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The writings of John Greenleaf Whittier, Volume 7. (ed. John Greenleaf Whittier), The conflict with slavery (search)
decline of the white population. In the free states labor is reputable. The statesman, whose eloquence has electrified a nation, does not disdain in the intervals of the public service to handle the axe and the hoe. And the woman whose beauty, talents, and accomplishments have won the admiration of all deems it no degradation to look well to her household. But the slave stamps with indelible ignominy the character of occupation. It is a disgrace for a highborn Virginian or chivalrous Carolinian to labor, side by side, with the low, despised, miserable black man. Wretched must be the condition of the poorer classes of whites in a slave-holding community! Compelled to perform the despised offices of the slave, they can hardly rise above his level. They become the pariahs of society. No wonder, then, that the tide of emigration flows from the slave-cursed shores of the Atlantic to the free valleys of the West. In New England the labor of a farmer or mechanic is worth from $150