be equally protected. But among the same statutes in every slave State of the Union is incorporated a provision to the following or similar effect:
A negro, mulatto, Indian, or person of mixed blood, descended from negro or Indian ancestors, to the third generation inclusive, though one ancestor of each generation may have been a white person, whether bond or free, is incapable of being a witness in any case, civil or criminal except for or against each other. a
As far as regards the two worst crimes against the person, the above provision is the exact equivalent of the following:
Murder or rape by a white person committed against a negro, mulatto, Indian, or person of mixed blood, descended from negro or Indian ancestors, to the third generation inclusive, though one ancestor of each generation may have been a white person, shall go unpunished, unless a white person shall have been present, and shall testify to the commission of the crime.
The apology for a law according to which a woman cannot testify against the violator of her person, or a son against the murderer of his father, is, that in a community where negro slavery prevails such a provision is necessary for the safety of the white race. The same apology is adduced to justify the taking from the slave the right of property, of marriage, of family ties, of education, of self-defense.
The apology may be valid. It may not be possible to force one race to hopeless labor-they and their children after them-from sunrise till sunset, day after day, year after year, till death- thus to toil unrequited, save by the coarsest food and clothing, in order that another race may exist in idleness-it may not be possible safely to carry on such a system without depriving the laboring race of every right, civil and social, and of every protection to life and property, for which man has been struggling through all the centuries of history.
It may be one of the conditions of safety to the master race, thus usurping the labor of their fellows, that some of their own children should be as utterly disfranchised as the imported African. The phraseology of the section we have quoted is very suggestive-"to the third generation inclusive, though one ancestor of each generation be white," are the words. The white man makes the law, and his son, his grandson, his great grandson, so that these share to the extent of one-eighth the blood of the attained race, may whether slave or free, be murdered with impunity, if the murder be not committed in the presence of some one without that eighth of taint. The white man makes the law, and exposes the chastity of his own daughter, fairer of skin, it may be, than himself, to brutal outrage, without possibility of bringing the ruffian who commits that outrage to justice, unless the wretch, adding folly to infamy, selects his opportunity when one of his own race happens to be within hearing or sight. These may all be necessary conditions, without which, under the slave system, domestic tranquillity cannot be maintained.
Let us assume that in this matter the slave-holder is in the right, and that while slavery exists these are his conditions of safety; what then? IN what sense, except a blasphemous one, can we pronounce that system to be successful which cannot maintain itself except in violation in the heart of man, except by the abrogation, as to an entire rase of men, of those rights of property, of family, and of person, to assert and maintain which, in all ages of the world, good and brave men have willingly sacrified life?
a Code of Tennessee, 1858, Sec. 3808, p.687. We have selected this section from the code of one of the Middle States as a fair average example.