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1 Of the sermons with which the South was carpeted--“thick as Autumnal leaves that strew the brooks in Vallombrosa” --between November, 1860, and May, 1861, that entitled “Slavery a Divine trust,” by Rev. B. M. Palmer, of New-Orleans, was perhaps the most forcible and note-worthy. In it, Mr. Palmer says:
In determining our duty in this emergency, it is necessary that we should first ascertain the nature of the trust providentially committed to us. * * The particular trust assigned to such a people becomes the pledge of Divine protection; and their fidelity to it determines the fate by which it is overtaken. * * * If, then, the South is such a people, what, at this juncture, is their providential trust? I answer, that it is to conserve and perpetuate the institution of domestic Slavery as now existing. * * For us, as now situated, the duty is plain, of conserving and transmitting the system of Slavery, with the freest scope for its natural development and extension. * * * This duty is bounden upon us again, as the constituted guardians of the slaves themselves. Our lot is not more implicated in theirs than is their lot in ours; in our mutual relations, we survive or we perish together. The worst foes of the black race are those who have intermeddled in their behalf. We know, better than others, that every attribute of their character fits them for dependence and servitude. By nature, the most affectionate and loyal of all races beneath the sun, they are also the most helpless; and no calamity can befall them greater than the loss of that protection they enjoy under this patriarchal system. * * * Last of all, in this great struggle, we defend the cause of God and of religion. The Abolition spirit is undeniably atheistic. * * It is nowhere denied that the first article in the creed of the dominant party is the restriction of Slavery within its present limits. * * * This argument, then, which sweeps over the entire circle of our relations, touches the four cardinal points of duty to ourselves, to our slaves, to the world, and to Almighty God. It establishes the nature and solemnity of our present trusts to preserve and transmit our existing system of domestic servitude, with the right, unchanged by man, to go and root itself wherever Providence and nature may carry it. This trust we will discharge, in the face of the worst possible peril. Though war be the aggregation of all evils, yet, should the madness of the hour appeal to the arbitration of the sword, we will not shrink, even from the baptism of fire. If modern crusaders stand in serried ranks upon some plain of Esdraelon, there shall we be in defense of our trust. Not till the last man has fallen behind the last rampart, shall it drop from our hands.
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