A Plain View of Slavery

Washington States and Union, March 21, 1861

It is an unfortunate circumstance for the peace of society and welfare of our country, that radical Northern Republicans do not make themselves familiar with our Southern neighbors by friendly intercourse and a social interchange of sentiment. They have not even returned the friendly visitations made to their streets by gentlemen with their families, who, during the summer season, visit the Northern States. Excepting those who are drawn to the South in the capacity of traveling mercantile agents, and a class of Abolition lecturers, preachers, and tract distributors, no Northern man is ever seen in the South. It is, therefore, impossible that a correct knowledge of the institution of slavery can be claimed by those citizens North and West who have so violently opposed the system, denounced the slave-owners with degrading epithets, and driven them to the foolish act of secession.

In corroboration of the fact that there is a bright side to the institution, and one which should rejoice the heart of the Christian, and cause anti-slavery fanaticism forever to abate its heartless epithets against slave owners, the following statistics, from a reliable source, will have their weight. The negro slaves connected with the different churches is 465,000, viz: Methodist, 215,000; Baptist, 157,000; Presbyterian, 38,000; Episcopal, 7,000; Campbellites, 10,000; other sects, 38,000. It is a safe calculation, adds the same authority, (Georgia Educational journal,) to say that for every colored member three other negroes attend church. In the extreme Southern States, where owners and overseers requires their negroes to attend church, the proportion is larger. These 465,000 multiplied by three, gives 1,395,000 slaves in attendance on Divine Service in the South every Sabbath.

There is food for reflection in these facts. England and the United States engaged in one of the greatest Christian enterprises the world has ever known, when they embarked in Christian missions. In that work vast sums of money have been expended, and many valuable lives have been sacrificed. Yet their labors have been blessed to the conversion of 200,000 souls. But in all this great success, the figures show less than half the number of conversions that have taken place among the colored race in the South, at a cost of no lives, and with a comparatively insignificant outlay of money. These men came originally from among the degraded tribes of Africa, where the climate almost forbids our missionaries to venture; they have been elevated from abject ignorance to a knowledge and belief in the Saviour; some of them are now returning to the shores of Africa, where they have established the Republic of Liberia, introduced good government, schools, churches, seminaries, manufactories, agriculture, &c., and are prospering and disseminating the great principles of civilization and Christianity. Do we not see a providence in these things? Is it right, then, for our Republican neighbors to destroy the Union over an institution that can show so glorious results in the progress of civilization?