Complicity of New Englanders

“As a people, we of New England, are lamentably ignorant of the subject of slavery, but even our ignorance is exceeded by our apathy.  When we hear of the cruel conduct of the slaveholders, we often kindle into a flame, and our judgments tell us that they are without excuse.  We can hardly believe that such beings exist in our land.  This is a righteous indignation; these feelings of abhorrence are creditable to our humanity.  But what if it should appear, on a candid examination, that we are as guilty as the slave owners?  that we uphold a system which is full of cruelty and blood?  that the chains which bind the limbs of the slaves have been riveted by us? Let us see whether we are indeed  implicated in this bloody business. 

“In its origin, slavery was a common crime; it is equally so in its continuance, as well as a common curse; in its removal we are all bound to assist.  The foundation of the system was laid in Massachusetts and Virginia.  Other colonies immediately began to build thereon; and if the free states have since overturned the wings of the superstructure, they have also assisted in furnishing material to enlarge the main edifice.  For thirty-two years after the Declaration of Independence, the ships of New England were actively engaged in stealing victims on the coast of Africa.  …..Moreover, the transportation of domestic slaves (a trade equally atrocious with the foreign) is almost  exclusively effected in eastern vessels……..”