Trades' Unions. State of Economical Science. --Good breeding. --Almshouse, --Penitentiary, Hospital, &c. --President's visit to New York. --Aristocracy of the Skin. --Relative value of the two races. --Colonization Society.
I HAD not been long in New York before I found that the spirit of combination had crossed the Atlantic, and infected the minds of the mechanics with the chimerical hope of raising their wages. I was one day walking in the Broadway, when I met a numerous procession of journeymen carpenters, who had "turned out" for an advance of a shilling (about sixpence of our money) upon the eleven they were receiving for a day's work. They had been parading the streets for upwards of a fortnight, with the object of persuading others in the trade to join them. At a house, where they had collected in large numbers, some men were engaged in their work; and the parley that ensued between the two parties, appeared to be conducted without any attempt or apprehension of intimidation. Many of the malcontents were welldressed men; and all of them orderly and respectable in their appearance. Not far off; as if in contrast, lay an Irish laborer, contented with his wages and his whiskey, prostrate like his unfortunate country, and surrounded by commiserating friends; --not that it was not his own will and deed that had brought him down, or that those who were so busy about him, were either accessary to his debasement or interested in its continuance.
It is not very likely that the average rate of wages was lower among the carpenters than in other occupations, though a contrary inference might perhaps be drawn from the pecuniary assistance they had received from the workmen, who would naturally wish to secure themselves against an influx from without, by placing all of the same rank on a level with themselves. In a young and free country it will always be difficult to establish a permanent fund, or continue a steady course of opposition against a body, into which the leaguers are constantly passing; where change of place or of business is every day occurring; and where the object aimed at must vary with the population and the locality.
Each party appealed to the public through the press; and sundry hard names were given and returned, with a due observance of candor and courtesy. In the meantime the employers called in aid from the country; which was thus in a fair way of harassing the enemy by a class of competitors who would derive improved skill from the contest. Whether the charge of injustice, or that of intimidation, were least unfounded; whether man or master triumphed, it would require some time to calm the bad passions that had been inflamed on both sides; and it was plain that the community could never recover, by the renewal of industry, what it was losing by its suspension. The struggle had already assumed a political aspect; a party in the state, whose tenure of office was bound up with the ignorance and antipathies of the people, were encouraging the errors to which they led, and the conflicting claims of capital and labor, had assumed, in the hands of a corrupt faction, the form of an irreconcileable war between patrician and plebeian.
We, who, till lately, had an assize of bread in London, and still have a legal rate of interest, have no right to find fault with the carpenters of New York for endeavoring to fix a minimum of what to them is the price of all the property they can lend, and of all the provisions they can command. In the North American States too, with one or two exceptions, those who are supposed to be better informed than journeymen mechanics, have prohibited interest for money beyond a certain amount; thus defeating the object in view, by raising the price in the exact proportion in which a breach of the enactment can be insured against its infringement. In all these cases the relation between demand and supply has been equally overlooked. The value of each link in the chain between the producer and the consumer cannot be altered by any arbitrary tariff of interest, though its cohesion may for a time be disturbed by the artificial pressure upon any particular part --a pressure which the natural elasticity of its materials will ultimately remove or remedy. Why should not these matters be explained to the pupils of the public schools in a plain and simple style of language adapted to their comprehensions? A blunder in geography or arithmetic may expose an individual to inconvenience or ridicule, but could have no great influence on the welfare of society or his own; whereas both might be irreparably injured by an imperfect acquaintance with those laws which regulate the social relations and determine both the direction and the value of human labor. He who expects to find "perfect wisdom" in the western world will be not a little astonished to find the exploded errors of Europe passing current there as undoubted truths. A writer in the New York Gazette, who signs himself O. P. Q., accuses an unfortunate marketwoman of the unpardonable crime of forestalling while she is vindicated by an equally sagacious correspondent of the impartial journal, on the ground that her charges are fair. Thus the buyer is made the judge, as well as the accuser, of an imaginary offence; and the poor defendant is to be handed over, without pity and without a trial, to the tender mercies of a mob, stimulated by ignorance, resentment, and selfinterest. Monopoly attacks the poor carpenter with a doublebarrel: --when he sells his labor, the "boss" robs him; when he buys his mutton, the butcher cheats him. Another writer in Niles's Register, after announcing that a carpet costing 2000 dollars, and an oilcloth carpet costing the same sum, had been imported from England to decorate the President's house at Washington, exclaims, with patriotic indignation: "If the royal palace at Windsor were furnished with French carpets, what would the people of England say about it? But such a thing cannot happen in England, where the Queen will not receive the visits of British subjects unless clothed in British manufactures." What a change in human affairs! The folly of a crowned head in Europe, is quoted as wisdom in America! --While we are making treaties and threatening wars to extend our foreign trade, we must not take what alone foreigners have to give us in return! --we must not carry about our persons the proofs of our mercantile enterprise and commercial prosperity! Let us sell to every one, and buy of no one! Let us get as little as we can for our labor; and bribe other nations to consume the fruits of our industry!
If a stranger should imagine these to be the solitary opinions of individuals, let him peruse the following law, passed by the proper authorities . the good city of Boston, in the year of enlightenment 1813: "It is ordered, that no person who shall be convicted of either of the offenses of forestalling, regrating, or engrossing, or any species of fraudulent dealing in the market, shall be permitted to use or hire a stall, or have and occupy any stand in either of the public markets of the town, or in any of the streets leading thereto, for the purpose of offering for sale any article of provisions, usually sold in market, for the term of one year from and after such conviction." The penalty for disobedience to be not exceeding five dollars, nor less than two. It is also ordered, by the same law, "That no person, not offering for sale the produce of his own farm, shall be permitted to occupy that part of the ancient market, called Dock Square," under penalty of a sum from five to two dollars for every hour during which the prohibited offense is continued.
I had but few acquaintances among what may be called the refined classes of society in New York. From the little I saw, however, I was led to conclude that the manners that prevailed in those circles, differed no further from those in the corresponding rank among ourselves, than what might be explained by a reference to habits that give a different value in the eyes of each to the connection between essentials and externals. There is a natural good breeding about an American gentleman that places you at once in a position most congenial to your feelings, and points out to you the exact limits between social freedom and vulgar familiarity. He has, in general, too much respect for himself to treat you with hauteur; --to mortify you by an assumption of superiority, or embarrass a stranger by a display of those conventional forms, which mediocrity has imposed upon the spirit of exclusiveness to shelter its insignificance and protect its privileges. These remarks are suggested by what occurred on a visit I paid to a family whom I had engaged myself to accompany to Hoboken, a favorite resort, on the New Jersey side of the river, to the cockneys of New York, as well as to strangers. They were staying at the Clinton Hotel, which, like the other houses of that kind, is divided into two portions, with separate entrances, one of which is appropriated to private families. I found them just sitting down to dinner; and the reception I met with was such as to shew me that I had not intruded on an occasion, which, with us, too often assumes, on the arrival of a stranger, an appearance of ceremony and constraint. I could not but contrast the manner in which my declining to partake of their meal was received, with the pressing importunities I should, most likely, have been "bored" with in my own country. No one was "put out" or "hurt" because a sick man would not make himself ill to please others. Often have I suffered severely in England from compliance with entreaties, which were so urged as to carry with them an evident disposition to find cause for displeasure and perhaps offence in a refusal There were two young ladies of our party with as fair a claim --because they had no pretension --to the title of gentlewomen, as any of any country, whatever meaning indicative of admiration and distinction may be affixed to the appellation. Hoboken presented an enchanting scene; and the family party to which I had been admitted was neither insensible to its beauties, nor the least interesting of the different groups that gave animation to its attractions.
In the early part of June, having been honored with an official invitation from the Common Council to attend the Governor on a visit to Blackwell's Island, I was punctual to my appointment at the city hall, whence the procession set out at 10 A.M. In our way we went to the almshouse. The establishment contained about 1900 inmates, of whom 1500 were paupers, and the rest prisoners, including 60 untried. None of the latter were classified, except that the sexes were separated.
In both divisions, the work of demoralization was going on in a way that demanded something stronger than the regret, and the wish for a remedy, with which those who might have done something for its removal by remonstrance or direct influence, had hitherto contented themselves. The case of the untried was particularly cruel and unjust. --For them, neither youth nor innocence afforded any security against corruption, or any shelter against scenes and language which must shock and disgust where they fail to debase and vitiate.
The newcomers are regaled with what is called a blanketing. --When left alone with the other prisoners, who are huddled together without regard to difference of age or of crime, they are suddenly surrounded by the most abandoned and daring, covered with a blanket, and robbed of every thing they may have about them of value. After having thus "crossed the line," they are admitted to the privileges of the place.
The inspectors reported to the Legislature in 1833, that "the convicts were confined in one room, or on different galleries, but within the same general inclosure. No attempt had ever been made to establish a system of discipline among them; --the old, the young," (and to cap the climax of iniquity,) "all colors and conditions were indiscriminately mixed together." A very large proportion both of the prisoners and of the paupers consisted of foreigners, many of whom find the comforts and conveniences of the place more to their taste, than a precarious and laborious life out of its walls. Complaints were made by the officers of the establishment of the increasing tendency in this system to encourage pauperism among a mixed population, containing so many improvident and intemperate. In addition to those who are provided for in the almshouse, there are generally 4000 families of outdoor paupers, who receive relief from the corporation of the city.
From Bellevue (by which name the almshouse is known) the party proceeded to Blackwell's Island, where the city has a large penitentiary for the reception of misdemeanants and petty offenders, who are condemned to imprisonment for short periods from a few weeks to twelve months. The plan is much the same as that at Singsing prison, except that the situation has enabled the projectors to erect a more airy and spacious building in proportion to the number of its inmates, of whom there was then sufficient accommodation for 240, and another wing was in progress, of equal dimensions.
From the nature of the visit, little opportunity was given to make enquiries, or to observe more than the general appearance of the establishment, which was admirably adapted to its object. The island on which it is built is small, and abounds in beautiful scenery, --presenting points of view towards the opposite shores on every side that were truly enchanting. It is a spot that impresses the mind with peculiar associations; --favored as it is by Nature and sullied by man, whose vices and crimes are brought into painful contrast with all that she has employed to delight and embellish it. Our day's excursion ended as such jaunts generally do on both sides of the Atlantic, with an excellent dinner, which was laid out with considerable taste under an arbor prepared for the purpose. The whole party were in high spirits, and fun and frolic were not wanting. A more merry set of people, "within the limits of becoming mirth, I never spent an hour's chat withal."
On the 10th of June, Dr. Alexander Hosack took me with him to see the New York Hospital, situated in the Broadway, on the highest ground in the city. Every part of the establishment was remarkable for cleanliness and comfort. The patients had a much more cheerful and contented expression of countenance than is generally seen in the sick room of a private house. This must strike every visitor to institutions of this kind; it is probably owing to the selfrestraint which the presence of others equally afflicted brings into action. As we avoid or pursue any object, not because it refuses or promises pleasurable sensation, but because we cannot bear the uneasiness that its presence or absence creates in our minds, it may truly be said that we are as much indebted to pain for the virtue we possess, as for the good we obtain or the ill we escape. The best qualities of the heart, that had lain dormant in health, are elicited in sickness; and he who had forgotten others to think of his own enjoyments, is taught to think of others that he may forget his own sufferings. Health of mind springs from disease of body. We may almost say with Joannes Meursius:--
A few days after, an official visit was made by the recorder and the other trustees to an establishment for decayed seamen, called the "Sailor's Snug Harbor," on Staten Island. It was founded, about thirty years ago, by a man of the name of Randall, who had been a mariner, and who left by will an estate in New York, now worth 20,000 dollars a year, to build an asylum for those whose career has been marked by the struggles of his early life without sharing any of the good fortune that attended its close. As the city extends and rents rise, the income arising from this bequest will be very large, and, added to the legacies and donations which may be expected from future benefactors, will suffice for the comfortable maintenance of many who have served under the stripes*
of an ungrateful mistress. The estate was claimed, as heiratlaw, by the Bishop of Nova Scotia (Inglis); but the decision was in favor of the trust. The trial was rendered memorable by the death of Emmet, the Irish refugee. He was counsel for the charity, and was seized, during the proceedings, with the illness which shortly afterwards terminated his existence, to the great and lasting regret of all who knew him.
* These are not the stripes alluded to by Mr. Canning, when he sneered at the "bit of bunting." Flogging is not abolished in the American navy. The captains of the packetships have the power of enforcing discipline by blows.
The situation for the building, which was nearly completed, has been well selected, both for the salubrity of the air and the fine prospect it commands. There are about 130 or 140 acres of land attached to it. Sailors, whose complexion is not of the orthodox color, however meritorious their conduct, or reduced their circumstances, find no "Snug Harbour" here.
The city was now all bustle and anxiety, in expectation of a visit from the President of the United States, who was to arrive on the 12th from Philadelphia. The corporation had engaged apartments for him at the American Hotel; and the ladies seemed to be agreed that they were fitted up with great taste, and in a style of splendor not unworthy of a guest of the richest city of the Union; and no doubt "Old Hickory" slept as comfortably in the bed provided for him as if he had been master of the Tuilleries, or of Windsor Castle. Though there were many visitors on the occasion of throwing open the rooms to the public gaze, there was no crowding or confusion; for as every one was admitted, no one went to obtain an indulgence or exercise a privilege. Between three and four in the afternoon the President arrived in the steamboat, with his attendants. An immense multitude, that covered every accessible spot on land or water, greeted his arrival at the battery with such demonstrations of rejoicing, as led me to think that he must be extremely popular, or the people extremely fond of receiving homage from the work of their own hands. From the open carriage of an American gentleman, at whose house I had dined, I had a good view of "the great man," as he passed on horseback along the Broadway, accompanied by the governor of the State, the civic authorities, the militia, &c. He was dressed in a plain suit of black; and, as he passed through the dense mass of spectators, and bowed most assiduously to the cheers and wavings of flags and handkerchiefs, that caught his ears and his eyes on all sides-from the open pavement, the doorways, the windows, and the roofs of the houses, --his gray hair and elevated forehead presented the picture of a fine old man, more remarkable for a muscular frame and an inflexible countenance than for dignified deportment or graceful manners. He remained some little time in the city to receive and pay the accustomed courtesies, and then proceeded to the eastward, to grasp the hands and gladden the hearts of the Yankees. Whether he was overcome by the fatigues of his excursion, or some political embarrassment arrested his progress, he cut short his journey after he had quitted Boston, and abruptly returned to Washington.
Though I had heard much, before I left England, about the aristocracy of the skin, which so disgracefully distinguishes the new from the old world, I was not prepared to find that America had borrowed from Asia her degrading system of castes, and that the western world was divided into Brahmins and Pariahs. That a people, not otherwise inferior to the rest of mankind in justice, religion, or kind-heartedness, should condemn nearly one-fifth of their fellow citizens, without pity, without remorse, and without a trial, to contempt and obloquy, for no reason but that of the strongest, and no crime but that of color, is one of those anomalies, which the history of every age and country --to the shame of human nature --exhibits, but which the history of no age and of no country exhibits in more preposterous contradiction to the spirit of the times, the advancement of intelligence, and the spread of Christianity. Alarmed at the increasing numbers of this insulted race, and foreseeing, with the instinctive acuteness of cruelty, in their advancing intelligence, a demand for social rights and the efforts of commercial competition, the favored majority were straining every nerve to drive them out of the country by contumelious treatment or deceptious promises. Emigration was offered, as the better part of that alternative which alone remained to national injustice --of expatriating them, as likely to become dangerous or troublesome, or of admitting them to the same privileges with the native-born or naturalized whites. They were told that they were to be sent to their native country, as if that alone were not our native country where we were born; where the remains of those nearest and dearest to us rest; and where every inanimate object bears upon it the indelible impress of our earliest associations and fondest affections. Interested in the fortunes of a people to whom no nation owes a heavier debt, for its crimes and its cruelties, than our own, and who seem destined by the mysterious orderings of Providence, to enjoy and impart the blessings of civilization in the land of their servitude, I determined to investigate their present condition, and ascertain how far they were likely to accept the proffered bounty of the Colonization Society. With this view I called, at the suggestion of a person to whom he was well known, upon the Rev. Peter Williams --a minister of the Protestant Episcopalian church, into which he was ordained by Bishop Hobart. His father, who had been a slave, kept a tobacconists shop after his emancipation, and had, as his first servant, the son of his former master --a double reverse of fortune, that illustrates the doctrine of compensation in a very striking manner.
I found Mr. Williams a very intelligent man, of pleasing and gentlemanly manners, and was much gratified with the information he gave me relative to the situation and prospects of a people, who, like the Jews, have escaped from bondage, to suffer from calumny. It was his opinion that they were chiefly petty offences, for which the blacks, who are found in such numbers in the prisons and penitentiaries, have been committed, --offences that are often overlooked in the whites, who have to contend neither against the prejudice which disposes to conviction, nor against the difficulty of obtaining evidence to character. The prejudice against them was less prevalent, he thought, in the rural districts than in the cities and towns; and stronger among the wealthy than the less fortunate portions of society. This opinion was verified by subsequent observation, and I discovered, contrary to what might have been reasonably expected, that the feeling, however suppressed or disguised, was more bitter in the women than in the men --in the clergy than in the laity --and in the north than in the south. The father of Mr. Williams performed, while a slave, an action so noble and disinterested, that it ought to be recorded. During the revolutionary war, he rescued the Rev. Mr. Chapman --a Presbyterian minister of New Jersey --from the enemy, who were in search of him as one of the most active promoters of the rebellion. An English officer, who suspected that he knew the place of Chapman's retreat, threatened his life, and then offered him his purse, to betray him. But neither the menace nor the gold had any influence upon his resolution; he resisted both, to preserve a man who had no claim upon his benevolence but the danger he was in. The son is worthy of the parent, and is respected by all in spite of his lineage. White clergymen, and even bishops, are sometimes seen in his pulpit,--not but what they resume, on quitting the colored congregation, the sandals they had left at the door, or are not again "conformed" to the world because they have been thus "transformed" by Christian charity. The teachers of the same religion ought not surely to be considered as unfit associates for one another; nor should he, who has given to another authority to preach the gospel, refuse to secure him against insult by the proper employment of that influence which his high calling gives him over his own flock. It is no answer to these remarks to assert that the prejudices of the country are too strong and too widely diffused to be combated by individual efforts, and that foreigners have no right to interfere. If the existence of a custom is to be its justification, and every nation is to be permitted to do what seems right in its own eyes, infanticide in China and self-immolation in Hindostan are natural and lawful; every vice, however odious, and every crime, however hideous, are to be tolerated in those communities that commit them; and no principles, by which human actions and sentiments are to be regulated, can ever be discovered.
The brutal indifference to human virtue and happiness that accompanies this antipathy is inconceivable. There was an article in the American Quarterly Review, about this time, on the subject of the Colonization Society. It abounded in that sort of hypothetical reasoning, gratuitous assumption, and arbitrary analogies which generally characterise the advocacy of a bad cause. The vulgar fallacy of contrasting theory with experience was thrust forward; as if the same facts could be valuable when separated, and worthless in conjunction; or the principle which is found in all, of less consequence than the accessaries with which each is casually connected. But the badness of the logic is lost in the atrocity of a suggestion, which involves so much inhumanity in the expedient recommended, and so much demoralization in the results, that we are at a loss to decide which most deserves our reprobation--the writer of such an article, or the people to whom it is addressed. "If Congress," says the Reviewer, "had, from 1790, been empowered to make a very moderate annual appropriation for the purchase of the female infants of slaves, and taken no other measures, slavery would be (would have been) now little more than a name, and, twenty years hence, all but extinct." This measure has several times been urged upon the planters by Niles, in his Register. "We calculated,"--such are his words so late as Sept. 1834,--"we calculated, some years ago, that the removal annually of twelve or thirteen thousand young colored females from the United States, would check the progress of the whole colored population; and suppose that, if slavery is ever abolished in this country, unless by acts of lawful violence, it must be brought about by gradual, and moderate, and kind removals of young females --from which no great inconvenience to either party would result. Steadinesss in the policy suggested would, in a few years, very materially reduce the comparative number of the colored population."This was said on the occasion of our sending out young women to Australia. Niles must have known, or ought to have known, why they were sent. The object was not, as he would have it be believed, to check population at home. He would not, perhaps, regret to see the same vices which called for this importation into New Holland, resulting from the projected exportation from North America. The more degraded the one race, the greater relative importance of the other --in their own eyes. It is from Spanish barbarity that this scheme appears to have been borrowed. "It was the policy of sugar-planters ," says Abbott, in his Letters on Cuba, "to purchase males alone; and they were not allowed wives off of the estate; therefore they were wholly denied a privilege, even more eagerly coveted by blacks than whites, and were condemned to monkish celibacy --or that which was very much worse. A policy so barbarous has been abandoned by most but it is retained by some, and even by coffee-planters; where the labor is comparatively light, either excluding females from the estate, or locking up the sexes in separate buildings." Population is discouraged in Cuba, because it is cheaper to buy than to rear slaves, on the same principle that a farmer purchases, instead of breeding, his horses. The ordinary profits of stock can only be made by conforming to the system which competition introduces and self-defence is obliged to adopt. If man, by becoming property, could, by any possibility, be secured against the contingencies to which property is exposed, he would no longer be a slave.
In 1820 there were, on the island, but five female blacks to nine males of the same race; while the proportion among the sexes in the white population was as seven to eight. Between 1811 and 1825, according to a statistical account published at the Havana in 1829 by a Commission appointed by the local government, 185,000 blacks had been imported from Africa; yet there were no more than 286,942 in the year 1827, while in 1817 there had been 225,268. Some deduction must be made from the destruction thus implied, on account of the contraband trade carried on between the island and the Slave States of the continent. Still the black or mixed races added to their numbers more rapidly than the other, from 1775 to 1827. The whites had increased 224 per cent. during that period, the free colored population 246, and the slaves 547.
To return to the Review, a more extended notice of which may be excused as the able advocate of an association, which owes its origin to a combination of circumstances so little understood in Europe, that no one would believe it possible for a whole nation to invoke the aid and admiration of Humanity for a work of consummate duplicity and wickedness. The writer in question is, however, consistent: --he approves of teaching religion to the slaves by oral communication alone, and speaks with complacency of the law recently enacted in Georgia, that no colored person shall engage in preaching or exhortation or as a class reader. The black, it is said, is naturally inferior to the white: what if the former had been the sculptor? Admitting the truth of this position, what right does the distinction give to the latter? --It was his pride that suggested the hypothesis; and his avarice that connected the premises with the conclusion. The logic is worthy of the morality. He who is accustomed to see or to infer benevolent design in everything around him, will not doubt that the diversities of form and complexion, which distinguish the various tribes of men, have the accommodation of the species for their object, as they have the divine goodness for their Author. He would laugh at the folly, if he were not indignant at the impiety, which would make an assumed superiority of mind a reason for employing the physical powers of the victim for its own purposes; and would readily acknowledge, that, if authority were to change hands, the justification of its exercise might, by parity of reasoning, be founded on the same distinction --since the African would claim a property in European intellect on the plea of a more perfect bodily organization. How can it be said, with any semblance of truth, that the free blacks quit the country without constraint or coercion, since their residence in all the States is made the source of unceasing annoyance to them; and, in some of them, is no longer tolerated? "The laws of Maryland,"*
"The Society maintains that no slave ought to receive his liberty, except on condition of being excluded, not merely from the State, which sets him loose, but from the whole country;" i.e. punishment is to fall, not upon the perpetrators, but the victims of this "moral evil"; misfortune and crime are to meet with the same fate; and the justice of the white man is to make even Liberty a curse. We are told, in every publication that issues from this Society, in every speech that is addressed by its advocates to an applauding public, that these unfortunate beings are to be expatriated, because they are "an ignorant, indolent, and depraved population." Yet a clergyman in Virginia, while offering to emancipate seventeen of these "degraded" creatures, declared in a letter written by him in 1828, that they were "as desirable a parcel for their integrity and industry as any man owned," and the Reviewer himself says- "no capital crime has been committed (in Liberia) since its commencement; and very few (be believes) of any description." The same men, we are called upon to believe, are rogues in America and honest men in Africa; depravity becomes virtue by crossing the Atlantic; and the rubbish and refuse of the mother country prove a boon and a blessing to her colony. The parent and child are not more completely separated by the waters of the Atlantic than by the natural sympathy of the one with every thing that bears the human form, and the superstitious repugnance which the other has imbibed, from early infancy, against one fifth of those who were born on the same soil with himself. What right has any one to say, "homo sum," who cannot add --"nihil humani a me alienum puto"? He cannot "know himself a man," till he has been taught "what others are to feel."
In England, a sable complexion is a passport, almost everywhere, to kindness and, liberality. In that part of America, which "claims kindred" with her sons, it is viewed with aversion or repelled with scorn. The studied separation in the first periods of life;--the universal antipathy during all that succeed; --the rigorous exclusion from the courtesies and accomplishments, of social life; --and, above all, the risk of losing caste attached to any deviation from what despotic custom has marked with her inexorable "tabu" --form a barrier to a more liberal and humane intercourse, which none but the most generous or the most vile among the whites can break through.