African Sentinel and Journal of Liberty (Albany, New York),
October 1, 1831
The African Sentinel and Journal of Liberty was founded by John G. Stewart, a free black man living in Albany, New York. It was a monthly newspaper that lasted for just over a year, beginning in 1831. This article is a reply to an article in the Albany Argus, published September 22, 1831.
Is it true, as stated in the above article by Mr. Croswell [editor of the Albany Argus] that the men of the north will fly with alacrity ”to the aid of their fellow citizens of the south?” We believe not. “The cause is a common one,” adds Mr. Croswell: but how will he make out this to be the case? New York by abolishing slavery has shown that the cause is not a “common one.” The freemen of the north profess to be republican.—Mr. Croswell professes to be a republican; but a republican cannot be either a slave holder or a friend to slave holding. We might with equal propriety style the devil a christian [sic] as to style a slave holder a republican. The writer of this article is a white man—and a white man who will never raise his pen, his voice, or his arm to quench the spirit of liberty, in the bosoms either of blacks or whites. The slaves have a perfect right derived from God Almighty, to their freedom. They have done vastly wrong in the late insurrection, in killing women and children; but still it is not to be wondered at. Their struggle for freedom is the same in principle as the struggle of our fathers in ’76. I hope they may achieve their liberty eventually by fair and honorable means, in a brave and manly conflict with their masters. In short they should refrain from assailing women and children, and conduct on the true principles of heroism. I shall, for one, wish them success whenever the battle may come.—Fiat justitia, ruat coelum, is the maxim of our common law. Let Justice be done, tho’ heaven falls, is the plain English of it. The maxim is a just one and applies to the present cause. mr. Croswell may perhaps think he will incite all the South in favor of Van Buren, by talking of “a common cause” between Southern slave holders, and Northern Republicans—but he will never find Northern Republicans ready to draw the sword against men who are struggling for their rights, though their skins may not be so white as his own delicate complexion. For one northern Republican, I wish universal emancipation to slaves, whether black or white, and never will I raise my arm to support tyranny and oppression. We wish success to the Poles; and have not the slaves in this country as good a right to be free as the slaves in Poland? If the Poles deserve freedom, so do the Africans—the cause of one is the cause of the other—and may heaven succor both, is the wish of . . . A.N.R.
Eric Foner, editor, Nat Turner (Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1971), 84-85.