| Quote #7
"It's done!" said Mr. Shelby, in a musing tone; and, fetching a long breath, he repeated, "It's done!"
Mr. Shelby is reluctant to recognize the similarities between himself and the slave trader, Haley, but the reader sees them very clearly. Although Mr. Shelby tries to elicit a promise from Tom’s new owner that Tom will be treated well, he fails to ensure this himself, and so he doesn’t have much moral high ground to stand on.
| Quote #8
Mrs. Shelby stood like one stricken. Finally, turning to her toilet, she rested her face in her hands, and gave a sort of groan.
Mrs. Shelby knows that slavery is a curse that affects all who play a part in it – it undermines every Christian principle in which she believes. Even being as good a mistress as possible is no remedy when you’re operating within a system that fails at every level to be humane. When Mr. Shelby reminds her that some southern ministers preach the virtues of slavery, Mrs. Shelby dismisses their behavior as obviously immoral. It’s not even necessary for her to engage the substance of their arguments directly, because they’re so obviously inhumane and un-Christian.
| Quote #9
"I've got a gang of boys, sir," said the long man, resuming his attack on the fire-irons, "and I jest tells 'em – 'Boys,' says I, – 'run now! dig! put! jest when ye want to! I never shall come to look after you!' That's the way I keep mine. Let 'em know they are free to run any time, and it jest breaks up their wanting to. More 'n all, I've got free papers for 'em all recorded, in case I gets keeled up any o' these times, and they know it; and I tell ye, stranger, there an't a fellow in our parts gets more out of his niggers than I do. Why, my boys have been to Cincinnati, with five hundred dollars' worth of colts, and brought me back the money, all straight, time and agin. It stands to reason they should. Treat 'em like dogs, and you'll have dogs' works and dogs' actions. Treat 'em like men, and you'll have men's works." And the honest drover, in his warmth, endorsed this moral sentiment by firing a perfect feu de joie at the fireplace. (11.26)
Once again, the novel shows us that morality and economics are actually on the same side when it comes to slavery. It’s not only humane to treat blacks like human beings – it’s also more profitable. Stowe herself saw abolition as a moral issue and a Christian duty, but she was savvy enough to realize that she’d have to engage the issue of profit in order to convince some 19th century readers who believed slave labor was necessary to the economic structure of the South.