Harper's Weekly 03/12/1864


The slaveholders and their friends have always
tried to avoid using the word Slavery. It is too
direct and expressive. It is the synonym of injus-
tice and crime, and every body knows it as such.
Therefore we have been regaled with all kinds of
euphuisms. The first is in the Constitution—“per-
sons held to labor.” Then we have had “the pecul-
iar institution;” and “involuntary servitude;” and
“the industrial system of the South”—and a score
more. The thing meant was always inhumanity
and crime, but it was extremely disagreeable to call
a slave-market “human shambles,” or the selling
of a woman by a “high-toned gentleman” to pay
his debts “dealing in human flesh;” because, as
Senator Reverdy Johnson informs us, such “gen-
tlemen” are very proud and sensitive. But they
have now reached the highest point of euphuism.
The address of the Confederate Congress calls what
John Wesley had more concisely described as “the
sum of all villainies” by an infinitely sweeter
name. Human slavery, with all its untold woes
and wrongs to the victim and his master—which
the Honorable James Brooks described a few years
since as “a dead drag upon the body politic,” en-
dangering “the peace and happiness of the master,
and robbing the slave of his freedom and birth-
right”—this pleasing system is airily mentioned in
the rebel address as “the selected type of social
characteristics.” Mr. Brooks is now of opinion
that the selected type of social characteristics has
been thrown into pi—and we heartily agree with

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