Dr. Ross an Abolitionist

Source citation
“Dr. Ross an Abolitionist,” National Era 11, no. 548, 2 July 1857, p. 105.
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Washington (DC) National Era
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"Dr. Ross an Abolitionist"
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Scott Ackerman
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The following text is presented here in complete form, as it originally appeared in print. Spelling and other typographical errors have been preserved as in the original.


Unsure as to the purpose of the name Rev. John C. Young, Danville, Ky. at the closing of the letter. 


The New York Tribune publishes a letter written by Dr. Ross in 1835, at the time he liberated his slaves, from which we give the following extract, showing that the Doctor has “progressed backwards” lamentably since that time:

“To the south of us, there seems to be no desire and no hope for a different state of things. You have read Gov. McDuffie’s inaugural address before the Legislature of South Carolina. Slavery, in his opinion, is essential to the perpetuity of republican institutions. South Carolina, then, to prepare to become, like Sparta, a nation of warriors and Helots. And if Southern planters could be made Lacedaemonian soldiers, if those masters could be made to cast aside their silken luxuries, and live in a camp, why, forsooth, they might maintain for an indefinite period a republican form of Government among themselves, provided certain influences within and without should not exist, and be too powerful to allow such a Government to endure. Christianity did not speak in what Gov. McDuffie would consider the palmy State of Sparta; and surrounding nations did not hold up every day, in view of Spartan masters, political and moral motives, at war with the spirit which made the Helot and the ambuscade.

“In a recent journey through Georgia and South Carolina, I was struck with two facts which at first seemed strongly at variance. The one was the great inferiority of slaves in that region to the same class in East Tennessee, in elevation of spirit and intelligence; the other was, that the Carolina and Georgia slave seemed, nevertheless, more readily affected by the gospel then his brother in bondage here. But, on reflection, I thought I saw an agreement of these facts. In that land, where the mind of the African has purposely been kept in the greatest ignorance, the slave is truly a slave. His master is to him a superior being. Every indulgence is like a boon from Heaven. Even the privilege to hear the gospel is received as a stretch of benevolence. Here, however, where the Bible, aided by many circumstances, has leavened the whole lump, and raised the mind of the servant to a just knowledge of his situation, the tone of feeling toward the Gospel is very different. When invited to attend the means of religious instruction, the sentiment of the slave, expressed in conduct, and sometimes in word, runs thus: Give me freedom first, and then tell me of faith in Jesus Christ, and obedience to his will. The inference is plain. The Bible teaches the slave his rights. You must give them to him, or he will be prone to treat the word of life, in the hands of his masters, with neglect and contempt.

“Let our prayers, dear brother, be unceasing, and the truth on this subject maybe clearly seen and fully obeyed.

“Respectfully and affectionately, your brother in the Lord, Frederick A. Ross.

“Rev. John C. Young, Danville, Ky.”
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