Unitarian Church, Washington, D.C., January 15, 1843
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16 Unitarian Church, 1843 preaching to the slaves, called their attention to the wonderful adaptation of things to their appropriate use, as manifested in the Creator’s works.—“The white man,” said he, “has a soft and slender hand; but you, who are made to labor for him, have large and horny hands, that enable you to do his work.” The poor ignorant creatures had had no opportunity to learn that cessation from labor would make their hands likewise soft; and some of them went home, saying, “What a nice preacher that was! Every word he spoke was true.—How kind it was of God to make our hands so hard! How they would blister, if they were as soft as the white man’s.” The other story was of a Methodist class leader, who tied up a slave woman, and flogged her till the blood streamed down her back; and when he had finished his brutal task, he quoted to her the text, “He that knoweth his master’s will and doeth it not, shall be beaten with many stripes.”4 PD L[ydia]. M[aria]. C[hild]., “Lucretia Mott,” National Anti-Slavery Standard, October 7, 1841 1. The Manhattan Anti-Slavery Society had been founded in 1840. Although most members were African American, Hicksite abolitionist Isaac Hopper (1771–1852), the father of LM’s son-in-law Edward Hopper, was one of the founders (Daniel E. Meanders, ed., Kidnappers in Philadelphia: Isaac Hopper’s Tales of Oppression, 1780–1843 [Cherry Hill, N.J.: Africana Homestead Legacy Publishers, 2009], 61–65; Margaret Hope Bacon, Abby Hopper Gibbons, Prison Reformer and Social Activist [New York: State University of New York Press, 2000], 33, 64). The New York Association of Friends for the Relief of Those Held in Slavery and the Improvement of Free People of Color was founded by Hicksite Quakers in 1839 (Hugh Barbour, Christopher Densmore, et al., eds., Quaker Crosscurrents: 300 Years of Friends in the New York Yearly Meetings [Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 1995], 188). 2. LM may be referring to the American Moral Reform Society, founded in 1836 by James Forten and others (Faulkner, 112; Julie Winch, Philadelphia’s Black Elite [Philadelphia : Temple University Press, 1988], 103–7). 3. In 1840 black abolitionists had held two competing national conventions, one that favored working with white activists and one that promoted African American efforts (Graham Russell Hodges, David Ruggles [Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010], 159–61). 4. Frederick Douglass (1818–95) recounted these incidents in a lecture to the Plymouth County Anti-Slavery Society on November 4, 1841 (John W. Blassingame, ed., The Frederick Douglass Papers, Series I: Speeches, Debates and Interviews, vol. 1, 1841–1846 [New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1979], 9–13). Unitarian Church, Washington, D.C., January 15, 18431 “Righteousness exalteth a Nation, but sin is a reproach to any People.” I doubt not but that this scripture truth will be readily assented to by this congregation, for there is a universal admission of the truth, that righteousness gives respect to its possessor. It is equally true of individuals as of nations; and it is a fact worthy of our observation, that throughout all the scripture, through all the dispensation of which that scripture gives us an account, that religion, Unitarian Church, 1843 17 justice, mercy, and all the principles of righteousness are highly exalted above the various forms of worship—the speculative doctrines of the age. But we are prone to forget this in our zeal for sectarian theology; in our earnest endeavor to exalt our favorite forms and rituals, and in the idea that has prevailed to a considerable extent, that we are the favorites of Heaven, we come to regard our sect or our professions of religion more than the practice of righteousness, of goodness, of truth. We confound truth with our sectarian forms, our systems of faith and our theology. We should duly discriminate between that which has its origin in the schools of science, and theology, and those principles which are divine in their origin and eternal in their nature. Righteousness exalteth all who love it, and God in his gracious condescension to the children of men, has caused them to be exalted in proportion as they have adhered to it through the variety of the forms of worship, and through gross misrepresentation they have received the censure of devoted worshippers. Those only are true worshippers who walk uprightly, and love righteousness—who...