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Slavery: Its Political Evils, And Their Remedy: No. 1: Origi...

Slavery: Its Political Evils, And Their Remedy: No. 1: Origi... image
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The first cargo of A frican slaves was mported into the Colony of Virgina in .620, ten years after the permanent ettleaient of that Province, and the same ,'ear that the Puritans commenced he settlement of Negro slaves vere at that time considered by nost nations a legitímate article of comnerce : and no different legal regulations vere necessary for their delievery than ,vere requisite for the transfer of a cargo f African cattle on merchandise. 1 he vhole process, from its beginning to its jompletion, was one continued robbcry, ilthough perpetuated by a succession of ersons. The slaves, while in the exer:ise of freedon, were seized and taken 'rom their homes by physical force : by i continuance of that force they were jrought across the ocean j and by a fu. uro exercise, on the part of the planie rs, of so much force ns was necessary, ;hey were retained in subjection. Slave Legislation. A small number of Slaves might exist in a farming community for somc time, without any legislation respecting them. Each master, by common concent, would govern his slaves as he saw fit. But it is obvious that when they become greetly multiplied in numbers and value, more or less legislation would bo nocessary to determine the incidents of their condition as property. Tho first slavo statule of Virginia was of the date of 1670, fifty years after the commencement of Slavery. It was in these words :" That all scrvans, not being Christians, imported into this county by shipping, shall be slaves for their lives," This idea of tho rightfulnlss of enslaveing1 every class of men except Christians, was genorally prevalent, and was carried into practise upon the Indians as well as Africans. By a Statute of Virginia of 1679, " for the better encouragement of the soldier?," it was declared tliat "all Lidian prisoners," taken in a war then pending, should be "f ree purchasc, to the soldiers takin them. - Three years after, it was declared by another act, that " all servants, brought into the colony by sea or land, nol being Christians, whether negroos, mulattoes, moors or Indians. fexcept Turks and moors in amity with great Britain,) and all Indians which should there after be sold by neighboring Indians, or any other trafïicking with us, as slaves, should be slaves to all intents and purposes." Many of the Slaves laws now in force are more than a hundred years old, and enactments have constantly accumulated and multiplied. Ilenry Clay's remark that negro Slavery has been sanctioned and sanctified by two hundred yeais oí legislation," is strictly true. So far as human laws, enacted by the supreme power of the State, and appointed by the voice of all the religious teachers oi the community, can make mon property, so far the Slaves of the South nre to be considered as such, It is not, therefore, very wonderful, thai a large portion of Southern men look with surprise and astonishment upon thosc who dare to question the, legitimrvcy of i letter which has decended from farthei to son for generations' and been constant ly recognised as legal and right by the whole community. How can tho Slaveholder, who has perhaps never been inte a frue State, doubt for a moment his righi to whip his slaves when refractory, or shoot hini when hc runs away, whon the aulhority to do thus was conferred by I statute so long since that the memory oí . man, in tha.t community, runneth not tohe contrary, and his father and grand-. ather, and the holy teachers öf religión, is wéll as tlie whole community, have hasti$ed the disobedient and shot the abKJOJidiñg, without a doubt of the prop-ri2ty oí" thcir conduct ? Extensión ok Si.avery. Frono 1020, the time of the first importation of Slaves into the Colonies, to the cominonceinent of the Revolution, was a period of a century and a half. - During tliis long time, slaves stèadily multiplied, aitd Slavery extended farther aüd wider. Having been co-eval with freo institutions in its introduclion to our land, it has grown wilhour growth, and strengthencd with our strength. At the time of the llovolution, the White man had extended his conquests and his scttlements into thirteen Colonies ; and whercvor hc had gone, to the sultry plains of the South, or the coldcr regions of New England, hc h;id taken the Black man as lus property and his slavc, to labor for his subsistence, and minister lo his pride. The Revolution, insteal of freeing the Slave, placed additional obstados in the way of his Uberation. When the Continental Congress assembled in 1775, the Southern Colonies were niuch less zealous and earnest in opposing the Hritish king than the Northern ; and one of the first acts of that body wastochoose a Southern Slaveholder for a commander in chief of the allied forces, although in the Northern Provinces, there were older and more e.xperibnced oflïcers. Thus a practical and daily violator of the Declaration of Indepondence was appointedts foremost nnd most honored defender ! This first act of truckling for the favor of Slaveholders, completed before we had fairly begun existence as a nation, has been followed since in so many instances that it has become the settled policy of the governmentin all its domestic and foreign relations. Even at this day we find that the com mander of the free American Army on the Rio Grande, like the first and greatest General of Revolulionary times isa practical enslaver of his fellowcountrymen. The Declaration of Independence did not help the case of the Slave. It was not made for hint. Although it declared that the Great Creator had bestowed on all men an inalienable and natural right to Liberty, yet it does not appear that Congtess, as a body, entended the slightest design of withdrawing from the slave the long continued and acknowledged tyranny of their own and former generations. Although we have not the exact data, yet there is reason to believe a largc number of the signers of that instrument were themselves slaveholders, and would have rejected with indignation a proposal to extend to their slaves thatliberty which they had just declared the birthright of all! Such is human nature. W ith one hand it will wield the sword against a foreign tyrant, while with the other it tightens the manacles upon its helpless and unresisting victims at home ! Let not our vencration for our fathera makc us blind to their faults and vices, and lead us to deny the selfishness by which they were actuated. True, they were less enlightencd than their descendants ; but do we not find equal inconsistency in tho most renowned and popular patriots of our day ? Take the two mojt idolized in our nation, Andrew Jackson and Ilenry Clay. Where can you find men more detorminod to defend the system of Slavery, or mexe resolute in holding on, te their last, dying day, to every persor hom they can legally grasp as theip slaves 1 We ought notto look for greatej virtue in our comparatively unonlightenec fathers than can be found at the presen day. [The illness of the Editor has left thi article in an unfinished state. He hopes U resume it next week.]