Imágenes de página

The free blacks, however much the members of the society may wish it, are not in general willing to assist them in the plan of colonization. If they would export a few slaves, and settle them on the coast of Africa, then indeed something might be said for them.

Those who speak against emancipation would do well to read Dr. Franklin's letter to the editor of the “ Federal Gazette," for March 23, 1790. It consists of a speech in the Divan at Algiers, and contains exactly the sentiments I have often heard advocated.—The English bombarded Algiers on account of some few Christian slaves. Are not the blacks Christians; or if they be not, whose fault is it?

When I hear people speak of the generous conduct of the English and Americans in abolishing the slave-trade, though I by no means undervalue this incipient return to humanity, I cannot help thinking of the speech made to me by an old Dutch Captain I met at Amsterdam. “ Is it not,” said he, “ most ridiculous hypocrisy in you English, as well as in the Americans, to cry out that no one must trade in Slaves ?

Have you not filled your islands and plantations with these poor wretches ? and now that you have enough, and can breed them at home, you try to stop the trade, and hinder others from doing what you yourselves have done. You might just as well, after importing some millions of Merino sheep, endeavour to prevent other nations from trading in those animals.”

Slave-holders call themselves Christians, and profess to believe a doctrine that preaches “ mercy and good will towards men,” yet they do not hesitate to chain, flog, and sell human beings with the same unfeeling barbarity that they would a drove of Hogs. This may be seen by the following extract from the Washington Gazette, May 14, 1823.


By virtue of an order of the Orphans' Court of Prince George's County, will be sold, at public sale, on Tuesday the 3d day of June next, if fair, if not, the next fair day thereafter, at the dwelling-place of Tobias Duvall, all the personal estate of Mary Duvall, late of the said county, deceased, consisting of Negroes, (among which are young men, boys, and girls,) household and kitchen für. niture, and one lot of good bacon.

“ BEALL DUVALL, Executor."

I will only add, that the slave-holders attempt to prove from the Bible, that the black colour is the mark of Cain, and that consequently Slavery is just, right, and agreeable to the Almighty!

Just Allah! what must be thy look,

When such a wretch before thee stands
Unblushing, with thy sacred Book,

Turning the leaves with blood-stain'd hand,
And wresting from its page sublime
His creed of lust, and hate, and crime?


[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

! AFTER leaving St. Louis, I returned fifty-four miles by the same road that I had before travelled, to the little Village of Carlyle, on the Kaskaskia. Having arrived there early on the second day and seen my horse taken care of, I weut, for the want of something better to do, to hear a Sermon delivered by some Missionaries, who were going to the Wilderness for the purpose of converting the Indians.

The sermon, as may easily be supposed, was nearly incomprehensible. A conversation arose afterwards between the preachers and their auditors upon doctrinal points, when the Missionaries, who were thorough Calvinists, did not hesitate to declare, that only a certain portion of the human racé, viz. the elect, would be saved. All the rest, or at least 999 out of every 1000 were of course to be damned.

139)!!! I perhaps however may be allowed to doubt, whether the Missionaries were perfectly correct, in this their charitable and sensible exposition of the intentions of the Almighty; for I can myself hardly imagine, that the beneficent author of an things will * sliow his power;" as they call it, by sending such an immense proportion of the human race, into fire and brimstone. I cannot see, why å mån

born in the centre of China, and who never even heard of Christianity, should of necessity be a “ vessel of wrath,” whom the great Creator for his own better glorification, is to plunge into everlast. ing torments. Doubtless however I am wrong ; for the Missionaries, going on with the subject, affirmed, that there were many children in the number of the non-eleet; that there are infants in hell not a span long-an amiable and enlightened doetrine, which has been also maintained in the Presbyterian Church at Philadelphia.

A woman who, like myself, was among the listeners, and who had just lost her child, was so much afflicted at this, that she began to cry. She knew not (and indeed how could she know ?) whether her child was really one of the elect; and the idea of the bare possibility of its being in fire and brimstone distressed her terribly, and cost her an abundance of tears.

The reader may perhaps think, that the present system should be reversed; and that the Indians should send Missionaries to convert these unfortunate expounders of the Bible, to a more reasonable faith.

At any rate, nothing can well be imagined more absurd, than the plan at present pursued by those wishing to convert the Aborigines to Christianity. Instead of preaching morality, instead of teaching them the useful arts, and of pointing out the advantages of civilization, and thus preparing them to quit their wild life and to adopt our mild doc

[ocr errors]

trines; the Missionaries begin at once by requiring the Indians to believe the most incomprehensible dogmas. In fact their object is not so much to make the Indians civilized beings and Christians -No, they must make them Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, or members of whatever other sect they themselves belong to. Consequently the Indians, shocked as may easily be supposed at this method of proceeding, and astounded at the dogmas which they are required to believe, consider the whole a trick, and despise it as such.

The Missionaries are also in general men of very inferior education ; for of course few of those that can obtain any employment at home, will sally forth to preach in woods. Many of them are also not of the very strictest chastity. A gentleman travelling from New Orleans to Tennessee, when passing through the Indian territory, 'met a little boy who appeared to be too white for an Indian : “ Pray my little fellow," said the traveller, sare you a full-blooded Indian ?”

“ No, Sir," replied the boy, “ I am half Indian, half Missionary."

The Indians believe in one great incomprehensible Spirit, the Creator and Governor of all things; and although they have no altars, images, or temples, yet we may perhaps be permitted to believe, that their sincere and simple adoration may not be altogether displeasing to the Almighty. Iudeed I should have been strongly tempted to hope, that these Indians, following the light of

« AnteriorContinuar »