Address of the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society
|Address of the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society (1836)
ADDRESS OF THE BOSTON FEMALE ANTI-SLAVERY SOCIETY.
TO THE WOMEN OF MASSACHUSETTS:
SISTERS AND FRIENDS:
As immortal souls, created by God to know and love him with all our hearts, and our neighbor as ourselves, we owe immediate obedience to his commands, respecting the sinful system of Slavery, beneath which 2,500,000 of our Fellow-Immortals, children of the same country, are crushed, soul and body, in the extremity of degradation and agony.
As women, it is incumbent upon us, instantly and always, to labor to increase the knowledge and the love of God that such concentrated hatred of his character and laws may no longer be soin men's business and bosoms, that they dare not condemn and renounce it.
As wives and mothers, as sisters and daughters, we are deeply responsible for the influence we have on the human race. We are bound to exert it; we are bound to urge men to cease to do evil, and learn to do well. We are bound to urge them to regain, defend, and preserve inviolate the rights of all, especially those whom they have most deeply wronged. We are bound to the constant exercise of the only right we ourselves enjoy—the right which our physical weakness renders peculiarly appropriate—the right of petition. We are bound to try how much it can accomplish in the District of Columbia, or we are as verily guilty touching slavery as our brethren and sisters in the slaveholding States: for Congress possesses power 'to exercise exclusive legislation over the District of Columbia in all cases whatsoever,' by a provision of the Constitution; and by an act of the First Congress, the right of petition was secured to us.
By a resolution of the Last Congress, that no petition respecting slavery, shall be printed for the information of the members, and that no vote shall be taken on it, by which we may know whether the men we call our representatives are truly such, the whole nation is made to feel the slaveholder's scourge. The best and noblest of our countrymen, thus seeing, and thus feeling these things, have spoken and acted like freemen—Oh, let us aid them to rouse the slumbering manhood of the rest! Let us rise in the moral power power of womanhood; and give utterance to the voice of outraged mercy, and insulted justice, and eternal truth, and mighty love, and holy freedom; in the name and for the sake of our Saviour; and in the mountain-moving faith that we can do all things, Christ strengthening us.
Let us petition:—petition, till, even for our importunity, we cannot be denied. Let us know no rest till we have done our utmost to convince the mind, and to obtain the testimony of every woman, in every town, in every county of our Commonwealth, against the horrible Slave-traffic, which makes the District of Columbia a disgrace to the earth, and exhibits in the centre of a Christian country, an unrebuked wickedness, for which, no other spot on earth affords a parallel.
To facilitate this, we annex a form of petition, and entreat the aid of every woman whose hand it reaches, to circulate it (or a better,) rapidly, faithfully and thoroughly, and to transmit the signatures, as soon as possible, to 46, Washington Street, Boston, addressed to the person whose name, as a member of our Executive Committee, shall to be affixed to this address.
A detail of the mere physical particulars involved in the arrangements of a single Slave-dealer, would show the abolition of Slavery in the ten miles square, to be 'a cause worth dying for:' but while our whole country, by deliberately sanctioning such atrocities, stands before God and the world, as the strong hold of Slavery, while the institutions of the free are daily breaking down under operation of the Slave system; while in the best regulated parts of our country, the lives of the free are endangered by an avowal of the principles of the Declaration of Independence; and freedom itself embittered because honorable and dignifying industry is stigmatized as slavish—while these things are , we must devote ourselves to avert the fearful crisis to which these things are leading. Weak and wicked is the idea, that union in oppression is possible. Every nation that attempts it, 'God beholds, and drives asunder;' and has done from the foundation of the world.
Christian friends, again we conjure you, by all that woman holds dear and holy, to labor as woman has never yet done, in view of the unutterable destruction which waits visibly round about, to make our land a perpetual desolation, unless the people repent.
Leave no energy unemployed, no righteous means untried. Grudge no expense—yield to no opposition—forget fatigue—till, by the strength of prayer and sacrifice, the spirit of love shall have overcome sectional jealousy, political rivalry, prejudice against color, cowardly concession of principle, wicked compromise with sin, devotion to gain, and spiritual despotism, which now bear with a mountain's weight upon the Slave. Let but each woman in the land do a Christian woman's duty, and the result cannot fail to be his instant, peaceful, unconditional deliverance. Thus, and thus only can we hope to deliver our own souls. Only in thus doing, can we hope to hear the voice of Jesus, saying unto us, 'Come, ye blessed of my Father!—Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me!'
By Order of the Boston Female Anti-Slavery Society,
|M. W. CHAPMAN,||Corresponding Secretaries.|
July 13, 1836.