Freedom in the West Indies: An Address Delivered in Poughkeepsie, New York, on August 2, 1858
FREEDOM IN THE WEST INDIES: AN ADDRESS DELIVERED IN POUGHKEEPSIE, NEW YORK, ON 2 AUGUST 1858
Frederick Douglass' Paper, 12 August 1858. Other texts in New York Times, 3 August 1858; New York Herald, 3 August 1858; Foner, Life and Writings, 5: 394—411.
On 2 August 1858 Douglass was the featured speaker at a celebration in Poughkeepsie, New York, commemorating the twenty-fourth anniversary of West Indian Emancipation. Between three and four thousand blacks and whites attended. The festivities began at 11:00 A.M. with the greeting of delegations arriving by boat and continued with an early afternoon parade through the city, led by mounted marshals, two uniformed bands, and a carriage carrying Douglass and the meetings officers. At College Hill, where the procession ended, the organizers had set up a platform and numerous refreshment booths. The assemblage was apparently orderly, although the New York Herald, in coverage later labeled witty yet “vile and base,” claimed that the blacks in the audience “amused themselves principally in roving about the grounds, eating, drinking and . . . leaving their white brethren to listen to the speakers.” William Rich of Albany, George W. Sterling of Poughkeepsie, and Charles Henry Russell of Utica were the first speakers. Douglass’s speech was halted by the noisy arrival ofa tardy delegation from Albany. As the platform guests moved about, “crack, crack, crash, crash, went the unstable frame, and down came boards, timbers, orators, officers, reporters, black and white, Quaker and elders, in one conglomerate mass of pine, hemlock and humanity.” The correspondent for the Rochester Democrat and American “saw a good sized board strike Mr. Douglass upon the head.” No one was seriously injured, and a wagon was substituted for the collapsed platform. Douglass spoke for two hours, then announced he would be unable to finish that afternoon. The meeting adjourned following a song by George W. Clarke and the announcement by Douglass that his son, “said to be very like his father," was in the crowd selling copies of My Bondage and My Freedom for one dollar. In the evening Douglass spoke to a large gathering
in the Universalist Church. The Poughkeepsie Eagle praised his performance that day as “a brilliant effort, equally eloquent and argumentative” and declared, “had the speech been made by a white orator, it would have commanded admiration in all parts of the country.” The Democrat and American reported that the New York Herald’s correspondent “took notes until the smash-up, after which the chances for phonography seemed awkward"; one of the “most reliable reports,” it said, would appear in the New York Times, whose reporter “took with him the manuscript from which Mr. Douglass read." The text reprinted here, which, except for minor variations in wording and grammar, follows that in the Times, includes three final paragraphs omitted in the New York City paper. Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Eagle, 31 July, 7 August 1858; Rochester Democrat and American, 5 August 1858; FDP, 12 August I858.
We have met to-day in your hospitable and beautiful city to celebrate no common event. No deed of partial and selfish patriotism claims our homage on this occasion. No towering monument is to rise here in honor of any naval or military heroism. We come among you to rejoice but not over the warlike conqueror, nor his fallen foe. We meet to proclaim neither the glory of the one, nor the shame and disgrace of the other. Our intents are charitable, not wicked.
Physical courage has its uses, and I would not disparage it or those who have distinguished themselves in the exercise of it. It has played an important part in the cause of Liberty as well as Slavery; but I am not here on this sacred day to explain its office, trace its history, or to applaud its merits, either in the abstract or in the concrete. Without rejecting or calling in question the right of an enslaved people to gain their freedom by a resort to physical force, we present to you, in the great fact which brings us here, a happier result, a nobler warfare, a holier strife, than any which have distinguished the most successful conqueror. To see a giant wrong like Slavery literally falling before the arms of truth and love made mighty, through God, to the pulling down of strongholds, must ever be more grateful to human contemplation than to behold the hard—hearted, persistent and inflexible tyrant perishing amid the flames of his own kindling and falling amid the clash and glitter of carnal weapons.
Thank God, there is nothing in the associations of this day to revive national antipathies, ancient or modern. For aught that properly belongs to this occasion, the hot embers of human hate may slumber forever in the depths of oblivion. No hand is here to stir them—no breath is here to blow them into life and flame. The event we celebrate naturally addresses itself
to the highest and most ennobling attributes ofhuman nature. The annals of the world show no brighter page than that on which West India Emancipation is written. It is an exhibition ofconscience—a manifestation of Christian virtue—an acknowledgment ofduty—a confession and a renunciation of profitable sin at great expense, on a grand and commanding scale, by a great nation. It is this which surrounds the event we celebrate with a halo of dimless glory, brighter and more enduring than the stars that fret the hollow sky.
After long years [of] patient labor on the part of Thomas Clarkson, William Wilberforce and their noble associates; after repeated defeats in Parliament and out of Parliament; after coldness, indifference, sneers and persecution, had become abashed and silenced by the power and majesty of sincere and earnest devotion to a great principle; after the abolition sentiment had spread from individuals to multitudes all over the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, and the voice of the nation was united in one earnest and determined demand for the realization of a merciful, just and beneﬁcent measure, we behold the statesmen of the British monarchy at last moved to action; and against all devices for delay which ingenuity and subtlety could invent; against all the frightfully augmented and magnified dangers which conscious guilt could suggest; against all the Satanic and selfish appeals addressed to human prejudice and pride; against all excuses and protests which insolent oppressors know how to wield when their power is about to be wrenched from their cruel grasp—I say, against all these, and after all these, we behold the British Parliament calmly proceeding to dissolve the relation of master and slave in the British West Indies, and to make freedom the law of Britain for all time. In reward of time well spent, of means well employed, of measures well directed and energetically prosecuted, and in answer to the ascending prayers of all the God-fearing and man-loving Christians, of England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, on the morning of the 1st of August, 1834, eight hundred thousand colored members of the human family were instantly declared free, emancipated; and this vast multitude, as if at the voice of God, the trump of the Archangel, rose from Slavery as from the grave, lifting their scarred and mutilated bodies up as from the jaws of death and hell. The account given of the scene in the West Indies on the 1st of August, is the most affecting and thrilling I ever read. The very thought of it now sends the blood in quicker pace around the circuit of my system. They had been ranked, as our slaves are, with the beasts of the field, rated with bales of goods and barrels of rum, driven before the taskmastcr’s lash, marked and
branded, bruised and wounded, robbed and plundered, but all at once they learn that their bondage is ended, the taskmaster is dismissed, the whips and chains are buried; they are no longer slaves, but free men and women. The effect upon them must have been electrical. l can well believe that they staggered and fell down, rose up, ran about. shouted. laughed. cried, sung, prayed, as they are described as having done, by Thome and Kimball.1The Reverend James Armstrong Thome (1809-73) and Joseph Horace Kimball (1813?-38) were coauthors of Emancipation in the West Indies. Thome, a Kentucky minister converted to abolitionism in the Lane Seminary debates, and Kimball, editor of the Herald of Freedom in Concord, New Hampshire, toured the West Indies for six months in 1836 and 1837 at the behest of the American Anti-Slavery Society. Their report included material on the positive impact of emancipation on black labor and recounted some examples of the joy with which emancipation was greeted. James A. Thome and Joseph H. Kimball, Emancipation in the West Indies: A Six Months' Tourg in Antigua, Barbadoes, and Jamaica in the Year 1837 (New York, 1838); Gilbert H. Barnes and Dwight L. Dumond. eds., Letters of Theodore Dwight Weld, Angelina Grimké and Sarah Grimké, 1822-1844 (New York, 1934), 150.
We are here again to congratulate our brethren of the British West Indies upon their peaceful disenthrallment, and to tender them the assurance that we the oppressed, and our friends in the United States generally, watch with the deepest interest their career in the new life upon which they have entered. We are here to acknowledge and manifest our gratitude to God. the giver of every good and perfect gift, for the merciful deliverance of that people. We are here. too, to bless the memory of the noble men, through whose wise, unwearied, and disinterested labors this grand result was wrought out. and to hold up their pure and generous example for admiration and imitation throughout the world. But above all our profoundest wish, our intensest desire, our chiefest aim, is to make this ever memorable day in some small measure the means of awakening a deeper interest in the cause of the fettered millions in our own land. We think it nothing unreasonable to ask the citizens of this Republic to be as true to liberty. to be as just, as generous, and as Christian like all the subjects of the British monarchy have shown themselves to be in this great act of Emancipation.
How long may we ask, shall it be the standing reproach and shame of the American Government that while England is exerting her mighty power, and her all-pervading influence. to emancipate mankind from Slavery, and to humanize the world, the American Government is taxing its ingenuity, and putting forth its power, to thwart and circumvent this policy of a great and kindred nation? Only a few weeks ago the American people were placed in a most disgraceful and revolting position. We were made the patrons of pirates, the protectors of the vilest band of robbers and
murderers which the sea ever floated—I mean the slave traders of the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and fifty-eight. Our Government virtually gave notice not merely to slave traders, but to all manner of sea pirates that the American ﬂag is broad enough to cover them all, and that the American arm is strong enough to defend them all. Mr. Buchanan virtually gave notice to all the Spanish, American and Portuguese stealers of men that they have only to run up the stars and stripes, when pursued by an honest man-of-war, to be safe from pursuit. The American ﬂag would shield them, if loaded to the gunwales with human ﬂesh for Cuba and Texas. Talk about the law of nations—talk about the freedom of the seas—the rights of independent nations! Who does not know that this is all a refuge of lies? Who believes that our opposition to the exercise of the right of visit by England arises mainly out of our respect for the law of nations, or our regard for the freedom of the seas? Who is there so dull in the discernment of motives of State, as not to know that the real explanation of our belligerent assertion of the freedom of the seas—our opposition to the right of visit, is that England is an Anti-Slavery nation—while we are a slaveholding and slave-trading nation?2In the spring of 1857 the Buchanan administration issued a strong protest against alleged interference with American shipping by the British, who claimed the right to board American ships to determine that they were not foreign slavers or smugglers flying American colors. Douglass may be in error regarding Buchanan's speech, however. Surviving documents indicate that Buchanan relied on the strongly worded reports of Secretary of State Lewis Cass during the spring and made his first major speech on the matter on 6 December 1858. Smith, Presidency of James Buchanan, 70-71; John Bassett Moore. ed., The Works of James Buchanan, 12 vols. (Philadelphia, 1908—11), 10: 214—16, 247. But for this, the men—of—war of both nations would move as fratemally to the Gulf of Mexico to put down the Slave-trade, as the Niagara and Agamemnon proceeded to the middle of the Atlantic to lay down the electric wire.3In early August 1858 the Niagara, sailing toward Trinity Bay, Newfoundland, and the Agamemnon, sailing toward Valentia, Ireland, were about to complete the laying of the first transatlantic cable. On 16 August, the project, which was promoted by Cyrus Field and the Atlantic Telegraph Company, reached fruition when President Buchanan and Queen Victoria exchanged greetings over the cable. By October, the cable had ceased to operate and was not repaired until 1866. Arthur C. Clarke, Voice Across the Sea (1959; New York, 1974), 46—64; Bern Dihner, The Atlantic Cable (Norwalk, Conn., 1959), 31—45. A slaveholding Government cannot consistently oppose the Slave-trade; it is the logical and legitimate deduction of Slavery—and the one is as hateful as the other. They are twin monsters, both hatched in the same polluted nest. Slavery and the Slave- trade together constitute what the pure-minded and pious-hearted John Wesley denominated the sum of all villianies.4Wesley described the slave trade as “that execrable sum of all villanies." Works of the Rev. John Wesley, 3: 453. But to return. I rejoice to
see before me white people as well as colored people to—day; for though this is our day peculiarly, it is not our day exclusively. The great truths we here recognize, the great facts we here exhibit, and the great principles which truth and fact alike establish, are world—wide in their application, and belong to no color, class or clime. They are the common property of the whole human family.
It is natural that I should attempt on this occasion something like a defence of Emancipation in the West Indies, and perhaps you expect this at my hands. You know it has been charged that the West lndia “experiment“—“experiment," that is the word—is a failure; and you would doubtless wish to know what answer can be made to this charge. I shall make short work with it, for I believe that my esteemed and eloquent friend, Henry Highland Garnet, made this charge the subject for your consideration on a similar occasion in this city last year.5Garnet spoke at the West Indian Emancipation celebration in Poughkeepsie in 1857. FDP, 14 August 1857.
One word as to the propriety of calling West India Emancipation an experiment. I object to it. I take it that this is one of the tricks of Slavery, and is of a piece with the character of that fraudulent business. There is obviously no more reason for calling West lndia Emancipation an experiment than for calling the law of gravitation an experiment. Liberty is not a device or an experiment, but a law of nature dating back to man’s creation, and if this fundamental law is a failure, the responsibility is not with the British Parliament, not with the British people, but with the great Author of this law. Slavery is the experiment in this case. God made man upright, but man has sought out many inventions, and Slavery is one of them. It is an experiment by which men seek to live without labor, to eat bread by the sweat ofanother man’s brow, to get gold without digging it, and to become rich without using one’s own faculties and powers to obtain riches. This is the real experiment.
But in answer to the charge that West Indian Emancipation is a failure, I frankly admit that in some respects it has failed. It has failed to keep Slavery in the West Indies under the name of Liberty. It has failed to change the name without changing the character of the thing. The negroes have really been emancipated, and are no longer slaves. Herein is the real failure. Emancipation has failed to keep negroes out of civil office, it has failed to keep them out ofthejury box, off thejudge’s bench, and out of the Colonial Legislature, for colored men have risen to all these stations since Emancipation. It has failed to keep the lands of Jamaica in the hands of the
few and out of the hands of the many. It has failed to make men work for a planter at small wages, when they can work for themselves for larger wages. In a word, West Indian Emancipation has failedjust as putting new wine into old bottles or sewing new cloth upon an old garment, will fail. The failure is not with the new, but with the old—not with the present, but with the past. Plain enough it is, to common sense and common reflection, that liberty cannot prosper upon the old conditions and with and by the old methods and machinery, which are adapted to a state of Slavery. The old plantation system of the Southern States of the American Union, grow out of, and are adapted to Slavery. They belong to feudal ages, and to feudal circumstances, where the land and the people are alike owned by a few lordly proprietors. In such Circumstances, where the toiling masses are all sacrificed to a limited and privileged class of slaveholders, it is easy to keep up great establishments and ﬂourishing estates. The explanation of the failure of West India emancipation will become very clear if these facts are kept in mind.
The complaint is. you are aware, that certain great estates which were once prosperous and flourishing, have greatly declined since the abolition of Slavery. I do not dispute the fact; all. or nearly all that is alleged at this point, may be freely admitted, but I deny that the failure of these estates proves emancipation to be a failure. On the contrary, they prove that a new order of things adapted to a state of freedom is indispensable to the growth and prosperity of these Islands. It is no proof that the people of Egypt are not as well off now as they were in the days of the Pharaohs. because no more pyramids are seen rising to meet the Eastern sky. It is no proofthat the people of England are not as well off now as they were in the feudal ages, because huge castles with towers and turrets, walls and battlements, are not seen rising in different parts of the British Islands. It is no proofeither that Britain is declining because most of those old piles. belonging to a semi- barbarous age are fast crumbling to ruin. So neither is it any proof that the West Indies are declining because the old plantation system of other days is giving place to small farms—as is the case in Jamaica and elsewhere.
But it is said that the emancipated negroes will not work—that it is absolutely necessary to import Coolies to the West Indies to supply the places of the slaves on the plantations and estates which were once flourishing.6After the emancipation of their slaves, West Indian planters began importing indentured laborers from India. By 1841 over seven thousand migrants had arrived, but the British government, alarmed by similarities to the slave trade, moved to cut off the flow of Indian workers. Four years later, under pressure from the planters, the British relented. Beginning in 1850, a steady stream of migration from China was added to the Indian influx. Although these laborers were given the option of repatriation at the end of their five years of indenture, the majority elected to remain in the islands. Both Indian and Chinese workers who engaged in unskilled labor were referred to as “coolies.” Cyril Hamshere, The British in the Caribbean: A Social History of the British Overseas (London, 1972), 158- 59. I do not dispute a word of it. It may be all just as the slaveholders
would have it, and I answer in a similar manner to that already adopted. You cannot get men to work on plantations for a lordly proprietor when they can do as well. and better. for themselves in other ways. I will not assume that Yankees are a lazy, good-for-nothing set, because we are compelled to import Irishmen to dig our canals and grade our railroads. They find employment more congenial—better suited to their taste: and so will the Irish when they are here a while. Grading railroads and digging canals are well enough in the absence of anything better. The same is true of plantation labor. I have no doubt that the negroes are lazy—it is not an uncommon fault of some men who are not negroes. Thackeray remarks very truly that. as a general rule. men are about as lazy as they can afford to be.7Douglass quotes the lndian-bom British novelist, orator, essayist, and editor William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863), author of Vanity Fair (London, 1848) and The History of Pendennis, 2 vols. (London, 1849—50), Stanley J. Kunitz, ed., British Authors of the Nineteenth Century (New York, 1936), 614—16. This rule is perhaps as true under a tropical sun as in a temperate climate.
It is said that the morals of the people of Jamaica are deplorably low. This too I frankly admit. So are the morals of our Slave States. So were the morals of Jamaica before the act of emancipation; so are they in all slave countries. Slavery and low morals go together. It is a low morality that permits one man to enslave another. I would not apologize for the shocking state of morals in Jamaica. but this I may do, show that Slavery. more than all other causes. must account for it. Liberty shall not bear the blame, when Slavery is the real offender. You cannot expect that a people cradled in Slavery. and sunk to the condition ofbrutes. in the eye ofthe law, will have a very high opinion of the marriage lnstitution immediately succeeding physical emancipation. The British Parliament could remove the fetters off the bodies of the bondmen—but not from their souls. That is a work for time, for religion, and for education. The moral habits of a people cannot be changed in a day—perhaps not for generations. Jamaica is now good ground for missionary reforms, not for malicious reproaches. Let those who paint her moral and religious destitution, and content themselves by assuming that West India Emancipation is a failure, exert themselves to send good men there with the Bible, with knowledge, with purity, and with
order, and no doubt the good seed thus sent will bring forth good fruit. This work is now being done by England and Scotland, and by the American Missionary Society, of which Lewis Tappan, Esq., is Secretary.8The American Missionary Association formed in 1846 through the cooperation of members of the Union Missionary Society, the West Indian Mission Committee, and the Western Evangelical Mission Society, who came together out of a desire to form a single. broadly based missionary society that would adhere to abolitionist principles. While the primary focus of the American Missionary Association was the one hundred and fifty foreign missions it came to control during the 1850s, the organization also functioned as an effective critic of the mainstream missionary associations—the American Home Missionary Society and the American Board of Commissions for Foreign Missions— that failed to attack American slavery. It also supported protests within Christian denominations countenancing slavery, sponsored speakers in southern and border states, and published the journal American Missionary. During the Civil War and Reconstruction, the American Missionary Association established schools and colleges for freedmen and assisted in black efforts to obtain land. Clifton H. Johnson, “The American Missionary Association, 1846-1861: A Study of Christian Abolitionism" (PhD diss., University of North Carolina, 1958), 57—65, 86—93; John R. McKivigan, “Abolitionism and the American Churches, 1830— I865: A Study of Attitudes and Tactics" (PhD diss., Ohio State University, 1977), 278—88; McPherson, Struggle for Equality, 158—74, 406—13. Mr. Loren Thompson, who has been a Missionary in that island for many years, is now in this country, asking for means to help forward the good work of the moral and mental elevation of the people. Let him be sustained in his endeavors.9The Reverend Loren Thompson (1813—65) was a missionary to freed blacks in Jamaica for twenty years. Thompson was bom in Hampton, New York, and prepared for the Congregational ministry at Oberlin College. Upon ordination, he accepted a post with the pro-abolition American Missionary Association at Eliot Station, Jamaica. Thompson returned to the United States from June 1858 to October 1859 to recover his health and to solicit funds for his mission. New York American Missionary, 2: 276 (November 1858), 3: 123 (June 1859), 3 : 246, 250 (November 1859); FDP, 22 April 1859; Boston Congregational Quarterly, 9: 109, 127 (January 1867); Charles Hutchinson Thompson, A Genealogy of Descendants of John Thomson of Plymouth, Mass. (Lansing, Mich., 1890), 57. Far more creditable and becoming will this be, than standing aside and giving aid and comfort to American dealers in the bodies and souls of men by denouncing Emancipation as a failure. But I promised to make short work ofthese objections, and will keep my promise. It is well to bear in mind an important truth here.
Whether men should be slave or free, does not depend upon the success or failure of freedom in any given instance. Some things have been settled independently of human calculation and human adjudication. One of these things is, that every man has by nature a right to his own body, and that to deprive him of that right is a flagrant violation of the will of God. This is settled. And if desolation and ruin, famine and pestilence should threaten, Emancipation would still be the same urgent and solemn duty that it everwas. When the God of all the earth ordained the law of freedom, He
foresaw all its consequences. Do right though the Heavens fall. We have no right to do evil that good may come, nor to refrain from doing right because evil may come.
This celebration comes opportunely just after your National Anniversary.10The Fourth of July. It laps on and supplies a deficiency, in the exercises of that day. It takes up the principles ofthe American Revolution, where you drop them, and bears them onward to higher and more beneficent applications. American Slavery, with its millions of slaves and mountains of gold, is a most captivating power, a great corrupter of men, as well as institutions. Few of our great public men, have been able to withstand its fascinations. Strangers and citizens alike fall before it. Our Doctors of Divinity seem especially susceptible and alive to its charms. For it they readily find a warrant in the Bible. It has seduced and bribed American orators into the most shameless contraction, multilation and falsification of the Revolutionary principles of American Freedom and Independence. What your brave fathers intended for the whole world, some of the most distinguished orators in America would confine to a section, a latitude, a climate, a soil—or would abandon altogether at the bidding of the great slaveholding abomination. Principles which your fathers intended to apply to all mankind, to bless and benefit all mankind, their sons, meanly and wickedly, in the cowardliness of their souls, limit to one race, to one complexion, to one type of features, to one variety of men. Before they can tell you whether a man ought to be free, they want to know the color of his cuticle, and the texture of his hair. They read the Declaration of American Independence with exceptions. They read the Bible with exceptions—and while they are careful to include themselves, they are careful to exclude all others.
The American Republic is not very old. Only eighty-two years and thirty-one days have transpired since, in an hour of darkness and trial, it was launched on the broad sea of national existence. The great act which gave it being was the Declaration of Independence. You all know what are the principles laid down in that great instrument. The central and most comprehensive principle there asserted is that “all men are entitled to life, liberty, and to an equal chance for happiness.” The Fathers of this Republic told us, and told a then listening world, that, according to their sense, civil Government, fit for the name and fit to exist at all, should secure these fundamental rights. They pledged themselves, by implication at least, that they would establish a Government which should secure these
cardinal rights, to the weakest and humblest of the American people. They not only appealed to earth, but solemnly appealed to Heaven, not only to man, but to God. They flung open their hearts for the scrutiny of the world.
I do not doubt that it was the purpose ofyour fathers to form just such a government as the Declaration of Independence shadows forth as the true one, and the only one which men are authorized to establish and perpetuate. They really believed in liberty. they believed in humanity, they believed in human progress and in human elevation. They readily ignored all distinctions between men in respect to rights, stated their principles in the broadest and most comprehensive terms they could command. Regarding Slavery as a transient, not a permanent feature of American society, they made no provision for the hateful thing in the Constitution. They looked upon it as an alien, and treated it as such. They nowhere tell us that black men shall be Slaves and white men shall be free. They nowhere make any distinction among men in respect to rights on account of color. They say “we, the people,” never we, the white people. Neither in the Constitution nor in the Declaration of Independence, is there a single reference to the subject of color. The sentiment of the leading statesmen of that day—the sentiment of leading divines, as well as the position of the church—show that Slavery was regarded as a perishing system, only requiring the silent operation of free principles and the certain advances of time to blot it out forever.
Great is the apparent ignorance of the present generation respecting this point. Slavery has bewitched us. It has taught us to read history backwards. It has given us evil for good—darkness for light, and bitter for sweet. We have been sitting at the feet of its Calhouns and its Taneys so long that we have ceased to comprehend the elements out of which the nation sprung into existence. A Government which was expressly ordained to establish justice and to secure the blessings of liberty, we have been pathetized into thinking, was especially intended and solemnly ordained to preserve the right of one man to hold property in the body and soul of another man. The fact is, there is scarcely a single great man of Revolutionary memory who was so ignorant, and so base, and so lost to the sentiment of shame as to defend the principle of Slavery—while, on the other hand, the chief and recognized builders of the Republic, almost without an exception, openly condemned that principle. Washington, Franklin, Jefferson, Adams, Madison, Monroe, Patrick Henry,11Evidence purporting to link George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, James Madison, James Monroe, and Patrick Henry to the antislavery cause appears in Goodell, Slavery and Anti-Slavery, 30, 80-82, 84-87, 241, and in idem, Our National Charters, 135-40. Roger Sherman, 12Roger Sherman (1721—93), Revolutionary statesman, was born in Newton, Massachusetts, but later moved to Connecticut, where he held various judicial and political posts. He was the only man to sign all four of the founding documents of the nation: the Articles of Association, the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, and the Constitution. At the 1787 Constitutional Convention, where he introduced the so-called Connecticut Compromise, he often served as a mediator between supporters of slavery and those who believed the institution was inconsistent with the Revolution's goals. Sherman opposed including the word slave or any wording suggesting that men could be held as property— in the Constitution and would have based representation in the lower house of Congress on the free population only. Although he "regarded the slave trade as iniquitous," he supported the compromise that allowed its continuance until 1808, arguing that the system of slavery was dying on its own and that it was “expedient to have as few objections as possible to the proposed scheme of Government." Max Farrand, ed., The Records of the Federal Convention of 1787, 4 vols. (1937; New Haven, 1966), 1: 196, 2: 220, 269- 70, 415, 416; Roger Sherman Boardman, Roger Sherman: Signer and Statesman (Philadelphia, 1938); ACAB, 5 : 501—02; DAB, 17: 88, 91.
George Mason,13Although self-educated in the law and never admitted to practice, Virginia planter and Revolutionary statesman George Mason (1725—92) was one of his era's foremost legal thinkers. A close associate of Washington, he authored in whole or in part the Fairfax Resolves of 1774, the Virginia Declaration of Rights (1776), and the Virginia Constitution of 1776. Throughout his life Mason held strong antislavery convictions that he refused to compromise. At the Constitutional Convention he argued against protecting the foreign slave trade until 1808, believing it was “essential in every point of view, that the Genl. Govt. should have power to prevent the increase ofslavery." “As much as I value an union of all the states.“ he declared, “I would not admit the southern states into the union, unless they agreed to the discontinuance of this disgraceful trade." Because of the inclusion of the slave trade clause and the omission of a Bill of Rights, Mason refused to sign the Constitution and campaigned against its ratification in Virginia. A son of the Enlightenment, Mason supported manumission if slaves were prepared for freedom through education and slaveholders were compensated for their losses. Mason was the grandfather of James Murray Mason, staunch defender of slavery, whom Douglass often attacked in his speeches. Farrand, Records of the Federal Convention, 2: 370; Wiecek, Sources of Antislavery Constitutionalism, 51, 65, 70, 72, 74; Helen Day Hill Miller, George Mason, Gentleman Revolutionary (Chapel Hill, 1975); ACAB, 4 : 241—42; DAB, 12: 361—64. Luther Martin,14Luther Martin (c. 1748— 1826) was born near New Brunswick, New Jersey, and educated at the College of New Jersey (Princeton). Admitted to the Virginia bar in 1771, he soon established a successful law practice in Somerset, Maryland. From 1778 until 1805, and again from 1818 to 1822, he served as Maryland's attorney general. When a coalition of southern and New England interests at the Constitutional Convention agreed to prohibit federal interference in the foreign slave trade for twenty years, Martin called it “absurd and disgraceful to the last degree that we should except from the exercise of [federal] power, the only branch of commerce which is unjustifiable in its nature, and contrary to the rights of mankind.” Objecting to the strong central government created by the convention, Martin withdrew without signing the Constitution and argued against its ratification by Maryland. In a speech before the state legislature he declared that “slavery is inconsistent with the genius of republicanism. . . . as it lessens the sense of the equal rights of mankind, and habituates us to tyranny and oppression." A staunch opponent ofJefferson, Martin associated himself with the Federalists and was one ofthe lawyers who defended Aaron Burr in 1807. Farrand, Records of the Federal Convention, 3 211-12; Wiecek, Sources of Antislavery Constitutionalism, 72, 76: Paul Clarkson and R. Samuel Jett, Luther Martin of Maryland (Baltimore, 1970); Goodell, Our National Charters, 140; DAB, 12: 343—45. and other distinguished men of the earlier and better days of the Republic, condemned the system of Slavery as a great moral and political evil, alien to the laws of nature. But how
different from this is the sentiment of the present, among our public men! What was regarded as a curse at the beginning, is now cherished as a blessing. What your fathers thought it the highest patriotism to limit, circumscribe and discourage, it is now called patriotic to nationalize, spread and protect. It has now come to pass that Freedom is the evil to be shunned, and Slavery the blessing to be sought. Those who denounced the accursed thing at the beginning, were deemed wise, humane and patriotic. Those who denounce it now, are called disorganizers, enemies of the Union, “freedom-shriekers," “negro-worshippers," infidels and traitors. The contrast is striking and instructive. The great men who pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to the principles of the Declaration of Independence, would to—day be banished from the councils of the nation. They would stand no chance with the Buchanans, Casses,15James Buchanan and Lewis Cass. Touceys,16Isaac Toucey (1792-1869), a Connecticut lawyer and Democratic politician, served as a U.S. congressman (1835—39), governor of Connecticut (1846—47), and attorney general and acting secretary of state 1848—49) before winning election to the Senate in 1852. Toucey had nearly completed his term as senator, during which he gave outspoken support for the Kansas-Nebraska Act, when President Buchanan appointed him secretary of the navy in 1857. During his tenure in that post, Toucey attracted criticism for alleged prosouthern sympathies. In the early years of the Civil War, he was charged with having used the authority of his cabinet position to the advantage of those southerners advocating secession in 1860. Toucey, who had retired to Hartford, supported the North during the war. Robert Sobel. ed., Biographical Directory of the United States Executive Branch, 1774 — 1977 (Westport, Conn., 1977), 333; BDAC, 1722, ACAB, 6: 142; DAB, 18: 600-01. and Cobbs 17Howell Cobb (1815-68), born into a wealthy Georgia planter family, graduated from the University of Georgia and practiced law brieﬂy. A Democrat from a largely nonslaveholding district, Cobb won election to Congress in 1842 and served there at various times until his appointment as secretary of the treasury by Buchanan in 1857. A supporter of the Compromise of 1850 and briefly a member of the Constitutional Union party while Georgia'0s governor in the early 1850s, Cobb was chastened by defeat in an 1854 senatorial election and subsequently moved toward a prosouthern and ultimately secessionist stance. During the Civil War, Cobb fought in the Sixteenth Georgia Regiment, rising to the rank of major general. He resumed his law practice after the war. Ezra J. Warner and W. Buck Yeams,Biographical Register of the Confederate Congress (Baton Rouge, 1975), 56—57; Horace Montgomery, Howell Cobb's Confederate Career (Tuscaloosa, 1959); Robert P. Brooks, “Howell Cobb and The Crisis of I850," MVHR, 4: 279—98 (December 1917); DAB, 4: 241-44. of the present day.
Pardon me; I am only stating what must be evident to all. Let me glance at another topic, or rather at another phase of the same topic. Only a few weeks ago the American people celebrated the eighty-second year of their freedom and independence. The celebration was this year quite remarkable and noteworthy, in several of its features. You know that our national
birthday, like the word “Liberty” on the old-fashioned copper cent, has been regarded with increasing suspicion of late. The new-fashioned coin, now passing for a good cent, has banished the old copper and “Liberty,"18From 1793 until 1857 the United States minted copper cents that bore a wreath on one side and a bust of Liberty, along with the inscription Douglass describes, on the other. The coin was discontinued in 1857, one year after the appearance of the nickel one-cent piece. The latter coin, which was 12 percent nickel and 88 percent copper, had a wreath on one side and an eagle on the other. It did not bear the word Liberty. John S. Dye, Dye's Coin Encyclopedia: Complete Illustrated History of the Coins of the World (Philadelphia, 1883), 1135—44. and some doubts have been expressed if the Fourth of July will be much longer retained among our institutions, since the principles which make that day glorious have been buried out of sight, and Slavery, with the negro’s bleeding bones in his mouth, is now stamping on Freedom’s grave. It was supposed that so frightful a reminder to the people of slaughtered Liberty might be gotten rid of in much the same way. But no; the Fourth of July is still celebrated, but not as a festival of Liberty. With many it is the great day selected for the assassination of Liberty. But to the late celebration. Of course, though remarkable as l have said, in some of its features, it was, in its general character, about the same as for some years past. There were not more than the customary number of accidents. The killed and wounded did not, perhaps exceed the number previously reached by similar celebrations. There was evidently a good deal of villainous saltpetre burnt; a few arms blown off—a good deal of bad whisky imbibed; perhaps in imitation of our worthy President, who, the public are informed. takes nothing in the way of liquor but old rye whisky. There was also a little fighting done. There was in fine, as a Western man would phrase it, tall drinking, tall fighting, tall swearing, and tall speech-making that day. I judge of it by the papers, and from these I infer that it was altogether a lively day, especially in certain northern localities. Among those of our public men who figured conspicuously that day. we may name (for public men are for public mention) Honorable Edward Everett, Honorable Rufus Choate19Rufus Choate (1799—1859), descended from a Massachusetts Puritan family, was valedictorian at Dartmouth in 1819. After 1822 he combined a legal career with public service. During his tenure in the Massachusetts legislature in 1825 and 1826, Choate opposed Jacksonian Democracy. He won election to Congress as a National Republican in 1830 and soon became a leading Whig politician in Massachusetts. In 1841 Choate was chosen to fill out Daniel Webster's Senate term when Webster became secretary of state. He served until 1845, a staunch Whig who opposed the annexation of Texas and supported high tariffs. An admirer of Webster, Choate was himself known as a premier orator and advocate of sectional compromise. At the Massachusetts state constitutional convention, Choate played a leading role in opposing the creation of an elective judiciary system. His endorsement of James Buchanan, a Democrat, in the 1856 presidential election contributed to the fissuring and collapse of the Whig party in New England. Jean V. Matthews, Rufus Choate: The Law and Civic Virtue (Philadelphia, 1980); Claude M. Fuess. Rufus Choate: The Wizard of the Law (New York, 1928); BDAC, 690; DAB, 4: 86-90. and Honorable Caleb Cushing, the latter late Attorney-General
under the Administration of General Franklin Pierce, whose Pro-Slavery glory is now eclipsed by Mr. James Buchanan.
Mr. Cushing20Caleb Cushing (1800-79), a Harvard graduate, practiced law and edited the local paper in his native Newburyport, Massachusetts, before pursuing a career as a diplomat and politician. Originally a Whig, Cushing served in the Massachusetts legislature beginning in 1825 and held a seat in Congress from 1835 through 1843. Cushing broke with the Whigs in 1841 when he supported President John Tyler's vetoes of Whig bills for a national bank. Tyler rewarded him with the post of commissioner to China. There in 1844 Cushing signed the Treaty of Wang Hiya, which opened limited Sino-American trade. During the Mexican War, Cushing raised a regiment and participated in the expedition to capture Mexico City. Twice defeated for governor of Massachusetts, he served as mayor of Newburyport from 1851 to 1852 and then as an associate justice of the state supreme court. Appointed attomey general by Pierce, Cushing became a leading national spokesman for anti-abolitionism, union, and expansionism. His Independence Day speech, to which Douglass alludes, was delivered at New York City’s Tammany Hall on 5 July 1858. Cushing, who was then a Massachusetts legislator, used the occasion to lash out at abolitionists as “noisy and half crazy agitators" and to declare that the idea that the slave power had great influence in the national government was “utterly destitute of any foundation in fact." Cushing later supported John C. Breckinridge in the 1860 election but converted to Republicanism during the Civil War. After the war he practiced law in Washington and served in a number of diplomatic posts. Claude M. Fuess, The Life of Caleb Cushing, 2 vols. (1923; Hamden, Conn., 1965); New York Times, 7 July 1858: BDAC, 768; ACAB, 2: 38—39; NCAB, 4: 151-52; DAB, 4: 623—30. was the honored orator of Old Tammany, that favored resort of all that is decent, patriotic, and Democratic, in the City of New York.21Cushing spoke in the headquarters of the Society of Saint Tammany on Frankfurt and Nassau Streets in New York City. The building, erected in 1812, originally bore the name “The Wigwam," in keeping with the Indian rituals practiced by the Tammany Society. Since it hosted meetings of the General Committee of the New York City Democratic party as well as activities of the secret society, which was itself often involved in supporting the campaigns of regular Democrats, the building came to be popularly identified as Tammany Hall, a term also loosely applied to the regular Democratic machine and to the Tammany Society. Jerome Muskhat, Tammany: The Evolution of a Political Machine, 1789—1865 (Syracuse, N.Y.. I971), 1, 5, 45. Mr. Everett was favored with a select audience of Democrats (Democrats again you see) at the Revere House, over or under a dinner table—only costing $10 a plate.22Everett and Choate both appeared at a Democratic benefit on 5 July 1858. The dinner, costing $10 a plate, was held in Revere House, a Boston hotel on Bowdoin Square at the corner of Bulfinch Street. New York Times, 6 July 1858; Samuel Gilman Brown. ed., The Works of Rufus Choate With a Memoir of His Life, 2 vols. (Boston, 1862), 1: 234—35; The Boston Directory, for the Year 1852, . . . (Boston, 1852), 306; Edward Everett, Orations and Speeches on Various Occasions, 4 vols. (Boston. 1850—68), 4: 3—51. Quite a democratic dinner that. While Mr. Cushing was addressing the Democracy of Old Tammany, and Mr. Everett, saying his speech at the Revere House, Mr. Choate was discharging a perfect whirlwind, (not of periods, for he don’t use any, but of
words), no doubt to the wonder and astonishment of the Boston Democratic Club.23Choate spoke early in the day on 5 July 1858 to a Tremont Temple meeting held under the auspices of the Boston Democratic Club. His lengthy address, “National Men of Boston,” was enthusiastically received by the audience, although a Boston correspondent of the New York Times complained that the ailing Choate's delivery was “as bad as that of a premature child who is in some unaccountable hurry to get into this wicked world." Choate stressed national unity and observed that such unity “rests on compromise." “Thyme” to New York Times, 6 July 1858, in New York Times, 10 July 1858; New York Times, 7 July 1858; Brown, Works of Rufus Choate, 1: 234—35, 2: 415-44. He talked gloriously, vain—gloriously, and furiously, for it is no trouble for Mr. Choate to talk. But what, think you, these three distinguished sons of old Massachusetts had to say on that day which was to remind us of the days when men dared to rebuke tyranny, and to look danger full in the face? What had they to say in favor of the principle of Liberty, which your fathers nobly asserted, and bravely defended with their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor? I say, what idea was made prominent? Turn to Mr. Choate, and if you can understand him, you get this idea. The Union of these States is a great blessing, and that the Northern people, in their wild devotion to liberty, are putting the Union in peril. You gather from his “glittering generalities,” that there are certain forces operating in the country prejudicial to unity and nationality, and it is plain that opposition to Slavery, is in his judgment, the disturbing and dangerous force to be met, resisted and put down. Not a word against Slavery—not a word in denunciation of tyranny—not a word in sympathy with the advancement of freedom throughout the world—but nationality was beginning, middle and end with Mr. Choate. Thus the strength of the eloquent orator was spent for naught. He insists upon what is not denied—he rebukes where there is no transgression—he warns where there is no danger, and leaves unsaid the only word which is in keeping with the great principles and purposes of the Declaration of Independence. lt is just such a speech as any old Tory might have made against the Whigs in 1776. As they would have had your fathers seal their lips on the subject of British oppression for the safety of the union with England. so Mr. Choate would have us seal our lips on the subject of American Slavery for the sake of the Union with the South. lt was a plea for silent acquiescence in all the domineering pretensions of the slave-power of the country.
A word of Mr. Everett—and only a word. Notwithstanding this man’s early Bible defence of Slavery; notwithstanding his shameless declaration of a preference to fight against slaves to any other warfare, knowing no other military service in which he would rather buckle on his knapsack and gird on his sword than to put down a slave insurrection; notwithstanding his
cowardly suppression of the most significant feature of the moral portrait of Washington, lest the exhibition of it should give offence to slaveholders; notwithstanding his singular desertion of the Hon. Charles Sumner and the cause of freedom in the American Senate, and his general reprehensible truckling to the dark spirit of Slavery—I, for one, had followed him with a certain degree of hope. He is a man of great and splendid abilities, and knows what is right on the subject of Slavery, as well as any man in America. He knows that Slavery is the mistake, is the curse, the crime, the disgrace, and the shame of America. Yet in all his travels, amid the scenes through which he has passed in delivering his popular lecture on Washington,24Edward Everett gave the prolonged lecture “The Character of Washington" over one hundred times between I854 and the outbreak of the Civil War. This immensely popular address, which stressed Washington‘s accomplishments in building the Union, enabled Everett to raise over $69,000 for the campaign by the Mount Vemon Ladies' Association of the Union to purchase Washington's home and preserve it as a national monument. Everett, Orations and Speeches, 4: 3-51; DAB, 6: 223—26. he has found nothing in this country to condemn, except a little something he calls Buncombe.25Buncombe or bunkum connotes insincere, empty talk and derives from remarks made about 1800 by Congressman Felix Walker, who justified a seemingly irrelevant speech as appealing to his constituents in Buncombe County, North Carolina. Mathews, Dictionary of Americanisms, 1: 219. That’s all—a little spot called Buncombe. The enslavement of four millions of men and women is nothing to condemn; the effort making to spread the withering curse of human bondage is nothing to condemn; but only a little spot called Buncombe, a spot to which his own speech belongs—for a more palpable piece of Buncombe than this speech of his—made over the golden plates ofthe Revere House, and by the side of slaveholding Commissioner Ben Hallett26Benjamin Franklin Hallett (1797— 1862), of Massachusetts and Rhode Island, was an editor, lawyer, and politician. A graduate of Brown University, Hallett edited the Providence Journal from 1821 until 1828 and then moved to the Daily Advertiser in the same city. His editing of the Boston Daily Advocate, beginning in 1831, established Hallett as a leader of the radical wing of the Anti-Masons in Massachusetts. He engineered the movement of many such Anti-Masons into the Democratic party in the mid-1830s and brieﬂy took strong antibank and antimonopoly positions. In 1838 Hallett's Advocate merged with the Boston Post. Although Hallett participated in the brief coalition between the Massachusetts Democratic and Free Soil parties in 1849 and 1850, he increasingly found his political allies among southem Democrats. In 1852 Hallett supported the candidacy of Franklin Pierce, who later made him U.S. district attorney in Boston. During the 1856 campaign, Hallett authored the Democratic party platform drafted in Cincinnati and backed Buchanan. He encouraged conciliation ofthe South in the 1860 election while supporting John C. Breckinridge for the presidency. Boston Commonwealth, 4 October 1862; Fred Harvey Harrington, “Nathaniel Prentiss Banks: A Study in Anti-Slavery Politics," New England Quarterly, 9: 630—31 (December 1936); ACAB, 3: 51; NCAB, 3: 60—61; DAB, 8: 154—55.—never found place in an American newspaper. It is national ﬂattery on a large scale,
such as few would attempt when sober, and such as could not have been expected of Mr. Everett when drunk.
Now, for the sake of symmetry and completeness, let me say a word of the other performance at Tammany Hall. Among the first Anti-Slavery speeches I ever heard, was one from the lips of Hon. Caleb Cushing, at Liberty Hall, in New-Bedford, Mass.27Douglass lived in New Bedford. Massachusetts, after his escape from slavery, staying in the city from 1838 until 1842. There he frequented lectures at Liberty Hall, an abandoned, dilapidated church at which he first heard not only Cushing but also William Lloyd Garrison. Frederick Douglass, “Reminiscences,” Cosmpolitan, 12: 378 (August 1889). It is now nearly twenty years ago. It was a passing eulogy on the lamented young Alvord, lately deceased, one of the most promising Anti—Slavery men of that day.28James Church Alvord (1808—39), a Dartmouth-trained lawyer and Whig abolitionist, served a term in each home of the Massaclmsetts legislature before winning election to Congress in 1839. An officer of the Massachusetts Abolition Society, he defeated two anti-abolitionists in the 1839 election but died before the House of Representatives convened. PaF, 16 May, 6 June 1839; BDAC, 476. Mr. Cushing then stood upon the old Whig platform. He was fishing for Abolition votes then, as he is fishing for Pro-Slavery votes now. But there was something in the sudden burst of grief and lamentation in which he indulged over the early death of Alvord, that cheated me for the moment into the belief that Caleb was really in sympathy with the great and beneficent aims of that rising young statesman. But it was not so. Mr. Cushing was then, as now, the same gifted, learned, crafty, unscrupulous corrupter of the public heart that he now is. His speech at old Tammany Hall would convert the great celebration of Liberty into a means of making friends for Slavery and for stirring up the bitterest and most brutal passions of the country. of every prominent and consistent friend of the principles of the Declaration of American Independence. Such is the use made of the birthday of Freedom by these three eminent public men. Under all the gauze and lace of their bewitching rhetoric, under all the high-sounding phrases of their devotion to the Union, there is veiled the hideous and hell black imp of Slavery. Sitting there on his throne of bleeding hearts, he drives, by proxy, his sable serfs to unrequited toil, keeping back the wages of the laborer by fraud and giving him nought for his work. For him, these searchers after fame and funds have no rebuke on the Fourth of July. Their bolts are forged for the head of Liberty—not for the head of Slavery. They love the Union, but not the objects for which the Union was formed. They quote the great words of the fathers, but only to excuse the sins of their children. They would preserve the form, but murder the spirit of Liberty.
“Paltering in a double sense,
They keep the word of promise to the ear,
And break it to the heart.”29Douglass makes small changes in quoting Macbeth, act 5, sc. 7, lines 49-51.
Yet, even in this quarter, there is much to cheer and gladden the hearts of the friends of impartial freedom. Old Massachusetts does not allow such treachery to liberty to go unpunished. Under the teaching of the Sumners and Wilsons, the Parkers30Charles Sumner, Henry Wilson, and Theodore Parker. and Higginsons,31Thomas Wentworth Higginson (1823-1911) of Cambridgc, Massachusetts, was a Harvard-educated reformer, Unitarian minister. and soldier. Born into a prominent but recently impoverished merchant family, Higginson taught school in 1843 and 1844 between two four-year stints at Harvard. Upon graduation from Harvard Divinity School in 1847, Higginson, already deeply committed to abolition and women's rights, secured a pastorate at the First Religious Society of Newburyport, Massachusetts. His reform activities and his Free Soil candidacy for Congress caused a breach with the congregation in 1850. After 1852 he preached at the Free Church in Worcester. Never a pacifist, Higginson took part in slave rescues and attempted rescues in the Boston area in the early 1850s. He made two trips west in order to support Free Kansas forces in 1856 and eventually met John Brown, for whose raid on Harpers Ferry he later raised funds. During the Civil War, Higginson served for eighteen months as the commanding colonel of the First South Carolina Volunteers, the first black regiment in the United States. After the war Higginson wrote history, biography, fiction, literary criticism, and reminiscences, including his celebrated Army Life in a Black Regiment (Boston, 1870), and served a term in the Massachusetts legislature. Tilden G. Edelstein, Strange Enthusiasm: A Life of Thomas Wentworth Higginson (New Haven, 1968); James W. Tuttleton, Thomas Wentworth Higginson (Boston, 1978); ACAB, 3: 199; NCAB, 1: 394; DAB, 4: 16-18. she has put the broad brand of her condemnation upon the whole brood of poetic and brilliant panderers to slaveholding lust and love of power. She has taught them, by precept and by example, that they cannot serve two masters. If they bask in the smiles of Slavery, they must confront the frowns of old Massachusetts. She admires their eloquence, she is proud of their learning: but, having no faith in the integrity of the men, she consigns them to political oblivion. Before these three, no men in Massachusetts could have risen higher, yet no three men in that State have sunken lower. But, let us leave the old Bay State. She has done well, and promises to do better. She has sent Everett, and Choate, and Cushing to political oblivion, and driven from the bench a minion of the law for slave catching.32Douglass refers to Edward Greely Loring (1802—90), a Harvard-trained Massachusetts jurist and lawyer whose chief fame derived from his controversial enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Law. Admitted to the bar in 1824, Loring later served on the Boston School Committee (1846—47) and as a lecturer at Harvard Law School. ln 1840 he became a commissioner of the United States Circuit Court in Massachusetts, and seven years later Governor George N. Briggs named him probate judge for Suffolk County. In 1851, as fugitive slave commissioner, Loring ordered the return to slavery of Thomas Sims despite an antislavery outcry and a defense conducted by Loring's cousin and former law partner, Charles Greely Loring. Three years later Judge Loring tried Anthony Burns on similar charges and, after a failed attempt by abolitionists to rescue Burns, ordered his reenslavement. As a result of a petition campaign led by Garrisonian abolitionists, the Massachusetts legislature voted to remove Loring from the probate court on four different occasions. In each case the governor vetoed the measure, and it was not until 1858, after a similar vote, that Governor Nathaniel Banks agreed to strip Loring of his office. President Buchanan then appointed him to the U.S. Court of Claims in Washington, D.C., where he served until 1877. Loring also lost his Harvard lectureship as a result of his fugitive slave decisions. Stevens,Anthony Burns, 222—44; Shapiro, “Rendition of Anthony Burns,”
43—44; Lawrence Lader, The Bold Brahmins: New England's War Against Slavery (New York, 1961), 215—16; Campbell, Slave Catchers, 93-94; Merrill and Ruchames, Garrison Letters, 4: 330-31. And, above all, she is now moving
for the enactment of a law which will make her soil too holy for the footprints of a slave or a slave catcher.33In 1855 Massachusetts adopted a “personal liberty law" empowering state judges to issue writs of habeas corpus that would free fugitive slaves from federal authorities and allow them to be tried in state courts. When the law proved of little practical worth, a coalition of Garrisonians, Radical Abolitionists, and Republicans pushed for a statute prohibiting the surrender of claimed fugitives. The law gained support in 1858 and 1859, coming within three votes of passing the Massachusetts legislature in the latter year. Norman L. Rosenberg. “Personal Liberty Laws and the Sectional Crisis. 1850= 1861.” Civil War History, 17: 25—41 (March 1971).
How stands the case in other directions? for wherever we look and wherever we listen, our eyes are greeted by the same sights, and our ears are saluted by the same sounds. Slavery and Freedom are everywhere in the field face to face in open conflict. and the war is one of extermination. Vanquish, or be vanquished, is the desperate alternative. This lesson—long taught by the Abolitionists at the North, and by the extreme men at the South—is beginning to be learned by the rank and file of both parties. The contest going on just now in the State of Illinois is worthy of attention. Stephen A. Douglas, the author of the Kansas-Nebraska bill, is energetically endeavoring to hold his seat in the American Senate, and Mr. Abram Lincoln34Abraham Lincoln (1809-65), sixteenth president of the United States. The first debate between Lincoln and Stephen Douglas, candidates for the Senate from Illinois, took place on 21 August 1858 at Ottawa, Illinois. is endeavoring as energetically to get that seat for himself. This, however, is only a partial view of the matter. The truth is, that Slavery and Anti-Slavery are at the bottom of the contest. As matters now stand, Douglas has a desperate case on his hands. He is fighting at immense disadvantage. The planks of his platform are as opposite as the Kilkenny cats.35The allusion to Kilkenny cats describes two things at war with each other. It is based on the apocryphal story that Hessian troops, in Kilkenny to suppress the Irish Rebellion of 1798. amused themselves by tying the tails of two cats together and slinging the cats over a line to make them fight. Albert M. Hyamson. A Dictionary of English Phrases (London, 1922), 209; Frank H. Vizetelly and Leander J. DeBekker, A Desk-Book of Idioms and Idiomatic Phrases in English Speech and Literature (New York, 1923). 239. He has to defend the Dred Scott decision in one breath, and popular
sovereignty in the next. He has to conciliate the Democratic Party and oppose the Democratic Administration upon the only important question about which the public mind is divided and agitated. He hopes for the support of individual Republicans while he denounces the Republican Party. The doctrine of popular sovereignty holds that the Territory, while it is a Territory, and in the interim of its Territorial existence, may submit or may exclude Slavery. This doctrine is diametrically opposed to the Dred Scott decision. That decision denies the right of a Territory to exclude Slavery at all. Nevertheless, Mr. Douglas accepts the Dred Scott decision and goes on talking about popular sovereignty all the same.36In their 1858 lllinois senatorial campaign, Lincoln and Douglas debated seven times between 21 August and 15 October. In several of the debates Lincoln asked the famous “Freeport question." The query, which received full expression in his 27 August 1858 speech at Freeport, was: “Can the people of a United States Territory, in any lawful way, against the wish of any citizen of the United States, exclude slavery from its limits prior to the formation of a State Constitution?” Lincoln thus forced Douglas to reconcile the Dred Scott decision, in which the Supreme Court protected the rights of slaveholders, and the doctrine of popular sovereignty—both of which Douglas supported. Douglas responded to the apparent contradiction by arguing that slavery could not exist unless the majority in the territory passed local police statutes protecting its existence. It is interesting that Frederick Douglass raises the essence of the question in this speech, weeks before Lincoln asked it at Freeport, although forms of the question had been extant for some time, and Douglass may have known of Lincoln‘s raising the issue in a 10 July speech in Chicago. Potter, Impending Crisis, 330- 38; Roy P. Basler, ed., The Collected Works ofAbraham Lincoln, 9 vols. (New Brunswick. N.J., 1953—55), 3: 43. During the last Congress you remember that he managed to produce the impression on the country that he was about to abandon his old slaveholding policy. He gave out that he had gone as far South as he ever meant to go, and that he was quite prepared to take the consequences of this resolution. We of the North, you know, shouted aloud over this demonstration of Mr. Douglas. He boasted thereafter that while, in 1854, he could have traveled all the way from Washington to Chicago by the light of his own effigy, that now he should receive nothing but plaudits all along such a journey.
He was promptly denounced by the South as a renegade—a traitor. The President denounced him, and he defied the President. His friends were removed from office, and his enemies were put in. In a word, he was marked out for political destruction. He was taught to expect no quarter from his old associates in the Democratic Party. At this juncture Mr. Stephen Douglas held conversations and conferences with his old enemies, the Republicans; and the lightning from Washington told us that these conferences were mutually satisfactory.37During the 1858 controversy over the admission of Kansas under the proslavery Lecompton Constitution, Douglas allied with Republicans to campaign against admission. Some Republicans, most notably Horace Greeley, argued that Douglas had courageously changed his position on slavery and deserved Republican support. Douglas even entered talks with Anson Burlingame and Schuyler Colfax to discuss merging Douglas Democrats with Republicans into a party designed to oppose southern designs in Kansas. However, Douglas based his position not on any new attitude toward slavery but on a continued commitment to popular sovereignty, which he saw as violated by Lecompton, as the solution to the problem of slavery in the territories. Potter, Impending Crisis, 320- 55; Robert W. Johannsen, Stephen A. Douglas (New York, 1973), 563—624. The nature of the satisfaction
was not published, but for a time it was a matter of doubt as to which party had sold out, the Little Giant38Stephen Douglas's mental prowess and short stature earned him the nickname “Little Giant." ACAB, 4: 213. or the Republicans. But the tone of the Republican speeches made thereafter induced doubts as to the stability of the Republican Party. It was feared. and not without reason, that Cincinnati was to be the platform, and Douglas the leader of the Republican forces thenceforth.39The 1856 Democratic platform had been drafted in June of that year in Cincinnati. Its key provision regarding slavery was "NON-INTERFERENCE BY CONGRESS WITH SLAVERY IN STATE AND TERRITORY, OR IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA." Johnson and Porter, National Party Platforms, 25. But just before the close of the session the spell was broken. Some rumbling sounds of danger and discontentment reached all parties from the State of Illinois. Other parties were to be consulted. Mr. Douglas was assured that however cordial Republicanism might be at Washington, Republicanism in Illinois had no terms to offer him—no proposals of peace to make him, or accept from him—and that as for his seat in the Senate he could expect no help from them in retaining that; in fact, that they should get him out of it if they could. So matters were shaped just before the close of the session.
What did the brave Douglas do? The circumstances were perplexing in the extreme. I will tell you what he did. He made the very natural—but very desperate, if not fatal move. He attempted to get back into the good graces of the old Democratic Administration. He went about it in the old-fashioned way of doing such things. He made a speech—it was a queer speech—in which he wanted the past forgotten. Let bygones be bygones. The English swindle had carried40On 30 April 1858 a compromise bill on the admission of Kansas, introduced by Indiana congressman William English, passed the House and Senate in close votes. The Buchanan administration had pressed for the admission of Kansas under the proslavery Lecompton Constitution, but a powerful bloc of Republicans and anti-Lecompton Democrats emerged to challenge admission on the basis of irregularities in the framing and ratification of that constitution. Stephen Douglas, committed to a fair application of the popular-sovereignty doctrine in Kansas, opposed admission. The deeply divided Senate approved the administration's bill, but the House voted to accept an amendment that would have resubmitted the Lecompton Constitution for popular approval in Kansas. Out of this deadlock came English's compromise proposal. Focusing ostensibly on the peripheral issue of land grants. English proposed to cut the grant requested by the constitutional convention at Lecompton and to offer Kansas a new referendum with the choice of approval or rejection of the revised grant. If the grant were approved, Kansas would enter the Union as a slave state; if, as ultimately occurred, the grant were defeated, Kansas's admission would wait. Douglas opposed the English bill as setting up special conditions under which a slave state might enter the Union. Johannsen, Stephen A. Douglas, 610-13, 723—25, 830.—the question was settled, and the only
point of difference between him and the Administration was now out of the way. Hereafter, as heretofore, he was ready to fight the battle of Democracy. I do not profess to give his words, but his ideas. Mr. Douglas was heard, as a culprit, under the gallows, is heard, with patience, and even with pity—and yet no one who heard him had their opinions altered by anything he said.41Douglas accepted the passage of the English Bill as a fait accompli, and, in a June 1858 speech to the Senate, took the initiative in arranging a conciliation with President Buchanan. The administration nonetheless remained determined to punish Douglas for his stance on the admission of Kansas. A slate of National Democrats, reﬂecting the position of Buchanan, entered the Illinois elections in opposition to both the Republicans and the Douglas Democrats, but Douglas still won reelection. Johannsen, Stephen A. Douglas, 620- 79; Congresssional Globe, 35th Cong., lst sess., 3055—58. Here, I take it, was the great mistake of that man’s political life. He admitted his crimes, he owned his rebellious conduct—but wished all forgotten, because the reasons which moved him thereto had ceased to exist. After his speech there was no expression of regret on the Republican side—none of joy and congratulation on the Democratic side. He left without a single good bye—and entered without a single expression of welcome. I say, here was the great mistake. His Kansas-Nebraska bill, with all its train of atrocities, might have been forgiven him; his repeated, virulent assaults upon the leading Republicans might have been excused upon the ground of the general hostility; his standing by in perfect silence and permitting an armed assassin to strike down a brother Senator might have been forgiven if not forgotten.42An allusion to the attack on Charles Sumner by Preston Brooks on 22 May 1856. But this double treason—this attempt to cheat two great parties in a single session, right before the eyes of all, was an extravagance of political profligacy which can neither be forgiven nor forgotten while Stephen A. Douglas lives. The Democrats pitied and despised him; the Republicans felt relieved by his departure, and he went home to Illinois with a millstone of condemnation round his political neck.
Nevertheless, Mr. Douglas has money, he has talent and he has a party, and may even yet get back into the Senate of the United States. He is no trifling opponent. His zeal is quite equal to his ability, and his success would, for many reasons, be a deplorable calamity. He is one of the most
restless, ambitious, boldest and most unscrupulous enemies with whom the cause of the colored man has to contend. It is for this reason that I have given him so lengthy a paragraph in my present address. It seems to me that the white Douglas should occasionally meet his deserts at the hands of a black one. Once I thought he was about to make the name respectable, but now I despair of him, and must do the best I can for it myself. (Laughter.) I now leave him in the hands of Mr. Lincoln, and in the hands of the Republican Party of Illinois, thanking both the latter, because they have nobly upheld and made prominent the principles of the Republican Party in Illinois, which seemed about to be compromised and sacrificed at the very heart of the Government.
The key-note of Republicanism in that State, at present, is given in the following extract from the great speech of Mr. Lincoln:
“We are now into the fifth year since a policy was initiated with the avowed object and confident promise of putting an end to Slavery agitation. Under the operation of that policy, that agitation has not only [not] ceased, but has constantly augmented. In my opinion it will not cease until a crisis shall have been reached and passed. ‘A house divided against itself cannot stand.’ I believe this Government cannot endure permanently half Slave and half Free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved—I do not expect the house to fall—but I do expect it will cease to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other. Either the opponents of Slavery will arrest the further spread ofit, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward till it shall become alike lawful in all the States—old as well as new, North as well as South.”43Douglass cites Lincoln's celebrated “House Divided“ speech delivered on 16 June 1858 to a convention of Illinois Republicans assembled at Representatives Hall in Springfield. Douglass's slight changes in punctuation and emphasis do not alter Lincoln's meaning. Don E. Fehrenbacher, Prelude to Greatness: Lincoln in the 1850's (Stanford, Calif., 1962), 70-955; Basler, Collected Works of Lincoln, 2 : 448—54, 461—69.
Well and wisely said. One system or the other must prevail. Liberty or Slavery must become the law of the land. And men, communities, parties, churches and public measures are ranged on one or the other side favoring the ascendency of one or the other. But I call your attention to another speck on the political firmament. Atchison,44David Atchison. while attempting to curse Kansas with Slavery, seems about to bless Missouri itself with Liberty. A phenomenon is presented in the tone of sentiment reaching us from that
Slave State. Emancipation is openly discussed in the streets of the slaveholding city of St. Louis. Emancipation leaders are written and published in the dailyjournals published in different parts of the State. Emancipation speeches are made on the stump in open daylight. Emancipation candidates are run for Congress, and the same for other offices. Only a few years ago this could have been done only at the peril of life itself. I know that the chief motive of this movement is to benefit white men. I know that the moral character of the slave system is not brought into discussion, but I am willing that men should do right from any motives. Two kinds of arguments can be urged in favor of any right measure. If men will not do right from a love of principle, lam glad to have them do right from a love of the results of right doing. I look, therefore, with hope to the emancipation movement in Missouri.45Douglass possibly alludes to the activities of antislavery politicians in Missouri in 1857 and 1858. For several years after the demise of the Whig party in 1854—55, political opposition to the Democratic party in Missouri remained fragmented. A small antislavery faction led by B. Gratz Brown and Francis Blair, Jr., privately sympathized with the Republican party but until 1858 cooperated with more broadly based “Opposition” coalitions in state elections. As early as February 1857, Brown was advocating that the legislature adopt a gradual emancipation plan with compensation. Soon thereafter, Blair's St. Louis Missouri Democrat also endorsed emancipation coupled with mandatory colonization. The gradual emancipationists succeeded in electing their candidates as mayor of St. Louis in 1857 and 1858. By 1860 these men had openly declared themselves as Republicans and were campaigning for Lincoln. Perry McCandless, A History of Missouri, 1820 to 1860 (Columbia, Mo., 1972), 263-88; John F. Hume, The Abolitionists, Together with Personal Memories of the Struggle for Human Rights, 1830—1864 (New York, 1905), 154-62; Smith, Francis Preston Blair Family, 1: 403-05, 317, 429—42. I know that many of the present slaves of that State would be speedily put beyond the beneficent reach of any act of emancipation which might be passed in the State. No doubt thousands would be hurried off down the river, in fetters and chains. It would be like most slave masters to do this. The same was done in this State and elsewhere, and the same would be done there. Nevertheless, Emancipation in Missouri will be great gain. Some at least, of our enslaved brethren would reap its benefits, and the accession of another free State, without the trouble of admitting her into the Union, would help on the Anti-Slavery movement immensely. It would inaugurate a new and dangerous mode of thinking and talking on the whole subject of Slavery, and lead to combinations against the Slave system in other States. Maryland, Delaware and Kentucky would follow. I make little account of the talk made of driving the colored people out of the State. This is an effort not likely to succeed. It has been threatened in Virginia46After two unsuccessful attempts in 1832 and 1849 to remove free blacks from Virginia, the state constitutional convention of 1851 adopted a proviso enabling the General Assembly to enact such a policy whenever necessary. During the 1853-54 session the lower house passed, but the senate rejected, a bill calling for the expulsion of some fifty-four thousand free blacks. During the 1850s the Virginia legislature did, however, appropriate public monies to colonize free blacks in Liberia. The income from a special poll tax of one dollar,. assessed on all free black males between the ages of twenty-five and fifty-five, was used specifically for removal purposes. Luther Porter Jackson, Free Negro Labor and Property Holding in Virginia, 1830-1860 (New York, 1942), 25—31; John H. Russell, The Free Negro in Virginia, 1619-1865 (1913; New York, 1969), 176—77. and elsewhere, but the cruelty and meanness
of the proposition are too gross and monstrous for the assent of even the slaveholders of Virginia. I, therefore, see nothing to discourage us in that quarter, but everything to cheer us on in the work of enlightening the public mind and winning the public heart to the side of liberty and justice.
Nevertheless, while there is much, very much, to cheer and gladden our hearts in the facts transpiring around us, while we rejoice over West lndia Emancipation, look with hope towards the contest going on in Missouri, and in Kansas, and infer the result of the same upon Maryland, Virginia, and Kentucky; while we are surprised and thrilled by the evidences of the onward march of freedom even among the ice and snows of despotic Russia,47On 5 December 1857 an act was published on the order oszar Alexander ll that set forth the govemment‘s intention to free the Russian serfs. Provincial nobles were required to make plans to implement the act, and meetings for that purpose were held throughout 1858. It was not until 3 March 1861, however, that Alexander ll issued his official emancipation edict, which, although freeing the peasants from their servile status and turning over approximately half of the estates of the nobility to them, did not grant full personal liberty. The peasants, who were now bound to village communes (mirs) closely supervised by state officials, had to reimburse the govemment for the costs it had incurred in compensating the former owners for their land. The prices fixed to the land for the purpose of calculating the redemption payments were markedly higher than the prevailing prices in 1861, especially in the north or relatively unproductive non-black soil region. A parallel discrepancy between the expectations of the serfs and the practical reality of emancipation occurred in the south, or black soil region, where landlords retained land (otrezki or “cut-off bits") that in practice, although not legally, had been serfs' land. Hugh Seton-Watson, The Russian Empire, 1801-1917 (London, 1967), 337—48; idem, The Decline of Imperial Russia, 1855-1914 (New York, 1956), 43—45; Franco Venturi, Roots of Revolution: A History of the Populist and Soeialist Movements in Nineteenth Century Russia (London, 1952), 101—08; Jerome Blum, Lord and Peasant in Russia: From the Ninth to the Nineteenth Century (Princeton, 1961), 582-99, 618—20; Werner Eugene Mosse, Alexander II and the Modernization of Russia (New York, 1962), 62 -66. and calculate upon the moral aid of despotism to break the fetters of slavery in this Republic, it is a matter of astonishment, and deep regret, that the Church of our country, and the Religion of our country, continue to ignore the Anti-Slavery movement—continue to give the influence of their powerful silence and indifference in support and countenance of the stealers and holders of men. All that Slavery asks as a condition of existence is, to be let alone. This condition the American Church and clergy have heretofore abundantly supplied, and are still supplying. The baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, of which our Churches have been
boasting, has not consumed a single rope, or melted a single chain. Slavery stands not less firm because of the recent Revival.48On 23 September 1857, Jeremiah C. Lanphier, a missionary employed by the Old Dutch Church on Fulton Street in New York City, organized a noontime prayer service that was open to all worshipers without regard to denominational affiliation. In the prevailing atmosphere of economic depression and with the support of the New York Herald and the New York Tribune, Lanphier‘s revival idea spread rapidly, especially after February I858. Both the Young Men‘s Christian Association and the regular denominations gave their energies toward furthering the revival, which reached thousands in major cities and small towns throughout the North and the West. Although most revival sessions offered an open forum in which participants spoke as the spirit moved them. discussion of slavery was generally forbidden. Timothy L. Smith, Revivalistn and Social Reform in Mid-Nineteenth Century America (New York, 1957), 63—79. The slave still raps in vain at the door of the house of God, with bleeding back and streaming eyes. The great American Evangelical Tract Society49Douglass refers to the American Tract Society, an interdenominational evangelical Protestant benevolent organization dedicated to disseminating exemplary Christian literature. Founded in 1826 through the merger of regional societies from New York City and Boston, the American Tract Society distributed nine hundred different titles by the 1850s. During the latter decade, antislavery protests focused attention on the publishing guidelines of the organization, which prohibited any reference to the evils of slavery. McKivigan, “Abolitionism and the American Churches," 296; Louis Filler, The Crusade Against Slavery, 1830—1860 (New York, 1960), 260. is still unable to agree that slaveholding, that the buying and selling of men and women as beasts of burden, is a sin to be opposed by the Evangelical Christians of the country. That Society has voted that the doctrine of the sinfulness of Slavery is not CALCULATED to receive the approbation of the Evangelical Christianity of the country.50Douglass paraphrases the first article of the constitution of the American Tract Society. The article, which required that all of the Society's publications be “calculated to receive the approbation of all evangelical Christians," was used to justify the refusal of the Society to issue antislavery tracts. However, in 1857 an investigating committee, composed of a dozen of the Society's leaders, unanimously resolved that while slavery ought not be condemned in the organization‘s tracts, “those moral duties which grow out of the existence of Slavery, as well as those moral evils and vices which it is known to promote," were appropriate subjects. In the face of vehement southern reactio, the executive committee of the American Tract Society decided to withhold The Duties of Masters, a mild pamphlet published under the new guidelines, from distribution. A stormy 1858 convention of the organization approved the executive committee's course. Antislavery members responded by meeting separately in Boston and issuing their own antislavery tracts. In 1859 the antislavery New England branch formally separated from the New York organization of the American Tract Society. O.C.'s Letters from the South on Northern and Southern Views Respecting Slavery and the American Tract Society (Boston, 1857), 5—8; Smith, Revivalism and Social Reform, 193 -94; Clifford S. Griffin, Their Brothers' Keepers: Moral Stewardship in the United States, 1800—1865 (New Brunswick. N.J., 1960), 191—97. Great and terrible is the crime of that body against our enslaved countrymen! Deep and lasting is the shame and reproach cast upon the very name of religion! A religion which has no testimony against robbery, murder, adultery, concubinage, and every
other crime known to the laws of Heaven and earth, simply because they take shelter under slavery, is a religion to be despised and spit upon, as an impudent fraud against God and man.
My friends, it must be confessed that the slaves in our land have no more dangerous an enemy than in the religious bodies of America. In this respect, the anti-slavery movement in this country differs very widely from the anti-slavery movement in England. In our country, we find religion opposed to us, quoting scripture against us, preaching sermons against us, writing books against us, pamphleteering against us; but in England, religion was allied to the cause of liberty. English Evangelical Christianity breaks fetters. American Evangelical Christianity rivets fetters. The mightiest champions of the Abolition cause stood before Britain as the ambassadors of God. They were Missionaries and Ministers of various denominations, heralds of the cross of Christ. But here the case is different. The Church only appears in the contest, with slavery in factions. The great body of American Christians are on the side of the oppressor and power. This is the saddest feature of the whole case. Yet in contemplating it, let us remember that though the CHURCH is mighty, the TRUTH is mightier; and that however opposed, and however delayed, it can never fail; that God, and humanity, time and eternity, in silence and in thunder, and in all the vicissitudes of existence, will, in the end, see Truth triumphant over all foes—sitting upon his own imperial throne ruling the world in Righteousness. That day will come; and though you and I may never see that day. I know of no better employment, no wiser disposition ofour time, no better occupation, viewed from any stand-point, whether on earth or in Heaven, than that involved in honest labor for the downfall of American Slavery. It was the saying of the great THOMAS CLARKSON, in his eighty-seventh year, while bending, as it were, over the edge of the grave, that he had given sixty-seven years of his life to the cause of emancipation, and if he had the same years to live again, he should give them joyfully to the same great cause.
My friends, the lesson of West India Emancipation is one of faith, hope and patient labor. The glorious event we celebrate was not achieved in a moment, without toil, without opposition, and without persecution. Gigantic and commanding as is the anti-slavery sentiment of Great Britain at the present moment, it once had its day of small things. The decision of LORD MANSFIELD, in the Somersett case, by which slaveholding and slave-catching were made impossible in England, was the result of the steady, untiring, persistent and patient labors of that purest and most clear-sighted
of all the anti-slavery men in England, in his day—I mean Granville Sharpe. Slave-catching was as fashionable and as lawful in England until that decision, as it now is in the Northern States. Granville Sharpe arrested this practice, and turned against it all the crushing weight of both public and judicial opinion. But liberty there, as well as here, had its period of darkness and clouds, its moments of gloom, as well as of glory; and the resplendent victory which it has at last attained, the noble results which have followed the great achievement, should banish from our hearts and hands the “apathy ofdespair,” and inspire us anew with increasing determination to spend and be spent. to live and die, to fall or to ﬂourish in breaking the fetters from the limbs, not of eight hundred thousand slaves of the British West Indies, but of FOUR MILLIONS of slaves in the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA.