The Washington Post
Unsigned Notice
Washington, D.C.: 17 September 1895


  "It is amusing to Southern men," observed Enrolling Clerk Garrett, of the Senate, who was born and reared in Alabama, "to hear some people sapiently discuss the condition of things in the South before the war, and especially the slavery question. Of all the ignorance and stupidity, that which still prevails on this subject is the worst. It appears that comparatively few people reared in the North know that most, if not all, the Southern States had very far reaching acts on their statute books which compelled planters and slave owners generally to treat their negroes humanely and to feed them and care for them properly. And this act was, so far as I know, rigidly enforced in most cases. There was not a county in Alabama in which there were not some indictments pending whenever court met against men for not treating their slaves properly. It follows that the slave owner was accountable to some one for the treatment of his slaves. He was accountable to the law through the grand jury, and subject to severe penalties for its violation.

  "The treatment which slaves received was usually better on the big plantations, whose owners were rich men, than on small ones, whose owners were generally poor or in medium circumstances.

  "Another superstition on the subject of slavery is actively kept alive by the performances of 'Uncle Tom's Cabin,' which are seen now and then in every city of the North—the belief that every plantation was equipped with a kennel of ferocious bloodhounds to chase runaway slaves. In all my days I never saw a bloodhound in the South. The dogs that were often used to track fugitives were fox hounds, imported especially from Pennsylvania, for it was necessary, with half a dozen or more lazy fellows from various plantations making their headquarters in the woods, to track them to their lair and bring them back to their owners. These hounds were not trained to tear or lascerate the runaways, and any man could easily stand off a dozen of them, but simply to trail the fugitives so that the men could capture them. This was probably the foundation of the bloodhound stories of which we read so much."