Three Pro-Slavery Arguments
George Fitzhugh, Cannibals All! or Slaves
Without Masters, Ch. 1: The Universal Trade
We are, all, North and South, engaged in the White Slave Trade, and he who succeeds
best, is esteemed most respectable. It is far more cruel than the Black Slave Trade,
because it exacts more of its slaves, and neither protects nor governs them. We boast,
that it exacts more, when we say, "that the profits made from employing free labor are
greater than those from slave labor." The profits, made from free labor, are the amount
of the products of such labor, which the employer, by means of the command which
capital or skill gives him, takes away, exacts or "exploitates" from the free laborer. The
profits of slave labor are that portion of the products of such labor which the power of
the master enables him to appropriate. These profits are less, because the master
allows the slave to retain a larger share of the results of his own labor, than do the
employers of free labor. But we not only boast that the White Slave Trade is more
exacting and fraudulent (in fact, though not in intention,) than Black Slavery; but we also
boast, that it is more cruel, in leaving the laborer to take care of himself and family out of
the pittance which skill or capital have allowed him to retain. When the day's labor is
ended, he is free, but is overburdened with the cares of family and household, which
make his freedom an empty and delusive mockery. But his employer is really free, and
may enjoy the profits made by others' labor, without a care, or a trouble, as to their well-
being. The negro slave is free, too, when the labors of the day are over, and free in
mind as well as body; for the master provides food, raiment, house, fuel, and everything
else necessary to the physical well-being of himself and family. The master's labors
commence just when the slave's end. No wonder men should prefer white slavery to
capital, to negro slavery, since it is more profitable, and is free from all the cares and
labors of black slave-holding.
Now, reader, if you wish to know yourself — to "descant on your own deformity" — read
on. But if you would cherish self-conceit, self-esteem, or self-appreciation, throw down
our book; for we will dispel illusions which have promoted your happiness, and shew
you that what you have considered and practiced as virtue, is little better than moral
Cannibalism. But you will find yourself in numerous and respectable company; for all
good and respectable people are "Cannibals all," who do not labor, or who are
successfully trying to live without labor, on the unrequited labor of other
people: — Whilst low, bad, and disreputable people, are those who labor to support
themselves, and to support said respectable people besides. Throwing the negro slaves
out of the account, and society is divided in Christendom into four classes: The rich, or
independent respectable people, who live well and labor not at all; the professional and
skillful respectable people, who do a little light work, for enormous wages; the poor
hard-working people, who support every body, and starve themselves; and the poor
thieves, swindlers and sturdy beggars, who live like gentlemen, without labor, on the
labor of other people. The gentlemen exploitate, which being done on a large scale, and
requiring a great many victims, is highly respectable — whilst the rogues and beggars
take so little from others, that they fare little better than those who labor.
But, reader, we do not wish to fire into the flock. "Thou art the man!" You are a
Cannibal! and if a successful one, pride yourself on the number of your victims, quite as
much as any Feejee chieftain, who breakfasts, dines and sups on human flesh. — And
your conscience smites you, if you have failed to succeed, quite as much as his, when
he returns from an unsuccessful foray.
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