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Title: Historical Romance of the American Negro
Author: Fowler, Charles H.
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Internet Archive/American Libraries.





604-608 Water Street,



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1902, by


In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, Washington, D. C.




Respectfully yours—Charles H. Fowler M. D. A. M.


[Illustration: _Respectfully yours—Charles H. Fowler M. D. A. M._]

For a number of years it has been on my mind to write a book regarding
the principal events that have occurred to the colored race since the
beginning of the agitation against slavery, going on from thence to the
great Rebellion, passing through that war, and also dealing with all
subjects of great importance that have arrested our attention under our
glorious freedom.

At the same time it has occurred to me, as it has to many another
writer, that my book would be far more interesting to the general
reader, if I were to select a representative woman of our own race, and
make her the mouthpiece of all I wished to say; in other words, to
introduce the whole under the pleasing form of an historical romance, so
that we might keep our heroine constantly before our eyes, and make her
weave in a continuous tale of love, travel, war and peace, and thus
portray the lady playing her own parts on that tremendous stage of Time
that has been set forth for the gaze and astonishment of the whole
country during the past fifty years. I hope those members of the general
public who favor me by a perusal of my book will be pleased with my

"Peace hath her victories, no less renowned than war," and I have
introduced into my book all the great advances that our race has made
since the fall of Richmond, and, indeed, have brought things down to
this year. The reader will find a number of things that are intended to
introduce humor, and to brighten the darker portions of the story.

And as some fault-finding person may say that I have overdrawn my
heroine, and made her far more clever than she could ever have naturally
been, I venture to affirm that such a charge can by no means be just,
for we have women among us, and men, too, who are as intelligent and
clever as can be found among any other race on the face of the earth. I
believe my book will prove the truth of this assertion in those cases,
at least, where the heroines and heroes of the colored race are
mentioned in its pages by name.

Beulah Jackson will therefore stand as a representative woman among our
own people.


Baltimore, Md., 1902.


In this period of the Negro’s development so much has been wielded
towards influencing him in the expression of manly sentiment, that when
an unhampered and heartfelt defense is made in his behalf by one of his
number, it should, and I believe will, secure a universal support by the

The eagerness to devour books is so prevalent in the present decade that
the Anglo-Saxon litterateurs and publishers endeavor to withhold and
suppress all that tends to prove the Negro a man and an equal, patting
all of their writers and molders of public opinion on the back, who are
cringing and palliating with the deceitful exclamation, "Behold, thee!
thou art great!" The desire to secure this cowardly approbation has,
indeed, become too numerous. Learned men, with ability to withhold the
sentiments of their hearts and people, have too frequently sold the
golden opportunities of their lives for paltry sums and positions to
these literary hawks. But few of the public speakers and writers of
these times dare utter the thoughts of Douglass, Turner, Price, Garnett,
and that grand galaxy of post-bellum fighters, who knew no middle
ground, but stood out for all that the Fourteenth and Fifteenth
Amendments to the Constitution had embodied in them. They had no axe to
grind, and even so, their oppressed feelings wouldn’t permit them have
it ground at the expense of the manhood of their four million brothers.

It is high time that the Negro judge whose utterances are fitting and
suitable to his case, who stands for his utterances, and which have his
sanction, not to allow those hostile to your very existence select,
under the guise of friendship, those sentiments put forth by
aggrandizing writers and leaders distasteful to you, and brand them as
your daily thoughts and hourly prayers. Respect for the sycophant cannot
exist long, even among them whom he traitorously serves. A tree is
judged by its fruit; so is a race judged by its representative men. If
they be honest, the race is placed in the category of men; if wicked,
treacherous and deceitful, their place is fixed among the distrustful.

[Illustration: _BEULAH JACKSON._]

It therefore becomes a small part for us to perform in signalizing the
honest writer and leader by giving him our unanimous support. The author
has spent months of effort and toil in compiling data and accounts, that
Caucasian authors with alertness suppress. He has made a strong case and
defense of the Negro’s manhood and trustworthiness at a time when most
men would have been honest with pain. The simplicity with which his data
is compiled and presented to the reader stamps him neither in quest of
gold or greatness, but striving to convince the ignorant that heroes and
heroines can even be found among this despised race of America, whom
some would brand as rapists and thieves. A tale is welded together in
which every experience, occurrence and stage is passed through that can
occur to a poor, struggling people; yet, no instance presents itself by
which the character, the basal part of any people, can be impeached.
'Twill serve as a firer of the ambition and aspirations of the young
Negro, and at the same time, so thrilling are its narratives, that
'twill prove as interesting reading matter as many a romance. The
eagerness with which our youth devour such tales as relates the better
side of his ancestry’s life, is too well known to us. The story of
Beulah Jackson will fill a long-felt niche in the young Negro’s reading
matter, that will in itself prove highly beneficial.




Though this is the year of grace, just forty-seven years after the date
when my adventurous story begins, my recollections of that bright
morning in May, 1855, when I arose and at one bound broke loose from
slavery, are as vivid as the lightning’s flash. "A still tongue makes a
wise head," and so I held my tongue and bided my time until I made at
last that successful spring. And never do I behold the glorious sun
rising over the hills and forests but the joyous recollection of that
Wednesday morning in May comes back to me, like the rebounding reaction
of the bow that is unbent.

I was born in the State of Kentucky, a few miles below Louisville, where
my father’s mansion stood on one of those sloping hills that faces the
river Ohio, which the French named with justice, the "Beautiful River."
That mansion, with all its splendid surroundings, belonged to my father
and owner, a white man named Lemuel Jackson; but my own mother, a woman
of uncommon beauty, belonged to the colored race. My mother, for some
cause or other, was sold down the river in New Orleans, in the year
1853, when I was but fifteen years of age. I never got over that sudden
separation, and I at once formed my own resolutions, of which I said

As my father was a rich man, who indulged me in many ways and appeared
to love me, and as I often had occasion to accompany him and Mrs.
Jackson, or some of the other members of the family, to Louisville, he
seldom refused to give me the cash I asked for, which I now began to
carefully put away in a secret place only known to the Lord and myself.
Two eventful years had passed away. I had by this time discovered the
whereabouts of my mother, Harriet, in New Orleans, and my hopes of
meeting her again grew stronger every day as the time approached for me
to kick off the detested chains of slavery. For the coming of this happy
deliverance I prayed to my good Lord both day and night.

At last that day dawned upon me, the spring-time of all my joys. The
Lord heard my prayers, and He cleared the way to freedom. There was to
be a big church gathering at Louisville, and the first session of that
great time was to be on Wednesday morning—the first Wednesday in the
month, as I very well remember, indeed.

The bishop and his wife, who were invited guests to our house, had
arrived the day before. They were to spend the night with us, and all
things breathed religion and excitement over the events of the morrow
and the rest of the week to come.

Among the inmates of the house was one Tom, whom I was accustomed to
call, Tom Lincoln—a tall, splendid young man, a shade darker in
complexion than myself, and, like myself, a slave. Tom was now
twenty-seven years old. He had been casting "sheep’s eyes" at me for
several years past, but who could think of marriage whilst in a state of
slavery? Therefore I gave him no encouragement, but as he was thoroughly
reliable, I said to him one day in strict confidence, and in the most
significant manner possible, "I will talk to you about that when we are
free. While in a state of slavery it is a mockery to profane the names
of love, courtship and marriage. I will never, so help me God, be
married in the house of bondage!"

Tom Lincoln was a clever fellow, a general factotum, and acquainted with
everything about the house. He was always relied on, and the great
house, as it was called, would be left in his charge while the family
and the upper servants attended the gathering at Louisville. Soon after
the bishop and his wife arrived, I called Tom aside and laid before him
my whole plan, which had been well formed for some time past in my mind.

"Capital!" said he, slapping his knee with his big hand. "Capital,
indeed! Strike when the iron is hot, and kill chickens when they are
fat! But, Beulah, will you marry me then?"

"Yes, with pleasure, when we are free from the chains of slavery."

When I gave Tom that answer his eyes flashed bright as the stars on a
frosty night, and mine, no doubt, flashed back in a reflected lustre.

"All right," said he, and then, after some thought, he added: "Get your
trunk ready by ten o’clock to-morrow morning, as all things will be in
readiness by that time. Beulah, I will be a bondman no longer. Just
think of it. Twenty-seven years old, and a slave!"

"That’s right, Tom; stick to it! Minds are never to be sold! Stick to
it!" was my instant reply.

With immediate freedom and all its joys before him, the brave Tom did
not let much grass grow under his feet. We kept a boat near the house,
and although not an expert oarsman, he knew enough to handle it when
called upon. In the darkness and silence of Tuesday night, he slipped
over to the other side of the stream, then made his way for a mile or
two down the Indiana side, where he ran the boat up a creek, near which
stood a little cabin in which some acquaintances of his lived. He
confided his secret to his friends, and as the man of the house kept a
horse and wagon, the latter consented to convey our trunks to the house
of a mutual friend in New Albany next morning. Then leaving this cabin
and the boat tied up in the creek, Tom made his way to New Albany on
foot, where his mission was also successful. With these preliminary
preparations, he returned to the great house in safety, and it was never
known that he had so much as been out of his own room! Of course there
was some risk to run, but who would not dare all for freedom?

As for that anxious Tuesday night, my excitement was such that I never
slept a wink. I thought much of a similarly planned and quite successful
dash for freedom that took place shortly before this near our place. A
girl of fifteen and her brother, twelve years of age, were left alone
one day to take care of the house while all the white people had gone
away. They never suspected anything so unusual from a girl of fifteen,
especially as she was mild and quiet.

But after they had gone, Muriel called her brother Willy, and said,

"Willie, do you see that boat? We are nothing but slaves, and yonder
across the river lies Indiana—a free State. Master keeps money in the
bureau, and I will burst it open and take what will carry you and me on
the train to a place of safety and freedom. Let us take clothes along
with us, and whatever we need. This is no robbery. It belongs to us by
right, for slavery is nothing but a system of robbery, anyhow."

So Muriel and Willy crossed the Ohio river in the open day, walked to
the nearest railway station, took a train for the North, and speedily
arrived in a land where they were slaves no longer.

The longest night comes to an end, and the morning of that
never-to-be-forgotten Wednesday in May brought lovely weather, lots of
fine prayers from the bishop, and an immense show of devotion from Mrs.
Jackson, the woman who caused my precious mother to be sent down to New
Orleans. There was a grand breakfast at the big house, and, as usual, I
figured like a flower girl at a wedding. I did my best to keep down my
excitement, but, indeed, it would never have been noticed that morning,
such was the stir on the account of our visitors and the coming glorious
gathering of the "saints" at Louisville.

Horses and carriages, and all the rest of our rich display soon hove
into sight, and in due time the coast was clear for Tom and me to strike
for freedom. We packed two large leather trunks that had long done
service on the steamboats and railways of the sunny South.

We had clothing enough to put us through for a long time to come, both
summer and winter. Tom being a big and powerful man, soon carried the
trunks down to the boat, without exciting any undue suspicion among the
few old folks and children about the house. It was wonderful, under the
circumstances, to see him so cool and circumspect.

Tom heaped up some sacking and other things upon the trunks to give the
whole the appearance of a trading skiff, and as the wind was blowing in
the right direction, he put up a little sail.

To still further avoid unwelcome attentions, I insisted on lying flat on
the bottom of the boat, and being covered with sacking (the Fugitive
Slave Law was in force now, and the sleuth hounds of slavery might be
upon our trail). At last the boat was cast loose and headed for a little
ways down the Kentucky shore. Then my adventurous pilot crossed to the
Indiana side, and concealed our little craft behind a string of barges
floating down the Ohio. Several steamboats came puffing and blowing up
the stream, and so, amid the general turmoil and confusion, we slipped
into the little creek, ran our boat under the bushes, and in a short
time had our trunks and belongings safe inside the cabin of our friends.
O praise ye the Lord! for His mercy endureth forever! We had completed
our first step towards liberty!

[Illustration: _THE ESCAPE._]

Our good friend next got out his horse and wagon, our trunks and things
were speedily flung in, and he took his way alone for New Albany. After
I had made many promises to write, and given a thousand thanks, I
started for the place of meeting, and my gallant Tom brought up the rear
at a safe distance. Of course, we were now in a free State, but Kentucky
still lay in full view of us.

One by one we arrived at the appointed number and street in New Albany,
and here we dressed for the immediate journey by rail. Having blessed
one another, and made many promises to write to these friends also, we
hurriedly betook ourselves to the station. Tom marched up to the ticket
office, two tickets were quickly secured, and at last the supreme moment
of happiness arrived when we took our seats for the far-famed city of
Cincinnati. I have seen many horses in my time, and mules like the sands
of the sea, in my native State of Kentucky, but the nicest, dearest,
most lamb-like and sweetest horse I ever saw in all my life was that
strong, iron horse named "Steam Engine," that stood ready in the station
waiting for the command to start.

We were now in the carriage: it was just twelve o’clock, and the
glorious free sun shone down upon us. The train began to move, and when
it did so, I felt as though I would faint for very joy. I don’t believe
that Tom was any better than myself, the transition from slavery to
happiness came with such a rush. But, then, I was only a sensitive young
woman of seventeen, whereas Tom was an experienced man ten years my
senior, and, in appearance, at least, he managed to bear things with
more composure than did I. As our train rushed along through the
beautiful land, all adorned with the thousand beauties of the pleasant
month of May, all things looked to me like consecutive scenes in a new
paradise, as when we look through rose-colored glasses all things are
colored like the rose. The winds played, the sun shone brightly, and all
nature’s face was gay, and as our mighty iron steed sped along in his
vigor. Tom and I talked but little. The time for talking would come
another day, never fear! In truth, we were too happy to talk.

The afternoon wore on, and we crossed the Indiana State line and entered
Ohio, the sight of which gave our eyes the most unbounded pleasure. On,
on, sped our devoted iron horse, until at last he came to the end of his
race in the beautiful city of Cincinnati. When we two fugitives from the
land of slavery stepped on the platform here, all safe and sound, we
were reminded of a ship entering, after many risks in the voyages of
life, the port of Heaven, with all sails spread, and never an injured
plank. I looked across the "beautiful river," and beheld the hills of my
native State coming down to the water’s edge, and laving their feet in
the cooling waves. An immense traffic was rolling down, down, down to
the Mississippi and the Gulf States, and everything was hum and bustle.

Thus I stood musing at the top of one of the steep streets that run down
to the Ohio river, while Tom nearby entered into some serious
conversation with a gentleman. At last he came back to me and said,

"Beulah, let us go this way."

After walking for some time we found the right address, the home of the
Rev. John Robinson, a minister of the A. M. E. Church. In the most
polite manner possible we were asked in, and invited into the parlor.
Mr. Robinson, a jolly, fat-faced, pleasant-looking Reverend, was on hand
at once. Tom told him the main points of our history in a few minutes,
and finished by requesting him to marry us any time that night.

When the question arose as to whether the marriage should be performed
in private or public, I insisted on it being done as publicly as
possible, and that a newspaper reporter should be called in, too.

Now, as good luck would have it, there was to be a great gathering at
the Methodist Church that night, so it was decided that the wedding
should take place an hour after the meeting commenced. Mrs. Robinson and
the entire family were now called into the parlor, when we were all
introduced to one another, and there was a mighty season of rejoicing.
Tea was prepared, and we adjourned to the dining-room.

In the meantime some of the friends and neighbors were sent for, a
reporter was notified, and the news of our safe arrival and prospective
marriage spread like wildfire throughout the good city of Cincinnati.
The ladies, both white and colored, were tremendously interested in my
case. They lavished attentions upon me, and caressed me to such an
extent that I was afraid I would faint!

In due time, however, we took up our grand march to the church, and here
I will give the account of our wedding as it appeared next morning in
the Cincinnati News:


"Last night we were called in to witness a happy wedding, which reminded
us of that of Jacob and Rachel. The contracting parties were Mr. Thomas
Lincoln and Miss Beulah Jackson.

"This Thomas Lincoln, aged twenty-seven, a fine, tall young man, was
formerly the house steward and general factotum of Lemuel Jackson, Esq.,
of Riverside Hall, below Louisville, Ky. The beautiful
seventeen-year-old bride is the daughter of Mr. Jackson himself, by one
Harriet, a slave woman of many graces, whom Mrs. Jackson two years ago,
through jealousy, caused to be sold to New Orleans.

"Miss Beulah was indeed ’a bride adorned for her husband,’ and the
ladies had her duly arrayed in orange blossoms and the regulation
wedding costume. ’The Flower Girl of Riverside Hall,’ as she has been
often called, it seems, carried a beautiful bouquet. The church was
filled to suffocation, and the interest in the ceremony was intense.

"After the knot was tied, a gentleman advanced to the front, placed a
five-dollar bill on the table, and called for a wedding present ’for
these two ex-slaves from the State of Kentucky.’ The call was readily
responded to, and a good sum was contributed. The young couple passed
the night at the home of the Rev. Mr. Robinson, who performed the
ceremony. They leave this morning for Columbus, Ohio, and points beyond.
Lincoln stated that he could have left Kentucky at almost any time, but
remained until he could find an opportunity to assist in the escape of
the girl.

"As the immense assemblage at the A. M. E. Church looked upon this
splendid couple, all hearts were filled with compassion to think that
the South should call such men and women ’goods and chattels.’ It was
the outspoken opinion that a day of reckoning is coming; a day of war, a
holy war, sent by God Himself, that will end this system of robbery and

I bought several copies of the paper that contained the account of our
wedding, and posted one to Riverside Hall, one to our friends at New
Albany, and another to our benefactors in the little cabin by the creek.
Next morning at breakfast the fun was delightful, and I was obliged to
laugh when Mrs. Robinson called me "The flower girl of Riverside Hall."
Breakfast over, our host and hostess insisted on accompanying us to the
station to see us off, and here we took leave of our kind friends, whom
we felt that we could never thank enough.

As we steamed away for Columbus, all things were still new and
delightful, and I never tired of beholding the fair face of nature as
our train wound along the banks of the Little Miami. I was immensely
pleased with the beautiful State of Ohio, its fine churches along the
way, its fair and fertile farms, and all its magnificent forest-clad
hills. In due time we arrived at Columbus, the State capital, and were
much impressed with the beauty of the sweet little city.

We continued our journey on through Ohio until we crossed into
Pennsylvania, by the shores of Lake Erie, that flowed away towards
Canada like a little inland sea. Thus we continued on to Buffalo, New
York, where we left the train. Here we determined to settle down, at
least for some time. For a few days we put up at a friend’s house, for
we were both very much fatigued, indeed, with our long journey and its
incidental bustle and confusion. I was only seventeen years old at this
time, the most romantic age of a woman’s life—or rather she is standing
on the borderland with girlhood just behind her, and all the joys of
womanhood and matrimony just before. Anticipation invests all things
with the glories of the rainbow. It is certainly a good time to get
married, for then a girl’s nature is soft and pliable, and she has had
neither time nor opportunity to become possessed of cast-iron ways of
her own.

During the few days that we were resting ourselves we became acquainted
with a few most worthy colored families who belonged to the A. M. E.
Church on Vine street, as good and loving a congregation as I have found
up to this year. God bless that loving flock!

Just at this time Tom and I had a good deal of conversation about my
writing a letter to my father at Riverside Hall. If it was to be done at
all, it had better be done soon, lest the door between us be permanently
closed. Had my father done the right thing he would have married my
mother, Harriet. She was ten times more amiable and lady-like than Mrs.
Jackson, a woman whom he married for fashion’s sake; but he never did or
could love her as he did my mother, or even myself. It was the identical
case of Rachel and Joseph over again. If all the rest had died, and
Harriet and Beulah had remained alive, it would have been all right to
him. Thus were there two wives in the same house—Rachel and Leah once
more. The one was loved and the other hated. So it came to pass that
through jealousy that raged in her heart, Mrs. Jackson had my beloved
mother sold down the river to New Orleans.

I ran no risk in writing to Lemuel Jackson, as everyone at Riverside
opened his own letters. So we decided that I should write home in a week
or two, when we were settled down to practical house-keeping. And,
besides all that, the old gentleman liked a good letter, and I knew mine
would be doubly welcome.

It is very true that the Fugitive Slave Bill was on the statute books of
Congress, but that bill was practically a dead letter, and it was now
only one chance in ten thousand that anyone would attempt to come after
us all the way to Buffalo. It is quite true that immediately after the
passage of that infamous bill there were several fugitive slaves caught
close to the border, and carried back to slavery, but the true spirit of
the North arose against such Southern barbarism, and after a few
slave-hunters had been shot, the South ceased to send her couriers even
to the borderland, but remained at home nursing her sullen wrath,
cursing the Underground Railroad and all Christian abolitionism, and
flaunting her oft-repeated threat in the face of the nation, that unless
she could have her own way in the Union she would have it out of it.

We did not consider, therefore, that we had any risk to run in settling
down here in Buffalo, or even in writing to my father and giving him our
street address. Mrs. Jackson would have no doubt been capable of setting
the man-hunters on our track, but father, though a rich man, would never
have made the outlay of money necessary. Besides it would have exposed
his shame and disgrace.

In the meantime, then, we rented a small and cosy cottage not far from
the sweet little church on Vine street, furnished it cheaply, but
comfortably, and at the appointed time we invited the pastor of the
church and his good wife to come and spend the evening and take tea,
that the Lord might bless us in our happy home.

After we had been settled in Buffalo about a month, I wrote the
following letter to my father, which he duly received:

"Lemuel Jackson, Esq., Riverside Hall, Ky.

"My dear Father:—

"With great pleasure I take my pen in hand to write you a few lines. It
is but natural that your daughter should take a delight in writing to
you, and we have lived too long under the same roof for me not to know
that you will be glad to receive a letter from me. I can never forget
you, my own dear father.

"I have great pleasure in informing you that Tom is a very thoughtful,
considerate and loving husband, and is most indulgent and kind to your
own dear Beulah. If I had searched the whole United States I don’t
believe that I could ever have found a better man than Tom. He promised
to be good to me when we were married in Cincinnati, and I believe he
always will.

"The first thing we did, after we had furnished our cosy little cottage
and settled down, was to join the sweet little A. M. E. Church on Vine
street. We desired to have the approbation of the Almighty upon
ourselves and on our works and ways. Therefore we joined the church of
God first of all. I do believe that if people would always put God first
they would have more luck.

"I don’t know how it is, but the people of Buffalo, both white and
colored have taken a very great liking indeed to Tom and myself from the
very first hour when we left the train here and set our wandering feet
within the Queen City of the Lakes. The sweet ladies of Buffalo have
been here to see me in numbers, and I also have been to their homes,
where I am received as a daughter or a younger sister. Indeed my lines
have fallen in pleasant places, and I cannot but believe that the good
Lord sent us to Buffalo.

"We have been over on a visit to Canada, which lies across the Niagara
River, for the city of Buffalo, as you are aware, lies at the foot of
Lake Erie just where it enters the Niagara River. There is a settlement
of colored people at St. Catherine’s, in Canada, only a few miles back
from the river, and Tom and I were greatly interested in them.

"They all fled from slavery in the South, and many of them have come up
on the rough side of the mountain. I can assure you, when Tom and I saw
the marks of their horrible treatment, we praised the Lord that our own
cases had been so mild and bearable at Riverside Hall.

"We consider that we are lucky in coming here at this delightful season
of the year, for the pleasant month of May seems to surpass all the
other months of the year for sweetness and flowers. All around Lake Erie
and the Niagara River, both in Canada and the State of New York, the
fair face of Nature is just blooming; all the woods are dressed in their
mantle of green, the countless birds sing among the branches, and all
things hereabout clearly shows that the self-same God that has adorned
the State of Kentucky has done as much in these parts.

"I am not aware whether you have ever visited Niagara Falls or not, as I
have never heard you say, but whether or not, it is a most wonderful
place, and one well worth the trouble of coming even from the ends of
the earth to see. It is well for Buffalo and all the towns and villages
that lie around about this river, that they are so located, that is, so
near the falls, because there is always a great tide of people coming
here from every land beneath the sun, almost; and these same people seem
never, never to grow weary of one of the most stupendous works that the
great Creator has made.

"After we had settled down at home here, and before Tom went to work as
house steward in one of the first mansions on Delaware Avenue, the
leading avenue for private residences in Buffalo, we took a special day
and went to see Niagara Falls. As we had read and heard so much of these
celebrated falls, I might almost say since the time we were born, we
were both in a state of great excitement on the morning of this
expedition. Really, my dear papa, there are some things that we really
never, never can forget.

"There were hundreds on the early morning train with us—almost all
strangers, and all in a state of highest excitement. We soon drew out of
the railway station, and left the city behind. Now we were on the bank
of the Niagara River, which flows on almost a perfect level with the
fields, and on the opposite, or Canadian side, the tall pines were
beautiful to behold. As we drew near to the station at the falls, the
roaring of the mighty waters struck with great force upon our astonished
ears, and when we got out, what astonished us more and more was the
grand stampede of every person down the road in the direction of the
great river. No need to ask which way to go; we had but to follow the
sound. At last, through the tall trees we beheld the flying waters, and
there we saw Niagara Falls before us in all their grand and terrible

"For about three-quarters of a mile above where we stood, the Rapids of
Niagara came thundering down the steep incline, and the great waves
leaped like the waves of a troubled ocean. It was just one continuous
and eternal yell. I was completely dumfounded. I could do nothing but
quote from the Bible, and shout the praises of the great Creator. But
who heard me then? For the Rapids made such a noise that nobody else
could hear!

"The American Fall, on our own side, is the smaller one; the opposite,
or Canadian Fall, which assumes the shape of a gigantic horseshoe, is
the grandest one. The waters are deeply green, and at the top are said
to be eighteen feet deep. Oh, my! What a place it is, to be sure!

"We now crossed a light wooden bridge that connects our side with Goat
Island. This portion of the Rapids of Niagara was now just under our
feet, and it required all the nerve we had to allow us to even look down
upon the flying, yelling, and most tremendous waters! This is one of the
places to which so many come for the purpose of committing suicide. But
we are Christians, my dear father, and we could never think of doing
such a very foolish thing.

"My dear papa, I shall have to stop now, and continue my narrative at
another time. Here comes Tom home for his tea, and our minister and his
wife along with him. Our love to you all. Au revoir!

"From your most affectionate daughter,


I ran to the nearest box and posted my letter, and in ten days received
the following reply from my dear papa:


"Mrs. Beulah Lincoln,

"My Dear Daughter:—

"I duly received your nice, kind and most welcome letter. I am heartily
glad to hear that you are both in good health, and so very comfortable
in every way. I did not take your sudden leaving so much to heart as you
might imagine—I mean in the way of vexation—but Mrs. Jackson was so much
disturbed that she has not recovered from the effects of it yet, as she
did not think you and Tom would leave us. However, now that you have
gone, I wish you well, and I enclose herein a postoffice order for
$50.00, which is my wedding gift to yourself and Tom. Please excuse my
short letter; you know I am not fond of writing. Please send me a letter
at any time that you feel like writing. I am,

"Your most affectionate papa,


As far as my father was concerned, then, it seemed that we were safe.
From him, at least, we had nothing to fear.


_Beulah’s Journey to New Orleans—Rescues Her Mother From Slavery, and
Mother and Daughter Return to Buffalo on the Good Boat Columbia, by Way
of Havana, in the Island of Cuba, West Indies and New York City._

The present was a great time among all classes of the abolition party,
the "Underground Railroad," and all that sort of thing. There were the
border ruffians in Kansas, where John Brown, that hero of fame, led on
the fray, and fugitive slaves escaped over the lines into the free
States, whence their owners were unable to get them back. The Fugitive
Slave Law was a dead letter, for the great gospel guns over all the
North had denounced it as a shame and a disgrace to a Christian nation;
and when the South found that fugitive slaves would resist their
pursuers unto death, and that their messengers were likely to be shot
down, they ceased to send them, at the same time making the slave laws
worse than ever before. However, the tighter and more oppressive they
made them, in greater numbers did the slaves escape from the house of
bondage, for who can stem the spirit of the brave? Slavery is an
abomination before the Lord!

We had at this time all the anti-slavery leaders coming round the
country—the greatest speakers I ever heard. I never had a more wonderful
experience than turning out with Tom at night to the halls and churches
to listen to such arguments and eloquence as I had never dreamed had any
existence in this or any other country. William Lloyd Garrison came to
Buffalo, and Fred. Douglass, and all the rest were there. We listened to
men and women who had seen slavery in all parts of the South, people who
had been in Kansas, and almost everywhere else, and such tales of truth
and horror I never heard before in all my life.

It is true that even slavery had its backers in the North, and too many
of them at that, but the entire Christian portion of the population was
determined that slavery should come no further, although the South
seemed to demand, with the most unblushing impudence, that they should
carry their slaves into every State and territory under the stars and
stripes. The South acted like a violent, high-strung woman, whose
husband tries to reason with her in vain. She seemed to say, "I shall
have my own way, or I will fight with you, Sam! I’ll be no submissive
wife! I’ll be master and mistress, too! I’ll fight and have my own way!"

At this time, freemen from Europe were pouring into the United States in
legions. They had no slavery in those countries from which they came,
and coming here while the tidal wave of anti-slavery sentiment was at
its height, they were ready not only to attempt to stem the
encroachments of slavery, but to resist them by force, if the worst came
to the worst. The Quakers were also in the field, and they gave Congress
no rest. The Southern senators and representatives resisted them at
Washington, and demanded that the whole subject be laid upon the shelf.
Here they were opposed by such men as Charles Sumner, Thaddeus Stevens,
and a host of others. Thus things went on from bad to worse in the halls
of Congress, and all over the free North. The heavens grew darker and
darker as the months rolled by, and the South prepared to leave the
Union unless she had her own way.

There was very little sign, indeed, of her ever getting it, for how
could freedom and slavery ever be dominant in the United States at one
and the same time? It is very true that slavery was a legacy left the
thirteen original States by England, but we had gone ahead and spread
the iniquity ourselves, after the disposal of it was left entirely in
our hands; whereas England had long since abolished both slavery and the
slave trade throughout her dominions. She had even paid the owners full
indemnity for the loss of their slaves.

I dwell the more fully on these things because they led up to the war of
secession, and actually brought it on in the year 1861.

[Illustration: _SCENES IN NEW ORLEANS._]

How did the South treat the oppressed African? She bought, she sold, she
stole, she killed for gold. She hurled all revealed religion to the
winds, and set the Almighty at open defiance. Thus millions of backs had
to bend and labor over the cotton plant, the sugar cane and the rice
stalks of the South. Families were torn asunder, and every human feeling
violently dealt with in men and women born in the image of God, that
silver and gold might be extracted through their blood and tears from
the cotton fields, from the sugar plantations, and from the rice swamps
of the Sunny South. With such crimes as these and a thousand nameless
ones besides that high heaven had to avenge, was it any wonder that the
coming tempest was heralded by rising winds, by darkening skies, by
colder weather, and violent flurries of snow, hail and sleet?

It was one of the curses of slavery that the slave-holder often had a
colored wife in the kitchen, and a white one in the parlor. This was
very bad, indeed. It was just Hagar and Sarah over again, and not only
did the iniquitous system bring the two women into conflict, but the
poor, guileless children were brought into conflict also. It was a shame
and a disgrace all the way through. If white American parents had never
taught their innocent babes that the color of the skin made a
difference, "American prejudice" would never have been known in the

My own beloved and charming mother was the first in the field. If my
father had done the right thing by her, he would have married her out
and out, and made her his wife de jure, as she certainly was de facto.
Thus it always was in those days of slavery.

The grand, chivalric white planter had a splendid octaroon or quadroon
for his "house keeper," a woman whom he loved supremely till Southern
pride took alarm, and he took unto himself a white wife—to be like his
neighbor! Alas! Alas! Such a crooked, dual system as that never worked,
and it never will! Sarah and Hagar could not get along; neither could
Rachel and Leah, and so on to the end of the chapter. Turkish women in
the same harem fight among themselves like dogs and cats, and the poor
miserable Turk sometimes has to provide a separate establishment for
every wife.

At last my father brought Mrs. Jackson to the house, and my mother,
Harriet Jackson, as she was called, was pushed to the wall. I am glad
that I was my father’s only child by his first wife, for had there been
more of us, the mischief would have been the greater. As the reader
already knows, a day came when I was up the river at Louisville, when,
in some way only known to the devil and herself, Mrs. Jackson caused my
beloved mamma to be spirited away, and as we all subsequently learned,
to be sold down the river to New Orleans. Mr. Jackson seemed very sorry,
indeed, but he said nothing about it at the time, as he knew that he
himself was to blame for the whole matter. But I made up my mind at once
to endeavor to find out her exact place of abode, and to trust in God to
bring us together again.

Alas! my dear reader, how shall I ever make you understand the dreadful
gap that was now created in my sensitive heart, when dear mother and I
were torn apart? You can imagine how grieved I was, but how much worse
must mother have felt? It was a shame to separate us, but Mrs. Jackson
was fond of making grand, ostentatious shows, and she determined to keep
me to grace her grand festal occasions. Still, I missed my dear mother
for many a day. Clouds and thick darkness would gather round my heart. I
was in great heaviness every now and then, and often would I retire to
my bed-room, where I used to get into bed, cover myself up, and there
lie and weep, and pray to God to bring mother and me together once more.

Now, one would imagine that this feeling would have worn off in the
course of time, but it never did. Two whole years had passed away before
I made my escape. I must admit the truth, that my newly-found freedom,
marriage and acquaintance with the glorious people of the North brought
me immense relief all the summer, but one day, about the beginning of
the fall, I was once more completely overshadowed by grief. It was the
self-same "old trouble"—a trouble that no doctor could cure. I locked up
the house, and went to bed as I used to do at Riverside Hall, and wept
and prayed until I fell asleep. The first thing I knew I was awakened by
a very loud knocking at the door; Tom had come for his tea, so I arose
and let him in, and he was greatly surprised to find me all in tears,
and in such a bad way generally.

"Why, Beulah," said he, "what is the matter with you to-day? You have
been crying, and you seem as though you have lost your reason

"Well, Tom, I have had such a heavy day on account of my mother. It is
one of those ’spells’ come back again, the same as I used to have at
Riverside Hall. I declare I hate to feel in this uncomfortable way, but
it just came on me, and I could not help it."

"I am afraid, Beulah," replied Tom, "there are bad times in store for us
both if you are going to be subject to those spells of crying and sorrow
as came over you now and then before we left Riverside. I wonder if
anything can be done to put an end to this state of affairs once for
all? I would give a good deal to put an end to such a very mournful
state of affairs. Can you suggest no remedy, my own dear Beulah?"

"I am not aware, Tom," said I, "that there can be any remedy in the
world, unless it be to bring my mother and me together again. I think
one of the greatest horrors of slavery is to tear a family in pieces. I
firmly believe that Almighty God is driving the South into a terrible
war that she may receive her well-merited punishment for her blood-red
crimes like these. Even one of her preachers once preached a sermon in
defence of slavery, and he took for his text these words of Holy Writ,
'These are the Lord’s doings, and they are wondrous in our eyes!’
Indeed, Tom, they are truly wondrous!"

On the morning after this conversation, I went to work at an early hour
and packed my trunk. It was now the fall of the year, and glorious
weather for me to travel. All nature’s face was gay, and I myself was
blessed with health and strength and vigorous life. At all events, I
felt a hundred times better than I had twenty-four hours before! The sun
of righteousness had risen upon me with healing in his wings. "Arise,
shine forth, for thy light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen
upon thee."

Once more I found myself at one of the railway stations, and took my
departure for Cincinnati, by way of Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. It was
most delightful traveling to speed over the rails along the shore of
Lake Erie, to see once more the lovely foliage of the forests of the
beautiful state of Ohio, and then at last to skim away, and away down
the smooth and level banks of the Little Miami river, where I could
hardly hear or feel the train in motion at all. At last the "beautiful
river," as the French called the Ohio, hove in sight once more, with the
delightful hills of Kentucky and Ohio, on opposite sides, running up
from the water’s edge, all clad with forest trees.

I next came to Cincinnati, and the "Public Landing" was crowded with
passengers and traffic going up and down the river, and as neither Tom
nor myself were millionaires, and I was desirous of cheapening things as
much as I could, I went aboard one of these floating palaces of the
Mississippi, and engaged myself as a waitress for the voyage down the
Mississippi. The "Natchez" was to leave at 4 P. M. the same day, so I
got my trunk on board, and reported myself for duty.

I gave a shout for joy as we left the Public Landing and floated out on
the mighty and splendid Ohio. Owing to the recent heavy rains all along
the head branches of this beautiful river, the stream was swollen from
bank to bank, and presented a grand appearance as we plunged into the
high-rolling waves and surges in the centre of the river. The glorious
sun danced upon the silvery tide, and covered all the forests, the hills
and dales on each side of the great and rushing flood. Huge barges were
floating down from Pittsburg, and the far North, and large and small
craft of every description were dancing and whirling away, whistling and
screaming and advancing towards us, or retreating around the bends.

So far as my duties on the boat permitted, my eyes were never off the
river, the hills, woods and forests, and the wild, fast-flowing traffic
that was going up and down, and which seemed to have no end. The red and
fiery sun went down in the wild waters of the beautiful river that
looked like heaving, molten gold; then up came the silver moon, and
turned all things visible into silver sheen.

The great Creator, indeed, was on the waves, and the Natchez drove on at
a rapid rate. We had now the Indiana shore on our right hand, having
passed the Ohio state line at Lawrenceburg, Indiana. In the early
morning we came to Louisville, Ky., where we remained for a few hours.
Here we passed through the Portland canal, and soon went by Riverside
Hall, and the little cabin on the opposite side of the river. It stands
two or three miles below New Albany, and I could see some of our dear
friends standing before the door. It was here that Tom and I had crossed
the Ohio.

The "beautiful river" still continued to increase and to swell, and we
plunged along at a glorious rate. All on board seemed to be in a
laughing mood, for the weather was superb, and that floating palace,
"The Natchez," swept along at a furious speed. You can talk as much as
you please about a light heart, but during this most delightful voyage
mine did seem "as light as any feather." I had such joyful dreams every
night, and hailed each coming morning with delight. Indeed I dressed
myself every morning while my mouth was full of laughter.

"What are you laughing at?" "I think you must be in love." "You always
appear in such tip-top humor." Such remarks were addressed to me by my
companions in the waiting department, as we made our toilets before the
looking-glass. To which I would reply, "I am laughing for the self-same
reason that the bird sings in the forest, because the sun shines. As the
children say, I am laughing at nothing!"

By this time the beautiful hills on both sides of the Ohio had fallen
away. We had the state of Illinois in front of us at last, when we
passed the mouth of the Wabash; and lower down on our left, the
Cumberland and Tennessee rivers poured all their flood into the Ohio,
after they had drained the mountain lands of Virginia, North Carolina,
Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee and Kentucky. "The beautiful river" was
beautiful no more, but on both sides the lands were flat and fertile.

Ho for the Mississippi! What a rush there was among our passengers to
behold the great "Father of Waters" absorbing our smaller Ohio at Cairo,
in the state of Illinois. The city of Cairo lies right in the fork of
these two rivers—the Mississippi and the Ohio. "Whew! What a river! Why,
to be sure, this is, indeed, something like a river! It is more like a
flowing sea of fresh waters than a river," were the remarks of a
gentleman on board, and the sight was one that I am sure I never shall
or can forget, either.

Our arrival upon the Mississippi seemed to add to my good humor, and
then I was drawing nearer and nearer to my devoted and beloved mother
every hour, and I seemed to have a firm presentiment from high heaven
that my adventurous mission would turn out a success.

On, on, on, we rushed night and day, passing the mouths of the St.
Francis, the White, the Arkansas and Red rivers on our right hand, and
the Yazoo and other smaller ones on our left. It grew much warmer as we
advanced farther south. We were now coming into the lands famed for the
cultivation of the sugar cane, the cotton plant, and the rice. The only
thing that dampened my spirits was to behold from the deck of the
swift-flying Natchez, hundreds and thousands of oppressed colored people
toiling and sweating in the sun, whilst their overbearing overseers
stood over them, whip in hand, to make them work on, or receive the lash
on their backs. How even Southern people could look upon such barbarity
as that, and call themselves Christians, I could not understand. But as
sure as there is a God in heaven, there is a terrible "judgment day" in
store for all this, and I firmly believe that we shall all see it very

What was to hinder Mrs. Jackson from selling me down South here, and
forcing me to work till I died, in these very fields that I can see from
the deck of the Natchez? Wherein am I better than these full-blooded
Africans before my eyes, who were murderously torn away from their
beautiful homes in Africa, brought over in "floating hells," and sold
like cattle in the markets of the South? Shall not these who criminally
carry on the slave-trade, and slavery, soon atone for all this? As
surely as God lives, the "judgment day," even in this world, cannot be
far off! The Southern people, like the doomed inhabitants of wicked
Jerusalem, know not the approaching day of their visitation.

Musing in this way, we passed the cities of Memphis, Helena, Vicksburg,
Natchez, Baton-Rouge and Donaldsonville, and, at last, amidst a great
deal of noise and excitement, came to the wharf at New Orleans.

During all this glorious and enchanting travel from Buffalo by rail and
steamboat, like a good and faithful wife, I never forgot to write every
second day to my brave and beloved Tom, and I knew well that he would be
greatly interested in hearing of my progress down the Ohio and the
Mississippi. He afterwards told me that he used to read these letters of
mine over, and over, and over again, and sometimes before he went to
sleep, he would again light the lamp and read the last "arrival" from
end to end once more.

Here, then, at last, the good boat Natchez has brought us all safe and
sound to New Orleans, in the Sunny South. There is no snow here, and
fruits and flowers are to be found all the year round. The climate is
almost tropical, and everything out of doors breathes of orange blossoms
and all those exotics found in the warm climates. The whole scene had an
irresistible charm for me, and I felt a pleasure in being in the state
of Louisiana that I felt quite unable to describe.

But even the charms of nature and the strange French air of the people
did not produce the greatest impression on me here. That which produced
the greatest impression of all, was the mighty river Mississippi itself,
and the immense traffic carried over its irresistible waters. It is true
that its banks are quite plain and homely when compared with the
beautiful Ohio in its upper and middle courses. But then the Mississippi
is so big, that it is always majestic, solemn and grand. You are never
tired of looking at the immense and gigantic "creature," and especially
where it has constructed for itself a high embankment, cast up by the
silt and overflow of its muddy waters, in the lofty bosom of which the
mighty river flows as in an elevated canal.

And thus the Natchez was high up above the level of the plains on our
right and left hand, and we could look down on the valley of the
Mississippi from the deck of our palatial steamboat. Oh, the Mississippi
is a glorious sight to behold, always immense, solemn and grand!

The next thing that attracted me so much was the immense traffic that
came rolling down from the North, and that ascended the stream. When I
came off its mighty waters, I felt as if I was coming up from a wild,
riotous and troubled sea. And though forty-six years have now fled and
gone, the tremendous impression made upon my heart and soul by the
Father of Waters remains. I therefore cried, Ho for the Mississippi! as
I walked the gang-plank into the city.

My dear and beloved mother, Harriet Jackson, was one of those religious
women who would go to church if she went nowhere else. She went to the
A. M. E. Church whenever she could get there, and I had ascertained
before I left Riverside Hall, that she attended the services of that
congregation that lay nearest the mansion of the family to whom she had
been sold. I cannot say that she belonged to that family, for slavery
was nothing but a system of robbery in its best estate. She had been
sold down the river to an ancient French family—Roman Catholics—but, in
their indifferent, careless way, they allowed mother to go to her own A.
M. E. Church. She was so steady and devoted in her ways, and so very
remote from Kentucky, that they regarded it as an impossibility that she
would ever even dream of making her escape; and never, never, that any
one would ever come after her in this far-away part of the great world.

First and foremost, then, I made inquiries from those who could speak
English, for the name of the pastor, and found it with no great
difficulty. (As my complexion was so light and fair, I passed for one of
the whites of the city. There are many thousands of "whites" in the
South like me). I informed the reverend gentleman, when I first met him,
that I wished to have a private, confidential talk with him. I felt that
I was indeed conversing with a father, and there was not the slightest
fear. He informed me at once that my dear mother attended his church,
and was a warm-hearted and enthusiastic member of the same. He said she
would be at the prayer-meeting that very night, and named the hour when
it began; but while he should be glad to see her obtain her freedom, it
was the part of prudence that it should not even be known that he knew
anything about it, as they might murder him outright for even holding
his tongue! To this I replied that no doubt I could manage very well
myself, and that mother would perhaps have some amendments to put to my
own schemes after we met. In the meantime, I engaged a room with a nice
family, being fully resolved to stay there till such time as mother
could make her escape. I depended upon a well-laid plan, and to carry
out that plan with boldness. When I got myself settled in my temporary
home, and had written another letter to Tom, I walked out to see the
far-famed city of New Orleans, and indeed I obtained a pretty good idea
of it before my return in the evening. New Orleans is indeed a wonderful
place. But I need not take up the reader’s time in describing this
quaint French city in America. The kind reader knows all about it
already. What I am most of all interested in at this time is the meeting
with my beloved mother, and getting her away from slavery into a land
where she shall be free to come and go, and do as she pleases, just as I
am doing!

Many thousands of slaves obtained their freedom by running away from
their owners; some of them encountered great difficulties on the way,
while others seemed to meet with no difficulties at all. I am also safe
in saying that many a hundred more might have gained their liberty, but
they were simply afraid to venture—they were too timid to take the first
step, or they were deterred from going by being unable to make up their
minds to leave parents, wives and children behind them. The latter step
was proven over and over again by their running away, obtaining their
freedom, but afterwards becoming so homesick that they actually returned
and surrendered themselves again to slavery, being unable to stay away
from those they loved most upon earth.

The African is both pleased and cursed by being possessed of a very warm
heart, and tender and loving affections. This is indeed a blessing and a
curse at one and the same time. We need not go far for the proof, for I
myself am a living witness to the same, and here I was at New Orleans
after my dearly-beloved and tender-hearted mother, whom I was unable to
live without; and then behold what I have suffered for the want of her
for more than two years—wrenched from me by the diabolical ways of
slavery, and the malice and spite of Mrs. Jackson! If my pinings and
regrets have been so great, longing day and night after my dear mother,
how much worse must that dear mother have felt for the loss of me? I
dare not even look at the picture! But our prayers have been heard by
the Lord; for He always hears those who love Him, and the hour for the
prayer-meeting is drawing nigh; the shades of night are at last falling
upon the long autumn day, and I find myself in the dusk in the
neighborhood of the A. M. E. Church, watching for the approach of my
mother, as maiden never waited for the coming of her lover advancing
among the trees to the well-known trysting-place.

All things come to those who wait, and here she comes at last! She is as
sweet and graceful as ever, and her step as light as the greyhound’s! I
advanced to meet her, first looking cautiously around into the
increasing darkness, that no other was too near. The over-hanging trees
favored our meeting as I came up to her, and whispered softly in her
ear, "Mother!" We took each other by the hand, and kissed one another,
when she hurriedly drew me round into a side entrance to the basement
and rear of the church, where, entering a small classroom which would
not be used for the night, we sat down together, had one very long and
close embrace, and the happiness of that blessed and speechless half
hour seemed to me to equal all that which might be called out of an
ordinary lifetime. "Sweet the moments, rich in blessing, which within
thy courts I spend!" The remaining hour was passed in conversation,
during which we gave and received a complete history of the time that
had elapsed since the time mother was sold down the river.

"There will be no difficulty whatever about my getting away. They are
old people, and have not the remotest idea that I would ever make the
attempt. The best time for us to leave will be at this hour a week
to-night, and, my dear daughter, there is a big leather trunk that is
called mine, and which stands in my little bed-room upstairs, in an
out-of-the-way wing of the house, which I will manage to send empty to
your lodgings, whither I will send or bring my entire wardrobe myself. I
must not go without clothes, as they will be both necessary and useful
for me for years to come, if God my life shall spare. In the meantime
write Tom and give him all my love, and tell him when he may expect us
at home."

To all of this I most heartily agreed, and I was more happy and
lightsome than a butterfly. We came out before the congregation, and
another warm kiss and embrace under the trees, then mother steered away
homewards for the old French mansion, and I took my way to my lodgings,
where the people received me with great affection. I had told them that
I was married, and wore a gold ring to that effect, because without
giving them that needful piece of information, young beaux are bad for
coming around seventeen-year-old girls, and I did not wish any of the
kind New Orleans flunkeys to be coming around me with any of their sweet
kind of foolishness. When I got into my bed-room, I found the flowers of
the Sunny South perfuming the whole place like cologne, and I slept like
the angels there. Seven days and nights came and went. Mother and I met
one another as often as it was discreet and prudent for us to do. There
was not the remotest suspicion of her approaching departure—much less of
the direction which we meant to take. Like Tom and myself leaving
Riverside Hall, our plans were well-laid and matured, our hearts were
stout and brave within us, and we carried things out with a bold front.

As the New York passenger boat Columbia lay at her pier with steam up in
readiness for her departure on the following Wednesday night, while the
streets were full of horses, wagons, porters, passengers, and all the
rest of it; while late passengers were hurrying into the office to get
their tickets for New York, and boys were shouting the latest edition of
the city papers, two ladies in half mourning and heavily veiled, drove
up in a carriage, alighted in haste, had a heavy leather trunk carried
on board, and the elder of the two (a lady seemingly about thirty-six or
thirty-seven years of age) made for the ticket office and procured
tickets for two, and a corresponding cabin for New York. These two
ladies, the reader will understand, were my own dear mother and myself.
No notice was taken of us in any way. All was noise, bustle and
confusion about the Columbia. We were shown to our cabin like the rest,
and felt at home at once. It was growing dusk, the last bell was rung,
and with anxious hearts and high-beating hopes we cut loose from the
shore, and plunged out into the great river. The night being warm and
balmy, as is usual in the Sunny South, mother and I went on deck to see
our own departure, and to watch the passing vessels coming to and going
from the port of New Orleans. Here, in taking leave of the "Queen City
of the South," as the metropolis of Louisiana is called, I must say that
I was most delightfully impressed. I had been so very kindly treated on
all hands, and there was so much to charm the senses about this famous
French city. As for mother, the depth of the ocean was as nothing
compared with the depth of her contentment at getting away with her
beloved Beulah, the separation from whom had given her so much sorrow.

We were only sorry that we could not see the usual sights along the
Mississippi river to the same extent, as if we had left in the morning.
But that was impossible, and I think mother and I had great reason to
thank God that all things fitted in so well at the hour of our
departure. It was the night and hour for the prayer-meeting at the A. M.
E. Church—Wednesday night—with the good boat Columbia leaving at the
same hour. In this crooked world it is a difficult thing to make all
things work together just as we want them. We did indeed want to see our
poor, oppressed race at work among the sugar-canes, the cotton and the
rice, and the orange and fig-trees, and all the rest, which could only
be done rightly by day. We did indeed see plenty of their humble
quarters and cabins along the shores, and some little way back into the
country, and knew them well by the lights in the windows. Alas, alas!
for these poor, dear, miserable creatures! There they lay, no doubt,
sound asleep—sleeping in the sleep of the oppressed—poor old men and
women, laboring and toiling their lives away under a Southern sun, that
oppressors may feast and riot at their expense. But there is a God in
heaven, and we snuffled both war and freedom in the wind. Even a child
could foresee all that.

We retired early to bed. When were two women ever so happy on a New York
boat on the Lower Mississippi? It was enough to make the angels laugh
for joy, to think of it! Our departure was another installment in
swelling the volume of Southern wrath to break up the Union, as the
Fugitive Slave Bill would not work in their favor. Mother and
I—murmuring our thanks to Almighty God—soon fell into a happy sleep,
while the Columbia was ploughing her way down the Mississippi, and
moving out at the mouth of one of the passes, as they are called, into
the Gulf of Mexico. When we came back on deck next morning, the weather
was most delightful. The water was intensely clear—indeed it was as
clear as crystal! All things smacked of the Southern seas—of Southern
people, and all things Southern. In due course of time the west end of
the Isle of Cuba hove in sight, and soon the Columbia tied up in the
harbor of Havana.

As the Columbia was to remain a few hours at Havana, we were permitted
to go ashore to see the most famous city in the West Indies. The
tropical vegetation was all that the heart could wish, but what
interested mother and me the most was the quaint old city of the
Spaniards, and the different races of people who inhabited the "Ever
Faithful Isle," as it is called. Here we found Spaniards from old Spain,
Spanish creoles, free colored people and slaves. I hated the very sight
of slavery here in the Spanish island, though I have always understood
that slavery was less cruel here than in the Southern States. But all
the same it is slavery, and not freedom. Almighty God certainly never
meant that one man should own another. Besides, these odious Spaniards,
a lying, thieving nation, have promised the civilized nations of the
world a hundred times to abolish slavery, but they have always broken
their promises, and they will continue to break them until they are
compelled to give their slaves up by force. Spain is a dark, suspicious
nation, reduced to the last stages of poverty, but swollen with
ignorance and pride. But this present time of writing is 1897. We may
next take a retrospect, as it is forty-two years since mother and I were
at Havana. Poor Spain has already lost all her slaves, because she could
keep them no longer; and the Cuban war has now lasted for over two
years, during which the patriots have gained possession of the whole
island, except a few fortified towns like Havana. I will not here
narrate the sights, sounds and scenes that came under our observation in
the metropolitan city of Cuba. I will just mention that I was infinitely
amused at the system of courtship that was in vogue in their parts. The
young men went to see their fair lovers, and conversed with them through
grated windows, the young ladies being inside the bars, and the young
gentlemen standing outside on the street. I never think of these funny
scenes without laughter!

The Columbia got up steam once more, and we got out of the harbor of
Havana, passed through the Florida Straight, and in a few days were off
Cape Hatteras, North Carolina. All these places were new to us, and as
the fall weather was of the most delightful description, my dear mother
and I spent a great deal of time on deck. At last Sandy Hook was passed,
and we shortly after landed in New York.


_Mrs. Lincoln Brings Her Mother to Buffalo—Warm Welcome Home—Harriet
Jackson married to Mr. J. B. Sutherland—Letter From Mrs. Sarah Jackson
and Beulah’s Answer—Beulah, Mrs. Sutherland and Tom at a Great Abolition
Meeting—A Famous Gathering of the Clans._

Our delight at being once more on shore in our own country, and so near
home, and for the first time in the full possession of our own freedom,
filled our hearts and souls with the wildest enthusiasm, and from the
very bottom of our hearts we blessed and praised the Lord for His mercy
endureth forever.

We had intended to send a telegram to my own dear Tom at Buffalo, but we
changed our minds, and determined to take him by surprise. Besides, when
we had reconsidered the matter, we did not deem it altogether prudent to
send a telegram, because there were many wealthy families in New York,
who owned thousands of slaves in the South, and in some respects this
great city was even more dangerous than Georgia and Louisiana. So we
left on the first train for Buffalo, where we arrived in due time, and
hired a cab that took us home. Tom had left the key with a good
neighbor, so we opened the door, went in, and prepared tea for him by
the time he came home. It is very true that we had more need of going to
bed than to thus attend to the work of the house; but we were so excited
with our freedom, our successful journey from New Orleans, and the
exciting times right ahead, that we never thought of fatigue, but only
the present enjoyment.

[Illustration: _SCENES IN BUFFALO._]

At last we saw Tom coming up the street, when such a scene ensued as it
would take the very angels of heaven to tell. We sat up to a late hour
that night, and seemed quite unwilling to break up and retire for the
night. The pastor of the church, his good lady, and all the friends came
flocking round to see us, and the rejoicing over our mother’s safe
arrival from the land of slavery was both loud and deep. When we next
went to church, the interest there was most unbounded, and the
enthusiasm ran higher than the waves of the sea. We made no secret of
anything. Abolition was now under full swing; the "Border Ruffians" were
now in Kansas, and the temper of the whole North was up, that slavery
should come no further. Therefore our white and colored friends came on
in droves to church to see mother, and welcome her to Buffalo, and
prayer, praise and hymns of rejoicing were kept up till a late hour.
Praise ye the Lord, for He is good; for His mercy endureth forever!

It is sometimes a very difficult thing for a young person like myself at
this time to know what to do for the best, lest I should be doing wrong.
It has often been said that a woman cannot keep a secret, and I am bound
to confess that I had hard work to hold myself back at this time from
writing to my father and telling him the good news of mother’s escape
from slavery. In the secret of his heart I knew well that he would
rejoice to hear it; but Mrs. Jackson might get hold of the letter, and
that was where the trouble came in. In fact, so far as unruffling her
feelings was concerned, I did not care whether she saw my letter or not!
I certainly intended to pen no falsehoods, and saw no good reason why
any one should object to the simple truth. Thus openly to publish our
whereabouts might have endangered mother, Tom and myself, because the
Fugitive Slave Bill was on the National Statute books. It is true that
some of the Southerners had been up to the far North after their
fugitives, and tried hard to carry them back to slavery; but though the
public officers were vigorously called on to do their duty, according to
the letter of the law, the general public arose against such arrests,
and the slave hunters had to go home again to the South without their
prey, avowing and swearing that this would never be a country anyhow
till slavery extended from the Lakes to the Gulf. There was, therefore,
no real cause for fear on account of either mother, Tom or myself. I had
promised my father to write again, and besides he had sent me a present
of fifty dollars, which I was bound to acknowledge, and then my
description of our first visit to Niagara had been broken off in the
middle. There was another thing that would deter Mrs. Jackson from
sending any expedition after us, and that was the fact that we were
right on the Canadian border, there being nothing between us and the
British dominions but the Niagara river. Indeed this was the true reason
why my own dear Tom and I never came to a halt till we reached the
beautiful city of Buffalo. Upon the least hint of man-hunters being on
our trail, we had nothing to do but steer across the river, where we
could have a glorious holiday among our friends, and come back again to
Buffalo as soon as ever our pursuers had returned home.

One thing was certain—if I were going to write at all, I must write
soon, or let it slide altogether. Of course, I could never make up my
mind to follow the latter alternative, so I took my pen in hand and sat
down and penned the following epistle:

"BUFFALO, N. Y., October, 1855.

"To Lemuel Jackson, Esquire,

"My Dear Father:—I am sure it shows very bad manners in me to be so very
slow in answering your thrice-welcomed letter. I am under a thousand
obligations to you for your present to my own dear Tom and me on the
occasion of our happy wedding. We consider that you have indeed been
most mindful of us, and we return you our warmest thanks. We are both
well, and Tom has a good situation on Delaware avenue, the principal
residence street in Buffalo.

"The last time I wrote you, I was giving you a description of our first
visit to Niagara Falls, and was interrupted in the middle of it by Tom’s
coming home to tea, in company with our pastor and his wife. I am now
desirous of finishing the narrative, but before I do so, I will tell you
something that will indeed surprise you.

"You will remember the fits of sadness and depression I was subject to
every now and then after dear mother was sent down the river to New
Orleans. My happy marriage had suspended these attacks altogether for a
time; but one day in the beginning of the fall, they returned in great
force. That was the first attack, and after Tom and I had discussed the
matter over, it was at last fully decided that I must not have a second.
If you wish to hear all the particulars of what followed, I am quite
willing to give you them; but in the meantime—after your own style of
writing—I will be brief. I proceeded to New Orleans, rescued mother from
slavery, and brought her safe and sound home to Buffalo on the steamer
"Columbia," by way of Havana and New York City. This successful and
happy event has caused the liveliest satisfaction to dear mother, to Tom
and myself, and to the entire population of Buffalo, so far as they have
become acquainted with it. Tom is quite pleased to have such a
delightful mother-in-law in the house, and all three work most
harmoniously together.

"In my letter, dearest papa, I promised to give you the rest of the
account of our first visit to Niagara Falls. As, however, I have so very
much to say, and as I think it may please you better, instead of giving
you the rest of that most delightful narration and description in my own
words, I will—on Tom’s recommendation—send you a most capital ’Guide to
Buffalo and Niagara Falls, with Numerous Illustrations.’

"I beg leave now to draw these few lines to a close. Mother and Tom
write in lots of love to you, and I am sure I shall be delighted to
receive even half a dozen lines from you at any time that you can make
it convenient, or feel disposed to write your dear daughter. And I am
yours in all affection,


Having written the above letter, I posted it at once, and no doubt but
it was received in a couple of days and read with great interest by my
own dear father, and also by Mrs. Jackson, though with very different
feelings from his. I was perfectly well aware that there was an
abundance of pent-up wrath in her imperious temper, and that it would
explode one of these fine days!

As my mother, Harriet Jackson, was a woman of great handsomeness, beauty
and a thousand graces, and still comparatively young, being only
thirty-seven, her hand was sought by a settled and most honorable man
named Mr. John B. Sutherland, a resident of Buffalo, and a member of the
A. M. E. Church. They had a nice wedding at the church on Vine street,
in the presence of an applauding and highly-respectable company. It was
a perfect union of hearts, like Jacob and Rachel’s over again. As we had
plenty of room, and were unwilling to have mother set up a different
establishment, Mr. and Mrs. Sutherland took up their residence with us,
and all things went on most harmoniously together. The Almighty seemed
to pour His richest blessings upon us all, and we tried to honor and
glorify His holy name in all that we did. Our experience in slavery had
been light, and we were now only too thankful to be free.

One day in the month of November, Tom received the following letter from
Mrs. Jackson at Riverside Hall, though it was intended for all three of

"RIVERSIDE HALL, Near Louisville, November, 1855.

"Mr. Thomas Lincoln,

"Dear Tom:—We duly received all your letters, and also the Buffalo
newspaper with an account of the marriage of Harriet to Mr. John B.
Sutherland. That would all be right enough if you were white people, or
even free people of color, but the whole three of you are neither one
nor the other. You are our goods and chattels, and our runaway slaves,
and we have decided to bring you back, or else you must pay us the
reduced sum of one thousand dollars apiece; that is, two thousand
dollars, when we will give you your free papers, and a full discharge.
As your master and mistress, we are herein doing you a great favor, for
we could easily get two thousand dollars apiece for each of you, Tom and
Beulah, in the public market. I suppose you are aware that the Fugitive
Slave Bill is the law of the land, and in case you do not give us
satisfaction immediately, we will proceed to put the law in force, and
either bring you back to Riverside Hall, or sell you down the river.
Now, Tom, a word to the wise is sufficient. We shall look for a letter
from you soon.

"I am yours respectfully,


When the above letter arrived at our house, the whole four of us were
seated at the tea table in the evening, and laughing first over one
thing and then another, as people will do at eventide when the work of
the day is done. We read the letter aloud in the midst of great sport
and laughter, which went on, grew and increased the more we examined it.
It was the work of Mrs. Jackson and hers alone. None of us believed that
father knew anything about it at all, and I am sure he did not. Mrs.
Sarah Jackson evidently was unable to keep down her temper and spite
after all our grand escapades, marriages and other things.

"Why," said Mr. Sutherland, "I suppose she will be coming on us with
bloodhounds themselves! She would look grand in hunting costume on the
streets of Buffalo with bloodhounds!"

"What makes me laugh," remarked Tom, "would be to see the boys and young
lads pelting those dogs with stones, and belaboring their sides with big

This was followed by another shout of loud laughter, when mother

"She would indeed be a sight well worthy of a first-class painter in the
midst of an infuriated crowd who were bent upon our protection and

As it was now my turn to put in a word, I remarked,

"She had better send nobody after us. It is now five years since the
passage of the Fugitive Slave Bill, which no man can enforce, because
the Christian spirit of the North will not have it, and the North is
right to resist it."

The question next arose as to who should answer the letter. Tom and Mrs.
Sutherland absolutely refused to answer it in any shape or form, so I
took pity on the great lady of Riverside Hall, and said that I would
answer her one of these fine days, which would be both sport and
pleasure for me, and then perhaps she would let us all have a rest. So
in a few days after the receipt of her wonderful letter, I took up my
pen and wrote as follows:

"BUFFALO, N. Y., November, 1855.

"Mrs. Sarah Jackson,

"Madam:—As both Tom and Mrs. Sutherland have absolutely refused to take
the slightest notice of your letter, it has fallen to me to answer it.
It would not suit the convenience of any of us to come to Riverside Hall
at this time, or, indeed, to go anywhere else. Even if we had all the
opportunities in the world, we would not come to Riverside unless we
came as specially invited guests; a visit, in short, that would be a
mutual gratification to us all. But at this time, Tom has got a most
excellent situation on Delaware avenue, the grand residence avenue of
Buffalo; besides, he has married a wife, and therefore he cannot come.
(Such is the language of Holy Writ).

"As for myself, the grand committee on abolition have engaged me to give
a number of lectures, and to sing at their meetings in the interest of
the freedom of all those who are held in the South in enforced and
involuntary bondage. The committee on freedom think that the presence of
a young woman like me would help on the good cause, draw the crowds, and
drive another nail into the coffin of slavery in Kentucky, and wherever
the hated institution exists.

"It will not be a very hard thing for me to make out a clear case
against slavery, and in favor of freedom. Now, just look at myself, and
all those graces and qualifications that I possess and inherit from both
father and mother, and how our gracious Lord has cut me out to be
something, and to do something in the world! Suppose that I had chosen
to remain at Riverside Hall! What was to hinder you spiriting me away to
the cotton fields of the Sunny South to wear my life away as if I were a
mere animal, instead of being a human being like yourself, and one for
whom Christ died? I therefore rejoice at dear mother’s freedom; for
slavery is nothing but a revolting crime—a system of robbery and murder!
Now, here I am, and in a short time intend to appear on the public stage
in the capacity of a lecturer, a singer and a player on the piano. Just
fancy the idea of a handsome young woman of seventeen, like myself,
being sold away to Louisiana or Georgia to wear my life away among the
rice fields, the cotton and the cane, when nature has qualified me with
gifts and graces, the admiration of my gallant and clever Tom, and the
'pick’ of the general public to serve against slavery in the Northern
States! I only hope that I shall be able to do my full share to help on
the great conflagration that is now raging all over the free states, and
which I hope will never cease burning until it has burnt the whole
'institution’ down to the ground. Here in the North I shall be seen and
heard by legions of people. But who would ever see or hear me in the
cotton fields, or the sugar plantations, and in the rice swamps of
Louisiana or Georgia?

"I have failed to answer your letter in the way intended. What
impression you intended to make on my mind is more than I know. Your
statements were nothing but the old parrot cries of the South, that have
been heard for many years. Of course, you cannot compel us to come back
so long as we ourselves object. If you write us any more, and expect
your letters to be read, you will have to make them of a readable
character. We will tolerate no less respect than if you were writing to
the Bishop or his wife. I know you don’t wish your letters to be
returned to you unread. ’A word to the wise is sufficient.’

"I am yours very respectfully,


The country continued to ring with abolitionism. Orators and agitators
continued to traverse it in all directions. Men and women mounted the
rostrum, and held forth hour after hour before greatly-interested
gatherings of both sexes and all ages. Fugitive slaves who had made
their escape over the lines were introduced upon the platform, and gave
their wonderful experiences of slavery in the South, and how they
managed to get away. It was thrilling to hear some of them tell of all
the dangers they encountered upon the road; how they were pursued for
hundreds of miles by men, horses and even bloodhounds; how they were
assisted by free people of color, and even by those in bondage and white
people; and thus helped along week after week, and month after month,
till they felt that they were at last both safe and free. When we
consider how the slave States passed one law after another, and all
pulled, and hauled, and banded together to protect and perpetuate their
hold upon their human property, it was most wonderful how very many
slaves effected their escape. The nearer the awful storm came to
breaking over our heads, the more numerous grew the successful escapes
that were made. The frantic South still kept tying the strings tighter
and tighter; but instead of producing the effect she desired, the more
daring grew the soul of the intrepid slave, who seemed encouraged by the
very God of battles himself to strike for liberty and flee to the North.

Thus the grand storm went on, increased and grew. Fred. Douglass,
William Lloyd Garrison, and many other famous writers continued to issue
their papers week by week, or month by month. The agitation was kept at
fever heat by all sorts and conditions of men and women. Still the
Abolitionists did not have the entire field to themselves, for there
were thousands and thousands of people in the Northern states who
believed in slavery for the colored man as much as the Southern
slave-holder himself, away down in Louisiana and Georgia. But Henry Ward
Beecher, Mrs. Harriet Beecher Stowe, and others without number continued
to lay on with hard licks and steady blows; the public conscience of the
free States became more and more educated, and the people in general
came to take a sympathetic interest in the oppressed African they had
never done before. The presence of the poor, oppressed fugitive slaves
in their meetings, and seen streaming along the North towards the Great
Lakes and Canada, with the marks of the "peculiar institution" stamped
for life upon their backs, were proof positive that none could deny. The
furious quarrel was carried into the halls of Congress at Washington,
and the South was unable to keep it out, though they made the most
determined efforts to do so. The Quakers and all the friends of the
slaves were forever at it, ding-dong, hammer and tongs, and thus the
family quarrel went on. John Brown and free-soil men were in Kansas, and
so were the "Border Ruffians" who came pouring in from Missouri and the
South, being determined to carry Kansas and all other new States and
territories into slavery like the rest of the slave States in their
rear. And still the great American family quarrel went on, increased and
grew, and the Christian voice of the North declared, "Thus far shalt
thou come and no further; and here shall thy proud waves be stayed." The
far-away Christian nations of the world watched the gathering of the
coming tempest from over the seas, and it was apparent to their
unobscured vision that a fearful judgment was coming upon America, and
that it would not be long in coming, either.

The escape of mother and Tom and myself from slavery caused no small
sensation in and around Buffalo. An endless tide of visitors came on to
see us, and they had a thousand questions to ask us about our early life
and experiences in Kentucky and Louisiana. As Lemuel Jackson had caused
us to be duly educated, so that we could even play the piano well, we
were rather more fortunate in the line of education than most of our
fugitive brothers and sisters. In those days, great anti-slavery
demonstrations were all the go. The announcement that some great
national abolitionist was to be on hand at the Hall, to address the
general public on the wrongs and crimes of slavery, would pack the whole
place, and sometimes the crowds that came could not find even standing
room. Then music was added at times, songs were sung, even brass and
stringed bands were brought into play, and everything was done to draw
the prohibition hosts of the great North, then to keep them there, and
finally to make them come again.

The Abolitionists took advantage of our presence in Buffalo to help one
grand meeting in the city for the purpose of making a demonstration in
force, to prove that colored people were just the very same as white
people when they were educated and polished, as we three had been.
Because the lie had been repeated ten thousand times in the South, and
reechoed by their abetting friends in the North, that we were unfitted
for civilization, and that the African was formed by God himself for
slavery, and for slavery alone, and was never intended by nature to be
the equal and companion of white men and women! It was considered that
our presence in a highly intelligent audience would knock that argument
completely on the head, and kill the abominable falsehood once for all.
Therefore they made a demonstration in force, and we ourselves were on

When the night and hour arrived, Tom, mother and myself proceeded to the
hall, which was already half full, though we were there early. We saw
that great things were expected of us all, and we braced ourselves up
for the occasion, determined that nobody should go away disappointed.
The music discoursed sweet tunes as the people were gathering, and in
due course of time the Rev. Doctor Henderson called the meeting to
order, and took the chair for the evening. He called on our pastor to
offer up prayer to the Giver of every good and perfect gift. The glee
club then sang "The Negro’s Complaint," which was written by Mr. William
Cowper, of England. Then the chairman exclaimed,

"Now, ladies and gentlemen, the slave-holders tell us that the children
of African descent in these United States are unfitted for civilization,
and that they are nothing but goods and chattels. I will now call upon
one specimen of these goods and chattels to give us a rattling tune on
the grand piano, and to sing us ’The Mocking Bird,’ and put some life in
it." (Great display of approbation, mingled with shouts of loud

Then said the reverend speaker, turning to myself,

"Mrs. Lincoln, will you be so kind as to favor us with some of your warm
Southern music?"

Now, of course, the indulgent reader will readily understand that upon
this august occasion I was arrayed like a bride adorned for her husband.
So I arose, bowed to the audience, and put on one of my sweetest smiles,
and proceeded to play and sing with unusual vigor. When I came to the
chorus the whole audience joined in, and I thought they would have
brought down the roof of the hall on our heads. Nor was that the best
part of it, because they not only sang at the end of each verse, but
when I got through the entire audience arose upon their feet and shouted
their applause, calling for an encore, and would not be refused.

I gave them a Southern song with music, for which they gave me another
sounding cheer, when Dr. Henderson introduced my honored mother, Mrs.
Sutherland, in the following happy terms:

"Dear Friends: We are assembled here to-night, in our accustomed place
of meeting, to give the grand chariot of progress another push towards
the bottom of the hill. (Loud applause). The lesson we wish to teach
upon this special and most exceptional occasion is to show what the
colored race are capable of doing and becoming if they had simply an
open field and fair play. It is our desire to see them get an open field
and fair play! (More applause). But I will not detain this large and
splendid audience any longer, but at once introduce to you Mrs. John B.
Sutherland, formerly of Kentucky, but now of Buffalo, who will entertain
us for a time and address the house."

Loud applause followed the Doctor’s remarks, when my honored mother came
to the front of the platform, and spoke as follows:

"My good friends, I consider myself most especially honored this night
to be permitted to come before you, to assist in driving another nail
into the coffin of the ’peculiar institution’ from whose clutches I have
just been rescued by the kindness and daring of my own daughter. (Loud
cheers). The South has told you ten thousand times that we of the
colored race are only fit for hewers of wood and drawers of water, like
the Gibeonites. These drawers of water of our poor, oppressed race, that
they themselves may live in mansions more palatial than the lords, and
barons, and dukes of Continental Europe and the British Isles. Who ever
heard of such unmanliness and cowardice? Men who ape the aristocracy of
Europe, and even surpass them in brilliant, grand displays, wringing
their wealth from the oppressed African!

"I tell you, ladies and gentlemen, that Almighty God is getting tired of
such refined badness, and that the day is coming, and will soon be here
when such a storm of wrath will be upon the South as will wipe out the
blood-red crime of slavery from Mason and Dixon’s line to the Rio
Grande. The sooner that day of judgment comes the better!

"Just look abroad over all these far-spreading Northern and Western
States, and hear how they are ringing with the loud notes of freedom,
and the sounds of coming conflict! I am free to say that upon this
night, and at this very hour there are hundreds of meetings going on all
along the Northern States for the purpose of enlightening the nation as
to the real character, intentions and purposes of the South. The South
is not ignorant of these things. They have got Argus eyes for all we do,
both in Congress and out of it, and they will push things as fast and as
far as they dare. They will give us no rest till we are either all
slaves, or all free! (Loud applause). I look around me at the political
skies, and I see them growing blacker and blacker as the great national
storm is gathering. John Brown and the free-soil men are in Kansas; loud
and angry words are being bandied forth between the occupants of the two
ends of the house—between the powerful North and the passionate South.
From words they will most assuredly come to blows over that very
'peculiar institution,’ and American slavery and all the evils that
follow in its train, will pass away. But of one thing rest assured. The
South will never consent to emancipate her slaves. They have been
throwing it up in the face of the North these past fifty years that they
can’t get their own way; they will go out of the Union, and set up a
slave empire of their own. Then they will attempt a dissolution of these
glorious States. Then they will dare and defy you to force them back
into the Union by the sword. The day is coming, and what will you do
about it?" (Great cheering).


_Continuation and End of the Great Abolition Meeting at Buffalo._

"The determination of the slave-holding oligarchy is to keep our
persecuted race under a bushel—both soul and body—and to sit down on the
top of that bushel for all coming time. They are stone blind to the fact
that they are sitting on the top of a bushel of dynamite, which will
blow them sky-high one of these days, with terrible effect. They have
entirely forgotten that this world belongs to God; and they and the
devil between them have made up their minds to do as they please.
Between bloodhounds and cowhides they think they will do very well. My
own firm belief is that a war is coming upon us that will carry mourning
into every house in this great republic, both North and South. There are
thousands and ten thousands of the very same opinion as myself. The
South will never surrender their ’peculiar institution.’ If it were
dogs, cows or horses that they were called upon to give up, they would
cheerfully give them up for a fair price. But the very ’Old Lad’ himself
is in the business when it comes to claim property in men and women,
especially when those men and women happen to be better than themselves,
which is usually the case. (Loud laughter and cheering all over the
hall). When a dog, a horse or a cow runs away, they will let it go, but
if it be a man or a woman, they will pursue the fugitive over mountains,
lakes and rivers, and even die in the attempt to bring them back to
slavery. If this rising storm shall end in a war, the old lie that the
black man will not fight will certainly be exploded, for every slave
will go to the field, if necessary, and their strong arms will knock
down the ’peculiar institution.’ (Great applause).

[Illustration: _ABRAHAM LINCOLN._]

"On my way down the Mississippi to New Orleans, they brought an old
colored man on board, having sold him to a family resident in the Queen
City of the South. I conversed much with that grand old hero, and it was
wonderful to see what an intuitive knowledge he had of human nature, and
what a vast amount of natural goodness there was still left in him,
after so much hard experience, labor and toil among the cane brakes and
cotton fields. Such a man as Judah—for that was his name—ought to have
been a bishop in the Church of God, instead of being reckoned among the
bales and bundles, and goods and chattels, of the Southern States. If
that good man (who left such a deep impression on the hearts and minds
of all Christian people who conversed with him)—if he had been free
according to the will of God, and been educated like white men, instead
of being robbed and plundered of his rights, he would have made a
splendid bishop, for I am perfectly positive that he had every
qualification for that office in the highest degree. That saintly
man—that Judah—should this very day be the right reverend and honored
bishop among his brethren in a nation where all are free, instead of
being no more than a favored spaniel or ornament to grace the pride of
some family in New Orleans. If that grand old man had only had the same
opportunities that the white bishops have had, he would at this hour be
gracing the churches and halls of this nation, the very same as white
men do. The day of judgment is at hand that will reverse all that!

"On the same voyage down the Mississippi to New Orleans, they brought on
board a fair and beautiful creature of seventeen, who, like Judah, was
also intended to grace a baronial hall in the Queen City of the South. A
more attractive woman I have never seen anywhere. It was pitiable to
think of her future. She was graceful in all her movements; most
handsome; had a musical voice, and was withal a splendid singer. Where
she was born I cannot tell, but they gave $2,500 for her! The more I
looked at poor Julia, the more mournful I became. What a glorious
ornament for society she would have been had she been free! Almost any
honorable man would have been proud to make her his wife. She could have
led the choir in the house of God, and could have sung with the
minstrels before Queen Victoria and all the crowned heads of Europe. She
might have been a bright and shining light in some way or other, under
the guiding hand of divine providence; her life and times might have
been written by some famous author, and read by millions of people in
this and other nations of the earth.

"In this way we can go on to the end of the chapter. Our traducers and
slanderers say that we are unfit for this, that and the other thing,
which is a deliberate and willful falsehood. We are well qualified for
everything that any other race upon earth is qualified to perform, and
that is the very reason why our maligners say we are not; and they are
even unwilling to give us the chance to try. It is true that a few of us
are educated, but very few. We three, that is, myself and daughter and
her husband, were taught a little because we were favorably situated
under Mr. Jackson, but the slave-holders, as a general thing, make a
specialty of keeping us in the most complete ignorance, and it is a
crime for a slave to be taught to read, write and cast accounts, and it
is also a crime for any man to be found teaching him.

"But there is a better day coming, and will soon be here; only we will
have to pass through a time of the most tremendous affliction before the
better times arrive. When, by the predetermined will of God, all men and
women are free from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from the Lakes to
the Gulf, then, indeed, shall we arise and shine forth, for our light
will be come, and the glory of the Lord will be risen upon us. Then
shall new schools and colleges be established all over the land, into
which our sons and daughters will crowd, and they will also go to those
which have been long established. Then shall our professional men and
women go forth in their thousands and ten thousands, and spread to lands
and islands beyond the seas. Then shall our senators and representatives
enter the halls of Congress at Washington, and every state legislature.
Our surgeons and physicians shall then ride forth precisely the same as
their white brothers duly armed with the very same diplomas, authorizing
them to heal the sick, and alleviate the ailments of those that are
afflicted, instead of wearing their lives away in the cane brakes, the
cotton fields and the rice swamp of the South as slaves. They may labor
all over the far-extended lands as freemen toiling for themselves and
their families at useful trades, and laying up money against a rainy
day. Then shall children go forth in their hundreds and thousands to be
trained like others for the duties of life, and to become the ornaments
of society. Then shall our afflicted sons and daughters sit no longer in
the galleries of the churches of the land as so many ’goods and
chattels" thrust away up into the corner, but walk forth in freedom to
the house of the Lord on the Sabbath day—go forth in their thousands and
tens of thousands to our most Holy Communion in all that liberty of soul
and body wherein the Lord has made us all free. The time would fail for
me to tell, and for you to listen to all the good things that will come
with freedom, after every man, woman and child, now in slavery, are at

When Mrs. Sutherland had done speaking as above, she resumed her seat
amidst a scene of great enthusiasm. Indeed the whole audience was worked
up to a pitch of great excitement. The glee club now advanced to the
front, and gave us one of their best songs, which was most heartily
enjoyed by every person present.

The reverend chairman now rose to his feet, and thus addressed the
immense assembly:

"Ladies and Gentlemen:—Just think upon the glorious speech to which we
have listened, and the unanswerable arguments of the beautiful and
accomplished speaker! There are wonderful changes in store for this
nation, and the end is not yet. I will now call upon Mrs. Thomas
Lincoln, of Kentucky, to address the house. Ladies and gentlemen, Mrs.

Although this was my first appearance in public, and though that mighty
audience looked formidable enough to scare an African lion or royal
Indian tiger, still my own mind was firmly made up to brook no failure,
and I proceeded to speak as follows:

"My good Christian friends of the North: I bless and magnify the Lord
this famous night, not only because I am permitted to address you, but
because I am even free. It is very true that in yonder great slave land
my lines fell to me in pleasant places; but after all, though I figured
as ’The Flower-Girl of Riverside Hall,’ I was no more in the eyes of the
'peculiar institution,’ ridiculously so called, than a pampered and
favored greyhound with a gold chain around his neck! (Loud laughter.)
That golden chain marked me for a slave, although it was my privilege,
upon grand occasions, to become an ornament to grace my owner’s triumph
among his visitors, just like any other fragile vase set upon a
mantelpiece. (More laughter). Upon those grand occasions our masters
used to bring out the finest wines, richest fruits and rarest delicacies
of the whole earth. The land and the sea were ransacked to find dainties
for the glorious lords and ladies of the South, to set before their
guests far more than the lords and dukes and barons of Europe and Asia
ever even attempted to display. At our grand banquets it was my duty to
pour out the wine, and assist in a general way in the dining-room, as
the necessity of the moment might require. Then nature has endowed me
with a voice for music, and as I am fond of singing, I had to obey,
whenever I was bid, by giving them some of our Southern songs to the
accompaniment of the grand piano, and even play for the company whenever
they wanted to dance. (Loud applause from the young people). But I am
bound to confess that often in the midst of these grand pastimes, when I
deemed it prudent to look pleasant, and even to smile sweetly for the
purpose of concealing my real thought, I was longing and praying for
freedom, and regarded myself as no more than that aforementioned chained
greyhound among other greyhounds that were free. (Cheers from the
audience). I could not forget that at that very hour there were good men
and women of color, down in the slave quarter, dressed in little more
than sackcloth, stretching their weary limbs for the night upon their
miserable beds, after a miserable meal of coarse cornbread, and a
swallow of tea or coffee, perfect dish water, besides other stuff not
fit for a horse or a dog to feed on! In the slave quarter there lay the
best of men and women, of whom this world is not worthy, and here we
were in the ball-room, abandoned to the dance as if there were no
suffering in the world, much less not many yards away from the place
where all our revelry was going on. Was it wonder, then, as my fingers
flew over the piano, that I internally prayed, ’O my Good Lord, set me
free! Set me free! and take me away from all this shallow and hollow
mockery!’ I had a tremendous presentiment, which I could not keep down,
that the Lord God Almighty would yet visit the South for all this, and
give our great lords and masters, on some near future day, the field of
battle whereon they could show off their talents, instead of robbing and
murdering the oppressed African, and thus living at his expense. O my
God, it was too much! (Great cheering).

"I was still very young. It was only spring when I was seventeen, when
the Bishop and his wife were invited to our house. They were to be our
guests during a great religious gathering at Louisville. I felt a sudden
inspiration to make a rush for liberty, now or perhaps never. Besides,
slavery is so uncertain, and as it is usually the unexpected thing that
happens on their estates and plantations, if you don’t take time by the
forelock when you can, you may never have so good a chance again. I will
leave it to my kind and gallant Tom to tell you how we got away; because
I think that was the luckiest day in my whole life—unless, indeed, I
consider also the day that my own dear mother and I sailed from New
Orleans on the Columbia. There are great days in the lives of
individuals as well as in the lives of nations, and I feel a heavenly
presentiment in my own heart and soul that a great war is impending upon
this nation, and that Almighty God will send it to set His people free.
We are the Lord’s own people, and we pray to Him every day. He has
promised, many a time, in His holy word, to hear our prayers, and He
does hear our prayers, and there are thousands and millions of prayers
sent up to heaven every day to the throne of mercy that God would set
the captives free. The North and South between them, may pass ’Fugitive
Slave Bills,’ and plan and scheme to keep the curse of slavery going
till the end of time, if they like; but at the same time this world
belongs to the great Lord of heaven and earth, and He will hear all the
prayers of the oppressed before much more time rolls over our heads, for
He is sure to set our people free.

"I have been studying what I can to help on the good cause of
emancipation, abolitionism, or by whatsoever name you may call it—I mean
in this campaign that is now raging and at fever heat all along the
Northern states, and from ocean to ocean. I am willing to do all I can
to help the cause of the oppressed and terribly down-trodden slave. I am
willing to place my services at the command of the managing committee in
these parts, and to speak, to play, and to sing, and do my best in every
way for the good cause. (Loud applause all over the hall). Fred.
Douglass, and William Lloyd Garrison, and Henry Ward Beecher, and many
others of the ’big guns’ will be coming around; and perhaps even Mrs.
Harriet Beecher Stowe herself. I think she, at least, ought to pay us a
visit, for if any free colored person in the South is detected with her
'Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ in his possession, that person may be sent to prison
for twelve months. Now I myself managed to read ’Uncle Tom,’ even in
slavery. So did my honored mother and husband—all here present before
you—and Mr. Jackson, our owner, could have been fined so much apiece for
us three, had the State of Kentucky been made aware of the fact! (Loud
ironical cheers and great laughter by the whole house). In a campaign
like this, we must all put our shoulders to the wheel, and give a long
pull, a strong pull, and a pull all together; and each and every one of
us must do all we can to bring the abominations of slavery to an end.
’There is a divinity that shapes our ends, rough hew them as we will.’
Such are the words of Shakespeare. We also are rough-hewing the cause of
freedom for the slave. The divinity of heaven will give the proper shape
and finish to these ends of ours.

"As I have myself already drunk so deeply of the fountain of liberty, I
think it is my bounden duty to do all I can to help on that good cause
that lies so near all our hearts. And yet I do not see that I can do
much more, when I have done my best, than to aid in heaping more fuel
upon the top of the fire now raging, and thus assist in firing the
Northern heart. Other weak women, besides me, have worked wonders in
forwarding the cause of freedom and of God. Several of the greatest
heroines of history are mentioned in both the Old and New Testament. One
of the very first who was mentioned is Miriam, who led forth the women
with timbrels and with dances at the Red Sea, for she commanded the
people ’to praise the Lord, because He had done gloriously; the horse
and the rider He had cast into the sea.’ Then we come to the case of the
brave and valiant Deborah, the most conspicuous of all the heroines of
the Bible, for she led the Jewish nation to the war, and placed herself
at the head of her volunteers on the mountains of Israel. So long as
freedom and liberty are held sacred in this world, so long shall the
name of the victorious and intrepid Deborah be ever green. (Loud
applause). Another famous heroine of history was Boadicea, the Queen of
the Britons, who placed herself at the head of her army and fought with
the Romans. Then we have the burning and shining example of Joan d’Arc,
who led on the armies of France, and cleared that country of the English
invaders. Nor must we forget the intrepidity and courage of Her Majesty
Elizabeth, Queen of England, who placed herself at the head of her
troops when her native isle was threatened with invasion by the Spanish
Armada. Such women were—each one of them—worth a hundred thousand men,
not so much for what they could do in themselves, but because they
greatly assisted in firing the national heart, and urging on the hosts
of men to war.

"Now, I am not saying that I myself will make a Deborah, a Joan of Arc,
or an Elizabeth; but there are already in this campaign several heroic
American women, who are doing yeoman service on behalf of the
down-trodden and oppressed African, and if they can do something in this
good cause, so can I. (Loud shouts of ’Yes, yes! so you can! Hurrah for
Mrs. Lincoln!’) I am at least willing to do my best in talking, in
singing and in striking the dulcet chords of music, and wherein I may
happen to fall short, others will atone for my deficiencies. Let the
work go on! Let us lay the axe to the roots of this deadly and devilish
upas tree! Let slavery be shaken to its lowest foundations, and be
driven into the Gulf of Mexico! Forward, ye brave! And even if war
itself must come, let it come, and even we women will go to the field!"

With the last exhortation, I resumed my seat, when the audience rose to
their feet and cheered, and almost made me blush at the results of my
own small efforts. When the excitement had abated, and the audience was
in readiness to hear the next speaker, the Rev. Dr. Henderson arose once
more and said:

"Ladies and gentlemen:—After the eloquent and stirring address we have
heard from the wife, we shall now look forward with much pleasure to an
address from that noble and gallant husband who safely piloted both
himself and her out of slavery, as we plainly see here before us
to-night. I beg to introduce to you Mr. Thomas Lincoln!"

Tom arose at once, and as he advanced towards the footlights, he pulled
down his vest and cleared his throat in the masculine fashion, the
audience in the meanwhile cheering loudly, after which he proceeded to
speak as follows:

"My right good Christian friends:—It is with no small pleasure that I
appear before you to-night to give you some of my sentiments, veins and
opinions on the coming war in this country. (Sensation). I firmly
believe that a war is impending over us, as I believe that there is a
God of vengeance and of justice. Look at the millions and billions of
money that the Southern chivalry have piled up, and they are piling it
up still, at the expense of the poor, oppressed and enslaved African!
And shall a sinful nation indeed escape from blood-red crimes like
these? I am neither a prophet by profession, nor the son of a prophet,
but even a child can understand that the funeral bell of slavery will be
tolled before long, and depend upon it, ye young men! both you and I
will be called into the field, and we will all be needed to pull down
that most abominable and ’peculiar institution!’ (Loud applause).

"Though neither a prophet, nor the son of a prophet, I affirm that a day
is coming, and is now on the home stretch, indeed, when you young men
and I will not be permitted to stay at home and dally with the apron
strings of our mothers and sweethearts, but we will have to march to the
field. We will then make it manifest what we men of Africa can dare and
can do. I shall be quite willing to go for one, when the South, in her
frantic anger, will secede; I am willing to do all I can for my own
country, and if those who are soldiers themselves never come home, we,
at least, will clear the great national gangway for coming generations,
and the glories that are to follow! (Loud cheers).

"I suppose that some of our friends on the other side of the fence will
begin to tell us here that the colored man will not fight, and that
there is neither pluck nor courage in him. We shall certainly be told a
hundred thousand times that there is no fighting in him, and that he was
never intended for anything but a docile slave! Such persons who say so
have never read even the A B C of history; for colored men fought quite
as well as white men on many a hard-fought field, both in the War of the
Revolution, and in the War of 1812; and what we did once, and did well,
we can do again, and do better, and with a better motive, too, because
we will be fighting for our own complete emancipation, and to put an
end, once for all, to slavery in the United States, and purge the nation
of a great crime. (Loud applause throughout the hall).

"I need not go back in history to prove the bravery of the African race,
for this is a well-known fact, and the very school-books are full of it.
The bravery of the slave is one of the main reasons why the
slave-holders make such stringent laws in attempting to perpetuate their
iniquitous system. They know our prowess, and the risks they would run
in the case of a general rising, and therefore they exercise double
caution in order to keep down even the slightest attempts at
insurrection. But for all that, there is not the slightest doubt in my
own mind that they will go out of the Union, as they have been promising
us to do for the last fifty years, if they cannot get their own way! In
all their plans, schemes and calculations, this slave-holding oligarchy
have thrown the Almighty overboard, and every sacred right of the human
race. They have treated the wronged and oppressed African as if he had
neither rights nor feelings, and, indeed, as if he were not a human
being at all. But there is a day coming, and it will soon be here, when
the Great Creator of the entire human race will call an imperative halt
to all this, and go into this war as we may, we will come out with four
millions of people who will be redeemed from the yoke and curse of
Southern bondage. (Loud cheers).

"I did not intend to make a lengthy address. I only wished to point out
that we are drifting into war, and my own willingness to lend a hand to
liberate the oppressed slave."

Tom now resumed his seat amidst great applause. The audience, though
taken by surprise by his speech, were greatly delighted, because of his
willingness to go to the field.

The reverend chairman now called on the glee club to give us some more
of their musical compositions and campaign songs. These were given with
a hearty good will, so that the enthusiasm of the audience rose higher
and higher. The newspaper reporters were also kept busy, and a good
account of the proceedings of this very successful abolition meeting was
found in several of the papers next morning, and very extensively read.
Before we scattered for the night, the Rev. Doctor Henderson arose, and
made the following closing remarks to the audience:

"Ladies and gentlemen: We have all listened to a rare treat this night.
Just think of it! The South calls these two ladies and this gentleman
their ’goods and chattels,’ and for the very life of me I do not see how
a war can be avoided, and then we shall know what their so-called goods
and chattels will do when the storm shall burst upon us in all its fury.
No, no! I do not see how a war is to be avoided, for the passions of
both the North and the South are being worked up in precisely the same
way as is usual in quarrels between individuals, and no doubt but it
will all end by coming to blows in a terrible conflict.

"In the meantime it is our duty to keep agitating as never before. It is
a perfect outrage on humanity to hold in bondage such refined persons as
these three here present to-night. We must agitate this great question,
night and day, till the sun of righteousness shall arise with healing in
his wings. I now call for a vote of thanks to Mrs. John B. Sutherland,
and to Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Lincoln. Let three rousing cheers be given
for them!"

The audience rose to their feet, gave three cheers and a tiger, and the
great demonstration came to an end.


_The Negro’s Complaint—John Brown’s Raid—The Secession of the Southern
States—Battle of Milliken’s Bend—Battle at Fort Hudson—The Effect of the
Emancipation Proclamation on this Nation and the Entire Christian

As my indulgent readers would perhaps like to know the lines of "The
Negro’s Complaint," which were sung so beautifully by the campaign glee
club that night at the great meeting at Buffalo, I will here insert
them. They were written by the Honorable William Cowper, of England, and
directed against British slavery in the West Indies, and the slave trade
generally. They apply with such force and truth to that self-same
blood-red crime as carried on by the United States that they are worthy
of being committed to memory by every true lover of poetry in the
English language throughout the world.


    Forced from home and all its pleasures,
      Africa’s coast I left forlorn,
    To increase a stranger’s treasures
      O’er the raging billows borne.
    Men from England bought and sold me,
      Paid my price in paltry gold;
    But, though theirs they have enrolled me,
      Minds are never to be sold.

    Still in thought as free as ever,
      What are England’s rights? I ask;
    Me from delights to sever,
      Me to torture, me to task?
    Fleecy locks and dark complexion
      Cannot forfeit nature’s claim;
    Skins may differ, but affection
      Dwells in white and black the same.

    Why did all-creating nature
      Make the plant for which we toil?
    Sighs must fan it—tears must water,
      Sweat of ours must dress the soil.
    Hark! Ye masters, iron-hearted,
      Lolling at your jovial boards—
    Think how many backs have smarted
      For the sweets your cane affords!

    Hark! He answers. Wild tornadoes
      Strewing yonder seas with wrecks,
    Wasting towns, plantations, meadows,
      Are the voice with which he speaks;
    He, foreseeing what vexations
      Afric’s sons should undergo,
    Fixed their tyrant’s habitations
      Where his whirlwinds answer—No!

    By our blood in Afric wasted,
      Ere our necks received the chain,
    By the miseries we have tasted
      Crossing in your barks the main;
    By our sufferings since ye brought us
      To the man-degrading mart—
    All, sustained by patience, taught us,
      Only by a broken heart.

    Count our nation brutes no longer,
      Till some reason ye shall find
    Worthier of regard, and stronger
      Than the color of the kind;
    Slaves of gold, whose sordid dealings
      Tarnish all your boasted powers,
    Prove that ye have human feelings
      Ere ye proudly question ours!

Time passed on, and Tom and I, and Mr. and Mrs. Sutherland, still
continued to occupy the same house. The Lord blessed the entire
household, and none of us had ever cause to regret the steps we had
taken and carried out with such speed. We enlisted heart and soul in the
grand anti-slavery movement, and blew the bellows with all our might to
help on the good cause of liberty and perfect freedom. The border
ruffians in Kansas had been beaten back into the South, which was the
first open fight between the two high contending parties. That put the
angry South in no good humor. Like an ungovernable, high-strung virago,
her temper was up, and she threatened secession, and dreamed of
extending a new slave empire around the Gulf of Mexico. The
abolitionists of the North were unyielding, and the two sections were
drifting into war.

In the midst of so much combustion and heated temper, it would have been
remarkable, indeed, if there had been no "flame" that burst out here or
there. In all impending struggles and revolutions there is always
someone who voices the pent-up feelings of one party or the other, and
sometimes of both. On the impulse of the moment, as it were by an act of
inspiration, somebody steps out of the ranks, and becomes the leader on
his side. The man who led the way on the part of the anti-slavery party,
was the famous John Brown, who figured so largely in Kansas, and in 1859
seized upon the United States Arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, in Virginia,
while he was leading on a handful of white and colored men for the
purpose of effecting a general rising of the slaves throughout the
South. But the Virginians came pouring down upon him and his little
band. Some were killed and wounded; others were missing, and John Brown
himself and a few of his followers were hung. Still, John Brown was in
the right. He was simply an outgrowth of the times. He regarded the
slaves as prisoners, whom it was the duty of any man to set at liberty.
They or their forefathers, at least, had been taken captive in Africa,
and it—that is, American slavery—was the crying scandal of the entire
Christian world. John Brown was one of the abolitionists of the North,
and they were responsible for his actions. But the South was alarmed all
over its dark domain. From Mason and Dixon’s Line to the Rio Grande the
news of John Brown’s raid flew like wildfire, and the violent temper of
the South grew to a white heat. And all the world—both at home and

"If one single spark like this can raise such a conflagration, what
shall we have when the anti-slavery party shall set their foot into the
whole ’business’ on a grand scale? If one man at Harper’s Ferry can
effect such a disturbance, what will ensue when the great overshadowing
North will arise in her might, and call for a settlement of the whole
question in favor of the oppressed African?"

The war, indeed, was now nearer than before. The South would listen to
no compromise nor reason of any kind. The haughty Southern lords would
brook no interference. The Northern intruders who touched her "peculiar
institution" touched "the apple of her eye." And now for war!

The war came at last, and South Carolina was the state that struck the
first blow. Then one state seceded after another, and they set up the
"Southern Confederacy," with slavery as its corner-stone. Then the
wildest and most tremendous excitement spread over all the great North,
and the interest reached even the ends of the earth. For the time being,
so great was the national delirium that the great masses of the
population seemed to have completely forgotten the glorious cause of
abolitionism, the grand doings of the underground railroad, and even the
eternal decree of the Most High God that one man should not own property
in another. But all the same the deep and thoughtful minds of all
thorough-going Christians all over the world could see that this war
should not close till every slave was set free. It was Pharaoh and the
captive Israelites over again, "Let my people go, that they may serve

That which threw the great North into such a state of excitement and
alarm was not the slave question at all. The people were concerned over
the breaking up of this great united republic, because the establishment
of the Southern Confederacy cut the nation in two, and took away from us
the middle and lower Mississippi. If the hair is the glory of a woman,
as Paul says, the Mississippi river is the glory of the United States.
Uncle Sam, therefore, even yet did all he could to induce the seceded
states to come home again, and assured them in every possible way that
not a finger should be laid upon their slaves, but that they should keep
them all! But the haughty South had made up her mind to set up
house-keeping for herself, and she thought she could do so even if the
worst came to the worst. She had been getting ready for secession for
fifty years, and now the crisis had come.

There did not appear to be the slightest idea on either side that more
than four years would elapse before the dreadful business would be
settled. A call was made by President Lincoln for seventy-five thousand
men to serve for three months, but a far greater number offered
themselves. There were thousands, if not millions, of people who
believed that the small affair would be all over in a very little while,
and nothing was talked of but marching to Richmond, and winding things
up. Then the rebellious leaders would return to their duties, slavery
would go on as before, and the Mississippi river would once more flow
through our glorious republic—one and undivided, from the headwaters of
the same to the Gulf of Mexico.

It never seemed to enter the minds of the great masses of the people
then that the South was as terribly in earnest as she certainly was, nor
how well-trained she was and ready for the fray. The skill of her
leaders, the intrepidity of her sons, and fighting upon her own soil,
were lost sight of to a very great extent in the wild delirium that
seized on the great Northern heart over the breaking up of the Union. It
did not seem to strike the national mind at the time that this was a war
sent by God for the extirpation of slavery, and as an answer to the
prayers of the oppressed millions in the South for freedom, and for the
treatment of human beings. It did not then occur to the minds of the
North that a day would come after nearly two years’ indecisive fighting,
when military necessity would compel the Federal government to free the
slave by Act of Congress, and call upon him "to come to the help of the
Lord against the mighty," and Shakespeare says, "There is a divinity
that shapes our ends, rough hew them as we will." and so it was even

[Illustration: _BATTLE OF MILLIKEN’S BEND._]

I shall never forget that morning at Buffalo—it was in the month of
June, 1863, when the letter-carrier brought me the first war letter from
my gallant Tom. The date was not given, but it came from a place called
Milliken’s Bend, on the Lower Mississippi river, and a battle had been
fought at that place, since called by the historians, "The Battle of
Milliken’s Bend." But I will here insert Tom’s letter in its entirety,
as there are some other things in it besides war and fighting.

"MILLIKEN’S BEND, June, 1863.

"My Dear Beulah:—No doubt but you have already received the letters I
sent you from New Orleans, after that I myself and the rest of the
Buffalonians had landed in the Crescent City. I send lots of warm love
to the entire family, and be sure to keep our two daughters, Ella and
Fannie, regularly at school. My best love to the church in a body. Tell
them to pray for us.

"I have great pleasure in informing you that we have here completely
settled the question whether colored men will not fight in America as
well as their ancestors did in Africa. On the night of the 6th of June,
about three thousand Texans came to our fortifications, and lay around
our five hundred colored soldiers, besides a hundred white ones. Those
three thousand rebels lay prowling around our men like so many cats,
only waiting for the dawn of the 7th of June to gobble us up like so
many poor, helpless mice. About three o’clock they came on with an awful
rush, shouting, ’No quarter for niggers and their officers!’ They got
into our works, and the way that men fell on both sides was dreadful. It
was really awful the way my poor comrades were shot down, or killed with
the bayonet, though at the same time we mowed them down like grass
before the scythe. Those strong arms of ours that had made the South the
rich land that it lately was, now laid its defenders even with the
ground. There was hardly a single officer, either black or white, among
us who was not either killed or wounded. How I escaped myself without a
scratch is more than I can tell, where there were so very few who came
out of the battle as they went in. To God be all the praise!

"The gunboats Choctow and Lexington assisted us very much, for they kept
throwing shells into the enemy, and made them fly in all directions, and
even up into the air! The white men on our side—one hundred of them—also
fought like lions. One division of the rebels hesitated about coming out
of a redoubt they had got into their possession. They were not willing.
But our brave black soldiers went in with a rush, and assisted them in
making up their minds by taking the bayonet to them, and thrashing them
with the butt ends of their guns, precisely like thrashing wheat! They
reminded me of a lot of guilty cats when the dogs are on them. Having
suffered the loss of hundreds of men, and been completely vanquished in
the bargain, the rebels were forced to retreat, and this they did with
as good a grace as they were able.

"No doubt but the telegraph has already carried the news all over the
Union how our six hundred intrepid soldiers beat three thousand rebels.
This will settle, once for all, the insulting question, ’Will the black
man fight?’ It will also secure for us more civil treatment from white
soldiers, both North and South, and remind them that the Great Creator
himself, and all foreign nations, make no difference whatsoever on
account of the color of the skin. I would like to know what ’Old Massa’
thinks of things now.

"I send my best love to all those who may enquire for me, and please
write soon to your most affectionate husband,

"Tuesday night, 9 o’clock.


War surely is a terrible thing at its best estate. Nations have often
waged war for mere conquest and ambition, which was the greatest crime
that ever could have been committed. But here was a war for freedom—the
freedom of millions of slaves. It was for this freedom that we had
prayed for the assistance of the Most High God, and troubled the
country, labored and toiled in all possible ways. It was for this
freedom that all the chivalrous Christianity of the nation had put forth
all its efforts; and now at times, many people began to doubt whether
all these efforts had not been put forth in vain, because for the first
two years of the war, our arms really made such small progress compared
with what we had expected. And yet, for the very life of me, I am to
this very day unable to see how we could have done much more than we
did; for though the Northern troops were as brave as men could be, we
had a foe to contend with who was quite as brave as ourselves—a foe
manned by officers as good as our own, and fighting upon their own soil,
where they knew every foot of the ground. Thus the war dragged slowly
along, and the close of the second year found us with very little
progress made.

We were not in despair, but the South yet retained all her strength, and
was proud and defiant. They were also determined to fight on, and did
fight on with a valor worthy of a better cause. But how could we expect
more success than we had under the circumstances? So great was the
prejudice against color that white men were even unwilling to fight side
by side with our own people; and then Lincoln and his cabinet were all
afraid of affronting the tender and delicate susceptibilities of the
South by putting even their little finger on the heinous institution
called "Domestic slavery." Verily, they were carrying their
squeamishness to a most tremendous length when lives had to be wasted in
thousands, because white men were too proud even to fight side by side
with colored men, and because we were so very timid about offending our
"separate brethren," that the Northern officers even sent back the
refugees from our armies—sent them back into slavery! And they even
allowed their life-long oppressors to come into the camps, look around
for their slaves, identify and claim their property, and carry them home
again before our very eyes! Was it any wonder, then, that we had so
little success in this war which God himself had sent, chiefly that the
slaves should be freed?

But the spectacle of thousands and tens of thousands of men being mowed
down like grass before the Southern scythes gradually changed all that.
The South, indeed, had a comfortable time of it, sending all their sons
to the war, whilst the black population were taking care of their
families, working their fields, and even throwing up intrenchments, and
making themselves useful in a thousand ways by command of their owners,
and against the forces of the North! Not that the slaves wished to work
in these ways for the South, but because our very armies were helping
their masters to keep them in their present position, even by returning
them to bondage whenever they tried to gain their freedom. The Southern
lords knew all about our "tender feelings" for their own
"property"—falsely so called—and they took advantage of it.

We had nobody but ourselves to blame for this state of things. Our men
were mown down in thousands because we had such tender regard for the
feelings of the rebels, and there was not the slightest sign that things
would ever get any better. We whipped the South to-day and they whipped
us to-morrow. In the meantime the strong, able-bodied African tilled the
fields of the South, when he might have been fighting for freedom and
the Union.

[Illustration: _BATTLE OF PORT HUDSON._]

But to return to the year 1863. Some changes had been made in the
rapidly-shifting scenes of the war. Tom had been removed from Milliken’s
Bend, and gone to Port Hudson, where a most terrible assault had been
made on the rebel defences about the 23rd of May. But I will here let
Tom speak for himself, because he wrote to me often, and my greatest
pleasure was to sit down and send him all our domestic news.

"PORT HUDSON, on the Mississippi, July, 1863.

"My Dear Beulah:—I arrived at this place a few days ago, and have been
out to see signs and marks of the recent siege. Everything seems to
interest me, and war is indeed a terrible game. I have heard great and
full accounts of the awful fighting down in this place, much of which I
must reserve for your patient ears when I come, if God my life shall

"You could not find a white man in all the Mississippi Valley to-day who
will tell you that colored men wont fight. I don’t know where such an
idea ever arose, because it was the strong arm and perseverance of the
slave in raising crops all over Dixie that created most of the wealth we
found in the South, and I look upon it as a wilful and malicious
falsehood in white soldiers, North and South alike, affirming over and
over again that colored men would not fight. General Grant and every
high officer in the Union army have given us most unstinted praise, and
have affirmed that we fight nobly.

"The accounts of the terrible fighting done here almost surpass human
belief. About the 23rd of May, the Northern armies invested this place,
and made a most tremendous effort to carry it by storm. The rebels had a
naturally strong position, and all the appliances of war at their
command. They had batteries and masked batteries, mortars, and, in
short, almost everything known for destruction and modern warfare. They
had even felled trees in our path, and their very cannon balls mowed
down trees three feet thick. The noise of their guns made more din and
uproar than the loudest thunderstorm. Against those brave and terrible
rebels white soldiers from the North and colored soldiers from Louisiana
advanced again and again, but all of them failed, and they were mown
down like grass before the scythe. O terrible, sanguinary war! It was
horrible! The balls and other missiles flew through the air thicker than
hailstones. Once more we terribly underrated the prowess of the South.
All of us were shipped alike, though we fought like gods! Oh, my dear
Beulah! This is the price the American nation is now paying for the
crime of slavery! The South carried out the villainy, and the North
winked at the whole devilish business, thus, in fact, helping the rebels
to keep on our claims! Shall a guilty nation indeed escape for deeds
like these? At all events, we proved one thing during that terrible
assault in May, and the subsequent siege of Port Hudson, and that was
that colored men are as much men as white men, red, brown, yellow or any
other race that can be named. These things were all well known before by
every man, woman and child, but then, ’None are so blind as those who
don’t want to see.’ The cry now is, ’Yes, yes! Colored men will fight
well.’ It is some comfort to know all this, for now we can get a rest.

"I send a deal of love to yourself, the children, to Mr. and Mrs.
Sutherland, to the entire church on Vine street, and to all others. I
get all your letters.

"I am, my dear Beulah, your most loving


From the accounts contained in the two foregoing letters that I received
from my dear husband, my kind readers will see that it was a public
revelation made to the whole nation that the colored race not only made
first-rate soldiers, but that they were sorely needed by Uncle Sam in
the day of his distress. Lincoln’s Proclamation on the first of January,
1863, completely broke down the dam from one end of the country to the
other and throughout the whole land. Now the patriotic governors and
many others bestirred themselves in raising colored regiments, getting
them drilled, and pushed to the front with rapidity, so that the tide of
war everywhere began to turn in favor of the Northern arms, and things
began to look as if the very God of Liberty Himself was smiling upon the
nation. Up to the end of 1862 the North had been fighting for nothing
more than the restoration of the Union, and surely this was a noble
thing to fight for, and especially for the possession of the glorious
Mississippi, flowing all the way from its remotest springs at its
farthest away branches in Montana, some 4,400 miles from the ocean. It
was indeed something to keep the great river and all the States one and
undivided. But what about slavery? Was it not, if possible, a ten times
greater sin to carry on slavery than for the Southern States to secede?
And yet there were thousands and tens of thousands of soldiers, officers
and citizens all over the land who made the most strenuous objections to
striking one blow for freedom—the very cause for which the war had been
sent! Who need wonder, indeed, that our arms had such small success for
almost two years after the rebels seceded? The only thing that surprises
me is that we had as much success as we did, but we were taught a
lesson, and we learned it well at last.

[Illustration: _JOHN BROWN._]

It was not long before the fame of the colored soldiers of America was
wafted over the whole world, and was everywhere received by all lovers
of freedom with most hearty applause. All, excepting those who believed
in keeping other people down, heard the news with the greatest of
pleasure. Many of the aristocrats of England, France and elsewhere, who
had made investments in Confederate bonds, and sympathized with the
South from the beginning, had no joy when they learned how Uncle Sam had
turned a new element of strength into the field; but the common people
everywhere all the world over, who had read "Uncle Tom’s Cabin" in all
the principal languages of the earth, and opposed the recognition of the
Southern Confederacy from the first on account of slavery, rejoiced to
hear that the Great North had at last turned over a new leaf, and
brought the heroic sons of Africa into the field. It was a military
necessity, of course; the nation was forced to do it; but all the same
it was a matter of justice, and the right thing to do. Now the entire
Christian world took ten times more interest in the war than before.
They had been praying and often working in the interest of the American
slave; and now they were delighted to hear of the self-same slave
marching bravely to the field, and assisting white men in knocking the
fetters off the whole race. Now, indeed, the scales began to turn in
favor of the North, along the whole line. Before the first of January,
1863, it was as if there were eight pounds in the Northern scale, and
eight pounds in the Southern scale, but now we throw in 200,000 colored
men or more into the Northern scale, when the Southern end of the beam
flies up as the lighter weight, and it becomes clear to the obtusest
mind that the South is doomed, and domestic slavery with it also.


_Great Service of the Colored Race—Heroic Colored Women—Attack on Fort
Wagner, 18th July, 1863—The ex-Slaves go to School—The Freedman’s
Bureau—The Jubilee Minstrels—A Long Letter From Mr. Thomas Lincoln,
Describing His Life in a New Orleans Hospital—The Mississippi River, and
the Fight at Pleasant Grove in the Red River Expedition._

As I stated in the last chapter, recruiting went merrily on, and colored
men came up "to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against
the mighty." The heavens now smiled upon the Northern arms, and "the sun
of righteousness arose upon them with healing in his wings." It is
glorious to think how willingly our people threw down the shovel and the
hoe, and advanced to meet the Northern troops as they came within easy
striking distance. Thousands and tens of thousands crossed the
mountains, threaded the mountain passes, kept on their way day and night
up the rivers and down the rivers till they beheld the Union armies
encamped away in the valleys, and a few more willing, enthusiastic
bounds, and they were free! It was most refreshing to read the letters
from the white soldiers at the time, commending these colored men in
every possible way. They took a perfect delight in relating the thousand
and one acts of kindness and sympathy that colored men and women
performed towards countless Union men in times of distress, disaster and
danger; how they secreted them; how they fed them, gave them rest and
shelter, and how faithfully and skilfully they guided the armies on
their way, and even piloted the Union boats in safety up and down the
rivers of the South. Never were fidelity and devotion more marked since
the world began, and it was downright pleasant to read the letters from
"the seat of war," and see how these good deeds of the African were
appreciated by the Anglo-Saxons. "Skins may differ, but affection dwells
in white and black the same," and although "Old Massa" and "Old Missus"
did their best to keep Lincoln’s proclamation from the knowledge of the
slaves, somehow or other the truth became known; in fact, it seemed to
be carried on the wings of the wind, and now all prayed more and more
fervently that the Lord would send freedom.

[Illustration: _FREDERICK DOUGLASS._]

It would be a pleasure for me to relate the deeds of devotion recorded
of our people in behalf of the cause of God and liberty. There are two
acts, those of heroic women, that I must not omit. We have all heard of
General John Morgan, the Kentucky guerilla chief, who led a raid into
Ohio, and worked so much wanton mischief on Union people and the Union
in the Southern cause. We caught and imprisoned him in Ohio, but he
escaped, and took to his tricks again, and was more fleet, and harder to
catch than a long-legged greyhound. At last he was located one night in
a far-away town or village of the South, and the nearest Union troops
lay about twenty miles away. This devoted colored woman lost not a
moment of time, but steered for the distant camp, gave them the most
particular information, so that they rose at once, and upon arriving at
John Morgan’s rendezvous, they woke him up, and once for all put an end
to his dreadful raidings on the Unionists.


I must next mention the case of a colored woman in Georgia, when General
Sherman came riding through the woods on his famous march from Atlanta
to the Sea. This woman was a regular heroine—"a mother in Israel"—and
one who would have made a second Deborah, with a host of men, women and
children at her back, all of whom the war had set free. This woman
advanced upon the path of the troops, and having introduced herself to
General Sherman and his men, gave glory to God and to the Union armies,
whom the God of Hosts had there and then sent forth. Her language was
worthy of a Shakespeare. On that day when Deborah, and Miriam, and Joan
of Arc, and all the other heroines of history shall be gathered together
in the Palace of God, I feel certain that this colored Deborah, this
"mother in Israel," will be among them when the Lord of Heaven and Earth
makes up His jewels.

Where all did so well, it would be in vain to single out any one
regiment that distinguished itself more than another. At the same time,
there were certain regiments that attracted a great deal of attention to
themselves because they were the first ones to break the spell as to
whether colored men would fight like white men, and thus render
effective service in the war. And such men were the colored troops that
had been well drilled and sent down from Massachusetts to South
Carolina, and who lent a hand in the investment of Charleston. It was on
the 18th of July, 1863, when a general bombardment of both land and sea
forces at once made a high-handed attempt to carry Fort Wagner—a rebel
fort which lay on the narrowest part of a mere strip of sandy land
called Morris Island, washed by the ocean on one side, and approachable
by low, swampy marshes in the rear. The entire morning and middle of the
day had been spent in bombarding the place till at last the extemporized
fort, composed of timber, and stone, and sand, seemed to have crumbled
away; for, as the day wore away, the rebels ceased entirely to reply to
the land and sea forces, and the Federal troops were under the
impression that the place was abandoned altogether, or at least
destroyed past all hope of remedy for the present. The Union forces
clamored loudly for an advance upon the fort, and to occupy the place
once for all. After some hesitation the commanders assented to their
wishes, and it was decided to advance just as the darkness of the night
was setting in on that long July day. Alas, alas! It was a fatal
resolution, for the rebels had been busy all the afternoon and early
night making swift preparations to give our men a terrible reception. By
the time that darkness had fully set in, Fort Wagner was almost as good
as ever, although it had such a terrible knocking about all the early
hours of the day. The Southern engineers were so clever, and their men
had wrought with such a will, that it needed the bravest of the brave to
fight with them; but as far as that was concerned we were all about
even-handed when we had a fair field. Four thousand men, therefore,
advanced along the sands of Morris Island with the intention of
investing and clearing out the fort of its defenders, if there were any
of them there. The colored Massachusetts troops led the way, and so they
all advanced along the sands—the white sands that had but lately been
washed by the ocean. Everything was as still as a stone till they came
to a ditch, when a fearful tempest of shot from the cannon and musket
assailed them, and the assailants were mowed down like grass before the
scythe. Still our troops bravely advanced across the ditch, climbed up
the bank, and pushed forward right into the fort, slaughtering the
gunners and clearing a path before them. But all this time our brave men
were being mowed down in rows. Many jumped into the fort and had to
surrender there, because, indeed, they could neither advance nor
retreat, being caught in a perfect trap. Thus we lost about half our men
in killed, wounded and prisoners, and had to retreat in the best way we
were able. It was a dreadful defeat that the Union forces sustained; but
the colored troops had the honor of leading all the rest, and the
foolish idea that colored men would not fight received another complete
quietus, and their bravery was published in all the papers from one end
of the Union to the other.

We now come to the glorious subject of education—that which lifts up any
nation from the bottom, and places it among the kings and queens of the
world. The colored men and women of the South before who could read and
write, were like angel visits—few and far between. You might search the
whole day long, and not find one who could sign his name. But the
government records show that in the year 1870, only five years after the
close of the war, taking the entire population of the United States in
the aggregate, there were two-tenths, which is twenty per cent., who
could read and write. Here, indeed, was one of the signs of the times
with a vengeance! Surely the colored race must have a great natural
thirst for knowledge. In the year 1880, that is, fifteen years after
freedom came, three-tenths, which is thirty per cent. of the whole
population, could read and write; and in 1890, or twenty-five years
after the end of the war, forty-three of every hundred. In other words,
forty-three per cent. of the colored population of the United States
could read and write—being ten years and over of age. At that time that
I am writing my book, that is, the year of grace, 1897, inasmuch as the
increase is going bravely on from day to day, I have no hesitation in
saying that fifty per cent., that is, one-half of the entire colored
population of the United States, North and South included, and—as usual
in such government statistics—ten years of age and over, are able to
read and write at least, and there are hundreds of thousands of them who
can do a hundred times more.

Now, since Adam and Eve walked hand in hand on the enchanting grounds of
Paradise, I would like to know where the people can be found who ever
came out of such Cimmerian darkness, who ever progressed at such a rate
as this? The present march of education among the colored race far
surpasses the march of the whites since freedom came, and it still keeps
ahead of them at the present time of writing. Indeed, in some parts of
the fair and Sunny South, we are in lead our white brethren; and it is
quite superfluous for me to say that whoever are in the lead in
education are the more intelligent of the two, be they black or white.

Behold the stupid-looking and ignorant hordes of Italians, Poles,
Bohemians, Chinese and others who are dumped down in shiploads upon our
shores! Even at home in their own lands they are very little more than
dumb-driven cattle! How much more, then, must their stupidity appear in
full blaze of daylight in a highly-intelligent nation like this! It is
like comparing the feeble light of midnight under the stars alone with
the full blaze of a day when the sun is shining at twelve at noon. Shall
we of the colored race, who may now safely count on fifty per cent. of
the entire population who can read and write compare ourselves with the
immigrants like these, or even with Spaniard or Portuguese, Turks or
Greeks, who have had the opportunities of acquiring education for
hundreds of years, while we, who were set free only thirty-two years
ago, have produced men and women who have stood in honor before
presidents and kings, and proved that we are able to climb to the
topmost rounds of the ladder that Almighty God Himself has set up? No,
indeed. Men and brethren, we are not going to come down and compare
ourselves with any such persons! That won’t do at all!

As fast as ever the Northern armies cleared the way, benevolent and
devoted teachers sent down by the different churches followed, and
imparted to those who had never had a chance before the elements of
English education, teaching them to read, write and figure, and many
other useful things besides that accompany civilization and
enlightenment. The American Mission Association took the lead, but the
different churches and societies sent down their full quotas, and those
volunteer teachers did a splendid and most devoted work. And yet there
was some risk to run in this business, now being tried for the first
time, because the war was still going on, and sometimes the Southern
arms regained the territory they had lost, which brought the teachers
into danger on one hand, and the colored people on the other. It had
always been the policy of the Southern law-makers to keep the slaves in
darkness, and even the rank and file of the white people themselves were
purposely kept in a condition little better than the slaves. The
planters kept teachers in their own grand halls, or sent their sons and
daughters away from home for education. It was made a crime for a slave
to be found with a book in his possession, or for anybody to teach him,
whether he was white or a free person of color. A white man taught even
the celebrated Bishop Daniel E. Payne in a cellar at Charleston, S. C.,
of which city the bishop was a native. In short, the laws of slavery
warred upon nature, and even on God himself. The whole system was a
system of murder, robbery and adultery. Every human right was broken
down; but as the Northern armies cleared the way the teachers and their
colored pupils rushed in at once.

On the 3rd of March, 1865, Congress launched the Freedman’s Bureau upon
the country for the purpose of assisting the freedman in any and every
way just as soon as they were set free from slavery, and required the
help of the national government. The Freedman’s Bureau took education
under its fostering care, and did a good work during the few years that
it lasted, 1865 to 1872. The devoted teachers from the North had even
begun to follow the very armies themselves as early as the year 1862,
and we find them then on the Lower Mississippi. The colored soldiers
took to their lessons well, and owing to their great thirst for
learning, they learned with an eagerness and rapidity that filled their
willing teachers with the greatest surprise. And throughout the freed
zones did not only young girls and boys thus drink in—yea, literally
swallow up instruction, but smart men and women sixty and seventy years
of age and over learned to write, read, spell and cipher with a gusto
and an enthusiasm that was most inspiring!

"Arise! Shine forth, for the light has come, and the glory of the Lord
has risen upon thee!" Thus saith the Prophet, and it was now fulfilled.
What a treat, to be sure, for men and women thus to learn to read the
mighty word of God, many of them in their old age! Verily, the ways of
the Lord are wonderful and past finding out! Much hardship was
experienced at first in finding suitable buildings in which to teach the
people, and many a church and school-house were burned to the ground
both during the war and the first years that followed the entire
collapse of the "peculiar institution," but that has not stopped the
triumphal march of the education of the colored race, for who, indeed,
could stop the waves of the ocean?

It is indeed a joyous thing to look around us at this time and behold
even now how high the sun has ascended in the heavens. If we have
advanced so much in thirty-two years, how much farther shall we be in
thirty-two more? Behold all the schools, colleges and places of learning
of every name and nature thrown open in hundreds to our young people,
both male and female! What a glorious array of splendid seminaries all
over the great republic, besides hundreds belonging to the whites, to
which we can obtain admission! It is true that there are others still
barred against us on account of the prejudice still obtaining here and
there owing to the color of the skin, but that will give way in due
time, for there is nothing incapable of change but the Great Creator

By way of illustrating the results of the great Civil War, let us look
back a little over twenty years, when Fisk University, at Nashville,
Tennessee, sent forth Miss Ella Shephard and the rest of the "Jubilee
Minstrels" to astonish the North with what even those who had been in
slavery could do, when once their God-given talents were brought to the
front. For the benefit of Fisk University they sang an immense sum of
money out of the country, and covered themselves with unfading glory for
all coming time. And where would those poor girls have been if it had
not been for their own fathers who assisted white men in the war to
knock off the chains of slavery? Why, to be sure, instead of being the
"Jubilee Minstrels" in the North, they would have been toiling among the
cotton, the sugar-cane and the rice fields of the South, wearing their
young lives away down there.


But the glories of the "Jubilee Singers" were by no means over. More
money was still needed, and those devoted people again took to the road,
and this time, with most laudable ambition; they even crossed the North
Atlantic, and sang with the most abundant success before the crowned
heads and grandees of Europe. These crowned heads and grandees knew full
well that if it had not been for the war for freedom and the union, the
singers would at this time have been in the cane, the cotton and the
rice fields singing:

    Away down in Egypt’s land
      We have gained the victory,
    Away down in Egypt’s land
      We have gained the day!
    Oh, children ain’t you glad,
      The sea gave away?

    When Moses smote the waters
      The children all passed over,—
    O, glory, halleluia!
      For we have gained the day!
    Oh, children, ain’t you glad,
      That Moses smote the waters,—
    Oh, children ain’t you glad
      The sea gave away?

The Jubilee singers did sing the above song and many others before the
rich and great, and the general population of the British Isles and
continental Europe, but it was to let them hear what slaves used to sing
before the war to wile away the time before Uncle Sam came down from the
North to set them all free; in doing which he was assisted by 200,000
colored men, or more. Such are the fruits of war!

I here append a letter I received from Tom at New Orleans, whither he
had been carried and placed in a hospital on account of a wound he had
received in a skirmish with some of the rebel forces on the Lower

"At the hospital, New Orleans, La., December, 1864.

"My Dear Beulah:—

"I dare say that you and the children are looking for a letter from me
once more. I duly received your own nice, kind and most welcome letters,
with all the sweet home news, and I can assure you that they did me an
immense deal of good whilst being confined here with my wound. I am,
however, doing very well indeed, and in a short time expect to be
discharged and in the ranks once more. It is impossible for me to tell
you of the kindness and attention of these doctors and nurses in this
hospital, it is really most astonishing to see strangers so kind. We are
all loud in the praises of these good people, who are taking the best
care in the world of us when we are so far from home and from our loved
ones. Nobody knows how much good there is in the world until he comes
across good strangers like these. Of course there is always plenty of
evil in it too; but it is at least a very great compensation to come
across so much love and kindness among such strange people. We never
looked for anything better than cuffs and blows!

"Although I was not in the very best mood, as I was brought down to New
Orleans to enjoy the sights all around me, still I was tremendously
impressed with the majesty and immensity of the ever-glorious
Mississippi. Well, to be sure,—to be sure! What a grand factor of our
national greatness is the Mississippi! I don’t wonder at yourself and
Mrs. John B. Sutherland always making such a fuss over our glorious
river. Indeed too much can never be spoken in its praise, and, above
all,—of the great Creator who made it. I have seen plenty of the ’Father
of Waters’ before on many a long day, as I went sweeping past the forts
where I was located further up the river; but, as we came on, it
received so many and such large rivers, into its swollen waters, till it
was more like a sea than a river; and, although level and destitute of
beautiful banks like the Ohio, it had ever an increasing majesty and
grandeur about it that mightily impressed all who beheld it. I don’t
wonder at Uncle Sam fighting so hard for the restoration of the Union.
Such a river as the Mississippi alone,—if there were no other,—is the
very joy and glory of the United States. But I shall have more to tell
you about these things at another time, and I hope to be able to do so
by word of mouth when the war is over.

"I very much regret to inform you that several of my wounded comrades
have died since we were all brought into this hospital, though the most
part of them, in common with myself, have recovered; and we now all
desire to go back to war as soon as we are well.

"I have had a good deal of conversation with a soldier who served in the
Red river campaign under General Banks, and where the rebels numbered
three to our one. In that campaign we were unsuccessful, for they
defeated our forces day after day. We were about ten thousand in number,
as we fled before such overwhelming odds. It was at this crisis that the
black soldier proved himself such ’a very present help in the time of
trouble.’ If it had not been for Dickey’s colored troops there would
have been a regular slaughter of the Union forces at Pleasant Grove.
These colored soldiers were attached to the first division of the 19th
corps. Our army under General Banks had been beaten both days at Sabine,
Cross Roads, below Mansfield, and they drove us for several hours before
them towards Pleasant Grove. And yet the ardor and spirit of the
combined Union forces under Banks and Franklin could not have been much
higher. But for all that, it was quite evident that unless the rebels
could be checked by the time we were pushed back to Pleasant Grove, all
would be lost. So General Emory prepared for the coming crisis on the
western edge of a wood, which had an open field before it that sloped
down towards Mansfield. It was at this point that General Dwight formed
a brigade of the colored troops right across the road in the face of the
rebels, who came rushing and hurrahing on, driving our ten thousand men
before them. They were charging at double quick time; but the black
brigade reserved their fire till the exultant rebels were close at hand,
when they all poured a deadly volley into them, arresting them at once,
and covered the ground with their dead and wounded. Now a regular fight
came on which lasted an hour and a half, and only ceased even then
because darkness put an end to the terrible combat. The foe made one
charge after another, and as he had plenty of men, he thought he would
wear us out at last; but the black soldiers and General Emory’s brigade
successfully repulsed them every time, and thus saved the Union army
from being destroyed. Nor was this the only time that our own troops met
the rebels in the Red river campaign, and defied both them and their
repeated threats of ’the black flag;’ for they always said that they
would not treat a black man like a white man if the former fell alive
into their hands. They said they would treat him like a wild beast, and
not like a human being at all! No doubt but that was done to keep our
soldiers from fighting for freedom and the Union; but the threat most
signally failed, because our brave men cared not a straw for their black
flag; indeed the threats, and even the practices of the rebels in
destroying some of our prisoners whom they took in the beginning
contributed a great deal in bringing about the downfall of the rebel
powers, at least up to the present time; and will no doubt contribute
more and more till the last rebel lays down his arms. Although a war
proclamation has been issued that we will shoot our rebel prisoners, if
they kill any of our men, I am unable to say what general effect it has
had so far. I only know that none of the men who have fallen alive into
their hands have ever since been heard of, and I fear the worst. But of
one thing I am sure, and that is, that the ’black soldiers’ so far has
done as good fighting as the ’white soldiers,’ and he has either won or
been defeated with the latter on many a hard fought field. He has had
his full share in disaster and victory alike; and thus he will still
assist in pulling down this terrible rebellion,—but I must lay down my
pen. With much love to yourself and all, I am,

"Your most affectionate,



_Tom’s Letter From the Seat of War—The Pilgrim’s Progress—Niagara
Falls—Visit to Canada—Letters From Richmond Hill—Great War Interest in
Canada—The Girl’s Letter to Papa—Tom’s Letter and Poem on the Great
Fight With the Bloodhounds in South Carolina._

I have always believed that it was because the Lord loved me that He
gave me so good a husband, who, by the bye, is preserved to me yet, and
for the same reason, that He allowed me to have my dear mother with me
again. She has been the very joy of my life, and is with me still. I
would have missed my gallant and devoted Tom in no small degree when he
went away to the war among so many others of the brave and true, only he
was so attentive about writing me letters during his absence. I have
kept all those missives of his, and laid them carefully away, and I have
always said they would make a good book if they were printed; and some
day I may put them in book form.

And Tom’s numerous and well-written letters were not only a perpetual
treat and joy to myself, but the two sweet girls, and Mr. and Mrs. John
B. Sutherland, and a few select friends who came round the house seemed
never to tire of reading his letters. He also wrote each of them a
separate letter occasionally, but as a general thing, his long letters
to myself had to serve for all.

During all this time the girls were growing up finely, and every twelve
months I had their photographs taken and sent to him to let him see how
nicely they looked in their New Year’s dresses. Tom sent up photographs
of himself in his plain soldier’s dress, and also in his officer’s
dress, after his promotion. Poor Tom! My eyes often filled with tears
when his letters came, and I sat down with an anxious heart to read
their contents. I knew, of course, that the children and I should be
provided for, should Tom be numbered with the slain, but we all longed
to see him, and prayed much to Almighty God that if it was His gracious
will our Tom might come home to us once more from the war.

[Illustration: _SCENES AT NIAGARA FALLS._]

It was at this time that one Christmas my two daughters were cojointly
presented with a large, splendid, and well-illustrated copy of "The
Pilgrim’s Progress"—a book that attracted them so much that they have
been reading it ever since! This glorious book kindled up all the latent
enthusiasm of their souls, and in their excitement over "Doubting
Castle," "Vanity Fair," and a hundred other wonders, they even wrote
letters to their father about that wonderful book and its author—the
tinker and preacher of Bedford. Their youthful enthusiasm amused their
father very much, and he wrote back to them at once to read all in the
Pilgrim’s Progress that they wanted. They used to take turns with the
book; one would read for an hour at a time, and the other would listen.
I have always looked back upon the coming of that book into my house as
a real blessing.

And still we always continued to attend the ordinances of our sweet
little Church on Vine street—attended them on the Sabbath and during the
week. The girls went to the Sunday School, and we adults assisted all
that we could.

As Niagara Falls were not more than twenty-two miles away, we all
occasionally took a holiday and went down and spent the day there,
crossing over to the Canadian shore by way of the Suspension Bridge,
that we might stand on Table Rock and see the great "Horseshoe Fall."
Well, really, the Falls of Niagara are a wonderful sight. Even our own
smaller American Fall is a splendid sight, though rather diminutive
compared with the great Horseshoe Fall on the Canadian side of the
river. I can never understand how a mere puny man can stand before the
great Creator’s works here, and say, "There is no God."

During the fall of 1864, I took my two daughters and went as far as
Oxford county, Canada, to pay a visit to a dear family with whom I
became acquainted in Buffalo. The weather was most delightful, and we
enjoyed ourselves very much indeed during the month we remained on the
farm. At that time I wrote the following letter to Tom, and will here
introduce it, as it will speak for itself:

"RICHMOND HILL, Oxford Co., Canada, Sept., 1864.

"To Captain Thomas Lincoln,

"My Dear Husband.—The children and I took the train at Buffalo and came
here two weeks ago, to pay a long-promised visit to the Gibsons at
'Richmond Hill’ farm, which lies in the county of Oxford some ten or
twelve miles from the nearest station on the railroad. We left Buffalo
early in the morning, and thus had the whole day before us, and plenty
of leisure to look at the highly cultivated country through which we
passed. The country was truly delightful all the way to Ingersoll, were
we got out of the train, and where one of the Gibsons met us with a
buggy. We all got in, and the children and I were greatly pleased with
the charming country all around us, the farms being in such a high state
of cultivation. But it was not all farming land that we passed through,
for our way in one place led us through the forest, where the squirrels
were running in perfect freedom overhead in the branches, and we could
hear the woodman’s axe ringing both far and near and bringing down the
tall trees. After we had come about ten miles, we saw ’Richmond Hill’
high up on the rising ground on the far side of a very narrow valley,
that ran down to the cypress swamp away on our right hand. So we issued
out of the woods on the top of the hill we were now descending, made our
way along the creek at the bottom for a little distance to the right,
and then we opened a big country gate and made our way up through the
fields to the farm house door. While the girls and I were looking around
at the grand view presented on all hands to our astonished eyes, the
front house door opened, and out came Mrs. Gibson and her two daughters,
and as many of the sons as were at home at the time of our arrival. They
helped us out of the buggy, kissed and embraced us most rapturously, and
gave us a very warm, hearty and enthusiastic welcome. (My whole soul
fairly grows warm when I think of that welcome among the good
Canadians). So they brought us into their nice house, which reminded me
of the ’Palace Beautiful’ in the Pilgrim’s Progress. I had a little room
for myself on a wing of the house. They called my room the ’Guest
Chamber,’ and it was a snug room with a pretty name I am sure. The girls
slept in another small room near my own. Our things were all brought
into the house and well disposed of within reach, and we felt most
thoroughly at home among a kind people whose loving ways filled me and
the girls with surprise. Mr. Gibson himself came home during the day,
and gave us a warm welcome to Richmond Hill, and we saw the whole family
with the exception of two who were not at home at that time.

"The friends and neighbors round about heard of our arrival and came to
see us, and to invite me and the girls to pay them a visit as soon as
ever we were able to do so. Indeed, had I known of the beauty and
enchantment of this place and such a kind family, I would have been here
long ago, never you fear!

"This glorious visit to Richmond Hill, where we have already been for
two weeks, seems to the girls and me the essence of all enchantment, and
the very ground we tread upon seems to be perfectly enchanted ground.
The weather is so fine, the Gibsons themselves are so refined and
polished, and there is so much beauty all around us, that life itself
seems to be one long day of joy. It is so delightful to climb the hill
behind the house, and look across the deep and narrow valley below us to
the primæval forests through which we rode; then we can see the winding
creek away to our right, and the evergreen cypress swamp away upon our
left. After we have seen all that, there are still the farm houses and
cottages lying all round about us on the hill tops, and we often turn
into one of them and sit down for an hour after our walk.

"The Gibsons are neither Secesh, nor semi-Unionists, nor even
Copperheads! They are good Union people out and out, and they are for
the restoration of the American Union. You would be thunderstruck if you
were here and beheld the overwhelming interest that the Canadians take
in the Civil War in the States. They are mostly Unionists, but some few
would rather see the South win,—just the very same as they are in
England and France. But we need not blame these few Canadians, nor go
all the way across the North Atlantic to England, and Germany, and
France, for all the Northern States are honeycombed with Democrats and
semi-Unionists called ’Copperheads,’ who are doing almost as much harm
to our arms as the rebels themselves; because they sympathize with the
South,—they desire them to retain their slaves, and would object to the
colored man being made a freeman and a citizen. They have no heart for
the Union with freedom.

"We have little cause indeed to find fault with Southern sympathizers
far, far away beyond the deep, blue seas, when they are swarming all
over the North, and are found mixed up in every part of the Union,—East,
West and South as well. There are tens of thousands of people, who, I
firmly believe, would rather see the very Union itself broken up than
that the curse of slavery should now come to an end! We here in Canada
have nothing to do but look around us to see the proofs of all this. In
these trying days, when Uncle Sam is compelled to resort to one draft
after another draft, to fill up the depleted ranks of our armies, there
are thousands and tens of thousands of men who have crossed over here
into British America, and I have seen plenty of them with my own eyes.
One day I met quite a fine young doctor from Maine,—quite a fine medical
man, and a good looking fellow to boot, who addressed me in these words,
"I was at home in Maine with my newly married wife when the draft came,
and I was taken. I have no hatred against Southern men who never did me
any harm, and considered I had no right to throw my young life away on
Southern bullets. I had also other conscientious objections to the whole
business, and did not consider their war any interest of mine! The
Canadian frontier, therefore, being near at hand, it was my own
privilege to do just as I pleased—’to use force’ as well as they! So I
crossed the Canadian border, and here I am in good health and safety!
Upon that he drew a letter out of his inside vest pocket,—a letter just
received from his wife, along with the photograph of her, which he
showed me, and she looked most uncommonly pretty too.

"One day the girls and I were walking along the high road when we met
six men who had come over from the Northern States, and all over the
length and breadth of Canada, they are everywhere, and indeed, the very
woods seem to be full of them!

"The first thing I do in the morning, and the last thing at night, is to
pray to our Father in Heaven for you, my own dear Tom,—that he may take
care of you; and, if it be his good will and pleasure, to bring you back
safe and sound to us at home. I no longer wonder at some people being
fond of travel. No wonder, for it has its charms and great ones too. It
seems to me so very strange that the children and I,—in a few hours
time, should be transported from the City of Buffalo to this romantic
and almost ethereal home upon the hills of Western Canada, and then for
me to turn around and think of you and the rest of the army battling
away for freedom and union in the Fair South! We get the papers here
every day. They are brought from the nearest post town which is three
miles away, and then we all have such a scramble to hear the latest news
from the seat of war, as they call it on their great headlines. It does
not surprise me so much that we at home should make such an ado over the
war news, but that these Canadians should also take so much interest as
ourselves seems to me most astonishing indeed. It is just three miles
from here to the post town, and one day we three went to spend the day
with some relatives of the Gibsons. On an open space at the entrance to
the town stood a large tent,—a kind of show called ’The War in the
South.’ We paid the showman five cents apiece and went in to see the
pictures of the war set out on the canvas. We looked through the round,
bull-eye glasses, and the general effect was to magnify the whole scene
to a very great extent. I must confess that after all that I have read
and heard, this peep-show, or whatever else you may call it, gave me a
better idea of the field of war, and its far-spreading extent than all I
have ever learned from other sources,—all put together.

"As we stood and looked we could see the long, fertile, southern plains
under the noon-day sun; the woods and forest lay around them like a
fringe in the distance; so minute and life-like did the very trees and
bushes appear that I could almost tell what species they belonged to.
Other pictures, in which we were ten times more interested, showed us
the northern and southern armies on the march with flags flying, or else
they were encamped on the edge of a wood among the lofty trees. There
were also scenes of war and a battle which looked really too dreadful,
even to behold the pictures of them. At such times I felt quite inclined
to shut my eyes on such awful scenes. ’If such is the mere picture,’ I
said to myself, ’what must the reality of actual war be.’ When we had
thoroughly satisfied ourselves with this famous little peep-show, we
came out, considering that we had had a good five cents’ worth,—I mean
five cents a piece! And so we moved on to our friend’s house, where we
had a most uncommonly warm welcome, and where we spent the whole day,
some other friends coming in to see us during our pleasant visit.

"I must not forget to tell you that at the farm house at ’Richmond Hill’
they have quite a fine piano; and, as my experience during the great
Abolition campaign in the North made me quite an adept at speaking and
singing in public, I have been able to entertain these good Gibsons and
other Canadian friends with some of the music and songs I used to play
and sing. Our girls also have dome very well on the piano, to be so
young yet.

"We all send our warmest love to you; and if I see any good reason for
writing you again before we leave Richmond Hill, will send you another
Canadian letter before our return home, and I remain, my dear Tom, ever
your most affectionate wife,


When we had been a month at Richmond Hill, and were getting ready for
our departure on the following day, the girls had a great desire to
write their papa. So I furnished them with the writing materials, upon
which they put their heads and thoughts together, and wrote the letter
that follows:

"RICHMOND HILL, October, 1864.

"Our Dear Papa:—

"With great pleasure we send you this letter, we your daughters, who
love you. We are all quite well, and hope you are well also amidst the
dangers and toils of the war. All the letters and other things that you
sent us to Buffalo were forwarded to us to Richmond Hill, in Canada. We
have read your letters over and over again with great interest, and the
friends here have read some of them that told all about the military
operations in the fields, and they were very well pleased with their
contents, for the Gibsons are great union people too.

"As the weather here has been most delightfully sunny, and we have been
so much in the open air on these Canadian hills, both mama and our two
selves have gotten quite fat, and also look as people do when they come
from the bathing places on the sea shore. We also feel right good, all
three of us, for we have had a grand time, and been so very kindly used.
Thus our hearts and minds are content, and we are going home to Buffalo
to-morrow filled with pleasure, like heavily laden bees going humming to
their hives with plenty of sweet honey.

"We have been to church in the town every Sunday since we came here. The
Gibsons are Presbyterians, and so we went to the Presbyterian church,
and indeed it is very beautiful. We stood up to pray instead of kneeling
down as we do at Vine Street, in Buffalo, but Dr. Bell is a famous

"As the buggy could not hold everybody, mamma rode both ways and we
walked, and we never thought of getting tired.

"The horse is an awful quiet one, something little ’Gentle Annie’ of the
song. We were not a bit afraid to drive on week days by our two selves,
and bring the mail from the postoffice; and then we learned how to drive
and manage a horse. But the Gibson horse would never make a war horse,
he is not strong enough, and the cannons would frighten him too much.

"We do not go to market here for fruit and vegetables. We just open the
gates to the garden and orchard, and bring in all the potatoes, cabbage,
turnips, pears, peaches, apples, and whatever else we may need. We have
been very busy paring apples; and besides that we have a lot of fruit in
jars that we are going to take home to Buffalo. The preserves will be
nice in winter.

"We met with a wonderful piece of good luck at Richmond Hill. The
Gibsons have got an enormous copy of the Pilgrim’s Progress,—as big as a
family Bible, published in London, and all the pictures are quite
different from those in our own. O, what grand times we had looking at
all the pictures!

"When night came on, we girls took our turn and read ’The War in the
South’ in the ’Daily Toronto Globe.’ How our eyes did glisten as we read
many parts of the news!

"We will leave this house to-morrow after an early breakfast. One of the
sons will drive us to Ingersoll railway station. We have now seen the
whole family,—all the Gibsons. We never knew that there were such fine
people in Canada. We are all so very glad that the Lord directed our
young feet to this place.

"We must now close our letter with much love from everybody, and we are,
our dear papa, your most loving daughters,

"—— and —— Lincoln."

We got home to Buffalo once more all right, but that grand visit made a
very great impression upon our hearts and minds. I have attempted to
place a few sketches of it before my kind and indulgent reader, but Oh,
dear me! if I were to write down all that I could write about that
famous visit it would fill up a whole book. Perhaps I may return to the
subject again.

Soon after our return to our happy and pleasant home in Buffalo, I
received the following letter from Tom:

"NEW ORLEANS, La., October, 1864.

"Mrs. Beulah Lincoln,

"My Dear Beulah:—Since I was promoted to the rank of captain, my duties
have varied a good deal more at different times than they did when I was
a private in the ranks. I have lately been away in the interior of this
State, but here I am back to the Crescent City once more, and ever
trying to attend most faithfully to my duties. I tell you, my dear
Beulah, it takes every one of us to do our very best,—with a long pull,
and a strong pull, and a pull altogether,—to pull down this terrible and
powerful rebellion. People can think, and talk, and even write all they
please; but I am firmly convinced that had Abraham Lincoln not issued
his famous emancipation proclamation on the 1st of January, 1863, the
war would go on for twenty years, and perhaps we would have to
compromise with the rebels even then. And then they are such fighters!
Why, they are worse than tigers! However that may be, I know one
thing,—since the issuing of that proclamation the rebellion has been cut
down in territory on all sides; and, as we have got hold of the rebel
ports, one by one, the blockade runners have been cut off by sea to that
extent. Thus we have cut off their supplies from foreign nations; and
right here I may notice that, as to the millions of silver and gold that
the South has piled and heaped from the toils and labors of the
oppressed slaves,—of all that ill-gotten coin, there is perhaps not one
dollar of it left now in the entire South. It has all gone to buy the
munition of war in Europe; and yet the cause for which the South has
expended it will all be lost!

"The rebellion is going down, and will come to an end by and by. I
suppose there are now about 200,000 colored troops in the field, many of
whom used to raise the crops for ’old Massa.’ Now white men must stay at
home and raise the crops, and look after their own families into the
bargain, and all that is so much more cut off from their resources.

"I used to be of the opinion that after all the lickings we have given
them, and seeing that they had no prospect but ultimate defeat before
their eyes, they would come to terms and lay down their arms. But
no!—nothing of the sort indeed! They have still their pride left, and
that is something!—I don’t think we will ever conquer them; but we will
just wear them away, one by one, till there is not another rebel left.
The armies of the nations of history have usually laid down their arms
when they saw that the struggle was quite hopeless; but so long as there
is even one Southern rebel left who can stand on his feet and hold up a
flag, I believe they will say that the South is still independent and
free! We will never conquer them; we shall have to wear them out!

"We here at the seat of war in the South are splendidly supplied with an
abundance of newspapers, magazines, and I know not what besides. Some
are illustrated with all sorts of pictures, and some are not
illustrated; and they appear to be sent to us poor fellows by all sorts
of good people from all the four winds of heaven. In one of these latest
magazines there is a very vivid representation of a terrible fight that
the First South Carolina Colored Regiment had with bloodhounds at
Pocataligo Bridge, on the 23rd of October, 1862. The rebels came
streaming on through the woods, with horse, foot and dragoons, and also
the bloodhounds. Our own brave men advanced boldly through among the
trees, and attacked dog, horse and man in a terrible hurry. The hounds
especially dashed against our men with great fierceness, but they were
shot down and bayoneted quicker than it takes me to tell the tale with
pen and ink. Then the gallant troops held them up aloft for joy on the
points of their bayonets and laughed. The dogs looked just like meat on
the point of a fork. I have turned the entire scene into a little poem
of my own. Here it is:

    "We met the bloodhounds at the bridge,
      They ran with all their might;
    Their open months cried bow, wow, wow!
      It was a glorious sight.
    We ran our bayonets through their backs,
      We shot them with the gun;
    It was all over with the dogs,
      And ’twas most glorious fun!

    "In former days those brutes were used
      To hunt the flying slave;
    They tracked them through their dismal swamps,
      And little quarter gave;
    But when they tried the game of war
      We knocked them on the head,
    We shot them quick, and ran them through,
      Until every hound was dead!

    "Thus perished those bad dogs at once,
      We tossed them high for fun;
    We held them on our bayonet tops,
      And finished the last one;
    Which was a flitting end for them,
      The brutes shall bark no more,
    Nor hunt the flying fugitive
      On Carolina’s shore!

    "But slavery there has lost the day,
      They need bloodhounds no more;
    All men and women now are free
      On Carolina’s shore;
    The white man now will learn to work
      Like other men I trow,
    Nor raise the bloodhounds for the chase,
      Big brutes that cry bow, wow!

"But I must lay down the pen, or else I am sure you will begin to get
tired of my long letter. I was very greatly interested, indeed, in your
glorious visit to Canada. I would like to go there myself. Perhaps we
will all visit them together some future day. With much warm love to
yourself, the girls, and all the rest. I am as ever,

"Your most loving husband,



_The Fight at Marion, Tennessee—The Battle of Nashville—Success of the
Northern Armies—Massacre at Fort Pillow—The Rebels Refuse to Exchange
Colored Soldiers—Our Defeat at Olustee—Eighty Thousand Northern
Prisoners Perishing in Southern Prisons—The Mine at Petersburg—The
Wealth of the South—A Soldier’s Song._

When we consider that there were 200,000 or more colored men in the
field, and that they were engaged in fights, large and small, somewhere
or other every day all over the far-spreading South, where all did so
well and received the praises of the brave and true, it seems to me
ridiculous at this time of day to look back and select particular
actions wherein they distinguished themselves. But I am not aware that I
can do any better than many worthy writers have done before me. There
was one circumstance, however, or rather course of similar circumstances
that struck those of us at home who closely followed the war as detailed
by private letters and dispatches in the public newspapers, which was
that on many memorable occasions the colored regiments saved the
defeated and flying white troops from complete destruction. And white
men were thankful enough to be saved by our men, and who could blame
them? They were both in the field to assist one another in every
possible way. I am not claiming more for the colored troops than belongs
to them; but let them have their rights. No just man will give them

It was in the beginning of December, 1864, that a regular battle took
place near Marion, Tennessee, for the destruction of the Marion Salt
Works. The battle commenced in the morning, and fluctuated backwards and
forwards the greater part of the day. General Stoneman, who commanded
the Federals, at last found himself badly beaten by the Confederates,
under General Breckenridge. The national troops were in a desperate
condition, and nothing but destruction stared them in the face. There
was no time to be lost. The fate of the Northern army was trembling in
the scales. General Stoneman at once ordered up the black troops, whom
he divided into three columns. He placed General Burbridge at the head
of one column, gave another to Col. Wade, and the third to General

Colonel Wade led the right column, General Burbridge the left, and
General Brisbin the centre. Wade got off first, and sailed into the
rebels in gallant style. Burbridge piled his overcoat on the ground,
drew his sword, and led his column forward like lions. Most of the
officers and all the men were on foot. Wade’s horse was soon shot, after
which he led his men on foot, and they were the first to strike the
Confederate line, who fired time after time, but Wade’s column advanced
rapidly for a hand-to-hand fight with the rebels. They went through the
Confederate lines like an iron wedge, when the enemy broke, turned and
ran. Burbridge hit with all his might on the left, and Brisbin’s men in
the centre also covered themselves with glory. Men never did better in
this world. When their guns were empty, they clubbed their foes with the
butt ends, many of the latter jumping fully fifteen feet down the
opposite side of the hill to get out of the way of our infuriated men!
The night was now coming on! Sauve qui peut! The rebels fled in the
darkness, and ultimately took the North Carolina road, fleeing over the
mountains. Thus ended the grand struggle for the salt works at Marion,
Tennessee. Our troops now advanced, nor stopped till their destruction
was complete.

We all know that it must go very hard, indeed, with any people when they
have got no salt. Poor things! What could they do without salt? So these
coveted salt works at Marion were destroyed by the Union army, but not
till the army had been first rescued from destruction by the colored
troops who were attached to the service there.

I don’t know how it happened, but somehow or other the Northern generals
had a great deal of confidence in colored men, whom they often put
aside, and held in reserve in case of the direst necessity in the end,
and when the worst might come to the worst. It was then that our
faithful fellows were called forwards to save the armies, and they saved
them, too, standing like walls of adamant between the white Unionists
and their terrible foes. Our brave boys often did as well elsewhere as
they did at Marion.

It used to be the grand hue and cry in the beginning of the war that if
colored men were enlisted into the armies of the Union, they would not
fight like their white brothers! Even we ladies, who surely were never
intended to fight in the ranks—we ladies living far away up in the North
at Buffalo, used to laugh at the whole thing as a joke, for certainly
everybody knew better. But that miserable parrot cry ceased after a
while, and was no more heard of.

Another grievance in the beginning of the enlistment of colored troops
was to offer them smaller pay than white men. Some of our regiments
absolutely refused to take less; others took what was offered. But as a
general thing, between Congress and the States themselves, all things
were put right at last, and justice was done by making things about
even. But whether right or wrong the troops never refused to do their
duty. It certainly was a shameful and shabby affair to offer them less,
because many of them certainly were superior to their white brothers in
the field. The color of the skin was a poor, miserable reason for giving
them less.

General T. J. Morgan gives a long and brilliant account of his
connection with several colored regiments in the Department of
Cumberland. He is also very jokey, and furnished us with a great many
amusing anecdotes, which he loves to relate. He gives us some very good
sketches of the Battle of Nashville, Tennessee, which occupied two days,
in the middle of December, 1864. A thaw had set in; the ice and cold had
given way, and General George T. Thomas now took advantage of the
opportunity that presented itself to compel the rebel General Hood to
raise the siege of Nashville. It was decided that General Morgan and his
colored regiments should begin the attack on the Union left as soon as
they could see their way in the dawn of that December morning. After an
early breakfast, Morgan and his men advanced upon the rebel right with
unbounded enthusiasm, and struck it with all their might. Their attacks
were simply irresistible, and although the Southerners fought with their
accustomed stubbornness and bravery they had to give way. General Hood
was under the impression that this attack upon his left was to be the
grand attack of the day’s battle, but it was a feint to draw off his men
from his right, where General Thomas struck him with awful force,
doubled him up, and forced the whole rebel army, right, left and centre,
to retreat for the space of two miles. Thus the first day’s battle
(which the colored troops began) was a complete success along the whole
line, although we lost many a brave man. General Hood made haste to
fortify himself, and threw up intrenchments on his line of battle—in
short, he did everything that a prudent general upon the defensive could
do. But the white and colored troops followed up their success by
attacking his forces with unwonted vigor and enthusiasm on the morning
of the second day. The Southerners not being gods, nor made even of
iron, now turned and fled. A general pursuit of the rebels at once
began; colored and white alike pressed on like hounds behind the hares.
We followed them all the way to Franklin, Tennessee, followed them day
and night, and traversed hundreds of miles, with mud and rains. The
roads were in a dreadful condition. Many of our brave men lost their
shoes in the deep and sticky mud, but still kept on, though their feet
were cold, and bled into the bargain. At night they would take down
fence-rails and such like to make fires to keep themselves warm. General
Hood fled away, and returned no more. The Confederacy was now beginning
to shake in every limb of its body. The North determined to hold on.
Thus our own 200,000 colored men contributed to the grand result. As the
songs of the day said, "The colored troops fought bravely!"

[Illustration: _COTTON PICKING._]

About the 20th of April, 1864, after I had given the children their
breakfast, and sent them to school, the letter-carrier came up the steps
with another missive from my own dear Tom, and just as I had opened it
to begin to read it, who came into the room but dear mother! So to work
we went and read the letter together:

"NEW ORLEANS, April, 1864.

"Mrs. Beulah Lincoln,

"My Dear Beulah:—With great pleasure I sit down to answer all the
delightful letters I have received from yourself and the girls. Your
letters have been a very great joy to me indeed all the time I have been
in the hospital. They have actually helped me to mend by keeping up my
spirits! At least that is what the doctors and nurses say, who have read
some of your letters, and they liked them so much. They were greatly
delighted over your letters on your trip to Canada! If it had not been
for my wound, my residence at this beautiful hospital in the Sunny South
would have been almost as great a treat to me as the month you and the
girls spent at Richmond Hill. Because here comes neither frost nor snow,
and the sun is always bright and genial, and the flowers scent the air
all the year round, and the winds come through the open windows just
laden with their fragrance. But, thank God, I shall soon be well now,
and then I will go back to the war if it is not all over by the time I
receive my discharge from this good hospital. If the war is not over
then, I will go back to the field; but, if it is all over, then I am
likely to get my discharge from the army and come home. I have taken
'notes’ of all the active operations in which I was engaged in the field
up to the time I was wounded; and I think I will write and publish a
book when I come home! All the events, let things be going as they may,
I am sure that they are going ten times better now that our glorious
Grant has got the chief command over all the armies in the field
throughout the far-extended seat of war in the South. Before he took
command even a child could see how our own Northern generals and
colonels themselves wrangled, and were jealous of one another, and
carried on. It always appeared to me that before Grant took command they
wasted as much strength and national resources as the rebels themselves
did! Too many cooks spoil the broth; and they also resembled a balky
team of cross-grained mules pulling, kicking and flinging against one
another! Indeed they had a great deal to learn, and that was how to
agree. But Grant put them all to rights with a few shuffles of national
'cards.’ He made all things work aright, and those who were too anxious
to be bosses, he either set off on one side by themselves, or else sent
them home about their business. In this respect the rebels had been far
wiser than we were. They had, of course, their quarrels and
disagreements also, but never to the same extent as ourselves. But Grant
ended all that, and I observe that secession has been ailing very much
ever since!

"It will be old news to you to speak in this letter about the late
massacre of white and colored officers and soldiers at Fort Pillow,
where General Forrest and his men murdered hundreds of our own brave
fellows in cold blood. I understand that although that massacre occurred
only a few days ago, so to speak, that the war-cry ’Remember Fort
Pillow!’ has already been made in quite a number of the most recent
engagements between colored troops and rebels on the seat of war. The
wholesale murder of our own men and officers at Fort Pillow is the
entire conversation throughout the hospital, the city of New Orleans and
the entire South. Surely that murder was winked at by the rebel
government at Richmond. From the very first day when a rebel was shot
dead by a former servant (?) all the rebels of the South together have
been more faint at heart than if they had got the leprosy! There has
been a constant attempt from the first to treat colored troops not as
soldiers under the United States Government, but as perfect outlaws or
even as wild animals themselves. A certain kind of shudder, a horror,—a
something that no man can describe—seems to have taken possession of the
rebel breast at the very idea of letting loose their former slaves
against their masters! They think that this is awful indeed, and hold up
their hands in holy horror. And this horror of theirs holds good not
only with regard to the colored troops themselves, but it is even more
bitter if possible when directed against the white officers who trained
them in the art of war, and who led them on the battle-field. It is true
that we have officers chosen from among ourselves, but then we are all
one army, and we must go shares hand in hand with the rest in the
general conflict.

"It was not only a great crime in General Forrest and his rebels
murdering hundreds of Union men at Fort Pillow, but it was the greatest
blunder they have yet committed as they will themselves find out at
once. Instead of making over 200,000 men afraid of them, or deterring
them from the battle entirely, we shall only go into battle ten times
more eagerly than before, and do fighting ten times more valiant than
ever. A shudder has already run over the entire North that will do more
to unite the whole Union than if we had gained one of the greatest
victories of war. The Southern policy from Jeff. Davis downwards is to
ignore us completely as men, and to treat us as ’goods and chattels’
still. Jeff. even issued a proclamation against Benjamin F. Butler, at
New Orleans, treating him as an outlaw for organizing regiments of
colored troops, or, in fact, for pressing their former slaves into the
war in any shape and form. At the same time, they themselves have made
use of their slaves to throw up breastworks, and to do all kinds of
labor, almost from the hour when they themselves at first rebelled.
Their theory is that they have a perfect right to use their slaves to
fight against the Union, and we, who own the whole nation must not
indeed even touch them with our little fingers! This will never do,
because it is a game that two of us at least cannot play at.

"It will never be known until the great Day of Judgment what became of
all the colored soldiers who fell into the hands of the rebels. It is
true that the rebel authorities directed them to be handed over to the
States to which they belonged to be dealt with by the civil laws of
those States, but even this is a subject upon which I can obtain no
information whatever. I can only say that their path is unknown, and
they have never been seen alive after their capture. Of other things we
are more certain. The Southern soldiers have been seen killing their
colored prisoners on the battle-field,—killing them in hospitals, and in
many ways awarding to them the treatment we would give to any wild
animal that we shot at a hunt. From the very first the rebels at
Richmond have refused to exchange colored prisoners like white prisoners
of war. They have never even exchanged a single man! There is an old
saying that those whom the gods intend to destroy, they first make mad,
that is insane. We do not thank the rebel crew for attempting to treat
us as outlaws and wild beasts, but we will do one thing for them for all
this,—we will now assist in pulling down their Confederacy far faster
than we have done before.

"As to the murder at Fort Pillow, the whole thing was, of course, a put
up job. After fighting all the morning, and finding ten times more
trouble to get into the fort than they ever expected, at 1 P. M. they
sent in a flag of truce. But whilst they pretended to be parleying round
that flag of truce, the rebels rapidly and quietly pushed their men up
on the sides of the fort, which was contrary to the laws of war, and
then breaking off the truce made a sudden rush into the fort and took
it. Then we surrendered, but the rebels would not receive our surrender,
and their massacre began. They shot down and killed our officers and men
in every possible way after they had given up their weapons of war.
General Forrest and other rebel commanders were there and allowed the
carnage to go on that afternoon and next morning. The rebels took our
men, nailed some of them to the floors of old wooden buildings to which
they next set fire, and thus burned them while yet alive. Then they
called out others, one by one, and shot them as fast as they appeared.
One of the principal white officers was murdered on the road as the
rebels were marching away from the fort,—at least he never came through
alive. No doubt that Congress will appoint a commission of inquiry at
once, and make a complete examination of the whole affair, and the
entire truth will be established from the mouths of those white and
black soldiers who escaped. In the meantime, we have facts enough at
hand to put all the above beyond the shadow of a doubt. It was horrible.

"My dear Beulah, I had much more to write to you about, but the doctors
will be here in a quarter of an hour, and as I wish you to receive my
letter without delay, I will now draw it to a hurried end, and leave the
balance for my next epistle. In the meantime, my dear Beulah, keep the
girls steady at school, for after good religion, I think that good
education (put to good use) is the grandest ornament in the world, and
in a woman I think it looks splendid. Also give all my love to Mr. and
Mrs. John B. Sutherland, and give them a reading of this letter—and let
our children read it too, by all means. I just feel, my dear, as if I
could go on writing to you for a month,—you are such a comfort! But,
good-by, God bless you! Ta-ta!

"Your thrice loving


My indulgent and kind readers, I would be glad if I could draw down the
veil upon the disasters and defeats we met with from the hands of the
rebels whilst our brave men were battling for freedom, and the reunion
of all the States. But, alas, alas! that would never do, and I must tell
the whole truth on both sides. We had our victories in plenty, and there
was a general caving-in of Secessia going on continually, but O dear me!
what drawbacks and disasters there are for the historian to tell! The
whole nation was still smarting from our signal defeat at Olustee, Fla.,
when the butchery at Fort Pillow fell upon us like a thunderstorm in
summer. I can’t tell which was the worst in its way—our complete defeat,
our flight and almost total annihilation at Olustee, or the barbarous
murders at Fort Pillow. Our defeat at Olustee took place on the 20th of
February, 1864. We must, in the first place, thank our General Gillmore
for disobeying orders, and leading his black and white troops into that
perfect trap which the rebels had prepared for us among the forest trees
at Olustee. They had their masked batteries, and all their perfect
preparations of war completely concealed from us till we were right
inside the very trap itself, and then General Gillmore, instead of
drawing back his forces and forming them into a regular line of battle,
wildly rushed one regiment after another into the powerful rebel
position that lay concealed between two swamps, where our poor fellows
were just mown down like grass before the scythe. When eight hundred
colored soldiers and six hundred white ones had thus been placed hors de
combat, we turned and fled for Jacksonville, and all along the way the
rebels followed up our retreat, and all the fugitives alike shared the
disasters of a defeat, which was most complete in every part. The
exultation at the South, of course, was as great as our depression of
spirits at the North, for it was another Braddock’s defeat over again;
but then war is as much of a game as a game of cards, or a game at the
checker-board. Thus one was in joy whilst the other was in grief; in the
same way the dark night follows the bright day, and sunshine gives way
to shadow. It is the self-same with the individual as with the nation.
Which one of us has not had a grand day of triumph, as well as his night
of misfortune and distress? What proportion our defeats bore to our
victories I am at this time unable to say; but I know they were a very
high percentage of the whole, as we found out to our cost. It is not my
intention to open up the whole question, but there is at least one
horror that I must mention besides actual conflict on the battle-field,
which is, that the nation lost about 80,000 men that were starved to
death (I might almost say) or perished through misusage and neglect, and
the want of all comforts in the Southern prisons, at Richmond,
Andersonville and elsewhere. Whilst we were fattening their men in our
Northern cities, and exchanging them as prisoners of war, so they might
take the field against us once more, our poor fellows, who were merely
skin and bone, were returned to us only to remain mental and bodily
wrecks on our hands the rest of their days. Few of them, indeed, were
ever found fit to go back to the field again. Thus 80,000 men, some at
least of whom were colored, died in the South from want of sufficient
food, from cold in the winters, and almost every other conceivable and
bad reason, such as the want of medicine, proper nursing and attention
during sickness, and so forth. No wonder, then, that our people used to
associate the murders at Fort Pillow and the deaths in the Southern
prisons together.

We also met with a great defeat at the explosion of the mine at
Petersburg, on the 30th of July, 1864. That turned out one of the
greatest blunders and most bungled affairs of the whole war. It was
decided that the colored troops should lead the charge into Petersburg
after the explosion had cleared the way for the advance and attack. Then
a general, who ranked higher, in a spirit of jealousy countermanded the
first and best arrangements, and ordered his white troops to lead the
advance. Then the mine itself did not explode until some hours after the
appointed time. When the explosion came the advance and attack were so
bungled that the whole affair turned out a complete failure. The
attacking troops were also caught inside the crater in a perfect trap,
and the colored troops who were sent in to their aid, fared no better.
In fact, at last there was neither advance nor retreat for any one, and
things were even worse than at Olustee, and all had to surrender in a
body, prisoners of war. Thus all our labors were thrown away at
Petersburg on that fatal morning, through jealousy and every kind of
bungling and mismanagement. General Grant has recorded it in his life,
that if the first arrangements had been carried out, they would no doubt
have succeeded in capturing the city.

But such are jealousy and ignorance! These were the two grand causes of
the disaster of the Union armies during the first half of the war, and
all these misfortunes happened in the face of an ever-watchful and
desperate enemy, who had staked everything on the issue—life, fortune
and all—an enemy fighting with all his might for the institution of
slavery, and for the control of his own land and government without
interference from Uncle Sam. But so it has ever been with all wars that
the historian has ever recorded. Nations have their dark days as well as
their bright ones. And if we had great and crowning victories, we also
had our defeats and dark days.

Before my dear Tom got wounded, and was taken to the hospital at New
Orleans, I received a letter from him describing a march his regiment
had down the banks of a beautiful river in Mississippi, after which they
came upon the boundaries of one of those grand mansions that I alluded
to before as almost excelling the princely palaces of the grandees of
Europe. We used to think Riverside Hall something (continues my dear
letter-writer), but Riverside Hall was nothing to Belmont, as this place
was called. The family had all left, and there was nobody in and about
the princely place. No wonder that the slave-holder had grown rich! With
a thousand people to work for them for nothing, and themselves pocketing
the entire proceeds of their labors and toils, all they had to do was to
bank their money, and lay it out in eating and drinking and riotous
living, as the Bible tells us. No wonder that they had pleasant trees
and shrubbery, and fine streams gliding through the park here, the
smooth lawns reminding one of the garden of Eden before the fall of our
first parents. No wonder that they had grand statuary all along their
graveled walks, along which fine carriages and lordly companies on foot
glided along their sunny way in the palmy days of slavery, now departed
to return nevermore! In the Sunny South this day, we marched down the
banks of one of the sweetest rivers I have seen in the State of
Mississippi. I have written a few verses on the subject; written them on
a marble table in the interior of splendid Belmont, a mansion, which for
glory and for beauty, it would dazzle your eyes to look upon. Here are
the lines I composed:


    Across the bridge we made our way,
      The dancing waves sang loud and gay,
    And warm and bright the sunbeams lay,
      Upon the Southern River!

    And countless birds sang in the trees,
      Our banners fluttered in the breeze,
    All eyes were charmed midst scenes like these,
      All down the Southern River!

    Our hearts were light, our bands did play
      Upon that glorious sunny day.
    ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...
      Beside the southern river!

    "The Sunny South!—The Sunny South!"
      These words were ever in each mouth,
    Suggesting things of love and youth
      Along the Southern River.

    And still we marched, and laughed and sang
      And down the flowery banks we sprang,
    The wild woods with the echoes rang
      All down the Southern River!

    Until we came to "Belmont" grand,—
      The finest mansion in the land,
    That on the rising ground does stand
      Beside the Southern River!

Thus my Tom wrote about the Southern river and the Sunny South. After
this I never wondered more why the slave-holders fought so hard to gain
their independence. No wonder, when they fought for "Belmont," etc.!


_The Colored Men of Iowa—Hard Fight Near White River—The Men of
Kansas—Enthusiasm for the War—Fight at Butler—Battle of Cabin
Creek—Battle of Honey Springs—The Battle of Poison Springs—Battle at the
Sabine River—Battle of Boykin’s Mill with Poem—Incidents of the War._

I have said nothing yet about the far western frontier, and the
enlistments that took place far away between the Mississippi river and
the Rocky Mountains. There were not many colored people in those States
and territories at that time, but the few who were there acted with the
greatest enthusiasm, and came joyously up to the rescue of the Union and
liberty. Although all colored men were free in those parts, they most
willingly laid down the plough and other implements of husbandry, left
their sweethearts, their wives and families, and all that they held
dearest, with wonderful zeal and alacrity, and marched to the field even
with the utmost joy, "to help of the Lord against the mighty." Of course
the Western frontier was not the only part of the Union where such
devotion for the Union and liberty was shown. It was the very same
everywhere. Even in the old slave States, when the recruiting sergeants
came along, and asked the slaves if they would like to go to the war and
fight for Uncle Sam, to a man they answered yes. Thus the recruiting
went rapidly on wherever colored volunteers could be found. Poor Uncle
Sam was in great need of men, and these brave recruits were gathered
together at places appointed for drill, in all the various branches of
the art of war, and they learned with great willingness and with great
rapidity also. With so much enthusiasm and fire, is it any wonder that
colored troops did so well in the war, and with their strong, brawny,
willing arms so mightily helped to knock down the South? It is no wonder
at all!

Yes, poor Uncle Sam was in great need of assistance about the time of
Lincoln’s proclamation of freedom, for these terrible and clever rebels
had not only destroyed our white troops by tens of thousands, but they
had at the same time thinned out some thousands of the black soldiers
also. Lincoln kept calling for more troops, for a very great many more,
indeed, and black and white men came up to the national call like

It was not until August, 1863, when the men of Iowa arose, hurried
through their drill, and marched to the front. They gathered at first at
St. Louis, where Mrs. I. N. Triplet presented one of the regiments with
a beautiful silk national flag, on behalf of the ladies of Iowa, and of
the city of Muscatine. That beautiful flag was carried all through the
war, and was brought home again to Iowa, in the midst of great

In January, 1864, this regiment was ordered to report to Helena,
Arkansas, and lent a hand in a number of small engagements, where they
took numbers of prisoners. But the most serious fight in which they were
engaged took place in the following July, near the White river, where
they attacked a force of the rebels twice as numerous as themselves.
This fight was most desperate, though the rebels lost three men to our
one. Most of our own officers were killed or wounded; night was coming
on apace, and still we held out—yea! fought like lions hour after hour.
At last a body of white Union soldiers coming to our aid, burst through
the rebel ranks with loud cheering, and our poor fellows, who were so
hard pressed, cheered loudly in return. Still the arrival of these
re-enforcements did not turn the battle into a Union victory, but they
enabled us to retreat from the field in good order. Later on in the day,
more colored re-enforcements from Helena arrived, but too late to make
any changes in the situation. It was well for us, however, to save all
the men we could, because the rebel soldiers and the rebel population on
these western States and territories seldom missed an opportunity to
murder every colored soldier who fell alive into their hands. Still we
cared nothing for their "black flag," but fought ten times harder than
before, and thus we helped on the downfall of slavery!

The State of Kansas was the very first State in the entire Union to make
a commencement in recruiting and drilling regiments of colored men to
put down the great rebellion. Kansas was only admitted into the Union as
a free State on the 29th of January, 1861. It was her admission as such
that transferred the slave-holder’s rebellion from Kansas to South
Carolina, and the other seceding States. In other words, the rebellion
began in Kansas, and the scene was simply shifted upon Lincoln’s
election. But the Republican men of Kansas arose with unbounded alacrity
and enthusiasm, and in a short time had 20,000 men in the field, some of
whom were regiments of colored men, who did yeoman’s service in the
West. And not only in Kansas, but in every other section of the Union,
colored men showed a great deal of principle in the way in which they
came up to the rescue of the nation; came up with horse, foot and
artillery! As Deborah says in her song of victory (Judges, 5 chapter,
verse 18): "Zabulun and Naphtali were a people that jeopardized their
lives unto the death in the high place of the field." The first fight in
which the colored troops of Kansas were engaged took place near Butler.
There were about two hundred and twenty-five men in all, and they were
attacked by about five hundred Confederates. This is supposed to have
been the very first engagement in the war between colored soldiers and
the rebels, and the rebels were defeated with considerable loss. The
date of the engagement was the 28th of October, 1862. The next morning a
few recruits came up and joined their comrades in the pursuit of the
secessionists, but failed to overtake them. The work of recruiting,
drilling and disciplining the regiments still went on, till at last they
were so efficient in the various arms of the service that they were
second to none. Soon after this a foraging party of forty-five of our
men were attacked by three hundred Confederates, and half of them killed
or captured in a short time.

This regiment, which was lead by the gallant Colonel Williams, remained
in camp at Baxter Springs till the 27th of June, 1863, when it marched
for Fort Gibson, in connection with a large supply train from Fort Scott
en route to the former place. The Colonel was led to believe that they
would be attacked in the neighborhood of Cabin Creek. He made haste, and
gathered all his men together, about eight hundred in all. Upon arriving
at Cabin Creek the rebels in great force under General Cooper met him
there, but our men were unable to cross the stream on account of a
shower of rain, which had swollen its waters too high for infantry to
get over. When the morning came, by the aid of those who had come up in
the night, the whole effective force was now raised to 1,200 men, which
embraced some cavalry, a few Indians, and four pieces of artillery.
Being well lead on by their officers, these 1,200 men made a most heroic
attack on the vastly-superior rebel force, and after two hours’ hard
fighting, vanquished them completely, killing and wounding one hundred
men, and taking eight prisoners. We had eight killed and twenty-five
wounded on our side. The road was now open, and our men proceeded with
the train to Fort Gibson, where they arrived on the 5th of July, 1863.

It was on the morning of the 17th of July when our small force under
command of General Blunt, left Fort Gibson, and moved upon the enemy,
6,000 strong, who were commanded by General Cooper. We found the latter
encamped at Honey Springs, twenty miles south of Fort Gibson. After a
desperate combat of two hours, the rebels were totally defeated with a
loss of four hundred men killed and wounded, and one hundred prisoners.
After this the Kansas City troops returned to Fort Gibson, where they
remained till September, when they moved out again against General
Cooper and his forces, who fled at their approach. We followed them for
one hundred miles, but as they still continued to keep ahead of us, we
returned and encamped at Fort Davis, a former Confederate fort on the
Arkansas River.

The troops marched and counter-marched till the month of March, 1864,
when they joined Union General Steele’s forces, and marched against the
enemy, who were posted on the west side of Prairie d’Ane, within
twenty-five miles of Washington. As we came up, the enemy fled before
us, and we occupied their works without having to fight for them!
Indeed, a good deal of the warfare on the western frontier was nothing
but marching and counter-marching; coming to blows now and then, in
which we were mainly successful, for the rebels often preferred to fly
before us!

It was curious to note at the time how what appeared to be very
frivolous circumstances led to pitched battles and the most serious
results. Letters from newspaper correspondents, and private letters as
well, made this quite clear. Private letters to friends were often more
clear and explicit than the more general and profuse war correspondence.

[Illustration: _A RELIC OF SLAVERY DAYS_]

Col. Williams informs us that he arrived at Camden on the 16th of April,
1864, but on the following day, the 17th, started with five hundred men
of the First Colorado, two hundred cavalry detailed from the Second,
Sixth and Fourteenth Kansas regiments, and one section of the Second
Indiana Battery, with a train for the purpose of loading forage and
provisions at a point twenty miles west of Camden, on the Washington
road. On the 17th he reached the place, and succeeded in loading about
two-thirds of his train, which consisted of two hundred wagons; the rest
of the wagons were loaded next morning as they passed along. At a point
fourteen miles west of Camden, the advance encountered a small force of
the enemy, who retreated down the road after some slight skirmishing,
but did in such a manner as to convince the Colonel that it was a mere
feint to cover other movements, or else to draw his command into ambush,
as had already been done at Olustee, in Florida. The troops advanced
with caution for about a mile and a-half to a place called Poison
Springs, and here they came upon the skirmish lines of the enemy in a
thickly-timbered region. Our troops drove in their skirmish lines, and
discovered that the rebels were there in force. Indeed it was
ascertained afterwards that there were about ten thousand of them, and
their intention seemed to have been to eat us all up alive! To me it is
a most astonishing thing to even think that our small force, not more
than 1,000 men, should venture to contest a "field" of 10,000 rebels;
but so it was, not only at the battle of Poison Springs, but such
attacks were made again and again over the entire seat of war. Surely
the colored troops must have had the hearts of lions, and a most
tremendous amount of self-confidence even to look in the face of such

The enemy, with ten pieces of artillery, now opened the fight, six in
front and four on the right flank. (They had twelve cannon altogether,
but commenced the engagement with ten). We had to fight hard, yes, most
desperately, and lost many a brave man, either killed or wounded. Col.
Williams still fought on and on, making the best disposition possible of
his little force. We were only able to use two of our light cannon at
any one time, on account of the difficult nature of the thickly-timbered
land. The Colonel was ever hoping that re-enforcements would come up to
his aid from Camden, and relieve the train loaded of two hundred wagons,
and save our little army, but no relief ever came. Thus the battle went
on from 10 A. M. till 2 P. M., during which the rebels made one charge
after another, but were always repulsed after the most desperate
fighting. The loud roaring and yelling of the rebels at Poison Springs
even exceeded the noise of the fire-arms used upon that occasion. We had
ninety-two killed, ninety-seven wounded, and one hundred and six
missing—in all two hundred and ninety-five. The enemy probably lost more
than we did. As no re-enforcements arrived by 2 P.M., it was decided to
abandon our entire train, and work our way through the woods as best we
could to Camden, where those who remained arrived at 11 P.M. on the day
of the battle. Col. Williams named this tremendous fight the Battle of
Poison Springs, from a spring of that name in the neighborhood. This was
one of the very hardest fights of all that took place in the West. No
one but a fool would now ask the ridiculous question, "Will colored men
fight?"—because here we see a force of a thousand colored men or less
fighting most desperately for four hours with ten times their own
numbers. This was as good as the 10,000 Greeks under Miltiades, at
Marathon. The Greeks did not one whit better than our troops at Poison

But the success of the troops already raised in Kansas fired the hearts
of other devoted men to lend a hand in the battle for the Union and
liberty. In June, 1863, another regiment was organized at Fort Scott,
and the regimental organization of the same was completed at Fort Smith,
Arkansas. The regiment went into camp on the Poteau river, about two
miles south of Fort Smith. The work of drill and discipline was here
carried on till the regiment was in splendid condition for the field.

On the 24th of March, 1864, the regiment left Fort Smith, and set out on
the Camden expedition, forming a part of Col. Williams’ brigade of
General Thayer’s division. This division united with that under
Major-General Steele on the Little Missouri river, after which they all
moved on together against the rebels in the direction of the Red river.

The rebels under Generals Price, Smith and Taylor having defeated Union
General Banks at the Red river, Major-General Steele retreated eastward
to Camden, a distance of about sixty miles. During the retreat the
regiment had several skirmishes with the enemy, and quite distinguished

On the 29th of April, 1864, the rebel cavalry came up with the rear of
the Union forces at the Saline river, and skirmishing continued until
night came on. A pontoon bridge had been flung over the river, and all
the Union soldiers had already crossed except some artillery and two
brigades of infantry, which included the Second Kansas Colored Regiment.
We had six regiments in all on our side. The rebels came close up to our
forces, and waited for the dawn of day to begin the battle. Union
General Rice, of Iowa, formed his brigade in the centre; the Twelfth
Kansas Infantry, under General Hayes, was on the left, and the Second
Kansas Colored Regiment, under Colonel Crawford, was on the right. There
were also two pieces of artillery on the Union side.

As soon as it was light enough, the opposing forces drew nearer one
another, and the battle commenced in dead earnest. The crash of musketry
was terrific. The rebels strove again and again to break through our
thin lines, but the Union forces stood their ground with firmness,
repelling every onset of the rebels till re-enforcements came back over
the pontoon bridge to our aid. The rebels, who had in vain attempted for
three long hours to break down the colored men of Kansas, next brought a
battery of artillery to bear upon them, and opened fire. When Col.
Crawford saw this, he ordered the brave young men to charge upon the
guns with the bayonet, and led the charge himself. All the gun-carriage
horses were killed but two; the gunners were killed, wounded or had
fled; the intrepid and heroic Kansas colored boys took possession of the
rebel battery, and brought them over to our side! Truly, this was a
brave deed! (Zabulun and Naphtali were a people who jeopardized their
lives unto the death upon the high places of the field). When the Second
Kansas returned with the rebel guns, the officers and men, in the midst
of the battle, gave them a glorious salute, waving their swords in the
air, and tossing up their caps on the points of their bayonets, whilst
our devoted braves smiled with pleasure. After this successful capture
of the guns, the Second Kansas was moved into the centre of the line; a
charge by the entire Union forces was made along the whole line, and now
the rebels everywhere gave away, and the victory was complete. The
Second Kansas was the first to begin the battle, and they were the last
to leave the field.

Thus the war went along the Western frontier. There were no great
battles, as was the case in the East. But here was plenty to do for all
that, and it was done well. There were at times great hardships to
endure—long, weary marches, cold, and the want of all things; but such
is the life of the soldier, and such is war. We must take the rough with
the smooth. Upon the whole, the Western men fought bravely and
successfully, and mightily helped to pull down the rebellion.

The present generation have very little idea of the excitement that
prevailed all over the country during the long war. Where all our
regiments did so well—indeed, covered themselves with honor—it would be
ridiculous to make any distinction, and place one before another. But I
may at least make a selection at random, and single out the 54th
Regiment of Massachusetts, in March, 1863, who fought with unsurpassed
valor until the close of the war—yea, after the close of the war! I
followed the career of that devoted regiment as if I had been one of the
brave fellows! Well, how they did fight, to be sure! They fought at
James Island, at Fort Wagner, at Olustee, at Honey Hill, and at Boykin’s
Mill, after the war was over, because they had not heard that Lee had

This Boykin’s Mill was a few miles from Camden, South Carolina. The
Fifty-fourth Regiment had fought every step of the way from Georgetown
to Camden, and the rebels made a last desperate, but unsuccessful stand
at Boykin’s Mill. It was a splendid place for the defense, as there was
no other way of approaching it except by a narrow embankment about two
hundred yards long, where only one man could walk at a time. The rebels
had torn up the planks of the bridge over the mill-race, thus compelling
the men of the Fifty-fourth to cross over on the timbers and cross-ties,
and all this under a fatal fire of musketry, which swept the embankment
and the bridge, and made it little better than a "forlorn hope" to pass
over. But the Fifty-fourth did not falter. They had fought at Olustee
and Fort Wagner, so they charged over the dreadful way in single file.
The first men to advance were all shot down, but the rest of their
comrades advanced over their prostrate bodies, till the enemy became so
panic-stricken at the sight that they gave up the fight, abandoned their
position at the mill, and fled. There seems to have been a poet in the
regiment—Mr. Henry A. Monroe, of New Bedford, Massachusetts, who was the
drummer-boy of Company C, of the Fifty-Fourth. He thus describes the
fight at Boykin’s Mill:

    One wailing bugle note—then at the break of day,
    With martial step and gay the army takes the way
      From Camden Town.

    There lay along the path, defending native land,
    A daring, desperate band entrenched on either hand
      In ambuscade.

    A low and dark ravine beneath a rugged hill,
    Where stood the Boykin Mill spanning the creek, whose rill
      Flows dark and deep.

    Only a narrow bank where one can scarcely tread;
    Thick branches meet o’erhead; across the mill-pond’s bed
      A bridge up-torn.

    One single sharp report:—A hundred muskets peal,—
    A wild triumphant yell, as back the army fell
      Stunned, bleeding, faint.

    As when some mighty rock, obstructs the torrent’s course;
    After the moment’s pause, ’twill rush with greater force,
      Resistless on.

    A moment’s pause, and then our leader from his post,
    Viewing the stricken host, cried, "Comrades!—all is lost
      If now we fail!"

    Forming in single file, they gaze with bated breath;
    Around,—before,—beneath,—on every hand, stern death
      His visage showed.

    "Forward!"—They quickly spring with leveled bayonet;
    Each eye is firmly set upon that pathway, wet
      With crimson gore.

    That Balaklava dash!—Right through the leaden hail,
    O’er dyke and timbers frail, with heart that never fail
      They boldly charge.

    Facing the scathing fire without a halt or break,
    Save when with moan or shriek in the blood-mingled creek
      The wounded fall.

    What could resist that charge?—Above the battle’s roar
    There swells a deafening cheer, telling to far and near,
      The Mill is won!

Anecdotes of deeds of bravery and devotion kept cropping up all through
the war. During the early part of the war on the Lower Mississippi, a
former slave assisted in bringing in a lot of prisoners, and he himself
actually drove his former owner before him into the Union camp! "Old
Master" assumed bullying airs to induce him to let him escape, but the
soldier pointed his gun at him repeatedly, saying, "Go on, sir, or I’ll
shoot!" So he brought him into the camp, all radiant with smiles, and
who can blame him for smiling at such a time as this?

At Marion, Tennessee, there were many incidents of personal bravery, of
which this was one. A colored soldier had got a tree stump close to the
rebel line, and in spite of all efforts to dislodge him, he still stuck
to his post, and picked off their men. The rebels charged on the stump,
but when the Union line saw the movement they concentrated their fire on
the advancing men, and drove them back. Then there followed long and
loud cheering for that brave and lonely soldier, who still stuck to his
stump and kept firing away with a regularity that was truly wonderful.
The stump was riddled with bullets, but he still stuck to it, although
at times he was nearer to the rebel lines than to the Union ones.

A great many war incidents were recorded in the annals of the fighting
in Mississippi between Union General Sturgis and the rebels there under
General Forrest. Here are a few of them. A corporal in one of the
colored regiments was ordered to surrender. He allowed his would-be
captor to come up close to him, when he struck him down with the butt
end of his gun. Whilst the regiment was fighting in a ditch, and the
order came to retreat, the color-bearer threw out the flag, intending to
jump out and get it, but the rebels made a rush for it, and in the
struggle one of our men knocked down with his gun the rebel who had the
flag, and caught it and ran. A rebel, with an oath, ordered one of our
men to surrender. He thought the rebel’s gun was loaded, and dropped his
own gun; but when he saw his enemy commence loading, our colored soldier
made a sudden spring for his own gun, and struck the rebel dead. One of
our captains was surrounded by about a dozen of the enemy, when he was
seen by one of our own men, who called several of his companions to his
side, when they rushed forward together and fired, killed several of the
rebels, and rescued their captain at once. A rebel came up to one of our
men, and said, "Come, my good fellow; go with me, and wait on me." In a
second our Union soldier shot his would-be master dead. Once when our
men made a charge on the enemy they rushed forward with the cry,
"Remember Fort Pillow!" when the rebels called back to them and said,
"Lee’s men killed no prisoners!" One of our men in a charge threw his
antagonist to the ground, and pinned him fast there, but when he tried
to withdraw his bayonet it came off the gun, and as he was very busy
just at that time, he left it behind him, still transfixed to the
ground. Another soldier killed a rebel by striking him with the butt end
of his gun; the gun broke, and as he was unwilling to stop his work just
then, he kept on loading, and fired three times before he could get a
better gun. The first time, as he was not very cautious, the rebound of
his gun cut his lip badly. When the troops were in the ditch, three
rebels came upon one man and ordered him to surrender. But as his gun
was loaded he shot one of them and bayoneted the other; but forgetting
in his haste that he could bayonet the third he turned the butt end of
his gun and knocked him down. (The above are a few incidents culled from
the annals of the fighting done by our men in Northern Mississippi.)

A great many good stories have been related in connection with the Army
of the Cumberland. Here is one that refers to an incident when that army
was in Tennessee. Early one morning, as a company of white soldiers were
about to resume their march, a Kentucky lieutenant rode up to the
commanding officer, saluted, and said he had some runaway slaves under
his charge, whom he had arrested for the purpose of sending them back to
their masters; but as he had been ordered away from there just then, he
turned them over to this officer in command. (At that time rewards could
be claimed for returning fugitive slaves to their masters). So the
officer took charge of them, and purposely assuming a stern air and
manner, which he did not feel at all, he said:

"Where are you going?"

"Going to the Yankee army."

"What for?"

"We want to be free."

"All right; you are free now; go where you wish!"

And their warm thanks gave great joy to the officer.

The same officer relates another incident for the purpose of showing the
humor of the colored soldier. A spent ball had struck one of our men on
the side of the head, passed under the scalp, and making nearly a
circuit of the skull, came out on the other side. His comrades merrily
declared, when the ball struck him it sang out, "Too thick!" and then
merrily passed on.

Here is another incident that happened, which I think is very diverting,
even amidst the horrors of war. An officer was riding at the head of his
column, and the men were swinging along "arms at will," when they spied
General George H. Thomas and his staff approaching. Without orders, at
once they brought their arms to "right shoulder shift," took the step,
and striking up their favorite tune of "John Brown," whistled it with
most admirable effect while they were passing the general, who was
greatly amused and pleased at the incident.

There was a private soldier who during an engagement had taken his
position up a tree as a sharpshooter, when he had his right arm broken
by a ball. The captain called out to him, "You had better come down from
there, go to the rear, and find the surgeon."

"Oh, no, Captain," he replied; "I can fire with my left arm!"

And so he did.

When General Thomas rode over the field, after the battle of Nashville,
and saw the bodies of colored men side by side with the foremost of
white men, and upon the very ramparts and works of the Confederates, he
turned to his staff and said:

"Gentlemen, the question is settled; Negroes will fight!"

And thus I might go on, adding incident to incident, and that without
end. Where a war was being carried on all the way from the Potomac to
the Rio Grande, it must needs have been that thousands of such incidents
were taking place every day.


_Mrs. Beulah Lincoln and the Girls Leave Buffalo for New Orleans—The
Journey to Cleveland, Columbus, Cincinnati, Ohio—Voyage Down the Ohio to
the Mississippi—Arrival at New Orleans—Met by Old Friends at the
Landing—Meeting With Tom at the Hospital—The Newspaper Reports._

Weeks and months had passed away, during which my gallant Tom had
written incessantly from the hospital at New Orleans, and the two girls
and myself had answered him. It was now the winter of 1864, and Tom was
not yet well enough to get his discharge from the hospital, much less to
take the field. I was beginning to tire of writing letters, and things
called for a change of scene and fresh air. Besides, another stern
winter was setting in, and I thought I might get along better in another
climate. So I got the girls ready, and we boarded the train for
Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio. It was wonderful to see and
feel how warmer the weather became as we got further South. The icy
fetters of winter relaxed their hold as we advanced, and we were quite
delighted with the hills and forests of the beautiful State of Ohio all
the way to Cincinnati. Here we travelled over a great part of the city,
and called at the parsonage of the A. M. E. Church, and visited the A.
M. E. Church itself, where Tom and I were so happily married upon the
evening the self-same day when we took our departure from Riverside
Hall, near Louisville, Kentucky.

Having seen a few of our dear friends here—friends whose acquaintance we
had made at the time of our marriage—the girls and I, escorted by some
of those beloved acquaintances, moved down to the "Public Landing,"
where we boarded the "Natchez" for New Orleans. We took a fond leave of
those dear souls, and got on board, and soon felt quite happy in our
nice and cosy stateroom, which the girls thought the most delightful
little home they had ever been in. At 4 P. M., whilst the bright and
dazzling sun was still some distance above the horizon, and after all
the loud racket and wild confusion of the embarkation were over, the
last whistle was blown, they drew in the gang-planks, and we pushed out
into the river Ohio.

Our hearts felt as light as feathers as the "Natchez" ploughed out into
mid-stream, a thousand branches up above, swollen with the recent rains,
having filled up the mighty and splendid Ohio from bank to bank, so that
we seemed to be floating down a grand, heaving, fresh-water sea! Now,
indeed, did we enjoy new life with a vim. I told the girls how the first
French owners and explorers named the Ohio "La Belle Rivière," that is,
"The Beautiful River," and it is the beautiful river, still. Our eyes
were quite enchanted with the endless hills on both sides, all clothed
with primeval forests up to their summits, and coming down to the
water’s edge. The girls were quite transported with the beautiful,
endless turns and windings, and seemed to get no rest for the thousands
of boats and barges, and floating things of every shape and size,
rushing up and down the river day and night, whistling and screaming,
and that without end. It was a perfect delight for me to be once more on
this river, for nature is always fresh, fair and enchanting, but for my
two daughters the whole scene was nothing but a succession of unending
delights. Their feet and eyes had no rest, and their tongues were never
still. It was more than I could do to answer all their questions. I was
quite delighted to see how the girls and several other nice children on
the boat became acquainted, and learned to love one another. And this
acquaintanceship and love seemed to grow upon them all from day to day
as we advanced farther south. Indeed, children are great people, and
they will have ways of their own. And on, on, still flew "The Natchez,"
whilst our glorious river increased with innumerable branches from the
right and left, till we reached the lower end of Kentucky, where the
lands were more flat and uninteresting. We made a call here or there,
and rushed down the stream again, until at last our glorious Ohio was
swallowed up in the Mississippi, "The Father of Waters."

[Illustration: _MR. JACKSON._]

I don’t know how it is! I suppose it is because I am a sensitive woman;
but our arrival in the Mississippi river seemed to put a new soul into
me that I am altogether unable to define. Like the far-travelled Queen
of Sheba, there seemed no more spirit left within me. My first and
grandest sensation arose, no doubt, from the fact that the reunion
between my well-beloved Tom and me was almost an accomplished fact,
because we were now both on the same river, and the rapid "Natchez,"
assisted by the mighty forces of the great rushing river, would soon
bring us face to face, after several years of separation, which looked
to me like half a lifetime already. Then there was the mighty "Father of
Waters" himself, always majestic, solemn and grand, bearing your boat
along upon his mighty bosom, like a perfect fly! And then we seemed to
live our lives over again in our dear children, and the two thoughtful,
contemplative girls were filled with a wonder that seemed to strike them
dumb. It was a truly wondrous sight, especially for those passengers who
had never been on the mighty "Father of Waters" before, nor even seen
his rushing waters. Oh, the Mississippi, the Mississippi! How I thought
and thought, and thought again how my dear Tom had battled on for many a
day against the powerful rebel forts on this very river, to clear Uncle
Sam’s way from the headwaters to the Gulf of Mexico! It brought the
tears to my eyes when I thought how my own tender husband had fought and
bled on this very stream that the Union, one and all re-united, might be
restored to the nation at large; how Tom had fought and bled, and almost
died that the shackles might be knocked off the suffering slave, and
freedom reign all over the land, from the Lakes to the Gulf.

Thus I stood for many a long hour in my usual feeling, womanish,
sentimental way, watching the gathering and thundering waters, over
which the swift and beautiful "Natchez," the floating palace of the
Mississippi, hurried and bowled along like a thing of life. And as we
swept on past Vicksburg and other places that had long ago surrendered
to the Union armies, I thought of Lincoln’s famous words (President
Lincoln’s): "The Mississippi, the ’Father of Waters’ flows once more
annexed to the sea!"

And in this way the joyous days and nights passed away on the rapid
"Natchez," whilst the passengers spent the time in any way they pleased,
reading, talking and sleeping by day, and dancing, courting and lolling
away the evening hours, or looking lazily at the rushing waters of the
great river. Attracted by the hilarity in the saloon, my girls spent
some time flirting and waltzing around with the other children on the
boat, nice, harmless playmates, whom I mentioned before. Indeed, the
girls were quite fortunate in having such nice girl companions, for of
all the curses on the face of the earth, I think bad company is about
the worst of all!

Somehow or other this voyage down the Mississippi and Ohio seemed food
for my health. The complete want of domestic cares, the fresh air on the
open deck, the happiness of the two children, and all my delightful
surroundings, made me fat and rosy, and the girls, also. Indeed, we were
complimented on our appearance before we left the boat. The rapid
"Natchez" flew along in, and in due course the "Crescent City," as New
Orleans is called, arose upon our view, and thrilled us with the utmost

We drew up to the land-place in due time, and now followed one of those
wild, exciting scenes that usually take place when we come to the end of
a grand journey and anticipate grand things in the immediate future. No
sooner had the gang-planks been thrown out, but the usual rush for the
shore, and the usual rush on board, took place at once. Cabs, carriages
and porters, all were on hand. As I had taken the precaution to
communicate with those dear friends at whose house I lodged when I
rescued my own dear mother, Mrs. John B. Sutherland, from slavery, there
were two of the self-same sweet ladies awaiting us on the wharf, and
signalling to us before we even came up to it, whilst myself and the
girls waved our handkerchiefs to them in reply. But when the gang-planks
were flung down between us and the shore, the dear souls rushed on
board, and a scene of wild embracing, kissing, tears and laughter
followed, that it would be quite vain for me to describe. In that brief
and joyous meeting on the deck of the "Natchez," we all experienced a
lifetime of bliss. With a terrible vim, indeed, did we all realize the
truth of the 13th chapter of First Corinthians, wherein the great
apostle of the Gentiles dilates so eloquently on love (not charity).
Well, the girls and I got all our traps together, called for a cab, when
we all got in, and drove for my cosy old quarters. Although I had only
spent a week with that dear family on my last visit, the attachment that
had grown up between us was truly wonderful. I had heard from them
several times, and they never, never forgot my dear mother and me. When
we all reached the never-to-be-forgotten house with the cab, we received
another ovation at the door from those who had remained at home. The
grand welcome put the girls and me into the very best humor. After we
had heard and told each other’s news, the girls and myself walked forth
to meet dear husband and father at the hospital. Our impatience was so
great, mine at least was, that we did not seem able to live out this day
unless we met with Capt. Thomas Lincoln, of the Union Army, in the
South. We soon reached the hospital, where we were received with all
that politeness, tenderness and humanity that are so characteristic of
doctors and nurses. I told them at once who we were, and they were very
greatly astonished and delighted, indeed, to think that we had thus
purposely travelled all the way from one extreme end of the United
States to the other on a pilgrimage of love and devotion for husband and
father. As I told them that Tom knew nothing about our coming, I asked
them to take us into a parlor, and simply to announce to my husband that
some friends had called to see him. Our attendants smiled with pleasure
at the proposal, and led us into one of the parlors of this beautiful
hospital, and we had not long to wait till we heard a heavy man
coming—clank, clank, clanking along on one crutch. (He sent me word that
at first he used two, but now he only required one of them). When Tom
came to the door, we three advanced to meet him, and now followed a wild
scene of tears, laughter, embracing and joy, which my dear readers will
understand far better than I am able to describe. The wild, heaving,
rushing waters of the Mississippi were as nothing to this. Oh, sweet is
the pleasure after pain! We seemed to live a whole lifetime of joy of
the most Elysian bliss whilst seated in that never-to-be-forgotten
parlor. Thus hour after hour passed away, till it was dinner time, but
on this occasion, Tom’s dinner and ours were served up in this parlor.

By this time the news had been well spread throughout the hospital, and
even into the city of New Orleans, that the children and I had come to
see Tom. And no sooner had we got through with our dinner when the tide
of visitors began—doctors, nurses, with their lady and gentlemen friends
from all quarters, besides almost all the officials on the premises, at
least those who could get away from their duties, to come and shake
hands and speak a kind word to us three pilgrim travelers to their own
hospital. No doubt but a good deal of this interest arose from the high
favor in which Captain Thomas Lincoln had been held from the first, and
that in turn was greatly due to his well-known bravery on the field of
battle and of fame. Then Tom is of a tall, commanding, splendid
personage, and a perfect magnet among all comers.

We had intended to spend the afternoon in our own way, but circumstances
alter cases, and the afternoon wore away with nothing at all but one
round of introductions after another round, till at last the first
crowds began to die off as tea time drew near; and as the authorities at
the hospital were very kind, indeed, and as we were still in that
self-same parlor where we had spent the day, as an additional favor to
us four our tea was served up in the same place where we had had our
dinner. And so we all sat down, our hearts overflowing with joy—joy that
found vent even in tears, and filled our eyes, out of gratitude to that
good God who had thus allowed us all to meet again, "for His mercy
endureth forever." One of the girls having said grace before meal, we
all fell to, and had a most glorious repast of the very best that the
hospital and the city of New Orleans could produce.

As good news flies fast in a strange place, especially where a good
cause is under way, we had no sooner got through with our most capital
tea than the newspaper reporters began to arrive. And those reporters
were the politest gentlemen I ever saw in my life, for they treated us
with as much kindly interest as if we had all been acquainted for the
last twenty years. Tom and I asked them to be seated whilst we had a
brief consultation between ourselves aside. This consultation was about
my own coming to New Orleans at a former time, and releasing my own dear
mother from slavery. But as the bottom had already been knocked out of
the peculiar institution, as it was playfully called, and what remained
of it would soon pass away, we did not consider that there was any risk
to run, and decide to tell the whole truth, and give all the facts of
the case to the reporters, leaving it to their own discretion to say and
do anything that they pleased, themselves. So the reporting gentlemen
took their seats, got out their note-books, and went to work, writing
down our depositions, one and all, first and last, asking us questions
which we answered with the greatest pleasure. There was a good deal of
amusement in the parlor that evening over the reporting business, I
suspect arising out of the slavery question, and the whole of us being a
lot of "runaways"!

In the meantime, when all had left, the girls and myself were completely
worn out both in mind and body, with travel, fatigue and excitement. Tom
saw us to the gate where we all took leave for the night, after which we
steered for our cosy lodgings, and all got to bed as rapidly as
possible, for we were as tired and worn out as soldiers after a
hard-fought field!

The children and I had a grand, long sleep, and came down late to
breakfast. There had been showers of warm rain in the early morning, and
the breezes that blew over New Orleans were as well perfumed with the
odor of Southern flowers and vegetation as ever lady’s boudoir was with
the perfumes and colognes. Fresh-cut flowers in vases stood on the
dining-room table, and there were plenty of the fresh fruits of the
Sunny South, which the family had brought in from the market in the
early morning. The girls seemed quite at sea amid so many tropical
pleasures, and my first-born exclaimed, as she looked around and viewed
the plants, and flowers, and shrubbery in every direction, both in the
house and out of it,

"My goodness, mamma; the people have good times down here in Dixie. Papa
has a grand time in that fine hospital, reading the latest news from the
front, and scenting the perfumery wafted from 10,000 flowers and shrubs!
I just envy him so much happiness."

"Yes," said the younger child, "and he is here all the time."

To which her elder sister rejoined,

"Oh, my dear sister, I wish that mamma and papa would stay here
altogether, and not go back to Buffalo!"

"What?" said I, in great surprise, "don’t you know that there are 10,000
serpents among the grasses and shrubs out in the woods? Don’t you want
to go back to our sweet little church on Vine street, in Buffalo? And
don’t you want to visit the Gibsons, at Richmond Hill, once more?"

"Oh, yes, mamma," she replied, "I want to go back to class to the church
on Vine street, Buffalo, and I want to dig up potatoes, and pull down
apples and peaches at Richmond Hill, where those good Gibsons live, in
Western Canada."

"But," resumed my oldest daughter, "you say, mamma, that there are
10,000 serpents in this part of the Sunny South; is that so?"

"Yes," I replied, whilst I cut another orange in two, "there are more
than 10,000, I suppose; but take all the hundreds of species in the
world, there is not one species in a hundred that is poisonous at all;
and they will seldom or never sting anybody, if one does not go in their
way, or trample on them in the woods. They generally get out of the way.
But tell me, my dear, what makes you so fond of the South?"

"Indeed, mamma, I can hardly tell, unless it be that there is such a
sweet and delicious feeling about all our surroundings here. Why, the
very winds themselves seem to be fond of blowing about in this place."

"Yes," put in the younger; "the very winds are fond of blowing about in
this place."

These latter remarks were heard by some of the family and guests, and we
all raised a loud laugh, whilst the youngest added:

"Sister, please pass me another of those small, sweet oranges! I don’t
see for the very life of me why we could not live in the State of
Louisiana. And then, mamma says the snakes are not very dangerous, and
we could be careful, and look out for them."

"Oh, yes," rejoined her sister; "we could be careful, and look out for
them. And would not the good Lord Himself protect us against them?"

"No doubt he would," remarked the other, "if Christianity can protect us
against serpents about New Orleans."

By this time we were in a great state of merriment over the two girls,
and rose from the breakfast table as if we had been leaving a successful
entertainment, and walked out to see the garden.

After we had made the rounds of the garden, and regaled our senses with
all that was most delicious in the Sunny South, we came back to the
house, when a member of this good family placed before us on the
sitting-room table, one of the New Orleans morning papers, which
contained the following article. I think the good reporter who wrote
this most grandiloquent article on myself, family and connections must
either have been drinking too much wine, or else he is on the point of
getting married! I can account for such high praise in no other way. But
let us hear what he has got to say:


"It is an old and true saying ’that wonders never cease,’ and again we
are reminded of the words used by Paul against his enemies,—’Those who
have turned the world up-side down have come hither also!’ We Southern
people, after this, need wonder no longer at the terrible war that the
mighty North has brought about our ears! There arrived in the port of
New Orleans yesterday, the wife and two daughters of Capt. Thos.
Lincoln, an inmate of one of our hospitals, a captain of colored troops,
promoted on the battle-field for bravery. Mrs. Lincoln is a perfect
paragon among ladies, and seem to possess every accomplishment under the
sun,—both mind and body. She is only twenty-seven years of age, and
brought her children, two well-grown girls—along with her, having
traveled by rail from Buffalo, New York, and from thence came on the
'Natchez,’ down the Ohio and Mississippi to New Orleans. Their arrival
was a great surprise to Captain Lincoln, and all the high authorities at
the hospital; and a tremendous, warm welcome was what they all received
from all whom they met. We ourselves heard of their arrival, hurried up
to the hospital, met Captain Lincoln’s wife and daughters in one of the
parlors there, and were very much impressed indeed by this entire happy
family, who appeared to us ’as fine as silk.’ We found all four brimful
of talk and intelligence; Mrs. Lincoln and the girls being expert hands
on the piano, whilst the girls have evidently had splendid opportunities
of getting a first-class training in every way. Indeed the intelligence
of the great North has not yet been told by one half!

"We remember reading in the public papers, some nine or ten years ago,
that this self-same Capt. Thos. Lincoln and Miss Beulah Jackson, now
Mrs. Lincoln, made their escape from Riverside Hall, Kentucky, and were
married on the evening of the same day at Cincinnati, Ohio. Tom Lincoln,
as he used to be called, was general manager at the old baronial
residence, and Beulah went by the facetious name of ’The Flower Girl of
Riverside Hall,’ and Beulah is ’Flower Girl’ still.

"Mrs. Lincoln and the girls are very comfortably lodged at the house of
some old friends where, according to present appearances, they will
spend the winter,—a solace and a comfort to the brave husband and
father, who is slowly recovering from the wounds he received on the
banks of the Mississippi whilst heroically contending with the enemy up
the river. The happiness of this now re-united family, and under such
romantic circumstances, taught us that the age of chivalry has not yet
gone by.

"We are all aware that this war sent by God himself for the downfall of
slavery, was begun in Kansas, transferred to South Carolina, and then
spread over almost all the Southern States. It was the abolitionism of
the North aided by the anger and high-strung temper of the South that
blew up the flames of war, and brought on the present state of things
that we now see! And there were not only men in the great abolition
campaign, but a few intrepid women also, who traveled the Northern
States, attended great meetings, where they played, and sang, and even
made most eloquent addresses to fire the great northern heart, and thus
these talented and warring women, these Deborahs of the great North,
were a mighty factor in blowing up the raging fires of abolitionism, and
driving the nation into war.

"Mrs. Thomas Lincoln herself was one of those moving spirits, and her
great natural intelligence, splendid training, and good looks helped to
put wind in her sails, and to stir up the war spirit of the dominant
North in every kind of way possible.

"As slavery is almost dead and gone,—and what remains cannot exist much
longer, we must accept the entire situation with as good a grace as we
can! It can do no harm now to let the cat out of the bag and tell the
whole truth! We have shown that not only is Capt. Thos. Lincoln a brave
man, but his affectionate and beautiful wife is brave also; and she
proved it about ten years ago, when she was only some seventeen years of
age, and came to this very city of New Orleans, and ’stole away’ her own
handsome and accomplished mother out of one of the grandest houses here,
marched on board the New York steamer with her, and conveyed her to
Buffalo, New York, by way of Havana and New York City. Surely that was a
great feat for a mere seventeen-year-old married woman, or ’big’ school
girl if you prefer it,—to perform,—that is travelling all the way by
rail to Cincinnati, then down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers, and then
braving the dangers of the Gulf of Mexico and the stormy North Atlantic
and all this to have her own beloved mother under the self-same roof
with herself—and she succeeded in the bargain! We are informed that her
mother,—formerly called Harriet Jackson, was married some eight or nine
years ago to Mr. John B. Sutherland, of Buffalo, N. Y. Under all these
altered circumstances we think that the right thing to do now, is to
accept of the changed situation with all the grace that we can,—turn
over a new leaf, and do all for our former slaves, but now our freed
brothers and sisters that lies in our power. It is clearly the will of
God that men should be free. It will never do to talk about ’goods and
chattels’ any longer. If Tom Lincoln and Beulah Jackson had not left
Riverside Hall in Kentucky, it is quite clear that had it not been for
God and Northern Liberty, we would never have seen such a splendid
development of things, as we now behold at the hospital which we have
just visited, that is,—a brave and well-trained soldier from the
battle-field and a mother and two daughters that possess all the gifts
and the graces that can ever be claimed by the mistress of the ’White
House,’ at Washington, and the queens and ladies of rank of Europe.

"With all our hearts we welcome our visitors to the Crescent City of New
Orleans, and desire to make a good impression on their hearts and minds,
trusting that their stay among us will be very pleasant indeed; and may
they ever be much in love with the Sunny South."


_Grand Demonstration at the Military Hospital—Music and Speeches—The
Armies Reviewed by President Lincoln—The War in Virginia—Fight at New
Market Heights—Fall of Petersburg and Richmond—Flight of the
Rebels—Their Surrender at Appomattox Court House—Rejoicing Over the Good
News—The Lincoln Family Leave New Orleans, and Arrive Home at Buffalo._


As the hospital where my husband was staying was at this time one of the
greatest attractions of New Orleans, the authorities determined to make
the most of our arrival there, and in short get up a demonstration in
force in honor of the colored soldier and the glorious deeds he had done
on the far-extended battle-field, all the way from the Potomac to the
Rio Grande; and it was decided that some high military general should be
asked to take the chair at this great meeting in the largest hall at the
hospital. As the newspaper reporters were once more on hand in force, it
will be unnecessary for me to say any more about this grand
demonstration, only I may say that men have a peculiar love for
flattering the fair sex, and I think that newspaper reporters, at least
those in the Sunny South, lead all the rest of the flatterers. I will
here insert a copy from the article of the same paper that contained the
glowing account of our arrival at New Orleans:


"It will be a long time before the citizens of New Orleans and Louisiana
will forget the mighty gathering that took place last night at the
Military Hospital, where the commanding general took the chair, and
nobly presided for two hours over a mixed multitude of all races and
professions, to be entertained by Capt. Thos. Lincoln, Mrs. Beulah
Lincoln and their two daughters, all of whom are by this time well-known
to the people of Louisiana. The colored soldiers, officers, and general
population were out in force, and between them and the white portion of
the audience, standing room at last was a premium, and hundreds were
turned away for want of room in the hall.

"All things being now in readiness, the chairman called the meeting to
order by saying,—’Ladies and Gentlemen! We are assembled here to-night
for an evening’s entertainment from the Lincoln Family of Buffalo, and
we may also consider this a public reception of the same family. And
inasmuch as Mrs. Lincoln is a splendid hand on the piano, and a ’number
one’ singer in the bargain, and as I had the pleasure of hearing her
myself, only the other day, going through the ’Mocking Bird’ at a rate
and in a way such as I have never heard—no, never, elsewhere—I will ask
this accomplished lady to give us ’The Mocking Bird,’ and sing to her
own accompaniment at the same time.’

"When Mrs. Lincoln arose and advanced to the grand piano on the stage in
front of the audience, a most tremendous outburst of applause arose from
the audience, and almost brought down the roof. But our plucky and
accomplished musician struck in without stint, and such a ’Mocking Bird’
came forth from her lungs and off the chords of the piano as has not
been heard for many a long day on the lower Mississippi. The attention
was such as could be felt, and when she got through with the
performance, the applause was simply indescribable. An encore was
immediately called for with such vigor that the fair player was forced
to comply, and with grand spirit and vim she gave us ’We Are Coming
Father Abraham, Six Hundred Thousand More.’ This really is a grand
story, to which Mrs. Lincoln’s clever hands and powerful, sweet voice
did ample justice. Another encore was called for, but the gallant
chairman interfered by rising and saying, ’We now call upon Captain
Thos. Lincoln for a few remarks. Let us all give our most earnest
attention to Captain Tom.’

"When the applause that had greeted his appearance had somewhat died
down, Captain Lincoln went on to say, ’Ladies and Gentlemen, such a
night as this makes up for all I have suffered in the cause of the Union
and Freedom. When I first entered the army to assist in putting down the
rebellion, I came down to the State of Louisiana and did my level best
against the enemy along the lower Mississippi. While we in Louisiana and
the colored troops in South Carolina under General Hunter, proved from
our first blows that we could and would fight, the President and his
Cabinet were deterred by many prejudiced men in the north and in the
very army itself from enlisting colored men. A portion of the northern
press were forever thundering against the enlistment of colored men, on
account of the prejudice against the color of the skin, or at least
against the inheritance of a few drops of African blood. They were
envious and jealous lest the descendant of African parentage should fall
side by side with the fair-skinned Caucasian, should die and be buried
with him, or if he survived the shock of war, should receive the
self-same honors as his Anglo-Saxon brother. Of course the white man of
the north knew that we could fight quite as well as himself. Why not?
But he was afraid of our proving that our claims to manhood were as good
as anything he could claim for himself; and therefore he felt unwilling
to give us a chance. Then again, not only did the slave-holders of the
south desire the continuation of slavery, but there was an ’immense
mixed multitude’ of their sympathizers north of Mason and Dixon’s Line,
who took the same view of the situation, and who foresaw that, once the
colored race marched to the field, slavery would come to an end. This
opposition was rampant in the Union Army and throughout the north till
the Southrons had given us dozens, if not hundreds of lickings on many a
hard fought field, and the winter of 1862 saw the entire nation in a
fearful state of depression. What was to be done?—The answer was at
hand!—As a matter of immediate military necessity call the colored men
into the field,—free them,—and end the war! Then drilling of colored men
began at once, from the Atlantic to the Rocky Mountains, and from the
Great Lakes to the Ohio and Missouri rivers, and now I believe that we
have some two hundred thousand colored men in the field and in the
fleets together. Neither have we fought for pay nor from any other
personal selfish motive; we have fought for the salvation of Uncle Sam
and the freedom of the slave at one and the same time. We have not
fought for ourselves alone, we have fought for others, and all the
commanding generals have ever given us a good word, and never a bad one.
They have uniformly praised our men with a good grace, and praised them
without stint. Now the south is steadily going down, down, down. All
they have left is a small section in the northeastern part of the
confederacy, and they cannot hold out much longer. Still like rats, they
will fight as long as there is one man left standing on his feet. I am
afraid we shall have to kill every one of them for they are a
stiff-necked and rebellious generation, and they will never surrender
whilst they have a man in front who can carry a flag.

"’I ought to be in Virginia now myself, where so many of my friends and
compatriots, under Grant, are wearing out the rebellion to a nonentity.
I would like to be there, and would soon show the rebels and rebel
sympathizers again whether I will fight or not. But I am not entirely
recovered, even now, from the wounds I received up the river, and here I
will remain until I am cured.’

"Captain Lincoln having thus spoken resumed his seat amidst a perfect
storm of applause all over the hall.

"The gallant chairman once more arose and said, ’Ladies and Gentlemen.
It is now my extreme pleasure to bring under your kind notice the two
accomplished young daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Lincoln, two of the
sweetest girls that I ever met with in all my life. They are regular
attendants of a Christian Church at Buffalo, and have also received a
first class musical education in the north. They will now treat us all
to a fine duet on the grand piano.’

"When the commanding general had thus spoken, these two elegant girls
advanced to the piano, took their seats, and commenced a duet which gave
a world of pleasure to all assembled in the hall, both soldiers and
citizens alike, and where and how these girls had got so much training
and perfected musical education was a wonder to many. Be that as it may,
the girls were not at all daunted, and played as quietly and collected
as if they had been in a private parlor at home. When the girls had got
through their lively and enthusiastic duet, the applause that followed
was so great and continued that they were obliged to comply with the
demand for an encore, which they accordingly gave, and which was, if
possible, better than the one before it, and was rewarded with another
tremendous round of applause.

"The chairman arose again and said, ’Ladies and Gentlemen, we have all
listened with extreme pleasure to the two duets played by these two
children. We will now call upon Mrs. Thos. Lincoln to address the house.
She did splendid service during the Abolition Campaign that led on to
the election of Abraham Lincoln; and thousands, who are now free, have
already risen up and called her blessed. But we will now have the
pleasure of hearing the lady herself.’

"Mrs. Lincoln on coming forward was met with a splendid reception from
the audience, who even rose to their feet and cheered loudly. It was a
glorious sight to see the meeting at this time, the handsome lady
waiting on the stage, and soldiers and citizens like to go frantic with
joy, as well indeed they might. When order had been evolved out of
chaos, Mrs. Lincoln proceeded as follows:

"’Gallant General, Ladies and Gentlemen, it seems to me that this must
be the happiest day of my life, thus to stand before an audience in the
famous Crescent City in company with my dear husband and daughters. Most
assuredly this is the red letter day of my life, if I ever had one, to
address both soldiers and citizens at New Orleans.

"’And yet I am quite overwhelmed when I contrast the little I was
permitted to do in the Abolition Campaign before the war with what many
a brave man,—yes, hundreds of thousands of men have done since, and are
doing now, both by day and by night. I feel quite overcome when I think
even of these brave men all around me here, and remember the easy times
by comparison, that we Abolitionists had as we travelled the Northern
States, and were not always well received. Yes, small and puny was our
work compared with that of the black and white heroes who have often met
a most determined and even desperate foe, on many a hard fought field.
The hearts of us poor women in the North have often bled as we all these
years at home lay secure and safe, whilst our loved ones were fighting
like giants against the enemies of human liberty, and mankind also. The
bravest of the brave were in the field. White and black all fought alike
well. They were the flower of all the men of the north. They were
swifter than eagles. They were stronger than lions.

"’The war, no doubt, is now drawing to a close. The host of slavery is
in their last ditch, even at Richmond in Virginia, where blacks and
whites will have to finish them between them. And when this cruel war is
all over, and those who remain alive return home again, then the country
will begin to teem with chronicles and histories of the great rebellion.
But will one hundredth part of the truth ever be told? I don’t think it
ever will; because it will never be known, and who can write the history
of that which we don’t know? Such and such things could be related, but
there is no one to record them.

"’It is very true that we may catch a glimpse of things here and there,
but for one item that is recorded, there will be a thousand lost. There
are the marches, and the counter-marches, the snow, the rain, and the
hail of winter; the heats and droughts of summer; weakness and sickness
arising from the want of all things, hunger and fatigue. O, there is
none but the Lord from heaven Himself who can ever know all that our
brave fellows have endured before they breathed their precious lives
away in the service of their country. Just consider for a moment how
their decaying bodies have been found weeks and months afterwards in the
deep ravines, at the bottom of swamps and rivers, in the wild tangled
thickets of the forest, upon every highway, and under every green tree.
Here a poor wounded fellow wandering away by himself and perishing all
alone in a strange land far from home and his native state, who knows
all about the end of that man; and who shall write his heroism and the
suffering he endured before the Lord put an end to his pains, and took
him home to heaven to Himself? Alas, alas! There is no one to tell us
how he suffered, fought and died. We only know that he marched forth to
the field, in health and strength and vigorous life, and did his part in
pulling down this terrible rebellion, a wicked rebellion indeed, built
upon the broken laws of human nature, an outrage upon humanity, and a
sin against God. But those gallant heroes who have fallen in the war
often said, that it was simply their part to do their duty, and, if they
fell, their wives and children would at least be free, and not forgotten
by a grateful and Christian government. (They shall not be forgotten).
When I look around me, and see the great advance along the whole line
already in the way of human liberty, the results are perfectly grand and
most inspiring. With the exception of a small section of the
Confederacy, it may be truthfully stated that the armies of the Union
have already freed all the slaves. From the Potomac to the Rio Grande
one grand song of liberty has been sung by the emancipated race. Was
there ever such a shout of joy heard since the Israelites escaped from
Egyptian slavery, when Pharaoh and all his host perished in the Red Sea?
Who would ever have imagined that in our own day history would thus have
repeated itself? But it has done so all the same; and for the self-same
reason our own poor, oppressed people have raised one universal shout to
Heaven, and sung all along the whole line, ’I will sing unto the Lord,
for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown
into the sea.’ O, my brother! ye brave soldiers of the army of the
Union, ye have deserved well of your God and of your country, and your
honors will never fade while sun and moon endure. White and black
soldiers, shoulder to shoulder, have marched to the field; they have
overthrown their terrible foe, and they have cleared the way for the
education, the Christianization, and grand enlightenment and
intelligence of an emancipated race. Our sufferings have been great. The
whole nation has suffered, but the sacrifice has not been made in vain,
for generations unborn shall arise and call you blessed. Your labors,
toils and sufferings will neither be lost nor forgotten. The entire
emancipated race will bless you while life and time shall last; your
names shall be inscribed upon the roll of fame, and all generations
shall conspire to call you blessed. ’Be thou faithful unto death, and
_I_ will give you a crown of life.’ ’Enter ye into the joy of your

"’Mr. Chairman, Ladies and Gentlemen, I thank you very much indeed for
your kind attention to my few remarks.’

"When Mrs. Lincoln had thus spoken, she resumed her seat amidst a loud
and long-continued storm of applause. The gallant chairman then called
for ’three cheers and a tiger,’ for the Lincoln family, which were given
with a terrible vim, when the meeting broke up, and we all scattered for
our separate homes. But a grander demonstration was never gotten up in
the city of New Orleans."

The last grand struggle of war was in Virginia, where General Grant
gathered together many of the veterans who had fought in the South and
Southwest, including 20,000 colored troops, one-half, at least, of whom
were veterans, and there were also many powerful, enthusiastic recruits
who desired nothing better than an opportunity to assist in knocking
down the Confederacy! A goodly number of those brave young fellows had
been enlisted in Maryland. It is quite amusing to recall the letters and
chronicles of the times when the recruiting officers landed from their
vessels on the shores of the Chesapeake, marched up to the
slave-holder’s estates, called for all the male slaves to be brought
before them, when they picked out the strongest and the best, asked them
if they were willing to fight for freedom and the Union, and always
receiving the joyful answer, "Yes, master, I am willing," laid down
their tools there and then, and marched on board the Union vessels with
great delight. It was in vain that their rebel masters and mistresses
pointed out their need of their slaves, to gather in their harvest,
which was then about ripe (1863), or that the officers took their
able-bodied "servants," who left their teams right there on the
highways, the heads of the horses being turned round in the direction of
the plantation. The rebel masters and mistresses were simply referred to
Washington for redress—if any could be got there! "You must apply to the
Secretary of War; we are merely acting under orders from the head of the
department." In the meantime the delighted slaves marched on board, and
were taken to the camp appointed for drilling, and thus many a splendid
soldier was recruited who mightily helped to pull down the "Confederate


The children and I spent a delightful time, as I remember well, on the
26th of April, 1864, reading the glorious accounts in the papers of the
grand march, the day before, past the White House at Washington, of the
mighty army destined for the conquest of Virginia, and the destruction
of the entire slave-holders’ rebellion. That never-to-be-forgotten
show-day was indeed one of the red-letter days for the army of the
Union, among whom were thousands of colored soldiers who marched gaily
past, and hurrahed lustily for "Father Abraham," who was smiling down
upon them from the balcony of the White House. Although they were not
yet declared American citizens, still these brave young men were going
to fight for the star-spangled banner. They had often heard the name of
Abraham Lincoln, but this was the first time they ever saw him, and they
swung their caps around their heads, clapped their hands, and shouted
aloud for joy, "Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah for Mr. Lincoln! Three cheers for
the President!" Long and loud were the rejoicings, as regiment after
regiment marched past; powerful, enthusiastic men, who were once slaves,
but now freemen, with steady step and even ranks moved in splendid order
down the street past the White House on their venturesome way to the
seat of war. The President had never seen a general review of colored
troops before, but he was greatly pleased, indeed, and heartily
acknowledged their enthusiastic shouts by bowing and waving his hand to
them, and making himself agreeable and pleasant to them, as they marched

Thus the whole army under review passed on, crossed "yon long bridge"
over the Potomac river, and entered the State of Virginia. Poor, brave
fellows! Many of them never returned alive, but they were the bravest of
the brave, and performed their glorious mission.

The grand march was past at Washington. It was like the ball and dance
before the battle of Waterloo, when the British and allied armies had
that glorious night’s revelry before they marched to the field to meet
the French under Napoleon. And so some 20,000 men of African descent met
on the soil of Virginia to contend with Lee and his Confederate
veterans. It would require a whole volume to itself to relate all the
marching and counter-marching of the next twelve months; the battles in
the woods, the advancing and retreating, and the fighting at the fords
of the rivers of Virginia. General Grant, poor fellow, lost many brave
men, for the rebels were bold and courageous; they were on their own
soil, and, worst of all, were fighting for slavery. The evolutions of
the contending hosts these last twelve months of the war, remind me
somewhat of a great "circus," where the horse and their riders fly along
in one unending whirl, whilst Grant seemed to stand in the middle of the
circus, and direct the evolutions of both riders and steeds. The colored
troops came in for their full share of the work, bravely performed their
duties every time, but, alas! there was many a brave man who was laid
under the sod! Yes, it would take a whole volume to recount all the
deeds that our brave brothers did, marching and fighting month in and
month out, in summer’s heat and winter’s cold. It was in the end of
September, 1864, that General Butler, at the head of a strong force of
colored troops, carried the New Market Heights, and utterly defeated the
rebels. Our loss was considerable, but our own men were completely
successful. Many other instances of devotion and bravery might be given;
but it would be nothing but an endless task. General Grant and all the
other commanders had nothing but good words for our heroic brothers.

It was now the beginning of April, 1865. The bottom had almost been
knocked out of the Confederacy by Sherman’s march from Atlanta to the
sea. General Lee and his determined rebel crew still held out at
Richmond, but Grant and the Union armies were thinning them down and
wearing them out. Then came the fall of Petersburg, the key to Richmond,
and then followed the retreat of the rebels from Richmond itself. The
intention of Lee and the rest of the Confederates was to betake
themselves to the mountains, and there carry on a guerrilla warfare as
long as they had a man left to carry the rebel flag and shoot a gun. But
this was not allowed. Swift-footed white and black troops followed them
up with unrelenting vigor day and night; with horsemen and footmen we
hurried after them, and at last got right in front of them, and
outflanked them also at Appomattox Court House. The Confederates had
been without food for three days and nights, and all things were coming
to an end. Lee soon discovered that he could not break through the Union
forces, under Grant, Meade and Sheridan. At one and the same time, he
therefore dispatched fleet couriers to each one of the three Union
generals to cease fighting, and stating that he would surrender himself
and his army prisoners of war. Generals Grant and Lee accordingly met,
when the surrender was made; and when the rebel forces in other parts of
the South heard of the surrender of Lee at Appomattox Court House, they
also laid down their arms. Thus the South was conquered, and slavery was
destroyed. The shackles were knocked off 4,000,000 of our own beloved
race, the Union was restored, and, as Lincoln said, "The Mississippi,
Father of Waters, flowed once more unvexed to the sea!" Glory to God!

I shall never forget the excitement when the news arrived at New Orleans
that Lee had surrendered. Among the rebel sympathizers it was a time of
great depression, indeed; but among all Union people, and the entire
colored race, most of all, it was truly a time of such rejoicing as only
occurs once in a lifetime. People embraced and even kissed one another
who had never met before; they shed tears of joy, sang, shouted, and
gave glory to God. It was a perfect carnival both day and night. To the
colored race, at least, it brought the deepest and most sincere joy, and
all felt that the war had not been waged in vain, nor so many valuable
lives sacrificed for nothing. In many parts of the Union the people met
together in halls and churches for the purpose of giving praise and
glory to God; and there was general rejoicing over the triumph of the
armies of the Union. Thousands—I might say millions—never went to bed.
That night was like the night when the Israelites came out of Egypt. It
was the passage of the Red Sea over again. "Sing unto the Lord, for He
hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath He thrown into
the Sea! Praise ye the Lord!"

The war also vindicated and proved the complete manhood of the colored
race before the entire world. At least 200,000 of the flower of our
youth had fought most manfully to save the very life of the nation; in
fact, the late slave had earned his own freedom, and therefore had at
least as much reason to thank his own powerful right arm as to Uncle Sam
himself and the armies of the Union.

It now gives me great pleasure to inform the kind reader that Tom was
now completely recovered from the effects of the wounds he had received
up the river. It was now the month of June, 1865, and we were all
longing to see our dear friends at Buffalo, and they also were anxious
to see us. As Tom and the girls had never seen the Gulf of Mexico, nor
the Atlantic Ocean, we thought it would afford us a pleasant variety in
the line of travel to return home by Havana and New York City. So we all
took a tender leave of our dear friends at the hospital, and throughout
the city, many of whom came down to the New York boat to give us the
last sweet tokens of affection and see us off. As upon the former
occasion, when Mrs. Sutherland and I came this way, we had splendid
weather all the way to Havana, where we all landed and had a pleasant
walk through the city of the capital of Cuba. It is wonderful what a
good idea a person can get of a strange place, even in a few hours.

We got up steam once more, passed through among the Bahama Islands, and
made a call for a few hours at the beautiful little city of Nassau, on
the Island of New Providence. This belongs to the English, and is the
most spicy and perfect place in all the West India Islands. Got up steam
again, and passed Cape Hatteras in safety, and in due time landed at New
York, after which we took the train for Buffalo, where we arrived after
a long and weary ride on the cars; and Mr. and Mrs. John B. Sutherland
and several other dear friends gave us a very warm welcome when they met
us at the depot, and took us all to our own home.


_Receptions at Buffalo—The Lincoln’s and Sutherland’s Visit to
Canada—Their Grand Reception There—Our Sacrifices for the Union and
Freedom—The Difficulties of Reconstruction—Good Work of the Freedman’s
Bureau—Universal Rejoicing of all the Redeemed Race—The Colored People
Settling Down to Hard Work throughout the South._

The long and terrible Civil War was all over at last, and by the grace
of God we had got our Tom home to Buffalo once more, all safe and sound.
Our sea voyage from New Orleans to New York did us all an immense lot of
good, and seemed to brighten us all up in a wonderful degree. It was at
least a grand event in the lives of the girls, and is not forgotten even

By way of returning thanks and giving glory to God for the victorious
end of the war, a regular reception was given to us one night at the A.
M. E. Church on Vine street, when every member was present, and there
was such a time of rejoicing and general jollification as I thought had
never been exceeded since the world began. We were also called upon for
short speeches; hymns of praise and triumph were sung, and, indeed,
there was a high time generally. "O give thanks unto the Lord, for He is
good, for His mercy endureth forever!"

For the space of a whole month thereafter we just spent the whole time
receiving friends at our house, and entertaining them, and going out and
being entertained by them in turn. It was just one round of the purest
pleasure, in which there was neither danger nor alloy. Tom had to do an
infinite deal of talking, relating his wars and battles in the Sunny
South, and the girls and I supplemented the same by giving our
experiences of the Rivers Ohio and Mississippi, and the grand sea voyage
all the way from New Orleans to New York. People were greatly taken with
the two girls, as they were just as bright as two buttons.

After all this turmoil was over, we all sighed for some fresh air in the
country, and new scenes altogether. The glorious Gibsons of Canada had
been writing incessantly ever since we spent that never-to-be-forgotten
month at Richmond Hill, and had most urgently insisted upon us three
coming back the second time after Tom’s return to Buffalo—and for us to
bring Tom along with us. And Tom himself was not only willing but he was
most anxious to go, for the tongues of our children had been going
ding-dong hammer and tongs, about the glories of Richmond Hill and
Western Canada. And when it was at last decided that we would take the
road, and the day of our departure from Buffalo had been set, nothing
would satisfy our anxious children but that they should write a conjoint
letter to the Gibsons about our coming to Canada. And this they did in
their own way, and with such an incredible amount of enthusiasm that the
good Gibsons have been laughing over it ever since.

So we got already for our journey in the beginning of August, 1865, and
when we were about to start for the railway station, what was our
surprise when Mr. and Mrs. Sutherland, in travelling costume, marched
back into the parlor, and said that they also were bound along with us
to Richmond Hill and the Canadas! We were as much knocked down by this
piece of information as if we had been prostrated on the battle-field by
a discharge of grapeshot. We four all gave a loud shout for joy, made a
general rush for them, and such a scene of embracing, kissing and
congratulation followed as certainly can never be described by the pen.
This unexpected turn of affairs put new courage into us all, and served
its purpose as well as a tremendous victory over the enemy. The girls
shouted, "Come on, father! Come on, mother! Grandpa, come on! Come on,
grandma! There’s a good time coming, and no mistake this time." The
children set us all laughing. But business is business, and so we got
our trunks into a conveyance, and all the presents intended for the good
folk at Richmond Hill, and the conveyance rolled on to the railroad
station, while we six happy travelers proceeded after it on foot.

[Illustration: _HAULING COTTON TO THE GIN._]

We all reached the station in due time, and being in a very hilarious
mood, the weather being so fine, and with such pleasing prospects before
us, we were taken for a wedding party, and no wonder! We got into the
train, and soon was off for Canada. Having at length crossed over the
Niagara river, we were fairly launched upon Canadian soil. All hearts
were light, all eyes were bright, and nature’s face was fair and gay.
Our ride from the river to the railway station at Ingersoll was indeed
perfectly delightful, and we had nothing to do by the way but sit back
in our seats and admire the beautiful and well-cultivated country. As
the girls and I had been here two years ago, it was not such a wonder to
us, but the beautiful hills and dales of this land of refuge, to our
oppressed people in days gone by, were a perfect inspiration, a wonder
and a delight to the rest. In due course of time we arrived at the
station at Ingersoll, where we were met by a conveyance from Richmond
Hill; but as there were six of us in all, more than they, or even than
some of our ownselves, had expected, we could not all get in, and Tom
got another conveyance and divided the company in two. When we had
almost completed our journey, the Gibsons at Richmond Hill saw us coming
over the top of the last hill, as we issued out among the trees, upon
which the entire family, dogs, cats and all, were seen leaving the
house, and going down the field for the purpose of meeting our cavalcade
at the gate that opened into the high-road. We cautiously descended the
last hill, moved down the road that leads to the Cedar Swamp, and met
these good Gibsons at the gate. I have said hundreds of times since that
the warm welcome they gave us put me in mind of heaven, and it seemed to
me at the time worth going all the way to Richmond Hill to receive!

We all steered up the field road on foot, and when we came to Richmond
Hill, and looked around us upon the country far and wide, we were all
perfectly enchanted with the view, and one and all of us exclaimed,
"What a beautiful land! Fair as the Garden of Eden before the Lord!
Beautiful as Tirzah!" Then we all went into the house, where we disposed
of our trunks, and all the rest of our things, after which we sat down
and talked, and felt thoroughly at home. Indeed, there was a home
feeling about the place that was irresistible. With true Canadian
kindness refreshments were immediately placed before the young man who
drove the hired conveyance, and after he had helped himself to his
heart’s content, he took his departure for Ingersoll, where I doubt not
he arrived safely in a short time.

A good supply of bread and cheese and milk were set upon the table, and
each of us took a snack only, because the afternoon was now wearing on
apace, and supper would be ready in a couple of hours. In the meantime,
we all put on our hats and bonnets, and accompanied by several members
of the family, we took a walk up to the top of the range of hills that
ran away above the house, from whence we could see the sloping lands and
dales that lay away beyond them; and, indeed, we had a most complete
view of the whole country as far as the eye could reach. There was
something perfectly sublime in the scenery that lay all around us, far
and wide. How we did admire the fair-faced forest land, where the
streams rolled away for Lake Erie, winding round, and round, and round;
and the forests grew on both sides all down their banks, and the rest of
the country was under a course of careful, splendid cultivation.

We were so much taken with the glorious views of fair and fertile Canada
that we felt in no hurry to return, but sat down on the hill-top, like a
lot of birds of passage resting after a long flight, and inhaled the
very inspiration of the joyous scene. But at last time was called for,
and we all steered back to the house, where we found Doctor and Mrs.
McKenzie, of the Presbyterian Church, to which the Gibsons go, in the
little country town three miles off. The McKenzies live in a beautiful
mansion among the trees on the hill-top opposite Richmond Hill. (We left
the mansion on our right hand before we descended the last hill). They
had heard that we six had come, and in our absence had arrived to pay us
a visit. Dr. McKenzie and wife are excellent company; they are highly
intelligent, and come from the highlands of Scotland. We had attended
his church in the town upon our last visit in the autumn of 1863.

Supper was now ready, and we all sat down around the jovial board, which
was fairly groaning under an enormous weight of good things. Dr.
McKenzie said grace; Mary and Margaret Gibson acted as waiters, and we
had one of the best suppers that were ever served up even in hospitable
Canada. After that we resolved ourselves into a sort of open parliament,
and the night drove on with fun and conversation. One after another of
the neighbors continued to arrive, and the enthusiasm of the night went
on, grew and still increased. The piano was also brought into full play,
and the girls and some of the rest of us played and sang, and a better
time had never been heard along the sides of those peaceful and lovely
hills. I am sure it was for all a time of extraordinary enjoyment.

During a lull in the proceedings of the night, Dr. McKenzie stated that
it would be a great gratification to himself and wife, and to all their
friends over these hills if a night’s entertainment were given in the
hall at the post-town, three miles off; and we could order the
proceedings of the night in any varied way that we pleased. We informed
the learned doctor that we would leave the matter entirely in his own
hands, and whenever he called us up we would answer to the summons, and
do our very best to please every man, woman or child who favored us with
their presence.

In due course the grand entertainment came off, and what with songs,
music and speeches it was declared to be one of the very best and most
enthusiastic gatherings in all the chronicles of Canada.

We spent one whole month at Richmond Hill, the month of August, 1865. We
walked the hills and dales, far and near, as on the occasion of our
former visit we spent many a pleasant day at the homes of the dear
Canadians, who never knew how to be kind enough, and a great many came
even a long way to see us. We walked along the hill-tops, and sat down
besides the purling streams in the forests, and read under the shade of
the tall trees. Once more the two girls overhauled that grand edition of
the "Pilgrim’s Progress," and Tom was also taken immensely with the

But all things come to an end. We had a most glorious time among these
good Canadians; we all felt greatly benefited by our visit to Richmond
Hill, and Tom declared that he felt at least as well as he did before he
went away to the war. So we gave the Gibsons a general invitation to
come and visit us at our home in Buffalo whenever they got ready to do
so. We took a fond leave of them at Richmond Hill, and some of them
accompanied us to the railway station at Ingersoll, where we took the 10
o’clock train for Buffalo, and arrived there safe and sound the same

The condition of the South after the rebel armies surrendered reminds me
of the havoc wrought when a forest of great tall trees is swept down by
a strong and mighty wind, and all the forest monarchs are flat on the
ground. Their mighty roots are exposed to the gaze of every passer-by;
an enormous quantity of earth is torn up by the terrible wrench that has
taken place; and the great branches are broken and jumbled together with
the great crash of the now prostrate and ruined forest. Such was the
state of the South after Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court House, in
Virginia. He had, indeed, no great army to surrender, and what little
armies remained to the rebellion elsewhere were but of small account,
and promptly laid down their arms at last.

Whilst the South fought with a valor that was worthy of a better cause,
and her slave-holders and followers actually laid down their lives in
thousands and ten thousands for their darling "independence" and
slavery, I am never able to think without regret of the dreadful
sacrifice of human lives and treasure that we of the North were forced
to make to restore the Union to its former state, and to secure the
freedom of the last slave in all the land. Never since this world began
did a defiant, haughty and valiant race of rebels so long and so
successfully resist—I might almost say the wealth, the resources, and
the physical strength of half the world. It was the "strong man armed,"
and in his own house, fighting there with all his might and main. And
how did we knock down the house and kill him? Alas, alas! we had to
sacrifice whole legions of our well-beloved, both white and black, that
the Union and liberty might be where they are at the present day.

I have just above compared the condition of the South at the close of
the war to that of a forest of mighty trees, all suddenly dashed to the
earth by the force of overwhelming and irresistible winds—even the
terrible winds that are swept upon the land from the wild and stormy
ocean that breaks upon our shores. The question next was how were we to
clear this forest land; remove all the trees with their great upturned
roots; fill up the great cavities—in a word, "clear the land," and worst
of all, restore the forest? What Abraham Lincoln might have done if he
had lived—he and his cabinet between them—I am unable to say. A great
many people are of the opinion that had Lincoln lived things would have
gone ten times better with Reconstruction than they did. That may have
been so, but the wish was father to the thought, and it has always been
my opinion that there would have been a bad time of it for years and
years to come, as there was without the great war President. Poor
fellow! Because ever during his lifetime, and when the war was going on,
there were many times when Lincoln himself confessed that he was almost
at his wit’s end, and did not know what to do for the best. With the
Southerners going home, sullen, angry and defeated, and four millions of
slaves redeemed from the curse of the "peculiar institution," for the
very life of me I am unable to see that any one with much less wisdom
than that which is divine, could ever had at once brought order out of
chaos in a day, or even in a year. Even with the assistance of 10,000
giants, it must have taken time to clear away that fallen forest, fill
up the awful gaps, and put a new forest in the place of the one that had
been knocked down!

In order to make a beginning at Reconstruction it was decided to place
the late rebellious States under military governors, who acted in
concert with the Bureau for Freedmen, Refugees and Abandoned Lands. This
"Freedman’s Bureau," as it was briefly called, was wisely established in
the spring of 1865 for the purpose of assisting in every possible way
those 4,000,000 of the African race whom the war had made free and
turned loose on the country. Of course they must not be permitted to
starve, and the Government at Washington wisely established the bureau
to assist them in tiding over the crisis. Richmond and the Confederacy
had not fallen yet, but the grand crash was at hand, and all things were
in readiness for the mighty changes that were at the door of the nation.

But the freedmen were not the only people who had to be provided for.
There was a host of white people—all sorts of refugees—who had also been
rendered homeless and entirely destitute, who were in precisely the same
condition as the recent slaves of African descent. These had to be
looked after the same as the rest of the people, and all had to be
clothed and fed, and encouraged to go to work at once, besides sending
their children to public schools that were to be established all over
the States lately in rebellion. Besides all these, courts of law were
set a-going to try ordinary cases throughout the new military districts
everywhere. And for the purpose of farming, it was decided to take the
lands that had been abandoned by the rebels during the war, or
confiscated by the government, and portion out the same to freedman and
refugees, not giving more than forty acres to each, and that upon the
easiest terms, for the space of three years, with the right of purchase
afterwards, if the tenants wished to buy, when the easiest terms again
would be granted. But right here I have something of a most unusual
pleasant nature to relate. My indulgent reader, my book would come far
short of the mark without it!

The war that had lasted about four years and a half was now all over and
gone. The last rebel had been forced to lay down his arms, and slavery,
that had existed under the most aggravated form for about two hundred
and fifty years, had been swept from the land, and there remained not
the shadow of a doubt that every colored man, woman and child were
entirely free. Then, like the Jews of old, after the drowning of Pharaoh
and his rebel army in the Red sea, there arose a loud and long-continued
song of joy from the hearts of all the 4,000,000 of freed people all
over Secessia—from Mason and Dixon’s line to the Rio Grande river; and
from the wild Atlantic waves to the State of Missouri in the far west.
For some time after the close of the war, throughout the entire South,
the entire colored race could think of little else but rejoicing,
singing and dancing for joy. And I would think it a very strange thing
if the redeemed race had not so abandoned themselves to such joy and
rejoicing for a time at least. It was the natural song of the captive,
suddenly and unexpectedly released from his prison. Joy, joy, joy! Oh,
nothing but joy! "I will sing unto the Lord, for He hath triumphed
gloriously; the horse and his rider hath He thrown into the sea." For
two hundred and fifty years the poor, dear, oppressed people of God had
been under the lash of the task-master; but now they were free as the
masters themselves! This was right, perfectly right, and accounts for
all their joy, their songs and rejoicing all over the lately
far-extended battle-field. "Oh, praise ye the Lord, for He is good: for
His mercy endureth forever!"

When Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, Andrew Johnson, of Tennessee, who
had been elected vice-president, became in turn the President of the
United States. This man had been brought up in the South, and when
Reconstruction came, all his Southern sympathies floated up to the
surface. He entered into a direct quarrel with the houses of Congress,
and vetoed almost every bill that ever came before him. But in all such
cases, Congress passed his vetoes over his head, and they were of no
effect. At last he was impeached and tried for his cross-grained,
contrary measures, but escaped conviction by the smallest majority. But
all the same he was one of the most destructive rebels that we had.

In the meantime Reconstruction went on in the late rebellious States in
the best way that Congress knew how to do it, which was not much at the
best. A race of men swept down from the North with their carpet-bags in
their hands in search of fortune, who were nick-named carpet-baggers;
then there were the middle class whites of the South, who were
nick-named the scalawags, who assisted the carpet-baggers in ruling the
South, all of whom, however, were under the eyes of the military
generals, each of whom was placed in command of one of the States, and
these generals in turn worked hand in hand along with an assistant
commissioner of the Freedman’s Bureau, Major-General O. O. Howard, at
Washington, being the chief commissioner, and one of the best men that
ever lived.

Immediately after the close of the war, many of the more pronounced
rebels retired abroad, where they found employment in foreign armies, or
more peaceful occupations. They had no heart for any further rule under
the flag of Uncle Sam, which now, indeed, floated freely over all races
of people from the Lakes to the Gulf. For such arch-rebels the Sunny
South was a home no more. But many of the late rebel leaders preferred
to stay at home and take their chance, hoping for mercy and pardon from
the Northern government, which they had so terribly outraged. As a
general thing they were cross-vexed and sullen, and had no heart
whatever for the reconstruction of the Southern states, which was
entirely conducted by legislatures, composed of loyal Southerners and
colored men, all of whom were duly elected. These colored men were in
all the lower houses of legislature, while in some of the States they
were also in the Senate, and in a few of the States they filled the
office of deputy-governor. The heads and leaders of the late rebellion
showed no disposition to lend a hand; they allowed the military and
civil administrators to take their own way, assisted as the latter were
by the colored senators and representatives in the State legislature,
carpet-baggers and scalawags.

Whilst no doubt all of the above were doing the best they knew how, the
entire race of 4,000,000 of freedmen had recovered from their dance of
new and glorious liberty; had opened their eyes to the stern realities
of the changed situation, and settled down to steady work all over the
land. Many of them crowded into the towns, cities and villages, while a
host of others went to work over all the plantations and farms—some
working on shares with their former masters, whilst others farmed their
own lands, and did wonderfully. Many a brave old "prophecy" had been
uttered that the descendants of Africans were unfit for the pursuits of
freedom, and that the whole freed race would fall to pieces like a ship
on the sands; but the race went steadily to work, and with some aid from
the Freedman’s Bureau, they prospered from the very beginning. In short,
the people now fairly began to see the beauties of personal liberty, and
they had a mind to work. The American Government, however, never did a
better thing than to establish that bureau, without the aid of which
entire legions of colored and white people must inevitably have

All things, however, did not work satisfactorily, and under the crooked
circumstances perhaps that was more than was to be expected. Throughout
the entire South the system of working on shares was not in favor of the
redeemed race in many cases. The white man had got a notion in his head
that he had been cheated out of his rights, and that somehow or other,
the former slave still of right belonged to him. Some of them therefore
thought themselves privileged in beating the freedman out of the fruits
of their toil in every possible way. If such white men were thus
aggrieved over the new order of things, their wives were worse, and
could find no one to comfort them! The slave was now, at least, as free
as themselves, and there was no power in the land to force him back to
his former condition. So they took their spite out of him by cheating
him on the division of the crops, and he was obliged either to stay on
the lands and be imposed upon, or leave at a loss. The public papers
were full of the freedman’s complaints at the time. One way of
defrauding him who did all the hard work was to open a general store for
the sale of all kinds of groceries and other needful things. The
accounts were cooked and managed in a way to suit the bosses, and almost
everything was charged for far above the general prices of the country.
Thus, when the day of settlement came, the laborer usually found himself
from $50 to $200 in debt, owing to the system of thieving practiced on
him by his betrayer. The Southern people generally were sullen, and
almost inconsolable under the new order of things, and they refused to
be comforted for a long time. Indeed, some of them are not comforted
yet, and never will be. Andrew Johnson, the President, did much harm in
contending for the rebels in every way in his power. In fact, he went
right over to them, and even obstructed Reconstruction itself in every
way that he could.

This sullenness on the part of the Southerners at last found vent in the
organization of a secret and murderous conspiracy called the
Ku-Klux-Klan—whoever was guilty of inventing such an ugly name! This
Ku-Klux-Klan reached for their shot-guns, and went forth by night, and
shot down the carpet-baggers and their like, like crows. This was soon
after the first election of President Grant, an election, by the by, in
which the rebels took no part, but they now determined to spoil that
which they were unwilling to mend. These wicked Ku-Klux sought to
obstruct the courts of justice, harass and trouble the colored people in
every possible way, and cripple the local governments. The terror that
spread all over the South at the time was perfectly dreadful. People
were shot down everywhere, colored churches and school-houses were
burned to the ground in the night, and the work of revenge and
destruction went on night and day. It seemed as if the late rebel
soldiers, who had been beaten in the field by the North, were once more
trying to raise a rebellion in a new form. The writ of habeas corpus was
suspended for a time, and Uncle Sam put his heavy foot down upon the
whole matter. The powers of the day went forth; arrests were made; the
trials and convictions of many of those bad men were secured, and some
of the penitentiaries were filled with the enemies of law and order.
Then for a time, at least, followed a pause in the obstructing work of
the reconstruction of the late rebellious States, and the governments by
colored legislators, scalawags and carpet-baggers went on as before. How
much better it would have been if all parties, both white and black, had
been harmonious and agreeable after Lee surrendered at Appomattox Court
House! But instead of that the defeated rebel went home, nursed his
wrath to keep it warm. Robbing and stealing from the injured freedmen
followed, and then he went out working mischief after dark with the aid
of his shot-gun.


_Reconstruction in the South—Great Progress in Education—The Fifteenth
Amendment—Message of President Grant—Certificate of Mr. Secretary Fish
Regarding the Same—Great Joy Over Amendment—It Goes to Work._

General Grant had been elected President of the United States in 1868
for his first term of office. In 1872 he carried the Southern States
once more. He met with but little opposition in the South. Colored
lieutenant-governors were elected in Louisiana, Mississippi and South
Carolina, in which three States the colored population is far greater
than the white. The States of Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Louisiana,
Mississippi and South Carolina had colored men in their Houses of
Representatives, and Mississippi had them also in her Senate House. Many
of the most important offices in the Southern States were held by men of
color. But by the year 1875 the white leaders in the Republican party
had become intimidated by the Ku-Klux-Klan, and were quite driven out or
destroyed by that deadly shot-gun. Thus the colored men in the
legislatures were abandoned to their fate, and the presence of the
United States Army became necessary to support them at elections, whilst
they held office, and carried on the State governments. The whole South
was in a bad way, and things had gone on from bad to worse. The sullen
and stubborn leaders of the late rebellion had refused to lend a hand in
building up the State governments once more, which they had torn down,
and the Northern government of the whole nation had committed the
reconstruction of the late rebel States to hands as yet far too feeble
at such a time, and that was, namely, to colored men, many of whom had
little experience before with carpet-baggers and scalawags. At the same
time there did not seem to be any others who could be trusted by the
national government to carry on the business of the Southern States.
Even colored men, carpet-baggers and scalawags were either heartily or
formally Republicans, and could be trusted by the Washington authorities
in acting loyally and faithfully in the discharge of their duties at
least. I am unable to see how the Washington government can be much
blamed for committing the care of the Southern States to hands so
feeble, so long as there did not seem to be anybody else to rule, and
the late rebels themselves were still in too sullen a mood to lend a
hand in the governments.


But during all these unhappy years that followed the close of the war
there was one thing that did not miscarry, and that was the great march
of the emancipated slaves on the road to progress, and everything that
tends to elevate and ennoble a nation. The fostering national
government, the churches of the North, and all that which was best in
this great republic, were straining themselves to the very utmost to
lift up the entire redeemed race by affording them the best education
that they could possibly bestow. Teachers still flocked down from the
North in great numbers, all kinds of schools were opened, and institutes
and colleges were set on float for the benefit of the boys and girls,
and young men and young women, who wished to attend them. There was no
branch of education that was not supplied to the white race that was not
also supplied to the colored. And not only did children and youths
attend those schools, but even men and women; parents and grandparents
in thousands took up their spelling-books and first readers, and went to
work with a hearty good will, and learned to read, write and spell with
great rapidity. The progress that the emancipated race made in the line
of education was perfectly marvelous, and astonished the whole nation.
Even old preachers, who had been preaching the gospel for fifty years,
went to work and learned how to read the Bible; they learned how to
write letters and work arithmetic for the first time in their lives. It
had been charged often enough that the colored race were unfitted by
nature to learn this, that and other things. The studied policy of the
slave-holders was, not to give them a chance, and then to tell a willful
falsehood. But now that all were free, they rushed in at once, and
showed the whole world that they were as capable of learning as any
other race under the sun. Nay, more! They even crossed the oceans, and
were recognized by all the nations on the face of the earth!

Nor did the people only learn how to read, write and work arithmetic,
but all kinds of industrial schools were started throughout the South;
first in one place, then in another, so that the young men learned
different trades, and thus qualified themselves to learn a living in
coming years. And they not only learned, but they learned well, were
ambitious to excel, took naturally to it, and earned the good will and
praise of their teachers. In short, after the war was over, the South
was both cursed and blessed by a race of "volunteers," who came down
from the North, and whose mission was to take advantage of the new state
of things. The curse came in with those carpet-baggers, who came to take
all they could get, and hold on as long as ever they could. It is true
that they were not all bad, for indeed they ran all the way from good to
middling. But they have generally been looked upon as a set of rapacious
men, who came down to help themselves first, last and all the time; and
when all was done, if anybody else could be benefitted by them, so much
the better!

But with the teachers things were altogether different. They can in no
sense be compared with the carpet-baggers, for they were a perfect
blessing—all of them, or nearly all, being "volunteers" for the South,
and for the benefit of freedmen, and for them alone. They were sent
forth, as I have stated before, by the churches and societies of the
North, and the national government encouraged them and their efforts in
every possible way. And not only were public schools set on foot all
over the land, but there were a great many who opened private schools,
and thus the work went merrily on. And the walls of the new educational
structure began to rise rapidly on all sides, "for the people had a mind
to work," and, as the ancient Romans said, "Labor conquers all things."


And even to the very day and time whilst I am now writing, I have great
pleasure in informing my kind reader that the work goes on, and still
goes on well. Beginning gradually at the close of the war, nay, I might
almost say, in some places before the close of the war—schools and
colleges for all studies were set on foot, either South or North, some
for the training of young colored men and women, who were destined to
become teachers of their own race throughout the land; some were
institutes or colleges for the study of law, medicine, music, elocution
and a variety of other subjects. And the work still continues and
extends in all directions, and promises to unfold itself more and more
as the years go by. At the present time there are many beautiful private
schools and seminaries in many parts of the South where young colored
ladies exclusively are sent to be educated, and they are splendidly
educated, too. And inasmuch as the colored race are born to excel in
music, many of them have come to the front, and in the departments of
music and song they have shone brightly in the nation, and in distant
lands also, where they have no prejudice to contend with. But though the
color line has by no means been wiped out yet, even in the Northern
States, it must in all fairness be stated that colored youths and
maidens are freely permitted to pursue their studies in almost all the
schools and colleges of the land; and it is only where race prejudice
exists, and the last dregs thereof prevail, that the children of African
descent are barred from entering. But time changes all things; God alone
cannot be changed—new generations will arise who will entirely sweep the
evil past away!

The Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments to the Constitution had been
passed, securing the race in their personal and civil rights as freemen
before the common law of the United States; but as yet colored men could
not vote, and the Republican party, as a just and defensive measure,
considered that it would be well to arm those who had formerly been
slaves with all the rights of citizens, even as others. This brought up
the question of a new amendment to the Constitution. It was to be a new
dress in which the new citizens were to be clothed before the work was
complete. There was opposition enough to this in some quarters; of
course, it never was once intended to ask such men as Jefferson Davis
and Robert E. Lee for their consent. Even if many of the colored men
were uneducated, they were as good, if not better, than a wicked and
intelligent rebel. The rebels (as they were still commonly called),
would rather pull the national government down to the ground than
restore it, but the entire ransomed race desired to build it up.
Politically, and also from a sense of gratitude for their freedom, they
belonged to the Republican party, and therefore they were perfectly
right in siding with the Republicans on every and all occasions.
Besides, the right for colored men to vote was bound to come forward
sometime or other, and it might just as well come now as hereafter.
Ignorance on their part was much better than the studied opposition on
the part of the rebels. And I doubt very much whether the most
illiterate colored man did not know more about the American Constitution
than those ignorant hordes of Europeans who are almost weekly dumped
down on our shores, who neither know nor care anything about our
Constitution, and who never even heard of the name of George Washington.
If this was not so serious a matter, I could almost laugh at the thought
of the ignorance of those foreigners.

Besides, if colored men were in many cases unfit for the franchise, it
was no bad thing to give it them at once anyhow, because it would
stimulate the nation at large to push their complete education along,
and the race themselves would now have a far more powerful motive to
acquire knowledge than they had ever had before. Therefore, there was a
very great deal of interest taken by the nation at large in the passage
of the new amendment to the Constitution that was destined to place
black men upon the self-same footing with white men. The white
Republicans also considered that they were indebted to colored soldiers
for the restoration of the Union to the tune of at least 200,000 brave,
heroic men, and that they owed them the right to vote.

The necessary three-fourths of all the States of the Union having voted
in their legislatures in favor of the passage of the new amendment to
the Constitution, President Grant deemed the new measure of such vast
importance that he went out of the usual mode adopted upon such
occasions, and addressed the following special message on the subject to
Congress, for the purpose of still further enhancing its importance in
the eyes of the Senate and House of Representatives, and, in short, of
the whole American people:


"To the Senate and House of Representatives:

"It is unusual to notify the two houses of Congress, by message, of the
promulgation by proclamation of the Secretary of State of the
ratification of a Constitutional Amendment. In view, however, of the
vast importance of the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution this day
declared a part of the revered instrument, I deem a departure from the
usual custom justifiable. A measure which makes at once four millions of
people voters, who were heretofore declared by the highest tribunal in
the land not citizens of the United States, nor eligible to become so
(with the assertion that, at the time of the Declaration of
Independence, the opinion was fixed and universal in the civilized
portion of the white race, regarded as an axiom in morals as well as
politics, that black men had no rights which the white man was bound to
respect) is indeed a measure of grander importance than any other one
act of the kind from the foundation of our free government to the
present day.

"Institutions like ours, in which all power is derived directly from the
people, must depend mainly upon their intelligence, patriotism, and
industry. I call the attention, therefore, of the newly-enfranchised
race to the importance of their new privilege. To the race more favored
heretofore by our laws, I would say, withhold no legal privilege of
advancement to the new citizen. The framers of our Constitution firmly
believed that a republican government could not endure without
intelligence and education generally diffused among the people. The
'Father of his country,’ in his farewell address, uses this language,
'Promote, then, as a matter of primary importance, institutions for the
general diffusion of knowledge. In proportion as the structure of the
government gives force to public opinion, it is essential that public
opinion should be enlightened.’ In his first annual message to Congress,
the same views are forcibly presented, and are again urged in his eighth

"I repeat that the adoption of the Fifteenth Amendment to the
Constitution completes the greatest civil change and constitutes the
most important event that has occurred since the nation came into life.
The change will be beneficial in proportion to the need that is given to
the urgent recommendations of Washington. If these recommendations were
important then, with a population of but a few millions, how much more
now with a population of forty millions, and increasing in rapid ratio.

"I would therefore call upon Congress to take all the means within their
Constitutional power to promote and encourage popular education
throughout the country; and upon the people everywhere to see to it that
all who possess and exercise political rights shall have the opportunity
to acquire the knowledge which will make their share in the government a
blessing and not a danger. By such means only can the benefits
contemplated by this amendment to the Constitution be secured.

"Executive Mansion, March 30, 1870.

"U. S. GRANT."

On account of the vast importance of the Fifteenth Amendment to the
Constitution, and its direct bearing upon the elevation of the colored
race, and the immediate amelioration of their condition, I will here
append the certificate of Mr. Secretary Fish respecting ratification of
the Fifteenth Amendment to the Constitution, March 30, 1870:

"Hamilton Fish, Secretary of State of the United States.

"To all to whom these presents may come, greeting,

"Know ye that the Congress of the United States, on or about the 27th
day of February, in the year 1869, passed a resolution in the words and
figures following, to wit:

"A resolution proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United

"Resolved, By the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States of America in Congress assembled (two thirds of both houses
concurring,) That the following article be proposed to the legislature,
shall be valid as part of the Constitution, namely,

"Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not
be denied or abridged by the United States, or by any State, on account
of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.

"Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by
appropriate legislation.

"And, Further, that it appears, from official documents on file in this
department, that the amendment to the Constitution of the United States,
proposed as aforesaid, has been ratified by the legislatures of the
States of North Carolina, West Virginia, Massachusetts, Wisconsin,
Maine, Louisiana, Michigan, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, Arkansas,
Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, New York, New Hampshire,
Nevada, Vermont, Virginia, Alabama, Missouri, Mississippi, Ohio, Iowa,
Kansas, Minnesota, Rhode Island, Nebraska, and Texas, in all,
twenty-nine States.

"And, Further, that the States whose legislatures have so ratified the
said proposed amendment constitute three-fourths of the whole number of
States in the United States.

"And, Further, that it appears, from an official document on file in
this department, that the legislature of the State of New York has since
passed resolutions claiming to withdraw the said ratification of the
said amendment, which had been made by the legislature of that State,
and of which official notice had been filed in the department.

"And, Further, that it appears from an official document on file in this
department, that the legislature of Georgia has by resolution ratified
the said proposed amendment.

"Now, therefore, be it known, that I, Hamilton Fish, Secretary of State
of the United States, by virtue and in pursuance of the Second Section
of the Act of Congress, approved the 20th day of April, 1818, entitled,
An act to provide for the publication of the Laws of the United States,
and for other purposes, do hereby certify that the amendment aforesaid
has become valid, to all intents and purposes, as part of the
Constitution of the United States.

"In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal
of the Department of State to be affixed.

"Done at the City of Washington, this 20th day of March, in the year of
our Lord, eighteen hundred and seventy; and of the Independence of the
United States the ninety-fourth.



Thus, as will be seen above, the ever-glorious Fifteenth Amendment
became a part of the American Constitution, and the same was made known
to the remotest bounds of the Republic.

"Arise, shine forth, for thy light has come, and the glory of the Lord
has risen upon thee!" Such is the language of Holy Scripture, and it
expresses well the sudden outburst of the joy that filled the hearts of
the entire colored race when the Fifteenth Amendment became the law of
the land. Then, indeed, did the colored soldier feel that he had a
country, and that he had not fought and bled in vain for the cause of
freedom and the Union! Then did all colored men and women feel, indeed,
that they were men and women among other full-fledged citizens of the
United States! Then did they feel, in the celebrated words of Robert
Burns, the Scotch poet, that "An honest man, though e’er so poor, is
king of men for all that!" If the Emancipation Proclamation called forth
a tremendous flood of thankfulness and gratitude, if even the fall of
Richmond and the freeing of the last slave called for shouts of joy and
rejoicing, much more—yea, ten times more—did the publication of the
Fifteenth Amendment exercise the entire redeemed race from the very
bottom of their hearts! Their forefathers had been stolen away from
Africa; they had been brought here. This was their home, such as it was.
They had no other country but the United States. Now, the new amendment
to the Constitution had put the right to vote into their hands, the same
as others—just the same as others, and they most loyally sent up a shout
of joy that reached from Maine to the Rio Grande river, and that shout
arose to Heaven and entered into the ears of the celestials.

Where, now, was the doctrine, indeed, "That the descendants of the
African race had no rights that a white man was bound to respect?" Who
ever gave "the white man" the right to use such language, unless it was
wickedly presumed by his own presumptuous and lying arrogance? The white
race only compose a small portion of the human race. According to
tradition, Adam was as brown as a bun; and certainly our Lord and
Saviour Jesus Christ must have been a very dark-complexioned man? Does
anybody mean to say that Adam and the Lord Jesus had no right to be
respected because they were as brown as a bun in complexion? Like the
so-called "divine right of kings," such language was nothing but a
wilful and deliberate falsehood, for the entire race of man have rights
to be respected—the one as much as the other. How passeth away the glory
of this world! Behold your millions of people gloriously set free, and
after a long and fearful war pronounced full-fledged citizens, even as
others! If the ransomed race formerly rejoiced when they felt their
bodily chains fall off, much more did they rejoice when they were
invested with the same rights as the rest of the American nation, and
could vote like the freemen that they were! It is true that in the sight
of God and all justice (both divine and human) they were always men,
they had always rights that other men were bound to respect, but now we
had the full confession of those rights from all the rest of our own
compatriots, who fully and freely admitted, that all their rights were
ours also and justice, though long delayed, was done at last!

The colored people were now in full possession of their political rights
for the first time, and many new things happened that passed for a great
wonder in the history of the nation. Hiram B. Revels took his seat as
United States Senator for Mississippi on the 25th of February, 1870. It
was from the self-same State that Jefferson Davis hailed, for he was
Senator for Mississippi until he resigned his seat and went out with the
rest of the rebels. Nine brief years had passed away; for four and a
half years the civil war had raged; the curse of slavery had disappeared
from the land, and now came Hiram B. Revels from Mississippi, from which
the head of the Southern Confederacy had come in former days! Most
assuredly this was the Lord’s work, and it was wondrous in our eyes!

It was just one year from the day and hour when Senator Revels took his
seat in the United States Senate that Jefferson F. Long, also a colored
man, was sworn in as a member of the House of Representatives from the
State of Georgia—the State of Alexander H. Stephens, who had been
vice-president of the late Confederate States! It was that same Stephens
who had put forth the idea in a speech of his own immediately after he
was made vice-president, that slavery should be the corner-stone of the
new government of Secessia!

Then the United States Government sent E. D. Bassett, a colored man from
Pennsylvania, as Minister-Resident and Consul-General to the Republic of
Hayti, in the West Indies. This was carrying things on at quite a lively
rate, indeed. Nor was this all. President Grant then turned around, and
sent J. Milton Turner, a colored man from Missouri, as Minister-Resident
and Consul-General to the Republic of Liberia, in Western Africa. It is
true that Hayti and Liberia are not nations of the first rank in power
and population, but they are at least as respectable as any, and the
time must yet come when ambassadors of the colored race will be
appointed to the first nations on earth. President Grant was at least
making a good beginning, and as he had been a soldier, like the lion, he
had nothing to fear!

About this time Frederick Douglass had been made a Presidential Elector
for the great Empire State of New York, and he helped to cast the vote
for that State for General Grant upon his election for the second term,
in 1872. Times were indeed mightily changed with Frederick Douglass
since he was a young man, and fled away from Baltimore in the disguise
of a sailor, passing through New York City, which was then almost as
much opposed to freedom of the slaves as the State of Georgia.

Well does the English poet say, "Slavery there has lost the day!" The
ballot was now in the hands of the colored man as well as others. He had
tilled the fertile soil of the United States for two hundred and fifty
years; he had now lent a vigorous hand in three wars, and had completely
won his right and title to full-fledged citizenship, with all the honors
and powers that it carries with it. All Abolitionists and true-hearted
Republicans rejoiced at the spectacle, whilst the late arch-rebels and
others of that ilk were depressed at the changes!


_Joyful Demonstrations Over the Fifteenth Amendment—Processions in all
the Cities of the Land—Departure for Louisville, Ky.—The Journey
Thither—The River Ohio—Great Celebration—The Week at Louisville—The
Return to Buffalo._

My dear, kind reader, as I have already indicated, the eventful year of
1870 had come, and the Fifteenth Amendment had become the law of the
land. From Maine to Texas, from the wild Atlantic waves to the Coast of
the Pacific Ocean, the entire colored race abandoned themselves to the
most unbounded demonstration of joy and delight. I never saw the tide of
delight running so high either before or since, as upon this most august
occasion. Great mass-meetings, immense processions, music, dancing,
religious meetings for sacred song, prayer and praise were the order of
the night and of the day. Indeed, there was no outward form of joy and
rejoicing that can either be conceived or described, that was not
observed upon this glorious occasion. We read in the Book of Esther
about the joy of the whole Jewish nation, when they were all saved by
the Lord from the wicked plots and schemes of the evil-minded Haman—the
Jew’s enemy. So great, indeed, was the impression produced upon the
heart of God’s ancient people that the feast of Purim is still kept up
in commemoration of that terrible crisis through which all Israel had to
pass. We ourselves—the colored race in America—had had our experiences
in times past, as bad or worse than the Israelites of old. It was now
five full years since the close of the war; we had had five years of
national freedom; slavery here had lost the day; we could now vote like
any other race, and therefore the free exercise of the self-same power
was placed in our hands; the spring of 1870 was come, when the entire
colored race abandoned themselves to singing, dancing and rejoicing in
all ways in general; and, indeed, they had good cause and the right to
rejoice, for they had waited a long time for it, and their patience had
been sorely tried. Justice was long in coming, but it came at last.

In all the larger towns and cities of the United States, both North and
South, immense processions were organized and carried out in the
greatest and grandest perfection. It struck me as a truly wonderful
thing at the time that the Democratic and rebel element that were so
rank and strong even in former days in the North did not take mortal
offense at such out-and-out demonstrations, carried out with such a high
hand before the noon-day sun!

But our people were discreet, and neither said nor did anything
purposely to cause any reasonable person to take offense. Of course,
they stood upon their rights, and they claimed their rights of way as
much as others, but all the same their lawful demonstration of joy and
rejoicing went with a most tremendous swing, and nothing was done by
anybody to mar the exultation of the grand occasion. So far as the
Republicans were concerned, and all the brave old Abolition school, and
every one of that ilk, they were well pleased to see the happy
consummation of all their labors and toils.

I do not wonder so much that this tremendous colored demonstration
passed off without opposition in the North, but what was really
surprising was that the processions and other demonstrations of joy in
the cities of the South, in honor of the Fifteenth Amendment, should not
have brought on opposition, conflicts and riots. In brief, the entire
white race, over all the land, submitted to the inevitable; they
submitted to the results of the war. Their consciences at least bore
witness that neither race nor color, nor previous condition make men nor
unmake them; that one man is as much of a man as another in a general
sense, and that the colored race had fought for their equal rights, and
deserved them, and all seemed now willing to live in peace.

As we heard that a very great demonstration was to be made at
Louisville, Ky., in honor of the Fifteenth Amendment, and as my beloved
mother, Tom and myself had been longing for a long time past for a sight
of the dear old place upon the Kentucky shore, where we had all been
born and brought up, we determined to take the girls and go along to the
celebration, and Mr. Sutherland also consented to accompany us. He had
never been in Kentucky, and so anticipated that it would be a great
treat to him.

It was a fine morning in the spring when we took the road for the
railway station, and soon we found ourselves all seated in the train.
Mr. Sutherland and the girls were in a great way about going to
Kentucky, and the girls had so long desired to see it once more. Ever
since they awoke in the morning they had been humming and singing "The
Old Kentucky Shore!" Nay, they even played it on the piano, and sang to
their own accompaniments. Thus the whole house was ringing that early
morning with the sounds of music. But to those of us who were older the
children’s hilarity, music and song brought other thoughts, for we were
no longer children. Many dear old slave ditties had been sung about
Kentucky, which was a slave State, as the dear reader knows very well.
Thousands of fugitives had escaped over the river Ohio, which bounds all
her northern line. Indeed, runaway slaves from States further south
usually made for this river, and made their escapes into the free States
of the North. Even my own dear Tom and I had made our escape over this
river, and my own dear mother had been carried down and over its waters
on her way to the Sunny South.


Thus our feelings that morning were rather conflicting. Mr. Sutherland
and the girls seemed best off, for there were no dark shadows in the
immediate past to cloud their brows, like mother, Tom and myself. But
all clouds passed away sooner or later, and we happily forgot our
old-time experiences in the pleasantness of the new day, the bright and
warming sunlight, and even the joyous surroundings that were all around
about us on our happy way. The girls having bought a couple of bright
new picture books from the book-stand at the depot while we were
securing our tickets, all things were now in readiness for our
departure. We took our seats in a very contented and flowery state of
mind at last, and our brave iron horse set out for the open road along
the shores of Lake Erie, and soon we had left the city of Buffalo behind
us. The dark shadows of the early morning had indeed departed
altogether, and our eyes and thoughts were fixed upon the beautiful
country as we flew past, and on the shining waters of Lake Erie, till we
came to Cleveland, Ohio. Here we left the lake, and switched away
towards the southwest of Columbus, the capital of this State. The rest
of us had been over this ground before, as the dear reader will
remember; but all was new ground to mother and Mr. Sutherland, who now
greatly admired the beauties of the State of Ohio, adorned in all the
charms of spring, and with all its fine woods and forests arrayed in
their new mantle of green, that set off the beauties of the hills and
dales in great perfection. And whatever our thoughts and feelings might
otherwise have been, on one point we were all united—we were going back
to our dear old Kentucky shore, and the city of Louisville, to behold
the glorious celebration of the Fifteenth Amendment to the American
Constitution, and to such an outpouring of the colored race as had never
been seen in Kentucky. That, indeed, made our hearts light; that was joy
enough for all.

In due time we reached Columbus, the capital of the State, as nice a
little country city as ever I saw. Here a small contingent of our own
beloved people came on board the train for Cincinnati and Louisville.
They were in a state of high excitement over the forthcoming events.
Some of them, no doubt, had fled away from the curse and chains of
slavery in Kentucky, and more remote States; but now they could return
without fear. "Slavery there had lost the day!"

Continuing our journey, we all reached Cincinnati in safety, a fine
city, of which Mr. and Mrs. Sutherland often heard, but had never seen;
and they were quite captivated with its beauty, reposing so sweetly on
the hills that line the northern banks of the "beautiful river," as the
French discoverers delighted to call it. With what wonder and delight
did Mr. and Mrs. Sutherland behold the beautiful hills and dells of
Kentucky, just across the mighty stream! Mrs. Sutherland had of course
seen the Ohio at Riverside, and all the way down to the Mississippi, but
it was the first time her husband had seen the beautiful river of the
Frenchmen, or even slave land, and it produced in his mind mingled
feelings of pain and pleasure to behold it, for though born free
himself, his forefathers had fled across the Ohio river as they made
their escape from the South.

We decided to spend a night at sweet Cincinnati, where we paid a visit
to A. M. E. Church parsonage, where my beloved Tom and I put up when we
were married at the church there, and what was our surprise and joy to
find the very same family there, the self-same reverend gentleman having
been called back for a second time. What kissing, embracing and joy
there was between the two families upon this happy, happy reunion!
Heaven alone can tell, my dear reader, how very much good this meeting
did us all. My goodness! this poor pen of mine is altogether unequal to
the task. It was indeed a heavenly union!

There being a class that night at the dear, dear church, after tea, we
all went along with the pastor and his family and had a glorious time,
where we praised the Lord, for He is good, for His mercy endureth
forever. Many old friends remembered us still, and gave us a warm
welcome. O Christianity! Christianity! What joys has this world like

After this grand meeting was over, we all made our way to the private
quarters, which we had engaged for the night, and where we had a most
refreshing sleep. We were all quite amused with the girls, for they were
worse than wild birds for sheer delight. The fine weather and the great
events in the immediate future were mighty stimulants. Indeed the whole
of us were completely carried away by our feelings, and we ran the city
and suburbs of Cincinnati in all directions, our private boarding-house
being our rendezvous at three o’clock in the afternoon, so that we could
all start together for the boat that was to leave an hour or two later
for Louisville.

It is a remarkable thing how rapidly some people become acquainted. By
the time we had spent some twenty-four hours with the kind people at the
boarding-house, we were almost as fond of one another as if we had been
brought up together. Some of them even accompanied us to the Public
Landing, where we were to embark for Louisville. I don’t know what the
neighbors along the street thought of us, for we were more excited and
exultant and louder than a lot of barn-yard fowl, with laughing and one
thing and another! Well, it was a time for laughing, I think, and after
two hundred and fifty years of slavery, I also think we had a right to
laugh, and to laugh with all our might and main!

At last we reached the Public Landing, marched on board, secured our
cabins, and settled ourselves down for our passage to Louisville,
greatly admiring the scenery and traffic of "The Beautiful River."

A great many passengers came on board at Cincinnati, all bound for the
great celebration. All eyes were bright with animation, and high-beating
hope swelled in every human heart. The rush to the colossal exhibition
at Louisville reminded me of the tides of people on the grand march to
see a circus; but this was a circus of a most unusual kind. From the
grand reports that had been circulated all over the country for weeks,
we all expected a high old time, we expected the colored race and their
friends at Louisville to make a mighty effort to place a great show
before the whole State, and also expected to swell the mighty chorus and
throng by our own presence. Many persons on board had never been back to
Louisville since they took French leave of the same place; whilst others
had numerous friends and relations whom they greatly desired to see. But
all wished to behold the old Kentucky shore again, for who does not love
the scenes of their youth?

We were now fairly launched out upon the great river. The sweet spring
winds blew over us, and seemed to accompany and cheer us upon our way.
At such times the imagination gives play to all sorts of sweet things,
and the very surges of the Ohio river seemed to rejoice as they bore us
along on their downward course to the Mississippi and the Gulf States.
The sun went down, and the moon arose upon the fleeting scene. The night
was now upon us, and all the hills and dells that lined both sides of
the beautiful river enchanted the eyes and hearts of all beholders. A
sweet peace stole into our hearts that came down from heaven.

With what interest did we view the little wooden cabins that lay along
the shores of the river on the Kentucky side, and along the slopes of
her hills! What tales of grief and joy those dear little homes could
have told if they had been able to speak. My two dear children were awed
into silence as they looked upon the passing scenes, for they had both
read "Uncle Tom’s Cabin," and many other plaintive books besides; and
heard from us and from others a thousand tales of slavery in days gone
by. Many eyes besides our own were wet with tears of love, sorrow and
emotion, as we viewed those little cabin homes, and saw the lights that
night on the "Old Kentucky Shore" of the poet, and in our hearts we
thanked the Lord that slavery here had indeed passed away forever. It
has been often a wonder to me that the Lord allowed the curse to
continue so long; but then He knows what is for the best, and I am
always willing to take things on trust that I cannot understand. "The
Lord is good; a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knoweth them
who put their trust in Him." How true, how very true, indeed!

We called at no place on our way, but at the beautiful little city of
Madison, Indiana, that lies so sweet-looking in the edge of the Ohio
river. Quite a goodly number of our own beloved people came on board
here, whom we rejoiced to see. It was the same old, old story that I
have told before. They were going to Louisville to swell the mighty
throng, and help sing the songs of the ransomed of the Lord during the
forthcoming celebration at that city.

After we left Madison, we all retired to bed for the night, and we were
not long in falling into a sound sleep. The night passed away, on flew
the waves of the beautiful river with our fleet boat on their bosom,
rushing on for the general rendezvous, and about four o’clock in the
morning our gallant craft tied up at the landing-place at Louisville,
the metropolis of Kentucky.

All up once more, and in good time! We were careful this morning to give
ourselves a thorough, good washing, and lay in a solid, substantial
breakfast in preparation for the events of the coming day. All on board,
bent on the same happy journey as ourselves, were in a high key of
excitement. Indeed we could snuff excitement in the very air before we
left the boat. But at last we got away, and came up the bank from the
beautiful river, and entered the city before seven o’clock, where we
found the whole place astir with great numbers of excited people,
rushing and sweeping along in all directions—men on horseback riding
rapidly up and down the streets; great crowds of men, women and children
arriving by rail from different parts of the State, while men in
uniforms, bands of music, with the town boys and girls scurrying along
in all directions like the wild waves of the sea; flags, banners,
streamers and ribands seen fluttering in the breeze in all
directions—such was our introduction to Louisville, when we came up from
the river, and looked up and down Market, Jefferson and Green streets,
and made our early way to a place on Walnut street, where we had
arranged previously by letter to take up our quarters for the week that
we were to spend in the city. Here our dear old acquaintances of ante
bellum days received us gladly. We were all much altered now, had grown
older, were married and had children of our own; were now free, whereas
formerly we were called "goods and chattels" in defiance of the truth of
the Eternal Jehovah that we had all the same rights as others, but for
the time being were held down by sheer physical force.

So much talk about a "Fifteenth Amendment" we had never heard in our
lives, and it made us laugh to hear even the little children lisp "The
Fifteenth Amendment!" Poor, dear little things! Theirs was a happy lot.
They were all free, and had not come up by the rough side of the
mountain like their oppressed parents. The glorious weather was
immensely in our favor. We blessed God for that, and we blessed Him for
all things. The sun was shining in all his beauty; the mocking-birds
sang in the parks, and the light winds blew over the fair and
garden-like city on the Ohio. Thousands upon thousands of people still
continued to arrive upon boats that came up and down the river, by the
ferry-boats, and on all the heavily-laden incoming trains that arrived
thick and fast. Even the old inhabitant was astonished at the tremendous
crowds that at last packed all the main streets along which the
procession was to pass, because we were now getting well into line, just
as is done at a Presidential inauguration at Washington. Uniformed
riders and fast messengers, ex-soldiers dressed in Uncle Sam’s
conventional blue, the fair sex as thick as the leaves of the forest,
boys in the trees, all the windows full of sight-seers, and men and boys
on the roofs of the houses—well, indeed, might the oldest inhabitant ask
where all the people came from! Nobody could have given a complete
answer to that question, for there were tens of thousands of people here
this day who had never been to Louisville before. All had heard of
Louisville, the beautiful metropolis of the State, but they were slaves
then, and had no hope of ever beholding its beauties; but God is
good—here came the war, here came victory and freedom, here came new
laws and the Fifteenth Amendment, and here came they themselves at last
to help on the good cause with loud shouts of joy.

Flags fluttered from thousands of windows, and the indications of joy
were universal. And not only did the colored, but the white population
packed the streets in thousands and tens of thousands; the crowds were
good-humored to the last degree, and there was nothing but joy and
rejoicing on every side all day long.

The outriders now began to move in advance of the procession; the first
men in line followed next with a band of music, and these again were
followed by a tasteful and beautiful float that promised mighty things
in the rear! Bands of music at intervals, all the different societies,
another wonderful and beautiful float came sailing on laden with
rejoicing citizens, young and old, and a thousand other strange and
wonderful features and devices of the triumphal march called forth loud
shouts of joy, great outbursts of laughter and general applause. A
beautiful colored maiden of sixteen or seventeen summers, named Miss
Laura Claggett, stood up in a chariot during the entire procession, and
she made a splendid living representation of the "Goddess of Liberty."
It was said of her, as of the beauty of ancient Tyre, "Thou hast made
thy beauty perfect." The interest that we all took in the long, splendid
and varied procession was most intense. So much pains had been taken
with all the necessary preparations that every part of it was complete,
and the warmest approbation was bestowed upon all the preliminary
arrangements, and the way in which they were carried out. Here was a
true object lesson, indeed, that we were as fit for the highest
civilization as the whites. This was freely admitted on all hands, with
the exception, of course, of those blind persons who did not wish to
see. We find them everywhere, and the best thing to do is simply to
ignore them altogether. It was wonderful, thrice wonderful, to look
around, and see the people who had come from the remotest parts of the
State to see Louisville and the great celebration. It was most pathetic
to look at some of them—bent down in some cases with hard work, labor
and toil of half a century. There was a feeling of unutterable
thankfulness that was apparent to all observers—thankfulness that they
could yet enjoy a few years of freedom before they went home to be with
the Lord, and thankfulness that their children should be free for all
coming time. "No more auction blocks for me!" was the sentiment.

Thus the whole glorious procession marched and counter-marched over the
principal streets of the beautiful garden-like city of Louisville, and
at last broke up and scattered like all other famous processions of the
kind, whether at Washington or anywhere else. The whole city press were
loud in their praises of the universal good conduct and splendid
management of the new citizens, and of course the Republican organ
brought out the whole truth flat-footed, and cast all its glories to the
breeze without stint. It was a downright triumph in the interest of law
and order, for the police authorities had little or nothing to do. The
pastors of all the churches, and other leaders, had impressed it upon
the hearts and minds of all the people to be good, and to act as
citizens, and give the enemy no just reason to throw stones. For my own
part, though I had by this time seen a hundred processions, at least, in
my time, I am bound to confess that the procession and day’s doings at
Louisville were as good as the best in regard to law and order, and I
understand that other cities behaved quite as well as they did in
Kentucky, throughout the Union.

For a week or so the entire colored population at Louisville were en
fete, and a high old time of it they did have, indeed. It was a perfect
carnival—a general jollification along the whole line. Music and
dancing, and grand tea parties, both in public and private, were all the
go, and as our presence in town was soon well known, we were invited to
lend a hand in the general festivities along with others. There was a
good time all over the metropolis of Kentucky, and don’t you forget it.

There is a poem that says in one place, "Joy’s image may vanish, and
griefs die away; but the scenes of our youth are recorded for
aye,"—which leads me on to say that Tom, mother and myself had a great
and yearning desire to revisit all those dear scenes and places round
about the beautiful river that had been so deeply stamped into our
hearts and memories in the glorious, youthful spring-time of life. Mr.
Sutherland had no such longing to satisfy, and the two girls were not
then born. The latter three, indeed, were born at Buffalo, on the
Niagara river, in the great Empire State of New York. So Tom, mother and
myself made calls on all those dear, dear friends of our earliest days
who still remained alive, or still dwelt in Louisville. But many changes
had taken place. Some had grown old and almost past recognition; the
children of others received us kindly, for their parents were gone to a
better land, and there were other changes all around, too numerous to
mention. With the exception of God Himself, and the course of nature,
all things seemed to be altered, and it was a source of thankfulness to
us all that something remained that could not be shaken.

When we had thus ransacked the whole city in search of old friends (Mr.
Sutherland and the girls coming bravely along with us), we crossed the
river to Jeffersonville, Indiana, where we made two or three calls, and
then went down to New Albany, on the Indiana side, where we had grand
welcomes from all whom we knew there. It was really astonishing to
behold our mutual joy, and to tell our true tales of joys and sorrows,
and hear theirs in return. Praise ye the Lord!

We now hired a boat, and had a glorious sail up the Ohio, and showed Mr.
Sutherland and the children all the old familiar places up the stream
where we had formerly been. Then we went down the river, passed through
the canal at Portland, below the city, and came out upon the Ohio once
more. There were six of us in the boat besides the two rowers. We had
taken the precaution to borrow a variety of loud-sounding musical
instruments; we kept close to the Kentucky side of the Ohio, and when we
drew near to the place of our birth, that is, Riverside Hall, we struck
up "The Old Kentucky Shore," which we both played and sang with
tremendous force, raising more excitement than the Salvation Army! This
brought out Mr. and Mrs. Jackson, and all the old retainers who chose to
remain after the fall of slavery. There were new faces there, also. My
father recognized us at once, and invited us in to receive the
hospitalities of the house. Here we remained all day, saw everything
once more, and returned to Louisville at set of sun. But we afterwards
returned to Riverside, and spent another whole day in perfect love and
harmony. It was a sweet time.

We were now all far, far more than satisfied. All things had gone well
with us, and we returned home to Buffalo more thankful and gladsome than
ever. Oh, what shall we render unto the Lord for all his goodness!
Because His mercy endureth forever!


_The Great Commercial Panic of 1873—Collapse of the Republican
Government of the South—The Rebel Shot-Gun—The Force Bill—Rebellion at
New Orleans—Dangerous State of the Whole Country—Election of President
Hayes—Presumption of the Late Secessionists—Speech of Congressman
Foster, in Ohio—The Solid North Against the Solid South—The Election of
James A. Garfield—For the Sake of Peace._

As I have indicated at the close of the last chapter, we all got home to
Buffalo in perfect safety, and settled down once more to the duties of
life. In the meantime we continued to watch the course of reconstruction
in the South, which was run by the Republicans with but very few
exceptions. We all seemed to think that things had settled down all
right in those States. White and colored Republicans were mixed up
pretty fairly in the Governments, and in all the different departments.
There were about a dozen colored Congressmen at Washington, and numbers
were also employed abroad in the consular and diplomatic service of the
United States. All things appeared to have settled down in quietness and
peace, but it was only to lull that which comes before the tempest, for
the elements in Secessia were only awaiting a favorable opportunity to
strike their favorable blow.

Up to the year 1872 (as I still remember well) this entire nation seemed
to be running a course of unprecedented and joyful prosperity. Everybody
was working, there seemed to be plenty of money in the country, and
glorious good times, and immediately prospective wealth were the order
of the day everywhere. Alas, alas! It was nothing but the inflation of a
big balloon. In 1873 came a universal crash, and the balloon collapsed
entirely! There was nothing but consternation over the whole nation, and
the Northern States ceased for a time to keep their watchful eyes upon
the reconstruction of the South, in order to attend to the dreadful
troubles at home, caused by the complete collapse in trade. This was the
opportunity for which the late open rebels had been waiting. They
determined at once to take advantage of the sudden panic. The
Ku-Klux-Klan now came to the front (of whom I have made mention before).
They seized the shot-gun, and wrote on their banners, "We must carry
these States peaceably if we can; forcibly, if we must." Their first
efforts were directed against the white Republican leaders, who melted
away like new fallen snow before a warm sun. Their next effort was
directed against the most intelligent and influential colored leaders,
to whom they denied employment in almost every possible case. In a short
time there were not many Republican leaders left, either white or
colored, and the rank and file of the party could not then do much.
Congress passed next an act empowering President Grant to use the army
to suppress their domestic violence, and prevent bloodshed; also to
protect colored voters in the constitutional exercise of the rights
conferred upon them by the Fifteenth Amendment. But the South were up on
their feet again, and offered the most determined opposition to the
right and proper use of the national army. Like a high-strung, violent
termagant, the lately-defeated rebels now clamored for the ruling of
their own States in their own way, to the complete exclusion of the
lawful rights of all others. In her anxiety and desperation to have her
own way, "Miss Dixie" appealed to the sympathies of the Northern people,
and, indeed, she was pretty successful in her unjust appeal, because she
was aided by the "Copperheads" (Democrats) of the North, by many of the
Northern papers, and even by the more luke-warm among the Republicans
themselves. The ex-rebels clamored for what they called "a white man’s
government," though the Union was no more a white man’s government than
a black man’s. Indeed, if this country belongs to anybody, it belongs to
the Indians, from whom the wicked Spaniards and other European robbers
first stole the lands away, and murdered the people.

[Illustration: _JAMES A. GARFIELD._]

The bill that was introduced into Congress to enforce order in the South
was nick-named the "Force Bill," and it was not such a bad name, after
all, because nothing but force seemed of any service in making Southern
States do right. Things came to their worst in 1874, when the city of
New Orleans was in a state of siege, the streets blockaded with State
troops and White Line leagues, and an open battle was fought between the
two conflicting parties. The rebels overthrew the Republican State
government, and a new government was set up by physical force in its
stead. But President Grant sent troops to New Orleans, and the lawful
government was restored. State elections followed in the North in the
States of Indiana, Ohio, New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and
Massachusetts, which resulted in the defeat of the Republican ticket and
the triumph of the Democrats. In their short-sighted way, the Bourbon
Democrats of the South gave way to great exultation and joy, and behaved
in the most cruel and shameful way to the white and colored Republicans
in Secessia.

Nor did the mischief end there, for in their mistaken sympathy, many of
the Northern legislatures passed resolutions condemning President Grant
for sending troops into the South, although he only did so in the
discharge of his most legitimate duty, and in accordance with the law.
These movements caused the next Congress, which was the Forty-fourth, to
be organized by the Democrats, when the very cabinet ministers
themselves were divided upon the policy to be pursued towards the South,
one half pulling one way, and the other half pulling the other way. To
help on the bad cause still further, although a majority of colored
people exists in Mississippi, and that State ought to have gone
Republican, still the shot-gun policy of the rebels carried that State
before them, and the Republican Government ceased to exist.

[Illustration: _RUTHERFORD B. HAYES._]

The country was truly in a dangerous condition; a portion of the
Northern population were in favor of General Grant and his policy, and
the rest were in favor of a change in the South. A house divided against
itself will not stand: at least, it will not stand long. Men even
deserted the grand Republican party, not for any ill it had done, but
simply because others deserted it. It was even charged against the Grant
administration that it was responsible for the ruin of the Republican
government in the Southern States, and even for the great business
disasters that had overtaken the whole country, North and South. It is
easy to find a stick to beat a dog. Such puerile charges remind me
rather of the tricks of children than actions of men. All those charges
were entirely false, and the Democrats, both North and South, must have
known it themselves. We still remember well the mischief that President
Andrew Johnson did in his great sympathy for the rebels after they had
laid down their arms, and how the Southern States had been ruled by
hands far too weak for the task; that is, by colored men, formerly
unaccustomed to politics, by scalawags and carpet-baggers. The cleverest
of the rebels refused to lend a hand in the work of Reconstruction, and
sat sullenly at home nursing their wrath to keep it warm. They never
moved a hand in the work of building up their own country, till they
moved as the Ku-Klux-Klan, reached for the shot-gun, and murdered those
who ruled the Southern States. The rebel legislatures were now made up
of those very men whom the North had put down in the war. They thronged
the State halls and corridors, dressed in the very same robes that they
had worn on the battle-field when we were fighting for the Union and
freedom: and they were as rebellious in heart as before!

There was one great man in the Republican party who might have done a
great deal for the colored people of the South, if he had tried, but he
did not try; nay, he himself wanted to be President, and did not wish to
hurt himself when his own selfish interests were at stake. This man was
the Hon. James G. Blaine, of Maine. He opposed the Force Bill, and lost
no opportunity of opposing President Grant’s administration whenever the
latter wished to do anything against the late rebels, and in favor of
the people. But Mr. Blaine never became President, and it served him
right, for he might have proved a bad one, as Andrew Johnson did.

General Rutherford B. Hayes was Governor of Ohio, and in 1876 the
Republican party gave him the nomination for the Presidency. The
convention met at Cincinnati. The Democrats ran Samuel Jones Tilden as
their candidate. By the aid of the shot-gun the South had suppressed the
Republican legislatures of the States lately in rebellion, and having
gained an inch they went boldly on with the intention of taking a yard.
They certainly did expect to carry things their own way, especially if
Mr. Tilden could be elected, which appeared very likely at the time.
Though really done by means of the shot-gun in several Southern States,
it was still pretended that those States had been carried for Tilden and
the Democrats, which was a most unblushing falsehood on the very face of
it, for although returning officers came up as bold as rats from those
very States that had gone Democratic by the aid of the shot-gun, and put
in their claims, every child in the land, both North and South, knew
where the truth lay. A long wrangle followed over the counting of the
electoral votes, and as several Southern States had been carried
unlawfully, they were flung out, and General Rutherford B. Hayes was
declared duly elected President of the United States, and took his seat
on the Fourth of March, 1877. Now arose a wild cry about injustice from
all the Democrats of the land that what they called "a great steal" had
been done. The rebel South (that cared for no rights but the right of
their murderous shot-guns) was exasperated to the last degree. In fact
they were ready to fight for what they considered their rights, that is
the right to do as they pleased. They had hoped that with the
restoration of the Democratic government at that time they would be able
to collect their rebel war claims of the National Treasury at
Washington, and even get the price of their lost slaves from the same
source. They considered that they had a perfect right to all such
claims, and that the very rebel soldiers wounded in the war ought to
receive pensions the same as those who fought against them for the Union
and for freedom. When colored girls called upon those old rebel ladies
of Secessia at this time, asking for employment, those female rebels
replied, "Oh, we will hire you from your masters or mistresses," thus
clearly indicating that they fully expected the restoration of slavery

So the Democrats of the North, and the Bourbon Democrats of the South
settled down in a sullen mood to four years more of Republican rule. It
was nothing but right and proper that they should be disappointed of
their prey. Even St. Paul, in the New Testament, tells us that no man is
entitled to the prize unless he contends lawfully. Of course, the South
neither cared for the opinion of St. Paul, lawful contention, nor
anything else of the same kind. So long as they could carry the
elections by the shot-gun it was all right, and good enough for them.

The South was still discontented and sullen. They had, indeed, knocked
down the Republican governments of her several States, but though
allowed to govern was not allowed all war claims on the treasury at
Washington, and there was not one single ray of hope for the restoration
of slavery. None, none whatever! That was settled for all time. "Dixie"
sat down like a sulky, sullen woman by her own hearthstone, and refused
to be comforted. While she was in sorrow, others were in joy. Uncle Sam,
like a kind and tender husband, next tried the gentler arts of pacifying
and pleasing his termagant wife—the wife who in former days, yea, even
for fifty years, had always threatened to go out of the Union unless she
could have her own way! So an ex-Major-General of the late Confederate
army was called into the cabinet of President Hayes, and was given a
portfolio for the purpose of trying what he could do to better the
condition of the South. Then General Longstreet, also a leader in the
army of the rebellion, was made postmaster at Gainesville, in Georgia,
and was afterwards sent as minister to Turkey. Colonel Mosby, the famous
Confederate guerilla, was sent to China, and Colonel Fitzsimmons was
made marshal of Georgia. The South nevertheless did not show any signs
of real improvement. They stuck together, however, in a certain fashion,
like solid rocks of ice, all congealed and frozen tight and hard
together into one lump, and became known as the "Solid South." They
showed the greatest repugnance to the scalawags and carpet-baggers, and
all white Republicans generally, who were intimidated, persecuted and
driven out of all participation in the reconstruction of the States.
Black Republicans were allowed to vote, but the Democrats of Secessia
took the counting of the votes into their own hands, and secured the
offices, all the same! At this time President Hayes was under the
influence of Alexander H. Stephens, of Georgia, and Wade Hampton, of
South Carolina. President Hayes expected much, but received nothing in
return. The more kindness and consideration he showed them the more
arrogant and ungrateful they became. The Southern leaders in Congress
even tried to deprive the President of his Constitutional veto—tried to
starve the army, and even to protract the session of Congress. The North
was indeed holding out the olive branch of peace to the late rebel
States, and these States were trampling the kindness of the North
beneath their feet. Southern insolence went on, grew and increased.
There were loyal Republican men at Washington, who could have assisted
the President to steer the ship of state better than he did; but
President Hayes did not seem to care for their advice; he preferred to
shut himself up altogether in his own abilities, and left his real
well-wishers and friends on the outside. There was evidently no such
thing as satisfying the demands of the South. With unthankfulness she
took all that was given and demanded more, and never as much as said
"Thank you!" She considered that she had done right to secede, and was
only sorry that she had not succeeded with her rebellion. President
Hayes refused to surrender his veto power to those arrogant and
secessionist Congressmen at Washington. At last he saw clearly that the
South was not capable of appreciating his kindness as she ought, and
that all his good intentions had been flung away. He now decided to
change front, being worn out with so much arrogance and ingratitude.
Dealing out kindness to a gang of ex-rebel officers, who had once owned
and whipped their slaves, was found to be very irksome work. The entire
Republican party were now firmly and solidly united against the South.
The Cabinet, which was a splendid one, became more and more unanimous
than before; the administration was without fault, and other good things
that followed in their train did wonders for the Republican party all
over the land. Among these was the resumption of specie payment—a source
of delight to the nation. Thus, at last we see the Republican ranks of
the North were firmly united. They saw clearly that the arrogance of the
South was simply unlimited, and that nothing short of the state of
things before the war would satisfy her, unless, indeed, it was the
complete extension of her darling slavery from the Gulf of Mexico to all
the Northern States of the Union along the Canadian border.

There was one man in this country at the time who clearly saw what the
country needed next to tide her over the present state of things. This
clear-sighted man was the Hon. Charles Foster, Congressman from Ohio.
Mr. Foster returned home to Ohio from Washington in the summer of 1878.
He had been watching with eagle eyes the follies of President Hayes in
the vain attempt he made to pacify the South by love and kindness. He
had watched the governments of the Northern States slipping away from
their allegiance to the Republican party one after another, and, indeed,
he took in the whole situation, and saw what was needed to steer the
ship of state through the right channel in safety. Mr. Foster saw that
the South had been thoroughly disloyal in every respect; they had acted
with treason to the Union; they had not shown the least desire to
protect the new citizens, the colored voters at the polls, but in fact
had purposely murdered them with the shot-gun; they had shown the whole
nation that they were bent on rebellion, and nothing else.

On the first of August, 1878, Mr. Foster made a great and famous speech
at Upper Sandusky, Ohio, when he raised a battle-cry that thrilled the
entire North, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, "A Solid North Against a
Solid South!" This speech was published in all the papers of the land,
and was kept up till it elected Garfield, in 1880. On account of its
immense influence during these two years, I will here reproduce it. Such
a battle-cry as this should be committed to memory.

Mr. Foster proceeded to say:

"I happened to be one who thought and believed that the President’s
southern policy, as far as it related to the use of the troops for the
support of State Governments, was right. I sustained it upon the ground
of high principle,—nevertheless it could have been sustained on the
ground of necessity. The President has extended to the people of the
south the hand of conciliation and friendship. He has shown a desire,
probably contrary to the wishes of the great mass of his party, to bring
about by the means of conciliation, better relations between the north
and the south. In doing this he has alienated from him the great mass of
the leading and influential republicans of the country. He has lost
their sympathy, and to a great degree their support. What has he
received in return for the measure of conciliation and kindness? How
have these measures been received by the south? What advance can we
discover in them of the recognition of the guarantees of the rights of
the colored men under the Constitutional Amendments? We see Jeff. Davis
making speeches as treasonable as those of 1861, and these speeches
endorsed and applauded by a great portion of their press and people! We
see also the declaration of Mr. Singleton, of Mississippi, in answer to
a question of mine on the floor of the house, declaring that this
paramount allegiance in peace and war was due to his State! No gentlemen
from the south, or even of the democratic party has taken issue with

"We see also, all over the south, a disposition to resist the execution
of the United States laws, especially in the matter of collection of
internal revenue. To-day there are four United States officers under
arrest by the authorities of the State of South Carolina, in jail and
bail refused, for an alleged crime in their State, while in fact these
officers were discharging their duty in executing the laws of the United
States, in that State. Their State courts and their officers refused to
obey the writs of the United States courts in the surrender of these
United States authorities. No former act of this treasonable state shows
a more defiant attitude towards the United States Government, or a
greater disposition to trample on its authority. I trust the
administration will in this case, assert, in the most vigorous manner
possible, the authority of the United States Government for the rescue
and protection of these officers. I have no bloody shirt to wave. If
there is one man in this country more than another, who desires peace
and quiet between the sections, I believe I am that man. Gentlemen may
philosophize over this question until they are gray, but you cannot
escape the discussion of this question so long as the Solid South
menaces the peace of the country. A solid democratic south means the
control of the country by the spirit and the men who sought its

"My own opinion is that there can be no peace. This question will not
down until the menace of the Solid South is withdrawn. I had hoped that
the policy of President Hayes would lead to the assertion, by a very
considerable portion of the South, of their antagonism to Bourbon
Democracy. I confess to a degree of disappointment in this, though I
think I see signs of a breaking up of the Solid South in the independent
movements that seem to be gaining a foothold in all sections of that
country. But the effective way to aid these independent movements; this
breaking up of all the Solid South, is for the North to present itself
united against the Solid South. A Solid South under the control of the
Democratic party means the control of the party by this element. It
means the repeal of the Constitutional Amendments, if not in form, in
spirit. It means the payment of hundreds of rebel claims. It means the
payment of pensions to rebel soldiers. It means the payment for slaves
lost in the rebellion. It means the abrogation of that provision of the
Constitution which declares that the citizens of one State shall have
all the rights, privileges and immunities of the citizens of other

"If my Democratic friends who seem to be anxious to bring about peace
and quiet between the sections are sincere, and desire to make their
expressions effective, they should act with that party which presents a
solid front, a united North so long as we are menaced with the Solid

"If it could be understood in the South that they are to be met with a
Solid North, I do not believe that the Solid South would exist in that
condition a single year. They retain this position because they believe
they can have the support of a fragment of the North; and thus with this
fragment rule and control the country. I would have no fear of the
control of the country by the Democratic party, if it were made up of
something like equal proportions from all sections of the country. I
discuss this question first, because I believe it is the most important
question at issue in the pending canvass. I repeat, that it is the
imperative duty of the North to meet the Solid South with a united

The above little speech thrilled the North, and put new life into the
Republican party. It was a regular battle-cry; it was passed along the
line from city to city, and from State to State. It gave Mr. Foster the
nomination for Governor of Ohio, and whereas the Democrats had
possession of the State by a majority of 23,000, he reversed the whole
question by a Republican majority of 17,000, and redeemed the State of
Ohio to the Republican party. The rising tide of enthusiasm swept the
whole country. That famous little speech was printed and set forth by
all the papers of the land. Editorials were written on the subject, and
orators all over the land took Mr. Foster’s speech at Upper Sandusky as
a text from which to preach their sermons. The whole country was aroused
over the treasonable designs and aims of the South. Her intentions were
to come as near back to slavery as ever she could get, or rather as near
as ever she dared to come, once more. But now the North was on her
guard, and presented a solid Republican front against the Solid South,
and in the course of two years more returned James A. Garfield as
President of the United States.

You must have observed, my dear reader, in the last few pages, how the
former secessionists arose in the South, and tore down the negro, or
Republican, governments that ruled in the days of Reconstruction. You
have seen the arrogance and insolence of the rebel brigadier-generals
who vaulted into their places, and even came to Congress at Washington,
and attempted to tie the hands of President Hayes by depriving him of
the right to veto. You have seen how these self-same rebels next began
to talk about pensioning the very soldiers who broke up the Union for a
time, or at least prevented the free course of law in the Southern
States, and they next built their hopes on the payment of their own
war-claims and the price of their slaves out of the United States
Treasury at Washington. You have seen how all the above, and far more,
welded all the Northern States into what was termed "the Solid North,"
and rolled back the great Southern waves of presumption and insolence,
saying to the sea, "Thus far shalt thou come, and no further; and here
shall thy proud waves be stayed!" Having said and done so much, and
having awakened the Southern States to their proper senses, a person
would have thought that colored men would have been restored to the
government of these States, at least in cases where the colored men were
clever men, and therefore well qualified to rule. But the aforementioned
Negro, or Republican, governments of the late rebel States were not
restored, though we had established the "Solid North," and returned
James A. Garfield to the White House as the head of the great republic.

For the time being, therefore, and for the sake of peace, the North has
not yet seen fit to enforce the Fifteenth Amendment, so as to compel the
South to make room for the rightful share of colored men in the
governments of the South. If this were France or England, colored men
would to-day be sitting side by side with white men, and ruling the
country together. But the South was like a termagant, fighting wife, who
shook her fists in her husband’s face, and exclaimed, "Look ye here Sam!
This is a white man’s government and I will rule it myself, or not rule
at all; for these colored men shall not divide the power with me!" Then
Uncle Sam, poor fellow, gave way, for a time, for the sake of peace, and
ever since colored men in the South have kept away from this hateful
contention with the white man there. It may have been for the best for
the present, till we are more highly educated, and so more fitted and
qualified to rule. In the meantime we are gathering knowledge like sands
of the sea, and qualifying ourselves to hold any office on the face of
the earth. Those rebels are rapidly passing away who sold "their own
flesh and blood" on the auction blocks, and who fought for slavery on
many a well-contested field, and at last were subdued by physical force.
They are passing away, and more intelligent and enlightened children are
taking their places. And we are growing more and more intelligent every
day of the year, and the time must come, and come soon, when we will get
all the rights that belong to us, and one of this is the right for
colored men to rule the entire Union, North, East, South and West, along
with all other men. And, my dear reader, as sure as there is a God in
heaven, so sure is it that we shall yet get all that belongs to us, and
right and justice shall prevail and flourish from the Lakes to the Gulf!


_The Exodus of Colored People From the South to Kansas—Causes That Led
to it—The Plantation Credit System—Reign of Terror in Louisiana and
Other States—Trials on the Way to Kansas—Splendid Welcome by the State
of Kansas—Good Beginning of the Pilgrims—"God Helps Those Who Help

No doubt my indulgent reader has often heard of the exodus of many
thousands of colored people from the Southern States to the generous and
hospitable State of Kansas. This was a truly remarkable movement, and
began in the early spring of 1879. I have already pointed out some of
the shameful causes that led to that exodus that drew the eyes of the
whole nation, and elicited the most profound sympathy from all Christian
and philanthropic people all over the North, and even in England. To
trace this deplorable state of affairs to their foundation head, I need
only allude to what was called at the time "The Plantation Credit
System," when colored people worked on shares with the white owners of
the land, and the latter kept stores of all kinds of provisions and
clothing, and swindled the hard-working colored man out of the rightful
share of the profits. The latter were always overcharged for their
goods, and could never get a clear settlement. This system of robbery
and swindling gave the laborer no chance, and made him sigh for a land
of freedom.

That was bad enough, but there was something worse that began to show
itself, even before those days when the Ku-Klux-Klan became regularly
organized for the expulsion of the Republican governments in the South,
and that was a gradual and general adoption of the shot-gun policy, to
make colored men understand that the whites were still lords and
masters, and colored people must serve and obey, as they used to do
before the war. This shook the confidence of the latter in the general
government of the nation, for if great Uncle Sam could afford them no
better protection than that, things might as well have remained as they
were, and all their boasted freedom was of very little use to them, or
no account at all.

In 1868 General Grant ran for President on the Republican ticket—Grant
and Colfax—whilst Seymour and Blair were the nominees on the Democratic
ticket. Although the rebel element had always been too rampant in the
State of Louisiana, they grew ten times more as the day for the election
for President drew near. It was particularly desired by the Democrats of
the South to carry Louisiana for Seymour and Blair. The plan they
adopted was the wholesale use of the shot-gun in the different
"parishes" (or counties) of the State. The rebels began their work of
murder, terror and intimidation in good time before the election day in
November. Wherever the Republican votes were likely to be heaviest,
there a great effort was made to kill, maim and scatter all those white
and colored men who would be likely to vote for Grant and Colfax. These
Southern thugs in Louisiana and other States of the South put in their
fell work mostly after dark, killing, burning and destroying in every
possible way. It soon became well understood that the rebels were aiming
at the coming election; and for a fact, when election day came there
were very, very few men in the different parishes of Louisiana that
voted the Republican ticket, because they were afraid of their lives;
and who need wonder if they stayed away from the polls when the United
States Government afforded them no protection in casting their votes?
All things had gone finely during the years of the Republican
governments in the Southern States, when men owned their own land, and
there was no one to trouble them, or to make them afraid; but these
reconstruction governments were now tottering to their fall; the white
man demanded the government, and the law, too, and evil days were in
store for the colored race in the South.

The following lines from the pen of General P. H. Sheridan will help to
explain the cause of the exodus. He was then in command at New Orleans,
and writes under the date of January 10th, 1875:

"Since the year 1866 nearly 3,500 persons, a great majority of whom were
colored men, have been killed and wounded in the State. In 1868 the
official record shows that 1,884 were killed and wounded. From 1868 to
the present time, no official investigation has been made, and in the
civil authorities in all but a few cases have been unable to arrest,
convict or punish the perpetrators. Consequently there are no correct
records to be consulted for information. There is ample evidence,
however, to show that more than 1,200 persons have been killed and
wounded during this time on account of their political sentiments.
Frightful massacres have occurred in the parishes of Bossier, Caddo,
Catahoula, St. Bernard, Grant and Orleans."

After this, General Sheridan went on to enumerate the murders committed
on account of their Republican sentiments in the various parishes of
Louisiana, and says:

"Human life in this State is held so cheaply that when men are killed on
account of political opinions, the murderers are regarded rather as
heroes than as criminals in the localities where they reside."

The man who writes the above is no ordinary correspondent. The writer is
the famous soldier, P. H. Sheridan, and he is merely sending in his
report as military commander in the State. And whole volumes of other
testimony have been taken, as exactly as was done in the case of the
massacre of Fort Pillow, which confirm in every respect the words of
General Sheridan.

The documents in which these political murders have been recorded show
that a perfect reign of terror existed all over the State in 1867, the
year before the Presidential election. In the parish of St. Landry there
was a massacre of colored people that began on the 28th of September in
the following year, 1868, and lasted from three to six days, and during
that time between three hundred and four hundred were killed. Thirteen
captains were taken from the jail and shot, and a pile of twenty-five
dead bodies were found burned in the woods. And what was the Democratic
result in this parish of St. Landry? The registered Republican majority
of 1,071 was completely wiped out, and when the general election for
President came on a few weeks later, not a single vote was cast for
Grant and Colfax, whilst Seymour and Blair received 4,787. What a
spectacle was this for the whole civilized world to look upon only three
years and a half after the fall of the Confederacy! All those murders
were committed right here in free America!

In the parish of Bossier, there was just such another massacre between
the 20th and 30th of September, 1868, and which lasted from three to
four days, and during that time two hundred colored people were killed.
The official register for Bossier parish for the year 1868 shows that
the Republican voters numbered 1,938. But when the Presidential election
came on, only one vote was cast! Such was the result of the shot-gun
policy in Bossier parish.

During the month of October, 1868, the month before the election, over
forty colored people were killed in the parish of Caddo. The Republican
register shows that there were 2,894 votes, and yet when the election
came on there was only one such vote cast out of all that number. And
the same things happened all over the State.

During the months of September, October and November, the number of
murders, maimings and whippings that took place for political reasons
were a thousand. The names of Republican voters in twenty-eight parishes
amounted to 47,923; but when the Presidential election came on a few
weeks later, only 5,360 votes were cast for Grant and Colfax, whilst the
Democratic gain, from the shot-gun policy, amounted to 42,563.

In nine of the parishes, where most of the murder and violence was
carried on, only nineteen votes were cast for Gen. Grant, though there
were 11,604 names on the Republican register. In other seven parishes
where there were 7,253 names on the register, not one vote was cast for
the Republican nominees at the subsequent election in November.

In the years that followed 1868, when political lawlessness was held in
check, these same Republican parishes cast from 33,000 to 37,000 votes,
which proved that terrorism was the rebel policy of 1868.

Thus things went on from 1868 to 1876, when the Democracy of Louisiana
desired to carry the State for Tilden and Hendricks. The candidates for
Republican President and Vice-President were Hayes and Wheeler; and
everybody knew that colored men would not vote the Democratic ticket.
The same murderous policy was again adopted as in 1868, and the results
were much the same. On election day, in November, 1876, there were in
Louisiana 92,996 registered white voters, and 115,310 colored voters,
giving a majority of 22,314 votes that should have been cast for Hayes.
It would be quite unnecessary to quote the "returns" from the different
parishes of Louisiana. It would only be a repetition of 1868 over again.
And after all was done it did not profit the Southern Democrats any, for
it was proven that they had carried the parishes by violence; and
therefore the parishes were not counted in the returns.

And Louisiana was not the only State where the thugs attempted to
suppress voting by violence amongst the colored men. It was the
self-same policy everywhere throughout the South, and as a rule colored
men kept away from the polls, in fear of their lives.

Now, my dear reader, I have placed before you the reasons that led our
oppressed people to rise up in the early spring of 1879, and search out
for themselves new homes, where they could dwell in safety, and where
they would not be robbed, oppressed and burned out, and even murdered on
account of their political opinions. Colored men could never be expected
to vote the Democratic ticket. Besides, were they not free? And had they
not the right to vote as they pleased, even as others had? They never
dreamed of terrorizing the whites because they would not vote the
Republican ticket. It was a most remarkable thing that President Grant,
the great war general, who had conquered the South, was unable to devise
ways and means to protect the lives of colored men on election days. So
far as I have ever heard there was not even a semblance of protection
anywhere in those States where it was desired to carry the same for the
Democratic nominees. Thus colored men were left unprotected in all their
natural rights by the very Government itself that had passed the
Constitutional Amendments. In fact they were left like sheep in the
midst of wolves. They had been swindled and cheated in every way, as I
have already shown. The Government now failed to protect their very
lives, and therefore they began to turn their eyes to other regions
where they could at least worship God, and sleep in their beds in
safety. The shot-gun policy was now beginning to recoil on itself, for
who can till the soil of the South like colored men?

The State of Kansas possessed many attractions for our oppressed and
wronged people. All had often heard of the long struggle there between
the border ruffians from the South, and the free soil men of the North,
as to whether Kansas should be enslaved or free; and how at last it had
been won by the Abolitionists as a free State. All had heard how the
immortal John Brown (of glorious memory) had warred and fought in Kansas
for the liberty of all people, and how in 1861 the struggle between
slavery and liberty had been transferred from the soil of Kansas to the
rebel lands of South Carolina. Thus Kansas had a name that charmed all
hearts, and letters that were written at the time by those colored
families already settled down there and flourishing, like the green
bay-tree, among a good and just white population, gave glorious accounts
of the new State in the West, and invited all others to come and settle
down on its fertile lands who wished for peaceful homes.

One thing was clear—colored people could not afford to remain in the old
rebel States of the South, where there was no safety for their lives,
and where even the national government appeared unable to protect them.
Indeed, something must be done soon.

Here are a few questions and answers that will speak for themselves:

"Now, Uncle Joe, what did you come for?"

"Oh, Lawd, Missus, I follows my two boys and the old woman; and then,
'pears like I wants a taste of votin’ before I dies, an’ the ole man
done wants no swamps to wade in afore he votes, ’kase he must be
Republican, ye see!"

"Well, Aunty, give us the sympathetic side of the story, or tell us what
you think of leaving your old home."

"I done have no home, nohow, if they shoots my ole man an’ the boys, an’
gives me no money for de washing."

A bright woman of twenty-five years of age was asked her condition, when
she answered,

"I hadn’t much real trouble yet, like some of my neighbors who lost
everything. We had a lot, an’ a little house, an’ some stock on the
place. We sold all out, ’kase we didn’t dare to stay when votin’ time
came again. Some neighbors better off than we had been all broken up by
a pack of night-riders, all in white, who scared everybody to death, ran
the men off the swamps before elections, ran the stock off, an’ set fire
to their places. A poor woman might as well be killed, and done with

Whoever read anything more pathetic than the above? Who can wonder any
longer that a regular panic seized upon the people in certain sections
on the South to go forth unto a land they knew not, where they could
live in peace and safety among a better race of men? The number of
persecuted pilgrims, those seeking a home in Kansas, is variously given
at between forty and sixty thousand men, women and children. When the
army of the Israelites left Egypt, they were well supplied, for they had
been instructed to ask of the Egyptians anything they wanted; but these
40,000 or 60,000 people departed in most cases with absolutely nothing
but the clothes they stood in, and they were often poorly clad, often
hungry and exhausted, and in need of all things. Some, indeed, had teams
of oxen that brought on all their earthly possessions, dragging their
weary length along day after day, and week after week, and straining
their longing eyes towards the fields of Kansas and liberty. Some of
these pilgrims that came no further than from Texas were actually nine
weeks on the road! Poor, dear creatures! How sweet to them must have
been the hopes and anticipations of a peaceful home, when they were
willing to make such tremendous sacrifices that they might cross over
into the fair and fertile fields of Kansas! "Sweet fields beyond the
swelling flood stood dressed in living green; so to the Jews old Canaan
stood, while Jordan rolled between."

A great deal was written at that time, a great deal has been written
since then, and a great deal will still be written about the sufferings
of those poor, dear pilgrims; but the whole truth of what they really
did suffer on the way, with all the hardships that confronted them in
the days of their distress will never, never be told. Indeed, it cannot;
it is impossible. One thing we all know—the colored race is preeminently
a religious race. They will worship God. The germs of immortality are
safe within the bosoms of all thinking men and women among them. They
were always faithful to their God, even in the darkest days of slavery.
Like Paul, they could say, "I can do all things through Christ, Who
strengthens me." Indeed it is most marvelous what any of us may do, and
can do, when we are put upon our muscle. The world has often been
astonished at deeds performed by puny women, and even mere boys and
girls. But such need hardly have been the case, for none can tell what
they can do themselves until they are tried, and the grand resolutions
of the soul arise like a hurricane to meet terrors and trials of the
situation. There are always heroes and heroines in the world, ready when
called for.

But although the grand and high-soaring resolutions of heart and soul
worked wonders—I had almost said miracles—among the pilgrims of this
exodus; still, none of us are made of iron, and the strain proved too
much for the bodies of some of those devoted people, for they died soon
after reaching the Canaan of their hopes: they died in the consecrated
soil of Kansas, and the angels of heaven came down and carried them
home. A result like this was to be expected, and the only wonder is that
more of them did not perish, even while they were on the way. The Lord
knows those that are His; we shall meet them in heaven!

There was no time to be lost. News travels fast in the days of electric
telegraph, and even of railroads and steamboats. The news of the tide of
the exodus from the murderous sections of the Sunny South was swiftly
wafted all over the land, and even crossed the broad Atlantic to mother
England. Swift as the fleet winds, Christians and philanthropists were
on their feet at once, and a relief association was organized. "They
give twice who give quickly." A dear Quaker lady named Mrs. Comstock
(whose name is written in the Book of Life) immediately put herself at
the head of affairs, and aided by "The Kansas Freedman’s Relief
Association," she was just the right and proper person to manage the
raising of money, clothing and relief in every shape and form. The name
of Governor St. John, of Kansas, must be associated with this glorious
work of swiftly relieving the pilgrims in the day of their distress. He
will ever stand before the world as a Christian and a gentleman for his
willing help at this time. We too often hear people speaking of "this
bad world," but this world contains millions of friends—all ready for
the day of trial!

The pilgrims from the South were not long in turning round after they
reached the friendly and welcoming lands of Kansas. They felt safe now,
and had no more to fear. They soon became self-sustaining, because they
were willing, and had a mind to work. All their past sorrows were now
happily forgotten; they took hold, and were most enthusiastic,
industrious and frugal. The relief association at first gave them a
supply of stoves, teams and seeds. In a little over a year about $40,000
were used, and 500,000 pounds of clothing, bedding, and so forth. "Old
England" sent 50,000 pounds of goods, and $8,000 in money, which chiefly
came from Mrs. Comstock’s friends in "the tight little island" beyond
the seas, who had known her there by her good works. Much of the
remainder had come in small sums, and from the Christian women of
America. The most noble and loyal Quakers furnished one-third. The State
of Ohio gave more than any other State. The funds of the State of Kansas
were not drawn upon.

The freedman at once set to work, and during the first year entered upon
the cultivation of 20,000 acres of land, and they ploughed and fitted
3,000 acres for grain-growing. They also built 300 cabins and dugouts,
and amassed $30,000 in money. We have heard of one Henry Carter, a
colored man of Tennessee, who set out from Topeka in 1878, and made his
way on foot for Dunlap, which was sixty-five miles away; he carried his
own tools, whilst his plucky wife carried their bed clothes. In 1880 he
had forty acres of land cleared, and had made the first payment for the
same. He earned that money by working on sheep ranches, and making
himself generally useful. He built for himself and wife a good stone
cottage, sixteen feet by ten, and then owned a horse, a cow and other
things besides. Not only did the white people assist the pilgrims, as
good friends and neighbors, far and wide, over all the broad lands of
Kansas, but colored families pulled and hauled together, lent and
borrowed, and most willingly assisted one another in every conceivable
way. "Good Samaritans" sprang up in all directions, thicker than the
grass of the field. These blessed eyes of mine, dear reader, were
privileged to look upon many letters at the time, giving lovely accounts
of the way, the doings and sayings of the good folks of Kansas. With
what warmth of feeling did they praise all their neighbors, colored and
white alike, and pressed upon all "to come out!" There were, of course,
many who arrived at first at Topeka, and other large towns, in a sadly
destitute condition, needing clothing, food, medicine and all things.
But they were at once assisted upon their feet—they turned round at once
like swift winds, and all were soon most industriously at work. None
were ever arrested for stealing, and very few were found drunk. All at
once "made tracks," as we say, for the Church of God, and the bible and
the school-house. The colored children were at once admitted into the
public schools, as the color of the skin was too paltry a matter to be
noticed by the great-minded people of the State of Kansas. Industrial
schools were also set going for all those who needed such institutions.
May God forever bless the State of Kansas for her unsurpassed humanity
and hospitality to our oppressed people in the days of their distress!
This is a most uncommonly prosperous and well-to-do State. The Lord has
smiled upon them, and remembered all their loving ways.

John M. Brown, Esq., was the general superintendent of the Freedman’s
Relief Association, and in February, 1880, he read a very interesting
report before the Association, of which the following is an extract:

"The great exodus of colored people from the South began about the first
of February, 1879. By the first of April, 1,300 refugees had gathered
around Wyandotte, Kansas. Many of them were in a suffering condition. It
was then that the Kansas Relief Association came into existence, for the
purpose of helping the most needy among the refugees from the Southern
States. Up to date, about 60,000 refugees have come to the State of
Kansas to live. Nearly 40,000 of them were in a destitute condition when
they arrived, and have been helped by our association. We have received
to date $68,000 for the relief of the refugees. About 5,000 of those who
have come to Kansas have gone to other States to live, leaving about
55,000 yet in Kansas. About 30,000 of that number have settled in the
country, some of those on lands of their own or rented lands; others
have hired out to the farmers, leaving about 25,000 in and around the
different cities and towns of Kansas. There has been great suffering
among those remaining in and near the cities and towns this winter. It
has been so cold that they could not find employment; and if they did,
they had to work for very low wages; because so many of them were
looking for work that they were in each other’s way.

"Most of those about the cities and towns are with large families,
widows, and very old people. The farmers want only able-bodied men for
their work, and it is very hard for men with large families to get homes
among the farmers. Kansas is a new State, and most farmers have small
houses, and they cannot take large families to live with them. So when
the farmers call for help, they usually call for a man and his wife
only, or for a single man or woman.

"Now in order that men with large families may become owners of land,
and be able to support their families, the Kansas Freedman’s Relief
Association, if they can secure the means, will purchase cheap lands
which can be bought at from $3 to $5 per acre, on long time, by making a
small payment in cash. They will settle the refuges on these lands,
letting each family have from 20 to 40 acres, and not settling more than
sixteen families in any one neighborhood, so that they can easily obtain
work from the farmers in that section or near by. I do not think it best
to settle too many of them in any one place, because it will make it
hard for them to find employment.

"If our Association can help them to build a small house, and have five
acres of their land broken, the women and children can cultivate the
five acres and make enough to support their families, while the men are
out at work by the day to meet the payments on their land when they
become due. In this way many families can be helped to homes of their
own, where they can become self-sustaining, educate their children, and
be useful citizens to the State of Kansas.

"Money spent in this way will be much more profitable to them than so
much old clothing and provisions. They will no longer be objects of
charity, or a burden to benevolent people."


_Continuation of the Exodus to Kansas—Complete Success of That Grand
Movement—Similar Governments Elsewhere—Resolution of the Hon. D. W.
Voorhees in Congress—A Perfect Farce In Itself—The Story of the
Exodus—Its End._

We are not to suppose, my dear reader, that the coming of so many
colored people to Kansas was in the beginning cordially agreed to by
every white citizen of that State. Indeed, the exodus of these poor
pilgrims and refugees to their consecrated soil was at first met with
the most determined and violent opposition by many. But the new
immigrants were usually so active, sincere and clever in all their
movements that they at once disarmed all opposition, and the white
residents at once grounded the arms of their rebellion. With few
exceptions, everybody was well pleased with the new-comers, and they
were made thrice welcome to the soil of Kansas. Behold the hand of God
in all this! St. Paul advises us to be hospitable and entertain
strangers, "for some have thereby entertained angels unawares," he
continues to say. Indeed, I know of no better way to draw down the
abundant blessings of high heaven upon our heads than by relieving
really worthy and deserving people in the day of their distress. Our
Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ Himself pronounced a splendid eulogy upon
those who relieved the hungry, thirsty, the sick and the prisoners, and
He winds up his glorious sermon by saying, "Inasmuch as ye have done it
unto the least of these, my disciples, ye have done it unto Me; enter ye
into the joy of your Lord!" If ever Christ’s words were carried out to
the very fullest extent, they were carried out by the welcome reception
of our pilgrim host to the soil of Kansas. The Lord has a long memory
for a kind act, and He has not been unmindful to shower His blessings on
this flourishing State.

But after all, the season of agony, doubts and fears was but of short
duration. By the year 1881, at the very latest, the regular tide of the
refugees had discontinued to flow, the work of the "Kansas Freedmen’s
Relief Association" had entirely and successfully completed its work and
disbanded itself, as the Union soldiers did when the Civil War was over.
How glorious is all this now to sit down and think of! "As one door
shuts, another opens." Very good, indeed. Let us thank God that the
world is so big and roomy; and if we have plenty of enemies here, we
have plenty of friends also. It was so in the old-time bible days, for
in that blessed book we read how hosts of people, and even individuals,
rose up, and departed in millions, in thousands and hundreds, and even
in single cases, and went away from among "devils," that they might
dwell in peace among better people. Thus history has simply repeated
itself over and over again, and the exodus of colored people from the
South is perhaps the most recent example of that oft-repeated affair.
And it is safe to say, when we consider the natural badness of the human
race, that other exoduses elsewhere will follow. It may not be in this
country, but it will be somewhere.

There is an old but true saying that "None are so blind as those who
don’t want to see," which leads me on to say that the Hon. D. W.
Voorhees, United States Senator from Indiana, must either have been most
dreadfully blind to the truth, or else he must have been in a very
childish humor, when he introduced his famous resolution into the Senate
at Washington for the investigation of "The causes of the migration of
the colored people from the Southern to the Northern States." Now, since
this world began, dear reader, when did any one of us ever hear of such
a farce as this? To institute a national inquiry of the causes of the
exodus of entire legions of men, women and children, when Mr. Voorhees
and the whole population of the United States knew all about things
before he ever asked the question? That inquiry cost the government
thousands of dollars—flung away upon what every man, woman and child
knew already! Verily, this was the greatest national farce ever heard of
from the creation of the world down to the present time of writing!

While this inquiry was going on, money and clothing were sent to the
State of Kansas by every train; and the refugees were rapidly scattered
all over the different counties as fast as the relief association could
secure homes for them.

[Illustration: _CHAS. SUMNER._]

The "Chicago Inter-Ocean" newspaper sent a special correspondent to
Topeka, to report on the state of things in Kansas, in connection with
the pilgrims from the Sunny South. This faithful man made the following
report, which is so very interesting that I will copy it in full:

"TOPEKA, KANSAS, April 9th.

"During the last few days I have in obedience to your request been
taking notice of the exodus as it may be studied here at the
headquarters for relief among the refugees in Kansas. This is the third
visit your correspondent has made to the ’promised land’ of the dusky
hosts, who fleeing from persecution and wrongs, have swarmed within its
borders to the number of 25,000. In a letter written here in December
last the number then within the State was estimated about 15,000, and
since that date at least 12,000 more have come. In the ’barracks’ to-day
I found what seemed to be the same one hundred who crowded about the
stove that cold December day; but they were not the same of course, but
their places have been filled many times since with other hundreds, who
have found their first welcome to Kansas in the rest, food and warmth,
which the charity of the North has provided here. So efficient have the
plan of relief and the machinery of distribution been made, that of the
thousands who have passed through here, none have remained as a burden
of expense to the Association more than four or five days before places
were found where their own labor could furnish them support. ’If that
pure statesman of Indiana, (Mr. Voorhees) whose great heart was so
filled with solicitude for the welfare of his colored brethren, that he
asked Congress to appropriate thousands of dollars to ascertain why they
moved from one State to another will come here,—he will be rewarded with
such a flood of light on the question as could never penetrate the
recesses of his committee-room in Washington. He need hardly propound an
inquiry; he had, indeed, best not let his great presence be known,—for
in the presence of ’Democracy’ the negro has learned to keep silence.
But in search of the truth, let him go to the file of over 3,000 letters
in the Governor’s office from negroes in the South, and read in them the
homely but truthful tales of suffering, oppression and wrongs. Let him
note how real is their complaint, but how modest the boon they ask; for,
in different words,—sometimes in quaint and often in awkward phrases,
the questions are always the same,—’Can we be free? Can we have work?
And can we have our rights in Kansas?’ Let him go next to the
'barracks,’ and watch the tired, ragged, hungry, scared-looking negroes
as they come by the dozens on every train. If he is not prompted by
shame, then from caution necessary to the success of his errand, let him
here conceal the fact that he is a ’Democrat;’ for these half-famished
and terrified negroes have been fleeing from Democrats in the South, and
in their ignorance they may not be able to comprehend the nice
distinction between a northern and a southern Democrat. If he will be
content simply to listen as they talk among themselves, he will soon
learn much that the laborious cross-examination of witnesses has failed
to teach him. He may take note of the fact that fleeing from robbery,
oppression and murder, they come only with the plea for work and justice
while they work. He may see reason to criticise what has generally been
deemed by Southern Democrats, at least, unreasonable folly in a negro
which prompts husband and wife to go only where they can go together;
but he will find nothing to cause him to doubt the sincerity and good
faith with which the negro grapples with the problem of his new life
here. If he would learn more of this strength of resolution, and the
patience which they have brought to search for a home in a free land,
let him inquire concerning the lives of those refugees in Kansas. It may
seem of significance, and worthy of approving note to him, that as
laborers they have been faithful and industrious; that in no single case
have they come back asking aid of the relief association, nor become
burdens in any way upon corporate or public charities; that as citizens
they are sober and law-abiding to such a degree that he would hardly be
able to discover a single case of crime among them; and, finally, that
in those instances where they were able to purchase a little land and
stock, they have made as good progress towards the acquirement of homes
and property, as have the average, poor, white, immigrant to the State.
He will first learn then, from the refugees themselves, something of the
desperate nature of the causes that drove them from the South; and
secondly, from their lives here, with what thrift, patience and
determination they have met the difficulties which they have encountered
in their efforts to gain a foothold, and as men among men in the land of
equal rights.

"From the Hon. William Reynolds, president of the Auxiliary Relief
Association, at Parsons, I learn that the negroes who have come into the
southern part of the State, mostly from Texas, are all either settled on
small tracts of land, or employed as laborers at from $8 to $10 per
month, and are all doing well. Mr. Reynolds’ testimony to this effect
was positive and unqualified. To assist these refugees in Southern
Kansas,—over 3,000 in all,—only $575 has been expended.

"From Judge R. W. Dawson (who was the secretary of the association under
the old management, and during the early months of the movement one year
ago, when 6,000 refugees were distributed throughout the State and
provided with homes at a cost of $5,000) I learned much of interest
concerning the welfare and progress of this advance guard of the great
exodus. Judge Dawson, although not now connected with the relief work,
feels, of course, a great interest in the welfare of those to whose
assistance he contributed much, and loses no opportunity for observation
of their condition while traveling over the State. He says he knows of
no case where one has come back to the Association for aid; and that as
laborers and citizens their conduct has been such as to win the approval
of all classes. Four colonies have been established. State lands were
bought by the Association, and given to the colonies with the
understanding that to secure their title they must make the second and
third payments on the land purchased on the one-third cash and
two-thirds time payment plan. Two of the newest of these colonies are
still receiving aid from the Association, but the others are
self-sustaining, and will be able, it is thought, to make small purchase
payments on the land as they become due.

"If our inquiring statesman is interested in observing in what spirit
these refugees receive the aid which has made existence possible during
the cold weather months, he may be profited by spending a few days about
the city of Topeka. There are in Topeka alone over 3,000 refugees, and
nearly all of them (paupers when they come) have found means in some way
to make a living. In many cases it is a precarious subsistence that is
gained, and in not a few cases among late arrivals he would find
evidence of want and destitution; but compared with this, he cannot but
be struck with the small number of applicants to the Relief Association
for aid. Only 213 rations were issued outside the barracks last week to
the 3,000 refugees who came here only a few months since without money,
and frequently without clothing, to undertake what seemed, under the
circumstances, the desperate purpose of making a living.

"The dangers and difficulties which beset the refugees’ departure from a
land, where even the right to emigrate is denied him, are great. He may
learn, that is, Mr. Voorhees, however, from copies of letters over 1,000
in the Governor’s office, that Governor St. John has never, in reply to
their appeals, failed to warn them of the difficulties that would beset
their way here, and has never extended them promise of other assistance
than that implied in the equal rights which are guaranteed to every
citizen of Kansas. Further than this, however surprising it may be to
Mr. Voorhees’ theory of the causes of the exodus, it is nevertheless a
fact that this very Association, which is charged with encouraging the
exodus, has sent the Rev. W. O. Lynch, a colored man, to the South to
warn the colored people that they must not come here expecting to be
fed, or to find homes ready, and to do all in his power to dissuade them
from coming at all. Still, they come, and why they come the country had
determined long in advance of Mr. Voorhees’ report.

"While we have Mr. Voorhees here, we would like to have him glance at a
State document to be found upon Governor St. John’s table, which bears
the great seal and signature of Governor O. M. Roberts, of the State of
Texas. It is a requisition by the Governor of Texas upon the Governor of
Kansas for the body of one Peter Womack, a colored man, who was indicted
by the Grand Jury of Grimes county, at the last November term, for the
felony of fraudulently disposing of ten bushels of corn. From further
particulars we learn that this Peter Womack gave a mortgage early in the
spring of 1879 upon his crop just planted, to cover a debt of twenty
dollars due the firm of Wilson & Howell. When Womack came to gather his
crop, he yields to the importunities of another white creditor ten
bushels of corn to be applied upon the debt. About this time this Peter
Womack becomes influential in inducing a number of his colored neighbors
in Grimes county to emigrate to Kansas. Undeterred by threats, and
despite the bulldozing methods employed to cause him to remain a
'citizen’ of Texas, Womack, with others, sick of a condition of
'citizenship’ which is nothing less than hopeless peonage, leaves stock
and crop behind to seek a home in Kansas. His acts inciting the movement
of those black serfs are not forgotten, however, by the white chivalry
of Grimes county. The evidence of this surrender on a debt of ten
bushels of corn, mortgaged for another debt, is hunted up, presented to
the Grand Jury of Grimes county, he is promptly indicted for a felony,
and the great State of Texas rises in her majesty and demands a
surrender of his body! The demand is in accordance with law,
undoubtedly—Texas law—but if Texas would occasionally punish one of the
white murderers who do not think it necessary to leave her borders, this
pursuit of a Negro for selling ten bushels of corn from a mortgaged crop
would seem a more imposing exhibition of the power of the commonwealth
to enforce its laws."

The above extracts from the Chicago Inter-Ocean of the 15th of April,
1880, were clearly written by a humane and Christian gentleman, whose
sole aim was to tell the truth.

[Illustration: _WM. LLOYD GARRISON._]

Will my kind reader now permit me to sum up, in a few sentences, the
results of this wonderful exodus? The departure of so many thousands of
colored people from the different States of the Sunny South to Kansas
and many other Northern States informed the whole world that the South
was nothing but a land of thugs and common cut-throats and murderers.
The exodus informed the world that ’Secessia’ was no place for them to
emigrate into, where even life and limb were unsafe. It represented the
Southerners as a vindictive, barbarous and most uncivilized people; as a
people, in short, who were unfitted to carry on the laws of their States
in a civilized nation. It repelled the Christian world from them,
instead of drawing them to them in love and friendship. The exodus, in
short, gave the South a ’black eye,’ to use a familiar expression common
among pugilists, and afforded most abundant proof that the war had been
a just and righteous one, as waged against so wicked and demoralized a
race of men—men unfitted for civil government. Even the ’laughable
farce’ of Mr. Voorhees’ Congressional inquiry into the causes of the
exodus informed the whole world of the murderous state of mind of the
Southern white people, who were unable to contemplate the sight of a
colored man voting the Republican ticket of freedom without the wish of
taking his life—the life of his neighbor citizen who had even a better
right to vote than himself; for the colored man had certainly never been
a traitor to his country, as these self-same murderous Southerners had

We are all perfectly well aware that colored men could get on better
without the white man, than the white man could without him. The climate
of the South, and especially of the far South, is warm, and men of
African descent are naturally better able to stand against the rays of
the hot sun than the Caucasian race. It was for this express reason that
the slave trade and slavery were so long carried on with such vigor and
persistency, because the African was well qualified to work among the
canebrakes, the cotton fields and the rice swamps of the Southern

The African was found to be strong-bodied, and through and by means of
his diligent labor the cities and lands of the South had been built up
and tilled respectively. The "poor white trash," as Caucasian laborers
were termed, were not so well qualified to toil under a semi-tropical
sky, and extract the wealth from the soil in the same degree. No part of
the United States was so rich when the war began as these States. They
had amassed an immense horde of silver and of gold by means of the
labors of the slaves; although all that precious metal was thrown away
upon cannon and gunpowder, and all other necessaries of war, and the
cause for which they fought was lost after all. Still, the fact remains
that the South had to a great extent been built up by the labor of the
hardy and diligent African, who was so very useful and valuable that
"Secessia" struggled on for four long years to retain the colored race
in slavery, and even to make slavery itself the chief corner-stone of
the Southern Confederacy. But crime could not be allowed to go
unpunished, and the oppressed African was entitled to his liberty and
his rights.

With the tramp, tramp, tramp of so many refugees from the Southern
States upon their pilgrim way to Kansas and other Northern States, the
leading white men of the country that they left behind at last began to
open their eyes to the mischief which they and their minions had already
done, and they saw that they had lost the confidence of the colored
race. As from forty to sixty thousand men, women and children had gone
to Kansas alone, and immense numbers had emigrated to other Northern
States, both far and near, the leading men in the deserted sections now
began to wonder to what extent this thing would grow. They saw that if
things went on at this rate the Southern States would become
depopulated, or at least as destitute of inhabitants as they were upon
the landing of Columbus. Something must be done to stop at once this
great rush of wronged and oppressed men for other States, where they
could live in safety and freedom; and not only must the shot-gun policy
of the Southerners be brought to an end, but that system of cheating and
robbery, also, whereby white men had beat the colored ones out of their
full share of the crops, on the plantations, and defrauded them in every
way under the so-called "Credit System." It was most unmanly, cowardly,
and even shameful to the last degree, for wise and intelligent white men
to thus rob and plunder the oppressed and uneducated African. Such a
devilish policy was simply adding insult to injury. Never was a more
savage thing done through the wickedness of the human race since the
creation. It now became the policy of all thinking ex-rebels to put on
their thinking caps, and study a better system than such sheer

The leading white men of the South, therefore, now went to work to
reverse the system that had driven so many of the colored people out of
the land, and to do every possible thing to regain their confidence,
because there was no one who could fill the empty places, and do the
needful work.

And not only was it now necessary to gain the confidence of the colored
man, but even to regain the confidence of white men who had any
intention of going South and settling down in that part of the country.
There were many men of capital, besides thousands of accomplished
artisans, who could both enrich themselves and the Southern States by
going and settling down there, but who were now justly alarmed, when
they saw whole hosts of orderly and industrious people of color moving
away from these self-same States on account of robbers and murders by
the very same men among whom they had been planning to go and settle
down, to labor and toil, and there to end their days. It was perfectly
clear to the most obtuse Southern mind that no Northern man would ever
go South and invest his capital where those who ran his mills and
cultivated his plantations were liable to be brought down by the
shot-gun of the old soldiers of Lee and Jackson, because they voted the
Republican ticket—if they even dared to go to the polls at all on
election day! This was as bad, or worse, than despotic Russia or Turkey;
and therefore Southern men wisely decided to reverse the policy they had
adopted towards the colored population, for they now saw that if they
did not do so, no capitalists or artisans would ever come South, but
remain at home or go elsewhere.

On the other hand the exodus was a benefit to the colored race; at
least, to a portion of them. Those who emigrated from the Southern
States found an abundant entrance, and a warm welcome to the fertile
lands of Kansas and other Northern cities and Western States, where
there was plenty of land calling for nothing so much as cultivation, and
where the oppressed pilgrims and refugees built up for themselves
comfortable homes, and they and their children are there to this day. In
Kansas and the other States whither they emigrated, the spirit of
freedom and justice prevailed, and every man could abide under his own
vine and fig tree without having any midnight thugs about to make him
afraid. And those who remained behind were also benefited by the exodus,
because there was now more room for those who were left there; and
inasmuch as the white leaders of the South had decided upon possessing a
wiser and more Christian policy, the prospect of good treatment in every
respect was far brighter than ever; they need not emigrate to the North
and West, as their brethren had done, but could remain at home in

Thus, my dear reader, I have related to you the story of the exodus of
our people to Kansas and other States, as it passed before our eyes
about the years 1879 and 1880, as I very well remember. It was a
wonderful object lesson set before the whole nation, and an outgrowth of
slavery, and the war, and the violent passions of the vanquished. But
good has come out of evil. The poor, oppressed pilgrim refugees were not
forsaken in the days of their distress, for they were tenderly cared for
by the most loving of mankind, and underneath them were the everlasting
arms of the merciful God.


_My Daughters’ Weddings—Departure for England for the Honeymoon—The
Voyage—Letter to the Rev. Mr. Carroll—The City of Liverpool—England,
Wales, Scotland, Ireland—Return Home to America—Benefits of Travel._

This chapter will introduce the kind reader to my life and times in the
eventful year 1876—eventful in the history of my own family, because my
two dear daughters had now almost reached their twentieth year, were,
therefore, come to the age when the fair sex turn their hearts to the
thoughts of love, courtship and marriage; and, in short, my dear
children were engaged to be married in the month of May, in the spring
of the year 1876. The bridegrooms were both Christian, industrious and
highly-respectable young men, and such as we knew would promote the
happiness of the two dear girls as well as their own. All four
candidates for matrimony were well matched in every way, having been
brought up in schools and colleges where the most select members of the
Anglo-Saxon race themselves have received their polish. Indeed, freedom
and all the advantages that flow from a brilliant education, have
polished our young men and maidens, until now they are as smooth as a
mirror, and you can see your face in that mirror as well as the best
looking-glass! Thus these young people had been trained and polished
till training and polishing could not be carried much further; because
they had had all the advantages that money and talent could give; they
shone in the best society, and no company of refined young Christian
people was considered perfect unless they were invited, enhancing the
happiness of all by their presence. But the best thing of all was the
pure, unadulterated Christianity that grew and flourished like the green
bay-tree in every heart. My own dear husband and I were most profoundly
thankful to see our dear children so well inclined by grace and training
to every good thought and deed; and no less so to see, in their
prospective husbands men who could encourage such dispositions instead
of being obstacles in their way, like so many others.

The main points being secured, we gave our willing consent to the
marriage and it was thought best to have them both together. Accordingly
the double wedding came off the first Wednesday night of the merry month
of May, and the A. M. E. Church on Vine street was packed to its utmost
capacity. All the particulars of dress, bonnets, bouquets, etc., with
all the latest improvements down to the eventful year, 1876, were duly
noted by the reporter who was present, and who wrote a flourishing
account of the weddings, which came out in the paper next morning. After
the ceremony at the church was over, we all adjourned to our own house,
where a reception was held and continued until a late hour. As my two
dear girls (as I always call them) stood before the altar, I could not
but reflect what their fate might have been had it not been for the
Providence of God, and for the fact that their parents managed to get
away from slavery, and gave them a good Christian education in a free
State of the North. Verily, the present generation of colored men and
maidens have something to be thankful for to that good Lord who sent the
war, destroyed slavery, and opened the doors for them to enter in, and
enjoy all the privileges that the white race possesses.

It is quite unnecessary for me to say that marriage is one of the
greatest events in human life, and that their marriage gave each one of
these four young people the most abundant joy. To still further enhance
the happiness of the young people it was decided that they should spend
their honeymoon upon the ocean, and in the British Isles, where some of
our ancestors had come from; and my husband and myself decided to go
with them for company, and have a good time generally. So all
preparations were made for our departure to pay this delightful visit to
John Bull and his Island, which made all feel as gay as birds.

Thursday morning came on apace—the day after their marriage—and we were
all in a great bustle and high excitement over our departure for Old
England, as it is called. Our trunks were packed, and all things made
ready for the journey and voyage before us. We understood that dear
mother and her devoted husband, Mr. Sutherland, were not going with us;
at least they had said nothing about doing so to the rest of us—I dare
say they intended to take us by surprise. And it was a surprise, indeed!
Because when we were almost ready to walk down the street to the railway
station, who came in smiling all over, but Mr. and Mrs. Sutherland! We
were so much surprised that we all set up a loud shout of joy; and the
more especially as they seemed to enjoy the fun as much as any of us. It
was a lively time that followed the next ten minutes, and we held quite
a jubilee on the subject. The minister of the church and his good lady
had come up to see us off, and a few other friends of the "inner circle"
of our acquaintances; and all things being now ready, we walked down the
street to the railway station, where we found all bustle and confusion.
But at last we secured our tickets, took a tender leave of our dear
friends on the platform, and having taken our seats we steamed away for
New York, where we were to take the boat for Liverpool, England. We shed
no tears on this occasion, because we all had to come back again in a
few months. There was nothing but delightful novelty and unexpected joy
before us, and therefore there was nothing for any of us to cry about
upon the present occasion.

The following letter which I wrote after our landing at Liverpool will
explain itself to the reader:

"LIVERPOOL, ENG., May, 1876.

"Rev. Mr. and Mrs. Carroll,

"My Dear Friends:—I am quite delighted to inform you that we have
crossed the broad Atlantic in perfect safety, and yesterday we landed at
the great seaport of Liverpool, where nothing seems to be talked about
but shipping and ships. We are all in splendid health and gay spirits,
and it is quite a pleasing change for us to be in a land where color is
unknown. We all send our best love to you both, to all your family, and
to our dear church on Vine street, where we hope to find ourselves again
in a few months, among the dear brothers and sisters there.

"We had quite a pleasant journey on the train all the way to New York,
where we arrived on scheduled time, and found our way to the private
hotel, where all things were in readiness for our reception. We spent a
portion of two days in walking about, and enjoying the sights of the
city, but the time rapidly rolled around for our embarkation, and we
went on board the ’Sarmatian,’ which is truly a splendid liner—indeed,
one of the finest boats on the North Atlantic. The ’Sarmatian’ is a
British vessel, and strange as it may appear so soon, the feeling was so
sweet and home-like upon this foreign ship that I could not but notice
it. Officers and sailors who have been reared in a land where prejudice
is unknown, are in no way interested about such paltry things as the
color of the skin. Seated upon this noble British ship, I felt even now
as if I were already in England!

"Indeed, we would all have quite forgotten that there was any such thing
as prejudice in any part of the world had we not been reminded of it on
board by the presence of a few Americans. But even they, on board a
British ship, were obliged to keep their personal feelings well covered
up; and here I may say, when we are abroad and traveling the wide, wide
world, you meet with nobody who objects to the color of your skin, but
somebody from some port of the United States! But even American
prejudice must die out, for all wickedness is subject to change, and God
Himself alone changeth never.

[Illustration: _FRED’K DOUGLASS, ROCHESTER, N. Y._]

"In glorious May weather, and in the presence of a tremendous concourse
of people, who had come down to the water’s edge to see us off, we
backed out into the North river at New York. The immense mixed multitude
standing on the pier had sent up one tremendous cheer after another,
waved their hats and handkerchiefs, and gave us a general grand
hurrahing time. We replied in like manner as we came slowly away at
first, accompanied by two or three tug-boats, that ventured out some
distance to grace our departure. No doubt the passengers on board of
them had friends and relatives on the Sarmatian.

"We settled down at once, and made ourselves at home in good earnest. We
were quite at home in our sweet, cozy little cabins, and the officers
and attendants were all that could be desired. We walked about the deck,
sat down to read or talk, and became acquainted with some of the most
delightful people on the face of the earth—most of them on errands of
pleasure, like ourselves. All were in high spirits, and anxious to visit
different parts of Europe—the British Isles, Germany, etc.

"We carried on much the same at sea as we do home on shore. I spent most
of my own time in conversation with our own party and other passengers,
with reading new books, and with watching the play of the wild waves of
the deep. Some slept a great deal of the voyage away, and others were
busy courting, and that continually. I am informed that an immense
number of marriages result from crossing the ocean every year. They get
acquainted on shipboard, and marry after they come to land. The very
seamen seem to be smitten by Cupid with a great love for the fair sex.
'Jack Tar’ finds many a fair sweetheart on shipboard. Here at Liverpool
you can soon see 10,000 of them walking about. A stranger in this mighty
'Modern Tyre’ would be led to fancy that there was nothing in the world
but sailors, ships and shipping. And who need wonder at it in the first
port of the whole world, with that ’Great Landing Stage’ at the entrance
to the Mersey—upwards of twenty miles of dock along the right bank of
the river, and ten thousand masts (10,000) hailing from every continent,
and all the islands of the Ocean!

"When you come to sea blessed with splendid health, and strength, and
vigorous life, with high-beating hope, and all things before your
imagination of the seven colors of the rainbow; when ’all hearts are
light, all eyes are bright, and nature’s face is gay’—then, indeed, you
are going to have a first-class time upon the rolling deep in the merry
month of May. Life on the ocean wave has really ten times more charms
than I am able to define. You must come to sea yourself to experience
it, for it is indeed far too much for my pen.

"The sea! the sea! The broad, blue sea! What a glorious thing it is to
look away as far as ever the eye can reach, and behold nothing but the
big, blue waves of the North Atlantic heaving up and down, while our
bold and plucky steamboat rushes fearlessly over those watery hills, and
the bright and beautiful sun pours his warm rays down upon the rolling
deep, and a fascinating and bewitching feeling floods upon your own
heart, and there begets a feeling of enthusiasm that no language can

"The porpoise is a lively fish, often seen from the deck of an Atlantic
steamboat, and we saw plenty of them rushing through the waves like
winged lightning. It was indeed a fine sight; but the best companions we
had all the way to the British Isles were the bold, brave sea-gulls,
that left the coast of America with us, and came all the way to
Liverpool. The sea-gull acts more like a human being than anything else
to which I can describe him; cavorting about all over the main, and then
coming down almost to the deck itself, to let you know that he is there,
and trying to make you feel at home on the ocean.

"There seemed to be no end of sweet, peaceful enjoyment; the weather
continued so fine all the way across the sea, our health was so good,
and we had such pleasant companions on all sides around, and nothing
happened to the ship to mar the general joy. It was, indeed, a downright
holiday, most thoroughly enjoyed by us all.

"The Sabbath-day came around, and there were two church services in the
Grand Saloon. We all went both times, which proved, as I thought at the
time, the greatest treat in our whole life. The singing, the prayers,
the sermons, and everything else combined to form a novelty that I am
again quite at a loss to explain.

"And yet there were many on board who never went to a church service at
sea, although it was the very joy of our lives, and a treat that turned
our gallant ship into a floating heaven on the deep. It is just the same
on shore. There are people who live next door to the church who never
enter its portals once in their lives.

"We spent a good deal of time watching for vessels on the ocean, and saw
plenty of them. We passed quite close to several, and spoke to a few.
Some of them came so near that we saw everything on deck, and that was
something when far from home.

"What a glorious sight it was to behold the red, red sun rising out of
the waves in the East every morning, like a great, big, round, red
cheese, and again to watch him at night going down in all his glory in
the West, like a red and fiery wheel, flooding all the main with the
splendor of his glory, as he sank down into his water bed! We used to
stand on the open deck, and watch the ’glorious god of day’ sink, sink,
sinking, till at last he quite disappeared from view. Then the
fair-faced silver moon, fair Luna, Queen of Night, arose in the East,
and flooded all the ocean with her silver shining that was laid so
entrancingly upon the rolling waves, whilst the thousand stars came out
in ones, and twos, and hundreds, and bestudded all the skies. Thus again
we would gather out upon the deck at night, and watch the starry
heavens, and the moon, and listen to the wild waves of the North
Atlantic rolling away, far and near; and when night came on, we found
ourselves pretty well worn out after another long and busy day. But we
slept well, as indeed we well might, for the good Lord and the sailors
were ever taking good care of us all and the brave Sarmatian was
battling her rapid way cross the North Atlantic.

"As I used to stand and muse upon the deck, it often occurred to my mind
how all the ancestors of the colored race in America had been borne over
the waves of the self-same North Atlantic over which we were now
sailing, though farther to the South. Over these waves, also, the great
Fred. Douglass had passed several times on his journeys to and from the
British Isles; for he is one of the great pillars of history, and has
filled the whole world with his fame. His renown is bright all over the

"Thus time passed on, day and night, and we all enjoyed ourselves to the
top of our bent; at the grand piano in the saloon, watching the play of
the wild waves of the rolling deep, etc., etc. The excitement in every
bosom began to rise as we drew near to the land, and when the old head
of Kinsale rose from the main in the southwest of Ireland, there was
truly a most tremendous flurry in every heart. And as the Sarmatian
passed rapidly along, one lofty, frowning headland after another rose
from the waves, reminding one of grand lofty church steeples placed at
intervals here and there; then the bold, precipitous coasts ran far away
back into some estuary or firth, at the head of which a river came
pouring down from the interior of the land. A heavy summer shower of
rain came up all of a sudden, after which the sun burst out with
indescribable splendor, and a mighty rainbow stood over the entire
convex of heaven, with its great feet like elephant’s legs, deep down in
the ocean. Our American sea-gulls came bravely on, and in Irish waters
were met by Irish sea-gulls, and countless wild sea-mews.

"The excitement that began when we passed the Old Head at Kinsale did
not subside. It went on, grew and increased hour after hour, as we
called at Queenstown, and then moved on to Liverpool. Nothing was now
thought of nor talked about but John Bull and his Island—Britannia, the
Pride of the Ocean, the home of the brave and the free! We noticed that
we were no longer upon the big, blue waves of the North Atlantic, but
ploughing our rapid way across the shallower green seas of the British
Isles—quite a pleasant change in its way, after so much blue, because
nature’s green is a beautiful color.

"It was time for us to go to bed, as we approached St. George’s Channel,
that divides Ireland from Wales; but we were all up and fresh, and
bright as buttons in the morning, when Holyhead, the Isle of Anglesea,
and the bold mountains of North Wales arose almost perpendicular out of
the Irish Sea, and dipped their feet, deep, deep into the waves.

"The excitement on board now among us all was simply dreadful! We were
so near home, and yet not quite there! Hundreds of ships in all
directions were moving about over all the sea; and no wonder, because we
were close to the doors of one of the most famous queen seaports that
this world has ever seen. At last we came up in front of the City of
Liverpool, and having a tremendous traffic in full view, and here we had
to lie till two o’clock in the afternoon, when the tide would be full,
and we could cross the bar of the Mersey. We crossed the bar in due
time, and got into that famous river, came up to the Great Landing Stage
where we landed in great excitement, for here at last was John Bull and
his Island!

"Having landed and passed the custom-house officers, we procured cabs
and drove to our appointed quarters in the city, where we received a
most hearty welcome upon our arrival, and were ushered into our rooms,
and we never felt more thoroughly at home in our lives. The good people
seemed determined to make us feel all right, and to make a good
impression on the Americans. The English tea time, 5 P. M., drew nigh,
and we had toast and tea, with jams, etc., in the regular English
fashion. It was delightful to have all things so nice in a foreign way.
The fire was also delightful in the open grate, and that also looked
most cheerful. Pictures of Queen Victoria and the royal family hung from
the walls, and battle scenes by land and sea, and landscape pictures
powerfully reminded us that we were now under the British flag, and in
another part of the world.

"After tea, we walked out to view the city, the river, the mighty
traffic of this modern Tyre, and 10,000 seamen talking far more
languages than we knew anything about. Thus several days and nights
passed away, and we found the people one of the most delightful in the
world—frank, free, open-hearted and generous and hospitable to a fault.
I am told that there is not a heartier people on the face of the earth
than the half million inhabitants of Liverpool, and so far as my
experience goes that is quite true. We accepted several invitations, and
had glorious times among these people; we ran the whole town and saw
many places of great interest and beauty. But from fifteen to twenty
miles of dock, the busy river and the Great Landing Stage almost took
our breath away. It is worth crossing the Atlantic to see the far-famed
city of Liverpool!

"Everybody saw and knew that we had a wedding party along with us, and,
indeed, my two daughters and their husbands were just like so many birds
set free, when once they got ashore. Like the spirited singing birds of
the British Isles, there was no end to their hilarity; and it was
delightful to see them. Our entire party were very favorably impressed
with all that we both heard and saw, and everybody was so very polite to
us, and agreeable in all their ways. We now began to make excursions to
see some of the fine sights of ’Old England,’ and some of the grand
castles and palaces of fame and renown. What seemed to impress us all
most was the smooth, lawn-like appearance of the whole fair-faced
country, which is the most polished upon the face of the earth.
Beautiful England, indeed, reminds me of a well-cultivated garden, and
it looks like a great garden, and nothing else. The houses and grounds
of some of the nobility are flung open for the inspection of foreign
visitors, and truly they are a delight to behold, with all their flower
gardens, conservatories of plants, playing fountains, and other
attractions too numerous to mention. Go where we might, nothing seemed
more gratifying to our feelings than the polite attention and fine
manners of all those with whom we came in contact. The sights and scenes
round about us, and so much to charm the senses in a foreign land, in
the delightful month of May, delighted us to the core, and made us think
of the Garden of Eden, and the fabled, golden regions of the blessed.
The stately homes of England—how beautiful they stand!—amidst the tall,
ancestral trees, o’er all the pleasant land! Such is England, that has
been polished for 1,000 years, till polishing can do no more!

"All the world has heard of ’Beautiful Wales,’ and we determined to pass
a few weeks among her enchanting scenery. We visited the Vale of
Llangollen, the Vale of Clwyd, the Vale of Conway, saw Bettws-y-Coed,
the Pass of Llanberis, and, indeed, the best things in all North Wales,
including lakes, rivers, waterfalls, and glorious romance without end.
The warm-hearted, impulsive Welsh people almost carried us all off our
feet with their unbounded enthusiasm, and the tremendous warmth of their
welcome. They are the greatest singers in the world. Indeed, all Wales
is one sea of song, and they sing well, and they even dearly love to
sing. They are a God-fearing race, and we never heard a Welshman
swear—no, not even once. Here was something for our young people to
learn, for it was so sweet to hear the name of the Lord mentioned only
in terms of praise. Wales always reminded our entire party of the
'Delectable Mountains’ of the Pilgrim’s Progress, for the Welsh
mountains were delightful to us.

"After we got through with all we cared about seeing in ’Beautiful
Wales,’ and among its warm-hearted people, we next moved away to the
North to become somewhat acquainted with what is truly called ’Bonnie
Scotland.’ We passed around the highlands and the islands of that
romantic country, and beheld the famous lakes and the lofty mountains,
her deep waterfalls and historic straits and glens. We visited the land
of Burns, in the South, or Lowlands, saw Edinburgh and Glasgow, and the
home of Sir Walter Scott, on the Lower Tweed. Of a truth, Scotland is a
beautiful, enchanting and enchanted land, and her warm-hearted,
enthusiastic people stamp their impress on the hearts of all those who
visit them, for all coming time.

We found the whole of the British Isles overrun with tourists in the
summer time; but few failed to see Scotland, which has filled the whole
world with its fame. There is something so peculiarly romantic about the
'Scotch Borders,’ that our heads were almost turned, and where all the
land seemed to be enchanted ground. Sweet Moffat and its grand
surroundings can never be forgotten, nor the impression that they made
on all our hearts. We also descended the beautiful Esk river, from
Langholm, till we came to headwaters upon Eskdalemoor, where the
intelligent and hospitable people are mostly shepherds, and, like all
the rest of the Scotch, most exemplary in their attendance at church.
The parish minister is the Rev. John C. Dick, and we were royally
entertained by him to tea at the manse, and we had a good time

"After leaving Scotland, we made our way over to Ireland, saw Belfast,
Dublin, Cork, the Lakes of Killarney, and, indeed, the best of all that
was to be seen in the Emerald Isle. I don’t know whether a people can be
too enthusiastic and warm-hearted, but if they can, these are the Irish
at home.

"My good friend and brother, I began this long letter upon landing at
Liverpool, in May. It is now September, 1876. We have all come back to
Liverpool—to our first quarters here. We have had a glorious time roving
over the British Isles these four eventful months. We intend to embark
to-morrow on the ’Scotia’ for New York. I intend to keep a journal on
our voyage, and yourself and lady shall have a reading of it at once. We
are all quite well, and, indeed, the trans-Atlantic trip has had the
most salutary influence upon the health of our entire party. My next
greatest desire is to return home to Buffalo, and we all hope to visit
the British Isles at some future day, if God our lives shall spare. With
our united love to yourself, lady and all other friends, I am yours in
all Christian affection.



_Eminent Colored Men and Women—Bishop Daniel E. Payne—Frederick
Douglass—His Life and Times—Mrs. Frances Ellen Harper—Miss Louise de

One of the hardest things in the world is to keep down a man who is
determined to rise. He comes up like a plant of spontaneous growth, and
the more we try to keep him down, the more he will persevere in his
determination to stand upon his own feet like other men. This was often
shown in the days before the war, when the bold, intrepid slave, who
clearly saw that the whole system was wrong, made up his mind at least
to be free, and the next thing we hear of him is a daring and successful
attempt to shake off the chains of slavery, through his successful
escape to the free States of the North, or to Canada, or even to Europe.

But this determined spirit to at least be free, did not confine itself
merely to such adventurous and successful escapes, but assumed the form
of acquiring an education also; and no better illustration of this can
be given than that of the late Bishop Daniel E. Payne, of the A. M. E.
Church, who was born in South Carolina, in the year 1811. The heinous
system of slavery in that rebellious State treated as a crime the
teaching of any slave or free colored person whatsoever. But Daniel E.
Payne had an unquenchable thirst for knowledge, and in order to flank
the evil system that then prevailed, and to gain that knowledge to which
he was as much entitled as the President of the United States himself,
he procured the assistance of a friendly white man, who taught him in a
cellar, where neither friend nor foe could see what they were doing.
Daniel was an apt and clever student, and above all things, as the Bible
says, "He had a mind to work," and an enthusiastic mind at that. It did
not take this young hero long to take in the entire situation regarding
slave lands and slavery when once his mind had begun to expand. Like
Moses and many other famous leaders, the Lord had work for him to do,
and he was preparing him for it at this time.

Young Payne saw that South Carolina was no place for him, and that the
first duty he owed to himself was to get away as best he could, to the
Northern States, where he could enjoy his own manly and manful rights.
As fortune favors the brave, he succeeded in making his escape, and his
freedom being now secure, he made all due haste to become that eminent
scholar, who was destined by the will of God, to become a leader and an
instructor of his people. He connected himself with the A. M. E. Church,
and through and by means of that powerful body he did mighty things for
the education of his own people, both before the war and after it. He
has justly been called "The Apostle of Education," and what the great
Fred. Douglass was in the political world, Daniel E. Payne was in the
educational and intellectual world. Such a man as Bishop Payne should be
revered as a philanthropist for all coming time. The colored race will
never be able to say that they are out of his debt. At last he was made
a bishop of his own church, and became the head of Wilberforce
University, in Ohio—a glorious institution that had made itself felt by
its influence over all this nation. Bishop Payne was sent to Europe for
a time in the interest of his church, and his high qualities were
everywhere honored by the Christian and scholars across the Atlantic.

Thus we see in Daniel Payne a diamond in the rough, in the slave State
of South Carolina, but by the predetermined will of God, brought to the
free North and polished, as it were, by the hand of the jeweler. We see
all the work that the great Creator had given him to do, and how well he
did it, too. And what we have said of Payne could as well be said of
thousands of others—men in whom the spirit of right and ambition dwells;
men who ever forge to the front: men whom God helps, because He sees
that they are also willing to help themselves.


We next come to the far-famed and highly-celebrated Frederick Douglass,
renowned over all the earth wherever honest worth is appreciated and
valued by the civilized sons and daughters of Adam. The name of "Fred.
Douglass," as he is affectionately called, stands out in alto-relief
with that of John Bunyan, George Washington, and some few others who
carry fame and goodness with them at one and the same time. Nobody seems
to be jealous of them nor envy them, for their fame is far beyond the
reach of jealousy or envy. It would be a difficult thing to find a
village, valley or an isle of any ocean on the face of the globe where
the familiar endearing name of Fred. Douglass has not been heard. The
children growing up at their mothers’ knees have learned to lisp it as a
name to be revered; and when they grow up to man’s estate, nothing will
content them until they have read the life of the famous Fred. Douglass.

The opinion, or rather the belief, has prevailed in America that Fred.
Douglass was the son of a white father and colored mother, and that
white father has been supposed to have been his owner. But in the
history of his own life and times, published a few years ago, Douglass
positively affirms that both his parents were colored, and for my own
part I believe that to be the truth. As men like Fred. Douglass are very
few and far between, the wish among many of the anti-slavery school, at
least, seems to have been father to the thought that so clever a man
could never have been the offspring of colored parents, but that his
father, at least, must have been white. Not so, by any means! Fred.
himself makes it quite plain that his father and mother were both
colored, and he tells us all about it in his usual modest way.

Fred. Douglass was born in the region called Tuckahoe Neck, in Talbot
county, on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, in the year 1817. There is
something unusually sad and plaintive about the way in which the poor
child was separated from his own father and mother, and how he came up
on the rough side of the mountain of slavery. The poor lad was subjected
not only to the purest barbarities, but had to undergo treatment that
may be called sheer cowardice on the part of his tormentors. Well might
the Prophet exclaim, "How long, O Lord, how long?" Whilst he was a boy,
growing up at Baltimore, his mistress kindly taught him his letters, and
went some way in giving him further instructions, till at last his
master advised her to stop teaching him, as such things and slavery did
not work well together. No, indeed! They did not work well together,
especially in the heart and soul of a boy like Fred., who already began
to look into the workings of the curse of slavery. To stop Fred. from
learning was now impossible. One might as well dam up a mountain rill
with one’s hands—it would simply flow over the top of them, or round
about them. Nature will have her way, and the great Creator had
implanted the germ of liberty in the boy’s heart, whose growth was not
to be kept down. After many ups and downs on the Eastern and Western
Shores of Maryland, when our hero had arrived at about the age of
twenty-one, in the year 1838, he resolved to make a bold stroke for
liberty; and accordingly, being dressed up like a sailor, he took the
train at Baltimore for Philadelphia, luckily escaping detection, and
having successfully run the gauntlet by the way, he landed upon the
platform of the Quaker City all right. But he did not consider himself
safe even here; so he left Philadelphia, still dressed in his sailor’s
suit, and came on to the city of New York.

"Arise! Shine forth; for thy light has come, and the glory of the Lord
has risen upon thee!" Thus said the Prophet, and Fred. Douglass, in his
last book—the history of his life and times—almost sets up a perfect
yell of delight at having escaped from the horrors of slavery and being
a free man. The few days he spent in New York City among the friends of
the free must have been a perfect spring-time of life to him—free, free,
free, as the wild waves of the deep! Free to go where he pleased, and to
read and study what he liked. Our glorious youthful Fred.—this splendid,
well-built, stout-bodied young man of twenty-one, did a very sensible
thing whilst in New York. He had a lady-love at Baltimore, a free young
woman of color named Anna: but before he moved a step further he sent
for her to come on to New York City. So to New York she came, and here
the interesting young couple were married. This, indeed, was a very
lively stroke of business on the part of Frederick, but he was now at
the golden age of twenty-one; it was best for him to marry now, because
it would give him something to live and toil for, and also "give ballast
to his ship of life." The Great Creator and his daughter "Nature" made
no mistakes. My own marriage with my own beloved Tom has been no
failure. We have never repented of it, either of us. We could have done
no better. And so it was with Fred. Douglass and his beloved Anna, from
Baltimore. There never was a more manly bridegroom than he. Above all
things he was a Christian and a gentleman, in the very essence of his
nature; a man of lofty honor and principle, and with such a man as that
a young woman is forever in safety.

All this time, 1838, the Abolitionists were under full swing, led on by
William Lloyd Garrison, of Massachusetts, and backed up by all those who
beheld the dawn of freedom on the Eastern horizon. Garrison’s paper,
"The Liberator," sent forth its blasts all over the Northern States; but
the North at that time abode in thick darkness as to the rights of
colored men to freedom on the self-same footing with themselves. And not
only did thick darkness cover the land, but entire legions and hosts of
the people were almost as much prejudiced upon the slave question as the
slave-holders of the South. They had no more idea of the grand,
self-elevating capabilities of the colored race than the child that was
unborn; and the ignorant masses of white people were certainly unwilling
to give them a chance. And our poor, dear Fred., now a married man, had
just to stand his chances, and run his risks with the rest, while the
untutored North was in such a crude and chaotic state. Therefore, on
account of the presence of so much ignorance and prejudice against men
of color in New York City, the friends of freedom considered it unsafe
for Frederick Douglass to remain there any longer, and advised him to
move on to New Bedford, in Massachusetts, where he would at least be out
of danger. We can never forget the honored name of Mr. David Ruggles, a
colored gentleman of New York City, in connection with these events. It
was he who mainly took charge of our hero and his wife in New York City,
and sent them on to New Bedford. And when they arrived in New Bedford,
they were met by one Mr. Nathan Johnson, a very intelligent and
industrious colored man, a warm friend of theirs, who advanced them a
sum of money to redeem their baggage, which was held for fare. He
advised Fred. to drop the name of Fred. Lloyd, and to call himself
"Fred. Douglass," as he (Nathan Johnson) had lately been reading of
Douglass, in Sir Walter Scott’s novels, relating to Scotland and the

Being now in possession of his freedom, having a sweet young wife and a
home of his own, he had something to live for! Douglass had learned the
trade of the ship-builder, at Baltimore, but was unable to work at that
trade at New Bedford, on account of the prejudices of the white workmen
there against color, for had he taken his tools in among them and gone
to work, they would all at once have stopped work and left the yard.
Such was the character of even Northern men in the year 1838, but
Douglass was not the man to flinch. He was strong, hardy and handy at
almost everything. If he could not do one thing he could do another; and
therefore he picked up a living at anything that presented itself to

The whole colored race are preeminently inquiring, and possess a thirst
and love for knowledge in the very highest degree. Fred. Douglass was a
splendid specimen of this noble trait of character. Being now his own
master, he literally devoured knowledge, and his splendid intellect
expanded, flourished and grew on apace like the growth of vegetation in
the tropics. He was no longer watched, or almost murdered, if he was
found with a book in his hand! He was no longer the so-called "property"
of a fellow calling himself his "owner," who robbed him of his week’s
wages, and then pretended to make him a present of a quarter of his own
money to treat himself with! Oh, dear me, no! No more of that for him!
When this brave young man, this hero of twenty-one had done his day’s
work, he came home to his beloved Anna at his cosy home in New Bedford,
and after he had his supper, the way was clear for a grand time reading
"The Liberator," which William Lloyd Garrison sent out every week, and
that fired the warm, receptive mind and heart of young Fred., so that
his fame as a brilliant conversationalist and a well-read man, spread
rapidly throughout the town. He had been often listened to as an
exhorter and unusually fervid speaker at the colored Methodist Church in
the town, and all men with sharp eyes perceived that another star had
risen in the intellectual heavens, and that some circumstance or other
would bring him to the front some day. And it came to pass as they had

In New Bedford Mr. Douglass had attended several meetings in defence of
the poor, oppressed slave; and there he had heard the most unmitigated
denunciation of the whole infamous system of slavery. The eloquent,
burning language of the speakers went home to his heart. In the summer
of 1841, when Douglass was twenty-four years old, an anti-slavery
convention was to be held at Nantucket, Massachusetts, a place not far
from New Bedford, and the convention would be under the management of
the famous William Lloyd Garrison, whose weekly paper, "The Liberator,"
Douglass had been devouring week by week with such unwonted avidity. He
determined to take a little respite from his hard work in the brass
foundry, and attend this gathering of anti-slavery people. There was a
great assemblage of people at Nantucket. The fires of enthusiasm on
behalf of the oppressed slave burned hot and high. In the midst of the
vast audience here assembled, there was one Mr. Wm. C. Coffin, who had
heard the eloquent and burning words of Frederick Douglass as he
harangued the little audiences of the colored Methodist Church in New
Bedford. Mr. Coffin sought out our unknown hero, and gave him such a
vigorous invitation to speak that his hesitancy, and bashfulness, and
backwardness were all entirely overcome, and Fred. Douglass, nothing
daunted, now mounted the platform, and made such an oration as filled
every thinking man and woman with astonishment. His simple, burning tale
of his own wrongs and experiences completely swept his audience away,
and like the Queen of Sheba, there seemed to be no more spirit left in
them. Fred. Douglass had come to stay!

The name and fame of Fred. Douglass arose like a brilliant and new star
in the heavens. He began to travel and lecture in different parts of the
New England States, and paid visits to other sections of the North. His
noble presence and splendid eloquence drew the eyes and ears of the
whole country. His great name crossed the Atlantic, and spread
throughout the British Isles. His powerful pen, in the columns of "The
Liberator," and elsewhere, added still further to his fame. Everybody
who hated and detested slavery desired to see him and to hear him speak.
He was a power in the anti-slavery party, and he himself laid the axe
most willingly with all his might and main. The question arose, "If one
colored man can do so much, what can the whole race do, if they were set
at liberty?" On account of the rising excitement all over the land on
the slavery question, in the year 1845, the friends of Mr. Douglass sent
him to England. In crossing the North Atlantic the passengers called
upon him to make a speech on the question of slavery, and he complied.
There were several gentlemen on board who most violently objected to any
such attacks on their holy (!) institution of slavery; but the captain
was master of his own vessel, and put down that Southern mutiny with a
strong hand. These pro-slavery gentlemen tried to justify their conduct
afterwards in the London papers; but John Bull would not hear them, and
it was simply a splendid advertisement for the fair name and fame of Mr.

For two years he travelled the British Isles, speaking upon the subject
of American slavery. He was received well everywhere, and the fine
spreading plains of Old England, the beautiful valleys of Wales, the
green fields of Ireland, and the bold mountains of Scotland, all rang
with the illustrious name of Fred. Douglass.

Such a man as he was did not belong to the colored race alone, and to
the United States; he belonged to the whole world, and to all races.
Such men can never be appropriated by one people, but they are, indeed,
the common property of all. Douglass returned home, and founded a paper
called "The North Star." He moved to Rochester, N. Y., and there he and
his family took up their abode. The glorious work for the destruction of
slavery went on, grew and increased, and at last brought on the war of
secession, and freedom likewise for the entire enslaved race. Mr.
Douglass then removed to Washington, and was honored with high offices
in the services of his native country. He had the misfortune of losing
his darling Anna, though after five years he married again, and went on
a wedding tour to Europe and the East, this being his third voyage
across the ocean. He died at Washington in February, 1895, at the age of
seventy-eight—no very great age, but then he had done the work of ten
men, and that wears human life rapidly away.

Thousands of eminent men have arisen from the ranks of the colored race
since 1865, and thousands are now upon their feet also. Their names have
reached the ends of the earth. But Fred. Douglass was early in the
field, and he was a very, very bright particular star. Like John Bunyan,
George Washington, and some few others, he shines for all time, and for
the entire human race. He did a mighty work for God and humanity. Of all
those illustrious men who have been born of women, there has never
arisen a greater man, in all the annals of time, than our congenial
friend and brother, Fred. Douglass.

My dear reader, I have given but short sketches of two eminent colored
men who elevated themselves head and shoulder above their fellows, for
the purpose of showing what the race can do. And I could go on to any
length in the same strain, and pick out and describe other eminent men
whose fame has reached the ends of the earth, though not in the same
degree, as Fred. Douglass. But I need not dwell further here in showing
what we can do, especially now that we are set free. Though the whole
world freely admits that we have done well, and very well, still, we are
only now at the threshold of our advancement, for it is only thirty odd
years since the close of the war. But in that short time we have beaten
every other race in the way of progress, and the sun is only yet one
hour above the horizon. By and by we shall have the full noon-day.

I have mentioned Fred. Douglass and Daniel E. Payne, and it is only just
that a couple of other representative women should be singled out, to
show what our women can do. We have had no bright, particular star among
the gentler sex, like Fred. Douglass among men; but still the colored
race, like other peoples, can certainly boast of a splendid galaxy of
eminent and clever women, who only lacked better education and wider and
greater opportunities to shine more than they did. The women have so far
not had the same chances as the men, but they are getting them now, and
they are coming to the front one by one—coming out, one here and another
there, like the bright stars of the night. High-schools and colleges of
all kinds are now thrown open for our daughters, and wherever there are
genius and ability they will forge to the front, and make themselves

Contemporaneous with Bishop Daniel E. Payne and Fred. Douglass we
mention the name of Mrs. Frances Ellen Harper, who was born in
Baltimore, Md., in the year 1825. Her home for many years has been the
Queen City of Philadelphia. Mrs. Harper is a noble woman among women,
and impresses all comers with her unusual natural sweetness, and
graceful, lady-like ways. There is a deal of magnetism about her that
attracts all those who hear her sweet, well-trained voice, and that
draws us towards her by the comeliness of her graceful presence. We have
all heard of "a bundle of love," but Mrs. Frances Harper is a bundle of
natural and cultivated intellect, and of refined and polished manners.
Her sweetness draws us to her, like the charming and fragrant rose in
the flower garden. Born during the reign of slavery, when days were dark
and friends were few, she did not have a right and proper opportunity of
getting an early education, as the young ladies are getting to-day. But
all the same, the great Creator gave her talents, and she has had a
thirst for knowledge and a mind to work. This, indeed, is half the
battle, and sometimes much more than half. Mrs. Harper applied herself
most vigorously to study as she was growing up in her teens, and by the
time she had come to woman’s estate she was well educated. (Thus we see
that nobody need despair of becoming well educated, for we can all learn
if we only have pluck and ambition, and patience and perseverance with
them to forge to the front, like the lady in question). This eminent
woman soon became widely known for her brilliant talents, and all her
sweet, lady-like graces, and admonished all Abolitionists and
anti-slavery people what our race could do if they were once freed from
their shackles!

Mrs. Harper possessed a great natural fondness for poetry, which she
proceeded early to cultivate, so that she had become well-known for her
sweet effusions in that line, and they have been published far and wide
throughout the world, and prove that we have "birds of song" among us as
well as others. She has written some pieces possessing much merit. She
has a great natural facility for writing, and reminds me of a clause in
Deborah’s song of triumph in the fifth chapter of the Book of Judges,
"Out of Zabulun came down those who handle the pen of the writer." For a
facile, easy pen, Mrs. Frances Ellen Harper is a perfect Zabulunite, for
she has shown that she also can handle the pen of the writer.

This gifted lady has also been a bright and shining light on the lecture
platform, and, indeed, has appeared on many of the leading platforms of
the nation, and crowned herself with honor and glory. She has proved to
the whole world that a woman can do mighty deeds as well as man. There
was a dark and doleful time in this world’s history when a woman was
regarded as little more than a mere serf, for man’s will and pleasure
everywhere. But those dark ages have passed away, and women have
advanced to the front line, and taken their rightful places in the
world. Mrs. Harper is a living proof of this nobility among women, and
she has done yeoman service in trying to elevate her sisters of the
colored race. Her splendid services will never be forgotten by either
this generation or the generations to come. "Well done, good and
faithful servant; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord!"

Louise de Mortie, of Norfolk, Va., was born of free parents in that
place in the year 1833. As she was not allowed to receive an education
at the home of her youth, she decided to go to Boston, where she could
get one. It was in the year 1853 that she took up her residence in that
city, when she was twenty years of age, with life and all its
opportunities before her in a free State. At once she took a vigorous
hold, and availed herself of all favoring opportunities that presented
themselves. She was a young maiden of great personal beauty, and
possessed a sweet disposition and a most remarkably good memory. She
took very high standing as a pupil in the schools and seminaries of
Boston, and made a whole host of friends, won over by her graces and

In 1862 she came out as a public reader, and shone like a very brilliant
star. She showed that she was a perfect elocutionist by birth, and had
been polished like a rich jewel. Her natural beauty and personal graces,
engaging manners and richly-toned voice, drew the eyes of the whole
country. Just as she had come to be well-known, she heard of the great
destitution among the colored orphans at New Orleans at the close of the
war. Hither she hastened, and in 1867 raised funds to build an asylum
for the colored people of that city. This she did in her spirit of
Christian love, and she won the hearts of all those who beheld her, like
another angel of mercy, at her good works. But the yellow fever struck
her down on the 10th of October of the above year, 1867, when she said
so touchingly, "I belong to God, our Father," and then expired. Thus was
this brave young woman cut off in her thirty-fourth year. But she lived
long enough to show to others a brilliant example that will never be


_Our First Great Men and Women—New Lights to the Front—Our Own Humble
Beginning in 1865—Cleanliness and Industry—Music and Song—Immense
Progress in Education, and a Mighty Advance Along the Whole Line—The
Rapid Increase of Wealth—The Crime of Lynching—The Church and
Sunday-School—The Colored Man’s Right to Vote, and to Rule the Nation._

Though I have only sketched the lives of two most eminent members of
color, and two famous women of the same race, I must confess that I feel
greatly tempted to go on with the subject, and speak of many others,
some of whom have gone to their reward, and others remain alive unto the
present day. At first sight the general reader might imagine that those
first bright stars that shone in our intellectual firmament were
brighter than the talented men and women whom we can see at this day and
hour, walking up and down our streets, and shining like suns in their
different professions, doing splendid service in elevating the colored
race in America. We had Fred. Douglass, Bishop Payne, Mrs. Frances Ellen
Harper, and some other bright, particular stars, who shone with
apparently unusual brilliancy some fifty or sixty years ago, and they
have been set down for the seven wonders of the world (Fred. Douglass,
at least, was a genuine wonder for all time). But while we are inclined
to look upon these worthies as towering geniuses, and most extraordinary
lights in the heavens in but recently bye-gone days, we forget that the
thick darkness that surrounded them went a long way in making their
brilliance and splendor appear far brighter than they really were. This
is quite true of all races, and is no detraction whatever from the real
merits that were justly their own. I am safe in saying that 10,000
clever colored men and women, representing all the different arts and
professions, could be picked out at this day, who would have passed for
stars of the first magnitude, had they made their appearance upon the
stage of time some fifty or sixty years ago. To shine to the same extent
of brilliancy and glory nowadays would indeed be a very difficult
matter, when the whole United States is flooded with a great tide of
knowledge that was never known before.

In these happy days of ours knowledge covers the land, as the waters
cover the seas. It is perfectly laughable for me now to look back and
remember the taunting expressions that were flung upon our dear people,
saying that we had no originality, and that we could never rise above
being mere imitators of the white man! In those days our people were in
slavery, and had no opportunities of showing what they were capable of
doing. But now we are free, and we can all go to school, and education
can polish us like other races, in the same way as we polish the block
of marble, and cut out the precious jewels of all descriptions. If we
leave a diamond in its rude, rough state, like the colored race in the
dark days of slavery, that diamond will continue to be rude and rough
still; but place the precious stone in the hand of the jeweler, and we
shall soon behold a bright and shining precious stone, indeed. It was
not only cruel, but it was cowardly to taunt a whole race of people with
incapacity and lack of talent, when our enemies had our hands tied, and
were unwilling to give us a chance. But by the grace of God, and the
blood of the Americans, both white and black, we are now all free, and
thousands upon thousands of our dear people have acquired splendid
educations, in all the different professions and walks of life, and they
have proved to the whole world, both men and women, that there is talent
and genius among our sons and daughters who have forged to the front,
who are self-made men and women, indeed—men and women who have risen
from the ranks, just the same as officers and commanders start up from
the ranks in the time of war.

My dear reader, we are often told that poverty is no disgrace, but that
it is very inconvenient. Which is all true, indeed, too true; and what
is still worse, it often cannot be helped. In days not so long since
gone by, we used to be taunted with poverty, but if we had no
possessions of our own in the days of slavery, we at least, like the
apostle Paul, made others rich, and it was our oppressed people who
built up the Sunny South—the richest section of the United States before
the war. If we had had all the wealth that was thus stolen away from us
and given to those who led on the great rebellion, we would never had
been turned loose with nothing in our hands in 1865, and to begin life
anew at the lowermost round of the ladder of prosperity. It is very true
that even in the days of slavery there were colored men scattered over
all the free States of the Union, many of whom had amassed vast sums of
money, and who were invariably treated with great respect and honor by
white people because they were rich. So long as they had plenty of money
it was all right, and there was nothing either thought or said about the
color of their skin. But if the whole race of colored people in the
South were turned loose with nothing in 1865, they have at least made in
the aggregate immense sums of money since then, and devoted it all to
those noble purposes whereby the entire race has been raised up and
elevated in the scale of nations. Above all other causes, religion and
education have been thus spread all over the land, the money being
supplied by a willing people, whose good natural inclination to give has
never been surpassed, and very seldom equalled by any race under the
sun. Immense sums of money have been put away in savings banks, and
property in land is a noble feature of the wisdom of our people in the

Take the more than 8,000,000 colored people all over the Union, and
behold what a vast number own their own houses, and have money to their
credit stored up in banks against a rainy day. And then see the comfort,
cleanliness and order to be observed everywhere in an untold number of
dwellings. The colored race are unusually fond of cleanliness and order
in their nice and cosy snug homes, when they can get them; and take the
United Stages all over to-day, it is most astonishing to behold such a
number of beautiful and comfortable homes as there are. I think, dear
reader, that our own people taken as a whole, have been both industrious
and thrifty since the close of the war, and, as the Bible tells us, they
have succeeded in building up the walls of Jerusalem, because they have
had a mind to work. Wherever there is a will there is a way. It is all
very true that some among us are extravagant, lazy, shiftless, but that
is quite true of the white race, too, only I think more so, and we never
condemn a whole race for the faults of a few.

[Illustration: _STATUE OF LIBERTY._]

Let us then judge fairly, and award to the colored race what belongs to
them by right. As in the days of slavery, so at the present day it is
the colored man who still extracts the wealth from the soil of the
South, partly for himself, and partly for the white man. He can stand
the heat of the sun far better than the white tiller of the soil, and it
seems that the rich white man would rather have him than the other. In
the days of slavery we had to do the best we could. We had no Vanderbilt
palaces to live in then. But now we have at least lots of comforts—nice
furniture, carpets, pictures hanging from our walls, whole libraries on
our book-shelves, and hundreds of other things too numerous to mention.

[Illustration: _GRANT’S TOMB._]

Music and song are more or less bound up with the history of every
nation of which we have ever heard or read. Away back in the dark night
of slavery in America, the slaves in the field used to sing their
mournful, plaintive, yet musical ditties to lighten their heavy labors,
and cheer up their hearts. These ditties were songs and prayers at one
and the same time. In the day of his distress, the African never forgot
the God who brought Israel out of Egypt, and we know quite well that
many of our own people confidently expected that day of happy
deliverance that came at last to all. Therefore they sang praises unto
the Lord, God of Israel, and, like the Psalmist, they prayed and sang at
the same time; and we have it plainly on record that they had powerful
lungs and most wonderfully rich voices, showing in advance what great
and famous singers they would become if their musical talents were only
fully developed like others. I have already spoken of the "Jubilee
Minstrels," who were mostly born in slavery, many of whom indeed "came
up by the rough side of the mountain," and yet who possessed such a
wealth of music and song within themselves that they surprised the whole
country, and even crossed the North Atlantic, and rendered themselves
illustrious for all coming time by performing and singing before Queen
Victoria, the grandees and general population of the British Isles, and
some of the royal families, and magnates and peoples of continental
Europe. This was honor, indeed, with a vengeance! Old England and all
the rest cared nothing for the color of the skin. They all at once set
their seals upon the wonderful talents of the colored race in the
musical line, and there was rejoicing among Freedom’s friends over all
the earth.

The time would fail to mention the names of all those eminent singers
who have made themselves illustrious in these latter years in this
country, and not in this country alone, but they have crossed the wide
oceans in ships, and sung before the admiring audiences of many a
foreign land. But among all these great singers of our race who have
thus distinguished themselves, I will simply mention the name of Miss
Flora Batson, who has justly been called the "Jenny Lind of America,"
and she can sing, indeed, before any audience in this nation—a veritable
nightingale and queen of song. But leaving her and a whole host of other
warblers on one side, there is a grandeur in singing of our church
members and congregations on the Sabbath-day that has become the
standing wonder of the country; and it is my own deliberate opinion, and
the openly-confessed opinion of many of the white race, that for music
and song, at least, we have no equals in the United States.

I think we may safely claim that not only can we play and sing, but we
can play and sing well, there arising from the great congregation a
grand volume of music and song that reminds me of the "voice of many
waters," mentioned in the Revelations—a volume of song rising from
powerful lungs, and helped on by the warm feelings and enthusiasm of the
race. And as our oppressed forefathers whiled away the long hours in the
field, and lightened their labors by singing, so our people nowadays
bring home the latest new hymn or fine anthem of praise, and sing them
at home to brighten up their domestic cares, and find a vent for that
joyous nature and devotional enthusiasm for which the colored race are
famed over all the earth.

The greatest blot at the present time upon the fair fame and name of the
internal and domestic doings of the United States, as it appears to me,
is lynching. And this lynching is not confined to any particular race,
or any particular crime, but we find, to a greater or less degree, all
over the land, from the Lakes to the Gulf, a mob spirit among the people
to take the law into their own hands, whenever any flagrant breach of
law occurs, and hang their victim on the nearest tree. The mob is
unwilling to leave the matter in the hands of the regularly constituted
authorities, and proceeds to murder the supposed criminal in its own
way. I say supposed criminal, because the man they are hunting after is
often not the right man at all; an innocent man is put to death, and the
guilty man escapes. It has also been proven beyond the shadow of a
doubt, because we have "all seen the records of the same in the public
papers at the time, that white men have been in the habit of blackening
their faces when about to commit some heinous offence, and thus try to
produce the impression that the guilty party was a colored man, and not
a white man at all! Cases have thus occurred where innocent colored men
have been lynched, and the real criminals made their escape by simply
discoloring their faces. There is hardly a week passes but we find the
hurrying mobs themselves discovering their own mistakes, sometimes in
time to prevent the execution, but at other times too late. It is very
true that on many occasions the really guilty party is taken, confesses
his crime, and is duly executed by the wild and unruly mob of lynchers.

The chief fault, as it appears to my mind, is a lack of firmness on the
part of the States, and I might also add of the central government at
Washington. It is a perfect scandal to a duly constituted government to
say that they are not able to carry out the law, or let the law take its
course. Who would believe for a moment that England or Russia would
allow any and every wild mob to take their victims out of the hands of
the police, and, in fact, administer the law for them? Such a test of
home authority would never run on for twenty-four hours in any foreign
civilized land. If the Governors and the authorities would show a proper
amount of firmness, and the central government at Washington would
tighten up the screws a little all these lynchings would come to an end,
and such a thing would be heard of no more. With regard to the Southern
States, at least, where lynchings have been more common, the taunting
question has been asked by foreign nations, "Are the Southern States fit
for civilization, and ought they to be depended on to govern
themselves?" Well, I think they are fit for self-government, but the
screws ought to be tightened up considerably, and I think the sooner the
better. If I had any power to advise the Houses at Washington, I would
advise them to take the scandal of lynching by the wild mobs into their
own hands, and put a stop to it in their own way. And let Congress see
that all races and crimes are treated alike, and let the duly
constituted authorities of the States administer the laws for which they
are appointed and paid. Lynching is not only a breach of the law, but it
is murder itself, and a horrible system of crime and public disorder
that have brought this most shameful nation into great disrepute. Let us
hope and pray that something may be done very soon to bring this
national scandal to an end; and let public murder by infuriated mobs
come to an end, and be heard of no more.

In the books which Fred. Douglass wrote of his life and times he always
mentions the miserable and doleful processions of slaves who were
driven, during the darkness of the night, from the pens into which they
had been gathered in Baltimore to the vessels which were to sail with
them to Georgia and other scenes of toil and exhaustion in the
far-distant South. Alas, alas! The Sunny South had no joys for them, and
as they passed through the streets of Baltimore, during the night, they
wailed and lamented their hard fate. This leads me on to reflect, my
dear reader, upon the gloriously-altered state of affairs that freedom
has brought around, and which we can see all around about us at the
present day. One of the grandest sights that delights our eyes now is
the great array of Sunday-Schools in every State and county of the
United States. I have always called the Sunday-School "the children’s
church," and it is the children’s church, indeed, and a glorious church
at that, too. Far and wide, spread over all this broad land, running all
along the way from the wild Atlantic to the mild Pacific, and from the
Lakes to the Gulf, young, well-dressed boys and girls in thousands and
tens of thousands may be seen wending their happy way to their own
dearly beloved "Children’s Church"—I mean their Sunday-School. The great
and powerful wide-spread Methodist, Baptist and other grand churches,
organized and carried on by the colored race to the utmost limits of the
American Union, deserve the utmost praise for pains and labors they have
been at to make such splendid provision for the rising generation of
boys and girls, who thus go forth upon the Sabbath-day to worship the
Lord in their own youthful, sweet and attractive way, well taught by
devoted men and women, who rear their tender vines, and watch over them,
and tend them well, as the careful and skilful gardener tends and ripens
his precious plants in the hot-house.

What a glorious change for the better, my dear reader, has come over
this Federal Union of ours in our own day! Well did the Jubilee
Minstrels sing before the royal family of England, "No more Auction
Blocks for Me!" For at the present day, instead of auction blocks and
wronged and oppressed slaves being conveyed (in a fugitive way, under
cover of the darkness of the night) from their pens to the ships,
wailing and lamenting their sad fate, in the self-same city of
Baltimore, at the present time thousands and tens of thousands of
children, and men and women, wend their peaceful way to Sunday-school
and church, walking the streets of the city in love and peace, on their
pilgrimage to Jerusalem, the city of the Great King. And yet if anybody
had told the slave-holder only fifty years ago that his darling
"peculiar institution" was on its last legs, he would probably there and
then have caused us to be lynched for our rashness of speech! As I have
mentioned already in this book, preachers in the South in those days had
even the audacity to preach sermons in the defence of slavery, and they
were so bold as to select for their text: "This" (meaning slavery) "is
the Lord’s doings; and it is wonderful in our eyes." Very wonderful,
indeed, I should say. And the war for the extinction of slavery was the
Lord’s doing, too, I suppose! And it also was wonderful in our eyes,
indeed! If those miserable slave-traders were to rise from their graves
to-day; were to hear colored minstrels singing in the courts of Europe,
"No More Auction Blocks for Me!" and then were to see millions of
colored children, youths and maidens wending their way to the happy
Sunday-schools on the day of rest—even they also would be compelled to
admire the great changes for the better, and to exclaim in a different
sense, "Truly these are the Lord’s doings, and they are wonderful in our

It has always been a matter of personal interest and importance for men
to take a hand in voting and the ruling of their native State. Universal
history shows us plainly that this has always been the case, unless,
indeed, the nation was a monarchy, and therefore subject to the
unlimited will and pleasure of one man as despot in chief, and those who
served under him, and did as they were commanded. But in those lands
where freedom ruled in the days of old, and all countries to-day where
constitutional government prevails, men have always voted in one form or
another, and they still lend a hand at elections, and this without
regard to race, color or any such thing. Neither has there ever been any
friction or trouble in legislative assemblies, and there is none now in
foreign nations, where men of different races, colors, and even creeds,
take their seats side by side, and proceed to work together for the good
of all the citizens. We all know how it was in the South in the early
years of Reconstruction after the close of the war, when the State
legislatures were composed of white and colored men, who ruled the
States together. We thought at the time that this thing would go on and
that all parties had settled down in peace and harmony, for every man to
vote as he pleased, and to send such men, black or white, to represent
them in their legislatures, as were returned by the largest number of
voters at the elections, conducted according to the constitution of the
nation. But the white man of the South had almost always been accustomed
to his own selfish, despotic way and sway in the days of slavery. The
South had not only the rule of colored men, but even over white men in
the halls of Congress! Unless that section of the Union could have her
own dictatorial way there was no peace whatever in the House!

The North therefore felt herself often obliged to give way, which
encouraged the South to take a mile the next time when we gave her an

I have shown the reader of these pages how the Ku-Klux-Klan arose; how
the new shot-gun policy brought the Republican governments of Secessia
to an end, and how the very amendments to the Constitution, including
the bare privilege of casting one’s own vote, were all brought to an
end—nay, more than that—the reader knows by this time how an immense
number of colored men, women and children tore up stakes, and left the
States of the South where they were born, and sought new homes in
Northern and Western States, where the shot-gun policy of the late
rebels did not prevail!

But where are representatives in Congress to-day, and where are the
colored Senators and others in the legislative halls of the Southern
States? For the present they have been wiped out, and so far Uncle Sam
has given way, and backed down once more to the violent South for the
sake of keeping peace in the house. It may be argued that coming but
recently out of slavery, as we did, we were unfitted for the full
privilege of freemen and voters. Perhaps there is some reason in that
view of the question. As a nation we certainly could not be expected to
be college-bred in 1865. But that is over thirty years ago, and both we
ourselves and our children have been to almost all the schools,
seminaries and colleges in the land since then. If we were ignorant in
1865, sure we cannot as a race be called ignorant now. In my own
opinion, I think it is about time that the last three amendments to the
Constitution were now carried out to the fullest extent, and that we
should be no longer contented merely to vote for the white man, but vote
for colored men, too, who run for office.

As the South has been so violent over the matter of ruling her own
States to the exclusion of the colored man, the grand hue and cry among
some of our own people has been raised, "Let politics alone, and attend
to your own business, and let the white man rule!" So far as I can see
there is neither sense nor justice in such a cry as that. If the white
man has a right to vote, so has the colored man. To stuff the
ballot-boxes with manufactured votes, or to throw out those that colored
men have voted, is simply breaking the law, and the central government
should punish it as such. If an ambitious young colored man desires to
represent his country in the field of politics, it stands neither in law
nor reason for any white man to presume to stop him. If he be a man of
great talent, like Frederick Douglass, or John M. Langston, or Blanche
K. Bruce, that is just so much more the reason why he should go to
Congress, or represent his own country and State at home. The colored
man must receive every fair play at the elections: his vote must not be
tampered with any more than the white man’s vote. By all means let him
have his vote, for he will never be satisfied with anything less. Let
every infringement of the law be pushed to the utmost extent; let a few
examples be made, and tampering with other men’s votes will come to an
end. For the very life of me I can see no reason why colored men should
abstain from politics any more than white men. There is no reason why
they should do so if they wish to enter into political life. We can also
attend to other business at home, like the rest of the population. To
discharge our duties at the polls, indeed, is one of the very first
duties of every citizen, and we have a perfect right to vote under the
law of the land.

Every now and then some surviving rebel in South Carolina, or some other
of the late seceded States, takes upon himself to raise the old
parrot-cry, "This is a white man’s government! Colored men shall not
rule with us!" If the national government did its full duty, it would
arrest such a man as this for trying to teach the rising generation
falsehoods, and for disturbing the minds of the lieges. This is not a
white man’s country, nor a black man’s country, nor a red man’s
country—but it belongs to all alike. We have only to go back four
hundred years, when this country belonged to the Indians, and if it
belongs by right to anybody at all, it belongs to them. But Spaniards,
Frenchmen, Englishmen and others came over the sea, they murdered or
drove back the Indians, and stole away their lands. Then the self-same
Europeans went to Africa, and killed and kidnapped the nations, and by
physical force brought our ancestors here—and here we are at the present
day. The war of revolution came; the colonists secured their own
freedom, but they did not set their own slaves free. They complained
that they were in subjection under the king of England, but they winked
at the thraldom of our ancestors, and left us to languish in chains and
slavery till the Lord sent the Civil War, and made us all free, while
the three amendments to the Constitution put us on the self-same footing
with white citizens, and here we are in our own country, part and parcel
of the entire American population. This country, then, either belongs to
the Lord from heaven, or it is the property of the North American
Indian, or else it has become, in some way or other, the property of the
whole of us. We had better not examine into our rights too closely, for
we cannot go back more than four hundred years to establish our claims,
and four hundred years will not go for much, especially with the
owner—the Lord of Heaven.


_A General Review of the Writer’s Entire Life and Work, and an
Optimistic View of the Whole Subject, With Reflections and Observations
and Forecasts of the Near Future._

When I left the place where I was born, in the year 1855, and made my
lucky escape to a land of freedom, in company with my fiancee, Thomas
Lincoln, I had no idea whatever of the future that lay before us, and of
all the pleasant ways by which the Lord would lead us. It was well for
both my darling Tom and me that we were the children of religious
mothers, who taught us from our earliest infancy to love the Lord at all
times, and to put our entire trust and confidence in Him. Tom and I had
been accustomed to a delightful home at Riverside Hall, on the banks of
the Ohio, and we knew nothing about the evils of slavery, like millions
of others.

In the midst of such pleasant surroundings on the banks of the
"Beautiful River," it seemed easy enough for us at the time to love the
Lord and put our trust in Him; but whilst the great Creator was working
out his sure decrees, we considered ourselves perfectly justified in
taking the law into our own hands, and whereas we could not get our
rights by fair means, to take them by foul. It has been well for Tom and
me that we acted as we did; and the blessings thus vouchsafed to us in
that way have descended to our dear children in a full state of freedom.
But while we had little risks to run compared to many refugees, there
were millions left behind us who could not get along. For what could
frail and feeble women do surrounded as they were by every device and
scheme that slavery and Satan could invent to keep their hold on what
they presumptuously called their "property?" Thus our distressed
brothers and sisters were obliged to wait for the coming of the Lord,
and the wisest among them knew that His coming could not be long
delayed, because the signs of the times pointed to a speedy deliverance,
and a child could almost hear the loud and heavy rumblings in the

But, my dear reader, the "Lord works in mysterious ways His wonders to
perform." We fondly expected and hoped to see freedom in our own
day—"some sweet day"—but our minds were little prepared for its coming
so soon. We heard the rumblings of the storm, indeed, but there had been
other storms before, and they had blown over, and why should not this
one go the same as they? That is the way that we poor, limited, erring
human beings are likely to go aside and miss the mark. We judged of the
rising storm of 1860 that it would be like those that had gone before
it, but there was not a single being on the face of the earth who ever
dreamed that we were at last drifting into a mighty war, that was to
continue for over four years, and would sweep away slavery and all its
belongings, as the mighty tides of the ocean wash away the foot-prints
on the sands. It became clear as time and war went on, that the Almighty
Ruler of the Universe had risen up to strike the earth, and that He
would not smite a second blow, but finish things up now. He says in His
sacred word that He will hear our prayers; our oppressed people had been
crying to Him for many years, "How long, O Lord, how long!" The prayers
of the distressed, their tears and cries, had been heard; they had all
been duly chronicled in heaven; the day for settlement with the
slave-holders had now fully come, and one of those mighty changes that
have followed each other these last forty years with such rapidity was
now at the door. Like the prompt railroad train, or, better still, the
tide of the sea, the Lord of Heaven and Earth was ready and armed from
head to foot; freedom was at the door, indeed and in truth, and the
doors must be opened that captives should go free!


"What hath not God wrought?" Those more than four decisive years, so
heavy with fate and destiny, looked long, very long, in passing, but ah!
they brought changes to the entire colored race, both collectively and
individually; and as slavery had grown more and more even down to the
very year when the war began, so was the joy all the greater when it was
all over, and bright shining freedom came suddenly at last. There was
joy and rejoicing all over the United States at the result; dancing and
singing from the Potomac to the Rio Grande in particular. So much for
the whole race taken collectively. To us individually as a family, that
mighty upheaval, the war, brought great and varied experiences—both
sorrows and joy. When the first rush of wild enthusiasm against the
rebellion was over, we all found out that we had to settle down to hard
work, and four full years of war and fighting were before us. Thus the
children and I saw Tom leave for the seat of war, and after many a
hard-fought field, Tom was wounded so badly that he lay for a long time
at New Orleans. We had done an immense quantity of correspondence by
this time, but more changes wrought through and by the war were at hand.
The whole American nation was undergoing changes, and so were we! The
children and I longed with all our hearts to see husband and father once
more. He was not yet well enough to travel to Buffalo; indeed, the
military authorities forbade it, and so we three determined to tear up
stakes at Buffalo for a time, and make a sudden and unexpected march on
the city of New Orleans. This was not my first visit to the Crescent
City of the Sunny South. As my dear reader is already well aware, I went
there about the year 1856, and rescued my dear mother from slavery,
which I consider one of the very best things that ever I did in this
world! This journey to New Orleans was a most glorious experience, for
the girls in particular, and they are even talking of it now. When we
were in the Lower Mississippi, we had a good time to look about us and
see what a mighty work the sword of the North had already done for that
section of the Union. The colored people were all free, and thousands
were flocking to schools just newly set up, and learning as people had
never learned before. The rebels, and all those that sympathized with
them, used to say that if the slaves were set free, they would turn in
and massacre their former owners, and become regular heathens and
savages. This was, of course, nothing but a silly parrot-cry that nobody
seriously believed, as no colored man had any other intention than to
become a peaceable citizen. But during our delightful residence in the
Sunny South we saw those who had been slaves in that section all working
away upon the lands, and in the towns and cities, in perfect freedom,
and their lives were both orderly and exemplary. But what surprised us
most was to see them going to work with first readers, spelling books,
slates and pencils, and all the other appliances of education, and
gathering knowledge like the sands of the sea. This, indeed, augured
well for the future—to see people even seventy and eighty years of age
learning to read, write and figure like the rest! Here was a field of
bright promise for the near future. Here was a race of people, just set
free, grasping at the lowermost round of the ladder of education, and
ambitious to mount higher every day.

[Illustration: _TOWER OF LONDON._]

Behold, indeed, the mighty changes that the Lord has brought about in
this dear land of ours! We have already lived long enough not only to
see all the captives set free, but a second generation, fifty per cent.
of whom are armed, from head to foot, so to speak, with education. We
have already brilliant men and women competent to shine like stars, in
all the different walks and departments of life, which my two girls and
I saw such abundant promise when we went to Louisiana. In due course of
time Tom was pronounced completely cured, was discharged from the
hospital, and our two precious children and we took our homeward journey
by way of the Gulf of Mexico, the city of Havana, in Cuba, West Indies
and the Atlantic Ocean to New York, after which we took the train for
Buffalo, where we all arrived safe and sound in due time, and had such a
welcome home as is still green in our memories. This sea voyage and land
journey were delightful experiences in the young lives of our two
daughters, and showed them what a great, varied, and beautiful world the
great Creator had made. We thanked Him with full and grateful hearts for
having laid our lines in such pleasant places, and giving us this sweet
home of ours at Buffalo, where we have resided in peace, pleasure and
plenty. Lo! these many years! and we are at Buffalo, still. It is a
great comfort to our hearts and minds to think that the entire colored
race are no longer compelled to reside, to dwell, and sleep where they
are bidden, as in the bad old times of slavery; but that here again a
mighty change for the better has come over all our people, inasmuch as
many of them nowadays have comfortable and pleasant homes of their own,
where beautiful furniture and musical instruments can be seen—yes, even
fine pianos, along which the supple fingers of the rising generation can
fly with the best! I bless and praise the goodness of the Lord for all
these changes for the better. Instead of operating on the fiddle and the
banjo, our clever musical sons and daughters can sing lovely
accompaniments to the piano and the organ. The race is full of music,
and their fame has reached the ends of the earth. Our churches and other
institutions have a great name for sacred music and song, and I have
heard good judges among the white population declare that there are no
such singers as the colored race in the United States. We may at least
congratulate ourselves that the entire press of the United States and
the British Isles have completely endorsed the above sentiments of my
own, and therefore I do not think that any conscientious man will
dispute them. It is an old and a true saying that variety is the spice
of life, and the beauties of the different races of people appear to the
greatest advantage where their separate traits of character most differ
from one another. Music and song, indeed, are quite a distinguished
feature in the colored race, and there again we have seen mighty changes
wrought out through and by our freedom, and again I thank the goodness
of the Lord for even such changes as these.

And yet we are only at the beginning of our improvements, associated as
we also are with the white race of the United States—one of the most
talented and ingenious peoples that the world has ever seen! It is well
for us in a way that we are so associated, because our progress in these
past years, and at the present time, is all the greater on that account.
And yet when we consider that it is only yesterday, as it were, that all
our people were set free, that our unbroken progress is still going on
along the whole line, and that our progress will continue to be more
marked in the future as the years gone by, who can tell to what glorious
heights of elevation our people shall attain, even within the next
twenty or twenty-five years? Because in our own day and generation, all
the arts and sciences seem to be coming to the front; learning,
education and inventions are farther and farther advanced day by day,
and every kind of improvement grows and flourishes like the green
bay-tree. Progress indeed must be made; things will not go backwards,
but must go forward, onward and upward. Such is the inevitable fate of
the colored race. With so very much accomplished already; with fifty per
cent. of our entire people throughout the whole Union who can read and
write and work arithmetic, we may well wonder at the advancement still
in store for our race, when education shall cover the whole land, as the
waters cover the sea; when the remaining fifty per cent., who are still
destitute of education, are brought into the fold, as it were, and an
ignorant colored man or woman will be difficult to find in our nation.

The unparalleled progress that we have made reminds me of the progress
of a great river. Take for example the Mississippi. How small it is when
it issues from Lake Itasca, away up at its headwaters in Minnesota. It
is of truth very small indeed, when it begins its journey to the sea.
But the river advances boldly upon its long way, and keeps on and on,
and still on, while every now and then a branch comes flowing in, now on
the right hand, now on the left, sometimes nothing but a small rivulet,
then a large and swelling stream. Thus the Mississippi still keeps
advancing on mile after mile on its journey, till the great Ohio swells
its waters, and then the greater Missouri comes rolling down from the
Rocky Mountains, and now the Mississippi is growing large, indeed—yes,
very large. And here comes the Arkansas and the Red River, with many
smaller streams from the east, and thus the mighty Mississippi, that
began so small in Lake Itasca, has now reached the Crescent City, and
whole fleets of ships can float upon its bosom before its great and
swelling waters reach the Gulf of Mexico. And thus it is with the
advancement that has already been made by the colored race along the
whole line. We began, indeed, very small in the year 1865, when the war
closed, and the appliances of education and improvement were put into
our hands. But here is the year 1902, and, like the Mississippi river,
we have advanced far, very far upon our way; and yet we have by no means
attained the goal of our expectations, by any means, but great changes
are under way, and we are still advancing.

Many travelers have left it on record how they turned round upon the
ever-ascending mountain way to mark progress, and see how far they had
come. Then with fresh resolution they again turned their faces to the
road that still lay before and above them, and that with renewed
interest and courage. I don’t know how it may be with anybody else, but
as I am now about sixty years of age, I am at times given to look back,
and to muse not only over all the way the Lord has led me, but also how
He has led the entire race in my own days. The rising generation knows
little of the thoughts and feelings, and the sufferings of their fathers
and mothers on their way to freedom, and the present happy condition of
things. But I am like that mountain traveller of whom I have just
spoken, and I sit at times and muse and muse upon the tremendous
excitement all over the North on the slavery question, and how the
Abolitionists demanded freedom, and the South would not listen to any
such thing. Then my mind runs back to Fred. Douglass, Henry Ward
Beecher, and all those heroes and heroines who fought the good cause of
liberty, and were faithful unto the end. We were in for a great and
stirring time.

Little does the present generation know of the times we went through in
the years immediately before the war, when I used to travel over the
States of the North, assisting in the lecturing and agitation against
slavery. It is a very great gratification to me nowadays to look back
and think of all the wonders of that most wonderful and lengthened
campaign when William Lloyd Garrison, and all the other "big guns" were
thundering away, and the discharge of their mighty artillery shook all
the land, even to the Gulf of Mexico! I am not so strong and supple in
body now as I was in those glorious, Halcyon days; but I praise and
bless the Lord that I was then endowed with health, and strength, and
vigorous life to lay on the axe of liberty, and to help bring down that
foul and deadly upas tree called "Slavery," that was the curse of the
whole land—the public disgrace of the United States. Since then I have
contributed many articles to the papers and magazines of the day to help
my own people to rise up and start upon their feet; but there is nothing
that I ever did that left so much pleasure upon my memory as the
campaign wherein I played, sang and lectured against slavery in the
South. Well, to be sure, how the surging crowds did come! It was a
wonderful time that we had. The excitement was also most exhilarating.
But above all, those mighty changes were on the road, that we see around
us to-day. The Lord has done great things for us already, and still we
can say that there is a good time coming!

Upon the whole my life has been a happy one—at least, as happy as could
be expected in this shady world of ours, where ever-changing clouds and
sunshine chase each other all through our pilgrim journey to our home in
heaven. I have tried to make the best of things, and to consign myself
to the Lord’s will as nearly as my infirmities will let me. Mercy and
goodness have followed me all the days of my life, and I have been most
abundantly blessed by the Lord above all that I could either ask or
think. My dear reader will no doubt think that I am in a very
contemplative frame of mind at the present time, thus looking back and
musing upon the active years of my past life. No doubt the greater part
of life’s long day has gone by, and the evening and night are coming on.
But in my time I have learned to trust in God, to lay hold upon eternal
life, to keep hope alive in my heart for all times for myself and all my
people, not only my immediate family, but the entire colored race.

I am therefore able to look forward with calmness, and even joy, to the
time when the great Lord will take me home to Himself. But still, as the
evening and shadows of life are coming on, I will converse with my own
family and friends upon the stirring events of the past years, and keep
musing upon them, also. If variety is the spice of life, I am sure I
have had plenty of it for my own part. I can never complain of the want
of variety. And it has been a downright blessing to me, too; for it has
added to my knowledge and blessing in every way. My travels and varied
experiences have brought me into contact with strange and interesting
peoples, and countless individuals, worth far more than their weight in
gold. My many delightful journeys to the dearly beloved friends in
Canada, and their return visits to me, have been like glorious rainbows
that spanned the heavens of my happiness on earth. Then there is the
permanent love and friendship of the many brave and true hearts that
have thrown light and pleasure upon my path all along the line—good and
faithful friends who assisted in pulling down the powers of slavery, and
who now rejoice, in common with myself, that the mighty work was done at
last, and that all our grand destiny is still before us. Thank God for
this splendid prospect before us! It has been the joy of my life to see
the improvements introduced into the American Constitution in our favor,
and the celebration of the Fifteenth Amendment all over the land,
including the one we took a part in at Louisville, Kentucky, was a
series of brilliant events that can never be forgotten.

As I am by nature a great lover of the ocean, I have made two voyages
from New Orleans to New York, and have even crossed the great Atlantic,
and visited the British Isles upon the happy occasion when my daughters
were married. But above all things, I have had the pleasure of seeing
the entire colored race set free; have seen them make incredible
advances in every walk and department of life, and the promise is held
out that they will still go on in the path of progress. We must still
trust in God and ourselves, and march forward!

And now, my dear reader, wishing for you all that is good, health and
prosperity, I am

Yours most sincerely,


[Illustration: __FINIS.__]


Indulgent reader, I had grown accustomed to think that I should now live
and die, and never see any more war, either foreign or domestic, on the
part of the United States. All things were running smoothly on the part
of our nation, and there hardly appeared the most distant cloud in our
peaceful-looking skies. But, as Robert Burns, the famous Scotch poet,
most truthfully says, "The best-laid schemes of mice and men gang aft
aglee, and leave us nought but grief and pain for promised joy." In the
month of February, 1895, the oppressed and robbed people of Cuba once
more raised the standard of rebellion against Spain, and entered upon
another struggle with the mother country. The tyrant Spain had broken
all the promises she had made at the close of the Ten Years’ Cuban War,
in 1878, and thus it came to pass, after an useless truce of seventeen
years, that the Cuban leaders once more decided to raise the standard of
rebellion against the tyrant, considering it better to die in a war for
freedom than to sit down any longer in a state of endless oppression.

[Illustration: _GEN. ANTONIO MACEO._]

As our own nation had had a fearful war with England, in the days of
George Washington—a war that lasted over seven years—all citizens of the
United States felt a great deal of sympathy for the Cuban leaders, and
for all the Cuban people—"a people who now devoted their lives unto
death on the high places of the field"—and myself, my own family, and
all my beloved race, felt very, very deeply for them.

And not only did the people of the United States, but all lovers of
freedom throughout the world felt the greatest sympathy for the Cubans.
Thus long, weary months came and went, and poor, proud, decrepit old
Spain, in her antiquated way, continued to borrow many millions of money
at home and abroad, till at last "Pobre Espagna" (poor Spain) was hardly
able to pay the mere interest upon the money she had borrowed, let alone
the principal. The patriotic Cubans fought long, well and nobly; so did
the Spaniards, but no real advantage was ever gained upon either side,
because the Cubans had neither seaport nor fleet, and were never able to
get the Spaniards out of their ancient and powerful fortifications,
whilst the Spaniards were never able to beat the Cubans off the field,
get them out of their strongholds among the mountains, and their
inaccessible retreats amidst their grand, primeval forests.

The Cubans of the United States, assisted by many of our own people,
gathered money, and loaded filibustering vessels that ran the feeble
Spanish blockade off the island, and safely landed an untold number of
cargoes of arms and ammunition for the struggling patriots, while our
own national feeling against Spain still increased as the days went by.
It is very true that the Government of the United States did all that it
was able to preserve neutrality, and to keep the peace with Spain—nay,
more than that—we were at last obliged even to police the seas around
the Southern States to prevent those blockade-runners from slipping away
from our parts with their loads of arms and ammunition for that devoted
island, and we were hardly able to stop them when we had done our best.
Thus we were put to endless trouble to watch the seas for a foreign and
cruel country, and that country was always laying complaints at our
doors because we could watch no better!

[Illustration: _THE DEFENSE OF SANTIAGO._]

When Campos was Captain-General of Cuba, the war for independence in
that unhappy island was conducted with some regard to decency and
civilized ways; but the Spanish arms made no progress, and the mother
country sent over the cruel General Weyler, usually called "The
Butcher," and gave him a free hand in putting down the islanders in any
way he saw fit. The mind of this bad man seems to have been imbued with
all the old Spanish cruelties of the dark ages, and all that tiger-like
love for cruelty and bloodshed for which Spain and the Spaniards have
always been so notorious. The readers of the public press are no doubt
well aware already of the treacherous acts, cruelties and medieval deeds
of barbarism to which that monster and his soldiers resorted for the
purpose of suppressing the Cuban rebellion. The worst of them all was
his gathering the country people into seacoast towns and cities—mainly
women, children and old men—where they subsequently died by tens of
thousands; and thus the poor, oppressed Cuban nation was weakened at
last to the number of at least 200,000, if not more; and by such
cold-blooded deeds, and others on a smaller scale, quite as cruel, did
that black-hearted Spanish butcher wear down the population of Cuba. He
made war upon nature, and shocked the moral sense of the whole world.
And yet, this Weyler had the entire approval of the mother country while
he thus caused the non-combatant part of the Cubans to perish, when they
had the unblushing impudence to carry on the barbarities of the dark
ages all over the Island of Cuba, and right before our front door! The
false and wilfully-lying messages that even this butcher sent home to
Spain from day to day about victories that he had gained over the
insurgents were usually contradicted by the American, and other foreign
presses next day. Weyler excelled in nothing but writing false
dispatches, while the hatred against him increased, both in Congress,
and all over the United States. So great, indeed, was the outcry against
the Spaniards, that the proud and scornful Dons kept sending more and
more soldiers over the Atlantic, to give us to understand by that, that
if we Americans dared to interfere between her and what she called "The
Ever-Faithful Isle," she would there fight Uncle Sam to the death, and
never surrender Cuba!

Captain-General Weyler’s want of success, his cruelties and countless
false reports were at last so revolting to the feelings of Uncle Sam
that Spain decided to withdraw her faithful butcher, and send another
Captain-General over, and his name was General Blanco. He was admonished
to bring the Cuban leaders and the Cubans to terms by wiles, bribes and
flattery; but the patriotic Cubans refused to swallow any such baits,
and war went on the same as before—all our trade with Cuba being now
destroyed, almost the whole island being reduced to the condition of a
wilderness, while the silence of the grave seemed supreme everywhere.
Spain continued to make more and more fresh promises from month to
month, both to ourselves and to the Cubans—promises made in deceit and
craft, which she never meant to fulfill.

It is calculated that at one time there were two hundred thousand
Spanish soldiers in Cuba, when the Cuban troops became so numerous that
they even threatened Havana, and whipped the Spanish outposts in the
suburbs of the stronghold. Affairs at last became so unsafe and
threatening for the numerous American colonists in Havana, and
throughout Cuba, that the United States battleship "Maine" was sent to
the island, by way of protection, and she was duly anchored by the
direction of the port authorities, in a certain specified position
within the harbor of Havana.

Alas, alas! we little knew what we were doing! And yet, for the very
life of me, I cannot but see that the hand of Providence was in some way
or other connected with the anchoring of the Maine in the harbor of
Havana. It is true that we might at some time or other have interfered
in the Island, and there put an end to the medieval and murderous
practices of "Old Spain," carried on at our front door here in the end
of the nineteenth century; but war, in its best state, is a serious
business, and Spain might have succeeded for a long time in gulling us
with fair-faced promises she never meant to fulfill. In the pride of her
heart she regarded the poor Cuban patriots as nothing but a gang of
rebels, who, had they laid down their arms at her request, would have
been treated as so many footballs—as deserving less consideration than
mere dogs and cats. Thus it appears to me very doubtful whether we would
have embarked upon a war with that proud, haughty and impoverished
nation, that loves to talk of her former grandeur, four hundred years
ago. But the Spaniards viewed the coming of the Maine to Havana with
hatred and disgust. Whispers in high places in the Cuban capital
declared that she should be destroyed, and so in fact she was, for on
Tuesday night, the 15th of February, 1898, the Spaniards blew her up
with torpedoes planted underneath her in the water.

This destruction of a splendid American battleship, with the
accompanying loss of 266 lives, brought much comfort and joy to the
cruel Spanish heart; for the head gentlemen of Spain at Havana were
known to laugh and be jolly, and to drink champagne wine over the
destruction of our devoted vessel! But with us it was otherwise. We were
overwhelmed with the most profound sorrow and grief. Every man, woman
and child in all Uncle Sam’s far-spreading Union was bowed down under
this sudden blow that supplied so much comfort to the heart of the
Spaniard. He looked upon us as his enemy because of our own sympathy for
the Cubans; and so that ship was another "enemy" out of his way. His
mirth did not prevent our national grief over the sudden murder of our
266 men, and the loss of the poor ship, so we sat down and cried real,
sincere tears, while the naval commission were in session at Key West
over the cause of the destruction of the unfortunate vessel. The finding
of the court of inquiry was that the vessel was not blown up from within
(as the Spaniards pretended), but was blown up from without, and that by
the hands of the Spaniards, and done on purpose by them.

Then we wiped our tears away, and every man, woman and understanding
child, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and from the Lakes to the Gulf,
arose and took an oath that that cruel and bloody nation of Spaniards
should leave this hemisphere, bag and baggage, and that we should make
them! Then the shout, "Remember the Maine!" was heard all over the land.
Congress demanded Spain’s withdrawal from American waters; or else that
war should be levied on her forthwith. Now did the regent mother country
send letters to all the magnates of Europe, begging them to intercede,
and make peace between the Americans and Spaniards. But from all
quarters came the same reply, "You and the Americans help yourselves;
this is not our war. Hold the Ever-faithful Isle—if you are able!"

While the war clouds were gathering the Spaniards still ran around
Europe, praying and screeching for help. Uncle Sam went swiftly to work
laid down fifty million dollars instantly, and quickly bought up a
number of newly-built and powerful men-of-war from foreign
nations—bought and hired swift and powerful merchant vessels, and
swiftly clad them round their sides and all over their decks with
steel-mail, so that they might boldly plough the waves, and do as useful
service as the very best of iron-clads of effete Old Spain. Uncle Sam
made two swift calls for troops, and almost every white and colored man
replied, "We come, we come!" So terrible, indeed, was the impression
produced by the loss of our poor ship, and the murder of 266 men at
Havana, that almost every colored and white man in this nation seemed
even to sigh and thirst to go and fight with Spain! Women by thousands
and tens of thousands offered themselves as nurses, and to be used in
any way that the Government pleased. Our colored men, once slaves, or
the children of slaves, but now loyal freemen, came forward almost to a
man, and with quite as much patriotism as their white brethren, at
least, offered themselves as ready, quite ready to march to the war.
Uncle Sam’s great difficulty lay in his having too many offers on his
hands, so he picked and chose, and did his best. The fleet, of course,
encountered a little more difficulty in filling up; but the flower of
our youth—even the sons of millionaires among the rest—came trooping on
in thousands, and our fleet was manned splendidly. Men were sent South
by thousands and tens of thousands; the trains carried them down every
day, accompanied with immense loads of ammunition, and all the
appliances of war. Our new and old war vessels were gathered about Key
West, etc., and others were placed near our great harbors, which harbors
were defended by torpedoes and other means of offense and defense. By
this time our demand upon Spain to get out of the West Indies had been
received by the proud Dons, and had been refused by them, as we
expected. So we moved on with the war, and our own four regiments of
regular colored United States troops, the Ninth and Tenth Cavalry, and
the Twenty-fourth and Twenty-fifth Infantry, which had been brought from
the far West to Chickamauga Park, were brought down to Key West, in
order to be at hand to sail over to Cuba along with their white brothers
when the "Ever-Faithful Isle—Fair Cuba, the Queen of the Antilles,"
should be invaded by all the boys in blue.

I am not aware that even the most rabid misanthrope in the United States
believed in his heart that there was one colored man who was not willing
to go to the war, and also able to do yeoman service in knocking down
the Spaniards, if he were allowed to get at them. It is true that
charges were made against some of us, but charges were also made in the
same way against the whites. It is true that some of our men made their
marching to war conditional on their now having their own colored
officers; but that demand was right, and they only asked their own.

Our hereditary enemies are not all dead by any means, yet! Either they
are less formidable, or we ourselves are growing more independent. The
small pettifogging journalist tried to make the usual capital out of our
men holding out for his most undoubted rights, for what would a white
regiment, indeed, think, if the law was that none but colored officers
should be placed over white men? And yet, that was the very thing that
certain men—white men—in our nation demanded, namely, that none but
white officers should be placed in command of colored soldiers!

[Illustration: _BATTLE OF SAN JUAN HILL._]

It is very true there were a few colored officers in the ranks, and
colored chaplains; but, like angels’ visits, they were few and far
between. But the Spanish war was on, and colored men had to go or stay.
Some demanded officers of their own race, seeing they were competent to
fill such positions as the whitest of men. It was only the dregs of
slavery in the bottom of the cup that were left. It was only the
difference between a dark skin and a light one, don’t you know. Well,
quite a number of the governors granted the colored regiments their
petitions; gave them all the officers of their own race, from Colonel
down, and it has been proven that they have acted and succeeded as well
as white officers could ever have possibly done. Other governors
hesitated about granting their just demands, and claimed that white
officers ought to be placed over colored men.

But, as I said before, the war was now under way, and as too much time
could not be lost in wrangling in this unseemly manner over a matter,
after all, no greater than the color of the skin, our brave fellows in
some of the States said they were willing to give way, and go and fight
the Spaniards under command of white officers. In some States there was
no dispute. It is a well-known fact that colored men have often been
greatly attached to their white officers, and in like manner, these
officers have been greatly attached to their own soldiers, and thus they
have got along harmoniously together at all times. At the same time,
this knotty point has been settled once for all in many a State, and the
men—colored men, I mean—have been allowed to have the officers of their
own choice. No doubt the time will come when all these "trumpery
distinctions" will be done away! The dregs of slavery washed out of the
cup! The time will come in the United States when white men will be led
by colored officers, and colored men will be led by white officers. Life
is really too short for such foolishness as squabbling over small
trifles like these. One thing I know, the Bible tells us that God has
made of one blood all the races that dwell upon earth.

The readings in the public papers about the enthusiasm of colored men
for the war against the Spaniards was most refreshing. Taken as a whole,
white men of every walk in life, awarded them the very highest possible
praise for their love of drilling—for their great willingness to be
drilled, and for the great progress they made in drilling. Some of them,
indeed, seemed to be drilling both in season and out of season, because
even after their officers had given them all their needful drilling for
the passing day, they would themselves get together and drill themselves
for a whole hour, or for an hour and a half at a time. I must not forget
a most unusually lively letter I saw from Key West at the time that our
four regiments of regulars (United States) were lying there in readiness
to sail over to Cuba. This letter stated that they were regiments of
grand men; tall, powerful, splendid fellows; full of life, humor and
enthusiasm, and that they looked as if they would be able to lick three
or four Spaniards apiece! No doubt our glorious fellows were far more
than a match for the Spaniards, who only weighed about 130 pounds
apiece, stood five feet, six inches in height, and few of them seem able
to shoot straight; while our men stand six feet, are powerful, and can
hit the mark almost every time.

Thus time passed on, while the entire colored race all over the land
took the deepest interest in the war, calling upon the war department,
or sending to the President, whenever there was occasion for the same. A
Conference of the Zion A. M. E. Church, at the commencement of the war,
sat in Baltimore, at which time a notice was sent forth throughout the
nation that ten new cadets, for some military reason or other, were to
be brought forward. The Conference here stepped forward, and did the
right thing. They drew up a most respectful and patriotic address upon
the subject to the President, and asked that three cadets out of those
ten should be men of color. The address was then sealed up, and sent to
McKinley. At Baltimore, also, under the leadership of Dr. Bryant, a
regiment of colored men was organized and drilled in good earnest. At
first many of these young volunteers were awkward enough, but we are all
awkward in the beginning. So they persevered, and in the course of time
became quite proficient; and I have no doubt, had the war lasted, and
they had gone to the front, and met the Spaniards in the open field,
that they would have whipped them hip and thigh, as other colored troops
did later on. The spirit of all our people was most excellent; we were
determined to see ourselves righted, and there were none but a few old
soreheads that stood in our way.


While we are getting ready to give the Dons a proper knock-down on his
own ground, it may not be amiss to notice the most unusual display of
American flags—the "Stars and Stripes"—that was made here all over our
beautiful city of Buffalo, where we still reside. At first we thought
that "The Queen City of the Lakes," as our city is called, was simply
ultra-patriotic, and wanted to be ahead of all our neighbors, but soon
all eyes were opened wide at our grand mistake, for we learned that
there was hardly a city, town, village or hamlet in the Union where the
self-same grand array of "Star-Spangled Banners" did not obtain. It was
flags, flags, flags, from one end of the nation to the other—nothing but
flags! I think I am safe in saying that in any moderate-sized city of
the Union there were ten thousand flags flying at least. And these
national emblems of faith, loyalty and love were all sizes, from the
smallest to the largest. And not alone upon the broad street did the
banners fly, but in all the smaller streets and alleys—away up the
narrow and crooked alleys, where the poorer families of both races were
found, these self-same beautiful banners fluttered to the breeze, and
plainly said, "We are here in defense of our native country! No more
oppressive Dons for us! Freedom for Cuba, and for all the world. ’Tis
the Star-Spangled Banner, O Long May it Wave!"

But the national feeling was exhibited in thousands of other ways
besides the flags in the open streets. Great meetings were held all over
the land; sermons were preached, and public prayers ascended to the
Throne of Grace for the speedy triumph of our armies over the oppressive
Spaniards. The very envelopes that went through the Postoffice were
stamped with miniature flags, and pictures of the Maine were hung up in
almost every house. No doubt many an ingenious man cleared a good, round
sum by a newly-brought-out device that was cast upon the public, and
eagerly bought up by almost everybody. An immense quantity of patriotic
poetry was also written, and scattered broadcast to all the four winds
of heaven; and it was read and quoted with most unbounded enthusiasm.
Music came in now for its full share. All the patriotic songs we had
were sung and played in public and private to their own well-known
tunes. The Star-Spangled Banner, indeed, "took the cake," and seemed to
be everywhere floating in the air. Even "John Bull," our true and
faithful friend across the seas, fell into line with us, and he placed
the Star-Spangled Banner from one end of the British Isles to the other.
"Mother England," indeed, was most loyal to us, even before we struck a
blow at the Spaniards, for she set down her foot against privateering on
the high seas, and Spain submitted to her against her own will!


_The Brave Exploits of our Colored Regiments Around Santiago de
Cuba—Their Rescue of the Rough Riders—The Wounded in the
Hospitals—Regiments That Never Went to War—Great Flag Presentations at
New Orleans—The Colored Chaplains—The Killed, Wounded and Sick of the
War—Coming Home and Disbanding, Etc.—The Glorious Results of the
War—Colored Men Did Their Duty—Glory to God in the Highest!_

The reader will naturally expect an account of marching and
counter-marching, pitched battles, skirmishing, and all kinds of
military operations, such as I have already described in the war of
1861-’65. And the reader is justified in such expectations; but this
American-Spanish War was one of the very shortest conflicts ever
recorded in history, for the whole affair was over in less than four
months, having begun towards the end of April, and concluded on the 12th
of August, 1898. The readers of my own people will now ask if there was
no opportunity given us whereby we might show our prowess upon the
battle-field, like our Anglo-Saxon brothers. Well, yes, we had
opportunities given us to show of what kind of material we were made,
and I believe that all the generals, officers and soldiers in the army
awarded us the most unstinted praise for what we did, and they did it
with a most hearty good will.

[Illustration: _SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR._]

The heaviest fighting by land was done around the city of Santiago de
Cuba, the second city of the island, and the old Spanish capital of the
same. Santiago (which means "St. James," in Spanish) was very strongly
fortified, and pretty well defended by the ancient and modern methods of
an old nation going down in the world. On account of the great danger of
assaulting a city built upon hills, and thus strongly defended by nature
and art, Uncle Sam wisely decided to send his veteran troops there—not
merely the pick and cream of the volunteers—but first of all, the old,
well-seasoned regulars of the American standing army, of which there
were four regiments of colored men, that is to say, the Ninth and Tenth
Cavalry, and the Twenty-fourth and Twenty-fifth Infantry. Among the
first that went to Santiago in General Shafter’s expedition were those
four regiments—brave, powerful, well-built fellows, big, brawny men, who
could knock Spaniards over like ninepins, and smite them hip and thigh
like the heroes of old. In the different engagements that took place
while the enemy was being driven into his beleaguered city, and was
being pushed back, back farther and farther, into the fortifications of
Santiago, these colored regiments did splendid service, laying on with
might and main, and making their enemy flee before them into his last
retreat. Our troops were usually mixed up with the whites in the days in
the end of June, and the beginning of July, and thus the history of the
one is the history of the other.

Seeing, therefore, that they had been so well trained as regulars, we
need not wonder that they acquitted themselves so well in the
preliminary assault, that occurred before preparations were made for the
final advance on the doomed city. That part of the operations of our men
that caused most noise to be made in the newspapers and elsewhere took
place when Colonel Roosevelt and his Rough Riders advanced up one of the
hills that was overgrown with dense brushwood, where the Spaniards had
dug trenches along the face of the hill, and had run powerful wire
fences along the front of those trenches, from which they fired upon the
Americans as they came up the hill-side. The Rough Riders had a hard
time of it as they advanced in the face of the showers of balls that
were poured down upon them. Little progress did they make, although they
lay down again and again to let those leaden showers pass over their
devoted heads. Colonel Roosevelt had a horse killed under him, jumped
off the animal before it carried him under as it fell, and advanced up
the hill in advance of all his men, shouting to them to come on. Well,
of course, the men did come on; but some were killed here, and others
were wounded there; while as for the Spaniards, they went down like
grass before the scythe. As a general thing they were bad shots—as might
be expected of a dying nation still bragging of the deeds of their
ancestors four hundred years back; and they themselves swollen with
ignorance and pride, too haughty to be taught better ways! Thus the
Rough Riders gravely struggled up the hill-side, cutting the wire fences
as they went, clearing the retreating Spaniards out of the rifle-pits
(or trenches, rather), lying down and advancing again and again as best
they could. It was evident that they must suffer great losses, or might
even fail altogether.

At this very crisis the Ninth and Tenth Cavalry, or United States
colored troops, were ordered forward to the rescue of their dismounted
brothers, and so dismounted, they advanced up the hill-side, laughing
and hurrahing with as much trained ease, and as cheerfully as if they
had been upon their old parade grounds in the far West! Success against
the enemy was now assured. Our brave, well-seasoned veterans from the
West fired, advanced, lay down, chatted and laughed with their white
brothers, as they lay upon the ground, partly hidden among the
brushwood, tall grasses and bushes of the Cuban jungle; and thus the day
there was saved, and the white men were saved by the Ninth and Tenth
Cavalry, just in the self-same way as white and black had often saved
one another during the Civil War in the sixties. The wire fences were
cut, the trenches were cleared of their occupants, the hill-top was
gained, the Spaniards were set upon the run down the hill, on the other
side, and now our men could see their enemies, and have a straight shot
at them as they ran down the open, in full retreat and rapid flight. Our
own trained heroes followed fast after them, dropping on one knee every
now and then, to get a steadier aim at the fleeing Spaniards and thus
they fell at a rapid rate before our guns.

While it is true that there was no desire among our own men to be vain
of their achievements when they had thus timely assisted in saving and
winning the field, still, the wild and hearty cheers that were there and
then given to the black soldiers by their white comrades were very
encouraging, indeed, to the hearts of the former. Many of the letters
sent home and published in the papers were quite unstinted in their
praise, and showed how the white men shouted their loudest huzzas to the
colored men, swung their arms and caps in the air, and made other
demonstrations of mutual good will and delight. Most of the Republican
papers, and even some of the Democratic and others wrote editorials and
other shorter and well-pointed paragraphs, too numerous for me either to
mention or extract. With the exception of the soreheads and those whose
stubborn natures love to hide all such promising things and keep them
from public favor, there were none who failed to do us that justice to
which we were entitled.

As for the Twenty-fourth and Twenty-fifth Colored Infantry, they lent a
hand in the different actions that were fought around Santiago, and are
well spoken of by one and all whose duty, love or pleasure it was to
record the details of the fighting that took place in the environments
of Santiago de Cuba.

But what shall we say of all those many regiments of colored men who
were raised in many different States, and drilled and put in a state of
readiness to march forward to the war, and assist in knocking down the
tottering powers of old and bigoted Spain? Did those men do nothing for
their country, after all their drillings and other mighty preparations
for the purpose of going to the field? What was the use of Camp This, or
Camp That, or Camp the Other Place to them? Either for good luck, or bad
luck, as it turned out, all those camps were of no use at all to them.
And it was just the same with the white volunteers and their camps. All,
indeed, were drilled, and lay to be called away at any moment—all were
in perfect readiness to go, and even very greatly desired to go; but few
went, for their services were not required, as the war came to an end on
the 12th of August, because "Old Spain" was fast going to the wall, as
the Bible says of the wicked, "I will laugh at your calamity, and mock
when your fear cometh." In fact, most that had been done in the war so
far had been done upon the sea. Dewey and Schley had sunk Spain’s best
war ships, which circumstance placed the Spanish peninsula entirely at
our mercy. Then she was bankrupt and inferior to the United States in
every way. We had lost 264 men in the war, who were killed outright; but
how many thousands Spain lost, she is probably too proud ever to let us
know. She probably lost at least fifty to our one.

A great deal has been written about the hospitals in and around
Santiago, and the conduct and sufferings of the patients who were
treated there. It has been universally stated of the colored men who
were treated for wounds that they were most exemplary and patient in
every way, and even ready and willing to give way in favor of those
white soldiers who lay side by side with them, waiting to be treated by
the doctors on hand. It is really touching to read in the public papers
how our own men insisted on their unfortunate suffering neighbors being
treated first, and that they themselves would wait. "He is worse than I
am, I can wait!"—and—"He is shot through the body, while I am only
wounded in the arms; save him first!" This is the very essence of all
generosity. This, indeed, is the most tender-hearted mercy and
Christianity. If there is any bravery and nobility of character upon
earth, this, indeed, is it. And the white Americans in the hospital were
quite as generous as the colored men—to both their colored and white
companions, according to the direct testimony and eye witness of foreign
and domestic correspondents right there and then on the ground. There
was no color line even dreamed of in the fields and hospitals of
Santiago. It is only in the day of health and pride that people can
afford to draw that line. But in the day of distress, and when death is
hovering over us, then all that kind of foolishness is driven far away,
and we only know that God has made of one blood all the nations upon

It is quite refreshing to look back even now, and think upon the grand
times we had when flags were raised on our houses, or flags were
presented to regiments of volunteers getting ready to go to fight the
Spaniards. I here select from the Southwestern Christian Advocate, of
New Orleans, an organ of the M. E. Church, the following vivid
description of the presentation of a flag to colored troops at New


"On Wednesday of last week, July 20th, there took place in this city,
the most patriotic demonstration that it has ever been my privilege to
witness. It was the occasion of the formal presentation of the
regimental flag, the national colors, and a Red Cross flag to the Ninth
Infantry Regiment of United States Volunteers, by the Afro-American
citizens of New Orleans. Fully ten thousand people took part in what has
been said to be the most enthusiastic gathering around the Nation’s flag
that has ever assembled in the Crescent City for years, if ever before.
Political parties and denominational antagonisms were lost sight of in
the fixed purpose to do honor to our boys in blue. It was thrilling,
inspiring, to see a thousand black soldiers standing in line before the
grandstand, with eyes to the front, and ears attentive to the words of
the speakers.

"The committee on programme had done their work well in selecting such
an array of talent for the occasion. The Hon. J. Madison Vance, was
master of ceremonies. The grace and dignity with which he conducted the
exercises were worthy of the occasion.

"Rev. W. R. Butler, pastor of the First Street M. E. Church, led in a
fervent and earnest prayer for the protection of our boys, and the
success of our army. Rev. Dr. Scott, the editor of The Southwestern
Christian Advocate, was the orator of the day. His speech was scholarly,
burning with eloquence, and full of patriotism, and words of advice for
the black boys in blue. Again and again he was interrupted by the
wildest applause by the vast concourse of people.

"I am sorry that space forbids the giving of the whole address. I simply
give this. He said: ’We shall always look to you as our regiment, our
boys. We are glad to see you here; glad to have you respond so readily
to your country’s call; glad you had the opportunity to do so. We
present this flag, hoping it will ever signify to you the interest we
feel in you, and impress you with your responsibility to your country
and your race. We are a part of a great nation, and there are many
reasons why we should be patriotic and true. The strength of a nation is
largely measured by its patriotism. If the citizens of a country are
devoted to the highest and best interests of that country there is
little cause to fear. Patriotism enlists armies and develops martyrs.’

"The flag was presented by Dr. L. H. Reynolds, editor ’The African
Methodist,’ published in this city. Dr. Reynolds is gifted as a speaker,
and the thrilling occasion warmed his heart. His words, patriotic and
weighty, stirred the entire assembly, which cheered him to the echo.

"At the conclusion of the address, Mr. Vance introduced Major Armand
Romain, ’as a remarkable son, from one of the best homes of the South,’
who received the beautiful and costly flag with well-chosen words. As
the flag was unfolded, the cheering was deafening. The officers and
soldiers joined with the people in cheering the colors of the Ninth
Regiment. This flag was purchased by a committee of ladies and gentlemen
organized for that purpose.

"The Red Cross flag was presented by Miss Emma M. Williams, who
represented the donor, ’The Phillis Wheatley Club,’ and it was received
on behalf of the regiment by Lieutenant Barnett. The National colors
were given by the Israel Lodge of the Grand United Order of Odd Fellows,
and they were presented in a happy speech by the Rev. R. A. Alston, of
this city. Major Harrison, in his characteristic and earnest way,
received the colors for the regiment amid great applause. Colonel Crane,
Major Harrison, and the other members of the staff, were called forward
and given three cheers, most heartily.

"The Rev. T. A. Wilson, on behalf of the A. M. E. Church, presented the
regiment with a number of small Bibles and song books. Resolutions
pledging loyal support to President McKinley and the country were
unanimously adopted.

"Among others who served on the programme were Miss E. V. Edwards, Miss
Ida Cohen, Miss Naomi Kitchens and Mr. A. Lewis. The soldiers seemed
happy over the way their friends and loved ones remembered them, and I
am sure they will sustain the confidence of the friends at home—never
letting the old flag touch the ground.

"R. E. J."

The above article is taken from the Southwestern Christian Advocate, of
New Orleans, for Thursday, the 28th of July, 1898. There is more of it,
but the lines that follow are only taken up with the names of those who
were on the different committees.

The careful reader must have observed in the article given above what a
large share the preachers of the gospel had in the above flag
presentations at New Orleans. And right here it may be proper for me to
remark that the entire press of this country, so far as they have
written on the subject, had given the greatest praise to the colored
chaplains of the four regular regiments, United States cavalry and
infantry, and mention what a deal their fatherly care and guidance had
to do with the building up of the troops. And the same is equally true
of those chaplains of those volunteer regiments that got ready for the
field, but never went to the war, because they were not called upon to
do so.

Although the war with Spain is now over, at this writing (September,
1898), I know not what may be the ultimate destination of the numerous
colored volunteer regiments that were organized for the war, which will
be retained for the country’s service, and which will be disbanded and
sent home. There is, however, one regiment from Illinois, all the
officers being colored, from the colonel down, who have been sent to
assist in the garrisoning of Santiago de Cuba.

The authorities at Washington have not been slow to reward bravery in
the late war with Spain, as the following short article from an exchange
will show:


"Washington, D. C., August, 1898.—Six colored non-commissioned officers,
who rendered particularly gallant and meritorious service in the face of
the enemy in the actions around Santiago on July 1st and 2nd, have been
appointed second lieutenants in two of the colored immune regiments
recently organized under special acts of Congress. These men are
Sergeants William Washington, of Troop F, and John C. Proctor, of Troop
I, of the Ninth Cavalry; and Sergeants William McBonjar, of Company H;
Wyatt Hoffman, of Company G; Mason Russell, of Company H, and Andrew J.
Smith, of Company B, of the Twenty-fifth Infantry, commanded by Colonel
Daggatt. These two Negro regiments were in the thick of the fierce
fighting at El Caney and San Juan, and won high praise for their courage
and efficiency. The Ninth Cavalry was also with the Rough Riders at La

As the above extract will show, there has been a disposition shown at
Washington to reward bravery, and reward it at once. People have not
been wanting to point out who ought to be honored, and honor has been
forthcoming on all hands.

While I am engaged writing these pages, the war is practically over, and
a great many of the regiments are being disbanded and sent home. It is
expected, however, that a larger army will be maintained at the national
expense than ever before. We used to support 25,000 men, but now we have
the Philippine Islands, Cuba and Porto Rico on our hands, besides home
duties and the Hawaiian Islands, and therefore we shall need more men
than before; at least, for some time to come. But all these things must
be settled by the authorities at Washington.

While it is now my mournful task once more to revert to the 266 men
killed on the Maine, and the 264 killed in battle, our list of wounded
was much higher; while those who died of fevers contracted in the
tropical climates, and came home sick, were, indeed, a mournful subject
for us to think about. Our men were not used to the heat and rains of
the East and West Indies, or even to the lowlands of Florida, and other
far Southern States, which rendered them more helpless than children, so
that many died far away from home, while others were too weak to be
moved. Some died on the way, and many were carried into our hospitals as
soon as they arrived at their destinations. Most of those who could
stand the journey were sent on their way home, and all seemed to be glad
that the war was over.

It is hardly necessary for me to say that this war has largely had the
happy result of greatly elevating the character of the United States
before the whole world. We are now a second-class naval power, and our
praises are sung in all lands, from one end of the world to the other.
Our armies that fought on shore at Manilla and Santiago have been
honored by the nations of the earth, "Mother England," and all the
rest—no matter whether they are willing or not. Immense good will follow
to Cuba, Porto Rico, the Philippines, and, indeed, all mankind, for we
will teach them what a moral, Christian and talented people we are. And
we have done all this in less than four months—at the loss of very few
lives, indeed, and not at much expense. I feel that Almighty God has
been the head and spring of all this; and I am also proud that my own
people have done their whole duty, and done it well.


[Illustration: __FINIS.__]


I now undertake to write a history of the part which the colored men
took in the great American Rebellion. Previous to entering upon that
subject, however, I may be pardoned for bringing before the reader the
condition of the blacks previous to the breaking out of the war.

[Illustration: _THE BOSTON MASSACRE._]

The Declaration of American Independence, made July 4th, 1776, had
scarcely been enunciated, and an organization of the government
commenced, ere the people found themselves surrounded by new and trying
difficulties, which, for a time, threatened to wreck the ship of state.
The forty-five slaves landed on the banks of the James river, in the
colony of Virginia, from the coast of Africa, in 1620, had multiplied to
several thousands, and were influencing the political, social and
religious institutions of the country. Brought into the colonies against
their will; made the hewers of wood, and the drawers of water;
considered in the light of law and public opinion as mere chattels,
things to be bought and sold at the will of the owner; driven to their
unrequited toil by unfeeling men, picked for the purpose from the lowest
and most degraded of the uneducated whites, whose moral, social and
political degradation by slavery was equal to that of the slave—the
condition of the Negro was indeed a sad one!

The history of this people, full of sorrow, blood and tears, is full
also of instruction for mankind. God has so ordered it that one class
shall not degrade another without becoming themselves contaminated. So
with slavery in America. The institution bred in the master insulting
arrogance, deteriorating sloth, pampered the loathsome lust it inflamed
until licentious luxury sapped the strength and rottened the virtue of
the slave owners of the South.

Never were the institutions of a people, or the principles of liberty,
put to such a severe test as those of the American Republic. The
convention to frame the Constitution for the Government of the United
States had not organized before the slave-masters began to press the
claims of their system upon the delegates. They wanted their property
represented in the National Congress, and undue guarantees thrown around
it; they wanted the African slave-trade made lawful, and their victims
returned if they should attempt to escape; they begged that an article
might be inserted in the Constitution making it the duty of the general
government to put down the slaves if they should imitate their masters
in striking a blow for freedom. They seemed afraid of the very evil they
were clinging to closely to. "Thus conscience doth make cowards of us

In all this early difficulty, South Carolina took the lead against
humanity, her delegates ever showing themselves the foes of freedom.
Both in the Federal Convention to frame the Constitution, and in the
State Conventions to ratify the same, it was admitted that the blacks
had fought bravely against the British, and in favor of the American
Republic, for the fact that a black man (Crispus Attucks) was the first
to give his life at the commencement of the Revolution, was still fresh
in their minds. Eighteen years previous to the breaking out of the war,
Attucks was held as a slave by Mr. William Brown, of Framingham, Mass.,
and from whom he escaped about that time, taking up his residence in

The Boston Massacre, March, 5th, 1770, may be regarded as the first act
of the great drama of the American Revolution. "From that moment," said
Daniel Webster, "we may date the severance of the British Empire." The
presence of the British soldiers in King street excited the patriotic
indignation of the people. The whole community was stirred, and sage
counsellors were deliberating, and writing, and talking about the public
grievance. But it was not for "the wise and prudent" to be the first to
act against the encroachments of arbitrary power. "A motley rabble of
saucy boys, Negroes and mulattoes, Irish teagues, and outlandish
Jacktars" (as John Adams described them in his plea in defence of the
soldiers) could not restrain their emotion, or stop to inquire if what
they must do was according to the letter of any law. Led by Crispus
Attucks, the mulatto slave, and shouting, "The way to get rid of these
soldiers is to attack the mainguard; strike at the root; this is the
nest!" with more valor than discretion, they rushed to King street, and
were fired upon by Captain Preston’s company. Crispus Attucks was the
first to fall; he and Samuel Gray and Jonas Caldwell were killed on the
spot; Samuel Maverick and Patrick Carr were mortally wounded.

The excitement which followed was intense. The bells of the town were
rung; an impromptu town meeting was held, and an immense assembly was
gathered. Three days after, on the 8th, a public funeral of the martyrs
took place. The shops of Boston were closed, and all the bells of Boston
and the neighboring towns were rung. It is said that a greater number of
persons assembled on this occasion than were ever before gathered on
this continent for a similar purpose. The body of Crispus Attucks, the
mulatto slave, had been placed in Faneuil Hall, with that of Caldwell,
both being strangers in the city. Maverick was buried from his mother’s
house, on Union street, and Gray from his brothers, in Royal Exchange
Lane. The four hearses formed a junction in King street, and there the
procession marched in columns six deep, with a long file of coaches
belonging to the most distinguished citizens, to the Middle
burying-ground, where the four victims were deposited in one grave, over
which a stone was placed with this inscription:

    "Long as in Freedom’s cause the wise contend,
    Dear to your country shall your fame extend;
    While to the world the lettered stone shall tell
    Where Caldwell, Attucks, Gray, Maverick fell."

The anniversary of this event was publicly commemorated in Boston by an
ovation and other exercises every year until after our national
independence was achieved, when the Fourth of July was substituted for
the Fifth of March, as the more proper day for a general celebration.
Not only was the event commemorated, but the martyrs who then gave up
their lives were remembered and honored.

For half a century after the close of the war, the name of Crispus
Attucks was honorably mentioned by the most noted men of the country,
who were not blinded by foolish prejudice. At the battle of Bunker Hill,
Peter Salem, a Negro, distinguished himself by shooting Major Pitcairn,
who, in the midst of the battle, having passed the storm of fire without
mounting the redoubt, and waving the sword, cried to the rebels to
surrender. The fall of Pitcairn ended the battle in favor of liberty.

A single passage from Mr. Bancroft’s history will give a succinct and
clear account of the condition of the army in respect to colored
soldiers, at the time of the battle of Bunker Hill:

"Nor should history forget to record that as in the army of Cambridge,
so also in this gallant band, the free Negroes of the colony had their
representatives. For the right of free Negroes to bear arms in the
public defence was at that day as little disputed in New England as
their other rights. They took their place, not in a separate corps, but
in the ranks with the white man; and their names may be read on the
pension rolls of the country, side by side with those of other soldiers
of the Revolution."—Bancroft’s History of the United States, Vol. VII,
p. 421.

The capture of Major-General Prescott, of the British army, on the 9th
of July, 1777, was an occasion of great joy throughout the country.
Prince, the valiant Negro who seized that officer, ought always to be
remembered with honor for his important service. The exploit was much
commended at the time, as its results were highly important; and Colonel
Barton very properly received from Congress the compliment of a sword
for his ingenuity and bravery. It seems, however, that it took more than
one head to plan and to execute the undertaking. The following account
of the capture is historical:

"They landed about five miles from Newport, and three-quarters of a mile
from the house, which they approached cautiously, avoiding the
mainguard, which was at some distance. The Colonel went foremost, with a
stout, active Negro close behind him, and another at a small distance;
the rest followed so as to be near, but not seen.

"A single sentinel at the door saw and hailed the Colonel. He answered
by exclaiming against and inquiring for rebel prisoners, but kept slowly
advancing. The sentinel again challenged him, and required the
countersign. He said he had not the countersign, but amused the sentry
by talking about rebel prisoners, and still advancing till he came
within reach of the bayonet, which, he presenting, the colonel suddenly
struck aside and seized him. He was immediately secured, and ordered to
be silent on pain of instant death.

"Meanwhile the rest of the men surrounding the house, the Negro, with
his head, at the second stroke, forced a passage into it, and then into
the landlord’s apartment. The landlord at first refused to give the
necessary intelligence, but on the prospect of present death, he pointed
to the general’s chamber, which, being instantly opened by the Negro’s
head, the Colonel calling the general by name, told him he was a
prisoner."—Pennsylvania Evening Post, August 7th, 1777 (in Frank Moore’s
"Diary of the American Revolution," Vol. I, p. 468).

There is abundant evidence of the fidelity and bravery of the colored
patriots of Rhode Island during the whole war. Before they had been
formed into a separate regiment, they had fought valiantly with the
white soldiers at Red Bank and elsewhere. Their conduct at the battle of
Rhode Island, on the 29th of August, 1778, entitles them to perpetual
honor. That battle has been pronounced by military authorities to have
been one of the best-fought battles of the Revolutionary War. Its
success was owing, in a great degree, to the good fighting of the Negro
soldiers. Mr. Arnold, in his "History of Rhode Island," thus closes his
account of it:

"A third time the enemy, with desperate courage and increased strength,
attempted to assail the redoubt, and would have carried it, but for the
timely aid of two Continental battalions despatched by Sullivan to
support his almost exhausted troops. It was in repelling these furious
onsets that the newly-raised black regiment, under Col. Greene,
distinguished itself by deeds of desperate valor. Posted behind a
thicket in the valley, they three times drove back the Hessians, who
charged repeatedly down the hill to dislodge them; and so determined
were the enemy in these successive charges that the day after the
battle, the Hessian colonel, upon whom this duty had devolved, applied
to exchange his command, and go to New York, because he dared not lead
his regiment again to battle, lest his men should shoot him by having
caused them so much loss."—Arnold’s History of Rhode Island, Vol. II,
pp. 427, 428.

Three years later, these soldiers are thus mentioned by the Marquis de

"The 5th (of January, 1781), I did not set out till eleven, although I
had thirty miles’ journey to Lebanon. At the passage to the ferry, I met
with a detachment of the Rhode Island regiment—the same corps we had
with us all the last summer; but they have since been recruited and
clothed. The greatest part of them are Negroes, or mulattoes; they are
strong, robust men, and those I have seen had a very good appearance."

When Colonel Greene was surprised and murdered near Point Bridge, New
York, on the 14th of May, 1781, his colored soldiers heroically defended
him till they were cut to pieces; and the Negro reached him over the
dead bodies of his faithful Negroes. That large numbers of Negroes were
enrolled in the army, and served faithfully as soldiers during the whole
period of the war of the revolution, may be regarded as a
well-established historical fact, and it should be borne in mind that
the enlistment was not confined, by any means, to those who had before
enjoyed the privileges of free citizens. Very many slaves were offered
to and received by the army, on the condition that they were to be
emancipated either at the time of enlistment, or when they had served
out the term of their enlistment. The inconsistency of keeping in
slavery any person who had taken up arms for the defence of our national
liberty had led to the passing of an order forbidding slaves, as such,
to be received as soldiers.

That colored men were equally serviceable in the last war with Great
Britain is true, as the following historical document will show:


"Headquarters, Seventh Military District,

"MOBILE, September 21st, 1814.

"To the Free Colored Inhabitants of Louisiana:—

"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 freemen, 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 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."

Three months later General Jackson addressed the same troops as follows:

"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 with ourselves, it
will be for the prize of valor and fame—its noblest reward."

Black men served in the navy with great credit to themselves, receiving
the commendation of Commodore Perry and other brave officers.

Extract of a letter from Nathaniel Shaler, commander of the private
armed schooner General Tompkins, to his agent in New York, dated—

"AT SEA, January 1st, 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 on 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 boy!
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."


The title of "First Defenders" has been given to the five companies of
Pennsylvania troops, two of which were from Schuylkill Co., one from
Reading, one from Allentown, and one from Lewistown, Pa., that marched
through Baltimore on the day before the Massachusetts soldiers were
mobbed in the streets on the way to defend the national capital. After
running the gauntlet of a furious rabble, the five companies reached
Washington on the evening of the 18th, and were quartered in the Capitol
Building. A pool of blood, which ran from the wounded cheek of "Nick"
Biddle, marked the spot on the Capitol floor, where he lay that night.
It was the first blood shed in the war for the Union. His grave is in
the colored churchyard in Pottsville, Pa.

    The grave of "Nick" Biddle a Mecca should be,
    To Pilgrims who seek in this land of the free,
    The tombs of the lowly as well as the great,
    Who struggled for freedom in war or debate;
    For there lies a black man distinguished from all
    In that his veins furnished the first blood to fall
    In war for the Union, when traitors assailed
    Its brave "First Defenders," whose hearts never quailed.
    The eighteenth of April, eighteen sixty-one,
    Was the day "Nick" Biddle his great laurels won,
    In Baltimore city, where riot ran high,
    He stood by our banner to do or to die;
    And onward, responsive to liberty’s call—
    The Capital City to reach ere it fall.
    Brave Biddle with others as true and as brave,
    Marched through the wild tempest, the nation to save.
    Their pathway was fearful, surrounded by foes,
    Who strove in fierce madness their course to oppose;
    Who hurl threats and curses defiant of law,
    And think by such methods they may overawe
    The gallant defenders, who nevertheless
    Hold back their resentment as forward they press,
    And conscious of noble endeavor, despise
    The flashing of weapons and traitorous eyes.
    Behold now the crisis! The mob thirsts for blood!
    It strikes down "Nick" Biddle, and opens the flood;
    The torrents of crimson from hearts that are true,
    That shall deepen and widen, shall clean and renew,
    The land of our fathers by slavery cursed.
    The blood of "Nick" Biddle—yes, it is the first,
    The patter of raindrops presaging the storm,
    That will rage and destroy till the nation reform.
    How strange, too, it seems that the Capitol floor,
    Where slave-holders sat in the Congress of yore,
    And forged for his kindred chains heavy to bear,
    To bind down the black man in endless despair,
    Should be stained with his blood, and thus sanctified,
    Made sacred to Freedom, through time to abide,
    A temple of justice, with every right
    For all of the nation—black, red men and white.
    The grave of "Nick" Biddle, though humble it be,
    Is nobler by far in the sight of the free
    Than tombs of those chieftains whose sinful crusade,
    Brought long years of mourning, and countless graves made;
    In striving to fetter their black fellow-men,
    And make of the Southland a vast prison pen,
    Their cause was unholy, but "Nick" Biddle was just—
    And hosts of pure spirits watch over his dust.

[Illustration: _THE GRAVE OF NICK BIDDLE._]

Deeds are indestructible; ideas are imperishable, and mind is immortal.
"Children," says George Eliot, "may be strangled, deeds never; they have
an indestructible life, both in mind and outside of our consciousness."
It is not to be wondered at, therefore, that many of the ancients of the
distant past should have predicated eternal life upon deeds and ideas.
Deeds which are formidable, and ideas which grow and expand, and gather
strength, until they become the very life of the social, moral and
religious structure of the nation. To my mind there can be no truer
measurement of a man, or a race, or a nation, than the standard of ideas
which formulate themselves into deeds. "Deeds and ideas," which,
according to Disraeli, "render a man independent of his constituencies,
independent of dissolution, independent even of the course of time."

[Illustration: _THEODORE ROOSEVELT._]

Measure from this standard Theodore Roosevelt, the President of the
United States of America, is the most unique figure before the American
people to-day. No President since the days of Lincoln, the emancipator,
merits in a larger degree the unselfish praise and devotion, not only of
his countrymen, but of the whole civilized world. In the strictest sense
of the term, he is a man of destiny. Born, like all true leaders and
reformers, at a particular time, for a particular purpose; endowed by
nature with a constitution which defies the encroachment of disease;
with an intellect which craves the most rigid discipline; with a courage
which knows no daring, and a conscience which repels the slightest
innovation which might result to the detriment of his fellow-man,
regardless of race, color or creed. It was for Abraham Lincoln to issue
the proclamation of freedom, and thus save the nation from
disintegration; it is for Theodore Roosevelt to preserve that
proclamation, and preserve the amendments to the Constitution, which is
the very life of the freedom guaranteed to the emancipated. From the
time of President Grant down to the present time, there has been a
persistent attempt on the part of the South to paralyze the spirit and
practice of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments to the
Constitution, without which freed men would have no legal standing in
the nation.

The amendments received a dangerous wound during the administration of
President Hayes. From the effects of this wound it hardly ever
recovered. When, by a strange Providence, Theodore Roosevelt was called
suddenly to occupy the place of the martyred President McKinley, a most
lovable and peaceful man, black men and their friends, all over the
country, rejoiced in the hope of a better day, when right and justice
would succeed policy and conciliation. In this we were not mistaken. Not
that Theodore Roosevelt loves the black man any more than any of his
predecessors, but that Theodore Roosevelt has convictions and the
courage of his convictions, regardless of consequences. The appended
correspondence, which explains itself, will render him immortal, and
will keep his memory fresh in the recollection of his fellow-men, and
when future historians chronicle his acts, they shall speak of him as
"Theodore, the Great and the Good."


_President Roosevelt Defines His Attitude—In a Letter to a South
Carolinian, Who Includes in a Number of Objections to the Appointment of
Dr. Crum as Collector of the Port of Charleston the Statement That He is
a Negro, the President Declares That He Will Continue to Appoint Colored
Men of Intelligence and Standing—Incentive to Good Citizenship._

Washington, November 27.—The President has sent the following
communication to a prominent citizen of Charleston, S. C.:



"Washington, November 26th, 1902.

"My Dear Sir:—I am in receipt of your letter of November 10th, and one
from Mr. ——, under date of November 11th, in reference to the
appointment of Dr. Crum as collector of the port of Charleston.

"In your letter you make certain specific charges against Dr. Crum,
tending to show his unfitness in several respects for the office sought.
These charges are entitled to the utmost consideration from me, and I
shall go over them carefully before taking any action. After making
these charges, you add, as a further reason for opposition to him, that
he is a colored man; and after reciting the misdeeds that followed
carpet-bag rule and Negro domination in South Carolina, you say that ’we
have sworn never again to submit to the rule of the African, and such an
appointment as that of Dr. Crum to any such office forces us to protest
unanimously against this insult to the white blood,’ and you add that
you understood me to say that I would never force a Negro on such a
community as yours. Mr. —— puts the objection of color first, saying,
’First, he is a colored man, and that of itself ought to bar him from
the office.’

"In view of these last statements, I think I ought to make clear to you
why I am concerned and pained by your making them, and what my attitude
is as regards all such appointments. How anyone could have gained the
idea that I had said I would not appoint reputable and upright colored
men to office when objection was made to them solely on account of their
color, I confess I am wholly unable to understand. At the time of my
visit to Charleston last spring, I had made, and since that time I have
made, a number of such appointments from several States in which there
was considerable colored population. For example, I made one such
appointment in Mississippi, and another in Alabama shortly before my
visit to Charleston. I had at that time appointed two colored men as
judicial magistrates in the District of Columbia. I have recently
announced another such appointment for New Orleans, and have just made
one from Pennsylvania. The great majority of my appointments in every
State have been of white men. North and South alike it has been my
sedulous endeavor to appoint only men of high character and good
capacity, whether white or black. But it has been my consistent policy
in every State where their numbers warranted it to recognize colored men
of good repute and standing in making appointments to office. These
appointments of colored men have in no State made more than a small
proportion of the total number of appointments. I am unable to see how I
can legitimately be asked to make an exception for South Carolina. In
South Carolina, to the four most important positions in the State, I
have appointed three men and continued in office a fourth, all of them
white men—three originally Gold Democrats; two of them, as I am
informed, the sons of Confederate soldiers. I have been informed by the
citizens of Charleston whom I met that these four men represent a high
grade of public service.

"I do not intend to appoint any unfit man to office. So far as I
legitimately can I shall always endeavor to pay regard to the wishes and
feelings of the people of each locality, but I cannot consent to take
the position that the door of hope—the door of opportunity—is to be shut
upon any man, no matter how worthy, purely upon the grounds of race or
color. Such an attitude would, according to my convictions, be
fundamentally wrong. If, as you hold, the great bulk of the colored
people are not yet fit in point of character and influence to hold such
positions, it seems to me that it is worth while putting a premium upon
the effort among them to achieve the character and standing which will
fit them.

"The question of ’Negro domination’ does not enter into the matter at
all. It might as well be asserted that when I was Governor of New York,
I sought to bring about Negro domination in that State because I
appointed two colored men of good character and standing to responsible
positions—one of them to a position paying a salary twice as large as
that paid in the office now under consideration; one of them as a
director of the Buffalo Exposition. The question raised by you and Mr.——
in the statements to which I refer is simply whether it is to be
declared that under no circumstances shall any man of color, no matter
how upright and honest, no matter how good a citizen, no matter how fair
in his dealings with all his fellows, be permitted to hold any office
under our government.

"I certainly cannot assume such an attitude, and you must permit me to
say that in my view it is an attitude no man should assume, whether he
looks at it from the standpoint of the true interest of the white man of
the South or of the colored man of the South—not to speak of any other
section of the Union. It seems to me that it is a good thing from every
standpoint to let the colored man know that if he shows in marked degree
the qualities of good citizenship—that the qualities which in a white
man we feel are entitled to reward—then he will not be cut off from all
hope of similar reward.

"Without any regard as to what my decision may be on the merits of this
particular applicant for this particular place, I feel that I ought to
let you know clearly my attitude on the far broader question raised by
you and Mr. ——, an attitude from which I have not varied during my term
of office.

"Faithfully yours,


"Hon. ——

"Charleston, S. C."

[Transcriber’s note: Original spelling varieties have been maintained.]

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Historical Romance of the American Negro" ***

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