25: Miserable Condition of Slaves When Old and Past Their Labor

Now Friends, you that are slave-keepers, I pray and beseech ye: Examine your own hearts, and see and feel too if you have not the same answer from Truth now within. While you preach and exhort others to equity, and to do justice and love mercy, and to walk humbly before the Lord and his people—and you yourself live and act quite contrary, behave proudly, do unjustly and unmercifully, and live in and encourage the grossest iniquity in the whole world.

For I say you are got beyond gospel, law, Abraham, prophets, patriarchs—to Cain the murderer, and beyond him too, to the devil himself. Beyond Cain, for he murdered but one that we know of,  but you have many thousands, or caused them to be so, and for ought I know many hundreds of thousands within 50 years.

What do you think of these things, you brave gospel ministers? That keep poor slaves to work for you to maintain you and yours in pride—pride and much idleness or laziness and fullness of bread, the sins of Sodom. How do these things become your plain dress, demure appearance, feigned humility? All but hypocrisy—which according to Truth’s testimony, must have the hottest place in Hell—to keep those miserable creatures at hard labor continually unto their old age, in bondage and sore captivity, working out their blood and sweat; and bowels, youthful strength, and vigor. Then you drop into your graves, go to your places ordained or appointed for you. So leave these poor unhappy creatures—in their worn-out old age—to your proud, dainty, lazy, scornful, tyrannical, and often beggarly children, for them to domineer and tyrannize over, cursing them and you in your graves: “for working out their youthful blood and strength for you, and then leave them to be a plague to us.”

And then of the abuses, miseries, and cruelties these miserable old worn-out slaves go through, no tongue can express. Starved with hunger, perish with cold, rot as they go, for want of everything that is necessary for an humane creature—so that dogs and cats are much better taken care for. And yet some have had the confidence, or rather impudence, to say their slaves or Negroes live as well as themselves! I could almost wish such hardened, unthinking sinful devilish liars were put into their places, at least for a time, in a very hard service, that they might feel a little in themselves of what they make so light of in other people. And it would be but just upon them. And indeed why should they be against it, if the Negroes live as well and better than they?

But such notorious lies will never go down well with any sober, right, tender-hearted people truly fearing God and that love the Truth above all. For such I believe firmly: when they come to see, and rightly consider the vileness of this practice in all its parts and the cursed fruit it brings forth, they will never enter into it. And if they are in, will endeavor to get out as soon as they can. For I do believe if all the wickedness, tyranny, oppressions, and abominable barbarities were written concerning this hellish trade, it would fill a large volume in folio.

     Many has said they do not see it so great an evil or sin—that is, Negro-keeping. Who so blind as them that will not see? But them that are willing to see, I think it my duty to inform them what  I can by word and writing, and then leave it to the Lord.