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A Child's Anti-Slavery Book Containing a Few Words about American Slave Children and Stories of Slave-Life.

by Various

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Children, you are free and happy. Kind parents watch over you with loving eyes; patient teachers instruct you from the beautiful pages of the printed book; benign laws, protect you from violence, and prevent the strong arms of wicked people from hurting you; the blessed Bible is in your hands; when you become men and women you will have full liberty to earn your living, to go, to come, to seek pleasure or profit in any way that you may choose, so long as you do not meddle with the rights of other people; in one word, you are free children! Thank God! thank God! my children, for this precious gift. Count it dearer than life. Ask the great God who made you free to teach you to prefer death to the loss of liberty.

But are all the children in America free like you? No, no! I am sorry to tell you that hundreds of thousands of American children are slaves. Though born beneath the same sun and on the same soil, with the same natural right to freedom as yourselves, they are nevertheless SLAVES. Alas for them! Their parents cannot train them as they will, for they too have MASTERS. These masters say to them:

"Your children are OURS—OUR PROPERTY! They shall not be taught to read or write; they shall never go to school; they shall not be taught to read the Bible; they must submit to us and not to you; we shall whip them, sell them, and do what else we please with them. They shall never own themselves, never have the right to dispose of themselves, but shall obey us in all things as long as they live!"

"Why do their fathers let these masters have their children? My father wouldn't let anybody have me," I hear one of my little free-spirited readers ask.

Simply, my noble boy, because they can't help it. The masters have banded themselves together, and have made a set of wicked laws by which nearly four millions of men, women, and children are declared to be their personal chattels, or property. So that if one of these slave fathers should refuse to let his child be used as the property of his master, those wicked laws would help the master by inflicting cruel punishments on the parent. Hence the poor slave fathers and mothers are forced to silently witness the cruel wrongs which their helpless children are made to suffer. Violence has been framed into a law, and the poor slave is trodden beneath the feet of the powerful.

"But why did those slaves let their masters bring them into this state? Why didn't they fight as our forefathers did when they threw off the yoke of England's laws?" inquires a bright-eyed lad who has just risen from the reading of a history of our Revolution.

The slaves were not reduced to their present servile condition in large bodies. When our ancestors settled this country they felt the need of more laborers than they could hire. Then wicked men sailed from England and other parts of Europe to the coast of Africa. Sending their boats ashore filled with armed men, they fell upon the villages of the poor Africans, set fire to their huts, and, while they were filled with fright, seized, handcuffed, and dragged them to their boats, and then carried them aboard ship....