Effects of Slavery on the White Population

According to a citizen of Eufaula

 

ITEM #22972
October 17, 1850
THE NATIONAL ERA
Washington, D.C., Vol.
IV No. 198 p. 166
 

THE DESPOTISM OF SLAVERY. 

We had occasion to comment lately upon the bondage imposed by the Slave Power upon the white race in the South – referring to a recent attempt by the people of Eufaula, Alabama, to eject one of their own citizens, not because he was an abolitionist, but because he was a subscriber to the National Era, in which we had published an extract of a letter received from his, (but not intended for publication) speaking of the injurious effects of slavery on the white population. The sentiments were truthful, but moderate; the language was kind and unexceptionable, and it was written by a man born and raised in the South. But Slavery took offence and demanded his expulsion.

The principal mischief-maker in the case was the postmaster at Eufaula. He wrote us a note, stating that he had refused to deliver the copy of the Era, sent to the subscriber referred to, and that he would not deliver that or any other incendiary sheet. He appropriated the copy of the paper addressed to the subscriber, and was careful, we suppose, to hand it about town for the purpose of showing his own extraordinary patriotism, and the imminent peril that threatened the town of Eufaula. Ere this, we presume, he has received official notification of the expediency of complying with his oath of office. But what an illustration have we, in the insolent tyranny of this postmaster, and in the insensate violence of the good people of Eufaula, of the despotism of Slavery over the white community!

A short time after this, we observed a brutal paragraph in some paper in the “far South,” announcing that several abolitionists were known to be living in a certain neighborhood, and invoking popular violence to “move them.” Who were these abolitionists? What was their crime? What trespass had they been committing? Were they to be lynched because they believed slavery to be an evil institution? Is it the intention of Slaveholding fanatics to drive every man from the South who does not think slavery the best condition of the laborer?

The mob at Macon, which suppressed a respectable newspaper because it published a letter from a Georgian at Atlanta, commenting in indignant terms on the slave pen at the place, was another painful illustration of the intolerance of the Slave Power. We had hoped that this despotism was confined to the planting States but an instance of mean tyranny on the part of a postmaster in Virginia, acting under the instigation of some busybody, has lately come to our knowledge. A citizen, of this place, with a slave attendant, was spending a few months on pleasure at Shanondale, near Charlestown post office. She had been in the habit of reading the Era and the Pittsburgh Saturday Visiter, and they were ordered to be addressed to her at that post office. The postmaster, incited by the busybody abovementioned, took the liberty of breaking open the papers, and the further liberty of withholding them from the lady to whom they belonged. She remonstrated; and the Department at Washington having been apprized of the culpable conduct of the deputy at Charlestown, directed him to deliver promptly the papers, according to law, to the person to whom they were addressed. She remained there several weeks after this order was sent, but no papers were ever given to her. The postmaster refused to discharge the duty he had sworn to perform, and which had been enjoined upon him expressly by the Department.

This is freedom in a Slave State – to be at the mercy of every village postmaster, who may dictate to you, at his own sovereign will and pleasure, what you shall, and shall not, read.

In glancing our eye along the columns of the Greensborough (N.C.) Patriot, a few days since, we noticed quite a remarkable communication from a clergyman. The design of it was to arouse the indignation of the community against two preachers of the Wesleyan denomination, named Crooks and McBride. Their clerical brother charged them with being abolitionists – the preachers of seditious doctrines – and he labored hard to awaken the mob spirit against them. he undertook

11 Comments »

  1. vivi said

    ZZZZZZZZ ….. ..

  2. PAY ATTENTION: “But Slavery took offence and demanded his expulsion.”

    I actually went on vacation in Eufala, beautiful area. I was treated well. I had no idea of its history and wish I had, so I could teach my children and they would appreciate much more being able to “vacation” in such a place. I wish I could have told my children about the postmaster: “He appropriated the copy of the paper addressed to the subscriber, and was careful, we suppose, to hand it about town for the purpose of showing his own extraordinary patriotism, and the imminent peril that threatened the town of Eufaula.”

    What I remember most about Eufala was the lines of poverty lines drawn on the city streets. One side of the street would be stately mansions and quaint, brick front stores and just a few blocks down the road would be falling down houses with broken windows and porches crumbling into dust. It struck me as sad that people flock to the stately mansions and ignore the poverty, where is the greater need? I don’t understand that if a “historical district” is such an asset to the community, why then does the community not take care of it’s own?

    Thanks for posting this editorial–very interesting & thought provoking.

    Happy New Year, Lynn

  3. Ramona Lewis said

    I am the descendant of a large landowner in an area outside of Eufala. His land may have been near Clayton. His name was Nathan Lewis. If anyone has any information regarding him, please forward it to me.

    Thank you!

  4. Eric D. Harris said

    @graceofwynn:
    I am a native of Eufaula. Your question speaks to the central issue which haunts Eufaula til this day, racial inequality. The single most notable event held yearly in Eufaula is the called “The Pilgrimage” sponsored by the Eufaula Historical Society. For about a week, the sons of former slaves are forced to endure an offensive celebration in those “stately mansions” by the sons of former slave owners commemorating this shameful part of our past. Yet, right around the corner are delapidated housing communities that could sure use those funds. However, Eufaula’s historical society is more concerned with preserving its past culture than with addressing its current poverty. Sad isn’t it. Not to sound pessimistic, but I doubt Eufaula will ever get past this. We as a society should realize that just like celebrating the german Nazi is offensive to the jewish community, so is celebrating the Confederacy offensive to the african-american community.

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