From Mark Twain's 1889 novel, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court:
He shone very well in this latter office. He was a wise and humane judge, and he clearly did his honest best and fairest -- according to his lights. Yes, according to his lights. That is a large reservation. His lights -- I mean his rearing -- often colored his decisions. Whenever there was a dispute between a noble or gentleman, and a person of lower degree, the king's leanings and sympathies were for the former class always, whether he suspected it or not. It was impossible that this should be otherwise. The blunting effects of slavery upon the slaveholder's moral perceptions are known and conceded, the world over, and a privileged class, an aristocracy, is but a band of slaveholders under another name.
This has a harsh sound, and yet should not be offensive to any -- even the noble himself -- unless the fact itself be an offence: for the statement simply formulates a fact. The repulsive feature of slavery is the thing, not its name. One needs but to hear an aristocrat speak of the classes that are below him to recognize -- and in but indifferently modified measure -- the very air and spirit, the slaveholder's blunted feeling. They are the result of the same cause, in both cases: the possessor's old and inbred custom of regarding himself as the superior being. The king's judgments wrought natural and unalterable sympathies. He was as unfitted for a judgeship as would be the average mother for the position of milk-distributor to starving children in famine-time; her own children would fare a shade better than the rest.
Tags: Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court