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Title: My Southern Home: - Or, the South and Its People
Author: Brown, William Wells
Language: English
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[Illustration: _Very truly your friend, Wm. Wells Brown._]


MY SOUTHERN HOME:

Or,

The South and Its People.

by

WM. WELLS BROWN, M.D.

Author of “Sketches of Places and People Abroad,”
“Clotelle,” “The Black Man,” “The Negro in
the Rebellion,” “The Rising Son,” etc.


   “Go, little book, from this thy solitude!
      I cast thee on the waters--go thy ways!
   And if, as I believe, thy vein be good,
      The world will find thee after many days.”--_Southey._



Boston:
A. G. Brown & Co., Publishers,
28 East Canton Street.
1880.

Copyright, 1880,
by Annie G. Brown.

Electrotyped and Printed by
Duffy, Cashman & Co., Fayette Court, Boston.



PREFACE.


No attempt has been made to create heroes or heroines, or to appeal to
the imagination or the heart.

The earlier incidents were written out from the author’s recollections.
The later sketches here given, are the results of recent visits to
the South, where the incidents were jotted down at the time of their
occurrence, or as they fell from the lips of the narrators, and in
their own unadorned dialect.

BOSTON, May, 1880.



CONTENTS.


  I.

  Poplar Farm and its occupants. Southern Characteristics. Coon-Hunting
  and its results. Sunny side of Slave life on the
  Plantation.


  II.

  The Religious Teaching at Poplar Farm. Rev. Mr. Pinchen.
  A Model Southern Preacher. Religious Influence among the
  Southerners of the olden time. Genuine negro wit.


  III.

  A Southern country Doctor. Ancient mode of “pulling teeth.”
  Dinkie the King of the Voudoos.


  IV.

  The Parson and the Slave Trader. Slave life. Jumping the
  Broomstick. Plantation humor.


  V.

  An attempt to introduce Northern ideas. The new Plough. The
  Washing-Machine. Cheese-making.


  VI.

  Southern Amusements,--Wit and Humor. Superstition. Fortune-Telling
  in the olden time.


  VII.

  The Goopher King--his dealings with the Devil; he is feared by
  Whites and Blacks. How he mastered the Overseer. Hell
  exhibited in the Barn.


  VIII.

  Slave-Hunting. The Bloodhounds on the Track. The poor
  “white Trash.” A Sunday Meeting. A characteristic Sermon
  by one of their number.


  IX.

  Old-Fashioned Corn-Shucking. Plantation Songs: “Shuck that
  corn before you eat” an’ “Have that possum nice and sweet.”
  Christmas Holidays.


  X.

  The mysterious, veiled Lady. The white Slave Child. The
  beautiful Quadroon,--her heroic death. The Slave Trader and
  his Victim. Lola, the white Slave,--the Law’s Victim.


  XI.

  The introduction of the Cotton Gin, and its influence on the
  Price of Slaves. Great rise in Slave property. The great
  Southern Slave Trader. How a man got flogged when intended
  for another.


  XII.

  New Orleans in the olden time. A Congo Dance. Visiting the
  Angels, and chased by the Devil. A live Ghost.


  XIII.

  The Slave’s Escape. He is Captured, and again Escapes. How
  he outwitted the Slave-Catchers. Quaker Wit and Humor.


  XIV.

  The Free colored people of the South before the Rebellion. Their
  hard lot. Attempt to Enslave them. Re-opening of the African
  Slave Trade. Sentiments of distinguished Southern Fire-Eaters.


  XV.

  Southern control of the National Government. Their contempt
  for Northerners. Insult to Northern Statesmen.


  XVI.

  Proclamation of Emancipation. The last night of Slavery.
  Waiting for the Hour. Music from the Banjo on the Wall.
  Great rejoicing. Hunting friends. A Son known, Twenty Years
  after separation, by the Mark on the bottom of his Foot.


  XVII.

  Negro equality. Blacks must Paddle their own Canoe. The War
  of Races.


  XVIII.

  Blacks enjoying a Life of Freedom. Alabama negro Cotton-Growers.
  Negro street Peddlers; their music and their humors.
  A man with One Hundred Children. His experience.


  XIX.

  The whites of Tennessee,--their hatred to the negro,--their
  antecedents. Blacks in Southern Legislatures,--their brief
  Power. Re-converting a Daughter from her new Religion.
  Prayer and Switches do the work.


  XX.

  The Blacks. Their old customs still hang upon them. Revival
  Meetings. A characteristic Sermon. Costly churches for the
  Freedmen. Education. Return of a Son from College.


  XXI.

  The Freedmen’s Savings Bank. Confidence of the Blacks in the
  Institution. All thought it the hope for the negro of the South.
  The failure of the Bank and its bad influence.


  XXII.

  Old Virginia. The F. F. V’s of the olden times,--ex-millionaires
  carrying their own Baskets of Provisions from Market.
  John Jaspar, the eloquent negro Preacher; his Sermon, “The
  Sun does Move.” A characteristic Prayer.


  XXIII.

  Norfolk Market. Freedmen costermongers. Musical Hawkers.
  The Strawberry Woman. Humorous incidents.


  XXIV.

  The Education of the Blacks. Freedmen’s schools, colleges.
  White Teachers in Colored schools. Schools in Tennessee.
  Black pupils not allowed to Speak to White Teachers in the
  street.


  XXV.

  Oppressive Laws against Colored People. Revival of the Whipping
  Post. The Ku-Klux--their operations in Tennessee.
  Lynch Law triumphant.


  XXVI.

  Colored men as Servants,--their Improvidence. The love of
  Dress. Personal effort for Education.


  XXVII.

  Need of Combination. Should follow the Example set by the
  Irish, Germans, Italians, and Chinese who come to this country.
  Should patronize their own Race. Cadet Whittaker. Need of
  more Pluck.


  XXVIII.

  Total Abstinence from Intoxicating Drinks a necessary object for
  Self-Elevation. Intemperance and its Evils. Literary Associations.
  The Exodus. Emigration a Necessity. Should follow
  the Example of other Races. Professions and Trades needed.


  XXIX.

  Mixture of Races. The Anglo-Saxon. Isolated Races: The
  Negro--the Irish--the Coptic--the Jews--the Gypsies--the
  Romans, Mexicans, and Peruvians. Progressive Negroes,--Artists
  and Painters. Pride of Race.

[Illustration: GREAT HOUSE AT POPLAR FARM.]



MY SOUTHERN HOME.



CHAPTER I.


Ten miles north of the city of St. Louis, in the State of Missouri,
forty years ago, on a pleasant plain, sloping off toward a murmuring
stream, stood a large frame-house, two stories high; in front was a
beautiful lake, and, in the rear, an old orchard filled with apple,
peach, pear, and plum trees, with boughs untrimmed, all bearing
indifferent fruit. The mansion was surrounded with piazzas, covered
with grape-vines, clematis, and passion flowers; the Pride of China
mixed its oriental-looking foliage with the majestic magnolia, and the
air was redolent with the fragrance of buds peeping out of every nook,
and nodding upon you with a most unexpected welcome.

The tasteful hand of art, which shows itself in the grounds of European
and New-England villas, was not seen there, but the lavish beauty and
harmonious disorder of nature was permitted to take its own course, and
exhibited a want of taste so commonly witnessed in the sunny South.

The killing effects of the tobacco plant upon the lands of “Poplar
Farm,” was to be seen in the rank growth of the brier, the thistle, the
burdock, and the jimpson weed, showing themselves wherever the strong
arm of the bondman had not kept them down.

Dr. Gaines, the proprietor of “Poplar Farm,” was a good-humored,
sunny-sided old gentleman, who, always feeling happy himself, wanted
everybody to enjoy the same blessing. Unfortunately for him, the Doctor
had been born and brought up in Virginia, raised in a family claiming
to be of the “F. F. V.’s,” but, in reality, was comparatively poor.
Marrying Mrs. Sarah Scott Pepper, an accomplished widow lady of medium
fortune, Dr. Gaines emigrated to Missouri, where he became a leading
man in his locality.

Deeply imbued with religious feeling of the Calvinistic school,
well-versed in the Scriptures, and having an abiding faith in the power
of the Gospel to regenerate the world, the Doctor took great pleasure
in presenting his views wherever his duties called him.

As a physician, he did not rank very high, for it was currently
reported, and generally believed, that the father, finding his son
unfit for mercantile business, or the law, determined to make him
either a clergyman or a physician. Mr. Gaines, Senior, being somewhat
superstitious, resolved not to settle the question too rashly in regard
to the son’s profession, therefore, it is said, flipped a cent, feeling
that “heads or tails” would be a better omen than his own judgment in
the matter. Fortunately for the cause of religion, the head turned up
in favor of the medical profession. Nevertheless, the son often said
that he believed God had destined him for the _sacred calling_, and
devoted much of his time in exhorting his neighbors to seek repentance.

Most planters in our section cared but little about the religious
training of their slaves, regarding them as they did their cattle,--an
investment, the return of which was only to be considered in dollars
and cents. Not so, however, with Dr. John Gaines, for he took special
pride in looking after the spiritual welfare of his slaves, having them
all in the “great house,” at family worship, night and morning.

On Sabbath mornings, reading of the Scriptures, and explaining the
same, generally occupied from one to two hours, and often till half of
the negroes present were fast asleep. The white members of the family
did not take as kindly to the religious teaching of the doctor, as did
the blacks.

For his Christian zeal, I had the greatest respect, for I always
regarded him as a truly pious and conscientious man, willing at all
times to give of his means the needful in spreading the Gospel.

Mrs. Sarah Gaines was a lady of considerable merit, well-educated,
and of undoubted piety. If she did not join heartily in her husband’s
religious enthusiasm, it was not for want of deep and genuine Christian
feeling, but from the idea that he was of more humble origin than
herself, and, therefore, was not a capable instructor.

This difference in birth, this difference in antecedents does much in
the South to disturb family relations wherever it exists, and Mrs.
Gaines, when wishing to show her contempt for the Doctor’s opinions,
would allude to her own parentage and birth in comparison to her
husband’s. Thus, once, when they were having a “family jar,” she, with
tears streaming down her cheeks, and wringing her hands, said,--

“My mother told me that I was a fool to marry a man so much beneath
me,--one so much my inferior in society. And now you show it by
hectoring and aggravating me all you can. But, never mind; I thank the
Lord that He has given me religion and grace to stand it. Never mind,
one of these days the Lord will make up His jewels,--take me home to
glory, out of your sight,--and then I’ll be devilish glad of it!”

These scenes of unpleasantness, however, were not of everyday
occurrence, and, therefore, the great house at the “Poplar Farm,” may
be considered as having a happy family.

Slave children, with almost an alabaster complexion, straight hair, and
blue eyes, whose mothers were jet black, or brown, were often a great
source of annoyance in the Southern household, and especially to the
mistress of the mansion.

Billy, a quadroon of eight or nine years, was amongst the young
slaves, in the Doctor’s house, then being trained up for a servant.
Any one taking a hasty glance at the lad would never suspect that
a drop of negro blood coursed through his blue veins. A gentleman,
whose acquaintance Dr. Gaines had made, but who knew nothing of the
latter’s family relations, called at the house in the Doctor’s absence.
Mrs. Gaines received the stranger, and asked him to be seated, and
remain till the host’s return. While thus waiting, the boy, Billy, had
occasion to pass through the room. The stranger, presuming the lad to
be a son of the Doctor, exclaimed, “How do you do?” and turning to the
lady, said, “how much he looks like his father; I should have known it
was the Doctor’s son, if I had met him in Mexico!”

With flushed countenance and excited voice, Mrs. Gaines informed the
gentleman that the little fellow was “only a slave and nothing more.”
After the stranger’s departure, Billy was seen pulling up grass in
the garden, with bare head, neck and shoulders, while the rays of the
burning sun appeared to melt the child.

This process was repeated every few days for the purpose of giving
the slave the color that nature had refused it. And yet, Mrs. Gaines
was not considered a cruel woman,--indeed she was regarded as a
kind-feeling mistress. Billy, however, a few days later, experienced a
roasting far more severe than the one he had got in the sun.

The morning was cool, and the breakfast table was spread near the
fireplace, where a newly-built fire was blazing up. Mrs. Gaines, being
seated near enough to feel very sensibly the increasing flames, ordered
Billy to stand before her.

The lad at once complied. His thin clothing giving him but little
protection from the fire, the boy soon began to make up faces and to
twist and move about, showing evident signs of suffering.

“What are you riggling about for?” asked the mistress. “It burns me,”
replied the lad; “turn round, then,” said the mistress; and the slave
commenced turning around, keeping it up till the lady arose from the
table.

Billy, however, was not entirely without his crumbs of comfort. It was
his duty to bring the hot biscuit from the kitchen to the great house
table while the whites were at meal. The boy would often watch his
opportunity, take a “cake” from the plate, and conceal it in his pocket
till breakfast was over, and then enjoy his stolen gain. One morning
Mrs. Gaines, observing that the boy kept moving about the room, after
bringing in the “cakes,” and also seeing the little fellow’s pocket
sticking out rather largely, and presuming that there was something hot
there, said, “Come here.” The lad came up; she pressed her hand against
the hot pocket, which caused the boy to jump back. Again the mistress
repeated, “Come here,” and with the same result.

This, of course, set the whole room, servants and all, in a roar. Again
and again the boy was ordered to “come up,” which he did, each time
jumping back, until the heat of the biscuit was exhausted, and then he
was made to take it out and throw it into the yard, where the geese
seized it and held a carnival over it. Billy was heartily laughed at by
his companions in the kitchen and the quarters, and the large blister,
caused by the hot biscuit, created merriment among the slaves, rather
than sympathy for the lad.

Mrs. Gaines, being absent from home one day, and the rest of the
family out of the house, Billy commenced playing with the shot-gun,
which stood in the corner of the room, and which the boy supposed was
unloaded; upon a corner shelf, just above the gun, stood a band-box, in
which was neatly laid away all of Mrs. Gaines’ caps and cuffs, which,
in those days, were in great use.

The gun having the flint lock, the boy amused himself with bringing
down the hammer and striking fire. By this action powder was jarred
into the pan, and the gun, which was heavily charged with shot, was
discharged, the contents passing through the band-box of caps, cutting
them literally to pieces and scattering them over the floor.

Billy gathered up the fragments, put them in the box and placed it upon
the shelf,--he alone aware of the accident.

A few days later, and Mrs. Gaines was expecting company; she called to
Hannah to get her a clean cap. The servant, in attempting to take down
the box, exclaimed: “Lor, misses, ef de rats ain’t bin at dees caps an’
cut ’em all to pieces, jes look here.” With a degree of amazement not
easily described the mistress beheld the fragments as they were emptied
out upon the floor.

Just then a new idea struck Hannah, and she said: “I lay anything dat
gun has been shootin’ off.”

“Where is Billy? Where is Billy?” exclaimed the mistress; “Where is
Billy?” echoed Hannah; fearing that the lady would go into convulsions,
I hastened out to look for the boy, but he was nowhere to be found; I
returned only to find her weeping and wringing her hands, exclaiming,
“O, I am ruined, I am ruined; the company’s coming and not a clean cap
about the house; O, what shall I do, what shall I do?”

I tried to comfort her by suggesting that the servants might get one
ready in time; Billy soon made his appearance, and looked on with
wonderment; and, when asked how he came to shoot off the gun, declared
that he knew nothing about it; and “ef de gun went off, it was of its
own accord.” However, the boy admitted the snapping of the lock or
trigger. A light whipping was all that he got, and for which he was
well repaid by having an opportunity of telling how the “caps flew
about the room when de gun went off.”

Relating the event some time after in the quarters he said: “I golly,
you had aughty seen dem caps fly, and de dust and smok’ in de room. I
thought de judgment day had come, sure nuff.” On the arrival of the
company, Mrs. Gaines made a very presentable appearance, although the
caps and laces had been destroyed. One of the visitors on this occasion
was a young Mr. Sarpee, of St. Louis, who, although above twenty-one
years of age, had never seen anything of country life, and, therefore,
was very anxious to remain over night, and go on a coon hunt. Dr.
Gaines, being lame, could not accompany the gentleman, but sent Ike,
Cato, and Sam; three of the most expert coon-hunters on the farm. Night
came, and off went the young man and the boys on the coon hunt. The
dogs scented game, after being about half an hour in the woods, to the
great delight of Mr. Sarpee, who was armed with a double barrel pistol,
which, he said, be carried both to “protect himself, and to shoot the
coon.”

The halting of the boys and the quick, sharp bark of the dogs announced
that the game was “treed,” and the gentleman from the city pressed
forward with fond expectation of seeing the coon, and using his pistol.
However, the boys soon raised the cry of “polecat, polecat; get out de
way”; and at the same time, retreating as if they were afraid of an
attack from the animal. Not so with Mr. Sarpee; he stood his ground,
with pistol in hand, waiting to get a sight of the game. He was not
long in suspense, for the white and black spotted creature soon made
its appearance, at which the city gentleman opened fire upon the skunk,
which attack was immediately answered by the animal, and in a manner
that caused the young man to wish that he, too, had retreated with the
boys. Such an odor, he had never before inhaled; and, what was worse,
his face, head, hands and clothing was covered with the cause of the
smell, and the gentleman, at once, said: “Come, let’s go home; I’ve got
enough of coon-hunting.” But, didn’t the boys enjoy the fun.

The return of the party home was the signal for a hearty laugh, and all
at the expense of the city gentleman. So great and disagreeable was the
smell, that the young man had to go to the barn, where his clothing was
removed, and he submitted to the process of washing by the servants.
Soap, scrubbing brushes, towels, indeed, everything was brought into
requisition, but all to no purpose. The skunk smell was there, and was
likely to remain. Both family and visitors were at the breakfast table,
the next morning, except Mr. Sarpee. He was still in the barn, where he
had slept the previous night. Nor did there seem to be any hope that he
would be able to visit the house, for the smell was intolerable. The
substitution of a suit of the Doctor’s clothes for his own failed to
remedy the odor.

Dinkie, the conjurer, was called in. He looked the young man over,
shook his head in a knowing manner, and said it was a big job. Mr.
Sarpee took out a Mexican silver dollar, handed it to the old negro,
and told him to do his best. Dinkie smiled, and he thought that he
could remove the smell.

His remedy was to dig a pit in the ground large enough to hold the man,
put him in it, and cover him over with fresh earth; consequently, Mr.
Sarpee was, after removing his entire clothing, buried, all except his
head, while his clothing was served in the same manner. A servant held
an umbrella over the unhappy man, and fanned him during the eight hours
that he was there.

Taken out of the pit at six o’clock in the evening, all joined with
Dinkie in the belief that Mr. Sarpee “smelt sweeter,” than when
interred in the morning; still the smell of the “polecat” was there.
Five hours longer in the pit, the following day, with a rub down by
Dinkie, with his “Goopher,” fitted the young man for a return home to
the city.

I never heard that Mr. Sarpee ever again joined in a “coon hunt.”

No description of mine, however, can give anything like a correct idea
of the great merriment of the entire slave population on “Poplar Farm,”
caused by the “coon hunt.” Even Uncle Ned, the old superannuated slave,
who seldom went beyond the confines of his own cabin, hobbled out, on
this occasion, to take a look at “de gentleman fum de city,” while
buried in the pit.

At night, in the quarters, the slaves had a merry time over the “coon
hunt.”

“I golly, but didn’t de polecat give him a big dose?” said Ike.

“But how Mr. Sarpee did talk French to hissef when de ole coon peppered
him,” remarked Cato.

“He won’t go coon huntin’ agin, soon, I bet you,” said Sam.

“De coon hunt,” and “de gemmen fum de city,” was the talk for many
days.



CHAPTER II.


I have already said that Dr. Gaines was a man of deep religious
feeling, and this interest was not confined to the whites, for he felt
that it was the Christian duty to help to save all mankind, white and
black. He would often say, “I regard our negroes as given to us by an
All Wise Providence, for their especial benefit, and we should impart
to them Christian civilization.” And to this end, he labored most
faithfully.

No matter how driving the work on the plantation, whether seed-time or
harvest, whether threatened with rain or frost, nothing could prevent
his having the slaves all in at family prayers, night and morning.
Moreover, the older servants were often invited to take part in the
exercises. They always led the singing, and, on Sabbath mornings,
were permitted to ask questions eliciting Scriptural explanations.
Of course, some of the questions and some of the prayers were rather
crude, and the effect, to an educated person, was rather to call forth
laughter than solemnity.

Leaving home one morning, for a visit to the city, the Doctor ordered
Jim, an old servant, to do some mowing in the rye-field; on his return,
finding the rye-field as he had left it in the morning, he called Jim
up, and severely flogged him without giving the man an opportunity of
telling why the work had been neglected. On relating the circumstance
at the supper-table, the wife said,--

“I am very sorry that you whipped Jim, for I took him to do some work
in the garden, amongst my flower-beds.”

[Illustration: TROPICAL LUXURIANCE.]

To this the Doctor replied, “Never mind, I’ll make it all right with
Jim.”

And sure enough he did, for that night, at prayers, he said, “I am
sorry, Jim, that I corrected you, to-day, as your mistress tells me
that she set you to work in the flower-garden. Now, Jim,” continued he,
in a most feeling manner, “I always want to do justice to my servants,
and you know that I never abuse any of you intentionally, and now,
to-night, I will let you lead in prayer.”

Jim thankfully acknowledged the apology, and, with grateful tears, and
an overflowing heart, accepted the situation; for Jim aspired to be a
preacher, like most colored men, and highly appreciated an opportunity
to show his persuasive powers; and that night the old man made splendid
use of the liberty granted to him. After praying for everything
generally, and telling the Lord what a great sinner he himself was, he
said,--

“Now, Lord, I would specially ax you to try to save marster. You knows
dat marster thinks he’s mighty good; you knows dat marster says he’s
gwine to heaven; but Lord, I have my doubts; an’ yet I want marster
saved. Please to convert him over agin; take him, dear Lord, by de nap
of de neck, and shake him over hell and show him his condition. But,
Lord, don’t let him fall into hell, jes let him see whar he ought to go
to, but don’t let him go dar. An’ now, Lord, ef you jes save marster, I
will give you de glory.”

The indignation expressed by the doctor, at the close of Jim’s prayer,
told the old negro that for once he had overstepped the mark. “What
do you mean, Jim, by insulting me in that manner? Asking the Lord to
convert me over again. And praying that I might be shaken over hell. I
have a great mind to tie you up, and give you a good correcting. If you
ever make another such a prayer, I’ll whip you well, that I will.”

Dr. Gaines felt so intensely the duty of masters to their slaves that
he, with some of his neighbors, inaugurated a religious movement,
whereby the blacks at the Corners could have preaching once a
fortnight, and that, too, by an educated white man. Rev. John Mason,
the man selected for this work, was a heavy-set, fleshy, lazy man who,
when entering a house, sought the nearest chair, taking possession of
it, and holding it to the last.

He had been employed many years as a colporteur or missionary,
sometimes preaching to the poor whites, and, at other times, to the
slaves, for which service he was compensated either by planters, or by
the dominant religious denomination in the section where he labored.
Mr. Mason had carefully studied the character of the people to whom he
was called to preach, and took every opportunity to shirk his duties,
and to throw them upon some of the slaves, a large number of whom were
always ready and willing to exhort when called upon.

We shall never forget his first sermon, and the profound sensation
that it created both amongst masters and slaves, and especially the
latter. After taking for his text, “He that knoweth his master’s
will, and doeth it not, shall be beaten with many stripes,” he spoke
substantially as follows:--

“Now when _correction_ is given you, you either deserve it, or you do
not deserve it. But whether you really deserve it or not, it is your
duty, and Almighty God requires that you bear it patiently. You may,
perhaps, think that this is hard doctrine, but if you consider it right
you must needs think otherwise of it. Suppose then, that you deserve
correction, you cannot but say that it is just and right you should
meet with it. Suppose you do not, or at least you do not deserve so
much, or so severe a correction for the fault you have committed, you,
perhaps, have escaped a great many more, and are at last paid for all.
Or suppose you are quite innocent of what is laid to your charge, and
suffer wrongfully in that particular thing, is it not possible you may
have done some other bad thing which was never discovered, and that
Almighty God, who saw you doing it, would not let you escape without
punishment one time or another? And ought you not, in such a case, to
give glory to Him, and be thankful that he would rather punish you in
this life for your wickedness, than destroy your souls for it in the
next life? But suppose that even this was not the case (a case hardly
to be imagined), and that you have by no means, known or unknown,
deserved the correction you suffered, there is this great comfort in
it, that if you bear it patiently, and leave your cause in the hands
of God, he will reward you for it in heaven, and the punishment you
suffer unjustly here, shall turn to your exceeding great glory,
hereafter.”

At this point, the preacher hesitated a moment, and then continued, “I
am now going to give you a description of hell, that awful place, that
you will surely go to, if you don’t be good and faithful servants.

“Hell is a great pit, more than two hundred feet deep, and is walled up
with stone, having a strong, iron grating at the top. The fire is built
of pitch pine knots, tar barrels, lard kegs, and butter firkins. One of
the devil’s imps appears twice a day, and throws about half a bushel
of brimstone on the fire, which is never allowed to cease burning. As
sinners die they are pitched headlong into the pit, and are at once
taken up upon the pitchforks by the devil’s imps, who stand, with
glaring eyes and smiling countenances, ready to do their master’s work.”

Here the speaker was disturbed by the “Amens,” “Bless God, I’ll keep
out of hell,” “Dat’s my sentiments,” which plainly told him that he had
struck the right key.

“Now,” continued the preacher, “I will tell you where heaven is, and
how you are to obtain a place there. Heaven is above the skies; its
streets are paved with gold; seraphs and angels will furnish you with
music which never ceases. You will all be permitted to join in the
singing and you will be fed on manna and honey, and you will drink from
fountains, and will ride in golden chariots.”

“I am bound for hebben,” ejaculated one.

“Yes, blessed God, hebben will be my happy home,” said another.

These outbursts of feeling were followed, while the man of God stood
with folded arms, enjoying the sensation that his eloquence had created.

After pausing a moment or two, the reverend man continued, “Are there
any of you here who would rather burn in hell than rest in heaven?
Remember that once in hell you can never get out. If you attempt to
escape little devils are stationed at the top of the pit, who will,
with their pitchforks, toss you back into the pit, _curchunk_, where
you must remain forever. But once in heaven, you will be free the
balance of your days.” Here the wildest enthusiasm showed itself,
amidst which the preacher took his seat.

A rather humorous incident now occurred which created no little
merriment amongst the blacks, and to the somewhat discomfiture of Dr.
Gaines,--who occupied a seat with the whites who were present.

Looking about the room, being unacquainted with the negroes, and
presuming that all or nearly so were experimentally interested in
religion, Mr. Mason called on Ike to close with prayer. The very
announcement of Ike’s name in such a connection called forth a broad
grin from the larger portion of the audience.

Now, it so happened that Ike not only made no profession of religion,
but was in reality the farthest off from the church of any of the
servants at “Poplar Farm”; yet Ike was equal to the occasion, and at
once responded, to the great amazement of his fellow slaves.

Ike had been, from early boyhood, an attendant upon whites, and he had
learned to speak correctly for an uneducated person. He was pretty
well versed in Scripture and had learned the principal prayer that his
master was accustomed to make, and would often get his fellow-servants
together at the barn on a rainy day and give them the prayer, with such
additions and improvements as the occasion might suggest. Therefore,
when called upon by Mr. Mason, Ike at once said, “Let us pray.”

After floundering about for a while, as if feeling his way, the new
beginner struck out on the well-committed prayer, and soon elicited
a loud “amen,” and “bless God for that,” from Mr. Mason, and to the
great amusement of the blacks. In his eagerness, however, to make a
grand impression, Ike attempted to weave into his prayer some poetry on
“Cock Robin,” which he had learned, and which nearly spoiled his maiden
prayer.

After the close of the meeting, the Doctor invited the preacher to
remain over night, and accepting the invitation, we in the great house
had an opportunity of learning more of the reverend man’s religious
views.

When comfortably seated in the parlor, the Doctor said, “I was well
pleased with your discourse, I think the tendency will be good upon the
servants.”

“Yes,” responded the minister, “The negro is eminently a religious
being, more so, I think, than the white race. He is emotional, loves
music, is wonderfully gifted with gab; the organ of alimentativeness
largely developed, and is fond of approbation. I therefore try always
to satisfy their vanity; call upon them to speak, sing, and pray, and
sometimes to preach. That suits for this world. Then I give them a
heaven with music in it, and with something to eat. Heaven without
singing and food would be no place for the negro. In the cities, where
many of them are free, and have control of their own time, they are
always late to church meetings, lectures, or almost anything else. But
let there be a festival or supper announced and they are all there on
time.”

“But did you know,” said Dr. Gaines, “that the prayer that Ike made
to-day he learned from me?”

“Indeed?” responded the minister.

“Yes, that boy has the imitative power of his race in a larger degree
than most negroes that I have seen. He remembers nearly everything that
he hears, is full of wit, and has most excellent judgment. However, his
dovetailing the Cock Robin poetry into my prayer was too much, and I
had to laugh at his adroitness.”

The Doctor was much pleased with the minister, but Mrs. Gaines was
not. She had great contempt for professional men who sprung from the
lower class, and she regarded Mr. Mason as one to be endured but not
encouraged. The Rev. Henry Pinchen was her highest idea of a clergyman.
This gentleman was then expected in the neighborhood, and she made
special reference to the fact, to her husband, when speaking of the
“negro missionary,” as she was wont to call the new-comer.

The preparation made, a few days later, for the reception of Mrs.
Gaines’ favorite spiritual adviser, showed plainly that a religious
feast was near at hand, and in which the lady was to play a conspicuous
part; and whether her husband was prepared to enter into the enjoyment
or not, he would have to tolerate considerable noise and bustle for a
week.

“Go, Hannah,” said Mrs. Gaines, “and tell Dolly to kill a couple of fat
pullets, and to put the biscuit to rise. I expect Brother Pinchen here
this afternoon, and I want everything in order. Hannah, Hannah, tell
Melinda to come here. We mistresses do have a hard time in this world;
I don’t see why the Lord should have imposed such heavy duties on us
poor mortals. Well, it can’t last always. I long to leave this wicked
world, and go home to glory.”

At the hurried appearance of the waiting maid the mistress said: “I am
to have company this afternoon, Melinda. I expect Brother Pinchen here,
and I want everything in order. Go and get one of my new caps, with the
lace border, and get out my scolloped-bottomed dimity petticoat, and
when you go out, tell Hannah to clean the white-handled knives, and
see that not a speck is on them; for I want everything as it should be
while Brother Pinchen is here.”

Mr. Pinchen was possessed with a large share of the superstition that
prevails throughout the South, not only with the ignorant negro, who
brought it with him from his native land, but also by a great number of
well educated and influential whites.

On the first afternoon of the reverend gentleman’s visit, I listened
with great interest to the following conversation between Mrs. Gaines
and her ministerial friend.

“Now, Brother Pinchen, do give me some of your experience since
you were last here. It always does my soul good to hear religious
experience. It draws me nearer and nearer to the Lord’s side. I do love
to hear good news from God’s people.”

“Well, Sister Gaines,” said the preacher, “I’ve had great opportunities
in my time to study the heart of man. I’ve attended a great many
camp-meetings, revival meetings, protracted meetings, and death-bed
scenes, and I am satisfied, Sister Gaines, that the heart of man is
full of sin, and desperately wicked. This is a wicked world, Sister
Gaines, a wicked world.”

“Were you ever in Arkansas, Brother Pinchen?” inquired Mrs. Gaines;
“I’ve been told that the people out there are very ungodly.”

_Mr. P._ “Oh, yes, Sister Gaines. I once spent a year at Little Rock,
and preached in all the towns round about there; and I found some
hard cases out there, I can tell you. I was once spending a week in a
district where there were a great many horse thieves, and, one night,
somebody stole my pony. Well, I knowed it was no use to make a fuss,
so I told Brother Tarbox to say nothing about it, and I’d get my
horse by preaching God’s everlasting gospel; for I had faith in the
truth, and knowed that my Saviour would not let me lose my pony. So
the next Sunday I preached on horse-stealing, and told the brethren
to come up in the evenin’ with their hearts filled with the grace of
God. So that night the house was crammed brimfull with anxious souls,
panting for the bread of life. Brother Bingham opened with prayer, and
Brother Tarbox followed, and I saw right off that we were gwine to have
a blessed time. After I got ’em pretty well warmed up, I jumped on to
one of the seats, stretched out my hands and said: ‘I know who stole my
pony; I’ve found out; and you are in here tryin’ to make people believe
that you’ve got religion; but you ain’t got it. And if you don’t take
my horse back to Brother Tarbox’s pasture this very night, I’ll tell
your name right out in meetin’ to-morrow night. Take my pony back, you
vile and wretched sinner, and come up here and give your heart to God.’
So the next mornin’, I went out to Brother Tarbox’s pasture, and sure
enough, there was my bob-tail pony. Yes, Sister Gaines, there he was,
safe and sound. Ha, ha, ha!”

_Mrs. G._ “Oh, how interesting, and how fortunate for you to get your
pony! And what power there is in the gospel! God’s children are very
lucky. Oh, it is so sweet to sit here and listen to such good news
from God’s people? [_Aside._] ‘You Hannah, what are you standing there
listening for, and neglecting your work? Never mind, my lady, I’ll
whip you well when I am done here. Go at your work this moment, you
lazy huzzy! Never mind, I’ll whip you well.’ Come, do go on, Brother
Pinchen, with your godly conversation. It is so sweet! It draws me
nearer and nearer to the Lord’s side.”

_Mr. P._ “Well, Sister Gaines, I’ve had some mighty queer dreams in my
time, that I have. You see, one night I dreamed that I was dead and
in heaven, and such a place I never saw before. As soon as I entered
the gates of the celestial empire, I saw many old and familiar faces
that I had seen before. The first person that I saw was good old Elder
Pike, the preacher that first called my attention to religion. The
next person I saw was Deacon Billings, my first wife’s father, and
then I saw a host of godly faces. Why, Sister Gaines, you knowed Elder
Goosbee, didn’t you?”

_Mrs. G._ “Why, yes; did you see him there? He married me to my first
husband.”

_Mr. P._ “Oh, yes, Sister Gaines, I saw the old Elder, and he looked
for all the world as if he had just come out of a revival meetin’.”

_Mrs. G._ “Did you see my first husband there, Brother Pinchen?”

_Mr. P._ “No, Sister Gaines, I didn’t see Brother Pepper there; but
I’ve no doubt but that Brother Pepper was there.”

_Mrs. G._ “Well, I don’t know; I have my doubts. He was not the
happiest man in the world. He was always borrowing trouble about
something or another. Still, I saw some happy moments with Mr. Pepper.
I was happy when I made his acquaintance, happy during our courtship,
happy a while after our marriage, and happy when he died.” [_Weeps._]

_Hannah._ “Massa Pinchen, did you see my ole man Ben up dar in hebben?”

_Mr. P._ “No, Hannah, I didn’t go amongst the niggers.”

_Mrs. G._ “No, of course Brother Pinchen didn’t go among the blacks.
What are you asking questions for? [_Aside._] ‘Never mind, my lady,
I’ll whip you well when I’m done here. I’ll skin you from head to
foot.’ Do go on with your heavenly conversation, Brother Pinchen; it
does my very soul good. This is indeed a precious moment for me. I do
love to hear of Christ and Him crucified.”

_Mr. P._ “Well, Sister Gaines, I promised Sister Daniels that I’d come
over and see her a few moments this evening, and have a little season
of prayer with her, and I suppose I must go.”

_Mrs. G._ “If you must go, then I’ll have to let you; but before you
do, I wish to get your advice upon a little matter that concerns
Hannah. Last week Hannah stole a goose, killed it, cooked it, and she
and her man Sam had a fine time eating the goose; and her master and I
would never have known anything about it if it had not been for Cato, a
faithful servant, who told his master all about it. And then, you see,
Hannah had to be severely whipped before she’d confess that she stole
the goose. Next Sabbath is sacrament day, and I want to know if you
think that Hannah is fit to go to the Lord’s Supper, after stealing the
goose.”

“Well, Sister Gaines,” responded the minister, “that depends on
circumstances. If Hannah has confessed that she stole the goose, and
has been sufficiently whipped, and has begged her master’s pardon, and
begged your pardon, and thinks she will not do the like again, why then
I suppose she can go to the Lord’s Supper; for--

    ‘While the lamp holds out to burn,
     The vilest sinner may return.’

But she must be sure that she has repented, and won’t steal any more.”

“Do you hear that, Hannah?” said the mistress. “For my part,” continued
she, “I don’t think she’s fit to go to the Lord’s Supper; for she had
no cause to steal the goose. We give our servants plenty of good food.
They have a full run to the meal-tub, meat once a fortnight, and all
the sour milk on the place, and I am sure that’s enough for any one.
I do think that our negroes are the most ungrateful creatures in the
world. They aggravate my life out of me.”

During this talk on the part of the mistress, the servant stood
listening with careful attention, and at its close Hannah said:--

“I know, missis, dat I stole de goose, an’ massa whip me for it, an’ I
confess it, an’ I is sorry for it. But, missis, I is gwine to de Lord’s
Supper, next Sunday, kase I ain’t agwine to turn my back on my bressed
Lord an’ Massa for no old tough goose, dat I ain’t.” And here the
servant wept as if she would break her heart.

Mr. Pinchen, who seemed moved by Hannah’s words, gave a sympathizing
look at the negress, and said, “Well, Sister Gaines, I suppose I must
go over and see Sister Daniels; she’ll be waiting for me.”

After seeing the divine out, Mrs. Gaines said, “Now, Hannah, Brother
Pinchen is gone, do you get the cowhide and follow me to the cellar,
and I’ll whip you well for aggravating me as you have to-day. It seems
as if I can never sit down to take a little comfort with the Lord,
without you crossing me. The devil always puts it into your head to
disturb me, just when I am trying to serve the Lord. I’ve no doubt but
that I’ll miss going to heaven on your account. But I’ll whip you well
before I leave this world, that I will. Get the cowhide and follow me
to the cellar.”

In a few minutes the lady returned to the parlor, followed by the
servant whom she had been correcting, and she was in a high state of
perspiration, and, on taking a seat, said, “Get the fan, Hannah, and
fan me; you ought to be ashamed of yourself to put me into such a
passion, and cause me to heat myself up in this way, whipping you. You
know that it is a great deal harder for me than it is for you. I have
to exert myself, and it puts me all in a fever; while you have only to
stand and take it.”

On the following Sabbath,--it being Communion,--Mr. Pinchen officiated.
The church being at the Corners, a mile or so from “Poplar Farm,” the
Communion wine, which was kept at the Doctor’s, was sent over by the
boy, Billy. It happened to be in the month of April, when the maple
trees had been tapped, and the sap freely running.

Billy, while passing through the “sugar camp,” or sap bush, stopped
to take a drink of the sap, which looked inviting in the newly-made
troughs. All at once it occurred to the lad that he could take a drink
of the wine, and fill it up with sap. So, acting upon this thought, the
youngster put the decanter to his mouth, and drank freely, lowering the
beverage considerably in the bottle.

But filling the bottle with the sap was much more easily contemplated
than done. For, at every attempt, the water would fall over the sides,
none going in. However, the boy, with the fertile imagination of his
race, soon conceived the idea of sucking his mouth full of the sap, and
then squirting it into the bottle. This plan succeeded admirably, and
the slave boy sat in the church gallery that day, and wondered if the
communicants would have partaken so freely of the wine, if they had
known that his mouth had been the funnel through which a portion of it
had passed.

Slavery has had the effect of brightening the mental powers of the
negro to a certain extent, especially those brought into close contact
with the whites.

It is also a fact, that these blacks felt that when they could get the
advantage of their owners, they had a perfect right to do so; and the
boy, Billy, no doubt, entertained a consciousness that he had done a
very cunning thing in thus drinking the wine entrusted to his care.



CHAPTER III.


Dr. Gaines’ practice being confined to the planters and their negroes,
in the neighborhood of “Poplar Farm,” caused his income to be very
limited from that source, and consequently he looked more to the
products of his plantation for support. True, the new store at the
Corners, together with McWilliams’ Tannery and Simpson’s Distillery,
promised an increase of population, and, therefore, more work for the
physician. This was demonstrated very clearly by the Doctor’s coming
in one morning somewhat elated, and exclaiming: “Well, my dear, my
practice is steadily increasing. I forgot to tell you that neighbor
Wyman engaged me yesterday as his family physician; and I hope that the
fever and ague, which is now taking hold of the people, will give me
more patients. I see by the New Orleans papers that the yellow fever is
raging there to a fearful extent. Men of my profession are reaping a
harvest in that section this year. I would that we could have a touch
of the yellow fever here, for I think I could invent a medicine that
would cure it. But the yellow fever is a luxury that we medical men in
this climate can’t expect to enjoy; yet we may hope for the cholera.”

“Yes,” replied Mrs. Gaines, “I would be glad to see it more sickly,
so that your business might prosper. But we are always unfortunate.
Everybody here seems to be in good health, and I am afraid they’ll keep
so. However, we must hope for the best. We must trust in the Lord.
Providence may possibly send some disease amongst us for our benefit.”

On going to the office the Doctor found the faithful servant hard at
work, and saluting him in his usual kind and indulgent manner, asked,
“Well, Cato, have you made the batch of ointment that I ordered?”

_Cato._ “Yes, massa; I dun made de intment, an’ now I is making the
bread pills. De tater pills is up on the top shelf.”

_Dr. G._ “I am going out to see some patients. If any gentlemen call,
tell them I shall be in this afternoon. If any servants come, you
attend to them. I expect two of Mr. Campbell’s boys over. You see to
them. Feel their pulse, look at their tongues, bleed them, and give
them each a dose of calomel. Tell them to drink no cold water, and to
take nothing but water gruel.”

_Cato._ “Yes, massa; I’ll tend to ’em.”

The negro now said, “I allers knowed I was a doctor, an’ now de ole
boss has put me at it; I muss change my coat. Ef any niggers comes
in, I wants to look suspectable. Dis jacket don’t suit a doctor; I’ll
change it.”

Cato’s vanity seemed at this point to be at its height, and having
changed his coat, he walked up and down before the mirror, and viewed
himself to his heart’s content, and saying to himself, “Ah! now I looks
like a doctor. Now I can bleed, pull teef, or cut off a leg. Oh, well,
well! ef I ain’t put de pill stuff an’ de intment stuff togedder. By
golly, dat ole cuss will be mad when he finds it out, won’t he? Nebber
mind, I’ll make it up in pills, and when de flour is on dem, he won’t
know what’s in ’em; an’ I’ll make some new intment. Ah! yonder comes
Mr. Campbell’s Pete an’ Ned; dem’s de ones massa sed was comin’. I’ll
see ef I looks right. [_Goes to the looking-glass and views himself._]
I ’em some punkins, ain’t I? [_Knock at the door._] Come in.” _Enter_
PETE _and_ NED.

_Pete._ “Whar is de Doctor?”

_Cato._ “Here I is; don’t you see me?”

_Pete._ “But whar is de ole boss?”

_Cato._ “Dat’s none you business. I dun tole you dat I is de doctor,
an’ dat’s enuff.”

_Ned._ “Oh, do tell us whar de Doctor is. I is almos’ dead. Oh, me! oh,
dear me! I is so sick.” [_Horrible faces._]

_Pete._ “Yes, do tell us; we don’t want to stan’ here foolin’.”

_Cato._ “I tells you again dat I is de doctor. I larn de trade under
massa.”

_Ned._ “Oh! well den; give me somethin’ to stop dis pain. Oh, dear me!
I shall die.”

_Cato._ “Let me feel your pulse. Now, put out your tongue. You is berry
sick. Ef you don’t mine, you’ll die. Come out in de shed, an’ I’ll
bleed you.” [_Taking them out and bleeding them._] “Dar, now, take
dese pills, two in de mornin’, and two at night, and ef you don’t feel
better, double de dose. Now, Mr. Pete, what’s de matter wid you?”

_Pete._ “I is got de cole chills, an’ has a fever in de night.”

“Come out in de shed, an’ I’ll bleed you,” said Cato, at the same time
viewing himself in the mirror, as he passed out. After taking a quart
of blood, which caused the patient to faint, they returned, the black
doctor saying, “Now, take dese pills, two in de mornin’, and two at
night, an’ ef dey don’t help you, double de dose. Ah! I like to forget
to feel your pulse, and look at your tongue. Put out your tongue.
[_Feels his pulse._] Yes, I tells by de feel ob your pulse dat I is gib
you de right pills?”

Just then, Mr. Parker’s negro boy Bill, with his hand up to his mouth,
and evidently in great pain, entered the office without giving the
usual knock at the door, and which gave great offence to the new
physician.

“What you come in dat door widout knockin’ for?” exclaimed Cato.

_Bill._ “My toof ache so, I didn’t tink to knock. Oh, my toof! my toof!
Whar is de Doctor?”

_Cato._ “Here I is; don’t you see me?”

_Bill._ “What! you de Doctor, you brack cuss! You looks like a doctor!
Oh, my toof! my toof! Whar is de Doctor?”

_Cato._ “I tells you I is de doctor. Ef you don’t believe me, ax dese
men. I can pull your toof in a minnit.”

_Bill._ “Well, den, pull it out. Oh, my toof! how it aches! Oh, my
toof!” [_Cato gets the rusty turnkeys._]

_Cato._ “Now lay down on your back.”

_Bill._ “What for?”

_Cato._ “Dat’s de way massa does.”

_Bill._ “Oh, my toof! Well, den, come on.” [_Lies down. Cato gets
astraddle of Bill’s breast, puts the turnkeys on the wrong tooth, and
pulls--Bill kicks, and cries out_]--Oh, do stop! Oh, oh, oh! [_Cato
pulls the wrong tooth--Bill jumps up._]

_Cato._ “Dar, now, I tole you I could pull your toof for you.”

_Bill._ Oh, dear me! Oh, it aches yet! Oh, me! Oh, Lor-e-massy! You dun
pull de wrong toof. Drat your skin! ef I don’t pay you for this, you
brack cuss! [_They fight, and turn over table, chairs, and bench--Pete
and Ned look on._]

During the _melée_, Dr. Gaines entered the office, and unceremoniously
went at them with his cane, giving both a sound drubbing before any
explanation could be offered. As soon as he could get an opportunity,
Cato said, “Oh, massa! he’s to blame, sir, he’s to blame. He struck me
fuss.”

_Bill._ “No, sir; he’s to blame; he pull de wrong toof. Oh, my toof!
oh, my toof!”

[Illustration: NEGRO DENTISTRY.]

_Dr. G._ “Let me see your tooth. Open your mouth. As I live, you’ve
taken out the wrong tooth. I am amazed. I’ll whip you for this; I’ll
whip you well. You’re a pretty doctor. Now, lie down, Bill, and let
him take out the right tooth; and if he makes a mistake this time, I’ll
cowhide him well. Lie down, Bill.” [_Bill lies down, and Cato pulls the
tooth._] “There, now, why didn’t you do that in the first place?”

_Cato._ “He wouldn’t hole still, sir.”

_Bill._ “I did hole still.”

_Dr. G._ “Now go home, boys; go home.”

“You’ve made a pretty muss of it, in my absence,” said the Doctor.
“Look at the table! Never mind, Cato; I’ll whip you well for this
conduct of yours to-day. Go to work now, and clear up the office.”

As the office door closed behind the master, the irritated negro, once
more left to himself, exclaimed, “Confound dat nigger! I wish he was
in Ginny. He bite my finger, and scratch my face. But didn’t I give
it to him? Well, den, I reckon I did. [_He goes to the mirror, and
discovers that his coat is torn--weeps._] Oh, dear me! Oh, my coat--my
coat is tore! Dat nigger has tore my coat. [_He gets angry, and rushes
about the room frantic._] Cuss dat nigger! Ef I could lay my hands on
him, I’d tare him all to pieces,--dat I would. An’ de old boss hit me
wid his cane after dat nigger tore my coat. By golly, I wants to fight
somebody. Ef ole massa should come in now, I’d fight him. [_Rolls up
his sleeves._] Let ’em come now, ef dey dare--ole massa, or anybody
else; I’m ready for ’em.”

Just then the Doctor returned and asked, “What’s all this noise here?”

_Cato._ “Nuffin’, sir; only jess I is puttin’ things to rights, as you
tole me. I didn’t hear any noise, except de rats.”

_Dr. G._ “Make haste, and come in; I want you to go to town.”

Once more left alone, the witty black said, “By golly, de ole boss
like to cotch me dat time, didn’t he? But wasn’t I mad? When I is mad,
nobody can do nuffin’ wid me. But here’s my coat tore to pieces. Cuss
dat nigger! [_Weeps._] Oh, my coat! oh, my coat! I rudder he had broke
my head, den to tore my coat. Drat dat nigger! Ef he ever comes here
agin, I’ll pull out every toof he’s got in his head--dat I will.”



CHAPTER IV.


During the palmy days of the South, forty years ago, if there was
one class more thoroughly despised than another, by the high-born,
well-educated Southerner, it was the slave-trader who made his money
by dealing in human cattle. A large number of the slave-traders were
men of the North or free States, generally from the lower order, who,
getting a little money by their own hard toil, invested it in slaves
purchased in Virginia, Maryland, or Kentucky, and sold them in the
cotton, sugar, or rice-growing States. And yet the high-bred planter,
through mismanagement, or other causes, was compelled to sell his
slaves, or some of them, at auction, or to let the “soul-buyer” have
them.

Dr. Gaines’ financial affairs being in an unfavorable condition, he
yielded to the offers of a noted St. Louis trader by the name of
Walker. This man was the terror of the whole South-west amongst the
black population, bond and free,--for it was not unfrequently that even
free colored persons were kidnapped and carried to the far South and
sold. Walker had no conscientious scruples, for money was his God, and
he worshipped at no other altar.

An uncouth, ill-bred, hard-hearted man, with no education, Walker
had started at St. Louis as a dray-driver, and ended as a wealthy
slave-trader. The day was set for this man to come and purchase his
stock, on which occasion, Mrs. Gaines absented herself from the place;
and even the Doctor, although alone, felt deeply the humiliation. For
myself, I sat and bit my lips with anger, as the vulgar trader said to
the faithful man,--

“Well, my boy, what’s your name?”

_Sam._ “Sam, sir, is my name.”

_Walk._ “How old are you, Sam?”

_Sam._ “Ef I live to see next corn plantin’ time I’ll be twenty-seven,
or thirty, or thirty-five,--I don’t know which, sir.”

_Walk._ “Ha, ha, ha! Well, Doctor, this is rather a green boy. Well,
mer feller, are you sound?”

_Sam._ “Yes, sir, I spec I is.”

_Walk._ “Open your mouth and let me see your teeth. I allers judge a
nigger’s age by his teeth, same as I dose a hoss. Ah! pretty good set
of grinders. Have you got a good appetite?”

_Sam._ “Yes, sir.”

_Walk._ “Can you eat your allowance?”

_Sam._ “Yes, sir, when I can get it.”

_Walk._ “Get out on the floor and dance; I want to see if you are
supple.”

_Sam._ “I don’t like to dance; I is got religion.”

_Walk._ “Oh, ho! you’ve got religion, have you? That’s so much the
better. I likes to deal in the gospel. I think he’ll suit me. Now, mer
gal, what’s your name?”

_Sally._ “I is Big Sally, sir.”

_Walk._ “How old are you, Sally?”

_Sally._ “I don’t know, sir; but I heard once dat I was born at sweet
pertater diggin’ time.”

_Walk._ “Ha, ha, ha! Don’t you know how old you are? Do you know who
made you?”

_Sally._ “I hev heard who it was in de Bible dat made me, but I dun
forget de gentman’s name.”

_Walk._ “Ha, ha, ha! Well, Doctor, this is the greenest lot of niggers
I’ve seen for some time.”

The last remark struck the Doctor deeply, for he had just taken Sally
for debt, and, therefore, he was not responsible for her ignorance. And
he frankly told him so.

“This is an unpleasant business for me, Mr. Walker,” said the Doctor,
“but you may have Sam for $1,000, and Sally for $900. They are worth
all I ask for them. I never banter, Mr. Walker. There they are; you
can take them at that price, or let them alone, just as you please.”

_Walk._ “Well, Doctor, I reckon I’ll take ’em; but it’s all they are
worth. I’ll put the handcuffs on ’em, and then I’ll pay you. I likes to
go accordin’ to Scripter. Scripter says ef eatin’ meat will offend your
brother, you must quit it; and I say ef leavin’ your slaves without
the handcuffs will make ’em run away, you must put the handcuffs on
’em. Now, Sam, don’t you and Sally cry. I am of a tender heart, and it
allers makes me feel bad to see people cryin’. Don’t cry, and the first
place I get to, I’ll buy each of you a great big _ginger cake_,--that I
will.”

And with the last remark the trader took from a small satchel two pairs
of handcuffs, putting them on, and with a laugh said: “Now, you look
better with the ornaments on.”

Just then, the Doctor remarked,--“There comes Mr. Pinchen.” Walker,
looking out and seeing the man of God, said: “It is Mr. Pinchen, as I
live; jest the very man I wants to see.” And as the reverend gentleman
entered, the trader grasped his hand, saying: “Why, how do you do, Mr.
Pinchen? What in the name of Jehu brings you down here to Muddy Creek?
Any camp-meetins, revival meetins, death-bed scenes, or anything else
in your line going on down here? How is religion prosperin’ now, Mr.
Pinchen? I always like to hear about religion.”

_Mr. Pin._ “Well, Mr. Walker, the Lord’s work is in good condition
everywhere now. I tell you, Mr. Walker, I’ve been in the gospel
ministry these thirteen years, and I am satisfied that the heart of
man is full of sin and desperately wicked. This is a wicked world,
Mr. Walker, a wicked world, and we ought all of us to have religion.
Religion is a good thing to live by, and we all want it when we die.
Yes, sir, when the great trumpet blows, we ought to be ready. And a man
in your business of buying and selling slaves needs religion more than
anybody else, for it makes you treat your people as you should. Now,
there is Mr. Haskins,--he is a slave-trader, like yourself. Well, I
converted him. Before he got religion, he was one of the worst men to
his niggers I ever saw; his heart was as hard as stone. But religion
has made his heart as soft as a piece of cotton. Before I converted
him he would sell husbands from their wives, and seem to take delight
in it; but now he won’t sell a man from his wife, if he can get any
one to buy both of them together. I tell you, sir, religion has done a
wonderful work for him.”

[Illustration: REV. HENRY PINCHEN.]

_Walk._ “I know, Mr. Pinchen, that I ought to have religion, and I feel
that I am a great sinner; and whenever I get with good pious people
like you and the Doctor, it always makes me feel that I am a desperate
sinner. I feel it the more, because I’ve got a religious turn of mind.
I know that I would be happier with religion, and the first spare time
I get, I am going to try to get it. I’ll go to a protracted meeting,
and I won’t stop till I get religion.”

The departure of the trader with his property left a sadness even
amongst the white members of the family, and special sympathy was
felt for Hannah for the loss of her husband by the sale. However,
Mrs. Gaines took it coolly, for as Sam was a field hand, she had
often said she wanted her to have one of the house servants, and as
Cato was without a wife, this seemed to favor her plans. Therefore, a
week later, as Hannah entered the sitting-room one evening, she said
to her:--“You need not tell me, Hannah, that you don’t want another
husband, I know better. Your master has sold Sam, and he’s gone down
the river, and you’ll never see him again. So go and put on your calico
dress, and meet me in the kitchen. I intend for you to _jump the
broomstick_ with Cato. You need not tell me you don’t want another
man. I know there’s no woman living that can be happy and satisfied
without a husband.”

Hannah said: “Oh, missis, I don’t want to jump de broomstick wid Cato.
I don’t love Cato; I can’t love him.”

_Mrs. G._ “Shut up, this moment! What do you know about love? I didn’t
love your master when I married him, and people don’t marry for love
now. So go and put on your calico dress, and meet me in the kitchen.”

As the servant left for the kitchen, the mistress remarked: “I am glad
that the Doctor has sold Sam, for now I’ll have her marry Cato, and
I’ll have them both in the house under my eyes.”

As Hannah entered the kitchen, she said: “Oh, Cato, do go and tell
missis dat you don’t want to jump de broomstick wid me,--dat’s a good
man. Do, Cato; kase I nebber can love you. It was only las week dat
massa sold my Sammy, and I don’t want any udder man. Do go tell missis
dat you don’t want me.” To which Cato replied: “No, Hannah, I ain’t
a-gwine to tell missis no such thing, kase I does want you, and I ain’t
a-gwine to tell a lie for you ner nobody else. Dar, now you’s got it!
I don’t see why you need to make so much fuss. I is better lookin’ den
Sam; an’ I is a house servant, an’ Sam was only a fiel hand; so you
ought to feel proud of a change. So go and do as missis tells you.”

As the woman retired, the man continued: “Hannah needn’t try to get me
to tell a lie; I ain’t a-gwine to do it, kase I dose want her, an’ I
is bin wantin’ her dis long time, an’ soon as massa sold Sam, I knowed
I would get her. By golly, I is gwine to be a married man. Won’t I be
happy? Now, ef I could only jess run away from ole massa, an’ get to
Canada wid Hannah, den I’d show ’em who I was. Ah! dat reminds me of my
song ’bout ole massa and Canada, an’ I’ll sing it. Dis is my moriginal
hyme. It comed into my head one night when I was fass asleep under an
apple tree, looking up at de moon.”

While Hannah was getting ready for the nuptials, Cato amused himself by
singing--

        De happiest day I ever did see,
          I’m bound fer my heavenly home,
        When missis give Hannah to me,
          Through heaven dis chile will roam.

    CHORUS.--Go away, Sam, you can’t come a-nigh me,
             Gwine to meet my friens in hebben,
             Hannah is gwine along;
             Missis ses Hannah is mine,
             So Hannah is gwine along.

    CHORUS, _repeated_.

        Father Gabriel, blow your horn,
          I’ll take wings and fly away,
        Take Hannah up in the early morn,
          An’ I’ll be in hebben by de break of day.

    CHORUS.--Go away, Sam, you can’t come a-nigh me,
             Gwine to meet my friens in hebben,
             Hannah is gwine along;
             Missis ses Hannah is mine,
             So Hannah is gwine along.

Mrs. Gaines, as she approached the kitchen, heard the servant’s musical
voice and knew that he was in high glee; entering, she said, “Ah! Cato,
you’re ready, are you? Where is Hannah?”

_Cato._ “Yes, missis; I is bin waitin’ dis long time. Hannah has bin
here tryin’ to swade me to tell you dat I don’t want her; but I telled
her dat you sed I must jump de broomstick wid her, an’ I is gwine to
mind you.”

_Mrs. G._ “That’s right, Cato; servants should always mind their
masters and mistresses, without asking a question.”

_Cato._ “Yes, missis, I allers dose what you and massa tells me, an’
axes nobody.”

While the mistress went in search of Hannah, Dolly came in saying, “Oh,
Cato, do go an’ tell missis dat you don’t want Hannah. Don’t yer hear
how she’s whippin’ her in de cellar? Do go an’ tell missis dat you
don’t want Hannah, and den she’ll stop whippin’ her.”

_Cato._ “No, Dolly, I ain’t a gwine to do no such a thing, kase ef I
tell missis dat I don’t want Hannah, den missis will whip me; an’ I
ain’t a-gwine to be whipped fer you, ner Hannah, ner nobody else. No,
I’ll jump the broomstick wid every woman on de place, ef missis wants
me to, before I’ll be whipped.”

_Dolly._ “Cato, ef I was in Hannah’s place, I’d see you in de
bottomless pit before I’d live wid you, you great, big, wall-eyed,
empty-headed, knock-kneed fool. You’re as mean as your devilish old
missis.”

_Cato._ “Ef you don’t quit dat busin’ me, Dolly, I’ll tell missis as
soon as she comes in, an’ she’ll whip you, you know she will.”

As Mrs. Gaines entered she said, “You ought to be ashamed of yourself,
Hannah, to make me fatigue myself in this way, to make you do your
duty. It’s very naughty in you, Hannah. Now, Dolly, you and Susan get
the broom, and get out in the middle of the room. There, hold it a
little lower--a little higher; there, that’ll do. Now, remember that
this is a solemn occasion; you are going to jump into matrimony. Now,
Cato, take hold of Hannah’s hand. There, now, why could n’t you let
Cato take hold of your hand before? Now, get ready, and when I count
three, do you jump. Eyes on the _broomstick_! All ready. One, two,
three, and over you go. There, now you’re husband and wife, and if you
don’t live happy together, it’s your own fault; for I am sure there’s
nothing to hinder it. Now, Hannah, come up to the house, and I’ll give
you some whiskey, and you can make some apple-toddy, and you and Cato
can have a fine time. Now, I’ll go back to the parlor.”

_Dolly._ “I tell you what, Susan, when I get married, I is gwine to
have a preacher to marry me. I ain’t a-gwine to jump de broomstick. Dat
will do for fiel’ hands, but house servants ought to be ’bove dat.”

_Susan._ “Well, chile, you can’t spect any ting else from ole missis.
She come from down in Carlina, from ’mong de poor white trash. She
don’t know any better. You can’t speck nothin’ more dan a jump from a
frog. Missis says she is one ob de akastocacy; but she ain’t no more of
an akastocacy dan I is. Missis says she was born wid a silver spoon in
her mouf; ef she was, I wish it had a-choked her, dat’ what I wish.”

The mode of jumping the broomstick was the general custom in the
rural districts of the South, forty years ago; and, as there was no
law whatever in regard to the marriage of slaves, this custom had
as binding force with the negroes, as if they had been joined by a
clergyman; the difference being the one was not so high-toned as the
other. Yet, it must be admitted that the blacks always preferred being
married by a clergyman.



CHAPTER V.


Dr. Gaines and wife having spent the heated season at the North,
travelling for pleasure and seeking information upon the mode of
agriculture practised in the free States, returned home filled with new
ideas which they were anxious to put into immediate execution, and,
therefore, a radical change was at once commenced.

Two of the most interesting changes proposed, were the introduction of
a plow, which was to take the place of the heavy, unwieldy one then
in use, and a washing-machine, instead of the hard hand-rubbing then
practised. The first called forth much criticism amongst the men in
the field, where it was christened the “Yankee Dodger,” and during the
first half a day of its use, it was followed by a large number of the
negroes, men and women wondering at its superiority over the old plow,
and wanting to know where it was from.

But the excitement in the kitchen, amongst the women, over the
washing-machine, threw the novelty of the plow entirely in the shade.

“An’ so dat tub wid its wheels an’ fixin’ is to do de washin’, while
we’s to set down an’ look at it,” said Dolly, as ten or a dozen
servants stood around the new comer, laughing and making fun at its
ungainly appearance.

“I don’t see why massa didn’t buy a woman, out dar whar de ting was
made, an’ fotch ’em along, so she could learn us how to wash wid it,”
remarked Hannah, as her mistress came into the kitchen to give orders
about the mode of using the “washer.”

“Now, Dolly,” said the mistress, “we are to have new rules, hereafter,
about the work. While at the North, I found that the women got up at
four o’clock, on Monday mornings, and commenced the washing, which was
all finished, and out on the lines, by nine o’clock. Now, remember
that, hereafter, there is to be no more washing on Fridays, and ironing
on Saturdays, as you used to do. And instead of six of you great, big
women to do the washing, two of you with the ‘washer,’ can do the
work.” And out she went, leaving the negroes to the contemplation of
the future.

“I wish missis had stayed at home, ’stead of goin’ round de world,
bringin’ home new rules. Who she tinks gwine to get out of bed at four
o’clock in de mornin’, kase she fotch home dis wash-box,” said Dolly,
as she gave a knowing look at the other servants.

“De Lord knows dat dis chile ain’t a-gwine to git out of her sweet bed
at four o’clock in de mornin’, for no body; you hears dat, don’t you?”
remarked Winnie, as she gave a loud laugh, and danced out of the room.

Before the end of the week, Peter had run the new plow against a stump,
and had broken it beyond the possibility of repair.

When the lady arose on Monday morning, at half-past nine, her usual
time, instead of finding the washing out on the lines, she saw, to her
great disappointment, the inside works of the “washer” taken out, and
Dolly, the chief laundress, washing away with all her power, in the old
way, rubbing with her hands, the perspiration pouring down her black
face.

“What have you been doing, Dolly, with the ‘washer?’” exclaimed the
mistress, as she threw up her hands in astonishment.

“Well, you see, missis,” said the servant, “dat merchine won’t work
no way. I tried it one way, den I tried it an udder way, an’ still it
would not work. So, you see, I got de screw-driver an’ I took it to
pieces. Dat’s de reason I ain’t got along faster wid de work.”

Mrs. Gaines returned to the parlor, sat down, and had a good cry,
declaring her belief that “negroes could not be made white folks, no
matter what you should do with them.”

Although the “patent plow” and the “washer” had failed, Dr. and Mrs.
Gaines had the satisfaction of knowing that one of their new ideas was
to be put into successful execution in a few days.

While at the North, they had eaten at a farm-house, some new cheese,
just from the press, and on speaking of it, she was told by old Aunt
Nancy, the black _mamma_ of the place, that she understood all about
making cheese. This piece of information gave general satisfaction, and
a cheese-press was at once ordered from St. Louis.

The arrival of the cheese-press, the following week, was the signal
for the new sensation. Nancy was at once summoned to the great house
for the purpose of superintending the making of the cheese. A prouder
person than the old negress could scarcely have been found. Her early
days had been spent on the eastern shores of Maryland, where the blacks
have an idea that they are, by nature, superior to their race in any
other part of the habitable globe. Nancy had always spoken of the
Kentucky and Missouri negroes as “low brack trash,” and now, that all
were to be passed over, and the only Marylander on the place called
in upon this “great occasion,” her cup of happiness was filled to the
brim.

“What do you need, besides the cheese-press, to make the cheese with,
Nancy?” inquired Mrs. Gaines, as the old servant stood before her, with
her hands resting upon her hips, and looking at the half-dozen slaves
who loitered around, listening to what was being said.

“Well, missis,” replied Nancy, “I mus’ have a runnet.”

“What’s a runnet?” inquired Mrs. Gaines.

“Why, you see, missis, you’s got to have a sheep killed, and get out
of it de maw, an’ dat’s what’s called de runnet. An’ I puts dat in de
milk, an’ it curdles the milk so it makes cheese.”

“Then I’ll have a sheep killed at once,” said the mistress, and orders
were given to Jim to kill the sheep. Soon after the sheep’s carcass was
distributed amongst the negroes, and “de runnet,” in the hands of old
Nancy.

That night there was fun and plenty of cheap talk in the negro quarters
and in the kitchen, for it had been discovered amongst them that a
calf’s runnet, and not a sheep’s, was the article used to curdle the
milk for making cheese.

The laugh was then turned upon Nancy, who, after listening to all sorts
of remarks in regard to her knowledge of cheese-making, said, in a
triumphant tone, suiting the action to the words,--

“You niggers tink you knows a heap, but you don’t know as much as you
tink. When de sheep is killed, I knows dat you niggers would git de
meat to eat. I knows dat.”

With this remark Nancy silenced the entire group. Then putting her hand
a-kimbo, the old woman sarcastically exclaimed: “To-morrow you’ll all
have calf’s meat for dinner, den what will you have to say ’bout old
Nancy?” Hearing no reply, she said: “Whar is you smart niggers now?
Whar is you, I ax you?”

“Well, den, ef Ant Nancy ain’t some punkins, dis chile knows nuffin,”
remarked Ike, as he stood up at full length, viewing the situation, as
if he had caught a new idea. “I allers tole yer dat Ant Nancy had moo
in her head dan what yer catch out wid a fine-toof comb,” exclaimed
Peter.

“But how is you going to tell missis ’bout killin’ de sheep?” asked Jim.

Nancy turned to the head man and replied: “De same mudder wit dat tole
me to get some sheep fer you niggers will tell me what to do. De Lord
always guides me through my troubles an’ trials. Befoe I open my mouf,
He always fills it.”

The following day Nancy presented herself at the great house door, and
sent in for her mistress. On the lady’s appearing, the servant, putting
on a knowing look, said: “Missis, when de moon is cold an’ de water
runs high in it, den I have to put calf’s runnet in de milk, instead
of sheep’s. So, lass night, I see dat de moon is cold an’ de water is
runnin’ high.”

“Well, Nancy,” said the mistress, “I’ll have a calf killed at once,
for I can’t wait for a warm moon. Go and tell Jim to kill a calf
immediately, for I must not be kept out of cheese much longer.”
On Nancy’s return to the quarters, old Ned, who was past work, and
who never did anything but eat, sleep and talk, heard the woman’s
explanation, and clapping his wrinkled hands exclaimed: “Well den,
Nancy, you is wof moo den all de niggers on dis place, fer you gives us
fresh meat ebbry day.”

After getting the right runnet, and two weeks’ work on the new cheese,
a little, soft, sour, hard-looking thing, appearing like anything but
a cheese, was exhibited at “Poplar Farm,” to the great amusement of
the blacks, and the disappointment of the whites, and especially Mrs.
Gaines, who had frequently remarked that her “mouth was watering for
the new cheese.”

No attempt was ever made afterwards to renew the cheese-making, and the
press was laid under the shed, by the side of the washing machine and
the patent plow. While we had three or four trustworthy and faithful
servants, it must be admitted that most of the negroes on “Poplar Farm”
were always glad to shirk labor, and thought that to deceive the whites
was a religious duty.

Wit and religion has ever been the negro’s forte while in slavery.
Wit with which to please his master, or to soften his anger when
displeased, and religion to enable him to endure punishment when
inflicted.

Both Dr. and Mrs. Gaines were easily deceived by their servants.
Indeed, I often thought that Mrs. Gaines took peculiar pleasure in
being misled by them; and even the Doctor, with his long experience
and shrewdness, would allow himself to be carried off upon almost
any pretext. For instance, when he retired at night, Ike, his body
servant, would take his master’s clothes out of the room, brush them
off and return them in time for the Doctor to dress for breakfast.
There was nothing in this out of the way; but the master would often
remark that he thought Ike brushed his clothes too much, for they
appeared to wear out a great deal faster than they had formerly. Ike,
however, attributed the wear to the fact that the goods were wanting in
soundness. Thus the master, at the advice of his servant, changed his
tailor.

[Illustration: MRS. SARAH PEPPER GAINES.]

About the same time the Doctor’s watch stopped at night, and when
taken to be repaired, the watchmaker found it badly damaged, which
he pronounced had been done by a fall. As the Doctor was always very
careful with his time-piece, he could in no way account for the
stoppage. Ike was questioned as to his handling of it, but he could
throw no light upon the subject. At last, one night about twelve
o’clock, a message came for the Doctor to visit a patient who had a
sudden attack of cholera morbus. The faithful Ike was nowhere to be
found, nor could any traces of the Doctor’s clothes be discovered. Not
even the watch, which was always laid upon the mantle-shelf, could be
seen anywhere.

It seemed clear that Ike had run away with his master’s daily wearing
apparel, watch and all. Yes, and further search showed that the boots,
with one heel four inches higher than the other, had also disappeared.
But go, the Doctor must; and Mrs. Gaines and all of us went to work to
get the Doctor ready.

While Cato was hunting up the old boots, and Hannah was in the attic
getting the old hat, Jim returned from the barn and informed his master
that the sorrel horse, which he had ordered to be saddled, was nowhere
to be found; and that he had got out the bay mare, and as there was no
saddle on the place, Ike having taken the only one, he, Jim, had put
the buffalo robe on the mare.

It was a bright moonlight night, and to see the Doctor on horseback
without a saddle, dressed in his castaway suit, was, indeed,
ridiculous in the extreme. However, he made the visit, saved the
patient’s life, came home and went snugly to bed. The following
morning, to the Doctor’s great surprise, in walked Ike, at his usual
time, with the clothes in one hand and the boots nicely blacked in the
other. The faithful slave had not seen any of the other servants, and
consequently did not know of the master’s discomfiture on the previous
night.

“Were any of the servants off the place last night?” inquired the
Doctor, as Ike laid the clothes carefully on a chair, and was setting
down the boots.

“No, I speck not,” answered Ike.

“Were you off anywhere last night?” asked the master.

“No, sir,” replied the servant.

“What! not off the place at all?” inquired the Doctor sharply. Ike
looked confused and evidently began to “smell a mice.”

“Well, massa, I was not away only to step over to de prayer-meetin’ at
de Corners, a little while, dat’s all,” said Ike.

“Where’s my watch?” asked the Doctor.

“I speck it’s on de mantleshelf dar, whar I put it lass night, sir,”
replied Ike, and at the same time reached to the time-piece, where he
had laid it a moment before, and holding it up triumphantly, “Here it
is, sir, right where I left it lass night.”

Ike was told to go, which he was glad to do. “What shall I do with that
fellow?” said the Doctor to his wife, as the servant quitted the room.

Ike had scarcely reached the back yard when he met Cato, who told him
of his absence on the previous night being known to his master. When
Ike had heard all, he exclaimed, “Well, den ef de ole boss knows it,
dis nigger is kotched sure as you is born.”

“I would not be in your shoes, Ike, fer a heap, dis mornin’,” said Cato.

“Well,” replied Ike, “I thank de Lord dat I is got religion to stand
it.”

Dr. Gaines, as he dressed himself, found nothing out of the way until
he came to look at the boots. The Doctor was lame from birth. Here he
saw unmistakable evidence that the high heel had been taken off, and
had been replaced by a screw put through the inside, and the seam waxed
over. Dr. Gaines had often thought, when putting his boots on in the
morning, that they appeared a little loose, and on speaking of it to
his servant, the negro would attribute it to the blacking, which he
said “made de lether stretch.”

That morning when breakfast was over, and the negroes called in for
family prayers, all eyes were upon Ike.

It has always appeared strange that the negroes should seemingly take
such delight in seeing their fellow-servants in a “bad fix.” But it
is nevertheless true, and Ike’s “bad luck” appeared to furnish sport
for old and young of his own race. At the conclusion of prayers, the
Doctor said, “Now, Ike, I want you to tell me the truth, and nothing
but the truth, of your whereabouts last night, and why you wore away
my clothes?”

“Well, massa,” said Ike, “I’m gwine to tell you God’s truth.”

“That’s what I want, Ike,” remarked the master.

“Now,” continued the negro, “I ware de clothes to de dance, kase you
see, massa, I knowed dat you didn’t want your body servant to go to
de ball looking poorer dressed den udder gentmen’s boys. So you see I
had no clothes myself, so I takes yours. I had to knock the heel off
de lame leg boot, so dat I could ware it. An’ den I took ‘ole Sorrel,’
kase he paces so fass an’ so easy. No udder hoss could get me to de
city in time fer de ball, ceptin’ ‘ole Sorrel.’ You see, massa, ten
miles is a good ways to go after you is gone to bed. Now, massa, I hope
you’ll forgive me dis time, an’ I’ll never do so any moo.”

During Ike’s telling his story, his master kept his eyes rivetted upon
him, and at its conclusion said: “You first told me that you were at
the prayer-meeting at the Corners; what did you do that for?”

“Well, massa,” replied Ike, “I knowed dat I ought to had gone to de
prar-meetin’, an’ dat’s de reason I said I was dar.”

“And you’re a pretty Christian, going to a dance, instead of your
prayer-meeting. This is the fifth time you’ve fallen from grace,” said
the master.

“Oh, no,” quickly responded Ike; “dis is only de fourf time dat I is
back slid.”

“But this is not the first time that you have taken my clothes and worn
them. And there’s my watch, you could not tell the time, what did you
want with that?” said the Doctor.

“Yes, massa,” replied Ike, “I’ll tell de truth; I wore de clothes
afore dis time, an’ I take de watch too, an’ I let it fall, an’ dat’s
de reason it stop dat time. An’ I know I could not tell de time by de
watch, but I guessed at it, an’ dat made de niggers star at me, to see
me have a watch.”

The announcement that Col. Lemmy was at the door cut short the further
investigation of Ike’s case. The Colonel was the very opposite to Dr.
Gaines, believing that there was no good in the negro, except to toil,
and feeling that all religious efforts to better the condition of the
race was time thrown away.

The Colonel laughed heartily as the Doctor told how Ike had worn his
clothes. He quickly inquired if the servant had been punished, and when
informed that he had not, he said: “The lash is worth more than all
the religion in the world. Your boy, Ike, with the rest of the niggers
around here, will go to a prayer meetin’ and will tell how good they
feel or how bad they feel, just as it may suit the case. They’ll cry,
groan, clap their hands, pat their feet, worry themselves into a lather
of sweat, sing,

    I’m a-gwine to keep a-climbin’ high,
      See de hebbenly land;
    Till I meet dem er angels in a de sky
      See de hebbenly lan’.

    Dem pooty angels I shall see,
      See de hebbenly lan’;
    Why don’t de debbil let a-me be,
      See de hebbenly lan’.

“Yes, Doctor; these niggers will pray till twelve o’clock at night;
break up their meeting and go home shouting and singing, ‘Glory
hallelujah!’ and every darned one of them will steal a chicken, turkey,
or pig, and cry out ‘Come down, sweet chariot, an’ carry me home to
hebben!’ yes, and still continue to sing till they go to sleep. You
may give your slaves religion, and I’ll give mine the whip, an’ I’ll
bet that I’ll get the most tobacco and hemp out of the same number of
hands.”

“I hardly think,” said the Doctor, after listening attentively to
his neighbor, “that I can let Ike pass without some punishment. Yet
I differ with you in regard to the good effects of religion upon all
classes, more especially our negroes, for the African is pre-eminently
a religious being; with them, I admit, there is considerable
superstition. They have a permanent belief in good and bad luck,
ghosts, fortune-telling, and the like; but we whites are not entirely
free from such notions.”

At the last sentence or two, the Colonel’s eyes sparkled, and he began
to turn pale, for it was well known that he was a firm believer in
ghosts and fortune-telling.

“Now, Doctor,” said Col. Lemmy, “every sensible man must admit the
fact that ghosts exist, and that there is nothing in the world truer
than that the future can be told. Look at Mrs. McWilliams’ lawsuit
with Major Todd. She went to old Frank, the nigger fortune-teller, and
asked him which lawyer she should employ. The old man gazed at her
for a moment or two, and said, ‘missis, you’s got your mind on two
lawyers,--a big man and a little man. Ef you takes de big man, you
loses de case; ef you takes de little man, you wins de case.’ Sure
enough, she had in contemplation the employment of either McGuyer or
Darby. The first is a large man; the latter was, as you know, a small
man. So, taking the old negro’s advice, she obtained the services of
John F. Darby, and gained the suit.”

“Yes,” responded the Doctor, “I have always heard that the Widow
McWilliams gained her case by consulting old Frank.”

“Why, Doctor,” continued the Colonel, in an animated manner, “When
the races were at St. Louis, three years ago, I went to old Betty,
the blind fortune-teller, to see which horse was going to win; and
she said, ‘Massa, bet your, money on de gray mare.’ Well, you see,
everybody thought that Johnson’s black horse would win, and piles of
money was bet on him. However, I bet one hundred dollars on the gray
mare, and, to the utter surprise of all, she won. When the race was
over, I was asked how I come to bet on the mare, when everybody was
putting their funds on the horse. I then told them that I never risked
my money on any horse, till I found out which was going to win.

“Now, with regard to ghosts, just let me say to you, Doctor, that I saw
the ghost of the peddler that was murdered over on the old road, just
as sure as you are born.”

“Do you think so?” asked the Doctor.

“Think so! Why, I know it, just as well as I know that I see you now.
He had his pack on his back; and it was in the daytime, no night-work
about it. He looked at me, and I watched him till he got out of sight.
But wasn’t I frightened; it made the hair stand up on my head, I tell
you.”

“Did he speak to you?” asked the Doctor.

“Oh, no! he didn’t speak, but he had a sorrowful look, and, as he was
getting out of sight, he turned and looked over his shoulder at me.”

Most of the superstition amongst the whites, in our section, was the
result of their close connection with the blacks; for the servants told
the most foolish stories to the children in the nurseries, and they
learned more, as they grew older, from the slaves in the quarters, or
out on the premises.



CHAPTER VI.


Profitable and interesting amusements were always needed at the
Corners, the nearest place to the “Poplar Farm.” At the tavern,
post-office, and the store, all the neighborhood assembled to read the
news, compare notes, and to talk politics.

Shows seldom ventured to stop there, for want of sufficient patronage.
Once in three months, however, they had a “Gander Snatching,” which
never failed to draw together large numbers of ladies as well as
gentlemen, the _elite_, as well as the common. The getter-up of this
entertainment would procure a gander of the wild goose species. This
bird had a long neck, which was large as it rose above the breast, but
tapered gradually, for more than half the length, until it became small
and serpent-like in form, terminating in a long, slim head, and peaked
bill. The head and neck of the gander was well-greased; the legs were
tied together with a strong cord, and the bird was then fastened by
its legs, to a swinging limb of a tree. The _Snatchers_ were to be on
horseback, and were to start fifteen or twenty rods from the gander,
riding at full speed, and, as they passed along under the bird, they
had the right to pull his head off if they could. To accelerate the
speed of the horses, a man was stationed a few feet from the gander,
with orders to give every horse a cut with his whip, as he went by.

Sometimes the bird’s head would be caught by ten or a dozen before they
would succeed in pulling it off, which was necessary; often by the
sudden jump of the animal, or the rider having taken a little too much
wine, he would fall from his horse, which event would give additional
interest to the “Snatching.”

The poor gander would frequently show far more sagacity than its
torturers. After having its head caught once or twice, the gander would
draw up its head, or dodge out of the way. Sometimes the snatcher would
have in his hand a bit of sandpaper, which would enable him to make a
tighter grasp. But this mode was generally considered unfair, and, on
one occasion, caused a duel in which both parties were severely wounded.

But the most costly and injurious amusement that the people in our
section entered into was that of card-playing, a species of gambling
too much indulged in throughout the entire South. This amusement causes
much sadness, for it often occurs that gentlemen lose large sums at the
gambling-table, frequently seriously embarrassing themselves, sometimes
bringing ruin upon whole families.

Mr. Oscar Smith, residing near “Poplar Farm,” took a trip to St. Louis,
thence to New Orleans and back. On the steamer he was beguiled into
gaming.

“Go call my boy, steward,” said Mr. Smith, as he took his cards one by
one from the table.

In a few moments a fine-looking, bright-eyed mulatto boy, apparently
about fifteen years of age, was standing by his master’s side at the
table.

“I will see you and five hundred dollars better,” said Smith, as his
servant Jerry approached the table.

“What price do you set on that boy?” asked Johnson, as he took a roll
of bills from his pocket.

“He will bring a thousand dollars, any day, in the New Orleans market,”
replied Smith.

“Then you bet the whole of the boy, do you?”

“Yes.”

“I call you, then,” said Johnson, at the same time spreading his cards
out upon the table.

“You have beat me,” said Smith, as soon as he saw the cards.

Jerry, who was standing on top of the table, with the bank-notes and
silver dollars round his feet, was now ordered to descend from the
table.

“You will not forget that you belong to me,” said Johnson, as the young
slave was stepping from the table to a chair.

[Illustration: GAMBLING FOR A SLAVE.]

“No, sir,” replied the chattel.

“Now go back to your bed, and be up in time to-morrow morning to brush
my clothes and clean my boots, do you hear?”

“Yes, sir,” responded Jerry, as he wiped the tears from his eyes.

As Mr. Smith left the gaming-table, he said: “I claim the right of
redeeming that boy, Mr. Johnson. My father gave him to me when I came
of age, and I promised not to part with him.”

“Most certainly, sir, the boy shall be yours whenever you hand me over
a cool thousand,” replied Johnson.

The next morning, as the passengers were assembling in the breakfast
saloons, and upon the guards of the vessel, and the servants were seen
running about waiting upon or looking for their masters, poor Jerry was
entering his new master’s state-room with his boots.

The genuine wit of the negro is often a marvel to the whites, and this
wit or humor, as it may be called, is brought out in various ways. Not
unfrequently is it exhibited by the black, when he really means to be
very solemn.

Thus our Sampey met Davidson’s Joe, on the road to the Corners, and
called out to him several times without getting an answer. At last,
Joe, appearing much annoyed, stopped, looked at Sampey in an attitude
of surprise, and exclaimed: “Ain’t you got no manners? Whare’s your
eyes? Don’t you see I is a funeral?”

It was not till then that Sampey saw that Joe had a box in his arms,
resembling a coffin, in which was a deceased negro child. The negro
would often show his wit to the disadvantage of his master or mistress.

When visitors were at “Poplar Farm,” Dr. Gaines would frequently call
in Cato to sing a song or crack a joke, for the amusement of the
company. On one occasion, requesting the servant to give a toast, at
the same time handing the negro a glass of wine, the latter took the
glass, held it up, looked at it, began to show his ivory, and said:

    “De big bee flies high,
       De little bee makes de honey,
     De black man raise de cotton,
       An’ de white man gets de money.”

The same servant going to meeting one Sabbath, was met on the road
by Major Ben. O’Fallon, who was riding on horseback, with a hoisted
umbrella to keep the rain off. The Major, seeing the negro trudging
along bareheaded and with something under his coat, supposing he had
stolen some article which he was attempting to hide, said, “What’s that
you’ve got under your coat, boy?”

“Nothin’, sir, but my hat,” replied the slave, and at the same time
drawing forth a second-hand beaver.

“Is it yours?” inquired the Major.

“Yes, sir,” was the quick response of the negro.

“Well,” continued the Major, “if it is yours, why don’t you wear it
and save your head from the rain?”

“Oh!” replied the servant, with a smile of seeming satisfaction, “de
head belongs to massa an’ de hat belongs to me. Let massa take care of
his property, an’ I’ll take care of mine.”

Dr. Gaines, while taking a neighbor out to the pig sty, to show him
some choice hogs that he intended for the next winter’s bacon, said to
Dolly who was feeding the pigs: “How much lard do you think you can get
out of that big hog, Dolly?”

The old negress scratched her wooly head, put on a thoughtful look, and
replied, “I specks I can get a pail full, ef de pail aint too big.”

“I reckon you can,” responded the master.

The ladies are not without their recreation, the most common of which
is snuff-dipping. A snuff-box or bottle is carried, and with it a very
small stick or cane, which has been chewed at the end until it forms a
small mop. The little dippers or sticks are sold in bundles for the use
of the ladies, and can be bought simply cut in the requisite lengths
or chewed ready for use. This the dipper moistens with saliva, and
dips into the snuff-box, and then lifts the mop thus loaded inside the
lips. In some parts they courteously hand round the snuff and dipper,
or place a plentiful supply of snuff on the table, into which all the
company may dip.

Amongst even the better classes of whites, the ladies would often
assemble in considerable numbers, especially during revival meeting
times, place a wash-dish in the middle of the room, all gather around
it, commence snuff-dipping, and all using the wash-dish as a common
spittoon.

Every well bred lady carries her own snuff-box and dipper. Generally
during church service, where the clergyman is a little prosy,
snuff-dipping is indispensible.



CHAPTER VII.


Forty years ago, in the Southern States, superstition held an exalted
place with all classes, but more especially with the blacks and
uneducated, or poor, whites. This was shown more clearly in their
belief in witchcraft in general, and the devil in particular. To both
of these classes, the devil was a real being, sporting a club-foot,
horns, tail, and a hump on his back.

The influence of the devil was far greater than that of the Lord. If
one of these votaries had stolen a pig, and the fear of the Lord came
over him, he would most likely ask the Lord to forgive him, but still
cling to the pig. But if the fear of the devil came upon him, in all
probability he would drop the pig and take to his heels.

In those days the city of St. Louis had a large number who had implicit
faith in Voudooism. I once attended one of their midnight meetings. In
the pale rays of the moon the dark outlines of a large assemblage was
visible, gathered about a small fire, conversing in different tongues.
They were negroes of all ages,--women, children, and men. Finally,
the noise was hushed, and the assembled group assumed an attitude of
respect. They made way for their queen, and a short, black, old negress
came upon the scene, followed by two assistants, one of whom bore a
cauldron, and the other, a box.

The cauldron was placed over the dying embers, the queen drew forth,
from the folds of her gown, a magic wand, and the crowd formed a ring
around her. Her first act was to throw some substance on the fire, the
flames shot up with a lurid glare--now it writhed in serpent coils, now
it darted upward in forked tongues, and then it gradually transformed
itself into a veil of dusky vapors. At this stage, after a certain
amount of gibberish and wild gesticulation from the queen, the box
was opened, and frogs, lizards, snakes, dog liver, and beef hearts
drawn forth and thrown into the cauldron. Then followed more gibberish
and gesticulation, when the congregation joined hands, and began the
wildest dance imaginable, keeping it up until the men and women sank to
the ground from mere exhaustion.

In the ignorant days of slavery, there was a general belief that a
horse-shoe hung over the door would insure good luck. I have seen
negroes, otherwise comparatively intelligent, refuse to pick up a pin,
needle, or other such object, dropped by a negro, because, as they
alleged, if the person who dropped the articles had a spite against
them, to touch anything they dropped would voudou them, and make them
seriously ill.

Nearly every large plantation, with any considerable number of negroes,
had at least one, who laid claim to be a fortune-teller, and who was
regarded with more than common respect by his fellow-slaves. Dinkie,
a full-blooded African, large in frame, coarse featured, and claiming
to be a descendant of a king in his native land, was the oracle on the
“Poplar Farm.” At the time of which I write, Dinkie was about fifty
years of age, and had lost an eye, and was, to say the least, a very
ugly-looking man.

No one in that section was considered so deeply immersed in voudooism,
goopherism, and fortune-telling, as he. Although he had been many
years in the Gaines family, no one could remember the time when Dinkie
was called upon to perform manual labor. He was not sick, yet he
never worked. No one interfered with him. If he felt like feeding the
chickens, pigs, or cattle, he did so. Dinkie hunted, slept, was at the
table at meal time, roamed through the woods, went to the city, and
returned when he pleased, with no one to object, or to ask a question.
Everybody treated him with respect. The whites, throughout the
neighborhood, tipped their hats to the old one-eyed negro, while the
policemen, or patrollers, permitted him to pass without a challenge.
The negroes, everywhere, stood in mortal fear of “Uncle Dinkie.” The
blacks who saw him every day, were always thrown upon their good
behavior, when in his presence. I once asked a negro why they appeared
to be afraid of Dinkie. He looked at me, shrugged his shoulders,
smiled, shook his head and said,--

“I ain’t afraid of de debble, but I ain’t ready to go to him jess yet.”
He then took a look around and behind, as if he feared some one would
hear what he was saying, and then continued: “Dinkie’s got de power,
ser; he knows things seen and unseen, an’ dat’s what makes him his own
massa.”

It was literally true, this man was his own master. He wore a snake’s
skin around his neck, carried a petrified frog in one pocket, and a
dried lizard in the other.

A slave speculator once came along and offered to purchase Dinkie. Dr.
Gaines, no doubt, thought it a good opportunity to get the elephant off
his hands, and accepted the money. A day later, the trader returned the
old negro, with a threat of a suit at law for damages.

A new overseer was employed, by Dr. Gaines, to take charge of “Poplar
Farm.” His name was Grove Cook, and he was widely known as a man of
ability in managing plantations, and in raising a large quantity
of produce from a given number of hands. Cook was called a “hard
overseer.” The negroes dreaded his coming, and, for weeks before his
arrival, the overseer’s name was on every slave’s tongue.

Cook came, he called the negroes up, men and women; counted them,
looked them over as a purchaser would a drove of cattle that he
intended to buy. As he was about to dismiss them he saw Dinkie come
out of his cabin. The sharp eye of the overseer was at once on him.

“Who is that nigger?” inquired Cook.

“That is Dinkie,” replied Dr. Gaines.

“What is his place?” continued the overseer.

“Oh, Dinkie is a gentleman at large!” was the response.

“Have you any objection to his working?”

“None, whatever.”

“Well, sir,” said Cook, “I’ll put him to work to-morrow morning.”

Dinkie was called up and counted in.

At the roll call, the following morning, all answered except the
conjurer; he was not there.

The overseer inquired for Dinkie, and was informed that he was still
asleep.

“I will bring him out of his bed in a hurry,” said Cook, as he started
towards the negro’s cabin. Dinkie appeared at his door, just as the
overseer was approaching.

“Follow me to the barn,” said the impatient driver to the negro. “I
make it a point always to whip a nigger, the first day that I take
charge of a farm, so as to let the hands know who I am. And, now, Mr.
Dinkie, they tell me that you have not had your back tanned for many
years; and, that being the case, I shall give you a flogging that you
will never forget. Follow me to the barn.” Cook started for the barn,
but turned and went into his house to get his whip.

At this juncture, Dinkie gave a knowing look to the other slaves, who
were standing by, and said, “Ef he lays the weight ob his finger on me,
you’ll see de top of dat barn come off.”

The reappearance of the overseer, with the large negro whip in one
hand, and a club in the other, with the significant demand of “follow
me,” caused a deep feeling in the breast of every negro present.

Dr. Gaines, expecting a difficulty between his new driver and the
conjurer, had arisen early, and was standing at his bedroom window
looking on.

The news that Dinkie was to be whipped, spread far and near over the
place, and had called forth men, women, and children. Even Uncle Ned,
the old negro of ninety years, had crawled out of his straw, and was
at his cabin door. As the barn doors closed behind the overseer and
Dinkie, a death-like silence pervaded the entire group, who, instead
of going to their labor, as ordered by the driver, were standing as if
paralyzed, gazing intently at the barn, expecting every moment to see
the roof lifted.

Not a word was spoken by anyone, except Uncle Ned, who smiled, shook
his head, put on a knowing countenance, and said, “My word fer it, de
oberseer ain’t agwine to whip Dinkie.”

Five minutes, ten minutes, fifteen minutes passed, and the usual sound
of “Oh, pray, massa! Oh, pray, massa!” heard on the occasion of a slave
being punished, had not yet proceeded from the barn.

Many of the older negroes gathered around Uncle Ned, for he and Dinkie
occupied the same cabin, and the old, superannuated slave knew more
about the affairs of the conjurer, than anyone else. Ned told of
how, on the previous night, Dinkie had slept but little, had closely
inspected the snake’s skin around his neck, the petrified frog and
dried lizard, in his pockets, and had rubbed himself all over with
goopher; and when he had finished, he knelt, and exclaimed,--

“Now, good and lovely devil, for more than twenty years, I have served
you faithfully. Before I got into your service, de white folks bought
an’ sold me an’ my old wife an’ chillen, an’ whip me, and half starve
me. Dey did treat me mighty bad, dat you knows. Den I use to pray to
de Lord, but dat did no good, kase de white folks don’t fear de Lord.
But dey fears you, an’ ever since I got into your service, I is able to
do as I please. No white dares to lay his hand on me; and dis is all
owing to de power dat you give me. Oh, good and lovely devil! please to
continer dat power. A new oberseer is to come here to-morrow, an’ he
wants to get me in his hands. But, dear devil, I axe you to stand by me
in dis my trial hour, an’ I will neber desert you as long as I live.
Continer dis power; make me strong in your cause; make me to be more
faithful to you, an’ let me still be able to conquer my enemies, an’
I will give you all de glory, and will try to deserve a seat at your
right hand.”

With bated breath, everyone listened to Uncle Ned. All had the utmost
confidence in Dinkie’s “power.” None believed that he would be
punished, while a large number expected to see the roof of the barn
burst off at any moment. At last the suspense was broken. The barn door
flew open; the overseer and the conjurer came out together, walking
side by side, and separated when half-way up the walk. As they parted,
Cook went to the field, and Dinkie to his cabin.

The slaves all shook their heads significantly. The fact that the old
negro had received no punishment, was evidence of his victory over the
slave driver. But how the feat had been accomplished, was a mystery.
No one dared to ask Dinkie, for he was always silent, except when he
had something to communicate. Everyone was afraid to inquire of the
overseer.

There was, however, one faint chance of getting an inkling of what had
occurred in the barn, and that was through Uncle Ned. This fact made
the old, superannuated slave the hero and centre of attraction, for
several days. Many were the applications made to Ned for information,
but the old man did not know, or wished to exaggerate the importance of
what he had learned.

“I tell you,” said Dolly, “Dinkie is a power.”

“He’s nobody’s fool,” responded Hannah.

“I would not make him mad wid me, fer dis whole world,” ejaculated Jim.

Just then, Nancy, the cook, came in brim full of news. She had given
Uncle Ned some “cracklin bread,” which had pleased the old man so much
that he had opened his bosom, and told her all that he got from Dinkie.
This piece of information flew quickly from cabin to cabin, and
brought the slaves hastily into the kitchen.

It was night. Nancy sat down, looked around, and told Billy to shut
the door. This heightened the interest, so that the fall of a pin
could have been heard. All eyes were upon Nancy, and she felt keenly
the importance of her position. Her voice was generally loud, with a
sharp ring, which could be heard for a long distance, especially in the
stillness of the night. But now, Nancy spoke in a whisper, occasionally
putting her finger to her mouth, indicating a desire for silence, even
when the breathing of those present could be distinctly heard.

“When dey got in de barn, de oberseer said to Dinkie, ‘Strip yourself;
I don’t want to tear your clothes with my whip. I’m going to tear your
black skin.’

“Den, you see, Dinkie tole de oberseer to look in de east corner ob de
barn. He looked, an’ he saw hell, wid all de torments, an’ de debble,
wid his cloven foot, a-struttin’ about dar, jes as ef he was cock ob de
walk. An’ Dinkie tole Cook, dat ef he lay his finger on him, he’d call
de debble up to take him away.”

“An’ what did Cook say to dat?” asked Jim.

“Let me ’lone; I didn’t tell you all,” said Nancy. “Den you see de
oberseer turn pale in de face, an’ he say to Dinkie, ‘Let me go dis
time, an’ I’ll nebber trouble you any more.’”

This concluded Nancy’s story, as related to her by old Ned, and
religiously believed by all present. Whatever caused the overseer to
change his mind in regard to the flogging of Dinkie, it was certain
that he was most thoroughly satisfied to let the old negro off without
the threatened punishment; and, although he remained at “Poplar Farm,”
as overseer, for five years, he never interfered with the conjurer
again.

It is not strange that ignorant people should believe in characters of
Dinkie’s stamp; but it is really marvellous that well-educated men and
women should give any countenance whatever, to such delusions as were
practised by the oracle of “Poplar Farm.”

The following illustration may be taken as a fair sample of the easy
manner in which Dinkie carried on his trade.

Miss Martha Lemmy, being on a visit to Mrs. Gaines, took occasion
during the day to call upon Dinkie. The conjurer knew the antecedents
of his visitor, and was ready to give complete satisfaction in his
particular line. When the young lady entered the old man’s cabin, he
met her, bade her be welcome, and tell what she had come for. She took
a seat on one stool, and he on another. Taking the lady’s right hand
in his, Dinkie spit into its palm, rubbed it, looked at it, shut his
one eye, opened it, and said: “I sees a young gentman, an’ he’s rich,
an’ owns plenty of land an’ a heap o’ niggers; an’, lo! Miss Marfa, he
loves you.”

The lady drew a long breath of seeming satisfaction, and asked, “Are
you sure that he loves me, Uncle Dinkie?”

“Oh! Miss Marfa, I knows it like a book.”

“Have you ever seen the gentleman?” the lady inquired.

The conjurer began rubbing the palm of the snow-white hand, talked to
himself in an undertone, smiled, then laughed out, and saying: “Why,
Miss Marfa, as I lives it’s Mr. Scott, an’ he’s thinkin’ ’bout you
now; yes, he’s got his mind on you dis bressed minute. But how he’s
changed sense I seed him de lass time. Now he’s got side whiskers an’
a mustacher on his chin. But, let me see. Here is somethin’ strange.
De web looks a little smoky, an’ when I gets to dat spot, I can’t get
along till a little silver is given to me.”

Here the lady drew forth her purse and gave the old man a half dollar
piece that made his one eye fairly twinkle.

He resumed: “Ah! now de fog is cleared away, an’ I see dat Mr. Scott
is settin in a rockin-cheer, wid boff feet on de table, an’ smokin’ a
segar.”

“Do you think Mr. Scott loves me?” inquired the lady.

“O! yes,” responded Dinkie; “he jess sets his whole heart on you.
Indeed, Miss Marfa, he’s almos’ dyin’ ’bout you.”

“He never told me that he loved me,” remarked the lady.

“But den, you see, he’s backward, he ain’t got his eye-teef cut yet in
love matters. But he’ll git a little bolder ebbry time he sees you,”
replied the negro.

“Do you think he’ll ever ask me to marry him?”

“O! yes, Miss Marfa, he’s sure to do dat. As he sets dar in his
rockin-cheer, he looks mighty solem-colly--looks like he wanted to ax
you to haf him now.”

“Do you think that Mr. Scott likes any other lady, Uncle Dinkie?” asked
Miss Lemmy.

“Well, Miss Marfa, I’ll jess consult de web an’ see.” And here the
conjurer shut his one eye, opened it, shut it again, talked to himself
in an undertone, opened his eye, looked into the lady’s hand, and
exclaimed: “Ah! Miss Marfa, I see a lady in de way, an’ she’s got
riches; but de web is smoky, an’ it needs a little silver to clear it
up.”

With tears in her eyes, and almost breathless, Miss Lemmy hastily took
from her pocket her purse, and handed the old man another piece of
money, saying: “Please go on.”

Dinkie smiled, shook his head, got up and shut his cabin door, sat
down, and again took the lady’s hand in his.

“Yes, I see,” said he, “I see it’s a lady; but bless you soul, Miss
Marfa, it’s a likeness of you dat Mr. Scott is lookin’ at; dat’s all.”

This morsel of news gave great relief, and Miss Lemmy dried her eyes
with joy.

Dinkie then took down the old rusty horseshoe from over his cabin door,
held it up, and said: “Dis horseshoe neffer lies.” Here he took out of
his pocket a bag made of the skin of the rattlesnake, and took from
it some goopher, sprinkled it over the horseshoe, saying: “Dis is de
stuff, Miss Marfa, dat’s gwine to make you Mr. Scott’s conqueror. Long
as you keeps dis goopher ’bout you he can’t get away from you; he’ll
ax you fer a kiss, de berry next time he meets you, an’ he can’t help
hisself fum doin’ it. No woman can get him fum you so long as you keep
dis goopher ’bout you.”

[Illustration: RUNNING DOWN SLAVES WITH DOGS.--Page 82.]

Here Dinkie lighted a tallow candle, looked at it, smiled, shook his
head,--“You’s gwine to marry Mr. Scott in ’bout one year, an’ you’s
gwine to haf thirteen children--sebben boys an’ six gals, an’ you’s
gwine to haf a heap of riches.”

Just then, Dinkie’s interesting revelations were cut short by Ike and
Cato bringing along Peter, who, it was said, had been killed by the old
bell sheep.

It appears that Peter had a way of playing with the old ram, who was
always ready to butt at any one who got in his way. When seeing the ram
coming, Peter would get down on his hands and knees and pretend that he
was going to have a butting match with the sheep. And when the latter
would come full tilt at him, Peter would dodge his head so as to miss
the ram, and the latter would jump over the boy, turn around angrily,
shake his head and start for another butt at Peter.

This kind of play was repeated sometimes for an hour or more, to the
great amusement of both whites and blacks. But, on this occasion,
Peter was completely caught. As he was on his hands and knees, the ram
started on his usual run for the boy; the latter, in dodging his head,
run his face against a stout stub of dry rye stalk, which caused him to
quickly jerk up his head, just in time for the sheep to give him a fair
butt squarely in the forehead, which knocked Peter senseless. The ram,
elated with his victory, began to back himself for another lick at
Peter, when the men, seeing what had happened to the poor boy, took him
up and brought him to Dinkie’s cabin to be resuscitated, or “brought
to,” as they termed it.

Nearly an hour passed in rubbing the boy, before he began to show signs
of consciousness. He “come to,” but he never again accepted a butting
match with the ram.



CHAPTER VIII.


Cruelty to negroes was not practised in our section. It is true there
were some exceptional cases, and some individuals did not take the care
of their servants at all times, that economy seemed to demand. Yet a
certain degree of punishment was actually needed to insure respect to
the master, and good government to the slave population. If a servant
disobeyed orders, it was necessary that he should be flogged, to deter
others from following the bad example. If a servant ran away, he must
be caught and brought back, to let the others see that the same fate
awaited them if they made similar attempts.

While the keeping of bloodhounds, for running down and catching
negroes, was not common, yet a few were kept by Mr. Tabor, an inferior
white man, near the Corners, who hired them out, or hunted the
runaway, charging so much per day, or a round sum for the _catch_.

Jerome, a slave owned by the Rev. Mr. Wilson, when about to be punished
by his master, ran away. Tabor and his dogs were sent for. The
slave-catcher came, and at once set his dogs upon the trail. The parson
and some of the neighbors went along for the fun that was in store.

[Illustration: TABOR’S CATCH-DOG, “GROWLER.”]

These dogs will attack a negro, at their master’s bidding, and cling
to him as a bull-dog will cling to a beast. Many are the speculations
as to whether the negro will be secured alive or dead, when these dogs
get on his track. However, on this occasion, there was not much danger
of ill-treatment, for Mr. Wilson was a clergyman, and was of a humane
turn, and bargained with Tabor not to injure the slave if he could help
it.

The hunters had been in the wood a short time, ere they got on the
track of two slaves, one of whom was Jerome. The negroes immediately
bent their steps toward the swamp, with the hope that the dogs would,
when put upon the scent, be unable to follow them through the water.
Nearer and nearer the whimpering pack pressed on; their delusion began
to dispel.

All at once the truth flashed upon the minds of the fugitives like a
glare of light,--that it was Tabor with his dogs! They at last reached
the river, and in the negroes plunged, followed by the catch-dog.
Jerome was finally caught, and once more in the hands of his master;
while the other man found a watery grave. They returned, and the
preacher sent his slave to the city jail for safekeeping.

While the planters would employ Tabor, without hesitation, to hunt
down their negroes, they would not receive him into their houses as a
visitor any sooner than they would one of their own slaves. Tabor was,
however, considered one of the better class of poor whites, a number of
whom had a religious society in that neighborhood. The pastor of the
poor whites was the Rev. Martin Louder, somewhat of a genius in his own
way. The following sermon, preached by him, about the time of which I
write, will well illustrate the character of the people for whom he
labored.

More than two long, weary hours had now elapsed since the audience
had been convened, and the people began to exhibit slight signs of
fatigue. Some few scrapings and rasping of cowhide boots on the floor,
an audible yawn or two, a little twisting and turning on the narrow,
uncomfortable seats, while, in one or two instances, a somnolent soul
or two snored outright. These palpable signs were not lost upon our
old friend Louder. He cast an eye (emphatically, an eye) over the
assemblage, and then--he spoke:--

“My dear breethering, and beloved sistering! You’ve ben a long time a
settin’ on your seats. You’re tired, I know, an’ I don’t expect you
want to hear the ole daddy preach. Ef you don’t want to hear the ole
man, jist give him the least bit of a sign. Cough. Hold up your hand.
Ennything, an’ Louder’ll sit rite down. He’ll dry up in a minit.”

At this juncture of affairs, Louder paused for a reply. He glanced
furtively over the audience, in search of the individual who might
be “tired of settin’ on his seat,” but no sign was made: no such
malcontent came within the visual range.

“Go on, Brother Louder!” said a sonorous voice in the “amen corner” of
the house. Thus encouraged, the speaker proceeded in his remarks:--

“Well, then, breethering, sense you say so, Louder’ll perceed; but he
don’t intend to preach a reg’lar sermon, for it’s a gittin’ late, and
our sect which hit don’t believe in eatin’ cold vittles on the Lord’s
day. My breethering, ef the ole Louder gits outen the rite track, I
want you to call him back. He don’t want to teach you any error. He
don’t want’ to preach nuthin’ but what’s found between the leds of this
blessed Book.”

“My dear breethering, the Lord raised up his servant, Moses, that he
should fetch his people Isrel up outen that wicked land--ah. Then
Moses, he went out from the face of the Lord, and departed hence unto
the courts of the old tyranickle king--ah. An’ what sez you, Moses?
Ah, sez he, Moses sez, sez he to that wicked old Faro: Thus sez the
Lord God of hosts, sez he: Let my Isrel go--ah. An’ what sez the ole,
hard-hearted king--ah? Ah! sez Faro, sez he, who is the Lord God of
hosts, sez he, that I should obey his voice--ah? An’ now what sez
you, Moses--ah. Ah, Moses sez, sez he: Thus saith the Lord God of
Isrel, let my people go, that they mought worship me, sez the Lord, in
the wilderness--ah. But--ah! my beloved breethering an’ my harden’,
impenitent frien’s--ah, did the ole, hard-hearted king harken to the
words of Moses, and let my people go--ah? Nary time.”

This last remark, made in an ordinary, conversational tone of voice,
was so sudden and unexpected that the change, the transition from the
singing state was electrical.

“An’ then, my beloved breethering an’ sistering, what next--ah? What
sez you, Moses, to Faro--that contrary ole king--ah? Ah, Moses sez
to Faro, sez he, Moses sez, sez he: Thus seth the Lord God of Isrel:
Let my people go, sez the Lord, leest I come, sez he, and smite you
with a cuss--ah! An’ what sez Faro, the ole tyranickle king--ah? Ah,
sez he, sez ole Faro, Let their tasks be doubled, and leest they
mought grumble, sez he, those bricks shall be made without straw--ah!
[Vox naturale.] Made ’em pluck up grass an’ stubble outen the fields,
breethering, to mix with their mud. Mity hard on the pore critters;
warn’t it, Brother Flood Gate?” [The individual thus interrogated
replied, “Jess so;” and “ole Louder” moved along.]

“An’ what next--ah? Did the ole king let my people Isrel go--ah? No,
my dear breethering, he retched out his pizen hand, and he hilt ’em
fash--ah. Then the Lord was wroth with that wicked ole king--ah. An’
the Lord, he sed to Moses, sez he: Moses, stretch forth now thy rod
over the rivers an’ the ponds of this wicked land--ah; an’ behold, sez
he, when thou stretch out thy rod, sez the Lord, all the waters shall
be turned into blood--ah! Then Moses, he tuck his rod, an’ he done as
the Lord God of Isrel had commanded his servant Moses to do--ah. An’
what then, say you, my breethering--ah? Why, lo an’ behold! the rivers
of that wicked land was all turned into blood--ah; an’ all the fish an’
all the frogs in them streams an’ waters died a--h!”

“Yes!” said the speaker, lowering his voice to a natural tone, and
glancing out of the open window at the dry and dusty road, for we were
at the time suffering from a protracted drouth: “An’ I believe the
frogs will all die now, unless we get some rain purty soon. What do
you think about it, Brother Waters?” [This interrogatory was addressed
to a fine, portly-looking old man in the congregation. Brother W.
nodded assent, and old Louder resumed the thread of his discourse.]
“Ah, my beloved breethering, that was a hard time on old Faro an’ his
wicked crowd--ah. For the waters was loathsome to the people, an’ it
smelt so bad none of ’em cood drink it; an’ what next--ah? Did the
ole king obey the voice of the Lord, and let my people Isrel go--ah?
Ah, no, my breethering, not by a long sight--ah. For he hilt out agin
the Lord, and obeyed not his voice--ah. Then the Lord sent a gang of
bull-frogs into that wicked land--ah. An’ they went hoppin’ an’ lopin’
about all over the country, into the vittles, an’ everywhere else--ah.
My breethering, the old Louder thinks that was a des’prit time--ah.
But all woodent do--ah. Ole Faro was as stubborn as one of Louder’s
mules--ah, an’ he woodent let the chosen seed go up outen the land of
bondage--ah. Then the Lord sent a mighty hail, an’, arter that, his
devourin’ locuses--ah! An’ they et up blamed nigh everything on the
face of the eth--ah.”

[Illustration: REV. MR. WILSON AND HIS CAPTURED SLAVE.--Page 83.]

“Let not yore harts be trubbled, for the truth is mitay and must
prevale--ah. Brother Creek, you don’t seem to be doin’ much of
ennything, suppose you raise a tune!”

This remark was addressed to a tall, lank, hollow-jawed old man, in the
congregation, with a great shock of “grizzled gray” hair.

“Wait a minit, Brother Louder, till I git on my glasses!” was the reply
of Brother Creek, who proceeded to draw from his pocket an oblong tin
case, which opened and shut with a tremendous snap, from which he
drew a pair of iron-rimmed spectacles. These he carefully “dusted”
with his handkerchief, and then turned to the hymn which the preacher
had selected and read out to the congregation. After considerable
deliberation, and some clearing of the throat, hawking, spitting,
etc., and other preliminaries, Brother Creek, in a quavering, split
sort of voice, opened out on the tune.

Louder seemed uneasy. It was evident that he feared a failure on
the part of the worthy brother. At the end of the first line, he
exclaimed:--

“’Pears to me, Brother Creek, you hain’t got the right miter.”

Brother Creek suspended operations a moment, and replied, “I am purty
kerrect, ginerally, Brother Louder, an’ I’m confident she’ll come out
all right!”

“Well,” said Louder, “we’ll try her agin,” and the choral strain, under
the supervision of Brother Creek, was resumed in the following words:--

          “When I was a mourner just like you,
             Washed in the blood of the Lamb,
           I fasted and prayed till I got through,
             Washed in the blood of the Lamb.

    CHORUS.--“Come along, sinner, and go with us;
              If you don’t you will be cussed.”

          “Religion’s like a blooming rose,
             Washed in the blood of the Lamb,
           As none but those that feel it knows,
             Washed in the blood of the Lamb.”--_Cho._

The singing, joined in by all present, brought the enthusiasm of the
assembly up to white heat, and the shouting, with the loud “Amen,” “God
save the sinner,” “Sing it, brother, sing it,” made the welkin ring.



CHAPTER IX.


While the “peculiar institution” was a great injury to both master and
slaves, yet there was considerable truth in the oft-repeated saying
that the slave “was happy.” It was indeed, a low kind of happiness,
existing only where masters were disposed to treat their servants
kindly, and where the proverbial light-heartedness of the latter
prevailed. History shows that of all races, the African was best
adapted to be the “hewers of wood, and drawers of water.”

Sympathetic in his nature, thoughtless in his feelings, both
alimentativeness and amativeness large, the negro is better adapted to
follow than to lead. His wants easily supplied, generous to a fault,
large fund of humor, brimful of music, he has ever been found the best
and most accommodating of servants. The slave would often get rid of
punishment by his wit; and even when being flogged, the master’s heart
has been moved to pity, by the humorous appeals of his victim. House
servants in the cities and villages, and even on plantations, were
considered privileged classes. Nevertheless, the field hands were not
without their happy hours.

An old-fashioned corn-shucking took place once a year, on “Poplar
Farm,” which afforded pleasant amusement for the out-door negroes for
miles around. On these occasions, the servants, on all plantations,
were allowed to attend by mere invitation of the blacks where the corn
was to be shucked.

As the grain was brought in from the field, it was left in a pile near
the corn-cribs. The night appointed, and invitations sent out, slaves
from plantations five or six miles away, would assemble and join on
the road, and in large bodies march along, singing their melodious
plantation songs.

To hear three or four of these gangs coming from different directions,
their leaders giving out the words, and the whole company joining in
the chorus, would indeed surpass anything ever produced by “Haverly’s
Ministrels,” and many of their jokes and witticisms were never equalled
by Sam Lucas or Billy Kersands.

A supper was always supplied by the planter on whose farm the shucking
was to take place. Often when approaching the place, the singers would
speculate on what they were going to have for supper. The following
song was frequently sung:--

    “All dem puty gals will be dar,
             Shuck dat corn before you eat.
     Dey will fix it fer us rare,
             Shuck dat corn before you eat.
     I know dat supper will be big,
             Shuck dat corn before you eat.
     I think I smell a fine roast pig,
             Shuck dat corn before you eat.
     A supper is provided, so dey said,
             Shuck dat corn before you eat.
     I hope dey’ll have some nice wheat bread,
             Shuck dat corn before you eat.
     I hope dey’ll have some coffee dar,
             Shuck dat corn before you eat.
     I hope dey’ll have some whisky dar,
             Shuck dat corn before you eat.
     I think I’ll fill my pockets full,
             Shuck dat corn before you eat.
     Stuff dat coon an’ bake him down,
             Shuck dat corn before you eat.
     I speck some niggers dar from town,
             Shuck dat corn before you eat.
     Please cook dat turkey nice an’ brown.
             Shuck dat corn before you eat.
     By de side of dat turkey I’ll be foun,
             Shuck dat corn before you eat.
     I smell de supper, dat I do,
             Shuck dat corn before you eat.
     On de table will be a stew,
             Shuck dat corn, etc.”

Burning pine knots, held by some of the boys, usually furnished light
for the occasion. Two hours is generally sufficient time to finish up a
large shucking; where five hundred bushels of corn is thrown into the
cribs as the shuck is taken off. The work is made comparatively light
by the singing, which never ceases till they go to the supper table.
Something like the following is sung during the evening:

            “De possum meat am good to eat,
                Carve him to de heart;
              You’ll always find him good and sweet,
                Carve him to de heart;
              My dog did bark, and I went to see,
                Carve him to de heart;
              And dar was a possum up dat tree,
                Carve him to de heart.

    CHORUS.--“Carve dat possum, carve dat possum children,
                Carve dat possum, carve him to de heart;
              Oh, carve dat possum, carve dat possum children,
                Carve dat possum, carve him to de heart.

            “I reached up for to pull him in,
               Carve him to de heart;
             De possum he began to grin,
               Carve him to de heart;
             I carried him home and dressed him off,
               Carve him to de heart;
             I hung him dat night in de frost,
               Carve him to de heart.

    CHORUS.--“Carve dat possum, etc.

            “De way to cook de possum sound,
               Carve him to de heart;
             Fust par-bile him, den bake him brown,
               Carve him to de heart;
             Lay sweet potatoes in de pan,
               Carve him to de heart;
             De sweetest eatin’ in de lan,’
               Carve him to de heart.

    CHORUS.--“Carve dat possum, etc.”

Should a poor supper be furnished, on such an occasion, you would hear
remarks from all parts of the table,--

“Take dat rose pig ’way from dis table.”

“What rose pig? you see any rose pig here?”

“Ha, ha, ha! Dis ain’t de place to see rose pig.”

“Pass up some dat turkey wid clam sauce.”

“Don’t talk about dat turkey; he was gone afore we come.”

“Dis is de las’ time I shucks corn at dis farm.”

“Dis is a cheap farm, cheap owner, an’ a cheap supper.”

“He’s talkin’ it, ain’t he?”

“Dis is de tuffest meat dat I is been called upon to eat fer many a
day; you’s got to have teeth sharp as a saw to eat dis meat.”

“Spose you ain’t got no teef, den what you gwine to do?”

“Why, ef you ain’t got no teef you muss _gum it_!”

“Ha, ha, ha!” from the whole company, was heard.

On leaving the corn-shucking farm, each gang of men, headed by their
leader, would sing during the entire journey home. Some few, however,
having their dogs with them, would start on the trail of a coon,
possum, or some other game, which might keep them out till nearly
morning.

To the Christmas holidays, the slaves were greatly indebted for winter
recreation; for long custom had given to them the whole week from
Christmas day to the coming in of the New Year.

On “Poplar Farm,” the hands drew their share of clothing on Christmas
day for the year. The clothing for both men and women was made up by
women kept for general sewing and housework. One pair of pants, and two
shirts, made the entire stock for a male field hand.

The women’s garments were manufactured from the same goods that the men
received. Many of the men worked at night for themselves, making splint
and corn brooms, baskets, shuck mats, and axe-handles, which they would
sell in the city during Christmas week. Each slave was furnished with a
pass, something like the following:--

“_Please let my boy, Jim, pass anywhere in this county, until Jan. 1,
1834, and oblige_

  _Respectfully_,
  “JOHN GAINES, M.D.
  “‘_Poplar Farm_,’ _St. Louis County, Mo._”

With the above precious document in his pocket, a load of baskets,
brooms, mats, and axe-handles on his back, a bag hanging across his
shoulders, with a jug in each end,--one for the whiskey, and the other
for the molasses,--the slaves trudged off to town at night, singing,--

    “Hurra, for good ole massa,
       He give me de pass to go to de city.
     Hurra, for good ole missis,
       She bile de pot, and giv me de licker.
                 Hurra, I’m goin to de city.”

    “When de sun rise in de mornin’,
       Jes’ above de yaller corn,
     You’ll fin’ dis nigger has take warnin’,
       An’s gone when de driver blows his horn.

    “Hurra, for good ole massa,
       He giv me de pass to go to de city.
     Hurra for good ole missis,
       She bile de pot, and give me de licker.
                 Hurra, I’m goin to de city.”

Both the Methodists and Baptists,--the religious denominations to
which the blacks generally belong,--never fail to be in the midst of a
revival meeting during the holidays, and most of the slaves from the
country hasten to these gatherings. Some, however, spend their time at
the dances, raffles, cockfights, foot-races, and other amusements that
present themselves.



CHAPTER X.


A young and beautiful lady, closely veiled and attired in black,
arrived one morning at “Poplar Farm,” and was shown immediately into
a room in the eastern wing, where she remained, attended only by old
Nancy. That the lady belonged to the better class was evident from her
dress, refined manners, and the inviolable secrecy of her stay at the
residence of Dr. Gaines. At last the lady gave birth to a child, which
was placed under the care of Isabella, a quadroon servant, who had
recently lost a baby of her own.

The lady left the premises as mysteriously as she had come, and nothing
more was ever seen or heard of her, certainly not by the negroes. The
child, which was evidently of pure Anglo-Saxon blood, was called Lola,
and grew up amongst the negro children of the place, to be a bright,
pretty girl, to whom her adopted mother seemed very much attached. At
the time of which I write, Lola was eight years old, and her presence
on the plantation began to annoy the white members of Dr. Gaines’
family, especially when strangers visited the place.

The appearance of Mr. Walker, the noted slave speculator, on the
plantation, and whom it was said, had been sent for, created no little
excitement amongst the slaves; and great was the surprise to the
blacks, when they saw the trader taking Isabella and Lola with him at
his departure. Unable to sell the little white girl at any price, Mr.
Walker gave her to Mr. George Savage, who having no children of his own
adopted the child.

Isabella was sold to a gentleman, who took her to Washington. The grief
of the quadroon at being separated from her adopted child was intense,
and greatly annoyed her new master, who determined to sell her on his
arrival home. Isabella was sold to the slave-trader, Jennings, who
placed the woman in one of the private slave-pens, or prisons, a number
of which then disgraced the national capital.

Jennings intended to send Isabella to the New Orleans market, as soon
as he purchased a sufficient number. At the dusk of the evening,
previous to the day she was to be sent off, as the old prison was
being closed for the night, Isabella suddenly darted past the keeper,
and ran for her life. It was not a great distance from the prison to
the long bridge which passes from the lower part of the city, across
the Potomac to the extensive forests and woodlands of the celebrated
Arlington Heights, then occupied by that distinguished relative and
descendant of the immortal Washington, Mr. Geo. W. Custis. Thither the
poor fugitive directed her flight. So unexpected was her escape, that
she had gained several rods the start before the keeper had secured the
other prisoners, and rallied his assistants to aid in the pursuit. It
was at an hour, and in a part of the city where horses could not easily
be obtained for the chase; no bloodhounds were at hand to run down the
flying woman, and for once it seemed as if there was to be a fair trial
of speed and endurance between the slave and the slave-catchers.

The keeper and his force raised the hue-and-cry on her path as they
followed close behind; but so rapid was the flight along the wide
avenue, that the astonished citizens, as they poured forth from their
dwellings to learn the cause of alarm, were only able to comprehend
the nature of the case in time to fall in with the motley throng in
pursuit, or raise an anxious prayer to heaven, as they refused to join
in the chase (as many a one did that night), that the panting fugitive
might escape, and the merciless soul-dealer for once be disappointed
of his prey. And now, with the speed of an arrow, having passed the
avenue, with the distance between her and her pursuers constantly
increasing, this poor, hunted female gained the “Long Bridge,” as it
is called, where interruption seemed improbable. Already her heart
began to beat high with the hope of success. She had only to pass
three-quarters of a mile across the bridge, when she could bury herself
in a vast forest, just at the time when the curtain of night would
close around her, and protect her from the pursuit of her enemies.

But God, by His providence, had otherwise determined. He had ordained
that an appalling tragedy should be enacted that night within plain
sight of the President’s house, and the Capitol of the Union, which
would be an evidence, wherever it should be known, of the unconquerable
love of liberty which the human heart may inherit, as well as a fresh
admonition to the slave-dealer of the cruelty and enormity of his
crimes.

Just as the pursuers passed the high draw, soon after entering
upon the bridge, they beheld three men slowly approaching from the
Virginia side. They immediately called to them to arrest the fugitive,
proclaiming her a runaway slave. True to their Virginia instincts, as
she came near, they formed a line across the narrow bridge to intercept
her. Seeing that escape was impossible in that quarter, she stopped
suddenly, and turned upon her pursuers.

On came the profane and ribald gang, faster than ever, already exulting
in her capture, and threatening punishment for her flight. For a
moment, she looked wildly and anxiously around to see if there was
no hope of escape, on either hand; far down below, rolled the deep,
foaming waters of the Potomac, and before and behind were the rapidly
approaching steps and noisy voices of her pursuers.

Seeing how vain would be any further effort to escape, her resolution
was instantly taken. She clasped her hands convulsively together,
raised her tearful and imploring eyes towards heaven, and begged for
the mercy and compassion there, which was unjustly denied her on earth;
then, with a single bound, vaulted over the railing of the bridge, and
sank forever beneath the angry and foaming waters of the river.

In the meantime Mr. and Mrs. Savage were becoming more and more
interested in the child, Lola, whom they had adopted, and who was fast
developing into an intellectual and beautiful girl, whose bright,
sparkling hazel eyes, snow-white teeth and alabaster complexion caused
her to be admired by all. In time, Lola become highly educated, and was
duly introduced into the best society.

The cholera of 1832, in its ravages, swept off many of St. Louis’ most
valued citizens, and among them, Mr. George Savage. Mrs. Savage, who
was then in ill-health, regarded Lola with even greater solicitude,
than during the lifetime of her late husband. Lola had been amply
provided for by Mr. Savage, in his will. She was being courted by Mr.
Martin Phelps, previous to the death of her adopted father, and the
failing health of Mrs. Savage hastened the nuptials.

The marriage of Mr. Phelps and Miss Savage partook more of a private
than of a public affair, owing to the recent death of Mr. Savage. Mr.
Phelps’ residence was at the outskirts of the city, in the vicinity of
what was known as the “Mound,” and was a lovely spot. The lady had
brought considerable property to her husband.

One morning in the month of December, and only about three months after
the marriage of the Phelps’s, two men alighted from a carriage, at Mr.
Phelps’ door, rang the bell, and were admitted by the servant. Mr.
Phelps hastened from the breakfast-table, as the servant informed him
of the presence of the strangers.

On entering the sitting-room, the host recognized one of the men as
Officer Mull, while the other announced himself as James Walker, and
said,--

“I have come, Mr. Phelps, on rather an unpleasant errand. You’ve got a
slave in your house that belongs to me.”

“I think you are mistaken, sir,” replied Mr. Phelps; “my servants are
all hired from Major Ben. O’Fallon.”

Walker put on a sinister smile, and blandly continued, “I see, sir,
that you don’t understand me. Ten years ago I bought a slave child
from Dr. Gaines, and lent her to Mr. George Savage, and I understand
she’s in your employ, and I’ve come to get her,” and here the slave
speculator took from his side pocket a large sheepskin pocket book,
and drew forth the identical bill of sale of Lola, given to him by Dr.
Gaines at the time of the selling of Isabella and the child.

“Good heavens!” exclaimed Mr. Phelps, “that paper, if it means
anything, it means my wife.”

“I can’t help what it means,” remarked Walker; “here’s the bill of
sale, and here’s the officer to get me my nigger.”

“There must be a mistake here. It is true that my wife was the adopted
daughter of the late Mr. George Savage, but there is not a drop of
negro blood in her veins; and I doubt, sir, if you have ever seen her.”

“Well, sir,” said Walker, “jest bring her in the room, and I guess
she’ll know me.”

Feeling confident that the bill of sale had no reference to his wife,
Mr. Phelps rang the bell, and told the boy that answered it to ask his
mistress to come in. A moment or two later, and the lady entered the
room.

“My dear,” said Mr. Phelps, “are you acquainted with either of these
gentlemen?”

The lady looked, hesitated, and replied, “I think not.”

Then Walker arose, stepped towards the window, where he could be seen
to better advantage, and said, “Why, Lola, have you forgotten me, it’s
only about ten years since I brought you from ‘Poplar Farm,’ and lent
you to Mr. Savage. Ha, ha, ha!”

This coarse laugh of the rough, uneducated negro-trader had not ceased,
when Lola gave a heart-rending shriek, and fell fainting upon the floor.

“I thought she’d know me when I jogged her memory,” said Walker, as he
re-seated himself.

Mr. Phelps sprang to his wife, and lifted her from the floor, and
placed her upon the sofa.

“Throw a little of Adam’s ale in her face, and that’ll bring her to.
I’ve seen ’em faint afore; but they allers come to,” said the trader.

[Illustration: LEAP OF THE FUGITIVE SLAVE.]

“I thank you, sir, but I will attend to my own affairs,” said Mr.
Phelps, in a rather petulant tone.

“Yes,” replied Walker; “but she’s mine, and I want to see that she
comes to.”

As soon as she revived, Mr. Phelps led his wife from the room. A
conference of an hour took place on the return of Mr. Phelps to the
parlor, which closed with the understanding that a legal examination of
the papers should settle the whole question the next day.

At the appointed time, on the following morning, one of the ablest
lawyers in the city, Col. Strawther, pronounced the bill of sale
genuine, for it had been drawn up by Justice McGuyer, and witnessed by
George Kennelly and Wilson P. Hunt.

For this claim, Walker expressed a willingness to sell the woman for
two thousand dollars. The payment of the money would have been a small
matter, if it had not carried with it the proof that Lola was a slave,
which was undeniable evidence that she had negro blood in her veins.

Yet such was the result, for Dr. Gaines had been dead these three
years, and whoever Lola’s mother was, even if living, she would not
come forth to vindicate the free birth of her child.

Mr. Phelps was a man of fine sensibility and was affectionately
attached to his wife. However, it was a grave question to be settled in
his mind, whether his honor as a Southern gentleman, and his standing
in society would allow him to acknowledge a woman as his wife, in whose
veins coursed the accursed blood of the negro slave.

Long was the struggle between love and duty, but the shame of public
gaze and the ostracism of society decided the matter in favor of duty,
and the young and lovely wife was informed by the husband that they
must separate, never to meet again. Indescribable were the feelings of
Lola, as she begged him, upon her knees, not to leave her. The room
was horrible in its darkness,--her mind lost its reasoning powers for
a time. At last consciousness returned, but only to awaken in her the
loneliness of her condition, and the unfriendliness of that law and
society that dooms one to everlasting disgrace for a blood taint, which
the victim did not have.

Ten days after the proving of the bill of sale, the innocent Lola died
of a broken heart, and was interred in the negro burial ground, with
not a white face to follow the corpse to its last resting-place. Such
is American race prejudice.



CHAPTER XI.


The invention of the Whitney cotton gin, nearly fifty years ago,
created a wonderful rise in the price of slaves in the cotton States.
The value of able-bodied men, fit for field-hands, advanced from five
hundred to twelve hundred dollars, in the short space of five years.
In 1850, a prime field-hand was worth two thousand dollars. The price
of women rose in proportion; they being valued at about three hundred
dollars less each than the men. This change in the price of slaves
caused a lucrative business to spring up, both in the breeding of
slaves and the sending of them to the States needing their services.
Virginia, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, and North Carolina became the
slave-raising sections; Virginia, however, was always considered the
banner State. To the traffic in human beings, more than to any other of
its evils, is the institution indebted for its overthrow.

From the picture on the heading of _The Liberator_, down to the
smallest tract printed against slavery, the separation of families was
the chief object of those exposing the great American sin. The tearing
asunder of husbands and wives, of parents and children, and the gangs
of men and women chained together, _en route_ for the New-Orleans’
market, furnished newspaper correspondents with items that never wanted
readers. These newspaper paragraphs were not unfrequently made stronger
by the fact that many of the slaves were as white as those who offered
them for sale, and the close resemblance of the victim to the trader,
often reminded the purchaser that the same blood coursed through the
veins of both.

The removal of Dr. Gaines from “Poplar Farm” to St. Louis, gave me an
opportunity of seeing the worst features of the internal slave-trade.
For many years Missouri drove a brisk business in the selling of her
sons and daughters, the greater number of whom passed through the
city of St. Louis. For a long time, James Walker was the principal
speculator in this species of property. The early life of this man had
been spent as a drayman, first working for others, then for himself,
and eventually purchasing men who worked with him. At last, disposing
of his horses and drays, he took his faithful men to the Louisiana
market and sold them. This was the commencement of a career of cruelty,
that, in all probability, had no equal in the annals of the American
slave trade.

A more repulsive-looking person could scarcely be found in any
community of bad-looking men than Walker. Tall, lean, and lank, with
high cheek-bones, face much pitted with the small-pox, gray eyes, with
red eyebrows, and sandy whiskers, he indeed stood alone without mate or
fellow in looks. He prided himself upon what he called his goodness of
heart, and was always speaking of his humanity.

Walker often boasted that he never separated families if he could
“persuade the purchaser to take the whole lot.” He would always
advertise in the New Orleans’ papers that he would be there with a
prime lot of able-bodied slaves, men and women, fit for field-service,
with a few extra ones calculated for house servants,--all between the
ages of fifteen and twenty-five years; but like most men who make a
business of speculating in human beings, he often bought many who were
far advanced in years, and would try to pass them off for five or six
years younger than they were. Few persons can arrive at anything
approaching the real age of the negro, by mere observation, unless
they are well acquainted with the race. Therefore, the slave-trader
frequently carried out the deception with perfect impunity.

As soon as the steamer would leave the wharf, and was fairly on the
bosom of the broad Mississippi, the speculator would call his servant
Pompey to him, and instruct him as to getting the slaves ready for the
market. If any of the blacks looked as if they were older than they
were advertised to be, it was Pompey’s business to fit them for the day
of sale.

Pomp, as he was usually called by the trader, was of real negro
blood, and would often say, when alluding to himself, “Dis nigger am
no counterfeit, he is de ginuine artikle. Dis chile is none of your
haf-and-haf, dere is no bogus about him.”

Pompey was of low stature, round face, and, like most of his race,
had a set of teeth, which, for whiteness and beauty, could not be
surpassed; his eyes were large, lips thick, and hair short and woolly.
Pomp had been with Walker so long, and seen so much of buying and
selling of his fellow-creatures, that he appeared perfectly indifferent
to the heart-rending scenes which daily occurred in his presence. Such
is the force of habit:--

    “Vice is a monster of such frightful mien,
     That to be hated, needs but to be seen;
     But seen too oft, familiar with its face,
     We first endure, then pity, then embrace.”

Before reaching the place of destination, Pompey would pick out the
older portion and say, “I is de chap dat is to get you ready for de
Orleans market, so dat you will bring marser a good price. How old is
you?” addressing himself to a man that showed some age.

“Ef I live to see next corn-plantin’ time, I’ll be forty.”

“Dat may be,” replied Pompey, “but now you is only thirty years old;
dat’s what marser says you is to be.”

“I know I is mo’ dan dat,” responded the man.

“I can’t help nuffin’ ’bout dat,” returned Pompey; “but when you get in
de market, an’ any one ax you how old you is, an’ you tell um you is
forty, massa will tie you up, an’ when he is done whippin’ you, you’ll
be glad to say you’s only thirty.”

“Well den, I reckon I is only thirty,” said the slave.

“What is your name?” asked Pompey of another man in the group.

“Jeems,” was the response.

“Oh! Uncle Jim, is it?”

“Yes.”

“Den you muss’ hab all dem gray whiskers shaved off, and dem gray
hairs plucked out of your head. De fack is, you’s got ole too quick.”
This was all said by Pompey in a manner which showed that he knew his
business.

“How ole is you?” asked Pompey of a tall, strong-looking man.

“I am twenty-nine, nex’ Christmas Eve,” said the man.

“What’s your name?”

“My name is Tobias,” replied the slave.

“Tobias!” ejaculated Pompey, with a sneer, that told that he was ready
to show his brief authority. “Now you’s puttin’ on airs. Your name
is Toby, an’ why can’t you tell the truf? Remember, now, dat you is
twenty-three years ole; an’ afore you goes in de market your face muss’
be greased; fer I see you’s one of dem kind o’ ashy niggers, an’ a
little grease will make your face look black an’ slick, an’ make you
look younger.”

Pompey reported to his master the condition of affairs, when the latter
said, “Be sure that the niggers don’t forget what you have taught them,
for our luck depends a great deal upon the appearance of our stock.”

With this lot of slaves was a beautiful quadroon, a girl of twenty
years, fair as most white women, with hair a little wavy, large black
eyes, and a countenance that betokened intelligence beyond the common
house servant. Her name was Marion, and the jealousy of the mistress,
so common in those days, was the cause of her being sold.

Not far from Canal Street, in the city of New Orleans, in the old days
of slavery, stood a two-story, flat building, surrounded by a stone
wall, some twelve feet high, the top of which was covered with bits
of glass, and so constructed as to prevent even the possibility of
any one’s passing over it without sustaining great injury. Many of
the rooms in this building resembled the cells of a prison, and in a
small apartment, near the “office,” were to be seen any number of iron
collars, hobbles, hand-cuffs, thumb-screws, cowhides, chains, gags, and
yokes.

A back-yard, enclosed by a high wall, looked like the play-ground
attached to one of our large New England schools, in which were rows
of benches and swings. Attached to the back premises was a good-sized
kitchen, where, at the time of which we write, two old negresses were
at work, stewing, boiling, and baking, and occasionally wiping the
perspiration from their furrowed and swarthy brows.

The slave-trader, Walker, on his arrival at New Orleans, took up his
quarters here, with his gang of human cattle, and the morning after,
at ten o’clock, they were exhibited for sale. First of all, came the
beautiful Marion, whose pale countenance and dejected look, told how
many sad hours she had passed since parting with her mother. There,
too, was a poor woman, who had been separated from her husband, and
another woman, whose looks and manners were expressive of deep anguish,
sat by her side. There was “Uncle Jeems,” with his whiskers off, his
face shaven clean, and the gray hairs plucked out, ready to be sold
for ten years younger than he was. Toby was also there, with his face
shaven and greased, ready for inspection.

The examination commenced, and was carried on in such a manner as to
shock the feelings of any one not entirely devoid of the milk of human
kindness.

“What are you wiping your eyes for?” inquired a fat, red-faced man,
with a white hat set on one side of his head and a cigar in his mouth,
of a woman who sat on one of the benches.

“Because I left my man behind.”

“Oh, if I buy you, I will furnish you with a better man than you left.
I’ve got lots of young bucks on my farm,” responded the man.

“I don’t want and never will have another man,” replied the woman.

“What’s your name?” asked a man, in a straw hat, of a tall negro, who
stood with his arms folded across his breast, leaning against the wall.

“My name is Aaron, sar.”

“How old are you?”

“Twenty-five.”

“Where were you raised?”

“In ole Virginny, sar.”

“How many men have owned you?”

“Four.”

“Do you enjoy good health?”

“Yes, sar.”

“How long did you live with your first owner?”

“Twenty years.”

“Did you ever run away?”

“No, sar.”

“Did you ever strike your master?”

“No sar.”

“Were you ever whipped much?”

“No, sar; I spose I didn’t desarve it, sar.”

“How long did you live with your second master?”

“Ten years, sar.”

“Have you a good appetite?”

“Yes, sar.”

“Can you eat your allowance?”

“Yes, sar,--when I can get it.”

“Where were you employed in Virginia?”

“I worked in de tobacker fiel’.”

“In the tobacco field, eh?”

“Yes, sar.”

“How old did you say you was?”

“Twenty-five, sar, nex’ sweet-’tater-diggin’ time.”

“I am a cotton-planter, and if I buy you, you will have to work in the
cotton field. My men pick one hundred and fifty pounds a day, and the
women one hundred and forty pounds; and those who fail to perform their
task receive five stripes for each pound that is wanting. Now do you
think you could keep up with the rest of the hands?”

“I don’t know, sar, but I reckon I’d have to.”

“How long did you live with your third master?”

“Three years, sar,” replied the slave.

“Why, that makes you thirty-three; I thought you told me you were only
twenty-five.”

Aaron now looked first at the planter, then at the trader, and seemed
perfectly bewildered. He had forgotten the lesson given him by Pompey,
relative to his age; and the planter’s circuitous questions--doubtless
to find out the slave’s real age--had thrown the negro off his guard.

“I must see your back, so as to know how much you have been whipped,
before I think of buying.”

Pompey, who had been standing by during the examination, thought that
his services were now required, and, stepping forth with a degree of
officiousness, said to Aaron:--“Don’t you hear de gemman tell you he
wants to zamin you? Cum, unharness yo-seff, ole boy, an’ don’t be
standin’ dar.”

Aaron was examined, and pronounced “sound”; yet the conflicting
statement about his age was not satisfactory.

On the following trip down the river, Walker halted at Vicksburg, with
a “prime lot of slaves,” and a circumstance occurred which shows what
the slaves in those days would resort to, to save themselves from
flogging, while, at the same time, it exhibits the quick wit of the
race.

While entertaining some of his purchasers at the hotel, Walker ordered
Pompey to hand the wine around to his guests. In doing this, the
servant upset a glass of wine upon a gentleman’s lap. For this mishap,
the trader determined to have his servant punished. He, therefore, gave
Pompey a sealed note, and ordered him to take it to the slave prison.
The servant, suspecting that all was not right, hastened to open the
note before the wafer had dried; and passing the steamboat landing,
he got a sailor to read the note, which proved to be, as Pompey had
suspected, an order to have him receive “thirty-nine stripes upon the
bare back.”

Walker had given the man a silver dollar, with orders to deliver it,
with the note, to the jailor, for it was common in those days for
persons who wanted their servants punished and did not wish to do it
themselves, to send them to the “slave pen,” and have it done; the
price for which was one dollar.

[Illustration: WALKER, THE SLAVE TRADER.]

How to escape the flogging, and yet bring back to his master the
evidence of having been punished, perplexed the fertile brain of
Pompey. However, the servant was equal to the occasion. Standing in
front of the “slave pen,” the negro saw another well dressed colored
man coming up the street, and he determined to inquire in regard to how
they did the whipping there.

“How de do, sar,” said Pompey, addressing the colored brother. “Do you
live here?”

“Oh! no,” replied the stranger, “I am a free man, and belong in
Pittsburgh, Pa.”

“Ah! ha, den you don’t live here,” said Pompey.

“No, I left my boat here last week, and I have been trying every day to
get something to do. I’m pretty well out of money, and I’d do almost
anything just now.”

A thought flashed upon Pompey’s mind--this was his occasion.

“Well,” said the slave, “ef you want a job, whar you can make some
money quick, I specks I can help you.”

“If you will,” replied the free man, “you’ll do me a great favor.”

“Here, then,” said Pompey, “take dis note, an’ go in to dat prison,
dar, an’ dey will give you a trunk, bring it out, an’ I’ll tell you
where to carry it to, an’ here’s a dollar; dat will pay you, won’t it?”

“Yes,” replied the man, with many thanks; and taking the note and the
shining coin, with smiles, he went to the “Bell Gate,” and gave the
bell a loud ring. The gate flew open, and in he went.

The man had scarcely disappeared, ere Pompey had crossed the street,
and was standing at the gate, listening to the conversation then going
on between the jailor and the free colored man.

“Where is the dollar that you got with this note?” asked the
“_whipper_,” as he finished reading the epistle.

“Here it is, sir; he gave it to me,” said the man, with no little
surprise.

“Hand it here,” responded the jailor, in a rough voice. “There, now;
take this nigger, Pete, and strap him down upon the stretcher, and get
him ready for business.”

“What are you going to do to me!” cried the horrified man, at the
jailor’s announcement.

“You’ll know, damn quick!” was the response.

The resistance of the innocent man caused the “whipper” to call in
three other sturdy blacks, and, in a few minutes, the victim was
fastened upon the stretcher, face downwards, his clothing removed, and
the strong-armed white negro-whipper standing over him with uplifted
whip.

The cries and groans of the poor man, as the heavy instrument of
torture fell upon his bare back, aroused Pompey, who retreated across
the street, stood awaiting the result, and wondering if he could
obtain, from the injured man, the receipt which the jailor always gives
the slave to take back to his master as evidence of his having been
punished.

As the gate opened, and the colored brother made his appearance,
looking wildly about for Pompey, the latter called out, “Here I is,
sar!”

Maddened by the pain from the excoriation of his bleeding back, and the
surprise and astonishment at the quickness with which the whole thing
had been accomplished, the man ran across the street, upbraiding in
the most furious manner his deceiver, who also appeared amazed at the
epithets bestowed upon him.

“What have I done to you?” asked Pompey, with a seriousness that was
indeed amusing.

“What hain’t you done!” said the man, the tears streaming down his
face. “You’ve got my back cut all to pieces,” continued the victim.

“What did you let ’em whip you for?” said Pompey, with a concealed
smile.

“You knew that note was to get somebody whipped, and you put it on me.
And here is a piece of paper that he gave me, and told me to give it to
my master. Just as if I had a master.”

“Well,” responded Pompey, “I have a half a dollar, an’ I’ll give that
to you, ef you’ll give me the paper.”

Seeing that he could make no better bargain, the man gave up the
receipt, taking in exchange the silver coin.

“Now,” said Pompey, “I’m mighty sorry for ye, an’ ef ye’ll go down to
de house, I’ll pray for ye. I’m powerful in prayer, dat I is.” However
the free man declined Pompey’s offer.

“I reckon you’ll behave yourself and not spill the wine over gentlemen
again,” said Walker, as Pompey handed him the note from the jailor.
“The next time you commit such a blunder, you’ll not get off so easy,”
continued the speculator.

Pompey often spoke of the appearance of “my fren’,” as he called the
colored brother, and would enjoy a hearty laugh, saying, “He was a free
man, an’ could afford to go to bed, an’ lay dar till he got well.”

Strangers to the institution of slavery, and its effects upon its
victims, would frequently speak with astonishment of the pride that
slaves would show in regard to their own value in the market. This was
especially so, at auction sales where town or city servants were sold.

“What did your marser pay for you?” would often be asked by one slave
of another.

“Eight hundred dollars.”

“Eight hundred dollars! Ha, ha! Well, ef I didn’t sell for mo’ dan
eight hundred dollars, I’d neber show my head agin ’mong ’spectable
people.”

“You got so much to say ’bout me sellin’ cheap, now I want to know how
much your boss paid fer you?”

“My boss paid fifteen hundred dollars cash, for me; an’ it was a rainy
day, an’ not many out to de auction, or he’d had to pay a heap mo’, let
me tell you. I’m none of your cheap niggers, I ain’t.”

“Hy, uncle! Did dey sell you, ’isterday? I see you down dar to de
market.”

“Yes, dey sole me.”

“How much did you fetch?”

“Eighteen hundred dollars.”

“Dat was putty smart fer man like you, ain’t it?”

“Well, I dunno; it’s no mo’ dan I is wuf; fer you muss’ ’member, I was
raised by de Christy’s. I’m none of yer common niggers, sellin’ fer a
picayune. I tink my new boss got me mighty cheap.”

“An’ so you sole, las’ Sataday, fer nine hundred dollars; so I herd.”

“Well, what on it?”

“All I got to say is, ef I was sole, to-morrow, an’ did’nt bring more
dan nine hundred dollars, I’d never look a decent man in de face agin.”

These, and other sayings of the kind, were often heard in any company
of colored men, in our Southern towns.



CHAPTER XII.


Throughout the Southern States, there are still to be found remnants
of the old time Africans, who were stolen from their native land and
sold in the Savannah, Mobile, and New Orleans markets, in defiance of
all law. The last-named city, however, and its vicinity, had a larger
portion of these people than any other section. New Orleans was their
centre, and where their meetings were not uninteresting.

Congo Square takes its name, as is well known, from the Congo negroes
who used to perform their dance on its sward every Sunday. They were
a curious people, and brought over with them this remnant of their
African jungles. In Louisiana there were six different tribes of
negroes, named after the section of the country from which they came,
and their representatives could be seen on the square, their teeth
filed, and their cheeks still bearing tattoo marks. The majority of
our city negroes came from the Kraels, a numerous tribe who dwell in
stockades. We had here the Minahs, a proud, dignified, warlike race;
the Congos, a treacherous, shrewd, relentless people; the Mandringas, a
branch of the Congos; the Gangas, named after the river of that name,
from which they had been taken; the Hiboas, called by the missionaries
the “Owls,” a sullen, intractable tribe, and the Foulas, the highest
type of the African, with but few representatives here.

These were the people that one would meet on the square many years
ago. It was a gala occasion, these Sundays in those years, and not
less than two or three thousand people would congregate there to see
the dusky dancers. A low fence enclosed the square, and on each street
there was a little gate and turnstile. There were no trees then,
and the ground was worn bare by the feet of the people. About three
o’clock the negroes began to gather, each nation taking their places
in different parts of the square. The Minahs would not dance near the
Congos, nor the Mandringas near the Gangas. Presently the music would
strike up, and the parties would prepare for the sport. Each set had
its own orchestra. The instruments were a peculiar kind of banjo, made
of a Louisiana gourd, several drums made of a gum stump dug out, with
a sheepskin head, and beaten with the fingers, and two jaw-bones of a
horse, which when shaken would rattle the loose teeth, keeping time
with the drums. About eight negroes, four male and four female, would
make a set, and generally they were but scantily clad.

It took some little time before the tapping of the drums would arouse
the dull and sluggish dancers, but when the point of excitement came,
nothing can faithfully portray the wild and frenzied motions they go
through. Backward and forward, this way and that, now together and
now apart, every motion intended to convey the most sensual ideas. As
the dance progressed, the drums were thrummed faster, the contortions
became more grotesque, until sometimes, in frenzy, the women and men
would fall fainting to the ground. All this was going on with a dense
crowd looking on, and with a hot sun pouring its torrid rays on the
infatuated actors of this curious ballet. After one set had become
fatigued, they would drop out to be replaced by others, and then stroll
off to the groups of some other tribe in a different portion of the
square. Then it was that trouble would commence, and a regular set-to
with short sticks followed, between the men, and broken heads ended the
day’s entertainment.

On the sidewalks, around the square, the old negresses, with their
spruce-beer and peanuts, cocoanuts and pop-corn, did a thriving
trade, and now and then, beneath petticoats, bottles of tafia, a
kind of Louisiana rum, peeped out, of which the _gendarmes_ were
oblivious. When the sun went down, a stream of people poured out of the
turn-stiles, and the _gendarmes_, walking through the square, would
order the dispersion of the negroes, and by gun-fire, at nine o’clock,
the place was well-nigh deserted. These dances were kept up until
within the memory of men still living, and many who believe in them,
and who would gladly revive them, may be found in every State in the
Union.

The early traditions, brought down through the imported Africans, have
done much to keep alive the belief that the devil is a personal being,
with hoofs, horns, and having powers equal with God. These ideas give
influence to the conjurer, goopher doctor, and fortune-teller.

While visiting one of the upper parishes, not long since, I was
stopping with a gentleman who was accustomed to make weekly visits to
a neighboring cemetery, sitting for hours amongst the graves, at which
occurrence the wife felt very sad.

I inquired of her the object of her husband’s strange freak.

“Oh!” said she, “he’s influenced out there by angels.”

“Has he gone to the cemetery now?” I asked.

“Yes,” was the reply.

“I think I can cure him of it, if you will promise to keep the whole
thing a secret.”

“I will,” was the reply.

“Let me have a sheet, and unloose your dog, and I will put the cure in
motion,” I said. Rolla, the big Newfoundland dog, was unfastened, the
sheet was well fitted around his neck, tightly sewed, and the pet told
to go hunt his master.

Taking the trail, the dog at once made for the cemetery. Screams of
“Help, help! God save me!” coming from the direction of the tombs,
aroused the neighborhood. The cries of the man frightened the dog, and
he returned home in haste; the sheet, half torn, was removed, and Rolla
again fastened in his house.

Very soon Mr. Martin was led in by two friends, who picked him up from
the sidewalk, with his face considerably bruised. His story was, that
“The devil had chased him out of the cemetery, tripped him up on the
sidewalk, and hence the flow of blood from the wound on his face.”

The above is a fair index to most of the ghost stories.



CHAPTER XIII.


Forty years ago, the escapes of slaves from the South, although
numerous, were nevertheless difficult, owing to the large rewards
offered for their apprehension, and the easy mode of extradition
from the Northern States. Little or no difficulty was experienced
in capturing and returning a slave from Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, or
Pennsylvania, the four States through which the fugitives had to pass
in their flight to Canada. The Quaker element in all of the above
States showed itself in the furnishing of food to the flying bondman,
concealing him for days, and even weeks, and at last conveying him to
a place of safety, or carrying him to the Queen’s dominions.

Instinct seemed to tell the negro that a drab coat and a broad-brimmed
hat covered a benevolent heart, and we have no record of his ever
having been deceived. It is possible that the few Friends scattered
over the slave States, and the fact that they were never known to own a
slave, gave the blacks a favorable impression of this sect, before the
victim of oppression left his sunny birth-place.

A brave and manly slave resolved to escape from Natchez, Miss. This
slave, whose name was Jerome, was of pure African origin, was perfectly
black, very fine-looking, tall, slim, and erect as any one could
possibly be. His features were not bad, lips thin, nose prominent,
hands and feet small. His brilliant black eyes lighted up his whole
countenance. His hair, which was nearly straight, hung in curls upon
his lofty brow. George Combe or Fowler would have selected his head for
a model. He was brave and daring, strong in person, fiery in spirit,
yet kind and true in his affections, earnest in whatever he undertook.

To reach the free States or Canada, by travelling by night and lying
by during the day, from a State so far south as Mississippi, no one
would think for a moment of attempting to escape. To remain in the city
would be a suicidal step. The deep sound of the escape of steam from
a boat, which was at that moment ascending the river, broke upon the
ears of the slave. “If that boat is going up the river,” said he, “why
not I conceal myself on board, and try to escape?” He went at once to
the steamboat landing, where the boat was just coming in. “Bound for
Louisville,” said the captain, to one who was making inquiries. As the
passengers were rushing on board, Jerome followed them, and proceeding
to where some of the hands were stowing away bales of goods, he took
hold and aided them.

“Jump down into the hold, there, and help the men,” said the mate to
the fugitive, supposing that, like many persons, he was working his way
up the river. Once in the hull, among the boxes, the slave concealed
himself. Weary hours, and at last days, passed without either water or
food with the hidden slave. More than once did he resolve to let his
case be known; but the knowledge that he would be sent back to Natchez,
kept him from doing so. At last, with his lips parched and fevered to
a crisp, the poor man crawled out into the freight-room, and began
wandering about. The hatches were on, and the room dark. There happened
to be on board, a wedding-party; and a box, containing some of the
bridal cake, with several bottles of port wine, was near Jerome. He
found the box, opened it, and helped himself. In eight days, the boat
tied up at the wharf at the place of her destination. It was late at
night; the boat’s crew, with the single exception of the man on watch,
were on shore. The hatches were off, and the fugitive quietly made his
way on deck and jumped on shore. The man saw the fugitive, but too late
to seize him.

Still in a slave State, Jerome was at a loss to know how he should
proceed. He had with him a few dollars, enough to pay his way to
Canada, if he could find a conveyance. The fugitive procured such food
as he wanted from one of the many eating-houses, and then, following
the direction of the North Star, he passed out of the city, and took
the road leading to Covington. Keeping near the Ohio River, Jerome
soon found an opportunity to pass over into the State of Indiana. But
liberty was a mere name in the latter State, and the fugitive learned,
from some colored persons that he met, that it was not safe to travel
by daylight. While making his way one night, with nothing to cheer him
but the prospect of freedom in the future, he was pounced upon by three
men who were lying in wait for another fugitive, an advertisement of
whom they had received through the mail. In vain did Jerome tell tell
them that he was not a slave. True, they had not caught the man they
expected; but, if they could make this slave tell from what place he
had escaped, they knew that a good price would be paid them for the
slave’s arrest.

Tortured by the slave-catchers, to make him reveal the name of his
owner and the place from whence he had escaped, Jerome gave them a
fictitious name in Virginia, and said that his master would give a
large reward, and manifested a willingness to return to his “old boss.”

By this misrepresentation, the fugitive hoped to have another chance of
getting away.

Allured with the prospect of a large sum of the needful the
slave-catchers started back with their victim. Stopping on the second
night at an inn, on the banks of the Ohio River, the kidnappers, in
lieu of a suitable place in which to confine their prize during the
night, chained him to the bed-post of their sleeping chamber.

The white men were late in retiring to rest, after an evening spent
in drinking. At dead of night, when all was still, the slave arose
from the floor, upon which he had been lying, looked around and saw
that Morpheus had possession of his captors. “For once,” thought he,
“the brandy bottle has done a noble work.” With palpitating heart and
trembling limbs, he viewed his position. The door was fast, but the
warm weather had compelled them to leave the window open. If he could
but get the chains off, he might escape through the window to the
piazza. The sleepers’ clothes hung upon chairs by the bedside. The
slave thought of the padlock key, examined the pockets, and found it.
The chains were soon off, and the negro stealthily making his way to
the window. He stopped, and said to himself, “These men are villains,
they are enemies to all who, like me, are trying to be free. Then why
not teach them a lesson?” He then dressed himself in the best suit,
hung his own worn-out and tattered garments on the same chair, and
silently passed through the window to the piazza, and let himself down
by one of the pillars, and started once more for Canada.

Daylight came upon him before he had selected a hiding-place for the
day, and he was walking at a rapid rate, in hopes of soon reaching some
woodland or forest. The sun had just begun to show itself, when Jerome
was astonished at seeing behind him, in the distance, two men upon
horseback. Taking a road to the right he saw before him a farmhouse,
and so near was he to it that he observed two men in front of him
looking at him. It was too late to turn back. The kidnappers were
behind--strange men before. Those in the rear he knew to be enemies,
while he had no idea of what principles were the farmers. The latter
also saw the white men coming, and called to the fugitive to come that
way.

The broad-brimmed hats that the farmers wore told the slave that they
were Quakers.

Jerome had seen some of these people passing up and down the river,
when employed on a steamer between Natchez and New Orleans, and had
heard that they disliked slavery. He, therefore, hastened toward the
drab-coated men, who, on his approach, opened the barn-door, and told
him to “run in.”

When Jerome entered the barn, the two farmers closed the door,
remaining outside themselves, to confront the slave-catchers, who now
came up and demanded admission, feeling that they had their prey secure.

“Thee can’t enter my premises,” said one of the Friends, in rather a
musical voice.

The negro-catchers urged their claim to the slave, and intimated that,
unless they were allowed to secure him, they would force their way in.
By this time, several other Quakers had gathered around the barn-door.
Unfortunately for the kidnappers, and most fortunately for the
fugitive, the Friends had just been holding a quarterly meeting in the
neighborhood, and a number of them had not yet returned to their homes.

After some talk, the men in drab promised to admit the hunters,
provided they procured an officer and a search-warrant from a justice
of the peace. One of the slave-catchers was left to see that the
fugitive did not get away, while the other went in pursuit of an
officer. In the mean time, the owner of the barn sent for a hammer and
nails, and began nailing up the barn-door.

After an hour in search of the man of the law, they returned with an
officer and a warrant. The Quaker demanded to see the paper, and, after
looking at it for some time, called to his son to go into the house
for his glasses. It was a long time before Aunt Ruth found the leather
case, and when she did, the glasses wanted wiping before they could be
used. After comfortably adjusting them on his nose, he read the warrant
over leisurely.

“Come, Mr. Dugdale, we can’t wait all day,” said the officer.

“Well, will thee read it for me?” returned the Quaker.

The officer complied, and the man in drab said,--“Yes, thee may go in,
now. I am inclined to throw no obstacles in the way of the execution of
the law of the land.”

On approaching the door, the men found some forty or fifty nails in it,
in the way of their progress.

“Lend me your hammer and a chisel, if you please, Mr. Dugdale,” said
the officer.

“Please read that paper over again, will thee?” asked the Quaker.

The officer once more read the warrant.

“I see nothing there which says I must furnish thee with tools to open
my door. If thee wants a hammer, thee must go elsewhere for it; I tell
thee plainly, thee can’t have mine.”

The implements for opening the door are at length obtained, and, after
another half hour, the slave-catchers are in the barn. Three hours is a
long time for a slave to be in the hands of Quakers. The hay is turned
over, and the barn is visited in every part; but still the runaway is
not found. Uncle Joseph has a glow upon his countenance; Ephraim shakes
his head knowingly; little Elijah is a perfect know-nothing, and if you
look toward the house you will see Aunt Ruth’s smiling face ready to
announce that breakfast is ready.

“The nigger is not in this barn,” said the officer.

“I know he is not,” quietly remarked the Quaker.

“What were you nailing up your door for, then, as if you were afraid we
would enter?” inquired one of the kidnappers.

“I can do what I please with my own door, can’t I?” said the Friend.

The secret was out; the fugitive had gone in at the front door, and out
at the back; and the reading of the warrant, nailing up of the door,
and other preliminaries of the Quaker, was to give the fugitive time
and opportunity to escape.

It was now late in the morning, and the slave-catchers were a long way
from home, and the horses were jaded by the rapid manner in which they
had travelled. The Friends, in high glee, returned to the house for
breakfast; the officer and the kidnappers made a thorough examination
of the barn and premises, and satisfied that Jerome had gone into the
barn, but had not come out, and equally satisfied that he was out of
their reach, the owner said, “He’s gone down into the earth, and has
taken an underground railroad.”

And thus was christened that famous highway over which so many of
the oppressed sons and daughters of African descent were destined to
travel, and an account of which has been published by one of its most
faithful agents, Mr. William Still, of Philadelphia.

At a later period, Cato, servant of Dr. Gaines, was sold to Captain
Enoch Price, of St. Louis. The Captain took his slave with him on
board the steamer _Chester_, just about sailing for New Orleans. At
the latter place, the boat obtained a cargo for Cincinnati, Ohio. The
master, aware that the slave might give him the slip, while in a free
State, determined to leave the chattel at Louisville, Ky., till his
downward return. However, Mrs. Price, anxious to have the servant’s
services on the boat, questioned him with regard to the contemplated
visit to Cincinnati.

“I don’t want to go to a free State,” said Cato; “fer I knowed a
servant dat went up dar, once, an’ dey kept beggin’ him to run away; so
I druther not go dar; kase I is satisfied wid my marser, an’ don’t want
to go off, whar I’d have to take keer of mysef.”

This was said in such an earnest and off-hand manner, that it removed
all of the lady’s suspicions in regard to his attempting to escape; and
she urged her husband to take him to Ohio.

Cato wanted his freedom, but he well knew that if he expressed a
wish to go to a free State, he would never be permitted to do so. In
due season, the _Chester_ arrived at Cincinnati, where she remained
four days, discharging her cargo, and reloading for the return trip.
During the time, Cato remained at his post, attending faithfully to
his duties; no one dreaming that he had the slightest idea of leaving
the boat. However, on the day previous to the _Chester’s_ leaving
Cincinnati, Cato divulged the question to Charley, another slave, whom
he wished to accompany him.

Charley heard the proposition with surprise; and although he wanted his
freedom, his timid disposition would not allow him to make the trial.

“My master is a pretty good man, and treats me comparatively well;
and should I be caught and taken back, he would no doubt sell me to a
cotton or sugar-planter,” said Charley to Cato’s invitation. “But,”
continued he, “Captain Price is a mean man; I shall not blame you,
Cato, for running away and leaving him. By the by, I am engaged to go
to a surprise-party, to-night, and I reckon we’ll have a good time.
I’ve got a new pair of pumps to dance in, and I’ve got Jim, the cook,
to bake me a pie, and I’ll have some sandwiches, and I’m going with a
pretty gal.”

“So you won’t go away with me, to-night?” said Cato to Charley.

“No,” was the reply.

“It is true,” remarked Cato, “your marser is a better man, an’ treats
you a heap better den Captain Price does me, but, den, he may get to
gambling, an’ get broke, and den he’ll have to sell you.”

“I know that,” replied Charley; “none of us are safe as long as we are
slaves.”

It was seven o’clock at night, Cato was in the pantry, washing the
supper dishes, and contemplating his flight, the beginning of which
was soon to take place. Charley had gone up to the steward’s hall, to
get ready for the surprise, and had been away some time, which caused
uneasiness to Cato, and he determined to go up into the cabin, and
see that everything was right. Entering the cabin from the Social
Hall, Cato, in going down and passing the Captain’s room, heard a
conversation which attracted his attention, and caused him to halt at
his master’s room door.

He was not long, although the conversation was in a low tone, in
learning that the parties were his master and his fellow-servant
Charley.

“And so he is going to run away, to-night, is he?” said the Captain.

“Yes, sir,” replied Charley; “he’s been trying to get me to go with
him, and I thought it my duty to tell you.”

“Very well; I’ll take him over to Covington, Ky., put him in jail,
for the night, and when I get back to New Orleans, I will sell the
ungrateful nigger. Where is he now?” asked the Captain.

“Cato is in the pantry, sir, washing up the tea-things,” was the reply.

The moving of the chairs in the room, and what he had last heard,
satisfied Cato that the talk between his master and the treacherous
Charley was at an end, and he at once returned to the pantry
undetermined what course to pursue. He had not long been there, ere
he heard the well-known squeak of the Captain’s boots coming down
the stairs. Just then Dick, the cook’s boy, came out of the kitchen
and threw a pan full of cold meat overboard. This incident seemed to
furnish Cato with words, and he at once took advantage of the situation.

“What is dat you throw overboard dar?”

“None your business,” replied Dick, as he slammed the door behind him
and returned to the kitchen.

“You free niggers will waste everything dar is on dis boat,” continued
Cato. “It’s my duty to watch dees niggers an’ see dat dey don’t
destroy marser’s property. Now, let me see, I’ll go right off an’ tell
marser ’bout Charley, I won’t keep his secrets any longer.” And here
Cato threw aside his dish towel and started for the cabin.

Captain Price, who, during Cato’s soliloquy, was hid behind a large box
of goods, returned in haste to his room, where he was soon joined by
his dutiful servant.

In answer to the rap on the door, the Captain said “Come in.”

Cato, with downcast look, and in an obsequious manner, entered the
room, and said, “Marser, I is come to tell you somethin’ dat hangs
heavy on my mine, somethin’ dat I had ought to tole you afore dis.”

“Well,” said the master, “what is it, Cato?”

“Now, marser, you hires Charley, don’t you?”

“Yes.”

“Well, den, ser, ef Charley runs away you’ll have to pay fer him, won’t
you?”

“I think it very probable, as I brought him into a free State, and
thereby giving him an opportunity to escape. Why, is he thinking of
running away?”

“Yes, ser,” answered Cato, “he’s gwine to start to-night, an’ he’s bin
pesterin’ me all day to go wid him.”

“Do you mean to say that Charley has been trying to persuade you to run
away from me?” asked the Captain, rather sharply.

“Yes, ser, dats jess what he’s bin a doin’ all day. I axed him whar
he’s gwine to, an’ he sed he’s gwine to Canada, an’ he call you some
mighty mean names, an’ dat made me mad.”

“Why, Charley has just been here telling me that you were going to run
away to-night.”

“With apparent surprise, and opening his large eyes,” Cato exclaimed,
“Well, well, well, ef dat nigger don’t beat de debble!” And here the
negro raised his hands, and looking upward said, “Afoe God, marser, I
would’nt leave you fer dis worl’. Now, ser, jess let me tell you how
you can find out who tells de trufe. Charley has got ebry ting ready
an’ is a gwine right off. He’s got two pies, some sweetcake, some
sandwiches, bread an’ butter, an’ he’s got a pair of pumps to dance
in when he gets to Canada. An’ ef you want to kotch him in de ack of
runnin’ away, you jess wait out on de dock an’ you’ll kotch him.”

This was said in such an earnest manner, and with such protestations of
innocence, that Captain Price determined to follow Cato’s advice and
watch for Charley.

“Go see if you can find where Charley is, and come back and let me
know,” said the Captain.

Away went Cato, on his tip-toes, in the direction of the steward’s
room, where, by looking through the key-hole, he saw the treacherous
fellow-servant getting ready for the surprise party that he had engaged
the night previous to attend.

Cato returned almost breathless, and in a whisper said, “I foun’ him
ser, he’s gittin’ ready to start. He’s got a bundle of provisions tied
up all ready, ser; you’ll be shur to kotch him as he’s gwine away, ef
you go on de dock.”

Throwing his camlet cloak over his shoulders, the Captain passed out
upon the wharf, took a position behind a pile of wood, and awaited the
coming of the negro; nor did he remain long in suspense.

With lighted cigar, dressed in his best apparel, and his eatables tied
up in a towel, Charley was soon seen hastily leaving the boat.

Stepping out from his hiding-place, the Captain seized the negro by
the collar and led him back to the steamer, exclaiming, “Where are you
going, what’s that you’ve got in that bundle?”

“Only some washin’ I is takin’ out to get done,” replied the surprised
and frightened negro.

As they reached the lighted deck, “Open that bundle,” said the Captain.

Charley began to obey the command, and at the the same time to give an
explanation.

“Shut your mouth, you scoundrel,” vociferously shouted the Captain.

As the man slowly undid the parcel, and the contents began to be seen,
“There,” said the Captain, “there’s the pies, cake, sandwiches, bread
and butter that Cato told me you had put up to eat while running away.
Yes, there’s the pumps, too, that you got to dance in when you reached
Canada.”

Here the frightened Charley attempted again to explain, “I was jess
gwine to--”

“Shut your mouth, you villain; you were going to escape to Canada.”

“No, Marser Price, afoe God I was only--”

“Shut your mouth, you black rascal; you told me you were taking some
clothes to be washed, you lying scamp.”

During this scene, Cato was inside the pantry, with the door ajar,
looking out upon his master and Charley with unfeigned satisfaction.

Still holding the negro by the collar, and leading him to the opposite
side of the boat, the Captain called to Mr. Roberts, the second mate,
to bring up the small boat to take him and the “runaway” over the river.

A few moments more, and the Captain, with Charley seated by his side,
was being rowed to Covington, where the negro was safely locked up for
the night.

“A little longer,” said the Captain to the second officer, as he
returned to the boat, “a little longer and I’d a lost fifteen hundred
dollars by that boy’s running away.”

“Indeed,” responded the officer.

“Yes,” continued the Commander, “my servant Cato told me, just in time
to catch the rascal in the very act of running off.”

One of the sailors who was rowing, and who had been attentively
listening to the Captain, said, “I overheard Cato to-day, trying to
persuade Charley to go somewhere with him to-night, and the latter said
he was going to a ‘surprise party.’”

“The devil you did,” exclaimed the Captain. “Hasten up there,”
continued he, “for these niggers are a slippery set.”

As the yawl came alongside of the steamer, Captain Price leaped on deck
and went directly in search of Cato, who could nowhere be found. And
even Charley’s bundle, which he left where he had been opening it, was
gone. All search for the tricky man was in vain.

On the following morning, Charley was brought back to the boat, saying,
as they were crossing the river, “I tole de boss dat Cato was gwine to
run away, but he did’nt bleve me. Now he sees Cato’s gone.”

After the Captain had learned all that he could from Charley, the
latter’s account of his imprisonment in the lock-up caused great
merriment amongst the boat’s crew.

“But I tell you dar was de biggest rats in dat jail, eber I seed in my
life. Dey run aroun’ dar an’ make so much fuss dat I was ’fraid to set
down or lay down. I had to stan’ up all night.”

The _Chester_ was detained until in the latter part of the day, during
which time every effort was made to hunt up Cato, but without success.

When upbraided by the black servants on the boat for his treachery to
Cato, Charley’s only plea was, “I ’speck it was de debble dat made me
do it.”

Dressing himself in his warmest and best clothes, and getting some
provisions that he had prepared during the day, and also taking with
him Charley’s pies, cakes, sandwiches, and pumps, Cato left the boat
and made good his escape before his master returned from Covington.

It was during the cold winter of 1834, that the fugitive travelled by
night and laid by in the woods in the day. After a week’s journey, his
food gave out, and then came the severest of his trials, cold coupled
with hunger.

Often Cato would resolve to go to some of the farm-houses and apply for
food and shelter, but the fear of being captured and again returned
prevented him from following his inclinations. One night a pelting
rain that froze as fast as it fell, drove the fugitive into a barn,
where, creeping under the hay, he remained, sleeping sweetly while his
garments were drying upon his person.

Sounds of the voices of the farmer and his men feeding the cattle and
doing the chores, awakened the man from his slumbers, who, seeing
that it was daylight, feared he would be arrested. However, the day
passed, and the fugitive coming out at nightfall, started once more
on his weary journey, taking for his guide the North Star, and after
travelling the entire night, he again lay by, but this time in the
forest.

Three days of fasting had now forced hunger upon Cato, so that he once
more determined to seek food. Waiting till night, he came upon the
highway, and soon approached a farm-house, of the olden style, built
of logs. The sweet savor of the supper attracted the hungry man’s
attention as he neared the dwelling. For once there was no dog to
herald his coming, and he had an opportunity of viewing the interior of
the house, through the apertures that a log cabin generally presents.

As the fugitive stood with one eye gazing through the _crack_, looking
at the table, already set, and snuffing in the delicious odor from a
boiling pot, he heard the mother say,--“Take off the chicken, Sally
Ann, I guess the dumplings are done. Your father will be home in half
an hour; if he should catch that nigger and bring him along, we’ll feed
him on the cold meat and potatoes.”

With palpitating heart, Cato listened to the last sentences that fell
from the woman’s lips. Who could the “nigger” be, thought he.

Finding only the woman and her daughter in the house, the black man
had been debating in his own mind whether or not to go in and demand a
part of the contents of the kettle. However, the talk about “catching a
nigger,” settled the question at once with him.

Seizing a sheet that hung upon the clothes-line, Cato covered himself
with it; leaving open only enough to enable him to see, he rushed in,
crying at the top of his voice,--“Come to judgment! Come to judgment.”

Both women sprang from their seats, and, screaming, passed out of the
room, upsetting the table as they went. Cato seized the pot of chicken
with one hand, and a loaf of bread, that had fallen from the table,
with the other; hastily leaving the house and taking to the road, he
continued on his journey.

The fugitive, however, had gone but a short distance when he heard the
tramp of horses and the voices of men; and, fearing to meet them, he
took to the woods till they had passed by.

As he hid behind a large tree by the roadside, Cato heard distinctly:

“And what is your master’s name?”

“Peter Johnson, ser,” was the reply.

“How much do you think he will give to have you brought back?”

“Dunno, ser,” responded a voice which Cato recognized by the language
to be a negro.

It was evident that a fugitive slave had been captured, and was about
to be returned for the reward. And it was equally evident to Cato that
the slave had been caught by the owner of the pot of stewed chicken
that he then held in his hand, and he felt a thrill of gladness as he
returned to the road and pursued his journey.



CHAPTER XIV.


In the year 1850, there were fifty thousand free colored people in
the slave States, the greater number residing in Louisiana, Maryland,
Virginia, Tennessee, and South Carolina. In all the States these people
were allowed but few privileges not given to the slaves; and in many
their condition was thought to be even worse than that of the bondmen.
Laws, the most odious, commonly known as the “Black Code,” were enacted
and enforced in every State. These provided for the punishment of the
free colored people--punishment which was not mentioned in the common
law for white persons; for binding out minors, a species of slavery,
and naming thirty-two offences more for blacks than had been enacted
for the whites, and eight of which made it capital punishment for the
offences committed.

Public opinion, which is often stronger than law, was severe in the
extreme. In many of the Southern cities, including Charleston, S. C., a
colored lady, free, and owning the fine house in which she lived, was
not allowed to wear a veil in the public streets.

In passing through the thoroughfares, blacks of both sexes were
compelled to take the outside, on pain of being kicked into the street,
or sent to the lock-up and whipped.

As late as 1858, a movement was made in several of the Southern States
to put an exorbitant tax upon them, and in lieu of which they were to
be sold into life-long slavery. Maryland led off with a bill being
introduced into the Legislature by Mr. Hover, of Frederick County, for
levying a tax of two dollars per annum on all colored male inhabitants
of the State over twenty-one years of age, and under fifty-five, and
of one dollar on every female over eighteen and under forty-five, to
be collected by the collectors of the State taxes, and _devoted to the
use of the Colonization Society_. In case of the refusal to pay of a
property-holder or housekeeper, his or her goods were to be seized and
sold; if not a property-holder, the body of the non-paying person was
to be seized, and hired out to the lowest bidder who would agree to pay
the tax; and in case of not being able to hire said delinquents out,
they were to be sold to any person who would pay the amount of tax and
costs for the lowest period of service!

Tennessee followed in the same strain. The annexed protest of one of
her noblest sons,--Judge Catron, appeared at the time. He said:

“My objection to the bill is, _that it proposes to commit an outrage,
to perpetrate an oppression and cruelty_. This is the plain truth,
and it is idle to mince words to soften the fact. Let us look the
proposition boldly in the face. This depressed and helpless portion
of our population is designed to be driven out, or to be enslaved for
life, and their property forfeited, as no slave can hold property.
The mothers are to be sold, or driven away from their children, many
of them infants. The children are to be bound out until they are
twenty-one years of age, and then to leave the State or be sold;
which means that they are to be made slaves for life, in fact. Now,
of these women and children, there is hardly one in ten that is of
unmixed negro blood. Some are half-white; many have half-white mothers
and white fathers, making a cast of 87 1-2-100ths of white blood;
many have a third cross, in whom the negro blood is almost extinct;
such is the unfortunate truth. This description of people, who were
born free, and lived as free persons, are to be introduced as slaves
into our families, or into our negro quarters, there to be under an
overseer, or they are to be sold to the negro-trader and sent South,
there to be whipped by overseers--_and to preach rebellion_ in the
negro quarters--as they will _preach_ rebellion everywhere that they
may be driven to by this unjust law, whether it be amongst us here in
Tennessee or south of us on the cotton and sugar plantations, or in the
abolition meetings in the free States. Nor will the women be the least
effective in preaching a crusade, when begging money in the North, to
relieve their children, left behind in this State, in bondage.

“We are told that this ’free-negro bill’ is a politic, popular
measure. Where is it popular? _In what nook or corner of the State are
principles of humanity so deplorably deficient that a majority of the
whole inhabitants would commit an outrage not committed in a Christian
country of which history gives any account?_ In what country is it,
this side of Africa, that the majority have enslaved the minority, sold
the weak to the strong, and applied the proceeds of the sale to educate
the children of the stronger side, as this bill proposes? It is an open
assertion that ‘might makes right.’ It is re-opening the African slave
trade. In that trade the strong capture the weak, and sell them; and so
it will be here, if this policy is carried out.”

In some of the States the law was enacted and the people driven out
or sold. Those who were able to pay their way out, came away; those
who could not raise the means, were doomed to languish in bondage till
released by the Rebellion.

About the same time, in Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina, strong
efforts were being made to re-open the African slave trade. At the
Democratic State Convention, held in the city of Charleston, S. C., May
1, 1860, Mr. Gaulden made the following speech:--

“MR. PRESIDENT, AND FELLOW DEMOCRATS:--As I stated to
you a few moments ago, I have been confined to my room by severe
indisposition, but learning of the commotion and the intense excitement
which were existing upon the questions before this body, I felt it
to be my duty, feeble as I was, to drag myself out to the meeting
of my delegation, and when there I was surprised to find a large
majority of that delegation voting to secede at once from this body. I
disagree with those gentlemen. I regret to disagree with my brethren
from the South upon any of the great questions which interest our
common country. I am a Southern States’ Rights man; I am an African
slave-trader. I believe I am one of those Southern men who believe that
slavery is right, morally, religiously, socially, and politically.
(Applause.) I believe that the institution of slavery has done more
for this country, more for civilization, than all other interests
put together. I believe if it were in the power of this country to
strike down the institution of slavery, it would put civilization back
two hundred years. I tell you, fellow Democrats, that the African
slave-trader is the true Union man. (Cheers and laughter.) I tell you
that the slave-trading of Virginia is more immoral, more un-Christian
in every possible point of view, than that African slave-trade which
goes to Africa and brings a heathen and worthless man here, makes him
a useful man, Christianizes him, and sends him and his posterity down
the stream of time to join in the blessings of civilization. (Cheers
and laughter.) Now, fellow-democrats, so far as any public expression
of opinion of the State of Virginia--the great slave-trading State
of Virginia--has been given, they are all opposed to the African
slave-trade.”

DR. REED, of Indiana.--I am from Indiana, and I am in favor of
it.

MR. GAULDEN.--Now, gentlemen, we are told, upon high
authority, that there is a certain class of men who strain at a gnat
and swallow a camel. Now, Virginia, which authorizes the buying of
Christian men, separating them from their wives and children, from
all the relations and associations amid whom they have lived for
years, rolls up her eyes in holy horror when I would go to Africa,
buy a savage, and introduce him to the blessings of civilization and
Christianity. (Cheers and laughter.)

MR. RYNDERS, of New York.--You can get one or two recruits
from New York to join with you.

THE PRESIDENT.--The time of the gentleman has expired. (Cries
of “Go on! go on!”)

The President stated that if it was the unanimous wish of the
Convention, the gentleman could proceed.

MR. GAULDEN.--Now, fellow Democrats, the slave-trade in
Virginia forms a mighty and powerful reason for its opposition to the
African slave-trade, and in this remark I do not intend any disrespect
to my friends from Virginia. Virginia, the Mother of States and of
statesmen, the Mother of Presidents, I apprehend, may err as well as
other mortals. I am afraid that her error in this regard lies in the
promptings of the almighty dollar. It has been my fortune to go into
that noble old State to buy a few darkies, and I have had to pay from
one thousand to two thousand dollars a head, when I could go to Africa
and buy better negroes for fifty dollars a-piece. (Great laughter.)
Now, unquestionably, it is to the interests of Virginia to break
down the African slave-trade when she can sell her negroes at two
thousand dollars. She knows that the African slave-trade would break
up her monopoly, and hence her objection to it. If any of you Northern
Democrats--for I have more faith in you than I have in the Carpet
Knight Democracy of the South--will go home with me to my plantation
in Georgia, but a little way from here, I will show you some darkies
that I bought in Maryland, some that I bought in Virginia, some in
Delaware, some in Florida, some in North Carolina, and I will also show
you the pure African, the noblest Roman of them all. (Great laughter.)
Now, fellow Democrats, my feeble health and failing voice admonish me
to bring the few remarks I have to make to a close. (Cries of “Go on!
go on!”) I am only sorry that I am not in a better condition than I am
to vindicate before you to-day the words of truth, of honesty, and of
right, and to show you the gross inconsistencies of the South in this
regard. I came from the First Congressional District of the State of
Georgia. I represent the African slave-trade interests of that section.
(Applause.) I am proud of the position I occupy in that respect. I
believe that the African slave-trader is a true missionary, and a true
Christian. (Applause.)

Such was the feeling in a large part of the South, with regard to the
enslavement of the negro.



CHAPTER XV.


The success of the slave-holders in controlling the affairs of the
National Government for a long series of years, furnishing a large
majority of the Presidents, Speakers of the House of Representatives,
Foreign Ministers, and moulding the entire policy of the nation in
favor of slave-holding, and the admitted fact that none could secure an
office in the national Government who were known to be opposed to the
_peculiar_ institution, made the Southerners feel themselves superior
to the people of the free States. This feeling was often manifested by
an outburst of intemperate language, which frequently showed itself
in the pulpit, on the rostrum, and in the drawing-room. On all such
occasions the placing of the institution of slavery above liberty,
seemed to be the aim of its advocates.

“The principle of slavery is in itself right, and _does not depend on
difference of complexion_,”--said the Richmond (Va.) _Enquirer_.

A distinguished Southern statesman exclaimed,--

“Make the laboring man the slave of _one_ man, instead of the slave of
society, and he would be far better off.” “Slavery, _black or white_,
is right and necessary.” “_Nature has made the weak in mind or body for
slaves._”

Another said:--

“_Free_ society! We sicken of the name. What is it but a conglomeration
of _greasy mechanics_, _filthy operators_, _small-fisted farmers_, and
moonstruck theorists? All the Northern States, and especially the New
England States, are _devoid of society fitted for well-bred gentlemen_.
The prevailing class one meets with is that of mechanics struggling to
be genteel, and small farmers, who do their own drudgery; and yet who
are hardly fit for association with a gentleman’s body servant [slave].
This is your free society.”

The insults offered to John P. Hale and Charles Sumner in the United
States Senate, and to Joshua R. Giddings and Owen Lovejoy in the House
of Representatives, were such as no legislative body in the world
would have allowed, except one controlled by slave-drivers. I give the
following, which may be taken as a fair specimen of the _bulldozing_ of
those days.

In the National House of Representatives Hon. O. Lovejoy, member from
Illinois, was speaking against the further extension of slavery in the
territories, when he was interrupted by Mr. Barksdale, of Mississippi--

“Order that black-hearted scoundrel and nigger-stealing thief to take
his seat.”

By Mr. Boyce, of South Carolina, addressing Mr. Lovejoy--

“Then behave yourself.”

By Mr. Gartrell, of Georgia, (in his seat)--

“The man is crazy.”

By Mr. Barksdale, of Mississippi, again--

“No, sir; you stand there to-day, an infamous, perjured villain.”

By Mr. Ashmore, of South Carolina--

“Yes; he is a perjured villain, and he perjures himself every hour he
occupies a seat on this floor.”

By Mr. Singleton, of Mississippi--

“And a negro thief into the bargain.”

By Mr. Barksdale, of Mississippi, again--

“I hope my colleague will hold no parley with that perjured negro
thief.”

By Mr. Singleton, of Mississippi, again--

“No sir; any gentleman shall have time, but not such a mean, despicable
wretch as that.”

By Mr. Martin, of Virginia--

“And if you come among us, we will do with you as we did with John
Brown--hang you as high as Haman. I say that as a Virginian.”

Hon. Robert Toombs, of Georgia, made a violent speech in the Senate,
January, 1860, in which he said:--

“_Never permit this Federal Government to pass into the traitorous
hands of the Black Republican party._ It has already declared war
against you and your institutions. It every day commits acts of war
against you; it has already compelled you to arm for your defence.
Listen to ‘no vain babblings,’ to no treacherous jargon about ‘overt
acts;’ they have already been committed. Defend yourselves; the enemy
is at your door; wait not to meet him at the hearthstone,--meet him at
the door-sill, and drive him from the temple of liberty, or pull down
its pillars and involve him in a common ruin.”

Such and similar sentiments expressed at the South, and even by
Southerners when sojourning in the free States, did much to widen the
breach, and to bring on the conflict of arms that soon followed.



CHAPTER XVI.


The night was dark, the rain descended in torrents from the black and
overhanging clouds, and the thunder, accompanied with vivid flashes of
lightning, resounded fearfully, as I entered a negro cabin in South
Carolina. The room was filled with blacks, a group of whom surrounded
a rough board table, and at it sat an old man holding in his hand a
watch, at which all were intently gazing. A stout negro boy held a
torch which lighted up the cabin, and near him stood a Yankee soldier,
in the Union blue, reading the President’s Proclamation of Freedom.

As it neared the hour of twelve, a dead silence prevailed, and the
holder of the time-piece said,--“By de time I counts ten, it will be
midnight an’ de lan’ will be free. One, two, three, four, five, six,
seven, eight, nine,--” just then a loud strain of music came from the
banjo, hanging upon the wall, and at its sound the whole company, as
if by previous arrangement, threw themselves upon their knees, and the
old man exclaimed,--“O, God, de watch was a minit’ too slow, but dy
promises an’ dy mercy is allers in time; dou did promise dat one of dy
angels should come an’ give us de sign, an’ shore ’nuff de sign did
come. We’s grateful, O, we’s grateful, O, Lord, send dy angel once moe
to give dat sweet sound.”

At this point another strain from the banjo was heard, and a sharp
flash of lightning was followed by a clap of thunder, such as is only
heard in the tropics. The negroes simultaneously rose to their feet and
began singing; finishing only one verse, they all fell on their knees,
and Uncle Ben, the old white-haired man, again led in prayer, and such
a prayer as but few outside of this injured race could have given.
Rising to their feet, the leader commenced singing:--

    “Oh! breth-er-en, my way, my way’s cloudy, my way,
           Go send dem angels down.
     Oh! breth-er-en, my way, my way’s cloudy, my way,
           Go send dem angels down.
     There’s fire in de east an’ fire in de west,
           Send dem angels down.
     An’ fire among de Methodist,
           O, send dem angels down.
     Ole Sa-tan’s mad, an’ I am glad,
           Send dem angels down.
     He missed the soul he thought he had,
           O, send dem angels down.
     I’ll tell you now as I tole afore,
           Send dem angels down.
     To de promised lan’ I’m bound to go,
           O, send dem angels down.
     Dis is de year of Jubilee,
           Send dem angels down.
     De Lord has come to set us free,
           O, send dem angels down.”

One more short prayer from Uncle Ben, and they arose, clasped each
other around the neck, kissed, and commenced shouting, “Glory to God,
we’s free.”

Another sweet strain from the musical instrument was followed by
breathless silence, and then Uncle Ben said, “De angels of de Lord is
wid us still, an’ dey is watching ober us, fer ole Sandy tole us moe
dan a mont ago dat dey would.”

I was satisfied when the first musical strain came, that it was merely
a vibration of the strings, caused by the rushing wind through the
aperture between the logs behind the banjo. Fearing that the blacks
would ascribe the music to some mysterious Providence, I plainly told
them of the cause.

“Oh, no ser,” said Uncle Ben, quickly, his eyes brightening as he
spoke, “dat come fum de angels. We been specken it all de time. We know
the angels struck the strings of de banjo.”

The news of the music from the instrument without the touch of human
hands soon spread through the entire neighborhood, and in a short time
the cabin was jammed with visitors, who at once turned their attention
to the banjo upon the wall.

All sorts of stories were soon introduced to prove that angelic visits
were common, especially to those who were fortunate enough to carry “de
witness.”

“De speret of de Lord come to me lass night in my sleep an’ tole me
dat I were gwine to be free, an’ sed dat de Lord would sen’ one of His
angels down to give me de warnin’. An’ when de banjo sounded, I knowed
dat my bressed Marster were a’ keepin’ His word,” said Uncle Ben.

An elderly woman amongst the visitors, drew a long breath, and declared
that she had been lifted out of her bed three times on the previous
night; “I knowed,” she continued, “dat de angelic hoss was hoverin’
round about us.”

“I dropped a fork to-day,” said another, “an’ it stuck up in de floo’,
right afore my face, an’ dat is allers good luck fer me.”

“De mule kicked at me three times dis mornin’ an’ he never did dat
afore in his life,” said another, “an’ I knowed good luck would come
fum dat.”

“A rabbit run across my path twice as I come fum de branch lass
Saturday, an’ I felt shor’ dat somethin’ mighty was gwine to happen,”
remarked Uncle Ben’s wife.

“I had a sign that showed me plainly that all of you would be free,”
said the Yankee soldier, who had been silent since reading the
proclamation. All eyes were instantly turned to the white man from
the North, and half a dozen voices cried out simultaneously, “O, Mr.
Solger, what was it? what was it? what was it?”

“Well,” said the man in blue, “I saw something on a large white sheet--”

“Was it a goos?” cried Uncle Ben, before the sentence was finished by
the soldier. Uncle Ben’s question about a ghost, started quite a number
to their feet, and many trembled as they looked each other in the
face, and upon the soldier, who appeared to feel the importance of his
position.

Ned, the boy who was holding the torch, began to tell a ghost story,
but he was at once stopped by Uncle Ben, who said, “Shet your mouf,
don’t you see de gentmun ain’t told us what he see in de ‘white sheet?’”

“Well,” commenced the soldier, again, “I saw on a large sheet of paper,
a printed Proclamation from President Lincoln, like the one I’ve just
read, and that satisfied me that you’d all be free to-day.”

Every one was disappointed at this, for all were prepared for a ghost
story, from the first remark about the “white sheet” of paper. Uncle
Ben smiled, looked a little wise, and said, “I speck dat’s a Yankee
trick you’s given us, Mr. Solger.”

The laugh of the man in blue was only stopped by Uncle Ben’s striking
up the following hymn, in which the whole company joined:--

    “A storm am brewin’ in de Souf,
       A storm am brewin’ now.
     Oh! hearken den, and shut your mouf,
       And I will tell you how:
     And I will tell you how, ole boy,
       De storm of fire will pour,
     And make de black folks sing for joy,
       As dey neber sing afore.

    “So shut your mouf as close as deafh,
     And all you niggas hole your breafh,
       And do de white folks brown!

    “De black folks at de Norf am ris,
       And dey am comin’ down--
     And comin’ down, I know dey is,
       To do de white folks brown!
     Dey’ll turn ole Massa out to grass,
       And set de niggas free,
     And when dat day am come to pass
       We’ll all be dar to see!

    “So shut your mouf as close as deafh,
     And all you niggas hole your breafh,
       And I will tell you how.

    “Den all de week will be as gay
       As am de Chris’mas time;
     We’ll dance all night and all de day,
       And make de banjo chime,
     And make de banjo chime, I tink,
       And pass de time away,
     Wid ’nuf to eat and ’nuf to drink,
       And not a bit to pay!

    “So shut your mouf as close as deafh,
     And all you niggas hole your breafh,
       And make de banjo chime.”

However, there was in this company, a man some forty years old, who,
like a large number of the slaves, had been separated in early life
from his relatives, and was now following in the wake of the Union
army, hoping to meet some of those dear ones.

This was Mark Myers. At the age of twenty he fled from Winchester,
Va., and although pursued by bloodhounds, succeeded in making good his
escape. The pursuers returned and reported that Mark had been killed.
This story was believed by all.

Now the war had opened the way, Mark had come from Michigan, as a
servant for one of the officers; Mark followed the army to Harper’s
Ferry, and then went up to Winchester. Twenty years had caused a vast
change, and although born and brought up there, he found but few that
could tell him anything about the old inhabitants.

“Go to an ole cabin at de edge of de town, an’ darh you’ll find ole
Unkel Bob Smart, an’ he know ebbrybody, man an boy, dat’s lived here
for forty years,” said an old woman of whom he inquired. With haste
Mark proceeded to the “ole cabin,” and there he found “Unkel Bob.”

“Yer say yer name is Mark Myers, an’ yer mamma’s name is Nancy,”
responded the old man to the inquiries put to him by Mark.

“Yes,” was the reply.

“Well, sonney,” continued Uncle Bob, “de Myers niggers was all sold to
de traders ’bout de beginnin’ ov de war, septin some ov de ole ones dat
dey couldn’t sell, an’ I specks yer mamma is one ov dem dat de traders
didn’t want. Now, sonney, yer go over to de Redman place, an’ it ’pers
to me dat de oman yer’s lookin’ fer is over darh.”

Thanking Uncle Bob, Mark started for the farm designated by the old
man. Arriving there, he was told that “Aunt Nancy lived over yarnder on
de wess road.” Proceeding to the low log hut, he entered, and found the
woman.

“Is this Aunt Nancy Myers?”

“Yes, sar, dis is me.”

“Had you a son named Mark?”

“Yes, dat I did, an’ a good boy he were, poor feller.” And here the old
woman wiped the tears away with the corner of her apron.

“I have come to bring you some good news about him.”

“Good news ’bout who?” eagerly asked the woman.

“Good news about your son Mark.”

“Oh! no; you can’t bring me no good news ’bout my son, septin you bring
it from hebben, fer I feel sartin dat he is darh, fer he suffered nuff
when de dogs killed him, to go to hebben.”

Mark had already recognized his mother, and being unable to longer
conceal the fact, he seized her by the hand and said:

“Mother, don’t you know me? I am your long-lost son Mark.”

Amazed at the sudden news, the woman trembled like a leaf, the tears
flowed freely, and she said:

“My son, Mark, had a deep gash across the bottom of his left foot, dat
he will take wid him to his grave. Ef you is my son, show me de mark.”

As quick almost as thought, Mark pulled off his boot, threw himself on
the floor and held up the foot. The old woman wiped her glasses, put
them on, saw the mark of the deep gash; then she fainted, and fell at
her son’s side.

Neighbors flocked in from the surrounding huts, and soon the cabin was
filled with an eager crowd, who stood in breathless silence to catch
every word that should be spoken. As the old woman revived, and opened
her eyes, she tremblingly said:

“My son, it is you.”

“Yes, mother,” responded the son, “it is me. When I ran away, old
master put the dogs upon my track, but I jumped into the creek, waded
down for some distance, and by that means the dogs lost the scent, and
I escaped from them.”

“Well,” said the old woman, “in my prayers I axed God to permit me to
meet you in hebben, an’ He promised me I should; but He’s bin better
den His promise.”

“Now, mother, I have a home for you at the North, and I have come to
take you to it.”

The few goods worth bringing away from the slave hut were soon packed
up, and ere the darkness had covered the land, mother and son were on
their way to the North.



CHAPTER XVII.


During the Rebellion and at its close, there was one question that
appeared to overshadow all others; this was Negro Equality. While the
armies were on the field of battle, this was the great bugbear among
many who warmly espoused the cause of the Government, and who approved
all its measures, with this single exception. They sincerely wished
the rebels to be despoiled of their property. They wished every means
to be used to secure our success on the field, including Emancipation.
But they would grow pale at the words Negro Equality; just as if the
liberating of a race, and securing to them personal, political, social
and religious rights, made it incumbent upon us to take these people
into our houses, and give them seats in our social circle, beyond what
we would accord to other total strangers. No advocate of Negro Equality
ever demanded for the race that they should be made pets. Protect them
in their natural, lawful, and acquired rights, is all they ask.

Social equality is a condition of society that must make itself.
There are colored families residing in every Southern State, whose
education and social position is far above a large portion of their
neighboring whites. To compel them to associate with these whites would
be a grievous wrong. Then, away with this talk, which is founded in
hatred to an injured people. Give the colored race in the South equal
protection before the law, and then we say to them--

    “Now, to gain the social prize,
     Paddle your own canoe.”

But this hue and cry about Negro Equality generally emanates from a
shoddy aristocracy, or an uneducated class, more afraid of the negro’s
ability and industry than of his color rubbing off against them,--men
whose claims to equality are so frail that they must be fenced about,
and protected by every possible guard; while the true nobleman fears
not that his reputation will be compromised by any association he
may choose to form. So it is with many of those men who fear negro
competition. Conscious of their own inferiority to the mass of mankind,
and recognizing the fact that they exist and thrive only by the aid of
adventitious advantages, they look with jealousy on any new rivals and
competitors, and use every means, fair and unfair, to keep them out of
the market.

The same sort of opposition has been made to the introduction of female
labor into any of the various branches of manufacture. Consequently,
women have always been discriminated against. They have been restricted
to a small range of employments; their wages have been kept down; and
many who would be perfectly competent to perform the duties of clerks
or accountants, or to earn good wages in some branch of manufacture,
have been driven by their necessities either to suicide or prostitution.

But the nation, knowing the Southerners as they did, aware of the deep
hatred to Northern whites, and still deeper hatred to their ex-slaves,
who aided in blotting out the institution of slavery, it was the duty
of the nation, having once clothed the colored man with the rights of
citizenship and promised him in the Constitution full protection for
those rights, to keep this promise most sacredly. The question, while
it is invested with equities of the most sacred character, is not
without its difficulties and embarrassments. Under the policy adopted
by the Democrats in the late insurrectionary States, the colored
citizen has been subjected to a reign of terror which has driven him
from the enjoyment of his rights and leaves him as much a nonenity
in politics, unless he obeys their behests, as he was when he was in
slavery. Under this condition of things to-day, while he if properly
protected in his rights would hold political supremacy in Mississippi,
Georgia, South Carolina, Louisiana, Alabama, and Florida, he has
little or no voice in either State or National Government.

Through fear, intimidation, assassination, and all the horrors that
barbarism can invent, every right of the negro in the Southern States
is to-day at an end. Complete submission to the whites is the only way
for the colored man to live in peace.

[Illustration: KU-KLUX EMBLEMS.]

Some time since there was considerable talk about a “War of Races,” but
the war was all on the side of the whites. The freedman has succumbed
to brute force, and hence the war of races is suspended; but let him
attempt to assert his rights of citizenship, as the white man does at
the North, according to the dictates of his own conscience and sense of
duty, and the bloody hands of the Ku-Klux and White Leaguer will appear
in all their horrors once more--the “dream that has passed” would
become a sad reality again.



CHAPTER XVIII.


Immediately after the Rebellion ceased, the freedmen throughout the
South, desiring no doubt to be fully satisfied that they were actually
free and their own masters, and could go where they pleased, left
their homes in the country and took up their abode in the cities and
towns. This, as a matter of course, threw them out of business, and
large numbers could be seen idly lolling about the steps of the court
house, town hall, or other county buildings, or listlessly wandering
through the streets. That they were able to do this seemed to them
positive evidence that they were really free. It was not long, however,
before they began to discover that they could not live without work,
and that the only labor that they understood was in the country on
the plantations. Consequently they returned to the farms, and in many
instances to their former masters. Yet the old love for visiting the
cities and towns remained, and they became habituated to leaving their
work on Saturdays, and going to the place nearest to them. This caused
Saturday to be called “nigger day,” in most of the Southern States.

On these occasions they sell their cotton or other produce, do their
trading, generally having two jugs, one for the molasses, the other for
the whiskey, as indispensible to the visit. The store-keepers get ready
on Saturday morning, putting their brightest and most gaudy-colored
goods in the windows or on the front of their counters. Jew shops
put their hawkers at their doors, and the drinking saloons, billiard
saloons, and other places of entertainment, kept for their especial
accommodation, either by men of their own race or by whites, are all
got ready for an extra run.

Being on a visit to the State of Alabama, for a while, I had a fair
opportunity of seeing the colored people in that section under various
circumstances. It was in the autumn and I was at Huntsville. The
principal business houses of the city are situated upon a square which
surrounds the court house, and at an early hour in the morning this
is filled with colored people of all classes and shades. On Saturdays
there are often fully two thousand of them in the streets at one time.
At noon the throng was greatest, and up to that time fresh wagon-loads
of men, women, and children, were continually arriving. They came not
only in wagons, but on horses, and mules, and on foot. Their dress
and general appearance were very dissimilar. Some were dressed in a
queer looking garment made of pieces of old army blankets, a few were
apparelled in faded military overcoats, which were liberally supplied
with patches of other material. The women, unlike their husbands and
other male relations, were dressed in finery of every conceivable
fashion. All of them were decked out with many-colored ribbons. They
wore pinchbeck jewelry in large quantities. A few of the young girls
displayed some little taste in the arrangement of their dress; and some
of them wore expensive clothes. These, however, were “city niggers,”
and found but little favor in the eyes of the country girls. As the
farmers arrived they hitched their tumble-down wagons and bony mules
near the court house, and then proceeded to dispose of the cotton and
other products which they had brought to town.

While the men are selling their effects, the women go about from store
to store, looking at the many gaudy articles of wearing apparel which
cunning shop-keepers have spread out to tempt their fancy. As soon as
“the crop” is disposed of, and a negro farmer has money in his pocket,
his first act is to pay the merchant from whom he obtained his supplies
during the year. They are improvident and ignorant sometimes, but it
must be said, to their credit, that as a class they always pay their
debts, the moment they are in a position to do so. The country would
not be so destitute if a larger number of white men followed their
example in this respect. When they have settled up all their accounts,
and arranged for future bills, they go and hunt up their wives, who
are generally on the look-out. They then proceed to a dining saloon,
call for an expensive meal, always finishing with pies, puddings, or
preserves, and often with all three. When they have satisfied their
appetites, they go first to the dry-goods stores. Here, as in other
shops, they are met by obsequious white men, who conduct them at once
to a back or side room, with which most of the stores are supplied. At
first I could not fathom the mystery of this ceremony. After diligent
inquiry, however, I discovered that, since the war, unprincipled
store-keepers, some of them northern men, have established the custom
of giving the country negroes, who come to buy, as much whiskey as
they wish to drink. This is done in the back rooms I have mentioned,
and when the unfortunate black men and women are deprived of half their
wits by the vile stuff which is served out to them, they are induced to
purchase all sorts of useless and expensive goods.

In their soberest moments average colored women have a passion for
bright, colored dresses which amounts almost to madness, and, on such
occasions as I have mentioned, they never stop buying until their
money is exhausted. Their husbands have little or no control over
them, and are obliged, whether they will or not, to see most of their
hard earnings squandered upon an unserviceable jacket, or flimsy
bonnet, or many-colored shawl. I saw one black woman spend upward of
thirty dollars on millinery goods. As she received her bundle from the
cringing clerk she said, with a laugh:

“I ’clare to the Lord I’se done gone busted my old man, sure.”

“Never mind,” said the clerk, “he can work for more.”

“To be sure,” answered the woman, and then flounced out of the store.

The men are but little better than the women in their extravagance. I
saw a man on the square who had bargained for a mule, which he very
much needed, and which he had been intending to purchase as soon as he
sold his cotton. He agreed to pay fifty-seven dollars for the animal,
and felt in his pocket for the money, but could find only sixteen
dollars. Satisfying himself that he had no more, he said:

“Well, well, ef dis ain’t de most stravagant nigger I ever see; I sole
two bales of cotton dis bressed day, an’ got one hundred and twenty-two
dollars, an’ now I is got only dis.” Here he gave a loud laugh and said:

“Ole mule, I want you mighty bad, but I’ll have to let you slide dis
time.”

While the large dealers were selling their products and emptying their
wagons, those with vegetables and fruits were vending them in different
sections of the city. A man with a large basket upon his head came
along through one of the principal streets shouting:

“Hellow, dar, in de cellar, I is got fresh aggs, jess fum de hen, lay
’em dis mornin’ fer de ’casion; here dey is, big hen’s aggs, cheap.
Now’s yer time. Dees aggs is fresh an’ good, an’ will make fuss-rate
agg-nog. Now’s yer time fer agg-nogg wid new aggs in it; all laid dis
mornin’.” Here he set down his basket as if to rest his head. Seeing a
colored servant at one of the windows, he called out:

“Here, sister, here’s de fresh aggs; here dey is, big aggs fum big hen,
much as she could do to lay ’em. Now’s yer time; don’t be foolish an’
miss dis chance.”

Just then, a man with a wagon-load of stuff came along, and his voice
completely shut out the man with “de fresh aggs.”

“Here,” cried he, “here’s yer nice winter squash, taters,--Irish
taters, sweet taters, Carliner taters. Big House, dar, Big House, look
out de winder; here’s yer nice cabbages, taters, sweet taters, squash.
Now’s yer time to get ’em cheap. To-morrow is Christmas, an’ yer’ll
want ’em, shore.”

The man with the basket of eggs on his head, and who had been silenced
by the overpowering voice of the “tater” man, called out to the other,
“Now, I reckon yer better go in anudder street. I’s been totin’ dees
aggs all day, an’ I don’t get in nobody’s way.”

“I want to know, is dis your street?” asked the “tater” man.

“No; but I tank de Lord, I is got some manners ’bout me. But, den, I
couldn’t speck no more fum you, fer I knowed you afore de war; you was
one of dem cheap niggers, clodhopper, never taste a bit of white bread
till after de war, an’ den didn’t know ’twas bread.”

“Well, den, ef you make so much fuss ’bout de street, I’ll go out of
it; it’s nothin’ but a second-handed street, no how,” said the “tater”
man, and drove off, crying, “taters, sweet taters, Irish taters, an’
squash.”

Passing into a street where the colored people are largely represented,
I met another head peddler. This man had a tub on his head and with a
musical voice was singing:--

    “Here’s yer chitlins, fresh an’ sweet,
         Who’ll jine de Union?
     Young hog’s chitlins hard to beat,
         Who’ll jine de Union?
     Methodist chitlins, jest been biled,
         Who’ll jine de Union?
     Right fresh chitlins, dey ain’t spiled,
         Who’ll jine de Union?
     Baptist chitlins by de pound,
         Who’ll jine de Union?
     As nice chitlins as ever was found,
         Who’ll jine de Union?

“Here’s yer chitlins, out of good fat hog; jess as sweet chitlins as
ever yer see. Dees chitlins will make yer mouf water jess to look at
’em. Come an’ see ’em.”

At this juncture the man took the tub from his head, sat it down, to
answer a woman who had challenged his right to call them “Baptist
chitlins.”

“Duz you mean to say dat dem is Baptiss chitlins?”

“Yes, mum, I means to say dat dey is real Baptist chitlins, an’ nuffin’
else.”

“Did dey come out of a Baptiss hog?” inquired the woman.

“Yes, mum, dem chitlins come out of a Baptist hog.”

“How duz you make dat out?”

“Well, yer see, dat hog was raised by Mr. Roberson, a hard-shell
Baptist, de corn dat de hog was fatted on was also raised by Baptists,
he was killed and dressed by Geemes Boone, an’ you all know dat he’e as
big a Baptist as ever lived.”

“Well,” said the woman, as if perfectly satisfied, “lem-me have two
poun’s.”

By the time the man had finished his explanation, and weighed out her
lot, he was completely surrounded with women and men, nearly all of
whom had their dishes to get the choice morsel in.

“Now,” said a rather solid-looking man. “Now, I want some of de
Meth-diss chitlins dat you’s bin talking ’bout.”

“Here dey is, ser.”

“What,” asked the purchaser, “you take ’em all out of de same tub?”

“Yes,” quickly replied the vender.

“Can you tell ’em by lookin’ at ’em?” inquired the chubby man.

“Yes, ser.”

“How duz you tell ’em?”

“Well, ser, de Baptist chitlins has bin more in de water, you see, an’
dey’s a little whiter.”

“But, how duz I know dat dey is Meth-diss?”

“Well, ser, dat hog was raised by Uncle Jake Bemis, one of de most
shoutin’ Methodist in de Zion connection. Well, you see, ser, de hog
pen was right close to de house, an’ dat hog was so knowin’ dat when
Uncle Jake went to prayers, ef dat hog was squeelin’ he’d stop. Why,
ser, you could hardly get a grunt out of dat hog till Uncle Jake was
dun his prayer. Now, ser, ef dat don’t make him a Methodist hog, what
will?”

“Weigh me out four pounds, ser.”

“Here’s your fresh chitlins, Baptist chitlins, Methodist chitlins, all
good an’ sweet.”

And in an hour’s time the peddler, with his empty tub upon his head,
was making his way out of the street, singing,--

    “Methodist chitlins, Baptist chitlins,
            Who’ll jine de Union?”

Hearing the colored cotton-growers were to have a meeting that night,
a few miles from the city, and being invited to attend, I embraced the
opportunity. Some thirty persons were assembled, and as I entered the
room, I heard them chanting--

        Sing yo’ praises! Bless de Lam!
          Getting plenty money!
        Cotton’s gwine up--’deed it am!
          People, ain’t it funny?

    CHORUS.--Rise, shine, give God the glory.
                                    [_Repeat_ glory.]

        Don’t you tink hit’s gwine to rain?
          Maybe was, a little;
        Maybe one ole hurricane
          ’S bilin’ in de kittle!--_Chorus._

        Craps done fail in Egypt lan’--
          Say so in de papers;
        Maybe little slight o’ hand
          ’Mong de specerlaters.--_Chorus._

        Put no faith in solemn views;
          Keep yo’ pot a smokin’,
        Stan’ up squah in yo’ own shoes--
          Keep de debble chokin’!--_Chorus._

        Fetch me ’roun’ dat tater juice!
          Stop dat sassy grinnin’!
        Turn dat stopper clean a-loose--
          Keep yo’ eye a skinnin’!--Chorus.

        Here’s good luck to Egypt lan’!
          Hope she ain’t a-failin’!
        Hates to see my fellerman
          Straddle ob de pailin’!--Chorus.

The church filled up; the meeting was well conducted, and measures
taken to protect cotton-raisers, showing that these people, newly-made
free, and uneducated, were looking to their interests.

Paying a flying visit to Tennessee, I halted at Columbia, the capital
of Maury County. At Redgerford Creek, five miles distant from Columbia,
lives Joe Budge, a man with one hundred children. Never having met one
with such a family, I resolved to make a call on the gentleman and
satisfy my own curiosity.

This distinguished individual is seventy-one years old, large frame, of
unadulterated blood, and spent his life in slavery up to the close of
the war.

“How many children have you, Mr. Budge?” I asked.

“One hundred, ser,” was the quick response.

“Are they all living?”

“No, ser.”

“How many wives had you?”

“Thirteen, ser.”

“Had you more than one wife living at any time?”

“O, yes, ser, nearly all of dem ware livin’ when de war broke out.”

“How was this, did the law allow you to have more than one wife at a
time?”

“Well, yer see, boss, I waren’t under de law, I ware under marser.”

“Were you married to all of your wives by a minister?”

“No, ser, only five by de preacher.”

“How did you marry the others?”

“Ober de broomstick an’ under de blanket.”

“How was that performed?”

“Well, yer see, ser, dey all ’sembles in de quarters, an’ a man takes
hold of one en’ of de broom an’ a ’oman takes hole of tudder en’,
an’ dey holes up de broom, an’ de man an’ de ’oman dats gwine to get
married jumps ober an’ den slips under a blanket, dey put out de light
an’ all goes out an’ leabs em dar.”

“How near together were your wives?”

“Marser had fore plantations, an’ dey live ’bout on ’em, dem dat warn’t
sold.”

“Did your master sell some of your wives?”

“O! yes, ser, when dey got too ole to bare children. You see, marser
raised slaves fer de market, an’ my stock ware called mighty good, kase
I ware very strong, an’ could do a heap of work.”

“Were your children sold away from you?”

“Yes, ser, I see three of ’em sole one day fer two thousand dollars
a-piece; yer see dey ware men grown up.”

“Did you select your wives?”

“Dunno what you mean by dat word.”

“Did you pick out the women that you wanted?”

“O! no, ser, I had nuthin ter say ’bout dat. Marser allers get ’em, an’
pick out strong, hearty young women. Dat’s de reason dat de planters
wanted to get my children, kase dey ware so helty.”

“Did you never feel that it was wrong to get married in such a light
manner?”

“No, ser, kase yer see I toted de witness wid me.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“Why, ser, I had religion, an’ dat made me feel dat all ware right.”

“What was the witness that you spoke of?”

“De change of heart, ser, is de witness dat I totes in my bosom; an’
when a man’s got dat, he fears nuthin, not eben de debble himsef.”

“Then you know that you’ve got the witness?”

“Yes, ser, I totes it right here.” And at this point, Mr. Budge put his
hand on his heart, and looked up to heaven.

“I presume your master made no profession of religion?”

“O! yes, ser, you bet he had religion. He ware de fustest man in de
church, an’ he ware called mighty powerful in prayer.”

“Do any of your wives live near you now, except the one that you are
living with?”

“Yes, ser, dar’s five in dis county, but dey’s all married now to udder
men.”

“Have you many grand-children?”

“Yes, ser, when my ’lations am all tergedder, dey numbers ’bout fore
hundred, near as I ken get at it.”

“Do you know of any other men that have got as many children as you?”

“No, ser, dey calls me de boss daddy in dis part of de State.”

Having satisfied my curiosity, I bade Mr. Budge “good-day.”



CHAPTER XIX.


Spending part of the winter of 1880 in Tennessee, I began the study of
the character of the people and their institutions. I soon learned that
there existed an intense hatred on the part of the whites, toward the
colored population. Looking at the past, this was easily accounted for.
The older whites, brought up in the lap of luxury, educated to believe
themselves superior to the race under them, self-willed, arrogant,
determined, skilled in the use of side-arms, wealthy--possessing the
entire political control of the State--feeling themselves superior
also to the citizens of the free States,--this people was called
upon to subjugate themselves to an ignorant, superstitious, and
poverty-stricken, race--a race without homes, or the means of obtaining
them; to see the offices of State filled by men selected from this
servile set made these whites feel themselves deeply degraded in
the eyes of the world. Their power was gone, but their pride still
remained. They submitted in silence, but “bided their time,” and said:
“Never mind; we’ll yet make your hell a hot one.”

The blacks felt their importance, saw their own power in national
politics, were interviewed by obsequious and cringing white men from
the North--men, many of them, far inferior, morally, to the negro.
Two-faced, second-class white men of the South, few in number, it
is true, hung like leeches upon the blacks. Among the latter was a
respectable proportion of free men--free before the Rebellion; these
were comparatively well educated; to these and to the better class
of freedmen the country was to look for solid work. In the different
State Legislatures, the great battle was to be fought, and to these the
interest of the South centred. All of the Legislatures were composed
mainly of colored men. The few whites that were there were not only no
help to the blacks, but it would have been better for the character of
the latter, and for the country at large, if most of them had been in
some State prison.

Colored men went into the Legislatures somewhat as children go for the
first time to a Sabbath school. They sat and waited to see “the show.”
Many had been elected by constituencies, of which not more than ten in
a hundred could read the ballots they deposited; and a large number of
these Representatives could not write their own names.

This was not their fault. Their want of education was attributable to
the system of slavery through which they had passed, and the absence of
the educated intelligent whites of the South, was not the fault of the
colored men. This was a trying position for the recently-enfranchised
blacks, but nobly did they rise above the circumstances. The speeches
made by some of these men exhibited a depth of thought, flights of
eloquence, and civilized statesmanship, that throw their former
masters far in the back-ground. Yet, amongst the good done, bills
were introduced and passed, giving State aid to unworthy objects,
old, worn-out corporations re-galvanized, bills for outrageous new
frauds drawn up by white men, and presented by blacks; votes of both
colors bought up, bills passed, money granted, and these ignorant men
congratulated as “Statesmen.”

While this “Comedy of Errors” was being performed at the South, and
loudly applauded at the North, these very Northern men, who had yelled
their throats sore, would have fainted at the idea of a negro being
elected a member of their own Legislature.

By and by came the reaction. The disfranchised whites of the South
submitted, but complained. Northern men and women, the latter, always
the most influential, sympathized with the dog underneath. As the tide
was turning, the white adventurers returned from the South with piles
of greenbacks, and said that they had been speculating in cotton; but
their neighbors knew that it was stolen, for they had been members of
Southern Legislatures.

While Northern carpet-baggers were scudding off to their kennels with
their ill-gotten gains, the Southern colored politicians were driving
fast horses, their wives in their fine carriages; and men, who, five
years before were working in the cotton field under the lash, could now
draw their checks for thousands.

This extravagance of black men, followed by the heavy taxes, reminded
the old Southerners of their defeat in the Rebellion; it brought up
thoughts of revenge; Northern sympathy emboldened them at the South,
which resulted in the Ku-Klux organizations, and the reign of terror
that has cursed the South ever since.

The restoring of the rebels to power and the surrendering the colored
people to them, after using the latter in the war, and at the ballot
box, creating an enmity between the races, is the most bare-faced
ingratitude that history gives any account of.

After all, the ten years of negro Legislation in the South challenges
the profoundest study of mankind. History does not record a similar
instance. Five millions of uneducated, degraded people, without any
preparation whatever, set at liberty in a single day, without shedding
a drop of blood, burning a barn, or insulting a single female. They
reconstructed the State Governments that their masters had destroyed;
became Legislators, held State offices, and with all their blunders,
surpassed the whites that had preceded them. Future generations will
marvel at the calm forbearance, good sense, and Christian zeal of the
American Negro of the nineteenth century.

Nothing has been left undone to cripple their energies, darken their
minds, debase their moral sense, and obliterate all traces of their
relationship to the rest of mankind; and yet how wonderfully they have
sustained the mighty load of oppression under which they have groaned
for thousands of years.

After looking at the past history of both races, I could easily see
the cause of the great antipathy of the white man to the black,
here in Tennessee. This feeling was most forcibly illustrated by an
incident that occurred one day while I was standing in front of the
Knoxville House, in Knoxville. A good-looking, well-dressed colored man
approached a white man, in a business-like manner, and began talking to
him, but ere he had finished the question, the white raised his walking
stick, and with much force, knocked off the black man’s hat, and with
an oath said, “Don’t you know better than to speak to a white man with
your hat on, where’s your manners?” The negro picked up his hat, held
it in his hand, and resumed the conversation.

I inquired of the colored gentleman with whom I was talking, who the
parties were; he replied,--“The white man is a real estate dealer, and
the colored man is Hon. Mr. ----, ex-member of the General Assembly.”

This race feeling is still more forcibly set forth in the dastardly
attack of John Warren, of Huntingdon. The wife of this ruffian, while
passing through one of the streets of that town, was accidentally
run against by Miss Florence Hayes, who offered ample apology, and
which would have been accepted by any well-bred lady. However, Mrs.
Warren would not be satisfied with anything less than the punishment
of the young lady. Therefore, the two-fisted, coarse, rough, uncouth
ex-slave-holder, proceeded to Miss Hayes’ residence, gained admission,
and without a word of ceremony seized the young lady by the hair, and
began beating her with his fist, and kicking her with his heavy boots.

Not until his victim lay prostrate and senseless at his feet, did this
fiend cease his blows. Miss Hayes was teaching school at Huntingdon
when this outrage was committed, and so severe was the barbarous
attack, that she was compelled to return to her home at Nashville,
where she was confined to her room for several weeks. Yet, neither law
nor public opinion could reach this monster.

A few days after the assault, the following paragraph appeared in the
Huntingdon _Vindicator_:

“The occurrences of the past two weeks in the town of Huntingdon should
prove conclusively to the colored citizens that there is a certain
line existing between themselves and the white people which they
cannot cross with impunity. The incident which prompts us to write
this article, is the thrashing which a white gentleman administered
to a colored woman last week. With no wish to foster a spirit of
lawlessness in this community, but actuated by a desire to see the
negro keep in his proper place, we advise white men everywhere to
_stand up for their rights_, and in no case yield an inch to the
encroachment of an inferior race.”

“Stand up for their rights,” with this editor, means for the white
ruffianly coward to knock down every colored lady that does not give up
the entire sidewalk to him or his wife.

It was my good fortune to meet on several occasions Miss Florence T.
Hayes, the young lady above alluded to, and I never came in contact
with a more retiring, lady-like person in my life. She is a student of
Tennessee Central College, where she bears an unstained reputation,
and is regarded by all who know her to possess intellectual gifts far
superior to the average white young women of Tennessee.

Spending a night in the country, we had just risen from the
supper-table when mine host said:

“Listen, Mingo is telling how he re-converted his daughter; listen,
you’ll hear a rich story, and a true one.” Mr. Mingo lived in the
adjoining room.

“Yes, Mrs. Jones, my darter has bin home wissitin’ me, an’ I had a
mighty trial wid her, I can tell yer.”

“What was the matter, Mr. Mingo?” inquired the visitor.

“Well, yer see, Fanny’s bin a-livin’ in Philamadelfy, an’ she’s a
mighty changed ’oman in her ways. When she come in de house, she run
up to her mammy and say,--‘O! mar, I’m exquisitely pleased to greet
you.’ Den she run ter me an’ sed,--‘O! par,’ an’ kiss me. Well, dat was
all well enuff, but to see as much as two yards of her dress a-dragin’
behind her on de floor, it was too much,--an’ it were silk, too. It
made my heart ache. Ses I,--‘Fanny, you’s very stravagant, dragin’ all
dat silk on de floor in dat way.’ ‘O!’ sed she, ‘that’s the fashion,
par.’ Den, yer see, I were uneasy fer her. I were ’fraid she’d fall,
fer she had on a pair of boots wid the highess heels I eber see in my
life, which made her walk as ef she were walkin’ on her toes. Den, she
were covered all over wid ribbons and ruffles.

“When we set down to dinner, Fanny eat wid her fork, an’ when she see
her sister put de knife in her mouf, she ses,--‘Don’t put your knife in
your mouth; that’s vulgar.’ Nex’ mornin’, she took out of her pocket
some seeds, an’ put ’em in a tin cup, an’ pour bilin’ hot water on ’em.
Ses I,--‘Fanny, is yer sick, an’ gwine to take some medicine?’

“‘O! no, par, it’s quince seed, to make some gum-stick-um.’

“‘What is dat fer?’ I axed.

“‘Why, par, it’s to make Grecian waves on my forehead. Some call them
“scallopes.” We ladies in the city make them. You see, par, we comb
our hair down in little waves, and the gum makes them stick close to
the forehead. All the white ladies in the city wear them; it’s all the
fashion.’

“Well, yer see, Mrs. Jones, I could stand all dat, but when we went
to prayers I ax Fanny to lead in prayer; an’ when dat gal got on her
knees and took out of her pocket a gilt-edge book, and read a prayer,
den I were done, I ax myself is it possible dat my darter is come to
dat. So, when prayer were over, I sed: ‘Fanny, what kind of religion
is dat yer’s got?’ Sed she,--‘Why, par, I em a Piscopion.’ ‘What is
dat?’ I axed. ‘That’s the English Church service. Den yer’s no more a
Methodist?’ ‘O! no,’ said she, ‘to be a Piscopion is all the fashion.’”

“Stop, Mr. Mingo,” sed Mrs. Jones; “what kind of religion is dat? Is it
Baptiss?”

“No, no,” replied the old man; “ef it were Baptiss, den I could a-stood
dat, kase de Baptiss religion will do when yer can’t get no better. Fer
wid all dey faults, I believe de Baptiss ken get into hebben by a tight
squeeze. Kase, yer see, Mrs. Jones, I is a Methodiss, an’ I believes
in ole-time religion, an’ I wants my chillen to meet me in hebben. So,
I jess went right down on my knees an’ ax de Lord to show me my juty
about Fanny, fer I wanted to win her back to de ole-time religion.
Well, de Lord made it all plain to me, an’ follerin’ de Lord’s message
to me, I got right up an’ went out into de woods an’ cut some switches,
an’ put ’em in de barn. So I sed to Fanny: ‘Come, my darter, out to de
barn; I want to give yer a present to take back to Philamadelfy wid
yer.’

“‘Yes, par,’ said she, fer she was a-fixin’ de ’gum-stick-um’ on her
hair. So I went to de barn, an’ very soon out come Fanny. I jess shut
de door an’ fasten it, and took down my switches, an’ ax her,--‘What
kind of religion is dat yer’s got?’

“‘Piscopion, par.’ Den I commence, an’ I did give dat gal sech a
whippen, and she cry out,--‘O! par. O! par, please stop, par.’ Den I ax
her,--‘What kind of religion yer’s got?’ ‘Pis-co-copion,’ sed she. So I
give her some moo, an’ I ax her again,--‘What kind of religion is yer
got?’ She sed,--‘O! par, O! par.’ Sed I,--‘Don’t call me “par.” Call me
in de right way.’ Den she said,--‘O! daddy, O! daddy, I is a Methodiss.
I is got ole-time religion; please stop an’ I’ll never be a Piscopion
any more.’

“So, yer see, Mrs. Jones, I converted dat gal right back to de ole-time
religion, which is de bess of all religion. Yes, de Lord answered my
prayer dat time, wid de aid of de switches.”

Whether Mingo’s conversion of his daughter kept her from joining the
Episcopalians, on her return to Philadelphia, or not, I have not
learned.



CHAPTER XX.


The moral and social degradation of the colored population of the
Southern States, is attributable to two main causes, their mode of
living, and their religion. In treating upon these causes, and
especially the latter, I feel confident that I shall throw myself
open to the criticism of a numerous, if not an intelligent class of
the people upon whom I write. The entire absence of a knowledge of
the laws of physiology, amongst the colored inhabitants of the South
is proverbial. Their small unventilated houses, in poor streets and
dark alleys, in cities and towns, and the poorly-built log huts in the
country, are often not fit for horses. A room fifteen feet square, with
two, and sometimes three beds, and three or four in a bed, is common in
Tennessee.

No bathing conveniences whatever, and often not a wash dish about the
house, is the rule. The most inveterate eaters in the world, yet these
people have no idea of cooking outside of hog, hominy, corn bread, and
coffee. Yes, there is one more dish, it is the negro’s sun-flower in
the South, cabbages.

It is usual to see a woman coming from the market about five o’clock in
the evening, with a basket under her shawl, and in it a piece of pork,
bacon, or half a hog’s head, and one or two large heads of cabbage, and
some sweet potatoes. These are put to cook at once, and the odor from
the boiling pot may be snuffed in some distance off.

Generous to a fault, the host invites all who call in, to “stop to
supper.” They sit down to the table at about nine o’clock, spend fully
an hour over the first course, then the apple dumplings, after that,
the coffee and cake. Very few vegetables, except cabbages and sweet
potatoes, are ever used by these people. Consequently they are not
unfrequently ill from a want of the knowledge of the laws of health.
The assembling of large numbers in the cities and towns has proved
fatal.

Nearly all the statistics relating to the subject now accessible are
those coming from the larger Southern cities, and these would seem to
leave no doubt that in such centres of population the mortality of the
colored greatly exceeds that of the white race. In Washington, for
instance, where the negroes have enjoyed longer and more privileges
than in most Southern cities, the death-rate per thousand in the year
1876 was for the whites 26.537; for the colored 49.294; and for the
previous year it was a little worse for the blacks. In Baltimore, a
very healthy city, the total death-rate for 1875 was 21.67 in one
thousand, of which the whites showed 19.80, the colored 34.42. In a
still healthier little city, Chattanooga, Tenn., the statistics of
the last five years give the death-rate of the whites at 19.9; of the
colored, 37. The very best showing for the latter, singularly enough,
is made in Selma, Ala. It stands per one thousand, white, 14.28;
colored, 18.88. In Mobile, in the same State, the mortality of the
colored was just about double the rate among the whites. New Orleans
for 1875 gives the record of 25.45 for the death-rate of the whites, to
39.69 for that of the colored.

Lecturers of their own race, male and female, upon the laws of health,
is the first move needed.

After settling the question with his bacon and cabbage, the next
dearest thing to a colored man, in the South, is his religion. I call
it a “thing,” because they always speak of getting religion as if they
were going to market for it.

“You better go an’ get religion, dat’s what you better do, fer de devil
will be arter you one of dees days, and den whar will yer be?” said an
elderly Sister, who was on her way to the “Revival,” at St. Paul’s, in
Nashville, last winter. The man to whom she addressed these words of
advice stopped, raised his hat, and replied:

“Anty, I ain’t quite ready to-night, but I em gwine to get it before
the meetins close, kase when that getting-up day comes, I want to have
the witness; that I do.”

“Yes, yer better, fer ef yer don’t, dar’ll be a mighty stir ’mong de
brimstone down dar, dat dey will, fer yer’s bin bad nuff; I knows yer
fum A to izzard,” returned the old lady.

The church was already well filled, and the minister had taken his
text. As the speaker warmed up in his subject, the Sisters began to
swing their heads and reel to and fro, and eventually began a shout.
Soon, five or six were fairly at it, which threw the house into a buzz.
Seats were soon vacated near the shouters, to give them more room,
because the women did not wish to have their hats smashed in by the
frenzied Sisters. As a woman sprung up in her seat, throwing up her
long arms, with a loud scream, the lady on the adjoining seat quickly
left, and did not stop till she got to a safe distance.

“Ah, ha!” exclaimed a woman near by, “’fraid of your new bonnet! Ain’t
got much religion, I reckon. Specks you’ll have to come out of that if
you want to save your soul.”

“She thinks more of that hat now, than she does of a seat in heaven,”
said another.

“Never mind,” said a third, “when she gets de witness, she’ll drap dat
hat an’ shout herself out of breath.”

The shouting now became general; a dozen or more entering into it
most heartily. These demonstrations increased or abated, according to
movements of the leaders, who were in and about the pulpit; for the
minister had closed his discourse, and first one, and then another
would engage in prayer. The meeting was kept up till a late hour,
during which, four or five sisters becoming exhausted, had fallen upon
the floor and lay there, or had been removed by their friends.

St. Paul is a fine structure, with its spire bathed in the clouds, and
standing on the rising land in South Cherry Street, it is a building
that the citizens may well be proud of.

In the evening I went to the First Baptist Church, in Spruce Street.
This house is equal in size and finish to St. Paul. A large assembly
was in attendance, and a young man from Cincinnati was introduced
by the pastor as the preacher for the time being. He evidently felt
that to set a congregation to shouting, was the highest point to be
attained, and he was equal to the occasion. Failing to raise a good
shout by a reasonable amount of exertion, he took from his pocket a
letter, opened it, held it up and began, “When you reach the other
world you’ll be hunting for your mother, and the angel will read from
this paper. Yes, the angel will read from this paper.”

For fully ten minutes the preacher walked the pulpit, repeating in a
loud, incoherent manner, “And the angel will read from this letter.”
This created the wildest excitement, and not less than ten or fifteen
were shouting in different parts of the house, while four or five
were going from seat to seat shaking hands with the occupants of
the pews. “Let dat angel come right down now an’ read dat letter,”
shouted a Sister, at the top of her voice. This was the signal for
loud exclamations from various parts of the house. “Yes, yes, I want’s
to hear the letter.” “Come, Jesus, come, or send an angel to read the
letter.” “Lord, send us the power.” And other remarks filled the house.
The pastor highly complimented the effort, as one of “great power,”
which the audience most cordially endorsed. At the close of the service
the strange minister had hearty shakes of the hand from a large number
of leading men and women of the church. And this was one of the most
refined congregations in Nashville.

It will be difficult to erase from the mind of the negro of the South,
the prevailing idea that outward demonstrations, such as, shouting, the
loud “amen,” and the most boisterous noise in prayer, are not necessary
adjuncts to piety.

A young lady of good education and refinement, residing in East
Tennessee, told me that she had joined the church about a year
previous, and not until she had one shouting spell, did most of her
Sisters believe that she had “the Witness.”

“And did you really shout?” I inquired.

“Yes. I did it to stop their mouths, for at nearly every meeting, one
or more would say, ‘Sister Smith, I hope to live to see you show that
you’ve got the Witness, for where the grace of God is, there will be
shouting, and the sooner you comes to that point the better it will be
for you in the world to come.’”

To get religion, join a benevolent society that will pay them “sick
dues” when they are ill, and to bury them when they die, appears to
be the beginning, the aim, and the end of the desires of the colored
people of the South. In Petersburg I was informed that there were
thirty-two different secret societies in that city, and I met persons
who held membership in four at the same time. While such associations
are of great benefit to the improvident, they are, upon the whole, very
injurious. They take away all stimulus to secure homes and to provide
for the future.

As a man observed to me, “I b’longs ter four s’ieties, de ‘Samaritans,’
de ‘Gallalean Fisherman,’ de ‘Sons of Moses,’ an’ de ‘Wise Men of de
East.’ All of dees pays me two dollars a week when I is sick, an’
twenty-five dollars ter bury me when I dies. Now ain’t dat good?”

I replied that I thought it would be far better, if he put his money in
a home and educated himself.

“Well,” said he, “I is satisfied, kas, ef I put de money in a house,
maybe when I got sick some udder man might be hangin’ roun’ wantin’ me
ter die, an’ maybe de ole ’oman might want me gone too, an’ not take
good kere of me, an’ let me die an’ let de town bury me. But, now, yer
see, de s’iety takes kere of me and burries me. So, now, I am all right
fer dis worl’ an’ I is got de Witness, an’ dat fixes me fer hebben.”

This was all said in an earnest manner, showing that the brother had an
eye to business.

The determination of late years to ape the whites in the erection of
costly structures to worship in, is very injurious to our people. In
Petersburg, Va., a Baptist society pulled down a noble building, which
was of ample size, to give place to a more fashionable and expensive
one, simply because a sister Church had surpassed them in putting up a
house of worship. It is more consistent with piety and Godly sincerity
to say that we don’t believe there is any soul-saving and God-honoring
element in such expensive and useless ornaments to houses in which
to meet and humbly worship in simplicity and sincerity the true and
living God, according to his revealed will. Poor, laboring people who
are without homes of their own, and without (in many instances) steady
remunerative employment, can ill afford to pay high for useless and
showy things that neither instruct nor edify them. The manner, too, in
which the money is raised, is none of the best, to say the least of
it. For most of the money, both to build the churches and to pay the
ministers, is the hard earnings of men in the fields, at service, or by
our women over the wash-tub. When our people met and worshipped in less
costly and ornamental houses, their piety and sincerity was equally as
good as now, if not better. With more polish within and less ornament
without, we would be more spiritually and less worldly-minded.

Revival meetings, and the lateness of the hours at which they close,
are injurious to both health and morals. Many of the churches begin
in October, and continue till the holidays; and commencing again the
middle of January, they close in April. They often keep the meetings in
till eleven o’clock; sometimes till twelve; and in some country places,
they have gone on later. I was informed of a young woman who lost her
situation--a very good one--because the family could not sit up till
twelve o’clock every night to let her in, and she would not leave her
meeting so as to return earlier. Another source of moral degradation
lies in the fact that a very large number of men, calling themselves
“missionaries,” travel the length and breadth of the country, stopping
longest where they are best treated. The “missionary” is usually armed
with a recommendation from some minister in charge, or has a forged
one, it makes but little difference which. He may be able to read
enough to line a hymn, but that is about all.

His paper that he carries speaks of him as a man “gifted in revival
efforts,” and he at once sets about getting up a revival meeting. This
tramp, for he cannot be called anything else, has with him generally
a hymn-book, and an old faded, worn-out carpet-bag, with little or
nothing in it. He remains in a place just as long as the people
will keep him, which usually depends upon his ability to keep up an
excitement. I met a swarm of these lazy fellows all over the South, the
greatest number, however, in West Virginia.

The only remedy for this great evil lies in an educated ministry, which
is being supplied to a limited extent. It is very difficult, however,
to induce the uneducated, superstitious masses to receive and support
an intelligent Christian clergyman.

The great interest felt in the South for education amongst the colored
people often produce scenes of humor peculiar to the race. Enjoying the
hospitality of a family in West Virginia, I was not a little amused at
the preparation made for the reception of their eldest son, who had
been absent six months at Wilberforce College. A dinner with a turkey,
goose, pair of fowls, with a plentiful supply of side dishes, and apple
dumplings for dessert, was on the table at the hour that the son was
expected from the train.

An accident delayed the cars to such an extent that we were at the
table and dinner half through, when suddenly the door flew open, and
before us stood the hope of the family. The mother sprang up, raised
her hands and exclaimed, “Well, well, ef dar ain’t Peter, now. De Lord
bress dat chile, eh, an’ how college-like he seems. Jess look at him,
don’t he look edecated? Come right here dis minit an’ kiss your mammy.”

During this pleasant greeting, Peter stood near the door where he had
entered; dressed in his college rig, small cap on his head, bag swung
at his side, umbrella in the left hand, and a cigar in the right, with
a smile on his countenance, he looked the very personification of the
Harvard student. The father of the family, still holding his knife and
fork, sat with a glow upon his face, while the two youngsters, taking
advantage of the occasion, were helping themselves to the eatables.

At the bidding, “Come an’ kiss your mammy,” Peter came forward and did
the nice thing to all except the youngest boy, who said, “I can’t kiss
yer now, Pete, wait till I eat dees dumplins, den I’ll kiss yer.”

Dinner over, and Peter gave us some humorous accounts of college life,
to the great delight of his mother, who would occasionally exclaim,
“Bress de chile, what a hard time he muss hab dar at de college. An’
how dem boys wory’s him. Well, people’s got to undergo a heap to git
book larnin’, don’t dey?”

At night the house was filled, to see the young man from college.



CHAPTER XXI.


In the olden time, ere a blow was struck in the Rebellion, the whites
of the South did the thinking, and the blacks did the work; the
master planned, and the slave executed. This unfitted both for the new
dispensation that was fast coming, and left each helpless, without the
other.

But the negro was the worst off of the two, for he had nothing but his
hands, while the white man had his education, backed up by the lands
that he owned. Who can wonder at the negro’s improvidence and his
shiftlessness, when he has never had any systematic training--never
been compelled to meet the cares of life?

This was the black man’s misfortune on gaining his freedom, and to
learn to save, and to manage his own affairs, appeared to all to be his
first duty.

The hope of every one, therefore, seemed to centre in the Freedman’s
Saving Bank. “This is our bank,” said they; and to this institution
the intelligent and the ignorant, the soldier fresh from the field of
battle, the farmer, the day laborer, and the poor washerwoman, all
alike brought their earnings and deposited them in the Freedman’s Bank.
This place of safety for their scanty store seemed to be the hope of
the race for the future. It was a stimulus for a people who had never
before been permitted to enter a moneyed institution, except at his
master’s heels, to bring or to take away the bag of silver that his
owner was too proud or too lazy to “tote.”

So great was the negro’s wish to save, that the deposits in the
Freedman’s Bank increased from three hundred thousand dollars, in 1866,
to thirty-one million dollars, in 1872, and to fifty-five million
dollars, in 1874. This saving of earnings became infectious throughout
the South, and the family that had no bank-book was considered poorly
off. These deposits were the first instalments toward purchasing homes,
or getting ready to begin some mercantile or mechanical business. The
first announcement, therefore, of the closing of the Freedman’s Saving
Bank had a paralyzing effect upon the blacks everywhere.

Large numbers quit work; the greater portion sold their bank-books for
a trifle, and general distrust prevailed throughout the community.
Many who had purchased small farms, or cheap dwellings in cities and
towns, and had paid part of the purchase money, now became discouraged,
surrendered their claims, gave up the lands, and went about as if every
hope was lost. It was their first and their last dealings with a bank.

These poor people received no sympathy whatever, from the whites of the
South. Indeed, the latter felt to rejoice, for the negro obtained his
liberty through the Republican party, and the Freedmen’s Bank was a pet
of that party.

The negro is an industrious creature, laziness is not his chief fault,
and those who had left their work, returned to it. But the charm for
saving was gone.

“No more Banks for me, I’ll use my money as I get it, and then I’ll
know where it has gone to,” said an intelligent and well-informed
colored man to me.

This want of confidence in the saving institutions of the country, has
caused a general spending of money as soon as obtained; and railroad
excursions, steamboat rides, hiring of horses and buggies on Sabbath,
and even on week days, have reaped large sums from colored people all
over the South. Verily, the failure of the Freedman’s Saving Bank was a
National calamity, the influence of which will be felt for many years.

Not satisfied with robbing the deluded people out of the bulk of their
hard earnings, commissioners were appointed soon after the failure,
with “appropriate” salaries, to look after the interest of the
depositors, and these leeches are eating up the remainder.

Whether truly or falsely, the freedmen were led to believe that the
United States Government was responsible to them for the return of
their money with interest. Common justice would seem to call for some
action in the matter.



CHAPTER XXII.


Those who recollect the standing of Virginia in days gone by, will be
disappointed in her at the present time. The people, both white and
black, are poor and proud, all living on their reputation when the “Old
Dominion” was considered the first State in the Union.

I viewed Richmond with much interest. The effect of the late Rebellion
is still visible everywhere, and especially amongst those who were
leaders in society thirty years ago. I walked through the market and
observed several men with long, black cloth cloaks, beneath which was a
basket. Into this they might be seen to deposit their marketing for the
day.

I noticed an old black man bowing very gracefully to one of these
individuals, and I inquired who he was. “Ah, massa,” said the negro,
“dat is Major ----, he was berry rich before de war, but de war fotch
him right down, and now he ain’t able to have servants, and he’s too
proud to show his basket, so he covers it up in his cloak.” And then
the black man smiled and shook his head significantly, and walked on.
Standing here in the market place, one beholds many scenes which bring
up the days of slavery as seen by the results. Here is a girl with a
rich brown skin; after her comes one upon whose cheek a blush can just
be distinguished; and I saw one or two young women whose cream-like
complexion would have justly excited the envy of many a New York belle.
The condition of the women of the latter class is most deplorable.
Beautiful almost beyond description, many of them educated and refined,
with the best white blood of the South in their veins, it is perhaps
only natural that they should refuse to mate themselves with coarse and
ignorant black men. Socially, they are not recognized by the whites;
they are often without money enough to buy the barest necessaries of
life; honorably they can never procure sufficient means to gratify
their luxurious tastes; their mothers have taught them how to sin;
their fathers they never knew; debauched white men are ever ready to
take advantage of their destitution, and after living a short life of
shame and dishonor they sink into early and unhallowed graves. Living,
they were despised by whites and blacks alike; dead, they are mourned
by none.

I went to hear the somewhat celebrated negro preacher, Rev. John
Jasper. The occasion was one of considerable note, he having preached,
and by request, a sermon to prove that the “Sun do move,” and now
he was to give it at the solicitation of forty-five members of the
Legislature, who were present as hearers.

Those who wanted the sermon repeated were all whites, a number of
whom did it for the fun that they expected to enjoy, while quite a
respectable portion, old fogy in opinion, felt that the preacher was
right.

On reaching the church, I found twelve carriages and two omnibuses,
besides a number of smaller vehicles, lining the street, half an hour
before the opening of the doors. However, the whites who had come
in these conveyances had been admitted by the side doors, while the
streets were crowded with blacks and a poorer class of whites.

By special favor I was permitted to enter before the throng came
rushing in. Members of the Legislature were assigned the best seats,
indeed, the entire centre of the house was occupied by whites, who,
I was informed, were from amongst the F. F. Vs. The church seats one
thousand, but it is safe to say that twelve hundred were present at
that time.

Rev. John Jasper is a deep black, tall, and slim, with long arms and
somewhat round-shouldered, and sixty-five years old. He has preached in
Richmond for the last forty-five years, and is considered a very good
man. He is a fluent speaker, well versed in Scriptures, and possesses
a large amount of wit. The members of Jasper’s church are mainly
freedmen, a large number of whom are from the country, commonly called
“corn-field niggers.”

The more educated class of the colored people, I found, did not
patronize Jasper. They consider him behind the times, and called him
“old fogy.” Jasper looked proudly upon his audience, and well he might,
for he had before him some of the first men and women of Virginia’s
capital. But these people had not come to be instructed, they had
really come for a good laugh and were not disappointed.

Jasper had prepared for the occasion, and in his opening service saved
himself by calling on “Brother Scogin” to offer prayer. This venerable
Brother evidently felt the weight of responsibility laid upon him, and
discharged the duty, at least to the entire satisfaction of those who
were there to be amused. After making a very sensible prayer, Scogin
concluded as follows:--“O Lord, we’s a mighty abused people, we’s had a
hard time in slavery, we’s been all broken to pieces, we’s bow-legged,
knock-kneed, bandy-shanked, cross-eyed, and a great many of us is
hump-backed. Now, Lord, we wants to be mendid up, an’ we wants you to
come an’ do it. Don’t send an angel, for dis is too big a job for an
angel. You made us, O Lord, an’ you know our wants, an’ you can fix us
up as nobody else can. Come right down yourself, and come quickly.”
At this sentence Jasper gave a loud groan, and Scogin ceased. After
service was over I was informed that when Jasper finds any of his
members a little too long-winded in prayer, singing, or speaking, he
gives that significant groan, which they all well understand. It means
“enough.”

The church was now completely jammed, and it was said that two thousand
people sought admission in vain. Jasper’s text was “God is a God of
War.” The preacher, though wrong in his conclusions, was happy in his
quotations, fresh in his memory, and eloquently impressed his views
upon his hearers.

He said, “If the sun does not move, why did Joshua command it to ‘stand
still?’ Was Joshua wrong? If so, I had rather be wrong with Joshua than
to be right with the modern philosophers. If this earth moves, the
chimneys would be falling, tumbling in upon the roofs of the houses,
the mountains and hills would be changing and levelling down, the
rivers would be emptying out. You and I would be standing on our heads.
Look at that mountain standing out yonder; it stood there fifty years
ago when I was a boy. Would it be standing there if the earth was
running round as they tell us?”

“No, blessed God,” cried a Sister. Then the laugh came, and Jasper
stood a moment with his arms folded. He continued: “The sun rises in
the east and sets in the west; do you think any one can make me believe
that the earth can run around the world in a single day so as to give
the sun a chance to set in the west?”

“No, siree, that doctrine don’t go down with Jasper.”

At this point the preacher paused for breath, and I heard an elderly
white in an adjoining pew, say, in a somewhat solemn tone--“Jasper is
right, the sun moves.”

Taking up his bandanna, and wiping away the copious perspiration that
flowed down his dusky cheeks, the preacher opened a note which had just
been laid upon the desk, read it, and continued,--“A question is here
asked me, and one that I am glad to answer, because a large number of
my people, as well as others, can’t see how the children of Israel were
able to cross the Red Sea in safety, while Pharaoh and his hosts were
drowned. I have told you again and again that everything was possible
with God. But that don’t seem to satisfy you.

“Those who doubt these things that you read in Holy Writ are like the
infidel,--won’t believe unless you can see the cause. Well, let me tell
you. The infidel says that when the children of Israel crossed the Red
Sea, it was in winter, and the sea was frozen over. This is a mistake,
or an intentional misrepresentation.” Here the preacher gave vivid
accounts of the sufferings and flight of the children of Israel, whose
case he likened to the colored people of the South. The preacher wound
up with an eloquent appeal to his congregation not to be led astray by
“these new-fangled notions.”

Great excitement is just now taking hold of the people upon the seeming
interest that the colored inhabitants are manifesting in the Catholic
religion. The Cathedral in Richmond is thrown open every Sunday evening
to the blacks, when the bishop himself preaches to them, and it is
not strange that the eloquent and persuasive voice of Bishop Kean,
who says to the negro, “My dear beloved brethren,” should captivate
these despised people. I attended a meeting at the large African
Baptist Church, where the Rev. Moses D. Hoge, D. D., was to preach to
the colored people against Catholicism. Dr. Hoge, though noted for
his eloquence, and terribly in earnest, could not rise higher in his
appeals to the blacks than to say “men and women” to them.

The contrast was noticeable to all. After hearing Dr. Hoge through I
asked an intelligent colored man how he liked his sermon. His reply
was: “If Dr. Hoge is in earnest, why don’t he open his own church and
invite us in and preach to us there? Before he can make any impression
on us, he must go to the Catholic Church and learn the spirit of
brotherly love.”

One Sunday, Bishop Kean said to the colored congregation, numbering
twelve hundred, who had come to hear him: “There are distinctions in
the business and in the social world, but there are no distinctions
in the spiritual. A soul is a soul before God, may it be a black or
a white man’s. God is no respecter of persons, the Christian Church
cannot afford to be. The people who would not let you learn to read
before the war, are the ones now that accuse me of trying to use you
for political purposes.

“Now, my dear beloved brethren, when I attempt to tell you how to vote,
you need not come to hear me preach any more.”

The blacks have been so badly treated in the past that kind words and
social recognition will do much to win them in the future, for success
will not depend so much upon their matter as upon their manner; not so
much upon their faith as upon the more potent direct influence of their
practice. In this the Catholics of the South have the inside track, for
the prejudice of the Protestants seems in a fair way to let the negro
go anywhere except to heaven, if they have to go the same way.



CHAPTER XXIII.


Norfolk is the place above all others, where the
“old-Verginny-never-tire” colored people of the olden time may be found
in their purity. Here nearly everybody lives out of doors in the warm
weather. This is not confined to the blacks. On the sidewalks, in front
of the best hotels, under the awnings at store-doors, on the door-sills
of private houses, and on the curbstones in the streets, may be seen
people of all classes. But the blacks especially give the inside of the
house a wide berth in the summer.

I went to the market, for I always like to visit the markets on
Saturday, for there you see “life among the lowly,” as you see it
nowhere else. Colored men and women have a respectable number of stalls
in the Norfolk market, the management of which does them great credit.

But the costermongers, or street-venders, are the men of music. “Here’s
yer nice vegables--green corn, butter beans, taters, Irish taters, new,
jess bin digged; come an’ get ’em while dey is fresh. Now’s yer time;
squash, Calafony quash, bess in de worl’; come an’ git ’em now; it’ll
be Sunday termorrer, an’ I’ll be gone to church. Big fat Mexican peas,
marrer fat squash, Protestant squash, good Catholic vegables of all
kinds.”

    Now’s yer time to git snap-beans,
    Okra, tomatoes, an’ taters gwine by;
    Don’t be foolish virgins;
    Hab de dinner ready
    When de master he comes home,
    Snap-beans gwine by.

Just then the vender broke forth in a most musical voice:

    Oh! Hannah, boil dat cabbage down,
      Hannah, boil ’em down,
    And turn dem buckwheats round and round,
      Hannah, boil ’em down.
    It’s almost time to blow de horn,
      Hannah, boil ’em down,
    To call de boys dat hoe de corn,
      Hannah, boil ’em down.

    Hannah, boll ’em down,
      De cabbage just pulled out de ground,
    Boil ’em in de pot,
      And make him smoking hot.

           *       *       *       *       *

    Some like de cabbage made in krout,
      Hannah, boil ’em down,
    Dey eat so much dey get de gout,
      Hannah, boil ’em down,
    Dey chops ’em up and let dem spoil,
      Hannah, boil ’em down;
    I’d rather hab my cabbage boiled,
      Hannah, boil ’em down.

    Some say dat possum’s in de pan,
      Hannah, boil ’em down,
    Am de sweetest meat in all de land,
      Hannah, boil ’em down;
    But dar is dat ole cabbage head,
      Hannah, boil ’em down,
    I’ll prize it, children, till I’s dead,
      Hannah, boil ’em down.

This song, given in his inimitable manner, drew the women to the
windows, and the crowd around the vegetable man in the street, and he
soon disposed of the contents of his cart. Other venders who “toted”
their commodities about in baskets on their heads, took advantage of
the musical man’s company to sell their own goods. A woman with some
really fine strawberries, put forth her claims in a very interesting
song; the interest, however, centered more upon the manner than the
matter:--

    “I live fore miles out of town,
         I am gwine to glory.
     My strawberries are sweet an’ soun’,
         I am gwine to glory.
     I fotch ’em fore miles on my head,
         I am gwine to glory.
     My chile is sick, an’ husban’ dead,
         I am gwine to glory.
     Now’s de time to get ’em cheap,
         I am gwine to glory.
     Eat ’em wid yer bread an’ meat,
         I am gwine to glory.
     Come sinner get down on your knees,
         I am gwine to glory.
     Eat dees strawberries when you please,
         I am gwine to glory.”

Upon the whole, the colored man of Virginia is a very favorable
physical specimen of his race; and he has peculiarly fine, urbane
manners. A stranger judging from the surface of life here, would
undoubtedly say that that they were a happy, well-to-do people.
Perhaps, also, he might say: “Ah, I see. The negro is the same
everywhere--a hewer of wood, a peddler of vegetables, a wearer of the
waiter’s white apron. Freedom has not altered his status.”

Such a judgment would be a very hasty one. Nations are not educated
in twenty years. There are certain white men who naturally gravitate
also to these positions; and we must remember that it is only the
present generation of negroes who have been able to appropriate any
share of the nobler blessings of freedom. But the colored boys and
girls of Virginia are to-day vastly different from what the colored
boys and girls of fifteen or twenty years ago were. The advancement and
improvement is so great that it is not unreasonable to predict from it
a very satisfactory future.

The negro population here are greatly in the majority, and formerly
sent a member of their own color to the State Senate, but through
bribery and ballot-box stuffing, a white Senator is now in Richmond.
One negro here at a late election sold his vote for a barrel of sugar.
After he had voted and taken his sugar home, he found it to be a barrel
of sand. I learn that his neighbors turned the laugh upon him, and made
him treat the whole company, which cost him five dollars.

I would not have it supposed from what I have said about the general
condition of the blacks in Virginia that there are none of a higher
grade. Far from it, for some of the best mechanics in the State are
colored men. In Richmond and Petersburg they have stores and carry on
considerable trade, both with the whites and their own race. They are
doing a great deal for education; many send their sons and daughters
North and West for better advantages; and they are building some of the
finest churches in this State. The Second Baptist Church here pulled
down a comparatively new and fine structure, last year, to replace it
with a more splendid place of worship, simply because a rival church of
the same denomination had surpassed them. I viewed the new edifice, and
feel confident it will compare favorably with any church on the Back
Bay, Boston.

The new building will seat three thousand persons, and will cost,
exclusive of the ground, one hundred thousand dollars, all the brick
and wood work of which is being done by colored men.



CHAPTER XXIV.


The education of the negro in the South is the most important matter
that we have to deal with at present, and one that will claim
precedence of all other questions for many years to come. When, soon
after the breaking out of the Rebellion, schools for the freedmen
were agitated in the North, and teachers dispatched from New England
to go down to teach the “poor contrabands,” I went before the proper
authorities in Boston, and asked that a place be given to one of our
best-educated colored young ladies, who wanted to devote herself to the
education of her injured race, and the offer was rejected, upon the
ground that the “time for sending colored teachers had not come.” This
happened nearly twenty years ago. From that moment to the present, I
have watched with painful interest the little progress made by colored
men and women to become instructors of their own race in the Southern
States.

Under the spur of the excitement occasioned by the Proclamation of
Freedom, and the great need of schools for the blacks, thousands
of dollars were contributed at the North, and agents sent to Great
Britain, where generosity had no bounds. Money came in from all
quarters, and some of the noblest white young women gave themselves up
to the work of teaching the freedmen.

During the first three or four years, this field for teachers was
filled entirely by others than members of the colored race, and yet it
was managed by the “New England Freedmen’s Association,” made up in
part by some of our best men and women.

But many energetic, educated colored, young women and men, volunteered,
and, at their own expense, went South and began private schools, and
literally forced their way into the work. This was followed by a
few appointments, which in every case proved that colored teachers
for colored people was the great thing needed. Upon the foundations
laid by these small schools, some of the most splendid educational
institutions in the South have sprung up. Fisk, Howard, Atlanta,
Hampton, Tennessee Central, Virginia Central, and Straight, are some
of the most prominent. These are all under the control and management
of the whites, and are accordingly conducted upon the principle of
whites for teachers and blacks for pupils. And yet each of the above
institutions are indebted to the sympathy felt for the negro, for their
very existence. Some of these colleges give more encouragement to the
negro to become an instructor, than others; but, none however, have
risen high enough to measure the black man independent of his color.

At Petersburg I found a large, fine building for public schools for
colored youth; the principal, a white man, with six assistants, but not
one colored teacher amongst them. Yet Petersburg has turned out some
most excellent colored teachers, two of whom I met at Suffolk, with
small schools. These young ladies had graduated with honors at one of
our best institutions, and yet could not obtain a position as teacher
in a public school, where the pupils were only their own race.

At Nashville, the School Board was still more unjust, for they employed
teachers who would not allow their colored scholars to recognize them
on the streets, and for doing which, the children were reprimanded, and
the action of the teachers approved by the Board of Education.

It is generally known that all the white teachers in our colored public
schools feel themselves above their work; and the fewest number have
any communication whatever with their pupils outside the school-room.
Upon receiving their appointments and taking charge of their schools
some of them have been known to announce to their pupils that under no
circumstances were they to recognize or speak to them on the streets.
It is very evident that these people have no heart in the work they are
doing, and simply from day to day go through the mechanical form of
teaching our children for the pittance they receive as a salary. While
teachers who have no interest in the children they instruct, except
for the salary they get, are employed in the public schools and in the
Freedman’s Colleges, hundreds of colored men and women, who are able
to stand the most rigid examination, are idle, or occupying places far
beneath what they deserve.

It is to be expected that the public schools will, to a greater or
less extent, be governed by the political predilections of the parties
in power; but we ought to look for better things from Fisk, Hampton,
Howard, Atlanta, Tennessee Central and Virginia Central, whose walls
sprung up by money raised from appeals made for negro education.

There are, however, other educational institutions of which I have
not made mention, and which deserve the patronage of the benevolent
everywhere. These are: Wilberforce, Berea, Payne Institute, in South
Carolina, Waco College, in Texas, and Storer College, at Harper’s Ferry.

Wilberforce is well known, and is doing a grand work. It has turned
out some of the best of our scholars,--men whose labors for the
elevation of their race cannot be too highly commended.

Storer College, at Harper’s Ferry, looks down upon the ruins of “John
Brown’s Fort.” In the ages to come, Harper’s Ferry will be sought
out by the traveller from other lands. Here at the confluence of the
Potomac and the Shenandoah Rivers, on a point just opposite the gap
through which the united streams pass the Blue Ridge, on their course
toward the ocean, stands the romantic town, and a little above it, on a
beautiful eminence, is Storer, an institution, and of whose officers I
cannot speak too highly.

I witnessed, with intense interest, the earnest efforts of these good
men and women, in their glorious work of the elevation of my race.
And while the benevolent of the North are giving of their abundance,
I would earnestly beg them not to forget Storer College, at Harper’s
Ferry.

The other two, of which I have made mention, are less known, but their
students are numerous and well trained. _Both these schools are in the
South_, and both are owned and managed by colored men, free from the
supposed necessity of having white men to do their _thinking_, and
therein ought to receive the special countenance of all who believe in
giving the colored people a chance to paddle their own canoe.

I failed, however, to find schools for another part of our people,
which appear to be much needed. For many years in the olden time
the South was noted for its beautiful Quadroon women. Bottles of
ink, and reams of paper, have been used to portray the “finely-cut
and well-moulded features,” the “silken curls,” the “dark and
brilliant eyes,” the “splendid forms,” the “fascinating smiles,” and
“accomplished manners” of these impassioned and voluptuous daughters
of the two races,--the unlawful product of the crime of human bondage.
When we take into consideration the fact that no safeguard was ever
thrown around virtue, and no inducement held out to slave-women to be
pure and chaste, we will not be surprised when told that immorality
pervaded the domestic circle in the cities and towns of the South to
an extent unknown in the Northern States. Many a planter’s wife has
dragged out a miserable existence, with an aching heart, at seeing her
place in the husband’s affections usurped by the unadorned beauty and
captivating smiles of her waiting-maid. Indeed, the greater portion of
the colored women, in the days of slavery, had no greater aspiration
than that of becoming the finely-dressed mistress of some white man.
Although freedom has brought about a new order of things, and our
colored women are making rapid strides to rise above the dark scenes of
the past, yet the want of protection to our people since the old-time
whites have regained power, places a large number of the colored young
women of the cities and towns at the mercy of bad colored men, or worse
white men. To save these from destruction, institutions ought to be
established in every large city.

Mrs. Julia G. Thomas, a very worthy lady, deeply interested in the
welfare of her sex, has a small institution for orphans and friendless
girls, where they will have a home, schooling, and business training,
to fit them to enter life with a prospect of success. Mrs. Thomas’
address is 190 High Street, Nashville, Tennessee.



CHAPTER XXV.


Among the causes of that dissatisfaction of the colored people in the
South which has produced the exodus therefrom, there is one that lies
beneath the surface and is concealed from even an astute observer,
if he is a stranger to that section. This cause consists in certain
legislative enactments that have been passed in most of the cotton
States, ostensibly for other purposes, but really for the purpose of
establishing in those States a system of peonage similar to, if not
worse than, that which prevails in Mexico. This is the object of a
statute passed by the Legislature of Mississippi, in March, 1878.
The title of the act, whether intentionally so or not, is certainly
misleading. It is entitled “An act to reduce the judiciary expenses of
the State.” But how it can possibly have that effect is beyond human
wisdom to perceive. It, however, does operate, and is used in such a
way as to enslave a large number of negroes, who have not even been
convicted of the slightest offence against the laws.

The act provides that “all persons convicted and committed to the jail
of the county, except those committed to jail for contempt of court,
and except those sentenced to imprisonment in the Penitentiary, shall
be delivered to a contractor, to be by him kept and worked under the
provisions of this act; and all persons committed to jail, except
those not entitled to bail, may also, with their consent, be committed
to said contractor and worked under this act before conviction.” But
Sect. 5, of the act provides ample and cogent machinery to produce the
necessary consent on the part of the not yet convicted prisoner to work
for the contractor. In that section it is provided “that if any person
committed to jail for an offence that is bailable shall not consent to
be committed to the safe keeping and custody of said contractor, and to
work for said contractor, and to work for the same under this act, the
prisoner shall be entitled to receive only six ounces of bacon, or ten
ounces of beef, and one pound of bread and water.”

This section also provides that any prisoner not consenting to work
before his conviction for the contractor, and that too, without
compensation, “If said prisoner shall afterward be convicted, he shall,
nevertheless, work under said contractor a sufficient term to pay all
cost of prosecution, including the regular jail fees for keeping and
feeding him.” The charge for feeding him, upon the meagre bill of fare
above stated, is twenty cents a day. Now, it cannot be denied that the
use made of this law is to deprive the negro of his natural right to
choose his own employer; and in the following manner: Let us suppose a
case, and such cases are constantly occurring. A is a cotton planter,
owns three or four thousand acres of land, and has forty, fifty, or
one hundred negro families on his plantation. At the expiration of the
year, a negro proposes to leave the plantation of A, and try to better
his condition by making a more advantageous bargain with B, or C, for
another year. If A can prevent the negro from leaving him in no other
way, this statute puts full power in his hands. A trumps up some petty
charge against the negro, threatens to have him arrested and committed
to jail. The negro knows how little it will take to commit him to jail,
and that then he must half starve on a pound of bread and water and six
ounces of bacon a day, or work for the contractor for nothing until he
can be tried; and when tried he must run the risk of conviction, which
is not slight, though he may be ever so innocent. Avarice--unscrupulous
avarice--is pursuing him, and with little power to resist, there being
no healthy public sentiment in favor of fair play to encourage him, he
yields, and becomes the peon of his oppressor.

I found the whipping-post in full operation in Virginia, and heard of
its being enforced in other States. I inquired of a black man what he
thought of the revival of that mode of punishment. He replied, “Well,
sar, I don’t ker for it, kase dey treats us all alike; dey whips whites
at de poss jess as dey do de blacks, an’ dat’s what I calls equality
before de law.”

A friend of mine meeting a man who was leaving Arkansas, on account of
the revival of her old slave laws, the following conversation occurred,
showing that the oppression of the blacks extends to all the States
South.

“You come from Arkansas, I understand?”

“Yes.”

“What wages do you generally get for your work?”

“Since about ’68, we’ve been getting about two bits a day--that’s
twenty cents. Then there are some people that work by the month, and at
the end of the month they are either put off or cheated out of their
money entirely. Property and goods are worth nothing to a black man
there. He can’t get his price for them; he gets just what the white man
chooses to give him. Some people who raise from ten to fifteen bales
of cotton sometimes have hardly enough to cover their body and feet.
This goes on while the white man gets the price he asks for his goods.
This is unfair, and as long as we pay taxes we want justice, right, and
equality before the people.”

“What taxes do you pay?”

“A man that owns a house and lot has to pay about twenty-six dollars a
year; and if he has a mule worth about one hundred and fifty dollars
they tax him two dollars and a half extra. If they see you have
money--say you made three thousand dollars--you’d soon see some bill
about taxes, land lease and the other coming in for about two thousand
of it. They charge a black man thirteen dollars where they would only
charge a white man one or two. Now, there’s a man,” pointing to a
portly old fellow, “who had to run away from his house, farm, and all.
It is for this we leave Arkansas. We want freedom, and I say, ‘Give me
liberty or give me death.’ We took up arms and fought for our country,
so we ought to have our rights.”

“How about the schooling you receive?”

“We can’t vote, still we have to pay taxes to support schools for the
others. I got my education in New Orleans and paid for it, too. I have
six children, and though I pay taxes not one of them has any schooling
from the public schools. The taxes and rent are so heavy that the
children have to work when they are as young as ten years. That’s the
way it is down there.”

“Did you have any teachers from the North?”

“There were some teachers from the North who came down there, but they
were run out. They were paid so badly and treated so mean that they had
to go.”

“What county did you live in?”

“Phillips County.”

“How many schools were in that county?”

“About five.”

“When do they open?”

“About once every two years and keep open for two or three weeks. And
then they have a certain kind of book for the children. Those that
have dogs, cats, hogs, cows, horses, and all sorts of animals in them.
They keep the children in these and never let them get out of them.”

“Have you any colleges in the State for colored men?”

“No, they haven’t got any colleges and don’t allow any. The other day
I asked a Republican how was it that so many thousands of dollars were
taken for colleges and we didn’t get any good of it? He said, ‘The bill
didn’t pass, somehow.’ And now I guess those fellows spent all that
money.”

“As a general thing, then, the people are very ignorant?”

“Yes, sir; the colored man that’s got education is like some people
that’s got religion--he hides it under a bushel; if he didn’t, and
stood up for his rights as a citizen, he would soon become the game of
some of the Ku-Klux clubs.”

Having succeeded in getting possession of power in the South, and
driving the black voters from the polls at elections, and also having
them counted in National Representation, the ex-rebels will soon have
a power which they never before enjoyed. Had the slaveholders in 1860
possessed the right of representing their slaves fully instead of
partly in Congress and in the Electoral College, they would have ruled
this country indefinitely in the interest of slavery. It was supposed
that by the result of the war, freedom profited and the slaveholding
class lost power forever. But the very act which conferred the full
right of representation upon the three million freedmen, by the help
of the policy, has placed an instrument in the hands of the rebel
conspirators which they will use to pervert and defeat the objects of
the Constitutional amendments. Through this policy the thirty-five
additional electoral votes given to the freedmen have been “turned over
to the Democratic party.” Aye, more than that; they have been turned
over to the ex-rebels, who will use them in the cause of oppression
scarcely second in hatefulness to that of chattel slavery. In a contest
with the solid South, therefore, the party of freedom and justice will
have greater odds to overcome than it did in 1860, and the Southern
oligarchs hold a position which is well nigh impregnable for whatever
purpose they choose to use it.

Of the large number of massacres perpetrated upon the blacks in the
South, since the ex-rebels have come into power, I give one instance,
which will show the inhumanity of the whites. This outrage occurred
in Gibson County, Tennessee. The report was first circulated that the
blacks in great numbers were armed, and were going to commit murder
upon the whites. This created the excitement that it was intended
to, and the whites in large bodies, armed to the teeth, went through
Gibson, and adjoining counties, disarming the blacks, taking from them
their only means of defence, and arresting all objectionable blacks
that they could find, taking them to Trenton and putting them in jail.

The following account of the wanton massacre, is from the _Memphis
Appeal_:--

“About four hundred armed, disguised, mounted men entered this town
at two o’clock this morning, proceeded to the jail, and demanded the
keys of the jailor, Mr. Alexander. He refused to give up the keys.
Sheriff Williams, hearing the noise, awoke and went to the jail, and
refused to surrender the keys to the maskers, telling them that he did
not have the keys. They cocked their pistols, and he refused again to
give them the keys, whereupon the Captain of the company ordered the
masked men to draw their pistols and cock them, swearing they would
have the keys or shoot the jailor. The jailor dared them to shoot, and
said they were too cowardly to shoot. They failed to do this. Then
they threatened to tear down the jail or get the prisoners. The jailor
told them that rather than they should tear down the jail he would
give them the keys if they would go with him to his office. The jailor
did this because he saw that the men were determined to break through.
‘They were all disguised. Then they came,’ says the Sheriff, ‘and got
the keys from my office, and giving three or four yells, went to the
jail, unlocked it, took out the sixteen negroes who had been brought
here from Pickettsville (Gibson), and, tying their hands, escorted
them away. They proceeded on the Huntingdon road without saying a
word, and in fifteen minutes I heard shots. In company with several
citizens I proceeded down the road in the direction taken by the men
and prisoners, and just beyond the river bridge, half a mile from
town, I found four negroes dead, on the ground, their bodies riddled
with bullets, and two wounded. We saw no masked men. Ten negroes yet
remain unaccounted for. Leaving the dead bodies where we found them,
we brought the two wounded negroes to town, and summoned medical aid.
Justice J. M. Caldwell held an inquest on the bodies, the verdict being
in accordance with the facts that death resulted from shots inflicted
by guns in the hands of unknown parties. The inquest was held about
eight o’clock this morning. These are all the facts relative to the
shooting I can give you. I did my duty to prevent the rescue of the
negroes, but found it useless to oppose the men, one of whom said there
were four hundred in the band.’

“Night before last the guard that brought the prisoners from
Pickettsville remained. No fears or intimations of the attempted rescue
were then heard of or feared. This morning, learning that four or five
hundred armed negroes, on the Jackson road, were marching into town
to burn the buildings and kill the people, the citizens immediately
organized, armed, and prepared for active defence, and went out to
meet the negroes, scouted the whole country around but found no armed
negroes. The citizens throughout the country commenced coming into town
by hundreds. Men came from Union City, Kenton, Troy, Rutherford, Dyer
Station, Skull Bone, and the whole country, but found no need of their
services. The two wounded negroes will die. The bodies of the ten
other negroes taken from the jail were found in the river bottom about
a mile from town.

“We blush for our State, and with the shame of the bloody murder, the
disgraceful defiance of law, of order, and of decency full upon us,
are at a loss for language with which to characterize a deed that, if
the work of Comanches or Modocs, would arouse every man in the Union
for a speedy vengeance on the perpetrators. To-day, we must hold up
to merited reprobation and condemnation the armed men who besieged
the Trenton Jail, and wantonly as wickedly, without anything like
justification, took thence the unarmed negroes there awaiting trial by
the courts, and brutally shot them to death; and, too, with a show of
barbarity altogether as unnecessary as the massacre was unjustifiable.
To say that we are not, in any county in the State, strong enough to
enforce the law, is to pronounce a libel upon the whole Commonwealth.
We are as a thousand to one in moral and physical force to the negro;
we are in possession of the State, of all the machinery of Government,
and at a time more momentous than any we ever hope to see again have
proved our capacity to sustain the law’s executive officers and
maintain the laws. Why, then, should we now, in time of profound
peace, subvert the law and defy its administrators? Why should we put
the Government of our own selection under our feet, and defy and set
at naught the men whom we have elected to enforce the laws, and this
ruthlessly and savagely, without any of the forms, even, that usually
attend on the administration of the wild behests of Judge Lynch? And
all without color of extenuation; for no sane man who has regard for
the truth will pretend to say that because the unfortunate negroes
were arrested as the ringleaders of a threatening and armed band that
had fired upon two white men, they were, therefore, worthy of death,
and without the forms of law, in a State controlled and governed by
law-abiding men.”

No one was ever punished, or even an attempt made to ferret out the
perpetrators of this foul murder. And the infliction of the death
punishment, by “Lynch Law,” on colored persons for the slightest
offence, proves that there is really no abatement in this hideous race
prejudice that prevails throughout the South.



CHAPTER XXVI.


Years ago, when the natural capabilities of the races were more under
discussion than now, the negro was always made to appear to greater
disadvantage than the rest of mankind. The public mind is not yet free
from this false theory, nor has the colored man done much of late
years to change this opinion. Long years of training of any people to
a particular calling, seems to fit them for that vocation more than
for any other. Thus, the Jews, inured to centuries of money-lending and
pawn-broking, they, as a race, stick to it as if they were created for
that business alone.

The training of the Arabs for long excursions through wild deserts,
makes them the master roamers of the world. The Gypsies, brought up
to camping out and trading in horses, send forth the idea that they
were born for it. The black man’s position as a servant, for many
generations, has not only made the other races believe that is his
legitimate sphere, but he himself feels more at home in a white apron
and a towel on his arm, than with a quill behind his ear and a ledger
before him.

That a colored man takes to the dining-room and the kitchen, as a duck
does to water, only proves that like other races, his education has
entered into his blood. This is not theory, this is not poetry; but
stern truth. Our people prefer to be servants.

This may be to some extent owing to the fact that the organ of
alimentativeness is more prominently formed in the negro’s make-up,
than in that of almost any other people.

During several trips in the cars between Nashville and Columbia, I
noticed that the boy who sold newspapers and supplied the passengers
with fruit, had a basket filled with candy and cakes. The first time I
was on his car he offered me the cakes, which I declined, but bought
a paper. Watching him I observed that when colored persons entered
the car, he would offer them the cakes which they seldom failed to
purchase. One day as I took from him a newspaper, I inquired of him why
he always offered cakes to the colored passengers. His reply was:--“Oh!
they always buy something to eat.”

“Do they purchase more cakes than white people?”

“Yes,” was the response.

“Why do they buy your cakes and candy?” I asked.

“Well, sir, the colored people seem always to be hungry. Never see
anything like it. They don’t buy papers, but they are always eating.”

Just then we stopped at Franklin, and three colored passengers came in.
“Now,” continued the cake boy, “you’ll see how they’ll take the cakes,”
and he started for them, but had to pass their seats to shut the door
that had been left open. In going by, one of the men, impatient to get
a cake, called, “Here, here, come here wid yer cakes.”

The peddler looked at me and laughed. He sold each one a cake, and yet
it was not ten o’clock in the morning.

Not long since, in Massachusetts, I succeeded in getting a young man
pardoned from our State prison, where he had been confined for more
than ten years, and where he had learned a good trade.

I had already secured him a situation where he was to receive three
dollars per day to commence with, with a prospect of an advance of
wages.

As we were going to his boarding place, and after I had spent some
time in advising him to turn over a new leaf and to try and elevate
himself, we passed one of our best hotels. My ward at once stopped,
began snuffing as if he “smelt a mice.” I looked at him, watched his
countenance as it lighted up and his eyes sparkled; I inquired what was
the matter. With a radiant smile he replied, “I smell good wittles;
what place is that?”

“It is the Revere House,” I said.

“Wonder if I could get a place to wait on table there?” he asked.

I thought it a sorry comment on my efforts to instil into him some
self-respect. This young man had learned the shoemaking trade, and at a
McKay machine, I understood that he could earn from three dollars and a
half to five dollars per day.

A dozen years ago, two colored young men commenced the manufacture
of one of the necessary commodities of the day. After running the
establishment some six or eight months successfully, they sold out to
white men, who now employ more than one hundred hands. Both of the
colored men are at their legitimate callings; one is a waiter in a
private house, the other is a porter on a sleeping car.

The failure of these young men to carry on a manufacturing business was
mainly owing to a want of training, in a business point of view. No man
is fit for a profession or a trade, unless he has learned it.

Extravagance in dress is a great and growing evil with our people. I
am acquainted with a lady in Boston who wears a silk dress costing one
hundred and thirty dollars. She lives in two rooms, and her husband is
a hair-dresser.

Since the close of the war, a large number of freedmen settled in
Massachusetts, where they became servants, the most of them. These
people surpass in dress, the wealthiest merchants of the city.

A young man, now a servant in a private house, sports a sixty-dollar
overcoat while he works for twenty dollars per month.

A woman who cooks for five dollars per week, in Arlington Street,
swings along every Sunday in a hundred-dollar silk dress, and a
thirty-dollar hat. She cannot read or write.

Go to our churches on the Sabbath, and see the silk, the satin, the
velvet, and the costly feathers, and talk with the uneducated wearers,
and you will see at once the main hindrance to self-elevation.

To elevate ourselves and our children, we must cultivate self-denial.
Repress our appetites for luxuries and be content with clothing
ourselves in garments becoming our means and our incomes. The
adaptation and the deep inculcation of the principles of total
abstinence from all intoxicants. The latter is a pre-requisite for
success in all the relations of life.

Emerging from the influence of oppression, taught from early experience
to have no confidence in the whites, we have little or none in our own
race, or even in ourselves.

We need more self-reliance, more confidence in the ability of our own
people; more manly independence, a higher standard of moral, social,
and literary culture. Indeed, we need a union of effort to remove the
dark shadow of ignorance that now covers the land. While the barriers
of prejudice keep us morally and socially from educated white society,
we must make a strong effort to raise ourselves from the common level
where emancipation and the new order of things found us.

We possess the elements of successful development; but we need live
men and women to make this development. The last great struggle for
our rights; the battle for our own civilization, is entirely with
ourselves, and the problem is to be solved by us.

We must use our spare time, day and night, to educate ourselves. Let us
have night schools for the adults, and not be ashamed to attend them.
Encourage our own literary men and women; subscribe for, and be sure
and pay for papers published by colored men. Don’t stop to inquire if
the paper will live; but encourage it, and make it live.

With the exception of a few benevolent societies, we are separated as
far from each other as the east is from the west.



CHAPTER XXVII.


Union is strength, has long since passed into a proverb. The colored
people of the South should at once form associations, combine and make
them strong, and live up to them by all hazards. All civilized races
have risen by means of combination and co-operation. The Irishman, the
German, the Frenchman, all come to this country poor, and they stay
here but a short time before you see them succeeding in some branch of
business. This success is not the result of individual effort--it is
the result of combination and co-operation. Whatever an Irishman has
to spend he puts in the till of one of his own countrymen, and that
accounts for Irish success.

A German succeeds in this country because all his fellow-countrymen
patronize him in whatever business he engages. A German will put
himself to inconvenience, and go miles out of his way to spend money
with one of his own race and nationality.

With all his fickleness, the Frenchman never forgets to find out and
patronize one of his own people. Italians flock together and stand by
each other, right or wrong. The Chinese are clannish, and stick by one
another. The Caucasian race is the foremost in the world in everything
that pertains to advanced civilization,--simply owing to the fact
that an Englishman never passes the door of a countryman to patronize
another race; and a Yankee is a Yankee all the days of his life, and
will never desert his colors. But where is the Negro?

A gentlemanly and well-informed colored man came to me a few days
since, wishing to impart to me some important information, and he
commenced by saying: “Now, Doctor, what I am going to tell you, you
may rely on its being true, because I got it from a white man--no
nigger told me this.”

On Duke Street, in Alexandria, Va., resides an Irishman, who began
business in that place a dozen years ago, with two jugs, one filled
with whiskey, the other with molasses, a little pork, some vegetables,
sugar and salt. On the opposite side of the street was our good friend,
Mr. A. S. Perpener. The latter had a respectable provision store,
minus the whiskey. Colored people inhabited the greater part of the
street. Did they patronize their own countryman? Not a bit of it. The
Irishman’s business increased rapidly; he soon enlarged his premises,
adding wood and coal to his salables. Perpener did the same, but the
blacks passed by and went over on the other side, gave their patronage
to the son of Erin, who now has houses “to let,” but he will not rent
them to colored tenants.

The Jews, though scattered throughout the world, are still Jews. Their
race and their religion they have maintained in all countries and all
ages. They never forsake each other. If they fall out, over some trade,
they make up in time to combine against the rest of mankind. Shylock
says: “I will buy with you, sell with you, talk with you, walk with
you, and so following; but I will not eat with you, drink with you, nor
pray with you.” Thus, the Jew, with all his love of money, will not
throw off his religion to satisfy others, and for this we honor him.

It is the misfortune of our race that the impression prevails that
“one nigger is as good as another.” Now this is a great error; there
are colored men in this country as far ahead of others of their own
race as Webster and Sumner were superior to the average white man.

Then, again, we have no confidence in each other. We consider the goods
from the store of a white man necessarily better than can be purchased
from a colored man.

No man ever succeeded who lacked confidence in himself. No race ever
did or ever will prosper or make a respectable history which has no
confidence in its own nationality.

Those who do not appreciate their own people will not be appreciated by
other people. If a white man will pat a colored man on the shoulder,
bow to him, and call him “Mr.,” he will go a mile out of his way to
patronize him, if in doing so he passes a first-class dealer of his own
race. I asked a colored man in Columbia if he patronized Mr. Frierson.
He said, “No.” I inquired, “Why?” “He never invited me to his house in
his life,” was the reply.

“Does the white man you deal with invite you?”

“No.”

“Then, why do you expect Mr. Frierson to do it?”

“Oh! he’s a nigger and I look for more from him than I do from a white
man.” So it is clear that this is the result of jealousy.

The recent case of the ill-treatment of Cadet Whittaker, at West Point,
shows most clearly the unsuspecting character of the negro, when
dealing with whites. Although Whittaker had been repeatedly warned that
an attack was to be made upon him, and especially told to look out for
the assault the very night that the crime was committed, he laid down
with his room-door unfastened, went off into a sound sleep, with no
weapon or means of defence near him. This was, for all the world, like
a negro. A Yankee would have had a revolver with every chamber loaded;
an Irishman would have slept with one eye open, and a stout shillalah
in his right hand, and in all probability somebody would have had a
nice funeral after the attack. But that want of courage and energy, so
characteristic of the race, permitted one of the foulest crimes to be
perpetrated which has come to light for years.

But the most disgraceful part in this whole transaction lies with the
Court of Investigation, now being conducted at West Point under the
supervision of United States officials. The unfeeling and unruly cadets
that outraged Whittaker, no doubt, laid a deep plan to cover up their
tracks, and this was to make it appear that their victim had inflicted
upon himself his own injuries. And acting upon this theory, one of
the young scamps, who had no doubt been rehearsing for the occasion,
volunteered to show the Court how the negro could have practised the
imposition.

And, strange to say, these sage _investigators_ sat quietly and looked
on while the young ruffian laid down upon the floor, tied himself, and
explained how the thing was done.

If the victim had been a white man and his persecutors black, does any
one believe for a moment that such a theory would have been listened to?

Generations of oppression have done their work too thoroughly to have
its traces wiped away in a dozen years. The race must be educated out
of the ignorance in which it at present dwells, and lifted to a level
with other races. Colored lawyers, doctors, artisans and mechanics,
starve for patronage, while the negro is begging the white man to do
his work. Combinations have made other races what they are to-day.

The great achievements of scientific men could not have been made
practical by individual effort. The great works of genius could never
have benefited the world, had those who composed them been mean and
selfish. All great and useful enterprises have succeeded through the
influence and energy of numbers.

I would not have it thought that all colored men are to be bought by
the white man’s smiles, or to be frightened by intimidation. Far from
it. In all the Southern States we have some of the noblest specimens of
mankind,--men of genius, refinement, courage and liberality, ready to
do and to die for the race.



CHAPTER XXVIII.


Advice upon the formation of Literary Associations, and total
abstinence from all intoxications is needed, and I will give it to
you in this chapter. The time for colored men and women to organize
for self-improvement has arrived. Moral, social, and intellectual
development, should be the main attainment of the negro race. Colored
people have so long been in the habit of aping the whites, and often
not the better class either, that I fear this characteristic in them,
more than anything else. A large percentage of them being waiters, they
see a great deal of drinking in white society of the “Upper Ten.” Don’t
follow their bad example. Take warning by their degradation.

During the year 1879, Boston sent four hundred drunken women to the
Sherborn prison; while two private asylums are full, many of them from
Boston’s first families. Therefore, I beseech you to never allow the
intoxicant to enter your circles.

It is bad enough for men to lapse into habits of drunkenness. A
drunken husband, a drunken father--only those patient, heart-broken,
shame-faced wives and children on whom this great cross of suffering is
laid, can estimate the misery which it brings.

But a drunken girl--a drunken wife--a drunken mother--is there for
woman a deeper depth? Home made hideous--children disgraced, neglected,
and maltreated.

Remember that all this comes from the first glass. The wine may be
pleasant to the taste, and may for the time being, furnish happiness;
but it must never be forgotten that whatever degree of exhiliration
may be produced in a healthy person by the use of wine, it will most
certainly be succeeded by a degree of nervous depression proportioned
to the amount of previous excitement. Hence the immoderate use of
wine, or its habitual indulgence, debilitates the brain and nervous
system, paralyzes the intellectual powers, impairs the functions of the
stomach, produces a perverted appetite for a renewal of the deleterious
beverage, or a morbid imagination, which destroys man’s usefulness.

The next important need with our people, is the cultivation of habits
of business. We have been so long a dependent race, so long looking to
the white as our leaders, and being content with doing the drudgery
of life, that most who commence business for themselves are likely
to fail, because of want of a knowledge of what we undertake. As
the education of a large percentage of the colored people is of a
fragmentary character, having been gained by little and little here
and there, and must necessarily be limited to a certain degree, we
should use our spare hours in study and form associations for moral,
social, and literary culture. We must aim to enlighten ourselves and to
influence others to higher associations.

Our work lies primarily with the inward culture, at the springs and
sources of individual life and character, seeking everywhere to
encourage, and assist to the fullest emancipation of the human mind
from ignorance, inviting the largest liberty of thought, and the utmost
possible exaltation of life into approximation to the loftier standard
of cultivated character. Feeling that the literature of our age is the
reflection of the existing manners and modes of thought, etherealized
and refined in the alembic of genius, we should give our principal
encouragement to literature, bringing before our associations the
importance of original essays, selected readings, and the cultivation
of the musical talent.

If we need any proof of the good that would accrue from such
cultivation, we have only to look back and see the wonderful influence
of Homer over the Greeks, of Virgil and Horace over the Romans, of
Dante and Ariosto over the Italians, of Goethe and Schiller over the
Germans, of Racine and Voltaire over the French, of Shakespeare and
Milton over the English. The imaginative powers of these men, wrought
into verse or prose, have been the theme of the king in his palace,
the lover in his dreamy moods, the farmer in the harvest field, the
mechanic in the work-shop, the sailor on the high seas, and the
prisoner in his gloomy cell.

Indeed, authors possess the most gifted and fertile minds who combine
all the graces of style with rare, fascinating powers of language,
eloquence, wit, humor, pathos, genius and learning. And to draw
knowledge from such sources should be one of the highest aims of
man. The better elements of society can only be brought together by
organizing societies and clubs.

The cultivation of the mind is the superstructure of the moral, social
and religious character, which will follow us into our every-day life,
and make us what God intended us to be--the noblest instruments of
His creative power. Our efforts should be to imbue our minds with
broader and better views of science, literature, and a nobleness of
spirit that ignores petty aims of patriotism, glory, or mere personal
aggrandizement. It is said, never a shadow falls that does not leave
a permanent impress of its image, a monument of its passing presence.
Every character is modified by association. Words, the image of the
ideas, are more impressive than shadows; actions, embodied thoughts,
more enduring than aught material. Believing these truths, then, I say,
for every thought expressed, ennobling in its tendency and elevating
to Christian dignity and manly honor, God will reward us. Permanent
success depends upon intrinsic worth. The best way to have a public
character is to have a private one.

The great struggle for our elevation is now with ourselves. We may talk
of Hannibal, Euclid, Phyllis, Wheatly, Benjamin Bannaker, and Toussaint
L’Overture, but the world will ask us for our men and women of the day.
We cannot live upon the past; we must hew out a reputation that will
stand the test, one that we have a legitimate right to. To do this, we
must imitate the best examples set us by the cultivated whites, and
by so doing we will teach them that they can claim no superiority on
account of race.

The efforts made by oppressed nations or communities to throw off
their chains, entitles them to, and gains for them the respect of
mankind. This, the blacks never made, or what they did, was so feeble
as scarcely to call for comment. The planning of Denmark Vesey for an
insurrection in South Carolina, was noble, and deserved a better fate;
but he was betrayed by the race that he was attempting to serve.

Nat Turner’s strike for liberty was the outburst of feelings of an
insane man,--made so by slavery. True, the negro did good service at
the battles of Wagner, Honey Hill, Port Hudson, Millikin’s Bend, Poison
Springs, Olustee and Petersburg. Yet it would have been far better if
they had commenced earlier, or had been under leaders of their own
color. The St. Domingo revolution brought forth men of courage. But
the subsequent course of the people as a government, reflects little
or no honor on the race. They have floated about like a ship without a
rudder, ever since the expulsion of Rochambeau.

The fact is the world likes to see the exhibition of pluck on the part
of an oppressed people, even though they fail in their object. It is
these outbursts of the love of liberty that gains respect and sympathy
for the enslaved. Therefore, I bid God speed to the men and women of
the South, in their effort to break the long spell of lethargy that
hangs over the race. Don’t be too rash in starting, but prepare to go,
and “don’t stand upon the order of going, but go.” By common right,
the South is the negro’s home. Born, and “raised” there, he cleared up
the lands, built the cities, fed and clothed the whites, nursed their
children, earned the money to educate their sons and daughters; by the
negro’s labor churches were built and clergymen paid.

For two hundred years the Southern whites lived a lazy life at the
expense of the negro’s liberty. When the rebellion came, the blacks,
trusted and true to the last, protected the families and homes of white
men while they were away fighting the Government. The South is the
black man’s home; yet if he cannot be protected in his rights he should
leave. Where white men of liberal views can get no protection, the
colored man must not look for it. Follow the example of other oppressed
races, strike out for new territory. If suffering is the result, let
it come; others have suffered before you. Look at the Irish, Germans,
French, Italians, and other races, who have come to this country, gone
to the West, and are now enjoying the blessings of liberty and plenty;
while the negro is discussing the question of whether he should leave
the South or not, simply because he was born there.

While they are thus debating the subject, their old oppressors, seeing
that the negro has touched the right chord, forbid his leaving the
country. Georgia has made it a penal offence to invite the blacks to
emigrate, and one negro is already in prison for wishing to better the
condition of his fellows. This is the same spirit that induced the
people of that State to offer a reward of five thousand dollars, in
1835, for the head of Garrison. No people has borne oppression like
the negro, and no race has been so much imposed upon. Go to his own
land. Ask the Dutch boor whence comes his contempt and inward dislike
to the negro, the Hottentot, and Caffre; ask him for his warrant to
reduce these unhappy races to slavery; he will point to the fire-arms
suspended over the mantle-piece--“There is my right.”

Want of independence is the colored man’s greatest fault. In the
present condition of the Southern States, with the lands in the hands
of a shoddy, ignorant, superstitious, rebellious, and negro-hating
population, the blacks cannot be independent. Then emigrate to get away
from the surroundings that keep you down where you are. All cannot go,
even if it were desirable; but those who remain will have a better
opportunity. The planters will then have to pursue a different policy.
The right of the negroes to make the best terms they can, will have
to be recognized, and what was before presumption that called for
repression will now be tolerated as among the privileges of freedom.
The ability of the negroes to change their location will also turn
public sentiment against bull-dozing.

Two hundred years have demonstrated the fact that the negro is the
manual laborer of that section, and without him agriculture will be at
a stand-still.

The negro will for pay perform any service under heaven, no matter how
repulsive or full of hardship. He will sing his old plantation melodies
and walk about the cotton fields in July and August, when the toughest
white man seeks an awning. Heat is his element. He fears no malaria in
the rice swamps, where a white man’s life is not worth sixpence.

Then, I say, leave the South and starve the whites into a realization
of justice and common sense. Remember that tyrants never relinquish
their grasp upon their victims until they are forced to.

Whether the blacks emigrate or not, I say to them, keep away from the
cities and towns. Go into the country. Go to work on farms.

If you stop in the city, get a profession or a trade, but keep in mind
that a good trade is better than a poor profession.

In Boston there are a large number of colored professionals, especially
in the law, and a majority of whom are better fitted for farm service,
mechanical branches, or for driving an ash cart.

Persons should not select professions for the name of being a
“professional,” nor because they think they will lead an easy life. An
honorable, lucrative and faithfully-earned professional reputation, is
a career of honesty, patience, sobriety, toil and Christian zeal.

No drone can fill such a position. Select the profession or trade that
your education, inclination, strength of mind and body will support,
and then give your time to the work that you have undertaken, and work,
work.

Once more I say to those who cannot get remunerative employment at the
South, emigrate.

Some say, “stay and fight it out, contend for your rights, don’t
let the old rebels drive you away, the country is as much yours
as theirs.” That kind of talk will do very well for men who have
comfortable homes out of the South, and law to protect them; but for
the negro, with no home, no food, no work, the land-owner offering him
conditions whereby he can do but little better than starve, such talk
is nonsense. Fight out what? Hunger? Poverty? Cold? Starvation? Black
men, emigrate.



CHAPTER XXIX.


In America, the negro stands alone as a race. He is without mate or
fellow in the great family of man. Whatever progress he makes, it must
be mainly by his own efforts. This is an unfortunate fact, and for
which there seems to be no remedy.

All history demonstrates the truth that amalgamation is the great
civilizer of the races of men. Wherever a race, clan, or community have
kept themselves together, prohibiting by law, usage, or common consent,
inter-marriage with others, they have made little or no progress.
The Jews, a distinct and isolated people, are good only at driving a
bargain and getting rich. The Gipsies commence and stop with trading
horses. The Irish, in their own country, are dull. The Coptic race
form but a handful of what they were--those builders, unequalled in
ancient or modern times. What has become of them? Where are the Romans?
What races have they destroyed? What races have they supplanted? For
fourteen centuries they lorded it over the semi-civilized world; and
now they are of no more note than the ancient Scythians, or Mongols,
Copts, or Tartars. An un-amalgamated, inactive people will decline.
Thus it was with the Mexicans, when Cortes marched on Mexico, and the
Peruvians, when Pizarro marched on Peru.

The Britons were a dull, lethargic people before their country was
invaded, and the hot, romantic blood of Julius Cæsar and William of
Normandy coursed through their veins.

Caractacus, king of the Britons, was captured and sent to Rome in
chains. Still later, Hengist and Horsa, the Saxon generals, imposed
the most humiliating conditions upon the Britons, to which they were
compelled to submit. Then came William of Normandy, defeated Harold
at Hastings, and the blood of the most renowned land-pirates and
sea-robbers that ever disgraced humanity, mixed with the Briton and
Saxon, and gave to the world the Anglo-Saxon race, with its physical
ability, strong mind, brave and enterprising spirit. And, yet, all that
this race is, it owes to its mixed blood. Civilization, or the social
condition of man, is the result and test of the qualities of every
race. The benefit of this blood mixture, the negro is never to enjoy on
this continent. In the South where he is raised, in the North, East,
or West, it is all the same, no new blood is to be infused into his
sluggish veins.

His only hope is education, professions, trades, and copying the best
examples, no matter from what source they come.

This antipathy to amalgamation with the negro, has shown itself in all
of the States. Most of the Northern and Eastern State Legislatures have
passed upon this question years ago. Since the coming in of the present
year, Rhode Island’s Senate refused to repeal the old law forbidding
the inter-marriage of whites and blacks. Thus the colored man is left
to “paddle his own canoe” alone. Where there is no law against the
mixture of the two races, there is a public sentiment which is often
stronger than law itself. Even the wild blood of the red Indian refuses
to mingle with the sluggish blood of the negro. This is no light
matter, for race hate, prejudice and common malice all die away before
the melting power of amalgamation. The beauty of the half-breeds of
the South, the result of the crime of slavery, have long claimed the
attention of writers, and why not a lawful mixture? And then this might
help in

    “Making a race far more lovely and fair,
     Darker a little than white people are:
     Stronger, and nobler, and better in form,
     Hearts more voluptuous, kinder, and warm;
     Bosoms of beauty, that heave with a pride
     Nature had ever to white folks denied.”

Emigration to other States, where the blacks will come in contact with
educated and enterprising whites, will do them much good. This benefit
by commercial intercourse is seen in the four thousand colored people
who have come to Boston, where most of them are employed as servants.
They are sought after as the best domestics in the city. Some of
these people, who were in slavery before the war, are now engaged in
mercantile pursuits, doing good business, and showing what contact
will do. Many of them rank with the ablest whites in the same trades.
Indeed, the various callings are well represented by Southern men,
showing plainly the need of emigration. Although the colored man has
been sadly at fault in not vindicating his right to liberty, he has,
it is true, shown ability in other fields. Benjamin Banneker, a negro
of Maryland, who lived a hundred years ago, exhibited splendid natural
qualities. He had a quickness of apprehension, and a vivacity of
understanding, which easily took in and surmounted the most subtile and
knotty parts of mathematics and metaphysics. He possessed in a large
degree that genius which constitutes a man of letters; that quality
without which judgment is cold, and knowledge is inert; that energy
which collects, combines, amplifies, and animates.

The rapid progress made in acquiring education and homesteads by the
colored people of the South, in the face of adverse circumstances,
commends the highest admiration from all classes.

The product of their native genius and industry, as exhibited at county
and State Agricultural Fairs, speak well for the race.

At the National Fair, held at Raleigh, N. C., in the autumn of 1879,
the exhibition did great credit to the colored citizens of the South,
who had the matter in charge. Such manifestations of intellectual and
mechanical enterprise will do much to stimulate the people to further
development of their powers, and higher facilities.

The colored people of the United States are sadly in need of a National
Scientific Association, to which may be brought yearly reports of
such investigations as may be achieved in science, philosophy, art,
philology, ethnology, jurisprudence, metaphysics, and whatever may tend
to _unite_ the race in their moral, social, intellectual and physical
improvement.

[Illustration]

We have negro artists of a high order, both in painting and sculpture;
also, discoverers who hold patents, and yet the world knows little or
nothing about them. The time for the negro to work out his destiny has
arrived. Now let him show himself equal to the hour.

In this work I frequently used the word “Negro,” and shall, no doubt,
hear from it when the negro critics get a sight of the book. And why
should I not use it? Is it not honorable? What is there in the word
that does not sound as well as “English,” “Irish,” “German,” “Italian,”
“French?”

“Don’t call me a negro; I’m an American,” said a black to me a few days
since.

“Why not?” I asked.

“Well, sir, I was born in this country, and I don’t want to be called
out of my name.”

Just then, an Irish-American came up, and shook hands with me. He had
been a neighbor of mine in Cambridge. When the young man was gone, I
inquired of the black man what countryman he thought the man was.

“Oh!” replied he, “he’s an Irishman.”

“What makes you think so?” I inquired.

“Why, his brogue is enough to tell it.”

“Then,” said I, “why is not your color enough to tell that you’re a
negro?”

“Arh!” said he, “that’s a horse of another color,” and left me with a
“Ha, ha, ha!”

Black men, don’t be ashamed to show your colors, and to own them.



The Negro in the American Rebellion

HIS HEROISM AND HIS FIDELITY.

BY WM. WELLS BROWN, M.D.

Nearly 400 pages. Handsomely bound in cloth. Price $2.00.


DR. BROWN has written a number of books, but none of them are
more interesting or instructive than this, his History of the Negro in
America.

Commencing with the first cargo of slaves landed in the colonies in
1620, he carries the race through “The War of 1812,” “The John Brown
Raid,” and “The Late Rebellion,” portraying in a most graphic manner
the horrors of the slave trade in the olden time; the different
struggles of individual negroes for the freedom of themselves and
brothers; and, finally, gives a complete and detailed history of the
part taken by the colored man in the late war, which showed to the
world the true heroism and fidelity of the race.

The history of this people, full of sorrow, blood, and tears, is
full, also, of instruction for mankind, and the story becomes doubly
interesting when told in Dr. Brown’s fascinating way, and embellished
with anecdote and adventure all through its pages.

The above work is sold by subscription, and the publishers desire to
employ active agents everywhere to canvass for subscribers, and to such
agents they will allow handsome commissions. Sample copy sent by mail,
postage paid, to any address, on receipt of $2.00.

  LEE & SHEPHERD, PUBLISHERS,
  BOSTON, MASS.

    And may be had of

A. G. BROWN & CO., 28 EAST CANTON STREET, BOSTON.



THE RISING SON:

OR,

The Antecedents and Advancement of the Colored Race.

BY WM. WELLS BROWN, M.D.

Price $2.00 per copy.


This standard work has passed through ten editions, and the agents
are still selling it in large numbers. The following are some of the
comments of the press:--

“In reading Dr. Brown’s earlier works, we formed a high opinion of his
literary ability, but this, his last effort, surpasses all his former
writings, and gives him a permanent position with the most profound
historians. The foot-notes and references in _The Rising Son_ give it a
reliability that will secure for it a place in all our libraries. Every
friend of the race will get the book, and no colored man will remain
long without it. The blacks, everywhere, owe the author a lasting debt
of gratitude.”--_Boston Evening Transcript._

“This is a history of the blacks commencing with the Ethiopians coming
down the Nile to Carthage, following Hannibal in his wonderful career,
thence proceeding to Africa. The author takes up the condition of
the various tribes, giving a history of the African slave trade, the
introduction of the negroes into the West Indies, full account of the
St. Domingo revolutions, as well as the outbreak in other colonies; the
landing of the first slaves in Virginia, and the history of the rise,
progress and fall of the slave power. Dr. Brown’s long experience in
the advocacy of the rights of his people, his industry and literary
ability, eminently qualify him for the arduous task, and it will be
read with interest, astonishment, and delight.”--_Boston Commonwealth._

“_The Rising Son_ is the fruit of long research, careful study,
and a reflective mind. It is well written, and Dr. Brown deserves
hearty praise for the conception, the method, and the manner of his
work.”--_The Boston Congregationalist._

“Dr. Brown has given us, in this valuable volume, a collection of great
value to those who would know more of the negro race than has been
generally known. The book is printed on excellent paper, nicely bound,
and its typographical execution is of the best.”--_New National Era,
Washington, D.C._

“We say at once,--Let every colored man in the country buy this _Rising
Son_, and read its forty-nine chapters; and the fiftieth too, if he
have the time. There is much in it that will repay the most complete
perusal.”--_The Christian Recorder, Philadelphia._

“No book yet published regarding the colored race is as complete,
exhaustive, and valuable as this work. The author is one of the
best-informed representative colored men in the country, and the book
is as concise a history of the colored race from the earliest period to
the present time as has ever appeared.”--_Daily Chronicle, Washington,
D.C._

“We commend it heartily as one of the most valuable books yet published
for the up-lifting of the race. To the young men of America, this
work will be invaluable, both as a history and an incentive to press
forward. Its brief sketches of live men of the time, are all an
invitation to them to ‘come up higher.’”--_Our National Progress;
Harrisburgh, Pa._

“_The Rising Son_ proclaims Dr. Brown a man of versatile genius, and
gives him undisputed rank on the catalogue of American authors, without
regard to race or color.”--_The National Monitor, Brooklyn, N.Y._


Agents wanted in every State to sell this work, and to whom great
inducements are offered. Send in your orders. A Book will be sent to
any address, free of postage, on receipt of price, $2.00.


A. G. BROWN & CO., Publishers, 28 East Canton St., Boston, Mass.



      *      *      *      *      *      *



Transcriber’s note:

Obvious printer errors corrected silently.

Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation are as in the original.





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