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An Essay on Slavery and Abolitionism by Beecher

As the provocation came from the North


Cannot

the South be a little more patient under the injurious action that she feels she has suffered, and cease demanding those concessions from the North, that never will be made? For the North, though slower to manifest feeling, is as sensitive to her right of freedom of speech, as the South can be to her rights of property.

Cannot the North bear with some unreasonable action from the South, when it is remembered that, as the provocation came from the North, it is wise and Christian that the aggressive party should not so strictly hold their tempted brethren to the rules of right and reason?

Cannot the South bear in mind that at the North the colour of the skin does not take away the feeling of brotherhood, and though it is a badge of degradation in station and intellect, yet it is oftener regarded with pity and sympathy than with contempt? Cannot the South remember their generous feelings for the Greeks and Poles, and imagine that some such feelings may be awakened for the African race, among a people who do not believe either in the policy or the right of slavery?

Cannot the North remember how jealous every man feels of his domestic relations and rights, and how sorely their Southern brethren are tried in these respects? How would the husbands and fathers at the North endure it, if Southern associations should be formed to bring forth to the world the sins of Northern men, as

husbands and fathers? What if the South should send to the North to collect all the sins and neglects of Northern husbands and fathers, to retail them at the South in tracts and periodicals? What if the English nation should join in the outcry, and English females should send forth an agent, not indeed to visit the offending North, but to circulate at the South, denouncing all who did not join in this crusade, as the defenders of bad husbands and bad fathers? How would Northern men conduct under such provocations? There is indeed a difference in the two cases, but it is not in the nature and amount of irritating influence, for the Southerner feels the interference of strangers to regulate his domestic duty to his servants, as much as the Northern man would feel the same interference in regard to his wife and children. Do not Northern men owe a debt of forbearance and sympathy toward their Southern brethren, who have been so sorely tried?

It is by urging these considerations, and by exhibiting and advocating the principles of charity and peace, that females may exert a wise and appropriate influence, and one which will most certainly tend to bring to an end, not only slavery, but unnumbered other evils and wrongs. No one can object to such an influence, but all parties will bid God speed to every woman who modestly, wisely and benevolently attempts it.

I do not suppose that any Abolitionists are to be deterred by any thing I can offer, from prosecuting the course of measures they have adopted. They doubtless will continue to agitate the subject, and to form voluntary associations all over the land, in order to excite public sentiment at the North against the moral evils existing at the South. Yet I cannot but hope that some considerations may have influence to modify in a degree the spirit and measures of some who are included in that party.

Abolitionists are men who come before the public in the character of _reprovers_. That the gospel requires Christians sometimes to assume this office, cannot be denied; but it does as unequivocally point out those qualifications which alone can entitle a man to do it. And no man acts wisely or consistently, unless he can satisfy himself that he possesses the qualifications for this duty, before he assumes it.


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