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The Anti-Slavery Examiner, Omnibus by American Anti-Slavery Society

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revenge, jealousy and lust drive it before them as a tempest tosses a

The objector has forgotten his first lessons; they taught him that it
is human nature to gratify the _uppermost_ passion: and is _prudence_
the uppermost passion with slaveholders, and self-restraint their
great characteristic? The strongest feeling of any moment is the
sovereign of that moment, and rules. Is a propensity to practice
_economy_ the predominant feeling with slaveholders? Ridiculous!
Every northerner knows that slaveholders are proverbial for lavish
expenditures, never higgling about the _price_ of a gratification.
Human passions have not, like the tides, regular ebbs and flows, with
their stationary, high and low water marks. They are a dominion
convulsed with revolutions; coronations and dethronements in ceasless
succession--each ruler a usurper and a despot. Love of money gets a
snatch at the sceptre as well as the rest, not by hereditary right,
but because, in the fluctuations of human feelings, a chance wave
washes him up to the throne, and the next perhaps washes him off
without time to nominate his successor. Since, then, as a matter of
fact, a host of appetites and passions do hourly get the better of
love of money, what protection does the slave find in his master's
_interest_, against the sweep of his passions and appetites? Besides,
a master can inflict upon his slave horrible cruelties without
perceptibly injuring his health, or taking time from his labor, or
lessening his value as property. Blows with a small stick give more
acute pain, than with a large one. A club bruises, and benumbs the
nerves, while a switch, neither breaking nor bruising the flesh,
instead of blunting the sense of feeling, wakes up and stings to
torture all the susceptibilities of pain. By this kind of infliction,
more actual cruelty can be perpetrated in the giving of pain at the
instant, than by the most horrible bruisings and lacerations; and
that, too, with little comparative hazard to the slave's health, or to
his value as property, and without loss of time from labor. Even
giving to the objection all the force claimed for it, what protection
is it to the slave? It _professes_ to shield the slave from such
treatment alone, as would either lay him aside from labor, or injure
his health, and thus lessen his value as a working animal, making him
a _damaged article_ in the market. Now, is nothing _bad treatment_ of
a human being except that which produces these effects? Does the fact
that a man's constitution is not actually shattered, and his life
shortened by his treatment, prove that he is treated well? Is no
treatment cruel except what sprains muscles, or cuts sinews, or bursts
blood vessels, or breaks bones, and thus lessens a man's value as a
working animal?

A slave may get blows and kicks every hour in the day, without having
his constitution broken, or without suffering sensibly in his health,
or flesh, or appetite, or power to labor. Therefore, beaten and kicked
as he is, he must be treated _well_, according to the objector, since
the master's _interest_ does not suffer thereby.

Finally, the objector virtually maintains that all possible privations
and inflictions suffered by slaves, that do not actually cripple their
power to labor, and make them 'damaged merchandize,' are to be set
down as 'good treatment,' and that nothing is _bad_ treatment except
what produces these effects.

Thus we see that even if the slave were effectually shielded from all
those inflictions, which, by lessening his value as property, would
injure the interests of his master, he would still nave no protection
against numberless and terrible cruelties. But we go further, and
maintain that in respect to large classes of slaves, it is for the
_interest_ of their masters to treat them with barbarous inhumanity.

1. _Old slaves._ It would be for the interest of the masters to
shorten their days.

2. _Worn out slaves._ Multitudes of slaves by being overworked, have
their constitutions broken in middle life. It would be _economical_
for masters to starve or flog such to death.

3. _The incurably diseased and maimed._ In all such cases it would be
_cheaper_ for masters to buy poison than medicine.

4. _The blind, lunatics, and idiots_. As all such would be a tax on
him, it would be for his interest to shorten their days.

5. _The deaf and dumb, and persons greatly deformed._ Such might or
might not be serviceable to him; many of them at least would be a
burden, and few men carry burdens when they can throw them off.

6. _Feeble infants._ As such would require much nursing, the time,
trouble and expense necessary to raise them, would generally be more
than they would be worth as _working animals_. How many such infants
would be likely to be 'raised,' from _disinterested_ benevolence? To
this it may be added that in the far south and south west, it is
notoriously for the interest of the master not to 'raise' slaves at
all. To buy slaves when nearly grown, from the northern slave states,
would be _cheaper_ than to raise them. This is shown in the fact, that
mothers with infants sell for less in those states than those without
them. And when slave-traders purchase such in the upper country, it is
notorious that they not unfrequently either sell their infants, or
give them away. Therefore it would be for the _interest_ of the
masters, throughout that region, to have all the new-born children
left to perish. It would also be for their interest to make such
arrangements as effectually to separate the sexes, or if that were not
done, so to overwork the females as to prevent childbearing.

7. _Incorrigible slaves_. On most of the large plantations, there are,
more or less, incorrigible slaves,--that is, slaves who _will not_ be
profitable to their masters--and from whom torture can extort little
but defiance.[25] These are frequently slaves of uncommon minds, who
feel so keenly the wrongs of slavery that their proud spirits spurn
their chains and defy their tormentors.

[Footnote 25: Advertisements like the following are not unfrequent in
the southern papers.

_From the Elizabeth (N.C.) Phenix, Jan. 5, 1839._ "The subscriber
offers for sale his blacksmith NAT, 28 years of age, and _remarkably
large and likely_. The only cause of my selling him is I CANNOT
CONTROL HIM. _Hertford, Dec.5, 1838._ J. GORDON."]

They have commonly great sway over the other slaves, their example is
contagious, and their influence subversive of 'plantation discipline.'
Consequently they must be made a warning to others. It is for the
_interest_ of the masters (at least they believe it to be) to put upon
such slaves iron collars and chains, to brand and crop them; to
disfigure, lacerate, starve and torture them--in a word, to inflict
upon them such vengeance as shall strike terror into the other slaves.
To this class may be added the incorrigibly thievish and indolent; it
would be for the interest of the masters to treat them with such
severity as would deter others from following their example.

7. _Runaways._ When a slave has once runaway from his master and is
caught, he is thenceforward treated with severity. It is for the
interest of the master to make an example of him, by the greatest
privations and inflictions.

8. _Hired slaves._ It is for the interest of those who hire slaves to
get as much out of them as they can; the temptation to overwork them
is powerful. If it be said that the master could, in that case,
recover damages, the answer is, that damages would not be recoverable
in law unless actual injury--enough to impair the power of the slave
to labor, be _proved._ And this ordinarily would be impossible, unless
the slave has been worked so greatly beyond his strength as to produce
some fatal derangement of the vital functions. Indeed, as all who are
familiar with such cases in southern courts well know, the proof of
actual injury to the slave, so as to lessen his value, is exceedingly
difficult to make out, and every hirer of slaves can overwork them,
give them insufficient food, clothing, and shelter, and inflict upon
them nameless cruelties with entire impunity. We repeat then that it
is for the _interest_ of the hirer to push his slaves to their utmost
strength, provided he does not drive them to such an extreme, that
their constitutions actually give way under it, while in his hands.
The supreme court of Maryland has decided that, 'There must be _at
least a diminution of the faculty of the slave for bodily labor_ to
warrant an action by the master.'--_1 Harris and Johnson's Reports,

9. _Slaves under overseers whose wages are proportioned to the crop
which they raise._ This is an arrangement common in the slave states,
and in its practical operation is equivalent to a bounty on _hard
driving_--a virtual premium offered to overseers to keep the slaves
whipped up to the top of their strength. Even where the overseer has a
fixed salary, irrespective of the value of the crop which he takes
off, he is strongly tempted to overwork the slaves, as those overseers
get the highest wages who can draw the largest income from a
plantation with a given number of slaves; so that we may include in
this last class of slaves, the majority of all those who are under
overseers, whatever the terms on which those overseers are employed.

Another class of slaves may be mentioned; we refer to the slaves of
masters who _bet_ upon their crops. In the cotton and sugar region
there is a fearful amount of this desperate gambling, in which, though
money is the ostensible stake and forfeit, human life is the real one.
The length to which this rivalry is carried at the south and south
west, the multitude of planters who engage in it, and the recklessness
of human life exhibited in driving the murderous game to its issue,
cannot well be imagined by one who has not lived in the midst of it.
Desire of gain is only one of the motives that stimulates them;--the
_eclat_ of having made the largest crop with a given number of hands,
is also a powerful stimulant; the southern newspapers, at the crop
season, chronicle carefully the "cotton brag," and the "crack cotton
picking," and "unparalleled driving," &c. Even the editors of
professedly religious papers, cheer on the melee and sing the triumphs
of the victor. Among these we recollect the celebrated Rev. J.N.
Maffit, recently editor of a religious paper at Natchez, Miss. in
which he took care to assign a prominent place, and capitals to "THE
COTTON BRAG." The testimony of Mr. Bliss, page 38, details some of the
particulars of this _betting_ upon crops. All the preceding classes of
slaves are in circumstances which make it "for the _interest_ of their
masters," or those who have the management of them, to treat them

Besides the operation of the causes already specified, which make it
for the interest of masters and overseers to treat cruelly _certain
classes_ of their slaves, a variety of others exist, which make it for
their interest to treat cruelly _the great body_ of their slaves.
These causes are, the nature of certain kinds of products, the kind of
labor required in cultivating and preparing them for market, the best
times for such labor, the state of the market, fluctuations in prices,
facilities for transportation, the weather, seasons, &c. &c. Some of
the causes which operate to produce this are--

1. _The early market_. If the planter can get his crop into market
early, he may save thousands which might be lost if it arrived later.

2. _Changes in the market_. A sudden rise in the market with the
probability that it will be short, or a gradual fall with a
probability that it will be long, is a strong temptation to the master
to push his slaves to the utmost, that he may in the one case make all
he can, by taking the tide at the flood, and in the other lose as
little as may be, by taking it as early as possible in the ebb.

3. _High prices_. Whenever the slave-grown staples bring a high price,
as is now the case with cotton, every slaveholder is tempted to
overwork his slaves. By forcing them to do double work for a few weeks
or months, while the price is up, he can _afford_ to lose a number of
them and to lessen the value of all by over-driving. A cotton planter
with a hundred vigorous slaves, would have made a profitable
speculation, if, during the years '34, 5, and 6, when the average
price of cotton was 17 cents a pound, he had so overworked his slaves
that half of them died upon his hands in '37, when cotton had fallen
to six and eight cents. No wonder that the poor slaves pray that cotton
and sugar may be cheap. The writer has frequently heard it declared by
planters in the lower country, that, it is more profitable to drive
the slaves to such over exertion as to _use them up_, in seven or
eight years, than to give them only ordinary tasks and protract their
lives to the ordinary period.[26]

[Footnote 26: The reader is referred to a variety of facts and
testimony on this point on the 39th page of this work.]

4. _Untimely seasons_. When the winter encroaches on the spring, and
makes late seed time, the first favorable weather is a temptation to
overwork the slaves, too strong to be resisted by those who hold men
as mere working animals. So when frosts set in early, and a great
amount of work is to be done in a little time, or great loss suffered.
So also after a long storm either in seed or crop time, when the
weather becomes favorable, the same temptation presses, and in all
these cases the master would _save money_ by overdriving his slaves.

5. _Periodical pressure of certain kinds of labor._ The manufacture of
sugar is an illustration. In a work entitled "Travels in Louisiana in
1802," translated from the French, by John Davis, is the following
testimony under this head:--

"At the rolling of sugars, an interval of from two to three months,
they (the slaves in Louisiana,) work _both night and day_. Abridged of
their sleep, they scarcely retire to rest during the whole period" See
page 81.

In an article on the agriculture of Louisiana, published in the second
number of the "Western Review," is the following:--"The work is
admitted to be severe for the hands, (slaves) requiring, when the
process of making sugar is commenced, TO BE PRESSED NIGHT AND DAY."

It would be for the interest of the sugar planter greatly to overwork
his slaves, during the annual process of sugar-making.

The severity of this periodical pressure, in preparing for market
other staples of the slave states besides sugar, may be inferred from
the following. Mr. Hammond, of South Carolina, in his speech in
Congress, Feb. 1. 1836, (See National Intelligencer) said, "In the
heat of the crop, the loss of one or two days, would inevitably ruin

6. _Times of scarcity_. Drought, long rain, frost, &c. are liable to
cut off the corn crop, upon which the slaves are fed. If this happens
when the staple which they raise is at a low price, it is for the
interest of the master to put the slave on short rations, thus forcing
him to suffer from hunger.

7. _The raising of crops for exportation_. In all those states where
cotton and sugar are raised for exportation, it is, for the most part,
more profitable to buy provisions for the slaves than to raise them.
Where this is the case the slaveholders believe it to be for their
interest to give their slaves less food, than their hunger craves, and
they do generally give them insufficient sustenance.[27]

[Footnote 27: Hear the testimony of a slaveholder, on this subject, a
member of Congress from Virginia, from 1817 to 1830, Hon. Alexander

In the debate on the Missouri question in the U.S. Congress, 1819-20,
the admission of Missouri to the Union, as a slave state, was urged,
among other grounds, as a measure of humanity to the slaves of the
south. Mr. Smyth, of Virginia said, "The plan of our opponents seems
to be to confine the slave population to the southern states, to the
countries where _sugar, cotton, and tobacco_ are cultivated. But, sir,
by confining the slaves to a part of the country where crops are
raised for exportation, and the bread and meat are _purchased, you
doom them to scarcity and hunger_. Is it not obvious that the way to
render their situation more comfortable, is to allow them to be taken
where there is not the same motive to force the slave to INCESSANT
TOIL, that there is in the country where cotton, sugar, and tobacco,
are raised for exportation. It is proposed to hem in the blacks _where
they are_ HARD WORKED and ILL FED, that they may be rendered
unproductive and the race be prevented from increasing. . . . The
proposed measure would be EXTREME CRUELTY to the blacks. . . . You
would . . . doom them to SCARCITY and HARD LABOR."--[Speech of Mr.
Smyth, Jan. 28, 1820]--See National Intelligencer.

Those states where the crops are raised for exportation, and a large
part of the provisions purchased, are, Louisiana, Mississippi,
Alabama, Arkansas, Western Tennessee, Georgia, Florida, and, to a
considerable extent, South Carolina. That this is the case in
Louisiana, is shown by the following. "Corn, flour, and bread stuffs,
generally are obtained from Kentucky, Ohio;" &c. See "Emigrants Guide
through the Valley of the Mississippi," Page 275. That it is the case
with Alabama, appears from the testimony of W. Jefferson Jones, Esq. a
lawyer of high standing in Mobile. In a series of articles published
by him in the Mobile Morning Chronicle, he says; (See that paper for
Aug. 26, 1837.)

"The people of Alabama _export_ what they raise, and _import_ nearly
all they consume." But it seems quite unnecessary to prove, what all
persons of much intelligence well know, that the states mentioned
export the larger part of what they raise, and import the larger part
of what they consume. Now more than _one million of slaves_ are held
in those states, and parts of states, where provisions are mainly
imported, and consequently they are "_doomed to scarcity and hunger_."]

Now let us make some estimate of the proportion which the slaves,
included in the foregoing _nine classes_, sustain to the whole number,
and then of the proportion affected by the operation of the _seven_
causes just enumerated.

It would be nearly impossible to form an estimate of the proportion of
the slaves included in a number of these classes, such as the old, the
worn out, the incurably diseased, maimed and deformed, idiots, feeble
infants, incorrigible slaves, &c. More or less of this description are
to be found on all the considerable plantations, and often, many on
the same plantation; though we have no accurate data for an estimate,
the proportion cannot be less than one in twenty-five of the whole
number of slaves, which would give a total of more than _one hundred
thousand_. Of some of the remaining classes we have data for a pretty
accurate estimate.

1st. _Lunatics_.--Various estimates have been made, founded upon the
data procured by actual investigation, prosecuted under the direction
of the Legislatures of different States; but the returns have been so
imperfect and erroneous, that little reliance can be placed upon them.
The Legislature of New Hampshire recently ordered investigations to be
made in every town in the state, and the number of insane persons to
be reported. A committee of the legislature, who had the subject in
charge say, in their report--"From many towns no returns have been
received, from others the accounts are erroneous, there being cases
_known to the committee_ which escaped the notice of the 'selectmen.'
The actual number of insane persons is therefore much larger than
appears by the documents submitted to the committee." The Medical
Society of Connecticut appointed a committee of their number, composed
of some of the most eminent physicians in the state, to ascertain and
report the whole number of insane persons in that state. The committee
say, in their report, "The number of towns from which returns have
been received is seventy, and the cases of insanity which have been
noticed in them are five hundred and ten." The committee add, "fifty
more towns remain to be heard from, and if insanity should be found
equally prevalent in them, the entire number will scarcely fall short
of _one thousand_ in the state." This investigation was made in 1821,
when the population of the state was less than two hundred and eighty
thousand. If the estimate of the Medical Society be correct, the
proportion of the insane to the whole population would be about one in
two hundred and eighty. This strikes us as a large estimate, and yet a
committee of the legislature of that state in 1837, reported seven
hundred and seven insane persons in the state, who were either wholly
or in part supported as _town paupers, or by charity_. It can hardly
be supposed that more than _two-thirds_ of the insane in Connecticut
belong to families _unable to support them_. On this supposition, the
whole number would be greater than the estimate of the Medical Society
sixteen years previous, when the population was perhaps thirty
thousand less. But to avoid the possibility of an over estimate, let
us suppose the present number of insane persons in Connecticut to be
only seven hundred.

The population of the state is now probably about three hundred and
twenty thousand; according to this estimate, the proportion of the
insane to the whole population, would be one to about four hundred and
sixty. Making this the basis of our calculation, and estimating the
slaves in the United States at two millions, seven hundred thousand,
their present probable number, and we come to this result, that there
are about six thousand insane persons among the slaves of the United
States. We have no adequate data by which to judge whether the
proportion of lunatics among slaves is greater or less than among the
whites; some considerations favor the supposition that it is less. But
the dreadful physical violence to which the slaves are subjected, and
the constant sunderings of their tenderest ties, might lead us to
suppose that it would be more. The only data in our possession is the
official census of Chatham county, Georgia, for 1838, containing the
number of lunatics among the whites and the slaves.--(See the Savannah
Georgian, July 24, 1838.) According to this census, the number of
lunatics among eight thousand three hundred and seventy three whites
in the country, is only _two,_ whereas, the number among ten thousand
eight hundred and ninety-one slaves, is _fourteen_.

2d. _The Deaf and Dumb._--The proportion of deaf and dumb persons to
the other classes of the community, is about one in two thousand. This
is the testimony of the directors of the 'American Asylum for the Deaf
and Dumb,' located at Hartford, Connecticut. Making this the basis of
our estimate, there would be one thousand six hundred deaf and dumb
persons among the slaves of the United States.

3d. _The Blind._--We have before us the last United States census,
from which it appears, that in 1830, the number of blind persons in
New Hampshire was one hundred and seventeen, out of a population of
two hundred and sixty-nine thousand five hundred and thirty-three.
Adopting this as our basis, the number of blind slaves in the United
States would be nearly one thousand three hundred.

4th. _Runaways._--Of the proportion of the slaves that run away, to
those that do not, and of the proportion of the runaways that are
_taken_ to those that escape entirely, it would be difficult to make a
probable estimate. Something, however, can be done towards such an
estimate. We have before us, in the Grand Gulf (Miss.) Advertiser, for
August 2, 1838, a list of runaways that were then in the jails of the
two counties of Adams and Warren, in that State; the names, ages, &c.
of each one given; and their owners are called upon to take them away.
The number of runaways thus taken up and committed in these _two_
counties is FORTY-SIX. The whole number of _counties_ in Mississippi
is _fifty-six._ Many of them, however, are thinly populated. Now,
without making this the basis of our estimate for the whole slave
population in all the state--which would doubtless make the number
much too large--we are sure no one who has any knowledge of facts as
they are in the south, will charge upon us an over-statement when we
say, that of the present generation of slaves, probably _one in
thirty_ is of that class--i.e., has at some time, perhaps often,
runaway and been retaken; on that supposition the whole number would
be not far from NINETY THOUSAND.

5th. _Hired Slaves._--It is impossible to estimate with accuracy the
proportion which the hired slaves bear to the whole number. That it is
very large all who have resided at the south, or traveled there, with
their eyes open, well know. Some of the largest slaveholders in the
country, instead of purchasing plantations and working their slaves
themselves, hire them out to others. This practice is very common.

Rev. Horace Moulton, a minister of the Methodist Episcopal church in
Marlborough, Mass., who lived some years in Georgia, says: "A _large
proportion_ of the slave are owned by masters who keep them on purpose
to hire out."

Large numbers of slaves, especially in Mississippi, Louisiana,
Arkansas, Alabama, and Florida, are owned by _non-residents_;
thousands of them by northern capitalists, who _hire them out_. These
capitalists in many cases own large plantations, which are often
leased for a term of years with a 'stock' of slaves sufficient to work

Multitudes of slaves 'belonging' to _heirs_, are hired out by their
guardians till such heirs become of age, or by the executors or
trustees of persons deceased.

That the reader may form some idea of the large number of slaves that
are hired out, we insert below a few advertisements, as a specimen of
hundreds in the newspapers of the slave states.

From the "Pensacola Gazette," May 27.

"NOTICE TO SLAVEHOLDERS. Wanted upon my contract, on the Alabama,
Florida, and Georgia Rail Road, FOUR HUNDRED BLACK LABORERS, _for
which_ a liberal price will be paid.

R. LORING, _Contractor_."

The same paper has the following, signed by an officer of the United

subsist and quarter them beyond the limits of the yard. Persons having
Laborers to hire, will apply to the Commanding Officer.


From the "Richmond (Va.) Enquirer," April 10, 1838.

"LABORERS WANTED.--The James River, and Kenawha Company, are in
immediate want of SEVERAL HUNDRED good laborers. Gentlemen wishing to
send negroes from the country, are assured that the very best care
shall be taken of them.

RICHARD REINS, _Agent of the James River, and Kenawha Co_."

From the "Vicksburg (Mis.) Register," Dec. 27, 1838.

"60 NEGROES, males and females, _for hire for the year_ 1839. Apply to

From the "Georgia Messenger," Dec. 27, 1838. "NEGROES To HIRE. On the
first Tuesday next, Including CARPENTERS, BLACKSMITHS, SHOEMAKERS,
SEAMSTRESSES, COOKS, &c. &c. For information; Apply to OSSIAN

From the "Alexandria (D.C.) Gazette," Dec. 30, 1837.

"THE subscriber wishes to _employ_ by the month or year, ONE HUNDRED
ABLE BODIED MEN, AND THIRTY BOYS. Persons having servants, will do
well to give him a call. PHILIP ROACH, near Alexandria."

From the "Columbia (S.C.) Telescope," May 19, 1838.

"WANTED TO HIRE, twelve or fifteen NEGRO GIRLS, from ten to fourteen
years of age. They are wanted for the term of two or three years.

E.H. & J. FISHER."

"NEGROES WANTED. The Subscriber is desirous of hiring 50 of 60 _first
rate Negro Men_. WILSON NESBITT."

From the "Norfolk (Va.) Beacon," March 21, 1838.

"LABORERS WANTED. One hundred able bodied men are wanted. The hands
will be required to be delivered in Halifax by the _owners_. Apply to

From the "Lynchburg Virginian," Dec. 13, 1838.

"40 NEGRO MEN. The subscribers wish to hire for the next year 40 NEGRO

"HIRING of NEGROES. On Saturday, the 29th day of December, 1838, at
Mrs. Tayloe's tavern, in Amherst county, there will be _hired_ thirty
or forty valuable Negroes.

In addition to the above, I have for _hire_, 20 men, women, boys, and
girls--several of them excellent house servants. MAURICE H. GARLAND."

From the "Savannah Georgian," Feb. 5, 1838.

"WANTED TO HIRE, ONE HUNDRED prime negroes, by the year. J.V.

From the "North Carolina Standard," Feb. 31, 1838.

"NEGROES WANTED.--W. & A. STITH, will give twelve dollars per month
for FIFTY strong Negro fellows, to commence work immediately; and for
FIFTY more on the first day of February, and for FIFTY on the first
day of March."

From the "Lexington (Ky.) Reporter," Dec. 26, 1838.

"WILL BE HIRED, for one year; on the first day of January, 1839, on
the farm of the late Mrs. Meredith, a number of valuable NEGROES.
R.S. TODD, Sheriff of Fayette Co. And Curator for James and Elizabeth

"NEGROES TO HIRE. On Wednesday, the 26th inst. I will hire to the
highest bidder, the NEGROES belonging to Charles and Robert Innes.
GEO. W. WILLIAMS. _Guardian_."

The following _nine_ advertisements were published in one column of
the "Winchester Virginian," Dec. 20, 1838.


"WILL be offered for hire, at Captain Long's Hotel, a number of
SLAVES--men, women, boys and girls--belonging to the orphans of George
Ash, deceased. RICHARD W. BARTON." _Guardian_.

"WILL be offered for hire, at my Hotel, a number of SLAVES, consisting
of men, women, boys and girls. JOSEPH LONG. _Exr. of Edmund
Shackleford, dec'd_."

"WILL be offered for hire, for the ensuing year, at Capt. Long's
Hotel, a number of SLAVES. MOSES R. RICHARDS."

"WILL be offered for hire, the slaves belonging to the estate of James
Bowen, deceased, consisting of men, and women, boys and girls. GILES
COOK. _One of the Exrs. of James Bowen dec'd_."

"THE _hiring_ at Millwood will take place on Friday, the 28th day of
December, 1838. BURWELL."

"N.B. We are desired to say that other valuable NEGROES will also be
_hired_ at Millwood on the same day, besides those offered by Mr. B."

"The SLAVES of the late John Jolliffe, about twenty in number, and of
all ages and both sexes, will be offered for hire at Cain's Depot.
DAVID W. BARTON. _Administrator_."

"I WILL hire at public hiring before the tavern door of Dr. Lacy,
about 30 NEGROES, consisting of men, and women. JAMES R. RICHARDS."

"WILL be hired, at Carter's Tavern, on 31st of December, a number of

"NEGROES FOR HIRE, (PRIVATELY.) About twelve servants, consisting of
men, women, boys, and girls, for hire privately. Apply to the
subscriber at Col. Smith's in Battletown. JOHN W. OWEN."

A volume might easily be filled with advertisements like the
preceding, showing conclusively that _hired_ slaves must be a large
proportion of the whole number. The actual proportion has been
variously estimated, at 1/2, 1/3, 1/4, 1/2, &c. if we adopt the last
as our basis, it will make the number of hired slaves, in the United

6th. _Slaves under overseers whose wages are a part of the
crop_.--That this is a common usage; appears from the following
testimony. The late Hon. John Taylor, of Caroline Co. Virginia, one of
the largest slaveholders in the state, President of the State
Agricultural Society, and three times elected to the Senate of the
United States, says, in his "Agricultural Essays," No. 15. P. 57,

"This necessary class of men, (overseers,) are bribed by
agriculturalists, not to improve, but to impoverish their land, _by a
share of the crop for one year_.... The _greatest_ annual crop, and
not the most judicious culture, advances his interest, and establishes
his character; and the fees of these land-doctors, are much higher for
killing than for curing.... The most which the land can yield, and
seldom or never improvement with a view to future profit, is a point
of common consent, and mutual need between the agriculturist and his
overseer.... Must the practice of hiring a man for one year, by a
share of the crop, to lay out all his skill and industry in killing
land, and as little as possible in improving it, be kept up to
commemorate the pious leaning of man to his primitive state of
ignorance and barbarity? _Unless this is abolished_, the attempt to
fertilize our lands is needless."

Philemon Bliss, Esq, of Elyria, Ohio, who lived in Florida, in 1834-5,

"It is common for owners of plantations and slaves, to hire overseers
to take charge of them, while they themselves reside at a distance.
_Their wages depend principally upon the amount of labor which they
can exact from the slave_. The term "good overseer," signifies one who
can make the greatest amount of the staple, cotton for instance, from
a given number of hands, besides raising sufficient provisions for
their consumption. He has no interest in the life of the slave. Hence
the fact, so notorious at the south, that negroes are driven harder
and fare worse under overseers than under their owners."

William Ladd, Esq. of Minot, Maine, formerly a slaveholder in Florida,
speaking, in a recent letter of the system of labor adopted there,
says; "The compensation of the overseers _was a certain portion of the

Rev. Phineas Smith, of Centreville, Allegany Co. N.Y. who has
recently returned from a four years' residence, in the Southern slave
states and Texas, says,

"The mode in which _many_ plantations are managed, is calculated and
_designed_, as an inducement to the slave driver, to lay upon the
slave the _greatest possible burden, the overseer being entitled by
contract, to a certain share of the crop_."

We leave the reader to form his own opinion, as to the proportion of
slaves under overseers, whose wages are in proportion to the crop,
raised by them. We have little doubt that we shall escape the charge
of wishing to make out a "strong case" when we put the proportion at
_one-eighth_ of the whole number of slaves, which would be _three
hundred and fifty thousand_.

Without drawing out upon the page a sum in addition for the reader to
"run up," it is easily seen that the slaves in the preceding classes
amount to more than ELEVEN HUNDRED THOUSAND, exclusive of the deaf and
dumb, and the blind, some of whom, especially the former, might be
profitable to their "owners";

Now it is plainly for the interest of the "owners" of these slaves, or
of those who have the charge of them, to _treat than cruelly_, to
overwork, under-feed, half-clothe, half-shelter, poison, or kill
outright, the aged, the broken down, the incurably diseased, idiots,
feeble infants, most of the blind, some deaf and dumb, &c. It is
besides a part of the slave-holder's creed, that it is _for his
interest_ to treat with terrible severity, all runaways and the
incorrigibly stubborn, thievish, lazy, &c.; also for those who hire
slaves, to overwork them; also for overseers to overwork the slaves
under them, when their own wages are increased by it.

We have thus shown that it would be "_for the interest_," of masters
and overseers to treat with _habitual_ cruelty _more than one million_
of the slaves in the United States. But this is not all; as we have
said already, it is for the interest of overseers generally, whether
their wages are proportioned to the crop or not, to overwork the
slaves; we need not repeat the reasons.

Neither is it necessary to re-state the arguments, going to show that
it is for the interest of slaveholders, who cultivate the great
southern staples, especially cotton, and the sugarcane, to overwork
periodically _all_ their slaves, and _habitually_ the majority of
them, when the demand for those staples creates high prices, as has
been the case with cotton for many years, with little exception.
Instead of entering into a labored estimate to get at the proportion
of the slaves, affected by the operation of these and the other causes
enumerated, we may say, that they operate _directly_ on the "field
hands," employed in raising the southern staples, and indirectly upon
all classes of the slaves.

Finally, the conclude this head by turning the objector's negative
proposition into an affirmative one, and state formally what has been
already proved.

_It is for the interest of shareholders, upon their own principles,
and by their own showing, TO TREAT CRUELLY the great body of their


To this we reply in brief, 1st. It has been already shown under a
previous head, that, in considerable sections of the slave states,
especially in the South West, the births among slaves are fewer than
the deaths, which would exhibit a fearful decrease of the slave
population in those sections, if the deficiency were not made up by
the slave trade from the upper country.

2d. The fact that all children born of slave _mothers_, whether their
fathers are whites or free colored persons, are included in the census
with the slaves, and further that all children born of white mothers,
whose fathers are mulattos or blacks, are also included in the census
with colored persons and almost invariably with _slaves_, shows that
it is impossible to ascertain with any accuracy, _what is the actual
increase of the slaves alone._

3d. The fact that thousands of slaves, generally in the prime of life,
are annually smuggled into the United States from Africa, Cuba, and
elsewhere, makes it manifest that all inferences drawn from the
increase of the slave population, which do not make large deductions,
for constant importations, must be fallacious. Mr. Middleton of South
Carolina, in a speech in Congress in 1819, declared that "THIRTEEN
Mercer of Virginia, in a speech in Congress about the same time
declared that "_Cargoes_," of African slaves were smuggled into the
South to a deplorable extent.

Mr. Wright, of Maryland, in a speech in Congress, estimated the number
annually at FIFTEEN THOUSAND. Miss Martineau, in her recent work,
(Society in America,) informs us that a large slaveholder in
Louisiana, assured her in 1835, that the annual importation of native
Africans was from thirteen to fifteen thousand.

The President of the United States, in his message to Congress,
December, 1837, says, "The large force under Commodore Dallas, (on the
West India station,) has been most actively and efficiently employed
in protecting our commerce, IN PREVENTING THE IMPORTATION OF SLAVES,"
&c. &c.

The New Orleans Courier of 15th February, 1839, has these remarks:

"It is believed that African negroes have been _repeatedly_ introduced
into the United States. The number and the proximity of the Florida
ports to the island of Cuba, make it no difficult matter; nor is our
extended frontier on the Sabine and Red rivers, at all unfavorable to
the smuggler. Human laws have, in all countries and ages, been
violated whenever the inducements to do so afforded hopes of great

"The United States' law against the importation of Africans, _could it
be strictly enforced_, might in a few years give the sugar and cotton
planters of Texas advantage over those of this state; as it would, we
apprehend, enable the former, under a stable government, to furnish
cotton and sugar at a lower price than we can do. When giving
publicity to such reflections as the subject seems to suggest, we
protest against being considered advocates for any violation of the
laws of our country. Every good citizen must respect those laws,
notwithstanding we may deem them likely to be evaded by men less

That both the south and north swarm with men 'less scrupulous,' every
one knows.

The Norfolk (Va.) Beacon, of June 8, 1837, has the following:

"_Slave Trade.--Eight African negroes_ have been taken into custody,
at Apalachicola, by the U.S. Deputy Marshal, alleged to have been
imported from Cuba, on board the schooner Emperor, Captain Cox.
Indictments for piracy, under the acts for the suppression of the
slave trade, have been found against Captain Cox, and other parties
implicated. The negroes were bought in Cuba by a Frenchman named
Malherbe, formerly a resident of Tallahassee, who was drowned soon
after the arrival of the schooner."

The following testimony of Rev. Horace Moulton, now a minister of the
Methodist Episcopal Church, in Marlborough, Mass., who resided some
years in Georgia, reveals some of the secrets of the slave-smugglers,
and the connivance of the Georgia authorities at their doings. It is
contained in a letter dated February 24, 1839.

"The foreign slave-trade was carried on to some considerable extent
when I was at the south, notwithstanding a law had been made some ten
years previous to this, making this traffic piracy on the high seas. I
was somewhat acquainted with the secrets of this traffic, and, I
suppose, I might have engaged in it, had I so desired. Were you to
visit all the plantations in South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and
Mississippi, I think you would be convinced that the horrors of the
traffic in human flesh have not yet ceased. I was _surprised to find
so many that could not speak English among the slaves,_ until the
mystery was explained. This was done, when I learned that
slave-cargoes were landed on the coast of Florida, not a thousand
miles from St. Augustine. They could, and can still, in my opinion, be
landed as safely on this coast as in any port of this continent. You
can imagine for yourself how easy it was to carry on the traffic
between this place and the West Indies. When landed on the coast of
Florida, it is an easy matter to distribute them throughout the more
southern states. The law which makes it piracy to traffic in the
foreign slave trade is a dead letter; and I doubt not it has been so
in the more southern states ever since it was enacted. For you can
perceive at once, that interested men, who believe the colored man is so
much better off here than he possibly can be in Africa, will not
hesitate to kidnap the blacks whenever an opportunity presents itself.
I will notice one fact that came under my own observation, which will
convince you that the horrors of the foreign slave-trade have not yet
ceased among our southern gentry. It is as follows. A slave ship,
which I have reason to believe was employed by southern men, came near
the port of Savannah with about FIVE HUNDRED SLAVES, from Guinea and
Congo. It was said that the ship was driven there by contrary winds;
and the crew, pretending to be short of provisions, run the ship into
a by place, near the shore, between Tybee Light and Darien, to recruit
their stores. Well, as Providence would have it, the revenue cutter,
at that time taking a trip along the coast, fell in with this slave
ship, took her as a prize, and brought her up into the port of
Savannah. The cargo of human chattels was unloaded, and the captives
were placed in an old barracks, in the fort of Savannah, under the
protection of the city authorities, they pretending that they should
return them all to their native country again, as soon as a convenient
opportunity presented itself. The ship's crew of course were arrested,
and confined in jail. Now for the sequel of this history. About one
third part of the negroes died in a few weeks after they were landed,
in seasoning, so called, or in becoming acclimated--or, as I should
think, a distemper broke out among them, and they died like the
Israelites when smitten with the plague. Those who did not die in
seasoning, must be hired out a little while, to be sure, as the city
authorities could not afford to keep them on expense doing nothing. As
it happened, the man in whose employ I was when the cargo of human
beings arrived, hired some twenty or thirty of them, and put them
under my care. They continued with me until the sickly season drove me
off to the north. I soon returned, but could not hear a word about the
crew of pirates. They had something like a mock trial, as I should
think, for no one, as I ever learned, was condemned, fined, or
censured. But where were the poor captives, who were going to be
returned to Africa by the city authorities, as soon as they could make
it convenient? Oh, forsooth, those of whom I spoke, being under my
care, were tugging away for the same man; the remainder were scattered
about among different planters. When I returned to the north again,
the next year, the city authorities had not, down to that time; made
it convenient to return these poor victims. The fact is, they belonged
there; and, in my opinion, they were designed to be landed near by the
place where the revenue cutter seized them. Probably those very
planters for whom they were originally designed received them; and
still there was a pretence kept up that they would be returned to
Africa. This must have been done, that the consciences of those might
be quieted, who were looking for justice to be administered to these
poor captives. It is easy for a company of slaveholders, who desire to
traffic in human flesh, to fit out a vessel, under Spanish colors, and
then go prowling about the African coast for the victims of their
lusts. If all the facts with relation to the African slave-trade, now
secretly carried on at the south, could be disclosed, the people of
the free states would be filled with amazement."

It is plain, from the nature of this trade, and the circumstances
under which it is carried on, that the number of slaves imported would
be likely to be estimated far _below_ the truth. There can be little
doubt that the estimate of Mr. Wright, of Maryland, (fifteen thousand
annually,) is some thousands too small. But even according to his
estimate, the African slave-trade adds ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY THOUSAND
SLAVES TO EACH UNITED STATES' CENSUS. These are in the prime of life,
and their children would swell the slave population many thousands
annually--thus making a great addition to each census.

4. It is a notorious fact, that large numbers of free colored persons
are kidnapped every year in the free states, taken to the south, and
sold as slaves.

Hon. GEORGE M. STROUD, Judge of the Criminal Court of Philadelphia, in
his sketch of the slave laws, speaking of the kidnapping of free
colored persons in the northern states, says--

"Remote as is the city of Philadelphia from those slaveholding states
in which the introduction of slaves from places within the territory
of the United States is freely permitted, and where also the market is
tempting, _it has been ascertained,_ that MORE THAN THIRTY FREE
CARRIED AWAY, WITHIN THE LAST TWO YEARS. Five of these, through the
kind interposition of several humane gentlemen, have been restored to
their friends, though not without _great expense and difficulty_; the
others _are still retained in bondage_, and if rescued at all, it must
be by sending white witnesses a journey of more than a thousand miles.
The costs attendant upon lawsuits, under such circumstances, will
probably fall but little short of the estimated value, as slaves, of
the individuals kidnapped."

The following is an extract from Mrs. CHILD's Appeal, pp. 64-6.

"I know the names of four colored citizens of Massachusetts, who went
to Georgia on board a vessel, were seized under the laws of that
state, and sold as slaves. They have sent the most earnest
exhortations to their families and friends, to do something for their
relief; but the attendant expenses require more money than the friends
of negroes are apt to have, and the poor fellows, as yet, remain

"A New York paper, of November, 1829, contains the following caution.

_"Beware of Kidnappers!_--It is well understood, that there is at
present in this city, a gang of kidnappers, busily engaged in their
vocation, of stealing colored children for the southern market. It is
believed that three or four have been stolen within as many days.
There are suspicions of a foul nature connected with some who serve
the police in subordinate capacities. It is hinted that there may be
those in some authority, not altogether ignorant of these diabolical
practices. Let the public be on their guard! It is still fresh in the
memories of all, that a cargo, or rather drove of negroes, was made up
from this city and Philadelphia, about the time that the emancipation
of all the negroes in this state took place, under our present
constitution, and were taken through Virginia, the Carolinas, and
Tennessee, and disposed of in the state of Mississippi. Some of those
who were taken from Philadelphia were persons of intelligence; and
after they had been driven through the country in chains, and disposed
of by sale on the Mississippi, wrote back to their friends, and were
rescued from bondage. The persons who were guilty of this abominable
transaction are known, and now reside in North Carolina. They may very
probably be engaged in similar enterprizes at the present time--at
least there is reason to believe, that the system of kidnapping free
persons of color from the northern cities, has been carried on more
extensively than the public arc generally aware of."

GEORGE BRADBURN, Esq. of Nantucket, Mass. a member of the Legislature
of that state, at its last session, made a report to that body, March
6, 1839, 'On the deliverance of citizens liable to be sold as slaves.'
That report contains the following facts and testimony.

"The following facts are a few out of a VAST MULTITUDE, to which the
attention of the undersigned has been directed.

"On the 27th of February last, the undersigned had an interview with
the Rev. Samuel Snowden, a respectable and intelligent clergyman of
the city of Boston. This gentleman stated, and he is now ready to make
oath, that during the last six years, he has himself, by the aid of
various benevolent individuals, procured the deliverance from jail of
six citizens of Massachusetts, who had been, arrested and imprisoned
as runaway slaves, and who, but for his timely interposition, would
have been sold into perpetual bondage. The names and the places of
imprisonment of those persons, as stated by Mr. S. were as follows:

"James Hight, imprisoned at Mobile; William Adams, at Norfolk; William
Holmes, also at Norfolk; James Oxford, at Wilmington; James Smith, at
Baton Rouge; John Tidd, at New Orleans.

"In 1836, Mary Smith, a native of this state, returning from New
Orleans, whither she had been in the capacity of a servant, was cast
upon the shores of North Carolina. She was there seized and sold as a
slave. Information of the fact reached her friends at Boston. Those
friends made an effort to obtain her liberation. They invoked the
assistance of the Governor of this Commonwealth. A correspondence
ensued between His Excellency and the Governor of North Carolina:
copies of which were offered for the inspection of your committee.
Soon afterwards, by permission of the authorities of North Carolina,
'Mary Smith' returned to Boston. But it turned out, that this was not
_the_ Mary Smith, whom our worthy Governor, and other excellent
individuals of Boston, had taken so unwearied pains to redeem from
slavery. It was another woman, of the same name, who was also a native
of Massachusetts, and had been seized in North Carolina as a runaway
slave. The Mary Smith has not yet been heard of. If alive, she is now,
in all probability, wearing the chains of slavery.

"About a year and a half since, several citizens of different free
states were rescued from slavery, at New Orleans, by the direct
personal efforts of an acquaintance of the undersigned. The benevolent
individual alluded to is Jacob Barker, Esq. a name not unknown to the
commercial world. Mr. Barker is a resident of New Orleans. A statement
of the cases in reference is contained in a letter addressed by him to
the Hon. Samuel H. Jenks, of Nantucket."

The letter of Mr. Barker, referred to in this report to the
Legislature of Massachusetts, bears date August 19, 1837. The
following are extracts from it.

"A free man, belonging to Baltimore, by the name of Ephraim Larkin,
who came here cook of the William Tell, was arrested and thrown into
prison a few weeks since, and sent in chains to work on the road. I
heard of it, and with difficulty found him; and after the most
diligent and active exertions, got him released--in effecting which, I
traveled in the heat of the day, thermometer ranging in the shade from
94 to 100, more than twenty times to and from prison, the place of his
labor, and the different courts, a distance of near three miles from
my residence; and after I had established his freedom, had to pay for
his arrest, maintenance, and the advertising him as a runaway slave,
$29.89, as per copy of bill herewith--the allowance for work not
equalling the expenses, the amount augments with every day of

"In pursuing the cook of the William Tell, I found three other free
men, confined in the same prison; one belonged also to Baltimore, by
the name of Leaven Dogerty: he was also released, on my paying $28
expenses; one was a descendant of the Indians who once inhabited
Nantucket--his name is Eral Lonnon. Lonnon had been six weeks in
prison; he was released without difficulty, on my paying $20.38
expenses--and no one seemed to know why he had been confined or
arrested, as the law does not presume persons of mixed blood to be
slaves. But for the others, I had great difficulty in procuring what
was considered competent witnesses to prove them free. No complaint of
improper conduct had been made against either of them. At one time,
the Recorder said the witness must be white; at another, that one
respectable witness was insufficient; at another, that a person who
had been (improperly) confined and released, was not a competent
witness, &c. &c. Lonnon has been employed in the South Sea fishery
from Nantucket and New Bedford, nearly all his life; has sailed on
those voyages in the ships Eagle, Maryland, Gideon, Triton, and
Samuel. He was born at Marshpee, Plymouth (Barnstable) county, Mass.
and prefers to encounter the leviathan of the deep, rather than the
turnkeys of New Orleans.

"The other was born in St. Johns, Nova Scotia, and bears the name of
William Smith, a seaman by profession.

"Immediately after these men were released, two others were arrested.
They attempted to escape, and being pursued, ran for the river, in the
vain hope of being able to swim across the Mississippi, a distance of
a mile, with a current of four knots. One soon gave out, and made for
a boat which had been despatched for their recovery, and was saved;
the other being a better swimmer, continued on until much exhausted,
then also made for the boat--it was too late; he sank before the boat
could reach him, and was drowned. They claimed to be freemen.

"On Sunday last I was called to the prison of the Municipality in
which I reside, to serve on an inquest on the body of a drowned man.
There I saw one other free man confined, by the name of Henry Tier, a
yellow man, born in New York, and formerly in my employ. He had been
confined as a supposed runaway, near six months, without a particle of
testimony; although from his color, the laws of Louisiana presume him
to be free. I applied immediately for his release, which was promptly
granted. At first, expenses similar to those exacted in the third
Municipality were required; but on my demonstrating to the recorder
that the law imposed no such burden on free men, he was released
without any charge whatever. How free men can obtain satisfaction for
having been thus wrongfully imprisoned, and made to work in chains on
the highway, is not for me to decide. I apprehend no satisfaction can
be had without more active friends, willing to espouse their cause,
than can be found in this quarter. Therefore I repeat, that no person
of color should come here without a certificate of freedom from the
governor of the state to which he belongs.

"Very respectfully, your assured friend, Jacob Barker."

"N.B.--Since writing the preceding, I have procured the release of
another free man from the prison of the third Municipality, on the
payment of $39.65, as per bill, copy herewith. His name is William
Lockman--he was born in New Jersey, of free parents, and resides at
Philadelphia. A greater sum was required which was reduced by the
allowance of his maintenance (written _labor_,) while at work on the
road, which the law requires the Municipality to pay; but it had not
before been so expounded in the third Municipality. I hope to get it
back in the case of the other three. The allowance for labor, in
addition to their maintenance, is twenty-five cents per day; but they
require those illiterate men to advance the whole before they can
leave the prison, and then to take a certificate for their labor, and
go for it to another department--to collect which, is ten times more
trouble than the money when received is worth. While these free men,
without having committed any fault, were compelled to work in chains,
on the roads, in the burning sun, for 25 cents per day, and pay in
advance 18 3-4 cents per day for maintenance, doctor's, and other
bills, and not able to work half their time, I paid others, working on
ship-board, in sight, two dollars per day. J.B."

The preceding letter of Mr. Barker, furnishes grounds for the belief,
that _hundreds_, if not _thousands_ of free colored persons, from the
different states of this Union, both slave and free from the West
Indies, South America, Mexico, and the British possessions in North
America, and from other parts of the world, are reduced to slavery
_every year_ in our slave states. If a single individual, in the
course of a few days, _accidentally_ discovered _six_ colored free
men, working in irons, and soon to be sold as slaves, in a _single_
southern city, is it not fair to infer, that in all the slave states,
there must be _multitudes_ of such persons, now in slavery, and that
this number is rapidly increasing, by ceaseless accessions?

The letter of Mr. Barker is valuable, also, as a graphic delineation
of the 'public opinion' of the south. The great difficulty with which
the release of these free men was procured, notwithstanding the
personal efforts of Mr. Jacob Barker, who is a gentleman of influence,
and has, we believe, been an alderman of New Orleans, reveals a
'public opinion,' insensible as adamant to the liberty of colored men.

It would be easy to fill scores of pages with details similar to the
preceding. We have furnished enough, however, to show, that, in all
probability, _each_ United States' census of the _slave_ population,
is increased by the addition to it of _thousands_ of free colored
persons, kidnapped and sold as slaves.

5th. To argue that the rapid multiplication of any class in the
community, is proof that such a class is well-clothed, well-housed,
abundantly fed, and very _comfortable_, is as absurd as to argue that
those who have _few children_, must of course, be ill-clothed,
ill-housed, badly lodged, overworked, ill-fed, &c. &c. True,
privations and inflictions may be carried to such an extent as to
occasion a fearful diminishment of population. That was the case
generally with the slave population in the West Indies, and, as has
been shown, is true of certain portions of the southern states. But
the fact that such an effect is _not_ produced, does not prove that
the slaves do not experience great privations and severe inflictions.
They may suffer much hardship, and great cruelties, without
experiencing so great a derangement of the vital functions as to
prevent child-bearing. The Israelites multiplied with astonishing
rapidity, under the task-masters and burdens of Egypt. Does this
falsify the declarations of Scripture, that 'they sighed by reason of
their bondage,' and that the Egyptians 'made them serve _with rigor_,'
and made 'their lives bitter with _hard bondage_.' 'I have seen,' said
God, 'their _afflictions_. I have beard their _groanings_,' &c. The
history of the human race shows, that great _privations and much
suffering_ may be experienced, without materially checking the rapid
increase of population.

Besides, if we should give to the objection all it claims, it would
merely prove, that the female slaves, or rather a portion of them, are
in a comfortable condition; and that, so far as the absolute
necessities of life are concerned, the females of _child-bearing_ age,
in Delaware, Maryland, northern, western, and middle Virginia, the
upper parts of Kentucky and Missouri, and among the mountains of east
Tennessee and western North Carolina, are in general tolerably well
supplied. The same remark, with some qualifications, may be made of
the slaves generally, in those parts of the country where the people
are slaveholders, mainly, that they may enjoy the privilege and profit
of being _slave-breeders_.


ANSWER. It was public opinion that _made him a slave_. In a republican
government the people make the laws, and those laws are merely public
opinion _in legal forms_. We repeat it,--public opinion made them
slaves, and keeps them slaves; in other words, it sunk them from men
to chattels, and now, forsooth, this same public opinion will see to
it, that these _chattels_ are treated like _men!_

By looking a little into this matter, and finding out how this 'public
opinion' (law) protects the slaves in some particulars, we can judge
of the amount of its protection in others. 1. It protects the slaves
from _robbery_, by declaring that those who robbed their mothers may
rob them and their children. "All negroes, mulattoes, or mestizoes who
now are, or shall hereafter be in this province, and all their
offspring, are hereby declared to be, and shall remain, forever,
hereafter, absolute slaves, and shall follow the condition of the
mother."--Law of South Carolina, 2 Brevard's Digest, 229. Others of
the slave states have similar laws.

2. It protects their _persons_, by giving their master a right to
flog, wound, and beat them when he pleases. See Devereaux's North
Carolina Reports, 263.--Case of the State vs. Mann, 1829; in which the
Supreme Court decided, that a master who _shot_ at a female slave and
wounded her, because she got loose from him when he was flogging her,
and started to run from him, had violated _no law_, AND COULD NOT BE
INDICTED. It has been decided by the highest courts of the slave
states generally, that assault and battery upon a slave is not
indictable as a criminal offence.

The following decision on this point was made by the Supreme Court of
South Carolina in the case of the State vs. Cheetwood, 2 Hill's
Reports, 459.

_Protection of slaves_.--"The criminal offence of assault and battery
_cannot, at common law, be committed on the person of a slave_. For,
notwithstanding for some purposes a slave is regarded in law as a
person, yet generally he is a mere chattel personal, and his right of
personal protection belongs to his master, who can maintain an action
of trespass for the battery of his slave.

"There can be therefore no offence against the state for a mere
beating of a slave, unaccompanied by any circumstances of cruelty, or
an attempt to kill and murder. The peace of the state is not thereby
broken; for 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_."

This 'public opinion' protects the _persons_ of the slaves by
depriving them of Jury trial;[28] their _consciences_, by forbidding
them to assemble for worship, unless their oppressors are present;[29]
their _characters_, by branding them as liars, in denying them their
oath in law;[30] their _modesty_, by leaving their master to clothe,
or let them go naked, as he pleases;[31] and their _health_, by
leaving him to feed or starve them, to work them, wet or dry, with or
without sleep, to lodge them, with or without covering, as the whim
takes him;[32] and their _liberty_, marriage relations, parental
authority, and filial obligations, by _annihilating_ the whole.[33]
This is the protection which 'PUBLIC OPINION,' in the form of _law_,
affords to the slaves; this is the chivalrous knight, always in
stirrups, with lance in rest, to champion the cause of the slaves.

[Footnote 28: Law of South Carolina. James' Digest, 392-3. Law of
Louisiana. Martin's Digest, 42. Law of Virginia. Rev. Code, 429.]

[Footnote 29: Miss. Rev. Code, 390. Similar laws exist in the slave
states generally.]

[Footnote 30: "A slave cannot be a witness against a white person,
either in a civil or criminal cause." Stroud's Sketch of the Laws of
Slavery, 65.]

[Footnote 31: Stroud's Sketch of the Slave Laws, 132.]

[Footnote 32: Stroud's Sketch, 26-32.]

[Footnote 33: Stroud's Sketch, 22-24.]

Public opinion, protection to the slave! Brazen effrontery, hypocrisy,
and falsehood! We have, in the laws cited and referred to above, the
formal testimony of the Legislatures of the slave states, that,
'public opinion' does pertinaciously _refuse_ to protect the slaves;
not only so, but that it does itself persecute and plunder them all:
that it originally planned, and now presides over, sanctions, executes
and perpetuates the whole system of robbery, torture, and outrage
under which they groan.

In all the slave states, this 'public opinion' has taken away from the
slave his _liberty_; it has robbed him of his right to his own body,
of his right to improve his mind, of his right to read the Bible, of
his right to worship God according to his conscience, of his right to
receive and enjoy what he earns, of his right to live with his wife
and children, of his right to better his condition, of his right to
eat when he is hungry, to rest when he is tired, to sleep when be
needs it, and to cover his nakedness with clothing: this 'public
opinion' makes the slave a prisoner for life on the plantation, except
when his jailor pleases to let him out with a 'pass,' or sells him,
and transfers him in irons to another jail-yard: this 'public opinion'
traverses the country, buying up men, women, children--chaining them
in coffles, and driving them forever from their nearest friends; it
sets them on the auction table, to be handled, scrutinized, knocked
off to the highest bidder; it proclaims that they shall not have their
liberty; and, if their masters give it them, 'public opinion' seizes
and throws them back into slavery. This same 'public opinion' has
formally attached the following legal penalties to the following acts
of slaves.

If more than seven slaves are found together in any road, without a
white person, _twenty lashes a piece_; for visiting a plantation
without a written pass, ten lashes; for letting loose a boat from
where it is made fast, _thirty-nine lashes for the first offence_; and
for the second, '_shall have cut off from his head one ear_;' for
keeping or carrying a _club, thirty-nine lashes_; for having any
article for sale, without a ticket from his master, _ten lashes_; for
traveling in any other than 'the most usual and accustomed road,' when
going alone to any place, _forty lashes_; for traveling in the night,
without a pass, _forty lashes_; for being found in another person's
negro-quarters, _forty lashes_; for hunting with dogs in the woods,
_thirty lashes_; for being on _horseback_ without the written
permission of his master, _twenty-five lashes_; for riding or going
abroad in the night, or riding horses in the day time, without leave,
a slave may be whipped, _cropped_, or _branded in the cheek_ with the
letter R, or otherwise punished, _not extending to life_, or so as to
render him _unfit for labor_. The laws referred to may be found by
consulting 2 Brevard's Digest, 228, 213, 216; Haywood's Manual, 78,
chap. 13, pp. 518, 529; 1 Virginia Revised Code, 722-3; Prince's
Digest, 454; 2 Missouri Laws, 741; Mississippi Revised Code, 571. Laws
similar to these exist throughout the southern slave code. Extracts
enough to fill a volume might be made from these laws, showing that
the protection which 'public opinion' grants to the slaves, is hunger,
nakedness, terror, bereavements, robbery, imprisonment, the stocks,
iron collars, hunting and worrying them with dogs and guns, mutilating
their bodies, and murdering them.

A few specimens of the laws and the judicial decisions on them, will
show what is the state of 'public opinion' among slaveholders towards
their slaves. Let the following suffice.--'Any person may lawfully
kill a slave, who has been outlawed for running away and lurking in
swamps, &c.'--Law of North Carolina; Judge Stroud's Sketch of the
Slave Laws, 103; Haywood's Manual, 524. 'A slave _endeavoring_ to
entice another slave to runaway, if provisions, &c. be prepared for
the purpose of aiding in such running away, shall be punished with
DEATH. And a slave who shall aid the slave so endeavoring to entice
another slave to run away, shall also suffer DEATH.'--Law of South
Carolina; Stroud's Sketch of Slave Laws, 103-4; 2 Brevard's Digest,
233, 244. Another law of South Carolina provides that if a slave
shall, when absent from the plantation, refuse to be examined by '_any
white_ person,' (no matter how crazy or drunk,) 'such white person may
seize and chastise him; and if the slave shall _strike_ such white
person, such slave may be lawfully killed.'--2 Brevard's Digest, 231.

The following is a law of Georgia.--'If any slave shall presume to
strike any white person, such slave shall, upon trial and conviction
before the justice or justices, suffer such punishment for the first
offence as they shall think fit, not extending to life or limb; and
for the second offence, DEATH.'--Prince's Digest, 450. The same law
exists in South Carolina, with this difference, that death is made the
punishment for the _third_ offence. In both states, the law contains
this remarkable proviso: 'Provided always, that such striking be not
done by the command and in the defence of the person or property of
the owner, or other person having the government of such slave, in
which case the slave shall be wholly excused!' According to this law,
if a slave, by the direction of his OVERSEER, strike a white man who
is beating said overseer's _dog_, 'the slave shall be wholly excused;'
but if the white man has rushed upon the slave himself, instead of the
_dog_, and is furiously beating him, if the slave strike back but a
single blow, the legal penalty is 'ANY _punishment_ not extending to
life or limb;' and if the tortured slave has a second onset made upon
him, and, after suffering all but death, again strike back in
self-defence, the law KILLS him for it. So, if a female slave, in
obedience to her mistress, and in defence of 'her property,' strike a
white man who is kicking her mistress' pet kitten, she 'shall be
wholly excused,' saith the considerate law: but if the unprotected
girl, when beaten and kicked _herself_, raise her hand against her
brutal assailant, the law condemns her to 'any punishment, not
extending to life or limb; and if a wretch assail her again, and
attempt to violate her chastity, and the trembling girl, in her
anguish and terror, instinctively raise her hand against him in
self-defence, she shall, saith the law, 'suffer DEATH.'

Reader, this diabolical law is the 'public opinion' of Georgia and
South Carolina toward the slaves. This is the vaunted 'protection'
afforded them by their 'high-souled chivalry.' To show that the
'public opinion' of the slave states far more effectually protects the
_property_ of the master than the _person_ of the slave, the reader is
referred to two laws of Louisiana, passed in 1819. The one attaches a
penalty 'not exceeding one thousand dollars,' and 'imprisonment not
exceeding two years,' to the crime of 'cutting or breaking any iron
chain or collar,' which any master of slaves has used to prevent their
running away; the other, a penalty 'not exceeding five hundred
dollars,' to 'wilfully cutting out the tongue, putting out the eye,
_cruelly_ burning, or depriving any slave of _any limb_.' Look at
it--the most horrible dismemberment conceivable cannot be punished by
a fine of _more_ than five hundred dollars. The law expressly fixes
that, as the utmost limit, and it _may_ not be half that sum; not a
single moment's imprisonment stays the wretch in his career, and the
next hour he may cut out another slave's tongue, or burn his hand off.
But let the same man break a chain put upon a slave, to keep him from
running away, and, besides paying double the penalty that could be
exacted from him for cutting off a slave's leg, the law imprisons him
not exceeding two years!

This law reveals the _heart_ of slaveholders towards their slaves,
their diabolical indifference to the most excruciating and protracted
torments inflicted on them by '_any_ person;' it reveals, too, the
_relative_ protection afforded by 'public opinion' to the _person_ of
the slave, in appalling contrast with the vastly surer protection
which it affords to the master's _property_ in the slave. The wretch
who cuts out the tongue, tears out the eyes, shoots off the arms, or
burns off the feet of a slave, over a slow fire, _cannot_ legally be
fined more than five hundred dollars; but if he should in pity loose a
chain from his galled neck, placed there by the master to keep him
from escaping, and thus put his property in some jeopardy, he may be
fined _one thousand dollars_, and thrust into a dungeon for two years!
and this, be it remembered, not for _stealing_ the slave from the
master, nor for _enticing_, or even advising him to run away, or
giving him any information how he can effect his escape; but merely,
because, touched with sympathy for the bleeding victim, as he sees the
rough iron chafe the torn flesh at every turn, he removes it;--and, as
escape without this incumbrance would be easier than with it, the
master's property in the slave is put at some risk. For having caused
this slight risk, the law provides a punishment--fine not exceeding
one thousand dollars, and imprisonment not exceeding _two years_. We
say 'slight risk,' because the slave may not be disposed to encounter
the dangers, and hunger, and other sufferings of the woods, and the
certainty of terrible inflictions if caught; and if he should attempt
it, the risk of losing him is small. An advertisement of five lines
will set the whole community howling on his track; and the trembling
and famished fugitive is soon scented out in his retreat, and dragged
back and delivered over to his tormentors.

The preceding law is another illustration of the 'protection' afforded
to the limbs and members of slaves, by 'public opinion' among

Here follow two other illustrations of the brutal indifference of
'public opinion' to the _torments_ of the slave, while it is full of
zeal to compensate the master, if any one disables his slave so as to
lessen his market value. The first is a law of South Carolina. It
provides, that if a slave, engaged in his owner's service, be attacked
by a person 'not having sufficient cause for so doing,' and if the
slave shall be '_maimed or disabled_' by him, so that the owner
suffers a loss from his inability to labor, the person maiming him
shall pay for his 'lost time,' and 'also the charges for the cure of
the slave!' This Vandal law does not deign to take the least notice of
the anguish of the '_maimed' slave_, made, perhaps, a groaning cripple
for life; the horrible wrong and injury done to _him_, is passed over
in utter silence. It is thus declared to be _not a criminal act_. But
the pecuniary interests of the master are not to be thus neglected by
'public opinion'. Oh no! its tender bowels run over with sympathy at
the master's injury in the 'lost _time_' of his slave, and it
carefully provides that he shall have pay for the whole of it.--See 2
_Brevard's Digest_, 231, 2.

A law similar to the above has been passed in Louisiana, which
contains an additional provision for the benefit of the
_master_--ordaining, that 'if the slave' (thus _maimed and disabled_,)
'be forever rendered unable to work,' the person maiming, shall pay
the master the appraised value of the slave before the injury, and
shall, in addition, _take_ the slave, and maintain him during life.'
Thus 'public opinion' transfers the helpless cripple from the hand of
his master, who, as he has always had the benefit of his services,
might possibly feel some tenderness for him, and puts him in the sole
power of the wretch who has disabled him for life--protecting the
victim from the fury of his tormentor, by putting him into his hands!
What but butchery by piecemeal can, under such circumstances, be
expected from a man brutal enough at first to 'maim' and 'disable'
him, and now exasperated by being obliged to pay his full value to the
master, and to have, in addition, the daily care and expense of his
maintenance. Since writing the above, we have seen the following
judicial decision, in the case of Jourdan, vs. Patton--5 Martin's
Louisiana Reports, 615. A slave of the plaintiff had been deprived of
his _only eye_, and thus rendered _useless_, on which account the
court adjudged that the defendant should pay the plaintiff his full
value. The case went up, by appeal, to the Supreme court. Judge
Mathews, in his decision said, that 'when the defendant had paid the
sum decreed, the slave ought to be placed in his possession,'--adding,
that 'the judgment making full compensation to the owner _operates a
change of property_. He adds, 'The principle of humanity which would
lead us to suppose, that the mistress whom he had long served, would
treat her miserable blind slave with more kindness than the defendant
to whom the judgment ought to transfer him, CANNOT BE TAKEN INTO
CONSIDERATION!' The full compensation of the mistress for the loss of
the services of the slave, is worthy of all 'consideration,' even to
the uttermost farthing; 'public opinion' is omnipotent for _her_
protection; but when the food, clothing, shelter, fire and lodging,
medicine and nursing, comfort and entire condition and treatment of
her poor blind slave throughout his dreary pilgrimage, is the
question--ah! that, says the mouthpiece of the law, and the
representative of 'public opinion,' 'CANNOT BE TAKEN INTO
CONSIDERATION.' Protection of slaves by 'public opinion' among

The foregoing illustrations of southern 'public opinion,' from the
laws made by it and embodying it, are sufficient to show, that, so far
from being an efficient protection to the slaves, it is their
deadliest foe, persecutor and tormentor.

But here we shall probably be met by the legal lore of some 'Justice
Shallow,' instructing us that the life of the slave is fully protected
by law, however unprotected he may be in other respects. This
assertion we meet with a point blank denial. The law does not, in
reality, protect the life of the slave. But even if the letter of the
law would fully protect the life of the slave, 'public opinion' in the
slave states would make it a dead letter. The letter of the law would
have been all-sufficient for the protection of the lives of the
miserable gamblers in Vicksburg, and other places in Mississippi, from
the rage of those whose money they had won; but 'gentlemen of property
and standing 'laughed the law to scorn, rushed to the gamblers' house,
put ropes round their necks, dragged them through the streets, hanged
them in the public square, and thus saved the sum they had not yet
paid. Thousands witnessed this wholesale murder, yet of the scores of
legal officers present, not a soul raised a finger to prevent it, the
whole city consented to it, and thus aided and abetted it. How many
hundreds of them helped to commit the murders, _with their own hands_,
does not appear, but not one of them has been indicted for it, and no
one made the least effort to bring them to trial. Thus, up to the
present hour, the blood of those murdered men rests on that whole
city, and it will continue to be a CITY OF MURDERERS, so long as its
citizens, agree together to shield those felons from punishment; and
they do thus agree together so long as they encourage each other in
refusing to bring them to justice. Now, the _laws_ of Mississippi were
not in fault that those men were murdered; nor are they now in fault,
that their murderers are not punished; the laws demand it, but the
people of Mississippi, the legal officers, the grand juries and
legislature of the state, with one consent agree, that the law _shall
be a dead letter_, and thus the whole state assumes the guilt of those
murders, and in bravado, flourishes her reeking hands in the face of
the world.[34]

[Footnote 34: We have just learned from Mississippi papers, that the
citizens of Vicksburg are erecting a public monument in honor of Dr.
H.S. Bodley, who was the ring-leader of the Lynchers in their attack
upon the miserable victims. To give the crime the cold encouragement
of impunity alone, or such slight tokens of favor as a home and a
sanctuary, is beneath the chivalry and hospitality of Mississippians;
so they tender it incense, an altar, and a crown of glory. Let the
marble rise till it be seen from afar, a beacon marking the spot where
law lies lifeless by the hand of felons; and murderers, with chaplets
on their heads, dance and shout upon its grave, while 'all the people
say, amen.']

The letter of the law on the statute book is one thing, the practice
of the community under that law often a totally different thing. Each
of the slave states has laws providing that the life of no _white_ man
shall be taken without his having first been indicted by a grand jury,
allowed an impartial trial by a petit jury, with the right of counsel,
cross-examination of witnesses, &c.; but who does not know that if
ARTHUR TAPPAN were pointed out in the streets of New Orleans, Mobile,
Savannah, Charleston, Natchez, or St. Louis, he would be torn in
pieces by the citizens with one accord, and that if any one should
attempt to bring his murderers to punishment, he would be torn in
pieces also. The editors of southern newspapers openly vaunt, that
every abolitionist who sets foot in their soil, shall, if he be
discovered, be hung at once, without judge or jury. What mockery to
quote the _letter of the law_ in those states, to show that
abolitionists would have secured to them the legal protection of an
impartial trial!

Before the objector can make out his case, that the life of the slave
is protected by the law, he must not only show that the _words of the
law_ grant him such protection, but that such a state of public
sentiment exists as will carry out the provisions of the law in their
true spirit. Any thing short of this will be set down as mere prating
by every man of common sense. It has been already abundantly shown in
the preceding pages, that the public sentiment of the slaveholding
states toward the slaves is diabolical. Now, if there were laws in
those states, the _words_ of which granted to the life of the slave
the same protection granted to that of the master, what would they
avail? ACTS constitute protection; and is that public sentiment which
makes the slave 'property,' and perpetrates hourly robbery and
batteries upon him, so penetrated with a sense of the sacredness of
his right to life, that it will protect it at all hazards, and drag to
the gallows his OWNER, if he take the life of his own _property_? If
it be asked, why the penalty for killing a slave is not a mere _fine_
then, if his life is not really regarded as sacred by public
sentiment--we answer, that formerly in most, if not in all the slave
states, the murder of a slave _was_ punished by a mere fine. This was
the case in South Carolina till a few years since. Yes, as late as
1821, in the state of South Carolina, which boasts of its chivalry and
honor, at least as loudly as any state in the Union, a slaveholder
might butcher his slave in the most deliberate manner--with the most
barbarous and protracted torments, and yet not be subjected to a
single hour's imprisonment--pay his fine, stride out of the court and
kill another--pay his fine again and butcher another, and so long as
he paid to the state, cash down, its own assessment of damages,
without putting it to the trouble of prosecuting for it, he might
strut 'a gentleman.'--See 2 _Brevard's Digest_, 241.

The reason assigned by the legislature for enacting a law which
punished the wilful murder of a human being by a _fine_, was that
'CRUELTY _is_ HIGHLY UNBECOMING,' and 'ODIOUS.' It was doubtless the
same reason that induced the legislature in 1821, to make a show of
giving _more_ protection to the life of the slave. Their fathers, when
they gave _some_ protection, did it because the time had come when,
not to do it would make them 'ODIOUS,' So the legislature of 1821 made
a show of giving still greater protection, because, not to do it would
make them '_odious_.' Fitly did they wear the mantles of their
ascending fathers! In giving to the life of a slave the miserable
protection of a fine, their fathers did not even pretend to do it out
of any regard to the sacredness of his life as a human being, but
merely because cruelty is 'unbecoming' and 'odious.' The legislature
of 1821 _nominally_ increased this protection; not that they cared
more for the slave's rights, or for the inviolabity of his life as a
human being, but the civilized world had advanced since the date of
the first law. The slave-trade which was then honorable merchandise,
and plied by lords, governors, judges, and doctors of divinity,
raising them to immense wealth, had grown 'unbecoming,' and only
raised its votaries by a rope to the yard arm; besides this, the
barbarity of the slave codes throughout the world was fast becoming
'odious' to civilized nations, and slaveholders found that the only
conditions on which they could prevent themselves from being thrust
out of the pale of civilization, was to meliorate the iron rigor of
their slave code, and thus _seem_ to secure to their slaves some
protection. Further, the northern states had passed laws for the
abolition of slavery--all the South American states were acting in the
matter; and Colombia and Chili passed acts of abolition that very
year. In addition to all this the Missouri question had been for two
years previous under discussion in Congress, in State legislatures,
and in every village and stage coach; and this law of South Carolina
had been held up to execration by northern members of Congress, and in
newspapers throughout the free states--in a word, the legislature of
South Carolina found that they were becoming 'odious;' and while in
their sense of justice and humanity they did not surpass their
fathers, they winced with equal sensitiveness under the sting of the
world's scorn, and with equal promptitude sued for a truce by
modifying the law.

The legislature of South Carolina modified another law at the same
session. Previously, the killing of a slave 'on a sudden heat or
passion, or by undue correction,' was punished by a fine of three
hundred and fifty pounds. In 1821 an act was passed diminishing the
fine to five hundred dollars, but authorizing an imprisonment 'not
exceeding six months.' Just before the American Revolution, the
Legislature of North Carolina passed a law making _imprisonment_ the
penalty for the wilful and malicious murder of a slave. About twenty
years after the revolution, the state found itself becoming 'odious,'
as the spirit of abolition was pervading the nations. The legislature,
perceiving that Christendom would before long rank them with
barbarians if they so cheapened human life, repealed the law, candidly
assigning in the preamble of the new one the reason for repealing the
old--that it was 'DISGRACEFUL' and 'DEGRADING! As this preamble
expressly recognizes the slave as 'a human creature,' and as it is
couched in a phraseology which indicates some sense of justice, we
would gladly give the legislature credit for sincerity, and believe
them really touched with humane movings towards the slave, were it not
for a proviso in the law clearly revealing that the show of humanity
and regard for their rights, indicated by the words, is nothing more
than a hollow pretence--hypocritical flourish to produce an impression
favorable to their justice and magnanimity. After declaring that he
who is 'guilty of wilfully and maliciously killing a slave, shall
suffer the same punishment as if he had killed a freeman;' the act
concludes thus: '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
overseer, or master, or to any slave dying under _moderate
correction_.' Reader, look at this proviso. 1. It gives free license
to all persons to kill _outlawed slaves_. Well, what is an outlawed
slave? A slave who runs away, lurks in swamps, &c., and kills a _hog_
or any other domestic animal to keep himself from starving, is subject
to a proclamation of _outlawry_; (Haywood's Manual, 521,) and then
whoever finds him may shoot him, tear him in pieces with dogs, burn
him to death over a slow fire, or kill him by any other tortures. 2.
The proviso grants full license to a master to kill his slave, if the
slave _resist_ him. The North Carolina Bench has decided that this law
contemplates not only actual resistance to punishment, &c., but also
_offering_ to resist. (Stroud's Sketch, 37.) If, for example, a slave
undergoing the process of branding should resist by pushing aside the
burning stamp; or if wrought up to frenzy by the torture of the lash,
he should catch and hold it fast; or if he break loose from his master
and run, refusing to stop at his command; or if he _refuse_ to be
flogged; or struggle to keep his clothes on while his master is trying
to strip him; if, in these, or any one of a hundred other ways he
_resist_, or offer, or _threaten_ to resist the infliction; or, if the
master attempt the violation of the slave's wife, and the husband
resist his attempts without the least effort to injure him, but merely
to shield his wife from his assaults, this law does not merely permit,
but it _authorizes_ the master to murder the slave on the spot.

The brutality of these two provisos brands its authors as barbarians.
But the third cause of exemption could not be outdone by the
legislation of fiends. 'DYING under MODERATE _correction_!' MODERATE
_correction_ and DEATH--cause and effect! 'Provided ALWAYS,' says the
law, 'this act shall not extend to any slave dying under _moderate
correction_!' Here is a formal proclamation of impunity to murder--an
express pledge of _acquittal_ to all slaveholders who wish to murder
their slaves, a legal absolution--an indulgence granted before the
commission of the crime! Look at the phraseology. Nothing is said of
maimings, dismemberments, skull fractures, of severe bruisings, or
lacerations, or even of floggings; but a word is used the
common-parlance import of which is, _slight chastisement_; it is not
even _whipping_, but '_correction_' And as if hypocrisy and malignity
were on the rack to outwit each other, even that weak word must be
still farther diluted; so '_moderate_' is added: and, to crown the
climax, compounded of absurdity, hypocrisy, and cold-blooded murder,
the _legal definition_ of 'moderate correction' is covertly given;
which is, _any punishment_ that KILLS the victim. All inflictions are
either _moderate_ or _immoderate_; and the design of this law was
manifestly to shield the murderer from conviction, _by carrying on its
face the rule for its own interpretation_; thus advertising,
beforehand, courts and juries, that the fact of any infliction
_producing death_, was no evidence that it was _immoderate_, and that
beating a man to death came within the legal meaning of 'moderate
correction!' The _design_ of the legislature of North Carolina in
framing this law is manifest; it was to produce the impression upon
the world, that they had so high a sense of justice as voluntarily to
grant adequate protection to the lives of their slaves. This is
ostentatiously set forth in the preamble, and in the body of the law.
That this was the most despicable hypocrisy, and that they had
predetermined to grant no such protection, notwithstanding the pains
taken to get the _credit_ of it, is fully revealed by the _proviso_,
which was framed in such a way as to nullify the law, for the express
accommodation of slaveholding gentlemen murdering their slaves. All
such find in this proviso a convenient accomplice before the fact, and
a packed jury, with a ready-made verdict of 'not guilty,' both
gratuitously furnished by the government! The preceding law and
proviso are to be found in Haywood's Manual, 530; also in Laws of
Tennessee, Act of October 23, 1791; and in Stroud's Sketch, 37.

Enough has been said already to show, that though the laws of the
slave states profess to grant adequate protection to the life of the
slave, such professions are mere empty pretence, no such protection
being in reality afforded by them. But there is still another fact,
showing that all laws which profess to protect the slaves from injury
by the whites are a mockery. It is this--that the testimony, neither
of a slave nor of a free colored person, is _legal_ testimony against
a white. To this rule there is _no exception_ in any of the slave
states: and this, were there no other evidence, would be sufficient to
stamp, as hypocritical, all the provisions of the codes which
_profess_ to protect the slaves. Professing to grant _protection_,
while, at the same time, it strips them of the only _means_ by which
they can make that protection available! Injuries must be legally
_proved_ before they can be legally _redressed_: to deprive men of the
power of _proving_ their injuries, is itself the greatest of all
injuries; for it not only exposes to all, but invites them, by a
virtual guarantee of impunity, and is thus the _author_ of all
injuries. It matters not what other laws exist, professing to throw
safeguards round the slave--_this_ makes them blank paper. How can a
slave prove outrages perpetrated upon him by his master or overseer,
when his own testimony and that of all his fellow-slaves, his kindred,
associates, and acquaintances, is ruled out of court? and when he is
entirely in the _power_ of those who injure him, and when the only
care necessary, on their part, is, to see that no _white_ witness is
looking on. Ordinarily, but _one_ white man, the overseer, is with the
slaves while they are at labor; indeed, on most plantations, to commit
an outrage in the _presence_ of a white witness would be more
difficult than in their absence. He who wished to commit an illegal
act upon a slave, instead of being obliged to _take pains_ and watch
for an opportunity to do it unobserved by a white, would find it
difficult to do it in the presence of a white if he wished to do so.
The supreme court of Louisiana, in their decision, in the case of
Crawford vs. Cherry,(15, _Martin's La. Rep._ 112; also "_Law of
Slavery,_" 249,) where the defendant was sued for the value of a slave
whom he had shot and killed, say, "The act charged here, is one
_rarely_ committed in the presence of _witnesses_," (whites). So in
the case of the State vs. Mann, (_Devereux, N.C. Rep._ 263; and _"Law
of Slavery," _247;) in which the defendant was charged with shooting a
slave girl 'belonging' to the plaintiff; the Supreme Court of North
Carolina, in their decision, speaking of the provocations of the
master by the slave, and 'the consequent wrath of the master'
prompting him to _bloody vengeance_, add, _'a vengeance generally
practised with impunity, by reason of its privacy.'_

Laws excluding the testimony of slaves and free colored persons, where
a white is concerned, do not exist in all the slave states. One or two
of them have no legal enactment on the subject; but, in those,
_'public opinion'_ acts with the force of law, and the courts
_invariably reject it_. This brings us back to the potency of that
oft-quoted 'public opinion,' so ready, according to our objector, to
do battle for the _protection_ of the slave!

Another proof that 'public opinion,' in the slave states, plunders,
tortures, and murders the slaves, instead of _protecting_ them, is
found in the fact, that the laws of slave states inflict _capital_
punishment on slaves for a variety of crimes, for which, if their
masters commit them, the legal penalty is merely _imprisonment_. Judge
Stroud in his Sketch of the Laws of Slavery, says, that by the laws of
Virginia, there are 'seventy-one crimes for which slaves are capitally
punished though in none of these are whites punished in manner more
severe than by imprisonment in the penitentiary.' (P. 107, where the
reader will find all the crimes enumerated.) It should be added,
however, that though the penalty for each of these seventy-one crimes
is 'death,' yet a majority of them are, in the words of the law,
'death within clergy;' and in Virginia, _clergyable_ offences, though
_technically_ capital, are not so in fact. In Mississippi, slaves are
punished capitally for more than _thirty_ crimes, for which whites are
punished only by fine or imprisonment, or both. Eight of these are not
_recognized as crimes_, either by common law or by statute, when
committed by whites. In South Carolina slaves are punished capitally
for _nine_ more crimes than the whites--in Georgia, for _six_--and in
Kentucky, for _seven_ more than whites, &c. We surely need not detain
the reader by comments on this monstrous inequality with which the
penal codes of slave states treat slaves and their masters. When we
consider that guilt is in proportion to intelligence, and that these
masters have by law doomed their slaves to ignorance, and then, as
they darkle and grope along their blind way, inflict penalties upon
them for a variety of acts regarded as praise worthy in whites;
killing them for crimes, when whites are only fined or imprisoned--to
call such a 'public opinion' inhuman, savage, murderous, diabolical,
would be to use tame words, if the English vocabulary could supply
others of more horrible import.

But slaveholding brutality does not stop here. While punishing the
slaves for crimes with vastly greater severity than it does their
masters for the same crimes, and making a variety of acts _crimes_ in
law, which are right, and often _duties_, it persists in refusing to
make known to the slaves that complicated and barbarous penal code
which loads them with such fearful liabilities. The slave is left to
get a knowledge of these laws as he can, and cases must be of constant
occurrence at the south, in which slaves get their first knowledge of
the existence of a law by suffering its penalty. Indeed, this is
probably the way in which they commonly learn what the laws are; for
how else can the slave get a knowledge of the laws? He cannot
_read_--he cannot _learn_ to read; if he try to master the alphabet,
so that he may spell out the words of the law, and thus avoid its
penalties, the law shakes its terrors at him; while, at the same time,
those who made the laws refuse to make them known to those for whom
they are designed. The memory of Caligula will blacken with execration
while time lasts, because be hung up his laws so high that people
could not read them, and then punished them because they did not keep
them. Our slaveholders aspire to blacker infamy. Caligula was content
with hanging up his laws where his subjects could _see_ them; and if
they could not read them, they knew where they were, and might get at
them, if, in their zeal to learn his will, they had used the same
means to get up to them that those did who hung them there. Even
Caligula, wretch as he was, would have shuddered at cutting their legs
off, to prevent their climbing to them; or, if they had got there, at
boring their eyes out, to prevent their reading them. Our slaveholders
virtually do both; for they prohibit their slaves acquiring that
knowledge of letters which would enable them to read the laws; and if,
by stealth, they get it in spite of them, they prohibit them books and
papers, and flog them if they are caught at them. Further--Caligula
merely hung his laws so high that they could not be _read_--our
slaveholders have hung theirs so high above the slave that they cannot
be _seen_--they are utterly out of sight, and he finds out that they
are there only by the falling of the penalties on his head.[35] Thus
the "public opinion" of slave states protects the defenceless slave by
arming a host of legal penalties and setting them in ambush at every
thicket along his path, to spring upon him unawares.

[Footnote 35: The following extract from the Alexandria (D.C.) Gazette
is all illustration. "CRIMINALS CONDEMNED.--On Monday last the Court
of the borough of Norfolk, Va. sat on the trial of four negro boys
arraigned for burglary. The first indictment charged them with
breaking into the hardware store of Mr. E.P. Tabb, upon which two of
them were found guilty by the Court, and condemned to suffer the
penalty of the law, which, in the case of a slave, is death. The
second Friday in April is appointed for the execution of their awful
sentence. _Their ages do not exceed sixteen_. The first, a fine active
boy, belongs to a widow lady in Alexandria; the latter, a house
servant, is owned by a gentleman in the borough. The value of one was
fixed at $1000, and the other at $800; which sums are to be
re-imbursed to their respective owners out of the state treasury." In
all probability these poor boys, who are to be hung for stealing,
never dreamed that death was the legal penalty of the crime.

Here is another, from the "New Orleans Bee" of ---- 14, 1837--"The
slave who STRUCK some citizens in Canal street, some weeks since, has
been tried and found guilty, and is sentenced to be HUNG on the 24th."]

Stroud, in his Sketch of the Laws of Slavery, page 100, thus comments
on this monstrous barbarity.

"The hardened convict moves their sympathy, and is to be taught the
laws before he is expected to obey them;[36] yet the guiltless slave
is subjected to an extensive system of cruel enactments, of no part of
which, probably, has he ever heard."

[Footnote 36: "It shall be the duty of the keeper [of the penitentiary]
on the receipt of each prisoner, to _read_ to him or her such parts of
the penal laws of this state as impose penalties for escape, and to
make all the prisoners in the penitentiary acquainted with the same.
It shall also be his duty, on the discharge of such prisoner, to read
to him or her such parts of the laws as impose additional punishments
for the repetition of offences."--_Rule 12th_, for the internal
government of the Penitentiary of Georgia. Sec. 26 of the Penitentiary
Act of 1816.--Prince's Digest, 386.]

Having already drawn so largely on the reader's patience, in
illustrating southern 'public opinion' by the slave laws, instead of
additional illustrations of the same point from another class of those
laws, as was our design, we will group together a few particulars,
which the reader can take in at a glance, showing that the "public
opinion" of slaveholders towards their slaves, which exists at the
south, in the form of law, tramples on all those fundamental
principles of right, justice, and equity, which are recognized as
sacred by all civilized nations, and receive the homage even of

1. One of these principles is, that the _benefits_ of law to the
subject should overbalance its burdens--its protection more than
compensate for its restraints and exactions--and its blessings
altogether outweigh its inconveniences and evils--the former being
numerous, positive, and permanent, the latter few, negative, and
incidental. Totally the reverse of all this is true in the case of the
slave. Law is to him all exaction and no protection: instead of
lightening his _natural_ burdens, it crushes him under a multitude of
artificial ones; instead of a friend to succor him, it is his
deadliest foe, transfixing him at every step from the cradle to the
grave. Law has been beautifully defined to be "benevolence acting by
rule;" to the American slave it is malevolence torturing by system. It
is an old truth, that _responsibility_ increases with _capacity_; but
those same laws which make the slave a "_chattel_," require of him
_more_ than of _men_. The same law which makes him a _thing_ incapable
of obligation, loads him with obligations superhuman--while sinking
him below the level of a brute in dispensing its _benefits_, he lays
upon him burdens which would break down an angel.

2. _Innocence is entitled to the protection of law._ Slaveholders make
innocence free plunder; this is their daily employment; their laws
assail it, make it their victim, inflict upon it all, and, in some
respects, more than all the penalties of the greatest guilt. To other
innocent persons, law is a blessing, to the slave it is a curse, only
a curse and that continually.

3. _Deprivation of liberty is one of the highest punishments of
crime_; and in proportion to its justice when inflicted on the guilty,
is its injustice when inflicted on the innocent; this terrible penalty
is inflicted on two million seven hundred thousand, innocent persons
in the Southern states.

4. _Self-preservation and self-defence_, are universally regarded as
the most sacred of human rights, yet the laws of slave states punish
the slave with _death_ for exercising these rights in that way, which
in others is pronounced worthy of the highest praise.

5. _The safeguards of law are most needed where natural safe-guards
are weakest._ Every principle of justice and equity requires, that,
those who are totally unprotected by birth, station, wealth, friends,
influence, and popular favor, and especially those who are the
innocent objects of public contempt and prejudice, should be more
vigilantly protected by law, than those who are so fortified by
defence, that they have far less need of _legal_ protection; yet the
poor slave who is fortified by _none_ of these _personal_ bulwarks, is
denied the protection of law, while the master, surrounded by them
all, is panoplied in the mail of legal protection, even to the hair of
his head; yea, his very shoe-tie and coat-button are legal protegees.

6. The grand object of law is to _protect men's natural rights_, but
instead of protecting the natural rights of the slaves, it gives
slaveholders license to wrest them from the weak by violence, protects
them in holding their plunder, and _kills_ the rightful owner if he
attempt to recover it.

This is the _protection_ thrown around the rights of American slaves
by the 'public opinion,' of slaveholders; these the restraints that
hold back their masters, overseers, and drivers, from inflicting
injuries upon them!

In a Republican government, _law_ is the pulse of its _heart_--as the
heart beats the pulse beats, except that it often beats _weaker_ than
the heart, never stronger--or to drop the figure, laws are never
_worse_ than those who make them, very often better. If human history
proves anything, cruelty of practice will always go beyond cruelty of

Law-making is a formal, deliberate act, performed by persons of mature
age, embodying the intelligence, wisdom, justice and humanity, of the
community; performed, too, at leisure, after full opportunity had for
a comprehensive survey of all the relations to be affected, after
careful investigation and protracted discussion. Consequently laws
must, in the main, be a true index of the permanent feelings, the
settled _frame of mind_, cherished by the community upon those
subjects, and towards those persons and classes whose condition the
laws are designed to establish. If the laws are in a high degree cruel
and inhuman, towards any class of persons, it proves that the feelings
habitually exercised towards that class of persons, by those who make
and perpetuate those laws, are at least _equally_ cruel and inhuman.
We say _at least equally_ so; for if the _habitual_ state of feeling
towards that class be unmerciful, it must be unspeakably cruel,
relentless and malignant when _provoked_; if its _ordinary_ action is
inhuman, its contortions and spasms must be tragedies; if the waves
run high when there has been no wind, where will they not break when
the tempest heaves them!

Further, when cruelty is the _spirit_ of the law towards a proscribed
class, when it _legalizes great outrages_ upon them, it connives at,
and abets _greater_ outrages, and is virtually an accomplice of all
who perpetrate them. Hence, in such cases, though the _degree_ of the
outrage is illegal, the perpetrator will rarely be convicted, and,
even if convicted, will be almost sure to escape punishment. This is
not _theory_ but _history_. Every judge and lawyer in the slave states
_knows_, that the legal conviction and _punishment_ of masters and
mistresses, for illegal outrages upon their slaves, is an event which
has rarely, if ever, occurred in the slave states; they know, also,
that although _hundreds_ of slaves have been _murdered_ by their
masters and mistresses in the slave states, within the last
twenty-five years, and though the fact of their having committed those
murders has been established beyond a _doubt_ in the minds of the
surrounding community, yet that the murderers have not, in a single
instance, suffered the penalty of the law.

Finally, since slaveholders have deliberately legalized the
perpetration of the most cold-blooded atrocities upon their slaves,
and do pertinaciously refuse to make these atrocities _illegal_, and
to punish those who perpetrate them, they stand convicted before the
world, upon their own testimony, of the most barbarous, brutal, and
habitual inhumanity. If this be slander and falsehood, their own lips
have uttered it, their own fingers have written it, their own acts
have proclaimed it; and however it may be with their _morality_, they
have too much human nature to perjure themselves for the sake of
publishing their own infamy.

Having dwelt at such length on the legal code of the slave states,
that unerring index of the public opinion of slaveholders towards
their slaves; and having shown that it does not protect the slaves
from cruelty, and that even in the few instances in which the letter
of the law, if _executed_, would afford some protection, it is
virtually nullified by the connivance of courts and juries, or by
popular clamor; we might safely rest the case here, assured that every
honest reader would spurn the absurd falsehood, that the 'public
opinion' of the slave states protects the slaves and restrains the
master. But, as the assertion is made so often by slaveholders, and
with so much confidence, notwithstanding its absurdity is fully
revealed by their own legal code, we propose to show its falsehood by
applying other tests.

We lay it down as a truth that can be made no plainer by reasoning,
that the same 'public opinion,' which restrains men from _committing_
outrages, will restrain them from _publishing_ such outrages, if they
do commit them;--in other words, if a man is restrained from certain
acts through fear of losing his character, should they become known,
he will not voluntarily destroy his character by _making them known_,
should he be guilty of them. Let us look at this. It is assumed by
slaveholders, that 'public opinion' at the south so frowns on cruelty
to the slaves, that _fear of disgrace_ would restrain from the
infliction of it, were there no other consideration.

Now, that this is sheer fiction is shown by the fact, that the
newspapers in the slaveholding states, teem with advertisements for
runaway slaves, in which the masters and _mistresses_ describe their
men and women, as having been 'branded with a hot iron,' on their
'cheeks,' 'jaws,' 'breasts,' 'arms,' 'legs,' and 'thighs;' also as
'scarred,' 'very much scarred,' 'cut up,' 'marked,' &c. 'with the
whip,' also with 'iron collars on,' 'chains,' 'bars of iron,'
'fetters,' 'bells,' 'horns,' 'shackles,' &c. They, also, describe them
as having been wounded by 'buck-shot,' 'rifle-balls,' &c. fired at
them by their 'owners,' and others when in pursuit; also, as having
'notches,' cut in their ears, the tops or bottoms of their ears 'cut
off,' or 'slit,' or 'one ear cut off' or 'both ears cut off' &c. &c.
The masters and mistresses who thus advertise their runaway slaves,
coolly sign their names to their advertisements, giving the street and
number of their residences, if in cities, their post office address,
&c. if in the country; thus making public proclamation as widely as
possible that _they_ 'brand,' 'scar,' 'gash,' 'cut up,' &c. the flesh
of their slaves; load them with irons, cut off their ears, &c.; they
speak of these things with the utmost _sang froid_, not seeming to
think it possible, that any one will esteem them at all the less
because of these outrages upon their slaves; further, these
advertisements swarm in many of the largest and most widely circulated
political and commercial papers that are published in the slave
states. The editors of those papers constitute the main body of the
literati of the slave states; they move in the highest circle of
society, are among the 'popular' men in the community, and _as a
class_, are more influential than any other; yet these editors publish
these advertisements with iron indifference. So far from proclaiming
to such felons, homicides, and murderers, that they will not be their
blood-hounds, to hunt down the innocent and mutilated victims who have
escaped from their torture, they freely furnish them with every
facility, become their accomplices and share their spoils; and instead

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