Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Henry Bibb, an American Slave, Written by Himself eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 190 pages of information about Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Henry Bibb, an American Slave, Written by Himself.
to enter the ring while they are fighting, but their seconds, and the white gentlemen.  They are not allowed to fight a duel, nor to use weapons of any kind.  The blows are made by kicking, knocking, and butting with their heads; they grab each other by their ears, and jam their heads together like sheep.  If they are likely to hurt each other very bad, their masters would rap them with their walking canes, and make them stop.  After fighting, they make friends, shake hands, and take a dram together, and there is no more of it.

But this is all principally for want of moral instruction.  This is where they have no Sabbath Schools; no one to read the Bible to them; no one to preach the gospel who is competent to expound the Scriptures, except slaveholders.  And the slaves, with but few exceptions, have no confidence at all in their preaching, because they preach a pro-slavery doctrine.  They say, “Servants be obedient to your masters;—­and he that knoweth his master’s will and doeth it not, shall be beaten with many stripes;—­” means that God will send them to hell, if they disobey their masters.  This kind of preaching has driven thousands into infidelity.  They view themselves as suffering unjustly under the lash, without friends, without protection of law or gospel, and the green eyed monster tyranny staring them in the face.  They know that they are destined to die in that wretched condition, unless they are delivered by the arm of Omnipotence.  And they cannot believe or trust in such a religion, as above named.

The poor and loafering class of whites, are about on a par in point of morals with the slaves at the South.  They are generally ignorant, intemperate, licentious, and profane.  They associate much with the slaves; are often found gambling together on the Sabbath; encouraging slaves to steal from their owners, and sell to them, corn, wheat, sheep, chickens, or any thing of the kind which they can well conceal.  For such offences there is no law to reach a slave but lynch law.  But if both parties are caught in the act by a white person, the slave is punished with the lash, while the white man is often punished with both lynch and common law.  But there is another class of poor white people in the South, who, I think would be glad to see slavery abolished in self defence; they despise the institution because it is impoverishing and degrading to them and their children.

The slave holders are generally rich, aristocratic, overbearing; and they look with utter contempt upon a poor laboring man, who earns his bread by the “sweat of his brow,” whether he be moral or immoral, honest or dishonest.  No matter whether he is white or black; if he performs manual labor for a livelihood, he is looked upon as being inferior to a slaveholder, and but little better off than the slave, who toils without wages under the lash.  It is true, that the slaveholder, and non-slaveholder, are living under the same laws in the same State.  But the one is rich, the other is poor; one is educated, the other is uneducated; one has houses, land and influence, the other has none.  This being the case, that class of the non-slaveholders would be glad to see slavery abolished, but they dare not speak it aloud.

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Narrative of the Life and Adventures of Henry Bibb, an American Slave, Written by Himself from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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