Northern Cotton Merchants Support Slavery!

Abolitionism Before Greed!
Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

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 one of the most prominent cotton merchants 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 some thing of great importance to communicate."

"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 it under the protection of the constitution; 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 threatened by any separation of the North and the South. We cannot afford, sir, to let you and your associates succeed in your endeavor 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-laborers 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. We shall succeed, your despite your business interests."


dont succeed

To the editor

In a resent issue of The Liberator you published an article entitled Abolitionist Before Greed, in which the writer argues that the the south shouldn't succeed.

As the president of the united states of America i must take issue with this position for several reasons. First