The Independent
New York: 29 May 1856

[from] Is it Parallel?

  THE profound simplicity of sundry debaters in the New-School General Assembly upon the subject of Slavery, and the lofty assurance with which they attempted to parallel certain incidents at the North with characteristic features of society at the South, are painful illustrations of the effect of the suppression of free thought in obscuring the thinking faculty. We will collate a few examples.

  . . . Another speaker on the floor of the Assembly, Rev. Dr. Ross, said of Uncle Tom's Cabin, that "it is a remarkable book: every fact in it is proved, and every impression is false. There is nothing more horrible in it than the murder of Parkman in enlightened Cambridge."

  No doubt Dr. Ross imagined that he had made a great hit by that allusion. But he conveniently forgot the sequel; that the law asserted its majesty, by hanging the murderer! When the Legrees of the South are arraigned as murderers, and hung, not by Lynch-law, but by a solemn judicial sentence, we shall admit that the crimes committed under the system of Slavery are not fairly to be quoted against the system.

  Some time ago a representative of Southern chivalry, in a drunken frolic, slew a guest at the St. Nicholas Hotel in this city. We presume that our Southern friends would magnanimously say that this crime was not chargeable upon northern institutions, and expect us to reciprocate the compliment as to assassinations at the South. But the assassin at the St. Nicholas was punished by the law. The mistaken lenity of the Governor of New-York has in part defeated the ends of justice; but the sentence of the court upon Dr. Graham vindicated the institutions of the North. When will Southern institutions be vindicated by a similar punishment of men who assault editors, kill waiters, and attempt to assassinate senators in Washington?

  The most absurd and odious of the comparisons in the Assembly's debate on slavery, fell from the lips of Rev. Joel Parker, D. D., of this city, and Rev. Charles H. Read, of Richmond. These gentlemen likened the evils of slavery at the South to "abuses of the marriage and parental relations existing here." They put the institution of slavery upon the same basis with the institution of marriage; the relation of master and slave, upon the same foundation of Scriptural authority with the relation of husband and wife.

  The logic of this argument is, that in the same chapter the Apostle gives instructions to husbands and wives, and to masters and servants, and therefore these relations are strictly parallel. Suppose that at Ephesus there had been prisoners, made such because of the Gospel, and doomed to the martyrdom of the arena, the cross, or the stake; and in the same connection with his counsels to husbands and wives, the Apostle had intermingled counsels to prisoners to be calm, and patient, and submissive; would it be a fair and logical inference that the relation of jailer and prisoner stood upon the same foundation with the relation of husband and wife? This we understand to be the height of Dr. Parker's exegesis of Ephesians 5th and 6th.

  Even if there were any parallel between the relation of master and servant, and that of husband and wide, or parent and child, this could not exonorate Christians at the South from responsibility for the abuses of slavery. We of the North, seek to remedy all abuses of the marriage and parental relations by wholesome laws, and unless we do apply the remedy, we are responsible for the abuse. What are Christians at the South doing to remedy the abuses of slavery, for which they are responsible?

  If Dr. Parker should attempt to put in practice his theory of marital and parental authority; if he should really carry out the dreams of absolutism, with which he entertained the Assembly; he would find that there is in New-York an authority above that of the husband and the father.

  A Mohammedan dragoman, who flourished his whip continually about the shoulders of camel-drivers and muleteers, once told us with great gusto, how with that same whip he had subdued a quarrel between his wife and his slave-concubine. Doubtless "he had Abraham to his father," and rested the two relations of husband and master upon the same divine authority of Allah and his Prophet. But neither Polygamy, Slavery, nor household Tyranny is yet established in New-York, notwithstanding the defense of all three in the General Assembly meeting in the church on Madison Square.