Every Slaveholder is a Man-Stealer

Letters to Catharine E. Beecher in reply to an Essay on Slavery and Abolitionism
Friday, April 16th, 2010

The great fundamental principle of Abolitionists is that man cannot rightfully hold his fellow man as property. Therefore, we affirm that every slaveholder is a man−stealer; a man, is a man, and as a man he has inalienable rights he cannot rightfully be reduced to slavery. Our principle is that no circumstances can ever justify a man in holding his fellow man as property.

We hold that all the slaveholding laws violate the fundamental principle of the Constitution of the United States. So far from thinking that a slaveholder is bound by the immoral and unconstitutional laws of the southern states, we hold that he is solemnly bound as a man, as an American, to break them, and that immediately and openly. Every slaveholder is bound to cease to do evil now, to emancipate his slaves now.

Dost thou ask what I mean by emancipation? I will explain myself in a few words. 1. It is to reject with indignation the wild and guilty fantasy that man can hold property in man. 2. To pay the laborer his hire, for he is worthy of it. 3. No longer to deny him the right of marriage, but to “let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband,” as saith the apostle. 4. To let parents have their own children, for they are the gift of the Lord to them, and no one else has any right to them. 5. No longer to withhold the advantages of education and the privilege of reading the Bible. 6. To put the slave under the protection of equitable laws.

Now, why should not all this be done immediately! Which of these things is to be done next year, and which the year after! and so on. Our immediate emancipation means, doing justice and loving mercy to−day—and this is what we call upon every slaveholder to do. I have seen too much of slavery to be a gradualist. I say [the slaveholder] is able to let the oppressed go free. Oh, my very soul is grieved to find a northern woman thus “sewing pillows under all armholes,”* framing and fitting soft excuses for the slaveholder’s conscience, while with the same pen she is professing to regard slavery as a sin.

With regard to the connection between the North and the South, I shall say but little. I deny the charge that abolitionists are endeavoring to convince their fellow citizens of the faults of another community. Not at all. We are spreading out the horrors of slavery before Northerners, in order to show them their own sin in sustaining such a system of complicated wrong and suffering. It is because we are politically, commercially, and socially connected with our southern brethren, that we urge our doctrines upon those of the free states.

As soon as we rectify public opinion at the North, then I for one, will promise to go down into the midst of slaveholders themselves to promulgate our doctrines in the land of the slave. But how can we go now, when northern pulpits and meeting−houses are closed, and northern Governors are declaring that “the discussion of the subject of slavery ought to be made an offence indictable at common law,” and northern women are writing books to paralyse the efforts of southern women, who have come up from the South to entreat their northern sisters to exert their influence in behalf of the slave. To my own mind, the exasperation of the North at the discussion of slavery is an undeniable proof of her guilt.

Thou askest very gravely, why James C. Birney [an abolitionist] did not go quietly into the southern States, and collect facts? Indeed! Why should he go to the South to collect facts, when he had lived there forty years? Thou mayest with just as much propriety ask me, why I do not go to the South to collect facts. The answer to both questions is obvious: We have lived at the South, as integral parts of the system of slavery, and therefore we know from practical observation and sad experience, quite enough about it already.

Comments

All Slaves are Property!

In a recent issue of The Liberator you published an article entitled Every slaveholder is a man stealer, in which the writer argues that any person that has a slave is a man stealer. As a General in the union i must take issue with this position for several reasons. First, the facts you use to support your argument are incorrect. when you say any man who has slaves is a man stealer you are incorrect. All slaves are property. Why do you think we have to buy them at such a high price.Second, based on my expediences, I know that your argument is unfounded. Your argument is unfounded because we don't steal the slaves we buy them.Thirdly, in my opinion your argument is immoral because this is how people in the south live. Without slaves the south the Southerners wouldn't be able to live. Finally, and most importantly, if we followed your advice, as i said before we would not be able to survive in the south.

Instead, I hope your readers will say that slaveholders are doing the right thing.

thank you for considering my views on slavery.

Sincerely,
George McClellan

Slaves are not property

To The Editor,
I am responding to General McClellan’s letter about “Every Slaveholder is a Man Stealer.” He says that slaves are property. I think that slaves should be treated like every other white man. For example, "I appear this evening as a thief and a robber. I stole this head, these limbs, this body from my master, and ran off with them.” This means that when I was a slave I ran off to have freedom I stole my own body from my master. I have also experienced many hardships such as getting whipped because I was treated unfairly and as property.

Instead, I hope your readers will say that you are also wrong.

Thank you for considering my views.

Sincerely,
Frederick Douglass

every Slaveholder is a man stealer

I disagree with this statement because slaves might be treated like their property but their not. You have every organ a slave has , a nose , mouth and eyes like a slaves has. There all human just like you ,just their skin color is different. You have to "buy" them at such a high price because without you would be broke. They run your farms and pick your cotton. they make you a bunch of money. And yes every slave holder is a man stealer because slaves are people and the slaveholders take their life away .

Every Slaveholder is a Man-Stealer

In a recent issue of The Liberator you published an article entitled "Every Slaveholder is a Man-Stealer", in which the writer argues that every man who believes that the concept of slavery is just and owns a slave(s) is supposedly a "man-stealer".

As a dedicated spy for the Confederate States of America I must take issue with this position for several reasons. First, the facts you use to support your argument are incorrect. In the column, the writer of this page seems to believe that every slave owner in the south is treating their slaves like they are meaningless. This personally aggravates me for few reasons.

When i was a young child my father was what you call a "man-stealer" Assuming that all the compliments toward my father to be true, he treated his slaves like they were his own children. For some unknown reason, one of our slaves decided to take my fathers life. Though my father worked hard at gaining the respect from his slaves, one decided that being provided food, water, shelter, and clothes were not good enough for his standards, and for that, he murdered my father.

These slaves take for granted the luxuries that they are graciously given to by their owners. Without slavery, many, if not the majority of slaves would be homeless, and begging for food. They so easily take for granted the hardships that owners pursue in order to insure the well being of their workers. It is hard to treat a man with respect and give the same freedoms as any other man when these slaves refuse to show any gratefulness, or , for that matter, responsibility when granted privileges other then the basic necessities.

Second, based on my experience, i know your argument is unfounded.When in this column the writer plainly states that she is against prosecutions toward abolitionists whom are only trying to convince their fellow citizens of the faults of Slavery and the southern state of mind. I too could preach the same thinking. As an extreme supporter of slavery, I believe that you along with all abolitionists are just as cruel and guilty as any southerner who owns a slave.

What the North is trying to achieve is complete control over another people who have different beliefs then you. Is this not what you accuse slave owners of doing; taking another mans will to believe what they think to be just, whether tho neighbor shares the same thoughts? I too risk my own moat prized possessions for something i believe to be right. I too try and persuade my fellow people to see our southern ways from a different perspective, to see slavery through a different pair of eyes, one that depends on the concept to survive and provide for their own family.

This in my opinion, proves that your argument is both immoral and unfair to slave owners, considering that you accuse us of the same sins that you yourself are trying to commit. Possibly when the Union refrains from trying to take over our community, from changing us to slaves to your beliefs, the south will be more open for compromise.Finally, and most importantly, if we followed your advice, countless tragedies are bound to occur, and dozens of protests are bound to break out.

If northerners were to follow your bias, boastful advice to take action now and barge into the south to cut off slavery immediately, out raged masses would accumulate across the Confederacy, and unite together, forming a force that would be unstoppable. By stripping away slavery, you are also taking the economy, jobs, and pride of the South. Not only should we suffer, but Northern regions too, considering that cotton production from the south is the main export of this whole region.

If you dare bring the south down, all of your business and impressive factories shall fall with us. What you would be doing if you did go through with your idiotic proposition would not be too different then from what King George did to our once great Nation. Like King George, you are forcing us to follow you and your kings, Abraham Lincolns, command and laws. By doing so you are yet again setting yourself up for another Revolution, just like the one our founding fathers fought to insure the stability and unity of this still young nation, the unity that you have already torn apart. So before you decide to send your troops to crush the southern pride, consider what heroism you really are committing, ruining what the first colonists fought for, and ruining what this nation might still stand for.

Instead, I hope your readers will see slavery through the eyes of the ones who actually practice it, and not frown upon it until they themselves have faced the difficulties of trying to sustain a life, a family in the southern conditions.

Thank you for considering my views, and i hope i have swayed your view on this topic, if not for just a little.
Sincerely,

Rose Greenhow

A Reply to Rose Greenhow

To the editor,
I am responding to the letter of Rose Greenhow who argues that slavery is good. I disagree with this for several reasons. One reason why I disagree with this statement is because, your fathers slave murdered him. If he didn't anything bad to his slaves why would the slave murder him?

Another reason why i disagree with this statement is that it says that your slaves had luxuries, well what kind of luxuries, being chain to each other so that they wouldn't run away? As you have said earlier, " It is hard to treat a man with respect and give the same freedoms as any other man when these slaves refuse to show any gratefulness, or , for that matter, responsibility when granted privileges other then the basic necessities." haven't you thought for a moment that slaves aren't showing any gratefulness because you have separated them from His/Her family?

In your Comment you have said that if the Southerners fallowed the unions rules it would strip away the Souths pride, so you are insinuating that you are proud to take blacks away from their families. I for one, want to abolish slavery right now, not gradually I want it to end now! Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,
William Lloyd Garrison.

Reply to Rose Greehow

To the Editor:

I am replying to Rose Greenhow's comment on the article "Every Slave Holder is a Man-Stealer."

As an abolitionist, I must take issue with this position for several reasons. First, the facts you use to support your argument are incorrect. Your father must have not treated his slaves as his own children if he was murdered by one of them. Unless, he doesn't treat his children very well. A slave would only kill his master if the master was terrible to them, or if the slave was insane. If the North took away slavery, it wouldn't take away the economy, jobs, and pride of the South. Can't you do the work yourself? Are you proud of being man-stealers?

Second, based on my experience, I know that your argument is unfounded. You are saying that the North doesn't listen to both sides of the story. I used to own slaves but I freed them all. I have seen what the two different arguments are.

Thirdly, in my opinion, your argument is unfair because I am a propagandist and try to persuade people through my writing. I'm not forcing anyone to read my writing, but you are saying that the North is forcing, the South to change their ways. Therefore, that is not completely true.

Finally, and most importantly, if we followed your advice, the north would see what the you do to slaves and we would be disgusted by how badly you treat them.

Instead, I hope southerners will realize what they're doing is wrong.

Thank you for considering my views.

Sincerely,
Anna Ella Carroll