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The REVOLUTION’S DOCTOR of MEDICINE
and UNIVERSAL HUMANITARIAN.
Erudite, multifaceted, tireless, though sometimes overly sensitive and more
concerned with meeting the approval of others than befitted such a broad heart and
elevated intellect, Benjamin Rush (1746-1813) was one individual able to unite Federalist
centralists and New World Jeffersonians in concord. Albeit not without its dubious
results; such as his clumsy association with the Conway cabal; his use of blood letting to
treat patients;1 criticized and questionable approach to and handling of the Yellow Fever
epidemic of the 1790s, or his (in retrospect) jejune and too precipitous dismissal of the
value of classical languages. Yet for all his foibles and sometimes shortsightedness -- and
these must be recognized and acknowledged in order to portray him with justice -- the
Philadelphia physician, writer, professor, and scientist oftentimes undertook many of the
tasks and chores to build a better society; sloughed off or left in abeyance by others.
Gluttony, gambling, idleness, immoral romanticism, smoking, drunkenness, cruelty, the
death penalty, child abuse, slavery,2 racism, religious bigotry, and atheism were just some
of the medical quandaries and social demons he did not hesitate to take up the pen
against, and with as resolute and dogged a determination in doing so as any of
Washington’s Light Infantry3 that waged battle in the field.
Youngest of the Pennsylvania delegates to affix their “John Hancock” to the
Declaration of Independence, and after graduating at New Jersey College (Princeton) in
1760, Rush began his career studying medicine as an apprentice under a Philadelphia
Among his other, perhaps peculiar, prescriptions, Rush recommended chocolate as a medicine – a
diagnostic deduction with which many since and to this day will, superfluous to add, readily concur.
In 1773, he wrote and published the 36 page “An Address To the Inhabitants of the British Settlements in
America Upon Slave-Keeping. By a Pennsylvanian.” The same year saw further his “A Vindication of the
Address, to the Inhabitants of the British Settlements, on the Slavery of Negroes in America, in Answer to a
Pamphlet entitled, ‘Slavery Not Forbidden by Scripture; Or a Defence of the West-India Planters from the
Aspersions Thrown out Against them by the Author of the Address.’”
And that included the elite contingent, largely Black, from the Rhode Island Regiment.
6 dynamo Methodist preacher Rev. 1776. the military officer and soldier. with whom he had dinner. the sailor. the lawyer. American Alderman of London William Lee (brother of Richard Henry. Rush.4 the formal representative of Princeton’s trustees. Come the time of the Revolution. the hawkers.doctor. and Arthur). James. England and France. the physician.” 6 One of Robertson’s noted works is a multi-volume The History of America (1777. he stayed for a while as family with Benjamin Franklin. as he notes. American painter Benjamin West. and from which he took back with him a Johnsonian anecdote. 2 . the dissenting minister. Francis Lightfoot. Joshua Reynolds. married his daughter Julia in Jan. the country gentleman of large and moderate fortune. To different people the same objects often appear in different forms or colors. 5 Of whom Rush remarks. 1796). As well. Jonathan Witherspoon (later himself another signer) to fill the head chair at Princeton. Rush was abundantly read in the works of Rousseau and Voltaire. Rush visited Marquis of Mirabeau (father of the French Revolutionary leader of that name). succeeded in accomplishing. and James Boswell. the common farmer. Rush. acting as an assistant to Richard Stockton. historian William Robertson. 7 Though he did not meet them. Rush saw David Garrick perform on stage. the commoner. and met or had the occasion to view and hear sundry worthies and notables. the shopkeeper. In his autobiography. He next. and which. as great as their ranks and occupations. traveled to Versailles and was very close by to view Louis VX attending mass. and heard Edmund Burke speak in Parliament.” While in Paris. the unbeneficed clergyman. he was elected 4 Stockton later was yet another Declaration signer. John Redman. while at the same time was dispatched as an emissary to recruit Presbyterian Rev. human rights champion Catharine Macauley. and as a result of becoming acquainted with the latter: Dr. the waterman. the tavern keeper. There was in my view at the time I was in London. the hackney coachman. Rush further studied in London. and which included offering medical help gratis to the poor.7 He also. and Oliver Goldsmith. George III and family in Chapel. as it happens. the tradesman of a large capital and his journeyman. My Travels in Life. but in many more they were as dissimilar from each other as if they had belonged to different nations. and encyclopédiste Denis Diderot. in 1766. the beggar. and also found time to visit Paris. As well. the Bishop. Among these and whom he met or supped with personally or at a gathering were philosopher and historian David Hume. While in Scotland. George Whitefield. the lamplighter. “I never visited him without learning something. Samuel Johnson. had each a specific character. the merchant. went to Edinburgh to further his medical education.5 the colonies agent at the Court of St. in some points Englishmen. he set up his practice. Rush recalled that same world many will remember humorously presented in Joe Miller’s Jests (1739): “Many characters have been given of the English nation. The nobleman. a variety in the manners of the people of England. Whig parliamentary leader John Wilkes. it is true. Returning to Philadelphia in 1769. They were all.
and vivid Revolutionary War autobiographies. During Washington’s retreat into New Jersey. Rush played an important roll in helping to combat the horrendous Yellow Fever epidemics in the period from 1793-1797. 4thly. Knox.inflexible and persevering in their conduct. Gates. Staunch Whigs. Greene (“He was a pupil of Genl. It won’t hurt. or some family disaster. which was (at large and by comparison) not so eventful. and priceless impressions and sketches. Really. and accommodated their 8 Available at http://archive.as delegate to Congress in July 1776: too late participate in the debates for Independence. a great number of persons who were neither Whigs nor Tories. these were moderate in their tempers. In addition. we would prefer you to get a hold of and read the whole thing. Rush accompanied the army for a while and was present just after Trenton and at the battle of Princeton itself.org/details/memorialcontaini00rush 3 . A Colonel of a regiment informed a friend of mine that he had made a great deal of money by buying poor horses for his wagon and selling them again for a large profit. after he had fattened them at the public expense. Furious Whigs who considered the tarring and feathering a Tory a greater duty and exploit than the extermination of a British army. the hopes of these people rose and fell with every victory and defeat of our armies. Speculating Whigs. he was of invaluable help in promoting hygiene and sanitation while furnishing assistance to the sickly. holding the post until he resigned on 30 Jan. These men infested our public councils as well as the army. and as a result of Congress refusal to support him in his proposed methods for reform and improvement in the medical branch of the government. brief portraits of all the signers of the Declaration of Independence. These men were generally cowards and shrunk from danger when called into the field. rare. a student of American Revolutionary War biography is cheating him or herself by missing out on these. 2ndly. and includes manifold. The rest of Rush’s biography. there are still more on such as Patrick Henry. lucid. including. and did the country great mischief. with respect to the latter. Hugh Mercer. They had no fixed principles.”). However. including the fatally wounded Gen. 1778. need not detain us here. Travels is easily worth a “Continental Army Series” article in and of itself. to give you one further. In April 1777. but firm -. John Dickinson. quote from it: [After describing and giving an account of the Tories and Loyalists. John Paul Jones. We would note that his Travels Through Life8 one of the best written. by pretending sickness. Lord Stirling. but soon enough to sign the great Declaration. 1st. Of further note.] “The [American] Whigs were divided by their conduct into. nevertheless. where he acted as surgeon for both British and American injured soldiers. 3dly. “There were besides these two classes of people. Though his methods for administering a cure did not always meet with approval. he was voted Surgeon General by Congress to head the military hospitals for the Middle Department. Timid Whigs. and many more. Arnold. [Charles] Lee. and edifying.
Containing An Enquiry Into The Influence of Physical causes Upon the Moral Faculty. so were the Jews in all the States.. that I had rather fee the opinions of Confucius or Mahom[m]ed inculcated upon our youth.org/details/historicalnoteso00rush His “Commonplace Book for 1789-1813” usually accompanies printings of his Travels.” p. no.” [“Live completely!” or “Be Eternal!”] -.” ~ from “An Oration Delivered Before the American Philosophical Society. we have compile a selection from Rush’s numerous discourses and essays. pp. 4 . The third class were a powerful reinforcement to them. ~~~***~~~ Virtue is the living principle of a republic. viz. I would not only say to the asylum of my ancestors. my parting advice to the guardians of her liberties.But I would add. than fee them grow up wholly devoid of a 9 There is also “The Historical Notes of Benjamin Rush.conduct to their interest.pdf at http://archive. 40. by means of proper modes and places of education. and persons who were neither Whigs nor Tories. ~~~***~~~ Such is my veneration for every religion that reveals the attributes of the Deity. after the affairs of America assumed a uniformly prosperous appearance. The Whigs constituted the largest class. I think many will still find here few astonishing and relevant truths applicable to subsequent and our own times. Whigs. “To establish and support Public Schools in every part of the state.” first published in The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography. by the interference and aid of the legislature. laws for the suppression of vice and immorality will be as ineffectual. to events. as the last proof of my gratitude and affection for her. They prevented both parties in many instances from the rage of each other. To promote this. with the patriot of Venice. and to their company. vol. that were this evening to be the last of my life. 1903. or a future state of rewards and punishments. Despite these writings rather old fashioned tone. XXVII. “Perhaps the inhabitants of the United States might have been divided nearly into three classes. and each party always found hospitable treatment from them. -. Held In Philadelphia on The 27th Of February. and this can be done effectually only.2. Tories.There is but one method of preventing crimes. “Esto perpetua. and can be acquired in . 1786. “I remarked further that many of the children of Tory parents were Whigs. 1777. I am so deeply impressed with the truth of this opinion. 129-150. and of rendering a republican form of government durable. They were not without their uses. and my beloved native country. as the encrease and enlargement of gaols.”9 In its place then. and that is by disseminating the seeds of virtue and knowledge through every part of the state.
Literary. is the best refutation that can be given to the divine right of kings. I claim no more then for religion. self-denial. for his religion teacheth him. which are directly opposed to the pride of monarchy and the pageantry of a court. but this we know to be impossible. in all things to do to others what he would wish.system of religious principles. is that of the New Testament. My only business is to declare. for his religion teacheth him. a knowledge of one system. or politics. that no man “liveth to himself. It is foreign to my purpose to hint at the arguments which establish the truth of the Christian revelation. and the safety and well being of civil government. that all its doctrines and precepts are calculated to promote the happiness of society. A Christian cannot fail of being useful to the republic. 5 . To train the youth who are intended for the learned professions or for merchandise. which is recorded in the Old Testament. But I beg leave to ask. It submits with difficulty to those restraints or partial discoveries which are imposed upon it in the infancy of reason. than for the other sciences. A Christian cannot fail of being a republican. till they have arrived at an age in which they are capable of judging for themselves? We do not. by means of useful amusements. The human mind runs as naturally into principles as it does after facts. again. pp. just as an acquaintance with one system of philosophy is the best introduction to the study of all the other systems in the world. this plan of education would have more to recommend it.” And lastly. 2nd edition). The contents of this volume originally appeared as pieces published in The American Museum and Columbian Magazine. A Christian. and that it is improper to fill the minds of youth with religious prejudices of any kind. philosophy. Hence the impatience of children to be informed upon all subjects that relate to the invisible world. 10 Essays. The history of the creation of man. 8-10. and that they should be left to choose their own principles. and of the relation of our species to each other by birth. why should we pursue a different plan of education with respect to religion. But the (religion I mean to recommend in this place. cannot fail of being a republican. to the duties of their future employments. I am aware that I dissent from one of those paradoxical opinions with which modern times abound. will be the best means of conducting them in a free enquiry into other systems of religion. for every precept of the Gospel inculcates those degrees of humility. Could we preserve the mind in childhood and youth a perfect blank. I say. ~ from “Of the Mode of Education Proper in a Republic”10 ~~~***~~~ III. and the strongest argument that can be used in favor of the original and natural equality of all mankind. they should do to him. a Christian cannot fail of being wholly inoffensive. Moral and Philosophical (1806. from that which we pursue in teaching the arts and sciences? Do we leave our youth to acquire systems of geography. that if our youth are disposed after they are of age to think for themselves. in like circumstances. and I add further. and brotherly kindness. after they have arrived at an age in which they are capable of judging for themselves.
It hardens the heart. and thus creates habits of Idleness. only by the conducting mediums of vice and error. I have only to add under this head. for rural improvements? Indeed I conceive the seeds of knowledge in agriculture will be most productive. who has not indulged or felt a passion. to teach our young men the use of firearms. The newspapers are occasionally filled with melancholy accounts of the latter. Let us eradicate these. for the flames of war can be spread from one nation to another. 4. and all of them prove more or less. 5. Many of them injure their cloaths. It is unnecessary in civilized society. 6 . but their amusements may be derived from cultivating a spot of ground. or the merchant. some of them waste their strength. and wars will cease to be necessary in our country. which naturally leads to intemperance in drinking. Do not think me too strict if I here exclude gunning from among the amusements of young men. It exposes to fevers. It consumes a great deal of time. and impair their health. My objections to it are as follow. when they are planted in the minds of this class of scholars. except in the presence of one of their masters.which are related to. and for the same reason. he will reprove kings for our fake. touch not my anointed and do my people no harm. it leads to intemperance in eating. in the course of his practice. when he came to assault him. 6. yea. because they will “find nothing in us” congenial to their malignant dispositions. as Satan did from our Saviour. Even the healthy and pleasurable exercise of swimming. By imposing long abstinence from food. 1. those employments. in some part of his life. 2. for where is the lawyer. they will retire from us. approach our coasts. the divine. by inflicting unnecessary pain and death upon animals.Let us rather instill into their minds sentiments of universal benevolence to men of all nations and colours. faying. the physician. 3. The divine author and lover of peace “will then suffer no man to do us wrong. both of which are calculated to beget vulgar manners. will be impracticable. and every physician must have met with frequent and dangerous instances of the former. by such exercises. But why should we inspire our youth. where animal food may be obtained from domestic animals. Wars originate in error and vice. It frequently leads young men into low. or of exciting angry passions. and bad company. is not permitted to their scholars. with greater facility. with hostile ideas towards their fellow creatures? -.” Should the nations with whom war is a trade. and accidents. by proper modes of education. The Methodists have wisely banished every species of play from their college. I know the early use of a gun is recommended in our country. that the common amusements of children have no connection with their future occupations. the means of producing noise. and thereby to prepare them for war and battle.
. and the possible share he may have in the government of our country. This cannot be done without the assistance of the female members of the community. to which professional life exposes gentlemen in America. for the discharge of this most important duty of mothers. It becomes us therefore to prepare them by a suitable education. produced by the confined breath and perspiration of too great a number of children in one room. From the numerous avocations from their families. obliging them to fit too long in one place. IV. to amuse themselves in the open air. was a signer of both the Declaration and the Constitution. children should be permitted. and guardians of their husbands’ property.I have hinted at the injury which is done to the health of young people by some of their amusements. the growth and shape of the body have been impaired. the feeds of fevers have often been engendered in schools. after they have said their lessons. In the course of my business. will be most proper for our women. as well as their bodies relieved by them. To oblige a sprightly boy to sit seven hours in a day. That education. also from Pennsylvania. which does more harm to their bodies than all the amusements that can be named. August 20th.what cruelty and folly are manifested. 6063. 1790 ~ from “Thoughts Upon the Amusements and Punishments which Are Proper for Schools. with his little arms pinioned to his sides. III. a principal share of the instruction of children naturally devolves upon the women. make it necessary that our ladies should be qualified to a certain degree by a peculiar and suitable education. By means of the former. but there is a practice common in all our schools. Ibid. They must be the stewards. 7 . and by means of the latter. and his neck unnaturally bent towards his book. which teaches them to discharge the duties of those offices with the most success and reputation. The state of property in America. Esq. in different occupations. by such an absurd mode of instructing or governing young people! Philadelphia. and for no crime! -. pp. which evidently arose from the action of morbid effluvia. The equal share that every citizen has in the liberty. for the advancement of their fortunes. Their minds will be strengthened. To obviate these evils.. I have been called to many hundred children who have been seized with indispositions in school. or crowding too many of them together in one room. renders it necessary for the greatest part of our citizens to employ themselves. 11 Clymer. and that is. Addressed to George Clymer. to concur in instructing their sons in the principles of liberty and government. therefore.”11 ~~~***~~~ II. in some of the useful and agreeable exercises which have been mentioned.
with such parts of them as are calculated to prevent superstition. and that is. but speak and spell it correctly. II. that there is one thing in which all mankind agree upon this subject. a necessary branch of a lady’s education. where it does not consist of more than two syllables. and travels. particularly. a general acquaintance with the first principles of astronomy natural philosophy and chemistry. And to enable her to do this. or to the simplicity of the citizens of a republic. and such as are capable of being applied to domestic. because I cannot discover the name which is subscribed to it. and thereby qualify her not only for a general intercourse with the world. she cannot fail of deriving immense advantages from it. Some knowledge of figures and book-keeping is absolutely necessary to qualify a young lady for the duties which await her in this country. in this country. and agreeably to the custom of our country be the executrix of his will. as a mark of vulgar education. III. I shall only remark. Without enquiring into the probability of this story. For this purpose she should be taught not only to shape every letter properly. but to be an agreeable companion for a sensible man. The distress and 8 . An acquaintance with geography and some instruction in chronology will enable a young lady to read history. crooked. There are certain occupations in which she may assist her husband with this knowledge y and should she survive him. For obvious reasons I would recommend the writing of the first or christian name at full length. it will enable her to soothe the cares of domestic life. than to obtrude a letter upon a person of rank or business. Pleasure and interest conspire to make the writing of a fair and legible hand. in considering writing that is blotted.The branches of literature most essential for a young lady in this country. but to pay the strictest regard to points and capitals. or illegible. I. or obviating the effects of natural evil. appear to be. I once heard of a man who professed to discover the temper and disposition of persons by looking at their hand writing. and be frequently examined in applying its rules in common conversation. I know of few things more rude or illiberal. IV. Besides preparing her to join in that part of public worship which consists in psalmody. should not only read. which always denote either haste or carelessness. which cannot be easily read. in some instances. she should be taught the English grammar. Peculiar care should be taken to avoid every kind of ambiguity and affectation in writing names. I have only to add under this head that the Italian and inverted hands which are read with difficulty. Abbreviations of all kind in letter writing. and culinary purposes. with advantage. biography. from a gentleman of a liberal profession in a neighbouring state. I have now a letter in my possession upon business. which I am unable to answer. are by. A knowledge of the English language. should likewise be avoided. Vocal music would never be neglected. V. in the education of a young lady. To these branches of knowledge may be added. no means accommodated to the active state of business in America. She. by explaining the causes.
and other causes.and moral essays. it is true. jealousy. The fact is the reverse of this. even. Our passions have not as yet “overstepped the modesty of nature. who were restored to health. and gaming. that the amusement of dancing shall be wholly confined to children. in a peculiar manner. The attention of our young ladies should be directed. I believe. 28th July. 1787. that the tales of distress. The music-master of our academy has furnished me with an observation still more in favour of this opinion. 9 . by the moderate exercise of their lungs in singing. As yet the intrigues of a British novel. But in our present state of society and knowledge. in our assemblies of grown people. to the reading of history -.” to use the expressions of the poet. is in part occasioned by the strength which their lungs acquire. nor have I ever known but one instance of spitting of blood among them. and renders the figure and motions of the body easy and agreeable. Addressed to the Visitors of the Young Ladies’ Academy in Philadelphia. we sometimes fee instances of young ladies. Manners. as the refinements of Asiatic vice. Let it not be said. VI.”12 12 Ibid. These studies are accommodated. VII. for this constitutes an essential branch of their education. and Afterwards Published at the Request of the Visitors. that the exercise of the organs of the breast. ambition. that the subjects of novels are by no means accommodated to our present manners. This. in early life.the noise of a nursery. or revenge. which fill modern novels. Dancing is by no means an improper branch of education for an American lady. the sorrows that will sometimes intrude into her own bosom. contributes very much to defend them from those diseases to which our climate. in The United States Of America. It promotes health. and that is. to the present state of society in America. hence. have a tendency to soften the female heart into acts of humanity. I anticipate the time when the resources of conversation shall be so far multiplied. and Government. by singing. At the Close of the Quarterly Examination. The abortive sympathy which is excited by the recital of imaginary distress. but it is not as yet life in America. may all be relieved by a song. and. who solicits in feeble accents or signs. I cannot dismiss this species of writing and reading without observing. ~ from “Thoughts Upon Female Education.poetry -. turning with disdain at three o’clock from the fight of a beggar. who weep away a whole forenoon over the criminal sorrows of a fictitious Charlotte or Wert[h]er.travels -.vexation of a husband -.” Nor are they “torn to tatters. and when a relish is excited for them. I conceive it to be an agreeable substitute for the ignoble pleasures of drinking. and. where sound and sentiment unite to act upon mind. are as foreign to our manners. a small portion only of the crumbs which fall from their fathers’ tables. 76-82. blunts the heart to that which is real. by extravagant love. pp. they subdue that passion for reading novels. which so generally prevails among the fair sex. have of late exposed theme. by exercising them frequently in vocal music.Our German fellow citizens are seldom afflicted with consumptions. Accommodated to The Present State of Society. as soon as they are prepared for it. They hold up life. I hope it will not be thought foreign to this part of our subject to introduce a fact here which has been suggested to me by my profession. -. He informed me that he had known several instances of persons who were strongly disposed to the consumption.
But experience has taught us. is just -. To say that a man has common sense. Ignominy is universally acknowledged to be a worse punishment than death. and the indiscriminate destruction of peaceable husbandmen. is wise -. pp. And Upon Society. wars have been less frequent and terrible.” 13 ~~~***~~~ In the perfection of knowledge. It is now more related to error than to truth.whatever is wise.~~~***~~~ 7thly. has produced a thousand murders. it implies more praise than censure to want it. Whatever is humane. -. till it has first reached the extremity of error… There was a time. must want the common feelings and principles which belong to human nature. Nor is this all the mischievous influence. Read In The Society For Promoting Political Enquiries Convened at the House of Benjamin Franklin. which the punishment of ignominy has upon society. 1787.The law which punishes the shooting of a swan with death. it not only confounds and levels all crimes. and the greater the proportion of people. in order to screen himself. whether criminals or foreign enemies are the objects of their legislation. the man who robs on the high-way. did we not know that the human mind seldom arrives at truth upon any subject. and in the sense in which I have described it. as well as their true opinions. And in proportion as humanity has triumphed over these maxims of false policy. ~ from “An Enquiry Into The Effects Of Public Punishments Upon Criminals. in their false. to the success of war.and whatever is wise. Esq. were thought to be essential. the greater share he possesses of this common sense. 146-147. and humane. and the safety of states. women. like the indiscriminate punishment of death. as a milder punishment than death. common sense and truth will be in unison with each other. it creates a hatred of all law and government. that ignominy mould ever. and children. that it operates more than the fear of death in preventing crimes. in England. that this is not the cafe. On the contrary. while they bear an exact proportion to crimes. he acts and thinks with. March 9th. 10 . but by increasing the disproportion between crimes and punishments. if he does not add murder to theft. Let it not be supposed. just. Laws can only be respected and obeyed. if he should be detected. will be found to be the true interest of states. -13 Ibid. have been adopted. is to say that he thinks with his age or country. from that punishment which is acknowledged to be more terrible than death. and nations have enjoyed longer intervals of internal tranquility. from this circumstance. The virtues are all parts of a circle. It would seem strange. 160. in Philadelphia. when the punishment of captives with death or servitude. While murder is punished with death. and thus disposes to the perpetration of every crime. or breaks open a house.
[William] Clarkson’s16 ingenious and pathetic essay on the slavery and commerce of the human species. -. who campaigned along with him.” 15 Ibid. and the progress of knowledge before mentioned. I cannot help thinking that it is the characteristic only of common minds. is to us a sign of guilt in man. Upon my approaching a beautiful grove.A DREAM. and also an inspirer of William Wilberforce (1759-1833). They fixed their eyes upon me -. activist.punishment -. far surpassed any thing I had ever heard. pp. There may he just feelings connected with erroneous opinions and conduct. which in point of cultivation and scenery. the subject made so deep an impression upon my mind. 305-310. prepare. pp. by communicating it to the public. and member of Parliament. I found. according to the circumstance of age. I perceived at once a pause in their exercises. In Some Free Remarks on the Efficiency of the Moral Change.” however. They appeared cheerful and happy.After all that has been said in its favour. It was Rush who proposed the title to Thomas Paine’s famous and stirring pamphlet.while one of them. with ultimate success in 1833.and death. 16 Clarkson (1760-1846). was inhabited only by negroes. Addressed to Those Who Deny Such Efficiency to be Moral. The feelings and opinions of mankind are often confounded. evangelical Christian. and differently from them. 11 .15 SOON after reading Mr. -. came forward. addressed me in the following language: “Excuse the panic which you have spread through this peaceful and happy company: we perceive that you are a white man. that it followed me in my sleep. We are here collected together. and consigned by them to labour -. to bring about an end to slavery in most of the British Empire. that I have yielded to the importunities of some of my friends. This is often the case in religion and government. in general. and enjoy an ample compensation in our present employments for all 14 Ibid.That colour which is the emblem of innocence in every other creature of God. was one of the first crusading English abolitionists.But. and produced a dream of so extraordinary a nature. 3. when they are right. constitutes in my opinion. I thought I was conducted to a country. As well.” Apr. -. and published in 1772 in New York (city) denominated “Common Sense. where a number of them were assembled for religious purposes. opinions and feelings are just and unjust in equal degrees. To think and act with the majority of mankind. was first earlier used in a 52 page pamphlet. This country. and an appearance of general perturbation. The actual title “Common Sense. a venerable looking man. the perfection of human wisdom and conduct. and publish it. when they are wrong. or read of in my life. but they are widely different from each other. and in the name of the whole assembly.14 ~~~***~~~ PARADISE OF NEGRO-SLAVES. and that else would have been denominated Plain Truth. ~ from “Thoughts on Common Sense. country. 252-253. 1791. Rush helped him edit. evidently anonymous. author. The persons whom you see here. were once dragged by the men of your colour from their native country.
Upon this he ran up and embraced me in his arms. a young man. and tell him.” said I. is not angry at him -. He came up to me. that shall conduct his spirit to the regions of bliss appointed for those who repent of their iniquities. But in me -. I have been your advocate -. and beat me. which provoked him so much. where after being introduced to the principal characters.Scipio will apply to be one of the convoy. No rising sun ever caught me in my cabin -. and the following account was delivered to me by the venerable person who first accosted me. is called the paradise of negro slaves. I was the slave of Mr. --. in the eightieth year of my age.” Here he ended. by which means we have escaped the punishments. except on Sundays and holydays. Scipio. Pain and distress are the unavoidable portions of half mankind. “are natural. but gentle voice. tell him. Do. We know that we are secured by the Being whom we worship. the over-seer saw me stop to rest myself against the side of a tree.” -. --. Happy are they. “Your apprehensions of danger from the sight of a white man. who partake of their proportion of both upon the earth. One day. and with a u stroke on my head dismissed me from life. “was my master.” -.when he dies -. whether he has repented of this unkind action. “The place we now occupy. “Sir. as they were the means of our present happiness. where I was at work. he thus addressed me. “Is not your name -. “I long to hear. was entirely “the sudden effect of habits which have not yet been eradicated from our minds. --.” Before I could reply to this speech. They are the only possible avenues that can conduct them to peace and felicity. he interrupted me. inasmuch. Here we derive great pleasure from contemplating the infinite goodness of God. ’till he could endure 12 . came up to me and asked “If I knew any thing of Mr. With a low.the miseries we endured on earth.” said he.“Mr.Here. I mistook his orders. to which the free and happy part of mankind too often expose themselves after death. I was seated upon a bank of moss. from injury and oppression. in allotting to us our full proportion of misery on earth. his once miserable slave. One day. sir.I served him faithfully upwards of sixty years. for all the afflictions our task-masters heaped on us. write to him. his sin is not too great to be forgiven. we expect to be admitted into higher and more perfect degrees of happiness. and afterwards conducted me into the midst of the assembly. His wool was white as snow. of the Island of --” I told him “I did not. My whole subsistence never cost my master more than forty shillings a year. Herrings and roots were my only food. who bore on his head the mark of a wound. -After a silence of a few minutes. an old man came and sat down by my side.you behold a friend.and. It is destined to be our place of residence ’till the general judgement.he longs to bear his prayers to the offended majesty of heaven and -. Here we have learned to thank God. therefore.?” I answered in the affirmative. and said. in the Island of -. after which time. Our appearance of terror.no setting sun ever saw me out of the sugar field. and saddled his mare instead of his horse. that he took up an axe which laid in his yard.
on the opposite side of the grove. when I left my master’s house. and landed me upon these happy shores. who instantly set me up at public vendue [sic]. his unkind behaviour to me is upon record against him. “I was once the slave of Mr.Soon after this event.he complained of me to my master.in the other. he shall suffer ten fold in the world to come. “Sir I was born and educated in a christian family in one of the southern states of America. Nor was this all -. and after a low and respectful curtsey. He thrived under my care and grew up a handsome young man. for which he is preparing himself. I can never forget the anguish. In one hand he carried a subscription paper and a petition -.” “My new master obliged me to work in the field. when they bid me farewell. she paused.That the sufferings of a single hour in the world of misery. While I was employed in contemplating this venerable figure -- 13 .” -. Here it pleased God.and that is to be permitted to visit my old master’s family. I was called upon to suckle my Master’s eldest son. His soul must be melted with pity. To enable me to perform this office more effectually. or he can never escape the punishment which awaits the hard-hearted. that his wealth cannot make him happy. whose happiness consists in expressions of gratitude and love. and soon afterwards died. Upon the death of his father.and that for every act of unnecessary severity he inflicts upon his slaves. I long to tell my master. he conveyed me by force on board of a vessel and sold me to a planter in the island of Hispaniola. To raise this money I was sold to a planter in a neighbouring state.If he is -. The gentle spirits in heaven.the fatigue and heat occasioned by the blows he gave me. and grand-children (28 of whom I left on my old master’s plantation) soon put an end to my existence. The distress I felt. -. he carried a small pamphlet. His face was grave.All at once. and hung upon me. and tell him. and full of benignity. in leaving my children. in the state of --. and a general silence ensued. 100 at cards. in a distant parish.” As soon as she had finished her story. the consequence of which was. -. Sir. he lost £. upon the unlawfulness of war. I became his property. will have no fellowship with him. the eyes of the whole assembly were turned from me. will overbalance all the pleasures he ever enjoyed in his life -. equally with the impenitent. -. I applied to my master to purchase my freedom. in the regions of misery. when a decent looking woman came forward.Upon pronouncing these words. and addressed me in the following language --.go to him. is my first young master still alive? -. I caught a fever which in a few weeks ended my life. with which my aged father and mother followed me to the end of the lane. From the healthiness of my constitution. Instead of granting my request. fastened themselves upon my infant master.--. a middle aged woman approached me. In the thirty-third year of my age.” He had hardly finished his tale. Say. my friend. placid. and directed towards a little white man who advanced towards them. thus addressed me. My affections in the first emotions of my grief. and a letter directed to the King of Prussia. no longer. I have now no wish to gratify but one -. in which we were seated. and sold me for two guineas to a tavern keeper. my own child was taken from my breast. on the unlawfulness of the African slave-trade.
he founded the first antislavery society in North America.ANTHONY BENEZET! ~~~***~~~ BIOGRAPHICAL ANECDOTES OF ANTHONY BENEZET17 THIS excellent man was placed by his friends in early life in a counting-house. “Some Historical Account of Guinea…with an Inquiry into the Rise and Progress of the Slave-Trade” (1771).” He published several valuable tracts in favor of the emancipation of the blacks. and had in 1731 emigrated with his family to Philadelphia. pp. that his memory began to fail him. and bound himself as an apprentice to a cooper. renouncing the world. and of the civilizing and christianizing the Indians. 2nd ed. “gives me one great advantage over thee -. he left his master. He possessed uncommon activity and industry in every thing he undertook. inhabited by the negroes. with respect to the fertility of the country.” said he. he continued during the greatest part of his life. he declined it. and “A Mite Cast Into the Treasury: Or Observations on Slave-Keeping” (1772).the air resounded with the clapping of hands -. Finding this business too laborious for his constitution. and the manner by which the slave trade is carried on. On the Inconsistency of Their Conduct Respecting Slavery: Forming a Contrast Between the Encroachments of England on American Liberty. “the highest act of charity in the world was to bear with the unreasonableness of mankind. and American Injustice in Tolerating Slavery” (1783).suddenly I beheld the whole assembly running to meet him -. Among his other noteworthy achievements. 1760). Some of his anti-slavery tracts include: “Observations on the inslaving. and “A Serious Address to the Rulers of America.” He generally wore plush clothes. in the year 1748. they made comfortable and decent garments for the poor. that after he had worn them for two or three years. He also published a pamphlet against 17 Ibid. “wist ye not. the good disposition of many of the natives. for it is always new to me. in which useful employment. 302-304.. and devoted himself to school-keeping. but finding commerce opened temptations to a worldly spirit..but I enjoy that pleasure as often as I read it.for thou canst find entertainment in reading a good book only once -. “A Short account of that part of Africa. Benezet (1713-1784) sprang from French Huguenot stock. He once informed a young friend. “A Caution and Warning To Great-Britain and Her Colonies.and I awoke from my dream. by the noise of a general acclamation of -. and true charity for all such as sincerely desire to be Our Blessed Saviour’s Disciples” (1759. importing and purchasing of negroes with some advice thereon extracted from the yearly meeting epistle of the people called the Quakers. Also some remarks on the absolute necessity of self-denial. He did every thing as if the words of his Saviour were perpetually sounding in his ears. In a Short Representation of the Calamitous State of the Enslaved Negroes in the British Dominions” (1766). and gave as a reason for it.” (1762). 14 . held in London. “but this. that I must be about my Father’s business?” He used to say.
in returning from the funeral. as produced a disease in those parts of which he finally died. he was indefatigable in his endeavours to render the situation of the persons who suffered from captivity as easy as possible.) “would you have [me] eat my neighbours?” This misapplication of a moral feeling. in which he endeavoured to convince him of the unlawfulness of war. and said after reading them. and frequently their esteem. throughout every part of the United States.the use of ardent spirits. It consisted only of the 15 . and such were the propriety and gentleness of his manners in his intercourse with the gentlemen who commanded the British and German troops. During the time the British army was in possession of the city of Philadelphia. “that the author appeared to be a very good man. who had served in the American army. He wrote letters to the queen of Great-Britain. that “he might bring down SELF. the close of his life. So great was his sympathy with every thing that was capable of feeling pain.” The last time he ever walked across his room. however dignified they were by titles or station. He bequeathed after the death of his widow. He accompanied his letter to the queen of Great-Britain with a present of his works. during the late war. he said. Few men. which he gave to a poor widow whom he had long assisted to maintain.” He also wrote a letter to the king of Prussia. that he resolved towards. Colonel J--n. he never failed to secure their civilities. was supposed to have brought on such a debility in his stomach and bowels. since days of the apostles. in the 71st. and at his own expense. he was asked by his brother’s wife. year of his age. to eat no animal food. pronounced an eulogium upon him. “What!” (said he. All these publications were circulated with great industry. was to take from his desk six dollars. which he had founded and taught for several years before his death. And yet. and to the queen of Portugal to use their influence with their respective courts to abolish the African trade. when his family was dining upon poultry. The queen received them with great politeness. a house and lot in which consisted his whole estate. to the support of a school for the education of negro children. He knew no fear in the presence of his fellow men. He died in May 1784. that when he could not obtain the objects of his requests. upon his death bed. ever lived a more disinterested life. Upon coming into his brother’s house one day. and by many hundred black people. he wished to live a little longer. His funeral was attended by persons of all religious denominations. to sit down and dine with them.
com http://www.scribd.com/wsherman_1 For Lee’s Legion on Face Book: https://www. than George Washington with all his fame.following words: “I would rather. 1788.facebook.” said he.com and http://www.gunjones. “be Anthony Benezet in that coffin. Washington 98117 206-784-1132 wts@gunjones.” July 15.com/groups/LeesLegion/ 16 . William Thomas Sherman 1604 NW 70th St. Seattle.
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