Harriet Beecher StoweThis site reprints the 1853 book, The Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896).
Before the 1861-1865 War, a number of Christian abolitionists (Rev. Cheever, Fee, Weld, Rankin, Foster, Goodell, Pillsbury, etc.) opposed slavery. Nowadays, their Bible-based reasons for doing so are generally unknown.
This series of websites educates by making the text of some of those writings accessible.
Whether or not you agree with their position, it is at least a good idea to know what their views were! and not be relying on merely what century-later revisionists claim those views were.
“It is not enough to know the past. It is necessary to understand it.”—Paul Claudel (1868-1955).
For more, see www.iath.virginia.edu/utc/uncletom/key/keyII14t.html.

The Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin
Presenting The Original Facts
And Documents Upon
Which The Story Is Founded,
Together With Corroborative Statements
Verifying The Truth Of The Work
by Harriet Beecher Stowe

(Boston: John P. Jewett & Co,
Cleveland, Ohio: Jewett, Proctor & Worthington,
London: Low and Co, 1853)

Harriet Beecher Stowe This site presents a book by one of the activists, Harriet Beecher Stowe, from the period before the War (1861-1865).
Mrs. Stowe had seen slaves' desperate efforts to escape the savagery of American slavery. She wrote in short story form, a number of narratives, to describe some of those abuses.
Her 44 separate writings, short stories, were published on different occasions, each one time only, in a newspaper, over 44 different issues, as per the publishing style of that era.
But public demand for reprints, led to them being later consolidated, collected together from being 44 separate out-of-print newspaper columns, into one more-convenient and accessible volume, collectively gathered under one title, as Uncle Tom's Cabin.
Some Southerners accused her of misrepresenting slavery, exaggerating its savagery. She responded to critiocisms of Uncle Tom's Cabin by putting together the documentation, the documentation that composes this scholarly researched treatise on the subject, being reprinted here. She cites the accusations, then gives her responses, chapter by chapter.
(Currently only the Preface, Part II's Chap. 12 (Roman law) and 14 (Hebrew law), and Part IV's Chapters 5 - 6 (New Testament teaching) and Appendix (1840 Census data), are available in full here.)
Note her citing official Southern court precedents on slaver crimes including torture-murders, some still available at law libraries, e.g., the Mann case, the Souther case, the Castleman case, etc.
The book is available with two different page numbering systems, one 259 page version with double-columns and one 508-page version with single columns. The site is in process of providing both sets of numbering, for your use, depending on which version you have.



I. — Introduction5
II. — HALEY: Author's experience. — Trader's letter.— Kephart's examination. —Invoice of human beings. — Various classes of traders.5
III. — MR. AND MRS. SHELBY: Account of a well-regulated plantation.—Extract from Ingraham._
IV. — GEORGE HARRIS: Advertisements. — Lewis Clark. — Mrs. Banton. — Story of Lewis' sister.—Mr. Nelson's story.— Frederick Douglas.—Josiah Henson's account of the sale of his mother and her children. —Recent incident in Boston. — Advertisements for dead or alive._
V. — ELIZA: Author's experience. — History of a slave-girl and her escape.21
VI. — UNCLE TOM: Similar case. — Old Virginia family servant. — Bishop Meade's remarks. —Judge Upshur's servant. —Instance in Brunswick, Me. — History of Josiah Henson. — Uncle Tom's vision. — Similar facts. — Story of a Boston lady. — Instance of the Southern lady on a plantation. — Story of an African woman. —Account of old Jacob.23
VII — MRS. OPHELIA: Prejudice of color —Instance in a benevolent lady. — Dr. Pennington. —Influence of this upon slave-holders. — True Christian socialism. — Amos Lawrence._
VIII. — MARIE ST. CLARE: The Northern Marie St. Clare.—The Southern Marie St. Clare.—Degrading punishment of females. — Dr. Howe's account. _
IX. — ST. CLARE: Alfred and Augustine St. Clare representatives of two classes of men. —Letter of Patrick Henry. — Southern men reproving Northern men.—Mr. Mitchell, of Tennessee. —John Randolph of Roanoke, — Instance of a sceptic made by the Biblical defence of slavery.—Baltimore Sun on Biblical defence of slavery.—Specimen of pro-slavery preaching.35
X. — LEGREE: No test of character required in a master. — Mr. Dickey's account in "Slavery as It Is."—"Working up slaves"—Extracts from Mr. Weld's book. — Agricultural society's testimony. — James Q. Birney's testimony.—Henry Clay's testimony.— Samuel Blackwell's. — Dr. Demming's. — Dr. Channing's. — Rev. Mr. Barrows'. — Rev. C. C. Jones'. — Causes of severe labor on sugar plantations. —Professor Ingraham's testimony. — Periodical pressure of labor in the cotton season. —Letter of a cotton-driver, published In the Fairfield Herald.—Testimony as to slave-dwellings.—Mr. Stephen E. Maltby.—Mr. George Avery.—William Ladd, Esq.—Rev. Joseph M. Badd, Esq. —Mr. George W. Westgate. — Rev. C. C. Jones. — Extract from recent letter from a friend travelling in the South.—Extracts with relation to the food of the slaves. — Professor Ingraham's anecdotes. _
XI. — SELECT INCIDENTS OF LAWFUL TRADE. Separation of an aged mother from her son authenticated. — Selling of the woman to the trader authenticated. — Parting the infant from the mother verified. — Suicide of slaves from grief authenticated.—Parting of "John aged 30" from his wife authenticated. — Case of old Prue in New Orleans authenticated.—Story of the mulatto woman authenticated.47
XII. — TOPSY: Effect of the principle of caste upon children. — Letter from Dr. Pennington.—Instance of the Southern lady. — Story of the devoted slave._
XIII. — THE QUAKERS: Trial of Garret and Hunn.—Imprisonment of Richard Dillingham. —Poetry of Whittier._
XIV. — SPIRIT OF ST. CLARE: Containing various testimony from Southern papers and men in favor of Uncle Tom's Cabin._

I. — INTRODUCTION: Accusations of the New York Courier and Enquirer — Extract from a letter from a gentleman in Richmond, Va., containing various criticisms on slave-law. — Writer's examination and general conclusions.67
II. — WHAT IS SLAVERY? Definitions from civil code of Louisiana. — From laws of South Carolina.—Decision of Judge Ruffin. —Involve absolute despotism. —Do not admit of humane decisions. —Designed only for the security of the mailer, with no regard for the welfare of the slave. —Judge Ruffin. —No redress for personal injury that does not produce loss of service. — Case of Cornfute v. Dale. — Decision with regard to patrols.—Decisions of North and South Carolina with respect to the assault and battery of slaves. — Decision in Louisiana, by which, if a person injures a slave, he may, by paying a certain price, become his owner.—Decision in Louisiana, Berard v. Berard, establishing the principle that by no mode of suit, direct or indirect, can a slave obtain redress for ill-treatment. — Case of Jennings v. Fundeburg. — Action for killing negroes. — Also Richardson v. Dukes for the same. — Recognition of the fact that many persons, by withholding from slaves proper food and raiment, cause them to commit crimes for which they are executed. — Is the negro a person in any sense? — Judge Clark's argument to prove that he is a human being. —Decision that a woman may be given to one person, and her unborn children to another. — Disproportioned punishment of the slave compared with the master. — Case of State v. Mann, showing that the owner or hirer of a slave cannot be punished for inflicting cruel, unwarrantable and disproportioned punishments. — Judge Ruffin's speech.70
III. — SOUTHER v. THE COMMONWEALTH. THE NE PLUS ULTRA OF LEGAL HUMANITY: Writer's attention called to this case by Courier and Enquirer. — Case presented. — Writer's remarks. — Principles established in this case. 79
IV. — PROTECTIVE STATUTES: Apprentices protected. — Outlawry. — Melodrama of Prue in the swamp. —Harry the carpenter, a romance of real life.83
VI. — PROTECTIVE ACTS WITH REGARD TO FOOD AND RAIMENT, LABOR, ETC.: Illustrative drama of Tom v. Legree, under the law of South Carolina. — Separation of parent and child._
VII. — THE EXECUTION OF JUSTICE: State v. Eliza Rowand.—The "Ægis of protection" to the slave's life.92

II. — PUBLIC OPINION FORMED BY EDUCATION: Early training. — "The spirit of the press."129
IV. — THE SLAVE TRADE: What sustains slavery?—The FACTS again, and the comments of Southern men. —The poetry of the slave-trade.143
V. — SELECT INCIDENTS OF LAWFUL TRADE; OR, FACTS STRANGER THAN FICTION: What "domestic sensibilities" Violet and George had. — Testimony of a sea-captain, and of a fugitive slave.151
VI. — THE EDMONDSON FAMILY: Old Milly and her household. — Liberty and equality. — The schooner Pearl. — An American slave-ship.—Capture of fugitives. —Indignation. — Captives Imprisoned. —Voyage to New Orleans and return. — Affecting incidents. — Final redemption.155
VII. — EMILY RUSSELL: Price of her redemption.—Not raised.—Sent to the South. — Redeemed by death. — Daniel Bell and family. — Poor Tom Ducket. — Facsimile of his letter._
VIII. —KIDNAPPING: Causes which lead to kidnapping free negroes and whites.—Solomon Northrop kidnapped. — Carried to Red river.—Parallel to Uncle Tom.— Rachel Parker and sister.173
IX. — SLAVES AS THEY ARE, ON TESTIMONY OF OWNERS: Color and complexion. — Scars. — Intelligence. — Sale of those claiming to be free.—Illustrated by advertisements. — Inferences.175
X.—POOR WHITE TRASH: Slavery degrades the poor whites. — Causes and process. — Materials for mobs. — Fierce for slavery. — Influence of slavery on education. — Emigration from slave states.—N. B. Watson advertised for a hunt.—John Cornutt lynched.—No defence in law.—Justice prostrate.—Rev. E. Matthews lynched. — Case of Jesse McBride.184

I. — INFLUENCE OF THE AMERICAN CHURCH ON SLAVERY: Power of the clergy. — The church, what? — Influence.—Points Self-evident.—Course of ecclesiastical bodies.—Sanction of American slavery, as it is, by Southern bodies. — Summary of results.193
II. — AMERICAN CHURCH AND SLAVERY: Trials for heresy. — Course as to slavery heresies. — Course of the Methodist Church.— Course of the Presbyterian Church, before the division.—Course of the Old School body. — Course of the New School body. — Results. — Congregationalists. — Albany convention. —Home Missionary Society. —The protesting power.—Practical workings of the general system.—Pleas for inaction.— Appeal to the church.205
III. — MARTYRDOMS: Power of Leviathan. — He cares more for deeds than words. — E. P. Lovejoy at St. Louis. — At Alton. — Convention. — Speech. — Mob. — Death.223
IV. — SERVITUDE IN THE PRIMITIVE CHURCH COMPARED WITH AMERICAN SLAVERY: Fundamental principles of the kingdom of Christ. — Relations to Slavery. —Apostolic directions. — Case of Onesimus.228
V. — TEACHINGS AND CONDITION OF THE APOSTLES: Apostles and primitive Christians not law-makers. — Preaching of modern Law-makers.234
VII. — ABOLITION OF SLAVERY BY CHRISTIANITY: State of Society. — Course of councils. — Influence of bishops for freedom. — Redemption of captives.—Contrast. 237
VIII. — JUSTICE AND EQUITY VERSUS SLAVERY: Regulation of slavery impossible.— Contrast of its principles and provisions with justice and equity.241
IX. — IS THE SYSTEM OF RELIGION WHICH IS TAUGHT THE SLAVE THE GOSPEL? Points to be conceded.—What is taught?—Principles and discussion.—Necessary results of the system. — Specimens of teaching and criticisms. 244
X. — WHAT IS TO BE DONE? Work of the church in America.—Feelings of Christians in all other countries. — Eradication of caste, and repeal of sinful laws against free colored people.—Various duties and measures as to slavery. — Closing appeal.250
APPENDIX. — Statistics Abused — Falsified 1840 Census.257


THE work which the writer here presents to the public is one which has been written with no pleasure, and with much pain.

In fictitious writing, it is possible to find refuge from the hard and the terrible, by inventing scenes and characters of a more pleasing nature. No auch resource is open in a work of fact; and the subject of this work is one on which the truth, if told at all, must needs be very dreadful. There is no bright aide to slavery, as such. Those scenes which are made bright by the generosity and kindness of masters and mistresses, would be brighter still if the element of slavery were withdrawn. There is nothing picturesque or beautiful, in the family attachment of old servants, which is not to bo found in countries where these servants are legally free. The tenants on an English estate are often more fond and faithful than if they were slaves. Slavery, therefore, is not the element which forms the picturesque and beautiful of Southern life. What is peculiar to slavery, and distinguishes it from free servitude, is evil, and only evil, and that continually.

In preparing this work, it has grown much beyond the author's original design. It has so far overrun its limits that she has been obliged to omit one whole department;—that of the characteristics and developments of the colored race in various countries and circumstances. This is more properly the subject for a volume ; and she hopes that such an one will soon be prepared by a friend to whom she has transferred her materials.

The author desires to express her thanks particularly to those legal gentlemen who have given her their assistance and support in the legal part of the discussion. She also desires to thank those, at the North and at the South, who have kindly furnished materials for her use. Many more have been supplied than could possibly be used. The book is actually selected out of a mountain of materials.

The great object of the author in writing has been to bring this subject of slavery, as a moral and religious question, before the minds of all those who

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profess to be followers of Christ, in this country. A minute history has been given of the action of the various denominations on this subject.

The writer has aimed, as far as possible, to say what is true, and only that, without regard to the effect which it may have upon any person or party. She hopes that what she has said will be examined without bitterness,—in that serious and earnest spirit which is appropriate for the examination of so very serious a subject. It would be vain for her to indulge the hope of being wholly free from error. In the wide field which she has been called to go over, there is a possibility of many mistakes. She can only say that she has used the most honest and earnest endeavors to learn the truth.

The book is commended to the candid attention and earnest prayers of all true Christians, throughout the world. May they unite their prayers that Christendom may be delivered from so great an evil as slavery!

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Chapter I.


AT different times, doubt has been expressed whether the representations of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" are a fair representation of slavery as it at present exists. This work, more, perhaps, than any other work of fiction that ever was written, has been a collection and arrangement of real incidents,— of actions really performed, of words and expressions really uttered,— grouped together with reference to a general result, in the same manner that the mosaic artist groups his fragments of various stones into one general picture. His is a mosaic of gems,— this is a mosaic of facts.

Artistically considered, it might not be best to point out in which quarry and from which region each fragment of the mosaic picture had its origin; and it is equally unartistic to disentangle the glittering web of fiction, and show out of what real warp and woof it is woven, and with what real coloring dyed. But the book had a purpose entirely transcending the artistic one, and accordingly encounters, at the hands of the public, demands not usually made on fictitious works. It is treated as a reality,— sifted, tried and tested, as a reality; and therefore as a reality it may be proper that it should be defended.

The writer acknowledges that the book is a very inadequate representation of slavery; and it is so, necessarily, for this reason,—that slavery, in some of its workings, is too dreadful for the purposes of art. A work which should represent it strictly as it is would be a work which could not be read. And all works which ever mean to give pleasure must draw a veil somewhere, or they cannot succeed.

The author will now proceed along the course of the story, from the first page onward, and develop, as far as possible, the incidents by which different parts were suggested.

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Chapter II.

Mr. Haley.

IN the very first chapter of the book we encounter the character of the negro-trader, Mr. Haley. His name stands at the head of this chapter as the representative of all the different characters introduced in the work which exhibit the trader, the kidnapper, the negro-catcher, the negro-whipper, and all the other inevitable auxiliaries and indispensable appendages of what is often called the "divinely-instituted relation" of slavery. The author's first personal observation of this class of beings was somewhat as follows:

Several years ago, while one morning employed in the duties of the nursery, a colored woman was announced. She was ushered into the nursery, and the author thought, on first survey, that a more surly, unpromising face she had never seen. The woman was thoroughly black, thick-set, firmly built, and with strongly-marked African features. Those who have been accustomed to read the expressions of the African face know what a peculiar effect is produced by a lowering, desponding expression upon its dark features. It is like the shadow of a thunder-cloud. Unlike her race generally, the woman did not smile when smiled upon, nor utter any pleasant remark in reply to such as were addressed to her. The youngest pet of the nursery, a boy about three yenrs old, walked up, and laid his little hand on her knee, and seemed astonished not to meet the quick smile which the negro almost always has in reserve for the little child. The writer thought her very cross and disagreeable, and, after a few moments' silence, asked, with perhaps a little impatience, "Do you want anything of me to-day?"

"Here are some papers," said the woman, pushing them towards her; "perhaps you would read them."

The first paper opened was a letter from

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(pp 6-20)

a thing as an advertisement for a man, "dead or alive," like the advertisement for George Harris, was ever published in the Southern States. The scene of the story in which that occurs is supposed to be laid a few years back, at the time when the black laws of Ohio were passed. That at this time such advertisements were common in the newspapers, there is abundant evidence. That they are less common now, is a matter of hope and gratulation.

In the year 1839, Mr. Theodore D. Weld made a systematic attempt to collect and arrange the statistics of slavery. A mass of facts and statistics was gathered, which were authenticated with thé most unquestionable accuracy. Some of the "one thousand witnesses," whom he brings upon the stand, were ministers, lawyers, merchants, and men of varions other callings, who were either natives of the slave states, or had been residents there for many years of their life. Many of these were slave-holders. Others of the witnesses were, or had been, slave-drivers, or officers of coasting-vessels engaged in the slave-trade.

Another part of his evidence was gathered from public speeches in Congress, in the state legislatures, and elsewhere. But the majority of it was taken from recent newspapers.

The papers from which these facts were copied were preserved and put on file in a public place, where they remained for some years, for the information of the curious. After Mr. Weld's book was completed, a copy of it was sent, through the mail, to every editor from whose paper such advertisements had been taken, and to every individual of whom any facts had been narrated, with the passages which concerned them marked.

It is quite possible that this may have had some influence in rendering such advertisements less common. Men of sense often go on doing a thing which is very absurd, or even inhuman, simply because it has always been done before them, and they follow general custom, without much reflection. When their attention, however, is çalled to it by a stranger who sees the thing from another point of view, they become immediately sensible of the impropriety of the practice, and discontinue it.

The reader will, however, be pained to notice, when he comes to the legal part of the book, that even in some of thé largest cities of our slave states this barbarity had not been entirely discontinued, in the year 1850.

The list of advertisements in Mr. Weld's book is here inserted, not to weary the reader with its painful details, but that, by running his eye over the dates of the papers quoted, and the places of their publication, he may form a fair estimate of the extent to which this atrocity was publicly practised:

The Wilmington (North Carolina) Advertiser of July 13, 1838, contains the following advertisement:

"$100 will be paid to any person who may apprehend and safely confine in any jail in this state a certain negro man, named ALFRED. And the same reward will be paid, if satisfactory evidence is given of his having been KILLED. He has one or more scars on one of his hands, caused by his having been shot.


Richlands, Onslow Co., May 16, 1838."

In the same column with the above, and directly under it, is the following:

"RANAWAY, my negro man RICHARD. A reward of $25 will be paid for his apprehension, DEAD or ALIVE. Satisfactory proof will only be required of his being KILLED. He has with him, in all probability, his wife, ELIZA, who ran away from Col. Thompson, now a resident of Alabama, about the time he commenced his journey to tbat state.


In the Macon (Georgia) Telegraph, May 28, is the following:

"About the 1st of March last the negro man RANSOM left me without the least provocation whatever; I will give a reward of twenty dollars for said negro, if taken, DEAD OR ALIVE,—and if killed in any attempt, an advance of five dollars will be paid.

"Crawford Co., Georgia."

See the Newbern (N. C.) Spectator, Jan. 5, 1838, for the following:

"RANAWAY from the subscriber, a negro man named SAMPSON. Fifty dollars reward will be given for the delivery of him to me, or his confinement in any jail, so that I get him; and should he resist in being taken, so that violence is necessary to arrest him, I will not hold any person liable for damages should the slave be KILLED.

"Jones Co., N. C."

From the Charleston (S. C.) Courier, Feb. 20, 1836:

"$300 REWARD.—Ranaway from the subscriber, in November last, his two negro men, named Billy and Pompey.

"Billy is 25 years old, and is known as the patroon of my boat for many years; in all probability he may resist; in that event 50 dollars will be paid for his HEAD."

Chapter V.


The writer stated in her book that Eliza was a portrait drawn from life. The inci-


dent which brought the original to her notice may be simply narrated.

While the writer was traveling in Kentucky, many years ago, she attended church in a small country town. While there, her attention was called to a beautiful quadroon girl, who sat in one of the slips of the church, and appeared to have charge of some young children. The description of Eliza may suffice for a description of her. When the author returned from church, she inquired about the girl, and was told that she was as good and amiable as she was beautiful; that she was a pious girl, and a member of the church; and, finally, that she was owned by Mr. So-and-so. The idea that this girl was a slave struck a chill to her heart, and she said, earnestly, "O, I hope they treat her kindly."

"O, certainly," was the reply; "they think as much of her as of their own children."

"I hope they will never sell her," said a person in the company.

"Certainly they will not; a Southern gentleman, not long ago, offered her master a thousand dollars for her: but he told him that she was too good to be his wife, and he certainly should not have her for a mistress."

This is all that the writer [Stowe] knows of that girl.

With regard to the incident of Eliza's crossing the river on the ice,—as the possibility of the thing has been disputed,—the writer gives the following circumstance in confirmation.

Last spring, while the author [Stowe] was in New York, a Presbyterian clergyman, of Ohio, came to her, and said, "I understand they dispute that fact about the woman's crossing the river. Now, I know all about that, for I got the story from the very man that helped her up the bank. I know it is true, for she is now living in Canada."

It has been objected that the representation of the scene in which the plan for kidnaping Eliza, concocted by Haley, Marks and Loker, at the tavern, is a gross caricature on the state of things in Ohio.

What knowledge the author [Stowe] has had of the facilities which some justices of the peace, under the old fugitive law of Ohio, were in the habit of giving to kidnaping, may be inferred by comparing the statement in her book [Uncle Tom's Cabin] with some in her personal knowledge.

"Ye see," said Marks to Haley, stirring his punch as he did so, "ye see, we has justices [of the peace] convenient at all p'ints along shore, that does up any little jobs in our line quite reasonable [easily, cheaply bribed!].

"Tom, he does the knockin' down, and that ar; and I come in all dressed up,—shining boots,—everything first chop,—when the swearin' 's to be done. You oughter see me, now!" said Marks, in a glow of professional pride, "how I can tone it off. One day I'm Mr. Twickem, from New Orleans; 'nother day, I'm just come from my plantation on Pearl river, where I works seven hundred niggers; then, again, I come out a distant relation to Henry Clay, or some old cock in Kentuck.

"Talents is different, you know. Now, Tom's a roarer when there's any thumping or fighting to be done; but at lying he an't good, Tom an't; ye see it don't comes natural to him; but, Lord! if thar's a feller in the country that can swear to anything and everything, and put in all the circumstances and flourishes with a longer face, and carry 't through better'n I can, why, I'd like to see him, that's all!

"I b'lieve, my heart, I could get along, and make through, even if justices [of the peace] were more particular than they is. Sometimes I rather wish they was more particular; 't would be a heap more relishin' if they was,—more fun, yer know."

In the year 1839, the writer [Stowe] received into her family, as a servant, a girl from Kentucky. She had been the slave of one of the lowest and most brutal families, with whom she had been brought up, in a log-cabin, in a state of half-barbarism. In proceeding to give her religious instruction, the author [Stowe] heard, for the first time in her life, an inquiry which she had not supposed possible to be made in America:—"Who is Jesus Christ, now, anyhow?"

When the author [Stowe] told her the history of the love and life and death of Christ, the girl seemed wholly overcome; tears streamed down her cheeks; and she exclaimed, piteously, "Why didn't nobody never tell me this before?"

Ed. Note: It was Southern policy to NOT allow the Gospel to be preached to slaves. See Part 4, chapter IX, pp. 244-250.

"But," said the writer [Stowe] to her, "haven't you ever seen the Bible?"

"Yes, I have seen missus a-readin' on 't sometimes; but, law sakes! she's just a-readin' on 't 'cause she could; don't s'pose it did her no good, no way."

She said she had been to one or two camp-meetings in her life, but "didn't notice very particular."

At all events, the story certainly made great impression on her, and had such an effect in improving her conduct, that the writer [Stowe] had great hopes of her.

On inquiring into her history, it was discovered that, by the laws of Ohio, she was legally entitled to her freedom, from the fact of her having been brought into the state, and left there, temporarily, by the consent of her mistresa. These facts being


properly authenticated before the proper authorities, papers attesting her freedom were drawn up, and it was now supposed that all danger of pursuit was over. After she had remained in the family for some months, word was sent, from various sources, to Professor Stowe, that the girl's young master was over, looking for her, and that, if care were not taken, she would be conveyed back into slavery.

Professor Stowe called on the magistrate who had authenticated her papers, and inquired whether they were not sufficient to protect her. The reply was,

"Certainly they are, in law, if she could have a fair hearing [due process as per the Constitution]; but they will come to your house in the night, with an officer and a warrant; they will take her before Justice D—, and swear to her [being a slave]. He's the man that does all this kind of business, and he'll deliver her up, and there'll be an end to it."

Mr. Stowe then inquired what could be done; and was recommended to carry her to some place of security till the inquiry for her was over. Accordingly, that night, a brother of the author, with Professor Stowe, performed for the fugitive that office which the senator is represented as performing for Eliza. They drove about ten miles on a solitary road, crossed the creek at a very dangerous fording, and presented themselves, at midnight, at the house of John Van Zandt, a noble-minded Kentuckian, who had performed the good deed which the author, in her story [Uncle Tom's Cabin], ascribes to Van Tromp.

After some rapping at the door, the worthy owner of the mansion appeared, candle in hand, as has been narrated.

"Are you the man that would save a poor colored girl from kidnappers?" was the first question.

"Guess I am," was the prompt response, "where is she?"

"Why, she's here."

"But how did you come?"

"I crossed the creek."

"Why, the Lord helped you!" said he; "I shouldn't dare cross it myself in the night. A man and his wife, and five children, were drowned there, a little while ago."

The reader may be interested to know that the poor girl never was re-taken; that she married well in Cincinnati, is a very respectable woman, and the mother of a large family of children.

Chapter VI.

Uncle Tom.

The character of Uncle Tom has been objected to as improbable; and yet the writer [Stowe] has received more confirmations of that character, and from a greater variety of sources, than of any other in the book [Uncle Tom's Cabin].

Many people have said to her, "I knew an Uncle Tom in such and such a Southern State." All the histories of this kind which have thus been related to her would of themselves, if collected, make a small volume. The author will relate a few of them.

While visiting in an obscure town in Maine, in the family of a friend, the conversation happened to turn upon this subject, and the gentleman with whose family she was staying related the following.

He said that, when on a visit to his brother, in New Orleans, some years before, he found in his possession a most valuable negro man, of such remarkable probity and honesty that his brother literally trusted him with all he had. He had frequently seen him take out a handful of bills, without looking at them, and hand them to this servant, bidding him go and provide what was necessary for the family, and bring him the change. He remonstrated with his brother on this imprudence, but the latter replied that be had had such proof of this servant's impregnable conscientiousness that he felt it safe to trust him to any extent.

The history of the servant was this. He had belonged to a man in Baltimore, who, having a general prejudice against all the religious exercises of slaves, did all that he could to prevent his having any time for devotional duties, and strictly forbade him to read the Bible and pray, either by himself, or with the other servants; and because, like a certain man of old, named Daniel, he constantly disobeyed this unchristian edict, his master inflicted upon him that punish ment which a master always has in his power to inflict,—he sold him into perpetual exile from his wife and children, down to New Orleans.

The gentleman who gave the writer [Stowe] this information says that, although not himself a religious man at the time, he was so struck with the man's piety that he said to his brother, "I hope you will never do anything to deprive this man of his religious privileges, for I think a judgment will come upon you if you do."

To this his brother replied that he should be very foolish to do it, since


(pp 24-33)

when many seamstresses get a dollar for it; says she does it because she's poor, and has no friends; thinks you had better be careful in your conversation, and not let her know what prices are, or else she will get spoiled, and go to raising her price,—these sewing-women are so selfish.

When Marie St. Clare has the misfortune to live in a free state, there is no end to her troubles. Her cook is always going off for better wages and more comfortable quarters; her chamber-maid, strangely enough, won't agree to be chambermaid and seamstress both for half wages, and so she deserts. Marie's kitchen-cabinet, therefore, is always in a state of revolution; and she often declares, with affecting earnestness, that servants are the torment of her life.

If her husband endeavor to remonstrate, or suggest another mode of treatment, he is a hard-hearted, unfeeling man; "he doesn't love her, and she always knew he didn't;" and so he is disposed of.

But, when Marie comes under a [politician-made] system of [unconstitutional] laws which gives her absolute control over her dependants,—which enables her to separate them, at her pleasure, from their dearest family connections, or to inflict upon them the most disgraceful and violent punishments, without even the restraint which seeing the execution might possibly produce,—then it is that the character arrives at full maturity. Human nature is no worse at the South than at the North; but law at the South distinctly provides for and protects the worst abuses to which that nature is liable.

It is often supposed that domestic servitude in slave states is a kind of paradise; that house-servants are invariably pets; that young mistresses are always fond of their "mammies," and young masters always handsome, good-natured and indulgent.

Let any one in Old England or New England look about among their immediate acquaintances, and ask how many there are who would use absolute despotic power amiably in a family, especially over a class degraded by servitude, ignorant, indolent, deceitful, provoking, as slaves almost necessarily are, and always must be.

Let them look into their own hearts, and ask themselves if they would dare to be trusted with such a power. Do they not find in themselves temptations to be unjust to those who are inferiors and dependants? Do they not find themselves tempted to be irritable and provoked, when the service of their families is negligently performed?

And, if they had the power to inflict cruel punishments, or to have them inflicted by sending the servant out to some place of correction, would they not be tempted to use that liberty?

With regard to those degrading punishments to which females are subjected, by being sent to professional whippers, or by having such functionaries sent for to the house,—as John Caphart testifies that he has often been, in Baltimore,—what can be said of their influence both on the superior and on the inferior class? It is very painful indeed to contemplate this subject.

The [non-Southern] mind instinctively shrinks from it; but still it is a very serious question whether it be not our duty to encounter this pain, that our sympathies may be quickened into more active exercise.

For this reason, we give here the testimony of a gentleman [Dr. Howe] whose accuracy will not be doubted, and who subjected himself to the pain of being an eye-witness to a scene of this kind in the calaboose in New Orleans. As the reader will perceive from the account, it was a scene of such every-day occurrence as not to excite any particular remark, or any expression of sympathy from those of the same condition and color with the sufferer.

When our missionaries first went to India, it was esteemed a duty among Christian nations to make themselves acquainted with the cruelties and atrocities of idolatrous worship, as a means of quickening our zeal to send them the gospel.

If it be said that we in the free states have no such interest in slavery, as we do not support it, and have no power to prevent it, it is replied that slavery does exist in the District of Columbia, which belongs to the whole United States; and that the free states are, before God, guilty of the crime of [unconstitutionally] continuing it there, unless they will honestly do what in them lies for its extermination.

The subjoined account was written by the benevolent Dr. Howe, whose labors in behalf of the blind have rendered his name dear to humanity, and was sent in a letter to the Hon. Charles Sumner.

If any one think it too painful to be perused, let him ask himself if God will hold those guiltless who suffer a system to continue, the details of which they cannot even read. That this describes a common scene in the calaboose, we shall by and by produce other witnesses to show.

Letter by Dr. Howe
I have passed ten days in New Orleans, not unprofitably, I trust, in examining the public


institutions,—the schools, asylums, hospitals, prisons, &c. With the exception of the first, there is little hope of amelioration. I know not how much merit there may be in their system; but I do know that, in the administration of the penal code, there are abominations which should bring down the fate of Sodom [Genesis 19:24-25] upon the city. If Howard or Mrs. Fry ever discovered so ill-administered a den of thieves as the New Orleans prison, they never described it.

In the negro's apartment I saw much which made me blush that I was a white man, and which, for a moment, stirred up an evil spirit in my animal nature.

Entering a large paved court-yard, around which ran galleries filled with slaves of all ages, sexes and colors, I heard the snap of a whip, every stroke of which sounded like the sharp crack of a pistol. I turned my head, and beheld a sight which absolutely chilled me to the marrow of my bones, and gave me, for the first time in my life, the sensation of my hair stiffening at the roots. There lay a black girl flat upon her face, on a board, her two thumbs tied, and fastened to one end, her feet tied, and drawn tightly to the other end, while a strap passed over the small of her back, and, fastened around the board, compressed her closely to it. Below the strap she was entirely naked.

By her side, and six feet off, stood a huge negro, with a long whip, which he applied with dreadful power and wonderful precision. Every stroke brought away a strip of skin, which clung to the lash, or fell quivering on the pavement, while the blood followed after it.

The poor creature writhed and shrieked, and, in a voice which showed alike her fear of death and her dreadful agony, screamed to her master, who stood at her head, "O, spare my life! don't cut my soul out!" But still fell the horrid lash; still strip after strip peeled off from the skin; gash after gash was cut in her living flesh, until it became a livid and bloody maas of raw and quivering muscle [flesh].

It was with the greatest difficulty I refrained from springing upon the torturer, and arresting his lash; but, alas! what could I do, but turn aside to hide my tears for the sufferer, and my blushes for humanity!

This was in a public and regularly-organized prison; the punishment was one recognized and authorized by the law.

But think you the poor wretch had committed a heinous offence, and had been convicted thereof, and sentenced to the lash? Not at all. She was brought by her master to be whipped by the common executioner, without trial, judge or jury, just at his beck or nod, for some real or supposed offence, or to gratify his own whim or malice. And he may bring her day after day, without cause assigned, and inflict any number of lashes he pleases, short of twenty-five, provided only he pays the fee.

Or, if he choose, he may have a private whipping-board on-his own premises, and brutalize himself there.

A shocking part of this horrid punishment was its publicity, as I have said; it was in a court-yard surrounded by galleries, which were filled with colored persons of all sexes—runaway slaves, committed for some crime, or slaves up for sale. You would naturally suppose they crowded forward, and gazed, horror-stricken, at the brutal spectacle below; but they did not; many of them hardly noticed it, and many were entirely indifferent to it. They went on in their childish pursuits, and some were laughing outright in the distant parts of the galleries; so low can man, in God's image, be sunk to brutality.

Ed. Note: Additional
Torture Examples:
  • Axe-Murder
  • Eye-Gouging
  • Racking and Salting
  • Torture-Murder
  • Whip-to-Death
    See also our background site.
    And in modern context, see, e.g., Ray
    McGovern, "'Christians' Wink at Torture"
    (ConsortiumNews.com, 1 August 2009).

  • Chapter IX.

    St. Clare.

    IT is with pleasure that we turn from the dark picture just presented, to the character of the generous and noble-hearted St. Clare, wherein the fairest picture of our Southern brother is presented.

    It has been the writer's object to separate carefully, as far as possible, the system from the men. It is her [Stowe's] sincere belief that, while the irresponsible power of slavery is such that no human being ought ever to possess it, probably that power was never exercised more leniently than in many cases in the Southern States. She has been astonished to see how, under all the disadvantages which attend the early possession of arbitrary power, all the temptations which every reflecting mind must see will arise from the possession of this power in various forms, there are often developed such fine and interesting traits of character. To say that these cases are common, alas! is not in our power. Men know human nature too well to believe us, if we should.

    But the more dreadful the evil to be assailed, the more careful should we be to be just in our apprehensions, and to balance the horror which certain abuses must necessarily incite, by a consideration of those excellent and redeeming traits which are often found in individuals connected with the system.

    The twin brothers, Alfred and Augustine St. Clare, represent two classes of men which are to be found in all countries. They are the radically aristocratic and democratic men. The aristocrat by position is not always the aristocrat by nature, and vice versa; but the aristocrat by nature, whether he be in a higher or lower position in society, is he who, though he may be just, generous and humane, to those whom he considers his equals, is entirely insensible to the wants, and sufferings, and common humanity, of those whom he considers the lower orders. The sufferings of a countess would make him weep; the sufferings of a seamstress are quite another matter.

    On the other hand, the democrat is often found in the highest position of life. To this man, superiority to his brother is a thing which he can never boldly and nakedly as-


    sert without a secret pain. In the lowest and humblest walk of life, he acknowledges the sacredness of a common humanity; and however degraded by the opinions and institutions of society any particular class may be, there is an instinctive feeling in his soul which teaches him that they are men of like passions with himself.

    Such men have a penetration which at once sees through all the false shows of outward custom which make one man so dissimilar to another, to those great generic capabilities, sorrows, wants and weaknesses, wherein all men and women are alike; and there is no such thing as making them realize that one order of human beings have any prescriptive right over another order, or that the tears and sufferings of one are not just as good as those of another order.

    That such men are to be found at the South in the relation of slave-masters, that when so found they cannot and will not be deluded by any of the shams and sophistry wherewith slavery has been defended, that they look upon it as a relic of a barbarous age, and utterly scorn and contemn all its apologists, we can abundantly show. Many of the most illustrious Southern men of the [American] Revolution were of this class, and many men of distinguished position of later day have entertained the same sentiments.

    Witness the following letter of Patrick Henry [1736-1799], the sentiments of which are so much an echo of those of St. Clare that the reader might suppose one to be a copy of the other:

    Letter of Patrick Henry.
                                  Hanover, January 18th, 1773

    Dear Sir: I take this opportunity to acknowledge the receipt of Anthony Benezet's book against the slave-trade; I thank you for it.

    Is it not a little surprising that the professors of Christianity, whose chief excellence consists in softening the human heart, in cherishing and improving its finer feelings, should encourage a practice so totally repugnant to the first impressions of right and wrong? What adds to the wonder is, that this abominable practice has been introduced in the most enlightened ages.

    Times that seem to have pretensions to boast of high improvements in the arts and sciences, and refined morality, have brought into general use, and guarded by many laws, a species of violence and tyranny which our more rude and barbarous, but more honest ancestors detested.

    Is it not amazing that at a time when the rights of humanity are defined and understood with precision, in a country above all others fond of liberty,—-that in such an age and in such a country we find men professing a religion the most mild, humane, gentle and generous, adopting such a principle, as repugnant to humanity as it is inconsistent with the Bible, and destructive to liberty! Every thinking, honest rejects it in speculation. How free in practice from conscientious motives!

    Would any one believe that I am master of slaves of my own purchase? I am drawn along by the general inconvenience of living here without them. I will not, I cannot, justify it. However culpable my conduct, I will so far pay my devoir to virtue as to own the excellence and rectitude of her precepts, and lament my want [lack] of conformity to them.

    I believe a time will come when an opportunity will be offered to abolish this lamentable evil. Everything we can do is to improve it, if it happens in our day; if not, let us transmit to our descendants, together with our slaves, a pity for their unhappy lot, and an abhorrence for slavery. If we cannot reduce this wished-for reformation to practice, let us treat the unhappy victims with lenity. It is the furthest advance we can make towards justice. It is a debt we owe to the purity of our religion, to show that it is at variance with that law which warrants slavery.

    I know not when to stop. I could say many things on the subject, a serious view of which gives a gloomy prospect to future times!

    Ed. Note: Patrick Henry is right to refer to such pretended "Christians" as merely "professors of Christianity," a depravity their "more honest ancestors detested."
    Rev. Parker Pillsbury would later excommunicate such alleged Christian clergy, as not in fact Christian.
    The vast majority, 99%, of U.S. were wrong on slavery.
    They “had simply no moral sense,” said Kentucky clergyman Rev. Robert J. Breckinridge, p 9. Their scandalous behavior was the “acmé of piratical turpitude,” says Lewis Tappan, Address (1843), p 19.

    What a sorrowful thing it is that such men live an inglorious life, drawn along by the general current of society, when they ought to be its regenerators! Has God endowed them with such nobleness of soul, such clearness of perception, for nothing? Should they, to whom he has given superior powers of insight and feeling, live as all the world live?

    Southern men of this class have often risen up to reprove the men of the North, when they are drawn in to apologize for the system of slavery. Thus, on one occasion, a representative from one of the northern states, a gentleman now occupying the very highest rank of distinction and official station, used in Congress the following language:

    The great relation of servitude, in some form or other, with greater or less departure from the theocratic equality of men, is inseparable from our nature. Domestic slavery is not, in my judgment, to be act down as an immoral or irreligious relation. The slaves of this country are better clothed and fed than the peasantry of some of the most prosperous atates of Europe.

    He was answered by Mr. Mitchell, of Tennessee, in these words:

    Sir, I do not go the length of the gentleman from Massachusetts, and hold that the existence of slavery in this country is almost a blessing. On the contrary, I am firmly settled in the opinion that it is a great curse,—one of the greatest that could have been interwoven in our sytem. I, Mr. Chairman, am one of those whom these poor wretches call masters. I do not task them; I feed and clothe them well, but yet, alas! they are slaves, and slavery is a curse in any shape. It is no doubt true that there are persons in Europe far more degraded than our slaves,— worse fed, worse


    (pp 37-46)

    Chapter XI.

    Select Incidents of Lawful Trade.

    IN this chapter of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" were recorded some of the most highly-wrought and touching incidents of the slave-trade. It will be well to authenticate a few of them.

    One of the first sketches presented to view is an account of the separation of a very old, decrepit negro woman from her young son, by a sheriff's sale. The writer [Stowe] is sorry to say that not the slightest credit for invention is due to her in this incident. She found it, almost exactly as it stands, in the published journal of a yonng Southerner, related as a scene to which he was eye-witness. The only circumstance which she has omitted in the narrative was one of additional inhumanity and painfulness which he had delineated. He represents the boy as being bought by a planter, who fettered his hands, and tied a rope round his neck which he attached to the neck of his horse, thus compelling the child to trot by his side. This incident alone was suppressed by the author.

    Another scene of fraud and cruelty, in the same chapter, is described as perpetrated by a Kentucky slave-master, who sells a woman to a trader, and induces her to go with him by the deceitful assertion that she is to be taken down the river a short distance, to work in the same hotel with her husband. This was an instance which occurred under the writer's own observation, some years since, when she was going down the Ohio river. The woman was very respectable both in appearance and dress. The writer recalls her image now vith distinctness, attired with great neatness in a white wrapper, her clothing and hair all arranged with evident care, and having with her a prettily-dressed boy about seven years of age. She had also a hair trunk of clothing, which showed that she had been carefully and respectably brought up. It will be seen, in perusing the account, that the incident is somewhat altered to suit the purpose of the story, the woman being there represented as carrying with her a young infant.

    The custom of unceremoniously separating the infant from its mother, when the latter is about to be taken from a Northern to a Southern market, is a matter of every-day notoriety in the trade. It is not done occasionally and sometimes, but always, whenever there is occasion for it; and the mother's agonies are no more regarded than those of a cow when her calf is separated from her.

    The reason of this is, that the care and raising of children is no part of the intention or provision of a Southern plantation. They are a trouble; they detract from the value of the mother as a field-hand, and it is more expensive to raise them than to buy them ready raised; they are therefore left behind in the making up of a coffle. Not longer ago than last summer, the writer was conversing with Thomas Strother, a slave minister of the gospel in St. Louis, for whose emancipation she was making some effort. He incidentally mentioned to her a scene which he had witnessed but a short time before, in which a young woman of his acquaintance came to him almost in a state of distraction, telling him that she had been sold to go South with a trader, and leave behind her nursing infant.

    In Lewis Clark's narrative he mentions that a master in his neighborhood sold a woman and child to a trader, with the charge that he should not sell the child from its mother. The man, however, traded off the child in the very next town, in payment of his tavern-bill.

    The following testimony is from a gentleman who writes from New Orleans to the National Era. This writer says:

    While at Robinson, or Tyree Springs, twenty miles from Nashville, on the borders of Kentucky and Tennessee, my hostess said to me, one day, "Yonder comes a gang of slaves, chained."

    I went to the road-side and viewed them. For the better answering my purpose of observation, I stopped the white man in front, who was at his ease in a one-horse wagon, and asked him if those slaves were for sale. I counted them and observed their position. They were divided by three one-horse wagons, each containing a man-merchant, so arranged as to command the whole gang.

    Some were unchained; sixty were chained in two companies thirty in each, the right hand of one to the left hand of the other opposite one, making fifteen each side of a large ox-chain, to which every hand was fastened, and necessarily compelled to hold up,—men and women promiscuously, and about in equal proportions,—all young people. No children here, except a few in a wagon behind, which were the only children in the four gangs.

    I said to a respectable mulatto woman in the house, "Is it true that the negro-traders take mothers from their babies?"

    "Massa, it is true; for here, last week, such a girl [naming her], who lives about a mile off, was taken after dinner,—knew nothing of it in the morning,—sold, put into the gang, and her baby given away to a neighbor. She was a stout young woman, and brought a good price."


    (pp 48-66)

    PART II.

    Chapter I.


    Harriet Beecher Stowe

    THE New York Courier and Enquirer of November 5th contained an article which has been quite valuable to the author, as summing up, in a clear, concise and intelligible form, the principal [demonized] objections which may be urged to Uncle Tom's Cabin [1852]. It is here quoted in full, as the foundation of the remarks in the following pages.

    Ed. Note: Be advised that the media have a multi-century pattern of disinformation with respect to slavery, tobacco farmers. Yes, slavery was disproportionately by the latter, a fact you have NOT learned from the media—nor much of the truth about tobacco.
    The media has a rigorous policy of censorship, adhered to for centuries. See
  • Rev. Beriah Green's 1836 analysis,
  • Sen. Charles Sumners 1860 analysis, and
  • our tobacco-taboo site.
  • The author of "Uncle Tom's Cabin," that writer states, has committed false-witness against thousands and millions of her fellow-men.

    She has done it [he says] by attaching to them as slaveholders, in the eyes of the world, the guilt of the abuses of an institution of which they are absolutely guiltless. Her story is so devised as to present slavery in three dark aspects:
    • first, the cruel treatment of the slaves;
    • second, the separation of families; and
    • third, their want of religious instruction.

    To show the first, she causes a reward to be offered for the recovery of a runaway slave, "dead or alive," when no reward with such an alternative was ever heard of, or dreamed of, south of Mason and Dixon's line, and it has been decided over and over again in Southern courts that "a slave who is merely flying away cannot be killed." She puts such language as this into the mouth of one of her speakers:—"The master who goes furthest and does the worst only uses within limits the power that the law gives him;" when, in fact, the civil code of the very state where it is represented the language was uttered—Louisiana—declares that

    "The slave is entirely subject to the will of his master, who may correct and chastise him, though not with unusual rigor, nor so as to maim or mutilate him, or to expose him to the danger of loss of life, or to cause his death."

    And provides for a compulsory sale:

    "When the master shall be convicted of cruel treatment of his slaves, and the judge shall deem proper to prononce, besides the penalty established for such cases, that the slave be sold at public auction, in order to place him out of reach of the power which the master has abused."

    "If any person whatsoever shall wilfully kill his slave, or the slave of another person, the said person, being convicted thereof, shall be tried and condemned agreeably to the laws."

    In the General [Supreme] Court of Virginia last year, in the [torture-murder] case of Souther v. the Commonwealth [48 Va 673 (1851)], it was held that the killing of a slave by his master and owner, by wilful and excessive whipping, is murder in the first degree, though it may not have been the purpose of the master and owner to kill the slave! And it is not six months since Governor Johnston, of Virginia, pardoned a slave who killed his inofiter, who was beating him with brutal severity.

    And yet, in the face of such laws and decisions as these, Mrs. Stowe winds up a long series of cruelties upon her other black personages, by causing her faultless hero, Tom, to be literally whipped to death in Louisiana, by his master Legree; and these acts, which the laws make criminal, and punish as such, she sets forth in the most repulsive colors, to illustrate the institution of slavery!

    So, too, in reference to the separation of children from their parents. A considerable part of the plot is made to hinge upon the selling, in Louisiana, of the child Eliza, "eight or nine years old," away from her mother; when, had its inventor looked in the statute-book of Louisiana, she would have found the following language:

    "Every person is expressly prohibited from selling separately from their mothers the children who shall not have attained the full age of ten years."

    "Be it further enacted, That if any person or persons shall sell the mother of any slave child or children under the age of ten years, separate from said child or children, or shall, the mother living, sell any slave child or children of ten years of age, or under, separate from said mother, said person or persons shall be fined not less than one thousand nor more than two thousand dollars, and be imprisoned in the public jail for a period of not less than six months nor more than one year."

    The privation of religious instruction, as represented by Mrs. Stowe, is utterly unfounded in fact. The largest churches in the Union consist entirely of slaves. The first African church in Louisville, which numbers fifteen hundred persons, and the first African church in Augusta, which numbers thirteen liundred, are specimens. On multitudes of the large plantations in the different parts of the South the ordinances of the gospel are as regularly maintained, by competent ministers, as in any other communities, north or soutri. A larger proportion of the slave population are in communion with some Christian church, than of the white population in any part of the country. A very considerable portion of every southern congregation, either in city or country, is sure to consist of blacks; whereas, of our northern churches, not a colored person is to be seen in one out of fifty.

    The peculiar falsity of this whole book consists in making exceptional or impossible cases the rep-


    (pp 68-69)

    hold the legal relation still, only because not yet clear with regard to the best way of changing it, so as to better the condition of those held. Such are most earnest advocates for state emancipation, and are friends of anything, written in a right spirit, which tends in that direction. From such the author [Stowe] ever receives criticisms with pleasure.

    She has endeavored to lay before the world, in the fullest manner, all that can be objected to her work, that both sides may have an opportunity of impartial hearing

    When citing "Uncle Tom's Cabin," though entirely unaware and unexpectant of the importance which would be attached to its statements and opinions, the author [Stowe] of that work was anxious, from love of consistency, to have some understanding of the laws of the slave system. She had in hand for reference, while writing, the Code Noir of Louisiana, and a sketch of the laws relating to slavery in the different states, by Judge Stroud, of Philadelphia.

    Ed. Note: Full Citation: George M. Stroud (1795-1875), A Sketch of the Laws Relating to Slavery in the Several States of the United States of America (Philadelphia: Kimber and Sharpless, 1827)

    This work, professing to have been compiled with great care from the latest editions of the statute-books of the several states, the author supposed to be a sufficient guide for the writing of a work of fiction.*

    As the accuracy of those statements which relate to the slave-laws has been particularly contested, a more especial inquiry has been made in this direction. Under the guidance and with the assistance of legal gentlemen of high standing, the writer [Stowe] has proceeded to examine the statements of Judge Stroud with regard to statute-law, and to follow them up with some inquiry into the decisions of courts. The result has been an increasing conviction on her part that the impressions first derived from Judge Stroud's work were correct; and the author now can only give the words of St. Clare, as the best possible expression of the sentiments and opinion which this course of reading has awakened in her mind.

    This cursed business, accursed of God and man,—what is it? Strip it of all its ornament, run it down to the root and nucleus of the whole, and what is it? Why, because my brother Quashy is ignorant and weak, and I am intelligent and strong,—because I know how, and can do it,—therefore I may steal all he has, keep it, and give him only such and so much as suits my fancy!

  • Whatever is too hard, too dirty, too disagreeable for me, I may set Quashy to doing.

  • Because I don't like work, Quashy shall work. Because the sun burns me, Quashy shall stay in the sun.

  • Quashy shall earn the money, and I will spend it.

  • Quashy shall lie down in every puddle, that I may walk over dry shod.

  • Quashy shall do my will, and not his, all the days of his mortal life, and have such a chance of getting to heaven at last as I find convenient.

    This I take to be about what slavery is.

    I defy anybody on earth to read our slave-code, as it stands in our law-books, and make anything else of it. Talk of the abuses of slavery! Humbug! The thing itself is the essence of all abuse. And the only reason why the land don't sink under it [yet], like Sodom and Gomorrah, is because it is used in a way infinitely better than it is.

    For pity's sake, for shame's sake, because we are men born of women, and not savage beasts, many of us do not, and dare not,—we would scorn to use the full power which our savage laws put into our hands. And he who goes the furthest, and does the worst, only uses within limits the power that the law gives him.

  • The author [Stowe] still holds to the opinion that slavery in itself, as legally defined in law-books and expressed in the records of courts, is [Ed. Note: as Wesley had said] the SUM AND ESSENCE OF ALL ABUSES; and she still clings to the [naif] hope that there are many men at the South infinitely better than their laws; and after the reader has read all the extracts which she has to make, for the sake of a common humanity they will hope the same.

    The author must state, with regard to some passages which she must quote, that the language of certain enactments was so incredible that she would not take it on the authority of any compilation whatever, but copied it with her own hand from the latest edition of the statute-book where it stood and still stands.

    Chapter II.

    What is Slavery?

    THE author will now enter into a consideration of slavery as it stands revealed in slave-law.

    What is it, according to the definition of law-books and of legal interpreters?

    "A slave," says the law of Louisiana, "is one who is in the power of a master [extortioner], to whom he belongs. The master may sell him, dispose of his person, his industry nnd his labor; he can do nothing, possess nothing, nor acquire anything, but what must belong to his master."—Civil Code, Art. 35.

    South Carolina says "slaves shall be deemed, sold, taken, reputed and adjudged in law, to be chattels personal in the hands of their owners and possessors, and their executors, administrators, and assigns, TO ALL INTENTS, CONSTRUCTIONS AND PURPOSES WHATSOEVER."—2 Brev. Dig. 229; Prince's Digest, 446.

    The law of Georgia is similar.

    Let the reader reflect on the extent of the meaning in this last clause. Judge
    *In this connection it may be well to state that the [1827] work of Judge Stroud is now [1853] out of print, but that a work of the same character is in course of preparation by William I. Bowditch, Esq., of Boston, which will bring the subject out, by the assistance of the latest editions of statutes, and the most recent decisions of courts.


    (pp 71-75)

    ture, under the king's peace, with malice aforethought, express or implied, is murder at common law. Is not a slave a reaaonable creature?—is he not a human being? And the meaning of this phrase, reasonable creature, is, a human being. For the killing a lunatic, an idiot, or even a child unborn, is murder, as much as the killing a philosopher; and has not the slave as much reason as a lunatic, an idiot, or an unborn child?

    Thus triumphantly, in this nineteenth century of the Christian era [1820] and in the State of Mississippi, has it been made to appear that the slave is a reasonable creature,—a human being!

    What sort of system, what sort of a public sentiment, was that which made this argument necessary?

    And let us look at some of the admissions of this argument with regard to the nature of slavery. According to the Judge, it is depriving human beings of many of their rights. Thus he says:

    "Because individuals may have been deprived of many of their rights by society, it does not follow that they have been deprived of all their rights."

    Again, he says of the slave:

    "He is still a human being, and possesses all those rights of which he is not deprived by the positive provisions of the law."

    Here he admits that the provisions of law deprive the slave of natural rights. Again he say:

    "The right of the master exists not by force of the law of nature or of nations, but by virtue only of the positive law of the state.

    According to the decision of this [Mississippi Supreme Court pro-slavery] judge, therefore, slavery exists by the same right that robbery or oppression of any kind does,—the right of ability. A gang of robbers associated into a society have rights over all the neighboring property that they can acquire, of precisely the same kind.

    With the same unconscious serenity does the law apply that principle of force and robbery which is the essence of slavery, and show how far the master may proceed in appropriating another human being as his property.

    The question arises, May a master give a woman to one person, and her unborn children to another one? Let us hear the case argued.

    Wheeler, p 28
    Banks, Admin'r v Marksbury
    Spring T. 1823
    3 Little's Rep. 275

    The unfortunate mother selected as the test point of this interesting legal principle comes to our view in the will of one Samuel Marksbury, under the style and denomination of "my negro wench Pen." Said Samuel states in his will that, for the good will and love he bears to his own children, he gives said negro wench Pen to son Samuel, and all her future increase to daughter Rachael. When daughter Rachael, therefore, marries, her husband sets up a claim for this increase,—as it is stated, quite off-hand, that the "wench had several children."

    Here comes a beautifully interesting case, quite stimulating to legal acumen. Inferior court decides that Samuel Marksbury could not have given away unborn children on the strength of the legal maxim, "Nemo dat quad non habet,"—i. e., "Nobody can give what he has not got,"—which certainly one should think sensible and satisfactory enough. The case, however, is appealed, and reversed in the superior court; and now let us hear the reasoning.

    The Judge acknowledges the force of the maxim above quoted,—says, as one would think any man might say, that it is quite a correct maxim,—the only difficulty being that it does not at all apply to the present case. Let us hear him:

    He who is the absolute owner of a thing, owns all its faculties for profit or increase; and he may, no doubt, grannt the profits or increase, as well as the thing itself. Thus, it is every day's practice to grant the future rents or profits of real estate; and it is held that a man may grant the wool of a flock of sheep for years.

    See also p. 33, Fanny v. Bryant, 4 J. J. Marshall's Rep., 868. In this almost precisely the same language is used. If the reader will proceed, he will find also this principle applied with equal clearness to the hiring, selling, mortgaging of unborn children; and the perfect legal nonchalance of these discussions is only comparable to running a dissecting-knife through the course of all the heart-strings of a living subject, for the purpose of demonstrating the laws of nervous contraction.

    Judge [George M.] Stroud [1795-1875], in his sketch of the slave-laws [Philadelphia: Kimber and Sharpless, 1827], page 99, lays down for proof the following assertion: That the penal codes of the slave states bear much more severely on slaves than on white persons. He introduces his consideration of this proposition by the following humane and sensible remarks:

    A being, ignorant of letters, unenlightened by religion, and deriving but little instruction from good example, cannot be supposed to have right conceptions as to the nature and extent of moral or political obligations. This remark, with but a slight qualification, is applicable to the condition of the slave. It has been just shown that the benefits of education are not conferred upon him, while his chance of acquiring a knowledge of the precepts of the gospel is so remote as scarcely to be appreciated. He may be regarded, therefore,


    as almost without the capacity to comprehend the force of laws; and, on this account, such as are designed for his government should be recommended by their simplicity and mildness.

    His condition suggests another motive for tenderness on his behalf in these particulars. He is unable to read, and holding little or no communication with those who are better informed than himself, how is he to become acquainted with the fact that a law for his observance has been made?

    To exact obedience to a law which has not been promulgated,—which is unknown to the subject of it—has ever [always] been deemed most unjust and tyrannical. The reign of [crazed Roman Emperor] Caligula [27 A.D. - 31 A.D.], were it obnoxious to no other reproach than this, would never cease to be remembered with abhorrence.

    The lawgivers of the slaveholding states seem, in the formation of their penal codes, to have been uninfluenced by these claims of the slave upon their compassionate consideration. The hardened convict moves their sympathy, and is to be taught the laws before he is expected to obey them; yet the guiltless slave is subjected to an extensive system of cruel enactments, of no part of which, probably, has he ever heard.

    Parts of this system apply to the slave exclusively, and for every infraction a large retribution is demanded; while, with respect to offences for which whites as well as slaves are amenable, punishments of much greater seventy are inflicted upon the latter than upon the former.

    This heavy charge of Judge Stroud is sustained by twenty pages of proof, showing the very great disproportion between the number of offences made capital for slaves, and those that are so for whites. Concerning this, we find the following cool remark in Wheeler's Law of Slavery, page 222, note.

    Much has been made of the disparity of punishment between the white inhabitants and the slaves and negroes of the same state; that slaves are punished with much more severity, for the commission of similar crimes, by white persons, than the latter.

    Ed. Note: Rev. Silas McKeen, Scriptural Argument (1848), p 8, reported similarly.

    The charge is undoubtedly true. It must be remembered that the primary object of the enactment of penal laws, is the protection and security of those who make them.

    The slave has no agency in making them. He is indeed one cause of the apprehended evils to the other class, which those laws are expected to remedy. That he should be held amenable for a violation of those rules established for the security of the other, is the natural result of the state in which he is placed. And the severity of those rules will always bear a relation to that danger, real or ideal [imagined], of the other class.

    It has been so among all nations, and will ever continue to be so, while the disparity between bond and free remains.

    The State v Mann
    Dec. Term, 1829; 2 Devereux's
    North Carolina Rep. 263
    [13 NC 263 (1829)]

    A striking example of a legal decision of this [pro-torture] purport is given in Wheeler's Law of Slavery, page 224. The case, apart from legal technicalities may be thus briefly stated:

    The defendant, Mann, had hired a slave-woman for a year. During this time, the slave committed some slight offence, for which the defendant undertook to chastise her. While in the act of doing so, the slave ran off, whereat he shot at and wounded her.

    [Mann was arrested and given a jury trial.] The judge in the inferior [lower] court charged the jury that if they believed the punishment was cruel and unwarrantable, and disproportioned to the offence, in law the defendant was guilty, as he had only a special property in the slave. The jury finding evidence that the punishment had been cruel, unwarrantable and disproportioned to the offence, found verdict against the defendant. But on what ground?—Because, according to the law of North Carolina, cruel, unwarrantable, disproportionate punishment of a slave from a master, is an indictable offense? No. They decided against the defendant, not because the punishment was cruel and unwarrantable, but because he was not the person who had the right to inflict it, "as he had only a SPECIAL right of property in the slave."

    The defendant appealed to a higher court; and the decision was reversed, on the ground that the hirer has for the time being all the rights of the master. The remarks of Judge Ruffin are so characteristic, and so strongly express the conflict between the feelings of the humane judge and the logical necessity of a strict interpreter of slave-law, that we shall quote largely from it. One cannot but admire the unflinching calmness with which a man, evidently possessed of honorable and humane feelings, walks through the most extreme and ternble results and conclusions, in obedience to the laws of legal truth. Thus he says:

    A judge cannot but lament, when such cases as the present are brought into judgment. It is impossible that the reasons on which they go can be appreciated, but [except] where institutions similar to our own exist, and are thoroughly understood.

    The struggle, too, in the judge's own breast, between the feelings of the man and the duty of the magistrate, is a severe one, presenting strong temptation to put aside such questions, if it be possible.

    It is useless, however, to complain of things inherent in our political state. And it is criminal in a court to avoid any responsibility which the laws impose.

    With whatever reluctance, therefore, it is done, the court is compelled to express an opinion upon the extent of the dominion of the master over the slave in North Carolina. The indictment charges a battery on Lydia, a slave of Elizabeth Jones . . . .

    The inquiry here is, whether a cruel and unreasonable battery on a slave by the hirer is indictable. The judge below instructed the jury that it is. He seems to have put it on the ground, that the defendant had but a special property.

    Our laws uniformly treat the master, or other person having the possession


    and command of the slave, as entitled to the same extent of authority. The object is the same, the service of the slave; and the same [extortion] powers must be confided. In a criminal proceeding, and, indeed, in reference to all other persons but the general owner, the hirer and possessor of the slave, in relation to both rights and duties, is, for the time being, the owner. . . . But, upon the general question whether the owner is answerable criminaliter, for a battery upon his own slave, or other exercise of authority of force, not forbidden by statute, the [demonized, Constitution-ignoring] court entertains but little doubt.

    That he is so liable has never been decided; nor, so far as is known, been hitherto contended. There has been no prosecution of the sort.

    Ed. Note: This ignores numerous pro-freedom precedents.

    The established habits and uniform practice of the country, in this respect, is the best evidence of the portion of power deemed by the whole community requisite to the preservation of the master's dominion. If we thought differently, we could not set our notions in array against the judgment of everybody else, and say that this or that authority may be safely lopped off.

    Ed. Note: This ignores the fact that law controls habits and practice, not vice versa.

    This has indeed been assimilated at the bar to the other domestic relations: and arguments drawn from the well-established principles, which confer and restrain the authority of the parent over the child, the tutor over the pupil, the master over the apprentice, have been pressed on us.

    The [demonized] court does not recognise their application There is no likeness between the cases. They are in opposition to each other, and there is an impassable gulf between them. The difference is that which exists between freedom and slavery; and a greater cannot be imagined.

    In the one, the end in view is the happiness of the youth born to equal rights with that governor on whom the duty devolves of training the young to usefulness, in a station which he is afterwards to assume among freemen. To such an end, and with such a subject, moral and intellectual instruction seem the natural means; and, for the most part, they are found to suffice. Moderate force is superadded only to make the others effectual. If that fails, it is better to leave the party to his own headstrong passions, and the ultimate correction of the law, than to allow it to be immoderatrly inflicted by a private person.

    With slavery it is far otherwise. The end is the profit of the master, his security and the public safety: the subject, one [unconstitutionally] doomed, in his own person and his posterity, to live without knowledge, and without the capacity to make anything his own, and to toil that another may reap the fruits.

    What moral considerations shall be addressed to such a being, to convince him what it is impossible but that the most stupid must feel and know can never be true,—that he is thus to labor upon a principle of natural duty, or for the sake of his own personal happiness!

    Such services can only be expected from one who has no will of his own; who surrenders his will in implicit obedience to that of another. Such obedience is the consequence only of uncontrolled authority over the body [unlimited right to torture]. There is nothing else which can operate to produce the effect.


    I most freely confess my sense of the harshness of this proposition. I feel it as deeply as any man can. And, as a principle of moral right, every person in his retirement must repudiate it. But, in the actual condition of things, it must be so. There is no remedy. This [torture] discipline belongs to the state of slavery. They cannot be disunited without abrogating at once the rights of the master, and absolving the slave from his subjection. It constitutes the curse of slavery to both the bond and the free portions of our population. But it is inherent in the relation of master and slave.

    That there may be particular instances of cruelty and deliberate barbarity [e.g., the Souther case], where in conscience the law might properly interfere, is most probable. The difficulty is to determine where a court may properly begin.

    Ed. Note: Again, the judges are being untruthful. It is easy to know where to begin, e.g.,
  • follow the Somerset precedent
  • enforce the common law
  • enforce the Constitution
  • enforce the bill of rights.
  • Merely in the abstract, it may well be asked which power of the master accords with right. The answer will probably sweep away all of them.

    But we [demonized judges] cannot look at the matter in that [moral] light. The truth is that we are forbidden to enter upon a train of general reasoning on the subject.

    Ed. Note: By judges' lifelong pattern of morally depravity so pervasive as to have become "dead in trespasses and sins" [Ephesians 2:1]," resistant to moral truth, perseveringly defending evil, having seared the conscience [1 Tim. 4:2], and quenching the Holy Spirit [1 Thess. 5:19].
    That is a self-induced awful paralysis of the moral sense [abulia/anomie], when deeds unholiest and crimes most fearful cease any longer to affect the nerve and reasoning.—See p 128, infra.

    We [thus depraved] cannot allow the right of the master to be brought into discussion in the courts of justice. The slave, to remain a slave, must be made sensible that there is no appeal from his master; that his power is, in no instance, usurped, but is conferred by the laws of man, at least, if not by the law of God. The danger would be great, indeed, if the tribunals of justice should be called on to graduate the punishment appropriate to every temper and every dereliction of menial duty.

    No man can anticipate the many and aggravated provocations of the master which the slave would be constantly stimulated by his own passions, or the instigation of others, to give; or the consequent wrath of the master, prompting him to bloody vengeance upon the turbulent traitor; a vengeance generally practiced with impunity, by reason of its privacy. The court, therefore disclaims the [habeas corpus] power of changing the relation in which these parts of our people stand to each other.

    Ed. Note: This depraved, demonized court explicitly refuses to do its duty to, e.g.,
  • follow the Somerset precedent
  • enforce the common law
  • enforce the Constitution
  • enforce the bill of rights.
  • * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    I repeat, that I would gladly have avoided this ungrateful question. But, being brought to it, the court is compelled to declare that while slavery [unconstitutionally] exists amongst us in its present state, or until it shall seem fit to the legislature to interpose express enactments to the contrary, it will be the imperative duty of the judges to recognize the full dominion of the owner over the slave, except where the exercise of it is forbidden by statute.

    Ed. Note: This depraved, demonized court does not even follow precedents under, e.g.,
  • the Somerset precedent
  • the common law
  • the Constitution
  • the bill of rights.
  • And this [disregard of the above] we do upon the ground that this [unconstitutional] dominion is essential to the value of slaves as property, to the security of the master and the public tranquillity, greatly dependent upon their subordination; and, in fine, as most effectually securing the general protection and comfort of the slaves themselves. Judgment below reversed; and judgment entered for the defendant.

    No one can read this [immoral] decision, so fine and clear in expression, so dignified and solemn in its earnestness, and so dreadful in its results, without feeling at once deep respect for the man and horror for the system.

    Ed. Note: See related court cases:
  • Commonwealth v Harris
  • State v Souther
  • Commonwealth v Lewis
    See also Nazi-era context.
  • The man, judging him from this short specimen, which is all author [Stowe] knows,* has one of that high order of minds, which looks straight through all verbiage and sophistry to the heart of every subject which it encounters. He has, too, that noble
    * More recently the author has met with a passage in a North Carolina newspaper, containing some further par-


    scorn of dissimulation, that straightforward determination not to call a bad thing by a good name, even when most popular and reputable and [supposedly] legal, which it is to be wished could be more frequently seen, both in our Northern and Southern States. There is but one sole regret, and that is that such a man, with such a mind, should have been merely an expositor, and not a reformer of law.

    Ed. Note: For another analysis, see, e.g., Mark V. Tushnet, Slave Law in the American South: STATE v. MANN in History and Literature (University Press of Kansas, 2003); and book review by Keith E. Whittington.

    Chapter III.

    Souther v. The Commonwealth—The
    Ne Plus Ultra of Legal Humanity.

    "Yet in the face of such laws and decisions as these! Mrs. Stowe, &c."—Courier & Enquirer.

    THE case of Souther v the Commonwealth [48 Va 673 (1851)], has been cited by the Courier & Enquirer as a particularly favorable specimen of judicial proceedings under the slave code, with the following remark:

    "And yet, in the face of such laws and decisions as these, Mrs. Stowe winds up a long series of cruelties upon her other black personages, by causing her faultless hero, Tom, to be literally whipped to death in Louisiana, by his master Legree; and these acts, which the laws make criminal, and punish as such, she sets forth in the most repulsive colors, to illustrate the institution of slavery!

    By the above language the author [Stowe] was led into the supposition that this case had been conducted in a manner so creditable to the feelings of our common humanity as to present a fairer side of criminal jurisprudence in this respect.

    She accordingly took the pains to procure a report of the case [at law library], designing to publish it as an offset to the many barbarities which research into this branch of the subject obliges one to unfold.

    A legal gentleman has copied the case from Grattan's Reports [the official lawbook source], and it is here given. If the reader is astounded at it, he cannot be more so than was the writer [Stowe].

    Ed. Note: Reader Advisory: This is a torture-murder case, by 'poor white trash.'
    And see overall slavery-characteristcs list.

    Souther v The Commonwealth. 7 Grattan, 673, 1851.

    The killing of a slave by his master and owner, by wilful and excessive whipping, is murder in the first degree; though it may not have been the purpose and intention of the master and owner to kill the slave.

    Simeon Souther was indicted at the October Term, 1850, of the Circuit Court for the County of Hanover, for the murder of his own slave The indictment contained fifteen counts, in which the various modes of punishment and torture by which the homicide was charged to have been committed were stated singly, and in various combinations. The fifteenth count unites them all and, as the court certifies that the indictment was sustained by the evidence, the giving the facts stated in that count will show what was the charge against the prisoner, and what was the proof to sustain it.

    The count charged that on the lst day of September, 1849, the prisoner tied his negro slave, Sam, with ropes about his wrists, neck, body, legs and ankles, to a tree. That whilst so tied, the prisoner first whipped the slave with switches. That he next beat and cobbed the slave with a shingle, and compelled two of his slaves, a man and a woman, also to cob the deceased with the shingle. That whilst the deceased was so tied to the tree, the prisoner did strike, knock, kick, stamp and beat him upon various parts of his head, face and body; that he applied fire to his body , * * * that he then washed his body with warm water, in which pods of red pepper had been put and steeped, and he compelled his two slaves aforesaid also to wash him with this same preparation of warm water and red pepper. That after the tying, whipping, cobbing, striking, beating, knocking, kicking, stamping, wounding, bruising, lacerating, burning, washing and torturing, as

    ticulars of the life of Judge Ruffin, which have proved interesting to her [Stowe], and may also to the reader.

    From the Raleigh (N.C.) Register.


    We publish below the letter of Chief Justice Ruffin of the Supreme Court, resigning his seat on the bench

    This act takes us, and no less will it take the state, by surrprise The public are not prepared for it, and we doubt not there will scarcely be an exception to the deep and general regret which will be felt throughout the state. Judge Ruffin's great and unsurpassed legal learning, his untiring industry, the ease with which he mastered the details and comprehended the whole of the most complicated cases, were the admiration of the bar; and it has become a common saying of the ablest lawyers of the state, for a long time past, that his place on the bench could be supplied by no other than himself.

    He is now, as we learn, in the sixty-fifth year of his age, in full possession of his usual excellent health, unaffected, so far as we can discover, in his natural vigor and strength, and certainly without any symptom of mental decay.

    Forty-five years ago [1807] he commenced the practice of the law. He has been on the bench twenty-eight years [since 1824], of which time he has been one of the Supreme Court twenty-three years [since 1829]. During this long public career he has, in a pecuniary point of view, sacrificed many thousands; for there has been no time of it in which he might not, with perfect ease, have doubled, by practice, the amount of his salary as judge.

    To the Honorable the General Assembly of North Carolina,
    now in session

    "Gentlemen: I desire to retire to the walks of private life, and therefore pray your honorable body to accept the resignation of my place on the bench of the Supreme Court. In surrendering this trust, I would wish to express my grateful sense of the confidence and honors so often and so long bestowed on me by the General Assembly. But I have no language to do it suitably. I am very sensible that they were far beyond my deserts, and that I have made an insufficient return of the service. Yet I can truly aver that, to the best of my ability, I have administered the lawr as I understood it, and to the ends of suppressing crime and wrong, and upholding virtue, truth and right, aiming to give confidence to honest men, and to confirm in all good citizens love for our country, and a pure trust in her law and magistrates.

    "In my place I hope I have contnbuted to theas ends, and I firmly believe that our laws will, as heretofore, be executed, and our people happy in the administration of justice, honest and contented, as long as they keep, and only so long as they keep, the independent and sound judiciary now established in the constitution, which, with all other blessings, I earnestly pray may be perpetuated to the people of North Carolina

    "I have the honor to be, gentlemen, your most obliged and obedient servant,


    "Raleigh, November 10, 1852."


    aforesaid, the prisoner untied the deceased [Sam] from the tree in such wiiy as to throw him with violence to the ground; and he then and there did knock, kick, stamp and beat the deceased upon his head, temples, and various parts of his body.

    That the prisoner [Souther] then had the deceased carried into a shed-room of his house, and there he compelled one of his slaves, in his presence, to confine the deceased's feet in stocks, by making his legs fast to a piece of timber, and to tie a rope about the neck of the deceased, and fasten it to a bed-post in the room, thereby strangling, choking and suffocating the deceased.

    And that whilst the deceased was thus made fast in stocks as aforesaid, the prisoner did kick, knock, stamp and beat him upon his head, face, breast, belly, sides, back and body; and he again compelled his two slaves to apply fire to the body of the deceased, whilst he was so made fast as aforesaid.

    And the count charged that from these various modes of punishment and torture the slave Sam then and there died. It appeared that the prisoner [Souther] commenced the punishment of the deceased in the morning, and that it was continued throughout the day; and that the deceased died in the presence of the prisoner, and one of his slaves, and one of the [poor white trash] witnesses, whilst the punishment was still progressing.

    Field, J. delivered the opinion [decision] of the court.

    The prisoner [Souther] was indicted and convicted of murder in the second decree, in the Circuit Court of Hanover, at its April term last past, and was sentenced to the penitentiary for five years, the period of time ascertained by the jury.

    The murder consisted in the killing of a negro man-slave hy the name of Sam, the property of the prisoner, by cruel and excessive whipping and torture, inflicted by Souther, aided by two of hi» other slaves, on the 1st day of September, 1849.

    The prisoner [felt he was wrongly convicted and] moved for a new trial, upon the ground that the offence, if any, amounted only to manslaughter. The motion for a new trial was overruled, and a bill of exceptions taken to the opinion of the court, setting forth the facts proved, or as many of them as were deemed material for the consideration of the application for a now trial. The bill of exception [by Souther] states:

  • That the slave Sam, in the indictment mentioned, was the slave and property of the prisoner [Souther].

  • That for the purpose of chastising the slave for the offence of getting drunk, and dealing as the slave confessed and alleged with Henry and Stone, two of the [poor white trash / redneck] witnesses for the Commonwealth [county prosecutor], he caused him to be tied and punished in the presence of the said witnesses, with the exception of slight whipping with peach or apple-tree switches, before the said witnesses arrived at the scene after they were sent for by the prisoner (who were present by request from the defendant), and of several slaves of the prisoner, in the manner and by the means charged in the indictment;

  • and the said slave died under and from the infliction of the said punishment, in the presence of the prisoner, one of his slaves, and of one of the witnesses for the Commonwealth.

  • But it did not appear that it was the design of the prisoner [Souther] to kill the said slave [Sam], unless such design be properly inferable from the manner, means and duration, of the punishment.

  • And, on the contrary, it did appear that the prisoner frequently declared, while the said slave was undergoing the punishmnent, that he [Souther] believed the said slave was feigning, and pretending to be suffering and injured when he was not.
  • The [county] judge certifies that the slave was punished in the manner and by the means charged in the indictment. The indictment contains fifteen counts, and sets forth a case of the most cruel and excessive whipping and torture.*

    • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

    It is believed that the records of criminal jurisprudence do not contain a case of more atrocious and wicked cruelty than was presented upon the trial of Souther; and yet it has been gravely and earnestly contended here by his [demonized lawyer] counsel that his [Souther's] offence amounts to manslaughter only.

    It has been contended by the counsel of the prisoner that a man cannot be indicted and prosecuted for the cruel and excessive whipping of his own slave. That it is lawful for the master to chastise his slave, and that if death ensues from such chastisement, unless it was intended to produce death, it is like the case of homicide which is committed by a man in the performance of a lawful act, which is manslaughter only.

    [The depraved court admitted that] It has been decided by this [demonized] court in [Commonwealth v] Turner's Case, 5 Rand [26 Va 678 (1827)], that the owner of a slave, for the malicious, cruel and excessive beating of his own slave, cannot be indicted [even for simple assault and battery]; yet it by no means follows, when such malicious, cruel and excessive beating results in death [witnessed by whites], though not intended and premeditated, that the beating is to be regarded as lawful for the purpose of reducing the crime to manslaughter, when the whipping is inflicted for the sole purpose of chastisement [for past action].

    It is the policy of [the perverted legislators writing] the [unconstitutional] law, in respect to the relation of master and slave, and for the sake of securing proper subordination and obedience on the part of the slave, to protect the master  from prosecution in all such cases, even if the whipping and punishment be malicious, cruel and excessive.

    But in so inflicting punishment for the sake of punishment, the owner of the slave acts at his peril; and if death ensues in consequence of such punishment, the relation of master and slave affords no ground of excuse or palliation.

    The principles of the common law, in relation to homicidc, apply to his case without qualification or exception; and according to those principles, the act of the prisoner [Souther], in the case under consideration, amounted to murder. * * * The crime of the prisoner is not manslaughter, but murder in the first degree.

    On the case now presented there are some remarks to be made.

    Ed. Note: Souther's lawyer would have advised him, 'to avoid conviction next time, privacy, no white witnesses!'

    This scene of torture, it seems, occupied about twelve hours. It occured in the State of Virginia, in the County of Hanover. Two white men were witnesses to nearly the whole proceeding, and, so far as we can see, made no effort to arouse the neighborhood and bring in help to stop the outrage. What sort of an education, what habits of thought, does this presuppose in these men?

    Ed. Note: For answer, see Stowe's chapter on poor white trash / rednecks, and references therein, especially Charles Sumner's material on Southern
  • illiteracy
  • poor education
  • fights
  • lawlessness
  • dueling.
    Torture in the South continued. For examples, see
  • lynching related falsehoods behind lynching and torturing, detailed by Prof. David Pilgrim, "The Brute Caricature" (Ferris State Univ, Nov 2000)
  • details on the 1963 murders of three civil rights workers, and torture of one, by Reporter Jerry Mitchell, "Experts: Autopsy reveals beating Chaney wasn't just shot to death, pathologists insist" (Clarion-Ledger, 4 June 2000).
    Suppose the torturers, the slavers, had won the Civil War. What would that be like? Something similiar happened in Indonisia (1965) after the military overthrew the government and imposed a murderous dictatorship. About a million people were rapidly murdered. See the documentary movie "Act of Killing" (2012), portraying a nation wherein mass murderers, incessant smokers, won (1965) and remain in power. And movie review by Chris Hedges (23 Sep 2013).
  • The [murder] case was brought to trial. It re-
    * The following is Judge Field's statement of the punishment.

    The negro was tied to a tree and whipped with switches. When Souther became fatigued with the labor of whipping, he called upon a negro man of his, and made him cub Sam with a shingle. He also made a negro woman of his help to cob him. And, after cobbing and whipping, he aplied fire to the body of the slave. . . . . He [Souther] then caused him [Sam] to be washed down with hot water, in which pods of red pepper had been steeped. The negro was also tied to a log and to the bed-post with ropes, which choked him, and he was kicked and stamped by Souther. This sort of punishment was continued and repeated until the negro died under its infliction.


    (pp 81-82)

    Chapter IV.

    Protective Statutes.

    Apprentices protected.—Outlawry—Melodrama of Prue
    in the Swamp.—Harry the Carpenter, a Romance of Real Life.

    BUT the question now occurs, Are there not protective statutes, the avowed object of which is the protection of the life and limb of the slave? We answer, there are; and these protective statutes are some of the most remarkable pieces of legislation extant.

    That they were dictated by a spirit of humanity, charity, which hopeth all things, would lend us to hope; but no newspaper stories of bloody murders and shocking outrages convey to the mind so dreadful a picture of the numbness of public sentiment caused by slavery as those so-called protective statutes.

    Ed. Note: For weaknesses of such laws, see Rev. John Rankin, Letters, pp 54-56.

    The author [Stowe] copies the following from the statutes of North Carolina. Section 3d of the act passed in 1798 runs thus:

    Whereas by another Act of the Assembly, passed in 1774, the killing of a slave, however wanton, cruel aod deliberate, is only punishable in the first instance by imprisonment and paying the value thereof to the owner, which distinction of criminality between the murder of a white person and one who is equally a human creature, but merely of a different complexion, is DISGRACEFUL TO HUMANITY, AND DEGRADING IN THE HIGHEST DEGREE TO THE LAWS AND PRINCIPLES OF A FREE, CHRISTIAN AND ENLIGHTENED COUNTRY,

    Be it enacted, &c.,

    That if any person shall hereafter be guilty of wilfully and maliciously killing a slave, such offender shall, upon the first conviction thereof, be adjudged guilty of murder, and shall suffer the same punishment as if he had killed a free man. Provided always, this act shall not extend to the person killing a slave OUTLAWED BY VIRTUE OF ANY ACT OF ASSEMBLY OF THIS STATE, or to any slave in the act of resistance to his lawful owner or master, or to any slave dying under moderate correction."

    A law with a like proviso, except the outlawry clause, exists in Tennessee. See Caruthers and Nicholson's Compilation, 1836, p. 676.

    The language of the constitution of Georgia, art. iv., sec. 12, is as follows:

    Any person who shall maliciously dismember or deprive a slave of life shall suffer such punishment as would be indicted in case the like offence had been committed on a free white person, and on the like proof, except in case of insurrrection by such slave, and unless such death should happen by accident in giving such slave moderate correction.—Cobb's Dig., 1851, p. 1125.

    Let now any Englishman or New Englander imagine that such laws with regard to apprentices had ever been proposed in Parliament or State Legislature under the head of protective acts,—laws which in so many words permit the killing of the subject in three cases, and those comprising all the acts which would generally occur under the law; namely, if the slave resist, if he be outlawed, or if he die under moderate correction.

    What rule in the world will ever prove correction immoderate, if the fact that the subject dies under it is not held as proof? How many such "accidents" would have to happen in Old England or New England, before Parliament or Legislature would hear from such a protective law.

    "But," some one may ask, "what is the outlawry spoken of in this act?" The question is pertinent, and must be answered. The author [Stowe] has copied the following from the Revised Statutes of North Carolina, chap. cxi, sec. 22. It may be remarked in passing that the preamble to this law presents rather a new view of slavery to those who have formed their ideas from certain pictures of blissful contentment and Arcadian repose, which have been much in vogue of late.

    Whereas, MANY TIMES slaves run away and lie out, hid and lurking in swamps, woods, and other obscure places, killing cattle and hogs, and committing other injuries to the inhabitants of this state;

    in all such cases, upon intelligence of any slave or slaves lying out as aforesaid, any two justices of the peace for the county wherein such slave or slaves is or are supposed to lurk or do mischief, shall, and they are hereby empowered and required to issue proclamation against such slave or slaves (reciting his or their names, and the name or names of the owner or owners, if known), thereby requiring him or them, and every of them, forthwith to surrender him or themselves;

    and also to empower and require the sheriff of the said county to take such power with him as he shall think fit and necessary for going in search and pursuit of, and effectually apprehending, such outlying slave or slaves; which proclamation shall be published at the door of the court-house, and at such other places as said justices shall direct.

    And if any slave or slaves agaiinst whom proclamation hath been thus issued stay out, and do not immediately return home, it shall be lawful for any person or persons whatsoever to kill and destroy such slave or slaves by such ways and means as shall think fit, without accusation or impeachment of any crime for the same.

    What ways and means have been thought fit, in actual experience, for the destruction of the slave? What was done with the negro McIntosh, in the streets of St. Louis, in open daylight, and endorsed at the next sitting of the Supreme Court of the state, as transcending the sphere of law, because it was "an act of the majority of her most respectable citizens"?*

    If these things are done in the green tree, what will be done in the dry? If these things have once been
    * This man was burned alive.


    (pp 84-86)

    South. It is unhappily too notorious that, they exist wverywhere,—in England, in New England, and the world over; but they can only arrive at full maturity in wickedness under a system where the law clothes them with absolute and irresponsible power.

    Chapter V.

    Protective Acts of South Carolina and
    Louisiana.—The Iron Collar of
    Louisiana and North Carolina.

    Thus far by way of considering the protective acts of North Carolina, Georgia and Tennessee.

    Certain miscellaneous protective acts of various other states will now be cited, merely as specimens of the spirit of legislation.

    In South Carolina, the act of 1740 punished the wilful, deliberate murder of a slave by disfranchisement, and by a fine of seven hundred pounds current money, or, in default of payment, imprisonment for seven years.—Stroud, p. 39. 2 Brevard's Digest, p. 241.

    But the wilful murder of a slave, in the sense contemplated in this law, is a crime which would not often occur. The kind of murder which was most frequent among masters or overseers was [by said law] guarded against by another section of the same act,—how adequately the reader will judge for himself, from the following quotation:

    If any person shall, on a sudden heat or passion, or by undue correction, kill his own slave, or the slave of any other person, he shall forfeit the saum of three hundred and fifty pounds current money.—Stroud's Sketch, p 40. 2 Brevard's Digest, 241. James' Digest, 392.

    In 1821 the act punishing the wilful murder of the slave only with fine or imprisonment was mainly repealed, and it was enacted that such crime should be punished by death; but the latter section, which relates to killing the slave in sudden heat or prision, or by undue correction, has been altered only by diminishing the pecuniary penalty to a fine of five hundred dollars, authorizing also imprisonment for six months.

    The next protective statute to be noticed is the following from the act of 1740, South Carolina.

    In case any person wilfully cut out the tongue, put out the eye, * * * or cruelly scald, burn, or deprive any slave of any limb, or member, or shall inflict any other cruel punishment, other than by whipping or beating with a horse-whip, cowskin, switch, or small stick, or by putting irons on, or confining or imprisoning such slave, every such person shall, for every such offence, forfeit the sum of one hundred pounds, current money.

    The language of this law, like many other of these protective enactments, is exceedingly suggestive; the first suggestion that occurs is, What sort of an institution, and what sort of a state of society is it, that called out a law worded like this? Laws are generally not made against practices that do not exist, and exist with some degree of frequency.

    The advocates of slavery are very fond of comparing it to the apprentice system of England and America. Let us suppose that in the British Parliament, or in a New England Legislature, the following law is proposed, under the title of An Act for the Protection of Apprentices, &c. &c.

    In case any person shall wilfully cut out the tongue, put out the eye, or cruelly scald, burn, or deprive any apprentice of any limb or member, or shall inflict any other cruel punishment, other than by whipping or beating with a horse-whip, cowskin, switch or small stick, or by putting irons on or confining or imprisoning such apprentice, every such person shall, for every such offence, forfeit the sum of one hundred pounds, current money.

    What a sensation such a proposed law would make in England may be best left for Englishmen to say; but in New England it would simply constitute the proposer a candidate for Bedlam [insane asylum]. Yet that such a statute is necessary in South Carolina is evident enough, if we reflect that, because there is no such statute in Virginia, it has been decided that a wretch who perpetrates all these enormities on a slave cannot even be indicted for it, unless the slave dies.

    But let us look further:—What is to be the penalty when any of these fiendish things are done?

    Why, the man forfeits a hundred pounds, current money. Surely he ought to pay as much as that for doing so very unnecessary an act, when the Legislature bountifully allows him to inflict any torture which revengeful ingenuity could devise, by means of horse-whip, cowskin, switch or small stick, or putting irons on, or confining and imprisoning. One would surely think that here was sufficient scope and variety of legalized means of torture to satisfy any ordinary appetite for vengeance.

    It would appear decidedly that any more piquant varieties of agony ought to be an extra charge. The [vile, demonized] advocates of slavery are fond of comparing the situation of the slave with


    (pp 88-91)

    little affair terminates. But it does not terminate thus for Tom or Sambo, Dinah, or any others who have been alluded to for authority. What will happen to them, when Mr. Legree comes home, had better be left to conjecture.

    It is claimed, by the [lying] author of certain paragraphs quoted at the commencement of Part II., that there exist in Louisiana ample protective acts [laws] to prevent the separation of young children from their mothers. This [demonized] writer appears to be in the enjoyment of an amiable ignorance and unsophisticated innocence with regard to the workings of human society generally, which is, on the whole, rather refreshing. For on a certain incident in "Uncle Tom's Cabin," which represented Cassy's little daughter as having been sold from her, he makes the following naif remark:

    Now, the reader will perhaps be surprised to know that such an incident as the sale of Casey apart from Eliza, upon which the whole interest of the foregoing narrative hinges, never could have taken place in Louisiana, and that the bill of sale for Eliza would not have been worth the paper it was written on.—Observe. George Shelby states that Eliza was eight or nine years old at the time his father purchased her in New Orleans. Let us again look at the statute-book of Louisiana.

    In the Code Noir we find it set down that

    "Every person is expressly prohibited from selling separately froiri their mothers the children who shall not have attained the full age of ten years."

    And this humane provision is strengthened by a statute, one clause of which runs as follows:

    "Be it further enacted, that if any person or persons shall sell the mother of any slave child or children under the age of ten years, separate from said child or children, or shall, the mother living, sell any slave child or children of ten years of age or under, separate from said mother, such person or persons shall incur the penalty of the sixth section of this act."

    This penalty is a fine of not less than one thousand nor more than two thousand dollars, and imprisonment in the public jail for a period not less than six months nor more than one year.—Vide Acts of Louisiana, 1 Session, 9th Legislature, 1828-9, No. 24, Section 16. (Rev. Stat., 1852, p. 550, (§ 143.)

    What a charming freshness of nature is suggested by this assertion! A thing could not have happened in a certain state, because there is a law against it!

    Ed. Note. Rep. Thaddeus Stevens made the same point in 1865.

    Has there not been for two years a law forbidding to succor fugitives, or to hinder their arresr?—and has not this thing been done thousands of times in all the Northern States, and is not it more and more likely to be done every year? What is a law, against the whole public sentiment of society?—and will anybody venture to say that the public sentiment of Louisiana practically goes against separation of families?

    But let us examine a case more minutely remembering the bearing on it of two great foundation principles of slave jurisprudence: namely, that a slave cannot bring a suit in any case, except in a suit for personal freedom, and this in some states must be brought by a guardian; and that a slave cannot bear testimony in any case in which whites are implicated.

    Suppose Butler wants to sell Cassy's child of nine years. There is a statute forbidding to sell under ten years;—what is Cassy to do? She cannot bring suit. Will the state prosecute? Suppose it does,—what then? Butler says the child is ten years old; if he pleases, he will say she is ten and a half, or eleven. What is Cassy to do? She cannot testify; besides, she is utterly in Butler's power. He may tell her that if she offers to stir in the affair, he will whip the child within an inch of its life; and she knows he can do it, and that there is no help for it;—he may lock her up in a dungeon, sell her on to a distant plantation, or do any other despotic thing he chooses, and there is nobody to say Nay.

    How much does the protective statute amount to for Cassy? It may be very well as a piece of advice to the public, or as a decorous expression of opinion, but one might as well try to stop the current of the Mississippi [river] with a bulrush as the tide of trade in human beings with sucb a regulation.

    We think that, by this time, the reader will agree with us, that the less the defenders of slavery say about protective statutes, the better.

    Chapter VII.

    The Execution of Justice.

    State v. Eliza Rowand.—The "Ægis
    of Protection" to the Slave's Life.

    "We cannot but regard the fact of this trial as a solitary occurrence."—Charleston Courier.

    HAVING given some account of what sort of statutes are to be found on the law-books of slavery, the reader will hardly be satisfied without knowing what sort of trials are held under them. We will quote one specimen of a trial, reported in the Charleston Courier of May 6th, 1847. The Charleston Courier is one of the leading papers of South Carolina, and the case is reported with the ut-


    (pp 93-101)

    just the position he would naturally fall into, had he sunk from exhaustion. They wish it to appear that he hung himself. Could this be proved (we need hardly say that it is not), it would relieve but slightly the dark picture of their guilt. The probability is that he sank, exhausted by suffering, fatigue and fear.

    As to the testimony of "surgeons," founded upon a post-mortem examination of the brain and blood-vessels, "that the subject would not have fainted before strangulation," it is not worthy of consideration. We know something of the fallacies and fooleries of such examinations.

    From all we can learn, the only evidence relied on by the prosecution was that white man employed by the Castlemans. He was dependent upon them for work. Other evidence might have been obtained; why it was not is for the prosecuting attorney to explain. To prove what we say, and to show that justice has not been done in this horrible affair, we publish the following communication from an old and highly-respectable citizen of this place, and who is very far from being an Abortionist. The slave-holders whom he mentions are well knonn here, and would have promptly appeared in the case, had the prosecution, which was aware of their readiness, summoned them.

    "To the Editor of the Era:

    "I see that Castleman, who lately had a trial for whipping a slave to death, in Virginia, was 'triumphantly acquitted,'—as many expected. There are three persons in this city, with whom I am acquainted, who staid at Castleman's the same night in which this awful tragedy was enacted. They heard the dreadful lashing and the heart-rending screams and entreaties of the sufferer.

    They implored the only white man they could find on the premises, not engaged in the bloody work, to interpose; but for a long time he refused, on the ground that he was a dependent, and was afraid to give offence; and that, moreover, they [the Castlemans] had been drinking, and he was in fear for his own life, should he say a word that would be displeasing to them.

    "He did, however, venture, and returned and reported the cruel manner in which the slaves were chained, and lashed, and secured in a blacksmith's vice. In the morning, when they ascertained that one of the slaves was when they ascertained that one of the slaves was dead, they were so shocked and indignant that they refused to eat in the house, and reproached Castleman with his cruelty. He expressed his regret that the slave had died, and especially as he had ascertained that he was innocent of the accusation for which he had suffered. The idea was that he [the deceased] had fainted from exhaustion; and, the chain being round his neck, he was strangled.

    "The persons I refer to are themselves slave-holders,—but their feelings were so harrowed and lacerated that they could not sleep (two of them are ladies; and for many nights afterwards their rest was disturbed, and their dreams made frightful, by the appalling recollection.

    "These persons would have been material witnesses, and would have willingly attended on the part of the prosecution. The knowledge they had of the case was communicated to the proper authorities, yet their attendance was not required [subpoenaed]. The only witness was that dependent who considered his own life in danger.

    "Yours, &c.,

    "J. F."

    The account, as published by the friends of the accused parties, shows a case of extreme cruelty. The statements made by our corresondent prove that the truth has not been fully revealed, and that justice has been baffled. The result of the trial shows how irresponsible is the power of a master over his slave; and that whatever security the latter has is to be sought in the humanity of the former, not in the guarantees of law. Against the cruelty of an inhuman master he has really no safeguard.

    Ed. Note: See also the Commonwealth v Benjamin J. Harris torture-murder cases.

    Our conduct in relation to this case, deferring all notice of it in our columns till a legal investigation could be had, shows that we are not disposed to be captious towards our slave-holding countrymen. In no unkind spirit have we examined this lamentable case; but we must expose the utter repugnance of the slave system to the proper administration of justice. The newspapers of Virginia generally publish the account from the Spirit of Jefferson without comment. They are evidently not satisfied that justice was done; they doubtless will deny that the accused were guilty of homicide, legally; but they will not deny that they were guilty of an atrocity which should brand them forever, in a Christian country.

    Chapter X.

    Principles Established.—State v.
    Legree; A Case Not in the Books.

    FROM a review of all the legal cases which have hitherto been presented, and of the principles established in the judicial decisions upon them, the following facts must be apparent to the reader:

    First, That masters do, now and then, kill slaves by the torture.

    Second, That the fact of so killing a slave is not of itself held presumption of murder, in slave jurisprudence.

    Third, That the slave in the act of resistance to his master may always be killed.

    From these things it will be seen to follow, that, if the facts of the death of Tom had been fully proved by two white witnesses, in open court, Legree could not have been held by any consistent interpreter of slave-law to be a murderer; for Tom was in the act of resistance to the will of his master. His master had laid a command on him, in the presence of other slaves. Tom had deliberately refused to obey the command. The master commenced chastisement, to reduce him to obedience.

    And it is evident, at the first glance, to every one, that, if the law does not sustain him in enforcing obedience in such a case, there is an end of the whole slave power. No Southern court would dare to decide that Legree did wrong to continue the punishment, as long as Tom continued the insubordination. Legree stood by him every


    (pp 104-106)

    the point of death, was not indictable. Not being read in English law, the writer cannot say; but there is strong impression from within that such a [pro-torture-murder Virginia supreme court] decision as this would have shaken the whole island of Great Britain; and that such a [torture-murder] case as Souther v. The Commonwealth [48 Va 673 (1851)] would never have been forgotten under the sun. Yet it is probable that very few persons in the United States ever heard of the case, or ever would have heard of it, had it not been quoted by the [demonized] New York Courier and Enquirer as an .overwhelming example of legal humanity.

    The horror of the whole [torture-murder] matter is, that more than one such case should ever need to happen in a country, in order to make the whole community feel, as one man, that such power ought not to be left in the hands of a master. How many such cases do people wish to have happen?—how many must happen, before they will learn that utter despotic power is not to be trusted in any hands?

    Ed. Note: See, e.g., Commonwealth v. Harris, another torture-murder case.

    If one white man's son or brother had been treated in this way, under the law of apprenticeship, the whole country would have trembled, from Louisiana to Maine, till that law had been altered. They forget that the black man has also a father. It is

    "He that sitteth upon the circle of the heavens, who bringeth the princes to nothing, and maketh the judges of the earth as vanity" [Isaiah 40:22-23]. He hath said that "When he maketh inquisition for blood, he FORGETTETH NOT the cry of the humble" [Psalm 9:12].

    That blood which has fallen so despised to the earth,— that blood which lawyers have quibbled over, in the quiet of legal nonchalance, discussing in great ease whether it fell by murder in the first or second degree,—HE will one day reckon for as the blood of his own child. He

    "is not slack concerning his promises, as some men count slackness, but is long-suffering to usward;" [2 Peter 3.9]

    but the day of vengeance is surely coming, and the year of his redeemed is in his heart.

    Another court will sit upon these trials, when the Son of Man shall come in his glory. It will be not alone [torture-murderer] Souther, and such as he, that will be arraigned there; but all those in this nation, north and south, who have abetted the system, and made the laws which made Souther what he was. In that court negro testimony will be received, if never before; and the judges and fhe counsellors, and the chief men, and the mighty men, marshalled to that awful bar, will say to the mountains and the rocks. "Fall on us and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb."

    The wrath of the Lamb! Think of it! Think that Jesus Christ has been present, a witness,—a silent witness through every such scene of torture and anguish,—a silent witness in every such court, calmly hearing the evidence given in, the lawyers pleading, the bills filed, and cases appealed! And think what a heart Jesus Christ has, and with what age-long patience he has suffered. What awful depths are there in tliat word LONG-SUFFERING! and what must be that wrath, when, after ages of endurance, this dread accumulation of wrong and anguish comes up at last to judgment!

    Chapter XII.

    A Comparison of the Roman
    Law of Slavery with the American.

    THE writer has expressed the opinion that the American law of slavery, taken throughout, is a more severe one than that of any other civilized nation, ancient or modern, if we except, perhaps, that of the Spartans. She has not at hand the means of comparing French and Spanish slave-codes; but, as it is a common remark that Roman slavery was much more severe than any that has ever existed in America, it will be well to compare the Roman with the American law.

    Ed. Note: See also overview of Roman anti-slavery principles, by Edward C. Rogers, Slavery Illegality in All Ages and Nations (Boston: Bela Marsh, 1855), Ch. II., "Ancient Rome," pp. 15-23.

    We therefore present a description of the Roman slave-law, as quoted by William Jay, Esq., from [William] Blair's "Inquiry into the State of Slavery among the Romans" [Edinburgh: Thomas Clark, 1833; reprinted, Detroit: Negro History Press, 1970; repr. St. Clair Shores, Mich.: Scholarly Press, 1977], giving such references to American authorities as will enable the reader to make his own comparison, and to draw his own inferences.

    I. The slave had no protection against the avarice, rage, or lust of the [Roman] master, whose authority was founded in absolute property; and the bondman was viewed less as a human being subject to arbitrary dominion, than as an inferior animal, dependent wholly on the will of his owner.

    See law of South Carolina, in Judge [George M.] Stroud's "Sketch of the Laws of Slavery" [Philadelphia: Kimber and Sharpless, 1827], p. 23.

    Slaves shall be deemed, sold, taken, reputed and adjudged in law to be chattels personal in the hands of their owners and possessors, and their executors, administrators and assigns, to all intents, constructions, and purposes whatever. 2 Brev. Dig. 229. Prince's Dig. 446. Cobb's Dig. 971. [Ed. Note. "Dig" is abbreviation for Digest [Summary] of Laws.]

    A slave is one who is in the in the power of a master to whom he belongs. Lou. Civil Code, art. 35. Stroud's Sketch, p. 22.


    Such obedience is the consequence only of uncontrolled authority over the body [extortion]. There is nothing else which can operate to produce the effect. The power of the master must be absolute, to render the submission of the slave perfect. Judge Ruffin's Decision in the case of The State v Mann [13 NC 263 (1829), supra]. Wheeler's Law of Slavery, 246.

    II. At first, the master possessed the uncontrolled power of life and death.

    At a very early period in Virginia, the power of life over slaves was given by [unconstitutional] statute. Judge Clarke, in case of State of Miss v Jones, Wheeler, 252.

    III. He [Roman master] might kill, mutilate or torture his slaves, for any or no offence; he might force them to become gladiators or prostitutes.

    The privilege of killing is now somewhat abridged; as to mutilation and torture, see the case of Souther v. The Commonwealth, 7 Grattan 673, quoted in Chapter III., above. Also State v. Mann, in the same chapter, from Wheeler, p. 244.

    IV. The temporary unions of male with female slaves were formed and dissolved at his command; families and friends were separated when he pleased.

    See the decision of Judge Mathews in the case of Girod v. Lewis, Wheeler, 199:

    It is clear, that slaves have no legal capacity to assent to any contract. With the consent of their master, they may marry, and their moral power to agree to such a contract or connection as that of marriage cannot be doubted; but whilst in a state of slavery it cannot produce any civil effect, because slaves are [unconstitutionally] deprived of all civil rights.

    See also the chapter below on "the separation of families," and the files of any southern newspaper, passim.

    V. The laws recognized no obligation upon the owners of slaves, to furnish them with food and clothing, or to take care of them in sickness.

    The extent to which this deficiency in the Roman law was been supplied in the American, by "protective acts, has been exhibited above.*

    VI. Slaves could have no property but by the sufferance of their master, for whom they acquired everything, and with whom they could form no engagements which could be binding on him.

    The following chapter will show how far American legislation is in advance of that of the Romans, in that it makes it a penal offence on the part of the master to permit his slave to hold property, and a crime on the part of the slave to be so permitted. For the present purpose, we give an extract from the Civil code of Louisima, as quoted by Judge Stroud:

    A slave is one who is in the power of a master to whom he belongs. The master may sell him, dispose of his person, his industry, and his labor; he can do nothing, possess nothing, nor acquire anything but what must belong to his master. Civil Code, Article 35, Stroud, p. 22.

    According to Judge Ruffin, a slave is

    "one doomed in his own person, and his posterity, to live without knowledge, and without the capacity to make anything his own, and to toil that another may reap the fruits." Wheeler's Law of Slavery, p. 246. State v Mann.

    With reference to the binding power of engagements between master and slave, the following decisions from the United States Digest are in point (7, p. 449):

    All the acquisitions of the slave in possession are the property of his master, notwithstanding the promise [word] of his master that the slave shall have certain of them. Gist v Toohey, 2 Rich 424.

    A slave paid money which he had earned over and above his wages, for the purchase of his children into the hands of B, and B purchased such children with the money. Held that the master of such slave was entitled to recover the money of B. Ibid.

    VII. The master might transfer his rights by either sale or gift, or might bequeath them by will.

    Slaves shall be deemed, sold, taken, reputed and adjudged in law, to be chattels personal in the hands of their owners and possessors, and their executors, administrators, and assigns, to all intents, constructions, and purposes whatsoever. Law of S. Carolina, Cobb's Digest, 971.

    VIII. A master selling, giving, or bequeathing a slave, sometimes made it a provision that he should never be carried abroad, or that he should be manunitted on a fixed day; or that, on the other hand, he should never be emancipated, or that he should be kept in chains for life.

    We hardly think that a provision that a slave should never be emancipated, or that he should be kept in chains for life, would be sustained. A provision that the slave should not be carried out of the state, or sold, and that on the happening of either event he should be free, has been sustained. Williams v Ash, [42 U.S. 1;   11 L.Ed. 25 (1843)]   1 How. U.S. Rep. 1;   5 U.S. Dig 792 § 5.

    The remainder of Blair's account of Roman slavery is devoted rather to the practices of masters than the state of the law itself. Surely, the writer [Stowe] is not called upon to exhibit in the society of enlightened, republican and Christian America, in the nineteenth century, a parallel to the atrocities committed in pagan Rome, under the sceptre of the persecuting Cæsars, when the amphitheatre was the favorite resort of the most refined of her citizens, as well as the great "school of morals" for the multitude.
    * See also the case of State v Abram, 10 Ala. 928, 7 U. S. Dig p 419. "The master or overseer, and not the slave, is the proper judge whether the slave is too sick to be able to labor. The latter cannot, therefore, resist the order of the former to go to work."


    A few references only will show, as far as we desire to show, how much safer it is now to trust man with absolute power over his fellow, than it was then.

    IX. While slaves turned the handmill they were generally chained, and had a broad wooden collar, to prevent them from eating the grain. The FURCA, which in later language means a gibbet, was, in older dialect, used to denote a wooden fork or collar, which was made to bear upon their shoulders, or around their necks, as a mark of disgrace, as much as an uneasy burden.

    The reader has already seen, in Chapter V., that this instrument of degradation has been in use, in our own day, in certain of the slave states, under the express sanction and protection of statute laws; although the material is different, and the construction doubtless improved by modern ingenuity.

    X. Fetters and chains were much used for punishment or restraint, and were, in some instances, worn by slaves during life, through the sole authority of the master. Porters at the gates of the rich were generally chained. Field laborers worked for the most part in irons posterior to the first ages of the republic.

    The Legislature of South Carolina specially sanctions the same practices, by excepting them in the "protective enactment," which inflicts the [minor] penalty of one hundred pounds "in case any person shall wilfully cut out the tongue," &c., of a slave, "or shall inflict any other cruel punishment, other than by whipping or beating with a horse-whip, cowskin, switch, or small stick, or by putting irons on, or confining or imprisoning such slave."

    XI. Some persons made it their business to catch runaway slaves.

    That such a profession, constituted by the highest legislative authority in the nation, and rendered respectable by the commendation expressed or implied of statesmen and [vile] divines, and of newspapers political and religious, exists in our midst, especially in the free states, is a fact which is, day by day, making itself too apparent to need testimony. The matter seems, however, to be managed in a more perfectly open and business-like manner in the State of Alabama than elsewhere. Mr. Jay cites the following advertisement from the Sumpter County (Ala.) Whig.

    The undersigned having bought the entire pack of Negro Dogs (of the Hay and Allen stock), he now proposes to catch runaway negroes. His charges will be Three Dollars per day for hunting, and Fifteen Dollars for catching a runaway. He resides three and one half miles north of Livingston, near the lower Jones' Bluff road.
                                  WILLIAM GAMBEL.
    Nov. 6, 1845.—6m.

    The following is copied, verbatim et literatim, and with the pictorial embellishments, from The Dadeville (Ala.) Banner, of November 10th, 1852. The Dadeville Banner is "devoted to politics, literature, education, agriculture, &c."

    Fleeing SlaveThe undersigned having an excellent Hound silent pack of HOUNDS, for trailing and catching runaway slaves, informs the public that his prices in future will be as follows for such services:
    For each day employed in hunting or trailing $2.50
    For catching each slave 10.00
    For going over ten miles and catching slaves20.00
    If sent for, the above prices will be exacted in cash. The subscriber resides one mile and a half south of Dadeville, Ala.
                   B. BLACK.
    Dadeville, Sept. 1, 1852.                     1tf

    XII. The runaway, when taken, was severely punished by authority of the master, or by the judge, at his desire; sometimes with crucifixion, amputation of a foot, or by being sent to fight as a gladiator with wild beasts; but most frequently by being branded on the brow with letters indicative of his crime.

    That severe punishment would be the lot of the recaptured runaway, every one would suppose, from the "absolute power" of the master to inflict it. That it is inflicted in many cases, it is equally easy and needless to prove. The peculiar forms of punishment mentioned above are now very much out of vogue, but the following advertisement by Mr. Micajah Ricks, in the Raleigh (N.C.) Standard of July 18th, 1838, shows that something of classic taste in torture still lingers in our degenerate days.

    Ran away, a negro woman and two children; a few days before she went off, I burnt her with a hot iron on the left side of her face. I tried to make the letter M.

    It is charming to notice the naïf betrayal of literary pride on the part of Mr. Ricks. He did not wish that letter M to be taken as a specimen of what he could do in the way of writing. The creature would not hold still, and he fears the M may be illegible.

    The above is only one of a long list of advertisements of maimed, cropped and branded negroes, in the book of Mr. Weld, entitled American Slavery as It Is, p. 77.


    XIII. Cruel masters sometimes hired torturers by profession, or had such persons in their establishments, to assist them in punishing their slaves. The noses and ears and teeth of slaves were often in danger from an enraged owner; and sometimes the eyes of a great offender were put out. Crucifixion was very frequently made the fate of a wretched slave for a trifling misconduct, or from mere caprice.

    For justification of such practices as these, we refer again to that horrible list of maimed and mutilated men, advertised by slaveholders themelves, in [Rev. Theodore] Weld's American Slavery as It Is, p. 77. We recall the reader's attention to the evidence of the monster Kephart, given in Part I. As to crucifixion, we presume that there are wretches whose religious scruples would deter them from this particular form of torture who would not hesitate to inflict equal cruelties by other means; as the Greek pirate, during a massacre in the season of Lent, was conscience-stricken at having tasted a drop of blood.

    We presume?—Let any one but read again, if he can, the sickening details of that twelve hours' torture of Souther's slave, and say how much more merciful is American slavery than Roman.

    The last item in Blair's description of Roman slavery is the following:

    By a decree passed by the Senate, if a master was murdered when his slaves might possibly have aided him, all his household within reach were held as implicated and deserving of death; and Tacitus relates an instance in which a family of four hundred were all executed.

    To this alone, of all the atrocities of the slavery of old heathen Rome, do we fail to find a parallel in the slavery of the United States of America.

    There are other respects, in which American legislation has reached a refinement in tyranny of which the despots of those early days never conceived. The following is the language of [Edward] Gibbon [1737-1794]:

    Hope, the best comfort of our imperfect condition, was not denied to the Roman slave; and if he had any opportunity of rendering himself either useful or agreeable, he might very naturally expect that the diligence and fidelity of a few years would be rewarded with the inestimable gift of freedom. * * * Without destroying the distinction of ranks, a distant prospect of freedom and honors was presented even to those whom pride and prejudice almost disdained to number among the human species.*

    The youths of promising genius were instructed in the arts and sciences, and their price was ascertained by the degree of their skill and talents. Almost every profession, either liberal or mechanical, might be found in the household of an opulent senator.

    The following chapter will show how "the best comfort" which Gibbon knew for human adversity is taken away from the American slave; how he is denied the commonest privileges of education and mental improvement, and how the whole tendency of the unhappy system, under which he is in bondage, is to take from him the consolations of religion itself, and to degrade him from our common humanity, and common brotherhood with the Son of God.

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    Chapter XIII.

    The Men Better Than Their Laws.

    Judgment is turned away backward,
    And Justice standeth afar off;
    For Truth is fallen in the street,
    And Equity cannot enter.
    Yea, Truth faileth;
    ——ISAIAH 59: 14, 15.

    THERE is one very remarkable class of laws yet to be considered.

    So full of cruelty, and of unmerciful severity is the slave-code,—such an atrocity is the institution of which it is the legal definition,—that there are multitudes of individuals too generous and too just to be willing to go to the full extent of its restrictions and deprivations.

    A generous man, instead of regarding the poor slave as a piece of property, dead, and void of rights, is tempted to regard him rather as a helpless younger brother, or as a defenceless child, and to extend to him, by his own good right arm, that protection and those rights which the law denies him. A religious man, who, by the theory of his belief, regards all men as brothers, and considers his Christian slave, with himself, as a member of Jesus Christ,—as of one body, one spirit, and called in one hope of his calling,—cannot willingly see him "doomed to live without knowledge," without the power of reading the written Word, and to raise up his children after him in the same darkness.

    Hence, if left to itself, individual humanity would, in many cases, practically abrogate the slave-code. Individual humanity would teach the slave to read and write,—would build school-houses for his children, and would, in very, very many cases, enfranchise him.

    The result of all this has been foreseen. It has been foreseen that the result of edu-
    * Gibbon's "Decline and Fall [of the Roman Empire]" [London, 1776], Chap. II.

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    (pp 111-114)

    Chapter XIV.
    [of Harriet B. Stowe's Key (1853)]

    The Hebrew Slave-Law Compared
    with the American Slave-Law.

    HAVING compared the American law with the Roman [practice], we will now compare it with one other code of slave-laws, to wit, the Hebrew.

    This comparison is the more important, because American slavery has been defended on the ground of God's permitting Hebrew slavery.

    The inquiry now arises, What kind of slavery was it that was permitted among the Hebrews? for in different nations very different systems have been called by the general name of slavery.

    Ed. Note: The Hebrews entering Israel were agrarians. The Bible, Joshua 14-19, records the land grants. This meant being self-employed, everyone self-employed.
    Bible "legislation [was] absolutely and entirely against [slavery], legislation in abhorrence of it, legislation condemning and forbidding it under penalty of death," says Rev. George B. Cheever, D.D., On the Subject of the Iniquity of the Extension of Slavery (1856), pp 19-20.
    The law permitted someone, however, to become an employee of another person. Of course, this would typically be an unnecessary event; everyone had their own independent land and livelihood. The Bible records NOBODY abandoning their own land, to work that of another's.
    You may check Bible references yourself, and are encouraged to do so.

    That the patriarchal state of servitude which existed in the time of Abraham was a very different thing from American slavery, a few graphic incidents in the Scripture narrative show; for we read that when the angels came to visit Abraham, although he had three hundred servants born in his house, it is said that Abraham hasted, and took a calf, and killed it, and gave it to a young man to dress; and that he told Sarah

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    to take three measures of meal and knead it into cakes; and that when all was done, he himself set it before his guests [Genesis 18:5-8].

    From various other incidents which appear in the patriarchal narrative, it would seem that these servants bore more the relation of the members of a Scotch clan to their feudal lord than that of an American slave to his master; thus it seems that if Abraham had died without children his head servant would have been his heir.—Gen. xv. 3.

    Ed. Note: For Further Details
  • Rev. John Rankin, Letters (1823), pp 76-79
  • Rev. John G. Fee, Anti-Slavery Manual (1851), pp 19-30.
  • Of what species, then, was the slavery which God permitted among the Hebrews? By what laws was it regulated?

    Ed. Note: For More Details
  • Rev. John Rankin, Letters (1823), pp 79-82
  • Rev. Theodore D. Weld, Bible Against Slavery (1837), pp 20-84
  • Rev. John Fee, Anti-Slavery Manual (1851), pp 30-72.
  • In the New Testament the whole Hebrew system of administration is spoken of as a relatively imperfect one, and as superseded by the Christian dispensation.—Heb. viii. 13.

    We are taught thus to regard the Hebrew system as an

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    educational system, by which a debased, half-civilised race, which had been degraded by slavery in its worst form among the Egyptians, was gradually elevated to refinement and humanity.

    As they went from the land of Egypt, it would appear that the most disgusting personal habits, the most unheard-of and unnatural impurities, prevailed among them; so that it was necessary to make laws with relations to things of which Christianity has banished the very name from the earth.

    Beside all this, polygamy, war, and slavery, were the universal custom of nations.

    It is represented in the New Testament that God, in educating this people, proceeded in the same gradual manner in which a wise father would proceed with a family of children.

    He selected a few of the most vital points of evil practice, and forbade them by positive statute, under rigorous penalties.

    The worship of any other god was, by the Jewish law, constituted high treason, and rigorously punished with death.

    As the knowledge of the true God and religious instruction could not then, as now, be afforded by printing and books, one day in the week had to be set apart for preserving in the minds of the people a sense of His being, and their obligations to Him. The devoting of this day to any other purpose was also punished with death; and the reason is obvious, that its sacredness was the principal means relied on for preserving the allegiance of the nation to their king and God, and its desecration, of course, led directly to high treason against the head of the State.

    With regard to many other practices which prevailed among the Jews, as among other heathen nations, we find the Divine Being taking the same course which wise human legislators have taken.

    When Lycurgus wished to banish money and its attendant luxuries from Sparta, he did not forbid it by direct statute-law, but he instituted a currency so clumsy and uncomfortable that, as we are informed by Rollin, it took a cart and pair of oxen to carry home the price of a very moderate estate.

    In the same manner the Divine Being surrounded the customs of polygamy, war, blood-revenge, and slavery, with regulations which gradually and certainly tended to abolish them entirely.

    No one would pretend that the laws which God established in relation to polygamy, cities of refuge, &c., have any application to Christian nations now.

    The following summary of some of these laws of the Mosaic code is given by Dr. C. E. Stowe [1802-1886], Professor of Biblical Literature in Andover Theological Seminary:—

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    1. It commanded a Hebrew, even though a married man, with wife and children living, to take the childless widow of a deceased brother, and beget children with her.—Deut. xxv. 6-10.

    2. The Hebrews, under certain restrictions, were allowed to make concubines, or wives for a limited time, of women taken in war.—Deut. xxi. 10-19.

    3. A Hebrew who already had a wife was allowed to take another also, provided he still continued his intercourse with the first as her husband, and treated her kindly and affectionately.—Exodus xxi. 9-11.

    4. By the Mosaic law, the nearest relative of a murdered Hebrew could pursue and slay the murderer, unless he could escape to the city of refuge; and the some permission was given in case of accidental homicide.—Num. xxxv. 9-39.

    6. The Israelites were commanded to exterminate the Canaanites, men, women, and children.—Deut. ix. 12; xx. 16-18.

    Any one, or all, of the above practices, can be justified by the Mosaic law, as well as the practice of slaveholding.

    Each of these laws, although in its time it was an ameliorating law, designed to take the place of some barbarous abuse, and to be a connecting link by which some higher state of society might be introduced, belongs confessedly to that system which St. Paul says made nothing perfect. They are a part of the commandment which he says was annulled for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof, and which, in the time which he wrote, was waxing old, and ready to vanish away.

    And Christ himself says, with regard to certain permissions of this system, that they were given on account of the "hardness of their hearts"—because the attempt to enforce a more stringent system at that time, owing to human depravity, would have only produced greater abuses.

    The following view of the Hebrew laws of slavery is compiled from [Rev. Dr. Albert] Barnes' work on slavery, and from Professor [Calvin] Stowe's manuscript lectures.

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    The [Bible] legislation commenced by making the great and common source of slavery—kidnapping—a capital crime.

    The enactment is as follows: "He that stealeth a man and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death."—Exodus xxi. 16.

    Ed. Note: Even the mild Egyptian "slavery" (essentially a "levy" or 20% tax), had been punished by death. See Rev. Theodore D. Weld, The Bible Against Slavery (New York: American Anti-Slavery Society, 1837), pp 86-92.

    The sources from which slaves were to be obtained were thus reduced to two; first, the voluntary sale [hiring out] of an individual by himself, which certainly does not come under the designation of involuntary servitude; second, the appropriation of captives taken in war, and the buying [hiring] from the heathen.

    With regard to the servitude of the Hebrew by a voluntary sale of himself, such servitude, by the statute-law of the land, came to an end once in seven years; so that the worst that could be made of it was that it was a voluntary contract to labour for a certain time.

    With regard to the servants bought of the heathen, or of foreigners in the land, there was a statute by which their servitude was annulled once in fifty years.

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    It has been supposed, from a disconnected view of one particular passage in the Mosaic code, that God directly countenanced the treating of a slave, who was a stranger and foreigner, with more rigour and severity than a Hebrew slave. That this was not the case will appear from the following enactments, which have express reference to strangers:—

    The stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you and thou shalt love him as thyself.—Lev. xix. 34.

    Thou shalt neither vex a stranger nor oppress him, for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt—Exodus xxii. 21 (Commandment 54).

    Thou shalt not oppress a stranger for ye know the heart of a stranger.—Exodus xxiii. 9.

    The Lord your God regardeth not persons. He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and the widow, and loveth the stranger in giving him food and raiment; love ye therefore the stranger.—Deut. x. 17-19 (Commandment 53).

    Judge righteously between every man and his brother, and the stranger that is with him.—Deut. i. 16.

    Cursed be he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger.—Deut. xxvii. 19.

    [See also "WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT WELCOMING THE STRANGER: Fourteen Bible quotations taken from both the Old and New Testament."

    Bottom line: "One law shall be to him that is homeborn, and unto the stranger that sojourneth among you."—Exodus xii. 49. “Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt. If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry; and my wrath shall wax hot, and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless.” (Exodus 22:21-24). And see anti-extortion data.]

    Instead of making slavery an oppressive institution with regard to the stranger, it was made by God a system within which heathen were adopted into the Jewish state, educated and instructed in the worship of the true God, and in due time emancipated.

    In the first place, they were protected by law from personal violence. The loss of an eye or a tooth, through the violence of his master, took the slave out of that master's power entirely, and gave him his liberty.

    Then, further than this, if a master's conduct towards a slave was such as to induce him to run away, it was enjoined that nobody should assist in retaking him, and that he should dwell wherever he chose in the land, without molestation.

    Third, the law secured to the slave a very considerable portion of time, which was to be at his own disposal. Every seventh year was to be at his own disposal.—Lev. xxv. 4-6. Every seventh day was, of course, secured to him.—Ex. xx. 10.

    The servant had the privilege of attending the three great national festivals, when all the males of the nation were required to appear before God in Jerusalem.—Ex. xxxiv. 23.

    Each of these festivals, it is computed, took up about three weeks. The slave also was to be a guest in the family festivals. In Deut. xii. 12, it is said, "Ye shall rejoice before the Lord your God, ye, and your sons, and your daughters, and your meneervants, and your maid-servants, and the Levite that is within your gates."

    Dr. Barnes estimates that the whole amount of time which a

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    servant could have to himself would amount to about twenty-three years out of fifty, or nearly one-half his time.

    Ed. Note: Rev. John G. Fee, An Anti-Slavery Manual (1851), p 52, elaborates.

    Again, the servant was placed on an exact equality with his master in all that concerned his religious relations.

    Now, if we recollect-that in the time of Moses, the God and the king of the nation were one and the same person, and that the civil and religious relation were one and the same, it will appear that the slave and his master stood on an equality in their civil relation with regard to the state.

    Thus in Deuteronomy xxix. is described a solemn national convocation, which took place before the death of Moses, when the whole nation were called upon, after a solemn review of their national history, to renew their constitutional oath of allegiance to their supreme Magistrate and Lord.

    On this occasion, Moses addressed them thus:—"Ye stand this day, all of you, before the Lord your God; your captains of your tribes, your elders, and your officers, with all the men of Israel, your little ones, your wives, and thy stranger that is in thy camp, from the hewer of thy wood unto the drawer of thy water; that thou shouldest enter into covenant with the Lord thy God, and into his oath, which the Lord thy God maketh with thee this day."

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    How different is this from the cool and explicit declaration of South Carolina with regard to the position of the American slave!—" A slave is not generally regarded as legally capable of being within the peace of the State. He is not a citizen, and is not in that character entitled to her protection." Wheeler's Law of Slavery, p. 243.

    Ed. Note: Full Citation: Jacob D. Wheeler, A Practical Treatise on the Law of Slavery: Being a Compilation of All the Decisions Made on That Subject, in the Several Courts of the United States, and State's Courts: With Copious Notes and References to the Statutes and Other Authorities, Systematically Arranged (New York, New Orleans: A. Pollock, B. Levy, 1837).

    In all the religious services, which, as we have seen by the constitution of the nation, were civil services, the slave and the master mingled on terms of strict equality. There was none of the distinction which appertains to a distinct class or caste, "There was no special service appointed for them at unusual seasons. There were no particular seats assigned to them, to keep up the idea that they were a degraded class. There was no withholding from them the instruction which the Word of God gave about the equal rights of mankind."

    Fifthly. It was always contemplated that the slave would, as a matter of course, choose the Jewish religion, and the service of God, and enter willingly into all the obligations and services of the Jewish polity.

    Mr. Barnes cites the words of [Moses] Maimonides [1135-1204], to show how this was commonly understood by the Hebrews.—Inquiry into the Scriptural Views of Slavery [(Philadelphia, Boston: Perkins & Purves; B. Perkins, 1846)], by Albert Barnes, p. 132.

    Ed. Note: See also Dr. Barnes' book The Church and
    (Philadelphia: Parry & McMillan, 1857).

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    Whether a servant be born in the power of an Israelite, or whether he be purchased from the heathen, the master is to bring them both into the covenant.

    But he that is in the house is entered on the eighth day; and he that is bought with money, on the day on which his master receives him, unless the slave be unwilling. For if the master receive a grown slave, and he be unwilling, his master is to bear with him, to seek to win him over by instruction, and by love and kindness, for one year. After which, should he refuse so long, it is forbidden to keep him longer than a year.

    And the master must send him back to the strangers from whence he came; for the God of Jacob will not accept any other than the worship of a willing heart.—Maimon. Hilcoth Miloth, chap. i. sec. 8.

    A sixth fundamental arrangement with regard to the Hebrew slave was that he could never be sold. Concerning this Mr. Barnes remarks:—

    A man, in certain circumstances, might be bought by a Hebrew; but when once bought, that was an end of the matter. There is not the slightest evidence that any Hebrew ever sold a slave; and any provision contemplating that was unknown to the constitution of the commonwealth.

    It is said of Abraham that he had "servants bought with money;" but there is no record of his having ever sold one, nor is there any account of its ever having been done by Isaac or Jacob. The only instance of a sale of this kind among the patriarchs is that act of the brothers of Joseph, which is held up to so strong reprobation, by which they sold him to the Ishmaelites.

    Permission is given in the law of Moses to buy a servant, but none is given to sell him again; and the fact that no such permission is given is full proof that it was not contemplated. When he entered into that relation it became certain that there could be no change, unless it was voluntary on his part (comp. Ex. xxi. 5, 6), or unless his master gave him his freedom, until the not distant period fixed by law when he could be free.

    There is no arrangement in the law of Moses by which servants were to be taken in payment of their master's debts, by which they were to be given as pledges, by which they were to be consigned to the keeping of others, or by which they were to be given away as presents. There are no instances occurring in the Jewish history in which any of these things were done.

    This law is positive in regard to the Hebrew servant, and the principle of the law would apply to all others. Lev. xxv. 43. "They shall not be sold as bondmen."

    In all these respects there was a marked difference, and there was doubtless intended to be, between the estimate affixed to servants and to property.—Inquiry, &c., pp. 133, 134.

    As to the practical workings of this system, as they are developed in the incidents of sacred history, they are precisely what we should expect from such a system of laws. For instance, we find it mentioned incidentally in the ninth chapter of the first book of Samuel, that when Saul and his servant came to see Samuel, that Samuel, in anticipation of his being crowned king, made a great feast for him; and in verse twenty-second the history says, "And Samuel took Saul and his servant, and brought them into the parlour, and made them sit in the chiefest place."

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    We read, also, in 2 Samuel ix. 10, of a servant of Saul who had large estates, and twenty servants of his own.

    We find in 1 Chron. ii. 34, the following incident related:—"Now, Sheshan had no sons, but daughters. And Sheshan had a servant, an Egyptian, whose name was Jarha. And Sheshan gave his daughter to Jarha, his servant, to wife."

    Does this resemble American slavery?

    We find, moreover, that this connexion was not considered at all disgraceful, for the son of this very daughter was enrolled among the valiant men of David's army.—1 Chron. ii. 41.

    In fine, we are not surprised to discover that the institutions of Moses in effect so obliterated all the characteristics of slavery, that it had ceased to exist among the Jews long before the time of Christ: Mr. Barnes asks:—

    "On what evidence would a man rely to prove

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    that slavery existed at all in the land in the time of the later prophets of the Maccabees, or when the Saviour appeared? There are abundant proofs, as we shall see, that it existed in Greece and Rome; but what is the evidence that it existed in Judea?

    So far as I have been able to ascertain, there are no declarations that it did to be found in the canonical books of the Old Testament or in Josephus. There are no allusion to laws and customs which imply that it was prevalent; there are no coins or medals which suppose it; there are no facts which do not admit of an easy explanation on the supposition that slavery had ceased."—Inquiry, &c., p. 226.

    Two objections have been urged to the interpretations which have been given of two of the enactments before quoted. 1. It is said that the enactment. "Thou shalt not return to his master the servant that has escaped," &c., relates only to servants escaping from heathen masters to the Jewish nation.

    The following remarks on this passage are from Professor Stowe's lectures:
    Deuteronomy xxiii. 15, 16.—These words make a statute which, like every other statute, is to be strictly construed. There is nothing in the language to limit its meaning; there is nothing in the connexion in which it stands to limit its meaning; nor is there anything in the history of the Mosaic legislation to limit the application of this statute to the case of servants escaping from foreign masters. The assumption that it is thus limited is wholly gratuitous, and, so far as the Bible is concerned, unsustained by any evidence whatever.

    It is said that it would be absurd for Moses to enact such a law while servitude existed among the Hebrews. It would indeed be absurd, were it the object of the Mosaic legislation to sustain and perpetuate slavery; but if it were the object of

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    Moses to limit and to restrain, and finally to extinguish slavery, this statute was admirably adapted to his purpose.

    That it was the object of Moses to extinguish and not to perpetuate slavery is perfectly clear from the whole course of his legislation on the subject.

    • Every slave was to have all the religious privileges and instruction to which his master's children were entitled.

    • Every seventh year released the Hebrew slave, and every fiftieth year produced universal emancipation.

    • If a master, by an accidental or an angry blow, deprived the slave of a tooth, the slave, by that act, was for ever free.

    And so by the statute in question, if the slave felt himself oppressed, he could make his escape, and, though the master was not forbidden to retake him if he could, every one was forbidden to aid his master in doing it. This statute, in fact, made the servitude voluntary, and that was what Moses intended.

    Ed. Note: Rev. John G. Fee, An Anti-Slavery Manual (1851), pp 52-54, says likewise.

    Moses dealt with slavery precisely as he dealt with polygamy and with war—without directly prohibiting, he so restricted as to destroy it; instead of cutting down the poison-tree, he girdled it, and left it to die of itself. There is a statute in regard to military expeditions precisely analogous to this celebrated fugitive slave-law. Had Moses designed to perpetuate a warlike spirit among the Hebrews, the statute would have been pre-eminently absurd; but, if it was his design to crush it, and to render foreign wars almost impossible, the statute was exactly adapted to his purpose. It rendered foreign military service, in effect, entirely voluntary, just as the fugitive-law rendered domestic servitude, in effect, voluntary.

    The law may be found at length in Deuteronomy xx. 5-10; and let it be carefully read and compared with the fugitive slave-law already adverted to. Just when the men are drawn up ready for the expedition—just at the moment when even the hearts of brave men are apt to fail them—the officers are commanded to address the soldiers thus:—

    "What man of you is there that hath built a new house, and hath not dedicated it? Let him go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man dedicate it.

    And what man is he that hath planted a vineyard and hath not yet eaten of it? Let him also go and return to his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man eat of it.

    And what man is there that hath betrothed a wife, and hath not taken her? Let him go and return unto his house, lest he die in the battle, and another man take her.

    And the officers shall speak farther unto the people, and they shall say, What man is there that is fearful and faint-hearted? Let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren's heart faint, as well as his heart."

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    Now, consider that the Hebrews were exclusively an agricultural people, that warlike parties necessarily consist mainly of young men, and that by this statute
  • every man who had built a house which he had not yet lived in,

  • and every man who had planted a vineyard from which he had not yet gathered fruit,

  • and every man who had engaged a wife whom he had not yet married,

  • and everyone who felt timid and faint-hearted,
  • was permitted and commanded to go home—how many would there probably be left? Especially when the officers, in-

    -119 of 259-

    stead of exciting their military ardour by visions of glory and of splendour, were commanded to repeat it over and over again, that they would probably die in the battle and never get home, and hold this idea up before them as if it were the only idea suitable for their purpose, how excessively absurd is the whole statute considered as a military law—just as absurd as the Mosaic fugitive-law, understood in its widest application, is, considered as a slave-law!

    It is clearly the object of this military law to put on end to military expeditions; for, with this law in force, such expeditions must always be entirely volunteer expeditions. Just as clearly was it the object of the fugitive slave-law to put an end to compulsory servitude; for, with that law in force, the servitude must in effect be, to a great extent, voluntary—and that is just what the legislator intended. There is no possibility of limiting the law, on account of its absurdity, when understood in its widest sense, except by proving that the Mosaic legislation was designed to perpetuate and not to limit slavery; and this certainly cannot be proved, for it is directly contrary to the plain matter of fact.

    I repeat it, then, again—there is nothing in the language of this statute, there is nothing in the connexion in which it stands, there is nothing in the history of the Mosaic legislation on this subject, to limit the application of the law to the case of servants escaping from foreign masters; but every consideration from every legitimate source leads us to a conclusion directly the opposite. Such a limitation is the arbitrary, unsupported stet voluntas pro ratione assumption of the commentator, and nothing else.

    The only shadow of a philological argument that I can see, for limiting the statute, is found in the use of the words to thee, in the fifteenth verse. It may be said that the pronoun thee is used in a national and not individual sense, implying an escape from some other nation to the Hebrews. But examine the statute immediately preceding this, and observe the use of the pronoun thee in the thirteenth verse. Most ob-

    -231 of 508-

    viously, the pronouns in these statutes are used with reference to the individuals addressed, and not in a collective or national sense exclusively; very rarely, if ever, can this sense be given to them in the way claimed by the argument referred to.

    2. It is said that the [Leviticus 25:10] proclamation, "Thou shalt proclaim liberty through the land to all the inhabitants thereof," related only to Hebrew slaves. This assumption is based entirely on the supposition that the slave was not considered in Hebrew law as a person, as an inhabitant of the land, and a member of the State; but we have just proved that in the most solemn transaction of the State the hewer of wood and drawer of water is expressly designated as being just as much an actor and participator as his master; and it would be absurd to suppose that, in a statute addressed to all the inhabitants of the land, he is not included as an inhabitant.

    Barnes enforces this idea by some pages of quotations from Jewish writers, which will fully satisfy anyone who reads his work.

    From a review then, of all that relates to the Hebrew slave-law, it will appear that it was a very well-considered and wisely adapted system of education and gradual emancipation. No rational man can doubt that if the same laws were enacted and the same practices prevailed with regard to slavery in the United States, that the system of American slavery might be considered, to all intents and purposes, practically at an end.

    If there is any doubt of this fact, and it is still thought that the permission of slavery among the Hebrews justifies American slavery, in all fairness the experiment of making the two systems alike ought to be tried, and we should then see what would be the result.

    -232 of 508-

    Chapter XV.

    Slavery is Despotism.

    IT is always important, in discussing a thing, to keep before our minds exactly what it is.

    The only means of understanding precisely what a civil institution is are an examination of me laws which regulate it. In different ages and nations, very different things have been called by the name of slavery.
    • Patriarchal servitude was one thing.

    • Hebrew servitude was another,

    • Greek and Roman servitude still a third;

    • and these institutions differed very much from each other.

    Ed. Note: See background/analyses on each of these,
  • on patriarchal servitude by Rev. John G. Fee
  • on Hebrew servitude by Stowe, Grimmelsman, and Fee
  • on Greek servitude by Edward C. Rogers
  • on Roman servitude by Stowe and Rogers.
    For modern references, see, e.g.,
  • Dorothy Benton-Lewis, "It is American slavery that put a color on slavery." "And American slavery is not like the slavery of Africa and ancient times," as "dehumanizing, brutal, and barabaric slavery that subjugated people and turned them into profit." Source: David Horowitz, Uncivil Wars: The Controversy over Reparations for Slavery (San Francisco: Encounter Books, 2002), p 132.
  • John Henrik Clarke, slavery in Africa "had few similarities" to US slavery. Southerners "totally dehumanized the slave and denied his basic personality," and "an attempt was made to destroy every element of culture of the slaves." In contrast, South American and West Indian slavers "did not outlaw the African drum, African ornamentations, African religion, or other things dear to the African, remembered from his former way of life." Source: African-American Baseline Essays (Portland, Or: Portland Public Schools, 1987), pp SS60-SS64.
  • Re African slavery: "That's a totally different type of slavery." Source: Clarke, supra, p 48.
  • What, then, is American slavery, as we have seen it exhibited by [unconstitutional] law, and by the [unconstitutional] decisions of courts?

    Let us begin by stating what it is not.

    1. It is not apprenticeship.

    2. It is not guardianship.

    -120 of 259-

    (pp 121-123)


    Chapter I.

    Does Public Opinion Protect the Slave?

    Harriet Beecher Stowe

    THE utter inefficiency of the law to protect the slave in any respect has been shown.

    But it is claimed that, precisely because the law affords the slave no protection, therefore public opinion is the more strenuous in his behalf.

    Nothing more frequently strikes the eye, in running over judicial proceedings in the courts of slave states, than announcements of the utter inutility of the law to rectify some glaring injustice towards this unhappy race, coupled with congratulatory remarks on that beneficent state of public sentiment which is to supply entirely this acknowledged deficiency of the law.

    On this point it may, perhaps, be sufficient to ask the reader, whether North or South, to review in his own mind the judicial documents which we have presented, and ask himself what inference is to be drawn, as to the state of public sentiment, from the cases there presented,—from the pleas of lawyers, the decisions of judges, the facts sworn to by witnesses, and the general style and spirit of the whole proceedings.

    In order to appreciate this more fully, let us compare a trial in a free state with a trial in a slave state.

    In the free State of Massachusetts a man of standing, learning and high connections, murdered another man. He did not torture him, but with one blow sent him in a moment from life. The murderer had every advantage of position, of friends; it may be said, indeed, that he had the sympathy of the whole United States; yet how calmly, with what unmoved and awful composure, did the judicial examination proceed! The murderer was condemned to die—what a sensation shook the

    -239 of 508-

    country. Even sovereign states assumed the attitude of petitioners for him.

    There was a voice of entreaty, from Maine to New Orleans. There were remonstrances, and there were threats; but still, with what passionless calmness retributive justice held on its way! Though the men who were her instruments were men of merciful and bleeding hearts, yet they bowed in silence to her sublime will. In spite of all that influence and wealth and power could do, a cultivated and intelligent man, from the first rank of society, suffered the same penalty that would fall on any other man who violated the sanctity of human life.

    Now, compare this with a trial in a slave state. In Virginia, Souther also murdered a man; but he did not murder him by one merciful blow, but by twelve hours of torture so horrible that few readers could bear even the description of it. It was a mode of death which, to use the language that Cicero in his day applied to crucifixion, "ought to be forever removed from the sight, hearing, and from the the very thoughts of mankind." And to this horrible scene two white men were WITNESSES!

    Observe the mode in which these two cases were tried, and the general sensation they produced. Hear the lawyers, in this case of Souther, coolly debating whether it [torture-murder] can be considered any crime at all. Hear the decision of the inferior [trial] court, that it is murder in the second degree, and appor tioning as its reward five years of imprisonment.

    See the horrible butcher coming up to the Superior Court in the attitude of an injured man! See the case recorded as that of Souther VERSUS The Commonwealth [48 Va 673 (1851)], and let us ask any intelligent man, North or South, what sort of public sentiment does this show!

    Does it show a belief that the negro is a man? Does it not show decidedly that he is not considered as a man. Consider further the horrible principle which, reaffirmed in the case, is the law of the land in Virginia. It is the policy of the law, in respect to the relation of master and slave, and for

    -124 of 259-

    (pp 125-127)

    public sentiment of slavery exerts even over the best-constituted minds.

    Neither Mr. Jones nor any other Christian minister would feel it right that the eternal happiness of their own children should be thus placed in the power of any man who should have money to pay for them. How, then, can they think it right that this power be given in the case of their African brother?

    Does this not show that, even in case of the most humane and Christian people, who theoretically believe in the equality of all souls before God, a constant familiarity with slavery works a practical infidelity on this point; and that they give their assent to laws which practically declare that the salvation of the servant's soul is of less consequence than the salvation of the property relation?

    Let us not be thought invidious or uncharitable in saying, that where slavery exists there are so many causes necessarily uniting to corrupt public sentiment with regard to the slave, that the best-constituted minds cannot trust themselves in it. In the northern and free states public sentiment has been, and is, to this day, fatally infected by the influence of a past and the proximity of a present system of slavery. Hence the injustice with which the negro in many of our states is treated. Hence, too, those apologies for slavery, and defences of it, which issue from Northern presses, and even Northern pulpits. If even at the North the remains of slavery can produce such baleful effects in corrupting public sentiment, how much more must this be the case where this institution is in full force!

    The whole American nation is, in some sense, under a paralysis of public sentiment on this subject. It was said by a heathen writer that the gods gave us a fearful power when they gave us the faculty of becoming accustomed to things. This power has proved a fearful one indeed in America. We have got used to things which might stir the dead in their graves.

    Shock of the Unaccustomed to American Atrocities

    When but a small portion of the things daily done in America has been told in England,France, and Italy, and Germany, there has been a perfect shriek and outcry of horror. America alone remains cool, and asks, "what is the matter?"

    Europe answers back, "Why, we have heard that men are sold like cattle in your country."

    "Of course they are," says America; "but what then?"

    "We have heard," says Europe, "that millions of men are forbidden to read and write in your country."

    "We know that," says America; "but what is this outcry about? "

    "We have heard," says Europe, "that Christian girls are sold to shame m your markets!"

    "That isn't quite as it should be," says America; "but still what is this excitement about?"

    "We hear that three millions of your people can have no legal marriage ties," says Europe.

    "Certainly that is true," returns America; "but you made such an outcry, we thought you saw some great cruelty going on."

    "And you profess to be a free country!" says indignant Europe.

    "Certainly we are the freest and most enlightened country in the world,—what are you talking about?" says America.

    "You send your missionaries to Christianize us," says Turkey; "and our religion has abolished this horrible system."

    "You! you are all heathen over there,—what business have you to talk?" answers America.

    Many people seem really to have thought that nothing but horrible exaggerations of the system of slavery could have produced the sensation which has recently been felt in all modem Europe. They do not know that the thing they have become accustomed to, and handled so freely in every discussion, seems to all other nations the sum and essence of villany. Modern Europe, opening her eyes and looking on the legal theory of the slave system, on the laws and interpretations of law which define it, says to America, in the language of the indignant Othello, If thou wilt justify a thing like this,

    Never pray more; abandon all remorse;
    On Horror's head horrors accumulate;
    Do deeds to make heaven weep, all earth amazed;
    For nothing canst thou to damnation add
    Greater than this."

    There is an awful state of familiarity with evil which the apostle [Paul]calls being "dead in trespasses and sins [Ephesians 2:1]," where truth has been resisted, and evil perseveringly defended, and the convictions of conscience stifled [seared], and the voice of God's Holy Spirit bidden to depart [quenched].

    There is an awful paralysis of the moral sense [abulia/anomie], when deeds unholiest and crimes most fearful cease any longer to affect the nerve. That paralysis, always a fearful


    indication of the death and dissolution of nations, in a doubly dangerous disease in a republic, whose only power is in intelligence, justice and virtue.

    Chapter II.

    Public Opinion Formed By Education.

    REV. CHARLES C. JONES [1804-1863], in his interesting work on the Religious Instruction of Negroes [Savannah: Thomas Purse, Pub., 1842], has a passage which so peculiarly describes that influence of public opinion which we have been endeavoring to illustrate, that we shall copy it.

    Habits of feeling and prejudices in relation to any subject are wont to take their rise out of our education or circumstances. Every man knows their influence to be great in shaping opinions and conduct, and ofttimes how unwittingly they are formed; that while we may be unconscious of their existence, they may grow with our growth and strengthen with our atrength. Familiarity converts deformity into comeliness. Hence we are not always the best judges of our condition.

    Another may remark inconveniences, and, indeed, real evils, in it, of which we may be said to have been all our lives scarcely conscious. So, also, evils which, upon first acquaintance, revolted our whole nature, and appeared intolerable, custom almost makes us forget even to see. Men passing out of one state of society into another encounter a thousand things to which they feel that they can never be reconciled; yet, shortly after, their sensibilities become dulled,—a change passes over them, they scarcely know how. They have acommodated themselves to their new circumstances and relations,—they are Romans in Rome.

    Let us now inquire what are the educational influences which bear upon the mind educated in constant familiarity with the slave system.

    Take any child of ingenuous mind and of generous heart, and educate him under the influences of slavery, and what are the things which go to form his character? An anecdote which a lady related to the writer [Stowe] may be in point in this place.

    In giving an account of some of the things which induced her to remove her family from under the influence of slavery, she related the following incident:

    Looking out of her nursery window one day, she saw her daughter, about three years of age, seated in her little carriage, with six or eight young negro children harnessed into it for horses. Two or three of the older slaves were standing around their little mistress, and one of them, putting a whip into her hand, said, "There, Misse, whip 'em well, make 'em go,—they're all your niggers."

    What a moral and religious lesson was this for that young.soul! The mother was a judicious woman, who never would herself have taught such a thing; but the whole influence of slave society had burnt it into the soul of every negro, and through them it was communicated to the child.

    Ed. Note: See also p 184, infra. Others also noted the depopulation, white flight from the South:
  • Alvan Stewart, Legal Argument (1845), pp 49-50;
  • Rev. John G. Fee (1851) cited clergy fleeing;
  • Sen. Charles Sumner (1860) cited background reasons;
  • Abraham Lincoln (1854) cited white flight from the South;
  • Prof. Dwight L. Dumond (1961) did likewise.
  • As soon as a child is old enough to read the newspapers, he sees in every column such notices as the following from a late Richmond Whig, and other papers.

    MULES, CATTLE, &c.

    The subscriber, under a decree of the Circuit Superior Court for Fluvanna County will proceed to sell, by public auction, at the late residence of William Galt, deceased, on TUESDAY, the 30th day of November, and WEDNESDAY, the 1st day of December next, beginning at 11 o'clock, the negroes, stock, &c., of all kinds, belonging to the estate, consisting of 175 negroes, amongst whom are SOME CARPENTERS AND BLACKSMITHS.—10 horses, 33 mules, 100 head of cattle, 100 sheep, 200 hogs, 1500 barrels corn, oats, fodder, &c., the plantation and shop tools of all kinds.

    The Negroes will be sold for cash; the other property on a credit of nine months, the purchaser giving bond, with approved security.

    JAMES GALT, Administrator of
    William Galt, deceased
    Oct. 19.

    From the Nashville Gazette, Nov. 23, 1852:


    On TUESDAY, the 21st day of December next, at the Plantation of the late N. A. McNAIRY, on the Franklin Turnpike, on account of Mrs. C. B. McNairy, Executrix, we will offer at Public Sale


    These Negroes are good Plantation Negroes, and will be sold in families. Those wishing to purchase will do well to see them before the day of sale.

    Also, TEN FINE WORK MULES, TWO JACKS AND ONE JENNET, MILCH COWS AND CALVES, Cattle, Stock Hogs, 3200 barrels Corn, Oats, Hay, Fodder, &c. Two Wagons, One Cart, Farming Utensils, &c.

    From the Newberry Sentinel:


    The subscriber will sell at Auction, on the 15th of this month, at the Plantation on which he resides, distant eleven miles from the Town of Newberry, and near the Laurens Railroad,

    22 Young and Likely Negroes;

    comprising able-bodied field-hands, good cooks, house-servants, and an excellent blacksmith;—about 1500 bushels of corn, a quantity of fodder, hogs, mules, sheep, neat cattle, household and kitchen furniture, and other property.—Terms made public on day of sale.

    M. C. GARY,
    Dec. 1.
    Laurensville Herald copy till day of sale.


    (pp 130-132)

    Chapter III.

    Separation of Familes.

    "What must the difference be," said Dr. Worthington, with startling energy, "between Isabel and her servants! To her, it is loss of position, fortnne, the four hopes of life, perhaps even health; for she must inevitably break down under the unaccustomed labor and privations she will have to undergo. But to them [slaves] it is merely a change of masters"!

    "Yes, for the neighbors won't allow any of the [slave] families to be separated."

    "Of course not. We read of such things in novels sometimes! But I have yet to see it in real life, except in rare cases, or where the slave has been guilty of some misdemeanor, or crime, for which, in the North, he would have been imprisoned, perhaps for life."—Cabin and Parlour, by J. Thornton Randolph, p. 39.

    * * * * * * * * * * *

    "But they're going to sell us all to Georgia, I say. How are we to escape that?"

    "Spec dare some mistake in dat," replied Uncle Peter, stoutly. "I nebber knew of sich a ting in dese parts, 'cept where some niggar'd been berry bad."—Ibid.

    BY such graphic touches as the above does Mr. Thornton Randolph represent to us the patriarchal stability and security of the slave population in the Old Dominion. Such a thing as a slave being sold out of the state has never been heard of by Dr. Worthington, except in rare cases for some crime; and old Uncle Peter never heard of such a thing in his life.

    Are these representations true?

    The worst abuse of the system of slavery is its outrage upon the family; and, as the writer [Stowe] views the subject, it is one which is more notorious and undeniable than any other.

    Yet it is upon this point that the most stringent and earnest denial has been made to the representations of "Uncle Tom's Cabin," either indirectly, as by the romance-writer above, or more directly in the assertions of newspapers, both at the North and at the South
  • When made at the North, they indicate, to say the least, very great ignorance of the subject;

  • when made at the South, they certainly do very great injustice to the general character of the Southerner for truth and honesty.
  • Ed. Note: Stowe understates. Censorship was Southern policy.
  • Rev. Beriah Green's Suggestions (1836), p 16-17
  • Sen. Charles Sumner's 1860 discussion of continuing censorship
  • Stowe's own account of the murder of Rev. Lovejoy for his anti-slavery printing
  • our 'tobacco taboo' site showing modern censorship.
  • All sections of country have faults peculiar to themselves. The fault of the South, as a general thing, has not been cowardly evasion and deception.

    It was with utter surprise that the author read the following sentences in an article in Fraser's Magazine, professing to come from a South Carolinian.

    Mrs. Stowe's favorite illustration of the master's power to the injury of the s1ave is the separation of families. We are told of infants of ten months old being sold from the arms of their mothers, and of men whose habit it is to raise children to sell away from their mother as soon as they are old enough to be separated. Were our views of this feature of slavery derived from Mrs. Stowe's book, we should regard the families of slaves as utterly unsettled and vagrant.

    And again:

    We feel confident that, if statistics could be had to throw light upon this subject, we should find that there is less separation of families among the negroes than occurs with almost any other class of persons.

    As the author of the article, however, is evidently a man of honor, and expresses many most noble and praiseworthy sentiments, it cannot be supposed that these statements were put forth with any view to misrepresent or to deceive.

    Ed. Note: See Charles Sumner's 1860 data on what "honor" meant to Southerners; and the legal definitions of fraud and ignorance (the latter is not a defense for less than full truthfulness; the fact of being less-than-fully-truthful is still fraud.

    They [Ed. Note: pro-Southern lies] are only to be regarded as evidences of the facility with which a sanguine mind often overlooks the most glaring facts that make against a favorite idea or theory, or which are unfavorable in their bearings on one's own country or family.
  • Thus the citizens of some place notoriously unhealthy will come to believe, and assert, with the utmost sincerity, that there is actually less sickness in their town than any other of its size in the known world.

  • Thus parents often think their children perfectly immaculate in just those particulars in which others see them to be most faulty.
  • This [under-stated] solution of the [Southern-lying] phenomena [as distinct from the above-realistic one] is a natural and amiable one, and enables us to retain our [unwarranted] respect for our Southern brethren.

    Ed. Note: Southerners' causing mass casulties by war and poisoning was then unknown to Stowe. That they would do this, reveals much about so-called "honor." William L. Garrison's analysis of Southern demonization is much more realistic than Stowe's.

    There is another circumstance, also, to be taken into account, in reading such assertions as these. It is evident, from the pamphlet in question, that the writer is one of the few who regard the possession of absolute irresponsible power as the highest of motives to moderation and temperance in its we. Such men are commonly associated in friendship and family connection with others of similar views, and are very apt to fall into the error of judging others by themselves, and thinking that a thing may do for all the world because it operates well in their immediate circle.

    Also it cannot but be a fact that the various circumstances which from infancy conspire to degrade and depress the negro in the eyes of a Southern-born man,— the constant habit of speaking of them, and hearing them spoken of, and seeing them advertised, as mere articles of property, often in connection with horses, mules, fodder, swine, &c., as they are almost daily in every Southern paper,— must tend, even in the best-constituted minds, to produce a certain obtuseness with regard to the interests, sufferings and affections, of such as do not particularly belong to himself,


    (pp 134-142)

    Number of Slave Sales in Two Weeks:
    Ads From Southern Newspapers
    States Where Published No. of Papers ConsultedNo. of Negroes AdvertisedNo. of LotsNo. of Runaways Described
    S. Carolina1285227

    In South Carolina, where the writer in Fraser's Magazine dates from, we have during these same two weeks a sale of eight hundred and fifty-two recorded by one dozen papers. Verily, we must apply to the newspapers of his state the same language which he applies to "Uncle Tom's Cabin:"

    "Were our views of the system of slavery to be derived from these papers, we should regard the families of slaves as utterly unsettled and vagrant."

    The total, in sixty-four papers, in different states, for only two weeks, is four thousand one hundred, besides ninety-two lots, as they are called.

    And now, who is he who compares the hopeless, returnless separation of the negro from his family, to the voluntary separation of the freeman, whom necessary business interest takes for a while from the bosom of his family! Is not the lot of the slave bitter enough, without this last of mockeries and worst of insults? Well may they say, in their anguish,

    "Our soul is exceedingly filled with the scorning of them that are at ease, and with the contempt of the proud!"

    From the poor negro, exposed to bitterest separation, the law jealously takes away the power of writing. For him the gulf of separation yawns black and hopeless, with no redeeming signal. Ignorant of geography, he knows not whither he is going, or where he is, or how to direct a letter. To all intents and purposes, it is a separation hopeless as that of death, and as final

    Chapter IV.

    The Slave-Trade.

    WHAT is it that constitutes the vital force of the institution of slavery in this country? Slavery, being an unnatural and unhealthful condition of society, being a most wasteful and impoverishing mode of cultivating the soil, would speedily run itself out in a community, and become so unprofitable as to fall into disuse, were it not kept alive by some unnatural process.

    What has that process been in America? Why has that healing course of nature which cured this awful wound in all the northern states stopped short on Mason & Dixon's line? In Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and Kentucky, slave labor long ago impoverished the soil almost beyond recovery, and became entirely unprofitable. In all these states it is well known that the question of emancipation has been urgently presented. It has been discussed in legislatures, and Southern men have poured forth on the institution of slavery such anathemas as only Southern men can pour forth. All that has ever been said of it at the North has been said in four-fold thunders in these Southern discussions.

    The State of Kentucky once came within one vote, in her legislature, of taking measures for gradual emancipation. The State of Virginia has come almost equally near, and Maryland has long been waiting at the door. There was a time when no one doubted that all these states would soon be free states; and what is now the reason that they are not? Why are these discussions now silenced, and why does this noble determination now retrograde?

    The answer is in a word. It is the extension of slave territory, the opening of a great southern slave-market, and the organization of a great internal slave-trade, that has arrested the progress of emancipation.

    While those states were beginning to look upon the slave as one who might possibly yet become a man, while they meditated giving to him and his wife and children the inestimable blessings of liberty, this great southern slave-mart was opened. It began by the [1820] addition of Missouri as slave territory, and the votes of two Northera men were those which decided this great question. Then, by the assent and concurrence of Northern men, came in all the immense acquisition of slave territory which now opens so boundless a market to tempt the avarice and cupidity of the northern slave-raising states.

    This acquisition of territory has deferred perhaps for indefinite ages the emancipation of a race. It has condemned to sorrow and


    (pp 144-150)

    But the voice of nature was too weak;
    He took the glittering gold!
    Then pale as death grew the maiden's cheek,
    Her hands as icy cold.

    The Slaver led her from the door,
    He led her by the hand,
    To be his slave and paramour
    In a strange and distant land!

    The Farewell
    of a Virginia Slave Mother to Her
    Daughters, Sold into Southern Bondage

    Gone, gone,—sold and gone,
    To the rice-swamp dank and lone.
    Where the slave-whip ceaseless swings,
    Where the noisome insect stings,
    Where the fever demon strews
    Poison with the falling dews.
    Where the sickly sunbeams glare
    Through the hot and misty air,—
    Gone, gone,—sold and gone,
    To the rice-swamp dank and lone,
    From Virginia's hills and waters,—
    Woe is me, my stolen daughters!

    Gone, gone,—sold and gone,
    To the rice-swamp dank and lone.
    There no mother's eye is near them,
    There no mother's ear can hear them;
    Never, when the torturing lash
    Seams their back with many a gash,
    Shall a mother's kindness bless them,
    Or a Mother's arms caress them.
    Gone, gone, &c.

    Gone, gone,—sold and gone,
    To the rice-swamp dank and lone.
    O, when weary, sad, and slow,
    From the fields at night they go,
    Faint with toil, and racked with pain,
    To their cheerless homes again,—
    There no brother's voice shall greet them,
    There no father's welcome meet them.
    Gone, gone, &c

    Gone, gone,—sold and gone,
    To the rice-swamp dank and lone.
    From the tree whose shadow lay
    On their childhood's place of play;
    From the cool spring where they drank;
    Rock, and hill, and rivulet bank;
    From the solemn house prayer,
    And the holy counsels there,—
    Gone, gone, &c.

    Gone, gone,—sold and gone,
    To the rice-swamp dank and lone.
    Toiling through the weary day,
    And at night the spoiler's prey.
    O, that they had earlier died,
    Sleeping calmly, side by side.
    Where the tyrant's power is o'er,
    And the fetter galls no more!
    Gone, gone, &c.

    Gone, gone,—sold and gone,
    To the rice-swamp dank and lone.
    By the holy love He beareth,
    By the bruised reed He spareth,
    O, may He, to whom alone
    All their cruel wrongs are known,
    Still their hope and refuge prove,
    With a more than mother's love!
    Gone, gone, &c.


    The following extract from a letter of Dr. Bailey, in the Era, 1847, presents a view of the subject more creditable to some Virginia families. May the number that refuse to part with slaves except by emancipation increase!

    The sale of slaves in the south is carried to a great extent. The slave-holders do not, so far as I can learn, raise them for that special purpose. But, here is a man with a score of slaves, located on an exhausted plantation. It must furnish support for all; but, while they increase, its capacity of supply decreases. The result is, he must emancipate or sell. But he has fallen into debt, and he sells to relieve himself from debt, and also from an excess of mouths. Or, he requires money to educate his children; or, his negroes are sold under execution. From these and other causes, large numbers of slaves are continually disappearing from the state, so that the next census will undoubtedly show a marked diminution of the slave population.

    The season for this trade is generally from November to April; and some estimate that the average number of slaves passing by the southern railroad weekly, during that period of six months, is at least two hundred. A slave-trader told me that be had known one hundred pass in a single night. But this is only one route.

    Large numbers are sent off westwardly, and also by sea, coastwise. The Davises, in Petersburg, are the great slave-dealers. They are Jews, who came to that place many years ago as poor pedlers, and, I am informed, are members of a family which has its representatives in Philadelphia, New York, &c.! These men are always in the market, going the highest price for slaves. During the summer and fall they buy them up at low prices, trim, shave, wash them, fatten them so that they may look sleek, and sell them to great profit. It might not be unprofitable to inquire how much Northern capital, and what firms in some of the Northern cities, are connected with this detestable business.

    There are many planters here who cannot be persuaded to sell their slaves. They have far more than they can find work for, and could at any time obtain a high price for them. The temptation is strong, for they want more money and fewer dependants. But they resist it, and nothing can induce them to part with a single slave, though they know that they would be greatly the gainers in a pecuniary sense, were they to sell one-half of them. Such men are too good to be slave-holders. Would that they might see it their duty to go one atep further, and become emancipators! The majority of this class of planters are religious men, and this is the class to which generally are to be referred the various cases of emancipation by will, of which from time to time we hear accounts.

    Chapter V.

    Select Incidents of Lawful Trade,
    or, Facts Stranger Than Fiction.

    THE atrocious and sacrilegious system of breeding human beings for sale, and trading them like cattle in the market, fails to produce the impression on the mind that it ought to produce, because it is lost in generalities.


    (pp 152-154)

    while my father's owner moved off and took my father with him, which broke up the marriage. She was a very handsome woman. My master kept a large dairy, and she was the milk-woman. Lexington was a small town in those days, and the dairy was in the town. Back of the college was the Masonic lodge. A man who belonged to the lodge saw my mother when she was about her work. He made proposals of a base nature to her. When she would have nothing to say to him, he told her that she need not be so independent, for if money could buy her he would have her. My mother told old mistress, and begged that master might not sell her. But he did sell her.

    My mother had a high spirit, being part Indian. She would not consent to live with this man, as he wished; and he sent her to prison.and had her flogged, and punished her in various ways, so that at last she began to have crazy turns. When I read in "Uncle Tom's Cabin" about Cassy, it put me in mind of my mother, and I wanted to tell Mrs. S——about her.

    She [my mother] tried to kill herself several times, once with a knife and once by hanging. She had long, straight black hair, but after this it all turned white, like an old person's. When she had her raving turns she always talked about her children. The jailer told the owner that if he vould let her go to her children, perhaps she would get quiet. They let her out one time, and she came to the place where we were. I might have been seven or eight years old,—don't know my age exactly. I was not at home when she came. I came in and found her in one of the cabins near the kitchen. She sprung and caught my arms, and seemed going to break them, and then said, "I'll fix you so they'll never get you!" I screamed, for I thought she was going to kill me; they came in and took her away. They tied her, and carried her off.

    Sometimes, when she was in her right mind, she used to tell me what things they had done to her. At last her owner sold her, for a small sum, to a man named Lackey. While with him slie had another husband and several children. After a while this husband either died or was sold, I do not remember which. The man [Lackey] then sold her to another person, named Bryant. My own father's owner now came and lived in the neighborhood of this man, and brought my mother with him. He had had another wife and family of children where he had been living. He and my mother came together again, and finished their days together. My mother almost recovered her mind in her last days.

    I never saw anything in Kentucky which mede me suppose that ministers or professors of religion considered it any more wrong to separate the families of slaves by sale than to separate any domestic animals.

    There may be ministers and professors of religion who think it is wrong, but I never met with them. My master was a minister, and yet he sold my mother, as I have related.

    When he was going to leave Kentucky for Pennsylvania, he sold all my brothers and sisters at auction. I stood by and saw them sold. When I was just going up on to the block, he swapped me off for a pair of carriage-horses. I looked at those horses with strange feelings. I had indulged hope that master would take me into Pennsylvania with him, and I should get free. How I looked at those horses, and walked round them, and thought for them I was sold!

    It was commonly reported that my master had said in the pulpit that there was no more harm in separating a family of slaves than a litter of pigs. I did not hear him say it, and so cannot say whether this is true or not.

    It may seem strange, but it is a fact,—I had more sympathy and kind advice, in my efforts to get my freedom, from gamblers and such sort of men, than Christians. Some of the gamblers were very kind to me.

    I never knew a slave-trader that did not seem to think, in his heart, that the trade was a bad one. I knew a great many of them, such as Neal, McAnn, Cobb, Stone, Pulliam and Davis, &c. They were like Haley,—they meant to repent when they got through.

    Intelligent colored people in my circle of acquaintance, as a general thing, felt no security whatever for their family ties. Some, it is true, who belonged to rich families, felt some security; but those of us who looked deeper, and knew how many were not rich that seemed so, and saw how fast money slipped away, were always miserable.

    The trader was all around, the slave-pens at hand, and we did not know what time any of us might be in it. Then there were the rice-awomps, and the sugar and cotton plantations; we had had them held before us as terrors, by our masters and mistresses, all our lives. We knew about them all; and when a friend was carried off, why, it was the same as death, for we could not write or hear, and never expected to see them again.

    I have one child who is buried m Kentucky, and that grave is pleasant to think of. I've got another that is sold nobody knows where, and that I never can bear to think of.


    The next history is a long one, and part of it transpired in a most public manner, in the face of our whole community.

    The history includes in it the whole account of that memorable capture of the [fugitive-slave ship, named] Pearl, which produced such a sensation in Washington in the year 1848. The author, however, will preface it with a short history of a slave woman who had six children embarked in that ill-fated enterprise.

    Chapter VI.

    The Edmondson Family

    MILLY EDMONSON is an aged woman, now upwards of seventy. She has received the slave's inheritance of entire ignorance. She cannot read a letter of a book, nor write her own name; but the writer must say that she was never so impressed with any presentation of the Christian religion as that which was made to her in the language and appearance of this woman during the few interviews that she had with her. The circumstances of the interviews will be detailed at length in the course of the story.

    Milly is above the middle height, of a large, full figure. She dresses with the greatest attention to neatness. A plain


    (pp 156-170)

    not allowed to talk with the other servants, his master fearing a conspiracy. In one of his letters he says, "I have seen more trouble here in one day than I have in all my life." In another, "I would be glad to hear from her [his wife], but I should be more glad to hear of her death than for her to come here."

    In his distress, Tom wrote a letter to Mr. Bigelow, of Washington. People who are not in the habit of getting such documents have no idea of them. We give a facsimile of Tom's letter, with all its poor spelling, all its ignorance, helplessness, and misery.

    February 18 1852

    Mr. Bigelow dr Sir I rit to you to let you no how i am get in a long hard times her I have not had one our to go out sid of the place sence I have bin on et i put my trust in the Lord to help me I long to hear from you all I retten to hear from you all Mr Bigelow i hop yo will not for me You no et was not my falt that I am hear I hop you will nam me to Mr Geden Mr Chaplin Mr. Baley to healp me out of et I be leve that if would mak the les move to et that et cod be don I


    long to hear from my famaly how they ar geten a long You will ples to rit to me jest to let me no how they ar geten a long You can rit to me I remain yous ye umble servent

    Thomas Ducket

    You can ded ree your letters to Thomas Ducket in car of Mr Samul T Harrison Luisana nar Byagler of is for God sake let me hear from you all My wife and children ar not out of my mine day nor night

    [As Type-Set]

    [February 18, 1852.

    Mr. Bigelow. Dear Sir:—I write to you to let you know how I am getting along. Hard times here. I have not had one hour to go outside the place since I have been on it. I put my trust in the Lord to help me. I long to hear from you all.


    I written to hear from you all. Mr. Bigelow, I hope you will not forget me. You know it was not my fault that I am here. I hope you will name me to Mr. Geden, Mr. Chaplin, Mr. Bailey, to help me out of it. I believe that if they would make the least move to it that it could be done. I long to hear from my family how they are getting along. You will please to write to me just to let me know how they are getting along. You can write to me.

    I remain your humble servant,


    You can direct your letters to Thomas Ducket, in care of Mr. Samuel T. IIarrison, Louisiana, near Bayou Goula. For God's sake let me hear from you all. My wife and children are not out of my mind day nor night.]

    Chapter VIII.


    THE principle which declares that one human being may lawfully hold another as property leads directly to the trade in human beings; and that trade has, among its other horrible results, the temptation to the crime of kidnapping.

    The trader is generally a man of coarse nature and low associations, hard-hearted, and reckless of right or honor. He who is not so is an exception, rather than a specimen. If he has anything good about him when he begins the business, it may be seen that he is in a fair way to lose it.

    Around the trader are continually passing and repassing men and women who would be worth to him thousands of dollars in the way of trade—who belong to a class whose rights nobody respects, and who, if reduced to slavery, could not easily make their word good against him. The probability is that hundreds of free men and women and children are all the time being precipitated into slavery in this way.

    Note that "even blacks who had been born free were in danger of being kidnaped into slavery. The seizure of blacks . . . for sale into slavery . . . was frequent enough to be a nightmarish possibility for all but the very young and very old."—David E. Swift, Black Prophets of Justice: Activist Clergy Before the Civil War (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1989), p 103.
    And see the warning even to dark congressmen! by Rep. Horace Mann, Slavery and the Slave-Trade . . . . (Washington, D.C.: 1849), p 20.

    The recent case of Northrup tried in Washington, D. C., throws light on this fearful subject. The following account is abridged from the New York Times:

    Solomon Northrop is a free colored citizen of the United States; he was born in Essex county, New York, about the year 1808; became early a resident of Washington county, and married there in 1829. His father and mother resided in the county of Washington about fifty years, till their decease, and were both free. With his wife and children he resided at Saratoga Springs in the winter of 1841, and while there was employed by two gentlemen to drive a team South, at the rate of a dollar a day. In fulfillment of his employment, he proceeded to New York, and, having taken out free papers, to show that he was a citizen, he went on to Washington city, where he arrived the second day of April, the same year, and put up at Gadsby's Hotel. Soon after he arrived he felt unwell, and went to bed.

    While suffering with severe pain, some persons came in, and, seeing the condition he was in, proposed to give him some medicine, and did so. This is the last thing of which he had any recollection, until he found himself chained to the floor of Williams' slave-pen in this city, and handcuffed. In the course of a few hours, James H. Burch, a slave-dealer, came in, and the colored man asked him to take the irons off from him, and wanted to know why they were put on. Burch told him it was none of his business. The colored man said he was free, and told where he was born.

    Burch called in a man by the name of Ebenezer Rodbury, and they two stripped the man and laid him across a bench, Rodbury holding him down by his wrists. Burch whipped him with a paddle until he broke that, and then with a cat-o'-nine-tails, giving him a hundred lashes; and he swore he would kill him if he ever stated to any one that he was a free man.

    From that time forward the man says he did not communicate the fact from fear, either that he was a free man, or what his name was, until the last summer. He was kept in the slave-pen about ten days, when he, with others, was taken out of the pen in the night by Burch, handcuffed and shackled, and taken down the river by a steamboat, and then to Richmond, where he, with forty-eight others, was put on board the brig Orleans. There Burch left them.

    The brig sailed for New Orleans, and on arriving there, before she was fastened to the wharf, Theophilus Freeman, another slave-dealer, belonging in the city of New Orleans, and who in 1833 had been a partner with Burch in the slave-trade, came to the wharf, and received the slaves as they were landed, under his direction.

    This man was immediately taken by Freeman and shut up in his pen in that city. He was taken sick with the small-pox immediately after getting there, and was sent to a hospital, where he lay two or three weeks. When he had sufficiently recovered to leave the hospital, Freeman declined to sell him to any person in that vicinity, and sold him to a Mr. Ford, who reaided in Rapides Parish, Louisiana, where be was taken and lived more than a year, and worked as a carpenter, working with Ford at that business.

    Ford became involved, and had to sell him. A Mr. Tibaut became the purchaser. He, in a short time, sold him to Edwin Eppes, in Bayou Beouf, about one hundred and thirty miles from the mouth of Red river, where Eppea has retained him on a cotton plantation since the year 1843.

    To go back a step in the narrative, the man wrote a letter, in June, 1841, to Henry B. Northrop, of the State of New York, dated and postmarked at New Orleans, stating that he had been kidnapped and was on board a vessel, but was unable to state what his destination was; but requesting Mr. N. to aid him in recovering his freedom, if possible. Mr. N. was unable to do anything in his behalf, in consequence of not knowing where he had gone, and not being able to find any trace of him. His place of residence remained unknown until the month of September last, when the following letter was received by his friends:


    (p 174)

    wheel, when one of the men pulled out a sword (I think it was a sword, I never saw one), and threatened to cut Miller's arm off. Pollock's wagon being in the way, and he refusing to get out of the road, we turned off to the left. After we rode away, one of the men tore a hole in the back of the carriage, to look out to see if they were coming after us, and they said they wished they had given Miller and Pollock a blow.

    "We stopped at a tavern near the railroad, and I told the landlord (I think it was) that I was free. I also told several persons at the car-office; and a very nice-looking man at the car-office was talking at the door, and he said he thought that they had better take me back again. One of the men did not come further than the tavern. I was taken to Baltimore, where we arrived about seven o'clock the same evening, and I was taken to jail.

    "The next morning, a man with large light-colored whiskers took me away by myself, and asked me if I was not Mr. Schoolfield's slave. I told him I was not; he said that I was, and that if I did not say I was he would 'cowhide me and salt me, and put me in a dungeon.' I told him I was free, and that I would say nothing but the truth."

    Mary E. Parker's Narrative

    "I was taken from Matthew Donnelly's on Saturday night (Dec. 6th, or 13th, 1851); was caught whilst out of doors, soon after I had cleared the supper-table, about seven o'clock, by two men, and put into a wagon. One of them got into the wagon with me, and rode to Elkton, Md., where I was kept until Sunday night at twelve o'clock, when I left there in the cars for Baltimore, and arrived there early on Monday morning.

    "At Elkton a man was brought in to see me, by one of the men, who said that I was not his father's slave. Afterwards, when on the way to Baltimore in the cars, a man told me that I must say that I was Mr. Schoolfield's slave, or he would shoot me, and pulled a 'rifle' out of his pocket and showed it to me, and also threatened to whip me.

    "On Monday morning, Mr. Schoolfield called at the jail in Baltimore to see me; and on Tuesday morning he brought his wife and several other ladies to see me. I told them I did not know them, and then Mr. C. took me out of the room, and told me who they were, and took me back again, so that I might appear to know them. On the next Monday I was shipped to New Orleans [about 2,300 miles by ship].

    "It took about a month to get to New Orleans. After I had been there about a week, Mr. C. sold me to Madame C., who keeps a large flower-garden. She sends flowers to sell to the theatres, sells milk in market, &c. I went out to sell candy and flowers for her, when I lived with her.

    "One evening, when I was coming home from the theatre, a watchman took me up, and I told him I was not a slave. He put me in the calaboose, and next morning took me before a magistrate, who sent for Madame C., who told him she bought me. He then sent for Mr. C., and told him he must account for how he got me. Mr. C. said that my mother and all the family were free, except me. The magistrate told me to go back to Madame C., and he told Madame C. that she must not let me go out at night; and he told Mr. C. that he must prove how he came by me. The magistrate afterwards called on Mrs. C., at her house, and had a long talk with her in the parlor. I do not know what he said, as they were by themselves. About a month afterwards, I was sent home to Baltimore. I lived with Madame C. about six months.

    "There were six slaves came in the vessel with me to Baltimore, who belonged to Mr. D., and were returned because they were sickly.

    "A man called to see me at the jail after I came back to Baltimore, and told me that I must say I was Mr. Schoolfield's slave, and that if I did not do it he would kill me the first time he got a chance. He said Rachel [her sister] said she came from Baltimore and was Mr. Schoolfield's slave. Afterwards some gentlemen called on me [Judge Campbell and Judge Bell, of Philadelphia, and William H. Norris, Esq., of Baltimore], and I told them I was Mr. Schoolfield's slave. They said they were my friends, and I must tell them the truth. I then told them who I was, and all about it.

    "When I was in New Orleans Mr. C. whipped me because I said that I was free."

    "Elizabeth, by her own account above, was seized and taken from Pennsylvania, Dec. 6th or 13th, 1851, which is confirmed by other testimony.

    It is conceded that such cases, when brought into Southern courts, are generally tried with great fairness and impartiality. The agent for Northrop's release testifies to this, and it has been generally admitted fact. But it is probably only one case in a hundred that can get into court;—of the multitudes who are drawn down in the ever-widening maelstrom only now and then one ever comes back to tell the tale.

    The succeeding chapter of advertisements will show the reader how many such victims there may probably be.

    Chapter IX.

    Slaves As They Are, On Testimony of Owners.

    THE investigation into the actual condition of the slave population at the South is beset with many difficulties. So many things are said pro and con,—so many said in one connection and denied in another,—that the effect is very confusing.

    Thus, we are told that the state of the slaves is one of blissful contentment; that they would not take freedom as a gift; that their family relations are only now and then invaded; that they are a stupid race, almost sunk to the condition of animals; that generally they are kindly treated, &c. &c. &c.

    In reading over some two hundred Southern newspapers this fall, the author has been struck with the very graphic and circumstantial pictures, which occur in all of them,


    (pp 176-183)

    From these advertisements, and hundreds of similar ones, one may learn the following things:
  • 1. That the arguments for the enslaving of the negro do not apply to a large part of the actual slaves.

  • 2. That they are not, in the estimation of their masters, very stupid.

  • 3. That they are not remarkably contented.

  • 4. That they have no particular reason to be so.

  • 5. That multitudes of men claiming to be free are constantly being sold into slavery.
  • In respect to the complexion of these slaves, there are some points worthy of consideration. The writer [Stowe] adds the following advertisemente, published by Wm. I. Bowditch, Esq., in his pamphlet "Slavery and the Constitution."

    From the Richmond (Va.) Whig:

    WILL be given for the apprehension of my negro (!) Edmund Kenney. He has straight hair, and complexion so nearly white that it is believed a stranger would suppose there was no African blood in him. He was with my boy Dick a short time since [ago] in Norfolk, and offered him for sale, and was apprehended, but escaped under pretence of being a white man!
    January 6, 1836.

    From the Republican Banner and Nashville Whig of July 14, 1849:

    RANAWAY from the subscriber, on the 23d of June last, a bright mulatto woman, named Julia, about 25 years of age. She is of common size, nearly white, and very likely. She is a good seamstress, and can read a little. She may attempt to pass for white.—dresses fine. She took with her Anna, her child, 8 or 9 years old, and considerably darker than her mother. . . . . She once belonged to a Mr. Helm. of Columbia, Tennessee.

    I will give a reward of $50 for said negro and child, if delivered to me, or confined in any jail in this state, so I can get them; $100, if caught in any other Slave state, and confined in a jail so that I can get them; and $200, if caught in any Free state, and put in any good jail in Kentucky or Tennessee, so I can get them.

                            A. W. JOHNSON.
    Nashville, July 9, 1849.

    The following three advertisements are taken from Alabama papers:

    From the Subscriber, working on the plantation of Col. H. Tinker, a bright mulatto boy, named Alfred. Alfred is about 18 years old, pretty well grown, has blue eyes, light flaxen hair, skin disposed to freckle. He will try to pass as free-born.
    Green County, Ala.             S. G. STEWART.

    Ran away from the subscriber,a bright mulatto man-slave, named Sam. Light, sandy hair, blue eyes, ruddy camplexion,—is so white as very easily to pass for a free white man.
    Mobile, April 22, 1837.

    On the 15th of May, from me, a negro woman, named Fanny. Said woman is 20 yours old; is rather tall; can read and write, and so forge passes for herself. Carried away with her a pair of ear-rings,—a Bible with a red cover; is very pious. She prays a great deal, and was, as supposed, contented and happy. She is white as most white women, with straight, light hair, and blue eyes, and can pass herself for a white woman. I will give $500 for her apprehension and delivery to me. She is very intelligent.
    Tuacaloosa, May 29, 1845.              JOHN BALCH.

    From the Newbern (N. C.) Spectator:

    Will be given for the apprehension and delivery to me of the following slaves:—Samuel, and Judy his wife, with their four children, belonging to the estate of Sacker Dubberly, deceased.

    I will give $10 for the apprehension of William Dubberly, a slave belonging to the estate. William is about 19 years old, quite white, and would not readily be taken for a slave.

    March 13, 1837.

    The next two advertisements we cut from the New Orleans Picayune of Sept. 2, 1846:

    Ranaway from the plantation of Madame Fergus Duplantier, on or about the 27th of June, 1846, a bright mulatto, named Ned, very stout built, about 5 feet 11 inches high, speaks English and French, about 35 years old, waddles in his walk. He may try to pass himself for a white man, as he is of a very clear color, and has sandy hair. The above reward will be paid to whoever will bring him to Madame Duplantier's plantation, Manchac, or lodge him in some jail where he can be conveniently obtained.

    Ran away from the subscriber, last November, a white negro man, about 35 years old, height about 5 feet 8 or 10 inches, blue eyes, has a yellow woolly head, very fair skin.

    These are the characteristics of three races. The copper-colored complexion shows the Indian blood. The others are the mixed races of negroes and whites. It is known that the poor remains of Indian races have been in many cases forced into slavery. It is no less certain that white children have sometimes been kidnapped and sold into slavery.

    Rev. George Bourne, of Virginia, Presbyterian minister, who wrote against slavery there as early as 1816, gives an account of a boy who was stolen from his parents at seven years of age, immersed in a tan-vat to change his complexion, tattooed and sold, and, after a captivity of fourteen years, succeeded in escaping.

    The tanning process is not necessary now, as a fair akin is no presumption against slavery. There is reason to think


    that the grandmother of poor Emily Russell was a white child, stolen by kidnappers. That kidnappers may steal and sell white children at the South now, is evident from these advertisements.

    The writer [Stowe], within a week, has seen a fugitive quadroon mother, who had with her two children,—a boy of ten months, and a girl of three years. Both were surpassingly fair, and uncommonly beautiful. The girl had blue eyes and golden hair. The mother and those children were about to be sold for the division of an estate, which was the reason why she fled.

    When the mind once becomes familiarized with the process of slavery,—of enslaving first black, then Indian, then mulatto, then quadroon, and when blue eyes are and golden hair are advertised as properties of negroes,—what protection will there be for poor white people, especially as under the present fugitive law they can be carried away without a jury trial? [Ed. Note: Quoted in Overview].

    A Governor [George McDuffie] of South Carolina openly declared, in 1835, that the laboring population of any country, bleached or unbleached, were a dangerous element, unless reduced to slavery. Will not this be the result, then?

    Ed. Note: See excerpt from Gov. McDuffie's 1836 Message, quoted by Lewis Tappan, in Address (1843), pp 15-16.

    Chapter VIII.

    "Poor White Trash."

    When the public sentiment of Europe speaks in tones of indignation of the system of American slavery, the common reply has been, "Look at your own lower classes." The apologists of slavery have pointed England to her own poor. They have spoken of the heathenish ignorance, the vice, the darkness of her crowded cities,—nay, even of her agricultural districts.

    Now, in the first place, a country where the population is not crowded, where the resources of the soil are more than sufficient for the inhabitants,—a country of recent origin, not burdened with the worn-out institutions and clumsy lumber of past ages— ought not to be satisfied to do only as well as countries which have to struggle against all these evils.

    It is a poor defence for America to say to older countries, "We are no worse than you are." She ought to be infinitely better.

    But it will appear that the institution of slavery has produced not only heathenish, degraded, miserable slaves, but it produces a class of white people ['white trash' / 'rednecks'] who are, by universal admission, more heathenish, degraded, and miserable. The institution of slavery has accomplished the double feat, in America, not only of degrading and brutalizing her black working classes, but of producing, notwithstanding a fertile soil and abundant room, a poor white population as degraded and brutal as ever existed in any of the most crowded districts of Europe.

    The way that it is done can be made apparent in a few words.
    • 1. The distribution of the land into large plantations and the consequent sparseness of settlement, make any system of common-school education impracticable.

    • 2. The same cause operates with regard to the preaching of the gospel.

    • 3. The degradation of the idea of labor, which results inevitably from enslaving the working class, operates to a great extent in preventing respectable working men of the middling classes from settling or remaining in slave states.
    Where carpenters, blacksmiths, and masons, are advertised every week with their own tools, or in company with horses, hogs and other cattle, there is necessarily such an estimate of the laboring class that intelligent, self-respecting mechanics, such as abound in the free states, must find much that is annoying and disagreeable. They may endure it for a time, but with much uneasiness; and they are glad of the first opportunity of emigration.

    Ed. Note: See also p 129, supra. And note depopulation, white flight from the South, cited by Alvan Stewart, Legal Argument For the Deliverance of 4,000 Persons from Bondage (1845), pp 49-50.
  • Rev. John Rankin (1823) cited context.
  • Sen. Charles Sumner, "Barbarism of Slavery" (1860), cited background reasons.
  • Abraham Lincoln (1854) alluded to this white flight from the South.
    Prof. Dwight L. Dumond, in Antislavery: the Crusade for Freedom in America (1961), provided modern verification.
    See also Ashley Sayeau, "Southern MS," The Nation pp 24-27 (6 December 2004), on voting behavior against interest of the surveyed modern Southern women, and their inability to explain this self-defeating practice when asked.
  • Then, again, the filling up of all branches of mechanics and agriculture with slave labor necessarily depresses free labor. Suppose now, a family of poor whites in Carolina or Virginia, and the same family in Vermont or Maine; how different the influences that come over them!
  • In Vermont or Maine, the children have the means of education at hand in public schools, and they have all around them in society avenues of success that require only industry to make them available.

  • The boys have their choice among all the different trades, for which the organization of free society makes a steady demand.

  • The girls, animated by the spirit of the land in which they are born, think useful labor no disgrace, and find, with true female ingenuity, a hundred ways of adding to the family stock.

  • If there be one member of a family in whom diviner gifts and higher longings seem a call for a more finished course of education, then cheerfully the whole family unites its productive industry to give that one the wider education which his wider genius demands; and thus have been given to the world such men as Roger Sherman and Daniel Webster.
  • -184-

    But take this same family and plant them in South Carolina or Virginia—how different the result! No common [public] school opens its doors to their children; the only church, perhaps, is fifteen miles off, over a bad road.

    Ed. Note: Sen. Charles Sumner said likewise, in Barbarism of Slavery (1860), pp 152-153.

    The whole atmosphere of the country in which they are born associates degradation and slavery with useful labor; and the only standard of gentility is ability to live without work. What branch of useful labor opens a way to its sons?
    • Would he be a blacksmith?—The planters around him prefer to buy their blacksmiths in Virginia.

    • Would he be a carpenter?—Each planter in his neighborhood owns one or two now.

    • And so coopers and masons.

    • Would he be a shoe-maker?—The plantation shoes are made in Lynn and Natick, towns of New England.
    In fact, between the free labor of the North and the slave labor of the South, there is nothing for a poor white to do.

    Without schools or churches, these miserable families grow up heathen on a Christian soil, in idleness, vice, dirt and discomfort of all sorts. They are the pest of the neighborhood, the scoff and contempt or pity even of the slaves. The expressive phrase, so common in the mouths of the negroes, of "poor white trash [rednecks]," says all for this luckless race of beings that can be said.

    From this class spring a tribe of keepers of small groggeries, and dealers, by a kind of contraband trader with the negroes, in the stolen produce of plantations. Thriving and promising sons may perhaps hope to grow up into negro-traders, and thence be exalted into overseers of plantations.

    The utmost stretch of ambition is to compass money enough, by any of a variety of nondescript measures, to "buy a nigger or two," and begin to appear like other folks. Woe betide the unfortunate negro man or woman, carefully raised in some good religious family, when an execution [bankruptcy] or the death of their proprietors throws them into the market, and they are bought by a master and mistress of this class! Oftentimes the slave is infinitely the superior, in every respect,—in person, manners, education and morals; but, for all that, the law guards the despotic authority of the owner quite as jealously.

    From all that would appear, in the case of Souther, which we have recorded, he must have been one of this class. We have certain indications, in the evidence, that the two white witnesses, who spent the whole day in gaping, unresisting survey of his diabolical proceedings, were men of this order.

    It appears that the crime alleged against the poor [black murder] victim was that of getting drunk and trading with these two very men, and that they were sent for probably by way of showing them "what a nigger would get by trading with them." This circumstance at once marks them out as belonging to that band of half-contraband traders who spring up among the mean whites, and occasion owners of slaves so much inconvenience by dealing with their hands. Can any words so forcibly show what sort of [demonized] white [trash] men these are, as the idea of their standing in stupid, brutal curiosity, a whole day, as witnesses in such a hellish scene?

    Conceive the misery of the slave who falls into the hands of such masters! A clergyman, now dead, communicated to the writer [Stowe] the following anecdote:

    In travelling in one of the Southern States, he put up for the night in a miserable log shanty, kept by a man of this class. All was dirt, discomfort and utter barbarism. The man, his wife, and their stock of wild, neglected children, drank whiskey, loafed and predominated over the miserable man and woman who did all the work and bore all the caprices of the whole establishment.

    He—the gentleman—was not long in discovering that these slaves were in person, language, and in every respect, superior to their owners; and all that he could get of comfort in this miserable abode was owing to their ministrations. Before he went away, they contrived to have a private interview, and begged him to buy them. They told him that they had been decently brought up in a respectable and refined family, and that their bondage was therefore the more inexpressibly galling.

    The poor creatures had waited on him with most assiduous care, tending his horse, brushing his boots, and anticipating all his wants, in the hope of inducing him to to buy them. The clergyman said that he never so wished for money as when he saw the dejected visages with which they listened to his assurances that he was too poor to comply with their desires.

    This miserable class of whites form, in all the Southern States, a material for the most horrible and ferocious of mobs. Utterly ignorant, and inconceivably brutal, they are like some blind, savage monster, which, when aroused, tramples heedlessly over everything in its way.

    Singular as it may appear, though slavery is the cause of the misery and degradation of this class, yet they [poor whites] are the most vehement and ferocious advocates of slavery.

    The reason is this. They feel the scorn


    of the upper classes, and [said "white trash" / "rednecks" feel that] their only means of consolation is in having a class below them, whom they may scorn in turn.

    Ed. Note:
  • Gerrit Smith said likewise in 1839
  • Rev. William Goodell said likewise in 1852.
  • Vice-President Henry Wilson said likewise in 1877.
  • Lewis Tappan, Address (1843), pp 8-10, cited the poor
    education in the South making for widespread
    illiteracy, a white trash / redneck characteristic.

    Non-slaveholders were a large majority, could out-vote
    slaveholders, said Lewis Tappan, Address (1843), pp 2-3.
    They refused, for reasons Stowe is here listing.
    The white trash/redneck mentality still exists. See, for example, Noah Rothman, "Democratic Rep: Some Southern States ‘Have Cultures That We Have To Overcome’ To Enact New Gun Laws" (16 January 2013).
  • To set the negro at liberty would deprive them of this last comfort; and accordingly no class of men advocate slavery with such frantic and unreasoning violence, or hate abolitionists with such demoniac hatred [as the 'poor white trash' / rednecks].

    Let the reader conceive of a mob of men as brutal and callous as the two white witnesses of the Souther tragedy [Ed. Note: A recent torture-murder committed by 'poor white trash'], led on by men like Souther himself, and he will have some idea of the materials which occur in the worst kind of Southern mobs.

    The leaders of the community, those men who play on other men with as little care for them as a harper plays on a harp, keep this blind, furious monster of the MOB, very much as an overseer keeps plantation-dogs, as creatures to be set on to any man or thing whom they may choose to have put down.

    These leading men [Ed. Note: then, Henry Clay, John Calhoun, etc.; and soon, Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and similar traitors, rapists, and forced-prostitutes' pimps] have used the cry of "abolitionism" over the mob, much as a huntsman uses the "set on" to his dogs. Whenever they have a purpose to carry, a man to put down, they have only to raise this cry, and the monster is wide awake, ready to spring wherever they shall send him.
    • Does a minister raise his voice in favor of the slave?—Immediately, with a whoop and hurra, some [demonized] editor starts the mob on him, as an abolitionist.

    • Is there a man teaching his negroes to read?—The mob is started upon him—he must promise to give it up, or leave the state.

    • Does a man at a public hotel-table express his approbation of some anti-slavery work?—Up come the [demonized, racist] police, and arrest him for seditious language,* and on the heels of the police, thronging round the justice's office, come the ever-ready mob,—men with clubs and bowie-knives, swearing that they will have his heart's blood.
    The more respectable citizens in vain try to compose them; it is quite as hopeful to reason with a pack of hounds, and the only way is to smuggle the suspected person out of the state as quickly as possible. All these are scenes of common occurrence at the South. Every Southern man knows them to be so, and they know, too, the reason why they are so; but, so much do they fear the monster, that they dare not say what they know.

    This brute monster sometimes gets beyond the power of his masters, and then results ensue most mortifying to the patriotism of honorable Southern men, but which they are powerless to prevent. Such was the case when the Honorable Senator Hoar, of Massachusetts, with his daughter, visited the city of Charleston. The senator was appointed by the sovereign State of Massachusetts to inquire into the condition of her free colored citizens detained in South Carolina prisons. We cannot suppose that men of honor and education, in South Carolina, can contemplate without chagrin the fact that this honorable gentleman, the representative of a sister state, and accompanied by his daughter, was obliged to flee from South Carolina, because they were told that the constituted authorities would not be powerful enough to protect them from the ferocities of a mob [Ed. Note: opposed to his carrying out the assigned fact-finding prison-system treatment inquiry].

    This is not the only case in which this mob power has escaped from the hands of its guiders, and produced mortifying results. The scenes of Vicksburg, and the succession of popular whirlwinds which at that time flew over the south-western states, have been forcibly painted by [Richard Hildreth,] the author of "The White Slave."

    They who find these popular outbreaks useful when they serve their own turns are sometimes forcibly reminded of the consequences

    "Of letting rapine loose, and murder,
    To go just so far, and no further;
    And setting all the land on fire,
    To burn just so high, and no higher."

    The statements made above can be substantiated by various documents,—mostly by the testimony of residents in slave states, and by extracts from their newspapers.

    Ed. Note: For more information, see
  • Leonard L. Richards, Gentlemen of Property and Standing: Anti-Abolition Mobs in Jacksonian America (New York: Oxford Univ Press, 1970); and
  • Henry Wilson, History of the Rise and Fall of Slavepower in America (Boston: 1877), p 127.
  • Concerning the class of poor whites, Mr. William Gregg, of Charleston, South Carolina, in a pamphlet, called "Essays on Domestic Industry, or an Inquiry into the Expediency of Establishing Cotton Manufactories in South Carolina, 1845," says, p. 22:

    "Shall we pass unnoticed the thousands of poor, ignorant, degraded white people among us, who, in this land of plenty, live in comparative nakedness and starvation? Many a one is reared in proud South Carolina, from birth to manhood, who has never passed a month in which he has not, some part of the time, been stinted for meat. Many a mother is there who will tell you that her children are but scantily provided with bread, and much more scantily witn meat; and, if they be clad with comfortable raiment, it is at the expense of these scanty allowances of food. These may be startling statements, but they are nevertheless true; and if not believed in Charleston, the members of our legislature who have traversed the state in electioneering campaigns can attest their truth."

    The R«v. Henry Duffner, D.D., President of Lexington College, Va., himself a
    *The writer is decribing here a scene of recent occurrence in a slave state, of whose particulars she has the best means of knowledge. The work in question was "Uncle Tom's Cabin."


    (pp 187-192)

    PART IV.

    Chapter I.

    The Influence of the
    American Church on Slavery.

    Ed. Note: “Brethren, our preaching will bear its legitimate fruits. If immorality prevails in the land, the fault is ours in a great degree. If there is a decay of conscience, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the public press lacks moral discrimination, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the church is degenerate and worldly, the pulpit is responsible for it. If the world loses its interest in religion, the pulpit is responsible for it. If Satan rules in our halls of legislation, the pulpit is responsible for it. If our politics become so corrupt that the very foundations of our government are ready to fall away, the pulpit is responsible for it. Let us not ignore this fact, my dear brethren; but let us lay it to heart, and be thoroughly awake to our responsibility in respect to the morals of this nation.”—Rev. Charles G. Finney (1792-1875), "The Decay of Conscience," The Independent (New York, 4 December 1873), 10th (last) paragraph.

    Harriet Beecher Stowe

    THERE is no country in the world where the religious influence has a greater ascendency than in America. There is no country where the clergy are more powerful. This is the more remarkable, because in America religion is entirely divorced from the state, and the clergy have none of those artificial means for supporting their influence which result from rank and wealth.

    Taken as a body of men, the American dergy are generally poor. The salaries given to them afford only a bare support, and yield them no means of acquiring property. Their style of living can be barely decent and respectable, and no more. The fact that, under these circumstances, the American clergy are probably the most powerful body of men in the country, is of itself a strong presumptive argument in their favor. It certainly argues in them, as a class, both intellectual and moral superiority.

    It is a well-known fact that the influence of the clergy is looked upon by our statesmen as a most serious element in making up their political combinations; and that that influence is so great, that no statesman would ever undertake to carry a measure against which all the clergy of the country should unite.

    Such a degree of power, though it be only a power of opinion, argument and example, is not without its dangers to the purity of any body of men. To be courted by political partisans is always a dangerous thing for the integrity and spirituality of men who profess to be governed by principles which are not of this world. The possession, too, of so great a power as we have described, involves a most; weighty responsibility; since, if the clergy do possess the power to rectify any great national immorality, the fact of its not being done seems in some sort to bring the sin of the omission to their door.

    We have spoken, thus far, of the clergy alone; but in America, where the clergyman is, in most denominations, elected by the church, and aupported by its voluntary contributions, the influence of the church and that of the clergy are, to a very great extent, identical. The clergyman is the very ideal and expression of the church. They choose him, and retain him, because he expresses more perfectly than any other man they can obtain, their ideas of truth and right. The clergyman is supported, in all cases, by his church, or else he cannot retain his position in it. The fact of his remaining there is generally proof of identity of opinion, since, if he differed very materially from them, they have the power to withdraw from him, and choose another.

    The influence of a clergyman, thus retained by the free consent of the understanding and heart of his church, is in some respects greater even than that of a papal priest. The priest can control only by a blind spiritual authority, to which, very often, the reason demurs, while it yields an outward assent; but the successful free minister takes captive the affections of the heart by his affections, overrules the reasoning powers by superior strength of reason, and thus, availing himself of affection, reason, conscience, and the entire man, possesses a power, from the very freedom of the organization, greater than can ever result from blind spiritual despotism.

    If a minister cannot succeed in doing this to some good extent in a church, he is called unsuccessful; and he who realizes this description most perfectly has the highest and most perfect kind of power, and expresses the idea of a successful American minister.

    In speaking, therefore, of this subject, we shall speak of the church and the clergy as identical, using the word church in the American sense of the word, for that class


    of men, of all denominations, who are organized in bodies distinct from nominal Christians, as professing to be actually controlled by the precepts of Christ.

    What, then, is the influence of the church on this great question of slavery?

    Certain things are evident on the very face of the matter [prima facie].
  • 1. It has not put an end to it [Ed. Note: despite its unconstitutionality].

  • 2. It has not prevented the increase of it.

  • 3. It has not occasioned the repeal of the laws which forbid education to the slave.

  • 4. It has not attempted to have laws passed forbidding the separation of families and legalizing the marriage of slaves.

  • 5. It has not stopped the internal slave-trade.

  • 6. It has not prevented the extension of this system, with all its wrongs, over new territories.
  • With regard to these assertions it is presumed there can be no difference of opinion.

    What, then, have they [American Churches] done? In reply to this, it can be stated,
  • 1. That almost every one of the leading denominations have, at some time, in their collective capacity, expressed a decided disapprobation of the system, and recommended that something should be done with a view to its abolition.

  • 2. One denomination of Christians has pursued such a course as entirely, and in fact, to free every one of its members from any participation in slave-holding. We refer to the Quakers. The course by which this result has been effected will be shown by a pamphlet soon to be issued by the poet J. G. Whittier, one of their own body.

  • 3. Individual members, in all denominations, animated by the spirit of Christianity, have in various ways entered their protest against it.
  • It will be well now to consider more definitely and minutely the sentiments which some leading ecclesiastical bodies in the church have expressed on this subject

    It is fair that the writer should state the sources from which the quotations are drawn. Those relating to the action of Southern [Church] judicatories are principally from a pamphlet compiled by the Hon. James G. Birney, and entitled "The Church the Bulwark of Slavery."

    The writer [Stowe] addressed a letter to Mr. Birney, in which she inquired the sources from which he compiled.

    His reply was, in substance, as follows:

    That the pamphlet was compiled from original documents, or files of newspapers, which had recorded these transactions at the time of their occurrence. It was compiled and published in England, in 1842, with a view of leading the people there to understand the position of the American church and clergy.

    Mr. Birney says that, although the [Bulwarks'] statements have long been before the world, he has never known one of them to be disputed; that, knowing the extraordinary nature of the sentiments, he took the utmost pains to authenticate them.

    We will first present those of the Southern States [Churches].

    1. The Presbyterian Church.

    Harmony Presbytery, of South Carolina.
    Whereas, sundry persons in Scotland and England, and others in the north, east and west of our country, have denounced slavery as obnoxious to the laws of God, some of whom have presented before the General Assembly of our church, and the Congress of the nation, memorials and petitions, with the avowed object of bringing into disgrace slave-holders, and abolishing the relation of master and slave:

    And whereas, from the said proceedings, and the statements, reasonings and circumstances connected therewith, it is most manifest that those persons "know not what they say, nor whereof they affirm;" and with this ignorance discover a spirit of self-righteousness and exclusive sanctity, &c., therefore,

    1. Resolved, That as the kingdom of our Lord is not of this world, His church, as such, has no right to abolish, alter, or affect any institution or ordinance of men, political or civil, &c.

    2. Resolved, That slavery has existed from the days of those good old slave-holders and patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (who are now in the kingdom of heaven), to the time when the apostle Paul sent a runaway home to his master Philemon, and wrote a Christian and fraternal letter to this slave-holder, which we find still stands in the canon of the Scriptures; and that slavery has existed ever since the days of the apostle, and does now exist.

    3. Resolved, That as the relative duties of master and slave are taught in the Scriptures, in the same manner as those of parent and child, and husband and wife, the existence of slavery itself is not opposed to the will of God; and whosoever has a conscience too tender to recognize this relation as lawful is "righteous over much," is "wise above what is written," and has submitted his neck to the yoke of men, sacrificed his Christian liberty of conscience, and leaves the infallible word of God for the fancies and doctrines of men.

    Ed. Note:
  • Lying about the patriarchs
  • Lying about Paul and Philemon
  • Lying by denying slavery having declined
  • Lying about origins of slavery revival, five popes and toryism
  • Fraudulent concealment of the traits of Southern slavery
  • Lying about church role
  • Fraudulent misrepresentation of abolitionists' motives
    the religious aspect
    the constitutional law concern
    the concern about abuses
  • Paving the way to Civil War atrocities and casualties.

  • Port Charleston Union Presbytery.
    It is a principle which meets the views of this body, that slavery, as it exists among us, is a political institution, with which ecclesiastical judicatories have not the smallest right to interfere; and in relation to which, any such interference, especially at the present momentous crisis, would be morally wrong, and fraught with the most dangerous and pernicious consequences.

    The sentiments which we maintain, in common with [demonized] Christians at the South of every denomination, are sentiments which so fully approve themselves to our [seared] consciences, are so identined with our solemn


    (pp 195-203)

    the middle ages, as to civil and religious toleration, prevailing.

    However much we may reprobate and deplore those unworthy views of God and religion which are implied in such declarations as are here recorded,—however blasphemous, and absurd they may appear,—still, it is apparent that their authors uttered them with sincerity; and this is the most melancholy feature of the ease.
  • They are as sincere as Paul when he breathed out threatenings and slaughter [Acts 9:1], and when he thought within himself that he ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus.

  • They are as sincere as the Brahmin or Hindoo, conscientiously supporting a religion of cruelty and blood.

  • They are as sincere as many enlightened, scholarlike and Christian men in modern Europe, who, born and bred under systems of civil and religious despotism, and having them entwined with all their dearest associations of home and country, and having all their habits of thought and feeling biased by them, do most conscientiously defend them.
  • There is something in conscientious conviction, even in case of the worst kind of opinions, which is not without a certain degree of respectability. That the religion expressed by the declarations which we have quoted is as truly Antichrist as the religion of the Church of Rome, it is presumed no sensible person out of the sphere of American influences will deny. That there may be very sincere Christians under this system of religion, with all its false principles and all its disadvantageous influences, liberality must concede.

    The Church of Rome has had its [François de] Fénelon [1651-1715], its Thomas â Kempis [1380-1471]; and the Southern Church, which has adopted these principles, has had men who have risen above the level of their system. At the time of the [Protestant] Reformation, and now, the Church of Rome had in its bosom thousands of praying, devoted, humble Christians, which, like flowers in the clefts of rocks, could be counted by no eye, save God'a alone.

    And so, amid the rifts and glaciers of this horrible spiritual and temporal despotism, we hope are blooming flowers of Paradise, patient, prayerful and self-denying Christians; and it is the deepest grief, in attacking the dreadful system under which they have been born and brought up, that violence must be done to their cherished feelings and associations. In another and better world; perhaps, they may appreciate the motives of those who do this.

    But now another consideration comes to the mind. These Southern Christians have been united in ecclesiastical relations with Christians of the northern and free states, meeting with them, by their representatives, yearly, in their various ecclesiastical assemblies. One might hope, in case of such a union, that those debasing views of Christianity, and that deadness of public sentiment, which were the inevitable result of an education under the slave system, might have been qualified by intercourse with Christians in free states, who, having grown up under free institutions, would naturally be supposed to feel the utmost abhorrence of such sentiments.

    One would have supposed that the church and clergy of the free states would naturally have used the most strenuous endeavors, by all the means in their power, to convince their brethren of errors so dishonorable to Christianity, and tending to such dreadful practical results.

    Ed. Note: See Rev. William W. Patton, "Slavery, the Bible, Infidelity: Pro-slavery Interpretations of the Bible: Productive of Infidelity" (Hartford: William H. Burleigh, 1846)

    One would have supposed also, that, failing to convince their brethren, they would have felt it due to Christianity to clear themselves from all complicity with these sentiments, by the most solemn, earnest and reiterated protests.

    "[N]othing . . . has done so much to tolerate and perpetuate the sin in our midst, as the practice of the Church."—Rev. John G. Fee, Anti-Slavery Manual (1851), p 69.

    Let us now inquire what has, in fact, been the course of the Northern church on this subject.

    Previous to making this inquiry, let us review the declarations that have been made in the Southern church, and see what principles have been established by them.

    [Southern Churches Pro-Slavery Views]
    1. That slavery is an innocent and lawful relation, as much as that of parent and child, husband and wife, or any other lawful relation of society. (Harmony Pres., S. C.)

    2. That it is consistent with the most fraternal regard for the good of. the slave. (Charleston Union Pres., S. C.)

    3. That masters ought not to be disciplined for selling slaves without their consent. (New-school Pres. Church, Petersburg, Va.)

    4. That the right to buy, sell, and hold men for purposes of gain, was given by express permission of God. (James Smylie and his Presbyteries.)

    5. That the laws which forbid the education of the slave are right, and meet the approbation of the reflecting part of the Christian community. (Ibid.)

    6. That the fact of slavery is not a question of morals at all, but is purely one of political economy [laws]. (Charleston Baptist Association.)

    7. The right of masters to dispose of the time of their slaves has been distinctly recognized by the Creator of all things. (Ibid.)


    8. That slavery, as it exists in these United States, is not a moral evil. (Georgia Conference, Methodist.)

    9. That, without a new revelation from heaven, no man is entitled to pronounce slavery wrong.

    10. That the separation of slaves by sale should be regarded as separation by death, and the parties allowed to marry again. (Shiloh Baptist Ass., and Savannah River Ass.)

    11. That the testimony of colored members of the churches shall not be taken against a white person. (Methodist Church.)

    In addition, it has been plainly avowed, by the expressed principles and practice of [these so-called Southern] Christians of various denominations, that they regard it right and proper to put down all inquiry upon this subject by Lynch law [mob murders].

    One would have imagined that these principles were sufficiently extraordinary, as coming from the professors of the religion of Christ, to have excited a good deal of attention in their Northern brethren. It also must be seen that, as principles, they are principles of very extensive application, underlying the whole foundations of religion and morality. If not true, they were certainly heresies of no ordinary magnitude, involving no ordinary results. Let us now return to our inquiry as to the course of the Northern church in relation to them.

    Chapter II.

    American Church and Slavery

    IN the first place, have any of these opinions ever been treated in the church as heresies, and the teachers of them been subjected to the censures with which it is thought proper to visit heresy?

    After a somewhat extended examination upon the subject, the writer has been able to discover but one instance of this sort. It may be possible that such cases have existed in other denominations, which have escaped inquiry.

    A clergyman in the Cincinnati N. S. Presbytery maintained the doctrine that slave-holding was justified by the Bible, and for persistence in teaching this sentiment was suspended by that presbytery. He appealed to Synod, and the decision was confirmed by the Cincinnati Synod. The Now School General Assembly, however, reversed this decision of the presbytery, and restored the standing of the clergyman. The presbytery, on its part, refused to receive him back, and he was received into the Old School Church.

    The Presbyterian Church has probably exceeded all other churches of the United States in its zeal for doctrinal opinions. This church has been shaken and agitated to its very foundation with questions of heresy; but, except in this individual case, it is not known that any of these principles which have been asserted by Southern Presbyterian bodies and individuals have ever been discussed in its General Assembly as matters of heresy.

    About the time that Smylie's pamphlet came out, the Presbyterian Church was convulsed with the trial of the Rev. Albert Barnes for certain alleged heresies. These heresies related to the federal headship of Adam, the propriety of imputing his sin to all his posterity, and the question whether men have any ability of any kind to obey the commandments of God.

    For advancing certain sentiments on these topics, Mr. Barnes was silenced by the vote of the synod to which he belonged, and his trial in the General Assembly on these points was the all-engrossing topic in the Presbyterian Church for some time. The Rev. Dr. L. Beecher went through a trial with reference to similar opinions. During all this time, no notice was taken of the heresy, if such it be, that the [alleged] right to buy, sell, and hold men for purposes of gain, was expressly given by God; although that heresy was publicly promulgated in the same Presbyterian Church, by Mr. Smylie, and the presbyteries with which he was connected.

    If it be accounted for by saying that the question of slavery is a question of practical morals, and not of dogmatic theology, we are then reminded that questions of morals of far less magnitude have been discussed with absorbing interest.

    The Old School Presbyterian Church, in whose communion the greater part of the slave-holding Presbyterians of the South are found, has never felt called upon to discipline its members for upholding a system which denies legal marriage to all slaves [Ed. Note: see Sumner's overview]. Yet this church was agitated to its very foundation by the discussion of a question of morals which an impartial observer would probably consider of far less magnitude, namely, whether a man might lawfully marry his deceased wife's sister. For the time, all the strength and attention of the church seemed concentrated upon this important subject. The trial went from Presbytery to


    (pp 206-213)

    or road without the sad procession of manacled outcasts, whose chains and mournful countenances tell they are exiled by force from all that heart holds dear; Christian professors rending the mother from her child, to sell her into returnless exile."

    This was the language of the Kentucky Synod fourteen years before; and those scenes had been going on ever since, and are going on now, as the advertisements of every Southern paper show; and yet the church of Christ since 1818 had done nothing but express regret, and hold grave metaphysical discussions as to whether slavery was an "evil per se" and censure the rash action of men who, in utter despair of stopping the evil any other way, tried to stop it by excluding [unrepentant] slave-holders from the church.

    Ed. Note: For example, see Rev. John G. Fee, Non-Fellowship With Slaveholders The Duty of Christians (New York: John A. Gray, 1849).

    As if it were not better that one slave-holder in one hundred should stay out of the church, if he be peculiarly circumstanced, than that all this horrible agony and iniquity should continually receive the sanction of the church's example? Should not a generous Christian man say,

    "If church excision will stop this terrible evil, let it come, though it does bear hardly upon me! Better that I suffer a little injustice than that this horrible injustice be still credited to the account of Christ's church. Shall I embarrass the whole church with my embarrassments? What if I am careful and humane in my treatment of my slaves,—what if, in my heart, I have repudiated the wicked doctrine that they are my property, and am treating them as my brethren,—what am I then doing? All the credit of my example goes to give force to the system. The church ought to reprove this fearful injustice, and reprovers ought to have clean hands; and if I cannot really get clear of this, I had better keep out of the church till I can."

    Let as consider, also, the awful intrenchments and strength of the evil against which this very moderate resolution was discharged.

  • "A money power of two thousand millions of dollars, held by a small body of able and desperate men;

  • that body raised into a political aristocracy by special constitutional provisions [interpretations];

  • cotton, the product of slave-labor, forming the basis of our whole foreign commerce, and the commercial class thus subsidized;

  • the press bought up [censored];

  • the Southern pulpit reduced to vassalage;

  • the heart of the common people chilled by a bitter prejudice against the black race;

  • and our leading men bribed by ambition either to silence or open hostility."*
  • And now, in this condition of things, the whole weight of these churches goes in support of slavery, from the fact of their containing slave-holders. No matter if they did not participate in the abuses of the system; nobody wants them to do that.

    The slave-power does not wish professors of religion to separate families, or over-work their slaves, or do any disreputable thing,—that is not their part. The slave power wants pious, tender-hearted, generous and humane masters, and must have them, to hold up the [demonized] system against the rising moral sense of the world; and the more pious and generous the better. Slavery could not stand an hour without these men.

    What then? These men uphold the system, and that great anti-slavery body of ministers uphold these men. That is the final upshot of the matter.

    Ed. Note: Rev. Robert J. Breckinridge said likewise, quoted by Rev. Parker Pillsbury, Forlorn Church (1847), p 80. Wherefore, he, Acts (1883), excommunicated them, p 374.

    Paul says that we must remember those that are in bonds, as bound with them. [Heb. 13:3].

    Suppose that this [pro-slavery] General Assembly had been [instead] made up of men who had been fugitives.
  • Suppose one of them had had his daughters sent to the New Orleans slave-market, like Emily and Mary Edmondson;

  • that another's daughter had died on the overland passage in a slave-coffle, with no nurse but a slave-driver, like poor Emily Russell;

  • another's wife died broken-hearted, when her children were sold out of her bosom; and

  • another had a half-crazed mother, whose hair had been turned prematurely white with agony.
  • Suppose these scenes of agonizing partings, with shrieks and groans, which the Kentucky Synod says have been witnessed so long among the slaves, had been seen in these ministers' families, and that they had come up to this discussion with their hearts as scarred and seared as the heart of poor old Paul Edmondson, when he came to New York to beg for his daughters.

    Suppose that they saw that the horrid system by which all this had been done was extending every hour; that professed Christians in every denomination at the South declared it to be an appointed institution of God; that all the wealth, and all the rank, and all the fashion, in the country, were committed in its favor; and that they, like Aaron [Num. 16:47-48], were sent to stand between the living and the dead, that the plague might be stayed.

    Most humbly, most earnestly, let it be
    * Speech of W. Phillips, Boston.


    (pp 215-220)

    true in certain states and districts; setting aside all questions of treatment, except such as refer to the body. And yet. while the "majority of slaveholders" in a certain section may be kind, the majority of slaves in that section will be treated with cruelty. This is the truth in many such cases, that while there may be thirty men who may have but one slave apiece, and that a house-servant, a single man in their neighborhood may have a hundred slaves,—all field-hands, half-fed, worked excessively, and whipped most cruelly. This is what I [Dr. Nelson, D.D.] have often seen.

    To give a case, to show the awful influence of slavery upon the master, I will mention a Presbyterian elder, who was esteemed one of the beat men in the region,—a very kind master. I was called to his death-bed to write his will. He had what was considered a favorite house-servant, a female. After all other things were disposed of, the elder paused, as if in doubt what to do with "Su." I entertained pleasing expectations of hearing the word "liberty" fall from his lips; but who can tell my surprise when I heard the master exclaim,

    "What shall be done with Su? 1 am afraid she will never be under a master severe enough for her."
    Shall I say that both the dying elder and his "Su" were members of the same church, the latter statedly receiving the emblems of a Saviour's dying love from the former!

    All this temporizing and concession has been excused on the plea of brotherly love. What a plea for us Northern freemen! Do we think the slave-system such a happy, desirable thing for our brothers and sisters at the South?

    Can we look at our common schools, our neat, thriving towns and villages, our dignified, intelligent, self-respecting farmers and mechanics, all concomitants of free labor, and think slavery any blessing to our Southern brethren? That system which beggars all the lower class of whites, which curses the very soil, which eats up everything before it, like the palmer-worm, canker and locust,—which makes common [public] schools an impossibility, and the preaching of the gospel almost as much so,—this system a blessing! Does brotherly love require us to help the South preserve it?

    Consider the educationul influences under which such children as Eva and Henrique must grow up there! We are speaking of what many a Southern mother feels, of what makes many a Southern father's heart sore. Slavery has been spoken of in its influence on the family of the slave. There are those, who never speak, who could tell, if they would, its influence on the family of the master. It makes one's heart ache to see generation after generation of lovely, noble children exposed to such influences. What a country the South might be, could she develop herself without this curse! If the Southern character, even under all these disadvantages, retains so much that is noble, and is fascinates even in its faults, what might it do with free institutions?

    Ed. Note: Sadly, the South continued passing on its hatred, generation after generation. "Much more mayhem developed before [one] chapter of the Second Civil War ran its course. Writing . . . in July of 1869, Lt. William Hoffman may have given the best analysis of the turmoil, an analysis that is still thought provoking for those who study the Reconstruction era today. Hoffman said that the Southern rebels' hatred for the white loyalists and for the freedmen was such that it could never be overcome. The freedmen's situation was deplorable, he said, as he echoed the sentiments of all those who had seen blacks robbed or beaten, raped or murdered. White Union civilians were similarly persecuted, with some of their number also being killed. Even worse, Lieutenant Hoffman surmised that the [Confederate] hatred would be passed from one generation to the next: 'The coming generation, children and children's children[,] are zealously reared to the one great tenet: implacable hatred to the [Union] government.' The subsequent history of the South suggests that young Hoffman knew of what he spoke," say Prof. James M. Smallwood, Barry A. Crouch, and Larry Peacock, Murder and Mayhem: The War of Reconstruction in Texas (College Station: Texas A&M Univ Press, 2003), p 116 (Review 1,   2,   3).

    Who is the real, who is the true and noble lover of the South—they who love her with all these faults and incumbrances, or they who fix their eyes on the bright ideal of what she might be, and say that these faults are no proper part of her?
    • Is it true love to a friend to accept the ravings of insanity as a true specimen of his mind?

    • Is it true love to accept the disfigurement of sickness as a specimen of his best condition?
    Is it not truer love to say,

    "This curse is no part of our brother; it dishonors him; it does him injustice; it misrepresents him in the eyes of all nations. We love his better self, and we will have no fellowship with his betrayer. This is the part of true, generous, Christian love."

    But will it be said, "The abolition enterprise was begun in a wrong spirit, by reckless, meddling, impudent fanatics"? Well, supposing that this were true, how came it to be so? If the church of Christ had begun it right, these so-called fanatics would not have begun it wrong. In a deadly pestilence, if the right physicians do not prescribe, everybody will prescribe,—men, women and children, will prescribe,—because something must be done

    If the Presbyterian Church in 1818 had pursued the course the Quakers did, there never would have been any fanaticism. The Quakers did all by brotherly love. They melted the chains of Mammon only in the fires of a divine charity.

    When Christ came into Jerusalem, after all the mighty works that he had done, while all the so-called better classes were non-committal or opposed, the multitude cut down branches of palm-trees and cried Hosanna! [Matthew 21:8-9; Mark 11:8-9; John 12:12-13].

    There was a most indecorous tumult. The very children caught the enthusiasm, and were crying Hosannas in the temple [Matthew 21:15]. This was contradictory to all ecclesiastical rules. It was a highly improper state of things.

    The Chief Priests and Scribes said unto Jesus,

    "Master, speak unto these that they hold their peace."

    That gentle eye flashed as he answered,


    Suppose a fire bursts out in the streets of Boston, while the regular conservators of the city, who have the keys of the fire-engines, and the regulation of fire-companies, are sitting together in some distant part of the city, consulting for the public good. The cry of fire reaches them, but they think


    it a false alarm. The fire is no less real, for all that. It burns, and rages, and roars, till everybody in the neighborhood sees that something must be done. A few stout leaders break open the doors of the engine-houses, drag out the engines, and begin, regularly or irregularly, playing [water] on the fire. But the destroyer still advances. Messengers come in hot haste to the hall of these deliberators, and, in the unselect language of fear and terror, revile them for not coming out.

    "Bless me!" says a decorous leader of the body, "what horrible language these men use!"

    "They show a very bad spirit," remarks another; "we can't possibly join them in such a state of things."

    Here the more energetic members of the body rush out, to see if the thing be really so; and in a few minutes come back, if possible more earnest than the others.

    "O! there is a fire!—a horrible, dreadful fire! The city is burning,—men, women, children, all burning, perishing! Come out, come out! As the Lord liveth, there is but a step between us and death!"

    "I am not going out; everybody that goes gets crazy," says one.

    "I've noticed," says another, "that as soon as anybody goes out to look, he gets just so excited,—I won't look."

    But by this time the angry fire has burned into their very neighborhood. The red demon glares into their windows. And now, fairly aroused, they get up and begin to look out.

    "Well, there is a fire, and no mistake!" says one.

    Something ought to be done," says another.

    "Yes," says a third; "if it wasn't for with such a crowd and rabble of folks, I'd go out."

    "Upon my word," says another, "there are women in the ranks, carrying pails of water! There, one woman is going up a ladder to get those children out. What an indecorum! If they'd manage this matter properly, we would join them."

    And now come lumbering over from Charlestown the engines and fire-companies.

    What impudence of Charlestown," say these men, "to be sending over here,—just as if we could not put our own fires out! They have fires over there, as much as we do."

    And now the flames roar and burn, and shake hands across the street. They leap over the steeples, and glare demoniacally out of the church-windows.

    "For Heaven's sake, DO SOMETHING!" is the cry. "Pull down the houses! Blow up those blocks of stores with gunpowder [as per law]! Anything to stop it."

    "See, now, what ultra, radical measures they are going at," says one of these spectators.

    Brave men, who have rushed into the thickest of the fire, come out, and full dead in the street.

    "They are impracticable enthusiasts. They have thrown their lives away in foolhardiness," says another.

    So, church of Christ, burns that awful fire! Evermore burning, burning, burning, over church and altar; burning over senate-house and forum; burning up liberty, burning up religion! No earthly hands kindled that [demonized] fire.

    From its sheeted flame and wreaths of sulphurous smoke glares out upon thee the eye of that ENEMY who was a murderer from the beginning [John 8:44]. It is a fire that BURNS TO THE LOWEST HELL!

    Church of Christ, there was an hour when this fire might have been extinguished by thee. Now, thou standest like a mighty man astonished,— like a mighty man that cannot save. But the Hope of Israel is not dead. The Saviour thereof in time of trouble is yet alive.

    If every church in our land were hung with mourning,—if every Christian should put on sack-cloth,—if "the priest should weep between the porch and the altar," and say, "Spare thy people, O Lord, and give not thy heritage to reproach!" [Joel 2:17]— that were not too great a mourning for such a time as this.

    O, church of Jesus! consider what hath been said in the midst of thee. What a heresy hast thou tolerated in thy bosom! Thy God the defender of slavery!—thy God the patron of slave-law! Thou hast suffered the character of thy God to be slandered. Thou hast suffered false witness against thy Redeemer and thy Sanctifier. The Holy Trinity of heaven has been foully traduced in the midst of thee; and that God whose throne is awful in justice has been made the patron and leader of oppression.

    This is a sin against every Christian on the globe.

    Why do we love and adore, beyond all things, our God? Why do we say to him, from our inmost souls, "Whom have I in heaven but thee, and there is none upon earth I desire beside thee"? Is this a


    bought-up worship?—is it a cringing and hollow subserviency, because he is great and rich and powerful, and we dare not do otherwise!

    His eyes are a flame of fire;—he reads the inmost soul, and will accept no such service. From our souls we adore and love him, because he is holy and just and good, and will not at all acquit the wicked. We love him because he is the father of the fatherless, the judge of the widow;—because he lifteth all who fall, and raiseth them that are bowed down.

    We love Jesus Christ, because he is the Lamb without spot, the one altogether lovely. We love the Holy Comforter, because he comes to convince the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. O, holy church universal, throughout all countries and nations! O, ye great cloud of witnesses, of all people and languages and tongues!—differing in many doctrines, but united in crying Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, for he hathredeemed us from all iniquity!—awake!—arise up!—be not silent!

    Testify against this heresy of the latter day, which, if it were possible, is deceiving the very elect. Your God, your glory, is slandered. Answer with the voice of many waters and mighty tbunderings! Answer with the innumerable multitude in heaven, who cry, day and night, Holy, holy, holy! just and true are thy ways, O King of saints!

    Chapter III.


    AT the time when the Methodist and Presbyterian Churches passed the anti-slavery resolutions which we have recorded, the system of slavery could probably have been extirpated by the church with comparatively little trouble. Such was the experience of the Quakers, who tried the experiment at that time, and succeeded. The course they pursued was the simplest possible. They districted their church, and appointed regular committees, whose business it was to go from house to house, and urge the rules of the church individually on each slave-holder, one by one. This was done in a spirit of such simplicity and brotherly love that very few resisted the appeal. They quietly yielded up, in obedience to their own consciences, and the influence of their brethren.

    This mode of operation, though gentle, was as efficient as the calm sun of summer, which, by a few hours of patient shining, dissolves the iceberg on which all the storms of winter have beat in vain. O, that so happy a course had been thought of and pursued by all the other denominations! But the day is past when this monstrous evil would so quietly yield to gentle and persuasive measures.

    At the time that the Quakers made their attempt, this Leviathan in the reeds and rushes of America was young and callow, and had not learned his strength. Then he might have been "drawn out with a hook [Job 41:1];" then they might have "made a covenant with him, and taken him for a servant forever [Job 41:4];" but now Leviathan is full-grown.

    "Behold, the hope of him is vain. Shall not men be cast down even at the sight of him? None is so fierce that dare stir him up [Job 41:9-10].

    His scales are his pride, shut up together as with a close seal; one is so near to another that no air can come between them [Job 41:15].

    The flakes of his flesh are joined together. They are firm in themselves, they cannot be moved. His heart is as firm as a stone, yea, as hard as the nether mill-stone [Job 41:23-24].

    The sword of him that layeth at him cannot hold. He esteemeth iron as straw, and brass as rotten wood. Arrows cannot make him flee; sling-stones are turned with him into stubble. He laugheth at the shaking of a spear [Job 41:26-29].

    Upon the earth there is not his like: he is king over all the children of pride." [Job 41:33-34].

    There are those who yet retain the delusion that, somehow or other, without any very particular effort or opposition, by a soft, genteel, rather apologetic style of operation, Leviathan is to he converted, baptized and Christianized. They can try it. Such a style answers admirably as long as it is understood to mean nothing. But just the moment that Leviathan finds they are in earnest, then they will see the consequences.

    The debates of all the synods in the United States, as to whether he is an evil per se, will not wake him. In fact, they are rather a pleasant humdrum. Nor will any resolutions that they "behold him with regret" give him especial concern; neither will he be much annoyed by the expressed expectation that he is to die somewhere about the millennium.

    Notwithstanding all the recommendations of synods and conferences, Leviathan himself has but an indifferent opinion of his own Christianity, and an impression that he would not be considered quite in keeping with the universal reign of Christ on earth, but he doesn't much concern himself about


    (pp 224-227)

    We will give a few extracts from Mr. Beecher's [1837] narrative, which describe his last interview with Mr. [Elijah P.] Lovejoy on that night, after they had landed and secured the [printing] press:

    [Murder of Abolitionist Rev. Lovejoy in
    Reprisal Against His Bringing A Printing Press
    For Printing Anti-Slavery Writings]
    Rev. Elijah P. LovejoyShortly after the hour fixed on [6 November 1837] for the landing of the boat, Mr. Lovejoy arose, and called me to go with him to see what was the result. The moon had set and it was still dark, but day was near; and here and there a light was glimmering from the window of some sick room, or of some early riser. The streets [of Alton, Illinois] were empty and silent, and the sounds of our feet echoed from the walls as we passed along.

    Little did he dream, at that hour, of the [fatal] contest [violence] which the next night would witness; that these same streets would echo with the shouts of an infuriate mob [common occurrence, said Sen. Sumner, in the South], and be stained with his own heart's blood.

    We found the boat there, and the [printing] press in the warehouse; aided in raising it to the third story. We were all rejoiced that no conflict had ensued, and that the press was safe; and all felt that the crisis was over. We were sure that the store could not be carried by storm by so few men as had ever yet acted in a mob [in that particular area, Alton, Illinois]; and though the majority of the citizens would not aid to defend the press, we had no fear that they would aid in an attack.

    So deep was this feeling that it was thought that a small number was sufficient to guard the press afterward; and it was agreed that the company should be divided into sections of six, and take turns on successive nights. As they had been up all night, Mr. Lovejoy and myself offered to take charge of the press till morning; and they retired.

    The morning soon began to dawn; and that morning I shall never forget. Who that has stood on the banks of the mighty stream [Mississippi River] that then rolled before me can forget the emotions of sublimity that filled his heart, as in imagination he has traced those channels of intercourse opened by it and its branches through the illimitable regions of this western world! I thought of future ages, and of the countless millions that should dwell on this mighty stream; and that nothing but the truth would make them free.

    Never did I feel as then the value of the right [to freedom of the press] for which we were contending [against Southern censorship] thoroughly to investigate and fearlessly to proclaim that truth. O, the sublimity of moral power! By it God sways the universe. By it he will make the nations free.

    I passed through the scuttle to the roof, and ascended to the highest point of the wall. The sky and the river were beginning to glow with approaching day [7 November 1837], and the busy hum of business to be heard. I looked with exultation on the scenes below. I felt that a bloodless battle had been gained for God and for the truth; and that Alton was redeemed from eternal shame.

    And as all around grew brighter with approaching day, I thought of that still brighter sun, even now dawning on the world, and soon to bathe it with floods of glorious light.

    Brother Lovejoy, too, was happy. He did not exult; he was tranquil and composed, but his countenance indicated the state of his mind. It was a calm and tranquil joy, for he trusted in God that the point was gained; that the banner of an unfettered press would soon wave over that mighty stream.

    Vain hopes! How soon to be buried in a martyr's grace! Vain, did I say! No: they are not vain. Though dead he still speaketh; and a united world can never silence his voice.

    The conclusion of the tragedy is briefly told. A volunteer company, of whom [Rev. Elijah P.] Lovejoy was one, was formed to act under the [Alton, Illinois] mayor in defence of the [rule of] law.

    The next night [7 Nov 1837] the [pro-slavery] mob assailed the building at ten o'clock. The store consisted of two stone buildings in one block, with doors and windows at each end, but no windows at the sides. The roof was of wood.

    Mr. Gilman, opening the end door of the third story, asked what they wanted. They demanded the press. He refused to give it up, and earnestly entreated them to go away without violence, assuring them that, as the property had been committed to their charge, they should defend it at the risk of their lives. After some ineffectual attempts, the mob shouted to set fire to the roof.

    Mr. Lovejoy, with some others, went out to defend it from this attack, and was shot down by the deliberate aim of one of the mob. After this wound he had barely strength to return to the store, went up one flight of stairs, fell and expired.

    Those within then attempted to capitulate, but were refused with curses by the mob, who threatened to burn the store, and shoot them as they came out. At length the building was actually [set] on fire, and they fled out, fired on as they went by the mob. So terminated the Alton tragedy.

    Ed. Note: Rev. Parker Pillsbury, Acts of Anti-Slavery Apostles (1883), elaborates at pp. 43 and 84. See also the Alton site and the Worldbook site.
    "Lovejoy's murder prompted many Americans to take active roles in the antislavery movement.
  • Wendell Phillips, who was to become the great orator of the abolitionist movement, made a brilliant speech in defense of Lovejoy's [First Amendment] stand. . . .
  • William H. Herndon, later a law partner of Abraham Lincoln, was . . . at Illinois College . . . where he [learned] antislavery doctrine [and] was stunned by Lovejoy's death and . . . resolved to do something to rid the land of slavery.
  • John Brown, at a memorial meeting in Hudson, Ohio, rose and pledged to dedicate his life to the destruction of slavery," says Edward Magdol, Owen Lovejoy: Abolitionist in Congress (New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 1967), pp 22-23.
  • When the noble mother of [Rev. Elijah P.] Lovejoy heard of his death, she said, "It is well. I had rather he would die so than forsake his principles." All is not over with America while such mothers are yet left. Was she not blessed who could give up such a son in such a spirit? Who was that woman whom God pronounced blessed above all women? [Luke 1:42]. Was it not she who saw her dearest crucified? [John 19:25]. So differently does God see from what man sees.

    Ed. Note: For more information, see Michael K. Curtis, Prof. of Law, Wake Forest University School of Law, " The 1837 Killing of Elijah Lovejoy by an Anti-Abolition Mob: Free Speech, Mobs, Republican Government, and the Privileges of American Citizens," 44 UCLA Law Review (#4) 1109-1184 (April 1997).

    Ed. Note: For more on lynching generally, see
  • Crime Library
  • Lynching
  • Ohio State
  • Schoolnet
  • Journale
  • uic.edu.

  • Chapter IV.

    Servitude in the Primitive Church
    Compared With American Slavery.

    "Look now upon this place!—and on this."

    IT is the standing claim of those [vile] professors of religion at the South who support slavery that they are pursuing the same course in relation to it that Christ and his apostles did. Let us consider the course of Christ and his apostles, and the nature of the kingdom


    which they founded, and see if this be the fact.

    Ed. Note: For background on early Christianity, see
  • Rev. Beriah Green, Chattel Principle (1839), pp 21-22
  • Rev. John G. Fee, An Anti-Slavery Manual
    (1851), pp 79-81 and pp 114-121
  • Edward C. Rogers, Slavery Illegality (1855), pp 27-33.
  • Napoleon said, "Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne and myself, have founded empires; but upon what did we rest the creation of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ alone founded his empire upon LOVE."

    The desire to be above others in power, rank and station, is one of the deepest in human nature. If there is anything which distinguishes man from other creatures, it is that he is par excellence an oppressive animal. On this principle, as Napoleon observed, all empires have been founded; and the idea of founding a kingdom in an other way had not even been thought of when Jesus of Nazareth appeared.

    When the serene Galilean came up from the waters of Jordan, crowned and glorified by the descending Spirit, and began to preach, saying, "The kingdom of God is at hand," what expectations did be excite? Men's heads were full of armies to be marshalled, of provinces to be conquered, of cabinets to be formed, and offices to be distributed. There was no doubt at all that he could get all these things for them, for had he not miraculous power?

    Therefore it was that Jesus of Nazareth was very popular, and drew crowds after him.

    Of these, he chose, from the very lowest walk of life, twelve men of the best and most honest heart which he could find, that he might make them his inseparable companions, and mould them, by his sympathy and friendship, into some capacity to receive and transmit his ideas to mankind.

    But they too, simple-hearted and honest though they were, were bewildered and bewitched by the common vice of mankind; and, though they loved him full well, still had an eye on the offices and ranks which he was to confer, when, as they expected, this miraculous kingdom should blaze forth.

    While his heart was struggling and laboring, and nerving itself by nights of prayer to meet desertion, betrayal, denial, rejection by his beloved people, and ignominious death, they were forever wrangling about the offices in the new kingdom. Once and again, in the plainest way, he told them that no such thing was to be looked for; that there was to be no distinction in his kingdom, except the distinction of pain, and suffering, and self-renunciation, voluntarily assumed for the good of mankind.

    His words seemed to them as idle tales.

    In fact, they considered him as a kind of a myth,—a mystery,—a strange, supernatural, inexplicable being, forever talking in parables, and saying things which they could not understand.

    One thing only they held fast to: he was a king, he would have a kingdom; and he had told them that they should sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

    And so, when he was going up to Jerusalem to die,— when that anguish long wrestled with in the distance had come almost face to face, and he was walking in front of them, silent, abstracted, speaking occasionally in broken sentences, of which they feared to ask the meaning,— they, behind, beguiled the time with the usual dispute of "who should be greatest."

    The mother of James and John came to him, and, breaking the mournful train of revery, desired a certain thing of him,—that her two sons might sit at his right hand and his left, as prime ministers, in the new kingdom [Matthew 20:20-21]. With his sad, far-seeing eye still fixed upon Gethsemane and Calvary, he said,
    "Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup which I shall drink; and to be baptized with the baptism wherewith I shall be baptized?" [Matthew 20:22].

    James and John were both quite certain that they were able. They were willing to fight through anything for the kingdom's sake. The ten were very indignant. Were they not as willing as James and John? And so there was a contention among them [Matthew 20:24].
    "But Jesus called them to him and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and their great ones exercise authority upon them; but it shall not be so among you."

    "Whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister; and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant,—yea, the servant of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many." [Matthew 20:25-28].

    Let us now pass on to another week in this history. The disciples have seen their Lord enter triumphantly into Jerusalem, amid the shouts of the multitude. An indescribable something in his air and manner convinces them that a great crisis is at hand. He walks among men as a descended God. Never were his words so thrilling and energetic. Never were words spoken on earth which so breathe and burn as these of the last week of the life of Christ. All the fervor and imagery and fire of the old prophets seemed to be raised from the dead,


    (pp 229-233)

    love of woman, was held up to be pawed over by the polluted hobgoblin-fingers of slave-dealers and slave-whippers as their lettre de cachet, signed and sealed in the name of Christ and his apostles, giving full authority to carry back slaves to be tortured and whipped, and sold into perpetual bondage, as were Henry Long and Thomas Sims!

    Just as well might a mother's letter, when, with prayers and tears, she commits her first and only child to the cherishing love and sympathy of some trusted friend, be used as an inquisitor's warrart for inflicting imprisonment and torture upon that child. Had not every fragment of the apostle's body long since mouldered to dust, his very bones would have moved in their grave, in protest against such slander on the Christian name and faith.

    And is it come to this, O Jesus Christ! have such things been done in thy name, and art thou silent yet? Verily, thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour!

    Chapter V.

    Teachings and Condition of the Apostles.

    BUT why did not the apostles preach against the legal relation of slavery, and seek its overthrow in the state? This question is often argued as if the apostles were in the same condition with the clergy of Southern churches, members of republican institutions, law-makers, and possessed of all republican powers to agitate for the repeal of unjust laws.

    Contrary to all this, a little reading of the New Testament will show us that the apostles were almost in the condition of outlaws, under a severe and despotic government, whose spirit and laws they reprobated as unchristian, and to which they submitted, just as they exhorted the slave to submit, as to a necessary evil.

    Ed. Note: Others, Roman activists against slavery, more "acceptable" than Paul, were already opposing slavery as per Roman anti-slavery principles, says Edward C. Rogers, Slavery Illegality in All Ages and Nations (Boston: Bela Marsh, 1855), Ch. II., "Ancient Rome," pages 15-23. Apostles had enough to do without duplicating that activism.

    Hear the apostle Paul thus enumerating the political privileges incident to the ministry of Christ. Some false teachers had risen in the church at Corinth, and controverted his teachings, asserting that they had greater pretensions to authority in the Christian ministry than he. St. Paul, defending his apostolic position, thus speaks:

    "Are they ministers of Christ? (I speak as a fool) I am more; in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequent, in deaths oft. Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day have I been in the deep; in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren: in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness." [2 Cor. 11:23-27]

    What enumeration of the hardships of an American slave can more than equal the hardships of the great apostle to the Gentiles? Hie had nothing to do with 1aws except to suffer their penalties. They were made and kept in operation without asking him, and the slave did not suffer any more from them than he did.

    It would appear that the clergymen of the South, when they imitate the example of Paul, in letting entirely alone the civil relation of the slave, have left wholly out of their account how different is the position of an America clergyman, in a republican government, where he himself helps make and sustain the laws, from the condition of the apostle, under a heathen despotism, with whose laws he could have nothing to do.

    It is very proper for an outlawed slave to address to other outlawed slaves exhortations to submit to a government which neither he nor they have any power to alter.

    We read, in sermons which clergymen at the South have addressed to Braves, exhortations to submission, and patience, and humility, in their enslaved condition, which would be exceedingly proper in the mouth of an apostle, where he and the slaves were alike fellow-sufferers under a despotism whose laws they could not alter, but which assume quite another character when addressed to the slave by the very men who make the laws that enslave them.

    If a man has been waylaid and robbed of all his property, it would be very becoming and proper for his clergyman to endeavor to reconcile him to his condition, as, in some sense, a dispensation of Providence; but if the man who robs him should come to him, and address to him the same exhortations, he certainly will think that that is quite another phase of the matter.

    A clergyman of high rank in the church, in a sermon to the negroes, thus addresses them:

    Almighty God hath been pleased to make you slaves here, and to give you nothing but labor and poverty in this world, which you are obliged to submit to, as it is his will that it should be so. And think within yourselves what a terrible thing it would be, after all your labors and sufferings in this life, to be turned into hell in the next life;


    and, after wearing out your bodies in service here, to go into a far worse slavery when this is over, and your poor souls be delivered over into the possession of the devil, to become his slaves forever in hell, without any hope of ever getting free from it. If, therefore, you would be God's freemen in heaven, you must strive to he good and serve him here on earth. Your bodies, you know, are not your own: they are at the disposal of those you belong to; but your precious souls are still your own, which nothing can take from you, if it be not your own fault. Consider well, then, that if you lose your souls by leading idle, wicked lives here, you have got nothing by it in this world, and you have lost your all in the next. For your idleness and wickedness is generally found out, and your bodies suffer for it here; and, what is far worse, if you do not repent and amend, your unhappy souls will suffer for it hereafter.

    Now, this clergyman was a man of undoubted sincerity. He had read the New Testament, and observed that St. Paul addressed exhortations something like this to slaves in his day.

    But he entirely forgot to consider that Paul had not the rights of a republican clergyman; that he was not a maker and sustainer of those [unconstitutional] laws by which the slaves were reduced to their condition, but only a fellow-sufferer under them. A case may be supplied which would illustrate this principle to the clergyman.

    Suppose that he were travelling along the highway, with all his worldly property about him, in the shape of bank-bills. An association of highwaymen seize him, bind him to a tree, and take away the whole of his worldly estate. This they would have precisely the same right to do that the clergyman and his brother republicans have to take all the earnings and possessions of their slaves. The property would belong to these high waymen by exactly the same kind of title,—not because they have earned it, but simply because they have got it and are able to keep it.

    The head of this confederation, observe some dissatisfaction upon the face of the clergyman, proceeds to address him a religious exhortation to patience and submission, in much the same terms as he had before addressed to the slaves.

    "Almighty God has been pleased to take away your entire property, and to give you nothing but labor and poverty in this world, which you are obliged to submit to, as it is his will that it should be so. Now, think within yourself what a terrible thing it would be, if, having lost all your worldly property, you should, by discontent and want of resignation, lose also your soul; and, having been robbed of all your property here, to have your poor soul delivered over to the possession of the devil, to become his property forever in hell, without any hope of ever getting free from it. Your property now is no longer your own, we have taken possession of it; but your precious soul is still your own, and nothing can take it from you but your own fault. Consider well then, that if you lose your soul by rebellion and murmuring against this dispensation of Providence, you will get nothing by it in this world, and will lose your all in the next.

    Now, should this clergyman say, as he might very properly, to these robbers,—

    "There is no necessity for my being poor in this world, if you will only give me back my property which you have taken from me," he is only saying precisely what the slaves to whom he has been preaching might say to him and his fellow-republicans.

    Chapter VI.

    Apostolic Teaching on Emancipation.

    BUT it may still be said that the apostles might have commanded Christian masters to perform the act of legal emancipation in all cases. Certainly they might, and it is quite evident that they did not.

    Ed. Note: For the good reason that there were no slave-holders in the Apostolic Church, says Rev. John G. Fee, An Anti-Slavery Manual (New York: William Harned, 1851), pp 115-118.

    The professing primitive Christian regarded and treated his slave [Ed. Note: employee] as a brother [Ed. Note: as per Bible law], but in the eye of the [Roman] law he was still his chattel personal,—a thing, and not a man. Why did not the apostles, then, strike at the legal relation? Why did they not command every Christian convert to sunder that chain at once? In answer, we say that every attempt at reform which comes from God has proceeded uniformly in this manner,—to destroy the spirit of an abuse first, and leave the form of it to drop away, of itself, afterwards,—to girdle the poisonous tree, and leave it to take its own time for dying.

    This mode of dealing with abuses has this advantage, that it is compendious and universal, and can apply to that particular abuse in all ages, and under all shades and modifications. If the apostle, in that outward and physical age, had merely attacked the legal relation, and had rested the whole burden of obligation on dissolving that, the corrupt and selfish principle might have run into other forms of oppression equally bad, and sheltered itself under the technicality of avoiding legal slavery. God, therefore, dealt a surer blow at the monster, by singling out the precise spot where his heart beat, and saying to his apostles, "Strike there!"

    Instead of saying to the slave-holder,


    "manumit your slave," it said to him, "treat him as your brother," and left to the slave-holder's conscience to say how much was implied in this command.

    Ed. Note: There were no slave-holders in the Primitive Church, says Rev. John G. Fee, An Anti-Slavery Manual (1851), pp 114-121.

    In the directions which Paul gave about slavery, it is evident that he considered the legal relation with the same indifference with which a gardener treats a piece of unsightly bark, which he perceives the growing vigor of a young tree is about to throw off by its own vital force. He looked upon it as a part of an old, effete system of heathenism, belonging to a set of laws and usages which were waxing old and ready to vanish away. [Hebrews 8:13].

    There is an argument which has been much employed on this subject, and which is specious. It is this. That the apostles treated slavery as one of the lawful relations of life, like that of parent and child, husband and wife.

    The [pro-slavery] argument is thus stated: The apostles found all the relations of. life much corrupted by various abuses.

    They did not attack the relations, but reformed the abuses, and thus restored the relations to a healthy state.

    The mistake here lies in assuming that slavery is the lawful relation. Slavery is the corruption of a lawful relation. The lawful relation is servitude [employee status], and slavery is the corruption of servitude [employee status].

    Ed. Note: The lawful relation is "employee" status. See Overview; and Edward C. Rogers, Slavery Illegality in All Ages and Nations (Boston: Marsh, 1855), pp 15-23, on slavery illegality under Roman legal doctrines. Any Roman slavery, as in America, was unconstitutional.
    The apostles came LONG after Rome's founding, 753 B.C. By the apostolic era, 30's - 90's A.D., had developed the pro-slavery deterioration leading to Rome's decline and fall.

    When the apostles came, all the relations of life in the Roman empire were [by then] thoroughly permeated with the [unconstitutional] principle of slavery. The relation of child to parent was slavery. The relation of wife to husband was slavery. The relation of servant to master was slavery.

    The power of the father over his son, by Roman law, was very much the same with the power of the master over his slave.*   He could, at his pleasure, scourge, imprison, or put him to death. The son could possess nothng but what was the property of his father; and this unlimited control extended through the whole lifetime of the father, unless the son were formally liberated by an act of manumission three times repeated, while the slave could be manumitted by performing the act only once. Neither was there any law obliging the father to manumit;—he could retain this power, if he chose, during his whole life.

    Very similar was the situation of the Roman wife. In case she were accused of crime, her husband assembled a meeting of her relations, and in their presence sat in judgment upon her, awarding such punishment as he thought proper.

    For unfaithfulness to her marriage-vow, or for drinking wine, Romulus allowed her husband to put her to death.   From this slavery, unlike the son, the wife could never be manumitted; no legal forms were provided. It was lasting as her life.

    The same spirit of force and slavery pervaded the relation of master [employer] and servant [employee], is giving rise to that severe code of slave-law, which, with a few features of added cruelty, [demonized] Christian America, in the nineteenth century, has reënacted.

    With regard, now, to all these abuses of proper relations, the gospel pursued one uniform course. It did not command the Christian father to perform the legal act of emancipation to his son; but it infused such a divine spirit into the paternal relation, by assimilating it to the relation of the heavenly Father, that the Christianized Roman would regard any use of his barbarous and oppressive legal powers as entirely inconsistent with his Christian profession.

    So it ennobled the marriage relation by comparing it to the relation between Christ and his church; commanding the husband to love bis wife, even as Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it [Ephesians 5:25]. It said to him, "No man ever yet hated his own flesh, but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church;" [Ephesians 5:29] "so ought every one to love his wife, even as himself.'' [Ephesians 5:28]

    Not an allusion is made to the barbarous, unjust power which the law gave the husband. It was perfectly understood that a Christian husband could not make use of it in conformity with these directions.

    In the same manner Christian masters were exhorted to give to their servants that which is just and equitable; and, so far from coercing their services by force, to forbear even threatenings [Ephesians 6:9].

    The Christian master was directed to receive his Christianized slave, "NOT now as a slave, but above a slave, a brother beloved [Philemon 16];" and, as in all these other cases, nothing was said to him about the barbarous powers which the Roman law gave him, since it was perfectly understood that he could not at the same time treat him as a brother beloved and as a slave in the sense of [unconstitutional] Roman law.

    When, therefore, the question is asked, why did not the apostles seek the abolition of slavery, we answer, they did seek it. They sought it by the safest, shortest, and most direct course which could possibly have been adopted.
    * See [Alexander] Adams' Roman Antiquities [Edinburgh: A. Strahan & T. Cadell, 1791]. [Details].

    Dionys. Hal. II. 25. [Details].


    Chapter VII.

    Abolition of Slavery by Christianity.

    BUT did Christianity abolish slavery as a matter of fact? We answer, it did.

    Let us look at these acknowledged facts. At the time of the coming of Chirst [c 4 B.C.], slavery extended over the whole civilized world. Captives in war were uniformly made slaves, and, as wars were of constant occurrence, the ranks of slavery were continually being reinforced; and, as slavery was hereditary and perpetual, there was every reason to suppose that the number would have gone on increasing indefinitely, had not some influence operated to stop it. This is one fact.

    Let us now look at another. At the time of the [1520's Protestant] Reformation, chattel-slavery had entirely ceased throughout all the civilized countries of the world;—by no particular edict, by no special laws of emancipation, but by the steady influence of some gradual, unseen power, this whole vast system had dissolved away, like the snow-banks of winter.

    These two facts being conceded, the inquiry arises, What caused this change? If, now, we find that the most powerful organization in the civilized world at that time did pursue a system of measures which had a direct tendency to bring about such a result, we shall very naturally ascribe it to that organization.

    The Spanish [Catholic] writer, [Jaime Luciano] Balmes [1810-1848], in his work entitled "Protestantism compared with Catholicity," has one chapter devoted to the anti-slavery course of the church, in which he sets forth the whole system of measures which the church pursued in reference to this subject, and quotes, in their order, all the decrees of [Roman Catholic Church] councils. The decrees themselves are given in an appendix at length, in the original Latin.

    We cannot but empathize deeply in the noble and generous spirit in which these chapters are written, and the enlarged and vigorous ideas which they give of the magnanimous and honorable nature of Christianity. They are evidently conceived by a large and noble soul, capable of understanding such views,—a soul grave, earnest, deeply religious, though evidently penetrated and imbued with the most profound conviction of the truth of his own peculiar faith.

    We shall give a short abstract, from M. Balmes, of the early course of the church. In contemplating the course which the church took in this period, certain things are to be borne in mind respecting the character of the times.

    The process was carried on during that stormy and convulsed period of society which succeeded the breaking up of the Roman empire. At this time, all the customs of society were rude and barbarous. Though Christianity, as a system, had been nominally very extensively embraced, yet it had not, as in the case of its first converts, penetrated to the heart, and regenerated the whole nature.

    Force and violence was the order of the day, and tbe Christianity of the savage northern tribes, who at this time became masters of Europe, was mingled with the barbarities of their ancient heathenism. To root the institution of slavery out of such a state of society, required, of course, a very different process from what would be necessary under the enlightened organization of modern times.

    No power but one of the peculiar kind which the Christian church then possessed could have effected anything in this way. The Christian church at this time, far from being in the outcast and outlawed state in which it existed in the time of the apostles, was now an organization of great power, and of a kind of power peculiarly adapted to that rude and uncultured age. It laid hold of all those elements of fear, and mystery, and superstition, which are strongest in barbarous ages, as with barbarous individuals, and it visited the violations of its commands with penalties the more dreaded that they related to some awful future, dimly perceived and imperfectly comprehended.

    In dealing with slavery, the church did not commence by a proclamation of universal emancipation, because, such was the barbarous and unsettled nature of the times, so fierce the grasp of violence, and so many the causes of discord, that she avoided adding to the confusion by infusing into it this element;—nay, a certain council of the church forbade, on pain of ecclesiastical censure, those who preached that slaves ought immediately to leave their masters.

    The course was commenced first by restricting the power of the master, and granting protection to the slave. The Council of Orleans, in 549, gave to a alave threatened with punishment the privilege of taking sanctuary in a church, and forbade his master to withdraw him thence, without taking a solemn oath that he would do him no harm; and, if he violated the spirit of this oath, he was to be suspended from the church and the sacraments,—a doom which in those days was viewed with such a degree of superstitious awe, that the most barbarous would scarcely dare to incur it. The custom was afterwards introduced of requiring an oath


    (pp 238-239)

    barbarous custom of trading in men, like animals; and the seventh canon of the Council of Coblentz, held 922, declares that he who takes away a Christian to sell him is guilty of homicide.

    A French council, held in Verneuil in 616, established the law that all persons who had been sold into slavery on account of poverty or debt should receive back their liberty by the restoration of the price which had been paid. It will readily be seen that this opened a wide field for restoration to liberty in an age where so great a Christian zeal had been awakened for the redeeming of slaves, since it afforded opportunity for Christians to interest themselves in raising the necessary ransom.

    At this time the Jews occupied a very peculiar place among the nations. The spirit of trade and commerce was almost entirely confined to them, and the great proportion of the wealth was in their hands, and, of course, many slaves. The regulations which the church passed relative to the slaves of Jews tended still further to strengthen the principles of liberty. They forbade Jews to compel Christian slaves to do things contrary to the religion of Christ. They allowed Christian slaves, who took refuge in the church, to be ransomed, by paying their masters the proper price.

    This produced abundant results in favor of liberty, inasmuch as they gave Christian slaves the opportunity of flying to churches, and there imploring the charity of their brethren. They also enacted that a Jew who should pervert a Christian slave should be condemned to lose all his slaves. This was a new sanction to the slave's conscience, and a new opening for liberty. After that, they proceeded to forbid Jews to have Christian slaves, and it was allowed to ransom those in their possession for twelve sous. As the Jews were among the greatest traders of the time, the forbidding them to keep slaves was a very decided step toward general emancipation.

    Another means of lessening the ranks of slavery was a decree passed in a council at Rome, in 595, presided over by Pope Gregory the Great. This decree offered liberty to all who desired to embrace the monastic life. This decree, it is said, led to great scandal, as slaves fled from the houses of their masters in great numbers, and took refuge in monasteries.

    The church also ordained that any slave who felt a calling to enter the ministry, and appeared qualified therefor, should be allowed to pursue his vocation; and enjoined it upon his master to liberate him, since the church could not permit her minister to wear the yoke of slavery. It is to be presumed that the phenomenon, on page 176, of a preacher with both toes cut off and branded on the breast, advertised as a runaway in the public papers, was not one which, could have occurred consistently with the Christianity of that period.

    Under the influence of all these [Christian] regulations, it is not surprising that there are documents cited by M. Balmes which go to show for the following things.
  • First, that the number of slaves thus liberated was very great, as there was universal complaint upon this head.

  • Second, that the bishops were complained of as being always in favor of the slaves, as carrying their protection to very great lengths, laboring in all ways to realize the doctrine of man's equality; and

  • it is affirmed in the documents that complaint is made that there is hardly a bishop who cannot be charged with reprehensible compliances in favor of slaves, and

  • that slaves were aware of this spirit of protection, and were ready to throw off their chains, and cast themselves into the church.
  • It is not necessary longer to extend this history. It is as perfectly plain whither such a course tends, as it is whither the [demonized] course pursued by the [vile] American clergy at the South tends.
  • We are not surprised that under such a course, on the one hand, the number of slaves decreased, till there were none in modern Europe. [Ed. Note: See Mr. Hargrave's statement, in Somerset v Stewart, p 33.]

  • We are not surprised by such a course, on the other hand, that they have increased until there are three millions in America.
  • Alas for the poor slave! What church befriends him?
  • In what house of prayer can he take sanctuary?

  • What holy men stand forward to rebuke the wicked law that denies him legal marriages?

  • What pious bishops visit slave-coffles to redeem men, women and children, to liberty?

  • What holy exhortations in churches to buy the freedom of wretched captives?

  • When have church velvets been sold, and communion-cups melted down, to liberate the slave?

  • Where are the pastors, inflamed with the love of Jesus, who have sold themselves into slavery to restore separated families?

  • Where are those honorable complaints of the world that the church is always on the side of the oppressed?—that the slaves feel the beatings of her generous heart, and long to throw themselves into her arms?
  • Love of brethren, holy charities, love of Jesus,—where are ye—Are ye fled forever?

    Ed. Note: Sadly, the answer is yes. Churches are now often even more deteriorated than in that era. They refuse even to preach "Thou shalt not kill" against vengeful slavers, tobacco farmers, who, after the Civil War, their long demonization unrebuked by the churches, altered the tobacco formula to add coumarin, for rat poison, and now kill tens of millions, at the holocaust level.


    Chapter VIII.

    Justice and Equity versus Slavery.

    "Masters, give unto your servants that which is just
    and equal" [Col. 4:1,   Deut. 24:14-15,   James 5:1-5].

    FROM what has been said in the last chapter, it is presumed that it will appear that the [so-called] Christian church of America by no means occupies that position, with regard to slavery, that the apostles did, or that the church of the earlier ages did.

    Ed. Note: See also
  • Edward C. Rogers' analysis
  • Rev. John G. Fee's analysis
  • However they [pro-slavery clergy] may choose to interpret the language of the apostles, the fact still remains undeniable, that the church organization which gr»w up immediately after these instructions did intend and did effect the abolition of slavery.

    But we wish to give still further consideration to one idea which is often put forward by those who defend African slavery. It is this. That the institution is not of itself a sinful one, and that the only sin consists in the neglect of its relative duties. All that is necessary, they say, is to regulate the institution by the precepts of the gospel. They admit that no slavery is defensible which is not so regulated.

    If, therefore, it shall appear that American slave-law cannot be regulated by the precepts of the gospel, without such alterations as will entirely do away the whole system, then it will appear that it is an unchristian institution, against which every Christian is bound to remonstrate, and from which he should entirely withdraw.

    The Roman slave-code was a code made by heathen,—by a race, too, proverbially stern and unfeeling. It was made in the darkest ages of the world, before the light of the gospel had dawned. Christianity gradually but certainly abolished it.

    Some centuries later, a company of men, from [so-called] Christian nations, go to the continent of Africa; there they kindle wars, sow strifes, set tribes against tribes with demoniac violence, burn villages, and in the midst of these diabolical scenes kidnap and carry off, from time to time, hundreds and thousands of miserable captives.

    Ed. Note: See the "African Bondage Begins" section of Edward C.Rogers' book, Slavery Illegality in All Ages and Nations (1855), pp 42-44.

    Such of these as do not die of terror, grief, suffocation, ship-fever, and other horrors, are, from time to time, landed on the shores of America. Here they are.

    And now a set of [so-called] Christian legislators meet together to construct a system and

    -474 of 508-

    laws of servitude, with regard to these unfortunates, which is hereafter to be considered as a Christian institution.

    Ed. Note: Contrast with how moral legislators act, paying to return the kidnap victims to their homes.

    Of course, in order to have any valid title to such a name [Christian], the institution must be regulated by the principles which Christ and his apostles have laid down for the government of those who assume the relation of masters [employers]. The New Testament sums up these principles in a single sentence: "Masters, give unto your servants that which is just and equal" [Colossians 4:1,   James 5:1-5,   Deuteronomy 24:14-15 (command to pay daily)].

    But, forasmuch as there is always some confusion of mind in regard to what is just and equal in our neighbor's affairs, our Lord has given this direction, by which we may arrive at infallible certainty. "All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them" [Matthew 7:12].

    It is, therefore, evident that if Christian legislators are about to form a Christian system of servitude, they must base it on these two laws, one of which is a particular specification under the other.

    Let us now examine some of the particulars of the [law] code which they have formed, and see if it bear this character [Ed. Note: e.g., pay to return the kidnap victims to their homes, as Massachusetts had done].

    Summary of Unchristian Southern Slave Laws
    First, they commence by declaring that their brother shall no longer be considered as a person, but deemed, sold, taken, and reputed, as a chattel personal [property].—This is "just and equal!"

    This being the fundamental [unchristian] principle of the system, the following are specified as its consequences:

    1. That he shall have no right to hold property of any kind, under any circumstances.—Just and equal!

    2. That he shall have no power to contract a legal marringo, or claim any womain in particular for his wife.—Just and equal!

    3. That he shall have no right to his children, either to protect, restrain, guide or educate.—Just and equal!

    4. That the power of his master over him shall be ABSOLUTE without any possibility of appeal or redress in consequence of any injury whatever.

    • To secure this, they enact that he shall not be able to enter suit in any court for any cause.—Just and equal!

    • That he shall not be allowed to bear testimony in any court where any white person is concerned.—Just and equal!

    • That the owner of a servant, for "malicious, cruel, and excessive" beating [assault and battery] of his slave, cannot be indicted.—Just and equal!

    • It is further decided, that by no indirect mode of suit, through a guardian, shall a slave obtain redress for ill-treatment. (Dorothea v. Coquillon et al, 9 Martin La. Rep. 350.) —Just and equal!

    5. It is decided that the slave shall not only have no legal

    -475 of 508-

    redress for injuries inflicted by his master, but shall have no re-

    -241 of 259-

    dress for those inflicted by any other person, unless the injury impair his property value.—Just and equal!
  • Under this head it is distinctly asserted as follows:
    "There can be no offence against the peace of the state, by the mere beating of a slave, unaccompanied by any circumstances of cruelty, or an intent to kill and murder. The peace of the state is not thereby broken." (State v. Maner, 2 Hill's Rep. S. C )—Just and equal!

  • If a slave strike a white, he is to be condemned to death; but if a master kill his slave by torture, no white witnesses being present, he may clear himself by his own oath.(Louisiana.)—Just and equal!

  • The law decrees fine and imprisonment to the person who shall release the servant of another from the torture of the iron collar. (Louisiana.)—Just and equal!

  • It decrees a much smaller fine, without imprisonment, to the man who shall torture him with red-hot irons, cut out his tongue, put out his eyes, and scald or maim him. (Ibid..)—Just and equal!

  • It decrees the same punishment to him who teaches him to write as to him who puts out his eyes.—Just and equal!

  • As it might be expected that only very ignorant and brutal people could be kept in a condition like this, especially in a country where every book and every newspaper are full of dissertations on the rights of man, they therefore enact laws that neither he nor his children, to all generations, shall learn to read and write.—Just and equal!

  • And as, if allowed to meet for religious worship, they might concert some plan of escape or redress, they enact that "no congregatiun of negroes, under pretence of divine worship, shall assemble themselves; and that every slave found at such meetings shall be immediately corrected, without trial, by receiving on the bare back twenty-five stripes with a whip, switch or cowskin " (Law of Georgia, Prince's Digest, p. 447.)—Just and equal!

  • Though the servant is thus kept in ignorance, nevertheless in his ignorance he is punishod more severely for the same crimes than freemen.—Just and equal!

  • By way of protecting him from over-work, they enact that he shall not labor more than five hours longer than convicts at hard labor in a penitentiary!

  • They also enact that the master or overseer, not the slave, ahall decide when he is too sick to work.—Just and equal!
  • -476 of 508-

    If any master, compassionating this condition of the slave, desires to better it, the law takes it out of his power, by the following decisions:

    1. That all his earnings shall belong to his master, notwithstanding his master's promise to the contrary, thus making them liable for his master's debts.—Just and equal!

    2. That if his master allow him to keep cattle for his own use, it shall be lawful for any man to take them away, and enjoy half the profits of the seizure.—Just and equal!

    3. If his master sets him free, he shall be taken up and sold again.—Just and equal!

    4. If any man or woman runs away from this state of things, and, after proclamation made, does not return, any two justices of the peace may delare them outlawed, and give permission to any person in the community to kill them by any ways or means they think fit.—Just and equal!

    Such are the [demonized] laws of that system of slavery which has been made up by [pretended] Christian masters late in the Christian era, and is now defended by [vile, depraved, atheist] Christian ministers as an eminently benign institution.

    In this manner [pretended] Christian legislators have expressed their understanding of the text,

    "Masters, give unto your servants
    that which is just and equal" [Col. 4:1],

    and of the text,

    "All things whatsoever ye would that men should
    do to you, do ye even so to them" [Matt. 7:12].

    It certainly presents the most extraordinary views of justice and equity, and is the most remarkable exposition of the principle of doing to others as we would others should do to us, that it has ever been the good fortune of the civilized world to observe. This being the institution, let anyone conjecture what its abuses must be; for we are gravely told, by learned clergymen, that they do not feel called upon to interfere with the system, but only with its abuses. We should like to know what abuse could be specified that is not provided for and expressly protected by [demonized] slave-law [as passed by drunks and other pervert politicians].

    And yet, [pretended] Christian republicans, who, with full power to repeal this law, are daily sustaining it, talk about there being no harm in slavery, if they regulate it according to the apostle's directions; and give unto their servants that which is just and equal. Do they think that, if the Christianized masters of Rome and Corinth had made such a set of rules as this for the government of their slaves, Paul would havo accepted it as a proper exposition of what he meant by just and equal?

    Ed. Note: See Rev. John Fee, Anti-Slavery Manual (1851), pp 96-98 for analysis of "just and equal."

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    But the Presbyteries of South Carolina say, and all the other

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    religious bodies at the South say, that the church of our Lord Jesus Christ has no right to interfere with civil institutions.

    What is this church of our Lord Jesus Christ, that they speak of? Is it not a collection of republican men, who have constitutional power to alter these laws, and whose duty it is to alter them, and who are disobeying the apostle's directions every day till they do alter them?

    Every minister at the South is a voter as much as he is a minister; every church-member is a voter as much as he is a church-member; and ministers and church-members are among the masters who are keeping up this system of atrocity, when they have full republican power to alter it, and yet they talk about giving their servants that which is just and equal!

    If they are going to give their servants that which is just and equal, let them give them back their manhood; they are law-makers, and can do it.
  • Let them give to the slave the right to hold property,

  • the right to form legal marriage,

  • the right to read the word of God,

  • and to have such education as will fully develop his intellectual and moral nature,

  • the right of free religious opinion and worship;

  • let them give him the right to bring suit and to bear testimony;

  • give him the right to have some vote in the government by which his interests are controlled.
  • This will be something more like giving him that which is "just and equal."

    Mr. Smylie, of Mississippi says that the planters of Louisiana and Mississippi, when they are giving from twenty to twenty-five dollars a barrel for pork, give their slaves three or four pounds a week; and intimates that, if that will not convince people that they are doing what is just and equal, he does not know what will.

    Ed. Note: Rev. James Smylie was notorious for other comments as well. See, e.g.,
  • Rev. Stephen S. Foster, The Brotherhood of Thieves (1843), pp 14-15
  • Rev. William Goodell, Slavery and Anti-Slavery (1852), p 199.
  • Mr. C. C. Jones, after stating in various places that he has no intention ever to interfere with the [sinful] civil condition of the slave, [falsely] teaches the negroes, in his catechism, that the master gives to his servant that which is just and equal, when he provides for them good houses, good clothing, food, nursing, and religious instruction.

    This is just like a man who has stolen an estate which belongs to a family of orphans. Out of its munificent revenues, he gives the orphans comfortable food, clothing, &c., while he retains the rest for his own use, declaring that he is thus rendering to them that which is just and equal.

    If the laws which regulate slavery were made by a despotic sovereign, over whose movements the masters could have no control, this mode of proceeding might be called just and equal; but, as they are made and kept in operation by these vile, depraved, atheist] Christian masters, these ministers and church-members, in

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    common with those who are not so, they are every one of them refusing to the slave that which is just and equal, so long as they do not seek the repeal of these laws; and, if they cannot get them repealed, it is their duty to take the slave out from under them, since they are constructed with such fatal [murderous] ingenuity as utterly to nullify all that the [rare good] master tries to do for their elevation and permanent benefit.

    No man would wish to leave his own family of children as slaves under the care of the kindest master that ever breathed; and what he would not wish to have done to his own children, he ought not to do to other people's children.

    But, it will be said that it is not becoming for the Christian church to enter into political matters. Again, we ask, what is the Christian church? Is it not an association of republican citizens, each one of whom has his rights and duties as a legal voter?

    Now, suppose a law were passed which depreciated the value of cotton or sugar three cents in the pound, would these men consider the fact that they are church members as any reason why they should not agitate for the repeal of such law? Certainly not. Such a law would be brittle as the spider's web; it would be swept away before it was well made. Every law to which the majority of the community does not assent is, in this country, immediately torn down.

    Why, then, does this monstrous system stand from age to age [1620-1853]? Because the community CONSENT TO IT. They reenact these unjust laws every day, by their silent permission of them.

    The kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ is not of this world, say the South Carolina Presbyteries; therefore, the church has no right to interfere with any civil institution; but yet all the [vile, atheist] clergy of Charleston could attend in a body to give sanction to the proceedings of the great Vigilance Committee. They could not properly exert the least influence against slavery, because it is a civil institution, but they could [aid and abet] give the whole weight of their influence in favor of it.

    Is it not making the kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ quite as much of this world, to patronize the oppressor, as to patronize the slave?

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    Chapter IX.

    Is the System of Religion Which
    Is Taught the Slave the Gospel?

    THE ladies of England, in their letter to the ladies of America, spoke in particular of the denial of the gospel to the slave. This has been indignantly resented in this country, and it has been claimed that the slaves do have the gospel communicated to them very extensively.

    Ed. Note: That Christianity would be preached to slaves is unlikely in view of already known data:

  • Christianity had not even been preached in the Deep South itself until after 1695, says Edward C. Rogers, Slavery Illegality (Boston, 1855), p 78.

  • a Southern governor bragged about having no public schools!, says Rev. William Goodell, Slavery and Anti-Slavery (1852), 20.

  • "the Christian population is so very small a part of the South"—Rev. Groff (1843), quoted by Rev. Parker Pillsbury, Forlorn Church (1847), p 21.

  • And among those few Christians, "verily, three fourths of all the Episcopalians, Methodists, Baptists, and Presbyterians, in eleven states of the Union, are of the devil."—Rev. James H. Smylie (1836), quoted by Rev. Stephen S. Foster, Brotherhood of Thieves (1843), pp 14-15.

  • Wherefore a 40-year listener never heard a gospel sermon to slaves.—Dr. Nelson, quoted by Rev. Parker Pillsbury, Forlorn Church (1847), p 81.

  • "most that they hear from it being, 'Servants obey your masters."'—Lewis Clark, quoted by Rev. William W. Patton, “Slavery, the Bible, Infidelity: Pro-slavery Interpretations of the Bible: Productive of Infidelity” (Hartford: 4 August 1846), p 12.

  • So slaves could not be Christians.—Rev. John Fee, Antislavery Manual (1851), p 144.

  • And as Southerners made it illegal for slaves to read Bibles, the American Bible Society refused to provide them any—Rev. Wm. Goodell, Slavery and Anti-Slavery (1852), pp 210-213. Others refused as well, pp 189-190. Slavers were notoriously hostile to Gospel preaching, burned churches, and ran missionaries out of the country, p 368; and would threaten revolt rather than allow "religious instruction," pp 370-371.

  • Most U.S. clergymen were so notoriously not Christian, as to be excommunicated in 1841, says Rev. Parker Pillsbury, Acts (1883), p 374.

  • Underlying this slaver behavior was slaver dogma that blacks are not human, says Edward C. Rogers, Letters on Slavery (Boston: Bela Marsh, 1855), p 77.
    Accordingly, the South's reading/writing ban was imposed against teaching slaves to reading and write, see e.g.,
  • Rev. John Rankin, Letters on American Slavery (Ohio, 1823) p 21
  • Deacon James Birney, American Churches:
    Bulwarks of American Slavery (1840), p 6
  • Charles Sumner, Barbarism of Slavery (1860), p 134
  • Rev. Silas McKeen, Scriptural Argument (1848), p 8
  • Rev. Stephen Foster, Thieves (1843), p 35
  • Rep. Horace Mann, Slavery and the Slave-
    Trade . . . . (Washington, D.C.: 1849), p 24
  • Rep. Chas. H. Van Wyck, Despotism of Slavery
    (1860), p 436
  • Rev. John Fee, Antislavery Manual (1851), p 144
  • Rev. Wm. Goodell, Slavery and Anti-Slavery
    (1852), pp 20, 189-190 and 210-213
  • Rev. Parker Pillsbury, Acts (1883), p 436.
  • Whoever reads Mr. Charles C. Jones' [disinformation] book on the religious instruction of the negroes will [be misled to] have no doubt of the following facts [he alleges]:

  • 1. That from year to year, since the introduction of the negroes into this country, various pious and benevolent individuals have made efforts for their spiritual welfare.

  • 2. That these efforts have increased, from year to year.

  • 3. That the most extensive and important one came into being about the time that Mr. Jones' book was written, in the year 1842, and extended to some degree through the United States. The fairest development of it was probably in the State of Georgia, the sphere of Mr. Jones' immediate labor, where the most gratifying results were witnessed, and much very amiable and commendable Christian feeling elicited on the part of masters.

  • 4. From time to time, there have been prepared for the use of the slave, catechisms, hymns, short sermons, &c. &c., designed to be read to them by their masters, or taught them orally.

  • 5. It will appear to any one who reads Mr. Jones' book that, though written by a man who believed the system of slavery sanctioned by God, it manifests a spirit of sincere and earnest benevolence, and of devotedness to the cause he has undertaken, which cannot be too highly appreciated.
  • It is a very painful and unpleasant task to express any qualification or dissent with regard to efforts which have been undertaken in a good spirit, and which have produced, in many respects, good results; but, in the reading of Mr. Jones' book, in the study of his catechism, and of various other catechisms and sermons which give an idea of the religious instruction of the

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    slaves, the writer has often been painfully impressed with the idea that, however imbued and mingled with good, it is not the true and pure gospel system which is given to the slave.

    Ed. Note: Consider also the South's
  • sample non-Gospel preaching
  • prevalence of vile clergy
  • ill-educated clergy
  • most excommunicated
  • ban on slave marriage
  • family destruction
  • reading and writing ban
  • widespread Southern lawlessness
  • wide range of atrocities
  • driving out moral white people ("white flight")
  • all leading to "demonized" behavior.
    In this context, what would be incredible would be a claim of Gospel-preaching at all in the South!
  • Not Gospel, But False Teaching, to Slaves

    As far as the writer [Stowe] has been able to trace out what is communicated to him [the slave], it [the alleged 'gospel' as taught to slaves by vile individuals such as C. C. Jones] amounts in substance to this;
    • that his master's authority over him, and property in him, to the full extent of the enactment of slave-law, is recognized and sustained by the tremendous authority of God himself.

    • He is told that his master is God's overseer;

    • that he owes him a blind, unconditional, unlimited submission [as per Bible 'obey', 'respect' verses];

    • that he must not allow himself to grumble, or fret, or murmur, of anything in his [the master's] conduct; and,

    • in case he does so, that his murmuring is not against his master, but against God.

    • He is taught that it is God's will that he should have nothing but labor and poverty in this world; and

    • that, if he frets and grumbles at this, he will get nothing by it in this life, and be sent to hell forever in the next. Most vivid descriptions of hell, with its torments, its worms ever feeding and never dying, are held up before him, and

    • he [the slave] is told that this eternity of torture [in hell] will be the result of insubordination here. It is no wonder that a slave-holder once said to Dr. [William H.] Brisbane, of Cincinnati, that religion had been worth more to him, on his plantation, than a wagon-loud of cowskins [whips].

    • Furthermore the slave is taught that to endeavor to evade his master by running away, or to shelter or harbor a slave who has run away, are sins which will expose him to the wrath of that omniscient Being, whose eyes are in every place.

    As the slave is a movable and merchantable being, liable, as [vile] Mr. Jones calmly remarks, to "all the vicissitudes of property," this system of instruction, one would think, would be in something of a dilemma, when it comes to inculcate the Christian duties of the family state.

    Ed. Note: See the five immoral, anti-family, characteristics of slavery, listed by Charles Sumner,
    and result, mass heathenism among the slaves.

    When Mr. Jones takes a survey of the field, previous to commencing his system of operations, he tells us, what we suppose every rational person must have foreseen,
    • that he finds among the negroes an utter demoralization upon this subject;

    • that polygamy is commonly practised, and

    • that the marriage-covenant has become a mere temporary union of interest, piont or pleasure, formed without reflection, and dissolved without the slightest idea of guilt.

    That this state of things is the necessary and legitimate result of the system of laws which these [demonized] Christian men have made and are still keeping up over their slaves, any sensible person will perceive: and any one would think it an indispensable step to any system of religious instruction here, that the

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    negro should be

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    placed in a situation where he can form a legal marriage, and can adhere to it after it is formed.

    But Mr. Jones and his coadjutors commenced by declaring that it was not their intention to interfere, in the slightest degree, with the legal position of the slave.

    We should have thought, then, that it would not have been possible, if these masters intended to keep their slaves in the condition of chattels personal, liable to a constant disruption of family ties, that they could have the heart to teach them the strict morality of the goapel with regard to the marriage relation.

    But so it is, however. If we examine Mr. Jones' catechism, we shall find that the slave is made to repeat orally that one man can be the husband of but one woman, and if, during her lifetime, he marries another, God will punish him forever in hell.

    Suppose a conscientious woman, instructed in Mr. Jones' catechism, by the death of her master is thrown into the market for the division of the estate, like many cases we may read of in the Georgia papers every week. She is torn from her husband and children, and sold at the other end of the Union, never to meet them again, and the new master commands her to take another husband—what, now, is this woman to do?
    • If she take the husband, according to her catechism she commits adultery, and exposesherself to everlasting fire;

    • if she does not take him, she disobeys her master, who, she is taught, is God's overseer; and she is exposed to everlasting fire on that account, and certainly she is exposed to horrible tortures in here.

    Now, we ask, if the teaching that has involved this poor soul in auch a labyrinth of horrors can be called the gospel?

    Is it the gospel.—is it glad tidings in any sense of the words?

    In the same manner, this [demonized] catechism goes on to instruct parents to bring up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, that they should guide, counsel, restrain and govern them.

    Again, these teachers tell them that they should search the Scriptures most earnestly, diligently and continually, at the same time declaring that it is not their intention to interfere with the laws which forbid their being taught to read.

    Searching the Scriptures, slaves [Ed. Note: but not whites] are told, means coming to people who are willing to read to them.

    Yes, but if there be no one willing to do this, what then? Any one whom this catechism has thus instructed is sold off to a plantation on Red River, like

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    that where Northrop lived; no Bible goes with him; his [demonized] Christian instructors, in their care not to interfere with his civil condition, have deprived him of the power of reading; and in this land of darkness his oral instruction is but as a faded dream.

    Let any of us ask for what sum we would be deprived of all power of ever reading the Bible for ourselves, and made entirely dependent on the reading of others,—especially if we were liable to fall into such hands as slaves are,—and then let us determine whether a system of religious instruction, which begins by declaring that it has no intention to interfere with this cruel legal deprivation) is the gospel.

    The poor slave, darkened, blinded, perplexed on every hand, by the influences which the legal system has spread under his feet, is, furthermore strictly instructed in a perfect system of morality. He must not even covet anything that is his master's; he must not murmur or be discontented; he must consider his master's interests as his own, and be ready to sacrifice himself to them; and this he must do, ashe is told, not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. He must forgive all injuries, and do exactly right under all perplexities; thus is the obligation on his part expounded to him, while his master's reciprocal obligations mean only to give him good houses, clothes, food, &c. &c., leaving every master to determine for himself what is good in relation to these matters.

    No wonder, when such a system of utter injustice is justified to the negro by all the awful sanctions of religion, that now and then a strong soul rises up against it. We have known under a black skin shrewd minds, unconquerable spirits, whose indignant sense of justice no such [demonized] representations could blind.

    That [vile] Mr. Jones has met such is evident; for, speaking of the trials of a missionary among them, he says (p. 127):

    He discovers Deism, Scepticism, Universalism. As already stated, the various perversions of the gospel, and all the strong objections against the truth of God,—objections which he may, perhaps, have considered peculiar only to the cultivated minds, the ripe scholarship and profound intelligence, of critics and philosophers!—extremes here meet on the natural and common ground of a darkened understanding and a hardened heart.

    Again, in the Tenth Annual Report of the "Association for the Religious Instruction of the Negroes in Liberty County, Georgia," he says:

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    (pp 246-249)

    fully and honestly, as well when your back was turned as while you were looking over them! Would you not expect that they should take notice of what you said to them! that they should behave themselves with respect towards you and yours, and be as careful of everything belonging to you as you would be yourselves! You are servants: do, therefore, as you would wish to be done by, and you will be both good servants to your masters, and good servants to God, who requires this of you, and will reward you well for it, if you do it for the sake of conscience, in obedience to his commands.

    The reverend teachers of such expositions of scripture do great injustice to the natural sense of their sable catechumens, if they suppose them incapable of detecting such very shallow sophistry, and of proving conclusively that "it is a poor rule that won't work both ways."

    Some shrewd old patriarch, of the stamp of those who rose up and went out at the exposition of the Epistle to Philemon [See Rev. John G. Fee's analysis], and who show such great acuteness in bringing up objections against the truth of God such as would be thought peculiar to cultivated minds, might perhaps, if he dared, reply to such an exposition of scripture in this way:

    "Suppose you were a slave,—could not have a cent of your own earnings during your whole life, could have no legal right to your wife and children, could never send your children to school, and had, as you have told us, nothing but labor and poverty in this life,—how would you like it? Would you not wish your Christian master to set you free from this condition?"

    We submit it to every one who is no respecter of persons, whether this interpretation of Sambo's is not as good as the bishop's. And if not, why not?

    To us, with our feelings and associations, sucb discourses as these of Bishop Meade appear hard-hearted and unfeeling to the last degree. We should, however, do great injustice to the character of the man, if we supposed that they prove him to have been such. They merely go to show how perfectly use may familiarize amiable and estimable men with a system of oppression, till they shall have lost all consciousness of the wrong which it involves.

    That Bishop Meade's reasonings did not thoroughly convince himself is evident from the fact that, after all his representations of the superior advantages of slavery as a means of religious improvement, he did, at last, emancipate his own slaves.

    But in addition to what has been said, this whole system of religious instruction is darkened by one hideous shadow —THE SLAVE-TRADE. What does the Southern church do with her catechumens and communicants? Read the advertisements of Southern newspapers, and see. In every city in the slave-raising states behold the depots, kept constantly full of assorted negroes from the ages of ten to thirty! In every slave-consuming state see the receiving-houses, whither these poor wrecks and remnants of families are constantly borne! Who preaches the gospel to the slave-coffles? Who preaches the gospel in the slave-prisons?

    If we consider the tremendous extent of this internal trade,— if we read papers with columns of auction advertisements of human beings, changing hands as freely as if they were dollar-bills instead of human creatures,—we shall then realize how utterly all those influences of religious instruction must be nullified by leaving the subjects of them exposed "to all the vicissitudes of property."

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    Chapter X.

    What Is To Be Done?

    THE thing to be done, of which I shall chiefly speak, is that the whole American church, of all denominations, should unitedly come up, not in form, but in fact, to the noble purpose aviowed by the Presbyterian Assembly of 1818 to seek the ENTIRE ABOLITION OF SLAVERY THROUGHOUT AMERICA AND THROUGHOUT CHRISTENDOM.

    To this noble course the united voice of Christians in all other countries is urgently calling the American church. Expressions of this feeling have come from Christians of all denominations in England, in Scotland, in Ireland, in France, in Switzerland, in Germany, in Persia, in the Sandwich Islands, and in China.

    All seem to be animated by one spirit. They have loved and honored this American church. They have rejoiced in the brightness of her rising. Her prosperity and success have been to them as their own, and they have had hopes that God meant to confer inestimable blessings through her upon all nations. The American church has been to them like the rising of a glorious sun, shedding healing from his wings, dispersing mists and fogs, and bringing songs of birds and voices of cheerful industry, and sounds of gladness, contentment and peace.

    But, lo! in this beautiful orb is seen a disastrous spot of dim eclipse, whose gradually widening shadow threatens a total darkness


    (pp 251-255)

    Dear brethren, is this system to go on forever in your land? Can you think these slave-laws anything but an abomination to a just God? Can you think this internal slave-trade to be anything but an abomination in his eight?

    Look, we beseech you, into those awful slave-prisons which are in your cities. Do the groans and prayers which go up from those dreary mansions promise well for the prosperity of our country?

    Look, we beseech you, at the mournful march of the slave-coffle; follow the bloody course of the slave-ships on your coast. What, suppose you, does the Lamb of God think of all these things? He whose heart was so tender that he wept, at the grave of Lazarus [John 11:35], over a sorrow that he was so soon to turn into joy [John 11:43-45],— what does he think of this constant, heart-breakiog, yearly-repeated anguish? What does he think of Christian wives forced from their husbands, and husbands from their wives? What does he think of Christian daughters, whom his church first educates, indoctrinates and baptizes, and then leaves to be sold as merchandise?

    Think you such prayers as poor Paul Edmondson's, such death-bed scenes as Emily Ruasell's, are witnessed without emotion by that generous Saviour, who regards what is done to his meanest servant as done to himself?

    Did it never seem to you, O Christian! when you have read the sufferings of Jesus, that you would gladly have suffered with him? Does it never seem almost ungenerous to accept eternal life as the price of such angush on his part, while you bear no cross for him? Have you ever wished you could have watched with him in that bitter conflict at Gethsemane, when even his chosen slept? Have you ever wished that you could have stood by him when all forsook him and fled,—that you could have owned when Peter denied,—thnt you could have honored him when buffeted and spit upon? Would you think it too much honor, could you, like Mary, have followed him to the cross, and stood a patient sharer of that despised, unpitied agony?

    That you cannot do. That hour is over.

    Christ, now, is exalted, crowned, glorified,—all men speak well of him; rich churches rise to him, and costly sacrifice goes up to him. What chance have you, among the multitude, to prove your love.—to show that you would stand by him discrowned, dishonored, tempted, betrayed, and suffering? Can you show it in any way but by espousing the cause of his suffering poor? Is there a people among you despised and rejected of men, heavy with oppression, acquainted with grief, with all the power of wealth and fashion, of political and worldly influence, arrayed against their cause,— Christian, you can acknowledge Christ in them?

    If you turn away indifferent from this cause,—"if thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that be ready to be slain; if thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not, doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it, and he that keepeth the soul, doth he not know it, shall he not render to every man according to his works?" [Proverbs 24:11-12].

    In the last judgment will He not say to you,
    "I have been in the slave-prison,—in the slave-coffle. I have been sold in your markets; I have toiled for naught in your fields; I have been smitten on the mouth in your courts of justice; I have been denied a bearing in my own church,—and ye cared not for it. Ye went, one to his farm, and another to his merchandise."
    And if ye shall answer, "When, Lord?" He shall say unto you,
    "Inasmuch as ye have done it to the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto me [Matthew 25:41-46]."

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    Facts vs. Figures; or, The Nine Arab Brothers.

    Being A New Arabian Night's Entertainment.

    [A Satire on Slavers' Misuse of Numbers]

    IT is a favorite maxim that "figures cannot lie." We are loth to assail the time-honored reputation for veracity of this ancient and most respectable race. There may have been days of pastoral innocence and primitive simplicity, when they did not lie. When Abraham sat contemplatively in his tent-door, with nothing to do, all the long day, but compose psalms and pious meditations, it is likely that he had implicit faith in this maxim, and never thought of questioning the statistical tables of Eliezer of Damascus, with regard to the number of camels, asses, sheen, oxen and goats, which illustrated the prairie where he was for the time being encamped.

    Alas for those good old days! Figures did not lie then, we freely admit, but we are sadly afraid, from their behavior in recent ages, that this arose from no native innocence of disposition, but simply from want of occasion and opportunity. In those days, they were young and green, and had not learned what they could do.

    The first inventor, who commenced making a numeration table, with the artless primeval machine of his toes and fingers, had, like other great inventors, very little idea of what he was doing, and what would be the mighty uses of these very simple characters, when men got to having republican governments, and elections, and discussions of all sorts of unheard-of questions in politics and morals, and to electioneering among these poor simple Arab herdsmen, the nine digits, for their votes on all these complicated subjects.

    No wonder that figures have had their heads turned! Such unprecedented power and popularity is enough to turn any head. We are sorry to speak ill of them; but really we must say, that, like many of our political men, they .have been found on all sides of every subject to an extent that is really very confusing.

    Of course, there is no doubt of their veracity somewhere; the only problem being, on which side, and where. Is any great measure to be carried, now-a-days? Of course, the statistics, cut and dried, in regular columns, on both sides of the question, contradict each other point-blank as two opposite cannons; and each party marshals behind them, firing them off with infinite alacrity, but with no particular effect, except the bewilderment of the few old-fashioned people, who, like Mr. Pickwick at the review, stand on the middle ground.

    If that most respectuble female person, Mrs. Partington, who, like most unsophisticated old ladies, is a most vehement and uncompromising abolitionist, could only hear the statistics that are to be shown up in favor of slavery, she would take off her spectacles and wipe her eyes in pious joy, and think that the millennium, and nothing loss, had come upon earth. Such statistics they are, about the woe, and want, and agony, and heathenish darkness of Africa, which, by that eminent foreign missionary operation, the slave-trade, have been turned into light and joy and thanksgiving; here she has them, in round figures; she only needs to put on her spectacles and look.

    "Here, ma'am, you have it," says the illustrator [pro-slavery argument]; "look on this side of the column: here are three hundred million of heathen,—don't spare the figures,—down in Africa, sunk in heathenism—never heard the sound of the gospel—actually eating each other alive. Now, turn to this side of the column, and here they all are, over in America, clothed and in their right mind, going to church with their masters, and finding the hymns in their own hymnbooks. Now, ma'am, can you doubt the beneficial results of the slave-trade?"

    But Mrs. Partington has heard something about that middle passage which she thought was horrid.

    "By no means, my dear madam," says the illustrator, whisking over his papers. "I have that all in figures,—average of deaths in the first cargoes, 25 per cent.,—large average, certainly; they didn't manage the business exactly right; but then the rate of increase in a Christian country averages twenty-five per cent. over what it would have been in Africa. Now, Mrs. Partington, if these had been left in Africa, they would have been all heathen; by getting them over here, you have just as many, and all Christians to boot. Because, you see, the excess of increase balances the percentage of loss, and we make no deduction for interest in those cases."

    Now, as Mrs. Partington does not know with very great clearness what "percentage" and "average" mean, and as mental philosophers have demonstrated that we are always

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    powerfully affected by the unknown, she is all the more impressed with this reasoning, on that account; being one of the simple, old-fashioned people, who have not yet gotten over the impression that "figures cannot lie."

    "Well, now, really," says she, "strange what these figures will do! I always thought the slave-trade was monstrous wicked. But it really seems to be quite a missionary work."

    The fact is, that these nomadic Arabs, the digits, are making a very unfair use, among us, of the family population gotten up during the palmy days of their innocence, when they were a breezy, contemplatively unsophisticatod race of shepherds, and, to use an American elegance of expression, had not yet "cut their eye-teeth."

    All that remains of their Oriental origin in this country seems to be a characteristic turn for romancing. Not an addition of slave territory has been made to the United States, wherein these same Arab brothers have not, with grave faces, been brought in as witnesses, to swear, by the honor of the family, that it was absolutely essential, for the best interest of the African race, that there should be more slavery and more slave territory. To be sure, it was for the pecuniary gain of the American race, but that was not the point insisted on. O no! we are always very glad when our inter-


    test coincides with that of the African race; but the extension of slavery is not to be considered in that light principally; it is entirely a system of Christian education, and evangelization of one race by another!

    Falsified 1840 Census

    Ed. Note: For more on this falsified-by-the-South Census, see Prof. Patricia Cline Cohen, A Calculating People: The Spread of Numeracy in Early America (Univ. of Chicago Press, 1982). (Review 1, 2).

    Left to himself, Quashy goes right back into heathenism. His very body deteriorates; he becomes idiotic, insane, deaf, dumb, blind,—everything that can be thought of. "Is this an actual fact?" asks some incredulous Congress man, as innocent as Mrs. Partington.

    "O yes! for only look; here are the statistics. Just see; here in the town of Kittery, in Maine, are twenty-seven insane and idiotic black people, and down here in the town of Dittery, South Carolina, not a single one.

    Some simple-minded Kittery man, who overhears this conversation in the lobby, perhaps opens his eyes, and reflects with wonder that he never knew that there were so many black people in the town. But the Congress man shows it to him in the census, and he concludes to look for them when he goes home, as "figures cannot lie."

    On the census of 1840 conclusions innumerable as to the capacity of the colored race to subsist in freedom have been based. It has been the very beetle, sledge-hammer and broad-axe; and when all other means fail, the objector, with a triumphant flourish, exclaims,

    "There, sir, what do you think of the census of 1840! You see,
    sir, the thing's [emancipation has] been tried, and it's no go.

    We poor common folks cannot tell what to think.

    Some of us suppose that we know that there were more insane and idiotic and variously dilapidated negroes reported in certain states than their entire negro population. But, of course, as it's down in the census, and as "figures never lie," we must believe our own eyes. We can only say what some people have thought.

    Rep. John Quincy Adams        That most inconvenient and pertinacious [meaning, honest] man, John Quincy Adams [1767-1848], made a good deal of trouble in Congress about this same matter [the falsified census data]. At no less than five different times did this very persistent old gentleman rise in Congress, with the statement that the returns of the [1840] census had been notoriously and grossly falsified in this respect; and that he was prepared, if leave were given, to present before the House the most complete, direct, and overwhelming evidence to this effect.

            The following is an account of Mr. Adams' endeavors on this subject, collected from the Congressional Globe, and Niles's Register:

    Twenty-Eighth Congress of the United States.

    House of Representatives. February 26, 1844.—Mr. Adams, on leave, offered the following Resolution:

    Resolved, That the Secretary of State be directed to inform this House whether any gross errors have been discovered in the "Sixth Census, or Enumeration of the Inhabitants of the United States, as corrected at the Department of State in 1841," and, if so, how these errors originated, what they are, and what, if any, measures have been taken to rectify them.

    House of Representatives. May 6, 1844.—The journal having been read, Mr. Adams moved a correction of the same by striking out from the communication of the Secretary of State (in answer to a resolution of this House inquiring whether any gross errors had been discovered in the printing of the Sixth Census), as copied upon the journal, the following words: "That no such errors had been discovered."

    Mr. Adams accompanied his motion with some remarks. It could not possibly (Mr. Adams said) be a correct representation, as very gross errors had been discovered, as he intended and would pledge himself to show. He said they referred to the number of insane, blind, &c., among the colored population.

    This had been made the subject of a pamphlet on the annexation of Texas, and of a speech by a gentleman from Mississippi (Mr. Hammett), which had been refuted on this floor. The United States were at this time placed in a condition very little short of war with Great Britain, as well as Mexico, on the foundation of these very errors.

    Ed. Note: See William Goodell's 1852 exposé of other events involving the U.S. aggression against Mexico, to promote the slavery cause.

    It was important, therefore, that the true state of [1840 Census] facts should be made to appear.

    The Speaker remarked that whether errors existed or not would be matter of investigation. In the opinion of the chair [Speaker], there was no error of the journal, because it contained only a faithful transcript of the communication made by the Secretary of State.

    Mr. Adams persisted in his motion. It was (he said) the most extraordinary communication ever made from the State Department. He would pledge himself to produce docuuments to prove that gross errors did exist. He would produce such proof as no man would be able to contradict.

    The House refused to amend the journal.

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    House of Representatives. May 16, 1844.—Mr. Adams wished to present a memorial from certain citizens in relation to errors which they say have been committed in compiling and printing the last census of the United States [1840].

    Objection being made, he moved to suspend the rules for the purpose of offering the resolution, and moving to refer it to a committee of five members. The yeas and nays were ordered, and, being taken, the rules were not suspended,—ayes 96, nays 49;—less than two-thirds voting in the affirmative.

    House of Representatives. Dec. 10, 1844.—Mr. Adams presented a petition from the American Statistical Society, in relation to certain errors in the last or sixth census [1840].

    Mr. Adams said a petition on this subject at the last session was referred to a select commitee, and he hoped this petition would take the same direction. He moved the appointment of a select committee of nine members, and that the memorial be printed.

    The speaker announced that a majority had decided in favor of a select committee. The motion to print was laid on the table [indefinitely postponed, i.e., defeated].

    House of Representatives. Dec. 18, 1844.—The following is the Select Committee appointed, on the motion of Mr. Adams, to consider the petition from the American Statistical Society in relation to the errors in the sixth census: Messrs. Adams, Rhett, Rayner, Stiles, Maclay, Brengle, Foster, Sheppard, Cary, and Caleb B. Smith.

    This was the end of the affair in Congress. The false returns stand to this day [1853] in the statistical tables of the census, to convince all cavillers of the unfitness of the negro for freedom. That the reader may know what kind of evidence Mr. Adams had with which to sustain his allegations, we append, as a specimen, an extract from the American Almanac for 1845, p. 156.

    The American Statistical Association, established in Boston, Mass., sent a memorial to Congress during the past winter, drawn up by Messrs. William Bingham, Edward Jarvis, and J. W. Thornton, in which, though they "confined their investigations to the reports respecting education and nosology," they exposed an extraordinary mass of errors in the [1840 federal] census. We can find room only for a few extracts from this memorial.

    * * * * * * * * * * * * *

    "The most glaring and remarkable errors are found in the statements respecting nosology, the prevalence of insanity, blindness, deafness and dumbness, among the people of this nation.

    "The undersigned have compared these statements with information obtained from other more reliable


    sources, and have found them widely varying from the truth; and more than all, they have compared the statements in one part of the [1840] census with those in another part, and have found most extraordinary discrepancies. They have also examined the original manuscript copy of the [1840] census, deposited by the marshal of the District of Massachusetts in the clerk's office in Boston, and have compared this with the printed edition of both Blair and Rives, and Thomas Allen, and found here, too, a variance of statements.

    "Your memorialists are aware that some of these errors in respect to Massachusetts, and perhaps also in respect to other states, were committed by the marshals. Mr. William H. Williams, deputy marshal, states that there were one hundred and thirty-three colored pauper lunatics in the family of Samuel B. Woodward in the town of Worcester; but on unother page he states that there are no colored persons in said Woodward's family.

    "Mr. Benall Blood, deputy marshall, states, on one page, that there were fourteen colored pauper lunatics and two colored lunatics, who were supported at private charge, in the family of Charles E. Parker, in the town of Pepperell; while on another page he states that there are no colored persons in the family of said Parker. Mr. William M. Packson states, on one page, that there are in the family of Jacob Cushman, in the town of Plympton, four pauper colored lunatics, and one colored blind person; while on another page he states that there are no colored persons in the family of said Cushman.

    "But, on comparing the manuscript copy of the census at Boston with the printed edition of Blair and Rives, the undersigned are convinced that a large portion of the errors were made by the printers, and that hardly any of the errors of the original document are left out. The original document finds the colored insane in twenty-nine towns, while the printed edition of Blair and Rives places them in thirty-five towns, and each makes them more than ten-fold greater than the state returns in regard to the paupers.

    "And one edition has given twenty, and the other twenty-seven, self-supporting lunatics, in towns in which, according to private inquiry, none are to be found. According to the original and manuscript copy of the census, there were in Massachusetts ten deaf and dumb and eight blind colored persons; whereas the printed editions of the same document multiply them into seventeen of the former and twenty-two of the latter class of unfortunates.

    "The printed copy of the census declares that there were in the towns of Hingham and Scituate nineteen colored persons who were deaf and dumb, blind, or insane. On the other hand, the undersigned are informed, by the overseers of the poor and the assessors, who have cognizance of every pauper and tax-payer in the town, that in the last twelve years no such diseased persons have lived in the town of Scituate; and they have equally certain proof that none such have lived in Hingham. Moreover, the deputy marshals neither found nor made record of such persons.

    "The undersigned have carefully compared the number of colored insane and idiots, and of the deaf and dumb and blind, with the whole number of the colored population, as stated in the printed edition of the census, in every city, town, and county of the

    -507 of 508-

    United States; and have found the extraordinary contradictions and improbabilities that are shown in the following tables.

    "The errors of the census are as certain, if not as manifest, in regard to the insanity among the whites, as among the colored people. Wherever your memorialists have been able to compare the census with the results of the investigations of the state governments, of individuals, or societies, they have found that the national enumeration has fallen far short of the more probable amount.

    "According to the [1840 federal] census, there were in Massachusetts six hundred and twenty-seven lunatics and idiots supported at public charge; according to the returns of the overseers of the poor, there were eight hundred and twenty-seven of this class of paupers.

    "The superintendents of the poor of the State of New York report one thousand and fifty-eight pauper lunatics within that state; the [federal] census reports only seven hundred and thirty-nine.

    "The government of New Jersey reports seven hundred and one in that state; the [federal] census discovers only four hundred and forty-two.

    "The Medical Society of Connecticut discovered twice as many lunatics as the census within that state. A similar discrepancy was found in Eastern Pennsylvania, and also in some counties in Virginia.

    "Your memorialists deem it needless to go further into detail in this matter. Suffice it to say, that these are but specimens of the errors that are to be found in the 'sixth census' [1840] in regard to nosology and education, and they suspect also in regard to other matters therein reported.

    "In view of these facts, the undersigned, in behalf of said Association, conceive that such documents ought not to have the sanction of Congress, nor ought they to be regarded as containing true statements relative to the condition of the people and the resources of the United States. They believe it would have been far better to have had no census at all than such an one as has been published; and they respectfully request your honorable body to take such order thereon, and to adopt such measures for the correction of the same,—or, if the same cannot be correctedl, for discarding and disowning the same,—as the good of the country shall require, and as justice and humanity shall demand.

    "We have room for the tables for only three of the states."

    [We will caution the reader not to skip this statistical table, as he probably never saw one like it before.]

    New Hampton01
    *36 of these under 10 years of age.

    [/s/William Brigham
    /s/Edward Jarvis
    /s/J. W. Thornton
    American Statistical Association]

    Every fable, allegory and romance, must have its moral. The moral of this ought to be deeply considered by the American people.

    In order to gain capital for the extension of slave territory, the most important statistical document of the United States has been boldly, grossly, and perseveringly falsified, and stands falsified to this day.

    Query: If state documents are falsified in support of slavery, what confidence can be placed in any [pro-slavery] representations that are made upon the subject?

    [The End]

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    -508 of 508-

    Abolitionist Overview
    Bishop Horsley's 1806 Anti-
    Slavery Bible Principles Speech

    Rev. B. Green's 1836
    Things for Northern Men to Do
    Rev. T. Weld's 1839
    Slavery Conditions
    Alvan Stewart's 1845
    Legal Speech For Freeing Slaves
    P 34 cites the Ten Commandments)
    Rev. Wm. Patton's 1846
    Pro-slavery Interpretations of
    the Bible: Productive of Infidelity

    Rev. J. Fee's 1849 Duty of
    Non-Fellowship with Slavers

    Rev. J. Fee's 1851
    Anti-Slavery Manual
    Rev. Wm. Goodells' 1852
    Slavery and Anti-Slavery
    Rev. G. Cheever's 1857
    God Against Slavery
    Rev. P. Pillsbury's 1883 History
    Acts of the Anti-Slavery Apostles