Excerpts from A Visit to the United States in 1841

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Dublin Core

Title

Excerpts from A Visit to the United States in 1841

Subject

Thought Leaders

Description

These are excerpts from Joseph Sturge's book, A Visit to the United States in 1841, and they show what he saw on his visit to the United States. He promoted for the abolition of slavery in the U.S. especiallly after his visit.

Creator

Joseph Sturge

Source

archives.org
University of California Libraries

Publisher

London: Hamilton, Adams, & Co.

Date

1841

Contributor

Alex Weaver

Rights

Open Domain. Not in Copyright

Format

JPeg

Language

English

Type

Text

Identifier

Identifier: avisittotheus00sturrich
Identifier-ark: ark:/13960/fk6154f53c
Identifier-bib: GLAD-17170057
https://archive.org/details/avisittotheus00sturrich

Coverage

United States 19th Century

Text Item Type Metadata

Text

A VISIT
THE UNITED STATES
IN
1841
JOSEPH STURGE.
" Tis liberty alone that gives the flower Of fleeting life its lustre and perfume ; And we are weeds without it. All constraint, Except what -wisdom lays, on evil men, Is evil ; hurts the faculties, "impedes Their progiess in the road of science ; blinds The eyesight of ^iscovory ; and begets, In those chat s-iJer it, a sordid miud. *,. .:* .*. * cinfit To be the tenant of man s noble form." COWPER.
LONDON : HAMILTON, ADAMS, AND CO., PATERNOSTER ROW. BIRMINGHAM : B. HUDSON, BULL STREET.
1842.
PREFACE.
IN visiting the United States, the objects which preferred the
chief claim to my attention were the universal abolition of slavery,
and the promotion of permanent international peace. Deeply impressed with the conviction that the advancement of these
is intimately connected with the progress of right views among professing Christians in that country, it was my desire not only to inform myself of the actual state of feeling and
opinion among this important class ; but, if possible, to contribute my mite of encouragement and aid to those who are bearing the burden and heat of the day, in an arduous contest, on whose issue the alternative of a vast amount of human happiness or
misery depends. This general outline of my motives included
several
specific, practical objects,
which will be found detailed
in the ensuing pages.
For obvious reasons, the abolition of slavery in the United States
is the most prominent topic in my narrative ; but I have freely
interspersed
observations on other subjects of interest and im
portance,
as they came under consideration. Short notices are introduced of some of the prominent abolitionists of America ; and, though sensible how imperfectly I have done justice to ex
ertions, which, cither in degree or kind, have scarcely a parallel
in the annals of self-denying benevolence, I fear I shall occa
sionally
have hurt the feelings of the individuals referred to, by what they may deem undeserved or unseasonable praise ;
yet I trust they will pardon the act for the sake of the motive,
which is to introduce the English anti-slavery reader to a better
VI PREFACE.
acquaintance with his fellow labourers in the United States
trades, and the latter in domestic services, and both spend a certain portion of their time in school. They remain from six months to four years. From the statements of the superinten dent and matron, it appeared that about three-fourths of the male, and four-fifths of the female inmates become re
spectable
members of society, and the remainder are chiefly such as are fifteen or sixteen years of age when first admitted into the Refuge, an age at which character may be considered as in a great measure formed. The labour of the children pays about one-fifth of the expense of the establishment, the rest being defrayed by the legislature. The prejudice of colour intrudes even here, no children of that class being admitted into the Refuge. Coloured delin quency is left to ripen into crime, with little interference from public or private philanthropy. As might have been expected, coloured, are more numerous than white criminals, in proportion to relative population ; and this is appealed to as a proof of their naturally vicious and inferior character ; when in fact the govern ment and society at large are chargeable with their degradation. The Penitentiary contained, at the time of my visit, about three hundred and forty male, and thirty-five female prisoners. In this celebrated prison, hard labour is combined with solitary confinement, a system which is techincally known as the " sepa rate" system. Silence and seclusion are so strictly enforced as to be almost absolute and uninterrupted ; even the minister who addresses the prisoners on the sabbath is known to them only by his voice. A marked feature of this institution is security without the aid of any deadly weapon, none being allowed in the possession of the attendants, or indeed upon the premises. As compared with the " silent" system, exhibited in the not less famed prisons of the State of New York, this is much less eco nomical, as the mode of employing the prisoners, in their solitary cells, greatly lessons the power of a profitable application
of their labour. If
prisoners exceed their allotted task, one-half
the compactness of their union, while the citizens of the free States are divided in interest and opinion. Here, then, is pre sented a distinct and legitimate object for those of the aboli tionists who regard their political rights as a trust for the benefit of the oppressed and the helpless, to combine the scattered and divided power of the North into a united phalanx, which shall wrest the administration of the Federal Union from the slave
holding interest, and shall purify the general Government from the contamination of slavery, by reversing its general policy on
this
subject,
and by the specific measures above cited; while, in the States in which they respectively reside, they feel it to be their duty to exert themselves, to wipe away from the statute book every vestige of that barbarism which makes political, civil, or religious rights depend upon the colour of the skin. Yet more important is it, however, to bring the moral force of the North to bear against slavery, by reforming the prevailing
public
sentiment of the religious, moral, and intelligent portion of the community. Here again, one of the most sagacious leaders of the pro-slavery party, J. C. CALHOUN, has descried the danger from afar, and has publicly proclaimed it in the senate of the United States, by vehemently deprecating the antislavery proceedings, not as intended to provoke the slaves to servile war, but as a crusade against the character of the slave
holders.
Although the different States are distinct governments, their geographical boundaries are mere lines upon the map, their in habitants speak the same language, and enjoy a communion of citizenship all over the Union. The North Eastern States have by far the greater part of the whole commerce of the Union, and are the medium through which the planter exchanges his cotton for provisions and clothing for his slaves, implements for his agriculture, and his own family supplies. These commercial ties create a direct and extensive pro-slavery interest in the North. Again, the planter is yet more dependent on the North for edu

Original Format

Originally paper.

Geolocation

Citation

Joseph Sturge, “Excerpts from A Visit to the United States in 1841,” Digital Histories, accessed May 20, 2024, https://digitalhistories.kennesaw.edu/items/show/28.