February 24 , 2011

Manuel Pereira


OUR generous friends in Georgia and South Carolina will not add among their assumptions that we know nothing of the South and Southern life. A residence of several years in those States, a connection with the press, and associations in public life, gave us opportunities which we did not lose, and have not lost sight of; and if we dipped deeper into the vicissitudes of life and law than they gave us credit for at the time, we trust they will pardon us, on the ground of interest in the welfare of the South. Perhaps we should say, to support the true interests of the South, we should and must abandon many of those errors we so strenuously supported in years past; and thus we have taken up the subject of our book, based upon the practical workings of an infamous law, which we witnessed upon the individual whose name forms a part of the title. Imprisoning a shipwrecked sailor, and making it a penal offence for a freeman to come within the limits of a republican State, whether voluntarily or involuntarily, seems to be considered commonplace, instead of barbarous in South Carolina. This may be accounted for by the fact that the power of a minority, created in wrong, requiring barbarous expedients to preserve itself intact, becomes an habitual sentiment, which usage makes right. This subject has been treated with indifference, even by the press, which has satisfied itself in discussing the abstract right as a question of law, rather than by disclosing the sufferings of those who endure the wrong and injustice. When we are called upon to support, and are made to suffer the penalty of laws founded in domestic fear, and made subservient to various grades of injustice, it becomes our duty to localize the wrong, and to point out the odium which attaches to the State that enacts such laws of oppression
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