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 and strong scruple in his mind. The thought of writing an instrument of slavery for one of his fellow-creatures oppressed him. God's voice against the desecration of His image spoke in the soul. He yielded to the will of his employer, but, while writing the instrument, he was constrained to declare, both to the buyer and the seller, that he believed slave-keeping inconsistent with the Christian religion. This young man was John Woolman. The circumstance above named was the startingpoint of a life-long testimony against slavery. In the year 1746 he visited Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina. He was afflicted by the prevalence of slavery. It appeared to him, in his own words, ‘as a dark gloominess overhanging the land.’ On his return, he wrote an essay on the subject, which was published in 1754. Three years after, he made a second visit to the Southern meetings of Friends. Travelling as a minister of the gospel, he was compelled to sit down at the tables of slaveholding planters, who were accustomed to entertain their friends free of cost, and who could not comprehend the scruples of their guest against receiving as a gift food and lodging which he regarded as the gain of oppression. He was a poor man, but he loved truth more than money. He therefore either placed the pay for his entertainment in the hands of some member of the family, for the benefit of the slaves, or gave it directly to them, as he had opportunity.1 Wherever he
1 The tradition is that he travelled mostly on foot during his journeys among slaveholders. Brissot, in his New Travels in America, published in 1788, says: ‘John Woolman, one of the most distinguished of men in the cause of humanity, travelled much as a minister of his sect, but always on foot, and without money, in imitation of the Apostles, and in order to be in a situation to be more useful to poor people and the blacks. He hated slavery so much that he could not taste food provided by the labor of slaves.’ That this writer was on one point misinformed is manifest from the following passage from the Journal: ‘When I expected soon to leave a friend's house where I had entertainment, if I believed that I should not keep clear from the gain of oppression without leaving money, I spoke to one of the heads of the family privately, and desired them to accept of pieces of silver, and give them to such of their negroes as they believed would make the best use of them; and at other times I gave them to the negroes myself, as the way looked clearest to me. Before I came out, I had provided a large number of small pieces for this purpose, and thus offering them to some who appeared to be wealthy people was a trial both to me and them. But the fear of the Lord so covered me at times that my way was made easier than I expected; and few, if any, manifested any resentment at the offer, and most of them, after some conversation, accepted of them.’
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