Ohio History Journal

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44 Ohio Arch

44        Ohio Arch. and His. Society Publications.  [VOL. 4






It is a rare reform movement that begins with a concensus

of opinion in favor of the reform among the thinking men of

the day. We have, nevertheless, such a movement to consider

in this paper.

It is strange, indeed, but nevertheless true, that at first

there was general agreement North and South, that slavery was

expensive, wicked, cruel, detrimental to a developing statehood,

destructive of public as well as private morality. Those who

used their eyes to see and were in localities where they could

observe, were most outspoken in their condemnation of slavery,

most favorable to its abolition. We need not be surprised then

to find southern gentlemen like Washington, Jefferson, Mason,

Gadsden, Laurence and Pickney in agreement with northern phi-

lanthropists like Franklin, John Adams, John Jay, Hamilton,

Livingston, Governor Morris and others in the declaration made

by Mr. Madison, viz., that he thought "it wrong to admit in

the Constitution the idea of property in men."* Roger Sherman

expressed, no doubt, a general hope when he stated that "the

abolition of slavery seemed to be going on in the United States,

and that the good sense of the several States would probably by

degrees complete it." It seems clear, moreover, that in this

early period the prevailing sentiment of the people-the multi-

tude of the South, as in the North, was "decidedly opposed to

slavery." The evil was thus generally admitted to be an evil,

and "no one openly advocated its perpetuation." +

It is a sad fact, nevertheless, that slavery did perpetuate


Given under the auspices of The Ohio Archaealogical and Historical

Society, in the Entertainment Room, Trinity Parish House, Columbus, O.,

Tuesday evening, November 13, 1894.

* "An Hist. Research, respecting the Opinions of the Founders of the

Republic on Negroes as Slaves, as Citizens, as Soldiers," by Geo. Liver-

more, 1863, p. 51.

+ Supra, p. 22.