Friday, March 20, 2009

Abolitionism at UNC?

I came across a couple of interesting quotes in William Hooper's An Oration Delivered at Chapel Hill on Wednesday, June 24, 1829 (Hillsborough: D. Heartt, 1829). This was the grandson of William Hooper, the signer of the Declaration of Independence. The grandson was a professor at UNC and gave this address to the students on the eve of graduation in 1829.

“Let every American believe, let every child be brought up to think, that as soon as the chain of our union is broken, this continent, hitherto so peaceful and harmonious, will become, what Europe has so long been, the bloody arena of perpetual strife between neighboring nations . . .”

“That slavery is the baneful parent of the vilest morals, every virtuous family in this southern country knows full well, and deplores that it holds within its own walls a fountain of moral poison, which, in spite of the most watchful care, is continually diffusing around its baleful influence and infecting the health of all the household; while public testimony to the same mournful fact is furnished by every jail and gibbet in the land. Many of the state governments have awaked to the importance of this subject, and we may hope that the progress of political wisdom and an increasing sense of the magnitude of the evil, will enlist the remainder, who now stand back in indifference or despair, until at length a unanimity shall be effected, by which the collective wisdom and resources of the nation shall be put into action for the extirpation of the bitter root from our soil.”

I wonder what sort of stir these comments caused on campus!

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