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SLAVERY IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.
tionists was so great, so extensive, and so much upon the increase, that the South blinded itself by refusing to listen to the evidence before her. In his opinion, the South could not protect itself without the protection of the General Government.
“ Mr. Preston replied. He thanked the gentleman for his sympathy for the South. He wanted none of it, if he thought the South was not able to take care of itself. The South was abundantly able to protect itself. She wanted no interference: nothing but constitutional protection. She still cried hands off, hands off, hands off' to all: to the States, to the General Government beyond her defined constitutional powers of protection. She complained of interference, and wanted none of it. The laws upon this subject were many and highly penal, and Mr. Preston would say, that, in spite of the United States' laws, if any man interfered with slavery in South Carolina, South Carolina would hang him upon the strength of her laws.
“The debate was continued up to nearly four o'clock.
“Mr. Wall, of New-Jersey, made a strong speech in opposition to the tesolutions and in favour of the amendoient of Mr. Smith. He was opposed to the whole discussion and the groundwork of the whole discussion, because it was a subject Congress had no right to handle.
" Mr. Buchanan followed, and said that he should move an adjourn. ment. The Senate was in bad temper, and he hoped senators would be better-natured to-morrow. “ The Senate then adjourned.”
In the course of the present session of Congress, while this most important topic was debated, on the presentation of petitions from the Legislature of Vermont, and from many of the large cities of the North, praying the Congress to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia, as before described, the following appeared in the New York Transcript of December 20, 1837, as taken from a leading evening pa.' per, the Commercial Advertiser. It was repeated afterward in most of the herhapers of the city, without being either contradicted or moned, as far as I could learn, and I made inquiries on this subject in every accessible quarter. No one ventured even to doubt the facts, very few thought them at all discreditable, and almost all the Whig party were against any effort to amend the evil it described. The following is the paragraph :
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. From a correspondent of the Commercial Advertiser we derive the following important information.
“ It is notorious that the slave-trade is largely pursued in the District of Columbia, to the disgust and molestation of a great majority of its inhabitants, of every class and colour.
“A woman, a wife, a mother, esteemed or supposed to be free, was, in form of law, claimed as a slave, confined as such, and sold for exportation.
“Torn from her husband-in prison with four young children about her-frantic with wretchedness and grief-she cast her eyes on her children, and, in a moment of phrensy, resolved that they, at least,
should not grow up to be slaves, and proceeded to kill them with her own hand. Two she succeeded in killing, but the cries and struggles of the others brought in succour, and they were rescued from impending death.
• The unhappy mother was indicted for murder, tried by a jury of the district, and acquitted on the ground of insanity. It was insanity, but the insanity of overpowering passion.
“She had been sold, warranted sound, mind and body ; but on the happening of these facts she was returned by the buyer to the seller, for the legal cause of a breach of a warranty, by reason of the latent vice of unsoundness of mind, to be resold without warranty; and she has been purchased by a benevolent individual, that she, and her hus. band, and her children may work out her emancipation."
Perhaps the most striking contrast that could be presented to this, the bare perusal of which must make every Eng. lish heart thrill with horror, is the cool and deliberate resolutions of a body of ministers of the Gospel in Georgia, which appeared soon after in the New York Evening Post of January 5, 1838. It is as follows:
GEORGIA CONFERENCE. The following resolutions have been adopted by the Georgia Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, at its late meeting held in Athens :
“Resolved, that it is the sense of the Georgia Annual Conference, that slavery, as it exists in the United States, is not a moral evil.
“Resolved, that we view slavery as a civil and domestic institution, and one with which, as ministers of Christ, we have nothing to do farther than to ameliorate the condition of the slave by endeavouring to impart to him and his master the benign influences of the religion of Christ, and aiding both on their way to Heaven.”
One other illustration may be given of this moral blind. ness, which is not peculiar to the Whigs or the ministers of the Gospel who adopted the above resolutions, but which infects all classes of society, and all political and religious parties; it is this : On the breaking out of the rebellion in Canada, a public meeting was held by the Democrats of New-York in a large open space called Vauxhall Garden, “ to express sympathy with the Canadian revolutionists, and to consider of the best means of aiding them in their resistance to the tyranny of their oppressors." This meeting took place at the close of December, 1837; it was attended by an immense multitude, many thousands at least. The proceedings were orderly, the speeches very animated, and the general current of the whole was a fierce denun. ciation of tyranny and oppression, a declaration of the right of every man, and every body of men, to break their chains and demand their freedom whenever they saw fit,
PREJUDICE AGAINST ABOLITIONISTS.
and a general wish for the destruction of all oppressors, and the speedy emancipation from tyranny of all mankind. These sentiments were repeated by almost every speaker, and received with the loudest marks of approbation from all present. At length one of the Canadian revolutionists, who had escaped to New York, and for whose capture the governor of Canada had offered, by public proclamation, a reward of 2500 dollars, a Dr. Callaghan, addressed the meeting, and was applauded to the very echo for his Democratic sentiments. In the course of his speech, however, he instanced the number of liberal and distinguished public men in England who had declared, in their places in the House of Commons, that they considered the Canadians to be most unjustly oppressed, and among the number of these he named Daniel O'Connell, upon which a scene of great uproar ensued, with cries of " No O'Connell! No O'Connell! he's an abolitionist!” “And so," exclaimed Mr. Cal. laghan, "am I an abolitionist;" upon which the uproar was increased, and mingled with cries of “ Turn him out! turn him out!” Any comment on such a contrast as this, where men, met avowedly to applaud the self-emancipation of those whose grievances were at least comparatively light, condemned in the same breath all attempts in favour of the emancipation of others, whose grievances were of the heav. iest kind, must be wholly unnecessary; and, but that this spirit is unfortunately as common among the Whigs and Conservatives of America as it is among the Democrats, it would make one repudiate the very name of democracy forever. If this, however, were to be deemed a sufficient reason, whiggism and conservatism, and even religion itself, would have to be repudiated also, as this inconsistency affects the professors of each in an almost equal degree.
I must still offer another example of this all-pervading prejudice, though I thought I had done. During my stay at New York I delivered a course of lectures on Palestine at Chatham-street Chapel, one of four or five "free churches," as they are called, in this city, where the pews are not private property, but where every one who presents himself at the door is at liberty to take up his seat wherever he pleases ; the churches and chapels so freed being generally built by subscription, and sustained by letting the buildings for public and religious meetings, and by collections made on such occasions at the door. The audience at this chapel in attendance on these lectures were very numerous, ex. ceeding 2000 persons; and among them were perhaps four
or five negroes, extremely well-dressed and well-behaved, and from ten to twenty coloured persons, of different shades of brown complexion, according to the greater or less admixture of Anglo-American with their African blood. These individuals, most of whom were engaged in trade, behaved with the greatest humility and propriety, and in several instances, where they saw white persons standing near them, they rose to offer them their seats, and removed to a remoter part of the building. In the course of the first week I received a number of anonymous letters on this subject, but none with real signatures; they were all wellwritten, and were no doubt the productions of persons moving in the sphere of gentlemen; but one of these will suffice as an example of the rest. It was addressed to me in the following terms: Sir,
“ New-York, Jan. 16, 1838. “In company with several friends, I attended your first lecture at Chatham-street Chapel on Wednesday evening last, and although, in common with the rest of the party, I came off highly delighted and edified by the subject of the evening, I would beg leave, in the spirit of courtesy, and with the most friendly feelings, to suggest to you an evil which requires the most immediate correction. I allude to the practice of allowing coloured persons to mix with the audience, and occupy the ground-floor of the chapel. Their desire to appear at such a place, I admit, is highly commendable, but a place apart from the audience, in some part of the gallery, should be assigned to them. The building being under your control on the evening of your lecture, with you alone would seem to rest the corrective power, and, without its immediate application, you may rest assured that your lectures will not only lose their present popularity, but also their entire usefulness and respectability. This amalgamation of black spirits and white, you may rest assured, will never be tolerated by a refined and intelligent community; but, on the contrary, is considered no less an outrage on decency and decorum, than an insult to the feelings of your audience.”
Of course I took no public notice whatever of these anonymous communications, though I had occasion to know, verbally, from several quarters, that very many persons had been deterred from attending my lectures here (and those absentees were mostly persons professedly religious) because the “coloured people” were thus allowed to sit in the same part of the chapel with the whites. What makes this affected horror of " amalgamation" the more revolting is, that many of the very gentlemen who declare themselves to be so insulted and degraded by being placed so near the "coloured people" as to sit by them, have no scruple whatever to keep coloured women as mistresses, and have large families of children by them. Without this actual amalgamation, indeed, between the white races and the black, there
PRIDE OF INDIAN DESCENT.
would be none of the mulatto or brown-coloured people in existence. Yet in the Northern States of America these "mixed races” are far more numerous than the pure Afri. can black; and, therefore, the pretended horror of the slight amalgamation which sitting together in the same chapel involves, while the fruits of a much closer amalgamation meet you at every step in the highways and by-ways of the country, is the very acme of hypocrisy and pharisaical deceit.
It is remarkable that this prejudice against dark complex. ions does not extend to the aboriginal Indians, who are, many of them, of a deep reddish brown, almost as dark as the darkest mulattoes, and considerably darker than many other shades of the "coloured people” beyond the first remove from the offspring of white fathers and negro mothers. On the contrary, to have a mixture of dark Indian blood is rather a matter of pride than reproach ; and, so far from its being attempted to be concealed, it is occasionally the subject of public self-congratulation. A remarkable instance of this occurred during my stay in New York. The Rev. Dr. Hawks, one of the most popular and distinguished of the Episcopalian clergy here, was invited to deliver a lecture “On the History and Character of Pocahontas," the celebrated daughter of the Indian chief Powhatan, before the Historical Society of New York. The Stuyvesant Institute, in which this discourse was delivered, was crowded to excess; the lecturer was peculiarly eloquent, and his address deservedly admired for the beauty of its composition and the finished style of its delivery; and when, at the close of his discourse, he placed his hand upon his heart, and apologized for the pride which he must naturally feel in the recollection that some of the blood of Pocahontas flowed in his own veins, the sympathy of the audience manifested itself in marks of universal approbation. This was even still more loudly expressed when he added that, though it had pleased the Almighty to clothe the creatures of his creation with skins of different hues, yet the Scriptures had emphatically declared that “God had made of one flesh all nations of the earth;" and that, therefore, despite these external varieties, it was our duty to regard all mankind as our brothers, being children of one great Father, by whom all were brought into being. But into this seemingly "universal family' the despised African race is not admitted, and could not at the time have been included, either by the speaker or the great majority of his auditory at New-York. Their toleration was for the red races, or reddish-blackish-brown