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ESSAYS AND DOCUMENTS
THE GENERAL CIIARACTER, AND MORAL AND POLITICAL EFFECTS,
EDITED BY ENOCH LEWIS.
PUBLISIIED BY THE EDITOR.
FOURTH MONTH, 1827.
It is our privilege to live in an age we must subscribe to the sentiment, of surpassing improvement. The sci that no people have greater cause reences and the arts are deeply indebted verently to commemorate the goodto the genius and enterprise of our co ness of a beneficent Creator than the temporaries; and schemes, of exten- i people of these United States. No sive utility, are now in successful ope where have the choicest blessings of ration, which, half a century ago, the all-bountiful Parent been spread would have been considered as fit on with a more unsparing hand. To no ly to supply a void in the brain of a other people, ancient or modern, has maniac, or to exercise the idle inge- the cup of felicity been presented, nuity of a visionary projector. By with fewer bitter ingredients, or more new and efficacious experiments, prin- || completely purified from the lees of ciples in natural science, unknown to political thraldom. our fathers, have been developed, If, judging of the future from the and new avenues opened to the en past, we endeavour to delineate our joyment of man.
course through ages yet to come, a Of those improvements in physical | series of pleasing anticipations warms and political science, which have the reflecting mind. With a fertile stamped their character on the last soil, extending through every desiraand the passing age, the inhabitants of ble variety of climate, and capable of the western world claim a distinguish- affording all that luxury could deed share-There ingenuity has dis- | mand to supply the wants, or promote played its inventions to the gaze and the comfort of man ; with a populaimitation of the world, and there the tion enlightened and free; with a goprinciples of government have been vernment over which the laws are sutraced to their source, and the laws of || preme, and the people the arbiters of immutable justice solemnly proclaim- | the law; the way appears open to that ed as the proper basis and support of national greatness which ambition political institutions.
to enhance, and to inIf we review the periods of our na dividual prosperity, in which discontional growth, and mark our unparal- || tent might blush to complain. leled progress in the march of nations, Are these the delusive prospects of
a feverish patriotism, the visions of the greatest of evils ; if liberty is alpoetry; or are they the anticipations ways the highest wish and ultimate of sober reflection ? Is there no ill bod aim of the slave; how repulsive must ing omen to dim the light that glitters that condition appear to an observant on our future course? Alas! one
eye, when contrasted with the civil portentous cloud is impending over and religious freedom, by which, in the some of the fairest portions of our fa United States, it is every where survoured land. One dire disease, deep- || rounded. ly infixed in our national system, has But, however we may
commiserate “ grown with our growth, and strength- the condition of those who are doomened with our strength.” The light ed to hereditary servitude, the zeal of freedom, which we so highly prize, which this feeling excites may someshines on a part of our population times warm without enlightening the only by reflection, and to them is ra philanthropic mind. The slave, sunk ther “darkness visible” than light. and degraded below the proper level
This appalling subject is forced of humanity, may find, in the lethargic upon us, however reluctant we may insensibility resulting from his situafeel to investigate its character, or con tion, a retreat from mental suffering; template its rugged and forbidding as yet, though bent to the yoke, he still pect. A population of more than a possesses the stamina of the human million and a half, familiar with all the character—the aspiring tendency of privacies of our domestic life; accus his nature, though suppressed and contomed to hear liberty extolled as the cealed, is not destroyed
his dormant highest and noblest of enjoyments ; || passions are not extinct. The tranand yet, finding the bitter draught of | quillity which prevails, may be suddenhereditary servitude its own hopelessly disturbed—for the slumbering volportion; incapable, from its degraded cano retains its fires, and those who condition, of appreciating the bless occupy its smoking verge may themings of the government under which selves become the victims of the de. we live, and having little to dread vouring element. from any change or convulsions of the The slave is not the only object that political world-presents to our view demands our consideration. The ina prospect too awful to be contemplat. || troduction of negro slavery into the ed with stoic indifference. The cloud United States was not the work of is thickening with the progress of time; the present generation. The system and prudence admonishes, that, if it was entailed upon them by their ancannot be dissipated, it should, if pos cestors : and justice demands the adsible, be disarmed of its lightning. mission, that evils, both moral and pos
Whether slavery is, or is not, a po litical, are more easily discovered than litical evil; or whether a free or a removed ; and that those who are subslave population is most conducive to jected, by the circumstances of their national prosperity, can scarcely, in birth, to the hard alternative, either to this age, and in this country, require a new model the habits (which have serious discussion.
grown with their years, or to mainIf slavery has, in all ages, and among tain a system which their sober judgall nations, been considered as among ments cannot approve, are objects
of sympathy with the truly christian hor the system of servitude which premind.
vails in the south, and however they The jealousies and antipathies may compassionate its victims, there which the distinction between slave must, from their common interests, as holding and non slave-holding states well as common origin, always exist, has engendered and fed, may be safely in the prejudices and sympathies of classed among the disastrous concomi the former, a strong preponderance in tants of the system; especially as they favour of the superior class. oppose a stubborn obstacle to any ge There is probably no subject more neral effort for the removal of the deeply interesting to every section of other acknowledged evils of slavery. the Union than negro slavery, and Unhappily for the cause of humanity, none which has stronger claims on the the advocate of the slave has been too clearest heads and purest hearts aoften identified with the antagonist of
To open a way, equally his owner. The interests of these op safe and salutary, for the master and posite classes have been considered the slave to escape from the evils in as incompatible, and friendship for the which they are involved, and thus to one as synonymous with enmity for clear ourselves from the reproach of the other.
having disavowed, by our practice, the To soften or remove those antipa noble principles on which we assumed thies, and promote, between the in a rank among the nations of the earth, habitants of the different sections of is the great political problem, which our country, a community of feeling this or some succeeding generation on this momentous subject, is an ob must solve. ject of vital importance, worthy of the Animated by a desire to contribute efforts of those who seek alike the towards the attainment of this momengood of all. This cause, though criti tous object, and supported by the encal and arduous, is not desperate. couragement of his friends, the subHappily the purblind philosophy, scriber has concluded to offer to pub. which taught mankind to believe that lic acceptance, a monthly periodical one'part of the community could rise journal, with the title prefixed to this only by the depression of another, has article, designed to include an extenpassed away with the ages that are sive range of inquiries connected with gone, and a more enlightened era has this subject. To combat the prejudawned. Man is a social being, and dices which this system has produced, finds his own particular advantage in and which have varied their shades the promotion of the general good. according to the points from which Party strifes and sectional jealousies the condition has been viewed-to result from erroneous and limited trace the moral influence of slavery views of private interest; and often on those who breathe its atmosphere from imperfect acquaintance with the --and to point out the best means for motives by which others are actuated: its peaceful extinction, will be aThe people of the United States are mong the prominent objects of disbound together by one great federal cussion. interest; and however the inhabitants The work will comprise the followof the north may disapprove and ab. ing general divisions,