I'm sitting here reading State v. Will, an opinion by Justice Gaston of the North Carolina Supreme Court (and the arguments of counsel with it), for a short paper on slave trials. I see that the prosecutor quotes without attribution someone to this effect: "the world when best peopled, was not a world of freemen, but of slaves." That's a very common sentiment in the old South. But here's the question: whom was he quoting? And -- and this is what really interests me -- where did the prosecutor most likely get that quotation? I think there's a pretty exciting (if unsurprising) story in intellectual history in the way that quotation made it into the prosectuor's mind. It is further evidence of the influence of University faculty in the promulgation of proslavery ideas.
Gaston, long-time readers of this blog may recall, is someone I'm deeply interested in. The illustration is the grave monument of B.F. Moore in Raleigh's Oakwood Cemetery. Moore argued the case for Will.