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Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 6, page 183, November 2, 1853

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Identifier: DX04197121

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 6, page 183, November 2, 1853

Description: Gives his thoughts on slavery and abolition.


it’s curious to peep into, and notice the feathery flakes; thence to be packed and pressed below. Hence the bales are taken to the landing by the river side, to be transported to New Orleans.) And now about this “Institution” of Slavery. That it is a Wrong and an Evil is true. That it gives Irresponsible Authority, which I think unfit to be placed in the hands of any fallible creature, over the Slave, is True. That every incident in Mrs [Harriet Beecher] Stowe’s book [Uncle Tom’s Cabin] might, probably has occurred, is True. And that, looking at it as a simple question of Right or Wrong, it presents but a revolting aspect is true. Yet with all this granted, it is sober truth that in so far as All Evil is in some sort necessary, this one of Slavery is a Necessary Evil. You can not abolish it, lest infinitely worse Evils rush in. Unless indeed, the entire population south of Mason and Dixon’s line were to become Stewards by unheard of miracle, devoting their whole lives to fitting the Slave for liberty, developing the intellectual and moral, (rather I might say producing it;) then giving him freedom, and themselves becoming beggary by doing so. And even this Miraculous Philanthropy could not avail till a second Generation. But this no one has a right to expect, and the World is not ruled after such fashion. Sudden Abolition is the idea of a lunatic, amiable insanity it may be, but still insanity. It would turn all the South into a Wilderness, and the Negroes into their native Savage African life again, or worse. Honest English philanthropy freed the West Indies, — John Bull looked at the question in a simple wrong or right way, felt remorse at having committed Slavery, enfranchised the Negroes and — ruined the Islands. And with this example before his eyes, keen dollar loving Jonathan knows Abolition won’t do. In the mean time, as is the nature of Evil, it cuts every way. Slavery is the most Impractible thing to deal with. You can’t legislate for it. You can’t venture to educate the Slave, or he’ll be one no longer. All you can do is to treat him like a child, or give him all physical comforts, and — whip

Rights: NoC-US


Dates: 1853-11-02

Type(s): Diary

Maker/Creator: Gunn, Thomas Butler, 1826-1903

Subjects: Cotton
Slavery, abolition, and emancipation
African Americans
Books and reading


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