The National Era
Unsigned Article
Washington, D.C.: 9 September 1852


  Since the appearance of Uncle Tom's Cabin, by Mrs. H.B. Stowe, in the Era, and its unprecedented popularity throughout the country, numerous imitations of it have appeared, the specimens we have seen falling far short of that great work. The defenders of Slavery, not satisfied with the arguments which common sense and imagination furnish them, seek to employ the influence of Revelation in its support. The Baltimore Sun thus notices a work designed to prove that the Bible sanctions Negro Slavery:

  "Messrs. Burgess, Taylor, & Co., Sun Iron Building, send us a copy of a work of imposing exterior, a handsome work of nearly 600 pages, from the pen of Rev. Josiah Priest, A.M., and published by Rev. W. S. Brown, M.D., at Glasgow, Kentucky, the copy before us conveying the assurance that it is the 'fifth edition-stereotyped.' And we have no doubt it is. And the fiftieth edition may be published, but it will amount to nothing, for there is nothing in it. The book comprises the usually quoted facts associated with the history of slavery as recorded in the Scriptures, accompanied by the opinions and arguments of another man in relation thereto. And this sort of thing may go on to the end of time. It can accomplish nothing towards the perpetuation of slavery.

  "The book is called 'Bible Defence of Slavery, and Origin, Fortunes, and History of the Negro race.' Bible defence of slavery! There is no such thing as a Bible defence of slavery at the present day. Slavery in the United States is a social institution, originating in the convenience and cupidity of our ancestors, existing by State laws and recognised to a certain extent—for the recovery of slave property—by the Constitution. And nobody would pretend, that if it were inexpedient and unprofitable, for any man or any State to continue to hold slaves, they would be bound to do so, on the ground of a 'Bible defence' of it. Slavery is recorded in the Bible, and approved, with many degrading characteristics. War is recorded in the Bible, and approved, under what seems to us the extreme of cruelty. But are slavery and war to endure forever, because, we find them in the Bible? Or are they to cease at once and forever, because the Bible inculcates peace and brotherhood?

  "The book before us exhibits great research, but is obnoxious to severe criticism, on account of its gratuitous assumptions. The writer is constantly assuming this, that, and the other. In a work of this sort, a 'doubtless' this, and 'no doubt' the other, and 'such is our belief' with respect to important premises, will not be acceptable to the intelligent reader. Many of the positions assume are ludicrous; and the fancy of the writer runs to exuberance in putting words and speeches into the mouths of the ancients, predicated upon the brief record of Scripture history. The argument from the curse of Ham is not worth the paper it is written upon. It is just worth the paper it is written upon. It is just equivalent to that of Blackwood's Magazine, we remember examining some years since, in reference to the admission of Rothschild to Parliament. The writer maintained the religious obligation of the Christian public to perpetuate the political disabilities of the Jews, because it would be resisting the Divine will to remove them, in view of 'the curse' which the aforesaid Christian Pharisee understood to be levelled against the sons of Abraham. Admitting that God has cursed both the Jewish race and the descendants of Ham, He is able to fulfil His purpose, though the 'rest of mankind' should in all things act up to the benevolent precepts of the 'Divine law.' Man may very safely cultivate the highest principles of the Christian dispensation, and leave God to work out the fulfilment of His curse.

  "According to the same book and the same logic, all mankind being under a 'curse,' none of us ought to work out any alleviation for ourselves, and we are sinning heinously in harnessing steam to the performance of manual labor, cutting wheat by McCormick's diablerie, and laying hold of the lightning to carry our messages for us, instead of footing it ourselves, as our father Adam did. With a little more common sense, and much less of the uncommon sort, we should better understand Scripture, the institutions under which we live, the several rights of our fellow-citizens in all sections of the country, and the good, sound, practical, social relations which ought to contribute infinitely more than they do to the happiness of mankind."

  The Sun is published in a slave State; it is deservedly popular, as a newspaper, though it has never been suspected of fanaticism against the institution. It has not, however, lost all common sense in supporting it. The reverend gentlemen who spent so much labor on the "Bible Defence of Slavery," get but cold comfort from any but Hunkers and Doughfaces.