construed but a small
matter. But if you desire to educate the slaves, I will tell you how to raise the money without editing Zion's Watchman; you and old Arthur Tappan come out to the South this winter, and they will raise one hundred thousand dollars for you. New Orleans, itself, will be pledged for it. Desiring no further acquaintance with you, and never expecting to see you but once in time or eternity, that is at judgment, I subscribe myself, the friend of the Bible, and the opposer of Abolitionists.
"J. C. POSTELL,
THE GENERAL CONFERENCE FOR 1840, HELD ITS SESSION IN MAY, IN BALTIMORE.
The Rev. Silas Comfort appealed from a decision of the Missouri conference, of which he was a member. That conference had convicted him of "mal-administration," in admitting the testimony of a colored person in the trial of a white member of the church. The General conference reversed the decision of the Missouri conference. The Southern delegates insisted on something being done, to counteract the injurious influence which the reversal would have on the Methodist church in the slave States.
The Rev. Dr. A. J. Few, of Georgia, proposed the following:—
"That it is inexpedient and unjustifiable for any preacher to permit colored persons to give testimony against white persons, in any State where they are denied that privilege by law."
This was carried: but it was at variance with the decision in Comfort's case. The conference saw the absurdity of their position, and that something must be done to shift it. To this end, it was thought best to attempt getting rid of the whole subject. A motion was made to re-consider the decision in Comfort's case, with a view, if it should be carried, to another, not to entertain his appeal. Should this latter prevail, a motion was then to follow, to re-consider Dr. Few's resolution. If this should be carried, by another motion it could be laid on the table, and kept there. In this way the whole matter might be excluded.
The motion to re-consider the reversal in Comfort's case was carried. So was the motion, not to entertain his
appeal. But the motion to re-consider Dr. Few's resolution failed. Pending the debate on it, one of the Southern delegates,
Rev. William A. Smith, of Virginia, [The same who in the General conference of 1836, publicly wished the Rev. Orange Scott, a leading abolitionist—also of the General conference—"in heaven;"] becoming alarmed, lest the resolution should be reconsidered and consigned to the table, offered the following compromise as a substitute:
"That the resolution offered by A. J. Few, and adopted on Monday the 18th instant, relating to the testimony of persons of color, be reconsidered and amended so as to read as follows, viz.—" That it is inexpedient and unjustifiable for any preacher among us to admit of persons of color to give testimony on the trial of white persons in any slave-holding State where they are denied that privilege in trials at law: Provided, that when an Annual conference in any such State or territory shall judge it expedient to admit of the introduction of such testimony within its bounds, it shall be allowed so to do."
However, the Southern delegates being unanimous, (with the single exception of the Rev. mover,) and having the aid of some of the most devoted of the pro-slavery Northern delegates, the substitute was lost by an even vote.
The efforts made to "harmonize" the slave-holding and the non-slave-holding delegates, had thus far failed. It was not, however, abandoned. With that view, Bishop Soule, acting as the representative of the other Bishops, introduced three resolutions. We have not been able to procure a copy of them. In Zion's Watchman, we find them substantially stated thus:—
1. "The action of the General conference in the Comfort case was not intended to express or imply, that it was either expedient or justifiable to admit the testimony of colored persons in States where such testimony is rejected by the civil authorities.
2. "It was not intended by the adoption of Dr. Few's resolution, to prohibit the admission of it, when the civil authorities or usage authorizes its admission.
3. "Expresses the undiminished regard of the General conference for the colored population."
Immediately on the passage of Dr. Few's resolution, the "official members (forty-six in number) of the Sharp
Street and Asbury Colored Methodist Episcopal Church in Baltimore," protested and petitioned against it. The following passages are in their address:—
"The adoption of such a resolution, by our highest ecclesiastical judicatory, a judicatory composed of the most experienced, and the wisest brethren in the church, the choice selection of twenty-eight Annual conferences, has inflicted, we fear, an irreparable injury upon eighty thousand souls for whom Christ died—souls, who by this act of your body, have been stript of the dignity of Christians, degraded in the scale of humanity, and treated as criminals, for no other reason than the color of their skin! Your resolution has, in our humble opinion, virtually declared, that a mere physical peculiarity, the handy work of our all-wise and benevolent Creator, is prima facie evidence of incompetency to tell the truth, or is an unerring indication of unworthiness to bear testimony against a fellow-being, whose skin is denominated white. * * *
"Brethren, out of the abundance of the heart we have spoken. Our grievance is before you! If you have any regard for the salvation of the eighty thousand immortal souls committed to your care; if you would not thrust beyond the pale of the church, twenty five hundred souls in this city, who have felt determined never to leave the church that has nourished and brought them up; if you regard us as children of one common Father, and can, upon reflection, sympathize with us as members of the body of Christ—if you would not incur the fearful, the tremendous responsibility of offending not only one, but many thousands of his 'little ones;' we conjure you to wipe from your journal, the odious resolution which is ruining our people."
"A Colored Baltimorean," writing to the Editor of Zion's Watchman, says:—
"The address was presented to one of the Secretaries, a Delegate of the Baltimore conference, and subsequently given by him to the Bishops. How many of the members of the conference saw it, I know not. One thing is certain, it was not read to the conference."
SENTIMENTS EXPRESSED DURING THE DEBATES.
Rev. W. Capers, D. D., of Charleston, S. Carolina:—
"Valued the quotations which had been made from the early disciplines and minutes; there was no kind of property that he valued
so high as the works which contained them; they were the monuments of that primitive Methodism which he loved. * * He then
read from the minutes of 1780, '84, and '85, and attempted to show, from the smallness of the church, and the little connexion
that it had with slavery in 1780, that it adopted the language which was precisely consistent with its circumstances, and
just such language as he
would adopt under similar circumstances; but in 1784 and '85, when the church had extended further and became more entangled with slavery, there was a corresponding faltering in the language of the church against it. But in 1800, the church fell into a great error on this subject—an error which he had no doubt those who were so unfortunate as to fall into, very deeply deplored. The conference authorised addresses to the legislatures, and memorials to be circulated by all our ministers, and instructed them to continue those measures from year to year, till slavery was abolished. He had no doubt, that the men engaged in this work were sincere and pious, but they soon perceived that it was a great error, and abandoned it. * * He thanked the brother from Canada, (Rev. Egerton Ryerson,) for the strong sympathy he had expressed for southern institutions. * * Notwithstanding the representations, that a part of the discipline was a dead letter, in the south, yet, he assured them, that they received the whole of it—they were under the whole of it—acknowledged it all,—but, said he, you must take heed what discipline you make for us now; if the chapter on slavery had not long been in the discipline, you could not put it there now. I repeat, therefore, you must beware what laws you make for us! You may easily adopt such measures as will effectually hedge up our way, and make us slaves. We cannot he made slaves; beware, therefore, I say, what discipline you give us! Be CAUTIOUS what burthens you impose upon us! We know what our work is,—it is to preach and pray for the slaves."
Rev. Mr. Crowder of Virginia:—
"In its civil aspect, neither the general government, or any other government, ecclesiastical or civil, either directly or indirectly, has a right to touch slavery." In its ecclesiastical aspect—"we are bound by the twenty-third article of our religion, to submit to the civil regulations of the State under which we live." In its moral aspect—" Slavery was not only countenanced, permitted, anti regulated by the Bible, but it was postively instituted by GOD HIMSELF—he had in so many words ENJOINED it."
The Rev. Joshua Soule, D. D., of Ohio, (one of the Bishops,) in advocating the reconsideration of the decision in Comfort's case, said:
"It will be recollected by brethren, that the Missouri Conference fixed no censure—not a particle of censure upon the character of Silas Comfort; the law, therefore would not justify an appeal to this body. If that unfortunate word 'mal-administration,' had not been used in connexion with the case, it would never have found its way here." "I do not express merely my own opinion in this case; it is the united opinion of your Superintendents, (Bishops,) and it is by their request that I address you on this occasion."
Rev. Mr. Peck, of New York, who moved the reconsideration of Dr. Few's resolution:—
"That resolution, said he, was introduced under peculiar circum-
stances, during considerable excitement, and he went for it as a peace-offering to the South, without sufficiently reflecting upon the precise import of its phraseology; but, after a little deliberation, he was sorry: and he had been sorry but once, and that was all the thee; he was convinced that, if that resolution remain upon the journal, it would be disastrous to the whole northern Church."
Rev. Dr. A. J. Few, of Georgia, the mover of the original resolution:
"Look at it! What do you declare to us in taking this course? Why simply, as much as to say, 'we cannot sustain you in the condition which you cannot avoid!' We cannot sustain you in the necessary conditions of slave-holding;—one of its necessary conditions being the rejection of negro testimony! If it is not sinful to hold slaves, under all circumstances, it is not sinful to hold them in the only condition, and under the only circumstances, which they can be held. The rejection of negro testimony is one of the necessary circumstances, under which slave-holding can exist; indeed, it is utterly impossible for it to exist without it; therefore it is not sinful to hold slaves in the condition, and under the circumstances which they are held at the South, inasmuch as they can be held, under no other circumstances.* * If you believe that slave-holding is necessarily sinful, come out with the abolitionists, and honestly say so. If you believe that slave-holding is necessarily sinful, you believe we are necessarily sinners: and, if so, come out and honestly declare it, and let us leave you.* * We want to know distinctly, precisely, and honestly the position which you take. We cannot be tampered with by you any longer. We have had enough of it. We are tired of your sickly sympathies.* * If you are not opposed to the principles which it involves, unite with us, like honest men, and go home, and boldly meet the consequences. We say again, you are responsible for this state of things! for it is you who have driven us to the alarming point, where we find ourselves.* * You have made that resolution absolutely necessary to the quiet of the South! But you now revoke that resolution! And, you pass the Rubicon! Let me not be misunderstood. I say, you pass the Rubicon! If you revoke, you revoke the principle which that resolution involves, and you array the whole South against you, and we must separate!* * If you accord to the principles which it involves, arising from the necessity of the case, stick by it, 'though the heavens perish!' But if you persist on reconsideration, I ask in what light will your course be regarded in the South? What will be the conclusion, there, in reference to it? Why, that you cannot sustain us as long as we hold slaves! It will declare in the face of the sun, 'we cannot sustain you, gentlemen, while you retain your slaves!' Your opposition to the resolution is based upon your opposition to slavery; you cannot, therefore, maintain your consistency, unless you comc out with the abolitionists, and condemn us at once and for ever; or else refuse to reconsider."
The Rev. William Winans, of Mississippi: (the same who was a delegate to the General conference in 1836.)
"He was never more deeply impressed with the solemnity of his
situation—the act of this afternoon will determine the fate of our beloved Zion! * * Will you meet us half-way? Have you the magnanimity to consent to a compromise? I pledge myself, in behalf of every southern man, that if you will affirm the decision in the case of Silas Comfort, we will give up the resolution; but if you refuse to affirm, and wrest from us that resolution, you stab us to the vitals! * * Repeal that resolution, and you pass the Rubicon! Dear as union is, sir, there are interests at stake in this question which are dearer than union! Do not regard us as threatening! * * * But what will become of our beloved Methodism? The interests of Methodism, throughout the whole South, are at stake! We can, however, endure to see the houses of God forsaken, and our wide extended and beautiful fields which we have long been cultivating, laid waste and turned into a moral wilderness. But, what is to become of the poor slave? I entreat of you to pause! You effectually shut out the consolations and hopes of the gospel from hundreds and thousands of poor slaves? * * I call heaven to record against you this day, that if you repeal that resolution, you seal the damnation of thousands of souls! I beseech you as upon my knees not to do it."
The Rev. Mr. Collins, of———
"Admonished the conference, that the moment they rescinded that resolution, they passed the Rubicon. The fate of the connexion was sealed."
The Rev. William A. Smith, of Virginia,
"Agreed with the brother from Mississippi, that there were interests involved in this question dearer than UNION itself, however dear that might he. Southerners are not prepared to commit their interests, much less their consciences, to the holy keeping of northern men. Conscience was involved in this matter, and they could not be coerced."
Rev. Nathan Bangs, D. D., of New York:
"We were on a snag, and he believed he could help us off. He perceived a way to get out of the difficulty, and proceeded to read three resolutions, one of which went to affirm the decision of the Missouri conference in the Comfort case. He concluded with a proposition to refer the whole case to a committee, to see if something could not be done to harmonize the conference."
Rev. P. P. Sanford, of———
"Brethren spoke as though there were no interests involved in this question but southern and western, but he could assure
brethren of their entire mistake. The north and east were as deeply concerned in the issue of this question as the west and
south. * * He was surprised at the course of Dr. Bangs, who, when the Missouri case was pending, retired without the bar,
and thus dodged the question; and when Dr. Few's resolution was passed, he sat still in his chair, and refused to do his duty,
but now he comes forward with a series of resolutions entirely inconsistent with all the facts in the
case, with the very benevolent intention to enlighten us on the subject!! But what does he say? Why, he declares that he believes that this conference ought to affirm the decision of the Missouri conference in the case of Silas Comfort! And what was that decision? Why, that it is mal-administration to admit the testimony of a colored man in the trial of a white man! So that Comfort was condemned, as appears from the journals of that conference, solely for admitting the testimony of a colored man! And Dr. Bangs is the man who declares upon this floor, that that decision ought to be affirmed by this conference!! He was perfectly astounded! Brethren talk of compromise! Is there any compromise in this?"
Bishop Soule spoke in favor of the compromise resolutions of the Rev. Mr. Smith:—
"It was in view of the vast but jeoparded interests of our beloved Zion; with a view to promote the union of our extended
ecclesiastical confederation, that he ventured to speak on the present occasion. He would lay one hand upon the north and
east, and the other upon the south, and constrain them toharmonize. He had listened to the speeches of brethren, and he perceived that the waters were troubled, but he was not alarmed; our
ship is not wrecked, and he had no doubt but that we should bring her safe through. * * * He had listened to the intimations
of the possible necessity of adopting this measure, but brethren had approached so near together, that they only appeared
to differ as to the modus operandi of doing the thing, which all seemed to agree should be done. He could not, therefore, believe that brethren were in earnest
in intimating the probability of a division [of the church] on so trifling an occasion. He had heard the appeals from brethren of the south with unmingled sympathy, because he was acquainted with
the south; he was familiar with the difficulties which brethren from that region struggled with. * * * We are in danger
of forgetting, that men born in the south are much better qualified to judge of the bearing which particular measures will
have upon that region, than those of the north can be. He thanked the brother from Georgia, (Dr. Few,) for his kind allusion
to him, and regretted that he was understood to take ground against the Dr., for he agreed with him entirely. * * * The brethren from the south came forward with all that frankness which characterizes southern men; I say, with all that frankness which characterizes southern men, for this is a distinguishing trait in their character, and propose a conciliatory plan, which he thought could not fail
to harmonize the great majority; I say the great majority, for I despair of giving satisfaction to all. * * * He could not possibly
see an objectionable feature in. or any favorable effect that would be likely to result from adopting them, either in the
north or south. Does any one think that they may be disastrously used in the north, in favor of modern abolitionism? I neither
see it nor fear it. Permit me to say to the members of this General conference, who are connected with the abolition movements,
that the brethren at the south are better judges, circumstanced as they are, than you can possibly be, in regard to every thing connected with slavery. * * * Surveying the whole ground of this unfortunate affair, and where is
the man who dare come to the conclusion, that sufficient reasons have been developed in this controversy for dividing the body of Christ." . . .
SENTIMENTS OF PRESBYTERIAN MINISTERS.
At the anniversary of the American Colonization Society at the City of Washington, in 1839, this gentleman appeared on the
platform as one of the speakers, with Mr. Henry D. Wise, (M. C.) of Virginia, a slave-holder and professed duelist. The latter
had said in his speech, the best way to meet the abolitionists was with "Dupont's best" [gunpowder] and cold steel. The Sun, one of the New York city journals, tells us—the Rev. Doctor spoke
with sympathy of the sentiments of the South as evinced in the speech of Mr. Wise."
Since this, Dr. S. has preached a series of sermons to his congregation, on slavery in its scriptural relations. These sermons have been printed, and are looked on by the pro-slavery party as highly serviceable to their cause.
The Rev. JOEL PARKER, D. D., President of the Presbyterian Theological Seminary, New York:—
"Abolitionism might be pronounced a sin as well as slavery."
This was said, according to the American papers, at the last session of the (N. S.) General Assembly, in supporting the proposition of a slave-holder, that "all action on the subject of slavery, should be declared by that body beyond its relations and functions."
The Rev. Dr. P. at the beginning of the anti-slavery movement in the United States was an abolitionist. He was sent to New Orleans, being thought eminently fitted as a Christian minister, to contend against the prevailing iniquities of that slaveholding city. He had not been there long, before he became a colonizationist. He happened to be at Alton, (Illinois,) at the time the mob spirit was beginning to show its bloody intents toward the Rev. Mr. Lovejoy. His injurious remarks in public against the abolitionists were thought to have contributed to excite the mob to the fatal issue which took place. He afterwards returned to New York; was elected pastor of the Tabernacle church, of which Mr. Lewis Tappan was a member; resisted the formation by that gentleman of an anti-slavery society among the members of the church; prosecuted Mr. T. before the church session, on various charges, with the view of ejecting him from the church, and has, generally, since his return to New York, distinguished himself by bitterness of spirit and language against the anti-slavery cause. Since all which, he has been made a D. D. and President of the (N. S.) Theological Seminary in New York.
The Rev. SAMUEL H. Cox, D. D. of the city of Brooklyn, moved the indefinite postponement of the slavery question at the last (N. S ) General
Assembly. On the motion being carried, he exultingly said, "Our Vesuvius is safely capped for three years"—the Assembly not
meeting again till 1843. Dr. Cox was at one time an abolitionist.
THE REV. WILLIAM S. PLUMMER, D. D. of Richmond:
[This gentleman is the leader of the Old School party. He was absent from Richmond at the time the clergy in that city purged themselves in a body, from the charge of being favorably disposed to abolition. [See page 10.] On his return, he lost no time in communicating to the "Chairman of the Committee of Correspondence," his agreement with his clerical brethren. The passages quoted occur in his letter to the chairman.]
"I have carefully watched this matter from its earliest existence, and everything I have seen or heard of its character, both from its patrons and its enemies, has confirmed me, beyond repentance, in the belief, that, let the character of Abolitionists be what it may in the sight of the Judge of all the earth, this is the most meddlesome, impudent, reckless, fierce, and wicked excitement I ever saw.
"If Abolitionists will set the country in a blaze, it is but fair that they should receive the first warming at the fire.
"Let it be proclaimed throughout the nation, that every movement made by the fanatics (so far as it has any effect in the South) does but rivet every fetter of the bondsman—diminish the probability of anything being successfully undertaken for making him either fit for freedom, or likely to obtain it. We have the authority of Montesquieu, Burke, and Coleridge, three eminent toasters of the science of human nature, that of all men slave-holders are the most jealous of their liberties. One of Pennsylvania's most gifted sons has lately pronounced the South, the cradle of liberty.
"Lastly.—Abolitionists are like infidels, wholly unaddicted to martyrdom for opinion's sake. Let them understand that they will be caught [Lynched] if they come among us, and they will take good heed to keep out of our way. There is not one man among them who has any more idea of shedding his blood in this cause, than he has of making war on the Grand Turk."
Rev. Thomas S. Witherspoon, of Alabama, writing to the Editor of the Emancipator:—
"I draw my warrant from the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, to hold the slave in bondage. The principle of holding
the heathen in bondage is recognized by God. * * * When the tardy process of the law is too long in redressing our grievances,
we of the South, have adopted the summary remedy of Judge Lynch—and really I think it one of the most wholesome and salutary
remedies for the malady of Northern fanaticism that can be applied, and no doubt my worthy friend, the Editor of the Emancipator
and Human Rights, would feel the better of its enforcement, provided he had a Southern administrator. I go to the Bible for
my warrant in all moral matters. * * Let your emissaries dare venture to cross the Potomac, and I cannot promise you that
their fate will be less
than Haman's. Then beware how you goad an insulted, but magnanimous people to deeds of desperation."
Rev. Robert N. Anderson, of Virginia:
"To the Sessions of the Presbyterian Congregations within the bounds of the West Hanover Presbytery:"—
"At the approaching stated meeting of our Presbytery, I design to offer a preamble and string of resolutions on the subject of the use of wine in the Lord's Supper; and also a preamble and string of resolutions on the subject of the treasonable and abominably wicked interference of the Northern and Eastern fanatics, with our political and civil rights, our property and our domestic concerns. You are aware that our clergy, whether with or without reason, are more suspected by the public than the clergy of other denominations. Now, dear Christian brethren, I humbly express it as my earnest wish, that you quit yourselves like men. If there be any stray goat of a minister among you, tainted with the blood-hound principles of abolitionism, let him be ferreted out, silenced, excommunicated, and left to the public to dispose of him in other respects.
"Your affectionate brother in the Lord,
We would have the reader bear in mind, that the foregoing presents but one side of the anti-slavery cause in the several churches whose proceedings have been considered; and that in them all, there are abolitionists earnestly laboring to purify them from the defilements of slavery; and that they have strong encouragement to proceed, not only in view of what they have already effected toward that end, but in the steady increase of their numbers, and in other omens of sucess.
We wish him also to bear in mind, that the churches which have been brought before him are not the only American churches which are guilty in giving their countenance and support to slavery. Of others we have said nothing, simply because, to examine their cases, would be to make this work too long for the object we have in view—and because enough has been said to show substantially the state of the slavery-question in America, so far as the CHURCH in that country is connected with it.
Lastly.—We take pleasure in assuring him, that there are considerable portions of the Methodist—Baptist—and Presbyterian churches, as well as the entire of some of the smaller religious bodies in America, that maintain a commendable testimony against slavery and its abominations.