Page:The Bible Against Slavery (Weld, 1838).djvu/10

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.


slave's willingness to be a slave, so far from lessening the guilt of the "owner," aggravates it. If slavery has so palsied his mind that he looks upon himself as a chattel, and consents to be one, actually to hold him as such, falls in with his delusion, and confirms the impious falsehood. These very feelings and convictions of the slave, (if such were possible) increase a hundred fold the guilt of the master, and call upon him in thunder, immediately to recognize him as a man, and thus break the sorcery that cheats him out of his birthright—the consciousness of his worth and destiny.

Many of the foregoing conditions are appendages of slavery. But no one, nor all of them together, constitute its intrinsic unchanging element.

We proceed to state affirmatively that, enslaving men is reducing them to articles of property—making free agents, chattels—converting persons, into things—sinking immortality, into merchandize. A slave is one held in this condition. In law, "he owns nothing, and can acquire nothing." His right to himself is abrogated. If he say my hands, my feet, my body, my mind, myself, they are figures of speech. To use himself for his own good, is a crime. To keep what he earns, is stealing. To take his body into his own keeping, is insurrection. In a word, the profit of his master is made the end of his being, and he, a mere means to that end—a mere means to an end into which his interests do not enter, of which they constitute no portion.[1] Man, sunk to a thing! the intrinsic element, the principle of slavery; men, bartered, leased, mortgaged, bequeathed, invoiced, shipped in cargoes, stored as goods, taken on executions, and knocked off at public outcry! Their rights, another's conveniences; their interests, wares on sale; their happiness, a household utensil; their personal inalienable ownership, a serviceable article, or a plaything, as best suits the humor of the hour; their deathless nature, con-

  1. Whatever system sinks man from an end to a mere means, just so far makes him a slave. Hence West India apprenticeship retains the cardinal principle of slavery. The apprentice, during three-fourths of his time, is still forced to labor, and robbed of his earnings; just so far forth he is a mere means, a slave. True, in other respects slavery is abolished in the British West Indies. Its bloodiest features are blotted out—but the meanest and most despicable of all—forcing the poor to work for the rich without pay three fourths of their time, with a legal officer to flog them if they demur at the outrage, is one of the provisions of the "Emancipation Act!" For the glories of that luminary, abolitionists thank God, while they mourn that it rose behind clouds, and shines through an eclipse.