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for the gradual emancipation of slaves. Proper committees shall be appointed by the Annual Conferences, out of the most respectable of our friends, for conducting the business; and presiding elders, elders, deacons, and traveling preachers, shall procure as many proper signatures as possible to the addresses, and give all the assistance in their power, in every respect, to aid the committees, and to forward the blessed undertaking. Let this be continued from year to year, till the desired end be accomplished."
It has been only about twenty years since Pope Gregory XVI. immortalized himself by issuing the famous Bull against slavery, from which the following is an extract:—
"Placed as we are on the Supreme seat of the apostles, and acting, though by no merits of our own, as the vicegerent of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who, through his great mercy, condescended to make himself man, and to die for the redemption of the world, we regard as a duty devolving on our pastoral functions, that we endeavor to turn aside our faithful flocks entirely from the inhuman traffic in negroes, or any other human beings whatever. * * * In progress of time, as the clouds of heathen superstition became gradually dispersed, circumstances reached that point, that during several centuries there were no slaves allowed amongst the great majority of the Christian nations; but with grief we are compelled to add, that there afterwards arose, even among the faithful, a race of men, who, basely blinded by the appetite and desire of sordid lucre, did not hesitate to reduce, in remote regions of the earth, Indians, negroes, and other wretched beings, to the misery of slavery ; or, finding the trade established and augmented, to assist the shameful crime of others. Nor did many of the most glorious of the Roman Pontiffs omit severely to reprove their conduct, as injurious to their souls' health, and disgraceful to the Christian name. Among these may be especially quoted the bull of Paul III., which bears the date of the 29th of May, 1537,
addressed to the Cardinal Archbishop of Toledo; and another still more comprehensive, by Urban VIII., dated the 22d of April, 1C36, to the collector Jurius of the Apostolic chamber in Portugal, most severely castigating by name those who presumed to subject either East or West Indians to slavery, to sell, buy, exchange, or give them away, to separate them from their wives and children, despoil them of their goods and property, to bring or transmit them to other places, or by any means to deprive them of liberty, or retain them in slavery; also most severely castigating those who should presume or dare to afford council, aid, favor or assistance, under any pretext, or borrowed color, to those doing the aforesaid; or should preach or teach that it is lawful, or should otherwise presume or dare to co-operate, by any possible means, with the aforesaid. * * * Wherefore, we, desiring to divert this disgrace from the whole confines of Christianity, having summoned several of our venerable brothers, their Eminences the Cardinals, of the II. R. Chureh, to our council, and, having maturely deliberated on the whole matter, pursuing the footsteps of our predecessors, admonished by our apostolical authority, and urgently invoke in the Lord, all Christians, of whatever condition, that none henceforth dare to subject to slavery, unjustly persecute, or despoil of their goods, Indians, negroes, or other classes of men, or be accessories to others, or furnish them aid or assistance in so doing; and on no account henceforth to exercise that inhuman traffic by which negroes are reduced to slavery, as if they were not men, but automata or chattels, and are sold in defiance of all the laws of justice and humanity, and devoted to severe and intolerable labors. We further reprobate, by our apostolical authority, all the above-described offences as utterly unworthy of the Christian name; and by the 6ame authority we rigidly prohibit and interdict all and every individual, whether ecclesiastical or laical, from presuming to defend that commerce in negro slaves under pretence or borrowed color, or to teach or publish in any manner, publicly or privately, things contrary to the admonitions which we have given in these letters.
"And, finally, that these, our letters, may be rendered more apparent to all, and that no person may allege any ignorance thereof, we decree and order that it shall be published according to custom, and copies thereof be properly affixed to the gates of St. Peter and of the Apostolic Chancel, every and in like manner to the General Court of Mount Citatorio, and in the field of the Campus Florae, and also through the city, by one of our heralds., according to aforesaid custom.
"Given at Rome, at the Palace of Santa Maria Major, under the seal of the fisherman, on the 3d day of December, 1837, and in the ninth year of our pontificate.
"Countersigned by Cardinal A. Lambruschini."
We have already quoted the language of Pope Leo X., who says :—
"Not only docs the Christian religion, but nature herself cry out against the State of slavery."
The Abbe Raynal says :—
"He who supports slavery is the enemy of the human race. He divides it into two societies of legal assassins, the oppressors and the oppressed. I shall not be afraid to cite to the tribunal of reason and justice those governments which tolerate this cruelty, or which even are not ashamed to make it the basis of their power."
From the proceedings of a Massachusetts Anti-slavery Convention in 1855, we make the following extract:—
"Henry Kemp, a Roman Catholic, came forward to defend the Romish Church in reply to Mr. Foster. He claimed that the Catholic Church is thoroughly anti-slavery—as thoroughly as even his friend Foster."
Thus manfully do men of pure hearts and noble minds,
whether in Church or State, and without regard to sect or
party, lift up their voices against the wicked and pernicious
institution of human slavery. Thus they speak, and thus they arc obliged to speak, if they speak at all; it is only the voice of Nature, Justice, Truth, and Love, that issues from them. The divine principle in man prompts him to speak and strike for Freedom ; the diabolical principle within him prompts him to speak and strike for slavery.
From those churches which are now—as all churches ought to be, and will be, ere the world becomes Christianized—thoroughly imbued with the principles of freedom, we do not, as already intimated, deem it particularly necessary to bring forward new arguments in opposition to slavery. If, however, the reader would be pleased to hear from the churches to which we chiefly allude—and, by the bye, he might hear from them with much profit to himself ■—we respectfully refer him to Henry Ward Bcecher, George B. Cheever, Joseph P. Thompson, Theodore Parker, E. H. Chapin, and H. W. Bellows, of the Noith, and to M. D. Conway, John G. Fee, James S. Davis, Daniel Wilson, and W. E. Lincoln, of the South. All these reverend gentlemen, ministers of different denominations, feel it their duty to preach against slavery, and, to their honor be it said, they do preach against it with unabated zeal and success. Our earnest prayer is, that Heaven may enable them, their cotemporarics and successors, to preach against it with such energy and effect, as will cause it to disappear forever from the soil of our Republic.
Every person who has read the Bible, and who has a proper understanding of its leading moral precepts, feels, in his own conscience, that it is the only original and complete anti-slavery text-book. In a crude state of society— in a barbarous age—when men were in a manner destitute of wholesome laws, either human or divine, it is possible that a mild form of slavery may have been tolerated, and even regulated, as an institution clothed with the importance of temporary recognition ; but the Deity never approved it, and, for the very reason that it is impossible for him to do wrong, he never will, never can approve it. The worst system of servitude of which we have any account in the Bible—and, by the way, it furnishes no account of anything so bad as slavery (the evil-one and his hot home alone excepted)—was far less rigorous and atrocious than that now established in the Southern States of this Confederacy. Even that system, however, the worst, which seems to have been practiced to a considerable extent by those venerable old fogies, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, was one of the monstrous inventions of Satan