|Address to the Non-slaveholders of the South:
on The Social and Political Evils of Slavery
(New York: S.W. Benedict, 1843)
Table of Contents
|Increase of Population||5
|State of Education||8
|State of Industry and Enterprise||11
|Feeling towards the Laboring Classes||14
|State of Religion||18
|State of Morals||20
|Disregard for Human Life||22
|Disregard for Constitutional Obligations||35
|Liberty of Speech||38
|Liberty of the Press||39
|[Rebutting Pro-Slavery Myths]||48
|[The Rigged Electoral College]||50
|Prospects for the Future||52|
THE NON-SLAVEHOLDERS 0F THE SLAVE STATES.
We ask your attention to the injuries inflicted upon you and your children, by an institution which lives by your sufferance, and will die at your mandate. Slavery is maintained by you whom it impoverishes and degrades, not by those upon whom it confers wealth and influence. These assertions will be received by you and others with surprise and incredulity. Before you condemn them, ponder the following considerations and statistics.
We all know that the sugar and cotton cultivation of the South is conducted, not like the agriculture of the North, on small farms and with few hands, but on vast plantations and with large gangs of negroes, technically called “the force.” In the breeding States, men, women and children form the great staple for exportation; and like other stock, require capital on the part of those who follow the business of rearing them.
It is also a matter of notoriety, that the price of slaves has been and still is such as to confine their possession almost exclusively to the rich. We might as well talk of poor men owning herds of cattle and studs of horses, as gangs of negroes. When an infant will bring one hundred, and a man from four hundred to a thousand dollars in the market, slaves are not commodities to be found in the cabins of the poor.
You are moreover aware that the great capitalists of the South have their wealth chiefly invested in plantations and slaves, and not as with us in commerce and manufactures.
It has been repeatedly stated that Mr. Carroll, of Baltimore, the former president of the Colonization Society, was the owner of 1,000 slaves. The newspapers, in announcing the death of Mr. Pollock, of North Carolina, remarked that he had left 1,500 slaves.
In the account of Mr. [James] Madison's funeral, it was mentioned that he was followed to the grave by 100 of his slaves, and it is probable that the women and children were not included.
The following article, from the Gospel Messenger for August, 1842, gives us some idea of the
feudal vassalage prevailing on the estates of some of your lordly planters.
|“A NOBLE DEED.—Dr. Mercer, of Adams county, Mississippi, has lately erected, at|
At the North a farmer hires as many men as his work requires; at the South the laborers cannot be separated from the women and children. These are property, and must be owned by somebody.
Now when we take this last circumstance into consideration, and at the same time recollect that the very value of the slaves debars the poor from owning them—and connect these two facts with the character of the cultivation in which slave labor is employed; we must be ready to admit that those who do employ this species of labor, cannot on an average hold less than ten slaves, including able-bodied men, their wives and children.
It appears by the census, that of the slave population, the two sexes are almost exactly equal in number; and tbat there are two children under ten years of age, for every male slave over that age. Hence, if a planter employs only three men, we may take it for granted that his slave family consists of at least 12 souls, viz.: 3 men, 3 women, and 6 children. We of course estimate the number of children too low, since there will be some over ten years of age.
It thus appears that the average number of slaves we assign to each slaveholder is probably far below the truth; but we purposely avoid even the approach to exaggeration.
Now the number of slaves in the United States by the last census , was 2,487,113; of course according to our estimate of ten slaves to one master, there can be only 248,711 slaveholders.
|his own expense, and for the advantage of his vast plantation, and the people on his lands, a neat church and parsonage house, at the cost of over $30,000. He pays the salary of the minister, $1,200 a year, besides his meat and bread. On Bishop Otey's late visit to that congregation, he and Mr. Deacon, the incumbent, baptized in one day one hundred and eight children and ten adults, all belonging to the plantation.”|
We are not forgetful that our enumeration must embrace some who are the sons of slaveholders, and who are therefore interested in upholding the [slavery] system,—but we are fully convinced that our estimate of the number of slaveholders is far beyond the truth, and that we may therefore safely throw out of account the very moderate number of slaveholders' sons above 20 years of age, and not themselves possessing slaves.
|The number of white males over 20 years of age in the||
|slave states and territories was||1,016,307
|Deduct Slaveholders, viz.||246,711
|And we have the number we are now addressing||767,596|
Here then, [non-slaveholding] fellow-citizens, you see your strength. You have
a majority of 518,885 over the slaveholders; and now we repeat, that with a numerical majority of more than half a million [non-slaveholders], slavery lives or dies at your behest.
We know [said Tappan a decade before Stowe's analysis] that this [non-slaver majority] result is so startling and unexpected, that you will scarcely credit the testimony of figures themselves. It is so commonnly taken for granted, that every white man at the South is a slaveholder, that many will doubtingly inquire, where are these non-slaveholding citizens to be found?
We answer, everywhere. Is poverty of rare occurrence in any country? Has it ever happened that the mass of any people were rich enough to keep, for their own convenience, such expensive laborers—as soutbern slaves?
Slavery moreover is monopolizing in its tendency, and leads to the accumulation of property in few hands. It is also to be observed, that the high priee of slaves, and the character of the cultivation in which they are employed, both conspire to concentrate this class of laborers on particular spots, and in the hands of large proprietors.
Now the census shows that in some districts the slaves are collected in vast numbers, while in others they are necessarily few. Thus, for instance, in Georgetown district, S. Carolina, there are about 7.5 slaves to every white man, woman and child, in the district. Now if from the white population in this district we exclude all but the slaveholders themselves, the average number of slaves held by them would probably exceed one hundred.
On the other hand, we find all through the slave States, many districts where the slaves bear a very small proportion to the whites, and where, of course, the non-slaveholders must form a vast and overwhelming majority. A few instances must suffice.
|Ed. Note: The non-slaveholders in the South could indeed have out-voted slavers at any time. But such were called “mean whites,” p 14 infra. They were “white trash” wanting slaves to look down on, a fact noted by analysts including but not limited to Harriet Beecher Stowe, Key (1853), pp 184-186.|
There is not a State or Territory in the Union in which you, [non-slaveholding] fellow-citizens, have not an overwhelming majority over the slave-
|The whites are to the slaves in||Brook Co., Va.,||as||85 to 1
|"||Yancy Co., N. Car.,||"||22 to 1
|"||Union Co., Ga., ||"|| 35 to 1
|"||De Kalb Co., Ala., ||"||16 to 1
|"||Fentress Co., Tenn.,||"||43 to 1
|"||Morgan Co., Ky.,*||"||43 to 1
|"||Taney Co., Mo., ||"||80 to 1
|"||Searcy Co., Ark., ||"||311 to 1|
* Mr. Nicholas, in a speech in the Kentucky Legislature in 1837, objected to calling a convention to alter the Constitution, because in such a convention he believed the abolition of slavery would be agitated; and he reminded the house, that in the State “the slaveholders do not stand in the ratio of more than one to six or seven.” Of course slavery is maintained in Kentucky, through the consent of the non-slaveholders [e.g., “white trash”].
holders; and the majority is probably the greatest in those in which the slaves are the most numerous, because in such they are chiefly concentrated on large plantations.
It has been the policy of the slaveholders to keep entirely out of sight their own numerical inferiority, and to speak and act as if their interests were those of the whole community. They are the [unconstitutional] nobility of the south, and they find it expedient to forget that there are any commoners. Hence with them slavery is the INSTITUTION of the SOUTH, while it is in fact the institution of only a portion of the people of the south.
It is their craft to magnify and extol the importance and advantages of their [genocidal] institution; and hence we are told by Gov. [George] McDuffie, that slavery
|“is the CORNER STONE of our republican institutions.”|
To defend this corner stone from the assaults of truth and reason, he audaciously proposed to the legislature, that abolitionists should be punished
This [murderous] gentleman, like most demagogues, while professing great zeal for the PEOPLE, whose interests were for the most part adverse to slavery, was in fact looking to his own aggrandizement. He was, at the very time he uttered these absurd and murderous sentiments, a great planter, and his large “force” was said to have raised in 1836, no less than 122,500 lbs. of cotton.*
In the same spirit, and with the same design, the Report of a Committee of the South Carolina Legislature, made in 1842, speaks of slavery
|“with death without benefit of clergy.”|
|“as an ancient domestic institution, cherished in the hearts of the people at the south, the eradication of which would demolish our whole system of policy, domestic, social, and political.”|
The slaveholders form a powerful landed aristocracy, banded together for the preservation of their own privileges, and ever endeavoring, for obvious reasons, to identify their private interests with the public welfare. Thus have the landed proprietors of England declaimed loudly on the blessings of dear bread, because the corn laws keep up rents and the price of land.
The wealth and influence of your aristocracy, together with your own poverty, have led you to look up to them with a reverence bordering on that which is paid to a feudal nobility by their hereditary dependents.
Hence it is, that, unconscious of your own power, you have permitted them to assume, as of right, the whole legislation and govemment of your respective States.
We now propose to call your attention to the practical results of that control over your interests, which, by your sufferance, they have so long exercised. We ask you to join us in the inquiry how far you have been benefitted by the care of your guardians, when compared
* See the newspapers of the day [time-period].
vith the people of the North, who have been left to govern themselves. We will pursue this inquiry in the following order:
I. INCREASE OF POPULATION.
The ratio of increase of population, especially in this country, is one of the surest tests of public prosperity. Let us then again listen to the impartial testimony of the late census [of 1840]. From this we learn that the increase of population in the free States from 1830 to 1840, was at the rate of 38 per cent., while the increase of the free population in the slave States was only 23 per cent. Why this difference of 15 in the two ratios? No other cause can be assigned than slavery, which drives from your borders many of the virtuous and enterprising, and at the same time deters emigrants from other States and from foreign countries from settling among you.
The influence of slavery on population is strikingly illustrated by a comparison between Kentucky and Ohio. These two States are of nearly equal areas, Kentucky however having about 3000 square miles more than the other.* They are separated only by a river and are both remarkable for the fertility of their soil; but one has, from the beginning, been cursed with slavery, and the other blessed with freedom. Now mark their respective careers.
In 1792, Kentucky was erected into a State, and Ohio in 1802.
|Ed. Note: Slavery led to white flight. This Southern depopulation was known at the time, p 52, infra.
Rev. John Rankin (1823) cited context.
Rev. John G. Fee (1851) cited clergy fleeing.
Abraham Lincoln (1854) cited the fact.
Sen. Charles Sumner (1860) cited background.
Harriet Beecher Stowe, in Key (1853), gave
examples at pp 129 and 184.
Modern scholarship confirms. See Prof. Dwight L. Dumond, Antislavery: the Crusade for Freedom in America (Ann Arbor: Univ of Michigan Press (1961)), pp 87-88 and 90-95.
|Free population of Kentucky.|| Free population of Ohio
* American Almanac for 1843, p. 206.
The representation of the two States in Congress, has been as follows:
The value of land, other things being equal, is in proportion to the density of the population. Now the population of Ohio is 38.8 to a square mile, while the free population of Kentucky is but 14.2 to a square mile—and probably the price of land in the two States is much in the same proportion.
You [Southern non-slaveholders] are told, much of the wealth is invested in negroes—yet it obviousiy is a wealth that impoverishes; and no stronger evidence of the truth of this assertion is needed, than the comparative price of land in the free and slave States. The two principal cities of Kentucky and Ohio are Louisville and Cincinnati; the former with a population of 21,210, the latter with a population of 46,338. Why this difference? The question is answered by the Louisville Journal. The editor, speaking of the two rival cities, remarks,
In 1840, Mr. C. M. Clay, a member of the Kentucky Legislature, published a pamphlet against the repeal of the law prohibiting the importation of slaves from the other States. We extract the following:
|“The most potent cause of the more rapid advancement of Cincinnati than Louisville is the ABSENCE OF SLAVERY. The same influences which made Ohio the young giant of the West, and is advancing Indiana to a grade higher than Kentucky, have operated in the Queen City. They have no dead weight to carry, and consequently have the advantage in the [population-growth] race.”|
Mr. Thomas F. Marshall, of Kentucky, in a pamphlet published the same year, and on the same subject, draws the following comparison between Virginia and New York:
|“The world is teeming with improved machinery, the combined development of science and art. To us it is all lost; we are comparatively living in centuries that are gone; we cannot make it, we cannot use it when made. Ohio is many years younger, and possessed of fewer advantages than our State. Cincinnati has manufactories to sustain her; last year she put up one thousand houses. Louisville, with superior natural advantages, as all the world knows, wrote 'to rent,' upon many of her houses. Ohio IS A FREE STATE, KENTUCKY A SLAVE STATE.”|
|“In l790, Virginia, with 70,000 square miles of territory,|
These statements were made before the results of the last census were known. By the census of 1840, it appears that in the ten preceding years,
|contained a population of 749,308. New York, upon a surface of 45,658 square miles, contained a population of 344,120. This statement exhibits in favor of Virginia a difference of 24,242 square miles of territory, and 408,188 in population, which is the double of New York, and 68,800 more.
“In 1830, after a [population-growth] race of forty years, Virginia is found to contain 1,211,405 souls, and New York 1,918,608, which exhibits a difference in favor of New York of 607,203. The increase on the part of Virginia will be perceived to be 463,187, starting from a basis more than double as large as that of New York. The increase of New York, upon a basis of 340,120, has been 1,578,391 human beings. Virginia has increased in a ratio of 61 per cent., and New York in that of 566 per cent.
“The total amount of property in Virginia under the assessmentof 1838, was $211,930,508. The agg regate value of real and personal property in New York, in 1839, was $654,000,000, exhibiting an excess in New York over Virginia of capital of $442,069,492.
“Statesmen may differ about policy, or the means to be employed in the promotion of the public good, but surely they ought to be agreed as to what prosperity means. I think there can be no dispute that New York is a greater, richer, a more prosperous and powerful State than Virginia.
“What has occasioned the difference? . . . . . There is but one explanation of the facts I have shown. The clog that has stayed [obstructed] the march of her people, the incubus that has weighed down her enterprise, strangled her commerce, kept sealed her exhaustless fountains of mineral wealth, and paralyzed ber arts, manufactures and improvement, is NEGRO SLAVERY.”
|The population of Virginia has increased||28,392
|In the same time the population of N. Y.||increased||710,413
|The rate of increase in Virginia||was||2.3 per cent.
|" New York,||"||33.7 "|
|Virginia has||12.5||free inhabitants to a square mile.
|New York|| 52.7|| " |
New let it be recollected that Maryland is nearly double the
|In 1790,||Massachusetts, with Maine, had ||but 378,717||inhabitants.
|In 1840,|| Massachusetts alone,||737,699||"
size of Massachusetts. In the last there are 98.3 free inhabitanta to the square mile; in the former only 27.2.
If we turn to the new States, we find that slavery and freedom have the same influence on population as in the old. Take, for instance, Michigan and Arkansas. They came into the Union about the same time—
The ratio of increase of white inhabitants, for the last ten years, has been in Arkansas as 200 per cent; in Michigan, 574 per cent. In both instances the increase has been chiefly owing to immigration; but the ratio shows the influence of slavery in retarding immigration. Compare also Alabama and Illinois—
|In 1830,||the population of||Arkansas||was||30,388
We surely need not detain you with farther details on this head [subject], to convince you what an enormous sacrifice of happiness and prosperity you are offering on the altar of slavery. But of the character and extent of this sacrifice you have as yet had only a partial glimpse. Let us proceed to examine
|In 1830, the free population of||Alabama,||was||191,915
|Excess in favor of Alabama||34,520
|In 1840, free population of||Illinois,||"||416,183
|Excess in favor of Illinois,||138,959|
II. THE STATE OF EDUCATION IN THE SLAVE STATES.
The maxim that “Knowledge is power,” has ever more or less influenced the conduct of aristocracies. Education elevates the inferior classes of society, teaches them their rights, and points out the means of enforcing them. Of course, it tends to diminish the influence of wealth, birth, and rank. In 1611,
Sir William Berkley [1608-1677], then Governor of Virginia, in his answer to the inquiries of the Committee of the Colonies, remarked,
The [anti-education] spirit of Sir William seems still to preside in the councils of his own Virginia, and to actuate those of the other slave States.
The power of the slaveholders, as we have already showed
|“I thank God that there are no free schools nor printing presses, and I hope we shall not have them these hundred years.”|
you, depends on the acquiescence of the major part of the white inhabitants in their domination. It cannot be, therefore, the interest or the inclination of the sagacious and reflecting among them, to promote the intellectual improvement of the inferior class.
In the free States, on the contrary, where there is no caste answering [comparable] to your slaveholders—where the People literally partake in the government, mighty efforts are made for general education; and in most instances, elementary mstruction is, through the public liberality, brought within the reach of the children of the poor. You have lamentable experience, that such is not the case where slaveholders bear rule.
But you will receive with distrust whatever we may say as to the comparative ignorance of the free and slave States. Examine then for yourselves the returns of the last  census on this point. This document gives us the number of white persons over twenty years of age in each State, who cannot read and write. It appears that these persons are [in ratio] to the whole white population in the several States as follows, viz.:
It will be observed by looking at this table, that Indiana and Illinois are the only free States, which in point of education are surpassed by any of the slave States: for this disgraceful circumstance three causes may be assigned, viz., their recent settlement, the influx of foreigners, and emigration from the slave States.
The returns [1840 census results] from New York, Rhode Island, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, are greatly affected by the vast number of foreigners congregated in their cities, and employed in their manufactories and on their public works. In Ohio, also, there is
|Connecticut,||1||to every||568||Louisiana,||1||to every||38½
* This summary from the return of the census, is copied from the Richmond (Va.) Compiler.
a large foreign population; and it is well known that comparatively few emigrants from Europe seek a residence in the slave States, where there is little or no employment to invite them. But what a commentary on slavery and slaveholders is afforded by the gross ignorance prevailing in the old States of South Carolina, Virginia, and North Carolina! But let us proceed. The census gives a return [count] of “scholars at public charge.”
Ohio alone has 51,812 such scholars,—more than are to be found in the 13 slave States! Her neighbor Kentucky has 429!! Let us compare in this particalar the largest and the smallest State in the Union.
|Of these, there are in the||free States,||432,173
But we have some official confessions, which give a still more deplorable account of Soutbern ignorance. In 1837, Governor Clarke, in his message to the Kentucky Legislature, remarked,
|Virginia||has scholars at public charge||9,791
Governor Campbell reported to the Virginia Legislature, that from the returns of 98 clerks, it appeared that of 4614 applications for marriage licenses in 1837, no less than 1047 were made by men unable to write.
These details will enable you to estimate the impudence of the following plea in behalf of slavery:
|“By the computation of those most familiar with the subject, ONE THIRD OF THE ADULT POPULATION OF THE STATE ARE UNABLE TO WRITE THEIR NAMES.”|
Whatever may be the leisure enjoyed by the slaveholders, they are careful not to afford the means of literary improvement to their [white-trash] fellow-citizens who are too poor to possess slaves, and who are, by their very ignorance, rendered more fit instruments for doing the will, and guarding the human property of the wealthier class.
|“It is by the existence of slavery, exempting so large a portion of our citizens from the necessity of bodily labor, that we have leisure for intellectual pursuits, and the means of attaining a liberal education.”—Chancellor Harper of South Carolina on Slavery.—Southern Literary Messenger, Oct. 1838.|
|Ed. Note: Sen. Charles Sumner, Barbarism of Slavery (1860), pp 134 and 151-153, likewise cited the South's poor education, as did Rev. John Rankin, Letters (1823), pp 65-66.|
* See American Almanac for 1842, page 226.
III. INDUSTRY AND ENTERPRISE.
In a community so unenlightened as yours, it is a matter of course, that the arts and sciences must languish, and the industry and enterprise of the country be oppressed by a general torpor. Hence multitudes will be without regular and profitable employment, and be condemned to poverty and numberless privations.
The very advertisements in your newspapers show tbat, for a vast proportion of the comforts and conveniences of life, you are dependent on Northern manufacturers and mechanics. You both know and feel that slavery has rendered labor disgraceful among you; and where this is the case, industry is necessarily discouraged.
The great staple of the South is cotton; and we have no desire to undervalue its importance. It is however, worthy of remark, that its cultivation affords a livelihood to only a small proportion of the free inhabitants; and scarcely to any of those [non-slaveholders] we are now addressing. Cotton is the product of slave labor, and its profits at home are confined almost exclusively to the slaveholders.
Yet on account of this article, we hear frequent vaunts of the agricultural riches of the South. With the exception of cotton, it is difficult to distinguish your agricultural products arising from slaves, and from free labor. But admitting, what we know is not the fact, that all the other productions of the soil are raised exclusively by free labor, we learn from the census, that the agricultural products of the North exceed those of the South, cotton excepted, $226.219,714. Here then we have an appalling proof of the paralyzing influence of slavery on the industry of the whites.
In every community a large portion of the inhabitants are debarred from drawing their maintenance directly from the cultivation of the earth. Other and lucrative employments are reserved for them. If the slaveholders chiefly engross the soil, let us see how you are compensated by the encouragement afforded to mechanical skill and industry.
In 1839 the Secretary of the Treasury reported to Congress, that the tonnage of vessels
built in the United States was 120,988
Built in the slave States and Territories 23,600
Or less than one-fifth of the whole! But the difference is still more striking, when we take into consideration the comparative value of the shipping built in the two regions:
|In the free||States||the value is||$6,311,805
|In the slave||"||704,291*|
* See American Almanac for 1843, page 153.
It would be tedious and unprofitable to compare the results of the different branches of manufacture carried on at the North and the South. It is sufficient to state that, according to the census, the value of the manufactures
Having already compared Ohio and Kentucky in reference to population and education, we will pursue the comparison as to agricultural and mechanical industry. On account of contiguity, and similarity of extent, soil and climate, no two States can perhaps be so aptly contrasted for the purpose of illustrating the influence of slavery. It should also be borne in mind that Kentucky can scarcely be called a cotton State, having in 1840 raised only 607,456 lbs. of that article. Hence the deficiency of agriculture and other products in Kentucky arises, not from a peculiar species of cultivation, but solely from the withering effects of slavery.
|In the free States are||$334,139,690
|In the slave States||83,935,742|
In one species of manufacture the South apparently excels the North, but unfortunately it is in appearance only. Of 9657 distilleries in the United States, no less than 7665 were found in the slave States and Territories; but for want of skill and capital these yield 1992 gallons less than the other.
Where there is so much ignorance and idleness, we may well suppose that the inventive faculties will be but little exercised; and accordingly we find that of the 545 patents granted for new inventions in 1846, only 80 were received by the citizens of the slave States.
We have thus, fellow-citizens, offered you the testimony of figures, as to the different state of society under freedom and slavery; suffer [allow] us now to present you pictures of the two regions, drawn not by abolitionists, but by Southem artists, in unguarded hours. Mr. Clowney, of South Carolina, thus portrayed his native State, in the ardor of debate on the floor of Congress:
in foreign trade,
|Value of machinery
|“Look at South Carolina now, with her houses deserted and idling to decay; her once fruitful fields worn out and abandoned for want [lack] of timely improvement or skilfui cultivation; and her thousands of acres of inexhaustible lands, still promising an abundant harvest to the industrious husbandman, lying idle and neglected.
“In the interior of the State where I was born, and where I now live, although a country possessing all the advantages of soil, climate and health, abounding in arable land, unreclaimed from the first rude state of nature, there can now be found many neighborhoods where the population is too sparse to support a common elementary school for children.
“Such is the deplorable condition of one of the oldest members of this Union, that dates back its settlement more than a century and a half, while other States, born as it were but yesterday, already surpass what Carolina is or ever has been, in the happiest and proudest day of her prosperity.”
This gentleman chose to attribute the decline of South Carolina to the tariff; rather than to the obvious cause, that one-half of the PEOPLE of South Carolina are poor, ignorant, degraded SLAVES, and the other half suffering in all their faculties and energies, from a moral pestilence which they insanely regard as a blessing and not a curse. Surely it is not owing to the tariff, that this ancient member of the Union bas 20,615 white citizens over twenty years of age who do not know their letters; while Maine, with double her population, has only 3,241.
|Ed. Note: “It is difficult today to comprehend the psychosis of the southern mind. . . .” says Prof. Clement Eaton, The Freedom-of-Thought Struggle in the Old South (Duke Univ Press, 1940, and New York: Harper & Row, 1964), p 384.
A 1784 South Carolinian (cited by Edward C. Rogers, Slavery Illegality (1855), p 85), had earlier made this same point.
Rev. Beriah Green noted likewise in 1839: “They [slavers] have lost the use of reason. They are not to be argued with. They belong to the mad-house.”—Rev. Beriah Green, The Chattel Principle (1839), p 13.
Some Southern legislators were described as “a set of drunkards, gamblers, and whoremongers,” words by abolitionist Daniel Worth cited by Prof. Eaton, supra, p 140. And “some of the members of [Congress] needed only long ears and a tail to classify them openly as asses,” says Eaton, supra, p 84.
Now look upon a very different picture. Mr. Preston, of South Carolina, not long since [ago] delivered a speech at Columbia in reference to a proposed rail-road. In this speech, in order to stimulate the efforts of the friends of the road, he indulged in the following strain [analysis]:
|“No Southern man can journey (as he had lately done) through the Northern States, and witness the prosperity, the industry, the public spirit which they exhibit—the sedulous cultivation of all those arts by which life is rendered comfortable and respectable—without feelings of deep sadness and shame as he remembers his own neglected and desolate home. There [in the North], no dwelling is to be seen abandoned—not a farm uncultivated.
“Every person and every thing performs a part towards the grand result; and the whole land is covered with fertile fields, with manufactories, and canals, and rail-roads, and edifices, and towns, and cities. We of the South are mistaken in the character of these people, when we think of them only as pedlars in horn flints and bark nutmegs. Their energy and enterprise are directed to all objects great and small within their reach. The number of
Yet this same Mr. Preston, thus sensitively alive to the superior happiness and prosperity of the free States, declared in the United States Senate,
|rail-roads and other modes of expeditions intercommunication knit the whole country into a closely compacted mass, through which the productions of commerce and of the press, the comforts of life, and the means of knowledge, are universally diffused; while the close intercourse of travel and of business makes all neighbors, and promotes a common interest and a common sympathy.
“How different the condition of these things in the South! Here the face of the country wears the aspect of premature old age and decay. No IMPROVEMENT IS SEEN GOING ON, nothing is done for posterity. No man thinks of anything beyond the present moment.”
In other words, the slaveholders, rather than part with their slaves, are ready to murder, with all the formalities of law, the very men who are laboring to confer on them the envied blessings of the North.
|“Let an abolitionist come within the borders of South Carolina, if we can catch him we will try him, and notwithstanding all the interference of all the governments of the earth, including the Federal Government, we will HANG him.”*|
IV. FEELINGS OF THE SLAVEHOLDERS
|Ed. Note: To understand this type reaction, see Southern-psychosis mind-set data, p 13, supra.|
TOWARDS THE LABORING CLASSES.
Whenever the great mass of the laboring population of a country are reduced to beasts of burden, and toil under the lash, “bodily labor,” as Chancellor Harper expresses it, must be disreputable, from the mere influence of association. Hence you know white laborers at the South are styled “mean whites.”
At the North, on the contrary, labor is regarded as the proper and commendable means of acquiring wealth; and our most influential men would in no degree suffer in public estimation, for holding the plough, or even repairing the highways. Hence no poor man is deterred from seeking a livelihood by honest labor from a dread of personal degradation.
The different light in which labor is viewed at the North and the South is one cause of the depression of industry in the latter.
|Ed. Note: Also, “white trash,” p 3, supra; and|
looked down on, p 17 as "white negroes."
Another cause is the ever-wakeful jealousy of your aristocracy. They fear the PEOPLE; they are alarmed at the very idea of power and influence being possessed by any portion of the com-
* We are well aware that Mr. Preston has denied, what no one asserted, that he had said an abolitionist, if he came into South Carolina, would be executed by Lynch law. He used the words we have quoted. See “New York Journal of Commerce,” Jan. 6th, 1838).
munity not directly interested in slave property. Visions of emancipation, of agrarianism, and of popular resistance to their authority, are ever floating in their distempered and excited imaginations.
They know their own weakness, and are afraid you should know it also.
|Ed. Note: See Southern-psychosis mind-set data, p 13, supra.|
Hence it is their policy to keep down the “mean whites.”
Hence their philippics against the lower classes.
Hence their constant comparison of the laborers of the North, with their own slaves; and
hence, in no small degree, the absence among you of those institutions which confer upon the poor that knowledge which is power.
Do you deem these assertions uncharitable? Listen to their own declarations:
|“We believe the servitude which prevails in the South far preferable to that of the North, or in Europe. Slavery will exist in all communities. There is a class which may be nominally free, but they will be virtually Slaves.”—Mississippian, July 6th, 1838.|
|“Those who depend on their daily labor for their daily subsistence can never enter into political affairs; they never do, never will, never can.”—B. W. Leigh in Virginia Convention, 1829.|
So the way to prevent plundering mobs, is to enslave the poor! We shall see presently, how far this expedient has been successful in preventing murdering mobs.
|“All society settles down into a classification of capitalists and laborers. The former will own the latter, either collectively through the government, or individually in a state of domestic servitude, as exists in the Southern States of this confederacy. If LABORERS ever obtain the political power of a country, it is in fact in a state of REVOLUTION.
“The capitalists north of Mason and Dixon's line, have precisely the same interest in the labor of the country, that the capitalists of England have in their labor. Hence it is that they must have a strong federal government (!) to control the labor of the nation.
“But it is precisely the reverse with us. We have aiready not only a right to the proceeds of our laborers, but we OWN a class of laborers themselves.
“But let me say to gentlemen who represent the great class of capitalists in the North—beware that you do not drive us into a separate system; for if you do, as certain as the decrees of heaven, you will be compelled to appeal to the sword to maintain yourselves at home. It may not come in your day; but your children's children will be covered with the blood of domestic factions, and will see a plundering mob contending for power and conquest.”—Mr. Pickens, of South Carolina, in Congress, 21st Jan., 1836.
|“In the very nature of things there|
must be classes of persons
|to discharge all the different offices of society, from the highest to the lowest. Some of these offices are regarded as degrading, although they must and will be performed. Hence those manifest forms of dependent servitude which produce a sense of superiority in the masters or employers, and of inferiority on the part of the servants.
“Where these offices are performed by members of the political community, a DANGEROUS ELEMENT is obviously introduced into the body politic. Hence the alarming tendency to violate the rights of property by agrarian legislation, which is beginning to be manifest in the older States, where UNIVERSAL SUFFRAGE prevails without DOMESTIC SLAVERY.
“In a word, the institution of domestic slavery supersedes the necessity of AN ORDER OF NOBILITY, AND ALL THE OTHER APPENDAGES OF A HEREDITARY SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT.”—Governor [George] McDuffie's Message to the South Carolina Legislature, 1836.
|Ed. Note: This slaver politician thus admitted the nobility aspect in slavery, while ignoring its unconstitutionality. This slavery threat to American free instituions was cited by Harriet Beecher Stowe, in Key (1853), p 184.|
|“We [psychotically] regard SLAVERY as the most safe and stable basis for free institutions in the world. It is impossible with us, that the conflict can take place between labor and capital, which makes it so difficult to establish and maintain free institutions in all wealthy and highly civilized nations where such institutions do not exist. Every plantation is a little community with the master [lord paramount] at its head, who concentrates in himself the united interests of capital and labor, of which he is the common representative”—(Mr. [John] Calhoun, of South Carolina, in the U. S. Senate, Jan. 10th, 1840.)|
|“We of the South have cause now, and shall soon have greater, to congratulate ourselves on the existence of a population among us, which excludes the [working class] POPULACE which in effect rules some of our Northern neighbors, and is rapidly gaining strength wherever slavery does not exist—a populace made up of the dregs [working class] of Europe, and the most worthless portion of the native population.”—(Richmond Whig, 1837.)|
|“Would you do a benefit to the horse or the ox by giving him a cultivated understanding, a fine feeling? So far as the MERE LABORER has the pride, the knowledge, or the aspiration of a freeman, he is unfitted for his situation. If there are sordid, servile, laborious offices to be performed, is it not better that there should be sordid, servile, laborious beings to perform them?
“Odium has been cast upon our legislation, on account of its forbidding the elements of education being communicated to slaves.
|Ed. Note: This refers to abolitionists' objections to the South's reading ban:
Rev. John Rankin, Letters (1823), p 21
Charles Sumner, Barbarism of Slavery (1860), p 134
Rev. Silas McKeen, Scriptural Argument (1848), p 8
Rev. Stephen Foster, Brotherhood (1843), p 35
Rep. Horace Mann, Slavery and the Slave-Trade . . . . (Washington, D.C.: 1849), p 24
Rev. John Fee, Antislavery Manual (1851), p 144
Rev. Wm. Goodell, Slavery and Anti-Slavery(1852), pp 189-190 and 210-213.
Rev. Parker Pillsbury, Acts (1883), p 436.|
“But in truth what injury is done them [slaves] by this [reading ban]? He who works during the day with his hands, does not read in the intervals of leisure for his amusement, or the improvement of his mind, or the exception is so very rare as scarcely to need the being provided for.”—(Chancellor Harper of South Carolina.— Southern Literary Messenger.)
This same gentleman [Calhoun] delivered an oration on the 4th of July, 1840, reviewing the principles of the two great political parties, and although he supported Mr. [Martin] Van Buren's administration [1837-1841], in consideration of its devotion to the slave interest, he frankly inquires:—
|“Is there anything in the principles and opinions of the great DEMOCRATIC RABBLE, as it has been justly called, which should induce us to identify ourselves with that? Here you may find every possible grade and hue of opinion which has ever existed in the country. Here you may find loafer, and loco foco, and agrarian, and all the rabble of the city of New York, the most corrupt and depraved of rabbles, and which controls, in a great degree, the city itself, and through that, as being the commercial metropolis, exercises much influence over the State at large.
“What are the essential principles of democracy as distinguished from republicanism?
- The first consists in the dogma, so portentous to us, of the natural equality and unalienable right to liberty of every human being. Our allies (!) no doubt, are willing at present to modify the doctrine in our favor. But the spirit of democracy at large makes no such exceptions, nor will these (our allies, the Northern democrats) continue to make it, longer than necessity or interest may require.
- The second consists in the doctrine of the divine right of majorities; a doctrine not less false, and slavish, and absurd, than the ancient doctrine of the divine right of kings.”
|Ed. Note: Note analyses by Abraham Lincoln (citing this view as contrary to the Declaration of Independence); and Edward Rogers (tracking the pro-slavery view back to English aristocrats and monarchs).|
Mr. Robert Wickliffe, of Kentucky, in a speech published in the Louisville Advertiser, in opposition to those who were adverse to the importation of slaves from the States, thus discourseth:
Had the gentleman looked across the river, he might have
|“Gentlemen wanted to drive out the black population, that they may obtain
WHITE NEGROES in their place. WHITE NEGROES have this advantage over black negroes, they can be converted
into voters; and the men [“mean whites”] who live upon the sweat of their brow, and pay them but a dependent and scanty subsistence, can, if able to keep ten thousand of them in employment, come up to the polls and change the destiny of the country.
“How improved will be our condition when we have such white negroes as perform the servile labors of Europe, of Old England, and he would add now of New England; when our body servants and our cart drivera and our street sweepers are white negroes instead of black. Where will be the independence, the proud spirit, and the chivalry of Kentuckians then?”
found an answer to his question, in the wealth, power, intelligence and happiness of Obio.
In reading the foregoing extracts, it is amusing to observe how adroitly the slaveholders avoid all recognition of any otber classes among them than masters and slaves. Who would suspect from their language, that they were themselves a small minority of the white inhabitants, and that their own “white negroes” could, if united and so disposed, outvote them at the polls?
It is worthy of remark that in their denunciations of the populace, the rabble, those who work with their hands, they refer not to complexion, but to condition [job]; not to slaves, but to the poor and laborious of their own color. It is these haughty aristocrats who find in Northern democrats “allies,” who in Congress and out of it are zealous in obeying their mandates, and who may justly be termed their “white negroes.”
Slavery, although considered by Mr. Calhoun “the most stable basis of free institutions in the world,” has, as we shall presently show you, in fact, led to grosser outrages in the social compact, to more alarming violations of constitutional liberty, to more bold and reckless assaults upon “free institutions,” than have ever been even attempted by the much-dreaded agrarianism of the North.
V. STATE OF RELIGION.
The deplorable ignorance and want of industry at the South, together with the disrepute in which honest industry is held, cannot [help] but exercise, in connection with other causes, a most unhappy [bad] influence on the morals of the [Bible-Belt] inhabitants. You have among you between two and three millions of slaves, who are kept by law in brutal ignorance, and who, with few exceptions, are virtually heathens.*
You have also among you more than 200,000 free negroes, thus described by Mr. Clay:—“Contaminated themselves, they extend their vices to all around them.”†
If evil communications corrupt good manners [I Cor 15:33], the intimate intercourse of the whites with these people must be depraving: nor can the exercise of
despotic power by the masters, their wives
* “From long continued and close observation, we believe that their (the slaves') moral and religious condition is such that they may justly be considered the HEATHEN of this Christian country, and will bear comparison with heathen in any country in the world. The negroes are destitute of [forbidden by law] the Gospel, and ever will be [so] under the present state of [Bible-Belt] things.”—Report published by the Synod of South Carolina and Georgia, Dec. 8, 1833.
† Speech before the American Colonization Society.
|Ed. Note: Abolitionists opposed the Bible-Belt's ban on allowing the
Gospel to be provided to the slaves. See, e.g.,
Rev. Parker Pillsbury, The Church As It Is: Forlorn (1847), pp 81-83
Rev. John G. Fee, Anti-Slavery Manual (1851), pp 144-145
Harriet Beecher Stowe, Key (1853), pp 244-250
and children be otherwise than unfavorable to the benevolent affections.
It is with pain we are compelled to add, that the conduct and avowed sentiments of the [Bible-Belt] Southern clergy in relation to Slavery, necessarily exert an unhappy influence. Most of the clergy are themselves slaveholders, and are thus personally interested in the system, and are consequently bold and active in justifying it from Scripture, [falsely] representing it as an institution enjoying the divine sanction.
An English author, in reference to these efforts of your [vile] clergy, forcibly remarks:
|Ed. Note: For background, see Rev. Stephen S. Foster, Brotherhood of Thieves (1843) and related writings cited.|
And well has John Quincy Adams said,
|“Whatever may have been the unutterable wickedness of slavery in the West Indies, there it never was baptized in the Redeemer's hallowed name, and its corruptions were not concealed in the garb of religion. That acmé of piratical turpitude was reserved for the professed disciples of Jesus in America.”|
Your ministers live in the midst of slavery, and they kmow that the system on which they bestow their benedictions, is, in the language of Wilberforce,
|“The spirit of slavery has acquired not only an overruling ascendency, but it has become at once intolerant, proscriptive, and sophistical. It has crept into the philosophical chairs of the schools. Its cloven hoof has ascended the pulpits of the churches—professors of colleges teach it as a lesson of morals—ministers of the Gospel seek and profess to find sanctions [approval] for it in the Word of God.”|
Surely, we have reason to fear that the denunciation of Scripture against false prophets of old, will be accomplished against the [Bible-Belt] Southern clergy,
|“a system of the grossest injustice, of the most heathenish irreligion and immorality; of the most unprecedented degradation and unrelenting cruelty.”|
Under such ministrations it cannot be expected that Christian zeal and benevolence will take deep root and bear very abundant fruit. This is a subject on which few statistics can be obtained. We have no means of ascertaining the number of churches and ministers throughout the United States of the various denominations.
Some opinion, however, may be formed of the religious character of a people, by their efforts for the moral improvement of the community. In the United States there are numerous voluntary associations for religious and benevolent purposes, receiving large contributions and exercising a wide moral influence. Now, of all the large benevolent societies professing to promote the welfare of the wbole country, and asking and receiving con-
|“Because they ministered unto them before their idols, and caused the House of Israel to fall into iniquity, therefore have I lifted up mine hand against them, saith the Lord God, and they shall bear their iniquity.”—Ezek. 44:12.|
tributions from all parts of it, we recollect but one that had its origin in the slave region, and the business of which is transacted in it, and that is the AMERICAN COLONIZATION SOCIETY. Of the real object and practical tendency of this Society it is unnecessary to speak—you understand them.
In the 10th Report of the American Sunday School Union [p. 50] is a table showing the number of Sunday School scholars in each State for the year 1834. From this table we learn that
about twice as many as in the thirteen slave States!
And is it possible that the literary and religious destitution you [in alleged Bible-Belt] are suffering, together with the vicious habits of your colored population, should have no effect on the moral character of the whites?
|There were in the||free|| States,||504,835||scholars.
|The single State of||New York had||161,768||"|
We entreat your patient and dispassionate attention to the remarks and facts we are about to submit to you on the next subject of inquiry.
|Ed. Note: See background by
Rev. Parker Pillsbury, Forlorn Church (1847), p 21
Rev. Stephen S. Foster, Brotherhood of Thieves (1843).|
VI. STATE OF MORALS.
Christianity, by controlling the malignant passions of our nature, and exciting its benevolent affections, gives a sacredness to the rights of others, and especially does it guard human life. But where her blessed influence is withdrawn, or greatly impaired, the passions resume their sway, and violence and cruelty become the characteristics of every community in which the civil authority is too feeble to afford protection.
No society is free from vices and crime, and we well know that human depravity springs from another source than slavery. It will not, however, be denied that circumstances and institutions may check [reduce] those evil propensities to which we are all prone; and it will, we presume, be admitted that in forming an opinion of the moral condition and advancement of any community, we are to be guided in our judgment, not by insulated facts, but by the tone of public opinion. Atrocities occur in the best regulated and most virtuous States, but in such they excite indignation and are visited with punishment; while in vicious communities they are treated with levity and impunity.
In a country where suffrage is universal, the representatives will but [generally] reflect the general character of their constituents. If we are permitted to apply this rule [principle] in testing the moral condition of the [Bible-Belt] South, the result will not be favorable.
In noticing the public conduct of public men, we are not sen-
sible [aware] of violating any principle of courtesy or delicacy; we touch not their private character or their private acts; we refer to their language and sentiments, merely as one indication of the standard of morals among their constituents, not as conclusive proof apart from other evidence.
On the 15th February, 1837, R. M. Whitney was arraigned before the House of Representatives for contempt in refusing to attend when required before a Committee. His apology was that he was afraid of his life, and he called, as a witness in his behalf, one of the Committee, Mr. Fairfield, since Governor of the State of Maine. It appeared that in the Committee, Mr. Peyton of [Bible-Belt] Virginia had put some interrogatory to Whitney, who had returned a written answer which was deemed offensive. On this, as Mr. Fairfield testified, Peyton addressed the Chairman in these terms,
Whitney rose and said he claimed the protection of the Committee, on which Peyton exclaimed,
|“Mr. Chairman, I wish you to inform this witness, that he is not to insult me in his answers: if he does, God damn him! I will take his life on the spot!”|
Soon after, Peyton observing that Whitney was looking at him, cried out,
|“God damn you, you shan't speak, you shan't say one word while you are in this room, if you do I will put you to death!”|
The newspaper reports of the proceedings of Congress, a few years since [ago], informed us that Mr. Dawson, a member from [Bible-Belt] Louisiana, went up to Mr. Arnold, another member, and said to him,
|“Damn him, his eyes are on me—God damn him, he is looking at me—he shan't do it—damn him, he shan't look at me!”|
In a debate on the Florida war, Mr. Cooper having taken offence at Mr. Giddings of Ohio, for some remarks relative [hostile] to slavery, said in his reply,
|“If you attempt to speak, or rise from your seat, sir, by God I'll cut your throat!”|
In the session of 1841, Mr. Payne, of [Bible-Belt] Alabama, in debate, alluding to the abolitionists, among whom he insisted the Postmaster-General [delivering the mail including abolitionist views!!] ought to be included, declared that he would proscribe [ban] all abolitionists [contary to the First Amendment], he
|“If the gentleman from Ohio will come among my constituents, and promulgate his [anti-slavery] doctrines [of moral elevation above evil] there, he will find that Lynch law will be inflicted, and that the gentleman will reach an elevation which he little dreams of.”|
Mr. Hammond, of [Bible-Belt] South Carolina, at an earlier period thus expressed himself in the [U.S.] House [of Representatives]:
|“would put the brand of Cain upon them—yes, the mark of HELL, and if they came to the South he would HANG THEM LIKE DOGS!”|
|“I warn the abolitionists, ignorant, infatuated barbarians as they are, that if chance shall throw any of them into our hands, they may expect a FELON'S DEATH!”|
In 1848, Mr. Hale, a Senator from New Hampshire, introduced a bill for the protection of property in the District of Columbia, attempts having been made to destroy an anti-Slavery press. Mr. Foote, a Senator from Mississippi, tbus expressed himself in reply:
And now, fellow-citizens do these men, with all their profanity and vulgarity, breathing out threatenings and slaughter, represent the feelings, and manners, and morals of the [Bible-Belt] slaveholding community? We have seen no evidence that they have lost a particle of popular favor in consequence of their ferocious violence.
|“I invite him (Mr. H.) to the State of Mississippi, and will tell him before-hand, in all honesty, that he could not go ten miles into the interior, before he would grace one of the tallest trees of the forest, with a rope around his neck, with the approbation [approval] of every [Bible-Belt] virtuous and patriotic citizen, and that, if necessary, I SHOULD MYSELF ASSIST IN THE OPERATION.”|
Alas! their language has been re-echoed again and again by public meetings in the [Bible-Belt] slave States; and we proceed to lay before you overwhelming proof that in the expression of tbeir murderous feelings towards the abolitionists, they have faithfully represented the sentiments of their constituents.
|Ed. Note: Do not “subscribe to the oft-repeated contention and argument that the use of the word 'violence' . . . is limited always to physical contact or injury. A blackjack applied to [one person's] skull may in the long run be less serious than . . . misleading signs, false statements and publicity . . . and insidious propaganda. The scalp wound may be healed through the surgeon's art.” Esco Operating Corp v Kaplan, 144 Misc 646, 650; 258 NYS 303, 309 (1932).
“Violence . . . is not limited to physical contact or injury, but may include picketing conducted with misleading signs, false statements, publicity, and veiled threats by words and acts.” Black's Law Dictionary, 6th ed (St. Paul: West, 1990), p 1570.
“One cardinal principle must be borne in mind, that any element of illegality essential to a scheme or combination makes the whole illegal.” Newton Co v Erickson, 70 Misc 291, 298; 126 NYS 949, 954 (6 Jan 1911).
“The proof of the pattern or practice [of threats and violence against abolitionists] supports an inference that any particular decision [to commit such action], during the period in which the policy was in force, was made in pursuit of that policy.” Teamsters v U.S., 431 US 324, 362; 97 S Ct 1843, 1868; 52 L Ed 2d 396, 431 (1977).|
VII. DISREGARD FOR HUMAN LIFE.
We have already seen that one of the blessings which the slaveholders attribute to their favorite institution, is exemption from popular tumults, and from encroachments by the democracy [average voting public] upon the rights of property. Their argument is, that political power in the hands of the poor and laboring classes is always attended with danger, and that tbis danger is averted when these classes are kept in bondage.
With these gentlemen, life and liberty seem to be accounted as the small dust of the balance, when weighed against slavery and plantations; hence, to preserve the latter they are ever ready to sacrifice the former, in utter defiance of laws and constitutions.
We have already [p 4, supra] noticed the murderous proposition in relation to abolitionists, made by Governor M'Duffie to the South Carolina Legislature in 1835:
In an address to a legislative assembly, Governor M'Duffie refrained from the indecency of recommending illegal murder; but we will soon find that the public sentiment of the South by no means requires that abolitionists shall be put to death with legal formalities; but on the contrary, the slaveholders are ready, in the language of Mr. Payne, to “hang them like dogs.”
|“It is my deliberate opinion that the law of every community should punish this species of interference [First Amendment activity], by DEATH without benefit of clergy.”|
We hazard little in the assertion, that in no civilized Christian community on earth is human life less protected by law, or more frequently taken with impunity, than in the [Bible-Belt] slave States of the Federal Union. We wish to impress upon you the danger and corruption to which you and your children are exposed from the institution, which, as we have shown you, exists by your sufferance [voting consent].
But you [gullible Southerners of lower morals] have been taught [propagandized] to respect this institution [slavery]; and hence it becomes necessary to enter into details, however painful, and to present you with authorities which you cannot reject.
|Ed. Note: Moral people saw the depravity of the Bible Belt. So occurred “white flight,” depopulation, whites fleeing from the slave states. See examples and background data, cited by, e.g.,
Rev. John Rankin, Letters (1823), pp 64-65
Alvan Stewart, Legal Argument (1845), pp 49-50
Harriet Beecher Stowe, Key (1853), pp 129 and 184.
Rev. John Fee, Antislavery Manual (1854), p 146
Abraham Lincoln, Peoria Speech (1854), p 232
Sen. Charles Sumner, Barbarism of Slavery (1860), p 143
and p 5, infra.
Modern scholarship confirms. See Prof. Dwight L. Dumond, Antislavery: the Crusade for Freedom in America (Ann Arbor: Univ of Michigan Press (1961), pp 87-88 and 90-95.
What we have just said of the insecurity of human life, will probably be deemed by you and others as abolition slander. Listen, then, to slaveholders themselves.
|Ed. Note: As stated above, moral Southerners did not reject this data, they saw and believed it, and fled the South.|
The present Bishop of the Episcopal Ohurch in Kentucky* a few vears since [ago], publisbed an article on the murders in that State. He states that some [people] with whom he had conversed, estimated them at 80 per annum; but that he had rated them at about 30; and that he had ascertained that for the last three years, there had not been
|“We long to see the day,” said the Governor of Kentucky in his message to the Legislature, 1837, “when the law will assert its majesty, and stop the wanton destruction of life which almost daily occurs within the jurisdiction of this commonwealth. MEN SLAUGHTER EACH OTHER WITH ALMOST PERFECT IMPUNITY.
“A species of common law has grown up in Kentucky, which, were it written down, would, in all civilized countries, cause her [Kentucky] to be re-christened, in derision, THE LAND OF BLOOD.”
Governor McVay, of Alabama, in his message to the Legislature, November 15, 1837, thus speaks,
|“an instance of capital punishment in any white offender.” “It is believed,” says he, “there are more homicides on an average of two years in any of our more populous counties, than in the whole of several of our States of equal, or nearly equal, population to Kentucky.”|
|“We hear of homicides in different parts of the State continually, and yet have few convictions and still fewer executions! Why do we hear of stabbings and shootings almost daily in some part or other of our State?”|
|“DEATH BY VIOLENCE.—The moral atmosphere in our State appears to be in a deleterious and sanguinary [bloodthirsty] condition. Almost every exchange [news] paper which reaches us, contains some inhuman and revolting case of murder, or death by violence. Not less than FIFTEEN deatbs by violence have occurred, to our certain knowledge, within the past three months.”—Grand Gulf Miss. Advertiser, 27th June, 1837.|
* It is belived this gentleman is not a slaveholder.
At the opening of the Criminal Court in New Orleans, November 4th, 1837, Judge Lansuque delivered an address, in which, speaking of the prevalence of violence, he used the following language:
|“CONTEMPT OF HUMAN LIFE.—In view of the crimes which are daily committed, we are led to inquire whether it is owing to the inefficiency of our laws, or to the manner in which these laws are administered, that this FRIGHTFUL DELUGE OF HUMAN BLOOD FLOWS THROUGH OUR STREETS AND OUR PLACES OF PUBLIC RESORT.”—New Orleans Bee, 23d May, 1838.|
While the slaveholders are terrified at the idea of the “great democratic rabble [typical middle-class voters],” and rejoice in human bondage as superseding the necessity of
“an order of nobility, and all the
|“As a Louisiana parent, I reflect with terror, that our beloved children, reared to become one day honorable and useful citizens, may be the victims of these votaries of vice and licentiousness. Without some powerful and certain remedy, our streets will become BUTCHERIES, OVERFLOWING WITH THE BLOOD OF OUR CITIZENS!”|
appendages of a hereditary government,”
they have established a reign of terror, as insurrectionary and as sanguinary [bloodthirsty] in principle, as that created by the sans culottes of the French revolution. We indulge in no idle declamation, but speak the words of truth and soberness.
A public meeting, convened in the church!! in the town of Clinton, Mississippi, 5th September, 1835—
It would be tedious to copy the numerous resolutions of similar import, passed by public meetings in almost every slave State. You well know that the promoters of those lawless and sanguinary [bloodthirsty] proceedings, did not belong to the “rabble”—they were not “mean whites,” but rich, influential slaveholders.
|“Resolved, That it is our decided opinion, that any individual who dares to circulate [pursuant to the First Amendment freedom of press], with a view to effectuate the designs of the abolitionists, any of the incendiary tracts or newspapers now in the course of transmission to this country, is justly worthy, in the sight of God and man, of immediate death; and we doubt not that such would be the punishment of any such offender, in any part of the State of Mississippi where he may be found.”|
A meeting was held in 1835 at Williamsburgh, Virginia, which was harangued by no less a personage than JOHN TYLER, once Governor of the State, and since [then] President of the United States [1841-1845]: under this gentleman's auspices, and after his address, the meeting resolved [voted]—
|“That we regard the [First Amendment] printing and circulating within our limits, of incendiary [meaning, anti-slavery] publications, tending to excite our slaves to insurrection and rebellion, as treasonable acts of the most alarming character, and that when we detect offenders in the act, we will inflict upon them condign punishment, without resorting to any other tribunal.”|
The profligacy [moral depravity] of this [pro-slavery] resolution needs no comment. Mr. Tyler well knew that the laws of Virginia, and every other State were abundantly sufficient to punish [genuine] crime: but he and his fellow lynchers wished to deter the [few moral Southern] people from receiving and reading anything adverse to slavery; and hence, with their usual [psychotic] audacity [insane delusions of grandeur], they determined to usurp the prerogative of courts and juries, and throw down all the bulwarks which the law has erected for the protection of innocence.
Newspapers are regarded as the mirrors of public opinion. Let us see what opinions are reflected in those of the South.
The Charleston Courier, 11th August, 1835, declared that “the gallows and tke stake” awaited the abolitionists who should dare to “appear in person among us.”
|Ed. Note: Remember, slaves could not read! p 16, supra; could not send and receive mail, had no money to subscribe to abolitionist news, nor pay for their writings, had they even known they even existed!
Never forget “the psychosis of the southern mind. . . .” cited by Prof. Clement Eaton, The Freedom-of-Thought Struggle in the Old South (Duke Univ Press, 1940, and New York: Harper & Row, 1964), p 384; and the ultra-low morality of Southern leaders.
These vile individuals were against First Amendment freedom of the press, not because slaves could read the material (they could not!), but because such writings were linked to the fact that moral Southerners were thus becoming educated and inspired against slavery.
Similarly, note the tobacco taboo, to obstruct knowledge.
|“The cry of the whole South should be death, instant death to the abolitionist, wherever he is caught.”—Augusta (Geo.) Chronicle.|
This, it will be noticed, is a threat addressed, not to the Northern abolitionists, but to you, fellow-citizens, to the great majority of the white inhabitants of the South; and you are warned not to express an opinion offensive to your aristocracy.
|“Let us declare through the public journals [media] of our country, that the question of slavery is not and shall not be open to [First Amendment] discussion; that the system is too deep-rooted among us and must remain for ever; that the very moment any private individual attempts to lecture us upon its evils and immorality, and the necessity of putting means in operation to secure us from them, in the same moment his tongue shall be cut out and cast upon the dunghill.”—Columbia (S.C.) Telescope.|
|“AWFUL BUT JUST PUNISHMENT.—We learn, by the arrival of the steamboat Kentucky last evening from Richmond, that Robinson, the Englishman mentioned in the Beacon of Saturday, as being in the vicinity of Lynchburg, was taken [captured] about fifteen miles from that town, and HANGED on the spot, for exciting the slaves to insurrection.”—Norfolk (Va.) Beacon, 10th August, 1835.|
|“We can assure the Bostonians, one and all, who have embarked in the nefarious scheme of abolishing slavery at the South,|
|that lashes will hereafter be spared the backs of their emissaries. Let them send out their men to Louisiana; they will never return to tell their sufferings, but they shall expiate the crime of interfering with [writing about the immorality of] our domesic institutions, by being BURNED AT THE STAKE."—New Orleans True American.|
Here, again, is a threat directed against any of you [moral Southerners], who may happen to have the command of [access to] types and printer's ink [and printing press].
|“Abolition editors in [Bible-Belt] slave States will not dare to avow [print] their opinions. It would be instant DEATH to them.”—Missouri Argus.|
Now, we ask what must be the [moral] state of society, where the public journals [media] thus justify and stimulate the public thirst for blood? The very idea of [fair] trial is scouted [ridiculed], and the mob, or rather the slaveholders themselves, are acknowledged to be the arbiters of life and death.
The question we put to you as to the state of society, has been already answered [pp 23-24, supra] by the official declarations of the Governors of Kentucky and Alabama, and of Judge Lansuque, of New Orleans; as well as by the extracts we have given you from some of the southern journals, relative to the frequency of murders among them.
We could farther answer it, by filling sheets with accounts of fearful atrocities.
But we purposely refrain from referring to assassinations and private crimes; for such, as already remarked, occur in a greater or less degree in every community, and do not necessarily form a test of the standard of morals.
But we ask your attention to a test which cannot be questioned. We will present for your consideration a series of atrocities, perpetrated, not by individuals in secret, but in open day by the slaveholding populace.
We have seen that two of the Southern papers we have quoted, threaten abolitionists with THE STAKE. This awful and horrible purnshment has been banished, by the progress of civilization, from the whole of Christendom, with the single exception of the American [bible-Belt] Slave States. It is scarcely necessary to say, that even in them, it is unknown to the laws, although familiar to the people. It is aiso deserving of remark, that the two joumals which have made this atrocious threat were published, not among the rude borderers of our frontier settlements, but in the populous cities of Charleston and New-Orleans, the very centres of [alleged] Southern refinement.
|Ed. Note: Moral Southerners understood the threat, fled the South, p 5, supra.|
|“TUSCALOOSA (Alab.) June 20, 1827. The negro [one who had [allegedly] killed a Mr. M'Neilly] was taken before a Justice of the Peace, who waived his authority, perhaps through fear, as a crowd of persons had collected, to the number of seventy or eighty, near Mr. People's [the Justice] house. He acted as Pre-|
On the 28th of April, 1836, a free negro was arrested in [Bible-Belt] St. Louis (Missouri) and committed to jail on a charge of murder. A mob assembled and demanded him of the jailor, who surrendered him. The negro was then chained to a tree a short distance from the Court House, and burned to death.
| rident of the mob, and put the vote, when it was decided that he should be immediately executed by being burned to death. The sable culprit was led to a tree and tied to it, and a large quantity of pine knots collected and placed around him, and the fatal torch applied to the pile, even against the remonstrances of several gentlemen who were present, and the miserable being was in a short time burned to ashes. This is the second negro who has been thus put to death, without judge or jury in this [Bible-Belt] country.”|
|“After the flames had surrounded their prey, and when his clothes were in a blaze all over him, his eyes burnt out of his head, and his mouth seemingly parched to a cinder, some one in the crowd, more compassionate than the rest, proposed to put an end to his misery by shooting him, when it was replied that it would be of no use, since he was already out of his pain.
“'No, said the wretch, 'I am not, I am suffering as much as ever; shoot me, shoot me.'
“'No, no,' said one of the fiends who was standing about the sacrifice they were roasting, 'he shall not be shot, I would sooner slacken the fire, if that would increase his misery;' and the man who said this was, we understand, an officer of justice.”—Alton Telegraph.
|“We have been informed that the slave William, who murdered his master (Huskey) some weeks since [ago], was taken by a party a few days since from the Sheriff of Hot Spring, and burned alive! yes, tied up to the limb of a tree and a fire built under him, and consumed in a slow lingering torture.”—Arkansas Gazette, Oct. 29, 1836.|
The Natchez Free Trader, 16th June, 1842, gives a horrible account of the execution of the negro, Joseph, on the 5th of that month for murder.
|“The body,” says that paper, “was taken and chained to a tree immediately on the bank of the Mississippi, on what is called Union Point. The torches were lighted and placed in the pile. He watched unmoved the curling flame as it grew, until it began to entwine itself around and feed upon his body; then he sent forth cries of agony painful to the ear, begging some one to blow his brains out; at the same time surging with almost superhuman strength, until the staple with which the chain was fastened to the tree, not being well secured, drew out, and he leaped from|
|the burning pile. At that moment the sharp ring of several rifles was heard, and the body of the negro fell a corpse to the ground. He was picked up by two or three, and again thrown into the fire and consumed.”|
Thus we see that burning negroes alive is treated as a [Bible-Belt] spectacle, and strangers are invited to witness it. The victim of this exhibition was the negro Enoch, said to have been an accomplice of Joseph, and was burned a few days after the other.
We have thus given you no less than six instances of human beings publicly burned alive in four [Bible-Belt] slave States, and in each case with entire impunity to the miscreants engaged in the horrible murder. But these were cases which happened to be reported in the newspapers, and with which we happened to become acquainted. There is reason to believe that these executions are not of rare occurrence, and that many of them, either through indifference or policy, are not noticed [reported] in the Southern papers.
A recent traveller remarks,
|“ANOTHER NEGRO BURNED.—We learn from the clerk of the Highlander that, while wooding a short distance below the mouth of Red river, they were invited to stop a short time and see another negro burned.”—N. O. Bulletin.|
But the murderous spirit deplored by the Governors of Kentucky and Alabama [p 23, supra], and the “frightful deluge of human blood” complained of by the New Orleans editor [p 24, supra], had no reference to the murder of negroes. Men who can enjoy the sight of negroes writhing in flames, and are permitted by the civil authorities to indulge in such exhibitions, will not be very scrupulous in taking the lives of each other.
You well know how incessantly the work of human slaughter is going on among you; and no reader of your public journals [media] can be ignorant of the frequent occurrence of your deadly street fights. But, for the reason already given [p 26, supra], we meddle not with these.
We charge the slaveholding community, as such, with sanctioning [approving] murder, and protecting the perpetrators, and setting the laws at defiance. This we know is a grievous charge, and most grievous the proof of it.
But mistake not our meaning. God forbid we should deny that many of the community to which we refer, utterly abhor the atrocities we are about to detail.
|“Just before I reached Mobile, two men were burned alive there in a slow fire in the open air, in the presence of the gentlemen of the city. No word was breathed of the transaction in the newspapers.”—Martineau's Society in America, vol. i., p. 373.|
We speak of the murderous feelings of the slaveholding community, just as we speak of the politics, the manners, and the morals of any other community, freely acknow-
|Ed. Note: Many such moral people, unable to stop the South's constant evils, fled the South, noted at p 5 supra.|
ledging that there are numerous and honorable exceptions.
For the general truth of our assertion, we appeal to the authorities and the facts we have already laid before you, and to those we are about to offer.
You have already seen [pp 25-26, supra] that the pro-slavery press [media] has recommended the murder of such nortbern abolitionists as may be caught in the South; we now ask your attention to the efforts made by the slaveholders to get prominent abolitionists into their power.
In 1831, a citizen of Massachusetts [William Lloyd Garrison] established a newspaper at Boston, called the Liberator, and devoted to the cause of negro emancipation. The undertaking was perfectly legal [including pursuant to the First Amendment], and he himself, having never been in Georgia, had of course violated none of her laws. The [Georgia] legislature, however, forthwith passed a law, offering a bribe of $5000 to any person who would arrest and and bring to trial and conviction, in Georgia, the editor and publisher of the Boston paper. This most atrocious law was “approved” on the 26th Dec., 1831, by WILLIAM LUMPKIN, the Governor. The object [purpose] of the bribe could have been no other than the abduction and murder of the conductor of the paper—his trial and conviction under Georgia laws being a mere pretence: the Georgia courts have as much jurisdiction over the Press in Paris as in Boston. A Lynch court was the only one that could have taken cognizance of the [alleged] offence [of Garrison following the First Amendment], and its proceedings would undoubtedly have been both summary and sanguinary [bloodthirsty].
The horrible example thus set by the Georgia Legislature was not without its followers.
At a meeting of slaveholders at Sterling, Sept. 4, 1835, it was formally recommended to the Governor to issue a proclamation, offering the $5000 appropriated by the Act of 1831, as a reward for the apprehension of either of ten persons named in the resolution, citizens of New York and Massachusetts, and one a subject of Great Britain; not one of whom it was even pretended had ever set his foot on the soil of Georgia.
The Milledgeville [Ga.] Federal Union, of Feb. 1, 1836 contained an offer of $10,000 for kidnapping A. A. Phelps, a clergyman residing in the city of New York.
The Committee of Vigilance of the Parish of East Feliciana, offered in the Louisiana Journal of 15th Oct., 1835, $50,000 to any person who would deliver into their hands Arthur Tappan, a New York merchant [brother of this book's author Lewis Tappan].
At a public meeting of the citizens of Mount Meigs, Alabama, 13th August, 1836, the Honorable [!] Bedford Ginress in the chair, a reward of $50,000 was offered for the apprehension of [abolitionists] Arthur Tappan, or Le Roy Sunderland, a clergyman of the Methodist Church residing in New York.
Let us now witness the practical operation of that murderous spirit which dictated the foregoing villainous bribes. We have already seen the conduct of the slave-holding community to negro offenders; we are now to notice its tender mercies to men of its own color.
In 1835, there was a real or affected apprehension of a servile insurrection [rescue] in the State of Mississippi. The slaveholders, as usual on such occasions, were exceedingly frightened, and were exceedingly cruel. A pamphlet was afterwards published, entitled “Proceedings of the Citizens of Madison County, Miss., at Livingston, in July, 1835, in relation to the trial and punishment of several individuals implicated in a contemplated insurrection in this State.—Prepared by Thomas Shuckelford, Esquire. Printed at Jackson, Miss.”
This pamphlet, then, is the Southern account of the affair; and while it is more minute in its details than the narratives published in the newspapers at the time, we are not aware that it contradicts them. It may be regarded as a sort of semi-official report put forth by the slaveholders, and published under their implied sanction [approval]. It appears, from this account, that in consequence of "rumors" that the slaves meditated [planned] an insurrection—that a colored girl had been heard to say that
|“she was tired of waiting on the white folks—wanted to be her own mistress for the balance of her days, and clean up her own house, &c.,”|
a meeting was held at which resolutions were signed, organizing a committee, and authorizing them
This was certainly a most novel mode of erecting and commissioning a Court of judicature, with the power of life and death, expressly authorized to act independently of “the laws of the land.”
The Constitution of the State of Mississippi, which no doubt many of the honorable Judges of the Court had on other occasions taken an oath to support, contains the following clause:—
|“to bring before them any person or persons, either white or black, and try in a summary manner any person brought before them, with power to hang or whip, being always governed by the laws of the land, so far only as they shall be applicable to the case in question; otherwise to act as in their discretion shall seem best for the benefit of the country and the protection of its [pro-lynching] citizens.”|
Previous to the organization of this [alleged] Court, FIVE slaves had already been HUNG by the people. The Court, or rather, as it was
|“No person shall be accused, arrested or detained, except in cases ascertained by law, and according to the forms which the same has prescribed; aud no person shall be punished, but in virtue of a law established and promulgated prior to the offence, and legally applied.”|
modestly called by the meeting who erected it, “the committee,” proceeded to try Dr. Joshua Cotton, of New England. It was proved to the satisfaction of the committee that he had been detected in many low tricks—that he was deficient in feeling and affection for his second wife—that he had traded with negroes—that he had asked a negro boy whether the slaves were whipped much, how he would like to be free? &c. It is stated that Cotton made a confession that he had been aiming to bring about a conspiracy. The committee condemned him TO BE HANGED IN AN HOUR AFTER SENTENCE.
William Saunders, a native of Tennessee, was next tried. He was convicted “of being often out at night, and giving no satisfactory explanation for so doing”—of equivocal conduct—of being intimate with Cotton, &c. Whereupon, by a unanimous vote, he was found guilty and sentenced to be HUNG. He was executed with Cotton on the 4th of July.
Albe Dean, of Connecticut, was next tried. He was convicted of being a lazy, indolent man, having very little pretensions to honesty—of “pretending to make a living by constructing washing machines”—of “often coming to the owners of runaways, to intercede with the masters to save them from a whipping.” He was sentenced to be HUNG, and was executed.
A. L. Donavan, of Kentucky, was then put on his trial. He was suspected of having traded with the negroes—of being found in their cabins, and enjoying himself in their Society. It was proved that “at one time he actually undertook to release a negro who was tied, which negro afterwards implicated him,” and that he once told an overseer “it was cruel work to be whipping the poor negroes as he was obliged to do.” The committee were satisfied, from the evidence before them, that Donavan was an emissary of those deluded fanatics of the North, the abolitionists. He was condemned to be HUNG, and suffered accordingly.
Ruel Blake was next tried, condemned and HUNG. “He protested his innocence to the last, and said his life was sworn away [convicted by pro-slavery perjury].”
Here we have a record of no less than TEN men, five black and five white, probably all innocent of the crime alleged against them, deliberately and publicly put to death by the slaveholders, without the shadow of legal authority.
The Maysville, Ken. Gazette, in announcing Donavan's murder, says,
A letter from Donavan to his wife, written just before his execution, and published in the Maysville paper,
|“he formerly belonged to Maysville, and was a much respected citizen.”|
And now, did these butcheries by the Mississippi PLANTERS excite the indignation of the slaveholding communities? Receive the answer from an editor of the Ancient Dominion [Virginia], replying to the [anti-lynching editorial] comments of a Northern newspaper.
|doomed to die to-morrow at 12 o'clock, on a charge of having been concerned in a negro insurrection, in this State, among many other whites. We are not tried by a regular jury, but by a committee of PLANTERS appointed for the purpose, who have not time to wait on a person for evidence. . . . . Now I must close by saying, before my Maker and Judge, that I go into his presence as innocent of this charge as when I was born . . . . I must bid you a final farewell, hoping that the God of the widow and the fatherless will give you grace to bear this most awful sentence.”|
About the time of the massacre in Clinton County, another awful tragedy was perfonned at Vicksburg in the same State. FIVE men, said to be gamblers, were HANGED by the mob on the 5th July, in open day.
The Louisiana Advertiser, of 13th July, says,
|“The Journal may depend upon it that the Cottons and the Saunders, men confessing themselves guilty of inciting and plotting insurrection, will be HANGED UP wherever caught, and tbat without the formality of a legal trial. Northern or Southern, such will be their inevitable doom.
“For our part, WE APPLAUD the transaction, and none in our opinion can condemn it, who have not a secret sympathy with the Garrison sect. If Northern sympathy and effort are to be cooled and extinguished by such cases, it proves but this, that the South ought to feel little confidence in the professions it receives from that quarter.”—Richmond Whig.
The sympathy of the Louisiana editor, so different from his brother of Richmond, was probably owing to the fact, that the murdered men were accused of being gamblers, and not abolitionists.
When we said these five men were hung by the mob, we did not mean what Chancellor Harper calls “the democratic rabble.” It seems the Cashier of a Bank, a man to whom the slaveholders
|“These unfortunate men claimed to the last, the privilege of American citizens, the trial by Jury, and professed themselves willing to submit to anything their country would legally inflict upon them: but we are sorry to say, their petition was in vain. The black musicians were ordered to strike up, and the voices of the supplicants were drowned by the fife and drum. Mr. Riddle, the Cashier of the Planters' Bank, ordered them to play Yankee Doodle. The unhappy sufferers frequently implored a drink of water, but they were refused.”|
entrust the custody of their money, officiated on the occasion as Master of Ceremonies.
A few days after the murders at Vicksburg, a negro named Vincent was sentenced by a Lynch club at Clinton, Miss., to receive 300 lashes, for an alleged participation in an intended insurrection. We copy from the Clinton Gazette.
Thus, SIXTEEN human beings were deliberately and publicly murdered, by assembled crowds, in different parts of the State of Mississippi, within little more than one WEEK, in open defiance of the laws and Constitution of the State.
And now we ask, what notice did the chief magistrate of Mississippi, sworn to support her Constitution, sworn to execute her laws—what notice, we ask, did he take of these horrible massacres? Why, at the next session of the Legislature, Governor Lynch, addressing them in reference to abolition, remarked,
|“On Wednesday evening Vincent was carried out to receive his stripes, but the ASSEMBLED MULTITUDE were in favor of hanging him. A vote was accordingly fairly taken, and the hanging party had it by an overwhelming majority, as the politicians say. He was remanded to prison.
“On the day of execution a still larger crowd was assembled, and fearing that the public sentiment might have changed in regard to his fate, after everything favorable to the culprit was alleged which could be said, the vote was taken, and his death was demanded by the people.
“In pursuance of this sentiment, so unequivocally expressed, he was led to a black jack and suspended to one of its branches—WE APPROVE ENTIRELY OF THE PROCEEDINGS; THE PEOPLE HAVE ACTED PROPERLY.”
The iniquity and utter falsehood of this declaration, as applied to the transactions alluded to, are palpable. If the victims were innocent, no necessity required their murder. If guilty, no necessity required their execution contrary to law. There was no difficulty in securing their persons, and bringing them to trial.
|“Mississippi has given a practical demonstration of feeling on this exciting subject, that may serve as an impressive admonition to offenders; and however we may regret the occasion, we are constrained to admit, that necessity will sometimes prompt a summary mode of trial and punishment unknown to the law.”|
In 1841, an unsuccessful attempt was made in Kentucky to murder a man. The assailants were arrested and lodged in jail for trial. Their fate is thus related in a letter by an eye-witness, published in the Cincinnati Gazette:—
The fact that this atrocity was perpetrated in “our little village,” and by a rural population, affords an emphatic and horrible indication of the [depraved] state of morals in one of the oldest and best of our [Bible-Belt] slave States.
Would that we could here close these fearful narratives; but another and more recent instance of that ferocious lawlessness which slavery [disproportionately by tobaccoists] has engendered, must still be added. The following facts are gathered from the Norfolk (Va.) Beacon of 19th Nov., 1842.
George W. Lore was, in April, 1842, convicted in [Bible-Belt] Alabama, on circumstantial evidence, of the crime of murder. The Supreme Court granted a new trial, remarking, as is stated in another paper, that the testimony on which he was convicted was
|“Williamstown, Ky., July 11, 1841.
“The unfortunate men, Lyman Couch and Smith Maythe, were taken out of jail on Saturday about 12 o'clock, and taken to the ground where they committed the horrid deed on Utterback, and at 4 o'clock were HUNG on the tree where Utterback lay when his throat was cut.
“The jail was opened by force. I suppose there were from FOUR TO SEVEN HUNDRED people engaged in it. Resistance [by jailer] was all in vain.
“There were three [anti-lynching] speeches made to the mob, but all in vain. They allowed the prisoners the privilege of clergy for about five hours, and then observed that they had made their peace with God, and they deserved to die.
“The mob was conducted with coolness and order, more so than I ever heard of on such occasions. But such a day was never witnessed in our little village, and I hope never will be again.”
In the mean time, Lore escaped from jail, and was afterwards arrested. He was seized by a mob, who put it to vote, whether he should be surrendered to the civil authority or be hung. Of 132 votes, 130 were for immediate death, and he was accordingly hung at Spring Hill, Bourbon County, on the 4th November.
|“unfit to be received by any court of justice recognized among civilized nations.”|
And now, fellow-citizens, what think you of Mr. Calhoun's [p 16, supra]
Do you number TRIAL BY JURY among free institutions?
You see on what basis it rests—the will of the slaveholders. You see by what tenure you and your children hold your lives.
In New York, you are told by high Southern authority [John Calhoun, p 17, supra],
|“most safe and stable basis for free institutions?”|
But we ask you, where would your life be most secure if charged with crime, amid the rabble of New York or that of Clinton, Vicksburg, and Williamstown?
We think we have fully proved our assertion respecting the disregard
|“you may find loafer, and loco-foco, and agrarian, and the most corrupt and depraved of rabbles.”|
of human life felt by the slaveholding community; and of course their contempt for those legal barriers which are erected for its protection.
Let us now inquire more particularly how far slavery is indeed a stable basis, on which free institutions may securely rest.
VIII. DISREGARD FOR CONSTITUTIONAL OBLIGATIONS.
[Pro-slavery] Governor [George] McDuffie, in his speech of 1834 to the South Carolina Legislature, characterized [ridiculed] the Federal Constitution as
Judging from their conduct, the slaveholders, while fully concurring with the [politician] Governor in his contempt for the national parchment, have quite as little respect for their own State Constitution and Laws.
The “tattered parchment” of which Mr. [George] McDuffie speaks, declares that
|“that miserable mockery of blurred, and obliterated, and tattered parchment.”|
Notwithstanding this express provison, there are in almost every slave State, if not in all, laws for seizing, imprisoning, and then selling as slaves for life, citizens having black or yellow complexions, entering within their borders. This is done under pretence that the individuals are supposed to be fugitives from bondage.
When circumstances forbid such a supposition, other devices are adopted, for nullifying the provision we have quoted.
|“the citizens of each State shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens of the several States.” Art. IV. Sec. 2.|
By a law of Louisiana, every free negro or mulatto, arriving on board any vessel as a mariner or passenger, shall be immediately imprisoned till the departure of the vessel, when he is to be compelled to depart in her. If such free negro or mulatto returns to the State, he is to be imprisoned for FIVE years.
The jailor of Savannah some time since [ago] reported ten stewards as being in his custody. These were free citizens of other States, deprived of their liberty solely on account of the complexion their Maker had given them, and in direct violation of the express language of the Federal Constitution.
If any free negro or mulatto enters the State of Mississippi, for any cause however urgent, any white citizen may cause him to be punished by the Sheriff with thirty-nine lashes, and if he does not immediately thereafter leave the State, he is sold as a slave.
In Maryland, a free negro or mulatto, coming into the State, is fined $20, and if he returns he is fined $500, and on default of payment, is sold AS A SLAVE.
Truly indeed have the slaveholders rendered the Constitution a blurred, obliterated, and tattered parchment.
But whenever this same Constitution can, by the
grossest perversion, be made instrumental in upholding and perpetuating human bondage, then it acquires, for the time, a marvellous sanctity in their eyes, and they are seized with a holy indignation at the very suspicion of its profanation.
The readiness with which Southern Governors prefer the most false and audacious claims, under color of Constitutional authority, exhibits a state of society in which truth and honor are but little respected.
In 1833, seventeen slaves effected their cscape from Virginia in a boat, and finally reached New York. To recover their slaves as such, a judicial investigation in New York would be necessary, and the various claimants would be required to prove their property. A more convenient mode presented itself. The Governor of Virginia made a requisition on the Executive of New York for them as fugitive felons, and on this requisition, a warrant was issued for their arrest and surrender. The pretended felony was stealing the boat in which they had escaped.
|Ed. Note: For more on Southern politican character, click here.|
In 1839, a slave escaped from Virginia on board of a vessel bound to New York. It was suspected, but without a particle of proof, that some of the crew had favored his escape; and immediately the master made oath that three of the sailors, naming them, had feloniously STOLEN the slave; and the [Virginia] Governor, well knowing there was no slave-market in New York, and that no man could there be held in slavery, had the hardihood [gall] to demand the surrender of the mariners, on thc charge of grand larceny; and, in his correspondence with the Governor of New York, declared the slave was worth six or seven hundred dollars, and remarked that stealing was “recognized as a CRIME by all laws, human and divine.”
In 1841, a female slave, belonging to a man namod Flournoy, in Georgia, was discovered on board a vessel about to sail for New York, and was recovered by her master. It was afterwards supposed, from the woman's story, that she had been induced by one of the passengers to attempt her escape. Whereupon Flournoy made oath that John Greenman did feloniousiy STEAL his slave. But the Governor of New York had already refused to surrender citizens of his State, on a charge so palpably false and absurd. It was therefore deemed necessary to trump up a very different chargo against the aocused; and hence Flournoy made a second affidavit, that John Greenman did feloniously steal and take away three blankets, two shawls, three frocks, one pair of ear-rings, and two finger-rings, the property of deponent. Armed with these affidavits, the [Gorgia] Governor demanded the surrender of Greenman under the Constitution. Not an intimation was given by His Excellency, when he made the demand, of the real facts of the
|Ed. Note: No such would have been done had the situation been whites escaping from Indians.|
case, which, in a subsequent correspondence, he was compelled to admit. It turned out that the woman, instead of being stolen, went voluntarily, and no doubt joyfully, on board the vessel; and that the wearing apparel, &c., were tho clothes and ornaments worn by her; nor was there a pretence that Greenman had ever touched them, or ever had them in his possession.
In 1838, Rev. John B. Mahan, a Methodist preacher, residing in Ohio, was reported to have given aid and shelter to fugitive slaves from Kentucky, and forthwith the Grand Jury of Mason County, in that State, indicted him, as being “late of the County of Mason,” for aiding two slaves in making their escape from said county. On the strength of this [false] indictment, Governor Clark, of Kentucky, issued his requisition on the Governor of Ohio, wherein he stated that the said Mahan “ has fled from justice, and is now going at large in the State of Ohio;” and that by virtue of the authority vested in him by the “Constitution and Laws of the United States, he did demand the said John B. Mahan, as a fugitive from the justice of the laws of this State.” On this requisition Mahan was seized, carried into Kentucky, put in irons, and kept in prison as a felon for about ten weeks, when, after a trial which lasted six days, he was acquitted by the jury. Now it was a matter of notoriety, and admitted by the prosecution, that Mahan had not been in Kentucky for about twenty years!! Yet day after day was spent in endeavors to procure the conviction of a man who had committed no offence against the laws of the State, and whose person had been seized in consequence of a gross fraud, and a palpable and acknowledged falsehood. But how happened it that the slaveholders permitted their prey to escape? Fortunately for Mahan, the Governor of Ohio, after surrendering him, discovered the imposition that had been practised, and officially informed the Governor of Kentucky, that he could not consent that a citizen of Ohio should be taken to another State, and tried for an offence not committed within her jurisdiction. The publication of this letter drew the attention of the community to the infamous outrage that had been practised. If, after this, Mahan had been Lynched, or even judicially punished, a controrersy would have arisen between the two States, which would necessarily have given new strength and influence to the anti-slavery cause.
But perhaps the most insolent attempt yet made to pervert the Federal Constitution to the support of slavery, was the expedient devised in Alabama to muzzle the Northern press. An article appeared in a newspaper published in New York, in 1835, which gave ofience to certain planters in that State; and forthwith a grand jury, on their oaths, indicted the New York publisher,
“late of the County of Tuscaloosa,” for endeavoring to excite insurrection among the slaves, by circulating a seditious paper [under the First Amendment]; and on this indictment the Governor had the impudence to make a formal requisition for the surrender of the publisher, as a fugitive from justice, although he had never breathed the air of [been in] Alabama.
We have said that the slaveholders hold their own laws and Constitutions in the same contempt as those of tho Federal Government, whenever they conflict with the security and permanency of slavery.
One of the most inestimable of constitutional privileges is TRIAL BY JURY; and this, as we have seen, is trampled under foot with impunity, at the mandate of the slaveholders. Even JOHN TYLER, as it appears [p 24, supra], is for inflictmg summary punishment on abolitionists, by a Lynch club, “without resorting to any other tribunal.”
We now proceed to inquire how far they respect the liberty of speech and of the press.
|Ed. Note: Like the U.S. Constitution, Southern states' constitutions were anti-slavery, said Lysander Spooner, Unconstitutionality of Slavery (1849), pp 39-51. But slavers ignored, defied, their own States' Constitutions. |
IX. LIBERTY OF SPEECH.
The whole nation witnessed the late successful efforts of the slaveholders in Congress, by their various gag resolutions, and through the aid of recreant Northern politicians, to destroy all freedom of debate adverse to “the peculiar institution.” They were themselves ready to dwell, in debate, on the charms of human bondage; but when a member [of Congress] took the other side of the question, then, indeed, [pro-slaver congressmen said] he [any anti-slavery speaker] was out of order, the constitution was outraged, and the Union endangered.
We all know the violent threats which have been used, to intimidate the friends of human rights from expressing their sentiments [views] in the national legislature [Congress].
|“As long,” says Governor [George] McDuffie to the South Carolina Legislature, “as long as the halls of Congress shall be open to the discussion of this question, we can have neither peace nor security.”|
The Charleston Mercury is, on this subject, very high authority; and in 1837 its editor announced that
|Ed. Note: Southerners were threatening to secede, cause a Civil War.|
|“Public opinion in the South would now, we are sure, justify an immediate resort to FORCE by the Southern delegation, even on the FLOOR OF CONGRESS, were they forthwith to seize and drag from the hall any man who dared to insult them, as that eccentric old showman, John Quincy Adams has dared to do.”|
When so much malignity [hatred] is manifested [by slavers] against the freedom of speech, in the very sanctuary of American liberty, it is not to be supposed that it will be tolerated in the house of bondage. We have already quoted [p 25, supra] a Southern paper, which declares that the moment
|Ed. Note: Congressman Adams had dared to speak in Congress against slavery!
A Senator, Charles Sumner, who spoke against slavery, was violently assaulted by a pro-slavery Congressman, beaten so badly his recovery took three years. (A graphic of this is at Sumner's “Barbarism of Slavery” site.)
|“any private individual attempts to lecture us on the|
In Marion College, Missouri, there appeared some symptoms of anti-slavery feeling among the students. A Lynch club assembled, and the Rev. Dr. Ely, one of the professors, appeared before them, and denounced abolition, and submitted a series of resolutions passed by the faculty, and among them the following:
|evils and immorality of slavery, that very moment his tongue shall be cut out and cast upon the dunghill.”|
The Lynchers were pacified, and neither tore down the college nor hung up the professors; but before separating they resolved that they would oppose the elevation to office of any man entertaining abolition sentiments [views], and would withhold their countenance and support from every such member of the community. Indeed, it is obvious to any person attentive to the movements of the South, that the slaveholders dread domestic far more than foreign interference with tbeir darling system. They dread you, fellow-citizens, and they dread converts among themselves.
|“We do hereby forbid all discussions and public meetings among the students upon the subject of domestic slavery.”|
X. LIBERTY OF THE PRESS.
The Constitutions of all the slave States guarantee, in the most solemn and explicit terms, the Liberty of the Press; but it is well undcrstood that there is one exception to its otherwise unbounded license—Property in human flesh is too sacred to be assailed by the press.
The attributes of the Deity may be discussed, but not the rights of the master.
The characters of public, and even of private men, may be vilified at pleasure, provided no reproach is flung upon the slaveholder.
Every abuse in Church or State may be ferreted out and exposed, except the cruelties practiced upon the slaves, unless when they happen to exceed the ordinary standard of cruelty established by general usage.
Every measure of policy may be advocated, except that of free [voluntary] labor;
every question of right may be examined, except that of a man to himself;
every dogma in theology may be propagated, except that of the sinfulness of the slave code.
The very instant the press ventures beyond its prescribed limits, the constitutional barriers crected for its protection sink into the dust, and a censorship, the more stern and vindictive for being illegal, crushes it into submission. The midnight burglary perpetrated upon the Charleston Post-office, and the conflagration of the anti-slavery papers found in it, are well known. These [news] papers had been sent to distinguished citizens, but it was deemed inexpedient [by slavers] to permit them to read facts and arguments against slavery.
Pains will be taken to prevent you
from reading this address, and vast pains have been taken to keep slaveholders as well as others ignorant of every fact and argument that militates against the system.
Hence Mr. Calhoun's famous [infamous] bill [Senate resolution], authorizing every Southern post-master to abstract [seize, confiscate] from the mails every paper relating to slavery. Hence the insane efforts constantly made to expurgate the literature of the world of all recognition of the rights of black men. Novels, annuals, poems, and histories, containing sentiments [views] hostile to human bondage, are proscribed at the South, and Northern publishers have had the extreme baseness to publiish mutilated editions for the Southern market.*
In some of the slave States laws have been passed establishing a censorship of the press, for the exclusive and special benefit of the slaveholders. Some time [ago] since an anti-slavery pamphlet was mailed at New York, directed to a gentleman in Virginia. Presently a letter was received from William Wilson, post-master at Lexington, Va., saying—
|“I have to advise you that a law passed at the last session of the Legislature of this State, which took effect on the first day of this month, makes it the duty of the post-masters or their assistants to report to some magistrate (under penalty of from $50 to $200 [fine]), the receipt of all such publications at his office; and if, on examination, the magistrale is of opinion they come under the provision of the law, it is his duty to have them BURNT in his presence—which operation was performed on the above mentioned pamphlet this morning.”|
The Rev. Robert J. Breckenridge, a well-known zealous opponent of abolition, edited, in 1835, “The Baltimore Religious Magazine.” A number [an issue] of this magazine contained an article from a correspondent, entitled “Bible-Slavery.” The tone of this article not suiting the slave-breeders of Petersburg (Virg.), the subscribers were deprived of the numbers [issues] forwarded to them through the post-office of that town. The magazines were taken from the Office, and on the 8th May, 1838, were burnt in the street, before the door of the public reading-room, in the presence and by the direction of the Mayor and Recorder!!
It is surely unnecessary to remark, tbat this Virginia law is in
* The Harpers, of New York, in reply to a letter from the South, complaining of the anti-slavery sentiments in a book they had recently published, stated, “since the receipt of your letter we have published an edition of the 'Woods and Fields,' in which the offensive matter has been omitted.”
contemptuous violation of the Constitution of Virginia, and of the authority of the Federal Government. The act of Congress requires each post-master to deliver the papers which come to his office to the persons to whom they are directed, and they require him to take an oath to fulfil his duty. The Virginia [politicians] law imposes duties on an officer over whom they have no control, utterly at variance with his oath, and the obligations under wbich he assumed the office. If the postmaster must select, under a heavy penalty, for a public bonfire, all papers bearing on slavery, why may he not be hereafter required to select, for the same fate, all papers hostile to Popery? Yet similar laws are now in force in various slave States.
Not only is this espionage exercised over the mail, but measures are taken to keep the community [especially, Southern non-slaveholders] in ignorance of what is passing abroad in relation to slavery, and what opinions are elsewhere held respecting it.
On the 1st of August, 1842, an interesting address [speech] was delivered in Massachusetts, by the late Dr. Channing, in relation to West India emancipation, embracing, as was natural and proper, reflections on American slavery.
This address was copied into a New York weekly paper, and the number [issue] containing it was offered for sale, as usual, by the agent of the periodical at Charleston. Instantly the agent was prosecuted by the South Carolina Association, and was held to bail in the sum of $1,000, to answer for his CRIME.
|Ed. Note: Bibliographic data is: William Ellery Channing (1780-1842), An Address Delivered at Lenox on the First of August, 1842, The Anniversary of Emancipation in the British West Indies (Lenox, Mass.: J. G. Stanly, 1842; reprinted, Boston: Oliver Johnson, 1842).|
Presently after, this same agent received for sale a supply of [Charles] “Dickens' Notes on the United States,” but having before his eyes the fear of the slaveholders, he gave notice in the newspapers, that the book would
|“be submitted to highly intelligent members of the South Carolina Association for inspection, and IF the sale is approved by them, it will be for sale—if not, not.”|
And so the population of one of the largest cities of the slave region were not permitted to read a book they were all burning with impatience to see, till the volume had been first inspected by a self-constituted board of censors! The slaveholders, however, were in this instance afraid to put their power to the test—the people might have rebelled if forbidden to read the “Notes,” and hence one of the most powerful, effective anti-slavery tracts yet issued from the press was permitted to be circulated, because people would read [insist on reading] what Dickens had written.
Surely, fellow-citizens, you will not accuse us of slander, when we say that the slaveholders have abolished among you the liberty of the press. Remember the assertion [p 26, supra] of the editor of the Missouri Argus:
|Ed. Note: Bibliographic data is: Charles Dickens (1812-1870), American Notes for General Circulation (London: Chapman and Hall, 1842; reprinted, New York: Harper & Brothers, 1842).|
|“Abolition editors in the slave States will not dare to avow their opinions: it would be INSTANT DEATH to them.”|
XI. MILITARY WEAKNESS.
A distinguished foreigner, after travelling in the Southern States, remarked that the very aspect [nature, conditions, character, population] of the country bore testimony to the temerity of the nullifiers, who, defenceless and exposed as they are, could not dare to hazard a civil war; and surely no people in the world have more cause to shrink from an appeal to arms. We find at the  South no one element of military strength.
Slavery, as we have seen [pp 5-18, supra], checks [impairs] the progress of population, of the arts, of enterprise, and of industry. But above all, the laboring class, which in other countries affords the materials of which armies are composed, is regarded among you as your most deadly foe; and the sight of a thousand negroes with arms in their hands, would send a thrill of terror through the stoutest hearts, and excite a panic which no number of the veteran troops of Europe could produce.
Even now, laws are in force to keep arms out of the hands of a population which ought to be your reliance in danger, but which is your dread by day and night, in peace and war [pp 46 and 47, infra].
During our revolutionary war [1776-1783], when the idea of negro emancipation had scarcely entered the imagination of any of our citizens—when there were no “fanatic abolitionists,” no “incendiary publications,” no “treasonable” anti-slavery associations; in those palmy days of slavery, no small portion of the Southern militia were withdrawn from the defence of the country to protect the slaveholders from the vengeance of their own bondmen!
This you would be assured was abolition slander, were not the fact recorded in the national archives. The Secret Journal of Congress (Vol. I., p. 105) contains the following remarkable and instructive record:—
|Ed. Note: Such gun control violated the Constitution's Second Amendment, as noted by Joel Tiffany, A Treatise on the Unconstitutionality of American Slavery (Cleveland, Ohio: J. Calyer, 1849), pp 117-120.|
|“March 29th, 1779.—The Committee appointed to take into consideration the circumstances of the Southern States, and the ways and means for their safety and defence, report, That the State of South Carolina (as represented by the delegates of the said State, and by Mr. Huger, who has come hither at the request of the Governor of said State, on purpose to explain the particular circumstances thereof,) is UNABLE to make any effectual efforts with militia, by reason of the great proportion of citizens necessary to remain at home, to prevent insurrection among the negroes, and to prevent the desertion of them to the enemy. That the state of the country, and the great number of these people among them, expose the inhabitants to great danger, from the endeavors of the enemy [the anti-slavery British as slavery was unlawful] to excite them to [rescue-related] revolt or desert.”|
At the first census, in 1790, eleven years after this report [the 1779 Report], and
|Ed. Note: The South's greater concern to continue slavery, than to aid the nation, continued during the War of 1812. The South abandoned Washingon D.C. to be burned! for this reason, said Alvan Stewart, Legal Argument (New York: Finch & Weed, 1845), pp 11-12. |
when the slaves had unquestionably greatly increased their numbers, there were only 107,094 fewer than the whites. If, then, these slaves exposed their masters “to great danger,” and the militia of South Carolina were obliged to stay af home to protect their families, not from the foreign invaders, but the domestic enemies, what would be the condition of the little blustering nullifying State, with a foreign army on her shores, and 335,000 slaves ready to aid it, while her own white population, militia and all, is [in 1843] but as two whites to three blacks [40% white, 60% black]?
You well know that
slaveholders, in answer to the abolitionists, are wont [prone] to boast of the fidelity and attachment [loyalty] of their slaves; and
you also well know, that among themselves they freely avow their dread of these same faithful and attached slaves, and are fertile in expedients [devise many methods] to guard against their vengeance [rescue].
It is natural that we should fear those whom we are conscious of having deeply injured, and all history and experience testify that fear is a cruel passion. Hence the shocking severity with which, in all slave countries, attempts to shake off an unrighteous yoke are punished. So late even as 1822, certain slaves in Charleston were suspected of an intention to rise and assert their freedom [constitutional rights]. No overt act was committed, but certain blacks were found who professed to testify against their fellows, and some, it is said, confessed their intentions.
On this ensued one of the most horrible judicial butcheries on record. It is not deemed necessary, in the chivalrous Palmetto State, to give grand and petit juries the trouble of indicting and trying slaves, even when their lives are at stake. A [pretended] court, consisting of two Justices of the Peace and five freeholders, was convened for the trial of the accused, and the followiug were the results of their [murderous kangaroo court] labors:—