Slavery Justified – George Fitzhugh, 1849 (Transcribed)

Slavery Justified – George Fitzhugh, 1849

Liberty and Equality – Socialism
Young England – Domestic Slavery

Liberty and equality are new things under the sun. The free states of antiquity abounded with slaves. The
feudal system that supplanted Roman institutionally changed the form of slavery, but brought with it neither
liberty nor equality. France and the Northern States of our Union have alone fully and fairly tried the experiment
of a social organization founded upon universal liberty and equality of rights. England has only approximated
to this condition in her commercial and manufacturing cities. The examples of small communities in Europe
are not fit exponents of the working of the system. In France and in our Northern States the experiment has
already failed, if we are to form our opinions from the discontent of the masses, or to believe the evidence of
the Socialists, Communists, Anti-Renters, and a thousand other agrarian sects that have arisen in these countries,
and threaten to subvert the whole social fabric. The leaders of these sects, at least in France, comprise within
their ranks the greater number of the most cultivated and profound minds in the nation, who have made government
their study. Add to the evidence of these social philosophers, who, watching closely the working of the system
have proclaimed to the world its total failure, the condition of the working classes, and we have conclusive proof
that liberty and equality have not conduced to enhance the comfort or the happiness of the people. Crime and
pauperism have increased. Riots, trades unions, strikes for higher wages, discontent breaking out into revolution,
are things of daily occurrence, and show that the poor see and feel quite as clearly as the philosophers, that
their condition is far worse under the new than under the old order of things. Radicalism and Chartism in England
owe their birth to the free and equal institutions of her commercial and manufacturing districts, and are little
heard of in the quiet farming districts, where remnants of feudalism still exist in the relation of landlord and
tenant, and in the laws of entail and primogeniture.So much for experiment.

We will now endeavor to treat the subject theoretically, and to show that the system is on its face self-destructive
and impracticable. When we look to the vegetable, animal and human kingdoms, we discover in them all a
constant conflict, war, or race of competition, the result of which is, that the weaker or less healthy genera,
species and individuals are continually displaced and exterminated by the stronger and more hardy. It is a
means by which some contend Nature is perfecting her own work. We, however, witness the war, but do not
see the improvement. Although from the earliest date of recorded history one race of plants has been eating
out and taking the place of another, the stronger or more cunning animals been destroying the feebler, and
man exterminating and supplanting his fellow, still the plants, the animals and the men of to-day seem not at
all superior, even in those qualities of strength and hardihood to which they owe their continued existence, to
those of thousands of years ago. To this propensity of the strong to oppress and destroy the weak,government
owes its existence. So strong is this propensity, and so destructive to human existence, that man has never
yet been found so savage as to be without government. Forgetful of this important fact, which is the origin
of all governments, the political economists and the advocates of liberty and equality propose to enhance
the well being of man by trammeling his conduct as little as possible, and encouraging what they call FREE
COMPETITION. Now, free competition is but another name for liberty and equality, and we must acquire
precise and accurate notions about it in order to ascertain how free institutions will work. It is, then, that war
or conflict to which Nature impels her creatures, and which government was intended to restrict. It is true,
it is that war somewhat modified and restricted, for the warmest friends of freedom would have some
government.

The question is, whether the proposed restrictions are sufficient to neutralize the self-destructive tendencies
which nature impresses on society. We proceed to show that the war of the wits, of mind with mind, which
free competition or liberty and equality beget and encourage, is quite as oppressive, cruel and exterminating
as the war of the sword, of theft, robbery, and murder, which it forbids. It is only substituting strength of mind
for strength of body. Men are told it is their duty to compete, to endeavor to get ahead of and supplant their
fellow men, by the exercise of all the intellectual and moral strength with which nature and education have
endowed them. “Might makes right,” is the order of creation, and this law of nature, so far as mental might
is concerned, is restored by liberty to man. The struggle to better one’s condition, to pull others down or
supplant them, is the great organic law of free society. All men being equal, all aspire to the highest
honors and the largest possessions. Good men and bad men teach their children one and the same
lesson – “Go ahead, push your way in the world.” In such society, virtue, if virtue there be, loses all her
loveliness because of her selfish aims. None but the selfish virtues are encouraged, because none
other aid a man in the race of free competition. Good men and bad men have the same end in view,
are in pursuit of the same object – self-promotion, self-elevation. The good man is prudent, cautious,
and cunning of fence; he knows well the arts (the virtues, if you please,) which will advance his fortunes
and enable him to depress and supplant others; he bides his time, takes advantage of the follies, the
improvidence, and vices of others, and makes his fortune out of the misfortunes of his fellow men.
The bad man is rash, hasty, and unskillful. He is equally selfish, but not half so cunning. Selfishness
is almost the only motive of human conduct with good and bad in free society, where every man is
taught that he may change and better his condition.

A vulgar adage, “Every man for himself and devil take the hindmost,” is the moral which liberty and free
competition inculcate. Now, there are no more honors and wealth in proportion to numbers, in this generation,
than in the one which preceded it; population fully keeps pace with the means of subsistence; hence, those
who better their condition or rise to higher places in society, do so generally by pulling down others or
pushingthem from their places. Where men of strong minds, of strong wills, and of great self-control,
come into free competition with the weak and improvident, the latter soon become the inmates of jails
and penitentiaries. The statistics of France, England and America show that pauperism and crime advance
pari passu with liberty and equality. How can it be otherwise, when all society is combined to oppress the
poor and weak minded? The rich man, however good he may be, employs the laborer who will work for
the least wages. If he be a good man, his punctuality enables him to cheapen the wages of the poor man.
The poor war with one another in the race of competition, in order to get employment, by underbidding; for
laborers are more abundant than employers. Population increases faster than capital. Look to the situation
of woman when she is thrown into this war of competition, and has to support herself by her daily wages.
For the same or equally valuable services she gets not half the pay that man does, simply because the
modesty of her sex prevents her from resorting to all the arts and means of competition which men employ.
He who would emancipate woman, unless he could make her as coarse and strong in mind and body as
man, would be her worst enemy; her subservience to and dependence on man, is necessary to her very
existence. She is not a soldier fitted to enlist in the war of free competition. We do not set children and
women free because they are not capable of taking care of themselves, not equal to the constant struggle
of society.

To set them free would be to give the lamb to the wolf to take care of.Society would quickly devour them.
If the children of ten years of age were remitted to all the rights of person and property which men enjoy,
all can perceive how soon ruin and penury would overtake them. But half of mankind are but grown-up
children, and liberty is as fatal to them as it would be to children. We will cite another familiar instance to
prove and illustrate the destructive effects of liberty or free competition. It is that where two races of men
of different capacity are brought into juxtaposition. It is the boast of the Anglo-Saxon, that by the arts of
peace under the influence of free trade he can march to universal conquest. However true this may be, all
know that if Englishmen or Americans settle among inferior races, they soon become the owners of the
soil, and gradually extirpate or reduce to poverty the original owners. They are the wire-grass of nations.
The same law of nature which enables and impels the stronger race to oppress and exterminate the weaker,
is constantly at work in the bosom of every society, between its stronger and weaker members. Liberty
and equality rather encourage than restrict this law in its deadly operation. A Northern gentleman, who
was both statesman and philosopher, once told us, that his only objection to domestic slavery was, that
it would perpetuate an inferior race, who, under influence of free trade and free competition, would otherwise
disappear from the earth. China and Japan acted wisely to anticipate this new philosophy and exclude
Europeans. One step more, and that the most difficult in this process ofreasoning and illustration, and
we have done with this part of our subject. Liberty and equality throw the whole weight of society on its
weakest members; they combine all men in oppressing precisely that part of mankind who most need
sympathy, aid and protection.

The very astute and avaricious man, when left free to exercise his faculties, is injured by no one in the
field of competition, but levies a tax on all with whom he deals. The sensible and prudent, but less astute
man, is seldom worsted in competing with his fellow men, and generally benefited. The very simple and
improvident man is the prey of every body. The simple man represents a class, the common day laborers.
The employer cheapens their wages, and the retail dealer takes advantage of their ignorance, their inability
to visit other markets, and their want of credit, to charge them enormous profits. They bear the whole weights
of society on their shoulders; they are the producers and artificers of all the necessaries, the comforts, the
luxuries, the pomp and splendor of the world; they create it all, and enjoy none of it; they are the muzzled
ox that treadeth out the straw; they are at constant war with those above them, asking higher wages but
getting lower; for they are also at war with each other, underbidding to get employment. This process of
underbidding never ceases so long as employers want profits or laborers want employment.It ends when
wages are reduced too low to afford subsistence, in filling poor-houses, and jails, and graves. It has reached
that point already in France, England and Ireland. A half million died of hunger in one year in Ireland – they
died because in the eye of the law they were the equals, and liberty had made them the enemies, of their
landlords and employers. Had they been vassals or serfs, they would have been beloved, cherished and
taken care of by those same landlords and employers. Slaves never die of hunger, scarcely ever feel want.
The bestowing upon men equality of rights, is but giving license to the strong to oppress the weak. It begets
the grossest inequalities of condition. Menials and day laborers are and must be as numerous as in a land
of slavery.

And these menials and laborers are only taken care of while young, strong and healthy. If the laborer gets sick,
his wages cease just as his demands are greatest. If two of the poor get married, who being young and healthy,
are getting good wages, in a few years they may have four children. Their wants have increased, but the mother
has enough to do to nurse the children, and the wages of the husband must support six. There is no equality,
except in theory, in such society, and there is no liberty. The men of property, those who own lands and money,
are masters of the poor; masters, with none of the feelings, interests or sympathies of masters; they employ them
when they please, and for what they please, and may leave them to die in the highway, for it is the only home to
which the poor in free countries are entitled. They (the property holders) beheaded Charles Stuart and Louis Capet,
because these kings asserted a divine right to govern wrong, and forgot that office was a trust to be exercised for
the benefit of the governed; and yet they seem to think that property is of divine right, and that they may abuse its
possession to the detriment of the rest of society, as much as they please. A pretty exchange the world would make,
to get rid of kings who often love and protect the poor, and get in their place a million of pelting, petty officers in the
garb of money-changers and landowners, who think that as they own all the property, the rest of mankind have no
right to a living, except on the conditions they may prescribe. “Tis bettter to fall before the lion than the wolf,” and
modern liberty has substituted a thousand wolves for a few lions. The vulgar landlords, capitalists and employers
of today, have the liberties and lives of the people more completely in their hands, than had the kings, barons and
gentlemen of former times; and they hate and oppress the people as cordially as the people despise them. But
these vulgar parvenus, these psalmsinging regicides, these worshipers of mammon, “have but taught bloody
instructions which being taught, return to plague the inventor.”

The king’s office was a trust, so are your lands, houses and money. Society permits you to hold them, because
private property well administered conduces to the good of all society. This is your only title; you lose your right
to your property as the king did to his crown, so soon as you cease faithfully to execute your trust; you can’t make
commons and forests of your lands and starve mankind; you must manage your lands to produce the most food
and raiment for mankind, or you forfeit your title; you may not understand this philosophy, but you feel that it is true,
and are trembling in your seats as you hear the murmurings and threats of the starving poor. The moral effect of
free society is to banish Christian virtue, that virtue which bids us love our neighbor as ourself, and to substitute
the very equivocal virtues proceeding from mere selfishness. The intense struggle to better each one’s pecuniary
condition, the rivalries, the jealousies, the hostilities which it begets, leave neither time nor inclination to cultivate
the heart or the head. Every finer feeling of our nature is chilled and benumbed by its selfish atmosphere; affection
is under the ban, because affection makes us less regardful of mere self; hospitality is considered criminal waste,
chivalry a stumbling-block, and the code of honor foolishness; taste, sentiment, imagination, are forbidden ground
because no money is to be made by them. Gorgeous pageantry and sensual luxury are the only pleasures indulged
in, because they alone are understood and appreciated, and they are appreciated just for what they cost in dollars
and cents. What makes money, and what costs money, are alone desired. Temperance, frugality, thrift, attention
to business, industry, and skill in making bargains, are virtues in high repute, because they enable us to supplant
others and increase our own wealth. The character of our Northern brethren, and of the Dutch, is proof enough
of the justice of these reflections. The Puritan fathers had lived in Holland, and probably imported Norway rats
and Dutch morality in the Mayflower.

Liberty and equality are not only destructive to the morals, but to the happiness of society. Foreigners have
all remarked on the care-worn, thoughtful, unhappy countenances of our people, and the remark only applies
to the North, for travellers see little of us at the South, who live far from highways and cities, in contentment
on our farms. The facility with which men may improve their condition would,indeed, be a consideration much
in favor of free society, if it did not involve as a necessary consequence the equal facility and liability to lose
grade and fortune. As many fall as rise.The wealth of society hardly keeps pace with its numbers. All cannot
be rich. The rich and the poor change places oftener than where there are fixed hereditary distinctions; so
often, that the sense of insecurity makes every one unhappy, so often, that we see men clutching at security
through means of Odd Fellows, Temperance Societies, &c., which provide for members when sick, and for
the families of deceased members; so often, that almost every State in the Union has of late years enacted
laws or countenanced decisions giving more permanency to property. Entails and primogeniture are as odious
to us as kings were to the Romans; but their object – to keep property in our families – is as dear to us as to
any people on earth, because we love our families as much. Hence laws to exempt small amounts of personal
property from liability to debt are daily enacted, and hence Iowa or Wisconsin has a provision in her constitution,
that the homestead of some forty acres shall be exempt from execution. Hence, also, the mighty impulse
of late in favor of woman’s rights. Legislatures and courts are vieing with each other which shall do most
to secure married women’s rights to them. The ruin of thousands upon thousands of families in the revulsion
of 1837, taught the necessity of this new species of entail, this new way of keeping property in the family.
The ups and downs of life became too rapid to be agreeable to any who had property to lose or a family
to provide for.

We have not yet quite cooled down from the fervor of the Revolution. We have been looking to one side
only of our institutions. We begin to feel, however, that there is another and a dark side, – a side where
all are seen going down the hill of fortune. Let us look closely and fearlessly at this feature of free society,
so much lauded and so little understood. What object more laudable, what so dear to a man’s heart, as to
continue a competency of property, refinement of mind and morals, to his posterity? What nobler incentive
to virtuous conduct, than the belief that such conduct will redound to the advantage of our descendants?
What reflection so calculated to make men reckless, wretched and immoral, as the conviction that the
means they employ to improve the moral, mental and pecuniary condition of their offspring, are, in this
land of ups and downs, the very means to make them the prey of the cunning, avaricious and unprincipled,
who have been taught in the school of adversity and poverty? We constantly boast that the wealthy and
powerful of today are the sons of the weak, ignorant and destitute of yesterday. It is the other side of the
picture that we want moral courage to look at. We are dealing now with figures of arithmetic, not of rhetoric.
Those who rise, pull down a class as numerous, and often more worthy than themselves, to the abyss of
misery and penury. Painful as it may be, the reader shall look with us at this dark side of the picture; he shall
view the vanquished as well as the victors on this battle-ground of competition; he shall see those who were
delicately reared, taught no tricks of trade, no shifts of thrifty avarice, spurned, insulted, down-trodden by
the coarse and vulgar, whose wits and whose appetites had been sharpened by necessity. If he can sympathize
with fallen virtue or detest successful vice, he will see nothing in this picture to admire. The wide fields of
the newly rich will cease to excite pleasure in the contemplation; they will look like Golgothas covered with
human bones.

Their coarse and boisterous joys, while they revel in their spoils, will not help to relieve the painful sympathies for
their victims. But these parvenus are men with all the feelings of men, though somewhat blunted by the race for
wealth; they love their children, and would have them unlike themselves, moral, refined, and educated – above
the necessities and tricks of their parents. They rear them as gentlemen, to become the victims in their turn of
the children of fallen gentlemenof a past generation – these latter having learned in the school of adversity the
path to fortune. In Heaven?s name, what is human life worth with such prospects ahead? Who would not rather
lie down and die than exert himself to educate and make fortunes for his children, when he has reason to fear
that by so doing he is to heap coals of fire on their heads. And yet this is an exact picture of the prospect which
universal liberty holds out to its votaries. It is true it hides with a veil the agonies of the vanquished, and only
exhibits the vulgar mirth of the victors. We have lifted the veil. In Boston, a city famed for its wealth and the
prudence of its inhabitants, nine-tenths of the men in business fail. In the slaveholding South, except in new
settlements, failures are extremely rare; small properties descend from generation to generation in the same
family; there is us much stability and permanency of property as is compatible with energy and activity in society;
fortunes are made rather by virtuous industry than by tricks, cunning and speculation. We have thus attempted
to prove from theory and from actual experiment, that a society of universal liberty and equality is absurd and
impracticable. We have performed our task, we know, indifferently, but hope we have furnished suggestions
that may be profitably used by those more accustomed to authorship. We now come in the order of our subject
to treat of the various new sects of philosophers that have appeared of late years in France and in our free
States, who, disgusted with society as it exists, propose to re-organize it on entirely new principles.

We have never heard of a convert to any of these theories in the slave States. If we are not all contented, still
none see evils of such magnitude in society as to require its entire subversion and reconstruction. We shall
group all these sects together, because they all concur in the great truth that Free Competition is the bane of
free society; they all concur, too, in modifying or wholly destroying the institution of private property. Many of
them, seeing that property enables its owners to exercise a more grinding oppression than kings ever did, would
destroy its tenure altogether. In France, especially, these sects are headed by men of great ability, who saw
the experiment of liberty and equality fairly tested in France after the revolution of They saw, as all the world did,
that it failed to promote human happiness or well-being. France found the Consulate and the Empire havens of
bliss compared with the stormy ocean of liberty and equality on which she had been tossed. Wise, however, as
these Socialists and Communists of France are, they cannot create a man, a tree, or a new system of society; these
are God’s works, which man may train, trim and modify, but cannot create. The attempt to establish government
on purely theoretical abstract speculation, regardless of circumstance and experience, has always failed; never
more signally than with the Socialists. The sufferings of the Irish, and the complaints of the Radicals and Chartists,
have given birth to a new party in England, called Young England. This party saw in the estrangement and hostility
of classes, and the sufferings of the poor, the same evils of free competition that had given rise to Socialism in
France; though less talented than the Socialists, they came much nearer discovering the remedy for these evils.
Young England belongs to the most conservative wing of the tory party; he inculcates strict subordination of rank;
would have the employer kind, attentive and paternal, in his treatment of the operative. The operative, humble,
affectionate and obedient to his employer.

He is young, and sentimental, and would spread his doctrines in tracts, sonnets and novels; but society must be
ruled by sterner stuff than sentiment. Self-interest makes the employer and free laborer enemies. The one prefers
to pay low wages, the other needs high wages. War, constant war, is the result, in which the operative perishes,
but is not vanquished; he is hydra-headed, and when he dies two take his place. But numbers diminish his strength.
The competition among laborers to get employment begets an intestine war, more destructive than the war from
above. There is but one remedy for this evil, so inherent in free society, and that is, to identify the interests of the
weak and the strong, the poor and the rich. Domestic Slavery does this far better than any other institution. Feudalism
only answered the purpose in so far as Feudalism retained the features of slavery. To it (slavery) Greece and Rome,
Egypt and Judea, and all the other distinguished States of antiquity, were indebted for their great prosperity and high
civilization; a prosperity and a civilization which appear almost miraculous, when we look to their ignorance of the physical sciences. In the moral sciences they were our equals, in the fine arts vastly our superiors. Their poetry, their painting,
their sculpture, their drama, their elocution, and their architecture, are models which we imitate, but never equal. In
the science of government and of morals, in pure metaphysics, and in all the walks of intellectual philosophy, we have
been beating the air with our wings or revolving in circles, but have not advanced an inch. But this high civilization
and domestic slavery did not merely co-exist, they were cause and effect. Every scholar whose mind is at all imbued
with ancient history and literature, sees that Greece and Rome were indebted to this institution alone for the taste, the
leisure and the means to cultivate their heads and their hearts; had they been tied down to Yankee notions of thrift, they
might have produced a Franklin, with his “penny saved is a penny gained;” they might have had utilitarian philosophers
and invented the spinning jenny, but they never would have produced a poet, an orator, a sculptor or an architect; they
would never have uttered a lofty sentiment, achieved a glorious feat in war, or created a single work of art.

A modern Yankee, or a Dutchman, is the fair result of liberty and equality. French character has not yet been
subdued and tamed into insignificance by their new institutions; and besides, the pursuit of arms elevates and
purifies the sentiments of Frenchmen. In what is the Yankee or Dutchman comparable to the Roman, Athenian
or Spartan? In nothing save his care of his pelf and his skill in driving a bargain. The ruins of Thebes, of Nineveh,
and of Balbec, the obelisks and pyramids of Egypt, the lovely and time-defying relics of Roman and Grecian art,
the Doric column and the Gothic spire, alike attest the taste, the genius and the energy of society where slavery
existed. And now Equality where are thy monuments? And Echo answers where! Echo deep, deep, from the
bowels of the earth, where women and children drag out their lives in darkness, harnessed like horses to heavy
ears loaded with ore. Or, perhaps, it is an echo from some grand, gloomy and monotonous factory, where pallid
children work fourteen hours a days and go home at night to sleep in damp cellars. It may be too, this cellar
contains aged parents too old to work, and cast off by their employer to die. Great railroads and mighty steamships
too, thou mayest boast, but still the operatives who construct them are beings destined to poverty and neglect.
Not a vestige of art canst thou boast; not a ray of genius illumes thy handiwork. The sordid spirit of mammon
presides o’er all, and from all proceed the sighs and groans of the oppressed. Domestic slavery in the Southern
States has produced the same results in elevating the character of the master that it did in Greece and Rome.
He is lofty and independent in his sentiments, generous, affectionate, brave and eloquent; he is superior to the
Northerner in every thing but the arts of thrift. History proves this. A Yankee sometimes gets hold of the reins of
State, attempts Apollo, but acts Phæton. Scipio and Aristides, Calhoun and Washington, are the noble results of
domestic slavery.

Like Egyptian obelisks ‘mid the waste of time – simple, severe, sublime, – they point ever heavenward, and lift the
soul by their examples. Adams and Van Buren, cunning, complex and tortuous, are fit exponents of the selfish
system of universal liberty. Coriolanus, marching to the gates of Rome with dire hate and deadly indignation, is
grand and noble in his revenge. Adams and Van Buren, insidiously striking with reptile fangs at the South, excite
in all bosoms hatred and contempt; but we will not indulge in sweeping denunciation. In public and in private life,
the North has many noble and generous souls. Men who, like Webster and Cass, Dickinson and Winthrop, can
soar in lofty eloquence beyond the narrow prejudices of time and place, see man in all his relations, and condemn
the narrow morality which makes the performance of one duty the excuse for a thousand crimes. We speak only
of the usual and common effects of slavery and of equality. The Turk, half civilized as he is, exhibits the manly,
noble and generous traits of character peculiar to the slave owner; he is hospitable, generous, truthful, brave,
and strictly honest. In many respects, he is the finest specimen of humanity to be found in the world. But the
chief and far most important enquiry is, how does slavery affect the condition of the slave? One of the wildest
sects of Communists in France proposes not only to hold all property in common, but to divide the profits, not
according to each man’s in-put and labor, but according to each man’s wants. Now this is precisely the system
of domestic slavery with us. We provide for each slave, in old age and in infancy, in sickness and in health, not
according to his labor, but according to his wants. The master’s wants are more costly and refined, and he therefore
gets a larger share of the profits.

A Southern farm is the beau ideal of Communism; it is a joint concern, in which the slave consumes more than
the master, of the coarse products, and is far happier, because although the concern may fail, he is always sure
of a support; he is only transferred to another master to participate in the profits of another concern; he marries
when he pleases, because he knows he will have to work no more with a family than without one,and whether he
live or die, that family will be taken care of; he exhibits all the pride of ownership, despises a partner in a smaller
concern, “a poor man’s negro,” boasts of “our crops, horses, fields and cattle;” and is as happy as a human being
can be. And why should he not? – he enjoys as much of the fruits of the farm as he is capable of doing, and the
wealthiest can do no more. Great wealth brings many additional cares, but few additional enjoyments. Our stomachs
do not increase in capacity with our fortunes. We want no more clothing to keep us warm. We may create new wants,
but we cannot create new pleasures. The intellectual enjoyments which wealth affords are probably balanced by
the new cares it brings along with it. There is no rivalry, no competition to get employment among slaves, as among
free laborers. Nor is there a war between master and slave. The master’s interest prevents his reducing the slave’s
allowance or wages in infancy or sickness, for he might lose the slave by so doing. His feeling for his slave never
permits him to stint him in old age. The slaves are all well fed, well clad, have plenty of fuel, and are happy. They
have no dread of the future – no fear of want. A state of dependence is the only condition in which reciprocal affection
can exist among human beings – the only situation in which the war of competition ceases, and peace, amity and
good will arise. A state of independence always begets more or less of jealous rivalry and hostility. A man loves his
children because they are weak, helpless and dependent; he loves his wife for similar reasons. When his children
grow up and assert their independence, he is apt to transfer his affection to his grand-children.

He ceases to love his wife when she becomes masculine or rebellious; but slaves are always dependent, never
the rivals of their master. Hence, though men are often found at variance with wife or children, we never saw one
who did not like his slaves, and rarely a slave who was not devoted to his master. “I am thy servant!” disarms me
of the power of master. Every man feels the beauty, force and truth of this sentiment of Sterne. But he who acknowledges
its truth, tacitly admits that dependence is a tie of affection, that the relation of master and slave is one of mutual
good will. Volumes written on the subject would not prove as much as this single sentiment. It has found its way to
the heart of every reader, and carried conviction along with it. The slave-holder is like other men; he will not tread
on the worm nor break the bruised reed. The ready submission of the slave, nine times out of ten, disarms his wrath
even when the slave has offended. The habit of command may make him imperious and fit him for rule; but he is
only imperious when thwarted or ordered by his equals; he would scorn to put on airs of command among blacks,
whether slaves or free; he always speaks to them in a kind and subdued tone. We go farther, and say the slave
-holder is better than others – because he has greater occasion for the exercise of the affection. His whole life is
spent in providing for the minutest wants of others, in taking care of them in sickness and in health. Hence he is
the least selfish of men. Is not the old bachelor who retires to seclusion, always selfish? Is not the head of a large
family almost always kind and benevolent? And is not the slave-holder the head of the largest family? Nature
compels master and slave to be friends; nature makes employers and free laborers enemies. The institution of
slavery gives full development and full play to the affections. Free society chills, stints and eradicates them. In
a homely way the farm will support all, and we are not in a hurry to send our children into the world, to push their
way and make their fortunes, with a capital of knavish maxims.

We are better husbands, better fathers, better friends, and better neighbors than our Northern brethren. The
tie of kindred to the fifth degree is often a tie of affection with us. First cousins are scarcely acknowledged at
the North, and even children are prematurely pushed off into the world. Love for others is the organic law of
our society, as selflove is of theirs. Every social structure must have its substratum. In free society this substratum,
the weak, poor and ignorant, is borne down upon and oppressed with continually increasing weight by all above.
We have solved the problem of relieving this substratum from the pressure from above. The slaves are the
substratum, and the master’s feelings and interests alike prevent him from bearing down upon and oppressing
them. With us the pressure on society is like that of air or water, so equally diffused as not any where to be felt.
With them it is the pressure of the enormous screw, never yielding, continually increasing. Free laborers are little
better than trespassers on this earth given by God to all mankind. The birds of the air have nests, and the foxes
have holes, but they have not where to lay their heads. They are driven to cities to dwell in damp and crowded
cellars, and thousands are even forced to lie in the open air. This accounts for the rapid growth of Northern cities.
The feudal Barons were more generous and hospitable and less tyrannical than the petty land-holders of modern
times. Besides, each inhabitant of the barony was considered as having some right of residence, some claim to
protection from the Lord of the Manor. A few of them escaped to the municipalities for purposes of trade, and to
enjoy a larger liberty. Now penury and the want of a home drive thousands to towns. The slave always has a home,
always an interest in the proceeds of the soil. An intelligent New Englander, who was much opposed to negro s
lavery, boasting of his own country, told us that native New Englanders rarely occupied the place of domestic or
body servants, or that of hired laborers on public works.

Emigrants alone served as menials, cleansed the streets, and worked on railroads and canals. New England is
busy importing white free laborers for the home market, and catching negroes in Africa for the Brazilian market.
Some of the negroes die on the passage, but few after they arrive in Brazil. The masters can’t afford to neglect
them. Many of the white laborers die on the passage of cholera and other diseases occasioned by filth and crowding
– a fourth of them probably in the first year after they arrive, for the want of employment or the neglect of employers.
The horrors of the middle passage are nothing to the horrors of a deck passage up the Mississippi when cholera
prevails, or the want, penury and exposure that emigrants are subjected to in our large cities. England, too, has a
tender conscience about slavery, but she is importing captured African slaves into her colonies to serve as apprentices,
and extending this new species of slave trade even to Asia. “Expel nature with a fork, she will soon return.” Slavery
is natural and necessary, and will in some form insinuate itself into all civilized society. – The domestic slave trade is
complained of, and justly too, because it severs family ties. It is one of the evils of slavery, and no institution is without
its evils. But how is it with New England? Are none of the free, the delicately reared and enlightened forced to quit the
domestic hearth and all its endearments, to seek a living among strangers? Delicacy forbids our dwelling on this painful
topic. The instances are before our eyes. What would induce a Virginian, rich or poor, to launch such members of his
family unattended on the cold world. More than half of the white citizens of the North are common laborers, either in
the field, or as body or house servants. They perform the same services that our slaves do. They serve their employers
for hire; they have quite as little option whether they shall so serve, or not, as our slaves, for they cannot live without
their wages. Their hire or wages, except with the heathy and able-bodied, are not half what we allow our slaves, for it
is wholly insufficent for their comfortable maintenance, whilst we always keep our slaves in comfort, in return for their
past, present, or expected labor. The socialists say wages is slavery.It is a gross libel on slavery.

Wages are given in time of vigorous health and strength, and denied when most needed, when sickness or old age
has overtaken us. The slave is never without a master to maintain him. The free laborer, though willing to work,
cannot always find an employer. He is then without a home and without wages! In a densely peopled country,
where the supply of laborers exceeds the demand, wages is worse than slavery. Oh! Liberty and Equality, to
what a sad pass do you bring your votaries! This is the exact condition to which the mass of society is reduced
in France and England, and to which it is rapidly approximating in our Northern States. This state of things brought
about the late revolution in France. The Socialist rulers undertook to find employment, put the laborers of Paris
to work, transplanting trees and digging the earth. This experiment worked admirably in all but one respect. The
government could find employment, but could not find wages. THE RIGHT TO EMPLOYMENT! Frenchmen
deluged Paris with fraternal gore to vindicate this right. The right to live when you are strong enough to work,
for it is then only you want employment. Poor as this boon would be, it is one which Liberty and Equality cannot
confer. If it were conferred, the free laborer’s condition would still be below the slave’s, for the wages of the
slave are paid whether he is fit for employment or not. Oh carry, carry me back to old Virginia shore, For I
am old and feeble grown, And cannot work any more. Liberty and Equality, thou art humble in thy pretensions;
thou askest little. But that little inexorable fate denies thee. Literally and truly, “darkness, death and black
despair surround thee.” In France, England, Scotland and Ireland, the genius of famine hovers o’er the land.
Emigrants, like a flock of hungry pigeons or Egyptian locusts, are alighting on the North. Every green thing
will soon be consumed . The hollow, bloated prosperity which she now enjoys is destined soon to pass away.

Her wealth does not increase with her numbers; she is dependent for the very necessaries of life on the
slaveholding States. If those States cut off commercial intercourse with her, as they certainly will do if she
does not speedily cease interference with slavery, she will be without food or clothing for her overgrown
population. She is already threatened with a social revolution. The right to separate property in land is not
only questioned by many, but has been successfully denied in the case of the Anti-Renters. Judges and
Governors are elected upon pledges that they will sustain those who deny this right and defy the law. The
editor of the most influential paper in the North, lately a member of Congress, is carrying on open war, not
only against the right of property, but against every institution held sacred by society. A people who can
countenance and patronise such doctrines, are almost ripe to carry those doctrines into practice. An
insurrection of the poor against the rich may happen speedily among them. Should it occur, they have
no means of suppressing it. No standing army, no efficient militia, no strength in their State governments.
Society is hurrying on to the gulf of agrarianism, and no port of safety is in sight; no remedy for the evils
with which it is beset has been suggested, save the remedies of the Socialists; remedies tried in France
and proved to be worthless. Population is too dense to introduce negro slaves. White men will not submit
to be slaves, and are not fitted for slavery if they would. To the European race some degree of liberty is
necessary, though famine stare them in the face. We are informed in Holy Writ, that God ordained certain
races of men for slaves. The wisest philosopher of ancient times, with the experience of slavery before his
eyes, proclaimed the same truth. Modern Abolitionists, wiser than Moses and Aristotle, have discovered
that all men should be free.

They have yet to discover the means of sustaining their lives in a state of freedom. At the slaveholding
South all is peace, quiet, plenty and contentment. We have no mobs, no trades unions, no strikes for
higher wages, no armed resistance to the law, but little jealousy of the rich by the poor. We have but
few in our jails, and fewer in our poor houses. We produce enough of the comforts and necessaries of
life for a population three or four times as numerous as ours. We are wholly exempt from the torrent of
pauperism, crime, agrarianism, and infidelity which Europe is pouring from her jails and alms houses
on the already crowded North. Population increases slowly, wealth rapidly. In the tide water region of
Eastern Virginia, as far as our experience extends, the crops have doubled in fifteen years, whilst the
population has been almost stationary. In the same period the lands, owing to improvements of the soil
and the many fine houses erected in the country, have nearly doubled in value. This ratio of improvement
has been approximated or exceeded wherever in the South slaves are numerous. We have enough for
the present, and no Malthusian spectres frightening us for the future. Wealth is more equally distributed
than at the North, where a few millionaires own most of the property of the country. (These millionaires
are men of cold hearts and weak minds; they know how to make money, but not how to use it, either for
the benefit of themselves or of others.) High intellectual and moral attainments, refinement of head and
heart, give standing to a man in the South, however poor he may be. Money is, with few exceptions, the
only thing that ennobles at the North. We have poor among us, but none who are over-worked and under
-fed. We do not crowd cities because lands are abundant and their owners kind, merciful and hospitable.
The poor are as hospitable as the rich, the negro as the white man.

Nobody dreams of turning a friend, a relative, or a stranger from his door. The very negro who deems it
no crime to steal, would scorn to sell his hospitality. We have no loafers, because the poor relative or friend
who borrows our horse, or spends a week under our roof, is a welcome guest. The loose economy, the
wasteful mode of living at the South, is a blessing when rightly considered; it keeps want, scarcity and
famine at a distance, because it leaves room for retrenchment. The nice, accurate economy of France,
England and New England, keeps society always on the verge of famine, because it leaves no room to
retrench, that is to live on a part only of what they now consume. Our society exhibits no appearance of
precocity, no symptoms of decay. A long course of continuing improvement is in prospect before us, with
no limits which human foresight can descry. Actual liberty and equality with our white population has been
approached much nearer than in the free States. Few of our whites ever work as day laborers, none as
cooks, scullions, ostlers, body servants, or in other menial capacities. One free citizen does not lord it over
another; hence that feeling of independence and equality that distinguishes us; hence that pride of character,
that self-respect, that gives us ascendancy when we come in contact with Northerners. It is a distinction to
be a Southerner, as it was once to be a Roman citizen. In Virginia we are about to reform our constitution.
A fair opportunity will be afforded to draw a wider line of distinction between freemen and slaves, to elevate
higher the condition of the citizen, to inspire every white man with pride of rank and position. We should do
more for education. We have to educate but half of society, at the North they attempt to educate all. Besides,
here all men have time for self-education, for reading and reflection. Nobody works long hours. We should
prohibit the exercise of mechanic arts to slaves (except on their master’s farm) and to free negroes.

We should extend the right of sufferage to all native Virginians, and to Southerners who move to Virginia,
over twenty-one years of age. We should permit no foreigner and no Northerner, who shall hereafter remove
to the State, to vote in elections. We should have a small, well drilled, paid militia, to take the place of the
patrol and the present useless militia system. All men of good character should serve on juries without
regard to property qualification. Thus we should furnish honorable occupation to all our citizens, whilst
we cultivated and improved their minds by requiring them all to take part in the administration of justice
and of government. We should thus make poverty as honorable as it was in Greece and Rome; for to be
a Virginian would be a higher distinction than wealth or title could bestow. We should cease to be a bye
-word and reproach among nations for our love of the almighty dollar. We should be happy in the confidence
that our posterity would never occupy the place of slaves, as half mankind must ever do in free society.
Until the last fifteen years, our great error was to imitate Northern habits, customs and institutions. Our
circumstances are so opposite to theirs, that whatever suits them is almost sure not to suit us. Until that
time, in truth, we distrusted our social system. We thought slavery morally wrong, we thought it would not
last, we thought it unprofitable. The Abolitionists assailed us; we looked more closely into our circumstances;
became satisfied that slavery was morally right, that it would continue ever to exist, that it was as profitable
as it was humane. This begat self-confidence, self-reliance. Since then our improvement has been rapid.
Now we may safely say, that we are the happiest, most contented and prosperous people on earth. The
inter-meddling of foreign pseudo-philanthropists in our affairs, though it has occasioned great irritation and
indignation, has been of inestimable advantage in teaching us to form a right estimate of our condition.
This inter-meddling will soon cease; the poor at home in thunder tones demand their whole attention
and all their charity. Self preservation will compel them to listen to their demands.

Moreover, light is breaking in upon us from abroad. All parties in England now agree that the attempt to put
down the slave trade has greatly aggravated its horrors, without at all diminishing the trade itself. It is proposed
to withdraw her fleet from the African coast. France has already given notice that she will withdraw hers. America
will follow the example. The emancipation of the slaves in the West Indies is admitted to have been a failure in
all respects. The late masters have been ruined, the liberated slaves refuse to work, and are fast returning to
the savage state, and England herself has sustained a severe blow in the present diminution and prospective
annihilation of the once enormous imports from her West Indian colonies. In conclusion, we will repeat the
propositions, in somewhat different phraseology, with which we set out. First – That Liberty and Equality, with
their concomitant Free Competition, beget a war in society that is as destructive to its weaker members as the
custom of exposing the deformed and crippled children. Secondly – That slavery protects the weaker members
of society just as do the relations of parent, guardian and husband, and is as necessary, as natural, and almost
as universal as those relations. Is our demonstration imperfect? Does universal experience sustain our theory?
Should the conclusions to which we have arrived appear strange and startling, let them therefore not be rejected
without examination. The world has had but little opportunity to contrast the working of Liberty and Equality with
the old order of things, which always partook more or less of the character of domestic slavery. The strong
prepossession in the public mind in favor of the new system, makes it reluctant to attribute the evil phenomena
which it exhibits, to defects inherent in the system itself. That these defects should not have been foreseen
and pointed out by any process of a priori reasoning, is but another proof of the fallibility of human sagacity
and foresight when attempting to foretell the operation of new institutions. It is as much as human reason can
do, when examining the complex frame of society, to trace effects back to their causes – much more than it
can do, to foresee what effects new causes will produce. We invite investigation.

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