Q5. Does it lessen the criminality and wickedness of reducing our fellow creatures to the abject state of slavery, and continuing them therein, because the practice is tolerated by the laws of the country we live in?
A. No! by no means. Because, every rational creature knows, or ought to know, that no laws of men or nations, can alter the nature of immutable justice. The criminality remains as great in all cases of slavery, when inflicted without any criminality of the individual made a slave, under the sanction of law, as when it is not; and in some cases, greater: as in the instance of those governments, where they are not only guilty of the cruelty and oppression of reducing, by mere power, without any possible plea or right; their fellow-creatures who have equally a right with themselves of liberty, and the purchase of redemption by a Saviour’s blood, to the abject and wretched state of slaves, but are adding sin to sin, by making and continuing cruel laws to hold them still longer under the galling yoke.
~ Elias Hicks (1814)