Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Deacons Silas Hervey Mead: Abolitionist
As this is Black History Month we share an excerpt from a letter dated November 8, 1842 by Deacon Silas Hervey Mead of North Greenwich to Amos Starr Cooke, a Danbury-born missionary to the Hawaiian Islands. The original letter is in the archives of the Hawaiian Mission Children's Society which maintains the Mission Houses Museum in Honolulu:
You speak about the Abolitonists. I will here just state that their enemies gave them the name of persons of one idea and I for one will respond to that name. I hope I never shall have any other idea only to do God's Will without distinguishing whether it is popular or not, and that I believe is true respecting the largest part of the Abolitionists that I am acquainted with.
You say you are afraid some of the Abolitionists zeal for that object blinds their eyes to other benevolent objects, we often hear that said with us, so often, that it would be impossible for us to sleep. The truth is because we do not go and spend all our strength pushing the car where the most are pushing, then we are slandered.
I tell you my friend in a general way show me an Abolitionist, and I will show you a strong Temperance man, and a strong man for keeping the sabbath, and a strong man for God anyway and everyway, a real go ahead Christian. There may be some exceptions, but I should think not many in proportion to the whole.
You say you are afraid I am a getting cold on that subject: no my dear friend, nor shall I ever so long as I have the Bible to read, and my powers of reason left me. I have made up my mind not to foul my fingers with it anyway. I'll not vote for it, but against it, nor will I use the products of slave labor as a general thing neither for eating, or wearing, at home or abroad.
I must say that (as I do by alcohol) that I am opposed to it at all times and places and for anything and everything. And I would say to you hold on against slavery, it does good.