Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7
And so, Gentle Reader we come to part four of what I've previously referred to as 'that horrible book,' Bible Defence Of Slavery. I highly doubt that you'll be surprised to hear that these three chapters are just as horrible as the preceding nine. So, in an effort to make some kind of not quite so obvious point, let's ignore the subject discussed therein for the nonce, and make a more general point regarding its similarity to modern-day argumentation from some religious quarters.
And let's begin with what may appear to be a digression. I'm gonna almost literally steal a leaf out of Jesus's book. The parable of the good Samaritan.
A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.
Now, you can argue all you like about whether Jesus is promoting obedience ('Act thusly because it is commanded that we should.') or a more morality-based view ('Act thusly, because to ignore suffering is immoral, regardless of divine command.'). Nowhere in the story, though, is it hinted that the kindly Samaritan does what he does merely because he's compelled to by his religious law. In fact, if the KJ translation is at all accurate, he's specifically described as acting through compassion. Or, in other words, he did what he felt to be morally right in the face of suffering, without needing to be told by scripture or other religious teaching, that suffering is bad, or that it is good to help those who are suffering.
That is the polar opposite of what those who claim that the Bible is the unerring, to-be-taken-literally word of God, do. They may, indeed, be following the letter of Jesus's advice to obey; but they completely miss the spirit.
To come back to the subject of that horrible book, slavery is wrong because, at the very least, it removes a person's autonomy. It is harmful. Full stop. In the face of that there is absolutely no need to make specious and downright ridiculous arguments to the effect that the Bible doesn't condone slavery, when it quite plainly does. All you have to do is let go of the idea that the Bible is, from start to finish, in every jot and tittle, the unerringly transcribed word of your god. Some parts of it are, yes, quite plainly represented as direct commands from on high (and, for the purpose of this series of posts, I'm not going to argue about the truth of such claims). Some, especially in the Old Testament, are equally plainly attempts at portraying secular history, as filtered though oral tradition, religious and non-religious mythology, religious self-justification, nationalist and tribal self-aggrandisement, and, quite probably, a rather fanciful, not entirely fact-based approach to what constitutes 'proper' history in the first place.
I'm deliberately not, in the series of posts dealing with this book, bashing on all religion and religious views everywhere. Frankly, the book itself is horrible enough, and any reasonable religious person who wants to read it should not, in my opinion, be faced with having to wade through a diatribe against their core belief from me before starting on it. Most religious people, who don't treat their holy book as literalists do, don't deserve that. (How they work out which parts to treat as true and which not, which parts constitute 'command' and which constitute an attempt to merely record events, I don't know. And it's an argument for another time and place.)
But the literalists…
On the one hand, there are those who seem to desperately need to find a way to 'confirm' their own moral view that something is bad, by bending the Bible (and, I assume, other holy books) completely out of shape in order to back up their position. Don't get me wrong; I'm happy to agree with any religious person that slavery, the persecution of LGBT people, reliance on faith instead of medicine, promotion of the so-called 'quiverful' life-style and many other things are wrong. But to me, the reason they are wrong is that they cause and/or allow unnecessary and avoidable suffering. You really don't need to refer to scripture to prove them so; and you don't, if you drop the literalist view of scripture, even need to justify their inclusion in the Bible.
Then there are those, like the author of this book, who seem to think that if you can find an excuse for an action in the Bible, then that action is automatically good, regardless of any 'temporal' harm it causes. Even if that harm is acknowledged, it's shrugged away as a 'necessary evil,' because obedience to godly command is touted as the foremost duty, and disobedience the foremost evil.
I'm not going to go so far as to say that that's a perversion of Christianity. Frankly, if you can find a way to claim that Christ endorses and directly inspires your view, then yeah: you're a Christian, just as much as is someone whose equally Christian view of morals and such lead to a stance which, though arrived at by a different route, pretty-much aligns with my non-religiously engendered view. All Christian views are equally Christian; they are not equally moral.
I will say though that using the Bible as the author of this book does, to justify slavery or any other immoral (i.e. unneedfully and avoidably harmful) practice now, merely because it was practiced then, when the Bible was written, is a perversion of what the Bible should, by now, be. It's a historical document, charting the beliefs, customs, and moral, political and religious arguments and mythology of the people of a minor iron age kingdom in the middle east. There may indeed be lessons, like the simple tale of a good person doing a kind act because it is the morally right thing to do, to be learned from it. But to claim that it is not merely a guide but a book of instructions from which we must not deviate, even if that means we should cast aside the thousands of years of thought and experience we've since accrued; that is a perversion of common sense.
Oh heavens to Betsy, I believe I just wrote a sermon. If I start to sound like Allain de Botton, will someone please take me out back and give me a bloomin' good kicking?
And, having finished on something of a joke, I now leave you to the next three chapters of that horrible book; which are decidedly not funny at all.
The Subject of the amalgamation of the white and negro races examined; which event, by some men, seems to be greatly desired—The voice of God, in nature, against it—Horrid results, were the amalgamation of the races to become universal—Lowering of the present standard of the powers of the human mind—Changes in the physical formation of the human body, as extant in the nations of white men, in their approximation to the form of the ourang-outang, through the influence of negro amalgamation—Deterioration of the mental image of God, as given to the keeping of the white race—Negroes’ brains found to be less in weight and measure than the white man’s—Dodging of abolitionists on this question—Anticipations of some men that amalgamation will finally become universal, so as to put down slavery in this way—Slavery among the African negroes before they knew white men—Stealing each other—Murdering of children among them—Many facts respecting the near approach of various negro tribes to the form of the ourang-outang—Indifference to pain, when under surgical operations—Corresponding insensibility of the mind, with respect to the moral feelings of the heart, as well as to the sufferings of others—Cruelty to the aged and the sick—Pretended obsequiousness of some abolitionists to negroes, with a view, as they say, to their exaltation—Natural enmity between negroes and white men.
HAVING, in the preceding section, treated on the mental inequality of the negro man, compared with white men, we shall now pass to the subject of amalgamating the two races, a thing which, in the minds of some persons, is greatly to be desired, as in that way a universal equality would be made out.
That the amalgamation of the two colors, black and white, were not designed by the Creator, is evident from the very existence of those two complexions. Had God been pleased to view the whole human race as possessing but one hue of complexion, he never would have produced more than that one, whether it might have been black, white, or red, or any other color, as green or blue. But if it is said that the amalgamation of the races would be proper, and not displeasing to the Supreme Being, then it will follow that he is not displeased with the overturn, subversion, and adulteration of the works of his own hands or power, and the ruin of first principles implanted in the forms and colors of things created.
That there should be in nature distinctions of this character is essential to order, to beauty, and classification. Without this trait of the Divine operations, all nature would be but one universal blot, a vast compound of sameness. The earth would have no charms. There would be no distinction of color between land and water. The green grass of the meadows and mountains, the leaves and flowers of all forests, the tints and hues of all minerals, the colors of various animals, as well as of the human race, would become blended and confused in one great chaotic mass, so far as colors are concerned, in the existence of things. Had not God, therefore, have seen that all beings of animal natures, and all substances which make out the multitudinous amount of earth’s productions and inhabitants, should be distinguished for the sake of order, identification, and beauty, by a countless train of tints, hues, and colors, it would not have been thus produced.
It is, therefore, from this view, at once evident, that as God did make the two complexions of black and white originally, which characterize two races of men, that it is, therefore, no less a sin than sacrilege to amalgamate them, thereby destroying God’s work, and supplying the ruin with adulterations. But when it is considered that there are connected with those two complexions, two races of men differing as much in their mental faculties as they do in color and formation, and that these mental faculties, colors and formations, depend, for their continuance, upon the preservation of their respective attributes in those particulars, it furnishes a mighty reason why the whites and blacks should not mingle races, and thereby sin against God in the mutilation of the original order.
If by amalgamating the two races, the native intellectuality of the whites becomes deteriorated, the reason why so monstrous an innovation on the rights of God should not be committed, is still more glaring. Is it wise, for the sake of elevating the negro race, to make so great a sacrifice as the destruction of the white man from the earth? If so, let them amalgamate, the road is open and broad. Against such a course, on the part of the African, we have heard of no objections, and but little from abolitionists.
Were the races universally, by amalgamation, to mingle, the effect would be the destruction to both colors, the black and white, and a new one, which God never created, take the place of the others, and this would be a dingy yellow, called the Mulatto. The present heaven-approved form and complexion of the white race would be handed to posterity, through the dark medium of negro blood, stained, obscured and confused. Their complexion would be but half white, the covering of their heads neither wool nor hair, their noses flattened and made wider, their mouths vastly extended, the temples narrowed and sunken, the forehead lowered and slanted backward, the contour of the head elongated, monkey like, the eyes eclipsed of intelligence and made glossy like the eyes of animals, the under jaw protruded, the teeth set laterally, the waist narrowed, the chest widened, the posteriors pointed and lifted up, the foot enlarged and made spongy on the outer sides, the heel set backward, the calf of the leg taken away, the shin bone made convex, the skull thickened, the lips pouted forward, the cheek bones lifted up, and the whole external of the progeny become changed, and merged in Egyptian darkness. But the above changes are not all the horrors which amalgamation produces; as the passions and mental faculties become remodeled and changed to other characters, as presented in the mulatto race of negroes.
There is an increased disposition to untameable and unrestrained lewdness, to treachery, to insensibility of feeling, to a want of high and manly sentiment. There is seen in this character, as in the real black, a proneness to loud and senseless laughter, an extraordinary desire to whistle and sing, especially when in circumstances of labor and servitude. The fancies of the mind undergo a change also, in relation to colors, as the negro’s eye is powerfully attracted by the red and yellow, in the decorations of their bodies. The powers of appetite are also increased so that several kinds of food, abhorrent to a white man’s palate, comes not amiss, as is seen among the wild people of Africa, whether black, brown or yellow. The feeling of love for children, in the light of a desire of their mental improvement, as is manifested by the white race, in a great measure, ceases to exist, and in its place springs up a happy indifference on this important matter. All this, and much more than we have words to express, as seen in the whole negro character, would be the fearful result of lowering the standard of the human mind, as now possessed by the whites, by amalgamating the blood of the races. That such would be the consequence is as sure as is cause and effect; for it is a physiological fact, that the brain of all negroes is less in size and weight than the brain of white men by more than one-eighth. This is known by actual examinations of the heads of the two races.—See Bingham on the Brain, p. 21.
In connection with this appalling truth, it is found also that the arms of the negro race are longer than the arms of the whites, holding a midway relation between white men and monkeys in this particular. This was found to be so by Dr, White, who measured the arms of nearly fifty negro skeletons, and in all cases were found to have longer arms than whites of the same height of person.—See Lawrence’s Lectures on the History of Man, p. 350,
The whole character of the flesh of the negro race, as well as their nerves, seems to be of a coarser character, less fine and delicate than is the flesh and nerves of the white race. The skin of their bodies is thicker and heavier than is the whites, especially about the head. Respecting the females of the African race, it is said that their breasts grow to monstrous sizes, hanging down even below their waists.—Lawrence’s Lectures, p. 359. This would be a beautiful trait of symmetry to be added to the female portion of the whites, were the amalgamation of the races to become universal.
It is said, by those skilled in surgical operations and dissections of the human body, that the flesh of negroes, from the outside to the bone, is of a darker color, as well as the blood, than the flesh and blood of white men. And why should not this be so, as the character, or animal, if we may so speak, is wholly a different creature from the white human animal? In relation to the lower orders of animals, is it not true that there is a great difference in the texture and nature of their flesh in many particulars? This is known to the most unobserving, and why should it be wondered at, when we assert that the same rule or circumstance exists between white men and negroes, and quite as much as their looks indicate?
Amalgamation with them, therefore, proposes not only the blackening of the skin, but of the blood and flesh, even to the bone, as well as the deterioration of the mental faculties of the progeny of the whites. It is stated by Herodotus, that the very semen of the African negro, in his time, was black, which is equally true at the present—or at least it is of a dark blueish tinge, of which any man may convince himself, if he is deeply desirous of physiological information. Would not such a course be a species of blasphemy, by despising the image of God, which is intellectuality, given to the keeping of the white race, more than to the blacks? To cast away, therefore, any portion of this image or likeness of God, would be a deed too horrible for contemplation.
Any mingling of the blood of the blacks with the whites, is considered by Professor Lawrence, a deterioration of the mental powers of the progeny produced. But, says one (an admirer of the negro race), it has never entered the heart of abolitionism to justify or aid in the actual amalgamation of the two races; we have only pleaded for, aided and abetted the doctrine of, the negroes’ natural and perfect equality with white men, as to their right to freedom and equality, with regard to slavery, their mental faculties and claim of political elevation in human society.
Very well, this you have done, as all the world knows. But what is the tendency of such a doctrine? Is it not the high road to amalgamation? If the negro race in Christendom, are elevated to a parallel politically with white men, will they not, therefore, with this elevation (were it to be effected), become eligible to political offices; and thus establish the principle on which the election of negro magistrates, judges, legislators and governors, with any and all the offices of the civilized world, could be effected? Let this principle of political equality become once established in relation to the blacks, would not the odium of marriages between the races be greatly lessened? Would not facilities be afforded to the negro race of mingling on equal terms with the whites, in relation to all the immunities of society? If so, then would there not be removed out of the way, in the estimation of millions, one great obstacle to amalgamation by marriages between the races? What propriety, therefore, is there in the pretense of some abolitionists, that they by no means plead for amalgamation, while they approve of principles and acts, which have for their certain result, the amalgamation of black and white, in one great and common community.
But as dreadful as is the contemplation of such a state of human society, there are thousands in the United States, who, in the fierceness of their zeal, for the negroes’ mere liberty, would happily forego the loss of half their mental powers, and their white complexion to boot, if they could but bring about this famous equality, and thus make an end of slavery.
In various conversations which the writer has had with violent abolitionists, we have inquired of them, whether, in order to carry out their belief of the negroes’ absolute equality with white men, they were willing that a son or a daughter of theirs, should be united with them in marriage? To this question, we could seldom receive a direct answer, either yes or no, but were generally met by equivocation, as follows: “Pray, sir, is there any law, human or divine, against such marriages?”
Here we would urge all the dissimilarities of the two races, in their faculties, passions, appetites, formation, color, looks, and smell, again repeating the question—would you be willing that a son or a daughter of yours should marry a negro?—but receiving almost always the same shuffling reply. By this course of theirs, we became, as often as conversation of the kind occurred, convinced that these very persons abhorred the unnatural connection; and yet they would not yield the point, for fear of being compelled to acknowledge their real belief in the fact of their absolute inferiority. Yes, we have often heard abolitionists remark, that the time will come, when all mankind will be of one color, and that will be the yellow or brown, as that the good work of amalgamation of negroes and white men, was going rapidly on in the world; and this they said with a kind of joyful anticipation, as if by that means, negro slavery would at last be abolished in the world. Thus it is evident, that when a man, or party of men, become firmly seated on a hobby horse, its speed is never known to slack, till the ruin of horse and rider is effected. But although abolitionists affect to deny that they are favorable to an amalgamation of the whites and blacks, this is contradicted in the speech of Wendell Phillips, in the great London Abolition Convention, as follows: “When he went to America, and told them that he had seen the white man and black man walk arm in arm, he should not be believed. He wished to have it recorded by the British press, that the colored man was to be received in the same manner as the white.”—Pennsylvania Freeman, August 6, 1840, No. 204.
The doctrine is also approved of by Dr. Browning, who was a member of the London Abolition Convention; see his speech in the “Pennsylvania Freeman,” August 6, 1840, No. 204, as follows: “There was one circumstance (he said) connected with the East (meaning the Mohammedan countries), that was peculiarly interesting, and that was, that there they knew of no distinction of color; they had no nobility of skin. White men, of the highest rank, married black women, and black men frequently occupied the highest social and official situations.”
Oh, how happy a thing it would be, in the estimation of this man, would the Americans only pattern after the Mohammedan, in this thing, and thus confound the two colors, black and white, and sin against God, who made the difference, not to be mingled, but to be forever separate.
But as to the abolishment of negro slavery on such grounds as that, it can never be accomplished; for the history of the negro nations, from the earliest ages down to the present time, furnishes abundant proof that they have enslaved their own race as much, and far more cruelly, than either of the other races, the red man or the white.
To prove this, we adduce the following on that point: STRABO, an ancient historian, says that the Egyptians worked the machinery by which the waters of the Nile were elevated, in time of drought, to irrigate their lands, by slaves instead of oxen. To each of such machines, there were attached one hundred and fifty slaves of their own color.—Rollin, vol. i, p. 133.
The Carthagenians, a negro people in Africa, who at first were a colony from Phœnicia, or old Canaan, had vast hordes of slaves of their own color, whom they not only compelled to do their labor, but also, in great numbers, sacrificed them annually to their gods as burnt offerings.—Rollin, vol. i, p. 223. HANNO, an opulent citizen of Carthage, though a black man himself, had twenty thousand slaves, by which means, at one time, he attempted to usurp the government of his country, but was killed in the attempt. Rollin, vol. i, p. 266.
But, in later times, we find, among the negro tribes of Africa, the same practice. Damberger, the German traveler, in Africa, says, vol. ii, pages 151 and 152, that the kings or great chiefs of the tribe called Ba-ha-ras, who lived on the river Gambia, or Niger, had his subjects in such a condition of vassalage, that he sold them as slaves, whenever he would, not only victims taken in war, but of his own tribe and countrymen.
Another nation he passed through, called Haouffas, who always sold their children, when young, to other tribes, in order to avoid the trouble of taking care of them in their infancy, and then supplied their place by stealing such as were grown larger, to prevent their own tribe from running out.—Damberger, vol. ii, p. 158. The king of the same tribe above named, practiced selling all his wives for slaves, at such times as he became weary of their company, obtaining new ones from among his own subjects, whether already the wives of other men or not.
One tribe he found, who killed all their female children, but saved the males, stealing their wives from other tribes, or taking them in battle. This tribe were called Kan-torrians, and inhabited a tract of country on the river Tumba, north of the Caffrees or Hottentot region.—Damberger, vol. i, p. 150. This author further states, vol. i, p. 173, in a note, that all the tribes he fell in with, except the Caffrees, dealt in slaves among themselves.
These slaves they acquired in their wars, not instigated by white men, but by themselves, as they are seldom at peace with each other, and have not been in all past ages. Professor Russell says, p. 44, of his work, that one of the chiefs of lower Nubia, living at a place called Derr, had an army of three thousand natives, all slaves, procured from the slave dealers of Dongola, a tribe dwelling further in the interior than the Nubians, above named. With these, this tiger-man ravaged and plundered distant tribes, killing and capturing all who came in his way. Derr, his place of residence, was considered the capital of lower Nubia, consisting, as to its architecture, of vast numbers of mud huts, in which dwelt the slaves of this horrible negro king, rolling naked in mud when it rained, and in dust, ashes, and creeping things, when it was dry. M. CAILBE, in 1824, made a hazardous journey to the famous negro city, Timbucto, quite in the central part of Africa, who says that the people are negroes of the Kissour tribe, and that their chiefs have all their work done by slaves, who are compelled to live separate from their masters, though they are all of one color, and one kind of people. This famous city is also but a straggling, disorderly mass of mud huts and dried grass, filled to overflowing with wretched, naked men and women.—Family Magazine, pages 82 and 83.
Why naked roam, thou negro man, in Afric’s horrid wild,
O’er mountains high, and valleys deep, like a poor homeless child?
The beasts that dwell amid the woods, are happier far than you—
For they have coats of fur and hair, to guard from rain and dew.
Your soil gives forth the native flax, and other means of dress—
Why roam, like troops of monkeys wild, o’er all the wilderness?
Is not your land both deep and rich, to yield each year anew
The annual crop, would you but plant, as other nations do?
Why dwell in huts of grass and mud, and caves, and hollow trees,
Drench’d by the rains in summer times, and in the winter freeze?
Is there not stone and rock, and forests deep and green,
From which good houses you might build, your naked limbs to screen?
Your mountains give the min’ral beds of iron and steel their birth,
Of which the plow and axe are made, to cultivate the earth.
The diamond sparkles on your hills, their depths yield golden ore,
By which mankind enrich themselves, and generate all power.
Why roam, therefore, thou negro man, like beasts of blood and prey,
Naked and starv’d, no house or home, like a lost child astray?
Ah, mighty white man, ask thou this—poor negro have no trade;
He sees no flax, no stone, or tree, from which such things are made!
He does not know that gold and trade, with labor infinite,
Has brush’d away from nature’s face the gloom of ancient night.
His pate is thick, his brain is small, deep buried up in wool—
He does not know, as white men do, but lives and dies a fool.
Oh, white man, take us from ourselves, our huts, our holes, our caves!
Oh, feed and clothe us, teach us too, and we will be your slaves!
For thus it was from earliest time, as we have heard decreed,
That Ham should serve all other men, and never can be freed.
Gen. ix, 25; Joshua ix, 23.
There was a missionary, who recently lived in West Africa, at a place called Monrovia, namely, Dr. Goheen, who has published to the world, in a paper entitled Liberator, that slavery in the United States, in its worst form, even under the lash, is not as bad as slavery is in Africa. He says, it is a well known truth, that nine–tenths of the population are in a state of personal slavery. The females are sold at an early age, to be, as soon as grown up, beasts of burden, or wives, as their negro owners may require. The kings and chiefs of that country, he says, drive their own people in droves to the sea, where they sell their own blood and color by thousands, to whosoever will buy them. Thus it has always been in Africa, ages before the European white man knew any thing about the slave trade. Even the famous, and partially civilized, Carthagenians used to obtain vast numbers of slaves from a region of country in Africa, inhabited by a people called Goromantes, a powerful tribe of the interior, who made it their chief business to catch the people of their own color, to sell to the Carthagenians.—Hern’s Researches in Africa, vol. ii, p. 231. . This was done ages before the era of Christianity, and, of necessity, could not have been instigated by European white men.
CRAWFORD, in his Indian Archipelago, vol. i, pages 18–20, states, that there are, in those islands, two races of blacks. One of those races is not as black as the other, and have straight or long hair, while the other race is of a jet black, with woolly heads. The straight haired race, he says, hold the woolly heads in the utmost contempt, making slaves of them wherever they can be caught. The woolly heads are constantly found in a savage and more wild condition than the other race, making no improvements, but cleaving entirely to a state of nature, going naked, and living wholly on the produce of the wilderness. Thus it is made clear, in the above facts, that though all mankind were tinged by the negro blood, as some abolitionists desire, yet would not slavery be abolished, as the negro man has ever been found as ready to enslave his own race as are the other nations of the earth, no matter whether in a civilized or a barbarous state. This is the people—the woolly heads of Africa, the most degraded of the human race, who are even thus esteemed by the brown kind of negroes, having straight hair, in the same countries—that abolitionists desire to elevate, politically, to an equality with white men, and, of necessity, to become amalgamated with them, by fellowship in marriages, and the other immunities of white society. The negro race do not, and never were possessed of the common sympathies of human nature for their fellows in trouble, but treat such circumstances as a thing of no account. It is a well known fact, that when a slave is punished for a misdemeanor, and cries out under the operation, it excites laughter among them, instead of tears. They are not a race of people of sufficient sympathies or feeling to care much about their own sufferings, or their condition of slavery, as a great whole, beyond their own individual being, and, in millions of cases, not even then—thinking nothing of the odium of being a slave, so long as comfort and protection is in their individual possession. Was not this trait of their character exemplified in the two slaves of the Hon. Henry Clay, when on a trip to Canada, some few years since? While there, the two slaves were told by the people, that, as they were on English ground, they were free, and were urged with great vehemence to avail themselves of the happy circumstance in their favor, but to no purpose. The blacks replied, that they loved their master, and would not leave him, and actually returned with him to the south, and to their condition of servitude again. Many such instances have taken place.
This principle of indifference to the happiness of their fellows, is shown, not only in the history of the cruelties practiced in Africa, by the chiefs, upon the slaves, but also by the cruelties of the southern slaves toward each other, as manifested by the actions of the negro slave drivers. In such cases as when an owner of slaves happens to advance some more active and intelligent negro to overlook the labors of a gang, the whip is seen to be in lively exercise, as well as the tongue. This is passing strange!
In further proof of this indifference of the blacks, respecting human suffering, we quote the following from Barnabas Shaw’s Memorials of South Africa, published at the Methodist Episcopal book-room, in New-York, 1841. This author states, page 37, that the Namacqua negroes always leave their aged parents and the sick to fall a prey to the wild beasts, or to die of hunger, whenever they remove from one habitation to another. This tribe is a branch of the Hottentot family, who are descended, as is believed, from the ancient Egyptians. The bushman negroes are guilty of dreadful acts of cruelty toward each other, when in a helpless condition. They have no feelings, says Mr. Shaw, pages 42, 43, 56, toward babes, the sick, or their own aged parents, making even a boast of it. They will kill their children on the most trifling occasion, if not shaped to suit them. If pursued by an enemy, they will kill the aged: or if very hungry, they will eat human flesh. The Caffree negroes of that country, he says, page 53, carry their sick into the woods to die alone, or to be devoured by serpents, wild beasts, or cast into some pit or hole, unheeded and forsaken. MOTHERS, one would think, would love and protect their babes, as even this virtue is found instinctively possessed even by dumb beasts; and yet we are told by Mr. Shaw, in his work, p. 56, that a woman of the Bechuan tribe, offered to sell her child to him for some glass beads, who said that she loved her child, but that she loved beads far better. On the least occasion, says Mr. Shaw, page 58, they will kill their wives as they would a troublesome dog.
Insensibility to pain, remarks this author, p. 61, is one of the negro faculties; as they seem not to feel when even cut to pieces, nor do they care for their fellows when seen in the greatest distress.
With a view to all these things, and many more disgusting particulars, which the reader’s discernment will not fail to suggest, how is it possible that any white man on the face of the earth can be found, who in his heart is willing to have the races become one by amalgamation? To the writer, such a desire seems to be a kind of monstrosity, a hideous nightmare, a frightful incubus, chattering and grinning on the bosom of the soul, driven on, and on, as by a devil in mockery, for the crime of believing in, and desiring the union of, white blood with black.
There are not wanting under this baleful influence, cases in the land, even among the refined and opulent, who have lent and are lending their influence to the ultra objects of abolitionism; and also, who have bowed down themselves in the sight of the Heavens and the earth, to the very dust, in compliance to negroes, desiring thereby to have it believed that they do most heartily espouse the notion of the black men’s intellectual equality with themselves. And then, with effrontery enough to look a tiger out of countenance, have braved the common and popular indignation, forming a mighty contrast between their apparent humility and lowly deference of the negro, and their dauntless impudence toward those who cannot, for the sake of the image of God, subscribe to this blasphemy against nature.
We are acquainted with occurrences of this description, when a negro man has been petted, caressed, and almost seemingly adored, by proud, scornful and aristocratic white men, who, taking the negro by the arm with affected politeness and attention, have led and escorted the black to the best seat in a superb carriage, and from thence in pomp and array, to a place of public entertainment. Yes, we have understood, that, in the city of New York, there was a certain opulent gentleman, who, under the frightful influence of the negro abolition mania, went so far with the horrible phrenzy, as to force negroes upon the notice and attention of his daughters, in his own house, and thus insult his own blood, and that of the whole white part of creation.
Can such doings be sincere? We have no confidence in the sincerity of such professions. The very pretenders feel appalled at heart, and loathe the unnatural approximation; yes, the very negroes themselves know better, and laugh at the hypocrisy and nonsense of the whole farago; but, nevertheless, they are willing to be petted, as long as the conspirators against the order of God in the creation may be under the influence of this extraordinary political spasm, which will endure just as long and no longer, than when their political object is attained or lost.
If, indeed, the negro race are worthy the attention bestowed upon them at the present time, how is it that they do not put forth the arm of mental power, and convince mankind that their abolition friends are worthily bestowing their energies for their benefit? How is it that the people and government of San Domingo, who are now free and politically independent, have never petitioned the different governments of Christendom, who have slaves, for the elevation of their race by education? How is it that they, who were able to massacre their masters, and to plunder their houses, ravish their wives and daughters, and to riot till glutted in rapine and plunder, have not poured out their eloquence on the ear of mankind, arising out of the rich fund of their mental powers, and wrought upon their sympathies, deluged the world with arguments, heaped up like mountains in favor of the negro race—thus putting the nations and countries to the blush at the thought of enslaving a people so high minded and patriotic, so noble and pure in principle, a race possessed of the sweetest and liveliest moral powers and feeling, each man of them longing and desiring the improvement of his people more, far more, than his own individual happiness? But this they have not done, and we have doubts whether they even care much about it, in the patriotic sense of the word. Nay, the very papers which are published in America for their especial advancement, are, in a great measure, if not wholly, got up and supported by white men. How is this? If they are a race of oppressed human beings, who are worthy of a better fate, and are grieving and struggling to rise to common equality, how is it that the whole labor of the attempt is exerted by another race of people than themselves?
Were the negro population of the southern states of the Union elevated to political equality with white men, and the doctrine of amalgamation allowed, which would be the certain consequence of such equality, would such a change in their favor secure contentment? Our answer is, no, it would not, except they could have the exclusive rule. In their very being the God of nature has raised up a barrier between the two races, which cannot be passed without incurring consequences of the most revolting character.
To set the negroes free in all America, and to bestow upon them political equality, while, at the same time amalgamation should be penally resisted by death or perpetual imprisonment to both parties, there would arise out of such a state of the case all the horrors of hatred and confusion, violence and assassinations, that can be conceived of. There is a natural dislike of the races toward each other, on which account, were the negroes made politically free, without the privilege of intermarrying with the whites, there would soon arise quarrels and discontent; as the possession of mere political liberty, without all the other immunities of white society, would not and could not satisfy them. Nothing short of the most intense attention could prevent jealousies on their part; nor even this, as the knowledge of their own inferiority would always promote that passion, even where, on the part of the white man, there should be no intention to grieve or to give causes of discontent. The races are two kinds of men, constituted entirely different, in both body and soul; on which account there can be no union or fellowship between the two, on the ground of common equality, except by amalgamation; which would be, were such a thing to come to pass, a universal retrograde from the moral image of God toward the condition of brutes; inasmuch as that the intellectuality of the white race would be destroyed from off the earth, and merged in the thick skulls of the negroes.
There has been, from the earliest time, a decided dislike existing between the two races, so much so, that the fact has not escaped the notice of the ancient historian. Between the Romans and Carthagenians there was eternal hatred and war; and it is the same at the present time in feeling every where, as the negro knows his own inferiority, and therefore hates, in his heart, the white man, because of the difference, and wishes to have the upper hand.
There is but one way to settle this great difficulty between the races, which is, to make the whole family of man, of but one color, as it was at first, and of but one general character, as to intellect. But thus God has not seen fit to do, in relation to this matter; he, therefore, who goes about to mix and confound that which God has set apart by an indellible mark, is a disorganizer and is worthy of transportation from this earth to some place without the pale of the universe, where he could cogitate alone the beauties of negro amalgamation with the blood of white men.
As when a black’ning cloud obscures the light,
And turns the beauteous day half way to night—
Or as some devil’s hand on ruin set,
Should dip all flowers in a dye of jet:
‘Twould be like him who pleads, oh, foul disgrace,
To stain with negro blood the white man’s face!
And worse than this, more drear, more hell-refined,
He’d sink in darkness deep the moral mind—
And say all bloods are equal, all, all one state,
And thus would mingle that which God did separate.
Would with Japhet’s blessing of the great “I am,”
Imbue, confound and mix, the curse of Ham.
Inquiries whether the statements of Noah, respecting the race of Japheth, or the white nations, enslaving the descendants of Ham, have been fulfilled, and are now in progress to that effect—Number of the sons of Japheth—Their great power—Countries they settled at first—Nations now known of that progeny—First cities built by them, which was earlier than any of the others—Description of the first operations of men near Ararat, during Noah’s life-time after the flood—Respecting Melchisedek, who he was, which is in connection with the subject—Travels of Shem among the first settlements—Worship of Baal, or the fly god, now among the Africans—Nimrod and the wild beasts, with a plate—Shem, the son of Noah, was Melchisedek—SEYONS, the first city of mankind after the flood, built by the whites—First instances on a great scale of white men enslaving the race of Ham in ancient times, and respecting its continuance—Certainty of the fulfillment of God’s decrees, and the veracity of the Scriptures—Strictures on the opinions of abolitionists—Their opposition to the Bible if it upholds slavery—Views of St. Paul respecting negro slavery, as set forth in the New Testament—Vast Numbers of slaves in the Roman empire in St. Paul’s time—Their dreadful condition—Curious opinion of abolitionists, as a reason why Christ did not reprove slavery—Nimrod and the tower, with other matters.
HAVING in the previous and last section, treated on some of the horrors of amalgamating the white and black races, we come now to inquire whether the prophecy of Noah, commonly called the curse of Noah, upon Ham and his progeny, has been fulfilled, in relation to the part Japheth and his race were to perform toward enslaving them, as well as the part Shem and his progeny were to accomplish, in fulfilment of the same thing. That such an event was to take place, is as certainly specified in that decree, as that the race of Shem should in part fulfill it, as is seen they did, during the whole history of the Hebrew race, and are now fulfilling it, in all parts of the earth, where the descendants of Shem and Ham are found. It should be recollected that Japheth’s race had nothing to do in the conquest of the great negro country called Canaan, Phœnicia, Palestine, or the Holy Land. Those wars were carried on wholly by the Jews, continuing from the days of Moses, to the time Judea became a part of the Roman empire, but a little while before Christ.
During all these ages, the progeny of Japheth were peopling the regions of the north around the Caspian and Black Seas, Georgia, Circassia, Astracan, Tartaly, &c., north, and west and northwest, now called the countries of Europe: as Turkey, Austria, Prussia, Russia, France, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Germany, and the islands of the north Atlantic; the Divine Providence reserving the later ages, for the fulfillment of that part of his decree, which was to be performed by Japheth toward the race of Ham.
JAPHETH, the great ancestor of all the white nations of the earth, was the father of seven sons, whose names, according to 1 Chron., 1st chap., and Josephus’s Antiquities of the Jews, were Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshech and Tiras; all of whom had also many sons, who, branching off in their several posterities in the regions above named, became the heads of a multitude of nations of white men, and, in the course of time, of multitudes of languages. Moses gives the same account as above, Gen. x., from the 1st to the 5th verse inclusive, and adds, that by these the descendants of Japheth “were the isles of the Gentiles (or Japhethites), divided in their lands, every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations.”
From GOMER, the first son, came the ancient Gomerites or Galatians, to whom St. Paul wrote two of his epistles, a people dwelling far north of Judea, about the Euxine Sea, on the very eastern borders of Europe.
From MAGOG, the second son, came the Magogites, whom the Greeks in their histories of the nations coeval with themselves, call Scythians or leather dressers, whose region of country was along the borders of Tartary, including Bucharia, and probably Tartary itself, who were the great ancestors of many of the white nations of Europe and America.
From MADAI and JAVAN, the third and fourth sons, came the Medes and Persians, of ancient times, whose country lay between the Gulf of Persia and the Caspian Sea, as well as further east.
From TUBAL, the fifth son, came the Tubalites, Iberians or Celts, ancestors of several of the nations of Europe also, as the French, Italians, Spanish and Portugese, and the early Greeks of the Archipelago.
From MESHECH, the sixth son, came the Capadocians, or ancient Germans and Russians, with all that variety of nations and languages.
From TIRAS, the seventh son, came the ancient Thracians, whose places of settlements were about the western and northern coasts and islands of the Mediterranean. All these nations, however, in the earliest time, and much more in succeeding ages, especially in the regions of Europe, were mingled by amalgamation, as was right and natural, being all the descendants of the same ancestor, Japheth, a son of Noah.
One of their great cities, that is of the Thracians, was the famous Troy, which, in the time of David, B. C. 1100, was in its glory, and stood inland from the Mediterranean about twelve miles north, on a rising ground, and in that age was the capital of their country. The latitude of ancient Troy, or Troja, was 40° north, and longitude 16°, more than a thousand miles east of Turkey, on the promontory of Asia Minor near where Tyre was afterward built. Here it was that Dardanus, one of the immediate descendants of Tiras, the seventh son of Japheth, the grand-son of Noah, founded the city of Troy, which at first was called Dardania, as Dardanus was its first king. Afterward it was called Troja, or Troy, from Tros, the grand-son of Dardanus. After this it was called Ilium, from Ilus, the son of Tros.
This region was among the earliest settlements of the sons of Japheth, and especially of that branch who were the ancestors of the ancient Greeks, who had migrated westward from the sources of the Euphrates, in the region of the Black Sea, where the ark rested, quite to the northern coast of the Mediterranean in the country of Italy, so called from the word Ilium, the name of ancient Troy. From this branch of the house of Japheth, by the lineage of Tiras, descended also the Latins, the progenitors of the ancient Romans, whose history is well known to the world.
Thus we see, how immense were the countries of the white race, as well as the greatness of their power. Alexander the Great was a Greek, and a white man, who conquered, as it is said, the world, and wept because there was nothing more to conquer.
By this view, we see that God carried forward, in the very first ages, the fortunes of Japheth, in that of his race, to great power, as he had said by the mouth of Noah should be accomplished; which was, that he would enlarge Japheth, until he should dwell in the tents of Shem, and hold the descendants of Ham as slaves (Gen. ix, 27, where both these events are foretold and decreed).
But, before we proceed further to show the fulfillment of Noah’s prophesy, in relation to Ham’s race being enslaved by the whites of Japheth’s progeny, and of his dwelling in the tents or countries of Shem, we shall indulge our pen in giving some probable account of Noah and Shem, after the annunciation of the decrees respecting all Noah’s sons during their lives. There can be no doubt but Noah remained where he first settled, after leaving the place of the resting of the ark, on account of his great age, and the improvements made there on his first plantation, by the aid of his sons and grandsons, before they began to leave the paternal home, for the sake of their respective families.
That Noah became a farmer, is shown by a remark of Moses, Gen. ix, 20, who there says that Noah began to be a husbandman. Here it was, not far from the eastern end of the Black Sea, in latitude 40° north, and longitude 40° east, being about three thousand miles from the island of England, in a south-easterly direction, that Noah dwelt. Were one to go from England to the south-eastern end of the Black Sea, he would pass, in following a straight line from London, through the straits of Dover, and the countries of Brussel, Germany, Austria, Turkey, and nearly the whole length of the Black Sea, before he would arrive at the region of country where Noah lived after the flood. Here it was that his children, and children’s children, even to the tenth generation, visited him during the three hundred and fifty years that he lived, after the flood; as it was at this place that an altar to the living God was erected, to which that part of his children, the descendants of Shem and Japheth, resorted, who adhered to the religion of Noah, while Ham and his race turned recreant and followed the idolatry of Nimrod.
Among the foremost of the sons of Noah, was Shem, who attained to such a height of religious purity, that he became, not only by the Divine sanction as well as by his birthright, God’s only high–priest, in those ages, consisting of five hundred years; from whose lips the primitive people received a knowledge of the true religion; who, spreading out in all directions in process of time, over the whole world, carried with them this knowledge, out of which has arisen all the various ideas of supernatural religion which now prevail over the globe, but distorted and foreign to the original truth.
We have said above, that Shem, the son of Noah, became God’s high-priest, for it was Shem who was the real Melchisedek, the righteous king of Salem, who is spoken of by Moses, Gen. xiv; by David, Psalms ex, 4, and by St. Paul, Hebrews vii, 1. This man, the son of Noah, Shem by name, and Melchisedek by appellation, was, of all men who have lived since the flood, the best qualified to instruct the people of those first ages, during the five hundred years of his life after the flood. As he was born more than a hundred years before the flood, he must have acquired a vast amount of antediluvian knowledge, as well as unbounded influence among the then young tribes and nations, of that part of the world, after the flood. He could tell them all about the institutions, arts, agriculture, commerce, science, and the extent of the antediluvian population; with every particular respecting the location of the garden of paradise, the tree of life, the tree of knowledge, the creature called the serpent; the size and stature of Adam, and of men in general; the forerunners, or supernatural signs, of the flood; the opinions of the people about it, and respecting his father’s building the ark; where the ark was built, and what course it was borne on the waters; the circumstance of Enoch’s translation; what the promise of the seed of the woman meant; his opinion of the Messiah, as well as of the power which caused the serpent to speak, and use articulate sounds, or language; and whether Adam, as Jewish tradition relates, prophesied of the ruin of the world by water first, and then by fire at last; with thousands of other amazingly interesting matters.
Shem, or Melchisedek, over-lived his father Noah one hundred and fifty years; and the patriarch Abraham, nearly fifty; and, of consequence, was acquainted with Isaac, the son of Abraham. From this man all the patriarchs, from Arphaxad down to Isaac, comprehending five hundred years, received a knowledge of the true God, and the religion of Adam, Seth, Enoch, and all the patriarchs before the flood, down to Isaac, from whom Jacob, the son of Isaac, derived the same, and transmitted it to the twelve tribes of the Jews, his sons.
Noah was acquainted, and was contemporary, with Abraham sixty-four years before he, with his father, Terah, left the country of Ur, in Chaldea, east of the Euphrates, and went to Haran, in Canaan, the country of the Hamites. He was also contemporary with all the patriarchs born between the flood and the time Abraham was sixty-four years old; which was ten generations. He was contemporary with Arphaxad, the son of Shem, and his family—with Salah, the son of Arphaxad, and his family—with Eber, the son of Salah, and his family—with Peleg, the son of Eber, and his family—with Reu, the son of Peleg, and his family—with Serug, the son of Reu, and his family—with Nahor, the son of Serug, and his family—with Terah, the son of Nahor, and his family—with Abraham, the son of Terah, and his family—before his marriage with Sarah, while Katura, the first wife of Abraham, was alive, and probably until his marriage with his last wife, Sarah. Thus Noah reached the sixty-fourth year of Abraham’s life, three hundred and fifty years after the flood.
But Shem goes on with the acquaintance of his house, Japheth’s and Ham’s, one hundred and fifty years further down the course of time, over-living Abraham, and reaching to nearly fifty years of the life of Isaac, and nearly, or quite, down to the birth of Jacob and Esau; for Isaac was married to Rebecca, ten years before the death of Shem, or Melchisedek. But, says one, could Noah and Shem visit so many thousands and tens of thousands of their progeny, in order to become acquainted with those early tribes of men, and communicate to them useful knowledge, such as we have alluded to above? The answer is, they could not, nor was there any necessity of such a thing; as there was a much easier way, and this was, that all the patriarchs of those ages, and their children, would, and no doubt did, out of love and respect to Noah, as well as out of love to the first altar raised to the worship of God, where his voice had been heard audibly, blessing Noah and his house. Gen. ix. The ark and this altar, as well as the person of Noah, would, and no doubt did, attract some out of love, and thousands out of curiosity, to visit so noted a place, and so great a man as was Melchisedek, the priest of the house of Noah, and the first races of men after the flood. On these accounts, there can be no doubt but the residence of Noah was the grand resort of all his progeny, except Ham’s, during those ages, till his death; and of caravan after caravan from every direction, consisting of camels, dromedaries, horses, asses, elephants and oxen, laden with riders, food for themselves on the way, and gifts for Noah and the altar, over which the princely Shem presided, as the high-priest of God. But Ham and his posterity rebelled against the religion of Noah and Shem, and the other patriarchs, under the rule of the terrible Nimrod, the grandson of Ham and son of Cush—Nimrod being the black king of Babel, who was the first sovereign and tyrant of the age, as well as the abettor of idolatry. On this account, it is not likely that the descendants of Ham, nor Ham himself, would visit Noah, as they remembered the curse, and their doom to servitude to be accomplished sooner or later.
In accordance with this conjecture, founded on Jewish tradition, namely, that Nimrod headed the great rebellion of his time against Noah and Shem’s religion, we relate the following: The Hottentot negroes of Africa, who, as contended by Barrows, page 281, are the descendants of the ancient Egyptians, and who (see Cook’s Voyages, page 103) refuse to worship the greatest of the gods, whom they call Goun–ya Taquoa, or the God of gods, because, as they allege, he cursed their parents for a certain very great sin. In this reason of theirs, for not worshiping that great God, is there not a direct and plain traditionary allusion to the curse of Noah, and in that curse the decree of God against Ham and the negro race, which took place in the affair of Ham’s seeing his father in his repose. That the Hottentots are descended from the negroes of Egypt and Canaan, is evident from their great veneration of a certain fly, or bug, which is of a bright gold color, and which they worship in ecstasies as a god. Baalzabub, or a certain fly, of old Canaan, was worshiped by the Canaanites, and is the same so often alluded to in the Bible.
Peculiar traits of religion, like the one just noticed are strong evidences of the lineage of a people, as religious impressions and usages are the last to be obliterated of any other human impressions. Thus it is evident, that, from the days of Nimrod, the great rebel against God and his religion, down to the Hottentots, as well as among all the negro tribes of Africa, there has been a marked opposition to the virtuous religion of Noah, more than has marked the opposition of all the other nations of the earth put together. And, as a further proof that Nimrod alone, with his house, family, and tribes, were the projectors and builders of Babel, we notice that Moses says, Gen. x, 10, that Babel, with other cities, was the beginning of his kingdom. If, then, Babel was the beginning of Nimrod’s kingdom, then, of necessity, it was not the possession nor the dwelling of either of the other sons of Noah, but that of Nimrod alone, as the text reads. According to the reading of a part of the eleventh chapter of Genesis, it would seem that all the people of the house of Noah were engaged in the project and building of Babel. But this was not so, as the scheme was for the advancement of idolatry, a scheme in which Noah and Shem could have had no hand. The confusion of the language, therefore, was confined to the people who were engaged on the tower, and to none else; the house of Noah, Shem, and Japheth, remaining, as to this matter, as they were; and even the negroes may have easily, after their dispersion, have recovered their mother tongue, as the confusion was miraculous and meant only to affect their speech for the time being, not forming thereby any new languages; which is evident from the fact that Abraham, the Hebrew, some hundreds of years after this occurrence, had no difficulty in conversing with the Egyptians, one branch of the house of Ham, at the time he and his wife went to Egypt, on account of the famine in the land of Canaan, of which we have before spoken.
This people, therefore, in the time of Nimrod, did not visit Noah, as by this means they would have been better instructed; it was, therefore, the policy of Nimrod and his coadjutors, to draw a line of separation between his people and those who adhered to the religion of Noah. The tomb of Noah is, no doubt, at the identical spot where that first altar was erected, and where his wife was also buried, not far from the foot of Mount Ararat. Nimrod, as is stated in the book of Genesis, was a leading hunter, and above all men was the most powerful, fearing no wild beast that roamed the forest. On this account, no doubt, it was that he derived his great popularity among the people of his race; as in every age, especially among semi-barbarians and savages, the gigantic and fierce have become the objects of veneration, and of deification after death. In this way, Nimrod became the first Hercules, always represented as being clothed in the shaggy skin of some monster he had slain, as well as bearing in his hand an enormous club, with which he slew all animals that came in his way—[See plate].
The reader may desire to know why we assume that Shem was the Melchisedek of the Scriptures, and the man who blessed Abraham as he came victorious from the battle with the kings who had reconquered the Sodomites. We assume it, first, because the Jewish Rabbi say that he was Shem, the son of Noah, and certainly they had the means of knowing. And, second, because no other man had a right to the priesthood of Noah’s house but Shem, as it was his by birthright, or by the gift of God, as he was the ancestor of Jesus Christ, according to the flesh.
During the five hundred years of Shem’s life, after the flood, he, no doubt, visited all the settlements which were made by his own sons, the sons of Ham, as well as those of Japheth, giving them instruction in religion, the arts, agriculture, astronomy, geometry, letters, and arithmetic; as all these were known, understood, and practiced, before the flood; and Shem was born more than a hundred years before that event. He had time to visit Mezarim in Egypt, Cush in Ethiopia and Asia, Phut in Lybia, and Canaan in old Phœnicia, or the Holy Land. He had also time to visit the earlier settlements of Japheth, who had wandered westward in Europe, as well as far north of Ararat, and to communicate to the white tribes of his brother the same great things he had to all the others.
With this view of the character of Melchisedek, or Shem, the son of Noah, it is no wonder that St. Paul, a man of immense literary acquirements, should say as he did, Hebrews vii, 4: “Now consider how great this man was, unto whom even the patriarch Abraham gave the tenth of the spoil;” calling him better than Abraham, in point of eminence; placing him above all other men on the earth, on account of his wisdom, goodness and great age—for at the time he blessed Abraham, on his return from the battle with the kings of Shinar, he was five hundred and fifty-two years old, and lived after that ninety-eight years.
No doubt, therefore, but that he often visited the city Seyons, which was built by the house of Japheth immediately after the flood, and was located north of ancient Persia, near the southern end of the Caspian Sea, in the very neighborhood of Mount Ararat; and was doubtless the great mart of trade to the first settlements of the children of Japheth, along the coasts of that sea, and the rivers which run into it. JAVAN, the same whom we have mentioned in conjunction with Madi, ancestors of the Medes and Persians, both sons of Japheth, and the founders of the city Seyons, which was built two hundred and thirty-three years before the birth of Abraham, and but fifty-nine years after the flood.—Rollin, vol. ii, page 222.
From this fact, there can be no doubt but the race of Japheth, were the builders of many other cities, towns and villages, as well as Seyons. They were the builders of ancient Troy, in Greece, and of Cyrene, in African Lybia, all great cities, and many hundred miles asunder from each other.
Here we see, that if the children of Japheth at that early period, occupied the space between the Caspian and the Black Seas, and Greece along the Mediterranean, which is now known as Turkey in Europe, how great an empire or country they were spread over, by which we perceive the hand of Providence in their greatness, preparing them to fulfill the things which were foretold by Noah they were to accomplish toward the races of Shem and Ham.
This Seyons, founded by Javan, one of the sons of Japheth, was, therefore, the first and eldest city of mankind after the flood in all probability, as it stood much nearer to Ararat, the place of Noah’s dwelling and the Ark, than did the cities of Ham, further down the Euphrates, in the country of Shinar, Babel and Babylon. It appears that white men, the descendants of Japheth, actually, in the very first ages, found their way into the heart of Africa, as a colony, and built the city of Cyrene, the capital of negro Lybia.—Watson’s Historical Dictionary, p. 584. This was a Grecian colony. If, then, the Lybian negroes were indebted to white men for the origin of their capital city in those early times, how much may not the ancient Egyptians have been also indebted from the same source?
Thus we are prepared to notice the first instance, on the page of history, of the beginning of the accomplishment of the prophecy of Noah, respecting the rule and predominance of Japheth over the races of Shem and Ham. This began to take place, as noticed on the page of history, on a great scale, not till about twelve hundred years after the curse of Noah, and about the same length of time B. C.. This we derive from Herodotus, chapter ii, p. 254, who says that the Greeks in the time of Troy, full twelve hundred years before the time of Christ, had black slaves. Then after this, it is seen that they were greatly enslaved by the Greeks, in the times of Philip of Macedon and his son, Alexander the Great.
The countries Alexander subjected to his arms, was the old Assyrian empire, who were of the race of Shem, settled along the Euphrates, sometimes called Chaldea. He went quite to Jerusalem, south, and even to Egypt. He also made war upon, and reduced to personal slavery, in the literal sense of the word, such of the Canaanites, as had, after the times of David and Solomon, taken root again in old Palestine or the Holy Land. In this country he destroyed the city of Tyre, one of the eldest cities of ancient Phœnicia, in the country of Canaan, which neither David nor Solomon molested, on account of Hiram, its king, and sold the people, both high and low for slaves.
At that time, the Jews bought thousands of the negroes of Tyre, and sold them again to the Sabeans, a people of Arabia, as was foretold should take place by the prophet Joel. This people, the old Canaanites or citizens of Tyre, and its country, after being thus entirely broken up and sold as slaves, multiplied greatly in the Grecian countries, as they do always in all countries in a state of servitude, but were everywhere held as slaves by the white men of those times, being bought and sold the same as they are now in the southern States.
But this was not all; for the Romans, who were also the descendants of Japheth, as well as all the Grecian tribes and nations, bought and sold negroes, even down to the time of the apostles, and for many ages after, by thousands and millions. And when the Romans were swallowed up by the northern nations, the same as the Romans had done to the Greeks and other countries, those same northern hordes, who were the descendants of Japheth, continued the practice of enslaving black men, all these revolutions of countries, states, empires and kingdoms, making no difference in this particular, with the doomed race. Such as the Greeks did not conquer and enslave, the Romans did; for it was they, in the victories of Scipio, who destroyed the vast empire of butchering Carthage in Africa, a colony at first, from the land of negro Canaan, who, under Dido, a female, about the time of Ahab, some seven hundred years B. C., pitched their tents on the African side of the Mediterranean.
Of the millions of this confused empire, hundreds of thousands were sold, the descendants of whom were held in perpetual bondage, as personal slaves, during the existence of the Roman government. And after that event, the fall of the Roman empire by the sword of the northern nations, who were also the descendants of Japheth, except the Huns, the negroes of Carthage, as well as all the race, who had been enslaved by Greek or Roman, still, in their posterity, remained slaves among the mingled tribes, revolutions, convulsions and the overturn of empires, making no difference with their fate.
After this the Turks, who are the descendants of Japheth, conquered all the regions of the east, included in Asia Minor, as Judea, and the rest of old Canaan, Persia, Syria, Armenia, &c.; so that the negro race, who yet remained in their ancient country, were still further reduced to personal slavery till none were left free,—Newton on the Prophecies, page 18. But the subject of the fulfillment of Noah’s prophecy, or the decree of God, respecting the slavery of the race of Ham by Japheth, or the white race, stops not here; for all the nations of Europe and Asia Minor, from the days of Alexander the Great, more or less, have sought after the negro for a slave, even in their native haunts, in Africa and the islands.
America, too, has done this in both hemispheres, ever since its discovery by Columbus, so that the race of Japheth, though dwelling on the utmost bounds of the earth, and divided by seas and oceans, have, under the direction of the providence of the God who decreed the negroes’ enslavement by the whites of Japheth’s race, fulfilled that decree. Thus we see that no decree of God falls to the ground, and never will, as we have said at the beginning of the section, though God had reserved the latter ages of the earth to carry it into effect. That this is so, let no man glory or rejoice, lest he be found glorying in the judgments of the Creator, which, as saith the Scripture, are his strange work, and thus seem to take upon himself the awful responsibilities of awarding to nations and individuals judgments which are above us.
Let him, therefore, who shall enslave any of the negro race, do it with reverence, as it was God who has made the white man to differ from the black, and appointed the destinies, as well as the bounds of our habitations, and permitted, in the latter ages of the earth, the children of Japheth to enslave the people of Ham, as well as he did the descendants of Shem in the first ages, both cases being necessary to the veracity of the Scriptures on that identical subject. What society of men, or combination of individuals, therefore, can turn aside or abolish the steady and determined course of God’s will? For we have every where held in this work, that the subjugation of the race to servitude was judicial, and not fortuitous, but was secured in the very formation of their bodies, brains, mental powers, moral character of their passions and color of their skin, as well as by a written decree, and will be judged at the last day according to what they have received, and not according to that which they have not received. But notwithstanding the absolute importance that all the prophecies of Scripture should be fulfilled, one as much as another, yet abolitionists, in their furious zeal for the cause of the negro race, make very light of the curse of Noah, in the particular of the negro’s destiny, and of that part of the law of Moses, which relates to the same thing, treating them as of very uncertain application, as well as of very little force at the present time, merely on account of their very great antiquity.
To prove that this is true respecting them, as we suppose them to be unanimous in their published opinions on the subject, we shall quote a few remarks from one of their news prints, entitled, “The Friend of Man,” published at Utica, Jan. 15, 1839, under the head—“The Facts of Slavery as they Are,” as follows: “Remember (says the writer), we are now inquiring after facts, not theories: the facts of our own age and nation, not those of a dim antiquity, or of a distant region. We bring into the court (meaning before the public) the facts belonging to this trial, not the facts of a cause that was tried, and decided and awarded, two or three thousand years ago.” From the above quotation of abolitionist effusions, is it not certain that the writer of the above remarks, in order to turn aside the force of the Bible, on the subject of negro slavery therein recognized, has aimed a deadly shaft from the quiver of his reckless imagination, at the sacred and venerated institutions of Moses, by the insidious words “two or three thousand years ago;” and another at the decree of God, set forth by Noah, in the phrase “dim antiquity.” The whole of the article, as above, was intended as a slur upon such as resort to the Scripture to prove that the servitude of the negro race is therein allowed and justified.
To the perception of the writer of this work, the author of the “dim antiquity” idea might as well have written, that “although Noah did pronounce the will and decree of God, in placing the race of his son Ham under the ban of servitude to the races of both his other sons, Shem and Japheth, that it is now, in these enlightened times, entirely antiquated; as that was but a transaction of ‘dim antiquity.'” Suppose we were to apply this mode of comment to some other subjects of Scripture—say, for instance, to the promise of the Messiah, made to Eve at the time when she had fallen from her innocence, by tampering with the devil in the disguise of a serpent, Gen. iii, 15, called, in that place, the seed of the woman, which is the first and eldest promise, as well as prophecy, relative to that character, which is found in the Bible, and should say respecting it—Oh, it is too far back in time to be allowed any influence now-a-days, as it is but a saying of “dim antiquity” and cannot, therefore, apply to these times of facts, superior knowledge and light! And were we to apply this method of comment to the ten commandments of the decalogue, which are of the same date with the grant of Moses (Levit. xxv) to the Hebrews, to buy and enslave the negroes of Canaan, and should insinuate that they, too, are but some words spoken two or three thousand years ago, and on that account had lost their obligatory force, we should be ranked with those who can abuse and pervert the Scriptures to suit the times and purposes of wicked and foolish men.
YES, so hardened, bold and impudent have many of the members of that fearful combination, the abolition society grown, that they disallow that the Holy Ghost inspired Noah at all, at the time he pronounced the doom of slavery upon the race of Ham, because they say it is preposterous to believe that God would commune with such a man as Noah, when he had but just awaked from a sleep of drunken inebriation. But the reader will remember our vindication of Noah’s character on that occasion, in a former page, and should never forget, that, notwithstanding this slander of abolitionists upon that holy man, for whose righteousness the ark was commanded to be built, and mankind preserved in it, the Almighty has seen fit to fulfill and carry out, in facts, every iota of that decree as then announced, not only as it relates to Ham and his people but also to Shem and Japheth.
To discourage a belief in the minds of the people that the Holy Scriptures justify the servitude of the negro race, writers and lecturers of the above description have sacrilegiously dared to lay violent hands on a high and venerated circumstance of the Bible, namely, that of its antiquity; as if a subject and doctrine, which has become aged, is, therefore, of no more influence; and in this way they endeavor to disarm those particular passages of the sacred Word, which relate to this subject, and thus open the door for infidels to laugh at Christianity and its adherents, because they refuse to receive only such portions of the precepts of that Book as suit their interested opinions, instead of the whole. But this kind of insinuation against those who believe the Bible justifies negro servitude, is equally against St. Paul, as well as the prophets, on that subject; for if we find that great judge of both law and gospel, sustaining Moses and the Jews in this thing, he, too, as well as those who were before him, who believed as he seems to have believed on this subject, must be condemned as sinners by abolitionists; for, be it known, that they would rather stamp the Bible into the mire of the earth, than to receive that opinion, so high have they set their dogmatizing feelings above all that is sacred and true.
A specimen of the recklessness of the spirit of abolitionism, is seen like tissue spinning from some opening crevice in the earth, which covers a subterranean lake of fire, in the speech of Mr. G. Bradburn, of Massachusetts, in the great London Abolition Convention, as follows: “But then it was said, that slavery was advocated and enforced in the Bible. Now, if it were so, with all the veneration he had for that holy Book, if it were shown to him that it sanctioned the traffic in human flesh, he would throw it from him, and learn again his religion and philosophy from the flowers of the fields.”—Pennsylvania Freeman, No. 204, August 6, 1840. From this it is clear, that the Bible is of no account with this society, if it happens not to coincide with the course of abolitionism.
But, says one, does St. Paul, in his writings of the New Testament, anywhere seem to sanction the enslaving of black men? We will hear what he has said, and then judge. See 1 Cor. vii, 21, where both the fact of negro slavery and its legal righteousness are as plainly, though incidentally, stated, as it is in Gen. ix, 25, Levit. xxv, 44–46, or any other doctrine of the Scriptures, elsewhere. In the above scripture, St. Paul, in making some remarks on the condition of the different classes of men, who were converted to Christianity under his as well as the preaching of the other ministers of the gospel, says, that on account of their being converted to the faith of Christ, no man was to forsake his business or calling, but was to remain as he was, in such a particular; showing, thereby, that Christianity did not contemplate the breaking up of the civil relations of the country, even as they were then in operation among the people. To make this point clear, he seizes upon an extreme case of human calling, which was that of slavery, and urges that such a one was to expect no change in his temporal affairs, on account of his faith in Christ. With a view to impress this very principle on the minds of all men in that age, he says, in the above cited chapter of 1 Cor.: “Let every man abide in the same calling [or business] wherein he was called [or converted]. Art thou called, being a servant [or slave], care not for it; but if thou mayest be made free [personally], use it rather. For he that is called, being a servant [or slave], is the Lord’s free man.” That the character here referred to by St. Paul, was an absolute slave or bondman, is made clear by the words “if thou mayest be made free,” as such language could refer to no other than to slaves, as all others were politically free.
On the above statements of St. Paul, Adam Clarke has written as follows, though an abolitionist of a most determined character: “Art thou converted to Christ while thou art a slave, the property of another person, and bought [not hired] with his money, ‘care not for it,’ this will not injure thy Christian condition; but if thou canst obtain thy liberty, ‘use it rather’—prefer such a state for the sake of freedom, and the temporal advantage connected with it. The man who, being a slave, and is converted to the Christian faith, is the LORD‘S free man—his condition as a slave does not vitiate any of the privileges to which he is entitled as a Christian. It is likely that some of the slaves at Corinth, who had been converted to Christianity, had been led to suppose that their Christian privileges absolved them from the necessity of continuing slaves, or at least brought them on a level with their Christian masters. A spirit of this kind might have led to confusion, and to insubordination, and brought a just scandal upon the church. It was, therefore, a very proper subject for the apostle to interfere in, and to his authority the persons concerned would, doubtless, respectfully bow.”
At this point, we wish to draw a certain conclusion, which is afforded in the above passages in the text of St. Paul, and this is it: If the conversion of the soul of a slave to God, through faith in Jesus Christ, did not, and could not, release him from personal slavery, in St. Paul’s time, how much less, therefore, could the mere circumcision of a negro’s foreskin, in the times of the Jews, which was no conversion of the soul, absolve such an one from a condition of slavery and servitude? For a bondman to become circumcised, say the defenders of abolitionism, under the laws of Moses, made him a member of the Hebrew church or nation, on which account, they contend that at the jubilees all such bondmen went free, the same as did all other Hebrew servants. But the above statements of St. Paul, cut off all probability of any such thing in their favor, under the Jewish law; for if the conversion of the soul could not assist in such a case, under the auspices of Christianity, how could a mere cut in the flesh of the foreskin of a negro Canaanite aid him in a release from slavery, and exalt him to freedom without a direct and express law on the subject? there was no such law in their favor in the Mosaic code, but there was one to the contrary.
We cannot well pass on in the subject till we have referred the reader to one or two very singular remarks of Adam Clarke, in the above comment of his, on the subject of personal slavery, seeing he was an abolitionist: “It is likely (he says) that some of the slaves at Corinth, who had been converted to Christianity, had been led to suppose that their Christian character absolved them from slavery. A spirit of this kind (says Clarke) might have led to confusion and to insubordination, and brought a just scandal on the church.” How different is this language of the wisest man of these later ages, from the language of the abolitionists of the present time, who, in the most dauntless braggadocia and fierce manner, condemn to the flames of an eternal hell all such men as own negro slaves—who defy all the powers of government and teach the doctrine, that, on account of any possible results, whether murder, insurrection, a division of the Union, insubordination, good order, civil war or loss of our country, are no reasons against nor matters of any moment, when compared with the inestimable liberty of negro men in this country! But so did not Adam Clarke believe nor teach, neither did St, Paul, as they had respect to the established order of things, and did not wish to encourage insurrection, murder and disorganization, as do abolitionists in their ultra doctrines.
But the above quotation, from St. Paul’s writings in the New Testament, on this particular subject, is not all that he has said; see Ephesians vi, 5, as follows: “SERVANTS [that is slaves] be obedient to them that are your masters, according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as unto Christ.” This is a most remarkable statement, as it recognizes the doctrine of negro slavery, the master as well as the slave, a state of surveillance and lowly submission to such masters, and enjoining obedience to be paid, even to trembling and fear, with absolute singleness of heart, as unto Christ.
This language and doctrine is very different from that of the abolitionists of the present time, who say that a negro slave does right, in order to get away from his master, to steal his master’s horse, his money, or any thing else, or to steal from others on the road, any thing to aid his flight for liberty. On this subject, who now is wrong, St. Paul, the Holy Ghost, Adam Clarke, or the abolitionists of America and elsewhere, who have mighty deeds yet to achieve in the line of politics, bottomed on their negro sympathies?
That the servants alluded to by St. Paul, in the verse above quoted, referred to bondmen or absolute slaves, is clear, from the eighth verse of the same, Eph. vi, 8, which reads as follows: “Knowing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free.” On this verse Dr. Clarke says, that the word bond, therein used, means a slave, or one bought with money.
Again, in his letter to a Grecian convert to Christianity, whose name was Philemon, a citizen of Colosse, a white man, as the Greeks were white, he wrote respecting a slave who had run away from Philemon and had come to Rome, where Paul then was. This slave’s name was Onessimus, who, for some reason or other, had run away, and, happening to hear the great orator St. Paul preach, became a convert to his principles, respecting Christianity and its author.
In that letter to the slave’s master, at verses 10, 11 and 12, he says, “I beseech [not command] thee for my son Onessimus, whom I have begotten [in the faith] in my bonds, who, in times past, was to thee unprofitable [that is, he had been a bad slave], but now profitable to thee and to me: whom I have sent again, thou, therefore, receive him that is my own bowels,”
On the words, as above used by St. Paul, “whom I have sent again,” Dr. Clarke says, the Christian religion never cancels any civil relations: a slave on being converted and becoming a free man in Christ, has no right to claim, on that account, emancipation from the service of his matter. JUSTICE, therefore, required St. Paul to send Onessimus back to his master. He further says on this case, “there is no reason to believe that Onessimus was of the kindred of Philemon, and that we must take the term flesh, as used in the sixteenth verse of that letter as a reference, made by Paul, to the purchase right Philemon had in Onessimus; he was a part of his property as a slave:” this was his condition.
Slavery is a civil regulation in this country, which abolitionists are aiming to overthrow by applying the Scripture principle of benevolence. But as St. Paul has not thus attacked slavery, who are these that take it upon them to do this, in the face of the Christian religion and the laws of the Union?
From the facts of the case of this slave, it is self-evident, that his being sent back to his master again, was owing to the influence of the Christian religion; as, under its sanction, neither the convert nor the minister could, therefore, for a moment withhold the claims of justice in this particular.
OH, but, says a wide awake abolitionist, to be sure the Christian religion allows of no injustice, and on that very account that slave should have been set free, as there is no greater injustice this side of the grave than to enslave a negro man. St. Paul, however, has seen fit to judge differently, and has given a verdict in favor of the master. Had St. Paul have viewed the case, as an abolitionist would have viewed it, he would not have sent the man again to his master, he would have told him to remain free where he was, or to go whither he would. But as a judge in the house of God, he exerted his authority in the case, and sent the slave again to his owner, on purely moral principles, and no other, or he would not have meddled with it at all, as indeed he had no right on any other ground. But some contend, and have even determined, that, because St. Paul said, at the sixteenth verse of his letter to Philemon, that when Onessimus the slave should arrive at the house of his owner, his master was not to receive him as a servant, “but above a servant, a brother beloved”—that he was, therefore, manumitted, by the authority of the apostle, and from this, they claim that slavery was thus abolished forever out of the Christian Church.
But such a conclusion will not answer, as it is not responded to by other passages on the same subject—and, besides, the entire contrary appears from the same apostle’s writings. The slave Onessimus, had become a Christian, and, in this particular, he was exalted to an equality with his master, if that master was, in fact, a Christian at heart, as God is no respecter of the souls of men, giving grace to all alike, when he is sought unto, by black or white. This fact had elevated that slave far above his former character as a sinner, and a very bad and unprofitable slave, as Paul says he had been; yet, his temporal condition remained unchanged, the same as before.
On that verse, the sixteenth, in virtue of which some men claim the abolishment of slavery by the authority of Christianity, Dr. Clarke remarks, that St. Paul said as much, and no more, than to say to Philemon: “Do not receive Onessimus merely as a slave, nor treat him according to that condition, as before times, but as a brother, a genuine Christian, and as a person particularly dear to Paul.” In all this, Adam Clarke, though an abolitionist, could see no release of this man from his temporal bondage, from anything that appears in the text.
That St. Paul sanctioned any such doctrine, as the manumitting of bond slaves, because they happened to become converted, does not appear, while the contrary is abundant, which we are able further to produce, from the text of the New Testament, and of Paul’s own writings. See Timothy vi, 1–4: “Let as many servants as are under the yoke, count their masters worthy of all honor, that the name of God be not blasphemed. And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, but rather do service, because they are faithful and beloved partakers of the benefits: these things teach and exhort. If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the doctrine, which is according to Godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strife of words.”
On the subject of this part, St. Paul’s remarks in that letter to Timothy, Adam Clarke says, that the word servant, in that place, signifies slave, and the word yoke, the state of slavery or bondage. From this, we prove the real existence of slavery in the Christian church, in the very time of its organizers and founders, and, had it been any where abolished, that critic of critics, Adam Clarke, would have found it out, and would have marked the place in the most pointed manner; but it is not to be found in the whole Bible, which we shall further show in due time.
In the above cited chapter, 6th of Timothy, at the 3d verse, there are found some very remarkable allusions to the subject of slavery, which we cannot pass over, and are as follows: “If any man (says St. Paul) teach otherwise, and consents not to wholesome words, even to the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the doctrine which is according to godliness, he is proud [ignorant], knowing nothing.” Now to what words of Jesus Christ does St. Paul allude, which he applies to the case of slaves? See John viii, 35, 36. “And the servant abideth not in the house forever, but the son abideth ever. If the son, therefore, shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” In these two verses of the Gospel by St. John, there is a manifest allusion to the fact and condition of slaves. Of this fact, the Savior took occasion to illustrate, by way of similitude, the condition of a wicked man, who is the slave of sin, and to show that as a son, who was the heir in a house, could set a bond slave free, if that son was of the proper age. So, he, the Son of God, can set the enslaved soul free from sin, when he would be free indeed.
In this allusion of the Savior, we do not find the fact of slavery reproved, but merely alluded to, as a thing or a usage then existing, and, therefore, recognized as a practice, not in itself sinful, if practiced right and mercifully. If this sentiment is not correct, we are at a sad loss to justify the Savior’s allusion to a circumstance so wicked, as abolitionists believe it is, without reproving it. On these very remarkable words of our Savior, and St. Paul’s allusion to them, Adam Clarke has written the following: “Now the slave abideth not in the family, as if Jesus had said: and now that I am speaking of slaves, I will add one thing more, viz: a slave has no right to any part of the inheritance in the family to which he belongs, but the son, the legitimate son, has a right: he can make any servant free, though no slave can do this, because, we will add, one piece of property can not assist another piece of property, as they are legally powerless.”
It is very likely, that, in the time of St. Paul, there was agitated the question of manumitting slaves, and that it occasioned trouble and unfriendly surmisings, as to the designs of the new religion—the Gospel. Paul, therefore, came out in severe terms against all such, accusing them of doting about questions, and strife of words, and of being proud, or ignorant, knowing nothing. As much as if he had said, you are ignorant of the determination of God from the beginning, on this very subject, even in the times of Noah, Moses and the prophets; read, and you will learn that the race of Ham are judicially placed under the ban of servitude. On this very subject, and this passage of St. Paul, Dr. Clarke has written thus: “It appears that there were teachers of a different kind in the church at that time, a sort of religious levelers, who preached that the converted slave had as much right to the master’s service as the master had to his. Teachers of this kind have been in vogue, long since the days of St. Paul and Timothy.”
This is a true statement; for, if Adam Clarke were now alive, he would find thousands of just such levelers in America and England, who declare that the Scriptures make no difference between the interests of slaves and the interests of their masters. To prove this, we refer the reader to an abolitionist pamphlet entitled “The Bible against Slavery,” No. 6, p. 25, 1838, where the writer labors hard to show that the Mosaic system of law made no difference between the master and the slave, in relation to their natural freedom, or optional powers, avowing that the Mosaic system was framed as much to advance the interest, and gratify the wishes of servants, as it was their masters. This statement of theirs, as above, is not true, even in relation to a Hebrew servant; for, whenever a Hebrew was made a slave, on account of debt or crimes, it was done by force of law, in which neither his comfort, will, or interests, considered in a pecuniary light, further than that was to be treated as a hired man, till his debts were paid or the crime expiated. How much less, therefore, were there mitigating circumstances in the case of the negro, or Canaanite slave, who were deemed to be lawful subjects of oppression, except their daily food and rest on Sabbath days? Although Hebrew servants and criminal delinquents went always free, at the times of the little jubilees, as provided by the law, yet there was one case in which even a Hebrew servant could not avail himself of this emancipating law.
To prove this, we have only to refer to Exod. xxi, 5, 6, which reads as follows: “And if the servant [a Hebrew] shall plainly say, I love my master, my wife [who was born a slave], and my children, I will not go out free. Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him unto the door, or unto the door post, and his master [with his own hands] shall bore [or drill] his ear through with an awl, and he shall serve him for ever.” This awful sentence of a total loss of liberty was thus passed upon a Hebrew servant, because he despised his natural privileges, for reasons of his own—choosing rather to be a slave during his natural life, than to leave the service of his master and be free! How much less, therefore, could the jubilees reach the case of one of the accursed race, who was not of the Hebrew blood, nor of the blood of Japheth! From this fact, we perceive how entirely reckless of truth abolitionists are, who set up claims in favor of the race of Canaan and Ham, as servants, which the law of Moses did not accord even to servants of the Hebrew blood. Such a position as this, in favor of Canaanite slaves, would have placed them in far better circumstances than were the unfortunate servants of their own race; a thing which fully contradicts the express statements of the law of Moses on that very subject; for, in that law, Hebrew servants, who were made thus by being sold, were to be treated as they would treat hired men, and not like bondmen.
At the very time when Christianity was being set forth and established in Judea and the surrounding countries, by the Savior, his disciples and the apostles, after the crucifixion, the custom of owning and dealing in slaves, greatly prevailed in all the Roman empire, and yet we do not find this practice once referred to, by way of reproof, in the New Testament. How strange, if it was looked upon by those moral benefactors of the human race, as some seem to look upon it now! But, as a reason for this strange omission, it is said, by abolitionists, that, although at the time Christianity was introduced into the world, slavery was every where prevalent, yet Christ, nor his heralds, did not see fit to rebuke the sin, because it would have operated against the Gospel.—Encyclopædia, Edinburgh edition, under the head of Slavery, their opinion is found.
Here we pause with astonishment, and inquire whether the above reason for that omission is the best they can think of? If it is, then it follows that God incarnate, in the economy of his church on earth, is thereby represented as succumbing to what abolitionists say is a great sin, merely because the sin was a deeply rooted and popular sin, and to have denounced it, would have occasioned the Gospel to have been evil spoken of, as aiming at a civil revolution. Tell it not in Gath, among the negroes lest they should show their ivory; nor in Christian countries, lest skeptical men might deride so puerile a captain, as the miserable idea would make the great Savior to be.
This opinion, found in the work above alluded to, is the most singular and monstrous that we have ever fallen in with among the written principles of men, as it represents Jesus Christ, who reigns in his own house—the church—and in the world as its creator, as being under fear, lest, were he to have reproved a certain great and popular sin, it would have injured the cause of religion in the world, and especially in Judea and the Roman dependencies. His business on earth was to reprove sins of every name and nature, and to introduce principles, which, in their effect, should establish all righteousness, without fear of opposition from the ignorance, the prejudices and cupidity of men. The prophets were not afraid to reprove sin, whether personal or national, though they lost their lives by it. How much more, therefore, would not the inspirer of the prophets reprove sin, who was in Christ, without measure? This is a hard point for abolitionism to weather; for if the founder of the Christian religion, in the very midst of the commission of the sin complained of, did not reprove it, who are abolitionists, that they should? Are they more righteous than the master? Is it not enough, if the servant be as his master? Were it not far more wise to believe that God, in Christ, had respect to his own determinations on the subject of negro slavery, as signified to Noah, to Moses, and to the Hebrews, which was not to be abolished, even by the benign influences of the Gospel?
In proof that the Greeks and Romans, as above intimated, had vast numbers of slaves, we show from “Adams’s Roman Antiquities,” page 38. At Rome, he says, there was a market-place, which was devoted wholly to the sale and purchase of slaves. They were commonly exposed naked, and having around their necks a scroll, on which was written an account of their good qualities. From the sale of slaves arose the principal part of the enormous wealth of Crœsus. In the times of the Roman republic, the owners were allowed to put their slaves to death when they would, or to torture them by all manner of cruelties. By the Roman law-makers, slaves were esteemed the same as other property; they were not allowed as witnesses in any court, ecclesiastical or civil: it was the same, also, among the Hebrews, under the force of the Mosaic legislation, as well as among all other nations, tongues and people.
Some of the Romans, says both Seneca and Pliny, had whole legions of slaves, and others even twenty thousand. The Romans, according to Strabo, says Rollin, Vol. I, page 232, worked their gold mines in Spain by slaves. This author says, that, in his times, as many as forty thousand slaves were employed annually in the mines, who, by continued scourging, were caused to labor beyond their strength, day and night, by which means they generally all perished under ground. But against all personal cruelties exercised by parents, guardians and masters, upon their children, their apprentices, hired servants, or slaves, as well as dumb animals, God’s law, as well as his gospel, is peremptory; and although the various classes, as above mentioned, are, by the law of God, put under rule, yet does it not authorize wanton barbarity, but enjoins mercy, moderation, patience and justice, toward them.
The slaves of the Romans, in the times of Christ and the apostles, as well as of the Greeks, then mingled in the Roman empire, were of the conquered negro Carthaginians of Africa, who were reduced to vassalage, as well as to personal slavery, about one hundred years B. C.—Rollin, Vol. I, page 237. Herodotus says, chap. 2, page 254, that the Greeks, in the time of Troy, full twelve hundred years B. C, had black slaves, as before noticed. This being true, it appears at once that the race of Japheth, from the earliest times, had practiced enslaving the descendants of Ham, as well as the race of Shem, as God had determined from the beginning.
Thus we see, that in the times of the apostles, as well as in all ages before, going up to the flood, that the world was filled with negro slaves, wherever the races of Shem and Japheth were found. Now, if the practice, in principle, was a sin, and seeing it must have fallen under their notice in all places, how is it that no denunciations are found in the New Testament against it? But instead of St. Paul’s reproving the practice, we find him even sending a slave back to his master, whom he had found in Rome. Paul knew the slave, and when he was converted, and he had ascertained that he was a runaway from Colosse, and that he belonged to Philemon, a friend of his, and a member of the church, he immediately wrote a letter, gave it to the slave, and directed him to return again to his master, Philemon. Had not this slave been converted to Christianity, he never would have obeyed St. Paul in this matter, nor would he have troubled himself about it. But, as the slave was now, by his association with the members of the church, thrown under the care of the apostle, it was proper for that great minister of the faith to take the matter in hand, as justice demanded the return of the servant to his master and owner again; to which the slave willingly consented for righteousness’s sake, as he had become obedient to the word of God. Had St. Paul had any particular objection to the principle of slavery, as applied to the descendants of Ham, now was the time for him to have stated it, and in language the most unequivocal, such as the scribes of abolitionism, now-a-days, would have written on the occasion, which would have been pretty strong, no doubt; but of such objections, we hear not a word from the pen of that apostle.
At this point of our remarks, we have a most doleful circumstance to present, which, according to the views of abolitionists, must have been a glaring breach, even of the law of Moses, as well as of the benevolent intentions of the Gospel. This circumstance, or deed of misdemeanor, is found to have been perpetrated by St. Paul himself, and related to the case of the slave Onessimus, as above referred to. In Deut, xxiii, 15, 16, it is written: “Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto thee: he shall dwell with thee, even among you in that place which he shall choose, in one of thy gates: thou shalt not oppress him;” and yet St. Paul was the man who sent the runaway servant to his master again. Oh, what a sinner was he, according to abolitionism! From this fact, or transaction of St. Paul, we learn two things: one of which is, that he did not do wrong in that case; and the other is, that the slave was a negro, or descendant of Ham. We prove that the slave was not a Hebrew or of the blood of Shem, from the very fact of Paul’s sending him back to his master; as he knew that the law of Moses forbade the sending of runaway Hebrew servants again to their masters, as above shown by the law itself. Had the servant been a Hebrew, it would have been unlawful for Philemon to have had Onessimus at all as a slave; for the law of Moses did not give delinquent Hebrews, or any of the blood of Shem, to the Greeks or white men, for slaves, as it did the negro race; and for this very reason, the slave Onessimus must have been a Canaanite, or one of the race of Ham.
From the very passage above quoted, Deut. xxiii, 15, 16, abolitionists claim that it is wrong to send a runaway slave again to his master, in this country; but the apostle acted otherwise, which he could not have done had the slave been either a red or a white man—as the enslaving of those races have not the Divine sanction, nor were they ever accursed in the sense the race of Ham was.
The intention of that law, as understood by the Hebrews of Moses’s time, as well as in all succeeding ages, was, that it was but a mere direction how they were to treat the case of runaway servants from the neighboring nations, who, in flying from their masters, whether Edomites, Moabites, Ammonites, Arabs, or from any of the nations of the Abrahamic or Shemite blood, to the Hebrews, were to be protected, and not sent again to their masters.
As a reason for this, it should be recollected that all those nations were of the Shemite or Abrahamic blood, and could not be permanently enslaved by any Jew; and if any servant of this description of blood saw fit to leave their country and master and fly to the Hebrews, and take sanctuary under the banner of their God, they were not to be molested and sent again to their masters, to whom, no doubt, they had been slaves. They were to dwell wherever they might choose, entering into any business in their power, within the range of the twelve tribes. Such runaway servants were not to be oppressed. By this very clause of the text, “thou shalt not oppress him,” it is distinctly shown, that this kind of servants, thus favored, were no Canaanites, or any of that race, as the law of Moses did allow of the oppression of that class of men in the matter of absolute slavery. And further, it is shown, that the kind of servants alluded to in that trait of the law, were not of the Hamite race, by the supposed circumstance of their running away from their masters to the Hebrews—the last country on the earth to which a negro would run, as among that people they could expect nothing but oppression, as it was one of the very laws of the Hebrews, to enslave all the people of that character, wherever they could find them.
Neither can it be supposed that the trait in question alluded to Canaanite, or black bondmen, who might run away from one Hebrew master to another Hebrew, as, in that way, if they were not to be returned nor molested, the slaves of the whole twelve tribes, in a trice, at any time, could have freed themselves. For if a slave of the negro character saw fit to run away from his Hebrew master, to another of the same description, at once he was free; for the law forbade any one molesting a runaway servant. On this very account, the reader can but see, that no such servant as a Canaanite, could be alluded to by that trait of the law of Moses which forbade the returning of a runaway servant.
Again, if we say that this trait of the law related to Hebrew servants, who had become thus on account of poverty, or any other lawful cause, and had been brought under the provision of the law, in such cases made and provided; if we say that these were the kind of servants who were not to be returned, if any such ran away from the Hebrew masters, then it is not hard to see how wide a door for the commission of frauds would, by the very law itself, have been opened against the secular business and interests of the whole twelve tribes.
But how? Says the reader. As follows, is our answer. Suppose yourself a Hebrew, and living now in old Canaan, and that, to–day, you have bought a man of your tribe, who had been offered for sale, on account of debts or crimes, and paid, perhaps, five hundred shekels of silver for him, and to-morrow he runs away, going no further than to the next neighbor’s, where, according to the law, your servant is not to be molested or returned—what do you lose? Why, you lose your five hundred shekels of silver, and the man goes free, cheating both the law and the purchasers.
There is no way, therefore, to understand the application of that particular trait of the law found in Deut, xxiii, 15, 16, but to suppose the servants there alluded to, pointed out the servants of the surrounding nations, not of the Hamite race. This is evident from the very peculiar phraseology of the law itself which addresses the whole twelve tribes as being but one person, as follows: “Thou shalt not deliver unto his master the servant which is escaped from his master unto THEE; he shall dwell with thee, even among you, in that place which he shall choose in one of thy gates.” In this passage, it is seen that the law made but one person of the whole twelve tribes, by using the terms, thou, they and thee, in relation to them, and also showing that the runaway servants there alluded to, were such as should come to them from beyond the bounds of the twelve tribes.
That scripture, therefore, had no application to either a Hebrew servant, or to a bought slave of the Canaanite race, as a regulation of that sort, touching the legal interests of the owners, would have filled the whole land of Judea with confusion; as whoever might have bought a servant according to the law, was immediately exposed, by the same law, to lose his money—a regulation to which no community would submit in any age.
Thus we have shown, that St. Paul understood what he did, when he sent again the slave of Philemon to his owner, from Rome, in Italy, to Colosse, a city in Asia Minor, and belonging to the Romans at that time by conquest, as did all the countries of those regions in the time of St. Paul. Had Onessimus been a white man, or an individual of the race of Abraham, St. Paul never would have arrested him as a slave, to return to his master, except the man was in debt to Philemon—as no other race but that of Ham, was ever judicially doomed by the Creator to absolute slavery; and this was as well known to St. Paul, as it is to all who read the Bible with a view to understand this thing.
Surely, had the apostle felt about the enslaving of Ham’s race, as many seem to feel now-a-days, he would not only have told the slave to run for it, and to steal a horse, or anything else to aid his flight—as do abolitionists—but would have made the subject the occasion of a special treatise to the churches, as he did other matters of great importance, and would have denounced it as a horrible sin against God and human nature. Had not the notion among the converted slaves been entertained that their religion made them equal with, and as free as were their masters, it is not likely that we should ever have heard a word on the subject from the pen of St, Paul, more than from the other writers of the New Testament. But, as he was well acquainted with the matter in the Old Testament, and as the question did arise in the churches, he found it necessary, while in pursuit of other matters, in his letters, to write on this subject also, and in a very pointed manner. Wherefore, he said to bondmen, that they should be content with their condition, caring nothing for it. See 1st Cor. vii, 21. He said, also, to their masters, that they should treat their slaves well, even forbearing to threaten them, as they were to remember that they, also, had a master in heaven. See Eph. vi, 9, and Coloss. iv, 1.
At the very time St. Paul was traveling in the various countries of the Roman empire, the condition of slaves, says Adam Clarke (see his comment on Coloss. iv, 1), “among both Greeks and Romans, was wretched in the extreme: they could appeal to no law, and could neither expect justice nor equity. The apostle, therefore, informs those proprietors of slaves, that they should act toward them according to justice and equity; for God, their master, required this, and would at last call them to an account for their conduct in this respect. To this we will add, that God will also call all others to an account, who abuse their bondmen, as well as those to whom the apostle addressed himself at that time, whether in America, Asia, or Europe, as the institution is one of the greatest responsibility, and, under the supervision of the white man, consequences and results of incalculable amount.
It does not appear that they were admonished to manumit slaves, but were charged only to use them well, and to be kind to them as such. To the slaves, he said, instead of telling them to kill their masters, and to run away to some other country, and thus become free, that they should be content, and obey their masters with fear and trembling, as unto Christ.
But this is not the way abolitionists talk on that subject; their speeches are all inflammatory, calculated to rouse the mind of slaves, and every body else, to vengeance, war and murder, instead of promoting patience, as did St. Paul under the same circumstances.
By abolitionists, it is most vehemently contended, that the curse of Noah upon the race of Ham, was but a mere prophecy, like all the other prophecies of the Scriptures, which foretell the good or bad actions of men and nations. But, if this be the true and only way of interpreting that passage, it may then be inquired, of what use the word cursed is to the announcement? Could not the communication have been set forth in softer language? Was it not enough that they were to become enslaved, without adding the degrading word, cursed? Surely, the misfortunes of men or nations cannot thus degrade them, as it is not considered sinful to suffer—especially the innocent. On this view, it is impossible to look upon that dreadful word in any other light, than as supernumerary and injurious to the party concerned, and, besides, as also false; for it cannot be shown that misfortunes render any class of sufferers cursed.
But the word of God, as in this and all other parts of the Scriptures, do not convey false ideas, but true and immutable ones. It follows, therefore, that the word cursed, as used in relation to the destinies of the negro race, were used in the imperative and judicial sense—not prophetically. In these passages, Gen., ix, 25, 26, 27, the person who violated the privacy of Noah in his repose, is alluded to as being then, at the very time the deed was done, a cursed character, and, in him, all his race. In the text, as it is translated, the words, cursed be Ham, is an imprecation on the head of Ham and his progeny, all identified, then and there, in his person. But, as it reads in the original, cursed Ham, without the be—which is a supplied word—it makes Ham to have been then, at that very time, a cursed man, and in him, all his race, in relation to slavery, excluding altogether any such notion as the passages being a mere prophesy.
But, says an objector, was it not prophesied that Jesus Christ was to come into the world, and that he should be put to death by wicked hands? We answer, yes; and add, moreover, that it was not only prophesied of, but was judicially determined, that he should come into the world to die for sinners; and had there never been any wicked hands to put him to death, yet must he have died in some other way, or there could have been no atonement. It was a decree of God, an irretrievable judicial act, that Christ should die, because he became the surety of those who were condemned to death and damnation; it did not depend, therefore, on contingencies primarily, but secondarily only. Respecting the curse, or judicial act of God. against the race of Ham, we apprehend that it is to be viewed in the same light as to its fulfillment, whether there should be found on the earth so much as one wicked man or not, from the days of Noah to the end of the world; yet the race of Ham were to be servants and slaves, or the decree would have failed of its accomplishment, as God saw fit to determine concerning them.
Having now finished our inquiry, respecting the fulfillment of Noah’s prophecy, in the enslavement of the descendants of Ham by the race of Japheth, and of his dwelling in the tents or countries of Shem, as the Turks, who are of the race of Japheth, are now doing, and of his supplanting the American Indians; we pass to an examination of certain passages of the Scriptures, where abolitionists seem to think they have found out that negro slavery was abolished as far back in time as the days of Isaiah, the prophet, some seven hundred years before Christ.
Whatever God has said, and in his Word decreed,
The same shall come to pass in very deed:
As thus ’tis seen, though many men will rave
Ham, to the race of Japheth, is a slave.
So, in the tents of Shem, the white man reigns
O’er all Judea’s hills and Persia’s plains.
To him, (the Gentile race), of God, was given
The Gospel—the last great gift of Heaven.
When Paul, at Rome, turned from the Jewish strife,
And gave to Gentiles there the word of life;
Take the mighty boon, and rise to high estate,
Thou white man, o’er the earth and Hell’s dark gate;
Supplant the black and red man, bear the sway,
And reign till time shall bring the judgment day.
Inquiries whether the Scriptures have, either in the Old or New Testaments, abolished slavery, as abolitionists assert that they have—Query, if they never sanctioned it, how could they abolish it?—The famous passage of Isaiah, chap. lviii, on which abolitionists found their argument in favor of the scriptural abolishment of slavery, examined, and found to have no allusion to the subject—All the Jews, their elders, nobles and kings, enslaved the race unreproved—Reproofs of the prophets, for the Jews enslaving their own people beyond the jubilees, but not the negroes—The famous passage of Exod. xxi, 16, which respects the stealing of a man to enslave, or to sell him, examined, and found to have no allusion to negroes, while abolitionists assert that it does—Isaiah’s opinion respecting the Jews enslaving their enemies, chap. xiv. 3—Abolition argument against slavery, founded on the law of love toward our neighbor, replied to—Abolition argument, charging the institution of negro slavery with an attempt to usurp the sovereignty of God over the souls of slaves, replied to
THAT the Scriptures have abolished negro slavery and disallowed of the principle itself, is contended by abolitionists, who boldly aver that they do not, in any case or instance, justify it, but every where condemn and reprobate the practice, as well as the principle. But whether this is true, the reader has already seen, if he has read the preceding pages with but common attention.
But, as to the Scriptures having abolished negro slavery, we inquire where the passage or portions of that book can be found, which have done this; and which of the prophets, kings, patriarchs, judges, or apostles, have thus determined this matter? As to information of this description, says an abolitionist, we are able at once to gratify the inquirer, showing the place, chapter and verses, and press them upon the reader’s consideration, as they are extremely expressive and explicit, flowing from the pen of inspiration in tones of thunder, condemning the awful sin of negro slavery. See Isaiah lviii, 6 and 7, as follows: “Is not this the fast that I have chosen (namely), to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that they break every yoke. Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out, to thy house: when thou seest the naked, cover him: and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?” These passages of Holy Writ are, indeed, very plain, and, to the careless reader, seem to make an end of the matter, inasmuch as they require that every yoke should be broken, the heavy BURDENS taken off, and the oppressed set free.
But, dear reader, do not become vexed when we affirm, that although the passages above cited are very plain in their mode of expression, yet they do not, in any sense of the word, apply to the case in hand, or to the subject of negro slavery, as practiced in the time of Isaiah, or any other age. We affirm this, on account of three good and sufficient reasons, as follows:
1st. CONSISTENCY among the writers of the Holy Scriptures, who were inspired by the immutable God on the same subjects, forbids the belief that they should clash. If Moses, by so many direct statements as are found in Levit, xxv, 44–46, allowed the Hebrews to enslave the Canaanites and other negro tribes, are we to suppose that Isaiah, under the same inspiration and law that Moses was, would contradict this? This trait of Hebrew national custom, namely, that of enslaving the blacks, had obtained from the days of Moses till the time of Isaiah, a lapse of full nine hundred years, and by the authority of the law, without reproof or restraint, as we have shown. Is it to be supposed that Isaiah would disregard all this, and deliberately write a new code on this subject, in exact competition with the very law to which he himself subscribed, and by which he, as well as every other Hebrew, was then governed? Had not Isaiah read, a thousand times, what Moses had said in Exod. xxiii, 32, respecting the Canaanites, namely, that the Hebrews, when they should come to possess the country of Canaan, were to make no covenants of amity or peace with the inhabitants, but were utterly to despise, ruin and destroy them? Had he not read the same thing in Deut. vii, 2, which directed the twelve tribes to smite and utterly destroy those nations, making no compacts with them at all? The passage in Deut. vii, 2, reads as follows: “And when the Lord thy God shall deliver them [the Canaanites] before thee, thou shalt smite them and utterly destroy them: thou shalt make no covenant with them, nor show mercy unto them.” Is it likely, therefore, that the Holy Ghost would contradict, by the pen of Isaiah, that which he had directed to be written in the law of Moses, and at a time, too, when that law was the ultimo of legislation to all the tribes of the Jews, and governed the prophets, as well as the people? Is it likely, under circumstances of this description, that Isaiah would say to the subjects of his charge, let the Canaanite slaves go free; take every burden from their backs, and break every yoke from their necks, and that will be the fast which will please the Lord? Can the reader fail to feel the force of this first reason?
2d. The absolute silence of the New Testament, in not condemning the practice of enslaving the negro race; and, further, its absolute recognition of the practice, and that favorably agreeing both with the curse of Noah and the law of Moses on this subject. The favorable recognitions of the New Testament on this matter, are found in the writings of St. Paul, who understood the whole subject as well as any other writer of the Scriptures, and, doubtless, much better. The places in St. Paul’s writings, which recognize negro slavery, are, Titus ii, 9; Ephesians vi, 6, 8; Colossians iv, 1, and iii, 22; also Philemon, as well as other passages of the New Testament, all of which, says Dr. Clarke, refer to absolute slaves, in the property sense of the word.
That the slaves of Rome were Africans, is proved from the fact, that when prisoners were brought from Africa, they were always sold for slaves. At one time only, by one of their generals, namely, Regulus, there were brought to Rome twenty thousand African negroes, who were all sold into the bondage of slavery.—Rollin, Vol. I, p. 283. If so many were captured at one time, by but one man, how many may we not suppose were thus taken and sold during all the wars of both Greece and Rome against Africa, during several ages? Myriads, no doubt; and all this known was well to St. Paul, and all the New Testament writers, as to the whole world of Asia, in those ages.
If it were true, as abolitionists imagine it is, that the Holy Ghost inspired Isaiah to write against negro slavery, as then practiced in his time upon the Canaanites, the Philistines, the Lybians, the Egyptians, the Ethiopians, and any of the Hamite race; how is it that he did not also inspire St. Paul to write in the same way, and in words as plain as Isaiah has written, according to the perceptions of abolitionists, especially when the apostle was engaged in writing on the very subject of negro slavery, practiced by members of the Christian churches, in the various countries of the Roman empire, and which churches he had planted by his own ministry? Had the Holy Ghost become less liberal toward the negro race in St. Paul’s time, than in the time of Isaiah?
Nay, nay; St. Paul, Isaiah, Moses, Noah, Abraham, Lot, the patriarchs, prophets, judges, elders, kings, rulers and people of the Jews, according to the whole tenor of the Bible, as well as express statements and admissions, whenever they touch on that subject, namely, the subject of negro servitude, allowed this practice without rebuke, as to the principle, admonishing, however, owners only, in matters of treating them well and in a merciful manner. Can the reader fail to feel the force of this second reason?
3d. Isaiah’s real meaning, as conveyed in the passages to which we are arguing, is our third reason for disallowing that he referred to the negro race at all, and shall contend that his remarks and reproofs, referred to such Hebrews as held their own brethren in slavery, beyond the stipulations of the law of Moses, and to such only. The law of Moses allowed of the sale of Hebrew debtors, to pay their debts, as well as of children, owned by poor Hebrew parents, and also of criminals, as thieves, &c.. See Lev. xxv, 39, 47, 48, 50, and Exo. xxi, 7, 2, and xxii, 3, where all these cases are set down.
But the wicked Jews, in the time of Isaiah, as well as at many other times, broke over the boundaries of that law, by keeping their own brethren, thus sold and bought beyond the years of release, and the Jubilees making of them perpetual slaves, both parents and their children, as they did the Canaanites. In case a Hebrew was sold to a Hebrew, the law of Moses strictly forbade their being oppressed, as bondmen were, enjoining it upon those who bought them, to treat them as they would a hired man. See Levit. xxv, 39, 40, and many other passages to the same effect. And besides this, they were commanded to furnish them liberally out of the threshing floor and the wine press, and their flocks, at the times of their release, or at the Jubilees, so as to enable them to begin the world anew. See Deut. xv, 14, which immunities were never extended to a Canaanite slave.
But all this in the time of Isaiah, was deeply and horribly infringed upon, wherefore, Isaiah told them, the Jews, that their fasts and other acts of worship, could not be accepted of God, while injustice to their own blood and brethren was at all prevalent among them, in holding the poor Hebrews in perpetual bondage, contrary to the law on that very subject made and provided. To make it clear that the reproof of Isaiah on that occasion, and in those passages, related wholly, solely and exclusively, to abused and enslaved Hebrews and their masters, we have only to observe, that the last clause of the seventh verse of the reproof, is confined to Hebrews, in the use of the terms, “thine own flesh.” The whole passage reads as follows—see Isaiah lviii, 7: “Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house; when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh.”
Surely, the negroes of Canaan, or of any other country, were not considered by Isaiah, to be of the same flesh with that of the Jews, as they are never called in the Scriptures, the brethren of the Hebrews, their kindred, their own flesh, &c., but always heathen. Respecting the flesh of the negro race, Ezekiel xxiii, 20, says that it was like the flesh of Asses, and yet abolitionists say that negro flesh is as good as their flesh is, and every way equal; we wish them much joy of their relations.
The Canaanites, therefore, who were among the Jews as perpetual bondmen, were not the persons alluded to in that reproof of Isaiah, and those who ought to have been set free by their Hebrew masters.
But, if the reader is not yet satisfied that we are right in the above construction and application in those passages in Isaiah, we will bring a parallel case out of the Scriptures, by which the position is further supported if need be. This parallel case took place long after Isaiah’s time, in the era of Nehemiah and his associates, when they were rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem, which had been destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar, about seventy years before, when the Jews were carried away into captivity the first time. At that time it appears that many of the people of the Jews had sold their children, to their more wealthy brethren, for money to pay the taxes while in captivity, and for bread and victuals for their families, which occasioned great trouble and complaints among the people on their return to Judea.
We will give the account as it stands in the book of Nehemiah, chapter v, 1–5, as follows: “And there was a great cry of the people, and of their wives against their brethren, the Jews. For there were (some) that said: we, our sons and our daughters are many; therefore, we take up corn for them, that we may eat and live. Some, also, there were, that said: we have mortgaged our lands, vineyards and houses, that we might buy [not hire] corn, because of the dearth. There were, also, that said: we have borrowed money for the king’s tribute, and that upon our lands and vineyards: yet, now our flesh is as the flesh of our brethren, our children as their children: and, lo, we bring into bondage our sons and our daughters to be servants [or slaves], and some of our daughters are bought into bondage already; neither is it in our power to redeem them, for other men have our lands and our vineyards.”
When Nehemiah had ascertained that this dreadful charge was true, it is said, in verses 6 and 7 of the above chapter, that he was very angry, and that he set a great company against those who had been guilty of this thing, and caused the offenders against the law of Moses, in that particular, to release, not only the children they had bought, but the lands, also, according to the law of the greater Jubilee, which they had kept, through avarice, beyond the prescribed limits, committing robbery in relation to the lands, as well as making bondmen of their brother’s children, their own flesh and blood.
This was a case which was exactly parallel to that which was reproved by Isaiah, applying in this, as in that, entirely to the blood of the Jewish tribes, who are in Nehemiah, as in Isaiah, called brethren, and the same flesh, one with another, as a people.
In pursuit of the same point, namely, to maintain that Isaiah, in the famous fifty-eighth chapter of that prophet, did not abrogate negro or Canaanite slavery, but Hebrew slavery only, we refer the reader to another parallel case, found in the book of Jeremiah, chapter xxxiv, from the eighth to the seventeenth verse inclusive, which took place between the time of Isaiah and Nehemiah.
This prophet, namely, Jeremiah, foretold to the Jews, that Nebuchadnezzar should come and fight against Jerusalem, and the whole country, burn the temple, and carry away the people to old Chaldea, prisoners of war, and thus ruin their nation—and this should be done on account of one particular sin, which, it appears, was the heinous one of enslaving their own poor brethren, a crime which was a great besetment of the rich Jews, in all ages of their history.
On hearing from the lips of Jeremiah this awful denunciation, king Zedekiah, who then reigned, immediately brought the men who had been guilty of this enormity together, and required of them, by agreement, that they should then release, every man his Hebrew servant. This was done in the hope that God would pardon the nation of this thing, and withhold the king of Babylon from coming upon them, with his mighty hosts, as Jeremiah had said he would.
The account reads as follows: “This is the word that came unto Jeremiah from the Lord, after that the king Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people which were at Jerusalem, to proclaim liberty unto them, that every man should let his man servant, and every man his maid, being a Hebrew or a Hebrewess, go free; that none should serve himself of them, to wit, of a Jew, his brother. Now, when the princes, and all the people which had entered into the covenant, heard that every one should let his man servant, and every one his maid servant, go free; that none should serve themselves of them [their brethren] any more; then they obeyed and let them go. But afterward they turned and caused the servants and the handmaids whom they had let go free, to return, and brought them into subjection for servants and for handmaids [again]. Therefore, the word of the Lord came, saying, thus saith the Lord God of Israel: I made a covenant with your fathers, in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage, saying, at the end of six years, let ye go, every man his brother, a Hebrew, which hath been sold unto thee; and, when he hath served thee six years, thou shalt let him go free from thee: but your fathers harkened not unto me, neither inclined their ear. And ye were now turned, and had done right in my sight, in proclaiming liberty, every man to his neighbor, and ye made a covenant before me, in the house which is called by my name. But ye turned [back from this], and polluted my name, and caused every man his servant, and every man his maid, whom ye had set at liberty at their pleasure, to return, and brought them into subjection, to be unto you for servants and for handmaids. Therefore, thus saith the Lord: ye have not harkened unto me in proclaiming liberty, every one to his brother, and every man to his neighbor [being a Jew], behold; I proclaim a liberty for you, saith the Lord, to the sword, to the pestilence and to famine; and I will make you to be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth.”
This horrid fate was to come upon them, for the sole reason, that they had, wickedly and unjustly, contrary to the law of Moses, enslaved their poor brethren, the Hebrews. In all this, there is no allusion to negro slaves of the Canaanitish character, for, in the three accounts, as given by Isaiah, Jeremiah and Nehemiah, there is not one allusion of the kind; all their remarks being guardedly confined to the sin of enslaving their own race beyond the permission of their law.
If, in this direful charge, the prophet Jeremiah did include negro slaves as a part of the sin of his people in this matter, how is it that he is so extremely particular, as over and over again, to name Hebrew bondmen and maids, and, not so much as once to mention slaves of the other description, who were of the heathen of that country?
It is, therefore, indubitably certain, that the prophet has avoided charging the Jews with sin, on account of their enslaving the Canaanites perpetually, but only for enslaving the Hebrews beyond the term of six years at a time. To fix this on the mind of the reader, we select the ninth verse of the thirty-fourth chapter of Jeremiah, and again present it as evidence sufficient of the fact, that negro slaves were not included in the immunities of Hebrew servants, with regard to their being set free at the time of the Jubilees, or any other time whatever.
The passage reads as follows: “That every man should let his man servant, and every man his maid servant, being a Hebrew, or a Hebrewess, go free; that none should serve himself of them, to wit of a Jew, his brother”
To this, agree both Isaiah and Nehemiah, using the same language in effect, every where pointing out the Jew blood, which was not to be enslaved, leaving the negro race under the disabilities of their doom, as found in the book of Genesis and the law.
In all these accounts, there is not a word said against the Jews enslaving their own brethren, if they did it according to the letter of their law, and for proper reasons; while, in the strongest terms of reprobation, they do, as do all the Scriptures, condemn and threaten every Jew with punishment, who should dare to go beyond in that matter. If, then, Isaiah, nor none of the prophets have abolished even Hebrew slavery, as it was ordained in their law, how much less, therefore, have they abolished negro slavery, which, as well as the other, was according to that law, the Hebrew being bounded by six years, while the Hamite slave was a slave forever.
The uproar, therefore, which abolitionists make over this passage of Isaiah, in favor of Canaanitish or negro slaves, is but an uproar and sophistry, in which they extend the immunities of Hebrew servants to the condition of the negro slave, which is false, and they know it; or, at least, their leaders do.
As it respects the feelings and opinions of the prophet Isaiah on the subject of slavery, we have a very singular account to give in this place. From this account, it is certain that he held it to be right for the Jews to enslave any people who were their enemies, or who had held them in captivity, whether negro or red man. To prove this, see Isaiah xiv, 2, as follows: “And the people [the Jews] shall take them and bring them to their place [Judea], and the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the Lord [Judea], for servants and handmaids: and they shall take them captives whose captives they were; they shall rule over their oppressors.”
In this case, the people who had held captive the Jews, were the Chaldeans, who, in process of time, sooner or later, were to be ruled over and oppressed by the Jews, even to personal slavery. We do not notice this case as having any bearing on the negro question, but merely to show, that the views of Isaiah were not so abhorrent to the slavery of men, who were not Hebrews, as some seem to believe; but shows that he acquiesced in the retributive judgments of God, even to the enslaving of the bodies of men who had oppressed the Jews, his brethren. If, then, Isaiah could thus approve of the enslaving of the red men of Babylon, how much more the negro race of that age, who were denounced in the curse of Noah and the law of Moses? Even the priests of the house of Aaron—the very ministers of the sanctuary—were allowed, by the law of God, to have slaves, bought with their money. See Levit. xxii, 11: “But if the priest buy any soul with his money, he shall eat of it;” that is, the slave thus bought might eat of the food of the family of the priest. From this scripture, it is as clear as truth, that the prophets, priests, elders, kings and nobles, of the twelve tribes, were allowed, by the law of God, to have property in man, the same as they could have property in any other thing or creature, providing they were not of the race of their brethren, the Hebrews, but of the heathen of the negro race—as we do not learn from the Divine Oracles, that any other people could be lawfully or morally enslaved, irrespective of war and other contingencies. But there is another scripture, besides the one we have just replied to, in Isaiah, upon which abolitionists claim the abolishment of negro slavery. This scripture is found in Exod. xxi, 16, and reads as follows: “He that steals a man and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.”
Does not this passage of Holy Writ, says one, put an end to the subject? Does not abolitionism triumph here? Is not this enough to terrify any man, who regards the Bible, from stealing away the poor Africans from their homes of happiness and peace, or from purchasing such as are thus stolen from those who steal, purchase, or capture them in their own country? We answer, no; as we do not perceive that this remark of Moses in the law has the least possible bearing on the subject. It was not to the stealing, capturing, or enslaving of the negroes of Canaan, or any other country, that Moses referred, in that passage of prohibitory law. And, as it respects the land of Canaan and the negro nations of that country, are we to suppose that God, who was about to give the whole land to the Hebrews, with all its inhabitants, to kill and destroy, that they were to abstain from taking them by stealth, as well as by open attack? Should we suppose this, it would be the same as to suppose the issuing of an order to let the Canaanites alone, which would defeat the very object of the war—which was the entire overthrow of all those nations, seven in number, great and powerful, far beyond the forces of the Hebrews.
But, says one, if the passage had no allusion to negro stealing, to what, then, did it allude, as intended by Moses, and understood by the tribes? We answer, it was intended to prevent one Hebrew from stealing, capturing and selling another Hebrew, Israelite, or Jew, or causing any individual of their nation to go into captivity or bondage of any kind, as did the brethren of Joseph, who stole him, and then sold him to the Ishmaelites. That the passage means this, and nothing else, is shown and determined by a parallel text in the same law, and on the same subject. See Deut. xxiv, 7, as follows: “If a man be found stealing any of his brethren of the children of Israel, and maketh merchandize of him, or selleth him, then that thief shall die, and thou shalt put evil away from among you.”
Thus we see that the former passage, as explained by the latter, has nothing to do with what is called negro stealing, either in old Canaan, Africa, or any where else: it referred wholly, solely and primarily, to the people of the Jews, protecting themselves from themselves, in this particular matter; for, as strange as it may appear, the Hebrews were very much prone to the stealing of men of their own blood and race, for slaves, and to sell them to strangers. A severe law, therefore, was necessary to restrain them from the perpetration of this crime against themselves. But, if it is still insisted upon by any one, that the first quoted passage on this subject did relate to Canaanite men, as well as to Hebrew men, then such persons are compelled to believe that God both allowed of the destruction and the protection of the Canaanites at the same time—rather a crooked position for a Hebrew to understand just then, when they were on the eve of a war of extermination, as it regarded the Canaanites, commanded and directed by God himself.
Could it have been any worse for a Hebrew, at that time, to steal, take, capture and enslave a Canaanite negro, than it was to kill him? To kill and exterminate them, showing them no mercy, was the direct and pointed command of God, as we have before shown, Deut. vii, 2. Under so large a license as this, the man is a fool who will pretend that stealing and enslaving the negro Canaanites was prohibited by those passages, as above presented; especially when the law of Moses, in Levit. xxv, 44–46, directly and pointedly allowed the Hebrews to make bondmen of that people, and to use them as slaves forever.
To this very law of Moses, which forbade all Hebrews stealing any individual of their own race, St. Paul alludes in 1 Timothy i, 10, where it is written, that the law was not made against the righteous, but against the wicked, men stealers, &c. Now, if we have shown, as above, that the passage in the law of Moses extended no further than to the prohibition of Hebrews stealing persons of their own blood or race, as included in the twelve tribes, we are not at liberty to suppose that St. Paul meant any thing more, as there was no other law for him to allude to, as extant, when he wrote to Timothy, and when he made the remark about man stealing.
But, says one, to enslave a negro man is against the intent of the law of Moses, inasmuch as St. Paul has said, Romans xiii, 8, and Gal. v, 14, that love to our neighbor is the fulfilling of the law; how, therefore, can any one love, in the true and holy sense of the word, who enslaves a black man. This is answered as follows: “God having judicially appointed that race to servitude, the law of love cannot abrogate it, any more than the law of love can abrogate several other particulars of judicial appointment. Such as, it is appointed unto men that they should die; the woman was condemned to be ruled over by her husband; the earth was cursed, in relation to its fruitfulness; the wicked dead are sent to hell; the earth is doomed to be burnt up; and many more things which might be adduced as being determined judicially; all of which the law of love cannot reach nor abrogate. It is idle, therefore, to urge an argument on such ground as that; for God’s determinations and decrees are not frustrated by his benevolence, else there were an end to his government. To strengthen this position, if need be, we may mention that Abraham, Job, Lot, and thousands of the holy men of old, as well as modern, had vast multitudes of black slaves. Were none of these lovers of God and their neighbors, in the true and holy sense of the word?
At the time Moses wrote the famous passage of Deut. xxiv, 7, saying to the Hebrews, that if any man among them was found out in having stolen any of their brethren, the Israelites, and of having sold them, that such a one should be put to death. What a pity it is, that there was not, at the time, a thorough-going abolitionist at the elbow of Moses, to have just popped the idea respecting the strict necessity there was, of inserting simply a word or two in favor of the negroes, and to read as follows: If any man be found stealing any black or negro person of the race of Ham, whom Noah cursed, from this time to the end of the world, and maketh merchandize of them, then that thief should be put to death. Such a clause would have done the business exactly. Oh, what a pity! what a pity that abolitionism could not have had a hand in the councils of Heaven about that time, as well as when St. Paul wrote to Philemon and Timothy on the subject of negro slavery. But there is still another passage of Holy Writ to be examined, which, at first sight, seems to make pointedly against the doctrine of enslaving the blacks, and is quoted triumphantly by abolitionists, as of sufficient weight and authority to crush and abolish forever, a belief in the propriety and rectitude of compelling the servitude of the negro race, as being founded in the Scriptures.
The passage alluded to is found in Rev. xviii, 13, and accuses some combination or anti-Christian establishment, called “BABYLON THE GREAT,” of dealing in slaves and the souls of men, which crime, together with others, called for the wrath of God to be poured out upon it. But it is our opinion, that this passage of Scripture has no more to do with the question of negro slavery, in the literal and personal sense of the word, than the other passages of the Bible already alluded to, unless it can be shown that some great combination of men, called “Babylon the great,” which existed in the time of St. John, did actually deal in slaves, which we believe will be rather difficult to make out.
There can be no doubt but this power, which is called by St. John, “Babylon the great,” is to be understood spiritually, and as characterizing, by the spirit of prophesy, some dreadful heresy or anti-Christian combination, which was to arise in the world. This Babylon is many times referred to in the book of Revelation, as in chapters xiv, 8, xviii, 1, xvi, 19, and is, doubtless, the same power which is called. Rev. xi, 8, Sodom and Egypt, and Rev. xvii, 5, “Mystery, Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth;” and by St. Paul, 2 Thes. ii, “That man of sin,” who should wonderfully exalt himself by lying wonders, and should sit in the temple of God—the church—showing himself that he is God: who this dreadful power was, the reader may easily conjecture.
Now, this is the power, therefore, who is accused of dealing in slaves—not literally, but spiritually—in misleading the mind, and, of necessity, the body, in matters of religious faith.
That scripture, therefore, no doubt, should be understood, not of slavery in the common sense of the word, but rather of its moral, spiritual and religious meaning, as operating on the minds of men adherent to this “great Babylon” combination, who practiced deceit, ecclesiastical conjurations, &c., so that the souls and bodies of men were thereby sold to the devil, in leading them, from the paths of truth and righteousness, in relation to love and obedience to God and his commandments.
This is the way, as we believe, this “great Babylon” dealt in the bodies and souls of men. It is not uncommon for the Scriptures to speak of great offenders as having sold themselves to work wickedness, as in the case of Ahab and many others. After the same manner of reasoning, therefore, as it respects this “great Babylon,” who dealt in slaves and the souls of men, it is to be understood, wholly and entirely of the souls and bodies of her membership, who she had bought with her religious merchandize, as specified in that chapter, namely, the 18th of Revelation.
On that account, the wrath of God was to be poured out on this “great Babylon,” namely, for enslaving the souls and, of necessity, the bodies of men, holding them under command, to do the bidding of this “great Babylon,” contrary to the word of God, thereby affecting the real and more valuable liberties of both soul and body, in time and eternity.
We are compelled to take this course of explaining that text of St. John, lest we should be found arraigning two writers of the New Testament against each other on the same subject, namely, of negro slavery; for St. John knew full well all that St. Paul had said on that subject.
Thus, we think, we have rescued that passage of the Revelator, as well as the text of Isaiah, out of the hands of abolitionists, who, by subverting them from their true and original meaning, endeavor to make it appear that the Scriptures have long ago abolished negro slavery, which is false, either in so many words, or in spirit.
But abolitionists advance other doctrines and opinions, besides wresting the Scriptures on the subject of negro servitude, which they publish to the world in their harangues, books, papers and pamphlets, calculated to mislead the minds of men on the subject at issue. They say that the principle of enslaving black men, whether done in this or any other age, in this or any other country, “is a system of unlimited spiritual despotism, and places masters in the seat of God, or rather above God, in respect to the slaves under their control. It is (they say) contrary to the sovereignty of God, over each and every individual, who is held as a slave. It does not recognize the right of the slave to obey God—to follow the dictates of his own conscience—to fulfill the station of a moral being—to act as a free agent, accountable to the Judge and Father of all—to the Supreme God, who says, all souls are mine—the slave system in effect, says, this soul is mine, not thine; it belongs to an earthly master, and thou, its creator, hast no right to command its obedience.” For all this, see “Friend of Man,” a paper dated Jan. 15, 1839, Utica, N. Y.
On the whole face of the above charge, not only against American slavery, but slavery in any country or age, it is seen at a glance, that the blow falls as heavily on the institutions of Moses, the practice of the patriarchs, prophets, elders, kings and people, not only of the Jews, but the Christian church also, even in the times of the apostles, as it is intended to fall on American slavery—the principle being the chief thing aimed at.
For if the law of that great legislator, Moses, allowed of the enslaving of the Canaanites for life, and also during all their generations—which we have shown was a fact—then all the Hebrews, the patriarchs, Jews and prophets, who acted on that law, are, by abolitionists, made to have been as bad as they say American slaveholders are, placing them all in one company, and denouncing them as a set of villains, fit only for the lowest abodes of damnation itself. For, abolitionists condemn slavery of every grade and description, to all intents and purposes, in all times, ages and nations, let it have been practiced or sanctioned by whomsoever it may have been—and this they do in the very face of God, who, through Noah, Moses, the prophets and the law, did not only allow of restrictive slavery, in relation to the Hebrews, but also of irrestrictive slavery, in relation to the whole race of Ham, throughout all ages, or to the end of the present constitution of the earth.
But, abolitionists, in order to get rid of the fact of Bible slavery, as recognized in the law of Moses, and applied to the negro race, have argued much, and labored hard to show that the Canaanites, who were bought by the Hebrews for bondmen and bondmaids, always bought them of themselves, and never of another, as if they were the property of somebody besides themselves, and with this they find no fault, being perfectly contented with the idea that a negro Canaanite, should, if he liked, sell himself—that was all right.
But this idea, we consider a most singular position for an abolitionist to take, as they pronounce all kinds of slavery and slave selling or buying most cursed, and without authority, either from God or man; and yet a man may sell himself, even for life. How is this? Is there no paradox here? If a man sells himself, is he not sold? Is he not as much a slave as if somebody else sold him? This position of abolitionists, which, by a strange refinement, struggles to get rid of the plain letter of the law of Moses, about Hebrews being allowed to buy slaves of the heathen round about them, establishes the very thing they are trying to annihilate, which is negro slavery; for, if the Canaanites could, without sin, sell themselves for bondmen, then, the Canaanites sold slaves and the Hebrews bought them, the persons who did it making no difference as to the principle of the act; it was the thing done, which made out the fact, not the modus operandi; so that even this very curious refinement of abolitionists, on the meaning of that trait in the law of Moses, has not rescued the point at issue from the hand of those who believe the Bible sanctions the unqualified servitude of the negro race, but establishes it.
But this position of abolitionists is but a fiction, a mere ruse, which, at once, can be shown to be nothing else, by a reference to the law itself, on this very subject, and points out the children, or the infants of the Canaanites, as the objects of Hebrew slave purchasers. See Levit. xxv, 45, which reads as follows: “Moreover, of the children of the strangers that do sojourn among you, of them shall you buy [bondmen], and of their families that are with you, and they shall be your possession.” If, then, it were the children the Hebrews were to buy of the Canaanites, is it to be supposed that children had either the right or the ability to sell themselves? Is it not far more reasonable to believe that the parents of such children were resorted to in such cases? As to the policy of such a regulation of Moses, relative to the purchase of slaves, it is evident at a glance as children could be more easily managed, and brought up to the liking of the master than could the adults. A desire in the mind of the slave to run away would be much lessened by the process of domestication, and a natural love of those who supplied their wants.
But, says one, if the Canaanites were given to be destroyed by the Hebrews, even to entire extermination, how is it that Moses should say, in the law, any thing about buying their children for slaves, seeing they could go and take as many as they wanted by force, just when they would? We answer this, by saying that the Hebrews did not fully obey the commands of Moses on this subject as they should have done; on which account, there were, always, during the whole reign of the Jews in that country, many of the Canaanite tribes living among them, with whom the Jews were not always at war. Now, in a case like this, if the Hebrews wanted slaves of the perpetual bondman character, they would rather, no doubt, go and buy them of such as had them to sell in a peaceable way.
With a view to such circumstances, Moses directed them to buy the children of the Canaanites, as among the Hebrews there were always found parents in abundance of the negro race, who would sell their children for slaves, as readily as they do now in Africa. There can be no doubt, therefore, but the Hebrews, many of them under the sanction of that clause of the law of Moses, got their living by thus buying children, and selling them again in Judea and elsewhere; for, let it be observed, that this law is not qualified, as to its extent, in carrying on the traffic. Then, again, there were, no doubt, thousands of opportunities for the Hebrews, who wanted slaves of the negro character, to buy them of Hebrews who had more than they wanted, of such as were born in their own families, of parents who had been taken prisoners in the wars of the country, between the Canaanites and Hebrews.
From these views, we see no great difficulty in the way of the Hebrews procuring as many slaves as they wanted, without raising a hostile troop, carrying ropes, and rushing upon the Canaanite families, in times of peace, to get bondmen of this description, as there was, doubtless, an abundance of them born continually, throughout all their tribes, of such as were already slaves, and had been, from the beginning of the Hebrews’ conquest of the country, who had been held as perpetual bondmen in virtue of the law of Moses, which said that they should be for a possession for them and their children forever. But in relation to the charge of abolitionists, that American slavery is a system of spiritual despotism, it is not true, on account of the thing being impossible and contrary to the nature of the human soul, as a master can have no power over the volitions of the spirit. Power or dominion over the soul of a slave, beyond the mere commands of a master, in matters of labor, was never desired by any slaveholder, as thought, mind or spirit, cannot perform manual labor, which is all that is required of a slave, and this the body must perform, if it is performed at all. It is true, however, that the mind can be persecuted, abused, grieved and distressed, and that mind retain its freedom of range and action, loving, hating and believing as it will, after all.
The charge, therefore, that the principle of slavery, is a principle which aims at a usurpation of the rights of God over the human soul, is as false as it is monstrous and impossible. God, who created the African race, and, in their formation, both of body and mind, appointed them to slavery and servitude, would not have implanted in the desire of the other races who are allowed to enslave them, such an enemy to his sovereignty, as a desire to enslave the soul, and to take it out of the hands of the Creator, as abolitionists say slavery does; this, God has never done; neither was it ever desired by any man who has owned a slave; as an acquirement of such a description, could be of no earthly service to any one.
Was the spirit or desire which prompted Abraham, Lot, Job, Moses and Washington, with millions of other good men, in those ages as well as in America, to have slaves or bondmen, as a possession, which they bought with their money, a spirit which aimed at the usurpation of God’s government over the souls of such bondmen? We are compelled to say no, or such a permit would never have been found in the law of Moses, nor the practice passed by without reproof in the New Testament.
There is no such law in the codes of the slave holding states, that has a word to say about the souls, minds or spirits of the slaves, as relates to the coersion of that free principle. The charge, therefore, as advanced by abolitionists against the slavery system, is but a flare up—a flourish extra, a mere scintillation of a fiery pen, as wielded by some extraordinary spasm of eloquence. If any of the laws of the slave-holding states are so framed as to incapacitate the slaves, in relation to proper marriages, and thus prevent a state of things highly beneficial to all orders of society, they ought to be abolished and others enacted in their place, compelling such marriages as love or fancy among the slaves might dictate, however much their lewd propensities might contradict; surely, a course like this, were better, far, for the interests of masters, as well as slaves, than promiscuous intercourse.
If God has placed the negro race under servitude, that is of itself degrading enough, without any additional circumstances of shame; and, therefore, all slaveholders ought to practice the thing in an orderly and decent manner, exalting the slave as a slave, to aid him all that is needful in an honorable discharge of his duties toward masters, his family, friends, kindred and his God. Slavery, conducted thus toward the negro race, would not be sinful; because God, in his providence, has appointed the white man to be a guardian over the blacks, in the characters of masters, for their good and not their injury.
As to the charge of abolitionists, who accuse slavery of incapacitating slaves to marry among themselves, is shown not to be true, from the genius, design and chastity of the law of Moses, which abhored all whoredom and libertinism. Of necessity, therefore, slaves among the Hebrews, if they would delight in each others company, as males and females, they must have been married, or the curse of God would have been upon the whole twelve tribes. See Deut. xxii, 20, 21, and xxiii, 17, 18, where it is seen how very severe the law was against all offenders of a lewd description among the Hebrews; and are we to suppose that they were indifferent to the conduct of their bondmen and bondmaids in this particular? Consequently, marriages must have taken place as much among their slaves as among the Jews, their masters.
Thus, it is evident, notwithstanding the fine spun goods and chattel arguments of abolitionists, that a state of slavery does not essentially affect the marriages of slaves among themselves, as if slaves in consequence of slavery, are, in all respects, really and bona fide metamorphosed from human beings into some kind of implement, as an axe, a rake, or a wagon, which have neither passions nor souls. As to the famous passage found in the Constitution of the United States, which reads, that it was held by the powers of that Constitution, that all men are born “free and equal,” we have not a thought that any allusion was had, by that phraseology, to negro slavery, more than to men in the moon. The whole and only allusion, was to the titled dignitaries and nobility of monarchical governments, which enforced upon subjects and mankind, the hateful idea of master and vassal, lord and serf, plebeian and patrician, which distinction, to the minds of the framers of the constitution, was abhorrent to all their views of political liberty. If this was not so, and that clause had the negro’s case in its eye, as well as the above, it is extremely singular, that, in the whole instrument, the race is not mentioned, nor their condition of slavery.
Having shown, in this section, that Isaiah did not abolish Canaanitish or negro slavery, and that the passage against man-stealing did not relate to any people except the Hebrews, as well as that slavery does not incapacitate slaves as to lawful marriages, with many other matters, we next proceed to an examination of various notions and opinions of abolitionists, which, as we apprehend, are miserably out of the way.
Thus, from Isaiah’s pen, in word or deed,
The negroes of that time were never freed:
The curse of Noah, stood e’en then in force
As did the law, together with that curse.
No man had dar’d to dash the sacred page,
With change of purpose in that ancient age,
As fearless men do now, who wish to see
Mutation, where the truth should ever be.
Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7
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