Slavery breeds imperiousness of manner, impatience of contradiction or delay, ungovernable passion, contempt of labor. While it produces a certain carelessness of wealth and easy profuseness in expenditure, it discourages hardy enterprise in useful fields. Habits of regulated industry are seldom formed within the sphere of its influence, its tendency being to substitute for these indolent fashions of dependence and luxurious self-indulgence. It weakens the supremacy of law, with its sobering and chastening influence. It engenders, in young men especially, a spirit of reckless daring, a sort of careless courage that takes little account of human life; a love of violent excitement, sometimes running into military ardor, and ever liable to take the form of gambling, or intemperance, or that debasing licentiousness which must needs prevail wherever, in any class or race, female chastity is neither respected by custom nor protected by law.
Hence a state of society in which, with manners often cultivated, with an impulsive generosity and free hospitably to equals in station, there mingles a certain essential barbarism, which not only shows itself habitually in the treatment of those occupying servile or inferior positions, but also breaks out toward others in bursts of temper so frequent and violent that the old regulator in ages when force was law, the wager of battle in its modern form of duel, is openly sanctioned by public opinion as a necessary check to social insult or lawless outrage.
These remarks apply in their full force to society as it existed at the time the Southern insurrection declared itself in the States we have designated as those in which the slave system has been fully developed; the States which first rebelled; the States which will be the last to return to their allegiance. No reflecting and dispassionate observer, who has sojourned in any of these States long enough to become familiar with their manner and morals and social condition will pronounce the view we have taken of the results of slavery to be intemperate or unfair. From one of other of these results no man or woman born and bred in a slave community, no matter whether they learn to approve slavery or to hate it, can be reasonably expected wholly to escape. It is true as to the Border States, where the tilled estates more frequently assume the aspect of farms than of plantations, where the owner and his sons sometimes work along with the slaves they do not actually work with them, yet personally superintend their labor so as to recognize and take interest in them as individual human beings-it is true, and should here be stated, as to
crime she had committed, and was told that it consisted in burning the edges of the waffles she had been cooking for breakfast.
"The sight of this thing," the witness added, "made me wild, and I could not work right that day. I prayed the Lord to help my people out of their bondage."
This witness was born and brought up in a northern county of North Carolina, where, he said, such cruelty was unheard of. Slaves were flogged there; but if one broke away during the punishment no attempt was made to renew it. What a fearful addition to the atrocities of this scene that the young women were witnesses of the ungovernable rage and savage cruelty of a farther! And what must have been the character of the father who could thus expose himself before his children? The least evil that could result was, that it excited within them detestation of their parent. More probably the influence was brutalizing, deadening in their young hearts the sentiment of humanity, and preparing them to become themselves, in after life, merciless tyrants on the slightest provocation.
Outrages so gross may not have been common, even in South Carolina; but when they did occur they passed unnoticed either by law or by public opinion. What must have been the state of that society in which crimes so grave were committed with utter impunity?