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An Essay on Slavery and Abolitionism by Beecher

Where there were not such dangerous liabilities


Take

another example. If a prudent and benevolent female had selected almost any village in New England, and commenced a school for coloured females, in a quiet, appropriate, and unostentatious way, the world would never have heard of the case, except to applaud her benevolence, and the kindness of the villagers, who aided her in the effort. But instead of this, there appeared public advertisements, (which I saw at the time,) stating that a seminary for the education of young ladies of colour was to be opened in Canterbury, in the state of Connecticut, where would be taught music on the piano forte, drawing, &c., together with a course of English education. Now, there are not a dozen coloured families in New England, in such pecuniary circumstances, that if they were whites it would not be thought ridiculous to attempt to give their daughters such a course of education, and Canterbury was a place where but few of the wealthiest families ever thought of furnishing such accomplishments for their children. Several other particulars might be added that were exceedingly irritating, but this may serve as a specimen of the method in which the whole affair was conducted. It was an entire disregard of the prejudices and the proprieties of society, and calculated to stimulate pride, anger, ill-will, contention, and all the bitter feelings that spring from such collisions. Then, instead of adopting measures to soothe and conciliate, rebukes, sneers and denunciations, were employed, and Canterbury
and Connecticut were held up to public scorn and rebuke for doing what most other communities would probably have done, if similarly tempted and provoked.

Take another case. It was deemed expedient by Abolitionists to establish an Abolition paper, first in Kentucky, a slave State. It was driven from that State, either by violence or by threats. It retreated to Ohio, one of the free States. In selecting a place for its location, it might have been established in a small place, where the people were of similar views, or were not exposed to dangerous popular excitements. But Cincinnati was selected; and when the most intelligent, the most reasonable, and the most patriotic of the citizens remonstrated,--when they represented that there were peculiar and unusual liabilities to popular excitement on this subject,--that the organization and power of the police made it extremely dangerous to excite a mob, and almost impossible to control it,--that all the good aimed at could be accomplished by locating the press in another place, where there were not such dangerous liabilities,--when they kindly and respectfully urged these considerations, they were disregarded. I myself was present when a sincere friend urged upon the one who controlled that paper, the obligations of good men, not merely to avoid breaking wholesome laws themselves, but the duty of regarding the liabilities of others to temptation; and that where Christians could foresee that by placing certain temptations in the way of their fellow-men, all the probabilities were, that they would yield, and yet persisted in doing it, the tempters became partakers in the guilt of those who yielded to the temptation. But these remonstrances were ineffectual. The paper must not only be printed and circulated, but it must be stationed where were the greatest probabilities that measures of illegal violence would ensue. And when the evil was perpetrated, and a mob destroyed the press, then those who had urged on these measures of temptation, turned upon those who had advised and remonstrated, as the guilty authors of the violence, because, in a season of excitement, the measures adopted to restrain and control the mob, were not such as were deemed suitable and right.


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