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Title: History of the Negro Race in America from 1619 to 1880. Vol. 2 (of 2) - Negroes as Slaves, as Soldiers, and as Citizens
Author: Williams, George Washington
Language: English
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[Transcriber's Note: Every effort has been made to replicate this text
as faithfully as possible, including obsolete and variant spellings
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obvious error is noted at the end of this ebook.]


                                OF THE

                         NEGRO RACE IN AMERICA

                          _FROM 1619 TO 1880._


                             TOGETHER WITH

                      SIERRA LEONE AND LIBERIA.


                          GEORGE W. WILLIAMS,


                            _IN TWO VOLUMES._

                                VOLUME II.

                              1800 TO 1880.

                                NEW YORK
                            G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS,
                        27 AND 29 WEST 23D STREET.



                         BY G. P. PUTNAM'S SONS,



This second volume brings the HISTORY OF THE NEGRO RACE IN AMERICA
from 1800 down to 1880. It consists of six parts and twenty-nine
chapters. Few memories can cover this eventful period of American
history. Commencing its career with the Republic, slavery grew with
its growth and strengthened with its strength. The dark spectre kept
pace and company with liberty until separated by the sword. Beginning
with the struggle for restriction or extension of slavery, I have
striven to record, in the spirit of honest and impartial historical
inquiry, all the events of this period belonging properly to my
subject. The development and decay of anti-slavery sentiment at the
South; the pious efforts of the good Quakers to ameliorate the
condition of the slaves; the service of Negroes as soldiers and
sailors; the anti-slavery agitation movement; the insurrections of
slaves; the national legislation on the slavery question; the John
Brown movement; the war for the Union; the valorous conduct of Negro
soldiers; the emancipation proclamations; the reconstruction of the
late Confederate States; the errors of reconstruction; the results of
emancipation; vital, prison, labor, educational, financial, and social
statistics; the exodus--cause and effect; and a sober prophecy of the
future,--are all faithfully recorded.

After seven years I am loath to part with the saddest task ever
committed to human hands! I have tracked my bleeding countrymen
through the widely scattered documents of American history; I have
listened to their groans, their clanking chains, and melting prayers,
until the woes of a race and the agonies of centuries seem to crowd
upon my soul as a bitter reality. Many pages of this history have been
blistered with my tears; and, although having lived but a little more
than a generation, my mind feels as if it were cycles old.

The long spectral hand on the clock of American history points to the
completion of the second decade since the American slave became an
American citizen. How wondrous have been his strides, how marvellous
his achievements! Twenty years ago we were in the midst of a great
war for the extinction of slavery; in this anniversary week I complete
my task, record the results of that struggle. I modestly strive to
lift the Negro race to its pedestal in American history. I raise this
post to indicate the progress of humanity; to instruct the present, to
inform the future. I commit this work to the considerate judgment of
my fellow-citizens of every race, "with malice toward none, and
charity for all."

                                             GEO. W. WILLIAMS.



Part 4.





     Commencement of the Nineteenth Century.--Slave Population of
     1800.--Memorial presented to Congress calling Attention to the
     Slave-trade to the Coast of Guinea.--Georgia cedes the Territory
     lying West of her to become a State.--Ohio adopts a State
     Constitution.--William Henry Harrison appointed Governor of the
     Territory of Indiana.--An Act of Congress prohibiting the
     Importation of Slaves into the United States or
     Territories.--Slave Population of 1810.--Mississippi applies for
     Admission into the Union with a Slave Constitution.--Congress
     besieged by Memorials urging more Specific Legislation against
     the Slave-trade.--Premium offered to the Informer of every
     illegally imported African seized within the United
     States.--Circular-letters sent to the Naval Officers on the
     Sea-coast of the Slave-holding States.--President Monroe's
     Message to Congress on the Question of Slavery.--Petition
     presented by the Missouri Delegates for the Admission of that
     State into the Union.--The Organization of the Arkansas
     Territory.--Resolutions passed for the Restriction of Slavery in
     New States.--The Missouri Controversy.--The Organization of the
     Anti-slavery Societies.--An Act for the Gradual Abolition of
     Slavery in New Jersey.--Its Provisions.--The Attitude of the
     Northern Press on the Slavery Question.--Slave Population of
     1820.--Anti-slavery Sentiment at the North                        1



     Employment of Negroes as Soldiers in the War of 1812.--The New
     York Legislature authorizes the Enlistment of a Regiment of
     Colored Soldiers.--Gen. Andrew Jackson's Proclamation to the Free
     Colored Inhabitants of Louisiana calling them to Arms.--Stirring
     Address to the Colored Troops the Sunday before the Battle of New
     Orleans.--Gen. Jackson anticipates the Valor of his Colored
     Soldiers.--Terms of Peace at the Close of the War by the
     Commissioners at Ghent.--Negroes placed as Chattel
     Property.--Their Valor in War secures them no Immunity in Peace



     No Proscription against Negroes as Sailors.--They are carried
     upon the Rolls in the Navy without Regard to their
     Nationality.--Their Treatment as Sailors.--Commodore Perry's
     Letter to Commodore Chauncey in Regard to the Men sent
     him.--Commodore Chauncey's Spirited Reply.--The Heroism of the
     Negro set forth in the Picture of Perry's Victory on Lake
     Erie.--Extract of a Letter from Nathaniel Shaler, Commander of a
     Private Vessel.--He cites Several Instances of the Heroic Conduct
     of Negro Sailors                                                 28





     The Security of the Institution of Slavery at the South.--The
     Right to hold Slaves questioned.--Rapid Increase of the Slave
     Population.--Anti-slavery Speeches in the Legislature of
     Virginia.--The Quakers of Maryland and Delaware emancipate their
     Slaves.--The Evil Effect of Slavery upon Society.--The Conscience
     and Heart of the South did not respond to the Voice of Reason or
     the Dictates of Humanity                                         31



     The Antiquity of Anti-slavery Sentiment.--Benjamin Lundy's
     Opposition to Slavery in the South and at the North.--He
     establishes the "Genius of Universal Emancipation."--His Great
     Sacrifices and Marvellous Work in the Cause of
     Emancipation.--William Lloyd Garrison edits a Paper at
     Bennington, Vermont.--He pens a Petition to Congress for the
     Abolition of Slavery in the District of Columbia.--Garrison the
     Peerless Leader of the Anti-slavery Agitation.--Extract from a
     Speech delivered by Daniel O'Connell at Cork, Ireland.--Increase
     of Anti-slavery Societies in the Country.--Charles Sumner
     delivers a Speech on the "Anti-slavery Duties of the Whig
     Party."--Marked Events of 1846.--Sumner the Leader of the
     Political Abolition Party.--Heterodox Anti-slavery Party.--Its
     Sentiments.--Horace Greeley the Leader of the Economic
     Anti-slavery Party.--The Aggressive Anti-slavery Party.--Its
     Leaders.--The Colonization Anti-slavery Society.--American
     Colonization Society.--Manumitted Negroes colonize on the West
     Coast of Africa.--A Bill establishing a Line of Mail Steamers to
     the Coast of Africa.--It provides for the Suppression of the
     Slave-trade, the Promotion of Commerce, and the Colonization of
     Free Negroes.--Extracts from the Press warmly urging the Passage
     of the Bill.--The Underground Railroad Organization.--Its
     Efficiency in freeing Slaves.--Anti-Slavery Literature.--It
     exposes the True Character of Slavery.--"Uncle Tom's Cabin," by
     Harriet Beecher Stowe, pleaded the Cause of the Slave in Twenty
     Different Languages.--The Influence of "Impending Crisis."       37



     Intelligent Interest of Free Negroes in the Agitation
     Movement.--"First Annual Convention of the People of Color" held
     at Philadelphia.--Report of the Committee on the Establishment of
     a College for Young Men of Color.--Provisional Committee
     appointed in each City.--Conventional Address.--Second Convention
     held at Benezet Hall, Philadelphia.--Resolutions of the
     Meeting.--Conventional Address.--The Massachusetts General
     Colored Association.--Convention of Anti-slavery Women of America
     at New York.--Prejudice against admitting Negroes into White
     Societies.--Colored Orators.--Their Eloquent Pleas for their
     Enslaved Race                                                    61



     The Negro not so Docile as supposed.--The Reason why he was kept
     in Bondage.--Negroes possessed Courage but lacked
     Leaders.--Insurrection of Slaves.--Gen. Gabriel as a
     Leader.--Negro Insurrection planned in South Carolina.--Evils of,
     revealed.--The "Nat. Turner" Insurrection in South Hampton
     County, Virginia.--The Whites arm themselves to repel the
     Insurrectionists.--Capture and Trial of "Nat. Turner."--His
     Execution.--Effect of the Insurrection upon Slaves and
     Slave-holders                                                    82



     The Spanish Slaver "Amistad" sails from Havana, Cuba, for Porto
     Principe.--Fifty-four Native Africans on Board.--Joseph Cinquez,
     the Son of an African Prince.--The "Amistad" captured and taken
     into New London, Conn.--Trial and Release of the Slaves.--Tour
     through the United States.--Return to their Native Country in
     Company with Missionaries.--The Anti-slavery Cause benefited by
     their Stay in the United States.--Their Appreciation of Christian
     Civilization                                                     93

Part 6.




     Violent Treatment of Anti-slavery Orators.--The South
     misinterprets the Mobocratic Spirit of the North.--The
     "Garrisonians" and "Calhounites."--Slave Population of
     1830-1850.--The Thirty-first Congress.--Motion for the Admission
     of New Mexico and California.--The Democratic and Whig Parties on
     the Treatment of the Slave Question.--Convention of the
     Democratic Party at Baltimore, Maryland.--Nomination of Franklin
     Pierce for President.--Whig Party Convention.--Nomination of Gen.
     Winfield Scott for the Presidency by the Whigs.--Mr. Pierce
     elected President in 1853.--A Bill introduced to repeal the
     "Missouri Compromise."--Speech by Stephen A. Douglass.--Mr.
     Chase's Reply.--An Act to organize the Territories of Kansas and
     Nebraska.--State Militia in the South make Preparations for
     War.--President Buchanan in Sympathy with the South.             97



     Stringent Laws enacted against Free Negroes and
     Mulattoes.--Fugitive-slave Law respected in Ohio.--A Law to
     prevent Kidnapping.--The First Constitution of Ohio.--History of
     the Dred Scott case.--Judge Taney's Opinion in this Case.--Ohio
     Constitution of 1851 denied Free Negroes the Right to vote.--The
     Establishment of Colored Schools.--Law in Indiana Territory in
     Reference to Executions.--An Act for the Introduction of Negroes
     and Mulattoes into the Territory.--First Constitution of
     Indiana.--The Illinois Constitution of 1818.--Criminal Code
     enacted.--Illinois Legislature passes an Act to prevent the
     Emigration of Free Negroes into the State.--Free Negroes of the
     Northern States endure Restriction and Proscription             111



     Nominal Rights of Free Negroes in the Slave States.--Fugitive
     Slaves seek Refuge in Canada.--Negroes petition against Taxation
     without Representation.--A Law preventing Negroes from other
     States from settling in Massachusetts.--Notice to Blacks,
     Indians, and Mulattoes, warning them to leave the
     Commonwealth.--The Rights and Privileges of the Negro
     restricted.--Colored Men turn their Attention to the Education of
     their own Race.--John V. De Grasse, the first Colored Man
     admitted to the Massachusetts Medical Society.--Prominent Colored
     Men of New York and Philadelphia.--The Organization of the
     African Methodist Episcopal and Colored Baptist
     Churches.--Colored Men distinguish themselves in the
     Pulpit.--Report to the Ohio Anti-slavery Society of Colored
     People in Cincinnati in 1835.--Many purchase their
     Freedom.--Henry Boyd, the Mechanic and Builder.--He becomes a
     Successful Manufacturer in Cincinnati.--Samuel T. Wilcox, the
     Grocer.--His Success in Business in Cincinnati.--Ball & Thomas,
     the Photographers.--Colored People of Cincinnati evince a Desire
     to take Care of themselves.--Lydia P. Mott establishes a Home for
     Colored Orphans.--The Organization effected in 1844.--Its
     Success.--Formation of a Colored Military Company called "The
     Attucks Guards."--Emigration of Negroes to Liberia.--The Colored
     People live down much Prejudice                                 125



     The Possibilities of the Human Intellect.--Ignorance Favorable to
     Slavery.--An Act by the Legislature of Alabama imposing a Penalty
     on any one instructing a Colored Person.--Educational Privileges
     of the Creoles in the City of Mobile.--Prejudice against Colored
     Schools in Connecticut.--The Attempt of Miss Prudence Crandall to
     admit Colored Girls into her School at Canterbury.--The
     Indignation of the Citizens at this Attempt to mix the Races in
     Education.--The Legislature of Connecticut passes a Law
     abolishing the School.--The Building assaulted by a Mob.--Miss
     Crandall arrested and imprisoned for teaching Colored Children
     against the Law.--Great Excitement.--The Law finally
     repealed.--An Act by the Legislature of Delaware taxing Persons
     who brought into, or sold Slaves out of, the State.--Under Act of
     1829 Money received for the Sale of Slaves in Florida was added
     to the School Fund in that State.--Georgia prohibits the
     Education of Colored Persons under Heavy Penalty.--Illinois
     establishes Separate Schools for Colored Children.--The "Free
     Mission Institute" at Quincy, Illinois, destroyed by a Missouri
     Mob.--Numerous and Cruel Slave Laws in Kentucky retard the
     Education of the Negroes.--An Act passed in Louisiana preventing
     the Negroes in any Way from being instructed.--Maine gives Equal
     School Privileges to Whites and Blacks.--St. Francis Academy for
     Colored Girls founded in Baltimore in 1831.--The Wells
     School.--The First School for Colored Children established in
     Boston by Intelligent Colored Men in 1798.--A School-house for
     the Colored Children built and paid for out of a Fund left by
     Abiel Smith for that Purpose.--John B. Russworm one of the
     Teachers and afterward Governor of the Colony of Cape Palmas,
     Liberia.--First Primary School for Colored Children established
     in 1820.--Missouri passes Stringent Laws against the Instruction
     of Negroes.--New York provides for the Education of
     Negroes.--Elias Neau opens a School in New York City for Negro
     Slaves in 1704.--"New York African Free School" in 1786.--Visit
     of Lafayette to the African Schools in 1824.--His
     Address.--Public Schools for Colored Children in New
     York.--Colored Schools in Ohio.--"Cincinnati High School" for
     Colored Youths founded in 1844.--Oberlin College opens its Doors
     to Colored Students.--The Establishment of Colored Schools in
     Pennsylvania by Anthony Benezet in 1750.--His Will.--"Institute
     for Colored Youths" established in 1837.--"Avery College" at
     Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, founded in 1849.--Ashmun Institute,
     or Lincoln University, founded in October, 1856.--South Carolina
     takes Definite Action against the Education or Promotion of the
     Colored Race in 1800-1803-1834.--Tennessee makes no
     Discrimination against Color in the School Law of 1840.--Little
     Opportunity afforded in Virginia for the Colored Man to be
     enlightened.--Stringent Laws enacted.--History of Schools for the
     Colored Population in the District of Columbia                  147



     John Brown's Appearance in Kansas.--He denounces Slavery in a
     Political Meeting at Osawatomie.--Mrs. Stearns's Personal
     Recollection of John Brown.--Kansas infested by Border
     Ruffians.--The Battle of Harper's Ferry.--The Defeat and Capture
     of Captain John Brown.--His Last Letter written to Mrs.
     Steams.--His Trial and Execution.--His Influence upon the
     Anti-slavery Question at the North.--His Place in History       214

Part 7.




     Increase of Slave Population in Slave-holding States from
     1850-1860.--Products of Slave Labor.--Basis of Southern
     Representation.--Six Seceding States organize a New
     Government.--Constitution of the Confederate Government.--Speech
     by Alexander H. Stephens.--Mr. Lincoln in Favor of Gradual
     Emancipation.--He is elected President of the United States.--The
     Issue of the War between the States                             228



     The First Call for Troops.--Rendition of Fugitive Slaves by the
     Army.--Col. Tyler's Address to the People of Virginia.--General
     Isaac R. Sherwood's Account of an Attempt to secure a Fugitive
     Slave in his Charge.--Col. Steedman refuses to have his Camp
     searched for Fugitive Slaves by Order from Gen. Fry.--Letter from
     Gen. Buell in Defence of the Rebels in the South.--Orders issued
     by Generals Hooker, Williams, and Others, in Regard to harboring
     Fugitive Slaves in Union Camps.--Observation Concerning Slavery
     from the "Army of the Potomac."--Gen. Butler's Letter to Gen.
     Winfield Scott.--It is answered by the Secretary of War.--Horace
     Greeley's Letter to the President.--President Lincoln's
     Reply.--Gen. John C. Fremont, Commander of the Union Army in
     Missouri, issues a Proclamation emancipating Slaves in his
     District.--It is disapproved by the President.--Emancipation
     Proclamation by Gen. Hunter.--It is rescinded by the
     President.--Slavery and Union joined in a Desperate Struggle    241



     Negroes employed as Teamsters and in the Quartermaster's
     Department.--Rebel General Mercer's Order to the Slave-holders
     issued from Savannah.--He receives Orders from the Secretary of
     War to impress a Number of Negroes to build Fortifications.--The
     Negro proves himself Industrious and earns Promotion            260



     Congress passes an Act to confiscate Property used for
     Insurrectionary Purposes.--A Fruitless Appeal to the President to
     issue an Emancipation Proclamation.--He thinks the Time not yet
     come for such an Action, but within a Few Weeks changes his
     Opinion and issues an Emancipation Proclamation.--The Rebels show
     no Disposition to accept the Mild Terms of the Proclamation.--Mr.
     Davis gives Attention to the Proclamation in his Third Annual
     Message.--Second Emancipation Proclamation issued by President
     Lincoln January 1, 1863.--The Proclamation imparts New Hope to
     the Negro                                                       263



     The Question of the Military Employment of Negroes.--The Rebels
     take the First Step toward the Military Employment of
     Negroes.--Grand Review of the Rebel Troops at New
     Orleans.--General Hunter Arms the First Regiment of Loyal Negroes
     at the South.--Official Correspondence between the Secretary of
     War and General Hunter respecting the Enlistment of the Black
     Regiment.--The Enlistment of Five Negro Regiments authorized by
     the President.--The Policy of General Phelps in Regard to the
     Employment of Negroes as Soldiers in Louisiana.--A Second Call
     for Troops by the President.--An Attempt to amend the Army
     Appropriation Bill so as to prohibit the Further Employment of
     Colored Troops.--Governor John A. Andrew, of Massachusetts,
     authorized by Secretary of War to organize Two Regiments of
     Colored Troops.--General Lorenzo Thomas is despatched to the
     Mississippi Valley to superintend the Enlistment of Negro
     Soldiers in the Spring of 1863.--An Order issued by the War
     Department in the Fall of 1863 for the Enlistment of Colored
     Troops.--The Union League Club of New York City raises Two
     Regiments.--Recruiting of Colored Troops in Pennsylvania.--Major
     George L. Stearns assigned Charge of the Recruiting of Colored
     Troops in the Department of the Cumberland.--Free Military School
     established at Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.--Endorsement of the
     School by Secretary Stanton.--The Organization of the
     School.--Official Table giving Number of Colored Troops in the
     Army.--The Character of Negro Troops.--Mr. Greeley's Editorial on
     "Negro Troops."--Letter from Judge-Advocate Holt to the Secretary
     of War on the "Enlistment of Slaves."--The Negro Legally and
     Constitutionally a Soldier.--History records his Deeds of
     Patriotism.                                                     276



     Justification of the Federal Government in the Employment of
     Slaves as Soldiers.--Trials of the Negro Soldier.--He undergoes
     Persecution from the White Northern Troops, and Barbarous
     Treatment from the Rebels.--Editorial of the "New York Times" on
     the Negro Soldiers in Battle.--Report of the "Tribune" on the
     Gallant Exploits of the 1st South Carolina Volunteers.--Negro
     Troops in all the Departments.--Negro Soldiers in the Battle of
     Port Hudson.--Death of Captain Andre Callioux.--Death of
     Color-Sergeant Anselmas Planciancois.--An Account of the Battle
     of Port Hudson.--Official Report of General Banks.--He applauds
     the Valor of the Colored Regiments at Port Hudson.--George H.
     Boker's Poem on "The Black Regiment."--Battle of Milliken's Bend,
     June, 1863.--Description of the Battle.--Memorable Events of
     July, 1863.--Battle on Morris Island.--Bravery of Sergeant
     Carney.--An Account of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment by Edward
     L. Pierce to Governor Andrew.--Death of Col. Shaw.--Colored
     Troops in the Army of the Potomac.--Battle of Petersburg.--Table
     showing the Losses at Nashville.--Adjt.-Gen. Thomas on Negro
     Soldiers.--An Extract from the "New York Tribune" in Behalf of
     the Soldierly Qualities of the Negroes.--Letter received by Col.
     Darling from Mr. Aden and Col. Foster praising the Eminent
     Qualifications of the Negro for Military Life.--History records
     their Deeds of Valor in the Preservation of the Union           310



     The Military Employment of Negroes Distasteful to the Rebel
     Authorities.--The Confederates the First to employ Negroes as
     Soldiers.--Jefferson Davis refers to the Subject in his Message,
     and the Confederate Congress orders All Negroes captured to be
     turned over to the State Authorities, and raises the "Black Flag"
     upon White Officers commanding Negro Soldiers.--The New York
     Press calls upon the Government to protect its Negro
     Soldiers.--Secretary Stanton's Action.--The President's
     Order.--Correspondence between Gen. Peck and Gen. Pickett in
     Regard to the Killing of a Colored Man after he had surrendered
     at the Battle of Newbern.--Southern Press on the Capture and
     Treatment of Negro Soldiers.--The Rebels refuse to exchange Negro
     Soldiers captured on Morris and James Islands on Account of the
     Order of the Confederate Congress which required them to be
     turned over to the Authorities of the Several States.--Jefferson
     Davis issues a Proclamation outlawing Gen. B. F. Butler.--He is
     to be hung without Trial by any Confederate Officer who may
     capture him.--The Battle of Fort Pillow.--The Gallant Defence by
     the Little Band of Union Troops.--It refuses to capitulate and is
     assaulted and captured by an Overwhelming Force.--The Union
     Troops butchered in Cold Blood.--The Wounded are carried into
     Houses which are fired and burned with their Helpless
     Victims.--Men are nailed to the Outside of Buildings through
     their Hands and Feet and burned alive.--The Wounded and Dying are
     brained where they lay in their Ebbing Blood.--The Outrages are
     renewed in the Morning.--Dead and Living find a Common Sepulchre
     in the Trench.--General Chalmers orders the Killing of a Negro
     Child.--Testimony of the Few Union Soldiers who were enabled to
     crawl out of the Gilt-Edge, Fire-Proof Hell at Pillow.--They give
     a Sickening Account of the Massacre before the Senate Committee
     on the Conduct of the War.--Gen. Forrest's Futile Attempt to
     destroy the Record of his Foul Crime.--Fort Pillow Massacre
     without a Parallel in History                                   350

Part 8.




     The War over, Peace restored, and the Nation cleansed of a
     Plague.--slavery gives Place to a Long Train of
     Events.--Unsettled Condition of Affairs at the South.--The
     Absence of Legal Civil Government necessitates the Establishment
     of Provisional Military Government.--An Act establishing a Bureau
     for Refugees and Abandoned Lands.--Congressional Methods for the
     Reconstruction of the South.--Gen. U. S. Grant carries these
     States in 1868 and 1872.--Both Branches of the Legislatures in
     all the Southern States contain Negro Members.--The Errors of
     Reconstruction chargeable to both Sections of the Country       377



     The Apparent Idleness of the Negro Sporadic rather than
     Generic.--He quietly settles down to Work.--The Government makes
     Ample Provisions for his Educational and Social Improvement.--The
     Marvellous Progress made by the People of the South in
     Education.--Earliest School for Freedmen at Fortress Monroe in
     1861.--The Richmond Institute for Colored Youth.--The Unlimited
     Desire of the Negroes to obtain an Education.--General Order
     organizing a "Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned
     Lands."--Gen. O. O. Howard appointed Commissioner of the
     Bureau.--Report of all the Receipts and Expenditures of the
     Freedman's Bureau from 1865-1867.--An Act Incorporating the
     Freedman's Savings Bank and Trust Company.--The Business of the
     Company as shown from 1866-1871.--Financial Statement by the
     Trustees for 1872.--Failure of the Bank.--The Social and
     Financial Condition of the Colored People in the South.--The
     Negro rarely receives Justice in Southern Courts.--Treatment of
     Negroes as Convicts in Southern Prisons.--Increase of the Colored
     People from 1790-1880.--Negroes susceptible of the Highest
     Civilization                                                    384



     Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution.--The Legal Destruction
     of Slavery and a Constitutional Prohibition.--Fifteenth Amendment
     granting Manhood Suffrage to the American Negro.--President
     Grant's Special Message upon the Subject.--Universal Rejoicing
     among the Colored People.--The Negro in the United States Senate
     and House of Representatives.--The Negro in the Diplomatic
     Service of the Country.--Frederick Douglass--His Birth,
     Enslavement, Escape to the North, and Life as a Freeman.--Becomes
     an Anti-slavery Orator.--Goes to Great Britain.--Returns to
     America.--Establishes the "North Star."--His Eloquence,
     Influence, and Brilliant Career.--Richard Theodore Greener.--His
     Early Life, Education, and Successful Literary Career.--John P.
     Green.--His Early Struggles to obtain an Education.--A Successful
     Orator, Lawyer, and Useful Legislator.--Other Representative
     Colored Men.--Representative Colored Women                      419



     Its Origin, Growth, Organization, and Excellent Influence.--Its
     Publishing House, Periodicals, and Papers.--Its Numerical and
     Financial Strength.--Its Missionary and Educational
     Spirit.--Wilberforce University                                 452



     Founding of the M. E. Church of America in 1768.--Negro Servants
     and Slaves among the First Contributors to the Erection of the
     First Chapel in New York.--The Rev. Harry Hosier the First Negro
     Preacher in the M. E. Church in America.--His Remarkable
     Eloquence as a Pulpit Orator.--Early Prohibition against
     Slave-holding in the M. E. Church.--Strength of the Churches and
     Sunday-schools of the Colored Members in the M. E. Church.--The
     Rev. Marshall W. Taylor, D.D.--His Ancestors.--His Early Life and
     Struggles for an Education.--He Teaches School in Kentucky.--His
     Experiences as a Teacher.--Is ordained to the Gospel Ministry and
     becomes a Preacher and Missionary Teacher.--His Settlement as
     Pastor in Indiana and Ohio.--Is given the Title of Doctor of
     Divinity by the Tennessee College.--His Influence as a Leader,
     and his Standing as a Preacher                                  465



     The Colored Baptists an Intelligent and Useful People.--Their
     Leading Ministers in Missouri, Ohio, and in New England.--The
     Birth, Early Life, and Education of Duke William Anderson.--As
     Farmer, Teacher, Preacher, and Missionary.--His Influence in the
     West.--Goes South at the Close of the War.--Teaches in a
     Theological Institute at Nashville, Tennessee.--Called to
     Washington.--Pastor of 19th Street Baptist Church.--He occupies
     Various Positions of Trust.--Builds a New Church.--His Last
     Revival.--His Sickness and Death.--His Funeral and the General
     Sorrow at his Loss.--Leonard Andrew Grimes, of Boston,
     Massachusetts.--His Piety, Faithfulness, and Public Influence for
     Good.--The Completion of his Church.--His Last Days and Sudden
     Death.--General Sorrow.--Resolutions by the Baptist Ministers of
     Boston.--A Great and Good Man Gone                              475

Part 9.





     The Beginning of the End of the Republican Governments at the
     South.--Southern Election Methods and Northern Sympathy.--Gen.
     Grant not Responsible for the Decline and Loss of the Republican
     State Governments at the South.--A Party without a Live
     Issue.--Southern War Claims.--The Campaign of 1876.--Republican
     Lethargy and Democratic Activity.--Doubtful Results.--The
     Electoral Count in Congress.--Gen. Garfield and Congressmen
     Foster and Hale to the Front as Leaders.--Peaceful
     Results.--President Hayes's Southern Policy.--Its Failure.--The
     Ideas of the Hon. Charles Foster on the Treatment of the Southern
     Problem.--"Nothing but Leaves" from Conciliation.--A New Policy
     demanded by the Republican Party.--A Remarkable Speech by the
     Hon. Charles Foster at Upper Sandusky, Ohio.--He calls for a
     Solid North against a Solid South.--He sounds the Key-note for
     the North and the Nation responds.--The Decay and Death of the
     Negro Governments at the South Inevitable.--The Negro must turn
     his Attention to Education, the Accumulation of Property and
     Experience.--He will return to Politics when he shall be Equal to
     the Difficult Duties of Citizenship                             516



     The Negroes of the South delight in their Home so Long as it is
     Possible for them to remain.--The Policy of abridging their
     Rights Destructive to their Usefulness as Members of
     Society.--Political Intimidation, Murder, and Outrage disturb the
     Negroes.--The Plantation Credit System the Crime of the
     Century.--The Exodus not inspired by Politicians, but the Natural
     Outcome of the Barbarous Treatment bestowed upon the Negroes by
     the Whites.--The Unprecedented Sufferings of 60,000 Negroes
     fleeing from Southern Democratic Oppression.--Their Patient
     Christian Endurance.--Their Industry, Morals, and Frugality.--The
     Correspondent of the "Chicago Inter-Ocean" sends Information to
     Senator Voorhees respecting the Refugees in Kansas.--The Position
     of Gov. St. John and the Faithful Labors of Mrs. Comstock.--The
     Results of the Exodus Beneficent.--The South must treat the Negro
     Better or lose his Labor                                        529



     The Three Grand Divisions of the Tribes of Africa.--Slave Markets
     of America supplied from the Diseased and Criminal Classes of
     African Society.--America robs Africa of 15,000,000 Souls in 360
     Years.--Negro Power of Endurance.--His Wonderful Achievements as
     a Laborer, Soldier, and Student.--First in War, and First in
     Devotion to the Country.--His Idiosyncrasies.--Mrs. Stowe's
     Errors.--His Growing Love for Schools and Churches.--His General
     Improvement.--The Negro will endure to the End.--He is Capable
     for All the Duties of Citizenship.--Amalgamation will not
     obliterate the Race.--The American Negro will civilize
     Africa.--America will establish Steamship Communication with the
     Dark Continent.--Africa will yet be composed of States, and
     "Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her Hands unto God."           544


Part 4.






The nineteenth century opened auspiciously for the cause of the Negro.
Although slavery had ceased to exist in Massachusetts and Vermont, the
census of 1800 showed that the slave population in the other States
was steadily on the increase. In the total population of 5,305,925,
there were 893,041 slaves. The subjoined table exhibits the number of
slaves in each of the slave-holding States in the year 1800.


  District of Columbia          3,244
  Connecticut                     951
  Delaware                      6,153
  Georgia                      59,404
  Indiana Territory               135
  Kentucky                     40,343
  Maryland                    105,635
  Mississippi Territory         3,489
  New Jersey                   12,422
  New Hampshire                     8
  New York                     20,343
  North Carolina              133,296
  Pennsylvania                  1,706
  Rhode Island                    381
  South Carolina              146,151
  Tennessee                    13,584
  Virginia                    345,796
       Aggregate              893,041

On the 2d of January, 1800, a number of Colored citizens of the city
and county of Philadelphia presented a memorial to Congress, through
the delegate from that city, Mr. Waln, calling attention to the
slave-trade to the coast of Guinea. The memorial charged that the
slave-trade was clandestinely carried on from various ports of the
United States contrary to law; that under this wicked practice free
Colored men were often seized and sold as slaves; and that the
fugitive-slave law of 1793 subjected them to great inconvenience and
severe persecutions. The memorialists did not request Congress to
transcend their authority respecting the slave-trade, nor to
emancipate the slaves, but only to prepare the way, so that, at an
early period, the oppressed might go free.

Upon a motion by Mr. Waln for the reference of the memorial to the
Committee on the Slave-trade, Rutledge, Harper, Lee, Randolph, and
other Southern members, made speeches against such a reference. They
maintained that the petition requested Congress to take action on a
question over which they had no control. Waln, Thacher, Smilie, Dana,
and Gallatin contended that there were portions of the petition that
came within the jurisdiction of the Constitution, and, therefore,
ought to be received and acted upon. Mr. Rutledge demanded the yeas
and nays; but in such a spirit as put Mr. Waln on his guard, so he
withdrew his motion, and submitted another one by which such parts of
the memorial as came within the jurisdiction of Congress should be
referred. Mr. Rutledge raised a point of order on the motion of the
gentleman from Pennsylvania that a "part" of the memorial could not be
referred, but was promptly overruled. Mr. Gray, of Virginia, moved to
amend by adding a declaratory clause that the portions of the
memorial, not referred, inviting Congress to exercise authority not
delegated, "have a tendency to create disquiet and jealousy, and
ought, therefore, to receive the pointed disapprobation of this
House." After some discussion, it was finally agreed to strike out the
last clause and insert the following: "ought therefore to receive no
encouragement or countenance from this House." The call of the roll
resulted in the adoption of the amendment, with but one vote in the
negative by Mr. Thacher, of Maine, an uncompromising enemy of slavery.
The committee to whom the memorial was referred brought in a bill
during the session prohibiting American ships from supplying slaves
from the United States to foreign markets.

On the 2d of April, 1802, Georgia ceded the territory lying west of
her present limits, now embracing the States of Alabama and
Mississippi. Among the conditions she exacted was the following:

     "That the territory thus ceded shall become a State, and be
     admitted into the Union as soon as it shall contain sixty
     thousand free inhabitants, or at an earlier period, if Congress
     shall think it expedient, on the same conditions and
     restrictions, with the same privileges, and in the same manner,
     as provided in the ordinance of Congress of the 13th day of July,
     1787, for the government of the western territory of the United
     States: which ordinance shall, in all its parts, extend to the
     territory contained in the present act of cession, the article
     only excepted which forbids slavery."

The demand was acceded to, and, as the world knows, Alabama and
Mississippi became the most cruel slave States in the United States.

Ohio adopted a State constitution in 1802-3, and the residue of the
territory not included in the State as it is now, was designated as
Indiana Territory. William Henry Harrison was appointed governor. One
of the earliest moves of the government of the new territory was to
secure a modification of the ordinance of 1787 by which slavery or
involuntary servitude was prohibited in the territory northwest of the
Ohio River. It was ordered by a convention presided over by Gen.
Harrison in 1802-3, that a memorial be sent to Congress urging a
restriction of the ordinance of 1787. It was referred to a select
committee, with John Randolph as chairman. On the 2d of March, 1803,
he made a report by the unanimous request of his committee, and the
portion referring to slavery was as follows:

     "The rapid population of the State of Ohio sufficiently evinces,
     in the opinion of your committee, that the labor of slaves is not
     necessary to promote the growth and settlement of colonies in
     that region. That this labor--demonstrably the dearest of
     any--can only be employed in the cultivation of products more
     valuable than any known to that quarter of the United States;
     that the committee deem it highly dangerous and inexpedient to
     impair a provision wisely calculated to promote the happiness and
     prosperity of the northwestern country, and to give strength and
     security to that extensive frontier. In the salutary operations
     of this sagacious and benevolent restraint, it is believed that
     the inhabitants of Indiana will, at no very distant day, find
     ample remuneration for a temporary privation of labor and of

After discussing the subject-matter embodied in the memorial from the
territory of Indiana, the committee presented eight resolves, one of
which related to the subject of slavery, and was as follows:

     "_Resolved_, That it is inexpedient to suspend, for a limited
     time, the operation of the sixth article of the compact between
     the original States and the people and the States west of the
     river Ohio."

Congress was about to close its session, and, therefore, there was no
action taken upon this report. At the next session it went into the
hands of a new committee whose chairman was Cæsar Rodney, of Delaware,
who had just been elected to Congress. On the 17th of February, 1804,
Mr. Rodney made the following report:

     "That taking into their consideration the facts stated in the
     said memorial and petition, they are induced to believe that a
     qualified suspension, for a limited time, of the sixth article of
     compact between the original States and the people and States
     west of the river Ohio, might be productive of benefit and
     advantage to said territory."

After discussing other matters contained in the Indiana petition, the
committee says, in reference to slavery:

     "That the sixth article of the ordinance of 1787, which
     prohibited slavery within the said territory, be suspended in a
     qualified manner for ten years, so as to permit the introduction
     of slaves born within the United States, from any of the
     individual States: _provided_, that such individual State does
     not permit the importation of slaves from foreign countries;
     _and_ provided _further_, that the descendants of all such slaves
     shall, if males, be free at the age of twenty-five years, and, if
     female, at the age of twenty-one years."

The House did not take up and act upon this report, and so the matter
passed for the time being. But the original memorial, with several
petitions of like import, came before Congress in 1805-6. They were
referred to a select committee, and on the 14th of February, 1806, Mr.
Garnett, of Virginia, the chairman, made the following favorable

     "That, having attentively considered the facts stated in the said
     petitions and memorials, they are of opinion that a qualified
     suspension for a limited time, of the sixth article of compact
     between the original States and the people and States west of the
     river Ohio, would be beneficial to the people of the Indiana
     Territory. The suspension of this article is an object almost
     universally desired in that Territory.

     "It appears to your committee to be a question entirely different
     from that between Slavery and Freedom; inasmuch as it would
     merely occasion the removal of persons, already slaves, from one
     part of the country to another. The good effects of this
     suspension, in the present instance, would be to accelerate the
     population of that Territory, hitherto retarded by the operation
     of that article of compact, as slave-holders emigrating into the
     Western country might then indulge any preference which they
     might feel for a settlement in the Indiana Territory, instead of
     seeking, as they are now compelled to do, settlements in other
     States or countries permitting the introduction of slaves. The
     condition of the slaves themselves would be much ameliorated by
     it, as it is evident, from experience, that the more they are
     separated and diffused, the more care and attention are bestowed
     on them by their masters--each proprietor having it in his power
     to increase their comforts and conveniences, in proportion to the
     smallness of their numbers. The dangers, too (if any are to be
     apprehended), from too large a black population existing in any
     one section of country, would certainly be very much diminished,
     if not entirely removed. But whether dangers are to be feared
     from this source or not, it is certainly an obvious dictate of
     sound policy to guard against them, as far as possible. If this
     danger does exist, or there is any cause to apprehend it, and our
     Western brethren are not only willing but desirous to aid us in
     taking precautions against it, would it not be wise to accept
     their assistance?

     "We should benefit ourselves, without injuring them, as their
     population must always so far exceed any black population which
     can ever exist in that country, as to render the idea of danger
     from that source chimerical."

After a lengthy discussion of matters embodied in the Indiana
memorial, the committee recommended the following resolve on the
question of slavery:

     "_Resolved_, That the sixth article of the ordinance of 1787,
     which prohibits slavery within the Indiana Territory, be
     suspended for ten years, so as to permit the introduction of
     slaves born within the United States, from any of the individual

The report and resolves were made the special order for the following
Monday, but were never called up.

At the opening of the next session, Gen. Harrison presented another
letter, accompanied by several resolves passed by the Legislative
Council and House of Representatives, urging the passage of a measure
restricting the ordinance of 1787. The letter and enclosures were
received on the 21st of January, 1807, and referred to the following
select committee: Parke, of Indiana, chairman; Alston, North Carolina;
Masters, New York; Morrow, Ohio; Rhea, Tennessee; Sandford, Kentucky;
Trigg, Virginia.

On the 12th of February, 1807, the chairman, Mr. Parke, made the
following report in favor of the request of the memorialists [the
_third_]. It was unanimous.

     "The resolutions of the Legislative Council and House of
     Representatives of the Indiana Territory relate to a suspension,
     for the term of ten years, of the sixth article of compact
     between the United States and the Territories and States
     northwest of the river Ohio, passed the 13th July, 1787. That
     article declares that there shall be neither Slavery nor
     involuntary servitude in the said Territory.

     "The suspension of the said article would operate an immediate
     and essential benefit to the Territory, as emigration to it will
     be inconsiderable for many years, except from those States where
     Slavery is tolerated.

     "And although it is not considered expedient to force the
     population of the Territory, yet it is desirable to connect its
     scattered settlements, and, in admitted political rights, to
     place it on an equal footing with the different States. From the
     interior situation of the Territory, it is not believed that
     slaves could ever become so numerous as to endanger the internal
     peace or future prosperity of the country. The current of
     emigration flowing to the Western country, the Territories should
     all be opened to their introduction. The abstract question of
     Liberty and Slavery is not involved in the proposed measure, as
     Slavery now exists to a considerable extent in different parts of
     the Union; it would not augment the number of slaves, but merely
     authorize the removal to Indiana of such as are held in bondage
     in the United States. If Slavery is an evil, means ought to be
     devised to render it least dangerous to the community, and by
     which the hapless situation of the slaves would be most
     ameliorated; and to accomplish these objects, no measure would be
     so effectual as the one proposed. The Committee, therefore,
     respectfully submit to the House the following resolution:

     "_Resolved_, That it is expedient to suspend, from and after the
     1st day of January, 1808, the sixth article of compact between
     the United States and the Territories and States northwest of the
     Ohio, passed the 13th day of July, 1787, for the term of ten

Like its predecessor this report was made a special order, but was
never taken up.

On the 7th of November, 1807, the President laid a letter from Gen.
Harrison [probably the one already referred to], and the resolves of
his Legislature, before Congress, and that body referred them to a
select committee consisting of Franklin, of North Carolina; Ketchel,
of New Jersey; and Tiffin, of Ohio.

On the 13th of November, Mr. Franklin made the following adverse

     "The Legislative Council and House of Representatives, in their
     resolutions, express their sense of the propriety of introducing
     Slavery into their Territory, and solicit the Congress of the
     United States to suspend, for a given number of years, the sixth
     article of compact, in the ordinance for the government of the
     Territory northwest of the Ohio, passed the 13th day of July,
     1787. That article declares: 'There shall be neither Slavery nor
     involuntary servitude within the said Territory.'

     "The citizens of Clark County, in their remonstrance, express
     their sense of the impropriety of the measure, and solicit the
     Congress of the United States not to act on the subject, so as to
     permit the introduction of slaves into the Territory; at least,
     until their population shall entitle them to form a constitution
     and State government.

     "Your Committee, after duly considering the matter, respectfully
     submit the following resolution:

     "_Resolved_, That it is not expedient at this time to suspend the
     sixth article of compact for the government of the Territory of
     the United States northwest of the river Ohio."

Thus ended in defeat the stubborn effort to secure a restriction of
the ordinance of 1787, and the admission of slavery into the Territory
lying west of the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, now comprising the
States of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

In his message to Congress at the commencement of the session of
1806-7, President Jefferson suggested to that body the wisdom of
abolishing the African slave-trade. He said in this connection:

     "I congratulate you, fellow-citizens, on the approach of the
     period at which you may interpose your authority,
     constitutionally, to withdraw the citizens of the United States
     from all further participation in those violations of human
     rights which have so long been continued on the unoffending
     inhabitants of Africa, and which the morality, the reputation,
     and the best interest of our country have long been eager to

This portion of the message was referred to a select committee; and in
due time they reported a bill "to prohibit the importation or bringing
of slaves into the United States or the territories thereof after the
31st day of December, 1807."

Mr. Early, of Georgia, the chairman of the committee, inserted a
clause into the bill requiring that all slaves illegally imported
"should be forfeited and sold for life for the benefit of the United
States." A long debate ensued and was conducted with fiery earnestness
from beginning to end. It was urged in support of the above
regulation, that nothing else could be done but to sell them; that it
would never do to release them in the States where they might be
captured, poor, ignorant, and dangerous. It was said by the opponents
of the measure, that Congress could not regulate the matter, as the
States had the reserved authority to have slavery, and were,
therefore, competent to say who should be free and who bond. It was
suggested, farther along in the debate, that Congress might order such
slaves into such States as prohibited slavery, where they could be
bound out for a term of years. After a great many able speeches the
House refused to strike out the forfeiture clause by a vote of
sixty-three to thirty-six. When the act was called up for final
passage, it was amended by inserting a clause imposing a fine of
$20,000, upon all persons concerned in fitting out a vessel for the
slave-trade; and likewise a fine of $5,000, and forfeiture of the
vessel for taking on board any Negro or Mulatto, or any person of
color, in any foreign port with the intention of selling them in the
United States.

During these efforts at restriction the slave population was growing
daily. The census of 1810 showed that within a decade the slave
population had sprung from 893,041, in 1800, to 1,191,364,--an
increase of 33 per cent. The following table exhibits this remarkable


  District of Columbia          5,395
  Rhode Island                    108
  Connecticut                     310
  Pennsylvania                    795
  Delaware                      4,177
  New Jersey                   10,851
  New York                     15,017
  Louisiana                    34,660
  Tennessee                    44,535
  Kentucky                     80,561
  Georgia                     105,218
  Maryland                    111,502
  North Carolina              168,824
  South Carolina              196,365
  Virginia                    392,518
  Mississippi Territory        17,088
  Indiana Territory               237
  Louisiana Territory           3,011
  Illinois Territory              168
  Michigan Territory               24

On the 10th of December, 1817, Mississippi applied for admission into
the Union with a slave constitution. The provisions relating to
slavery dispensed with grand juries in the indictment of slaves, and
trial by jury was allowed only in trial of capital cases.

During the session of 1817-8, Congress was besieged by a large number
of memorials praying for more specific legislation against the
slave-trade. During the session the old fugitive-slave act was amended
so as to make it more effective, and passed by a vote of eighty-four
to sixty-nine. In the Senate, with several amendments, and heated
debate, it passed by a vote of seventeen to thirteen; but upon being
returned to the House for concurrence, the Northern members had heard
from their constituents, and the bill was tabled, and its friends were
powerless to get it up.

In 1818-9, Congress passed an act offering a premium of fifty dollars
to the informer of every illegally imported African seized within the
United States, and twenty-five dollars for those taken at sea. The
President was authorized to have such slaves removed beyond the limits
of the United States, and to appoint agents on the West Coast of
Africa to superintend their reception. An effort was made to punish
slave-trading with death. It passed the House, but was struck out in
the Senate.

On the 12th of January, 1819, the Secretary of the Navy transmitted to
the Speaker of the House of Representatives copies of circular letters
that had been sent to the naval officers on the various stations along
the sea-coast of the slave-holding States. The following letter is a
fair sample of the remainder:[1]

     "NAVY DEPARTMENT, January 22, 1811.

     "SIR:--I hear, not without great concern, that the law
     prohibiting the importation of slaves has been violated in
     frequent instances, near St. Mary's, since the gun-boats have
     been withdrawn from that station.

     "We are bound by law, by the obligations of humanity and sound
     policy, to use our most strenuous efforts to restrain this
     disgraceful traffic, and to bring those who shall be found
     engaged in it to those forfeitures and punishments which are by
     law prescribed for such offences.

     "Hasten the equipment of the gun-boats which, by my letter of the
     24th ultimo, you were directed to equip, and as soon as they
     shall be ready, despatch them to St. Mary's with orders to their
     commanders to use all practicable diligence in enforcing the law
     prohibiting the importation of slaves, passed March 2, 1807,
     entitled 'An Act to prohibit the importation of slaves into any
     port or place within the jurisdiction of the United States from
     and after the 1st day of January, 1808.' The whole of this law,
     but especially the 7th section, requires your particular
     attention; that section declares, that _any_ ship or vessel which
     shall be found in any river, port, bay, or harbor, or on the high
     seas, within the jurisdictional limits of the United States, or
     hovering on the coast thereof, having on board any negro,
     mulatto, or person of color, for the purpose of selling them as
     slaves, or with intent to land the same in any port or place
     within the jurisdiction of the United States, contrary to the
     prohibition of the act, shall, together with her tackle, apparel,
     and furniture, and the goods and effects which shall be found on
     board the same, be forfeited and may be seized, prosecuted, and
     condemned in any court of the United States having jurisdiction

     "It further authorizes the President of the United States to
     cause any of the armed vessels of the United States to be manned
     and employed to cruise on any part of the coast of the United
     States, or territories thereof, and to instruct and direct the
     commanders to seize, take, and bring into any port of the United
     States, all such ships or vessels; and, moreover, to seize, take,
     and bring into any port of the United States, all ships or
     vessels _of the United States, wherever found on the high seas_,
     contravening the provisions of the act, to be proceeded against
     according to law.

     "You will, therefore, consider yourself hereby especially
     instructed and required, and you will instruct and require all
     officers placed under your command, to seize, take, and bring
     into port, _any vessel of whatever nature_, found in any river,
     port, bay, or harbor, or on the high seas, within the
     jurisdictional limits of the United States, or hovering on the
     coast thereof, having on board any negro, mulatto, or person of
     color, for the purpose of selling them as slaves, or with intent
     to land the same, contrary to law; and, moreover, to seize, take,
     and bring into port, all ships or vessels _of the United States_,
     wheresoever found on the high seas or elsewhere, contravening the
     provisions of the law. Vessels thus to be seized, may be brought
     into _any_ port of the United States; and when brought into port,
     must, without delay, be reported to the district-attorney of the
     United States residing in the district in which such port may be,
     who will institute such further proceedings as law and justice

     "Every person found on board of such vessels must be taken
     especial care of. The negroes, mulattoes, or persons of color,
     are to be delivered to such persons as the respective States may
     appoint to receive the same. The commanders and crews of such
     vessels will be held under the prosecutions of the
     district-attorneys, to answer the pains and penalties prescribed
     by law for their respective offences. Whenever negroes,
     mulattoes, or persons of color shall be delivered to the persons
     appointed to receive the same, duplicate receipts must be taken
     therefore, and if no person shall be appointed by the respective
     States to receive them, they must be delivered 'to the overseers
     of the poor of the port or place where such ship or vessel may be
     brought or found,' and an account of your proceedings, together
     with the number and descriptive list of such negroes, mulattoes,
     or persons of color, must be immediately transmitted to the
     governor or chief magistrate of the State. You will communicate
     to me, minutely, all your proceedings.

                                   "I am, sir, respectfully, etc.
                                                  PAUL HAMILTON.

     "H. G. CAMPBELL, _Commanding Naval Officer_,
           Charleston, S. C."

On the 17th of December, 1819, President Monroe sent the following
message to Congress on the subject of the slave-trade:


     "_To the Senate and House of Representatives of the United

     "Some doubt being entertained respecting the true intent and
     meaning of the act of the last session, entitled 'An Act in
     addition to the Acts prohibiting the slave-trade,' as to the
     duties of the agents, to be appointed on the coast of Africa, I
     think it proper to state the interpretation which has been given
     of the act, and the measures adopted to carry it into effect,
     that Congress may, should it be deemed advisable, amend the same,
     before further proceeding is had under it.

     "The obligation to instruct the commanders of all our armed
     vessels to seize and bring into port all ships or vessels of the
     United States, wheresoever found, having on board any negro,
     mulatto, or person of color, in violation of former acts for the
     suppression of the slave-trade, being imperative, was executed
     without delay. No seizures have yet been made, but, as they were
     contemplated by the law, and might be presumed, it seemed proper
     to make the necessary regulations applicable to such seizures for
     carrying the several provisions of the act into effect.

     "It is enjoined on the executive to cause all negroes, mulattoes,
     or persons of color, who may be taken under the act, to be
     removed to Africa. It is the obvious import of the law, that none
     of the persons thus taken should remain within the United States;
     and no place other than the coast of Africa being designated,
     their removal or delivery, whether carried from the United States
     or landed immediately from the vessels in which they were taken,
     was supposed to be confined to that coast. No settlement or
     station being specified, the whole coast was thought to be left
     open for the selection of a proper place, at which the persons
     thus taken should be delivered. The executive is authorized to
     appoint one or more agents, residing there, to receive such
     persons; and one hundred thousand dollars are appropriated for
     the general purposes of the law.

     "On due consideration of the several sections of the act, and of
     its humane policy, it was supposed to be the intention of
     Congress, that all the persons above described, who might be
     taken under it, and landed in Africa, should be aided in their
     return to their former homes, or in their establishment at or
     near the place where landed. Some shelter and food would be
     necessary for them there, as soon as landed, let their subsequent
     disposition be what it might. Should they be landed without such
     provision having been previously made, they might perish. It was
     supposed, by the authority given to the executive to appoint
     agents residing on that coast, that they should provide such
     shelter and food, and perform the other beneficent and charitable
     offices contemplated by the act. The coast of Africa having been
     little explored, and no persons residing there who possessed the
     requisite qualifications to entitle them to the trust being known
     to the executive, to none such could it be committed. It was
     believed that citizens only, who would go hence, well instructed
     in the views of their government, and zealous to give them
     effect, would be competent to these duties, and that it was not
     the intention of the law to preclude their appointment. It was
     obvious that the longer these persons should be detained in the
     United States in the hands of the marshals, the greater would be
     the expense, and that for the same term would the main purpose of
     the law be suspended. It seemed, therefore, to be incumbent on me
     to make the necessary arrangements for carrying this act into
     effect in Africa, in time to meet the delivery of any persons who
     might be taken by the public vessels, and landed there under it.

     "On this view of the policy and sanctions of the law, it has been
     decided to send a public ship to the coast of Africa with two
     such agents, who will take with them tools and other implements
     necessary for the purposes above mentioned. To each of these
     agents a small salary has been allowed--fifteen hundred dollars
     to the principal, and twelve hundred to the other. All our public
     agents on the coast of Africa receive salaries for their
     services, and it was understood that none of our citizens
     possessing the requisite qualifications would accept these
     trusts, by which they would be confined to parts the least
     frequented and civilized, without a reasonable compensation. Such
     allowance, therefore, seemed to be indispensable to the execution
     of the act. It is intended, also, to subject a portion of the sum
     appropriated, to the order of the principal agent, for the
     special objects above stated, amounting in the whole, including
     the salaries of the agents for one year, to rather less than one
     third of the appropriation. Special instructions will be given to
     these agents, defining, in precise terms, their duties in regard
     to the persons thus delivered to them; the disbursement of the
     money by the principal agent; and his accountability for the
     same. They will also have power to select the most suitable place
     on the coast of Africa, at which all persons who may be taken
     under this act shall be delivered to them, with an express
     injunction to exercise no power founded on the principle of
     colonization, or other power than that of performing the
     benevolent offices above recited, by the permission and sanction
     of the existing government under which they may establish
     themselves. Orders will be given to the commander of the public
     ship in which they will sail, to cruise along the coast, to give
     the more complete effect to the principal object of the act.

                                                  "JAMES MONROE.

     "WASHINGTON, December, 17, 1819."

In March, 1818, the delegate from Missouri presented petitions from
the inhabitants of that territory, praying to be admitted into the
Union as a State. They were referred to a select committee, and a bill
was reported for the admission of Missouri as a State on equal footing
with the other States. The bill was read twice, when it was sent to
the Committee of the Whole, where it was permitted to remain during
the entire session. During the next session, on the 13th of February,
1819, the House went into the Committee of the Whole with Gen. Smith,
of Maryland, in the chair. The committee had two sittings during which
they discussed the bill. Gen. Tallmadge, of New York, offered the
following amendment directed against the life of the clause admitting

     "And provided that the introduction of slavery, or involuntary
     servitude, be prohibited, except for the punishment of crimes
     whereof the party has been duly convicted, and that all children
     born within the said State, after the admission thereof into the
     Union, shall be declared free at the age of twenty-five years."

A long and an able discussion followed, in which the authority of the
government to prohibit slavery under new State governments was
affirmed and denied. On coming out of the Committee of the Whole, the
yeas and nays were demanded on the amendment prohibiting the
introduction of slavery into Missouri, and resulted as follows: yeas,
87,--only one vote from the South, Delaware; nays, 76,--ten votes
from Northern States. Upon the latter clause of the amendment--"and
that all children of slaves, born within the said State, after the
admission thereof into the Union, shall be declared free at the age of
twenty-five years": yeas, 82,--one vote from Maryland; nays,
78,--fourteen from Northern States. And thus the entire amendment of
Gen. Tallmadge was sustained, and being reported to the House, passed
by a vote 98 to 56.

The bill reached the Senate on the 17th of February, and after its
second reading was referred to a select committee. On the 22d of
February, the chairman, Mr. Tait, of Georgia, reported the bill back
with amendments, striking out the Tallmadge restriction clauses. The
House went into the Committee of the Whole on the 27th of February, to
consider the bill, when Mr. Wilson, of New Jersey, moved to postpone
the further consideration of the bill until the 5th of March. It was
rejected. The committee then began to vote upon the recommendations of
the select committee. Upon striking out the House amendment, providing
that all the children of slaves born within said State should be free,
etc., it was carried by a vote of 27 to 7, eleven Northern Senators
voting to strike out. The seven votes against striking out were all
from free States.

Upon the clause prohibiting servitude except for crimes, etc., 22
votes were cast for striking out,--five being from Northern States;
against striking out, 16,--and they were all from Northern States.

Thus amended, the bill was ordered to be engrossed, and on the 2d of
March--the last day but one of the session--was read a third time and
passed. It was returned to the House, where the amendments were read,
when Mr. Tallmadge moved that the bill be indefinitely postponed. His
motion was rejected by a vote of: yeas, 69; nays, 74. But upon a
motion to concur in the Senate amendments, the House refused to
concur: yeas, 76; nays, 78. The Senate adhered to their amendments,
and the House adhered to their disagreement by a vote of 76 to 66; and
thus the bill fell between the two Houses and was lost.

The southern portion of the territory of Missouri, which was not
included within the limits of the proposed State, was organized as a
separate territory, under the designation of the Arkansas Territory.
After considerable debate, and several attempts to insert an amendment
for the restriction of slavery, the bill creating the territory of
Arkansas passed without any reference to slavery, and thus the
territory was left open to slavery, and also the State some years

The Congressional discussion of the slavery question aroused the
anti-slavery sentiment of the North, which found expression in large
and earnest meetings, in pungent editorials, and numerous memorials.
At Trenton, New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and other places, the
indignation against slavery was great. On December 3, 1819, a large
meeting was held in the State House at Boston, when a resolution was
adopted to memorialize Congress on the subject of "restraining the
increase of slavery in _new States_ to be admitted into the Union."
The memorial was drawn by Daniel Webster, and signed by himself,
George Blake, Josiah Quincy, James T. Austin, and others. The New York
Legislature passed resolutions against the extension of slavery into
the territories and new States; and requested the Congressmen and
instructed the Senators from that State not to vote for the admission
of any State into the Union, except such State should pledge itself to
unqualified restriction in the letter and spirit of the ordinance of
1787. These resolutions were signed on January 17, 1820.

On the 24th of January the New Jersey Legislature followed in the same
strain, with six pertinent resolves, a copy of which the governor was
requested to forward "to each of the senators and representatives of
this State, in the Congress of the United States."

Pennsylvania had taken action on the 11th of December, 1819; but the
resolves were not signed by Gov. William Findlay until the 16th of the
month. The Legislature was composed of fifty-four Democrats and twenty
Whigs, and yet there was not a dissenting vote cast.

Two Southern States passed resolutions,--Delaware and Kentucky: the
first in favor of restriction, the last opposed to restriction.

The effort to secure the admission of Missouri with a slave
constitution was not dead, but only sleeping. The bill was called up
as a special order on the 24th of January, 1820. It occupied most of
the time of the House from the 25th of January till the 19th of
February, when a bill came from the Senate providing for the admission
of Maine into the Union, but containing a rider authorizing the people
of Missouri to adopt a State constitution, etc., without restrictions
respecting slavery. The bill providing for the admission of Maine had
passed the House during the early days of the session, and now
returned to the House for concurrence in the rider. The debate on the
bill and amendments had occupied much of the time of the Senate. In
the Judiciary Committee on the 16th of February, the question was
taken on amendments to the Maine admission bill, authorizing Missouri
to form a State constitution, making no mention of slavery: and
twenty-three votes were cast against restriction,--three from Northern
States; twenty-one in favor of restriction,--but only two from the

Mr. Thomas offered a resolution reaffirming the doctrine of the sixth
article of the ordinance of 1787, and declaring its applicability to
all that territory ceded to the United States by France, under the
general designation of Louisiana, which lies north of thirty-six
degrees and thirty minutes north latitude, etc. But on the following
day he withdrew his original amendment, and submitted the following:

     "_And be it further enacted_, That in all the territory ceded by
     France to the United States, under the name of Louisiana, which
     lies north of thirty-six degrees thirty minutes, north latitude,
     excepting only such part thereof as is included within the limits
     of the State contemplated by this act, slavery and involuntary
     servitude, otherwise than in the punishment of crime whereof the
     party shall have been duly convicted, shall be and is hereby
     forever prohibited. Provided always, that any person escaping
     into the same, from where labor or service is lawfully claimed in
     any State or territory of the United States, such fugitive may be
     lawfully reclaimed and conveyed to the person claiming his or her
     labor or service as aforesaid."

Mr. Trimble, of Ohio, offered a substitute, but it was rejected. The
question recurring upon the passage of the amendment of Mr. Thomas,
excluding slavery from all the territory north and west of Missouri,
it was carried by a vote of 34 to 20.

Thus amended, the bill was ordered to engrossment by a vote of 24 to
20. On the 18th of February the bill passed, and this was its
condition when it came to the House. By a vote of 93 to 72 the House
agreed not to leave the Missouri question on the Maine bill as a
rider; but immediately thereafter struck out the Thomas Senate
amendment by a vote of 159 to 18. The House disagreed to the
remaining Senate amendments, striking out the clause restricting
slavery in Missouri by a vote of 102 to 68.

Thus rejected, the bill was returned to the Senate shorn of its
amendments. After four days of debate in the Senate it was decided not
to recede from the attachment of the Missouri subject to the Maine
bill; not to recede from the amendment prohibiting slavery west of
Missouri, and north of 36° 30´ north latitude, and insisted upon the
remaining amendments without division.

When the bill was returned to the House a motion was made to insist
upon its disagreement to all but section nine of the Senate
amendments, and was carried by a vote of 97 to 76.

The Senate asked for a committee of conference upon differences
between the two Houses, which was cheerfully granted by the House. On
the 2d of March, Mr. Holmes, of Massachusetts, as chairman, made the
following report:

     "1. The Senate should give up the combination of Missouri in the
     same bill with Maine.

     "2. The House should abandon the attempt to restrict Slavery in

     "3. Both Houses should agree to pass the Senate's separate
     Missouri bill, with Mr. Thomas's restriction or compromising
     proviso, excluding Slavery from all territory north and west of

     "The report having been read,

     "The first and most important question was put, viz.:

     "Will the House concur with the Senate in so much of the said
     amendments as proposes to strike from the fourth section of the
     [Missouri] bill the provision prohibiting Slavery or involuntary
     servitude in the contemplated State, otherwise than in the
     punishment of crimes?"

The vote resulted as follows: For giving up restriction on Missouri,
yeas, 90; against giving up restriction of slavery in Missouri, 87.

Mr. Taylor, of New York, offered an amendment to include Arkansas
Territory under the prohibition of slavery in the territory west and
north of Missouri, but his amendment was cut off by a call for the
previous question. Then the House concurred in the Senate amendment
excluding forever slavery from the territory west and north of
Missouri by a vote of 134 to 42! And on the following day the bill
admitting Maine into the Union was passed without opposition.

Thus the Northern delegates in Congress were whipped into line, and
thus did the South gain her point in the extension of slavery in
violation of the sacred compact between the States contained in the
ordinance of 1787.

But the struggle was opened afresh when Missouri presented herself for
admission on the 16th of November, 1820. The constitution of this new
State, adopted by her people on the 19th of July, 1820, contained the
following resolutions which greatly angered the Northern members, who
so keenly felt the defeat and humiliation they had Suffered so

     "The General Assembly shall have no power to pass laws, first,
     for the emancipation of Slaves without the consent of their
     owners, or without paying them, before such emancipation, a full
     equivalent for such slaves so emancipated; and second: to prevent
     _bona-fide_ emigrants to this State, or actual settlers therein,
     from bringing from any of the United States, or from any of their
     Territories, such persons as may there be deemed to be Slaves, so
     long as any persons of the same description are allowed to be
     held as Slaves by the laws of this State.

     ... "It shall be their duty, as soon as may be, to pass such laws
     as may be necessary,

     "First, to prevent free negroes and mulattoes from coming to, and
     settling in, this State, under any pretext whatever."

Upon the motion to admit the State the vote stood: yeas, 79, nays, 93.
Upon a second attempt to admit her, with the understanding that the
resolution just quoted should be expunged the vote was worse than
before, standing: yeas, 6; nays, 146!

The House now rested, until a joint resolve, admitting her with but a
vague and ineffective qualification, came down from the Senate, where
it was passed by a vote of 26 to 18--six Senators from Free States in
the affirmative. Mr. Clay, who had resigned in the recess, and been
succeeded, as Speaker, by John W. Taylor, of New York, now appeared as
the leader of the Missouri admissionists, and proposed terms of
compromise, which were twice voted down by the Northern members, aided
by John Randolph and three others from the South, who would have
Missouri admitted without condition or qualification. At last, Mr.
Clay proposed a joint committee on this subject, to be chosen by
ballot--which the House agreed to by a vote of 101 to 55; and Mr. Clay
became its chairman. By this committee it was agreed, that a solemn
pledge should be required of the Legislature of Missouri, that the
constitution of that State should not be construed to authorize the
passage of any act, and that no act should be passed "by which any of
the citizens of either of the States should be excluded from the
enjoyment of the privileges and immunities to which they are entitled
under the Constitution of the United States." The joint resolution,
amended by the addition of this proviso, passed the House by 86 yeas
to 82 nays; the Senate concurred (Feb. 27, 1821) by 26 yeas to 15
nays--(all Northern but Macon, of N. C.). Missouri complied with the
condition, and became an accepted member of the Union. Thus closed the
last stage of the fierce Missouri controversy, which for a time seemed
to threaten--as so many other controversies have harmlessly
threatened--the existence of the Union.

By this time there was scarcely a State in the North but that had
organized anti-slavery, or abolition, societies. Pennsylvania boasted
of a society that was accomplishing a great Work. Where it was
impossible to secure freedom for the enslaved, religious training was
imparted, and many excellent efforts made for the amelioration of the
condition of the Negroes, bond and free. A society for promoting the
"_Abolition of Slavery_" was formed at Trenton, New Jersey, on the 2d
of March, 1786. It adopted an elaborate constitution, which was
amended on the 26th of November, 1788. It did an effective work
throughout the State; embraced in its membership some of the ablest
men of the State; and changed public sentiment for the better by the
methods it adopted and the literature it circulated. On the 15th of
February, 1804, it secured the passage of the following Act for the
gradual emancipation of the slaves in the State:


     "SECTION 1. _Be it enacted by the Council and General Assembly of
     this State, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the
     same_, That every child born of a slave within this State, after
     the fourth day of July next, shall be free; but shall remain the
     servant of the owner of his or her mother, and the executors,
     administrators, or assigns of such owner, in the same manner as
     if such child had been bound to service by the trustees or
     overseers of the poor, and shall continue in such service, if a
     male, until the age of twenty-five years, and if a female, until
     the age of twenty-one years.

     "2. _And be it enacted_, That every person being an inhabitant of
     this State, who shall be entitled to the service of a child born
     as aforesaid, after the said fourth day of July next, shall
     within nine months after the birth of such child, cause to be
     delivered to the clerk of the county whereof such person shall be
     an inhabitant, a certificate in writing, containing the name and
     station of such person, and the name, age, and sex of the child
     so born; which certificate, whether the same be delivered before
     or after the said nine months, shall be by the said clerk
     recorded in a book to be by him provided for that purpose; and
     such record thereof shall be good evidence of the age of such
     child; and the clerk of such county shall receive from said
     person twelve cents for every child so registered; and if any
     person shall neglect to deliver such certificate to the said
     clerk within said nine months, such person shall forfeit and pay
     for every such offence, five dollars, and the further sum of one
     dollar for every month such person shall neglect to deliver the
     same, to be sued for and recovered by any person who will sue for
     the same, the one half to the use of such prosecutor, and the
     residue to the use of the poor of the township in which such
     delinquent shall reside.

     "3. _And be it enacted_, That the person entitled to the service
     of any child born as aforesaid, may, nevertheless, within one
     year after the birth of such child, elect to abandon such right;
     in which case a notification of such abandonment, under the hand
     of such person, shall be filed with the clerk of the township, or
     where there may be a county poor-house established, then with the
     clerk of the board of trustees of said poor-house of the county
     in which such person shall reside; but every child so abandoned
     shall be maintained by such person until such child arrives to
     the age of one year, and thereafter shall be considered as a
     pauper of such township or county, and liable to be bound out by
     the trustees or overseers of the poor in the same manner as other
     poor children are directed to be bound out, until, if a male, the
     age of twenty-five, and if a female, the age of twenty-one; and
     such child, while such pauper, until it shall be bound out, shall
     be maintained by the trustees or overseers of the poor of such
     county or township, as the case may be, at the expense of this
     State; and for that purpose the director of the board of chosen
     freeholders of the county is hereby required, from time to time,
     to draw his warrant on the treasurer in favor of such trustees or
     overseers for the amount of such expense, not exceeding the rate
     of three dollars per month; provided the accounts for the same be
     first certified and approved by such board of trustees, or the
     town committee of such township; and every person who shall omit
     to notify such abandonment as aforesaid, shall be considered as
     having elected to retain the service of such child, and be liable
     for its maintenance until the period to which its servitude is
     limited as aforesaid.

     "A. Passed at Trenton, Feb. 15, 1804."

The public journals of the larger Northern cities began to take a
lively interest in the paramount question of the day, which, without
doubt, was the slavery question. Gradual emancipation was doing an
excellent work in nearly all the Northern States, as may be seen by
the census of 1820. When the entire slave population was footed up it
showed an increase of 30 per cent. during the previous ten years, but
when examined by States it was found to be on the decrease in all the
Northern or free States, except Illinois. The slave population of
Virginia had increased only 8 per cent.; North Carolina 21 per cent.;
South Carolina 31 per cent.; Tennessee 79 per cent.; Mississippi 92
per cent.; and Louisiana 99 per cent. The slave population by States
was as follows:


  Alabama                      41,879
  District of Columbia          6,377
  Connecticut                      97
  Delaware                      4,509
  Georgia                     149,654
  Illinois                        917
  Indiana                         190
  Kentucky                    126,732
  Louisiana                    69,064
  Maryland                    107,397
  Mississippi                  32,814
  Missouri                     10,222
  New Jersey                    7,557
  New York                     10,088
  North Carolina              205,017
  Pennsylvania                    211
  Rhode Island                     48
  South Carolina              258,475
  Tennessee                    80,107
  Virginia                    425,153
  Arkansas Territory            1,617
  Aggregate                 1,538,125

The anti-slavery sentiment of the Northern States was growing, but no
organization with a great leader at its head had yet announced its
platform or unfurled its banner in a holy war for the emancipation of
the Bondmen of the Free Republic of North America.


[1] I have in my possession large numbers of official orders and
letters on the suppression of the slave-trade, but the space
appropriated to this history precludes their publication. There are,
however, some important documents in the appendix to this volume.




When the war-clouds gathered in 1812, there was no time wasted in
discussing whether it would be prudent to arm the Negro, nor was there
a doubt expressed as to his valor. His brilliant achievements in the
war of the Revolution, his power of endurance, and martial enthusiasm,
were the golden threads of glory that bound his memory to the
victorious cause of the American Republic. A lack of troops and an
imperiled cause led to the admission of Negroes into the American army
during the war of the Revolution. But it was the Negro's eminent
fitness for military service that made him a place under the United
States flag during the war in Louisiana. The entire country had
confidence in the Negro's patriotism and effectiveness as a soldier.
White men were willing to see Negroes go into the army because it
reduced their chances of being sent forth to the tented field and
dangerous bivouac.

New York did not hesitate to offer a practical endorsement of the
prevalent opinion that Negroes were both competent and worthy to fight
the battles of the Nation. Accordingly, the following Act was passed
authorizing the organization of two regiments of Negroes.

     COLOR; PASSED OCT. 24, 1814.

     "SECT. 1. _Be it enacted_ by the people of the State of New York,
     represented in Senate and Assembly, That the Governor of the
     State be, and he is hereby, authorized to raise, by voluntary
     enlistment, two regiments of free men of color, for the defence
     of the State for three years, unless sooner discharged.

     "SECT. 2. _And be it further enacted_, That each of the said
     regiments shall consist of one thousand and eighty able-bodied
     men; and the said regiments shall be formed into a brigade, or be
     organized in such manner, and shall be employed in such service,
     as the Governor of the State of New York shall deem best adapted
     to defend the said State.

     "SECT. 3. _And be it further enacted_, That all the commissioned
     officers of the said regiments and brigade shall be white men;
     and the Governor of the State of New York shall be, and he is
     hereby, authorized to commission, by brevet, all the officers of
     the said regiments and brigade, who shall hold their respective
     commissions until the council of appointment shall have appointed
     the officers of the said regiments and brigade, in pursuance of
     the Constitution and laws of the said State.

     "SECT. 4. _And be it further enacted_, That the commissioned
     officers of the said regiments and brigade shall receive the same
     pay, rations, forage, and allowances, as officers of the same
     grade in the army of the United States; and the non-commissioned
     officers, musicians, and privates of the said regiments shall
     receive the same pay, rations, clothing, and allowances, as the
     non-commissioned officers, musicians, and privates of the army of
     the United States; and the sum of twenty-five dollars shall be
     paid to each of the said non-commissioned officers, musicians,
     and privates, at the time of enlistment, in lieu of all other

     "SECT. 5. _And be it further enacted_, That the troops to be
     raised as aforesaid may be transferred into the service of the
     United States, if the Government of the United States shall agree
     to pay and subsist them, and to refund to this State the moneys
     expended by this State in clothing and arming them; and, until
     such transfer shall be made, may be ordered into the service of
     the United States in lieu of an equal number of militia, whenever
     the militia of the State of New York shall be ordered into the
     service of the United States.

     "SECT. 6. _And be it further enacted_, That it shall be lawful
     for any able-bodied slave, with the written assent of his master
     or mistress, to enlist into the said corps; and the master or
     mistress of such slave shall be entitled to the pay and bounty
     allowed him for his service; and, further, that the said slave,
     at the time of receiving his discharge, shall be deemed and
     adjudged to have been legally manumitted from that time, and his
     said master or mistress shall not thenceforward be liable for his

     "SECT. 7. _And be it further enacted_, That every such enrolled
     person, who shall have become free by manumission or otherwise,
     if he shall thereafter become indigent, shall be deemed to be
     settled in the town in which the person who manumitted him was
     settled at the time of such manumission, or in such other town
     where he shall have gained a settlement subsequent to his
     discharge from the said service; and the former owner or owners
     of such manumitted person, and his legal representatives, shall
     be exonerated from his maintenance, any law to the contrary
     hereof notwithstanding.

     "SECT. 8. _And be it further enacted_, That, when the troops to
     be raised as aforesaid shall be in the service of the United
     States, they shall be subject to the rules and articles which
     have been or may be hereafter established by the By-laws of the
     United States for the government of the army of the United
     States; that, when the said troops shall be in the service of the
     State of New York, they shall be subject to the same rules and
     regulations; and the Governor of the said State shall be, and he
     is hereby, authorized and directed to exercise all the power and
     authority which, by the said rules and articles, are required to
     be exercised by the President of the United States."[2]

Gen. Andrew Jackson believed in the fighting capacity of the Negro, as
evidenced by the subjoined proclamation:

                              "HEADQUARTERS OF 7TH MILITARY DISTRICT,
                                        "MOBILE, September 21, 1814.


     "Through a mistaken policy you have heretofore been deprived of a
     participation in the glorious struggle for national rights in
     which our country is engaged. This no longer shall exist.

     "As sons of freedom, you are now called upon to defend our most
     inestimable blessing. As Americans, your country looks with
     confidence to her adopted children for a valorous support, as a
     faithful return for the advantages enjoyed under her mild and
     equitable government. As fathers, husbands, and brothers, you are
     summoned to rally around the standard of the eagle, to defend all
     which is dear in existence.

     "Your country, although calling for your exertions, does not wish
     you to engage in her cause without amply remunerating you for the
     services rendered. Your intelligent minds are not to be led away
     by false representations. Your love of honor would cause you to
     despise the man who should attempt to deceive you. In the
     sincerity of a soldier and the language of truth I address you.

     "To every noble-hearted, generous freeman of color, volunteering
     to serve during the present contest with Great Britain, and no
     longer, there will be paid the same bounty in money and lands,
     now received by the white soldiers of the United States, viz.:
     one hundred and twenty-four dollars in money, and one hundred and
     sixty acres of land. The non-commissioned officers and privates
     will also be entitled to the same monthly pay and daily rations,
     and clothes, furnished to any American soldier.

     "On enrolling yourselves in companies, the major-general
     commanding will select officers for your government from your
     white fellow-citizens. Your non-commissioned officers will be
     appointed from among yourselves.

     "Due regard will be paid to the feelings of freemen and soldiers.
     You will not, by being associated with white men in the same
     corps, be exposed to improper comparisons or unjust sarcasm. As a
     distinct, independent battalion or regiment, pursuing the path of
     glory, you will, undivided, receive the applause and gratitude of
     your countrymen.

     "To assure you of the sincerity of my intentions, and my anxiety
     to engage your invaluable services to our country, I have
     communicated my wishes to the Governor of Louisiana, who is fully
     informed as to the manner of enrollment, and will give you every
     necessary information on the subject of this address.

                    "ANDREW JACKSON, _Major-General Commanding_."[3]

Just before the battle of New Orleans, General Jackson reviewed his
troops, white and black, on Sunday, December 18, 1814. At the close of
the review his Adjutant-General, Edward Livingston, rode to the head
of the column, and read in rich and sonorous tones the following

     "TO THE MEN OF COLOR.--Soldiers! From the shores of Mobile I
     collected you to arms; I invited you to share in the perils and
     to divide the glory of your white countrymen. I expected much
     from you, for I was not uninformed of those qualities which must
     render you so formidable to an invading foe. I knew that you
     could endure hunger and thirst and all the hardships of war; I
     knew that you loved the land of your nativity, and that, like
     ourselves, you had to defend all that is most dear to man. But
     you surpass my hopes. I have found in you, united to these
     qualities, that noble enthusiasm which impels to great deeds.

     "Soldiers! The President of the United States shall be informed
     of your conduct on the present occasion; and the voice of the
     representatives of the American nation shall applaud your valor,
     as your general now praises your ardor. The enemy is near. His
     sails cover the lakes. But the brave are united; and if he finds
     us contending among ourselves, it will be for the prize of valor,
     and fame, its noblest reward."[4]

But in this war, as in the Revolutionary struggle, the commissioners
who concluded the terms of peace, armed with ample and authentic
evidence of the Negro's valorous services, placed him among chattel

And in no State in the South were the laws more rigidly enforced
against Negroes, both free and slave, than in Louisiana. The efficient
service of the Louisiana Negro troops in the war of 1812 was applauded
on two continents at the time, but the noise of the slave marts soon
silenced the praise of the "Black heroes of the battle of New


[2] Laws of the State of New York, passed at the Thirty-eighth Session
of the Legislature, chap. xviii.

[3] Niles's Register, vol. vii. p. 205.

[4] Niles's Register, vol. vii. pp. 345, 346.




It is rather a remarkable fact of history that Negroes were carried
upon the rolls of the navy without reference to their nationality.
About one tenth of the crews of the fleet that sailed to the Upper
Lakes to co-operate with Col. Croghan at Mackinac, in 1814, were
Negroes. Dr. Parsons says:--

     "In 1816, I was surgeon of the 'Java,' under Commodore Perry. The
     white and colored seamen messed together. About one in six or
     eight were colored.

     "In 1819, I was surgeon of the 'Guerrière,' under Commodore
     Macdonough; and the proportion of blacks was about the same in
     her crew. There seemed to be an entire absence of prejudice
     against the blacks as messmates among the crew. What I have said
     applies to the crews of the other ships that sailed in

This ample and reliable testimony as to the treatment of Negroes as
sailors, puts to rest all doubts as to their status in the United
States navy.

In the summer of 1813, Captain (afterwards Commodore) Perry wrote a
letter to Commodore Chauncey in which he complained that an
indifferent lot of men had been sent him. The following is the letter
that he wrote.

     "SIR:--I have this moment received, by express, the enclosed
     letter from General Harrison. If I had officers and men--and I
     have no doubt you will send them--I could fight the enemy, and
     proceed up the lake; but, having no one to command the 'Niagara,'
     and only one commissioned lieutenant and two acting lieutenants,
     whatever my wishes may be, going out is out of the question. The
     men that came by Mr. Champlin are a motley set--blacks, soldiers,
     and boys. I cannot think you saw them after they were selected. I
     am, however, pleased to see any thing in the shape of a man."[6]

Commodore Chauncey replied in the following sharp letter, in which he
gave Captain Perry to understand that the color of the skin had
nothing to do with a man's qualifications for the navy:

     "SIR:--I have been duly honored with your letters of the
     twenty-third and twenty-sixth ultimo, and notice your anxiety for
     men and officers. I am equally anxious to furnish you; and no
     time shall be lost in sending officers and men to you us soon as
     the public service will allow me to send them from this lake. I
     regret that you are not pleased with the men sent you by Messrs.
     Champlin and Forrest; for, to my knowledge, a part of them are
     not surpassed by any seamen we have in the fleet; and I have yet
     to learn that the color of the skin, or the cut and trimmings of
     the coat, can affect a man's qualifications or usefulness. I have
     nearly fifty blacks on board of this ship, and many of them are
     among my best men; and those people you call soldiers have been
     to sea from two to seventeen years; and I presume that you will
     find them as good and useful as any men on board of your vessel;
     at least, if I can judge by comparison; for those which we have
     on board of this ship are attentive and obedient, and, as far as
     I can judge, many of them excellent seamen: at any rate, the men
     sent to Lake Erie have been selected with a view of sending a
     fair proportion of petty officers and seamen; and, I presume,
     upon examination it will be found that they are equal to those
     upon this lake."[7]

Perry was not long in discovering that the Negroes whom Commodore
Chauncey had sent him were competent, faithful, and brave; and his
former prejudice did not prevent him from speaking their praise.

     "Perry speaks highly of the bravery and good conduct of the
     negroes, who formed a considerable part of his crew. They seemed
     to be absolutely insensible to danger. When Captain Barclay came
     on board the 'Niagara,' and beheld the sickly and party-colored
     beings around him, an expression of chagrin escaped him at
     having been conquered by such men. The fresh-water service had
     very much impaired the health of the sailors, and crowded the
     sick-list with patients."[8]

These brave Negro sailors served faithfully through all the battles on
the Lakes, and in the battle of Lake Erie rendered most effective
service. Once more the artist has rescued from oblivion the heroism of
the Negroes; for in the East Senate stairway of the Capitol at
Washington, and in the rotunda of the Capitol at Columbus, in the
celebrated picture of Perry's Victory on Lake Erie, a Negro sailor has
a place among the immortalized crew.

The following testimony to the bravery of Colored sailors is of the
highest character.


                                        "AT SEA, Jan. 1, 1813.

            *       *       *       *       *

     "Before I could get our light sails in, and almost before I could
     turn round, I was under the guns, not of a transport, but of a
     large _frigate_! and not more than a quarter of a mile from
     her.... Her first broadside killed two men, and wounded six
     others.... My officers conducted themselves in a way that would
     have done honor to a more permanent service.... The name of one
     of my poor fellows who was killed ought to be registered in the
     book of fame, and remembered with reverence, as long as bravery
     is considered a virtue. He was a black man, by the name of John
     Johnson. A twenty-four-pound shot struck him in the hip, and took
     away all the lower part of his body. In this state, the poor
     brave fellow lay on the deck, and several times exclaimed to his
     shipmates: '_Fire away, my boys; no haul a color down._' The
     other was also a black man, by the name of John Davis, and was
     struck in much the same way. He fell near me, and several times
     requested to be thrown overboard, saying he was only in the way
     of others.

     "When America has such tars, she has little to fear from the
     tyrants of the ocean."[9]

After praise of such a nature and from such a source, eulogy is


[5] Livermore, pp. 159, 160.

[6] Mackenzie's Life of Perry, vol. i. pp. 165, 166.

[7] Mackenzie's Life of Perry, vol. i. pp. 186, 187.

[8] Analectic Magazine, vol. iii. p. 255.

[9] Niles's Weekly Register, Saturday, Feb. 26, 1814.







An awful silence succeeded the stormy struggle that ended in the
violation of the ordinance of 1787. It was now time for reflection.
The Southern statesmen had proven themselves the masters of the
situation. The institution of slavery was secured to them, with many
collateral political advantages. And, in addition to this, they had
secured the inoculation of the free territory beyond the Mississippi
and Ohio rivers with the virus of Negro-slavery.

If the mother-country had forced slavery upon her colonial
dependencies in North America, and if it were difficult and
inconvenient to part with slave-labor, who were now responsible for
the extension of the slave area? Southern men, of course. What
principle or human law was strong enough to support an institution of
such cruel proportions? The old law of European pagans born of bloody
and destroying wars? No; for it was now the nineteenth century.
Abstract law? Certainly not; for law is the perfection of reason--it
always tends to conform thereto--and that which is not reason is not
law. Well did Justinian write: "Live honestly, hurt nobody, and render
to every one his just dues." The law of nations? Verily not; for it
is a system of rules deducible from reason and natural justice, and
established by universal consent, to regulate the conduct and mutual
intercourse between independent States. The Declaration of
Independence? Far from it; because the prologue of that incomparable
instrument recites: "_We hold these truths to be self-evident--that
all_ MEN _are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator
with certain unalienable Rights; that among these are life, liberty,
and the pursuit of happiness; that, to secure these rights,
governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from
the consent of the governed._" And the peerless George Bancroft has
added: "The heart of Jefferson in writing the Declaration, and of
Congress in adopting it, beat for all humanity; the assertion of right
was made for all mankind and all coming generations, without any
exception whatever; for the proposition which admits of exceptions can
never be self-evident." There was but one authority for slavery left,
and that was the Bible.

Many slave-holders thought deeply on the question of their right to
hold slaves. A disturbed conscience cried aloud for a "Thus saith the
Lord," and the pulpit was charged with the task of quieting the
general disquietude. The divine origin of slavery was heard from a
thousand pulpits. God, who never writes a poor hand, had written upon
the brow of every Negro, the word "_Slave_"; slavery was their normal
condition, and the white man was God's agent in the United States to
carry out the prophecy of Noah respecting the descendants of Ham;
while St. Paul had sent Onesimus back to his owner, and had written,
"Servants, obey your masters."

But apologetic preaching did not seem to silence the gnawing of a
guilty conscience. Upon the battle-fields of two great wars; in the
army and in the navy, the Negroes had demonstrated their worth and
manhood. They had stood with the undrilled minute-men along the dusty
roads leading from Lexington and Concord to Boston, against the
skilled redcoats of boastful Britain. They were among the faithful
little band that held Bunker Hill against overwhelming odds; at Long
Island, Newport, and Monmouth, they had held their ground against the
stubborn columns of the Ministerial army. They had journeyed with the
Pilgrim Fathers through eight years of despair and hope, of defeat and
victory; had shared their sufferings and divided their glory. These
recollections made difficult an unqualified acceptance of the doctrine
of the divine nature of perpetual slavery. Reason downed sophistry,
and human sympathy shamed prejudice. And against prejudice, custom,
and political power, the thinking men of the South launched their best
thoughts. Jefferson said: "The hour of emancipation is advancing in
the march of time. It will come, and whether brought on by the
generous energy of our own minds, or by the bloody process of St.
Domingo, excited and conducted by the power of our present enemy
[Great Britain], if once stationed permanently within our country and
offering asylum and arms to the oppressed [Negro], is a leaf in our
history _not yet turned over_." These words, written to Edward Coles,
in August, 1814, were still ample food for the profound meditation of
the slave-holders. In his "Notes on Virginia" Mr. Jefferson had
written the following words: "_Indeed, I tremble for my country when I
reflect that God is just; that His justice cannot sleep forever._
That, considering numbers, nature, and natural means, only a
revolution of the wheel of fortune, an exchange of situation, is among
possible events. That it may become probable by _supernatural
interference_. _The Almighty has no attribute which can take side with
us in such a contest._"[10]

The eloquence of Patrick Henry and the logic and philosophy of Madison
and Jefferson rang in the ears of the people of the slave-holding
States, and they paused to think. In forty years the Negro population
of Virginia had increased 186 per cent.--from 1790 to 1830,--while the
white had increased only 51 per cent. The rapid increase of the slave
population winged the fancy and produced horrid dreams of
insurrection; while the pronounced opposition of the Northern people
to slavery seemed to proclaim the weakness of the government and the
approach of its dissolution. In 1832, Thomas Jefferson Randolph, a
grandson of Thomas Jefferson, lifted up his voice in the Legislature
of Virginia against the institution of slavery.

     Said Mr. Jefferson:--"There is one circumstance to which we are
     to look as inevitable in the fulness of time--_a dissolution of
     this Union_. God grant it may not happen in our time or that of
     our children; but, sir, it must come sooner or later, and when it
     does come, border war follows it, as certain as the night follows
     the day. An enemy upon your frontier offering arms and asylum to
     this population, tampering with it in your bosom, when your
     citizens shall march to repel the invader, their families
     butchered and their homes desolated in the rear, the spear will
     fall from the warrior's grasp; his heart may be of steel, but it
     must quail. Suppose an invasion in part with _black troops_,
     speaking the same language, of the same nation, burning with
     enthusiasm for the liberation of their race; if they are not
     crushed the moment they put foot upon your soil, they roll
     forward, an hourly swelling mass; your energies are paralyzed,
     your power is gone; the morasses of the lowlands, the fastnesses
     of the mountains, cannot save your wives and children from
     destruction. Sir, we cannot war with these disadvantages; _peace,
     ignoble, abject peace,--peace upon any conditions that an enemy
     may offer, must be accepted_. Are we, then, prepared to barter
     the liberty of our children for slaves for them?... Sir, it is a
     practice, and an increasing practice in parts of Virginia to
     _rear slaves for market_. How can an honorable mind, a patriot
     and a lover of his country, bear to see this ancient Dominion,
     rendered illustrious by the noble devotion and patriotism of her
     sons in the cause of liberty, converted into one grand managerie,
     where men are to be reared for market like oxen for the shambles.
     Is this better, is it not worse, than the _Slave-Trade_, that
     trade which enlisted the labor of the _good and the wise of every
     creed and every clime to abolish it_?"

Mr. P. A. Bolling said:--

     "Mr. Speaker, it is vain for gentlemen to deny the fact, the
     feelings of society are fast becoming adversed to slavery. The
     moral causes which produce that feeling are on the march, and
     will on _until the groans of slavery are heard no more in this
     else happy country_. Look over this world's wide page--see the
     rapid progress of liberal feelings--see the shackles falling from
     nations who have long writhed under the galling yoke of slavery.
     Liberty is going over the whole earth--hand-in-hand with
     Christianity. The ancient temples of slavery, rendered venerable
     alone by their antiquity, are crumbling into dust. Ancient
     prejudices are flying before the light of truth--are dissipated
     by its rays, as the idle vapor by the bright sun. The noble
     sentiment of Burns:

          'Then let us pray that come it may,
            As come it will for a' that,
          That man to man, the warld o'er,
            Shall brothers be for a' that'--

     is rapidly spreading. The day-star of human liberty has risen
     above the dark horizon of slavery, and will continue its bright
     career, until it smiles alike on all men."

Mr. C. J. Faulkner said:--

     "Sir, I am gratified that no gentleman has yet risen in this
     hall, the advocate of slavery. * * * Let me compare the condition
     of the slave-holding portion of this commonwealth, barren,
     desolate, and scarred, as it were, by the avenging hand of
     Heaven, with the descriptions which we have of this same country
     from those who first broke its virgin soil. To what is this
     change ascribable? Alone to the withering, blasting effects of
     slavery. If this does not satisfy him, let me request him to
     extend his travels to the Northern States of this Union, and beg
     him to contrast the happiness and contentment which prevail
     throughout that country--the busy and cheerful sound of industry,
     the rapid and swelling growth of their population, their means
     and institutions of education, their skill and proficiency in the
     useful arts, their enterprise and public spirit, the monuments of
     their commercial and manufacturing industry, and, above all,
     their devoted attachment to the government from which they derive
     their protection, with the division, discontent, indolence, and
     poverty of the Southern country. To what, sir, is all this
     ascribable? 'T is to that _vice_ in the organization of society
     by which one half of its inhabitants are arrayed in interest and
     feeling against the other half; to that unfortunate state of
     society in which free men regard labor as disgraceful, and slaves
     shrink from it as a burden tyrannically imposed upon them. _'To
     that condition of things in which half a million of your
     population can feel no sympathy with the society in the
     prosperity of which they are forbidden to participate, and no
     attachment to a government at whose hands they receive nothing
     but injustice.'_ In the language of the wise, prophetic
     Jefferson, 'you must approach this subject, YOU MUST ADOPT SOME

In Maryland and Delaware the Quakers were rapidly emancipating their
slaves, and the strong reaction that had set in among the thoughtful
men of the South began to threaten the institution. Men felt that it
was a curse to the slave, and poisoned the best white society of the
slave-holding States. As early as 1781, Mr. Jefferson, with his keen,
philosophical insight, beheld with alarm the demoralizing tendency of
slavery. "The whole commerce," says Mr. Jefferson, "between master and
slave is a perpetual exercise of the most boisterous passions; the
most unrelenting despotism on the one part, and degrading submission
on the other. Our children see this, and learn to imitate it--for man
is an imitative animal. This quality is the germ of all education in
him. From his cradle to his grave he is learning to do what he sees
others do. If a parent could find no motive, either in his
philanthropy or his self-love, for restraining the intemperance of
passion toward his slave, it should always be a sufficient one that
his child is present. But generally, it is not sufficient. The parent
storms; the child looks on, catches the lineaments of wrath, puts on
the same airs in the circle of smaller slaves, gives a loose tongue to
the worst of passions, and, thus nursed, educated, and daily exercised
in tyranny, cannot but be stamped with odious peculiarities. The man
must be a prodigy who can retain his manners and morals undepraved by
such circumstances. And with what execration should the statesman be
loaded, who, permitting one half the citizens thus to trample on the
rights of the other, transforms those into despots and these into
enemies, destroys the morals of the one part, and the _amor patriæ_ of
the other!"[11]

And what was true in Virginia, as coming under the observation of Mr.
Jefferson, was true in all the other States where slavery existed. And
indeed it was difficult to tell whether the slave or master was
injured the more. The ignorance of the former veiled from him the
terrible evils of his condition, while the intelligence of the latter
revealed to him, in detail, the baleful effects of the institution
upon all who came within its area. It was at war with social order; it
contracted the sublime ideas of national unity; it made men sectional,
licentious, profligate, cruel,--and selfishness paled the holy fires
of patriotism.

But notwithstanding the profound reflection of the greatest minds in
the South, and the philosophic prophecies of Jefferson, the conscience
and heart of the South did not respond to the dictates of humanity.
Cotton and cupidity led captive the reason of the South, and, once
more joined to their idols, the slave-holders no longer heard the
voice of prudence or justice in the slave marts of their "section."


[10] Jefferson's Writings, vol. viii, p. 404.

[11] Jefferson's Writings, vol. viii. p. 403.




Anti-slavery sentiment is as old as the human family. It antedates the
Bible; it was eloquent in the days of our Saviour; it preached the
Gospel of Humanity in the palaces of the Cæsars and Antonies; its
arguments shook the thrones of Europe during the Mediæval ages. And
when the doctrine of property in man was driven out of Europe as an
exile, and found a home in this New World in the West, the ancient and
time-honored anti-slavery sentiment combined all that was good in
brain, heart, and civilization, and hurled itself, with righteous
indignation, against the institution of slavery, the perfected curse
of the ages! And how wonderful that God should have committed the task
of blotting out this terrible curse to Americans! And what "vessels of
honor" they were whom the dear Lord chose "to proclaim liberty to the
captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound!"
Statesmen like Franklin, Rush, Hamilton, and Jay; divines like
Hopkins, Edwards, and Stiles; philanthropists like Woolman, Lay, and
Benezet! And the good Quakers--God bless them!--or _Friends_, which
has so much tender meaning in it, did much to hasten the morning of
freedom. In the poor Negro slave they saw Christ "an hungered," and
they gave Him meat; "thirsty," and they gave Him drink; "a stranger,"
and they took Him in; "naked," and they clothed Him; "sick," and they
visited Him; "in prison," and they came unto Him. Verily they knew
their "_neighbor_."

They began their work of philanthropy as early as 1780. In
Maryland,[12] Pennsylvania, and New Jersey the Friends emancipated all
their slaves. At a single monthly meeting in Pennsylvania eleven
hundred slaves were set at liberty. Nearly every Northern State had
its anti-slavery society. They were charged with the humane task of
ameliorating the condition of the Negro, and scattering modest
literary documents that breathed the spirit of Christian love.

But the first apostle of _Abolition Agitation_ was Benjamin Lundy. He
was the John Baptist to the new era that was to witness the doing away
of the law of bondage and the ushering in of the dispensation of
universal brotherhood. He raised his voice against slave-keeping in
Virginia, Ohio, Tennessee, and Maryland. In 1821 he established an
anti-slavery paper called "The Genius of Universal Emancipation,"
which he successively published in Philadelphia, Baltimore, and
Washington City,--and frequently _en route_ during the tours he took
through the country, wherever he could find a press. Once he made a
tour of the free States, like another Apostle Paul, stirring up the
love of the brethren for those who were in bonds, lecturing, obtaining
subscribers, writing editorials, getting them printed where he could,
stopping by the wayside to read his "proof," and directing and mailing
his papers at the nearest post-office. Then, packing up his
"column-rules," type, "heading," and "directing-book," he would
journey on, a lone, solitary "Friend." He said in 1830:--

     "I have, within the period above mentioned (ten years),
     sacrificed several thousands of dollars of my own hard earnings;
     I have travelled upwards of five thousand miles on foot and more
     than twenty thousand in other ways; have visited nineteen States
     of this Union, and held more than two hundred public meetings;
     have performed two voyages to the West Indies, by which means the
     emancipation of a considerable number of slaves has been
     effected, and I hope the way paved for the enfranchisement of
     many more."

He was a slight-built, wiry figure; but inflamed by a holy zeal for
the cause of the oppressed, he was almost unconscious of the vast
amount of work he was accomplishing. As a Quaker his methods were
moderate. His journalistic voice was not a whirlwind nor the fire, but
the still, small voice of persuasiveness. Though it was published in a
slave mart, his paper, a monthly, was regarded as perfectly harmless.
But away up in Vermont there was being edited, at Bennington, a paper
called "The Journal of the Times." It was started chiefly to advocate
the claims of John Quincy Adams to the Presidency, but much space was
devoted to the subject of anti-slavery. The young editor of the
above-named journal had had experience with several other papers
previous to this--"The Free Press," of Newburyport, Mass., and "The
National Philanthropist," of Boston. "The Genius of Universal
Emancipation," was among the exchanges of "The Journal of the Times,"
and its sentiments greatly enthused the heart of the Vermont editor,
who, under God, was destined to become the indefatigable leader of the
Anti-slavery Movement in America, _William Lloyd Garrison_! To his
advocacy of "temperance and peace" young Garrison added another
excellent principle, intense hatred of slavery. He penned a petition
for the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia, which he
sent to all the postmasters in Vermont, beseeching them to secure
signatures. As the postmasters of those days paid no postage for their
letters, many names were secured. The petition created a genuine
sensation in Congress. The "Journal of Commerce" about this time said:

     "It appears from an article in 'The Journal of the Times,' a
     newspaper of some promise, just established in Bennington, Vt.,
     that a petition to Congress for the abolition of slavery in the
     District of Columbia is about to be put in circulation in that

     "The idea is an excellent one, and we hope it will meet with
     success. That Congress has a right to abolish slavery in that
     District seems reasonable, though we fear it will meet with some
     opposition, so very sensitive are the slave-holding community to
     every movement relating to the abolition of slavery. At the same
     time, it would furnish to the world a beautiful pledge of their
     sincerity if they would unite with the non-slave-holding States,
     and by a unanimous vote proclaim freedom to every soul within
     sight of the capital of this free government. We could then say,
     and the world would then admit our pretence, that the voice of
     the nation is against slavery, and throw back upon Great Britain
     that disgrace which is of right and justice her exclusive

Charmed by the originality, boldness, and humanity of Garrison, the
meek little Quaker went to Boston by stage; and then, with staff in
hand, walked to Bennington, Vt., to see the young man whose great
heart-throbs for the slave he had felt in "The Journal of the Times."
There, in the Green Mountains of Vermont, swept by the free air, and
mantled by the pure snow, the meek Quaker communed with the strict
Baptist, and they both took sweet counsel together. The bright torch
that Garrison had held up to the people in Vermont was to be
transferred to the people of Baltimore, who were "sitting in
darkness." So, as a result of this conference, Garrison agreed to join
Lundy in conducting "The Genius of Universal Emancipation."
Accordingly, in September, 1829, Garrison took the principal charge of
the Journal, enlarged it, and issued it as a weekly. Lundy was to
travel, lecture, and solicit subscribers in its interest, and
contribute to its editorial columns as he could from time to time.

Both men were equally against slavery: Lundy for gradual emancipation
and _colonization_; but Garrison for _immediate and unconditional
emancipation_. Garrison said of this difference: "But I wasn't much
help to him, for he had been all for gradual emancipation, and as soon
as I began to look into the matter, I became convinced that immediate
abolition was the doctrine to be preached, and I scattered his
subscribers like pigeons."

But the good "Friend" contemplated the destructive zeal of his young
helper with the complacency so characteristic of his class, standing
by his doctrine that every one should follow "his own light." But it
was not long before Garrison made a bold attack upon one of the vilest
features of the slave-trade, which put an end to his paper, and
resulted in his arrest, trial for libel, conviction, and imprisonment.
The story runs as follows:

     "A certain ship, the 'Francis Todd,' from Newburyport, came to
     Baltimore and took in a load of slaves for the New Orleans
     market. All the harrowing cruelties and separations which attend
     the rending asunder of families and the sale of slaves, were
     enacted under the eyes of the youthful philanthropist, and in a
     burning article he denounced the inter-State slave-trade as
     piracy, and piracy of an aggravated and cruel kind, inasmuch as
     those born and educated in civilized and Christianized society
     have more sensibility to feel the evils thus inflicted than
     imbruted savages. He denounced the owners of the ship and all the
     parties in no measured terms, and expressed his determination to
     'cover with thick infamy all who were engaged in the

Then, to be sure, the sleeping tiger was roused, for there was a vigor
and power in the young editor's eloquence that quite dissipated the
good-natured contempt which had hitherto hung round the paper. He was
indicted for libel, found guilty, of course, condemned, imprisoned in
the cell of a man who had been hanged for murder. His mother at this
time was not living, but her heroic, undaunted spirit still survived
in her son, who took the baptism of persecution and obloquy not merely
with patience, but with the joy which strong spirits feel in
endurance. He wrote sonnets on the walls of his prison, and by his
cheerful and engaging manners made friends of his jailer and family,
who did everything to render his situation as comfortable as possible.
Some considerable effort was made for his release, and much interest
was excited in various quarters for him.[13]

Finally, the benevolent Arthur Tappan came forward and paid the
exorbitant fine imposed upon Garrison, and he went forth a more
inveterate foe of slavery. This incident gave the world one of the
greatest reformers since Martin Luther. Without money, social
influence, or friends, Garrison lifted again the standard of liberty.
He began a lecture tour in which God taught him the magnitude of his
work. Everywhere mouths were sealed and public halls closed against
him. At length, on January 1, 1831, he issued the first number of "The
Liberator," which he continued to edit for thirty-five years, and
discontinued it only when every slave in America was free! His methods
of assailing the modern Goliath of slavery were thus tersely put:

     "I determined, at every hazard, to lift up the standard of
     emancipation in the eyes of the nation, within sight of Bunker
     Hill, and in the birthplace of liberty. That standard is now
     unfurled; and long may it float, unhurt by the spoliations of
     time or the missiles of a desperate foe; yea, till every chain be
     broken, and every bondman set free! Let Southern oppressors
     tremble; let their secret abettors tremble; let all the enemies
     of the persecuted Black tremble. Assenting to the self-evident
     truths maintained in the American Declaration of
     Independence,--'that all men are created equal, and endowed by
     their Creator with certain inalienable rights, among which are
     life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,' I shall strenuously
     contend for the immediate enfranchisement of our slave

            *       *       *       *       *

     "I am aware that many object to the severity of my language; but
     is there not cause for severity? I will be as harsh as truth, and
     as uncompromising as justice. On this subject I do not wish to
     think, or speak, or write with moderation. No! No! Tell a man
     whose house is on fire to give a moderate alarm; tell him to
     moderately rescue his wife from the hands of the ravisher; tell
     the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into
     which it has fallen; but urge me not to use moderation in a cause
     like the present! I am in earnest. I will not equivocate--I will
     not excuse--I will not retreat a single inch. AND I WILL BE
     HEARD. The apathy of the people is enough to make every statue
     leap from its pedestal, and to hasten the resurrection of the

     "It is pretended that I am retarding the cause of emancipation by
     the coarseness of my invective and the precipitancy of my
     measures. The charge is not true. On this question, my influence,
     humble as it is, is felt at this moment to a considerable extent;
     and it shall be felt in coming years--not perniciously, but
     beneficially,--not as a curse, but as a blessing; and POSTERITY
     WILL BEAR TESTIMONY THAT I WAS RIGHT. I desire to thank God that
     He enables me to disregard 'the fear of man which bringeth a
     snare,' and to speak truth in its simplicity and power; and I
     here close with this dedication:

            *       *       *       *       *

               "Oppression! I have seen thee, face to face,
               And met thy cruel eye and cloudy brow;
               By thy soul-withering glance I fear not now--
               For dread to prouder feelings doth give place,
               Of deep abhorrence! Scorning the disgrace
               Of slavish knees that at thy footstool bow,
               I also kneel--but with far other vow
               Do hail thee and thy herd of hirelings base;
               I swear, while life-blood warms my throbbing veins,
               Still to oppose and thwart, with heart and hand,
               Thy brutalizing sway--till Afric's chains
               Are burst, and Freedom rules the rescued land,
               Trampling Oppression and his iron rod;
               Such is the vow I take--so help me, God!"

There never was a grander declaration of war against slavery. There
never was a more intrepid leader than William Lloyd Garrison. Words
more prophetic were never uttered by human voice. His paper did indeed
make "Southern oppression tremble," while its high resolves and
sublime sentiments found a response in the hearts of many people. It
is pleasant to record that this first impression of "The Liberator"
brought a list of twenty-five subscribers from Philadelphia, backed by
$50 in cash, sent by James Forten, a Colored man!

One year from the day he issued the first number of his paper, William
Lloyd Garrison, at the head of eleven others, organized _The American
Anti-Slavery Society_. It has been indicated already that he was in
favor of immediate emancipation; but, in addition to that principle,
he took the ground that slavery was supported by the Constitution;
that it was "a covenant with death and an agreement with hell"; that
as a Christian it was his duty to obey God rather than man; that his
conscience was paramount to the Constitution, and, therefore, his duty
was to work outside of the Constitution for the destruction of
slavery. Thus did Garrison establish the first Anti-slavery Society in
this country to adopt aggressive measures and demand immediate and
unconditional emancipation. It is not claimed that his methods were
original. Daniel O'Connell was perhaps the greatest _agitator_ of the
present century. In a speech delivered at Cork, he said:--

     "I speak of liberty in commendation. Patriotism is a virtue, but
     it can be selfish. Give me the great and immortal Bolivar, the
     savior and regenerator of his country. He found her a province,
     and he has made her a nation. His first act was to give freedom
     to the slaves upon his own estate. (Hear, hear.) In Colombia, all
     castes and all colors are free and unshackled. But how I like to
     contrast him with the far-famed Northern heroes! George
     Washington! That great and enlightened character--the soldier and
     the statesman--had but one blot upon his character. He had
     slaves, and he gave them liberty when he wanted them no longer.
     (Loud cheers.) Let America, in the fulness of her pride wave on
     high her banner of freedom and its blazing stars. I point to her,
     and say: There is one foul blot upon it: you have negro slavery.
     They may compare their struggles for freedom to Marathon and
     Leuctra, and point to the rifleman with his gun, amidst her woods
     and forests, shouting for liberty and America. In the midst of
     their laughter and their pride, I point them to the negro
     children screaming for the mother from whose bosom they have been
     torn. America, it is a foul stain upon your character! (Cheers.)
     This conduct kept up by men who had themselves to struggle for
     freedom, is doubly unjust. Let them hoist the flag of liberty,
     with the whip and rack on one side, and the star of freedom upon
     the other. The Americans are a sensitive people; in fifty-four
     years they have increased their population from three millions to
     twenty millions; they have many glories that surround them, but
     their beams are partly shorn, for they have slaves. (Cheers.)
     Their hearts do not beat so strong for liberty as mine.... I will
     call for justice, in the name of the living God, and I shall find
     an echo in the breast of every human being. (Cheers.)"[14]

But while Garrison's method of agitation was not original, it was new
to this country. He spoke as one having authority, and his fiery
earnestness warmed the frozen feeling of the Northern people, and
startled the entire South. One year from the formation of the society
above alluded to (December 4, 5, and 6, 1833), a _National
Anti-Slavery Convention_ was held in Philadelphia, with sixty
delegates from ten States! In 1836 there were 250 auxiliary
anti-slavery societies in thirteen States; and eighteen months later
they had increased to 1,006. Money came to these societies from every
direction, and the good work had been fairly started.

William Lloyd Garrison created a party, and it will be known in
history as the _Garrisonian Party_.

While Mr. Garrison had taken the position that slavery was
constitutional, there were those who held the other view, that slavery
was unconstitutional, and, therefore, upon constitutional grounds
should be abolished.

The Whig party was the nearest to the anti-slavery society of any of
the political organizations of the time. It had promised, in
convention assembled, "to promote all constitutional measures for the
overthrow of slavery, and to oppose at all times, with uncompromising
zeal and firmness, any further addition of slave-holding States to
this Union, out of whatever territory formed.[15] But the party never
got beyond this. Charles Sumner was a member of the Whig party, but
was greatly disturbed about its indifference on the question of
slavery. In 1846 he delivered a speech before the Whig convention of
Massachusetts on "_The Anti-Slavery Duties of the Whig Party_." He
declared his positive opposition to slavery; said that he intended to
attack the institution on constitutional grounds; that slavery was not
a "covenant with death or an agreement with hell"; that he intended to
do his work for the slave inside of the Constitution. He said:--

     "There is in the Constitution no compromise on the subject of
     slavery of a character not to be reached legally and
     constitutionally, which is the only way in which I propose to
     reach it. Wherever power and jurisdiction are secured to
     Congress, they may unquestionably be exercised in conformity with
     the Constitution. And even in matters beyond existing powers and
     jurisdiction there is a constitutional mode of action. The
     Constitution contains an article pointing out how at any time
     amendments may be made thereto. This is an important article,
     giving to the Constitution a progressive character, and allowing
     it to be moulded to suit new exigencies and new conditions of
     feeling. The wise framers of this instrument did not treat the
     country as a Chinese foot, never to grow after its infancy, but
     anticipated the changes incident to its growth."

He proposed to the Whigs as their rallying watchword, the "REPEAL OF
Discussing the methods, he continued:--

     "The time has passed when this can be opposed on constitutional
     grounds. It will not be questioned by any competent authority
     that Congress may by express legislation abolish slavery, first,
     in the District of Columbia; second, in the territories, if there
     should be any; third, that it may abolish the slave-trade on the
     high seas between the States; fourth, that it may refuse to admit
     any new State with a constitution sanctioning slavery. Nor can it
     be doubted that the people of the free States may, in the manner
     pointed out by the Constitution, proceed to its amendment."

Thus did Charles Sumner lay down a platform for a _Political Abolition
Party_, and of such a party he became the laurelled champion and

The year 1846 was marked by the most bitter political discussion;
Garrison the _Agitator_, the Mexican war, and other issues had greatly
exercised the people. At a meeting held in Tremont Temple, Boston, on
the 5th of November, 1846, Mr. Sumner took occasion to give his
reasons for bolting the nominee of the Whig party for Congress, Mr.
Winthrop.[16] Mr. Sumner said that he had never heard Mr. Winthrop's
voice raised for the slave; and that, judging from the past, he never
expected to hear it. "Will he oppose," asked Mr. Sumner, "at all
times, without compromise, any further addition of slave-holding
States? Here, again, if we judge him by the past, he is wanting. None
can forget that in 1845, on the 4th of July, a day ever sacred to
memories of freedom, in a speech at Faneuil Hall, he volunteered, in
advance of any other Northern Whig, to receive Texas with a welcome
into the family of States, although on that very day she was preparing
a constitution placing slavery beyond the reach of Legislative

Here, then, was another party created--a _Political Abolition
Party_--for the suppression of slavery.

In 1848, Mr. Sumner left the Whig party, and gave his magnificent
energies and splendid talents to the organization of the _Free-Soil
Party_, upon the principles he had failed to educate the Whigs to

Charles Sumner was in the United States Senate, where "his words were
clothed with the majesty of Massachusetts." The young lawyer who had
upbraided Winthrop for his indifference respecting the slave, and
opposed the Mexican war, was consistent in the Senate, and in harmony
with his early love for humanity. He closed his great speech on
FREEDOM NATIONAL, SLAVERY SECTIONAL, in the following incisive

     "At the risk of repetition, but for the sake of clearness, review
     now this argument, and gather it together. Considering that
     slavery is of such an offensive character that it can find
     sanction only in positive law, and that it has no such 'positive'
     sanction in the Constitution; that the Constitution, according to
     its Preamble, was ordained to 'establish justice,' and 'secure
     the blessings of liberty'; that in the convention which framed
     it, and also elsewhere at the time, it was declared not to
     'sanction'; that according to the Declaration of Independence,
     and the address of the Continental Congress, the nation was
     dedicated to 'Liberty' and the 'rights of human nature'; that
     according to the principles of common law, the Constitution must
     be interpreted openly, actively, and perpetually for Freedom;
     that according to the decision of the Supreme Court, it acts upon
     slaves, _not as property_, but as _persons_; that at the first
     organization of the national government under Washington, slavery
     had no national favor, existed nowhere on the national territory,
     beneath the national flag, but was openly condemned by the
     nation, the Church, the colleges, and literature of the times;
     and finally, that according to an amendment of the Constitution,
     the national government can only exercise powers delegated to it,
     among which there is none to support slavery;--considering these
     things, sir, it is impossible to avoid the single conclusion that
     slavery is in no respect a national institution, and that the
     Constitution nowhere upholds property in man."

This speech set men in the North to thinking. Sumner was now the
acknowledged leader of the only political party in the country that
had a wholesome anti-slavery plank in its platform.

Daniel Webster and the Whig party were in their grave. After the
Democratic Convention had met and adjourned without mentioning
Webster, a Northern farmer exclaimed when he had read the news, "_The
South never pay their slaves_!"

During all these years of agitation and struggle, the pulpit of New
England maintained an unbroken silence on the slavery question. Doctor
Lyman Beecher was the acknowledged leader of the orthodox pulpit. Dr.
William E. Channing was the champion of Unitarianism and the leader of
the heterodox pulpit. Dr. Beecher was fond of controversy, enjoyed a
battle of words upon every thing but the slavery question. He
proclaimed the doctrine of "_immediate repentance_"; was earnest in
his entreaties to men to quit their "cups" at _once_; but on the
slavery question was a slow coach. He was for _gradual_ emancipation.
He frowned not a little upon the vigorous editorials in "The
Liberator." He regarded Mr. Garrison as a hot-head; "having zeal, but
not according to knowledge." Abolitionism received no encouragement
from this venerable divine.

Dr. Channing was a gentle, pure-hearted, and humane sort of a man. He
dreaded controversy, and shunned the agitation and agitators of

The lesser lights followed the example of these bright stars in the

But all could not keep silent,--for slavery needed apologists in the
North. Stewart, of Andover; Alexander, of Princeton; Fisk, of
Wilberham, and many other leading ministers endeavored to prove the
_Divine Origin and Biblical Authority of Slavery_.

The silence of the pulpit drove out many anti-slavery men who, up to
this time, had been hoping for aid from this quarter. Many went out of
the Church temporarily, hoping that the scales would drop from the
eyes of the preachers ere long; but others never returned-were driven
to infidelity and bitter hatred of the Christian Church. Dr. Albert
Barnes said: "That there was no power out of the Church that would
sustain slavery an hour if it were not sustained in it."

Among the leaders of the HETERODOX ANTI-SLAVERY PARTY--those who
attacked the reticency, silent acquiescence, or act of support the
Church gave slavery,--were Parker Pillsbury, James G. Birney, Stephen
S. Foster, and Samuel Brooke. The platform of this party was clearly
defined by Mr. Pillsbury:--

     "That slavery finds its surest and sternest defence in the
     prevailing religion of the country, is no longer questionable.
     Let it be driven from the Church, with the burning seal of its
     reprobation and execration stamped on its iron brow, and its fate
     is fixed forever. Only while its horrors are baptized and
     sanctified in the name of Christianity, can it maintain an

     "The Anti-Slavery movement has unmasked the character of the
     American Church. _Our religion has been found at war with the
     interests of humanity and the laws of God._ And it is more than
     time the world was awakened to its unhallowed influence on the
     hopes and happiness of man, while it makes itself the palladium
     of the foulest iniquity ever perpetrated in the sight of

This was a bold movement, but it was doubtless a sword that was as
dangerous to those who essayed to handle it, as to the Church whose
destruction it was intended to effect. The doctrine that was to
sustain and inspire this party can be briefly stated in a sentence:

Once outside the orthodox church, Theodore Parker gave himself wholly
to this idea. He preached the "_Gospel of Humanity_"; and, standing
upon a broad platform, preaching a broad doctrine, bound by no
ecclesiastical law, his claims to a place in the history of his
county, and in the gratitude of his countrymen can be fairly audited
when his work for the emancipation of evangelical churches from the
thraldom of slavery is considered. He did more in his day to rupture
the organic and sympathetic relation existing between the Northern and
Southern churches, and, thereby, hasten the struggle between the
sections for the extension or extinction of domestic slavery, than any
other man in America. The men who found themselves on the outside of
the Church gathered about Parker, and applauded his invective and
endorsed his arraignment of the churches that had placed their hands
upon their mouths, and their mouths in the dust, before the slave
power. He touched a chord in the human heart, and it yielded rich
music. He educated the pew until an occasional voice broke the long
silence respecting the bondman of the land. First, the ministers were
not so urgent in their invitations to Southern ministers to occupy
their pulpits. This coldness was followed by feeble prayer and
moderate speech on behalf of those who were bound. And the churches
themselves began to feel that they were "an offence" to the world.
Every note of sympathy that fell from the pulpit was amplified into a
grand chorus of pity for the slave. And thus the leaven of human
sympathy hid in the orthodox church of New England, leavened the whole
body until a thousand pulpits were ablaze with a righteous
condemnation of the wrongs of the slaves. Even Dr. Channing came to
the conclusion that something should be "So done as not to put in
jeopardy the peace of the slave-holding States!"[19]

THE ECONOMIC ANTI-SLAVERY PARTY was headed by the industrious and
indomitable Horace Greeley. His claim to the feelings of humanity
should never be disputed; but as a practical man who sought to solve
the riddle of every-day life he placed his practical views in the
foreground. As a political economist he reasoned that slave labor was
degrading to free labor; that free labor was better than slave labor,
and, therefore, he most earnestly desired its abolition. Wherever you
turn in his writings this idea gives the edge to all his arguments
concerning slavery. "But slavery," wrote Mr. Greeley, "primarily
considered, has still another aspect--that of a natural relation of
simplicity to cunning, of ignorance to knowledge, of weakness to
power. Thomas Carlyle, before his melancholy decline and fall into
devil-worship, truly observed, that the capital mistake of Rob Roy was
his failure to comprehend that it was cheaper to buy the beef he
required in the Grassmarket at Glasgow than to obtain it without
price, by harrying the lowland farms. So the first man whoever imbibed
or conceived the fatal delusion that it was more advantageous to him,
or to any human being, to procure whatever his necessities or his
appetites required by address and scheming than by honest work--by the
unrequited rather than the fairly and faithfully recompensed toil of
his fellow-preachers--was, in essence and in heart, a slave-holder,
and only awaited opportunity to become one in deed and practice.... It
is none the less true, however, that ancient civilization, in its
various national developments, was habitually corrupted, debauched,
and ultimately ruined by slavery, which rendered labor dishonorable,
and divided society horizontally into a small caste of the wealthy,
educated, refined, and independent, and a vast hungry, sensual,
thriftless, and worthless populace; rendered impossible the
preservation of republican liberty and of legalized equality, even
among the nominally free. Diogenes, with his lantern, might have
vainly looked, through many a long day, among the followers of Marius,
or Catiline, or Cæsar, for a specimen of the poor but virtuous and
self-respecting Roman citizen of the days of Cincinnatus, or even of

But Mr. Greeley's philosophy was as destructive as his logic was
defective. He wished the slave free, not because he loved him; but
because of the deep concern he had for the welfare of the free, white
working-men of America. He was willing the Negro should be free, but
never suggested any plan of relief for his social condition, or
prescribed for his spiritual and intellectual health. He handled the
entire Negro problem with the icy fingers of the philosopher, and
always applied the flinty logic of abstract political economy. He was
an _anti-slavery_ advocate, but not an _abolitionist_. He was opposed
to slavery, as a system at war with the social and commercial
prosperity of the nation; but so far as the humanity of the question,
in reaching out after the slave as an injured member of society, was
concerned, he was silent.

THE AGGRESSIVE ANTI-SLAVERY PARTY had its birth in the pugnacious
brains of E. P. Lovejoy, James G. Birney, Cassius M. Clay, and John
Brown. All of the anti-slavery parties had taught the doctrine of
_non-resistance_; that if "thy enemy smite thee on thy cheek, turn the
other also." But there were a few men who believed they were possessed
of sacred rights, and that it was their duty to defend them, even with
their lives. It was not a popular doctrine; and yet a conscientious
few practised it with sublime courage whenever occasion required. In
1836 James G. Birney, editor of _The Philanthropist_, published at
Cincinnati, Ohio, defended his press, as best he could, against a mob,
who finally destroyed it. And on the 7th of November, 1837, the Rev.
Mr. Lovejoy sealed the sacred doctrine of the liberty of the press
with his precious blood in the defence of his printing-press at Alton,
Illinois. Cassius M. Clay went armed, and insisted upon his right to
freely and peaceably discuss the cause of anti-slavery.

But these men only laid down a great, fundamental truth; it was given
to John Brown to write the lesson upon the hearts of the American
people, so that they were enabled, a few years later, to practise the
doctrine of _resistance_, and preserve the _Nation_ against the bloody
aggressions of the Southern Confederacy.

organizations. Benjamin Lundy was one of the earliest advocates of
colonization. The object of colonizationists was to transport to
Liberia, on the West Coast of Africa, all manumitted slaves. Only
_free_ Negroes were to be colonized. It was claimed by the advocates
of the scheme that this was the only hope of the free Negro; that the
proscription everywhere directed against his social and intellectual
endeavors cramped and lamed him in the race of life; that in Liberia
he could build his own government, schools, and business; and there
would be nothing to hinder him in his ambition for the highest places
in Church or State. Moreover, they claimed that the free Negro owed
something to his benighted brethren who were still in pagan darkness;
that a free Negro government on the West Coast of Africa could exert a
missionary influence upon the natives, and thus the evangelization of
Africa could be effected by the free Negro himself.[21]

To this method Henry Clay, of Kentucky, Horace Mann, of Massachusetts;
Rev. Howard Malcom, of Pennsylvania; Rev. R. R. Gurley, of New York;
and many other persons of distinction, gave their endorsement and
assistance. The American Colonization Society was organized in 1817.
Its earliest supporters were from the Southern and Middle States. A
fair idea can be had of the character of the men who sustained the
cause of colonization by an examination of the following list of
officers elected in March, 1834.

     "_President._--JAMES MADISON, of Virginia.

     "_Vice-Presidents._--Chief-Justice MARSHALL; General LAFAYETTE,
     of France, Hon. WM. H. CRAWFORD, of Georgia; Hon. HENRY CLAY, of
     Lexington, Kentucky; Hon. JOHN C. HERBERT, of Maryland; ROBERT
     RALSTON, Esq., of Philadelphia; Gen. JOHN MASON, of Georgetown,
     D. C.; SAMUEL BAYARD, Esq., of New Jersey; ISAAC MCKIM, Esq., of
     Maryland; Gen. JOHN HARTWELL COCKE, of Virginia; Rt. Rev. Bishop
     WHITE, of Pennsylvania; Hon. DANIEL WEBSTER, of Boston; Hon.
     CHARLES F. MERCER, of Virginia; JEREMIAH DAY, D.D., of Yale
     College; Hon. RICHARD RUSH, of Pennsylvania; Bishop MCKENDREE;
     PHILIP E. THOMAS, Esq., of Maryland; Dr. THOMAS C. JAMES, of
     Philadelphia; Hon. JOHN COTTON SMITH, of Connecticut; Hon.
     Washington City; GERRIT SMITH, of New York; J. H. M'CLURE, Esq.,
     of New Jersey; Gen. ALEXANDER MACOMB, of Washington City; MOSES
     ALLEN, Esq., of New York; Gen. WALTER JONES, of Washington City;
     F. S. KEY, Esq., of Georgetown, D. C.; SAMUEL H. SMITH, Esq., of
     Washington City; JOSEPH GALES, Jr., Esq., of Washington City; Rt.
     Rev. WM. MEADE, D.D., Assistant Bishop of Virginia; Hon.
     ALEXANDER PORTER, of Louisiana; JOHN MCDONOUGH, Esq., of
     Louisiana; Hon. SAMUEL L. SOUTHARD, of New Jersey.

     "_Managers._--Rev. JAMES LAURIE, D.D.; Gen. WALTER JONES; FRANCIS

     "_Secretaries._--Rev. RALPH R. GURLEY, WILLIAM H. MACFARLAND.

     "_Treasurer._--JOSEPH GALES, Senior.

     "_Recorder._--PHILLIP R. FENDALL."

The Colonization Society was never able to secure the sympathy of the
various anti-slavery societies of the country; and was unable to gain
the confidence of the Colored people to any great extent. But it had
the advantage of being in harmony with what little humane sentiment
there was at the South. It did not attempt to agitate. It only sought
to colonize on the West Coast of Africa all Negroes who could secure
legal manumission. Nearly all the Southern States had laws upon their
statute-books requiring all emancipated slaves to leave the State. The
question as to where they should go was supposed to be answered by the
Colonization Society. It had much influence with Congress, and did not
hesitate to use it. A Mr. Joseph Bryan, of Alabama, petitioned
Congress for the establishment "of a line of Mail Steam-ships to the
Western Coast of Africa," in the summer of 1850. The Committee on
Naval Affairs reported favorably the following bill:

     AFRICA. [Report No. 438.]

     "_In the House of Representatives, August 1, 1850. Read twice,
     and committed to the Committee of the whole House on the State of
     the Union._

     "Mr. F. P. Stanton, from the Committee on Naval Affairs, reported
     the following bill:--A bill to establish a line of war steamers
     to the coast of Africa, for the suppression of the slave-trade,
     and the promotion of commerce and colonization:

     SEC. 1. "_Be it enacted_ by the Senate and House of
     Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress
     assembled, That it shall be the duty of the Secretary of the
     Navy, immediately after the passage of this act, to enter into
     contract with Joseph Bryan, of Alabama, and George Nicholas
     Saunders, of New York, and their associates, for the building,
     equipment, and maintenance of three steam-ships to run between
     the United States and the coast of Africa, upon the following
     terms and conditions, to wit:

     "The said ships to be each of not less than four thousand tons
     burden, to be so constructed as to be convertible, at the least
     possible expense, into war steamers of the first class, and to be
     built and equipped in accordance with plans to be submitted to
     and approved by the Secretary of the Navy, and under the
     superintendence of an officer to be appointed by him, two of said
     ships to be finished and ready for sea in two and a half years,
     and the other within three years after the date of the contract,
     and the whole to be kept up by alterations, repairs, or
     additions, to be approved by the Secretary of the Navy, so as to
     be fully equal to the exigencies of the service and the faithful
     performance of the contract. The said Secretary, at all times, to
     exercise such control over said ships as may not be inconsistent
     with the provisions of this act, and especially to have the power
     to direct, at the expense of the Government, such changes in the
     machinery and internal arrangements of the ships as he may at any
     time deem advisable.

     "Each of said ships to be commanded by an officer of the Navy,
     who with four Passed Midshipmen to act as watch officers, and any
     mail agents who may be sent by the Government, shall be
     accommodated and provided for in a manner suitable to their rank,
     at the expense of the contractors. Each of said ships, if
     required by the Secretary, shall receive two guns of heavy
     calibre, and the men from the United States Navy necessary to
     serve them, who shall be provided for as aforesaid. In the event
     of war the Government to have the right to take any or all of
     said ships for its own exclusive use on payment of the value
     thereof; such value not exceeding the cost, to be ascertained by
     appraisers chosen by the Secretary of the Navy and the

     "Each of said ships to make four voyages per annum; one shall
     leave New Orleans every three months; one shall leave Baltimore
     every three months, touching at Norfolk and Charleston; and one
     shall leave New York every three months, touching at Savannah;
     all having liberty to touch at any of the West India Islands; and
     to proceed thence to Liberia, touching at any of the islands or
     ports on the coast of Africa; thence to Gibraltar, carrying the
     Mediterranean mails; thence to Cadiz, or some other Spanish port
     to be designated by the Secretary of the Navy; thence to Lisbon;
     thence to Brest, or some other French port to be designated as
     above; thence, to London, and back to the place of departure,
     bringing and carrying the mails to and from said ports.

     "The said contractors shall further agree to carry to Liberia so
     many emigrants being free persons of color, and not exceeding
     twenty-five hundred for each voyage, as the American Colonization
     Society may require, upon the payment by said Society of ten
     dollars for each emigrant over twelve years of age, and five
     dollars for each one under that age, these sums, respectively, to
     include all charges for baggage of emigrants and the daily supply
     of sailors' rations. The contractors, also, to carry, bring back,
     and accommodate, free from charge, all necessary agents of the
     said Society.

     "The Secretary of the Navy shall further stipulate to advance to
     said contractors, as the building of said ships shall progress,
     two thirds of the amount expended thereon; such advances to be
     made in the bonds of the United States, payable thirty years
     after date, and bearing five per cent. interest, and not to
     exceed six hundred thousand dollars for each ship. And the said
     contractors shall stipulate to repay the said advances in equal
     annual instalments, with interest from the date of the completion
     of said ships until the termination of the contract, which shall
     continue fifteen years from the commencement of the service. The
     Secretary of the Navy to require ample security for the faithful
     performance of the contract, and to reserve a lien upon the ships
     for the sum advanced. The Government to pay said contractors
     forty thousand dollars for each trip, or four hundred and eighty
     thousand dollars per annum.

     "SEC. 2. _And be it further enacted_, That the President of the
     United States shall cause to be issued the bonds of the United
     States, as the same may, from time to time, be required by the
     Secretary of the Navy to carry out the contract aforesaid."

Public sentiment, North and South, was greatly in favor of the
measure. T. J. Durant, Esq., of New Orleans, in an elaborate letter
addressed to the "Commercial Bulletin" of New Orleans, under date of
September 12, 1850, answered objections, and warmly urged the passage
of the bill. The Chaplain of the U. S. Senate, Rev. R. R. Gurley,
wrote a letter on the 10th of October, 1850, to George N. Saunders,
Esq., urging the measure as of paramount importance to both America
and Africa. The press of the country generally endorsed the bill, and
commented upon the general good to follow in numerous editorials. A
scheme of such gigantic proportions poorly set forth the profound
thought that harassed the public mind in regard to the crime of
keeping men in slavery. A few extracts from the papers will suffice to
show how the matter was regarded.


     "The Report of the Naval Committee to the House of
     Representatives in favor of the establishment of a line of mail
     steam-ships to the Western Coast of Africa, and thence via the
     Mediterranean to London, has been received by the public press
     throughout the Union with the warmest expressions of approbation.
     The Whig, Democratic, and neutral papers of the North and South,
     in the slave-holding and non-slave-holding States, with a very
     few exceptions, appear to vie with each other in pressing its
     consideration upon the public attention. This earnest and almost
     unanimous support of the measure by the organs of public opinion,
     without respect to party or section, shows the deep hold which
     the objects it proposes to effect have upon the public favor.
     Those objects are to promote the emigration of free persons of
     color from this country to Liberia; also to increase the steam
     navy, and to extend the commerce of the United States,--all, it
     will be almost universally conceded, desirable objects. The
     desirableness of the objects being admitted, the question is,
     does the mode proposed for promoting them recommend itself to the
     sanction of Congress? We are forced to the conclusion that it
     does. We are aware that while all agree as to the expediency of
     increasing our steam navy--some are in favor of the Government's
     building its own steam-ships, and others advocate the
     encouragement of lines of steam-packets, to be established by
     private enterprise under the auspices of Government....

     "The considerations, however, which in our opinion should commend
     this measure to the favorable attention of Congress are so
     obvious, and have been so clearly and strongly presented in the
     report of the committee, that we need not here repeat them. If
     the voice of the press, of all sections and of all parties, be
     any indication of popular opinion, we are free to say, that it
     would be difficult for Congress to pass a measure which would be
     received with more _general_ satisfaction by the people of the
     United States."[22]

     "AFRICAN STEAM-LINES.--The entertainment by the Government of
     Great Britain of a project for the establishment of a powerful
     line of steam-vessels between that country and the African coast,
     ostensibly for the conveyance of a monthly mail, and the more
     effectual checking of the slave-traffic, is strong proof, we
     think, of the value that the commerce between the two countries
     is capable of becoming. It may, in addition, be regarded as
     corroborative of the justness of the position taken by the
     advocates of a mail-steamer line between this country and Africa.
     We are by no means disposed to look invidiously on the
     enterprising spirit exhibited abroad for securing a closer
     connection with a country, the great mercantile wealth of which
     is yet, comparatively speaking, untouched. This spirit should
     have on us no other than a stimulating effect. Besides, for
     years, if not ages, to come, the trade with Africa can admit of
     no very close competition. The promised vastness of this trade,
     whilst excluding all idea of monopoly, must continue to excite
     the new enterprise by its unlimited rewards. It is unnecessary
     that we should exhibit statistics to show her how largely England
     has been benefited by persevering though frequently interrupted
     communication with the interior parts of that great continent;
     nor to make plain how, with better knowledge and more ready means
     of access, mercantile risks will be lessened and mercantile
     profits enlarged. It will be remembered that the Congressional
     committee to whom the question of establishing mail steamers
     between this country and Africa was referred, adverted in their
     report to the aid its adoption would afford in the consummation
     of the plans of the Colonization Society. On the intimate
     relation between the one and the other, it was supposed that a
     good part of the required success was dependent. It is something
     singular that the colored race--those in reality most interested
     in the future destinies of Africa--should be so lightly affected
     by the evidences continually being presented in favor of
     colonization. He will do a service to this country as well as
     Africa who shall do any thing to open the eyes of the colored
     race to the advantages of emigration to the fertile and, to them,
     congenial shores of Africa."[23]

     "AFRICA AND STEAM-SHIPS.--If but a single line of steam-ships is
     to be authorized this Session--and the state and prospects of the
     finances must counsel frugality and caution,--we think a line to
     Africa fairly entitled to the preference. That continent on its
     western side is comparatively proximate and accessible; it is
     filled with inhabitants who need the articles we can abundantly
     fabricate, and it is the ancestral soil of more than three
     millions of our people--of a race on whose account we are deeply
     debtors to justice and to heaven. That race is more plastic and
     less conservative than the Chinese; their soil produces in
     spontaneous profusion many articles which are to us comforts and
     luxuries, while nearly every thing we produce is in eager demand
     among its inhabitants, if they can but find the wherewithal to
     pay for them. Instead of being a detriment and a depression to
     our own manufacturing and mechanical industry, as the trade
     induced by our costly steam-ship lines to Liverpool, Bremen, and
     Havre mainly is, all the commerce with Africa which a more
     intimate communication with her would secure, would be
     advantageous to every department of American labor. Her surplus
     products are so diverse from ours, that no collision of interests
     between her producers and ours could ever be realized, while
     millions' worth of her tropical products which will not endure
     the slow and capricious transportation which is now their only
     recourse, would come to us in good order by steam-ships, and
     richly reward the labor of the gatherers and the enterprise of
     the importers.

     "But the social and moral aspects of this subject are still more
     important. We are now expending life and treasure, in concert
     with other nations, to suppress the African slave-trade, and it
     is now generally conceded that such suppression can never be
     effected by the means hitherto relied on. The colonization of the
     Slave Coast, with direct reference to its Christianization and
     civilization, is the only sure means of putting an end to this
     inhuman traffic. And this colonization, all who are interested in
     the work seem heartily to agree, would be immensely accelerated
     by the establishment of a line of African steam-ships. Liberia,
     now practically distant as Buenos Ayres, would, by such a line,
     be brought as near us as Bremen, and the ports regularly visited
     by our steamers could not fail rapidly to assume importance as
     centres of commerce and of increasing intelligence and

     "THE COLONY OF LIBERIA AND ITS PROSPECTUS.--By every arrival from
     Liberia we learn that the colony of free negroes from the United
     States is progressing at a rate truly astonishing, and that
     before many years it promises to be a strong and powerful
     republic. The experiment of self-government has been completely
     successful; the educational interests of the inhabitants are duly
     cared for; civilization is making great headway among the
     aborigines; and, by means of Liberia, there is a very flattering
     prospect of the slave-trade on the coast of Africa being entirely
     destroyed. Governor Roberts, a very intelligent colored man, of
     mixed blood, goes even so far as to say that Liberia is destined
     to rival the United States, and that both republics, by a unity
     of action, can civilize and Christianize the world, and
     especially benighted Africa. We are pleased to hear such good
     accounts from Liberia, and we shall always be pleased to hear of
     its success, and of the progress and welfare of its inhabitants.
     Founded, as it has been, by American philanthropists, and peopled
     by our emancipated slaves, the United States will ever watch its
     progress with interest, and aid and assist it as far as it
     possibly can."[25]

But notwithstanding the apparent favor the cause of colonization
received from the press, it was an impractical, impossible, wild, and
visionary scheme that could not be carried to the extent its
projectors designed. It lost strength yearly, until all were convinced
that the Negro would be emancipated here and remain here; that it was
as impossible to colonize a race of people as to colonize the sun,
moon, and stars.

THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD organization was perhaps one of the most
useful auxiliaries the cause of agitation had. It could scarcely be
called an organization. Unlike the other societies, it did not print
its reports.[26] Like good Samaritans, its conductors did not ask
passengers their creed; but wherever they found human beings wounded
in body and mind by slavery, they gave them passage to the "Inn" of
Freedom on Canadian soil.

In a sense, the Underground Railroad was a secret organization. This
was necessary, as the fugitive-slave law gave the master the right to
pursue his slave when "fleeing from labor and service in one State
into another," and apprehend him by due process of Federal law. The
men who managed this road felt that they should obey God rather than
man; that the slave's right to his freedom was greater than any law
the nation could make through its representatives. So the Underground
Railroad was made up of a company of godly men who stretched
themselves across the land, from the borders of the sunny slave States
to the snow-white shores of Canada. When men came up out of the hell
of slavery gasping for a breath of free air, these good friends
sheltered and fed them; and then hastened them off in the stillness of
the night, with the everlasting stars as their ministers, toward
Canada. The fugitives would be turned over to another conductor, who
would conceal them until nightfall, when he would load his living
freight into a covered conveyance, and drive all night to reach the
next "station"; and so on until the fugitives found themselves free
and safe under the English flag in Canada.

This was the safety-valve to the institution of slavery. As soon as
leaders arose among the slaves, refusing to endure the yoke, they came
North. Had they remained, the direful scenes of St. Domingo would have
been enacted, and the hot, vengeful breath of massacre would have
swept the South as a tornado, and blanched the cheek of the civilized

ANTI-SLAVERY LITERATURE wrought mightily for God in its field.[27]
Frederick Douglass's book, "My Bondage and My Freedom"; Bishop
Loguen's, "As a Slave and As a Freeman"; "Autobiography of a Fugitive
Negro," by the Rev. Samuel Ringgold Ward; "Twenty-two Years a Slave,
and Forty Years a Freeman," by the Rev. Austin Stewart; "Narrative of
Solomon Northup," "Walker's Appeal,"--all by eminent Negroes, exposed
the true character of slavery, informed the public mind, stimulated
healthy thought, and touched the heart of two continents with a
sympathy almost divine.

But the uncounted millions of anti-slavery tracts, pamphlets,
journals, and addresses of the entire period of agitation were little
more than a paper wad compared with the solid shot "Uncle Tom's Cabin"
was to slavery. Written in vigorous English, in scintillating,
perspicuous style; adorned with gorgeous imagery, bristling with
living "_facts_", going to the lowest depths, mounting to the greatest
altitudes, moving with panoramic grandeur, picturing humanity forlorn
and outraged; giving forth the shrillest, most _despairing_ cries of
the afflicted, and the sublimest strains of Christian faith; the
struggle of innocent, defenceless womanhood, the subdued sorrow of
chattel-babyhood, the yearnings of fettered manhood, and the piteous
sobs of helpless old age,--made Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe's "Uncle
Tom's Cabin" the magnifying wonder of enlightened Christendom! It
pleaded the cause of the slave in twenty different languages; it
engrossed the thought of philosophers, and touched the heart of youth
with a strange pity for the slave. It covered audiences with the
sunlight of laughter, wrapt them in sorrow, and veiled them in tears.
It illustrated the power of the Gospel of Love, the gentleness of
Negro character, and the powers and possibilities of the race. It was
God's message to a people who had refused to listen to his
anti-slavery prophets and priests; and its sad, weird, and
heart-touching descriptions and dialogues restored the milk of human
kindness to a million hearts that had grown callous in an age of
self-seeking and robbery of the poor.

In a political and sectional sense, the "Impending Crisis," by Helper,
exerted a wide influence for good. It was read by merchants and

Diverse and manifold as were the methods of the friends of universal
freedom, and sometimes apparently conflicting, under God no honest
effort to rid the Negro and the country of the curse of slavery was
lost. All these agencies, running along different lines, converged at
a common centre, and aimed at a common end--the ultimate extinction of
the foreign and domestic slave-trade.


[12] In the Library of the New York Historical Society there is "An
Oration Upon the Moral and Political Evil of Slavery. Delivered at a
Public Meeting of the Maryland Society for Promoting the Abolition of
Slavery and the Relief of Free Negroes and Others Unlawfully Held in
Bondage, Baltimore, July 4, 1791. By George Buchanan, M.D., Member of
the American Philosophical Society. Baltimore: Printed by Phillip
Edwards, MDCCXCIII."

[13] Men of our Times, pp. 162, 163.

[14] Speech delivered at the Annual Meeting of the Cork Anti-Slavery
Society, 1829.

[15] Sumner's Works, vol. i. p. 336.

[16] At the election that took place on the 9th of November, 1846, the
vote stood as follows: Winthrop (Whig), 5,980; Howe (Anti-Slavery),
1,334; Homer (Democrat), 1,688; Whiton (Independent), 331. The number
of tickets in the field indicated the state of public feeling.

[17] Sumner's Works, vol. 1. p. 337.

[18] Church As It Is, etc., Introduction.

[19] Channing's Works, vol. ii. p. 10, sq.

[20] American Conflict, vol. i. pp. 25, 26.

[21] The following were the objects of the Colonization Society:

"1st. To rescue the free colored people of the United States from
their political and social disadvantages.

"2d. To place them in a country where they may enjoy the benefits of
free government, with all the blessings which it brings in its train.

"3d. To spread civilization, sound morals, and true religion through
the continent of Africa.

"4. To arrest and destroy the slave-trade.

"5. To afford slave-owners who wish, or are willing, to liberate their
slaves an asylum for their reception."

[22] The Republic, Sept. 11, 1850.

[23] National Intelligencer, October 23, 1850.

[24] Tribune, December 25, 1850.

[25] Herald, December, 17, 1850.

[26] It is to be regretted that William Still, the author of the U. G.
R. R., failed to give any account of its origin, organization,
workings, or the number of persons helped to freedom. It is an
interesting narrative of many cases, but is shorn of that minuteness
of detail so indispensable to authentic historical memorials.

[27] Judge Stroud, William Goodell, Wendell Phillips, William Jay, and
hundreds of other white men contributed to the anti-slavery literature
of the period.




The free Negroes throughout the Northern States were not passive
during the agitation movement. They took a lively interest in the
cause that had for its ultimate end the freedom of the slave. They did
not comfort themselves with the consciousness that _they_ were free;
but thought of _their brethren_ who were bound, and sympathized with

"_The First Annual Convention of the People of Color_" was held in
Philadelphia from the 6th to the 11th of June, 1831. Its sessions were
held "in the brick Wesleyan Church, Lombard Street," "pursuant to
public notice, ... signed by Dr. Belfast Burton and William Whipper."
The following delegates were present:

     _Philadelphia_--John Bowers, Dr. Belfast Burton, James Cornish,
     Junius C. Morel, William Whipper.

     _New York_--Rev. Wm. Miller, Henry Sipkins, Thos. L. Jennings,
     Wm. Hamilton, James Pennington.

     _Maryland_--Rev. Abner Coker, Robert Cowley.

     _Delaware_--Abraham D. Shad, Rev. Peter Gardiner.

     _Virginia_--Wm. Duncan.

The following officers were chosen:

     _President_--John Bowers.

     _Vice-Presidents_--Abraham D. Shad, William Duncan.

     _Secretary_--William Whipper.

     _Assistant Secretary_--Thos. L. Jennings.

The first concern of this convention was the condition of that class
which it directly represented--the "free persons of color" in the
United States. A committee, consisting of Messrs. Morel, Shad, Duncan,
Cowley, Sipkins, and Jennings, made the following report on the
condition of the free persons of color in the United States:

     "_Brethren and Fellow-Citizens:_

     "We, the Committee of Inquiry, would suggest to the Convention
     the propriety of adopting the following resolutions, viz.:

     "_Resolved_, That, in the opinion of this Convention, it is
     highly necessary that the different societies engaged in the
     _Canadian Settlement_ be earnestly requested to persevere in
     their praiseworthy and philanthropic undertaking; firmly
     believing that, at a future period, their labors will be crowned
     with success.

     "The Committee would also recommend this Convention to call on
     the free people of color to assemble _annually_ by delegation at
     such place as may be designated as suitable.

     "They would also respectfully submit to your wisdom the necessity
     of your deliberate reflection on the dissolute, intemperate, and
     ignorant condition of a large portion of the colored population
     of the United States. They would not, however, refer to their
     unfortunate circumstances to add degradation to objects already
     degraded and miserable; nor, with some others, improperly class
     the virtuous of our color with the abandoned, but with the most
     sympathizing and heartfelt commiseration, show our sense of
     obligation as the true guardians of our interests, by giving
     wholesome advice and good counsel.

     "The Committee consider it as highly important that the
     Convention recommend the necessity of creating a general fund, to
     be denominated the CONVENTIONAL FUND, for the purpose of
     advancing the objects of this and future conventions, as the
     public good may require.

     "They would further recommend, that the Declaration of
     Independence and the Constitution of the United Stales be read in
     our Conventions; believing, that the truths contained in the
     former are incontrovertible, and that the latter guarantees in
     letter and spirit to every freeman born in this country, all the
     rights and immunities of citizenship.

     "Your Committee with regret have witnessed the many oppressive,
     unjust, and unconstitutional laws which have been enacted in the
     different parts of the Union against the free people of color,
     and they would call upon this Convention, as possessing the
     rights of freemen, to recommend to the people, through their
     delegation, the propriety of memorializing the proper
     authorities, whenever they may feel themselves aggrieved, or
     their rights invaded, by any cruel or oppressive laws.

     "And your Committee would further report, that, in their opinion,
     _Education_, _Temperance_, and _Economy_ are best calculated to
     promote the elevation of mankind to a proper rank and standing
     among men, as they enable him to discharge all those duties
     enjoined on him by his Creator. We would, therefore, respectfully
     request an early attention to those virtues among our brethren
     who have a desire to be useful.

     "And lastly, your Committee view with unfeigned regret, and
     respectfully submit to the wisdom of this Convention, the
     operations and misrepresentations of the American Colonization
     Society in these United States.

     "We feel sorrowful to see such an immense and wanton waste of
     lives and property, not doubting the benevolent feelings of some
     individuals engaged in that cause. But we cannot for a moment
     doubt, but that the cause of many of our unconstitutional,
     unchristian, and unheard-of sufferings emanate from that
     unhallowed source; and we would call on Christians of every
     denomination firmly to resist it."[28]

The convention was in session for several days. It attracted public
attention on account of the intelligence, order, and excellent
judgment which prevailed. It deeply touched the young white men who
had, but a few months previous, enlisted under the broad banner Wm.
Lloyd Garrison had given to the breeze. They called to see Colored men
conduct a convention. The Rev. S. S. Jocelyn, of New Haven,
Connecticut; Arthur Tappan, of New York; Benjamin Lundy, of
Washington, D. C.; William Lloyd Garrison, of Boston, Massachusetts;
Thomas Shipley and Charles Pierce, of Philadelphia, visited the
convention and were cordially received. Messrs. Jocelyn, Tappan, and
Garrison were invited to address the convention. They delivered
stirring addresses, and especially urged the necessity of establishing
a college for the education of "Young Men of Color." At the suggestion
of the speaker the convention appointed a committee with whom the
speaker conferred. The report of the committee was as follows:

     "That a plan had been submitted to them by the above-named
     gentlemen, for the liberal education of Young Men of Color, on
     the Manual-Labor System, all of which they respectfully submit to
     the consideration of the Convention, are as follow:

     "The plan proposed is, that a College be established at New
     Haven, Conn., as soon as $20,000 are obtained, and to be on the
     Manual-Labor System, by which, in connection with a scientific
     education, they may also obtain a useful Mechanical or
     Agricultural profession; and (they further report, having
     received information) that a benevolent individual has offered to
     subscribe one thousand dollars toward this object, provided that
     a farther sum of nineteen thousand dollars can be obtained in one

     "After an interesting discussion, the above report was
     unanimously adopted; one of the inquiries by the Convention was
     in regard to the place of location. On interrogating the
     gentlemen why New Haven should be the place of location, they
     gave the following as their reasons:--

     "1st. The site is healthy and beautiful.

     "2d. Its inhabitants are friendly, pious, generous, and humane.

     "3d. Its laws are salutary and protecting to all, without regard
     to complexion.

     "4th. Boarding is cheap and provisions are good.

     "5th. The situation is as central as any other that can be
     obtained with the same advantages.

     "6th. The town of New Haven carries on an extensive West India
     trade, and many of the wealthy colored residents in the Islands,
     would, no doubt, send their sons there to be educated, and thus a
     fresh tie of friendship would be formed, which might be
     productive of much real good in the end.

     "And last, though not the least, the literary and scientific
     character of New Haven, renders it a very desirable place for the
     location of the college."

The report of the Committee was received and adopted. The Rev. Samuel
E. Cornish was appointed general agent to solicit funds, and Arthur
Tappan was selected as treasurer. A Provisional Committee was
appointed in each city, as follows:

     "_Boston_--Rev. Hosea Easton, Robert Roberts, James G. Barbadoes,
     and Rev. Samuel Snowden.

     "_New York_--Rev. Peter Williams, Boston Cromwell, Philip Bell,
     Thomas Downing, Peter Voglesang.

     "_Philadelphia_--Joseph Cassey, Robert Douglass, Sr., James
     Forten, Richard Howell, Robert Purvis.

     "_Baltimore_--Thomas Green, James P. Walker, Samuel G. Mathews,
     Isaac Whipper, Samuel Hiner.

     "_New Haven_--Biars Stanley, John Creed, Alexander C. Luca.

     "_Brooklyn, L. I._--Jacob Deyes, Henry Thomson, Willis Jones.

     "_Wilmington, Del._--Rev. Peter Spencer, Jacob Morgan, William S.

     "_Albany_--Benjamin Latimore, Captain Schuyler, Captain Francis

     "_Washington, D. C._--William Jackson, Arthur Waring, Isaac

     "_Lancaster, Pa._--Charles Butler and Jared Grey.

     "_Carlisle, Pa._--John Peck and Rowland G. Roberts.

     "_Chambersburg, Pa._--Dennis Berry.

     "_Pittsburgh_--John B. Vashon, Lewis Gardiner, Abraham Lewis.

     "_Newark, N. J._--Peter Petitt, Charles Anderson, Adam Ray.

     "_Trenton_--Samson Peters, Leonard Scott."

The proceedings of the convention were characterized by a deep
solemnity and a lively sense of the gravity of the situation. The
delegates were of the ablest Colored men in the country, and were
conversant with the wants of their people. The subjoined address shows
that the committee that prepared it had a thorough knowledge of the
public sentiment of America on the subject of race prejudice.


     "_Respected Brethren and Fellow-Citizens:_

            *       *       *       *       *

     "Our attention has been called to investigate the political
     standing of our brethren wherever dispersed, but more
     particularly the situation of those in this great Republic.

     "Abroad, we have been cheered with pleasant views of humanity,
     and the steady, firm, and uncompromising march of equal liberty
     to the human family. Despotism, tyranny, and injustice have had
     to retreat, in order to make way for the unalienable rights of
     man. Truth has conquered prejudice, and mankind are about to rise
     in the majesty and splendor of their native dignity.

     "The cause of general emancipation is gaining powerful and able
     friends abroad. Britain and Denmark have performed such deeds as
     will immortalize them for their humanity, in the breasts of the
     philanthropists of the present day; whilst, as a just tribute to
     their virtues, after-ages will yet erect unperishable monuments
     to their memory. (Would to God we could say thus of our own
     native soil!)

     "And it is only when we look to our own native land, to the
     birthplace of our _fathers_, to the land for whose prosperity
     their blood and our sweat have been shed and cruelly extorted,
     that the Convention has had cause to hang its head and blush.
     Laws, as cruel in themselves as they were unconstitutional and
     unjust, have in many places been enacted against our poor
     unfriended and unoffending brethren; laws, (without a shadow of
     provocation on our part,) at whose bare recital the very savage
     draws him up for fear of the contagion,--looks noble, and prides
     himself because he bears not the name of a Christian.

     "But the Convention would not wish to dwell long on this subject,
     as it is one that is too sensibly felt to need description.

     "We would wish to turn you from this scene with an eye of pity,
     and a breast glowing with mercy, praying that the recording angel
     may drop a tear, which shall obliterate forever the remembrance
     of so foul a stain upon the national escutcheon of this great

     "This spirit of persecution was the cause of our Convention. It
     was that first induced us to seek an asylum in the Canadas; and
     the Convention feels happy to report to its brethren, that our
     efforts to establish a settlement in that province have not been
     made in vain. Our prospects are cheering; our friends and funds
     are daily increasing; wonders have been performed far exceeding
     our most sanguine expectations; already have our brethren
     purchased eight hundred acres of land--and two thousand of them
     have left the soil of their birth, crossed the lines, and laid
     the foundation for a structure which promises to prove an asylum
     for the colored population of these United States. They have
     erected two hundred log-houses, and have five hundred acres under

     "And now it is to your fostering care the Convention appeals, and
     we appeal to you as to men and brethren, yet to enlarge their

     "We therefore ask of you, brethren,--we ask of you,
     philanthropists of every color and of every kindred,--to assist
     us in this undertaking. We look to a kind Providence and to you
     to say whether our desires shall be realized and our labors
     crowned with success.

     "The Convention has done its duty, and it now remains for you,
     brethren, to do yours. Various obstacles have been thrown in our
     way by those opposed to the elevation of the human species; but,
     thanks to an all-wise Providence, his goodness has as yet cleared
     the way, and our advance has been slow but steady. The only thing
     now wanted, is an accumulation of funds, in order to enable us to
     make a purchase agreeable to the direction of the first
     Convention; and, to effect that purpose, the Convention has
     recommended, to the different Societies engaged in that cause, to
     preserve and prosecute their designs with double energy; and we
     would earnestly recommend to every colored man (who feels the
     weight of his degradation), to consider himself in duty bound to
     contribute his mite toward this great object. We would say to
     all, that the prosperity of the rising generation mainly depends
     upon our active exertions.

     "Yes, it is with us to say whether they shall assume a rank and
     standing among the nations of the earth, as men and freemen, or
     whether they shall still be prized and held at market-price. Oh,
     then, by a brother's love, and by all that makes man dear to man,
     awake in time! Be wise! Be free! Endeavor to walk with
     circumspection; be obedient to the laws of our common country;
     honor and respect its lawmakers and law-givers; and, through all,
     let us not forget to respect ourselves.

     "During the deliberations of this Convention, we had the favor of
     advising and consulting with some of our most eminent and tried
     philanthropists--men of unblemished character and of acknowledged
     rank and standing. Our sufferings have excited their sympathy;
     our ignorance appealed to their humanity; and, brethren, we feel
     that gratitude is due to a kind and benevolent Creator, that our
     excitement and appeal have neither been in vain. A plan has been
     proposed to the Convention for the erection of a college for the
     instruction of young men of color, on the manual-labor system, by
     which the children of the poor may receive a regular classical
     education, as well as those of their more opulent brethren, and
     the charge will be so regulated as to put it within the reach of
     all. In support of this plan, a benevolent individual has offered
     the sum of one thousand dollars, provided that we can obtain
     subscriptions to the amount of nineteen thousand dollars in one

     "The Convention has viewed the plan with considerable interest,
     and, after mature deliberation, on a candid investigation, feels
     strictly justified in recommending the same to the liberal
     patronage of our brethren, and respectfully solicits the aid of
     those philanthropists who feel an interest in sending light,
     knowledge, and truth to all of the human species.

     "To the friends of general education, we do believe that our
     appeal will not be in vain. For the present ignorant and degraded
     condition of many of our brethren in these United States (which
     has been a subject of much concern to the Convention) can excite
     no astonishment (although used by our enemies to show our
     inferiority in the scale of human beings); for, what
     opportunities have they possessed for mental cultivation or
     improvement? Mere ignorance, however, in a people divested of the
     means of acquiring information by books, or an extensive
     connection with the world, is no just criterion of their
     intellectual incapacity; and it had been actually seen, in
     various remarkable instances, that the degradation of the mind
     and character, which has been too hastily imputed to a people
     kept, as we are, at a distance from those sources of knowledge
     which abound in civilized and enlightened communities, has
     resulted from no other causes than our unhappy situation and

     "True philanthropy disdains to adopt those prejudices against any
     people which have no better foundation than accidental
     diversities of color, and refuses to determine without
     substantial evidence and incontestible fact as the basis of her
     judgment. And it is in order to remove these prejudices, which
     are the actual causes of our ignorance, that we have appealed to
     our friends in support of the contemplated institution.

     "The Convention has not been unmindful of the operations of the
     American Colonization Society, and it would respectfully suggest
     to that august body of learning, talent, and worth, that, in our
     humble opinion, strengthened, too, by the opinions of eminent men
     in this country, as well as in Europe, that they are pursuing the
     direct road to perpetuate slavery, with all its unchristianlike
     concomitants, in this boasted land of freedom; and, as citizens
     and men whose best blood is sapped to gain popularity for that
     institution, we would, in the most feeling manner, beg of them to
     desist; or, if we must be sacrificed to their philanthropy, we
     would rather die at home. Many of our fathers, and some of us,
     have fought and bled for the liberty, independence, and peace
     which you now enjoy; and, surely, it would be ungenerous and
     unfeeling in you to deny us an humble and quiet grave in that
     country which gave us birth!

     "In conclusion, the Convention would remind our brethren that
     knowledge is power, and to that end, we call on you to sustain
     and support, by all honorable, energetic, and necessary means,
     those presses which are devoted to our instruction and elevation,
     to foster and encourage the mechanical arts and sciences among
     our brethren, to encourage simplicity, neatness, temperance, and
     economy in our habits, taking due care always to give the
     preference to the production of freemen wherever it can be had.
     Of the utility of a General Fund, the Convention believes there
     can exist but one sentiment, and that is for a speedy
     establishment of the same. Finally, we trust our brethren will
     pay due care to take such measures as will ensure a general and
     equal representation in the next Convention

     [Signed]                           "BELFAST BURTON,
                                        "JUNIUS C. MOREL,
                                        "WILLIAM WHIPPER,
                                             "_Publishing Committee_."

Encouraged by the good results that followed the first convention,
another one was called, and assembled in Philadelphia, at Benezet
Hall, Seventh Street, June 4, 1832. The following delegates were
admitted to seats in the convention:


     _Pittsburgh_--John B. Vashon.

     _Philadelphia_--John Bowers, William Whipper, J. C. Morel,
     Benjamin Paschal, F. A. Hinton.

     _Carlisle_--John Peck.

     _Lewistown, Miffin County_--Samuel Johnson.

     NEW YORK.

     _New York City_--William Hamilton, Thomas L. Jennings, Henry
     Sipkins, Philip A. Bell.

     _Brooklyn_--James Pennington.


     _Wilmington_--Joseph Burton, Jacob Morgan, Abm. D. Shad, William
     Johnson, Peter Gardiner.


     _Baltimore_--Samuel Elliott, Robert Cowley, Samuel Hiner.


     _Gloucester_--Thomas D. Coxsin, Thomas Banks.

     _Trenton_--Aaron Roberts.


     _Boston_--Hosea Easton.

     _New Bedford_--Nathan Johnson.


     _Hartford_--Paul Drayton.

     _New Haven_--Scipio C. Augustus.


     _Providence_--Ichabod Northrop.

On the following day the convention adjourned to the "First African
Presbyterian Church." The following report was adopted:

     "_Resolved_, That in the opinion of this Committee, the plan
     suggested by the first General Convention, of purchasing land or
     lands in Upper Canada, for the avowed object of forming a
     settlement in that province, for such colored persons as may
     choose to emigrate there, still merits and deserves our united
     support and exertions; and further, that the appearances of the
     times, in this our native land, demand an immediate action on
     that subject. Adopted.

     "_Resolved_, That in the opinion of this committee, we still
     solemnly and sincerely protest against any interference, on the
     part of the American Colonization Society, with the free colored
     population in these United States, so long as they shall
     countenance or endeavor to use coercive measures (either directly
     or indirectly) to colonize us in any place which is not the
     object of our choice. And we ask of them respectfully, as men and
     as Christians, to cease their unhallowed persecutions of a
     people already sufficiently oppressed, or if, as they profess to
     have our welfare and prosperity at heart, to assist us in the
     object of our choice.

     "_Resolved_, That this committee would recommend to the members
     of this Convention, to discountenance, by all just means in their
     power, any emigration to Liberia or Hayti, believing them only
     calculated to distract and divide the whole colored family."

In accordance with a resolution of the previous day the Rev. R. R.
Gurley, Secretary of the American Colonization Society, was invited to
address the convention. He endeavored to offer an acceptable
explanation of the Society, and to advocate its principles. But the
Colored people, almost to a man, were opposed to colonization; and
most of the anti-slavery societies regarded colonization as
impracticable and hurtful to the cause of emancipation. William Lloyd
Garrison happened to be present, and followed Gurley in a speech that
destroyed the hopes of the friends of colonization, and greatly
delighted the convention.

While the Colored people opposed colonization they regarded Canada as
a proper place to go. They felt that as citizens they had the right to
decide where to go, and, when they got ready, to go on their own
account. Canada had furnished an asylum to their flying,
travel-soiled, foot-sore, and needy brethren,--was not so very far
away, and, therefore, it was preferred to the West Coast of Africa.
The committee having under consideration this subject, made the
following comprehensive report:

     "_Resolved_, That the members of this Convention take into
     consideration the propriety of effecting the purchase of lands in
     the province of Upper Canada, as an asylum for those of our
     bretheren who may be compelled to remove from these United
     States, beg leave, most respectfully to report:

     "That, after due consideration, they believe the resolution
     embraces three distinct inquiries for the consideration of this
     Convention, which should be duly weighed before they can adopt
     the sentiments contained in the above-named resolution.
     Therefore, your Committee conceive the resolution premature, and
     now proceed to state the enquiries separately.

     "_First._--Is it proper for the Free people of color in this
     country, under existing circumstances, to remove to any distant
     territory beyond these United States?

     "_Secondly._--Does Upper Canada possess superior advantages and
     conveniences to those held out in these United States or

     "_Thirdly._--Is there any certainty that the people of color will
     be compelled by oppressive legislative enactments to abandon the
     land of their birth for a home in a distant region?

     "Your Committee, before examining those enquiries, would most
     respectfully take a retrospective view of the object for which
     the Convention was first associated, and the causes which have
     actuated their deliberations.

     "The expulsory laws of Ohio, in 1829, which drove our people to
     seek a new home in Upper Canada, and their impoverished situation
     afterward, excited a general burst of sympathy for their
     situation, by the wise and good, over the whole country. This
     awakened public feeling on their behalf, and numerous meetings
     were called to raise funds to alleviate their present miseries.
     The bright prospects that then appeared to dawn on the new
     settlement, awakened our people to the precariousness of their
     situations, and, in order more fully to be prepared for future
     exigencies, and to extend the system of benevolence still further
     to those who should remove to Upper Canada, a circular was issued
     by five individuals, viz.:--the Rev. Richard Allen, Cyrus Black,
     Junius C. Morel, Benjamin Pascal, and James C. Cornish, in behalf
     of the citizens of Philadelphia, calling a convention of the
     colored delegates from the several States, to meet on the 20th
     day of September, 1830, to devise plans and means for the
     establishment of a colony in Upper Canada, under the patronage of
     the general Convention, then called.

     "That Convention met, pursuant to public notice, and recommended
     the formation of a parent society, to be established, with
     auxiliaries in the different towns where they had been
     represented in _general_ convention, for the purpose of raising
     moneys to defray the object of purchasing a colony in the
     province of Upper Canada, for those who should hereafter wish to
     emigrate thither, and that immediately after its organization, a
     corresponding agent should be appointed to reside at or near the
     intended purchase.

     "Our then limited knowledge of the manners, customs, and
     privileges, and rights of aliens in Upper Canada, together with
     the climate, soil, and productions thereof, rendered it necessary
     to send out agents to examine the same, who returned with a
     favorable report, except that citizens of these United States
     could not purchase lands in Upper Canada, and legally transfer
     the same to other individuals.

     "The Convention resolved to reassemble on the first Monday in
     June, 1831, during which time the order of the Convention had
     been carried into operation, relative to establishing Societies
     for the promotion of said object; and the sum and total of their
     proceedings were, that the Convention recommended to the colored
     people generally, when persecuted as were our brethren in Ohio,
     to seek an Asylum in Upper Canada. During which time,
     information having been received that a part of the white
     inhabitants of said province had, through prejudice and the fear
     of being overburthened with an ejected population, petitioned the
     provincial parliament to prohibit the general influx of colored
     population from entering their limits, which threw some
     consternation on the prospect. The Convention did not wholly
     abandon the subject, but turned its attention more to the
     elevation of our people in this, our native home.

     "The recent occurrences at the South have swelled the tide of
     prejudice until it has almost revolutionized public sentiment,
     which has given birth to severe legislative enactments in some of
     the States, and almost ruined our interests and prospects in
     others, in which, in the opinion of your Committee, our situation
     is more precarious than it has been at any other period since the
     Declaration of Independence.

     "The events of the past year have been more fruitful in
     persecution, and have presented more inducements than any other
     period of the history of our country, for the men of color to fly
     from the graves of their fathers, and seek new homes in a land
     where the roaring billows of prejudice are less injurious to
     their rights and privileges.

     "Your Committee would now approach the present Convention and
     examine the resolution under consideration, beginning with the
     first interrogatory, viz.: Is it proper for the Free people of
     color in this country, under existing circumstances, to remove to
     any distant territory beyond the United States?

     "If we admit the first interrogatory to be true, as it is the
     exact spirit of the language of this resolution, now under
     consideration, it is altogether unnecessary for us to make
     further preparation for either our moral, intellectual, or
     political advancement in this our own, our native land.

     "Your Committee also believe that if this Convention shall adopt
     a resolution that will, as soon as means can be obtained, remove
     our colored population to the province of Upper Canada, the best
     and brightest prospect of the philanthropists who are laboring
     for our elevation in this country will be thwarted, and they will
     be brought to the conclusion that the great object which actuated
     their labors would now be removed, and they might now rest from
     their labors and have the painful feeling of transmitting to
     future generations, that an oppressed people, in the land of
     their birth, supported by the genuine philanthropists of the age,
     amidsts friends, companions, and their natural attachments, a
     genial clime, a fruitful soil,--amidst the rays of as proud
     institutions as ever graced the most favored spot that has ever
     received the glorious rays of a meridian sun,--have abandoned
     their homes on account of their persecutions, for a home almost
     similarly precarious, for an abiding-place among strangers!

     "Your Committee further believe that any express plan to colonize
     our people beyond the limits of these United States, tends to
     weaken the situation of those who are left behind, without any
     peculiar advantage to those who emigrate. But it must be
     admitted, that the rigid oppression abroad in the land is such,
     that a _part_ of our suffering brethren cannot live under it, and
     that the compulsory laws and the inducements held out by the
     American Colonization Society are such as will cause them to
     alienate all their natural attachments to their homes, and accept
     of the only mode left open, which is to remove to a distant
     Country to receive those rights and privileges of which they have
     been deprived. And as this Convention is associated for the
     purpose of recommending to our people the best mode of
     alleviating their present miseries,

     "Therefore, your Committee would, most respectfully, recommend to
     the general Convention, now assembled, to exercise the most
     vigorous means to collect monies through their auxiliaries, or
     otherwise, to be applied in such manner, as will advance the
     interests, and contribute to the wants of the free colored
     population of this country generally.

     "Your Committee would now most respectfully approach the _second
     inquiry_, viz.:--Does Upper Canada possess superior advantages
     and conveniences to those held out in the United States or

     "Your Committee, without summing up the advantages and
     disadvantages of other situations, would, most respectfully
     answer in the affirmative. At least they are willing to assert
     that the advantage is much in favor of those who are obliged to
     leave their present homes. For your more particular information
     on that subject we would, most respectfully, refer you to the
     interesting account given by our real and indefatigable friend,
     Benjamin Lundy, in a late number of the "Genius of Universal
     Emancipation." _Vide_ "Genius of Universal Emancipation," No. 10,
     vol. 12.

     "From the history there laid down, your Committee would, most
     respectfully, request the Convention to aid, so far as in their
     power lies, those who are obliged to seek an asylum in the
     province of Upper Canada; and, in order that they may more
     effectually carry their views into operation, they would
     respectfully request them to appoint an Agent in Upper Canada, to
     receive such funds as may be there transmitted for their use.

     "Your Committee have now arrived at the _third_ and last inquiry,
     viz.:--Is there any certainty that we, as a people, will be
     compelled to leave this our native land, for a home in a distant
     region? To this inquiry your Committee are unable to answer; it
     belongs to the fruitful events of time to determine. The mistaken
     policy of some of the friends of our improvement, that the same
     could be effected on the shore of Africa, has raised the tide of
     our calamity until it has overflowed the valleys of peace and
     tranquillity--the dark clouds of prejudice have rained
     persecution--the oppressor and the oppressed have suffered
     together--and we have yet been protected by that Almighty arm,
     who holds in his hands the destinies of nations, and whose
     presence is a royal safeguard, should we place the utmost
     reliance on his wisdom and power.

     "Your Committee, while they rejoice at the noble object for which
     the Convention was first associated, have been unable to come to
     any conclusive evidence that lands can be purchased by this
     Convention and legally transferred to individuals, residents of
     said colony, so long as the present laws exist. But, while they
     deem it inexpedient for the Convention to purchase lands in Upper
     Canada for the purpose of erecting a colony thereon, do again,
     most respectfully, hope that they will exercise the same laudable
     exertions to collect funds for the comfort and happiness of our
     people there situated, and those who may hereafter emigrate, and
     pursue the same judicious measures in the appropriation of said
     funds, as they would in procuring a tract of land, as expressed
     by the resolution.

     "Your Committee, after examining the various circumstances
     connected with our situation as a people, have come, unanimously,
     to the conclusion to recommend to this Convention to adopt the
     following resolution, as the best mode of alleviating the
     miseries of our oppressed brethren:

     "_Resolved_, That this Convention recommend the establishment of
     a Society, or Agent, in Upper Canada, for the purpose of
     purchasing lands and contributing to the wants of our people
     generally, who may be, by oppressive legislative enactments,
     obliged to flee from these United States and take up residence
     within her borders. And that this Convention will employ its
     auxiliary societies, and such other means as may lie in its
     power, for the purpose of raising monies, and remit the same for
     the purpose of aiding the proposed object.

          [Signed]    "ROBERT COWLEY,          }
                      "JOHN PECK,              }  _Committee._"
                      "WM. HAMILTON,           }
                      "WM. WHIPPER,            }
                      "BENJ. PASCHAL,          }
                      "THOS. D. COXSIN,        }
                      "J. C. MOREL,            }

This convention's work was carefully done, its plans were laid upon a
broader scale, and the Colored people, beholding its proceedings, took
heart, and went forward with zeal and courage seeking to increase
their intelligence and wealth, and improve their social condition. In
their address the convention did not fail to give the Colonization
Society a parting shot.


     "_To the Free Colored Inhabitants of these United States_:

     "FELLOW-CITIZENS: We have again been permitted to associate in
     our representative character, from the different sections of this
     Union, to pour into one common stream, the afflictions, the
     prayers, and sympathies of our oppressed people; the axis of time
     has brought around this glorious, annual event. And we are again
     brought to rejoice that the wisdom of Divine Providence has
     protected us during a year whose autumnal harvest has been a
     reign of terror and persecution, and whose winter has almost
     frozen the streams of humanity by its frigid legislation. It is
     under the influence of times and feelings like these, that we now
     address you. Of a people situated as we are, little can be said,
     except that it becomes our duty strictly to watch those causes
     that operate against our interests and privileges; and to guard
     against whatever measures that will either lower us in the scale
     of being, or perpetuate our degradation in the eyes of the
     civilized world.

     "The effects of Slavery on the bond and Colonization on the free.
     Of the first we shall say but little, but will here repeat the
     language of a high-minded Virginian in the Legislature of that
     State, on the recent discussion of the slave question before that
     honorable body, who declared, that man could not hold property in
     man, and that the master held no right to the slave, either by a
     law of nature or a patentee from God, but by the will of society;
     which we declare to be an unjust usurpation of the rights and
     privileges of men.

     "But how beautiful must the prospect be to the philanthropist, to
     view us, the children of persecution, grown to manhood,
     associating in our delegated character to devise plans and means
     for our moral elevation, and attracting the attention of the wise
     and good over the whole country, who are anxiously watching our

     "We have here to inform you, that we have patiently listened to
     the able and eloquent arguments produced by the Rev. R. R.
     Gurley, Secretary of the American Colonization Society, in behalf
     of the doings of said Society, and Wm. Lloyd Garrison, Esq., in
     opposition to its action.

     "A more favorable opportunity to arrive at truth seldom has been
     witnessed, but while we admire the distinguished piety and
     Christian feelings with which he so solemnly portrayed the
     doctrines of that institution, we do now _assert_, that the
     result of the same has tended more deeply to rivet our solid
     conviction, that the doctrines of said Society are at enmity with
     the principles and precepts of religion, humanity, and justice,
     and should be regarded by every man of color in these United
     States as an evil, for magnitude, unexcelled, and whose doctrines
     aim at the entire extinction of the free colored population and
     the riveting of slavery.

     "We might here repeat our protest against that institution, but
     it is unnecessary; your views and sentiments have long since gone
     to the world; the wings of the wind have borne your
     disapprobation to that institution. Time itself cannot erase it.
     You have dated your opposition from its beginning, and your views
     are strengthened by time and circumstances, and they hold the
     uppermost seat in your affections. We have not been unmindful of
     the compulsory laws which caused our brethren in Ohio to seek new
     homes in a distant land, there to share and suffer all the
     inconveniences of exiles in an uncultivated region; which has led
     us to admire the benevolent feelings of a rival government in its
     liberal protection to strangers; which has induced us to
     recommend to you, to exercise your best endeavors, to collect
     monies to secure the purchase of lands in the Canadas, for those
     who may by oppressive legislative enactments be obliged to move

     "In contributing to our brethren that aid which will secure them
     a refuge in a storm, we would not wish to be understood as
     possessing any inclination to remove, nor in the least to
     impoverish, that noble sentiment which we rejoice in exclaiming--

               "This is _our_ own,
               Our native land.

     "All that we have done, humanity dictated it; neither inclination
     nor alienated feelings to our country prescribed it, but that
     power which is above all other considerations, viz.: the law of

     "We yet anticipate in the moral strength of this nation, a final
     redemption from those evils that have been illegitimately
     entailed on us as a people. We yet expect, by due exertions on
     our part, together with the aid of the benevolent philanthropists
     of our country, to acquire a moral and intellectual strength that
     will unshaft the calumnious darts of our adversaries, and present
     to the world a general character that they will feel bound to
     respect and admire.

     "It will be seen by a reference to our proceedings, that we have
     again recommended the further prosecution of the contemplated
     college, proposed by the last Convention, to be established at
     New Haven, under the rules and regulations then established. A
     place for its location will be selected in a climate and
     neighborhood where the inhabitants are less prejudiced to our
     rights and privileges. The proceedings of the citizens of New
     Haven, with regard to the erection of the college, were a
     disgrace to them, and cast a stigma on the reputed fame of New
     England and the country. We are unwilling that the character of
     the whole country should sink by the proceedings of a few. We are
     determined to present to another portion of the country not far
     distant, and at no very remote period, the opportunity of
     gaining for them the character of a truly philanthropic spirit,
     and of retrieving the character of the country, by the
     disreputable proceedings of New Haven. We must have colleges and
     high-schools on the manual-labor system, where our youth may be
     instructed in all the arts of civilized life. If we ever expect
     to see the influence of prejudice decrease, and ourselves
     respected, it must be by the blessings of an enlightened
     education. It must be by being in possession of that classical
     knowledge which promotes genius, and causes man to soar up to
     those high intellectual enjoyments and acquirements, which place
     him in a situation to shed upon a country and a people that
     scientific grandeur which is imperishable by time, and drowns in
     oblivion's cup their moral degradation. Those who think that our
     primary schools are capable of effecting this, are a century
     behind the age when to have proved a question in the rule of
     three was considered a higher attainment than solving the most
     difficult problem in Euclid is now. They might have at that time
     performed what some people expect of them now, in the then barren
     state of science; but they are now no longer capable of
     reflecting brilliancy on our national character, which will
     elevate us from our present situation. If we wish to be
     respected, we must build our moral character on a base as broad
     and high as the nation itself; our country and our character
     require it; we have performed all the duties from the menial to
     the soldier,--our fathers shed their blood in the great struggle
     for independence. In the late war between Great Britain and the
     United States, a proclamation was issued to the free colored
     inhabitants of Louisiana, September 21, 1814, inviting them to
     take up arms in defence of their country, by Gen. Andrew Jackson.
     And in order that you may have an idea of the manner in which
     they acquitted themselves on that perilous occasion, we will
     refer you to the proclamation of Thomas Butler, Aid-de-Camp.

     "You there see that your country expects much from you, and that
     you have much to call you into action, morally, religiously, and
     scientifically. Prepare yourselves to occupy the several stations
     to which the wisdom of your country may promote you. We have been
     told in this Convention, by the Secretary of the American
     Colonization Society, that there are causes which forbid our
     advancement in this country, which no humanity, no legislation,
     and no religion can control. Believe it not. Is not humanity
     susceptible of all the tender feelings of benevolence? Is not
     legislation supreme--and is not religion virtuous? Our oppressed
     situation arises from their opposite causes. There is an
     awakening spirit in our people to promote their elevation, which
     speaks volumes in their behalf. We anticipated at the close of
     the last Convention, a larger representation and an increased
     number of delegates; we were not deceived, the number has been
     tenfold. And we have a right to expect that future Conventions
     will be increased by a geometrical ratio, until we shall present
     a body not inferior in numbers to our State Legislatures, and the
     _phenomenon_ of an _oppressed people_, deprived of the rights of
     citizenship, in the midst of an enlightened nation, devising
     plans and measures for their personal and mental elevation, by
     _moral suasion alone_.

     "In recommending you a path to pursue for our present good and
     future elevation, we have taken into consideration the
     circumstances of the free colored population, so far as it was
     possible to ascertain their views and sentiments, hoping that at
     a future Convention, you will all come ably represented, and that
     your wishes and views may receive that deliberation and attention
     for which this body is particularly associated.

     "Finally, before taking our leave, we would admonish you, by all
     that you hold dear, beware of that bewitching evil, that bane of
     society, that curse of the world, that fell destroyer of the best
     prospects and the last hope of civilized man,--INTEMPERANCE.

     "Be righteous, be honest, be just, be economical, be prudent,
     offend not the laws of your country,--in a word, live in that
     purity of life, by both precept and example,--live in the
     constant pursuit of that moral and intellectual strength which
     will invigorate your understandings and render you illustrious in
     the eyes of civilized nations, when they will assert that all
     that illustrious worth which was once possessed by the Egyptians,
     and slept for ages, has now arisen in their descendents, the
     inhabitants of the New World."

Excellent as was the work of these conventions of men of color, they
nevertheless became the magazines from which the pro-slavery element
secured dangerous ammunition with which to attack the anti-slavery
movement. The white anti-slavery societies were charged with harboring
a spirit of race prejudice; with inconsistency, in that while seeking
freedom for the Negro by means of agitation, separate efforts were put
forth by the white and black anti-slavery people of the North. And
this had its due effect. Massachusetts and other States had abolition
societies composed entirely of persons of Color. "_The Massachusetts
General Colored Association_" organized in the early days of the
agitation movement. It had among its leading men the most intelligent
and public-spirited Colored citizens of Boston. James G. Barbadoes,
Coffin Pitts, John E. Scarlett, the Eastons, Hosea and Joshua; Wm. C.
Nell, Thomas Cole, Thomas Dalton, Frederick Brimley, Walker Lewis, and
John T. Hilton were a few of "the faithful." In January, 1833, the
following communication was sent to the white anti-slavery society of
New England.

                                   "BOSTON, January 15, 1833.

     "_To the Board of Managers of the New-England Anti-Slavery

     "The Massachusetts General Colored Association, cordially
     approving the objects and principles of the New-England
     Anti-Slavery Society, would respectfully communicate their desire
     to become auxiliary thereto. They have accordingly chosen one of
     their members to attend the annual meeting of the Society as
     their delegate (Mr. JOSHUA EASTON, of North Bridgewater), and
     solicit his acceptance in that capacity.

                                   "THOMAS DALTON, _President_,
                                   "WILLIAM C. NELL, _Vice-President_.

     "JAMES G. BARBADOES, _Secretary_."

The request was granted, but a few hints among friends on the outside
sufficed to demonstrate the folly and hurtfulness of anti-slavery
societies composed exclusively of men of color. Within the next two
years Colored organizations perished, and their members took their
place in the white societies. Such Colored men as John B. Vashon and
Robert Purvis, of Pennsylvania; David Ruggles and Philip A. Bell, of
New York; and Charles Lenox Remond and Wm. Wells Brown, of
Massachusetts, were soon seen as orators and presiding officers, in
the different anti-slavery societies of the free States. Frederick
Douglass, the Rev. Samuel Ringgold Ward, James McCune Smith, M.D.;
James W. C. Pennington, D.D.; Henry Highland Garnett, D.D.; Alexander
Crummell, D.D.; and other Colored men were eloquent, earnest, and
effective in their denunciation of the institution that enslaved their
brethren. In England and in Europe a corps of intelligent Colored
orators was kept busy painting, to interested audiences, the cruelties
and iniquities of American slavery. By association and sympathy these
Colored orators took on the polish of Anglo-Saxon scholarship. Of the
influence of the American Anti-slavery Society upon the Colored man,
Maria Weston Chapman once said, it is "church and university, high
school and common school, to all who need real instruction and true
religion. Of it what a throng of authors, editors, lawyers, orators,
and accomplished gentlemen of color have taken their degree! It has
equally implanted hopes and aspirations, noble thoughts, and sublime
purposes, in the hearts of both races. It has prepared the white man
for the freedom of the black man, and it has made the black man scorn
the thought of enslavement, as does a white man, as far as its
influence has extended. _Strengthen that noble influence!_ Before its
organization, the country only saw here and there in slavery some
'faithful Cudjoe or Dinah,' whose strong natures blossomed even in
bondage, like a fine plant beneath a heavy stone. Now, under the
elevating and cherishing influence of the American Anti-slavery
Society, the colored race, like the white, furnishes Corinthian
capitals for the noblest temples. Aroused by the American Anti-slavery
Society, the very white men who had forgotten and denied the claim of
the black man to the rights of humanity, now thunder that claim at
every gate, from cottage to capitol, from school-house to university,
from the railroad carriage to the house of God. He has a place at
their firesides, a place in their hearts--the man whom they once
cruelly hated for his color. So feeling, they _cannot_ send him to
Coventry with a horn-book in his hand, and call it _instruction_! They
inspire him to climb to their side by a visible, acted gospel of
freedom. Thus, instead of bowing to prejudice, they conquer it."

In January, 1836, Rev. Mr. Follen offered the following resolution in
a meeting of the New England Anti-slavery Society:

     "_Resolved_, That we consider the Anti-slavery cause the cause of
     philanthropy, with regard to which all human beings, white men
     and colored men, citizens and foreigners, men and women, have the
     same duties and the same rights."

In support of his resolution, he said:

     "We have been advised, if we really wished to benefit the slave
     and the colored race generally, not unnecessarily to shock the
     feelings, though they were but prejudices, of the white people,
     by admitting colored persons to our Anti-slavery meetings and
     societies. We have been told that many who would otherwise act in
     unison with us were kept away by our disregard of the feelings of
     the community in this respect.... But what, I would ask, is the
     great, the single object of all our meetings and societies? Have
     we any other object than to impress upon the community this one
     principle, that the _colored man is a man_? And, on the other
     hand, is not the prejudice which would have us exclude colored
     people from our meetings and societies the same which, in our
     Southern States, dooms them to perpetual bondage?"

In May, 1837, the _Anti-slavery Women of America_ met in convention in
New York. In a circular issued by the authority of the convention, and
signed by Mary S. Parker, President, Angelina E. Grimkie, Secretary,
another attack was made upon proscription in anti-slavery societies.
There was a Colored lady named Sarah Douglass on the Central
Committee. The following paragraphs from the circular are specimens
sufficient to show the character of the circular; and the poetry at
the end, written by a Colored member. Miss Sarah Forten, justified the
hopes of her white sisters concerning the race:

     "Those Societies that reject colored members, or seek to avoid
     them, have never been active or efficient. The blessing of God
     does not rest upon them, because they 'keep back a part of the
     price of the land,'--they do not lay _all_ at the apostle's feet.

     "The abandonment of prejudice is required of us as a proof of our
     sincerity and consistency. How can we ask our Southern brethren
     to make sacrifices, if we are not even willing to encounter
     inconveniences? First cast the beam from thine own eye, then wilt
     thou see clearly to cast it from his eye.

               "We are thy sisters. God has truly said
               That of one blood the nations He has made.
               O Christian woman! in a Christian land,
               Canst thou unblushing read this great command?
               Suffer the wrongs which wring our inmost heart,
               To draw one throb of pity on thy part?
               Our Skins may differ, but from thee we claim
               A sister's privilege and a sister's name."

Every barrier was now broken down inside of anti-slavery
organizations; and having conquered the prejudice that crippled their
work, they enjoyed greater freedom in the prosecution of their labors.

The Colored orators wrought a wonderful change in public sentiment. In
the inland white communities throughout the Northern States Negroes
were few, and the majority of them were servants; some of them
indolent and vicious. From these few the moral and intellectual
photograph of the entire race was taken. So it was meet that Negro
orators of refinement should go from town to town. The North needed
arousing and educating on the anti-slavery question, and no class did
more practical work in this direction than the little company of
orators, with the peerless Douglass at its head, that pleaded the
cause of their brethren in the flesh before the cultivated audiences
of New England, the Middle and Western States,--yea, even in the
capital cities of conservative Europe.


[28] The Minutes, in possession of the author.




The supposed docility of the American Negro was counted among the
reasons why it was thought he could never gain his freedom on this
continent. But this was a misinterpretation of his real character.
Besides, it was next to impossible to learn the history of the Negro
during the years of his enslavement at the South. The question was
often asked: Why don't the Negroes rise at the South and exterminate
their enslavers? Negatively, not because they lacked the courage, but
because they lacked leaders [as has been stated already, they sought
the North and their freedom through the Underground R. R.] to organize
them. But notwithstanding this great disadvantage the Negroes _did_
rise on several different occasions, and did effective work.

     "Three times, at intervals of thirty years, has a wave of
     unutterable terror swept across the Old Dominion, bringing
     thoughts of agony to every Virginian master, and of vague hope to
     every Virginian slave. Each time has one man's name become a
     spell of dismay and a symbol of deliverance. Each time has that
     name eclipsed its predecessor, while recalling it for a moment to
     fresher memory; John Brown revived the story of Nat. Turner, as
     in his day Nat. Turner recalled the vaster schemes of

Mention has been made of the insurrection of slaves in South Carolina
in the last century. Upon the very threshold of the nineteenth
century, "General Gabriel" made the master-class of Virginia quail
with mortal dread. He was a man of more than ordinary intelligence;
and his plans were worthy of greater success. The following newspaper
paragraph reveals the condition of the minds of Virginians respecting
the Negroes:

     "For the week past, we have been under momentary expectation of a
     rising among the negroes, who have assembled to the number of
     nine hundred or a thousand, and threatened to massacre all the
     whites. They are armed with desperate weapons, and secrete
     themselves in the woods. God only knows our fate; we have strong
     guards every night under arms."

The above was communicated to the "United States Gazette," printed in
Philadelphia, under date of September 8, 1800, by a Virginia
correspondent. The people felt that they were sleeping over a
magazine. The movement of Gabriel was to have taken place on Saturday,
September 1st. The rendezvous of the Negro troops was a brook, about
six miles from Richmond. The force was to comprise eleven hundred men,
divided into three divisions. Richmond--then a town of eight thousand
inhabitants--was the point of attack, which was to be effected under
cover of night. The right wing was to fall suddenly upon the
penitentiary, lately improvised into an arsenal; the left wing was to
seize the powder-house; and, thus equipped and supplied with the
munitions of war, the two columns were to assign the hard fighting to
the third column. This column was to have possession of all the guns,
swords, knives, and other weapons of modern warfare. It was to strike
a sharp blow by entering the town from both ends, while the other two
columns, armed with shovels, picks, clubs, etc., were to act as a
reserve. The white troops were scarce, and the situation, plans, etc.,
of the Negroes were admirable.

     "... the penitentiary held several thousand stand of arms; the
     powder-house was well-stocked; the capitol contained the State
     treasury; the mills would give them bread; the control of the
     bridge across James River would keep off enemies from beyond.
     Thus secured and provided, they planned to issue proclamations
     summoning to their standard 'their fellow-negroes and the friends
     of humanity throughout the continent.' In a week, it was
     estimated, they would have fifty thousand men on their side, with
     which force they could easily possess themselves of other towns;
     and, indeed, a slave named John Scott--possibly the dangerous
     possessor of ten dollars--was already appointed to head the
     attack on Petersburg. But in case of final failure, the project
     included a retreat to the mountains, with their newfound
     property. John Brown was therefore anticipated by Gabriel sixty
     years before, in believing the Virginia mountains to have been
     'created, from the foundation of the world, as a place of refuge
     for fugitive slaves.'"[30]

The plot failed, but everybody, and the newspapers also, said the plan
was well conceived.

In 1822 another Negro insurrection was planned in Charleston, S. C.
The leader of this affair was Denmark Vesey.[31] This plot for an
insurrection extended for forty-five or fifty miles around Charleston,
and intrusted its secrets to thousands. Denmark Vesey, assisted by
several other intelligent and trusty Negroes, had conceived the idea
of slaughtering the whites in and about Charleston, and thus securing
liberty for the blacks. A recruiting committee was formed, and every
slave enlisted was sworn to secrecy. Household servants were rarely
trusted. Talkative and intemperate slaves were not enlisted. Women
were excluded from the affair that they might take care of the
children. Peter Poyas, it was said, had enlisted six hundred without
assistance. There were various opinions respecting the number
enlisted. Some put it at hundreds, others thousands; one witness at
the trial said there were nine thousand, another six thousand. But no
white person ever succeeded in gaining the confidence of the black
conspirators. Never was a plot so carefully guarded for so long a

     "During the excitement and the trial of the supposed
     conspirators, rumor proclaimed all, and doubtless more than all,
     the horrors of the plot. The city was to be fired in every
     quarter, the arsenal in the immediate vicinity was to be broken
     open, and the arms distributed to the insurgents, and an
     universal massacre of the white inhabitants to take place. Nor
     did there seem to be any doubt in the mind of the people that
     such would actually have been the result, had not the plot
     fortunately been detected before the time appointed for the
     outbreak. It was believed, as a matter of course, that every
     black in the city would join in the insurrection, and that, if
     the original design had been attempted, and the city taken by
     surprise, the negroes would have achieved a complete and easy
     victory. Nor does it seem at all impossible that such might have
     been or yet may be the case, if any well-arranged and resolute
     rising should take place."[32]

This bold plot failed because a Negro named William Paul began to make
enlistments without authority. He revealed the secret to a household
servant, just the very man he should have left to the skilful
manipulations of Peter Poyas or Denmark Vesey. As an evidence of the
perfection of the plot it should be stated that after a month of
official investigation only fifteen out of the thousands had been

"The leaders of this attempt at insurrection died as bravely as they
had lived; and it is one of the marvels of the remarkable affair, that
none of this class divulged, any of their secrets to the court. The
men who did the talking were those who knew but little."

The effect was to reveal the evils of slavery, to stir men to thought,
and to hasten the day of freedom.

"Nat." Turner combined the lamb and lion. He was a Christian and a
_man_. He was conscious that he was a man and not a "thing";
therefore, driven by religious fanaticism, he undertook a difficult
and bloody task. Nathaniel Turner was born in Southampton County,
Virginia, October 2, 1800. His master was one Benjamin Turner, a very
wealthy and aristocratic man. He owned many slaves, and was a cruel
and exacting master. Young "Nat." was born of slave parents, and
carried to his grave many of the superstitions and traits of his
father and mother. The former was a preacher; the latter a "mother in
Israel." Both were unlettered, but, nevertheless, very pious people.
The mother began when Nat. was quite young to teach him that he was
born, like Moses, to be the deliverer of his race. She would sing to
him snatches of wild, rapturous songs, and repeat portions of prophecy
she had learned from the preachers of those times. Nat. listened with
reverence and awe, and believed every thing his mother said. He
imbibed the deep religious character of his parents, and soon
manifested a desire to preach. He was solemnly set apart to "the
Gospel Ministry" by his father, the Church, and visiting preachers. He
was quite low in stature, dark, and had the genuine African features.
His eyes were small, but sharp, and gleamed like fire when he was
talking about his "mission," or preaching from some prophetic passage
of Scripture. It is said that he never laughed. He was a dreamy sort
of a man, and avoided the crowd. Like Moses, he lived in the solitudes
of the mountains and brooded over the condition of his people. There
was something grand to him in the rugged scenery that nature had
surrounded him with. He believed that he was a prophet, a leader
raised up by God to burst the bolts of the prison-house and set the
oppressed free. The thunder, the hail, the storm-cloud, the air, the
earth, the stars, at which he would sit and gaze half the night, all
spake the language of the God of the oppressed. He was seldom seen in
a large company, and never drank a drop of ardent spirits. Like John
the Baptist, when he had delivered his message, he would retire to the
fastness of the mountain, or seek the desert, where he could meditate
upon his great work.

At length he declared that God spake to him. He began to dream dreams
and to see visions. His grandmother, a very old and superstitious
person, encouraged him in his dreaming. But, notwithstanding, he
believed that he had communion with God, and saw the most remarkable
visions, he denounced in the severest terms the familiar practices
among slaves, known as "conjuring," "gufering," and fortune-telling.
The people regarded him with mixed feelings of fear and reverence. He
preached with great power and authority. He loved the prophecies, and
drew his illustrations from nature. He presented God as the
"_All-Powerful_"; he regarded him as a great "_Warrior_." His master
soon discovered that Nat. was the acknowledged leader among the
slaves, and that his fame as "prophet" and "leader" was spreading
throughout the State. The poor slaves on distant plantations regarded
the name of Nat. Turner as very little removed from that of God.
Though having never seen him, yet they believed in him as the man
under whose lead they would some time march out of the land of
bondage. His influence was equally great among the preachers, while
many white people honored and feared him. His master thought it
necessary to the safety of his property, to hire Nat. out to a most
violent and cruel man. Perhaps he thought to have him "broke." If so,
he was mistaken. Nat. Turner was the last slave to submit to an insult
given by a white man. His new master could do nothing with him. He ran
off, and spent thirty days in the swamps--but returned. He was
upbraided by some of his fellow-slaves for not seeking, as he
certainly could have done, "the land of the free." He answered by
saying, that a voice said to him: "Return to your earthly master; for
he who knoweth his Master's will and doeth it not, shall be beaten
with many stripes." It was no direction to submit to an earthly
master, but to return to him in order to carry out the will of his
Heavenly Master. He related some of the visions he saw during his
absence. "About that time I had a vision, and saw white spirits and
black spirits engaged in battle; and the sun was darkened, the thunder
rolled in the heavens, and blood flowed in streams; and I heard a
voice saying: 'Such is your luck, such are you called on to see; and
let it come, rough or smooth, you must surely bear it.' It was not
long after this when he saw another vision. He says a spirit appeared
unto him and spake as follows: "The serpent is loosened, and Christ
has laid down the yoke he has borne for the sins of men; and you must
take it up and fight against the serpent, for the time is fast
approaching when the first shall be last, and the last shall be
first." These visions and many others enthused Nat., and led him to
believe that the time was near when the Blacks would be "first" and
the whites "last."

The plot for a general uprising was laid in the month of February,
1831. He had seen the last vision. He says: "I was told I should arise
and prepare myself, and slay my enemies with their own weapons." He
was now prepared to arrange the details of his plot. He appointed a
meeting, to which he invited four trusted friends, Sam. Edwards, Hark
Travis, Henry Porter, and Nelson Williams. A wild and desolate glen
was chosen as the place of meeting, and night the time when they could
perfect their plans without being molested by the whites. They brought
with them provisions, and ate while they debated among themselves the
methods by which to carry out their plan of blood and death. The main
difficulty that confronted them was how to get arms. Nat. remembered
that a spirit had instructed him to "slay my enemies with their own
weapons," so they decided to follow these instructions. After they had
decided upon a plan, "the prophet Nat." arose, and, like a great
general, made a speech to his small but brave force. "Friends and
brothers," said he, "we are to commence a great work to-night! Our
race is to be delivered from slavery, and God has appointed us as the
men to do his bidding; and let us be worthy of our calling. I am told
to slay all the whites we encounter, without regard to age or sex. We
have no arms or ammunition, but we will find these in the houses of
our oppressors; and, as we go on, others can join us. Remember, we do
not go forth for the sake of blood and carnage; but it is necessary
that, in the commencement of this revolution, all the whites we meet
should die, until we have an army strong enough to carry on the war
upon a Christian basis. Remember that ours is not a war for robbery,
nor to satisfy our passions; it is a _struggle for freedom_. Ours must
be deeds, not words. Then let's away to the scene of action!"

The blow was struck on the night of the 21st of August, 1831, in
Southampton County, near Jerusalem Court-House. The latter place is
about seventy miles from Richmond. Not only Southampton County but old
Virginia reeled under the blow administered by the heavy hand of Nat.
Turner. On their way to the first house they were to attack, that of a
planter by the name of Joseph Travis, they were joined by a slave
belonging to a neighboring plantation. We can find only one name for
him, "Will." He was the slave of a cruel master, who had sold his wife
to the "nigger traders." He was nearly six feet in height, well
developed, and the most powerful and athletic man in the county. He
was marked with an ugly scar, extending from his right eye to the
extremity of the chin. He hated his master, hated slavery, and was
glad of an opportunity to wreak his vengeance upon the whites. He
armed himself with a sharp broadaxe, under whose cruel blade many a
white man fell. Nat.'s speech gives us a very clear idea of the scope
and spirit of his plan. We quote from his confession at the time of
the trial, and will let him tell the story of this terrible

     "On returning to the house, Hark went to the door with an axe,
     for the purpose of breaking it open, as we knew we were strong
     enough to murder the family should they be awakened by the noise;
     but, reflecting that it might create an alarm in the
     neighborhood, we determined to enter the house secretly, and
     murder them whilst sleeping. Hark got a ladder and set it against
     the chimney, on which I ascended, and, hoisting a window, entered
     and came down stairs, unbarred the doors, and removed the guns
     from their places. It was then observed that I must spill the
     first blood, on which, armed with a hatchet and accompanied by
     Will., I entered my master's chamber. It being dark, I could not
     give a death-blow. The hatchet glanced from his head; he sprang
     from his bed and called his wife. It was his last word. Will.
     laid him dead with a blow of his axe."

After they had taken the lives of this family, they went from
plantation to plantation, dealing death-blows to every white man,
woman, or child they found. They visited vengeance upon every white
household they came to. The excitement spread rapidly, and the whites
arose and armed themselves in order to repel these insurrectionists.

     "The first news concerning the affair was in the shape of a
     letter from Col. Trezvant, which reached Richmond Tuesday
     morning, too late for the columns of the (Richmond) "Enquirer,"
     which was a triweekly. The letter was written on the 21st of
     August, and lacked definiteness, which gave rise to doubts in
     reference to the 'insurrection.' It was first sent to
     Petersburgh, and was then immediately dispatched to the Mayor of

            *       *       *       *       *

     "Arms and ammunition were dispatched in wagons to the county of
     Southampton. The four volunteer companies of Petersburgh, the
     dragoons and Lafayette artillery company of Richmond, one
     volunteer company from Norfolk and one from Portsmouth, and the
     regiments of Southampton and Sussex, were at once ordered out.
     The cavalry and infantry took up their line of march on Tuesday
     evening, while the artillery embarked on the steamer 'Norfolk,'
     and landed at Smithfield.... A member of the Richmond dragoons,
     writing from Petersburgh, under date of the 23d, after careful
     examination, thought that 'about two hundred and fifty negroes
     from a camp-meeting about the Dismal Swamp had murdered about
     sixty, persons, none of them families much known.'"[33]

Will., the revengeful slave, proved himself the most destructive and
cruel of Nat.'s followers. A hand to hand battle came. The whites were
well armed, and by the force of their superior numbers overcame the
army of the "Prophet,"--five men. Will. would not surrender. He laid
three white men dead at his feet, when he fell mortally wounded. His
last words were: "Bury my axe with me," believing that in the next
world he would need it for a similar purpose. Nat. fought with great
valor and skill with a short sword, and finding it useless to continue
the struggle, escaped with some of his followers to the swamps, where
he defied the vigilance of the military and the patient watching of
the citizens for more than two months. He was finally compelled to
surrender. When the Court asked: "Guilty or not guilty?" he pleaded:
"Not guilty." He was sustained during his trial by his unfaltering
faith in God. Like Joan of Arc, he "heard the spirits," the "voices,"
and believed that God had "sent him to free His people."

In the impression of the "Enquirer" of the 30th of August, 1831, the
first editorial, or leader, is under the caption of THE BANDITTE. The
editor says:

     "They remind one of a parcel of blood-thirsty wolves rushing down
     from the Alps; or, rather like a former incursion of the Indians
     upon the white settlements. Nothing is spared: neither age nor
     sex respected--the helplessness of women and children pleads in
     vain for mercy.... The case of Nat. Turner warns us. No black-man
     ought to be permitted to turn a Preacher through the country. The
     law must be enforced--or the tragedy of Southampton appeals to us
     in vain."[34]

A remarkable prophecy was made by Nat. The trial was hurried, and,
like a handle on a pitcher, was on one side only. He was sentenced to
die on the gallows. He received the announcement with stoic
indifference, and was executed at Jerusalem, the county seat of
Southampton, in April, 1831. He died like a man, bravely, calmly;
looking into eternity, made radiant by a faith that had never
faltered. He prophesied that on the day of his execution the sun would
be darkened, and other evidences of divine disapprobation would be
seen. The sheriff was much impressed by Nat.'s predictions, and
consequently refused to have any thing to do with the hanging. No
Colored man could be secured to cut the rope that held the trap. An
old white man, degraded by drink and other vices, was engaged to act
as executioner, and was brought forty miles. Whether it was a
fulfilment of Nat.'s prophecy or not, the sun was hidden behind angry
clouds, the thunder rolled, the lightning flashed, and the most
terrific storm visited that county ever known. All this, in connection
with Nat.'s predictions, made a wonderful impression upon the minds of
the Colored people, and not a few white persons were frightened, and
regretted the death of the "Prophet."

The results of this uprising, led by a lone man--he was alone, and
yet he was not alone,--are apparent when we consider that fifty-seven
whites and seventy-three Blacks were killed and many were wounded.

The first reliable list of the victims of the "tragedy" was written on
the 24th of August, 1831.

     "List of the dead that have been buried:--At Mrs. Whiteheads', 7;
     Mrs. Waller's, 13; Mr. Williams', 3; Mr. Barrows', 2; Mr.
     Vaughn's, 5; Mrs. Turner's, 3; Mr. Travis's, 5; Mr. J. Williams',
     5; Mr. Reice's, 4; Names unknown, 10; Total, 57."

Then there was a feeling of unrest among the slaves and a fear among
the whites throughout the State. Even the proceedings of the trial of
Nat. were suppressed for fear of evil consequences among the slaves.
But now all are free, and the ex-planters will not gnash their teeth
at this revelation. Nat. Turner's insurrection, like all other
insurrections led by oppressed people, lacked detail and method.
History records but one successful uprising--San Domingo has the
honor. Even France failed in 1789, and in 1848. There is always a zeal
for freedom, but not according to knowledge. No stone marks the
resting-place of this martyr to freedom, this great religious fanatic,
this Black John Brown. And yet he has a prouder and more durable
monument than was ever erected of stone or brass. The image of Nat.
Turner is carved on the fleshy tablets of four million hearts. His
history has been kept from the Colored people, at the South, but the
women have handed the tradition to their children, and the "Prophet
Nat." is still marching on.

Of the character of this remarkable man, Mr. Gray, the gentleman to
whom he made his confession, had the following to say:--

     "It has been said that he was ignorant and cowardly, and that his
     object was to murder and rob, for the purpose of obtaining money
     to make his escape. It is notorious that he was never known to
     have a dollar in his life, to swear an oath, or drink a drop of
     spirits. As to his ignorance, he certainly never had the
     advantages of education; but he can read and write, and for
     natural intelligence and quickness of apprehension, is surpassed
     by few men I have ever seen. As to his being a coward, his
     reason, as given, for not resisting Mr. Phipps, shows the
     decision of his character. When he saw Mr. Phipps present his
     gun, he said he knew it was impossible for him to escape, as the
     woods were full of men; he therefore thought it was better for
     him to surrender, and trust to fortune for his escape.

     "He is a complete fanatic, or plays his part most admirably. On
     other subjects he possesses an uncommon share of intelligence,
     with a mind capable of attaining any thing, but warped and
     perverted by the influence of early impressions. He is below the
     ordinary stature, though strong and active, having the true negro
     face, every feature of which is strongly marked. I shall not
     attempt to describe the effect of his narrative, as told and
     commented on by himself, in the condemned hole of the prison: the
     calm, deliberate composure with which he spoke of his late deeds
     and intentions; the expression of his fiend-like face, when
     excited by enthusiasm; still bearing the stains of the blood of
     helpless innocence about him, clothed with rags and covered with
     chains, yet daring to raise his manacled hands to Heaven, with a
     spirit soaring above the attributes of man. I looked on him, and
     the blood curdled in my veins."

In the "Richmond Enquirer," of September 2, 1831, appeared the
following: "It is reported that a map was found, and said to have been
drawn by Nat. Turner, with _polk-berry juice_, which was a description
of the county of Southampton."

The influence of this bloody insurrection spread beyond the Old
Dominion, and for years afterward, in nearly every Southern State the
whites lived in a state of dread. To every dealer in flesh and blood
the "Nat. Turner Insurrection" was a stroke of poetic justice.


[29] Atlantic Monthly, vol. x. p. 337.

[30] Atlantic Monthly, vol. x. p. 339.

[31] Atlantic Monthly, vol. vii. pp. 728, 744.

[32] Atlantic Monthly, vol. vii. p. 737.

[33] Richmond Enquirer, August 26, 1831.

[34] Richmond Enquirer, August 26 and 30, 1831.




On the 28th of June, 1839, the "Amistad," a Spanish slaver (schooner),
with Captain Ramon Ferrer in command, sailed from Havana, Cuba, for
Porto Principe, a place in the island of Cuba, about 100 leagues
distant. The passengers were Don Pedro Montes and Jose Ruiz, with
fifty-four Africans just from their native country, Lemboko, as
slaves. Among the slaves was one man, called in Spanish, Joseph
Cinquez,[35] said to be the son of an African prince. He was possessed
of wonderful natural abilities, and was endowed with all the elements
of an intelligent and intrepid leader. The treatment these captives
received was very cruel. They were chained down between the
decks--space not more than four feet--by their wrists and ankles;
forced to eat rice, sick or well, and whipped upon the slightest
provocation. On the fifth night out, Cinquez chose a few trusty
companions of his misfortunes, and made a successful attack upon the
officers and crew. The captain and cook struck down, two sailors put
ashore, the Negroes were in full possession of the vessel. Montes was
compelled, under pain of death, to navigate the vessel to Africa. He
steered eastwardly during the daytime, but at night put about hoping
to touch the American shore. Thus the vessel wandered until it was
cited off of the coast of the United States during the month of
August. It was described as a "long, low, black schooner." Notice was
sent to all the collectors of the ports along the Atlantic Coast, and
a steamer and several revenue cutters were dispatched after her.
Finally, on the 26th of August, 1839, Lieut. Gedney, U. S. Navy,
captured the "Amistad," and took her into New London, Connecticut.

The two Spaniards and a Creole cabin boy were examined before Judge
Andrew T. Judson, of the United States Court, who, without examining
the Negroes, bound them over to be tried as pirates. The poor Africans
were cast into the prison at New London. Public curiosity was at a
high pitch; and for a long time the "_Amistad captives_" occupied a
large place in public attention. The Africans proved to be natives of
the Mendi country, and quite intelligent. The romantic story of their
sufferings and meanderings was given to the country through a
competent interpreter; and many Christian hearts turned toward them in
their lonely captivity in a strange land. The trial was continued
several months. During this time the anti-slavery friends provided
instruction for the Africans. Their minds were active and receptive.
They soon learned to read, write, and do sums in arithmetic. They
cultivated a garden of some fifteen acres, and proved themselves an
intelligent and industrious people.

The final decision of the court was that the "Amistad captives" were
not slaves, but freemen, and, as such, were entitled to their liberty.
The good and liberal Lewis Tappan had taken a lively interest in these
people from the first, and now that they were released from prison,
felt that they should be sent back to their native shores and a
mission started amongst their countrymen. Accordingly he took charge
of them and appeared before the public in a number of cities of New
England. An admission fee of fifty cents was required at the door, and
the proceeds were devoted to leasing a vessel to take them home. Large
audiences greeted them everywhere, and the impression they made was of
the highest order. Mr. Tappan would state the desire of the people to
return to their native land, appeal to the philanthropic to aid them,
and then call upon the people to read the Scriptures, sing songs in
their own language, and then in the English. Cinquez would then
deliver an account of their capture, the horrors of the voyage, how he
succeeded in getting his manacles off, how he aided his brethren to
loose their fetters, how he invited them to follow him in an attempt
to gain their liberty, the attack, and their rescue, etc., etc. He was
a man of magnificent physique, commanding presence, graceful manners,
and effective oratory. His speeches were delivered in Mendi, and
translated into English by an interpreter.

     "It is impossible," wrote Mr. Tappan from Boston, "to describe
     the novel and deeply interesting manner in which he acquitted
     himself. The subject of his speech was similar to that of his
     countrymen who had spoken in English; but he related more
     minutely and graphically the occurrences on board the "Amistad."
     The easy manner of Cinquez, his natural, graceful, and energetic
     action, the rapidity of his utterance, and the remarkable and
     various expressions of his countenance, excited admiration and
     applause. He was pronounced a powerful natural orator, and one
     born to sway the minds of his fellow-men. Should he be converted
     and become a preacher of the cross in Africa what delightful
     results may be anticipated!"

A little fellow called Kali, only eleven years of age, pleased the
audience everywhere he went by his ability not only to spell any word
in the Gospels, but sentences, without blundering. For example, he
would spell out a sentence like the following sentence, naming each
letter and syllable, and recapitulating as he went along, until he
pronounced the whole sentence: "Blessed are the meek, for they shall
inherit the earth."

Of their doings in Philadelphia, Mr. Joseph Sturge wrote:

     "On this occasion, a very crowded and miscellaneous assembly
     collected to see and hear the Mendians, although the admission
     had been fixed as high as half a dollar, with the view of raising
     a fund to carry them to their native country. Fifteen of them
     were present, including one little boy and three girls. Cinque,
     their chief, spoke with great fluency in his native language; and
     his action and manner were very animated and graceful. Not much
     of his speech was translated, yet he greatly interested his
     audience. The little boy could speak our language with facility;
     and each of them read, without hesitation, one or two verses in
     the New Testament. It was impossible for any one to go away with
     the impression, that in native intellect these people were
     inferior to the whites. The information which I privately
     received from their tutor, and others who had full opportunities
     of appreciating their capacities and attainments, fully confirmed
     my own very favorable impressions."

But all the while their sad hearts were turning toward their home and
the dear ones so far away. One of them eloquently declared: "If Merica
men offer me as much gold as fill this cap full up, and give me
houses, land, and every ting, so dat I stay in this country, I say:
'No! no! I want to see my father, my mother, my brother, my sister.'"
Nothing could have been more tender and expressive. They were willing
to endure any hardships short of life that they might once more see
their own, their native land. The religious instruction they had
enjoyed made a wonderful impression on their minds. One of them said:
"We owe every thing to God; he keeps us alive, and makes us free. When
we go to home to Mendi we tell our brethren about God, Jesus Christ,
and heaven." Another one was asked: "What is faith?" and replied:
"Believing in Jesus Christ, and trusting in him." Reverting to the
murder of the captain and cook of the "Amistad," one of the Africans
said that if it were to be done over again he would pray for rather
than kill them. Cinquez, hearing this, smiled and shook his head. When
asked if he would not pray for them, said: "Yes, I would pray for 'em,
an' kill 'em too."

These captives were returned to their native country in the fall of
1841, accompanied by five missionaries. Their objective point was
Sierra Leone, from which place the British Government assisted them to
their homes. Their stay in the United States did the anti-slavery
cause great good. Here were poor, naked, savage pagans, unable to
speak English, in less than three years able to speak the English
language and appreciate the blessings of a Christian civilization.


[35] Sometimes written Cinque.







The arguments of anti-slavery orators were answered everywhere
throughout the free States by rotten eggs, clubs, and missiles. The
public journals, as a rule, were unfriendly and intolerant. Even
Boston could contemplate, with unruffled composure, a mob of her most
"reputable citizens" dragging Mr. Garrison through the streets with a
halter about his neck. Public meetings were broken up by pro-slavery
mobs; owners of public halls required a moneyed guarantee against the
destruction of their property, when such halls were used for
anti-slavery meetings. Colored schools were broken up, the teachers
driven away, and the pupils maltreated.

The mobocratic demonstrations in the Northern States were the
thermometer of public feeling upon the subject of slavery. The South
was, therefore, emboldened; for the political leaders in that section
thought they saw a light from the distance that encouraged them to
entertain the belief and indulge the hope that their present sectional
institution could be made national. Southerners thought slavery would
grow in the cold climate of the North, excited into a lively existence
by the warmth of a generous sympathy. But the South misinterpreted the
real motive that inspired opposition to anti-slavery agitation in the
North. The violent opposition came from the mercantile class and
foreign element who believed that the agitation of the slavery
question was a practical disturbance of their business affairs. The
next class, more moderate in opposition to agitation, believed slavery
constitutional, and, therefore, argued that anti-slavery orators were
traitors to the government. The third class, conservative, did not
take sides, because of the unpopularity of agitation on the one hand,
and because of an harassing conscience on the other.

There were two classes of men who were seeking the dissolution of the
Union. The Garrisonians sought this end in the hope of forming another
Union _without_ slavery.

In an address delivered by Wm. Lloyd Garrison, July 20, 1860, at the
Framingham celebration, he declares:

     "Our object is the abolition of slavery _throughout the land_;
     and whether in the prosecution of our object this party goes up
     or the other party goes down, it is nothing to us. We cannot
     alter our course one hair's breadth, nor accept a compromise of
     our principles for the hearty adoption of our principles. I am
     for _meddling with slavery everywhere_--_attacking it by night
     and by day, in season and out of season_ (no, it can never be out
     of season)--in order to _effect its overthrow_. (Loud applause.)
     Higher yet will be my cry. Upward and onward! No union with
     slave-holders! Down with this slave-holding government! Let this
     'covenant with death and agreement with hell' be annulled! _Let
     there be a free, independent, Northern republic_, and _the speedy
     abolition of slavery_ will inevitably follow! (Loud applause.) So
     I am laboring to dissolve this blood-stained Union as a work of
     paramount importance. Our mission is to regenerate public

The Calhounites sought the dissolution of the Union in order that
another Union might be formed _with_ slavery as its chief
corner-stone. Inspired by this hope and misguided by the apparent
sympathy of the North, Southern statesmen began _preparations to
dissolve the Union of the United States_.

During these years of agitation and discussion, although the foreign
slave-trade had been suppressed, the slave population increased at a
wonderful ratio.


  District of Columbia          6,119
  Delaware                      3,292
  Florida                      15,501
  Georgia                     217,531
  Illinois                        747
  Kentucky                    165,213
  Louisiana                   109,588
  Maryland                    102,994
  Alabama                     117,549
  Mississippi                  65,659
  Missouri                     25,091
  New Jersey                    2,254
  North Carolina              245,601
  South Carolina              315,401
  Tennessee                   141,603
  Virginia                    469,757
  Arkansas                      4,576
  Aggregate                 2,008,476

Now, this was the year the agitation movement began. Instead of the
slave population decreasing during the first decade of anti-slavery
discussion and work, it really increased 478,412![36]


  Alabama                     253,532
  Arkansas                     19,935
  District of Columbia          4,694
  Delaware                      2,605
  Florida                      25,717
  Georgia                     280,944
  Illinois                        331
  Kentucky                    182,258
  Louisiana                   168,452
  Maryland                     89,737
  Mississippi                 195,211
  Missouri                     58,240
  New Jersey                      674
  New York                          4

  CENSUS OF 1840.--SLAVE POPULATION.--(_Continued._)

  Pennsylvania                     64
  North Carolina              245,817
  South Carolina              327,038
  Tennessee                   183,059
  Virginia                    449,087
  Aggregate                 2,487,399

During the next decade the slave population swept forward to an
increase of 716,858. The entire population of slaves was 3,204,313;
2,957,657 were unmixed Africans, and 246,656 were Mulattoes. The free
Colored population amounted to 434,495, of whom 275,400 were unmixed,
and 159,095 mixed or Mulatto. The total number of families owning
slaves in 1850 was 347,525.


  Alabama                     342,844
  Arkansas                     47,100
  District of Columbia          3,687
  Delaware                      2,290
  Florida                      39,310
  Georgia                     381,682
  Kentucky                    210,981
  Louisiana                   244,809
  Maryland                     90,368
  Mississippi                 309,878
  Missouri                     87,422
  New Jersey                      236
  North Carolina              288,548
  South Carolina              384,984
  Tennessee                   239,459
  Texas                        58,161
  Virginia                    472,528
  Utah Territory                   26
  Total                     3,204,313

The Thirty-first Congress was three weeks attempting an organization,
and at last effected it by the election of a Southerner to the
Speakership, the Hon. Howell Cobb, of Georgia. President Zachary
Taylor had called the attention of Congress to the admission of
California and New Mexico into the Union, in his message to that body
upon its assembling. On the 4th of January, 1850, Gen. Sam. Houston,
United States Senator from Texas, submitted the following proposition
to the Senate:

     "WHEREAS, The Congress of the United States, possessing only a
     delegated authority, has no power over the subject of negro
     slavery within the limits of the United States, either to
     prohibit or to interfere with it in the States, territories, or
     districts, where, by municipal law, it now exists, or to
     establish it in any State or territory where it does not exist;
     but as an assurance and guarantee to promote harmony, quiet
     apprehension, and remove sectional prejudice, which by
     possibility might impair or weaken love and devotion to the Union
     in any part of the country, it is hereby

     "_Resolved_, That, as the people in territories have the same
     inherent rights of self-government as the people in the States,
     if, in the exercise of such inherent rights, the people in the
     newly acquired territories, by the annexation of Texas and the
     acquisition of California and New Mexico, south of the parallel
     of thirty-six degrees and thirty minutes of north latitude,
     extending to the Pacific Ocean, shall establish negro slavery in
     the formation of their State governments, it shall be deemed no
     objection to their admission as a State or States into the Union,
     in accordance with the Constitution of the United States."

On the 29th of January, Henry Clay, of Kentucky, submitted to the
United States Senate the following propositions looking toward an
amicable adjustment of the entire slavery question:

     "1. _Resolved_, That California, with suitable boundaries, ought,
     upon her application, to be admitted as one of the States of this
     Union, without the imposition by Congress of any restriction in
     respect to the exclusion or introduction of slavery within those

     "2. _Resolved_, That as slavery does not exist by law, and is not
     likely to be introduced into any of the territory acquired by the
     United States from the republic of Mexico, it is inexpedient for
     Congress to provide by law either for its introduction into, or
     exclusion from, any part of the said territory; and that
     appropriate territorial governments ought to be established by
     Congress in all the said territory not assigned as within the
     boundaries of the proposed State of California, without the
     adoption of any restriction or condition on the subject of

     "3. _Resolved_, That the western boundary of the State of Texas
     ought to be fixed on the Rio del Norte, commencing one marine
     league from its mouth, and running up that river to the southern
     line of New Mexico, thence with that line eastwardly, and so
     continuing in the same direction to the line as established
     between the United States and Spain, excluding any portion of New
     Mexico, whether lying on the east or west of that river.

     "4. _Resolved_, That it be proposed to the State of Texas, that
     the United States will provide for the payment of all that
     portion of the legitimate and _bona-fide_ public debt of that
     State contracted prior to its annexation to the United States,
     and for which the duties on foreign imports were pledged by the
     said State to its creditors, not exceeding the sum of----
     dollars, in consideration of the said duties so pledged having
     been no longer applicable to that object after the said
     annexation, but having thenceforward become payable to the United
     States; and upon the condition, also, that the said State of
     Texas shall, by some solemn and authentic act of her Legislature,
     or of a convention, relinquish to the United States any claim
     which she has to any part of New Mexico.

     "5. _Resolved_, That it is inexpedient to abolish slavery in the
     District of Columbia whilst that institution continues to exist
     in the State of Maryland, without the consent of that State,
     without the consent of the people of the District, and without
     just compensation to the owners of slaves within the District.

     "6. _But Resolved_, That it is expedient to prohibit within the
     District, the slave-trade in slaves brought into it from States
     or places beyond the limits of the District, either to be sold
     therein as merchandise, or to be transported to other markets
     without the District of Columbia.

     "7. _Resolved_, That more effectual provision ought to be made by
     law, according to the requirement of the Constitution, for the
     restitution and delivery of persons bound to service or labor in
     any State, who may escape into any other State or territory in
     the Union. And

     "8. _Resolved_, That Congress has no power to prohibit or
     obstruct the trade in slaves between the slave-holding States,
     but that the admission or exclusion of slaves brought from one
     into another of them, depends exclusively upon their own
     particular laws."

Senator Bell, of Tennessee, offered a series of resolutions on the
same question on the 28th of February, containing nine resolves. As
usual, on all propositions respecting slavery, the debate was
protracted, earnest, and able. The Clay resolutions attracted most
attention. Jefferson Davis, of Mississippi, said:

     "Sir, we are called upon to receive this as a measure of
     compromise! As a measure in which we of the minority are to
     receive nothing. A measure of compromise! I look upon it as but a
     modest mode of taking that, the claim to which has been more
     boldly asserted by others; and, that I may be understood upon
     this question, and that my position may go forth to the country
     in the same columns that convey the sentiments of the Senator
     from Kentucky, I here assert, that never will I take less than
     the Missouri compromise line extended to the Pacific Ocean, with
     the specific recognition of the right to hold slaves in the
     territory below that line; and that, before such territories are
     admitted into the Union as States, slaves may be taken there from
     any of the United States at the option of the owners. I can never
     consent to give additional power to a majority to commit further
     aggressions upon the minority in this Union, and will never
     consent to any proposition which will have such a tendency,
     without a full guaranty or counteracting measure is connected
     with it."

A number of very able speeches were made on the resolutions of Mr.
Clay, but the most characteristic one--the one most thoroughly
representing the sentiment of the South--was made by John C. Calhoun.
He said:

     "The Union was in danger. The cause of this danger was the
     discontent at the South. And what was the cause of this
     discontent? It was found in the belief which prevailed among them
     that they could not, consistently with honor and safety, remain
     in the Union. And what had caused this belief? One of the causes
     was the long-continued agitation of the slave question at the
     North, and the many aggressions they had made on the rights of
     the South. But the primary cause was in the fact, that the
     equilibrium between the two sections at the time of the adoption
     of the Constitution had been destroyed. The first of the series
     of acts by which this had been done, was the ordinance of 1787,
     by which the South had been excluded from all the northwestern
     region. The next was the Missouri compromise, excluding them from
     all the Louisiana territory north of thirty-six degrees thirty
     minutes, except the State of Missouri,--in all 1,238,025 square
     miles, leaving to the South the southern portion of the original
     Louisiana territory, with Florida, to which had since been added
     the territory acquired with Texas,--making in all but 609,023
     miles. And now the North was endeavoring to appropriate to
     herself the territory recently acquired from Mexico, adding
     526,078 miles to the territory from which the South was, if
     possible, to be excluded. Another cause of the destruction of
     this equilibrium was our system of revenue (the tariff), the
     duties falling mainly upon the Southern portion of the Union, as
     being the greatest exporting States, while more than a due
     proportion of the revenue had been disbursed at the North.

     "But while these measures were destroying the equilibrium between
     the two sections, the action of the government was leading to a
     radical change in its character. It was maintained that the
     government itself had the right to decide, in the last resort,
     as to the extent of its powers, and to resort to force to
     maintain the power it claimed. The doctrines of General Jackson's
     proclamation, subsequently asserted and maintained by Mr.
     Madison, the leading framer and expounder of the Constitution,
     were the doctrines which, if carried out, would change the
     character of the government from a federal republic, as it came
     from the hands of its framers, into a great national consolidated

Mr. Calhoun also spoke of the anti-slavery agitation, which, if not
arrested, would destroy the Union; and he passed a censure upon
Congress for receiving abolition petitions. Had Congress in the
beginning adopted the course which he had advocated, which was to
refuse to take jurisdiction, by the united voice of all parties, the
agitation would have been prevented. He charged the North with false
professions of devotion to the Union, and with having violated the
Constitution. Acts had been passed in Northern States to set aside and
annul the clause of the slavery question, with the avowed purpose of
abolishing slavery in the States, which was another violation of the
Constitution. And during the fifteen years of this agitation, in not a
single instance had the people of the North denounced these agitators.
How then could their professions of devotion to the Union be sincere?

Mr. Calhoun disapproved both the plan of Mr. Clay and that of
President Taylor, as incapable of saving the Union. He would pass by
the former without remark, as Mr. Clay had been replied to by several
Senators. The Executive plan could not save the Union, because it
could not satisfy the South that it could safely or honorably remain
in the Union. It was a modification of the Wilmot proviso, proposing
to effect the same object, the exclusion of the South from the new
territory. The Executive proviso was more objectionable than the
Wilmot. Both inflicted a dangerous wound upon the Constitution, by
depriving the Southern States of equal rights as joint partners in
these territories; but the former inflicted others equally great. It
claimed for the inhabitants the right to legislate for the
territories, which belonged to Congress. The assumption of this right
was utterly unfounded, unconstitutional, and without example. Under
this assumed right, the people of California had formed a constitution
and a State government, and appointed Senators and Representatives. If
the people as adventurers had conquered the territory and established
their independence, the sovereignty of the country would have been
vested in them. In that case they would have had the right to form a
State government, and afterward they might have applied to Congress
for admission into the Union. But the United States had conquered and
acquired California; therefore, to them belonged the sovereignty and
the powers of government over the territory. Michigan was the first
case of departure from the uniform rule of acting. Hers, however, was
a slight departure from established usage. The ordinance of 1787
secured to her the right of becoming a State when she should have
60,000 inhabitants. Congress delayed taking the census. The people
became impatient; and after her population had increased to twice that
number, they formed a constitution without waiting for the taking of
the census; and Congress waived the omission, as there was no doubt of
the requisite number of inhabitants. In other cases there had existed
territorial governments.

Having shown how the Union could not be saved, he then proceeded to
answer the question how it could be saved. There was but one way
certain. Justice must be done to the South, by a full and final
settlement of all the questions at issue. The North must concede to
the South an equal right to the acquired territory, and fulfil the
stipulations respecting fugitive slaves; must cease to agitate the
slave question, and join in an amendment of the Constitution,
restoring to the South the power she possessed of protecting herself,
before the equilibrium between the two sections had been destroyed by
the action of the government.

Here was a clear statement of the position and feelings of the South
respecting slavery. The ordinance of 1787 and the Missouri compromise
of 1820 "were destroying the equilibrium between the _two sections_!"
And the anti-slavery agitation, "if not arrested, would destroy the
Union!" The sophistry of Calhoun sought a reasonable excuse for the
South to dissolve the Union. In a speech of his, written during a
spell of sickness, and read by Mr. Mason, of Virginia, he referred to
Washington as "the illustrious Southerner." When it was read in the
Senate Mr. Cass said:

     "Our Washington--the Washington of our whole country--receives in
     this Senate the epithet of 'Southerner,' as if that great man,
     whose distinguished characteristic was his attachment to his
     country, and his whole country, who was so well known, and who,
     more than any one, deprecated all sectional feeling and all
     sectional action, loved Georgia better than he loved New
     Hampshire, because he happened to be born on the southern bank of
     the Potomac. I repeat, sir, that I heard with great pain that
     expression from the distinguished Senator from South Carolina."

There was certainly no ground for reasonable complaint on the part of
the South. From the convention that framed the Federal Constitution,
through all Congressional struggle, and in national politics as well,
the South had secured nearly all measures asked for. And the
discussion in Congress at this time was intended to divert attention
from the real object of the South. Another fugitive-slave law was
demanded by the South, and the Northern members voted them the right
to hunt slaves upon free soil. The law passed, and was approved on the
18th of September, 1850.

It was difficult to choose between the Democratic and Whig parties by
reading the planks in their platforms referring to the subject of
slavery. On the 1st of June, 1852, the Democratic Convention, at
Baltimore, Maryland, nominated Franklin Pierce, of New Hampshire, for
the Presidency, on the forty-ninth ballot. This plank defined the
position of that party on the question of slavery.

     "That Congress has no power under the Constitution to interfere
     with or control the domestic institutions of the several States,
     and that such States are the sole and proper judges of every
     thing appertaining to their own affairs, not prohibited by the
     Constitution; that all efforts of the abolitionists, or others,
     made to induce Congress to interfere with questions of slavery,
     or to take incipient steps in relation thereto, are calculated to
     lead to the most alarming and dangerous consequences; and that
     all such efforts have an inevitable tendency to diminish the
     happiness of the people, and endanger the stability and
     permanency of the Union, and ought not to be countenanced by any
     friend of our political institutions.

     "That the foregoing proposition covers, and was intended to
     embrace, the whole subject of slavery agitation in Congress; and
     therefore the Democratic party of the Union, standing on this
     national platform, will abide by and adhere to a faithful
     execution of the acts known as the compromise measures settled by
     the last Congress--the act for reclaiming fugitives from service
     or labor included; which act being designed to carry out an
     express provision of the Constitution, can not with fidelity
     thereto be repealed, nor so changed as to destroy or impair its

     "That the Democratic party will resist all attempts at renewing,
     in Congress or out of it, the agitation of the slavery question,
     under whatever shape or color the attempt may be made."

The Whig party, at the same city, in convention assembled, on the 16th
of June, 1852, nominated Gen. Winfield Scott, for the Presidency, on
the fifty-third ballot. The Whig party declared its position on the
slavery question as follows:

     "That the series of acts of the Thirty-first Congress--the act
     known as the fugitive-slave law included--are received and
     acquiesced in by the Whig party of the United States, as a
     settlement in principle and substance of the dangerous and
     exciting question which they embrace; and so far as they are
     concerned, we will maintain them and insist on their strict
     enforcement, until time and experience shall demonstrate the
     necessity of further legislation, to guard against the evasion of
     the laws on the one hand, and the abuse of their powers on the
     other, not impairing their present efficiency; and we deprecate
     all agitation of the question thus settled, as dangerous to our
     peace; and will discountenance all efforts to continue or renew
     such agitation whenever, wherever, or however the attempt may be
     made; and we will maintain this system as essential to the
     nationality of the Whig party of the Union."

The political contest ended in the autumn in favor of Mr. Pierce. The
public journals in many parts of the country thought the end of the
"slavery question" had come, and that as the Whigs were determined to
"discountenance all efforts to continue or renew" the agitation of the
subject, there was no fear of sectional strife.

In his inaugural address, March 4, 1853, President Pierce said:

     "I believe that involuntary servitude is recognized by the
     Constitution. I believe that the States where it exists are
     entitled to efficient remedies to enforce the constitutional
     provisions. I hold that the compromise measures of 1850 are
     strictly constitutional, and to be unhesitatingly carried into
     effect. And now, I fervently hope that the question is at rest,"

In the month of December, upon the assembling of Congress, the
President, in his message to that body, again referred to slavery as
"a subject which had been set at rest by the deliberate judgment of
the people." But on the 15th of December, nine days after the message
of the President had been received by Congress, Mr. Dodge, of Iowa,
submitted to the Senate a bill to organize the territory of Nebraska,
which was referred to the Committee on Territories. After some
discussion in the committee, it was finally reported back to the
Senate by Mr. Douglass, of Illinois, with amendments. The report was
elaborate, and raised considerable doubt as to whether the amendments
did not repeal the Missouri compromise. A special report was made on
the 4th of January, 1854, so amending the bill as to remove all doubt;
and, contemplating the opening of all the vast territory secured
forever to freedom, startled the nation from the "repose" it had
apparently taken from agitation on the slavery question, and opened an
interminable controversy.

On the 16th of January, Mr. Dixon, of Kentucky, gave notice that he
would introduce a bill clearly repealing the Missouri compromise. The
first champion of the repeal of the compromise of 1820 was a Northern
Senator, Stephen A. Douglass, of Illinois. He hung a massive
argument--excelling rather in quantity than in quality--upon the
following propositions:

     "From these provisions, it is apparent that the compromise
     measures of 1850 affirm, and rest upon, the following

     "_First._--That all questions pertaining to slavery in the
     territories, and the new States to be formed therefrom, are to be
     left to the decision of the people residing therein, by their
     appropriate representatives, to be chosen by them for that

     "_Second._--That 'all cases involving title to slaves,' and
     'questions of personal freedom,' are to be referred to the
     adjudication of the local tribunals, with the right of appeal to
     the Supreme Court of the United States.

     "_Third._--That the provision of the Constitution of the United
     States in respect to fugitives from service, is to be carried
     into faithful execution in all 'the original territories,' the
     same as in the States.

     "The substitute for the bill which your committee have prepared,
     and which is commended to the favorable action of the Senate,
     proposes to carry these propositions and principles into
     practical operation, in the precise language of the compromise
     measures of 1850."

Mr. Douglass said:

     "The legal effect of this bill, if passed, was neither to
     legislate slavery into nor out of these territories, but to leave
     the people to do as they pleased. And why should any man, North
     or South, object to this principle? It was by the operation of
     this principle, and not by any dictation from the Federal
     government, that slavery had been abolished in half of the twelve
     States in which it existed at the time of the adoption of the

On the 3d of February, Mr. Chase, of Ohio, moved to amend by striking
out the words, "was superseded by the principles of the legislation of
1850, commonly called the compromise measures, and," so that the
clause would read: "That the Constitution, and all laws of the United
States which are not locally inapplicable, shall have the same force
and effect within the said territory of Nebraska as elsewhere within
the United States, except the eighth section of the act preparatory to
the admission of Missouri into the Union, approved March 6, 1820,
which is hereby declared inoperative."

Mr. Chase then proceeded to reply to Mr. Douglass. He called attention
to that part of the President's message which referred to the "repose"
of the subject of slavery, and then said:

     "The agreement of the two old political parties, thus referred to
     by the Chief Magistrate of the country, was complete, and a large
     majority of the American people seemed to acquiesce in the
     legislation of which he spoke. A few of us, indeed, doubted the
     accuracy of these statements, and the permanency of this repose.
     We never believed that the acts of 1850 would prove to be a
     permanent adjustment of the slavery question. But, sir, we only
     represented a small, though vigorous and growing party in the
     country. Our number was small in Congress. By some we were
     regarded as visionaries, by some as factionists; while almost all
     agreed in pronouncing us mistaken. And so, sir, the country was
     at peace. As the eye swept the entire circumference of the
     horizon and upward to mid-heaven, not a cloud appeared; to common
     observation there was no mist or stain upon the clearness of the
     sky. But suddenly all is changed; rattling thunder breaks from
     the cloudless firmament. The storm bursts forth in fury. And now
     we find ourselves in the midst of an agitation, the end and issue
     of which no man can foresee.

     "Now, sir, who is responsible for this renewal of strife and
     controversy? Not we, for we have introduced no question of
     territorial slavery into Congress; not we, who are denounced as
     agitators and factionists. No, sir; the quietists and the
     finalists have become agitators; they who told us that all
     agitation was quieted, and that the resolutions of the political
     conventions put a final period to the discussion of slavery. This
     will not escape the observation of the country. It is _slavery_
     that renews the strife. It is slavery that again wants room. It
     is slavery with its insatiate demand for more slave territory and
     more slave States. And what does slavery ask for now? Why, sir,
     it demands that a time-honored and sacred compact shall be
     rescinded--a compact which has endured through a whole
     generation--a compact which has been universally regarded as
     inviolable, North and South--a compact, the constitutionality of
     which few have doubted, and by which all have consented to

But notwithstanding the able and eloquent speech of Mr. Chase, his
amendment only received thirteen votes. The debate went on until the
3d of March, when the bill was placed upon its passage, and even then
the discussion went on. When the vote was finally taken, the bill
passed by a vote of 37 yeas to 14 nays. The bill went to the House,
where it was made a substitute to a bill already introduced, and
passed by a vote of 113 yeas to 100 nays as follows:

     "Representatives from free States in favor of the bill,     44.
     "Representatives from slave States in favor of the bill,    69.

     "Representatives from free States against the bill,         91.
     "Representatives from slave States against the bill,         9.

And thus, approved by the President, the measure became a law under
the title of "_An Act to Organize the Territories of Kansas and

Congress had violated the sublimest principles of law, had broken
faith with the people; had opened a wide door to slavery; had blotted
from the map of the United States the last asylum where the oppressed
might seek protection; had put the country in a way to be reddened
with a fratricidal war, and made our flag a flaunting lie in the eyes
of the civilized world. There was nothing to be done now but to let
the leaven of sectional malice work, that had been hurled into the
slavery discussions in Congress. The bloodless war of words was now
transferred to the territory of Kansas, where a conflict of political
parties, election frauds, and assassination did their hateful work.

The South began to put her State militia upon a war footing, and to
make every preparation for battle. The Administration of President
Buchanan was in the interest of the South from beginning to end. He
refused to give Gov. John W. Geary, of Kansas, the military support
the "_border ruffians_" made necessary; allowed the public debt to
increase, our precious coin to go abroad, our treasury to become
depleted, our navy to go to the distant ports of China and Japan, our
army to our extremest frontiers, the music of our industries to cease;
and the faith of a loyal people in the perpetuity of the republic was
allowed to faint amid the din of mobs and the threats of secession.


[36] There were nearly 500 slaves held in Northern States not placed
in this census.




Although slavery was excluded from all the new States northwest of the
Ohio River, the free Negro was but little better off in Ohio, Indiana,
and Illinois than in any of the Southern States. From the earliest
moment of the organic existence of the border free States, severe laws
were enacted against free Negroes and Mulattoes. At the second session
of the first Legislature of the State of Ohio, "_An Act to Regulate
Black and Mulatto Persons_"[37] was passed.

     Sec. 1. That no black or mulatto person shall be permitted to
     settle or reside in this State "without a certificate of his or
     her actual freedom."

     2. Resident blacks and mulattoes to have their names recorded,
     etc. (Amended in 1834, Jan. 5 1, Curwen, 126.) _Proviso_, "That
     nothing in this act contained shall bar the lawful claim to any
     black or mulatto person."

     3. Residents prohibited from hiring black or mulatto persons not
     having a certificate.

     4. Forbids, under penalty, to "harbor or secrete any black or
     mulatto person the property of any person whatever," or to
     "hinder or prevent the lawful owner or owners from re-taking,"

     5. Black or mulatto persons coming to reside in the State with a
     legal certificate, to record the same.

     6. "That in case any person or persons, his or their agent or
     agents, claiming any black or mulatto person or persons that now
     are or hereafter may be in this State, may apply, upon making
     satisfactory proof that such black or mulatto person or persons
     are the property of him or her who applies, to any associate
     judge or justice of the peace within the State, the associate
     judge or justice is hereby empowered and required, by his
     precept, to direct the sheriff or constable to arrest such black
     or mulatto person or persons, and deliver the same, in the county
     or township where such officers shall reside, to the claimant or
     claimants, or his or their agent or agents, for which service the
     sheriff or constable shall receive such compensation as he is
     entitled to receive in other cases for similar services."

     7. "That any person or persons who shall attempt to remove or
     shall remove from this State, or who shall aid and assist in
     removing, contrary to the provisions of this act, any black or
     mulatto person or persons, without first proving, as herein
     before directed, that he, she, or they is or are legally entitled
     so to do, shall, on conviction thereof before any court having
     cognizance of the same, forfeit and pay the sum of one thousand
     dollars, one half to the use of the informer and the other half
     to the use of the State, to be recovered by the action of debt
     _quitam_ or indictment, and shall moreover be liable to the
     action of the party injured."

So here upon free soil, under a State government that did not
recognize slavery in its constitution, the Negro was compelled to
produce a certificate of freedom. Thus the fugitive-slave law was
recognized, but at the same time an unlawful removal of free Negroes
from the State was forbidden.

At the session of 1806-7, "_An Act to Amend the Act Entitled 'an Act
Regulating Black and Mulatto Persons_,'" was passed amending the old
law. The first act simply required "a certificate of freedom"; the
amended law required Negroes and Mulattoes intending to settle in Ohio
to give a bond not to become a charge upon the county in which they
settled. Section four reads as follows:

     "4. That no black or mulatto person or persons shall hereafter be
     permitted to be sworn or give evidence in any court of record or
     elsewhere in this State, in any cause depending or matter of
     controversy where either party to the sale is a white person, or
     in any prosecution which shall be instituted in behalf of this
     State, against any white person."[38]

But this law did not apply to persons a shade nearer white than
Mulatto [the seven-eighths law].[39] Their testimony was admissible,
while that of Negroes and Mulattoes was not admitted against them. In
Jordan _vs._ Smith [1846], 14, Ohio, p. 199: "A black person sued by a
white, may make affidavit to a plea so as to put the plaintiff to

Attention has been called to the fact that the fugitive-slave law was
respected in Ohio. In 1818-19, a law was passed to prevent the
unlawful kidnapping of free Negroes, which, in its preamble, recites
the provisions of the law of Congress, passed February 12, 1793,
respecting fugitives from service and labor.[40] And in 1839 the
Legislature passed another act relating to "fugitives from labor,"
etc., paving the way by the following recital:

     "WHEREAS, The second section of the fourth article of the
     Constitution of the United States declares that 'no person'
     [etc., reciting it]; and whereas the laws now in force within the
     State of Ohio are wholly inadequate to the protection pledged by
     this provision of the Constitution to the Southern States of this
     Union; and whereas it is the duty of those who reap the largest
     measure of benefits conferred by the Constitution to recognize to
     their full extent the obligations which that instrument imposes;
     and whereas it is the deliberate conviction of this General
     Assembly that the Constitution can only be sustained as it was
     framed by a spirit of just compromise; therefore."

     Sec. 1. Authorizes judges of courts of record, "or any justice of
     the peace, or the mayor of any city or town corporate," on
     application, etc., of claimant, to bring the fugitive before a
     judge within the county where the warrant was issued, or before
     some State judge with certain cautions as to proving the official
     character of the officer issuing the warrant; gives the form of
     warrant, directing the fugitive to be brought before, etc., "to
     be be dealt with as the law directs."[41]

J. Peck, Esq. [9, Ohio, p. 212], refers to the laws of 1818-19, and
1830-31, as a recognition by the State of Ohio of the power of
Congress to pass the act of 1793, though that the act was not
specially mentioned.

The first constitution of Ohio [1802] restricted the right of suffrage
to "all white male inhabitants." "In all elections, all white male
inhabitants above the age of twenty-one years, having resided in the
State one year next preceding the election, and who have paid or are
charged with a State or county tax, shall enjoy the right of an
elector," etc.[42] This was repeated in the Bill of Rights adopted in

Article iv., Section 2, of the Constitution of the United States says:
"The citizens of each State shall be entitled to all privileges and
immunities of citizens in the several States." The question as to
whether free Negroes were included in the above was discussed at great
length in the Dred Scott case, where Chief-Justice Taney took the
ground that a Negro was not a citizen under the fourth article of the
Constitution. But the fourth article of the Articles of Confederation
[1778] recognized free Negroes as citizens. It is given here:

     "ART. 4.--The better to secure and perpetuate mutual friendship
     and intercourse among the people of the different States in this
     Union, the free inhabitants of each of these States--paupers,
     vagabonds, and fugitives from justice excepted--shall be entitled
     to all privileges and immunities of free citizens in the several
     States; and the people of each State shall have free ingress and
     regress to and from any other State, and shall enjoy therein all
     the privileges of trade and commerce, subject to the same duties,
     impositions, and restrictions as the inhabitants thereof,
     respectively; provided that such restrictions shall not extend so
     far as to prevent the removal of property imported into any
     State, from any other State, of which the owner is an inhabitant;
     provided, also, that no imposition, duty, or restriction shall be
     laid by any State on the property of the United States, or either
     of them."[44]

By this it is evident that "paupers, vagabonds, and fugitives from
justice" were the only persons excluded from the right of citizenship.
The following is the history of the Dred Scott case:

     "In the year 1834, the plaintiff was a negro slave belonging to
     Dr. Emerson, who was a surgeon in the army of the United States.
     In that year, 1834, said Dr. Emerson took the plaintiff from the
     State of Missouri to the military post at Rock Island, in the
     State of Illinois, and held him there as a slave until the month
     of April or May, 1836. At the time last mentioned, said Dr.
     Emerson removed the plaintiff from said military post at Rock
     Island to the military post at Fort Snelling, situate on the west
     bank of the Mississippi River, in the territory known as Upper
     Louisiana, acquired by the United States of France, and situate
     north of the latitude of thirty-six degrees thirty minutes north,
     and north of the State of Missouri. Said Dr. Emerson held the
     plaintiff in slavery at said Fort Snelling, from said
     last-mentioned date until the year 1838.

     "In the year 1835, Harriet, who is named in the second count of
     the plaintiff's declaration, was the negro slave of Major
     Taliaferro, who belonged to the army of the United States. In
     that year, 1835, said Major Taliaferro took said Harriet to said
     Fort Snelling, a military post, situated as herein before stated,
     and kept her there as a slave until the year 1836, and then sold
     and delivered her as a slave at said Fort Snelling unto the said
     Dr. Emerson herein before named. Said Dr. Emerson held said
     Harriet in slavery at said Fort Snelling until the year 1838.

     "In the year 1836, the plaintiff and said Harriet at said Fort
     Snelling, with the consent of said Dr. Emerson, who then claimed
     to be their master and owner, intermarried, and took each other
     for husband and wife. Eliza and Lizzie, named in the third count
     of the plaintiff's declaration, are the fruit of that marriage.
     Eliza is about fourteen years old, and was born on board the
     steamboat 'Gipsey,' north of the north line of the State of
     Missouri, and upon the river Mississippi. Lizzie is about seven
     years old, and was born in the State of Missouri, at the military
     post called Jefferson Barracks.

     "In the year 1838, said Dr. Emerson removed the plaintiff and
     said Harriet and their said daughter Eliza from said Fort
     Snelling to the State of Missouri, where they have ever since

     "Before the commencement of this suit, said Dr. Emerson sold and
     conveyed the plaintiff, said Harriet, Eliza, and Lizzie to the
     defendant, as slaves, and the defendant has ever since claimed to
     hold them and each of them as slaves.

     "At the time mentioned in the plaintiff's declaration, the
     defendant, claiming to be owner as aforesaid, laid his hands upon
     said plaintiff, Harriet, Eliza, and Lizzie, and imprisoned them,
     doing in this respect, however, no more than what he might
     lawfully do if they were of right his slaves at such times.

            *       *       *       *       *

     "It is agreed that Dred Scott brought suit for his freedom in the
     Circuit Court of St. Louis County; that there was a verdict and
     judgment in his favor; that on a writ of error to the Supreme
     Court the judgment below was reversed, and the same remanded to
     the Circuit Court, where it has been continued to await the
     decision of this case.

     "In May, 1854, the cause went before a jury, who found the
     following verdict, viz.: 'As to the first issue joined in this
     case, we of the jury find the defendant not guilty; and as to the
     issue secondly above joined, we of the jury find that before and
     at the time when, etc., in the first count mentioned, the said
     Dred Scott was a negro slave, the lawful property of the
     defendant; and as to the issue thirdly above joined, we, the
     jury, find that before and at the time when, etc., in the second
     and third counts mentioned, the said Harriet, wife of said Dred
     Scott, and Eliza and Lizzie, the daughters of the said Dred
     Scott, were negro slaves, the lawful property of the defendant.'

     "Whereupon, the court gave judgment for the defendant.

     "After an ineffectual motion for a new trial, the plaintiff filed
     the following bill of exceptions.

     "On the trial of this cause by the jury, the plaintiff, to
     maintain the issues on his part, read to the jury the following
     agreed statement of facts (see agreement above). No further
     testimony was given to the jury by either party. Thereupon the
     plaintiff moved the court to give to the jury the following
     instructions, viz.:

     "'That, upon the facts agreed to by the parties, they ought to
     find for the plaintiff.' The court refused to give such
     instruction to the jury, and the plaintiff, to such refusal, then
     and there duly excepted.

     The court then gave the following instruction to the jury, on
     motion of the defendant:

     "'The jury are instructed, that upon the facts in this case, the
     law is with the defendant.' The plaintiff excepted to this

     "Upon these exceptions, the case came up to the Supreme Court,
     December term, 1856."[45]

Judge Taney gave the following opinion:

     "The question is simply this: Can a negro, whose ancestors were
     imported into this country and sold as slaves, become a member of
     the political community formed and brought into existence by the
     Constitution of the United States, and as such become entitled to
     all the rights and privileges and immunities guaranteed by that
     instrument to the citizen? One of which rights is the privilege
     of suing in a court of the United States in the cases specified
     in the Constitution.

     "It will be observed that the plea applies to that class of
     persons only whose ancestors were negroes of the African race,
     and imported into this country, and sold and held as slaves. The
     only matter in issue before the court, therefore, is, whether the
     descendants of such slaves, when they shall be emancipated, or
     who are born of parents who had become free before their birth,
     are citizens of a State, in the sense in which the word citizen
     is used in the Constitution of the United States. And this being
     the only matter in dispute on the pleadings, the court must be
     understood as speaking in this opinion of that class only, that
     is, of those persons who are the descendants of Africans who were
     imported into this country and sold as slaves.

            *       *       *       *       *

     "We proceed to examine the case as presented by the pleadings.

     "The words 'people of the United States' and 'citizens' are
     synonymous terms, and mean the same thing. They both describe the
     political body who, according to our republican institutions,
     form the sovereignty, and who hold the power and conduct the
     government through their representatives. They are what we
     familiarly call the 'sovereign people, and every citizen is one
     of this people, and a constituent member of this sovereignty. The
     question before us is, whether the class of persons described in
     the plea in abatement compose a portion of this people, and are
     constituent members of this sovereignty. We think they are not,
     and that they are not included, and were not intended to be
     included, under the word 'citizen' in the Constitution, and can
     therefore claim none of the rights and privileges which that
     instrument provides for and secures to citizens of the United
     States. On the contrary, they were at that time considered as a
     subordinate [405] and inferior class of beings, who had been
     subjugated by the dominant race, and, whether emancipated or not,
     yet remained subject to their authority, and had no rights or
     privileges but such as those who held the power and the
     government might choose to grant them.

     "It is not the province of the court to decide upon the justice
     or injustice, the policy or impolicy, of these laws....

     "In discussing this question, we must not confound the rights of
     citizenship which a State may confer within its own limits, and
     the rights of citizenship as a member of the Union. It does not
     by any means follow, because he has all the rights and privileges
     of a citizen of a State, that he must be a citizen of the United
     States. He may have all of the rights and privileges of the
     citizen of a State, and yet not be entitled to the rights and
     privileges of a citizen of any other State. For, previous to the
     adoption of the Constitution of the United States, every State
     had the undoubted right to confer on whomsoever it pleased the
     character of citizen, and to endow him with all its rights. But
     this character of course was confined to the boundaries of the
     State, and gave him no rights or privileges in other States
     beyond those secured to him by the laws of nations and the comity
     of States. Nor have the several States surrendered the power of
     conferring these rights and privileges by adopting the
     Constitution of the United States. Each State may still confer
     them upon an alien, or any one it thinks proper, or upon any
     class or description of persons; yet he would not be a citizen in
     the sense in which that word is used in the Constitution of the
     United States, nor entitled to sue as such in one of its courts,
     nor to the privileges and immunities of a citizen in the other
     States. The rights which he would acquire would be restricted to
     the State which gave them. The Constitution has conferred on
     Congress the right to establish an uniform rule of
     naturalization, and this right is evidently exclusive, and has
     always been held by this court to be so. Consequently no State,
     since the adoption of the Constitution, can, by naturalizing an
     alien, invest him with the rights and privileges secured to a
     citizen of a State under the Federal Government, although, so far
     as the State alone was concerned, he would undoubtedly be
     entitled to the rights of a citizen, and clothed with all the
     [406] rights and immunities which the Constitution and laws of
     the State attached to that character.

     "It is very clear, therefore, that no State can, by any act or
     law of its own, passed since the adoption of the Constitution,
     introduce a new member into the political community created by
     the Constitution of the United States. It cannot make him a
     member of this community by making him a member of its own. And,
     for the same reason, it cannot introduce any person or
     description of persons who were not intended to be embraced in
     this new political family, which the Constitution brought into
     existence, but were intended to be excluded from it.

     "The question then arises, whether the provisions of the
     Constitution, in relation to the personal rights and privileges
     to which the citizen of a State should be entitled, embraced the
     negro African race, at that time in this country, or who might
     afterwards be imported, who had then or should afterwards be made
     free in any State; and to put it in the power of a single State
     to make him a citizen of the United States, and indue him with
     the full rights of citizenship in every other State without their
     consent. Does the Constitution of the United States act upon him
     whenever he shall be made free under the laws of a State, and
     raised there to the rank of a citizen, and immediately clothe him
     with all the privileges of a citizen in every other State and in
     its own courts?

     "The court think the affirmative of these propositions cannot be
     maintained. And if it cannot, the plaintiff in error could not be
     a citizen of the State of Missouri, within the meaning of the
     Constitution of the United States, and, consequently, was not
     entitled to sue in its courts."[46]

This decision of the Supreme Court on the plea in abatement that the
plaintiff (a Negro, Dred Scott) was not a citizen in the sense of the
word in Article iii, Sec. 2 of the Constitution, was based upon an
erroneous idea respecting the location of the word _citizen_ in the
instrument. The premise of the court was wrong, and hence the
feebleness of the reasoning and the false conclusions. Article iii,
Section 2 of the Constitution, extends judicial power to all cases, in
law and equity, "between citizens of different States, between
citizens of the same State," etc. But Article iv, Section 2, declares
that "citizens of each State shall be entitled to all privileges and
immunities of citizens in the several States." The plea in abatement
was brought under Article iii, but all the judges, except Justice
McLean, built their decision upon the word _citizen_ as it stood in
Article iv.

By the constitution of Ohio, adopted in 1851, free Negroes were not
only denied the right to vote, but were excluded from the militia
service. This law was not repealed until 1878.

Neither the constitution of 1802, nor that of 1851, discriminated
against free Negroes in matters of education; but separate schools
have been maintained in Ohio from the beginning down to the present
time, by special acts of the Legislature.

In the territory of Indiana there were quite a number of Negroes from
the beginning of the century. Some were slaves. In 1806, the first
Legislature, at its second session, passed a law in reference to
_executions_, as follows:

     "Sec. 7. And whereas doubts have arisen whether the time of
     service of negroes and mulattoes, bound to service in this
     territory, may be sold on execution against the master, _Be it
     therefore enacted_ that the time of service of such negroes or
     mulattoes may be sold on execution against the master, in the
     same manner as personal estate, immediately from which sale the
     said negroes or mulattoes shall serve the purchaser or purchasers
     for the residue of their time of service; and the said purchasers
     and negroes and mulattoes shall have the same remedies against
     each other as by the laws of the territory are mutually given
     them in the several cases therein mentioned, and the purchasers
     shall be obliged to fulfil to the said servants the contracts
     they made with the masters, as expressed in the indenture or
     agreement of servitude, and shall, for want of such contract, be
     obliged to give him or them their freedom due at the end of the
     time of service, as expressed in the second section of the law of
     the territory, entitled 'Law concerning servants,' adopted the
     twenty-second day of September, eighteen hundred and three. This
     act shall commence and be in force from and after the first day
     of February next."[47]

This was bold legislation; but it was not all. Negroes were required
to carry passes, as in the slave States. And on the 17th of September,
1807, "_An Act for the Introduction of Negroes and Mulattoes into_"
the territory was passed.

     "Sec. 1. That it shall and may be lawful for any person being the
     owner or possessor of any negroes or mulattoes of and above the
     age of fifteen years, and owning service and labor as slaves in
     any of the States or territories of the United States, or for any
     citizens of the said States or territories purchasing the same to
     bring the said negroes and mulattoes into this territory.

     "Sec. 2. The owners or possessors of any negroes or mulattoes as
     aforesaid, and bringing the same into this territory, shall,
     within thirty days after such removal, go with the same before
     the clerk of Court of Common Pleas of proper county, and in
     presence of said clerk the said owner or possessor shall
     determine and agree to, and with his or her negro or mulatto,
     upon the term of years which the said negro or mulatto will and
     shall serve his or her said owner or possessor, and the clerk
     shall make a record.

     "Sec. 3. If any negro or mulatto removed into this territory as
     aforesaid shall refuse to serve his or her owner as aforesaid, it
     shall and may be lawful for such person, within sixty days
     thereafter, to remove the said negro or mulatto to any place [to]
     which by the laws of the United States or territory from whence
     such owner or possessor may [have come] or shall be authorized to
     remove the same. (As quoted in Phoebe v. Jay, Breese, Ill. R.,

     "Sec. 4. An owner failing to act as required in the preceding
     sections should forfeit all claim and right to the service of
     such negro or mulatto.

     "Sec. 5. Declares that any person removing into this territory
     and being the owner or possessor of any negro or mulatto as
     aforesaid, under the age of fifteen years, or if any person shall
     hereafter acquire a property in any negro or mulatto under the
     age aforesaid, and who shall bring them into this territory, it
     shall and may be lawful for such person, owner, or possessor to
     hold the said negro to service or labor--the males until they
     arrive at the age of thirty-five, and females until they arrive
     at the age of thirty-two years.

     "Sec. 6. Provides that any person removing any negro or mulatto
     into this territory under the authority of the preceding
     sections, it shall be incumbent on such person, within thirty
     days thereafter, to register the name and age of such negro or
     mulatto with the clerk of the Court of Common Pleas for the
     proper county.

     "Sec. 7. Requires new registry on removal to another county."

     "Secs. 8, 9. Penalties by fine for breach of this act.

     "Sec. 10. Clerk to take security that negro be not chargeable
     when his term expires.

     "Sec. 12. Fees.

     "Sec. 13. That the children born in said territory of a parent of
     color owning service or labor, by _indenture_ according to law,
     should serve the master or mistress of such parent--the males
     until the age of thirty, and the females until the age of
     twenty-eight years. (As quoted in Boon v. Juliet, 1836, 1,
     Scammon, 258.)

     "Sec. 14. That an act respecting apprentices misused by their
     master or mistress should apply to such children. (See the
     statute cited in Rankin v. Lydia, 2, A. K. Marshall's Ky., 467;
     and in Jarrot v. Jarrot, 2, Gilman, 19.) This act was repealed in

Under the first constitution of Indiana, adopted in 1816, Negroes were
not debarred from the elective franchise. In Article i, Section 1, of
the Bill of Rights, this remarkable language occurs: "That all men are
born equally free and independent, and have certain natural, inherent,
and unalienable rights," etc. But the very next year the primal rights
of the Negro as a citizen were struck down by the following: "No
negro, mulatto, or Indian shall be a witness, except in pleas of the
State against negroes, mulattoes, or Indians, or in civil cases where
negroes, mulattoes, or Indians alone shall be parties."[49]

In 1819 [March 22d], an execution law was passed by which the time of
service of Negroes could be sold on execution against the master, in
the same manner as personal estate. From the time of the sale, such
Negroes or Mulattoes were compelled to serve the buyer until the
expiration of the term of service.[50]

In 1831, an act regulating free Negroes and Mulattoes, servants and
slaves, declared:

     "Sec. 1. Negroes and mulattoes emigrating into the State shall
     give bond, etc.

     "Sec. 2. In failure of this, such negro, etc., may be hired out
     and the proceeds applied to his benefit, or removed from the
     State under the poor law.

     "Sec. 3. Penalty for committing such without authority.

     "Sec. 4. Penalty for harboring such who have not given bond.

     "Sec. 5. That the right of any persons to pass through this
     State, with his, her, or their negroes or mulattoes, servant or
     servants, when emigrating or travelling to any other State or
     territory or country, making no unnecessary delay, is hereby
     declared and secured."[51]

In 1851 the new constitution limited the right of franchise to "white
male citizens of the United States." "No negro or mulatto shall have
the right of suffrage."

     "Art. xii., Sec. 1. The militia shall consist of all able-bodied
     white male persons, between, etc.

     "Art. xiii., Sec. 1. No negro or mulatto shall come into, or
     settle in the State after the adoption of this Constitution.

     "Sec. 2. All contracts made with any negro or mulatto coming into
     the State contrary to the foregoing section shall be void; and
     any person who shall employ such negro or mulatto or encourage
     him to remain in the State shall be fined not less than ten, nor
     more than five hundred dollars.

     "Sec. 3. All fines which may be collected for a violation of the
     provisions of this article, or of any law hereafter passed for
     the purpose of carrying the same into execution, shall be set
     apart and appropriated for the colonization of such negroes and
     mulattoes and their descendants as may be in the State at the
     adoption of this Constitution and may be willing to emigrate.

     "Sec. 4. The General Assembly shall pass laws to carry out the
     provisions of this article."

Other severe laws were enacted calculated to modify and limit the
rights of free persons of color.

The first constitution of the State of Illinois, adopted in 1818,
limited the [Art. ii, Sec. 27] elective franchise to "free white"
persons. Article v, Sec. 1, exempted "negroes, mulattoes, and Indians"
from service in the militia. In March, 1819, "_An Act Respecting Free
Negroes, Mulattoes, Servants, and Slaves_" passed. Sec. 1 required
Negro and Mulatto persons coming into the State to produce a
certificate of freedom. Sec. 2 required them to register their family
as well as themselves. Sec. 3 required persons bringing slaves into
the State, for the purpose of emancipating them, to give bonds. Passes
were required of Colored people, and many other hard exactions. The
bill above referred to contained twenty-five sections.[52]

On the 6th of January, 1827, a criminal code was enacted for offences
committed by Negroes and servants, which contained many cruel
features. On the 2d of February a law was passed declaring that all
Negroes, Mulattoes, and Indians were incompetent to be witnesses in
any court against a white person; and that a person having one fourth
part Negro blood shall be adjudged a Mulatto. This law was re-enacted
in 1845.[53] In 1853, February 12th, the Legislature of Illinois
passed "_An Act to Prevent the Immigration of Free Negroes into this

     "Secs. 1, 2. Fine and imprisonment for bringing slave, for any
     purpose, into the State. _Proviso_: 'That this shall not be
     construed so as to affect persons or slaves, _bona fide_,
     travelling through this State from and to any other State in the
     United States.'

     "Sec. 3. Misdemeanor for negro or mulatto, bond or free, to come
     with intention of residing.

     "Sec. 4. Such may be prosecuted and fined or sold, for time, for
     fine and costs.

     "Secs. 5, 6, 7. If such do not afterwards remove, increased fine
     and like proceedings, etc., etc. Appeal allowed to the circuit.

     "Sec. 8. If claimed as fugitive slave, after being thus arrested,
     a justice of the peace, 'after hearing the evidence, and being
     satisfied that the person or persons claiming said negro or
     mulatto is or are the owner or owners of and entitled to the
     custody of said negro or mulatto, in accordance with the laws of
     the United States passed upon this subject,' shall give the owner
     a certificate, after his paying the costs and the negro's unpaid
     fine, 'and the said owner or agent so claiming shall have a right
     to take and remove said slave out of the State.'

     "Sec. 9. Punishment of justice for nonfeasance, and of witness
     falsely accusing negro."[54]

While slavery had no legal, constitutional existence in the three
border States, there were, in fact, quite a number of slaves within
their jurisdiction during the first generation of their existence. And
the free people of Color were, _first_, denied the right of
citizenship; _second_, excluded from the militia service; _third_,
ruled out of the courts whenever their testimony was offered against a
white person; _fourth_, could not come into the free border States
without producing a certificate of freedom; and, _fifth_, were annoyed
by many little, mean laws in the exercise of the few rights they were
suffered to enjoy. A full description of the infamous "_Black Code_"
of these States would occupy too much space, and, therefore, the dark
subject must be dismissed. Posterity shall know, however, how
patiently the free Negroes of the Northern States endured the
restrictions and proscriptions which law and public sentiment threw
across their social and political pathway!


[37] 1, Chase, p. 393, sects. 1-7.

[38] 1, Chase, p. 555.

[39] Jeffries _vs._ Ankeny, 11, Ohio, p. 375.

[40] 2, Chase L., p. 1052.

[41] Curwen, p. 533.

[42] Revised Statutes of Ohio, vol. i. p. 60.

[43] Ibid., p. 111.

[44] Elliot's Debates, vol. i. p. 79.

[45] Sanford's Dred Scott Case, pp. 397-399.

[46] Howard's Reports, vol. xix. pp. 403-405, sq.

[47] Hurd, vol ii. p. 123.

[48] Terr. laws 1807-8, p. 423.

[49] Laws of 1817, ch. 3, sec. 52.

[50] See Hurd, vol. ii. p. 129.

[51] Revised Laws of Indiana, 1838.

[52] Session Laws, 1819, p. 354. R. S., 1833, p. 466.

[53] R. S., 1845, p. 154.

[54] Rev. St. of 1856, p. 780.




In 1850 there were 238,187 free Negroes in the slave States. Their
freedom was merely nominal. They were despised beneath the slaves, and
were watched with suspicious eyes, and disliked by their brethren in

In 1850 there were 196,016 free Negroes in the Northern States. Their
increase came from [chiefly] two sources, viz.: births and emancipated
persons from the South. Fugitive slaves generally went to Canada, for
in addition to being in danger of arrest under the fugitive-slave law,
none of the State governments in the North sympathized with escaped
Negroes. The Negroes in the free States were denied the rights of
citizenship, and were left to the most destroying ignorance. In 1780,
some free Negroes, of the town of Dartmouth, petitioned the General
Court of Massachusetts for relief from taxation, because they were
denied the privileges and duties of citizenship. The petition set
forth the hardships free Negroes were obliged to endure, even in
Massachusetts, and was in itself a proof of the fitness of the
petitioners for the duties of citizenship.

     "_To the Honorable Council and House of Representatives, in
     General Court Assembled, for the State of Massachusetts Bay, in
     New England_:

     "The petition of several poor negroes and mulattoes, who are
     inhabitants of the town of Dartmouth, humbly showeth:

     "That we being chiefly of the African extract, and by reason of
     long bondage and hard slavery, we have been deprived of enjoying
     the profits of our labor or the advantage of inheriting estates
     from our parents, as our neighbors the white people do, having
     some of us not long enjoyed our own freedom; yet of late,
     contrary to the invariable custom and practice of the country, we
     have been, and now are, taxed both in our polls and that small
     pittance of estate which, through much hard labor and industry,
     we have got together to sustain ourselves and families withall.
     We apprehend it, therefore, to be hard usage, and will doubtless
     (if continued) reduce us to a state of beggary, whereby we shall
     become a burthen to others, if not timely prevented by the
     interposition of your justice and power.

     "Your petitioners further show, that we apprehend ourselves to be
     aggrieved, in that, while we are not allowed the privilege of
     freemen of the State, having no vote or influence in the election
     of those that tax us, yet many of our color (as is well known)
     have cheerfully entered the field of battle in the defence of the
     common cause, and that (as we conceive) against a similar
     exertion of power (in regard to taxation) too well known to need
     a recital in this place.

     "We most humble request, therefore, that you would take our
     unhappy case into your serious consideration, and, in your wisdom
     and power, grant us relief from taxation, while under our present
     depressed circumstances; and your poor petitioners, as in duty
     bound, shall ever pray, etc.

                                        "JOHN CUFFE,
                                        "ADVENTUR CHILD,
                                        "PAUL CUFFE,
                                        "SAMUEL GRAY, [his x mark.]
                                        "PERO ROWLAND, [his x mark.]
                                        "PERO RUSSELL, [his x mark.]
                                        "PERO COGGESHALL.

     "Dated at Dartmouth, the 10th of February, 1780.

     "Memorandum in the handwriting of John Cuffe:

     "This is the copy of the petition which we did deliver unto the
     Honorable Council and House, for relief from taxation in the days
     of our distress. But we received none. JOHN CUFFE."[55]

Not discouraged at the failure that attended the above petition, the
indefatigable Paul Cuffe, addressed the following to the selectmen of
his town the next year.

                            "A REQUEST.

     "_To the Selectmen of the Town of Dartmouth, Greeting_:

     We, the subscribers, your humble petitioners, desire that you
     would, in your capacity, put a stroke in your next warrant for
     calling a town meeting, so that it may legally be laid before
     said town, by way of vote, to know the mind of said town, whether
     all free negroes and mulattoes shall have the same privileges in
     this said Town of Dartmouth as the white people have, respecting
     places of profit, choosing of officers, and the like, together
     with all other privileges in all cases that shall or may happen
     or be brought in this our said Town of Dartmouth. We, your
     petitioners, as in duty bound, shall ever pray,

                           [Signed]       "JOHN CUFFE,
                                          "PAUL CUFFE,

     "Dated at Dartmouth, the 22d of the 4th mo., 1781,"

As early as 1788 Massachusetts passed a law requiring all Negroes who
were not citizens, to leave the Commonwealth within two months from
the date of the publication of the law. It has been said, upon good
authority, that this law was drawn by several of the ablest lawyers in
the Bay State, and was intended to keep out all Negroes from the South
who, being emancipated, might desire to settle there. It became a law
on the 26th of March, 1788, and instead of becoming a dead letter, was
published and enforced in post-haste. The following section is the
portion of the act pertinent to this inquiry.

     "V. _Be it further enacted by the authority aforesaid_ [the
     Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled],
     that no person being an African or Negro, other than a subject of
     the Emperor of Morocco, or a citizen of some one of the United
     States (to be evidenced by a certificate from the Secretary of
     the State of which he shall be a citizen), shall tarry within
     this Commonwealth, for a longer time than two months, and upon
     complaint made to any Justice of the Peace within this
     Commonwealth, that any such person has been within the same more
     than two months, the said Justice shall order the said person to
     depart out of this Commonwealth, and in case that the said
     African or Negro shall not depart as aforesaid, any Justice of
     the Peace within this Commonwealth, upon complaint and proof
     made that such person has continued within this Commonwealth ten
     days after notice given him or her to depart as aforesaid, shall
     commit the said person to any house of correction within the
     county, there to be kept to hard labor, agreeable to the rules
     and orders of the said house, until the Sessions of the Peace,
     next to be holden within and for the said county; and the master
     of the said house of correction is hereby required and directed
     to transmit an attested copy of the warrant of commitment to the
     said Court on the first day of their said session, and if upon
     trial at the said Court, it shall be made to appear that the said
     person has thus continued within the Commonwealth, contrary to
     the tenor of this act, he or she shall be whipped not exceeding
     ten stripes, and ordered to depart out of this Commonwealth
     within ten days; and if he or she shall not so depart, the same
     process shall be had and punishment inflicted, and so _toties

The following notice, with the subjoined names, shows that the cruel
law was enforced.


     The Officers of Police having made return to the Subscriber of
     the names of the following persons, who are Africans or Negroes,
     not subjects of the Emperor of _Morocco_ nor citizens of the
     _United States_, the same are hereby warned and directed to
     depart out of this Commonwealth before the 10th day of October
     next, as they would avoid the pains and penalties of the law in
     that case provided, which was passed by the Legislature, March
     26, 1788.

                                        CHARLES BULFINCH,

     _By Order and Direction of the Selectmen._

     _Portsmouth_--Prince Patterson, Eliza Cotton, Flora Nash.

     _Rhode Island_--Thomas Nichols and Philis Nichols, Hannah
     Champlin, Plato Alderson, Raney Scott, Jack Jeffers, Thomas
     Gardner, Julius Holden, Violet Freeman, Cuffy Buffum, Sylvia
     Gardner, Hagar Blackburn, Dolly Peach, Polly Gardner, Sally
     Alexander, Philis Taylor.

     _Providence_--Dinah Miller, Salvia Hendrick, Rhode Allen, Nancy
     Hall, Richard Freeman, Elizabeth Freeman, Nancy Gardner, Margaret

     _Connecticut_--Bristol Morandy, John Cooper, Scipio Kent,
     Margaret Russell, Phoebe Seamore, Phoebe Johnson, Jack Billings.

     _New London_--John Denny, Thomas Burdine, Hannah Burdine.

     _New York_--Sally Evens, Sally Freeman, Cæsar West and Hannah
     West, Thomas Peterson, Thomas Santon, Henry Sanderson, Henry
     Wilson, Robert Willet, Edward Cole, Mary Atkins, Polly Brown,
     Amey Spalding, John Johnson, Rebecca Johnson, George Homes,
     Prince Kilsbury, Abraham Fitch, Joseph Hicks, Abraham Francis,
     Elizabeth Francis, Sally Williams, William Williams, Rachel
     Pewinck, David Dove, Esther Dove, Peter Bayle, Thomas Bostick,
     Katy Bostick, Prince Hayes, Margaret Bean, Nancy Hamik, Samuel
     Benjamin, Peggy Ocamum, Primus Hutchinson.

     _Philadelphia_--Mary Smith, Richard Allen, Simon Jeffers, Samuel
     Posey, Peter Francies, Prince Wales, Elizabeth Branch, Peter
     Gust, William Brown, Butterfield Scotland, Clarissa Scotland,
     Cuffy Cummings, John Gardner, Sally Gardner, Fortune Gorden,
     Samuel Stevens.

     _Baltimore_--Peter Larkin and Jenny Larkin, Stepney Johnson, Anne

     _Virginia_--James Scott, John Evens, Jane Jackson, Cuffey Cook,
     Oliver Nash, Robert Woodson, Thomas Thompson.

     _North Carolina_--James Jurden, Polly Johnson, Janus Crage.

     _South Carolina_--Anthony George, Peter Cane.

     _Halifax_--Catherine Gould, Charlotte Gould, Cato Small, Philis
     Cole, Richard M'Coy.

     _West Indies_--James Morfut and Hannah his wife, Mary Davis,
     George Powell, Peter Lewis, Charles Sharp, Peter Hendrick,
     William Shoppo and Mary Shoppo, Isaac Johnson, John Pearce,
     Charles Esings, Peter Branch, Newell Symonds, Rosanna Symonds,
     Peter George, Lewis Victor, Lewis Sylvester, John Laco, Thomas
     Foster, Peter Jesemy, Rebecca Jesemy, David Bartlet, Thomas
     Grant, Joseph Lewis, Hamet Lewis, John Harrison, Mary Brown,
     Boston Alexander.

     _Cape François_--Casme Francisco and Nancy his wife, Mary

     _Aux Cayes_--Susannah Ross.

     _Port-au-Prince_--John Short.

     _Jamaica_--Charlotte Morris, John Robinson.

     _Bermuda_--Thomas Williams.

     _New Providence_--Henry Taylor.

     _Liverpool_--John Mumford.

     _Africa_--Francis Thompson, John Brown, Mary Joseph, James
     Melvile, Samuel Bean, Hamlet Earl, Cato Gardner, Charles Mitchel,
     Sophia Mitchel, Samuel Frazier, Samuel Blackburn, Timothy
     Philips, Joseph Ocamum.

     _France_--Joseph ----

     _Isle of France_--Joseph Lovering.


     The following persons from several of the United States, being
     people of colour, commonly called Mulattoes, are presumed to come
     within the intention of the same law, and are accordingly warned
     and directed to depart out of the Commonwealth before the 10th
     day of October next.

     _Rhode Island_--Peter Badger, Kelurah Allen, Waley Green, Silvia

     _Providence_--Polly Adams, Paul Jones.

     _Connecticut_--John Brown, Polly Holland, John Way and Nancy Way,
     Peter Virginia, Leville Steward, Lucinda Orange, Anna Sprague,
     Britton Doras, Amos Willis, Frank Francies.

     _New London_--Hannah Potter.

     _New York_--Jacob and Nelly Cummings, James and Rebecca Smith,
     Judith Chew, John Schumagger, Thomas Willouby, Peggy Willouby,
     John Reading, Mary Reading, Charles Brown, John Miles, Hannah
     Williams, Betsy Harris, Douglass Brown, Susannah Foster, Thomas
     Burros, Mary Thomson, James and Freelove Buck, Lucy Glapcion,
     Lucy Lewis, Eliza Williams, Diana Bayle, Cæsar and Sylvia Caton,
     ---- Thompson, William Guin.

     _Albany_--Elone Virginia, Abijah Reed and Lydia Reed, Abijah
     Reed, Jr., Rebecca Reed and Betsy Reed.

     _New Jersey_--Stephen Boadley, Hannah Victor.

     _Philadelphia_--Polly Boadley, James Long, Hannah Murray,
     Jeremiah Green, Nancy Principeso, David Johnson, George Jackson
     William Coak, Moses Long.

     _Maryland_--Nancy Gust.

     _Baltimore_--John Clark, Sally Johnson.

     _Virginia_--Sally Hacker, Richard and John Johnson, Thomas
     Stewart, Anthony Paine, Mary Burk, William Hacker, Polly Losours,
     Betsy Guin, Lucy Brown.

     _Africa_--Nancy Doras.[57]

The constitutions of nearly all the States, statutes, or public
sentiment drove the Negro from the ballot-box, excused him from the
militia, and excluded him from the courts. Although born on the soil,
a soldier in two wars, an industrious, law-abiding _person_, the
Negro, nevertheless, was not regarded as a member of political
society. He was taxed, but enjoyed no representation; was governed by
laws, and yet, had no voice in making the laws.

The doors of nearly all the schools of the entire North were shut in
his face; and the few separate schools accorded him were given
grudgingly. They were usually held in the lecture-room of some Colored
church edifice, or thrust off to one side in a portion of the city or
town toward which aristocratic ambition would never turn. These
schools were generally poorly equipped; and the teachers were either
Colored persons whose opportunities of securing an education had been
poor, or white persons whose mental qualifications would not encourage
them to make an honest living among their own race; there were noble

A deeply rooted prejudice shut the Negro out from the trades. He could
not acquire the art of setting type, civil engineering, building
machinery, house carpentering, or any of the trades. The schools of
medicine, law, and theology were not open to him; and even if he
secured admission into some gentleman's office, or instruction from
some divine, the future gave him no promise. The white wings of hope
were broken in an ineffectual attempt to move against the bitter winds
of persecution, under the dark sky of hate and proscription.
Corporations, churches, theatres, and political parties made the Negro
a subject of official action. If a Negro travelled by stage coach, it
was among the baggage in the "boot," or on top with the driver. If he
were favored with a ride on a street car, it was in a separate car
marked, "_This car for Colored people_." If he journeyed any distance
by rail, he was assigned to the "Jim Crow" car, or "smoker," where
himself and family were subjected to inconvenience, insult, and the
society of the lowest class of white rowdies. If he were hungry and
weary at the end of the journey, there was "no room for him in the
inn," and, like his Master, was assigned a place among the cattle. If
he were so fortunate as to get into a hotel as a servant, bearing the
baggage of his master, he slept in the garret, and took his meals in
the kitchen. It mattered not who the Colored man was--whether it was
Langston, the lawyer, McCune Smith, the physician, or Douglass, the
orator--he found no hotel that would give him accommodations. And
forsooth, if some host had the temerity to admit a Negro to his
dining-room, a dozen white guests would leave the hotel rather than
submit to the "_outrage_!"

The places of amusements in all the large cities in the North excluded
the Negro; and when he did gain admission, he was shown to the
gallery, where he could enjoy peanut-hulls, boot-blacks, and
"black-legs." Occasionally the side door of a college was put ajar for
some invincible Negro. But this was a performance of very rare
occurrence; and the instances are easily remembered.

When courts and parties, corporations and companies had refused to
accord the Negro the rights that were his due as a man, he carried his
case to the highest earthly court, the Christian Church. He felt sure
of sympathy and succor from this source. The Church had stood through
the centuries as a refuge for the unfortunate and afflicted. But,
alas! the Church shrank from the Negro as if he had been a reptile. If
he gained admission it was to the "Negro pew" in the "organ loft." If
he secured the precious "emblems of the broken body and shed blood" of
his Divine Master, it was after the "white folks" were through. If the
cause of the Negro were mentioned in the prayer or sermon, it was in
the indistinct whisper of the moral coward who occupied the sacred
desk. And when the fight was on at fever heat, when it was popular to
plead the cause of the slave and demand the rights of the free Negro,
the Church was the last organization in the country to take a position
on the question; and even then, her "moderation was known to all men."

If the Negro had suffered from neglect only, had been left to solve
the riddle of his anomalous existence without further embarrassment,
it would have been well. But no, it was not so. Studied insolence
jostled Colored men and women from the streets of the larger cities;
mobocratic violence broke up assemblages and churches of Colored
people; and malice sought them in the quiet of their homes--outraged
and slew them in cold blood. Thus with the past as a haunting, bitter
recollection, the present filled with fear and disaster, and the
future a shapeless horror, think ye life was sweet to the Negro?
Bitter? Bitter as death? Ay, bitter as hell!

Driven down from the lofty summit of laudable ambitions into the
sultry plains of domestic drudgery and menial toil, nearly every ray
of hope had perished upon the strained vision of the Negro. The only
thing young Colored men could aspire to was the position of a waiter,
the avocation of a barber, the place of a house-servant or groom, and
teach or preach to their own people with little or no qualifications.
Denied the opportunities and facilities of securing an education, they
were upbraided by the press and pulpit, in private gatherings and
public meetings, for their ignorance, which was enforced by a narrow
and contracted public prejudice.

But "none of these things moved" the Negro. Undismayed he bowed to his
herculean task with a complacency and courage worthy of any race or
age of the world's history. The small encouragement that came to him
from the conscientious minority of white men and women was as
refreshing as the cool ocean breeze at even-tide to the feverish brow
of a travel-soiled pilgrim. The Negro found it necessary to exert
_himself_, to lift himself out of his social, mental, and political
dilemma by the straps of his boots. Colored men turned their attention
to the education of themselves and their children. Schools were begun,
churches organized, and work of general improvement and self-culture
entered into with alacrity and enthusiasm. Boston had among its
teachers the scholarly Thomas Paul; among its clergymen Leonard A.
Grimes and John T. Raymond; among its lawyers Robert Morris and E. G.
Walker; among its business men J. B. Smith and Coffin Pitts; among its
physicians John R. Rock and John V. DeGrasse; among its authors Brown
and Nell; and among its orators Remond and Hilton. Robert Morris was
admitted to the bar in Boston, on Thursday, June 27, 1850, at a
meeting of the members of the Suffolk County Bar. The record is as

     "_Resolved_, That ROBERT MORRIS, Esq., be recommended for
     admittance to practice as a Counsellor and Attorney of the
     Circuit and District Courts of the United States.

                    "(Signed)   ELLIS GRAY LORING, _Chairman_.
                                "CHAS. THEO. RUSSELL, _Secretary_."

John V. DeGrasse, M.D., an eminent physician of Boston was perhaps the
most accomplished Colored gentleman in New England between 1850-1860.
The following notice appeared in a Boston journal in August, 1854:

     "On the 24th of August, 1854, Mr. DeGrasse was admitted in due
     form a member of the 'Massachusetts Medical Society.' It is the
     first instance of such honor being conferred upon a colored man
     in this State, at least, and probably in the country; and
     therefore it deserves particular notice, both because the means
     by which he has reached this distinction are creditable to his
     own intelligence and perseverance, and because others of his
     class may be stimulated to seek an elevation which has hitherto
     been supposed unattainable by men of color. The Doctor is a
     native of New York City, where he was born in June, 1825, and
     where he spent his time in private and public schools till 1840.
     He then entered the Oneida Institute, Beriah Green, President,
     and spent one year; but as Latin was not taught there, he left
     and entered the Clinton Seminary, where he remained two years,
     intending to enter college in the fall of 1843. He was turned
     from this purpose, however, by the persuasions of a friend in
     France, and after spending two years in a college in that
     country, he returned to New York in November, 1845, and commenced
     the study of medicine with Dr. Samuel R. Childs, of that city.
     There he spent two years in patient and diligent study, and then
     two more in attending the medical lectures of Bowdoin College,
     Me. Leaving that institution with honor in May, 1849, he went
     again to Europe in the autumn of that year, and spent
     considerable time in the hospitals of Paris, travelling, at
     intervals, through parts of France, England, Italy, and
     Switzerland. Returning home in the ship 'Samuel Fox,' in the
     capacity of surgeon, he was married in August, 1852, and since
     that time he has practised medicine in Boston. Earning a good
     reputation here by his diligence and skill, he was admitted a
     member of the Medical Society, as above stated. Many of our most
     respectable physicians visit and advise with him whenever counsel
     is required. The Boston medical profession, it must be
     acknowledged, has done itself honor in thus discarding the law of
     caste, and generously acknowledging real merit, without regard to
     the hue of the skin."

The Colored population of New York was equal to the great emergency
that required them to put forth their personal exertions. Dr. Henry
Highland Garnet, Dr. Charles B. Ray, and the Rev. Peter Williams in
the pulpit; Charles L. Reason and William Peterson as teachers; James
McCune Smith and Philip A. White as physicians and chemists; James
Williams and Jacob Day among business men, did much to elevate the
Negro in self-respect and self-support.

Philadelphia early ranked among her foremost leaders of the Colored
people, William Whipper, Stephen Smith, Robert Purvis, William Still,
Frederick A. Hinton, and Joseph Cassey. From an inquiry instituted in
1837, it was ascertained that out of the 18,768 Colored people in
Philadelphia, 250 had paid for their freedom the aggregate sum of
$79,612, and that the real and personal property owned by them was
near $1,500,000. There were returns of several chartered benevolent
societies for the purpose of affording mutual aid in sickness and
distress, and there were sixteen houses of public worship, with over
4,000 communicants. And in Western Pennsylvania there were John Peck,
John B. Vashon, Geo. Gardner, and Lewis Woodson. Every State in the
North seemed to produce Colored men of marked ability to whom God
committed a great work. Their examples of patient fortitude, industry,
and frugality, and their determined efforts to obtain knowledge and
build up character, stimulated the youth of the Negro race to greater
exertions in the upward direction.

The African Methodist Episcopal Church was organized as early as 1816.
Its churches grew and its ministry increased in numbers, intelligence,
and piety, until it became the most powerful organization of Colored
men on the continent. The influence of this organization upon the
Colored race in America was excellent. It brought the people together,
not only in religious sympathy, but by the ties of a common interest
in all affairs of their race and condition. The men in the
organization who possessed the power of speech, who had talents to
develop, and an ambition to serve their race, found this church a wide
field of usefulness.

The Colored Baptists were organized before the Methodists, [in
Virginia,] but their organization has always lacked strength. The form
of government, being purely Democratic, was adapted to a people of
larger intelligence and possessed of greater capacity for
self-government. But, notwithstanding this fact, the "independent"
order of Colored Baptists gave the members and clergymen of the
denomination exalted ideas of government, and abiding confidence in
the capacity of the Negro for self-government. No organization of
Colored people in America has produced such able men as the Colored
Baptist Church.

In Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan, Colored men distinguished
themselves in the pulpit, in the forum, in business, and letters.
William Howard Day, of Cleveland, during this period [1850-1860]
Librarian of the Cleveland Library and editor of a newspaper; John
Mercer Langston, of Oberlin; John Liverpool and John I. Gaines, of
Cincinnati, Ohio, were good men and true. What they did for their race
was done worthily and well. At the Ohio Anti-Slavery Convention, held
at Putnam on the 22d, 23d, and 24th of April, 1835, the committee on
the condition of the "people of Color," made the following report from

     The number of Colored people in Cincinnati is about 2,500. As
     illustrating their general condition, we will give the statistics
     of one or two small districts. The families in each were visited
     from house to house, taking them all as far as we went:

     Number of families in one of these districts                     26
       "    of individuals                                           125
       "    of heads of families                                      49
       "    of heads of families who are professors of religion       19
       "    of children at school                                     20
       "    of _heads of families_ who have been slaves               39
       "    of individuals who have been slaves                       95
     Time since they obtained their freedom, from 1 to 15 years;
        average, 7 years.
     Number of individuals who have purchased themselves              23
     Whole amount paid for themselves                             $9,112
     Number of fathers and mothers still in slavery                    9
       "    of children                                               18
       "    of brothers and sisters                                   98
       "    of newspapers taken                                        0
       "    of heads of families who can read                          2


     Common laborers and porters         7
     Dealers in second-hand clothing     1
     Hucksters                           1
     Carpenters                          2
     Shoe-blacks                         6
     Cooks and waiters                  11
     Washer-women                       18

     Five of these women purchased themselves from slavery. One paid
     four hundred dollars for herself, and has since bought a house
     and lot worth six hundred dollars. All this she has done by

     Another individual had bargained for his wife and two children.
     Their master agreed to take four hundred and twenty dollars for
     them. He succeeded at length in raising the money, which he
     carried to their owner. "I shall charge you thirty dollars more
     than when you was here before," said the planter, "for your wife
     is in a family-way, and you may pay thirty dollars for that or
     not take her, just as you please." "And so," said he (patting
     the head of a little son, three years old, who hung upon his
     knee), "I had to pay thirty dollars for this little fellow six
     months before he was born."

     Number of families in another district                         63
       "    of individuals                                         258
       "    of heads of families                                   106
       "    of families who are professors of religion              16
       "    of heads of families at school                          53
       "    of newspapers taken                                      7
     Amount of property in real estate                          $9,850
     Number of _individuals_ who have been slaves                  108
       "    of _heads of families_ who have been slaves             69
     Age at which they obtained their freedom, from 3 months to
         60 years; average, 33 years.
     Time since they obtained their freedom, from 4 weeks to 27
         years; average, 9 years.
     Number of heads of families who have purchased themselves,     36
     Whole amount paid for themselves                       $21,515.00
     Average price                                             $597.64
     Number of children which the same families have already
         purchased                                                  14
     Whole amount paid for these children                    $2,425.75
     Average price                                             $173.27
     Total amount paid for these parents and children       $23,940.75
     Number of parents still in slavery                             16
       "    of husbands or wives                                     7
       "    of children                                             35
       "    of brothers and sisters                                144

     These districts were visited without the least reference to their
     being exhibited separately. If they give a fair specimen of the
     whole population (and we believe that to be a fact), then we have
     the following results: 1,129 of the Colored population of
     Cincinnati have been in slavery; 476 have purchased themselves,
     at the total expense of $215,522.04, averaging for each, $452.77;
     163 parents are still in slavery, 68 husbands and wives, 346
     children, 1,579 brothers and sisters.

     There are a large number in the city who are now working out
     their own freedom--their free papers being retained as security.
     One man of our acquaintance has just given his master seven notes
     of one hundred dollars each, one of which he intends to pay every
     year, till he has paid them all; his master promises then to give
     him his free papers. After paying for himself, he intends to buy
     his wife and then his children. Others are buying their husbands
     or wives, and others again their parents or children. To show
     that on this subject they have sympathies like other people, we
     will state a single fact. A young man, after purchasing himself,
     earned three hundred dollars. This sum he supposed was sufficient
     to purchase his aged mother, a widow, whom he had left in slavery
     five years before, in Virginia. Hearing that she was for sale, he
     started immediately to purchase her. But, after travelling five
     hundred miles, and offering all his money, he was refused. Not
     because she was not for sale, nor because he did not offer her
     full value. She had four sons and daughters with her, and the
     planter thought he could do better to keep the family together
     and send them all down the river. In vain the affectionate son
     pleaded for his mother. The planter's heart was steel. He would
     not sell her, and with a heavy heart the young man returned to
     Cincinnati. He has since heard that they were sold in the New
     Orleans market "_in lots to suit purchasers_."

Cincinnati produced quite a number of business men among her Colored


was born in the State of Kentucky, on the 14th day of May, 1802. He
received some instruction in reading and writing. He was bound out to
a gentleman, from whom he learned the cabinet-making trade. He
developed at quite an early age a genius for working in all kinds of
wood--could make any thing in the business. He came to Ohio in 1826,
and located in Cincinnati. He was a fine-looking man of twenty-four
years, and a master mechanic. He expected to secure employment in some
of the cabinet shops in the city. Accordingly, he applied at several,
but as often as he applied he was refused employment on the ground of
complexional prejudice. In some instances the proprietor was willing
that a Colored man should work for him, but the white mechanics would
not work by the side of a Colored man. In other cases it was quite
different. The proprietors would not entertain the idea of securing
the services of a "Black mechanic." So it was for weeks that Mr. Boyd
sought an opportunity to use his skill in the direction of his genius
and training; but he sought in vain. Disappointed, though not
disheartened, he turned to the work of a stevedore, which he did for
four months. At the expiration of this time he found employment with a
house-builder. Within six months from the time he began work as a
builder he had so thoroughly mastered the trade that he quit working
as a journeyman, formed a co-partnership with a white man, and went
into business. The gentleman with whom he joined his fortunes was a
mechanic of excellent abilities, and acknowledged the superior fitness
of Boyd for the business.

As a builder he succeeded first-rate for four years. But his color was
against him. His white partner would make the contracts, secure the
jobs, and then Boyd would come forward when the work was to be done.
He had an abundance of work, and always finished it to the entire
satisfaction of his patrons. It is impossible to estimate just how
many houses he built, but the number is not small. He had made a
beginning, and secured some capital. He did not like the builder's
trade, and only entered it at the first from necessity--as a
stepping-stone to his own trade, for which he had a great deal of
enthusiasm. In 1836, ten years after his arrival in Cincinnati, he
engaged in the manufacture of bedsteads. For six years he carried on
this business--found a ready market and liberal pay. He brought to his
business some of the oldest buyers in the bedstead line, and had a
trade that kept him busy at all seasons of the year. His very
excellent business habits won for him many friends, and through their
solicitations he enlarged his business by manufacturing all kinds of
furniture. He put up a building on the corner of Eighth Street and
Broadway, where he carried on his manufacturing from 1836 till 1859, a
period of twenty-three years. His business required four large
buildings and a force of skilful workmen, never less than twenty,
frequently fifty. He used the most approved machinery and paid
excellent wages.

His manufactory presented, perhaps, what was never seen in this
country before or since. His workmen represented almost all the
leading races. There were Negroes, Americans, Irishmen, Scotchmen,
Englishmen, Frenchmen, and men of other nationalities. And they didn't
bite each other! Their relations were pleasant.

He was burned out three times, but he rebuilt and went ahead. He was
doing such an extensive business that some thought it advisable to
destroy his buildings. His losses were very heavy, yet he kept right
on, and kept up his business for some time; but finally had to yield
at the last fire, when he had no insurance.

He invented a machine to turn the rails of a bed, but being a Colored
man he could not take out a patent. He, therefore, had one taken out
in the name of a white gentleman. "The Boyd bedstead" sold throughout
the United States then, and was popular for many years after he quit
the business.

He has been engaged in several different businesses since he quit
manufacturing, and for the last nine years has been in the employ of
the city.


In 1850 Samuel T. Wilcox decided to embark in some business venture in
Cincinnati. Accordingly he built a store on the northeast corner of
Broadway and Fifth streets. He at once occupied it as a grocer. In
those days fancy groceries were not kept. But Mr. Wilcox opened a new
era in the business. He introduced fancy articles, such as all
varieties of canned fruit, choice liquors, cigars, first quality of
hams, all kinds of dried fruit, the best brands of sugars, molasses,
and fine soaps. He made a specialty of these, and succeeded admirably.

His trade was divided between two classes--the finest river packets
and the best families of the city. His customers were the very _best
families_--people of wealth and high standing. And perhaps no grocer
of his times in Cincinnati did so large a business as Samuel T.

His business increased rapidly until he did about $140,000 _of trade
per year_! This continued for six years, when his social habits were
not favorable to permanent success. He had been sole owner of the
business up to this time. He sold out one half of the store to Charles
Roxboro, Sr.; thus the firm name became "Wilcox & Roxboro." The latter
gentleman was energetic and business-like in his habits. He cast his
courage and marvellous tact against the high tide of business disaster
that came sweeping along in the last days of the firm. He resorted to
every honorable and safe expedient in order to avert failure. But the
handwriting was upon the wall. He failed. Wilcox had begun business
with $25,000 cash. He had accumulated $60,000 in real estate, and had
transacted $140,000 of business in a single year! He failed because
his life was immoral, his habits extravagant, and his attention to
business indifferent.


This gentleman came to Cincinnati in 1852, where he made the
acquaintance of a Colored gentleman of intelligence, J. P. Ball, who
was in the daguerrian business at Nos. 28 and 30 West Fourth Street.
Mr. Thomas became affianced to Miss Elizabeth Ball, sister of J. P.
Ball; and after they were married, Mr. Thomas accepted the position of
reception clerk for his brother-in-law. He filled this position with
credit and honor for the space of one year. It was now 1853.
Daguerrotypes were all the "rage." Photography was unknown. Mr. Ball
had an excellent run of custom, and was making money rapidly.

As operator, Mr. Ball soon discovered that Mr. Thomas was a man of
quick perception, thorough, and entirely trustworthy. He soon became
familiar with the instrument, and in 1854 began to "operate." He
continued at the instrument during the remainder of the time he spent
at 28 West Fourth Street. He shortly acquired the skill of an old and
well-trained operator; and his success in this department of the
business added greatly to the already well-established reputation of
the gallery.

Mr. Thomas was not satisfied with being a successful clerk and
first-class operator. He wanted to go into business for himself.
Accordingly he opened a gallery at No. 120 West Fourth Street, near
the "Commercial," under the firm name of "Ball & Thomas." The rooms
were handsomely fitted up, and the building leased for five years.

In May, 1860, a severe tornado passed over the city, destroying much
property and several lives. The roof of the Commercial [Potter's
Building] was carried away; part passed over the gallery of Ball &
Thomas, while part went through the operating room, and some fragments
of timber, etc., penetrated a saloon in the rear of the photographic
gallery, and killed a child and a woman. The gallery was a complete
wreck, the instruments, chemicals, scenery, cases, pictures, carpets,
furniture, and every thing else, were ruined. This was in the early
days of the firm. All their available capital had been converted into
stock, used in fitting up the gallery. Ball & Thomas were young
men--they were Colored men, and were financially ruined. Apparently
their business was at an end. But they were artists; and many white
families in Cincinnati recognized them as such. Their white friends
came to the rescue. The gallery was fitted up again most elaborately,
and was known as "the finest photographic gallery west of the
Alleghany Mountains."

This marked a distinct era in the history of the firm, and many
persons often remarked that the luckiest moment in their history was
when the roof of the Commercial building sat down upon them. For years
the best families of the city patronized the famous firm of Ball &
Thomas. They had more business than they could attend to at times, and
consequently had to engage extra help. These were years of
unprecedented success. One hundred dollars a day was small money then.
The firm became quite wealthy. After spending fifteen years at 120
they returned to 30 West Fourth Street, where they remained until May,

Photographers move considerable, and it is seldom that men in this
business remain in one street or building as long as Ball & Thomas.
They passed twenty-one of the best years of the firm in Fourth Street.
This is both a compliment to the public and themselves. It shows, on
the one hand, that Colored men can conduct business like white men,
and, on the other hand, if Colored men have ability to carry on any
kind of business, white people will patronize them.

The old stand at 30 West Fourth Street was fitted up anew, and
business began with all the wonted zeal and desire to please the
public which characterized the firm in former years. The rooms were at
once elegant and capacious. Their motto was to do the best work at the
cheapest rates. But as in all other businesses, so in photographic
art, there was competition. And rather than do poor work at the low
rates of competitors, they decided to remove to another locality.
Accordingly, in May, 1874, they moved into No. 146 West Fifth Street.
The building was leased for a term of years. It was in no wise adapted
to the photographic business. The walls were cut out, doors made,
stairs changed, skylight put in, chemical rooms constructed,
gas-fixtures put in, papering, painting, and graining done, carpets
and new furniture ordered. It cost the firm more than $2,800 to enter
this new stand.

The first year at the new stand was characterized by liberal custom
and excellent work. The old customers who were delighted with the work
done at 30 West Fourth Street, were convinced that the firm had
redoubled its artistic zeal, and was determined to outdo the palmy
days of Fourth Street. The business, which at this time was in a
flourishing condition, was destined to suffer an interruption in the
death of Thomas Carroll Ball, the senior member of the firm. It was
at a time when the trade demanded the energies of both gentlemen. But
Death never tarries to consider the far-reach of results or the wishes
of the friends of his subject. The business continued. Ball Thomas,
the son of Mr. A. S. Thomas, who had grown up under the faithful
tuition of his father, now became a successful retouching artist. For
the last two years Mr. Thomas has conducted the business alone. He is
now doing business at 166 West Fifth Street, and it is said that he is
doing a good business.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Colored people of Cincinnati evinced not only an anxiety to take
care of themselves, but took steps early toward securing a home for
the orphans in their midst.

In _ante-bellum_ days there was no provision made for Colored paupers
or Colored orphans. Where individual sympathy or charity did not
intervene, they were left to die in the midst of squalid poverty, and
were cast into the common ditch, without having medical aid or
ministerial consolation. There was not simply studious neglect, but a
strong prohibition against their entrance into institutions sustained
by the county and State for white persons not more fortunate than
they. At one time a good Quaker was superintendent of the county
poorhouse. His heart was touched with kindest sympathy for the
uncared-for Colored paupers in Cincinnati. He acted the part of a true
Samaritan, and gave them separate quarters in the institution of which
he was the official head. This fact came to the public ear, and the
trustees of the poorhouse, in accordance with their own convictions
and in compliance with the complexional prejudices of the community,
discharged the Quaker for this breach of the law. The Colored paupers
were turned out of this lazar-house on the Sabbath. The time to
perpetuate this crime against humanity was indeed significant--on the
Lord's day. The God of the poor and His followers beheld the streets
of Christian Cincinnati filled with the maimed, halt, sick, and poor,
who were denied the common fare accorded the white paupers! There was
no sentiment in those days, either in the pulpit or press, to raise
its voice against this act of cruelty and shame.

Lydia P. Mott, an eminent member of the Society of Friends and an able
leader of a conscientious few, espoused the cause of the motherless,
fatherless, and homeless Colored children of this community. She
attracted the attention and won the confidence of the few
Abolitionists of this city. She determined to establish a home for
these little wanderers, and immediately set to work at a plan. The
late Salmon P. Chase was then quite young, a man of brilliant
abilities and of anti-slavery sentiments. He joined himself to the
humane movement of Lydia P. Mott, with the following persons:
Christian Donaldson, James Pullan, William Donaldson, Robert Buchanan,
John Liverpool, Richard Phillips, John Woodson, Charles Satchell, Wm.
W. Watson, William Darnes, Michael Clark, A. M. Sumner, Reuben P.
Graham, Louis P. Brux, Sarah B. McLain, Mrs. Eustis, Mrs. Dr. Stanton,
Mrs. Hannah Cooper, Mrs. Mary Jane Gordon, Mrs. Susan Miller, Mrs.
Rebecca Darnes, Mrs. Charlotte Armstrong, Mrs. Eliza Clark, Mrs. Ruth
Ellen Watson, and others. Six of the gentlemen and four of the ladies
were white. Only six of this noble company are living at this time.

The organization was effected in 1844, and the act of incorporation
was drawn up by Salmon P. Chase. It was chartered in February, 1845,
the passage of the act having been assured through the personal
influence of Mr. Chase upon the members of the Legislature.

The first Board of Trustees under the charter were William Donaldson,
John Woodson, Richard Phillips, Christian Donaldson, Reuben P. Graham,
Richard Pullan, Charles Satchell, Louis P. Brux, and John Liverpool.
But one is alive--Richard Pullan.

The first building the Trustees secured as an asylum was on Ninth
Street, between Plum and Elm. They paid a rental of $12.50 per month.
The building was owned by Mr. Nicholas Longworth, but the ground was
leased by him from Judge Burnet. The Trustees ultimately purchased the
building for $1,500; and in 1851 the ground also was purchased of Mr.
Groesbeck for $4,400 in cash.

During the three or four years following, the institution had quite an
indifferent career. The money requisite to run it was not forthcoming.
The children were poorly fed and clothed, and many times there was no
money in the treasury at all. The Trustees were discouraged, and it
seemed that the asylum would have to be closed. But just at this time
that venerable Abolitionist and underground railroader, Levi Coffin,
with his excellent wife, "Aunt Kitty," came to the rescue. He took
charge of the institution as superintendent, and his wife assumed the
duties of matron. Through their exertions and adroit management they
succeeded in enlisting the sympathy of many benevolent folk, and
secured the support of many true friends.

It was now 1866. The asylum building presented a forlorn aspect. It
was far from being a comfortable shelter for the children. But a lack
of funds forbade the Trustees from having it repaired. They began to
look about for a more desirable and comfortable building. During the
closing year of the Rebellion a large number of freedmen sought the
shelter of our large Northern cities. Cincinnati received her share of
them, and acted nobly toward them. The government authorities built a
hospital for freedmen in a very desirable locality in Avondale. At
this time (1866), the building, which was very capacious, was not
occupied. The Trustees secured a change in the charter, permitting
them, by consent of the subscribers, to sell the Ninth Street
property, and purchase the hospital building and the accompanying six
acres in Avondale. The Ninth Street property brought $9,000; the
purchase in Avondale, refitting, etc., cost $11,000, incurring a debt
of $2,000.

During the first twenty-two years of the institution much good was
accomplished. Hundreds of children--orphans and friendless
children--found shelter in the asylum, which existed only through the
almost superhuman efforts of the intelligent Colored persons in the
community, and the unstinted charity of many generous white persons.
The asylum has been pervaded with a healthy religious atmosphere; and
many of its inmates have gone forth to the world giving large promise
of usefulness. An occasional letter from former inmates often proves
that much good has been done; and that some of these children, without
the kindly influence and care of the asylum, instead of occupying
places of usefulness and trust in society, might have drifted into
vagrancy and crime.

Amidst the struggle for temporal welfare, the Colored people of
Cincinnati were not unmindful of the interests and destinies of the
Union. A military company was formed, bearing the name of _Attucks
Guards_. On the 25th of July, 1855, an association of ladies presented
a flag to the company. The address, on the part of the ladies, was
delivered by Miss Mary A. Darnes. Among many excellent things, she

     "Should the love of liberty and your country ever demand your
     services, may you, in imitation of that noble patriot whose name
     you bear, promptly respond to the call, and fight to the last
     for the great and noble principles of liberty and justice, to the
     glory of your fathers and the land of your birth.

     "The time is not far distant when the _slave must be free_; if
     not by moral and intellectual means, it must be done by the
     sword. Remember, gentlemen, should duty call, it will be yours to
     obey, and strike to the last for freedom or the grave.

     "But God forbid that you should be called upon to witness our
     peaceful homes involved in war. May our eyes never behold this
     flag in any conflict; let the quiet breeze ever play among its
     folds, and the fullest peace dwell among you!"

While the great majority of the Colored people in the country were
bowing themselves cheerfully to the dreadful task of living among
wolves, some of the race were willing to brave the perils of the sea,
and find a new home on the West Coast of Africa. Between the years of
1850-1856, 9,502 Negroes went to Liberia, of whom 3,676 had been born
free. In 1850, there were 1,467 manumitted, while 1,011 ran away from
their masters.

Notwithstanding the many disadvantages under which the free Negroes of
the North had to labor, they accomplished a great deal. In an
incredibly short time they built schools, planted churches,
established newspapers; had their representatives in law, medicine,
and theology before the world as the marvel of the centuries. Shut out
from every influence calculated to incite them to a higher life, and
provoke them to better works, nevertheless, the Colored people were
enabled to live down much prejudice, and gained the support and
sympathy of noble men and women of the Anglo-Saxon race.


[55] This is inserted in this volume as the more appropriate place.

[56] Slavery in Massachusetts, pp. 228, 229.

[57] Massachusetts Mercury, vol. xvi. No. 22, Sept. 16, 1780.





The institution of American slavery needed protection from the day of
its birth to the day of its death. Whips, thumbscrews, and manacles of
iron were far less helpful to it than the thraldom of the intellects
of its hapless victims. "Created a little lower than the angels,"
"crowned with glory and honor," armed with authority "over every
living creature," man was intended by his Maker to rule the world
through his intellect. The homogeneousness of the crude faculties of
man has been quite generally admitted throughout the world; while even
scientists, differing widely in many other things, have united in
ascribing to the human mind everywhere certain possibilities. But one
class of men have dissented from this view--the slave-holders of all
ages. A justification of slavery has been sought in the alleged belief
of the inferiority of the persons enslaved; while the broad truism of
the possibilities of the human mind was confessed in all legislation
that sought to prevent slaves from acquiring knowledge. So the
slave-holder asserted his belief in the mental inferiority of the
Negro, and then advertised his lack of faith in his assertion by
making laws to prevent the Negro intellect from receiving those truths
which would render him valueless as a slave, but equal to the duties
of a freeman.


had an act in 1832 which declared that "Any person or persons who
shall attempt to teach any free person of color or slave to spell,
read, or write, shall, upon conviction thereof by indictment, be fined
in a sum not less than $250, nor more than $500." This act also
prohibited with severe penalties, by flogging, "any free negro or
person of color" from being in company with any slaves without written
permission from the owner or overseer of such slaves; it also
prohibited the assembling of more than five male slaves at any place
off the plantation to which they belonged; but nothing in the act was
to be considered as forbidding attendance at places of public worship
held by white persons. No slave or free person of color was permitted
to "preach, exhort, or harangue any slave or slaves, or free persons
of color, except in the presence of five respectable slave-holders, or
unless the person preaching was licensed by some regular body of
professing Christians in the neighborhood, to whose society or church
the negroes addressed properly belonged."

In 1833, the mayor and aldermen of the city of Mobile were authorized
by an act of the Legislature to grant licenses to such persons as they
deemed suitable to give instruction to the children of free Colored
Creoles. This applied only to those who resided in the city of Mobile
and county of Baldwin. The instruction was to be given at brief
periods, and the children had to secure a certificate from the mayor
and aldermen. The ground of this action was the treaty between France
and the United States in 1803, by which the rights and privileges of
citizens had been secured to the Creoles residing in the above places
at the time of the treaty.


so far as her laws appear, did not prohibit the education of Negroes;
but a study of her laws leaves the impression that the Negroes there
were practically denied the right of instruction.


never legislated against educating Colored persons, but the prejudice
was so strong that it amounted to the same thing. The intolerant
spirit of the whites drove the Colored people of Hartford to request a
separate school in 1830. Prejudice was so great against the presence
of a Colored school in a community of white people, that a school,
established by a very worthy white lady, was mobbed and then
legislated out of existence.

     "In the summer of 1832, Miss Prudence Crandall, an excellent,
     well-educated Quaker young lady, who had gained considerable
     reputation as a teacher in the neighboring town of Plainfield,
     purchased, at the solicitation of a number of families in the
     village of Canterbury, Connecticut, a commodious house in that
     village, for the purpose of establishing a boarding and day
     school for young ladies, in order that they might receive
     instruction in higher branches than were taught in the public
     district school. Her school was well conducted, but was
     interrupted early in 1833 in this wise: Not far from the village
     a worthy colored man was living, by the name of Harris, the owner
     of a good farm, and in comfortable circumstances. His daughter
     Sarah, a bright girl, seventeen years of age, had passed with
     credit through the public school of the district in which she
     lived, and was anxious to acquire a better education, to qualify
     herself to become a teacher of the colored people. She applied to
     Miss Crandall for admission to her school. Miss Crandall
     hesitated, for prudential reasons, to admit a colored person
     among her pupils; but Sarah was a young lady of pleasing
     appearance and manners, well known to many of Miss Crandall's
     present pupils, having been their classmate in the district
     school, and was, moreover, a virtuous, pious girl, and a member
     of the church in Canterbury. No objection could be made to her
     admission, except on acount of her complexion, and Miss Crandall
     decided to receive her as a pupil. No objection was made by the
     other pupils, but in a few days the parents of some of them
     called on Miss Crandall and remonstrated; and although Miss
     Crandall pressed upon their consideration the eager desire of
     Sarah for knowledge and culture, and the good use she wished to
     make of her education, her excellent character, and her being an
     accepted member of the same Christian church to which they
     belonged, they were too much prejudiced to listen to any
     arguments--'they would not have it said that their daughters went
     to school with a nigger girl.' It was urged that if Sarah was not
     dismissed, the white pupils would be withdrawn; but although the
     fond hopes of success for an institution which she had
     established at the risk of all her property, and by incurring a
     debt of several hundred dollars, seemed to be doomed to
     disappointment, she decided not to yield to the demand for the
     dismissal of Sarah; and on the 2d day of March, 1833, she
     advertised in the 'Liberator' that on the first Monday in April
     her school would be open for 'young ladies and little misses of
     color.' Her determination having become known, a fierce
     indignation was kindled and fanned by prominent people of the
     village and pervaded the town. In this juncture, the Rev. Samuel
     J. May, of the neighboring town of Brooklyn, addressed her a
     letter of sympathy, expressing his readiness to assist her to the
     extent of his power, and was present at the town meeting held on
     the 9th of March, called for the express purpose of devising and
     adopting such measures as 'would effectually avert the nuisance
     or speedily abate it if it should be brought into the village.'

     "The friends of Miss Crandall were authorized by her to state to
     the moderator of the town meeting that she would give up her
     house, which was one of the most conspicuous in the village, and
     not wholly paid for, if those who were opposed to her school
     being there would take the property off her hands at the price
     for which she had purchased it, and which was deemed a reasonable
     one, and allow her time to procure another house in a more
     retired part of the town.

     "The town meeting was held in the meeting-house, which, though
     capable of holding a thousand people, was crowded throughout to
     its utmost capacity. After the warning for the meeting had been
     read, resolutions were introduced in which were set forth the
     disgrace and damage that would be brought upon the town if a
     school for colored girls should be set up there, protesting
     emphatically against the impending evil, and appointing the civil
     authority and select-men a committee to wait upon 'the person
     contemplating the establishment of said school, and persuade her,
     if possible, to abandon the project.'

     "The resolutions were advocated by Rufus Adams, Esq., and Hon.
     Andrew T. Judson, who was then the most prominent man of the
     town, and a leading politician in the State, and much talked of
     as the Democratic candidate for governor, and was a
     representative in Congress from 1835 to 1839, when he was elected
     judge of the United States District Court, which position he held
     until his death in 1853, adjudicating, among other causes, the
     libel of the 'Amistad' and the fifty-four Africans on board.
     After his address on this occasion, Mr. May, in company with Mr.
     Arnold Buffum, a lecturing agent of the New England Anti-Slavery
     Society, applied for permission to speak in behalf of Miss
     Crandall, but their application was violently opposed, and the
     resolutions being adopted, the meeting was declared, by the
     moderator, adjourned.

     "Mr. May at once stepped upon the seat where he had been sitting,
     and rapidly vindicated Miss Crandall, replying to some of the
     misstatements as to her purposes and the character of her
     expected pupils, when he gave way to Mr. Buffum, who had spoken
     scarcely five minutes before the trustees of the church ordered
     the house to be vacated and the doors to be shut. There was then
     no alternative but to yield.

     "Two days afterward Mr. Judson called on Mr. May, with whom he
     had been on terms of a pleasant acquaintance, not to say of
     friendship, and expressed regret that he had applied certain
     epithets to him; and went on to speak of the disastrous effect on
     the village from the establishment of 'a school for nigger
     girls.' Mr. May replied that his purpose was, if he had been
     allowed to do so, to state at the town meeting Miss Crandall's
     proposition to sell her house in the village at its fair
     valuation, and retire to some other part of the town. To this Mr.
     Judson replied: 'Mr. May, we are not merely opposed to the
     establishment of that school in Canterbury, we mean there shall
     not be such a school set up anywhere in the State.'

     "Mr. Judson continued, declaring that the colored people could
     never rise from their menial condition in our country, and ought
     not to be permitted to rise here; that they were an inferior race
     and should not be recognized as the equals of the whites; that
     they should be sent back to Africa, and improve themselves there,
     and civilize and Christianize the natives. To this Mr. May
     replied that there never would be fewer colored people in this
     country than there were then; that it was unjust to drive them
     out of the country; that we must accord to them their rights or
     incur the loss of our own; that education was the primal,
     fundamental right of all the children of men; and that
     Connecticut was the last place where this should be denied.

     "The conversation was continued in a similar strain, in the
     course of which Mr. Judson declared with warmth: 'That nigger
     school shall never be allowed in Canterbury, nor in any town of
     this State'; and he avowed his determination to secure the
     passage of a law by the Legislature then in session, forbidding
     the institution of such a school in any part of the State.

     "Undismayed by the opposition and the threatened violence of her
     neighbors, Miss Crandall received, early in April, fifteen or
     twenty colored young ladies and misses from Philadelphia, New
     York, Providence, and Boston, and the annoyances of her
     persecutors at once commenced: all accommodations at the stores
     in Canterbury being denied her, her pupils being insulted
     whenever they appeared on the streets, the doors and door-steps
     of her house being besmeared, and her well filled with filth;
     under all of which, both she and her pupils remained firm. Among
     other means used to intimidate, an attempt was made to drive away
     those innocent girls by a process under the obsolete vagrant law,
     which provided that the select-men of any town might warn any
     person, not an inhabitant of the State, to depart forthwith,
     demanding $1.67 for every week he or she remained after receiving
     such warning; and in case the fine was not paid and the person
     did not depart before the expiration of ten days after being
     sentenced, _then he or she should be whipped on the naked body,
     not exceeding ten stripes_.

     "A warrant to that effect was actually served upon Eliza Ann
     Hammond, a fine girl from Providence, aged seventeen years; but
     it was finally abandoned, and another method was resorted to,
     most disgraceful to the State as well as the town. Foiled in
     their attempts to frighten away Miss Crandall's pupils by their
     proceedings under the obsolete 'pauper and vagrant law,' Mr.
     Judson and those who acted with him pressed upon the Legislature,
     then in session, a demand for the enactment of a law which should
     enable them to accomplish their purpose; and in that bad purpose
     they succeeded, by securing the following enactment, on the 24th
     of May, 1833, known as the '_black law_.'

     "'Whereas, attempts have been made to establish literary
     institutions in this State for the instruction of colored persons
     belonging to other States and countries, which would tend to the
     great increase of the colored population of the State, and
     thereby to the injury of the people: therefore,

     "'_Be it enacted, etc._, That no person shall set up or establish
     in this State any school, academy, or other literary institution
     for the instruction or education of colored persons, who are not
     inhabitants of this State, or harbor or board, for the purpose of
     attending or being taught or instructed in any such school,
     academy, or literary institution, any colored person who is not
     an inhabitant of any town in this State, without the consent in
     writing, first obtained, of a majority of the civil authority,
     and also of the select-men of the town in which such school,
     academy, or literary institution is situated,' etc.

     "'And each and every person who shall knowingly do any act
     forbidden as aforesaid, or shall be aiding or assisting therein,
     shall for the first offense forfeit and pay to the treasurer of
     this State a fine of $100, and for the second offense $200, and
     so double for every offense of which he or she shall be
     convicted; and all informing officers are required to make due
     presentment of all breaches of this act.'

     "On the receipt of the tidings of the passage of this law, the
     people of Canterbury were wild with exultation; the bells were
     rung and a cannon was fired to manifest the joy. On the 27th of
     June, Miss Crandall was arrested and arraigned before Justices
     Adams and Bacon, two of those who had been the earnest opponents
     of her enterprise; and the result being predetermined, the trial
     was of course brief, and Miss Crandall was 'committed' to take
     her trial at the next session of the Supreme Court at Brooklyn,
     in August. A messenger was at once dispatched by the party
     opposed to Miss Crandall to Brooklyn, to inform Mr. May, as her
     friend, of the result of the trial, stating that she was in the
     hands of the sheriff, and would be put in jail unless he or some
     of her friends would 'give bonds' for her in a certain sum."

The denouement may be related most appropriately in the language of
Mr. May:

     "I calmly told the messenger that there were gentlemen enough in
     Canterbury whose bond for that amount would be as good or better
     than mine, and I should leave it for them to do Miss Crandall
     that favor. 'But,' said the young man, 'are you not her friend?'
     'Certainly,' I replied, 'too sincerely her friend to give relief
     to her enemies in their present embarrassment, and I trust you
     will not find any one of her friends, or the patrons of her
     school, who will step forward to help them any more than myself.'
     'But, sir,' he cried, 'do you mean to allow her to be put in
     jail?' 'Most certainly,' was my answer, 'if her persecutors are
     unwise enough to let such an outrage be committed.' He turned
     from me in blank surprise, and hurried back to tell Mr. Judson
     and the justices of his ill success.

     "A few days before, when I first heard of the passage of the law,
     I had visited Miss Crandall with my friend, Mr. George W. Benson,
     and advised with her as to the course she and her friends ought
     to pursue when she should be brought to trial. She appreciated at
     once and fully the importance of leaving her persecutors to show
     to the world how base they were, and how atrocious was the law
     they had induced the Legislature to enact--a law, by the force of
     which a woman might be fined and imprisoned as a felon in the
     State of Connecticut for giving instruction to colored girls. She
     agreed that it would be best for us to leave her in the hands of
     those with whom the law originated, hoping that, in their
     madness, they would show forth all their hideous features.

     "Mr. Benson and I, therefore, went diligently around to all who
     he knew were friendly to Miss Crandall and her school, and
     counselled them by no means to give bonds to keep her from
     imprisonment, because nothing would expose so fully to the public
     the egregious wickedness of the law and the virulence of her
     persecutors as the fact that they had thrust her into jail.

     "When I found that her resolution was equal to the trial which
     seemed to be impending, that she was ready to brave and to bear
     meekly the worst treatment that her enemies would venture to
     subject her to, I made all the arrangements for her comfort that
     were practicable in our prison. It fortunately happened that the
     most suitable room, unoccupied, was the one in which a man named
     Watkins had recently been confined for the murder of his wife,
     and out of which he had been taken and executed. This
     circumstance we foresaw would add not a little to the public
     detestation of the _black law_. The jailer, at my request,
     readily put the room in as nice order as was possible, and
     permitted me to substitute for the bedstead and mattrass on which
     the murderer had slept, fresh and clean ones from my own house
     and Mr. Benson's.

     "About 2 o'clock, P.M., another messenger came to inform me that
     the sheriff was on the way from Canterbury to the jail with Miss
     Crandall, and would imprison her unless her friends would give
     the required bail. Although in sympathy with Miss Crandall's
     persecutors, he saw clearly the disgrace that was about to be
     brought upon the State, and begged me and Mr. Benson to avert it.
     Of course we refused. I went to the jailer's house and met Miss
     Crandall on her arrival. We stepped aside. I said: 'If now you
     hesitate--if you dread the gloomy place so much as to wish to be
     saved from it, I will give bonds for you even now.' 'Oh, no,' she
     promptly replied, 'I am only afraid they will not put me in jail.
     Their evident hesitation and embarrassment show plainly how much
     they deprecated the effect of this part of their folly, and
     therefore I am the more anxious that they should be exposed, if
     not caught in their own wicked devices.

     "We therefore returned with her to the sheriff and the company
     that surrounded him, to await his final act. He was ashamed to do
     it. He knew it would cover the persecutors of Miss Crandall and
     the State of Connecticut with disgrace. He conferred with several
     about him, and delayed yet longer. Two gentlemen came and
     remonstrated with me in not very seemly terms: 'It would be a
     ---- shame, an eternal disgrace to the State, to have her put
     into jail--into the very room that Watkins had last occupied.'

     "'Certainly, gentlemen,' I replied, 'and this you may prevent if
     you please.'

     "'Oh!' they cried, 'we are not her friends; we are not in favor
     of her school; we don't want any more ---- niggers coming among
     us. It is your place to stand by Miss Crandall and help her now.
     You and your ---- abolition brethren have encouraged her to
     bring this nuisance into Canterbury, and it is ---- mean in you
     to desert her now.'

     "I rejoined: 'She knows we have not deserted her, and do not
     intend to desert her. The law which her persecutors have
     persuaded our legislators to enact is an infamous one, worthy of
     the dark ages. It would be just as bad as it is whether we would
     give bonds for her or not. But the people generally will not so
     soon realize how bad, how wicked, how cruel a law it is unless we
     suffer her persecutors to inflict upon her all the penalties it
     prescribes. She is willing to bear them for the sake of the cause
     she has so nobly espoused. If you see fit to keep her from
     imprisonment in the cell of a murderer for having proffered the
     blessings of a good education to those who in our country need it
     most, you may do so; _we shall not_.'

     "They turned from us in great wrath, words falling from their
     lips which I shall not repeat.

     "The sun had descended nearly to the horizon; the shadows of
     night were beginning to fall around us. The sheriff could defer
     the dark deed no longer. With no little emotion, and with words
     of earnest deprecation, he gave that excellent, heroic, Christian
     young lady into the hands of the jailer, and she was led into the
     cell of Watkins. So soon as I had heard the bolts of her prison
     door turned in the lock, and saw the key taken out, I bowed and
     said: 'The deed is done, completely done. It cannot be recalled.
     It has passed into the history of our nation and our age.' I went
     away with my steadfast friend, George W. Benson, assured that the
     legislators of the State had been guilty of a most unrighteous
     act, and that Miss Crandall's persecutors had also committed a
     great blunder; that they all would have much more reason to be
     ashamed of her imprisonment than she or her friends could ever

     "The next day we gave the required bonds. Miss Crandall was
     released from the cell of the murderer, returned home, and
     quietly resumed the duties of her school until she should be
     summoned as a culprit into court, there to be tried by the
     infamous '_Black Law of Connecticut_.' And, as we expected, so
     soon as the evil tidings could be carried in that day, before
     Professor Morse had given to Rumor her telegraphic wings, it was
     known all over the country and the civilized world, that an
     excellent young lady had been imprisoned as a criminal--yes, put
     into a murderer's cell--in the State of Connecticut, for opening
     a school for the instruction of colored girls. The comments that
     were made upon the deed in almost all the newspapers were far
     from grateful to the feelings of her persecutors. Even many who,
     under the same circumstances, would probably have acted as badly
     as Messrs. A. T. Judson & Co., denounced their procedure as
     'un-Christian, inhuman, anti-Democratic, base, mean.'

     "On the 23d of August, 1833, the first trial of Miss Crandall
     was had in Brooklyn, the seat of the county of Windham, Hon.
     Joseph Eaton presiding at the county court.

     "The prosecution was conducted by Hon. A. T. Judson, Jonathan A.
     Welch, Esq., and I. Bulkley, Esq. Miss Crandall's counsel was
     Hon. Calvin Goddard, Hon. W. W. Elsworth, and Henry Strong, Esq.

     "The judge, somewhat timidly, gave it as his opinion 'that the
     law was constitutional and obligatory on the people of the

     "The jury, after an absence of several hours, returned into
     court, not having agreed upon a verdict. They were instructed and
     sent out again, and again a third time, in vain; they stated to
     the judge that there was no probability that they could ever
     agree. Seven were for conviction and five for acquittal, so they
     were discharged.

     "The second trial was on the 3d of October, before Judge Daggett
     of the Supreme Court, who was a strenuous advocate of the black
     law. His influence with the jury was overpowering, insisting in
     an elaborate and able charge that the law was constitutional,
     and, without much hesitation, the verdict was given against Miss
     Crandall. Her counsel at once filed a bill of exceptions, and
     took an appeal to the Court of Errors, which was granted. Before
     that, the highest legal tribunal in the State, the cause was
     argued on the 22d of July, 1834. Both the Hon. W. W. Elsworth and
     the Hon. Calvin Goddard argued with great ability and eloquence
     against the constitutionality of the black law. The Hon. A. T.
     Judson and Hon. C. F. Cleaveland said all they could to prove
     such a law consistent with the _Magna Charta_ of our republic.
     The court reserved a decision for some future time; and that
     decision was never given, it being evaded by the court finding
     such defects in the information prepared by the State's attorney
     that it ought to be quashed.

     "Soon after this, an attempt was made to set the house of Miss
     Crandall on fire, but without effect. The question of her duty to
     risk the lives of her pupils against this mode of attack was then
     considered, and upon consultation with friends it was concluded
     to hold on and bear a little longer, with the hope that this
     atrocity of attempting to fire the house, and thus expose the
     lives and property of her neighbors, would frighten the
     instigators of the persecution, and cause some restraint on the
     'baser sort.' But a few nights afterward, about 12 o'clock, being
     the night of the 9th of September, her house was assaulted by a
     number of persons with heavy clubs and iron bars, and windows
     were dashed to pieces. Mr. May was summoned the next morning, and
     after consultation it was determined that the school should be

Mr. May thus concluded his account of this event, and of the

     "The pupils were called together and I was requested to announce
     to them our decision. Never before had I felt so deeply sensible
     of the cruelty of the persecution which had been carried on for
     eighteen months in that New England village, against a family of
     defenseless females. Twenty harmless, well-behaved girls, whose
     only offense against the peace of the community was that they had
     come together there to obtain useful knowledge and moral culture,
     were to be told that they had better go away, because, forsooth,
     the house in which they dwelt would not be protected by the
     guardians of the town, the conservators of the peace, the
     officers of justice, the men of influence in the village where it
     was situated. The words almost blistered my lips. My bosom glowed
     with indignation. I felt ashamed of Canterbury, ashamed of
     Connecticut, ashamed of my country, ashamed of my color."[58]

Thus ended the generous, disinterested, philanthropic Christian
enterprise of Prudence Crandall, but the law under which her
enterprise was defeated was repealed in 1838.

It is to be regretted that Connecticut earned such an unenviable place
in history as this. It seems strange, indeed, that such an occurrence
could take place in the nineteenth century in a free State in a
republic in North America! But such is "the truth of history."


never passed any law against the instruction of Negroes, but in 1833
passed an act taxing every person who sold a slave out of the State,
or brought one into the State, five dollars, which went into a school
fund for the education of _white children alone_. In 1852, the Revised
Statutes provided for the taxation of all the property of the State
for the support of the schools for _white children_ alone. So, by
implication, Delaware prohibited the education of Colored children.

In 1840, the Friends formed the African School Association in
Wilmington; and under its management two excellent schools, for boys
and girls, were established.


On the 28th of December, 1848, an act was passed providing "for the
establishment of common schools." The right to vote at district
meetings was conferred upon every person whose property was liable to
taxation for school purposes; but only white children were allowed
school privileges.

In the same year an act was passed providing that the school funds
should consist of "the proceeds of the school lands," and of all
estates, real or personal, escheating to the State, and "the proceeds
of all property found on the coast or shores of the State." In 1850
the counties were authorized to provide, by taxation, not more than
four dollars for each child within their limits of the proper school
age. In the same year the amount received from the sale of any slave,
under the act of 1829, was required to be added to the school fund.
The common school law was revised in 1853, and the county
commissioners were authorized to add from the county treasury any sum
they thought proper for the support of common schools.[59]


passed a law in 1770 (copied from S. C. Statutes, passed in 1740),
fixing a fine of £20 for teaching a slave to read or write. In 1829
the Legislature enacted the following law:

     "If any slave, negro, or free person of color, or any white
     person, shall teach any other slave, negro, or free person of
     color to read or write either written or printed characters, the
     said free person of color or slave shall be punished by fine and
     whipping, or fine or whipping, at the discretion of the court;
     and if a white person so offend, he, she, or they shall be
     punished with a fine not exceeding $500, and imprisonment in the
     common jail at the discretion of the court."

In 1833 the above law was consolidated into a penal code. A penalty of
$100 was provided against persons who employed any slave or free
person of Color to set type or perform any other labor about a
printing-office requiring a knowledge of reading or writing. During
the same year an ordinance was passed in the city of Savannah, "that
if any person shall teach or cause to be taught any slave or free
person of color to read or write within the city, or who shall keep a
school for that purpose, he or she shall be fined in a sum not
exceeding $100 for each and every such offense; and if the offender be
a slave or free person of color, he or she may also be whipped, not
exceeding thirty-nine lashes."

In the summer of 1850 a series of articles by Mr. F. C. Adams appeared
in one of the papers of Savannah, advocating the education of the
Negroes as a means of increasing their value and of attaching them to
their masters. The subject was afterward taken up in the Agricultural
Convention which met at Macon in September of the same year. The
matter was again brought up in September, 1851, in the Agricultural
Convention, and after being debated, a resolution was passed that a
petition be presented to the Legislature for a law granting permission
to educate the slaves. The petition was presented to the Legislature,
and Mr. Harlston introduced a bill in the winter of 1852, which was
discussed and passed in the lower House, to repeal the old law, and to
grant to the masters the privilege of educating their slaves. The bill
was lost in the senate by two or three votes.[60]


school laws contain the word "white" from beginning to end. There is
no prohibition against the education of Colored persons; but there
being no mention of them, is evidence that they were purposely
omitted. Separate schools were established for Colored children before
the war, and a few white schools opened their doors to them. The Free
Mission Institute at Quincy was destroyed by a mob from Missouri in
_ante-bellum_ days, because Colored persons were admitted to the


denied the right of suffrage to her Negro population in the
constitution of 1851. No provision was made for the education of the
Negro children. And the cruelty of the laws that drove the Negro from
the State, and pursued him while in it, gave the poor people no hope
of peaceful habitation, much less of education.


never put herself on record against the education of Negroes. By an
act passed in 1830, all the inhabitants of each school district were
taxed to support a common-school system. The property of Colored
persons was included, but they could not vote or enjoy the privileges
of the schools. And the slave laws were so numerous and cruel that
there was no opportunity left the bondmen in this State to acquire any
knowledge of books even secretly.


passed an act in 1830, forbidding free Negroes to enter the State. It
provided also, that whoever should "write, print, publish, or
distribute any thing having a tendency to produce discontent among the
free colored population, or insubordination among the slaves," should,
on conviction thereof, be imprisoned "_at hard labor for life, or
suffer death_, at the discretion of the court." And whoever used
language calculated to produce discontent among the free or slave
population, or was "instrumental in bringing into the State any paper,
book, or pamphlet having such tendency," was to "suffer imprisonment
at hard labor, not less than three years nor more than twenty-one
years, or death, at the discretion of the court." "All persons,"
continues the act, "who shall teach, or permit, or cause to be taught,
any slave to read or write, shall be imprisoned not less than one
month nor more than twelve months."

In 1847, a system of common schools for "the education of white youth
was established." It was provided that "one mill on the dollar, upon
the _ad valorem_ amount of the general list of taxable property,"
should be levied for the support of the schools.


gave the elective franchise and ample school privileges to all her
citizens, without regard to race or color, by her constitution of


always restricted the right of suffrage to her "white male
inhabitants," and, therefore, always refused to make any provisions
for the education of her Negro population. There is nothing upon her
statute-books prohibiting the instruction of Negroes, but the law that
designates her schools for "white children" is sufficient proof that
Negro children were purposely omitted and excluded from the benefits
of the schools.

St. Frances Academy for Colored girls was founded in connection with
the Oblate Sisters of Providence Convent, in Baltimore, June 5, 1829,
under the hearty approbation of the Most Rev. James Whitfield, D.D.,
the Archbishop of Baltimore at that time, and receiving the sanction
of the Holy See, October 2, 1831. The convent originated with the
French Fathers, who came to Baltimore from San Domingo as refugees, in
the time of the revolution in that island in the latter years of last
century. There were many Colored Catholic refugees who came to
Baltimore during that period, and the French Fathers soon opened
schools there for the benefit of the refugees and other Colored
people. The Colored women who formed the original society which
founded the convent and seminary, were from San Domingo; though they
had, some of them, certainly, been educated in France. The schools
which preceded the organization of the convent were greatly favored
by. Most Rev. Ambrose Marechal, D.D., who was a French Father, and
Archbishop of Baltimore from 1817 to 1828, Archbishop Whitfield being
his successor. The Sisters of Providence is the name of a religious
society of Colored women who renounced the world to consecrate
themselves to the Christian education of Colored girls. The following
extract from the announcement which, under the caption of "Prospectus
of a School for Colored Girls under the Direction of the Sisters of
Providence," appeared in the columns of the "Daily National
Intelligencer," October 25, 1831, shows the spirit in which the school
originated, and at the same time shadows forth the predominating ideas
pertaining to the province of the race at that period.

The prospectus says:

     "The object of this institute is one of great importance,
     greater, indeed, than might at first appear to those who would
     only glance at the advantages which it is calculated to directly
     impart to the leading portion of the human race, and through it
     to society at large. In fact, these girls will either become
     mothers of families or household servants. In the first case the
     solid virtues, the religious and moral principles which they may
     have acquired in this school will be carefully transferred as a
     legacy to their children. Instances of the happy influence which
     the example of virtuous parents has on the remotest lineage in
     this humble and naturally dutiful class of society are numerous.
     As to such as are to be employed as servants, they will be
     intrusted with domestic concerns and the care of young children.
     How important, then, it will be that these girls shall have
     imbibed religious principles, and have been trained up in habits
     of modesty, honesty, and integrity."[61]

The Wells School, established by a Colored man by the name of Nelson
Wells, in 1835, gave instruction to free children of color. It was
managed by a board of trustees who applied the income of $7,000 (the
amount left by Mr. Wells) to the support of the school. It
accomplished much good.


A separate school for Colored children was established in Boston, in
1798, and was held in the house of a reputable Colored man named
Primus Hall. The teacher was one Elisha Sylvester, whose salary was
paid by the parents of the children whom he taught. In 1800 sixty-six
Colored citizens presented a petition to the School Committee of
Boston, praying that a school might be established for their benefit.
A sub-committee, to whom the petition had been referred, reported in
favor of granting the prayer, but it was voted down at the next town
meeting. However, the school taught by Mr. Sylvester did not perish.
Two young gentlemen from Harvard University, Messrs. Brown and
Williams, continued the school until 1806. During this year the
Colored Baptists built a church edifice in Belknap Street, and fitted
up the lower room for a school for Colored children. From the house of
Primus Hall the little school was moved to its new quarters in the
Belknap Street church. Here it was continued until 1835, when a
school-house for Colored children was erected and paid for out of a
fund left for the purpose by Abiel Smith, and was subsequently called
"Smith School-house." The authorities of Boston were induced to give
$200.00 as an annual appropriation, and the parents of the children in
attendance paid 12½ cents per week. The school-house was dedicated
with appropriate exercises, Hon. William Minot delivering the
dedicatory address.

The African school in Belknap Street was under the control of the
school committee from 1812 to 1821, and from 1821 was under the charge
of a special sub-committee. Among the teachers was John B. Russworm,
from 1821 to 1824, who entered Bowdoin College in the latter year, and
afterward became governor of the colony of Cape Palmas in Southern

The first primary school for Colored children in Boston was
established in 1820, two or three of which were subsequently kept
until 1855, when they were discontinued as separate schools, in
accordance with the general law passed by the Legislature in that
year, which provided that, "in determining the qualifications of
scholars to be admitted into any public school, or any district school
in this commonwealth, no distinction shall be made on account of the
race, color, or religious opinions of the applicant or scholar." "Any
child, who, on account of his race, color, or religious opinions
should be excluded from any public or district school, if otherwise
qualified," might recover damages in an action of _tort_, brought in
the name of the child in any court of competent jurisdiction, against
the city or town in which the school was located.[62]


passed an act in 1823 providing against the meeting together of
slaves, free Negroes, or Mulattoes above the number of five. They were
not allowed to meet at any public house in the night; or at any house,
for teaching, reading, or writing, in the day or night. The penalty
for the violation of this law was whipping, "not exceeding
thirty-nine" lashes.

In 1831 an act was passed making it "unlawful for any slave, free
negro, or mulatto to preach the Gospel," upon pain of receiving
thirty-nine lashes upon the naked back of the presumptuous preacher.
If a Negro received written permission from his master he might preach
to the Negroes in his immediate neighborhood, providing six
respectable white men, owners of slaves, were present.

In 1846, and again in 1848, school laws were enacted, but in both
instances schools and education were prescribed for "white youth
between the ages of six and twenty years."


ordered all free persons of color to move out of the State in 1845. In
1847 an act was passed providing that "no person shall keep or teach
any school for the instruction of negroes or mulattoes in reading or
writing in this State."


had the courage and patriotism, in 1777, to extend the right of
suffrage to every male inhabitant of full age. But by the revised
constitution, in 1821, this liberal provision was abridged so that
"no man of color, unless he shall have been for three years a citizen
of this State, and for one year next preceding any election, shall be
seized and possessed of a freehold estate of $250 over and above all
debts and encumbrances charged thereon, and shall have been actually
rated and paid a tax thereon, shall be entitled to vote at any such
election. And no person of color shall be subject to direct taxation
unless he shall be seized and possessed of such real estate as
aforesaid." In 1846, and again in 1850, a Constitutional amendment
conferring equal privileges upon the Negroes, was voted down by large

A school for Negro slaves was opened in the city of New York in 1704
by Elias Neau, a native of France, and a catechist of the "Society for
the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts." After a long
imprisonment for his public profession of faith as a Protestant, he
founded an asylum in New York. His sympathies were awakened by the
condition of the Negroes in slavery in that city, who numbered about
1,500 at that time. The difficulties of holding any intercourse with
them seemed almost insurmountable. At first he could only visit them
from house to house, after his day's toil was over; afterward he was
permitted to gather them together in a room in his own house for a
short time in the evening. As the result of his instructions at the
end of four years, in 1708, the ordinary number under his instruction
was 200. Many were judged worthy to receive the sacrament at the hands
of Mr. Vesey, the rector of Trinity Church, some of whom became
regular and devout communicants, remarkable for their orderly and
blameless lives.

But soon after this time some Negroes of the Carmantee and Pappa
tribes formed a plot for setting fire to the city and murdering the
English on a certain night. The work was commenced but checked, and
after a short struggle the English subdued the Negroes. Immediately a
loud and angry clamor arose against Elias Neau, his accusers saying
that his school was the cause of the murderous attempt. He denied the
charge in vain; and so furious were the people that, for a time, his
life was in danger. The evidence, however, at the trial proved that
the Negroes most deeply engaged in this plot were those whose masters
were most opposed to any means for their instruction. Yet the offence
of a few was charged upon the race, and even the provincial government
lent its authority to make the burden of Neau the heavier. The common
council passed an order forbidding Negroes "to appear in the streets
after sunset, without lanthorns or candles"; and as they could not
procure these, the result was to break up the labors of Neau. But at
this juncture Governor Hunter interposed, and went to visit the school
of Neau, accompanied by several officers of rank and by the society's
missionaries, and he was so well pleased that he gave his full
approval to the work, and in a public proclamation called upon the
clergy of the province to exhort their congregations to extend their
approval also. Vesey, the good rector of Trinity Church, had long
watched the labors of Neau and witnessed the progress of his scholars,
as well as assisted him in them; and finally the governor, the
council, mayor, recorder, and two chief justices of New York joined in
declaring that Neau "in a very eminent degree deserved the
countenance, favor, and protection of the society." He therefore
continued his labors until 1722, when, "amid the unaffected sorrow of
his negro scholars and the friends who honored him for their sake, he
was removed by death."

The work was then continued by "Huddlestone, then schoolmaster in New
York"; and he was succeeded by Rev. Mr. Wetmore, who removed in 1726
to Rye; whereupon the Rev. Mr. Colgan was appointed to assist the
rector of Trinity Church, and to carry on the instruction of the
Negroes. A few years afterward Thomas Noxon assisted Mr. Colgan, and
their joint success was very satisfactory. Rev. R. Charlton, who had
been engaged in similar labor at New Windsor, was called to New York
in 1732, where he followed up the work successfully for fifteen years,
and was succeeded by Rev. Samuel Auchmuty. Upon the death of Thomas
Noxon, in 1741, Mr. Hildreth took his place, who, in 1764, wrote that
"not a single black admitted by him to the holy communion had turned
out badly, or in any way disgraced his profession." Both Auchmuty and
Hildreth received valuable support from Mr. Barclay, who, upon the
death of Mr. Vesey, in 1746, had been appointed to the rectory of
Trinity Church.

The frequent kidnapping of free persons of color excited public alarm
and resulted in the formation of "The New York Society for Promoting
the Manumission of Slaves, and Protecting such of them as have been or
may be Liberated." These are the names of the gentlemen who organized
the society, and became the board of trustees of the "_New York
African Free School_":

Melancthon Smith, Jno. Bleeker, James Cogswell, Lawrence Embree,
Thomas Burling, Willett Leaman, Jno. Lawrence, Jacob Leaman, White
Mattock, Mathew Clarkson, Nathaniel Lawrence, Jno. Murray, Jr.

Their school, located in Cliff Street, between Beekman and Ferry, was
opened in 1786, taught by Cornelius Davis, attended by about forty
pupils of both sexes, and appears, from their book of minutes, to have
been satisfactorily conducted. In the year 1791 a female teacher was
added to instruct the girls in needle-work, the expected advantages of
which measure were soon realized and highly gratifying to the society.
In 1808 the society was incorporated, and in the preamble it is
recorded that "a free school for the education of such persons as have
been liberated from bondage, that they may hereafter become useful
members of the community," has been established. It may be proper here
to remark that the good cause in which the friends of this school were
engaged, was far from being a popular one. The prejudices of a large
portion of the community were against it; the means in the hands of
the trustees were often very inadequate, and many seasons of
discouragement were witnessed; but they were met by men who, trusting
in the Divine support, were resolved neither to relax their exertions
nor to retire from the field.

Through the space of about twenty years they struggled on; the number
of scholars varying from forty to sixty, until the year 1809, when the
Lancasterian, or monitorial, system of instruction was introduced
(this being the second school in the United States to adopt the plan),
under a new teacher, E. J. Cox, and a very favorable change was
produced, the number of pupils, and the efficiency of their
instruction being largely increased.

Soon after this, however, in January, 1814, their school-house was
destroyed by fire, which checked the progress of the school for a
time, as no room could be obtained large enough to accommodate the
whole number of pupils. A small room in Doyer Street was temporarily
hired, to keep the school together till further arrangements could be
made, and an appeal was made to the liberality of the citizens and to
the corporation of the city, which resulted in obtaining from the
latter a grant of two lots of ground in William. Street, on which to
build a new school-house; and in January, 1815, a commodious brick
building, to accommodate 200 pupils, was finished on this lot, and
the school was resumed with fresh vigor and increasing interest. In a
few months the room became so crowded that it was found necessary to
engage a separate room, next to the school, to accommodate such of the
pupils as were to be taught sewing. This branch had been for many
years discontinued, but was now resumed under the direction of Miss
Lucy Turpen, a young lady whose amiable disposition and faithful
discharge of her duties rendered her greatly esteemed both by her
pupils and the trustees. This young lady, after serving the board for
several years, removed with her parents to Ohio, and her place was
supplied by Miss Mary Lincrum, who was succeeded by Miss Eliza J. Cox,
and the latter by Miss Mary Ann Cox, and she by Miss Carolina Roe,
under each of whom the school continued to sustain a high character
for order and usefulness.

The school in William Street increasing in numbers, another building
was found necessary, and was built on a lot of ground 50 by 100 feet
square, on Mulberry Street, between Grand and Hester streets, to
accommodate five hundred pupils, and was completed and occupied, with
C. C. Andrews for teacher, in May, 1820.

General Lafayette visited this school September 10, 1824, an abridged
account of which is copied from the "Commercial Advertiser" of that


     "At 1 o'clock the general, with the company invited for the
     occasion, visited the African free school, on Mulberry Street.
     This school embraces about 500 scholars; about 450 were present
     on this occasion, and they are certainly the best disciplined and
     most interesting school of children we have ever witnessed. As
     the general was conducted to a seat, Mr. Ketchum adverted to the
     fact that as long ago as 1788 the general had been elected a
     member of the institution (Manumission Society) at the same time
     with Granville Sharp and Thomas Clarkson, of England. The general
     perfectly remembered the circumstances, and mentioned
     particularly the letter he had received on that occasion from the
     Hon. John Jay, then president of the society. One of the pupils,
     Master James M. Smith, aged eleven years, then stepped forward
     and gracefully delivered the following address:

     "'GENERAL LAFAYETTE: In behalf of myself and fellow-schoolmates
     may I be permitted to express our sincere and respectful
     gratitude to you for the condescension you have manifested this
     day in visiting this institution, which is one of the noblest
     specimens of New York philanthropy. Here, sir, you behold
     hundreds of the poor children of Africa sharing with those of a
     lighter hue in the blessings of education; and while it will be
     our pleasure to remember the great deeds you have done for
     America, it will be our delight also to cherish the memory of
     General Lafayette as a friend to African emancipation, and as a
     member of this institution.'

     "To which the general replied, in his own characteristic style,
     'I thank you, my dear child.'

     "Several of the pupils underwent short examinations, and one of
     them explained the use of the globes and answered many questions
     in geography."


These schools continued to flourish under the same management, and
with an attendance varying from 600 in 1824 to 862 in 1832, in the
latter part of which year the Manumission Society, whose schools were
not in part supported by the public fund, applied to the Public School
Society for a committee of conference to effect a union. It was felt
by the trustees that on many accounts it was better that the two sets
of schools should remain separate, but, fearing further diversion of
the school fund, it was desirable that the number of societies
participating should be as small as possible, and arrangements were
accordingly made for a transfer of the schools and property of the
elder society. After some delay, in consequence of legislative action
being found necessary to give a title to their real estate, on the 2d
of May, 1834, the transfer was effected, all their schools and school
property passing into the hands of the New York Public School Society,
at an appraised valuation of $12,130.22.

The aggregate register of these schools at the time of the transfer
was nearly 1,400, with an average attendance of about one half that
number. They were placed in charge of a committee with powers similar
to the committee on primary schools, but their administration was not
satisfactory, and it was soon found that the schools had greatly
diminished in numbers, efficiency, and usefulness. A committee of
inquiry was appointed, and reported that, in consequence of the great
anti-slavery riots and attacks on Colored people, many families had
removed from the city, and of those that remained many kept their
children at home; they knew the Manumission Society as their special
friends, but knew nothing of the Public School Society; the reduction
of all the schools but one to the grade of primary had given great
offence; also the discharge of teachers long employed, and the
discontinuance of rewards, and taking home of spelling books; strong
prejudices had grown up against the Public School Society. The
committee recommended a prompt assimilation of the Colored schools to
the white; the establishment of two or more upper schools in a new
building; a normal school for Colored monitors; and the appointment of
a Colored man as school agent, at $150 a year. The school on Mulberry
Street at this time, 1835, was designated Colored Grammar School No.
1. A. Libolt was principal, and registered 317 pupils; there were also
six primaries, located in different parts of the city, with an
aggregate attendance of 925 pupils.

In 1836 a new school building was completed in Laurens Street, opened
with 210 pupils, R. F. Wake (colored), principal, and was designated
Colored Grammar School No. 2. Other means were taken to improve the
schools, and to induce the Colored people to patronize them; the
principal of No. 1, Mr. Libolt, was replaced by Mr. John Peterson,
colored, a sufficient assurance of whose ability and success we have
in the fact that he has been continued in the position ever since. A
"Society for the Promotion of Education among Colored Children" was
organized, and established two additional schools, one in Thomas
Street, and one in Centre, and a marked improvement was manifest; but
it required a long time to restore the confidence and interest felt
before the transfer, and even up to 1848 the aggregate attendance in
all the Colored schools was only 1,375 pupils.

In the winter of 1852 the first evening schools for Colored pupils
were opened; one for males and one for females, and were attended by
379 pupils. In the year 1853 the Colored schools, with all the schools
and school property of the Public School Society, were transferred to
the "Board of Education of the City and County of New York," and still
further improvements were made in them; a normal school for Colored
teachers was established, with Mr. John Peterson, principal, and the
schools were graded in the same manner as those for white children.
Colored Grammar School No. 3, was opened at 78 West Fortieth Street,
Miss Caroline W. Simpson, principal, and in the ensuing year three
others were added; No. 4 in One Hundred and Twentieth Street (Harlem),
Miss Nancy Thompson, principal; No. 5, at 101 Hudson Street, P. W.
Williams, principal; and No. 6, at 1,167 Broadway, Prince Leveridge,
principal. Grammar Schools Nos. 2, 3, and 4, had primary departments
attached, and there were also at this time three separate primary
schools, and the aggregate attendance in all was 2,047. Since then the
attendance in these schools has not varied much from these figures.
The schools themselves have been altered and modified from time to
time, as their necessity seemed to indicate; though under the general
management of the Board of Education, they have been in the care of
the school officers of the wards in which they are located, and while
in some cases they received the proper attention, in others they were
either wholly, or in part, neglected. A recent act has placed them
directly in charge of the Board of Education, who have appointed a
special committee to look after their interests, and measures are
being taken by them which will give this class of schools every
opportunity and convenience possessed by any other, and, it is hoped,
will also improve the grade of its scholarship.[63]


suffered her free persons of color to maintain schools until 1835,
when they were abolished by law. During the period referred to, the
Colored schools were taught by white teachers, but after 1835 the few
teachers who taught Colored children in private houses were Colored
persons. The public-school system of North Carolina provided that no
descendant from Negro ancestors, to the fourth generation inclusive,
should enjoy the benefit thereof.


The first schools for Colored children in Ohio were established at
Cincinnati in 1820, by Colored men. These schools were not kept up
regularly. A white gentleman named Wing, who taught a night school
near the corner of Vine and Sixth Streets, admitted Colored pupils
into his school. Owen T. B. Nickens, a public-spirited and intelligent
Colored man, did much to establish schools for the Colored people.

In 1835 a school for Colored children was opened in the Baptist Church
on Western Row. It was taught at different periods by Messrs. Barbour,
E. Fairchild, W. Robinson, and Augustus Wattles; and by the
following-named ladies: Misses Bishop, Matthews, Lowe, and Mrs.
Merrell. Although excellent teachers as well as upright ladies and
gentlemen, they were subjected to great persecutions. They were unable
to secure board, because the spirit of the whites would not
countenance the teachers of Negro schools, and they spelled the word
with two g's. And at times the teachers were compelled to close the
school on account of the violence of the populace. The salaries of the
teachers were paid partly by an educational society of white
philanthropists, and partly by such Colored persons as had means. Of
the latter class were John Woodson, John Liverpool, Baker Jones,
Dinnis Hill, Joseph Fowler, and William O'Hara.

In 1844, the Rev. Hiram S. Gilmore, founded the "Cincinnati High
School" for Colored youth. Mr. Gilmore was a man rich in sentiments of
humanity, and endowed plenteously with executive ability and this
world's goods. All these he consecrated to the elevation and education
of the Colored people.

This school-house was located at the east end of Harrison Street, and
was in every sense a model building, comprising five rooms, a chapel,
a gymnasium, and spacious grounds. The pupils increased yearly, and
the character of the school made many friends for the cause. The
following persons taught in this school: Joseph H. Moore, Thomas L.
Boucher, David P. Lowe, Dr. A. L. Childs, and W. F. Colburn. Dr.
Childs became principal of the school in 1848.

In 1849, the Legislature passed an act establishing schools for
Colored children, to be maintained at the public expense. In 1850, a
board of Colored trustees was elected, teachers employed, and
buildings hired. The schools were put in operation. The law of 1849
provided that so much of the funds belonging to the city of Cincinnati
as would fall to the Colored youth, by a _per capita_ division, should
be held subject to the order of the Colored trustees. But their order
was not honored by the city treasurer, upon the ground that under the
constitution of the State only electors could hold office; that
Colored men were not electors, and, therefore, could not hold office.
After three months the Colored schools were closed, and the teachers
went out without their salaries.

John I. Gaines, an intelligent and fearless Colored leader, made a
statement of the case to a public meeting of the Colored people of
Cincinnati, and urged the employment of counsel to try the case in
the courts. Money was raised, and Flamen Ball, Sr., was secured to
make an application for _mandamus_. The case was finally carried to
the Supreme Court and won by the Colored people.

In 1851, the schools were opened again; but the rooms were small and
wretchedly appointed, and the trustees unable to provide better ones.
Without notice the Colored trustees were deposed. The management of
the Colored schools was vested in a board of trustees and school
visitors, who were also in charge of the schools for the white
children. This board, under a new law, had authority to appoint six
Colored men who were to manage the Colored schools with the exception
of the school fund. This greatly angered the leading Colored men, and,
therefore, they refused to endorse this new management.

The law was altered in 1856, giving the Colored people the right to
elect, by ballot, their own trustees.

In 1858, Nicholas Longworth built the first school-house for the
Colored people, and gave them the building on a lease of fourteen
years, in which time they were to pay for it--$14,000. In 1859, a
large building was erected on Court Street.

Oberlin College opened its doors to Colored students from the moment
of its existence in 1833, and they have never been closed at any time
since. It was here that the incomparable Finney, with the fierceness
of John Baptist, the gentleness of John the Evangelist, the logic of
Paul, and the eloquence of Isaiah, pleaded the cause of the American
slave, and gave instruction to all who sat at his feet regardless of
color or race. George B. Vashon, William Howard Day, John Mercer
Langston, and many other Colored men graduated from Oberlin College
before any of the other leading colleges of the country had consented
to give Colored men a classical education.


Anthony Benezet established, in 1750, the first school for Colored
people in this State, and taught it himself without money and without
price. He solicited funds for the erection of a school-house for the
Colored children, and of their intellectual capacities said: "I can
with truth and sincerity declare that I have found among the negroes
as great variety of talents as among a like number of whites, and I am
bold to assert that the notion entertained by some, that the blacks
are inferior in their capacity, is a vulgar prejudice, founded on the
pride or ignorance of their lordly masters, who have kept their slaves
at such a distance as to be unable to form a right judgment of them."

He died on the 3d of May, 1784, universally beloved and sincerely
mourned, especially by the Negro population of Pennsylvania, for whose
education he had done so much. The following clause in his will
illustrates his character in respect to public instruction:

     "I give my above said house and lot, or ground-rent proceeding
     from it, and the rest and residue of my estate which shall remain
     undisposed of after my wife's decease, both real and personal, to
     the public school of Philadelphia, founded by charter, and to
     their successors forever, in trust, that they shall sell my house
     and lot on perpetual ground-rent forever, if the same be not
     already sold by my executors, as before mentioned, and that as
     speedily as may be they receive and take as much of my personal
     estate as may be remaining, and therewith purchase a yearly
     ground-rent, or ground-rents, and with the income of such
     ground-rent proceeding from the sale of my real estate, hire and
     employ a religious-minded person, or persons, to teach a number
     of negro, mulatto, or Indian children to read, write, arithmetic,
     plain accounts, needle-work, etc. And it is my particular desire,
     founded on the experience I have had in that service, that in the
     choice of such tutors, special care may be had to prefer an
     industrious, careful person of true piety, who may be or become
     suitably qualified, who would undertake the service from a
     principle of charity, to one more highly learned, not equally
     disposed; this I desire may be carefully attended to, sensible
     that from the number of pupils of all ages, the irregularity of
     attendance their situation subjects them to will not admit of
     that particular inspection in their improvement usual in other
     schools, but that the real well-doing of the scholars will very
     much depend upon the master making a special conscience of doing
     his duty; and shall likewise defray such other necessary expense
     as may occur in that service; and as the said remaining income of
     my estate, after my wife's decease, will not be sufficient to
     defray the whole expense necessary for the support of such a
     school, it is my request that the overseers of the said public
     school shall join in the care and expense of such school, or
     schools, for the education of negro, mulatto, or Indian children,
     with any committee which may be appointed by the monthly meetings
     of Friends in Philadelphia, or with any other body of benevolent
     persons who may join in raising money and employing it for the
     education and care of such children; my desire being that as
     such a school is now set up, it may be forever maintained in this

Just before his death he addressed the following note to the
"overseers of the school for the instruction of the black people."

     "My friend, Joseph Clark, having frequently observed to me his
     desire, in case of my inability of continuing the care of the
     negro school, of succeeding me in that service, notwithstanding
     he now has a more advantageous school, by the desire of doing
     good to the black people makes him overlook these pecuniary
     advantages, I much wish the overseers of the school would take
     his desires under their peculiar notice and give him such due
     encouragement as may be proper, it being a matter of the greatest
     consequence to that school that the master be a person who makes
     it a principle to do his duty."

The noble friends were early in the field as the champions of
education for the Negroes. It was Anthony Benezet, who, on the 26th of
January, 1770, secured the appointment of a committee by the monthly
meeting of the Friends, "to consider on the instruction of negro and
mulatto children in reading, writing, and other useful learning
suitable to their capacity and circumstances." On the 30th of May,
1770, a special committee of Friends sought to employ an instructor
"to teach, not more at one time than thirty children, in the first
rudiments of school learning and in sewing and knitting." Moles
Paterson was first employed at a salary of £80 a year, and an
additional sum of £11 for one half of the rent of his dwelling-house.
Instruction was free to the poor; but those who were able to pay were
required to do so "at the rate of 10s. a quarter for those who write,
and 7s. 6d. for others."

In 1784, William Waring was placed in charge of the larger children,
at a salary of £100; and Sarah Dougherty, of the younger children and
girls, in teaching spelling, reading, sewing, etc., at a salary of
£50. In 1787, aid was received from David Barclay, of London, in
behalf of a committee for managing a donation for the relief of
Friends in America; and the sum of £500 was thus obtained, which, with
the fund derived from the estate of Benezet, and £300 from Thomas
Shirley, a Colored man, was appropriated to the erection of a
school-house. In 1819 a committee of "women Friends," to have
exclusive charge of the admission of girls and the general
superintendence of the girls' school, was associated with the
overseers in the charge of the school. In 1830, in order to relieve
the day school of some of the male adults who had been in the habit of
attending, an evening school for the purpose of instructing such
persons gratuitously was opened, and has been continued to the present
time. In 1844, a lot was secured on Locust Street, extending along
Shield's Alley, now Aurora Street, on which a new house was erected in
1847, the expense of which was paid for in part from the proceeds of
the sale of a lot bequeathed by John Pemberton. Additional
accommodations were made to this building, from time to time, as room
was demanded by new classes of pupils.

In 1849, a statistical return of the condition of the people of color
in the city and districts of Philadelphia shows that there were then
one grammar school, with 463 pupils; two public primary schools, with
339; and an infant school, under the charge of the Pennsylvania
Abolition Society, of 70 pupils, in Clifton Street: a ragged and a
moral-reform school, with 81 pupils. In West Philadelphia there was
also a public school, with 67 pupils; and, in all, there were about 20
private schools, with 300 pupils; making an aggregate of more than
1,300 children receiving an education.

In 1859, according to Bacon's "Statistics of the Colored People of
Philadelphia," there were 1,031 Colored children in public schools,
748 in charity schools of various kinds, 211 in benevolent and
reformatory schools, and 331 in private schools, making an aggregate
of 2,321 pupils; besides four evening schools, one for adult males,
one for females, and one for young apprentices. There were 19
Sunday-schools connected with the congregations of the Colored people,
and conducted by their own teachers, containing 1,667 pupils, and four
Sunday-schools gathered as mission schools by members of white
congregations, with 215 pupils. There was also a "Public Library and
Reading-room" connected with the "Institute for Colored Youth,"
established in 1853, having about 1,300 volumes; besides three other
small libraries in different parts of the city. The same pamphlet
shows that there were 1,700 of the Colored population engaged in
different trades and occupations, representing every department of

In 1794, the Pennsylvania Abolition Society established a school for
children of the people of color, and in 1809 erected a school building
at a cost of four thousand dollars, which they designated as "Clarkson
Hall," in 1815. In 1813, a board of education was organized consisting
of thirteen persons, with a visiting committee of three, whose duty it
was to visit the schools once each week. In 1818, the school board, in
their report, speak very kindly and encouragingly of the Clarkson
Schools, which, they say, "furnish a decided refutation of the charge
that the mental endowments of the descendants of Africa are inferior
to those possessed by their white brethren. We can assert, without
fear of contradiction, that the pupils of this seminary will sustain a
fair comparison with those of any other institution in which the same
elementary branches are taught."

In 1820, an effort was made to have the authorities of the white
schools provide for the education of the Colored children as well as
the whites, because the laws of the State required the education of
all the youth. The comptrollers of the public schools confessed that
the law provided for the education of "poor and indigent children,"
and that it extended to those of persons of color. Accordingly, in
1822, a school for the education of indigent persons of color of both
sexes, was opened in Lombard Street, Philadelphia. In 1841, a primary
school was opened in the same building. In 1833, the "Unclassified
School" in Coates Street, and at frequent intervals after this several
schools of the same grade, were started in West Philadelphia.

In 1837, by the will of Richard Humphreys, who died in 1832, an
"Institute for Colored Youth" was started. The sum of ten thousand
dollars was devised to certain trustees who were to pay it over to
some society that might be disposed to establish a school for the
education of the "descendants of the African race in school learning
in the various branches of the mechanic arts and trade, and in
agriculture." Thirty members of the society of Friends formed
themselves into an association for the purpose of carrying out the
wishes and plans of Mr. Humphreys. In the preamble of the constitution
they adopted, their ideas and plans were thus set forth:

     "We believe that the most successful method of elevating the
     moral and intellectual character of the descendants of Africa, as
     well as of improving their social condition, is to extend to them
     the benefits of a good education, and to instruct them in the
     knowledge of some useful trade or business, whereby they may be
     enabled to obtain a comfortable livelihood by their own industry;
     and through these means to prepare them for fulfilling the
     various duties of domestic and social life with reputation and
     fidelity, as good citizens and pious men."

In order to carry out the feature of agricultural and mechanic arts,
the association purchased a farm in Bristol township, Philadelphia
County, in 1839, where boys of the Colored race were taught farming,
shoemaking, and other useful trades. The incorporation of the
institution was secured in 1842, and in 1844 another friend
dying--Jonathan Zane--added a handsome sum to the treasury, which,
with several small legacies, made $18,000 for this enterprise. But in
1846 the work came to a standstill; the farm with its equipments was
sold, and for six years very little was done, except through a night

In 1851, a lot for a school building was purchased on Lombard Street,
and a building erected, and the school opened in the autumn of 1852,
for boys, under the care of Charles L. Reason, an accomplished young
Colored teacher from New York. A girls' school was opened the same
year, and, under Mr. Reason's excellent instruction, many worthy and
competent teachers and leaders of the Negro race came forth.

Avery College, at Allegheny City, was founded by the Rev. Charles
Avery, a native of New York, but for the greater part of a long and
useful life adorned by the noblest virtues, a resident of
Pennsylvania. By will he left $300,000 for the christianization of the
African race; $150,000 to be used in Africa, and $150,000 in America.
He left $25,000 as an endowment fund for Avery College.

At a stated meeting during the session of the Presbytery at New
Castle, Pa., October 5, 1853, it was resolved that "there shall be
established within our bounds, and under our supervision, an
institution, to be called the Ashum Institute, for the scientific,
classical, and theological education of colored youth of the male

Accordingly, J. M. Dickey, A. Hamilton, R. P. Dubois, ministers; and
Samuel J. Dickey and John M. Kelton, ruling elders, were appointed a
committee to perfect the idea. They were to solicit and receive funds,
secure a charter from the State of Pennsylvania, and erect suitable
buildings for the institute. On the 14th of November, 1853, they
purchased thirty acres of land at the cost of $1,250. At the session
of the Legislature in 1854, a charter was granted establishing "at or
near a place called Hinsonville, in the county of Chester, an
institution of learning for the scientific, classical, and theological
education of colored youth of the male sex, by the name and style of
Ashum Institute." The trustees were John M. Dickey, Alfred Hamilton,
Robert P. Dubois, James Latta, John B. Spottswood, James M. Crowell,
Samuel J. Dickey, John M. Kelton, and William Wilson.

By the provisions of the charter the trustees were empowered "to
procure the endowment of the institute, not exceeding the sum of
$100,000; to confer such literary degrees and academic honors as are
usually granted by colleges"; and it was required that "the institute
shall be open to the admission of colored pupils of the male sex, of
all religious denominations, who exhibit a fair moral character, and
are willing to yield a ready obedience to the general regulations
prescribed for the conduct of the pupils and the government of the

The institute was formally dedicated on the 31st of December, 1856. It
is now known as Lincoln University.


conferred the right of elective franchise upon her Colored citizens by
her constitution in 1843, and ever since equal privileges have been
afforded them. In 1828 the Colored people of Providence petitioned for
a separate school, but it was finally abolished by an act of the


took the lead in legislating against the instruction of the Colored
race, as she subsequently took the lead in seceding from the Union. In
1740, while yet a British province, the Legislature passed the
following law:

     "Whereas the having of slaves taught to write, or suffering them
     to be employed in writing, may be attended with inconveniences,
     _Be it enacted_, That all and every person and persons
     whatsoever, who shall hereafter teach, or cause any slave or
     slaves to be taught, or shall use or employ any slave as a scribe
     in any manner of writing whatever, hereafter taught to write,
     every such person or persons shall for every such offense forfeit
     the sum of £100 current money."

In 1800 the State Assembly passed an act, embracing free Colored
people as well as slaves in its shameful provisions, enacting "that
assemblies of slaves, free negroes, mulattoes, and mestizoes, whether
composed of all or any such description of persons, or of all or any
of the same and a proportion of white persons, met together for the
purpose of _mental_ instruction in a confined or secret place, or with
the gates or doors of such place barred, bolted, or locked, so as to
prevent the free ingress to and from the same," are declared to be
unlawful meetings; the officers dispersing such unlawful assemblages
being authorized to "inflict such corporal punishment, not exceeding
twenty lashes, upon such slaves, free negroes, mulattoes, and
mestizoes, as they may judge necessary for deterring them from the
like unlawful assemblage in future." Another section of the same act
declares, "that it shall not be lawful for any number of slaves, free
negroes, mulattoes, or mestizoes, even in company with white persons,
to meet together and assemble for the purpose of mental instruction or
religious worship before the rising of the sun or after the going down
of the same." This section was so oppressive, that in 1803, in answer
to petitions from certain religious societies, an amending act was
passed forbidding any person before 9 o'clock in the evening "to break
into a place of meeting wherever shall be assembled the members of any
religious society of the State, provided a majority of them shall be
white persons, or other to disturb their devotions unless a warrant
has been procured from a magistrate, if at the time of the meeting
there should be a magistrate within three miles of the place; if not,
the act of 1800 is to remain in full force."

On the 17th of December, 1834, definite action was taken against the
education of free Colored persons as well as slaves. The first section
is given:

     "SECTION 1. If any person shall hereafter teach any slave to read
     or write, or shall aid or assist in teaching any slave to read or
     write, or cause or procure any slave to be taught to read or
     write, such person, if a free white person, upon conviction
     thereof shall, for each and every offense against, this act, be
     fined not exceeding $100 and imprisonment not more than six
     months; or, if a free person of color, shall be whipped not
     exceeding fifty lashes, and fined not exceeding $50, at the
     discretion of the court of magistrates and freeholders before
     which such free person of color is tried; and if a slave, to be
     whipped, at the discretion of the court, not exceeding fifty
     lashes, the informer to be entitled to one-half the fine and to
     be a competent witness. And if any free person of color or slave
     shall keep any school or other place of instruction for teaching
     any slave or free person of color to read or write, such free
     person of color or slave shall be liable to the same fine,
     imprisonment, and corporal punishment as by this act are imposed
     and inflicted on free persons of color and slaves for teaching
     slaves to write."

The second section forbids, under pain of severe penalties, the
employment of any Colored persons as "clerks or salesmen in or about
any shop, store, or house used for trading."


passed a law in 1838 establishing a system of common schools by which
the scholars were designated as "white children over the age of six
years and under sixteen." In 1840 an act was passed in which no
discrimination against color appeared. It simply provided that "all
children between the ages of six and twenty-one years shall have the
privilege of attending the public schools." And while there was never
afterward any law prohibiting the education of Colored children, the
schools were used exclusively by the whites.


never put any legislation on her statute-books withholding the
blessings of the schools from the Negro, for the reason, doubtless,
that she banished all free persons of color, and worked her slaves so
hard that they had no hunger for books when night came.


under Sir William Berkeley, was not a strong patron of education for
the masses. For the slave there was little opportunity to learn, as he
was only allowed part of Saturday to rest, and kept under the closest
surveillance on the Sabbath day. The free persons of color were
regarded with suspicion, and little chance was given them to cultivate
their minds.

On the 2d of March, 1819, an act was passed prohibiting "all meetings
or assemblages of slaves, or free negroes, or mulattoes, mixing and
associating with such slaves, at any meeting-house or houses, or any
other place or places, in the night, or at any school or schools for
teaching them reading and writing either in the day or night." But
notwithstanding this law, schools for free persons of color were kept
up until the Nat. Turner insurrection in 1831, when, on the 7th of
April following, the subjoined act was passed:

     "SEC. 4. _And be it enacted_, That all meetings of free negroes
     or mulattoes at any school-house, church, meeting-house, or other
     place, for teaching them reading or writing, either in the day or
     night, under whatsoever pretext, shall be deemed and considered
     an unlawful assembly; and any justice of the county or
     corporation wherein such assemblage shall be, either from his own
     knowledge, or on the information of others of such unlawful
     assemblage or meeting, shall issue his warrant directed to any
     sworn officer or officers, authorizing him or them to enter the
     house or houses where such unlawful assemblage or meeting may be,
     for the purpose of apprehending or dispersing such free negroes
     or mulattoes, and to inflict corporal punishment on the offender
     or offenders, at the discretion of any justice of the peace, not
     exceeding 26 lashes.

     "SEC. 5. _And be it enacted_, That if any person or persons
     assemble with free negroes or mulattoes at any school-house,
     church, meeting-house, or other place, for the purpose of
     instructing such free negroes or mulattoes to read or write, such
     persons or persons shall, on conviction thereof, be fined in a
     sum not exceeding $50, and, moreover, may be imprisoned, at the
     discretion of a jury, not exceeding two months.

     "SEC. 6. _And be it enacted_, That if any white person, for pay
     or compensation, shall assemble with any slaves for the purpose
     of teaching, and shall teach any slave to read or write, such
     person, or any white person or persons contracting with such
     teacher so to act, who shall offend as aforesaid, shall, for each
     offense, be fined, at the discretion of a jury, in a sum not less
     than $10, nor exceeding $100, to be recovered on an information
     or indictment."

This law was rigidly enforced, and in 1851, Mrs. Margaret Douglass, a
white lady from South Carolina, was cast into the Norfolk jail for
violating its provisions.

West Virginia was not admitted into the Union until 1863. Wisconsin,
Vermont, New Hampshire, and New Jersey did not prohibit the education
of their Colored children.


presents a more pleasing and instructive field for the examination of
the curious student of history.

In 1807, the first school-house for the use of Colored pupils was
erected in Washington, D. C., by three Colored men, named George Bell,
Nicholas Franklin, and Moses Liverpool. Not one of this trio of Negro
educators knew a letter of the alphabet; but having lived as slaves in
Virginia, they had learned to appreciate the opinion that learning was
of great price. They secured a white teacher, named Lowe, and put
their school in operation.

At this time the entire population of free persons amounted to 494
souls. After a brief period the school subsided, but was reorganized
again in 1818. The announcement of the opening of the school was
printed in the "National Intelligencer" on the 29th of August, 1818.

                             "_A School_,

     Founded by an association of free people of color, of the city of
     Washington, called the 'Resolute Beneficial Society,' situate
     near the Eastern Public School and the dwelling of Mrs. Fenwick,
     is now open for the reception of children of free people of color
     and others, that ladies or gentlemen may think proper to send to
     be instructed in reading, writing, arithmetic, English grammar,
     or other branches of education apposite to their capacities, by a
     steady, active, and experienced teacher, whose attention is
     wholly devoted to the purposes described. It is presumed that
     free colored families will embrace the advantages thus presented
     to them, either by subscribing to the funds of the society, or by
     sending their children to the school. An improvement of the
     intellect and morals of colored youth being the objects of this
     institution, the patronage of benevolent ladies, and gentlemen,
     by donation or subscription, is humbly solicited in aid of the
     fund, the demands thereon being heavy and the means at present
     much too limited. For the satisfaction of the public, the
     constitution and articles of association are printed and
     published. And to avoid disagreeable occurrences, no writings are
     to be done by the teacher for a slave, neither directly nor
     indirectly, to serve the purpose of a slave on any account
     whatever. Further particulars may be known by applying to any of
     the undersigned officers.

                         "WILLIAM COSTIN, _President_.
                         "GEORGE HICKS, _Vice-President_.
                         "JAMES HARRIS, _Secretary_.
                         "GEORGE BELL, _Treasurer_.
                         "ARCHIBALD JOHNSON, _Marshal_.
                         "FRED. LEWIS, _Chairman of the Committee_.
                         "ISAAC JOHNSON,} _Committee_.
                         "SCIPIO BEENS, }

     "N. B.--An evening school will commence on the premises on the
     first Monday of October, and continue throughout the season.

     "[Symbol: Right pointing hand.] The managers of Sunday-schools in
     the eastern district are thus most dutifully informed that on
     Sabbath-days the school-house belonging to this society, if
     required for the tuition of colored youth, will be uniformly at
     their service.

                                        _August 29, 3t._"

This school was first taught by a Mr. Pierpont, of Massachusetts, a
relative of the poet, and after several years was succeeded by a
Colored man named John Adams, the first teacher of his race in the
District of Columbia. The average attendance of this school was about
sixty-five or seventy.


The third school for Colored children in Washington was established by
Mr. Henry Potter, an Englishman, who opened his school about 1809, in
a brick building which then stood on the southeast corner of F and
Seventh streets, opposite the block where the post-office building now
stands. He continued there for several years and had a large school,
moving subsequently to what was then known as Clark's Row on
Thirteenth Street, west, between G and H streets, north.


During this period Mrs. Anne Maria Hall started a school on Capitol
Hill, between the old Capitol and Carroll Row, on First Street, east.
After continuing there with a full school for some ten years, she
moved to a building which stood on what is now the vacant portion of
the Casparis House lot on A Street, close to the Capitol. Some years
later she went to the First Bethel Church, and after a year or two she
moved to a house still standing on E Street, north, between Eleventh
and Twelfth, west, and there taught many years. She was a Colored
woman from Prince George's County, Maryland, and had a respectable
education, which she obtained at schools with white children in
Alexandria. Her husband died early, leaving her with children to
support, and she betook herself to the work of a teacher, which she
loved, and in which, for not less than twenty-five years, she met with
uniform success. Her schools were all quite large, and the many who
remember her as their teacher speak of her with great respect.


Of the early teachers of Colored schools in this district there is no
one whose name is mentioned with more gratitude and respect by the
intelligent Colored residents than that of Mrs. Mary Billing, who
established the first Colored school that was gathered in Georgetown.
She was an English woman; her husband, Joseph Billing, a
cabinet-maker, coming from England in 1800, settled with his family
that year in Washington, and dying in 1807, left his wife with three
children. She was well educated, a capable and good woman, and
immediately commenced teaching to support her family. At first, it is
believed, she was connected with the Corporation School of Georgetown.
It was while in a white school certainly that her attention was
arrested by the wants of the Colored children, whom she was accustomed
to receive into her schools, till the opposition became so marked that
she decided to make her school exclusively Colored. She was a woman of
strong religious convictions, and being English, with none of the
ideas peculiar to slave society, when she saw the peculiar destitution
of the Colored children in the community around her, she resolved to
give her life to the class who seemed most to need her services. She
established a Colored school about 1810, in a brick house still
standing on Dunbarton Street, opposite the Methodist church, between
Congress and High streets, remaining there till the winter of
1820-'21, when she came to Washington and opened a school in the house
on H Street, near the Foundry Church, then owned by Daniel Jones, a
Colored man, and still owned and occupied by a member of that family.
She died in 1826, in the fiftieth year of her age. She continued her
school till failing health, a year or so before her death, compelled
its relinquishment. Her school was always large, it being patronized
in Georgetown as well as afterward by the best Colored families of
Washington, many of whom sent their children to her from Capitol Hill
and the vicinity of the Navy Yard. Most of the better-educated Colored
men and women now living, who were school children in her time,
received the best portion of their education from her, and they all
speak of her with a deep and tender sense of obligation. Henry Potter
succeeded her in the Georgetown school, and after him Mr. Shay, an
Englishman, who subsequently came to Washington and for many years had
a large Colored school in a brick building known as the Round Tops, in
the western part of the city, near the Circle, and still later
removing to the old Western Academy building, corner of I and
Seventeenth streets. He was there till about 1830, when he was
convicted of assisting a slave to his freedom, and sent a term to the
penitentiary. Mrs. Billing had a night school in which she was greatly
assisted by Mr. Monroe, a government clerk and a Presbyterian elder,
whose devout and benevolent character is still remembered in the
churches. Mrs. Billing had scholars from Bladensburg and the
surrounding country, who came into Georgetown and boarded with her and
with others. About the time when Mrs. Billing relinquished her school
in 1822 or 1823, what may be properly called


was built by Henry Smothers on the corner of Fourteenth and H streets,
not far from the Treasury building. Smothers had a small
dwelling-house on this corner, and built his school-house on the rear
of the same lot. He had been long a pupil of Mrs. Billing, and had
subsequently taught a school on Washington Street, opposite the Union
Hotel in Georgetown. He opened his school in Washington in the old
corporation school-house, built in 1806, but some years before this
period abandoned as a public school-house. It was known as the Western
Academy, and is still standing and used as a school-house on the
corner of I and Nineteenth streets, west. When his school-house on
Fourteenth and H streets was finished, his school went into the new
quarters. This school was very large, numbering always more than a
hundred and often as high as a hundred and fifty scholars. He taught
here about two years, and was succeeded by John W. Prout about the
year 1825. Prout was a man of ability. In 1831, May 4, there was a
meeting, says the "National Intelligencer" of that date, of "the
colored citizens, large and very respectable, in the African Methodist
Episcopal Church," to consider the question of emigrating to Liberia.
John W. Prout was chosen to preside over the assemblage, and the
article in the "Intelligencer" represents him as making "a speech of
decided force and well adapted to the occasion, in support of a set of
resolutions which he had drafted, and which set forth views adverse to
leaving the soil that had given them birth, their true and veritable
home, _without the benefits of education_." The school under Prout was
governed by a board of trustees and was organized as


and so continued two or three years. The number of scholars was very
large, averaging a hundred and fifty. Mrs. Anne Maria Hall was the
assistant teacher. It relied mainly for support upon subscription,
twelve and a half cents a month only being expected from each pupil,
and this amount was not compulsory. The school was free to all Colored
children, without money or price, and so continued two or three years,
when failing of voluntary pecuniary support (it never wanted
scholars), it became a regular tuition school. The school under Mr.
Prout was called the "Columbian Institute," the name being suggested
by John McLeod, the famous Irish school-master, who was a warm friend
of this institution after visiting and commending the scholars and
teachers, and who named his new building, in 1835, the Columbian
Academy. The days of thick darkness to the Colored people were
approaching. The Nat. Turner insurrection in Southampton County,
Virginia, which occurred in August, 1831, spread terror everywhere in
slave communities. In this district, immediately upon that terrible
occurrence, the Colored children, who had in very large numbers been
received into the Sabbath-schools in the white churches, were all
turned out of those schools. This event, though seeming to be a fiery
affliction, proved a blessing in disguise. It aroused the energies of
the Colored people, taught them self-reliance, and they organized
forthwith Sabbath-schools of their own. It was in the Smothers
school-house that they formed their first Sunday-school, about the
year 1832, and here they continued their very large school for several
years, the Fifteenth Street Presbyterian Church ultimately springing
from the school organization. It is important to state in this
connection that


always an extremely important means of education for Colored people in
the days of slavery, was emphatically so in the gloomy times now upon
them. It was the Sabbath-school that taught the great mass of the free
people of color about all the school knowledge that was allowed them
in those days, and hence the consternation which came upon them when
they found themselves excluded from the schools of the white churches.
Lindsay Muse, who has been the messenger for eighteen Secretaries of
the Navy, successively, during fifty-four years, from 1828 to the
present time, John Brown, Benjamin M. McCoy, Mr. Smallwood, Mrs.
Charlotte Norris, afterward wife of Rev. Eli Nugent, and Siby McCoy,
are the only survivors of the resolute little band of Colored men and
women who gathered with and guided that Sunday-school. They had, in
the successor of Mr. Prout, a man after their own heart,


who came into charge of this school in August, 1834, about eight years
after his aunt, Alethia Tanner, had purchased his freedom. He learned
the shoemaker's trade in his boyhood, and worked diligently, after the
purchase of his freedom, to make some return to his aunt for the
purchase-money. About the time of his becoming of age, he dislocated
his shoulder, which compelled him to seek other employment, and in
1831, the year of his majority, he obtained the place of assistant
messenger in the Land Office. Hon. John Wilson, now Third Auditor of
the Treasury, was the messenger, and was Cook's firm friend till the
day of his death. Cook had been a short time at school under the
instruction of Smothers and Prout, but when he entered the Land Office
his education was at most only the ability to stumble along a little
in a primary reading-book. He, however, now gave himself in all his
leisure moments, early and late, to study. Mr. Wilson remembers his
indefatigable application, and affirms that it was a matter of
astonishment at the time, and that he has seen nothing in all his
observations to surpass and scarcely to equal it. He was soon able to
write a good hand, and was employed with his pen in clerical work by
the sanction of the commissioner, Elisha Hayward, who was much
attached to him. Cook was now beginning to look forward to the life of
a teacher, which, with the ministry, was the only work not menial in
its nature then open to an educated Colored man. At the end of three
years he resigned his place in the Land Office, and entered upon the
work which he laid down only with his life. It was then that he gave
himself wholly to study and the business of education, working with
all his might; his school numbering quite a hundred scholars in the
winter and a hundred and fifty in the summer. He had been in his work
one year when the storm which had been, for some years, under the
discussion of the slavery question, gathering over the country at
large, burst upon this district.


or "Snow storm," as it has been commonly called, which occurred in
September, 1835, is an event that stands vividly in the memory of all
Colored people who lived in this community at that time. Benjamin
Snow, a smart Colored man, keeping a restaurant on the corner of
Pennsylvania Avenue and Sixth Street, was reported to have made some
remark of a bravado kind derogatory to the wives of white mechanics;
whereupon this class, or those assuming to represent them, made a
descent upon his establishment, destroying all his effects. Snow
himself, who denied using the offensive language, with difficulty
escaped unharmed, through the management of white friends, taking
refuge in Canada, where he still resides. The military was promptly
called to the rescue, at the head of which was General Walter Jones,
the eminent lawyer, who characterized the rioters, greatly to their
indignation, as "a set of ragamuffins," and his action was thoroughly
sanctioned by the city authorities.

At the same time, also, there was a fierce excitement among the
mechanics at the Navy Yard, growing out of the fact that a large
quantity of copper bolts being missed from the yard and found to have
been carried out in the dinner-pails by the hands, the commandant had
forbid eating dinners in the yard. This order was interpreted as an
insult to the white mechanics, and threats were made of an assault on
the yard, which was put in a thorough state of defence by the
commandant. The rioters swept through the city, ransacking the houses
of the prominent Colored men and women, ostensibly in search of
anti-slavery papers and documents, the most of the gang impelled
undoubtedly by hostility to the Negro race and by motives of plunder.
Nearly all the Colored school-houses were partially demolished and the
furniture totally destroyed, and in several cases they were completely
ruined. Some private houses were also torn down or burnt. The Colored
schools were nearly all broken up, and it was with the greatest
difficulty that the Colored churches were saved from destruction, as
their Sabbath-schools were regarded, and correctly regarded, as the
means through which the Colored people, at that time, procured much of
their education.

The rioters sought, especially, for John F. Cook, who, however, had
seasonably taken from the stable the horse of his friend, Mr. Hayward,
the Commissioner of the Land Office, an anti-slavery man, and fled
precipitately from the city. They marched to his school-house,
destroyed all the books and furniture, and partially destroyed the
building. Mrs. Smothers, who owned both the school-house and the
dwelling adjoining the lots, was sick in her house at the time, but an
alderman, Mr. Edward Dyer, with great courage and nobleness of spirit,
stood between the house and the mob for her protection, declaring that
he would defend her house from molestation with all the means he could
command. They left the house unharmed, and it is still standing on the
premises. Mr. Cook went to Columbia, Pennsylvania, opened a school
there, and did not venture back to his home till the autumn of 1836.
At the time the riot broke out, General Jackson was absent in
Virginia. He returned in the midst of the tumult, and immediately
issuing orders in his bold, uncompromising manner to the authorities
to see the laws respected at all events, the violence was promptly
subdued. It was, nevertheless, a very dark time for the Colored
people. The timid class did not for a year or two dare to send their
children to school, and the whole mass of the Colored people dwelt in
fear day and night. In August, 1836, Mr. Cook returned from
Pennsylvania and reopened his school, which under him had, in 1834,
received the name of


During his year's absence he was in charge of a free Colored public
school in Columbia, Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, which he
surrendered to the care of Benjamin M. McCoy when he came back to his
home, Mr. McCoy going there to fill out his engagement.

He resumed his work with broad and elevated ideas of his business.
This is clearly seen in the plan of his institution, embraced in the
printed annual announcements and programmes of his annual exhibitions,
copies of which have been preserved. The course of study embraced
three years, and there was a male and a female department, Miss
Catharine Costin at one period being in charge of the female
department. Mr. Seaton, of the "National Intelligencer," among other
leading and enlightened citizens and public men, used to visit his
school from year to year, and watch its admirable working with deep
and lively interest. Cook was at this period not only watching over
his very large school, ranging from 100 to 150 or more pupils, but was
active in the formation of the "First Colored Presbyterian Church of
Washington," which was organized in November, 1841, by Rev. John C.
Smith, D.D., and worshipped in this school-house. He was now also
giving deep study to the preparation for the ministry, upon which, in
fact, as a licentiate of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, he
had already in some degree entered. At a regular meeting of "The
presbytery of the District of Columbia," held in Alexandria, May 3,
1842, this church, now commonly called the Fifteenth Street
Presbyterian Church, was formally received under the care of that
presbytery, the first and still the only Colored Presbyterian church
in the district. Mr. Cook was elected the first pastor July 13, 1843,
and preached his trial sermon before ordination on the evening of that
day in the Fourth Presbyterian Church (Dr. J. C. Smith's) in the city,
in the presence of a large congregation. This sermon is remembered as
a manly production, delivered with great dignity and force, and deeply
imbued with the spirit of his work. He was ordained in the Fifteenth
Street Church the next evening, and continued to serve the church with
eminent success till his death in 1855. Rev. John C. Smith, D.D., who
had preached his ordination sermon, and been his devoted friend and
counsellor for nearly twenty years, preached his funeral sermon,
selecting as his text, "There was a man sent from God whose name was
John." There were present white as well as Colored clergymen of no
less than five denominations, many of the oldest and most respectable
citizens, and a vast concourse of all classes white and Colored. "The
Fifteenth Street Church," in the words of Dr. Smith in relation to
them and their first pastor, "is now a large and flourishing
congregation of spiritually-minded people. They have been educated in
the truth and the principles of our holy religion, and in the new,
present state of things the men of this church are trusted, relied on
as those who fear God and keep His commandments. The church is the
monument to John F. Cook, the first pastor, who was faithful in all
his house, a workman who labored night and day for years, and has
entered into his reward. 'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord.'
'They rest from their labors, and their works do follow them.'"

In 1841, when he entered, in a preliminary and informal way, upon the
pastorate of the Fifteenth Street Church, he seems to have attempted
to turn his seminary into a high school, limited to twenty-five or
thirty pupils, exclusively for the more advanced scholars of both
sexes; and his plan of studies to that end, as seen in his
prospectus, evinces broad and elevated views--a desire to aid in
lifting his race to higher things in education than they had yet
attempted. His plans were not put into execution, in the matter of a
high school, being frustrated by the circumstances that there were so
few good schools in the city for the Colored people, at that period,
that his old patrons would not allow him to shut off the multitude of
primary scholars which were depending upon his school. His seminary,
however, continued to maintain its high standard, and had an average
attendance of quite 100 year after year, till he surrendered up his
work in death.

He raised up a large family and educated them well. The oldest of the
sons, John and George, were educated at Oberlin College. The other
three, being young, were in school when the father died. John and
George, it will be seen, succeeded their father as teachers,
continuing in the business down to the present year. Of the two
daughters, the elder was a teacher till married in 1866, and the other
is now a teacher in the public schools of the city. One son served
through the war as sergeant in the Fortieth Colored Regiment, and
another served in the navy.

At the death of the father, March 21, 1855, the school fell into the
hands of the son, John F. Cook, who continued it till May, 1857, when
it passed to a younger son, George F. T. Cook, who moved it from its
old home, the Smothers House, to the basement of the Presbyterian
Church, in the spring of 1858, and maintained it till July, 1859. John
F. Cook, jr., who had erected a new school-house on Sixteenth Street,
in 1862, again gathered the school which the tempests of the war had
dispersed, and continued it till June, 1867, when the new order of
things had opened ample school facilities throughout the city, and the
teacher was called to other duties. Thus ended the school which had
been first gathered by Smothers nearly forty-five years before, and
which, in that long period, had been continually maintained with
seldom less than one hundred pupils, and for the most part with one
hundred and fifty, the only suspensions being in the year of the Snow
riot, and in the two years which ushered in the war.

The Smothers House, after the Cook school was removed in 1858, was
occupied for two years by a _free Catholic school_, supported by "The
St. Vincent de Paul Society," a benevolent organization of Colored
people. It was a very large school with two departments, the boys
under David Brown, and the girls under Eliza Anne Cook, and averaging
over one hundred and fifty scholars. When this school was transferred
to another house, Rev. Chauncey Leonard, a Colored Baptist clergyman,
now pastor of a church in Washington, and Nannie Waugh opened a school
there, in 1861, that became as large as that which had preceded it in
the same place. This school was broken up in 1862 by the destruction
of the building at the hands of the incendiaries, who, even at that
time, were inspired with all their accustomed vindictiveness toward
the Colored people. But this was their last heathenish jubilee, and
from the ashes of many burnings imperishable liberty has sprung forth.

About the time that Smothers built his school-house, in 1823,


was established in her father's house on Capitol Hill, on A Street,
south, under the shadow of the Capitol. This Costin family came from
Mount Vernon immediately after the death of Martha Washington, in
1802. The father, William Costin, who died suddenly in his bed, May
31, 1842, was for twenty-four years messenger for the Bank of
Washington in this city. His death was noticed at length in the
columns of the "National Intelligencer" in more than one communication
at the time. The obituary notice, written under the suggestions of the
bank officers who had previously passed a resolution expressing their
respect for his memory, and appropriating fifty dollars toward the
funeral expenses, says: "It is due to the deceased to say that his
colored skin covered a benevolent heart"; concluding with this

"The deceased raised respectably a large family of children of his
own, and, in the exercise of the purest benevolence, took into his
family and supported four orphan children. The tears of the orphan
will moisten his grave, and his memory will be dear to all those--a
numerous class--who have experienced his kindness"; and adding these

    "Honor and shame from _no condition_ rise;
    Act well your part--there all the honor lies."

John Quincy Adams, also, a few days afterward, in a discussion of the
wrongs of slavery, alluded to the deceased in these words, "The late
William Costin, though he was not white, was as much respected as any
man in the district, and the large concourse of citizens that attended
his remains to the grave, as well white as black, was an evidence of
the manner in which he was estimated by the citizens of Washington."
His portrait, taken by the direction of the bank authorities, still
hangs in the directors' room, and it may also be seen in the houses of
more than one of the old and prominent residents of the city.

William Costin's mother, Ann Dandridge, was the daughter of a
half-breed (Indian and Colored), her grandfather being a Cherokee
chief, and her reputed father was the father of Martha Dandridge,
afterward Mrs. Custis, who, in 1759, was married to General
Washington. These daughters, Ann and Martha, grew up together on the
ancestral plantations. William Costin's reputed father was white, and
belonged to a prominent family in Virginia, but the mother, after his
birth, married one of the Mount Vernon slaves by the name of Costin,
and the son took the name of William Costin. His mother, being of
Indian descent made him, under the laws of Virginia, a free-born man.
In 1800 he married Philadelphia Judge (his cousin), one of Martha
Washington's slaves, at Mount Vernon, where both were born in 1780.
The wife was given by Martha Washington at her decease to her
granddaughter, Eliza Parke Custis, who was the wife of Thomas Law, of
Washington. Soon after William Costin and his wife came to Washington,
the wife's freedom was secured on kind and easy terms, and the
children were all born free. This is the account which William Costin
and his wife and his mother, Ann Dandridge, always gave of their
ancestry, and they were persons of great precision in all matters of
family history, as well as of the most marked scrupulousness in their
statements. Their seven children, five daughters and two sons, went to
school with the white children on Capitol Hill, to Mrs. Maria Haley
and other teachers. The two younger daughters, Martha and Frances,
finished their education at the Colored convent in Baltimore. Louisa
Parke and Ann had passed their school days before the convent was
founded. Louisa Parke Costin opened her school at nineteen years of
age, continuing it with much success till her sudden death in 1831,
the year in which her mother also died. When Martha returned from the
convent seminary, a year or so later, she reopened the school,
continuing it till about 1839. This school, which was maintained some
fifteen years, was always very full. The three surviving sister own
and reside in the house which their father built about 1812. One of
these sisters married Richard Henry Fisk, a Colored man of good
education, who died in California, and she now has charge of the
Senate ladies' reception-room. Ann Costin was for several years in the
family of Major Lewis (at Woodlawn, Mount Vernon), the nephew of
Washington. Mrs. Lewis (Eleanor Custis) was the granddaughter of
Martha Washington. This school was not molested by the mob of 1835,
and it was always under the care of a well-bred and well-educated


While Martha Costin was teaching, James Enoch Ambush, a Colored man,
had also a large school in the basement of the Israel Bethel Church,
on Capitol Hill, for a while, commencing there in April, 1833, and
continuing in various places till 1843, when he built a school-house
on E Street, south, near Tenth, island, and established what was known
as "The Wesleyan Seminary," and which was successfully maintained for
thirty-two years, till the close of August, 1865. The school-house
still stands, a comfortable one-story wooden structure, with the sign
"Wesleyan Seminary" over the door, as it has been there for
twenty-five years. This was the only Colored school on the island of
any account for many years, and in its humble way it accomplished a
great amount of good. For some years Mr. Ambush had given much study
to botanic medicine, and since closing his school he has become a
botanic physician. He is a man of fine sense, and without school
advantages, has acquired a respectable education.


The first seminary in the District of Columbia for Colored girls was
established in Georgetown, in 1827, under the special auspices of
Father Vanlomen, a benevolent and devout Catholic priest, then pastor
of the Holy Trinity Church, who not only gave this interesting
enterprise his hand and his heart, but for several years himself
taught a school of Colored boys three days in a week, near the
Georgetown college gate, in a small frame house, which was afterward
famous as the residence of the broken-hearted widow of Commodore
Decatur. This female seminary was under the care of Maria Becraft, who
was the most remarkable Colored young woman of her time in the
district, and, perhaps, of any time. Her father, William Becraft, born
while his mother, a free woman, was the housekeeper of Charles
Carroll, of Carrollton, always had the kindest attentions of this
great man, and there are now pictures, more than a century and a half
old, and other valuable relics from the Carroll family in the
possession of the Becraft family, in Georgetown, which Charles
Carroll, of Carrollton, in his last days presented to William Becraft
as family keepsakes. William Becraft lived in Georgetown sixty-four
years, coming there when eighteen years of age. He was for many years
chief steward of Union Hotel, and a remarkable man, respected and
honored by everybody. When he died, the press of the district noticed,
in a most prominent manner, his life and character. From one of the
extended obituary notices, marked with heavy black lines, the
following paragraph is copied:

     "He was among the last surviving representatives of the old
     school of well-bred, confidential, and intelligent domestics, and
     was widely known at home and abroad from his connection, in the
     capacity of steward for a long series of years, and probably from
     its origin, and until a recent date, with the Union Hotel,
     Georgetown, with whose guests, for successive generations, his
     benevolent and venerable aspect, dignified and obliging manners,
     and moral excellence, rendered him a general favorite."

Maria Becraft was marked, from her childhood, for her uncommon
intelligence and refinement, and for her extraordinary piety. She was
born in 1805, and first went to school for a year to Henry Potter, in
Washington, about 1812; afterward attending Mrs. Billing's school
constantly till 1820. She then, at the age of fifteen, opened a school
for girls in Dunbarton Street, in Georgetown, and gave herself to the
work, which she loved, with the greatest assiduity, and with uniform
success. In 1827, when she was twenty-two years of age, her remarkable
beauty and elevation of character so much impressed Father Vanlomen,
the good priest, that he took it in hand to give her a higher style of
school in which to work for her sex and race, to the education of
which she had now fully consecrated herself. Her school was
accordingly transferred to a larger building, which still stands on
Fayette Street, opposite the convent, and there she opened a boarding
and day school for Colored girls, which she continued with great
success till August, 1831, when she surrendered her little seminary
into the care of one of the girls that she had trained, and in October
of that year joined the convent at Baltimore as a Sister of
Providence, where she was the leading teacher till she died, in
December, 1833, a great loss to that young institution, which was
contemplating this noble young woman as its future Mother Superior.
Her seminary in Georgetown averaged from thirty to thirty-five pupils,
and there are those living who remember the troop of girls, dressed
uniformly, which was wont to follow in procession their pious and
refined teacher to devotions on the Sabbath at Holy Trinity Church.
The school comprised girls from the best Colored families of
Georgetown, Washington, Alexandria, and surrounding country. The
sisters of the Georgetown convent were the admirers of Miss Becraft,
gave her instruction, and extended to her most heartfelt aid and
approbation in all her noble work, as they were in those days wont to
do in behalf of the aspiring Colored girls who sought for education,
withholding themselves from such work only when a depraved and
degenerate public sentiment upon the subject of educating the Colored
people had compelled them to a more rigid line of demarcation between
the races. Ellen Simonds and others conducted the school a few years,
but with the loss of its original teacher it began to fail, and
finally became extinct. Maria Becraft is remembered, wherever she was
known, as a woman of the rarest sweetness and exaltation of Christian
life, graceful and attractive in person and manners, gifted,
well-educated, and wholly devoted to doing good. Her name as a Sister
of Providence was Sister Aloyons.


for Colored girls was initiated in Washington. This philanthropic
woman was born in Brookfield, Madison County, New York, in 1815. Her
parents were farmers, with small resources for the support of a large
family. The children were obliged to work, and the small advantages of
a common school were all the educational privileges furnished to them.
Hop-raising was a feature in their farming, and this daughter was
accustomed to work in the autumn, picking the hops. She was of a
delicate physical organization, and suffered exceedingly all her life
with spinal troubles. Being a girl of extraordinary intellectual
activity, her place at home chafed her spirit. She was restless,
dissatisfied with her lot, looked higher than her father, dissented
from his ideas of woman's education, and, in her desperation, when
about twenty-three years old, wrote to Mr. Seward, then recently
elected Governor of her State, asking him if he could show her how it
was possible for a woman in her circumstances to become a scholar;
receiving from him the reply that he could not, but hoped a better day
was coming, wherein woman might have a chance to be and to do to the
extent of her abilities. Hearing at this time of a school at Clinton,
Oneida County, New York, for young women, on the manual-labor system,
she decided to go there; but her health being such as to make manual
labor impossible at the time, she wrote to the principal of the Clover
Street Seminary, Rochester, New York, who generously received her,
taking her notes for the school bills, to be paid after completing her
education. Grateful for this noble act, she afterward sent her younger
sister there to be educated, for her own associate as a teacher; and
the death of this talented sister, when about to graduate and come as
her assistant in Washington, fell upon her with crushing force. In the
Rochester school, with Myrtilla Miner, were two free Colored girls,
and this association was the first circumstance to turn her thoughts
to the work to which she gave her life. From Rochester she went to
Mississippi, as a teacher of planters' daughters, and it was what she
was compelled to see, in this situation, of the dreadful practices and
conditions of slavery, that filled her soul with a pity for the
Colored race, and a detestation of the system that bound them, which
held possession of her to the last day of her life. She remained there
several years, till her indignant utterances, which she would not
withhold, compelled her employer, fearful of the results, to part
reluctantly with a teacher whom he valued. She came home broken down
with sickness, caused by the harassing sights and sounds that she had
witnessed in plantation life, and while in this condition she made a
solemn vow that whatever of life remained to her should be given to
the work of ameliorating the condition of the Colored people. Here her
great work begins. She made up her mind to do something for the
education of free Colored girls, with the idea that through the
influence of educated Colored women she could lay the solid
foundations for the disenthrallment of their race. She selected the
district for the field of her efforts, because it was the common
property of the nation, and because the laws of the district gave her
the right to educate _free_ Colored children, and she attempted to
teach none others. She opened her plan to many of the leading friends
of freedom, in an extensive correspondence, but found especially, at
this time, a wise and warm encourager and counsellor in her scheme, in
William R. Smith, a Friend, of Farmington, near Rochester, New York,
in whose family she was now a private teacher. Her correspondents
generally gave her but little encouragement, but wished her God-speed
in what she should dare in the good cause. One Friend wrote her from
Philadelphia; entering warmly into her scheme, but advised her to wait
till funds could be collected. "I do not want the wealth of Croesus,"
was her reply; and the Friend sent her $100, and with this capital, in
the autumn of 1851, she came to Washington to establish a Normal
School for the education of Colored girls, having associated with her
Miss Anna Inman, an accomplished and benevolent lady of the Society of
Friends, from Southfield, Rhode Island, who, however, after teaching a
class of Colored girls in French, in the house of Jonathan Jones, on
the island, through the winter, returned to New England. In the autumn
of 1851 Miss Miner commenced her remarkable work here in a small room,
about fourteen feet square, in the frame house then, as now, owned and
occupied by Edward C. Younger, a Colored man, as his dwelling, on
Eleventh Street, near New York Avenue. With but two or three girls to
open the school, she soon had a roomful, and to secure larger
accommodation, moved, after a couple of months, to a house on F
Street, north, between Eighteenth and Nineteenth streets, west, near
the houses then occupied by William T. Carroll and Charles H. Winder.
This house furnished her a very comfortable room for her school, which
was composed of well-behaved girls from the best Colored families of
the district. The persecution of those neighbors, however, compelled
her to leave, as the Colored family who occupied the house was
threatened with conflagration, and after one month her little school
found a more unmolested home in the dwelling-house of a German family
on K Street, near the western market. After tarrying a few months
here, she moved to L Street, into a room in the building known, as
"The Two Sisters," then occupied by a white family. She now saw that
the success of her school demanded a school-house, and in
reconnoitring the ground she found a spot suiting her ideas as to size
and locality, with a house on it, and in the market at a low price.
She raised the money, secured the spot, and thither, in the summer of
1851, she moved her school, where for seven years she was destined to
prosecute, with the most unparalleled energy and conspicuous success,
her remarkable enterprise. This lot, comprising an entire square of
three acres, between Nineteenth and Twentieth streets, west, N and O
streets, north, and New Hampshire Avenue, selected under the guidance
of Miss Miner, the contract being perfected through the agency of
Sayles J. Bowen, Thomas Williamson, and Allen M. Gangewer, was
originally conveyed in trust to Thomas Williamson and Samuel Rhodes,
of the Society of Friends, in Philadelphia. It was purchased of the
executors of the will of John Taylor, for $4,000, the deed being
executed June 8, 1853, the estimated value of the property now being
not less than $30,000. The money was mainly contributed by Friends, in
Philadelphia, New York, and New England. Catharine Morris, a Friend,
of Philadelphia, was a liberal benefactor of the enterprise, advancing
Miss Miner $2,000, with which to complete the purchase of the lot, the
most, if not all, of which sum, it is believed, she ultimately gave to
the institution; and Harriet Beecher Stowe was another generous
friend, who gave her money and her heart to the support of the brave
woman who had been willing to go forth alone at the call of duty. Mr.
Rhodes, some years editor of the "Friends' Quarterly Review," died
several years ago, near Philadelphia. Mr. Williamson, a conveyancer in
that city, and father of Passmore Williamson, is still living, but
some years ago declined the place of trustee. The board, at the date
of the act of incorporation, consisted of Benjamin Tatham, a Friend,
of New York City, Mrs. Nancy M. Johnson, of Washington, and Myrtilla
Miner, and the transfer of the property to the incorporated body was
made a few weeks prior to Miss Miner's death. This real estate,
together with a fund of $4,000 in government stocks, is now in the
hands of a corporate body, under act of Congress approved March 3,
1863, and is styled "The Institution for the Education of Colored
Youth in the District of Columbia." The officers of the corporation at
this time are John C. Underwood, president; Francis G. Shaw,
treasurer; George E. Baker, secretary; who, with Nancy M. Johnson, S.
J. Bowen, Henry Addison, and Rachel Howland, constitute the executive
committee. The purpose of the purchase of this property is declared,
in a paper signed by Mr. Williamson and Mr. Rhodes, dated
Philadelphia, June 8, 1858, to have been "_especially for the
education of colored girls_."

This paper also declares that "the grounds were purchased at the
special instance of Myrtilla Miner," and that "the contributions by
which the original price of said lot, and also the cost of the
subsequent improvements thereof, were procured chiefly by her
instrumentality and labors." The idea of Miss Miner in planting a
school here was to train up a class of Colored girls, in the midst of
slave institutions, who should show forth in their culture and
capabilities, to the country and to mankind, that the race was fit for
something higher than the degradation which rested upon them. The
amazing energy with which this frail woman prosecuted her work is well
known to those who took knowledge of her career. She visited the
Colored people of her district from house to house, and breathed a new
life into them pertaining to the education of their daughters. Her
correspondence with the philanthropic men and women of the North was
immense. She importuned Congressmen, and the men who shaped public
sentiment through the columns of the press, to come into her school
and see her girls, and was ceaseless in her activities day and night,
in every direction, to build up, in dignity and refinement, her
seminary, and to force its merits upon public attention.

The buildings upon the lot when purchased--a small frame dwelling of
two stories, not more than twenty-five by thirty-five feet in
dimensions, with three small cabins on the other side of the
premises--served for the seminary and the homes of the teacher and her
assistant. The most aspiring and decently bred Colored girls of the
district were gathered into the school; and the very best Colored
teachers in the schools, of the district at the present time, are
among those who owe their education to this self-sacrificing teacher
and her school. Mrs. Means, aunt of the wife of General Pierce, then
President of the United States, attracted by the enthusiasm of this
wonderful person, often visited her in the midst of her work, with the
kindest feelings; and the fact that the carriage from the Presidential
mansion was in this way frequently seen at the door of this humble
institution, did much to protect it from the hatred with which it was

Mr. Seward and his family were very often seen at the school, both
Mrs. Seward and her daughter Fanny being constant visitors; the
latter, a young girl at the time, often spending a whole day there.
Many other Congressmen of large and generous instincts, some of them
of pro-slavery party relations, went out there, all confessing their
admiration of the resolute woman and her school, and this kept evil
men in abeyance.

The opposition to the school throughout the district was strong and
very general, among the old as well as the young. Even Walter Lenox,
who, as mayor, when the school was first started, gave the teacher
assurances of favor in her work, came out in 1857, following the
prevailing current of depraved public sentiment and feeding its tide,
in an elaborate article in the "National Intelligencer," under his own
signature; assailed the school in open and direct language, urging
against it that it was raising the standard of education among the
Colored population, and distinctly declaring that the white population
of the district would not be just to themselves to permit the
continuance of an institution which had the temerity to extend to the
Colored people "a degree of instruction so far beyond their social and
political condition, which condition must continue," the article goes
on to say, "in this and every other slave-holding community." This
article, though fraught with extreme ideas, and to the last degree
prescriptive and inflammatory, neither stirred any open violence, nor
deterred the courageous woman in the slightest degree from her work.
When madmen went to her school-room threatening her with personal
violence, she laughed them to shame; and when they threatened to burn
her house, she told them that they could not stop her in that way, as
another house, better than the old, would immediately rise from its

The house was set on fire in the spring of 1860, when Miss Miner was
asleep in the second story, alone, in the night-time, but the smell of
the smoke awakened her in time to save the building and herself from
the flames, which were extinguished. The school-girls, also, were
constantly at the mercy of coarse and insulting boys along the
streets, who would often gather in gangs before the gate to pursue and
terrify these inoffensive children, who were striving to gather wisdom
and understanding in their little sanctuary. The police took no
cognizance of such brutality in those days. But their dauntless
teacher, uncompromising, conscientious, and self-possessed in her
aggressive work, in no manner turned from her course by this
persecution, was, on the other hand, stimulated thereby to higher
vigilance and energy in her great undertaking. The course of
instruction in the school was indeed of a higher order than had
hitherto been opened to the Colored people of the district, as was
denounced against the school by Walter Lenox, in his newspaper attack.
Lectures upon scientific and literary subjects were given by
professional and literary gentlemen, who were friends to the cause.
The spacious grounds afforded to each pupil an ample space for a
flower bed, which she was enjoined to cultivate with her own hands and
to thoroughly study. And an excellent library, a collection of
paintings and engravings, the leading magazines and choice newspapers,
were gathered and secured for the humble home of learning, which was
all the while filled with students, the most of whom were bright,
ambitious girls, composing a female Colored school, which, in dignity
and usefulness, has had no equal in the district since that day. It
was her custom to gather in her vacations and journeys not only money,
but every thing else that would be of use in her school, and in this
way she not only collected books, but maps, globes, philosophical, and
chemical, and mathematical apparatus, and a great variety of things to
aid in her instruction in illustrating all branches of knowledge. This
collection was stored in the school building during the war, and was
damaged by neglect, plundered by soldiers, and what remains is not of
much value. The elegant sofa-bedstead which she used during all her
years in the seminary, and which would be an interesting possession
for the seminary, was sold, with her other personal effects, to Dr.
Carrie Brown (Mrs. Winslow), of Washington, one of her bosom friends,
who stood at her pillow when she died.

Her plan embraced the erection of spacious structures, upon the site
which had been most admirably chosen, complete in all their
appointments for the full accommodation of a school of one hundred and
fifty boarding scholars. The seminary was to be a female college,
endowed with all the powers and professorships belonging to a
first-class college for the other sex. She did not contemplate its
springing up into such proportions, like a mushroom, in a single
night, but it was her ambition that the institution should one day
attain that rank. In the midst of her anxious, incessant labors, her
physical system began so sensibly to fail, that in the summer of 1858,
under the counsel of the friends of herself and her cause, she went
North to seek health, and, as usual in all her journeys, to beg for
her seminary, leaving her girls in the care of Emily Howland, a noble
young woman, who came down here for the love of the cause, without
money and without price, from the vicinity of Auburn, New York. In the
autumn, Miss Miner returned to her school; Miss Howland still
continuing with her through the winter, a companion in her trials,
aiding her in her duties, and consenting to take charge of the school
again in the summer of 1859, while Miss Miner was on another journey
for funds and health. In the autumn of that year, after returning from
her journey, which was not very successful she determined to suspend
the school, and to go forth into the country with a most persistent
appeal for money to erect a seminary building, as she had found it
impossible to get a house of any character started with the means
already in her hands. She could get no woman, whom she deemed fit to
take her work, willing to continue her school, and in the spring of
1860, leasing the premises, she went North on her errand. In the
ensuing year she traversed many States, but the shadow of the
Rebellion was on her path, and she gathered neither much money nor
much strength. The war came, and in October, 1862, hoping, but vainly,
for health from a sea-voyage and from the Pacific climate, she sailed
from New York to California. When about to return, in 1866, with
vivacity of body and spirit, she was thrown from a carriage in a
fearful manner; blighting all the high hopes of resuming her school
under the glowing auspices she had anticipated, as she saw the
Rebellion and the hated system tumbling to pieces. She arrived in New
York, in August of that year, in a most shattered condition of body,
though with the fullest confidence that she should speedily be well
and at her work in Washington. In the first days of December she went
to Washington in a dying condition, still resolute to resume her work;
was carried to the residence of her tried friend, Mrs. Nancy M.
Johnson; and on the tenth of that month, surrounded by the friends who
had stood with her in other days, she put off her wasted and wearied
body in the city which had witnessed her trials and her triumphs, and
her remains slumber in Oak Hill Cemetery.

Her seminary engaged her thoughts to the last day of her life. She
said in her last hours that she had come back here to resume her work,
and could not leave it thus unfinished. No marble marks the
resting-place of this truly wonderful woman, but her memory is
certainly held precious in the hearts of her throngs of pupils, in the
hearts of the Colored people of this district, and of all who took
knowledge of her life, and who reverenced the cause in which she
offered herself a willing sacrifice. Her assistants in the school were
Helen Moore, of Washington; Margaret Clapp, Amanda Weaver, and Anna H.
Searing, of New York State, and two of her pupils, Matilda Jones, of
Washington, and Emma Brown, of Georgetown, both of whom subsequently,
through the influence of Miss Miner and Miss Howland, finished their
education at Oberlin, and have since been most superior teachers in
Washington. Most of the assistant teachers from the North were from
families connected with the Society of Friends, and it has been seen
that the bulk of the money came from that society. The sketch would be
incomplete without a special tribute to Lydia B. Mann, sister of
Horace Mann, who came here in the fall of 1856, from the Colored
Female Orphan Asylum of Providence, R. I., of which she was then, as
she continues to be, the admirable superintendent, and, as a pure
labor of love, took care of the school in the most superior manner
through the autumn and winter, while Miss Miner was North recruiting
her strength and pleading for contributions. It was no holiday duty to
go into that school, live in that building, and work alone with head
and hands, as was done by all those refined and educated women who
stood from time to time in that humble, persecuted seminary. Miss Mann
is gratefully remembered by her pupils here and their friends.

Mention should also be made of Emily Howland, who stood by Miss Miner
in her darkest days, and whose whole heart was with her in all her
work. She is a woman of the largest and most self-sacrificing
purposes, who has been and still is giving her best years, all her
powers, talents, learning, refinement, wealth, and personal toil, to
the education and elevation of the Colored race. While here she
adopted, and subsequently educated in the best manner, one of Miss
Miner's pupils, and assisted several others of her smart girls in
completing their education at Oberlin. During the war she was teaching
contrabands in the hospital and the camp, and is now engaged in
planting a colony of Colored people in Virginia with homes and a
school-house of their own.

A seminary, such as was embraced in the plan of Miss Miner, is
exceedingly demanded by the interest of Colored female education in
the District of Columbia and the country at large, and any scheme by
which the foundations that she laid so well may become the seat of
such a school, would be heartily approved by all enlightened friends
of the Colored race. The trustees of the Miner property, not
insensible of their responsibilities, have been carefully watching for
the moment when action on their part would seem to be justified. They
have repeatedly met in regard to the matter, but, in their counsels,
hitherto, have deemed it wise to wait further developments. They are
now about to hold another meeting, it is understood, and it is to be
devoutly hoped that some plan will be adopted by which a school of a
high order may be, in due time, opened for Colored girls in this
district, who exceedingly need the refining, womanly training of such
a school.

The original corporators of Miss Miner's institution were Henry
Addison, John C. Underwood, George C. Abbott, William H. Channing,
Nancy M. Johnson, and Myrtilla Miner. The objects, as expressed in the
charter, "are to educate and improve the moral and intellectual
condition of such of the colored youth of the nation as may be placed
under its care and influence."


In 1830, William Wormley built a school-house for his sister Mary,
near the corner of Vermont Avenue and I Street, where the restaurant
establishment owned and occupied by his brother, James Wormley, now
stands. He had educated his sister expressly for a teacher, at great
expense, at the Colored Female Seminary in Philadelphia, then in
charge of Miss Sarah Douglass, an accomplished Colored lady, who is
still a teacher of note in the Philadelphia Colored High School.
William Wormley was at that time a man of wealth. His livery-stable,
which occupied the place where the Owen House now stands, was one of
the largest and best in the city. Miss Wormley had just brought her
school into full and successful operation when her health broke down,
and she lived scarcely two years. Mr. Calvert, an English gentleman,
still living in the first ward, taught a class of Colored scholars in
this house for a time, and James Wormley was one of the class. In the
autumn of 1834, William Thomas Lee opened a school in the same place,
and it was in a flourishing condition in the fall of 1835, when the
Snow mob dispersed it, sacking the school-house, and partially
destroying it by fire. William Wormley was at that time one of the
most enterprising and influential Colored men of Washington, and was
the original agent of the "Liberator" newspaper for this district.
The mob being determined to lay hold of him and Lee, they fled from
the city to save their lives, returning when General Jackson, coming
back from Virginia a few days after the outbreak, gave notice that the
fugitives should be protected. The persecution of William Wormley was
so violent and persistent, that his health and spirits sank under its
effects, his business was broken up, and he died a poor man, scarcely
owning a shelter for his dying couch. The school-house was repaired
after the riot, and occupied for a time by Margaret Thompson's school,
and still stands in the rear of James Wormley's restaurant.


About this time another school was opened in Georgetown, by Nancy
Grant, a sister of Mrs. William Becraft, a well-educated Colored
woman. She was teaching as early as 1828, and had a useful school for
several years. Mr. Nuthall, an Englishman, was teaching in Georgetown
during this period, and as late as 1833 he went to Alexandria and
opened a school in that city. William Syphax, among others now
resident in Washington, attended his school in Alexandria about 1833.
He was a man of ability, well educated, and one of the best teachers
of his time in the district. His school in Georgetown was at first in
Dunbarton Street, and afterward on Montgomery.

The old maxim, that "the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the
Church," seems to find its illustration in this history. There is no
period in the annals of the country in which the fires of persecution
against the education of the Colored race burned more fiercely in this
district, and the country at large, than in the five years from 1831
to 1836, and it was during this period that a larger number of
respectable Colored schools were established than in any other five
years prior to the war. In 1833, the same year in which Ambush's
school was started, Benjamin M. McCoy, a Colored man, opened a school
in the northern part of the city, on L Street, between Third and
Fourth streets, west. In 1834 he moved to Massachusetts Avenue,
continuing his school there till he went to Lancaster County,
Pennsylvania, in the autumn of 1836, to finish the engagement of Rev.
John F. Cook, who came back to Washington at that time and re-opened
his school. The school at Lancaster was a free public Colored school,
and Mr. McCoy was solicited to continue another year; but declining,
came back, and in 1837 opened a school in the basement of Asbury
Church, which, in that room and in the house adjoining, he maintained
with great success for the ensuing twelve years. Mr. McCoy was a pupil
of Mrs. Billing and Henry Smothers; is a man of good sense, and his
school gave a respectable rudimental education to multitudes, who
remember him as a teacher with great respect. He is now a messenger in
the Treasury Department. In 1833, a school was established by Fanny
Hampton, in the western part of the city, on the northwest corner of K
and Nineteenth streets. It was a large school, and was continued till
about 1842, the teacher dying soon afterward. She was half-sister of
Lindsay Muse. Margaret Thompson succeeded her, and had a flourishing
school of some forty scholars on Twenty-sixth Street, near the avenue,
for several years, about 1846. She subsequently became the wife of
Charles H. Middleton, and assisted in his school for a brief time.
About 1830, Robert Brown commenced a small school, and continued it at
intervals for many years till his death. As early as 1833, there was a
school opened in a private house in the rear of Franklin Row, near the
location of the new Franklin School building. It was taught by a white
man, Mr. Talbot, and continued a year or two. Mrs. George Ford, a
white teacher, a native of Virginia, kept a Colored school in a brick
house still standing on New Jersey Avenue, between K and L streets.
She taught there many years, and as early, perhaps, as half a century


was opened, in 1836, on New York Avenue, in a school-house which stood
nearly on the spot now occupied by the Richards buildings at the
corner of New York Avenue and Fourteenth Street. It had been
previously used for a white school, taught by Mrs. McDaniel, and was
subsequently again so used. Dr. Fleet was a native of Georgetown, and
was greatly assisted in his education by the late Judge James Morsell,
of that city, who was not only kind to this family, but was always
regarded by the Colored people of the district as their firm friend
and protector. John H. Fleet, with his brothers and sisters, went to
the Georgetown Lancasterian School, with the white children, for a
long period, in their earlier school days, and subsequently to other
white schools. He was also for a time a pupil of Smothers and Prout.
He was possessed of a brilliant and strong intellect, inherited from
his father, who was a white man of distinguished abilities. He studied
medicine in Washington, in the office of Dr. Thomas Henderson, who had
resigned as assistant surgeon in the army, and was a practising
physician of eminence in Washington. He also attended medical lectures
at the old medical college, corner of Tenth and E streets. It was his
intention at that time to go to Liberia, and his professional
education was conducted under the auspices of the Colonization
Society. This, with the influence of Judge Morsell, gave him
privileges never extended here to any other Colored man. He decided,
however, not to go to Liberia, and in 1836 opened his school. He was a
refined and polished gentleman, and conceded to be the foremost
Colored man in culture, in intellectual force, and general influence
in this district at that time. His school-house on New York Avenue was
burned by an incendiary about 1843, and his flourishing and excellent
school was thus ended. For a time he subsequently taught music, in
which he was very proficient; but about 1846 he opened a school on
School-house Hill, in the Hobbrook Military School building, near the
corner of N Street, north, and Twenty-third Street, west, and had a
large school there till about 1851, when he relinquished the business,
giving his attention henceforth exclusively to music, and with eminent
success. He died in 1861. His school was very large and of a superior


was started in the same section of the city, in a school-house which
then stood, near the corner of Twenty-second Street, west, and I,
north, and which had been used by Henry Hardy for a white school.
Though both Fleet's and Johnson's schools were in full tide of success
in that vicinity, he gathered a good school, and when his two
competitors retired--as they both did about this time,--his school
absorbed a large portion of their patronage, and was thronged. In
1852, he went temporarily with his school to Sixteenth Street, and
thence to the basement of Union Bethel Church on M Street, near
Sixteenth, in which, during the administration of President Pierce, he
had an exceedingly large and excellent school, at the same period when
Miss Miner was prosecuting her signal work. Mr. Middleton, now a
messenger in the Navy Department, a native of Savannah, Ga., is
free-born, and received his very good education in schools in that
city, sometimes with white and sometimes with Colored children. When
he commenced his school he had just returned from the Mexican war, and
his enterprise is especially worthy of being made prominent, not only
because of his high style as a teacher, but also because it is
associated with


This movement originated with a city officer, Jesse E. Dow, who, in
1848 and 1849, was a leading and influential member of the common
council. He encouraged Mr. Middleton to start his school, by assuring
him that he would give all his influence to the establishment of free
schools for Colored as well as for white children, and that he had
great confidence that the council would be brought to give at least
some encouragement to the enterprise. In 1850 Mr. Dow was named among
the candidates for the mayoralty; and when his views in this regard
were assailed by his opponents, he did not hesitate to boldly avow his
opinions, and to declare that he wished no support for any office
which demanded of him any modification of these convictions. The
workmen fail, but the work succeeds. The name of Jesse E. Dow merits
conspicuous record in this history for this bold and magnanimous
action. Mr. Middleton received great assistance in building up his
school from Rev. Mr. Wayman, then pastor of the Bethel Church, and
afterward promoted to the bishopric. The school was surrendered
finally to Rev. J. V. B. Morgan, the succeeding pastor of the church,
who conducted the school as a part of the means of his livelihood.


In the eastern section of the city, about 1840, Alexander Cornish had
a school several years in his own house on D Street, south, between
Third and Fourth, east, with an average of forty scholars. He was
succeeded, about 1846, by Richard Stokes, who was a native of Chester
County, Pa. His school, averaging one hundred and fifty scholars, was
kept in the Israel Bethel Church, near the Capitol, and was continued
for about six years. In 1840, there was a school opened by Margaret
Hill in Georgetown, near Miss English's seminary. She taught a very
good school for several years.


was started on Ninth Street, west, near New York Avenue. Mr. Hays was
born in 1802, and belonged originally to the Fowler family in
Maryland. When a boy he served for a time at the Washington Navy Yard,
in the family of Captain Dove, of the navy, the father of Dr. Dove, of
Washington, and it was in that family that he learned to read. Michael
Tabbs had a school at that time at the Navy Yard, which he taught in
the afternoons _under a large tree_, which stood near the old Masonic
Hall. The Colored children used to meet him there in large numbers
daily, and while attending this singular school, Hays was at the same
time taught by Mrs. Dove, with her children. This was half a century
ago. In 1826, Hays went to live in the family of R. S. Coxe, the
eminent Washington lawyer, who soon purchased him, paying Fowler $300
for him. Mr. Coxe did this at the express solicitation of Hays, and
seventeen years after he gave him his freedom--in 1843. While living
with Mr. Coxe he had married Matilda Davis, the daughter of John
Davis, who served as steward many years in the family of Mr. Seaton,
of the "National Intelligencer." The wedding was at Mr. Seaton's
residence, and Mr. Coxe and family were present on the occasion. In
1836, he bought the house and lot which they still own and occupy, and
in 1842, the year before he was free, Hays made his last payment, and
the place was conveyed to his wife. She was a free woman, and had
opened a school in the house in 1841. Hays had many privileges while
with Mr. Coxe, and with the proceeds of his wife's school they paid
the purchase-money ($550) and interest in seven years. Mr. Hays was
taught reading, writing, and arithmetic by Mr. Coxe, his wife, and
daughters, while a slave in their family. When the Colored people were
driven from the churches, in the years of the mobs, Mrs. Coxe
organized a large Colored Sabbath-school in her own parlor, and
maintained it for a long period, with the cooperation of Mr. Coxe and
the daughters. Mr. Hays was a member of this school. He also attended
day schools, when his work would allow of it. This was the education
with which, in 1845, he ventured to take his wife's school in charge.
He is a man of good-sense, and his school flourished. He put up an
addition to his house, in order to make room for his increasing
school, which was continued down to 1857--sixteen years from its
opening. He had also a night school and taught music, and these two
features of his school he has revived since the war. This school
contained from thirty-five to forty-five pupils. Rev. Dr. Samson, Mr.
Seaton, and Mr. Coxe often visited his school and encouraged him in
his excellent work. Thomas Tabbs used also to come into his school and
give him aid and advice, as also did John McLeod.


was opened about 1854, in the building in which Middleton first
taught, on I, near Twenty-second Street. Mr. Fletcher was an
Englishman, a well-educated gentleman, and a thorough teacher. He was
induced to open the school by the importunities of some aspiring
Colored young men in that part of the city, who desired first-rate
instruction. He soon became the object of persecution, though he was a
man of courtesy and excellent character. His school-house was finally
set on fire and consumed, with all its books and furniture; but the
school took, as its asylum, the basement of the John Wesley Church.
The churches which they had been forced to build in the days of the
mobs, when they were driven from the white churches which they had
aided in building, proved of immense service to them in their
subsequent struggles. Mrs. Fletcher kept a variety store, which was
destroyed about the time the school was opened. She then became an
assistant in her husband's school, which numbered over one hundred and
fifty pupils. In 1858, they were driven from the city, as persecution
at that time was particularly violent against all white persons who
instructed the Colored people. This school was conducted with great
thoroughness, and had two departments, Mrs. Fletcher, who was an
accomplished person, having charge of the girls in a separate room.


a niece of Rev. John F. Cook, and one of his pupils, who has been
teaching for about fifteen years, should be mentioned. She attended
Miss Miner's school for a time, and was afterward at the Baltimore
convent two years. She opened a school in her mother's house, and
subsequently built a small school-house on the same lot, Sixteenth
Street, between K and L streets. With the exception of three years,
during which she was teaching in the free Catholic school opened in
the Smothers school-house in 1859, and one year in the female school
in charge of the Colored sisters, she has maintained her own private
school from 1854 down to the present time, her number at some periods
being above sixty, but usually not more than twenty-five or thirty.


In 1857, Annie E. Washington opened a select primary school in her
mother's house, on K Street, between Seventeenth and Eighteenth
streets, west. The mother, a widow woman, was a laundress, and by her
own labor has given her children good advantages, though she had no
such advantages herself. This daughter was educated chiefly under Rev.
John E. Cook and Miss Miner, with whom she was a favorite scholar. Her
older sister was educated at the Baltimore convent. Annie E.
Washington is a woman of native refinement, and has an excellent
aptitude for teaching, as well as a good education. Her schools have
always been conducted with system and superior judgment, giving
universal satisfaction, the number of her pupils being limited only by
the size of her room. In 1858, she moved to the basement of the
Baptist Church, corner of Nineteenth and I streets, to secure larger
accommodations, and there she had a school of more than sixty scholars
for several years.


A free school was established in 1858, and maintained by the St.
Vincent de Paul Society, an association of Colored Catholics, in
connection with St. Matthew's Church. It was organized under the
direction of Father Walter, and kept in the Smothers school-house for
two years, and was subsequently for one season maintained on a smaller
scale in a house on L Street, between Twelfth and Thirteenth streets,
west, till the association failed to give it the requisite pecuniary
support after the war broke out. This school has already been


In 1843, Elizabeth Smith commenced a school for small children on the
island in Washington, and subsequently taught on Capitol Hill. In
1860, she was the assistant of Rev. Wm. H. Hunter, who had a large
school in Zion Wesley Church, Georgetown, of which he was the pastor.
She afterward took the school into her own charge for a period, and
taught among the contrabands in various places during the war.

About 1850, Isabella Briscoe opened a school on Montgomery Street,
near Mount Zion Church, Georgetown. She was well educated, and one of
the best Colored teachers in the district before the Rebellion. Her
school was always well patronized, and she continued teaching in the
district up to 1868.

Charlotte Beams had a large school for a number of years, as early as
1850, in a building next to Galbraith Chapel, I Street, north, between
Fourth and Fifth, west. It was exclusively a girls' school in its
later years. The teacher was a pupil of Enoch Ambush, who assisted her
in establishing her school.

A year or two later, Rev. James Shorter had a large school in the
Israel Bethel Church, and Miss Jackson taught another good school on
Capitol Hill about the same time. The above-mentioned were all Colored

Among the excellent schools broken up at the opening of the war, was
that of Mrs. Charlotte Gordon, Colored, on Eighth Street, in the
northern section of the city. It was in successful operation several
years, and the number in attendance sometimes reached one hundred and
fifty. Mrs. Gordon was assisted by her daughter.

In 1841, David Brown commenced teaching on D Street, south, between
First and Second streets, island, and continued in the business till
1858, at which period he was placed in charge of the large Catholic
free school in the Smothers house, as has been stated.[65]

       *       *       *       *       *

Here is a picture that every Negro in the country may contemplate with
satisfaction and pride. In the stronghold of slavery, under the shadow
of the legalized institution of slavery, within earshot of the
slave-auctioneer's hammer, amid distressing circumstances, poverty,
and proscription, three unlettered ex-slaves, upon the threshold of
the nineteenth century, sowed the seed of education for the Negro race
in the District of Columbia, from which an abundant harvest has been
gathered, and will be gathered till the end of time!

What the Negro has done to educate himself, the trials and hateful
laws that have hampered him during the long period anterior to 1860,
cannot fail to awaken feelings of regret and admiration among the
people of both sections and two continents.


[58] Recollections of the Anti-Slavery Conflict, by Rev. Samuel J.

[59] Barnard, p. 337.

[60] Barnard, p. 339.

[61] Barnard, pp. 205, 206.

[62] Barnard, p. 357.

[63] Barnard, pp. 364-366.

[64] Barnard, pp. 377, 378.

[65] Report of the Commissioner of Education for 1871.




On the 9th of May, 1800, at Torrington, Connecticut, was born a man
who lived for two generations, but accomplished the work of two
centuries. That man was John Brown, who ranks among the world's
greatest heroes. Greater than Peter the Hermit, who believed himself
commissioned of God to redeem the Holy Sepulchre from the hands of
infidels; greater than Joanna Southcote, who deemed herself big with
the promised Shiloh; greater than Ignatius Loyola, who thought the Son
of Man appeared to him, bearing His cross upon His shoulders, and
bestowed upon him a Latin commission of wonderful significance;
greater than Oliver Cromwell, the great Republican Protector; and
greater than John Hampden,--he deserves to rank with William of

John Brown was nearly six feet high, slim, wiry, dark in complexion,
sharp in feature, dark hair sprinkled with gray, eyes a dark gray and
penetrating, with a countenance that betokened frankness, honesty, and
firmness. His brow was prominent, the centre of the forehead flat, the
upper part retreating, which, in conjunction with his slightly Roman
nose, gave him an interesting appearance. The crown of his head was
remarkably high, in the regions of the phrenological organs of
firmness, conscientiousness, self-esteem, indicating a stern will,
unswerving integrity, and marvellous self-possession. He walked
rapidly with a firm and elastic tread. He was somewhat like John
Baptist, taciturn in habits, usually wrapped in meditation. He was
rather meteoric in his movements, appearing suddenly and unexpectedly
at this place, and then disappearing in the same mysterious manner.

When Kansas lay bleeding at the feet of border ruffians; when Congress
gave the free-State settlers no protection, but was rather trying to
drag the territory into the Union with a slave constitution,--without
noise or bluster John Brown dropped down into Osage County. He was not
a member of the Republican party; but rather hated its reticency. When
it cried Halt! he gave the command _Forward, march_! He was not in
sympathy with any of the parties, political or anti-slavery. All were
too conservative to suit him. So, as a political orphan he went into
Kansas, organized and led a new party that swore eternal death to
slavery. The first time he appeared in a political meeting in Kansas,
at Osawatomie, the politicians were trimming their speeches and
shaping their resolutions to please each political faction. John Brown
took the floor and made a speech that threw the convention into
consternation. He denounced slavery as the curse of the ages; affirmed
the manhood of the slave; dealt "middle men" terrible blows; and said
he could "see no use in talking." "Talk," he continued, "is a national
institution; but it does no good for the slave." He thought it an
excuse very well adapted for weak men with tender consciences. Most
men who were afraid to fight, and too honest to be silent, deceived
themselves that they discharged their duties to the slave by
denouncing in fiery words the oppressor. His ideas of duty were far
different; the slaves, in his eyes, were prisoners of war; their
tyrants, as he held, had taken up the sword, and must perish by it.
This was his view of the great question of slavery.

The widow of the late Major George L. Stearns gives the following
personal recollections of John Brown, in a bright and entertaining
style. Mrs. Stearns's noble husband was very intimately related to the
"old hero," and what Mrs. Stearns writes is of great value.

     "The passage of the Fugitive-Slave Bill in 1850, followed by the
     virtual repeal of the Missouri Compromise, under the name of the
     Kansas Nebraska Act, in 1854, alarmed all sane people for the
     safety of republican institutions; and the excitement reached a
     white heat when, on the 22d of May, 1856, Charles Sumner was
     murderously assaulted in the Senate chamber by Preston S. Brooks,
     of South Carolina, for words spoken in debate: the celebrated
     speech of the 19th and 20th of May, known as 'The Crime Against
     Kansas.' That same week the town of Lawrence in the territory of
     Kansas was sacked and burned in the interest of the slave power.
     The atrocities committed by the 'Border Ruffians' upon the
     free-State settlers sent a thrill of terror through all
     law-abiding communities. In Boston the citizens gathered in
     Faneuil Hall to consider what could be done, and a committee was
     chosen, with Dr. S. G. Howe as chairman, for the relief of
     Kansas, called the 'Kansas Relief Committee.' After some $18,000
     or $20,000 had been collected, chiefly in Boston, and forwarded
     to Kansas, the interest flagged, and Mr. Stearns, who had been
     working with that committee, saw the need of more energetic
     action; so one day he went to Dr. Howe, and told him he was ready
     to give _all_ his time, and much of his money, to push forward
     the work. Dr. Howe seeing that here was the man for the hour,
     immediately resigned, and Mr. Stearns was chosen unanimously
     chairman of the 'Massachusetts State Kansas Committee,' which
     took the place of the one first organized. In the light of
     subsequent history it is difficult to believe the apathy and
     blindness which failed to recognize the significance of this
     attack upon Kansas by the slave-holding power. Only faithful
     watchmen in their high towers could see that it was the first
     battle-ground between the two conflicting systems of freedom and
     slavery, which was finally to culminate in the war of the
     Rebellion. 'Working day and night without haste or rest,' failing
     in no effort to rouse and stimulate the community, still Mr.
     Stearns found that a vitalizing interest was wanting. When Gov.
     Reeder was driven in disguise from the territory, he wrote to him
     to come to Boston and address the people. He organized a
     mass-meeting for him in Tremont Temple, and for a few days the
     story he related stimulated to a livelier activity the more
     conservative people, who were inclined to think the reports of
     the free-State men much exaggerated. Soon, however, things
     settled back into the old sluggish way; so that for three
     consecutive committee meetings the chairman was the only person
     who presented himself at the appointed time and place. Nothing
     daunted, he turned to the country towns, and at the end of five
     months he had raised by his personal exertions, and through his
     agents, the sum of $48,000. Women formed societies all over the
     State, for making and furnishing clothing, and various supplies,
     which resulted in an addition of some $20,000 or $30,000 more. In
     January, 1867, this species of work was stopped, by advices from
     Kansas that no more contributions were needed, except for
     _defense_. At this juncture Mr. Stearns wrote to John Brown, that
     if he would come to Boston and consult with the friends of
     freedom he would pay his expenses. They had never met, but
     'Osawatomie Brown' had become a cherished household name during
     the anxious summer of 1856.[66] Arriving in Boston, they were
     introduced to each other in the street by a Kansas man, who
     chanced to be with Mr. Stearns on his way to the committee rooms
     in Nilis's Block, School Street. Captain Brown made a profound
     impression on all who came within the sphere of his moral
     magnetism. Emerson called him 'the most ideal of men, for he
     wanted to put all his ideas into action.' His absolute
     superiority to all selfish aims and narrowing pride of opinion
     touched an answering chord in the self-devotion of Mr. Stearns. A
     little anecdote illustrates the modest estimate of the work he
     had in hand. After several efforts to bring together certain
     friends to meet Captain Brown at his home in Medford, he found
     that Sunday was the only day that would serve their several
     convenience, and being a little uncertain how it might strike his
     ideas of religious propriety, he prefaced his invitation with
     something like an apology. With characteristic promptness came
     the reply: 'Mr. Stearns, I have a little ewe-lamb that I want to
     pull out of the ditch, and the Sabbath will be as good a day as
     any to do it.'

     "It was this occasion which furnished to literature one of the
     most charming bits of autobiography. Our oldest son, Harry, a lad
     of eleven years, was an observant listener, and drank eagerly
     every word that was said of the cruel wrongs in Kansas, and of
     slavery everywhere. When the gentlemen rose to go, he privately
     asked his father if he might be allowed to give all his spending
     money to John Brown. Leave being granted, he bounded away, and
     returning with his small treasure, said: 'Captain Brown, will you
     buy something with this money for those poor people in Kansas,
     and some time will you write to me and tell me _what sort of a
     little boy_ you were?' 'Yes, my son, I will, and God bless you
     for your kind heart!' The autobiography has been printed many
     times, but never before with the key which unlocked it.

     "It may not be out of place to describe the impression he made
     upon the writer on this first visit. When I entered the parlor,
     he was sitting near the hearth, where glowed a bright open fire.
     He rose to greet me, stepping forward with such an erect,
     military bearing; such fine courtesy of demeanor and grave
     earnestness, that he seemed to my instant thought some old
     Cromwellian hero suddenly dropped down before me; a suggestion
     which was presently strengthened by his saying [proceeding with
     the conversation my entrance had interrupted]: 'Gentlemen, I
     consider the Golden Rule and the Declaration of Independence one
     and inseparable; and it is better that a whole generation of men,
     women, and children should be swept away, than that this crime of
     slavery should exist one day longer.' These words were uttered
     like rifle balls; in such emphatic tones and manner that our
     little Carl, not three years old, remembered it in manhood as one
     of his earliest recollections. The child stood perfectly still,
     in the middle of the room, gazing with his beautiful eyes on this
     new sort of man, until his absorption arrested the attention of
     Captain Brown, who soon coaxed him to his knee, tho' the look of
     awe and childlike wonder remained. His dress was of some dark
     brown stuff, quite coarse, but its exactness and neatness
     produced a singular air of refinement. At dinner, he declined all
     dainties, saying that he was unaccustomed to luxuries, even to
     partaking of butter.

     "The 'friends of freedom' with whom Mr. Stearns had invited John
     Brown to consult were profoundly impressed with his sagacity,
     integrity, and devotion; notably among these were R. W. Emerson,
     Theodore Parker, H. D. Thoreau, A. Bronson Alcott, F. B. Sanborn,
     Dr. S. G. Howe, Col. T. W. Higginson, Gov. Andrew, and others. In
     February (1857) he appeared before a committee of the State
     Legislature, to urge that Massachusetts should make an
     appropriation in money in aid of those persons who had settled in
     Kansas from her own soil. The speech is printed in Redpath's
     'Life.' He obtained at this time, from the Massachusetts State
     Kansas Committee,[67] some two hundred Sharp's rifles, with which
     to arm one hundred mounted men for the defense of Kansas, who
     could also be of service to the peculiar property of Missouri. In
     those dark days of slave-holding supremacy, the friends of
     freedom felt justified in aiding the flight of its victims to
     free soil whenever and wherever opportunity offered. The
     Fugitive-Slave Law was powerless before the law written on the
     enlightened consciences of those devoted men and women. These
     rifles had been forwarded previously to the National Committee at
     Chicago, for the defense of Kansas, but for some unexplained
     reasons had never proceeded farther than Tabor, in the State of
     Iowa. Later on, Mr. Stearns, in his individual capacity,
     authorized Captain Brown to purchase two hundred revolvers from
     the Massachusetts Arms Company, and paid for them from his
     private funds, thirteen or fifteen hundred dollars. During the
     summer of 1857 he united with Mr. Amos A. Lawrence and others in
     paying off the mortgage held by Mr. Gerritt Smith on his house
     and farm at North Elba, N. Y., he paying two hundred and sixty
     dollars. It would be difficult to state the entire amount of
     money Mr. Stearns put into the hands of John Brown for
     Anti-Slavery purposes and his own subsistence. He kept no account
     of what he gave. In April or May, 1857, he gave him a check for
     no less a sum than seven thousand dollars. Early in 1858, Hon.
     Henry Wilson wrote to Dr. S. G. Howe that he had learned John
     Brown was suspected of the intention of using those arms in other
     ways than for the _defense_ of Kansas; and by order of the
     committee, Mr. Stearns wrote (under date May 14, 1858) to Brown
     not to use them for any other purpose, and to hold them subject
     to his order, as chairman of said committee. When the operations
     of the Massachusetts State Kansas Committee virtually ceased, in
     June or July, 1858, it happened that this committee were some
     four thousand dollars in debt to Mr. Stearns, for advances of
     money from time to time to keep the organization in existence;
     and it was voted to make over to the chairman these two hundred
     Sharp's rifles as part payment of the committee's indebtedness.
     They were of small account to Mr. Stearns. He knew them to be in
     good hands, and troubled himself no further about them, either
     the rifles or the revolvers; although keeping up from time to
     time a correspondence with his friend upon the all-engrossing

     "In February of 1859, John Brown was in Boston, and talked with
     some of his friends about the feasibility of entrenching himself,
     with a little band of men, in the mountains of Virginia, familiar
     to him from having surveyed them as engineer in earlier life. His
     plan was to open communication with the slaves of neighboring
     plantations, collect them together, and send them off in squads,
     as he had done in Missouri, 'without snapping a gun.' Mr. Stearns
     had so much more faith in John Brown's opposition to _Slavery_,
     than in any theories he advanced of the _modus operandi_, that
     they produced much less impression on his mind than upon some
     others gifted with more genius for details. _From first to last,
     he believed in John Brown._ His plans, or theories, might be
     feasible, or they might not. If the glorious old man wanted money
     to try his plans, he should have it. His plans might fail;
     probably would, but _he_ could never be a failure. There he
     stood, unconquerable, in the panoply of divine Justice. Both of
     these men were of the martyr type. No thought or consideration
     for themselves, for _history_, or the estimation of others, ever
     entered into their calculations. It was the service of _Truth_
     and _Right_ which brought them together, and in that service they
     were ready to die.

     "In the words of an eminent writer[68]: 'A common spirit made
     these two men recognize each other at first sight; and the power
     of both lay in that inability to weigh difficulties against duty,
     that instant step of thought to deed, which makes individuals
     fully possessed by the idea of the age, the turning-points of its
     destiny; hands in the right place for touching the match to the
     train it has laid, or for leading the public will to the heart of
     its moral need. They knew each other as minute-men on the same
     watch; as men to be found _in_ the breach, before others knew
     where it was; they were one in pity, one in indignation, one in
     moral enthusiasm, burning beneath features set to patient
     self-control; one in simplicity, though of widely different
     culture; one in religious inspiration, though at the poles of
     religious thought. The old frontiersman came from his wilderness
     toils and agonies to find within the merchant's mansion of art
     and taste by the side of Bunker Hill, a perfect sympathy: the
     reverence of children, tender interest in his broken household,
     free access to a rich man's resources, and even a valor kindred
     with his own.'

     "The attack upon Harper's Ferry was a 'side issue,' to quote the
     words of John Brown, Jr., and a departure from his father's
     original plan. It certainly took all his friends by surprise. In
     his letter of Nov. 15, 1859 (while in prison), to his old
     schoolmaster, the Rev. H. L. Vaill, are these words: 'I am not as
     yet, in the _main_, at all disappointed. I have been a good deal
     disappointed as it regards _myself_ in not keeping up to my own
     plans; but I now feel entirely reconciled to that even: for God's
     plan was infinitely better, _no doubt_, or I should have kept my
     own. Had Samson kept to his determination of not telling Delilah
     wherein his great strength lay, he would probably have never
     overturned the house. _I did not tell Delilah_; but I was induced
     to act very _contrary to my better judgment_.'[69]

            *       *       *       *       *

     "It is idle to endeavor to explain, by any methods of the
     _understanding_, any rules of worldly wisdom, or prudence, this
     influx of the Divine Will, which has made John Brown already an
     ideal character. 'The wind bloweth where it listeth, and we hear
     the sound thereof; but know not whence it cometh, or whither it
     goeth.' So is every one that is born of the Spirit. Man works in
     the midst of laws which execute themselves, more especially, if
     by virtue of obedience he has lost sight of all selfish aims, and
     perceives that Truth and Right alone can claim allegiance.
     Emerson says: 'Divine intelligence carries on its administration
     by good men; that great men are they who see that the spiritual
     are greater than any material forces; and that really there never
     was any thing great accomplished but under religious impulse.'

     "The deadly _Atheism_ of Slavery was rolling its car of
     Juggernaut all over the beautiful Republic, and one pure soul was
     inspired to confront it by a practical interpretation of the
     Golden Rule.

     "That Virginia would hang John Brown was a foregone conclusion.
     The Moloch of Slavery would have nothing less. His friends
     exerted themselves to secure the best counsel which could be
     induced to undertake the _formality_ of a defense, foremost among
     whom was Mr. Stearns. A well-organized plan was made to rescue
     him, conducted by a brave man from Kansas, Col. James Montgomery,
     but a message came from the prisoner, that he should not feel at
     liberty to walk out, if the doors were left open; a sense of
     honor to his jailer (Captain Acvis) forbidding any thing of the

     "Not a little anxiety was felt lest certain of his adherents
     might be summoned as witnesses, whose testimony would lessen the
     chances of acquittal, and possibly involve their own lives. John
     A. Andrew (afterward Gov. Andrew) gave it as his opinion, after
     an exhaustive search of the records, that Virginia would have no
     right to summon these persons from Massachusetts, but
     subsequently changed his opinion, and urged Mr. Stearns to take
     passage to Europe, sending him home one day to pack his valise.
     The advice was opposed to his instincts, but he considered that
     his wife should have a voice in the matter, who decided, 'midst
     many tears and prayers, that if slavery required another victim,
     he must be ready.

     "With Dr. Howe it was quite different. He became possessed with a
     dread that threatened to overwhelm his reason. He was in delicate
     health, and constitutionally subject to violent attacks of
     nervous headache. One day he came to Medford and insisted that
     Mr. Stearns should accompany him to Canada, urging that if he
     remained here he should be insane, and that Mr. Stearns of all
     his friends was the only one who would be at all satisfactory to
     him. This request, or rather demand, Mr. Stearns promptly
     declined. How well I remember his agitation, walking up and down
     the room, and finally entreating Mr. Stearns for 'friendship's
     sake' to go and take care of him. I can recall no instance of
     such self-abnegation in my husband's self-denying career. He did
     not _stoop_ to an _explanation_, even when Dr. Howe declared in
     his presence, some months later, "that he never did any thing in
     his life he so much wished to take back." I had hoped that Dr.
     Howe would himself have spared me from making this contribution
     to the truth of history.

     "On the 2d of December, Mr. Stearns yearned for the solitude of
     his own soul, in communion of spirit, with the friend who, on
     that day, would 'make the gallows glorious like the Cross'; and
     he left Dr. Howe and took the train for Niagara Falls. There,
     sitting alone beside the mighty rush of water, he solemnly
     consecrated his remaining life, his fortune, and all that was
     most dear, to the _cause_ in whose service John Brown had died.

     "How well and faithfully he kept his vow, may partly be seen in
     his subsequent efforts in recruiting the colored troops at a
     vital moment in the terrible war of the Rebellion which so
     swiftly followed the sublime apotheosis of 'Old John Brown.'"[70]

That John Brown intended to free the slaves, and nothing more, the
record shows clearly. His move on Harper's Ferry was well planned,
and had all the parties interested done their part the work would have
been done well. As to the rectitude of his intentions he gives the
world this leaf of history:

     "And now, gentlemen, let me press this one thing on your minds.
     You all know how dear life is to you, and how dear your lives are
     to your friends: and in remembering that, consider that the lives
     of others are as dear to them as yours are to you. Do not,
     therefore, take the life of any one if you can possibly avoid it;
     but if it is necessary to take life in order to save your own,
     then make sure work of it."--John Brown, before the battle at
     Harper's Ferry.

     "I never did intend murder, or treason, or the destruction of
     property, or to excite or incite slaves to rebellion, or to make
     insurrection. The design on my part was to free the
     slaves."--John Brown, after the battle at Harper's Ferry.

Distance lends enchantment to the view. What the world condemns to-day
is applauded to-morrow.

We must have a "fair count" on the history of yesterday and last year.
The events chronicled yesterday, when the imagination was wrought upon
by exciting circumstances, need revision to-day.

The bitter words spoken this morning reproach at eventide the smarting
conscience. And the judgments prematurely formed, and the conclusions
rapidly reached, maybe rectified and repaired in the light of departed
years and enlarged knowledge.

John Brown is rapidly settling down to his proper place in history,
and "the madman" has been transformed into a "saint." When Brown
struck his first blow for freedom, at the head of his little band of
liberators, it was almost the universal judgment of both Americans and
foreigners that he was a "fanatic." It seemed the very soul of
weakness and arrogance for John Brown to attempt to do so great a work
with so small a force. Men reached a decision with the outer and
surface facts. But many of the most important and historically
trustworthy truths bearing upon the motive, object, and import of that
"bold move," have been hidden from the public view, either by
prejudice or fear.

Some people have thought John Brown--"_The Hero of Harper's Ferry_"--a
hot-headed, blood-thirsty brigand; they animadverted against the
precipitancy of his measures, and the severity of his invectives; said
that he was lacking in courage and deficient in judgment; that he
retarded rather than accelerated the cause he championed. But this
was the verdict of other times, not the judgment of to-day.

John Brown said to a personal friend during his stay in Kansas: "Young
men must learn to wait. Patience is the hardest lesson to learn. I
have waited for twenty years to accomplish my purpose." These are not
the words of a mere visionary idealist, but the mature language of a
practical and judicious leader, a leader than whom the world has never
seen a greater. By greatness is meant deep convictions of duty, a
sense of the Infinite, "a strong hold on truth," a "conscience void of
offence toward God and man," to which the appeals of the innocent and
helpless are more potential than the voices of angry thunder or
destructive artillery. Such a man was John Brown. He was strong in his
moral and mental nature, as well as in his physical nature. He was
born to lead; and he led, and made himself the pro-martyr of a cause
rapidly perfecting. All through his boyhood days he felt himself
lifted and quickened by great ideas and sublime purposes. He had
flowing in his veins the blood of his great ancestor, Peter Brown, who
came over in the "Mayflower"; and the following inscription appears
upon a marble monument in the graveyard at Canton Centre, New York:
"In memory of Captain John Brown, who died in the Revolutionary army,
at New York, September 3, 1776. He was of the fourth generation, in
regular descent, from Peter Brown, one of the Pilgrim Fathers, who
landed from the 'Mayflower,' at Plymouth, Massachusetts, December 22,
1620." This is the best commentary on his inherent love of absolute
liberty, his marvellous courage and transcendent military genius. For
years he elaborated and perfected his plans, working upon the public
sentiment of his day by the most praiseworthy means. He bent and bowed
the most obdurate conservatism of his day, and rallied to his
standards the most eminent men, the strongest intellects in the North.
His ethics and religion were as broad as the universe, and beneficent
in their wide ramification. And it was upon his "religion of
humanity," that embraced our entire species, that he proceeded with
his herculean task of striking off the chains of the enslaved. Few,
very few of his most intimate friends knew his plans--the plan of
freeing the slaves. Many knew his great faith, his exalted sentiments,
his ideas of liberty, in their crudity; but to a faithful few only did
he reveal his stupendous plans in their entirety.

Hon. Frederick Douglass and Colonel Richard J. Hinton, knew more of
Brown's real purposes than any other persons, with the exception of J.
H. Kagi, Osborn Anderson, Owen Brown, Richard Realf, and George B.

"Of men born of woman," there is not a greater than John Brown. He was
the forerunner of Lincoln, the great apostle of freedom.

One year before he went to Harper's Ferry, a friend met Brown in
Kansas [in June, 1858], and learned that during the previous month he
had brought almost all of his plans to perfection; and that the day
and hour were fixed to strike the blow. One year before, a convention
had met, on the 8th of May, 1858, at Chatham, Canada. At this
convention a provisional constitution and ordinances were drafted and
adopted, with the following officers: Commander-in-Chief, John Brown;
Secretary of War, J. H. Kagi; Members of Congress, Alfred M.
Ellsworth, Osborn Anderson; Treasurer, Owen Brown; Secretary of the
Treasury, Geo. B. Gill; Secretary of State, Richard Realf.

John Brown made his appearance in Ohio and Canada in the spring of
1859. He wrote letters, made speeches, collected funds for his little
army, and made final arrangements with his Northern allies, etc. He
purchased a small farm, about six miles from Harper's Ferry, on the
Maryland side, and made it his ordnance depot. He had 102 Sharp's
rifles, 68 pistols, 55 bayonets, 12 artillery swords, 483 pikes, 150
broken handles of pikes, 16 picks, 40 shovels, besides quite a number
of other appurtenances of war. This was in July. He intended to make
all of his arrangements during the summer of 1859, and meet his men in
the Alleghanies in the fall of the same year.

The apparent rashness of the John Brown movement may be mitigated
somewhat by the fact that he failed to carry out his original plan.
During the summer of 1859 he instructed his Northern soldiers and
sympathizers to be ready for the attack on the night of the 24th of
October, 1859. But while at Baltimore, in September, he got the
impression that there was conspiracy in his camp, and in order to
preclude its consummation, suddenly, without sending the news to his
friends at the North, determined to strike the first blow on the night
of the 17th of October. The news of his battle and his bold stand
against the united forces of Virginia and Maryland swept across the
country as the wild storm comes down the mountain side. Friend and foe
were alike astonished and alarmed. The enemies of the cause he
represented, when they recovered from their surprise, laughed their
little laugh of scorn, and eased their feelings by referring to him as
the "madman." Friends faltered, and, while they did not question his
earnestness, doubted his judgment. "Why," they asked, "should he act
with such palpable rashness, and thereby render more difficult and
impossible the emancipation of the slaves?" They claimed that the blow
he struck, instead of severing, only the more tightly riveted, the
chains upon the helpless and hapless Blacks. But in the face of
subsequent history we think his surviving friends will change their
views. There is no proof that his fears were not well grounded; that a
conspiracy was in progress. And who can tell whether a larger force
would have been more effective, or the night of the 24th more
opportune? May it not be believed that the good old man was right, and
that Harper's Ferry was just the place, and the 17th of October just
the time to strike for freedom, and make the rock-ribbed mountains of
Virginia to tremble at the presence of a "master!"--the king of

He was made a prisoner on the 19th of October, 1859, and remained
until the 7th of November without a change of clothing or medical aid.
Forty-two days from the time of his imprisonment he expiated his crime
upon the scaffold--a crime against slave-holding, timorous Virginia,
for bringing liberty to the oppressed. He was a man, and there was
nothing that interested man which was foreign to his nature. He had
gone into Virginia to save life, not to destroy it. The sighs and
groans of the oppressed had entered into his soul.

He had heard the Macedonian cry to come over and help them. He went,
and it cost him his life, but he gave it freely.

Captain Acvis, the jailer, said: "He was the gamest man I ever saw."
And Mr. Valandingham, at that time a member of Congress from Ohio, and
who examined him in court, said in a speech afterward.

     "It is in vain to underrate either the man or the conspiracy.
     Captain John Brown is as brave and resolute a man as ever headed
     an insurrection, and, in a good cause, and with a sufficient
     force, would have been a consummate partisan commander. He has
     coolness, daring, persistency, stoic faith and patience, and a
     firmness of will and purpose unconquerable! He is the farthest
     possible remove from the ordinary ruffian, fanatic, or madman."

No friend, howsoever ardent in his love, could have woven a chaplet
more worthy than the one placed upon the brow of the old hero by his
most embittered foe. A truer estimate of John Brown cannot be had.

South Carolina, Missouri, and Kentucky sent a rope to hang him, but,
the first two lacking strength, Kentucky had the everlasting disgrace
of furnishing the rope to strangle the noblest man that ever lived in
any age.

The last letter he ever wrote was written to Mrs. Geo. L. Stearns, and
she shall give its history:

     This letter requires the history which attaches to it, and
     illustrates the consideration which the brave martyr had for
     those in any way connected with him. It was written on a half
     sheet of paper, the exact size of the pages of a book into which
     he carefully inserted it, and tied up in a handkerchief with
     other books and papers, which he asked his jailer (Mr. Avis) to
     be allowed to go with his body to North Elba, and which Mrs.
     Brown took with her from the Charlestown prison. Her statement to
     me about it is this: She had been at home some two weeks, had
     looked over the contents of the handkerchief many times, when one
     day in turning the leaves of that particular book, she came upon
     this letter, on which she said she found two or three blistered
     spots, the only _tear drops_ she had seen among his papers. They
     are now yellow with time. On the back of the half sheet was
     written: "Please mail this to her," which she did, and so it
     reached my hand; seeming as if from the world to which his spirit
     had fled. It quite overwhelmed my husband. Presently he said:
     "See, dear, how careful the old man has been, he would not even
     direct it with your name to go from Virginia to Boston through
     the post-offices; and altho' it contains no message to me, one of
     those '_farewells_!' is intended for me, and also the 'Love to
     _All_ who love their neighbors.'"

                         "CHARLESTOWN, JEFFERSON CO VA. 29th Nov. 1859.

               "Boston, Mass.

     "My Dear Friend:--No letter I have received since my imprisonment
     here, has given me more satisfaction, or comfort, than yours of
     the 8th inst. I am quite cheerful: and never more happy. Have
     only time to write you a word. May God forever reward you _and
     all yours_.

     "_My love to_ ALL who love their neighbors. I have asked to be
     _spared_ from having any _mock, or hypocritical prayers made over
     me_ when I am publicly _murdered_; and that my only _religious
     attendents_ be _poor little, dirty, ragged, bareheaded and
     barefooted, Slave Boys; and Girls_, led by some old _gray-headed
     slave Mother_.

                         "Farewell. Farewell.
                                     "Your Friend,
                                          "JOHN BROWN."[71]

The man who hung him, Governor Wise, lived to see the plans of Brown
completed and his most cherished hopes fulfilled. He heard the warning
shot fired at Sumter, saw Richmond fall, the war end in victory to the
party of John Brown; saw the slave-pen converted into the
school-house, and the four millions Brown fought and died for,
elevated to the honors of citizenship. And at last he has entered the
grave, where his memory will perish with his body, while the soul and
fame of John Brown go marching down the centuries!

Galileo, Copernicus, Newton, and John Brown have to wait the calmer
judgments of future generations. These men believed that God sent them
to do a certain work--to reveal a hidden truth; to pour light into the
minds of benighted and superstitious men. They completed their work;
they did nobly and well, then bowed to rest--

  "With patriarchs of the infant world--with kings,
  The powerful of the earth,"

while generation after generation studies their handwriting on the
wall of time and interprets their thoughts. Despised, persecuted, and
unappreciated while in the flesh, they are honored after death, and
enrolled among earth's good and great, her wise and brave. The shock
Brown gave the walls of the slave institution was felt from its centre
to its utmost limits. It was the entering wedge; it laid bare the
accursed institution, and taught good men everywhere to hate it with a
perfect hatred. Slavery received its death wound at the hands of a
"lonely old man." When he smote Virginia, the non-resistants, the
anti-slavery men, learned a lesson. They saw what was necessary to the
accomplishment of their work, and were now ready for the "worst." He
rebuked the conservatism of the North, and gave an example of
adherence to duty, devotion to truth, and fealty to God and man that
make the mere "professor" to tremble with shame. "John Brown's body
lies mouldering in the clay," but his immortal name will be pronounced
with blessings in all lands and by all people till the end of time.


[66] This was in the last days of 1856.

[67] The committee also authorized him to draw on their treasurer,
Patrick L. Jackson, for $500.

[68] Samuel Johnson, the accomplished Oriental scholar and devoted
friend of the slave.

[69] The italics are his.

[70] The above account of Capt. Brown was prepared for us by the widow
of the late Major Geo. L. Stearns. It is printed as written, and
breathes a beautiful spirit of love and tender remembrance for the two
heroes mentioned.

[71] This letter is printed for the first time, with Mrs. Stearns's






In 1860 there were, in the fifteen slave-holding States, 12,240,000
souls, of whom 8,039,000 were whites, 251,000 free persons of color,
and 3,950,000 were slaves. The gain of the entire population of the
slave-holding States, from 1850-1860, was 2,627,000, equal to 27.33
per cent. The slave population had increased 749,931, or 23.44 per
cent., not including the slaves in the District of Columbia, where
they had lost 502 slaves during the decade. The nineteen
non-slave-holding States and the seven territories, including the
District of Columbia, contained 19,203,008 souls, of whom 18,920,771
were whites, 237,283 free persons of color, and 41,725 civilized
Indians. The actual increase of this population was 5,624,101, or
41.24 per cent. During the same period--1850-1860--the total
population of free persons of color in the United States increased
from 434,449 to 487,970, or at the rate of 12.33 per cent., annual
increase of above 1 per cent. In 1850 the Mulattoes were 11.15 per
cent., regarding the United States as one aggregate, and in 1860 were
13.25 per cent., of the entire Colored population.

                |        Numbers.       | Proportions.
     Colored.   |   1850.   |   1860.   | 1850. | 1860.
  Blacks        | 3,233,057 | 3,853,478 | 88.85 | 86.75
  Mulattoes     |   405,751 |   588,352 | 11.15 | 13.25
  Total Colored | 3,638,808 | 4,441,830 |100.00 |100.00

So, in ten years, from 1850-1860, the increase of blacks above the
current deaths was 620,421, or more than one half of a million, while
the corresponding increase of Mulattoes was 182,601. Estimating the
deaths to have been 22.4 per cent. during the same period, or one in
40 annually, the total births of Blacks in ten years was about
1,345,000, and the total births of Mulattoes about 273,000. Thus it
appears, in the prevailing order, that of every 100 births of Colored,
about 17 were Mulattoes, and 83 Blacks, indicating a ratio of nearly 1
to 5.

There were:

  Deaf and dumb slaves     531
  Blind                  1,387
  Insane                   327
  Idiotic                1,182
  Total                  3,427

There were 400,000 slaves in the towns and cities of the South, and
2,804,313 in the country. The products of slave labor in 1850 were as


  Cotton           $98,603,720
  Tobacco           13,982,686
  Cane sugar        12,378,850
  Hemp               5,000,000
  Rice               4,000,000
  Molasses           2,540,179

There were 347,525 slave-holders against 5,873,893 non-slave-holders
in the slave States. The representation in Congress was as follows:

  Northern representatives based on white population         142
  Northern representatives based on Colored population         2
  Southern representatives based on white population          68
  Southern representatives based on free Colored population    2
  Southern representatives based on slave population          20
  Ratio of representation for 1853                   93,420

The South owned 16,652 churches, valued at $22,142,085; the North
owned 21,357 churches, valued at $65,167,586. The South printed
annually 92,165,919 copies of papers and periodicals; the North
printed annually 334,146,081 copies of papers and periodicals. The
South owned, other than private, 722 libraries, containing 742,794
volumes; the North owned, other than private, 14,902 libraries,
containing 3,882,217 volumes.

In sentiment, motive, and civilization the two "Sections" were as far
apart as the poles. New England, Puritan, Roundhead civilization could
not fellowship the Cavaliers of the South. There were not only two
sections and two political parties in the United States;--there were
two antagonistic governmental ideas. John C. Calhoun and Alexander H.
Stephens, of the South, represented the idea of the separate and
individual sovereignty of each of the States; while William H. Seward
and Abraham Lincoln, of the North, represented the idea of the
centralization of governmental authority, so far as it was necessary
to secure uniformity of the laws, and the supremacy of the Federal
Constitution. On the 25th of October, 1858, in a speech delivered in
Rochester, N. Y., William H. Seward said:

     "Our country is a theatre which exhibits, in full operation, two
     radically different political systems: the one resting on the
     basis of servile or slave labor; the other on the basis of
     voluntary labor of freemen.

            *       *       *       *       *

     "The two systems are at once perceived to be incongruous. They
     never have permanently existed together in one country, and they
     never can.

     ... "These antagonistic systems are continually coming in closer
     contact, and collision ensues.

     "Shall I tell you what this collision means? It is an
     irrepressible conflict between opposing and enduring forces, and
     it means that the United States must, and will, sooner or later,
     become entirely a slave-holding nation, or entirely a free labor
     nation. Either the cotton and rice fields of South Carolina, and
     the sugar plantations of Louisiana, will ultimately be tilled by
     free-labor, and Charleston and New Orleans become marts for
     legitimate merchandise alone, or else the rye fields and wheat
     fields of Massachusetts and New York must again be surrendered by
     their farmers to the slave culture and to the production of
     slaves, and Boston and New York become once more markets for
     trade in the bodies and souls of men."

Upon the eve of the great Rebellion, Mr. Seward said in the United
States Senate:

     "A free Republican government like this, notwithstanding all its
     constitutional checks, cannot long resist and counteract the
     progress of society.

     "Free labor has at last apprehended its rights and its destiny,
     and is organizing itself to assume the government of the
     Republic. It will henceforth meet you boldly and resolutely here
     (Washington); it will meet you everywhere, in the territories and
     out of them, where-ever you may go to extend slavery. It has
     driven you back in California and in Kansas; it will invade you
     soon in Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Missouri, and Texas. It
     will meet you in Arizona, in Central America, and even in Cuba.

            *       *       *       *       *

     "You may, indeed, get a start under or near the tropics, and seem
     safe for a time, but it will be only a short time. Even there you
     will found States only for free labor, or to maintain and occupy.
     The interest of the whole race demands the ultimate emancipation
     of all men. Whether that consummation shall be allowed to take
     effect, with needful and wise precautions against sudden change
     and disaster, or be hurried on by violence, is all that remains
     for you to decide. The white man needs this continent to labor
     upon. His head is clear, his arm is strong, and his necessities
     are fixed.

            *       *       *       *       *

     "It is for yourselves, and not for us, to decide how long and
     through what further mortifications and disasters the contest
     shall be protracted before Freedom shall enjoy her already
     assured triumph.

     "You may refuse to yield it now, and for a short period, but your
     refusal will only animate the friends of freedom with the courage
     and the resolution, and produce the union among them, which alone
     is necessary on their part to attain the position itself,
     simultaneously with the impending overthrow of the existing
     Federal Administration and the constitution of a new and more
     independent Congress."

Mr. Lincoln said during a discussion of the impending crisis:

     "I believe this government cannot endure permanently, half slave
     and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved; I do
     not expect the house to fall, but I do expect that it will cease
     to be divided. It will become all one thing, or all the other.
     Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of
     it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief
     that it is in the course of ultimate extinction, or its advocates
     will push it forward until it shall become alike lawful in all
     the States, old as well as new, North as well as South.

     "I have always hated slavery as much as any Abolitionist. I have
     always been an old-line Whig. I have always hated it, and I
     always believed it in a course of ultimate extinction. If I were
     in Congress, and a vote should come up on a question whether
     slavery should be prohibited in a new territory, in spite of the
     Dred Scott decision I would vote that it should."

Notwithstanding the confident tone of Mr. Lincoln's statement that he
did "not expect the house to fall," it _did_ fall, and great was the
fall thereof!

On Saturday, 9th of February, 1861, six seceding States met at
Montgomery, Alabama, and organized an independent government. The
ordinances of secession were passed by the States as follows:

  STATE.            DATE.            YEAS.    NAYS.
  South Carolina    Dec. 20, 1860     169     ----
  Mississippi       Jan. 9, 1861       84       15
  Alabama           Jan. 11, 1861      61       39
  Florida           Jan. 11, 1861      62        7
  Georgia           Jan. 19, 1861     228       89
  Louisiana         Jan. 25, 1861     113       17

The following delegates presented their credentials and were admitted
and represented their respective States:

     ALABAMA.--R. W. Walker, R. H. Smith, J. L. M. Curry, W. P.
     Chilton, S. F. Hale Colon, J. McRae, John Gill Shorter, David P.
     Lewis, Thomas Fearn.

     FLORIDA.--James B. Owens, J. Patten Anderson, Jackson Morton (not

     GEORGIA.--Robert Toombs, Howell Cobb, F. S. Bartow, M. J.
     Crawford, E. A. Nisbet, B. H. Hill, A. R. Wright, Thomas R. Cobb,
     A. H. Kenan, A. H. Stephens.

     LOUISIANA.--John Perkins, Jr., A. Declonet, Charles M. Conrad, D.
     F. Kenner, G. E. Sparrow, Henry Marshall.

     MISSISSIPPI.--W. P. Harris, Walter Brooke, N. S. Wilson, A. M.
     Clayton, W. S. Barry, J. T. Harrison.

     SOUTH CAROLINA.--R. B. Rhett, R. W. Barnwell, L. M. Keitt, James
     Chestnut, Jr., C. G. Memminger, W. Porcher Miles, Thomas J.
     Withers, W. W. Boyce.

A president and vice-president were chosen by unanimous vote.
President--Honorable Jefferson Davis, of Mississippi.
Vice-President--Honorable Alexander H. Stephens, of Georgia. The
following gentlemen composed the Cabinet:

Secretary of State, Robert Toombs; Secretary of Treasury, C. G.
Memminger; Secretary of Interior (Vacancy); Secretary of War, L. P.
Walker; Secretary of Navy, John Perkins, Jr.; Postmaster-General, H.
T. Ebett; Attorney-General, J. P. Benjamin.

The Constitution of the Confederate Government did not differ so very
radically from the Federal Constitution. The following were the chief

     "1. The importation of African negroes from any foreign country
     other than the slave-holding States of the Confederate States is
     hereby forbidden, and Congress is required to pass such laws as
     shall effectually prevent the same.

     "2. Congress shall also have power to prohibit the introduction
     of slaves from any State not a member of this Confederacy.

     "The Congress shall have power:

     "1. To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises, for
     revenue necessary to pay the debts and carry on the government of
     the Confederacy, and all duties, imposts, and excises shall be
     uniform throughout the Confederacy.

     "A slave in one State escaping to another shall be delivered,
     upon the claim of the party to whom said slave may belong, by the
     Executive authority of the State in which such slave may be
     found; and in any case of abduction or forcible rescue, full
     compensation, including the value of slave, and all costs and
     expense, shall be made to the party by the State in which such
     abduction or rescue shall take place.

     "2. The government hereby instituted shall take immediate step's
     for the settlement of all matters between the States forming it
     and their late confederates of the United States in relation to
     the public property and public debt at the time of their
     withdrawal from them; these States hereby declaring it to be
     their wish and earnest desire to adjust everything pertaining to
     the common property, common liabilities, and common obligations
     of that Union, upon principles of right, justice, equity, and
     good faith."

At first blush it would appear that the new government had not been
erected upon the slave question; that it had gone as far as the
Federal Government to suppress the foreign slave-trade; and that
nobler and sublimer ideas and motives had inspired and animated the
Southern people in their movement for a new government. But the men
who wrote the Confederate platform knew what they were about. They
knew that to avoid the charge that would certainly be made against
them, of having seceded in order to make slavery a national
institution, they must be careful not to exhibit such intentions in
their Constitution. But that the South seceded on account of the
slavery question, there can be no historical doubt whatever. Jefferson
Davis, President, so-called, of the Confederate Government, said in
his Message, April 29, 1861:

     "When the several States delegated certain powers to the United
     States Congress, a large portion of the laboring population
     consisted of African slaves, imported into the colonies by the
     mother-country. In twelve out of the thirteen States, negro
     slavery existed; and the right of property in slaves was
     protected by law. This property was recognized in the
     Constitution; and provision was made against its loss by the
     escape of the slave.

     "The increase in the number of slaves by further importation from
     Africa was also secured by a clause forbidding Congress to
     prohibit the slave-trade anterior to a certain date; and in no
     clause can there be found any delegation of power to the
     Congress, authorizing it in any manner to legislate to the
     prejudice, detriment, or discouragement of the owners of that
     species of property, or excluding it from the protection of the

     "The climate and soil of the Northern States soon proved
     unpropitious to the continuance of slave labor; whilst the
     converse was the case at the South. Under the unrestricted free
     intercourse between the two sections, the Northern States
     consulted their own interest, by selling their slaves to the
     South, and prohibiting slavery within their limits. The South
     were willing purchasers of a property suitable to their wants,
     and paid the price of the acquisition without harboring a
     suspicion that their quiet possession was to be disturbed by
     those who were inhibited not only by want of constitutional
     authority, but by good faith as vendors, from disquieting a title
     emanating from themselves.

     "As soon, however, as the Northern States that prohibited
     African slavery within their limits had reached a number
     sufficient to give their representation a controlling voice in
     the Congress, a persistent and organized system of hostile
     measures against the rights of the owners of slaves in the
     Southern States was inaugurated, and gradually extended. A
     continuous series of measures was devised and prosecuted for the
     purpose of rendering insecure the tenure of property in slaves.

            *       *       *       *       *

     "With interests of such overwhelming magnitude imperilled, the
     people of the Southern States were driven by the conduct of the
     North to the adoption of some course of action to avoid the
     danger with which they were openly menaced. With this view, the
     Legislatures of the several States invited the people to select
     delegates to conventions to be held for the purpose of
     determining for themselves what measures were best adapted to
     meet so alarming a crisis in their history."[72]

Alexander H. Stephens, Vice-President, as he was called, said, in a
speech delivered at Savannah, Georgia, 21st of March, 1861:

     "The new Constitution has put at rest _forever_ all the agitating
     questions relating to our peculiar institution,--African slavery
     as it exists amongst us, the proper status of the negro in our
     form of civilization. _This was the immediate cause of the late
     rupture and present revolution._ JEFFERSON, in his forecast, had
     anticipated this, as the 'rock upon which the old Union would
     split.' He was right. What was conjecture with him is now a
     realized fact. But whether he fully comprehended the great truth
     upon which that great rock _stood_ and _stands_, may be doubted.
     _The prevailing ideas entertained by him and most of the leading
     statesmen at the time of the formation of the old Constitution,
     were, that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the
     laws of nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially,
     morally, and politically._ It was an evil they knew not well how
     to deal with; but the general opinion of the men of that day was,
     that, somehow or other in the order of Providence, the
     institution would be evanescent, and pass away. This idea, though
     not incorporated in the Constitution, was the prevailing idea at
     the time. The Constitution, it is true, secured every essential
     guarantee to the institution while it should last; and hence no
     argument can be justly used against the constitutional guarantees
     thus secured, because of the common sentiment of the day. _Those
     ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the
     assumption of the equality of races. This was an error._ It was a
     sandy foundation; and the idea of a government built upon
     it,--when the 'storm came and the wind blew, it _fell_.'

     "_Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite ideas.
     Its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great
     truth, that the negro is not equal to the white man; that
     slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and
     normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the
     history of the world, based upon this great physical,
     philosophical, and moral truth._ This truth has been slow in the
     process of its development, like all other truths in the various
     departments of science. It has been so even amongst us. Many who
     hear me, perhaps, can recollect well that this truth was not
     generally admitted, even within their day."[73]

Now, then, what was the real issue between the Confederate States and
the United States? Why, it was extension of slavery by the former, and
the restriction of slavery by the latter. To put the issue as it was
understood by Northern men--in poetic language, it was "_The Union as
it is_." While the South, at length, through its leaders, acknowledged
that slavery was their issue, the North, standing upon the last
analysis of the Free-Soil idea of resistance to the further
inoculation of free territory with the virus of slavery, refused to
recognize slavery as an issue. But what did the battle cry of the
loyal North, "_The Union as it is_," mean? A Union half free and half
slave; a dual government, if not in fact, certainly in the brains and
hearts of the people; two civilizations at eternal and inevitable war
with each other; a Union with the canker-worm of slavery in it,
impairing its strength every year and threatening its life; a Union in
which two hostile ideas of political economy were at work, and where
unpaid slave labor was inimical to the interests of the free
workingmen. And it should not be forgotten that the Republican party
acknowledged the right of Southerns to hunt slaves in the free States,
and to return such slaves, under the fugitive-slave law, to their
masters. Mr. Lincoln was not an Abolitionist, as many people think.
His position on the question was clearly stated in the answers he gave
to a number of questions put to him by Judge Douglass in the latter
part of the summer of 1858. Mr. Lincoln said:

     "Having said this much, I will take up the judge's
     interrogatories as I find them printed in the Chicago 'Times,'
     and answer them _seriatim_. In order that there may be no mistake
     about it, I have copied the interrogatories in writing, and also
     my answers to them. The first one of these interrogatories is in
     these words:

     "Question 1. 'I desire to know whether Lincoln to-day stands, as
     he did in 1854, in favor of the unconditional repeal of the
     Fugitive-Slave Law?'

     "Answer. I do not now, nor ever did, stand in favor of the
     unconditional repeal of the Fugitive-Slave Law.

     "Q. 2. 'I desire him to answer whether he stands pledged to-day,
     as he did in 1854, against the admission of any more slave States
     into the Union, even if the people want them?'

     "A. I do not now, nor ever did, stand pledged against the
     admission of any more slave States into the Union.

     "Q. 3. 'I want to know whether he stands pledged against the
     admission of a new State into the Union with such a constitution
     as the people of that State may see fit to make.'

     "Q. 4. 'I want to know whether he stands to-day pledged to the
     abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia?'

     "A. I do not stand to-day pledged to the abolition of slavery in
     the District of Columbia.

     "Q. 5. 'I desire him to answer whether he stands pledged to the
     prohibition of the slave-trade between the different States?'

     "A. I do not stand pledged to the prohibition of the slave-trade
     between the different States.

     "Q. 6. 'I desire to know whether he stands pledged to prohibit
     slavery in all the territories of the United States, north as
     well as south of the Missouri Compromise line?'

     "A. I am impliedly, if not expressly, pledged to a belief in the
     _right_ and _duty_ of Congress to prohibit slavery in all the
     United States territories. [Great applause.]

     "Q. 7. 'I desire him to answer whether he is opposed to the
     acquisition of any new territory unless slavery is first
     prohibited therein?'

     "A. I am not generally opposed to honest acquisition of
     territory; and, in any given case, I would or would not oppose
     such acquisition, accordingly as I might think such acquisition
     would or would not agitate the slavery question among ourselves.

     "Now, my friends, it will be perceived upon an examination of
     these questions and answers, that so far I have only answered
     that I was not _pledged_ to this, that, or the other. The judge
     has not framed his interrogatories to ask me any thing more than
     this, and I have answered in strict accordance with the
     interrogatories, and have answered truly that I am not _pledged_
     at all upon any of the points to which I have answered. But I am
     not disposed to hang upon the exact form of his interrogatories.
     I am rather disposed to take up at least some of these questions,
     and state what I really think upon them.

     "As to the first one, in regard to the Fugitive-Slave Law, I have
     never hesitated to say, and I do not now hesitate to say, that I
     think, under the Constitution of the United States, the people of
     the Southern States are entitled to a congressional slave law.
     Having said that, I have had nothing to say in regard to the
     existing Fugitive-Slave Law, further than that I think it should
     have been framed so as to be free from some of the objections
     that pertain to it, without lessening its efficiency. And
     inasmuch as we are not now in an agitation in regard to an
     alteration or modification of that law, I would not be the man to
     introduce it as a new subject of agitation upon the general
     question of slavery.

     "In regard to the other question, of whether I am pledged to the
     admission of any more slave States into the Union, I state to you
     very frankly that I would be exceedingly sorry ever to be put in
     a position of having to pass upon that question. I should be
     exceedingly glad to know that there would never be another slave
     State admitted into the Union; but I must add, that if slavery
     shall be kept out of the territories during the territorial
     existence of any one given territory, and then the people shall,
     having a fair chance and a clear field, when they come to adopt
     the constitution, do such an extraordinary thing as to adopt a
     slave constitution, uninfluenced by the actual presence of the
     institution among them, I see no alternative, if we own the
     country, but to admit them into the Union. [Applause.]

     "The third interrogatory is answered by the answer to the second,
     it being, as I conceive, the same as the second.

     "The fourth one is in regard to the abolition of slavery in the
     District of Columbia. In relation to that I have my mind very
     distinctly made up. I should be exceedingly glad to see slavery
     abolished in the District of Columbia. I believe that Congress
     possesses the constitutional power to abolish it. Yet, as a
     member of Congress, I should not, with my present views, be in
     favor of _endeavoring_ to abolish slavery in the District of
     Columbia, unless it would be upon these conditions: _First_, that
     the abolition should be gradual; _second_, that it should be on a
     vote of the majority of qualified voters in the district; and,
     _third_, that compensation should be made to unwilling owners.
     With these three conditions I confess I would be exceedingly glad
     to see Congress abolish slavery in the District of Columbia; and,
     in the language of Henry Clay, 'sweep from our capital that foul
     blot upon our nation.'

     "In regard to the fifth interrogatory, I must say here that, as
     to the question of the abolition of the slave-trade between the
     different States, I can truly answer, as I have, that I am
     _pledged_ to nothing about it. It is a subject to which I have
     not given that mature consideration that would make me feel
     authorized to state a position so as to hold myself entirely
     bound by it. In other words, that question has never been
     prominently enough before me to induce me to investigate whether
     we really have the constitutional power to do it. I could
     investigate it, if I had sufficient time, to bring myself to a
     conclusion upon that subject; but I have not done so, and I say
     so frankly to you here, and to Judge Douglass. I must say,
     however, that if I should be of opinion that Congress does
     possess the constitutional power to abolish slave-trading among
     the different States, I should still not be in favor of the
     exercise of that power unless upon some conservative principle as
     I conceive it, akin to what I have said in relation to the
     abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia.

     "My answer as to whether I desire that slavery should be
     prohibited in all territories of the United States, is full and
     explicit within itself, and cannot be made clearer by any
     comments of mine. So, I suppose, in regard to the question
     whether I am opposed to the acquisition of any more territory
     unless slavery is first prohibited therein, my answer is such
     that I could add nothing by way of illustration, or making myself
     better understood, than the answer which I have placed in

     "Now, in all this the judge has me, and he has me on the record.
     I suppose he had flattered himself that I was really entertaining
     one set of opinions for one place, and another set for another
     place--that I was afraid to say at one place what I uttered at
     another. What I am saying here I suppose I say to a vast audience
     as strongly tending to abolitionism as any audience in the State
     of Illinois, and I believe I am saying that which, if it would be
     offensive to any persons and render them enemies to myself, would
     be offensive to persons in this audience."[74]

Here, then, is the position of Mr. Lincoln set forth with deliberation
and care. He was opposed to any coercive measures in settling the
slavery question; he was for gradual emancipation; and for admitting
States into the Union with a slave constitution. Within twenty-four
months, without a change of views, he was nominated for and elected to
the Presidency of the United States.

With no disposition to interfere with the institution of slavery, Mr.
Lincoln found himself chief magistrate of a great _nation_ in the
midst of a great rebellion. And in his inaugural address on the 4th of
March, 1861, he referred to the question of slavery again in a manner
too clear to admit of misconception, affirming his previous views:

     "There is much controversy about the delivering up of fugitives
     from service or labor. The clause I now read is as plainly
     written in the Constitution as any other of its provisions:

     "'No person held to service or labor in one State under the laws
     thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law
     or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labor,
     but shall be delivered up on claim of the party to whom such
     service or labor may be due.'

     "It is scarcely questioned that this provision was intended by
     those who made it for the reclaiming of what we call fugitive
     slaves; and the intention of the lawgiver is the law.

     "All members of Congress swear their support to the whole
     Constitution--to this provision as well as any other. To the
     proposition, then, that slaves whose cases come within the terms
     of this clause 'shall be delivered up,' their oaths are
     unanimous. Now, if they would make the effort in good temper,
     could they not, with nearly equal unanimity, frame and pass a law
     by means of which to keep good that unanimous oath?

     "There is some difference of opinion whether this clause should
     be enforced by National or by State authority; but surely that
     difference is not a very material one. If the slave is to be
     surrendered, it can be of but little consequence to him or to
     others by which authority it is done; and should any one, in any
     case, be content that this oath shall go unkept on a merely
     unsubstantial controversy as to how it shall be kept?"

So the issues were joined in war. The South aggressively, offensively
sought the extension and perpetuation of slavery. The North passively,
defensively stood ready to protect her free territory, but not to
interfere with slavery. And there was no day during the first two
years of the war when the North would not have cheerfully granted the
slave institution an indefinite lease of _legal_ existence upon the
condition that the war should cease.


[72] National Intelligencer, Tuesday, May 7, 1861.

[73] National Intelligencer, Tuesday, April, 2, 1861.

[74] Barrett, pp. 177-180.




When the war clouds broke over the country and hostilities began, the
North counted the Negro on the outside of the issue. The Federal
Government planted itself upon the policy of the "defence of the free
States,"--pursued a defensive rather than an offensive policy. And,
whenever the Negro was mentioned, the leaders of the political parties
and the Union army declared that it was "_a white mans war_."

The first call for three months' troops indicated that the authorities
at Washington felt confident that the "trouble" would not last long.
The call was issued on the 15th of April, 1861, and provided for the
raising of 75,000 troops. It was charged by the President that certain
States had been guilty of forming "combinations too powerful to be
suppressed by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings," and then
he proceeded to state:

     "The details for this object will be immediately communicated to
     the State authorities through the War Department. I appeal to all
     loyal citizens to favor, facilitate, and aid this effort to
     maintain the honor, the integrity, and the existence of our
     National Union, and the perpetuity of popular government, and to
     redress wrongs already long enough endured. I deem it proper to
     say that the first service assigned to the forces hereby called
     forth, will probably be to repossess the forts, places, and
     property which have been seized from the Union; and in every
     event the utmost care will be observed, consistently with the
     objects aforesaid, to avoid any devastation, any destruction of,
     or interference with, property, or any disturbance of peaceful
     citizens of any part of the country; and I hereby command the
     persons composing the combinations aforesaid, to disperse and
     retire peaceably to their respective abodes within twenty days
     from this date."[75]

There was scarcely a city in the North, from New York to San
Francisco, whose Colored residents did not speedily offer their
services to the States to aid in suppressing the Rebellion. But
everywhere as promptly were their services declined. The Colored
people of the Northern States were patriotic and enthusiastic; but
their interest was declared insolence. And being often rebuked for
their loyalty, they subsided into silence to bide a change of public

The almost unanimous voice of the press and pulpit was against a
recognition of the Negro as the cause of the war. Like a man in the
last stages of consumption who insists that he has only a bad cold, so
the entire North urged that slavery was not the cause of the war: it
was a little local misunderstanding. But the death of the gallant Col.
Elmer E. Elsworth palsied the tongues of mere talkers; and in the
tragic silence that followed, great, brave, and true men began to

Not a pulpit in all the land had spoken a word for the slave. The
clergy stood dumb before the dreadful issue. But one man was found,
like David of old, who, gathering his smooth pebble of fact from the
brook of God's eternal truth, boldly met the boastful and erroneous
public sentiment of the hour. That man was the Rev. Justin D. Fulton,
a Baptist minister of Albany, New York. He was chosen to preach the
funeral sermon of Col. Elsworth, and performed that duty on Sunday,
May 26, 1861. Speaking of slavery, the reverend gentleman said:

     "Shall this magazine of danger be permitted to remain? _We must
     answer this question. If we say no, it is no!_ Slavery is a curse
     to the North. It impoverishes the South, and demoralizes both. It
     is the parent of treason, the seedling of tyranny, and the
     fountain-source of all the ills that have infected our life as a
     people, being the central cause of all our conflicts of the past
     and the war of to-day. What reason have we for permitting it to
     remain? God does not want it, for His truth gives freedom. The
     South does not need it, for it is the chain fastened to her limb
     that fetters her progress. Morality, patriotism, and humanity
     alike protest against it.

     "The South fights for slavery, for the despotism which it
     represents, for the ignoring the rights of labor, and for
     reducing to slavery or to serfdom all whose hands are hardened by

     "Why not make the issue at once, which shall inspire every man
     that shoulders his musket with a noble purpose? Our soldiers need
     to be reminded that this government was consecrated to freedom by
     those who first built here the altars of worship, and planted on
     the shore of the Western Continent the tree of liberty, whose
     fruit to-day fills the garners of national hope.... I would not
     forget that I am a messenger of the Prince of Peace. My motives
     for throwing out these suggestions are three-fold: 1. Because I
     believe God wants us to be actuated by motives not one whit less
     philanthropic than the giving of freedom to four million of
     people. 2. I confess to a sympathy for and faith in the slave,
     and cherish the belief that if freed, the war would become
     comparatively bloodless, and that as a people we should enter on
     the discharge of higher duties and a more enlarged prosperity. 3.
     The war would hasten to a close, and the end secured would then
     form a brilliant dawn to a career of prosperity unsurpassed in
     the annals of mankind."[76]

Brave, prophetic words! But a thousand vituperative editors sprang at
Mr. Fulton's utterances, and as snapping curs, growled at and shook
every sentence. He stood his ground. He took no step backward. When
notice was kindly sent him that a committee would wait on him to treat
him to a coat of tar and feathers, against the entreaties of anxious
friends, he sent word that he would give them a warm reception. When
the best citizens of Albany said the draft could not be enforced
without bloody resistance, the Rev. Mr. Fulton exclaimed: "If the
floodgates of blood are to be opened, we will not shoot down the poor
and ignorant, but the swaggering and insolent men whose hearts are not
in this war!"

The "Atlas and Argus," in an editorial on _Ill-Timed Pulpit
Abolitionism_, denounced Rev. Mr. Fulton in bitterest terms; while the
"Evening Standard" and "Journal" both declared that the views of the
preacher were as a fire-brand thrown into the magazine of public

Everywhere throughout the North the Negro was counted as on the
outside. Everywhere it was merely "a war for the Union," which was
half free and half slave.

When the Union army got into the field at the South it was confronted
by a difficult question. What should be done with the Negroes who
sought the Union lines for protection from their masters? The
sentiment of the press, Congress, and the people of the North
generally, was against interference with the slave, either by the
civil or military authorities. And during the first years of the war
the army became a band of slave-catchers. Slave-holders and sheriffs
from the Southern States were permitted to hunt fugitive slaves under
the Union flag and within the lines of Federal camps. On the 22d of
June, 1861, the following paragraph appeared in the "Baltimore

     "Two free negroes, belonging to Frederick, Md., who concealed
     themselves in the cars which conveyed the Rhode Island regiment
     to Washington from this city, were returned that morning by
     command of Colonel Burnside, who _supposed them to be slaves_.
     The negroes were accompanied by a sergeant of the regiment, who
     lodged them in jail."

On the 4th of July, 1861, Col. Tyler, of the 7th Ohio regiment,
delivered an address to the people of Virginia; a portion of which is
sufficient to show the feeling that prevailed among army officers on
the slavery question:

     "To you, fellow-citizens of West Virginia--many of whom I have so
     long and favorably known,--I come to aid and protect. [The
     grammar is defective.]

     "I have no selfish ambition to gratify, no personal motives to
     actuate. I am here to protect you in person and property--to aid
     you in the execution of the law, in the maintenance of peace and
     order, in the defence of the Constitution and the Union, and in
     the extermination of our common foe. As our enemies have belied
     our mission, and represented us as a band of Abolitionists, I
     desire to assure you that the relation of master and servant as
     recognized in your State shall be respected. Your authority over
     that species of property shall not in the least be interfered
     with. To this end I assure you that those under my command have
     peremptory orders to take up and hold any negroes found running
     about the camp without passes from their masters."

When a few copies had been struck off, a lieutenant in Captain G. W.
Shurtleff's company handed him one. He waited upon the colonel, and
told him that it was not true that the troops had been ordered to
arrest fugitive slaves. The colonel threatened to place Captain
Shurtleff in arrest, when he exclaimed: "I'll never be a
slave-catcher, so help me God!" There were few men in the army at this
time who sympathized with such a noble declaration, and, therefore,
Captain Shurtleff found himself in a very small minority.

The following account of an attempt to secure a fugitive slave from
General Isaac R. Sherwood has its historical value. General Sherwood
was as noble a _man_ as he was a brave and intelligent soldier. He
obeyed the still small voice in his soul and won a victory for

     "In the February and March of 1863, I was a major in command of
     111th O. V. I regiment. I had a servant, as indicated by army
     regulations, in charge of my private horse. He was from
     Frankfort, Ky., the property of a Baptist clergyman. When the
     troops passed through Frankfort, in the fall of 1862, he left his
     master, and followed the army. He came to me at Bowling Green,
     and I hired him to take care of my horse. He was a lad about
     fifteen years old, named _Alfred Jackson_.

     "At this time, Brig.-Gen. Boyle, or Boyd (I think Boyle), was in
     command of the District of Kentucky, and had issued his general
     order, that fugitive slaves should be delivered up. Brig.-Gen. H.
     M. Judah was in command of Post of Bowling Green, also of our
     brigade, there stationed.

     "The owner of Alfred Jackson found out his whereabouts, and sent
     a U. S. marshal to Bowling Green to get him. Said marshal came to
     my headquarters under a pretence to see my very fine
     saddle-horse, but really to identify Alfred Jackson. The horse
     was brought out by Alfred Jackson. The marshal went to Brig.-Gen.
     Judah's headquarters and got a written order addressed to me,
     describing the lad and ordering me to deliver the boy. This order
     was delivered to me by Col. Sterling, of Gen. Judah's staff, in
     person. I refused to obey it. I sent word to Gen. Judah that he
     could have my sword, but while I commanded that regiment no
     fugitive slave should ever be delivered to his master. The
     officer made my compliments to Gen. Judah as aforesaid, and I was
     placed under arrest for disobedience to orders, and my sword
     taken from me.

     "In a few days the command was ordered to move to Glasgow, Ky.,
     and Gen. Judah, not desiring to trust the regiment in command of
     a captain, I was temporarily restored to command, pending the
     meeting of a court-martial to try my case. When the command moved
     I took Alfred Jackson along. After we reached Glasgow, Ky., Gen.
     Judah sent for me, and said if I would then deliver up Alfred
     Jackson he would restore me to command. The United States marshal
     was present. This I again refused to do.

     "The same day, I sent an ambulance out of the lines, with Alfred
     Jackson tucked under the seat, in charge of a man going North,
     and I gave him money to get to Hillsdale, Michigan, where he
     went, and where he resided and grew up to be a good man and a
     citizen. I called the attention of Hon. James M. Ashley (then
     Member of Congress) to the matter, and under instructions from
     Secretary Stanton, Gen. Boyle's order was revoked, and I never
     delivered a fugitive, nor was I ever tried."

In Mississippi, in 1862, Col. James B. Steedman (afterward
major-general) refused to honor an order of Gen. Fry, delivered by the
man who wanted the slave in Steedman's camp. Col. Steedman read the
order and told the bearer that he was a rebel; that he could not
search _his_ camp; and that he would give him just ten minutes to get
out of the camp, or he would riddle him with bullets. When Gen. Fry
asked for an explanation of his refusal to allow his camp to be
searched, Col. Steedman said he would never consent to have his camp
searched by a _rebel_; that he would use every bayonet in his regiment
to protect the Negro slave who had come to him for protection; and
that he was sustained by the Articles of War, which had been amended
about that time.

Again, in the late summer of 1863, at Tuscumbia, Tennessee, Gen. Fry
rode into Col. Steedman's camp to secure the return of the slaves of
an old lady whom he had known before the war. Col. Steedman said he
did not know that any slaves were in his camp; and that if they were
there they should not be taken except they were willing to go. Gen.
Fry was a Christian gentleman of a high Southern type, and combined
with his loyalty to the Union an abiding faith in "the sacredness of
slave property." Whether he ever recovered from the malady, history
saith not.

The great majority of regular army officers were in sympathy with the
idea of protecting slave property. Gen. T. W. Sherman, occupying the
defences of Port Royal, in October, 1861, issued the following
proclamation to the people of South Carolina:

     "In obedience to the orders of the President of these United
     States of America, I have landed on your shores with a small
     force of National troops. The dictates of a duty which, under
     the Constitution, I owe to a great sovereign State, and to a
     proud and hospitable people, among whom I have passed some of the
     pleasantest days of my life, prompt me to proclaim that we have
     come among you with no feelings of personal animosity; no desire
     to harm your citizens, destroy your property, or interfere with
     any of your lawful rights, or your social and local institutions,
     beyond what the causes herein briefly alluded to may render

This proclamation sounds as if the general were a firm believer in
State sovereignty; and that he was possessed with a feeling that he
had landed in some strange land, among a people of different
civilization and peculiar institutions.

On the 13th of November, 1861, Major-Gen. John A. Dix, upon taking
possession of the counties of Accomac and Northampton, Va., issued the
following proclamation:

     "The military forces of the United States are about to enter your
     counties as a part of the Union. They will go among you as
     friends, and with the earnest hope that they may not, by your own
     acts, be compelled to become your enemies. They will invade no
     right of person or property. On the contrary, your laws, your
     institutions, your usages, will be scrupulously respected. There
     need be no fear that the quietude of any fireside will be
     disturbed, unless the disturbance is caused by yourselves.

     "Special directions have been given not to interfere with the
     condition of any person held to domestic servitude; and, in order
     that there may be no ground for mistake or pretext for
     misrepresentation, commanders of regiments or corps have been
     instructed not to permit such persons to come within their

Gen. Halleck, while in command of the Union forces in Missouri, issued
his "Order No. 3." as follows:

     "It has been represented that important information, respecting
     the number and condition of our forces, is conveyed to the enemy
     by means of fugitive slaves who are admitted within our lines. In
     order to remedy this evil, it is directed that no such person be
     hereafter permitted to enter the lines of any camp, or of any
     forces on the march, and that any now within such lines be
     immediately excluded therefrom."

On the 23d of February, 1862, in "Order No. 13," he referred to the
slave question as follows:

     "It does not belong to the military to decide upon the relation
     of master and slave. Such questions must be settled by the civil
     courts. No fugitive slaves will, therefore, be admitted within
     our lines or camps, except when specially ordered by the general

On the 18th of February, 1862, Major-Gen. A. E. Burnside issued a
proclamation in which he said to the people:

     "The Government asks only that its authority may be recognized;
     and we repeat, in no manner or way does it desire to interfere
     with your laws, constitutionally established, your institutions
     of any kind whatever, your property of any sort, or your usages
     in any respect."

The following letter from Gen. Buell shows how deeply attached he was
to the "constitutional guaranties" accorded to the rebels of the

                              "HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE OHIO, }
                                       "NASHVILLE, March 6, 1862.   }

     "_Dear Sir_: I have the honor to receive your communication of
     the 1st instant, on the subject of fugitive slaves in the camps
     of the army.

     "It has come to my knowledge that slaves sometimes make their way
     improperly into our lines; and in some instances they may be
     enticed there; but I think the number has been magnified by
     report. Several applications have been made to me by persons
     whose servants have been found in our camps; and in every
     instance that I know of the master has recovered his servant and
     taken him away.

     "I need hardly remind you that there will always be found some
     lawless and mischievous person in every army; but I assure you
     that the mass of this army is law-abiding, and that it is neither
     its disposition nor its policy to violate law or the rights of
     individuals in any particular. With great respect, your obedient

                                                "D. C. BUELL,
                                  "_Brig.-Gen. Commanding Department._

     "Hon. J. R. UNDERWOOD, _Chairman Military Committee_,
                       "Frankfort, Ky."

So "in every instance" the master had recovered his slave when found
in Gen. Buell's camp!

On the 26th of March, 1862, Gen. Joseph Hooker, commanding the "Upper
Potomac," issued the following order:

     "_To Brigade and Regimental Commanders of this Division_:

     "Messrs. Nally, Gray, Dunnington, Dent, Adams, Speake, Price,
     Posey, and Cobey, citizens of Maryland, have negroes supposed to
     be with some of the regiments of this division. The
     brigadier-general commanding directs that they be permitted to
     visit all the camps of his command, in search of their property;
     and if found, that they be allowed to take possession of the
     same, without any interference whatever. Should any obstacle be
     thrown in their way by any officer or soldier in the division, he
     will be at once reported by the regimental commander to these

In the spring of 1862, Gen. Thos. Williams, in the Department of the
Gulf, issued the following order[79]:

     "In consequence of the demoralizing and disorganizing tendencies
     to the troops of harboring runaway negroes, it is hereby ordered
     that the respective commanders of the camps and garrisons of the
     several regiments, 2d brigade, turn all such fugitives in their
     camps or garrisons out beyond the limits of their respective
     guards and sentinels.

                                   "By order of
                                          "Brig.-Gen. T. WILLIAMS."[80]

In a letter dated "Headquarters Army of the Potomac, July 7, 1862,"
Major-Gen. Geo. B. McClellan made the following observations
concerning slavery:

     "This Rebellion has assumed the character of a war; as such it
     should be regarded; and it should be conducted upon the highest
     principles known to Christian civilization. It should not be a
     war looking to the subjugation of the people of any State, in any
     event. It should not be at all a war upon populations, but
     against armed forces and political organizations. Neither
     confiscation of property, political executions of persons,
     territorial organization of States, nor forcible abolition of
     slavery should be contemplated for a moment."

But the drift of the sentiment of the army was in the direction of
compromise with the slavery question. Nearly every statesman at
Washington--in the White House and in the Congress--and nearly every
officer in the army regarded the Negro question as purely political
and not military. That it was a problem hard of solution no one could
doubt. Hundreds of loyal Negroes, upon the orders of general
officers, were turned away from the Union lines, while those who had
gotten on the inside were driven forth to the cruel vengeance of rebel
masters. Who could solve the problem? Major-Gen. Benjamin F. Butler
banished the politician, and became the loyal, patriotic _soldier_! In
the month of May, 1861, during the time Gen. Butler commanded the
Union forces at Fortress Monroe, three slaves made good their escape
into his lines. They stated that they were owned by Col. Mallory, of
the Confederate forces in the front; that he was about to send them to
the North Carolina seaboard to work on rebel fortifications; and that
the fortifications were intended to bar that coast against the Union
arms. Having heard this statement, Gen. Butler, viewing the matter
from a purely military stand-point, exclaimed: "These men are
_contraband_ of war; set them at work." Here was a solution of the
entire problem; here was a blow delivered at the backbone of the
Rebellion. He claimed no right to act as a politician, but acting as a
loyal-hearted, clear-headed _soldier_, he coined a word and hurled a
shaft at the enemy that struck him in a part as vulnerable as the heel
of Achilles. In his letter to the Lieut.-Gen. of the Army, Winfield
Scott, 27th of May, 1861, he said:

     "Since I wrote my last, the question in regard to slave property
     is becoming one of very serious magnitude. The inhabitants of
     Virginia are using their negroes in the batteries, and are
     preparing to send their women and children South. The escapes
     from them are very numerous, and a squad has come in this
     morning, and my pickets are bringing in their women and children.
     Of course these can not be dealt with upon the theory on which I
     designed to treat the services of able-bodied men and women who
     might come within my lines, and of which I gave you a detailed
     account in my last dispatch.

     "I am in the utmost doubt what to do with this species of
     property. Up to this time I have had come within my lines men and
     women, with their children,--entire families,--each family
     belonging to the same owner. I have therefore determined to
     employ--as I can do very profitably--the able-bodied persons in
     the party, issuing proper food for the support of all; charging
     against their services the expense of care and sustenance of the
     non-laborers; keeping a strict and accurate account, as well of
     the services as of the expenditures; having the worth of the
     services and the cost of the expenditures determined by a board
     of survey hereafter to be detailed. I know of no other manner in
     which to dispose of this subject and the questions connected
     therewith. As a matter of property, to the insurgents it will be
     of very great moment--the number that I now have amounting, as I
     am informed, to what in good times would be of the value of

     "Twelve of these negroes, I am informed, have escaped from the
     erection of the batteries on Sewell's Point, which fired upon my
     expedition as it passed by out of range. As a means of offense,
     therefore, in the enemy's hands, these negroes, when able-bodied,
     are of great importance. Without them the batteries could not
     have been erected; at least, for many weeks. As a military
     question it would seem to be a measure of necessity, and deprives
     their masters of their services.

     "How can this be done? As a political question, and a question of
     humanity, can I receive the services of a father and a mother and
     not take the children? Of the humanitarian aspect, I have no
     doubt; of the political one, I have no right to judge. I
     therefore submit all this to your better judgment, and, as these
     questions have a political aspect, I have ventured--and I trust I
     am not wrong in so doing--to duplicate the parts of my dispatch
     relating to this subject, and forward them to the Secretary of

                                   "Your obedient servant,
                                                "BENJ. F. BUTLER.

     "Lt.-General SCOTT."[81]

The letter of Gen. Butler was laid before the Secretary of War, who
answered it as follows:

     "SIR: Your action in respect to the negroes who came within your
     lines, from the service of the rebels, is approved. The
     Department is sensible of the embarrassments which must surround
     officers conducting military operations in a State, by the laws
     of which slavery is sanctioned. The Government can not recognize
     the rejection by any State of its Federal obligations, resting
     upon itself. Among these Federal obligations, however, no one can
     be more important than that of suppressing and dispersing any
     combination of the former for the purpose of overthrowing its
     whole constitutional authority. While, therefore, you will permit
     no interference, by persons under your command, with the
     relations of persons held to service under the laws of any State,
     you will, on the other hand, so long as any State within which
     your military operations are conducted remains under the control
     of such armed combinations, refrain from surrendering to alleged
     masters any persons who come within your lines. You will employ
     such persons in the services to which they will be best adapted;
     keeping an account of the labor by them performed, of the value
     of it, and the expenses of their maintenance. The question of
     their final disposition will be reserved for future

                                   "SIMON CAMERON, _Secretary of War_.

     "To Maj.-Gen. BUTLER.

In an account of the life and services of Capt. Grier Talmadge, the
"Times" correspondent says:

     "To the deceased, who was conservative in his views and actions,
     belongs the credit of first enunciating the 'contraband' idea as
     subsequently applied in the practical treatment of the slaves of
     rebels, Early in the spring of 1861, Flag-Officer Pendergrast, in
     command of the frigate 'Cumberland,' then the vessel blockading
     the Roads, restored to their owners certain slaves that had
     escaped from Norfolk. Shortly after, the Flag-Officer, Gen.
     Butler, Capt. Talmadge, and the writer chanced to meet in the
     ramparts of the fortress, when Capt. T. took occasion, warmly,
     but respectfully, to dissent from the policy of the act, and
     proceeded to advance some arguments in support of his views.
     Turning to Gen. Butler, who had just assumed command of this
     department, he said: 'General, it is a question you will have to
     decide, and that, too, very soon; for in less than twenty-four
     hours deserting slaves will commence swarming to your lines. The
     rebels are employing their slaves in thousands in constructing
     batteries all around us. And, in my judgment, in view of this
     fact, not only slaves who take refuge within our lines are
     contrabands, but I hold it as much our duty to seize and capture
     those employed, or intended to be employed, in constructing
     batteries, as it is to destroy the arsenals or any other
     war-making element of the rebels, or to capture and destroy the
     batteries themselves.' Within two days after this conversation,
     Gen. Butler has the question practically presented to him, as
     predicted, and he solved it by applying the views advanced by the

The conservative policy of Congress, the cringing attitude of the
Government at Washington, the reverses on the Potomac, the disaster of
Bull Run, the apologetic tone of the Northern press, the expulsion of
slaves from the Union lines, and the conduct of "Copperheads" in the
North--who crawled upon their stomachs, snapping and biting at the
heels of Union men and Union measures,--bred a spirit of unrest and
mob violence. It was not enough that the service of free Negroes was
declined; they were now hunted out and persecuted by mobs and other
agents of the disloyal element at the North. Like a man sick unto
death the Government insisted that it only had a slight cold, and that
it would be better soon. The President was no better informed as to
the nature of the war than other conservative Republicans. On the 19th
of August, 1862, Horace Greeley addressed an open letter to the
President, known as "The Prayer of Twenty Millions," of which the
following are specimen passages:

     "On the face of this wide earth, Mr. President, there is not one
     disinterested, determined, intelligent champion of the Union
     cause who does not feel that all attempts to put down the
     Rebellion, and at the same time uphold its inciting cause, are
     preposterous and futile--that the Rebellion, if crushed out
     to-morrow, would be renewed within a year if slavery were left in
     full vigor--that army officers, who remain to this day devoted to
     slavery, can at best be but half-way loyal to the Union--and that
     every hour of deference to slavery is an hour of added and
     deepened peril to the Union. I appeal to the testimony of your
     Embassadors in Europe. It is freely at your service, not mine.
     Ask them to tell you candidly whether the seeming subserviency of
     your policy to the slave-holding, slavery-upholding interest, is
     not the perplexity, the despair, of statesmen of all parties; and
     be admonished by the general answer!

     "I close, as I began, with the statement that what an immense
     majority of the loyal millions of your countrymen require of you
     is a frank, declared, unqualified, ungrudging execution of the
     laws of the land, more especially of the Confiscation Act. That
     Act gives freedom to the slaves of rebels coming within our
     lines, or whom those lines may at any time inclose,--we ask you
     to render it due obedience by publicly requiring all your
     subordinates to recognize and obey it. The rebels are everywhere
     using the late anti-negro riots in the North--as they have long
     used your officers' treatment of negroes in the South--to
     convince the slaves that they have nothing to hope from a Union
     success--that we mean in that case to sell them into a bitter
     bondage to defray the cost of the war. Let them impress this as a
     truth on the great mass of their ignorant and credulous bondmen,
     and the Union will never be restored--never. We can not conquer
     ten millions of people united in solid phalanx against us,
     powerfully aided by Northern sympathizers and European allies. We
     must have scouts, guides, spies, cooks, teamsters, diggers, and
     choppers, from the blacks of the South--whether we allow them to
     fight for us or not--or we shall be baffled and repelled. As one
     of the millions who would gladly have avoided this struggle at
     any sacrifice but that of principle and honor, but who now feel
     that the triumph of the Union is indispensable not only to the
     existence of our country, but to the well-being of mankind, I
     entreat you to render a hearty and unequivocal obedience to the
     law of the land.

                                       "HORACE GREELEY."[83]

It was an open letter. Mr. Greeley had evidently lost sight of his
economic theories as applied to slavery in the abstract, and now, as a
practical philosopher, caught hold of the question by the handle. Mr.
Lincoln replied within a few days, but was still joined to his
abstract theories of constitutional law. He loved the Union, and all
he should do for the slave should be done to help the Union, not the
slave. He was not desirous of saving or destroying slavery. But
certainly he had spoken more wisely than he knew when he had asserted,
a few years before, that "a nation half free and half slave, could not
long exist." That was an indestructible truth. Had he adhered to that
doctrine the way would have been easier. In every thing he consulted
the Constitution. His letter is interesting reading.

                                   "EXECUTIVE MANSION, WASHINGTON,}
                                                 "August 22, 1862.}


     "_Dear Sir_: I have just read yours of the 19th instant,
     addressed to myself through the New York Tribune.

     "If there be in it any statements or assumptions of fact which I
     may know to be erroneous, I do not now and here controvert them.

     "If there be any inferences which I may believe to be falsely
     drawn, I do not now and here argue against them.

     "If there be perceptible in it an impatient and dictatorial tone,
     I waive it in deference to an old friend whose heart I have
     always supposed to be right.

     "As to the policy 'I seem to be pursuing,' as you say, I have not
     meant to leave any one in doubt. I would save the Union. I would
     save it in the shortest way under the Constitution.

     "The sooner the national authority can be restored, the nearer
     the Union will be the Union as it was.

     "If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could
     at the same time save slavery, I do not agree with them.

     "If there be those who would not save the Union unless they could
     at the same time destroy slavery, I do not agree with them.

     "_My paramount object is to save the Union, and not either to
     save or destroy slavery._

     "If I could save the Union without freeing any slave, I would do
     it; if I could save it by freeing all the slaves, I would do it;
     and if I could do it by freeing some and leaving others alone, I
     would also do that.

     "What I do about slavery and the Colored race, I do because I
     believe it helps to save this Union; and what I forbear, I
     forbear because I do not believe it would help to save the

     "I shall do less whenever I shall believe what I am doing hurts
     the cause; and I shall do more whenever I believe doing more will
     help the cause.

     "I shall try to correct errors when shown to be errors; and I
     shall adopt new views so fast as they shall appear to be true

     "I have here stated my purpose according to my views of official
     duty; and I intend no modification of my oft-expressed personal
     wish that all men everywhere could be free.

                                        "A. LINCOLN."[84]

But there were few men among the general officers of the army who
either reached the conclusion by their own judgment, or were aided by
the action of General Butler, that it was their duty to confiscate
_all the property_ of the enemy. Acting upon the plainest principle of
military law, Major-General John C. Fremont, commanding the Department
of the Missouri, or the Union forces in that State, issued the
following proclamation:

                              "HEADQUARTERS OF THE WESTERN DEP'T,}
                                     "ST. LOUIS, August 31st.    }

     "Circumstances, in my judgment, of sufficient urgency, render it
     necessary that the Commanding General of this Department should
     assume the administrative power of the State. Its disorganized
     condition, the helplessness of the civil authority, the total
     insecurity of life, and the devastation of property by bands of
     murderers and marauders, who infest nearly every county in the
     State, and avail themselves of the public misfortunes and the
     vicinity of a hostile force to gratify private and neighborhood
     vengeance, and who find an enemy wherever they find plunder,
     finally demand the severest measures to repress the daily
     increasing crimes and outrages which are driving off the
     inhabitants and ruining the State. In this condition, the public
     safety and the success of our arms require unity of purpose,
     without let or hindrance to the prompt administration of affairs.

     "In order, therefore, to suppress disorders, to maintain, as far
     as now practicable, the public peace, and to give security and
     protection to the persons and property of loyal citizens, I do
     hereby extend and declare established martial law throughout the
     Stale of Missouri. The lines of the army of occupation in this
     State are, for the present, declared to extend from Leavenworth,
     by way of the posts of Jefferson City, Rolla, and Ironton, to
     Cape Girardeau, on the Mississippi River.

     All persons who shall be taken with arms in their hands, within
     these lines, shall be tried by Court Martial, and, if found
     guilty, will be shot. The property, real and personal, of all
     persons in the State of Missouri who shall take up arms against
     the United States, or shall be directly proven to have taken
     active part with their enemies in the field, is declared to be
     confiscated to the public use; and their slaves, if any they
     have, are hereby declared free men.

     "All persons who shall be proven to have destroyed, after the
     publication of this order, railroad tracks, bridges, or
     telegraphs, shall suffer the extreme penalty of the law.

     "All persons engaged in treasonable correspondence, in giving or
     procuring aid to the enemies of the United States, in disturbing
     the public tranquillity by creating and circulating false reports
     or incendiary documents, are in their own interest warned that
     they are exposing themselves.

     "All persons who have been led away from their allegiance are
     required to return to their homes forthwith; any such absence,
     without sufficient cause, will be held to be presumptive evidence
     against them.

     "The object of this declaration is to place in the hands of the
     military authorities the power to give instantaneous effect to
     existing laws, and to supply such deficiencies as the conditions
     of war demand. But it is not intended to suspend the ordinary
     tribunals of the country, where the law will be administered by
     the civil officers in the usual manner and with their customary
     authority, while the same can be peaceably exercised.

     "The Commanding General will labor vigilantly for the public
     welfare, and, in his efforts for their safety, hopes to obtain
     not only the acquiescence, but the active support, of the people
     of the country.

                              "J. C. FREMONT, _Major-Gen. Com_."[85]

This magnificent order thrilled the loyal hearts of the North with
joy; but the President, still halting and hesitating, requested a
modification of the order so far as it related to the liberation of
slaves. This Gen. Fremont declined to do unless ordered to do so by
his superior. Accordingly the President wrote him as follows:

                                   "WASHINGTON, D. C., Sept. 11, 1861.

     "Major-Gen. JOHN C. FREMONT:

     "_Sir_:--Yours of the 8th, in answer to mine of the 2d inst., is
     just received. Assured that you, upon the ground, could better
     judge of the necessities of your position than I could at this
     distance, on seeing your proclamation of August 30th, I
     perceived no general objection to it; the particular clause,
     however, in relation to the confiscation of property and the
     liberation of slaves, appeared to me to be objectionable in its
     non-conformity to the Act of Congress, passed the 6th of last
     August, upon the same subjects; and hence I wrote you, expressing
     my wish that that clause should be modified accordingly. Your
     answer, just received, expresses the preference on your part that
     I should make an open order for the modification, which I very
     cheerfully do. It is, therefore, ordered that the said clause of
     said proclamation be so modified, held, and construed, as to
     conform with, and not to transcend, the provisions on the same
     subject contained in the Act of Congress entitled 'An Act to
     Confiscate Property Used for Insurrectionary Purposes,' approved
     August 6, 1861; and that the said act be published at length with
     this order.

                                        "Your obedient servant,
                                                     "A. LINCOLN."[86]

Gen. Fremont's removal followed speedily. He was in advance of the
slow coach at Washington, and was sent where he could do no harm to
the enemy of the country, by emancipating Negroes. It seems as if
there were nothing else left for Gen. Fremont to do but to free the
slaves in his military district. They were the bone and sinew of
Confederate resistance. It was to weaken the enemy that the general
struck down this peculiar species of property, upon which the enemy of
the country relied so entirely.

Major-Gen. David Hunter assumed command at Hilton Head, South
Carolina, on the 31st of March, 1862. On the 9th of May he issued the
following "General Order:"

                                   "HEADQUARTERS DEP'T OF THE SOUTH,
                                   "HILTON HEAD, S. C., May 9, 1862.

     "_General Order_, No. 11.

     "The three States of Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina,
     comprising the Military Department of the South, having
     deliberately declared themselves no longer under the United
     States of America, and, having taken up arms against the United
     States, it becomes a military necessity to declare them under
     martial law.

     "This was accordingly done on the 25th day of April, 1862.
     Slavery and martial law in a free country are altogether
     incompatible. The persons in these States--Georgia, Florida, and
     South Carolina--heretofore held as slaves, are therefore declared
     forever free."[87]

But the President, in ten days after its publication, rescinded the
order of General Hunter, in the following Proclamation:

     "_And whereas_, The same [Hunter's proclamation] is producing
     some excitement and misunderstanding, therefore, I, Abraham
     Lincoln, President of the United States, proclaim and declare
     that the Government of the United States had no knowledge or
     belief of an intention on the part of Gen. Hunter to issue such a
     proclamation, nor has it yet any authentic information that the
     document is genuine: and, further, that neither Gen. Hunter nor
     any other commander or person have been authorized by the
     Government of the United States to make proclamation declaring
     the slaves of any State free; and that the supposed proclamation
     now in question, whether genuine or false, is altogether void, so
     far as respects such declaration. I further make known that,
     whether it be competent for me, as Commander-in-Chief of the Army
     and Navy, to declare the slaves of any State or States free; and
     whether at any time, or in any case, it shall have become a
     necessity indispensable to the maintenance of the Government to
     exercise such supposed power, are questions which, under my
     responsibility, I reserve to myself, and which I cannot feel
     justified in leaving to the decision of commanders in the field.

     "Those are totally different questions from those of police
     regulations in armies or in camps.

     "On the sixth day of March last, by a special Message, I
     recommended to Congress the adoption of a joint resolution, to be
     substantially as follows:

     "'_Resolved_, That the United States ought to coöperate with any
     State which may adopt gradual abolishment of slavery, giving to
     such State pecuniary aid, to be used by such State in its
     discretion, to compensate for the inconveniences, public and
     private, produced by such change of system.'

     "The resolution, in the language above quoted, was adopted by
     large majorities in both branches of Congress, and now stands an
     authentic, definite, and solemn proposal of the nation to the
     States and people most interested in the subject-matter. To the
     people of these States now I mostly appeal. I do not argue--I
     beseech you to make the arguments for yourselves. You cannot, if
     you would, be blind to the signs of the times.

     "I beg of you a calm and enlarged consideration of them, ranging,
     if it may be, far above partisan and personal politics.

     "This proposal makes common cause for a common object, casting no
     reproaches upon any. It acts not the Pharisee. The change it
     contemplates would come gently as the dews of Heaven, not rending
     or wrecking any thing. Will you not embrace it? So much good has
     not been done by one effort in all past time, as, in the
     Providence of God, it is now your high privilege to do. May the
     vast future not have to lament that you have neglected it!

     "In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and caused the
     seal of the United States to be hereunto affixed.

     "Done at the city of Washington this 19th day of May, in the year
     of our Lord 1862, and of the independence of the United States
     the eighty-sixth.

                                   "(Signed)       ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

          "By the President:
     "W. H. SEWARD, _Secretary of State._"

The conservative policy of the President greatly discouraged the
friends of the Union, who felt that a vigorous prosecution of the war
was the only hope of the nation. Slavery and the Union had joined in a
terrible struggle for the supremacy. Both could not exist. Our
treasury was empty; our bonds depreciated; our credit poor; our
industries languishing; and the channels of commerce were choked.
European governments were growing impatient at the dilatory policy of
our nation; and every day we were losing sympathy and friends. Our
armies were being repulsed and routed; and Columbia's war eagles were
wearily flapping their pinions in the blood-dampened dust of a
nerveless nation. But the Negro was still on the outside,--it was "a
white man's war."


[75] Rebellion Recs., vol. i. Doc., p. 63.

[76] Albany Atlas and Argus, May 27, 1861.

[77] Greeley, vol. ii. p. 240.

[78] Rebellion Records, vol. iii. Doc. p. 376.

[79] I have quite a large number of such orders, but the above will

[80] Greeley, vol. ii. p. 246.

[81] Greeley, vol. ii. p. 238.

[82] New York Times.

[83] Greeley, vol. ii. pp. 249, 250.

[84] Greeley, vol. ii. p. 250.

[85] Greeley, vol. i. p. 585.

[86] Greeley, vol. ii. pp. 239, 240.

[87] Greeley, vol. ii. p. 246.




The light began to break through the dark cloud of prejudice in the
minds of the friends of the Union. If a Negro were useful in building
rebel fortifications, why not in casting up defences for the Union
army? Succeeding Gen. Butler in command at Fortress Monroe, on the
14th of October, 1861, Major-Gen. Wool issued an order, directing that
"all colored persons called contrabands," employed by officers or
others within his command, must be furnished with subsistence by their
employers, and paid, if males, not less than four dollars per month,
and that "all able-bodied colored persons, not employed as aforesaid,"
will be immediately put to work in the Engineer's or the
Quartermaster's Department. On the 1st of November, Gen. Wool directed
that the compensation of "contrabands" working for the government
should be five to ten dollars per month, with soldier's rations. These
Negroes rendered valuable service in the sphere they were called upon
to fill.

In the Western army, Gen. James B. Steedman was the first man to
suggest the idea of employing Negroes as teamsters. He saw that every
Negro who drove a team of mules gave to the army one more white
soldier with a musket in his hands; and so with the sympathy and
approval of the gallant Gen. Geo. H. Thomas, Gen. Steedman put eighty
Negroes into uniforms, and turned them over to an experienced white
"wagon-master." The Negroes made excellent teamsters, and the plan was
adopted quite generally.

In September, 1862, an order from Washington directed the employment
of fifty thousand Negro laborers in the Quartermaster's Department,
under Generals Hunter and Saxton! This showed that the authorities at
Washington had begun to get their eyes open on this question. "And
while speaking of the negroes," wrote a "Times" correspondent, in
1862, from Hilton Head, "let me present a few statistics obtained from
an official source, respecting the success which has crowned the
experiment of employing them as free paid laborers upon the
plantations. The population of the Division (including Port Royal, St.
Helena and Ladies' islands, with the smaller ones thereto adjacent,
but excluding Hilton Head and its surroundings) is as follows:

  "Effective       3,817
  "Non-effective   3,110
  "Total           6,927

"The number of acres under cultivation on the same islands, is:

  "Of Corn         6,444
  "Of Cotton       3,384
  "Of Potatoes     1,407

"A little calculation will show that the negroes have raised enough
corn and potatoes to support themselves, besides a crop of cotton (now
ripe) somewhat smaller than in former years, but still of very
considerable value to the Government."[88]

Gen. Mercer issued the following order at Savannah, Georgia, which
shows that the rebels did not despise the fatigue services of Negroes:

                                   "C. S. ENGINEER'S OFFICE,    }
                                   "SAVANNAH, GA., Aug. 1, 1863.}

     "The Brigadier-General Commanding desires to inform the
     slave-holders of Georgia that he has received authority from the
     Secretary of War to impress a number of negroes sufficient to
     construct such additional fortifications as are necessary for the
     defence of Savannah.

     "He desires, if possible, to avoid the necessity of impressment,
     and therefore urges the owners of slave property to volunteer the
     services of their negroes. He believes that, while the planters
     of South Carolina are sending their slaves by thousands to aid
     the defence of Charleston, the slave-holders of Georgia will not
     be backward in contributing in the same patriotic manner to the
     defence of their own seaport, which has so far resisted
     successfully all the attacks of the enemy at Fort McAllister and
     other points.

     "Remember, citizens of Georgia, that on the successful defence of
     Georgia depends the security of the interior of your State, where
     so much of value both to yourselves and to the Confederacy at
     large is concentrated. It is best to meet the enemy at the
     threshold, and to hurl back the first wave of invasion. Once the
     breach is made, all the horrors of war must desolate your now
     peaceful and quiet homes. Let no man deceive himself. If Savannah
     falls the fault will be yours, and your own neglect will have
     brought the sword to your hearth-stones.

     "The Brigadier-General Commanding, therefore, calls on all the
     slave-holders of Eastern, Southern, and Southwestern Georgia, but
     especially those in the neighborhood of Savannah, to send him
     immediately one fifth of their able-bodied male slaves, for whom
     transportation will be furnished and wages paid at the rate of
     twenty-five dollars per month, the Government to be responsible
     for the value of such Negroes as may be killed by the enemy, or
     may in any manner fall into his hands. By order of

                                 "Brig.-Gen. MERCER, _Commanding_.

           "_Captain and Chief Engineer, State of Georgia_."[89]

Negroes built most of the fortifications and earth-works for Gen.
Grant in front of Vicksburg. The works in and about Nashville were
cast up by the strong arm and willing hand of the loyal Blacks. Dutch
Gap was dug by Negroes, and miles of earthworks, fortifications, and
corduroy-roads were made by Negroes. They did fatigue duty in every
department of the Union army. Wherever a Negro appeared with a shovel
in his hand, a white soldier took his gun and returned to the ranks.
There were 200,000 Negroes in the camps and employ of the Union
armies, as servants, teamsters, cooks, and laborers. What a mighty
host! Suppose the sentiment that early met the Negro on the picket
lines and turned him back to the enemy had continued, 50,000 white
soldiers would have been required in the Engineer's and
Quartermaster's Department; while 25,000 white men would have been
required for various other purposes, outside of the ranks of the army.

A narrow prejudice among some of the white troops, upon whose pedigree
it would not be pleasant to dwell, met the Negro teamster, with a blue
coat and buttons with eagles on them, with a growl. They disliked to
see the Negro wearing a Union uniform;--it looked too much like

But in his lowly station as a hewer of wood and a drawer of water, the
Negro proved himself industrious, trustworthy, efficient, and
cheerful. He earned promotion, and in due time secured it.


[88] Times, Sept. 4, 1862.

[89] Rebellion Recs., vol. vii. Doc. p. 479.




The position taken by General Butler on the question of receiving into
the Federal lines the slaves of persons who were in rebellion against
the National Government, and who were liable to be used in service
against the government by their owners, had its due influence in
Washington. But all the general officers did not share in the views of
General Butler. As many as twenty Union generals still had it in their
minds that it was the duty of the army "to catch run-away slaves"; and
they afforded rebels every facility to search their camps. They
arrested fugitive Negroes and held them subject to the order of their
masters. Congress was not long in seeing the suicidal tendency of such
a policy, and on the 6th of August, 1861, passed "An Act to Confiscate
Property Used for Insurrectionary Purposes." Notwithstanding this act,
General McClellan and other officers still clung to the obsolete
doctrine of "the sacredness of slave property." His conduct finally
called forth the following letter from the Secretary of State:


                                 "DEPARTMENT OF STATE,               }
                                 "WASHINGTON CITY, December 4, 1861. }

     "_To Major-General George B. McClellan, Washington_:

     "GENERAL: I am directed by the President to call your attention
     to the following subject:

     "Persons claimed to be held to service or labor under the laws of
     the State of Virginia, and actually employed in hostile service
     against the Government of the United States, frequently escape
     from the lines of the enemy's forces and are received within the
     lines of the Army of the Potomac. This Department understands
     that such persons, afterward coming into the city of Washington,
     are liable to be arrested by the city police, upon presumption,
     arising from color, that they are fugitives from service or

     "By the fourth section of the act of Congress, approved August 6,
     1861, entitled 'An Act to Confiscate Property Used for
     Insurrectionary Purposes,' such hostile employment is made a full
     and sufficient answer to any further claim to service or labor.
     Persons thus employed and escaping are received into the military
     protection of the United States, and their arrest as fugitives
     from service or labor should be immediately followed by the
     military arrest of the parties making the seizure.

     "Copies of this communication will be sent to the Mayor of the
     City of Washington and to the Marshal of the District of
     Columbia, that any collision between the civil and military
     authorities may be avoided.

                                   "I am, General, your very obedient,
                                             "WM. H. SEWARD."

It was now 1862. The dark war clouds were growing thicker. The Union
army had won but few victories; our troops had to fight a tropical
climate, the forces of nature, and an arrogant, jubilant, and
victorious enemy. Autumn had come but nothing had been accomplished.
The friends of the Union who favored a speedy and vigorous prosecution
of the war, besieged the President with letters, memorials, and
addresses to "_do something_." But intrenched behind his
"constitutional views" of how the war should be managed he heard all,
but would pot yield. On the 13th of September, 1862, a deputation of
gentlemen, representing the various Protestant denominations of
Chicago, called upon the President and urged him to adopt a vigorous
policy of emancipation as the only way to save the Union; but he
denied the request. He said:

     "The subject is difficult, and good men do not agree. For
     instance: the other day, four gentlemen of standing and
     intelligence from New York called as a delegation on business
     connected with the war; but before leaving two of them earnestly
     besought me to proclaim general Emancipation; upon which the
     other two at once attacked them. You know also that the last
     session of Congress had a decided majority of anti-slavery men,
     yet they could not unite on this policy. And the same is true of
     the religious people. Why, the Rebel soldiers are praying with a
     great deal more earnestness, I fear, than our own troops, and
     expecting God to favor their side: for one of our soldiers, who
     had been taken prisoner, told Senator Wilson a few days since
     that he met nothing so discouraging as the evident sincerity of
     those he was among in their prayers. But we will talk over the
     merits of the case.

     "What good would a proclamation of Emancipation from me do,
     especially as we are now situated? I do not want to issue a
     document that the whole world will see must necessarily be
     inoperative, like the Pope's bull against the comet. Would my
     word free the slaves, when I cannot even enforce the Constitution
     in the Rebel States? Is there a single court, or magistrate, or
     individual, that would be influenced by it there? And what reason
     is there to think it would have any greater effect upon the
     slaves than the late law of Congress, which I approved, and which
     offers protection and freedom to the slaves of rebel masters who
     come within our lines? Yet I cannot learn that that law has
     caused a single slave to come over to us. And, suppose they could
     be induced by a proclamation of freedom from me to throw
     themselves upon us, what should we do with them? How can we feed
     and care for such a multitude? Gen. Butler wrote me a few days
     since that he was issuing more rations to the slaves who have
     rushed to him than to all the White troops under his command.
     They eat, and that is all; though it is true Gen. Butler is
     feeding the Whites also by the thousand; for it nearly amounts to
     a famine there. If, now, the pressure of the war should call off
     our forces from New Orleans to defend some other point, what is
     to prevent the masters from reducing the Blacks to Slavery again;
     for I am told that whenever the rebels take any Black prisoners,
     free or slave, they immediately auction them off! They did so
     with those they took from a boat that was aground in the
     Tennessee river a few days ago. And then I am very ungenerously
     attacked for it! For instance, when, after the late battles at
     and near Bull Run, an expedition went out from Washington, under
     a flag of truce, to bury the dead and bring in the wounded, and
     the Rebels seized the Blacks who went along to help, and sent
     them into Slavery, Horace Greeley said in his paper that the
     Government would probably do nothing about it. What _could_ I do?

     "Now, then, tell me, if you please, what possible result of good
     would follow the issuing of such a proclamation as you desire?
     Understand: I raise no objection against it on legal or
     constitutional grounds; for, as Commander-in-Chief of the army
     and navy in time of war, I suppose I have a right to take any
     measure which may best subdue the enemy; nor do I urge objections
     of a moral nature, in view of possible consequences of
     insurrection and massacre at the South. I view this matter as a
     practical war measure, to be decided on according to the
     advantages or disadvantages it may offer to the suppression of
     the Rebellion."

Not discouraged, the deputation urged in answer to his conservative
views, that a policy of emancipation would strengthen the cause of the
Union in Europe, and place the government upon high humane grounds,
where it could boldly and confidently appeal to Almighty God in an
honest attempt to save His poor children from the degrading curse of
American slavery. But the President replied:

     "I admit that Slavery is at the root of the Rebellion, or at
     least its _sine qua non_. The ambition of politicians may have
     instigated them to act; they would have been impotent without
     Slavery as their instrument. I will also concede that
     Emancipation would help us in Europe, and convince them that we
     are incited by something more than ambition. I grant, further,
     that it would help somewhat at the North, though not so much, I
     fear, as you and those you represent imagine. Still, some
     additional strength would be added in that way to the war; and
     then, unquestionably, it would weaken the Rebels by drawing off
     their laborers, which is of great importance; but I am not so
     sure we could do much with the Blacks. If we were to arm them, I
     fear that in a few weeks the arms would be in the hands of the
     Rebels; and, indeed, thus far, we have not had arms enough to
     equip our White troops. I will mention another thing, though it
     meet only your scorn and contempt. There are fifty thousand
     bayonets in the Union army from the Border Slave States. It would
     be a serious matter if, in consequence of a proclamation such as
     you desire, they should go over to the Rebels. I do not think
     they all would--not so many, indeed, as a year ago, or as six
     months ago--not so many to-day as yesterday. Every day increases
     their Union feeling. They are also getting their pride enlisted,
     and want to beat the Rebels. Let me say one thing more: I think
     you should admit that we already have an important principle to
     rally and unite the people, in the fact that constitutional
     government is at stake. This is a fundamental idea, going down
     about as deep as anything."[90]

But there were millions of prayers ascending to the God of Battles
daily that the President might have the courage and disposition to
pursue a course required by the lamentable condition of the Union. And
just nine days from the time he thought a proclamation not warranted
and impracticable, he issued the following:

     "I, ABRAHAM LINCOLN, President of the United States of America,
     and Commander-in-chief of the Army and Navy thereof, do hereby
     proclaim and declare that hereafter, as heretofore, the war will
     be prosecuted for the object of practically restoring the
     constitutional relation between the United States and each of the
     States, and the people thereof, in which States that relation is
     or may be suspended or disturbed.

     "That it is my purpose, upon the next meeting of Congress, to
     again recommend the adoption of a practical measure tendering
     pecuniary aid to the free acceptance or rejection of all Slave
     States, so called, the people whereof may not then be in
     rebellion against the United States, and which States may then
     have voluntarily adopted, or thereafter may voluntarily adopt,
     immediate or gradual abolishment of Slavery within their
     respective limits; and that the effort to colonize persons of
     African descent, with their consent, upon this continent or
     elsewhere, with the previously obtained consent of the
     governments existing there, will be continued.

     "That, on the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one
     thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as
     slaves within any State, or designated part of the State, the
     people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United
     States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the
     Executive Government of the United States, including the military
     and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the
     freedom of such persons, and will do no act or acts to repress
     such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for
     their actual freedom.

     "That the Executive will, on the first day of January aforesaid,
     by proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if
     any, in which the people thereof respectively shall then be in
     rebellion against the United States; and the fact that any State,
     or the people thereof, shall on that day be in good faith
     represented in the Congress of the United States, by members
     chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of the qualified
     voters of such State shall have participated, shall, in the
     absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive
     evidence that such State, and the people thereof, are not then in
     rebellion against the United States.

     "That attention is hereby called to an act of Congress entitled
     'An Act to make an additional Article of War,' approved March
     13th, 1862; and which act is in the words and figures following:

     "'_Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of
     the United States of America in Congress assembled_, That
     hereafter the following shall be promulgated as an additional
     article of war for the government of the Army of the United
     States, and shall be obeyed and observed as such:

     "'SECTION 1. All officers or persons in the military or naval
     service of the United States are prohibited from employing any of
     the forces under their respective commands for the purpose of
     returning fugitives from service or labor who may have escaped
     from any persons to whom such service or labor is claimed to be
     due; and any officer who shall be found guilty of a court-martial
     of violating this article shall be dismissed from the service.

     "'SEC. 2. _And be it further enacted_, That this act shall take
     effect from and after its passage.'

     "Also, to the ninth and tenth sections of an act entitled 'An Act
     to Suppress Insurrection, to Punish Treason and Rebellion, to
     Seize and Confiscate Property of Rebels, and for other Purposes,'
     approved July 16, 1862; and which sections are in the words and
     figures following:

     "'SEC. 9. _And be it further enacted_, That all slaves of persons
     who shall hereafter be engaged in rebellion against the
     Government of the United States, or who shall in any way give aid
     or comfort thereto, escaping from such persons and taking refuge
     within the lines of the army; and all slaves captured from such
     persons, or deserted by them and coming under the control of the
     Government of the United States; and all slaves of such persons
     found _on_ [or] being within any place occupied by Rebel forces
     and afterward occupied by forces of the United States, shall be
     deemed captives of war, and shall be forever free of their
     servitude, and not again held as slaves.

     "'SEC. 10. _And be it further enacted_, That no slave escaping
     into any State, Territory, or the District of Columbia, from any
     other State, shall be delivered up, or in any way impeded or
     hindered of his liberty, except for crime, or some offense
     against the laws, unless the person claiming said fugitive shall
     first make oath that the person to whom the labor or service of
     such fugitive is alleged to be due is his lawful owner, and has
     not borne arms against the United States in the present
     Rebellion, nor in any way given aid and comfort thereto; and no
     person engaged in the military or naval service of the United
     States shall, under any pretense whatever, assume to decide on
     the validity of the claim of any person to the service or labor
     of any other person, or surrender up any such person to the
     claimant, on pain of being dismissed from the service.'

     "And I do hereby enjoin upon and order all persons engaged in the
     military and naval service of the United States to observe, obey,
     and enforce, within their respective spheres of service, the act
     and sections above recited.

     "And the Executive will in due time recommend that all citizens
     of the United States, who shall have remained loyal thereto
     throughout the Rebellion, shall (upon the restoration of the
     constitutional relation between the United States and their
     respective States and people, if that relation shall have been
     suspended or disturbed) be compensated for all losses by acts of
     the United States, including the loss of slaves.

     "In witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the
     seal of the United States to be affixed.

     "Done at the City of Washington, this twenty-second day of
     September, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and
     sixty-two, and of the independence of the United States the

     [L. S.]                                 "ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

          "By the President:
     "WILLIAM H. SEWARD, _Secretary of State_."

But why this change in the views of the President? History, thus far,
is left to conjecture. It was hinted that our embassadors in Western
Europe had apprised the State Department at Washington that an early
recognition of the Southern Confederacy was possible, even probable.
It was also stated that he was waiting for the issue at the battle of
Antietam, which was fought on the 17th--five days before the
proclamation was issued. But neither explanation stands in the light
of the positive and explicit language of the President on the 13th of
September. However, he issued the proclamation,--the Divine Being may
have opened his eyes to see the angel that was to turn him aside from
the destruction that awaited the Union that he sought to save with
slavery preserved!

The sentiment of the people upon the wisdom of the proclamation was
expressed in the October elections. New York, New Jersey,
Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois went democratic; while the
supporters of the Administration fell off in Michigan and other
Western States. In the Congress of 1860 there were 78 Republicans and
37 Democrats; in 1862 there were 57 Administration representatives,
and 67 in the Opposition.

The army did not take kindly to the proclamation. It was charged that
"the war for the Union was changed into a war for the Negro." Some
officers resigned, while many others said that if they _thought_ they
were fighting to free the "niggers" they would resign. This sentiment
was contagious. It found its way into the rank and file of the troops,
and did no little harm. The following telegram shows that the rebels
were angered not a little at the President:

                                   "CHARLESTON, S. C., Oct. 13, 1862.

     "HON. WM. P. MILES, Richmond, Va.:

     "Has the bill for the execution of Abolition prisoners, after
     January next, been passed? Do it; and England will be stirred
     into action. It is high time to proclaim the black flag after
     that period. Let the execution be with the garrote.

                                   "(Signed)       G. T. BEAUREGARD."

But the proclamation was a harmless measure. _First_, it declared that
the object of the war was to restore "the constitutional relation
between the United States and each of the States." After nearly two
years of disastrous war Mr. Lincoln declares the object of the war.
Certainly no loyal man had ever entertained any other idea than the
one expressed in the proclamation. It was not a war on the part of the
United States to destroy her children, nor to disturb her own
constitutional, comprehensive unity. It must have been understood,
then, from the commencement, that the war begun by the seceding States
was waged on the part of the United States to preserve the _Union of
the States_, and restore them to their "constitutional relation."

_Second_, the proclamation implored the slave States to accept
(certainly in the spirit of compromise) a proposition from the United
States to emancipate their slaves for a _pecuniary consideration_,
and, by their gracious consent, assist in _colonizing_ loyal Negroes
in this country or in Africa!

_Third_, the measure proposed to free slaves of persons and States in
rebellion against the lawful authority of the United States Government
on the first day of January, 1863. Nothing more difficult could have
been undertaken than to free _only_ the slaves of persons and States
in _actual_ rebellion against the Government of the United States.
Persons in _actual_ rebellion would be _most_ likely to have immediate
oversight of this species of their property; and the owners of slaves
in the States in _actual_ rebellion against the United States
Government would doubtless be as thoroughly prepared to take care of
slave property as the muskets in their rebellious hands.

_Fourth_, this emancipation proclamation (?) proposed to pay out of
the United States Treasury,--for all slaves of loyal masters lost in a
rebellion begun by slave-holders and carried on by slave-holders!

Under the condition of affairs no emancipation proclamation was
necessary. Treason against the United States is "levying war against
them," or "adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort."
The rebel States were guilty of treason; and from the moment Sumter
was fired upon, every slave in the Confederate States was _ipso facto_

But it was an occasion for rejoicing. The President had taken a step
in the right direction, and, thank God! he never retraced it.

A severe winter had set in. The rebels had shown the kind-hearted
President no disposition to accept the mild terms of his proclamation.
On the contrary, it was received with gnashing of teeth and bitter
imprecations. On the 12th of January, 1863, the titular President of
the Confederate States, in his third Annual Message, gave attention to
the proclamation of the President of the United States. Mr. Davis

     "It has established a state of things which can lead to but one
     of three possible consequences--the extermination of the slaves,
     the exile of the whole white population of the Confederacy, or
     absolute and total separation of these States from the United
     States. This proclamation is also an authentic statement by the
     Government of the United States of its inability to subjugate the
     South by force of arms, and, as such, must be accepted by neutral
     nations, which can no longer find any justification in
     withholding our just claims to formal recognition. It is also, in
     effect, an intimation to the people of the North that they must
     prepare to submit to a separation now become inevitable; for that
     people are too acute not to understand that a restitution of the
     Union has been rendered forever impossible by the adoption of a
     measure which, from its very nature, neither admits of retraction
     nor can coexist with union.

            *       *       *       *       *

     "We may well leave it to the instincts of that common humanity
     which a beneficent Creator has implanted in the breasts of our
     fellow-men of all countries to pass judgment on a measure by
     which several millions of human beings of an inferior
     race--peaceful and contented laborers in their sphere--are doomed
     to extermination, while at the same time they are encouraged to a
     general assassination of their masters by the insidious
     recommendation to abstain from violence unless in necessary
     self-defense. Our own detestation of those who have attempted the
     most execrable measures recorded in the history of guilty man is
     tempered by profound contempt for the impotent rage which it
     discloses. So far as regards the action of this Government on
     such criminals as may attempt its execution, I confine myself to
     informing you that I shall--unless in your wisdom you deem some
     other course more expedient--deliver to the several State
     authorities all commissioned officers of the United States that
     may hereafter be captured by our forces in any of the States
     embraced in the proclamation, that they may be dealt with in
     accordance with the laws of those States providing for the
     punishment of criminals engaged in exciting servile insurrection.
     The enlisted soldiers I shall continue to treat as unwilling
     instruments in the commission of these crimes, and shall direct
     their discharge and return to their homes on the proper and usual

And although the President and his supporters had not reaped the
blessings their hopes had sown, they were, nevertheless, not without
hope. For when the sober second thought of the nation took the place
of prejudice and undue excitement, the proclamation had more friends.
And so, in keeping with his promise, the President issued the
following proclamation on the first of January, 1863.

     "_Whereas_, on the 22d day of September, in the year of our Lord
     1862, a proclamation was issued by the President of the United
     States, containing, among other things, the following, to wit:

     "'That on the 1st day of January, in the year of our Lord 1863,
     all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of
     a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against
     the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever
     free; and the Executive Government of the United States,
     including the military and naval authority thereof, will
     recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons, and will do
     no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any
     efforts they may make for their actual freedom.

     "'That the Executive will, on the first day of January aforesaid,
     by proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if
     any, in which the people thereof respectively shall then be in
     rebellion against the United States; and the fact that any State,
     or the people thereof, shall on that day be in good faith
     represented in the Congress of the United States, by members,
     chosen thereto at elections wherein a majority of the qualified
     voters of such State shall have participated, shall, in the
     absence of strong countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive
     evidence that such State, and the people thereof, are not then in
     rebellion against the United States.'

     "Now, therefore, I, ABRAHAM LINCOLN, President of the United
     States, by virtue of the power in me vested as Commander-in-Chief
     of the Army and Navy of the United States in time of actual
     armed rebellion against the authority and Government of the
     United States, and as a fit and necessary war measure for
     suppressing said rebellion, do, on this first day of January, in
     the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three,
     and in accordance with my purpose so to do, publicly proclaimed
     for the full period of one hundred days from the day first above
     mentioned, order and designate as the States and parts of States
     wherein the people thereof respectively are this day in rebellion
     against the United States, the following, to wit:

     "Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana (except the parishes of St. Bernard,
     Plaquemine, Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James,
     Ascension, Assumption, Terre Bonne, Lafourche, St. Mary, St.
     Martin, and Orleans, including the city of New Orleans),
     Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North
     Carolina, and Virginia (except the forty-eight counties
     designated as West Virginia, and also the counties of Berkeley,
     Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth City, York, Princess Anne, and
     Norfolk, including the cities of Norfolk and Portsmouth), and
     which excepted parts are, for the present, left precisely as if
     this proclamation were not issued.

     "And, by virtue of the power and for the purpose aforesaid, I do
     order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said
     designated States and parts of States, are and henceforward shall
     be free; and that the Executive Government of the United States,
     including the military and naval authorities thereof, will
     recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.

     "And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free, to
     abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self-defense; and
     I recommend to them that, in all cases when allowed, they labor
     faithfully for reasonable wages.

     "And I further declare and make known that such persons, of
     suitable condition, will be received into the armed service of
     the United States to garrison forts, positions, stations, and
     other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service.

     "And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice,
     warranted by the Constitution upon military necessity, I invoke
     the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of
     Almighty God.

     "In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my name and caused the
     seal of the United States to be affixed.

     "Done at the City of Washington, this 1st day of January, in the
     year of our Lord 1863, and of the independence of the United
     States the 87th.

     [L. S.]

          "By the President:                  ABRAHAM LINCOLN.
     "WILLIAM H. SEWARD, _Secretary of State_."

Even this proclamation--not a measure of humanity--to save the Union,
not the slave--left slaves in many counties and States at the South.
It was a war measure, pure and simple. It was a blow aimed at the most
vulnerable part of the Confederacy. It was destroying its
corner-stone, and the ponderous fabric was doomed to a speedy and
complete destruction. It discovered that the strength of this Sampson
of rebellion lay in its vast slave population. To the slave the
proclamation came as the song of the rejoicing angels to the shepherds
upon the plains of Bethlehem. It was like music at night, mellowed by
the distance, that rouses slumbering hopes, gives wings to fancy, and
peoples the brain with blissful thoughts. The notes of freedom came
careering to them across the red, billowy waves of battle and thrilled
their souls with ecstatic peace. Old men who, like Samuel the prophet,
believing the ark of God in the hands of the Philistines, and were
ready to give up the ghost, felt that it was just the time to begin to
live. Husbands were transported with the thought of gathering to their
bosoms the wife that had been sold to the "nigger traders"; mothers
swooned under the tender touch of the thought of holding in loving
embrace the children who pined for their care; and young men and
maidens could only "think thanksgiving and weep gladness."

The slave-holder saw in this proclamation the handwriting upon the
walls of the institution of slavery. The brightness and revelry of his
banqueting halls were to be succeeded by gloom and sorrow. His riches,
consisting in human beings, were to disappear under the magic touch of
the instrument of freedom. The chattel was to be transformed into a
person, the person into a soldier, the soldier into a citizen--and
thus the Negro slave, like the crawling caterpillar, was to leave his
grovelling situation, and in new form, wing himself to the sublime
heights of free American citizenship!

The Negroes had a marvellous facility of communicating news to each
other. The proclamation, in spite of the precautions of the rebel
authorities, took to itself wings. It came to the plantation of weary
slaves as the glorious light of a new-born day. It flooded the hovels
of slaves with its golden light and rich promise of "_forever free_."
Like St. Paul the poor slaves could exclaim:

     "In stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in
     watchings, in fastings; by pureness, by knowledge, by
     long-suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love
     unfeigned, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the
     armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left, by
     honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers,
     and yet true; as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and,
     behold, we live; as chastened, and not killed; as sorrowful, yet
     alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having
     nothing, and yet possessing all things."

And the significant name of Abraham--"father of the faithful"--was
pronounced by the Negroes with blessings, and mingled in their songs
of praise.


[90] Greeley, vol. ii. pp. 251, 252.




At no time during the first two years of the war was the President or
the Congress willing to entertain the idea of employing Negroes as
soldiers. It has been shown that the admission of loyal Negroes into
the Union lines, and into the service of the Engineer's and
Quartermaster's Department, had been resisted with great stubbornness
by the men in the "chief places." There were, however, a few men, both
in and out of the army, who secretly believed that the Negro was
needed in the army, and that he possessed all the elements necessary
to make an excellent soldier. Public sentiment was so strong against
the employment of Negroes in the armed service that few men had the
courage of conviction; few had the temerity to express their views
publicly. In the summer of 1860,--before the election of Abraham
Lincoln,--General J. Watts De Peyster, of New York, wrote an article
for a Hudson paper, in which he advocated the arming of Negroes as
soldiers, should the Southern States declare war against the
Government of the United States. The article was reproduced in many
other papers, pronounced a fire-brand, and General De Peyster severely
denounced for his advice. But he stood his ground, and when the war
did come he gave to his country's service three gallant sons; and from
the first to the last was an efficient and enthusiastic supporter of
the war for the Union.

The rebels took the first step in the direction of the military
employment of Negroes as soldiers. Two weeks after the firing upon
Sumter took place, the following note appeared in the "Charleston

     Several companies of the Third and Fourth Regiments of Georgia
     passed through Augusta for the expected scene of
     warfare--Virginia. Sixteen well-drilled companies of volunteers
     and one negro company, from Nashville, Tennessee, offered their
     services to the Confederate States."[91]

In the "Memphis Avalanche" and "Memphis Appeal" of the 9th, 10th, and
11th of May, 1861, appeared the following notice:

     "ATTENTION, VOLUNTEERS: Resolved by the Committee of Safety, that
     C. Deloach, D. R. Cook, and William B. Greenlaw be authorized to
     organize a volunteer company composed of our patriotic free men
     of color, of the city of Memphis, for the service of our common
     defence. All who have not enrolled their names will call at the
     office of W. B. Greenlaw & Co.

                                             "F. TITUS, _President_.

     "F. W. FORSYTHE, _Secretary_."

On the 9th of February, 1862, the rebel troops had a grand review, and
the "Picayune," of New Orleans, contained the following paragraph:

     "We must also pay a deserved compliment to the companies of free
     colored men, all very well drilled, and comfortably uniformed.
     Most of these companies, quite unaided by the administration,
     have supplied themselves with arms without regard to cost or
     trouble. One of these companies, commanded by the well-known
     veteran, Captain Jordan, was presented, a little before the
     parade, with a fine war-flag of the new style. This interesting
     ceremony took place at Mr. Cushing's store, on Camp, near Common
     Street. The presentation was made by Mr. Bigney, and Jordan made,
     on this occasion, one of his most felicitous speeches."

And on the 4th of February, 1862, the "Baltimore Traveller" contained
the following paragraph:

     "ARMING OF NEGROES AT RICHMOND.--Contrabands who have recently
     come within the Federal lines at Williamsport, report that all
     the able-bodied colored men in that vicinity are being taken to
     Richmond, formed into regiments, and armed for the defence of
     that city."

The following telegram was sent out:

                                        "NEW ORLEANS, Nov. 23, 1861.

     "Over twenty-eight thousand troops were reviewed to-day by
     Governor Moore, Major-General Lovell, and Brig.-General Ruggles.
     The line was over seven miles long. One regiment comprised
     fourteen hundred free colored men."

These are sufficient to show that from the earliest dawn of the war
the rebel authorities did not frown upon the action of local
authorities in placing arms into the hands of free Negroes.

The President of the United States was still opposing any attempt on
the part of the supporters of the war to constrain him to approve of
the introduction of Negroes into the army. But the Secretary of War,
the Hon. Simon Cameron, had sent an order to Brig.-Gen. T. W. Sherman,
directing him to accept the services of all loyal persons who desired
to aid in the suppression of the Rebellion in and about Port Royal.
When Gen. David Hunter relieved Gen. Sherman, the latter turned over
to him the instructions of the Secretary of War. There was no mention
of color, nor was any class of persons mentioned save "loyal persons."
Gen. Hunter was a gentleman of broad, liberal, and humane views, and
seeing an opportunity open to employ Negroes as soldiers, in the
spring of 1862 directed the organization of a regiment of blacks. He
secured the best white officers for the regiment, and it soon obtained
a fine condition of discipline. The news of a Union Negro regiment in
South Carolina completely surprised the people at Washington. On the
9th of June, 1862, Mr. Wickliffe, of Kentucky, introduced in the
National House of Representatives a resolution of inquiry, calling
upon Gen. Hunter to explain to Congress his unprecedented conduct in
arming Negroes to fight the battles of the Union. Mr. Stanton was now
at the head of the War Department, and the following correspondence
took place:



                                       "WAR DEPARTMENT, June 14, 1862.

     "_Hon. G. A. Grow, Speaker of the House of Representatives_:

     "SIR: A resolution of the House of Representatives has been
     received, which passed the ninth instant, to the following

     "'_Resolved_, That the Secretary of War be directed to inform
     this House if Gen. Hunter, of the Department of South Carolina,
     has organized a regiment of South Carolina volunteers for the
     defence of the Union, composed of black men (fugitive slaves),
     and appointed a Colonel and officers to command them.

     "'2d. Was he authorized by the Department to organize and muster
     into the army of the United States, as soldiers, the fugitive or
     captive slaves?

     "'3d. Has he been furnished with clothing, uniforms, etc., for
     such force?

     "'4th. Has he been furnished, by order of the Department of War,
     with arms to be placed in the hands of the slaves?

     "'5th. To report any orders given said Hunter, and correspondence
     between him and the Department.'"

     "In answer to the foregoing resolution, I have the honor to
     inform the House;

     "1st. That this Department has no official information whether
     Gen. Hunter, of the Department of South Carolina, has or has not
     organized a regiment of South Carolina volunteers for the defence
     of the Union, composed of black men, fugitive slaves, and
     appointed the Colonel and other officers to command them. In
     order to ascertain whether he has done so or not, a copy of the
     House resolution has been transmitted to Gen. Hunter, with
     instructions to make immediate report thereon.

     "2d. Gen. Hunter was not authorized by the Department to organize
     and muster into the army of the United States the fugitive or
     captive slaves.

     "3d. Gen. Hunter, upon his requisition as Commander of the South,
     has been furnished with clothing and arms for the force under his
     command, without instructions as to how they should be used.

     "4th. He has not been furnished by order of the Department of War
     with arms to be placed within the hands of 'those slaves.'

     "5th. In respect to so much of said resolution as directs the
     Secretary 'to report to the House my orders given said Hunter,
     and correspondence between him and the Department,' the President
     instructs me to answer that the report, at this time, of the
     orders given to and correspondence between Gen. Hunter and this
     Department would, in his opinion, be incompatible with the public

                              "Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
                                          "EDWIN M. STANTON,
                                                 "_Secretary of War_."

                                   "WAR DEPARTMENT,           }
                                   "WASHINGTON, July 2, 1862. }

     "SIR: On reference to the answer of this Department of the
     fourteenth ultimo to the resolution of the House of
     Representatives of the ninth of last month, calling for
     information respecting the organization by Gen. Hunter, of the
     Department of South Carolina, of a regiment of volunteers for the
     defence of the Union, composed of black men, fugitive slaves,
     etc., it will be seen that the resolution had been referred to
     that officer with instructions to make an immediate report
     thereon. I have now the honor to transmit herewith the copy of a
     communication just received from Gen. Hunter, furnishing
     information as to his action touching the various matters
     indicated in the resolution.

     "I have the honor to be, very respectfully, your obedient

                                        "EDWIN M. STANTON,
                                             "_Secretary of War_.

     "Hon. G. A. GROW,
          "_Speaker of the House of Representatives_."

                                   "HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE SOUTH, }
                                   "PORT ROYAL, S. C., June 23, 1862.     }

     "Hon. EDWIN M. STANTON, _Secretary of War_, Washington.

     "SIR: I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of a
     communication from the Adjutant-General of the army, dated June
     thirteenth, 1862, requesting me to furnish you with the
     information necessary to answer certain resolutions introduced in
     the House of Representatives, June ninth, 1862, on motion of the
     Hon. Mr. Wickliffe, of Kentucky, their substance being to

     "First. Whether I had organized or was organizing a regiment of
     'fugitive slaves' in this department?

     "Second. Whether any authority had been given to me from the War
     Department for such organization? and

     "Third. Whether I had been furnished, by order of the War
     Department, with clothing, uniforms, arms, equipments, etc., for
     such a force?

     "Only having received the letter covering these inquiries at a
     late hour on Saturday night, I urge forward my answer in time for
     the steamer sailing to-day (Monday)--this haste preventing me
     from entering as minutely as I could wish upon many points of
     detail, such as the paramount importance of the subject calls
     for. But, in view of the near termination of the present session
     of Congress, and the widespread interest which must have been
     awakened by Mr. Wickliffe's resolutions, I prefer sending even
     this imperfect answer to waiting the period necessary for the
     collection of fuller and more comprehensive data.

     "To the first question, therefore, I reply that no regiment of
     'fugitive slaves' has been or is being organized in this
     department. There is, however, a fine regiment of persons whose
     late masters are 'fugitive rebels,'--men who everywhere fly
     before the appearance of the national flag, leaving their
     servants behind them to shift as best they can for themselves. So
     far, indeed, are the loyal persons composing this regiment from
     seeking to avoid the presence of their late owners, that they are
     now, one and all, working with remarkable industry to place
     themselves in a position to go in full and effective pursuit of
     their fugacious and traitorous proprietors.

     "To the second question I have the honor to answer that the
     instructions given to Brig.-Gen. T. W. Sherman, by the Hon. Simon
     Cameron, late Secretary of War, and turned over to me by
     succession for my guidance, do distinctly authorize me to employ
     all loyal persons offering their services in defence of the Union
     and for the suppression of this rebellion in any manner I might
     see fit, or that the circumstances might call for. There is no
     restriction as to the character or color of the persons to be
     employed, or the nature of the employment, whether civil or
     military, in which their services should be used. I conclude,
     therefore, that I have been authorized to enlist 'fugitive
     slaves' as soldiers, could any such be found in this department.
     No such characters, however, have yet appeared within view of our
     most advanced pickets, the loyal slaves everywhere remaining on
     their plantations to welcome us, aid us, and supply us with food,
     labor, and information. It is the masters who have in every
     instance been the 'fugitives,' running away from loyal slaves as
     well as loyal soldiers, and whom we have only partially been able
     to see--chiefly their heads over ramparts, or, rifle in hand,
     dodging behind trees--in the extreme distance. In the absence of
     any 'fugitive-master law,' the deserted slaves would be wholly
     without remedy, had not the crime of treason given them the right
     to pursue, capture, and bring back those persons of whose
     protection they have been thus suddenly bereft.

     "To the third interrogatory it is my painful duty to reply that I
     never have received any specific authority for issues of
     clothing, uniforms, arms, equipments, and so forth, to the troops
     in question--my general instructions from Mr. Cameron to employ
     them in any manner I might find necessary, and the military
     exigencies of the department and the country being my only, but,
     in my judgment, sufficient justification. Neither have I had any
     specific authority for supplying these persons with shovels,
     spades, and pickaxes, when employing them as laborers, nor with
     boats and oars when using them as lightermen; but these are not
     points included in Mr. Wickliffe's resolution. To me it seemed
     that liberty to employ men in any particular capacity implied
     with it liberty also to supply them with the necessary tools; and
     acting upon this faith I have clothed, equipped, and armed the
     only loyal regiment yet raised in South Carolina.

     "I must say, in vindication of my own conduct, that had it not
     been for the many other diversified and imperative claims on my
     time, a much more satisfactory result might have been hoped for;
     and that in place of only one, as at present, at least five or
     six well-drilled, brave, and thoroughly acclimated regiments
     should by this time have been added to the loyal forces of the

     "The experiment of arming the blacks, so far as I have made it,
     has been a complete and even marvellous success. They are sober,
     docile, attentive, and enthusiastic, displaying great natural
     capacities for acquiring the duties of the soldier. They are
     eager beyond all things to take the field and be led into action;
     and it is the unanimous opinion of the officers who have had
     charge of them, that in the peculiarities of this climate and
     country they will prove invaluable auxiliaries, fully equal to
     the similar regiments so long and successfully used by the
     British authorities in the West-India Islands.

     "In conclusion, I would say it is my hope--there appearing no
     possibility of other reënforcements, owing to the exigencies of
     the campaign in the Peninsula--to have organized by the end of
     next fall, and to be able to present to the Government, from
     forty-eight to fifty thousand of these hardy and devoted

     "Trusting that this letter may form part of your answer to Mr.
     Wickliffe's resolutions, I have the honor to be, most
     respectfully, your very obedient servant,

                                        "D. HUNTER,
                                        "_Major-General Commanding_."

Mr. Wickliffe seemed to feel that he had received an exhaustive reply
to his resolution of inquiry, but his colleague, Mr. Dunlap, offered
the following resolution on the 3d of July, 1862, which was never
acted upon:

     "_Resolved_, That the sentiments contained in the paper read to
     this body yesterday, approving the arming of slaves, emanating
     from Major-General David Hunter, clothed in discourteous
     language, are an indignity to the American Congress, an insult to
     the American people and our brave soldiers in arms; for which
     sentiments, so uttered, he justly merits our condemnation and

There was quite a flutter among the politicians in the rear, and many
army officers felt that the United States uniform had been disgraced
by being put upon "fugitive slaves."

Within a few weeks after the affair in Congress alluded to above, two
United States Senators,[92] charmed with the bold idea of General
Hunter, called upon the President to urge him to accept the services
of two Negro regiments. The "New York Herald" of the 5th of August,
1862, gave an account of the interview under the caption of
"_Important Decision of the President_."

     "The efforts of those who love the negro more than the Union to
     induce the President to swerve from his established policy are
     unavailing. He will neither be persuaded by promises nor
     intimidated by threats. To-day he was called upon by two United
     States Senators and rather peremptorily requested to accept the
     services of two negro regiments. They were flatly and
     unequivocally rejected. The President did not appreciate the
     necessity of employing the negroes to fight the battles of the
     country and take the positions which the white men of the nation,
     the voters, and sons of patriotic sires, should be proud to
     occupy; there were employments in which the negroes of rebel
     masters might well be engaged, but he was not willing to place
     them upon an equality with our volunteers, who had left home and
     family and lucrative occupations to defend the Union and the
     Constitution, while there were volunteers or militia enough in
     the loyal States to maintain the Government without resort to
     this expedient. If the loyal people were not satisfied with the
     policy he had adopted, he was willing to leave the administration
     to other hands. One of the Senators was impudent enough to tell
     the President he wished to God he would resign."[93]

But there the regiment was,--one thousand loyal and competent
soldiers; and there was no way out but for the government to father
the regiment, and, therefore, on the 25th of August, 1862, the
Secretary of War sent General Rufus Saxton the following order:

     "3. In view of the small force under your command, and the
     inability of the Government at the present time to increase it,
     in order to guard the plantations and settlements occupied by the
     United States from invasion, and protect the inhabitants thereof
     from captivity and murder by the enemy, you are also authorized
     to arm, uniform, equip, and receive into the service of the
     United States, such number of Volunteers of African descent as
     you may deem expedient, not exceeding five thousand; and may
     detail officers to instruct them in military drill, discipline,
     and duty, and to command them; the persons so received into
     service, and their officers, to be entitled to and receive the
     same pay and rations as are allowed by law to Volunteers in the

     "4. You will occupy, if possible, all the islands and plantations
     heretofore occupied by the Government, and secure and harvest the
     crops, and cultivate and improve the plantations.

     "5. The population of African descent, that cultivate the land
     and perform the labor of the Rebels, constitute a large share of
     their military strength, and enable the White masters to fill the
     Rebel armies, and wage a cruel and murderous war against the
     people of the Northern States. By reducing the laboring strength
     of the Rebels, their military power will be reduced. You are,
     therefore, authorized, by every means in your power, to withdraw
     from the enemy their laboring force and population, and to spare
     no effort, consistent with civilized warfare, to weaken, harass,
     and annoy them, and to establish the authority of the Government
     of the United States within your Department."

But public sentiment was growing with every passing day. The very
presence of the Negro regiment at Port Royal converted the most
pronounced enemies of Negro troops into friends and admirers. The
newspaper correspondents filled their letters to the papers North with
most extravagant praise of the Negro soldier; and the President was
driven from his position of "_no negro soldiers_."

The correspondent of the "Times," in a letter dated September 4, 1862,

     "There is little doubt that the next mail from the North will
     bring an order from the War Department recalling Major-Gen.
     Hunter to a field of greater activity. The Government had not
     lent him a hearty support in carrying out his policy of arming
     the blacks, by which alone he could make himself useful in this
     department to the National cause; and, therefore, more than two
     months since he applied to be relieved, rather than sit supinely
     with folded hands when his military abilities might be found of
     service elsewhere. Now, however, I have reason to believe that
     Gen. Hunter's views upon the question of forming negro regiments,
     have been unreservedly adopted by the President, and the whole
     question has assumed such a different phase that Gen. Hunter
     almost regrets that he is to leave the department. The last mail
     brought the authorization of the President to _enlist_ five negro
     regiments, each of a thousand negroes, to be armed and uniformed
     for the service of the United States, and also authorizes the
     enrollment of an additional 50,000 to be employed in the
     Quartermaster's Department nominally as laborers, but as they are
     to be organized into companies and uniformed, and a portion of
     their time is to be spent in drilling, it is easy to understand
     that the possibility of their being used as soldiers is not lost
     sight of. The exact time of commencing the work of enlisting the
     colored recruits, I am not able to state, but that it will be
     shortly, to my mind, there is not a shadow of doubt. The only way
     in which the men can be obtained is by the establishment of posts
     at various places upon the coast, where the negroes, assured of
     protection, will flock to us by thousands. Past experience and
     present information both go to prove this fact, and to establish
     these posts more men will be required; therefore we may soon
     expect that the Government will be deriving positive advantages
     from this department which, heretofore, has been only negative of
     service, as the field of experiments and the testing of ideas.
     Gen. Saxton will go to Washington by the first steamer, for
     consultation with the President on the subject."

Just what one thing changed the President so suddenly upon the
question of the employment of Negroes as soldiers was not known.

In Louisiana the Negroes were anxious to enlist in the service of the
Union, and with this object in view thousands of them sought the
Federal camps. Brig.-Gen. J. W. Phelps, commanding the forces at
Carrolton, La., found his camps daily crowded with fugitives from
slavery. What to do with them became a question of great moment. Gen.
Phelps became convinced that it was impossible to subdue a great
rebellion if slavery were to have the protection of Federal bayonets.
He gave the Negroes who came to his camp protection; and for this was
reported to his superior officer, Gen. Butler. In a report to the
latter officer's Adjutant-General, on June 16, 1862, he said:

     "The enfranchisement of the people of Europe has been, and is
     still, going on, through the instrumentality of military service;
     and by this means our slaves might be raised in the scale of
     civilization and prepared for freedom. Fifty regiments might be
     raised among them at once, which could be employed in this
     climate to preserve order, and thus prevent the necessity of
     retrenching our liberties, as we should do by a large army
     exclusively of Whites. For it is evident that a considerable army
     of Whites would give stringency to our Government; while an army
     partly of Blacks would naturally operate in favor of freedom and
     against those influences which at present most endanger our
     liberties. At the end of five years, they could be sent to
     Africa, and their places filled with new enlistments."

Receiving no specific response to this overture, Gen. Phelps made a
requisition of arms, clothing, etc., for "three regiments of Africans,
which I propose to raise for the defense of this point"; adding:

     "The location is swampy and unhealthy; and our men are dying at
     the rate of two or three a day.

     "The Southern loyalists are willing, as I understand, to furnish
     their share of the tax for the support of the war; but they
     should also furnish their quota of men; which they have not thus
     far done. An opportunity now offers of supplying the deficiency;
     and it is not safe to neglect opportunities in war. I think that,
     with the proper facilities, I could raise the three regiments
     proposed in a short time. Without holding out any inducements, or
     offering any reward, I have now upward of 300 Africans organized
     into five companies, who are all willing and ready to show their
     devotion to our cause in any way that it may be put to the test.
     They are willing to submit to any thing rather than to slavery.

     "Society, in the South, seems to be on the point of dissolution;
     and the best way of preventing the African from becoming
     instrumental in a general state of anarchy, is to enlist him in
     the cause of the Republic. If we reject his services, any petty
     military chieftain, by offering him freedom, can have them for
     the purpose of robbery and plunder. It is for the interests of
     the South, as well as of the North, that the African should be
     permitted to offer his block for the temple of freedom.
     Sentiments unworthy of the man of the present day--worthy only of
     another Cain--could alone prevent such an offer from being

     "I would recommend that the cadet graduates of the present year
     should be sent to South Carolina and this point, to organize and
     discipline our African levies; and that the more promising
     non-commissioned officers and privates of the army be appointed
     as company officers to command them. Prompt and energetic efforts
     in this direction would probably accomplish more toward a speedy
     termination of the war, and an early restoration of peace and
     unity, than any other course which could be adopted."[94]

Gen. Butler advised Gen. Phelps to employ "contrabands" for mere
fatigue duty, and charged him not to use them as soldiers. On the 31st
of July, 1862, Gen. Phelps rejoined by informing Gen. Butler: "I am
not willing to become the mere slave-driver you propose, having no
qualifications that way," and immediately tendered his resignation.

Nothing could stay the mighty stream of fugitives that poured into the
Union lines by day and by night. Nothing could cool the ardor of the
loyal Negroes who so earnestly desired to share the perils and honors
of the Federal army. There was but one course left and that was to
call the Negroes to arms as Gen. Jackson had done nearly a half
century before. Gen. Butler repented his action toward the gallant and
intelligent Phelps, and on the 24th of August, 1862, appealed to the
free Colored men of New Orleans to take up arms in defence of the
Union. As in the War of 1812, they responded to the call with
enthusiasm; and in just two weeks one thousand Negroes were organized
into a regiment. All the men and line officers were Colored; the
staff-officers were white. Another regiment was raised and officered
like the first--only two white men in it; while the third regiment was
officered without regard to nationality. Two Colored batteries were
raised, but all the officers were white because there were no Negroes
found who understood that arm of the service.

The summer was gone, and Gen. McClellan, instead of "taking Richmond,"
had closed his campaign on the Peninsula most ingloriously. The
President was compelled to make another call for troops--60,000.
Conscription was unavoidable in many places, and prejudice against the
military employment of Negroes began to decrease in proportion to the
increase of the chances of white men to be drafted. On the 16th of
July, 1862, Gen. Henry Wilson, United States Senator from
Massachusetts, and Chairman of the Committee on Military Affairs,
introduced a bill in the Senate amending the act of 1795, prescribing
the manner of the calling forth of the militia to suppress
insurrections, etc. Several amendments were offered, much debate was
had, and finally it passed, amended, empowering the President to
accept "persons of African descent, for the purpose of constructing
entrenchments or performing camp service, or _any_ war service for
which they may be found competent." It was agreed, grudgingly, to free
the slaves of rebels _only_ who should faithfully serve the
country,--but _not_ their wives and children! The vote was 28 yeas to
9 nays. It went to the House, where it was managed by Mr. Stevens, of
Pennsylvania, and upon a call of the previous question was passed. On
the next day, July 17th, it received the signature of the President,
and became the law of the land.

On the 28th of January the Army Appropriation bill was under
consideration in the United States Senate. Garrett Davis, of Kentucky,
had opposed, by the most frantic and desperate efforts, every attempt
to use Negroes in any capacity to aid in the suppression of the
Rebellion. Accordingly he offered the following amendment to the
Appropriation bill:

     "Provided, That no part of the sums appropriated by this act
     shall be disbursed for the pay, subsistence, or any other
     supplies, of any negro, free or slave, in the armed military
     service of the United States."

It received 8 votes, with 28 against it. Those who sustained the
amendment were all Democrats:

Messrs. Carlyle, G. Davis, Kennedy, Latham, Nesmith, Powell, Turpie,
and Wall.

The fight against the employment of Negroes as soldiers was renewed.
On every occasion the opposition was led by a Kentucky representative!
On the 21st of December, 1863, during the pendency of the Deficiency
bill in the House, Mr. Harding, of Kentucky, desired to amend it by
inserting the following:

     "_Provided_, That no part of the moneys aforesaid shall be
     applied to the raising, arming, equipping, or paying of negro

It was rejected: yeas, 41; nays, 105. The yeas were:

Messrs. Ancona, Bliss, James S. Brown, Coffroth, Cox, Dawson,
Dennison, Eden, Edgerton, Eldridge, Finck, Grider, Hall, Harding,
Harrington, Benjamin G. Harris, Charles M. Harris, Philip Johnson,
William Johnson, King, Knapp, Law, Long, Marcy, McKinney, William H.
Miller, James R. Morris, Morrison, Noble, John O'Neill, Pendleton,
Samuel J. Randall, Rogers, Ross, Scott, Stiles, Strouse, Stuart,
Chilton A. White, Joseph W. White, Yeaman.

On the 26th of January, 1863, the Secretary of War authorized Gov.
John A. Andrew, of Massachusetts, to raise two regiments of Negro
troops to serve three years. The order allowed the governor to raise
"volunteer companies of artillery for duty in the forts of
Massachusetts and elsewhere, and such companies of infantry for the
volunteer military service as he may find convenient, and may include
persons of African descent, organized into separate corps."

The Governor of Massachusetts immediately delegated authority to John
W. M. Appleton to superintend the recruiting of the 54th
Massachusetts, the first regiment of free Colored men raised at the
North. The regiment was filled by the 13th of May, and ready to march
to the front. It had been arranged that the regiment should pass
through New York City on its way to the scene of the war in South
Carolina, but the Chief of Police of New York suggested that the
regiment would be subject to insult if it came. The regiment was sent
forth with the blessings of Massachusetts and the prayers of its
patriotic people. It went by water to South Carolina.

While Massachusetts was engaged in recruiting Negro soldiers, Gen.
Lorenzo Thomas, Adjutant-General of the United States Army, was
despatched from Washington to the Mississippi Valley, where he
inaugurated a system of recruiting service for Negroes. In a speech to
the officers and men in the organization of white troops, he said, on
the 8th of April, 1863, at Lake Providence, La.:

     "You know full well--for you have been over this country--that
     the Rebels have sent into the field all their available fighting
     men--every man capable of bearing arms; and you know they have
     kept at home all their slaves for the raising of subsistence for
     their armies in the field. In this way they can bring to bear
     against us all the strength of their so-called Confederate
     States; while we at the North can only send a portion of our
     fighting force, being compelled to leave behind another portion
     to cultivate our fields and supply the wants of an immense army.
     The Administration has determined to take from the Rebels this
     source of supply--to take their negroes and compel them to send
     back a portion of their whites to cultivate their deserted
     plantations--and very poor persons they would be to fill the
     place of the dark-hued laborer. They must do this, or their
     armies will starve. * * *

     "All of you will some day be on picket duty; and I charge you
     all, if any of this unfortunate race come within your lines, that
     you do not turn them away, but receive them kindly and
     cordially. They are to be encouraged to come to us; they are to
     be received with open arms; they are to be fed and clothed; they
     are to be armed."

On the 1st of May, 1863, Gen. Banks, in an order directing the
recruiting of the "Corps d'Afrique," said:

     "The prejudices or opinions of men are in no wise involved"; and
     "it is not established upon any dogma of equality, or other
     theory, but as a practical and sensible matter of business. The
     Government makes use of mules, horses, uneducated and educated
     White men, in the defense of its institutions. Why should not the
     negro contribute whatever is in his power for the cause in which
     he is as deeply interested as other men? We may properly demand
     from him whatever service he can render," etc., etc.

In the autumn of 1863, Adjutant-General Thomas issued the following
order respecting the military employment of Negroes as soldiers:

                     "ENLISTMENT OF COLORED TROOPS.

                       "GENERAL ORDERS, No. 329.

                         "WAR DEPARTMENT, ADJUTANT-GENERAL'S OFFICE, }
                         "WASHINGTON, D. C., October 13, 1863.       }

     "WHEREAS, The exigencies of the war require that colored troops
     be enlisted in the States of Maryland, Missouri, and Tennessee,
     it is

     "ORDERED BY THE PRESIDENT, That the Chief of the Bureau for the
     Organization of Colored Troops shall establish recruiting
     stations at convenient places within said States, and give public
     notice thereof, and be governed by the following regulations:

     "First. None but able-bodied persons shall be enlisted.

     "Second. The State and county in which the enlistments are made
     shall be credited with the recruits enlisted.

     "Third. All persons enlisted into the military service shall
     forever thereafter be FREE.

     "Fourth. Free persons, and slaves with the written consent of
     their owners, and slaves belonging to those who have been engaged
     in or given aid or comfort to the rebellion, may now be
     enlisted--the owners who have not been engaged in or given aid to
     the rebellion being entitled to compensation as hereinafter

     "Fifth. If within thirty days from the date of opening
     enlistments, notice thereof and of the recruiting stations being
     published, a sufficient number of the description of persons
     aforesaid to meet the exigencies of the service should not be
     enlisted, then enlistments may be made of slaves without
     requiring consent of their owners, but they may receive
     compensation as herein provided for owners offering their slaves
     for enlistment.

     "Sixth. Any citizen of said States, who shall offer his or her
     slave for enlistment into the military service, shall, if such
     slave be accepted, receive from the recruiting officer a
     certificate thereof, and become entitled to compensation for the
     service of said slave, not exceeding the sum of three hundred
     dollars, upon filing a valid deed of manumission and of release,
     and making satisfactory proof of title. And the recruiting
     officer shall furnish to any claimant of descriptive list of any
     person enlisted and claimed under oath to be his or her slave,
     and allow any one claiming under oath that his or her slave has
     been enlisted without his or her consent, the privilege of
     inspecting the enlisted man for the purpose of identification.

     "Seventh. A board of three persons shall be appointed by the
     President, to whom the rolls and recruiting lists shall be
     furnished for public information, and, on demand exhibited, to
     any person claiming that his or her slave has been enlisted
     against his or her will.

     "Eighth. If a person shall within ten days after the filing of
     said rolls, make a claim for the service of any person so
     enlisted, the board shall proceed to examine the proof of title,
     and, if valid, shall award just compensation, not exceeding three
     hundred dollars for each slave enlisted belonging to the
     claimant, and upon the claimant filing a valid deed of
     manumission and release of service, the board shall give the
     claimant a certificate of the sum awarded, which on presentation
     shall be paid by the chief of the Bureau.

     "Ninth. All enlistments of colored troops in the State of
     Maryland, otherwise than in accordance with these regulations,
     are forbidden.

     "Tenth. No person who is or has been engaged in the rebellion
     against the Government of the United States, or who in any way
     has or shall give aid or comfort to the enemies of the
     Government, shall be permitted to present any claim or receive
     any compensation for the labor or service of any slave, and all
     claimants shall file with their claim an oath of allegiance to
     the United States. By order of the President.

                                   "E. D. TOWNSEND,
                                        "_Assistant Adjutant-General_."

This order was extended, on October 26th, to Delaware, at the personal
request of Governor Cannon.

On the 12th of November, 1863, the Union League Club of New York City
appointed a committee for the purpose of recruiting Colored troops.
Col. George Bliss was made chairman and entered upon the work with
energy and alacrity. On the 23d of November the committee addressed a
letter to Horatio Seymour, Governor of New York, stating that as he
had no authority to grant them permission to enlist a Negro regiment;
and as the National Government was unwilling to grant such authority
without the sympathy and assent of the State government, they would
feel greatly obliged should his excellency grant the committee his
official concurrence. Gov. Seymour assured the committee of his
official inability to grant authority for the raising of Colored
troops,--just what the committee had written him,--and referred them
to the National Government, on the 27th of November. The committee
applied to the authorities at Washington, and on the 5th of December,
1863, the Secretary of War granted them authority to raise the 20th
Regiment of United States Colored Troops. Having secured the authority
of the Government to begin their work, the committee wrote Gov.
Seymour: "We express the hope that, so far as in your power, you will
give to the movement your aid and countenance." The governor never
found the time to answer the request of the committee!

The work was pushed forward with zeal and enthusiasm. The Colored men
rallied to the call, and within two weeks from the time the committee
called for Colored volunteers 1,000 men responded. By the 27th of
January, 1864, a second regiment was full; and thus in forty-five days
the Union League Club Committee on the Recruiting of Colored Regiments
had raised 2,000 soldiers!

Out of 9,000 men of color, eligible by age--18 to 45 years--to go into
the service, 2,300 enlisted in less than sixty days. There was no
bounty held out to them as an incentive to enlist; no protection
promised to their families, nor to them should they fall into the
hands of the enemy. But they were patriots! They were willing to
endure any thing rather than the evils that would surely attend the
triumph of the Confederacy. They went to the front under auspicious

The 20th Regiment, under the command of Col. Bartram, landed at
Thirty-Sixth Street, was headed by the police and the patriotic
members of the Union League Club, and had a triumphal march through
the city.

     "The scene of yesterday," says a New York paper, "was one which
     marks an era of progress in the political and social history of
     New York. A thousand men with black skins and clad and equipped
     with the uniforms and arms of the United States Government,
     marched from their camp through the most aristocratic and busy
     streets, received a grand ovation at the hands of the wealthiest
     and most respectable ladies and gentlemen of New York, and then
     moved down Broadway to the steamer which bears them to their
     destination--all amid the enthusiastic cheers, the encouraging
     plaudits, the waving handkerchiefs, the showering bouquets and
     other approving manifestations of a hundred thousand of the most
     loyal of our people.

     "In the month of July last the homes of these people were burned
     and pillaged by an infuriated political mob; they and their
     families were hunted down and murdered in the public streets of
     this city; and the force and majesty of the law were powerless to
     protect them. Seven brief months have passed, and a thousand of
     these despised and persecuted men march through the city in the
     garb of United States soldiers, in vindication of their own
     manhood, and with the approval of a countless multitude--in
     effect saving from inevitable and distasteful conscription the
     same number of those who hunted their persons and destroyed their
     homes during those days of humiliation and disgrace. This is
     noble vengeance--a vengeance taught by Him who commanded, 'Love
     them that hate you; do good to them that persecute you.'"

The recruiting of Colored troops in Pennsylvania was carried on,
perhaps, with more vigor, intelligence, and enthusiasm than in any of
the other free States. A committee for the recruiting of men of color
for the United States army was appointed at Philadelphia, with Thomas
Webster as Chairman, Cadwalader Biddle, as Secretary, and S. A.
Mercer, as Treasurer. This committee raised $33,388.00 for the
recruiting of Colored regiments. The 54th and 55th Massachusetts
regiments had cost about $60,000, but this committee agreed to raise
three regiments at a cost of $10,000 per regiment.

The committee founded a camp, and named it "Camp William Penn," at
Shelton Hill, near Philadelphia. On the 26th of June, 1863, the first
squad of eighty men went into camp. On the 3d of February, 1864, the
committee made the following statement, in reference to the raising of

     "On the 24th July, 1863, the First (3d United States) regiment
     was full.

     "On the 13th September, 1863, the Second (6th United States)
     regiment was full.

     "On the 4th December, 1863, the Third (8th United States)
     regiment was full.

     "On the 6th January, 1864, the Fourth (22d United States)
     regiment was full.

     "On the 3d February, 1864, the Fifth (25th United States)
     regiment was full.

     "August 13th, 1863, the Third United States regiment left Camp
     William Penn, and was in front of Fort Wagner when it

     "October 14th, 1863, the Sixth United States regiment left for

     "January 16th, 1864, the Eighth United States regiment left for
     Hilton Head.

     "The 22d and 25th regiments are now at Camp William Penn, waiting
     orders from the Government."

The duty of recruiting "Colored troops" in the Department of the
Cumberland was committed by Secretary Stanton to an able, honest, and
patriotic man, Mr. George L. Stearns, of Massachusetts. Mr. Stearns
had devoted his energies, wealth, and time to the cause of the slave
during the holy anti-slavery agitation. He was a wealthy merchant of
Boston; dwelt, with a noble wife and beautiful children, at Medford.
He had been, from the commencement of the agitation, an ultra
Abolitionist. He regarded slavery as a gigantic system of complicated
evils, at war with all the known laws of civilized society; inimical
to the fundamental principles of political economy; destructive to
republican institutions; hateful in the sight of God, and ever
abhorrent to all honest men. He hated slavery. He hated truckling,
obsequious, cringing hypocrites. He put his feelings into vigorous
English, and keyed his deeds and actions to the sublime notes of
charity that filled his heart and adorned a long and eminently useful
life. He gave shelter to the majestic and heroic John Brown. His door
was--like the heavenly gates--ajar to every fugitive from slavery, and
his fiery earnestness kindled the flagging zeal of many a conservative
friend of God's poor.

Such a man was chosen to put muskets into the hands of the Negroes in
the Department of the Cumberland. His rank was that of major, with the
powers of an assistant adjutant-general. He took up his headquarters
at Nashville, Tennessee. He carried into the discharge of the duties
of his important office large executive ability, excellent judgment,
and rare fidelity. He organized the best regiments that served in the
Western army. When he had placed the work in excellent condition he
committed it to the care of Capt. R. D. Mussey, who afterward was
made the Colonel of the 100th U. S. Colored Troops.

The intense and unrelenting prejudice against the Negroes, and their
ignorance of military tactics, made it necessary for the Government to
provide suitable white commissioned officers. The prospect was
pleasing to many young white men in the ranks; and ambition went far
to irradicate prejudice against Negro soldiers. Nearly every white
private and non-commissioned officer was expecting the lightning to
strike him; _every_ one expected to be promoted to be a commissioned
officer, and, therefore, had no prejudice against the men they hoped
to command as their _superior_ officers. To prepare the large number
of applicants for commissions in Colored regiments a "Free Military
School" was established at No. 1210 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, Pa.
Secretary Stanton gave the school the following official endorsement
in the spring of 1864.

                                                "WAR DEPARTMENT,     }
                                   "WASHINGTON CITY, March 21, 1864. }

     "THOMAS WEBSTER, ESQ., _Chairman_,
            "1210 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia.

     "SIR: The project of establishing a free Military School for the
     education of candidates for the position of commissioned officers
     in the Colored Troops, received the cordial approval of this
     Department. Sufficient success has already attended the workings
     of the institution to afford the promise of much usefulness
     hereafter in sending into the service a class of instructed and
     efficient officers.

                                   "Very respectfully,
                                      "Your obedient servant,
                                         "EDWIN M. STANTON,
                                                "_Secretary of War_."

In reply to a letter from Thomas Webster, Esq., Chairman, etc., of the
Recruiting Committee, General Casey sent the following letter:

                                   "WASHINGTON, D. C., March 7, 1864.

     "DEAR SIR: Yours of the 4th instant is received, and I have
     directed the Secretary of the Board to attend to your request.

     "It gives me great pleasure to learn that your School is
     prospering, and I am also pleased to inform you that the Board of
     which I am President has not as yet rejected one of your
     candidates. I am gratified to see that the necessity of
     procuring competent officers for the armies of the Republic is
     beginning to be better appreciated by the public.

     "I trust I shall never have occasion to regret my agency in
     suggesting the formation of your School, and I am sure the
     country owes your Committee much for the energy and judgment with
     which it has carried it out. The liberality which opens its doors
     to the young men of all the States is noble, and does honor to
     those citizens of Philadelphia from whom its support is
     principally derived.

                                   "Truly yours,
                                        "SILAS CASEY,

     "TO THOMAS WEBSTER, ESQ., _Chairman_,
          "1210 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia."

In reference to applicants the following letter was written by the

     "No. 125."       }

                             "WAR DEPARTMENT,"
                                  "ADJUTANT-GEN.'S OFFICE,
                                      "WASHINGTON, March 29, 1864.

     "Furloughs, not to exceed thirty days in each case, to the
     non-commissioned officers and privates of the army who may desire
     to enter the Free Military School at Philadelphia, may be granted
     by the Commanders of Armies and Departments, when the character,
     conduct, and capacity of the applicants are such as to warrant
     their immediate and superior commanders in recommending them for
     commissioned appointments in the regiments of colored troops.

     "By order of the Secretary of War.

                                   "E. D. TOWNSEND,
                                       "_Assistant Adjutant-General_."

The organization of the school was as follows:

  _Chief Preceptor._


  (Late Colonel 12th Regiment Pennsylvania Reserve Corps),
  _Professor of Infantry Tactics and Army Regulations_.

  _Assistant Professors._


  (Graduate of West Point Military Academy, and late Colonel 4th
  Regiment Pennsylvania Reserve Corps),
  _Professor of Infantry Tactics and Army Regulations._

  (Late Captain 175th Pennsylvania Regiment),
  _Professor of Infantry Tactics and Army Regulations._

  (Late 1st Lieutenant Co. E., 122d Pennsylvania Regiment),
  _Post Adjutant._

  _Field Adjutant._

  (Graduate of University of Penn.),


  _Professors of Mathematics, Geography, and History_

  Wm. L. WILSON,
  _Librarian and Phonographic Clerk._



Within less than six months 1,051 applicants had been examined; 560
passed, and 491 were rejected.

Four regular classes were formed, and in addition to daily recitations
the students were required to drill twice every day. The school
performed excellent work; and furnished for the service many brave and
efficient officers.

By December, 1863, 100,000 Colored Troops were in the service. About
50,000 were armed by that time and in the field.

Everywhere they were winning golden laurels by their aptitude in
drill, their patient performance of the duties of the camp, and by
their matchless courage in the deadly field. The young white officers
who so cheerfully bore the odium of commanding Colored Troops, and who
so heroically faced the dangers of capture and cruel death, had no
superiors in the army. They had the supreme satisfaction of commanding
brave men to whom they soon found themselves deeply attached. It was a
school in which the noblest and purest patriot might feel himself
honored and inspired to the performance of deathless deeds of valor.

The following tables indicate the manner in which the work was done.

_Analysis of Examination of Applicants for Command of Colored Troops,
before the Board at Washington, of which Major-General Silas Casey is
President, from the organization of the Board to March 29th, 1864,

                                   Number accepted and for
                                    what rank recommended.
                                 |    Lieutenant-Colonels.
                                 |    |    Majors.
 Rank.                           |    |    |    Captains.
                                 |    |    |    |    1st Lieutenants.
                                 |    |    |    |    |   2d Lieutenants.
                         Number  |    |    |    |    |    |    Number
                      examined.  |    |    |    |    |    |    rejected.
 Colonels                     4  -    -    2    -    -    -    2
 Lieutenant-Colonels          3  -    2    -    -    1    -    -
 Majors                       9  2    3    1    2    -    -    1
 Captains                    68  3    7    8   20    5    3   22
 1st Lieutenants             52  3    -    4   10    8    7   20
 2d Lieutenants              24  -    -    -    9    2    3   10
 Sergeants                  505  -    1    -   62   75  133  234
 Corporals                  230  -    -    -   23   46   64   97
 Privates                   449  -    -    -   26   57  124  242
 Civilians                  429  1    6   15   48   49   94  216
                          1,773  9   19   30  200  243  428  844
 Students of the
 Philadelphia Free
      Military School        94  2    4    6   28   25   25    4
                          1,867 11   23   36  228  268  453  848

_Analysis of the Examination to 31st March, 1864, of the Students of
the Philadelphia Free Military School, before the Board of Examiners
at Washington, for Applicants for Command of Colored Troops,
Major-General Silas Casey, President._

                                   Number accepted and for
                                    what rank recommended.
                                 |    Lieut-Colonels.
                                 |    |    Majors.
 Rank.                           |    |    |    Captains.
                                 |    |    |    |    1st Lieutenants.
                                 |    |    |    |    |   2d Lieutenants.
                       Number    |    |    |    |    |    |    Number
                    examined.    |    |    |    |    |    |    rejected.
 Sergeants                 14    -    1    -    3    3    6    1
 Corporals                  8    -    -    -    2    4    2    -
 Privates                  33    1    -    1    9   11   10    1
 Civilians[95]             39    1    3    5   14    6    8    2
                           94    2    4    6   28   24   26    4

The following official table gives the entire number of Colored Troops
in the army from beginning to end.


                                   Colored Troops furnished
    Connecticut                               1,764
    Maine                                       104
    Massachusetts                             3,966
    New Hampshire                               125
    Rhode Island                              1,837
    Vermont                                     120
    Total of New England States               7,916

    New Jersey                                1,185
    New York                                  4,125
    Pennsylvania                              8,612
    Total of Middle States                   13,922

    STATES AND TERRITORIES.--(_Continued._)

                                   Colored Troops furnished
    Colorado Ter.                                95
    Dakota Ter.                                   -
    Illinois                                  1,811
    Indiana                                   1,537
    Iowa                                        440
    Kansas                                    2,080
    Michigan                                  1,387
    Minnesota                                   104
    Nebraska Ter.                                 -
    New Mexico Ter.                               -
    Ohio                                      5,092
    Wisconsin                                   165
    Total, Western States and Territories    12,711

    California                                    -
    Nevada                                        -
    Oregon                                        -
    Washington Ter.                               -
    Delaware                                    954
    Dist. Columbia                            3,269
    Kentucky                                 23,703
    Maryland                                  8,718
    Missouri                                  8,344
    West Virginia                               196
    Total, Border States                     45,184

    Alabama                                   4,969
    Arkansas                                  5,526
    Florida                                   1,044
    Georgia                                       -
    Louisiana                                 3,486
    Mississippi                              17,869
    North Carolina                            5,035
    South Carolina                            5,462
    Tennessee                                20,133
    Texas                                        47
    Virginia                                      -
    Total, Southern States                   63,571

    STATES AND TERRITORIES.--(_Continued._)

                                   Colored Troops furnished
    Indian Nation                                 -
    Colored Troops[96]                            -
    Grand Total                             173,079
    At Large                                    733
    Not accounted for                         5,083
    Officers                                  7,122
    Total                                   186,017

Notwithstanding the complete demonstration of fact that Negroes were
required as United States soldiers, there were many opposers of the
movement. Some of the best men and leading journals were very
conservative on this question. An elaborate and cautious editorial in
the "New York Times" of February 16, 1863, fairly exhibits the
nervousness of the North on the subject of the military employment of
the Negro.

                    "USE OF NEGROES AS SOLDIERS.

     "One branch of Congress has rejected a bill authorizing the
     enlistment of negro soldiers. Mr. Sumner declares his intention
     to persist in forcing the passage of such a law by offering it as
     an amendment to some other bill. Meantime the President, by laws
     already enacted, has full authority over the subject, and we can
     see no good object to be attained by forcing it into the
     discussions of Congress and adding it to the causes of dissension
     already existing in the country at large.

     "A law of last Congress authorized the President to use the
     negroes as laborers or _otherwise_, as they can be made most
     useful in the work of quelling the rebellion. Under this
     authority, it is understood that he has decided to use them in
     certain cases as soldiers. Some of them are already employed in
     garrisoning Southern forts, on the Mississippi River, which
     whites cannot safely occupy on account of the climate. Governor
     Sprague has authority to raise negro regiments in Rhode Island,
     and has proclaimed his intention to lead them when raised in
     person, and Gov. Andrew has received similar authority for the
     State of Massachusetts. We see, therefore, not the slightest
     necessity for any further legislation on this subject, and hope
     Mr. Sumner will consent that Congress may give its attention,
     during the short remainder of its session, to topics of pressing
     practical importance.

     "Whether negroes shall or shall not be employed as soldiers,
     seems to us purely a question of expediency, and to be solved
     satisfactorily only by experiment. As to our _right_ so to employ
     them, it seems absurd to question it for a moment. The most
     bigoted and inveterate stickler for the absolute divinity of
     slavery in the Southern States would scarcely insist that, as a
     matter of right, either constitutional or moral, we could not
     employ negroes as soldiers in the army. Whether they are, or are
     not, by nature, by law, or by usage, the equals of the white man,
     makes not the slightest difference in this respect. Even those at
     the North who are so terribly shocked at the prospect of their
     being thus employed, confine their objections to grounds of
     expediency. They urge:

     "1st. That the negroes will not fight. This, if true, is
     exclusive against their being used as soldiers. But we see no way
     of testing the question except by trying the experiment. It will
     take but a very short time and but very few battles to determine
     whether they have courage, steadiness, subjection to military
     discipline and the other qualities essential to good soldiership
     or not. If they have, this objection will fall, if not then
     beyond all question they will cease to be employed.

     "2d. It is said that the whites will not fight with them--that
     the prejudice against them is so strong that our own citizens
     will not enlist, or will quit the service, if compelled to fight
     by their side,--and that we shall thus lose two white soldiers
     for one black one that we gain. If this is true, they ought not
     to be employed. The object of using them is to strengthen our
     military force; and if the project does not accomplish this, it
     is a failure. The question, moreover, is one of fact, not of
     theory. It matters nothing to say that it _ought_ not to have
     this effect--that the prejudice is absurd and should not be
     consulted. The point is, not what men _ought_ to do, but what
     they will _do_. We have to deal with human nature, with
     prejudice, with passion, with habits of thought and feeling, as
     well as with reason and sober judgment and the moral sense.
     Possibly the Government may have made a mistake in its estimate
     of the effect of this measure on the public mind. The use of
     negroes as soldiers may have a worse effect on the army and on
     the people than they have supposed.

     "But this is a matter of opinion upon which men have differed.
     Very prominent and influential persons, Governors of States,
     Senators, popular Editors and others have predicted the best
     results from such a measure, while others have anticipated the
     worst. The President has resolved to try the experiment. If it
     works well, the country will be the gainer. If not, we have no
     doubt it will be abandoned. If the effect of using negroes as
     soldiers upon the army and the country, proves to be depressing
     and demoralizing, so as to weaken rather than strengthen our
     military operations, they will cease to be employed. The
     President is a practical man, not at all disposed to sacrifice
     practical results to abstract theories.

     "3d. It is said we shall get no negroes--or not enough to prove
     of any service. In the free States very few will volunteer, and
     in the Slave States we can get but few, because the Rebels will
     push them Southward as fast as we advance upon them. This may be
     so. We confess we share, with many others, the opinion that it

     "But we may as well wait patiently the short time required to
     settle the point. When we hear more definitely from Gov.
     Sprague's black battalions and Gov. Andrew's negro brigades, we
     shall know more accurately what to think of the measure as one
     for the Free States; and when we hear further of the success of
     Gen. Banks and Gen. Saxton in enlisting them at the South, we can
     form a better judgment of the movement there. If we get very few
     or even none, the worst that can be said will be that the project
     is a failure; and the demonstration that it is so will have
     dissipated another of the many delusions which dreamy people have
     cherished about this war.

     "4th. The use of negroes will exasperate the South; and some of
     our Peace Democrats make that an objection to the measure. We
     presume it will; but so will any other scheme we may adopt which
     is warlike and effective in its character and results. If that
     consideration is to govern us, we must follow Mr. Vallandingham's
     advice and stop the war entirely, or as Mr. McMasters puts it in
     his Newark speech, go 'for an immediate and _unconditional_
     peace.' We are not quite ready for _that_ yet.

     "The very best thing that can be done under existing
     circumstances, in our judgment, is to possess our Souls in
     patience while _the experiment_ is being tried. The problem will
     probably speedily solve itself--much more speedily than heated
     discussion or harsh criminations can solve it."

It didn't require a great deal of time for the Black troops to make a
good impression; and while the Congress, the press, and the people
were being exercised over the probable out-come, the first regiment of
ex-slaves ever equipped for the service was working a revolution in
public sentiment. On the last day of January, 1863, the "New York
Tribune" printed the following editorial on the subject:

     "A disloyal minority in the House is factiously resisting the
     passage of the Steven's bill, authorizing the President to raise
     and equip 150,000 soldiers of African descent. Meanwhile, in the
     Department of the South a full regiment of blacks has been
     enlisted under Gen. Saxton; is already uniformed and armed, and
     has been actively drilling for the last seven weeks. A letter
     which we printed on Wednesday from our Special Correspondent, who
     is usually well qualified to judge of its military proficiency,
     says of this regiment that no honest-minded, unprejudiced
     observer could come to any other conclusion than that it had
     attained a remarkable proficiency in the short period during
     which it had been drilled. We have in addition from an officer of
     the regiment, who is thoroughly informed as to its condition, a
     very interesting statement of its remarkable progress, and some
     valuable suggestions on the employment of negro troops in

     "'This regiment--the 1st South Carolina Volunteers, Colonel
     Thomas Wentworth Higginson--marched on the 17th for the first
     time through the streets of Beaufort. It was the remark of many
     bitterly pro-slavery officers that they looked "splendidly." They
     marched through by platoons, and returned by the flank; the
     streets were filled with soldiers and citizens, but every man
     looked straight before him and carried himself steadily. How many
     white regiments do the same? One black soldier said: "We didn't
     see a thing in Beaufort; ebery man hold his head straight up to
     de front, ebery step was worth a half dollar."

     "'Many agreed with what is my deliberate opinion,' writes this
     officer, 'that no regiment in this department can, even now,
     surpass this one. In marching in regimental line I have not seen
     it equalled. In the different modes of passing from line into
     column, and from column into line, in changing front,
     countermarching, forming divisions, and forming square, whether
     by the common methods, or by Casey's methods, it does itself the
     greatest credit. Nor have I yet discovered the slightest ground
     of inferiority to white troops.

     "'So far is it from being true that the blacks as material
     soldiers are inferior to white, that they are in some respects
     manifestly superior; especially in aptness for drill, because of
     their imitativeness and love of music; docility in discipline,
     when their confidence is once acquired; and enthusiasm for the
     cause. _They_ at least know what they are fighting for. They have
     also a _pride_ as soldiers, which is not often found in our white
     regiments, where every private is only too apt to think himself
     specially qualified to supersede his officers. They are above all
     things faithful and trustworthy on duty from the start. In the
     best white regiments it has been found impossible to trust
     newly-enlisted troops with the countersign--they invariably
     betray it to their comrades. There has been but one such instance
     in this black regiment, and that was in the case of a mere boy,
     whose want of fidelity excited the greatest indignation among his

     "'Drunkenness, the bane of our army, does not _exist_ among the
     black troops. There has not been _one_ instance in the regiment.
     Enough. The only difficulty which threatened to become at all
     serious was that of absence without leave and overstaying passes,
     but this was checked by a few decided measures and has ceased

     "'When this regiment was first organized, some months ago, it had
     to encounter bitter hostility from the white troops at Port
     Royal, and there was great exultation when General Hunter found
     himself obliged to disband it. Since its reorganization this
     feeling seems to have almost disappeared. There is no complaint
     by the privates of insult or ill-treatment, formerly
     disgracefully common from their white comrades.

     "'It has been supposed that these black troops would prove fitter
     for garrison duty than active service in the field. No impression
     could be more mistaken. Their fidelity as sentinels adapts them
     especially, no doubt, to garrison duty; but their natural place
     is in the advance. There is an inherent dash and fire about them
     which white troops of more sluggish Northern blood do not
     emulate, and their hearty enthusiasm shows itself in all ways.
     Such qualities are betrayed even in drill, as anybody may know
     who has witnessed the dull, mechanical way in which ordinary
     troops make a bayonet charge on the parade ground, and contrasts
     it with the spirit of those negro troops in the same movement.
     They are to be used, moreover, in a country which they know
     perfectly. Merely from their knowledge of wood-craft and
     water-craft, it would be a sheer waste of material to keep them
     in garrison. It is scarcely the knowledge which is at once
     indispensable and impossible to be acquired by our troops. See
     these men and it is easier to understand the material of which
     the famous Chasseurs d'Afrique are composed.'

     "General Saxton, in a letter published yesterday, said: 'In no
     regiment have I ever seen duty performed with so much
     cheerfulness and alacrity. * * * In the organization of this
     regiment I have labored under difficulties which might have
     discouraged one who had less faith in the wisdom of the measure;
     but I am glad to report that the experiment is a complete
     success. My belief is that when we get a footing on the mainland
     regiments may be raised which will do more than any now in the
     service to put an end to this rebellion.'

     "We are learning slowly, very slowly, in this war to use the
     means of success which lie ready to our hands. We have learnt at
     last that the negro is essential to our success, but we are still
     hesitating whether to allow him to do all he can or only a part.

     "It will not take many such proofs as this black regiment now
     offers to convince us of the full value of our new allies. But we
     ought to go beyond that selfishness which regards only our own
     necessities and remember that the negro has a right to fight for
     his freedom, and that he will be all the more fit to enjoy his
     new destiny by helping to achieve it."

On the 28th of March, 1863, Mr. Greeley sent forth the following able
and sensible editorial on the Negro as a soldier:

                           "NEGRO TROOPS.

     "Facts are beginning to dispel prejudices. Enemies of the negro
     race, who have persistently denied the capacity and doubted the
     courage of the Blacks, are unanswerably confuted by the good
     conduct and gallant deeds of the men whom they persecute and
     slander. From many quarters come evidence of the swiftly
     approaching success which is to crown what is still by some
     persons deemed to be the experiment of arming whom the
     Proclamation of Freedom liberates.

     "The 1st and 2d South Carolina Volunteers, under Colonels
     Higginson and Montgomery, have ascended the St. John's River in
     Florida as far as Jacksonville, and have re-occupied that
     important town which was once before taken and afterward
     abandoned by the Union forces. Many of the negroes composing
     these regiments had been slaves in this very place. Their memory
     of old wrongs, of the privations, outrages and tortures of
     Slavery, must here, if anywhere, have been fresh and vivid, and
     the passions which opportunity for just revenges stimulates even
     in white breasts, ought to have been roused more than in all
     other places on the spot where they had suffered.

     "If, then, Jacksonville were to-day in ashes, and the ghastly
     spirit visions of '_The World_' materialized into terrible
     realities, the negro haters would have no, cause to be
     disappointed. '_The World_' hailed the alleged repulse and
     massacre of the negroes and white officers--a report which it
     invented outright, in sheer malignity, in order to forestall
     public opinion by creating a belief in the failure of the
     expedition--would have changed into agonized shrieks over the
     outrages on its Southern brethren. The experiment of subjecting
     negroes to military rules and accustoming them to those amenities
     of civilized warfare which the rebels so uniformly practice would
     again have been declared to be a hopeless failure; and for the
     hundredth time the Proclamation and the radicals who advised it
     would have been pilloried for public execration.

     "Since, however, the contrary of all this is true, it may be
     presumed by a confiding public which does not read it that '_The
     World_' has honestly acknowledged the injustice of its slanders.
     It is unpleasant to disabuse a confiding public on any subject,
     but we who are sometimes obliged to look at that paper as a
     professional duty, regret to say that we have not discovered a
     single evidence of its repentance. The facts are, however, that
     Colonel Higginson's men landed quietly at Jacksonville, marched
     through its streets in perfect order, committed no outrages or
     excesses of any kind, and by the testimony of all witnesses
     conducted themselves with a military decorum and perfect
     discipline which is far from common among white regiments in
     similar circumstances. They have gone before this time still
     further into the interior, and will doubtless do good service in
     a direction where their presence has been least expected by the
     Rebels. In the only instance in which the white chivalry ventured
     to make a stand against them, the whites were defeated and driven
     off the field by the Blacks.

     "The truth is that the fitness of negroes to be soldiers has long
     since, in this country and elsewhere, been amply demonstrated,
     and the success of Col. Higginson's Black Troops is no matter of
     surprise to any person tolerably well informed about the history
     of the race. If it were in any sense an experiment, the only
     thing to be tested was the obstinacy of our Saxon prejudice which
     denied the possibility of success, and did what it could to
     prevent it. But even Saxon prejudice must shortly yield to the
     logic of facts."

In the face of the fact that the United States Government had employed
Negroes as soldiers to fight the battles of the Union, there were men
of intelligence who held that it was all wrong in fact, in policy, and
in point of law. And this opinion attained such proportions that the
Secretary of War felt called upon to request the opinion of Judge
Advocate Holt. It is given here.


     In a letter to Edwin M. Stanton, Secretary of War, dated Aug. 20,
     1863, Judge Advocate Holt said: "The right of the Government to
     employ for the suppression of the rebellion persons of African
     Descent held to service or labor under the local law, rests
     firmly on two grounds:

     "First, as property. Both our organic law and the usages of our
     institutions under it recognize fully the authority of the
     Government to seize and apply to public use private property, on
     making compensation therefor. What the use may be to which it is
     to be applied does not enter into the question of the right to
     make the seizure, which is untrammelled in its exercise, save by
     the single condition mentioned.

     "Secondly, as persons. While those of African Descent held to
     service or labor in several of the States, occupy under the laws
     of such States, the status of property; they occupy also under
     the Federal Government, the status of 'persons.' They are
     referred to so _nomine_ in the Constitution of the United States,
     and it is not as property but as 'persons' that they are
     represented on the floor of Congress, and thus form a prominent
     constituent element alike in the organization and practical
     administration of the Government.

     "The obligation of all persons--irrespective of creed or
     color--to bear arms, if physically capable of doing so, in
     defence of the Government under which they live and by which
     they are protected, is one that is universally acknowledged and
     enforced. Corresponding to this obligation is the duty resting on
     those charged with the administration of the Government, to
     employ such persons in the military service whenever the public
     safety may demand it. Congress realized both this obligation on
     the one hand, and this duty on the other when, by the 12th
     section of the Act of the 17th of July, 1862, it was enacted that
     'the President be and is hereby authorized to receive into the
     service of the United States for the purpose of constructing
     intrenchments, or performing camp service or any other labor, or
     any military or naval service for which they may be found
     competent, persons of African Descent, and such persons shall be
     enrolled and organized under such regulations not inconsistent
     with the Constitution, and the laws, as the President may

     "The terms of this Act are without restriction and no distinction
     is made, or was intended to be made, between persons of African
     Descent held to service or labor or those not so held.

     "The President is empowered to receive them all into the military
     service, and assign them such duty as they may be found competent
     to perform.

     "The tenacious and brilliant valor displayed by troops of this
     race at Port Hudson, Milliken's Bend, and Fort Wagner, has
     sufficiently demonstrated to the President and to the country,
     the character of service of which they are capable. In the
     interpretation given to the Enrolment Act, free citizens of
     African Descent are treated as citizens of the United States, in
     the sense of the law, and are everywhere being drafted into the
     military service.

     "In reference to the other class of persons of this race--those
     held to service or labor--the 12th section of the Act of July
     17th is still in full force, and the President may in his
     discretion receive them into the army and assign them to such
     field of duty as he may deem them prepared to occupy. In view of
     the loyalty of this race, and of the obstinate courage which they
     have shown themselves to possess, they certainly constitute at
     this crisis in our history a most powerful and reliable arm of
     the public defence. Whether this arm shall now be exerted is not
     a question of power or right, but purely of policy, to be
     determined by the estimate which may be entertained of the
     conflict in which we are engaged, and of the necessity that
     presses to bring this waste of blood and treasure to a close. A
     man precipitated into a struggle for his life on land or sea,
     instinctively and almost necessarily puts forth every energy with
     which he is endowed, and eagerly seizes upon every source of
     strength within his grasp; and a nation battling for existence,
     that does not do the same, may well be regarded as neither wise
     nor obedient to that great law of self-preservation, from which
     are derived our most urgent and solemn duties. That there exists
     a prejudice against the employment of persons of African Descent
     is undeniable; it is, however, rapidly giving way, and never had
     any foundation in reason or loyalty. It originated with and has
     been diligently nurtured by those in sympathy with the Rebellion,
     and its utterance at this moment is necessarily in the interests
     of treason.

     "Should the President feel that the public interests require he
     shall exert the power with which he is clothed by the 12th
     section of the Act of the 17th of July, his action should be in
     subordination to the Constitutional principle which exacts that
     compensation shall be made for private property devoted to the
     public uses. A just compensation to loyal claimants to the
     service or labor of persons of African Descent enlisted in our
     army, would accord with the uniform practice of the Government
     and the genius of our institutions!

     "Soldiers of this class, after having perilled their lives in the
     defence of the Republic, could not be re-enslaved without a
     national dishonor revolting and unendurable for all who are
     themselves to be free. The compensation made, therefore, should
     be such as entirely to exhaust the interest of claimants; so that
     when soldiers of this class lay down their arms at the close of
     the war, they may at once enter into the enjoyment of that
     freedom symbolized by the flag which they have followed and

The Negro was now a soldier, legally, "constitutionally." He had
donned the uniform of an American soldier; was entrusted with the
honor and defence of his country, and had set before him liberty as
his exceeding great reward. Rejected at first he was at last urged
into the service--even _drafted_! He was charged with the solution of
a great problem--his fitness, his valor. History shall record his
deeds of patriotism, his marvellous achievements, his splendid


[91] Charleston Mercury, April 30, 1861.

[92] They were, no doubt, from Massachusetts.

[93] New York Herald, Tuesday, August 5, 1862.

[94] Greeley, vol. ii, pp. 517, 518.

[95] Many of these had previously been in the three months', nine
months', and three years' service, from which they had been honorably

[96] This gives Colored Troops enlisted in the States in rebellion;
besides this, there were 92,576 Colored Troops (included with the
white soldiers) in the quotas of the several States.




All history, ancient and modern, Pagan and Christian, justified the
conduct of the Federal Government in the employment of slaves as
soldiers. Greece had tried the experiment; and at the battle of
Marathon there were two regiments of heavy infantry composed of
slaves. The beleaguered city of Rome offered freedom to her slaves who
should volunteer as soldiers; and at the battle of Cannae a regiment
of Roman slaves made Hannibal's cohorts reel before their unequalled
courage. When Abraham heard of the loss of his stock, he armed his
slaves, pursued the enemy, and regained his possessions. Negro
officers as well as soldiers had shared the perils and glories of the
campaigns of Napoleon Bonaparte; and even the royal guard at the Court
of Imperial France had been mounted with black soldiers. In two wars
in North America Negro soldiers had followed the fortunes of military
life, and won the applause of white patriots on two continents. So
then all history furnished a precedent for the guidance of the United
States Government in the Civil War in America.

But there were several aggravating questions which had to be referred
to the future. In both wars in this country the Negro had fought a
foreign foe--an enemy representing a Christian civilization. He had a
sense of security in going to battle with the colonial fathers; for
their sacred battle-songs gave him purpose and courage. And, again,
the Negro knew that the English soldier had never disgraced the
uniform of Hampden or Wellington by practising the cruelties of
uncivilized warfare upon helpless prisoners. In the Rebellion it was
altogether different. Here was a war between the States of one Union.
Here was a war between two sections differing in civilization. Here
was a war all about the _Negro_; a war that was to declare him forever
bond, or forever free. Now, in such a war the Negro appeared in battle
against his master. For two hundred and forty-three years the Negro
had been learning the lesson of obedience and obsequious submission to
the white man. The system of slavery under which he had languished had
destroyed the family relation, the source of all virtue, self-respect,
and moral growth. The tendency of slavery was to destroy the
confidence of the slave in his ability and resources, and to
disqualify him for those relations where the noblest passion of
mankind is to be exercised in an intelligent manner--_amor patriæ_.

Negro soldiers were required by an act of Congress to fight for the
Union at a salary of $10 per month, with $3 deducted for
clothing--leaving them only $7 per month as their actual pay. White
soldiers received $13 per month and clothing.[97]

The Negro soldiers had to run the gauntlet of the persecuting hate of
white Northern troops, and, if captured, endure the most barbarous
treatment of the rebels, without a protest on the part of the
Government--for at least nearly a year. Hooted at, jeered, and stoned
in the streets of Northern cities as they marched to the front to
fight for the Union; scoffed at and abused by white troops under the
flag of a common country, there was little of a consoling or inspiring
nature in the experience of Negro soldiers.

"But none of these things" moved the Negro soldier. His qualifications
for the profession of arms were ample and admirable. To begin with,
the Negro soldier was a patriot of the highest order. No race of
people in the world are more thoroughly domestic, have such tender
attachments to home and friends as the Negro race. And when his soul
was quickened with the sublime idea of liberty for himself and
kindred--that his home and country were to be rid of the triple curse
of slavery--his enthusiasm was boundless. His enthusiasm was not mere
animal excitement. No white soldier who marched to the music of the
Union possessed a more lofty conception of the sacredness of the war
for the Union than the Negro. The intensity of his desires, the
sincerity of his prayers, and the sublimity of his faith during the
long and starless night of his bondage made the Negro a poet, after a
fashion. To him there was poetry in our flag--the red, white, and
blue. Our national odes and airs found a response in his soul, and
inspired him to the performance of heroic deeds. He was always seeing
something "sublime," "glorious," "beautiful," "grand," and "wonderful"
in war. There was poetry in the swinging, measured tread of companies
and regiments in drill or battle; and dress parade always found the
Negro soldier in the height of his glory. His love of harmonious
sounds, his musical faculty, and delight of show aided him in the
performance of the most difficult manoeuvres. His imitativeness gave
him facility in handling his musket and sabre; and his love of
domestic animals, and natural strength made him a graceful cavalryman
and an efficient artilleryman.

The lessons of obedience the Negro had learned so thoroughly as a
slave were turned to good account as a soldier. He obeyed orders to
the letter. He never used his discretion; he added nothing to, he
subtracted nothing from, his orders; he made no attempt at reading
between the lines; he did not interpret--he _obeyed_. Used to outdoor
life, with excellent hearing, wonderful eyesight, and great vigilance,
he was a model picket. Heard every sound, observed every moving thing,
and was quick to shoot, and of steady aim. He was possessed of
exceptionally good teeth, and, therefore, could bite his cartridge and
hard tack. He had been trained to long periods of labor, poor food,
and miserable quarters, and therefore, could endure extreme fatigue
and great exposure.

His docility of nature, patient endurance, and hopeful disposition
enabled him to endure long marches, severe hardships, and painful
wounds. His joyous, boisterous songs on the march and in the camp; his
victorious shout in battle, and his merry laughter in camp proclaimed
him the insoluble enigma of military life. He never was discouraged;
_melancholia_ had no abiding place in his nature.

But how did the Negro meet his master in battle? How did he stand
fire? On the 31st of July, 1863, the "New York Times," editorially
answered these questions as follows:

     "Negro soldiers have now been in battle at Port Hudson and at
     Milliken's Bend in Louisiana; at Helena in Arkansas, at Morris
     Island in South Carolina, and at or near Fort Gibson in the
     Indian Territory. In two of these instances they assaulted
     fortified positions and led the assault; in two they fought on
     the defensive, and in one they attacked rebel infantry. In all of
     them they acted in conjunction with white troops and under
     command of white officers. In some instances they acted with
     distinguished bravery, and in all they acted as well as could be
     expected of raw troops.

     "Some of these negroes were from the cotton States, others from
     New England States, and others from the slave States of the
     Northwest. Those who fought at Port Hudson were from New Orleans;
     those who fought at Battery Wagner were from Boston; those who
     fought at Helena and Young's Point were from the river counties
     of Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee. Those who fought in the
     Indian Territory were from Missouri."

This is warm praise from a journal of the high, though conservative,
character of the "Times." Warmer praise and more unqualified praise of
the Negro soldier's fighting qualities could not be given. And it was
made after a careful weighing of all the facts and evidence supplied
from careful and reliable correspondents. But more specific evidence
was being furnished on every hand. The 1st South Carolina
Volunteers--the first regiment of Negroes existed during the
war,--commanded by Col. Thomas Wentworth Higginson, was the first
Black regiment of its character under the fire of the enemy. The
regiment covered itself with glory during an expedition upon the St.
John's River in Florida. The "Times" gave the following editorial
notice of the expedition at the time, based upon the official report
of the colonel and a letter from its special correspondent:

                        "THE NEGROES IN BATTLE.

     "Colonel Higginson, of the 1st S. C. Volunteers, furnishes an
     entertaining official report of the exploits of his black
     regiment in Florida. He seems to think it necessary to put his
     case strongly, and in rather exalted language, as well as in such
     a way as to convince the public that negroes will fight. In this
     expedition, his battalion was repeatedly under fire--had rebel
     cavalry, infantry, and, says he, 'even artillery' arranged
     against them, yet in every instance, came off with unblemished
     honor and undisputed triumph. His men made the most urgent
     appeals to him to be allowed to press the flying enemy. They
     exhibited the most fiery energy beyond anything of which Colonel
     Higginson ever read, unless it may be in the case of the French
     Zouaves. He even says that 'it would have been madness to attempt
     with the bravest white troops what he successfully accomplished
     with black ones.' No wanton destruction was permitted, no
     personal outrages desired, during the expedition. The regiment,
     besides the victories which it achieved, and the large amount of
     valuable property which it secured, obtained a cannon and a flag
     which the Colonel very properly asks permission for the regiment
     to retain. The officers and men desire to remain permanently in
     Florida, and obtain supplies of lumber, iron, etc., for the
     Government. The Colonel puts forth a very good suggestion, to the
     effect that a 'chain of such posts would completely alter the
     whole aspect of the war in the seaboard slave States, and would
     accomplish what no accumulation of Northern regiments can so
     easily effect.' This is the very use for negro soldiers suggested
     in the Proclamation of the President. We have no doubt that the
     whole State of Florida might easily be held for the Government in
     this way, by a dozen negro regiments."[98]

On the 11th of February, 1863, the "Times" gave the following account
of the exploits of this gallant regiment in the following explicit


     "The bravery and good conduct of the regiment more than equalled
     the high anticipations of its commander. The men were repeatedly
     under fire,--were opposed by infantry, cavalry, and
     artillery,--fought on board a steamer exposed to heavy musketry
     fire from the banks of a narrow river,--were tried in all ways,
     and came off invariably with honor and success. They brought away
     property to a large amount, capturing also a cannon and a flag,
     which the Colonel asks leave to keep for the regiment, and which
     he and they have fairly won.

     "It will not need many such reports an this--and there have been
     several before it--to shake our inveterate Saxon prejudice
     against the capacity and courage of negro troops. Everybody knows
     that they were used in the Revolution, and in the last war with
     Great Britain fought side by side with white troops, and won
     equal praises from Washington and Jackson. It is shown also that
     black sailors employed on our men-of-war, are valued by their
     commanders, and are on equal terms with their white comrades. If
     on the sea, why not on the land? No officer who has commanded
     black troops has yet reported against them. They are tried in the
     most unfavorable and difficult circumstances, but never fail.
     When shall we learn to use the full strength of the formidable
     ally who is only waiting for a summons to rally under the flag of
     the Union? Colonel Higginson says: 'No officer in this regiment
     now doubts that the successful prosecution of this war lies in
     the unlimited employment of black troops.' The remark is true in
     a military sense, and it has a still deeper political

     "When General Hunter has scattered 50,000 muskets among the
     negroes of the Carolinas, and General Butler has organized the
     100,000 or 200,000 blacks for whom he may perhaps shortly carry
     arms to New Orleans, the possibility of restoring the Union as it
     was, with slavery again its dormant power, will be seen to have
     finally passed away. The negro is indeed the key to success."[99]

So here, in the Department of the South, where General Hunter had
displayed such admirable military judgment, first, in emancipating the
slave, and second, in arming them; here where the white Union soldiers
and their officers had felt themselves insulted; and where the
President had disarmed the 1st regiment of ex-slaves and removed the
officer who had organized it, a few companies of Negro troops had
fought rebel infantry, cavalry, artillery, and guerillas, and put them
all to flight. They had invaded the enemy's country, made prisoners,
and captured arms and flags; and without committing a single
depredation. Prejudice gave room to praise, and the exclusive, distant
spirit of white soldiers was converted into the warm and close
admiration of comradeship. The most sanguine expectations and high
opinions of the advocates of Negro soldiers were more than realized,
while the prejudice of Negro haters was disarmed by the flinty logic
and imperishable glory of Negro soldiership.[100]

Every Department had its Negro troops by this time; and everywhere the
Negro was solving the problem of his military existence. At Port
Hudson in May, 1863, he proved himself worthy of his uniform and the
object of the most extravagant eulogies from the lips of men who were,
but a few months before the battle, opposed to Negro soldiers. Mention
has been made in another chapter of the Colored regiment raised in New
Orleans under General Butler. After remaining in camp from the 7th of
September, 1862, until May, 1863, they were quite efficient in the use
of their arms. The 1st Louisiana regiment was ordered to report to
General Dwight. The regiment was at Baton Rouge. Its commanding
officer, Colonel Stafford [white], was under arrest when the regiment
was about ready to go to the front.

The line officers assembled at his quarters to assure him that the
regiment would do its duty in the day of battle, and to tender their
regrets that he could not lead them on the field. At this moment the
color-guard marched up to receive the regimental flags. Colonel
Stafford stepped into his tent and returned with the flags. He made a
speech full of patriotism and feeling, and concluded by saying:
"_Color-guard, protect, defend, die for, but do not surrender these
flags!_" Sergeant Planciancois said: "Colonel, I will bring back these
colors to you in honor, or report to God the reason why!" Noble words
these, and brave! And no more fitting epitaph could mark the
resting-place of a hero who has laid down his life in defence of human
liberty! A king might well covet these sublime words of the dauntless


It was a question of grave doubt among white troops as to the fighting
qualities of Negro soldiers. There were various doubts expressed by
the officers on both sides of the line. The Confederates greeted the
news that "niggers" were to meet them in battle with derision, and
treated the whole matter as a huge joke. The Federal soldiers were
filled with amazement and fear as to the issue.

It was the determination of the commanding officer at Port Hudson to
assign this Negro regiment to a post of honor and danger. The regiment
marched all night before the battle of Port Hudson, and arrived at one
Dr. Chambers's sugar house on the 27th of May, 1863. It was just 5 A.
M. when the regiment stacked arms. Orders were given to rest and
breakfast in one hour. The heat was intense and the dust thick, and so
thoroughly fatigued were the men that many sank in their tracks and
slept soundly.

Arrangements were made for a field hospital, and the drum corps
instructed where to carry the wounded. Officers' call was beaten at
5:30, when they received instructions and encouragement. "Fall in" was
sounded at 6 o'clock, and soon thereafter the regiment was on the
march. The sun was now shining in his full strength upon the field
where a great battle was to be fought. The enemy was in his
stronghold, and his forts were crowned with angry and destructive
guns. The hour to charge had come. It was 7 o'clock. There was a
feeling of anxiety among the white troops as they watched the
movements of these Blacks in blue. The latter were anxious for the
fray. At last the command came, "Forward, double-quick, march!" and on
they went over the field of death. Not a musket was heard until the
command was within four hundred yards of the enemy's works, when a
blistering fire was opened upon the left wing of the regiment.
Unfortunately Companies A, B, C, D, and E wheeled suddenly by the left
flank. Some confusion followed, but was soon over. A shell--the first
that fell on the line--killed and wounded about twelve men. The
regiment came to a right about, and fell back for a few hundred yards,
wheeled by companies, and faced the enemy again with the coolness and
military precision of an old regiment on parade. The enemy was busy at
work now. Grape, canister, shell, and musketry made the air hideous
with their noise. A masked battery commanded a bluff, and the guns
could be depressed sufficiently to sweep the entire field over which
the regiment must charge. It must be remembered that this regiment
occupied the extreme right of the charging line. The masked battery
worked upon the left wing. A three-gun battery was situated in the
centre, while a half dozen large pieces shelled the right, and
enfiladed the regiment front and rear every time it charged the
battery on the bluff. A bayou ran under the bluff, immediately in
front of the guns. It was too deep to be forded by men. These brave
Colored soldiers made six desperate charges with indifferent success,

    "Cannon to right of them,
    Cannon to left of them,
    Cannon in front of them
        Volleyed and thundered;
    Stormed at with shot and shell."

The men behaved splendidly. As their ranks were thinned by shot and
grape, they closed up into place, and kept a good line. But no matter
what high soldierly qualities these men were endowed with, no matter
how faithfully they obeyed the oft-repeated order to "charge," it was
both a moral and physical impossibility for these men to cross the
deep bayou that flowed at their feet--already crimson with patriots'
blood--and capture the battery on the bluff. Colonel Nelson, who
commanded this black brigade, despatched an orderly to General Dwight,
informing him that it was not in the nature of things for his men to
accomplish any thing by further charges. "Tell Colonel Nelson," said
General Dwight, "I shall consider that he has accomplished nothing
unless he takes those guns." This last order of General Dwight's will
go into history as a cruel and unnecessary act. He must have known
that three regiments of infantry, torn and shattered by about fifteen
or twenty heavy guns, with an impassable bayou encircling the bluff,
could accomplish nothing by charging. But the men, what could they do?

    "Theirs not to make reply,
    Theirs not to reason why,
    Theirs but to do and die."


Again the order to charge was given, and the men, worked up to a
feeling of desperation on account of repeated failures, raised a cry
and made another charge. The ground was covered with dead and wounded.
Trees were felled by shell and solid shot; and at one time a company
was covered with the branches of a falling tree. Captain Callioux was
in command of Company E, the color company. He was first wounded in
the left arm--the limb being broken above the elbow. He ran to the
front of his company, waving his sword and crying, "Follow me." But
when within about fifty yards of the enemy he was struck by a shell
and fell dead in front of his company.

Many Greeks fell defending the pass at Thermopylæ against the Persian
army, but history has made peculiarly conspicuous Leonidas and his
four hundred Spartans. In a not distant future, when a calm and
truthful history of the battle of Port Hudson is written,
notwithstanding many men fought and died there, the heroism of the
"Black Captain," the accomplished gentleman and fearless soldier,
Andre Callioux, and his faithful followers, will make a most
fascinating picture for future generations to look upon and study.


"Colonel, I will bring back these colors to you in honor, or report to
God the reason why." It was now past 11 A.M., May 27, 1863. The men
were struggling in front of the bluff. The brave Callioux was lying
lifeless upon the field, that was now slippery with gore and crimson
with blood. The enemy was directing his shell and shot at the flags of
the First Regiment. A shell, about a six-pounder, struck the
flag-staff, cut it in two, and carried away part of the head of
Planciancois. He fell, and the flag covered him as a canopy of glory,
and drank of the crimson tide that flowed from his mutilated head.
Corporal Heath caught up the flag, but no sooner had he shouldered the
dear old banner than a musket ball went crashing through his head and
scattered his brains upon the flag, and he, still clinging to it, fell
dead upon the body of Sergeant Planciancois. Another corporal caught
up the banner and bore it through the fight with pride.

This was the last charge--the seventh; and what was left of this
gallant Black brigade came back from the hell into which they had
plunged with so much daring and forgetfulness seven times.

They did not capture the battery on the bluff it's true, but they
convinced the white soldiers on both sides that they were both willing
and able to help fight the battles of the Union. And if any person
doubts the abilities of the Negro as a soldier, let him talk with
General Banks, as we have, and hear "his golden eloquence on the black
brigade at Port Hudson."

A few days after the battle a "New York Times" correspondent sent the
following account to that journal:

                      "BATTLE OF PORT HUDSON.

     "In an account of the Battle of Port Hudson, the 'Times'
     correspondent says: 'Hearing the firing apparently more fierce
     and continuous to the right than anywhere else, I hurried in that
     direction, past the sugar house of Colonel Chambers, where I had
     slept, and advanced to near the pontoon bridge across the Big
     Sandy Bayou, which the negro regiments had erected, and where
     they were fighting most desperately. I had seen these brave and
     hitherto despised fellows the day before as I rode along the
     lines, and I had seen General Banks acknowledge their respectful
     salute as he would have done that of any white troops; but still
     the question was--with too many,--"Will they fight?" The black
     race was, on this eventful day, to be put to the test, and the
     question to be settled--now and forever,--whether or not they are
     entitled to assert their right to manhood. Nobly, indeed, have
     they acquitted themselves, and proudly may every colored man
     hereafter hold up his head, and point to the record of those who
     fell on that bloody field.

     "'General Dwight, at least, must have had the idea, not only that
     they were men, but something _more than men_, from the terrific
     test to which he put their valor. Before any impression had been
     made upon the earthworks of the enemy, and in full face of the
     batteries belching forth their 62 pounders, these devoted people
     rushed forward to encounter grape, canister, shell, and musketry,
     with no artillery but two small howitzers--that seemed mere
     pop-guns to their adversaries--and no reserve whatever.

     "'Their force consisted of the 1st. Louisiana Native Guards (with
     colored field-officers) under Lieut.-Colonel Bassett, and the 3d
     Louisiana Native Guards, Colonel Nelson (with white
     field-officers), the whole under command of the latter officer.

     "'On going into action they were 1,080 strong, and formed into
     four lines, Lieut.-Colonel Bassett, 1st Louisiana, forming the
     first line, and Lieut.-Colonel Henry Finnegas the second. When
     ordered to charge up the works, they did so with the skill and
     nerve of old veterans, (black people, be it remembered who had
     never been in action before,) but the fire from the rebel guns
     was so terrible upon the unprotected masses, that the first few
     shots mowed them down like grass and so continued.

     "'Colonel Bassett being driven back, Colonel Finnegas took his
     place, and his men being similarly cut to pieces, Lieut.-Colonel
     Bassett reformed and recommenced; and thus these brave people
     went in, from morning until 3:30 p.m., under the most hideous
     carnage that men ever had to withstand, and that very few white
     ones would have had nerve to encounter, even if ordered to.
     During this time, they rallied, and _were ordered to make six
     distinct charges_, losing thirty-seven killed, and one hundred
     and fifty-five wounded, and one hundred and sixteen missing,--the
     majority, if not all, of these being, in all probability, now
     lying dead on the gory field, and without the rites of sepulture;
     for when, by flag of truce, our forces in other directions were
     permitted to reclaim their dead, the benefit, through some
     neglect, was not extended to these black regiments.

     "'The deeds of heroism performed by these colored men were such
     as the proudest white men might emulate. Their colors are torn to
     pieces by shot, and literally bespattered by blood and brains.
     The color-sergeant of the 1st. La., on being mortally wounded,
     hugged the colors to his breast, when a struggle ensued between
     the two color-corporals on each side of him, as to who should
     have the honor of bearing the sacred standard, and during this
     generous contention one was seriously wounded. One black
     lieutenant actually mounted the enemy's works three or four
     times, and in one charge the assaulting party came within fifty
     paces of them. Indeed, if only ordinarily supported by artillery
     and reserve, no one can convince us that they would not have
     opened a passage through the enemy's works.

     "'Capt. Callioux of the 1st. La., a man so black that he actually
     prided himself upon his blackness, died the death of a hero,
     leading on his men in the thickest of the fight. One poor wounded
     fellow came along with his arm shattered by a shell, and jauntily
     swinging it with the other, as he said to a friend of mine:
     "Massa, guess I can fight no more." I was with one of the
     captains, looking after the wounded going in the rear of the
     hospital, when we met one limping along toward the front. On
     being asked where he was going, he said: "I been shot bad in the
     leg, captain, and dey want me to go to de hospital, but I guess I
     can gib 'em some more yet." I could go on filling your columns
     with startling facts of this kind, but I hope I have told enough
     to prove that we can hereafter rely upon black arms as well as
     white in crushing this internal rebellion. I long ago told you
     there was an army of 250,000 men ready to leap forward in defence
     of freedom at the first call. You know where to find them and
     what they are worth.

     "'Although repulsed in an attempt which--situated as things
     were--was all but impossible, these regiments, though badly cut
     up, are still on hand, and burning with a passion ten times
     hotter from their fierce baptism of blood. Who knows, but that it
     is a black hand which shall first plant the standard of the
     Republic upon the doomed ramparts of Port Hudson?"[101]

The official report of Gen. Banks is given in full. It shows the
disposition of the troops, and applauds the valor of the Colored

                              "HEADQUARTERS ARMY OF THE GULF,    }
                              "BEFORE PORT HUDSON, May 30, 1863. }

     "_Major-General H: W. Halleck, General-in-Chief, Washington._

     "GENERAL:--Leaving Sommesport on the Atchafalaya, where my
     command was at the date of my last dispatch, I landed at Bayou
     Sara at two o'clock on the morning of the 21st.

     "A portion of the infantry were transported in steamers, and the
     balance of the infantry, artillery, cavalry, and wagon-train
     moving down on the west bank of the river, and from this to Bayou

     "On the 23d a junction was effected with the advance of
     Major-General Augur and Brigadier-General Sherman, our line
     occupying the Bayou Sara road at a distance five miles from Port

     "Major-General Augur had an encounter with a portion of the enemy
     on the Bayou Sara road in the direction of Baton Rouge, which
     resulted in the repulse of the enemy, with heavy loss.

     "On the 25th the enemy was compelled to abandon his first line of

     "General Weitzel's brigade, which had covered our rear in the
     march from Alexandria, joined us on the 26th, and on the morning
     of the 27th a general assault was made upon the fortifications.

     "The artillery opened fire between 5 and 6 o'clock, which was
     continued with animation during the day. At 10 o'clock Weitzel's
     brigade, with the division of General Grover, reduced to about
     two brigades, and the division of General Emory, temporarily
     reduced by detachments to about a brigade, under command of
     Colonel Paine, with two regiments of colored troops, made an
     assault upon the right of the enemy's works, crossing Sandy
     Creek, and driving them through the woods to their

     "The fight lasted on this line until 4 o'clock, and was very
     severely contested. On the left, the infantry did not come up
     until later in the day; but at 2 o'clock an assault was opened on
     the centre and left of centre by the divisions under
     Major-General Augur and Brigadier-General Sherman.

     "The enemy was driven into his works, and our troops moved up to
     the fortifications, holding the opposite sides of the parapet
     with the enemy on the right. Our troops still hold their position
     on the left. After dark the main body, being exposed to a flank
     fire, withdrew to a belt of woods, the skirmishers remaining
     close upon the fortifications.

     "In the assault of the 27th, the behavior, of the officers and
     men was most gallant, and left nothing to be desired. Our limited
     acquaintance of the ground and the character of the works, which
     were almost hidden from our observation until the moment of
     approach, alone prevented the capture of the post.

     "On the extreme right of our line I posted the first and third
     regiments of negro troops. The First regiment of Louisiana
     Engineers, composed exclusively of colored men, excepting the
     officers, was also engaged in the operations of the day. The
     position occupied by these troops was one of importance, and
     called for the utmost steadiness and bravery in those to whom it
     was confided.

     "It gives me pleasure to report that they answered every
     expectation. Their conduct was heroic. No troops could be more
     determined or more daring. They made, during the day, three
     charges upon the batteries of the enemy, suffering very heavy
     losses, and holding their position at nightfall with the other
     troops on the right of our line. The highest commendation is
     bestowed upon them by all the officers in command on the right.
     Whatever doubt may have existed before as to the efficiency of
     organizations of this character, the history of this day proves
     conclusively to those who were in a condition to observe the
     conduct of these regiments, that the Government will find in this
     class of troops effective supporters and defenders.

     "The severe test to which they were subjected, and the determined
     manner in which they encountered the enemy, leave upon my mind no
     doubt of their ultimate success. They require only good officers,
     commands of limited numbers, and careful discipline, to make them
     excellent soldiers.

     "Our losses from the 23d to this date, in killed, wounded, and
     missing, are nearly 1,000, including, I deeply regret to say,
     some of the ablest officers of the corps. I am unable yet to
     report them in detail.

     "I have the honor to be, with much respect

                              "Your obedient servant,
                                      "N. P. BANKS,
                                         "_Major-General Commanding_."

The effect of this battle upon the country can scarcely be described.
Glowing accounts of the charge of the Black Regiments appeared in
nearly all the leading journals of the North. The hearts of orators
and poets were stirred to elegant utterance. The friends of the Negro
were encouraged, and their number multiplied. The Colored people
themselves were jubilant. Mr. George H. Boker, of Philadelphia, the
poet friend of the Negro, wrote the following elegant verses on the
gallant charge of the 1st Louisiana:


MAY 27, 1863.


    Dark as the clouds of even,
    Ranked in the western heaven,
    Waiting the breath that lifts
    All the dread mass, and drifts
    Tempest and falling brand
    Over a ruined land;--
    So still and orderly,
    Arm to arm, knee to knee,
    Waiting the great event,
    Stands the black regiment.

    Down the long dusky line
    Teeth gleam and eyeballs shine;
    And the bright bayonet,
    Bristling and firmly set,
    Flashed with a purpose grand,
    Long ere the sharp command
    Of the fierce rolling drum
    Told them their time had come,
    Told them what work was sent
    For the black regiment.

    "Now," the flag-sergeant cried,
    "Though death and hell betide,
    Let the whole nation see
    If we are fit to be
    Free in this land; or bound
    Down, like the whining hound--
    Bound with red stripes of pain
    In our old chains again!"
    Oh! what a shout there went
    From the black regiment!

    "Charge!" Trump and drum awoke,
    Onward the bondmen broke;
    Bayonet and sabre-stroke
    Vainly opposed their rush.
    Through the wild battle's crush,
    With but one thought aflush,
    Driving their lords like chaff,
    In the guns' mouths they laugh;
    Or at the slippery brands
    Leaping with open hands,
    Down they tear man and horse,
    Down in their awful course;
    Trampling with bloody heel
    Over the crashing steel,
    All their eyes forward bent,
    Rushed the black regiment.

    "Freedom!" their battle-cry--
    "Freedom! or leave to die!"
    Ah! and they meant the word,
    Not as with us 't is heard,
    Not a mere party-shout:
    They gave their spirits out
    Trusted the end to God,
    And on the gory sod
    Rolled in triumphant blood.
    Glad to strike one free blow,
    Whether for weal or woe;
    Glad to breathe one free breath,
    Though on the lips of death,
    Praying--alas! in vain!--
    That they might fall again,
    So they could once more see
    That burst to liberty!
    This was what "freedom" lent
    To the black regiment.

    Hundreds on hundreds fell;
    But they are resting well;
    Scourges and shackles strong
    Never shall do them wrong.
    Oh, to the living few,
    Soldiers, be just and true!
    Hail them as comrades tried;
    Fight with them side by side;
    Never, in field or tent,
    Scorn the black regiment!

The battle of Milliken's Bend was fought on the 6th of June, 1863. The
troops at this point were under the command of Brig.-Gen. E. S.
Dennis. The force consisted of the 23d Iowa, 160 men; 9th La., 500;
11th La., 600; 1st Miss., 150; total, 1,410. Gen. Dennis's report
places the number of his troops at 1,061; but evidently a clerical
error crept into the report. Of the force engaged, 1,250 were Colored,
composing the 9th and 11th Louisiana and the 1st Mississippi. The
attacking force comprised six Confederate regiments--about 3,000
men,--under the command of Gen. Henry McCulloch. This force, coming
from the interior of Louisiana, by the way of Richmond, struck the 9th
Louisiana and two companies of Federal cavalry, and drove them within
sight of the earthworks at the Bend. It was now nightfall, and the
enemy rested, hoping and believing himself able to annihilate the
Union forces on the morrow.

During the night a steamboat passed the Bend, and Gen. Dennis availed
himself of the opportunity of sending to Admiral Porter for
assistance. The gun-boats, "Choctaw" and "Lexington" were despatched
to Milliken's Bend from Helena. As the "Choctaw" was coming in sight,
at 3 o'clock in the morning, the rebels made their first charge on the
Federal earthworks, filling the air with their vociferous cries: "No
_quarter!_" to Negroes and their officers. The Negro troops had just
been recruited, and hence knew little or nothing of the manual or use
of arms. But the desperation with which they fought has no equal in
the annals of modern wars. The enemy charged the works with desperate
fury, but were checked by a deadly fire deliberately delivered by the
troops within. The enemy fell back and charged the flanks of the Union
columns, and, by an enfilading fire, drove them back toward the river,
where they sought the protection of the gun-boats. The "Choctaw"
opened a broadside upon the exulting foe, and caused him to beat a
hasty retreat. The Negro troops were ordered to charge, and it was
reported by a "Tribune" correspondent that many of the Union troops
were killed before the gun-boats could be signalled to "_cease
firing_." The following description of the battle was given by an
eye-witness of the affair, and a gentleman of exalted character:

     "My informant states that a force of about one thousand negroes
     and two hundred men of the Twenty-third Iowa, belonging to the
     Second brigade, Carr's division (the Twenty-third Iowa had been
     up the river with prisoners, and was on its way back to this
     place), was surprised in camp by a rebel force of about two
     thousand men. The first intimation that the commanding officer
     received was from one of the black men, who went into the
     colonel's tent and said: 'Massa, the secesh are in camp.' The
     colonel ordered him to have the men load their guns at once. He
     instantly replied: 'We have done did dat now, massa.' Before the
     colonel was ready, the men were in line, ready for action. As
     before stated, the rebels drove our force toward the gun-boats,
     taking colored men prisoners and murdering them. This so enraged
     them that they rallied and charged the enemy more heroically and
     desperately than has been recorded during the war. It was a
     genuine bayonet charge, a hand-to-hand fight, that has never
     occurred to any extent during this prolonged conflict. Upon both
     sides men were killed with the butts of muskets. White and black
     men were lying side by side, pierced by bayonets, and in some
     instances transfixed to the earth. In one instance, two men, one
     white and the other black, were found dead, side by side, each
     having the other's bayonet through his body. If facts prove to be
     what they are now represented, this engagement of Sunday morning
     will be recorded as the most desperate of this war. Broken limbs,
     broken heads, the mangling of bodies, all prove that it was a
     contest between enraged men: on the one side from hatred to a
     race; and on the other, desire for self-preservation, revenge for
     past grievances and the inhuman murder of their comrades. One
     brave man took his former master prisoner, and brought him into
     camp with great gusto. A rebel prisoner made a particular
     request, that his own negroes should not be placed over him as a
     guard. Dame Fortune is capricious! His request was _not_ granted.
     Their mode of warfare does not entitle them to any privileges. If
     any are granted, it is from magnanimity to a fellow-foe.

     "The rebels lost five cannon, two hundred men killed, four
     hundred to five hundred wounded, and about two hundred prisoners.
     Our loss is reported to be one hundred killed and five hundred
     wounded; but few were white men."[102]

Mr. G. G. Edwards, who was in the fight, wrote, on the 13th of June:

     "Tauntingly it has been said that negroes won't fight. Who say
     it, and who but a dastard and a brute will dare to say it, when
     the battle of Milliken's Bend finds its place among the heroic
     deeds of this war? This battle has significance. It demonstrates
     the fact that the freed slaves will fight."

The month of July, 1863, was memorable. Gen. Mead had driven Lee from
Gettysburg, Grant had captured Vicksburg, Banks had captured Port
Hudson, and Gillmore had begun his operations on Morris Island. On the
13th of July the New York Draft Riot broke out. The Democratic press
had advised the people that they were to be called upon to fight the
battles of the "Niggers" and "Abolitionists"; while Gov. Seymour
"_requested_" the rioters to await the return of his adjutant-general
whom he had despatched to Washington to have the President suspend the
draft. The speech was either cowardly or treasonous. It meant, when
read between the lines, it is unjust for the Government to draft you
men; I will try and get the Government to rescind its order, and until
_then_ you are respectfully requested to suspend your violent acts
against _property_. But the riot went on. When the troops under Gen.
Wool took charge of the city, thirteen rioters were killed, eighteen
wounded, and twenty-four made prisoners. The rioters rose ostensibly
to resist the draft, but there were three objects before them:
robbery, the destruction of the property of the rich sympathizers with
the Union, and the assassination of Colored persons wherever found.
They burned the Colored Orphans' Asylum, hung Colored men to lamp
posts, and destroyed the property of this class of citizens with

During these tragic events in New York a gallant Negro regiment was
preparing to lead an assault upon the rebel Fort Wagner on Morris
Island, South Carolina. On the morning of the 16th of July, 1863, the
54th Massachusetts--first Colored regiment from the North--was
compelled to fall back upon Gen. Terry from before a strong and fresh
rebel force from Georgia. This was on James Island. The 54th was doing
picket duty, and these early visitors thought to find Terry asleep;
but instead found him awaiting their coming with all the vigilance of
an old soldier. And in addition to the compliment his troops paid the
enemy, the gunboats "Pawnee," "Huron," "Marblehead," "John Adams," and
"Mayflower" paid their warmest respects to the intruders. They soon
withdrew, having sustained a loss of 200, while Gen. Terry's loss was
only about 100. It had been arranged to concentrate the Union forces
on Morris Island, open a bombardment upon Fort Wagner, and then charge
and take it on the 18th. The troops on James Island were put in motion
to form a junction with the forces already upon Morris Island. The
march of the 54th Mass., began on the night of the 16th and continued
until the afternoon of the 18th. Through ugly marshes, over swollen
streams, and broken dykes--through darkness and rain, the regiment
made its way to Morris Island where it arrived at 6 A.M. of the 18th
of July. The bombardment of Wagner was to have opened at daylight of
this day; but a terrific storm sweeping over land and sea prevented.
It was 12:30 P.M. when the thunder of siege guns, batteries, and
gunboats announced the opening of the dance of death. A semicircle of
batteries, stretching across the island for a half mile, sent their
messages of destruction into Wagner, while the fleet of iron vessels
battered down the works of the haughty and impregnable little fort.
All the afternoon one hundred great guns thundered at the gates of
Wagner. Toward the evening the bombardment began to slacken until a
death-like stillness ensued. To close this part of the dreadful
programme Nature lifted her hoarse and threatening voice, and a severe
thunder-storm broke over the scene. Darkness was coming on. The brave
Black regiment had reached Gen. Strong's headquarters fatigued,
hungry, and damp. No time could be allowed for refreshments. Col. Shaw
and Gen. Strong addressed the regiment in eloquent, inspiring
language. Line of battle was formed in three brigades. The first was
led by Gen. Strong, consisting of the 54th Massachusetts (Colored),
Colonel Robert Gould Shaw; the 6th Connecticut, Col. Chatfield; the
48th New York, Col. Barton; the 3d New Hampshire, Col. Jackson; the
76th Pennsylvania, Col. Strawbridge; and the 9th Maine. The 54th was
the only regiment of Colored men in the brigade, and to it was
assigned the post of honor and danger in the front of the attacking
column. The shadows of night were gathering thick and fast. Gen.
Strong took his position, and the order to charge was given. On the
brave Negro regiment swept amid the shot and shell of Sumter,
Cumming's Point, and Wagner. Within a few minutes the troops had
double-quicked a half mile; and but few had suffered from the heavy
guns; but suddenly a terrific fire of small arms was opened upon the
54th. But with matchless courage the regiment dashed on over the
trenches and up the side of the fort, upon the top of which Sergt. Wm.
H. Carney planted the colors of the regiment. But the howitzers in the
bastions raked the ditch, and hand-grenades from the parapet tore the
brave men as they climbed the battle-scarred face of the fort. Here
waves the flag of a Northern Negro regiment; and here its brave,
beautiful, talented young colonel, Robert Gould Shaw, was saluted by
death and kissed by immortality! Gen. Strong received a mortal wound,
while Col. Chatfield and many other heroic officers yielded a full
measure of devotion to the cause of the Union. Three other colonels
were wounded,--Barton, Green, and Jackson. The shattered brigade
staggered back into line under the command of Major Plympton, of the
3d New Hampshire, while the noble 54th retired in care of Lieutenant
Francis L. Higginson. The second brigade, composed of the 7th New
Hampshire, Col. H. S. Putnam; 626 Ohio, Col. Steele; 67th Ohio, Col.
Vorhees; and the 100th New York, under Col. Danby, was led against the
fort, by Col. Putnam, who was killed in the assault. So this brigade
was compelled to retire. One thousand and five hundred (1,500) men
were thrown away in this fight, but one fact was clearly established,
that Negroes could and would fight as bravely as white men. The
following letter, addressed to the Military Secretary of Gov. Andrew,
of Massachusetts, narrates an instance of heroism in a Negro soldier
which deserves to go into history:

                              "HEADQUARTERS 54TH MASSACHUSETTS VOLS. }
                              "MORRIS ISLAND, S. C., Oct. 15, 1863.  }

     "COLONEL: I have the honor to forward you the following letter,
     received a few days since from Sergeant W. H. Carney, Company C,
     of this regiment. Mention has before been made of his heroic
     conduct in preserving the American flag and bearing it from the
     field, in the assault on Fort Wagner on the 18th of July last,
     but that you may have the history complete, I send a simple
     statement of the facts as I have obtained them from him, and an
     officer who was an eye-witness:

     "When the Sergeant arrived to within about one hundred yards of
     the fort--he was with the first battalion, which was in the
     advance of the storming column--he received the regimental
     colors, pressed forward to the front rank, near the Colonel, who
     was leading the men over the ditch. He says, as they ascended the
     wall of the fort, the ranks were full, but as soon as they
     reached the top, 'they melted away' before the enemy's fire
     'almost instantly.' He received a severe wound in the thigh, but
     fell only upon his knees. He planted the flag upon the parapet,
     lay down on the outer slope, that he might get as much shelter as
     possible; there he remained for over half an hour, till the 2d
     brigade came up. He kept the colors flying until the second
     conflict was ended. When our forces retired he followed, creeping
     on one knee, still holding up the flag. It was thus that Sergeant
     Carney came from the field, having held the emblem of liberty
     over the walls of Fort Wagner during the sanguinary conflict of
     the two brigades, and having received two very severe wounds, one
     in the thigh and one in the head. Still he refused to give up his
     sacred trust until he found an officer of his regiment.

     "When he entered the field hospital, where his wounded comrades
     were being brought in, they cheered him and the colors. Though
     nearly exhausted with the loss of blood, he said: 'Boys, the old
     flag never touched the ground.'

     "Of him as a man and soldier, I can speak in the highest term of

     "I have the honor to be, Colonel, very respectfully,

                         "Your most obedient servant,
                              "M. S. LITTLEFIELD,
                                  "_Col. Comd'g 54th Reg't Mass. Vols._

     "Col. A. G. BROWN, Jr., _Military Secretary to his Excellency
     John A. Andrew, Mass._"

It was natural that Massachusetts should feel a deep interest in her
Negro regiment: for it was an experiment; and the fair name of the Old
Bay State had been committed to its keeping. Edward L. Pierce gave the
following account of the regiment to Gov. John A. Andrew:

                                        "BEAUFORT, July 22, 1863.

     "MY DEAR SIR: You will probably receive an official report of the
     losses in the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts by the mail which leaves
     to-morrow, but perhaps a word from me may not be unwelcome. I saw
     the officers and men on James Island on the thirteenth instant,
     and on Saturday last saw them at Brigadier-General Strong's tent,
     as they passed on at six or half-past six in the evening to Fort
     Wagner, which is some two miles beyond. I had been the guest of
     General Strong, who commanded the advance since Tuesday. Colonel
     Shaw had become attached to General Strong at St. Helena, where
     he was under him, and the regard was mutual. When the troops left
     St. Helena they were separated, the Fifty-fourth going to James
     Island. While it was there, General Strong received a letter from
     Colonel Shaw, in which the desire was expressed for the transfer
     of the Fifty-fourth to General Strong's brigade. So when the
     troops were brought away from James Island, General Strong took
     this regiment into his command. It left James Island on Thursday,
     July sixteenth, at nine P.M., and marched to Cole's Island, which
     they reached at four o'clock on Friday morning, marching all
     night, most of the way in single file over swampy and muddy
     ground. There they remained during the day, with hard-tack and
     coffee for their fare, and this only what was left in their
     haversacks; not a regular ration. From eleven o'clock of Friday
     evening until four o'clock of Saturday they were being put on the
     transport, the General Hunter, in a boat which took about fifty
     at a time. There they breakfasted on the same fare, and had no
     other food before entering into the assault on Fort Wagner in the

     "The General Hunter left Cole's Island for Folly Island at six
     A.M., and the troops landed at the Pawnee Landing about half-past
     nine A.M., and thence marched to the point opposite Morris
     Island, reaching there about two o'clock in the afternoon. They
     were transported in a steamer across the inlet, and at five P.M.
     began their march for Fort Wagner. They reached Brigadier-General
     Strong's quarters, about midway on the island, about six or
     half-past six, where they halted for five minutes. I saw them
     here, and they looked worn and weary.

     "General Strong expressed a great desire to give them food and
     stimulants, but it was too late, as they were to lead the charge.
     They had been without tents during the pelting rains of Thursday
     and Friday nights. General Strong had been impressed with the
     high character of the regiment and its officers, and he wished to
     assign them the post where the most severe work was to be done,
     and the highest honor was to be won. I had been his guest for
     some days, and knew how he regarded them. The march across Folly
     and Morris Islands was over a very sandy road, and was very
     wearisome. The regiment went through the centre of the island,
     and not along the beach where the marching was easier. When they
     had come within about one thousand six hundred yards of Fort
     Wagner, they halted and formed in line of battle--the Colonel
     leading the right and the Lieutenant-Colonel the left wing. They
     then marched four hundred yards further on and halted again.
     There was little firing from the enemy at this point, one solid
     shot falling between the wings, and another falling to the right,
     but no musketry.

     "At this point the regiment, together with the next supporting
     regiments, the Sixth Connecticut, Ninth Maine, and others,
     remained half an hour. The regiment was addressed by General
     Strong and Colonel Shaw. Then at half-past seven or a quarter
     before eight o'clock the order for the charge was given. The
     regiment advanced at quick time, changed to double-quick when at
     some distance on. The intervening distance between the place
     where the line was formed and the Fort was run over in a few
     minutes. When within one or two hundred yards of the Fort, a
     terrific fire of grape and musketry was poured upon them along
     the entire line, and with deadly results. It tore the ranks to
     pieces and disconcerted some. They rallied again, went through
     the ditch, in which were some three feet of water, and then up
     the parapet. They raised the flag on the parapet, where it
     remained for a few minutes. Here they melted away before the
     enemy's fire, their bodies falling down the slope and into the
     ditch. Others will give a more detailed and accurate account of
     what occurred during the rest of the conflict.

     "Colonel Shaw reached the parapet, leading his men, and was
     probably killed. Adjutant James saw him fall. Private Thomas
     Burgess, of Company I, told me that he was close to Colonel Shaw;
     that he waved his sword and cried out: 'Onward, boys!' and, as he
     did so, fell. Burgess fell, wounded, at the same time. In a
     minute or two, as he rose to crawl away, he tried to pull Colonel
     Shaw along, taking hold of his feet, which were near his own
     head, but there appeared to be no life in him. There is a report,
     however, that Colonel Shaw is wounded and a prisoner, and that it
     was so stated to the officers who bore a flag of truce from us,
     but I cannot find it well authenticated. It is most likely that
     this noble youth has given his life to his country and to
     mankind. Brigadier-General Strong (himself a kindred spirit) said
     of him to-day, in a message to his parents: 'I had but little
     opportunity to be with him, but I already loved him. No man ever
     went more gallantly into battle. None knew but to love him.' I
     parted with Colonel Shaw between six and seven, Saturday evening,
     as he rode forward to his regiment, and he gave me the private
     letters and papers he had with him, to be delivered to his
     father. Of the other officers, Lieutenant-Colonel Hallowell is
     severely wounded in the groin; Adjutant James has a wound from a
     grape-shot in his ankle, and a flesh-wound in his side from a
     glancing ball or piece of shell. Captain Pope has had a
     musket-ball extracted from his shoulder. Captain Appleton is
     wounded in the thumb, and also has a contusion on his right
     breast from a hand-grenade. Captain Willard has a wound in the
     leg, and is doing well. Captain Jones was wounded in the right
     shoulder. The ball went through and he is doing well. Lieutenant
     Homans wounded by a ball from a smooth-bore musket entering the
     left side, which has been extracted from the back. He is doing

     "The above-named officers are at Beaufort, all but the last
     arriving there on Sunday evening, whither they were taken from
     Morris Island to Pawnee Landing, in the Alice Price, and thence
     to Beaufort in the Cosmopolitan, which is specially fitted up for
     hospital service and is provided with skilful surgeons under the
     direction of Dr. Bontecou. They are now tenderly cared for with
     an adequate corps of surgeons and nurses, and provided with a
     plentiful supply of ice, beef and chicken broth, and stimulants.
     Lieutenant Smith was left at the hospital tent on Morris Island.
     Captain Emilio and Lieutenants Grace, Appleton, Johnston, Reed,
     Howard, Dexter, Jennison, and Emerson, were not wounded and are
     doing duty. Lieutenants Jewett and Tucker were slightly wounded
     and are doing duty also. Lieut. Pratt was wounded and came in
     from the field on the following day. Captains Russell and
     Simpkins are missing. The Quartermaster and Surgeon are safe and
     are with the regiment.

     "Dr. Stone remained on the Alice Price during Saturday night,
     caring for the wounded until she left Morris Island, and then
     returned to look after those who were left behind. The Assistant
     Surgeon was at the camp on St. Helena Island, attending to duty
     there. Lieutenant Littlefield was also in charge of the camp at
     St. Helena. Lieutenant Higginson was on Folly Island with a
     detail of eighty men. Captain Bridge and Lieutenant Walton are
     sick and were at Beaufort or vicinity. Captain Partridge has
     returned from the North, but not in time to participate in the

     "Of the privates and non-commissioned officers I send you a list
     of one hundred and forty-four who are now in the Beaufort
     hospitals. A few others died on the boats or since their arrival
     here. There may be others at the Hilton Head Hospital; and others
     are doubtless on Morris Island; but I have no names or statistics
     relative to them. Those in Beaufort are well attended to--just as
     well as the white soldiers, the attentions of the surgeons and
     nurses being supplemented by those of the colored people here,
     who have shown a great interest in them. The men of the regiment
     are very patient, and where their condition at all permits them,
     are cheerful. They express their readiness to meet the enemy
     again, and they keep asking if Wagner is yet taken. Could any one
     from the North see these brave fellows as they lie here, his
     prejudice against them, if he had any, would all pass away. They
     grieve greatly at the loss of Colonel Shaw, who seems to have
     acquired a strong hold on their affections. They are attached to
     their other officers, and admire General Strong, whose courage
     was so conspicuous to all. I asked General Strong if he had any
     testimony in relation to the regiment to be communicated to you.
     These are his precise words, and I give them to you as I noted
     them at the time:

     "'The Fifty-fourth did well and nobly, only the fall of Colonel
     Shaw prevented them from entering the Fort. They moved up as
     gallantly as any troops could, and with their enthusiasm they
     deserve a better fate.' The regiment could not have been under a
     better officer than Colonel Shaw. He is one of the bravest and
     most genuine men. His soldiers loved him like a brother, and go
     where you would through the camps you would hear them speak of
     him with enthusiasm and affection. His wound is severe, and there
     are some apprehensions as to his being able to recover from it.
     Since I found him at the hospital tent on Morris Island, about
     half-past nine o'clock on Saturday, I have been all the time
     attending to him or the officers of the Fifty-fourth, both on the
     boats and here. Nobler spirits it has never been my fortune to
     be with. General Strong, as he lay on the stretcher in the tent,
     was grieving all the while for the poor fellows who lay uncared
     for on the battle-field, and the officers of the Fifty-fourth
     have had nothing to say of their own misfortunes, but have
     mourned constantly for the hero who led them to the charge from
     which he did not return. I remember well the beautiful day when
     the flags were presented at Readville, and you told the regiment
     that your reputation was to be identified with its fame. It was a
     day of festivity and cheer. I walk now in these hospitals and see
     mutilated forms with every variety of wound, and it seems all a
     dream. But well has the regiment sustained the hope which you
     indulged, and justified the identity of fame which you trusted to

     "I ought to add in relation to the fight on James Island, on July
     sixteenth, in which the regiment lost fifty men, driving back the
     rebels, and saving, as it is stated, three companies of the Tenth
     Connecticut, that General Terry, who was in command on that
     Island, said to Adjutant James:

     "'Tell your Colonel that I am exceedingly pleased with the
     conduct of your regiment. They have done all they could do.'

                                   "Yours truly,
                                      "EDWARD L. PIERCE."[103]

The Negro in the Mississippi Valley, and in the Department of the
South had won an excellent reputation as a soldier. In the spring of
1864 Colored Troops made their _début_ in the army of the Potomac. In
the battles at Wilson's Wharf, Petersburg, Deep Bottom, Chapin's Farm,
Fair Oaks, Hatcher's Run, Farmville, and many other battles, these
soldiers won for themselves lasting glory and golden opinions from the
officers and men of the white organizations. On the 24th of May, 1864,
Gen. Fitz-Hugh Lee called at Wilson's Wharf to pay his respects to two
Negro regiments under the command of Gen. Wild. But the chivalry of
the South were compelled to retire before the destructive fire of
Negro soldiers. A "Tribune" correspondent who witnessed the engagement
gave the following account the next day:

     "At first the fight raged fiercely on the left. The woods were
     riddled with bullets; the dead and wounded of the rebels were
     taken away from this part of the field, but I am informed by one
     accustomed to judge, and who went over the field to-day, that
     from the pools of blood and other evidences the loss must have
     been severe. Finding that the left could not be broken, Fitz-Hugh
     Lee hurled his chivalry--dismounted of course--upon the right.
     Steadily they came on, through obstructions, through slashing,
     past abattis without wavering. Here _one_ of the advantages of
     colored troops was made apparent. They obeyed orders, and bided
     their time. When well tangled in the abattis the death-warrant,
     'Fire,' went forth. Southern chivalry quailed before Northern
     balls, though fired by negro hands. Volley after volley was
     rained upon the superior by the inferior race, and the chivalry
     broke and tried to run."

On the 8th of June Gen. Gillmore, at the head of 3,500 troops, crossed
the Appomattox, and moved on Petersburg by turnpike from the north.
Gen. Kautz, with about 1,500 cavalry, was to charge the city from the
south, or southwest; and two gun-boats and a battery were to bombard
Fort Clinton, defending the approach up the river. Gillmore was
somewhat dismayed at the formidable appearance of the enemy, and,
thinking himself authorized to use his own discretion, did not make an
attack. On the 10th of June, Gen. Kautz advanced without meeting any
serious resistance until within a mile and one half of the city, drove
in the pickets and actually entered the city! Gillmore had attracted
considerable attention on account of the display he made of his
forces; but when he declined to fight, the rebels turned upon Kautz
and drove him out of the city.

Gen. Grant had taken up his headquarters at Bermuda Hundreds, whence
he directed Gen. Butler to despatch Gen. W. F. Smith's corps against
Petersburg. The rebel general, A. P. Hill, commanding the rear of
Lee's army, was now on the south front of Richmond. Gen. Smith moved
on toward Petersburg, and at noon of the 15th of June, 1864, his
advance felt the outposts of the enemy's defence about two and one
half miles from the river. Here again the Negro soldier's fighting
qualities were to be tested in the presence of our white troops. Gen.
Hinks commanded a brigade of Negro soldiers. This brigade was to open
the battle and receive the fresh fire of the enemy. Gen. Hinks--a most
gallant soldier--took his place and gave the order to charge the rebel
lines. Here under a clear Virginia sky, in full view of the Union
white troops, the Black brigade swept across the field in magnificent
line. The rebels received them with siege gun, musket, and bayonet,
but they never wavered. In a short time they had carried a line of
rifle-pits, driven the enemy out in confusion, and captured two large
guns. It was a supreme moment; all that was needed was the order, "On
to Petersburg," and the city could have been taken by the force there
was in reserve for the Black brigade. But he who doubts is damned, and
he who dallies is a dastard. Gen. Smith hesitated. Another assault was
not ordered until near sundown, when the troops cleared another line
of rifle-pits, made three hundred prisoners, and captured sixteen
guns, sustaining a loss of only six hundred. The night was clear and
balmy; there was nothing to hinder the battle from being carried on;
but Gen. Smith halted for the night--a fatal halt. During the night
the enemy was reënforced by the flower of Lee's army, and when the
sunlight of the next morning fell upon the battle field it revealed an
almost new army,--a desperate and determined enemy. Then it seems that
Gens. Meade and Hancock did not know that Petersburg was to be
attacked. Hancock's corps had lingered in the rear of the entire army,
and did not reach the front until dusk. Why Gen. Smith delayed the
assault until evening was not known. Even Gen. Grant, in his report of
the battle, said: "Smith, for some reason that I have never been able
to satisfactorily understand, did not get ready to assault the enemy's
main lines until near sundown." But whatever the reason was, his
conduct cost many a noble life and the postponement of the end of the

On the 16th of June, 1864, Gens. Burnside and Warren came up. The 18th
corps, under Gen. Smith, occupied the right of the Federal lines, with
its right touching the Appomattox River. Gens. Hancock, Burnside, and
Warren stretched away to the extreme left, which was covered by
Kautz's cavalry. After a consultation with Gen. Grant, Gen. Meade
ordered a general attack all along the lines, and at 6 P.M. on the
16th of June, the battle of Petersburg was opened again. Once more a
division of Black troops was hurled into the fires of battle, and once
more proved that the Negro was equal to all the sudden and startling
changes of war. The splendid fighting of these troops awakened the
kindliest feelings for them among the white troops, justified the
Government in employing them, stirred the North to unbounded
enthusiasm, and made the rebel army feel that the Negro was the equal
of the Confederate soldier under all circumstances. Secretary Stanton
was in a state of ecstasy over the behavior of the Colored troops at
Petersburg, an unusual thing for him. In his despatch on this battle,
he said:

     "The hardest fighting was done by the black troops. The forts
     they stormed were the worst of all. After the affair was over
     Gen. Smith went to thank them, and tell them he was proud of
     their courage and dash. He says they cannot be exceeded as
     soldiers, and that hereafter he will send them in a difficult
     place as readily as the best white troops."[104]

The "Tribune" correspondent wrote on the day of the battle:

     "The charge upon the advanced works was made in splendid style;
     and as the 'dusky warriors' stood shouting upon the parapet, Gen.
     Smith decided that 'they would do,' and sent word to storm the
     first redoubt. Steadily these troops moved on, led by officers
     whose unostentatious bravery is worthy of emulation. With a shout
     and rousing cheers they dashed at the redoubt. Grape and canister
     were hurled at them by the infuriated rebels. They grinned and
     pushed on, and with a yell that told the Southern chivalry their
     doom, rolled irresistibly over and into the work. The guns were
     speedily turned upon those of our 'misguided brethren,' who
     forgot that discretion was the better part of valor. Another
     redoubt was carried in the same splendid style, and the negroes
     have established a reputation that they will surely maintain.

     "Officers on Gen. Hancock's staff, as they rode by the redoubt,
     surrounded by a moat with water in it, over which these negroes
     charged, admitted that its capture was a most gallant affair. The
     negroes bear their wounds quite as pluckily as the white

Here the Colored Troops remained, skirmishing, fighting, building
earthworks, and making ready for the next assault upon Petersburg,
which was to take place on the 30th proximo. In the actions of the
18th, 21st, 23d, 24th, 25th, and 28th of June, the Colored Troops had
shared a distinguished part. The following letter on the conduct of
the Colored Troops before Petersburg, written by an officer who
participated in all the actions around that city, is worth its space
it gold:

                         "IN THE FIELD, NEAR PETERSBURG, VIRGINIA, }
                                  "June 27, 1864.                  }

     "The problem is solved. The negro is a man, a soldier, a hero.
     Knowing of your laudable interest in the colored troops, but
     particularly those raised under the immediate auspices of the
     Supervisory Committee, I have thought it proper that I should
     let you know how they acquitted themselves in the late actions in
     front of Petersburg, of which you have already received newspaper
     accounts. If you remember, in my conversations upon the character
     of these troops, I carefully avoided saying anything about their
     fighting qualities till I could have an opportunity of trying

     "That opportunity came on the fifteenth instant, and since, and I
     am now prepared to say that I never, since the beginning of this
     war, saw troops fight better, more bravely, and with more
     determination and enthusiasm. Our division, commanded by General
     Hinks, took the advance on the morning of the fifteenth instant,
     arrived in front of the enemy's works about nine o'clock A.M.,
     formed line, charged them, and took them most handsomely. Our
     regiment was the first in the enemy's works, having better ground
     to charge over than some of the others, and the only gun that was
     taken on this first line was taken by our men. The color-sergeant
     of our regiment planted his colors on the works of the enemy, a
     rod in advance of any officer or man in the regiment. The effect
     of the colors being thus in advance of the line, so as to be seen
     by all, was truly inspiring to our men, and to a corresponding
     degree dispiriting to the enemy. We pushed on two and a half
     miles further, till we came in full view of the main defences of
     Petersburg. We formed line at about two o'clock P.M.,
     reconnoitred and skirmished the whole afternoon, and were
     constantly subject to the shells of the enemy's artillery. At
     sunset we charged these strong works and carried them. Major Cook
     took one with the left wing of our regiment as skirmishers, by
     getting under the guns, and then preventing their gunners from
     using their pieces, while he gained the rear of the redoubt,
     where there was no defence but the infantry, which, classically
     speaking, 'skedaddled.' We charged across what appeared to be an
     almost impassable ravine, with the right wing all the time
     subject to a hot fire of grape and canister, until we got so far
     under the guns as to be sheltered, when the enemy took to their
     rifle-pits as infantrymen. Our brave fellows went steadily
     through the swamp, and up the side of a hill, at an angle of
     almost fifty degrees, rendered nearly impassable by fallen
     timber. Here again our color-sergeant was conspicuous in keeping
     far ahead of the most advanced, hanging on to the side of the
     hill, till he would turn about and wave the stars and stripes at
     his advancing comrades; then steadily advancing again, under the
     fire of the enemy, till he could almost have reached their
     rifle-pits with his flagstaff. How he kept from being killed I do
     not know, unless it can be attributed to the fact that the party
     advancing up the side of the hill always has the advantage of
     those who hold the crest. It was in this way that we got such
     decided advantage over the enemy at South Mountain. We took, in
     these two redoubts, four more guns, making, in all, five for our
     regiment, two redoubts, and part of a rifle-pit as our day's
     work. The Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh United States colored troops
     advanced against works more to the left. The Fourth United States
     colored troops took one more redoubt, and the enemy abandoned the
     other. In these two we got two more guns, which made, in all,
     seven. The Sixth regiment did not get up in time, unfortunately,
     to have much of the sport, as it had been previously formed in
     the second line. We left forty-three men wounded and eleven
     killed in the ravine, over which our men charged the last time.
     Our loss in the whole day's operations was one hundred-and
     forty-three, including six officers, one of whom was killed. Sir,
     there is no underrating the good conduct of these fellows during
     these charges; with but a few exceptions, they all went in as old
     soldiers, but with more enthusiasm. I am delighted that our first
     action resulted in a decided victory.

     "The commendations we have received from the Army of the Potomac,
     including its general officers, are truly gratifying. Hancock's
     corps arrived just in time to relieve us (we being out of
     ammunition), before the rebels were reinforced and attempted to
     retake these strong works and commanding positions, without which
     they could not hold Petersburg one hour, if it were a part of
     Grant's plan to advance against it on the right here.

     "General Smith speaks in the highest terms of the day's work, as
     you have doubtless seen, and he assured me, in person, that our
     division should have the guns we took as trophies of honor. He is
     also making his word good in saying that he could hereafter trust
     colored troops in the most responsible positions. Colonel Ames,
     of the Sixth United States colored troops, and our regiment, have
     just been relieved in the front, where we served our tour of
     forty-eight hours in turn with the other troops of the corps.
     While out, we were subjected to some of the severest shelling I
     have ever seen, Malvern Hill not excepted. The enemy got twenty
     guns in position during the night, and opened on us yesterday
     morning at daylight. Our men stood it, behind their works, of
     course, as well as any of the white troops. Our men,
     unfortunately, owing to the irregular features of ground, took no
     prisoners. Sir, we can bayonet the enemy to terms on this matter
     of treating colored soldiers as prisoners of war far sooner than
     the authorities at Washington can bring him to it by negotiation.
     This I am morally persuaded of. I know, further, that the enemy
     won't fight us if he can help it. I am sure that the same number
     of white troops could not have taken those works on the evening
     of the fifteenth; prisoners that we took told me so. I mean
     prisoners who came in after the abandonment of the fort, because
     they could not get away. They excuse themselves on the ground of
     pride; as one of them said to me: 'D----d if men educated as we
     have been will fight with niggers, and your government ought not
     to expect it.' The real fact is, the rebels will not stand
     against our colored soldiers when there is any chance of their
     being taken prisoners, for they are conscious of what they justly
     deserve. Our men went into these works after they were taken,
     yelling 'Fort Pillow!' The enemy well knows what this means, and
     I will venture the assertion, that that piece of infernal
     brutality enforced by them there has cost the enemy already two
     men for every one they so inhumanly murdered."[105]

The 9th corps, under Burnside, containing a splendid brigade of
Colored Troops, had finally pushed its way up to one hundred and fifty
yards of the enemy's works. In the immediate front a small fort
projected out quite a distance beyond the main line of the enemy's
works. It was decided to place a mine under this fort and destroy it.
Just in the rear of the 9th corps was a ravine, which furnished a safe
and unobserved starting-point for the mine. It was pushed forward with
great speed and care. When the point was reached directly under the
fort, chambers were made to the right and left, and then packed with
powder or other combustibles. It was understood from the commencement
that the Colored Troops were to have the post of honor again, and
charge after the mine should be sprung. The inspecting officer having
made a thorough examination of the entire works reported to Gen.
Burnside that the "Black Division was the fittest for this perilous
service." But Gen. Grant was not of the same opinion. Right on the eve
of the great event he directed the three white commanders of divisions
to _draw lots_--who should _not_ go into the crater! The lot fell to
the poorest officer, for a dashing, brilliant movement, in the entire
army; Gen. Ledlie.

The mine was to be fired at 3:30 A.M., on the morning of the 30th of
July, 1864. The match was applied, but the train did not work. Lieut.
Jacob Douty and Sergt. Henry Rees, of the 48th Pennsylvania, entered
the gallery, removed the hindering cause, and at 4:45 A.M. the match
was applied and the explosion took place. The fort was lifted into the
air and came down a mass of ruins, burying 300 men. Instead of a fort
there was a yawning chasm, 150 feet long, 25 feet wide, and about 25
or 30 feet deep. At the same moment all the guns of the Union forces
opened from one end of their line to the other. It was verily a
judgment morn. Confusion reigned among the Confederates. The enemy
fled in disorder from his works. The way to Petersburg was open,
unobstructed for several hours; all the Federal troops had to do was
to go into the city at a trail arms without firing a gun. Gen. Ledlie
was not equal to the situation. He tried to mass his division in the
mouth of the crater. The 10th New Hampshire went timidly into line,
and when moved forward broke into the shape of a letter V, and
confusion indescribable followed. Gens. Potter and Wilcox tried to
support Ledlie, but the latter division had halted after they had
entered the crater, although the enemy had not recovered from the
shock. Gen. Potter, by _some_ means, got his division out of the
crater and gallantly led a charge toward the crest, but so few
followed him that he was compelled to retire. After all had been lost,
after the rebels had regained their composure, Gen. Burnside was
_suffered_ to send in his "Black Division." It charged in splendid
order to the right of the crater toward the crest, but was hurled back
into the crater by a destructive fire from batteries and muskets. But
they rallied and charged the enemy again and again until nightfall;
exhausted and reduced in numbers, they fell back into the friendly
darkness to rest. The Union loss was 4,400 killed, wounded, and
captured. Again the Negro had honored his country and covered himself
with glory. Managed differently, with the Black Division as the
charging force, Petersburg would have fallen, the war would have ended
before the autumn, and thousands of lives would have been saved. But a
great sacrifice had to be laid upon the cruel altar of race prejudice.

In the battles around Nashville about 8,000 or 10,000 Colored Troops
took part, and rendered efficient aid. Here the Colored Troops, all of
them recruited from slave States, stormed fortified positions of the
enemy with the bayonet through open fields, and behaved like veterans
under the most destructive fire. In his report of the battle of
Nashville, Major-Gen. James B. Steedman said:

     "The larger portion of these losses, amounting in the aggregate
     to fully twenty-five per cent. of the men under my command who
     were taken into action, it will be observed, fell upon the
     Colored Troops. The severe loss of this part of my troops was in
     the brilliant charge on the enemy's works on Overton Hill on
     Friday afternoon. I was unable to discover that _color_ made any
     difference in the fighting of my troops. All, white and black,
     nobly did their duty as soldiers, and evinced cheerfulness and
     resolution, such as I have never seen excelled in any campaign of
     the war in which I have borne a part."[106]

The following table shows the losses in this action:

                    | Killed.|Wounded.|Missing.| Total. |
                    |  | Men |   | Men|   | Men|  | Men |
 Fourteenth U. S.   |  |     |   |    |   |    |  |     |}Organized as the
   Colored Infantry |  |   4 |   |  41|   |  20|  |  65 |}First Colored
 Forty-fourth U. S. |  |     |   |    |   |    |  |     |}Brigade,
   Colored Infantry | 1|   2 |   |  27|  2|  49| 3|  78 |}Colonel T. J.
 Sixteenth U. S.    |  |     |   |    |   |    |  |     |}Morgan,
   Colored Infantry |  |   1 |   |   2|   |    |  |   3 |}commanding.
 Eighteenth U. S.   |  |     |   |    |   |    |  |     |}
   Colored Infantry |  |   1 |   |   5|   |   3|  |   9 |}
 Seventeenth U. S.  |  |     |   |    |   |    |  |     |}
   Colored Infantry | 7|  14 |  4|  64|   |    | 6|  78 |}
                    |  |     |   |    |   |    |  |     |
 Twelfth U. S.      |  |     |   |    |   |    |  |     |{Organized as the
   Colored Infantry | 3|  10 |  3|  99|   |    | 6| 109 |{Second Colored
 Thirteenth U. S.   |  |     |   |    |   |    |  |     |{Brigade, Col.
   Colored Infantry | 4|  51 |  4| 161|   |   1| 8| 213 |{C. K. Thompson,
 One Hundredth U.S. |  |     |   |    |   |    |  |     |{commanding.
   Colored Infantry |  |  12 |  5| 116|   |    | 5| 128 |{
                    |  |     |   |    |   |    |  |     |
 Eighteenth Ohio    |  |     |   |    |   |    |  |     |}Included in the
   Infantry         | 2|   9 |  2|  38|   |   9| 4|  56 |}Provisional
 Sixty-eighth       |  |     |   |    |   |    |  |     |}Division,
   Indiana Infantry |  |   1 |   |   7|   |    |  |   8 |}A. C.,
 Provisional        |  |     |   |    |   |    |  |     |}Brigadier-
   Division, A. C.  | 1|  19 |  3|  74|   |  33| 4| 126 |}General Cruft,
                    |  |     |   |    |   |    |  |     |}commanding.
 Twentieth Indiana  |  |     |   |    |   |    |  |     |
   Battery          |  |     |  2|   6|   |    | 2|   6 |Captain Osborn.
     Aggregate      |18| 124 | 23| 640|  2| 115|38| 879 |
                    |  |     |   |    |   |    |  |  38 |
                    |  |     |   |    |   |    |   -----|
       Total        |  |     |   |    |   |    |  | 917 |

At the battle of Appomattox a division of picked Colored Troops (Gen.
Birney[107]) accomplished some most desperate and brilliant fighting,
and received the praise of the white troops who acted as their

From the day the Government put arms into the hands of Negro soldiers
to the last hour of the Slave-holders' Rebellion they rendered
effective aid in suppressing the rebellion and in saving the Union.
They fought a twofold battle--conquered the prejudices and fears of
the white people of the North and the swaggering insolence and lofty
confidence of the South.

As to the efficiency of Negroes as soldiers abundant testimony awaits
the hand of the historian. The following letter speaks for itself.


                              "WAR DEP'T, ADJ.-GENERAL'S OFFICE, }
                              "WASHINGTON, May 30, 1864.         }

     "Hon. H. WILSON:

     "DEAR SIR: On several occasions when on the Mississippi River, I
     contemplated writing to you respecting the colored troops and to
     suggest that, as they have been fully tested as soldiers, their
     pay should be raised to that of white troops, and I desire now to
     give my testimony in their behalf. You are aware that I have been
     engaged in the organization of freedmen for over a year, and have
     necessarily been thrown in constant contact with them.

     "The negro in a state of slavery is brought up by the master,
     from early childhood, to strict obedience and to obey implicitly
     the dictates of the white man, and they are thus led to believe
     that they are an inferior race. Now, when organized into troops,
     they carry this habit of obedience with them, and their officers
     being entirely white men, the negroes promptly obey their orders.

     "A regiment is thus rapidly brought into a state of discipline.
     They are a religious people--another high quality for making good
     soldiers. They are a musical people, and thus readily learn to
     march and accurately perform their manoeuvres. They take pride in
     being elevated as soldiers, and keep themselves, as their camp
     grounds, neat and clean. This I know from special inspection, two
     of my staff-officers being constantly on inspecting duty. They
     have proved a most important addition to our forces, enabling
     the Generals in active operations to take a large force of white
     troops into the field; and now brigades of blacks are placed with
     the whites. The forts erected at the important points on the
     river are nearly all garrisoned by blacks--artillery regiments
     raised for the purpose,--say at Paducah and Columbus, Kentucky,
     Memphis, Tennessee, Vicksburg and Natchez, Mississippi and most
     of the works around New Orleans.

     "Experience proves that they manage heavy guns very well. Their
     fighting qualities have also been fully tested a number of times,
     and I am yet to hear of the first case where they did not fully
     stand up to their work. I passed over the ground where the 1st
     Louisiana made the gallant charge at Port Hudson, by far the
     stronger part of the rebel works. The wonder is that so many have
     made their escape. At Milliken's Bend where I had three
     incomplete regiments,--one without arms until the day previous to
     the attack,--greatly superior numbers of the rebels charged
     furiously up to the very breastworks. The negroes met the enemy
     on the ramparts, and both sides freely used the bayonet--a most
     rare occurrence in warfare, as one of the other party gives way
     before coming in contact with the steel. The rebels were defeated
     With heavy loss. The bridge at Moscow, on the line of railroad
     from Memphis to Corinth, was defended by one small regiment of
     blacks. A cavalry attack of three times their number was made,
     the blacks defeating them in three charges made by the Rebels.

     "They fought them hours till our cavalry came up, when the defeat
     was made complete, many of the dead being left on the field.

     "A cavalry force of three hundred and fifty attacked three
     hundred rebel cavalry near the Big Black with signal success, a
     number of prisoners being taken and marched to Vicksburg. Forrest
     attacked Paducah with 7,500 men. The garrison was between 500 and
     600, nearly 400 being colored troops recently raised. What troops
     could have done better? So, too, they fought well at Fort Pillow
     till overpowered by greatly superior numbers.

     "The above enumerated cases seem to me sufficient to demonstrate
     the value of the colored troops.

     "I have the honor to be, very respectfully,

                                   "Your obedient servant,
                                        "L. THOMAS, _Adj.-General_.

In regard to the conduct of the Colored Troops at Petersburg, a
correspondent to the "Boston Journal" gave the following account from
the lips of Gen. Smith:

     "A few days ago I sat in the tent of Gen. W. F. Smith, commander
     of the 18th Corps, and heard his narration of the manner in
     which Gen. Hinks' division of colored troops stood the fire and
     charged upon the Rebel works east of Petersburg on the 16th of
     June. There were thirteen guns pouring a constant fire of shot
     and shell upon those troops, enfilading the line, cutting it
     lengthwise and crosswise, 'Yet they stood unmoved for _six
     hours_. Not a man flinched. [These are the words of the General.]
     It was as severe a test as I ever saw. But they stood it, and
     when my arrangements were completed for charging the works, they
     moved with the steadiness of veterans to the attack. I expected
     that they would fall back, or be cut to pieces; but when I saw
     them move over the field, gain the works and capture the guns, I
     was astounded. They lost between 500 and 600 in doing it. There
     is material in the negroes to make the best troops in the world,
     if they are properly trained.'

     "These are the words of one of the ablest commanders and
     engineers in the service. A graduate of West Point, who, earlier
     in the war, had the prejudices which were held by many other men
     against the negro. He has changed his views. He is convinced, and
     honorably follows his convictions, as do all men who are not
     stone blind or perversely wilful."[108]

Gen. Blunt in a letter to a friend speaks of the valor of Colored
Troops at the battle of Honey Springs. He says:

     "The negroes (1st colored regiment) were too much for the enemy,
     and let me here say that I never saw such fighting as was done by
     that negro regiment. They fought like veterans, with a coolness
     and valor that is unsurpassed. They preserved their line perfect
     throughout the whole engagement, and although in the hottest of
     the fight, they never once faltered. Too much praise cannot be
     awarded them for their gallantry. The question that negroes will
     fight is settled, besides they make better soldiers in every
     respect, than any troops I have ever had under my command."[109]

The following from the Washington correspondent of the "New York
Tribune" is of particular value:

     "In speaking of the soldierly qualities of our colored troops, I
     do not refer specially to their noble action in the perilous edge
     of battle; that is settled, but to their docility and their
     patience of labor and suffering in the camp and on the march.

     "I have before me a private letter from a friend, now Major in
     one of the Pennsylvania colored regiments, a portion of which I
     think the public should find in your columns. He says in
     speaking of service in his regiment: 'I am delighted with it. I
     find that these colored men learn every thing that pertains to
     the duties of a soldier much faster than any white soldiers I
     have ever seen. The reason is apparent,--not that they are
     smarter than white men, but they feel promoted; they feel as
     though their whole sphere of life was advanced and enlarged. They
     are willing, obedient, and cheerful; move with agility, and _are
     full of music_, which is almost a _sine qua non_ to soldierly

     "Soon after the letter of which the above is an extract was
     written, the regiment was ordered to the field from which the
     Major writes again: 'The more I know and see of these negro
     regiments, the more I am delighted with the whole enterprise. It
     is truly delightful to command a regiment officered as these are.
     In all my experience I have never known a better class of
     officers.... I have charge of the school of non-commissioned
     officers here. I drill them once a day and have them recite from
     the oral instructions given them the day before. I find them more
     anxious to learn their duties and more ready to perform them when
     they know them than any set of non-commissioned officers I ever
     saw.... There is no discount on these fellows at all. Give me a
     thousand such men as compose this regiment and I desire no
     stronger battalion to lead against an enemy that is at once their
     oppressors and traitors to my, and my soldiers' country.'

     "This testimony is worth a chapter of speculation. The Major
     alludes to one fact above, moreover, to which the public
     attention has not been often directed--the excellent and able men
     who are in command of our colored troops. They are generally men
     of heart--men of opinions--men whose generous impulses have not
     been chilled in 'the cold shade of West Point.'

     "The officer from whose letter I have quoted was a volunteer in
     the ranks of a Pennsylvania regiment from the day of the attack
     on Sumter until August, 1862. His bravery, his devotion to the
     principles of freedom, his zeal in the holy cause of his country
     through all the campaigns of the calamitous McClellan, won the
     regard and attention of our loyal Governor Curtin, who, with rare
     good sense and discrimination, took him from the ranks and made
     him first, Lieut.-Colonel, and then Colonel of a regiment in the
     nine months' service. He carried himself through all in such a
     manner as fully justified the Governor's confidence, and has
     stepped now into a position where his patriotic zeal can
     concentrate the valor of these untutored free men in defense of
     our imperilled country. So long as these brave colored men are
     officered by gallant, high-hearted, slave-hating men, we can
     never despair of the Republic."[110]

Mr. D. Aden in a letter to Col. Darling, dated Norfolk, Va., Feb. 22,
1864, said:

     "During the expedition last October to Charles City Court House,
     on the Peninsula, the colored troops marched steadily through
     storm and mud; and on coming up with the enemy, behaved as
     bravely under fire as veterans. An officer of the 1st N. Y.
     Mounted Rifles--a most bitter opponent and reviler of colored
     troops--who was engaged in this affair, volunteered the statement
     that they had fought bravely, and, in his own language, more
     expressive than elegant, were 'bully boys'--which coming from
     such a source, might be regarded as the highest praise.

     "During the recent advance toward Richmond to liberate the Union
     prisoners, the 4th, 5th, and 9th regiments formed part of the
     expedition and behaved splendidly. They marched thirty miles in
     ten hours, and an unusually small number straggled on the route."

Col. John A. Foster of the 175th New York, in January, 1864, wrote to
Col. Darling as follows:

     "While before Port Hudson, during the siege of that place, I was
     acting on Col. Gooding's staff, prior to the arrival of my
     regiment at that place. On the assault of May 27, 1863, Col.
     Gooding was ordered to proceed to the extreme right of our lines
     and oversee the charge of the two regiments constituting the
     negro-brigade, and I accompanied him.

     "We witnessed them in line of battle, under a very heavy fire of
     musketry, and siege and field pieces. There was a deep gully or
     bayou before them, which they could not cross nor ford in the
     presence of the enemy, and hence an assault was wholly
     impracticable. Yet they made five several attempts to swim and
     cross it, preparatory to an assault on the enemy's works; and in
     this, too, in fair view of the enemy, and at short musket range.
     Added to this, the nature of the enemy's works was such that it
     allowed an enfilading fire. Success was impossible; yet they
     behaved as cool as if veterans, and when ordered to retire,
     marched off as if on parade. I feel satisfied that, if the
     position of the bayou had been known and the assault made a
     quarter of a mile to the left of where it was, the place would
     have been taken by this negro brigade on that day.

     "On that day I witnessed the attack made by the divisions of
     Generals Grover and Paine, and can truly say I saw no steadier
     fighting by those daring men than did the negroes in this their
     first fight.

     "On the second assault, June 14th, in the assault made by Gen.
     Paine's division, our loss was very great in wounded, and, as
     there was a want of ambulance men, I ordered about a hundred
     negroes, who were standing idle and unharmed, to take the
     stretchers and carry the wounded from the field. Under a most
     severe fire of musketry, grape, and canister, they performed this
     duty with unflinching courage and nonchalance. They suffered
     severely in this duty both in killed and wounded; yet not a man
     faltered. These men had just been recruited, and were not even
     partially disciplined. But I next saw the negroes (engineers)
     working in these trenches, under a heavy fire of the enemy. They
     worked faithfully, and wholly regardless of exposure to the
     enemy's fire."

Mr. Cadwallader in his despatch concerning the battle of
Spottsylvania, dated May 18th, says:

     "It is a subject of considerable merriment in camp that a charge
     of the famous Hampton Legion, the flower of Southern chivalry,
     was repulsed by the Colored Troops of General Ferrero's

These are but a _few_ of the tributes that brave and true white men
cheerfully gave to the valor and loyalty of Colored Troops during the
war. No officer, whose privilege it was to command or observe the
conduct of these troops, has ever hesitated to give a full and
cheerful endorsement of their worth as men, their loyalty as
Americans, and their eminent qualifications for the duties and dangers
of military life. No history of the war has ever been written, no
history of the war ever can be written, without mentioning the
patience, endurance, fortitude, and heroism of the Negro soldiers who
prayed, wept, fought, bled, and died for the preservation of the Union
of the United States of America!


[97] This was remedied at length, after the 54th Massachusetts
Infantry had refused pay for a year, unless the regiment could be
treated as other regiments. Major Sturges, Agent for the State of
Massachusetts, made up the difference between $7 and $13 to disabled
and discharged soldiers of this regiment, until the 15th June, 1864,
when the Government came to its senses respecting this great injustice
to its gallant soldiers.

[98] Times, Feb. 10, 1863.

[99] Times, Feb. 11, 1863.

[100] For the official report of Colonel Higginson and the war
correspondent, see Rebellion Records, vol. vii. Document, pp. 176-178.

[101] New York Times, June 13, 1863.

[102] Rebellion Records, vol. vii. Doc. p. 15.

[103] Rebellion Recs., vol. vii. Doc., p. 215, 216.

[104] Herald, June 18, 1864.

[105] Rebellion Recs., vol. xi. Doc. pp. 580, 581.

[106] Rebellion Recs., vol. xi. Doc., p. 89.

[107] I remember now, as I was in the battle of Appomattox Court
House, that Gen. Birney was relieved just after the battle of
Farmville, because he refused to march his division in the rear of all
the white troops. It was doubtless Gen. Foster who led the Colored
Troops in the action at Appomattox.

[108] Tribune, July 26, 1864.

[109] Tribune, August 19, 1863.

[110] New York Tribune, Nov. 14, 1863.

[111] New York Herald, May 20, 1864.




The appearance of Negroes as soldiers in the armies of the United
States seriously offended the Southern view of "the eternal fitness of
things." No action on the part of the Federal Government was so
abhorrent to the rebel army. It called forth a bitter wail from
Jefferson Davis, on the 12th of January, 1863, and soon after the
Confederate Congress elevated its olfactory organ and handled the
subject with a pair of tongs. After a long discussion the following
was passed:

     "_Resolved, by the Congress of the Confederate States of
     America_, In response to the message of the President,
     transmitted to Congress at the commencement of the present
     session, That, in the opinion of Congress, the commissioned
     officers of the enemy ought _not_ to be delivered to the
     authorities of the respective States, as suggested in the said
     message, but all captives taken by the Confederate forces ought
     to be dealt with and disposed of by the Confederate Government.

     "SEC. 2. That, in the judgment of Congress, the proclamations of
     the President of the United States, dated respectively September
     22, 1862, and January 1, 1863, and the other measures of the
     Government of the United States and of its authorities,
     commanders, and forces, designed or tending to emancipate slaves
     in the Confederate States, or to abduct such slaves, or to incite
     them to insurrection, or to employ negroes in war against the
     Confederate States, or to overthrow the institution of African
     Slavery, and bring on a servile war in these States, would, if
     successful, produce atrocious consequences, and they are
     inconsistent with the spirit of those usages which, in modern
     warfare, prevail among civilized nations; they may, therefore, be
     properly and lawfully repressed by retaliation.

     "SEC. 3. That in every case wherein, during the present war, any
     violation of the laws or usages of war among civilized nations
     shall be, or has been, done and perpetrated by those acting under
     the authority of the Government of the United States, on the
     persons or property of citizens of the Confederate States, or of
     those under the protection or in the land or naval service of the
     Confederate States, or of any State of the Confederacy, the
     President of the Confederate States is hereby authorized to cause
     full and ample retaliation to be made for every such violation,
     in such manner and to such extent as he may think proper.

     "SEC. 4. That every white person, being a commissioned officer,
     or acting as such, who, during the present war, shall command
     negroes or mulattoes in arms against the Confederate States, or
     who shall arm, train, organize, or prepare negroes or mulattoes
     for military service against the Confederate States, or who shall
     voluntarily aid negroes or mulattoes in any military enterprise,
     attack, or conflict in such service, shall be deemed as inciting
     servile insurrection, and shall, if captured, be put to death, or
     be otherwise punished at the discretion of the court.

     "SEC. 5. Every person, being a commissioned officer, or acting as
     such in the service of the enemy, who shall, during the present
     war, excite, attempt to excite, or cause to be excited, a servile
     insurrection, or who shall incite, or cause to be incited, a
     slave or rebel, shall, if captured, be put to death, or be
     otherwise punished at the discretion of the court.

     "SEC. 6. Every person charged with an offence punishable under
     the preceding resolutions shall, during the present war, be tried
     before the military court attached to the array or corps by the
     troops of which he shall have been captured, or by such other
     military court as the President may direct, and in such manner
     and under such regulations as the President shall prescribe; and,
     after conviction, the President may commute the punishment in
     such manner and on such terms as he may deem proper.

     "SEC. 7. All negroes and mulattoes who shall be engaged in war,
     or be taken in arms against the Confederate States, or shall give
     aid or comfort to the enemies of the Confederate States, shall,
     when captured in the Confederate States, be delivered to the
     authorities of the State or States in which they shall be
     captured, to be dealt with according to the present or future
     laws of such State or States."

This document stands alone among the resolves of the civilized
governments of all Christendom. White persons acting as commissioned
officers in organizations of Colored Troops were to "be put to death!"
And all Negroes and Mulattoes taken in arms against the Confederate
Government were to be turned over to the authorities:--civil, of
course--of the States in which they should be captured, to be dealt
with according to the present or future laws of such States! Now, what
were the laws of the Southern States respecting Negroes in arms
against white people? The most cruel death. And fearing some of those
States had modified their cruel slave Code, the States were granted
the right to pass _ex post facto_ laws in order to give the
cold-blooded murder of captured Negro soldiers the semblance of
law,--and by a _civil law_ too. Colored soldiers and their officers
had been butchered before this in South Carolina, Mississippi,
Louisiana, and Florida, notwithstanding the rebels were the first to
arm Negroes, as has been already shown. If the Confederates had a
right to arm Negroes and include them in their armies, why could not
the Federal Government pursue the same policy? But the Rebel
Government had determined upon a barbarous policy in dealing with
captured Negro soldiers,--and barbarous as that policy was, the rebel
soldiers exceeded its cruel provisions tenfold. Their treatment of
Negroes was perfectly fiendish.

But what was the attitude of the Federal Government? Silence, until
the butcheries of its gallant defenders had sickened the civilized
world, and until the Christian governments of Europe frowned upon the
inhuman indifference of the Government that would _force_ its slaves
to fight its battles and then allow them to be tortured to death in
the name of "_State laws_!" Even the most conservative papers of the
North began to feel that some policy ought to be adopted whereby the
lives of Colored soldiers could be protected against the inhuman
treatment bestowed upon them when captured by the rebels. In the
spring of 1863, the "Tribune," referring to this subject, said,

     "The Government has sent Adj.-General Thomas to the West with
     full authority to arm and organize the negroes for service
     against the Rebels. They are to be employed to protect the
     navigation of the Mississippi and other rivers against
     guerrillas, and as garrisons at fortified posts, and are
     evidently destined for all varieties of military duty. Seven
     thousand soldiers who listened to this announcement at Fort
     Curtis received it with satisfaction and applause. Gen. Thomas,
     heretofore known as opposed to this and all similar measures,
     urged in his address that the Blacks should be treated with
     kindness; declared his belief in their capacity, and informed the
     officers of the army that no one would be permitted to oppose or
     in any way interfere with this policy of the Government.

     "It is not directly stated, but may be inferred from the
     Despatch, that the negroes are not to be encouraged to enlist,
     but are to be drafted. At all events, the policy of the
     Government to employ Black Troops in active service is definitely
     established, and it becomes--as indeed it has been for months--a
     very serious question what steps are to be taken for their
     protection. The Proclamation of Jefferson Davis remains
     unrevoked. By it he threatened death or slavery to every negro
     taken in arms, and to their white officers the same fate. What is
     the response of our Government? Hitherto, silence. The number of
     negroes in its service has already increased; in South Carolina
     they have already been mustered into regiments by a sweeping
     conscription, and now in the West apparently the same policy is
     adopted and rigorously enforced.

     "Does the Government mean that the men are to be exposed not
     merely to the chances of battle, but to the doom which the
     unanswered Proclamation of the Rebel President threatens?

     "Every black soldier now marches to battle with a halter about
     his neck. The simple question is: Shall we protect and insure the
     ordinary treatment of a prisoner of war? Under it, every negro
     yet captured has suffered death or been sent back to the hell of
     slavery from which he had escaped. The bloody massacre of black
     prisoners at Murfreesboro, brooked, so far as the public knows,
     no retaliation at Washington. The black servants captured at
     Galveston--free men and citizens of Massachusetts--were sold into
     slavery and remained there. In every instance in which they have
     had the opportunity, the rebels have enforced their barbarous
     proclamation. How much longer are they to be suffered to do it
     without remonstrance?

     "Gen. Hunter--at this moment in the field,--General. Butler, and
     hundreds of other white officers are included in this
     Proclamation, or were previously outlawed and adjudged a felon's
     death. Delay remonstrance much longer, and retaliation must
     supersede it. If the Government wishes to be spared the necessity
     of retaliating, it has only to _say_ that it will retaliate--to
     declare by proclamation or general order that all its soldiers
     who may be captured must receive from the Rebels the treatment to
     which, as prisoners of war, they are, by the usages of war,
     entitled. The Government can know no distinction of color under
     its flag. The moment a soldier shoulders a musket he is invested
     with every military right which belongs to a white soldier. He is
     at least and above all things entitled to the safeguards which
     surround his white comrades.

     "It is not possible to suppose the Government means to withhold
     them; we only urge that the wisest, safest, and humanest, as well
     as the most honorable policy, is at once to announce its

The able article just quoted had a wholesome effect upon many
thoughtful men at the South, and brought the blush to the cheek of the
nation. A few of the Southern journals agreed with Mr. Greeley that
the resolves of the Confederate Congress were unjustifiable; that the
Congress had no right to say what color the Union soldiers should be;
and that such action would damage their cause in the calm and humane
judgment of all Europe. But the Confederate Congress was unmoved and
unmovable upon this subject.

Three Colored men had been captured in Stone River on the gun-boat
"Isaac Smith." They were free men; but, notwithstanding this, they
were placed in close confinement and treated like felons. Upon the
facts reaching the ear of the Government, Secretary Stanton took three
South Carolina prisoners and had them subjected to the same treatment,
and the facts telegraphed to the Rebel authorities. Commenting upon
the question of the treatment of captured Colored soldiers the
"Richmond Examiner" said:

     "It is not merely the pretension of a regular Government
     affecting to deal with 'Rebels,' but it is a deadly stab which
     they are aiming at our institutions themselves--because they know
     that, if we were insane enough to yield this point, to treat
     Black men as the equals of White, and insurgent slaves as
     equivalent to our brave soldiers, the very foundation of Slavery
     would be fatally wounded."

Shortly after this occurrence an exchange of prisoners took place in
front of Charleston. The rebels returned only white prisoners. When
upbraided by the Union officers for not exchanging Negroes the reply
came that under the resolutions of the Confederate Congress they could
not deliver up any Negro soldiers. This fact stirred the heart of the
North, and caused the Government to act. The following order was
issued by the President:

                                   "EXECUTIVE MANSION,         }
                                   "WASHINGTON, July 30, 1863. }

     "It is the duty of every Government to give protection to its
     citizens, of whatever class, color, or condition, and especially
     to those who are duly organized as soldiers in the public
     service. The law of nations, and the usages and customs of war,
     as carried on by civilized powers, permit no distinction as to
     color in the treatment of prisoners of war as public enemies. To
     sell or enslave any captured person, on account of his color, and
     for no offense against the laws of war, is a relapse into
     barbarism, and a crime against the civilization of the age.

     "The Government of the United States will give the same
     protection to all its soldiers; and if the enemy shall sell or
     enslave any one because of his color, the offense shall be
     punished by retaliation upon the enemy's prisoners in our

     "It is therefore ordered that, for every soldier of the United
     States killed in violation of the laws of war, a Rebel soldier
     shall be executed; and for every one enslaved by the enemy or
     sold into Slavery, a Rebel soldier shall be placed at hard labor
     on public works, and continued at such labor until the other
     shall be released and receive the treatment due to a prisoner of

                                    "ABRAHAM LINCOLN.

              "By order of the Secretary of War.
     "E. D. TOWNSEND, _Assistant Adjutant-General_."

In the early spring of 1864, there was a great deal said in the
Southern journals and much action had in the rebel army respecting the
capture and treatment of Negro soldiers. The "Richmond Examiner"
contained an account of the battle of Newbern, North Carolina, in
which the writer seemed to gloat over the fact that a captured Negro
had been hung after he had surrendered. It came to the knowledge of
Gen. Peck, commanding the army of the District of North Carolina, when
the following correspondence took place:

                         "HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY AND DISTRICT OF }
                         "NORTH CAROLINA, NEWBERN, NORTH           }
                         "CAROLINA, Feb. 11, 1864:                 }

     "Major-General PICKETT, _Department of Virginia and North
     Carolina, "Confederate Army, Petersburg_.

     "GENERAL: I have the honor to inclose a slip cut from the
     Richmond 'Examiner,' February eighth, 1864. It is styled 'The
     Advance on Newbern,' and appears to have been extracted from the
     Petersburg 'Register,' a paper published in the city where your
     headquarters are located.

     "Your attention is particularly invited to that paragraph which
     states 'that Colonel Shaw was shot dead by a negro soldier from
     the other side of the river, which he was spanning with a pontoon
     bridge, and that the negro was watched, followed, taken, and
     hanged after the action at Thomasville.

     "'THE ADVANCE ON NEWBERN.--The Petersburg "Register" gives the
     following additional facts of the advance on Newbern: Our army,
     according to the report of passengers arriving from Weldon, has
     fallen back to a point sixteen miles west of Newbern. The reason
     assigned for this retrograde movement was that Newbern could not
     be taken by us without a loss on our part which would find no
     equivalent in its capture, as the place was stronger than we had
     anticipated. Yet, in spite of this, we are sure that the
     expedition will result in good to our cause. Our forces are in a
     situation to get large supplies from a country still abundant, to
     prevent raids on points westward, and keep tories in check, and
     hang them when caught.

     "'From a private, who was one of the guard that brought the batch
     of prisoners through, we learn that Colonel Shaw was shot dead by
     a negro soldier from the other side of the river, which he was
     spanning with a pontoon bridge. The negro was watched, followed,
     taken, and hanged after the action at Thomasville. It is stated
     that when our troops entered Thomasville, a number of the enemy
     took shelter in the houses and fired upon them. The Yankees were
     ordered to surrender, but refused, whereupon our men set fire to
     the houses, and their occupants got, bodily, a taste in this
     world of the flames eternal.'

     "The Government of the United States has wisely seen fit to
     enlist many thousand colored citizens to aid in putting down the
     rebellion, and has placed them on the same footing in all
     respects as her white troops.

            *       *       *       *       *

     "Believing that this atrocity has been perpetrated without your
     knowledge, and that you will take prompt steps to disavow this
     violation of the usages of war, and to bring the offenders to
     justice, I shall refrain from executing a rebel soldier until I
     learn your action in the premises.

     "I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

                                        "JOHN J. PECK,

                        REPLY OF GENERAL PICKETT.

               "HEADQUARTERS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF NORTH            }
               "CAROLINA, PETERSBURG, VIRGINIA, February 16, 1864. }

     "Major-General JOHN J. PECK, U. S. A., _Commanding at Newbern_:

     "GENERAL: Your communication of the eleventh of February is
     received. I have the honor to state in reply, that the paragraph
     from a newspaper inclosed therein, is not only without foundation
     in fact, but so ridiculous that I should scarcely have supposed
     it worthy of consideration; but I would respectfully inform you
     that had I caught _any negro_, who had killed either officer,
     soldier, or citizen of the Confederate States, I should have
     caused him to be immediately executed.

     "To your threat expressed in the following extract from your
     communication, namely: 'Believing that this atrocity has been
     perpetrated without your knowledge, and that you will take prompt
     steps to disavow this violation of the usages of war, and to
     bring the offenders to justice, I shall refrain from executing a
     rebel soldier until I learn of your action in the premises,' I
     have merely to say that I have in my hands and subject to my
     orders, captured in the recent operations in this department,
     some four hundred and fifty officers and men of the United States
     army, and for every man you hang I will hang ten of the United
     States army.

     "I am, General, very respectfully, your obedient servant,

                                          "J. E. PICKETT,
                                   "_Major-General Commanding_."[113]

As already indicated, some of the Southern journals did not endorse
the extreme hardships and cruelties to which the rebels subjected the
captured Colored men. During the month of July, 1863, quite a number
of Colored soldiers had fallen into the hands of the enemy on Morris
and James islands. The rebels did not only refuse to exchange them as
prisoners of war, but treated them most cruelly.

On this very important subject, in reply to some strictures of the
Charleston "Mercury" (made under _misapprehension_), the Chief of
Staff of General Beauregard addressed to that journal the following

               "CHARLESTON, S. C., August 12, 1863.               }

     "Colonel R. B. RHETT, Jr., _Editor of_ 'Mercury':

     "In the 'Mercury' of this date you appear to have written under a
     misapprehension of the facts connected with the present _status_
     of the negroes captured in arms on Morris and James Islands,
     which permit me to state as follows:

     "The Proclamation of the President, dated December twenty-fourth,
     1862, directed that all negro slaves captured in arms should be
     at once delivered over to the executive authorities of the
     respective States to which they belong, to be dealt with
     according to the laws of said States.

     "An informal application was made by the State authorities for
     the negroes captured in this vicinity; but as none of them, it
     appeared, had been slaves of citizens of South Carolina, they
     were not turned over to the civil authority, for at the moment
     there was no official information at these headquarters of the
     Act of Congress by which 'all negroes and mulattoes, who shall be
     engaged in war, or be taken in arms against the confederate
     States, or shall give aid or comfort to the enemies of the
     confederate States,' were directed to be turned over to the
     authorities of 'State or States in which they shall be captured,
     to be dealt with according to the present or future laws of such
     State or States.'

     "On the twenty-first of July, however, the Commanding General
     telegraphed to the Secretary of War for instructions as to the
     disposition to be made of the negroes captured on Morris and
     James Islands, and on the twenty-second received a reply that
     they must be turned over to the State authorities, by virtue of
     the joint resolutions of Congress in question.

     "Accordingly, on the twenty-ninth July, as soon as a copy of the
     resolution or act was received, his Excellency Governor Bonham
     was informed that the negroes captured were held subject to his
     orders, to be dealt with according to the laws of South Carolina.

     "On the same day (twenty-ninth July) Governor Bonham requested
     that they should be retained in military custody until he could
     make arrangements to dispose of them; and in that custody they
     still remain, awaiting the orders of the State authorities.

                         "Respectfully, your obedient servant,
                                             "THOMAS JORDAN,
                                                  "_Chief of Staff._"

The Proclamation of Jefferson Davis, referred to in the second
paragraph of Mr. Jordan's letter, had declared Gen. Butler "a felon,
an outlaw, and an enemy of mankind." It recited his hanging of
Mumford; the neglect of the Federal Government to explain or
disapprove the act; the imprisonment of non-combatants; Butler's woman
order; his sequestration of estates in Western Louisiana; and the
inciting to insurrection and arming of slaves. Mr. Davis directed any
Confederate officer who should capture Gen. Butler to hang him
immediately and without trial. Mr. Davis's proclamation is given here,
as history is bound to hold him personally responsible for the
cruelties practised upon Negro soldiers captured by the rebels from
that time till the close of the war.

     "First. That all commissioned officers in the command of said
     Benjamin F. Butler be declared not entitled to be considered as
     soldiers engaged in honorable warfare, but as robbers and
     criminals, deserving death; and that they and each of them be,
     whenever captured, reserved for execution.

     "Second. That the private soldiers and non-commissioned officers
     in the army of said Butler be considered as only the instruments
     used for the commission of crimes perpetrated by his orders, and
     not as free agents; that they, therefore, be treated, when
     captured as prisoners of war, with kindness and humanity, and be
     sent home on the usual parole that they will in no manner aid or
     serve the United States in any capacity during the continuance of
     this war, unless duly exchanged.

     "Third. That all negro slaves captured in arms be at once
     delivered over to the executive authorities of the respective
     States to which they belong, to be dealt with according to the
     laws of said States.

     "Fourth. That the like orders be executed in all cases with
     respect to all commissioned officers of the United States, when
     found serving in company with said slaves in insurrection against
     the authorities of the different States of this Confederacy.

     "[Signed and sealed at Richmond, Dec. 23, 1862.]

                                             "JEFFERSON DAVIS."

The ghastly horrors of Fort Pillow stand alone in the wide field of
war cruelties. The affair demands great fortitude in the historian who
would truthfully give a narrative of such bloody, sickening detail.

On the 18th of April, 1864, Gen. N. B. Forrest, commanding a corps of
Confederate cavalry, appeared before Fort Pillow, situated about
forty miles above Memphis, Tennessee, and demanded its surrender. It
was held by Major L. F. Booth, with a garrison of 557 men, 262 of whom
were Colored soldiers of the 6th U. S. Heavy Artillery; the other
troops were white, under Major Bradford of the 13th Tennessee Cavalry.
The garrison was mounted with six guns. From before sunrise until nine
A.M. the Union troops had held an outer line of intrenchments; but
upon the death of Major Booth Major Bradford retired his force into
the fort. It was situated upon a high bluff on the Mississippi River,
flanked by two ravines with sheer declivities and partially timbered.
The gun-boat "New Era" was to have coöperated with the fort, but on
account of the extreme height of the bluff, was unable to do much. The
fighting continued until about two o'clock in the afternoon, when the
firing slackened on both sides to allow the guns to cool off. The "New
Era," nearly out of shell, backed into the river to clean her guns.
During this lull Gen. Forrest sent a flag of truce demanding the
unconditional surrender of the fort. A consultation of the Federal
officers was held, and a request made for twenty minutes to consult
the officers of the gun-boat. Gen. Forrest refused to grant this,
saying that he only demanded the surrender of the fort and not the
gun-boat. He demanded an immediate surrender, which was promptly
declined by Major Bradford. During the time these negotiations were
going on, Forrest's men were stealing horses, plundering the buildings
in front of the fort, and closing in upon the fort through the
ravines, which was unsoldierly and cowardly to say the least. Upon
receiving the refusal of Major Booth to capitulate, Forrest gave a
signal and his troops made a frantic charge upon the fort. It was
received gallantly and resisted stubbornly, but there was no use of
fighting. In ten minutes the enemy, assaulting the fort in the centre,
and striking it on the flanks, swept in. The Federal troops
surrendered; but an indiscriminate massacre followed. Men were shot
down in their tracks; pinioned to the ground with bayonet and sabre.
Some were clubbed to death while dying of wounds; others were made to
get down upon their knees, in which condition they were shot to death.
Some were burned alive, having been fastened into the buildings, while
still others were nailed against the houses, tortured, and then burned
to a crisp. A little Colored boy only eight years old was lifted to
the horse of a rebel who intended taking him along with him, when
Gen. Forrest meeting the soldier ordered him to put the child down and
shoot him. The soldier remonstrated, but the stern and cruel order was
repeated, emphasized with an oath, and backed with a threat that
endangered the soldier's life, so he put the child on the ground and
shot him dead! From three o'clock in the afternoon until the merciful
darkness came and threw the sable wings of night over the carnival of
death, the slaughter continued. The stars looked down in pity upon the
dead--ah! they were beyond the barbarous touch of the rebel
fiends--and the dying; and the angels found a spectacle worthy of
their tears. And when the morning looked down upon the battle-field,
it was not to find it peaceful in death and the human hyenas gone.
Alas! those who had survived the wounds of the day before were set
upon again and brained or shot to death.

The Committee on the Conduct and Expenditures of the War gave this
"Horrible Massacre" an investigation. They examined such of the Union
soldiers as escaped from death at Fort Pillow and were sent to the
Mound City Hospital, Illinois. The following extracts from the
testimony given before the Committee, the Hons. Ben. F. Wade and D. W.
Gooch, give something of an idea of this the most cruel and inhuman
affair in the history of the civilized world.

Manuel Nichols (Colored), private. Company B, Sixth United States
Heavy Artillery, sworn and examined.

By Mr. Gooch:

     Question. Were you in the late fight at Fort Pillow?

     Answer. Yes, sir.

     Q. Were you wounded there?

     A. Yes, sir.

     Q. When?

     A. I was wounded once about a half an hour before we gave up.

     Q. Did they do any thing to you after you surrendered?

     A. Yes, sir; they shot me in the head under my left ear, and the
     morning after the fight they shot me again in the right arm. When
     they came up and killed the wounded ones, I saw some four or five
     coming down the hill. I said to one of our boys: "Anderson, I
     expect if those fellows come here they will kill us." I was lying
     on my right side, leaning on my elbow. One of the black soldiers
     went into the house where the white soldiers were. I asked him if
     there was any water in there, and he said yes; I wanted some, and
     took a stick and tried to get to the house. I did not get to the
     house. Some of them came along, and saw a little boy belonging
     to Company D. One of them had his musket on his shoulder, and
     shot the boy down. He said: "All you damned niggers come out of
     the house; I am going to shoot you." Some of the white soldiers
     said: "Boys, it is only death anyhow; if you don't go out they
     will come in and carry you out." My strength seemed to come to me
     as if I had never been shot, and I jumped up and ran down the
     hill. I met one of them coming up the hill; he said: "Stop!" but
     I kept on running. As I jumped over the hill, he shot me through
     the right arm.

     Q. How many did you see them kill after they had surrendered?

     A. After I surrendered I did not go down the hill. A man shot me
     under the ear, and I fell down and said to myself: "If he don't
     shoot me any more this won't hurt me." One of their officers came
     along and hallooed: "Forrest says no quarter! no quarter!" and
     the next one hallooed: "Black flag! black flag!"

     Q. What did they do then?

     A. They kept on shooting. I could hear them down the hill.

     Q. Did you see them bury any body?

     A. Yes, sir; they carried me around right to the corner of the
     Fort, and I saw them pitch men in there.

     Q. Was there any alive?

     A. I did not see them bury any body alive.

     Q. How near to you was the man who shot you under the ear?

     A. Right close to my head. When I was shot in the side, a man
     turned me over, and took my pocket-knife and pocket-book. I had
     some of these brass things that looked like cents. They said:
     "Here's some money; here's some money." I said to myself: "You
     got fooled that time."

Major Williams (Colored), private. Company B, Sixth United States
Heavy Artillery, sworn and examined.

By the Chairman:

     Q. Where were you raised?

     A. In Tennessee and North Mississippi.

     Q. Where did you enlist?

     A. In Memphis.

     Q. Who was your captain?

     A. Captain Lamburg.

     Q. Were you in the fight at Fort Pillow?

     A. Yes, sir.

     Q. Was your captain with you?

     A. No, sir; I think he was at Memphis.

     Q. Who commanded your company?

     A. Lieutenant Hunter and Sergeant Fox were all the officers we

     Q. What did you see done there?

     A. We fought them right hard during the battle, and killed some
     of them. After a time they sent in a flag of truce. They said
     afterward that they did it to make us stop firing until their
     reinforcements could come up. They said that they never could
     have got in if they had not done that; that we had whipped them;
     that they had never seen such a fight.

     Q. Did you see the flag of truce?

     A. Yes, sir.

     Q. What did they do when the flag of truce was in?

     A. They kept coming up nearer, so that they could charge quick. A
     heap of them came up after we stopped firing.

     Q. When did you surrender?

     A. I did not surrender until they all ran.

     Q. Were you wounded then?

     A. Yes, sir; after the surrender.

     Q. At what time of day was that?

     A. They told me it was about half after one o'clock, I was
     wounded. Immediately we retreated.

     Q. Did you have any arms in your hands when they shot you?

     A. No, sir; I was an artillery man, and had no arms.

     Q. Did you see the man who shot you?

     A. No, sir.

     Q. Did you hear him say any thing?

     A. No, sir; I heard nothing. He shot me, and I was bleeding
     pretty free, and I thought to myself: "I will make out it was a
     dead shot, and maybe I will not get another."

     Q. Did you see any others shot?

     A. No, sir.

     Q. Was there any thing said about giving quarter?

     A. Major Bradford brought in a black flag, which meant no
     quarter. I heard, some of the rebel officers say: "You damned
     rascals, if you had not fought us so hard, but had stopped when
     we sent in a flag of truce, we would not have done any thing to
     you." I heard one of the officers say: "Kill all the niggers";
     another one said: "No; Forrest says take them and carry them with
     him to wait upon him and cook for him, and put them in jail and
     send them to their masters." Still they kept on shooting. They
     shot at me after that, but did not hit me; a rebel officer shot
     at me. He took aim at my side; at the crack of his pistol I fell.
     He went on and said: "There's another dead nigger."

     Q. Was there any one shot in the hospital that day?

     A. Not that I know of. I think they all came away and made a raft
     and floated across the mouth of the creek and got into a flat

     Q. Did you see any buildings burned?

     A. I stayed in the woods all day Wednesday. I was there Thursday
     and looked at the buildings. I saw a great deal left that they
     did not have a chance to burn up. I saw a white man burned up who
     was nailed up against the house.

     Q. A private or an officer?

     A. An officer; I think it was a lieutenant in the Tennessee

     Q. How was he nailed?

     A. Through his hands and feet right against the house.

     Q. Was his body burned?

     A. Yes, sir; burned all over--I looked at him good.

     Q. When did you see that?

     A. On the Thursday after the battle.

     Q. Where was the man?

     A. Right in front of the Fort.

Jacob Thompson (Colored), sworn and examined.

By Mr. Gooch:

     Q. Were you a soldier at Fort Pillow?

     A. No, sir; I was not a soldier; but I went up in the Fort and
     fought with the rest. I was shot in the hand and the head.

     Q. When were you shot?

     A. After I surrendered.

     Q. How many times were you shot?

     A. I was shot but once; but I threw my hand up, and the shot went
     through my hand and my head.

     Q. Who shot you?

     A. A private.

     Q. What did he say?

     A. He said: "God damn you, I will shoot you, old friend."

     Q. Did you see anybody else shot?

     A. Yes, sir; they just called them out like dogs, and shot them
     down. I reckon they shot about fifty, white and black, right
     there. They nailed some black sergeants to the logs, and set the
     logs on fire.

     Q. When did you see that?

     A. When I went there in the morning I saw them; they were burning
     all together.

     Q. Did they kill them before they burned them?

     A. No, sir; they nailed them to the logs; drove the nails right
     through their hands.

     Q. How many did you see in that condition?

     A. Some four or five; I saw two white men burned.

     Q. Was there any one else there who saw that?

     A. I reckon there was; I could not tell who.

     Q. When was it that you saw them?

     A. I saw them in the morning after the fight; some of them were
     burned almost in two. I could tell they were white men, because
     they were whiter than the colored men.

     Q. Did you notice how they were nailed?

     A. I saw one nailed to the side of a house; he looked like he was
     nailed right through his wrist. I was trying then to get to the
     boat when I saw it.

     Q. Did you see them kill any white men?

     A. They killed some eight or nine there. I reckon they killed
     more than twenty after it was all over; called them out from
     under the hill, and shot them down. They would call out a white
     man and shoot him down, and call out a colored man and shoot him
     down; do it just as fast as they could make their guns go off.

     Q. Did you see any rebel officers about there when this was going

     A. Yes, sir; old Forrest was one.

     Q. Did you know Forrest?

     A. Yes, sir; he was a little bit of a man. I had seen him before
     at Jackson.

Ransom Anderson (Colored), Company B, Sixth United States Heavy
Artillery, sworn and examined.

By Mr. Gooch:

     Q. Where were you raised?

     A. In Mississippi.

     Q. Were you a slave?

     A. Yes, sir.

     Q. Where did you enlist?

     A. At Corinth.

     Q. Were you in the fight at Fort Pillow?

     A. Yes, sir.

     Q. Describe what you saw done there.

     A. Most all the men that were killed on our side were killed
     after the fight was over. They called them out and shot them
     down. Then they put some in the houses and shut them up, and
     then burned the houses.

     Q. Did you see them burn?

     A. Yes, sir.

     Q. Were any of them alive?

     A. Yes, sir; they were wounded, and could not walk. They put them
     in the houses, and then burned the houses down.

     Q. Do you know they were in there?

     A. Yes, sir; I went and looked in there.

     Q. Do you know they were in there when the house was burned?

     A. Yes, sir; I heard them hallooing there when the houses were

     Q. Are you sure they were wounded men, and not dead men, when
     they were put in there?

     A. Yes, sir; they told them they were going to have the doctor
     see them, and then put them in there and shut them up, and burned

     Q. Who set the house on fire?

     A. I saw a rebel soldier take some grass and lay it by the door,
     and set it on fire. The door was pine plank, and it caught easy.

     Q. Was the door fastened up?

     A. Yes, sir; it was barred with one of those wide bolts.

James Walls, sworn and examined.

By Mr. Gooch:

     Q. To what company did you belong?

     A. To Company E, Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry.

     Q. Under what officers did you serve?

     A. I was under Major Bradford and Captain Potter.

     Q. Were you in the fight at Fort Pillow?

     A. Yes, sir.

     Q. State what you saw there of the fight, and what was done after
     the place was captured.

     A. We fought them for some six or eight hours in the Fort, and
     when they charged our men scattered and ran under the hill; some
     turned back and surrendered, and were shot. After the flag of
     truce came in I went down to get some water. As I was coming back
     I turned sick, and laid down behind a log. The secesh charged,
     and after they came over I saw one go a good ways ahead of the
     others. One of our men made to him and threw down his arms. The
     bullets were flying so thick there I thought I could not live
     there, so I threw down my arms and surrendered. He did not shoot
     me then, but as I turned around he or some other one shot me in
     the back.

     Q. Did they say any thing while they were shooting?

     A. All I heard was: "Shoot him, shoot him!" "Yonder he goes!"
     "Kill him, kill him!" That is about all I heard.

     Q. How many do you suppose you saw shot after they surrendered?

     A. I did not see but two or three shot around me. One of the boys
     of our company, named Taylor, ran up there, and I saw him shot
     and fall. Then another was shot just before me, like--shot down
     after he threw down his arms.

     Q. Those were white men?

     A. Yes, sir. I saw them make lots of niggers stand up, and then
     they shot them down like hogs. The next morning I was lying
     around there waiting for the boat to come up. The secesh would be
     prying around there, and would come to a nigger, and say: "You
     ain't dead, are you?" They would not say any thing; and then the
     secesh would get down off their horses, prick them in their
     sides, and say: "Damn you, you ain't dead; get up." Then they
     would make them get up on their knees, when they would shoot them
     down like hogs.

            *       *       *       *       *

     Q. Did you see any rebel officers about while this shooting was
     going on?

     A. I do not know as I saw any officers about when they were
     shooting the negroes. A captain came to me a few minutes after I
     was shot; he was close by me when I was shot.

     Q. Did he try to stop the shooting?

     A. I did not hear a word of their trying to stop it. After they
     were shot down, he told them not to shoot them any more. I begged
     him not to let them shoot me again, and he said they would not.
     One man, after he was shot down, was shot again. After I was shot
     down, the man I surrendered to went around the tree I was against
     and shot a man, and then came around to me again and wanted my
     pocket-book. I handed it up to him, and he saw my watch-chain and
     made a grasp at it, and got the watch and about half the chain.
     He took an old Barlow knife I had in my pocket. It was not worth
     five cents; was of no account at all, only to cut tobacco with.

Lieutenant McJ. Leming, sworn and examined.

By Mr. Gooch:

     Q. Were you in the fight at Fort Pillow?

     A. Yes, sir.

     Q. What is your rank and position?

     A. I am a First Lieutenant and Adjutant of the Thirteenth
     Tennessee Cavalry. A short time previous to the fight I was
     Post-Adjutant at Fort Pillow, and during most of the engagement
     I was acting as Post-Adjutant. After Major Booth was killed,
     Major Bradford was in command. The pickets were driven in just
     before sunrise, which was the first intimation we had that the
     enemy were approaching. I repaired to the Fort, and found that
     Major Booth was shelling the rebels as they came up toward the
     outer intrenchments. They kept up a steady fire by sharp-shooters
     behind trees and logs and high knolls. The Major thought at one
     time they were planting some artillery, or looking for places to
     plant it. They began to draw nearer and nearer, up to the time
     our men were all drawn into the Fort. Two companies of the
     Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry were ordered out as sharp-shooters,
     but were finally ordered in. We were pressed on all sides.

     I think Major Booth fell not later than nine o'clock. His
     Adjutant, who was then acting Post-Adjutant, fell near the same
     time. Major Bradford then took the command, and I acted as
     Post-Adjutant. Previous to this, Major Booth had ordered some
     buildings in front of the Fort to be destroyed, as the enemy's
     sharp-shooters were endeavoring to get possession of them. There
     were four rows of buildings, but only the row nearest the fort
     was destroyed; the sharp-shooters gained possession of the others
     before they could be destroyed. The fight continued, one almost
     unceasing fire all the time, until about three o'clock. They
     threw some shells, but they did not do much damage with their

     I think it was about three o'clock that a flag of truce
     approached. I went out, accompanied by Captain Young, the
     Provost-Marshal of the post. There was another officer, I think,
     but I do not recollect now particularly who it was, and some four
     mounted men. The rebels announced that they had a communication
     from General Forrest. One of their officers there, I think, from
     his dress, was a colonel. I received the communication, and they
     said they would wait for an answer. As near as I remember, the
     communication was as follows:

                         "HEADQUARTERS CONFEDERATE CAVALRY, }
                         "NEAR FORT PILLOW, April 12, 1864. }

          "As your gallant defence of the Fort has entitled you to the
          treatment of brave men [or something to that effect], I now
          demand an unconditional surrender of your force, at the same
          time assuring you that they will be treated as prisoners of
          war. I have received a fresh supply of ammunition, and can
          easily take your position.

                                             "N. B. FORREST.

          "MAJOR L. F. BOOTH,
               "_Commanding United States Forces_."

     I took this message back to the Fort. Major Bradford replied that
     he desired an hour for consultation and consideration with his
     officers and the officers of the gun-boat. I took out this
     communication to them, and they carried it back to General
     Forrest. In a few minutes another flag of truce appeared, and I
     went out to meet it. Some one said, when they handed the
     communication to me: "That gives you twenty minutes to surrender;
     I am General Forrest." I took it back. The substance of it was:
     "Twenty minutes will be given you to take your men outside of the
     Fort. If in that time they are not out, I will immediately
     proceed to assault your works," or something of that kind. To
     this Major Bradford replied: "I will not surrender." I took it
     out in a sealed envelope, and gave it to him. The general opened
     it and read it. Nothing was said; we simply saluted, and they
     went their way, and I returned back into the Fort.

     Almost instantly the firing began again. We mistrusted, while
     this flag of truce was going on, that they were taking horses out
     at a camp we had. It was mentioned to them, the last time that
     this and other movements excited our suspicion, that they were
     moving their troops. They said that they had noticed it
     themselves, and had it stopped; that it was unintentional on
     their part, and that it should not be repeated.

     It was not long after the last flag of truce had retired, that
     they made their grand charge. We kept them back for several
     minutes. What was called ---- brigade or battalion attacked the
     centre of the Fort where several companies of colored troops were
     stationed. They finally gave way, and, before we could fill up
     the breach, the enemy got inside the Fort, and then they came in
     on the other two sides, and had complete possession of the Fort.
     In the mean time nearly all the officers had been killed,
     especially of the colored troops, and there was no one hardly to
     guide the men. They fought bravely indeed until that time. I do
     not think the men who broke had a commissioned officer over them.
     They fought with the most determined bravery, until the enemy
     gained possession of the Fort. They kept shooting all the time.
     The negroes ran down the hill toward the river, but the rebels
     kept shooting them as they were running; shot some again after
     they had fallen; robbed and plundered them. After every thing was
     all gone, after we had given up the Fort entirely, the guns
     thrown away and the firing on our part stopped, they still kept
     up their murderous fire, more especially on the colored troops, I
     thought, although the white troops suffered a great deal. I know
     the colored troops had a great deal the worst of it. I saw
     several shot after they were wounded; as they were crawling
     around, the secesh would step out and blow their brains out.

     About this time they shot me. It must have been four or half-past
     four o'clock. I saw there was no chance at all, and threw down my
     sabre. A man took deliberate aim at me, but a short distance from
     me, certainly not more than fifteen paces, and shot me.

     Q. With a musket or pistol?

     A. I think it was a carbine; it may have been a musket, but my
     impression is, that it was a carbine. Soon after I was shot I was
     robbed. A secesh soldier came along, and wanted to know if I had
     any greenbacks. I gave him my pocket-book. I had about a hundred
     dollars, I think, more or less, and a gold watch and gold chain.
     They took every thing in the way of valuables that I had. I saw
     them robbing others. That seemed to be the general way they
     served the wounded, so far as regards those who fell in my
     vicinity. Some of the colored troops jumped into the river, but
     were shot as fast as they were seen. One poor fellow was shot as
     he reached the bank of the river. They ran down and hauled him
     out. He got on his hands and knees, and was crawling along, when
     a secesh soldier put his revolver to his head, and blew his
     brains out. It was about the same thing all along, until dark
     that night.

     I was very weak, but I finally found a rebel who belonged to a
     society that I am a member of (the Masons), and he got two of our
     colored soldiers to assist me up the hill, and he brought me some
     water. At that time it was about dusk. He carried me up just to
     the edge of the Fort, and laid me down. There seemed to be quite
     a number of dead collected there. They were throwing them into
     the outside trench, and I heard them talking about burying them
     there. I heard one of them say: "There is a man who is not quite
     dead yet." They buried a number there; I do not know how many.

     I was carried that night to a sort of little shanty that the
     rebels had occupied during the day with their sharp-shooters. I
     received no medical attention that night at all. The next morning
     early I heard the report of cannon down the river. It was the
     gun-boat 28 coming up from Memphis; she was shelling the rebels
     along the shore as she came up. The rebels immediately ordered
     the burning of all the buildings, and ordered the two buildings
     where the wounded were to be fired. Some one called to the
     officer who gave the order, and said there were wounded in them.
     The building I was in began to catch fire. I prevailed upon one
     of our soldiers who had not been hurt much to draw me out, and I
     think others got the rest out. They drew us down a little way, in
     a sort of gully, and we lay there in the hot sun without water or
     any thing.

     About this time a squad of rebels came around, it would seem for
     the purpose of murdering what negroes they could find. They began
     to shoot the wounded negroes all around there, interspersed with
     the whites. I was lying a little way from a wounded negro, when a
     secesh soldier came up to him, and said: "What in hell are you
     doing here?" The colored soldier said he wanted to get on the
     gun-boat. The secesh soldier said: "You want to fight us again,
     do you? Damn you, I'll teach you," and drew up his gun and shot
     him dead. Another negro was standing up erect a little way from
     me--he did not seem to be hurt much. The rebel loaded his gun
     again immediately. The negro begged of him not to shoot him, but
     he drew up his gun and took deliberate aim at his head. The gun
     snapped, but he fixed it again, and then killed him. I saw this.
     I heard them shooting all around there--I suppose killing them.

By the Chairman:

     Q. Do you know of any rebel officers going on board our gun-boat
     after she came up?

     A. I don't know about the gun-boat, but I saw some of them on
     board the "Platte Valley," after I had been carried on her. They
     came on board, and I think went into drink with some of our
     officers. I think one of the rebel officers was General Chalmers.

     Q. Do you know what officers of ours drank with them?

     A. I do not.

     Q. You know that they did go on board the "Platte Valley" and
     drink with some of our officers?

     A. I did not see them drinking at the time, but I have no doubt
     they did; that was my impression from all I saw, and I thought
     our officers might have been in better business.

     Q. Were our officers treating these rebel officers with

     A. They seemed to be; I did not see much of it, as they passed
     along by me.

     Q. Do you know whether or not the conduct of the privates, in
     murdering our soldiers after they had surrendered, seemed to have
     the approval of their officers?

     A. I did not see much of their officers, especially during the
     worst of those outrages; they seemed to be back.

     Q. Did you observe any effort on the part of their officers to
     suppress the murders?

     A. No, sir; I did not see any where I was first carried; just
     about dusk, all at once several shots were fired just outside.
     The cry was: "They are shooting the darkey soldiers." I heard an
     officer ride up and say: "Stop that firing; arrest that man." I
     suppose it was a rebel officer, but I do not know. It was
     reported to me, at the time, that several darkeys were shot then.
     An officer who stood by me, a prisoner, said that they had been
     shooting them, but that the general had had it stopped.

     Q. Do you know of any of our men in the hospital being murdered?

     A. I do not.

     Q. Do you know any thing of the fate of your Quartermaster,
     Lieutenant Akerstrom?

     A. He was one of the officers who went with me to meet the flag
     of truce the last time. I do not know what became of him; that
     was about the last I saw of him. I heard that he was nailed to a
     board and burned, and I have very good reason for believing that
     was the case, although I did not see it. The First Lieutenant of
     Company D of my regiment says that he has an affidavit to that
     effect of a man who saw it.

Francis A. Alexander, sworn and examined.

By the Chairman:

     Q. To what company and regiment do you belong?

     A. Company C, Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry.

     Q. Were you at Fort Pillow at the fight there?

     A. Yes, sir.

     Q. Who commanded your regiment?

     A. Major Bradford commanded the regiment, and Lieutenant Logan
     commanded our company.

     Q. By what troops was the Fort attacked?

     A. Forrest was in command. I saw him.

     Q. Did you know Forrest?

     A. I saw him there, and they all said it was Forrest. Their own
     men said so.

     Q. By what troops was the charge made?

     A. They are Alabamians and Texans.

     Q. Did you see any thing of a flag of truce?

     A. Yes, sir.

     Q. State what was done while the flag of truce was in.

     A. When the flag of truce came up our officers went out and held
     a consultation, and it went back. They came in again with a flag
     of truce; and while they were consulting the second time, their
     troops were coming up a gap or hollow, where we could have cut
     them to pieces. They tried it before, but could not do it. I saw
     them come up there while the flag of truce was in the second

     Q. That gave them an advantage?

     A. Yes, sir.

     Q. Were you wounded there?

     A. Not in the Fort. I was wounded after I left the Fort and was
     going down the hill.

     Q. Was that before or after the Fort was taken?

     A. It was afterward.

     Q. Did you have any arms in your hand at the time they shot you?

     A. No, sir; I threw my gun away, and started down the hill, and
     got about twenty yards, when I was shot through the calf of the

     Q. Did they shoot you more than once?

     A. No, sir; they shot at me, but did not hit me more than once.

     Q. Did they say why they shot you after you had surrendered?

     A. They said afterward they intended to kill us all for being
     there with their niggers.

     Q. Were any rebel officers there at the time this shooting was
     going on?

     A. Yes, sir.

     Q. Did they try to stop it?

     A. One or two of them did.

     Q. What did the rest of them do?

     A. They kept shouting and hallooing at the men to give no
     quarter. I heard that cry very frequent.

     Q. Was it the officers that said that?

     A. I think it was. I think it was them, the way they were going
     on. When our boys were taken prisoners, if anybody came up who
     knew them, they shot them down. As soon as ever they recognized
     them, wherever it was, they shot them.

     Q. After they had taken them prisoners?

     A. Yes, sir.

     Q. Did you know any thing about their shooting men in the

     A. I know of their shooting negroes in there. I don't know about
     white men.

     Q. Wounded negro men?

     A. Yes, sir.

     Q. Who did that?

     A. Some of their troops. I don't know which of them. The next
     morning I saw several black people shot that were wounded, and
     some that were not wounded. One was going down the hill before
     me, and the officer made him come back up the hill; and after I
     got in the boat I heard them shooting them.

     Q. You say you saw them shoot negroes in the hospital the next

     A. Yes, sir; wounded negroes who could not get along; one with
     his leg broke. They came there the next day and shot him.

John F. Ray, sworn and examined.

By Mr. Gooch:

     Q. To what company and regiment do you belong?

     A. Company B, Thirteenth Tennessee Cavalry.

     Q. Were you at Fort Pillow, when it was attacked?

     A. Yes, sir.

     Q. At what time were you wounded?

     A. I was wounded about two o'clock, after the rebels got in the

     Q. Was it before or after you had surrendered?

     A. It was after I threw down my gun, as they all started to run.

     Q. Will you state what you saw there?

     A. After I surrendered they shot down a great many white fellows
     right close to me--ten or twelve, I suppose--and a great many
     negroes, too.

     Q. How long did they keep shooting our men after they

     A. I heard guns away after dark shooting all that evening,
     somewhere; they kept up a regular fire for a long time, and then
     I heard the guns once in a while.

     Q. Did you see any one shot the next day?

     A. I did not; I was in a house, and could not get up at all.

     Q. Do you know what became of the Quartermaster of your regiment,
     Lieutenant Akerstrom?

     A. He was shot by the side of me.

     Q. Was he killed?

     A. I thought so at the time; he fell on his face. He was shot in
     the forehead, and I thought he was killed. I heard afterward he
     was not.

     Q. Did you notice any thing that took place while the flag of
     truce was in?

     A. I saw the rebels slipping up and getting in the ditch along
     our breastworks.

     Q. How near did they come up?

     A. They were right at us; right across from the breastworks. I
     asked them what they were slipping up there for. They made answer
     that they knew their business.

     Q. Are you sure this was done while the flag of truce was in?

     A. Yes, sir. There was no firing; we could see all around; we
     could see them moving up all around in large force.

     Q. Was any thing said about it except what you said to the

     A. I heard all our boys talking about it. I heard some of our
     officers remark, as they saw it coming, that the white flag was a
     bad thing; that they were slipping on us. I believe it was
     Lieutenant Akerstrom that I heard say it was against the rules of
     war for them to come up in that way.

     Q. To whom did he say that?

     A. To those fellows coming up; they had officers with them.

     Q. Was Lieutenant Akerstrom shot before or after he had

     A. About two minutes after the flag of truce went back, during
     the action.

     Q. Do you think of any thing else to state? If so, go on and
     state it.

     A. I saw a rebel lieutenant take a little negro[114] boy up on
     the horse behind him; and then I heard General Chalmers--I think
     it must have been--tell him to "Take that negro down and shoot
     him," or "Take him and shoot him," and he passed him down and
     shot him.

     Q. How large was the boy?

     A. He was not more than eight years old. I heard the lieutenant
     tell the other that the negro was not in the service; that he was
     nothing but a child; that he was pressed and brought in there.
     The other one said; "Damn the difference; take him down and shoot
     him, or I will shoot him." I think it must have been General
     Chalmers. He was a smallish man; he had on a long gray coat, with
     a star on his coat.[115]

The country and the world stood aghast. The first account of this
human butchery was too much for credence: after a while the truth
began to dawn upon the country; and at last the people admitted that
in a Christian land like America a deed so foul--blacker than hell
itself!--had actually been perpetrated. The patience of the North and
the Union army gave way to bitterest imprecations; the exultation and
applause of the South and Confederate army were succeeded by serious
thoughts and sad reflections. But it is the duty of impartial history
to record that this bloody, sickening affair was not endorsed by all
the rebels.

In a letter dated Okalona, Mississippi, June. 14, 1864, to the
"Atlanta Appeal," a rebel gives this endorsement of Forrest's conduct
at Fort Pillow:

     "You have heard that our soldiers buried negroes alive at Fort
     Pillow. This is true. At the first fire after Forrest's men
     scaled the walls, many of the negroes threw down their arms and
     fell as if they were dead. They perished in the pretence, and
     could only be restored at the point of the bayonet. To
     resuscitate some of them, more terrified than the rest, they were
     rolled into the trenches made as receptacles for the fallen.
     Vitality was not restored till breathing was obstructed, and then
     the resurrection began. On these facts is based the pretext for
     the crimes committed by Sturgis, Grierson, and their followers.
     You must remember, too, that in the extremity of their terror, or
     for other reasons, the Yankees and negroes in Fort Pillow
     neglected to haul down their flag. In truth, relying upon their
     gun-boats, the officers expected to annihilate our forces after
     we had entered the fortifications. They did not intend to

     "A terrible retribution, in any event, has befallen the ignorant,
     deluded Africans."

Gen. Forrest was a cold-blooded murderer; a fiend in human form. But
as the grave has opened long since to receive him; and as the cause he
represented has perished from the earth, it is enough to let the
record stand without comment, and God grant without malice! It is the
duty of history to record that there is to be found no apologist for
cruelties that rebels inflicted upon brave but helpless Black soldiers
during the war for the extirpation of slavery. The Confederate conduct
at Pillow must remain a foul stain upon the name of the men who fought
to perpetuate human slavery in North America, but failed.


[112] New York Tribune, April 14, 1863.

[113] Rebellion Recs., vol. viii. Doc. pp. 418, 419.

[114] Gen. Chalmers has denied, with vehemence, that he ever did any
cruel act at Fort Pillow, but the record is against him. Soldiers
under brave, intelligent, and humane officers could never be guilty of
such cruel and unchristian conduct as these rebels at Pillow. Gen.
Chalmers is responsible. As an illustration of the gentle and
forgiving spirit of the Negro, it should be recorded here that many
supported the candidacy of Gen. Chalmers for Congress, and voted for
him at the recent election in Mississippi.

[115] See Report of Committee on Conduct of War.

Part 8.






Appomattox had taken her place in history; and the echo of the triumph
of Federal arms was heard in the palaces of Europe. The United States
Government had survived the shock of the embattled arms of a gigantic
Rebellion; had melted the manacles of four million slaves in the fires
of civil war; had made four million bondmen freemen; had wiped slavery
from the map of North America; had demonstrated the truth that the
Constitution is the supreme law of the land; and that the United
States is a NATION, not a league.

The brazen-mouthed, shotted cannon were voiceless; a million muskets
and swords hung upon the dusty walls of silent arsenals; and war
ceased from the proud altitudes of the mountains of Virginia to where
the majestic Atlantic washes the shores of the Carolinas. A million
soldiers in blue melted quietly into the modest garb of citizens. The
myriad hum of busy shuttles, clanking machinery, and whirling wheels
proclaimed the day of peace. Families and communities were restored
and bound together by the indissoluble, golden ties of domestic
charities. The war was over; peace had been restored; and the nation
was cleansed of a plague.

But what was to be done with the millions of Negroes at the South? The
war had made them free. That was all. They could leave the plantation.
They had the right of locomotion; were property no longer. But what a
spectacle! Here were four million human beings without clothing,
shelter, homes, and, alas! most of them without names. The galling
harness of slavery had been cut off of their weary bodies, and like a
worn-out beast of burden they stood in their tracks scarcely able to
go anywhere. Like men coming from long confinement in a dark dungeon,
the first rays of freedom blinded their expectant eyes. They were
almost delirious with joy. The hopes and fears, the joys and sorrows,
the pain and waiting, the prayers and tears of the cruel years of
slavery gave place to a long train of events that swept them out into
the rapid current of a life totally different from the checkered
career whence they had just emerged. It required time, patience, and
extraordinary wisdom on the part of the Government to solve the
problem of this people's existence--of this "Nation born in a day."
Their joy was too full, their peace too profound, and their
thanksgiving too sincere to attract their attention at once to the
vulgar affairs of daily life. One fervent, beautiful psalm of praise
rose from every Negro hut in the South, and swelled in majestic
sweetness until the nation became one mighty temple canopied by the
stars and stripes, and the Constitution as the common altar before
whose undimmed lights a ransomed race humbly bowed.

The emancipated Negroes had no ability, certainly no disposition, to
reason concerning the changes and disasters which had overtaken their
former masters. The white people of the South were divided into three
classes. _First_, those who felt that defeat was intolerable, and a
residence in this country incongenial. They sought the service of the
Imperial cause in war-begrimed Mexico; they went to Cuba, Australia,
Egypt, and to Europe. _Second_, those who returned to their homes
after the "affair at Appomattox," and sitting down under the
portentous clouds of defeat, refused to take any part in the
rehabilitation of their States. _Third_, those who accepted the
situation and stood ready to aid in the work of reconstruction.

In the unsettled condition of affairs at the close of hostilities, as
there was no legal State governments at the South, necessity and
prudence suggested the temporary policy of dividing the South into
military districts. A provisional military government in the conquered
States was to pursue a pacific, protective, helpful policy. The people
of both races were to be fed and clothed. Schools were to be
established; agriculture and industry encouraged. Courts were to be
established of competent jurisdiction to hear and decide cases among
the people. Such a government while military in name was patriarchal
in spirit. As early as the spring of 1865, before the war was over, an
act was passed by Congress providing for the destitute of the South.


     "_Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the
     United States of America in Congress assembled_, That there is
     hereby established in the War Department, to continue during the
     present war of rebellion, and for one year thereafter, a Bureau
     of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, to which shall be
     committed, as hereinafter provided, the supervision and
     management of all abandoned lands, and the control of all
     subjects relating to refugees and freedmen from rebel States, or
     from any district of country within the territory embraced in the
     operations of the army, under such rules and regulations as may
     be prescribed by the head of the bureau and approved by the
     President. The said bureau shall be under the management and
     control of a commissioner, to be appointed by the President, by
     and with the advice and consent of the Senate, whose compensation
     shall be three thousand dollars per annum, and such number of
     clerks as may be assigned to him by the Secretary of War, not
     exceeding one chief clerk, two of the fourth class, two of the
     third class, three of the second class, and five of the first
     class. And the commissioner and all persons appointed under this
     act shall, before entering upon their duties, take the oath of
     office prescribed in an act entitled, 'An act to prescribe an
     oath of office, and for other purposes,' approved July 2, 1862.
     And the commissioners and the chief clerk shall, before entering
     upon their duties, give bonds to the Treasurer of the United
     States, the former in the sum of fifty thousand dollars, and the
     latter in the sum of ten thousand dollars, conditioned for the
     faithful discharge of their duties respectively, with securities
     to be approved as sufficient by the attorney general, which bonds
     shall be filed in the office of the First Comptroller of the
     Treasury, to be by him put in suit for the benefit of any injured
     party, upon any breach of the conditions thereof.

     "SEC. 2. _And be it further enacted_, That the Secretary of War
     may direct such issues of provisions, clothing, and fuel as he
     may deem needful for the immediate and temporary shelter and
     supply of destitute and suffering refugees and freedmen, and
     their wives and children, under such rules and regulations as he
     may direct.

     "SEC. 3. _And be it further enacted_, That the President may, by
     and with the advice and consent of the Senate, appoint an
     assistant commissioner for each of the States declared to be in
     insurrection, not exceeding ten in number, who shall, under the
     direction of the commissioner, aid in the execution of the
     provisions of this act, and he shall give a bond to the Treasurer
     of the United States in the sum of twenty thousand dollars, in
     the form and manner prescribed in the first section of this act.
     Each of said assistant commissioners shall receive an annual
     salary of two thousand and five hundred dollars, in full
     compensation for all his services. And any military officer may
     be detailed and assigned to duty under this act without increase
     of pay or allowances. The commissioner shall, before the
     commencement of each regular session of Congress, make full
     report of his proceedings, with exhibits of the state of his
     accounts, to the President, who shall communicate the same to
     Congress, and shall also make special reports whenever required
     to do so by the President, or either house of Congress. And the
     assistant commissioners shall make quarterly reports of their
     proceedings to the commissioner, and also such other special
     reports as from time to time may be required.

     "SEC. 4. _And be it further enacted_, That the commissioner,
     under the direction of the President, shall have authority to set
     apart for the use of loyal refugees and freedmen such tracts of
     land, within the insurrectionary States, as shall have been
     abandoned, or to which the United States shall have acquired
     title by confiscation, or sale, or otherwise. And to every male
     citizen, whether refugee or freedman, as aforesaid, there shall
     be assigned not more than forty acres of such land, and the
     person to whom it is so assigned shall be protected in the use
     and enjoyment of the land for the term of three years, at an
     annual rent not exceeding six per centum upon the value of said
     land as it was appraised by the State authorities in the year
     1860, for the purpose of taxation, and in case no such appraisal
     can be found, then the rental shall be based upon the estimated
     value of the land in said year, to be ascertained in such manner
     as the commissioner may, by regulation, prescribe. At the end of
     said term, or at any time during said term, the occupants of any
     parcels so assigned may purchase the land and receive such title
     thereto as the United States can convey, upon paying therefor
     the value of the land, as ascertained and fixed for the purpose
     of determining the annual rent as aforesaid.

     "SEC. 5. _And be it further enacted_, That all acts and parts of
     acts inconsistent with the provisions of this act are hereby

      "ROBERT C. SCHENCK,                 HENRY WILSON,
      "GEORGE S. BOUTWELL,                JAMES HARLAN,
      "JAMES S. ROLLINS,                  W. T. WILLEY,
     "_Managers on part of House._      _Managers on part of Senate._"

To have subjected the late rebellious States to military rule for a
stated term of years, say a decade or a generation, would have given
force to the hasty statement of rebels and their sympathizers in the
courts of Europe. It was charged that the United States Government
fought to subjugate the Confederate States. The United States did not
"begin it," and did not intend, at any time, to lay the mailed hand of
military power against the throat of the rights of loyal citizens or
loyal States. The _sine qua non_ of reconstruction was _loyalty to the
Federal Government_. But while this idea was next to the heart of the
Government, the sudden and horrible taking off of Abraham Lincoln
discovered many master-builders, who built not well or wisely. The
early education of Andrew Johnson was not in line with the work of
reconstruction. His sympathies were with the South in spite of his
position and circumstances. The friends of his early political life
were more potent than the friends of a sound, sensible, and loyal
policy upon which to build the shattered governments of the South. And
by indicating and advocating a policy at variance with the logical
events of the war, he was guilty of a political crime, and did the
entire nation an irreparable injury.

Congress seemed to be unequal to the task of perfecting a proper plan
for reconstructing the Southern States. To couple general amnesty to
the rebels with suffrage to the Negroes was a most fatal policy. It
has been shown that there was but one class of white men in the South
friendly to reconstruction,--numerically, small; and mentally, weak.
But it was thought best to do this. To a triple element Congress
committed the work of reconstruction. The "_Scalawag_," the
"_Carpet-bagger_," and the _Negro_. Who were this trio? The scalawag
was the native white man who made up the middle class of the South;
the planter above, the Negro below. And between this upper and nether
millstone he was destined to be ground to powder, under the old
regime. A "nigger-driver," without schools, social position, or money,
he was "the poor white trash" of the South. He was loyal during the
war, because in the triumph of the Confederacy, with slavery as its
corner-stone, he saw no hope for his condition. Those of them who
fought under the rebel flag were unwilling conscripts. They had no
qualifications for governing--except that they were _loyal_; and this
was of no more use to them in this great work, than _piety_ in the
pulpit when the preacher cannot repeat the Lord's prayer without
biting his tongue. The carpet-baggers ran all the way from "good to
middling." Some went South with fair ability and good morals, where
they lost the latter article and never found it; while many more went
South to get all they could and keep all they got. The Negro could
boast of numerical strength only. The scalawag managed the Negro, the
latter did the voting, while the carpet-bagger held the offices. And
when there were "more stalls than horses" the Negroes and scalawags
occasionally got an office.

The rebels were still in a swoon.

The States were reconstructed, after a manner, and the governments
went forward.

In 1868 Gen. U. S. Grant carried these States. It was like the handle
on a jug, all on one side. The rebels took no part; but after a while
a gigantic Ku Klux conspiracy was discovered. This organization sought
to obstruct the courts, harass the Negroes, and cripple local
governments. It spread terror through the South and made a political
graveyard of startling dimensions. The writ of _habeas corpus_ was
suspended; arrests made, trials and convictions secured, and the
penitentiary at Albany, New York, crowded with the enemies of law and
order. A subsidence followed, and the scalawag-carpetbag-Negro
governments began a fresh existence.

In 1872 Gen. Grant carried the Southern States again, meeting with but
little resistance. In Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina there
were Negro lieutenant-governors. The Negroes were learning rapidly the
lesson of rotation in office, and demanded recognition. Alabama,
Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina, were
represented, in part, by Negroes in the National House of
Representatives, and Mississippi in the Senate as well. Both branches
of the Legislatures of all the Southern States contained Negro
members; while many of the most important and lucrative offices in
the States were held by Negroes.

The wine cup, the gaming-table, and the parlors of strange women
charmed many of these men to the neglect of important public duties.
The bonded indebtedness of these States began to increase, the State
paper to depreciate, the burden of taxation to grow intolerable, bad
laws to find their way into the statute-books, interest in education
and industry to decline, the farm Negroes to grow idle and gravitate
to the infectious skirts of large cities, and the whole South went
from bad to worse.

The hand of revenge reached for the shot-gun, and before its deadly
presence white leaders were intimidated, driven out, or destroyed.
Before 1875 came, the white element in the Republican party at the
South was reduced to a mere shadow of its former self. Thus abandoned,
the Negro needed the presence of the United States army while he
voted, held office, and drew his salary. But even the army lacked the
power to inject life into the collapsed governments at the South.

The mistake of reconstruction was twofold: on the part of the Federal
Government, in committing the destinies of the Southern States to
hands so feeble; and on the part of the South, in that its best men,
instead of taking a lively interest in rebuilding the governments they
had torn down, allowed them to be constructed with untempered mortar.
Neither the South nor the Government could say: "Thou canst not say I
did it: shake not thy gory locks at me." Both were culpable, and both
have suffered the pangs of remorse.


[116] I am preparing a History of the Reconstruction of the Late
Confederate States, 1865-1880. Hence I shall not enter into a thorough
treatment of the subject in this work. It will follow this work, and
comprise two volumes.




Surely some good did come out of Nazareth. The poor, deluded,
misguided, confiding Negro finished his long holiday at last, and
turning from the dream of "forty acres and a mule," settled down to
the stubborn realities of his new life of duties, responsibilities,
and privileges. His idleness was sporadic, not generic,--it was simply
reaction. He had worked faithfully, incessantly for two centuries and
a half; had enriched the South with the sweat of his brow; and in two
wars had baptized the soil with his patriotic blood. And when the year
of jubilee came he enjoyed himself right royally.

This disposition to frolic on the part of the Negro gave rise to grave
concern among his friends, and was promptly accepted as conclusive
proof of his unfitness for the duties of a freeman by his enemies. But
he soon dispelled the fears of his friends and disarmed the prejudices
of his foes.

As already shown there was no provision made for the education of the
Negro before the war; every thing had been done to keep him in
ignorance. To emancipate 4,000,000 of slaves and absorb them into the
political life of the government without detriment to both was indeed
a formidable undertaking. Republics gain their strength and
perpetuity from the self-governing force in the people; and in order
to be self-governing a people must be educated. Moreover, all good
laws that are cheerfully obeyed are but the emphatic expression of
public sentiment. Where the great majority of the people are kept in
ignorance the tendency is toward the production of two other classes,
aristocrats and political "Herders." The former seek to get as far
from "the common herd" as possible, while the latter bid off the
rights of the poor and ignorant to the highest bidder.

It was quite appropriate for the Government to make speedy provision
for plying the mass of ignorant Negroes with school influences. And
the liberality of the provision was equalled by the eagerness of the
Negroes to learn. Nor should history fail to record that the
establishment of schools for freedmen by the Government was the
noblest, most sensible act it could have done. What the Negroes have
accomplished through these schools is the marvel of the age.

On the 20th of May, 1865, Major-Gen. O. O. Howard was appointed
Commissioner of the Freedmen's Bureau. He gave great attention to the
subject of education; and after planting schools for the freedmen
throughout a great portion of the South, in 1870--five years after the
work was begun--he made a report. It was full of interest. In five
years there were 4,239 schools established, 9,307 teachers employed,
and 247,333 pupils instructed. In 1868 the average attendance was
89,396; but in 1870 it was 91,398, or 79-3/4 per cent. of the total
number enrolled. The emancipated people sustained 1,324 schools
themselves, and owned 592 school buildings. The Freedmen's Bureau
furnished 654 buildings for school purposes. The wonderful progress
they made from year to year, in scholarship, may be fairly judged by
the following, corresponding with the half year in 1869:

                                         JULY, 1869.    JULY, 1870.
  Advanced readers                         43,746         43,540
  Geography                                36,992         39,321
  Arithmetic                               51,172         52,417
  Writing                                  53,606         58,034
  Higher branches                           7,627          9,690

There were 74 high and normal schools, with 8,147 students; and 61
industrial schools, with 1,750 students in attendance. In doing this
great work--for buildings, repairs, teachers, etc.,--$1,002,896.07
was expended. Of this sum the _freedmen raised_ $200,000.00! This was
conclusive proof that emancipation was no mistake. Slavery was a
twofold cross of woe to the land. It did not only degrade the slave,
but it blunted the sensibilities, and, by its terrible weight, carried
down under the slimy rocks of society some of the best white people in
the South. Like a cankerous malady its venom has touched almost every
side of American life.

The white race is in a constant and almost overpowering relation to
the other races upon this continent. It is the duty of this great
totality of intellectual life and force, to supply adequate facilities
for the education of the less intelligent and less fortunate. Of every
ten thousand (10,000) inhabitants there are:

                        WHITE.   COLORED.   CHINESE.   INDIANS.
  In the States         8,711      1,269         15          5
  In the Territories    8,711      1,017        158        114
  In the whole Union    8,711      1,266         16          7

When we turn our attention to the Southern States, we shall find that
the white people are in excess of the Colored as follows:

  Alabama              45,874
  Arkansas            239,946
  Delaware             79,427
  Florida               4,368
  Georgia              93,774
  Kentucky            876,442
  Maryland            430,106
  Missouri          1,485,075
  North Carolina      286,820
  Tennessee           613,788
  Texas               311,225
  Virginia            199,248
  West Virginia       406,043

while the Colored people are in excess in only three States, having
over the whites the following majorities:

  Louisiana             2,145
  South Carolina      126,147
  Mississippi          61,305

This leaves the whites in these sixteen States in a majority of
4,882,539, over the Colored people. There are more than two whites to
every Colored in the entire population in these States.

Group the States and territories into three geographical classes, and
designate them as Northern, Pacific, and Southern. The first may
comprise all the "free States," where slavery never existed; put in
the second the three Pacific States and all the territories, except
the District of Columbia; and in the third gather all the "slave
States" and the District. Now then, in the Northern class, out of
every 14 persons who can neither read nor write, 13 are white. In the
Pacific class, out of every 23 who can neither read nor write, 20 are
white. In the Southern class, out of every 42 who can neither read nor
write, 15 are white. Thus it can be seen that the white illiterates of
the United States outnumber those of all the other races together. It
might be profitable to the gentlemen who, upon every convenient
occasion, rail about "the deplorable ignorance of the blacks," to look
up this question a little![117]

The Colored people have made wonderful progress in educational matters
since the war. Take a few States for examples of what they are doing.
In Georgia, in 1860, there were 458,540 slaves. In 1870 there were 87
private schools, 79 teachers with 3,021 pupils. Of other schools, more
public in character, there were 221, with an attendance of 11,443
pupils. In 1876 the Colored school population of this State was
48,643, with 879 schools; and with 55,268 pupils in public and private
schools in 1877.

In South Carolina, in 1874, there were 63,415 Colored children
attending the public schools; in 1876 there were 70,802, or an
increase of 7,387.

In Virginia, in 1870, there were 39,000 Colored pupils in the schools,
which were few in number. In 1874 the