free ebooks

An Essay on Slavery and Abolitionism by Beecher

Abolitionists are men of pure morals

have engendered. But instead

of going among the community in which the evils exist, and endeavouring to convince and persuade them, they proceed to form voluntary associations among their neighbours at home, and spend their time, money and efforts to convince their fellow citizens that the inhabitants of their rival city are guilty of a great sin. They also publish papers and tracts and send out agents, not to the guilty city, but to all the neighbouring towns and villages, to convince them of the sins of the city in their vicinity. And they claim that they shall succeed in making that city break off its sins, by these measures, because other men succeeded in banishing intemperance by labouring among their own friends and fellow citizens. Is not this example exactly parallel with the exertions of the Abolitionists? Are not the northern and southern sections of our country distinct communities, with different feelings and interests? Are they not rival, and jealous in feeling? Have the northern States the power to rectify evils at the South, as they have to remove their own moral deformities; or have they any such power over the southern States as the British people had over their own trade and their dependent colonies in the West Indies? Have not Abolitionists been sending out papers, tracts, and agents to convince the people of the North of the sins of the South? Have they not refrained from going to the South with their facts, arguments, and appeals, because they feared personal evils to themselves? And
do not Abolitionists found their hopes of success in their project, on the success which crowned the efforts of British philanthropists in the case of slavery, and on the success that has attended efforts to banish intemperance? And do not these two cases differ entirely from the Abolition movement in this main point, that one is an effort to convince men of _their own_ sins, and the other is an effort to convince men of the sins of _other persons_?

The second reason I would urge against joining the Abolition Society is, that its character and measures are not either peaceful or Christian in tendency, but they rather are those which tend to generate party spirit, denunciation, recrimination, and angry passions.

But before bringing evidence to sustain this position, I wish to make a distinction between the _men_ who constitute an association, and the _measures_ which are advocated and adopted.

I believe, that as a body, Abolitionists are men of pure morals, of great honesty of purpose, of real benevolence and piety, and of great activity in efforts to promote what they consider the best interests of their fellow men. I believe, that, in making efforts to abolish slavery, they have taken measures, which they supposed were best calculated to bring this evil to an end, with the greatest speed, and with the least danger and suffering to the South. I do not believe they ever designed to promote disunion, or insurrection, or to stir up strife, or that they suppose that their measures can be justly characterized by the peculiarities I have specified. I believe they have been urged forward by a strong feeling of patriotism, as well as of religious duty, and that they have made great sacrifices of feeling, character, time, and money to promote what they believed to be the cause of humanity and the service of God. I regard individuals among them, as having taken a bold and courageous stand, in maintaining the liberty of free discussion, the liberty of speech and of the press; though this however is somewhat abated by the needless provocations by which they caused those difficulties and hazards they so courageously sustained. In speaking thus of Abolitionists as a body, it is not assumed that there are not bad men found in this party as well as in every other; nor that among those who are good men, there are not those who may have allowed party spirit to take the place of Christian principle; men who have exhibited a mournful destitution of Christian charity; who have indulged in an overbearing, denouncing, and self-willed pertinacity as to measures. Yet with these reservations, I believe that the above is no more than a fair and just exhibition of that class of men who are embraced in the party of Abolitionists. And all this can be admitted, and yet the objection I am to urge against joining their ranks may stand in its full force.

eBook Search
Social Sharing
Share Button
About us is a collection of free ebooks that can be read online. Ebooks are split into pages for easier reading and better bookmarking.

We have more than 35,000 free books in our collection and are adding new books daily.

We invite you to link to us, so as many people as possible can enjoy this wonderful free website.

© 2010-2013 - All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Contact Us