CHAPTER 27
THE ANTI-SLAVERY WORK OF FRIENDS

THE great migration of Friends from the slave states into the Northwest Territory did not entirely relieve them of the problems of slavery. The issue followed them into their new homes. The passion for democracy which actuated the founders of the republic was antipathetic to slavery. Congress prohibited the slave trade after tile year 1808 and it was anticipated that slavery would gradually die out. But the invention of the cotton gin ( 1793) made the cultivation of cotton profitable, especially on the large plantations which grew up after the removal of the Indians from the Gulf States ( 1832)1 and slavery seemed necessary for it. Between 1820 and 1830 southern sentiment had definitely adopted slavery as its peculiar and sacred institution.2 After the Missouri Compromise of 1820 slavery became a national issue. The "slave power" sought the continual extension of slave territory in order to preserve the balance of power in the Senate.

The free territory of the northwest offered asylum not only to Quakers seeking escape from a slave-holding society but also to fugitive slaves seeking freedom north of the Mason and Dixon Line as well as north of the Ohio river.

____________________
1
Siebert, The Underground Railroad, pp. 26, 308.
2
"In 1832 Professor Dew examined on behalf of Virginia the several plans offered from any quarter for discarding the 'peculiar institution' and found them all unfeasible. His weighty pamphlet persuaded a multitude that nothing could be done. Alert defense of 'southern rights' became the watchword everywhere." Encycl. of the Soc. Sciences, vol. xiv, p. 89.

-357-

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The History of Quakerism
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