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The writings of John Greenleaf Whittier, Volume 7. (ed. John Greenleaf Whittier), The conflict with slavery (search)
sionaries of religion in that early and benighted age were more faithful in the performance of their duties than those of the present. The holy fathers, monks, and friars, says Sir T. Smith, had in their confessions, and specially in their extreme and deadly sickness, convinced the laity how dangerous a thing it was for one Christian to hold another in bondage; so that temporal men, by reason of the terror in their consciences, were glad to manumit all their villains.—Hist. Commonwealth, Blackstone, p. 52. To counteract the dangers resulting from a state of society so utterly at variance with the great Declaration of American freedom should be the earnest endeavor of every patriotic statesman. Nothing unconstitutional, nothing violent, should be attempted; but the true doctrine of the rights of man should be steadily kept in view; and the opposition to slavery should be inflexible and constantly maintained. The almost daily violations of the Constitution in consequence of the