292 UNCLE TOM'S CABIN; OR
Alfred, who is as determined a despot as ever walked, does not pretend to this kind of defense ; — no, he stands, high and haughty, on that good old respectable ground, the right of the strongest; and he says, and I think quite sensibly, that the American planter is ' only doing, in another form, what the English aristocracy and capitalists are doing by the lower classes;' that is, I take it, appropriating them, body and bone, soul and spirit, to their use and convenience. He defends both, — and I think, at least, consistently. He says that there can be no high civilization without enslavement of the masses, either nominal or real. There must, he says, be a lower class, given up to physical toil and confined to an animal nature; and a higher one thereby acquires leisure and wealth for a more expanded intelligence and improvement, and becomes the directing soul of the lower. So he reasons, because, as I said, he is born an aristocrat; — so I don't believe, because I was born a democrat."
" How in the world can the two things be compared ? " said Miss Ophelia. " The English laborer is not sold, traded, parted from his family, whipped."
" He is as much at the will of his employer as if he were sold to him. The slave-owner can whip his refractory slave to death, — the capitalist can starve him to death. As to family security, it is hard to say which is the worst, to have one's children sold, or see them starve to death at home."
" But it's no kind of apology for slavery, to prove that it is n't worse than some other bad thing."
" I did n't give it for one, — nay, I '11 say, besides, that ours is the more bold and palpable infringement of human rights ; actually buying a man up, like a horse, — looking at his teeth, cracking his joints, and trying his paces, and then paying down for him, — having speculators, breeders, traders, and brokers in human bodies and souls, — sets the thing before the eyes of the civilized world in a more tangible form, though the thing done be, after all, in its