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nates what he terms the “Mother Country” as a “Foreign Government.” If Great Britain was foreign in respect to the Colonies, the Colonies must have stood in the same relation to her. But on the authority of Webster's Dictionary, “We call every country foreign, which is not within the jurisdiction of our own government.” The Colonies were within and under the jurisdiction of Great Britain till the revolution. Their emancipation from British supremacy was the revolution. The foregoing extract affords a fair specimen of the logical acumen and historical accuracy which pervades the Report. The writer was evidently letting off steam. In conclusion, it is not improper to say a word about the Quakers. A foggy sort of notion is beginning to prevail, that from their origin, at any rate, from their settlement in this country, under William Penn, they have, as a denomination, been opposed to slavery. This position, if true, would only prove, that among many wild and visionary theories, which distinguish them as a sect, they adopted that of abolition. But the notion is not true. Opposition to slavery sprung up among them at a comparatively recent date. William Penn lived and died a slave owner. There is a letter on record from T. Matlack to William Findley, which gives an account of the rise and progress of this idea among them. Mr. Matlack, who, when he wrote, was an aged Friend, says: “The practice of slave keeping in Pennsylvania and New Jersey commenced with the first settlement of the Province, and certainly
was countenanced by William Penn. . . . . . . Penn left a family of slaves behind him. . . . . . . Slave keeping of course became
general among Friends.”
The earliest instance of emancipation among them known to Mr. Matlack, took place in 1742. It was not till eight or ten years after, that the yearly meeting began to lean in favor of the “oppressed African.” .
In regard to the improvement of the negroes, Penn attempted to legislate, not for the abolition of slavery, but for the sanctity of marriage among the slaves, and for their personal safety.
There is no more reason to suppose that George Fox was an abolitionist, than that Governor Winthrop was. They were brought up in the same notions respecting villanage, and so doubtless was John Locke. What those views were will pretty distinctly appear from the following extract from Grahame :
“Negro slavery lingered long in the settlements of the Puritans in New England, and of the Quakers in New Jersey and Pennsylvania; although in none of these States did the climate, or the soil or its appropriate culture, suggest the same temptations to this inhumanity, which presented themselves in the southern quarters of America. Las Casas, so distinguished for the warmth of his philanthropy, first suggested its introduction into Mexico and Peru; George Fox, the most intrepid and enthusiastic of reformers, demanded no more of his followers than a mitigation of its rigors in Barbadoes; and the illustrious philosopher, John Locke, renowned also as the champion of religious and political freedom, introduced an express sanction of it into the Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina.” ---.
The clause which Locke introduced into the Fundamental Constitutions of Carolina, is this:
“Every freeman shall have absolute power and authority over his negro slave, of what opinion or religion soever.”
These sentiments of Locke did not lower him in the eyes of our ancestors. As evidence of the estimation in which his writings were held by the most zealous and enlightened avocates for liberty at the time when the flame was brightest, the opinion of no one could be introduced which is entitled to greater weight than that of Josiah Quincy, Jr. In the last will of that pure and spotless patriot, who fell a martyr
to the cause no less than Warren, the following clause oc
“I give to my son, when he shall arrive at the age of fifteen years, Algernon Sidney's Works, JoHN LocKE's Works, Lord Bacon's Works, Gordon's Tacitus, and Cato's Letters. May the Spirit of Liberty rest upon him l’”
In the foregoing pages, an attempt has been made to show how far the establishment of slavery in Massachusetts was owing to the direct interference of the British government. One extract more from the oft quoted letter of Dr. Belknap will explain how far it was due to the proceedings of foreign or European merchants. Judge Tucker, in his searching examination, puts the following inquiry: “Whether it (the slave trade) was carried on by European or American adventurers ?” Dr. Belknap, in his reply, says:
“I do not find that European adventurers had any other concern here than to procure cargoes of our rum to assist them in carrying on
their business.” AMICU.S.