The New York Times
Unsigned Article
4 March 1853


Letters on the Productions, Industry and Resources of the Slave States.

Number Four.


  I have been visiting a farm which is cultivated entirely by free labor, and obtained information which considerably effects the calculation I have previously made of its value, compared with that of slaves. The proprietor said that his first reason for disusing slave labor, was the conviction that it was essentially wrong to hold men in slavery except for their own benefit, and secondly, that he was sure that JEFFERSON was right in considering the evil influence of slavery to be greater, if possible, upon the white race than upon the black; he had been brought up in a large slave-holding family, and he felt greatly the bad effects of it in his own character, that he had determined that his children should not suffer from it; he had inherited many slaves, and had liberated them all; most of them he had sent to Africa. . . .

  He had read Uncle Tom's Cabin; mentioned several points in which he thought it wrong; that Uncle Tom was too highly painted, for instance; that such a character could not exist in, or spring out of Slavery, if it could at all; that no gentleman of Kentucky or Virginia would have allowed himself to be in the position with a slave-dealer in which Mr. Shelby is represented; and thought it by no means gave a correct picture of Slavery; but acknowledged that cases of cruelty and suffering equal to any described in it might be found. Even in his own neighborhood, some time ago, a man was whipped to death; and he recollected several that had been maimed for life, by harsh and hasty punishment; but the whole community were indignant, when such things occurred, and any man guilty of them would be without associates, except they were of a similar character.

  You will remember that I am giving you the evidence of a man, who, though a Southerner, is not a slave-holder. His opinions are not to be considered as representative of those of the South in general, by any means; but as to facts, he is a competent and, I believe, a wholly candid and unprejudiced witness. He is much respected, and on terms of friendship with all his neighbors, though they do not like his views on this subject. He tells me, however, that one of them, becoming convinced of their correctness some time ago, freed his slaves, and moved to Ohio. As to Uncle Tom, it is generally criticized very severely, and its representations of Slavery indignantly denied. I observe that it is not placarded outside the booksellers' stores, though the whole fleet of gunboats that have been launched after it, show their colors bravely. It must be a good deal read here, however, as I judge from the frequent allusions, rather than the direct references, to it. . . .