The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 44, July 1940 - April, 1941 Page: 519
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thousands across the Ohio to follow the North Star into Canada.
A chapter is given to cases of cruelty to slaves. Very little
is said of crimes of violence on the part of the slaves, except
those committed in self-defense. One of the most interesting
chapters, "African Utopia," summarizes the effort and failure
of the Kentucky Colonization Society to solve the local slavery
problem by sending emancipated Negroes to "Kentucky in
Liberia." The final chapter is a sketchy account of the activ-
ities of Kentucky abolitionists, with particular reference to the
Wickliffe-Breckenridge feud and the exploits of the redoubt-
able Cassius M. Clay, who was a perfect example of the
"southern fire-eater," except that he fought for abolition.
One might take exception to a few of Mr. Coleman's statements
and inferences. For instance (pp. 188-189), he asserts that on
many large plantations in Louisiana, Mississippi, and other
southern states, owned by non-residents, the overseers, intent
only upon their shares of the profits, procured cheap, broken-
down Negroes from Kentucky and lashed them "until they
literally died in their tracks." The evidence he cites for this
frightful practice consists of three abolitionist tracts. Aside
from considerations of humanity, no sane planter would have
permitted his overseer to pursue such unprofitable methods.
The author also falls into the old error (p. 26) of classing all
non-slaveholders as "poor whites." In general he seems more
concerned with the exceptional cases of cruelty than with the
normal operations of the institution. And while he is clearly
aware of the practical difficulties which faced slave owners
who might otherwise have favored a system of emancipation,
when he recounts the activities of the abolitionists he frequently
refers to these owners in terms strongly reminiscent of his
But these are minor faults. The book is both interesting
and instructive; the illustrations are well chosen; and the bibli-
ography is useful if not exhaustive. Mr. Coleman has explored
not only local histories and memoirs, but contemporary pam-
phlets, newspapers and court records. The make-up of the
book is of the high quality we have come to expect of the
Press at Chapel Hill.
CHARLES W. RAMSDELL.
The University of Texas.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 44, July 1940 - April, 1941, periodical, 1941; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146052/m1/570/: accessed July 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.