Search This Blog

Friday, October 6, 2017

More on South-West by a Yankee - Treatment of Slaves 1835

A description of Natchez, written in 1835 by Joseph Holt Ingraham.
Offered without comment:

"Many of the planters are northerners.  When they have conquered their prejudices, they become thorough, driving planters, generally giving themselves up to the pursuit more devotedly than the regular-bred planter.  Their treatment of the slaves is also far more rigid.

Northerners are entirely unaccustomed to their habits, which are perfectly understood and appreciated by southerners, who have been familiar with Africans from childhood; whom they have had for their nurses, play-fellows, and "bearers," and between whom and themselves a reciprocal and very natural attachment exists, which on the gentleman's part, involuntarily extends to the whole dingy race, exhibited in a kindly feeling and condescending familiarity, for which he receives gratitude in return.

On the part of the slave, this attachment is manifested by an affection and faithfulness which only cease with life.  Of this state of feeling, which a southern life and education can only give, the northerner knows nothing.  Inexperience leads him to hold the reins of government over his novel subjects with an unsparing severity, which the native ruler of the domestic colonies finds wholly unnecessary.

The slave always prefers a southern master, because he knows that he will be understood by him.  His kindly feelings toward and sympathies with slaves as such, are as honourable to his heart as gratifying to the subjects of them. He treats with suitable allowance those peculiarities of their race, which the unpracticed northerner will construe into idleness, obstinacy, laziness, revenge, or hatred.

There is another cause for their difference of treatment to their slaves.  The southerner, habituated to their presence, never fears them, and laughs at the idea.  It is the reverse with the northerner:  he fears them, and hopes to intimidate them by severity."

Related posts:

Southwest by a Yankee