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Nehemiah Adams
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 243 pages of information about The Sable Cloud.

“How can there be one good man or woman there,” said she, “if all that those newspapers say of slave-holding be true?  Husband, depend upon it we have been believing a great lie.  Just think of that letter.  What a tale many of those words reveal.  When the infants of our former servants die, do our ladies write such letters about them?  I should judge that owning a fellow-creature softens and refines the heart, if this letter is any sign, instead of making them all barbarians.  All the newspapers and novels in the world cannot do away the impressions which that letter has made on my mind.  I tell you, husband, having slaves is not the unmitigated curse to owners nor to slaves that we have been taught to believe.”

“Perhaps,” said I, interrupting her, “you would like to live at the South, and own a few.”

“I could not be hired by wealth,” said she, “to have them for help, even here.  I never did like them; and when I think that there are good men and women who do, and who are as kind to the poor creatures as this dear lady, I think that we should give thanks to God.”

“Oh, the Southern people are not all like this good lady, by any means,” said I.

“‘Peradventure,’” said she, “‘there be fifty righteous.’  There must be tens of thousands.  People like this lady are very apt to make good the saying of the blackberry pickers when they see a blackberry, ’Where there’s one there’s more.’  The letter reads as though it were an every-day thing, a matter of course, for this lady to be kind and loving to the blacks; and for my part I bless any one who has anything to do for her or for those like her.  Our papers never tell us such stories as this letter contains.  No, they, do not love to hear them, I fear; but if a slave is beaten or ill-treated, then the chimes begin, ’enormous wrong,’ ‘stupendous injustice,’ ‘sum of all villanies.’”

“Why, my dear,” said I, “you are getting to be pro-slavery very fast.”

“Never,” said she, “if you mean by that, as I suppose you do, approving all that is involved in slavery and all that is committed under the system.”

“But,” said I, “your present feeling toward this Southern lady may insensibly lead you to believe that it is right to own a fellow-creature.  Does not Cowper say,—­

  “’I would not have a slave to till my ground,
  To carry me, to fan me while I sleep
  And startle when I wake, for all the wealth
  That sinews bought and sold have ever earned?’”

“How Kate must ‘startle’ and go into convulsions with terror every time this mistress wakes!” she replied.  “If Cowper had written in Alabama, instead of describing a state of slavery such as existed in the British possessions, and not, as in the South, mixed up with his every-day life; if the first face with which he had become familiar as a babe had been a black face, the face of his mother’s ‘slave’ loving him, and nursing him, and he, in turn, had tended his old ‘Mammy’

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