• “Of one slave Carter wrote, “dismembering will reclaim him.… I have cured many a Negro of running away by this means.” This horrible practice, legalized in 1705, evidently became widespread, with much resultant butchery; it received further legal blessing in the tightening of the slave laws in 1723, when the Virginia Assembly absolved owners and surgeons of manslaughter if such “dismembering” resulted in the slave’s death. The lawmakers assumed that no sane man would deliberately destroy his own very valuable property. It is hideous to imagine that doctors would participate in such medical atrocities, but they did.”

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