By Rev. Elisha Weaver, 3rd and 6th Editor
For more than a century this country has bowed to the cruel villainy of oppression, perpetrated upon a portion of God’s own likeness and creation, in the most inhuman and unchristian manner that ever was witnessed in a land of civilization and liberty. All this has been brought about because God, in his all-wise arrangements, saw fit to make some of his created beings black, some red, some yellow, and some white. This God has done for his own glory, and where is the man who would dare to censure God for carrying out his own everlasting decrees? Still we see a number of those whose complexion God has caused to be whiter than those whom he saw fit to create black, for more than a century have kept them under the iron heel of oppression until their cries have risen to the throne of the Almighty.
This class of God’s people, whose only fault has been the blackness of their skin, have been deprived of their dearest family ties. Fathers and mothers have been separated from their children, husbands from wives, brothers from sisters, never more to meet until the judgment day. The husband has been dragged from his wife and children and set upon the auction block and sold like a dumb brute. They have also been examined as a man would a horse or a mule by opening their mouths, to judge their age before purchasing. For more than a century this has been but some of the treatment which this portion of God’s creatures have received from the hands of a part of the white people of this country. They have delighted to make them tools, and to drive them late and early, and often with the lash. Multitudes of them are kept ignorant of God’s Holy Word, and many, also, who know no more about the Sabbath, or when it comes, than the birds of the air or the beasts of the field.
For these and many other cruel, inhuman, God-provoking cruelties, God, the creator of these being, has become angry with such treatment. He has heard the sighs, the groans, and the tears of his people who have so long been outraged and trodden under foot, and He has stretched forth his mighty arm to deliver them from the house of bondage.
Notwithstanding this, many have hardened their hearts and declare they will not let them go; but it is God who speaks “no” in the terrible voice of this awful rebellion, “Let my people go.” Will it be listened to? Pharaoh in the pride of his heart refused to listen to the voice of God through his prophet Moses, and what was the consequence? God hardened Pharaoh’s heart to his own destruction and that of his whole army. Shall it be thus with this country?
In conclusion, we would say, that the colored people in this country who are bona fide citizens of the country, and who have suffered and groaned beneath the yoke and burden of oppression with the patience and suffering of a Job, and have waited for God’s mighty arm to interpose for them, should give thanks to God for having raised up defenders for them in the persons of [Northern legislators] the Hon. [Charles] Sumner, of Mass[achusetts]., [Thaddeus] Stevens, of P[ennsylvani]a., [Owen] Lovejoy, of Ill[inoi]s., [John] Hickman, of P[ennsylvani]a., and [Salmon P.] Chase, of Ohio, and other unfaltering apostles of liberty, who from principle have stood firm for the rights of all, but more particularly for the colored people in this country. We, as a people, should also rejoice that the President, through the instrumentality of God, has given to the world the Emancipation Proclamation, as an act of justice to a long-suffering and despised people, and that the colored man can at last enjoy the heaven-blessed rights of freedom, and say, “I, too, am a man and a freeman!”
This editorial appeared in the February 14, 1863 edition on page two.