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consist of specific articles such as SLAVES, WORKING BEASTS, ANIMALS of ANY KIND, stock, furniture, plate, books, &c., the court, if it shall deem it ad. vantageous for the ward, may at any time, pass an order for the sale thereof."
“Slaves shall always be reputed and considered real estate ; shall be, as such, subject to be mortgaged, according to the rules prescribed by law, and they shall be seized and sold as real estate.”—Act of Louisiana.
Hence it appears, that the distinguishing principle of slavery is this : slaves are not to be ranked among rational, immortal beings, but they are to be considered, hold, and treated as things, as articles of property.
Now, whether the Holy Scriptures afford any authority for the assumption of that right or power, by which the enslaved are held in this condition, and subjected to the evils which directly or indirectly flow from it, may be determined at once, when we shall have seen how far this power extends.
From an examination of the slave laws, it will be found that the master's authority over his slave is as unlimited as it is over any other property.
He may at any time inflict any punishment upon the person of his slave.
He may determine the kind and degree and time of labor to which the slave shall be subjected.
He may supply the slave with such food and clothing only, both as to quantity and quality, as may suit his own pleasure or convenience. All the power of the master over his slave
be exercised not by himself only, but by any other person whom he may appoint as his agent.
Slaves have no legal right to property, not even in themselves, nor in anything else, real or personal, but whatever they may acquire, by labor, belongs, in point of law, to their masters.
The slave, being a personal chattel, is at all times liable to be leased, mortgaged, or sold absolutely at the mere will of his master; or he may be sold by process of law for the satisfaction of the debts of a living, or the debts and bequests of a deceased master, at the suit of creditors or legatees.
A slave cannot be a party before a judicial tribunal, in any species of action against his master, no matter how atrocious may have been the injury received from him.
Slaves cannot redeem themselves, nor obtain a change of masters, though the most cruel treatment may have rendered such a change necessary for their personal safety.
Slaves being objects of property, if injured by third persons, their owners may bring suit, and recover damages for the injury.
Slaves can make no contracts.
Here, then, we see that Slavery is not servitude merely, nor the right to the service of another, where there is an equivalent, or considerations which render the demand for service just ; but it is the assumption and exercise of that power which holds and treats the human species as property.
It does not allow to the slave the rights of his own reason and conscience.
It annihilates the family state ; prevents the pa
rents from obeying the command of God, with re. gard to their children: it prohibits, or nullifies, the marriage rites, and prevents husbands and wives from obeying the command of God with regard to each other.
It enjoins, or sanctions, promiscuous intercourse between the sexes without the rites of marriage.
It holds all the religious privileges of the slave at the mere mercy of his master, whether that master be infidel, papist, or protestant.
It prevents the slaves from obeying that com. mand of God which makes it the duty of all men to si search the Scriptures.”
Its direct tendency is to crush the mind of God's intelligent creatures, by forbidding and preventing all schools for “mental instruction."
It withholds the hire of the laborer.
It sanctions and covers the breach of the eighth commandment. It justifies the very same thing which our laws and the laws of nations punish as piracy, if committed on the coast of Africa, or on the high seas. It originates and justifies what the Bible calls 6 Man-stealing,
It denies to the slave adequate protection for his character, his health and life, and more or less en. dangers his present and eternal salvation.
Such, then, is the condition of millions of our spe. cies in this Christian land; and against that assumed power which keeps them in this state, God has left the instructions, warnings, and threatenings of His unerring word.
The bondage of the Israelites in Egypt, and the
measures which God took to liberate them.
1. And the LORD said, I have surely seen the affliction of my people which are in Egypt, and have heard their cry by reason of their task-masters; for I know their sorrows.
Ex. iii, 7. 2. Now, therefore, behold, the cry of the children of Israel is come unto me; and I have also seen the oppression wherewith the Egyptians oppress them. Ex. iii. 9.
1. I have surely seen the affliction of my people. The people of God, at this time, were held in slavery by the Egyptians; and though the bondage which they were compelled to endure was certainly not so cruel and severe as that which nearly three millions of American citizens are now doomed to suffer ; yet the Infinite Being manifested the most feeling pity for their sorrows. And how can a believer in the truth of the Bible suppose, for one moment, that this same unchangeable God is now an indifferent spec. tator, merely, to the accumulated wrongs which thousands of the poor slaves are forced to endure in this Christian land,—thousands who are his people, who love him, but who are not permitted to read his word, nor to worship him according to the dictates of their own consciences ?
2. I have also seen the oppression. Oppression is the spoiling or taking another's goods, or the fruit of his own labor, by constraint, terror, or force; and men commit this crime whenever they offer any violence to the persons, or estates, or consciences of others. If the Israelites were oppressed by the Egyptians, what may be said of millions of the human species in this land, who are every day robbed of the fruit of their own labor ?
3. And it came to pass, in process of time, that the king of Egypt died; and the children of Israel sighed by reason of the bondage, and they cried, and their cry came up unto God, by reason of the bondage. And God heard their groaning, and God remembered his covenant, and God looked upon the children of Israel, and God had respect unto them. Ex. ii, 23.
4. Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, let my people go, that they may serve me. Ex. ix. 1.
5. Thus saith the LORD God of the Hebrews, How long wilt thou refuse to humble thyself before me ? let my people go that they may serve me. Ex.
6. And Pharaoh comm
nmanded, the same day, the task-masters of the people, and their officers, sayo ing, Ye shall no more give the people straw to make brick, 'as heretofore ; let them go and gather straw for themselves. And the tale of the bricks,
3. And God heard their groanings. And does he not now hear the groanings of the enslaved ? Has he no respect unto the sighing of millions who now cry unto him by rea. son of their chains ?
4. Let my people go. And now, if God uttered his testimony against the slavery which his people endured thousands of years ago, and if he commanded their oppressors to let them go free, how can it be made to appear that he does not do this now?
5. And Pharaoh commanded the task-masters. The persons who were placed over the slaves in Egypt, were denominated “task-masters ;” it was their office to appoint them their work, and exact its daily performance. In the Hebrew, they are called "princes of burdens,” and in the Septuagint, “overseers of the works;" in the dialect of this land, these officers are called “overseers,"
masters," and "soul. drivers."