Slavery and Abolition, 1831-1841

By Albert Bushnell Hart | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XVI
THE ABOLITIONIST AND THE SLAVE-HOLDER
(1830-1860)

ALL the relations of the abolitionist to the negro were intended to bear upon the one purpose of affecting the master either by "moral suasion" or by arousing public sentiment against him. Garrison deliberately chose the latter method, and asked, "What has been so efficacious as this hard language? . . . its strength of denunciation bears no proportion to the enormous guilt of the slave system."1 Although not one planter in a thousand ever heard an abolitionist speak, and not one in a hundred ever read an abolitionist book or paper, this habitual harshness aroused the fiercest resentment; the rank and file of the abolitionists were "silly enthusiasts led away by designing characters"; the leaders were "mere ambitious men . . . who cloak their designs under vile and impious hypocrisies, and unable to shine in higher spheres, devote themselves to fanaticism as a trade."2 Calhoun said of them: "It is against this relation between the two races that the blind and criminal zeal of the Abolitionists is directed

____________________
1
Garrisons, Garrison, I., 336.
2
Hammond, in Pro-Slavery Argument, 173.

-232-

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