From: davyandjim@sprintmail.com

I looked at the lengthy 1836 speech by Southern abolitionist Angelina Grimke’ http://www.assumption.edu/ahc/kansas/abolition/Grimke%20Appeal%20To%20Xtian%20Women but I didn’t extract the meaning seemingly ascribed in the following e-mail from Bernhard Thuersam, i.e., that slavery was the cornerstone of the United States, although Grimke’ did express the opinion that slavery was "a national sin."

"Northern American statesmen are no more innocent of the crime of slavery than Pilate was of the murder of Jesus, or Saul of that of Stephen. These are high charges, but I appeal to their hearts; I appeal to public opinion ten years from now. Slavery then is a national sin."

Certainly, when taken in their entirety, the words of Angelina Grimke’ do not appear to me to be the equivalent of the "cornerstone" remarks attributed to Confederate Vice President Alexander H. Stephens http://www.civilwarhistory.com/_georgia/The%20Cornerstone%20Speech.htm. Rather than extolling slavery, Grimke’ condemned the practice — North and South — and admonished Northerners that anti-slavery efforts ought not be opposed because of fear of integration (amalgamation). Mr. Thuersam is correct, however, in noting that Stephens’ speech was extemporaneous and that its only written "evidence" is based upon a reporter’s notes, the accuracy of which Stephens himself challenged http://www.adena.com/adena/usa/cw/cw223.htm.

Mr. Thuersam quotes Grimke’ as follows, "The interests of the North…are very closely combined with those of the South. The Northern merchants and manufacturers are making their fortunes out of the produce of slave labor…(and) the North is most dreadfully afraid of Amalgamation. She is alarmed at the very idea of a thing so monstrous, as she thinks. And lest this consequence might flow from emancipation, she is determined to resist all efforts at emancipation without expatriation. It is not because she (the North) approves of slavery, or believes it to be "the cornerstone of our republic," for she is as much anti-slavery as we are; but amalgamation is too horrible to think of."

The foregoing words do not express Grimke’s personal beliefs; rather, she expressed what she believed were many Northerners’ views for opposing emancipation:

"But you will say, a great many other Northerners tell us so, who can have no political motives. The interests of the North, you must know, my friends, are very closely combined with those of the South. The Northern merchants and manufacturers are making their fortunes out of the produce of slave labor; the grocer is selling your rice and sugar; how then can these men bear a testimony against slavery without condemning themselves? But there is another reason, the North is most dreadfully afraid of Amalgamation. She is alarmed at the very idea of a thing so monstrous, as she thinks. And lest this consequence might flow from emancipation, she is determined to resist all efforts at emancipation without expatriation. It is not because she approves of slavery, or believes it to be "cornerstone of our republic," for she is as much anti-slavery as we are; but amalgamation is too horrible to think of."

Grimke concludes this part of her speech by saying in part, "The same prejudice exists here against our colored brethren that existed against the Gentiles in Judea. Great numbers cannot bear the idea of equality, and fearing lest, if they had the same advantages we enjoy, they would become as intelligent, as moral, as religious, and as respectable and wealthy, they are determined to keep them as low as they possibly can. Is this doing as they would be done by? Is this loving their neighbor as themselves? Oh! that such opposers of Abolitionism would put their souls in the stead of the free colored man’s and obey the apostolic injunction, to "remember them that are in bonds as bound with them." I will leave you to judge whether the fear of amalgamation ought to induce men to oppose anti-slavery efforts, when they believe slavery to be sinful. Prejudice against color, is the most powerful enemy we have to fight with at the North."

I do agree with Mr. Thuersam that "(t)he true cornerstone of the American Confederacy was…’the principle of State sovereignty’ as created by the Founders…."

Jim Denison
Houston, Texas