[Footnote A: In this year, Elhanan Winchester, a supporter of the doctrine of universal redemption, turned the attention of many of his hearers to this subject, both by private interference and by preaching expressly upon it.]
But this society had scarcely begun to act, when the war broke out between England and America, which had the effect of checking its operations. This was considered as a severe blow upon it. But as those things which appear most to our disadvantage, turn out often the most to our benefit, so the war, by giving birth to the independence of America, was ultimately favourable to its progress. For as this contest had produced during its continuance, so it left, when it was over, a general enthusiasm for liberty. Many talked of little else but of the freedom they had gained. These were naturally led to the consideration of those among them, who were groaning in bondage. They began to feel for their hard case. They began to think that they should not deserve the new blessing which they had acquired, if they denied it to others. Thus the discussions, which originated in this contest, became the occasion of turning the attention of many, who might not otherwise have thought of it, towards the miserable condition of the slaves.
Nor were writers wanting, who, influenced by considerations on the war and the independence resulting from it, made their works subservient to the same benevolent end. A work, entitled, A Serious Address to the Rulers of America on the Inconsistency of their Conduct respecting Slavery, forming a Contrast between the Encroachments of England on American Liberty and American Injustice in tolerating Slavery, which appeared in 1783, was particularly instrumental in producing this effect. This excited a more than usual attention to the case of these oppressed people, and where most of all it could be useful. For the author compared in two opposite columns the animated speeches and resolutions of the members of congress in behalf of their own liberty with their conduct in continuing slavery to others. Hence the legislature began to feel the inconsistency of the practice; and so far had the sense of this inconsistency spread there, that when the delegates met from each state, to consider of a federal union, there was a desire that the abolition of the Slave-trade should be one of the articles in it. This was, however, opposed by the delegates from North and South Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and Georgia, the five states which had the greatest concern in slaves. But even these offered to agree to the article, provided a condition was annexed to it, (which was afterwards done,) that the power of such abolition should not commence in the legislature till the first of January 1808.