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Re: The Free State of Winston
In Response To: The Free State of Winston ()

Forgive me if I'm stealing your post, but I think this does apply.

Do you know of Robert Seymour Symmes Tharin? He pushed for solidarity among Alabama's nonslaveholding whites in 1858-60. He wasn't against the use of slaves in farming, but he was against any use of slaves that would take jobs away from whites. The fire-eater Yancey, in 1858 and later, pushed for restarting the slave trade which was met with great opposition in Alabama. The introduction of more slaves was thought by many middle-class Alabamians "to reduce white workers to slavery, or "mud-sill" status, and make the state "the great slave-market of the world."

"In an influential series of essays written for the Mobile Tribune, [a writer named] 'Southerner' declared that a revived slave trade would be ruinous to white workingmen, already subjected to 'an injurious competition with negro labor in many of their trades.' The use of slaves in the cotton mills had already reduced many whites to a state of 'abject and hopeless poverty.' 'Southerner' dismissed the proslavery Yanceyite rebuttal that more slaves meant lower slave prices, consequently making slaves available to poorer whites. 'So far from their being able to buy a negro,' he said, 'they could hardly make enough to buy decent clothing and food for themselves and families.'" From the Mobile Tribune copied in Montgomery Daily Confederation, Jan. 19, 1859.

Tharin was a law partner with Yancey in Wetumpka. "There, according to Tharin, he witnessed the general degradation of the white worker in slave society. In an open affront to public taste Tharin agreed to represent a non-slaveholder accused of selling liquor to a Negro. The man had been beaten, whipped, ridden on a rail, and finally hung from the lintels of his own back door. Surprisingly, the man survived this abuse and sued the slaveholders who instigated the mob action. Tharin took the case to demonstrate that nonslaveholders had the right to sue the powerful in society and that even slaveholders must respect the law....Yancey quickly dissolved the law partnership."

All from..."The Collon Mill Movement in Antebellum Alabama", by R. M. Miller.

David Upton

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