Tag Archives: The Liberator
Arundel Plantation, Slave Cabin, Intersection of Routes 701 and 4, Georgetown, Georgetown County, SC. -- Jack E. Boucher, photographer.

Hopewell South Carolina’s 1836 Presbytery on Slavery

pres·by·tery noun \ˈprez-bə-ˌter-ē, ˈpres-, -bə-trē\ – A group of ministers and elders who are the leaders of the Presbyterian churches in a particular area.

William Lloyd Garrison’s The Liberator was a weekly abolitionist newspaper published in Boston. The paper held true to the founder’s ideals. Garrison was a journalistic crusader who advocated the immediate emancipation of all slaves and gained a national reputation for being one of the most radical of American abolitionists.


The Committee on ‘Instructions to Commissioners to General Assembly,’ made the following report, which was accepted and adopted.

Anticipating the discussion of various vitally important matters at the approaching session of the General Assembly, the Presbytery of Hopewell takes this opportunity to instruct its delegates to that body, concerning the course which we desire them to pursue on certain matters.

The last General Assembly appointed a Committee to report on the general subject of domestic slavery in these United States. And from the movements of certain ecclesiastical bodies in our church — from the course pursued by some of our political bodies — and from the known views of some members of the Committee referred to, we are induced to apprehend that abolition will be introduced through the report, or by the agency of other members. On the subject of domestic slavery, this Presbytery believe the following facts have been most incontrovertibly established, viz:

I. Slavery has existed in the Church of God from the time of Abraham to this day. Members of the church of God have held slaves bought with their money, and born in their houses; and this relation is not only recognized, but its duties are defined clearly, both in the Old and New Testaments.

II. Emancipation is not mentioned among the duties of the Master to his slave. While obedience ‘even to the froward’ Master is enjoined upon the slave.

III. No instance can be produced of an otherwise orderly Christian, being reproved much less ex-communicated from the church, for the single act of holding domestic slaves, from the days of Abraham down to the date of the modern Abolitionists.

IV. Slavery existed in the United States before our ecclesiastical body was organized. It is not condemned in our Confession of Faith, and has always existed in our Church without reproof or condemnation.

V. Slavery is a political institution, with which the Church has nothing to do, except to inculcate the duties of Master and Slave, and to use lawful, spiritual means to have all, both bond and free, to become one in Christ by faith.

Regarding these positions as undoubtedly true, our views of duty constrain us to adopt the following resolutions.

Resolved, That the political institution of domestic Slavery, as it exists in the South, is not a lawful or constitutional subject of discussion, much less of action by the General Assembly.

Resolved, That so soon as the General Assembly passes any ecclesiastical laws, or recommends any action, which shall interfere with this institution, this Presbytery will regard such laws and acts as tyrannical and odious– and from that moment will regard itself independent of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church.

Resolved, That our delegates to the approaching Assembly are hereby enjoined to use all Christian means to prevent the discussion of domestic slavery in the Assembly– to protest in our name against all acts that involve or approve abolition– and to withdraw from the Assembly and return home, if in spite of their efforts, acts of this character shall be passed.

The Liberator on June 11, 1836

Image Details: Arundel Plantation, Slave Cabin, Intersection of Routes 701 and 4, Georgetown, Georgetown County, SC. — Jack E. Boucher, photographer.


Happy Birthday Millard Fillmore

Millard Fillmore, 13th President of the United States and the last Whig President, was born January 7, 1800.

President Fillmore was a fascinating figure who does not get the attention his life and legacy deserves and there are plenty of people around who are still passionate about sharing information about him.  You can learn more at Happy birthday, Millard Fillmore! 214 today, not looking a day over 117.

On Fillmore’s retirement, William Lloyd Garrison’s The Liberator had this to say on December 24, 1852:

When Millard Fillmore is forgotten by the American people, we shall have fallen upon evil times. But he will never be forgotten by the brave, the patriotic, the true. The foundations of his fame are laid in honor, patriotism, and truth, and can never be shaken. As long as parity of purpose: self-sacrificing devotion to country, the whole Union, and nothing but the Union; enlarged and pendent statesmanship; and absorbing desire to vindicate the honor and interests of the country in all intercourse with foreign nations; sagacious and farseeing recommendations to Congress in regard to internal policy; the expression of an inflexible determination to maintain the compromises of the Constitution, and execute the laws under the same; a fervid anxiety to unite all sections in bonds of fraternal affection, and to draw closer the ties which bind us together cemented by and baptized in the blood of our revolutionary ancestors so long, we say, as such deeds have an abiding place in the hearts of the freeman of this glorious land, the name of Millard Fillmore will be held in affectionate, undying remembrance.



The Amistad Goes on Sale

This famous schooner, and her cargo, are to be sold at New London on the 15th inst. by order of the U.S. Circuit Court for the district of Connecticut.

The cargo consists of dry goods, hardware, crockery, vermicilli, etc.. selected for a Spanish market. Also a mill for grinding sugar cane.

The negroes of the Amistad are still at (Westville) New Haven, in charge of Mr. Wilcox, the U.S. Marshal and are very comfortably situated. Their case is now in the hands of the Supreme Court of the U. States, who meet at Washington in January next.

If the court confirms the decision of the court below, the Africans will be immediately set at liberty.


Collection: The Liberator
Publication: The Liberator
Date: October 9, 1840
Title: The Amistad
Location: Boston, Massachusetts

About La Amistad

Amistad, a Spanish slave ship, left Havana, Cuba for Puerto Principe, Cuba. The ship carried 53 Mende captives (49 adults and 4 children), who had been captured from today’s Sierra Leone to be sold into slavery in Cuba. On July 2, Sengbe Pieh (later known in the United States as Joseph Cinqué) led the captives in a revolt against their captors.

Sengbe Pieh (later known in the United States as Joseph Cinqué)

Sengbe Pieh (later known in the United States as Joseph Cinqué)

The Mende had been brought into Havana aboard the larger specialized vessel Tecora and were being taken to a smaller port closer to a sugar plantation. In the main hold below decks, the captives found a rusty file. Freeing themselves, they quickly went up on deck and, armed with machete-like cane knives, successfully gained control of the ship and killed the captain and other crew members.

When they demanded to be returned home, the ship’s navigator, Don Pedro Montez, deceived them about their course and sailed the ship north along the North American coast to the eastern tip of Long Island, New York. Discovered by the Revenue Cutter USRC Washington, La Amistad was taken into custody.

The Mende were interned at New Haven, Connecticut, while the courts settled their legal status and conflicting claims regarding La Amistad’s ownership.

The illustration below is from “A history of the Amistad captives – being a circumstantial account of the capture of the Spanish schooner Amistad by the Africans on board, their voyage and capture near Long Island, New York, with biographical sketches of each of the surviving Africans: also, an account of the trials had on their case, before the district and circuit courts of the United States for the district of Connecticut.”

Slave Holding Area in La Amistad

Slave Holding Area in La Amistad

This 34 page pamphlet was published in 1840 and can be read below:

William Lloyd Garrison at National Portrait Gallery

William Lloyd Garrison on Non-Resistance

William Lloyd Garrison was a journalistic crusader who advocated for the immediate emancipation of all slaves and gained a national reputation for being one of the most radical of American abolitionists. The Liberator denounced the Compromise of 1850, condemned the Kansas-Nebraska Act, damned the Dred Scott decision and hailed John Brown’s raid as “God’s method of dealing retribution upon the head of the tyrant.”

The slaveholders in the South demanded the end of the incendiary paper and the state of Georgia offered a $5,000 reward for Garrison’s capture. He died in New York City on May 24, 1879.

Accessible Archives subscribers have access to the complete run of The Liberator.

Almost thirty-five years after his death his daughter, Fanny Garrison Villard, published William Lloyd Garrison On Non-Resistance: Together With a Personal Sketch. The short volume includes her own memories of her father as well as chapters like What I Owe to Garrison, by Leo Tolstoi and William Lloyd Garrison as Seen by a Grandson.

The preface is included here in its entirety and the full volume can be read below.

From the Preface

I am in earnest — I will not equivocate — I will not excuse — I will not retreat a single inch — AND I WILL BE HEARD. — William Lloyd Garrison

My inherited principles of Non-Resistance, which seem as essential to me as the breath of life and paramount to all others, and filial affection have made me yield to the urgent requests of many friends to state as best I may what part a belief in Non-Resistance played in the life of my father, William Lloyd Garrison. His undying faith in the invincible power of Non-Resistance, more than all else, in my estimation, entitles him to the gratitude of his fellowmen. “Doing evil that good may come,” he ever regarded as a false and pernicious doctrine. Therefore, his language had, he felt, to be “as harsh as truth and as uncompromising as justice.”

After one of Mr. Garrison’s impassioned utterances, a warm sympathizer said to him, “Oh my friend, do try to moderate your indignation and keep more cool; why you are all on fire.” Mr. Garrison replied, “I have need to be all on fire, for I have moun- tains of ice about me to melt.” This is perhaps more true of Non-Resistance than of almost any other cause.

It was early given to Mr. Garrison to put his Non-Resistant principles to the test in a way that left no question as to his sincerity or as to his readiness to face death for his beliefs. On October 21, 1835, a “broadcloth” mob consisting of “5000 gentlemen of property and standing” gathered in Boston to tar and feather the English Abolitionist, George Thompson.

William Lloyd Garrison

William Lloyd Garrison

Unable to find Mr. Thompson, who had yielded to Mr. Garrison’s urgent request to leave the city, the mob surrounded the building in which Mr. Garrison was addressing the meeting of the “Female Anti-Slavery Society” although he had been warned in advance and urged to avoid danger. u In the middle of the uproar,” my father later wrote, “an Abolition brother whose mind had not been previously settled on the peace question, in his anguish and alarm for my safety, and in view of the helplessness of the civil authority, said: ‘I must henceforth repudiate the principle of non-resistance. When the civil arm is powerless, my own rights are trodden in the dust, and the lives of my friends are put in imminent peril by ruffians, I will hereafter prepare to defend myself and them at all hazards.’

Putting my hand upon his shoulder, I said, ‘Hold, my dear brother! You know not what spirit you are of. This is the trial of our faith, and the test of our endurance. Of what value or utility are the principles of peace and forgiveness, if we may repudiate them in the hour of peril and suffering? Do you wish to become like one of those violent and bloodthirsty men who are seeking my life? Shall we give blow for blow, and array sword against sword? God forbid! I will perish sooner than raise my hand against any man, even in self-defence, and let none of my friends resort to violence for my protection. If my life be taken, the cause of emancipation will not suffer. God reigns — his throne is undisturbed by this storm — he will make the wrath of man to praise him, and the remainder he will restrain — his omnipotence will at length be victorious.’ ”



Uncle Tom in Russia – Reported in The Liberator

A correspondent of the London Daily News writes from Moscow as follows:—

‘The celebrated ‘Uncle Tom,’ that remarkable negro who has already encountered so many strange adventures, continues his course through the world. In Russia he is becoming known through the medium of a very negligent translation of Mrs. Stowe’s book, and enjoys a great reputation. The police do not interfere, although the circulation of the work remains as yet unauthorized. In Russia, you are aware, enfranchisement is the order of the day; perhaps this has somewhat to do with the non-interference of the officials.

‘As soon as the first copies of the work arrived, there were so few of them that they made the tour of the town, being let out to hire for two hours at a time, and thus passing from one hand to another of the Muscovite aristocracy.