The Independent
W. S. F.
New York: 17 March 1853


For the Independent.

  In discussing the comparitive condition of the slaves of the south and free laborers at the north, one of the greatest evils of slavery is overlooked. Whatever may be the oppression of the laborers of the north, as claimed by slaveholders, the condition of most of the free whites at the south is much worse. There are but a few hundred thousand slaveholders at the south, who engross all the offices and all the political power, and the chief means of education and intelligence. Who constitute the mass of the whites in slaveholding states? Not slaveholders; nor traders and mechanics who own no slaves. The majority are not of these. What then is the condition of a majority of the whites at the south? Little better than the serfs of Russia. A large part of them are unable to read or write. Very few have any advantages of education. They cannot afford it. Very few of them take a newspaper.* They live in ignorance; and are controlled by the few who do their political reading and thinking for them. How can they compete in labor with the slaves, and obtain the necessaries, not to say conveniences of life? The women are obliged to neglect their household concerns, and labor in the field, as female slaves do; with the same rude implements. Many of the poor white men get discouraged and become intemperate, which makes the condition of their families more wretched. Who that has lived or traveled at the south has not seen the miserable huts of the poor whites, and stupid, bloated, yellow, dirt-eating children about the doors? Why has the gifted authoress of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" overlooked this necessary concommitant of slavery? We ought to get up a Colonization Society, to colonize the poor whites of the south on the public lands in the free states and territories; for which purpose government would do well to grant public lands free for such settlers.

W. S. F.