Slavery in all its forms, in all its degrees, is a violation of divine law, and a degradation of human nature.
There is a law above all human enactments, written upon the heart by the finger of God; and while men despise fraud, and loathe rapine, and abhor blood, they shall reject with indignation the wild and guilty phantasy, that man can hold property in man.
Slavery is a state so improper, so degrading, so ruinous to the feelings and capacities of human nature, that it ought not to be suffered to exist.
Here lies the evil of slavery: Its whips, imprisonments, and even the horrors of the middle passage, are not to be named, in comparison with the extinction of the proper consciousness of a human being—with the degradation of a man into a brute.
We can apply to slavery no worse name than its own. Men have always shrunk instinctively from this state, as the most degraded. No punishment, save death, has been more dreaded; and, to avoid it, death has often been endured. Slavery virtually dissolves the domestic relations. It ruptures the most sacred ties upon earth. It violates home. It lacerates best affections; produces and gives license to cruelty; compels the master systematically to degrade the mind of the slave; and to resist that improvement which is the design and end of the Creator.—Millions may rise up and tell me that the slave suffers little from cruelty. I know too much of human nature, human history, and human passion, to believe them.
Slavery is an atrocious debasement of human nature.
Corrupted freemen are the worst of slaves.
The man who gives me employment, which I must have or suffer, that man is my master, let me call him what I will.
Those are men-stealers who abduct, keep, sell, or buy slaves or freemen.
Natural liberty is the gift of the beneficent Creator of the whole human race.
Slavery is not only opposed to all the principles of morality, but, as it appears to me, is pregnant with appalling and inevitable danger to the Republic.
The whole commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions; the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading submission on the other. The man must be a prodigy who can retain his manners and morals undepraved by such circumstances. The hour of emancipation must come; but whether it will be brought on by the generous energies of our own minds, or by the bloody scenes of St. Domingo, is a leaf of our history not yet turned over. The Almighty has no attribute which can take sides with us in such a contest.
The abolition of domestic slavery is the greatest object of desire in these colonies, where it was unhappily introduced in their infant state.
Not only does the Christian religion, but Nature herself, cry out against the state of slavery.
Every man has a property in his own person; this nobody has a right to but himself.
No one is a slave whose will is free.
We have found that this evil, slavery, has preyed upon the very vitals of the Union, and has been prejudicial to all the States in which it has existed.
Slavery is contrary to the fundamental law of all societies.
It is injustice to permit slavery to remain for a single hour.
Slavery is a system of the most complete injustice.
Whatever makes man a slave takes half his worth away.
I envy neither the heart nor the head of that man from the North, who rises here in Congress to defend slavery from principle.
Englishmen will never be slaves; they are free to do whatever the Government and public opinion allow them to do.
Slavery is a system of outrage and robbery.
Disguise thyself as thou wilt, still, slavery, thou art a bitter draught.
Where slavery is, there liberty cannot be; and where liberty is, there slavery cannot be.
I can only say that there is not a man living who wishes more sincerely than I do to see a plan adopted for the abolition of slavery.
From my earliest youth I have regarded slavery as a great moral and political evil.—I think it unjust, repugnant to the natural, equality of mankind, founded only in superior power; a standing and permanent conquest by the stronger over the weaker.—All pretence of defending it on the ground of different races, I have ever condemned, and have even said that if the black race is weaker, that is a reason against and not for its subjection and oppression.—In a religious point of view, I have ever regarded and spoken of it, not as subject to any express denunciation, either in the Old Testament or the New, but as opposed to the whole spirit of the gospel, and to the teachings of Jesus Christ.—The religion of Christ is a religion of kindness, justice, and brotherly love:—but slavery is not kindly affectionate; it does not seek another's and not its own; it does not let the oppressed go free; it is but a continual act of oppression.
That execrable sum of all villainies commonly called the slave-trade.
It is observed by Homer that a man loses half his virtue the day he becomes a slave; he might have added, with truth, that he is likely to lose more than half when he becomes a slave-master.