returned to his native land familiar with the spirit of Grotius
, of Locke
; his first recorded speech was against negro slavery, in behalf of human freedom.
In the continued importation of slaves, he foreboded danger to the political and moral interests of the Old Dominion; an increase of the free Anglo-Saxons, he argued, would foster arts and varied agriculture, while a race doomed to abject bondage was of necessity an enemy to social happiness.
He painted from ancient history the horrors of servile insurrections.
He deprecated the barbarous atrocity of the trade with Africa
, and its violation of the equal rights of men created like ourselves in the image of God. ‘Christianity,’ thus he spoke in conclusion, ‘by introducing into Europe
the truest principles of universal benevolence and brotherly love, happily abolished civil slavery.
Let us who profess the same religion practise its precepts, and, by agreeing to this duty, pay a proper regard to our true interests and to the dictates of justice and humanity.’1
The tax for which Lee
raised his voice was carried through the Assembly of Virginia by a majority of one; but from England
a negative followed with certainty every colonial act tending to diminish the slave-trade.
, also, appalled by the great increase of its black population, endeavored by its own laws to restrain importations of slaves, and in like manner came into collision with the same British policy.
But the war with the Cherokees weaned its citizens still more from Great Britain