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Thornton Stringfellow
Scriptural and Statistical Views in Favor of Slavery
Richmond, Va.: J. W. Randolph, 1856.

Summary

Stringfellow's Scriptural and Statistical Views in Favor of Slavery is written in two parts. The first part, "Scriptural Views," is a reprint of the tract A Brief Examination of Scripture Testimony on the Institution of Slavery. His four major points in this essay are as follows: 1) Slavery received the sanction of God in the time of the Patriarchs; 2) Slavery is incorporated as a part of the only commonwealth expressly established by God; 3) Slavery is recognized by Jesus Christ as legitimate; and 4) Slavery is full of mercy. In support of these contentions, Stringfellow calls attention especially to Abraham, Jewish Law, and the Pauline epistles in the New Testament. Added to this essay are two shorter essays. The first responds to an attempt by a pro-abolition individual to convince him that scripture condemns slavery. Stringfellow refutes every scripture employed by the abolitionist. The second essay uses the Israelite conquest of Canaan to prove that slavery is legitimated by Mosaic Law.

The second part of this book contains the "Statistical views." This essay uses the census of 1850 to make material claims for the expediency of slavery. Most of his material compares the six New England states with the five old slave states on the Atlantic coast. Using census data, Stringfellow asserts that the southern states are superior in religious life and material life for whites, slaves, and free blacks. The urban life of the northern states suffers in comparison with the agricultural South both in terms of general prosperity and population growth. Stringfellow's conclusion is that despite the fact that the northern states forced the burden of slavery onto their southern neighbors, the southern states have thrived socially and religiously. Stringfellow takes this as evidence that slavery is not a curse, but a blessing.

Christopher Hill

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