This is an annotated text of John Hough�s A Sermon Delivered Before the Vermont Colonization Society, published by the Society in Montepelier in 1826.� Original spelling, punctuation and page citations have been retained; minor typographic errors have been corrected.
This electronic edition has been prepared for the Antislavery Literature Project, Arizona State University, a public education project working in cooperation with the EServer, Iowa State University.�� Digitization has been supported by a grant from the Institute for Humanities Research, Arizona State University.
Editorial annotation by Joe Lockard.� Digitization by April Brannon.� All rights reserved by the Antislavery Literature Project.� Permission for non-commercial educational use is granted.
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This text by John Hough, a Congregationalist minister and professor at Middlebury College, is both antislavery and anti-black.� Hough represents the ideology of the American Colonization Society, established in 1816 with the goal of ending slavery through removal of blacks to Africa.� The Colonization Society enjoyed substantial political support, considerably more than Garissonian abolitionism.� For a standard history of the society, see P.J. Staudenraus, The African Colonization Movement, 1815-1865 (New York: Columbia University Press, 1961).
��������������� Hough asserts that there is a complete contradiction between slavery and Christian principles, and that the institution offends a Christian spirit of benevolence.� He holds that slavery offends the natural justice of the Golden Rule, and that this represents a betrayal of Christianity.� However, emancipation within the United States would not, in Hough�s opinion, be beneficial either to blacks or to US society.� He writes �the state of the free colored population of the United States, is one of extreme and remediless degradation, of gross irreligion, ofrevolting profligacy and, of course, of deplorable wretchedness; whocan doubt, that has an eye to perceive, an intellect to appreciate and a heart to lament their condition?�Though nominally free, they are in a state of actual servility.�� (p. 8)� He continues �Not only are they degraded and ignorant, the free blacks among us are � often irreligious and profligate to the extreme.�� (pp. 9-10)�
After advancing claims concerning the prevalence of vice and criminality in the black community, Hough concludes that a deportation scheme is necessary in order to separate black and white societies.� Not only will colonization offer new opportunities for blacks, he suggests, but American black colonization of Africa will aid in civilizing and Christianizing the continent.� According to this view, Southern slave-holders would be willing to endorse an end to slavery if they could avoid the encumberance of a black population and send them to Africa, thus ending a sectional conflict in US society.� Moreover, by doing so through colonization slave-holders will avoid both the moral corruption of black slaves and the preeminent possibility of slave revolts.� For more on representation of blacks by colonization advocates, see Philip C. Wander, �Salvation Through Separation: The Image of the Negro in the American Colonization Society,�� Quarterly Journal of Speech (1971) 57:57-67.�
John Hough�s Sermon represents a nexus of antislavery and racialist thought, one where opposition to slavery emerged from a racial animus to the presence of blacks in a predominantly white society.
� Joe Lockard
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DELIVERED BEFORE THE
VERMONT COLONIZATION SOCIETY,
MONTPELLIER , OCTOBER 18, 1826.
By John Hough,
PROFESSOR OF LANGUAGES IN MIDDLEBURY COLLEGE.
PUBLISHED BY THE REQUEST OF THE SOCIETY.
PRINTED BY E.P. WALTON�WATCHMAN OFFICE.
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I CORINTHIANS, 7: 21.
ART THOU CALLED BEING A SERVANT? CARE NOT FOR IT; BUT, IF
THOU MAYST BE MADE FREE, USE IT RATHER.
And is it so? Does christianity stand forth the abettor of slavery, and lend the sanction of its high authority to the master's power, and bind and rivet his chains upon the vassal, as heaven's appointment? Such is the opinion, which some avow and maintain, and some too, who sustain the character of authorized expositors of holy writ and consecrated champions of christian truth. That such an opinion should be advanced and defended, and especially from such a quar�ter, might well be deemed so extraordinary as to stagger belief, could it be regarded as so anomalous as to be incredible, for men, in the pride of singularity or from the love of paradox, through the blinding operation of prejudice or the seductive influence of self-in�terest, to adopt and support any principles, however preposterous and untenable.
To be sure, the sacred writers no where expressly denounce sla�very and declare the tenure, by which the slave was held in bondage, founded in injustice, and his master's claims, but usurpation. They no where proclaim an universal emancipation, and thus array one half the world in arms against the other. They found servitude one of the existing institutions of civil society and, without any di�rect interference with it, any more than with various other political regulations of the community, abhorrent alike to humanity and reli�gion, they left its subversion to be accomplished by the sure, but gradual and silent operation of those high and holy principles, which they were engaged in disseminating. But, till the extinction of slavery, they enjoined a conscientious discharge of the duties, which the condition involved, just as they universally prescribed a cheerful
and entire submission to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake. Precisely the same course is pursued with regard to civil government, which is adopted on the subject of slavery. Submission to the laws and obedience to magistrates are demanded as duties, which God re�quires. Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers; for there is no power but of God; the powers that be, are ordained of God. Who�soever, therefore, resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God; and they that resist, shall receive to themselves damnation. As well, therefore, to say the least, might the advocates of the exploded doc�trines of the divine right of kings, and of passive obedience and non-resistance, argue in support of a tame, uncomplaining and un�qualified submission to the worst measures of the vilest men, who were ever clothed with a little brief authority, as the exaction of heaven, as it can be pretended, that slavery, with its whole train of enormities, is sanctified and established by divine authority. Un�less, then, it be concealed, that Nero and his government were ap�proved of heaven, while by his degrading follies he would have sunk himself beneath even contempt, had not his wanton injustice and his remorseless cruelty caused emotions of scorn and pity to give place to feelings of intense abhorrence and burning indignation, it will avail nothing to allege the precept, servants or slaves, if the term be preferred, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, as deciding the great question, whether christianity yields its countenance and its authoritative sanction to slavery.
But, when we proceed to consider the general spirit of the gospel of Christ and to weigh the import of some of its prominent injunc�tions, no mind gifted with an ordinary share of intelligence and char�acterized by a dispassionate spirit and by liberal views, can fail to arrive at a decided conviction of the utter repugnance, which exists between christianity and servitude. The religion of Christ is distin�guished by a spirit of peculiar equity and of enlarged benevolence. But, where is the equity of compelling another to a course of labor and hardship, not for his benefit, but exclusively for our emolument and gratification?� What features of benevolence are visible in en�tailing upon another a life of ceaseless toil and of rigorous privation, not for his good, but solely for our advantage? Love is pronounced the fulfilling of the law, on the broad principle, that love worketh no ill to his neighbor. But, is this love, so far removed from all that is inju�rious, exhibited in our treatment of him, on whom we fasten the
chains of servitude and whom we task with hard service, that ends but with life? All things whatsoever ye would, that men should do toyou, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.� But, where is the slave-holder to be found on earth, who would be willing to be himself reduced to bondage, and compelled to labour, under the goadings of the taskmaster's lash, to pamper another's pride, to feast his luxury or satiate his avarice? Where is the individual to be found, who, if a change of circumstances should convert the slave into the master and transform the master into the slave, would not see most clearly the palpable and rank injustice and the enormous in�humanity of slavery; and be loud in his complaints of usurpation and tyranny? But, if it be an act of outrage and cruelty, in one instance, for a human being to subject to hopeless servitude and unrequited toil, another of his species; how, in another case, can the same foul deed be made to wear the features of even-handed justice and of christian love?� In what page of God's word are the spirit and dic�tates of religion either frittered away by exceptions, or trammelled by limitations, so as to be rendered idle and nugatory? Where are we given to understand, that all our intercourse with our fellow-men is to be characterized by undeviating equity and singular kindness, provided they are distinguished by a florid complexion and flowing hair; but, that, if marked by a sable hue and by crisped locks, they are placed without the pale of justice and mercy, and are legitimate objects for avarice to task and for oppression to scourge? Give me but the single injunction, And as ye would that men should do to you; do ye also to them likewise; and let him understand its full import and reverence its high authority, and I challenge any slave-holder to re�tain his vassals in bondage an hour longer, than necessity, absolute and inevitable, imperiously requires. Indeed, so entirely is slavery, in all its features, at variance with the dictates of natural justice, as well as the impulse of humanity, that it may well create surprise, not only that it should have endeavored to enlist christianity in its de�fence, but that it should ever have found those, who, on any grounds, were prepared to become its champions and apologists.
The Apostle, studiously reserved as he was on the subject, in the text distinctly exhibits his own views of slavery. Art thou called being a servant? care not for it; but, if thou mayst be made free, use it rather. He saw, in whatever light it might be viewed, their con�dition, while slaves, to be one of degradation and embarrassment and
danger. He was aware that they were subject to restraints, which might interfere with the claims of duty, and exposed to perilous temptations to disregard the will and incur the displeasure of God, rather than disobey the commands and brave the indignation of an arbitrary and exasperated master. While, therefore, he exhorts his brethren, who were in a state of vassalage, not to give way to tor�turing anxiety and pining regret, and, to cheer them in their circum�stances of depression and distress, holds out to them the animating consideration, that they were the Lord's freemen, he still encourages them to embrace with eagerness any opportunity and to employ with vigour every rightful expedient for securing their emancipation. And slavery, in every age, sustains substantially the same nefarious character and has entailed upon it the same melancholy train of evils.
But, while liberty may justly be regarded as so high and so desira�ble an acquisition, such may be the untowardly situation, in which he may be placed and so many and so disastrous the malignant influen�ces, to which he may be subjected, that it may form a problem of no easy solution, whether the condition of the emancipated slave be more eligible than that of him who still continues to wear his chains. And such in my apprehension is the state of the free blacks in this country. It is one so unpropitious, it is attended with such hopeless debasement, it presents so few and so inefficient motives to honoura�ble and virtuous exertion and is, in every view, accompanied with such corrupting and noxious tendencies, that they may safely be pro�nounced, in many respects, in more unfavorable circumstances, than even the slaves themselves. And here it is, that I find the first argu�ment, which I would allege in behalf of the Colonization Society, whose cause I am called this evening to plead.
1. The plan of colonization holds forth the promise of incalculable blessings to the blacks and the prospect of signal benefits to the country.
That the state of the free colored population of the United States, is one of extreme and remediless degradation, of gross irreligion, of revolting profligacy and, of course, of deplorable wretchedness; who can doubt, that has an eye to perceive, an intellect to appreciate and a heart to lament their condition?� Though nominally free, they are in a state of actual servility. They are chained down by an invinci�ble necessity, a necessity which no one can hope to burst through, to an abject and a toilsome course of life.� No one of the liberal pro-
sessions lies open to them. No station of honor or of authority is accessible. These disabilities are the result of complexion and, till the Ethiopean can change his skin, they admit of no remedy. Who would employ a black to minister at the bed of sickness; who would entrust to him the maintenance of his rights and the protection of his interests in a court of justice; or what congregation would consent to receive him as a herald of salvation, whose lips should announce to them the will of heaven and whose hands should break to them the bread of life? Whose feelings would not revolt, not only at see�ing an individual of this class seated in the chair of state, presiding in our courts of justice or occupying the hall of legislation, but even at beholding him elevated to the lowest and most trivial office in the community? In all these respects the blacks, if not by the provisions of our constitutions and laws, at least by public sentiment and feel�ing, and by sentiment and feeling too, which, if groundless and re�prehensible, admit of no correction, are a proscribed and hopeless race. But, not only are none of the fields of generous enterprize and honorable ambition open to them, they are made to see and feel their debasement in all the every-day intercourse of life. No matter what their characters may be, however amiable and excellent their spirit and however blameless and exemplary their conduct, they are treat�ed as an inferior and despised portion of the species. No one, unless himself sunk so low, as to be an outcast from those of his own color, ever associates with them on terms of equality. Is it any wonder, then, if, in the absence of those inspiring motives, which stir the hearts and prompt the efforts of others, and with these lessons on their degradation, which, every day and almost every hour, they are reading, they should sink in their own estimation and descend to a voluntary acquiescence in that state of depression, to which their color has reduced them? Hence, with scarcely an exception, they are stupidly contented to remain in the condition of menial servants or of day-laborers. Hence, they evince no solicitude to acquire knowledge or, by diligence and economy, to accumulate wealth. On this subject, consider the import of a single fact. In New-York the free blacks amount to eight or ten thousand. Of this mass, but six�teen are voters at the polls, and still the pecuniary qualification of a voter is but two hundred and fifty dollars.
Not only are they degraded and ignorant, the free blacks among us are irreligious and profligate, and often irreligious and profligate
in the extreme. There may be many and honorable exceptions to this remark; but, they are but exceptions and militate not against its general truth. The system of exclusion from intercourse, on terms of equality, extends its influence to the enjoyment of the privileges of religious instruction and, of course, to the piety and salvation of our colored population. Where there are no colored congregations, nearly all exclude themselves from the means of grace, and from hope and heaven. Enter the houses of worship in places, in which no small number of blacks is dispersed through the community, and scarcely an individual will you find brought within the influence of divine truth, and thus likely to become a subject of the grace of life and an heir of salvation.
With the disregard of religion, the neglect of moral duties and the commission of high-handed and daring iniquity, is immediately and intimately connected. And the blacks among us are peculiarly ad�dicted to habits of low vice and shameless profligacy.� They are found, in vast numbers, in the haunts of riot and dissipation and intem�perance, where they squander in sin the scanty earnings of their toil, contract habits of grosser iniquity and are prepared for acts of daring outrage and of enormous guilt. Go to our penitentiaries and survey their inmates, or go and examine the records of our courts of justice, and you will at once learn, that, comparing their numbers with those of the whole community, they furnish a monstrous disproportion of those, whose crimes have subjected them to the lash of the law. While, in different states, they form only from one thirteenth to one thirty-fifth of the population, they are found to supply from one quar�ter to one third of the tenants of our penitentiaries. That, with this mass of guilt, enormous suffering must be combined, must be apparent to every understanding. Squalid poverty, loathsome and painful disease, fell and torturing passions, and diversified and pitiable forms of misery are to be found. In almost countless instances, the me�lancholy result is ruin complete and final, ruin of body and soul, ruin alike of happiness and hope.
The only effectual antidote to this accumulation of evils of most appalling magnitude, is to be found in the plans and efforts of the Colonization Society. Allow our colored population to remain among us, and they will continue the same degraded, unenlightened, unprincipled and abandoned race, that they now are found, equally worthless and noxious in themselves and equally a nuisance to
the public. But, remove them to another region, where new scenes shall spread themselves before them, where new views shall burst upon them, where new hopes shall be lighted up within them and they be subjected to the stirring influence of new and more efficient motives to exertion, and a mighty and a noble renovation of their character and a high and delightful improvement of their con�dition may be anticipated. Let them be placed where they will be led to look upon themselves as men, and not as an abject race, almost akin to the beasts that perish, and be prompted duly to estimate the dignity and worth of their rational and immortal nature, and above all, let them be situated where they may have the light of salvation shed upon them, and they be brought under the blessed influence of christian principles and christian motives, and new and holier linea�ments of character will be impressed upon them; and, from being objects of deep abhorrence and regret, they will become such, as shall cheer the eye and gladden the heart of christian piety and love.
Not only is the system of colonization fraught with blessings to the blacks, it is calculated to impart benefits of no trivial character to the community at large; benefits clearly seen in the diminution of the amount of crimes, by which the public peace is disturbed, and the security and happiness of individuals annoyed; and in obviating that large expense, now incurred in the detection and punishment of the offences against society, committed by this portion of our popu�lation. The amount of this expense would soon, and very soon, defray all the charges, which must be contracted in transporting to Africa and happily establishing there, every free person of color in the United States.
Looking, then, only at the blacks themselves and taking into the account merely the direct advantages conferred on them and the public, I venture to pronounce the plans of the Colonization Society most laudable and beneficent. On every individual, whom they re�move and colonize, they confer the richest blessings. They bid fair to redeem him from debasement and guilt and wo, to character and vir�tue and hope and salvation. If they thus rescue and bless but an incon�siderable number, it is an achievement purely beneficent and joyous, and every additional individual augments the amount of good accom�plished. And should they, at length, withdraw the whole two hundred and fifty thousand, which, it is estimated, form the entire free colored population of the country, they would effect an object, which might
well swell with delight every benevolent mind on earth, and over which all heaven would rejoice.
2. But, secondly, it is with reference to a more extended influence and more grand results, that I would urge the claims of the Coloni�zation Society to the approbation, the patronage and the prayers of the patriotic, the benevolent and the pious. It is believed, that, if fostered and encouraged, the plan of colonization will lead on to the entire abolition of servitude among us; that it will, at length, sever the chains of every slave and exalt to the rights and the blessings of freedom, every vassal through our country.
But, when, in a spirit of sneering incredulity, some may be ready to ask, can a society, whose means will not enable them to transport and colonize, perhaps, five hundred individuals in a year, and whose settlements could not, within that period, receive a much larger num�ber, than that, of new inhabitants, without being exposed to the hor�rors of a famine, ever drain off a population, whose annual increase is supposed to be not less than sixty thousand? When, with such data for its calculations, will the truth-telling processes of arithmetic allow us to anticipate the bright day, when his manacles shall be struck from the last of the sons of Africa; and the dark cloud, which spreads far and wide over the southern section of our country, be chased away?� How too, can a society, unknown to our statutes, and destitute of political power and influence, ever be able to beat down an institution, around which is thrown the sacred and impreg�nable shield of the constitution and the laws? How can it give freedom to those, whose chains selfishness rivets, and the rights of whose masters, rendered by interest adverse to emancipation, are thus guarantied by inviolable sanctions? Is not the whole scheme, one of the wildest and most visionary plans which ever fired the brain and cheated the hopes of an Eutopian projector?
It is admitted, that the resources of the society are utterly inade�quate to the attainment of the grand object, which they have in view, and which it is to be hoped, neither wearied by exertion, nor discour�aged by delay, nor daunted by difficulties, they will never consent to relinquish. It is allowed too, that the supplies, furnished by private bounty, will never, even on the most heightened anticipations, be able to accomplish any thing like a moiety of the wishes and aims and hopes f the society and its friends. It is granted also, that no idea is enter�tained and no desire cherished of breaking down the barriers of the
constitution and the laws, and of giving freedom to the slave, in spite of the obstacles, which these oppose to his liberation. But, after all these concessions, it is believed, that there is an agency at work, whose influence, though secret and silent, is sure and mighty; an agency, by which public opinion, whose control is visible not only in the movements of individuals, but in the extended measures of com�munities and nations, will be enlisted in favor of the emancipation and removal of our slave population, and be made to speak on this subject in language and with a tone, which shall be heard and obeyed.
Such is the position, which the society's colony is assuming, that it bids fair to become, soon, a national concern and to command legis�lative patronage. And, if to augment the national strength, to re�deem the national character from its foulest blot and to subserve, in its vital interests, the public weal, are legitimate objects of legisla�tion, then, may our General Government extend, with a liberal hand, its fostering aid to the Colonization Society; or rather take upon itself the execution of the noble design, in which that society has embarked. And where is the individual, who can think so meanly of our national resources, as to suppose, that the expense of transpor�ting yearly a number, equal to the whole annual increase of our colored population, to the coasts of Africa, would occasion the slight�est embarrassment, or that any other difficulties would present an insuperable or even a serious obstacle? And who, that knows how prolific is the soil of Africa, how abundant are its fruits and how soon and how amply it yields its returns to cultivation, can question the practicability of establishing colonies there, which, at no distant pe�riod, will be capable of receiving an almost indefinite increase of numbers?
In the discussions, which, this society shall occasion and in the operations, which it shall carry on, I see light poured upon the community on the subject of slavery; I see conscience awakened from its torpor to do its appointed office, and, by a gradual, but steady progress, I see the chains falling from the slave, till the last of his kind stands forth emancipated and free. Such is the impression al�ready made on the public mind in some of the slave-holding states, in one case of the moral evils, and in another of the political mischiefs, and in another of the pecuniary detriments of slavery, that they are well nigh prepared to cast off the crying enormity. This, at this ve�ry moment, as no ambiguous indications declare, is the fact with re-
ference to Maryland. Let this step be taken there, and a precedent, which cannot be without its influence, is furnished to other contigu�ous states; and in every instance, in which the noble example is im�itated, an appeal still more energetic and touching is made to every community, which tolerates slavery, to do away the guilt, the shame, the nuisance.������������������ ����������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� In no small number of instances, are there individuals, scattered over every slave-holding state, who are not only prepared, but eager to emancipate their slaves. But, to give them freedom and allow them to remain, the laws imperiously forbid, and to remove them they either have not the means, or they are ignorant of any region, in which they could be fixed, with the hope of an improvement of their condition. Let the Colonization Society come to their aid, while in this state of perplexity, and the testimony is decisive, that many a man will gladly surrender to them his slaves to be sent to people the coasts of Africa. But, no instance of this kind will be either unob�served or unoperative. It will address itself directly and cogently to the conscience and the humanity of every one around; and the in�quiry will press itself irresistibly upon his mind, whether the same step must not be taken by him, if he be not reckless of duty and steeled against compassion. Thus may the blessed work of emanci�pation be expected to go on, till the last is rescued from his thral�dom, and all are free.����������������������������������������������������������
The pertinacity, with which the great body of slave-holders seem bent on retaining their vassals in servitude, is no greater than that, with which various enormities have, in all ages, been cherished and defended. And the character, the influence and the various means of ensuring a final victory, are ampler and more efficient, than on many occasions, where glorious success and a splendid triumph have rewarded the efforts of those, who have dared to grapple with estab�lished and dominant abuses. Where would have been the reforma�tion with its blessed influence on the religious and moral, the politi�cal and intellectual condition of the world; an influence seen and felt in ten thousand diversified forms, and in all that is most endear�ed and precious to man's dignity and happiness, had not Luther, with heroic courage and constancy, breasted himself against the power and wrath of the man of sin? What barrier would have been reared against the slave-trade, and what restraints would have been imposed upon that shame and sin of Europe and that scourge of Africa, had
Granville Sharpe, and Clarkson, and Wilberforce, and their coadju�tors, with faint-hearted timidity, with a base and recreant spirit, given way to discouragement, and shrunk from opposition, and tame�ly surrendered themselves to sloth and the cause of mercy to a hopeless abandonment? In every noble and beneficent undertaking, a resolute and persevering pursuit of the object in view, will never fail of ensuring most desirable results.� Let then the friends and conductors of the Colonization Society never tremble at opposition and never be disheartened by difficulties. They that are for them are more than they that are against them. The vallies shall be exalted, and the mountains and hills made low; the crooked shall be made straight and the rough places plain before them. There is a mighty energy in truth; and God will be with them and conduct them on to final victory. But, if, in mysteri�ous wisdom, he suffer them to fail, they will have no occasion to regret any sacrifices they have incurred or any efforts they have made. He will cheer with his smiles the bitterness of defeat, and reward with delightful reflections here and with a bright and joyous recompense hereafter; well intended and faithful endeavors to honor him, and to relieve and bless mankind. How desirable it is, that slavery should be extinguished among us, it can require no elaborate train of remarks to evince. The evils of vassalage are multiplied and enormous. They extend to the body and the soul. They entail mis�ery on earth and they may bereave of happiness in eternity. The toil exacted of the slave, his defenceless exposure to wanton and brutal cruelty, and to severe and causeless suffering, render his condition one which none but a callous mind can contemplate without feelings of the deepest commiseration. But, when surveyed with reference to his moral and religious interests, it wears the saddest aspect to the view of the pious soul. It is shocking to the feelings of the de�vout heart, that the religious character and the immortal destiny of any human being should be at the disposal of the reckless indiffer�ence, the blind caprice, the stubborn prejudice, the daring impiety, the proud skepticism or the gross profligacy of one of his fellow-men, and under an influence so depraving and noxious, he be educated for a wretched eternity; or if not lost to the feelings and duties of reli�gion, amidst circumstances so unpropitious, that he must force his way to life through persecution, and discouragement, and suffering.
But, the noxious influence of slavery is not confined to the vassal, it extends to the temper and habits of the master, and is fraught with mischief to the general spirit and manners of society. On this sub�ject, one of themselves, even a prophet of their own, who possessed the amplest means of knowledge and who could have labored under no temptation to present an overwrought picture, holds language, strong�er, than I should dare to employ. �"The whole commerce between master and slave," says Mr. Jefferson, "is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions, the most unremitting despotism on the one part and degrading submission on the other. Our children see this and learn to imitate it. The parent storms, the child looks on, catches the lineaments of wrath, puts on the same airs in the cir�cle of smaller slaves, gives a loose to his worst passions, and thus nursed, educated and daily exercised in tyranny, cannot but be stamp�ed with odious peculiarities. The man must be a prodigy who can retain his manners and morals undepraved by such circumstances."� In other points of view, is slavery pregnant with baneful effects, para�lizing industry, by rendering labor servile and ignominious, and gen�erating a state of gross and disgusting profligacy, both of opinion and conduct. There may, I readily admit, without doubt, be found fre�quent and numerous instances of exemplary purity and excellence. But, the slave-holders of the south must rise altogether superior to the ordinary lot of humanity, as exhibited in every age and in every region of the world, not to be acted upon most disastrously by the seductive circumstances, by which they are surrounded, so that rank licentiousness, and low and degrading vice shall be rife among them, and lead on to a sad dereliction of moral and religious principle.
But, there is one other consideration which I would warmly urge, as calling aloud for the employment of all the means and for the put�ting forth of the utmost efforts for the extinction of slavery.� It is the safety of the slave-holder. Over that portion of our land so fair, but for the dark stain upon it, judgments are impending, and, unless seasonably averted, will descend with desolating fury. Their approach is as sure and unerring, as the progress of time. The disproportion�ate increase of the blacks will, by and by, render them quadruple in number to the whites; and when raised so high, their augmentation will go on with a continually accelerated and fearful progress. It is not in the nature of man, for ten, fifteen or twenty to remain in tame and degrading subjection to one, and that one a harsh and domi-
neering oppressor, by whose injustice and cruelty they have been goad�ed to desperation. They will become aware of their strength, will rise upon those, who have trampled them down, and wreak upon their heads the foul wrongs, which they have endured. The time will come, unless the occasion for it be done away, when the slaves at the south will thus rise, and from the Potomack to the Gulf of Mexico, will be shown one appalling scene of blood, and havock, and desola�tion. With the anticipation of such a day of terrible retribution, the heart of many a southern man often trembles. But, still, how generally they spurn every remedy and reject all interference, however well�-meant and kind, as officious and insolent intrusion? And disgusted at the inconsistencies, with which they are chargeable, when alleg�ing, as a vain apology for themselves, that, though slavery is a grie�vous evil, still it is one, which they did not bring upon themselves, but which was entailed upon them by others, they yet make it their own by pertinaciously retaining it and resolutely opposing all plans for its removal, and provoked at their harsh and resentful spirit to�wards all, who would do away the bane of servitude, the mind, some�times, when its better feelings are overcome, is tempted to resign them to their fate and leave them to reap the bitter fruits of their in�fatuation. But, it should always be remembered, that they act, but as other men have acted, and ever will act, in similar circumstances, under the influence of that self-love, which is the common and radical vice of our nature. It should also be borne in mind, that it is not the part of benevolence to be diverted from its purpose by any way�wardness of those, whom it is eager to bless and save; and that it never surrenders up to their destiny the objects of its kind regard, because, through delusion and folly, they are obstinately bent on their own undoing. We should never deem the hallucination, which might prompt a man to plunge himself in the flood or in the flames, as a valid reason for allowing him to execute his misguided project. Nei�ther should any one give way, for a moment, to indignant emotions, because his wishes to mitigate and remove the evils of slavery are misconstrued and his well-intended endeavors are scornfully repel�led. In the spirit of meekness and good-will, let all resolutely perse�vere in fervent desires and in strenuous and faithful endeavors to save the slave-holding states from the multiplied evils of slavery, and from that deluge of wrath and wo, which the mind, not gifted with pro�phetic vision, can clearly see to be fast and certainly hastening on.
3. Did its beneficial influence extend no further, than I have been describing, the Colonization Society would be rich in the blessings, of which it gives us cheering promise. But, thirdly, its benefits are not confined within so narrow a sphere. It will pour the light of truth and shed the blessings of civilization, and freedom, and peace, and religion on Africa; on degraded, wronged and suffering Africa. What we do here shall be felt in another quarter of the globe, and there tell, in the diminution of the ignorance, and guilt, and misery of our species; and in exalting to intelligence, and security, and hope, and piety, and heaven multitudes of our race.
The system of colonization, on different points of the coast, where it may be found practicable, is the only effectual means of extinguish�ing that rankest of enormities, the slave-trade. This nefarious com�merce is now carried on to a melancholy extent; and such is man's cupidity, that, however unlawful and inhuman, it will continue to be prosecuted, as long as it presents the promise of gain. Nor can that vast extent of coast, from Caffraria to Barbary, be so lined with cruisers, that this foul traffic shall not annually sweep away thou�sands to perpetual and hopeless bondage. But, aside from the terrible sacrifice of life in predatory warfare, excited to supply the market with slaves and in the dire privations and sufferings of the middle pas�sage, and aside from all the agony, caused by sundering the dearest ties, which ever bind together human hearts, there is no prospect, and no possibility of improving the condition of Africa, till the slave-trade shall cease to rouse to arms its various petty tribes against each other, and to destroy the sense of security and the animating motives to industry and enterprise, which the hope of enjoying the fruits of our exertions can alone create.
Christianity, with its long and rich train of blessings, can be dif�fused through Africa only by the efforts of missionaries, and these missionaries, as multitudes of melancholy facts attest, the colonies, which may be established there, can alone furnish. Send Americans or Europeans, as missionaries, and you send them to fall the untime�ly victims of disease and the grave. Who is a stranger to the afflictive and unsuccessful termination of nearly every expedition, sent forth to explore that untravelled and unknown continent, a termina�tion caused by the sweeping pestilence, which laid their members in the dust? The missionaries of the Church Missionary Society at Sierra Leone, have followed each other in quick succession into eter-
nity, so that the feelings of painful regret for the removal of one, were scarcely soothed, before the mind was called to mourn the ear�ly fate of another, cut down in the spring-tide of usefulness and suc�cess. The Colonization Society has seen its agents, again and again, swept away and, along with other valuable lives, has been called to mourn the loss of a Mills, an Andrus and a Sessions. Whatever is to be done for the extended diffusion of the gospel of peace in Africa and for the conversion of its numerous tribes, must, therefore be effected by the agency of their brethren. In them a degree of confidence will naturally be reposed, which no others can command; and they alone can reside unharmed in a climate fraught with contagion and death to others. With such missionaries to pub�lish its truths, and with colonies, as starting points, at which to com�mence their operations, the light of life and the blessings of chris�tianity may be rapidly diffused over that dark and wretched region of our earth; and moral verdure and loveliness be made to cover its wide and dreary wastes.������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������������� The practicability of establishing colonies an the coast of Africa, has been subjected to the test of experiment and has triumphantly succeeded. Allowing for that heightened coloring, which partiality may have imparted to his representations, I might almost be warrant�ed in saying, that Mr. Ashmun's late communication evinces, that all that could be wished, has been achieved. I may, at least, say, that the fondest and most heightened anticipations of hope have been far outgone. "To the lasting honor of the American Colonization Society," he says, "it has founded a new empire on this continent, the basis of which is Christianity, intelligence and rational liberty." It is, as his statements decisively show, an empire, which, in its in�fancy as it is, is already setting bounds to the outrages of the slave-�trade and exerting a kindly and invaluable influence on the cause of civilization and religion, and on the best interests of Africa.�������������������������������������������������������� ����������������������������������������������� Here, then, I may safely and confidently leave the claims of the Col�onization Society to your approbation and patronage; your warmest approbation and your most generous patronage. With such an ex�periment to point to, evincing, that its plans are not visionary and theoretic, but sober and practicable, with the promise of such bles�sings to the blacks themselves, with such advantages in prospect for our country, and with such a flood of light, and civilization, and lib�erty, and religion to pour upon injured and wretched Africa, it comes
forward and fearlessly prefers its title to the countenance and aid, alike of the pious, the benevolent and the patriotic.� Do you love your country. Help to wipe off the darkest and almost the only blot upon its character, and to cleanse it from that loathsome leprosy, which has fastened upon it. Do you regard with benevolent concern those, who have rational and immortal natures, like your own; and would you raise them from debasement and ignorance and vice, to intelligence, and virtue, and piety, and salvation? Lend your aid to pour instruction upon the benighted people of color among us, and to bring under the influence of new motives and higher hopes, those, who without your exertions are sunk in hopeless degredation. Would you honor your Redeemer and extend the inestimable blessings of his religion? Come forward and zealously co-operate in giving expansion and permanence to an establishment, which, it is to be hoped, may at length illuminate and bless a benighted, and barbarous, and afflict�ed quarter of the world. Whether, then, you love your country, your species or your God, you are here furnished with an opportuni�ty of indulging the best feelings of your hearts, of subserving inter�ests most precious in themselves and of aiding a cause approved of high Heaven.