And be it stated to the credit of the slave owners of the South
that they are fully alive to the danger of the portentous struggle, and have of late years shown no indisposition to help in their own emancipation as well in that of the slave, provided they may only escape the dire catastrophe we speak of. It is certain that a large class of slave owners in the South
are most desirous to relieve their soil of the stain and inconvenience of slavery, if the tremendous step can be taken with safety to all parties concerned in the act of liberation.
The efforts made in the South
to improve the condition of the slave show at least that humanity is not dead in the bosom of the proprietors.
has certainly not done justice to this branch of the subject.
Horrors in connection with slavery—itself a horror—unquestionably exist, but all accounts—save her own and those of writers actuated by her extreme views—concur in describing the general condition of the Southern
slave as one of comparative happiness and comfort such as many a free man in the United Kingdom might regard with envy.
One authority on this point is too important to be overlooked.
In the year 1842 a Scotch weaver named William Thompson
traveled through the Southern States
He supported himself on his way by manual labor; he mixed with the humblest classes black
, and on his return home he published an account of his journeyings.
He had quitted Scotland
a sworn hater of slave proprietors, but he confessed that experience had modified his views on this supject to a considerable degree.
He had witnessed slavery in most of the slave-holding States; he had lived for weeks among negroes in cotton plantations, and he asserted that he had never beheld one-fifth of the real suffering that he had seen among the laboring poor in England
Nay, more, he declared: “That the members of the same family of negroes are not so much scattered as those of workingmen in Scotland
, whose necessities compel them to separate at an age when the American
slave is running about gathering health and strength.”
Ten years have not increased the hardships of the Southern
During that period colonization has come to his relief; education has, legally or illegally, found its way into his cabin, and Christianity has added spiritual consolations to his allowed, admitted physical enjoyments.
It has been justly said that to these men of the South
who have done their best for the negro under the institution of slavery must we look for any great effort in favor of emancipation and they who are best acquainted with the progress of events in those parts declare that at this moment “there are powerful and ”