Page:Aunt Phillis's Cabin.djvu/24

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22
PREFACE

sons and daughters of Africa to do her bidding, she trafficked in the flesh and blood of her fellow-creatures; but our immortal fathers put an end to the disgraceful trade. They saw its heinous sin, for they had no command to enslave the heathen; but they had no command to emancipate the slave; therefore they wisely forbore farther to interfere. They drew the nice line of distinction between an unavoidable evil and a sin.

Slavery was acknowledged, and slaves considered as property all over our country, at the North as well as the South—in Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey. Now, has there been any law reversing this, except in the States that have become free? Out of the limits of these States, slaves are property, according to the Constitution. In the year 1798, Judge Jay, being called on for a list of his taxable property, made the following observation:—"I purchase slaves and manumit them at proper ages, when their faithful services shall have afforded a reasonable retribution." "As free servants became more common, he was gradually relieved from the necessity of purchasing slaves." (See Jay's Life, by his son.)

Here is the secret of Northern emancipation: they were relieved from the necessity of slavery. Rufus King, for many years one of the most distinguished statesmen of the country, writes thus to John B. Coles and others:—"I am perfectly anxious not to be misunderstood in this case, never having thought myself at liberty to encourage or assent to any measure that would affect the security of property in slaves, or tend to disturb the political adjustment which the Constitution has made respecting them."

John Taylor, of New York, said, "If the weight and influence of the South be increased by the representation of that which they consider a part of their property, we do not wish to diminish them. The right by which this property is held is derived