Address of the Female Anti-Slavery Society of the City of Hudson, NY

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Title

Address of the Female Anti-Slavery Society of the City of Hudson, NY

Creator

Mary Paddock and Ann Marriott

Date

1840

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In forming this association, we have indulged a hope that we may thereby be enabled to diffuse around our humble sphere information as to the best mode of peacefully dispersing the dark cloud that slavery has too long spread over this land.

To assert that we ourselves have no interest in this matter, is to say that we are dead to the finer feelings of humanity--careless of the welfare of the oppressor or of the oppressed, and insensible to the value of national character. Our efforts in this cause, feeble as they may be, we trust will disprove the charge.

As various and conflicting plans are on foot for the removal of the evil, we owe it to you and to ourselves, to give our views of the most imposing project yet offered for our sanction, in "the American Colonization Society."--When appeals are made to our liberality, for the accomplishment of an object which many upright & intelligent individuals believe would be a great national good, as well as promotive of the best interest of those on whom it will more immediately operate, the sanction of great names will not always exonerate us from an individual inquiry into its true character and tendency, lest, with the best intentions, we may in reality injure our country, and uselessly sacrifice the lives and comfort of our unoffending fellow creatures.

The professed object of the society we have mentioned, is to remove to Africa, with their own consent, "the Free People of Color."--But it is difficult to conceive how this can be accomplished, since, in almost every part of the United States, where they have been permitted to assemble, these people have called meetings and with one voice expressed their repugnance to the plan, and declared their unalterable determination "to live and die in this their native land." If they are deceived as to their true interest, how shall we undeceive them? Our zeal in the cause increases their suspicion of our motives; and well may they be jealous, when they behold in the most powerful patrons of the society, men who hold multitudes of slaves, and who are determined to perpetuate that deplorable system, and see in this very society the means of doing it more safely, and of increasing also the value of their slaves. Should this be doubted--if, as is believed by some among us, the southern members sincerely wish the extinction of slavery--why do they not liberate at once their own slaves and send them to Liberia, instead of seeking to expel the free people of color?--But, apart from the injustice and cruelty of the measure, it is worthy of inquiry, what would be the probable effect of banishing to a distant and fatally malignant clime the two and a half millions of native born American colored people now in these United States.

Notwithstanding the present wretched and ruinous state of southern agriculture, this body of people raise for exportation Cotton, Rice and Tobacco, to the amount of more than thirty millions of dollars annually, besides corn, &c. for their own consumption. It is proposed to remove all these inhabitants, as they become free, from a land yet thinly peopled, that offers a richer reward for honest industry than any other portion of the earth, and from a climate perfectly suited to their constitutions--to a savage coast more populous, but proverbially unhealthy to all except its native inhabitants. We are aware that conflicting statements are abroad on this head, but in endeavoring to satisfy our own minds, some of our number have individually collected a mass of information upon it, from which has resulted a full conviction that whoever subscribes one hundred dollars towards the American Colonization Society, consigns to an untimely grave, at least one of this deeply injured race;* and it is marvelous that we can willingly subject ourselves to the just condemnation of the whole civilized world by seeking to expel one sixth part of our population solely on account of their complexion. When we reflect on the expence of their removal--on the loss of life and comfort in acclimating them in Africa--on the desolating consequence to the south, in being deprived of its laboring population--on the difficulty and loss of life in re-peopling the lands thus deserted, from other parts of this, or any other country, we are bound to reject the plan as inconsistent with the simplest principles of christianity, which teach us to do unto others, as we would that they should do unto us, and ruinous and fatal in all its aspects. Had the wealth that has already been lavished on this project been judiciously expended in educating the youth and improving the morals of this persecuted race, who can tell the amount of good it would have done; and could the channel of benevolence be hereafter thus directed, every little stream would fertilize its immediate neighborhood, instead of being dissipated and lost in its dubious course to distant lands. Let us then seek to stimulate the laudable exertions of this people to raise themselves above the adverse circumstances that have long born them down--let us seek to turn the current of public opinion in favor of restoring to them their just rights--let us persuade their oppressors that the path of justice is the only path of safety, and that by yielding up their present uncontrolled power over the persons of human beings into the hands of just and equal laws, and by stimulating with moderate wages, instead of the lash, their business might be conducted more profitably and undoubtedly more safely than at present.

To reason thus on justice or on temperance we conceive to be our undoubted right, and conscious of the rectitude of our views and motives, we rely on Him alone for a blessing on our labors, who hath given us this precept--"Open thy mouth for the dumb in the cause of all such as are appointed to destruction"--"Open thy mouth, judge righteously, and plead the cause of the poor and needy."

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