Home  »  Volume XVII: American LATER NATIONAL LITERATURE: PART II  »  § 6. Writers Opposed to Slavery

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21). rn VOLUME XVII. Later National Literature, Part II.

XXI. Political Writing Since 1850

§ 6. Writers Opposed to Slavery

Against slavery there were a few notable protests in the South. They were made, however, in the interest of the white man rather than of the negro. Daniel Reaves Goodloe, a North Carolinian, and editor of newspapers in his native state and Washington, published in 1846 a pamphlet in which he concluded that “capital invested in slaves is unproductive in that it only serves to appropriate the wages of the labourer.” In 1858 he also issued his Southern Platform, a digest of the opinions of “the most eminent southern Revolutionary characters” upon the subject of slavery, which was widely circulated. In Virginia, Dr. Henry Ruffner, President of Washington College, the present Washington and Lee University, advocated in 1847 the gradual emancipation of slaves in the western counties of the state, on the ground that slavery was destructive to the best interests of the white people. After a lengthy demonstration of the evils induced by slave labour, he declared: “Delay not, then, we beseech you, to raise a barrier against this Stygian inundation—to stand at the Blue Ridge, and with sovereign energy say to this Black Son of misery; ‘Hitherto shalt thou come, and no farther!’”