Wednesday, August 05, 2015

"The antislavery movement ... began among the Scottish and Ulster-Scottish immigrants ..."

"... The antislavery movement which led to our Civil War began among the Scottish and Ulster-Scottish immigrants; though not in New England. This is a prevalent delusion, which the brilliant writers of that region have not always discouraged.

But the real anti-slavery movement began among the Scottish Covenanters (largely in South Carolina and East Tennessee) twenty to thirty years before there was any organized opposition to slavery else where, even in Massachusetts.

At the beginning of the century the Rev. Dr. Alexander McLeod hesitated at accepting a call to the Covenanter congregation in Chambers Street, New York, because a small Newburgh congregation was associated in the call, some of whose members held slaves. There upon the Presbytery enacted that "henceforth no slaveholder should be retained in their communion". That was in November, 1800.

By 1815 the Covenanters, the Methodists, and the Quakers of East Tennessee had eighteen emancipation societies. A few years later there were five or six in Kentucky. By 1826 there were one hundred and forty-three emancipation societies in the United States, of which one hundred and three were in the South, and as yet, so far as known, not one in Massachusetts.

As late as 1833, the gentlest and sweetest of American antislavery poets, John G. Whittier, the Quaker, was mobbed in Massachusetts for attempting to make an abolition speech. John Rankin, the noted Covenanter antislavery leader, said that it was safer in 1820 to make abolition speeches in Kentucky or Tennessee than in the North; and William Lloyd Garrison wrote in 1833 that he was surrounded in Massachusetts by contempt more bitter, prejudice more stubborn, and apathy more frozen than among slaveholders themselves ..."

- from The Scot in America and the Ulster Scot, Whitelaw Reid, US Ambassador to Britain, (1912)

Rev John Rankin's Letters on Slavery (1826). The Knoxville Daily Journal described him as 'the Martin Luther of the slavery movement', and that 'His ancestors were Scotch, and came from Ireland to America in 1720, and were soldiers in the War of the Revolution.'


Barry R McCain said...

well, the anti-slavery movement did not lead to the War Between the States. But, it is an enduring piece of propaganda and Orwellian doublespeak. Sort of like the tooth fairy.