Journal of Dr GFW
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Cumberland Court House, Virginia
Morning clear and pleasantly cool; this, I think, is generally the case in a Southern climate. We continued on toward Cumberland Court House. Roads continue excellent and our traveling pleasant. Arrived at the Court House and took breakfast at Hopson's Inn. This place is quite small containing only between thirty and forty inhabitants. My health seems declining. It has appeared to me all day that it was impossible for me to sit in the carriage and as a natural result I feel cold despondency yawning over me. But my glorious motto, "Don't give up the ship," is ever ready to step into my assistance and in some measure chase despair out of sight. And the more I pondered over the words of our Brave but unfortunate Lawrence, the more I loved them. When properly considered and acted on they will, in those dark moments, have a beneficial effect. They would seem to say, "Though you may think all efforts will end in nothing, your situation may be etter. Ah! Sacred Hope ever present in the most gloomy moment.
My reflections for the last two days have been of a disagreeable nature in every particular, feeling the failure of health in the energy of the system naturally produced a corresponding effect on the mind in relation to that mortal part which returns to its Mother earth. I viewed as to myself all sublunary things of but little importance and to be beyond my feeble grasp. Moments of utter despair would seize me in spite of every effort until I would view some barbarous cruelty to slaves and this would enlist all my feelings, and the mind would contemplate that. What can the people of Virginia think in the sober hours of refection, if such moments ever occur to the slaveholder. Even allowing custom and familiarity to have its whole influence, in paralyzing the feelings of humanity and benevolence, yet I must think they must feel at some times the keen stings of a guilty conscience, the working of the worm that never dies... and above all, and over all, Gentlemen moving in the most elevated circles of society (it may make no difference where all are guilty) are greeted by the soft voices of Females, in the most pleasant manner, when these identical individuals are connected in the most intimate manner with the female slaves, whom they treat as Dogs or beasts of burden. No! this is not the blackest picture. After having this diabolical intercourse, the fruits of which may be seen in every section of the country through which we have passed, these demons in the shape of men sell them as he does his hogs or horses.
Where does Christianity sleep? Is there no still, small voice speaking to him who deprives of liberty God's intelligent creatures? How can those who profess to be led and conducted by those pure and Heavenly precepts and examples taught as never man spake, tolerate in their own families a continuance of Slavery? I would often think, it was impossible for a Christian by profession to hold Slaves under any pretext whatever because every principle of slavery is in direct opposition to Christianity. Does Jesus Christ give one precept that can be tortured into an indication that to deprive a human being of liberty and expose him to be sold in accordance with or in direct opposition to his will formed any part of Christianity or that the principle of so doing be justified? If any such permission be given by our Divine Master, I do not recall it; and, from what I do know he said, I am confident Slavery in any shape is in direct opposition to the tenor of the Gospel. This is now my opinion an feelings on the subject. But it may be that a more extensive knowledge and longer acquaintance will produce a change in some measure. Self, so dear to us all, when combined with interest may induce me to act quite differently from what now appears just and equitable in regard to Slavery. Man, I believe, is much the creature of circumstances and at one time may do things without compunction which once he may have considered himself incapable of having committed.