was Samuel Hopkins
, of Rhode Island
, a divine, who
taught that, ‘through divine interposition, sin is an advantage to the universe;’ a firm believer in the coming of the millennium; a theorist of high ideal conceptions, who held virtue to require more than disinterested love, a love that is willing to make a sacrifice of itself.
Writing in a town which had grown rich by the slave trade, he addressed a long and elaborate memorial to the members of the continental congress, ‘entreating them to be the happy instruments of procuring and establishing universal liberty to white
, to be transmitted down to the latest posterity.’
His elaborate argument in due time had influence with some of them in their respective states, but after diligent search I cannot find that the document met with any notice whatever from the continental congress, which scrupulously reserved to the several colonies the modification of their internal policy.
In several of them, especially in Massachusetts
, in New Jersey
, and in Pennsylvania
, opinion was fully formed against slavery, so that on a declaration of independence
it would surely be speedily abolished; but the opportunity of calm legislation was waited for.
Letters to members of congress expressed apprehension lest the attempt to raise the slaves against their masters in Virginia
should be followed by severity against the negro; but no member of congress of any other colony interposed with his advice or his opinions; and it is the concurrent testimony of all, that the Virginians conducted themselves towards the unfortunate race with moderation and tenderness, and while their wrath at Dunmore
swelled with a