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                             From a letter to a personal friend

Today, on board a boat, I saw a gentleman who had purchased twelve Negroes in
different parts of Kentucky and was taking them to a farm in the South. They were
chained six and six together. A small iron chain was around the left wrist of each so that
the Negroes were strung together precisely like so many fish upon a trot-line. In this
condition they were being separated forever from the scenes of their childhood, their
friends, their fathers and mothers, and brothers and sisters, and many of them, from
their wives and children, and going into perpetual slavery. . .yet amid all these
distressing circumstances . . . they were the most cheerful and apparently happy
creatures on board. One, whose offense for which he had been sold was overfondness
for his wife, played the fiddle almost continually; and the others danced, sung, cracked
jokes, and played various games with cards from day to day. How true it is that “God
renders the worst of human conditions tolerable. . .

                                Document B (excerpt)

                                       From a speech

While I was at the hotel to-day, an elderly gentleman called upon me to know whether I
was really in favor of producing a perfect equality between the negroes and white
people. [Great laughter.] While I had not proposed to myself on this occasion to say
much on that subject, yet as the question was asked me I thought I would occupy
perhaps five minutes in saying something in regard to it. I will say then that I am not, nor
ever have been, in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of
the white and black races, [applause]-that I am not nor ever have been in favor of
making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to
intermarry with white people; and I will say in addition to this that there is a physical
difference between the white and black races which I believe will forever forbid the two
races living together on terms of social and political equality. And inasmuch as they
cannot so live, while they do remain together there must be the position of superior and
inferior, and I as much as any other man am in favor of having the superior position
assigned to the white race. I say upon this occasion I do not perceive that because the
white man is to have the superior position the negro should be denied everything. I do
not understand that because I do not want a negro woman for a slave I must
necessarily want her for a wife. [Cheers and laughter.] My understanding is that I can
just let her alone. I am now in my fiftieth year, and I certainly never have had a black
woman for either a slave or a wife. So it seems to me quite possible for us to get along
without making either slaves or wives of negroes. I will add to this that I have never
seen, to my knowledge, a man, woman or child who was in favor of producing a perfect
equality, social and political, between negroes and white men. I recollect of but one
distinguished instance that I ever heard of so frequently as to be entirely satisfied of its
correctness-and that is the case of Judge Douglas's old friend Col. Richard M. Johnson.
[Laughter.] I will also add to the remarks I have made (for I am not going to enter at
large upon this subject,) that I have never had the least apprehension that I or my
friends would marry negroes if there was no law to keep them from it, [laughter] but as
Judge Douglas and his friends seem to be in great apprehension that they might, if
there were no law to keep them from it, [roars of laughter] I give him the most solemn
pledge that I will to the very last stand by the law of this State, which forbids the
marrying of white people with negroes. [Continued laughter and applause.]

                                Document C (excerpt)

                                       From a speech

I cannot make it better known than it already is that I strongly favor colonization . . .

It is insisted that their presence would injure and displace white labor and white
laborers. . . Is it true, then, that colored people can displace any more white labor by
being free than by remaining slaves? If they stay in their old places, they jostle no white
laborers; if they leave their old places, they leave them open to white laborers. Logically,
there is neither more nor less of it. Emancipation [freedom], even without deportation,
would probably enhance the wages of white labor, and very surely would not reduce
them. Thus the customary amount of labor would still have to be performed--the freed
people would surely not do more than their old proportion of it, and very probably for a
time would do less, leaving an increased part to white laborers, bringing their labor into
greater demand, and consequently enhancing the wages of it. With deportation, even to
a limited extent, enhanced wages to white labor is mathematically certain. Labor is like
any other commodity in the market--increase the demand for it and you increase the
price of it. Reduce the supply of black labor by colonizing the black laborer out of the
country, and by precisely so much you increase the demand for and wages of white

But it is dreaded that the freed people will swarm forth and cover the whole land. Are
they not already in the land? Will liberation make them any more numerous? Equally
distributed among the whites of the whole country, and there would be but one colored
to seven whites. Could the one in any way greatly disturb the seven? There are many
communities now having more than one free colored person to seven whites and this
without any apparent consciousness of evil from it. The District of Columbia and the
States of Maryland and Delaware are all in this condition. The District . . . has never
presented the presence of free colored persons as one of its grievances. But why
should emancipation South send the free people North? People of any color seldom run
unless there be something to run from. Heretofore colored people to some extent have
fled North from bondage, and now, perhaps, from both bondage and destitution. But if
gradual emancipation and deportation be adopted, they will have neither to flee from.
Their old masters will give them wages at least until new laborers can be procured, and
the freedmen in turn will gladly give their labor for the wages till new homes can be
found for them in congenial climes and with people of their own blood and race. This
proposition can be trusted on the mutual interests involved. And in any event, cannot
the North decide for itself whether to receive them?
                                Document D (excerpt)

                             From a letter to a personal friend

You know I dislike slavery; and you fully admit the abstract wrong of it. So far there is no
cause of difference. But you say that sooner than yield your legal right to the slave --
especially at the bidding of those who are not themselves interested, you would see the
Union dissolved. I am not aware that any one is bidding you to yield that right; very
certainly I am not. I leave that matter entirely to yourself. I also acknowledge your rights
and my obligations, under the constitution, in regard to your slaves. I confess I hate to
see the poor creatures hunted down, and caught, and carried back to their stripes, and
unrewarded toils; but I bite my lip and keep quiet. In 1841 you and I had together a
tedious low-water trip, on a Steam Boat from Louisville to St. Louis. You may
remember, as I well do, that from Louisville to the mouth of the Ohio, there were, on
board, ten or a dozen slaves, shackled together with irons. That sight was a continued
torment to me; and I see something like it every time I touch the Ohio, or any other
slave-border. It is hardly fair for you to assume, that I have no interest in a thing which
has, and continually exercises, the power of making me miserable. You ought rather to
appreciate how much the great body of the Northern people do crucify their feelings, in
order to maintain their loyalty to the Constitution and the Union. . . I am not a Know-
Nothing. That is certain. How could I be? How can anyone who abhors the oppression
of negroes, be in favor or degrading classes of white people? Our progress in
degeneracy appears to me to be pretty rapid. As a nation, we began by declaring that
"all men are created equal." We now practically read it "all men are created equal,
except negroes" When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read "all men are created
equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics." When it comes to this I should
prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretence of loving liberty -- to
Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of
hypocracy [sic].

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