In Uncle Tom's Cabin, Harriett Beecher Stowe uses the character Augustine St. Clare to state a popularly held notion at the time that slavery is worse for the master than for the slave. Discuss your thoughts about this notion.

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St. Clare realizes that slavery is wrong, but he feels trapped by the institution. He is not a religious man, though he seems to want to experience faith, and similarly he fails to act on the belief that slavery is wrong. When his little daughter Eva lies sick, she asks if all enslaved people might be made free, and his response is telling:

There's no doubt that this way is a very bad one; a great many people think so; I do myself. I heartily wish that there were not a slave in the land; but, then, I don't know what is to be done about it!

Slavery, then, places St. Clare in a situation where he is forced (or more accurately, feels forced) to act against his own morality. But Stowe is critical of this view, as demonstrated when St. Clare reads a passage from the Bible with Tom that persuades him, essentially, that to do no good is the same as to do evil. He is still somewhat conflicted, thinking that his slaves will not be able to make it in the world once they are emancipated. Still, he seems resolved to fulfill his promise to Eva, who made him promise to free Uncle Tom on her deathbed. Unfortunately for the title character, St. Clare dies from his wounds in a fight before he has a chance to make good on this promise. Tom is sold to the brutal Simon Legree. So while slavery is not exactly worse for the master than the slave in St. Clare's case, certainly it erodes his spirit and perhaps plays a role in his unwillingness to embrace Christianity until his death. His lack of spirituality, in turn, is the reason he is unable to imagine acting against an institution he knows to be basically wrong. 

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