Northern Cotton Merchants Support Slavery!

Abolitionism over Business Interests!

Abolitionist Samuel J. May confronts a northern merchant:

At the annual meeting of the American Antislavery Society in May, 1835, I was sitting upon the platform of the Houston Street Presbyterian Church in New York, when I was surprised to see a gentleman enter and take his seat who, I knew, was a partner in one of the most prominent mercantile [cotton merchant] businesses in the city. He had not been seated long before he beckoned me to meet him at the door. I did so. "Please walk out with me, sir," said he; "I have something of great importance to communicate." When we had reached the sidewalk he said, with considerable emotion and emphasis, "Mr. May, we are not such fools as not to know that slavery is a great evil, a great wrong. But it was consented to by the founders of our Republic. It was provided for in the Constitution of our Union. A great portion of the property of the Southerners is invested in slavery; and the business of the North, as well as the South, has become adjusted to it. There are millions upon millions of dollars due from Southerners to the merchants and mechanics of this city alone, the payment of which would be jeopardized by any rupture [splitting apart] between the North and the South. We cannot afford, sir, to let you and your associates succeed in your efforts to overthrow slavery. It is not a matter of principle with us. It is a matter of business necessity. We cannot afford to let you succeed. And I have called you out to let you know, and to let your fellow-abolitionists know, that we do not mean to allow you to succeed. We mean, sir," said he, with increased emphasis,--"we mean, sir, to put you Abolitionists down,--by fair means if we can, by foul means it we must."

After a minute's pause I replied: "Then, sir, the gain of gold must be better than that of godliness. Error must be mightier than truth; wrong stronger than right. The Devil must preside over the affairs of the universe, and not God. Now, sir, I believe neither of these propositions. If holding men in slavery be wrong, it will be abolished. Abolitionists shall succeed, in spite of your business interests."

Some Recollections of our Antislavery Conflict, by Samuel J. May, Fields, Osgood and Co., Boston, 1869 http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/aia/part4/4h3142t.html

Comments

Northern Cotton Merchants Support Slavery!

.In a recent issue of the liberator you published an article entitled
" Northern Cotton Merchants Support Slavery!", in which the writer argues that slavery is wrong and dis-human.

As a confederate war vertiran I must take issue with this position for several reasons. First, the facts you use to support your argument are incorrect. slavery is absolutely fine they are just peoples property. Second, based on my experience, I know that your argument is unfounded.northerners are finley realizing that slavery is fine. Thirdly, in my opinion, your argument is unfair because we treat the slaves with high most respect, we provide them with food water clothing and shelter in return we respect them to do work for us.
Finally, and most importantly, if we followed your advice the materals we need to make clothing(cotton) the materail would be to expensive and would be harder to get clothing.

your arugment is irrelivent

to the editor iam responding to the letter of Joseph Reid Anderson, I am disagreeing with you about how you think riding this world of slavery is bad. getting rid of slavery would help the south because it would give to majority of the people being the lower class an advantage because to make money they would not have to compete with enormous plantations with 100's of slaves you are hurting the south by arguing that slavery is good

sincerely

Hinton Helper

slavery hurts the souths economy

to the editor iam responding to the letter of

To the Editor: I am

To the Editor:

I am responding to the letter of Joseph Reid Anderson, I am disagreeing with you about how you think slavery is fine. It is not fine, and everyone should be treated equal. Our masters do know treat us with respect, they beat us...you call that respect? Also if i was free I could provide my self and my family with our own shelter food and clothing!

Sojourner Truth

Northern Cotton Merchants Support Slavery!

To the editor:

I disagree with Joesph Reid Anderson's comment which insists that slave owners are nice to slaves and slaves are property.

As a slave I must say that slavery is unfair. I was born into slavery and never had a chance to go to school and learn. It was unfair that I never had a chance to learn how to read or write. Yes, the slave owners fed us and provided us with a home, but the food and shelter was no good. Slaves want to have a nice house instead of a cabin and have good food. Slaves were not fairly treated and slaves are not property. A human has feelings which includes slaves, and property does not has feelings.

I hope you reconsider that slaves are not property.
Sincerely,

Cathay Williams