Hannah More Like Many Abolitionists Term Paper

Pages: 5 (1460 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 0  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Mythology - Religion

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Therefore, liberty and abolition represent the true Christian doctrine, one based on humility, kindness, and liberty. More further denounces the professed spirituality of slave owners in the following stanza: "Thy followers only have effac'd the shame / Inscrib'd by SLAVERY on the Christian name," (249-250). Slavery has marred the name of Christianity because plantation owners avidly profess their connections to God. More tries to address the effacing of true Christianity in her poetry by employing religious imagery in connection with her discussion of libery. She sums up her abolitionist argument in the final three stanzas of "The Slave Trade." As her diction and tone become more passionate and evangelical, Hannah More lauds the power of Liberty as a quality of spiritual truth and as an ideal emanation of God.

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Therefore, according to More, slavery is an aberration of spiritual truth and a distortion of Christian doctrine. However, More doesn't just cloak freedom and liberty in spiritual language. The poet also asserts that slavery is illogical and unreasonable. "Insulted Reason, loaths th' inverted trade," (141). In the same way that slavery represents an insult to Christianity, slavery also represents an insult to Reason and to Sensibility. Reason is also a function of spirituality, not distinct from it. More describes liberty and sensibility as both qualities of God and as qualities of MIND, thereby suggesting that MIND is also a quality of God. She begins the analogy in the first stanza of "The Slave Trade." Appealing to the divine rays of liberty, the narrator asks, "Since there is no convexity in MIND, / Why are thy genial beams to parts confin'd?" The "genial beams" are those of liberty; the "parts confin'd" refer to the Southern slaveholding states. Like God, Mind and its corollary Reason extend to all human beings, not just members of the white races. The southern states are described as "fierce Faction's tool" because of their stubborn retention of slavery and their willful secession from the Union (23). Finally, More underscores the connection between freedom and reason, slavery and ignorance, by claiming that the institution of slavery denotes "rejecting Reason's rein," (25).

Term Paper on Hannah More Like Many Abolitionists, Assignment

More describes sensibility and reason using similar terms and imagery; the two terms become almost interchangeable. For example, sensibility and reason both mean sympathy and compassion for the plight of the slave. In her poem "Sensibility," More notes that sensibility is "always apt to choose the suff'ring side," (246). Slaves definitely denote the "suff'ring side." Sensibility also promotes a "prompt sense of equity," (243). In "The Slave Trade," More states that slavery is the opposite of equity, as slavery entails an inequitable distribution of freedom among human beings. Furthermore, More connects sensibility and liberty when More describes sensibility as "unprompted moral," ("Sensibility" 238). An unprompted moral is an innate quality, much like a divine gift. Because liberty was also described as a divine emanation, More links liberty with sensibility and suggests that abolition emanates from the heart, spontaneously, through a true connection with the divine.

Sensibility is also the "quick precursor of the lib'ral deed," ("Sensibility" 240). A "lib'ral deed" is a compassionate, generous one: for instance, abolition would be a "lib'ral deed." Slavery, on the other hand, is an illiberal deed, an institution of oppression, restriction, and confinement. More does, in fact, describe slavery as an "illiberal" institution in "The Slave Trade," stating "Perish th'illiberal thought which wou'd debase / The native genius of the sable race!" Sensibility and liberty are both liberal concepts, whereas slavery is not.

Genuine sensibility, like genuine religiosity, cannot be false or deceitful. True sensibility also works in subtle and gentle ways, through "unprompted moral." In alignment with the true Christian doctrine as expressed by Quakers and other anti-slavery religious groups, sensibility entails the ultimate expression of benevolence, compassion, love, and charity. Slavery is therefore the absolute antithesis of genuine sensibility. Slavery is, rather, "dark and savage, ignorant and blind," (137).

Slavery is essentially unreasonable, illogical, and nonsensical, according to Hannah More. Slavery is also essentially immoral and sacrilegious. Liberty, sensibility and spirituality are all interconnected and all derive from the same divine source. Slavery is an affront to sensibility and an affront to spirituality. More hopes to witness the manifestation of liberty through abolition, which is why her poem persuades her audience using appeals both to reason and to emotion. Therefore, More finishes her poem with an… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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