overseer to compel the slave to work the free man is impelled by the desire of

Overseer to compel the slave to work the free man is

This preview shows page 18 - 20 out of 47 pages.

overseer to compel the slave to work; the free man is impelled by the desire of increasing the comforts of himself and family. Two hired laborers will perform as much work as three slaves; by some it is supposed to be a more correct estimate that slaves perform only halfas much labor as the same number of free laborers. Finally, whereslaves are employed, manual industry is a degradation to white people, and indolence becomes the prevailing characteristic. Slave owners have indeed frequently shown great adroitness in defending this bad system; but, with few exceptions, they base their arguments upon the necessity of continuing slavery because it is already begun. Many of them have openly acknowledged that it was highly injurious to the prosperity of the State… But to return to the subject of emancipation. Nearly every one of the States north of Mason and Dixon's line once held slaves. These slaves were manumitted without bloodshed, and there was no trouble in making free colored laborers obey the laws. I am aware that this desirable change must be attended with much more difficulty in the Southern States, simply because the evil has been suffered until it is fearfully overgrown; but it must not be forgotten that while they are using their ingenuity and strength to sustain it for the present, the mischief is increasing more and more rapidly. If this be not a good time to apply a remedy, when will be a better? They must annihilate slavery, or slavery will annihilate them. It seems to be forgotten that emancipation from tyranny is not an emancipation from law; the negro, after he is made free, is restrained from the commission of crimes by the same laws which restrain other citizens: if he steals, he will be imprisoned: if he commits murder, he will be hung. It will, perhaps, be said that the free people of color in the slave portions of thiscountry are peculiarly ignorant, idle, and vicious? It may be so; for our laws and our influence are peculiarly calculated to make them bad members of society. But we trust the civil power to keep in order the great mass of ignorant and vicious foreigners continually pouring into the country; and if the laws are strong enough for this, may they not be trusted to restrain the free blacks? In those countries where the slave codes are mild, where emancipation is rendered easy, and inducements are offered to industry, insurrections are not feared, and free people of color form a valuable portion of the community. If we persist in acting in opposition to the established laws of nature and reason, how can we expect favorable results? But it is pronounced unsafeto change our policy. Every progressive improvement in the world has been resisted by despotism, on the ground that changes were dangerous. The Emperor of Austria thinks there is need of keeping his subjects ignorant, that good
19 order may be preserved. But what he calls good order, is sacrificing the happiness of many to the advancement of a few; and no doubt knowledge is unfavorable to the continuation of such a state of things. It is precisely so with the slave holder; he insists

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture

  • Left Quote Icon

    Student Picture