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A Collection of valuable documents: being Birney's vindication of abolitionists--Protest of the American A.S. Society--To the people of the United ... Society, to the exec. com. of the OhioPaperback– January 1, 1836
I hate it when history is tied to meaningless dates, but in this instance it is important to consider the date of this book. It is published 1836, fourteen years before the Compromise of 1850 and two decades before the Kansas-Nebraska Act. This is a valuable collection of enlightening documents. Much as I'd like to quote and review the entire book this is not the place for it. I will, however, review those documents that will give the reader a sense of the importance of the little volume to understanding the mind of the abolitionists of the antebellum period.
The book opens with a resolution by a pro-slavery Committee of Vigilance which Birney refutes. This is one of the resolutions agreed to by the Committee: "[The committee shall ferret out any persons found to be distributing any seditious documents], or tampering with slaves, with a view to excite insurrection; and upon proof of such fact, to inflict upon such person or persons death which is the penalty of our statute..." We are informed that seven of the twenty members of this Committee of Vigilance are ministers of the Gospel of Christ, supposedly favoring the love of God.
A letter of 1835 brought Birney's response to this committee and this excerpt comes to the heart of this response:
"Has the thing called slavery, ... been found, at any time propitious to your Christian growth, or a closer walk with God? ... When you are casting in your contributions to provide the distribution of the Bible in foreign lands, what are your feelings on recollecting that you withhold it from your `domestic circle,' whose peace and security so much concern you?Read more ›