QUERY XVIII
 
        _The particular customs and manners that may happen to be
received in that state?_

        Manners
        It is difficult to determine on the standard by which the
manners of a nation may be tried, whether _catholic_, or
_particular_.  It is more difficult for a native to bring to that
standard the manners of his own nation, familiarized to him by habit.
There must doubtless be an unhappy influence on the manners of our
people produced by the existence of slavery among us.  The whole
commerce between master and slave is a perpetual exercise of the most
boisterous passions, the most unremitting despotism on the one part,
and degrading submissions on the other.  Our children see this, and
learn to imitate it; for man is an imitative animal.  This quality is
the germ of all education in him.  From his cradle to his grave he is
learning to do what he sees others do.  If a parent could find no
motive either in his philanthropy or his self-love, for restraining
the intemperance of passion towards his slave, it should always be a
sufficient one that his child is present.  But generally it is not
sufficient.  The parent storms, the child looks on, catches the
lineaments of wrath, puts on the same airs in the circle of smaller
slaves, gives a loose to his worst of passions, and thus nursed,
educated, and daily exercised in tyranny, cannot but be stamped by it
with odious peculiarities.  The man must be a prodigy who can retain
his manners and morals undepraved by such circumstances.  And with
what execration should the statesman be loaded, who permitting one
half the citizens thus to trample on the rights of the other,
transforms those into despots, and these into enemies, destroys the
morals of the one part, and the amor patriae of the other.  For if a
slave can have a country in this world, it must be any other in
preference to that in which he is born to live and labour for
another: in which he must lock up the faculties of his nature,
contribute as far as depends on his individual endeavours to the
evanishment of the human race, or entail his own miserable condition
on the endless generations proceeding from him.  With the morals of
the people, their industry also is destroyed.  For in a warm climate,
no man will labour for himself who can make another labour for him.
This is so true, that of the proprietors of slaves a very small
proportion indeed are ever seen to labour.  And can the liberties of
a nation be thought secure when we have removed their only firm
basis, a conviction in the minds of the people that these liberties
are of the gift of God?  That they are not to be violated but with
his wrath?  Indeed I tremble for my country when I reflect that God
is just: that his justice cannot sleep for ever: that considering
numbers, nature and natural means only, a revolution of the wheel of
fortune, an exchange of situation, is among possible events: that it
may become probable by supernatural interference!  The Almighty has
no attribute which can take side with us in such a contest.  -- But
it is impossible to be temperate and to pursue this subject through
the various considerations of policy, of morals, of history natural
and civil.  We must be contented to hope they will force their way
into every one's mind.  I think a change already perceptible, since
the origin of the present revolution.  The spirit of the master is
abating, that of the slave rising from the dust, his condition
mollifying, the way I hope preparing, under the auspices of heaven,
for a total emancipation, and that this is disposed, in the order of
events, to be with the consent of the masters, rather than by their
extirpation.