Solid overview of the early decades of slavery in Virginia, specifically the growth of an elite planter class, the role of Christianity, and the transition from a "baroque" labor system of indentured servitude to one built around race-based slavery. Makes an argument for the centrality of planter/elite ideology of patrimonialism in the consolidation of Virginia's socio-economic system. As a non-specialist in this field, I got the most out of the chapters on the "land grab" (creation of mass estates and the formation of an elite planter class in the last quarter of the 17th century) and the section on the rise of specific legal regimes differentiated by race/descent (major pivot around 1740, after which there was a marked increase in laws/punishments that discriminated against non-whites). Title comes from a 1736 letter which states: "An unhappy Effect of Many Negroes, is the necessity of being severe. Numbers make them insolent, and then foul Means must do, what fair will not."