By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Sheppard Lee, Vol. II (of 2) - Written by Himself
Author: Bird, Robert Montgomery
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
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.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Sheppard Lee, Vol. II (of 2) - Written by Himself" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

(Images generously made available by the University of
Virginia Library)



"Let those shine now that never shone before,
And those that always shone now shine the more."







                              BOOK IV. [continued]

                          CHAPTER IV.
            The miser's children.
                          CHAPTER V.
            The miser's children.
                          CHAPTER VI
            The fate of the firstborn.
                          CHAPTER VII.
            The catastrophe of a tragedy often performed on
            the great stage of life.
                          CHAPTER VIII.
            In which it is shown that a man may be more
            useful after death than while living.
                          CHAPTER IX.
            Sheppard Lee's search for a body.--An uncommon
                          CHAPTER X.
            In which the Author makes the acquaintance of a
                          CHAPTER XI.
            Containing an affecting adventure with a victim
            of the law.
                          CHAPTER XII.
            In which the plot thickens, and the tragedy
            grows deepe The fate of the firstborn.
                          CHAPTER XIII.
            The catastrophe of a tragedy often performed on
            the great stage of life.
                          CHAPTER XIV.
            In which it is shown that a man may be more
            useful after death than while living.
                          CHAPTER XV.
            Sheppard Lee's search for a body.--An uncommon
                          CHAPTER XVI.
            In which the Author makes the acquaintance of a
                          CHAPTER XVII.
            Containing an affecting adventure with a victim
            of the law.
                          CHAPTER XVIII.
            In which the plot thickens, and the tragedy
            grows deepe.

                              BOOK V.


                          CHAPTER I.
                          CHAPTER III.
            In which the young man Jonathan argues several
            cases of conscience, which are recommended to
            be brought before Yearly Meeting.
                          CHAPTER IV.
            Containing little or nothing save apostrophes,
            exhortations, and quarrels.
                          CHAPTER V.
            Which is short and moral, and can therefore be
                          CHAPTER VI.
            An inconvenience of being in another man's
            body, when called upon to give evidence as to
            one's own exit.
                          CHAPTER VII.
            The sorrows of a philanthropist.
                          CHAPTER VIII.
            The same subject continued.
                          CHAPTER IX.
            Containing a difficulty.
                          CHAPTER X.
            In what manner Mr. Zachariah Longstraw
            determined to improve his fortune.
                          CHAPTER XI.
            In which a catastrophe begins both parties.
                          CHAPTER XII.
            An uncommon adventure that befell the Author.
                          CHAPTER XIII.
            In which Sheppard Lee takes a journey, and
            discovers the secret object of his captors.
                          CHAPTER XIV.
            Containing other secrets, but not so important
                          CHAPTER XV.
            In which the Author approaches a climax in his
                          CHAPTER XVI.
            Containing a specimen of eloquence, with some
            account of the dangers of Lynchdom.
                          CHAPTER XVII.
            In which Sheppard Lee reaches the darkest
            period of his existence.
                          CHAPTER XVIII.
            In which the catastrophe is continued.
                          CHAPTER XIX.
            The dénouement of the drama.
                          CHAPTER XX.
            A remark, in which the Author appears as a
            politician, and abuses both parties.
                          CHAPTER XXI.
            An uncommon adventure that befell the Author.
                          CHAPTER XXII.
            In which Sheppard Lee takes a journey, and
            discovers the secret object of his captors.
                          CHAPTER XXIII.
            Containing other secrets, but not so important.
                          CHAPTER XXIV.
            In which the Author approaches a climax in his
                          CHAPTER XXV.
            Containing a specimen of eloquence, with some
            account of the dangers of Lynchdom.
                          CHAPTER XXVI.
            In which Sheppard Lee reaches the darkest
            period of his existence.

                              BOOK VI.


                          CHAPTER I.
            In which Sheppard Lee finds every thing black
            about him.
                          CHAPTER II.
            In which Sheppard Lee is introduced to his
                          CHAPTER III.
            An old woman's cure for a disease extremely
            prevalent both in the coloured and uncoloured
                          CHAPTER IV.
            Some account of Ridgewood Hill, and the
            Author's occupations
                          CHAPTER V.
            In which the Author further describes his
            situation, and philosophizes on the state of
                          CHAPTER VI.
            Recollections of slavery.
                          CHAPTER VII.
            A scene on the banks of the Potomac, with the
            humours of an African improvisatore.
                          CHAPTER VIII.
            The Author descends among the slaves, and
            suddenly becomes a man of figure, and an
            interpreter of new doctrines.
                          CHAPTER IX.
            What it was the negroes had discovered among
            the scantling.
                          CHAPTER X.
            The effect of the pamphlet on its reader and
                          CHAPTER XI.
            The hatching of a conspiracy.
                          CHAPTER XII.
            How the spoils of victory were intended to be
                          CHAPTER XIII.
            The attack of the insurgents upon the mansion
            at Ridgewood Hill.
                          CHAPTER XIV.
            The tragical occurrences that followed.
            CHAPTER XV.
            The results of the insurrection, with a truly
            strange and fatal catastrophe that befell the
                          CHAPTER XVI.
            In which it is related what became of the Author
            after being hanged.

                              BOOK VII.


                          CHAPTER I.
            Containing an inkling of the life and habits of
            Mr. Arthur Megrim.
                          CHAPTER II.
            The happy condition in which Sheppard Lee is at
            last placed.
                          CHAPTER III.
            The employments of a young gentleman of fortune.
                          CHAPTER IV.
            Some account of the inconveniences of having a
            digestive apparatus.
                          CHAPTER V.
            The same subject continued, with an account of
            several surprising transformations.
                          CHAPTER VI.
            An account of the woes of an Emperor of France,
            which have never before appeared in history.
                          CHAPTER VII.
            In which Sheppard Lee is convinced that all is
            not gold which glistens.
                          CHAPTER VIII.
            In which the Author stumbles upon an old

                              BOOK VIII.

                          CHAPTER I.
            Sheppard Lee flies from the German doctor, and
            finds himself again in New-Jersey.
                          CHAPTER II.
            What had happened at Watermelon Hill during the
            Author's absence.
                          CHAPTER III.
            Containing the substance of a singular debate
            betwixt the Author and his brother, with a
            philosophic defence of the Author's credibility.
                          CHAPTER IV.
            Being the last chapter of all.



It will scarcely be supposed that, with the passion of covetousness
gnawing at my heart, I had space or convenience for any other feeling.
But Abram Skinner had loved his children; and to this passion I was
introduced, as well as to the other. At first I was surprised that I
should bestow the least regard upon them, seeing that they were no
children of mine. I endeavoured to shake off the feeling of attachment,
as an absurdity, but could not; in spite of myself, I found my spirit
yearning towards them; and by-and-by, having lost my identity entirely,
I could scarcely, even when I made the effort, recall the consciousness
that I was _not_ their parent in reality.

Indeed, the transformation that had now occurred to my spirit was more
thorough than it had been in either previous instance; I could scarce
convince myself I had not been born the being I represented; my past
existence began to appear to my reflections only as some idle dream,
that the fever of sickness had brought upon my mind; and I forgot that
I was, or had been, Sheppard Lee.

Yes, reader, I was now Abram Skinner in all respects, and I loved his
children, as he had done before me. In entering his body, I became, as
I have mentioned repeatedly before, the subject of every peculiarity of
being that marked the original possessor: without which, indeed, the
great experiment my destiny permitted me to make of the comparative
good and evil of different spheres of existence, must have been made
in vain. What my prototype hated I was enforced to hate; what he loved
I found myself compelled in like manner to love. While moving in the
bodies of John H. Higginson and I. D. Dawkins, I do not remember that
I experienced any affection for anybody; which happened, doubtless,
because these individuals confined their affections to their own
persons. Abram Skinner, on the contrary, loved his children; which I
suppose was owing to their being the worst children that ever tormented
a parent. He loved them, and so did I; he pondered with bitterness over
the ingratitude of their tempers, and the profligacy of their lives,
and I--despite all my attempts to the contrary--did the same. I forgot,
at last, that I was not their parent, and my feelings showed me that I
was; and I found in the anguish that attacked my spirit, when I thought
of them, one of the modes in which Heaven visits with retribution the
worshipper of the false god of the country. When the votary of Mammon
has propitiated his deity, let him count the children he has sacrificed
upon his altar. Avarice, as well as wrath, sows the storm only to reap
the whirlwind.

I am growing serious upon this subject, but I cannot help it. This
portion of my history dwells on my remembrance with gloom; it keeps me
moralizing over the career of my neighbours. When I see or hear of a
man who is bending all his energies to the acquisition of a fortune,
and is already the master of his thousands, I ask, "What has become of
his sons?" or, "What _will_ become of them?"

With the affection for the children of Abram Skinner that took
possession of my mind, came also a persuasion, exceedingly painful,
that they were a triad of graceless, ungrateful reprobates; and, what
was worse, there was something whispered within me that much, if not
all, the evil of their lives and natures, was owing to the neglect in
which their parent, while engrossed with the high thought of heaping up
money, had allowed them to grow up. The consequences of this neglect I
felt as if it had been my own act.

The first pang was inflicted by the girl Alicia, and I felt it
keenly--not, indeed, that I had any particular parental affection
for her, as doubtless I should have had, had she not run away so
opportunely. On the contrary, a vague recollection of my amour, and
the inconstancy of her temper, caused my feelings in relation to her
to assume a very peculiar hue; so that I regarded her with sentiments
due as much to the jilted lover as the injured father. But what
chiefly afflicted me was the hint she had given in the postscript of
her letter, warning me of the fatal call to be made upon me, within
two months' space, to render up an account of my guardianship, and
surrender into the hands of that detestable Sammy Wilkins, my late
cousin, the rich legacy of her aunt Sally, which, being chiefly in real
estate, I--or rather my prototype before me--had, without anticipating
such a catastrophe, managed so prudently that it was now worth more
than double its original value. The thought filled me with such rage
and phrensy, that, had she been twice my daughter, I should have
rewarded her with execrations.

My quondam uncle, Mr. Samuel Wilkins of Wilkinsbury Hall, who, it
seems, received the girl as well as he afterward did his daughter's
husband, thought fit to pay me a visit, a week after my transformation,
to confer with me on the subject; and receiving no satisfaction, for I
was in a rage and refused to see him, sent me divers notes, proposing a
reconciliation betwixt myself and his daughter-in-law; and these being
cast into the fire, I received, in course of time, a letter from his
lawyer, or his son Sammy's, in which I was politely asked what were my
intentions in relation to settlement, and so forth, and so forth.

I received letters from the damsel also, but they went into the fire
like the others; and my rage waxing higher and higher as the time of
settlement drew nigh, I set myself to work to frame such a guardian's
account as would materially lessen the amount of my losses.

But all was in vain; the married Alicia was at last of age, and all I
could do was to fling the matter into the lawyers' hands, so as to keep
the money, the dear money, in my own as long as possible.

My reader may think this was not a very handsome or reputable way of
treating a daughter; but he must recollect I was in Abram Skinner's
body. The matter was still in suit when I departed from my borrowed
flesh; but I have no doubt the execrable Samuel Wilkins, Jr. got
possession of the legacy, as well as ten times as much to the back of

But this, great as was the anguish the evil inflicted, was nothing
to the pangs I suffered on account of the two boys, Ralph and Abbot.
On these I showered--not openly, indeed, for I was crabbed enough of
temper, but in my secret heart--all the affection such a parent could
feel. But I showered it in vain; the seeds of evil example and neglect
had taken root; the prospect of wealth had long since turned brains
untempered by education and moral culture, and the parsimony of their
parent only drove them into profligacy of a more demoralizing species;
they were ruined in morals, in prospects, and in reputation; and while
yet upon the threshold of manhood, they presented upon their brows the
stamp of degradation and the warrant of untimely graves.

The younger, Abbot, had evidently been a favourite from his childhood
up, his temper being fierce and imperious, yet with an occasional dash
of amiableness, that showed what his disposition might have been, if
regulated by a careful and conscientious parent. He possessed a fine
figure, of which he was vain; and being of a gay and convivial turn,
there was the stronger propensity to dissipation, and greater fear of
the consequences. These were now lamentable enough; he was already
beyond redemption--a sot, and almost a madman.

The elder brother was a young man, to all appearance, of a saturnine
mood and staid habits; but this was in appearance only. He was the
associate of the junior in all his scenes of frolic, and an actor in
others of which, perhaps, Abbot never dreamed. A strong head and a
spirit of craft enabled him to conceal the effect of excesses which
sent his brother home reeling and raging with drunkenness. I knew his
habits well; and I knew that, besides being in a fairer way to the
grave--if not to the gallows--he was a hypocrite of the worst order;
his gravity being put on to cover a temper both fiery and malicious,
and his apparent correctness of habits being the mere cover to the most
scandalous irregularities. He was a creature all of duplicity, and wo
to the father who made him such!

The scene in the dying chamber of their father they never forgot,
though, perhaps, I might have done so. It drove the younger from all
attempts at pretended regard or concealment of his profligacy, and
was, I believe, the cause of his final ruin. He absconded, out of mere
shame, for a week, and then returned to put a bold or indifferent
face upon the matter, and to show himself as regardless of respect as

The other, after concealing himself in like manner for a few days, came
to me, apparently in great contrition of spirit, and almost persuaded
me that his brutal conduct on that eventful evening arose rather from
grief than joy. He had been so much affected by my death, he assured
me, as scarce to know what he did when swallowing a glass of brandy
his brother gave him; that, he declared with half a dozen tears, had
set him crazy, and he knew not what he had done--only he recollected
something about going to the chamber, where, he believed, he had
behaved very badly; for which he begged my forgiveness, and hoped I
would not think his conduct was owing to any want of affection.

I had proof enough that the villain was telling me falsehoods, and I
knew that if either should, in a moment of soberness and compunction,
breathe a single sigh over my death-bed, he was not the one. In
truth, they were both bad; both, perhaps, irreclaimable; but while
the conduct of Abbot gave me most pain, that of Ralph filled me with
constant terror. Nothing but the daily excitement of speculation and
gain could have made tolerable an existence cursed by incessant griefs
and forebodings. It may be supposed that I frequently took the young
men to task for their excesses. I might as well have scolded the winds
for blowing, or the waters for running. It is true that Ralph heard me
commonly with great patience, and sometimes with apparent contrition;
but at times a scowl came over his dark features that frightened me
into silence; and once, giving way to his fierce temper, he told me
that if there was any thing amiss or disreputable in his conduct, it
was the consequence of mine; that I, instead of granting him the means
for reasonable indulgence, and elevating him to the station among
honourable and worthy men to which my wealth gave him a claim, and
which he had a right to expect of me, had kept him in a state of need
and vassalage intolerable to any one of his age and spirit.

As for Abbot, this kind of recrimination was a daily thing with him.
I scarce ever saw him except when inflamed with drink; and on such
occasions he was wont to demand money, which being denied, he would
give way to passion, and load me with reproaches still more bitter of
spirit and violent of expression than those uttered by Ralph. Nay, upon
my charging him with being an abandoned profligate and ruined man, he
admitted the fact, and swore that I was the author of his destruction;
that my niggardliness had deprived him of the opportunities that gave
other young men professions and independence; that I had brought him up
in idleness and ignorance, and, by still refusing him his rights, was
consigning him to infamy and an early grave.

Such controversies between us were common, and perhaps expedited the
fate that was in store for him, as well as his brother. I thought in my
folly to punish, and at the same time check his excesses, by denying
him all supplies of money, and by refusing to pay a single debt he
contracted. A deep gloom suddenly invested him; he ceased to return
home intoxicated, but stalked into and out of the house like a spectre,
without bestowing any notice upon me. The change frighted me; and, in
alarm lest the difficulties under which he might be placed were driving
him to desperation, I followed him to his chamber, with _almost_ the
resolution to relieve his wants, let them be what they might.

The absence of intoxication for several days in succession had induced
me to hope he had broken through the accursed bondage of drink, were it
only from rage and shame. But I was fatally mistaken. As I entered the
apartment I saw him place upon the table a large case-bottle of brandy,
which he had just taken from a buffet. He looked over his shoulder as
I stepped in, and, without regarding me, proceeded to pour a large
draught into a tumbler. His hand was tremulous, and, indeed, shook so
much, that the liquor was spilt in the operation.

I was shocked at the sight, and struck dumb; seeing which he laughed,
with what seemed to me as much triumph as derision, and said, "You see!
This is the way we go it. Your health, father. Come, help yourself;
don't stand on ceremony."

"_I_, Abbot!" said I, as he swallowed the vile potion; "have you
neither respect nor shame? I never drank such poison in my life!"

"The more is the pity," muttered the young man, but rather as if
speaking to himself than me; "I should have had the sooner and freer
swing of it."

"You mean if it had killed me, as it is killing you," said I, pierced
by the heartlessness of his expression. "Oh, Abbot! a judgment will
come upon you yet!"

He stared me in the face, but without making a reply. Then pushing a
chair towards me, he sat down himself, and deliberately filled his
glass a second time.

"Abbot! for Heaven's sake," said I, wringing my very hands in despair,
"_what_ will tempt you to quit this horrid practice?"

"_Nothing_," said he; "you have asked the question a month too late.
Look," he continued, pointing my attention again to his hand, shaking,
as it held the bottle, as if under the palsy of age; "do you know what
that means?"

"What does it mean?" said I, so confounded by the sight and his stolid
merriment (for he laughed again while exposing the fruit of his
degrading habit) that I scarce knew what I said.

"It means," said he, "that death is coming, to make equitable division
betwixt Ralph and Alicia--unless the devil, after all, should carry
them off before me; in which case you can build an hospital with your

He swallowed the draught, and then, leaning on the table, buried his
face between his hands.

The sarcasm was not lost upon me, and the idea that he was about to
become the victim of a passion from which he might be wrested by a
sacrifice on my part, greatly excited my feelings.

"I will do any thing," said I; "_what_ shall I do to save you? Oh,
Abbot! can you not refrain from this dreadful indulgence? What shall I

He leaped upon his feet, and eyed me with a look full of wildness.

"Pay my debts," he cried; "pay my debts, and make me independent; and
I--_I'll try_."

"And what," said I, trembling with fear, "what sum will pay your debts?"

"Twenty thousand--_perhaps_," said he.

"Twenty thousand! what! twenty thousand dollars!" cried I, lost in

"You won't, then?" said the reprobate.

"Not a cent!" cried I, in a fury. "How came you to owe such a sum? Do
you think I will believe you? How could you incur such a debt? What
have you been doing?"

"Gambling, drinking, and so forth, and so forth, twenty times over."

He snatched up the bottle, and, locking it in the buffet, deposited the
key in his pocket. Then seizing upon his hat, and stepping to where I
stood, transfixed with grief and indignation, he said,--"You won't
take the bargain, then?"

"Not a dollar, not a dime, not a cent!" said I.

"Not even to save my life, father?"

"Not a dollar, not a dime, not a cent!" I reiterated, incapable of
saying another word.

"Farewell then," said he, "and good luck to you! It is a declaration of
war, and now I'll keep no terms with you."

Then giving me a look that froze my blood, it was so furiously hostile
and vindictive, he struck his hands together, rushed from the house,
and I saw him no more for nearly a fortnight. I saw him no more, as I
said; but coming home the following evening from the club, I found my
strong-box broken open and rifled of the money that I left in it.

The sum was indeed but small, but the robbery had been perpetrated by
my own son; and the reader, if he be a father, will judge what effect
this discovery produced upon my mind. In good truth, I felt now that
I was the most wretched of human beings, and was reduced nearly to

But this blow was but a buffet with the hand, compared with the
thunder-bolt that fate was preparing to launch against my bosom. I
cursed my miserable lot; yet it wanted one more stroke of misfortune to
sever the chain with which avarice still bound me to my condition.



On the eleventh day after the flight of Abbot, whom all my inquiries
failed to discover, as I was walking towards the exchange, torn by
my domestic woes, and by a threatened convulsion in stocks, which
concerned me very nearly, I met one of my companions of the club, who,
noting my disturbed countenance, drew me aside, and told me he was
sorry I had got my foot into the fire; but the club had last night
taken the matter into consideration, and agreed to stand by me, if it
were possible.

All this was heathen Greek to me; and I told my friend I was in no
trouble I knew of, and wanted no countenance from anybody.

"I am very glad to hear it," said he; "but what are you doing with so
much paper in the market? That's no good sign, you'll allow!"

I started aghast, and he proceeded to inform me that he had himself
seen two of my notes for considerable amounts, and had heard of others;
and, finally, that he had just, parted with the president (an intimate
friend of his) of a bank not a furlong off, who had asked divers
questions as to the state of my affairs, and admitted there was paper
of mine at that moment in the bank.

I was seized with consternation, assured him all such notes must be
forgeries; and running with him to the bank, demanded to see any paper
they had with my name to it. They produced two different notes for
large amounts, which I instantly declared to be counterfeit; and then
ran in search of others.

The hubbub created by this declaration was great, but the tumult in my
mind was greater. A horrid suspicion as to the author of the forgeries
entered my soul, and I became so deadly sick as to be unable to
prosecute the inquisition further. My friend deposited me in a coach,
and I was carried to my home, but in a condition more dead than alive.
My suspicions were in a few hours dreadfully confirmed by my friend,
who returned with the intelligence which he had acquired. The forger
was discovered and arrested--it was the elder brother, Ralph Skinner.

Words cannot paint the agony with which I flew to the magistrate's
office, and beheld the unfortunate youth in the hands of justice;
but what was my horror to discover the extent and multiplicity of
his frauds. The number of forgeries he had committed in his parent's
name was indeed enormous; and it seems he had committed them with the
intention of flying; for many of his guilty gains were found secreted
on his person. But even after so much had been recovered, the residue
to be refunded was appalling. The thought of making restitution drove
me almost to a phrensy, while the idea of seeing him carried to jail,
to meet the doom of a felon, was equally distracting. My misery was
read on my face; and some one present, perhaps with a motive of
humanity, cried out,

"Why persecute the young man? Here is his father, who acknowledges the
notes to be genuine."

"Ah," said the magistrate, "does he so? Why, then we have had much
foolish trouble for nothing."

I looked at the amount of the forgeries, a list of which some one put
into my hands.

"It is false," I cried; "I will not pay a cent!"

I cast my eyes upon Ralph. He reached over a table behind which he
stood, and waved his hand to and fro, as if, had he been nigh enough,
he would have buffeted me on the face. His look was that of a demon,
and he spat the foam from his lips, as if to testify the extremity of

"Let him go," I cried; "I will pay it all!"

"You can undoubtedly do so, if you will," said the magistrate, who had
marked the malice that beamed from the visage of the young man; "but do
not dream that that will discharge the prisoner from arrest, or from
the necessity of answering the felony of which he now stands accused,
before a court and jury. The extent of the forgeries, and the temper
displayed by the accused, are such, that he must and shall abide the
fruits of his delinquency. He stands committed--officer, remove him."

I heard no more; my brain spun round and round, and I was again carried
insensible to my miserable dwelling.



It may be supposed that the misery now weighing me to the earth was
as much as could be imposed upon me; but I was destined to find, and
that before the night was over, that misery is only comparative, and
that there is no affliction so positively great that greater may not
be experienced. In the dead of the night, when my woes had at last
been drowned in slumber, I was roused by feeling a hand pressing upon
my bosom; and, starting up, I saw, for there was a taper burning on a
table hard by, a man standing over me, holding a pillow in his hand,
which, the moment I caught sight of him, he thrust into my face, and
there endeavoured to hold it, as if to suffocate me.

The horror of death endowed me with a strength not my own, and the
ruffian held the pillow with a feeble and trembling arm. I dashed it
aside, leaped up in the bed, and beheld in the countenance of the
murderer the features of the long missing and abandoned son, Abbot

His face was white and chalky, with livid stains around the eyes and
mouth, the former of which were staring out of their orbits in a manner
ghastly to behold, while his lips were drawn asunder and away from his
teeth, as in the face of a mummy. He looked as if horror-struck at
the act he was attempting; and yet there was something devilish and
determined in his air, that increased my terror to ecstasy. I sprang
from the bed, threw myself on the floor, and, grasping his knees,
besought him to spare my life. There seemed indeed occasion for all my
supplications: his bloated and altered visage, the neglected appearance
of his garments and person, and a thousand other signs, showed that the
whole period of his absence had been passed in excessive toping, and
the murderous and unnatural act which he meditated manifested to what a
pitch of phrensy he had brought himself by the indulgence. As I grasped
his knees, he put his hand into his bosom, and drew out a poniard, a
weapon I had never before known him to carry; at the sight of which I
considered myself a dead man. But the love of life still prevailing, I
leaped up, and ran to a corner of the room, where I mingled adjurations
and entreaties with loud screams for assistance. He stood as if rooted
to the spot for a moment; then dropping his horrid weapon, he advanced
a few paces, clasped his hands together, fell upon his knees, and burst
into tears, and all the while without having uttered a single word. But
now, my cries still continuing, he exclaimed, but with a most wild and
disturbed look--"Father, I won't hurt you, and pray don't hurt _me_!"

By this time the housekeeper Barbara, having been alarmed by my
outcries, came into the chamber; and her presence relieving me of the
immediate fear of death, I gave vent to the horror that his unnatural
attempt on my life justly excited, and thus made the woman acquainted
with his baseness.

The poor old creature, who had always loved him, was greatly affected,
especially when, in reply to my reproaches, he began to talk
incoherently, admitting the fact, one instant attempting to justify
it by preferring some strange and incoherent complaint, and the next
assuring me, in the most piteous manner, that he would do me no harm.
To Barbara's upbraidings he replied with a like inconsistency; and when
she reproached him for meditating violence at such a moment, while I
was mourning the baseness of his brother, he paid little attention to
what she said, seeming not only ignorant of Ralph's delinquency, but
apparently indifferent to it.

For this reason I began to fear his brain was touched; of which,
indeed, I had soon the most fatal proof; for Barbara, having led him
to his chamber, came back, assuring me that he was going mad, that
his mind was already in a ferment, and, in a word, that that horrible
distraction which sooner or later overtakes the confirmed drinker,
was lighting the torch in his brain that could only go out with life
itself. A physician was sent for: our fears were but too just, and
before dawn the miserable youth was raving distracted.

The day that followed was one of distraction, not only to the wretched
Abbot, but to myself; and I remember it as a confused dream. The
only thing that dwells on my recollection, apart from the outcries
in Abbot's chamber and the tumult in my own heart, is, that some one
who owed me a sum of money, due that day, came and paid it into my
hands with great punctiliousness, and that I received and wrote the
acquittance for it with as much accuracy as if nothing were the matter,
though my thoughts were far from the subject before me.

At eleven o'clock at night a messenger came to me from the prison,
and his news was indeed frightful. The wretched Ralph had just been
discovered with his throat cut from ear to ear, having made way with
himself in despair.

A few moments after I was summoned to the death-bed of his brother.

I shall never forget the horror of that young man's dissolution. He
lay, at times, the picture of terror, gazing upon the walls, along
which, in his imagination, crept myriads of loathsome reptiles, with
now some frightful monster, and now a fire-lipped demon, stealing out
of the shadows and preparing to dart upon him as their prey. Now he
would whine and weep, as if asking forgiveness for some act of wrong
done to the being man is most constant to wrong--the loving, the
feeble, the confiding; and anon, seized by a tempest of passion, the
cause of which could only be imagined, he would start up, fight, foam
at the mouth, and fall back in convulsions. Once he sat up in bed, and,
looking like a corpse, began to sing a bacchanalian song; on another
occasion, after lying for many minutes in apparent stupefaction, he
leaped out of bed before he could be prevented, and, uttering a yell
that was heard in the street, endeavoured to throw himself from the

But the last raving act of all was the most horrid. He rose upon his
knees with a strength that could not be resisted, caught up his pillow,
thrust it down upon the bed with both hands, and there held it, with
a grim countenance and a chuckling laugh. None understood the act but
myself: no other could read the devilish thoughts then at work in his
bosom. It was the scene enacted in the chamber of his parent--he was
repeating the deed of murder--he was exulting, in imagination, over a
successful parricide.

In this thought he expired; for while still pressing upon the pillow
with a giant's strength, he suddenly fell on his face, and when turned
over was a corpse. He gave but a single gasp, and was no more.

The horror of the spectacle drove me from the chamber, and I ran to
my own to fall down and die; when the blessed thought entered my
mind, that the wo on my spirit, the anguish, the distraction, were
but a dream--that my very existence, as the miser and broken-hearted
father, was a phantasm rather than a reality, since it was a borrowed
existence--and that it was in my power to exchange it, as I had done
other modes of being, for a better. I was Sheppard Lee, not Abram
Skinner; and this was but a voluntary episode in my existence, which I
was at liberty to terminate.

The thought was rapture. I resolved to sally out and fasten upon the
first body I could find, being certain I could be in none so miserable
as I had been in that I now inhabited. Nay, the idea was so agreeable,
the execution of it seemed to promise such certain release from a load
of wretchedness, that I resolved to attempt it without even waiting for

I seized upon my hat and cloak, and, for fear I might stumble into some
poor man's body, as I had done in the case of Dawkins's, I opened my
strong-box, and clapped into my pockets all the money it contained,
designing to take precautionary measures to transfer it along with my
spirit to the new tenement. I seized upon the loaned money that had
been repaid that day, together with a small sum that had been in the
box before; and, had there been a million in the coffer, I should have
nabbed it all, without much question of the right I actually possessed
in it. The whole sum was small, not exceeding four hundred dollars, all
being in bank-bills. I should have been glad of more, but was too eager
to exchange my vile casing, with its miseries, for a better, to think
of waiting till bank-hours next day.

Taking possession, therefore, of this sum, and a dozen silver spoons
that had been left in pledge a few days before, I hastened to put my
plan into execution. I slipped down stairs, let myself out of the door
as softly as if I had been an intruder, and set out, in a night of
February, to search for a new body.



The reflection that I possessed the power (already thrice successfully
exercised) to transfer my spirit, whenever I willed it, from one
man's body to another, and so get rid of any afflictions that might
beset me, was highly agreeable, and, under the present circumstances,
consolatory. But there was one drawback to my satisfaction; and that
was a discovery which I now made, that men's bodies were not to be
had every day, at a moment's warning. This was the more provoking,
as I knew there was no lack of them in the world, between eighty and
ninety thousand men, women, and children having given up the ghost in
the natural way that very day, whose corses would be on the morrow
consigned to miserable holes in the earth, where they could and would
be of no service to any person or persons whatever, the young doctors
only excepted.

And here I cannot help observing, that it is an extremely absurd
practice thus to dispose of--to squander and throw away, as I may call
it--the hosts of human bodies that are annually falling dead upon our
hands; whereas, with the least management in the world, they might be
converted into objects of great usefulness and value.

According to the computation of philosophers, the population of the
world may be reckoned in round numbers at just one thousand millions;
of which number the annual mortality, at the low rate of three in
a hundred, is thirty millions--and that without counting the extra
million or two knocked on the head in the wars. Let us see what benefit
might be derived from a judicious disposition of this mountain of
mortality--I say mountain, for it is plain such a number of bodies
heaped together would make a Chimborazo. The great mass of mankind
might be made to subserve the purpose for which nature designed them,
namely--to enrich the soil from which they draw their sustenance.
According to the economical Chinese method, each of these bodies could
be converted into five tons of excellent manure; and the whole number
would therefore produce just one hundred and fifty millions of tons;
of which one hundred and fifty thousand, being their due proportion,
would fall to the share of the United States of America, enabling
our farmers, in the course of ten or twelve years, to double the
value of their lands. This, therefore, would be a highly profitable
way of disposing of the mass of mankind. Such a disposition of their
bodies would prove especially advantageous among American cultivators
in divers districts, as a remedy against bad agriculture, and as
the only means of handing down their fields in good order to their
descendants. Such a disposition of bodies should be made upon every
field of victory, so that dead heroes might be made to repair some
of the mischiefs inflicted by live ones. The English farmers, it is
well known, made good use of the bones left on the field of Waterloo;
and though they would have done much better had they carried off the
flesh with them, they did enough to show that war may be reckoned a
good as well as an evil, and a great battle looked upon as a public
blessing. A similar disposition (to continue the subject) of their
mortal flesh might be, with great propriety, required, in this land,
of all politicians and office-holders, from the vice-president down to
the county collector; who, being all patriots, would doubtless consent
to a measure that would make them of some use to their country. As for
the president, we would have him reserved for a nobler purpose; we
would have him boiled down to soap, according to the plan recommended
by the French chymists, to be used by his successor in scouring the
constitution and the minds of the people.

In this manner, I repeat, the great bulk of human bodies could be
profitably appropriated; but other methods should be taken with
particular classes of men, who might claim a more distinguished and
canonical disposition of their bodies. The rich and tender would esteem
it a cruelty to be disposed of in the same way with the multitude. I
would advise, therefore, that their bodies should be converted into
_adipocire_, or spermaceti, to be made into candles, to be burnt at the
tops of the lamp-posts; whereby those who never shone in life might
scintillate as the lights of the public for a week or two after. Their
bones might be made into rings and whistles, for infant democrats to
cut their teeth on.

The French and Italian philosophers, as I have learned from the
newspapers, have made sundry strange, and, as I think, useful
discoveries, in relation to the practicability of converting the human
body into different mineral substances. One man changes his neighbour's
bones into fine glass; a second turns the blood into iron; while a
third, more successful still, transforms the whole body into stone. If
these things be true, and I have no reason to doubt them, seeing that
I found them, as I said before, in the newspapers, they offer us new
modes of appropriation, applicable to the bodies of other interesting
classes. Lovers might thus be converted into jewels, which, although
false, could be worn with less fear of losing them than happens with
living inamoratos; or, in case of extreme grief on the part of the
survivers, into looking-glasses, where the mourners would find a solace
in the contemplation of their own features. The second process, namely,
the conversion of blood into iron, would be peculiarly applicable in
the case of soldiers too distinguished to be cast into corn-fields;
and, indeed, nothing could be more natural than that those whose blood
we buy with gold, should pay us back our change in iron. The last
discovery could be turned to equal profit, and would do away with the
necessity of employing statuaries in all cases where their services are
now required. But I would confine the process of petrifaction to those
in whom Nature had indicated its propriety by beginning the process
herself. None could with greater justice claim to have their bodies
turned into stone, than those whose hearts were of the same material;
and I should propose, accordingly, that such a transformation of bodies
should be made only in the case of tyrants, heroes, duns, and critics.

But this subject, though often reflected on, I have had no leisure to
digest properly. For which reason, begging the reader's pardon for the
digression, I shall now leave it, and resume my story.



I was provoked, I say, to think there were so many millions of dead
bodies thrown away every year, for which I, in the greatest of my
difficulties, should be none the better. Such was the extremity
to which I was reduced, that I should have been content to change
conditions with a beggar.

It was a night in February. The day had been uncommonly fine, with a
soft southern air puffing through the streets; the frost was oozing
from the pavement, and the flags--I beg their pardon, the bricks--were
floating in the yellow mud, so that one walked as if upon a foundation
of puddings. Such had been the state of things in the day; such also as
late as at nine o'clock P. M.

But it was now eleven; the wind had chopped round to the northwest and
northeast, and perhaps some half a dozen other points beside, for it
seemed to blow in all directions, and the thermometer was galloping
downward towards zero. A savage snow-storm had just set in, and with
such sharp and piercing gusts of wind, and such fierce rattling of
hail, that, had not my mind been in a ferment, I should have hesitated
to expose myself to its fury. But I reflected that I was flying from wo
and terror; and the hope of diving into some body that might introduce
me to a life of sunshine, rendered me insensible to the rigours of the

Having stumbled about in the snow for a while, I began to inquire of
myself whither I was going; and the answer, or rather the want of an
answer, somewhat confounded me. Where was I to look for a dead body,
at such a time of night? It occurred to me I had better refer to a
newspaper, and see what persons had lately died in town and were yet
unburied. I stepped accordingly into a barber's shop, that happened
to be open, and snatched up an evening paper. The first paragraph I
laid my eyes on contained an account of the forgeries of my son, Ralph
Skinner. It was headed _Unheard-of Depravity_, and it blazoned, in
italics and capitals, the crime, the unnatural crime of committing
frauds in the name of a father.

The shock with which I beheld the fatal publication renewed my horror,
and sharpened my desire to end it. I threw down the paper, without
consulting the column of obituaries, and ran towards the Hospital,
where, it appeared to me, I should certainly find one or more bodies
which the doctors had no longer occasion for. But my visit was at
a highly unseasonable hour, and the porter, being knocked out of a
comfortable nap, got up in an ill humour. "Whose cow's dead _now_?" I
heard him grumble from his lodge--"I wonder people can't break their
necks by daylight!"

But my neck was not broken; and he listened to my eager
inquiry--"whether there were no dead bodies in the house?"--with rage
and indignation.

"I tell you what, mister," said he, "we takes no mad people in here,
except they comes the regular way."

And with that he shut the door in my face, leaving me to wonder at his
want of civility.

But the air was growing more frigid every moment, and the hour was
waxing later and later. I ran to the Alms-house, not doubting, as that
was a more democratic establishment, that I should be there received
with greater respect. But good-breeding is not a whit more native to a
leather shirt than to a silk stocking. My Cerberus here was cut from
the same flint as the other; his civility had been learned in the same
school, and his English studied from the same grammar.

"I tell you what, uncle Barebones," said he, without waiting to be
questioned, "we takes no paupers here, except they comes with an order."

And so saying, he slapped to the door with an energy that dislodged
from the roof of his den a full hundred weight or more of snow, which
fell in my face, and had wellnigh smothered me.

The case began to look desperate; but the difficulty of finding what I
wanted only rendered my wits more active. I resolved to run to one of
the medical schools, make my way into its anatomical repositories, and
help myself to the best body I could find; for, indeed, I was in such a
rage of desire to be released from my present tenement, that I did not
design to stand upon trifles.

I set out accordingly, with this object in view; but fate willed I
should seek my fortune in another quarter.

The storm had by this time begun to rage with uncommon violence;
the winds were blowing like so many buglers and trumpeters on a
militia-day, and the snow that had already fallen was whisked up
every moment from the ground, and driven back again into the air, to
mingle in contention with that which was falling. The atmosphere was
thickened, or rather wholly displaced, by the whirling particles, so
that, in a short time, the wayfarer could neither see nor breathe in
the white chaos around him. It was, in truth, a savage, inclement
night. The watchman betook him to his box, to snooze away the hours in
comfort; the lamps went out, being of a spirit still more economical
than their founders, and thinking, with great justice, that the streets
which could do with them, could do equally well without them; the dogs
were no longer heard yelping at the corners; and the pigs--the only
spectres of Philadelphia--that run squeaking and gibbering up and down
the streets in the night, to vanish at early cock-crowing, provided the
hog-catchers are in commission, were one by one retreating to their
secret strongholds, leaving the street to solitude, the snow-storm, and

I plodded on as well as I could, and with such effect, that, after a
quarter hour's trudging, I knew not well whither, I stopped at last,
I knew as little where. Instead of being in the heart of the city, as
I supposed, I found myself somewhere in the suburbs, wedged fast in a
snow-drift. One single lamp, and one single wick of that single lamp,
had escaped the puffs of the tempest; it shone from aloft, through the
rack of snow, like a fire-fly in a fog, dividing its faint beam betwixt
my frozen visage and a low open shed hard by, the only objects, beside
itself, that were visible.

I perceived that I was lost; and being more than half dead with cold, I
dragged myself into the shed, to shelter me from the fury of the storm,
and lament the ill fate that attended my efforts.

As I stepped into the wretched hole, I stumbled over a man lying coiled
up on the ground, and so exposed to the air that his legs were already
heaped over with snow. There was just light enough to discern a black
jug lying broken at his side, from which arose the odour of corn-juice,
but by no means of the true Monongahela savour.

I was struck by the fellow's appearance; he had evidently been lying
there all the evening; the stumble I had made over him did not disturb
him in the least, and my hand chancing to touch his face, I found it
could as marble. I perceived he was dead; a discovery that filled me
with uncommon joy; for my eagerness to change my condition was such,
that I only saw in him a body to be taken possession of, without
reading in the broken jug, and the miserable corner in which its victim
had breathed his last, the newer wretchedness and degradation upon
which I was rushing. Such is the short-sightedness of discontent; such
the folly of the man who deems himself the unluckiest of his species.

With a trembling hand I thrust into the pockets of the corse the money
and the silver spoons I had brought with me, being so far prudent that
I was resolved not to trust the transfer of such valuables to my new
body to accident. This being accomplished, I uttered the wish that had
thrice served my turn before.

I wished, however, in vain; I muttered the charm a dozen times over,
but with no more effect than if I had pronounced it to the lamp-post.
The body lay unmoved, and I remained unchanged.

I became horribly disconcerted; a fear seized me that my good angel, if
I had ever had one, had deserted me; or that the devil, if it was from
him I derived my power of passing from body to body, had suddenly left
me in the lurch;--in a word, that I had consumed all my privileges of
transformation, and was chained to the body of Abram Skinner for life.

I beat my breast in despair, and then, changing from that to wrath, I
began to belabour the ribs of the dead man with all the strength of my
foot, as if he were answerable for my disappointment. Perhaps, indeed,
the reader will think that he _was_; for at the third kick the corpse
became animated, and to my astonishment rose upon its feet, saying, in
accents tolerably articulate, though somewhat thick and tumultuous,
"I say, Charlie, odd rabbit it, none on your jokes now, and none on
your takin of folks up; 'cause how, folks is not half so drunk as you
suppose. And so good night, and let's have no more words about it, and
I'll consider you werry much of a gentleman."

With these words the corpse picked up that fragment of the jug that had
the handle to it, leaving the others, as well as his hat, behind him;
and staggering out of the shed, he began to walk away. I was petrified;
he was stalking off with my money, and a dozen of Mrs. Smith's silver

"You villain!" said I, running after him, "give me back my property."

"I'm a free man," said the sot; "I'm no man's property. And so,
Charlie, don't go for to disturb me, for I knows my way home as well as

"But the four hundred dollars and the silver spoons," said I, seizing
him by the shoulders, and endeavouring to empty the pockets I had but a
moment before filled. "If you resist, you rogue, I'll put you in jail."

"I won't go to jail for no Charlie in the liberty," said the man of
the jug, who to the last moment seemed to have no other idea than
that he had fallen into the hands of a guardian of the night, and was
in danger of being introduced to warmer quarters than those he was
leaving. He spoke with the indignation of a freeborn republican, who
felt his rights invaded, and was resolute to defend them; and, lifting
up the fragment of his jug, he suddenly bestowed it upon my head with
such good-will that I was felled to the earth. He took advantage of my
downfall to decamp, carrying with him the treasure with which I had so
bountifully freighted him. I pursued him as well as I could, calling
upon the watch for assistance, and shouting murder and robbery at the
top of my voice. But all was in vain; the watch were asleep, or I had
wandered beyond their jurisdiction; and after a ten minutes' chase I
found myself more bewildered than before, and the robber vanished with
his plunder.



I should have cursed my simplicity in mistaking a drunkard for a dead
man; but I had other evils to distress me besides chagrin. I was lost
in a snow-storm, fainting with fatigue, shivering with cold, and afar
from assistance, there not being a single house in sight. It was in
vain that I sought to recover my way; I plunged from one snow-bank into
another; and I believe I should have actually perished, had not succour
arrived at a moment when I had given over all hopes of receiving it.

I had just sunk down into a huge drift on the roadside, where I lay
groaning, unable to extricate myself, when a man driving by in a chair,
hearing my lamentations, drew up, and demanded, in a most benevolent
voice, what was the matter.

"Who art thou, friend?" said he, "and what are thy distresses? If thou
art in affliction, peradventure there is one nigh at hand who will
succour thee."

"I am," said I, "the most miserable wretch on the earth."

"Heaven be praised!" said the stranger, with great devoutness of
accent; "for in that case I will give thee help, and the night shall
not pass away in vain. Yea, verily, I will do my best to assist thee;
for it is both good and pleasant, a comeliness to the eye and a
refreshment to the spirit, to do good deeds among those who are truly

"And besides," said I, "I am sticking fast in the snow, and am
perishing with cold."

"Be of good heart, and hold still for a moment, and I will come to thy

And with that honest Broadbrim (for such I knew by his speech he must
be) descended from the chair, and helped me out of the drift; all which
he accomplished with zeal and alacrity, showing not more humanity, as
I thought, than satisfaction at finding such a legitimate object for
its display. He brushed the snow from my clothes, and perceiving I was
shivering with cold, for I had lost my cloak some minutes before, he
transferred one of his own outer garments, of which, I believe, he had
two or three, to my shoulders, plying me all the time with questions
as to how I came into such a difficulty, and what other griefs I might
have to afflict me, and assuring me I should have his assistance.

"Hast thou no house to cover thy nakedness?" he cried; "verily, I will
find thee a place wherein thou shalt shelter thyself from snow and
from cold. Art thou suffering from lack of food? Verily, there is a
crust of bread and the leg of a chicken yet left in my basket of cold
bits, and thou shalt have them, with something further hereafter. Hast
thou no family or friends? Verily, there are many humane persons of my
acquaintance who will, like myself, consider themselves as thy brothers
and sisters. Art thou oppressed with years as well as poverty? Verily,
then thou hast a stronger claim to pity, and it shall be accorded thee."

He heaped question upon question, and assurance upon assurance, with
such haste and fervour, that it was some minutes before I could speak.
I took advantage of his first pause to detail the latest, and, at that
moment, the most oppressive of my griefs.

"I have been robbed," I cried, "of four hundred dollars, and a dozen
silver spoons, by a rascal I found lying drunk under a shed. But I'll
have the villain, if it costs me the half of his plunder, and--"

"Be not awroth with the poor man," said my deliverer. "It was a
wickedness in him to rob thee; but thou shouldst reflect how wickedness
comes of misery, and how misery of the inclemency of the season. Be
merciful to the wicked man, as well as to the miserable; for thereby
thou showest mercy to him who is doubly miserable. But how didst thou
come by four hundred dollars and a dozen silver spoons? Thou canst not
be so poor as to prove an object of charity?"

"No," said I, "I am no beggar. But I won't be robbed for nothing."

"Verily, I say unto thee again, be not awroth with the poor man. Thou
shouldst reflect, if thou wert robbed, how far thou wast thyself the
cause of the evil; for, having four hundred dollars about thee, thou
mightst have relieved the poor creature's wants; in which case thou
wouldst have prevented both a loss and a crime--the one on thy part,
the other on his. Talk not, therefore, of persecuting the poor man;
hunt him up, if thou canst, administer secretly to his wants, and give
him virtuous counsel; and then, peradventure, he will sin no more."

I was struck by the tone and maxims of my deliverer; they expressed an
ardour of benevolence, an enthusiasm of philanthropy, such as I had
never dreamed of before. I could not see his face, the night being
so thick and tempestuous; but there was a complacency, a bustling
self-satisfaction in his voice, that convinced me he was not only a
good, but a happy man. I regarded him with as much envy as respect;
and a comparison, which I could not avoid mentally making, betwixt his
condition and my own, drew from me a loud groan.

"Art thou hurt?" said the good Samaritan. "I will help thee into my
wheeled convenience here, and take thee to thy home."

"No," said I, "I will never go near that wretched house again."

"What is it that makes it wretched?" said the Quaker.

"You will know, if you are of Philadelphia," I replied, "when I tell
you my name. I am the miserable Abram Skinner."

"What! Abram Skinner, the money-lender?" said my friend, with a severe
voice. "Friend Abram, I have heard of thy domestic calamities, and
verily I have heard of those of many others, who laid them all at
thy doors, as the author and cause thereof. Thou art indeed the most
wretched of men; but if thou thinkest so thyself, then is there a hope
thou mayst be yet restored to happiness. Thou hast made money, but
what good hast thou done with it? thou hast accumulated thy hundreds,
and thy thousands, and thy tens of thousands--but how many of thy
fellow-creatures hast thou given cause to rejoice in thy prosperity?
Truly, I have heard much said of thy wealth, and thy avarice, friend
Abram; but, verily, not a word of thy kind-heartedness and charity: and
know, that goodness and charity are the only securities against the
ills, both sore and manifold, that spring from groaning coffers. I say
to thee, friend Abram, hast thou ever given a dollar in alms to the
poor, or acquitted a single penny of obligation to the hard-run of thy

My conscience smote me--not, however, that I felt any great remorse
for not having thrown away my money in the way the Quaker meant: but
his words brought a new idea into my mind. It was misery on the one
hand, and the hope of arriving at happiness on the other, which had
spurred me from transformation to transformation. Each change had,
however, been productive of greater discontent than the other; and the
woes with which I was oppressed in my three borrowed bodies, had been
even greater than those that afflicted me in my own proper original
casing. It was plain that I had not exercised a just discretion in the
selection of bodies, since I had taken those of men whose modes of
existence did not dispose to happiness. What mode of existence then was
most likely to secure the content I sought? Such, I inferred from the
Quaker's discourse, as would call into operation the love of goodness
and of man--such as would cause to be cultivated the kindly virtues
unknown to the selfish--such as would lead to the practice of charity
and general philanthropy. I was grieved, therefore, that I had entered
so many bodies for nothing; my conscience accused me of a blunder; and
I longed to enter upon an existence of virtue; not that I had any great
regard for virtue itself, but because I valued my own happiness. Had my
deliverer chanced to break his neck while discoursing to me, I should
have reanimated his corse, to try my hand at benevolence. As for being
good and charitable in the body I then occupied, I felt that it was
impossible: the impulse pointed to another existence.

The Quaker's indignation soon abated; he looked upon my silence as the
effect of remorse, and the idea of converting me into an alms-giver and
a friend of the poor, like himself, took possession of his imagination,
and warmed his spirit. By such a conversion his philanthropic desires
would be doubly gratified; it would make _me_ happy, and, as I was
a rich man, some hundreds of others also. He helped me into the
chair, and driving slowly towards the city, attempted the good work
by describing the misery so prevalent in the suburbs, and dilating
with uncommon enthusiasm upon the delight with which every act of
benevolence would be recorded in my own bosom.

It seems that he was returning from a mission of charity in one of
the remotest districts, where he had relieved the necessities of
divers unhappy wretches; and, he gave me to understand, it was his
purpose to make one more charitable visitation before returning home,
notwithstanding the lateness of the hour and the fury of the tempest.
And this visit he felt the more urged to make, since it would afford a
practical illustration of his remarks, and show how doubly charity was
blessed, both to the giver and receiver.

"Thou shalt see," said he, "even with thine own eyes, what power he
that hath money hath over the afflictions of his race--what power to
dry the tear of the mourning, and to check the wicked deeds of the
vicious. He that I will now relieve is what thou didst foolishly call
thyself--to wit, the most miserable of men; for he is both a beggar and
a convicted felon, having but a few days since been discharged from the
penitentiary, where he had served out his three years, for, I believe,
the third time in his life."

"Surely," said I, "he is then a reprobate entirely unworthy pity."

"On the contrary," said the philanthropist, "he is for that reason the
more to be pitied, since all regard him with distrust and abhorrence,
and refuse him the relief without which he must again become a
criminal: the very boys say to him, 'Get up, thou old jail-bird;' and
men and women hoot at him in the streets. Poverty made him a criminal,
and scorn has hardened his heart; yet is he a man with a soul; and
verily thou shalt see how that soul can be melted by the breath of
compassion. In this little hovel we shall find him," said the Quaker,
drawing up before a miserable frame building, which was of a most
lonely aspect, and in a terrible state of dilapidation, the windows
being without shutters and glasses, and even the door itself half torn
from its hinges.

"It is a little tenement that belongeth to me," said my friend; "and
here I told him he might shelter him, until I could come in person and
relieve him. A negro-man whom I permitted to live here for a while
did very ungratefully, that is to say, very thoughtlessly--destroy
the window-shutters, and other loose work, for fire-wood, I having
forgotten to supply him with that needful article, and he, poor man,
being too bashful to acquaint me with his wants. Verily I do design to
render it more comfortable; but in these hard times one cannot find
more money than sufficeth to fill the mouths of the hungry. Descend,
friend Abram, and let us enter. I see the poor man hath a fire shining
through the door; this will warm thy frozen limbs, while the sound
of his grateful acknowledgments will do the same good office for thy



My benevolent friend, leaving his horse standing at the door, led the
way into the hovel, the interior of which was still more ruinous than
the outside. It consisted of but a single room below, with a garret
above. A meager fire, which furnished the only light, was burning on
the hearth, to supply which the planks had been torn from the floor,
leaving the earth below almost bare. There was not a single article
of furniture visible, save an old deal table without leaves, a broken
chair, and a tattered scrap of carpet lying near the fire, which seemed
to have served as both bed and blanket to the wretched tenant.

"How is this?" said the Friend, in surprise. "Verily I did direct my
man Abel to carry divers small comforts hither, which have vanished, as
well as the poor man, John Smith."

John Smith, it seems, was the name of the beneficiary, and that
convinced me he was a rogue. I ventured to hint to our common friend,
that John Smith, having disposed of those "small comforts" he spoke of
to the best advantage, was now engaged seeking others in some of our
neighbours' houses; and that the wisest thing we could do in such a
case would be to take our departure.

"Verily," said my deliverer, with suavity, "it is not possible John can
do the wicked things thou thinkest of; for, first, it is but three days
since he left the penitentiary, and secondly, I sent him by my helper
and friend, Abel Snipe, sufficient eatables to supply him a week; so
that he could have no inducement to do a wicked thing. Still it doth
surprise me that he is absent; nevertheless, we will tarry a little
while, lest peradventure he should return, and be in trouble, with none
to relieve him. It wants yet ten minutes to midnight," continued the
benevolent man, drawing out a handsome gold watch, "and five of these
at least we can devote to the poor creature."

I was about to remonstrate a second time, when a step was heard
approaching at a distance in the street.

"Peradventure it is John himself," said my friend; "and peradventure it
will be better thou shouldst step aside into yonder dark corner for an
instant, that thou mayst witness, without restraining by thy presence,
the feelings of virtue that remain in the spirit, even when tainted and
hardened by depravity."

I crept away, as I was directed, to a corner, where I might easily
remain unobserved, the room being illumined only by the fire, and that
consisting of little besides embers and ashes. From this place I saw
Mr. John Smith as he entered, which he declined doing until after he
had peeped suspiciously into the apartment, and been summoned by the
voice of his benefactor.

He was as ill-looking a dog as I had ever laid eyes on, and his
appearance was in strange contrast with that of his benevolent patron.
The latter was a tall and rawboned man of fifty, with an uncommonly
prepossessing visage; rather lantern-jawed, perhaps, but handsome and
good-natured. The other was a slouch of a fellow, short of stature,
but full of fat and brawn, with bow legs, gibbon arms, and a hang-dog
visage. He sidled up to the fire hesitatingly, and, indeed, with an air
of shame and humility; while the philanthropist, laying his watch upon
the table, extended his hand towards him.

"Be of good heart, friend John," he said; "I come, not to reproach thee
for thy misdeeds, but to counsel thee how thou shalt amend them, and
restore thyself again to the society of the virtuous."

"'Es, sir," grumbled John Smith, dodging his head in humble
acknowledgment, rubbing his hands for warmth over the fire, and
casting a sidelong look at his benefactor. "Werry good of you, sir;
shall ever be beholden. Werry hard times for one what's been in the
penitentiary--takes away all one's repurtation; and, Lord bless us,
sir, a man's but a ruined man when a man hasn't no repurtation."

And with that worthy John drew his sleeve over his nose, which
convinced me he was not so much of a rascal as I thought him.

"John, thou hast been but as a sinner and a foolish man."

"'Es, sir," said John, with another rub of his sleeve at his nose; "but
hard times makes hard work of a poor man. Always hoped to mend and be
wirtuous; but, Lord bless us, Mr. Longstraw (beg pardon--can't think of
making so free to say friend to such a great gentleman), one can't be
wirtuous with nothing to live on."

"Verily, thou speakest, in a measure, the truth," said my friend;
"and I intend thou shalt now be put in some way of earning an honest

"'Es, sir," said John; "and sure I shall be werry much beholden."

But it is not my intention to record the conversation of the worthy
pair. I am writing a history of myself, and not of other people; and
I therefore think it proper to pursue no discourses in which I did
not myself bear a part. It is sufficient to say, that my deliverer
said a thousand excellent things in the way of counsel, which the
other received very well, and many indicative of a disposition to be
charitable, which Mr. John Smith received still better; and in the end,
to relieve the pressing wants of the sufferer, which Mr. John Smith
feelingly represented, drew forth a pocketbook, and took therefrom a
silver dollar; at the sight of which, I thought, Mr. John Smith looked
a little disappointed. Nay, it struck me that the appearance of the
pocketbook, ancient and ill-looking as it was, had captivated his
imagination in a greater degree than the coin. I had before observed
him steal several affectionate looks towards the gold watch lying on
the table, which now, however, the sight of the well-thumbed wallet
seemed to have driven from his thoughts entirely. Nevertheless, he
received the silver dollar with many thanks, and with still more the
assurance that the philanthropist would procure him employment on the
morrow; and Mr. Longstraw's eyes, as he turned to beckon me from the
corner, began to twinkle with the delight of self-approbation.

I was myself beginning to feel a sentiment of pleasure, and to picture
to my mind the unfortunate felon, converted, by a few words of counsel,
and still fewer dollars of charity, into an honest and worthy member of
society, when--oh horror of horrors!--the repenting convict suddenly
snatched up a brand from the fire, and discharged it, with a violence
that would have felled an ox, full upon the head of his patron.

The sparks flew from the brand over the whole room, and my friend
dropped upon the floor on his face, followed by the striker, who,
seizing upon his cravat, twisted it tightly round the unfortunate man's
throat, thus completing by strangulation the murder more than half
accomplished by the below.

The whole affair was the work of an instant; and had I possessed
the will or courage to interfere, I could not have done so in time
to arrest the mischief. But, in truth, I had not the power to stir;
horror and astonishment chained me to the corner, where I stood as if
transformed to stone, unable even to vent my feelings in a cry. I was
seized with a terrible apprehension on my own account; for I could
not doubt that the wretch who would thus murder a benefactor for a
few dollars, would have as little hesitation to despatch me, who had
witnessed the deed. I feared every moment lest the villain should
direct his eye to the corner in which I stood, separated from him only
a few yards; but he was too busy with his horrid work to regard me;
and, terrified as I was, I looked on in safety while my deliverer was
murdered before my eyes.

How long Mr. John Smith was at his dreadful work I cannot say; but I
saw him, after a while, relax his grasp from his victim's throat, and
fall to rummaging his pockets. Then, leaping up, he seized upon the
watch, and clapped it into his bosom, saying, with a most devilish
chuckle and grin,

"Damn them 'ere old fellers what gives a man a dollar, and preaches
about wirtue! I reckon, old Slabsides, there's none on your people will
hang me for the smash. Much beholden to you for leaving the horse and
chair; it makes all safer."

With these words the wretch slipped out of the hovel, and a moment
after I heard the smothered roll of the vehicle as it swept from the



I supposed that Mr. John Smith had taken himself away with as much
speed as was consistent with the strength of his horse and the safety
of his bones, and I recovered from the fears I had entertained on my
own account. I crept up to the philanthropist to give him assistance,
if such could be now rendered. But it was too late; he was already
dead: Mr. John Smith had not taken his degrees without proper study
in his profession; and I must say that his practice on the present
occasion did not go far to confirm me in the love of benevolence.

Nevertheless, the appearance of the defunct threw my mind into a
ferment. I had been hunting a body, and now I had one before me; I had
come to believe that, if I wished for happiness, I must get possession
of one whose occupant had previously been happy; and I had seen enough
of the deceased to know that he had been an uncommonly comfortable and
contented personage.

The end of all this was a resolution, which I instantly made, to
take advantage of the poor man's misfortune, and convert his body
to my own purposes. I had seen him for the first time that night; I
did not remember ever to have heard his name mentioned before; and I
consequently knew nothing of him beyond what I had just learned. Where
he lived, who were his connexions, what his property, &c. &c., were
all questions to which I was to find answers thereafter. It appeared
to me that a philanthropist of his spirit and age (the latter of which
I judged to be about fifty) could not but be very well known, and that
all I should have to do, after reanimating his body, would be to seek
the assistance of the first person I should find, and so be conducted
at once to the gentleman's house; after which all would go well enough.
But, in truth, I took but little time for reflection; or perhaps I
should not have been in such a hurry to attempt a transformation. A
little prudence might have led me to inquire into the consequences of
the change, inferred from the condition of the body. Suppose his scull
should prove to be broken; who was to stand the woes of trepanning? I
do say, it would have been wiser had I thought of _that_--but unluckily
I did not: I was in too great a hurry to think of any thing save the
transformation itself; and the result was, that I had a lesson on the
demerits of leaping before looking, which I think will be of service to
me for the remainder of my life, as it might be to the reader, could
the reader be brought to believe that that experience is good for any
thing, which costs nothing.

My resolution was quickened by a step which I heard approaching along
the street. "It is a watchman," thought I to myself: "I will jump into
the body and run out for assistance."

I turned to the defunct.

"Friend Longstraw," said I, "or whatever your name is, if you are
really dead, I wish to occupy your body."

That moment I lost all consciousness. The reader may infer the transfer
of spirit was accomplished.

And so it was. I came to my senses a few moments after, just in time
to find myself tumbling into a hole in the earth beneath the floor of
the hovel, with Mr. John Smith hard by, dragging to the same depository
the mortal frame I had just deserted. I perceived at once the horrible
dilemma in which I was placed; I was on the point of being buried, and,
what was worse, of being buried alive!

"I conjure and beseech thee, friend John Smith," I cried--but cried no
more. The villain had just reached the pit, dragging the body of the
late Abram Skinner. He was startled at my voice; but it only quickened
him in his labours. He snatched up the corse and cast it down upon me
as one would a millstone; and the weight, though that was not very
considerable, and the shock together, jarred the life more than half
out of me.

"What! old Slabsides," said he, "ar'n't you past grumbling?"

With that, the bloody-minded miscreant seized upon a fragment of plank,
and began to belabour me with all his strength.

I had entered the philanthropist's body only to be murdered. I uttered
a direful scream; but that was only a waste of the breath which Mr.
John Smith was determined to waste for me. He redoubled his blows with
a vigour that showed he was in earnest; nor did he cease until his work
was completed. In a word, he murdered me, and so effectually, that it
is a wonder I am alive to tell it. He assassinated me, and even began
to bury me, by tumbling earth down from the floor; when, as my good
fate would have it, the scene was brought to a climax by the sudden
entrance of a watchman, who, running up to the villain, served him the
same turn he had served me, by laying a leaded mace over his head, and
so knocking him out of his senses.

It seems (for I scorn to keep the reader in suspense, by indulging in
mystery) that this faithful fellow, having made a shorter nap than
was warranted by the state of the night, had taken a stroll into the
air, to look about him; that he had passed the hovel, and, seeing the
chair standing at the door, had looked through a crack, and perceived
Mr. Longstraw, with whose person and benevolent character he was
acquainted, and myself--that is, my late self--warming ourselves by the
convict's fire; and that, after pursuing his beat for a while, he was
about to return by another way, when, to his surprise, he lighted upon
the vehicle at more than a square's distance from the house; and the
horse being tied to a post, it was evident he had not strayed thither.
This awaking a suspicion that all was not right, he determined to pay
a second visit to the hovel; and was on the way thither when I set up
the scream mentioned before. Then quickening his pace, he arrived in
time to witness the awful spectacle of Mr. John Smith thrusting the two
bodies into the pit; which operation the courageous watchman brought to
a close by knocking the operator on the head, as I have related.

What had brought Mr. John Smith back again, and why he should have
troubled himself to conceal the victim of his murderous cupidity, must
be conjectured, as well as the amazement with which, doubtless, he
found he had _two_ bodies to bury instead of one. He perhaps reflected,
that the visit of his patron was known to other persons; who, upon
finding his body, would readily conjecture who was the murderer; and
therefore judged it proper to conceal the evidence of assassination,
and leave the fate of his benefactor in entire mystery.

As it happened, his return had wellnigh proved fatal to me, and it
was any thing but happy for himself. It caused him to take up his
lodgings for a fourth time in the penitentiary; and there he is sawing
stone, I believe, to this day, unless pardoned out by the Governor of
Pennsylvania, according to the practice among governors in general.
The visitation was, however, thus far advantageous to me, that it
caused me to be conducted to the dwelling of Mr. Longstraw with all
due expedition and care; whereas, had it not happened, I might have
remained lying on the floor of my miserable tenement until frozen to
death; for the night was uncommonly bitter.

As for my late body, it found its way to Abram Skinner's mansion;
whence, having been handsomely coffined, it was carried to the grave,
which, but for me, it would have filled three months before.





If my first introduction to the life of the philanthropic Zachariah
Longstraw (for that was his name) was attended with circumstances of
fear and danger, I did not thereby escape those other evils, which, as
I hinted before, might have been anticipated, had I reflected a moment
on the situation of his body. It was covered with bruises from head to
foot, and there was scarce a sound bone left in it; so that, as I may
say, I had, in reanimating it, only exchanged anguish of spirit for
anguish of body; and which of these is the more intolerable, I never
could satisfactorily determine. Philosophers, indeed, contend for the
superior poignancy of the former; but I must confess a leaning to the
other side of the question. What is the pain of a broken heart to that
of the toothache? The poets speak of vipers in the bosom; what are
they compared to a bug in the ear? Be this, however, as it may, it is
certain I had a most dreadful time of it in Mr. Longstraw's body; and
it would have been much worse, had not the blows I had received on the
head kept me for a long time in a delirium, and therefore in a measure
unconscious of my sufferings. The truth is, the body which I so rashly
entered was in such a dilapidated condition, so bruised and mangled,
that it was next to an impossibility to restore its vital powers; and
it was more than two weeks, after lying all that time in a state of
insensibility, more dead than alive, before I came to my senses, and
remembered what had befallen me; and it was not until four more had
elapsed that I was finally able to leave my chamber, and snuff the
early breezes of spring.

As soon as I began to take notice of what was passing about me, I
perceived that I lay in a good, though plainly-furnished chamber, and
that, besides the physicians and other persons who occasionally bustled
around me, there were two individuals so constantly in attendance,
and so careful and affectionate in all their deportment, that I did
not doubt they were members of my new family. Indeed, I had no sooner
looked upon their faces, and heard their voices, than I felt a glow of
satisfaction within my spirit; which convinced me they were my very
dear and faithful friends, and that I loved them exceedingly.

They were both young men, the one perhaps of twenty-five, the other
six or seven years older. Both were decked in Quaker garments, the
elder being uncommonly plain in his appearance, wearing smallclothes,
shoe-buckles, and a hat with a brim full five inches wide, which he
seldom laid aside. These gave him a patriarchal appearance, highly
striking in one of his youth, which was much increased by an uncommon
air of gravity and benevolence beaming from his somewhat swarthy and
hollow visage.

The younger had no such sanctimonious appearance. There was a janty
look even in the cut of his straight coat; he had a handsome face, and
seemed conscious of it; he swung about the room at times with a strut
that excited his own admiration; and any three moments out of five he
might be seen before the looking-glass, surveying his teeth, inspecting
the sweep of his shoulders, and brushing up his hair with his fingers.
His plain coat was set at naught by a vest and trousers of the most
fashionable cut and pattern; he had a gold guard-chain, worn abroad,
and his watch, which, in all likelihood, was gold also, was stuck in
his vest-pocket, in the manner approved of by bucks and men of the
world, instead of being deposited, according to the system of the wise,
in a fob over the epigastrium; and, to crown his list of vanities, he
had in his shirt a breastpin, which he took care to keep constantly
visible, containing jewels of seven or eight different colours. It
was manifest the young gentleman, if a Quaker, as his coat showed him
to be, was quite a free one; and, indeed, the first words I heard him
utter (which were also the first that I distinguished after rousing
from my long sleep of insensibility) set the matter beyond question. I
saw him peer into my face very curiously, and directly heard him call
out to his companion--"I say, Snipe, by jingo, uncle Zack's beginning
to look like a man in his senses!"

These words imparted a sensation of pleasure to my breast, but I felt
impelled to censure the young man for the freedom of his expressions.
My tongue, however, seemed to have lost its function; and while I was
vainly attempting to articulate a reprimand, the other rushed up, and,
giving me an earnest stare, seized upon one of my hands, which he fell
to mumbling and munching in a highly enthusiastic manner, crying out,
with inexpressible joy and fervour, "Blessed be the day! and does thee
open thee eyes again? Verily, this shall be a day of rejoicing, and
not to me only, the loving Abel Snipe, but to thousands. Does thee
feel better, Zachariah, my friend and patron? Verily, the poor man
that has mourned for thee shall be now as one that rejoices; for thee
shall again speak to him the words of tenderness, and open the hand of
alms-giving; yea, verily, and the afflicted shall mourn no more!"

These words were even more agreeable than those uttered by the junior;
and I experienced a feeling of displeasure when the latter suddenly
cut them short by exclaiming, "Come, Snipe, none of thee confounded
nonsense. I reckon uncle Zack has had enough philanthropy for the
season; and don't thee go to humbug him into it any more. Thee has made
thee own fortune, and should be content."

"Verily, friend Jonathan," said the fervent Abel Snipe, addressing the
junior, but still tugging at my hand, "thee does not seem to rejoice
at thee uncle's recovery as thee should; but thee jokes and thee jests
sha'n't make my spirit rejoice the less."

"Verily," said Jonathan, "so it seems; but if thee tugs at uncle Zack
in that way, and talks so loud, thee will do his business."

"Verily," said Abel--

"And verily," said Jonathan, interrupting him, "thee will say it is
thee business to do his business; which is very true--but not in
the sense of murder. So let us hold our tongues; and do thou, uncle
Zachariah," he added, addressing me, "keep thyself quiet, and take this
dose of physic."

It was unspeakable how much my spirit was warmed within me by this
friendly contest between the two young men, and by their looks of
affection. I longed to embrace them both, but had not the strength;
and, indeed, it was three or four days more before I felt myself able,
or was allowed by the physicians, to indulge in conversation.

At the expiration of that period I found myself growing stronger; the
twenty thousand different pangs that had besieged my body, from the
crown of my head to the sole of my foot, whenever I attempted to move,
were less racking and poignant; and, waking from a slumber that had
been more agreeable than usual, and finding no one near me save the
ever faithful Abel Snipe, I could no longer resist the impulse to speak
to him.

"Abel Snipe," said I.

"Blessed be thee kind voice, that it speaks again!" said Abel Snipe,
devouring my hand as before, and blubbering as he devoured.

"Thy name is Abel Snipe?" said I.

"Verily and surely, it is Abel Snipe, and no other," said he; "I hope
thee don't forget me?"

"Why, really," said I, "I can't exactly say, friend Abel, seeing that
there has a confusion come over my brain. But art thou certain I am no
longer Abram Skinner?"

At this question Abel Snipe's eyes jumped half out of his head, and
they regarded me with wo and horror. I saw he thought my wits were
unsettled, and I hastened to remove the impression.

"Don't be alarmed, friend Abel; but, of a verity, I think I was killed
and buried."

"Yea," said Abel; "yea, verily, the vile, ungrateful, malicious John
Smith did smite thee over the head with a club, so that the bone was
broken, and thee was as one that was dead; but oh! the villain! we have
him fast in jail; and oh! the unnatural rascal! we'll hang him!"

"Verily," said I, feeling uncommon concern at the idea, "we will do no
such wicked deed; but we will admonish the poor man of the wickedness
of his ways, and, relieving his wants, discharge him from bondage."

"Yea," said Abel Snipe, with an air of contrition; "so will we do, as
becometh the merciful man and Christian. But, verily, the flesh did
quarrel with the spirit, and the old Adam cried out to me, 'Blood for
blood,' and the thing that is flesh said, 'Vengeance on the wicked man
that smote the friend of the afflicted!' But now thy goodness reproves
me, and teaches me better things: wherefore I say, be not hard with the
miserable man, for such is the wicked, and such is John Smith; who is
now mourning over his foolish acts in the county prison. Yea, verily,
we will be exceeding lenient,"--and so forth, and so forth.

I do not think it needful to repeat all the wise and humane things
said by Abel Snipe: they convinced me he was the most benevolent of
beings, and warmed a similar spirit that was now burning in my breast,
and which burnt on until it became at last a general conflagration of
philanthropy. Yea, the transformation was complete; I found within
me, on the sudden, a raging desire to augment the happiness of my
fellow-creatures; and wondered that I had ever experienced any other
passion. The generous Abel discoursed to me of the thousands I--that
is, my prototype, the true Zachariah--had rescued from want and
affliction, and of the thousands whom I was yet to relieve. My brain
took fire at the thought, and I exulted in a sense of my virtue; I
perceived, in imagination, the tear of distress chased away by that
of gratitude; I heard the sob of sorrow succeeded by the sigh of
happiness, and the prayer of beseeching changed to the prayer of praise
and thanksgiving. A gentle warmth flowed from my bosom through the
uttermost bounds of my frame, and I felt that I was a happy man; yea,
reader, yea, and verily, I was at last happy. My only affliction was,
that the battered condition of my body prevented my sallying out at
once, and practising the noble art of charity. The tears sprang into my
eyes when Abel recounted the numbers of the miserable who had besieged
my doors during my two weeks of insensibility, crying for assistance.

"Why didst thou not relieve them, Abel Snipe?" I exclaimed.

"Verily," said Abel, turning his eyes to heaven with a look of fervent
rapture, "I did relieve the sorrowing and destitute even to the
uttermost penny that was in my pocket. Blessed be the deed, for I have
not now a cent that I can call my own. As for thine, Zachariah, it
became me not to dispense it, without thy spoken authority; the more
especially as thy nephew, Jonathan, did hint, and vehemently insist,
that thou hadst bestowed too much already for thy good, and his."

These words filled me with concern and displeasure.

"Surely," said I, "the young man Jonathan is not averse to deeds of

"Verily," said Abel, clasping his hands, and looking as if he would
have wept, "the excellent and beloved youth doth value money more than
the good which money may produce; and of that good he esteemeth chiefly
the portion that falleth to his own lot. Of a surety, I do fear he hath
an eagerness and hankering, a fleshly appetite and an exceeding strong
desire, after the things of the world. He delighteth in the vanity of
fine clothes, and his discourse is of women and the charms thereof.
He hath bought the picture of a French dancing-woman, and hung it in
his chamber, swearing (for he hath a contempt for affirmation) that
it is a good likeness of the maiden Ellen Wild; and yesterday I did
perceive him squeaking at a heathenish wind-instrument, called a flute,
and thereupon he did avow an intention to try his hand at that more
paganish thing of strings, called a fiddle; and, oh! what grieved me
above all, and caused the spirit within me to cry 'avaunt! and get thee
away, Jonathan,' he did offer me a ticket, of the cost of one dollar,
to procure me admission into the place of sin and vanity, called the
theatre, swearing 'by jingo' and 'by gemini' there was 'great fun
there,' and offering to lend me a coat, hat, and trousers, so that the
wicked should not know me. Yea, verily, the young man is as a young
lion that roameth up and down--as a sheep that wandereth from the
pinfold into the forbidden meadows--and as for charity, peradventure
thee will not believe me, but he averred, 'the only charity he believed
in was that which began at home.'"

These confessions of the faithful Abel in relation to the young man
Jonathan, caused my spirit to wax sorrowful within me. But it is
fitting, before pursuing such conversations further, that I should
inform the reader _who_ the faithful Abel and the young man Jonathan

The latter, as Abel himself informed me, was my--or, if the reader
will, my prototype's--nephew, the only, and now orphan, son of a
sister, who had married, as the phrase is, "out of meeting," and, dying
destitute, left her boy to the charge of the benevolent Zachariah,
who, being himself childless, adopted him as his son and heir, and had
treated him as such, from his childhood up. The great wish of Zachariah
was to make the adopted son a philanthropist, like himself; in which,
however, he was destined to disappointment; for Jonathan was of a wild
and worldly turn, fond of frolic and amusement, and extremely averse to
squander in works of charity the possessions he designed applying in
future years to his own benefit. Nevertheless, he was greatly beloved
by his uncle; and I, who was imbued with that uncle's spirit, and
destined to love and abhor what he had loved and abhorred, whether I
would or not, soon began to regard him as one of the two apples of my



The faithful Abel Snipe, it seems (his history was told me by
Jonathan), was a man whom Zachariah, some years before, while playing
the Howard in a neighbouring sovereignty, had found plunged in deep
distress, and making shoes in the penitentiary. To this condition he
had been reduced by sheer goodness; for, being an amateur in that
virtuous art of which Zachariah was a professor, and having no means
of his own to relieve the woes of the wretched, he had borrowed from
the hoards of his employers (the president and directors of a certain
stock-company, in whose office he had a petty appointment), and thus,
perforce, made charitable an institution that was chartered to be
uncharitable. He committed the fault, however, of borrowing without
the previous ceremony of asking--either because he was of so innocent
a temper as to think such a proceeding unnecessary, or because he knew
beforehand that the request would not be granted; and the consequence
was, that the president and directors, as aforesaid, did very
mercilessly hand him over to the prosecuting attorney, the prosecuting
attorney to a grand jury, the grand jury to a petit jury, the petit
jury to a penitentiary, and the penitentiary to the devil--or such,
at least, would have been the ending of the unfortunate amateur, had
not the philanthropist, who always ordered his shoes, for charity's
sake, at the prison, been struck with the uncommon excellence of a pair
constructed by Abel's hands.

He sought out the faithful maker (for sure a man must be faithful to
make a good pair of shoes in a penitentiary), was melted by his tale
of wo, even as the wax through which Abel was then drawing a bunch of
ends was melted by the breath thereof; and shedding tears to find the
poor creature's virtue so shabbily rewarded, ran to the prosecutors
with a petition, which he induced them to sign, transmitted it to the
governor, with a most eloquent essay on the divine character of mercy,
and, in less than a week, walked Abel Snipe out of prison, a pardoned

The charity of the professor did not end with Abel's liberation.
Enraptured with the fervour of his gratitude, touched by the
artlessness of his character, and moved by the destitution to which a
pardon in the winter-time exposed him, he carried him to his own land
and house, fed, clothed, and employed him upon a new pair of shoes;
and, discovering that he had talents for a nobler business, advanced
him in time to the rank of accountant, or secretary, collector of
rents, dispenser of secret charities, and, in general, factotum and
fiduciary at large. Such a servant was needed by the humane Zachariah;
his philanthropy left him no time to attend to his own affairs, and his
nephew Jonathan had fallen in love, and become incompetent to their

Never was experiment more happy for subject and object: Abel Snipe
was made an honest and useful man; and Zachariah Longstraw obtained a
friend and servant without price. The gratitude of Abel was equal to
his ability; humility, fidelity, and religion, were the least of his
virtues--he became a philanthropist, like his master. He managed his
affairs with such skill, that Zachariah had always pennies at hand
for the unfortunate; which, it seems, had not always happened before;
and, what was equally charming, the zealous Abel dived into every
lane, alley, and gutter, to discover new objects of charity for his
patron. To crown all, he felt moved in the spirit to profess the faith
so greatly adorned by his protector; and, after due preparation and
probation, appeared in the garb of peace and humility, and even went so
far as to hold forth once at meeting.

In a word, Abel Snipe was a jewel of the first water, who supplied
the place of the idle Jonathan in all matters of business, and almost
in the affections of his kinsman. If not equally beloved, he was more
highly esteemed; and his shining worth consoled the philanthropist for
many of the derelictions of his nephew. He became the confidant, the
coadjutor, and the adviser of Zachariah; and Zachariah never found
occasion to lament the be nevolence that had redounded so much to his
own advantage.



My nephew Jonathan had no great love for poor Abel; and he did not tell
me his story without passing sundry sarcasms on him, as well as myself,
for bestowing so much confidence on the poor unfortunate man. I rebuked
the youth for his freedom and uncharitableness, and remembering what
Abel had told me of his own idle and trifling course of life, I felt
impelled by the new spirit of virtue that possessed me to take him
to task; which I did in the following manner; and it is wondrous how
completely and how soon (for I was yet lying on my back, groaning with
my unhealed wounds and bruises) my spirit assumed and acted upon all
that was peculiar in the nature of Zachariah Longstraw.

"Nevvy Jonathan," said I, "the uncharitableness of thy spirit afflicts
me. Trouble not thyself to censure the worthy Abel Snipe; but think
how thou shalt amend thine own crying faults. It has been said to me,
Jonathan, my son, and verily I fear it is true, that thou squeakest
upon flutes, and that thou makest profane noises with fiddles; and,
furthermore, that thou runnest after, and dost buy, the vanity of
pictures, and triest thy hand at painting the same."

"I do," said Jonathan; "and I find nothing against them in the

"Verily," said I, "but dost thou find nothing against them in thine own

"Not a whit," said Jonathan; "my heart says _love them_, and my head
approves the counsel. Where's the harm in these things? I know thee
don't say they are in themselves sinful."

"Verily, no," said I; "but they are indirectly so; for, being wholly
useless, the time bestowed upon them is time lost and wasted; and that,
nevvy Jonathan, I think thee will allow to be sinful."

"Not I," said Jonathan, stoutly; "I don't believe the wasting of time
to be any such heinous matter as thee supposes; had it been so, man
would not have been made to waste a third of his existence in slumber.
But granting this, for the sake of argument, I deny thy premises,
uncle Zachariah. The time bestowed upon these things is not wasted.
Heaven has given to nine men out of ten a capacity to enjoy both music
and painting; it has done more--it has set an example of both before
our eyes, and thus laid the foundation of the divine arts in Nature.
What is the world around us but a great concert-hall, echoing with the
music of bird and beast, of wind, water, and foliage? what but a great
gallery of pictures, painted by the hand of Providence? Nature is a
painter--Nature is a musician; and her sons can do nothing better
than follow her example. But were Nature neither, it is not the less
evident that these arts are lawful and sinless. They can be proved so,
uncle Zachariah, upon thine own system of philanthropy; for they add
to the happiness of our existence, and they do so without corrupting
our morals or injuring our neighbours. I say, uncle," quoth Jonathan,
who had pronounced this defence with much enthusiasm, and now concluded
with a grin of triumph, "I have thee there dead as a herring!"

"Verily," said I, more pleased than offended at the young man's
ingenuity, for my spirit yearned over him the more at every word, "thee
has a talent for argument, which I would thee would cultivate; for then
thee could get into the Assembly, and finally, perhaps, into Congress,
and do much good to thy fellow-men, by reforming divers crying abuses."

"Verily," said he, "the first thing I should reform would be thy

"Don't be funny, nevvy," said I, "for I have not done with thee. Thee
was dancing last night, in the house of the vain man Ebenezer Wild."

"I was," said Jonathan; "I was shaking my legs; and I can't see the
harm of it, for the flies do the same thing all day long."

"Verily, thee should remember that a reasonable being, that hath a
brain, should rather exercise that than his heels."

"I grant thee," said Jonathan; "but thee knows brains are not so
abundant as heels; and thee should expect the mass of people to conduct
according to their endowments."

"Jonathan," said I, "if thee thinks to make me laugh, thee is mistaken.
Of a verity I will not be rigid with thee; but, verily, I must speak to
thee of what I hold thy faults. Thou hast a vain and eager hankering
after the society of giddy women."

"I have!" said Jonathan, with great fervour. "Heaven made women to be
loved, and I love them--especially Ellen Wild!"

"Sure," said I, "I have heard that name?"

"Sure," said Jonathan, "it would be odd if thee had not; for thee knows
her well--thine old friend Ebenezer's daughter."

"A giddy girl, Jonathan, I fear me; a giddy girl!"

"As giddy as the dev--that is, as giddy as a goose," said Jonathan.

"What!" said I; "thee meant something worse! Verily, I have heard thee
uses bad language, Jonathan."

"By jingo!" said the youth, indignantly, "there is no end to the
slanders people will say of one. _I_ use bad language? By jingo!"

"Why, thee is at it now," said I; "let thy yea be yea, and thy nay nay;
for all beyond is profanity or folly. But thee will allow, Jonathan,
that when thee is among the people of the world, thee uses the language
thereof, forgetting the language of simplicity and sobriety, which
would best become thy lips?"

"Ay; there I plead guilty, and with good reason too," said Jonathan.
"When I was a boy, thee had thoughts of making me a merchant, and thee
compelled me to study French and German. Now, when I meet a Frenchman
or a German unacquainted with the English tongue, in what language does
thee suppose I address him?"

"Why, French or German, to be sure."

"Verily, I do," said the youth; "and when I get among the people of the
world, I speak to them in the language of the world; for, poor ignorant
creatures, they don't understand Quaker. Moreover, uncle, does thee
know Ellen Wild is of opinion we Friends don't speak good grammar? Now
she and I spent a whole hour the other evening, trying to parse '_thee
is_,' '_thee does_,' '_thee loves_,' and so on, and we could not work
them according to Murray. I say, uncle, does thee know of any command
in Scripture to speak bad grammar?"

"No," said I; "but it is not forbidden; and the phrases mentioned, thou
knowest, have crept into our speech as corruptions, and are only used
for conversational purposes."

"Truly," said Jonathan, "and the language of the world is used for
conversational purposes also. I say, uncle Zachariah, _that_ now's a

"I won't quarrel with thee on this account, Jonathan. But how comes it
thou wert seen in that wicked place, the theatre?"

"By jingo!" said he, "Snipe has been blabbing there too!"

"What!" said I, "does thou strive to conceal it?"

"Yea," said Jonathan; "for when we do our good deeds, we should do them
in secret. Uncle Zachariah, I went to the theatre in charity."

"Thee did," said I, charmed more than I can express at the thought of
the young man's virtue.

"Yes, uncle," said the youth; "and great need have the actors of
charity; for a poorer set of fellows I think I never saw got together."
And here the rogue fell a laughing in my face: "And so thee need not
distress thyself; for I sha'n't go there again until they get a better
company. But, uncle Zachariah, thee has exhorted me enough for one
time, and it is my turn now. So do thou be conformable, and answer my
questions; for, I can tell thee, I have a fault to find with thee.
According to thine own system of philanthropy, it is thy duty to make
thy fellow-creatures happy. Now I ask thee whether thou dost not
think it thy duty to make me, thy loving nephew, happy, as well as a

"Verily," said I, "I do."

"Why then," said Jonathan, "there is a short way of doing it. Uncle
Zachariah, I want to be married. Ellen and I have talked the matter
over, and she says she'll have me. Now, uncle, thee did once talk of
giving me a counting-house, and ten or twenty thousand dollars, as the
case might be, to begin a commission business; and Mr. Wild talked
of doing as much in the way of dowry to Ellen. And now I say, uncle
Zachariah, as the shipwrecked sailor did when he prayed among the
breakers, if thee means to help me, now's the time."

"What!" said I, "have I so much property?"

"Thee is joking," said the youth; "thee is a rich man, and thee knows
thee can afford it. But thee must do it soon, or it may be too late;
for, I can tell thee, folks begin to talk of thy philanthropy, and say
thou art flinging away so much money that presently thou wilt have
nothing left to give me. Mr. Wild is of this mind, and he has hinted
some things to me very plainly. In a word, uncle, if thee does not
permit me to marry Ellen soon, he will break the match. And so, if thee
will make me a happy man--"

"I will," said I, with uncommon fervour; "thee shall marry the maiden,
and I will straightway see what I can do for thee. Verily, what is
wealth but the dross of the earth, unless used to purchase happiness
for those that are worthy."

At these words Jonathan leaped for joy, seized my hand and kissed it,
vowed I was "his dear old dad, for all I was only his uncle," and ran
from the room--doubtless to impart the happy tidings to his mistress.



How happy was I, to think I had conferred happiness upon another! how
agreeable my sensations! how delightful the approbation of my own
heart! How much I rejoiced that my soul had at last found a habitation
equal to its wishes! an abode of peace! a dwelling of content! "If I am
Zachariah Longstraw," said I to myself, "I will show myself worthy of
the name; I will spend his money in the great cause of philanthropy; I
will make the afflicted smile; I will win the blessings of the poor;
I will do more good than even Zachariah Longstraw himself: yea, of a
surety, I will devote myself to a life of virtue!"

While I was making these virtuous resolutions, the faithful Abel Snipe
came to my bedside, and told me there were divers suffering creatures,
widows with nine small children, widowers with fourteen, sick old
women, and starving old men, in great need of relief; and so affecting
was the picture he drew of their griefs, that the tears rolled from my
eyes, and I bade him, if there was any money he could honestly lay his
hands on, carry comfort to them all.

"Verily," said he, "I have just collected the quarter's rent of the
house in Market-street; and it will be enough, and more."

"Relieve the poor afflicted creatures, then.. And hark thee, Abel
Snipe, does thee consider me a rich man? If so, let me know where I
can find twenty thousand dollars to set up the young man Jonathan in
business, and marry him to the maiden Ellen Wild."

"Alas!" said Abel Snipe; "of a verity, the young man is in a hurry; and
alas! for, of a verity, if thee takes away at this time such a great
sum from thee possessions, thee will cut off the right hand of thee

And thereupon the benevolent creature, after showing me, which it was
easy to do, that, with the mere revenue of the sum demanded, if kept
in our own hands, we could carry smiles and rejoicing into at least a
hundred families every year, exhorted me not to forget that I was the
friend of the afflicted, nor to faint in the good work of philanthropy.
Jonathan was a very young man, he said--only twenty-five--happy in
his youth, happy in his affections, happy in the certain prospect
he enjoyed of sooner or later arriving at the fullest felicity.
Why should he not then consent, like us, to forego for a while his
selfish desires, contribute his portion to the wants of the poor,
and, by labouring a few years in their cause, approve himself worthy
of fortune? How much better that he should endure a fancied ill, than
that a hundred afflicted families should be given up to actual want? He
contended that the young man's request was untimely and selfish, and
that I would only harden his heart, while breaking a thousand others,
if I granted it. In short, he said so many things, and painted so many
affecting pictures of the miseries of my fellow-creatures, and the
beauties of charity, that my mind was quite changed on the subject, and
I perceived it was my duty to resist the young man's wishes.

This change, on the morrow (being the first day that I was able to sit
up), I explained to Jonathan, exhorting him, with a feeling enthusiasm,
to tear all narrow, selfish feelings from his heart, and embark with
me, like a virtuous youth, in the great enterprise of philanthropy.
He fell into a passion, told me my philanthropy was a fudge, and Abel
Snipe a rogue and hypocrite; vowed I had a greater regard for knaves
and paupers than for my own flesh and blood, and was flinging away my
money only to encourage vice and beggary. It was in vain I sought to
pacify the indignant youth. An evil spirit seized upon him. He did
nothing for three days but scold, reproach, and complain. He abused
the faithful Abel to his face, calling him a fox, viper, cormorant,
harpy, and I know not what beside; all which Abel endured with patience
and resignation, for he was of a meek and humble spirit. Nay, not
content with this, he proceeded on the third day to greater lengths,
and did very intemperately fall upon the said Abel Snipe, tweaking
him by the nose and ears, until the poor man yelled with pain--and
even endeavoured to kick him out of the house; after which, being
censured for the same, and I siding with Abel, as justice demanded, in
the controversy, his resentment grew to such a pitch that he left the
house, declaring he would live with me no longer, but leave me to ruin
myself at my leisure.

This was an occurrence that caused me much pain, for verily I had an
exceeding great love for the young man, and I perceived that he was
treating me with ingratitude. I was, however, greatly comforted by the
increased zeal and affection of the ever-faithful Abel; who, coming to
me with tears in his eyes, declared that he could not bear the thought
of being a cause of dissension between me and my nephew, and therefore
besought me that I would discard him from my presence, when I could
again live happily with my Jonathan.

I resisted, while duly appreciating the good man's friendship; and,
fortunately, there needed no such sacrifice on my part; for, on the
eleventh day, Jonathan returned of his own accord, and, confessing his
folly, and entreating Abel's forgiveness, as well as mine, was restored
again to favour. His return itself was grateful to my feelings; but
the reader may judge how great was my rapture, when Jonathan avowed
a change in his sentiments on the subject of philanthropy, and
declared that the spirit at last moved him to think of his suffering
fellow-creatures. He entreated to be conducted to the abodes of
affliction, and there the conversion was completed. He became a changed
man, and in a few days was almost as zealous an alms-giver as myself. I
took him to my arms, and said--

"Now, Jonathan, thee is a man in whom I no longer fear the seductions
of the flesh. Thee shall marry the maid Ellen, and be set up in

"Nay," said Jonathan; "not so. I am yet but as a youth in years, and
the time sufficeth for all things. Let not the whirl of business and
the joy of the honey-moon disturb the virtue that is yet young and
frail in my bosom. Of a verity, Ellen Wild will wait till the fall; and
if she don't, and my heart should be broken, verily I shall then be
better enabled to sympathize with the wretched."

Such was the lofty, though new-born virtue of my Jonathan!

But of that, as well as our works of benevolence, I shall speak in the
following chapters.



I have already said that the mere presence of the philanthropic
feeling, now infused into my spirit, filled me with happiness, even
while I lay upon my back, aching with wounds and bruises. It may be
inferred, therefore, that my soul was ecstasy itself, when, restored at
last to health and strength, I stalked into the air, dispensing charity
with both hands.

Of a verity, it was--at least, for a time; and I will say, that,
during the first month of my new existence, I experienced a thousand
agreeable sensations, such as had never occurred to me in my whole life
before. And here let me observe, that, if what I have to add shall
show that there are offsets of inconvenience and tribulation even
to the satisfaction of the benevolent, I do not design to throw any
discredit on the virtue of benevolence itself; which I truly regard
as one of the divinest of endowments, angelic in its nature, and
blessed in its effects, when practised with discretion; and amiable,
if not lovely, even in its folly. I believe, indeed, that if Heaven
looks with peculiar indulgence on the errors of any man, it is in
the case of him who has the softest judgment for the errors, and the
readiest reparation for the miseries, of his fellows. What I wish to
be understood is, that man is an unthankful animal, and of such rare
inconsistency of temper, that he seldom foregoes an opportunity to
punish the virtue which he so loudly applauds.

I was now a philanthropist, and I will say (which I think I may do
without shame, the merit being less attributable to me than to that
worthy deceased personage whose body I inhabited), that a truer,
purer, or more zealous one never walked the earth. I should fill a
book as big as a family Bible, were I to record all the good things
I did or attempted, while a tenant in Zachariah Longstraw's body.
All my feelings and desires were swallowed up in one great passion
of philanthropy; universal benevolence was the maxim I engraved upon
my heart; I had no thought but to relieve the distresses, meliorate
the condition, and advance the happiness of my species. My generosity
extended equally to individuals and communities; I toiled alike in the
service of the beggar and the million, putting bread into the mouth of
the one, and infusing moral principles into the breasts of the others.
In a word, I was, as I have called myself already, a philanthropist;
and if my virtue was somewhat excessive in degree, it proceeded from
the sincerest promptings of spirit.



It may be supposed that the treatment I (for, of a verity, I myself
came in for some share of the hard usage that killed the true
Zachariah) had received from the base and brutal John Smith, must
have cooled my regard for him, if it did not affect my feelings of
philanthropy in general. I confess that I did regard that personage
with sentiments of disgust and indignation; but, nevertheless, I was
very loath to appear against him when summoned (as I was, soon after
leaving my sick-bed) to give evidence on the charges preferred against
him. These were two in number, and afforded matter for as many separate
endictments. In the first--and, verily, I was startled when I heard
it--John Smith was charged with the murder of Abram Skinner; in the
second, with an assault, with intent to kill, upon myself--that is, my
second self, Zachariah Longstraw--and also with robbery.

Now, if the reader will reflect a moment upon the relation in which I
stood to these charges, he will allow that the necessity of testifying
on them reduced me to a quandary. In the first place, I knew very well
that Mr. John Smith, rogue and assassin as he was, had _not_ killed
Abram Skinner, but that I had finished that unhappy gentleman myself;
and I knew also, in the second, that my admitting this fact would,
without doing Mr. John Smith any good, produce a decided inconvenience
to myself:--not that there was any fear I should be arraigned for
murder, but because nobody would believe me. I remembered how my
telling the truth to my friend John Darling, the deputy attorney, in
regard to my first transformation, had caused him to believe me mad;
and I foresaw that telling the truth on the present occasion would
reduce me to the same predicament, and perhaps the Friends' mad-house
into the bargain.

There was the same difficulty in relation to the second charge,
accompanied by another still greater; for, whereas John Smith was
there only accused of assault with intent to kill, he had in reality
committed a murder; which if I had affirmed, as I must have done had I
affirmed any thing at all, I should have been a living contradiction of
my own testimony, and thus considered madder than ever.

The truth is, I was in a dilemma, out of which the truth could not
extract me; and the more I thought the matter over, the greater was
my embarrassment. A feeling of integrity within me (for Zachariah
Longstraw was a man of conscience) urged me to speak the truth; while
common sense showed me how much worse than useless truth would be in
such an extraordinary conjuncture.

I received a visit from the prosecuting attorney, who very naturally
expected a clear and satisfactory account of Mr. John Smith's doings on
the night of the murder; and the difficulty I had with him (that is,
the attorney) gave me a foretaste of what I was to expect when summoned
into the witness's box in court. I remember that the gentleman, after
plying me with many questions, to which he got that sort of replies
invidiously termed "Quaker answers," flew into a huff, and threatened
me with what would be the consequence if I should prove backward in
court. And, sure enough, his prediction was verified; for, not giving a
straight answer to any one question when the trial came on, I received
divers reprimands from the court, and was finally committed for a
contempt to prison; where I lay two or three days, until called into
court again to give evidence on the second endictment, Mr. John Smith
having been found not guilty on the first. This was owing in part,
I presume, to the testimony of several surgeons, who deposed that
there were no marks of violence upon Abram Skinner's body; although
the evidence of the watchman, who had seen him alive through the
window, and afterward found John Smith burying his dead body in the
same hole with myself, went rather hard with him. I say the acquittal
was perhaps owing in part to the testimony of the surgeons; though
much of it might be attributed to the marvellous humanity that reigns
in the criminal courts of the city of Brotherly Love, to the great
benefit and encouragement of that proscribed and injured class of men,

I made little better work of the second attempt at witnessing; but,
as I have matters of much greater importance to demand my attention,
and the reader can easily infer what I did and what I did not affirm,
I must beg to despatch the second trial by relating that I was packed
off a second time to prison for contempt, but that the evidence of the
watchman, and my late wounds and bruises, were esteemed sufficient
to secure the prisoner's conviction; and accordingly John Smith was
convicted, and accommodated with lodgings in the penitentiary for the
fourth time.

My own incarceration was of no long duration. My contumacy, as it
was called, was considered extraordinary; but it was generally
thought to be owing to a mistaken humanity, and a perverted, Quixotic
conscientiousness, such as are common enough among persons of the
persuasion I then belonged to. This, and perhaps the circumstance that
I was yet in feeble health (for the trial, as I said, took place soon
after I left my bed), caused me to be treated with lenity; and in a few
days I was liberated.

All this, I beg the reader to understand, happened before the
reconciliation with my nephew Jonathan, and, of course, before I had
well begun my career of philanthropy. Of that career, of some of my
deeds of goodness, and of the consequences they produced, I shall now



My benevolence was of a two-fold character, being both theoretic and
practical. In the latter sense, is to be regarded the relief which I
granted with my own hands to such suffering persons as I could lay them
on; and there was no way in which I did not personally relieve some one
wretch or other. By the former, I understand a thousand schemes which
I devised and framed, to enlist the sympathies of communities, and so
relieve the afflicted in a mass; besides a thousand others which were
designed to bestow upon the poor and vicious that virtuous knowledge
and those virtuous principles, which are better than alms of gold and
silver. I instituted some half a dozen charitable societies, to supply
fuel, clothing, food, and employment to the suffering poor; as well as
others to exhort them to economy, industry, prudence, fortitude, and
so forth. I formed societies even among themselves, classing divers
isolated creatures into bands, who wrought in common, and disposed of
their wares, either in a shop kept for the purpose, or at fairs. I
established schools to keep the children of the poor out of mischief,
and one in particular I supported solely from my own, that is to say,
Zachariah Longstraw's pocket.

I bestowed much of my regards upon the poor wretches in prison, doing
all that I was permitted to effect a reformation in their habits and
feelings; and I took uncommon pains to scatter light and sentiments of
a civilized character among the worthy representatives of the Green
Island, who make up so large a portion of our suffering population.

And let it not be supposed that I neglected that other class of poor
creatures, called negroes, whom, although allowed the name, and most
of the privileges of freemen, their white brethren refuse to take to
their bosoms, merely because they have black faces, woolly heads, and
an ill savour of body. For myself, verily, if they were not comely in
my sight, nor agreeable to my nostrils, I said, "Heaven hath made them
so;" and although my nephew Jonathan insisted that Heaven had done the
same thing with other animals, and that, upon my principles, men should
be as affectionate with pigs and badgers as they were with cats and
lap-dogs, I perceived that they were my brethern, and that it became me
to conquer the prejudices lying only in my eyes and nostrils. I girded
my loins to the work, and verily, I prevailed over the weakness of the
old Adam. Of a verity, I was the African's friend.

But, oh! the wickedness of the world, and the ingratitude thereof! The
heart of man is even as the soil of the earth, which, the more it is
stirred up by cultivation, the more barren and worthless it becomes. It
is as the fields of the Ancient Dominion, where, if a man soweth barley
and corn, he shall reap a harvest of Jamestown weed, poke-berries, and
scrub pines. It is as the bulldog that one feedeth with beef and other
wholesome viands, who, the moment he has done his dinner, snaps, for
his dessert, at the feeder's heel. It is as the tender flowers, which,
in the winter-time, a man taketh from the cold, to warm, by night,
in his chamber, and which smother him with foul air before morning.
Verily, it was my lot to find, even as my nephew Jonathan had once
foolishly contended, that even philanthropy is not secure from the
sting of unthankfulness--that benevolence is, in one sense, the great
parent of ingratitude--since it begets it. For a period of full seven
months (for so long did I remain in Zachariah's body, after recoving my
health), I laboured to do good to my fellows, and, verily, I laboured
with might and main. Yet, had I toiled with the same energy to injure
and oppress, I almost doubt whether I should have been rewarded with
more manifold outpourings of wrath and fury. Verily, as I said before,
the world is a wicked world, and I begin to doubt whether man can make
it better.

One of the first mishaps that befell me was of the following nature.
Stepping one morning into the mayor's office, which was a favourite
haunt with me, seeing that misery doth there greatly abound, I fell
upon a man whom the magistrate was about to commit to jail, for being
drunk and beating his wife and children, he being unable to pay the
fine imposed upon him, and to find surety for his future good behaviour.

The spirit stirred within me as I beheld the contrite looks of the
culprit, and I said to myself--"While he lies in jail, his poor wife
and his infants may perish with hunger." I paid the fine, and, though
the mayor did very broadly hint to me that a little punishment would do
the man good, and his wife too, seeing that he was a barbarous fellow,
I offered myself for his security, and thus sent him back to his
rejoicing family. I said to myself--"This very night will I witness
the happiness I have created." I went accordingly to the man's house,
where I found the wicked fellow raving with drink, and beating his
wife as before, his children screaming with terror, and the neighbours
crying out for a constable. I did but say a word of reprehension to
him, when the brutish ingrate, leaving his rib, fell foul of myself,
mauling me cruelly; and I believe he would have beaten me to death, had
I not been rescued by the timely appearance of a constable. "Thee sees
the end of thy humanity!" said the mayor, when I entered his office
the next morning, that my black eye and bruised visage might testify
against the ungrateful man; "thee will not object to my committing the
fellow now?"

"Nay," said I; "it is drunkenness that has made the poor man mad.
Therefore lock him up in prison until his madness hath departed."

"I will," said the mayor; "and thee will have the goodness to pay over
to the clerk the hundred dollars in which thee bound thyself that the
rascal should keep the peace."

"Verily," said I, "it is not just I should pay the money; for the
beating was upon my own body."

"Truly," said the mayor, "and so it was; and therefore it is the harder
that thee should have to pay it. But pay it thee must, the man having
broken the peace as much in beating thee, as if it had been any other
citizen of the commonwealth."

And so much satisfaction I had for befriending the sot; the charity,
which did more harm than good even to the man's poor family, since it
exposed them a second time to his fury, costing me, without counting
the fine paid on the first day, a sore beating and one hundred dollars.

My next misadventure was the being cheated in a very aggravated way by
a poor man to whom I loaned money, without exacting bond or voucher,
the same being loaned to re-establish him in a gainful business, which
had been interrupted by an unfortunate accident. For, having prospered
in his business, and I requiring that he should now repay the money,
that I might devote it to the service of others, he very impudently
averred that he had never had any thing of me, except advice and a good
word of recommendation here and there; swore that he never paid away or
received a cent without giving or taking a receipt; defied me to prove
my claim; and concluded his baseness by threatening to kick me out of
his workshop.

These instances of ingratitude were followed by others of a still
deeper die, and so numerous, that I can mention only a few of them.

Walking one day to that infant school which I had established, to
keep children out of mischief while their hard-working parents were
at their daily labours, I perceived the urchins standing at the door,
pelting the passers-by with mud. Reproving them for this misconduct,
the graceless vagabonds did speedily turn their battery upon myself;
and, not content to plaster and bespatter me with mud-balls from head
to foot, they fell upon me, and, being very numerous, did actually roll
me about in a gutter, where was a deep slough, so that I had nearly
perished with suffocation, being sorely bruised into the bargain. To
crown all, having expelled from my school the ringleaders in this
marvellous outbreaking of precocious ingratitude, I was visited by
their parents, all of them abusing me for my tyrannical usage of their
children (although, of a truth, the tyranny was all on the side of the
juveniles), and impudently demanding that I should pay them for their
boys' time, at the rate of twenty-five cents a week each, for as many
weeks as I had had them at school. Of a surety, some people are very

It was also my misfortune to offend divers tailors and shopkeepers,
by benevolently taking part in the efforts of their poor unfortunate
needle-women to obtain better wages; and one day, in the streets, these
angry men did hustle me, and tear a tail from my coat. But I consoled
myself for this violence, by thinking of the gratitude of the poor
creatures I was defending; when, making my way, the following evening,
to their place of assembly, I was set upon by the whole crew, for that
I did hint, that, as their difficulties did chiefly proceed from their
numbers, there being more hands at the business of sewing than were
required, they would greatly benefit themselves, and the community
too, by going, two thirds of them at least, into service, there being
ever a great want of domestics in our respectable families. I say, I
did but hint this reasonable and undeniable truth, together with a
friendly remark upon the exposed state of their morals, when there
arose such a storm among them as was never perhaps witnessed by any
other human being. "Hear the old hunks!" said one: "he wants to make
niggur servants of us! _us_, that is freeborn American girls!"--"Yes,
ladies!" said another, "and he is insinivating we are no better nor we
should be!"--"Turn the old rip out!" said a third; and "Turn him out!"
cried the other three hundred and fifty there present. Of a verity,
they did assail me with both tongue and nail, testifying such vigour of
spirit and strength of arm, that, were I a philanthropist now, which
I fortunately am not, and were I moved to consult their interests as
before, I should endeavour to form them into a regiment of soldiers,
not doubting that they would, at any moment, prevail over twice their
numbers of male fighting men. Of a verity, I say, they did violently
pull me about, thrusting me at last from the apartment: and their
ingratitude was a sore wound to my spirit.



Another evil that befell me about the same time, was equally
afflicting. A negro-man that had fled from bondage in a neighbouring
state, being sharply hunted, and about to be captured by the person
that called him his property, I carried him to my house, and there
concealed him for three days and mights, until his master had departed;
"For," said I, "of a surety, slavery is a bitter pill, and one that
cures neither the rheumatism nor the ague; and, therefore, why should
my brother Pompey be compelled to swallow it?" My brother Pompey,
having eaten, drunk, and slept at my expense for the three days
mentioned, disappeared on the morning of the fourth before daylight,
carrying with him twenty-seven pounds of silver, in spoons, teapots,
and other vessels, the three watches belonging to myself, my nephew,
and Abel Snipe, as well as Jonathan's best coat and trousers. Verily,
I was confounded at the fellow's ingratitude, and the loss of my
valuables, all of which, however, though broken up, it was my good
fortune to recover, together with the three watches. The thief himself,
being taken, was clapped into jail for a while, and then surrendered
to his master, and carried back to bondage; and this stirring up the
choler of the free Africans in town, they did naught but cry out upon
me as the author of his misfortune, surrounding my house with a mob,
and proceeding to the length of even burning it down. At least, the
house taking fire, and manifestly by the act of an incendiary, it was
charged by my friends upon these raging foolish people, though I was
never able to prove it upon any one in particular. As my good fortune
would have it, Abel Snipe had taken out a policy of ensurance, so that
I recovered the money from the company; but not without going to law,
the company averring that my humanity rendered me careless.

I caused another dwelling to be built; and, in building it, received
another strong and inconvenient proof, not merely of man's ingratitude,
but of his natural hostility to the charity which benefits his
neighbours. I bought my marble out of the prison, in order to encourage
industry among the prisoners, and thus lighten the load of taxation on
the community at large. This being known, the marble-cutters fell into
wrath, denounced me as the friend of villany and the enemy of honest
industry; and being joined by the shoemakers, who had put me down in
their character-book as a patron to none but prison-workmen, and by
divers other mechanics that had some grudge of the same kind, they
seized upon me, as I stood surveying my rising mansion, and bedaubed
me from head to foot with thick whitewash, painting in great black
letters, on the broad of my back, the following words, namely--"THE
ROGUE'S FRIEND;" which caused me, after I had escaped from their hands,
to be hooted at by boys and men along the street, and to be bitten by a
great cur-dog, that was amazed at my appearance.

Another misfortune, still more distressing, befell me one day, as I
walked among the western suburbs, seeking whom I might relieve. I
espied a company of men surrounding a ring, made with stakes and ropes,
in which two wretched creatures were stripping off their garments, with
the intention to do battle upon one another with their fists. These
were gentlemen of the fancy, as it is called; though imagination can
paint nothing of a more grossly animal and brutish character, afar
from all that is fanciful, than that very class that calls itself of
the fancy. I was shocked that the poor creatures should, in their
ignorance, agree to maul and beat one another, for the amusement of
a mob; and I was concerned that a mob, containing so many rational
beings, should be willing to harry on two such silly fellows to harm
each other for their pastime. I stepped among them, therefore, and
addressed them, exhorting them to peace and harmony; and this producing
but little effect on them, I upbraided them with breaking the laws,
both human and divine, and assured them I would go hunt up the police,
to prevent the mischief they meditated. Alas! how ungratefully they
used me! There was a man at a distance who was heating a great pot of
tar, to pay the bottom of a canal-boat; and just a moment before, a
carter had stopped to look on the affray, leaving on the roadside his
cart, on which, among other articles of domestic furniture, was an old
feather-bed, lying on the top of all. The devil had surely brought
these things upon the ground, that his sinful children, the gentlemen
of the fancy, might be at no loss how to testify their hatred of
humanity. The very combatants themselves were the first to seize me,
and cry out, "Tar and feather the old Bother'em! Douse down the bed,
and dab the pot off the fire." And "Daub him well!" they cried, all the
while that their wretched companions, drowning the cries I made for
assistance, with savage yells of rage and merriment, covered me from
head to foot with the nasty pitch, and then, tearing the bed to pieces,
emptied its contents over my reeking body. Then, having feathered me
all over, and so transformed me that I looked more like an ostrich than
a human being, they tied me to a post, where I was forced to remain,
looking upon the fight that immediately ensued between the champions. A
horrid sight it was; but I was so devoured with shame and indignation,
that I should have cared little had they dashed each other's brains
out. So much I endured for exhorting men to live together in peace and

The very beasts seemed to conspire to treat me with ingratitude.
My first effort in their cause was an attempt I made one day, on
the tow-path near the Water-Works, to protect a poor broken-down
barge-horse, which the driver was cruelly beating. My interference
cost me a dip in the basin, the man, who was both savage and strong,
pitching me in headlong, and (what I deemed still more provoking) a
kick from the horse, who let fly at me with his heels, merely because
mine, as they were tripped into the air, came in contact with his
hind-quarters; so that I was both lamed and half drowned for my charity.

In the same way, I was scratched half to death, and much more savagely
than I had been before by the needle-women, by a cat that I took out
of a dog's mouth,--without counting upon a nip that I had from the cur
also. And, to end this small catalogue of animal ingratitude, I may
say, that, within a fortnight after, I was served in the same way by a
rat that I strove to liberate from the fangs of my own gray tabby; for,
while Tabby was clawing at my fingers, the rat took me by the thumb;
and between them I was near perishing with lockjaw, the weather being
uncommonly hot, and the time midsummer.

There were a thousand other mischances of a like nature which befell
me, but which I have not leisure to describe, nor even to enumerate.
Some few of them, however, I think proper to record; but, to save
space, I will clap them into a short list, along with those already
mentioned, where they may be examined at a glance, and where, in that
glance, the reader may perceive what are sometimes the rewards of

            I. Beaten by a drunkard whom I had taken out of
            prison, and bailed to keep the peace.

            II. Mulcted out of $100 surety-money, because
            my gentleman broke the peace by beating me.

            III. Driven, and almost kicked, out of a man's
            workshop, because I asked payment of a loan
            made without bond or voucher.

            IV. My nose pulled by a merchant to whom I
            had (out of charity to the latter, who was
            unfortunate) recommended a customer, who
            swindled him.

            V. Rolled in the mud by the boys of my own
            charity-school, whom I had exhorted not to daub
            the passers-by.

            VI. Abused by their parents for not paying them
            25 cents per week for the time I had the boys
            at school.

            VII. Hustled by tailors, slop-shopkeepers, and
            others, for taking part with the needle-women
            in a strike.

            VIII. Scolded, scratched, and tumbled down
            stairs by the needle-women, for advising them
            to go into domestic service, and take care of
            their morals.

            IX. Robbed by a fugitive slave whom I had
            concealed three days and nights in my house
            from his master.

            X. House burnt down by the free blacks (or so
            it was suspected) for putting the thief as
            aforesaid into jail, so that his master got him.

            XI. Whitewashed and libelled on my own back by
            the stonecutters, for buying wrought marble out
            of the prison.

            XII. Tarred and feathered by a gang of the
            fancy, whom I exhorted at the ring to peace and

            XIII. Scalded at my own house (which I had
            converted, at a season of suffering, into a
            gratis soup-house), and with my own soup, by a
            beggar, because there was too little meat and
            too much salt in it.

            XIV. Soused in the canal by a boat-driver, for
            rebuking his cruelty to an old barge-horse.

            XV. Kicked by the horse for taking his part.

            XVI. Scratched by a cat, for taking her out of
            a dog's mouth: _item_, bitten by the dog.

            XVII. Bitten by a rat, which I rescued from a
            cat: item, scratched by the cat.

            XVIII. Gored by a cow for helping her calf out
            of the mire: _item_, the calf splashed me all
            over with mud.

            XIX. Beaten about the ears with a half-skinned
            eel, by a fishwoman, whom I reproved for
            skinning it alive.

Such were some of the unhappy circumstances that rewarded a seven
months' life of philanthropy. But there were others to follow still
more discouraging and afflicting.



It is a common belief among those who are more religious than wise,
that a man never catches a cold going to church of a wet Sunday, or
being baptized in midwinter. I am myself of opinion, the belief of
such good people to the contrary notwithstanding, that many devout
persons, by wading to church in the slush, or washing out their sins
in snow-water, have gone to heaven much sooner than they expected. In
the same way, and on the same principle of distrusting all miraculous
interposition of Heaven in cases where human reason is sufficient
for our protection, I have my doubts in the truth of another maxim
of great acceptation in the world,--namely, "that a man never grows
poor by giving." I believe, indeed, that the charity of a discreet and
truly conscientious man never injures his fortune, but may, in many
instances, actually tend to its increase; since the love of benevolence
may stimulate him to new labours of acquisition, that he may have the
greater means of doing good. But I am also of opinion, and I think it
may be demonstrated by a good accountant, that a man who has a revenue
of a thousand a year, and bestows fifteen hundred in charity, will, in
due course of time, find himself as poor as his pensioners. When a man
hath a goose with golden eggs, whatever he may do with the eggs, he
should take great care of the goose.

The reader may infer from these remarks, that my philanthropy was as
little profitable to my pocket as it proved to my person; and such
indeed was the truth. I am of opinion I should myself, in a very few
years, have consumed the whole estate of Zachariah Longstraw, ample as
it was, in works of charity. How much faster it went with my nephew and
my friend Abel to assist me, may be imagined. My nephew became a very
dragon of charity, and dispensed my money upon such objects of pity as
he could find (for he soon began to practise the profession upon what
Abel called his own _hook_), with a zeal little short of fury; so that,
to supply his demands, I was sometimes obliged even to stint myself.
Had Abel Snipe been equally profuse, there is no saying how soon I
might have found myself at the end of my estate. But Abel Snipe was a
jewel; his charity was great, but his conscientiousness was greater; he
had ever a watchful eye to my good; and his solicitude to husband and
improve my means kept his benevolence within the bounds of discretion.

But, notwithstanding all his care, Abel perceived that our philanthropy
was beginning to eat holes into my possessions; and coming to me one
day with a long face, he assured me, that, unless some means were
devised to increase my income, we should soon find ourselves driven to
resort to the capital.

"Verily, and of a truth," said I, not a whit frighted at this
communication, "and why should that chill us in the good work, Abel
Snipe? Of a surety, all that I possess, is it not the property of the

"Verily," said Abel, "verily and yea; but if we betake us to the
capital, verily, it will happen that sooner or later it shall be
consumed, and nothing left to us wherewithal to befriend the afflicted.
I say to thee, Zachariah, thy wealth is, as thou sayest, the property
of the poor; and it becomes thee, as a true and faithful servant
thereof, to see that it be not wasted, but, on the contrary, husbanded
with care and foresight, and put out to profit, so that the single
talent may become two, and peradventure three; whereby the poor, as
aforesaid, shall be twice, and, it may be, thrice benefited."

"Thou speakest the words of sense and seriousness," said I, struck by
the new view of the case. "But how shall this happy object be effected?
What shall we do, Abel Snipe, to make the one talent three, and thereby
increase our means of doing good?"

"Thee nephew Jonathan," said Abel Snipe, with a look of devout joy, "is
now a changed man, a man of seriousness and virtue, a scorner of vain
things, and a giver of alms--a man whom we can trust. I say to thee,
Zachariah, thee shall establish thee nephew in a gainful business, and
he shall make money; thee shall give him what is thee property for
his capital, remaining theeself but as a sleeping partner: and thus
it shall happen that thee capital shall be turned over three times a
year, producing, on each occasion, dividends three times as great as
now accrue from thy investments: and thus, Zachariah (and verily it
is pleasant to think upon), where thee now has a thousand dollars of
revenue, thee shall then have nine; and where thee now relieves nine
afflicted persons, thee shall there-upon relieve nine times nine, which
is eighty-one."

I need not assure the reader that this proposition of Abel's fastened
mightily upon my imagination, and that I was eager to embrace it; and
Jonathan coming in at the moment, I repeated the conversation to him,
assuring him that, if he thought himself able, with Abel's assistance,
to undertake such a business, he should have my money to begin upon
instanter, and marry the maiden Ellen into the bargain.

"Nay, verily," said Jonathan, "I will not marry, and I will not do
this thing whereof thee speaks. Uncle Zachariah, thee may think me
light of mind thus to speak of Ellen Wild, who is much lighter; but,
of a surety, I find the spirit moves me to regard her as one not to be
regarded any longer. In the matter of the money-making, I say, let Abel
Snipe be thy merchant, or whatsoever it may be thee has determined on;
for Abel Snipe is a good business man, and he knows how to make money.
He shall have my advice and assistance, as far as may be in my power.
But, truly, my thoughts now run in the paths of the unfortunate; and
thither let my footsteps follow also."

To this proposal the faithful Abel, with tears in his eyes (for he
was moved that Jonathan should express such confidence in him at
last), demurred, averring that it would be better, and more seemly,
for Jonathan himself to undertake the affair, he, Abel Snipe, giving
help and counsel, according to his humble ability. Jonathan objected
as before, and again declared that Abel, and Abel alone, was, as he
expressed it, "the man for my money." In short, the two young men,
now the best friends in the world, contested the matter, each arguing
so warmly in favour of the other, that it was plain the thing could
never be determined without my casting vote, which I, seeing that
Jonathan was positive, and bent upon a life of virtue, gave in Abel's
favour, and it was resolved accordingly that Abel should be made the



And now, the question occurring to me, I demanded into what kind of
business we should enter.

"That," said Jonathan, "is a question more easily made than answered,
seeing that there are so many ways of making money in this wicked
world, that an honest man can scarce tell which to choose among them;"
and then proceeded with great gravity to indicate divers callings,
which he pronounced the most gainful in the world, and all or any of
which, he thought, Abel could easily turn his hand to.

The first he advised was quackery--the making and vending of nostrums
to cure all manner of diseases, including corns and the toothache;
which was a business that had the merit of requiring no previous study
or education, a tinker or cobbler being just as fit to follow it as
a man that had read Paracelsus; and which, besides, as was evident
from the speed with which its professors in general stepped from the
kitchen-pot to the carriage, was the quickest way of making a fortune
that could be imagined. I should have thought the young man was joking
(for he had that vice in him to the last), had it not been for the
fervour with which he pointed out the advantages of the vocation. A
great recommendation, he averred, was, that it required no capital
beyond a few hundred dollars, to be laid out in bottles and logwood,
or some other colouring material. Pump-water, he said, was cheap; and
as for the other sovereign ingredient, it was furnished by the buyer
himself. "Yes!" said Jonathan, "faith is furnished by the buyer, who
pays us for the privilege of swallowing it; we sell men their own
conceits, bottled up with green, red, and brown water; and thereby we
make them their own doctors. Who then can say the calling of the quack
is not honest--nay, even philanthropic? He is a public benefactor--a
friend even of physicians; for he frees them from the painful necessity
of killing, by making men their own executioners."

And thus he went on until I cut him short by averring, that the whole
business was little better than wholesale cheating and murder. He then
recommended we should make Abel a tailor, solemnly declaring that,
next to quackery, tailoring, which was a quackery of another sort, was
the most profitable trade that could be followed; the mere gain from
cabbaging, considering that an ingenious tailor got at least one inch
of cloth out of every armhole, without counting the nails cribbed from
other parts of a coat, being immense, and his profits, seeing that he
lost nothing by a bad customer that he did not charge to a good one, as
certain and immutable as the laws of the Medes and Persians.

In short, my nephew Jonathan was in the mood for expatiating on the
merits of all money-making vocations; in which I should follow him,
were I not urged by the exigencies arising from limited time and space
to adhere to my story. He made divers recommendations, none of which I
thought of weight; and upon Abel, who had heard him with gravity and
attention, I was at last forced to call for advice and assistance. It
was his opinion, and he advised accordingly, that all the money I could
raise should be thrown into the stock-market, where, being applied to
purchase and sale in the usual way, he had no doubt it could be made
to yield a revenue of at least twenty per cent., and perhaps twice as
much; and this proposal, strange as it may seem to the reader, after
the experience Abram Skinner had given me in such matters, I did, after
sundry doubts and hesitations, finally agree to.

"Verily," said I, "this is a gainful business, friend Abel; but, of a
surety, neither honest nor humane, seeing that it is practised at the
expense of the ignorant, and often the needy."

"Verily, no," said Abel Snipe, with fervour; "it shall be at the
expense of the rich and niggardly--the man that is a miser and
uncharitable--the broker and the gambler--the bull and the bear. Our
dealings shall not be with the poor and ignorant man that dabbleth
in stocks; but him will we charitably pluck from the grasp of the
covetous, and thus protect, while drawing from the covetous man those
alms of benevolence which he would never himself apply to the use of
the afflicted."

"Verily," said I, pleased with the idea, "if we can make the covetous
man charitable, it will be a good thing; and if we can protect the
foolish ignorant person from his grasp, it will be still better. But,
of a surety, Abel Snipe, this business will be as gambling?"

"Yea, and verily," said Abel Snipe, "it is as gambling when a gambler
follows it; but in the hands of an honest man it is an honest
profession. Is not money, bagged up in stocks and other investments, as
merchandise? and, as merchandise, shall it not be lawfully bought and

"And moreover," said Jonathan, with equal earnestness, "if it be no
better than cheating and swindling, this same buying and selling, are
we not embarking in it out of charity? Verily, uncle Zachariah, in
such a case as this, the end sanctifies the means. Behold what is the
crying evil arising from money that is chartered in stocks, whether it
be in banks, rail-roads, loans, or otherwise. This is money that is
not taxed for charitable purposes; it is money appropriated solely to
the purposes of gain. Why is it that a private man should be taxed to
support the poor, and a bank, that has greater facilities for making
money, be not taxed for the purpose at all? Verily, uncle Zachariah,
we will do what the commonwealth should be doing; we will impose a tax
upon the gains of chartered money, and distribute the proceeds among
the needy."

To make short work of the matter, I will not pursue our debate further,
but merely state that I was soon brought to consider Abel Snipe's
scheme the best, honestest, and most philanthropic in the world, and
to agree that he should open an office as a stock-broker, turning a
penny or two in that way, while making much more by buying and selling
on his own account. To this I was brought, in a great measure, by
the representations and arguments of Jonathan, among which I esteem
as still worthy of consideration that which stands above expressed
in his own words. I am still of opinion that a tax, and a round one,
should be imposed upon the profits of all banks and other money-making
corporations, the same to be specifically appropriated to hospitals,
and other charitable foundations, and perhaps also to public schools.
In this way evil might be made productive of good, and our avarice
rendered the parent of benevolence and knowledge. Of a verity, my
philanthropy is not yet got out of me!

The aforementioned arrangement was made at an early period of my new
existence, that is to say, at the close of spring; and the faithful
Abel soon began to render a good account of his stewardship, by handing
me over divers handsome sums of money, the profits of his speculations,
which Jonathan and myself disbursed with rival enthusiasm. The
experiment was continued in a prosperous manner until the month of
September, when there happened a catastrophe not less unexpected than



The various mischances and afflictions, as narrated in the preceding
chapter, which rewarded my virtue, had begun to affect my mind with
sundry pangs of melancholy and misgiving. I perceived that the world
_was_ ungrateful, and I had my doubts whether it was a whit the better
for my goodness. These doubts and this persuasion were confirmed by
the experience of each succeeding day; and by the month of September
as aforesaid, I found myself becoming just as miserable a man as I
had ever been before, and perhaps more so, being pierced not merely
with the ingratitude of those I had befriended, but convinced that the
unworthiness of man was a thing man was determined to persevere in.

It was at the moment of my greatest distress, that the catastrophe
alluded to before happened; and this was nothing less than the
sudden bankruptcy of Abel Snipe, whereby I was reduced in a moment
from affluence to destitution; and what made the calamity still more
painful, was a conviction forced upon me by my own reflections, as
well as the representations of others, that the failure could not have
happened without a fraudulent design on the part of the fiduciary.
It is true, this worthy gentleman was the first to inform me of his
mishap, which he did with tears in his eyes, and with divers outbreaks
of self-accusation and despair; he declared that his imprudence had
ruined me, his benefactor, and implored me, his benefactor, to knock
him on the head with a poker I had begun to embrace in my agitation;
but how he had effected such a catastrophe I could not bring him
clearly to explain. The only answers I could get from him were,
"Speculation, speculation--bad speculation!--ruined my benefactor!
might as well have murdered thee!" and so on; and having given vent to
some dozen or more of such frantic interjections, he ran out of the

Enter Jonathan the very next moment. The sight of him renewed my grief;
he, poor youth, was ruined as well as myself, yet not wholly; for,
as good luck would have it, I had, a week or two before, after long
cogitation on the subject, resolved to marry him to the maid Ellen
Wild, and so secure his happiness more certainly than, it appeared
to me, it could be secured by a life of philanthropy. To effect this
desirable purpose I bestowed upon him the only property which I had
not thought fit to put into Abel Snipe's hands, being the new house I
was then building, promising also to add a sum of money, as soon as it
could be conveniently withdrawn from the concern. He received the gift
and the promise with much joy and gratitude, but betrayed surprising
indifference on the score of matrimony, saying that he was in no great
hurry, and in fact giving me to understand that there was a difference
between him and the maiden.

"Jonathan," said I, as soon as I saw him, "thee is a ruined young man.
Abel has broken."

"All to smash!" said Jonathan; "I know all about it. Horrible pickle
we're in. But I say, uncle, if thee can borrow twenty thousand dollars,
we can save friend Abel yet."

"Does thee say so?" said I; "is it true?"

"Verily," said Jonathan, "I have looked over the demands, and twenty
thousand dollars by nine o'clock to-morrow will make all straight. But
where will thee get twenty thousand dollars?"

"Where?" said I, fairly dancing for joy. "It was but two days since
that thy friend Ebenezer Wild did offer me exactly the sum of twenty
thousand dollars for the new house as it stood, not knowing I had
conveyed it to thee, until I told him the same, as a reason why I could
not take such a handsome offer."

"Well," said Jonathan, opening his eyes, "what then?"

"Surely," said I, "if he would give twenty thousand then, he will give
twenty thousand now. And so, Jonathan--"

"And so," said Jonathan, "thee wants me to sell the house, does thee?
and give thee back the money? Uncle Zachariah, thee should be a little
more reasonable. Thee must remember that the house is _mine_; and as
it seems to be all I am ever to get, why, uncle, thee must excuse me,
but--I have no notion of parting with it."

If Jonathan had picked up the poker and served me the turn Abel Snipe
had so piteously entreated me to serve him--that is, knocked me on the
head, I could not have been more shocked and horror-struck than I was
by these words.

"What, Jonathan," said I, "does thee refuse to save me from ruin--_me_,
who have been a father to thee, and given thee all that thou hast?"

"No," said Jonathan, coolly, "I am not so bad as that; but as this
house is all I have, I can't think of running too much risk with it.
Suppose thee borrows that twenty thousand dollars that Ebenezer Wild
has so handy: he is thy friend as well as mine. Or suppose thee tries
some of thy other friends. Thee has often loaned to them, and not often
borrowed. Sure thee has many friends who can spare money better than I

"Oh, thou ungrateful young man!" said I.

"Don't go to call me hard names," said the perfidious and unfeeling
youth; "for, if thee comes to that, uncle Zachariah, I can tell thee,
_thee_ is the ungrateful man--though not a young one. Haven't I been
as a son to thee for eighteen long years? haven't I humoured all thy
foolish old notions, even to the point of giving alms, talking about
virtue and philanthropy, and so on? haven't I given up Ellen Wild to
please thee? And hasn't thee, after all my pains, choused me out of
the portion I had a right to expect of thee, except a poor beggarly
unfinished house, only worth twenty thousand dollars? Yes, thee
has, uncle Zachariah, thee can't deny it. Don't thee talk to me of

"Thou art a viper," said I.

"If I am," said Jonathan in a huff, "I won't stay to be trodden on."

And with that, the heartless creature, tossing up his head like an
emperor, stalked out of the house, leaving me petrified by the enormity
of his baseness.



I was, indeed, so shocked, so overwhelmed, by ingratitude coming
from such a quarter, that it was some time before I could recover
myself sufficiently to think of the steps necessary to be taken for
my preservation. I remembered, however, that he, even _he_, my thrice
unfeeling nephew, had recommended me to borrow of my friends what would
be enough to retrieve my affairs from ruin. I ran from the house, not
doubting that I could easily raise the sum. Fifty paces distant was my
new house--that is, Jonathan's. My old friend Ebenezer, the father of
the maid Ellen, was standing before it, looking up to the carpenters,
who were nailing the shingles on the roof.

"Ebenezer," said I, "thee is my friend--does thee know I am on the
brink of ruin?"

"Very sorry," said Ebenezer--"all the town-talk; looked for nothing
better. Perhaps thee will sell the house--pho! I forgot; thee gave it
to Jonathan."

"Ebenezer Wild," said I, "if thee is my friend, lend me that twenty
thousand dollars. It will save me from ruin."

"Really, Mr. Longstraw," said Ebenezer Wild, (who was no Quaker, though
his father had been before him), "I am surprised a reasonable man
should make such a request. I have told you twenty times you would ruin
yourself by your cursed philanthropy--can't consent to be ruined with
you. Pity you, Mr. Longstraw--awfully swindled; wonder you could trust
such a knave as Abel Snipe--sorry to hear matters look so black for
Jonathan--thought better of him--quite unnatural to be defrauded by
one's own flesh and blood."

What Ebenezer meant by his concluding remarks I did not, at that
moment, understand. But I comprehended them well enough when I had run
to five or six other friends, rich men like him, all of whom treated
my request to borrow with as little respect, while all wound up their
commonplace condolings by assuring me, first, that Abel Snipe had
swindled me; and, secondly, that there was much reason to believe my
nephew Jonathan had done the same thing.

Reader, this is a very wicked world we live in. My philanthropy did not
make me, as philanthropy often does, selfish with my friends. I felt as
much pleasure in obliging one who happened to be in a difficulty, with
a loan of any sum within my reach, as in relieving actual distress. Of
twelve different persons whom I now sought in my dilemma, I had in this
manner, at different times, obliged no less than eleven; of not one
of whom could I now borrow a dollar. Every man pitied my misfortune,
every one inveighed with becoming severity against the villany of those
by whom I was ruined, but every one was astonished that a reasonable
man like me should expect another reasonable man to part with his
money. In short, it was evident that my friends loved borrowing better
than lending; and I left the door of the twelfth with the agreeable
conviction on my spirit, that human nature was of the nature of a
stone, I being the only man of the thousand million in the world that
had actually a heart in my bosom.

This consideration was racking enough; but it made a small part of my
distress. Every man had charged my friend, honest Abel Snipe, with
having swindled me, as Ebenezer Wild had charged before; and every one,
in like manner, swore that my nephew Jonathan had borne a part in the
nefarious transaction. This seemed to me incredible enough; but when
I remembered Jonathan's late behaviour, his unexpected defection, his
hard, unfeeling, nay, his treacherous selfishness, I felt prepared to
believe almost any wickedness that might be said of him.

I ran to Abel's office, resolved to sift the affair to the bottom. The
work was already done to my hands; I found the office full of people,
some of whom were officers of the police, who had seized upon books and
papers, and (awful to be said!) the body of Abel Snipe; and all raging
with vociferation and confusion, except the latter worthy, who looked
as if astounded out of his senses. "It's a clear case of swindling,"
cried a dozen voices as I entered, "a design to defraud--fraud from
beginning to end; flagrant, scandalous, scoundrelly swindling--, nay,
_worse_ than swindling--it is a conspiracy! Jonathan has confessed
it--been going on this three months;--Jonathan has confessed it!"

Jonathan had confessed it! confessed what? Why, confessed, as every one
gave me to understand, and confessed in the hands of justice (for it
seems he had been arrested), that he and Abel Snipe had entered into a
conspiracy to defraud me of my property, which had been carried on from
the moment that the latter was established in business, and was now
completed by a long-designed bankruptcy.

Let the reader imagine my feelings at this disclosure of ingratitude
and villany so monstrous.

My best friend--a man whom I had wrested from the extremity of poverty
and disgrace, and my only relative--a youth whom I had adopted and
reared as my son, who was my heir at law, and the living partner, as
I may say, in all my possessions--had leagued together feloniously to
deprive me of what I never denied them the privilege to share,--to rob,
to fleece, to reduce me to beggary.

Words cannot paint my grief. I crept away from the scene of confusion,
ashamed of my manhood, ashamed even of my philanthropy. I reached the
door of my house; it was just dusk; a poor man standing at the door
implored my charity for a miserable creature, as he called himself. "Go
to the devil!" said I.

"You are Zachariah Longstraw?" said another man, tapping me on the
shoulder. "I am," said I, supposing he was a beggar like the other;
"and you may go to the devil too."

"Very much obliged to you," said the man; "but you're my prisoner; and
so come along, if you please." And with that he took me by the arm, and
began to march me down the street.



Why I was arrested, and at whose instance, I knew not; I was too
downcast and spirit-broken to inquire. I had, doubtless, divers small
debts due to persons with whom I was accustomed to deal; and it seemed
to me natural enough, as all men were ungrateful rascals, that all
such persons, now that I was known to be penniless, should fall upon
me without shame or mercy, demanding their dues. I say I thought such
a consummation was natural enough, and I asked no questions of my
captor. I let my head drop upon my bosom, and, without resisting or
remonstrating, and looking neither to the right nor the left, suffered
him to conduct me whither he would.

Our progress was rapid, our journey short; in a few moments I found
myself led into a house, and ushered into a lighted apartment.

I looked up, to see into what alderman's hands I had fallen. The reader
may judge of my surprise, amounting almost to consternation, when I
beheld myself in an elegant saloon, brilliantly lighted, and surrounded
by a dozen or more gayly-dressed people of both sexes, among whom was
my friend Ebenezer Wild, and two or three others whose countenances
seemed familiar, but whom, in my surprise and confusion, I did not
immediately recognise.

A maiden, beautiful as the morning, and smiling as if her little heart
was dancing out of her eyes, ran from the throng, and seized me by the
hands, crying,--

"Now, uncle Zachariah, thee shall pay me what thee owes me, or be
turned over to some other creditor!"

I looked upon her in astonishment, and began to fancy I was in a dream.

"What!" said my friend Ebenezer, "don't you know my little Ellen?" And
thereupon he added other expressions, but what they were I retain no
remembrance of, my wits being utterly amazed and confounded.

To make my confusion still greater, the door suddenly opened, and in
rushed my nephew Jonathan, dressed, like a dandy of the first water,
in a blue cloth coat with shining buttons, white trousers, and satin
waistcoat, and exclaiming "Bravo!" and "Victoria!" as if a very demon
of joy and exultation possessed him. As soon as he beheld me he ran
forward, snatched one of my hands from the maiden, and, dropping on his
knees, cried, with a comical look of contrition,--

"Forgive me all my sins, uncle Zachariah, and I'll behave better for
the future."

"Oh thou ungrateful wretch!" said I, "how canst thou look me in the
face, having ruined me?"

"Don't say so!" cried Ellen Wild; "you don't know how Jonathan has
saved you."

"The deuse he don't!" said Jonathan, jumping up; "why then we've got
the play all wrong. I say, uncle, don't look so solemn and wrathful.
You are no more ruined than I am, and you are out of the clutches of
the harpy!"

"Haven't I been swindled?" said I.

"Unutterably!" said Jonathan; "but, as the swindler has been swindled
also, there's no great harm done. Uncle Zachariah, a'n't you satisfied
Abel Snipe is a rascal?"

"I am," said I; "but what shall I say of thee?"

"That I have broken the spell the villain cast over your senses," said
Jonathan, "and so saved you from the ruin your confidence invited him
to attempt. Uncle Zachariah, you think I am as bad as Abel. Now listen
to my story. I knew that Abel Snipe was a rogue and hypocrite, but
could not make you believe it; I saw that he was daily fleecing you
of sums of money under pretence of giving to the poor; that he was
artfully goading and inflaming your benevolence into a passion, nay,
into a _monomania_ (for, uncle, everybody said you were mad), for his
own base purposes; and that, sooner or later, he would strip you of
every thing. This I could not make you believe; I resolved you should
see it. I turned hypocrite myself, and began to fleece you ten times
harder than Abel. The rogue was alarmed; he perceived I was ousting him
from his employment--that I had greater facilities for cheating (having
more of your affection) than himself. His alarm, added to another
feeling which you shall hear all about, brought him into the trap from
which cautiousness at first secured him. I convinced him I was as great
a rogue as himself, and he then agreed with me--yes, uncle, formally
agreed--to join in a plan to strip you of fortune. We arranged the
whole scheme from beginning to end--the business, the speculations, the
bankruptcy. Abel was to play Sir Smash--his reputation could stand it.
The sums received from you were to be handed over to me, and accounted
for as lost in bad speculations; to make which appear straight, his
books were filled with fictitious sales and purchases, very ingeniously
got up. After the grand crash we were to make a division of the
plunder, he being content, honest man, to receive one fourth, of which
he considered himself secure enough as long as I had any value for
good name or fear of the penitentiary. Now you may wonder how such a
cautious rogue could be so easily gulled. Here stands the fairy," said
Jonathan, pointing to the maid Ellen, "who dazzled the eyes of his
wisdom. Yes, uncle, would you believe it? the impudent, the audacious
fellow had the vanity to think he had found favour in her eyes, at a
time when I had lost favour in those of her father. You must know we
had a coolness--that is, father Wild and I; it was about you--that
confounded philanthropy--but we'll say nothing of that. I used to
communicate with Ellen by letter, and Abel was often my Ganymede. Now,
you must know, Ellen is a coquette--'

"Fy, Jonathan!" said the damsel; "it was all that vicious Abel's
presumption and folly. Because I was glad to see him, and treated him
well, just because he brought me letters--oh, the monster! I soon saw
what was running in his head!"

"Yes," said Jonathan, "Ellen's a much smarter girl than people suppose

"Oh! you great Quaker bear!" said the maiden.

"Well," continued Jonathan, "she boasted her conquest, and then I saw
I had the ogre by the nose. It was this put me upon turning swindler;
I had a talk with father Wild, who approved my plan, and Ellen agreed
to cultivate Abel's good opinion as far as a smile or two. We affected
to quarrel; I began to coquet with another, abusing poor Ellen to Abel
as hard as I could, until he was persuaded the breach between us was
incurable. Ellen gave him a smile--her papa became condescending. In a
word, the rascal thought nothing was wanting to make him the happiest
man in the world, save the one full fourth of his patron's estate, and
as much more as he could cheat me of. Here was the rock upon which Abel
split, and split he has; he is now safe. The moment matters came to
a crisis, which was this afternoon, I ran to a magistrate--my friend
Jones there" (pointing to an elderly gentleman who had entered with
him), "and made confession of our roguery; deposed the whole matter;
accused myself and Abel of conspiracy to defraud, and so forth, and so
forth; and was admitted to the honourable privileges of evidence for
the commonwealth, and allowed to walk about on bail, while my rascally
colleague takes up his lodgings in prison. There's the whole story; I
have exposed Snipe's rogueries, and secured his conviction; and, what
is equally agreeable, I have saved your property. Here, uncle--you
called me a viper--I only wanted to make you believe I could be
ungrateful, as well as others. By-the-way, that was a plan of father
Wild's, to have your friends refuse to assist you; they were let into
the secret, and I recommended you to apply to them. Here, uncle, you'll
see what a viper I am," he continued, a little impetuously; "here are
the deeds for the house; here is a roll of bank-notes I cheated you
of, to play the philanthropist; you will be surprised at the amount,
but I _did_ spend some, I confess, for there are wretches who deserve
our charity. And here, and here, and here you have the property out of
which Abel and I conspired to cheat you--at least, the chief part of
it; the rest we will soon get possession of, having laid the villain in
limbo. Here, uncle Zachariah, take them, and be as philanthropic as you
please; we have no fear of you, now your familiar is tied up; take your
property, and much good may it do you. As for me, I am content to take
Ellen--that is, if you have no objection."

This was a turn of circumstances that confounded me more than ever;
and, verily, I knew not whether I was standing on my head or feet. I
stood staring Jonathan in the face, without saying a word, until the
youth was seized with the idea that the surprise of the thing had
turned my wits; at which, being alarmed, he took me again by the hand,
and said, with the tears in his eyes,--

"Oh, my dear uncle! do consider it is nothing more than a joke, and
that I never meant to offend thee."

"No," said I, "thee did not. Therefore thee shall have it all, and thee
shall marry the maiden."

And with that, being seized with uncommon generosity, or perhaps not
well knowing what I did, I put into his hands the conveyance of the
house, the bank-bills, and other papers which he had given me but a
moment before, and turned to leave the house.

"Stay, uncle--I am just going to be married," said he; and "Stay,
Zachariah!" said a dozen others; when some one suddenly calling
out, "Let him go; he is afraid of being turned out of meeting if he
witnesses the ceremony," I was suffered to obey the impulses of the
spirit within me, and walk out of the house; which I did without
exactly knowing what I was doing.

To tell the honest truth--as, indeed, I have been trying to do all
along--I was in a kind of maze and bewilderment of mind, which the
first shock of ruin had produced, and which Jonathan's story rather
increased than diminished. The effect of this was divided in my brain
with the impression of the various proofs of ingratitude and baseness
to which the day had given birth, the latter, however, being greatly
preponderant. Of one feeling only I had entire consciousness, and that
was a hearty disgust of philanthropy, coupled with a sense of shame at
having been so basely cheated as I seemed to have been on all sides. I
had been cheated out of my senses, as the saying is; and the only cure
for me was to be cheated into them again; which was not an agreeable
reflection, the whole affair being a reproach on my good sense.

On the whole, I felt very melancholy and lugubrious, and began to
have my thoughts of leaving Zachariah Longstraw's body at the first
convenient opportunity. The great difficulty was, however, to find a
tenement in which I might promise myself content, the disappointment I
had experienced in my present adventure having filled me with doubts
as to the reality of any human happiness. "At least," said I to myself
"I will henceforth look before I leap. I will cast mine eyes about me,
I will gird up my loins and look abroad into the human family, and
peradventure I shall find some man whose body is worth reanimating.
Yea, verily, I will next time be certain I am not putting my soul, as
the pickpocket did his hand, into a sack of fish-hooks."

With this resolution on my mind I walked towards my house, and was just
about to pass the door, when an adventure befell me which knocked the
aforesaid resolution entirely on the head. But before I relate it my
conscience impels me to make one remark, which I beg the reader, if he
be a man of fortune and blood, to peruse, without excusing himself on
the score of its dulness.



There are other persons besides Zachariah the philanthropist, who
have experienced the ingratitude of the poor; and, truth to say, if
we can believe the accounts of those who profess to have the best
means of judging, there is more of it among that class of beings in
the United States than in any other Christian land. If it be so, let
not the reader wonder at its existence. It springs, like a thousand
other evils of a worse, because of a political complexion, from that
constitution of society which, notwithstanding its being in opposition
to all the interests of the land and the character of our institutions,
is founded in, and perpetuated by, the folly of the richer classes. It
lies, not in the _natural_ enmity supposed to exist between the rich
and the poor, but in the unnatural hatred provoked in the bosoms of
the one by the offensive pride and arrogance of the other. The poor
man in America feels himself, in a political view, as he really is,
the equal of the millionaire; but this very consciousness of equality
adds double bitterness to the sense of actual inferiority, which the
richer and more fortunate usually do their best, as far as manners
and deportment are concerned, to keep alive. Why should the folly of
a feudal aristocracy prevail under the shadow of a purely democratic
government? It is to the stupid pride, the insensate effort at pomp and
ostentation, the unconcealed contempt of labour, the determination,
manifested in a thousand ways, and always as unfeelingly as absurdly,
to keep the "base mechanical" aware of the gulf between him and his
betters--in a word, to the puerile vanity and stolid pride of the
genteel and refined, that we owe the exasperation of those classes in
whose hands lie the reins of power, and who will use them for good or
bad purposes, according as they are kept in a good or bad humour. It
is to these things we trace, besides the general demoralization ever
resulting from passions long encouraged, besides the unwilling and
unthankful reception of benefits coming from the hands of the detested,
all those political evils which demagoguism, agrarianism, mobocracism,
and all other _isms_ of a vulgar stamp, have brought upon the land.
There is pride in the poor, as well as the rich: the wise man and the
patriot will take care not to offend it.

Reader, if thou art a rich man, and despisest thy neighbour, remember
that he has a thousand friends of his class where thou hast one of
thine, and that he can beat thee at the elections. If thou art a
gentleman, remember that thy cobbler is another, or thinks himself
so--which is all the same thing in America. At all events, remember
_this_--namely, that the poor man will find no fault with thy wealth,
if thou findest none with his poverty.



I said that, just as I arrived at the door of my dwelling, an adventure
befell me; and truly, it was such an extraordinary one as has happened
to no other individual in the land since the days of the unfortunate
William Morgan. As I passed towards the door, a man whose countenance I
could not see, for it was more than two hours after nightfall, and who
seemed to have been lying in wait on the stoop, suddenly started up,
exclaiming, in accents highly nasal, and somewhat dolorous,

"Well! I guess, if there's no offence, there's no mistake. I rather
estimate that you're Mr. Zachariah Longstraw?"

"Well, friend! and what is that _thy_ business?" said I, in no amiable

"Well, not above more than's partickilar," said the stranger; "but
I've heern tell much on your goodness, and I'm in rather a bit of the
darnedest pickle jist now, with a sick wife and nine small children,
the oldest only six years old, that ever you heerd tell on. And so, I
rather estimated--"

"Thee may estimate theeself to the devil," said I. "How can the oldest
child of nine be only six years old?"

"Oh, darn it," said the fellow, "there was three on 'em twins. But if
you'll jest step round to my wife, she'll tell you all about it. Always
heern you was a great andyfist, or what-d'-ye-call-it."

"Then thee has heard a great lie," said I, "and so thee may go about
thee business, for I'll give thee nothing."

"Well now, do tell!" said the man, with a tone of surprise that
conveyed a part of the emotion to myself, particularly when, by way
of pointing his discourse with the broadest note of admiration, he
suddenly clapped a foot to my heels, and laid me sprawling on the broad
of my back.

My astonishment and wrath may well be imagined; but they were nothing
to the terror that beset me, when, recovering a little from the
stunning effects of the fall, I opened my mouth to cry aloud, and found
it instantly stuffed full of handkerchiefs, or some such soft material,
which the pretended beggar took that opportunity to gag me with. The
next moment I felt myself whipped up from the ground and borne aloft,
like a corpse, on the shoulders of two men, who trudged along at a
rapid pace, and apparently with the greatest unconcern possible; for
some of the people in the street hearing my groans, which were the only
sounds I could make, and demanding what was the matter, were answered
by my cool captors, "Oh, nothing more than's partickilar--only a poor
mad gentleman that broke hospital; guess he won't do it again. Raving
mad, and hollers a gag out. I say, Sam, hold fast to his legs, and
don't let him jump; for I rather estimate, if he gets loose, he'll kill
some on these here people."

The villain! I had begun to hope my moans and struggles, which I made
for the purpose as loud and furious as I could, having no other way of
calling for help, would cause some of the persons collected to arrest
the rogues, and inquire into the matter a little more closely; but no
sooner had the villain expressed his fears of the mischief I might do,
than all inquiries ceased, and a horrible scraping and rattling of feet
told me that assistance and curiosity had scampered off together.

In three minutes more I found myself clapped into a little covered,
or rather _boxed_ wagon, such as is used by travelling tinmen, and
held fast by one of the rogues, while the other seized upon the reins,
and whipping up a little nag that was geared to it, we began to roll
through the streets at a round gait, and with such a rattle of wheels
and patty-pans, that there was little hope of making myself heard, had
I possessed the voice even of an oyster-man. My companion took this
opportunity to secure my wrists in a pair of wooden handcuffs, and
to lock my feet in a sort of stocks, secured against the side of the
wagon. Then, overhauling the handkerchiefs, and arranging them more to
his liking, though not a whit more to mine, he opened his mouth and
spoke, saying,

"Now, uncle Longlegs, I estimate we'll be comfortable. So keep easy;
or, if you _will_ grunt, just grunt in tune, and see what sort of a
bass you'll make to Old Hundred."

With that the rascal, after pitching his voice so as to accommodate
mine as much as possible, began to sing a song; of which all that I
recollect is, that it related the joys of a travelling tinman--tricks,
rogueries, and all;--that it began somewhat in the following fashion;--

    "When I was a driving along Down East,
    I met old Deacon Dobbs on his beast;
    The beast was fat, and the man was thin--
    'I'll cheat Deacon Dobbs,' says I, 'to the skin,--'"

that it was as long and soporific as a state constitution, or a
governor's message--that it was actually sung to a psalm-tune, or
something like it--and that, during the eleventh, twelfth, thirteenth,
and half of the fourteenth stanza, the little wagon rolled leisurely
over a long and hollow-sounding bridge, which I had no doubt was one of
the wooden Rialtos of the Schuylkill--having passed which, the driver
whipped up, and away we went at a speed of at least six miles an hour.



Verily, reader, the thing was to me as an amazement and a marvel, and
the wonder thereof filled my spirit with anguish and perturbation.
But if I was dismayed at my seizure and abduction, at my involuntary
journey, prolonged through the space of a whole night, how much greater
was my alarm to find it continued for five days and nights longer,
during which I was never allowed to speak or breathe the fresh air,
except when my captors halted to rest and eat, which they did at
irregular intervals, and always in solitary places among woods and
thickets. It was in vain that I demanded by what authority they treated
me with such violence, what purpose they had in view, and whither
they were conducting me. The rogues assured me they were very honest
fellows, who made their living according to law, and had no design to
harm me; and as to what they designed doing with me, _that_, they said,
I should know all in good time; recommending me, in the meanwhile,
to take things patiently. I studied their appearance well. They were
common-looking personages, with a vulgar shrewdness of visage, and
would have been readily taken for Yankee pedlers of the nutmeg and
side-saddle order--that is, of the inferior branch of that adventurous
class--as indeed they were. There was nothing of the cut-throat about
them whatever, and I soon ceased to feel any apprehension of their
doing me a personal injury. But what did the villains mean? what was
their object in carrying me off? what did they design doing with me?
To these questions, which I asked myself and them in vain, I had, on
the sixth day of my captivity, an answer; and verily it was one that
filled me with horror and astonishment. Oh! the wickedness of man!
the covetousness, the depravity, the audacity! the enterprise and
originality thereof!

During the first three days of my captivity, my roguish captors had
taken great pains to conceal me from, and to prevent any noises I might
make from being heard by, any persons they met on the road. On the
fourth day they relaxed somewhat from their severity; on the fifth they
unbound my arms; and on the sixth they even removed the gag from my
mouth, assuring me, however, that it should be replaced if I attempted
any outcries, and giving me, moreover, to understand, that I was now
in a land where outcries would be of no service to me whatever; and,
indeed, I had soon the most mournful proof that, in this particular,
they spoke nothing but the truth.

The evening before, I heard, while passing by a farmhouse, a great
sawing of fiddles and strumming of banjoes, with a shuffling of feet,
as of people engaged in a dance, while a voice, which I knew, by its
undoubted Congo tang, could be none but a negro's, sang, in concert
with the fiddles,--

    "Ole Vaginnee! nebber ti--ah!
    Kick'm up, Juba, a leetle high--ah,--"

or something to that effect. And, while I was marvelling what could
make a negro in Pennsylvania chant the praises of Virginia, having
rolled a little further on, I heard, far in the distance, while our
little nag stopped to drink from a brook, the sound of many voices,
which I knew also were those of negroes. They were labourers husking
corn in the light of the moon, and singing as they laboured; and,
verily, there was something uncommonly agreeable in the tones, now
swelling, now dying in the distance, as many or fewer voices joined
in the song. There was a pleasing wildness in the music; but it was
to me still more enchanting, as showing the light-heartedness of the
singers. "Verily," said I, forgetting my woes in a sudden impulse of
philanthropy, "the negro that is free is a happy being"--not doubting
that I was still in Pennsylvania.

But oh, how grievously this conceit was dispersed on the following
morning! I was roused out of sleep by the sound of voices and clanking
of chains, and looking from the door of my prison, which my conductors
had left open to give me air, I spied, just at the tail of the cart, a
long train of negroes, men, women, and children, of whom some of the
males were chained together, the children riding for the most part in
covered wagons, while two white men on horseback, armed with great
whips and pistols, rode before and behind, keeping the whole procession
in order.

"What!" said I, filled with virtuous indignation, and thrusting my head
from the cart so as to address the foremost rider, "what does thee
mean, friend? Are these people slaves or freemen? and why dost thou
conduct them thus in chains through the free state of Pennsylvania?"

"Pennsylvanee!" cried the man, with a stare; "I reckon we're fifty
miles south of Mason's and Dixon's, and fast enough in old Virginnee."

"Virginia!" said I, seized with dismay. Before I could add any thing
farther, one of my captors, jumping from the front of the cart, where
he had been riding with the other, clapped to the door of the box,
swearing at me for an old fool, who could not keep myself out of

"Hillo, stranger!" I heard the horseman cry to my jailer, "what white
man's that you've got locked up thaw?"

"Oh, darn it," was the answer, "it's an old fellow of the north, jist
as mad as the dickens."

"Friend!" cried I from my prison, seized with a sudden hope of escape,
"the man tells thee a fib. If thee is an honest man and a lover of the
law, I charge thee to give me help; for these men are villains, who
have dragged me from my home contrary to law, and now have me fastened
up by the legs."

"I say, strange-aw! by hooky!" cried the horseman, in very emphatic
tones, addressing himself to my captor, as I saw through a crack, while
his companion rode up to his assistance, "what's the meaning of all
this he-aw? What aw you doing, toting a white man off in this style,
like a wild baw?"

What a "wild _baw_" was I could not conveniently comprehend; but I saw
that I had lighted on a friend, who had the power to deliver me from

"My name," said I, "is Zachariah Longstraw, and I can reward thee for
thy trouble."

"You hear him!" said my jailer, with all imaginable coolness. "Well
now, darn it, if I must tell, it is Zachariah Longstraw, the famous
Zachariah Longstraw. You understand!" And here he nodded and winked at
the questioner with great significancy; but, as it appeared, all in

"Never heard of the man in my life," said my friend, "and I've followed
niggur-driving ever since I could hold a two-year-old bo' pig."

"What!" cried my jailer, "never heard of Zachariah Longstraw, the
famous abolitionist?"

"_Abolitionist_!" cried the two horsemen together, and they cried it
with a yell that made my hair stand on end. "Can't say ever heard the
name, but reckon he's one of them 'aw New-Yorkers and Yankees what
sends 'cendiary things down he-aw! I say, strange-aw! is it a true,
right up-and-down, no-mistake abolitionist?"

"Darn it, I think you'd say so, if you had ever read the papers."

"Jist open the box then, and if I don't take the scalp off him, call me
a black man!"

"You won't do no sitch thing, meaning no offence," said my jailer.
"Didn't go to the expense to fetch him so far for nothing; and don't
mean him for the Virginnee market. Bound down to Louisianee, stranger;
that's the best market for abolitionists; seen a public advertisement
offering fifty thousand dollars for fellers not half so bad. I rather
estimate we'll get full price for our venture."

With that my jailers whipped up, and succeeded in putting a proper
distance betwixt them and that ferocious person who had such a desire
to rob me of my scalp.



Reader, if thou art an abolitionist (and, verily, I hope thou art
not), thou wilt conceive the mingled wo and astonishment with which
I listened to these words of the chief kidnapper--whose Christian
name, by-the-way, was Joshua, though as for his surname, I must
confess I never heard it--and appreciate, even to the cold creeping
of the flesh, the terrible situation in which I was placed. I was an
abolitionist--or, at least, my captors chose so to consider me, and
they were now carrying me down south, to sell me on speculation. For
this they had kidnapped me! for this they had fastened me up by the
legs like a "wild baw!" for this--but it is vain to accumulate phrases
expressive of their villany and my distresses. What mattered it to my
captors if, after all, I was _no_ abolitionist? (for, of a verity,
though opposed in principle to the whole institution of slavery, my
mind had been so fully occupied with other philanthropic considerations
that I had had no time to play the liberator)--it was all one to my
captors. The genius which could convert a hemlock-knot into a shoulder
of bacon, a bundle of elder twigs into good Havana cigars, and bags of
carpet-rags into Bologna sausages, could be at no fault when the demand
was only to transform a peaceable follower of George Fox into a roaring
lion of abolition. I felt that they had got me into a quandary more
dreadful than any that had ever before afflicted my spirit. I knew we
were already far south of Mason's and Dixon's.

The moment my vile kidnappers slackened their speed a little, having
ridden hard to escape the negro-drivers, I called a parley, in the
course of which two circumstances were brought to light, which greatly
increased the afflictions of my spirit. I began by remonstrating with
the villains upon the wickedness, cruelty, and injustice of their
proceedings; to which Joshua made answer, that "times was hard--that
a poor man was put to a hard shift to get a living--that, for his
part, he was an honest man who turned his hand to any honest matter--
that he knew what was lawful, and what was not--that he was agin all
abolition, which was anti-constitutional, and clear for keeping the
peace betwixt the North and South"--and twenty other things of a like
nature, of which the most important was, a declaration that the good
people of some parish or other in Louisiana had offered a reward of
fifty thousand dollars for either of two individuals whose names I have
forgotten, though they were very famous abolitionists, and although
Joshua, to settle the matter at once, showed me their names in the
advertisement, which he had cut from a newspaper.

"Friend," said I, "I don't see that these foolish people have offered
any reward for _me_."

"Well, darn it, I know it," said Joshua; "but I rather estimate they'll
give half price for you; and that will pay us right smart for the
venture. For, you see, what they want is an abolitionist, and I rather
estimate they're not over and above partickilar as to who he may be.
Now I have heern tell of a heap of incendiary papers you sent down
south to free the niggurs--"

"I never did any such thing!"

"Oh, well," said Joshua, "it's all one; them there sugar-growing
fellers will think so; and so it's all right. And there's them runaway
niggurs you Phil'delphy Quakers are always hiding away from their
masters. I rather estimate we'll make a good venture out of you."

"What!" said I, "will you sell my life for money?"

"No," said the vile Joshua, "it's a mere trade in flesh and
blood--wouldn't take a man's life on no consideration."

"Friend, thee shall have money if thee will permit me to escape."

"Well," said Joshua, with an indifferent drawl, "I estimate not. Abel
Snipe told me you was cleaned out as clear as a gourd-shell."

"Abel Snipe!" said I; "is thee a friend of that villain, Abel Snipe?"

"A sorter," said Joshua; "or rather Sam is. Him and Abel was friends
together at Sing--"

"Oh, blast your jaw," said Sam, speaking for almost the first time on
the whole journey, for he had been, until then, uncommonly glum and
taciturn; "where's the difference where it was? Says Abel Snipe to
me, says he, 'If you want's an abolitionist, there's my old friend
Zachariah; he's your true go.' And so, d'ye see, that's what made us
snap you; for we was thinking of snapping another."

"Oh, the wretch! the base, ungrateful, hypocritical wretch!"

"Come, blast it," said Sam, "don't abuse a man's friends."

"Fellow," said I, "hast thou no human feeling in that breast of thine?
Wilt thou sell me to violent men and madmen, who will wrongfully take
my life?

"Think what thou doest! Hast thou no conscience? Thou art selling a
fellow-being! Hast thou no fear of death and judgment? of the devil and
the world of torment?"

"Oh, hold your gab," said the ruffian. "As for selling fellow-critters,
why, that was once a reggelar business of mine; for, d'ye see, I was
a body-snatcher. And I reckon I was more skeared once snapping up a
dead body, than ever I shall be lifting a live one. You must know, I
was snatching for the doctors, over there in Jarsey; for, d'ye see,
I'm a Jarseyman myself: I reckon it was some fourteen months ago: it
was summer. What the devil-be-cursed the doctor wanted with a body in
summer, I don't know; but it was none on my business. So we, went, me
and Tim Stokes, and the doctor, to an old burying-ground where they had
just earthed a youngster that the doctor said would suit him. Well,
d'ye see, when we came to the grave, up jumps a blasted devil, as big
as a cow, or it might ha' been a ghost, and set up a cry. So we takes
to our heels. But the doctor said 'twas a man's cry, and no ghost's.
And so, d'ye see, blast it, we was for going back again, after having a
confab; when what should we do but find a poor devil of a feller lying
dead by a hole under a beech-tree. The doctor said _he_ would do better
nor the other; and so, blast it, d'ye see, we nabbed him."

"Of a surety," said I, eagerly, "it was the beech-tree at the
Owl-roost! and that was the body of poor Sheppard Lee!"

"Well, they did call him summat of that like; and they made a great
fuss about him in the papers. But I'm hanged if I wasn't skeared after
that out of all body-snatching."

"Friend," said I, "can thee tell me what the doctor did with that body?"

"Why, cut him up, blast him, and made a raw-head-and-bloody-bones of
him. The doctor was so cussed partickilar, he wouldn't let us even
knock the teeth out; though that was no great loss, for Jarseymen
hasn't no great shakes in the tooth way."

Alas! what an ending for poor Sheppard Lee! His body subjected to
the knife of an anatomist, his bones scraped, boiled, bleached, hung
together on wires, and set up in a museum, while his spirit was
wandering about from body to body, enduring more afflictions in each
than it had ever mourned even in that unlucky original dwelling it
was so glad to leave! I am not of a sentimental turn, and I cannot
say that, as Zachariah Longstraw, I felt any peculiar sorrow for the
woes of Sheppard Lee. Nevertheless, I did not hear this account of the
brutal way in which his body had been stolen and anatomized, without
some touch of indignation and grief; which, perhaps, I should have
expressed, had not there arisen, before the brutal Samuel had quite
finished his remarks on Jerseymen's teeth, an occasion to exercise
those feelings on my own immediate behalf.

This was produced by the vile Joshua, who had then the reins, telling
a brace of horsemen whom we met that he had "the great abolitionist,
the celebrated Zachariah Longstraw, in his cart," and was carrying him
to be Lynched in Louisiana; a confession that threw the strangers into
transports of satisfaction, one of them swearing he would accompany my
captors to the Mississippi, or to the end of the earth, for the mere
purpose of seeing me get my deservings.



And now arose a train of incidents, by which I was taught three things,
namely--first, the manner in which my merchants designed giving a value
to their merchandise not inherent and intrinsic to it (for, of a truth,
my abolition principles, as I said before, had never been carried to
the point of notoriety, or even notice); secondly, the love with which
a southron regards those pious philanthropists who will have him good
and virtuous against his own will; and, thirdly, the religious respect
for law and order which is so prominent a feature in the American

To make me valuable, it was necessary I should be made famous; and this
was easily accomplished in a land where men make up their opinions for
themselves, according as they are instructed. It was only necessary
to assure some half dozen or more independent sovereigns that I was
famous, to ensure their making me so. And this my kidnappers did. They
told everybody they met that they had secured Zachariah Longstraw, the
famous abolitionist, the very life and soul of northern incendiarism,
whom they were carrying to Louisiana, to be Lynched according to law;
and as the circumstance would, of course, get into every patriotic
newspaper along the way, it was certain I should be made famous enough
before I got there, and they thus enjoy the advantage of advertising
their commodity without paying a cent to the printer.

It was astonishing (and to none more than myself) to witness the
suddenness with which I was exalted from obscurity to distinction, and
the readiness with which every living soul, upon being told my name,
character, and reputation, remembered all about me and my misdeeds.
"Yes," cried one worthy personage, shaking at me a fist minus two
fingers and a half, "I have heerd of him often enough: he lives in
New-York, and he sells sendary pictures, packed up between the soles
of niggur shoes."--"Yes!" cried another, who had but one eye, "I have
read all about him: he lives in Boston, keeps a niggur school, and
prints sendary papers, a hundred thousand at a time, to set niggurs
insurrecting." In short, they remembered not only all that the unworthy
Joshua told them to my disparagement, but a thousand things that the
imagination of one suggested to the credulity of another. It was in
vain that I endeavoured to say any thing in denial or defence; ridicule
and revilement, threats and execrations, were my only answers. It
was clear, that by the time we reached the Mississippi, I should be
the most important personage in America; and that, if my value as an
article of merchandise was to be determined by the distinction I won on
the road, my friends, Joshua and Samuel, would make their fortunes by
the speculation. But it was not my fate to travel beyond the bounds of
the Ancient Dominion.

It happened, that on this day an election was held in the district
through which we were travelling, to return a representative to
Congress, in lieu of one who had fought his way into the shoes of a
_chargé_. All the world--that is, all the district--was therefore in
arms; and men and boys, Americans and Irishmen, were making their way
to the polls as fast and comfortably as two-mile-an-hour hard-trotting
horses could carry them; and thither also, as it appeared, or in that
direction, we were ourselves bending our course. As we advanced,
therefore, we found ourselves gliding into a current of human
bodies--honest republicans, moving onward to the polls, all of whom
were ready to add their approval to my claims, or those the kidnappers
made for me, to the honour of Lynchdom. The word was passed from one
to another, that the Yankee cart contained the famous abolitionist,
Zachariah Longstraw; they pressed around to look at and revile me, to
discourse with the kidnappers on my demerits, and to express their
delight that such a renowned member of the incendiary gang, as they
called that class of conscientious people, should at last be on the
road to justice.

And thus I was rolled along, attended by sundry groups, which grew fast
into crowds, consisting of persons who rejoiced over my capture, and
painted to my ears, in words uncommonly rough and ferocious, the fate
that awaited me when arrived at my place of destination.

That place, as it chanced, was nearer than I either expected or
desired. As the crowd thickened, the sounds of wrath and triumph
increased, becoming more terrible to my auditories. A new idea came
into the minds of the sovereigns. A villain, seven feet and a half
high, mounted on a horse just half that altitude, who had a great
knife-scar across his nose and cheek, and a dozen similar seams on his
hands, rode up to the cart, and giving me a diabolical look, cried out
"Whaw! what aw the use of carrying the crittur so faw? I say, Vawginnee
is the place for Lynching, atter all. I say, gentlemen and Vawginians!
I go for Lynching right off-hand. Old Vawginnee for evvaw!"

Loud and terrible was the roar of voices with which the throng
testified their approbation of the barbarian's proposal. It was agreed
I ought to be, and should be, Lynched on the spot. The kidnappers
appealed to the justice of "Virginians," requesting them not to invade
"the sacred rights of private property,"--"they could not think of
giving up their prisoner for nothing; they meant him solely for the
Louisiana market." But things were coming to a crisis, and that my
conductors perceived. They whipped up to escape the throng; but in
vain. The further they went, the more they became involved in the
crowd, having now arrived at the village where the favourite candidate
was stumping among his constituents, and promising them worlds of
reform, retrenchment, and public virtue, provided they would send him
to Congress. I could hear from my box (my friend Joshua having taken
care to lock me up at the first sign of danger), as we entered the
village, the distant cries of "Hampden Jones for ever!" mingled with
those nearer ones of my persecutors, "Lynch the abolitionist!" and the
loudly-expressed remonstrances of my friends against invasion of their
rights, coupled with threats to have the law of any one who robbed them
of their property.

But threats and appeals were alike wasted on the independent freemen
of that district. Joined by the voters and others already assembled at
the polls, who, at the cry of "Lynch the abolitionist!" had deserted
their orator, to join in the nobler sport of Lynching, they increased
in wrath and enthusiasm; and, stopping the cart and breaking open my
prison-house, they dragged me into the light of day, one man calling
for a pistol, another a knife, a third a rope, and a fourth a cord
of good dry wood and a coal of fire, to "burn the villain alive."
Such a horrible clamour never before afflicted my ears or soul. I saw
that, abolitionist or not, it was all over with me; and so saw honest
Joshua and Samuel, whose only solace for this unlucky interruption to
their speculation, was a call some one generously made to take up a
subscription for their benefit, seeing that it was "beneath the dignity
of the chivalry of Virginia to cheat even a Yankee of what was justly
his due."



At this moment the orator and candidate of the day, stalking up in
high dudgeon to find what superior attraction had robbed him of his
audience, laid eyes upon me. I thought I had seen him before; and
verily I had. He was that identical gentleman, the master of the
fugitive slave whom I had concealed in my house in Philadelphia, and
then clapped into prison for robbing me, whence his master recovered
him. There was no mistaking the gentleman: He was a young man of
twenty-six or seven, six feet high and one foot wide, long-limbed, with
small feet and huge hands, a great shock of Indian-looking hair, vast,
solemn black eyes, a mouth wide and square, and a brow that might have
suited a patriarch, it was so wide, and lofty, and wrinkled. He was
evidently a man destined to shake the walls of the Capitol, and cause
stenographers to groan; the Tully shone in his eye, the Demosthenes
moved on his lip--there was genius even in the shape of his nose.

"I recollect the man," said he, with a voice that might have come from
the bowels of a double-bass, it was so deep, rolling, and sonorous;
"he hid my boy Pompey. His name is Longshanks; he is a Quaker, a
philanthropist--an abolitionist!"

"Hampden Jones for ever!" cried the delighted sovereigns. "We'll hang
him" (meaning _me_, however, and not the orator) "over the poll-window,
and then vote for Hampden Jones, the friend of the law, the friend of
the constitution, the friend of the south!"

"Stay, friends," said Hampden Jones, and his voice stilled the tumult;
"I have a word to say on the subject of abolition."

"Hampden Jones for ever!" cried the republicans; and Hampden Jones
stepped up on the head of a barrel, and stretched forth his right arm.
He stretched forth his left also, and then, clinching both fists, and
pursing his brows together until the balls beneath them looked like
rolling grape-shot, he said,--

"Gentlemen--fellow-freemen of Virginia! The bulwarks of a nation's
liberties are the virtues of her children. Compared with these, what is
wealth? what is grandeur? what even are power and glory? These--riches
and greatness, power and renown--are the possessions of the Old World;
yet what have they availed her? Look around that ancient hemisphere,
and tell me _where_ among its blood-stained battle-fields! _where_
under its polluted palaces! where in its haunts of the despot and the
slave! you can find the love of liberty, the love of law, the love of
order, the love of justice, that give permanence to the institutions
they adorn, and, like the laurel crown of the Cesars, guard from
the thunderbolt the temples they bind in the wreath of honour? Look
for them in the Old World, but look in vain. The mighty Colossus of
Christendom, once vital with virtue, lifts its decrepit bulk beyond
the verge of the Atlantic, a vast and mournful monument of decay!
Age and the shocks of the elements, the wash of the tempest and the
lightning-stroke, have ploughed its marble forehead with wrinkles;
mosses hang from its brows, and the dust of its own ruin--dust animated
only by insects and reptiles, the offspring of corruption--moulders
over its buried feet! The virtues that once distinguished--that almost
deified--the immortal Colossus, have fled from the old, to find their
home in the New World. I look for them only in the bosoms of Americans!"

Here the orator, who had pronounced this sublime exordium with
prodigious earnestness and effect, paused, while the welkin rung with
the shouts of rapture its complimentary close was so well fitted to
inspire. As for me, I felt a doleful skepticism as to the justness of
the compliment, having the very best reason to distrust that love of
liberty, law, order, and justice, which was about to consign me to
ropes and flames, without asking the permission of a judge and jury.
Moreover, I could not exactly see how Mr. Hampden Jones's remarks
on the old and new world had any thing to do with the subject of
abolition, which he had risen to discuss; and, indeed, this difficulty
seemed to have beset others as well as myself, several crying out with
great enthusiasm, "Let's have something on abolition; and then to the
Lynching!" while others exclaimed, "Let's have the Lynching first, and
the speech afterward."

"Abolition, my fellow-citizens!" said the orator, "it is my intention
to address you on the subject of abolition. But first let me apply
what I have already said. I have said, and I repeat, that the love of
liberty, of law, of order, of justice, belongs peculiarly to the free
sons of America. Let me counsel, let me advise, let me entreat you, to
have this noble truth in remembrance on this present occasion. Beware
lest, in what you now intend to do, you give occasion to the enemies of
freedom to doubt your virtue, to suspect the reality of your love of
law, order, and justice, to stigmatize you as friends only of riot and

These words filled me with joyful astonishment. I began to believe
the youthful Tully was about to interfere in my favour, to rebuke
the violence of his adherents, and so save them from the sin of

So also thought the indignant sovereigns themselves; and many,
elevating their voices, demanded furiously, "if he meant to protect the
bloody abolitionist?"

"By no means," said Mr. Hampden Jones, with great emphasis; "what I
have to advise is, that if we are to do execution upon the wretch,
we shall proceed about it in an orderly and dignified way, resolve
ourselves into a great and solemn tribunal, and so adjudge him to death
with a regularity and decorum which shall excite the admiration and win
the approbation of the whole world."

"Hampden Jones for ever!" cried the sovereigns; and so it appeared that
all the benefit I was to derive from his interference, was only to be
despatched in an orderly manner.



Seeing this, I became horribly frightened--indeed, so much so, that
I was incapable of observing properly what ensued. I have a faint
recollection that Mr. Hampden Jones resumed his discourse and harangued
those who would listen, on the subject he had promised to discuss; and
I remember that his auditors echoed every tenth word with tremendous
shouts. But what I remember better than all was, a spectacle that soon
attracted my attention, being nothing less than the apparition of
five or six stout negroes climbing up a tree hard by, dragging a rope
after them, and tying it round a branch; all which they executed with
uncommon spirit and zeal, shaking their fists at me all the time, and
calling me a "cussed bobolitionist."

What was to become of me now? Had I entered the body of the most
generous and humane of men only to be hanged? A cold sweat broke over
me; my knees knocked together. The men who held me, held me faster. My
judges, the members of the great and solemn tribunal, began to decide
upon my fate with the regularity and decorum (advised by their orator)
which were to win the approbation and admiration of the whole world--
that is to say, by each man marching up to the orator's barrel, where
stood a committee appointed to receive the votes, pronouncing his name,
and voting to "hang the incendiary."

All this while, I believe, I was endeavouring to say something in my
defence; but I have not the slightest recollection of what it was.
Matters were coming--I may say had come--to a crisis, and my life
hung upon a thread; when suddenly a negro, who had been among the
most active and zealous of the volunteers on the tree, fell from a
high branch to the ground, and besides breaking his own neck, as I
understood by the cry that was set up, crushed two or three white men
that stood below.

This produced a great hubbub, and those who had stationed themselves
about me as guards ran forward to see what mischief had been done. As
they ran one way, I betook me to my heels and ran another. I rushed
into the nearest house; but, being instantly pursued and ousted, I fled
into a garden, from which I was as quickly chased by men and dogs, the
first screaming, and the second howling and barking, so that the uproar
they made was inexpressible.

Fear lent me wings; but I was surrounded; and run whithersoever
I might, I always found myself brought up by some party or other
presenting itself in front. The exercise, while it inflamed my own
terrors, only exasperated the rage of my persecutors; and I was
persuaded they would tear me to pieces the moment they caught me. Judge
of my feelings, then, when I found myself hemmed in on all sides in a
little field on the skirts of the village, with a party close at my
elbow, on which I had stumbled without seeing it until roused by its

I looked up and saw that it consisted of about a dozen negroes, who
were carrying the body of their companion, the unlucky volunteer who
had broken his neck falling from the tree; but which body they now
threw upon the ground, and with loud screams of "He-ah, mossa John!"
and "He-ah, mossa Dickey!" began to scamper after me with all their

There was but one resource left me, and that let the reader determine
hereafter of how deplorable a character. I made a successful dodge,
followed by a dash right through the screaming Africans, who perhaps
hesitated to lay a rough hand on one of my colour, and, reaching
the body of their companion, cried, half to myself and half to the
insensible clay, "It is better to be a slave than a dead man; and
the scourge, whatever romantic persons may say to the contrary, is
preferable, at any time, to the halter. If thou art dead, my sable
brother, yield my spirit a refuge in thy useless body!"

That was the last I remember of the adventure, for I had no sooner
uttered the words than I fell into a trance.





When I opened my eyes I found that I was lying in a hovel, very mean
of appearance, yet with a certain neatness and cleanliness about it
that prevented it from looking squalid. It is true that the floor,
which was of planks, was somewhat awry and dilapidated; that the little
window, which, with the door, furnished, or was meant to furnish, its
only light, was rather bountifully bedecked with old hats and scraps
of brown paper; and that the walls of ill-plastered logs displayed
divers gleaming chinks, and vistas through them of the sunny prospects
without. Nevertheless, the place did not look amiss for a poor man,
and, in my experience as a philanthropist, I had seen hundreds much
more miserable.

An old woman sat at the fireplace, nodding over a stew, the fumes of
which were both savoury and agreeable. The old woman was, however, as
black as the outside of her stew-pan--in other words, a negress; and
this circumstance striking upon the chords of association, I began to
remember what had lately befallen me. A terrible suspicion flashed
into my mind. Had I not--but before I could ask myself the question,
my hand, which I had raised to scratch my head, came into contact with
a mop of elastic wool, such as never grew upon the scalp of a white
man. I started up in bed and looked at my hands and arms; they were of
the hue of ebony--or, to speak more strictly, of smoked mahogany. I
saw a fragment of looking-glass hanging on the wall within my reach.
I snatched it down, and took a survey of my physiognomy. Miserable
me! my _face_ was as black as my arms--and, indeed, somewhat more
so--presenting a sable globe, broken only by two red lips of immense
magnitude, and a brace of eyes as white and as wide as plain China
saucers, or peeled turnips.

"Whaw dah!" cried the old woman, roused by the noise I made; "whaw dat,
you nigga Tom? what you doin' dah? Lorra bless us! if a nigga break a
neck, can't a nigga hold-a still?"

Alas! and had my fate brought me to this grievous pass? Was there no
other situation in life sufficiently wretched, but that I must take
up my lot in the body of a miserable negro slave? How idle had been
all my past discontent! how foolish the persuasion I had indulged
five different times, that I was, on each occasion, the most unhappy
of men! I had forgotten the state of the bondman, the condition of
the expatriated African. _Now_ I was at last to learn in reality
what it was to be the victim of fortune, what to be the exemplar of
wretchedness, the true repository of all the griefs that can afflict
a human being. Already I felt, in imagination, the blow of the
task-master on my back, the fetter on my limb, the iron in my soul; and
when the old woman made a step towards me, perhaps to discover why I
made no reply to her questions, I was so prepossessed with the idea of
whips and lashes, that I made a dodge under the bedclothes, as if to
escape a thwack.

"Golly matty! is de nigga mad?" cried the Jezebel. "I say, you nigga
Tom, what you doin'? How you neck feel now?"

"My neck?" thought I, recollecting that it had been broken, and
wondering in what way it had been mended. I clapped my hands to it;
it was very stiff and sore: while I felt at it, the old woman told me
some great doctor had twisted a great "kink" out of it; but I bestowed
little notice on what she said. My mind ran upon other matters; I could
think of nothing but cowhides and cat-o'-nine-tails, that were to
welcome me to bondage.

"Aunty," said I--_why_ I addressed the old lady thus I know not; but I
have observed that negroes always address their seniors by the titles
of uncle and aunt, and I suppose the instinct was on me--"am I a

"What a fool nigga to ax a question!" said she. "What you gwying to be,
den, but old Massa Jodge's nigga-boy Tom? What you git up faw, ha?"
--(I was making an attempt to rise)--

"Massa docta say you stay a-bed. What you git up faw, ha?"

"I intend to run away," said I; and truly that was the notion then
uppermost in my mind; and it is very likely I should have made a bolt
for the door that moment, had I not discovered an uncommon weakness in
my lower limbs, which prevented my getting out of bed.

"Whaw! what a fool!" cried the beldam, regarding me with surprise and
contempt; "what you do when you run away, ha? Who'll hab you? who'll
feed you? who'll take care of you? who'll own a good-fo'-nothin'
runaway nigga, I say, ha? Kick him 'bout h'yah, kick him 'bout dah,
poor despise nigga wid no massa, jist as despise as any free nigga! You
run away, ha? what den?" continued my sable monitress, warming into
eloquence as she spoke: "take up constable, clap him in jail, salt him
down cowskin. Dat all? No! sell him low price, send Mississippi--what
den? Work in de cotton-field, pull at de cane. Dat all? No! cussed
overseer wid a long whip--cut h'yah, cut dah, cut high, cut low--whip
all day, cuff all night--take all de skin off--oh! dey do whip to de
debbil in de Mississippi!" And as the old lady concluded, to give more
effect to her expressions, she fell to rubbing her back and dodging her
head from side to side, until I had the liveliest idea in the world of
that very castigation of which I stood in such horror.



Just at this moment, to make my anguish more complete, in stepped a
tall and dignified person, bearing a huge walking-stick; with which I
was so certain he would proceed to maul me, that I made a second dive
under the bedclothes, loudly beseeching him for mercy.

To my surprise, however, instead of beating me, he spoke to the old
woman, whom he called aunt Phoebe (and who, in return, entitled him
Massa Jodge), asked "if I was not light-headed?" said that "it was a
great pity I had so hard a time of it," that "I was very much hurt,"
that "he would be sorry to lose me," and so on; and, in fine, expressed
what he said in accents so humane and gentle, that I was encouraged
to steal a peep at him; seeing which he sat down on a stool, felt my
pulse, and giving me quite a good-natured look, asked me "if I felt in
much pain?"

I was astonished that he should treat me thus, if my master. But,
surveying him more intently, I perceived there was little in his
appearance to justify any fears of cruelty. He was an aged man, with
a head of silver that gave him an uncommonly venerable air; and,
though his visage was grave, it expressed a native good-humour and
amiableness. My terrors fled before his soothing accents and benevolent
looks; but being still confused, I was unable to reply in proper terms
to his questions; so that when he asked me, as he soon did, what I
meant by crying for mercy, I made answer, "Oh Lord, sir, I was afraid
you was going to beat me!" at which he laughed, and said "my conscience
was growing tenderer than common;" adding, that "there was no doubt I
deserved a trouncing, as did every other boy on his estate; for a set
of greater scoundrels than his was not to be found in all Virginia; and
if they had their deserts, they would get a round dozen apiece every

He then began to ask me particularly about my ailments; and I judged
from his questions and certain occasional remarks which he let fall,
that I had been lying insensible for several days, that my neck had
been put out of place, or dislocated, and reduced again by some
practitioner of uncommon skill. And here, lest the reader should think
such a circumstance improbable, I beg leave to say that I have lately
seen an account of a similar operation performed by an English surgeon
on the neck of a fox-hunting squire; and as the story appeared in the
newspapers, there can be no doubt of its truth.

While the gentleman--my master--was thus asking me of my pains, and
betraying an interest in my welfare that softened my heart towards him,
there came into the hovel a young lady of a very sweet countenance,
followed by two or three younger girls and a little boy, all of whom
seemed glad to see me, the little boy in particular, shaking me by the
hand, while his youthful sisters (for all were my master's children)
began to drag from a basket and display before my eyes the legs of
a roasted chicken, a little tart, a jelly, and divers other dainty
viands, which they had brought with them, as they said, "for poor sick
Tom," and insisted upon seeing him eat on the spot. As for the young
lady, the eldest sister, she smiled on them and on me (for I was not
backward to accept and dispose of the savoury gifts), but told me I
must not be imprudent, nor eat too much, and I would soon be well.
"What!" thought I, "does a slave ever eat too much?"

It is astonishing what a revolution was effected in my feelings by the
gentle deportment of my master, and the kindly act of his children.
I looked upon them and myself with entirely new eyes; I felt a sort
of affection for them steal through my spirit, and I wondered why I
had ever thought of them with fear. I took a particular liking to the
little boy, who, by-the-by, was a namesake of mine, he being Massa
Tommy, and I plain Tom, and I had an unaccountable longing come over me
to take him on my back and go galloping on all-fours over the grass at
the door. I had no more thoughts of running away to avoid the dreadful
lash, and the shame of bonds; and, my master and his children presently
leaving the hovel, having first charged me to keep myself quiet and
easy, I fell sound asleep, and dreamed I lay a whole day on my back on
a clay-bank, eating johnny-cake and fried bacon.



The next day I was visited again by my master, and by other members of
his family whom I had not seen before, and of whom I shall say nothing
now, having occasion to mention them hereafter. The children brought me
"goodies" as before, and little Tommy told me to "make haste and get
well, for there were none of the other 'boys'"--meaning negroes--"who
knew how to gallop the cock-horse half so well as I." In short, I was
treated like a human being, and fed like a king, and began to grow
wondrous content with my situation. The doctor also came, and having
fingered about my neck for a while, declared my case to be the most
marvellous one ever known, and concluded by telling me I was well
enough to get up, and that I might do so whenever I chose.

Now this was a matter of which I was as well satisfied as he could be,
being quite certain I never was better in my life; but I felt amazing
delight in lolling a-bed, doing nothing except feeding on the good
things with which my master's children so liberally supplied me; and,
I believe; had they left the matter to be decided by my own will, I
should have been lying on that bed, luxuriating in happy laziness, to
this day. It is certain I fabricated falsehoods without number, for
the mere purpose of keeping my bed; for whenever my master, who came
to inquire about me at least once a day, ventured to hint I was well
enough to get up if I would but choose to think so, I felt myself
unaccountably impelled to declare, with sighs and groans, that I could
scarce move a limb, and that I suffered endless pangs; all which was
false, for I was strong as a horse, and without any pain whatever.

"Well, well," my venerable master used to say, "I know you are cheating
me, you rascal. But that's the way with you all. A negro will be a
negro; and, sure, I have the laziest set of scoundrels on my estate
that ever ate up a good-natured master."

Unhappily, for so I then thought it, old aunt Phoebe, who had been
appointed to nurse me, and who was very conscientious about her
master's interest in all cases where her own was not involved, was
by no means so easily imposed upon as the old gentleman; and on the
seventh day after I opened my eyes, she dispelled a pleasing revery in
which I was indulging, by bidding me arise and begone. I began to plead
my pains: "Can't play 'possum with me!" said she; "good-for-nothin'
nigga, not worth you cawn!" and, not deigning to employ any other
argument, she took a broomstick to me, and fairly beat me out of the
hovel. I thought it was very odd I should get my first beating of a
fellow-slave, and I was somewhat incensed at the old woman for her
cruelty; but by-and-by, when I had taken a seat in the sunshine,
snuffed the fresh autumn air, and looked about me a little, I fell into
a better humour with her, and--if that were possible--with myself.



My master's lands lay on and near the Potomac, and his house was
built on a hill, which bore his own name, and gave name also to the
estate--that is, Ridgewood Hill. It overlooked that wide and beautiful
river, being separated from it only by a lawn, which in the centre was
hollow, and ran down to the river in a ravine, while its flanks or
extremities, sloping but gently in their whole course, suddenly fell
down to the shore in wooded bluffs, that looked very bold and romantic
from the water. In the hollow of the lawn was a little brook, that
rose from a spring further up the hill, and found its way to the river
through the ravine, where it made many pretty little pools and cascades
among the bushes; while a creek, that was wide but shallow, swept in
from the river above, and went winding away among the hills behind.

My master's house was ancient, and, I must say, not in so good repair
as it might have been; but there were so many beautiful trees about
it that one would not think of its defects, the more especially as it
appeared only the more venerable for them. It looked handsome enough
from the river; and even from the negro-huts, which were nearer the
creek, it had an agreeable appearance; particularly when the children
were playing together on the lawn, which they did, and sometimes white
and black together, nearly all day long. They were thus engaged in
their sports when aunt Phoebe drove me from the hovel; and I remember
how soon my indignation at the unceremonious ejection was pacified by
looking on the happy creatures, thus enjoying themselves on the grass,
while my master and his eldest daughter sat on the porch, regarding
them with smiles.

How greatly I had changed within a few short days! Instead of being
moved by the sight of juvenile independence and happiness to think of
my own bitter state of servitude, I was filled with a foolish glee; and
little Tommy running up to me with shouts of joy, down I dropped on my
hands and knees, and taking him on my back, began to trot, and gallop,
and rear, and curvet over the lawn, to the infinite gratification of
himself, his little sisters, and the children of my own colour, all of
whom rewarded my efforts of horseship with screams of approbation. Now
the reader will be surprised to hear it, but I, Tom the slave (I never
remember to have heard myself called any thing but Tom), enjoyed this
foolish sport just as much as Tommy the rider, to whom I felt, I think,
some such feelings of affection--I know not how I got them, but feel
them I did--as a father experiences while playing the courser to his
own child. Nay, I was thrown into such good-humour, and felt so content
with myself, that when my master came to me, and bade me "take care
lest I should hurt myself by my exertions," I told him, in the fervour
of my heart, I was doing very well, and that I was as strong as ever I
had been; which caused him to laugh, and say I was growing marvellous
honest of a sudden.

About this time the field-hands returned from their daily labour, and,
having despatched their evening meal, they came, the women and children
with them, under the trees before the door, with banjoes, fiddles, and
clacking-bones (that is, a sort of castanets made of the ribs of an
ox), and began to sing and dance, as was their custom always every fair
evening; for my master greatly delighted, as he said, to see the poor
devils enjoy themselves; in which the poor devils were ever ready to
oblige him. They had no sooner begun the diversion, than I was seized
with an unaccountable desire to join them, which I did, dancing with
all my might, and singing and clapping my hands, the merriest and
happiest of them all. And this sort of amusement, I may as well now
inform the reader, we were in the habit of repeating so long as the
mildness of the weather permitted.



Having thus shown myself to be perfectly cured of my broken neck, it
followed that, as a slave, I was now compelled to go into the fields
and labour. This I did, at first, very reluctantly; but by-and-by I
discovered there was but little toil expected of me, or indeed of
any other bondman; for the overseer was a good-natured man like his
employer, and lazy like ourselves. I do not know how it may be with the
slaves on other estates; but I must confess that, so far as mere labour
went, there was less done by, and less looked for from, my master's
hands, than I have ever known to be the case with the white labourers
of New-Jersey. My master owned extensive tracts of land, from which,
although now greatly empoverished and almost exhausted, he might have
drawn a princely revenue, had he exacted of his slaves the degree of
labour always demanded of able-bodied hirelings in a free state. But
such was not the custom of Virginia, or such, at least, was not the
custom of my master. He was of a happy, easy temper, neglectful of his
interest, and though often--nay, I may say incessantly--grumbling at
the flagrant laziness of all who called him master, and at the yearly
depreciation of his lands, he was content enough if the gains of the
year counterbalanced the expenses; and as but a slight degree of toil
was required to effect this happy object, it was commonly rendered, and
without repugnance, on the part of his slaves. His great consolation,
and he was always pronouncing it to himself and to us, was, "that his
hands were the greatest set of scoundrels in the world,"--which, if
unutterable laziness be scoundrelism, was true. He was pretty generally
beloved by them; which, I suppose, was because he was so good-natured;
though many used to tell me they loved him because he was their
"right-born master,"--that is, put over them by birth, and not by
purchase; for he lived upon the land occupied by his fathers before
him, and his slaves were the descendants of those who had served them.

The reader, who has seen with what horror and fear I began the life
of a slave, may ask if, after I found myself restored to health and
strength, I sought no opportunity to give my master the slip, and make
a bold push for freedom. I did not; a change had come over the spirit
of my dream: I found myself, for the first time in my life, content,
or very nearly so, with my condition, free from cares, far removed
from disquiet, and, if not actually in love with my lot, so far from
being dissatisfied, that I had not the least desire to exchange it for

Methinks I see the reader throw up his hands at this, crying, "What!
content with slavery!" I assure him, now I ponder the matter over,
that I am as much surprised as himself, and that I consider my being
content with a state of bondage a very singular and unaccountable
circumstance. Nevertheless, such was the fact. I was no longer Sheppard
Lee, Zachariah Longstraw, nor anybody else, except simply Tom, Thomas,
or Tommy, the slave. I forgot that I once had been a freeman, or, to
speak more strictly, I did not remember it, the act of remembering
involving an effort of mind which it did not comport with my new habits
of laziness and indifference to make, though perhaps I _might_ have
done so, had I chosen. I had ceased to remember all my previous states
of existence. I could not have been an African had I troubled myself
with thoughts of any thing but the present.

Perhaps this defect of memory will account for my being satisfied
with my new condition. I had no recollection of the sweets of liberty
to compare and contrast with the disgusts of servitude. Perhaps my
mind was stupified--sunk beneath the ordinary level of the human
understanding, and therefore incapable of realizing the evils of my
condition. Or, perhaps, after all, considering the circumstances of my
lot with reference to those of my mind and nature, such evils did not
in reality exist. The reader may settle the difficulty for himself,
which he can do when he has read a little more of my history. In
the meanwhile, the fact is true: I was satisfied with my lot--I was
satisfied even with _myself_. The first time I looked at my new face
I was shocked at what I considered its ugliness. But having peeped at
it a dozen times or more, my ideas began to alter, and, by-and-by, I
thought it quite beautiful. I used to look at myself in aunt Phoebe's
glass by the hour, and I well remember the satisfaction with which I
listened to the following rebuke of my vanity from her, namely, "All
you pritty young niggurs with handsome faces is good for nothin, not
wuth so much as you cawn!" In short, I was something of a coxcomb; and
nothing could equal the pride and happiness of my heart, when, of a
Sabbath morning, dressed in one of my master's old coats well brushed
up, a bran-new rabbit-fur hat, the gift of little Tommy, a ruffled
shirt, and a white neckcloth, with a pair of leather gloves swinging in
one hand, and a peeled beechen wand by way of cane in the other, I went
stalking over the fields to church in the little village, near to which
my master resided.

I say again, I cannot account for my being so contented with bondage.
It may be, however, that there is nothing necessarily adverse to
happiness in slavery itself, unaccompanied by other evils; and that
when the slave is ground by no oppression and goaded by no cruelty, he
is not apt to repine or moralize upon his condition, nor to seek for
those torments of sentiment which imagination associates with the idea
of slavery in the abstract.

Of one thing, at least, I can be very certain. I never had so easy and
idle a time of it in my whole life. My little master Tommy had grown
very fond of me. It is strange anybody should be fond of a slave; but
it is true. It appears I was what they call a mere field-hand, that
is, a labourer, and quite unfit for domestic service. Nevertheless, to
please Tommy, I was taken from the tobacco-fields, and, without being
appointed to any peculiar duty about the house, was allowed to do what
I pleased, provided I made myself sufficiently agreeable to young
master. So I made him tops, kites, wind-mills, corn-stalk fiddles, and
little shingle ships with paper sails, gave him a trot every now and
then on my back, and had, in return, a due share of his oranges and

In this way my time passed along more agreeably than I can describe. My
little master, it is true, used to fall into a passion and thump me now
and then; but that I held to be prime fun; particularly as,--provided
I chose to blubber a little, and pretend to be hurt,--the little rogue
would relent, and give me all the goodies he could beg, borrow, or
steal, to "make up with me," as he called it.

Little Tommy and his sisters, four in number, were the children of my
master by a second wife, who had died two years before. The oldest was
the young lady of whom I have already spoken, and she was, I believe,
not above seventeen. Her name was Isabella, and she was uncommonly
handsome. A young gentleman of the neighbourhood, named Andrews, was
paying court to her. Indeed, she had a great many admirers, and there
was much company came to see her.

My master's oldest son, the only child left by his first wife, lived
on a plantation beyond the creek, being already married, and having
children. His name was George, like his father, and the slaves used
to distinguish them as "Massa Cunnel Jodge," and "Massa Maja Jodge;"
for all the gentlemen in those parts were either colonels or majors.
The major's seat being at so short a distance, and the plantation he
cultivated a part of the colonel's great estate of Ridgewood Hill,
we used to regard him as belonging still to our master's family, and
the slaves on both plantations considered themselves as forming but
a single community. Nevertheless, we of the south side had a sort
of contempt for those of the north; for "Massa Maja," though a good
master, was by no means so easy as his father. He exacted more work;
and when he rode into the fields on our side, as he often did, he used
to swear at us for lazy loons, and declare he would, some day or other
turn over a new leaf with us.



I must again repeat what I have said, namely, that I was contented with
my servile condition, and that I was so far from looking back with
regret to my past life of freedom, that I ceased at last to remember
it altogether. I was troubled with no sense of degradation, afflicted
with no consciousness of oppression; and instead of looking upon my
master as a tyrant who had robbed me of my rights, I regarded him as a
great and powerful friend, whose protection and kindness I was bound to
requite with a loyal affection, and with so much of the labour of my
hands as was necessary to my own subsistence. What would have been my
feelings had my master been really a cruel and tyrannical man, I will
not pretend to say; but doubtless they would have been the opposite of
those I have confessed.

The above remarks apply equally to my fellow-bondmen, of whom there
were, young and old, and men and women together, more than a hundred
on the two estates. The exact number I never knew; but I remember
there were above twenty able-bodied men, or "full hands," as they were
called, when all were mustered together. There were many, especially
among the women, who were great grumblers; but that was their nature:
such a thing as serious discontent was, I am persuaded, entirely
unknown. The labours of the plantation were light, the indulgences
granted frequent and many. There was scarce a slave on the estate
who, if he laboured at all, did not labour more for himself than his
master; for all had their little lots or gardens, the produce of which
was entirely their own, and which they were free to sell to whomsoever
they listed. And hard merchants they were sometimes, even to my master,
when he would buy of them, as he often did. I remember one day seeing
old aunt Phoebe, to whom he had sent to buy some chickens, fall into a
passion and refuse to let the messenger have any, because her master
had forgotten to send the money. "Go tell old Massa Jodge," said she,
with great ire, "I no old fool to be cheated out of my money; and I
don't vally his promise to pay not _dat_!"--snapping her fingers--"he
owe me two ninepence already!" And the old gentleman was compelled to
send her the cash before she complied with his wishes.

The truth is, my master was, in some respects, a greater slave than
his bondmen; and all the tyranny I ever witnessed on the estate was
exercised by _them_, and at his expense; for there was a general
conspiracy on the part of all to cheat him, as far as was practicable,
out of their services, while they were, all the time, great sticklers
for their own rights and privileges. He was, as I have said before,
universally beloved; but his good-nature was abused a thousand times a

There existed no substantial causes for dissatisfaction; and there was
therefore the best reason for content. Singing and dancing were more
practised than hard work. In a word, my master's slaves were an idle,
worthless set, but as happy as the day was long. I may say the same
of myself; I certainly was a very merry and joyous personage, and my
companions, who envied me for being the favourite of young master, used
to call me Giggling Tom.

But there is an end to the mirth of the slave, as well as the joy of
the master. A cloud at last came betwixt me and the sun; a new thought
awoke in my bosom, bringing with it a revolution of feeling, which
extended to the breasts of all my companions. It was but a small cause
to produce such great effects; but an ounce of gunpowder may be made to
blow up an army, and a drop of venom from the lip of a dog may cause
the destruction of a whole herd.



Beneath the bluff, and at the mouth of the creek which divided the two
plantations, was a wharf or landing, where our fishing-boats (for we
had a good fishery hard by) used to discharge their cargoes, and where,
also, small shallops, coming with supplies to the plantation, put out
their freight. Here, one day, some seven or eight of the hands were
engaged removing a cargo of timber, which had just been discharged by
a small vessel; my master having bought it for the express purpose of
repairing the negro-houses, and building a new one for a fellow that
was to be married; for it seems, his crops of corn and tobacco had
turned out unusually well, and when that happened the slaves were the
first who received the benefit.

Hither I strolled, having nothing better to do, to take a position
on the side of the bluff, where I could both bask in the sunshine,
which was very agreeable (for it was now the end of October, though
fine weather), and overlook the hands working--which was still more
agreeable; for I had uncommon satisfaction to look at others labouring
while I myself was doing nothing.

Having selected a place to my liking, I lay down on the warm clay,
enjoying myself, while the others intermitted their labour to abuse
me, crying, "Cuss' lazy nigga, gigglin' Tom dah! why you no come down
work?" having employed themselves at which for a time, they resumed
their labours; and I, turning over on my back and taking a twig that
grew nigh betwixt my teeth, began to think to myself what an agreeable
thing it was to be a slave and have nothing to do.

By-and-by, hearing a great chattering and laughing among the men below,
I looked down and beheld one of them diverting himself with a ludicrous
sport, frequently practised by slaves to whom the lash is unknown. He
was frisking and dodging about pretty much as aunt Phoebe had done
when endeavouring to show me how the whip was handled in Mississippi;
and, like her, he rubbed his back, now here, now there, now with the
right, now with the left hand; now ducking to the earth, now jumping
into the air, as though some lusty overseer were plying him, whip in
hand, with all his might. The wonder of the thing was, however, that
Governor (for that was the fellow's name) had in his hand a pamphlet,
or sheet of printed paper, the contents of which he was endeavouring
both to convey to his companions and to illustrate by those ridiculous
antics. The contents of the paper were varied, for varied also was the

"Dah you go, nigga!" he cried, leaping as if from a blow; "slap on'e
leg, hit right on'e shin! yah, yah, yah--chah, chah, ch-ch-ch-ch-ah!
chah, chah, massa!--oh de dam overseeah! dat de way he whip a nigga!"
Then pausing a moment and turning a leaf of the book, he fell to
leaping again, crying--"What _dat_? dat _you_, Rose? what you been
doin? stealin' sugah?

    "Jump! you nigga gal!
      Hab a hard massa!
    So much you git for stealin' sugah!
      So much for lickin' lassa!

"Dem hard massa, licky de gals!

    "Ole Vaginnee, nebber ti-ah!
    what 'e debbil's de use ob floggin' like fia-ah!"

Then came another scene. "Yah, yah, yah!--what dat? Massa Maja kickin'
de pawson! I say, whaw Pawson Jim? you Jim pawson, he-ah you git'em!"
And then another--"Lorra-gorry, what he-ah? He-ah a nigga tied up in a

    "Oh! de possum up de gum-tree,
      'Coony in de hollow:
    Two white men whip a nigga,
      How de nigga holla!

"Jump, nigga, jump! yah, yah, yah! did you ebber see de debbil? jump,
nigga, jump! two white men whip a nigga? gib a nigga fay-ah play!

    "When de white man comes to sticky, sticky,
    Lorra-gorr! he licky, licky!

"Gib a nigga fay-ah play!"

And so he went on, describing and acting what he affected to read,
to the infinite delight of his companions, who, ceasing their work,
crowded round him, to snatch a peep at the paper, which, I observed, no
one got a good look at without jumping back immediately, rubbing his
sides, and launching into other antics, in rivalry with Governor.



I was moved with curiosity to know what they had laid their hands
on, and I descended the bank to solve the mystery. The paper had
passed from the hands of Governor to those of a fellow named Jim, or
Parson Jim, as we usually called him; for he was fond of praying and
preaching, which he had been allowed to do until detected in a piece
of roguery a few weeks before by Master Major, who, besides putting a
check on his clerical propensities for the future, saluted him with
two or three kicks well laid on, on the spot. It was to this personage
and his punishment that Governor alluded, when he cried, "What he-ah?
Massa Maja kickin' de pawson!" as mentioned above. Although a great
rogue, he was a prime favourite among the negroes, who had a great
respect for his learning; for he could read print, and was even thought
to have some idea of writing. This fellow was employed, on the present
occasion, at the ox-cart; and, as it is no part of a slave's system to
do the work of others, he had been sitting apart singing a psalm, while
the others were loading his cart; and apart he had remained, until
a call was made upon him to explain so much of the paper, being the
printed portion, as Governor could not. The paper, it is here proper
to observe, had been found by Governor among the boards and scantling;
though how it got there no one knew, nor was it ever discovered. It
was a pamphlet, or magazine, I know not which (and the name I have
unfortunately forgotten), containing, besides a deal of strange matter
about slavery, some half a dozen or more wood-cuts, representing
negroes in chains, under the lash, exposed in the market for sale, and
I know not what other situations; and it was these which had afforded
the delighted Governor so much matter for mimicry and merriment.
There was one cut on the first page, serving as a frontispiece; it
represented a negro kneeling in chains, and raising his fettered hands
in beseeching to a white man, who was lashing him with a whip. Beneath
it was a legend, which being, or being deemed, explanatory of the
picture, and at the same time the initial sentence of the book, Parson
Jim was essaying to read: and thus it was he proceeded:--

"T-h-e, _the_--dat's _de_; f-a-t-e, _fat_--_de_ _fat_; o-f, _ob--de
fat ob_; t-h-e, _de--de fat ob de_; s-l-a-v-e, _slave_--_de fat ob
de slave_. My gorry, what's dat? Brederen, I can't say as how I
misprehends dat."

"Yah, yah, yah!" roared Governor; "plain as de nose on you face. _De
fat ob de slave_--what he mean, heh? Why, gorry, you dumb nigga, he
mean--massa, dah, is whippin de fat out ob de nigger! Dem hard massa
dat-ah, heh? Whip de fat out!

"Lorra-gorry, massa, don't like you whippy:
Don't sell Gubbe'nor down a Mississippi!"

"Let me read it," said I.

"_You_ read, you nigga! whar you larn to read?" cried my friends. It
was a question I could not well answer; for, as I said before, the
memory of my past existence had quite faded from my mind: nevertheless,
I had a feeling in me as if I _could_ read; and taking the book from
the parson, I succeeded in deciphering the legend--"THE FATE OF THE

"Whaw dat?" said Governor; "de chain and de cowhide? Does de book say
_dat's_ de luck for nigga? Don't b'leeb 'm; dem lie: Massa Cunnel
nebber lick a nigga in 'm life!"

The reading of that little sentence seemed, I know not why, to have
cast a sudden damper on the spirits of all present. Until that moment,
there had been much shouting, laughing, and mimicking of the pains of
men undergoing flagellation. Every picture had been examined, commented
on, and illustrated with glee; it associated only the idea of some idle
vagabond or other winning his deserts. A new face, a new interpretation
was given to the matter by the words I had read. The chain and scourge
appeared no longer as the punishment of an individual; they were to be
regarded as the doom of the race. The laughing and mimicry ceased, and
I beheld around me nothing but blank faces. It was manifest, however,
that the feeling was rather indignation than anxiety; and that my
friends looked upon the ominous words as a libel upon their masters and

"What for book say dat?" cried Governor, who, from being the merriest,
had now become the angriest of all; "who ebber hear of chain a nigga,
escept nigga runaway, or nigga gwyin' down gin' will to Mississippi?
Who ebber hear of lash a nigga, escept nigga sassbox, nigga thief,
nigga drunk, nigga break hoss' leg?"

"Brudders," said Parson Jim, "this here is a thing what is 'portant to
hear on; for, blessed be Gorra-matty, there is white men what writes
books what is friends of the Vaginnee niggur."

"All cuss' bobbolitionist!" said Governor, with sovereign
contempt--"don't b'leeb in 'm. Who says chain nigga in Vaginnee? who
says cowhide nigga in Vaginnee? _De fate ob de slave!_ Cuss' lie! An't
_I_ slave, hah? Who chains Gubbe'nor? who licks Gubbe'nor? Little book
big lie!"

And "little book big lie!" echoed all, in extreme wrath. The parson
took things more coolly. He rolled his eyes, hitched up his collar,
stroked his chin, and suggesting the propriety of reading a little
farther, proposed that "brudder Tom, who had an uncommon good hidear
of that ar sort of print, should hunt out the root of the matter;" and
lamented that "it was a sort of print _he_ could not well get along
with without his spectacles."



Thus called upon, I made a second essay, and succeeded, though not
without pain, in deciphering enough of the text to give me a notion of
the object for which the tract had been written. It was entitled "An
Address to the Owners of Slaves," and could not, therefore, be classed
among those "incendiary publications" which certain over-zealous
philanthropists are accused of sending among slaves themselves, to
inflame them into insurrection and murder. No such imputation could be
cast upon the writer. His object was of a more humane and Christian
character; it was to convince the master he was a robber and villain,
and, by this pleasing mode of argument, induce him to liberate his
bond-men. The only ill consequence that might be produced was, that the
book might, provided it fell into their hands, convince the bondmen
of the same thing; but that was a result for which the writer was not
responsible--he addressed himself only to the master. It began with the
following pithy questions and answers--or something very like them--
for I cannot pretend to recollect them to the letter.

"Why scourgest thou this man? and why dost thou hold him in bonds? Is
he a murderer? a house-burner? a ravisher? a blasphemer? a thief? No.
What then is the crime for which thou art punishing him so bitterly? He
is a negro, and my slave."

Then followed a demand "how he became, and by what right the master
claimed him as a slave;" to which the master replied, "By right of
purchase," exhibiting, at the same time, a bill of sale. At this the
querist expressed great indignation, and calling the master a robber,
cheat, and usurper, bade him show, as the only title a Christian would
sanction, "a bill of sale signed by the negro's Maker!" who alone had
the right to dispose of man's liberty; and he concluded the paragraph
by averring, "that the claim was fraudulent; that the slave was
unjustly, treacherously, unrighteously held in bonds; and that he was,
or of right should be, as free as the master himself."

Here I paused for breath; my companions looked at me with eyes staring
out of their heads. Astonishment, suspicion, and fear were depicted in
their countenances. A new idea had entered their brains. All opened
their mouths, but Governor was the only one who could speak, and he
stuttered and stammered in his eagerness so much that I could scarcely
understand him.

"Wh-wh-wh-wh-what dat!" he cried; "hab a right to fr-fr-fr-freedom,
'case Gorra-matty no s-s-s-sell me? Why den, wh-wh-wh-_who's_ slave?
Gorra-matty no trade in niggurs! I say, you Pawson Jim, wh-wh-wh-what
_you_ say dat doctrine?" The parson was dumb-founded. The difficulty
was solved by an old negro, who rolled his quid of tobacco and his eyes
together, and said,

"Whaw de debbil's de difference? Massa Cunnel no _buy_ us; we _born_
him slave, ebbery nigga he-ah!"

Unluckily, the very next paragraph was opened by the quotation from the
Declaration of Independence, that "all men were born free and equal,"
which was asserted to be true of all men, negroes as well as others;
from which it followed that the master's claim to the slave born in
thraldom was as fraudulent as in the case of one obtained by purchase.

"Whaw dat?" said Governor; "Decoration of Independence say _dat_?
Gen'ral Jodge Washington, him make dat; and Gen'ral Tommie Jefferson,
him put hand to it! 'All men born free and equal.' A nigga is a man!
who says _no_ to dat? How come Massa Cunnel to be massa den?"

That question had never before been asked on Ridgewood Hill. But all
now asked it, and all, for the first time in their lives, began to
think of their master as a foe and usurper. The strangely-expressed
idea in the pamphlet, namely--that none but their Maker could
rightfully sell them to bondage, and that other in relation to natural
freedom and equality, had captivated their imaginations, and made an
impression on their minds not readily to be forgotten. Black looks
passed from one to another, and angry expressions were uttered; and I
know not where the excitement that was fast awaking would have ended,
had not our master himself suddenly made his appearance descending the

For the first time in their lives, the slaves beheld his approach with
terror; and all, darting upon the timber, began to labour with a zeal
and bustling eagerness which they had never shown before. But, first,
the pamphlet was snatched out of my hands, and concealed in a hollow of
the bank. Our uncommon industry (for even Parson Jim and myself were
seized with a fit of zeal, and gave our labour with the rest) somewhat
surprised the venerable old man. But as the timber was destined to
contribute to our own comforts, he attributed it to a selfish motive,
and chiding us good-humouredly and with a laugh, said, "That's the
way with you, you rogues; you can work well enough when it is for

"Dat's all de tanks we gits!" muttered Governor, hard by. "Wonder if we
ha'n't a better right to work than Massa Jodge to make us?"



We had seen the last day of content on Ridgewood Hill. That little
scrap of paper, thrown among us perhaps by accident, or, as I have
sometimes thought, dropped by the fiend of darkness himself, had
conjured up a thousand of his imps, who, one after another, took
up their dwelling in our breasts, until their name was Legion. My
fellow-slaves cared little now for singing and dancing. Their only
desire, in the intervals of labour, was to assemble together below the
bluff, and dive deeper into the mysteries of the pamphlet; and as I
was the only one who could explain them, and was ready enough to do
so, I often neglected my little friend Tommy to preside over their

Nor were these meetings confined to the original finders of the
precious document. The news had been whispered from man to man, and
the sensation spread over the whole estate, so that those who lived
with the major were as eager to escape from their labours and listen to
the new revelation as ourselves. Nay, so great was the curiosity among
them, that many who could not come when I was present to expound the
secrets of the book, would betake themselves to the bluff, to indulge a
look at it, and guess out its contents as they could from the pictures.
And by-and-by, the news having spread to a distance, we had visiters
also from the gangs of other plantations.

It was perhaps a week or more before the composition was read through
and understood by us all; and in that time it had wrought a revolution
in our feelings as surprising as it was fearful. And now, lest the
reader should doubt that the great effects I am about to record should
have really arisen from so slight a cause as a little book, I think it
proper to tell him more fully than I have done what that little book

It was, as I have said, an address to the owners of slaves, and its
object purported to be to awaken their minds to the cruelty, injustice,
and wickedness of slavery. This was sought to be effected, in the
first place, by numerous cuts, representing all the cruelties and
indignities that negro slaves had suffered, or could suffer, either in
reality, or in the imaginations of the philanthropists. Some of these
were horrible, many shocking, and all disgusting; and some of them,
I think, were copied out of Fox's Book of Martyrs, though of that I
am not certain. The moral turpitude and illegality of the institution
were shown, or attempted to be shown, now by arguments that were
handled like daggers and broad-axes, and now by savage denunciations
of the enslaver and oppressor, who were proved to be murderers,
blasphemers, tyrants, devils, and I know not what beside. The vengeance
of Heaven was invoked upon their heads, coupled with predictions of
the retribution that would sooner or later fall upon them, these being
borne out by monitory allusions to the servile wars of Rome, Syria,
Egypt, Sicily, St. Domingo, &c. &c. It was threatened that Heaven would
repeat the plagues of Egypt in America, to punish the task-masters of
the Ethiopian, as it had punished those of the Israelite, and that,
in addition, the horrors of Hayti would be enacted a second time, and
within our own borders. It was contended that the negro was, in organic
and mental structure, the white man's equal, if not his superior, and
that there was a peculiar injustice in subjecting to bondage _his_
race, which had been (or so the writer averred), in the earlier days of
the world, the sole possessors of knowledge and civilization; and there
were many triumphant references to Hannibal, Queen Sheba, Cleopatra,
and the Pharaohs, all of whom were proved to have been woolly-headed,
and as bright in spirit as they were black in visage. In short, the
book was full of strange things, and, among others, of insurrection and
murder; though it is but charitable to suppose that the writer did not
know it.

There was scarce a word in it that did not contribute to increase the
evil spirit which its first paragraph had excited among my companions.
It taught them to look on themselves as the victims of avarice, the
play-things of cruelty, the foot-balls of oppression, the most injured
people in the world: and the original greatness of their race, which
was an idea they received with uncommon pleasure, and its reviving
grandeur in the liberated Hayti, convinced them they possessed the
power to redress their wrongs, and raise themselves into a mighty

With the sense of injury came a thirst for revenge. My companions began
to talk of violence and dream of blood. A week before there was not one
of them who would not have risked his life to save his master's; the
scene was now changed--my master walked daily, though without knowing
it, among volcanoes; all looked upon him askant, and muttered curses
as he passed. A kinder-hearted man and easier master never lived;
and it may seem incredible that he should be hated without any real
cause. Imaginary causes are, however, always the most efficacious in
exciting jealousy and hatred, In affairs of the affections, slaves and
the members of political factions are equally unreasonable. The only
difference in the effect is, that the one cannot, while the other can,
and _does_, change his masters when his whim changes.

That fatal book infected my own spirit as deeply as it did those of
the others, and made me as sour and discontented as they. I began to
have sentimental notions about liberty and equality, the dignity of
man, the nobleness of freedom, and so-forth; and a stupid ambition, a
vague notion that I was born to be a king or president, or some such
great personage, filled my imagination, and made me a willing listener
to, and sharer in, the schemes of violence and desperation which my
fellow-slaves soon began to frame. It is wonderful, that among the many
thoughts that now crowded my brain, no memory of my original condition
arose to teach me the folly of my desires. But, and I repeat it again,
the past was dead with me; I lived only for the present.

A little incident that soon befell me will show the reader how
completely my feelings were identified with my condition, and how
deeply the lessons of that unlucky pamphlet had sunk into my spirit.
My little playmate, master Tommy, who was not above six years old,
being of an irascible temper, sometimes quarrelled with me; on which
occasions, as I mentioned before, he used to beat me; a liberty I
rather encouraged than otherwise, since I gained by it--though my
master strictly forbade the youth to take it. Now, as soon as my
head began to fill with the direful and magnificent conceptions of a
malecontent and conspirator, I waxed weary of child's play and master
Tommy, who, falling into a passion with me for that reason, proceeded,
on a certain occasion, to pommel my ribs with a fist about equal in
weight to the paw of a gadfly. I was incensed, I may say enraged, at
the poor child, and repaid the violence by shaking him almost to death.
Indeed, I felt for a while as if I could have killed him; and I know
not whether I might not have done it (for the devil had on the sudden
got into my spirit), had not his father discovered what I was doing,
and run to his assistance.

I then pretended that I had shaken him in sport, and thus escaped
a drubbing, of which I was at first in danger. The threat of this,
however, sank deeply into my mind, and I ever after felt a deep hatred
of both father and son. This may well be called a blind malice, for
neither had given me any real cause for it.



In the meanwhile the devil was doing his work among the others, and
disaffection grew into wrath and fury, that were not so perfectly
concealed but that my master, or rather his eldest son, who was of a
more observant disposition, began to suspect that mischief was brewing;
and in a short time it was reported among us that our master had
marked some of us as being dangerous, and was resolved to sell us to a
Mississippi trader who was then in the county. This was reported by a
spy, a house-servant, who professed to have overheard the conversation,
and who reported, besides, that our master and his son were furbishing
up their fire-arms, and laying in terrible supply of balls and powder.

Now whether this account was true or not I never knew, and I suppose I
never shall until I am in my grave. It was enough, however, to drive
us to a phrensy, those in particular who had been indicated as the
intended victims of the Mississippi trader; and the more especially,
as those men had wives and children, from whom they were told they
were to be parted. One of these was the blacksmith of the estate,
who, being a resolute and fierce-tempered fellow, instantly began to
convert all the old horseshoes and iron hoops about his shop into a
kind of blades or spear-heads, which we fastened upon poles, and hid
away in secret places. There were among us three or four men who had
muskets, with which they used to shoot wild fowl on the river, there
being great abundance at this season. These weapons were also put into
requisition; besides which we stored away butcher-knives and bludgeons,
old scythe-blades and sickles beaten straight, until we could boast
quite an armory. And here I may observe, that the faster these weapons
increased upon our hands, the more deadly became our resolutions, the
more fierce and malignant our desires; until, having at last what we
thought a sufficiency for our purpose, we gave a loose to our passions,
and determined upon a plan of proceedings that may well be called

I believe that when we began to collect these offensive weapons
we had but vague ideas of mischief, thinking rather of defending
ourselves from some meditated outrage on the part of our master, than
of beginning an assault upon him ourselves. But now, the armory being
complete, and several cunning fellows, who had been spying out among
the surrounding plantations, bringing us word that the gangs (so they
sometimes call the whole number of hands on a farm) of most of them
were ready to strike with us for freedom; another having brought us
word that a great outbreaking had already taken place south of James
river, which, however, was not true; a third reminding us that we were
more numerous than our masters; and a fourth bidding us remember that
the negroes had once, as the little book told us, been the masters of
all the white men in the world, and might be again; I say, these things
being represented to us, as we were handling our arms and thinking what
execution we could do with them, we shook hands together, and kissing
the little pamphlet (for which we had conceived a high regard), as we
had seen white men kiss the book in courts of law, we swore we would
exterminate all the white men in Virginia, beginning with our master
and his family.



The chief men in the conspiracy were, by all consent, the fellow called
Governor, of whom I have said so much before; Parson Jim, who, although
a little in the background at first, had soon taken a foremost stand,
and was, indeed, the first to propose murder; myself,--not that I was
really very active or fiery in the matter, but because I had become
prominent as the reader of the little book; Cesar, the blacksmith;
and a fellow named Zip, or Scipio, who was the chief fiddler and
banjo-player, and had been therefore in great favour with the family,
until he lost it by some misconduct.

The parson having uttered the diabolical proposal I mentioned before,
and seeing it well received, got up to make a speech to inflame our
courage. There was in his oration a good deal of preaching, with a
considerable sprinkling of scraps from the Bible, such as he had picked
up in the course of his clerical career. What he chiefly harped on was
that greatness of the negro nation spoken of before, and he discoursed
so energetically of the great kings and generals, "the great Faroes and
Cannibals," as he called them, who had distinguished the race in olden
time, that all became ambitious to figure with similar dignity in story.

"What _you_ speak faw, pawson?" said Governor, interrupting him, and
looking round with the air of a lord; "I be king, hah? and hab my
sarvants to wait on me!"

"What you say dah, Gub'nor?" cried Zip the fiddler, with equal spirit:
"You be king, I be president."

"I be emp'ror, like dat ah nigga in High-ty!" said another.

"I be constable!" cried a fourth.

"You be cuss'! you no go for de best man!" cried Governor, in a heat:
"I be constable myself, and I lick any nigga I like! Who say me _no_,
hah? I smash him brain out--dem nigga!" Governor was a tyrant already,
and all began to be more or less afraid of him. "I'll be de great man,
and I shall hab my choice ob de women: what you say _dat_? I sall hab
Missa Isabella faw my wife! Who say me _no_ dah?"

"Berry well!" cried Scipio: "I hab Missa Edie"--that is, Miss Edith,
the next in age, who was, however, not yet thirteen, and therefore but
a poor little child.

"Brudder Zip," said Jim the parson, "I speak fust dah! The labourer is
wordy ob his hiah--I shall put my hand to de plough, and I shall hab
Missa Edie for _my_ wife. Arter me, if you please, brudder Zip!"

"Hold you jaw, Zip," said King Governor to the fiddler, who was ready
to knock the parson down. "You shall hab Massa Maja's wife, and you
shall cut his head off fust. As faw de oder niggas he-ah, what faw use
ob quar'lin? We shall have wifes enough when we kills white massas;
gorry! we shall hab pick!"

And thus my companions apportioned among themselves, in prospective,
the wives and daughters of their intended victims; and thus, doubtless,
they would have apportioned them in reality, had the bloody enterprise
been allowed the success its projectors anticipated. I remember that my
blood suddenly froze within my veins when the conspiracy had reached
this point; and the idea of seeing those innocent, helpless maidens
made the prey of brutal murderers, was so shocking to my spirit that I
lost speech, and could scarce support myself on my feet.

While I stood thus confused among them, the conspirators determined
upon a plan of action by which, as far as I understood it, the houses
of my master and his son, the two being previously murdered, were to
be set on fire at the same moment, on the following night, and at the
sight of the flames the slaves on several neighbouring plantations were
to fall upon their masters in like manner: after which, the gangs from
all the burnt estates were to meet at a common rendezvous, and march
in a body against the neighbouring village, the sacking of which they
joyously looked forward to as the first step in a career of conquest
and triumph--in other words, of murder and rapine.

Who would have thought that a little book, framed by a philanthropist,
for the humane purpose of turning his neighbour from the error of his
way, should have lighted a torch in his dwelling only to be quenched
by blood! I am myself a witness that the pamphlet was not one of those
incendiary publications of which so much is said, as being designed
for the eyes of slaves themselves, to exasperate them to revolt. By no
means; it was addressed to the master, and of course was only designed
for him. Why the pictures were put in it, however, I cannot imagine,
since it may be supposed the master could understand the argument and
exhortation of the writer well enough without them. Perhaps they were
intended to divert his children.

The book, however, whatever may have been the object for which it was
written, had the effect to make a hundred men, who were previously
contented with their lot in life, and perhaps as happy as any other men
ordained to a life of labour, the victims of dissatisfaction and range,
the enemies of those they had once loved, and, in fine, the contrivers
and authors of their own destruction.



I said, that when the conspiracy reached the crisis mentioned before,
I was suddenly seized with terror. I began to think with what kindness
I had been treated by those I had leagued to destroy; and the baseness
and ingratitude of the whole design struck me with such force, that
I was two or three times on the point of going to my master, and
revealing it to him while he had yet the power to escape. But my fears
of him and of my fellow-ruffians deterred me. I thought he looked
fierce and stern; and as for my companions, I conceited that they were
watching me, dogging my every step, prepared to kill me the moment I
attempted to play them false. It was unfortunate that my rudeness to
Master Tommy had caused me to be banished the house; for although my
master did not beat me, he was persuaded my violence in that case was
not altogether jocose, and therefore punished me by sending me to the
fields. Hence I had no opportunity to see him in private, unless I had
sought it, which would have exposed me to observation.

The night came, and it came to me bringing such gloom and horror, that
my agitation was observed by Governor and others, who railed at me for
a coward, and threatened to take my life if I did not behave more like
a man. This only increased my alarm; and, truly, my disorder of mind
became so great, that I was in a species of stupid distraction when the
moment for action arrived; for which reason I retain but a confused
recollection of the first events, and cannot therefore give a clear
relation of them.

I remember that there was some confusion produced by an unexpected act
on the part of our master, who, it was generally supposed, designed
crossing the creek to visit the major, having ordered his carriage and
the ferry-boat to be got ready, and it was resolved to kill him while
crossing the creek on his return; after which we were to fire a volley
of guns, as a signal to the major's gang, and then assault and burn our
master's dwelling. Instead of departing, however, when the night came,
he remained at home, shut up with the overseer and young Mr. Andrews,
his daughter's lover; and it was reported that they had barred up the
doors and windows, and were sitting at a table covered with loaded
pistols; thus making it manifest that they suspected our intentions,
and were resolved to defend themselves to the last.

For my part, I have never believed that our master suspected his
danger at all; he perceived, indeed, that an ill spirit had got among
his people, but neither he nor any of his family really believed that
mischief was intended. Had they done so, he would undoubtedly have
procured assistance, or at least removed his children. The windows were
barred indeed, and perhaps earlier than usual, which may have been
accidental; and as for the fire-arms on the table, I believe they were
only fowling-pieces, which my master, Mr. Andrews, and the overseer,
who was a great fowler, and therefore much favoured by my master, who
was a veteran sportsman, were getting ready to shoot wild ducks with in
the morning.

My companions, however, were persuaded that our victims were on their
guard; and the hour drawing nigh at which they had appointed to strike
the first blow, and give the signal to the neighbouring gangs, they
were at a loss, not knowing what to do; for they were afraid to attack
the house while three resolute men, armed with pistols, stood ready to
receive them. In this conjuncture it was proposed by Governor, who,
from having been a fellow notorious for nothing save monkey tricks and
waggery, was now become a devil incarnate, he was so bold, cunning, and
eager for blood, to fire the pile of timber where it stood near the
quarters, or negro-huts; the burning of which would serve the double
purpose of drawing our intended victims from the house, and giving the
signal to the neighbouring estates.

The proposal was instantly adopted, and in a few moments the pile of
dry resinous wood was in a flame, burning with prodigious violence,
and casting a bright light over the whole mansion, the lawn, and even
the neighbouring river. At the same moment, and just as we were about
to raise the treacherous alarm, we heard a sudden firing of guns and
shouting beyond the creek at the major's house, which made us suppose
the negroes there had anticipated us in the rising.

Emulous not to be outdone, our own party now set up a horrid alarm of
"Fire!" accompanied with screams and yells that might have roused the
dead, and ran to the mansion door, as if to demand assistance of their

Never shall I forget the scene that ensued. I stood rooted to the
ground, not twenty steps from the house, when the door was thrown
open, and my master rushed out, followed by Andrews and the overseer.
They had scarce put foot on the porch before six or seven guns, being
all that the conspirators could muster, and which the owners held in
readiness, were discharged at them, and then they were set upon by
others with the spears. The light of the fire illuminated the porch,
so that objects were plainly distinguishable; yet so violent was the
rush of assailants, so wild the tumult, so brief the contest, that I
can scarce say I really witnessed the particulars of the tragedy. I
beheld, indeed, my master's gray hairs, for he was of towering stature,
floating an instant over the heads of the assailants; but the next
moment they had vanished; and I saw but a single white man struggling
in the hall against a mass of foes, and crying out to Miss Isabella
by name, "to escape with the children." Vain counsel, vain sacrifice
of safety to humanity; the faithful overseer (for it was he who made
this heroic effort to save his master's children, his master and young
Andrews lying dead or mortally wounded on the porch) was cut down on
the spot, and the shrieks of the children as they fled, some into the
open air by a back door, and others to the upper chambers, and the
savage yells of triumph with which they were pursued, told how vainly
he had devoted himself to save them.



While I stood thus observing the horrors I had been instrumental in
provoking, as incapable of putting a stop to as of assisting in them,
I saw two of the children, little Tommy and his youngest sister, Lucy,
a girl of seven or eight years, running wildly over the lawn, several
of my ruffian companions pursuing them. The girl was snatched up by old
aunt Phoebe, who, with other women, had come among us, wringing her
hands, and beseeching us not to kill their young misses, and was thus
saved. As for the boy, he caught sight of me, and sprang into my arms,
entreating me "not to let them kill him, and he would never hurt me
again in all his life, and would give me all his money."

Poor child! I would have defended him at that moment with my life, for
my heart bled for what had already been done; but he was snatched out
of my hands, and I saw no more of him. I heard afterward, however, that
he was not hurt, having been saved by the women, who had protected in
like manner his two little sisters, Jane and Lucy. As for the others,
that is, Isabella and Edith, I witnessed their fate with my own eyes;
and it was the suddenness and horror of it that, by unmanning me
entirely, prevented my giving aid to the boy when he was torn from my

The fire had by this time spread from the timber to an adjacent cabin,
and a light equal to that of noon, though red as blood itself, was
shed over the whole mansion, on the roof of which was a little cupola,
or observatory, open to the weather, where was room for five or six
persons to sit together, and enjoy the prospect of the river and
surrounding hills; and on either side of this cupola was a platform,
though without a balustrade, on which was space for as many more.

The observatory being strongly illuminated by the flames, and my
eyes being turned thitherward by a furious yell which was suddenly
set up around me, I beheld my master's daughter Isabella rush into
it,--that is, into the observatory,--from the staircase below, hotly
pursued, as was evident from what followed. She bore in her arms, or
rather dragged after her, for the child was in a swoon, her sister
Edith, who was but small of stature and light; and as she reached this
forlorn place of refuge, she threw down the trapdoor that covered its
entrance, and endeavoured to keep it down with her foot. There was
something inexpressibly fearful in her appearance, independent of the
dreadfulness of her situation, separated only by a narrow plank from
ruffians maddened by rage and carnage, from whom death itself was a
boon too merciful to be expected, and from whom she was to guard not
only herself, but the feeble, unconscious being hanging on her neck.
Her hair was all dishevelled, her dress torn and disordered, and her
face as white as snow; yet there was a wild energy and fierceness
breathing from every feature, and she looked like a lioness defending
to the last her young from the hunters, from whom she yet knows there
is no escape.

The trapdoor shook under her foot, and was at last thrown violently
up; and up, with screams of triumph, darted the infuriated Governor,
followed by Jim and others, to grasp their prey. Their prey had fled:
without uttering a word or scream, she sprang from the cupola to the
platform at its side, and then, with a fearlessness only derived from
desperation, and still bearing her insensible sister, she stepped upon
the roof, which was high and steep, and ran along it to its extremity.

Even the ferocious Governor was for a moment daunted at the boldness of
the act, and afraid to follow; until the parson--well worthy he of the
name!--set him the example by leaping on the shingles, and pursuing the
unhappy girl to her last refuge. He approached--he stretched forth his
arm to seize her; but he was not destined to lay an impure touch on the
devoted and heroic creature. I saw her lay her lips once on those of
the poor Edith--the next instant the frail figure of the little sister
was hurled from her arms, to be dashed to pieces on the stones below.
In another, the hapless Isabella herself had followed her, having
thrown herself headlong from the height, to escape by death a fate
otherwise inevitable.

Of what followed I have but a faint and disordered recollection. I
remember that the fall of the two maidens caused loud cries of horror
from the men, and of lamentation from the women; and I remember, also,
that these were renewed almost immediately after, but mingled with the
sound of fire-arms discharged by a party of foes, and the voices of
white men (among which I distinguished that of my master's son, the
major) calling upon one another to "give no quarter to the miscreants."
A party of armed horsemen had in fact ridden among us, and were now
dealing death on all hands from pistols and sabres. From one of the
latter weapons I myself received a severe cut, and was at the same time
struck down by the hoofs of a horse, and left insensible.



When I recovered my senses I found myself a prisoner, bound hand
and foot, and lying, with six or seven of my late companions, in a
cart, in which, groaning with pain, for most of us were wounded, and
anticipating a direful end to our dreams of conquest and revenge, we
were trundled to the village, and there deposited in the county jail,
to repent at leisure the rashness and enormity of our enterprise.

The power of that little pamphlet, of which I have said so much, to
produce an effect for which we must charitably suppose it was not
intended, was shown in the numbers of wretches by whom the prison
was crowded; for it had been used to inflame the passions of the
negroes on several different estates, all of whom had agreed to rise
in insurrection, although, as it providentially happened the revolt
extended to the length of murder only on Ridgewood Hill. The conspiracy
was detected--I believe confessed by a slave--on a plantation adjacent
to that of my master's son; who, being informed of it, and assisted
by a party that brought the news, proceeded to seize the ringleaders
in his own gang, some of whom, attempting to make their escape, were
fired on; and this was the cause of the volley which we had heard,
and supposed was fired by our fellow-conspirators beyond the creek.
The major then crossed over to his father's estate, but too late to
avert the tragedy which I have related. His father, his eldest sister,
and her lover were already dead; as for the younger, Edith, she was
taken up alive, but cruelly mangled, and she expired in a few hours.
The faithful and devoted overseer, I have the happiness to believe,
ultimately escaped with his life; for, although covered with wounds,
and at first reported dead, he revived sufficiently to make deposition
to the facts of the assault and murder, as far as he was cognizant of
them, and I heard he was expected to recover.

Of those who perished, the father, the children, and the gallant
friend, there was not one who was not, a fortnight before, respected
and beloved by those who slew them; and at their death-hour they were
as guiltless of wrong, and as deserving of affection and gratitude,
as they ever had been. How, therefore, they came to be hated, and why
they were killed, I am unable to divine. All that I know is, that we
who loved them read a book which fell in our way, and from that moment
knew them only as enemies--objects on whom we had a right to glut our
fiercest passions.

As for ourselves--my deluded companions, at least--their fate can be
easily imagined. Some were killed at the scene of murder; among others
the chief leader, Governor, who was shot on the roof of the house.
Parson Jim was wounded on the same place, and, rolling from the roof,
was horribly crushed by the fall, but lingered in unspeakable agonies
for several days, and then died. Scipio, the fiddler, was taken alive,
tried, condemned, and executed, with many others whose participation in
the crime left them no hope of mercy.

With these, I was myself put upon trial and adjudged to death; for
although it was made apparent that I had not lifted my hand against any
one, it was proved that I was more than privy to the plot--that I had
been instrumental in fomenting it; and the known favour with which I
had been treated, added the double die of ingratitude to my offence. I
was therefore condemned, and bade to expect no mercy; nor did I expect
it; for the fatal day appointed for the execution having arrived, a
rope was put round my neck, and I was led to the gibbet.

And now I am about to relate what will greatly surprise the reader--I
was not only found guilty and condemned--I was hanged! Escape was
impossible, and I perceived it. The anguish of my mind--for in anguish
it may be supposed I looked forward to my fate--was increased by the
consciousness--so long slumbering--that flashed on it, as I was driven
to the fatal tree, that I was, in reality, _not_ Tom the slave, but
Sheppard Lee the freeman, and that I possessed a power of evading
the halter, or any other inconvenience, provided I were allowed but
one opportunity to exercise it. But where was I now to look for a
dead body? It is true, there were bodies enough by-and-by, when my
accomplices were tucked up around me; but what advantage could I derive
from entering any one of them, since my fate must be equally certain to
be hanged?

My distress, I repeat, was uncommonly great, and in the midst of it I
was executed; which put an end to the quandary.



Here, it would seem, that my history should find its natural close;
but I hope to convince the world that a man may live to record his own
death and burial. I say _burial_; for, from all I have heard, I judge
that I was buried as well as hanged, and that I lay in the earth in a
coarse deal coffin, from two o'clock in the afternoon of a November
day, until nine at night; when certain young doctors of the village,
who were desirous to show their skill in anatomy, came to the place of
execution, and dug up the three best bodies, of which, as my good luck
would have it, my own was one--Zip the fiddler's being another, while
the third was that of a young fellow named Sam, notorious for nothing
so much as a great passion he had for butting with his head against
brick walls, or even stone ones, provided they were smooth enough.

The young anatomists, previous to hacking us, resolved to try some
galvanic experiments on us, having procured a battery for that purpose;
and they invited a dozen or more respectable gentlemen to be present,
and witness the effects of that extraordinary fluid, galvanism, on our
lifeless bodies.

The first essayed was that of the unfortunate Scipio, who, being well
charged, began, to the admiration of all present, to raise first one
arm, and then the other, then to twist the fingers of his left hand in
a peculiar way, as if turning a screw, inclining his head the while
towards his left shoulder, and then to saw the air, sweeping his right
hand to and fro across his breast, with great briskness and energy,
the fingers of his left titillating at the air all the while, so as to
present the lively spectacle of a man playing the fiddle; and, indeed,
it was judged, so natural was every motion, that had the party been
provided with a fiddle and bow to put into his hands, they would have
played such a jig as would have set all present dancing.

The next experiment tried was upon the body of Sam, whose muscles
were speedily excited to exercise themselves in the way to which they
had been most accustomed, though not in one so agreeable to the chief
operator; for, in this case, the lifeless corse suddenly lifting up its
head, bestowed it, with a jerk of propulsion equal in force to the but
of a battering-ram, full against the stomach of the operator, whereby
he was tumbled head over heels, and all the breath beaten out of his

The reader may suppose, as it was proved to be the virtue of galvanism
to set the dead muscles doing those acts to which the living ones had
been longest habituated, that I, upon being charged, could do nothing
less than throw myself upon my hands and knees, and go galloping about
the table, as I had been used to do over the lawn, when master Tommy
was mounted upon my back.

Such, however, was not the fact. The first thing I did upon feeling the
magical fluid penetrate my nerves, was to open my eyes and snap them
twice or thrice; the second to utter a horrible groan, which greatly
disconcerted the spectators; and the third to start bolt upright on
my feet, and ask them "what the devil they were after?" In a word, I
was suddenly resuscitated, and to the great horror of all present,
doctors and lookers-on, who, fetching a yell, that caused me to think
I had got among condemned spirits in purgatory, fled from the room,
exclaiming that I "was the devil, and no niggur!" What was particularly
lamentable, though I was far from so esteeming it, one of them, a
young gentleman who had come to the exhibition out of curiosity, being
invited by one of the doctors, was so overcome with terror, that before
he reached the door of the room he fell down in a fit, and being
neglected by the others, none of whom stopped to give him help, expired
on the spot.

As for me, the cause of all the alarm, I believe I was ten times
more frightened than any of the spectators, especially when I came
to recollect that I had just been hanged, and that I would, in all
probability, be hanged again, unless I now succeeded in making my
escape. As for the cause of my resuscitation, and the events that
accompanied it, I was then entirely ignorant of them; and, indeed,
I must confess I learned them afterward out of the newspapers. I
knew, however, that I had been hanged, and that I had been, by some
extraordinary means or other, brought to life again; and I perceived
that if I did not make my escape without delay, I should certainly be
recaptured by the returning doctors.

I ran towards the door, and then, for the first time, beheld that
unfortunate spectator who had fallen dead, as I mentioned before, and
lay upon the floor with his face turned up. I recollected him on the
instant, as being a young gentleman whom I had once or twice seen at
my late master's house. All that I knew of him was, that his name was
Megrim, that he was reputed to be very wealthy, and a great genius, or,
as some said, eccentric, and that he was admired by the ladies, and,
doubtless, because he _was_ a genius.

As I looked him in the face, I heard in the distance the uproar of
voices, which had succeeded the flight of the doctors, suddenly
burst out afresh, with the sound of returning footsteps; and a
loud bully-like voice, which I thought very much like that of the
under-turnkey at the prison--a man whom I had learned to fear--cried
out, "Let _me see_ your devil; for may I be cussed up hill and down
hill if I ever seed a bigger one than myself."

Horrible as was the voice, I was not dismayed. I saw at my feet a city
of refuge, into which my enemies could not pursue me. My escape was
within my own power.

"Master," said I, touching my head (for I had no hat) to the corpse,
"if it is all the same to you, I beg you'll let me take possession of
your body."

As I pronounced the words the translation was effected, and that so
rapidly, that just as I drew my first breath in the body of Mr. Megrim,
it was knocked out of me by the fall of my old one, which--I not
having taken the precaution to stand a little to one side--fell down
like a thunderbolt upon me, bruising me very considerably about the

In this state, being half suffocated, and somewhat frightened, I was
picked up and carried away by my new friends, and put to bed, where,
having swallowed an anodyne, I fell directly sound asleep.

And here, before proceeding farther, I will say, that the doctors and
their friends were greatly surprised to discover my late body lying
dead, having expected to find it as animated as when they left it. But
by-and-by, having reflected that the galvanism, or artificial life,
infused into its nerves had been naturally exhausted at last, whereupon
it as naturally followed that the body should return to its lifeless
condition, they began to aver that the most surprising part of the
business was, that it had kept me alive so long, and enabled me, after
groaning and speaking as I had actually done, to walk so far from the
table on which I had been lying.

On the whole, the phenomenon was considered curious and wonderful;
and an account of it having been drawn up by the doctors, and headed
"Extraordinary Case of the Effects of Galvanism on a Dead Body," it was
printed for the benefit of scientific men throughout the world, in a
medical journal, where, I doubt not, it may be found at this day.





Having been carried from the scene of my late transformation, as I
mentioned before, physicked, put to bed, and allowed to sleep off
my troubles, I awoke late on the following morning, feeling very
comfortable, notwithstanding the bruises on my ribs, and with an
uncommonly agreeable, though lazy sense of the enjoyment of lying
a-bed. Indeed, this was my only feeling. I woke to a consciousness,
though a vague one, of the change in my condition; and this, together
with what I saw around me, when I had succeeded, after some effort, in
getting my eyes a little opened, it may be supposed, would have filled
me with surprise, and excited in me a great curiosity to inquire into
matters relating to Mr. Arthur Megrim.

Such, however, was not the case. I looked upon the elegantly-adorned
chamber in which I lay, and the sumptuous robes of my bed, with as much
indifference, as if I had been accustomed to them all my life; and as
for the happy destiny that now seemed opening upon me, I scarce thought
on it at all.

Nor can I say that I felt in any way elated at my fortunate escape
from the hangman and the anatomists. I remembered that affair with a
drowsy indifference as being a matter of no further consequence to me;
and as for Mr. Arthur Megrim's friends and kinsmen, his interests and
relations in life, I thought to myself, with a yawn, "I shall know them
all in good time."

I was content to take things as they might come, and eschew labours of
mind as well as efforts of body. Curiosity, I felt, was a tumultuous
passion, and I therefore resolved to avoid it. In this mood I turned
over on the other side, and took a second nap.

From this I was roused, after a time, by some one tugging at my
shoulder, who proved, upon examination, to be a very elegant-looking
mulatto-boy--that is, a boy of twenty-five years or thereabouts--who
signified, in language as genteel as his person, that it was exactly
half past eleven o'clock, and therefore time for me to get up.

"Augh--well!" said I, taking about thirty seconds to gape out each
word, it seemed such tiresome work to articulate; "what do you want?"

"Want you to get up, sah. Missie Ann says it does you no good to sleep
so long."

"Augh--who is Missie Ann?"

"Lar bless us," said the gentleman, turning up the white of his eye,
"Missie Ann is massa's sister!"

"Who is massa?"

"_You_, massa--Massa Arthur!"

"Augh--well; and who are you?"

"'Paminondas, massa. Coat very nicely brushed; very fine day; will do
you good, sah, to get up and taste the air. Regular Indian summer, sah."

"You may go to the devil."

"Yes, sah."

With that I turned over for another nap, which I should undoubtedly
have taken, had I not been interrupted, just as I was falling asleep,
by the entrance of a lady of a somewhat starched and venerable
appearance, though not more than six or seven years older than myself,
I being perhaps twenty-five or six.

"A'n't you ashamed of yourself, Arthur!" said she. "Do tell me--do you
intend to lie a-bed for ever?"

"Augh--pshaw!" said I. "Pray, madam, be so good as to inform me who you
are, and--augh--what you want in my chamber?"

"Come," said the lady, "don't be ridiculous, and fall into any of
your hyppoes again. Don't pretend you don't know your own sister, Ann

"I won't," said I; "but--augh--sister, if you have no objection, I
should like--augh--to sleep till dinner is ready."

"Dinner!" screamed my sister, Ann Megrim; "don't suppose you will ever
be able to eat a dinner again. You know the doctor says it is your hard
eating and your laziness together that have destroyed your digestive
apparatus; and that, if you don't adhere to the bran bread and hickory
ashes tea, you'll never be cured in the world."

"What!" said I, "am I sick?"

"Undoubtedly," said my sister Ann; "your digestive apparatus is all
destroyed, and your nerves too. Did not you faint last night when they
were galvanizing the bodies? Have you not lost all muscular power, so
that you do nothing but lie on a bed or sofa all day long? Oh, really,
brother Arthur Megrim, I am ashamed of you. A man like you--a young man
and a rich man, a man of family and genius, a gentleman and a scholar,
a man who might make himself governor of the state, or president of
the nation, or any thing--yet to be nothing at all except the laziest
man in Virginia, a man with no digestive apparatus, a poor nervous
hyppo--oh, it is too bad! Do get up and stir yourself. Mount your
horse, or go out in the carriage. Exercise, you know, is the only thing
to restore strength to the digestive apparatus."

"Sister Ann," said I, "the more you speak of my digestive apparatus,
the more--augh--the more I am convinced you don't know what you are
talking about. I am resolved to get up and eat my dinner--"

"Of bran bread and hickory ashes," said my sister.

"Of canvass-back ducks and terapins," said I. At which Miss Ann Megrim
expressed terror and aversion, and endeavoured to convince me that such
indulgence would be punished by a horrible indigestion, as had been the
case a thousand times before.

But cogent as were her arguments, I had, or felt, one still stronger
on my side, being a savage appetite, which was waking within that very
digestive apparatus she held in such disesteem, and which became the
more eager the more she besought me to resist it.

The discussion was so far advantageous that it set me wide awake; and
by-and-by, the zealous Epaminondas having made his second appearance,
I succeeded, with his assistance, in getting on my clothes and
descending to the dining-room, where, to the great horror and grief
of my affectionate relative, I demolished two ducks and a half (being
the true canvass-backs, or _white-backs_, as they call them in that
country), and a full grown tortoise, of the genus _emys_, and species
_palustris_. And in this operation, I may say, I found the first
excitement of pleasure which I had yet known in my new body, and
displayed an energy of application of which I did not before know that
I was capable. Nor am I certain that any ill consequences followed the
meal. I felt, indeed, a strong propensity to throw myself on a sofa and
recruit after the labours of eating; but this Miss Megrim resisted,
insisting I should get into my carriage (for it seems I had one, and a
very handsome one too), and drive about to avoid a surfeit.

In this I consented to gratify her wishes, whereby I gratified one of
my own; for I fell sound asleep within five minutes after starting, and
so remained until the excursion was over.

Then, being as hungry as ever, and not knowing what else to do, I
picked my teeth over a newspaper, and nodded at a novel until supper
was got ready, which (disregarding Miss Megrim's exhortations, as
before) I attacked with the good-will I had carried to my dinner,
eating on this occasion two terapins and a half and one whole duck, of
the genus _anas_, and species _vallisneria_.[1]

The only ill consequences were, that I dreamed of the devil and his
imps all night, and that I awoke in a crusty humour next morning.

[Footnote 1: I had these learned names of a scientific doctor in the
village, and I have see them also in the newspapers.]



If there be among my readers any person so discontented with his lot
that he would be glad to exchange conditions with another, I think, had
he been acquainted with Mr. Arthur Megrim, he would have desired an
exchange with him above all other persons in the world; for Mr. Megrim
possessed all those requisites which are thought to ensure happiness to
a human being. He was young, rich, and independent; of a good family
(he boasted the chivalrous blood of the Megrims); of a sound body,
and serene temper; and with no appetite for those excesses which ruin
the reputation, while they debase the minds and destroy the peace of
youth. His years, as I have mentioned already, were twenty-five or six;
his revenues were far above his wants, and enabled him to support his
town-house, which was the most elegant one in the village, where he
lived remote from the care and trouble of his plantations; and as for
independence, _that_ was manifestly complete, he being a bachelor, and
the sole surviver of his family, excepting only his sister, Miss Ann
Megrim, who managed his household, and thus took from his mind the only
care that could otherwise have disturbed it.

What then in the whole world had Mr. Megrim to trouble him? Nothing
on earth--and for that reason, to speak paradoxically, he was more
troubled than any one else on earth. Labour, pain, and care--the
evils which men are so apt to censure Providence for entailing upon
the race--I have had experience enough to know, are essential to the
true enjoyment of life, serving, like salt, pepper, mustard, and
other condiments and spices, which are, by themselves, ungrateful to
the palate, to give a relish to the dish that is insipid and cloying
without them. Who enjoys health--who is so sensible of the rapture of
being well, as he who has just been relieved from sickness? Who can
appreciate the delightful luxury of repose so well as the labourer
released from his daily toil? Who, in fine, tastes of the bliss of
happiness like him who is introduced to it after a probation of
suffering? The surest way to cure a boy of a love of cakes and comfils,
is to put him apprentice to a confectioner. The truth is, that the
sweets of life, enjoyed by themselves, are just as disgusting as the
bitters, and can only be properly relished when alternated or mingled
with the latter.

But as this is philosophy, and the reader will skip it, I will pursue
the subject no further, but jump at once from the principle to the
practical illustration, as seen in my history while a resident in the
body of Mr. Arthur Megrim.

I was, on the sudden, a rich young man, with nothing on earth to
trouble me. I had lands and houses, rich plantations, a nation or two
of negroes, herds of sheep and cattle, with mills, fisheries, and some
half dozen or more gold-mines, which last--and it may be considered,
out of Virginia, a wondrous evidence of my wealth--were decidedly the
least valuable of all my possessions. With all these things I was made
acquainted by my sister Ann, or otherwise, it is highly probable, I
should have known nothing about them; for during the whole period of my
seventh existence, I confined myself to my property in the village, not
having the least curiosity to visit my plantations, which, as everybody
told me, were in good hands.

In the village itself I had every thing about me to secure happiness--a
fine house, abundance of servants, the whole under the management of
the best of housekeepers, my sister Ann, with horses and carriages--for
which, however, I cared but little, thinking it laborious to ride, and
as tedious to be driven--and, above all, friends without number, who
treated me with a respect amounting to veneration (for, it must be
remembered, I was the richest man in the county), and with a degree of
affection little short of idolatry; but whom, however, I thought very
troublesome, tiresome people, seeing that they visited me too often,
and wearied me to death with long conversations about every thing.

Among them all, there was but one for whom I felt any friendship; and
he was a young doctor named Tibbikens, for whom my sister Ann had a
great respect, and who had been retained by her to assist in taking
care of my digestive apparatus--that same digestive apparatus of mine
being a hobby on which my sister lavished more thought and anxiety than
I believe she did upon her own soul--not meaning to reflect upon her
religion, however, for she was a member of the Presbyterian church, and
quite devout about the time of communion. The cause of her solicitude,
as she gave me frequent opportunity to know by her allusion to the
fact, was her having been once afflicted in her own person with a
disorder of the digestive apparatus, which it had been the good fortune
of Doctor Tibbikens to cure by a regimen of bran bread and hickory
ashes water; and hence her affection for the doctor and the remedy. I
liked the doctor myself because he had the same solicitude about my
health, without troubling me with advice except when I asked it, or
finding much fault when I did not follow it; because his conversation
was agreeable, except when he was in a scientific humour, and did not
require any efforts on my part to keep it up; because he liked terapins
and white-backs as well as myself, and was of opinion they were
wholesome, provided one ate them in moderation; and, in fine, because
he took pains to help me to amusement, and was of great assistance in
dissipating somewhat of that tedium which was the first evil with which
I was afflicted in the body of Mr. Arthur Megrim. I believe the doctor
had a strong fancy for my sister; but she used to declare she could
never think of marrying, and thus being drawn from what she felt to
be the chief duty of her existence, namely--the care of my digestive



And now, having mentioned tedium of existence as being an evil to
which I soon felt myself subject, I will say that it was one I found
more oppressive than the reader can readily imagine. I had nothing
in the world to do, and, as it happened, my disposition did not lead
me to seek any thing. I was, in a word, the very man my sister had
so reproachfully called me in our first conversation--that is, the
laziest man in all Virginia; and, upon reflection, I can think of
no person in the world who would bear a comparison with me in that
particular, except myself. "None but himself can be his parallel," as
somebody or other says, I don't know who, a sentiment that is supposed
to be absurd, inasmuch as it involves an impossibility, but which
becomes good sense when applied to me. In my original condition, in
the body in which I was first introduced to life, I certainly had a
great aversion to all troublesome employments, whether of business or
amusement, being supposed by many persons to be _then_ what as many
considered me now--to wit, the laziest man in my state. Whether I was
lazier as Sheppard Lee the Jerseyman or Arthur Megrim the Virginian,
I am not able to say. In both cases indolence was at the bottom of
all my troubles. There was this difference, however, between the two
conditions, that whereas I had felt in one the evils of laziness to a
poor man, I was now to discover in the other what were its evils to a
man of fortune.

My chief employments in the body of Mr. Arthur Megrim were eating and
sleeping; and I certainly should have done nothing else, had I been
allowed to follow my own humours. Eating and sleeping, therefore,
consumed the greater portion of my time; but it could not consume all;
nor could the residue be filled up by the occasional excursions in my
curricle, and the still more unfrequent strolls through the village,
into which I was driven by my affectionate sister, or cajoled by her
coadjutor, the doctor, in their zealous care of my digestive apparatus.
As for visits and visitations, I abhorred them all, whether they
related to the bustling young gentlemen of the neighbourhood, or the
loquacious ladies, old and young, who cultivated the friendship of my

Employ myself, however, as I might, there always remained a portion
of each day which I could not get rid of, either in bed or at the
table. On such occasions I was devoured by ennui, and thought that even
existence was an infliction--that it was hard work to live. According
to my sister's account, I was a scholar and a genius; in which case I
ought to have found employment enough of an intellectual nature, either
in books or the reflections of my own mind. I certainly had a very
large and fine library in my house, and there was scarce a week passed
by in which I did not receive a huge bundle of the newest publications
from a book-seller, who had long had it in charge thus to supply me.
Of these I usually read the title-pages, and then turned them over to
my sister, or, which was more common, lent them to my neighbours, who,
male and female together, came flocking to borrow the day after, and
sometimes the day before, the arrival of each package, taking good care
to rob me of those that were most interesting. The truth is, if I ever
had had the power of reading, I had now lost it. Books only set me

As for exercising my mind in reflections of its own, that was even more
laborious than reading; and I contracted a dislike to it, particularly
as my mind wore itself out every night in dreaming, that being a result
of the goodly suppers I used to eat. It is true, that I one day fell
into a sudden ferment, and being inspired, actually seized upon pen and
paper, and wrote a poem in blank verse, forty lines long, with which I
was so pleased that I read it to Tibbikens and my sister, both of whom
were in raptures with it, the former carrying it off to the editor of
the village paper, who printed it with such a eulogium upon its merits,
as made me believe Byron was a fool to me, while all the young ladies
immediately paid my sister Ann a visit, that they might tell me how
they admired the beautiful piece, and lament that I wrote so seldom. I
forget what the poem was about; but I remember I was so delighted with
the praise bestowed on it, that I resolved to write another, which,
however, I did not do, having unfortunately begun it in rhyme, which
was difficult, and my fit of inspiration and energy having left me
before I got through with my next dinner. It was my writing verses, I
suppose, that caused me to be called a genius; but it seems I was too
lazy to be inspired more than once or twice a year.

I relapsed into ennui, and, truly, I became more tired of it before it
was done with me, than was ever a labourer of his hod or mattock.



But ennui was not the worst of the evils that clouded my happy lot.
Some touches of that diabolical disorder, the curse of the rich man,
which, as my sister so often gave me to know, had threatened the peace
of Mr. Arthur Megrim several times before, now began to assail my own
serenity, and threw gall and ratsbane over my dinners. I had slighted
her warnings, and despised her advice, and now I was to pay the price
of indiscretion. In a word, that very digestive apparatus, on which she
read me a lecture at least thrice a day, began to grumble, refuse to do
duty, and _strike_; though, unlike the industrious artisans, who were
in all quarters setting it the example, it struck, not for high wages,
of which it had had a surfeit, but for low ones, in which, however, its
master was scarce able to oblige it, having an uncommonly good appetite
most of the time; and even when he had not, not well knowing how to
dispose of his time unless at the table.

My faithful sister, who had been so constant to predict, was the first
to detect the coming evil, and, step by step, she pointed it out to my
unwilling observation.

"Arthur," said she, one morning as we sat at breakfast, "your eyelid is

"Augh--" said I, "yes; it is winking."

"It is a sign," said she, "your digestive apparatus is getting out of

"Augh!" said I, "hang the digestive apparatus!" for I was tired of
hearing it mentioned.

"Arthur," said she, the next day, "you are beginning to look yellow and

"Yes," said I; on which she declared that "the alkalis of my biliary
fluids"--she had studied the whole theory and nomenclature of dyspepsy
out of a book the doctor lent her--"were beginning to fail to coalesce,
in the natural chymical way, with the acids of the chymous mass; and
that no better argument could be desired to prove that my digestive
apparatus was getting out of order." And she concluded by recommending
me to regulate my diet, and fall back upon bran bread and hickory ashes.

In short, my dear sister assailed me with a pertinacity equal to the
disease itself, so that I came, in a short time, to consider her as one
of its worst symptoms.

To add to my woes, Dr. Tibbikens began to go over to her opinion, to
talk of my digestive apparatus, and to drop hints in relation to bran
bread and hickory ashes, which would decidedly have robbed him of my
friendship, had I not at last found myself unable to do without him.

To make a long story short, I will omit a detailed history of my
tribulations during the winter, and skip at once to the following
spring; at the opening of which I found myself, young, rich, and
independent as I was, the bond-slave and victim of a malady to which
the woes of age and penury are as the sting of moschetoes to the teeth
of raging tigers.

Reader, I have, in the course of this history, related to thee many
miseries which it was my lot, on different occasions, to encounter,
and some of them of a truly cruel and insupportable character. Could
I, however, give thee a just conception of the ills I was now doomed
to suffer, which, of a certainty, I cannot do, unless thou art at this
moment the victim of a similar infliction, I am convinced thou wouldst
agree with me, that I had now stumbled upon a grief that concentrated
in itself all others of which human nature is capable.

Dost thou know what it is to have thy stomach stuffed, like an
ostrich's, with old iron hoops and brickbats--or feeling as if it were?
to have it now drowned in vinegar, now scorched as with hot potatoes?
thy head filled with achings, dizziness, and streaks of lightning? thy
heart transformed into the heels of a hornpipe-dancer, and plying thy
ribs, lungs, and diaphragm with the energy of an _artiste_ in the last

If thou dost, then thou wilt know that bodily distress, of which the
above miseries form but a small portion, is the least of the evils of
dyspepsy--that its most horrible symptoms develop themselves in the
mind. What care those devils, falsely called blue (for they are as
black as midnight, or the bile which engenders them), for the youth,
the wealth, the independence, the gentility of a man whose digestive
apparatus is out of order? The less cause he may have in reality to
be dissatisfied with his lot, the more cause they will find him; the
greater and more legitimate his claims to be a happy man, the more
fierce and determined their efforts to make him a miserable one.

The serenity of my mind gave way before the attacks of these monsters;
sleeping and waking, by day and by night, they assailed me with equal
pertinacity and fury. If I slept, it was only to be tormented by demon
and caco-demon--to be ridden double by incubus and succuba, under whose
bestriding limbs I felt like a Shetland pony carrying two elephants. My
dreams, indeed, so varied and terrific were the images with which they
afflicted me, I can compare to nothing but the horrors or last delirium
of a toper. Hanging, drowning, and tumbling down church-steeples were
the common and least frightful of the fancies that crowded my sleeping
brain: now I was blown up in a steamboat, or run over by a railroad
car; now I was sticking fast in a burning chimney, scorching and
smothering, and now, head downwards, in a hollow tree, with a bear
below snapping at my nose; now I was plastered up in a thick wall, with
masons hard at work running the superstructure up higher, and now I was
enclosed in a huge apple-dumpling, boiling in a pot over a hot fire.
One while I was crushed by a boa constrictor; another, perishing by
inches in the mouth of a Bengal tiger; and, again, I was in the hands
of Dr. Tibbikens and his scientific coadjutors of the village, who
were dissecting me alive. In short, there was no end to the torments
I endured in slumber, and nothing could equal them except those that
beset me while awake.

A miserable melancholy seized upon my spirits, in which those very
qualifications which everybody envied me the possession of were
regarded with disgust, as serving only the purpose of adding to my
tortures. What cared I for youth, when it opened only a longer vista of
living wretchedness? What to me was the wealth which I could not enjoy?
which had been given me only to tantalize? And as for independence,
the idea was a mockery; the servitude of a galley-slave was freedom,
unlimited license, compared with my subjection to dyspepsy, and--for
the truth must be confessed--the doctor; to whom I was at last obliged
to submit, _nolens volens_.



_Whether_ Dr. Tibbikens treated me _secundum artem_ or not, I cannot
say; but true it is, that instead of getting better, I grew gradually
worse, until my melancholy became a confirmed hypochondriasis, and
fancies gloomy and dire, wild and strange, seized upon my brain, and
conjured up new afflictions.

Getting up early one morning, I found, to my horror, that I had been,
in my sleep, converted into a coffee-pot; a transformation which I
thought so much more extraordinary than any other I had ever undergone,
that I sent for my sister Ann, and imparted to her the singular secret.

"Oh!" said she, bursting into tears, "it is all on account of your
unfortunate digestive apparatus. But, oh! brother Arthur, don't let
such notions get into your head. A coffee-pot, indeed! that's too

I was quite incensed at her skepticism, but still more so at the
conduct of Dr. Tibbikens, who, being sent for, hearing of my
misfortune, and seeing me stand in the middle of the floor, with my
left arm akimbo, like a crooked handle, and the right stretched out
in the manner of a spout, seized me by the shoulders and marched me
towards a great hickory fire that was blazing on the hearth.

"What do you mean, Tibbikens?" said I.

"To _warm you_," said he: "I like my coffee hot; and so I intend to
boil you over again on that very fire!"

At these words I started, trembled, and awoke as from a dream, assuring
him I had made a great mistake, and was no more of a coffee-pot than
he was; an assurance that doubtless prevented my undergoing an ordeal
which I was neither saint nor fire-king enough to endure with impunity.
Indeed, I was quite ashamed of having permitted such a delusion to
enter my brain.

The next day, however, a still more afflicting change came over me; for
having tried to read a book, in which I was interrupted by a great dog
barking in the street, I was seized with a rage of a most unaccountable
nature, and falling on my hands and feet, I responded to the animal's
cries, and barked in like manner, being quite certain that I was as
much of a dog as he. Nay, my servant Epaminondas coming in, I seized
him by the leg and would have worried him, had he not run roaring out
of the chamber; and my sister Ann coming to the door, I flew at her
with such ferocity that she was fain to escape down stairs. The doctor
was again sent for, and popping suddenly into the chamber, he rushed
upon me with a great horsewhip he had snatched up along the way, and
fell to belabouring me without mercy, crying out all the while, "Get
out, you rascal, get out!"

"Villain!" said I, jumping on my hind legs, and dancing about to avoid
his lashes, "what do you mean?"

"To whip you down stairs, you cur!" said he, flourishing his weapon

On which I assured him as earnestly as I could that "I was no cur
whatever;" and indeed I was quite cured of the fancy.

My next conceit was (the morning being cold, and my fire having gone
out), that I was an icicle; which fancy was dispelled by the doctor
saluting me with a bucket of water, on pretence of melting me; and I
was doubtless melted all the sooner for being drenched in water exactly
at the freezing-point.

After this I experienced divers other transformations, being now
a chicken, now a loaded cannon, now a clock, now a hamper of
crockery-ware, and a thousand things besides; all which conceits the
doctor cured without much difficulty, and with as little consideration
for the roughness of his remedies. Being a chicken, he attempted to
wring my neck, calling me a dunghill rooster, fit only for the pot; he
discharged the cannon from my fancies by clapping a red-hot poker to
my nose; and the crate of crockery he broke to pieces by casting it on
the floor, to the infinite injury of my bones. The clock at first gave
him some trouble, until, pronouncing it to have a screw out of order,
he seized upon one of my front teeth with a pair of pincers, and by a
single wrench dissipated the delusion for ever.



In short (for I do not design particularizing my transformations
further), there was no conceit entered my brain which Dr. Tibbikens
did not cure by a conceit; until, one morning, by some mysterious
revelation, the nature and means of which can only be guessed at, I
found that I had been elected the Emperor of France, and announced my
intention to set sail for my government immediately, in the first ship
of the line which the American executive could put at my disposal.

This fancy quite disconcerted Dr. Tibbikens, and I heard him say to
my sister, "He is a gone case _now_,--quite mad, I assure you;" which
expression so much offended me, that I ordered him from my presence,
and told him that, were it not for my respect for the American
government, whose subject he was, I would have his head for his

But wo betide the day! the doctor returned to me in less than an hour,
bringing with him every physician in the village, who, having looked
at me a moment, went into another apartment, where they argued hotly
together for another hour. At the expiration of this they returned, led
by Tibbikens, who, to my great satisfaction, now fell on his knees,
and "begged my imperial majesty's pardon for presuming to request that
I would allow myself to be dressed in my imperial majesty's robe of
state;" which robe of state, although I was surprised at its plainness
(for it was of a coarse linen texture, without gold lace or jewels,
and of a very strange shape--closed in front and open in the rear), I
immediately consented to put on, so pleased was I with the homage of
the doctor.

If I was surprised at the appearance of the imperial garment, much more
was I astonished when, having slipped my arms into its sleeves, I found
them,--that is, my arms,--suddenly pinioned, buried, sewed up, as it
were, among the folds of the robe, so that, when it was tied behind me,
as it immediately was, I was as well secured as when I was tied up for
execution on a former occasion. Alas! the disappointment to my pride!
I understood the whole matter in a moment: my imperial robe of state
was nothing less nor more than a strait waistcoat, constructed upon the
spur of the moment, but still on scientific principles.

And now, being entirely at the mercy of the deceitful Tibbikens, I was
seized upon with a strong hand, my head shaved and thrust into a sack
of pounded ice, from which it was not taken until after a six days'
congelation, and then only to be transferred to a nightcap of Spanish
flies, exceedingly comfortable on the first application, but which,
within a few hours, I had every reason to pronounce the most execrable
covering in existence. And what made it still more intolerable, I never
complained of it that Tibbikens did not assure me "it was the imperial
coronet of France," and then exclaim, in the words of some old play,
"Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown."

And then I was physicked and starved, phlebotomized, soused in cold
water and scalded in hot, rubbed down with rough blanket cloths and
hair-brushes as stiff as wool-cards, scorched with mustard plasters,
bombarded by an electrical machine, and in general attacked by every
weapon of art which the zeal of my tormentors could bring into play
against me.

In this way, if I was not cured of my disease, I was, at least, brought
into subjection. I ceased complaining, which I did at first, and with
becoming indignation, of the traitorous and sacrilegious violence done
to my anointed body, for such I at first considered it. The arguments
of my persecutors, however, to prove the contrary, were irresistible,
being chiefly syllogisms, of which the major proposition was calomel
and jalap, the minor mustard plasters and blisters, and the conclusion
cold water, phlebotomy, and flax-seed tea. The same arguments, varied
categorically according to circumstances, convinced me that if my
imperial elevation, or the notion thereof, was not sheer insanity on my
own part, my doctors thought so--which was the same thing in effect;
and I therefore took good care, when bewailing my hard fate, not to
charge it, as I at first did, to the democratic wrath and jealousy of
my tormentors.



This conversion of mine to their own opinion--or, if the reader
will so have it, my return to rationality--had a favourable effect
on my doctors. They removed (very circumspectly indeed) the strait
jacket from my arms; and then, seeing I made no attempt to tear them
to pieces, but was, on the contrary, very quiet and submissive, and
that, instead of claiming to be Charlemagne the Second of France, I
was content to be Mr. Arthur Megrim, of Virginia, they were so well
satisfied of the cure they had effected, that they agreed to free me of
their company, and so left me in the sole charge of Tibbikens and my
affectionate sister.

In this manner I was cured of hypochondriasis; for although I felt,
ever and anon, a strong propensity to confess myself a joint-stool,
a Greek demigod, or some such other fanciful creature, I retained so
lively a recollection of the penalties I had already paid for indulging
in such vagaries, that I put a curb on my imagination, and resolved
for the future to be nothing but plain Mr. Megrim, a gentleman with a
disordered digestive apparatus.

I was cured of my hypochondriasis--I may say, also, of my
dyspepsy--being kept by Tibbikens and my sister in such a starved
condition, that it was impossible I should ever more complain of
indigestion. But I was not yet cured of my melancholy; nothing but
canvass-backs and terapins could cure that--and these, alas! were never
more to bless my lips. Tibbikens had pronounced their fate, and with
them, mine: thenceforth and for ever my diet was to be looked for in
those--next to my digestive apparatus--chief favourites of my sister,
bran bread and hickory ashes; my stomach, he solemnly assured me, would
never be able to sustain any thing else.

I say, therefore, I was melancholy; and great reason had I to be so,
condemned to live a life of ascetic denial, with the means in my hand
to purchase all the luxuries in the world, and, which was worse, an
eternal desire to enjoy them.

To banish this melancholy--alas! never to be banished--and perhaps to
give me a little appetite for my bran bread and ashes, for which I
never could contract a relish, the friendly Tibbikens again seduced me
into the open air and my carriage, and carried me about to different
places in which he thought I might find amusement. In this way he had
conducted my prototype, the true Arthur Megrim, before me, whenever
indolence and the luxuries of the table brought him too near to
dyspepsy; and it was this uncommon kindness of the physician, in
dragging the unfortunate gentleman to witness the galvanic experiments
on the bodies of the executed felons, which had helped him so suddenly
out of his own. Dr. Tibbikens was not, indeed, very choice whither he
carried me, lugging me along with equal alacrity to a horse-race, a
barbacue, or to the bedsides of his patients.

All his efforts, however, were vain. The memory of what I had suffered,
with the anticipation of what I was yet to endure, with, doubtless,
the addition of the ills for the time being, preyed upon my spirit.
I followed him mechanically, and in a sort of torpor, incapable of
enjoying myself, incapable almost of noting what passed before me.
I was tired of the life of the young and affluent Mr. Megrim, and I
should have been glad to exchange his body for some one's else: but,
unluckily, my mind was so weighed down with indolence, melancholy, and
stupefaction, that I really did not think of so natural a means of
ending my troubles.

In this condition, greatly to the concern of my friendly physician,
I remained until towards the end of March, when an incident happened
which gave an impulse to my spirit greater than it had ever before



The doctor being accustomed to lead or drive me whithersoever he would,
and I, half the time, following without question, I found myself led
one day to a house in the town, where was a remarkable exhibition, or
show, as our people called it, which had for two days kept the whole
village in an uproar. So great, however, was the abstraction and
indifference of my mind to all objects, ordinary and extraordinary
alike, that I had paid not the least attention to the accounts of the
matter which my sister and other persons, and especially the faithful
Epaminondas, had, during these two days, poured into my ears. Hence,
when I entered the exhibition-room I was ignorant of its nature, and,
indeed, indifferent as to making myself better acquainted with it.

Tibbikens, however, appeared to be unusually delighted, and saying,
"Now, Megrim, my lad, you shall see a wonderful proof of the strides
that science is making," led me through a crowd of the villagers,
old and young, and male and female, who were present, up to a large
table, where, truly enough, in glass cases placed upon the same, was a
spectacle quite remarkable; though I must confess it did not make so
strong an impression upon me as Tibbikens expected.

It consisted of an infinite variety of fragments from the bodies of
animals and human beings, imitations, as I supposed at first, in wax,
or some other suitable substance, and done to the life; but Tibbikens
assured me they were real specimens, taken from animal bodies, and
converted by scientific processes, known only to the exhibiter, into
the substances we now saw; some being stony and harder than flint, some
again only a little indurated, while others retained their natural
softness, elasticity, and other peculiarities of texture. There were
a dozen or more human feet, as many hands, three heads (one of which
was a woman's with long hair, and another a child's), a calf's head,
a dog's leg, the ear of a pig, the nose of a horse, an ox's liver and
heart, a rat, a snake, and a catfish, and dozens of other things that I
cannot now remember, all of which were surprisingly natural to behold,
especially the head of the woman with the long hair, which looked as
if it had just been cut off--or rather not cut off at all, for there
was no appearance of death about it whatever, the lips and cheeks being
quite ruddy, and the eyes open and bright, though fixed.

"So much for science!" said Tibbikens. "Look at that boy's head! it
don't look so well as the others; but who would believe it was solid
stone? Sir, it is stone, and silicious stone too; for last night I
did myself knock fire out of its nose with the back of my knife; and
that's the cause of the nick there on the nostril. Well now, there's
the man's head; its texture is ligneous, or, to speak more strictly,
imperfectly carbonaceous, though the doctor calls it calcareous. But
the wonder of all is the woman's head; look at _that_! That, sir, is
neither silicious nor carbonaceous, but fleshy--I say, sir, _fleshy_.
It remains in its natural condition; the skin is soft and resilient;
you see the naturalness of the colour, of the lips, and, above all,
of the eyes. And yet, sir, that head, that flesh is indestructible,
unless, indeed, by fire, and strong acids or alkalis. It is _embalmed_,
sir! embalmed according to the new process of this doctor with the
unpronounceable Dutch name; and I can tell you, sir, that the man
is a chymist such as was never heard of before. Davy, Lavoisier,
Berzelius--sir, I presume to say they are fools to him, and will be
as soon forgotten as their stupid, uncivilized system. How little
they knew of the true science of chymistry! They stopped short at the
elements--our doctor here converts one element into another!"

Tibbikens spoke with an air of consequence and some little oratorical
emphasis, for he was surrounded by spectators, who listened to what
he said with reverence. As for me, the little interest excited in my
bosom by the novelty of the exhibition had begun to wear away, and I
was sinking again into apathy--the faster, perhaps, for the doctor's
conversation, of which I had a sufficiency every day--and I suppose I
should, in a few moments, have lost all consciousness of what was going
on around me, when suddenly a buzz began, and a murmuring of voices,
saying, "Here comes the doctor! now we shall have the grand show!"
At the same moment a grinding organ began its lugubrious grunting
and squeaking, and the master of the exhibition, stalking up to the
table, and making his patrons a sweeping semicircular bow, cried, in a
rumbling bass voice, and in accents strongly foreigh,--

"Zhentlemens and leddees--I peg you will excuse me for keep you
waiting. Vat you see here, zhentlemens and leddees, is very
strange--pieces of de poddies human and animal, shanged py a process
of philosophie very astonish, misty, and unknown to de multitude; some
hard shtone, some shtone not so hard, and some not shtone at all. But I
shall show you de representation vich is de triumph of art, de vonder
of science, de excellence of philosophie! For, zhentlemens and leddees,
I am no mountepank and showmans, put a man of de science, a friend of
de species human, and a zhentleman of de medical profession; and vat I
make dese tings for is not for show, nor for pastime, nor for de money,
but for de utilitie of de vorld."

"Surely," thought I to myself, "I have heard that voice before!"

I looked into the man's face as soon as the spectators had cleared away
a little--for I was too indifferent to put myself to any trouble--and
I said to myself--nay, I said aloud to Tibbikens, "Surely I have seen
that man before!"

"Where?" said Tibbikens.

"In Jersey," I replied, hastily; for I could not forget the tall
frame, the hollow jaws, the solemn eyes, and the ever-grinning mouth
of Feuerteufel, the German doctor, who had made himself so famous in
my native village, and who was one of the last persons I remembered to
have seen upon that day when I bade farewell to my original body.

"Come," said Tibbikens, looking alarmed at my last words, "you don't
pretend to say you were ever out of Virginia in your whole life!"

"Augh--oh!" said I, recollecting myself; "I wonder what I was talking
about? What--augh--what is the man's name?"

"Feuerteufel," said Tibbikens.



I was not then mistaken! It was Feuerteufel himself, only he had
learned a little more English. This was the first and only one of my
original acquaintances whom I had laid eyes on since my departure from
New-Jersey, nearly two years before. I felt some interest, therefore,
in the man, but it was accompanied with a feeling of dislike, and even
apprehension. The truth is, I never liked the German doctor, though
why I never could tell. But what was he doing--what could be his
object going about the country with petrified legs, arms, and heads?
I had scarce asked myself the question before it was answered by the
gentleman himself, who had been speaking, though I know not what, all
the time I was talking with Tibbikens, and while I was cogitating

He had worked himself into a fit of eloquence, warming with enthusiasm
as he dwelt upon the grandeur and usefulness of his discovery. He made
antic gestures with hands, head, and shoulders; he rolled and snapped
his eyes in the most extraordinary manner in the world; and as for his
mouth, there is no describing the grimaces and contortions which it
made over every particularly bright idea or felicitous word.

"Zhentlemens!" said he, "I have discover de great art to preserve de
human poddie; I can make him shtone, I can make him plaster-Paree, I
can make him shuse as he is, dat is _flesh_--put flesh vat is never
corrupt. Very well! vat shall I do mit de great discoaver? Mit de
first I shall preserve de poddies of de great men--de kings, and de
shenerals, and de poets, and de oder great men; and you shall see
how mosh petter it is tan de statues marple. How mosh petter to have
de great man as de great man look in de flesh, mit his eyes shining,
his skin and his colour all de pure natural! How mosh petter dat dan
de imitation! Suppose you have de painter who take de looking-glass;
and when you look in him, glue down de reflection dare for ever!--de
natural colour, de natural drawing, de light and de shade? How mosh
petter dat dan de picture in dirty oil and ochre! (I tell you,
py-the-py, zhentlemens, I do study _dat_ art, and I hopes some day to
make de grand discoaver--to put you reflection on de proper substance,
like de looking-glass, dat shall hold on to de colours, and hold'em
on for ever!) Vell, zhentlemens, I do de same ting mit de statue; I
take de nature as I find him--de shape, de colour, de lips, de eyes,
de hair, de all--and I do, py my process, make him indestructeeble,
and not to alter for ever. Here is de little poy's head dat I have
done in dat style. Dat is de art! dat is de art of making de _shtone_
mummee! It shall pe de most costly, de most expense, and derefore only
for de great, great men--de shenerals of war, de preshidents, and de
mens in Congress vat makes de pig speech. Vell! den I shall make de
oder style--de process to turn de poddie into plaster-Paree--vat I
call de _plaster_ mummee. Dat is not so dear; dat is de art for de
great men vat is not so great as de oders--for de leetle great men--de
goavernors, de editors of de paper, and de mens vat you give de grand
dinners to. Vell! den I shall make de oder style--de style for de
zhentlemens and leddees in zheneral, vat vill not go to rot in de
ground like de horse and de dog--de style of de flesh unshange--vat I
call de _flesh and plood_ mummee, shuse like dis woman head mit de long
hair. Dis is de sheep plan; it vill cost no more dan de price of de
funeral. It vill be done in tree days. De poddie is made incorruptible,
proof against de water, vat you call water-proof. It is de process for
de peoples in zheneral; and I do hopes to see de day ven it shall pe in
universal adopt by all, and no more poddies put into de earth to rot,
and to make de pad health for de peoples dat live. It is de shtyle for
de unwholesome countrees. Zhentlemens, you have know dat de Egyptians
did make all dare friends mummee. Why for dey do dat? Very good
reason. De land upon de Nile vas unwholesome, and de purrying of de
poddies made it vorse. There vas no wood dere to purn de poddies. Vell
den, dey did soak dem in de petrolium, de naptha, and oder substance
antiseptique, and hide dem in de catacomb and de pyramid. Dere vas no
decay, no corruption to poison de air; it vas vise plan!

"Now, zhentlemens, I have devise my plan for de benefit of America,
vich is de most unwholesome land in de earth, full of de exhalation and
de miasm, de effluvium from de decay animal and vegetable. You shall
adopt my plan for embalm your friends, and you no have no more pad air
for de fevers, de bilious, de agues, and de plack vomit. Zhentlemens,
I have shuse complete my great secret; it vas de study of my whole
life; I have shuse succeed. I have de full and complete specimens of de
process for make de sheep mummee, de mummee of flesh and plood, de plan
for de men in zheneral, vich do always love to pe sheep. I have start
carry dem to de great city New-Orleans; and if de peoples do adopt him
dere, dey shall have no more complain of de great sickness vat kills
de peoples; for dere shall be no more rot of man's flesh in de swampy
ground. Here you see de ox-heart, de catfish, de bullfrog, de six hands
and feet, all done into flesh and plood mummee. Here is de woman's
head. It has been done dis tree year. But you shall see de grand
specimen, de complete figure, de grown man turn into de mummee, and
look more natural dan de life. Dat is de triumph of mine art! It was my
first grand specimen, done dere is now two year almost, and it did cost
me mosh expense and money, and some leetle danger. Now you shall say de
specimen is perfect, or you shall have my head; it is vat I value apove
my life--de complete! de grand! de peautiful!--But you shall see!"



Having thus completed his lecture, or oration, of which I must confess
I had begun to grow tired, the German doctor suddenly stepped to a
great round box, like a watchman's box, that stood at the further end
of the room, and unlocking the folding leaves of which it was composed,
swung them round with a jerk, exhibiting an inner case, evidently
of glass, but entirely covered over with a thick curtain. This he
proceeded to remove, by tugging at a string which hoisted it to the
ceiling; and as it ascended there was disclosed to the eyes of the
wondering spectators a human figure within the case, clad loosely in a
sort of Roman garment, and for all the world looking entirely like a
living being, except that the eyes were fixed in a set unnatural stare,
and the attitude was a little stiff and awkward.

A murmur, with twenty or more faint shrieks from the females present,
attested the admiration with which the spectators caught sight of this
wonderful triumph of skill and science; but I--heavens and earth!
what were _my_ feelings, what was _my_ astonishment, when I beheld in
that lifeless mummy my own lost body! the mortal tenement in which I
had first drawn the breath, and experienced the woes, of life! the
body of Sheppard Lee the Jerseyman! This, then, was its fate--not to
be anatomized and degraded into a skeleton, as the vile Samuel the
kidnapper had told me, but converted into a mummy by a new process, for
the especial benefit of science and the world; and Dr. Feuerteufel,
the man for whom I had always cherished an instinctive dislike and
horror, was the worthy personage who had stolen it, what time I had
myself interrupted his designs upon the body of the farmer's boy, in
the old graveyard near the Owl-roost! I looked upon my face--that is,
the face of the mummy--and a thousand recollections of my original home
and condition burst upon my mind; the tears started into my eyes with
them. What had I gained by forsaking the lot to which Providence had
assigned me? In a moment, the woes of Higginson, of Dawkins, Skinner,
Longstraw, Tom the slave, and Megrim the dyspeptic, rushed over my
memory, contrasted with those lesser ones of Sheppard Lee, which I had
so falsely considered as rendering me the most miserable man in the

What other notions may have crowded my brain, what feeling may have
entered my bosom, I am now unable to describe. The sight of my body
thus restored to me, and in the midst of my sorrow and affliction,
inviting me, as it were, back to my proper home, threw me into an
indescribable ferment. I stretched out my arms, I uttered a cry, and
then rushing forward, to the astonishment of all present, I struck my
foot against the glass case with a fury that shivered it to atoms--or,
at least, the portion of it serving as a door, which, being dislodged
by the violence of the blow, fell upon the floor and was dashed to
pieces. The next instant, disregarding the cries of surprise and fear
which the act occasioned, I seized upon the cold and rigid hand of the
mummy, murmuring, "Let me live again in my own body, and never--no!
never more in another's!"

Happiness of happiness! although, while I uttered the words, a boding
fear was on my mind, lest the long period the body had lain inanimate,
and more especially the mummifying process to which it had been
subjected, might have rendered it unfit for further habitation, I had
scarce breathed the wish before I found myself in that very body,
descending from the box which had so long been its prison, and stepping
over the mortal frame of Mr. Arthur Megrim, now lying dead on the floor.

Indescribable was the terror produced among the spectators by this
double catastrophe--the death of their townsman, and the revival of the
mummy. The women fell down in fits, and the men took to their heels;
and a little boy, who was frightened into a paroxysm of devotion,
dropped on his knees, and began fervently to exclaim,

    "Now I lay me down to sleep,
    I pray the Lord my soul to keep."

In short, the agitation was truly inexpressible, and fear distracted
all. But on no countenance was this passion (mingled with a due degree
of amazement) more strikingly depicted than on that of the German
doctor, who, thus compelled to witness the object of a thousand cares,
the greatest and most perfect result of his wonderful discovery,
slipping off its pedestal and out of his hands, as by a stroke of
enchantment, stared upon me with eyes, nose, and mouth, speechless,
rooted to the floor, and apparently converted into a mummy himself. As
I stepped past him, however, hurrying to the door, with a vague idea
that the sooner I reached it the better, his lips were unlocked, and
his feelings found vent in a horrible exclamation--"_Der tyfel!_" which
I believe means the devil--"Der tyfel! I have empalm him too well!"

Then making a dart at me, he cried, in tones of distraction, "Stop my
mummy! mine gott! which has cost me so much expense!--stop my mummy!"

I saw that he designed seizing me, and being myself as much overcome
with fear as the others, I made a bolt for the door, knocking down my
friend Tibbikens and half a dozen other retreating spectators as I left
it, darted into the air, and in a moment was flying out of the village
on the wings of the wind.

I had a double cause for terror; for, first, before I had got twenty
steps from the exhibition-room (for my Roman garments were in the way
of my legs, and I did not run so fast as I managed to do afterward),
I heard certain furious voices cry from the room--"It is all a cheat!
the mummy was a living man! let us Lynch him and the doctor!" and,
secondly, I could also hear, close at my heels, the voice of the doctor
himself, who had escaped close behind me, eagerly vociferating, "Stop
my mummy, and I will pay twenty dollare! stop my mummy!"--by both which
noises it was made apparent that I was in danger of being Lynched, or
subjected to a second process of mummification.

Nerved therefore by my fears, I gathered the skirts of my toga about my
arms, and fled with all my might, blessing my stars that I had at last
recovered that mortal tenement, which, with all its troubles, I was now
convinced was the best for my purposes in the whole world.





The faster I fled, the faster it seemed to me I was followed by the
German doctor, who, I have always believed, was driven crazy by the
sudden loss of his beloved mummy, and who, I had therefore the greatest
reason to fear, would, if he succeeded in retaking me, be content with
nothing short of clapping me again into his glass case, were it even
a needful preliminary, as, in truth, it must have been, to kill and
embalm me over again. And indeed I think the reader will allow, that
the fact of his following me three days and three nights, still calling
me a mummy, charging everybody he met to stop me, and persisting to
claim me as his property, even after I had got among my own friends,
was a proof not only of insanity, but of a desperate determination to
rob me of life and liberty.

Of this determination on his part I was myself so strongly persuaded,
and, in consequence, so overcome by terror, that I am inclined to think
I was for a time nearly as mad as himself; and I fled from before him
with a speed which the reader can only conceive when I tell him, that
I ran from the scene of my transformation on the banks of the Potomac
to my native village in New-Jersey, a distance which I estimate at full
one hundred and eighty miles, in the short space of three days and
three nights, during which period I rested but once, and that on the
second night, when, being very faint and weary, I lay down on the earth
and slept two hours.

This may be justly esteemed a truly wonderful exploit, and it exceeds
that of the great Daniel Boone of Kentucky, of whom it is related that
he ran before a band of wild Indians the same distance, or thereabouts,
in _four_ days' time; but it must be remembered that I was fleeing from
a raging madman, whose speed was so nearly equal to my own, that if I
chanced but to flag a little in my exertions at any time, I was sure to
see him make his appearance on the rear, or to hear his voice screaming
on the winds to "stop his mummy." Indeed, I ran with such haste, that
I took no note of the road upon which I travelled, and to this day I
am ignorant how I succeeded in passing the three great rivers, the
Potomac, the Chesapeake, and the Delaware, which lay in my route, and
which I _must_ have crossed in some way or other. And, for the same
reason, I am ignorant in what manner I sustained existence during those
three days, having not the slightest recollection of eating a single
meal on the whole journey.

All that I can remember of the journey is, that I ran I knew not
whither, but with an instinctive turning of my face towards the north;
that I was closely followed by the German doctor; and that, about
sundown on the third day, I found myself, to my unspeakable joy,
rushing through the Owl-roost swamp, across the meadow, and by that
identical beech-tree where I had first lost my body, in full view of
my own house. The sight of that once happy home of my childhood filled
me with rapture. I rushed towards it, hailed by a shout from old Jim
Jumble, my negro-man, backed by another from his wife Dinah, that might
have waked the dead, they were so loud and uproarious, and found myself
in the arms of my dear, but long-neglected sister Prudence, who, with
her husband Alderwood, and her three young children, was standing on
the porch.

Then, being wholly overcome by exhaustion of body and mind, and having
endured such fatigues and sufferings from hunger and thirst, without
speaking of terror, as have seldom oppressed a poor feeble human
being, I fell into a swoon, from which I awoke only to be assailed by
a violent fever and delirium, the direct consequences of my superhuman
exertions, that kept me a-bed, in a condition between life and death,
for more than two weeks.

During all this period I recollect being tormented by the hateful
visage of the German doctor, who, having followed me like a bloodhound,
daily forced himself into my chamber, claimed me as his property, and
would doubtless have carried me off, had it not been for my sister, my
brother-in-law, and the faithful Jim Jumble, the first of whom watched
at my bedside like an angel, while the two others opposed themselves
to the enemy, and drove him from the room. His persecutions, indeed,
affected me to a degree I cannot express, and were the cause that, at
the end of the two weeks as above mentioned, I suddenly fell into a
lethargy or trance, the crisis of my disease, in which I lay two days,
and then awoke in my full senses, free from fever, and convalescent.

How great was my satisfaction then to behold myself surrounded by my
friends, and in my own house; how much greater to know I was no longer
to be persecuted by the odious German doctor, who, my brother-in-law
gave me to understand, in reply to my anxious questions, had not only
given over all designs on my person, but had actually departed from the
neighbourhood, and from the State of New-Jersey, satisfied, doubtless,
that I was a living man, and no longer a mummy.



This intelligence was balm to my spirit and medicine to my body; and
the consequence was, that I recovered so rapidly as to be able to leave
my bed in less than a week, and receive the visits and congratulations
of many old friends, who seemed really glad of my return and recovery,
though I have no doubt they were moved as much by curiosity to learn
where I had been, and what adventures had befallen me during the long
period of my exile; in which, however, I did not think it advisable to
gratify them.

And now it was that I discovered that many changes, personally
interesting to myself, had happened during my absence. When I first
got upon my porch and looked about me, I almost doubted whether I
was really on the forty-acre. My house had been carefully reparied,
both within and without; a new and substantial stable, with other
outbuildings, had been erected; new fences had been put up around my
fields and orchards; cattle were lowing on my meadows, and horses
whinnying in the stable, to be let loose with them upon the early
grass. In a word, the forty-acre now looked more prosperous and
flourishing than it had ever before looked mean and empoverished: it
looked almost as well as it had done in the days of my father.

"How was all this change brought about?" I demanded of my
brother-in-law, who, with my sister, had accompanied, or, indeed,
rather led me to the porch.

"By the magic of money, industry, and a little common sense," said
Alderwood, who, although a plain and bluff man, was a sensible one, and
a most excellent farmer. "You must know, my dear Sheppard," said he,
"that, when we found you were so far gone--"

"How," said I, in surprise, "how did you know I had gone far? I thought
the general opinion was that I was murdered."

"Oh, yes," said my sister, nodding at her husband; "it was just as you

With that Alderwood smiled, and nodded back again, saying,

"Prue is right. When we discovered your condition--that is, when we
found you had been murdered, as you say, and that there was no one to
look to the poor forty-acre except the sheriff and the mortgagee, it
was agreed between your sister and myself that I should take the matter
in hand; for we were loath the property should go into the possession
of strangers. Besides, Prudence insisted upon being near you--"

"That is," said Prudence, "near to where we supposed the murderers must
have concealed your body."

"Exactly so," said Alderwood. "For this reason I left my own farm
in the hands of my young brother Robert, came down hither, bag and
baggage, applied a little of my loose cash (for I believe I have been
somewhat more prosperous than you) to stopping the mouth of your
mortgagee, building fences, banking meadows, spreading marl, and so on;
and the consequence is, that we are getting the forty-acre into good
condition again, so that, in a few years, it will pay the debts, and
perhaps begin to make the fortune of its owner."

I grasped my brother-in-law's hand. I was moved by his kindness; and
remembering how, after quarrelling with him, as related in the first
book of this history, I had refused a reconciliation, and rejected his
offers of assistance, his friendship and generosity appeared still more
worthy of my gratitude.

"Poh!" said he, interrupting my thanks and professions of regard, but
looking well pleased that I should be disposed to make them, "I was
persuaded you would come to some day--that is, I mean, come back."

"That is," said Prudence, "we always had a notion you were not really
dead, and that we should see you again, some time, alive and happy."

"I trust," said I, "you will long see me so; for I am now a changed,
I hope, a wiser man--disposed to make the best of the lot to which
Heaven has assigned me, and to sigh no longer with envy at the supposed
superior advantages of others. I think, brother Alderwood, I shall
now be contented with my condition, humble and even toilsome as it
may be. I have seen enough of the miseries of my fellows--those even
whom I most envied--during the two years of my absence, to teach me
that every man has his share of them; that there is nothing peculiarly
wretched in my own lot, and that I can be happy or not, just as I
may choose to make myself. For this reason, I shall now bid adieu to
indolence and discontent, the vile mother and viler daughter together,
and do as my father did before me, that is, cultivate these few acres
which my folly has left me, with my own hands; nor will I rest from my
labours until I have discharged every claim against it, your own, my
dear Alderwood, first of all; though I am sensible I can never repay
the debt of kindness I owe you." "And this is really your intention?"
demanded Alderwood, looking prodigiously gratified. "Your possessions
are now limited, indeed; yet you have enough, with a little industry
and care, to render you independent for life. And if you will really
apply yourself to the farm--"

"I will," said I. "If labour and perseverance can do it, I will attain
the independence you speak of; I will remove every encumbrance on the
forty-acre, and then trust to pass such a life as modest wishes and a
contented temper can secure me."

"You may begin to pass it immediately, then," said Alderwood, "for the
forty-acre is already clear of every encumbrance. Yes," he continued,
seeing me look surprised, "I tell you nothing but the truth. Aikin
Jones, your old friend and overseer--"

"He is a villain!" said I, "and he defrauded me."

"So it is pretty commonly supposed; but, as we have no legal proof
of his dishonesty, the less we say of it the better. He has gone to
settle his accounts at a tribunal where craft and policy can avail him
nothing. He died eight months ago, and they say who know best, in great
agony and fear of spirit. Now, whether he was moved by old feelings of
friendship, or was struck with remorse at seeing the condition to which
he had reduced you--"

"What condition?" said I.

"Oh," said my sister, "the ruin of your affairs; nothing more." And
Alderwood nodded his head by way of assent to the explanation.

"In short," said he, "Mr. Aikin Jones, whatever may have been his
motive, thought fit to bequeath you a legacy--"

"What!" said I; "how could he leave a legacy to a man universally
considered dead?"

"Oh," said my sister, "he never would believe that. There were a good
many people had their doubts on that subject."

"Yes," said Alderwood; "and Mr. Aikin Jones was one of them. And so,
finding himself dying, and being seized perhaps with compunction for
the wrongs he had done you, he left you a legacy,--no great matter,
indeed, considering how much of your estate he died possessed of. It
sufficed, however, to pay off your mortgage, principal and interest,
and to improve and stock the forty-acre just as you now see it. So you
see, my dear Sheppard, you are not so badly off as you supposed. Your
farm is small, yet your father drew from it a fortune; and I believe a
good farmer might do the same thing a second time. But you are not very
learned in agricultural matters. I will remain with you a while--at
least until your health is re-established--and be your teacher. When
you find yourself competent to the management of the farm I will bid
you farewell, assured that you will lead a happier life than you ever
knew before."

This intelligence with regard to my little homestead was highly
agreeable to me; nor was I less pleased with my brother-in-law's
resolution to remain with me for a time, while I acquired a knowledge
of agriculture, and confirmed myself in new habits of industrious and
active application.



And now, having arrived at the close of my adventurous career, I have
but a few additions to make to my story before concluding it entirely.

I took an early opportunity to impart to my brother-in-law a faithful
account of my adventures, as well as a resolution which I had already
formed to commit them to writing, and publish them for the benefit of
the world; for I was persuaded they contained a moral which might prove
of service to many persons, who, like myself, had fallen into the error
of supposing they were assigned to a harsher lot than their fellows.

This resolution Alderwood opposed with all his might, being concerned
lest such an enterprise as writing a book should divert my mind from
the labours of the farm, and, indeed, seduce me again into habits of
idleness. Besides, he was afraid the strangeness of my adventures
would cause them to be received with incredulity, whereby I might
suffer in reputation, and be looked upon only as a dreamer and teller
of falsehoods. His chief reasons, however, I doubt not, were the two
first mentioned; for he was anxious I should now think of nothing but
my farm. His dislike to my design was, in truth, so great, that, having
exhausted all the arguments he could muster in the vain design to
overcome it, he had resort to a new mode of opposition, an expedient
highly ingenious, but not a little ridiculous. He endeavoured to
shake my own faith in my story!--to convince me that I had imagined
all I have related, and that, in a word, I had never encountered any
adventures at all. I protest I am diverted to this day when I think of
the mingled anxiety and address which he displayed on the occasion. He
assured me, and that quite plumply, that during the whole two years
(to speak strictly, it was only twenty months) of my wanderings, I had
never once been off the forty-acre farm; that I had never been in any
body besides my own; and that the whole source of the notion on my
part lay in a hallucination of mind which had suddenly attacked me,
filling me with ridiculous conceits of various transformations, such
as never had happened, and never could happen, to any human being.
And this absurd account he persisted in as long as he could with any
decency, giving me repeated hints that my mother had died insane,
and that it was not therefore strange _I_ should have been a little
odd once in my life. I showed him the place where I had been digging
under the beech-tree (where, by-the-way, I was weak enough afterward
to make Jim Jumble sink a pit twelve feet deep, to satisfy myself that
Captain Kid's money really did _not_ lie there); which place, however,
he averred was as great a proof of the truth of his story as of mine:
"For," said he, "none but a madman would dig for Captain Kid's money."
I led him to the willow-bushes, and the old worm fence in the marsh,
where I had found Squire Higginson's body; which he allowed I might
have done, but protested that other persons had found it also; and that
instead of going home alive in Squire Higginson's barouche, it had
been carried to Philadelphia in a coffin; and as for Higginson's being
clapped into prison for my murder, it was _I_, he said who had been
confined on suspicion of having been concerned in _his_, until, as he
said, it was found that I was out of my wits, and that Higginson had
died of an apoplexy.

I then referred to a circumstance that had happened during my late
sickness, as affording the fullest confirmation of my story. The
circumstance was this. While still lying tormented with fever, but at
a moment when my mind was sound and lucid, Jim Jumble put a newspaper
into my hand, in which, by a singular coincidence, appeared an account
of my late transformation in Virginia, with an allusion to the fate
of Zachariah Longstraw, by which I learned, for the first time, what
had become of his body after I left it. From the article, which,
strangely, and yet naturally enough, was headed "Outrageous Humbug,
and Fatal Consequence thereof," it seemed to be universally believed
that Dr. Feuerteufel's mummy was no mummy at all, but a living man, as
I myself had heard it called in the village, with whom he had leagued
in a conspiracy to hoax and swindle the good people of the south out
of their money; and that the imposture had been detected by Mr. Arthur
Megrim, who, proceeding to force the glass box, was knocked down by
the pretended dead man, and so unfortunately killed, the mummy and
his accomplice, the doctor, making their escape in the confusion. The
editor of the paper, after noticing a second account, by which it
was asserted that the unfortunate Megrim, though overturned by the
pretended mummy in his flight, had received no injury from him, but, on
the contrary, had died of sheer fright and horror, being of a nervous,
hypochondriacal turn, and acknowledging that this account was more
probable, inveighed warmly against the villany and audacity of the
swindlers; who, he said, were more legitimate objects on whom to wreak
the vengeance of Lynchdom than the people of that district had found in
Zachariah Longstraw, the philanthropist. And here the editor reminded
his readers of the fate of that excellent and distinguished individual,
who had died in the Lynchers' hands the preceding autumn, against the
ringleaders of whom his nephew, Mr. Jonathan Truelove, had so vainly
attempted to establish legal proceedings.

To this account, I say, I referred as containing an argument of my
truth not to be resisted; but, unfortunately, the paper had by some
means or other vanished, and Alderwood said my story went for nothing
without it. That paper, I have always thought, he had himself got
possession of and secreted. But had I even retained and shown it to
him, I doubt whether it would have affected him in the least; for he
was one of those skeptical men who believed a thing none the sooner for
finding it in a newspaper.

In a word, there is no expressing the obstinacy of my brother in
rejecting my story, nor the adroitness with which he met such proofs
as I could give him of the truth of it. The last instance of it
which I shall relate was his taking the part of the German doctor,
Feuerteufel, who, he declared, had not only never made a mummy of me,
but had not laid claim to me as his property, though he himself (that
is, my brother-in-law) had been present at least a dozen times when
the German doctor did so in my sick-chamber, from which Alderwood was
so instrumental in expelling him. He even insisted that this man,
having made a second and last visit to our village to hunt plants and
reptiles, had been employed (and at his own instance too) to cure me
of that very malady he so ridiculously would have me believe I had
been afflicted with, and that it was to him, under Heaven, I owed my
restoration to health. Nay, he even went the length of showing me what
he called the doctor's bill; and, true enough, it was a bill, with a
receipt in full upon it; but the amount being prodigiously great, I saw
at once into the whole affair, which was nothing less than a masked
contract betwixt my brother-in-law and the doctor, whereby the latter
secretly covenanted, in consideration of the large sum received from
the former, to persecute me no longer with his claims, and perhaps to
leave the country altogether.

Besides all this, my brother attacked me by demanding by what means
it was that I had transferred my spirit so often, and so easily, from
one body to another. And this being a question on which the reader
may require satisfaction as well as my brother, I must allow that it
presents a difficulty, and a very great one. All that I can say to
this is, first, that I _did_ transfer my spirit from body to body,
and no less than seven different times; secondly, that these seven
translations of spirit indicated in me the possession of a peculiar
power to make them; and thirdly, that the existence of such a peculiar
power, however wonderful it may appear, is not beyond the bounds of
philosophic probability.

No man can be so ignorant or skeptical as to deny, that there are
several different faculties of a most marvellous nature, with which a
few individuals in the world are mysteriously endowed, while the great
mass of men are entirely without them; and to the number of these
supernatural endowments there is scarce a year passes by without adding
a new one. What can be, or ought to be, considered a more surprising
faculty than that of _ventriloquism_,--the art of throwing the voice
into places and things afar from the operator, of taking, as it were,
the lungs, glottis, &c. from his body, and clapping them into a chest,
log, stone wall, or other inanimate substance, or into the body of
another? and how few are there in the world who possess the power of
doing so! One man thumps his chin with his fingers, and draws from it
pure and agreeable musical tones, and another whistles a melody in
parts; while men in general might thump and whistle till their teeth
fell out without producing any music worth listening to. What can be
more wonderful than the faculty recently developed by the advocates and
practitioners of a new system of medicine, who, by shaking a bottle in
a peculiar way, give to its contents a medical virtue which did not
exist before, and which another man,--the patient, for example,--might
shake till doomsday without imparting?*

The Natural Bonesetter is one instance of the possession of a faculty
both rare and astonishing, and so is any old woman who can pow-wow the
fire out of a burn. Not to multiply inferior instances, however, I will
ask the reader if any faculty can be deemed more incredible than that
of the magnetizer, who, by flourishing his digits about your body,
now cures your rheumatism, and now sets you sound asleep--unless it
be that of the magnetized slumberer, who reads a sealed letter laid
on his epigastrium, sees through millstones and men's bodies, and
renders oraculous responses to any question that may be proposed him,
even though it be upon subjects of which, while awake, he is entirely

In fine, granting all these things to be true (and who shall dare to
doubt them), why should it not be granted that an individual should
possess the power of transferring his spirit from body to body at
will--a power but little more extraordinary (if indeed it be more
extraordinary) than the other faculties which are admitted to have
actual existence?

To me it seems that the thing is natural enough, though still, I
grant, extremely wonderful. Many persons are thought to possess the
ventriloquial, and even the magnetic power, without being conscious of
the endowment, accident having been in all cases the cause of their
being made acquainted with its existence. In the same way, it is not
improbable that other persons besides myself may possess the faculty
of reanimating dead bodies, without suspecting it; for I can scarce
believe the faculty should be confined entirely to myself.



I never could succeed in convincing my brother-in-law of the truth of
my relation--or rather--for I have always thought his incredulity
was assumed for the purpose mentioned--I never could overcome his
opposition to the design I formed of writing and committing it to the
press. For this reason I ceased talking of it more, and even affected
to believe the foolish story he had told me of my having conceived
my adventures in a mere fit of delirium. This I did not so much out
of compliment to him, as from a desire to have him believe I would
let nothing divert me from the business of my farm, which, indeed, I
immediately addressed myself to in such good earnest as secured his
hearty approval and zealous congratulations.

In secret, however, and in the intervals of toil, I employed myself
recording my adventures, while their impression was still strong on my
memory; and now, having happily brought them to a conclusion, I commit
them to the world, confident that, if they surprise nobody else, they
will cause some astonishment to my brother Alderwood.

It is now some time since I have been deprived of his and my sister's
company at Watermelon Hill, they having retired to their own farm as
soon as my brother was well convinced I was capable of managing my own
affairs. My only society now consists of honest Jim Jumble, his wife
Dinah, and my sister's oldest son, Sheppard Lee Alderwood (for he was
named after me), a lad of fourteen years, but uncommonly shrewd and
sensible, for whom I have contracted a strong affection, and to whom,
if I should die unmarried, as is quite probable, I design bequeathing
my little patrimony.

Jim Jumble is as independent and saucy as ever, but I can bear with his
humours, he is so faithful, industrious, and, as I may add, so happy
to see his master once more prospering in the world. He and Dinah are
singing all day long.

My estate is small, and it may be that it will never increase. I am,
however, content with it; and content is the secret of all enjoyment. I
am not ashamed to labour in my fields. On the contrary, I have learned
to be grateful to Providence that it ordained me to a lot of toil,
wherein I find the truest source of health, self-approbation, and
happiness. My only trouble is an occasional stiffness and sluggishness
of joints and muscles, which Jim Jumble tells me is "all owing to my
being naturally a lazy man," but which I myself suppose was caused by
my remaining so long a mummy. To counterbalance this evil, however, I
find in myself an astonishing hardiness of constitution, particularly
in resisting quinsies, catarrhs, and defluxions on the breast, to which
I was formerly very liable; and this immunity I know not how to account
for, unless by supposing that my body was hardened by the process of
mummifying, and that it still continues to be water-proof.

At all events--be my body what it may, hardy or frail, stiff or supple,
I am satisfied with it, and shall never again seek to exchange it for


*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Sheppard Lee, Vol. II (of 2) - Written by Himself" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.