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of bloody battles, the sight of enslaved Africans, under the lash, and loaded with chains, must blunt the edge of the softer feelings of humanity; and render in a degree tolerable, what otherwise would be horrible. What mind can conceive, or tongue express, the horrors of war or of slavery? When the man* according to God's own heart, had the awful choice of three, the most fearful calamities known in our world, he chose pestilence itself, with all its concomitant horrors, in preference to war. For centuries past, Europe has been awfully punished with almost continual destructive wars. There must have been, on her part, a sinful cause. God does not afflict willingly, nor without necessity, grieve the children of men. For her crimes, no doubt, has Europe been enveloped in all the horrors of bloody, revolutionary, cruel wars. Extensive wars, and extensive epidemics, have been observed, not unfrequently, to accompany each other. Remarkable has the eighteenth century been for wars, earthquakes, inundations, and epidemical distempers. In many places, the earth has been, by pestilence, swept as with the besom of destruction. Have these awful plagues been poured out on the earth for nought, or without design? Far from it. Sin is the procuring cause, and the reformation of mankind the salutary
* David, king of Israel,
end. But misfortunes and experiments are lost on mankind, when they produce neither reflection nor reformation. Evils, like poisons, have their uses; and there are diseases which other medicines are unable to cure. One word more, gentlemen, and then I have done. How false an idea do many governments affix to the complex term national honour ? A false idea of this has caused millions of lives to be sacrificed, and immense treasure expended. What many call honour, is a foolish and fatal pride. This has occasioned many fatal duels between individuals, and many bloody wars between nations. In this instance, do not unenlightened and uncivilized nations, both in a religious and philosophical view, excel enlightened and christianized nations ? To know what ought to be intended and understood by the honour of a nation, we need only recollect 'what constitutes the honour of an individual. Is a virtuous character the best character of an individual? It must no less be the best character of a nation. Reflect seriously, gentlemen, on this sentiment. Then say, whether it be competent for you to authorize or encourage, even to permit and tolerate, the barbarities and other crimes of your armies or agents, either in the East-Indies, Africa, or the West-Indies. This is the
paramount point on which I have all along endeavour
ed to fix your attention; the point in which all my expostulations with you centre; the great object to which they all ultimately tend. May the Almighty sovereign of the universe give you clearly to see the infinite importance of this interesting subject! May your official conduct be such as your consciences will approbate when you are about to drop the curtain of mortality, and appear at the awful tribunal of this King of kings ! Finally, may you live the life, and die the death of the righteous !!
A recent act of the legislature of South-Carolina, which repeals the law that prohibited the importation of slaves into that state ; has made such a deep and lasting impression on my mind, that I cannot dismiss my subject, till I subjoin a few strictures on that truly unexpected, extraordinary, and alarming measure.
Legislators of South Carolina!
YOUR conduct, in the instance adduced, I can assure you, has excited astonishment and consternation, from the one end of the federal Union to the other. Daring step! The period is not distant, at which, I am confident, your own consciences will reprobate your conduct with greater severity than I am either able or willing to do it. However, on this painful occasion, I cannot be al. together silent. Vice, in all the multifarious forms of which it is susceptible, ever has had, and ever will have, its reprovers. Were reprovers totally to cease, methinks that, on such an occasion, the stones of the wall, or the beams of the house, could not forbear to cry out. in the full exercise of your judgments and recollection, when you passed the execrable act? Bodies of men, as well as individuals, have their moments of infatuation, and insanity; I do not say ebriety. Do your own consciences, in your moments of serious reflection, if any such moments you have, approbate your conduct? Or do they, in unison with the general voice of your nation, and of mankind, reprobate it? Do you
Were you know the origin, and natural effects, of slavery? Have you ever investigated the nature and tendency of the commerce and slavery of the human species, to sanction and promote which you have exerted your highest legislative authority ? Or, is your detested act a sin of ignorance?
Have you never been informed of the contented and happy situation of your wretched slaves, while they were in their own country? Did they leave it of choice? You know, or ought to know, that they are forced and dragged from it, as if they were horses or hogs. Do you know who brought them into existence, and put them in possession of the country, from which, by your insti. gation, they have been torn? Who authorised you, or any set of men on earth, forcibly to de prive them of the country, of which Heaven gave them ample possession? Shew your authority, if any authority you can pretend. Are not all your slave-traders, whom you encourage by what you call law, robbers ? Robbers such men certainly are; and robbers of the most infamous kind. Men did I call them? Have they not for. feited the honourable appellation? Shall I call them miscreants? Doy you
know the means, the inhuman and base means, by which your traders procure these wretches for you? I advise you,