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DECLARATION OF SENTIMENTS OF THE AMERICAN ANTI-SLAVERY SOCIETY. Adopted at the Formation of said Society, in Philadelphia, on the 4th day of December, 1833. DECLARATION, The Convention assembled in the City of Philadelphia, to organize a National Anti- Slavery Society, promptly seize the opportunity to promulgate the following DECLARATION OF SENTIMENTS, as cherished by them in relation to the enslavement of one-sixth portion of the American people. More than. fifty-seven years have elapsed since a band of patriots convened in this place, to devise measures for the deliverance of this country from a foreign yoke. The corner stone upon which they founded the TEMPLE OF FREEDOM was broadly this - "that all men are created equal; and they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, LIBERTY, and the pursuit of happiness." At the sound of their trumpet-call, three millions of people rose up as from the sleep of death, and rushed to the strife of blood; deeming it more glorious to die instantly as freemen, than desirable to live one hour as slaves. They were few in number - poor in resources; but the honest convic¬tion that TRUTH, JUSTICE, and RIGHT were on their side, made them invincible. We have met together for the achievement of an enterprise, without which that of our fathers is incomplete; and which, for its magnitude, solemnity, and probable results upon the destiny of the world, as far transcends theirs as moral truth does physical force. In purity of motive, in earnestness of zeal, in decision of purpose, in intrepidity of action, in steadfastness of faith, in sincerity of spirit, we would not be inferior to them. Their principles led them to wage war against their oppressors, and to spill human blood like water in order to be free. Ours forbid the doing of evil that good may come, and lead us to reject, and to entreat the oppressed to reject, the use of all carnal weapons for deliverance from bondage; relying solely upon those which are spiritual, and mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. Their measures were physical resistance - the marshalling in arms - the hostile array - the mortal encounter. Ours shall be such only as the opposition of moral purity to moral corrup¬tion - the destruction of error by the potency of truth - the overthrow of prejudice by the power of love - and the abolition of slavery by the spirit of repentance. Their grievances, great as they were, were trifling in comparison with the wrongs and suf-ferings of those for whom we plead. Our fathers were never slaves - never bought and sold like cattle - never shut out from the light of knowledge and religion - never subjected to the lash of brutal task-masters. But those for whose emancipation we are striving - constituting, at the present time, at least one-sixth part of our countrymen - are recognized by the law, and treated by their fel¬low-beings, as marketable commodities, as goods and chattels, as brute beasts; are plundered daily of the fruits of their toil without redress; really enjoying no constitutional nor legal pro¬tection from licentious and murderous outrages upon their persons, are ruthlessly torn asun¬der - the tender babe from the arms of its frantic mother - the heart-broken wife from her weeping husband - at the caprice or pleasure of irresponsible tyrants. For the crime of hav¬ing a dark complexion, they suffer the pangs of hunger, the infliction of stripes, and the igno¬miny of brutal servitude. They are kept in heathenish darkness by laws expressly enacted to make their instruction a criminal offence. These are the prominent circumstances in the condition of more than two millions of our people, the proof of which may be found in thousands of indisputable facts, and in the laws of the slaveholding States. Hence we maintain, - that in view of the civil and religious privileges of this nation, the guilt of its oppression is unequalled by any other on the face of the earth; and, therefore, That it is bound to repent instantly, to undo the heavy burden, to break every yoke, and to let the oppressed go free.
|Creator||American Anti-Slavery Society|
|Title||Declaration of Sentiments of the American Anti-Slavery Society|
|Publisher||New York: American Anti-Slavery Society|
|Description||A formal statement of the beliefs and goals of the American Anti-Slavery Society at the time of their founding.|
|Source||SC 326 A5122|
|Rights||Digital image copyright 2008, Dickinson College. All rights reserved.|
|Contact||Archives & Special Collections; Dickinson College; Carlisle, PA; firstname.lastname@example.org|