In the case of the slave in Kanawha County the master is rich; the man killed leaves a poor family. The wife and children are left without support, deprived of it by the slave; yet, though the master is rich, by law he is to be paid six hundred dollars for his slave, while the family, deprived of all support, is left unprovided for. This case is, perhaps, the history of thousands of cases that have occurred in the State. The whole system of paying for convict slaves has been revolting to my mind ever since I had judgment to comprehend it. In the last twenty years there have been above six hundred thousand dollars appropriated by the Legislature to pay for convict slaves. From thirty thousand to forty thousand dollars have been annually appropriated. I think it is time the whole thing was stopped, and would recommend that you not only do not make any appropriation to pay for those that are already condemned, but that you repeal the law which allows compensation for condemned slaves. Large numbers of slaveholders have engaged in the rebellion now in progress. They are passing resolutions to burn their crops. They are taking their horses and mules to be used in the rebel army. They are not providing the means of subsistence for their slaves during the coming year, by planting crops the present season. Insubordination may arise among the slaves in different parts of the State. They may commit various crimes for which thousands of them, during the coming year, may be condemned to be hung or transported, and in this way an insupportable debt may be forced on the State. I respectfully suggest, gentlemen, that you repeal the law above referred to.
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