previous next
[176] tremendously all the while. The slave was ordered back to his cell.

I had stood speechless during this singular dialogue, my blood boiling in my veins, and my limbs trembling with emotion. I now walked up to the gang, and, addressing the master as calmly as possible, said—

“Sir, what right have you to that poor creature?”

He looked up in my face very innocently, and replied—

“My father left him to me.”

“Suppose,” said I, “your father had broken into a bank and stolen ten thousand dollars, and safely bequeathed the sum as a legacy: could you conscientiously keep the money? For myself, I had rather rob any bank to an indefinite amount than kidnap a fellow-being, or hold him in bondage: the crime would be less injurious to society, and less sinful in the sight of God.”

The man and his crew were confounded. What! to hear such sentiments in Maryland,—and in jail, too! Looking them full in the face, and getting no reply, I walked a few steps to the door. After a brief consultation, the master came up to me and said—

“Perhaps you would like to buy the slave, and give him his liberty?”

“Sir, I am a poor man; and were I ever so opulent, it would be necessary, on your part, to make out a clear title to the services of the slave before I could conscientiously make a bargain.”

After a pause, he said—

“Well, sir, I can prove from the Bible that slavery is right.”

“Ah!” replied I, “that is a precious book—the rule of conduct. I have always supposed that its spirit was directly opposed to everything in the shape of fraud and oppression. However, sir, I should be glad to hear your text.”

He somewhat hesitatingly muttered out—

Ham—Noah's curse, you know.”

“O, sir, you build on a very slender foundation. Granting, even—what remains to be proved—that the Africans are the descendants of Ham, Noah's curse was a prediction of future servitude, and not an injunction to oppress. Pray, sir, is it a careful desire to fulfil the Scriptures, or to make money, that induces you to hold your fellow-men in bondage?”

“Why, sir,” exclaimed the slavite, with unmingled astonishment, “do you really think that the slaves are beings like ourselves?—that ”

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

Sort places alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a place to search for it in this document.
Maryland (Maryland, United States) (1)

Download Pleiades ancient places geospacial dataset for this text.

hide People (automatically extracted)
Sort people alphabetically, as they appear on the page, by frequency
Click on a person to search for him/her in this document.
Ham (2)
Noah (1)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: