to the extent that this principle enters into it a system of slavery
. It may be a wise system, because it is a necessary means for the accomplishment of some desirable end; or it may be an unwise system, because it is a means unsuited to the end proposed.
But neither hypothesis will at all affect the principle.
That is the same in the one case as in the other; that is, whether it be abused or properly used, the principle itself is the same.
But can it be properly used at all?
This leads to the second
inquiry — Is this a sound, legitimate principle, which may and should be adopted in practice whenever it may be wise to do so?
We need not scruple to admit that if injustice or any similar idea should be found to enter as an element into the abstract principle, it is a poisoned principle, upon which no honest man will allow himself to act. But is this the case?
Doubtless, there may be injustice in slavery, as in every system which has persons for its subjects: that is, any master
acting under the authority of this system may perpetrate great injustice; but we maintain that when he does so he introduces a principle foreign to the system, and for which he is individually responsible: he does that which mars the character of the whole performance, and stamps his own personal conduct with the guilt of injustice.