these States, that the phase of slavery there existing is sensibly modified, and is divested more by practice, however, than by relaxation of law of some of its most odious features. On small estates especially, slaves in the Border States often have by sufferance a certain amount of property; continue to live by sufferance as if legally married; are frequently trusted with important charges; are sent to market with cattle or produce; are consulted in regard to the management of the estate. a Under such circumstances, they are greatly improved by coming into daily contact with white persons, and instances occur in which they are treated by the family with as much consideration as if they skin exhibited no tinge of African blood.
In these States the chief aggravation of the system is the interstate slave-trade; the forcible separation of families to fill up those melancholy gangs, assorted like droves of cattle, and whose destination is to that mysterious and undefined land, the terror of the border negro, known to him only as "down South." b
But even under this comparatively moderated phase of slavery, the inherent injustice of the system exhibits itself in the character of the very indulgences, which in other slave States are forbidden by law. c In visitin the colored population of Louisville this presented itself in a marked manner to the notice of the Commission. We found living there many slaves who, as the usual phrase is, "had hired their time." One case was of a slave woman, apparently fifty years of age, named Charlotte, belonging to Mr. ---. She had been hiring herself for more than fifteen years. The had two children-one thirteen, the other seventeen- both of whom worked in a tobacco factory. Their regular wages were $2 a week each; sometimes they did extra work, earning more. She hired their time also. For herself and these two children she paid her owner $5 a week; a dollar a week for herself and $2 a week for each of the children. She had brought up these children without any aid whatever from her master, feeding them, clothing them; and this she continued to do even now, when her master took their wages. She inhabited, with them, a single room, in a tenement house, about twelve feet square, paying her own rent. She supported herself by washing. A large bed and an ironing table, which together filled up most of the room, were piled with clothes prepared for ironing when we entered.
a See testimony taken in Kentucky, p.12. [Here omitted.]
b This domestic slave-trade appears to have been increasing rather than diminishing up to the commencement of the war. Judge Ballard, of Louisville, deposed before the Commission: "A few years since more cruelty, I think, was tolerated by the sentiment of the State than when I was a boy. We saw more frequently negro gangs driven through the city. Formerly a man did not like to be seen in that position, but five or six years ago it became quite common; there was no effort to conceal the thing. I recollect well that thirty years ago I knew a man, who was a physician in this city, to be tried by his church for the offense (committed as administrator of an estate) of unnecessarily separating, by sale, a slave from his wife."
c No persona shall hire to any slave his time; nor shall any person owning the legal or equitable title of any slave, absolutely or for a term of time, his agent or attorney, or other person having the control of a slave, willfully permit or suffer such slave-
1. To own hogs, cows, horses, mules, or other like property.
2. To trade in spirituous liquors, hogs, cows, horses, or mules, or provisions, or other like property.
3. Nor, as if he were a free person of color, to live by himself.
4. To hire himself out.
5. To work and labor; to spend his or her time, or to do other acts. (Code of Tennessee, 1858, Sec.2685, p.578.)