An Address to Free Colored Americans HTML version

poignantly than the one who, though subjected to similar
privations, beholds his lot but little below that of those who
surround him." We must not, therefore, compare the situation of
slaves in the United States with that of the slaves of heathen
Greece and Rome, where equal laws never existed, and where the
beams of liberty and Christianity never shone; but to form a correct
judgment of the miseries endured by our slaves, we must compare
them with the laboring class of our population in the free states,
and we may then comprehend the debasing influence of a system
which produces such dreadful results as are exhibited on almost
every Southern plantation, where the lash is the principal, if not the
only stimulus.
You are, dear friends, in a peculiar manner fellow-sufferers with
those who are in bondage; because the whites, having reduced their
colored brethren to slavery, with a cruelty proportioned to their
unjust usurpation of power, have labored to impress on the mind of
the community, the unfounded calumny that the people of color are
unfit for freedom: this assertion is designed, on the part of
slaveholders, as a salve for their consciences, and a plea
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for the continuation of slavery, and is used by the adversary of all
good for the diabolical purpose of shielding from merited infamy
the system of American slavery.
Nothing will contribute more to break the bondman's fetters, than
an example of high moral worth, intellectual culture and religious
attainments among the free people of color—living epistles known
and read of all men—a standard of exalted piety, of dedication to
the works of righteousness, of humble-mindedness, of Christian
charity; to which abolitionists may confidently point, and ask those
who are forging the manacles of hopeless servitude for our
countrymen, what they can answer to the Judge of all the earth for
thus robbing him of his immortal creatures; and demand of them,
in view of what their slaves might be, to restore their victims to
themselves, to the human family, and to God.
We know, and we rejoice in the knowledge, that the gift of intellect