The first salvos against slavery,

damYankee

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Aug 12, 2011
The anti slavery movement started even before our own Revolution, in studying resource material on early Dutch and German settlers I found the following documents, which gives me some comfort knowing that there many taking a public stand against the peculiar institution even before they themselves had acquired their own freedom
Resolutions of The Germantown Mennonites; February 18, 1688
http://avalon.law.yale.edu/17th_century/men01.asp
This is to the monthly meeting held at Richard Worrell's:

These are the reasons why we are against the traffic of men-body, as followeth: Is there any that would be done or handled at this manner? viz., to be sold or made a slave for all the time of his life? How fearful and faint-hearted are many at sea, when they see a strange vessel, being afraid it should be a Turk, and they should be taken, and sold for slaves into Turkey. Now, what is this better done, than Turks do? Yea, rather it is worse for them, which say they are Christians; for we hear that the most part of such negers are brought hither against their will and consent, and that many of them are stolen. Now, though they are black, we cannot conceive there is more liberty to have them slaves, as it is to have other white ones. There is a saying, that we should do to all men like as we will be done ourselves; making no difference of what generation, descent, or colour they are. And those who steal or rob men, and those who buy or purchase them, are they not all alike? Here is liberty of conscience, which is right and reasonable; here ought to be likewise liberty of the body, except of evil-doers, which is another case. But to bring men hither, or to rob and sell them against their will, we stand against. In Europe there are many oppressed for conscience sake; and here there are those oppressed which are of a black colour. And we who know that men must not commit adultery some do commit adultery in others, separating wives from their husbands, and giving them to others: and some sell the children of these poor creatures to other men. Ah! do consider well this thing, you who do it, if you would be done at this manner and if it is done according to Christianity! You surpass Holland and Germany in this thing. This makes an ill report in all those countries of Europe, where they hear of [it], that the Quakers do here handel men as they handel there the cattle. And for that reason some have no mind or inclination to come hither. And who shall maintain this your cause, or plead for it? Truly, we cannot do so, except you shall inform us better hereof, viz.: that Christians have liberty to practice these things. Pray, what thing in the world can be done worse towards us, than if men should rob or steal us away, and sell us for slaves to strange countries; separating husbands from their wives and children. Being now this is not done in the manner we would be done at; therefore, we contradict, and are against this traffic of men-body. And we who profess that it is not lawful to steal, must, likewise, avoid to purchase such things as are stolen, but rather help to stop this robbing and stealing, if possible. And such men ought to be delivered out of the hands of the robbers, and set free as in Europe. Then is Pennsylvania to have a good report, instead, it hath now a bad one, for this sake, in other countries; Especially whereas the Europeans are desirous to know in what manner the Quakers do rule in their province; and most of them do look upon us with an envious eye. But if this is done well, what shall we say is done evil?

Pennsylvania - An Act for the Gradual Abolition of Slavery, 1780

SECTION 1. WHEN we contemplate our abhorrence of that condition to which the arms and tyranny of Great Britain were exerted to reduce us; when we look back on the variety of dangers to which we have been expofed, and how miraculously our wants in many inftances have been fupplied, and our deliverances wrought, when even hope and human fortitude have become unequal to the conflict; we are unavoidably led to a ferious and grateful fence of the manifold bleffings which we have undeservedly received from the hand of that Being from whom every good and perfect gift cometh. Impreffed with there ideas, we conceive that it is our duty, and we rejoice that it is in our power to extend a portion of that freedom to others, which hath been extended to us; and a releafe from that state of thraldom to which we ourfelves were tyrannically doomed, and from which we have now every profpect of being delivered. It is not for us to enquire why, in the creation of mankind, the inhabitants of the feveral parts of the earth were diftinguifhed by a difference in feature or complexion. It is fufficient to know that all are the work of an Almighty Hand.
http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18th_century/pennst01.asp
 
Top