[The servants] have all behaved extremely well, indeed I cannot utter the least complaint of them, they are deeply interested and very sympathizing with us all. They often speak to me about the war and there was great rejoicing in the kitchen at the news of our recent glorious victory in Virginia [Battle of Bull Run]. What would those miserable abolitionists say to such manifestations of devotion and affection on the part of the poor maltreated slave, whose heart, according to them, is only the abode of hatred and revenge against their master—They know nothing of the bond that unites the master and servant[,] of its tenderness and care on the one side, and its pride[,] fidelity and attachment on the other.
~ Louisa Quitman Lovell (July 1861)
You may believe what I say; for I write only that whereof I know. I was twenty-one years in that cage of obscene birds. I can testify, from my own experience and observation, that slavery is a curse to the whites as well as to the blacks. It makes white fathers cruel and sensual; the sons violent and licentious; it contaminates the daughters, and makes the wives wretched. And as for the colored race, it needs an abler pen than mine to describe the extremity of their sufferings, the depth of their degradation.
Yet few slaveholders seem to be aware of the widespread moral ruin occasioned by this wicked system. Their talk is of blighted cotton crops—not of the blight on their children’s souls.
If you want to be fully convinced of the abominations of slavery, go on a southern plantation, and call yourself a negro trader. Then there will be no concealment; and you will see and hear things that will seem to you impossible among human beings with immortal souls.
~ Harriet A. Jacobs (1861)
The Americans may boast of the rights of man, the great law of nature, as being the basis of their constitution; they may declaim against tyranny and oppression; yet every man who becomes a slave-holder in Missouri is a tyrant of their creation … . The effects of slavery are truly appalling. Where slavery exists, virtue and morality are swept as with a flood of corruption.
~ Isaac Holmes (1823)
One fact; it is impossible for a person to pass through a slave state, if he has eyes open, without beholding every day cruelties repugnant to humanity.
~ Lemuel Sapington (January 21, 1839)
If that form of government, that system of social order is not wrong—if those laws of the Southern States, by virtue of which slavery exists there, and is what it is, are not wrong—nothing is wrong.
~ Leonard Bacon (1846)
Can you look forward to the future of our country and imagine any state of things in which, with slavery still existing, we should be assured of permanent peace? I cannot. We can constitutionally extirpate slavery at this time. But if we fail to do this, then unless we intend hereafter to violate the Constitution, we shall have a fugitive slave law in operation whenever the war is over. Shall the North have sacrificed a hundred thousand lives and two thousand millions of treasure to come to that at last? Not even a guaranty of peace purchased at so enormous a cost? After voluntary exertions on the part of our people to which the history of the world furnishes no parallel, is the old root of bitterness still to remain in the ground, to sprout and bear fruit in the future as it has borne fruit in the past?
~ Robert D. Owen (September 17, 1862)
[T]o the principles of the Abolitionists … can we alone look with any hope of success to put down the “horrible” system of human robbery & oppression.
~ William H. Brisbane (January, 1840)