Slavery and Abolition, 1831-1841

By Albert Bushnell Hart | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER XI
THE ANTI-SLAVERY MOVEMENT
(1624-1840)

MOST of the arguments in favor of slavery can be traced to the eighteenth century; and two centuries before the anti-slavery movement of 1831 protests had been heard against slavery in America. Half a century later the subject was taken up by Richard Baxter, an English devotional author, who, in his Christian Directory, in 1678, declared that "to go as pirates and catch up poor negroes or people of another land that never forfeited life or liberty and to make them slaves and sell them is one of the worst kinds of thievery in the world."1 As slavery spread through the colonies, these objections became more and more animated both from northern and southern men, especially the Quakers, who began to make "slave keeping" a reason for disfellowship; their anti-slavery apostle, John Woolman, made it his life-work to go about the country and to argue against slavery, because contrary to Christianity and because "liberty was the natural right of all men equally."2

____________________
1
Locke, Anti-Slavery, 16.
2
Hart, Contemporaries, II., 305.

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