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Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 6, page 196, November 18-19, 1853

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Identifier: DX04209038

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 6, page 196, November 18-19, 1853

Description: Regarding the Southern justification for slavery for biblical reasons.


I am reminded by a conversation I heard at Cairo, of the Very Worst plea put up for it by the South, and one in more universal use than would be supposed. It is, justifying it by the Bible. Keene Richards tried this once to me, arguing thus. That as it was no-where explicitly condemned by Our Saviour, he approved of it. I do not think he saw the horror of investing that most Divine, Sad, Suffering, All-Wise, loving nature, with such a sentiment. He would not allow that the broad, universal, awful “Do unto one another as thou wouldst be done by” had any bearing on it. He saw not that Christ’s teaching dwelt not on details, varying ever with age and time; but laid down broad, universal principles, catholic, universal immutable and eternal as God himself. Said I, I’ll justify steamboat explosions in the same manner, He of Nazareth spake no word against Mississippi captains. / But to my Cairo anecdote. One man spake of a slave he owned, that he would not sell for $20,000, being attached to him. Another, acknowledging the feeling, said that he’d sell anything he had, but wife and family, could he make profit on it. Sell or buy, all was the same, quoth he. “Well!” said the other “niggers are an article I don’t care to deal it in! I don’t like it, in fact!” “Then I ” said his opponent, emphatically, as if clinching the matter “you don’t believe in Scripture!” And it actually passed current as conclusive, and the man was silenced! / In England now, it exacted a little surprise that Mrs [Harriet Beecher] Stowe should devote part of her book to showing that the spirit of the Bible does not sanction Slavery. The matter will be a historical curiosity, some day.

19. Saturday. All day steaming up the Ohio, which river I think, becomes prettier as we advance. / Writing most part of the time. For a very long time have I been hatching on intent to write a long, carefully thought over story, the which notion has been present more or less indistinctly during the last two or three years. Now, during the dismal Alabama and other

Rights: NoC-US


Dates: 1853-11-18

Type(s): Diary

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

Subjects: Books and reading
African Americans
Ohio River


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