The price of preventing being sold down the river.

Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Joined
Apr 10, 2012
Messages
2,955
We hear paternalistic excuses for slavery at times, both historic and unfortunately contemporary, but too often we fail to hear how this played out in real life. Northeast Missouri was not well suited for slave based agriculture as some slave owners would reluctantly learn. The cost to slave and master could be very high:

From the Weekly Hawk Eye and Telgraph, Burlington, Iowa, January 25, 1859

THE SLAVE TRAFFIC AT THE SOUTH
A correspondent of the Madison Journal, writing from Kirksville, Mo., under the date of Dec. 28th says:
A shocking affair occurred in this place yesterday, which may be interesting to some of your readers, the particulars of which are as follows: A Dr. Patton, residing some two miles north of this town, brought a negro man to this place in order to sell him; but finding no buyer, resolved to take him south, in spite of the entreaties to be left with his family. A chain was made fast to one foot and one hand, preparing to take him away; when he seized upon an ax, laid his hand upon a block, and severed three of his fingers from his hand. I saw the poor wretch a few moments, and a more heart rending scene I have never witnessed.
Three of his fingers were cut close to the hand, and the little finger, the only remaining one, was cut to the bone. He said he would rather die than to leave his wife and children. He knew that the cutting off of his hand would render him unfit for the market, and therefore he would be allowed to remain with his family.
When the system is such that the most reasonable course is self-mutilation, there is something very wrong with the prevailing "culture."
 

tmh10

Major
Joined
Mar 2, 2012
Messages
7,832
Location
Pipestem,WV
We hear paternalistic excuses for slavery at times, both historic and unfortunately contemporary, but too often we fail to hear how this played out in real life. Northeast Missouri was not well suited for slave based agriculture as some slave owners would reluctantly learn. The cost to slave and master could be very high:

From the Weekly Hawk Eye and Telgraph, Burlington, Iowa, January 25, 1859



When the system is such that the most reasonable course is self-mutilation, there is something very wrong with the prevailing "culture."
He made a very hard statement. Too bad the people involved were probably unmoved.
 
Joined
Apr 10, 2012
Messages
2,955
He made a very hard statement. Too bad the people involved were probably unmoved.
A local mercantiler bought him and his family after this, so there is a silver lining of sorts. However, the waste of an otherwise productive citizen's ability to work fully in an all-in bid to stay with his family is an example of inefficiencies of a slave based economy. There are no winners in this: Patton lost much of the value of his slave property, Chinn ended up owning a family he probably didn't need (or perhaps even want) to own...and with emancipation his capital loss was 100%, the slave was partially handicapped. In modern business evaluation it is: lose, lose, lose.

The question I ask myself is...would I do the same in the slave's position? He made an incredible sacrifice to stay with his family. Would there be a temptation to compartmentalize the loss and start over instead? I have a white Southern ancestor (ggggrandfather) who sort of did that, without the physical sacrifice...apparently abandoning a family in NC and starting over on the frontier, with a young wife and large new family.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!

tmh10

Major
Joined
Mar 2, 2012
Messages
7,832
Location
Pipestem,WV
A local mercantiler bought him and his family after this, so there is a silver lining of sorts. However, the waste of an otherwise productive citizen's ability to work fully in an all-in bid to stay with his family is an example of inefficiencies of a slave based economy. There are no winners in this: Patton lost much of the value of his slave property, Chinn ended up owning a family he probably didn't need (or perhaps even want) to own...and with emancipation his capital loss was 100%, the slave was partially handicapped. In modern business evaluation it is: lose, lose, lose.

The question I ask myself is...would I do the same in the slave's position? He made an incredible sacrifice to stay with his family. Would there be a temptation to compartmentalize the loss and start over instead? I have a white Southern ancestor (ggggrandfather) who sort of did that, without the physical sacrifice...apparently abandoning a family in NC and starting over on the frontier, with a young wife and large new family.
Im sure the slaves action was a spur of the moment decision. Who can say what we would do in his position, The whole thing was a moment in time and no winners in the end.
 
Joined
Apr 10, 2012
Messages
2,955
Im sure the slaves action was a spur of the moment decision. Who can say what we would do in his position, The whole thing was a moment in time and no winners in the end.
True, but consider the moment. You or I are facing his fate in blacksmith shop, realizing we will never see the only family and comfort we have ever known again. If we act within the next few minutes we can alter that fate at a terrible permanent cost. Or we can cut loose from our experience, write off our own family, and maintain ourselves in search of another opportunity for some personal happiness. I would like to think I would take the slave's honorable course, despite the price. However, I also recognize it would be far easier to die for any member of my family than to dangerously maim myself for them.
 

tmh10

Major
Joined
Mar 2, 2012
Messages
7,832
Location
Pipestem,WV
True, but consider the moment. You or I are facing his fate in blacksmith shop, realizing we will never see the only family and comfort we have ever known again. If we act within the next few minutes we can alter that fate at a terrible permanent cost. Or we can cut loose from our experience, write off our own family, and maintain ourselves in search of another opportunity for some personal happiness. I would like to think I would take the slave's honorable course, despite the price. However, I also recognize it would be far easier to die for any member of my family than to dangerously maim myself for them.
You are so right. I am very glad I was not faced with that decision.
 
Fewer ads. Lots of American Civil War content!
JOIN NOW: REGISTER HERE!
Top