| Quote #13
"Are there no honest ones?"
Augustine St. Clare explains to his cousin Ophelia that the system of slavery actively discourages honest behavior in slaves. Slave owners tended to claim that slaves were inherently bad and required the supervision of masters, but St. Clare understands that deceitful behavior in slaves is not an innate characteristic – it’s caused by their enslavement and mistreatment. Still, St. Clare and Ophelia both betray their racism here when they agree that "the whole race" share in this deceitfulness.
| Quote #14
"What now? why, those folks have whipped Prue to death!" said Miss Ophelia, going on, with great strength of detail, into the story, and enlarging on its most shocking particulars.
Stowe uses Prue’s death and St. Clare’s reaction to show that slave owners can literally get away with murder. There is no legal or social recourse against Prue’s owners. Even St. Clare, a powerful and wealthy man, believes that he has no way to bring about punishment for them. Like Miss Ophelia, we’re utterly frustrated with St. Clare’s "see no evil" attitude.
| Quote #15
"You seem to wonder; but if you will get me fairly at it, I'll make a clean breast of it. This cursed business, accursed of God and man, what is it? Strip it of all its ornament, run it down to the root and nucleus of the whole, and what is it? Why, because my brother Quashy is ignorant and weak, and I am intelligent and strong, – because I know how, and can do it, – therefore, I may steal all he has, keep it, and give him only such and so much as suits my fancy. Whatever is too hard, too dirty, too disagreeable, for me, I may set Quashy to doing. Because I don't like work, Quashy shall work. Because the sun burns me, Quashy shall stay in the sun. Quashy shall earn the money, and I will spend it. Quashy shall lie down in every puddle, that I may walk over dry-shod. Quashy shall do my will, and not his, all the days of his mortal life, and have such chance of getting to heaven, at last, as I find convenient. This I take to be about what slavery is. I defy anybody on earth to read our slave-code, as it stands in our law-books, and make anything else of it. Talk of the abuses of slavery! Humbug! The thing itself is the essence of all abuse!" (19.54)
St. Clare makes an important if simple point: slavery itself is an immoral abuse of one human being by another. Harsh masters who beat, torment, murder, or rape their slaves are committing terrible crimes. But any slave master, brutal or not, is behaving inhumanely by definition. And yet again, St. Clare’s perceptiveness and compassion are undermined by racist generalizations – such as the comical "Quashy" in his hypothetical example.