the great abstract principle of slavery is right, because it is a fundamental principle of the social state; and that domestic slavery, as an institution
, is fully justified by the condition and circumstances (essential and relative) of the African race in this country, and therefore equally right.
I confess that it is somewhat humiliating to discuss the question enunciated — Is the institution of domestic slavery sinful?
The affirmative assumes that an immense community of Southern people, of undoubted piety, are, nevertheless, involved in great moral delinquency on the subject of slavery.
This is a palpable absurdity in regard to a great many.
For nothing is more certain than this, that if it be sinful, they either know it, or are competent to know it, and hence are responsible.
And as no plea of necessity can justify an enlightened man in committing known sin, it follows that all such Southern people are highly culpable, which is utterly inconsistent with the admission that they are pious.
To say, as some are accustomed to do, that “slavery is certainly wrong in the abstract
,” that is, in plain terms, in itself sinful, but that they cannot help themselves, appears to me to be wholly unfounded.
It assumes that a man may be absolutely compelled to commit sin. This certainly cannot be true.
All candid minds will readily allow, that so far as