1 Convinced my friend of the importance of this question, & the peculiar proprioty attending the attentive consideration of it by the people of this land in the present state of our public affairs, I readily comply; trusting another, for the pardon of juvenile imperfections, to the candor of this polite & learned assembly, than to the efficacy of a tedious apology -
In order to determine this question it will be necessary first to compare the law of nature with the Idea of slavery in general; for if the principle of natural equality abovementioned be admissible slavery must be denyed universally, & consequently the lawfulness of it in any particular instance can no longer be a question.
2 The law of nature as it respects society is founded in the happiness of the whole. Whatever practical principle therefore of any society is adapted to promote this end is agreeable to this law. This having been admitted by the generality of ethic writers as well as recognised by the wisdom of all good governments, I shall not stop to demonstrate it, but proceed to say, that by slavery in general is intended the involuntary insubordination of the will of one to that of another, whereby the external con[?] of the former is in all things to be directed by the will of the latter. This Idea of slavery being compared with the law of nature above mentioned, it will hence follow that whenever the happiness of the whole will be promoted by the exercise of authority in some, [?] involving involuntary subordination in others the exercise of such authority must be acknow
3 acknowledged fit & proper, that is, agreeable to the law of nature, & the principles or laws of any community whereby the [exer-?] of such authority is warranted, must be admitted to be just.
To support the general Idea of slavery therefore in opposition to the principle of natural equality,
in opposition to the it will be necessary only to enquire whether this in any case actually takes place; for wherever this appears, there must be acknowledged a natural foundation for authority & inbordination , & the prin-ciple of universal quality must fall. And of this on one I think can remain a moment undetermined who reflects with the least degree of attention on the vast inequality [?] between different individuals of the human species in point of qualifi-cation for the proper direction of conduct. Now, whether this inequality be considered as arising from difference in natural capa-city.
4 -city, difference in the means of improvement or disposition properly to employ [?] in a word, whether it arises from nature or education, it matters not; while this is in fact the case, while some are actu-ally found so for to excell others both in the knowledge of the principles of pro-prioety, & disposition to practice such prin -ciples, as the the general end of happi-ness would be better promoted by the exercise of authority in the former, tho' necessarily involving inbordination in the latter, than by the enjoyment of equal liberty in each, the exercise of such authority [?] be might.
Agreeable hereunto is the foundation of th natural authority of parents over their children, it by no means consisting in the motion of derived existence, but in the different qualifications of parents & children to execute this immutable law. For while
5 parents far excell their children in wis-dom, & from natural affection are dispos'd to promote their happiness, it will follow, that more happiness will result to both from the exercise of authority in parents & supordination in childre, than from the exercise of equal liberty in each. And that this authority of parents over their children is derived from this source, & not from the natural relation subsisting between them considered merely as parents & offspring, is evident from this consideration, that whenever the parent is by any means disqualified in the respects above mentioned to direct the conduct of his child, the inbordination of the child ceases. Every law is applicable to all cases within the same reason; & since it cannot be deni-ed that the reason of the authority & sub-ordination between parents & children equally ap-