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Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 6, page 184, November 2, 1853

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Identifier: DX04198037

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 6, page 184, November 2, 1853

Description: Gives his thoughts on slavery.

Transcription:

him if he does wrong, or runs away. And it’s part of his nature as developed by the Institution, that he should do wrong. As to whether the Slaves are kindly treated, or cruelly used, — its altogether foreign to the matter. Of course it is according to the nature of the owner, — there are St Clairs, and, (I’ve no doubt) plenty of Legrees. The overseers, (who are not highly spoken of,) do the whipping, or slaves under their control. The work the slaves have to do, is all appertaining to the cotton plant; in this part of the country no sugar cane is grown. It is not hard labour. They rise early, by daybreak, or before, to the sound of a bell, take their dinner; perhaps other meals in the fields, and work on to 8 or 9. The younger or weaker have tasks apportioned to their strength. They have two suits of clothes a year, stout durable ones. Tobacco is given them, no spirits, as of course, they’ll get drunk if they have it in their power. The house servants are exempt from field work, better clothed and fed; they are very attentive. I never heard any harsh word addressed to a slave during the whole time I stayed here. The Southerners say, and I suppose, justly that Northern born folk living south, behave worse to their negroes than others. It can be easily explained this way; they coming from States where paying for free, hired, labour they always got the value of it, everything efficiently done; having purchased slaves expect the same from them, and not making allowance for want of thought in the darkeys, wax irate and tyrannical. They may too have felt a great deal of indistinct sympathy for Slaves at first, but on a little experience of a trick or so, d__m the whole race, and ill use them. Now a true Southerner, (if educated, a gentleman;) always has consideration, lays down a large margin of allowance for niggerisms. I have heard the matter of Slavery discussed here, in Louisiana, with infinitely more calmness and common-sense than North. Indefensible as a Right, it is yet the best state of things compatible with White and Black. You can’t expect

Rights: NoC-US

Place:

Dates: 1853-11-02

Type(s): Diary
Page

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

Subjects: Cotton
Tobacco
Alcohol
Clothing and dress
African Americans
Diaries
Slaveholders
Slavery
Slaves
Travel

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