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Re: [civilwarwest] Re: Trustworthy slaves

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  • Aurelie1999@aol.com
    Mostly they stayed put because they didn t know what to do. Most lived on isolated farms or plantations where the opportunity of a grass roots uprising behind
    Message 1 of 10 , Jan 4, 2002
      Mostly they stayed put because they didn't know what to do. Most lived on
      isolated farms or plantations where the opportunity of a grass roots uprising
      behind a charismatic leader were almost nil. Their information was based on
      rumor and possibilities. They had few tools for evaluating that information
      especially early in the war. These were people who had lived without hope
      all their lives and were suspicious of whites. They were born to slavery
      rather than adults caught in a holocaust. This meant they were conditioned
      to use subterfuge for survival and that white massah was all powerful.

      In 1857 James Stirling an Englishman who traveled the South and sent letters
      home entitled Letters from the Slave States. Among other things he describes
      the gradations of slavery from the house to the field. It is quite
      revealing. Have you read it. The book is online at <A
      HREF="http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1857stirling.html">The Life of
      Plantation Field Hands, 1857</A>

      I found this passage particularly significant since the argument that slaves
      were well treated if for no other reason than economic. Written in 1857, it
      speaks loudly. "It is often said that the interest of the slave­owner is
      sufficient guarantee for the good treatment of the slave; that no man will
      voluntarily injure the value of his property. This reasoning assumes, first,
      that slave­owners will take an intelligent view of their own interests; and,
      secondly, that they will be guided by the passion of gain rather than by
      other passions. But we find the Cuba slave-owner working his slaves to death,
      at the rate of 3 per cent. per annum. And again, slavery is a system which
      evokes passions more powerful even than the love of gain. Against the action
      of these angry passions, the distant calculation of mere profit can avail but
      little with men of violent dispositions." Connie
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