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[479] the North were Orthodox save one;1 and drew from the developments of the day as to the demoralization of the churches proof that ‘American (not Bible) Christianity2 is the main pillar of American slavery.’3 He had been painfully affected by the coincidence that the first denomination to succumb to the test which he had prepared for all the number, was that in which he had been reared, and which from early childhood he had been4 taught to regard ‘as most truly apostolical in its doctrines.’ The Baptist General (Eighth Triennial) Convention having been appointed to meet, in the spring of 1835, at Richmond, Va., it appeared opportune to the Baptist Board of Foreign Missions to make public their answer, dated September 1, 1834, to an address from the Board of Baptist Ministers in and near London, England, dated December 31, 1833, to the Baptist churches in America, urging them to promote emancipation. The address itself was carefully withheld, and first appeared in the Liberator, which copied it, together with the reply,5 from a London organ of the Baptists. The American Board declined compliance, on the ground that slavery was not originated by the American colonies, and that hence both the nation and the free States were guiltless in regard to it; that Maryland, Kentucky, and Virginia were endeavoring to get rid of the system; that slaveholders knew best the true interests of the negro; that emancipation was hazardous and must be gradual; that what was needed was calm and affectionate argument; that agitation would divide the Northern and Southern Baptists. ‘Our slaveholding brethren’ were vouched for as ‘Christians, sincere followers of the Lord Jesus.’6

1 ‘All the religious papers at the South,’ said the Evangelist ‘now take the ground that slavery is no sin’ (Lib. 5.196).

2 Lib. 5.163.

3 So Birney's short-lived Kentucky A. S. Society resolved that slaveholding by professors of religion was the greatest barrier to emancipation (Lib. 5.77).

4 Lib. 5.51.

5 Lib. 5.41.

6 The Society of Friends had received a similar epistle from a meeting of Friends in London, but remained discreetly mum (Lib. 5: 67; see, also, Mr. Garrison's resolution concerning the abatement of their zeal in 2d Ann. Report Am. A. S. Society, p. 32, and S. J. May's experience with the Newport Quakers, “Recollections,” p. 147).

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