Page:Appeal to the Christian women of the South (Grimké, 1836).djvu/12

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and no Jew was permitted to oppress him. He left his master just as our Northern servants leave us; we have no power to compel them to remain with us, and no man has any right to oppress them; they go and dwell in that place where it chooseth them, and live just where they like. Is it so at the South? Is the poor runaway slave protected by law from the violence of that master whose oppression and cruelty has driven him from his plantation or his house? No! no! Even the free states of the North are compelled to deliver unto his master the servant that is escaped from his master into them. By human law, under the Christian Dispensation, in the nineteenth century we are commanded to do, what God more than three thousand years ago, under the Mosaic Dispensation, positively commanded the Jews not to do. In the wide domain even of our free states, there is not one city of refuge for the poor runaway fugitive; not one spot upon which he can stand and say, I am a free man—I am protected in my rights as a man, by the strong arm of the law; no! not one. How long the North will thus shake hands with the South in sin, I know not. How long she will stand by like the persecutor Saul, consenting unto the death of Stephen, and keeping the raiment of them that slew him. I know not; but one thing I do know, the guilt of the North is increasing in a tremendous ratio as light is pouring in upon her on the subject and the sin of slavery. As the sun of righteousness climbs higher and higher in the moral heavens, she will stand still more and more abashed as the query is thundered down into her ear, "Who hath required this at thy hand?" It will be found no excuse then that the Constitution of our country required that persons bound to service escaping from their masters should be delivered up; no more excuse than was the reason which Adam assigned for eating the forbidden fruit. He was condemned and punished because he hearkened to the voice of his wife, rather than to the command of his Maker; and we will assuredly be condemned and punished for obeying Man rather than God, if we do not speedily repent and bring forth fruits meet for repentance. Yea, are we not receiving chastisement even now?

But by the second of these laws a still more astonishing fact is disclosed. If the first effectually prevented all involuntary servitude, the last absolutely forbade even voluntary servitude being perpetual. On the great day of atonement every fiftieth year the Jubilee trumpet was sounded throughout the land of Judea, and Liberty was proclaimed to all the inhabitants thereof. I will not say that the servants' chains fell off and their manacles were burst, for there is no evidence that Jewish servants ever felt the weight of iron chains, and collars, and handcuffs; but I do say that even the man who had voluntarily sold himself and the heathen who had been sold to a Hebrew master, were set free, the one as well as the other. This law was evidently designed to prevent the oppression of the poor, and the possibility of such a thing as perpetual servitude existing among them.

Where, then, I would ask, is the warrant, the justification, or the palliation of American Slavery from Hebrew servitude? How many of the swulliern slaves would now be in bondage according to the