«PHILADELPHIA: Printed for the Author. 1737 This is an annotated text of All Slave-Keepers That keep the Innocent in Bondage, Apostates, published by ...»
Many of these Poor Creatures, in Town and Country, were sent to Market by their Masters or Mistresses, at other Times, and they would come to us to lay out their Money, if we had such Goods as they wanted, and when they came in, seem’d to rejoice to see us [page 38] together, we were so very much alike; and would lift up their Hands with Admiration, and say, That little backararar man, for so they call White People, go all over world see for that backarar woman for himself. But we, alas! are parted!
Here Friends you may see and understand the powerful Influence long Custom, Conveniency, Intimacy and Profit has to insinuate itself into our Affections; for I have often heard my dear Wife say in her Life-time, and express the Danger she was in when living in Barbadoes, of being leavened into the very Nature of the Inhabitants, Pride and Oppression: So that dear Creature, she seeing the Evil and the Danger, she was willing and desirous to leave the Island, and indeed so was I.
But, my Friends, here I must come to that that is not very agreeable to Flesh and Blood, which is Confession of Sins: For although I never was Owner of a Slave myself, and all Friends in Barbadoes could never persuade me to purchase one, I humbly bless the Lord my good God for that, and this is now my Comfort and dear Joy and sweet Experience: Yet I must confess, and I have not full Peace without it, yet I may say, [page 39] I have been sorely grieved to see and hear the inexpressible Cruelty, Torture and Misery, these poor Wretches were and are put to, Night and Day, yet although, as I have said, I saw and heard of such very great Barbarity used toward the Slaves, Night and Day, yet for want of dwelling near enough to the blessed Truth, I was leavened too much into the Nature of the People there which are Masters and Mistresses of Slaves, though I never had nor would have any of my own, but by conversing, trading, and living daily amongst them, where there is vast Numbers, abundance coming daily to buy Goods and to beg, some to steal, we had abundance stolen from us at Times, the worth of ten, fifteen, or near twenty Shillings at a time, come into shop whole Droves together, lay the Scheme I suppose, come by Appointment; when many are come in they seem in great haste, one would say, Serve me, another, Serve me, Serve me; come sometimes, by twilight and within Night, there was their Time; so when we were in a hurry, one would run away with one Thing, another with another, and so on. Very much we lost to be sure. Sometimes I could catch them, and then I [page 40] would give them Stripes sometimes, but I have been sorry for it many times, and it does grieve me to this Day, considering the extreme Cruelty and Misery they always live under. Oh my Heart has been pained within me many times, to see and hear; and now, now, now, it is so.
Shall we fetch and steal them out of their own Country, where God Almighty has made them and placed them, and in taking of them murther many, very many, and serve them that we take alive ten times worse; steal Husband from Wife, Wife from Husband; steal the Children from their Parents, bring them here or elsewhere amongst our extraordinary Christians, worse Thieves than the others by far; they work ‘em, whip and starve ’em almost to death, and if the poor Wretch steal a little to satisfy Hunger, he is tormented without Mercy. Be these Christians, and Ministers too, that encourage and plead for these Things? It must be all Lie, and that is of the Devil, for when he speaketh a Lie, it is of himself. Joh. viii.44. I do believe in my Soul, if Christ was here in that very Body, he would say as much to some Quakers as he said to the Scribes [page 41] and Pharisees in the eighth of John; if he the Devil be a Murtherer and a Liar, what are our Slave-Merchants ? Is there a greater Lie in the World? I Joh.ii.4. He that faith, I know him, and keeps not his sayings, is a Liar. ver. 22. Do not all Liars deny the Father and Son? iv. 20. He is a Liar that saith he loves God, and hates his Brother. v.10. He that believeth not God, hath made him a Liar. What does our dear Slaves with their Slaves think of these Things: As Solomon saith, a poor Man is better than a Liar. Luke vi.43, 44. a good tree bears good Fruit, and can a good Tree bear Negro-Trading for Gain?
Matth. vii. 17, 18. A good Tree cannot bear evil Fruit.
Luke viii.14, 15. Not many Slavek----rs bring forth Fruit to Perfection.
Rom.vii.5. I am much afraid Sl--e-k----ng will bring forth Fruits to the Death.
Rom. vi. 20. Are not Sl—e-k—pers the Servants of Sin?
21. Are our S.K. ashamed of their Sin?
22. Are our S.K. free from Sin?
[page 42] Tit. i. 9. Are S.K. able to convince the Gainsayers?
10. Are not S.K of the Circumcision, unruly vain Talkers?
11. Do not S.K subvert whole Houses, for filthy Lucre?
12. Are not S.K. Liars, evil Beasts, slow Bellies?
13. Don’t they Deserve to be rebuked sharply, as being very unfound in the Faith?
14. Don’t these give away to Jewish Fables, and turn from Truth? What think ye, my Brethren?
15. Unto the Pure all things are pure; if literally, then Robbing and Killing, as well as Slave-keeping.
16. Do not these deny God in works and yet pretend to know him?
Tit. ii. 7. Have these men found Doctrine Gravity and Sincerity?
8. Have not these men of the contrary Part need to be ashamed, when we have so many evil things to say of them, under very justly too?
Do these adorn the Doctrine of god our Saviour with Slave-keeping? I think in [page 43] my very Soul, it is more agreeable to the Devil.
Prov. xxiv.23,24, 25, 26. He that faith to such wicked ones, thou art righteous;
him shall the People curse, Nations shall abhor him. But to them that rebuke them shall be Delight, and a good Blessing shall come upon them.
But, my friends, you that practise Tyranny and Oppression for Slave-keeping is such, he that assumes in arbitrary Manner, unjustly, Dominion over his Fellow-Creature’s Liberty and Property, contrary to Law, Reason or Equity, He is a wicked sinful Tyrant, guilty of Oppression and great Iniquity: But he that trades in Slaves and the Souls of Men, does so; therefore ----Beside, Friends, the very Name of the Tyrant is odious, to God, to good men, yea to bad Men too; and the Nature and Practice is much worse.
And Friends, you that follow this forlorn filthy Practice, do you not consider that you are opening the Door to others, or setting them an Example to do the like by you, whenever it shall please the Almighty to suffer them to have power over us, as a Scourge to us for our Sins, what Reason then shall we [page 44] have to complain? If any of you ever read the History of the English Slaves in Algier, how would you like that yourselves? There was some Discourse of its being printed in Philadelphia: I wish it might, for the sake of some. Lam. iv. 3 The Sea-Monsters draw out their Breast to their Young, but you draw out the Sword to young and old, middle-aged and all (save what you cannot come at) or cause it to be done so: and yet them that die by the Sword are better than them you bring away and starve; for these pine away for want of the Fruits of the Field, and by other Severities.
My dear Wife has often spoke of a passage in or near Spikes’s in Barbadoes, going hastily into a very plain-coat outside Friend’s house, there hung up Negro stark naked, trembling and shivering, with such a Flood of Blood under him, that so surprised the little Woman she could scarce contain; but at last a little recovering, she says to some in Family, What’s here to do. They began exclaiming against the poor miserable Creature, for absconding a day or two, may be by reason of his cruel Usage, as by this Barbarity we may imagine.
[page 45] Another Piece of Barbarity, of one Richard Parrot a Cooper, which I knew; he used to whip his Negroes on Second-day Mornings very severely, to keep them in awe. It is usual for these miserable Slaves to get together on First days, to bewail and lament their forlorn Condition that they are in one to another. One Says, My Master very bad Man; another, My Mistress very bad Woman. This Parrot’s Negro, a lusty Fellow, a Cooper, and used to get his Master 7 s. 6 d. a day, being valued at 100l. or more; he says, My Master Parrot very bad man indeed, whippe, whippe poor Negro evee Munne Morning for notin tall! me no bear no longer. So he hangs himself on First-day at Night, because he would not be whippe Munne Morning. This was while we lived in Barbadoes. I knew Parrot very well, having been at his House; and abundance more of such like Things while we abode there.
1736, the 29th of the 8th Month, this Morning between 2 & 3 this was written.
It arose in my Mind in Love of Truth, that as the blessed immaculate Lamb was said John i.
14. to be the only begotten of the Father, full of Grace, and full [page 46] of Truth; so Slave–keeping and trading is the only Begotten of the Devil, full of all Ungraciousness and all Untruth. The True Child and Heir of Hell, the only begotten of the Devil, indeed, but not in Truth nor any part of it.
As it is written, Psal. ii.7. Thou art my Son, this Day have I begotten thee; so may the Devil say by Slave-keeping.
As God gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believed in him might have everlasting Life; so the Devil gives his only begotten Child, the Merchandize of Slaves and Souls of Men, Rev. xviii.13. that whosoever believes and trades in it might have everlasting Damnation.
Again, it is written, I Cor. iv. 15. though you have ten thousand Instructors in Christ, yet you have not many Fathers, I may say so, for in Christ have I Begotten you thro’ the Gospel; so may many of our Ministers say to the Negro-Traders and Keepers, You have we begotten thro’ the Devil, by our Example and Pleading for it, and by our Condemning and Disowning many worthy Friends, of innocent Lives, for testifying against it, and against us for living and continuing in it;
but we will do it for all that. What do we care for their Testimony?
[page 47] Shall we, our Wives, or Sons, or Daughters, when our Fellow–Merchants (of Mystery Babylon the Great) come to visit us, run to wait on them, their Horses, their Chariots and Equipage, Cooking, Sculling and waiting? No we despite it, and them that do it. We will have our Slaves and Souls of Men to do it for us, as our Mother has and had in all Ages of the World; and it was their Glory, and it is ours, and we will have it; and we, our Wives, Sons, Daughters, Kindred, and our Fellow-Merchants, that are great and honorable, Men of Renown, shall fit and live like Kings and Queens that know no Sorrow.
I must confess, that as Paul had begotten one in his Bonds, for Christ’s Sake to Christ; so those abovemention’d have begotten many, yea very many, in their Bonds, for the Devil and Mammon’s sake to the Devil and his Kingdom.
We may safely say, without breach of Charity, by these Prophets or Ministers before – mentioned, as Micajab said by Ahab’s four hundred false prophets, I Kings xxii.23. that there is a Lying Spirit in the mouths of all them that keep or trade in Slaves, and say it is lawful [page 48] in this blessed Gospel Day; let them pretend to what they will or may; whether Hearers or Prophets, or Preachers, although there be or should be four hundred or four thousand of them, no matter for their great Number, the truth is over them all, although them that are and were out of the Truth have faln, and may fall, by their Means, by their lying Persuasions; I say their great and lying Pretensions, have and may and will cause many more I fear, to fall, as well as the other false Prophets did Ahab and many others, as we may read of in Scripture and elsewhere plentifully, as in Case of Jezabel’s eight hundred and fifty false prophets, which Elijah slew, I Kings xviii. 19.
Jerem. xiv. 14, 15, 16, 17. It is enough to make one tremble to think what will become of those Prophets that prophesy Lies in the Name of the Lord, and teach the people to keep Slaves in this pure Gospel Day; it has and does cause the Eyes of many dear Servants & Handmaids amongst us to run down with Tears, because of this sinful Practice.
I can truly say, I have had large and long Experience since I came into [page 49] America, that many of our Ministers and Elders are not only in the Bond of Iniquity, but also in the Gall of Bitterness, and are as ready to smite as the Son of Immer, altho’ chief Governour in the House of the Lord. Jer. xx.1, 2. or as Zedekiah to smite Micajah on the Cheek, I Kings xxii.
24. Do but reprove for these Things (Slave-Practice) and he or they will, if possible, bring you into Bonds and Fetters, or put you into the Stocks, with or in the high Gate of Benjamin, or some other way, although he dwells near and in the House of the Lord.
Jerem. xxii. 13, 14, 15, 16. Wo unto him that buildeth his House by Iniquity, and useth his Neighbour’s Service without Wages, and giveth him not for his Work. Shalt thou reign because thou encloseth thyself in Cedar?
Jerem. xxiii. 9. Is it not enough almost to break ones Heart, to see this Practice of Slaves lived in and pleaded for by our Preachers and Elders?
ver.14. Dear Friends, do not these greatly strengthen the Hands of Evil-do-ers?
Ver. 15. Is not Profaneness gone forth into all the Land, by their means?
[page 50] Ver. 16. My dear and tender Friends, Should we or shall we always hearken unto the Voice or Words of such Prophets that teach Lies in the Name of the Lord?
Deut. xxix. 18. Is not this Practice turning the Heart from the Lord to serve the Idols of the Nations?
Then what a Root of Gall and Wormwood appears in these Negro-keepers when they are reproved, Ministers especially, to my certain knowledge, and long experience.
In his excellent song Moses lively sets forth the tender mercies of God to the faithful; and his Vengeance against the unfaithful Slave-Keepers, all unfaithful that profess Truth.
Deut. 32. 1. Give Ear, O Heavens, the heavenly-minded, and I will Speak.
Ver. 2. My Doctrine shall drop as the Rain, and Dew, but then it is upon the tender Plant, not the old sturdy Oak; it will do no good there, I fear.
Ver. 6. Do ye (Slave-Keepers) thus requite the Lord, for all his Favours, O foolish People and unwise.
Ver. 20. What shall we do, Dear Friends, if the Lord should intirely hide his Face from us, because of this thing Slave-Keeping, and some others almost as bad.