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Title: The American Prejudice Against Color - An Authentic Narrative, Showing How Easily The Nation Got - Into An Uproar.
Author: Allen, William G.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "The American Prejudice Against Color - An Authentic Narrative, Showing How Easily The Nation Got - Into An Uproar." ***


Prejudice Against Color.

       *       *       *       *       *




       *       *       *       *       *



       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *



Extract of a letter from Hon. Gerrit Smith, of New York, Member of
Congress, to Joseph Sturge, Esq., of Birmingham, England. (By permission
of Mr. Sturge.)

                  _"Peterboro', New York, March 23rd_, 1853.

"I take great pleasure in introducing to you my much esteemed friend,
Professor Wm. G. Allen. I know him well, and know him to be a man of
great mental and moral worth. I trust, in his visit to England, he will
be both useful and happy.

                       "Very truly, your friend and brother,
                                             "GERRIT SMITH."

       *       *       *       *       *

"Commending Professor Allen to the friends of the colored American
citizens who are denied their rights in their own country, and wishing
him every success in the object before him,

                                        "I am, respectfully,
  "_Birmingham, 6mo., 28d._, 1853.          "JOSEPH STURGE."

       *       *       *       *       *

                              "_Clapham, August 25th_, 1853.

  "My dear Sir:--

"Your determination to spend some time in Great Britain, and to employ
yourself, as opportunities occur, in giving lectures and delivering
addresses upon American topics, including the social position of the
free colored population--for which your education and personal
experience eminently fit you--has given me sincere pleasure. I trust you
will meet with ample encouragement from the friends of Abolition
throughout the United Kingdom, to whose sympathy and kindness I would
earnestly recommend you, and still more your heroic and most estimable

                              "Believe me, most truly yours,
  "Professor W. G. Allen                  "GEORGE THOMPSON."


            CHAPTER I.--Introduction                    41

                   II.--Personalities                   42

                   III.--Nobility and Servility         48

                   IV.--The Mob                         54

                   V.--Dark Days                        63

                   VI.--Brightening up,--Grand Result   79

                   VII.--Conclusion                     91

                   A Short Personal Narrative
                   by William G Allen                   95



Many persons having suggested that it would greatly subserve the
Anti-slavery Cause in this country, to present to the public a concise
narrative of my recent narrow escape from death, at the hands of an
armed mob in America, a mob armed with tar, feathers, poles, and an
empty barrel spiked with shingle nails, together with the reasons which
induced that mob, I propose to give it. I cannot promise however, to
write such a book as ought to be written to illustrate fully the
bitterness, malignity, and cruelty, of American prejudice against color,
and to show its terrible power in grinding into the dust of social and
political bondage, the hundreds of thousands of so-called free men and
women of color of the North. This bondage is, in many of its aspects,
far more dreadful than that of the _bona fide_ Southern Slavery, since
its victims--many of them having emerged out of, and some of them never
having been into, the darkness of personal slavery--have acquired a
development of mind, heart, and character, not at all inferior to the
foremost of their oppressors.

The book that ought to be written, _I_ ought not to attempt; but if no
one precedes me, I shall consider myself bound by necessity, and making
the attempt, lay on, with all the strength I can possibly summon, to
American Caste and skin-deep Democracy.

The mob occurred on Sabbath (!) evening, January the 30th, 1853, in the
village of Phillipsville, near Fulton, Oswego County, New York. The
cause,--the intention, on my part, of marrying a white young lady of
Fulton,--at least so the public surmised.



I am a quadroon, that is, I am of one-fourth African blood, and
three-fourths Anglo-Saxon. I graduated at Oneida Institute, in
Whitesboro', New York, in 1844; subsequently studied Law with Ellis Gray
Loring, Esq., of Boston, Massachusetts; and was thence called to the
Professorship of the Greek and German languages, and of Rhetoric and
Belles-Lettres of New York Central College, situated in Mc. Grawville,
Cortland County,--the only College in America that has ever called a
colored man to a Professorship, and one of the very few that receive
colored and white students on terms of perfect equality, if, indeed,
they receive colored students at all.

In April, 1851, I was invited to Fulton, to deliver a course of
Lectures. I gladly accepted the invitation, and none the less that
Fulton had always maintained a high reputation for its love of impartial
freedom, and that its citizens were highly respected for their professed
devotion to the teachings of Christianity.

I am glad to say, that on this occasion I was well received, and at the
close of my first lecture was invited to spend the evening at the house
of the Rev. Lyndon King. This gentleman having long been known as a
devoted abolitionist,--a fervid preacher of the doctrine, that character
is above color,--and as one of the ablest advocates of the social,
political, and religious rights of the colored man, I, of course, had a
pleasant visit with the family; and, remaining with them several days,
conceived a deep interest in one of the Elder's daughters,--Miss Mary E.
King, who was then preparing to enter the College in Mc. Grawville. I
accompanied Miss King to Mc. Grawville, where she remained in college, a
year and a half.

Boarding in tenements quite opposite each other, we frequently met in
other than college halls, and as freely conversed,--Miss K. being of
full age, and legally, as well as intellectually and morally, competent
to discuss the subjects in which, it is generally supposed, young men
and women feel an absorbing interest.

It is of no consequence what we said; and if it were, the reader,
judging in the light of the results, will perhaps as correctly imagine
that, as I can possibly describe it. I pass on at once, therefore,
simply stating that at the close of the year and a half, my interest in
the young lady had become fully reciprocated, and we occupied a relation
to each other much more significant than that of teacher and pupil.

Miss King returned to her father's house in October, 1852. I visited the
family in December following. Then and there we discussed the subject of
marriage more fully between ourselves; and deeming it a duty obligatory
upon us, by an intelligent regard for our future happiness, to survey,
before consummating an engagement even, the whole field of difficulties,
embarrassments, trials, insults and persecutions, which we should have
to enter on account of our diversity of complexion, and to satisfy
ourselves fully as to our ability to endure what we might expect to
encounter; we concluded to separate unengaged, and, in due season, each
to write to the other what might be the results of more mature
deliberation. This may seem unromantic to the reader; nevertheless, it
was prudent on our part.

After remaining in Fulton a week, I left for Boston. Several letters
then passed between us, and in January last, our engagement was fixed. I
will not speak of myself, but on the part of Miss King, this was
certainly a bold step. It displayed a moral heroism which no one can
comprehend who has not been in America, and who does not understand the
diabolical workings of prejudice against color. Whatever a man may be in
his own person,--though he should have the eloquence, talents, and
character of Paul and Apollos, and the Angel Gabriel combined,--though
he should be as wealthy as Croesus,--and though, in personal
appearance, he should be as fair as the fairest Anglo-Saxon, yet, if he
have but one drop of the blood of the African flowing in his veins, no
white young lady can ally herself to him in matrimony, without bringing
upon her the anathemas of the community, with scarcely an exception,
and rendering herself an almost total outcast, not only from the society
in which she formerly moved, but from society in general.

Such is American Caste,--the most cruel under the sun. And such it is,
notwithstanding the claims set up by the American people, that they are
Heaven's Vicegerents, to teach to men, and to nations as well, the
legitimate ideas of Christian Democracy.

To digress a moment. This Caste-spirit of America sometimes illustrates
itself in rather ridiculous ways.

A beautiful young lady--a friend of mine--attended, about two years
since, one of the most aristocratic Schools of one of the most
aristocratic Villages of New York. She was warmly welcomed in the
highest circles, and so amiable in temper was she, as well as agreeable
in mind and person, that she soon became not only a favorite, but _the_
favorite of the circle in which she moved. The _young gentlemen_ of the
village were especially interested in her, and what matrimonial offer
might eventually have been made her, it is not for me to say. At the
close of the second term, however, she left the school and the village;
and then, for the first time, the fact became known (previously known
only to her own room-mate) that she was slightly of African blood.
Reader,--the consternation and horror which succeeded this "new
development," are, without exaggeration, perfectly indescribable. The
people drew long breaths, as though they had escaped from the fangs of a
boa constrictor; the old ladies charged their daughters, that should
Miss ---- be seen in that village again, by no means to permit
themselves to be seen in the street with her; and many other charges
were delivered by said mothers, equally absurd, and equally foolish. And
yet this same young lady, according to their own previous showing, was
not only one of the most beautiful in person and manners who had ever
graced their circle, but was also of fine education; and in complexion
as white as the whitest in the village. Truly, this, our human nature,
is extremely strange and vastly inconsistent!

Confessedly, as a class, the quadroon women of New Orleans are the most
beautiful in America. Their personal attractions are not only
irresistible, but they have, in general, the best blood of America in
their veins. They are mostly white in complexion, and are, many of them,
highly educated and accomplished; and yet, by the law of Louisiana, no
man may marry a quadroon woman, unless he can prove that he, too, has
African blood in his veins. A law involving a greater outrage on
propriety, a more blasphemous trifling with the heart's affections, and
evincing a more contemptible tyranny, those who will look at the matter
from the beginning to the end, will agree with me, could not possibly
have been enacted.

Colonel Fuller, of the "_New York Mirror_," writing from New Orleans,
gives some melancholy descriptions--and some amusing ones too--of the
operations of this most barbarous law.

One I especially remember. A planter, it seems, had fallen deeply in
love with a charming quadroon girl. He desired to marry her; but the law
forbade. What was he to do? To tarnish her honour was out of the
question; he had too much himself to seek to tarnish hers. Here was a
dilemma. But he was not to be foiled. What true heart will be, if there
be any virtue in expedients?

    "----In love,
  His thoughts came down like a rushing stream."

At last he got it. A capital thought, which could have crept out of no
one's brain, save that of a most desperate lover. He hit upon the
expedient of extracting a little African blood from the veins of one of
his slaves, and injecting it into his own. The deed done, the letter of
the law was answered. He made proposals, was accepted, and they were
married,--he being willing to risk his caste in obedience to a love
higher and holier than any conventionalism which men have ever contrived
to establish.

O, Cupid, thou art a singular God! and a most amazing philosopher! Thou
goest shooting about with thy electrically charged arrows, bringing to
one common level human hearts, however diverse in clime, caste, or

Let not the reader suppose, however, that the white people of America
are in the habit of exercising such honor towards the people of color,
as is here ascribed to this planter. Far from it. The laws of the
Southern States, on the one hand, (I allude not now to any particular
law of Louisiana, but to the laws of the Slave States in general), have
deliberately, and in cold blood, withheld their protection from every
woman within their borders, in whose veins may flow but half a drop of
African blood; while the prejudice against color of the Northern States,
on the other hand, is so cruel and contemptuous of the rights and
feelings of colored people, that no white man would lose his caste in
debauching the best educated, most accomplished, virtuous and wealthy
colored woman in the community, but would be mobbed from Maine to
Delaware, should he with that same woman attempt honorable marriage.
Henry Ward Beecher, (brother of Mrs. Stowe) in reference to prejudice
against color, has truly said of the Northern people--and the truth in
this case in startling and melancholy--that, "with them it is less
sinful to break the whole decalogue towards the colored people, than to
keep a single commandment in their favour."

But to return to the narrative. Miss King, previously to the
consummation of our engagement, consulted her father, who at once gave
his consent. Her sister not only consented, but, thanks to her kind
heart, warmly approved the match. Her brothers, of whom there were many,
were bitterly opposed. Mrs. King--a step-mother only--was not only also
bitterly opposed, but inveterately so. Bright fancies and
love-bewildering conceptions were what, in her estimation, we ought not
to be allowed to indulge.

In passing, it is proper to say, that this lady, though not lacking a
certain benevolence,--especially that sort which can pity the fugitive,
give him food and raiment, or permit him at her table even,--is,
nevertheless, extremely aristocratic of heart and patronizing of temper.
This statement is made upon quite a familiar acquaintance with Mrs.
King, and out of no asperity of feeling. I cherish none, but only pity
for those who nurture a prejudice, which, while it convicts them of the
most ridiculous vanity, at the same time shrivels their own hearts and
narrows their own souls.

Mrs. King was at first mild in her opposition, but finally resorted to
such violence of speech and act, as to indicate a state of feeling
really deplorable, and a spirit diametrically opposed to all the
teachings of the Christian religion--a religion which she loudly
professed, and which assures us that "God is no respecter of persons."

I judge not mortal man or woman, but leave Mrs. King, and all those who
thought it no harm because of my complexion, to abuse the most sacred
feelings of my heart, to their conscience and their God.



The reader will doubtless and also correctly imagine that situated as
Miss King has now been shown to be, she could not have experienced many
very pleasant hours either of night or day,--pleasant so far as the
sympathy of her numerous relatives and friends could serve to make them
such. Fortunately, however she was not of that class whose happiness
depends upon the smiles or the approbation of others earned at any
cost--but upon a steady obedience to what in her inmost soul, she
regarded as demanded by the laws of rectitude and justice.

That a young lady could break away without a struggle from the
counsellors, friends and companions of her youth, is not to be expected.
Miss King had her struggles; and the letter written to me by her on the
consummation of our engagement evinced their character, and also her
grandeur and nobility of soul:--

"I have endeavoured to solve, honorably, conscientiously and
judiciously, the greatest problem of human life; and God and the holy
angels have assisted me in thus solving. Friends may forsake me, and the
world prove false, but the sweet assurance that I have your most devoted
love, and that that love will strengthen and increase in proportion as
the regard of others may diminish, is the only return I ask."

What vows I uttered in the secret chambers of my heart as I read the
above and similar passages of that letter, let the reader imagine who
may be disposed to credit me with the least aptitude of appreciating
whatsoever in human nature is grand and noble, or in the human spirit,
which is lovely, and true, and beautiful, and of good report.

Throughout the letter there was also a tone of gentle sadness--not that
of regret for the course in contemplation,--but that which holily
lingers around a loving heart, which, while it gives itself away, may
not even lightly inflict the slightest pang upon other hearts to which
it has long been bound by dearly-cherished ties.

But family opposition was not the only opposition which Miss King
expected to, or did indeed encounter. Whoever sought to marry yet, and
did the deed unblessed or uncursed of public praise or wrath? And aside
from extraordinary circumstances, it is so pleasant to dip one's finger
into a pie matrimonial.

The following paragraph of a letter written to me by Miss King a few
days after I left her in December, amused me much,--it may possibly
amuse the reader:--

"Professor,--You would smile if you only knew what an excitement your
visit here caused among the good people of Fulton. Some would have it
that we were married, and others said if we were not already married,
they were sure that we would be; for they knew that you would not have
spent a whole week with us if there had been no love existing between
you and myself. Some of the villagers came to see me the day after you
left, and begged of me, if _I were determined to marry you, to do so at
once, and not to keep the public in so much suspense_."

Friend, have you ever heard or read of anything which came nearer to
clapping the climax of the ridiculous than this most singular appeal
couched in the last clause of this quotation, to the benevolence of Miss
King? Certainly, if anything could have come nearer, it would have been
the act of a certain lady who, having heard during this selfsame visit
that we were to be married on the morrow, actually had her sleigh drawn
up to the door, and would have driven off to the Elder's to "_stop the
wedding_" had not her husband remonstrated. It is true, this lady
opposed the marriage, not on the ground of an immorality, but of its
inexpediency considering the existent state of American sentiment; but
then it is curious to think of what amazing powers she must have
imagined herself possessed.

Public opposition however, soon began to assume a more decided form.
Neighbours far and near, began to visit the house of Elder King, and to
adopt such remonstrance and expostulation as, in their view the state of
the case demanded. Some thought our marriage would be dreadful, a most
inconceivably horrid outrage. Some declared it would be vulgar, and had
rather see every child of theirs dead and buried, than take the course
which, they were shocked to find, Miss King seemed bent to do. Some
sillier than all the rest, avowed that should the marriage be permitted
to take place, it would be a sin against Almighty God; and it may be,
they thought it would call down thunder-bolts from the chamber of
heaven's wrath, to smite us from the earth.

"There is no peace," saith my God, "to the wicked."--And surely, clearer
exemplifications of this saying of Holy Writ were never had, than in the
brain-teasings, mind-torturings and heart-rackings of these precious
people, out of deference to our welfare. May they be mercifully
remembered and gloriously rewarded.

It is proper to introduce to the reader at this point, our cherished
friends,--Mr. and Mrs. Porter,--and to say at once, that words are not
expressive enough to describe the gratitude we owe them, nor in what
remembrance we hold them in the deepest depths of our hearts. They stood
by us throughout that season of intended bloody persecution, turning
neither to the right nor the left, nor counting their own interests or
lives as aught in comparison to the friendship they bore us, or to their
love of the principles of truth, justice and humanity. Amid the raging
billows, they stood as a rock to which to cling.

We had known these friends for months, nay, for years. They had also
been students in Mc. Grawville, but had subsequently married, and at the
time of my December visit to Fulton were teachers of a School in
Phillipsville,--where, it may be proper here to say, was located the
depôt of the Fulton trains of cars.

Not only belonging to that class of persons, (rare in America, even
among those who claim to be Abolitionists and Christians), persons who
do not _profess_ to believe merely, but really _do_ believe in the
doctrine of the "unity, equality, and brotherhood of the human race;"
and who are willing to accord to others the exercise of rights which
they claim for themselves; but, having also great purity of heart and
purpose, Mr. and Mrs. Porter did not, as they could not, sympathise
with those whose ideas of marriage, as evinced in their conversation
respecting Miss King and myself, never ascended beyond the region of the
material into that of the high, the holy and the spiritual. Of all the
families of Fulton and Phillipsville, this was the only one which
_publicly_ spoke approval of our course. So that, therefore it will be
expected, that while those true hearts were friendly to us, they were
equally with ourselves targets at which our enemies might shoot.

I have introduced Mr. and Mrs. Porter at this point, because, at this
point, their services to us commenced. But for these faithful friends,
Miss King would not have known whither to have fled when she found as
she did, her own home becoming any other than a desirable habitation,
owing to the growing opposition and bitter revilings of her step-mother,
and the impertinent intermeddlings of others.

Thus far the opposition which Miss King had experienced, though
disagreeable, had not become too much for the "utmost limit of human
patience." Soon, however, a crisis occurred, in the arrival in Fulton,
of the Rev. John B. King. This gentleman's visit was unexpected, and it
is due to him to say, that he did not come on any errand connected with
this subject; for until he arrived in Fulton, he did not know of the
correspondence which had existed between his sister and myself. Though
unexpected, his visit as already intimated, was fraught with results,
which in their immediate influence, were extremely sad and woeful.

Mr. King was a Reform preacher, and had even come from Washington,
District of Columbia, where he had been residing for the last two years,
to collect money to build a church which should exclude from membership
those who held their fellow-men in bondage, and who would not admit the
doctrines of the human brotherhood. Just the man to assist us, one would
have thought. But it is easy to preach and to talk. Who cannot do that?
It is easier still to _feel_--this is humanity's instinct--for the
wrongs and outrages inflicted upon our kind. But to plant one's feet
rough-shod upon the neck and heels of a corrupt and controlling public
sentiment, to cherish living faith in God, and, above all to crush the
demon in one's own soul,--ah! this it is which only the _great_ can do,
who, only of men, can help the world onward up to heaven.

Mr. King had scarcely entered the house, and been told the story of our
engagement, when he manifested the most unworthy and unchristian
opposition. Unworthy and unchristian, since he frankly averred, that had
I the remaining fourth Anglo-Saxon blood, he would be proud of me as a
brother. He was bitter, not as wormwood only, but as wormwood and gall
combined. He would not tolerate me as a visitor at his house, in company
with his sister, unless I came in the capacity of driver or servant. A
precious brother this, and a most glorious Christian teacher.

I have said that the arrival of this gentleman marked a crisis in the
history of our troubles; and it did so in the fact that by the powerful
influence which he exerted over his father, adverse to our marriage, and
by the aid, strength and comfort which he gave to his step-mother; the
Elder was at last brought to a reconsideration of his views, and to
abandon the ground which he had hitherto maintained with so much heroism
and valour.

I shall say no hard things of Elder King; now that the storm is over, I
prefer to leave him to his own reflections, and especially to this one,
which may be embodied in the following question,--_What is the true
relation which a Christian Reformer sustains to public opinion?_

Had the Elder, supposing it to have been possible, assumed towards us a
position more adverse than the one he did in this singular and
unexpected change, the results could not, for the time being at least,
have been sadder or more disastrous. How it affected the feelings of his
daughter, the reader can well imagine, who will remember, that upon her
father she had hitherto relied as upon a pillar of strength, and
especially as her rock of refuge from the storms which beat upon her
from without. Stricken thus, a weak spirit would have given up in
despair; but not so with this heroic and noble-minded lady, upon whom
misfortune seemed to have no other effect than to increase her faith in

Elder King now, not as hitherto out of his deference to the feelings of
his wife, but of his own accord, averred that I should on no
consideration whatever, be permitted to enter his house, to hold a
conference with his daughter, providing said conference was to be
promotive of our marriage. Miss King was compelled, therefore, to make
an arrangement with Mr. Porter, by which our interviews should be held
in his house when I should arrive, as I was expected to do so in a few
days, from Boston. Strange to say, however, and paradoxical as it may
seem, on the day on which I was expected to arrive in Fulton, the Elder
himself took his daughter from Fulton to Phillipsville to meet me. I
reached Phillipsville, on Saturday afternoon, January 29th, and, of
course, was not advised of this altered state of things, until my
arrival there--the Elder's change having taken place within a very few
days previous.

The method which Elder King took to evince his hostility--his exclusion
of me from his house--was extremely injudicious; and I have no doubt
that he, himself, now sincerely regrets it. It excited to action the mob
spirit which had all along existed in the hearts of the people, and was
only awaiting the pretext which the Elder gave--the placing of me before
the community, as a marauder upon the peace of his family. The mob,
also, gave to the matter what the King family, evidently afterwards,
greatly deplored--extraordinary notoriety. Elder King would certainly
have displayed more worldly sagacity, to say nothing of Christian
propriety, to have admitted me into his house as usual, where we could,
all together, have reasoned the matter; and if prejudices could not have
been conciliated, the Elder, at all events, by his previous acquaintance
with my character, had every reason to suppose that I should have
conducted myself as became a gentleman and a Christian. But so it
is,--prejudice thus bewilders the faculties, and defeats the objects
which it aims most to accomplish.



Hardly unlooked for by myself was this mob, especially after I had
learned of the direction which "the subject" had taken in the family of
Mr. King.

On Sabbath afternoon, January 30th, while Mr. and Mrs. Porter, Mrs.
Porter's sister, Miss King, and myself, were enjoying ourselves in
social conversation, a gentleman from the village of Fulton called at
the residence of Mr. Porter, to give an account of events as they were
transpiring in the village. This gentleman was decidedly opposed to
"amalgamation," expressed the utmost surprise that Mr. Porter should for
a moment suppose that God ever designed the inter-marriage of white and
colored persons,--but he was, nevertheless, a man of friendly
disposition,--and as a friend he came to Mr. Porter. _We were to be
mobbed_,--so this gentleman informed us. He advised escape on the part
of Mr. Porter and myself, otherwise the house would be demolished! All
Fulton, since Saturday night, he informed us, had been in arms. Crowds
of men could be seen in the streets, at every point, discussing the
subject of our marriage, and with feelings of the most extraordinary
excitement; and similar discussions, he added, had been held during the
live-long night preceding, in all the grog shops and taverns of the

All sorts of oaths had been uttered, and execrations vented. Tar,
feathers, poles, and an empty barrel spiked with shingle nails had been
prepared for my especial benefit; and, so far as I was concerned, it
must be escape or death. Mr. Porter was to be mobbed, he said, for
offering me entertainment, and for being supposed friendly to our union.
This friend did not understand the whole plan of the onslaught, but he
gave sufficient information to justify us in surmising that no harm was
intended to be inflicted upon Miss King, or any lady of the house.

Knowing the brutal character of prejudice against color, and knowing
also that I was supposed to be about to commit the unpardonable sin, I
confess, that though surprised to learn that the mob intended murder,
yet I was not surprised to learn many of the details which this friend
so kindly gave us.

Mr. Porter suggested that after supper, he and I should retire to a
neighbour's house, he supposing that if the mob should be foiled in
their attempt to get us into their hands, they would, after all, pass
away, and thus the matter blow quietly over. The suggestion, however,
was not carried into effect; for we had scarcely finished tea ere they
(the mob) were down upon us like wild beasts out of a den.

We first observed some twenty men turning a corner in the direction of
the house; then about thirty or forty more, and soon the streets were
filled with men--some four or five hundred. In the rear of this
multitude there was driven a sleigh in which, we rightly conjectured,
Miss King was to be taken home.

From the statements of the leader of the mob--statements afterwards
given to the public--it seems that a Committee, composed of members of
the mob, and constituted by the mob, suggested before reaching the house
that if we were still unmarried there should be no violence done, as
they intended to carry off the lady. A portion of this Committee also
made it their duty to gain access to the apartment where our company
were sitting, and to inform us of the intentions of the assembled
multitude below, while the remainder of the Committee endeavoured by
speeches and reasoning to quiet the mob spirit, which soon after the
assembling, began to reach its climax.

This Committee was composed of some of the most "respectable" men of
Fulton--lawyers, merchants, and others of like position. The reader will
doubtless think it strange that such men should be members of a mob; and
so it would be, if prejudice against color were not the saddest of all
comments upon the meanness of human depravity. In this, more than in
anything else did the malignant character of this American feeling
evince itself--that to drive me off or kill me, if need be, the
"respectable" and the base were commingled, like--

  "Kindred elements into one."

Men who, under other circumstances, would have been regarded as beneath
contempt, the vulgar minded and vulgar hearted--with these, even
Christians (so called) did not hesitate to affiliate themselves in order
to crush a man who was guilty of no crime save that, having a colored
skin, he was supposed to be about to marry a lady a few shades lighter
than himself. O, the length and breadth, the height and depth, the
cruelty and the irony of a prejudice which can so belittle human nature.

But to the Committee again. This Committee declared themselves to us to
be a self-constituted body. But whether self-constituted or otherwise,
it matters not, since they were to all intents and purposes members of
the mob--if not in _deed_, still in spirit and in heart. They meant no
more than to save the honor of their village by preventing, if possible,
bloodshed and death. They were not men of better principles than the
rabble--they were only men of better breeding. I do them no injustice.
The tenor of their discourse to us at the house of Mr. Porter, the
spirit of an article published by one of their number a few days after
in the "_Oswego Daily Times_," and the statements of the mob-leader,
clearly satisfy me that had we been married, they (the Committee)
deeming that our marriage would have been a greater disgrace to their
village than even bloodshed or death, would have left us to our
fate--Miss King to be carried off, or perchance grossly insulted, and
myself left, as the spiked barrel especially evinced, to torture and to
death. That this Committee saved my life, I have no doubt; and I have
publicly thanked them for the act. So I would be grateful even to the
man who took deadly aim at me with his revolver, and only missed his

Previous to the death which I was to suffer in the spiked barrel, I was
to undergo various torturings and mutilations of person, aside from the
tarring and feathering--some of these mutilations too shocking to be
named in the pages of this book.

Mr. Porter, as I have already said, was also to be mobbed; but, as we
afterwards ascertained, only to be coated with tar and feathers and
ridden on a rail.

The leader of the mob subsequently averred that so decided was the
feeling in Fulton, that in addition to the hundreds who, in person, made
the onslaught, there were hundreds more in waiting in the village, who,
it was understood between the two companies, were ready to join the
onslaughting party at but a moment's warning. Indeed, Mrs. Allen now
assures me that on her way home that evening, conducted by a portion of
the Committee, she twice met crowds of men still coming on to join the
multitudes already congregated at Mr. Porter's. One of the Committee,
fearing that if all Fulton should get together, excited as the people
were, there would be bloodshed in spite of all that could be said or
done, entreated one of these crowds to go back. But, heeding him not; on
the villains went, some of them uttering oaths and imprecations, some of
them hurrahing, and many of them proceeding with great solemnity of
step--these last doubtless being church-members; for the mob was not
only on Sabbath evening, but it is a notorious fact which came out early
afterwards, that the churches on that evening were, every one of them,
quite deserted.

Reader, the life of a colored man in America, save as a slave, is
regarded as far less sacred than that of a dog. There is no exaggeration
in this statement--I am not writing of exceptions. It is true there are
white people in America who, while the colored man will keep in what
they call "his place," will treat him with a show of respect even. But
even this kind of people have their offset in the multitudes and
majorities--the populace at large who would go out of their way to
inflict the most demon-like outrages upon those whose skins are not
colored like their own!

I have before me at this moment recent American papers which contain
accounts of the throttling of respectably-dressed colored men and women
for venturing no further even than into the cabins of ferry boats plying
between opposite cities; of colored ladies made to get out of the cars
in which they had found seats--in cars in which the vilest loafer,
provided his skin be white might sit unmolested; of respectable
clergymen having their clothes torn from their backs, because they
presumed to ask in a quiet manner that they might have berths in the
cabins of steamers on which they were travelling, and not be compelled
to lodge on deck; and lastly, of a colored man who was not long since
picked up and thrown over-board from a steam boat, on one of the Western
rivers, because of some affray with a white man--while all the
bye-standers stood looking on, regarding the drowning of the man with
less consideration than they would have done the drowning of a brute.

Knowing all these things, and knowing also the peculiarity of the
circumstances which surrounded me on that Sabbath evening, the reader
will not be surprised, that when I saw the dense multitude surrounding
the house of Mr. Porter, I at once came to the conclusion that I should
not be permitted to live an hour longer. I was not frightened--was never
calmer--prepared for the worst, disposed of my watch and such other
articles of value as I had about my person.

Mr. Porter was below stairs at the time the mob approached. Soon he came
running up, introducing the Committee to whom reference has already been
made. They at once addressed us. I do not remember their words,--the
purport of the whole, however, was that death was intended for me,
provided we had been married; and as it was, I could only escape it, by
Miss King consenting to go with them, and by myself consenting to leave
the village; and further, that there must be no delay by either party.

One of the Committee, in order to assure me of the terrible danger by
which I was surrounded, drew back the window curtains and bade me look
out. I did not do so, however, since it was not necessary that I should
look out in order to feel fully convinced that there were men below, who
had determined to degrade themselves below the level of the brutes that
perish. Such cursings, such imprecations, such cries of "nigger," "bring
him out," "d----n him," "kill him," "down with the house," were never
heard before, I hardly think, even in America.

Of course, to have attempted to resist this armed mob of hundreds of men
would have been preposterous. It would have been, so far as I was
concerned, at least, to have committed myself to instant death.
Compelled, therefore, to make the best of our unfortunate situation,
Miss King consented to go with the Committee, and I to leave the
village--she, however, taking care to assure me in a whisper, that she
would meet me on the following day in Syracuse. The lady was now
conducted by the Committee through the mob to the sleigh. Not a word was
spoken by a single ruffian in the crowd. All were silent until the
driver put whip to his horse, when a general shout was sent up, as of
complete and perfect triumph.

  "Mistaken souls!"

Having reached her father's house, one of the Committee addressed a
speech to her, hoped that for the sake of her family, and the community,
Miss King would relinquish all partiality for Professor Allen, advised
her also to go around among the ladies of the village, and consult with
them, and assured her that he would be glad to see her at his house; and
at any time when she felt disposed to come, he would send a sleigh to
bring her.

Nothing remarkable about this speech. But the tone in which it was
delivered!--that cannot be put upon paper. The speaker evidently thought
the young lady would receive it all as a mark of gracious favor, and as
assuring her that though she had been "hand and glove" with a coloured
man, he would nevertheless condescend to overlook it. He was dealing
with the wrong woman, however; and he received such a reply to his
harangue as only a virtuous indignation could have prompted.

The reader must also be informed that a double-sleigh load of
able-bodied men followed close behind the one in which Miss King was
taken home. What this movement meant, I am not able very satisfactorily
to conjecture. I venture the opinion, however, that the good folks
supposed their victim would jump out of the sleigh in which she was
riding, if a good opportunity should offer, and run back to the
Professor; and so this last load, no doubt, was put on as the rear-guard
of the posse.

Now for myself. Miss King having left, and the mob having been informed
that I was about to leave, they were somewhat quieted, but were far from
being appeased. That portion of the Committee that remained with me,
thought there was danger yet; and so, indeed, there was, judging hideous
noises, bitter curses and ruffianly demonstrations, to be any proper
criterion. They still cried, "bring him out" and "kill him." The
Committee thought the safety of the house required that I should be
removed at once; so I having gotten together my hat, valise and other
effects, they took me under their protection and conducted me to the
village hotel.

While I was being conducted out of the door, all manner of speech was
hurled at me--a bountiful supply of that sort of dialectics which
America can beat all the world at handling. However, the main desire of
the mob at this point seemed to have been to get a sight of me; so they
arraigned themselves in a double file, while I was conducted through the
centre thereof, somewhat after the fashion of a military hero--a
committee man at each side, one in front and another behind. Having
passed completely through the file, the scoundrels then closed in upon
me; some of them kicking me, some striking me in the side, once on the
head, some pulling at my clothes and bruising my hat, and all of them
hooting and hallooing after a manner similar to that which they
practised when they first surrounded the house of Mr. Porter.

At length we reached the hotel--a quarter of a mile distant. The
Committee were about to conduct me into the front parlour, when one
fellow patriotically cried out, "God d----n it, don't carry that nigger
into the front door." A true Yankee that! I have a penny laid up for
that fellow, if I should ever chance to meet him.

I was conducted into the back parlour of the hotel, as being the most
secure. Still the mob were not appeased, and besides, their numbers had
increased. They hung around the house. Some of them opened the windows
half-way and tried to clamber through them into the parlour where I was;
and at last they way-laid the outer doors.

The sort of curses they indulged in meanwhile, I need not describe
again. They were essentially the same as they had hitherto vented, save
that one or two of them growing a little humorous, cried out
occasionally "a speech from Professor Allen"--putting a peculiar
emphasis on the professor.

The Committee busied themselves in furnishing two sleighs in which I was
to be conveyed away, and also in appeasing the more ruffianly part of
the multitude with cigars and such other articles as they choose to call
for at the bar of the hotel. One of the sleighs was stationed at the
back door of the hotel, and the other about two miles from Fulton. The
plan was that I should get into the former and be driven to the latter,
in which I was to be taken post haste to Syracuse--a distance of about
twenty-five miles. The mob, however, suspected some of the details of
the plan, and consequently every time I appeared at the back door, they
made a rush at me seeking to wreak their vengeance. I escaped their
violence, however, by stepping adroitly out of the way. And, as the
tavern keeper had assured them that if they attempted violence upon me
while I was under his roof, they would do it at their peril, many of
them left, and I, at last, succeeded in reaching the sleigh at the back
door and was driven off in safety. The mob unable to overtake me, still
shouted a last imprecation.

For this said Sleigh ride, I paid Six dollars, about £1. 4s.; so I was
robbed, if not murdered.

I will now describe the leader of the mob--Henry C. Hibbard. I will do
it in short. This man is a clumsy-fisted, double jointed, burly-headed
personage, about six feet in height, with a countenance commingling in
expression the utmost ferocity and cunning. Hibbard is not a fool--but a
knave. He is essentially a low bred man, and vulgar to the heart's core.

Some idea of the calibre of the man may be had in the fact that in his
published Article in defense of the mob, he makes use of such
expressions as "g'hals," "g'halhood" and the like.

He has great perseverance of character as is evinced in the fact that
though I was several days behind the time at which I was expected to
arrive in Fulton, he or his deputies never failed to be daily at the
Cars so as to watch my arrival, and thus be in season with the

This man set himself up, and was indeed so received by the Elder and
Mrs. King as their friend, counsellor, and adviser. A confirmation this,
of what I have already said about the commingling of the "respectable"
and the base. His mobocratic movements, however, it is but just to say,
were unknown to the Elder and his wife until after the onslaught had
been made. Mrs. King however did not deprecate the mob until its history
had become somewhat unpopular, by reason of many of the "respectable"
men becoming ashamed at last that they had been found in such company as
Hibbard's. And even the Elder himself, though he deprecated the mob,
still characterized it as the "just indignation of the public."

Hibbard, I have already said, published a written defence of the mob.
The article was headed "_The Mary Rescue._"--and a most remarkable
document it was--remarkable, however, only for its intense vulgarity,
its absurd contradictions, and its ridiculous attempts at piety and

Me, he describes as the "Professor of Charms" and "Charming Professor,"
once--the "tawney charmer."

Hibbard's article is not by me; and, if it were, its defilement is such
that I could not be tempted to give it at length. Laughable and
lamentable as the article is in the main, I still thank Hibbard for some
portions of it, and especially for that one which substantiates the
charge which I have brought against the "respectable men of Fulton."
Thus ends the mob.



Reader, I am now to describe the events of the two weeks which followed
the Fulton onslaught; and I can assure you that language has yet to be
invented in which to write in its fullness what, when the children of
certain parents shall look back fifty years hence, they will regard as
the darkest deeds recorded in the history of their ancestors.

Diabolical as was the mob, yet the shameful and outrageous persecution
to which Miss King was subjected during those memorable weeks, at the
hands of her relatives and the Fulton Community, sinks it (the mob) into
utter significance. How the human beings who so outraged an inoffensive
young lady can dare call themselves christians, is to me a mystery which
I, at least, shall never be able wholly to explain.

I have already said that Miss King assured me on parting on Sabbath
evening that she would meet me in Syracuse on the morrow. Accordingly I
awaited at the depôt, on Monday afternoon, the arrival of the Fulton
train of cars. But she did not appear, and, for the first time, the
thought occurred to me that the Fulton people were determined to leave
nothing undone by which to fill out their measure of meanness.

On Tuesday morning next, February 1st, the following article appeared in
the "_Syracuse Star_"--one of the organs of the Fillmore Administration.
It needs no comment of mine to instruct the reader as to the character
of the paper which could publish such complete diabolism:--


"A gentleman from Fulton informs us that that village was the theatre of
quite an exciting time, to say the least, on Sunday evening last. The
story is as follows:--Rev. Mr. King, Pastor of a regular Wesleyan
Methodist, Abolition, Amalgamation Church at Fulton, has an interesting
and quite pretty daughter, whom, for some three or four years past, he
has kept at School at that pink of a 'nigger' Institution, called the
Mc. Grawville College, located South of us, in Cortland County. While
there, it seems that a certain genuine negro connected with the
Institution, called Professor Allen, (Professor Allen! bah!!) and
herself became enamoured of each other, and thereupon entered into the
requisite stipulation and agreements to constitute what is known to
those interested in such matters, as an 'engagement' to be married. A
little time since, the damsel went home to her Amalgamation-preaching
parents, and made known the arrangements whereby their lovely daughter
expected soon to be folded in the hymenean arms of anti-alabaster Sambo.
The parents remonstrated and begged, and got the brothers and sisters to
interpose, but all to no effect. The blooming damsel was determined to
partake of the 'bed and board,' and inhale the rich odours, refreshing
perfumes, and reviving fragrance which Mc. Grawville College teaching
had pictured to her in life-like eloquence; and more than this, she
would not remain in membership with the denomination that preaches but
declines to practice, and sent in her resignation in due form of law.
Whereupon, down from Mc. Grawville comes the blushing Allen, all decked
in wedding garb, and on Sunday morn he half woke from ponderous sleep,
and thought he heard playing on the air such sweet music,--

  '"As are those dulcet sounds in break of day,
  That creep into the dreaming bridegroom's ear,
  And summons him to marriage!"'

"But evening came, and as the anxious couple could not have the nuptial
rites celebrated under the Rev. father's roof, they withdrew to
Phillips' tavern, on the West side of the river, and made preparations
for the ceremonies. In the meantime the affair got whispered about the
town, and the incensed populace to some five hundred strong made ready
to 'disturb the meeting.' Several of the prominent citizens, fearing
lest a serious row should follow, repaired to the marriage-home, and
while some kept the riot down by speeches and persuasions, others gained
admittance to the colors. Allen, on being asked if he was married,
replied 'no,' but that he would be in a few minutes. He was remonstrated
with, and told the consequences that would ensue--that he would be
mobbed, and must leave town immediately. He responded that he knew what
he was about, was a free man, in a free country, and should do as he
pleased. By this time the outsiders could be held still no longer, and
the window curtains being drawn, our hero 'saw and trembled,' and cried
for mercy. The damsel didn't faint, but at once consented to go home,
and was hurried into a sleigh and driven off, while Sambo under disguise
and surrounded by Abolitionists, was hustled out of the crowd over to
the Fulton house. The multitude soon followed, eager and raving to grab
the 'nigger,' but after a little, he was got away from the house, by
some sly comer, and hurried off to Syracuse in a sleigh, at the top of
two-horse speed. Thus the black cloud avoided the whirlwind, and thus
ended 'Another Rescue.'"

This article, abominable as it is, was copied either in whole or in part
by nearly every pro-slavery organ throughout America in a few days after
the mob--with glorifications at what they supposed to be my defeat; and
some of the papers copied the article with regrets that I had not been
killed outright. And, indeed, this same "_Syracuse Star_" in a few days
after the publication of the above article did what it could to inflame
the populace of Syracuse to inflict upon me violence and death.

Nor were the pro-slaveryites the only persons who gloated with delight
over the Article published by the "_Star_." Hundreds, and I think I am
within the bounds of truth, when I say that thousands of men and women
calling themselves Abolitionists and Christians, were especially
rejoiced at my "defeat;" and expressed themselves to that effect, though
using more guarded language than those who made no pretensions to a love
of truth, justice, and humanity.

The article abounds in falsehood, though to serve its purpose it is
certainly adroitly written. We had not intended to be married on the
evening of the mob, so that not only is the speech which the Editor puts
in my mouth false, but so also is his statement that we repaired to
Phillips' Tavern to have the nuptial rites celebrated. The story of my
seeing, and trembling and crying for mercy, is also equally false.

It is also worthy of note that every paper which copied the article,
varied the details, in order to suit its specific locality. Some of the
versions of the affair were extremely amusing.

One of the papers described the mob as having taken place at Syracuse,
and the onslaught as having been made upon us while the ceremony was
about being performed, whereat Miss King fled in one direction, and I in

One Editor in furnishing his readers with the details thought it
necessary to a completion of the picture to describe my personal
appearance. He had never seen me--but no matter for that. He had seen
the "_Star's_" report, and what that did not give him, his imagination
could supply. So he at it; and the next morning I appeared in print as
"a stout, lusty, fellow, six feet and three inches tall, and as black as
a pot of charcoal." Reader, you would laugh to see me after such a
description--of my height, at least.

The telegraphic wires were also put in demand, and in less than
forty-eight hours after the occurrence of the mob, the terrific news had
spread throughout the country that a "Colored man had attempted to marry
a White woman!" And incredible as it may seem to Britons, this "horrid
marriage" was for weeks, not only discoursed of in the papers but was
the staple of conversation and debate in the grog shops, in the parlors,
at the corners of the streets, and wherever men and women are accustomed
to assemble; and during this time also my life was in danger whenever I
ventured in the streets. The reader will get some idea of the state of
things when I assure him that about a week after the mob, I had occasion
to call at the Globe Hotel, Syracuse; and had not been in the house more
than ten minutes before the landlord came to me and requested me to
retire, as he feared the destruction of his house--the multitude having
seen me enter, he said, and were now assembling about the building. I
walked quietly out in company with a gentleman in a counter direction to
the mob, and so escaped their wrath.

But to return to the narrative. On Tuesday afternoon (two days after the
mob) I awaited again at the Syracuse depôt, the arrival of the Fulton
train of cars; supposing it possible that I might meet Miss King. She
did not make her appearance, and there was now not a doubt left on my
mind as to the character of what was going on in Fulton. Just as I was
on the point of turning away from the depôt, a gentleman came up behind
me, tapped me on the shoulder, and bade me get out of the way as quickly
as possible; for the Fulton mobocrats, he informed me, had sent up word
by telegraph to certain persons in Syracuse to mob me, if I should be
seen about the car house. This gentleman also added that some of these
persons were about the car house, wishing to have me pointed out.

It seems, the Committee that visited us on the evening of the mob, had
overheard Miss King assure me that she would meet me on the following
day in Syracuse; and they, or others of our keepers, had not only
determined that no such meeting should be held, but that the mobbing
should be repeated if I attempted again to see her.

Just as I was about to enter my lodging house on my return from the
depôt, whom should I espy but my friend Porter turning the corner and
approaching me. Of course I was glad to see him; and our conversation,
at once, turned upon Fulton and the events of the two preceeding days.
He informed me, much to my surprise, for I had hardly supposed that
tyranny would have gone so far, that on the night following the mob, the
people of the village had risen up _en masse_, and in solemn meeting
dismissed him from his school. Glorious America! Land of the Free!

Mr. Porter had committed no crime--nothing was charged against him, save
that he had entertained us, and was known to be favorable to our union,
or rather unfavorable to any interference in a matter which was of
sacred right our own.

Mr. P. gave me no information with regard to Miss King, except that she
was at home, and that in consequence of the extraordinary excitement she
would probably be unable to get out of Fulton for several days to come.

He returned to Fulton the next morning, and three or four days after, I
received from him the following letter. It is significant:--

                       "Gilberts' Mills, February 4th, 1853.

  "Professor Allen,--
    "Dear Friend:--

"I write you under very extraordinary circumstances. I have been obliged
to leave the vicinity of Fulton, for a while at least. I am now stopping
at A. Gilbert's. How long I shall stay here, I cannot tell.

"Mary (Miss King) I have not seen or heard from, for two days. All
communications between her and Julia, (her sister--who was favorable to
our union) and our family has been broken off--strictly prohibited; and
Hibbard's house, on the hill, is the watch tower to guard Elder King's
house against such dangerous invaders as ourselves.

"When I came from Syracuse that morning, Hibbard was at the depôt on the
watch. In the afternoon I went up to the Elder's, and was met on the
door-step and told not to deliver any messages or letters to Mary. Of
course, I had none with me to deliver, and so I told Elder King. But I
saw Mary in the presence of the family and Hibbard, and Mrs. Case and
Mrs. Sherman, and such like--for Elder King's folks have a great many
such sympathisers now.

"I wanted to say some things to her not in the presence of these
strangers--so to speak--in the family; _but she told me that she was
permitted to say no word to any one but in the presence of such
companions as were appointed for her. I went away sad, for Mrs. King is
trying to torment her soul out of her, by constant upbraidings and

"Yesterday morning Sarah (Mrs. Porter) started to go up to see her, not
having seen her since the affair of the mob; but a cutter from
Phillipsville whipped by her, and when she had got near the house, the
cutter came back bringing Elder King, who told her that they thought it
advisable to request her not to go to his house--that, in a word, _they
were determined to prevent all communication between our family and
Mary_. Sarah came back. In the meantime, a man came to see me--Mr.
Case--to tell me that I must not go to Elder King's--_that I could not
go there without getting hurt_. In fact, I had been that morning to
Fulton early, to see the Editor of '_The Patriot_;' while I was going
through the street, a lot of rowdies gathered together and yelled after
me. The explanation is easy. When I came from Syracuse, the story went
that I was plotting to get Mary off. And I can hardly forgive Elder King
for putting the sanction upon this falsity, by excluding us from his
house. That act of Elder King gave the multitude full swing. They have
now full liberty to mob me; _and last night I came very near getting
into their hands. About sunset they came over headed by Hibbard_, and
while stopping at the tavern on the way--this side of the bridge--a man
whipped up to Watson's on horseback, and gave me the wink. George
Gilbert was at our room, (a lucky chance) and so I got under the
buffalo, and Sarah sat on the seat, and so we rode down straight by
them, and thus foiled them again. To-day I went back--packed up, and put
my trunks in a neighbor's house, and then came down here with Sarah and
Libbie. Thus it is. _Mary--God help her--is in prison,--that is, she is
guarded._ Elder King has consented to just such arrangements as Mrs.
King and Hibbard and some of the heartless, officious aristocrats of the
village saw fit to propose. It cannot be helped. Mary will doubtless be
used well, corporally--but oh, the torment of being confined with such
despicable companions. I trust she will be brave; though I did hear
yesterday morning that she was somewhat indisposed and was abed. Her
eyes are inflamed.

"I left the vicinity not altogether out of personal fear, but because I
knew that my presence kept up the excitement. Allen, _it is impossible
for you to conceive what a convulsion this village of Fulton has been
thrown into_. A regular siege and cannonading could hardly have raised a
greater muss.

"Write to me soon. Enclose to G. Gilbert on the _outside_ wrapper. I
dared not send from Phillipsville yesterday.

"Keep cool; and do not blame Elder King more than you can help, for I
expect he is forced into some things. How much he is to be forgiven on
account of the dilemma into which he has got himself, let time decide. I
do not wish to make his case worse.

                                       "Yours in friendship,
                                           "JOHN C. PORTER."

[The italics and parentheses of the above letter are mine. I shall add
no comment.]

       *       *       *       *       *

On Saturday afternoon, Feb. 5th,--still in Syracuse,--I received a visit
from Wm. S. King, Esq. This gentleman is also a brother of Miss King.
His visit seemed to have about it at the outset somewhat of a stealthy
character, and I confess I did not receive him with any great degree of
cordiality. He came on an errand, he said. His sister desired to have an
interview with me, and to that end she would meet me at the house of a
friend about four miles from the village of Fulton. The journey to this
friend's--hers of four miles and mine of twenty or more--he assured me
must be conducted with the greatest possible secrecy; for should the
Fulton people hear of it, the most disastrous results would follow. His
sister was very ill, he said--was suffering intense anguish of mind--had
been confined to her chamber with bodily ailings--had an eye also in a
dreadful condition, the sight of which was in danger of being
lost--still, her anxiety to see me was so great that she had entreated
to be taken even in this condition to the place aforesaid mentioned.

I understood this brother at once. I was not to be trapped. I had read
human nature (so I think the result will justify me in saying) to a much
better purpose than he. I declined holding the interview at the time, on
account, as I urged, of his sister's feeble health and excited state of
mind--but would have no objection, I added, to such an interview some
two or three weeks to come. He then urged me to write, assuring me that
he would take the letter willingly. This also, I refused to do. So at
last he left me with the understanding that upon the recovery of his
sister's health, we should have an "interview."

Mr. King returned immediately to Fulton, and on the Monday following, I
received by post a letter from Miss King. It was not in her own
hand-writing--she was too ill to write, but it was dictated to her
sister. Just as I expected, Miss King had found it necessary considering
the influences against her, and that her relatives and the community
would have left no means untried, however illegal or disgraceful to
thwart her in her designs,--nay, would have sworn her into a lunatic
asylum rather than to have permitted her to marry me--to consent that
our engagement should be broken. This letter was to announce the fact,
while at the same time, it gave as the reason--deference to the feelings
of father and brothers.

Of course, I did not reply to the letter. As the "_Star_" says--I knew
what I was about.

On Tuesday morning, February 8th, I published in the "_Syracuse
Standard_" the following card:--


"So much has been said and written on the subject of the late affair at
Fulton, that the Public by this time must have had nearly _quantum
sufficit_; yet I deem it not improper on my own behalf to add a remark
or two. I shall not undertake to describe in detail, the murderous
outrage intended to be inflicted on a quiet and unoffending man--that is
not of much consequence now.

"I wish now simply to show the public, that those who made the onslaught
upon me on Sabbath evening, a week ago, acted no less like a pack of
fools than a pack of devils; and this can be shown almost in a single
word, by stating that the whole story of my intention of being married
on the evening in question, or that I went to Fulton intending to
consummate an affair of the kind at any period of my recent visit there,
is a fabrication from the beginning to the end. The wretch who 'fixed
up' just such a story as he thought would inflame the rabble to take my
life, will yet, I trust, meet with deserved scorn and contempt from a
community who, whatever may be their prejudice against my color, have,
nevertheless, a high sense of what belongs to their own honor and
dignity, and to the character and reputation of their village.

"I make this statement with regard to this matter of marriage, not
because I regard myself as amenable to the public to state to them
_whom_ or _when_ I shall marry, but that since so much has been said
upon the subject, I am quite willing they should know the truth as it
is. They are tyrants, and very little-hearted, and exceedingly
muddy-headed ones at that, who will presume to take a matter of this
kind out of the hands of the parties to whom it specifically belongs,
and who are acting law-abidingly and honorably in the premises.

"Here then is the story. Read it. A band of several hundred armed
men--armed, as I have been told, with an empty barrel spiked with
shingle nails, tar, feathers and a pole, came down upon a certain house
in Phillipsville, opposite Fulton, on Sabbath evening, a week ago, to
kill or drive out a single individual, conducting himself in a quiet,
peaceable manner, and that individual, too, in physical stature, one of
the smallest of men,--and in physical strength, proportionably inferior!
If this is not cowardice as well as villainy--and both of them
double-refined--then, I ask, what is cowardice, or what is villainy? The
malignity of the whole matter also is set in a clearer light, when it is
remembered that this same individual has never injured one of his
assailants, nor has it been charged upon him that in his life-time he
has ever inflicted the slightest wrong upon mortal man, but who has
striven to maintain an upright character through life, and to fight his
way for long years through scorn and contempt, to an honorable position
among men. Truly, this is a precious country! However, it is some
consolation to know that 'God is just, and that his justice cannot sleep
for ever.'

"A gentleman of Fulton writes an article on this subject, to the
'_Oswego Daily Times_,' of February the 3rd. The spirit of this
gentleman's article dishonors his heart. So filled is he with a
prejudice which an eminent Christian of this country has rightly
characterized, as a 'blasphemy against God,' and a 'quarrel with
Jehovah,' that he will not even deign to call me by name, to say nothing
of the title which has been legitimately accorded me, but designates me
as a 'colored man, &c.' The object of this writer in thus refusing to
accord to me so cheap and common a courtesy is apparent, and as
contemptible as apparent. Let him have the glory of it,--I pity him. Had
I been a white man, he would not have so violated what he is such a
stickler for--'the laws and usages of society.'

"In another place in his article, he describes me as the 'negro.' This
is preposterous and ridiculous. Were I a negro, I should regard it as no
dishonor, since men are not responsible for their physical
peculiarities, and since they are neither better nor worse on account of
them. It happens in this case, however, that so far from being a negro,
three-fourths of the blood which flows in my veins is as good
Anglo-Saxon as that which flows in the veins of this writer in the
'_Times_,'--better, I will not say, of course.

"Something also is said in this article from Fulton about the 'course
we' (the young lady and myself) 'were pursuing.' Now, as the several
hundred armed men strong who came down upon me on Sunday night, and some
newspaper Editors, and this gentleman in particular, and the public very
nearly in general, have taken the matter of judging what this 'course we
were pursuing' was, out of our own hands, I propose to leave it still
further with them. They can guess at it, and fight it out to their
heart's content.

"Something also is said by this gentleman about 'wholesome advice being
given me'--but I did not hear it, that's all. Besides, I never take
advice from those who can not tell the difference between a man and his

"One gentleman--a true man--came to me, and expressed his deep sympathy
for me, and his sorrow that I had been so wrongfully treated and
shamefully outraged, and entreated me to regard with pity, and not with
anger, the murderous wretches outside. This is the speech that I
remember, and remember it to thank the friend for his manifestation of
kind and generous emotions.

"This Fulton 'Committee man' also says that 'the colored man asked if he
was to be left to be torn to pieces.' Beyond a doubt, I asked that
question. It was certainly, under the circumstances, the most natural
question in the world; for I had really begun to think that the fellows
outside had the genuine teeth and tail.

"I close this Article. To the Committee who so kindly lent me their
protection on that memorable night, I offer my thanks and lasting

"To the poor wretches who sought to take my life, I extend my pity and

"As to myself--having in my veins, though but in a slight degree, the
blood of a despised, crushed, and persecuted people, I ask no favors of
the people of this country, and get none save from those whose
Christianity is not hypocrisy, and who are willing to 'do unto others as
they would that others should do unto them'--and who regard _all_ human
beings who are equal in character as equal to one another.

                                          "WILLIAM G. ALLEN"

Simultaneously with the above card, there appeared in the "_Syracuse
Journal_," the following Article. It is from the pen of Wm. S. King--the
brother aforesaid mentioned. It is in spirit a most dastardly
performance, more so, considering that the gentleman really _did_ know
the circumstances, than anything which had hitherto been sent to the
press. As a history of the "affair," it is almost a falsity
throughout--and especially is it so in that part of it which describes
Miss King as repulsing me with her abhorrence of the idea of
amalgamation. I do not propose, however, to be hard on Mr. King. His
untruthful and cowardly spirit has been sufficiently rebuked by the
marriage which took place in less than two months after the publication
of his article:--


"Since the occurrence of the circumstances which induced the mob and
consequent excitement at Fulton, on the 30th of last month, we have made
considerable effort to procure a full and precise statement of the facts
in the case. This we have finally succeeded in doing from a gentleman of
standing, who is well acquainted with all the circumstances. They are as

"For some years past, Miss King has been attending the School at Mc.
Grawville, known as the 'New York Central College,' in which Allen, the
colored Professor alluded to, is one of the teachers.

"During that time, Allen became deeply interested in the lady, and
proposed marriage to her. This she at once rejected, declaring that the
thought of such a connection was repulsive to her.

"For some time after this, the Professor said no more upon the subject;
but in the course of a year or so, _again_ proposed marriage, and was
_again_ rejected.

"Thus matters stood until some time since, when Miss King left the
School, and returned to her home in Fulton. Shortly after, Allen went to
that place and called on her, and, after a short interview, again, for
the third time, proposed marriage. She _again rejected him_, and told
him _that such was her firm and fixed decision_. Her manner towards him,
however, during all this period, had been kind and friendly, but she had
always expressed her abhorrence of the idea of 'amalgamation.'

"By this time Madam Gossip had set the rumor afloat, that Allen and Miss
K. were engaged to be married. Such a report was, of course calculated
to produce a great excitement wherever it went.

"Allen, however, was not to be baffled by his former ill success, and
was determined, if possible, to make the report good. He, therefore, a
few days after his last rejection, wrote to a gentleman residing in
Phillipsville, opposite Fulton--who had formerly been a student in Mc.
Grawville--that he intended making him a visit. As all the parties had
been friends and acquaintances at School, Miss K. was invited to be
present for the purpose of having a friendly visit. She accordingly
called upon them on Saturday afternoon, and at their earnest
solicitations consented to spend the Sabbath with them.

"In the meantime, it was whispered about that the Professor and Miss K.
were there for the purpose of being married. This, the people of Fulton
determined at once, should not be done in that town. They, therefore,
assembled several hundred strong, and appointed a Committee to wait upon
the party, which they accordingly did, and informed the Professor that
he must leave town, and the young lady that she must go home, to which
request they both acceded without hesitation.

"The above is, as we have been informed, a full and true statement of
the affair which has created such an excitement throughout the country."

       *       *       *       *       *

The reader will see that the article appears as an editorial--another
evidence that it is "conscience that doth make cowards of us all."

Should Mr. King ever see this little book, and wonder how I found him
out, I will simply inform him that I chanced to be in the neighborhood
of the Journal Office, when he went in with his piece; and further, I
have the guarantee of the Editor.

I now subjoin an extract of a note which I received from Miss King, on
the afternoon of February the 12th:--

                         "Fulton, Friday Morning, Feb. 11th.

  "Professor Allen,--
     "Dearest and best-loved Friend:--

"I am much better this morning; and if I could only see you for a few
hours, I am sure I should be quite well again. I have been trying to
persuade father to let me go to Syracuse this morning and see you, but
he thinks my health is not in a state to admit of it now, but has
promised me faithfully that I may meet you at Loguens, on Tuesday of
next week.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Professor--When I saw that article in the '_Syracuse Journal_,' holding
you up in such a ridiculous light, and laboring to make such false
impressions upon the mind of the public, my soul was on fire with

       *       *       *       *       *

"I need not tell you again that I love you, for you know that I do; yes,
and I always shall until life's troubled waters cease their flow.

"All communications that I receive from, or send to, you, _are read by
father_; for I am a prisoner, yes, a prisoner; and when you write to
me--if you should before I see you--_you must say nothing but what you
are willing to have seen_. I shall manage to send this note without
having it seen by any one.

       *       *       *       *       *

"When I see you, I will tell you how much I have suffered since I saw
you last, and how much I still suffer.

       *       *       *       *       *

                                      "Ever yours,

[The italicising of the above is my own.]

       *       *       *       *       *

This little note was the only communication which I had received from
Fulton, containing any account of the doings of the King family, since
the letter written to me by Miss King, announcing that our engagement
must be broken. Though short, it was satisfactory. It assured me that
Miss King,--though she could be persecuted--could not be crushed.

About the same time that I received the above note from Miss King, I
also received the following from Rev. Timothy Stowe, of Peterboro', New
York. How much I valued this friendly epistle coming, as it did, from
one of the most devoted Christians in America, it is not possible for me
to say:--

                            "Peterboro', February 8th, 1853.

  "Dear Brother Allen:--

"I see by the papers, that you have been shamefully mobbed at Fulton. I
write to let you know that there are some in the world who will not join
the multitude who are trying to overwhelm you with prejudice.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Now do not be cast down. You, I trust, are not the man to cower at such
a moment. Do not be afraid to stand up your whole length in defence of
your own rights.

"Come and visit us without delay. Consider my house your home while

"Brother Smith sends you his love. Brother Remington wishes me to say
that you have his confidence, and that he is your friend.

                            "Yours with kindest regards,
                                            "TIMOTHY STOWE."



According to the intimation in the note received from Miss King dated
Feb. 11th, she met me--not however as she expected on Tuesday--but, on
Wednesday of next week in Syracuse: and at the house of a friend whose
memory we hold in the highest reverence.

The interview, as the parents and relatives of Miss King understood it,
was to be held to the intent that Miss King might then and there in
person, and by "word" more effectually than she could possibly do by
writing, absolve herself from all engagement, obligation or intention
whatsoever to marry me--now, hereafter, or evermore. This was their
construction of the matter, and it was in the light of this construction
that they essayed to grant the request--the granting of which Miss King
made the condition on which she proposed to yield up her sacred right.

That the King family--determined as they were, law or no law, justice or
no justice, Christianity or no Christianity; in short, at all events and
all hazards, to prevent our union--should have granted this interview to
Miss King convicts them of as great imbecility and folly as was their
persecution of their victim. But so it is, the innocent shall not only
not be cut down, but they who practice unrighteousness shall themselves
be overtaken.

But to the interview. I should be glad to describe my feelings on first
meeting Miss King after she had passed through that fiery furnace of
affliction. But I desist. The "engagement," I have already said,
displayed a moral heroism which no one can comprehend who has not been
in America, but the passage through was more than sublime.

She related to me the events of the two preceding weeks as she had known
them to transpire in her own family, and as she had heard of them as
transpiring in the village. I cannot write the details. It chills my
blood to think of them. The various letters published in this narrative
will suffice to give the reader some idea of things as they were; while
the hundreds of things which cannot be written and which, because of
their littleness are the more faithful exponents of meanness, must be
left to the reader to imagine as best he can. I say as best he can,
since no Englishman can imagine the thing precisely as it was.

She was reviled, upbraided, ridiculed, tormented; and by some, efforts
were made to bribe her into the selling of her conscience. What the
vilest and most vulgar prejudices could suggest were hurled at both our
devoted heads. Letters were not permitted to be received or sent without
their being first inspected by the parents. And finally she was
imprisoned after the manner set forth in the letter of Mr. Porter. So
rigid was the surveillance that her sister was also put under the same
"regimen," because her sympathies were with the persecuted and not the

When we met, therefore, we were not long in determining what was our
duty. And now, Reader, what would you have done? Just what we did--no
doubt. Made up your mind to have sacrificed nothing upon the altar of a
vulgar prejudice. Such was the nature of the demand--would it not have
been base to have yielded?

We concluded that now, more than ever, we would obey our heart's
convictions, though all the world should oppose us; that, come what
would, we would stand by each other, looking to Heaven to bless us, and
not to man, for either smiles or favor.

We were resolved, but there was a difficulty yet. Determined to exercise
our God-given rights, we were still overpowered by the physical force of
the whole community. An open declaration by either party of our resolve
would have been not less than consummate madness. To exercise our
rights, therefore, not as we _would_ but as we _could_, was the only
hope left us.

We resolved to marry and flee the Country. Miss King returned to Fulton;
after remaining there a week or ten days she went to Pennsylvania
_ostensibly_ to teach in a school. We corresponded by means of a third
person; and my arrangements being made, we met in New York City, on
March 30th, according to appointment; were married immediately and left
for Boston. In Boston, we remained ten days, keeping as quiet as
possible, in the family of a beloved friend, and on the 9th of April,
took passage for Liverpool.

Since our arrival in this Country, we have received several American
papers. The following Article is from one of the Western New York
papers, which is but a specimen of the articles published by all the
pro-slavery papers throughout the land on the announcement of the
marriage, shows that the flight to England completed the victory. To
have remained to be killed would have been fun to be relished. But
public sentiment abroad--ah, that is another thing, and not so pleasant
to be thought of:--


"MARRIED.--In New York city, March 30th, by Rev. Thomas Henson,
Professor WILLIAM G. ALLEN, of Mc. Grawville, N. Y., and Miss
MARY E. KING, of Fulton, N. Y., daughter of Rev. Lyndon King, of

"We expected as much. We were liberally abused for our discountenance of
this marriage, and charged with wilfully falsifying facts, because we
insisted that this affair was in contemplation, and would yet go off.
_Prof._ Allen denied it, and others thought that they had the most
positive assurance from his statements that the amalgamation wedding was
a fiction. But now, after he and his white brethren have liberally
impugned our motives, charged falsehood upon us, and made solemn
asseverations designed to make the public believe that no such thing was
in contemplation, in two brief months, the thing is consummated, with
all the formality of a religious observance, and this unholy
amalgamation is perpetrated before high Heaven and asserted among men.

"_Prof._ ALLEN and his fair bride are now in Europe. It is
well they should emigrate, to show admiring foreigners the beauties of
American abolitionism. Let them attend the receptions of the Duchess of
Sutherland, the soirees of English agitators, and the orgies of Exeter
Hall. Let GEO. THOMPSON introduce them as the first fruits of
his _philanthropic_ labors in America. Let them travel among the
starveling English operatives, who would gladly accept slavery if
assured of a peck of corn each week; let them wander among European
serfs, whose life, labor, and virtue are the sport of despots, compared
to whom the crudest slave driver is an angel--and there proclaim their
'holy alliance.' If the victims of English and Continental tyranny do
not turn their backs, disgusted with the foul connection, their
degradation must be infinitely greater than we had supposed."

       *       *       *       *       *

But to return to the story: Soon after the "interview" between Miss King
and myself, I received the following note from Mrs. Harriet Beecher
Stowe--the renowned Authoress of "Uncle Tom's Cabin." A "divine-hearted
woman," this, as Horace Mann hath rightly called her, and more precious
than rubies to me is her kind and Christian epistle:--

                Andover, Massachusetts, February 21st, 1853.

  "Professor Allen,--
     "Dear Sir:--

"I have just read with indignation and sorrow your letter in the
Liberator (copied from the Syracuse Standard). I had hoped that the day
for such outrages had gone by. I trust that you will be enabled to
preserve a patient and forgiving spirit under this exhibition of vulgar
and unchristian prejudice. _Its day is short._

"Please accept the accompanying volume as a mark of friendly remembrance

                                              "H. B. STOWE."

       *       *       *       *       *

Just before Miss K. left Fulton for Pennsylvania, she received the
following letter from the Rev. Timothy Stowe--the gentleman to whom
reference has already been made. He is not related to Mrs. Harriet
Beecher Stowe, but is nevertheless of royal race:--

                     "Peterboro', New York, March 1st, 1853.

  "Miss Mary E. King,--
     "Dear Friend:--

"You will not be offended that I should address you by this title,
though I never saw you, to my recollection, until last July at Mc.
Grawville; I then felt an interest in your welfare--an interest which
has been deepened by your recent insults and trials. I am not one of
those who can censure you for your attachment and engagement to
Professor Allen. He is a man--a noble man--a whole man; a man, in fine,
of whom no woman need be ashamed. I am aware, you are aware, that the
world will severely condemn you; so it did Luther, when he married a
nun; it was then thought to be as great an outrage on decency, for a
minister to marry a nun, as it now is for a white young lady to marry a
colored gentleman. You have this consolation, that God does not look
upon the countenance--the color of men; that in his eye, black and white
are the same; and consequently, to marry a colored person of
intelligence and worth is no immorality, and in his eye, no impropriety.
It is probably the design of Providence in this case, to call the
attention of the public to the fresh consideration of what is implied in
the great doctrine of human brotherhood. Is it true or not, that a
colored man has all the rights of a white man? Is this a question still
mooted among Abolitionists? If so, then we may as well settle it now as
at any other time, and though the controversy may be, and must be a very
painful one to your feelings, yet, the result will be a better
understanding of the great principles of our common nature and
brotherhood. Professor Allen is with me in my study, and has detailed to
me the whole of this outrage against yourself and him, and has also made
me acquainted with your relations to each other. I extend to you my
sympathy, I proffer to you my friendship. You have not fallen in my
estimation, nor in the estimation of Mr. Smith and others in this place.
Lay not this matter to heart, be not cast down; put your trust in God,
and he will bring you out of this crucible seven times purified. He in
mercy designs to promote your spiritual growth and consolation. Keep the
Saviour in your heart. My good wife sympathises with you. We would be
glad to see you at our humble home, either before or after your
marriage. We would try to comfort you; we would bear your burdens, and
so 'fulfil the law of Christ.'

  "Yours, with fraternal and Christian affection,
                                            "TIMOTHY STOWE."

On the day after Miss King left for Pennsylvania, I received the
following note from a friend in Fulton. It is significant, and certainly
corroborative of the opinion which I have expressed of the Fulton
people--that they had determined to leave nothing undone by which to
make their tyranny complete:--

                                   "Fulton, March 5th, 1853.

  "Dear Friend:--
     "Yesterday I heard from you by a friend

       *       *       *       *       *

     "Mary has gone to Pennsylvania.

       *       *       *       *       *

"What we feared was, she would be again imprisoned, and hindered from
going to Pa. If her relatives and other friends knew of your intentions,
she would have been put under lock and key as sure as there are _mean
men_ in Fulton.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Professor, they were as mad as wild asses here about that 'resolution
of Smith's,' especially King's folks.

       *       *       *       *       *

I want your miniature--_must have it_. I want to show it to my friends
that they may see this man whose idle moments in the bower of love sets
half the world crazy.

       *       *       *       *       *

                                 "In friendship, yours,

                                                   "*  *  *"

The Resolution to which reference has been made, is as follows. It was
presented by the Hon. Gerrit Smith, Member of Congress, from New York,
at a Convention of "Liberty Party Men," held in Syracuse, about four
weeks after the mob:--

"Resolved, That the recent outrage committed upon that accomplished and
worthy man--Professor William G. Allen--and the general rejoicing
throughout the country therein, evinces that the heart of the American
people, on the subject of slavery is utterly corrupt, and almost past

Now for something spicy. The following letter was written to Elder King
by a Slaveholder of Mississippi, about five weeks after the mob. The
Elder re-mailed it to his daughter while she was in Pennsylvania. Having
become the property of the daughter, and the daughter and I now being
one, I shall take the liberty of giving this specimen of Southern
chivalry to the public. The reader shall have it without alteration:--

                                 "Warrenton, Mississippi,
                                           "March 5th, 1853.

  "Rev. Sir:--

"You cannot judge of my surprise and indignation, on reading an
Editorial in one of my papers concerning an intending marriage of your
lovely and accomplished daughter, with a negro man; which thanks to
providence has been prevented by the excited and enraged populace of the
enterprising citizens of the good town of Fulton.

"During my sojourn in the state of New York last year, I visited for
mere curiosity the Mc. Grawville Institute in Cortland Co., which gave
me an opportunity of seeing your daughter, then a pupil of that equality
and amalgamated Institute; and I believe in all my travels north, I
never saw one more interesting and polite to those of her acquaintances.

"I have thought much about your daughter since my return home, and do
yet, notwithstanding the ignominious connection she has lately escaped
from. Your daughter--innocent, as I must in charity presume--because
deluded and deranged by the false teachings of the abolition Institute
at Mc. Grawville.

"My object in writing to you this letter is to obtain your permission to
correspond with your daughter if it should be agreeable with herself,
for I do assure you that I have no other than an honorable intention in
doing so.

"I reside in Warren County near Warrenton--am the owner of Nine Young
Negroes in agriculture, who would not exchange their bondage for a free
residence in the north. I am happy to inform you Revd. Sir that my
character is such that will bear the strictest investigation, and my
relations respectable. I am yet young having not yet obtained my 25th

"Well sir, I am a stranger to both yourself and interesting family, and
as a matter of course you may desire to know something about the humble
individual who has thought proper to address you on a subject which
depends on the future happiness of your daughter. For your Reverence's
gratification you are at liberty to refer to either or all of the
following gentlemen, by letter or in person,--viz., Hon. J. E. Sharkey,
State Senator, Warren Co., P. O., Warrenton, Miss.;--Hon. A. G. Brown,
Ex-Gov., Miss., now Member of Congress, P. O., Gallatin, Miss.;--Samuel
Edwards, High Sheriff, Warren Co., P. O., Vicksburg, Miss.;--E. B.
Scarbrough Clerk, Probate Court, Warren Co., P. O., Vicksburg, Miss.;--M.
Shannon, Editor, Vicksburg, Miss., Whig;--Geo. D. Prentice, Editor,
Louisville, Ky., Journal;--and Reed, Brothers, and Co., 177, Market
Street, Philadelphia.

"Again Rev. Sir, I assure you that in writing you this letter, I only do
that which is the result of mature deliberation.

                      "I shall wait anxiously your reply,
                                        "THOS. K. KNOWLAND."

"P. S.--As Messrs. Reed, Brothers, and Co., are the nearest reference to
whom I refer, I enclose you a letter from them."

       *       *       *       *       *

The two letters immediately following were received by Miss K. just
before she left Pennsylvania for New York. Many other letters were also
received by both of us, which are not given in this book, but we can
assure the writers thereof that they have our hearts' gratitude:--

                                  "Fulton, March 27th, 1853.

  "My dear and brave Sister:--

"For two weeks past we have been stopping with Mr. B. Yesterday we
received four letters--two from my good brother B., and two from
Pennsylvania, yours and Jane's. Right glad were we to receive those
welcome favors--those little _epistolary_ angels, telling us of your
safety, (for safety has of late become quite a consideration) of your
affection, of your anxiety, and a hundred things more than what were

"Mary, I judge from your letters and notes--from the tone of them--that
there are feelings and emotions in your heart utterly beyond the power
of words to express. You are resolved, and you are happy in your
resolve, and strong in the providential certainty of its success. Yet
you tremble for probabilities, or rather for _possibilities_.

"What feelings, dear Mary, you must have in the hour of your departure
from this country. Through the windows of imagination I can catch a
glimpse of it all. Your flight is a flight for freedom, and I can almost
call you _Eliza_. To you this land will become a land of memory. And,
oh! what memories! But we will talk of this hereafter.

"The remembrance of _friendship unbroken here_,--oh, Mary, let it not
vanish as the blue hills of your father-land will dim away in the
distance, while you glide eastward upon the 'free waters.' But let that
bright remembrance be embodied in _spirit_-form, for ever attending you,
and pointing back to those still here who hold you high in affection and
in honor.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Mary, I must close. Be firm--strong--brave--unflinching--_just like_
Mary King.

                          "Yours in the bonds of love,
                                          "JOHN C. PORTER."

                                  "Fulton, March 27th, 1853.

  "My dear Sister Mary:--

"Almost hourly since you left has your image been before me. And as I
seat myself to write, thoughts and emotions innumerable come crowding
for utterance. Gladly would I express them to you, dear Sister, but the
pen is far too feeble an instrument. Oh, that I could be with you in
body as in spirit. You need encouragement and strength in this hour; and
I know that you will receive them,--for you are surrounded by a few of
the truest and dearest of friends. And you know and have felt, that a
higher and stronger power than earth can uphold us in every endeavour
for the right.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Mary, do you remember the time when you told me that I must love you
better than I had ever done before; for friends would forsake you, and
there would be none left to love you but P., and myself, and your
father, and Julia, and J. B., and D. S., and S. T.? Our arms were twined
around each other in close embrace. Your heart was full to overflowing,
and words gave place to tears. I shall not forget the intense anxiety I
felt for you at that moment as I tried to penetrate the future, knowing,
as I did, somewhat of the cruelty of prejudice. It seems we both had a
foreboding of something that would follow. I do not know that I wept,
but heaven witnessed and recorded the silent, sacred promise of my heart
to draw nearer and cherish you with truer fidelity as others turned
away. And so shall I always feel.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Oh, Mary, how little can we imagine the sufferings of the oppressed,
while we float along on the popular current. I thank God from the depths
of my soul, that we have launched our barks upon the ocean. Frail they
are, yet, having right for our beacon, and humanity for our compass, I
know we shall not be wrecked or go down among the raging elements.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Now, dear Sister, farewell, and as you depart from this boasted 'land
of liberty and equal rights,' and go among strangers, that you may,
indeed, enjoy liberty, be not despondent, but cheerful, ever remembering
the message of your angel mother.

       *       *       *       *       *

Again, dear sister, farewell,--you know how much we love you, and that
our deepest sympathies are with you wherever you may be.

                                  "Affectionately yours,
                                          "SARAH D. PORTER."

I subjoin an extract of a letter which I received from Miss K. a few
days before our marriage:--

                                "Dolington, Pennsylvania
                                          "March 21st, 1853.

  "Professor Allen,--
     "Dearest and best-loved Friend:--

"I have just received your letter of March 13th, and hasten to reply.

"You ask me if I can go with you in four weeks or thereabouts. In reply,
I say yes; gladly and joyfully will I hasten with you to a land where
unmolested, we can be happy in the consciousness of the love which we
cherish for each other. While so far from you, I am sad, lonely, and
unhappy; for I feel that I have no home but in the heart of him whom I
love, and no country until I reach one where the cruel and crushing hand
of Republican America can no longer tear me from you.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Professor,--I sometimes tremble when I think of the strong effort that
would be put forth to keep me from you, should my brothers know our
arrangements. But my determination is taken and my decision fixed; and
should the public or my friends ever see fit to lay their commands upon
me again, they will find that although they have but a weak, defenceless
woman to contend with, still, that woman is one who will never passively
yield her rights. _They may mob me; yea, they may kill me; but they
shall never crush me._

"Heaven's blessings upon all who sympathised with us. I am not
discouraged. God will guide us and protect us.

                               "Ever yours,

  '"Thou Friend, whose presence on my wintry heart
  Fell like bright Spring upon some herbless plain;
  How beautiful and calm and free thou wert
  In thy young wisdom, when the mortal chain
  Of Custom thou did'st burst and rend in twain,
  And walked as free as night the clouds among."'

Some idea of the spirit of persecution by which we were pursued may be
gathered from the fact, that when the mobocrats of Fulton ascertained
that Miss King and myself were having an interview in Syracuse, they
threatened to come down and mob us, and were only deterred from so doing
by the promise of Elder King, that he would go after his daughter if she
did not return in the next train.



Reader,--I have but a word or two more to say.

Insignificant as this marriage may seem to you, I can assure you that
nothing else has ever occurred in the history of American prejudice
against color, which so startled the nation from North to South and East
to West. On the announcement of the probability of the case merely, men
and women were panic-stricken, deserted their principles and fled in
every direction.

Indignation meetings were held in and about Fulton immediately after the
mob. The following Resolution was passed unanimously in one of them:--

"Resolved,--That Amalgamation is no part of the Free Democracy of
Granby." (Town near F.)

The Editor of the Fulton newspaper, however, spoke of us with respect.
Let him be honored. He condemned the mob, opposed amalgamation, but
described the parties thus,--"Miss King, a young lady of talent,
education, and unblemished character," and myself, "a gentleman, a
scholar, and a Christian, and a citizen against whose character nothing
whatever had been urged."

I have said that some of the Papers regretted that I had not been killed
outright. I give an extract from the "_Phoenix Democrat_," published in
the State of New York:--

"This Professor Allen may get down on his marrow bones, and thank God
that we are not related to Mary King by the ties of consanguinity."

To show that I have not exaggerated the spirit of persecution which
beset us, I will state that in a few days after Mr. Porter was dismissed
from his School, he called upon the pastor of the church of which he is
a communicant; and though without means--the chivalrous people who
turned him out of his School not having yet paid him up--and knowing
not whither to go, the pastor assured him that he could not take him in,
or render him any assistance, so severely did he feel that he would be
censured by the public.

That Mr. Porter is still pursued by this fiendish spirit, the reader
will see by the following paragraph of a letter received from him a few
days since:--

"I have advertised for a School in S----. They would not tolerate me in
O----, after they found out that I was the Phillipsville School-master.
I was employed in O---- three months."

Such, reader, is the character of prejudice against color,--bitter,
cruel, relentless.


       *       *       *       *       *





(Colored American,)



       *       *       *       *       *


       *       *       *       *       *





In preparing this little narrative, I have not sought to make a book,
but simply to tell my own experiences both in the slaveholding and
non-slaveholding States of America, in as few words as possible. The
facts here detailed throw light upon many phases of American life, and
add one more to the tens of thousands of illustrations of the terrible
power with which slavery has spread its influences into the Northern
States of the Union--penetrating even the inmost recesses of social

                                                    W. G. A.

  _January, 1860._


I was born in Virginia, but not in slavery. The early years of my life
were spent partly in the small village of Urbanna, on the banks of the
Rappahannock, partly in the city of Norfolk, near the mouth of the
James' River, and partly in the fortress of Monroe, on the shores of the
Chesapeake. I was eighteen years in Virginia. My father was a white man,
my mother a mulattress, so that I am what is generally termed a
quadroon. Both parents died when I was quite young, and I was then
adopted by another family, whose name I bear. My parents by adoption
were both coloured, and possessed a flourishing business in the fortress
of Monroe.

I went to school a year and a half in Norfolk. The school was composed
entirely of coloured children, and was kept by a man of color, a Baptist
minister, who was highly esteemed, not only as a teacher, but as a
preacher of rare eloquence and power. His color did not debar him from
taking an equal part with his white brethren in matters pertaining to
their church.

But the school was destined to be of short duration. In 1831, Nathaniel
Turner, a slave, having incited a number of his brethren to avenge their
wrongs in a summary manner, marched by night with his comrades upon the
town of Southampton, Virginia, and in a few hours put to death about one
hundred of the white inhabitants. This act of Turner and his associates
struck such terror into the hearts of the whites throughout the State,
that they immediately, as an act of retaliation or vengeance, abolished
every colored school within their borders; and having dispersed the
pupils, ordered the teachers to leave the State forthwith, and never
more to return.

I now went to the fortress of Monroe, but soon found that I could not
get into any school there. For, though being a military station, and
therefore under the sole control of the Federal Government, it did not
seem that this place was free from the influence of slavery, in the form
of prejudice against color. But my parents had money, which always and
everywhere has a magic charm. I was also of a persevering habit; and
what therefore I could not get in the schools I sought among the
soldiers in the garrison, and succeeded in obtaining. Many of the rank
and file of the American army are highly educated foreigners; some of
them political refugees, who have fled to America and become
unfortunate, oftentimes from their own personal habits. I now learned
something of several languages, and considerable music. My German
teacher, a common soldier, was, by all who knew him, reputed to be both
a splendid scholar and musician. I also now and then bought the services
of other teachers, which greatly helped to advance me.

Many of the slaveholders aided my efforts. This seems like a paradox;
but, to the credit of humanity, be it said, that the bad are not always
bad. One kind-hearted slaveholder, an army officer, gave me free access
to his valuable library; and another slaveholder, a naval officer, who
frequented the garrison, presented me, as a gift, with a small but well
selected library, which formerly belonged to a deceased son.

My experience, therefore, in the State of Virginia, is, in many
respects, quite the opposite of that which others of my class have been
called to undergo.

Could I forget how often I have stood at the foot of the market in the
city of Norfolk, and heard the cry of the auctioneer--"What will you
give for this man?"--"What for this woman?"--"What for this child?"
Could I forget that I have again and again stood upon the shores of the
Chesapeake, and, while looking out upon that splendid bay, beheld ships
and brigs carrying into unutterable misery and woe men, women and
children, victims of the most cruel slavery that ever saw the sun; could
I forget the innumerable scenes of cruelty I have witnessed, and blot
out the remembrance of the degradation, intellectual, moral and
spiritual, which everywhere surrounded me--making the country like unto
a den of dragons and pool of waters--my reminiscence of Virginia were
indeed a joy and not a sorrow.

Some things I do think of with pleasure. A grand old State is Virginia.
No where else, in America at least, has nature revealed herself on a
more munificent scale. Lofty mountains, majestic hills, beautiful
valleys, magnificent rivers cover her bosom. A genial clime warms her
heart. Her resources are exhaustless. Why should she not move on?
Execrated for ever be this wretched slavery--this disturbing force. It
kills the white man--kills the black man--kills the master--kills the
slave--kills everybody and everything. Liberty is, indeed, the first
condition of human progress, and the especial hand-maiden of all that in
human life is beautiful and true.

I attained my eighteenth year. About this time the Rev. W. H---- of New
York city visited the fortress of Monroe, and opened a select school. He
was a white man, and of a kind and benevolent nature. He could not admit
me into his school, nevertheless he took a deep interest in my welfare.
He aided my studies in such ways as he could, and, on his return to the
State of New York (he remained but a short time in Virginia), acquainted
the Honorable Gerrit Smith, of Peterboro, with my desires. Mr. Smith's
sympathies were immediately touched on my behalf. He requested the Rev.
W. H---- to write to me at once, and extend to me an invitation to visit
the State of New York, enter college, and graduate at his expense--if
need be.

I have to remark just here that at the time of the visit of the Rev. W.
H---- to the fortress of Monroe, my parents were in greatly reduced
circumstances, owing to a destructive fire which had recently taken
place, and burned to the ground a most valuable property. The fire was
supposed to be the work of incendiaries--low whites of the
neighbourhood, who had become envious of my parents' success. There was
no insurance on the property. Under these circumstances I gladly
accepted the kind offer of Mr. Smith. His generous nature then and there
turned towards me in friendship; and, I am happy to be able to add, he
has ever continued my friend from that day to this.

Mr. Smith is one of the noblest men that America has ever produced; and
is especially remarkable for his profound appreciation of that sublime
command of our Saviour, "All things whatsoever ye would that men should
do to you, do ye even so to them." Where he treads no angel of sorrow

He is a man of vast estates--a millionaire. He is also what in America
is termed a land reformer. He believes that every man should possess an
inviolable homestead. He himself possesses by inheritance millions of
acres in the Northern and Eastern States of America; and shows his
sincerity and consistency by parcelling off from time to time such
portions of these lands as are available, in lots of forty or fifty
acres each, and presenting the deeds thereof, free of charge, to the
deserving landless men, white or black, in the region where the lands in
question are located. He also long since vacated the splendid Peterboro'
mansion, into possession of which he came on the death of his father;
and now resides, himself and family, in a simple cottage near
Peterboro', with only forty acres attached. His sympathies are not
bounded by country or clime. He sent into Ireland, during the famine of
1847, the largest single donation that reached the country from abroad.

He was elected to the United States Congress a few years ago, as one of
the members for New York, but resigned his seat after holding it only a
year--probably feeling outraged by the manners and morals, not to say
superlative wickedness, of so many of his associates. Whatever may have
been the cause which induced him to resign, he did well to give up his
post. Nature had evidently not set him to the work. Of great ability,
winning eloquence, and undoubted moral courage, his heart and temper
were too soft and apologetic to deal with the blustering tyrants who
fill too many of the seats of both houses of Congress.

Mr. Smith is truly a great orator. He has in an eminent degree the first
qualification thereof--a great heart. His voice is a magnificent bass,
deep, full, sonorous; and, being as melodious as deep, it gives him
enviable power over the hearts and sympathies of men.

In personal appearance he is extremely handsome. Large and noble in
stature, with a face not only beautiful, but luminous with the
reflection of every Christian grace.

He is now engaged in the care of his vast estates, and in his private
enterprises, scarcely private, since they are all for the public good.
He is sixty-two years of age. A true Christian in every exalted sense
of the term, long may he live an honor and a blessing to his race.

Having accepted the invitation of this gentleman, I prepared to leave
the South. On making arrangements for a passage from Norfolk to
Baltimore, I found that the "Free Papers" which every man of color in a
slave state must possess, in order to be able to prove, in case of his
being apprehended at any time, that he is not an absconding slave, were
of very little avail. I must needs have a "Pass" as well, or I could not
leave. However I obtained this document without much trouble, and as it
is a curious specimen of American literature, I will give it. It does
not equal, to be sure, the "charming pages" of Washington Irving, but it
is certainly quite as illustrative in its way:--

                                        "Norfolk, Oct. 1839.

"The bearer of this, William G. Allen, is permitted to leave Norfolk by
the Steam Boat Jewess, Capt. Sutton, for Baltimore.

                                     "Signed, J. F. Hunter
                    "Agent, Baltimore Steam Packet Company."

This document was also countersigned by one of the justices of the
peace. Really, there is something preposterous about these slaveholders.
They make all sorts of attempts to drive the free colored people out of
their borders; but when a man of this class wishes to go of his own
accord, he must that be _permitted_!

I reached Baltimore in safety, but now found that neither "Free Papers"
nor "Pass" were of any further use. I desired to take the train to
Philadelphia _en route_ to New York. I must this time get a white man to
testify to my freedom, or further I could not go. Or, worse still, if no
such man could be found, I must be detained in Baltimore and lodged in
jail! By no means a pleasant prospect. There was no time to be lost. My
previous experience had taught me this truth--the more we trust, the
more we are likely to find to trust. Acting upon this principle, and
putting in practice my studies in physiognomy, I presently found a
friend among the crowd; who, being satisfied with my statements and the
documents I presented, kindly gave the desired testimony. The ticket
seller then recorded my name, age, and personal appearance in his book,
and delivered me my ticket. I now had no further trouble, and reached
the college (in the State of New York) in safety.

Remaining at this college (Oneida Institute, Whitesboro') five years, I
graduated with some honor and little cost to my patron, Mr. Smith. I
quite paid my way by private tuitions: during one vacation I taught a
school in Canada.

I cannot leave Oneida Institute without paying the tribute of my heart's
warmest admiration and love to the President thereof--Reverend Beriah
Green. America has few such men--men of that true greatness which comes
from a combination of wisdom and virtue. Wherever found in that country,
they are the "chosen few," consecrating their energies to the cause of
Humanity and Religion--nobly and earnestly seeking to rid their country
of its dire disgrace and shame. President Green still lives. He is a
profound scholar, an original thinker, and, better and greater than all
these, a sincere and devoted Christian. To the strength and vigor of a
man, he adds the gentleness and tenderness of a woman. He has never
taken an active part in the world of stir and politics; but in the line
of his proper profession has immeasurably advanced the cause of human
progress. May such men be multiplied in America, and elsewhere, for
surely there is need.

Out now in the great world of America, my ambition was to secure a
professorial chair. That any man having the slightest tinge of color,
nay, without tinge of color, with only a drop of African blood in his
veins, let his accomplishments be what they may, should aspire to such a
position, I soon found was the very madness of madness. But something
must be done. I repaired at once to the city of Boston, and entered the
law office of E. G. L----, Esq. a distinguished barrister, who had
already shown his regard for the colored race by having brought to the
bar a colored young man--now practising with much success in Boston.
Black men may practice law--at least in Massachusetts. I remained in the
office of this gentleman two years, and was just entering my third and
last year, when, unsolicited on my part and to my great surprise, I
received the appointment of Professor of the Greek Language and
Literature in New York Central College--a college of recent date, and
situated in the town of M'Grawville, near the centre of the State of New
York. This was the first college in America that ever had the moral
courage to invite a man of color to occupy a professor's chair; and, so
far as I know, it is also the only one.

The college was founded by a few noble-minded men, whose object was to
combat the vulgar American prejudice, which can see no difference
between a man and his skin. They sought to illustrate the doctrine of
Human Equality, or brotherhood of the races; to elevate the nation's
morals, and give it more exalted views of the aims and objects of
Christianity. Such a college, in the midst of corrupt public sentiment,
could not fail to meet with the greatest opposition. It was persecuted
on all sides, and by all parties, showing how deep-seated and virulent
is prejudice against color. The legislature countenanced the college so
far as to grant it a charter, and empowered it to confer degrees, but
would not, seemingly on no earthly consideration, give it the slightest
pecuniary patronage. The debates which took place in the State House at
Albany when the bill relating to the college came up for consideration,
would, in vulgar flings at "negroes," cries of "amalgamation," and such
like, have disgraced a very assemblage of pagans. However the college
held on its way, and is still doing its work, though its efficiency is
of course greatly marred. All the other professors were white; so also
were the majority of the students.

       *       *       *       *       *

I was four years in connexion with this college as professor, and in all
probability would have been in M'Grawville still, but for the following

I bethought me now of marriage, having what might be termed good
prospects in the world. Visiting the town of Fulton, County of Oswego,
State of New York, about forty miles from New York Central College, on
an occasion of public interest, I was made the guest of the Rev. L.
K----, a highly esteemed minister of the gospel, and greatly
distinguished for his earnest and zealous advocacy of the principles of
abolition. He was a white man. This gentleman had a large family of sons
and daughters. A feeling of friendship sprung up between one of his
daughters and myself on the occasion of this visit, which feeling
eventually ripened into emotions of a higher and more interesting
character. The father welcomed me: the mother was long since deceased.
The parties immediately concerned were satisfied--why should others
demur? I knew something of prejudice against color, but I supposed that
a sense of dignity, not to say decency, would deter the most bitterly
opposed from interference with a matter wholly domestic and private, and
which, in its relation to the public, was also wholly insignificant. I
reckoned without my host however. The inhabitants of Fulton had received
the impression that there was an union in contemplation between the lady
and myself; and they determined that it should not take place, certainly
not in their town, nor elsewhere if they could prevent it. They stirred
the town in every direction, evoking all the elements of hostility, and
organizing the same into a deadly mob, to act at convenient opportunity.
I was ignorant of the great length to which this feeling had attained;
so also were the parties immediately interested in my personal safety. I
was therefore greatly surprised when, on the occasion of my last visit
to Fulton, and while in company with the lady, both of us visiting at
the house of a mutual friend, residing about two miles out of town, a
party rushed into our presence in hot haste, bidding me, if I wished to
escape with my life, to "fly with all possible speed!" The party who
performed this kindly office had scarcely gone, when, on looking out of
the window, I beheld a maddened multitude approaching--about six hundred
white men, armed with tar, feathers, poles and an empty barrel spiked
with shingle nails! In this barrel I was to be put, and rolled from the
top to the bottom of a hill near by. They also brought a sleigh, in
which the lady was to be taken back to her father's house. They intended
no harm to her.

Knowing the character of an American mob, and also knowing how little
they value the life of a man of color, I expected, as I saw the
multitude surrounding the house, to die--in fact, prepared for death.

Having assembled about the premises, they began to cry out in the most
uproarious manner, "Bring him out!" "Kill the Nigger!" "Hang him!" "Tear
down the house!" Shouts, groans, maledictions of all sorts and degrees
followed. No one who has not witnessed an American mob can have the
slightest idea of the scene which presented itself at this point. Had
six hundred beasts of the forest been loosed together, in one
promiscuous assemblage, they could scarcely have sent up howls and yells
and mad noises equal to those made by these infuriated men. There is no
exaggeration in this statement. For the sake of humanity, I only wish
there was. Nor were the members of the mob confined entirely to the
rabble; far from it. Many of its members were also members of a
Christian church. The mob occurred on a Sabbath evening, about six
o'clock, so that these men absolutely deserted their pews on purpose to
enjoy the fun of "hunting the nigger."

There came with this mob a self-constituted committee of gentlemen,
lawyers, merchants, and leading men of the town, who, although partaking
of the general feeling of prejudice against color, did not wish, for the
sake of the reputation of their town, to see bloodshed; besides also
many of them, I doubt not, entertained feelings of personal friendship
for myself.

This committee divided itself. One half came up to the drawing-room, and
advised that the young lady should consent to go home in the sleigh
provided, and that I should consent to leave the town. Conceding so much
to the mob, they thought my life might be spared. The other half of the
committee remained below, to appease the maddened multitude, and deter
them from carrying their threats into execution.

We agreed to the propositions of the committee. The young lady was taken
home in the sleigh aforesaid, about one third of the mob following on
foot, for what purpose I know not. I was then conducted by the committee
through the mob, many members of which giving me, as I passed, sundry
kicks and cuffs, but doing me no serious bodily harm. I was next taken
by the committee to an hotel, where arrangements had been made for my
reception. The mob followed, hooting and hallooing, the sight of their
victim seeming to revive their hostile feelings. They would have broken
into the hotel, had not the proprietor held them back by his threats. He
was not a friend of mine, but he had agreed to shelter me, and he was,
of course, determined to protect his property.

The committee then secured the use of two sleighs, one of which they
placed at the back entrance of the hotel, and the other they caused to
be driven about four miles out of the town. Into the first sleigh I was
to get when I could find my opportunity, and be driven to the other
sleigh, in which I was to be finally conveyed to the town of Syracuse,
about twenty-five miles distant. I made several attempts to get into the
sleigh at the back entrance of the hotel, but was driven back by the mob
every time I made my appearance at the door. Meanwhile the committee
furnished the mobocrats with spirits to drink, and cigars to smoke, for
all of which I had to pay. Comment upon this extraordinary act of
meanness would be entirely out of place. One would have thought that
these mobocrats would have been content to have mobbed me free of
expense, at least. Not so it seemed however.

But midnight drew on, and of course the multitude grew weary. Presently,
seeing my opportunity, I jumped into the sleigh at the back entrance of
the hotel, drove rapidly off to the second sleigh, and reached the town
of Syracuse early next morning. Some of the mobocrats attempted chase,
but soon gave it up.

Had this tumult ended here, I should probably have been in my chair at
the college today; and the whole affair, so far as it related only to
myself, would have been regarded by me as merely a bit of an episode in
my life--of course a most exciting one. But the worst was to come, at
least so far as it concerned the lady personally; and the very worst it
would be better to say nothing about.

After we had been disposed of in the manner already described, the next
step taken by the inhabitants of the town of Fulton was to place the
lady under a most degraded surveillance. True, she was to continue in
her father's house, but so overpowering had the mob-spirit become, that
the mobocrats commanded (and were obeyed!) that no communications should
be sent to her or from her, unless they had been previously perused and
sanctioned by duly deputed parties. Nor would they permit any persons to
call upon her, unless they too had been previously approved.

There was a line of railway between the towns of Fulton and Syracuse.
Guards were placed by certain individuals at the various stations on the
line, in order to prevent the possible escape of either party, or rather
to prevent the possible meeting of the parties, _i.e._, of the lady and
myself. Meanwhile the telegraphic wires and newspapers spread the news
throughout the length and breadth of the land; the consequence of all
which was, I became so notorious that my life was placed in jeopardy
wherever I went. On one occasion particularly I barely escaped with it.

On the day after the occurrence of the mob, and for several days after,
the town of Fulton presented a scene of unparallelled excitement. Had
the good people witnessed the approach of an invading army, but, by some
lucky chance, succeeded in driving it back, they could not have been
more extravagant in their demonstrations. Their countenances indicated
the oddest possible mixture of consternation and joy. Seriously, if one
can be serious over such details, never before did the contemplated
marriage of two mortals create such a hubbub.

The inhabitants of Fulton immediately assembled _en masse_, and voted
unanimously, in congress especially convened for the purpose, that Mr.
and Mrs. P----, school teachers, our friends, at whose house we were
being entertained at the time of the mob, "DO GIVE UP THEIR SCHOOL,
AND LEAVE THE TOWN FORTHWITH." For what crime? None, save that of
showing us hospitality. Our friends had therefore not only to give up
their business at an immense pecuniary sacrifice, but had absolutely to
make off with their lives as best they could.

During all this time the lady who had been thus rudely treated was true
to her noble and heroic nature; but so much outward pressure, and of
such an extraordinary character, produced its consequences upon her
health. It failed, and it became necessary that she should be released
from her thraldom. Once more at liberty she visited, incognito, the town
of Syracuse, where I was still tarrying. The mobocrats would not have
permitted her to have left Fulton in peace, if they had known whither
she was going.

We met again: reviewed the past and discussed the future. As I am not
detailing sentiment, but merely stating facts, suffice it to say, that
we made up our minds that we would not be defeated by a mob.

But to the future. What was to be done? We came to the conclusion that I
could no longer expect to hold my position in M'Grawville. The college
had already received a terrible shock by reason of the cry of
"amalgamation" which had been raised by the mob. And though the trustees
were willing, at heart, to face the storm of prejudice, worldly wisdom,
they considered, dictated that they should not incur the odium which
they could not avoid bringing upon the college, if they persisted in
retaining me longer as one of their professors. The trustees thought it
would be better to be cautious, and save the college for the good it
might do in the future. Such a union as ours was, in fact, but one of
the logical results of the very principles on which the college was
founded. I do not profess to sit in judgment, and therefore attempt no
comment. They were now evidently anxious that I should resign, though,
of course, they did not express so much to me in words.

I also came to the further conclusion that I could no longer, under the
circumstances, whatever I might be able to do in future, hold my
position in the country. For, however willing I might be to endure all
things in my own person, I felt that I ought not to expose to any
further danger one who already suffered so much and so heroically for my
sake. I knew several of the lady's friends who were bitterly opposed to
our union, solely on account of my color, and who were prepared, if the
occasion should require it, to go to desperate lengths. They would not
have hesitated to have sworn her into the lunatic asylum. I therefore
decided not only to resign my professorship in the college, but also to
leave the country.

Our plans being now quietly arranged, the lady returned to Fulton, and
it was then supposed that all communication between us was for ever
broken off. The mob had ordered that it should be so, and doubtless
thought it was so. The most mistaken idea they ever entertained. The
lady remained for a short time in Fulton, and then retired into the
interior of the state of Pennsylvania. I continued to remain in the town
of Syracuse.

Soon a favorable opportunity presented itself, and we met in the city of
New York, on the 30th March, 1853, and then and there asserted our
rights in due and legal form: after which we immediately took the train
for Boston.

Owing to the great publicity which the newspapers had given to our
affairs and the consequent excitement thereon, we found it necessary to
use the utmost caution, such as walking apart in the streets, and
travelling in the trains as strangers to each other. It would have been
fool-hardy to have provoked another mob.

We remained in Boston ten days, quietly visiting among our friends, and
then set sail for England. Wishing to get out of the country without
farther ado, we were compelled to submit to many sacrifices, pecuniary
and otherwise, of which it is not necessary to speak. In England and
Ireland, including a short trip to Scotland, we have been ever since,
and have constantly received that generous and friendly consideration
which, from the reputation of Great Britain and Ireland, we had been led
to expect; and for which we are grateful.

To go back for a single moment to New York Central College. On receiving
the appointment to the professorial chair, the pro-slavery newspaper
press of the country opened a regular assault. The "_Washington Union_"
thus wrote:

"What a pity that college could not have found white men in all America
to fill its professors' chairs. What a burning shame that the trustees
should have been mean enough to rob Mr. L---- of his law student, and
the Boston bar of its ebony ornament." I was never at the Boston bar,
and therefore could not have been its ebony ornament. The imagination
of the editors supplied them with the fact, and that answered their
purpose as well.

A reverend doctor of divinity writing in a Cincinnati newspaper,
wondered "how a man of sense could enter that amalgamation college. If
this professor would go to Liberia and display his eloquence at the bar
there; or, if he has any of the grace of God in his heart, enter the
pulpit, he would then be doing a becoming work."

From Augusta, Georgia (Slave State), I received the following document,
signed by several parties, and containing the picture of a man hanging
by the neck, under which was written, "Here hangs the Professor of

  "Augusta, Geo. Nov. 1850.

"Sir,--We perceive you have been appointed Professor of Greek in New
York Central College. Very well. We also perceive that you have
occasionally lectured in the North on the 'Probable Destiny of the
African Race.' Now, Sir, if you will only have the kindness to come to
Augusta, and visit our hemp yard, you may be sure that your destiny will
not be _probable_, but certain.





Of course I did not go to Augusta, Georgia.

These assaults and attempts at ridicule served to bring me into general
notice. I soon found that, by reason of them, and without merit or
effort of my own, I had become known throughout the whole country as
"the Colored Professor." I had a status. The lady being the daughter of
a highly respectable minister, she also had a status. To permit
therefore the union of these parties would be to bring the principle of
amalgamation into respectability. So reasoned those who attempted to
reason on behalf, or rather in excuse, of the mob. "We are sorry," they
went on condescendingly to say, "for Professor Allen, for though a man
of color, he is nevertheless a gentleman, a Christian and a scholar. But
this union must not be; the 'proprieties of society,' must not be
violated!" Here then was the secret of this extraordinary outbreak. Had
we moved in what these good people would have been pleased to term a
lower strata of society, they would have let us alone with infinite

The most lamentable feature of this Fulton mob was the fact, that we
could not, if we had sought it, have secured any redress. No court of
law in the State would have undertaken to bring to justice the
perpetrators of this outrage. But on the contrary, such court would have
been inclined to take sides with the mobocrats, and to justify them in
the means which they employed wherewith to chastise a colored man who
had presumed so grossly to violate the "proprieties of society."

Before closing I cannot forebear a further word with regard to New York
Central College. During the four years I was in connexion with that
college as professor, I never experienced the slightest disrespect from
trustees, professors or students. All treated me kindly, so kindly
indeed that I can truly say that the period of my professorship forms
one of the pleasantest remembrances of my life. Terrible as prejudice
against color is, my experience has taught me that it is not invincible;
though, as it is the offspring of slavery, it will never be fully
vanquished until slavery has been abolished.

In illustration of the direct influences of slavery as they affect the
free man of color, I again go back for a single moment. Having spent
three years at Oneida Institute, I proposed to myself a visit to
Virginia, to look once more into the faces of beloved parents, relatives
and friends, to walk again upon the strand at Fortress Monroe, where I
had so often in childhood beheld the sunbeams play upon the coves and
inlets, and seen the surf beat upon the rocks. I, at first, had some
difficulty in getting a passage to Virginia, most of the masters of the
New York vessels to whom I applied seeming to be of a friendly nature,
and not willing to expose me to the slave laws of Virginia. I, however,
succeeded at last--the captain of a Philadelphia vessel consenting to
land me at the fortress of Monroe. I remained in the home of my
childhood and youth seven days in peace; but on the morning of the
eighth day, while walking on the strand, I was rudely assaulted by a
person who had known me from my infancy. I had always supposed him to be
a gentleman, and was therefore greatly surprised and shocked. But
slavery is relentless; it ruins both the morals and the manners. This
individual, after belaboring me in a savage manner, gave me distinctly
to understand that unless I left Virginia speedily, I might find myself
in trouble. He afterwards remarked, as I understood, to his friends that
"this Allen has been off to an abolition college and returned among us.
Let us look out for him."

I took the hint; and on the next morning secured the services of a party
who rowed me off in a small canoe to a vessel lying in the harbor, where
I bargained with the captain, who, for a handsome sum, consented to take
me quietly out of the state. I left Virginia at once, and have never
returned to it since, though I would gladly have done so, as relatives
and friends near and dear to me have since died, by the side of whose
death beds I desired to stand. In conclusion I have only to say that
were I in the United States of America to-morrow, it would be more than
my life or liberty would be worth to put foot upon the soil of my native
state. Is this freedom? If it be, then give me slavery indeed.

A word or two with regard to my course in this country. Hitherto my
income has been derived solely from lectures, tuitions, and such other
odds and ends of work in my line as my hands could find to do. I desire
a more permanent settlement for myself and family, and hope that the
sale of this little narrative may help to create means to that end.

I send it forth therefore, desiring that it may stand upon its own
merits, at the same time earnestly hoping that it may interest all into
whose hands it may fall.


"Lord Shaftesbury sympathizes most heartily with Professor Allen and
sincerely wishes him success in his undertaking. It will give Lord
Shaftesbury great pleasure to assist, in any way that he can, a
gentleman of the colored race, who is a hundred times wiser and better
than his white oppressors.

  "LONDON, _July, 1854._"

  From Rev. I. G. Abeltshauser, LL.D. Trinity College,
  Dublin, and others;--

                                  "DUBLIN, 14th April, 1856.

"The undersigned having made due enquiry from the most trustworthy
sources relative to the character and attainments of Professor William
G. Allen, have much pleasure in recommending him as a gentleman of high
attainments and honorable character.

  I. G. ABELTSHAUSER, Clk. LL.D. Trin. Col. Dub.
  WM. URWICK, D. D. 40, Rathmines Road, Dublin.
  JAMES HAUGHTON, 35 Eccles-street, Dublin.
  RICHARD ALLEN, Sackville-street, Dublin.
  JONATHAN PIM, 22, William-street, Dublin.
  JOHN EVANS, M. D. 38, Richmond-street, Dublin.
  R. D. WEBB, 176, Great Brunswick-street, Dublin.
  JOHN R. WIGHAM, 36, Capel-street, Dublin."

  From RICHARD D. WEBB, Esq. of Dublin.

                                "DUBLIN, 3rd November, 1858.


"Your name was familiar to me long before I knew you personally. I had
often heard of 'Professor W. G. Allen,' who, while connected with the
Central College, in the State of New York, and respected there as a man
and a teacher, was obliged to leave his native country for the offence
of marrying a white lady of respectable family and great excellence of
character, who is now much liked and esteemed by her numerous friends in
this city. I became acquainted with you soon after your arrival in
London; and particularly during your residence in Ireland I have had
nearly as much opportunity of knowing you as any of your acquaintances
here. I can truly say, that you have earned the hearty respect of all
who know you (of whom I have any knowledge), by the industry, energy,
and self-respect you have evinced in the course of a long and difficult
battle with those adverse circumstances, with which a comparatively
unknown and friendless stranger has to contend, in his efforts to effect
a settlement in a strange country. Your conduct has been industrious,
honorable and in every way deserving of esteem and sympathy. Some time
since, in the columns of the 'Anti-Slavery Advocate,' without hint or
solicitation on your part, I took the liberty to speak of your course as
I do now; for amongst all the colored Americans with whom my interest in
the Anti-Slavery cause has made me acquainted--and many of whom are my
own personal friends--I have known none more deserving of respect and
confidence than yourself.

                                        "Yours truly,
                                          "RICHARD D. WEBB."

       *       *       *       *       *

Having, in my avocation as lecturer on "The African Race" and
"America and the Americans," visited nearly the whole of Ireland, I
respectfully submit the following letters and notices, the letters being
from gentlemen who kindly presided at the meetings:--

  From the Rev. DOCTOR FITZGERALD, Archdeacon of Kildare,
  (now Lord Bishop of Cork).

"Professor Allen delivered some lectures on the African Race, in
Kingstown, which seemed to have given general satisfaction. I regret
that I was unable to attend more than one, but I can truly say that it
bore evidence of a highly cultivated mind, and imparted valuable
information in a pleasing form. From what I have seen and heard of
Professor Allen, I should be glad to think that any testimony of mine
could be of service to him.

                      "W. FITZGERALD, Archdeacon of Kildare,
                                  (Now Lord Bishop of Cork.)

  "Dublin, Nov. 1856"

  From Rev. DOCTOR URWICK, Dublin.

"I have known Professor Allen since his first coming to Ireland, and
believe him to be a gentleman of high character and attainments. His
lecturings, more than one of which I have heard, display much power, and
by the amount of information they contain, united with a clear and often
eloquent style, and earnest manner, cannot fail, at once, to interest
and instruct the audience. I cordially commend him to the confidence and
kind attention of my friends.

                                                 "W. URWICK.

  "Dublin, Nov. 30, 1857."

  From CORK--see "Constitution," "Examiner" and
  "Reporter," March 1858.

                                       "Cork, Feb. 28, 1858.

  "To WILLIAM G. ALLEN, Esq. late Professor of Greek in
  New York Central College.

"DEAR SIR--We, the undersigned, having heard your lectures on
'America' and 'Africa,' and derived therefrom much instruction as well
as gratification, do, on our own part and that of many of our fellow
citizens who are anxious to hear you, respectfully request that you will
give, at least, two lectures more upon these interesting subjects.

  HENRY MARTIN, Congregational Minister.
  R. W. FORREST (Free Church).
  WILLIAM MAGILL, (Scots' Church).
  JOSEPH R. GREENE, Professor, Queen's Coll.

  From "Belfast News-letter," Dec. 10, 1858.

"REV. DOCTOR COOKE occupied the chair. Professor Allen then
delivered a lecture of great ability and interest. Dr. Cooke said he had
listened to a remarkable oration. He was glad he had heard it. He
thanked Professor Allen, in the name of the meeting, for his truly
valuable and instructive lecture."


"Professor W. G. Allen, an American gentleman of color, having visited
Waterford, delivered two lectures here, one on 'America,' and the other
on 'Africa and the African Races.' On each occasion I had the pleasure
to occupy the chair at the meetings held to hear Mr. Allen's lectures,
which proved most interesting and instructive. The Professor is himself
a witness that there is nothing in color or race to hinder a man from
being distinguished for eloquence, good taste, and religious feeling.

"I have seldom heard public addresses which have interested me more, and
I have no doubt that Mr. Allen's lectures will prove useful, wherever
they are delivered, in creating an interest on behalf of our fellow men,
who have suffered so great wrongs from professing Christians, though
happily no longer at the hands of British subjects.

                                           "EDW. N. HOARE,
                                          Dean of Waterford.

  "Deanery, Waterford, Jan. 16, 1858."

  From Rev. DOCTOR BROWNE, Principal of Kilkenny College.

                            "Kilkenny College, Feb. 3, 1858.

"I have attended Professor Allen's lectures on 'America and the
Americans,' and on the 'African Races,' and have received much pleasure
as well as information from the talent and power with which he has
handled the subjects of which he treated.

"His knowledge, his ardent and impressive manner, and clear melodious
voice, render him a most pleasing as well as instructive lecturer.

                                   "JOHN BROWNE, Clk. LL.D."

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "The American Prejudice Against Color - An Authentic Narrative, Showing How Easily The Nation Got - Into An Uproar." ***

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