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Scripto | Transcribe Page
Proceedings of the National Conference of Colored Men of the United States, Held in the State Capitol at Nashville Tennessee, May 6, 7, 8 and 9, 1879.
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Christianity, by professed Christians? In answer to the query, let us give the action of a few of the Ieading church bodies. We begin with the Friends or Quakers. These pride themselves and are prided upon in the record they present. When compared with the record of others, they possibly have occasion to congratulate themselves, as has undoubtedly the man with one eye occasion to ongratulate himself upon his seeing capacity,when he finds himself numbered with men having no eyes. And yet even in regard to the Quakers, we can hear the great Evangel of time say: "Nevertheless I have found somewhat against thee." What is it? Let history tell, and in its own words. We quote from "Stroud's History and Genealogy of the French Colony :"
"A short time after Francis Daniel Pastorious arrived in Pennsylvania he became a member of the Society of Friends. He married about that time Anna, the daughter of Dr. Klosterman, of Muhlheim. He was one of the first who had any misgivings about the institution of slavery, and in 1688 he wrote a memorial against slave-holding, which was submitted to the meeting of Germantown Friends, and by them approved of, and Pastorious was appointed to lay the memorial before the yearly meeting held in Philadelphia the same year. It was the first protest against Negro slavery submitted to a religious society in the world. Whittier, the poet, who had an opportunity of seeing the original manuscript, says it was a bold and direct appeal to the human heart. The memorial found but little favor with the yearly meeting, and it was said that Pastorious returned to his home at Germantown with sadness depicted on his countenance."
Westcott, the historian, says the first person who wrote a book showing the evils of slavery was Ralph Sandeford, a young merchant on Market street, Philadelphia. He had resided for some time in one of the West India islands, and had witnessed the cruelties inflicted upon his fellow-man, and in the year 1728 his book was published, showing the evils of the system, and for so doing he was disowned by the Society of Friends.
Upon this action of the Quakers we have only to say, when it is remembered that precedents are portentous either for weal or woe, it assumes gigantic proportions. A different action at such an early period, followed up with that audacity which Christian faith inspires, as reckless as the assertion may seem, might have saved the nation from centuries of guilt and suffering.
From the Quakers we turn to the Baptists, concerning whom it is only necessary to make a single historical quotation. Says Daniel Benedict in his "General History of the Baptist Denomination in America," 1813, vol. 2, page — :
"The Baptists are by no means uniform in their opinion of slavery. Many let it alone altogether ; some remonstrate against it in gentle terms ; others oppose it vehemently ; while far the greater part of them hold slaves, and justify themselves the best way they can."
From the Baptists we come to the Presbyterians. We mention the action of two members of the great Presbyterian family ; the one with possibly the cleanest record ; the other with the same regard to that, that is possibly the worst. In 1832 the united Presbyteries in the western synod passed the following resolution : "That the religion of our Lord Jesus Christ calls upon all Christians to renounce the evil (slavery) as soon as it can be done without worse consequences to society and the slaves themselves." Just as if either society or the slaves themselves could suffer worse consequences. But how they improved on this empty statement, let Mr. L. Boyd (Springfield, Ohio,) tell us:
"We were present," says he, "at the meeting of the general synod of the West, held at New Concord, Ohio, in 1841, and remained during all
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