“There will be cases of extreme hardship,” said I, “if a slave, fleeing from the South, however unjustifiably, nevertheless becomes surrounded here with a family, and the owner comes and claims him. There are principles of natural humanity which come into force at such a time to modify or set aside a claim. I know, indeed, that to build a valuable house on land not mine, does not vacate the land-owner’s title; and, moreover, I know what may be alleged on the principle illustrated by Paley, who speaks of a man finding a stick and bestowing labor on it which is more in value than the stick itself. These cases of slaves who have gained a settlement here, call for the utmost kindness and forbearance between the sectional parties in controversy; clamor will never settle them, nor the sword; but the reign of good feeling will cause justice to flow down our streets like a river, and righteousness like an overflowing stream.”
“As we have conversed a good deal upon this subject,” said Mr. North, “perhaps we may bring our conversation to a close as profitably as in any other way by your telling us, summarily, what you think of this whole perplexing subject; what would you have me believe; how ought a Christian man, who desires to know and do the will of God, to feel and to act with regard to it? Good men, I see, are divided about it; I respect your motives, I approve many of your principles, I cannot object to your conclusions, in the main. Let us know what you consider to be, probably, the ultimate issue of the whole subject.”
“I will do so with pleasure,” said I.
“But,” said Mrs. North, “let us wait till after dinner.”
“As the storm is over,” I said to her, “I must go home, but we will have one more council fire, if you please, and end the subject.”
So in the afternoon, my kind friends gave me their attention while I made my summing up in the next and concluding chapter.
“It is heaven upon earth to have
a man’s mind rest in providence, move in
charity, and turn upon the poles of truth.”
“Slavery, as human nature now is, cannot be otherwise than one of the Almighty’s curses upon any race which is subject to bondage.