Mississippi, Texas, and Arkansas, a and, with no very considerable modifications, to Florida, to a few portions of North Carolina, and to the western half of Tennessee. We repeat here, as applicable to the States above named, that which, antecedent to more general examinations, were had predicated only of South Carolina:
This is one of the States in which the system of negro slavery seems to have reached its furthest development with the least modification from contact with external civilization. There is appears to have run out nearer to its logical consequences than in any other we have visited. There is has been darkening in its shades of inhumanity and moral degradation from year to year, exhibiting, more and more, increased cruelty, a more marked crushing out, in the case of the negro race, of the humanizing relations of civilized life, and a closer approach, in practice, to a monstrous maxim; the same which a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, perverting history, alleges to have been the sentiment of the civilized world when the U. S. Constitution was adopted, and in the spirit of which he assumes (in virtue of such perversion) that Constitution to have bee framed, namely, that "the negro has no rights which the white man is bound to respect." b The evidence before the Commission shows that half a century ago its phase was much milder than on the day when South Carolina seceded. It is the uniform testimony of all emancipated South Carolina slaves above the age of sixty that their youth was spent under a state of things which, compared to as merciful and considerate. As a general rule, these old men are more bright and intelligent than the younger field hands, in many of whom a stolid, sullen despondency attests the stupefying influence of slave-driving under its more recent phase.
The disintegration of the family relation is one of the most striking and most melancholy indications of this progress of barbarism. The slave was not permitted to own a family name; instances occurred in which he was flogged for presuming to use one. He did not each with his children or with their mother; "there was no time for that." In portions of this State, at least, a family breakfast or dinner table was a thing so little known among these people that ever since their enfranchisement it has been very difficult to break them of the life-long habit that each should clutch the dish containing his portion and skulk off into a corner, there to devour it in solitude. The entire day, until after sunset, was spent in the field; the night in huts of a single room, where all ages and both sexes herded promiscuously. Young girls of fifteen, some of an earlier age, became mothers, not only without marriage, but often without any pretense of fidelity to which even a slave could give that name. The church, it is true, interposed her protest; but the master, save in exceptional cases, did not sustain it, tacitly sanctioning a state of morality under which ties of habitual affection could not assume a form dangerous or inconvenient to despotic rule.
The men, indeed, frequently asked from their masters the privilege of appropriating to themselves those of the other sex. Sometimes it was granted, sometimes-when the arrangement was deemed unprofitable-it was refused. Some cases there were in which a slave-holder, prompted by his own sense of morality or religion, or urged thereto to a pious wife, suffered these connections of his slaves to have the sanction of religious ceremony. But it is evident that to connect even with such a quasi marriage the idea of sacredness or religious duty was inconsistent with that legal policy of the slave States which forbade to render indissoluble among slaves a relation which to- morrow it might be for the interest of their owner to break up.
The maternal relation was often as little respected as the marital. On many plantations, where the system was most thoroughly carried out, pregnancy neither exempted from corporal punishment c nor procured a diminution of the daily task; and it was a matter of occasional occurrence that the woman was overtaken
a We do not here include Louisiana because the phase of slavery in that State is set forth in detail in Supplemental Report B, herewith submitted.
b Dred Scott vs. John F. A. Sandford, December term, 1856, 23 Howard, 407.
c Another of my visitors had a still more dismal story to tell. Her name was Die. She had sixteen children, fourteen of whom were dead. She had four miscarriages; one had been caused from falling down with a very heavy burden on her head, and one from her arms strained up to be lashed. I asked her what she meant by having her arms tied up. She said their hands were first tied together, sometimes by the wrists, and sometimes, which was worse, by the thumbs, and they were then drawn up to a tree or post, so as to swing them off the ground, and then their clothes rolled round their waist, and a man with