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The writings of John Greenleaf Whittier, Volume 7. (ed. John Greenleaf Whittier), The conflict with slavery (search)
cy. For the Anglo—Saxon slaves had it in their power to purchase their freedom; and the laws of the realm recognized their liberation and placed them under legal protection. The, diffusion of Christianity in Great Britain was moreover followed by a general manumission; for it would seem that the priests and missionaries 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 ev