« AnteriorContinuar »
field wanes, because the black man tills the soil. The sails of your vessels whiten the ocean, their holds filled with sugar, and their decks burdened with cotton, because the black man smarts under the driver's lash, while the scorching rays of a tropical sun fall blistering upon his skin. He labors and faints, and another riots on the fruits of his unrequited toils. He is bought and sold as the brute, and has nothing that he can call his own. Is he a husband ? the next hour may separate him forever from the object of his affections. Is he a father ? the child of his hopes may the next moment be torn from his bleeding bosom, and carried he knows not whither, but at best, to a state of servitude more intolerable than death.. He looks back upon the past, and remembers his many stripes and tears. He looks forward, and no gleam of hope breaks in upon his sorrow-stricken bosom. Despair rankles in his heart and withers all his energies, and he longs to find rest in the grave. But his dark mind is uninformed of his immortal nature, and when he dies he dies without the consolations of religion, for in christian America there is no Bible for the slave. Your country being thus guilty, it behoves every citizen of your republic to consider lest the fate of Tyre be yours.
Mr. Thompson closed by expressing his determination to labor in behalf of those in bonds, till the last tear was wiped from the eye of the slave, and the last fetter broken from his heel ; and then, continued he, then let a western breeze bear me back to the land of my birth, or let me find a spot to lay my bones in the midst of a grateful people, and a people FREE indeed.
Never did the writer of this article listen to such eloquence; and never before did he witness an audience hanging with such profound attention upon the lips of a speaker. But those who take the trouble to read this article, must not suppose that what I have here stated is given in Mr. Thompson's own words. Perhaps I may have made use of some of his expressions, but my object has been to give a general view of this surpassingly excellent address of our beloved brother.
On Monday evening, Mr. Thompson gave a lecture on St. Domingo. It being preliminary to subsequent lectures, it was mostly statistics from the time of the discovery of
the island, down to the year 1789. Mr. Thompson remarked that he had a two-fold object in view in giving an account of St. Domingo. First, to show the capacity of the African race for governing themselves; and, second, to show that immediate emancipation was safe, as illustrated by its effects on that island. St. Domingo, he said, was remarkable for being the place where Columbus was betrayed—for its being the first of the West India Islands to which negro slaves were carried from the coast of Africam for the cruel treatment of the first settlers in the Island to the aboriginee--for the triumph of the liberated slaves over the French, and those of the islanders who joined them--for being the birth place of the noble minded, the gifted, the honored, but afterwards, betrayed Toussaint L'Ouverture, who was born a slave, and a great part of his life labored as a slave, yet as soon as his chains were broken off, he rose at once to a man-to a generalto a commander-in-chief, and finally to the Governor of a prosperous and happy Republic.
At the close of the exercises, Mr. Thompson informed the audience, that on the next evening they would be addressed by Wm. Lloyd Garrison, Editor of the Liberator,
- the much despised and villified Wm. Lloyd Garrison was to address the citizens of Andover on the subject of slavery.
Tuesday evening arrived, and with it arrived Wm. Lloyd Garrison, Editor of the Liberator. The house was crowded by many, who, we doubt not, came from mere curiosity, to see the man who had been held up to the world as
enemy of all righteousness'-the disturber of the public peace 'the libeller of his country'-the outjawed fanatic'- the reckless incendiary,' who was propagating his seditious sentiments from one end of the land to the other, and yet in this free country, suffered to live notwithstanding.
After prayer and singing, brother Garrison arose, and said, he stood before them as the one who had been represented to the public as the propagator of discord, and the enemy of his country—that almost every opprobrious epithet had been attached to his name; but since one term of reproval had been spared him-since his enemies had never called him a slaveholder, he would forgive them
all the rest, and thank them for their magnanimity. He spoke for some time on the supercilious inquiry so often iterated and reiterated by our opponents; Why don't you go to the South? He remarked, that the very individuals who made this inquiry, and were denouncing us as fanatics, well knew that death would be the lot of him who should broach such sentiments at the South, and should the advocates of abolition throw away their lives by recklessly throwing themselves into the hands of those who were thirsting for their blood, then indeed, might these baughty querists smile over their mangled bodies, and with justice pronounce them fanatics. He touched upon several other important points which I must pass over in silence. His manner was mild, his address dignified and dispassionate, and many who never saw him before, and whose opinions, or rather prejudices were formed from the false reports of his enemies, and confirmed by not reading his paper, were compelled, in spite of themselves, to form an idea entirely the reverse of what they had previously entertained of him. His address did much towards removing the prejudice that many had against him, and proved an excellent catholicon to the stomachs of those who are much given to squeamishness, whenever they hear the name of Garrison mentioned.
On Wednesday evening, Mr. Thompson was to have continued his remarks on St. Domingo, but a heavy rain prevented most of the audience from coming together, and by the request of those present, the address was deferred until the next evening, and the time spent in familiar eonversation. An interesting discussion took place, and lasted about an hour and a half. Many important questions were canvassed, to the entire satisfaction, we believe, of all who listened to them.
On Thursday evening, Mr. Thompson resumed his account of St. Domingo. Commencing with the year 1790, he showed that the beginning of what are termed the horrid scenes of St. Domingo,' was in consequence of a decree passed by the National Convention, granting to the free people of color the enjoyment of the same political privileges as the whites, and again in 1791, another deeree was passed, couched in still stronger language, declaring that all the free people of color in the French islands were entitled to all the privileges of citizenship. When this
decree reached Cape Francais, it excited the whites to great hostility against the free people of color. The parties were arrayed in arms against each other, and blood and conflagration followed. The Convention, in order to prevent the threatening evils, immediately rescinded the decree. By this act, the free blacks were again deprived of their rights, which so enraged them, that they commenced fresh hostilities upon the whites, and the Convention was obliged to re-enact the former decree, giving to them the same rights as white citizens.
A civil war continued to rage in the island until 1793, when, in order to extinguish it, and at the same time repel the British, who were then hovering round the coasts, it was suggested that the slaves should be armed in defence of the island. Accordingly in 1793, proclamation was made, promising 'to give freedom to all the slaves who would range
themselves under the banners of the Republic.' This scheme produced the desired effect. The English were driven from the Island, the civil commotions were suppressed, and peace and order were restored. After this, the liberated slaves were industrious and happy, and continued to work on the same plantations as before, and this state of things continued until 1802, when Buonaparte sent out a military force to restore slavery in the Island. Having enjoyed the blessings of freedom for nine years, the blacks resolved to die rather than again be subjected to bondage. They rose in the strength of free men, and with Toussaint L'Ouverture at their head they encountered their enemies. Many of them, however, were taken by the French, and miserably perished. Some were burnt to death, some were nailed to the masts of ships, some were sown up in sacks, poignarded, and then thrown into the sea as, food for sharks, some were confined in the holds of vessels, and suffocated with the fumes of brimstone, and many were torn in pieces by the blood hounds, which the French employed to harass and hunt them in the forests and fastnesses of the mountains. At length the scene changed. The putrifying carcases of the unburied slain poisoned the atmosphere, and produced sickness in the French army. In this state of helplessness they were besieged by the black army, their provisions were cut off, a famine raged among them so that they were compelled at last to subsist upon the flesh of the blood hounds, that they had exported from
Cuba as auxiliaries in conquering the islanders. The French army being nearly exterminated, a miserable remnant put to sea, and left the Island to the quiet possession of their conquerors.
Mr. Thompson concluded with the following summary : First, the revolution in St. Domingo originated between the whites and the free people of color, previous to any act of emancipation. Second, the slaves after their emancipation remained peaceful, contented, industrious, and happy, until Buonaparte made the atteinpt to restore slavery in the Island. Third, the history of St. Domingo proves the capacity of the black man for the enjoyment of liberty, his ability of self-government, and improvement, and the safety of immediate emancipation.
Friday evening, Mr. Thompson closed his account of St. Domingo, by giving a brief statement of its present condition. He showed by documents published in the West a Indies, that its population was rapidly multiplying, its exports annually increasing, and the inhabitants of the Island improving much faster than could be reasonably expected.
After the address, opportunity was given for any indi. viduals to propose questions. A gentleman slaveholder commenced. He made several unimportant inquiries, and along with them, abused Mr. Thompson, by calling him a 'foreign incendiary.' Mr. Thompson answered in his usual christian calmness and dignity, not rendering reviling for reviling. The discusion continued to a late hour, and when it closed the audience gave evidence of being well satisfied with the answers given, and some who attended that evening for the first time, subscribed their names to the Constitution. Thus closed Mr. Thompson's labors with us for the present, and he left town on Saturday, July 18th. Mr. Phelps remained and addressed us on Sabbath evening, but the small space left to me, will not admit of my giving any account of it. As to the good accomplished by the labors of Messrs. Thompson and Phelps, some further account may be given hereafter. At present, I will only say, that upwards of 200 have joined the AntiSlavery Society since they came among us. Yours, in behalf of the A. S. Society at Andover,
R. REED, Cor. Secretary.