Boston, to which place I went on the 1st of September, I saw a cousin of Peter Vicey. She gave the same account of what passed in Virginia, on the establishment of their claim to liberty, as was given me by the colonists in Ohio. She was married to a man, of whom I heard a very favorable report from Mr. Child. She stated that she had had great difficulty in obtaining her papers of freedom from the agent, William Wickham, as he refused to let her have them, because she would not accompany the party who had gone into Ohio. When she had at last succeeded in her object, he told her there was money due to her, and he would remit it to her at Boston, whither she was going. She applied for it several times, through a lawyer; but not one cent did she ever get from William Wickham. Her husband informed me that a friend had once seen a copy of Mr. Gist's will in Virginia, but had forgotten the contents.
Among the many instances which I was doomed to hear of the national bigotry, were one or two particularly deserving of notice. It is an established fact that blindness is more prevalent among the blacks than the whites; yet none of them are allowed to partake of the benefits which the asylum, lately established at Boston, affords to those who are afflicted with this infirmity. There was an application made for admission, by persons who had befriended a poor colored child that was blind, --but without effect, though the inhabitants of the town where he lived, petitioned the legislature in his favor. Those with whom the election rested decided against him. A letter from one of the poor boy's friends, (Benjamin Davenport,) to a member of the legislature says, "the reason assigned was because he had a colored skin. The Governor informed me that he had no objection to granting him a certificate; but the Trustees objected. He also informed me, that the Institution received nearly 3000 dollars last year from the unexpended appropriation to the deaf and dumb, making about 9000 dollars from the State last year. I understand the objection made by Dr. Howe, who seems to be the Principal of the Institution, is, if they should have pupils from the South, their parents or friends would not like to have them in the same school with colored children. I am not aware that the legislature intended any distinction of color, when they made the grant; nor do I believe they would countenance it." The boy, thus rejected, was remarkable for goodness of disposition and acuteness of mind. Dr. Howe is well known in America as a Philhellenist.
Another instance refers to the case of juvenile offenders, who were declared to be inadmissible at the house of reformation, on account of their complexion. But, perhaps , the strongest example of this vile feeling is to be seen in the conduct of Judge Story, while addressing a jury, who were trying a white man on a charge of murder. The victim of his savage ferocity was the steward or cook of a vessel he commanded. He had beaten and flogged him till he died. Three colored men of unexceptionable character deposed to the fact, of which they had been eye-witnesses. All suspicion of concert or collusion between the witnesses was precluded by the variation in its details of the evidence they gave. The defence was that the deceased had died from the effects of sickness, and not from the blows he had received. His wife, however, swore that he was in good health when he left her; that she had never heard of his having been ill; and that he had always had an excellent constitution. The prisoner was acquitted; the judge having told the jury they must deduct from the weight of testimony, pruduced by the witnesses, the probable iufluence of their prejudices aganst a man of a different color from their own. No allusion whatever was made to a similar feeling on the other side; though it was just as likely to operate in favor of a white man as against him. Any one unaquainted with the state of the public mind and the character of the judge, would have supposed that the whites alone, were the victims of an unreasonable, prejudice.
Such an observation from the bench, in open court, in a trial for a brutal assault, accompanied with fatal effects, and very suspicious circumstances proclaims more clearly and more strikingly the diabolical spirit which pervades the nation, than a thousand anecdotes illustrative of what is practised, by individuals in private life. Public opinion took part with the accused, and the judge congratulated him on an acquittal, by which his "character was fully vindicated."
the examination of the public schools took place last year, the African
schools, as they are called, were omitted in the list advertised, though
it was particularly requested that a notice, relative to them, should be
inserted at the same time in the papers. The pupils that attend them were
not allowed to join in the procession, which greeted the President when
he arrived in the city on his tour. The reason alleged was, that it would
be offensive to a southerner if the colored children should turn out to
receive him. A
white man , who had the care of one of these schools, was convicted
of having been in the habit of corrupting the morals of the young women
under his care. He protested his innocence, and complained that all his
predecessors had labored unjustly under the same imputation. The proofs
against him were conclusive of his guilt, yet he was continued in his place
under some pretence or other. His predecessors were probably as bad as
himself. Few care for these children; their virtues are a reproach to those
who despise them. Why should they be punished or checked by the scorner,
who encourage and promote those vices that give him an excuse for his contempt?
He ought to thank them for helping him to keep the "niggers" down. A proper
teacher is now appointed to the school in question.
The object my friends and myself had, in visiting Canaan, was to be present at a meeting of the trustees of a school lately formed there. The Noyes Seminary had obtained a charter of incorporation from the legislature of New Hampshire; and the building being nearly completed, all that remained was, to settle the terms of admission, and provide for the appointment of a teacher, and the requisite control over the management and discipline of the institution.
A spirit of liberality unknown, or at least unheard of, in any other part of the Union, had inspired the townsmen of this sequestered spot with the noble resolution of opening the school they had founded with their donations and subscriptions, to the children of all whose means would enable them to enjoy its benefits, without distinction. No curicular test was to be demanded as a qualification for entrance; --no disability was to be sought in impurity of blood: --exclusion or expulsion was to be based upon those considerations alone which would carry with them their own justification in the eyes of every liberal and impartial man.
While at Concord , a newspaper fell into our hands, containing an advertisement that menaced a determined opposition to the scheme. It was hardly, indeed, to be expected, that any plan so much in advance of the feeling that pervaded the whole country, should be suffered to go unmolested into operation. The resolutions, however, to which I refer, were passed at a meeting got up for the occasion, against the wishes of more than four-fifths of the voters in the town, if a fair judgment may be formed from the number of those who signed their names to the document. Just before we quitted the village, we were informed that not more than six opponents remained in the place: --thanks to the persuasive eloquence of my companions, who explained to an attentive audience, the day after our arrival, the principles and objects which the academy was to maintain and promote.
Provisions are cheap; and the whole expense of education, including board and lodging, would not exceed 100 dollars for a pupil who should reside there the whole year. The scholars are to board with the inhabitants. There will be room for 100 boys. We had two public meetings; both opened and closed with prayer, --two ministers being present; one of them a trustee and a friend to the objects of the establishment; the other unconnected with it. The prayer, however, he offered up at the termination of the last meeting, breathed nothing but charity and goodwill, in language that promised a hearty co-operation or a generous neutrality. It was chiefly among the old people that hostility to the new school manifested itself; though some venerable revolutionists, who cheerfully bore testimony to the services of the colored soldiers during the war with the mother country, formed an exception. The younger part of the community, particularly the boys, were indignant at the narrow spirit of proscription, and were impatient to shew a better feeling, by entering their names as scholars. Taking all the circumstances of our reception into consideration, I had good reason to be pleased with what I had witnessed. I had seen in the West and in the East the same devotion to humanity --the same sacrifice of deep-rooted prejudice on the altar of justice; and I could not but foresee, in the alumni of Lane Seminary and of Noyes Academy an honorable rivalry in high thoughts and good deeds. Events have since occurred that have rendered this hope unavailing. The students of Lane Seminary, who had formed themselves into an abolition society, have dissolved their connexion with the institution, to the number of forty-one; and others, who were absent at the time, agreed in the "statement", though they were unable to affix their names to it. The Principal, during a visit he made to Boston last autumn, declared that he would, on his return, put a stop to the anti-slavery proceedings. The Executive Committee of the Seminary, four-fifths of whom are colonizationists, subsequently resolved that the society in question should be dissolved. No event could have happened more favorable to the cause of freedom, than the result of this threat. Every student whom it has driven from the establishment, will now form the nucleus of a new association, animated with all the zeal and energy that sympathy for persecution never fails to excite in great national controversies. The same feelings have struck their deep roots in the minds of the scholars at Amherst and Andover, in Massachusetts.
No man, who is attached to his country, whatever his opinions may be, can approve of such methods to stop and stifle inquiry as have been adopted at the Seminary. The Committee, whose report is dated August 24,1834, stated (a very important admission) that the Colonization Society of Lane Seminary was instituted "merely with a view to counteract the peculiar sentiments of their opponents" --in other words to support slavery, --and recommended the following resolution: --"That rules should be adopted, prohibiting the organization in the seminary of any association or society of the students, without the approbation of the faculty, --prohibiting the calling or holding of meetings among the students, without the approbation of the faculty; prohibiting students from delivering lectures or public addresses, public statements or communications to the students when assembled at meals, or on ordinary occasions, &c.; requiring the two rival societies to be abolished; and prohibiting any student from being absent from the seminary at any time in term time, without leave; and providing for discouraging and discountenancing, by all suitable means, such discussions among the students as are calculated to divert their attention from their studies, excite party animosities, stir up evil passions among themselves, or in the community, or involve themselves with the political concerns of the country: --also providing for the dismissal of any student not complying with these regulations."
board of Trustees acted upon these suggestions; and the students, finding
that the promise made but a short time before by the Faculty, in a public
declaration, to "protect and encourage free inquiry and thorough discussion,"
was thus violated, and that the executive committee could dismiss "any
student when they think it necessary to do so," broke off all connexion
with the institution. Matters seem rapidly approaching to that point
of national determination, when no other alternative remains but the complete
adoption of personal freedom or political slavery. Academical coercion
and republican forms of government cannot long exist together. Monarchy
may continue while freedom of associations is permitted, and perhaps, because
it is permitted, in its universities: but democracy cannot long survive
when it has left them.
Dr. Tuckerman. --Dr. Follen. --House of Industry. --Pauperism
in Massachusetts. --House of Correction. --Juvenile Offenders. --Reformatory
School of Mr. Welles. --War between Patricians and Plebeians. --"Thrice
told tale" of Canterbury. --System of "Strikes." --Travelling Incognito.
--Reception of George Thompson from England. --Progress of Abolition Doctrines.
The doctor [Tuckerman] was no "respecter of persons;" exhibiting the same solicitude for every child of Adam. I was anxious to hear, from a man of such experience in the calamities and infirmities of our nature, what impression had been left on his mind by an acquaintance with the despised and degraded class of the community. He replied to my inquiry, that he had met with many instances of exemplary virtue among them; and that there was no reason to suppose they were morally or intellectually below the level of the other race in similar circumstances. One example he detailed with great feeling. It was that of a poor woman who had nursed a sick neighbor for five months, during the absence of the invalid's husband. The patient was a most deplorable spectacle, being afflicted with dropsy in its most aggravated form. "I know not what would have become of me," said the poor sufferer, "if it had not been for the kindness of this excellent woman. She has sat up with me three nights in succession; and I fear that want of rest, and the fatigue she has to go through on my account, will be too much for her." The other expressed herself in the most modest and unpretending terms, and appeared to think she was merely discharging the common offices of kindness to her afflicted friend. "It was a sight," added the amiable philanthropist, "that might well have stopped a ministering angel on his errand of mercy --to look at and admire."
This reverend Doctor was not contented with professing an exemption from the vulgar prejudices of his age and nation. No distinction was made at his servants' table; nor were those ever divided in his house, whom he had taught, by his example, to live, as they were to die, in Christian love and affection.
The Doctor very politely offered me a seat in his gig the next day, for the purpose of viewing the public establishments for paupers and juvenile offenders.
intervening evening I passed, as I can hope to pass few in future, with professor Follen, of Cambridge, and his lady. The professor, who had been driven across the Atlantic, by the enemies of political liberty in his own country, had not, like too many exiles from Europe, attempted to conciliate the friends of personal slavery in the land of his Adoption, by open advocacy or servile indifference.
He had "chosen the better part," after mature deliberation; and had come out with a manly courage, tempered by mildness, and sustained by principles that placed him above the influence or imputation of worldly and interested motives, as an abolitionist. His "Address to the people of the United States" on the subject, is a master-piece of sound logic, and literary composition. His zeal and good sense were amply and ably seconded by his lady; and if a pure love of freedom, a sincere conviction that the happiness of every one is the happiness of all, and a heartfelt sympathy with the injured and the oppressed, could have disarmed animosity, it might have been expected, that the enemies of the cause would have spared the advocate, and that Dr. Follen would have escaped the obloquy and insult that have been heaped upon him. But perhaps the injustice done to the man is the strongest testimony in favor of his reasoning. Scurrilous paragraphs in the public prints, and threats of vengeance, are the natural weapons of those who dare not deny facts, and cannot answer arguments. What may we not hope to see on the side of emancipation, when persons most distinguished for scientific attainments and social refinements, are in its ranks, --prepared to make every sacrifice in the performance of a duty which colder hearts and less logical heads, consider superfluous or premature? Such minds are "enthusiastic" to those only who make the imputed "fanaticism" of others a cloak for their own apathy. From Mrs. Follen I had still further proof of the little value to be placed on the received estimate of the tawney man's real character. Colonel May , who has had frequent opportunities of observation, assured her that he had never known more than two confirmed cases in Boston of drunkenness among the blacks. This testimony is the less to be suspected; because it comes from one who is not an abolitionist.
house of industry, guided by Dr. Tuckerman]
It [the ward for the insane] adjoins the apartment in which the colored people, with the usual disregard of their feelings, are lodged apart, and must, from the noise and confusion which prevail, be the source of great annoyance to them, particularly to the sick.
The patients are from time to time, removed to Worcester Asylum, where they are cured in a large proportion of cases, in the early stages of the disorder.In the infant school here, the stain of color is visible among the pupils. "The common class shun their society." In the infirmary, where these poor creatures were, I remarked, as I did in almost every place of the kind, strong indications of assiduous attention to the helpless and infirm. A woman was brushing away the flies from a child who was sick in bed. Upon inquiry , I was told there were not many of this class of paupers. One of them, an old man, ninety-seven years of age, had served in the American navy, during the whole of the revolutionary war. He had no pension; and he could find no Greenwich Hospital*
in the Sailor's Snug Harbor.
* Every one who has seen this place, knows that there are plenty of colored pensioners among its inmates.
[Estab. for juvenile offenders:]
Not much to the credit, however, of the proper authorities; a resolution had been made against admitting any juvenile offender, who might happen to have a drop of the prohibited and proscribed blood in his veins: so that those, who are said to stand most in need of reformation, are excluded from its benefits, by the very persons who complain that they are incorrigible. The average cost of the children, whose age is from nine to eighteen, is twelve cents per diem.
I left Boston on the 19th of September for Brooklyn, for the purpose of visiting Canterbury again, on my way back to New York. I had heard that the school was given up; the pupils having been so much alarmed by an attack upon the house during the night, that they would no longer remain exposed to the repetition of outrages by which their comfort was destroyed and their lives endangered.
On my arrival at Canterbury, I was introduced by Mrs. Phileo (late Miss Crandall) to her husband, from whom I received an account of what had passed.
On the 9th of September, about midnight, five separate windows in the house were simultaneously broken, and the frames forced in. No noise preceded or followed the outrage. Mr. Phileo and Mr. Burleigh immediately went out, but could neither see nor hear any one. No alarm was raised in the village; and no one came out to inquire into the cause. There were two windows broken in one sitting room --one in another at the opposite side of the house, and in a chamber on the ground floor, where two of the pupils slept, two windows were completely destroyed, the glass having been thrown upon one of the beds. It was fortunate that the inmates were not injured, as the wood-work was in such a state when I saw it, that it had yielded to the blow, and remained suspended over that part of the bed where the girl's neck must have lain. Crowbars or thick poles must have been employed by powerful men to have produced such destruction. Mr. Phileo, who had previously (Aug. 12) drawn up an address to the select men of the town, offering to quit the village, if the property could be disposed of without loss, and the law of exclusion be repealed, called with another person (Mr. Hinckley, of Plainfield) upon Mr. Judson, the town-clerk, to state what had passed. Mr. Judson opened the door, and was introduced to Mr. Phileo by his companion. The ceremony of shaking hands having been performed, and no invitation given to walk in, the following conversation, as far as my informant could remember the words, took place. Mr. Phileo: --"I should be happy, Sir, to see you for a few moments." Mr. Judson: --"I do not want to see you, Sir, any more than I now see you." "I have business with you." --"I have no business with you." "I have with you, Sir." --"I will do no business with you, Sir. Your conduct has been such lately, that I have no confidence in you." He then shut the door, saying, "good night."
As soon as the pupils were able to quit the village, they returned to their parents, leaving but a few in the house, who were waiting for instruction from home. Mr. Phileo had two men for several nights to watch the house. Not one of the authorities of the town had been to inquire into the matter, and none of the neighbors had called to offer assistance, or express sympathy with the sufferers. No reward, except by Mr. Phileo himself, had been offered for the detection of the offenders. Exclusive of the bills owing by the scholars, there was a debt of 1,300 dollars on the house. He had been sued for part of it. The school was in a prosperous state when it was thus suddenly dispersed. There were twenty pupils, and every prospect of increasing the number to thirty, when the profit would have been sufficient to cover the expenses and pay off the incumbrances. Several applications had recently been made for admittance. Two young women had come from the Havana in Cuba to New York, with the intention of proceeding to Canterbury; but returned home as soon as they heard what had taken place. Two more were coming from Hartford, as many from the East, and another from Worcester; while letters had been received from other quarters requesting information about the establishment. One arrived from Boston just after it was broken up. The intention of this much injured and meritorious woman was to quit the scene of her heroism as soon as her debts were liquidated, and leave the actors to torment one another and prepare for the contempt of the world.
Mrs. Phileo talked to me of going to England --an asylum from persecution that more than one American told me would, ere long, be sought by his countrymen. It was Connecticut that Hampden looked to when about to quit his native land, oppressed by regal tyranny, --it is Connecticut that his disciple would now fly from --the victim of a persecution infinitely more galling and cruel. "One refuge seemed to remain," says the American Quarterly Review, "an asylum from the measures of tyranny seemed to be open in the wilds of America. The Star-chamber and the High Commission Court, two of the vilest institutions that had been ever used," (Dagget and Judson had not yet appeared,) "for the purposes of persecution, had already driven great numbers of the Puritans to New England. Saybrook, at the mouth of the Connecticut, so called from its first proprietors, Lords Say and Brooke, who had from their boyhood lived together as brothers, and whose ties of affection had been cemented by a constant agreement in public life, was now selected as the place where they might found a patriarchal community."
I called, as a friend of Mrs. Phileo, on Mr. Judson, with the view of inquiring whether any measures had been, or would be adopted by the town authorities to discover the perpetrators of this disgraceful outrage. He was not, however, at home, and I proceeded to the residence of one of the select men, as I was anxious to hear both sides of the question, --but I was not more fortunate there. My third visit was successful, as Mr. Bacon, another select man, was within. He received me very civilly. I was accompanied by Mr. Parish, a very worthy and sensible old man from Brooklyn. Mr. Bacon told me that no proceedings had been instituted for the detection and prosecution of the offenders, and he had no reason to suppose that there would be any. The matter had not been brought officially before the authorities. I reminded him of Mr. Phileo's application to the only magistrate of the place. I asked him whether the school had given any ground of complaint by misconduct. He replied, not the least, but the inhabitants had been justly indignant with the mistress for introducing a class of people whom they did not wish to see among them; --that remonstrances had been made without effect, --that no notice of her intention had been given to them; and that even her father had not been consulted. I remarked, in reply, that every one in a free country had a right to act as he pleased, providing he did not injure the property or persons of others, whose wishes ought not to influence or determine him in the pursuit of what he might consider the performance of a duty or the gratification of a harmless whim; and that a parent cannot exact implicit obedience from a child who is old enough to judge for himself.
then said she had acted contrary to the law of the State; and I recalled
to his recollection what he seemed to have forgotten, or thought I did
not know, that the law to which he had alluded was passed after, and in
consequence of the establishment of her school; and that it was hardly
fair to expect she would bow to the authority of an enactment, while she
was taking the only steps in her power to prove its unconstitutionality.
We then took our leave of Mr. Bacon, and returned to Brooklyn.
When I left Hartford there were three places taken by the stage, they were marked in the waybill, (1) a lady , (2) a lady, (3) a colored man. I was rather surprised to see the latter "booked." I asked why the names had been omitted. I was told it was to secure the first two against annoyance; and to show those, who applied for places, what sort of a fellow-traveller they were to have in the third; that they might take what steps they thought fit on such an occasion. I thought I had seen most of the "whims and oddities" of the country; --but here was one more amusing than any I had yet met with. Concealment of names employed at the same time to shelter one party from insult and expose another to it! --a general description, serving as a protection and an opprobrium to persons who are in close contact, and people travelling incognito in the same vehicle, because they are respected, and because they are despised!
While I was at New York, I was introduced to an Englishman, (Mr. George Thompson,) who had just arrived with the intention of lecturing upon the subject of slavery, in connexion with the prejudice against color. He was sent out by an anti-slavery association in Scotland; as the Americans send out missionaries to Burmah or Africa; and the reception he met with, like the cannibal propensities of savages, proved the necessity of a remedy by the violence of the diseased against the physician. Threats had long been uttered through the press against him. While boarding at one of the most respectable houses in the city, he was informed by the landlord, with expressions of regret that he was compelled to communicate the illiberal sentiments of his countrymen, that he must forthwith look out for some other establishment; as his guests had all signified to him, in a body, their determination to remain no longer under the same roof with the English agitator. The papers took good care to let the public know what had passed; adding, with a few embellishments, a hint, that they trusted no one would take him in, except upon the condition that he would not address a public audience on the subject of slavery: --a higher tribute of respect to the man than to their own cause. I heard several men conversing upon the matter, and applauding what had been done. Free discussion is not allowed whether to strangers or to citizens. The most enlightened and liberal people in the world are afraid of having the merits of their political and social system submitted to an open investigation. The same persons who call on you to admire, forbid you to condemn. Write against freedom, and your work will be received with the highest honors*;
speak in favor of it, and you run the risk of being tarred and feathered. You may praise America from your hatred of tyranny; but you must not censure her from your hatred to tyrants. If you chance to hint that the cap of liberty, which you see glittering at the top of a long pole, is placed so high that every fifth man cannot reach it, and is so shrunk by exposure to a bad air that the other four cannot wear it, you will soon wish yourself back in a free country.
* The Bill, passed by the British Legislature, for the Abolition of Slavery; is now, with marginal notes by the Committee of the West Indian Planters, in the library of the Athenaeum at Philadelphia.
The new mission of philanthropy has been eminently successful. Such has been the persuasive eloquence, with which its objects have been advocated, that, after sixteen public addresses delivered in the course of a fortnight, urgent applications had been received in February from upwards of 100 different places for immediate lectures. The cause is, indeed, making the most extraordinary progress; the prejudice which seemed to be the chief obstacle, having become its auxiliary, --for all, who are converted, feel that they owe reparation for the injustice they have committed. An anti-Slavery Society has been formed in Kentucky, under more favorable auspices than any that ever attended similar associations in the South.
Two ministers of the Baptist persuasion (Dr. Cox and Mr. Hoby) have just embarked from this country for Richmond in Virginia, on a spiritual mission to their brethren in the United States. They have made up their minds to bear reproach, and persecution, and death itself, in the performance of what they consider a sacred duty. They will remonstrate with the teachers of religion on the neglect of its high duties in their congregations and in themselves and they are sustained by those principles which can alone ensure success to human efforts, or afford consolation under their failure.
tie which supports slavery, by binding together the churches of the
South with those of the North, will now present the best point of attack
upon it. There were, in 1833, 752 Presbyterian churches, with 51,599 communicants
in the slave States. The Baptists had 3007 churches, with 215,513 communicants;
while the Methodists were still more numerous. There was not one society
of orthodox Congregationalists in that section of the Union. We can readily
believe that the Pilgrims never passed the Potomac; for their doctrines
are not to be found on the other side. There are more abolitionists among
the latter than among other religionists. Their independence of ecclesiastical
jurisdiction and of sectarian connexion, will explain the reason, while
it explains also, why they never gained footing among the planters. They
might have proved troublesome, and they could not have exercised any influence
in the North.
Plunder and Murder of the Blacks at Philadelphia. --Their Forbearance and Resignation. --How to prevent Riots. --Advice to the Victims. --Results to be seen at Columbia. --John Randolph's Last Moments. --His Will disputed.
the 26th, I went to Philadelphia, where I made inquiries into the causes of those riots, that had taken place in the city during my absence. They were similar, in their origin and objects, to what had previously occurred at New York; and were clearly the result of a preconcerted organized plan --the end aimed at, being the expulsion of the blacks; and the plot embracing many, whose rank in society would secure concealment, while it gave facilities to the conspiracy.
I will give the facts, as far as I was enabled to ascertain them, in the exact order in which they occurred. On the 14th of July, the Pennsylvania Enquirer and Courier, speaking of the New York riots, made use of the following words: "With regard to Philadelphia, we have not the slightest apprehension; for no public journalist in this city would, under existing circumstances, give place to a call for a meeting of abolitionists: and we feel assured that the proper authorities will be fully sustained by the community in preventing, by force if necessary, the circulation of any hand-bills having reference to an abolition meeting."
On the 29th , the same paper had the following paragraph. "We perceive that the Journal of Commerce has charged the Courier and Enquirer and Commercial Advertiser*
with provoking the riots. This charge is in a certain sense true; but we, nevertheless, rather approve than disapprove of the course pursued by those journals, when we consider the circumstances. The papers, alluded to, observing the movements of the fanatics, saw that unless they were indignantly checked by the people, --unless some strong and decided demonstration of public feeling was made against them, the people of the South would take the alarm, and a disruption of the Union be the result. Hence it became the object --the commendable object --of the presses alluded to, to obtain a decided expression of sentiment; and, in order to obtain it, they perhaps went too far, appealed too warmly to public opinion and feelings. At all events they accomplished their object. A popular demonstration upon the subject of amalgamation was given --a demonstration that the fanatics are not likely soon to forget; and, though our contemporaries in New York cannot but regret the excesses committed by the mob, --cannot but deprecate the recurrence of any similar scenes, and more the necessity for them, still they must feel conscious of having discharged a duty --of having stepped between a band of wild and erring enthusiasts, who were rapidly urging on a civil revolution, or a dissolution of this beautiful Union." After these hints followed a direct appeal to the ferocious passions of the populace; and the next day the rabble, who had thus been tutored and prepared, rushed upon their prey with the savage delight of well-trained blood-hounds, and the hope of plenary indulgence and perfect impunity.
* These are all New York papers.
The riots took place on the 12th of August; on the 11th the following communication appeared in the Commercial Herald: "Among the evils to which our good citizens are subjected, there is none more universally complained of, than the conduct of the black porters who infest our markets*;
it being the business of these colored gentlemen, for the most part, to market for the public-houses. Is there no way, Mr. Editor, in which the persons of our citizens can be protected from their assaults? Is them no way in which the rudeness and violence of these ruffians can be prevented? If not, it is high time for the ladies at least to retire, and give up the privilege of marketing to those with whom might is right?"
* Forty years ago a colored man appeared, for the first time, as a carman at Philadelphia. Great jealousy was excited among that class of men; and every expedient was tried to get rid of a competitor whose success would draw others into the business. Threats and insults were followed by a report that he had been detected in stealing. The Quakers came forward to to support him. They inquired into the grounds of the charge, and published its refutation. Their patronage maintained him in his situation, and encouraged others to follow his example. There are now plenty of them thus employed. At New York, a license cannot be obtained for them; and a black carman in that city is as rare as a black swan. This little anecdote ought to call up a blush on the cheek of many a "Friend." It tells him, in language as plain as his garb, that he might have protected these unfortunate men from rapine and murder, if he had acted in conformity to the practice of his forefathers, and his own professions.
It is evident from this diabolical calumny, that the attack, which followed next day, was preconcerted The colored porters are remarkable every where for their civility. It would be easy to magnify any accident, that might happen from a man carrying a heavy load through a crowded market, into an intentional insult; and thousands would be ready to give credit and circulation to the complaint. All doubt upon the subject will be removed by reference to what occurred on the night of the ninth. One of Mr. Forten's sons, a boy about fifteen years of age, who had been sent out on an errand, was attacked, on his return, about nine o'clock, by a gang of fifty or sixty young men in blue jackets and trowsers, and low-crowned straw hats. They were armed with cudgels, which they made use of to strike him as he lay stunned by a blow he had received from one of them. Their eagerness to get at him enabled him to escape; as their sticks crossed one another in the confusion, and he ran off. A neighbor --a white man, --followed the gang, out of regard for the lad's father, and was present when they were dismissed in an adjoining street by their leader. They were thanked for their services, and informed that they were to meet on the same spot, and at the same time on the 11th, the next day being Sunday. "We will then," he exclaimed, "attack the niggers." On the Monday , Mr. Forten communicated what had passed to the mayor, who sent a police force to the place of rendezvous, and took seven of the gang into custody: one of whom had unguardedly displayed a bludgeon, vowing vengeance against the blacks. The rest made their escape. The culprits were bound over to keep the peace, in recognizances of 300 dollars each. The city was thus prepared against the meditated assault; and the outrages were confined to the districts out of the mayor's jurisdiction. Having however, obtained authority from the sheriff, the chief officer of the city proceeded to the scene of action with constables, rushed into the mob with great courage, and dispersed the rioters, having taken several prisoners. Mr. Forten 's life was threatened; and both the mayor and the sheriff, by whom he is most deservedly respected, promised to protect him. His house was guarded by a horse patrol, who continued in their rounds to pass it at short intervals; and the posse comitatus, amounting to 5000 men, well armed, were called out, as the municipal authorities were determined to put down the disturbances at once in their district, by shooting the offenders, should they persevere in their nefarious proceedings. Had not these energetic measures been timely taken, the whole city might have been a prey to thieves and vagabonds.
An Irishman , of the name of Hogan, behaved most nobly on this occasion. Having heard that Mr. Forten's house was likely to be attacked, he offered his services to defend it. "Whoever," said he, "would enter at this door, to injure you or your family, my friend, must pass over my dead body." These facts I had from Mr. Forten himself. Another person , --a benevolent Quaker, --whom the blacks, as one of them told me, almost adore for his kindness to them, related to me what he had himself witnessed. He went among the mob, and listened to their menaces, and imprecations against the colored people. The leader, with whom he entered into conversation, (he had not his Quaker dress on,) producing a long knife he had concealed in his bosom, swore he would bury it in the heart's blood of the first black he could get at. The objects of their blind fury, determined to defend themselves with what weapons they could find, had taken refuge, to the number of fifty or sixty, in a building that belongs to them, and is known by the name of Benezet Hall. The staff officers of the besieging army lay concealed in an alley close by, where they consulted together, and issued their orders, or encouraged the troop to "march forward;" --shouts, that had but little effect, as the party to whom they were addressed moved to and fro in one mass, propelled by those behind, and receding as their fears increased with their proximity to the enemy. The "friend" alluded to succeeded at last in persuading the besieged to re-enter the house, from which they had sallied out; and, with the assistance of a constable, they made their escape by a back-way. The mayor was present, and harangued both sides, exhorting the besieged to remain passive, and not to exhibit any marks of opposition to the other, on pain of forfeiting the chance they had of his protection.This communication was loudly cheered by the rioters: --one of whom called out, "D__n that nigger --see how he insults us! --he is smoking a cigar." My informant, who had marked one of the leaders, delivered him over to a constable; and they proceeded with him to a magistrate. But the latter declined acting. Other cases occurred, where both magistrates and constables shrunk from their duty. Three constables declared before two magistrates, after the Quaker had retired, that they would not protect his house, if it were attacked or set on fire The authority of the law, in fact, was gone; and the peace of the community was at the mercy of a ferocious rabble.
When subscriptions were solicited, after a temporary calm had taken place, to repair the damages done by this frightful whirlwind, some of the citizens refused to give anything for such an object; observing, that they should have no objection to contribute something, if a fund were raised to send the blacks out of the country --thus openly avowing a participation in that brutal antipathy, which had occasioned the loss both of property and of life. Two at least were killed. One of them was so severely beaten, that he was found at the back of his house covered with blood --he was taken insensible to the hospital, where he soon after expired. The other was drowned in attempting to cross the river with his child. He was seized with cramp or with fear, and had but just time to deliver the infant into the hands of his wife, who was standing on the bank, when he sank beneath the water, and yielded to a death less cruel than the destiny which awaits so many of his race. The blood of the former victim I saw on the ground where he fell. Near the spot stood a tub, into which a woman put her infant children, while she concealed herself behind it from her pursuers, who were hunting for her in the yard. She declared afterwards that the tub, on which she kept her eyes fixed, moved convulsively, as the babes within trembled with fear. Not a cry or a sound issued from it. She had cautioned them to be quiet; and they lay silent as their mangled neighbor.
The furniture of one of the houses I visited was broken to pieces. Chairs, looking-glasses, tables --nothing was spared. The owner escaped almost by miracle, leaving his wife and child up stairs.
The rioters were under the command of a leader, and were searching for plunder; as the master of the house was known to have money upon the premises. He had just built a house, and one reason for attacking it was, that he had employed colored men. Another house I saw, had every thing --windows, staircase, bedsteads, doors --demolished. The proprietor concealed himself in the chimney. His wife was beaten. They had thirty dollars stolen from them. It was a good substantial house.
The mob consisted chiefly of young men --many of them tradesmen. One of the sufferers, a man of wealth and great respectability, was told afterwards by a white, that he would not have been molested, if he had not, by refusing to go to Liberia, prevented others from leaving the country.
I was astonished to meet with so much patience and resignation, under such a series of injuries --equally unexpected and undeserved. Several of these kind-hearted creatures observed to me, that what had happened was designed by the Almighty for their good; as it had brought out friends whom they had never seen before. It appeared, from all I could learn, during two or three visits I paid to the sufferers, that the Irish laborers were actively employed in this vile conspiracy against a people of whom they were jealous, because they were more industrious, orderly, and obliging than themselves. They were but instruments, however, in the hands of a higher power. An elderly woman, who possessed considerable acuteness and observation, gave me a very clear account of what passed in her own dwelling, where I saw her. The door and the windows were forced in; and she hid herself in a closet, whence she heard and saw all that took place. Some money, that she had left on the chimney-piece, was the first thing seized. The furniture was then destroyed while several men in black masks, and disguised with shabby coats and aprons, searched about the room to see if any one lay there concealed. She recognised one man's voice, reproving a lad with an oath, for saying they had done enough. This man she washed for. The next day he told her he should not employ her any longer. She laid her complaint before the mayor; and the party accused was bound over to appear at the proper time, while in court , she saw a well dressed man step up to the mayor, and whisper something in his ear. The colored people were immediately ordered out of court. This distinction, before the very seat of justice, however disgraceful to the country, had an object beyond the degradation it implied. The parties, most interested in investigating the truth, were to be excluded; because they had been eye-witnesses of the transaction, or were most competent to understand its details. This woman was remarkably shrewd, and equally quick in seeing the drift of a question, and giving point to the answer. One remark she made with regard to something that had recently occurred, more than once, to herself and other women, confirmed the view that Solon took of human nature, when he omitted parricide in his penal code, ne non tam prohibere quam admonere videretur. The same may be said of the discussions upon the subject of amalgamation.
Another woman , on opening her door when summoned by the rioters, saw, in the first person who entered, a tradesman to whom she was well known. He made some excuse and retired, calling off the "pack". On the following day her windows were repaired; and her neighbors, to whom she had related the events of the preceding night, missed her, --and she had not returned when I was there. She would most likely make her appearance again, when her evidence could be no longer useful. These persecuted , inoffensive people were driven from their dwellings into the fields and lanes, where many passed the night in a state of destitution and apprehension. The municipal authorities refused to admit them into the almshouse, though application was made for the purpose by a respectable man, a physician, from whom I had the information, and though the establishment was untenanted. The mayor, when requested to grant them the place for an asylum, declared that, as an individual, he had no objection to assist them; but that, as chief magistrate, he was afraid to let them in, lest the building should be torn down. He recommended that they should be got in clandestinely. About a dozen procured a retreat there, through the exertions and upon the responsibility of the person to whom I allude. He himself assisted them in his own house to the utmost of his power. Having observed to him how much I had been shocked at the brutality I had witnessed and heard of against the blacks, --"You have not", said he, "seen one-tenth of the horrors that are constantly practised here. I myself have frequently men brought to me with bruises and broken heads, inflicted for no other reason than that they have not made way in time for the white lords of the creation. There," he added, pointing to a little girl who was in the room, "that poor child was sweeping the pavement in front of the house a few days back, when a ruffian struck her a violent blow on the head, and she fell into the street, where her mistress found her in a state of stupor, unable to move, and afraid to cry for help." After this assault the poor creature was afraid to venture out by night, --though she said, that if her master wanted any thing, she would go for it. She was a very good girl; extremely diligent and trustworthy. There was a little colored boy in the house, remarkable for his sensitive feelings. If any thing was said to him that implied inattention on his part, he would shed tears, and redouble his exertions to please his benevolent protectors.
Every one bore testimony to the good conduct and forbearance of the blacks under these severe trials. The Pennsylvania Enquirer and Courier, a strong anti-abolition paper, expressed itself in the following manner: "The scene of action lay within the district of Moyamensing; and the magistrates there declined any interference, on the ground, as they alleged, of their exertions in quelling the riot on the preceding night having met with the disapprobation of the inhabitants of the district. This appears to be a very singular reason for not attempting to quell a disturbance, more disgraceful than any that our citizens have ever witnessed; but, as we received it from one of the magistrates himself, we are bound to give it to our readers, as the only reason we can give them why the disturbance was not immediately suppressed.
"From the same source, as well as through other channels, we are assured that, notwithstanding the fearful height which the riot reached, and the great destruction of property that followed, the whole affair might have been effectually suppressed by the exertions of twenty or thirty resolute and determined men. This, however, was not done; and the dwellings of unoffending blacks, against whom not a shadow of offence was even alleged, were shamefully abused, --the inmates compelled to flee for safety, and their furniture broken up and scattered about the streets."
I was assured by a person of the strictest veracity, who had conversed with many of the inhabitants of the district after the riots had ceased, that an extraordinary degree of apathy and indifference prevailed among them with regard to the injury inflicted upon the sufferers, the punishment of the offenders, and the reparation to be made for the damage done. The proprietors of the houses in that quarter seemed anxious to get rid of a population, the presence of which they considered prejudicial to their interests, by preventing the introduction of a more wealthy class of people.
A committee was appointed by the inhabitants of Philadelphia, to inquire into the causes and consequences of these riots. I have extracted a few passages from their elaborate report, as I think they evince a degree of pusillanimous partiality irreconcileable with the duties they had undertaken to perform. "They came" --such are the words they use --"to a determination to avoid, so far as a faithful discharge of duty would permit, the vexing and distracting questions and opinions which influence the minds of a large portion of our citizens in relation to recent events." This, one would have thought, amply sufficient for the purpose; --but, no, --they must add --"The committee are sensible of the importance attached to the opinions and questions to which they allude, and of their probable momentous and extensive influence on the peace and welfare not only of this district but of the whole United States."
"Among the causes which originated the late riots, are two, which have had such extensive influence, that the committee feel they would be subject to censure, if they did not notice them. An opinion prevails, especially among white laborers, that certain portions of our community prefer to employ colored people, whenever they can be had, to the employing of white people; and that, in consequence of this preference, many whites, who are able and willing to work, are left without employment, while colored people are provided with work, and enabled comfortably to maintain their families; and thus many white laborers, anxious for employment, are kept idle and indigent. Whoever mixed in the crowds and groups, at the late riots, must so often have heard those complaints, as to convince them, that the feelings from which they sprang, stimulated many of the most active among the rioters. It is neither the duty nor the intention of the Committee to lay down rules for the public, or the government of individuals, but they deem it within the obligations imposed upon them, to make the statements they have made, and leave the matter for correction to the consideration and action of individuals." Whether the hated competition, or the unreasonable jealousy, be "the matter for correction," we are not informed. I may just observe, that the same people cannot well be a burthen to the rich by their idleness, and a nuisance to the poor by their industry. "The other cause, to which the Committee would refer, is the conduct of certain portions of the colored people, when any of their members are arrested as fugitives from justice," (meaning the justice of the slave owner). "It has too often happened, that, when such cases have been under the consideration of the judicial authorities of the country, the colored people have not relied on the wisdom and justice of the judiciary; on the exercise of the best talents at the bar, or on the active and untiring exertions of benevolent citizens, who promptly interest themselves in their behalf; but they have crowded the court-houses and the avenues to them, to the exclusion of almost all other persons: they have forcibly attempted the rescue of prisoners, and compelled the officers of justice to lodge them for safety in other prisons than those to which they had been judicially committed. Scenes like these have given birth to unfriendly feelings for those who have thus openly assailed the officers of justice."
This spirit of contumacy in a race remarkable (according to Dr. Channing) for want of sympathy with one another, must certainly seem unaccountable as well as vexatious. The American, who assisted Lafayette to escape from the prison at Olmutz, and the Englishmen, who performed the same friendly office for Lavalette, have been held up to the admiration of mankind. --But then the objects of their sympathy were the victims of political slavery, and had only conspired against the government of their country. Though "it is neither the duty nor the intention of this Committee to lay down rules for the government of individuals," yet they are kind enough to make an exception in favor of those who stand most in need of their paternal solicitude. "As the peace of every community," they are pleased to say, "however large and peaceably disposed, may be endangered and broken by the machinations of a few designing or turbulent persons, it is deemed a portion of the duty of this Committee, to make such suggestions as, in their opinions, may tend to avert so dreaded an event, as an irruption upon the quiet of any portion of our population. Nothing will tend to win the good opinion, and secure the good offices of the community more than a respectful and orderly deportment. It would do much good if those of the colored population, whose age and character entitled them to have influence, would take the trouble to exercise it, and impress upon their younger brethren the necessity, as well as the propriety, of behaving themselves inoffensively and with civility at all times and upon all occasions; taking care, as they pass along the streets, or assemble together, not to be obtrusive, thus giving birth to angry feelings, and fostering prejudices and evil dispositions."
The horrid murder, of which I have spoken, is thus alluded to in this singular document. "The case of Stephen James is entitled to some consideration. He was an honest, industrious, colored man, a kind husband and a good father. He had retired to rest on the night of the 14th of August, but was aroused by the clamor of the mob. The cries which met his ears soon informed him that he was in danger, and he fled for safety. He was, however, overtaken, and wounded in many places, even unto death. He never spoke, after he was found wounded in the yard. The Committee do not believe, that among all the persons who made up the mob assembled on this occasion, there was one wicked enough to contemplate taking the life of an inoffensive and unoffending aged man. --Yet in truth they did this accursed thing. These facts are stated to induce men to reflect upon the desperate deeds, which mobs, without desperate intentions, may commit."
While complaints were thus made, in a free State, that the free blacks were too industrious to please the lower classes, they were accused in a slave State of being too respectable to please the higher. "The Grand Jurors of the State of Missouri, empannelled for the county of Saint Louis," recommended, a few days before, that the law against the introduction of such persons having proved "entirely inadequate in its provisions to accomplish the object of this constitutional provision," the evil should be met "by the strongest legislative enactments with the utmost certainty and despatch." "Let not individuals of this class," they imploringly pray, "come to the State and remain for years, drawing around themselves families and property, and forming connexions, until the sympathies of the people would make them exceptions to the general enforcement of the law."
Not long after this, Dr. Parrish, one of the most amiable and respected of men, was mobbed at Columbia in Pennsylvania, and his personal safety threatened, for trying to undeceive the public mind with respect to the condition of the colored citizens of Philadelphia. They had been most grossly libelled by an advocate of the Colonization Society; and the Doctor had sent home for official documents, to disprove the charge against them. A gang of young men, who came to the house where he was staying, with the intention to assault or insult him, were awed into forbearance by his mild firmness --but he judged it prudent not to address the people on the subject.
Some dreadful riots, accompanied with destruction of property, broke out at the same place in October, owing, it was said, to the marriage of a white woman with a black man. The complexion, however, of the latter was so little to be distinguished from that of his wife, that he was taken for a white in Maryland, where he was travelling with a black, whom he saved from incarceration by declaring that he knew him to be a free man. This evidence was acknowledged by the authorities to be satisfactory, and his companion was released by the intervention of one who was not recognised, even in a slave State, as subject to the same suspicion and disqualification. This account I received from a person who was well acquainted with him, and had himself been driven out of Columbia by a set of ruffians, who had got possession of all the offices in the district, and were striving to exclude the colored people from every employment. It is to this feeling that the disturbances are to be traced. At a meeting of the working men of Columbia, August 23, resolutions were passed against the blacks. The preamble, as it was published, contained the following sentiments. "The practice of others in employing the negroes to do that labor, which was formerly done entirely by whites, we consider deserving our severest animadversions." --"Must the poor honest citizens, that so long have maintained their families by their labor, fly from their native place, that a band of disorderly negroes may revel with the money that ought to support the white man and his family, &c.?" "As the negroes now pursue occupations once the sole province of the whites, may we not in course of time expect to see them engaged in every branch of mechanical business? and their known disposition to work for any price may well excite our fears, that mechanics at no distant period will scarcely be able to procure a mere subsistence." It is very singular that whites are imported into Jamaica, because the blacks ask too much for their labor, and are exported from Pennsylvania, because they ask too little.
After this bill of grievances, it was naturally enough resolved by these ill-used men, that --(I use their own words) --"we will not purchase any article (that can be procured elsewhere) or give our vote for any office whatever, to any one who employs negroes to do that species of labor white men have been accustomed to perform." "Resolved that the Colonization Society ought to be supported by all the citizens favorable to the removal of the blacks from this country." On the 26th of the same month, the citizens met and passed their resolutions --James Given, Esq. in the chair. One of them was to this effect: --"That a committee be appointed whose duty it shall be to communicate with that portion of those colored persons who hold property in this borough, and ascertain, if possible, if they would be willing to dispose of the same at a fair valuation; and it shall be the duty of the said committee, to advise the colored persons in said borough to refuse receiving any colored persons from other places as residents among them."
It is to be presumed, that the committee, appointed for these praiseworthy purposes, were unsuccessful in obtaining what they counted on, their "fair valuation"; ejectment being soon after substitute for "purchase," and the owners compelled to move without any valuation at all. One of the sufferers, writing to a friend in Philadelphia, says: "We had another severe riot in this place last night, which causes our minds to be very uneasy. The rioters began their work of destruction between 11 and 12 o'clock, and continued till about 2 o'clock, when we were alarmed by the cry of 'fire!' On looking, we beheld Mr. Cooper's (carpenter) shop enveloped in flames from top to bottom. It was entirely destroyed together with all his tools, and a large quantity of lumber of all kinds dressed out for a large building now going up in this place, together with Mr. Eddy's stable adjoining. It is supposed to have been set on fire by some incendiaries: Four houses were nearly destroyed by the rioters. One of the inmates, named James Smith, was nearly beaten to death. The rioters entered their houses and destroyed every bit of furniture that they could find --even the stoves were broken in pieces, and the flour was thrown out into the street. I feel no disposition of abandoning my house, until I have disposed of my personal property, unless they will persist a good deal further." Not one angry expression, nor even a complaint occurs in this letter. It is dated, October 3d, 1834, and is now in my possession. The report of the Philadelphia Committee, before quoted, appeared on the 17th of September. How far it was calculated to protect the black man, may be seen in the proceedings against him at Columbia.
Dr. Parrish, of whom I have just spoken, was present at the last moments of John Randolph. This eccentric Virginian had emancipated his slaves by will in 1822, and had ten years afterwards appointed a different disposition, and ordered them to be sold. On his death bed he made a most solemn declaration, in accordance with his first intention; and, as the latter bequest was accompanied by circumstances that indicated the presence of temporary insanity, a strong hope is entertained, that the last wish he expressed may be carried into effect. The matter is now in course of litigation; and Judge Leigh, of Virginia, who is one of the executors of the last testament, by which he is to receive a legacy of 10,000 dollars, in addition to one of 5000 to his son, has, it is said, very honorably renounced his claim, from a conviction that it is inequitable if not illegal. Dr. Parrish attended both as physician and as witness, when the nuncupative will was announced. John, or Johnny --the favorite slave of the dying man, remained in the chamber the whole time; having locked the door at his master's desire, and put the key in his pocket. This was done to insure the presence of a white man; that the benefit intended for the slaves might not by any possibility be defeated for want of legal proof. The scene, as it was related to me by the Doctor, must have been singularly interesting. It took place in an hotel at Philadelphia. The invalid, who, as is well known, was remarkably tall and thin, being upwards of six feet in height, and but fourteen inches across the shoulders, raised himself up from the bed on which he was reclining, and desired his man to draw a blanket in the Indian fashion over him, so as to cover the whole of his person but the face, and to place his hat --a very shabby worn out habiliment --upon his head. He then requested that a silver button, worn by his father, should be fixed on his shirt, and John cut a hole in the linen for that purpose. When these ceremonies, by which it would seem he wished to denote his Indian blood on the mother's side, and his patrician descent on the father's, were completed, three other witnesses were called in, and he declared his intention to emancipate all his slaves, dwelling with great emphasis on that part of his will which provided for their comfortable support. The negro stood by absorbed in grief. The other witnesses were the landlord of the house, and two young men whom Dr. Parrish had invited, with the view of being prepared, not only to produce a sufficient amount of testimony, but to obviate any objections that might be made to his religious principles, which might perhaps be thought to bias the mind of a Quaker, while giving his evidence in favor of the slaves.
Every witness was distinctly asked, in succession, if he fully comprehended what he had heard. The Doctor then retired with the landlord, and, on his return about an hour after, he found several of the testator's friends in the room. His patient had, however, become incapable of utterance, and shortly after, John Randolph, of Roanoke, was no more.
I have omitted to state that the dying man exclaimed, in the presence of his physician and his slave --"Remorse! Remorse! You do not know what remorse is, Doctor. Shew me the word in a book! --look for it in a dictionary!" --It could not be found in a printed form. --"Write it down then." The Doctor wrote it down on a card "Write it on the other side too: --and let Johnny make a mark under it with a pencil." The card is now in possession of the physician, with the pencil marks upon it.
"John Randolph, of Roanoke, had about 400 slaves. Their value was estimated at 100,000 dollars. He gave them clothing enough at Christmas to last them the whole year --as coats, hats, bedding, blankets, &c., and all who took care of what they received were well dressed men. He sent food from his own kitchen to all the unmarried ones, and plenty of provisions to be cooked by those who had families in their own cabins. He had five or six nurses, whose business it was to attend to the sick. And his overseer had special directions never to inflict a blow. He punished them as we punish children --by withholding some favor, as sugar from the children, and meat from the men. Whenever he rode over the plantations, the field-servants took off their hats and he touched his. He always had some witty remark to amuse them in their labor, and conciliate their love. His body-servant had the keys of the house, and often carried his master's purse; and, though he was by no means uncommonly kind, yet they all loved him when alive, and lamented his death."
The above statement is made by a correspondent of the Salem Register, who strives hard to shew that slavery is not a "bitter draught." Yet what was the most urgent wish of this man's heart in his dying moments? What was his last act of benevolence to these grateful creatures, when about to quit them for ever, and appear before the great Father and Judge of all? --A grant of freedom, with all the forms and precautions that his sense of duty and his knowledge of the world could suggest.
His will, which is dated Jan. 1,1832, bears internal evidence that the testator (a man remarkable in general for his acuteness) was at the time in a state of mental aberration. "I do hereby appoint," he says, "my friend William Leigh, of Halifax, and my brother, Henry Saint George Tucker, President of the Court of Appeals, executors of this my last will and testament; requiring them to sell all the slaves, and other personal or perishable property, and vest the proceeds in Bank Stock of the Bank of the United States, and, in default of there being such bank, (which may God grant for the safety of our liberties,) in the English three per cent. Consols; and, in case of there being no such stocks, (which also may God grant for the salvation of Old England,) then in the United States three per cent. Stock; or, in default of such stock, in mortgages or land in England."
Now, whether a man's attachment be greater to one country than to another, he can hardly be said to be of sound mind, if he wishes the property he leaves behind him to aid in injuring the welfare of either or of both --while his legatees are to profit at the expense of a whole nation --perhaps their own, or share in its downfal.
Objections to the last will have been taken on the part of the slaves, who are allowed to sue in forma pauperum --and commissions have been issued by the general court of Virginia at Richmond, to take depositions in Philadelphia and London on the matters in issue.
I must now reverse the picture, and pass from the benevolence of the departed, to an opposite disposition in the living, slave-holder. A planter's wife, who had the character of a pious Christian, upon hearing that I had said, in the warmth of discussion, that I should have no objection to my daughter's marrying a colored man, if no one could find any other objection than his complexion, declared, with great indignation, that she would not admit a man of such abominable sentiments to her presence. Yet the chief, if not the only, society this woman had, was made up of men whose daughters were married to colored men, and of women whose husbands and sons are known to be daily doing, in violation of the religion she professes, what she will not allow me to be willing should be done with its sanctions. This intolerant person was an inmate of the same house with myself.
Her character, as it was described to me, (for I never was in the same room with her,) presented a miniature representation of that lamentable condition to which the possession of unlimited power reduces both individuals and communities. She was proud, overbearing, and importunate --impatient of contradiction, greedy of attention, and highly sensitive of fancied neglect. Her mind would have afforded to the psychological anatomist the finest specimen of morbid structure and anomalous functions. She scolded her husband, spoiled her boy, flogged her slaves, boasted of her importance, set up her caprice as the standard of merit and virtue, and disgusted all about her by her vanity and querulousness, Yet she was an orthodox believer, and very zealous for the salvation of her neighbor's soul, while she was risking her own by torturing his body. Her boy (the only child of his mother) was from nine to ten years of age. He was suffered to run about the house without any one to instruct or direct him; teazing the children and servants, and calling out for the unfortunate girl who administered to his wants and his whims, --"where is my slave? --where is my Negro? She is my negro! --she is my slave!" While the "property" he thus claimed was sedulously employed in making or mending the body-linen of the family with no small degree of taste and skill, the little tyrant would spit in her face, and threaten, if she remonstrated with him, to complain of her to his parents. Had he committed any fault, or been thwarted of any indulgence, a lie to his mother brought him a sympathizer with his complaints, and an avenger of his wrongs. A threat that he would not visit her sick room (for she was an invalid) made him the master of her will, with such a disposition he was dreaded by the black girl, and detested by the children for his malice and falsehood. In short, he was an insufferable plague to all who came near him, and bade fair to be a scourge to his parents, and a curse to society.
might see in his handsome countenance the signs of that fearlessness and self-complacency by which the Southerners are usually characterised. In the selfishness of his smile lay, not yet fully developed, that indifference to the rights of others which is complimented with the title of high-mindedness and generosity; and the fretful frown that succeeded, concealed within the deep foldings of his brow the undaunted recklessness with which he would one day grasp his dirk to avenge an insult, or brandish the cowhide to enforce a command.
As for the father of this precocious autocrat, he, was a mere cipher --too weak to control his wife or correct his child, --a martyr, in his old age, to conjugal and parental dotage, --more degraded than his slaves --for even their enemies admit, that half their manly virtue is still left to them.
Slave of Royal Blood. --Free Blacks Wards to Jews. --Character of Slaves.-Election Riots. --Loss of Life.-Funeral Procession. --"Caucus" System. --Arts of Demagogues. --Last Day at Philadelphia. - Treatment of English Subjects --Clandestine Marriage," and Conclusion.
the many persons of color whom I visited at Philadelphia, was a woman of singular intelligence and good breeding. A friend was with me. She received us with the courtesy and easy manners of a gentlewoman. She appeared to be between thirty and forty years of age --of pure African descent, with a handsome expressive countenance and a graceful person. Her mother, who had been stolen from her native land at an early age, was the daughter of a king, and is now, in her eighty-fifth year, the parent stem of no less than 182 living branches. When taken by the slavers, she had with her a piece of gold as an ornament, to denote her rank. Of this she was of course deprived; and a solid bar of the same metal, which her parent sent over to America for the purchase of her freedom, shared the same fate. Christiana Gibbons*,
who is thus the granddaughter of a prince of the Ebo tribe, was bought , when about fifteen years of age, by a woman who was struck by her interesting appearance, and emancipated her. Her benefactress left her, at her death, a legacy of 8,000 dollars. The whole of this money was lost by the failure of a bank, in which her legal trustee (a man of the name of James Morrison, since dead) had placed it in his own name. She had other property, acquired by her own industry, and affording a rent of 500 dollars a year. Her agent, however, Colonel Myers, though indebted to her for many attentions and marks of kindness during sickness, had neglected to remit her the money from Savannah in Georgia, where the estate is situated; and, when I saw her, she was living, with her husband and son, on the fruits of her labor.
* An African prince, (Abou Bekir Sadiki,) born in Timbuctoo, has recently obtained his freedom by obtaining the remission of his apprenticeship, after thirty years' bondage in Jamaica. Specimens of his writing in Arabic, which he acquired in his native land, may be seen at the office of the British and Foreign Society for the Abolition of Slavery, No. 18, Aldermanbury.
She had not been long resident in Philadelphia, whither she had come to escape the numerous impositions and annoyances to which she was exposed in Georgia. Her husband was owner of a wharf in Savannah, worth eight or ten thousand dollars. It is much to be feared that the greater part of this property will be lost, or not recovered without great difficulty. I was induced to call upon her, in consequence of a letter I had received from Mr. Kingsley, of whom I have before spoken. He had long been acquainted with her, and spoke of her to me in the highest terms; wishing that I should see what he considered a "good specimen of the race."
We found her, indeed, a very remarkable woman; though it is probable that there are many among the despised slaves as amiable and accomplished as herself. Such, at least, was the account she gave us of their condition, that we felt convinced of the superiority possessed by many, in moral worth and intellectual acuteness, above their oppressors.
Every free black in Georgia, it seems, is obliged to have a guardian, being considered an infant in the eye of the law, or in statu pupillari. I need not add that all are thus at the mercy of their legal protectors. They are highly taxed at Savannah, by the State and the Corporation. The amount of the poll-tax is, to each individual, 9 dollars, 75 cents, exclusive of half a dollar for every child between eight and eighteen. They must take out free papers, or have them renewed every year. They cannot even go to Church, unprovided with a pass; and, if found without one after ten o'clock at night, they are imprisoned, and fined five dollars the next day as gaol-fee to the captain of the guard, who receives for his public services twenty dollars per month, besides the little pickings he may thus make from the violation of a rule, which he must be more honest than most men not to turn into a source of emolument to himself. The Jews are generally agents for the colored people, and are well paid for their services. They seldom act dishonestly towards their clients, for the love of gain serves as a check to one another's avarice. They have the whole trade in their hands; and the wealth it brings secures them respect and a favorable reception from the whites. The colored people look upon them as their friends. This is a curious state of society, and the more remarkable, as something of the same kind, arising from similar causes, prevails in Poland. What business belongs to the Pariahs brings high wages and profits from the exclusion of rivals from without, and the dis-esteem in which labor is held within the State. Part of the harvest is shared between the Jews and the Government; but enough remains to afford a comfortable maintenance to the lawful possessors, and prepare them for that new order of things, which is in slow but certain progress throughout the Southern States.
Christiana confirmed every thing I had heard from others with regard to the character of the slaves. She never knew one who did not long for freedom, or who felt contented with his lot. Many have taught themselves reading and writing; having acquired the requisite knowledge with astonishing rapidity. All are alive to the injustice done them; and when irritated, tell their owners openly that they have no right to the labor they force out of them. Some will rather suffer death than be separated from the objects of their affection. Their firmness is so well known, that a resolution to this effect, when once pronounced, will deter any one, at a sale, from purchasing them separately. When standing on a table to be sold, they often cry out to any one who is known for his cruelty, "You may buy me, for power is in your hands: --but I will never work for you." One woman exclaimed to a planter, notorious for his barbarity, "Buy me if you please; but I tell you openly, if I become your slave, I will cut your throat the first opportunity." The man trembled with rage and fear: --the latter was the stronger --and he shrank from the bidding.
Christiana had not forgotten that she had royal blood in her veins, and she showed herself worthy of the distinction it implied, by her willingness to engage in any work that did not carry moral degradation with it. Often had she assisted the whites to clear away the rubbish from their houses, and arrange the furniture which their indolence and inattention to comfort had exposed to damage or decay. There was nothing, in which her superiority to the pale-faced fools among whom she had spent the best years of her life, shone out more conspicuously, than her disdain for the paltry prejudice that leads a man to see in the employment of the bodily powers which Nature has bestowed upon him, a mark of debasement or a misfortune. She had too much honest pride to blush at being useful, and too much regard for her own dignity to shrink from the exercise of those faculties which are destined to keep the mind in a healthy state, while they contribute to the support of its companion*.
Her remarks on this subject arose, without parade or affectation, from the conversation in which we were engaged, and were strictly in accordance with those feelings which observation had led me to attribute to persons in her situation; feelings that are not the less natural, because they are opposed to those preconceptions, by which we are led to believe that the slave sees nothing in freedom, but the gratification of idleness, and an exemption from the degradation of work. He has no such feeling; and we are as irrational in estimating the results of his position, as we were unjust in fixing it upon him. As for Christiana, if I might judge from the tenor of her conversation, her hand and heart were never at fault, when danger or distress called for the exertion of either. She had a strong sense of religion; and the violation of its injunctions, she had been so long doomed to witness in others, had taught her the necessity and value of practical attention to its duties. Her brother, who had come to Philadelphia, under a promise to return to his owner, had informed her of his intention to obtain his freedom by breaking his engagement. "If he does so," said she, "he shall never enter my house again. Whatever may be his wrongs, his honor ought not to be forfeited." This feeling is so general, and so well understood, that masters often allow their slaves to go into other States, upon their promising not to abscond.
"Even the wisest men of antiquity were not exempt from the weakness which this woman had conquered. Cicero says, that all employments, exercised by slaves, are sordid and degrading. "Illiberales et sordidi quaestus mercenariorum, omniumque quorum operae, non quorum artes emuntur. Est enim illis ipsa merces auctoramentum servitutis."
--Cic. de Off, l . 42.
He makes, however, an exception in favor of agriculture,
all the fallacies and falsehoods, to which the cunning of slave-owners,
all over the world, has given such unfortunate currency, there is not one
that has a smaller intermixture of truth in it, while it has gained almost
universal credit, than the imputation of an irresistible inclination to
sloth in all who have become free. Emancipation and indolence are indissolubly
connected in the minds of too many, to give those, who are groaning in
chains, a fair chance of shewing that they may exist apart elsewhere. Because
a man is unwilling to work for the benefit of another, it is taken for
granted that he will not work for his own; and labor with profit is supposed
to be as distasteful as labor without it; as if the old association would
keep out the new, and the remembrance of the whip would have more effect
on the imagination than the presence of wages upon the senses. When Homer
says, that the day which takes from a man his freedom takes from him half
his virtue, he speaks of valor not of honesty. The application of the maxim
is even more false than the interpretation of the passage, and has destroyed
whole communities, by supporting slavery, where it might have saved them
by destroying it; for what is lost to the individual is lost to society;
and a foreign foe has no better ally than the privation of which the poet
On the 13th of October, I left Philadelphia for New York. ... The affectionate farewell, with which they parted from me, still rings in my ears; and I cannot make a more acceptable return for the hospitality and kind offices I received at their hands, than a fervent prayer, that their countrymen may emulate them in their pure benevolence and exemption from every debasing prejudice.
Before I embarked for Europe, I was made acquainted with one of the worst cases of oppression, as it involves the violation of existing treaties and municipal laws. The particulars, as I received them from the sufferers themselves, were subsequently confirmed by an Englishwoman, whom I saw at New York, and who had known all the parties for many years, --both in Jamaica and in Georgia. In December, 1817, Mary Gordon was taken from Porto Rio Buono, in Jamaica, with her three children, in the brig Hope, of London, Captain Potter, to Savannah in Georgia, by a woman of the name of Cooper; who, under a promise of giving her her freedom, prevailed upon her to quit the island. Mrs. Cooper had, at the time, two or three estates in Jamaica. There were two other females (Nancy Cooper and Lucinda) who were allured by the same artifices, and shared the same fate. They were all treated as slaves in Georgia.
The two latter are still there. Mary Gordon, however, about a year before I saw the family, came to New York with her eldest son, as stewardess and steward in the vessel; their mistress expecting they would return by it, as they had returned on former occasions, the mother from England, whither she had taken her about eighteen years before, and the son from Liverpool, voluntarily and on account of his parent and his brothers. Mary had four children; one born seven months after her departure from Jamaica. Of these, two made their escape, three or four years ago, to Cuba, where they got work and were well treated. From that place they went to Nassau in New Providence, whence they came to New York to join their mother. One of these lads had the appearance of an European. No one, they told me, ever insulted them because of their color, while they were on the island. There seems, indeed, to be little if any distinction of the kind there; the free being treated with nearly equal respect, whatever race they belong to. Both these young men observed that they had been more respected in the South than in New York. They were well acquainted with Georgiana Gibbons, and spoke in high terms of her character. Free papers, they said, were often forged in Georgia, as they are in Virginia.
The eldest son had paid between five and six hundred dollars for his freedom. He shewed me the receipts, signed by M. C. M'Queen, in a neat and clear hand. She was Mrs. Cooper's daughter. There was a large bundle of them. The amount was 244 dollars. Others had been lost. They contained accounts, which, with the former, would make the sum of five or six hundred dollars. He said he believed he had paid, in all, nearly twice that sum for his freedom; having advanced, for three years, during which no written account was kept, about twenty dollars a month. This sort of roguery is very common; complaints are useless where punishment is almost impossible. Mrs. M'Queen, in a paper he put into my hands, calls him "perfectly honest, clever, and useful in many ways; but more particularly as a head-waiter." In this document she agrees to take 350 dollars for him. When she enticed him away from Jamaica, she promised to "make a gentleman of him." She always trusted him, he said,"but," he added, "I will trust her no more." She often importuned him for money; and he had even stripped his coat from his back to satisfy her. One, that was worth sixteen dollars, he had sold for eight. They were all agreed in their description of slavery. It is a system of inconceivable cruelty.
It is high time that British subjects should be protected from the outrages to which their persons and property are exposed in the United States. Not only are they imprisoned, if they venture into some of the Southern States, but they are liable to be robbed or murdered in New York and Philadelphia. One of them, a quiet man, and a valuable member of society, who has resided many years in the former city, had his house broken into, during the late riots, and goods to the value of five or six hundred dollars stolen or destroyed. He was born in one of our colonies; and, as a residence of nearly forty years in the United States, and the most exemplary conduct can never obtain for him the right of citizenship, he may fairly claim protection from our government in return for the allegiance he still owes it. He keeps a register-office for servants, and is well known in the city as a man of unimpeachable integrity, and most obliging behavior. What offence had he given, and what indemnity has he had? None whatever. He had done no more than those who plundered his house, and those who refuse him redress, make a boast of doing. He wore the skin that the Almighty gave him. Ought not such persons to apply to our ambassador for that security which the law or usage denies them? There is no doubt that British subjects are often imprisoned in the United States, in violation of international law, and with perfect impunity. One case occurred in 1817. It was that of a colored man, born and brought up at Saint Bartholomew's, and a seaman in the service of the American Government. He had been sent with twenty-three others from London to Charleston, in South Carolina. The particulars are detailed in an advertisement --addressed by the City Marshal "to the owners of fugitive slaves:"
"In the brig Samoset, Captain Stevens, who arrived on the 24th of February last, the undermentioned black and colored persons arrived here. They were sent from the port of London by the American Consul, as distressed seamen; but, having no papers or documents of any kind to prove their freedom, are held by the City Council, so as to give those who have lost slaves, sufficient time to come forward and claim their property." Then follows a list of the names, with a description of the men. "The above described persons of color, having been detained on suspicion of their being slaves, the gentlemen to whom they referred, as being well known, and who, they say, can prove their freedom, are requested to forward on sufficient evidence, so that they might, if free, be, immediately liberated," &c.This advertisement is dated March 5, and the answers from the evidence and from masters, if any, were to be sent in on or before the first day of the ensuing May; when these unfortunate men were to be disposed of "as the law directs." They would all of them, most probably, have been given up to unprincipled claimants, or sold to defray the costs of their detention, had not a benevolent man (Mr. William Turpin) come forward in their behalf. Having personally examined the poor fellows, he applied directly to the highest functionaries of the federal government, and succeeded in rescuing them from the fangs of the local jurisdiction. All of them were eventually discharged, with the exception of two, who were claimed as slaves, and another who, though well known to be a free citizen of Pennsylvania, had been sold by the son of the man to whom, by the abolition act, he was bound apprentice, and carried into Georgia. In his letter to the Secretary of State, (R. Rush, Esq.,) Mr. Turpin says, --"Only consider, that although Mr. Campbell has vouchers for most of these seamen, that would prove their freedom anywhere to North or East of Maryland, yet if the City Council or City Marshal had, or even any city constable now should contend, by the strictness of our laws, they must be condemned to slavery, except white persons should come here and identify them to be freemen."
In his letter to the Vice-President, (D. D. Tomkins, Esq.,) his words are --"In this State the laws and policy are that every colored person is a slave, until he can prove his freedom. Any person has a right to take up any negro, that has not proper vouchers of his freedom, put him in the house of correction, where negroes are daily sent to be whipt, and advertise him a certain time. If no one appears, he is sold to pay expenses. The laws punish a man with death for stealing a slave: yet only last month a man was indicted for kidnapping a free black, and selling him in the western country, where he never can be found. The indictment only charged him with an assault and battery, and false imprisonment in some place unknown."
We may observe here, that a man can thus have a more valuable property in the limbs of another than he has in his own. The whole of the correspondence that passed on this occasion, was submitted to my perusal by Mr. Turpin, who was then at the advanced age of eighty, living at New York. He strongly enjoined me not to publish his name, as he had an intention to visit Charleston, and was fearful for his own safety, should it be known there that he had communicated to me what I have here stated. He is now no more. He is gone where his good deeds will not condemn him. Among the letters he lent me was one from Jonathan Hunn, of the Society of Friends, dated from Camden, State of Delaware. I subjoin the postscript.
"There is a person from this place, Henry M. Godwin, now at Columbia, (South Carolina,) after a number of free blacks who have been kidnapped in this part of the country, by inhuman human monsters, and carried off from all that man holds dear by Southern soul-drivers. The blacks were stopt and liberated by Claibourn Clifton of that place. I received a letter from H. M. Godwin a day or two back, informing me of his safe arrival at Columbia. He informed me he had seen most of the blacks, and understood there were many more around in the neighborhood of Columbia, not more than twenty miles distant; and that C. C. wished him to see them. It is astonishing the number of free blacks that have been kidnapped not many miles from this place."*
I will add another document that I found among Mr. Turpin's papers --as it will give some faint idea of a country where the charity of a dying man dares not express itself openly and directly. It is a clause in a will written by Moses Bradley, of Charleston, (S. C.,) who died in 1812: --it is as follows
* The Manumission Society of New York rescued, between 1810 and 1817, 292 free persons from the horrors of slavery. The kidnapper, however, still carries on his trade; as the slaver laughs at our boast of having snatched from his clutches no less than 26,506 victims from January 1, 1827, to January 1, 1833.
The attempt to put down an illegal traffic, which, in supplying a legal demand, affords a benefit beyond the risk of seizure, necessarily drives it into worse channels. The fault and the crime are in the legislature, which makes an arbitrary distinction between acts that are essentially the same. Damon Jones had as much natural right to the "services" of Mr. Gaston, as Mr. Gaston had to the "services" of Damon Jones; and the law, whether it punishes the one, or protects the other, for doing the same thing, violates and asserts the same principle at the same time.
"To the Society of Friends, called Quakers, in Philadelphia, I leave my servants named Minda, Andrew, Kitty, Susan, Nancy and child, with their issue for ever. The friends of humanity will not be puzzled to know my meaning. I appoint Daniel Latham and William Turpin, of this place, to take charge of these negroes, and to see that this part of my will is duly executed."I have mentioned one case of a British subject having been imprisoned unjustly; and another seems to have occurred not long ago. In the Times of Aug. 23,1833, is the report of a trial, in which the plaintiff, (Ferguson,) a colored man, recovered wages for the time during which he had been imprisoned in Charleston; the master of the vessel, who had engaged him for a fixed period, having made the loss of his services during his detention a set-off against his claim for the whole amount. Justice Bolland, before whom the trial took place, declared, that the laws of South Carolina could not set aside a pre-existing contract between parties not amenable to their jurisdiction. The man, it appeared, had gone out in the Oglethorpe, from Liverpool. If he was a British subject, no civil damages to him can compensate the nation to which he belongs for this gross insult.
The French nation has equal ground for complaint. There are some curious facts connected with this subject. At the latter end of April, 1830, the French Minister of the Marine informed the maritime Prefect of Cherbourg, that the legislature of Georgia had recently prohibited all vessels foreign or not) from entering her ports with colored persons on board, under the penalty of forty days rigorous quarantine, and the payment of all expenses attending the detention; besides giving security for the due discharge of such claims; the punishment for refusal being 500 dollars, and imprisonment for a time not exceeding three months. All captains of vessels sailing from France to America were to be notified of the regulations. In a few short months the minister's master was driven from his throne; and who were among the most active and the most applauded on that memorable occasion? Bissette and Fabien --two of those very men thus given up without a remonstrance to the jailers of Georgia. The colored subjects of France have now the same rights and privileges as others within her dominions; yet one of the former was imprisoned at Charleston, in South Carolina, and the captain (Chretin) who had taken him thither in his vessel, (le Jeune-Ernest,) was compelled to pay all the expenses. An account of this outrage was communicated by the aggrieved party to the public in December, 1833; but no redress, it appears, has been obtained or sought for an injury thus inflicted, contrary to the law of nations --the letter, as well as the spirit of treaties --and the constitution of the country where it was perpetrated *.
On the 16th of October I embarked on board the packet Montreal, and arrived, after a favorable passage of three weeks, at Portsmouth.
* To be a slave -holding community is to be exempt from the ordinary restraints of law and justice. The Antigua House of Assembly, not long ago, committed with perfect impunity an outrage, which the British House of Commons would not dare to propose. It imprisoned and ruined a British subject (Joseph Phillips) for refusing to give up his private papers. Though both Lord Goderich and Sir George Murray declared officially that the imprisonment appeared to have been "an unwarrantable exercise of power," yet the Solicitor-General, (Tindal,) after stating that there was "nothing in the laws of England which is at all analogous to this course of proceeding, or would give any sanction to it," gave it as his professional opinion, that he could "see no effectual redress, but by an appeal to the good sense and good feeling of the members of the house" of Assembly. Thus has one of the most active and disinterested friends of negro emancipation been robbed of all his property, and left, with a wife and four children, to toil, in his old age, for a mere pittance.
seemed as if the demon of cruelty was to accompany me back even to
England, and to exhibit its victims on the very ground to tread on which
is to be free. On board the ship was a black man who acted as waiter. He
had been to New York, with his wife, in search of a white man, who owed
him 160 dollars, which the other had borrowed out of his hard-earned savings.
He had served in the American navy, in which his debtor was a lieutenant.
With great trouble, and after much delay, he had obtained payment of part
of the original sum: --less, however, than what the pursuit of it had cost
him. Interest was out of the question. I was told the rascal's name; but
such a man is beyond the reach of shame; and there are too many to keep
him in countenance, should he be wanting in that commodity. No one on board
knew that the poor fellow was married; though his wife was with him --a
very respectable, fair, young Englishwoman. At Portsmouth, where most of
the passengers landed, this man waited upon me, during three or four days
that I was detained by illness; and it was then that I was informed of
his marriage and his adventures. at
New York , he was obliged to visit his wife clandestinely at her brother's
house, and observe the utmost circumspection, to avoid the consequences
which the detection of this "guilty commerce" would have brought down upon
his head. Had the nature of the connexion transpired, his life would not
have been safe; and perhaps both husband and wife would have fallen victims
to popular fury. What a country to live in, where marriage carries with
it the dishonor and punishment of crime; and where natural affection cannot
be acknowledged without danger, nor indulged without deception! A more
honest, kindhearted creature I never saw. Every one in the packet spoke
well of Trusty; and his wife was equally admired for the mildness and patience
she displayed under severe indisposition. When I repaid him for the luggage
that had been brought on shore by a boat he had hired for me, he wished
some deduction should be made, on account of his own trunks; and in all
the disbursements he made for me, I found him scrupulously exact and fair-dealing.
The history he gave me of himself was unaccompanied with any expression
of complaint or resentment, and was elicited by questions, that some peculiar
circumstances I had remarked in his conduct, induced me to put to him.