A RECENT TOUR OF FOUR THOUSAND MILES IN THE UNITED STATES.
BY EBENEZER DAVIES,
LATE MINISTER OF MISSION CHAPEL, NEW AMSTERDAM, BERBICE.
During his recent sojourn in the United States, the Author did not conceive the intention of writing a book on the subject. All he contemplated was the publication of a few letters in a London Journal on which he had been accustomed to rely for intelligence from Europe when residing in Berbice. So much he was disposed to attempt for several reasons.
Having entered the States by their most Southern port—that of New Orleans, and finding himself at once in the midst of Slavery, he had opportunities of observing that system not often enjoyed by a British "Abolitionist." As the Pastor, also, of a large congregation, of whom a great number were but a few years ago held in cruel bondage, he would naturally look upon the treatment of the same race in America with keener eyes and feelings more acute than if he had not stood in that relation.
Identified, too, with those persons who represent the principles of the old Puritans and Nonconformists in England, he would survey the growth and spread of those principles in their new soil and climate with a more than common interest. New England, especially, on whose sods the foot-prints of the Pilgrims had been impressed, and on whose rocks their early altars had been reared, would be to him hallowed ground.
Travelling, leisurely, as he did, at his own expense, northward from New Orleans to Boston, and westward as far as Utica,—making a tour of more than four thousand miles, sometimes known and sometimes unknown, just as inclination prompted,—representing no public body, bound to no party, a "Deputation sent by himself,"—he was completely free and independent in thought and action, and enjoyed advantages for observation which do not often meet.
It was natural that he should wish to tell his friends in Great Britain, and in the West Indies, what he had seen and heard. To denounce what is evil and to commend what is good is at all times gratifying; in doing which, he sought to describe the men and the manners of America just as they appeared to him.
Several letters, containing the narrative of a few days spent in New Orleans, appeared in the Patriot. Their favourable reception by the readers of that journal led to the preparation of the present volume, in which the letters referred to, having undergone a careful revision, re-appear, followed by nearly thirty others descriptive of the Author's tour.
Our Transatlantic friends are morbidly sensitive as to the strictures of strangers. They hate the whole tribe of Travellers and Tourists, Roamers and Ramblers, Peepers and Proclaimers, and affect to ridicule the idea of men who merely pass through the country, presuming to give opinions on things which it is alleged so cursory a view cannot qualify them fully to understand. Our cousins have, doubtless, had occasional provocations from the detested race in question; but their feeling on this point amounts to a national weakness. It is always worth knowing how we appear to the eyes of others, and what impression the first sight of us is apt to produce; and this knowledge none can communicate but the stranger, the tourist, the passer-by. What faults and failings soever we may have in England, and their "name is legion," by all means let them be unsparingly exposed by every foreign tourist that treads upon our soil. Let us be satirized, ridiculed, laughed at, caricatured, anything, so that we may be shamed out of all that is absurd and vicious in our habits and customs. In the present instance our Western kinsmen are described by one, if they will believe his own testimony, of the most candid and truthful of travellers,—one who has viewed them and all their institutions, except one, with the most friendly eye, and who deeply regrets that so much of what is lovely and of good report should be marred and blotted by so much of what is disgraceful to a great and enlightened people.
As to the performance in a literary point of view, the Author will say nothing. The public will form their own judgment. If they like it, they will read; if not, the most seductive preface would not tempt them.
LONDON, January 1, 1849.
Occasion of Visit to the United States—First Impressions of the Mississippi—Magnitude of that River—Impediment at its Entrance—The New Harbour—The "Great" and "Fat" Valley—High Pressure Steam-Tug Frolics—Slave-Auction Facetiae
American Oysters—Becalmed in the Mississippi—Anchor raised—Ship ashore—Taken off by a Steam Tug—Slave-Sale Advertisements—Runaway Negroes—Return of Fever—Terrific Storm—Frightful Position—Ashore at New Orleans—A Ship-Chandler's Store—American Wheels—A Joltification—The St. Charles's Hotel
New Orleans—The Story of Pauline—Adieu to the St Charles's—Description of that Establishment—First Sight of Slaves for Sale—Texts for Southern Divines—Perilous Picture
A Sabbath in New Orleans—The First Presbyterian Church—Expectoration—A Negro Pew—The Sermon
First Religious Service in America (continued)—A Collection "taken up"—Rush out—Evening Service—Sketch of the Sermon—Profanation of the Sabbath—The Monthly Concert for Prayer
"Jack Jones"—A Public Meeting for Ireland—Henry Clay—Other Speakers—American Feeling in reference to the Irish Famine—A Slave-Auction
The Slave-Auction (continued)—"A Fine Young Woman"—A Man and his Wife—Jim, the Blacksmith—A Family—A Ploughboy—Cornelia—Another Jim—Tom, the House Boy—Edmund—Tom, and "his reserved rights"—A Carriage Driver—Margaret and her Child
St. Louis Exchange—Inspection of Human Chattels—Artizan Slaves—Scenes and Proceedings of the Auction—Sale of the Men
Sale of Women—Second Sabbath in New Orleans—Cricket in front of the Presbyterian "Church"—The Baptist "Church"—A Peep at an American Sabbath School—Proceedings in "Church"—A Sermon on "The New Birth"—Nut-cracking during Sermon—"Close Communion"
Interview with a Baptist Minister—Conversation with a Young Man in the Baptist Church—The Presbyterian Church, and Dr. Scott again—A Peep at the House of Representatives of Louisiana—Contrast between the French and the Americans in the Treatment of their Slaves—Dinner Table in New Orleans—American Manners
Farewell to New Orleans—Revolting Bargain—"The Anglo Saxon" Steam-boat—Moderate Fare—Steam Navigation of the Mississippi —Steam-boat and Railway Literature—Parting View of the "Crescent City"—Slave Advertisements—Baton Rouge—A Sugar Estate—Fellow-Passengers—The Ladies' Cabin—A Baptist Minister—A Reverend Slave-holder
Voyage up the Mississippi (continued)—"Patriarchal" Establishments—The Red River—Elder Wright—Lynch Law administered by a Preacher—Natchez —Story of Mary Brown—The Flat Boats of the Mississippi
Voyage up the Mississippi (continued)—Grand Gulph and Big Black River—Snags—"I belong to myself, Sir"—Vicksburg and Lynch Law—A Man Overboard—"Drove of Horses, Mules, and Niggers"—Character of Fellow-Passengers—The Sabbath—Disobedience to Conscience
Voyage up the Mississippi (continued)—The Arkansas—Treatment of the Indians—M de Tocqueville—"Napoleon" and Lynch Law—Memphis, and its Advertisements—A Scene witnessed there—The Ohio—Nashville, and Amos Dresser
Voyage up the Ohio (continued)—Illinois—Evansville—Owensborough —Indiana—New Albany—Louisville, and its Cruel Histories—The Grave of President Harrison—Arrival in Cincinnati—First Impressions—The Congregational Minister—A Welsh Service
Stay at Cincinnati (continued)—Close of the Welsh Service—The Governor of Ohio and his Relatives—The "Black Laws"—Governor Bebb's Hostility to them—Dr. Weed and American Versatility—Private Lodgings—Introduction to Dr. Beecher and others—A Peep at a Democratic Meeting
Stay at Cincinnati (continued)—The Democratic Meeting—A Visit to Lane Seminary—"Public Declamation"—Poem on War—Essay on Education
Visit to Lane Seminary (continued)—Dr. Beecher and his Gun—The College Library—Dr. Stowe and his Hebrew Class—History of Lane Seminary—Qualifications for Admission—The Curriculum—Manual Labour—Expenses of Education—Results—Equality of Professors and Students
A Sabbath at Cincinnati—The Second Presbyterian Church—Mutilation of a Popular Hymn—The Rushing Habit—A wrong "Guess"—A German Sunday-School—Visit to a Church of Coloured People—Engagement at the Welsh "Church"—Monthly Concert—The Medical College of Ohio—Tea at the House of a Coloured Minister
Stay at Cincinnati (continued)—The New Roman Catholic Cathedral—The Rev. C.B. Boynton and Congregationalism—"The Herald of a New Era"—American Nationality
Stay at Cincinnati (continued)—The Orphan Asylum—A Coloured Man and a White Fop treated as each deserved—A Trip across to Covington—Mr. Gilmore and the School for Coloured Children—"The Fugitive Slave to the Christian"—Sabbath—Mr. Boynton—Dr. Beecher—Lane Seminary —Departure from Cincinnati
Cincinnati—Its History and Progress—Its Trade and Commerce—Its Periodical Press—Its Church Accommodation—Its Future Prospects —Steaming up the Ohio—Contrast between Freedom and Slavery—An Indian Mound—Splendid Scenery—Coal Hills
Arrival at Pittsburg—Its Trade and Prospects—Temperance-Newspapers —Trip up the Monongahela to Brownsville—Staging by Night across the Alleghany Mountains—Arrival at Cumberland—The Railway Carriages of America
Journey by Railroad from Cumberland to Baltimore—A Tedious Stoppage—A Sabbath in Baltimore—Fruitless Inquiry—A Presbyterian Church and Dr. Plummer—Richmond and its Resolutions—Dr. Plummer's Pro-slavery Manifesto—The Methodist Episcopal Church
A Sabbath at Baltimore (continued)—A Coloured Congregation—The Thought of seeing Washington abandoned—Departure from Baltimore —Coloured Ladies in the Luggage-Van—American Railways—Chesapeak Bay—Susquehannah—State of Delaware, and Abolition of Slavery —Philadelphia—Albert Barnes—Stephen Girard's Extraordinary Will
Departure from Philadelphia—A Communicative Yankee—Trenton—The Mansion of Joseph Bonaparte—Scenes of Brainerd's Labours One Hundred Years ago—First Impressions of New York—150, Nassau-street—Private Lodgings—Literary Society—American Lodging houses—A Lecture on Astronomy—The "Negro Pew" in Dr. Patton's Church
A Presbyterian Church in New York, and its Pastor—The Abbotts and their Institution—Union Theological Seminary—Dr. Skinner's Church—New York University—A threatening "Necessity"—Prejudice against Colour—A Fact connected with Mr. ——'s Church—Another Fact in Pennsylvania—State of Public Opinion in New York—An Interview with Dr. Spring—A Missionary Meeting in Dr. Adams's Church
A Visit to Mount Vernon—Dr. Robinson—Welsh Deputation—Queen Anne and New York—The Sabbath—Preaching at Dr. L——'s—Afternoon Service at Mr. C——'s—Tea at Dr. L——'s—Evening Service at Mr. ——'s
The Rev. Theodore Sedgwick Wright—His Testimony against Caste—His Funeral—Drs Cox and Patton—The Service in the House—The Procession—The Church—The Funeral Oration—Mrs. Wright
Trip to New Haven—Captain Stone and his Tender Feeling—Arrival in New Haven.—A Call from Dr. Bacon and the Rev. Mr. Dutton—Newspapers—The Centre Church and Standing Order—The North Church and Jonathan Edwards, junior
The Spot on which Whitfield preached—Judge Daggett—Governor Yale—Yale College—The Libraries—Elliot's Indian Bible—Geological Museum—Dr. Goodrich—Education and Expenses at Yale College—The Graves of the Regicides
A Fast-Day—Political Sermons—A Church of Coloured People—The Sabbath—Morning Service—Afternoon ditto and Dr. Hawes—Prayers at College Chapel—United Service in North Church—The Cemetery—The "Fathers"—Professor Gibbs—Annual Election—Statistics—Arrival at Hartford—Mr. Hosmer—Chief Justice—Deaf and Dumb—Charter Oak
The "Retreat"—Introductions to the Insane—Piety and Profanity— Service in the Fourth Church—Memorials of the Pilgrims—Dr. Bushnell and his Opinions—The Mother Church and its Burying-Ground—The New Cemetery—Prejudice against Colour—Mrs. Sigourney—Departure from Hartford—Worcester and Elihu Burritt—Boston—The Rev. Seth Bliss—The Cradle of Liberty—Mr. Garrison—Bunker's Hill
Boston (continued)—The Old South—Unitarianism, and Connection between Church and State—A Welsh Service in an "Upper Room"—Laura Bridgman and the Wedding Ring—Oliver Caswell—Departure from Boston—John Todd and his Family—His Congregationalism—Albany and the Delevan House—Journey to Utica—Remsen and the Welsh People—Dogs made to churn, and Horses to saw Wood
A Peep at the House of Representatives in Albany—"The Chan is but a Man," &c.—Sailing down the Hudson—Dr. Spring—His Morning Sermon—Afternoon Service—Gough the great Lecturer—The Tract House and Steam-presses—May-day in New York—Staten Island—Immigrants—A hurried Glance
The May Meetings—Dr. Bushnell's Striking Sermon—Two Anti-Slavery Meetings—A Black Demosthenes—Foreign Evangelical Society—A New Thing in the New World—The Home-Missionary Society—Progress and Prospects of the West—Church of Rome—Departure from New York—What the Author thinks of the Americans
What the Author thinks of the Americans (continued)—Slavery —Responsibility of the North—District of Columbia—Preponderance of the Slave Power—Extermination of the Indians—President Taylor and his Blood-hounds
Occasion of Visit to the United States—First Impressions of the Mississippi—Magnitude of that River—Impediment at its Entrance—The New Harbour—The "Great" and "Fat" Valley—High-Pressure Steam-Tug Frolics—Slave-Auction Facetiae.
The ill health of my wife, occasioned by long residence amid the sultry swamps of Guiana, compelled me a few months ago to accompany her on a visit to the United States of America. Having taken our passage in a ship to New Orleans, we found ourselves in fifteen days on the far-famed Mississippi,—the "father of waters." On gazing around, our first feeling was one of awe, to find ourselves actually ascending that majestic stream, that great artery of the greatest valley in the world, leading into the very heart of a continent. The weather was very cold; the trees on the river's bank were leafless; and the aspect of nature on every hand told it was winter. What a change! But a fortnight before we were panting under an almost vertical sun. We found the Mississippi much narrower than we had anticipated. In some places it is only about half a mile wide; while below New Orleans it never, I should say, exceeds a mile in width. This is remarkable, since not less than fifty-seven large navigable rivers contribute to swell its waters. It is, however, very deep, and, even at the distance of 500 miles above New Orleans, is navigated by vessels of 300 tons; nay, at 1,364 miles from its mouth, it attains an average depth of fifteen feet. In its course, it waters 2,500 miles of country. Among the rivers that pour themselves into this immense stream are—the Missouri, which has first traversed a space of 2,000 miles; the Arkansas, 1,300 miles; the Red River, 1,000 miles; and the Ohio, 700 miles.
Unfortunately, at the entrance of this noble river, there is a bar called the Balize, so shallow as hitherto to have seriously interfered with the navigation of large and deeply-laden vessels. Even for the cotton trade, a particular construction of ship has been found needful, with a flatter bottom than usual, in order to pass easily over this bar, any effort to remove which the rapidity of the stream would render fruitless. This circumstance, with the want of harbour at the mouth of the Mississippi, has hitherto operated greatly against the trade with New Orleans, which is 110 miles up the river. Recently, however, a magnificent harbour has been discovered between Cat Island and Isle Apitre, within Lake Borgne, and only ten miles from the coast of the mainland. This new harbour, easily accessible from the sea, at all times contains a depth of water varying from thirty to fifty feet, and is so protected on all sides that vessels may ride with the greatest safety in the worst weather. From this harbour to Bayou on the mainland the distance is only twelve miles, and from Bayou to New Orleans forty-six miles,—making altogether only fifty-eight miles from Cat Island Harbour to New Orleans; whereas, by the difficult and dangerous route of the Mississippi, the distance is 110 miles. The importance and value of such a harbour it is difficult to over-estimate. Its beneficial effect on the future destiny of the great valley will be prodigious.
I have said the "great valley," and well it deserves the appellation. It contains as many square miles, with more tillable ground than the whole continent of Europe. It measures about 1,341,649 square miles, and is therefore six times larger than France. And this valley is as rich as it is extensive. It is the "fat" valley. Never did human eye behold a finer soil, or more luxuriant productions. The treasures beneath the surface are as precious as those above. The lead and copper mines are among the best in the world. Iron and coal also abound. Building materials, of beauty and strength, adapted to form cottages for the poor or palaces for the rich, are not wanting. Nature has here furnished in lavish profusion everything necessary for converting the wilderness into smiling fields, studded with populous cities.
But we are not yet within the great valley. We are only at its entrance, sailing up the "father of waters," against the stream, at the rate of four or five miles an hour. It is usual for sailing-vessels to be towed by steam-tugs to their destination; but, having a fair breeze, and no tug at hand, we were indebted to our sails alone. The motion was exceedingly pleasant, after the tossings we had had in the Gulf of Mexico. The vessel glided smoothly along, and new objects presented themselves continually on either hand.
My enjoyment of the scenery, however, was soon marred by an attack of fever and ague, which sent me below. While I was down, several steam-tugs towing vessels down the river met us. Their unearthly groans filled me with terror. Their noise was not that of puff—puff —puff—puff, like all the other steamers that I had ever heard, but something composed of a groan, a grunt, and a growl—deep-drawn, as from the very caverns of Vulcan, and that at awfully-solemn intervals,—grunt—grunt—grunt—grunt! This peculiarity, I was told, arose from their "high-pressure" engines. The sound, thus explained, brought to my recollection all the dreadful stories of boiler explosions with which the very name of the Mississippi had become associated in my mind. But (thought I) they have surely learned wisdom from experience, and are become more skilful or more cautious than they used to be!
While I was engaged with these reflections, our captain came down, and handed me a couple of New Orleans papers, which he had just received from the pilot. Here was a treat; and, feeling a little better, I began with eagerness to open one of them out. It was the New Orleans Bee of January 23; and, horresco referens, the first thing that caught my eye was the following paragraph:—
"STEAM-BOAT EXPLOSION.—LOSS OF LIFE.—Captain Haviland, of the steam-ship 'Galveston,' from Galveston, reports that the tow-boat 'Phoenix,' Captain Crowell, burst her boilers when near the head of the South-west Pass [which we had but just passed], killing and wounding about twenty-five in number, seven of whom belonged to the boat, the balance to a barque she had alongside; carrying away the foremast of the barque close to her deck, and her mainmast above her cross-trees, together with all her fore-rigging, bulwarks, and injuring her hull considerably. The ship 'Manchester,' which she had also alongside, was seriously injured, having her bulwarks carried away, her longboat destroyed," &c.
Such was the paragraph, with not a syllable of note or comment on cause or consequences. It was evidently an every-day occurrence. What recklessness was here indicated! and how comforting to a sick and nervous man, now near the very spot of the occurrence, and in a vessel about to be placed in the same pleasant relation to one of those grunting monsters as the unfortunate "barque" had but three days before occupied, with the trifling "balance" of eighteen of her crew "killed and wounded!"
The fever having left me, I ventured on deck. At this moment one of these infernal machines came in sight, towing down three large ships. Instead of having them behind, as on the Thames and Mersey, she (like the "Phoenix") had one on either side, closely lashed to herself, and the other only behind. This terrific monster seemed to be carrying them away arm-in-arm, like two prisoners, to destruction. At all events, it was a position of familiarity and friendship with the "Sprite of Steam" of which I did not at all like the idea; and yet we ourselves were by-and-by to be placed in its perilous embrace!
The dreaded monster gone by, I resumed the perusal of my New Orleans papers. Now (thought I) I am in a slave country! I wonder whether these papers will give any indication of the fact. In a little while my eye, surveying the Bee of January 21, caught sight of an advertisement signed "N. St. Martin, Sheriff, Parish of St. Charles," and containing a list of 112 human beings offered for sale! The miserable catalogue was full of instruction. In drawing it up the humane sheriff became quite facetious, telling the public that "Frank, 35 years old, American negro, [was] good for everything;" while "Stephen, 46 years old, [was] fit for nothing at all;" that "Salinette, 60 years old, hospital-nurse, [was] a good subject, subject to rheumatisms;" and that "Peter, American negro-man, 38 years old, [was] a good cook, having had two fits of madness." I will back this against the Dublin Hue and Cry.
American Oysters—Becalmed in the Mississippi—Anchor raised—Ship ashore—Taken off by a Steam-Tug—Slave-Sale Advertisements—Runaway Negroes—Return of Fever—Terrific Storm—Frightful Position—Ashore at New Orleans—A Ship-Chandler's Store—American Wheels—A Joltification—The St. Charles's Hotel.
The evening closed upon us, sailing pleasantly up the Mississippi. Having a beautiful moonlight night, we kept on our way. About seven o'clock we overtook a small fishing-boat laden with oysters. In consideration of our allowing them—not the oysters, but the boatmen—to fasten a rope to our vessel, to help them on, they gave us a generous and refreshing supply. But such oysters! In neither size nor shape did they resemble those of the Old World. As to size, they were gigantic,—as to shape, not unlike the human foot. They abound not far from the mouth of the river, and many men obtain a livelihood by carrying them up to the New Orleans market. The mode of cooking adopted in this instance was that of putting them on the fire till the shells opened. To our taste, they were not in flavour to be compared to the London oysters; but we did not venture to tell our American captain so. We had yet, however, to taste the deliciously-cooked oysters of the northern cities.
About 10 p.m., the breeze having in a great measure died away, our captain thought it imprudent to attempt to "go a-head" further that night, and the anchor was cast. We were now fifty miles above the entrance of the river.
Early next day the anchor was raised, the sails were unfurled, and we again moved along. About 8 a.m., through the narrowness of the river, the rapidity of the stream, and other causes, our "smart" captain, who had chuckled vastly on passing all other ships in the river,—and especially British ships,—ran his own vessel right ashore! There we were in a complete "fix," till one of the grunting monsters (coming up with two vessels—one on each arm, as usual,—and letting them go for a few minutes,) came to our rescue. Forbidding as was his aspect, we were very glad to feel a little of his giant power. Of this one I had, of course, a better view than I had had of any other of the species. It had, like the rest, two chimneys in front, like perpendicular tusks, with a ladder between them. The ladder was for the purpose of ascent,—the ascent for the purpose of elevation,—and the elevation for the purpose of "look out." The top of the ladder, in short, rendered the same service as the top of a ship's mast at sea. This "tug" had also, a little further aft, a funnel-like sort of chimney, for the emission of steam. The whole structure was—like a forge below, and a palace above. In the lower story were the boiler, engine, fuel, &c., all exposed to view; while, the upper contained splendid apartments for the captain, the engineer, and other officers. The engineer of that vessel, I understood, had a salary of 250 dollars (50 guineas) per month!
Released from our stranded position, we found ourselves in a few minutes lashed to the monster's side, and completely in his power. Here we were, in the same dread position in which the day before we felt horrified to see others! From some of the officers, our captain obtained another newspaper. It was the New Orleans Daily Picayune for January 26. Getting hold of it, I found whole columns of slave-sale advertisements. A few specimens will illustrate better than any description the state of things in this "land of liberty!"
"NEGROES FOR SALE.—The subscribers No. 56, Esplanade-street, have just received a lot of valuable Slaves from Virginia and Maryland, consisting of Mechanics, Farm Hands, and House Servants, and have made arrangements not to be surpassed in this market for a regular supply from the above markets, as also Alabama. We hazard nothing in saying, if our former friends, and others wishing to purchase good servants or hands, will give us a call, they shall not be disappointed.
"N.B. All Negroes sold by the undersigned are fully guaranteed.
"SLATTER & LOCKETT,
"FOR SALE.—A likely Mulatto Negress, aged twenty-two years,—she is a first-rate cook, and a good washer and ironer, besides being a tolerable good seamstress.
"ANDERSON & BURNET,
"SLAVES FOR SALE.—I have just received, and offer for sale, a very likely lot of Virginia Negroes. Those wishing to purchase will do well to give me a call at my office, No. 157, Gravier-street, between Carondelet and Baronne streets. I will be constantly receiving Negroes from Virginia and North Carolina during the winter.
"C. M. RUTHERFORD."
"SLAVES FOR SALE.—No. 165, Gravier-street.—The subscriber has always on hand a number of Slaves, consisting of House Servants, Field Hands, and Mechanics, which will be sold low for cash or negotiable paper. Persons desirous of purchasing will find it to their interest to call and examine. The subscriber will also receive and sell on consignment any Negro that may be intrusted to his care.
"He would also respectfully notify persons engaged in the Slave Trade, that he is prepared to board them and their Slaves on the most reasonable terms.
"WM. H. MERRITT."
"References—J.A. Barelli, C.J. Mansoni."
"ONE HUNDRED NEGROES.—For Sale at No. 13, Moreau-street.—All of which have just been received from Maryland and Virginia. My old friends, and others wishing to purchase Slaves, will find it to their interest to call on me before purchasing elsewhere. Also will receive large shipments during the season from the above States.
"R. R. BEASLEY,
Runaway slaves seem to be constantly advertised, with (as in the case of ship advertisements) a small woodcut figure representing them in the very act of making their escape. Indeed, almost everything advertised is accompanied by its picture,—ships, houses, bonnets, boots, leeches, oysters, and so forth. Even a strayed horse or a strayed cow is advertised with a picture representing the animal in the very act of going astray. On the same principle, and in like manner, human chattels assuming their natural right to go where they please, are advertised with a woodcut representing them as bending forward in the act of running, and carrying with them a small bundle containing their scanty wardrobe,—a pitiable figure! And yet this is done, not to awaken sympathy, but to excite vigilance, as in the following instances, which I have picked out of the Picayune:—
"ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS REWARD.—The aforesaid sum will be given to any person who will bring back to the undersigned the negro-girl Eugenia, and her mulatto child aged two years. Said slave has been purloined or enticed away by her former owner, Madame Widow Decaux, who secretly went out of this State on the 12th December, 1846. Said Widow Decaux is well known in New Orleans as a notorious swindler, having been prosecuted for having pawned logs of wood to a merchant of this city instead of dry goods. She has a scar on her forehead, and several others on her neck, and is accompanied by her aged mother, and her boy aged ten years.
"J. B. DUPEIRE."
"Ran away from the subscriber, on the 20th November last, a negro man named Sandy, about twenty-five years of age, five feet five inches high, very dark complexion, speaks both French and English, shows the mark of the whip very much. A liberal reward will be paid for his apprehension, either by confining in any gaol, so that I can secure him, or his delivery to me at Plaquemine, La.
"W. H. CARR."
And yet the editor of this very paper, in his leading article, reviewing the past, (that day being the tenth anniversary of its own existence,) coolly says, "In entering upon our eleventh anniversary, how different the spectacle! Industry in every quarter of the land receives its meet reward; Commerce is remunerated by wholesome gains; Comfort blesses the toil of the labourer(!) and Hope encourages the enterprise of all the industrial classes of our citizens."
As the day advanced, my fever returned; and I was obliged to go below. A furious tempest arose, so that even our "monster" could scarcely get along. The lightning flashed, the thunder roared, and the rain fell in torrents. It was a terrific day! As night approached, our captain told us the vessel could not then be got any further,—it was about two miles from the city; and if we particularly wished to go ashore, we must get ready directly, and go with him in the steam-tug. Anxious for a good night's rest, on shore we resolved to go. I had to turn out in that state of profuse perspiration which always succeeds the fever, and my wife hurriedly selected a few necessary things. Poor thing! she was almost overwhelmed with the trying circumstances in which she was placed,—thousands of miles from home—about to enter a place in which she knew not a single soul—her husband ill, and herself an invalid! But there was no help for it. Amidst torrents of rain, we made the fearful transition from the ship to the tug, while both vessels were in violent agitation. It was done. And now we were in the "monster's" own bosom, expecting every moment his bowels to burst, and send us into eternity. The noise of the engine, the grunting of the steam, the raging of the wind, the pelting of the rain, and the roaring of the thunder, made it almost impossible to hear anything besides; but I managed to shout in my wife's ear the natural, though not very consolatory question, "Were we ever in so fearful a position before?" "Never!" (and we had had some experience of storms by both land and sea) was her awe-stricken reply.
We detached ourselves from the sailing-vessel; but, with all the power of steam, we could scarcely get along. At last the "monster's" bellowing was hushed,—the tremor ceased,—we were there! But how to get ashore was still a difficulty. It was about 100 yards off. Planks, however, were eventually placed so as to enable us to descend from our lofty "tug" into a ship at anchor, from that into another, from that again into a third, and from that at length on terra firma.
The hour was between 7 and 8 p.m.; and we were taken to a ship-chandler's store, while our kind captain went to get a chaise for us. The store was closed; but the owner and three other gentlemen were there, seated before a comfortable coal fire, apparently enjoying themselves after the business of the day. They received us very courteously, and gave us chairs by the fireside. The storm of that day they told us had done much harm to the shipping, and was severer than any other they had experienced during the last seven years. While the conversation was going on, plash made one, plash made another, plash made a third, by spurting a certain brownish secretion on the floor! I had often heard of this as an American habit, but always thought our cousins in this matter (as in many others) were caricatured. Here, however, was the actual fact, and that in the presence of a lady! Yet these were apparently very respectable men.
Having waited about a quarter of an hour, anxiously listening for the rumbling of the expected wheels, I heard in the distance a strange kind of noise, resembling that of a fire-shovel, a pair of tongs, a poker, and an iron hoop tied loosely together with a string, and drawn over the pavement! "What in the world is that?" said I. "It is the chaise," was the answer. The vehicle was quickly at the door. In we were bundled, and orders given to drive us to the "St. Charles's." We scarcely knew what this "St. Charles's" was; but, as all with whom we had conversed seemed to take it for granted that we should go thither, and as any one saint was to us as good as any other, we echoed, "To the St. Charles's." And now began such a course of jolting as we had never before experienced. It seemed as if all the gutters and splash-holes in the universe had been collected together, and we had to drive over the whole. This continued about half an hour, by which we learned that we were at first much further from the "St. Charles's" than we supposed. The machine at last stopped, and we alighted, thankful to have escaped a complete stoppage of our breath.
We were there. A waiter (he was not to be mistaken,—he bore a family resemblance to all the waiters of the world) was instantly at the coach-door, to help us out and to help us in. He conducted us into a lobby, up a flight of stairs, and through a long passage, to a large saloon, where about 150 ladies and gentlemen were assembled,—some sitting, some standing, some talking, some laughing, and some playing with their fingers. But, no! we shrunk back. Thither we would not be led, all wet and dirty as we were. We begged to be shown into a private room. The waiter stared, and said he had none to take us to, except I would first go to the "office." But what was to become of my fellow-traveller in the meantime? No woman belonging to the establishment made her appearance, and there my wife was obliged to stand alone in the passage, whilst I followed the waiter through aisles and passages, and turnings and twistings, and ups and downs, to a large saloon, where about 200 gentlemen were smoking cigars! What a sight! and what a smell! Who can realize the vast idea of 200 mouths, in one room, pouring forth the fumes of tobacco? I was directed to the high-priest of the establishment in the "office," or (as I should say) at the "bar." Without verbally replying to my application, he handed me a book in which to record my name. Having obeyed the hint, I again asked my taciturn host if myself and wife could be accommodated. He then, with manifest reluctance, took the cigar out of his mouth, and said he had only one room to spare, and that was at the top of the house. It was "Hobson's choice," and I accepted it. And now for a journey! Talk of ascending the Monument on Fish-street Hill! what is that compared to ascending the St. Charles's, at New Orleans? No. 181 was reached at last. The next task was to find my wife, which after another long and circuitous journey was accomplished. In process of time fire was made, and "tea for two" brought up. Let me, therefore, close my letter and enjoy it.
New Orleans—The Story of Pauline—Adieu to the St. Charles's—Description of that Establishment—First Sight of Slaves for Sale—Texts for Southern Divines—Perilous Picture.
From No. 181 of the "St. Charles's," we descended, after a good night's rest, to see some of the lions of the place. Here we are (thought I) in New Orleans—the metropolis of a great slave country,—a town in which exist many depots for the disposal of human beings,—the very city where, a few months ago, poor Pauline was sacrificed as the victim of lust and cruelty! Unhappy girl! What a tragedy! On the 1st of August last, I told the horrid tale to my emancipated people in Berbice. Here it is, as extracted from the Essex (United States) Transcript. Read it, if you please; and then you will have a notion of the feelings with which I contemplated a city rendered infamous by such a transaction.
"Many of our readers have probably seen a paragraph stating that a young slave girl was recently hanged at New Orleans for the crime of striking and abusing her mistress. The religious press of the north has not, so far as we are aware, made any comments upon this execution. It is too busy pulling the mote out of the eye of the heathen, to notice the beam in our nominal Christianity at home. Yet this case, viewed in all its aspects, is an atrocity which has (God be thanked) no parallel in heathen lands. It is a hideous offshoot of American Republicanism and American Christianity! It seems that Pauline—a young and beautiful girl—attracted the admiration of her master, and being (to use the words of the law) his "chattel personal to all intents and purposes whatsoever," became the victim of his lust. So wretched is the condition of the slave woman, that even the brutal and licentious regard of her master is looked upon as the highest exaltation of which her lot is susceptible. The slave girl in this instance evidently so regarded it; and as a natural consequence, in her new condition, triumphed over and insulted her mistress,—in other words, repaid in some degree the scorn and abuse with which her mistress had made her painfully familiar. The laws of the Christian State of Mississippi inflict the punishment of death upon the slave who lifts his or her hand against a white person. Pauline was accused of beating her mistress,—tried, found guilty, and condemned to die! But it was discovered on the trial that she was in a condition to become a mother, and her execution was delayed until the birth of the child. She was conveyed to the prison cell. There, for many weary months, uncheered by the voice of kindness, alone, hopeless, desolate, she waited for the advent of the new and quickening life within her, which was to be the signal of her own miserable death. And the bells there called to mass and prayer-meeting, and Methodists sang, and Baptists immersed, and Presbyterians sprinkled, and young mothers smiled through tears upon their new-born children,—and maidens and matrons of that great city sat in their cool verandahs, and talked of love, and household joys, and domestic happiness; while, all that dreary time, the poor slave girl lay on the scanty straw of her dungeon, waiting—with what agony the great and pitying God of the white and black only knows—for the birth of the child of her adulterous master. Horrible! Was ever what George Sand justly terms 'the great martyrdom of maternity'—that fearful trial which love alone converts into joy unspeakable—endured under such conditions? What was her substitute for the kind voices and gentle soothings of affection? The harsh grating of her prison lock,—the mockings and taunts of unfeeling and brutal keepers! What, with the poor Pauline, took the place of the hopes and joyful anticipations which support and solace the white mother, and make her couch of torture happy with sweet dreams? The prospect of seeing the child of her sorrow, of feeling its lips upon her bosom, of hearing its feeble cry—alone, unvisited of its unnatural father; and then in a few days—just when the mother's affections are strongest, and the first smile of her infant compensates for the pangs of the past—the scaffold and the hangman! Think of the last terrible scene,—the tearing of the infant from her arms, the death-march to the gallows, the rope around her delicate neck, and her long and dreadful struggles, (for, attenuated and worn by physical suffering and mental sorrow, her slight frame had not sufficient weight left to produce the dislocation of her neck on the falling of the drop,) swinging there alive for nearly half an hour—a spectacle for fiends in the shape of humanity! Mothers of New England! such are the fruits of slavery. Oh! in the name of the blessed God, teach your children to hate it, and to pity its victims. Petty politicians and empty-headed Congress debators are vastly concerned, lest the 'honour of the country' should be compromised in the matter of the Oregon Boundary. Fools! One such horrible atrocity as this murder of poor Pauline 'compromises' us too deeply to warrant any further display of their patriotism. It would compromise Paradise itself! An intelligent and philanthropic European gentleman, who was in New Orleans at the time of the execution, in a letter to a friend in this vicinity, after detailing the circumstances of the revolting affair, exclaims, 'God of goodness! God of justice! There must be a future state to redress the wrongs of this. I am almost tempted to say—there must be a future state, or no God!'"
On Saturday, the 30th, we set off to seek private lodgings. Led by a board having on it in large letters the words "Private Boarding," we "inquired within," found what we wanted, and engaged for eight dollars per week each. We then went to pay our bill at the "St. Charles's," and to bring away our carpet-bag. We had been there two nights, had had one dinner, two teas, and two breakfasts. These meals, as we did not like to join the hundreds at the "ordinary," were served to us (in a very ordinary way however) in our bedroom. In fact, the waiting was miserably done. And yet for this we had the pleasure of paying eleven dollars,—say L2. 6s.! We gladly bade adieu to the "St. Charles's." It suited neither our taste nor our pocket. Nevertheless, it is a magnificent concern. The edifice was finished in 1838 by a company, and cost 600,000 dollars. The gentlemen's dining-room is 129 feet by 50, and is 22 feet high; having four ranges of tables, capable of accommodating 500 persons. The ladies' dining-room is 52 feet by 36. The house contains 350 rooms, furnishing accommodation for between 600 and 700 guests; and it was quite full when we were there. The front is adorned with a projecting portico, supported by six fine Corinthian columns, resting upon a rustic basement. The edifice is crowned with a large dome, forty-six feet in diameter, having a beautiful Corinthian turret on the top. This dome is the most conspicuous object in the city. Viewed from a distance, it seems to stand in the same relation to New Orleans as St. Paul's to London. The furniture of this immense establishment cost 150,000 dollars. A steam-engine, producing a very disagreeable tremor, is constantly at work in the culinary department.
While on our way to get the remainder of our baggage from the ship, we came upon a street in which a long row, or rather several rows, of black and coloured people were exposed in the open air (and under a smiling sun) for sale! There must have been from 70 to 100, all young people, varying from 15 to 30 years of age. All (both men and women) were well dressed, to set them off to the best advantage, as is always the case at these sales. Several of the coloured girls—evidently the daughters of white men—had their sewing-work with them, as evidence of their skill in that department. The whole were arranged under a kind of verandah, having a foot-bench (about six inches high) to stand upon, and their backs resting against the wall. None were in any way tied or chained; but two white men ("soul-drivers," I suppose) were sauntering about in front of them, each with a cigar in his mouth, a whip under his arm, and his hands in his pockets, looking out for purchasers. In its external aspect, the exhibition was not altogether unlike what I have sometimes seen in England, when some wandering Italian has ranged against a wall his bronzed figures of distinguished men,—Shakspeare, Napoleon, Wellington, Nelson, &c. It was between twelve and one in the day; but there was no crowd, not even a single boy or girl looking on,—so common and every-day was the character of the scene. As we moved along in front of this sable row, one of the white attendants (though my wife had hold of my arm) said to me, with all the nonchalance of a Smithfield cattle-drover, "Looking out for a few niggers this morning?" Never did I feel my manhood so insulted. My indignation burned for expression. But I endeavoured to affect indifference, and answered in a don't-care sort of tone, "No, I am not particularly in want of any to-da—." I could scarcely finish the sentence. Emotion choked my utterance. I passed on, gazing at the troop of degraded human beings, till my eyes became so filled with tears that I was compelled to turn my face another way. Though I anticipated such scenes, and had tried to prepare my mind for them, yet (now that they were actually before me) I was completely overcome, and was obliged to seek a place to sit down while I composed my feelings. With what sentiments my companion beheld the scene, I will leave you to conjecture!
It was Saturday morning; and with my professional habits, I naturally thought of the many divines in that very city, who were at that moment shut up in their studies, preparing their discourses for the morrow. I wished I had them all before me. I could have given every one of them a text to preach upon. I would have said, "Gentlemen, see there! and blush for your fellow-citizens. See there! and never again talk of American liberty. See there! and lift up your voices like so many trumpets against this enormity. See there! and in the face of persecution, poverty, imprisonment, and (if needs be) even death itself, bear your faithful testimony, and cease not until this foul stain be wiped away from your national escutcheon. Dr. S——, to-morrow morning let this be your text,—'Where is Abel, thy brother?' Dr. II——, let your discourse be founded on Exod. xxi. 16: 'And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death.' You, the Rev. Mr. C——, let your gay and wealthy congregation be edified with a solemn and impressive sermon on Is. lviii. 6: 'Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?' And you, the Rev. Mr. H——, let your hearers have a full and faithful exposition of that law which is 'fulfilled in one word, even in this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.'"
In the afternoon of the same day, as I walked along one of the principal streets, I saw a flag issue from a fine large public building to invite "ladies and gentlemen" to see "the magnificent picture of the departure of the Israelites from Egypt,"—the canvas containing 2,000 square feet, and 2,000,000 of figures! How significant! It would have been still more so, if the number of "figures" had been 3,000,000 instead of 2,000,000. What an "abolition" picture! It must have been worse than "Jacob and his Sons," which was expunged from a catalogue of the American Sunday-School Union, because, in reprehending the sale of Joseph to the merchants, it reflected upon the internal slave-trade! Surely such exhibitions will affect the safety of the "peculiar institution!"
A Sabbath in New Orleans—The First Presbyterian Church—Expectoration —A Negro Pew—The Sermon.
Think of a Sabbath in New Orleans! Curious to know how people did really pray and preach, with slavery and slave-trading in their vilest forms around them, I set off in search of the "First Presbyterian Church." It is a beautiful building; seldom, if ever, had I seen a place of worship the exterior of which I liked so much. Being a quarter of an hour too soon, I had opportunity for some preliminary researches. Wishing to see whether there was a "Negro Pew," I went into the gallery, and took a seat on the left side of the organ. The "church" I found as beautiful inside as out. Instead of a pulpit, there was a kind of platform lined with crimson, which looked very nice. Most of the pews below, and some above, were lined with the same material. A splendid chandelier, having many circles of glass brilliants, was suspended from the ceiling. Altogether, the "church" was a very neat and graceful structure,—capable, as I learned, of accommodating about 1,500 people. But the floor—the floor! What a drawback! It was stained all over with tobacco juice! Faugh! Those Southern men are the most filthy people in that respect I ever met with. They are a great "spitting" community. To make it still more revolting to luckless travellers, this nasty habit is generally attended with noises in the throat resembling the united growling of a dozen mastiffs.
While the congregation was assembling, a greyheaded, aristocratic-looking old negro came up into the gallery, walked along "as one having authority," and placed himself in a front pew on the right-hand side of the pulpit. Two black women shortly followed, taking their seats in the same region. Others succeeded, till ultimately there were from forty to fifty of the sable race in that part of the gallery. Not one white was to be seen among the blacks, nor one black among the whites. There, then, was the "Negro Pew!" It was the first time even my West India eyes ever beheld a distinction of colour maintained in the house of God!
At eleven o'clock precisely, a man of tall but stooping figure and dark complexion, about forty years of age, muffled up in a cloak, took his stand at the bottom of the pulpit or platform stairs. It was Dr. S——. He appeared to beckon to some one in the congregation. A tall, lank old gentleman, with a black cravat, and shirt-collar turned over it a l'Americain, stepped forward, and, ascending the steps before the Doctor, occupied one of the two chairs with which the rostrum was furnished, the Doctor taking the other. I supposed him to be one of the elders, going to give out the hymns, or to assist in the devotional exercises. At this moment the organ—a fine-toned instrument—struck up, and the choir sang some piece—known, I presume, only to themselves, for no others joined in it. This prelude I have since found is universal in America. In all places of worship provided with an organ, a "voluntary" on that instrument is the first exercise. In the present instance the choir had no sooner ceased than the Doctor stood up, having his cloak still resting upon his shoulders, and stretched forth his right hand. At this signal all the people stood up, and he offered a short prayer. "Where is Abel, thy brother?" thought I, during this address to the Father of the spirits of all flesh. He then read the 23rd and 24th Psalms. "Where is Abel, thy brother?" was still ringing in my ears. The 33rd Psalm was then sung. "Where is Abel, thy brother?" was still heard (by me at least) louder than the swelling tones of the organ. The singing done, of which the choir still had an entire monopoly, the Doctor read the 14th chapter of Mark; and as he read the awful story of our Lord's betrayal, I could not help thinking that the only difference between some of the Southern slave-dealers and Judas was, that had they been in his place, they would have made a "smarter" bargain. The reading, though free from affectation, was not by any means in the best style. The chapter finished, the tall elder (as I took him to be) prayed,—the congregation standing. The prayer was short and appropriate, and the language tolerably correct; but the tone and pronunciation were queer. I supposed them to indicate some provincialism with which I was not acquainted. Along with that peculiar nasal sound for which nearly all Americans are distinguished, there was in the voice a mixture of coaxing and familiarity which was a little offensive; still, as a "layman's" exercise, it was very good. He prayed for "every grace and Christian virtue." Amen, ejaculated I,—then your slaves will soon be free. He prayed for "our nation and rulers." He prayed that "the great blessings of Civil and Religious Liberty which we enjoy may be handed down to future generations." "Looking out for a few niggers this morning?" thought I. He also prayed for "the army and navy, and our fellow-citizens now on the field of battle," in allusion to the Mexican War.—The prayer ended, Dr. S—— gave out another hymn. During the whole of the service, I may here remark, there was a good deal of going in and out, talking, whispering, spitting, guttural turbulence, &c. At first there were about a dozen white boys in my neighbourhood, who seemed as if they belonged to the Sabbath-school; but, having no teacher to look after them, and enjoying the full swing of liberty, they had before sermon all disappeared.
After the singing, Dr. S—— made several announcements,—amongst others, that the monthly concert to pray for the success of Foreign Missions would be held there to-morrow evening, when several speakers would address the meeting. By all means (said I to myself), and I'll try to be present. He also told his people that the Rev. ——. ———, (from some place in Kentucky,—the particulars I did not catch,) was in the city, as a deputation from the ladies, to solicit subscriptions for the erection of a new church that was greatly needed.
The tall man in the black neckcloth then rose, and, to my surprise and disappointment, read a text. It was I Cor. iii. 21: "For all things are yours." I imagine he was the deputation from the Kentuckian ladies.
After a few introductory remarks explanatory of the context, he proposed to inquire what are the things which "enter into" ("constitute," we should say) the inheritance of God's people. Slaves (said I to myself) are a part of the inheritance of "God's people," both here and in Kentucky: I wonder if he will notice that.
The first thing, I observe (said he), that enters into the inheritance of God's people, is the living ministry—"Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas." To illustrate the value of this blessing, he referred to the imaginary Elixir of Life, the Philosopher's Stone, and the Universal Panacea. If such things really existed, what a high value would men set upon them! But here was something of incomparably higher worth. In order to form an estimate of its value, he led his hearers to imagine the entire loss of the living ministry. Secondly, the "world" belongs to God's people. It is sustained for their sake, and therefore sinners are indebted to God's people for the preservation of their lives. To prove this he referred to the words of our Lord, "Ye are the salt of the earth." In speaking of the preserving nature of salt, he supposed the sea to be without salt.
How pestilential then! But as it is, how salubrious the air that has swept over it! He also referred to another case. There was once (said he) a ship in a tremendous storm; the crew and passengers—about 270 in number—were at their wits' end; nothing appeared before them but a watery grave. On board of that ship was a poor prisoner, bound in chains. He was deemed to be of the filth of the world, and the off-scouring of all things. To that poor prisoner the angel of the Lord came, and told him what must be done to save the life of every one on board. The angel's directions were obeyed, and all were preserved. Thus, for the sake of one of God's people, were 270 lives spared. He offered another illustration. Three men came to converse with Abraham, on the plains of Mamre. They told him that God was about to destroy five cities. Abraham began to intercede for them. The preacher recapitulated the wondrous story of this intercession and its success, as further proving that ungodly men owe the preservation of their lives to the presence and prayers of the people of God. The parable of the tares was also cited, as illustrating the same position. "Let both grow together until the harvest." Imagine (said he) all the people of God removed from the face of the earth—no heart to love Him—no tongue to praise Him,—there would be no reason why the earth should be continued in existence another moment. In the light of this subject, see how great a privilege it is to have pious relatives. "Life" also was, in the third place, a part of the inheritance of the child of God, because during it he makes a provision for eternity. He dwelt on the richness of the treasure which God's people are laying up. Suppose (said he) any of you were making money at the rate of fifty dollars an hour,—(I dare say you do so sometimes, reflected I, when you get a good price for your "niggers,")—how rich you would soon be! and how anxious that not a single hour should be lost! But the child of God is laying up treasure at a faster rate than this. Every time he works for God, he is laying it up. The Christian's treasure is also of the right kind, and laid up in the right place. If any of you were going to emigrate to another country, you would be anxious to know what sort of money was current in that country, and to get yours changed into it. The Christian's treasure is the current coin of eternity. It is also in the right place. Where would you like to have your treasure? Why, at home. The Christian's treasure is at home—in his Father's house. Life is his also, because during it he fights the battles of the Lord. Here the preacher made an approving reference to the war against the Mexicans; and I strongly suspect that this view of the Christian's inheritance was dragged in for the very purpose. We fight (said he) under the eye of the General. We fight with a certainty of victory. Death too was, in the fourth place, a portion of the Christian's inheritance. To the people of God curses are made blessings, and to those who are not his people blessings are made curses. So sickness, persecution, and death are made blessings to the saints. Death to the Christian is like an honourable discharge to the soldier after the toil and the danger of the field of strife. But that illustration (said he) is too feeble: I will give you another. Imagine, on a bleak and dreary mountain, the humble dwelling of two old people. They are bending under the weight of years. Amidst destitution and want, they are tottering on the verge of the grave. A messenger comes, and tells them of a relative who has died, and left them a large inheritance,—one by which every want will be supplied, and every desire realized,—one that will, the moment they touch it with the soles of their feet, make them young again: he points, moreover, to the very chariot that is to convey them thither. Would this be bad news to those old people? Now, such is death to the child of God. The cord is cut, and the spirit takes its flight to the abodes of the blest. Or take another illustration. A stage-coach was once upset. Many of the passengers were in great danger. One man snatched a little babe from among the wheels, and laid it down in a place of safety on the roadside. Twenty years after the same man was travelling in a stage, on the same road, and telling those around him about the accident which had taken place a long time before. A young lady, sitting opposite, was listening to the narrative with eager interest, and at last she burst out with rapture, "Is it possible that I have at last found my deliverer? I was that little babe you rescued!" Something like this will be the disclosures that death will make. Having thus illustrated the inheritance of the people of God, let me ask you (said he) who are not his people—what will all these things be to you, if you die without Christ? The living ministry? The world? Life? Death? Having spoken briefly, with power and pathos, on each of these particulars, he very coolly and deliberately turned to Rev. xxii. 17, and read, "The Spirit and the Bride say, Come; and let him that heareth say, Come," &c., &c., and closed abruptly, with neither an Amen nor an invocation of any kind.
Such was the first sermon I heard in the United States. It was thoroughly evangelical and good; but I listened to it with mingled feelings. It was painful to think that such a ministry could co-exist with slavery. The creed it is evident may be evangelical, while there is a woful neglect of the duties of practical piety.
First Religious Service in America (continued)—A Collection "taken up"—Rush out—Evening Service—Sketch of the Sermon—Profanation of the Sabbath—The Monthly Concert for Prayer.
After sermon Dr. S. gave out a hymn, and told the congregation that the collection for the support of the "beneficiaries" of that church would be "taken up" that morning; adding that, in consequence of this collection not having been made at the usual time (in May last), some of the young men who were preparing for the ministry, and dependent on that congregation for food and clothing, were now in great want. He also suggested that, if any present were unprepared with money, they might put in a slip of paper, with their name, address, and the amount of their contribution, and some one would call upon them.
The collection was "taken up" during the singing, At the last verse the congregation stood up. The benediction was pronounced, with outstretched arm, by the Doctor; and the moment he uttered the "Amen!" all rushed out of the place as fast as they could. This rushing is a characteristic of the Americans. It is seen in their approach to the dining-table, as well as in a hundred other instances. I suppose it is what they call being "smart," and "going a-head."
In the evening I went again to the same "church." The introductory part was shorter and more simple than in the morning. The Doctor's prayer (seven or eight minutes long) was admirable. I wished some dry, prosy petitioners in England could have heard it. It was devout, comprehensive, and to the point. All classes of men—but one—were remembered in it. The slaves were not mentioned,—their freedom was not prayed for!
The Doctor gave us to understand that he was about to deliver the fifth of a series of lectures to young men in great cities. The text was, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath;" the subject, "The importance of the Sabbath to young men in great cities."
The text (he observed) involved the principle, that man was not made to observe certain ceremonies and obey certain precepts, but that the observance of rites and laws was enjoined for man's own sake. This principle applied to the institution of the Sabbath. The body, the intellect, the affections—all required the rest which the Sabbath affords. The experiment had been abundantly tried; and it had been invariably found that more could be done, in every department of labour, with the regular observance of the Sabbath as a day of rest than without it. The farmer, the student, the legislator, had all tried it. Man could no more do without the Sabbath than he could do without sleep. Writers on slavery, however they differed on other points, were all agreed on this,—that the withholding of the Sabbath from the slaves in the West Indies, together with the other cruelties inflicted upon them, had materially shortened their lives! (How telescopic, by the way, are our views with regard to evils at a distance! West India slavery never wore the hideous features which slavery presents in the Southern States of America. Slavery even in Cuba, with all its horrors, is far milder than in the United States.) France once presented a fearful example of what a nation would be without a Sabbath. The testimonies of Drs. Spurzheim and Rush were cited in confirmation; also that of a respectable merchant in New York, well known to the preacher, who, after the observation and experience of twenty-five years in that city, declared that of those who kept their counting-houses open on the Sabbath not one had escaped insolvency. A poor boy was apprenticed to an apothecary in a large city. To increase his wages and encourage his efforts, his master gave him a recipe and materials for making blacking on his own account. The blacking was made, and placed in pots in the shop window; but day after day passed, and no purchaser appeared. One Sunday morning, while the shop was open for medicine, before the hour of public service, a person came in, and asked for a pot of blacking. The boy was in the very act of stretching out his hand to reach it, when he reflected it was the Lord's-day. Falteringly, he told the customer it was the Sabbath, and he could not do it. After this the boy went to church. The Tempter there teased him about his folly in losing a customer for his blacking: the boy held in reply that he had done right, and, were the case to occur again, he would do just the same. On Monday morning, as soon as he had taken down the shutters, a person came in, and bought every pot of blacking there was; and the boy found that, after deducting the cost of materials, he had cleared one dollar. With more faith and fortitude than some of you possess (said the preacher), he went and took that dollar—the first he had ever earned—to the Bible Society. That poor boy is still living, and is now a wealthy man.
The preacher said he knew a man, in his own native State of Tennessee, who on his arrival in America had nothing but a pocket Bible; but he made two resolutions,—1st. That he would honour the Sabbath; 2nd. That he would remember his mother. The first dollar he got he sent to her, and declared that he would never forget the Sabbath and his mother. He also was now a wealthy man.
The punishment of Sabbath-breaking was sure, though not immediate. Like the punishment of intemperance or impurity, it would come. Here the celebrated testimony of Sir Matthew Hale was adduced. Dr. Johnson's rules respecting the Sabbath were read, with the observation that no doubt he owed much of his celebrity to their observance. Wilberforce had declared that, at one period of his life, parliamentary duties were so heavy that he would certainly have sunk under them, had it not been for the rest the Sabbath afforded. But the Sabbath was not merely a day of rest,—it was a day for improvement. Where there was no Sabbath, all was bad. The inhabitants of Scotland and New England were distinguished for industry and mental vigour; and they were equally distinguished for observance of the Sabbath. The universal observance of the same day was of great importance. It guarded against neglect. It told upon the ungodly, as was shown by an eloquent induction of circumstances,—the shops closed—the sound of the church-going bell—the throngs of decent worshippers going to and fro, &c.
Young men in great cities (it was observed) were in great danger, chiefly from example. They met with those who were older in sin than themselves—who prided themselves on knowing where the best oysters were sold, the cheapest horses to be hired, or the cheapest boats to be engaged for the Sunday's excursion. Young men were ready to think, "If I don't do this, I may do something worse." The fallacy and danger of this mode of reasoning were exposed. It might be employed to excuse any sin. Public places of amusement were highways to destruction. Ah! how those old people in that little cottage—surrounded with a stone wall—on the hill side—far away—would weep, if they knew their son was treading on the verge of these burning craters! Familiarity with Sabbath-breaking destroyed the sense of guilt. The young medical student when he first visited the dissecting-room, and the soldier when he first stood on the field of battle, were sensible of misgivings, against which repetition only made them proof,—each gradually losing his first sensations.
The desecration of the Sabbath was a greater evil to society than any tyrant could inflict. How would any infringement of civil rights be resisted! Here was an infringement with consequences infinitely more injurious; and yet the press were dumb dogs, and the pulpit itself was not guiltless!
This masterly discourse was read, but read in such a manner as to lose none of its effect. It occupied upwards of an hour. My irresistible impression as I listened was, There is a man of God! Truly a light shining in a dark place; for, as I returned to my lodgings, I found the coffee-houses, oyster-saloons, and theatres all open, just as on any other day, only more thronged with customers. How much such discourses are needed in this place, I leave you to judge from the following extract from the New Orleans Guide:—
"The greatest market-day is Sunday. At break of day the gathering commences,—youth and age—beauty and not so beautiful—all colours, nations, and tongues are co-mingled in one heterogeneous mass of delightful confusion. The traveller who leaves the city without visiting one of the popular markets on Sunday morning has suffered a rare treat to escape him."
On the evening of the next day, being the first Monday in the month, I went to the "Concert" for prayer, which had been announced the day before. It was held in a vestry or a school-room under the church. About sixty or seventy persons were in attendance. When I got there, they were singing the last verse of
"O'er the gloomy Mils of darkness," &c.
A gentleman then gave an address. His object was to show that extensive fields were open in various parts of the world for the introduction of the Gospel. There was nothing clerical in his appearance, and he boggled a great deal; but, as he said "We, the ministers of the Gospel," I inferred that he was the pastor of some other Presbyterian church in the city. Behind the desk, where sat Dr. S——, was hung up a missionary map of the world, drawn on canvas, and illuminated from behind. It was an excellent device. All missionary prayer-meetings should be furnished with one. Those parts where the Gospel is already preached were light, the realms of Heathenism dark, the lands of Popery red, and so forth.
After the address, the pastor called upon "Brother Franklin" to "lead in prayer." The phrase was new to me, but I liked it,—it was appropriate. The prayer was scriptural and good, as was that also of another brother. The second prayed that the war, in which they were then as a nation engaged, might be overruled for good, and "be the means of introducing the Gospel and free institutions to a neighbouring republic." Free institutions, indeed! (I said to myself): if you conquer, I fear it will be the means of introducing slavery where now it is not! After this prayer the pastor, having delivered a very short address, gave out a hymn, and said that while they were singing Brother such-a-one would "take up the collection,"—a phrase which seems to indicate a greater degree of preparation on the part of the people than our "make a collection." The Americans suppose it to be already made, and nothing remains but to take it up. The good brother came round with an old hat to receive contributions for the cause of missions. The pastor then closed with a short prayer and the benediction. Upon the whole, there were indications of a considerable degree of warm-heartedness in reference to the missionary cause, and especially of tender sympathy and affection towards missionaries themselves. As one of the tribe, I found it rather difficult to preserve my incog. There were present about half-a-dozen black people, some on the right and some on the left of the pastor—"the place of honour!"
"Jack Jones"—A Public Meeting for Ireland—Henry Clay—Other Speakers—American Feeling in reference to the Irish Famine—A Slave-Auction.
On that dreadful day, the 28th of January, on which we arrived in New Orleans, Jack Jones, a Welshman, was drowned in the Mississippi, in a generous effort to save another man from a watery grave. In that effort he succeeded, but at the cost of his own life. On the 2nd of February there was an advertisement in the papers, in which his friends offered a reward for the recovery of the body. Where was the corporation, or some one of the municipalities? for the papers make a continual reference to first, second, and third municipalities. Was there no public body, either civil or humane, to come forward on such an occasion? Had "Jack Jones" gone to the war, and butchered a score or two of harmless Mexicans, he would have been loaded with honours; but he saved a human being, close to the metropolis of the South, and his body was left to perish like that of a dog—for aught the citizens cared. I felt proud of my countryman. All honour to "Jack Jones!" May none of Cambria's sons perish in a cause less noble!
On the evening of the 4th of February I attended a public meeting for the relief of the Irish. It was held in the New Commercial Exchange, and was the first public meeting I had had an opportunity of attending in America. The Commercial Exchange is a fine large building, supported by pillars, and containing an area on the ground floor that would accommodate about 1,500 people. It is but ill-adapted for a public meeting, having no seats or benches. I found about 800 gentlemen present, but no ladies. Nor was that to be wondered at; for out of the 800, about 799 were spitting, 600 smoking cigars, 100 chewing tobacco, and perhaps 200 both chewing and smoking at the same time, for many of those people chew one end of the cigar while burning the other. There was a large platform, and a great number of gentlemen were upon it. Governor Johnson was the president, assisted by lots of vice-presidents. When I entered, a tall old gentleman, with rather high cheek bones, and a voice somewhat tremulous and nasal, was speaking. He descanted, in a second or third rate style, on the horrors of famine in Ireland,—its horrors especially as seen in the family. Coming to a period, he said, "It is under these circumstances that I want you to put your hands into your pockets, and pull out something, and throw it into the lap of starving Ireland!" This caused the most tremendous cheering I ever heard,—"bravo—bravo—bravo,—whoo—hoo—whoo!" The last sound was to me altogether new. Not having learned phonography, I can give you no adequate notion of it; but it was a combination of the owl's screech and the pig's scream. The favoured orator continued his speech a little longer, and at the close there was a storm of applause ten times more terrific than the former. And who was the speaker? It was none other, as I subsequently ascertained, than the celebrated Henry Clay! In departing from the tone of eulogy in which it is fashionable to speak of him, I may be charged with a want of taste and discrimination. That I cannot help. My simple object in these letters is to tell how Transatlantic men and manners appeared to my eye or ear. Before I went to America my respect for Henry Clay was very great. I am sorry to say it is not so now. I have closely examined his conduct in reference to "the peculiar institution," and find it to have been that—not of a high-minded statesman and true philanthropist—but of a trimming, time-serving partisan. He has been a main pillar of slavery; and as the idol of the Whig party, a great stumbling-block in the way of those who sought the overthrow of that system. The man of whom I have thus freely, yet conscientiously expressed myself, is nevertheless thus spoken of in the New Englander, a quarterly review of high character now open before me:—"We intend to speak in the praise of Henry Clay. His place among the great men of our country is permanently fixed. He stands forth prominent above the politicians of the hour, in the midst of the chosen few who are perpetual guardians of the interest and of the honour [slavery?] of the nation. The foundations of his fame are laid deep and imperishable, and the superstructure is already erected. It only remains that the mild light of the evening of life be shed around it."
The cheering at the close of Mr. Clay's speech merged into an awful tempest of barking. I could compare it to nothing else,—500 men barking with all their might! I thought it was all up with the meeting—that all was lost in incurable confusion; and yet the gentlemen on the platform looked down upon the raging tempest below with calmness and composure, as a thing of course. Amidst the noise I saw a middle-aged gentleman, rising on the platform, deliberately take off his top-coat, and all was hushed—except at the outskirts of the assembly, where a great trade in talking and tobacco was constantly carried on. This gentleman's name was S.S. Prentiss, Esq.; and the barking, it was now evident, consisted of calling out Prentiss! —Prentiss!—Prentiss! with all their might, on the top of the voice, and with an accent, sharp and rising, on the first syllable.
This gentleman gave us to understand that he was a lawyer—that he had often appeared before his fellow-citizens on former occasions (those occasions he briefly enumerated); but that the present was the most painful of all. He expatiated largely, and with great vehemence of tone and action, on the miseries of famine as experienced in Ireland,—talked much of their own glorious and free country—("Looking out for a few niggers this morning?" occurred to me),—and made some severe reflections—not, I admit, altogether undeserved—on the Government of England. This man was fluent, though turgid. He seemed resolved to act the orator throughout, and certainly to me appeared in point of talent far—far a-head of Henry Clay. Bravos and hoohoos in abundance greeted Mr. Prentiss. He spoke long; but the noise of the suburbs prevented my hearing so perfectly as I wished.
The cheering at the close of this speech merged into barking as before. In this instance it was Hunt!—Hunt!—Hunt! that they called for. The president (standing) showed them a sheet of paper, containing probably a list of subscriptions, and smiled coaxingly to intimate that he wished that to be read. But it would not do. Hunt!—Hunt!—Hunt! was still the cry; and the democracy, as before, carried the day.
By this time the atmosphere of the room had become so poisoned with smoking that I could endure it no longer. I had not only the general atmosphere to bear, but special puffs, right in my face, accompanying the questions and remarks which, in that free meeting, of free citizens, in a free country, were freely put to me by the free-and-easy gentlemen around. The meeting resulted in the raising of 15,000 dollars for the relief of the Irish. The sum was handed by the American Minister in London to Lord John Russell; and a note from his Lordship, acknowledging the gift, has gone the round of the papers on both sides of the Atlantic. The subject of relief to Ireland was subsequently, in many ways and places, brought under my notice; and while I have been delighted in many instances with the display of pure and noble generosity, it was too evident that much of what was done was done in a spirit of self-glorification over a humbled and afflicted rival. It was a fine opportunity to feed the national vanity, and to deal hard blows to England. Not that I was sorry to see those blows, or to feel them. They drew no blood, and were a hundred times more efficacious than if they had. I felt that there was much in the conduct of England towards her unhappy sister-isle for which she deserved the severest castigation. But I must protest against the form of putting the case, which was very common throughout the United States: "You are shocked at our slavery; and yet you have horrors of ten times greater magnitude, in the Irish famine at your own doors." In this way the Irish famine, was a God-sent sort of a salvo for the slave-holder's conscience, so soothing and grateful to his tortured feelings that he was but too happy to pay for it by a contribution for the relief of Ireland.
In consequence of the following advertisement in the Picayune, I screwed up my feelings, and resolved for once at least in my life to see a slave-auction. I was the more disposed to attend this, as it was distinctly stated that they would be sold in families. I should not therefore have to behold the wife torn away from the husband, the husband from the wife, the parent from the child, or the child from the parent, as is so commonly done.
"COTTON-FIELD HANDS.—By Beard, Calhoun, and Co., auctioneers.—Will be sold at auction, on Friday, the 5th inst., at 12 o'clock, at Bank's Arcade, thirty-seven Field Slaves; comprising eighteen from one plantation, and fourteen from another. All acclimated Negroes. To be sold in Families. Full particulars at sale."
Setting off a few minutes before 12, after about half-a-dozen inquiries, and as many "guessing" answers, I found "Bank's Arcade." It was very near the Presbyterian church, in which I had heard such excellent sermons on the preceding Sabbath. It was a large open building: one side occupied as a bar for the retail of strong drinks, and the other fitted up for auctioneering purposes,—there being conveniences for three or four of the trade to exercise their vocation at the same time. One end was used for the sale of books and other publications, chiefly novels; and the other for the exhibition of fancy goods.
As I got in at one end, I heard a voice—with that peculiar, twirling, rapid, nasal twang, which marks the Transatlantic auctioneer—say, "400 dollars for this fine young woman—only 400 dollars—420, only 420—430—440, only 440 dollars offered for this fine young woman." By this time I had got in front of the performer, and had a full view of the whole affair. And sure enough she was a "fine young woman," about twenty-three years of age, neatly dressed, not quite——But the scene shall form the subject of my next letter.
The Slave-Auction (continued)—"A Fine Young Woman"—A Man and his Wife—Jim, the Blacksmith—A Family—A Ploughboy—Cornelia—Another Jim—Tom, the House-Boy—Edmund—Tom, and "his reserved rights"—A Carriage Driver—Margaret and her Child.
Yes, she was a "fine young woman," about 23 years of age, neatly dressed, not black, but slightly coloured. The auctioneer was a sleek-looking fellow, with a face that indicated frequent and familiar intercourse with the brandy-bottle. He stood upon a platform, about four feet high. Behind him was a table, at which a clerk sat to record the sales. High above was a semi-circular board, on which were written in large letters "Beard, Calhoun, and Co." In front, standing upon a chair, exposed to the gaze of a crowd of men, stood the "fine young woman." She had an air of dignity even in that degrading position. Around were twenty or thirty more of the sable race, waiting their turn.
"440 dollars only offered," continued the coarse and heartless auctioneer; "450, thank you; 460, 460 dollars only offered for this excellent young woman—470 only, 470—480, 480 dollars only offered—490—500 dollars offered—going for 500 dollars—once, going for 500 dollars—503 dollars—going for 503 dollars—going—once —twice—gone for 503 dollars. She is yours, sir," pointing to the highest bidder. She stepped down, and disappeared in the custody of her new proprietor.
A man and his wife, both black, were now put up. They were made to ascend the platform. "Now, how much for this man and his wife? Who makes an offer? What say you for the pair? 550 dollars offered—560 dollars only; 560 dollars," &c., &c., till some one bidding 600 dollars—he added, "Really, gentlemen, it is throwing the people away—going for 600 dollars; going—once—twice—gone for 600 dollars. They are yours, sir."
Jim, a blacksmith, about 30 years of age, was the next. He stood on the chair in front. "Now, who bids for Jim? He is an excellent blacksmith; can work on a plantation, and make his own tools; in fact, can turn his hand to anything. The title is good,"—(Is it, indeed? breathed I,)—"and he is guaranteed free from all the vices and maladies provided against by law. Who bids for him? 600 dollars bid for him —625 dollars—650 dollars," and so on to 780. "'Pon my soul, gentlemen, this is throwing the man away; he is well worth 1,200 dollars of anybody's money; 790 dollars only offered for him—going for 790 dollars;—going—once—twice—gone for 790 dollars."
The next "lot" was a family, consisting of the husband, a man slightly coloured, about 30 years of age, the wife about 25, quite black, and reminding me forcibly of an excellent woman in my own congregation, a little girl about 4 years of age, and a child in the arms. They were told to mount the platform. As they obeyed, I was attracted by a little incident, which had well nigh caused my feelings to betray me. Never shall I forget it. Parents of England, let me tell it you, and enlist your sympathies on behalf of oppressed and outraged humanity. It was that of a father helping up, by the hand, his own little girl to be exposed for sale. "Now, who bids for this family? Title good—guaranteed free from the vices and maladies provided against by law. The man is an excellent shoemaker—can turn his hand to anything,—and his wife is a very good house-servant. Who bids for the lot? 500 dollars bid for them—600 dollars—only 600 dollars—700 dollars offered for them." But the price ultimately mounted up to 1,125 dollars.—"Going for 1,125 dollars—once—twice—gone for 1,125 dollars."
The next was a black boy, 16 years of age. He mounted the chair, not the platform. "Now, gentlemen, here is an excellent ploughboy. Who bids for him? Thank you,—400 dollars bid for him—425," and so on to 550 dollars. "Why, look at him; he is a powerful-limbed boy; he will make a very large strong man." He was knocked down at 625 dollars.
"The next I have to put up, gentlemen, is a young piece of city goods—the girl Cornelia. She is 18 years of age, a good washer and ironer, but not a very good cook. She is well known in the city, and has always belonged to some of the best families." By this time Cornelia was standing upon the chair. "Now, gentlemen, who bids for this girl? She is sold for no fault, but simply for want of money. Who bids for this excellent washer and ironer?" At this moment one of the "gentlemen," standing in front of her, deliberately took his walking-stick, and, with the point of it, lifted up her clothes as high as the knee. I afterwards saw this same man walking arm-in-arm with his white wife in the street. "500 dollars offered for her—530 dollars." She went for 580.
Here let me state, once for all, that I took notes on the spot. Those around me no doubt thought I was deeply interested in the state of the slave-market, and wishful to convey the most accurate information to my slave-breeding and soul-driving correspondents at a distance. Had my real object and character been discovered, I gravely doubt whether I should have left that "great" and "free" city alive!
The next "lot" were Jim, his wife, and two children, one about three, and the other about two years of age,—all on the platform. They were said to be excellent cotton-field hands, title good, and so forth; but, somehow, there were no bidders.
A boy about ten years of age, a fine intelligent-looking little fellow, was now made to mount the chair. "Now, who bids for Tom? an excellent house-boy, a 'smart' young lad; can wait well at table—title good—guaranteed free from all the vices and maladies provided against by law. Who bids for him?" The bidding began, at 350 dollars, and ended at 425.
"I have now to put up the boy Edmund, thirty-two years of age, an excellent cotton-field hand. Who bids for the boy Edmund?" At this moment a gentleman, who, like most of those present, appeared to be a sort of speculator in slaves, stepped forward, and examined with his hands the boy's legs, especially about the ankles, just as I have seen horse-dealers do with those animals at fairs. There were, however, no bidders; and Edmund was put down again.
The next that mounted the chair was a shrewd-looking negro, about thirty-five years of age. "Now, gentlemen, who bids for Tom? He is an excellent painter and glazier, and a good cook besides; title good; sold for no fault, except that his owner had hired him at 25 dollars a month, and Tom would not work. An excellent painter and glazier, and a good cook besides. His only fault is that he has a great idea of his own reserved rights, to the neglect of those of his master." This was said with a waggish kind of a leer, as if he thought he had said a very smart thing in a very smart way. 300 dollars were first offered for him; but poor Tom went for 350. "Now, sir," said the man-seller to Tom, with a malicious look, "you'll go into the country." He was bought by one of the speculators, who no doubt would sell him again for double the amount. Tom, as he descended from the chair, gave a look which seemed to say, "I care not whither I go; but my own reserved rights shall not be forgotten!"
A girl of seventeen years of age, somewhat coloured, was the next put up. She was "an excellent washer and getter-up of linen." She was also "a tolerably good cook." But there were no bidders; and the auctioneer said, "Really, gentlemen, I have a great deal of business to do in my office: I cannot lose any more time here, as you are not disposed to bid." And so ended the exhibition.
I was now at leisure to observe that a strange noise which I had heard for some time proceeded from another auctioneer, engaged in the same line of business at the other end of the room. As I approached, I saw him with a young coloured man of about twenty-two years of age, standing on his left hand on the platform. What a sight! Two men standing together, and the one offering the other for sale to the highest bidder! In the young man's appearance there was something very good and interesting. He reminded me forcibly of an excellent young man of the same colour in my own congregation. 430 dollars were offered for him; but, as he was a good carriage driver, and worth a great deal more, only he had not had time to dress himself for the sale, being industrious, sober, and no runaway (said with significant emphasis), the bidding ran up to 660 dollars. Here one of the bidders on the auctioneer's right hand asked him something aside; to which he answered, loudly and emphatically, "Fully guaranteed in every respect;" and then said to the young man, "Turn this way, and let the gentleman see you," He was sold for 665 dollars.
The next was a very modest-looking young mulatto girl, of small features and slender frame, with a little child (apparently not more than a year old) in her arms, evidently the daughter of a white man. "Now, who bids for Margaret and her child?" Margaret! my own dear mother's name. "Margaret and her child!" What should I have been this day, if that Margaret "and her child" Ebenezer had been so treated? Who can think of his own mother, and not drop a tear of sympathy for this mother—so young, so interesting, and yet so degraded? "Now, gentlemen, who bids for Margaret and her child? She is between sixteen and seventeen years of age, and is six months gone in pregnancy of her second child: I mention the last circumstance, because you would not think it to look at her,—it is right, however, that you should know. She cooks well, sews well, washes well, and irons well. Only 545 dollars! Really, gentlemen, it's throwing the girl away; she is well worth 800 dollars of any man's money. She'll no doubt be the mother of a great many children; and that is a consideration to a purchaser who wants to raise a fine young stock. Only 545 dollars offered for her!" No higher offer being made, she was sent down,—it was no sale. Let us breathe again.
St. Louis Exchange—Inspection of Human Chattels—Artizan Slaves—Scenes and Proceedings of the Auction—Sale of the Men.
Finding that another slave-auction was to be held at noon next day in the St. Louis Exchange, I resolved to attend. The day was dull and dirty. "Please, sir," said I to the first man I met, "to tell me where St. Louis Exchange is?" "Don't know, sir." I walked on a little further, and tried again. "Please to direct me to St. Louis Exchange?" "Can't; but it's somewhere in that direction," pointing with his finger. "Is this the way to St. Louis Exchange?" I asked a third. "I guess it is," was the curt and characteristic reply. "How far is it?" "Three blocks further on; then turn to your right; go a little way down, and you will find it on your left." I went as directed, and came to an immense building—a kind of hotel. There were nearly a dozen entrances, all leading into one vast saloon, where I found about 200 gentlemen,—some drinking, some eating, some smoking, some reading, some talking, and all spitting. One end of the saloon was fitted up as a refreshment place, similar to those on railway stations in England. But I could see nothing like preparations for a sale.