Page:Democracy in America (Reeve, v. 1).djvu/71

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of men, they were in nowise above the level of the inferior classes in England.[1] No lofty conceptions, no intellectual system directed the foundation of these new settlements. The colony was scarcely established when slavery was introduced[2], and this was the main circumstance which has exercised so prodigious an influence on the character, the laws, and all the future prospects of the South.

Slavery, as we shall afterwards show, dishonours labour; it introduces idleness into society, and with idleness, ignorance and pride, luxury and distress. It enervates the powers of the mind, and benumbs the activity of man. The influence of slavery, united to the English character, explains the manners and the social condition of the Southern States.

In the North, the same English foundation was modified by the most opposite shades of character; and here I may be allowed to enter into some details. The two or three main ideas which constitute the basis of the social theory of the United States were first combined in the Northern English

    travagance and excess. See for the history of Virginia the following works:—

    ‘History of Virginia, from the first Settlements in the year 1624,’ by Smith.

    ‘History of Virginia,’ by William Stith.

    ‘History of Virginia, from the earliest period,’ by Beverley.

  1. It was not till some time later that a certain number of rich English capitalists came to fix themselves in the colony.
  2. Slavery was introduced about the year 1620 by a Dutch vessel which landed twenty negroes on the banks of the river James. See Chalmer.