“…many Methodist preachers, taken from comparative poverty, not able to own a negro, and who preached loudly against it, improved, and became popular among slaveholders; and many of them married into those slaveholding families, and became personally interested in slave property (as it is called). [SIC] Then they began to apologize for the evil; then to justify it, on legal principles; then on Bible principles; till lo and behold! it is not an evil, but a good! it is not a curse, but a blessing! till really you would think, to hear them tell the story, if you had the means and did not buy a good lot of them, you would go to the devil for not enjoying the labor, toil, and sweat of this degraded race …”
– from Autobiography of Rev. Peter Cartwright, The Backwoods Preacher, ed. Strickland (1856).
UPDATE: To Discover a Kinsman in You flowed from Cartwright's surmise, and the first comment following below.
Peter Cartwright, Jr. (1785-1872) was an anti-slavery Democrat when, in 1832, Abraham Lincoln failed to replace him in the Illinois House of Representatives. (Lincoln prevailed over Cartwright in 1846 election to the U.S. House.)ReplyDelete
Cartwright is well-represented by Evers, in 1962 thesis 'The history of the Southern Illinois Conference of the Methodist Church.’ “In one speech he was reported to have said, “Yes, my friends, for many long years, amid appalling difficulties and dangers, I have waged incessant warfare against the world, the flesh, and the devil, and all the other enemies of the Democratic Party.””
“Every Methodist preacher had opposed slavery from stem to stern. There was not to found in its ministry an advocate of slavery. He deplored the suggestion that the conference was powerless to touch a bishop who had become unacceptable. He pronounced the “heretical doctrines” as “humbuggery,” that if a man inherited a slave he could do nothing about it. “I so became an owner and shouldered my responsibility, resolved to be like Caesar's wife, above suspicion; I took them to my state and set them free; gave them land and built them houses, where they have prospered."