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[360] _Ibid._, September 27, 1848.

[361] _Ibid._, May 16, 1849.

[362] _Ibid._, December 10, 1851.

[363] _Ibid._, December 22, 1852.

[364] _Lexington Gazette_, April 12, 1806.

[365] The best contemporary treatment of this subject in general is by Dr. R. J. Spurr–the sole printed text being in Perrin’s _History of Bourbon County_, pp. 59-60.

[366] Buckingham, _Eastern and Western States_, Vol. 3: 41.

[367] _Louisville Public Advertiser_, August 11, 1824.

[368] _Lexington Gazette_, June 14, 1803.

[369] _Lexington Intelligencer_, July 7, 1838.

[370] Perrin (Bourbon County), p. 60.

[371] _Harper’s Magazine_, October, 1884, pp. 730-738.

[372] Clarke, _Sufferings of Lewis and Milton Clarke_, p. 104.

Rothert, _History of Muhlenburg County_, p. 104. Perrin (Bourbon County), p. 60.

[373] _Address to the People of Kentucky_, p. 8.

[374] _Presbyterian Herald_, April 16, 1846. See especially the editorial and articles in the issue of October 4, 1849.

[375] Rothert, _History of Muhlenburg County_, p. 340.

[376] Henson, _Life of Josiah Henson_, pp. 26-27.

[377] _Louisville Weekly Journal_, March 27, 1850.

[378] Little, L. P., _Ben Hardin, his Times and Contemporaries_, pp.


[379] Allen, James Lane, _Blue Gra.s.s Region of Kentucky_, pp. 77-78.

[380] Robertson’s _Autobiography_, pp. 124-125.

[381] Shaler’s _Autobiography_, pp. 57-58.

[382] Collins, _History of Kentucky_, Vol. 2, pp. 634-636.

[383] Cotterill, _History of Pioneer Kentucky_, p. 245. Little, L. P., _Ben Hardin, his Times and Contemporaries_, p. 543.

[384] Buckingham, _Eastern and Western States_, Vol. 3: 7-8.

[385] _Op. cit._, Vol. 3: 8.

[386] Little, L. P., _Ben Hardin, his Times and Contemporaries_, pp.


[387] A typical example of this has been related by one of Kentucky’s distinguished sons:

“In the households where I was intimate the slaves were about on the same footing as the other members of the family; they were subjected to sudden explosions of the master’s temper much as were his children.

I well remember a frequent scene in my grandfather’s house, where it was the custom that I should go every Sunday afternoon for counsel and instruction. They were at first somewhat fearsome occasions for a little lad thus to be alone with an aged and stately grandfather. I soon won his interest, in some measure by my fears, and came greatly to enjoy the intercourse, for he knew how to talk to a boy, and we became, in a way, boys together, in our sense of the funny side of things. It was the custom, too, for him to divide the session of three or four hours with a brief nap taken in his chair….

“As his rooms were near the negro quarter he would make ready for his siesta by sending forth the servantman who waited on him, bidding him tell the people that they were to keep quiet during the performance. I can see him now with his pig-tail hanging down behind the back of the easy chair and a handkerchief over his face as he courted slumber. For a minute or two it would be still, then the hidden varlets would be as noisy as before. Then the pig-tail would begin to twitch, and he would mutter: ‘Jim, tell those people they _must_ be still.’ Again a minute of quiet, and once more the jabbering and shouting. Now with a leap he would clutch his long walking-stick and charge the crowd in the quarter, laying about him with amazing nimbleness, until all the offenders were run to their holes. Back he would come from his excursion and settle himself to sleep. I could see that his rage was merely on the surface and that he had used it for a corrective, for he evidently took care not to hurt anyone.” Shaler’s _Autobiography_, p.


[388] Little, L. P., _Ben Hardin, his Times and Contemporaries_, p.


[389] Shaler’s _Autobiography_, pp. 36-37.

[390] _Littell’s Laws_, Vol. 5: 578-579.

[391] Fearon, _Sketches in America_, p. 241.

[392] Session Laws, 1830, p. 174.

[393] Blanchard and Rice, _Debate on Slavery_, p. 135.

[394] _American Slavery As It Is_, p. 87.

[395] _Lexington Reporter_, January 15, 1809.

[396] Allen, James Lane, _Blue Gra.s.s Region of Kentucky_, pp. 67-68.



Although the facts herein set forth indicate that slavery in Kentucky was a comparatively mild form of servitude it is not the aim here to leave the impression that the anti-slavery element found no grounds for attacking the inst.i.tution. On the contrary, there were various elements that devised schemes for exterminating the inst.i.tution. This was especially true of the churches, which represented more than any other one force the sentiment of the State on the subject of emanc.i.p.ation. The three prominent Protestant denominations of the State were the Presbyterians, the Baptists, and the Methodists. The only one of the three which maintained a general continuous policy throughout the early nineteenth century on the question of slavery was the Presbyterian.

It was on the eve of the first Const.i.tutional Convention of 1792 that David Rice, at that time the leader of the Presbyterians in Kentucky, published a pamphlet under the nom-de-plume of PHILANTHROPOS ent.i.tled _Slavery Inconsistent with Justice and Good Policy_. While the author went into the general evils of slavery, such as the lack of protection to female chast.i.ty, lack of religious and moral instruction, and the comparative unproductiveness of slave labor, he was not one of those violent opponents of the inst.i.tution, who would abolish the whole system without any constructive measures. A large part of his treatise was devoted to the supposed sanction of the scriptures and his own evidence that the same source was against rather than in favor of the system then in vogue. It was but natural that Rice should recommend that the convention should put an end to slavery in Kentucky in view of his firm opinions in the matter, but he had a clear vision of the future and he expressed his conviction that “a gradual emanc.i.p.ation only can be advisable.” He summed up his ideas in this sentence: “The legislature, if they judged it expedient, would prevent the importation of any more slaves; they would enact that all born after such a date should be free; be qualified by proper education to make useful citizens, and be actually freed at a proper age.”[397] He put these ideas forth as a citizen of Kentucky who was interested in its welfare and as a prospective member of the const.i.tutional convention.

When that body a.s.sembled at Danville he did not hesitate to voice his views again but the forces of slavery were dominant and the majority enacted the famous article IX, which determined the slave code of the State until the inst.i.tution was abolished by the 13th amendment to the federal const.i.tution. The significance of the att.i.tude of David Rice lies in the fact that as early as the year 1792 he put forth the idea of gradual emanc.i.p.ation, a policy far in advance of his age but which in the course of time was held by a large number of the fair-minded statesmen of Kentucky.

In 1794 the Transylvania Presbytery, which was the governing body of that sect at that time for the whole State, pa.s.sed a resolution asking that slaves should be instructed to read the Bible, having in view the sole idea that when freedom did come to them they would be prepared for it.[398] The same body in 1796 expressed the following fair-minded att.i.tude in the form of a resolution:

Although the Presbytery are fully convinced of the great evil of slavery, yet they view the final remedy as alone belonging to the civil powers; and also do not think that they have sufficient authority from the word of G.o.d to make it a term of Christian communion. They, therefore, leave it to the consciences of the brethren to act as they may think proper; earnestly recommending to the people under their care to emanc.i.p.ate such of their slaves as they may think fit subjects of liberty; and that they also take every possible measure, by teaching their young slaves to read and give them such other instruction as may be in their power, to prepare them for the enjoyment of liberty, an event which they contemplate with the greatest pleasure, and which, they hope, will be accomplished as soon as the nature of things will admit.[399]


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Published inThe Journal of Negro History