The Project Gutenberg EBook of A Child's Anti-Slavery Book, by Various
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Title: A Child's Anti-Slavery Book Containing a Few Words About American Slave Children and Stories of Slave-Life.
Release Date: December 15, 2003 [EBook #10464]
*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK A CHILD'S ANTI-SLAVERY BOOK ***
Produced by Audrey Longhurst and PG Distributed Proofreaders.
[Illustration: A SLAVE FATHER SOLD AWAY FROM HIS FAMILY.]
THE CHILD'S ANTI-SLAVERY BOOK
Few Words about American Slave Children.
STORIES OF SLAVE-LIFE.
A FEW WORDS ABOUT AMERICAN SLAVE CHILDREN
LITTLE LEWIS—THE STORY OF A SLAVE BOY
MARK AND HASTY
AUNT JUDY'S STORY—A STORY FROM REAL LIFE
ME NEBER GIVE IT UP
A SLAVE FATHER SOLD AWAY FROM HIS FAMILY.
LITTLE LEWIS SOLD.
WHIPPING A SLAVE.
HUNTING RUNAWAY SLAVES.
AUNT JUDY'S HUSBAND CAPTURED.
HANDCUFFING JUDY'S HUSBAND.
WAITING TO BE SOLD.
"ME NEBER GIB IT UP!"
A FEW WORDS ABOUT AMERICAN SLAVE CHILDREN.
Children, you are free and happy. Kind parents watch over you with loving eyes; patient teachers instruct you from the beautiful pages of the printed book; benign laws, protect you from violence, and prevent the strong arms of wicked people from hurting you; the blessed Bible is in your hands; when you become men and women you will have full liberty to earn your living, to go, to come, to seek pleasure or profit in any way that you may choose, so long as you do not meddle with the rights of other people; in one word, you are free children! Thank God! thank God! my children, for this precious gift. Count it dearer than life. Ask the great God who made you free to teach you to prefer death to the loss of liberty.
But are all the children in America free like you? No, no! I am sorry to tell you that hundreds of thousands of American children are slaves. Though born beneath the same sun and on the same soil, with the same natural right to freedom as yourselves, they are nevertheless SLAVES. Alas for them! Their parents cannot train them as they will, for they too have MASTERS. These masters say to them:
"Your children are OURS—OUR PROPERTY! They shall not be taught to read or write; they shall never go to school; they shall not be taught to read the Bible; they must submit to us and not to you; we shall whip them, sell them, and do what else we please with them. They shall never own themselves, never have the right to dispose of themselves, but shall obey us in all things as long as they live!"
"Why do their fathers let these masters have their children? My father wouldn't let anybody have me," I hear one of my little free-spirited readers ask.
Simply, my noble boy, because they can't help it. The masters have banded themselves together, and have made a set of wicked laws by which nearly four millions of men, women, and children are declared to be their personal chattels, or property. So that if one of these slave fathers should refuse to let his child be used as the property of his master, those wicked laws would help the master by inflicting cruel punishments on the parent. Hence the poor slave fathers and mothers are forced to silently witness the cruel wrongs which their helpless children are made to suffer. Violence has been framed into a law, and the poor slave is trodden beneath the feet of the powerful.
"But why did those slaves let their masters bring them into this state? Why didn't they fight as our forefathers did when they threw off the yoke of England's laws?" inquires a bright-eyed lad who has just risen from the reading of a history of our Revolution.
The slaves were not reduced to their present servile condition in large bodies. When our ancestors settled this country they felt the need of more laborers than they could hire. Then wicked men sailed from England and other parts of Europe to the coast of Africa. Sending their boats ashore filled with armed men, they fell upon the villages of the poor Africans, set fire to their huts, and, while they were filled with fright, seized, handcuffed, and dragged them to their boats, and then carried them aboard ship.
This piracy was repeated until the ship was crowded with negro men, women, and children. The poor things were packed like spoons below the deck. Then the ship set sail for the coast of America. I cannot tell you how horribly the poor negroes suffered. Bad air, poor food, close confinement, and cruel treatment killed them off by scores. When they died their bodies were pitched into the sea, without pity or remorse.
After a wearisome voyage the survivors, on being carried into some port, were sold to the highest bidder. No regard was paid to their relationship. One man bought a husband, another a wife. The child was taken to one place, the mother to another. Thus they were scattered abroad over the colonies. Fresh loads arrived continually, and thus their numbers increased. Others were born on the soil, until now, after the lapse of some two centuries, there are nearly four millions of negro slaves in the country, besides large numbers of colored people who in various ways have been made free.
You can now see how easy it was for the masters to make the wicked laws by which the slaves are now held in bondage. They began when the slaves were few in number, when they spoke a foreign language, and when they were too few and feeble to offer any resistance to their oppressors, as their masters did to old England when she tried to oppress them.
I want you to remember one great truth regarding slavery, namely, that a slave is a human being, held and used as property by another human being, and that it is always A SIN AGAINST GOD to thus hold and me a human being as property!
You know it is not a sin to use an ox, a horse, a dog, a squirrel, a house, or an acre of land as property, if it be honestly obtained, because God made these and similar objects to be possessed as property by men. But God did not make man to be the property of man. He never gave any man the right to own his neighbor or his neighbor's child.
On the contrary, he made all men to be free and equal, as saith our Declaration of Independence. Hence, every negro child that is born is as free before God as the white child, having precisely the same right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, as the white child. The law which denies him that right does not destroy it. It may enable the man who claims him as a slave to deprive him of its exercise, but the right itself remains, for the wicked law under which he acts does not and cannot set aside the divine law, by which he is as free as any child that was ever born.
But if God made every man, woman, and child to be free, and not property, then he who uses a human being as property acts contrary to the will of God and SINS! Is it not so, my children?
Yet that is what every slaveholder does. He uses his slaves as property. He reckons them as worth so many dollars, just as your father sets a certain money value on his horse, farm, or merchandise. He sells him, gives him away, uses his labor without paying him wages, claims his children as so many more dollars added to his estate, and when he dies wills him to his heirs forever. And this is SIN, my children—a very great sin against God, a high crime against human nature.
Mark what I say! the sin of slavery does not lie merely in whipping, starving, or otherwise ill-treating a human being, but in using him as property; in saying of him as you do of your dog: "He is my property. He is worth so much money to me. I will do what I please with him. I will keep him, use him, sell him, give him away, and keep all he earns, just as I choose."
To say that of a man is sin. You might clothe the man in purple, feed him on manna from heaven, and keep him in a palace of ivory, still, if you used him as your property, you would commit sin!
Children, I want you to shrink from this sin as the Jews did from the fiery serpents. Hate it. Loathe it as you would the leprosy. Make a solemn vow before the Saviour, who loves the slave and slave children as truly as he does you, that you will never hold slaves, never apologize for those who do. As little Hannibal vowed eternal hatred to Rome at the altar of a false god, so do you vow eternal enmity to slavery at the altar of the true and living Jehovah. Let your purpose be, "I will rather beg my bread than live by the unpaid toil of a slave."
To assist you in carrying out that purpose, and to excite your sympathy for poor slave children, the following stories were written. The characters in them are all real, though their true names are not always given. The stories are therefore pictures of actual life, and are worthy of your belief.
* * * * *
[Illustration: LITTLE LEWIS SOLD.]
The Story of a Slave Boy.
BY JULIA COLMAN.
"A, B, C," said little Lewis to himself, as he bent eagerly over a ragged primer. "Here's anoder A, an' there's anoder, an' there's anoder C, but I can't find anoder B. Missy Katy said I must find just so many as I can. Dear little Missy Katy! an' wont I be just so good as ever I can, an' learn to read, an' when I get to be a man I'll call myself white folks; for I'm a most as white as Massa Harry is now, when he runs out widout his hat; A, B, C." And so the little fellow ran on, thinking what a fine man he would be when he had learned to read.
Just then he heard a shrill laugh in the distance, and the cry, "Lew!
Lew! where's Lew?"
It was Katy's voice, and tucking his book in his bosom, he ran around the house toward her with light feet; for though she was often cross and willful, as only daughters sometimes are, she was the only one of the family that showed him even an occasional kindness. She was, withal, a frolicsome, romping witch, and as he turned the corner, she came scampering along right toward him with three or four white children at her heels, and all the little woolly heads of the establishment, numbering something less than a score.
"Here, Lew!" she said, as she came in sight, "you take the tag and run."
With a quick movement he touched her outstretched hand, and he would have made the others some trouble to catch him, for he was the smartest runner among the children; but as he turned he tripped on a stone, and lay sprawling. "Tag," cried Hal, Katy's cousin, as he placed his feet on the little fellow's back and jumped over him. It was cruel, but what did Hal care for the "little nigger." If he had been at home he would have had some little fear of breaking the child's back, for his father was more careful of his property than Uncle Stamford was.
Before Lewis could rise, two or three of the negro boys, who were always too ready to imitate the vices of their masters, had made the boy a stepping stone, and then Dick, his master's eldest son, came down upon him with both knees, and began to cuff him roundly.
"So, you black scamp, you thought you'd run away with the tag, did you!" Just then he perceived the primer that was peeping out of Lewis's shirt bosom. "Ha! what's here?" said he; "a primer, as I live! And what are you doing with this, I'd like to know?"
"Missy Katy give it to me, and she is teaching me my letters out of it. Please, massa, let me have it again," said he, beseechingly, as Dick made a motion as if to throw it away. "I would like to learn how to read."
"You would, would you!" said Dick. "You'd like to read to Tom and Sam, down on a Louisiana plantation, in sugar time, when you'd nothing else to do, I suppose. Ha, ha, ha!" and the young tyrant, giving the boy a vigorous kick or two as he rose, stuffed the book into his own pocket, and walked off.
Poor Lewis! He very well knew the meaning of that taunt, and he did not open his mouth. No threat of a dark closet ever frightened a free child so much as the threat of being sold to a Southern plantation terrifies the slave-child of Kentucky.
Lewis walked slowly toward the kitchen, to see Aunt Sally. It was to her he used to go with all his troubles, and sometimes she scolded, and sometimes she listened. She was very busy dressing the vegetables for dinner, and she looked cross; so the little fellow crept into the chimney corner and said nothing; but he thought all the more, and as he thought, the sad tears rolled down his tawny cheeks.
"What is the matter now, little baby?" was Aunt Sally's tender inquiry.
Lewis commenced his pitiful tale; but as soon as Aunt Sally heard that it was about learning to read, she shut him up with "Good enough for you! What do you want of a book? Readin' isn't for the likes of you; and the less you know of it the better."
This was poor sympathy, and the little fellow, with a half-spiteful feeling, scrambled upon a bench near by, and tumbled out of the window. He alighted on an ash-heap, not a very nice place to be sure, but it was a retired corner, and he often hid away there when he felt sad and wanted to be alone. Here he sat down, and leaning his head against the side of the house, he groaned out, "My mother, O my mother! If you ain't dead, why don't you come to me?"
By degrees he calmed down, and half asleep there in the sunshine, he dreamed of the home that he once had. His mother was a noble woman, so he thought. Nobody else ever looked so kindly into his face; he was sure nobody else ever loved him as she did, and he remembered when she was gay and cheerful, and would go all day singing about her work. And his father, he could just remember him as a very pleasant man that he used to run to meet, sometimes, when he saw him coming home away down the road; but that was long ago. He had not seen him now for years, and he had heard his mother say that his father's master had moved away out of the state and taken him with him, and maybe he would never return. Then Lewis's mother grew sad, and stopped her singing, though she worked as hard as ever, and kept her children all neat and clean.
And those dear brothers and sisters, what had become of them? There was Tom, the eldest, the very best fellow in the world, so Lewis thought. He would sit by the half hour making tops, and whistles, and all sorts of pretty playthings. And Sam, too! he was always so full of fun and singing songs. What a singer he was! and it was right cheerful when Sam would borrow some neighbor's banjo and play to them. But they were all gone; and his sad, sweet-faced, lady-like sister Nelly, too, they were all taken off in one day by one of the ugliest negro-drivers that ever scared a little slave-boy's dreams. And it was while his mother was away from home too. How she did cry and take on when she came back and found them all gone, and she hadn't even the chance to bid them good-by! She said she knew her master sent her off that morning because he was going to sell her children.
Lewis shuddered as he thought of that dreadful night. It was hardly two years ago, and the fearful things he heard then burned into his soul with terrible distinctness. It seemed as if their little cabin was deserted after that, for Tom, and Sam, and Nelly were almost grown up, and the rest were all little ones. The next winter his other sister, Fanny, died; but that wasn't half so sad. She was about twelve years old, and a blithesome, cheerful creature, just as her mother had been. He remembered how his master came to their cabin to comfort them, as he said; but his mother told him plainly that she did not want any such comfort. She wished Nelly was dead too. She wished she had never had any children to grow up and suffer what she had. It was in vain her master tried to soothe her. He talked like a minister, as he was; but she had grown almost raving, and she talked to him as she never dared to do before. She wanted to know why he didn't come to console her when she lost her other children; "three all at once" she said, "and they're ten times worse than dead. You never consoled me then at all. Religion? Pooh! I don't want none of your religion."
And now she, too, was gone. She had been gone more than a year. It was said that she was hired out to work in another family; but it wasn't so. They only told her that story to get her away from the children peaceably. She was sold quite a distance away to a very bad man, who used her cruelly.
Ned, who was some two years younger than Lewis, and the only brother he had left, was a wild, careless boy, who raced about among the other children, and did not seem to think much about anything. Lewis often wished he could have somebody to talk with, and he wondered if his mother would ever come back again.
Had he been a poet he might have put his wishes into verses like the following, in which Mrs. Follen has given beautiful expression to the wishes of such a slave boy as Lewis:
THE SLAVE BOY'S WISH.
I wish I was that little bird,
Up in the bright blue sky,
That sings and flies just where he will,
And no one asks him why.
I wish I was that little brook,
That runs so swift along,
Through pretty flowers and shining stones,
Singing a merry song.
I wish I was that butterfly,
Without a thought or care,
Sporting my pretty, brilliant wings,
Like a flower in the air.
I wish I was that wild, wild deer,
I saw the other day,
Who swifter than an arrow flew,
Through the forest far away.
I wish I was that little cloud,
By the gentle south wind driven,
Floating along so free and bright,
Far, far up into heaven.
I'd rather be a cunning fox,
And hide me in a cave;
I'd rather be a savage wolf,
Than what I am—a slave.
My mother calls me her good boy,
My father calls me brave;
What wicked action have I done,
That I should be a slave?
I saw my little sister sold,
So will they do to me;
My heavenly Father, let me die,
For then I shall be free.
So talking to himself he fell into a doze, and dreamed about his mother. He thought her large serious eyes were looking into his, and her long black hair falling over his face. His mother was part Indian and part white, with only just enough of the black to make her hair a little curly. It don't make much difference what color people are in the slave states. If the mothers are slaves the children are slaves too, even if they are nine-tenths white.
From this pleasant dream Lewis was roused by a splash of cold water, and Aunt Sally, with her head out of the window, was calling, "Here you lazy nigger! come here and grind this coffee for me." And the little boy awoke to find himself a friendless orphan, in a cold world with a cruel master.
The next morning Lewis was playing about the yard with as good a will as any of the young negroes. Children's troubles don't last long, and to see him turning somersets, singing Jim Crow, and kicking up a row generally, you would suppose he had forgotten all about the lost primer and his mother too.
He was in the greatest possible glee in the afternoon, at being sent with another boy, Jim, to carry a package to Mr. Pond's. Then he was trusted, so he put himself on his dignity, and did not turn more than twenty somersets on the way. In coming back, as they had no package to carry, they took it into their heads to cut across lots, though it was no nearer than the road. Still it made them plenty of exercise in climbing fences and walking log bridges across the brooks. While doing this they came in sight of some white pond-lilies, and all at once it occurred to Lewis that it would be right nice to get some of them for Miss Katy, to buy up her good-will, for he was afraid she would be very angry when she found that he had lost the primer. So he waded and paddled about till he had collected quite a handful of them, in spite of Jim's hurrying up, and telling him that he would get his head broke, for missus had told them to be quick.
When he had gathered a large handful he started on the run for home, stopping only once or twice to admire the fragrant, lovely flowers; and he felt their beauty quite as much, I dare say, as Miss Katy would.
When they were passing the quarters, as the place is called where the huts of the slaves are built, Aunt Sally put her head out of the cabin door, and seeing him, she called out, "Here, Lew, here's your mother."
The boy forgot his lilies, dropped them, and running to the door, he saw within a strange woman sitting on a bench. Was that his mother? She turned her large dark eyes for a moment upon him, and then she sprang to meet him. His little heart was ready to overflow with tears of joy, and he expected to be overwhelmed with caresses, just as you would if you should meet your mother after being separated from her more than a year.
Imagine his terror, then, as she seized him rudely by the wrists and exclaimed, "It's you, is it? a little slave boy! I'll fix you so they'll never get you!"
Then she picked him up in her arms and started to run with him, as if she would throw him into the well. The little fellow screamed with fright. Aunt Sally ran after her, crying at the top of her voice, "Nancy, O Nancy! don't now!" And then a big negro darted out of the stables, crying "Stop her there! catch her!"
All this hubbub roused the people at the house, and Master Stamford forthwith appeared on the verandah, with a crowd of servants of all sizes. Amid the orders, and cries, and general confusion that followed, Nancy was caught, Lewis was taken away, and she was carried back to the cabin, while the big negro was preparing to tie her. As she entered the cabin, her eye caught sight of a knife that lay there, and snatching it up, she gave herself a bad wound with it. Poor woman, she was tired of her miserable life. I don't wonder that she wanted to die.
Was it right, you ask, for her to take her own life? Certainly not. But let us see what led to this attempt.
For a long time she had been separated from Lewis and Ned, the last of her children that remained to her. To be sure, the other three were probably living somewhere, and so was her husband. But she only knew that they had gone into hopeless servitude, where she knew not. Indeed, she did not know but that they were already dead, and she did not expect ever to hear, for slaves are seldom able to write, and often not permitted to when they can. If there had only been hope of hearing from them at some time or other she could have endured it. But between her and those loved ones there rested a thick cloud of utter darkness; beyond that they might be toiling, groaning, bleeding, starving, dying beneath the oppressor's lash in the deadly swamp, or in the teeth of the cruel hounds, and she could not have the privilege of ministering to the least of their wants, of soothing one of their sorrows, or even dropping a silent tear beside them. If she could have heard only one fact about them it would have been some relief. But she could not enjoy even this poor privilege. And then came the dead, heavy stillness of despair creeping over her spirits.
Do you wonder that she became perfectly wild, and beside herself at times? How would you feel if all you loved best were carried off by a cruel slave-driver, and you had no hope of hearing from them again in this world?
During these dreadful fits of insanity she would bewail the living as worse than dead, and pray God to take them away. Then she would curse herself for being the mother of slave children, declaring that it would be far better to see them die in their childhood, than to see them grow up to suffer as she had suffered.
She lived only a few miles from her old home; but her new master was an uncommonly hard man, and would not permit her to go and see her children. He said it would only make her worse, and his slaves should learn that they were not to put on airs and have whims. It was their business to live for him. Didn't he pay enough for them, and see that they were well fed and clothed, and what more did they want? This he called kind treatment. Very kind, indeed, not to allow a mother to go and see her own children! But when she was taken with those insane spells, and would go on so about her children that she was not fit to work, indeed could not be made to work, it was finally suggested to him that a visit to her children would do her good.
This was the occasion of her present visit, and it was because she was insane that she attempted to take her own life. The wound, however, was not very deep, and Nancy did not die at this time. After the doctor had been there and dressed her wound, and affairs had become quiet, Lewis stole to the door of the cabin. He was afraid to go in. He hardly knew, any of the time, whether that strange wild woman could be his mother, only they told him she was. There was blood spattered here and there on the bare earth that served as a floor to the cabin, and on a straw mattress at one side lay the strange woman. Her eyes were shut, and now that she was more composed, he saw in the lineaments of that pale face the features of his mother; But her once glossy black hair had turned almost white since she had been away, and altogether there was such a wild expression that he was afraid, and crept quietly away again.
He then went to find his brother, who, of course, did not remember so much about her. But it was touching to see the two little lone brothers stand peeping in wonderingly at their own mother, who was so changed that they hardly knew her. Then they went off behind the kitchen to talk about it, and cry over it.
The strange big negro was Jerry, who belonged to the same master with Nancy, and he had come to bring her down. He was afraid that his master would be very angry if he should go back without her; but the doctor said the woman must not be moved for a week, and he wrote a letter for Jerry to carry borne to his master, while Nancy remained.
The next day, as they gained a little more courage, the brothers crept inside of the cabin. Their mother saw them, and beckoned them to her bed-side. She could scarcely speak a word distinctly, but taking first one and then the other by the hand, she said inquiringly: "Lewis?" "Lewis?" "Ned?"
They sat there at the bed-side by the hour that day. Sometimes she would hold their hands lovingly in hers; then again she would lay her hand gently on the heads of one and the other, and her eyes would wander lovingly over their faces, and then fill with tears.
After a day or two little restless, fun-loving Ned grew tired of this, and ran out to play; but Lewis stayed by his mother, and she was soon able to talk with him.
She showed him her wrists where they had been worn by the irons, and her back scarred by the whip, and she told him of cruelties that we may not repeat here. She talked with him as if he were a man, and not a child; and as he listened his heart and mind seemed to reach forward, and he became almost a man in thought. He seemed to live whole years in those few days that he talked with his mother. It was here that the fearful fact dawned upon him as it never had before. He was a slave! He had no control over his own person or actions, but he belonged soul and body to another man, who had power to control him in everything. And this would not have been so irksome had it been a person that he loved, but Master Stamford he hated. He never met him but to be called by some foul epithet, or booted out of the way. He had no choice whom he would serve, and there would be no end to the thankless servitude but death.
"Mother," said the boy, "what have we done that we should be treated so much worse than other people?"
"Nothing, my child, nothing. They say there is a God who has ordered all this, but I don't know about that." She stopped; her mother's heart forbade her to teach her child infidel principles, and she went on in a better strain of reasoning. "Perhaps he allows all this, to try if we will be good whether or no; but I am sure he cannot be pleased with the white folk's cruelty toward us, and they'll all have to suffer for it some day."
Then there was a long pause, when both mother and son seemed to be thinking sad, sad thoughts. Finally the mother broke the silence by saying: "Well, here we are, and the great question is how to make the best of it, if there is any best about it."
"I know what I'll do, mother," said Lewis earnestly, "I'll run away when
I'm old enough."
"I hope you may get out of this terrible bondage, my child," said the mother; "but you had better keep that matter to yourself at present. It will be a long time before you are old enough. There is one thing about it, if you're going to be a free man, you'll want to know how to read."
Lewis's heart was full again, and he told his mother the whole story of the primer.
"And did Missy Katy never ask about it afterward?" inquired the mother.
"No, she never has said a word about it."
"O well, she don't care. There are some young missies with tender hearts that do take a good deal of pains to teach poor slaves to read; but she isn't so, nor any of massa's family, if he is a minister. He don't care any more about us than he does about his horses. You musn't wait for any of them; but there's Sam Tyler down to Massa Pond's, he can read, and if you can get him to show you some, without letting massa know it, that'll help you, and then you must try by yourself as hard as you can."
Thus did the poor slave mother talk with her child, trying to implant in his heart an early love for knowledge.
But the time soon came when Nancy was well enough to go back to her cruel servitude. This visit had proved a great good to little Lewis. The entire spirit of his thoughts was changed. He was still very often silent and thoughtful, but he was seldom sad. He had a fixed purpose within, which was helping him to work out his destiny.
His first effort was to see Sam Tyler. This old man was a very intelligent mulatto belonging to Mr. Pond. For some great service formerly rendered to his master, he was allowed to have his cabin, and quite a large patch of ground, separated from the other negroes, and all his time to himself, except ten hours a day for his master. His master had also given him a pass, with which he could go and come on business, and the very feeling that he was trusted kept him from using it to run away with.
Mr. Pond was very kind to all his servants, as he called them, and a more cheerful group could not be found in the state. It would have been well if the Rev. Robert Stamford and many of his congregation had imitated Mr. Pond in this respect, for his servants worked more faithfully, and were more trustworthy than any others in the vicinity. There was one thing more that he should have done; he should have made out free papers for them, and let them go when they pleased.
When Lewis mentioned his wish to Sam Tyler, the old man was quite delighted with the honor done to his own literary talent. "But you see," said he, "I can tell ye what is a sight better; come over to Massa Pond's Sunday school. I'd 'vise ye to ask Massa Stamford, and then ye can come every Sunday."
Lewis had a notion that it would not be very easy to get his master's permission, so the next Sunday he went without permission.
It was a right nice place for little folks and big ones too. Nearly all Mr. Pond's servants were there punctually. It was held an hour, and Mr. Pond himself, or one of his sons, was always there. He read the Bible, taught them verses from it, sung hymns with them, and of late, at their urgent solicitation, he had purchased some large cards with the letters and easy readings, and was teaching them all to read.
The first day that Lewis went he crept off very early, before his master was up, telling Aunt Sally where he was going, so that if he should be inquired for she could send Ned after him. Aunt Sally remonstrated, but it was of no avail; he was off, and she really loved him too well to betray him.
That day young master Pond was in the Sunday school, and he spoke very kindly to Lewis, commending his zeal, and asking him to come again. But when he told his father that one of Mr. Stamford's boys was there, Mr. Pond's reply was that "this matter must be looked into."
Mr. Pond was there himself on the next Sunday, and though he spoke very kindly to the boy, yet he told him very decidedly that he must not come there without a written permission from his master. "Well, then, I can't come at all, sir," said Lewis sorrowfully.
"Ask him, at any rate," was the reply. "I'd like to have you come very well; but I'm afraid he will think I want to steal one of his boys, if I allow you to come here without his consent."
It was with much fear that Lewis made known his wish to his master, and he was received, as he expected to be, with abuse.
"You would like to be a smart nigger, I suppose; one of the kind that talks saucy to his master and runs away. I'll make you smart. I'm smart enough myself for all my niggers; and if they want any more of the stuff, I'll give them some of the right sort," said he with vulgar wit, as he laid his riding-whip about the shoulders of poor Lewis.
But when Mr. Stamford found that Lewis had already been to Mr. Pond's Sunday school, he made a more serious matter of it, and the poor boy received his first severe flogging, twenty-five lashes on his bare back.
"I hope now," said Aunt Sally, while dressing his welted and wounded back with wet linen, "that you'll give up that silly notion of your'n, that of learnin' to read. It's of no use, and these 'ere learned niggers are always gettin' into trouble. I know massa'd half kill one, if he had 'im. Now, if you belonged to Massa Pond 'twould be different." And so she went on; but the more she talked the more firmly Lewis made up his mind that he would learn to read if he could, and the words of his mother came to his mind with authority: "If you're going to be a free man you'll want to know how to read."
About two months after this he paid another visit to Sam Tyler. Sam's plot of ground and cabin was near the division line between the two farms, and Lewis took his time to go down there after dark. He asked Sam to teach him to read.
"I should think you'd got enough of that," said Sam. "I shouldn't think it would pay."
"What would you take for what you know about readin'?" asked Lewis.
"Well, I can't say as I'd like to sell it, but it would only be a plague to you so long as you belong to Massa Stamford."
By dint of coaxing, however, Lewis succeeded in getting him to teach him the letters, taking the opportunity to go to him rainy nights, or when Mr. Stamford was away from home. That was the end of Sam's help. He had an "idea in his head" that it was not good policy for him to do this without Massa Stamford's consent, after what Mr. Pond had said about Lewis's coming to Sunday school. Sam was a cautious negro, not so warm-hearted and impulsive as the most of his race. He prided himself on being more like white folks.
Lewis was soon in trouble of another sort. He had found an old spelling-book, and Sam had shown him that the letters he had learned were to be put together to make words. Then, too, he managed to get a little time to himself every morning, by rising very early. So far so good, and his diligence was deserving of success, but the progress he made was very discouraging. C-a-n spelled sane, n-o-t spelled note, and g-o spelled jo. "I sane note jo;" what nonsense! and there was no one that could explain the matter intelligently. He perseveres bravely for a while, finding now and then a word that he could understand; but at last his book was gone from its hiding place; he knew not where to get another; and in short he was pretty much discouraged. These difficulties had cooled his ardor much more than the whip had done, and by degrees he settled down into a state of despondency and indifference that Mr. Stamford would have considered a matter of the deepest regret, had it befallen one of his own children.
Years passed on—long, dreary, cheerless years. Lewis was now a boy of seventeen, rather intelligent in appearance, but melancholy, and not very hearty. In spite of repeated thinnings out by sales at different times to the traders, the number of Mr. Stamford's slaves had greatly increased, and now the time came when they must all be disposed of. He had accepted a call from a distant village, and must necessarily break up his farming establishment.
It was a sad sight to see these poor people, who had lived together so long, put up at auction and bid off to persons that had come from many different places. Here goes the father of a family in one direction, the mother in another, and the children all scattered hither and thither. And then it was heartrending to witness their brief partings. Bad as had been their lot with Mr. Stamford, they would far sooner stay with him than be separated from those of their fellow-slaves whom they loved.
A lot at a time were put up in a row, and one after another was called upon the block, and after a few bids was handed over to a new master, to be taken wherever he might choose.
Ned and Jim and Lewis stood side by side in one of those rows. Ned had grown up to be a fine sprightly lad, and the bidding for him was lively. He was struck down to a Southern trader. Lewis listened despondently while the bidding for Jim was going on, expecting every moment to hear his own name called, when suddenly a strong hand was laid upon his shoulder from behind, and he was drawn from the row. After a thorough examination by a strange gentleman, in company with his master, he was bid to step aside. From some words that he heard pass between them, he understood that he had been sold at private sale, bartered off for a pair of carriage-horses.
The animals, a pair of handsome bays, were standing near by, and he turned to look at them. "Suppose they were black," said he to himself, "would they be any meaner, less powerful, less valuable, less spirited? I do not see that color makes much difference with animals, why should it make so much difference among men? Who made the white men masters over us?" He thought long and deeply, but there came no answer.
"Then, too, they are larger than I am, and there are two of them! What makes the difference that I should be higher priced? Ah, I have a mind, and it's my mind that they have sold," he added, with a sudden gleam of thought. "And what have I of my own? Nothing! They buy, and sell, and control soul and mind and body."
Lewis had yet to learn that even the poor slave may with all his soul believe on Jesus, and no master on earth could hinder him. Mr. Stamford had never given his slaves any religious teachings, and perhaps it was just as well that he did not attempt anything of that kind, for he is said to have taught his white congregation that it was no more harm to separate a family of slaves than a litter of pigs. His new master, whose name was Johns, lived about thirty miles distant, and nearly as much as that nearer the boundary line between Ohio and Kentucky, an item which the boy noticed with much satisfaction. On their way home Mr. Johns took special pains to impress on the mind of his new property the fact, that the condition of his being well treated in his new home would be his good behavior. "It's of no use," he says, "for my boys to go to showing off airs, and setting themselves up. I can't stand that. But if they are quiet and industrious, I give them as good allowances and as good quarters as anybody."
What Mr. Johns called good behavior in servants, was their doing promptly and precisely just as he told them to, without venturing to think for themselves anything about it. If any of them did venture an opinion before him he shut them up with a cut of the whip or a sharp word, so that the utmost extent of their conversation in his presence was a strict answer to his questions, and "Yes, massa," in reply to his commands.
Lewis was destined to assist in the garden. Mr. Johns was very fond of horticulture, but to have had his head gardener a slave, would have involved the necessity of talking with him, and consulting him too much to consist with his views of propriety. The slaves of families in the far South are not usually treated in this manner, but Mr. Johns was by birth an Englishman. The gardener, then, was a free white man named Spencer, and Lewis found him a very pleasant master. It was not difficult for him to find his way into his good graces, so that Lewis did not suffer so much by the change as he expected. His heart was already hardened by the loss of so many friends, that he took this with unexpected indifference. But he did miss his brother Ned. More than once, in his dreams, did he hear him crying for help; but after a while he heard, through a fellow-slave, that Ned was serving as waiter in a hotel at Louisville. This was the last he ever heard of him.
Besides this, Lewis loved his new work. It was so delightful to see the shrubs, and trees, and plants flourish, and the flowers putting forth their gorgeous displays; and Spencer's kindness made the heaviest work seem light. It is very easy to serve a man that governs by kindness, but Lewis thought it would be much harder to serve Spencer if he had felt that he was his owner.
One morning, going earlier than usual to the garden, he found Miss Ford there, the governess of the children. She was promenading one of the wide alleys, and pensively reading a favorite author. This occurred morning after morning, and Lewis thought he would be so glad if she would only spend a few minutes teaching him to read! He knew that she was from the free states, where they did not keep slaves, and he thought, perhaps, if she knew his desire to read she would help him. But morning after morning passed, and she seemed to take very little notice of him. Finally, he one day observed her looking at a beautiful magnolia blossom, the first that had come out. It was quite on the top of the tree. She evidently wanted it, and Lewis drew near, hoping that she would ask him to get it for her, and so she did. Lewis was delighted, she thanked him so kindly. After this he found occasion to say: "I think missus must be very happy, she can read."
The lady looked surprised, and then pitiful. "And would you like to read?"
"Indeed, there is nothing in this world would make me more happy," said
"It is a pity so simple a wish cannot be gratified," said she to herself. "Perhaps I could find time; if I thought so I might rise a little earlier. Could you come here by sunrise every morning?"
"O yes, missus, indeed I could."
"Come, then, to-morrow morning."
That was a happy day for Lewis. His first lesson was quite a success. He had not forgotten all his letters. After this he went on prosperously, having a half hour lesson every fair morning.
Lewis studied very hard, and made excellent progress. The difficulties that formerly troubled him now disappeared, for he had a teacher whom he could consult upon every word. Miss Ford gave him a few pence to buy candles with, and all his evenings were spent in assiduous devotion to his new task.
The thoughts of his new acquisitions made him so happy that he worked more diligently, and appeared far more cheerful than formerly. Mr. Johns observed it, and remarked that the boy had turned out "a better bargain than he expected."
When it was known in the house that Miss Ford was teaching Lewis, there was some consultation about it, and Mr. Johns approached the lady with a long face, to talk the matter over. However, she had altogether the advantage of him, for she laughed most uncontrollably at his concern, assured him that this was her intellectual play, and that she enjoyed the matter very much as she would teaching tricks to a parrot or monkey. "Surely, now, you would not deprive me of such an innocent amusement," said she, with mock lamentation.
"No; but my dear Miss Ford," said the gentleman, trying to appear serious, "it is not best for these people to know too much."
"O, that is too good!" she replied, with a laugh. "Do you expect him to rival a Henry Clay or an Andrew Jackson?" and then she went on telling some such funny mistakes and ludicrous blunders of the boy, that Mr. Johns could resist no longer, and he joined in the laugh. There was evidently no such thing as pinning her fast to serious reasoning on the subject, and as she stood very high in Mr. John's good graces, he concluded he might about as well let her do as she liked.
She had been a long time in the family, and as they had seen no ultra-abolition traits, they thought her "sound at heart" on that subject. And so she was; for had she known the true situation of the slaves, all the better feelings of her noble soul would have risen up in rebellion against the groundwork of the abominable "institution." But as the slaves were kept very much apart from the family, and by their master's peculiar training had very little to say when they did make their appearance, she had very little opportunity to study the workings of the system, if she had been disposed to do so, and very little to excite her curiosity about it.
As Lewis by degrees gained the good opinion of his teacher, and flattered her by his rapid progress, so she gradually became interested in his early history, and especially in his early failures in learning to read. She was quite indignant at the opposition he had experienced, and her expressions of surprise at the treatment he received, led him to tell of greater cruelties that he had seen practised on others, and so on to the story of his mother. She took a deep interest in all his details, and he was never at a loss for something to tell.
Could it be that slavery was so bad, that she was surrounded by these suffering creatures, and was doing nothing for them? She made inquiries of others prudently, and found that it was even so, and more too; that even she herself was not at liberty to speak out her sentiments about it. But she could think, and she did think. The great law of human, God-given right came up before her, and she acknowledged it. These poor creatures had a right to their own personal freedom, and she thought it would be doing God and humanity a service if she could help them to obtain that freedom. She did not know that in doing thus she would be sinning against the laws of her country, (!) and perhaps she would not have cared much if she had, for she was one of those independent souls that dare to acknowledge the law of right.
For months were these convictions gaining strength, but no opportunity occurred to assist any of them. Meanwhile she grew pensive and silent, oppressed by the helpless misery which she saw around her on every side.
One evening when Lewis came for his lesson he brought her an anonymous note. The writer professed to take a deep interest in the intelligent young slave Lewis, and asked the question if she would be willing to do anything to advance his freedom.
She unhesitatingly replied that she would be very glad to do so. Lewis knew where to carry the note, and she soon had an interview with the writer, Mr. Dean, of whom she had heard as the worst abolitionist in the neighborhood. Arrangements were soon made for running off the boy.
Miss Ford was to get leave of Mr. Johns to send Lewis to a neighbor of Mr. Dean's on an errand for herself in the evening. As this would keep him quite late, and he was to report to her on his return, no one else would be likely to miss him until morning. He was to proceed at once to Mr. Dean's house, whence, with face and hands dyed, and his clothes changed, he was to go with Mr. Dean in the capacity of a servant to Cincinnati, and he should then run his own chance of escape. In its main features the plan worked well, and Lewis escaped.
The next morning, when Lewis was missed at the house of his master, suspicion immediately fell upon Miss Ford. The plot was so simple that the truth could not well be concealed; but nothing was said about it until they might find some tangible evidence, and this was soon afforded by the imprudence of Dean. Two mornings after this he came to the garden fence by the arbor where she usually spent the morning, and threw over a note containing the words, "All right, and no suspicion."
But he was mistaken about the "no suspicion." He himself would have been arrested at the moment of his return, for one of his neighbors had seen and recognized them in Cincinnati; but they waited and watched to see if by some chance Miss Ford might not also be implicated. And it was done. There were more observers than he dreamed of, and Miss Ford, who from her window saw the note fall, saw it picked up a moment after by Mr. Johns himself. Mr. Dean was arrested before he reached home again, and both he and Miss Ford were sent to jail. Complaints were preferred against them, but many months passed before they were brought to trial. When at last the trial came off, Mr. Dean was sentenced to imprisonment for ten years, and five thousand dollars fine. Miss Ford's sentence was five years' imprisonment, but the governor finally granted a reprieve of the last two years.
After many adventures Lewis reached Boston, where he still lives, for aught I know, with a nice little woman of his own color for a wife, and three smart little boys. He labored so diligently in the cultivation of his mind that he became qualified for a teacher, and has been for a long time engaged in that pleasant and profitable occupation. But best of all, he has become a sincere Christian, rejoicing in the privilege of worshiping God according to the dictates of his own conscience, with none to molest nor make him afraid. He has heard once more from his parents. His father's master had returned to the neighborhood where his mother was, and they were again living together. His mother's mind was restored to sanity. She was more "like herself" than she had been before since the early days of their married life. In her later years she was brought to taste of the "liberty wherewith Christ has made us free," and went to her home above to be comforted after all her sufferings, while her cruel masters who enjoyed their ease here shall be tormented.
* * * * *
[Illustration: WHIPPING A SLAVE.]
[Illustration: HUNTING RUNAWAY SLAVES.]
MARK AND HASTY;
SLAVE-LIFE IN MISSOURI.
BY MATILDA G. THOMPSON.
The facts narrated in the following pages occurred in St. Louis a few years ago. They were communicated to the author by a friend residing temporarily in that city.
MARK AND HASTY.
On a bright and pleasant morning in the month of November, Mrs. Jennings and her children were sitting in one of the bedrooms of a handsome dwelling in St. Louis. It was evident that preparations were being made for a long journey. Two large trunks, strapped and corded, stood in the center of the room, while folded and unfolded articles of clothing lay in confusion on the floor and chairs.
"Katy," said Mrs. Jennings to a colored girl, who had just entered the room, "I wish you would bring in the other trunk, so that it will be ready for the children's clothes when Hasty comes."
"Yes, missus," said Kate, and then, as she was leaving the room, she turned and said: "There's Hasty comin' in de gate, though she aint got de clothes wid her; 'pears to me she looks awful sorrowful."
"Why, Hasty, what is the matter?" inquired Mrs. Jennings, as a pretty, but sad-looking mulatto woman made her appearance at the door.
"O missus!" she said, "you must please 'scuse me, kase I hasn't de clothes done; but I'se been so nigh distracted dis week, dat I aint had heart nor strength to do anything. My husband has been sold down South, and I specs I'll never see him again if he once get down dar, kase dey never gets back."
"Why, how did that happen, Hasty?" asked Mrs. Jennings. "Mark has always been such a trusty servant, and has lived so long in the family, that I thought nothing would have induced Mr. Nelson to part with him."
"Yes, missus, I knows all dat. Mark has been the faithfulest sarvant dat his massa ever had. But ye see, on Saturday night when he cum down to see me, little Fanny was berry sick, and I had been out washin' all day, and Mark wanted me to go to bed, but I didn't; and we both sat up all night wid de chile. Well, early de next morning he started for his massa's, and got dere about church time, kase he had a good piece to walk. Den he hauled out de carriage, and fed de horses, and while dey was eatin', de poor crittur fell asleep. And after bit, Massa Nelson got mighty uneasy, kase he had to wait for de carriage, so he sent one of de men out to see whar Mark was; and dey found him asleep and went in and told his massa. Den he sent for Mark to cum into de parlor, and when he went in Massa Nelson axed him what right had he to go sleep, when it was time for de carriage to be round. And Mark said dat his chile had been sick, and he had sat up all night wid it, and dat was what made him so sleepy. Den Massa Nelson said he had no right to sit up, if it was gwine to interfere wid his work. And Mark stood right up and looked Massa Nelson in de face, and said: 'Massa Nelson, I think I hab as much right to sit up wid my sick chile, as you had to sit up de other night wid little Massa Eddie.' O my sakes alive! but Massa Nelson was mad den; he said: 'You, you black nigger, dare to talk to me about rights;' and he struck Mark over de face wid de big carriage whip, and said 'he'd 'tend to him in de mornin'.'"
"And did Mark say nothing more than that?" inquired Mrs. Jennings; thinking that Hasty, like any other wife, would endeavor to hide her husband's faults.
"No, missus, dat was every ting he said, and just went away and got de carriage round for Massa Nelson to go to church. Well, de next mornin' Massa Nelson told him to put on his coat and follow him, and he toted him down to old M'Affee's pen, and sold him to go down some river way down South; and I have cum dis mornin'," she said, looking up inquiringly into Mrs. Jennings's face, "to see if you, Missus, or Massa Jennings, wouldn't do something for him."
"Well, Hasty, I'm sorry, very sorry for you," said Mrs. Jennings; "but don't be down-hearted; I will postpone going East this week, and see what can be done for you; and if my husband can't buy Mark, he probably knows some one who wants a trusty servant, such as I know Mark to be. However, Hasty, you may be assured that I will do all in my power to prevent your husband from going."
Hasty dried her tears, and with many thanks took her departure, feeling much comforted by the confident tone with which Mrs. Jennings spoke.
After Hasty had gone, Mrs. Jennings pondered, as she had never before done, on the evil effects of slavery. She thought of Hasty's grief, as poignant as would have been her own, had her husband been in Mark's place, and which had changed that usually bright countenance to one haggard with suffering. She thought of the father torn from his wife and child; of the child fatherless, though not an orphan; of that child's future; and as it presented itself to her, she clasped her own little girl closer to her heart, almost fearing that it was to share that future. Ah! she was putting her "soul in the slave soul's stead."
Mrs. Jennings, true to her promise, acquainted Mr. Jennings with the transaction, and entreated him to make an effort immediately to rescue Mark from his fearful doom.
"Well, my dear," he answered, "it appears that the boy has been impudent, and I don't know that it would be right for me to interfere, but Mark has always been such a good servant that if I had been his master I would have overlooked it, or at least would not have punished him so severely. However, I'll go down to M'Affee and see about him."
Accordingly, the next morning, he went down to the slave "pen" to see the trader. He found him at the door of his office, a sleek, smiling, well-dressed man, very courteous and affable, having the appearance of a gentleman.
"Good morning, Mr. Jennings," said the trader, "what can I do for you to-day?"
"Why, M'Affee, I called down to see about a boy named Mark, one of Nelson's people. I heard you had him for sale, and as he is a good sort of a fellow, I wouldn't mind buying him, if you are reasonable."
"Want to keep him in St. Louis?" inquired the trader.
"O! certainly, I want him for a coachman; ours gets drunk, and my wife will not allow him to drive her."
"Well, Mr. Jennings, I am very sorry, but the fact is, Mr. Nelson was very angry at Mark, and pledged me not to sell him in the State. You see he was impudent, and you know that can't be allowed at all. I am right sorry, but I dare say I can suit you in one quite as good. There's Hannibal, one of Captain Adam's boys, he is a—
"No matter, I don't want him," interrupted Mr. Jennings; "I am not particular about purchasing this morning. I only wanted him to please my wife; she will be very much disappointed, as she has his wife washing for her, and she will be in great distress at parting with her husband."
"Yes, yes, I see! It's a pity niggers will take on so. I am sorry I can't accommodate Mrs. Jennings. If you should want a coachman, I should be glad if you would call down, as I have a good stock on hand of strong, healthy boys."
"Yes, when I want one I will give you a call. But do you really think that Mr. Nelson would refuse to have him remain even in the State? I really would like to keep the poor fellow from going down South, if I paid a hundred or two more than he is worth."
"O! there is no chance for him. Mr. Nelson was positive in his instructions. I don't think you need take the trouble to ask him, as I am almost sure he will refuse."
"Then I suppose nothing can be done. Good morning," said Mr. Jennings.
"Good morning, sir; I am sorry we can't trade."
Mr. Jennings went home, and acquainted his wife with the result of his mission. She was a kind mistress to her slaves, and had seen but little of the horrors of slavery. To be sure, she had heard of instances of cruelty, but they had made but little impression on her, and had soon been forgotten. But here was a case which outraged every womanly feeling in her breast, a case of suffering and wrong, occurring to persons in whom she was personally interested, and she was aroused to the wickedness of the system which allowed such oppression.
In the evening Hasty came up to see if anything had been done for her relief. As she entered the room, the sorrowful expression of Mrs. Jennings's face brought tears into her eyes, for she felt there was no hope.
"O poor Hasty!" said Mrs. Jennings.
"Don't say no more, missus, I see what's comin'. Poor Mark will go down
South. Seems to me I knowed it would be so from de fust. O dear! it'll
go nigh breaking me down. Tears like I can't stand it no how," said
Hasty, sobbing aloud.
Mrs. Jennings waited till the first burst of bitter grief was over, and then tried to comfort her as well as she was able, but she felt how hard it was to assuage such grief as this. She spoke to her of the hope of seeing her husband again in this world, and of the certainty at least, if both tried to do the will of God, of meeting in heaven. But her efforts were unavailing, and her consoling words fell on a heart that would not be comforted.
When Mrs. Jennings awoke the next morning, her first thoughts were of Hasty, and she determined that the day should not pass over without her making another effort for Mark. Accordingly, after breakfast she ordered the carriage, intending to make a visit to Mr. Nelson's.
"Where are you going, Maggie?" inquired Mr. Jennings of his wife, as he heard her give the order.
"I am going to Mr. Nelson's about Mark," she answered.
"Why, my dear, I told you what M'Affee said, that Nelson was implacable. And besides, I am afraid he will think it impertinent in you to meddle with his affairs."
"I shall make an apology for my visit," she answered, "but I cannot rest satisfied until I hear a direct refusal from his own lips. His conduct toward Mark seems more like revenge than punishment. I do not think he can persist in it."
"Well, I give you credit for your perseverance," he said, laughingly, "but I am afraid you will come home disappointed."
"If I do," she replied, "I shall feel less conscience-stricken than if I had remained at home, knowing that I have done all in my power to prevent his going."
As Mrs. Jennings rode along she felt that she had a disagreeable duty to perform, but, like a true Christian woman, she shrunk not, but grew stronger as she approached the dwelling of the lordly oppressor, and she prayed to God for strength to be true to him and to the slave. When she arrived, she entered the house of Mr. Nelson with strong hopes, but, much to her disappointment, was informed that he had left the city, and would be absent for some weeks. Her next thought was to see his wife, if she was at home. The servant said that his mistress was at home, but doubted if she could be seen.
"Present my card to her," said Mrs. Jennings, "and say to her that I have called on business, and will detain her but a few moments if she will see me."
The servant retired with the card, and in a few moments returned, saying that Mrs. Nelson would be glad to see her in the sitting-room. When Mrs. Jennings entered the room she apologized for the intrusion to a handsome, though slightly careworn lady, who arose to receive her.
"Madame," said Mrs. Jennings, "I have called on you this morning in relation to your servant Mark. I hope you will not think it impertinent in me to interfere in this matter, but I am very much interested in him. His wife has been my laundress for several years, and is exceedingly distressed at the idea of being separated from him. She came to me yesterday, and told me that he had been impertinent, and that Mr. Nelson intended selling him down South. I promised to use what influence I had to keep him in the city. And I have called this morning to see if I could persuade Mr. Nelson to overlook this offense, pledging myself for his future good conduct, for I really think that this will be a lesson to him that he will never forget."
"I can appreciate and sympathize with your feelings." said Mrs. Nelson, "for I have myself endeavored to change my husband's determination. But he is a rigid disciplinarian, and makes it a rule never to overlook the first symptom of insubordination in any of the servants. He says if a servant is once permitted to retort, all discipline ceases, and he must be sold South. It is his rule and he never departs from it. O! I sometimes feel so sick when I see the punishments inflicted that seem necessary to keep them in subjection. But we wives can do nothing, however great our repugnance may be to it. The children have begged me to take them to see Mark before he goes. I heard from one of the servants that his owner intended starting to-morrow, so that this will be the only opportunity they will have to see him, and I think I will gratify them and let them go."
Mrs. Nelson rang the bell, and in a few moments Sally had the children ready.
"I intended to go down myself," said Mrs. Jennings, "and if you have no objections, I will take the children down in my carriage, as it is waiting at the door."
"O, I thank you, that will suit me very well," said Mrs. Nelson, "as my engagements this morning will hardly permit me to go, and I was almost afraid to trust them with any of the other servants, now that Mark has gone."
Mrs. Jennings and the children immediately entered the carriage and drove to the yard. As the carriage drew up before the door, Mr. M'Affee came out and assisted the party to alight, and on hearing the business, summoned Mark to them.
"O! Massa Eddie and Missy Bell," said he joyfully, "I'se so glad you cum to see poor Mark; I was afeard I would never see you again."
"O yes," said Eddie, "we came as soon as mamma told us about it. You see we didn't know it until yesterday, when we went out to ride, and that cross old Noah drove us, and we couldn't tell what it meant; so as soon as we came home Bell asked mother about it, and she said that you had been naughty, and papa sent you away. But I don't care; I think pa might forgive you just this once."
"Yes, so do I," broke in Bell; "pa ought to let you stay, because little Fanny won't have any father to come and see at our house, and I like her to play with me."
"I'se afeard Fanny won't play any more," said Mark sadly. "She is berry sick; de doctor said it was de scarlet fever, and the oder night, when I was up home, she was out of her head and didn't know me."
"Why, is she sick?" asked Bell; "I didn't know that; I'll ask mamma if I can't go and see her when I get home. But mamma says maybe you'll come back one of these days. Won't you, Mark?"
"No, honey, I don't ever 'spec to get back; and if I do, it will be a long, long time. It's so far down where I'se sold to, down the Arkansas river, I believe."
"Are you sold there, Mark?" inquired Mrs. Jennings.
"Yes, missus, and I don't know what'll come of poor Hasty when she knows it. She was here dis morning, and said that you had gone to Massa Nelson's, and was going to try to get me off; but I knowed how it would be; but I couldn't bar to cast her down when she was so hopeful like, so I didn't tell her I was sold. O Missus Jennings! do please comfort de poor soul, she's so sick and weak, she can hardly bar up. I used to give her all the arnings I got from people, but I can't give her any more. O Lord! it comes nigh breakin' me down when I think of it," said Mark, the big tears coursing down his face.
"Don't cry, Mark," said little Bell, "Eddie and I will save up our money, and by the time we are big, we'll have enough to buy you; then I'll send Eddie down to bring you home."
"Yes," said Eddie, "and mamma will give us many a picayune, when we tell her what it's for."
Mrs. Jennings had been an interested spectator of the scene, and would have remained longer with Mark, to comfort him; but as it was after the dinner hour, she feared Mrs. Nelson would be anxious about the children, so she told them it was time to go, and that they must part with Mark.
"Well, Mark, if we must go," said the children, throwing their arms around his neck, "Good by."
"Good by, dear children," he said, "and please be kind to my poor little
Fanny, that will soon have no father."
"We will," they answered, as they sadly passed from the yard.
The following morning that sun rose warm and bright. All was bustle and excitement on the levee. Its broad top was crowded with drays and cabs conveying the freight and passengers to and from the steamboats, that lay compactly wedged together at its edge.
About ten o'clock the bell of the "Aldon Adams" announced that its time for starting had come. The cabs threaded their way through the piles of goods and bales of cotton to the plank, and delivered their loads of travelers flitting to the sunny South. The last package of freight was being carried aboard, and everything was ready for the start. But all who are going have not arrived. A sad procession is marching down to the boat. It is M'Affee's gang! the men handcuffed, the women and children walking double file, though not fettered. A little apart from the rest we recognise Mark, and by his side walks Hasty. Little is said by either, but O! they feel the more. At last they reached the plank that was to separate them forever, yes, forever.
At that same spot farewells had been exchanged; farewells, sad and tearful. Yet amid these tears, and with this sadness, hope whispered of a glad meeting in the future—of a joyful reunion. But here there was no such hope. Each felt that for them all was despair. Hark! the shrill whistle and the impatient puffing of the steam, tell them they must part. The rest have taken their places on the deck, and they too are standing on the levee alone.
[Illustration: HASTY'S GRIEF.]
"Come, come, quit your parleying. Don't you see they are hauling in the plank! Jump aboard, Mark, and don't look so glum. I'll git you another gal down in Arkansas," said the trader.
Had he seen the look which Hasty cast upon him, he might have been admonished by those words of Oriental piety; "Beware of the groans of a wounded soul. Oppress not to the utmost a single heart, for a solitary sigh has the power to overturn a world."
She turned from the trader, and, with a sob, as though the heart springs were snapped, she threw herself into her husband's arms. Again, and again he pressed her to his heart, then gently unclasping her hands, he tottered along the plank, and nearly had he ended his saddened life in the rolling stream below, but the ready hand of his owner caught him, and hurried him aboard.
The plank was hauled aboard, and in an instant the boat was moving out into the stream. The passengers congregated on the hurricane deck, cheered, and waved their handkerchiefs to friends on shore, and her crew answered the shouts of those on the other boats as she rapidly passed them. Few saw, and those who did, without noting, the sorrowing woman, who, leaning against a bale of goods, with one hand shading her eyes, and the other pressed hard upon her heart, watching the receding boat, until it turned a bend in the river, and was hidden from her sight. Yet no watcher borne away upon the boat, nor any sorrowing one left upon the shore, turned away, as the last traces of the loved ones faded, with a heavier heart, or a feeling of such utter loneliness as did poor Hasty. Despairingly, she turned toward home. No tears, no choking sobs; but only that calm, frozen look to which tears and sobs would have been a relief.
The light, elastic step of but a week before was gone. She stopped not now to gaze into the gay windows, or to watch the throng of promenaders; but, with an unsteady pace, wended her way slowly to her humble home in the lower part of the city.
"Stop, Aunt Hasty," said a colored woman belonging to Mrs. Nelson, "missus gave me leave to cum down here dis afternoon to go home with you, kase she said you would take it so hard parting with your ole man."
Hasty looked up as she heard the well known voice of the kind-hearted
"O! Sally," she said, "I'se got no home now; they has taken him away that made me a home, and I don't keer for nothing now."
"You mustn't be down-hearted, Hasty," she said, "but look right up to de Lord. He says, Call on me in de day of trouble, and I will, hear ye; and cast your burden on me, and I will care for ye. And sure enough dis is your time ob trouble, poor crittur."
"Yes," she answered, "and it has been my time of trouble ever since Mark was sold, and I has prayed to de Lord, time after time, to raise up friends to save Mark from going; but ye see how it is, Sally."
"Yes, I sees, Hasty, but ye mustn't let it shake your faith a bit, kase de Lord will bring it all right in his time."
Thus talking, and endeavoring to console her, Sally accompanied Hasty to her now desolate home. As she entered the room, the low moan of her child fell upon her ear, and awoke her to the necessity of action. It was well that there existed an immediate call on her, or her heart would have sunk under the heavy burden of sorrow. She went hastily to the side of the little sufferer, and passing her cold hand over the burning forehead of her child, whispered soothing words of endearment.
"Is father come?" asked Fanny. "Ise been dreamin', and I thought for sure he was here. 'Aint this his night to come home, mother?"
"No, honey, dis is Friday night," answered Hasty. "But never mind about father now, but go to sleep, there's a good girl."
And sitting down by the side of her child, Hasty, with a mother's tenderness, soothed her to sleep. All that long night she sat, but no sleep shed a calm upon her heart; but when morning came exhausted nature could bear up no longer, and she sank into a short but troubled slumber.
By the sick bed of her child,
In her cabin lone and drear.
Listening to its ravings wild,
Dropping on it many a tear,
Sat the mother, broken-hearted;
Every hope was in its shroud.
From her husband she'd been parted,
And to earth with grief she's bow'd.
Now within her ear is ringing
Drearily hope's funeral knell,
And the night wind wild is singing
Mournfully, the word farewell.
Day broke, and still mother and child slept on. Hasty's over-charged heart and brain were for the first time, for some days, lulled to forgetfulness. If this relief had not come, without doubt one would have broken, and the other been lost in madness. Fanny was the first to awake. The crisis of the disease had passed; the fever no longer scorched her veins, and her mind no longer wandered. She was, however, as weak as an infant, and as incapable of attending to her wants. For the first time for many days she felt a desire for food, and raising herself partly up, called to her mother to get her breakfast.
The voice of her child roused Hasty from her dreams of peace, to the dread realities of her bereavement. For a few moments she could not recall her scattered senses, but soon the remembrance of yesterday crowded upon her mind, and the anguish depicted upon her face showed that they had lost nothing of their intensity during their short oblivion.
"Why Fanny, child, is you awake? And de fever all gone, too? How is yer dis mornin', dear?" asked Hasty.
"O! I feel a heap better, mother," answered Fanny; "and I think I will be pretty near well by the time pappy comes to-night."
Every word her child uttered fell as a leaden weight upon her heart. Her mind instinctively reverted to the last time her husband had been there. Then no thought of separation clouded their minds, but together they watched beside their sick child, beguiling the long hours of the night with hopeful and loving converse. Then she thought of the incidents of the week as they followed each other in quick succession, the news of his sale, the trader's pen, the parting; all, all seemed burned upon her brain in coals of living fire, and with a moan of agony she sank insensible upon the bed.
A few moments after Mrs. Jennings entered the room. Ever since visiting Mark, and witnessing his anguish, she had constantly thought of Hasty, and longed for an opportunity of consoling her, and rendering her any assistance in her power. Feeling this morning uneasy at not hearing from her, she determined to go and see her. After some difficulty she at last found her, and, as we have seen, arrived very opportunely. Instantly, upon seeing the state of affairs, Mrs. Jennings ordered her coachman to go for a physician, while she and her maid, whom she had brought with her, used every means to restore Hasty to consciousness, and in a short time they succeeded in their efforts.
The doctor arrived shortly after, and advised rest and quiet as the best restoratives to her shattered nerves. The wants of Fanny were also attended to, and the cravings of her appetite satisfied from a basket of food which the thoughtful care of Mrs. Jennings had provided. Mrs. Jennings's next thought was to procure a nurse for Hasty. Here she had no difficulty, for the neighbors of Hasty willingly offered their services. Selecting one who appeared thoughtful and tidy, Mrs. Jennings returned home with a heart lightened by a consciousness of duty well performed.
For some days Hasty lay in a kind of stupor, without taking any notice of transpiring events, or seeming to recur to those of the past. She was daily supplied with various little dainties and luxuries suitable to an invalid, and received many other attentions from the kind-hearted Mrs. Jennings. Fanny's health improved each day, and, as the buoyancy of youth threw off the remains of disease, she regained her strength, and at the end of the following week she was able to take almost the entire charge of her mother. Hasty's eyes followed every movement of her child with the in tensest eagerness, as if fearing that she too would be taken from her.
When Fanny was fully recovered she learned the fate of her father. She did not weep, or sob, or complain, but for the first time she realized the shadow that slavery had cast over her; and the change was instantaneous, from the mirthful, happy child, to the anxious, watchful slave girl. Hereafter there was to be no trusting confidence, no careless gayety, but this consciousness of slavery must mingle with every thought, with every action.
One day, about a week after Hasty was taken sick, her mistress entered her room. This lady was the widow of a Frenchman, one of the early settlers of St. Louis, who had, by persevering industry, gained a competency. Before he had an opportunity of enjoying it he died, and left his property, consisting of a dwelling, five or six negroes, and a good sum in the stocks, to his widow. Mrs. Le Rue, on breaking up housekeeping, allowed Hasty to hire her time for two dollars a week, on condition that at the end of each month the required sum was to be forthcoming, and in the event of failure, the revocation of the permission was to be the inevitable consequence.
The monthly pay-day found Hasty prostrated on a bed of sickness, and of course it passed without the payment of the stipulated sum. This was the immediate cause of her visit.
The anxiety depicted in the countenance of Mrs. Le Rue did not arise from any sympathy for the emaciated and suffering woman before her, but only from that natural vexation with which a farmer would regard the sudden falling lame of a valuable horse. The idea of commiserating Hasty's condition as a human being, as a sister, never for a moment occurred to her; indeed, the sickness of the little poodle dog, which she led by a pink ribbon, would have elicited far more of the sympathies of her nature. In Hasty she saw only a piece of property visibly depreciated by sickness.
"What is the matter with you, girl? Why have you not come to pay me my money?" she asked harshly, as she took the seat that Fanny had carefully dusted off.
"O missus! I'se been too sick to work dis two weeks; but I'se got five dollars saved up for you, and if ever I get well I kin pay you the rest soon."
"Pay the rest soon! Yes, you look very much like that. You are just making a fool of yourself about your husband; that is the way you niggers do. You are just trying to cheat me out of the money. I'll never let one of my women get married again."
While the much-injured lady was delivering this speech, the poodle, who had been intently watching the face of his mistress, and thinking some one must be the offender, sprang at Fanny, viciously snapping at her feet. She, poor girl, had watched every expression in the face of her mistress, with the same anxiety as the courtiers of the sultan watch that autocrat, who holds their lives and fortunes in his hand; and surprised at this assault from an unlooked-for quarter, she jumped aside, and in doing so trod upon the paw of her tormentor, and sent him howling to the lap of his mistress.
This was the last drop that caused the cup of wrath to overflow. Without heeding the protestations of Fanny, she seized her by the arm, and boxed her ears soundly.
"What did you tread upon the dog for, you great clumsy nigger? I'll teach you what I'll do, if you do anything of the kind again; I'll give you a good whipping."
Then turning to Hasty, whose feeble nerves had been intensely excited by this scene, she said: "I want you to get to work again pretty soon, and not lie there too lazy to work. You need not think I am going to lose my money by your foolishness. I shall expect your month's payment as usual, and if I don't get it, I will hire you out like the rest. And there is another thing I have to say; you are not going to keep this lazy girl here to hinder you, and to spend money on. A lady I know wants just such a girl to go to the door, and to wait on her, who will give me two dollars a month for her, and it is quite time she was doing something. I will not take her away now, but next week do you tidy her up and send her to me."
Hasty was dying. She knew that it was to be so. For herself it was a release which she hailed gladly; but the thought of leaving her child rent her heart with anguish. She could see what the lot of that poor waif of childhood, cast upon the sea of Southern despotism, would be, and she longed to protect her from it. Yet what is a slave mother's protection to her child? What blow can she arrest? What temptation avert? None. Even a mother's claim is unrecognized, and the child's affection unregarded. Hasty's strength gradually declined until Sunday, when, feeling that death was near, she sent Fanny for Mrs. Jennings, for the purpose of bidding her farewell, and asking her protection for her daughter. Mrs. Jennings, on learning from Fanny the condition of Hasty, immediately complied with the request. On entering the room she was surprised and shocked at the ravages that mental and bodily suffering had made on the once handsome woman. Seating herself by the bedside, Mrs. Jennings inquired in what way she could ease the mind of the dying mother. With earnestness did Hasty plead that her child might be rescued from her present condition. She entreated Mrs. Jennings to buy Fanny from Mrs. Le Rue, and bring her up in the fear of God, and beyond the reach of a slave girl's perils.
All this Mrs. Jennings promised, and with many a word of comfort she smoothed the passing of the immortal spirit into the unknown country. She pointed to the Saviour, and told of his wondrous love, of the equality of all in his sight, and of the saving power of his grace extended to all, whether bond or free.
Just as the sun threw his last rays upon the spires of the city, Hasty's spirit was released, and she was free. Fanny gave herself up to a child's grief, and refused to be comforted. To the slave, the affections are the bright spots in his wilderness of sorrow and care; and as an Arab loves the oasis the better that it is in the midst of the desert, so the slave centers the whole strength of his nature in his loved ones, the more so that he is shut out from the hopes of wealth, the longings of ambition, and the excitements of a freeman's life.
Mrs. Jennings verified her promise to Hasty, and soon after her death purchased Fanny. But her whole soul revolted at a system which could cause the suffering she had seen; and in the course of a few months she prevailed upon her husband to close his business in St. Louis, and remove to Chicago, where she is an active worker among the anti-slavery women in that liberty-loving city. She has instilled the principles of freedom for all men into the minds of her children, and recently wrote the following verses for them on the occasion of the celebration of the Fourth of July:
"Little children, when you see
High your country's banner wave,
Let your thoughts a moment be
Turned in pity on the slave.
"When with pride you count the stars,
When your hearts grow strong and brave,
Think with pity of the scars
Borne in sorrow by the slave.
"Not for him is freedom's sound;
Not for him the banners wave;
For, in hopeless bondage bound,
Toils the sad and weary slave.
"All things round of freedom ring—
Winged birds and dashing wave;
What are joyous sounds to him
In his chains, a fettered slave?"
* * * * *
[Illustration: AUNT JUDY'S HUSBAND CAPTURED See page 133]
AUNT JUDY'S STORY:
A STORY FROM REAL LIFE.
BY MATILDA G. THOMPSON.
"Look! look! mother, there comes old Aunt Judy!" said Alfred, as an old colored woman came slowly up the gravel walk that led to the handsome residence of Mr. Ford, of Indiana.
The tottering step, the stooping back, and glassy eye, betokened extreme age and infirmity. Her countenance bore the marks of hardship and exposure; while the coarse material of her scanty garments, which scarcely served to defend her from the bleak December wind, showed that even now she wrestled with poverty for life. In one hand she carried a small pitcher, while with the other she leaned heavily on her oaken stick.
"She has come for her milk," said little Cornelia, who ran out and took the pitcher from the woman's hand.
"Let me help you, Auntie, you walk so slow," said she.
"Come in and warm yourself, Judy," said Mrs. Ford, "it is cold and damp, and you must be tired. How have you been these two or three days?"
"Purty well, thank ye, but I'se had a touch of the rheumatiz, and I find I isn't so strong as I was," said Judy, as she drew near the grate, in which blazed and crackled the soft coal of the West, in a manner both beautiful and comforting.
Mrs. Ford busied herself in preparing a basket of provisions, and had commenced wrapping the napkin over it, when she paused and leaned toward the closet, into which she looked, but did not seem to find what she wanted, for, calling one of the boys, she whispered something to him. He ran out into the yard and down the path to the barn; presently he returned and said,
"There are none there, mother."
"I am very sorry, Judy, that I have not an egg for you, but our hens have not yet commenced laying, except Sissy's little bantam," said Mrs. Ford.
Now Cornelia had a little white banty, with a topknot on its head and feathers on its legs, which was a very great pet, of course; and Sissy had resolved to save all banty's eggs, so that she might hatch only her own chickens. "For," said she, "if she sets on other hen's eggs, when the chickens grow big they will be larger than their mother, and then she will have so much trouble to make them mind her."
Now, when she heard her mother wish for an egg, the desire to give one to Judy crossed her mind, but it was some moments before she could bring herself to part with her cherished treasure. Soon, however, her irresolution vanished, and she ran quickly to her little basket, and taking out a nice fresh egg, she laid it in Judy's hand, saying,
"There, Judy, it will make you strong."
Mrs. Ford marked with a mother's eye the struggle going on in the mind of her daughter, but determined not to interfere, but let her decide for herself, unbiased by her mother's wishes or opinions. And when she saw the better feeling triumph, a tear of exquisite pleasure dimmed her eye, for in that trifling circumstance she saw the many trials and temptations of after life prefigured, and hoped they would end as that did, in the victory of the noble and generous impulses of the heart.
When the basket was ready, and Aunt Judy regaled with a nice cup of tea, one of the boys volunteered to carry it home for her, a proposal which was readily assented to by Mrs. Ford, whose heart was gladdened by every act of kindness to the poor and needy performed by her children, and who had early taught them that in such deeds they obeyed the injunction of our Saviour: "Bear ye one another's burdens."
Several weeks had passed away since Judy's visit, when, one day, as Cornelia stood leaning her little curly head against her mother's knee, she said:
"Mother, who is Judy? Has she a husband or children?"
"I do not know of any, my daughter. She may have some living; but you know Judy was a slave, and they have probably been sold away from her, and are still in slavery."
"In slavery, mother! and sold? Why, do they sell little children away from their mothers?"
"Yes, Cornelia, there are persons guilty of such a wicked thing; mothers and children, and whole families, are often separated from each other, never, perhaps, to meet again!"
"So Judy was a slave, mother?"
"Yes, Cornelia, she was: and from all I have learned of her history, I am sure she has led a very unhappy and sorrowful life."
"O! now I understand what you meant when you said that she had a thorny path through life. Have you ever heard her history, mother? if you have, won't you tell it to us?"
"Yes, do, mother, do!" exclaimed the children together.
"I should like very much to gratify you, my dear children, but it is not in my power to do so, as I am not very well acquainted with her history. But I will tell you how we can arrange it. Judy will he here to-night, as, I promised to give her some Indian cakes, of which she is very fond, and I have no doubt that she will tell you the story of her sad life."
The idea of hearing Judy's story occupied the mind of the children all the afternoon, and the evening was looked forward to with great impatience by them.
It was twilight, and Mrs. Ford and the children had gathered around the warm, comfortable grate to await the return of papa. The wind whistled without, and the snow-flakes fell silently and steadily to the frozen ground.
"Mother, can't I bring in the lights?" asked Cornelia, who was getting a little impatient; only a little, for Cornelia was remarkable for her sweet and placid disposition.
"Yes, dear, I think you may. Hark! yes, that is his footstep in the hall. Go, Alfred, and tell Bessie to bring up the tea. And you, Cornelia, bring your father's dressing-gown and slippers to the fire."
"Yes, wife, let us have some of Bessie's nice hot tea, for I am chilled through and through; and such a cutting wind! I thought my nose would have been blown off; and what would my little girl have said if she had seen her papa come home without a nose? Would you have run?" asked Mr. Ford.
"No, indeed, papa, if your nose were blown off, and your teeth all pulled out, and you were like 'Uncle Ned,' who had 'no eyes to see, and had no hair on the top of his head,' I would just get on your lap as I do now; so you see you could not frighten me away if you tried ever so hard," said Cornelia, laughingly.
Supper was hastily dispatched, by the children, who were eager and impatient for the coming of Aunt Judy.
"O mother! do you think she will come?" asked Alfred, as his mother arose from the table to look at the weather.
"Well, indeed, Alfred, I am sorry to disappoint you, but I think there is little probability of seeing Judy to-night."
"Why, no, mother, I thought that as soon as I saw what a stormy night it was; and although it will disappoint us very much, I hope she will not come," said little Cornelia.
"Why, how you talk, sis! Not come, indeed! Humph! I hope she will, then. This little snow wouldn't hurt me, so it wouldn't hurt her," said the impetuous Alfred.
"You must remember, my son, that Judy is old and infirm, and subject, as she says, to a 'touch of the rheumatiz.' But I am sorry that she has not come to-night. She may be sick; I think I will call down and see her to-morrow," said Mrs. Ford, drawing out the table and arranging the shade on the lamp, so that the light fell on the table and the faces of those around it. They were cheerful, happy faces, and everything around them wore the same look; and from the aspect of things, it seemed as if they were going to spend a pleasant and profitable evening.
"Dear papa, tell us a story with a poor slave in it, won't you? and I will give you as many kisses as you please," said Cornelia, twining her arms around her father's neck.
"No, no, papa, not about the slave, but the poor Indian, who has been far worse treated than the slave was or ever will be. Only to think of the white people coming here, plundering their villages, and building on their hunting grounds, just as if it belonged to them, when all the while it was the Indians'. Now, if they had bought it and paid for it, honorably, as William Penn did, it would have been a different thing; but they got it meanly, and I'm ashamed of them for it," said Alfred, his eyes flashing and his cheeks glowing with indignation.
"All that you have said is true, my son, but the Indians were also guilty of great cruelty toward the white people," said Mr. Ford.
"But, papa, don't you think the Indians had good cause for their hatred to the whites?" asked Harry.
"Why, Harry, they had no reason sufficient to justify them in their cruel and vindictive course; but they did no more than was to be expected from an entirely barbarous nation, and I am sure they had no good example in the conduct of the white people, from whom much better behavior might have been expected."
"Well, papa, what were some of the wrongs that the Indians endured!"
"The Indians regarded the whites as intruders, and maddened by some acts of injustice and oppression committed by the early settlers, they conceived a deadly hatred, which the whites returned with equal intensity; and for each crime committed by either of them, the opposite party inflicted a retribution more terrible than the act which provoked it, and the Indian, being less powerful, but equally wicked, was the victim."
"Well, although I think the Indians were very wicked, I pity them, but I feel a great deal more for the poor slave," said little Cornelia.
"I think they were very cruel, sis, but I still think that they were very badly treated," said Alfred.
"There is no doubt of that," answered his father; "but, my son, when you began the argument you said that you thought the Indians were more deserving of compassion than the Africans. Now this is the difference. The Indians were always a warlike and treacherous race; their most solemn compacts were broken as soon as their own purposes had been served. And they were continually harassing the settlers; indeed they have not ceased yet, for at the present time they are attacking and murdering the traders who cross the plains, if they are not well armed, and in sufficiently large companies to keep them in check. Now the Americans had never this cause of complaint against the Africans, for, although like all heathen, they were debased, and were cruel and warlike among each other, they never annoyed us in America. And the Americans had not, therefore, even this insufficient excuse for enslaving them. The Indians were robbed of their lands, and driven from their homes; but the Africans not only lost their country, but were compelled to work in slavery, for men to whom they owed no allegiance, in a different climate, and with the ever-galling thought that they were once free. It argues well for their peaceable disposition, that they have not long ago revolted, and by a terrible massacre shaken off their yoke as they did in St. Domingo. Now, which was the worst used in this case?"
"O! the slave, papa. I willingly surrender," said Alfred, laughing.
"Well, if you have finished, I move we go to bed, and thence to the land of dreams," said Mrs. Ford, rising and putting away her sewing.
It was unanimously agreed that this was the best plan, and, after giving thanks to God for his many mercies, they retired.
"Good morning, father," said Alfred; "I have been thinking that I surrendered too soon last night; I did not bring out all my forces, because I forgot something I heard that old Baptist minister say when he was lecturing here a few days ago. He said that the Creek Indians would not send the poor fugitives back to their masters. It is true they made a treaty with our government to do so, but they had too much humanity to keep it; and for not doing so, the government withheld two hundred and fifty thousand dollars, which was due to the Indians for some lands, and used it to pay the masters. But that made little difference to them, for they still persisted in disobeying the 'Fugitive Slave Law.' Now don't you think that was a good trait in their character?"
"Yes, Alfred, I do; they manifested a very generous and humane disposition."
"Well, but I think it was very dishonorable for them to break any treaty," said Harry.
"You see, Harry, there is where you and I differ. I think it a great deal better to break a bad promise than to keep it, answered Alfred.
"Come into breakfast, papa," said Cornelia, peeping her little curly head in at the door, "Mamma wants you to come right away, because she has to go to Judy's."
"Very well, we will go now, and not keep mother waiting. Just look at the snow! How it sparkles! Jack Frost has been here, for the windows are all covered and the water in the pitcher is frozen."
"Yes, papa, and see what funny shapes the icicles are in, and the trees and bushes look as if they had their white dresses on," said little Cornelia.
"It will be a splendid morning for a sleigh-ride. Would you like to take one, mother?" asked Harry, after their breakfast was over and family prayer ended.
"Yes, my son, I should; I have to go to Judy's this morning; so we can take the children to school first, and then pay my visit. I should like to have the sleigh at the door pretty early, as I have several places to go to after coming from Judy's."
"Very well, mother, you shall have it immediately. Now bundle sis up warm, for there is a cutting wind, and I think it looks like snowing again. And O! mother, I had nearly forgotten it, there was a poor Irish family coming off the boat last night, who seemed destitute of both clothing and food. If we have time this morning, won't you go and see them?"
"Perhaps I will," said his mother; and Harry ran off, but soon returned, calling, "Come, mother, the sleigh is waiting, and the horse looks as if he was in a hurry to be off."
"Yes, Harry, I am coming; I only went back to get a little milk for
Judy; she is so weak that I think she needs it."
"O mother!" said Alfred as they drove along, "what is more enlivening than the merry jingling of the sleigh bells on a clear frosty day?"
"It is, indeed, very pleasant, Alfred; but while we are enjoying our pleasant winter evenings, and our many sleigh rides, the thought comes to our minds that however much we may like the winter time, there are hundreds in our city who think of its approach with fear and trembling, and who suffer much from cold and hunger, until the pleasant spring time comes again. But you were telling me, Henry, about those poor people, and I was too much occupied to attend to you. Do you know where they live?" asked Mrs. Ford.
"Yes, just along the bank, mother; it is a wretched-looking house, and very much exposed. Poor things! I pitied them very much; they appeared so destitute, and even the children had a care-worn look on their thin faces."
"What! in that old house, Harry?" exclaimed Alfred. "Why the windows have hardly any panes in them, and there are great holes in the walls."
"Yes, Ally, that is the place, and it is, as you say, a rickety old house; but I suppose it is the best they can get. But here we are at school, Ally; you get out first, and I will hand sissy out to you. Take hold of her hand, for the path is slippery."
The children alighted, and then Harry and his mother, after a pleasant ride round the city, drove up to Aunt Judy's cottage.
"O Miss Ford! am dat you? Now who'd a thought on't? I'se sure you's de best woman I ever see'd; now jist tell me what you cum'd out on sich a day as dis for!" asked old Judy as Mrs. Ford entered the cottage. As for Harry, he drove the horse hack to the stable until noon, when he was to call for his mother on his way from school with Ally and Cornelia.
"Why, Judy, we came to see you; I thought that if you were sick, I could perhaps comfort you."
"Wal, I has been sick wid de rheumatiz. O marcy! I'se had sich orful pains all through me, and dats de reason I didn't cum last night. But, bless us! honey, here I'se been standing telling you all my pains and aches, and letting you stand in your wet feet; now come to de fire, my child."
"My feet are not wet, Auntie, only a little cold. Harry brought me around in the sleigh, and we were well wrapped up. Now, Judy, here are a few things for you, some tea and sugar, a loaf of bread, and a bit of bacon."
"Thanks, Missy Ford, I'se so glad to see a little tea; it's so long since I tasted any. And a bit of bacon too! Wal, now I will have a dinner!"
"Do not wait till dinner time, Judy; I want you to make a cup of tea now, and rouse yourself up, and try to recollect all that has passed and happened to you since your childhood, for I promised the children that I would tell them your history."
"Yes, missy, I'll try," said Judy, taking her little cracked earthen teapot, and making her tea.
After it was made, and Judy was refreshed with a good breakfast, she began and told Mrs. Ford the history of her sorrows and troubles, which we will let Mrs. Ford tell to the children herself. It was quite a long narrative.
Judy had just finished speaking when they were interrupted by the entrance of Harry, who had returned for his mother. Judy followed them to the sleigh, for she said she "must cum out and see de chil'en, spite of her rheumatiz."
"Auntie," said little Cornelia, "have my little banty's eggs hatched yet?" Cornelia had sent the little banty and her eggs to aunt Judy, that the chickens might be hatched under her care.
"Laws, yes, honey, I'll go in and get 'em for you to see; but I think you had bettor not take them home yet, till they get bigger," said Judy, going back into the house. In a little while she appeared with a little covered basket in her hand. She unwrapped the flannel from around the basket, and there lay six beautiful little white banties.
"O mamma! look at the little things! Are they not little beauties?" said Cornelia, picking up one of them, and laying its soft feathery head to her cheeks.
"Yes, my dear; but you must give them back, and not keep Auntie waiting in the cold."
Cornelia hesitated a little while, and then was giving it back reluctantly, when her mother gently said, "Cornelia!" and she instantly returned the basket to Judy.
After they were all seated in the sleigh, and Harry had touched the horse with the whip, they heard some one calling after them, and on looking behind there was poor old Judy carrying two hot bricks in her hand.
"Get out, Ally, and take them from her, and do not let her come so far in the snow."
But while he was getting free from the entanglement of the buffalo skin,
Judy had come up, and, handing them to Mrs. Ford, said:
"Here, Missy, is these ar bricks. I heated 'em for you, and forgot 'em till you was gone; take 'em honey; you's got more than a mile to go, and I knows you will be cold."
Mrs. Ford thanked her, but gently reproved her for exposing herself. They watched her as she trudged back in the snow, and then waving their hands to her as she disappeared in the turn of the road, Harry touched the horse, and in a few minutes they seemed as if they were actually flying over the frozen surface.
When they arrived at home Bessie had a smoking dinner on the table for them, which they partook of with great relish. After they had finished their dinner, their mother said that as they had but one session at school, they would have ample time to perform their tasks before tea-time. Harry was to chop the wood, while Alfred was to pile it on the porch; and Cornelia would finish the garters that she was kniting as a Christmas present for papa. And after that they were to study their lessons for the next day, so that they would be at leisure in the evening. All cheerfully obeyed, and before tea-time their tasks were all performed and lessons learned.
After the tea-things had been removed, "Now," said Mr. Ford,
'Stir the fire, and close the shutters fast,
Let fall the curtain, and wheel the sofa round,'"
"And be ready for Aunt Judy's story," added Alfred. "Come, mother, come; we are all waiting."
"Have a little patience, my son, I will be there in a few minutes."
She soon reappeared, and was greeted with "three cheers" from the children, and seating herself in the large comfortable rocking-chair, she began:
"On the eastern side of the beautiful Roanoke was the residence of Mr. Madison, and here the first few years of Judy's life was passed. She had a kind master, and, while in his service, had a very happy time. She had, like most of her race, a strong native talent for music, and was frequently called upon to exercise it by singing songs, and dancing, for the amusement of General Washington and the other officers of the Revolution who visited at her master's house. Judy was then quite young, and greatly enjoyed a sight of the soldier's gay uniform.
"Her master died when she was a child. Her mistress was then in very ill health, and little Judy spent most of the time in her room, in attendance upon her. One day her mistress was seized with a violent fit of coughing. Judy ran to her assistance, and finding that the cough did not yield to the usual remedies, called for help, but before aid was obtained, Mrs. Madison was dead! She died with her arms around the neck of her faithful attendant.
"Mrs. Madison had made provision for the emancipation of Judy, and after her death she received her free papers, which she carefully guarded.
"After her mother's death, the daughter of Mrs. Madison determined to remove to Kentucky, and Judy, being much attached to her and the family, accompanied them.
"Soon after her arrival there, Judy married a slave on the plantation of Mr. Jackson, which was several miles distant from that of Judy's mistress. John's master was very cruel to him; he would not allow him to leave the estate, nor was Judy permitted to come to see him; and thus they lived apart for several months; but the brutal treatment of his master at last rendered John desperate, and he determined to run away. It was a fearful risk, but if he succeeded, the prize, he thought, would be sufficient compensation.
"One morning he had a pass from his master to go to a neighboring town on business, and he thought this a good opportunity to execute the project he had so long entertained. He started, and traveled all night, and lay concealed in the woods all day, and on the third day after he had left home he ventured on to the estate of Judy's mistress. He went into one of the hen-houses, and it was not long before he saw Judy come out to feed the poultry. She was very much frightened when she saw him, and thought of the consequences that might arise from his master's rage if he found him. However, she hid him in the barn, supplying him with food at night. He stayed there more than a week, intending to leave Kentucky after his master's pursuit should have ceased. But one morning his master came to the house, and told Judy's mistress that one of his slaves was concealed on the place, and asked permission to hunt him, which was granted. He soon found him by the aid of one of the slaves who had noticed Judy carrying food to the barn, and watched her till he had discovered her husband, and then informed against him."
"O how mean to betray him!" exclaimed Alfred.
"Yes, Ally, it was; but I suppose it was the hope of reward that induced him to be guilty of such a base act."
"And was he rewarded?" asked Cornelia, "for I am sure if he was he did not deserve it."
"I do not know that he was, my daughter," answered Mrs. Ford. "John was taken to jail and locked up until his master should return home. Judy obtained a permit to enter the jail, and stayed with him in the cold, damp cell, cheering him with her presence. She could not bear the thought of being again separated, and determined to accompany him, let the consequences be what they might. Her husband was taken to a blacksmith's shop on the next day after his recapture, and a heavy pair of handcuffs placed upon him, and a chain (having at the end a large iron ball) was then fastened to his leg to prevent him from running, and in this condition they started for home. They walked for six days, she with her infant in her arms, and he, heavily loaded with irons. And she told me that often her dress was one cake of ice up to her knees, the snow and rain being frozen on her skirts. Her husband's shoes soon gave way, and his feet bled profusely at every step. Judy tore off her skirt, piece by piece, to wrap them in, for she loved him tenderly. But the anguish of their bodies was nothing in comparison with that of their minds. Fear for the consequences of the attempt, and regret that it had not been successful, filled their hearts with grief, and they journeyed on with no earthly hope to cheer them.
"Just think, my children, what they must have suffered through those long dreary days, John going back to slavery and misery, and Judy not knowing what her own fate might be. But she had comforted herself with the thought that when John's master saw what a condition he was in, he would relent toward him. But she was sadly mistaken, for he took him, weary, sick, and suffering, as he was, and whipped him cruelly, and then left him in an old shed."
[Illustration: HANDCUFFING JUDY'S HUSBAND]
"O mamma!" said little Cornelia, burying her face in her mother's lap, and sobbing aloud, "Do they do such wicked things?"
"I wish I had hold of him," said Alfred, "wouldn't I give it to him?"
"I should feel very much grieved if I saw you harm him in any way, Ally. Do you forget what our blessed Saviour said about returning good for evil?" asked his mother.
"Well, but mother, I am sure it would have been no more than fair just to give him a good cowhiding, so as it did not kill him."
"No more than he deserved, perhaps, but, my son, you should remember that Jesus taught us that we should forgive the greatest injuries.
"After this cruel treatment of John, Judy, with the aid of one of the other slaves who sympathized with her and John, carried him to a little hut that was not so much exposed as the one in which he had previously lain. He had a razor with which he had attempted to kill himself, but Judy came in at that moment, and as he was very weak, she easily took it from him; but he said:
"'O let me die! I would rather be in my grave, than endure this over again.'
"He was sick and helpless a long time, but he would have suffered much more if Judy had not been free, and had it in her power to nurse him. There is many a poor slave that has fallen a victim to this kind of barbarity, with no eye to witness his distress but his heavenly Father's.
"To add to John's misery was the brutal treatment of a little brother; a smart active child of eight years of age, who was owned by the same man. Mr. Jackson was a great drunkard, and when under the influence of liquor no crime was too great for him. One day, for some slight offense, he took the child, marked his throat from ear to ear, and then cut the rims of his ears partly off and left them hanging down. A little while after this, a gentleman, who had been in the habit of visiting at the house, rode up, and noticing the child's throat, asked him how it happened. He said, "Massa did it." The gentleman was so enraged, that he immediately mounted his horse, rode away, and had him arrested.
"When John was able to leave his bed, his mistress, a kind and humane woman, whose slave he had been before her marriage, took him and hid him in a cave that was on the plantation, and supplied him with food, intending to send him away as soon as she could do so safely.
"He was there several weeks, and his master supposed he had again escaped, and was hid somewhere in the woods, but he had become so much dissipated that he took no interest in his business affairs, and never explored the hiding-places on his own plantation. One day a gentleman by the name of Mr. Lawrence, of Vincennes, came to Mr. Jackson's to purchase a servant to take with him to Indiana.
"Why, mother, I thought that they would not allow any one to hold slaves here," said Ally.
"No, they do not, my son, but this gentleman was to take him as a bound servant for a term of years, and he probably supposed that poor John's legal rights would not be very carefully examined. John was sold in the woods for a small sum. After the bargain was concluded, Mr. Lawrence asked if the slave had a wife on the plantation, and was told that he had. Judy was pointed out to him. He asked her if she knew where her husband was, and she told him that she did; for she thought it was better for him to leave his cave, as it was damp and comfortless. So that night, with new hope in her heart, Judy went to his lone and dreary hiding-place, and told him of the bargain. Any change was a relief to him, and he came willingly out, and made preparations for going with Mr. Lawrence. He waited until his master was in bed, and too deeply stupefied with liquor to heed what was passing, and then came to the place appointed. Mrs. Jackson gave him some clothes, and made what provision she could for his comfort on the way. John had a horse given him to ride upon, but Judy was taken no notice of; yet she determined to walk the three days' journey, rather than be separated from John.
"Mr. Lawrence, when he perceived Judy was following them, tried to persuade her to return, for she had a young child with her, and he was afraid she would be troublesome. He told her that after her husband was settled in Vincennes, he would send for her, but she had learned to place no confidence in promises made to a slave; so she resolved she would go, believing if she lost sight of her husband she would never see him again.
"They had to cross the Ohio in a ferry boat, and Judy strained every nerve to reach it before them. She did so; and hurrying up the stairs with her baby, she clasped the railings, resolved to stay there, unless compelled by violence to leave the boat. But no one noticed her, and she arrived safely on the other side. After walking some miles, poor Judy became tired and weary, and her strength failed her, and she was afraid that after all she had gone through, for the sake of her husband, she would be left at last. But she thought she would make another effort, so she told Mr. Lawrence that if he would buy her a horse to ride upon, she would bind herself to him for six months after they arrived in Indiana. He agreed to do so, and bought her a horse. After they reached Vincennes, and Judy had worked out her six months, she again bound herself to him to serve out her husband's time, for he was very weak and feeble, and was suffering with a severe cough, and Judy longed to see him own his own body. But God freed him before the year was out. He had suffered so much from severe whipping and abuse of every kind that he wasted away and died of consumption.
"After his death Judy remained with his master for some time, but she finally became dissatisfied, and longed to go back to Mrs. Madison's daughter, and see her home once more. She mentioned this to Mr. Lawrence, but he took no notice of it until, one day, he came to her and said:
"'Judy, I want you to come down to the auction rooms, I have bought a few things to-day, and I want you to carry them home; and you might as well bring little Charley along with you, he can help you.'
"The little Charley here spoken of was a smart child of five or six years of age. Judy and Charley accompanied Mr. Lawrence to the rooms. When they arrived there Judy observed a number of strange-looking men who appeared to be earnestly conversing on some subject which interested Mr. Lawrence deeply. But Judy suspected nothing, and had begun arranging the things so that she could carry them more conveniently, when her master turned round to her and said:
"'Judy, you have become dissatisfied with me, and I have got you a new master.'
"Judy was frightened, and attempted to run, but one of them caught her, and dragging her to a trap door, let her down. Little Charley, not knowing what had become of his mother, began to cry, but one of the men held him and told him to stop making such a noise.
"Judy remained in the cellar until a vessel came along, and she was then taken out, and a handkerchief tied tightly over her mouth to prevent her from screaming or making any noise. She was then hurried on board of the boat, with a cargo of slaves bound for the far South. It seemed now as if her 'cup of bitterness was full.' As she was on the deck, in grief and terror, she heard some one calling 'Mother! mother!' and on looking up, there was her darling boy. She asked him how he came there; he answered:
"'A naughty man that put you down in the cellar carried me to his house, and locked me up, and then brought me here.'
[Illustration: WAITING TO BE SOLD.]
"Poor Judy! she knew in a moment that both were to be sold, and no language can describe her anguish; her free papers were left behind, and another one of her children, her little daughter Fanny. She did not know what would become of her, or where she was going. After sailing for several weeks, they arrived at a place which she thinks was called Vicksburg; here they were taken off the boat, and carried to the auction rooms, where a sale was then going on. In a little while after they came in, a gentleman walked up to them, and after looking at little Charley, placed him on the block. Poor Judy's heart was almost bursting; but when she saw a man buy and carry away the pride and joy of her heart, she became frantic, and screamed after him, but he was picked up and carried from her sight. It was too much for her; all was a mist in a moment, and she sank senseless to the floor. When she revived she found herself lying on an old pile of cotton in one corner of the auction rooms. The auctioneer, seeing that she had arisen, bade her stand in the pen, along with the other negroes. Judy mechanically obeyed, and took her place with the others, and was sitting like one in a dream, when she was aroused by a man slapping her on the back.
"'Come, look spry, old woman,' said he.
"'Could you look spry, massa, if your child, your son you loved as well as your life, was torn away from you? O God!' said she, burying her face in her hands, 'have mercy on me, and help me to be resigned.'
"'Yes, I'll make you resigned,' said he, sneeringly, slapping her across the back. 'Now you follow me, and don't let me hear a word out of your head.'
"Judy obeyed, and after arriving at the wharf, they went on board a vessel that was bound for New Orleans. In about a week after they had started, they arrived at Mr. Martin's plantation, where Judy saw about one hundred and fifty slaves at work in the field. Without being allowed a moment to rest herself, after her long walk from the boat, she was given a basket and ordered to the field. Poor Judy's head was aching severely, and when she was exposed to the scorching rays of the sun of the south, her temples throbbed wildly, and O! how she longed for some quiet shady place, where she could bathe her fevered brow and rest her weary limbs. But she must not think of stopping a moment to rest, for the eyes of the brutal overseer were upon her, and the thought of the stinging lash, the smart and pain, came across her mind, and urged her on, and made her work with greater swiftness than before. At last the weary, weary day drew to a close, and it was getting quite dark, and the dew was beginning to fall, and Judy was expecting every moment to hear the order for them to return home. But still they worked on, and hour after hour passed, until it was almost midnight, and not till then did the joyful summons come for them to stop."
"Why, mamma, do they make them work so late as that?" asked Cornelia.
"Yes, my daughter, in the busy season the poor slaves are often kept out very late. After they had received the order to return home, Judy, with aching limbs, joined the other slaves who were wearily wending their way to the little out-house where the overseer was weighing their cotton. As they presented their baskets to be weighed, they watched eagerly to see if their baskets were approved of. Judy gladly heard that hers was the full weight, and after ascertaining where she was to sleep, and receiving her allowance of corn, she went to the shed pointed out to her. She made her cakes for her supper and for the next morning, and then laid down upon her bed, or rather on a pile of straw with an old piece of sheet spread over it. Judy was much exhausted, and soon fell asleep, notwithstanding the roughness of her bed. But it seemed as though she had scarcely closed her eyes before the plantation bell rang, and called them to another weary day's work.
"Thus many, many months passed, of toiling from day to day, and from morning till night. One morning they saw one of the house servants running toward them; he told them that their master was dead. He had died suddenly from a fit of appoplexy. The tidings were received by Judy with joy. You must pardon her, my children, for this man had been a cruel master to her, and she thought that, as he had neither wife nor children, his slaves would be sold, and perhaps she would get farther north, and in the neighborhood of her old home, and might meet with some of her old friends who would prove that she was free.
"A few days after Mr. Martin's funeral there was a meeting of his heirs, and they determined to sell the slaves. Accordingly the next morning they were marched down to the wharf, where they found a boat at anchor, and all went on board. We will pass over the wearisome trip of several days, and imagine them to be at the end of their journey at Memphis. Here they were taken off the boat, and placed in jail until auction day. In a few days they were again taken out and tied in couples, and taken to the auction. Judy was sitting very disconsolate, thinking of her past misfortunes and coming sorrows. The hope of seeing any of her old friends, or of being reunited with her children, she had almost given up. The auctioneer called to her, and she stepped on the block. Her strong and well-proportioned figure, and comely, though dejected and sad appearance, instantly raised a dozen bids. First here, now there, might be heard the voice of the competitors; the noise of the hammer ceased, and Judy was the property of Mr. Carter. After his purchase Mr. Carter was taking Judy to the boat, when she felt some one catching hold of her arm; she turned around and immediately recognized the person as a gentleman whom she had known while living with Mrs. Madison's daughter. He said to her:
"'Why, Judy, where are you going?'
"She answered in a kind of wicked despair:
"'To hell, I believe.'
"This gentleman inquired about her condition, and finally rescued her, and sent her to Vincennes, where she labored for many years and found some good friends, but she never felt safe after she had been stolen away from there. She made inquiries about her children, but never learned anything of them. Not having anything to attach her to Vincennes, she left and came to Terra Haute, where she resided a little while, and then came further into the interior of the state.
"Her children are scattered, and gone she knows not where; and after a long life of toil and suffering she is here, old, infirm, and a beggar. Every wrinkle on her brow could tell a tale of suffering; her youth is gone; her energies are all spent, and her long life of toil has been for naught."
Mrs. Ford ceased, her tears were falling fast, and the children were sobbing around her. The fire, from neglect, had gone out, and there were only a few smoking embers left in the fire-place, reminding them of the time that had been spent in hearing "AUNT JUDY'S STORY."
[Illustration: AUNT JUDY.]
* * * * *
[Illustration: "ME NEBER GIB IT UP!"]
"ME NEBER GIB IT UP!"
"Please, massa, teach me to read!" said an aged negro one day to a missionary in the West Indies.
The missionary said he would do so, and the negro became his scholar.
But. the poor old man, trained in ignorance through threescore years,
found it difficult to learn. He tried hard, but made little progress.
One day the missionary said:
"Had you not better give it up?"
"No, massa," said the negro, with the energy of a noble nature, "me neber gib it up till me die!"
He then pointed to these beautiful words in his Testament: "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotton Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life." "There," he added, with deep feeling, "it is worth all de labor to be able to read dat one single verse!"
Noble, godly old man! Though once a slave he had a freeman's soul, and richly merited that freedom which England so righteously gave to her West Indian slaves some years ago. Let us hope the time is not far distant in which the colored people of our own happy land will also all be free, all able to read the Bible, all possess that soul freedom with which Christ makes his disciples free. God has many dear children among the slaves, many of whom feel that slavery is worse than death. May he in his wisdom provide for their early deliverance from the terrible yoke which is about their necks!
18 April, 1860
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