Mr. Dayton to Mr. Seward

No. 279.]

Sir: I herewith enclose to you a printed copy of a brief address recently issued at Paris by the Protestant clergymen of France, directed to the pastors and ministers of all evangelical denominations in Great Britain. The character and scope of this address will be best understood by reading it. I am informed it will be largely signed in France.

I need not say that I have had nothing to do with getting this matter up. It is a voluntary appeal by the Protestant clergy of France to their brethren.

I am, sir, your obedient servant,


His Excellency William H. Seward, Secretary of State.

[Page 715]

The Protestant Pastors of France of every denomination to the Pastors and Ministers of all Evangelical Denominations in Great Britain.

Brothers honored and beloved in the Lord: It is the glory of England to have given to the world the example of abolishing, first, the slave trade, and then slavery. It is her glory not to have intermitted during sixty years the prosecution of the work of the universal extinction of the traffic and of slavery, at the cost, it is said, of fifty millions of pounds sterling; and it is, after God, to the religious men—to the Clarksons, the Wilberforces, the Buxtons—it is to the missionary societies, that England owes this glory. Will not the sons and successors of those great Christians complete their work, in urging their country to declare aloud for the holy cause of emancipation of the slaves in the terrible strife which, at this moment, rends the United States of America?

The civilized world has contemplated nothing more revolting than a confederation, in great part Protestant, organizing itself, and claiming independence, with the openly avowed intention of maintaining and propagating slavery; and laying as the corner-stone of its constitution the system of slavery actually in existence in the southern States, and which may be defined to be the right to treat men as cattle, and give impunity to adultery and homicide. Let us lay aside all considerations of policy. Is there a Christian who does not shudder when he hears the chief of this confederation reply to a decree of emancipation by a sort of menace of extermination? The triumph of such a cause would throw back for a century that of Christian civilization and of humanity; would cause angels in heaven to weep, and would rejoice the demons in hell; throughout the world, probably, raise the hopes of the favorers of slavery and the trade, quite ready to come forth at the first signal in Asia, in Africa, and even in our refined cities of Europe; would give a sad blow to the work of evangelical missions; and what a terrible responsibility would it impose on the church which should remain mute whilst witnessing the accomplishment of this triumph! There is a pacific means of hastening the close of the war and of bringing it to conform with the wishes of all friends of humanity; is it not that the Christians of Europe should give to the cause of emancipation of the slaves a striking testimonial that may leave only to those who are fighting to maintain the power to oppress them no hope to find these Christians ever offering to them the hand. Pastors, ministers of all evangelical denominations of England, of Scotland, of Ireland, it is in this we have need of your concurrence, of your example, of your influence. Place yourselves at our head, and stir up altogether a great and peaceful demonstration of sympathy for the black race, so long enchained and abased by Christian nations.

Discourage thus the partisans of slavery, fortify and strengthen those who would abolish it, whilst preparing them to accept our counsels. It is in free England that such manifestations may be powerful. What may we not hope, if throughout Great Britain the voice of all the ministers of the Crucified, and in France our voice echoing theirs, should pray and petition that soon there may not be in the United States a single black man who is not free, a single black not upon equality with the white.

May God so will it, and may he bless both Great Britain and the United States, through Christ the great Liberator.

The Protestant Pastors of France of Every Denomination.