Page:Aunt Phillis's Cabin.djvu/137

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133
SOUTHERN LIFE AS IT IS

sideration. What right have you New England people to the farms you are now holding?"

"The right of owning them," said Abel.

"From whom did you get them?" asked Arthur.

"Our fathers."

"And how did they get them?"

"From the Red men, their original owners."

"Well," said Arthur, "we all know how these transactions were conducted all over the country. We wanted the lands of the Red men, and we took them. Sometimes they were purchased, sometimes they were wrested; always, the Red men were treated with injustice. They were driven off, slaughtered, and taken as slaves. Now, God as clearly gave these lands to the Red men as he gave life and freedom to the African. Both have been unjustly taken away."

"But," said Abel, "we hold property in land, you in the bodies and souls of men."

"Granted," said Arthur; "but we have as good a right to our property as you to yours—we each inherit it from our fathers. You must know that slaves were recognized as property under the constitution, John Q. Adams, speaking of the protection extended to the peculiar interests of South, makes these remarks: 'Protected by the advantage of representation on this floor, protected by the stipulation in the constitution for the recovery of fugitive slaves, protected by the guarantee in the constitution to owners of this species of property, against domestic violence.' It was considered in England as any other kind of commerce; so that you cannot deny our right to consider them as property now, as well as then."

"But can you advocate the enslaving of your fellow man?" said Abel.

"No," said Arthur, "if you put the question in that manner; but if you come to the point, and ask me if I can conscientiously hold in bondage slaves in the South, I say yes, without the slightest hesitation. I'll tell you why.

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