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Title: The Rising Son, or, the Antecedents and Advancement of the Colored Race
Author: Brown, William Wells
Language: English
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|Transcriber’s note:                              |
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[Illustration: _Very truly your friend, W^m. Wells Brown._]








_Thirteenth Thousand._


Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1873,
In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington.


After availing himself of all the reliable information obtainable, the
author is compelled to acknowledge the scantiness of materials for a
history of the African race. He has throughout endeavored to give a
faithful account of the people and their customs, without concealing
their faults.

Several of the biographical sketches are necessarily brief, owing to
the difficulty in getting correct information in regard to the subjects
treated upon. Some have been omitted on account of the same cause.


Cambridgeport, Mass.


Few works written upon the colored race have equaled in circulation
“The Rising Son.”

In the past two years the sales have more than doubled in the Southern
States, and the demand for the book is greatly on the increase. Twelve
thousand copies have already been sold; and if this can be taken as an
index to the future, we may look forward with hope that the colored
citizens are beginning to appreciate their own authors.


             BY ELIJAH W. SMITH.

    Come forth, historian of our race,
       And with the pen of Truth
     Bring to our claim to Manhood’s rights,
       The strength of written proof;
     Draw back the curtain of the past,
       And lift the ages’ pall,
     That we may view the portraits grand
       That hang on History’s wall!

     Tell of a race whose onward tide
       Was often swelled with tears;
     In whose hearts bondage has not quenched
       The fire of former years
     When Hannibal’s resistless hosts
       Wrought his imperial will,
     And brave Toussaint to freedom called,
       From Hayti’s vine-clad hill.

     Write when, in these, our later days,
       Earth’s noble ones are named,
     We have a roll of honor, too,
       Of which we’re not ashamed;
     If, for the errors of the past,
       In chains did we atone,
     God, from our race’s sepulchre,
       Hath rolled away the stone.

     And our dear land, that long hath slept
       Beneath oppression’s spell,
     Welcomes the manly fortitude
       That stood the test so well;
     Bearing the record, blazoned o’er
       With deeds of valor done,
     Up to the Future’s golden door
       He comes, the “Rising Son.”

     The battle’s din hath passed away,
       And o’er the furrowed plain
     Spring, fresh and green, the tender blades
       Of Freedom’s golden grain;
     But eagle eyes must watch the field,
       Lest the fell foe should dare
     To scatter, while the sowers sleep,
       Proscription’s noxious snare.

     Lo! shadowy ’mid the forest-trees
       Their demon forms are seen,
     And lurid light of baleful eyes
       Flash through the foliage green;
     And till completed is the work
       So gloriously begun,
     A sentry true on Freedom’s walls
       Stand thou, O “Rising Son!”

     Go forth! the harbinger of days
       More glorious than the past;
     Hushed is the clash of hostile steel,
       The bugle’s battle-blast;
     Go, herald of the promised time,
       When men of every land
     Shall hasten joyfully to grasp
       The Ethiope’s outstretched hand!


MEMOIR OF THE AUTHOR                               9


THE ETHIOPIANS AND EGYPTIANS                      36


THE CARTHAGINIANS                                 49


EASTERN AFRICA                                    65


CAUSES OF COLOR                                   78






THE ABYSSINIANS                                   97


WESTERN AND CENTRAL AFRICA                       101


THE SLAVE-TRADE                                  118


THE REPUBLIC OF LIBERIA                          129


PROGRESS IN CIVILIZATION                         135


HAYTI                                            140


SUCCESS OF TOUSSAINT                             150


CAPTURE OF TOUSSAINT                             159


TOUSSAINT A PRISONER IN FRANCE                   168


DESSALINES AS EMPEROR OF HAYTI                   173




HAYTI                                            201










SOULOUQUE AS EMPEROR OF HAYTI                    234


GEFFRARD AS PRESIDENT OF HAYTI                   236


SALNAVE AS PRESIDENT OF HAYTI                    241


JAMAICA                                          243


SOUTH AMERICA                                    255


CUBA AND PORTO RICO                              258


SANTO DOMINGO                                    262










BLACKS IN THE WAR OF 1812                        286


THE CURSE OF SLAVERY                             291


DISCONTENT AND INSURRECTION                      296


GROWING OPPOSITION TO SLAVERY                    319


MOB LAW TRIUMPHANT                               322


HEROISM AT SEA                                   325


THE IRON AGE                                     329


RELIGIOUS STRUGGLES                              336






THE PROCLAMATION OF FREEDOM                      347


BLACKS ENLISTED, AND IN BATTLE                   352


NEGRO HATRED AT THE NORTH                        382


CASTE AND PROGRESS                               387


THE ABOLITIONISTS                                393


THE NEW ERA                                      413



Attucks, C.                                      418

Aldridge, Ira                                    489

Banneker, B.                                     425

Brown, I. M.                                     449

Bell, P. A.                                      470

Butler, W. F.                                    525

Banister, E. M.                                  483

Bassett, E. D.                                   497

Bell, J. M.                                      504

Campbell, J. P.                                  446

Clark, P. H.                                     520

Chester, T. M.                                   526

Clinton, J. J.                                   528

Carey, M. S.                                     539

Cardozo, T. W.                                   495

Cain, R. H.                                      544

Douglass, F.                                     435

Delany, M. R.                                    460

Downing, G. T.                                   474

Dunn, O. J.                                      491

Douglass, L. H.                                  543

Day, W. H.                                       499

Elliott, R. B.                                   403

Forten, C. L.                                    475

Freeman, J. J.                                   551

Gaines, J. I.                                    450

Grimes, L. A.                                    534

Garnett, H. H.                                   457

Greener, R. T.                                   542

Harper, F. E.                                    524

Hayden, L.                                       547

Jackson, F. M.                                   508

Jones, S. T.                                     531

Jordan, E., Sir                                  481

Lewis, E.                                        465

Langston, J. M.                                  447

De Mortie, L.                                    496

Martin, J. S.                                    535

Nell, W. C.                                      485

Purvis, C. B.                                    549

Purvis, R.                                       468

Pinchback, P. B. S.                              517

Pennington, J. W. C.                             461

Payne, D. A.                                     454

Perry, R. L.                                     533

Quinn, W. P.                                     432

Reason, C. L.                                    442

Ray, C. B.                                       472

Remond, C. L.                                    459

Ruggles, D.                                      434

Reveles, H. R.                                   500

Rainey, J. H.                                    507

Ransier, A. H.                                   510

Ruffin, G. L.                                    540

Still, W.                                        520

Simpson, W. H.                                   478

Smith, M’Cune                                    453

Smith, S.                                        445

Smith, E. W.                                     552

Tanner, B. T.                                    530

Vashon, G. B.                                    476

Wheatley, P.                                     423

Wayman, ----                                     440

Wilson, W. J.                                    444

Whipper, W.                                      493

Wears, I. C.                                     512

Zuille, J. J.                                    473



Thirty years ago, a young colored man came to my father’s house at
Aurora, Erie County, New York, to deliver a lecture on the subject
of American Slavery, and the following morning I sat upon his knee
while he told me the story of his life and escape from the South.
Although a boy of eight years, I still remember the main features of
the narrative, and the impression it made upon my mind, and the talk
the lecture of the previous night created in our little quiet town.
That man was William Wells Brown, now so widely-known, both at home and
abroad. It is therefore with no little hesitancy that I consent to pen
this sketch of one whose name has for many years been a household word
in our land.

William Wells Brown was born in Lexington, Ky., in the year 1816. His
mother was a slave, his father a slaveholder. The boy was taken to
the State of Missouri in infancy, and spent his boyhood in St. Louis.
At the age of ten years he was hired out to a captain of a steamboat
running between St. Louis and New Orleans, where he remained a year or
two, and was then employed as office boy by Elijah P. Lovejoy, who was
at that time editor of the St. Louis Times. Here William first began
the groundwork of his education. After one year spent in the printing
office, the object of our sketch was again let out to a captain of one
of the steamboats plying on the river. In the year 1834 William made
his escape from the boat, and came North.

He at once obtained a situation on a steamer on Lake Erie, where, in
the position of steward, he was of great service to fugitive slaves
making their way to Canada. In a single year he gave a free passage
across the lake to sixty-five fugitives. Making his home in Buffalo,
Mr. Brown organized a vigilance committee whose duties were to protect
and aid slaves, while passing through that city on their way to the
“Land of the free,” or to the eastern States. As chairman of that
committee, Mr. Brown was of great assistance to the fleeing bondmen.
The Association kept a fund on hand to employ counsel in case of
capture of a fugitive, besides furnishing all with clothing, shoes,
and whatever was needed by those who were in want. Escaping from the
South without education, the subject of our sketch spent the winter
nights in an evening school and availed himself of private instructions
to gain what had been denied him in his younger days.

In the autumn of 1843, he accepted an agency to lecture for the
Anti-slavery Society, and continued his labors in connection with that
movement until 1849; when he accepted an invitation to visit England.
As soon as it was understood that the fugitive slave was going abroad,
the American Peace Society elected him as a delegate to represent them
at the Peace Congress at Paris.

Without any solicitation, the Executive Committee of the American
Anti-slavery Society strongly recommended Mr. Brown to the friends
of freedom in Great Britain. The President of the above Society gave
him private letters to some of the leading men and women in Europe.
In addition to these, the colored citizens of Boston held a meeting
the evening previous to his departure, and gave Mr. Brown a public
farewell, and passed resolutions commending him to the confidence and
hospitality of all lovers of liberty in the mother-land.

Such was the auspices under which this self-educated man sailed for
England on the 18th of July, 1849.

Mr. Brown arrived in Liverpool, and proceeded at once to Dublin, where
warm friends of the cause of freedom greeted him. The land of Burke,
Sheridan, and O’Connell would not permit the American to leave without
giving him a public welcome. A large and enthusiastic meeting held in
the Rotunda, and presided over by JAMES HAUGHTON, Esq., gave Mr. Brown
the first reception which he had in the Old World.

After a sojourn of twenty days in the Emerald Isle, the fugitive
started for the Peace Congress which was to assemble at Paris. The
Peace Congress, and especially the French who were in attendance at
the great meeting, most of whom had never seen a colored person,
were somewhat taken by surprise on the last day, when Mr. Brown made
a speech. “His reception,” said La Presse, “was most flattering. He
admirably sustained his reputation as a public speaker. His address
produced a profound sensation. At its conclusion, the speaker was
warmly greeted by Victor Hugo, President of the Congress, Richard
Cobden, Esq., and other distinguished men on the platform. At the
_soirée_ given by M. de Tocqueville, the Minister for Foreign Affairs,
the American slave was received with marked attention.”

Having spent a fortnight in Paris and vicinity, viewing the sights,
he returned to London. GEORGE THOMPSON, Esq., was among the first to
meet the fugitive on his arrival at the English metropolis. A few days
after, a very large meeting, held in the spacious Music Hall, Bedford
Square, and presided over by Sir Francis Knowles, Bart., welcomed Mr.
Brown to England. Many of Britain’s distinguished public speakers
spoke on the occasion. George Thompson made one of his most brilliant
efforts. This flattering reception gained for the fugitive pressing
invitations from nearly all parts of the United Kingdom.

He narrates in his “Three Years in Europe,” many humorous incidents
that occurred in his travels, and of which is the following:

“On a cold winter’s evening, I found myself seated before the fire,
and alone, in the principal hotel in the ancient and beautiful town
of Ludlow, and within a few minutes’ walk of the famous old castle
from which the place derives its name. A long ride by coach had so
completely chilled me, that I remained by the fire to a later hour than
I otherwise would have.

“‘Did you ring, sir?’ asked the waiter, as the clock struck twelve.

“‘No,’ I replied; ‘but you may give me a light, and I will retire.’

“I was shown to my chamber, and was soon in bed. From the weight of
the covering, I felt sure that the extra blanket which I had requested
to be put on was there; yet I was shivering with cold. As the sheets
began to get warm, I discovered, to my astonishment, that they were
damp--indeed, wet. My first thought was to ring the bell for the
servant, and have them changed; but, after a moment’s consideration,
I resolved to adopt a different course. I got out of bed, pulled the
sheets off, rolled them up, raised the window, and threw them into
the street. After disposing of the wet sheets, I returned to bed, and
got in between the blankets, and lay there trembling with cold till
Morpheus came to my relief.

“The next morning I said nothing about the sheets, feeling sure that
the discovery of their loss would be made by the chambermaid in due
time. Breakfast over, I visited the ruins of the old castle, and then
returned to the hotel, to await the coach for Hereford. As the hour
drew near for me to leave, I called the waiter, and ordered my bill.
‘Yes, sir, in a moment,’ he replied, and left in haste. Ten or fifteen
minutes passed away, and the servant once more came in, walked to the
window, pulled up the blinds, and then went out.

“I saw that something was afloat; and it occurred to me that they had
discovered the loss of the sheets, at which I was pleased; for the
London newspapers were, at that time, discussing the merits and the
demerits of the hotel accommodations of the kingdom, and no letters
found a more ready reception in their columns than one on that subject.
I had, therefore, made up my mind to have the wet sheets put in the
bill, pay for them, and send the bill to the Times.

“The waiter soon returned again, and, in rather an agitated manner,
said, ‘I beg your pardon, sir, but the landlady is in the hall, and
would like to speak to you.’ Out I went, and found the finest specimen
of an English landlady that I had seen for many a day. There she stood,
nearly as thick as she was tall, with a red face garnished around with
curls, that seemed to say, ‘I have just been oiled and brushed.’ A neat
apron covered a black alpaca dress that swept the floor with modesty,
and a bunch of keys hung at her side. O, that smile! such a smile as
none but an adept could put on. However, I had studied human nature
too successfully not to know that thunder and lightning were concealed
under that smile, and I nerved myself for the occasion.

“‘I am sorry to have to name it, sir,’ said she; ‘but the sheets are
missing off your bed.’

“‘O, yes,’ I replied; ‘I took them off last night.’

“‘Indeed!’ exclaimed she; ‘and what did you do with them?’

“‘I threw them out of the window,’ said I.

“‘What! into the street?’

“‘Yes; into the street,’ I said.

“‘What did you do that for?’

“‘They were wet; and I was afraid that if I left them in the room they
would be put on at night, and give somebody else a cold.’

“‘Then, sir,’ said she, ‘you’ll have to pay for them.’

“‘Make out your bill, madam,’ I replied, ‘and put the price of the wet
sheets in it, and I will send it to the Times, and let the public know
how much you charge for wet sheets.’

“I turned upon my heel, and went back to the sitting-room. A moment
more, and my bill was brought in; but nothing said about the sheets,
and no charge made for them. The coach came to the door; and as I
passed through the hall leaving the house, the landlady met me, but
with a different smile.

“‘I hope, sir,’ said she, ‘that you will never mention the little
incident about the sheets. I am very sorry for it. It would ruin my
house if it were known.’ Thinking that she was punished enough in the
loss of her property, I promised not to mention the name of the house,
if I ever did the incident.

“The following week I returned to the hotel, when I learned the fact
from the waiter that they had suspected that I had stolen the sheets,
and that a police officer was concealed behind the hall door, on
the day that I was talking with the landlady. When I retired to bed
that night, I found two jugs of hot water in the bed, and the sheets
thoroughly dried and aired.

“I visited the same hotel several times afterwards, and was invariably
treated with the greatest deference, which no doubt was the result of
my night with the wet sheets.”

In 1852, Mr. Brown gave to the public his “Three Years in Europe,” a
work which at once placed him high as an author, as will be seen by
the following extracts from some of the English journals. The Eclectic
Review, edited by the venerable Dr. Price, one of the best critics in
the realm, said,--“Mr. Brown has produced a literary work not unworthy
of a highly-cultivated gentleman.”

Rev. Dr. Campbell, in the British Banner, remarked: “We have read Mr.
Brown’s book with an unusual measure of interest. Seldom, indeed, have
we met with anything more captivating. A work more worthy of perusal
has not, for a considerable time, come into our hands.”

“Mr. Brown writes with ease and ability,” said the Times, “and his
intelligent observations upon the great question to which he has
devoted and is devoting his life will command influence and respect.”

The Literary Gazette, an excellent authority, says of it, “The
appearance of this book is too remarkable a literary event, to pass
without a notice. At the moment when attention in this country is
directed to the state of the colored people in America, the book
appears with additional advantage; if nothing else were attained by
its publication, it is well to have another proof of the capability of
the negro intellect. Altogether, Mr. Brown has written a pleasing and
amusing volume, and we are glad to bear this testimony to the literary
merit of a work by a negro author.”

The Glasgow Citizen, in its review, remarked,--“W. Wells Brown is no
ordinary man, or he could not have so remarkably surmounted the many
difficulties and impediments of his training as a slave. By dint of
resolution, self-culture, and force of character, he has rendered
himself a popular lecturer to a British audience, and a vigorous
expositor of the evils and atrocities of that system whose chains he
has shaken off so triumphantly and forever. We may safely pronounce
William Wells Brown a remarkable man, and a full refutation of the
doctrine of the inferiority of the negro.”

The Glasgow Examiner said,--“This is a thrilling book, independent of
adventitious circumstances, which will enhance its popularity. The
author of it is not a man, in America, but a chattel,--a thing to be
bought, and sold, and whipped; but in Europe, he is an author, and a
successful one, too. He gives in this book an interesting and graphic
description of a three years’ residence in Europe. The book will no
doubt obtain, as it well deserves, a rapid and wide popularity.”

In the spring of 1853, the fugitive brought out his work, “Clotelle;
or, the President’s Daughter,” a book of nearly three hundred pages,
being a narrative of slave life in the Southern States. This work
called forth new criticisms on the “Negro Author” and his literary
efforts. The London Daily News pronounced it a book that would make a
deep impression; while The Leader, edited by the son of Leigh Hunt,
thought many parts of it “equal to anything which had appeared on the
slavery question.”

The above are only a few of the many encomiums bestowed upon our
author. Besides writing his books, Mr. Brown was also a regular
contributor to the columns of The London Daily News, The Liberator,
Frederick Douglass’ Paper, and The National Anti-slavery Standard. When
we add, that in addition to his literary labors, Mr. Brown was busily
engaged in the study of the medical profession, it will be admitted
that he is one of the most industrious of men. After remaining abroad
nearly six years, and travelling extensively through Great Britain and
on the continent, he returned to the United States in 1854, landing at
Philadelphia, where he was welcomed in a large public meeting presided
over by Robert Purvis, Esq.

On reaching Boston, a welcome meeting was held in Tremont Temple, with
Francis Jackson, Esq., in the chair, and at which Wendell Phillips
said,--“I rejoice that our friend Brown went abroad; I rejoice still
more that he has returned. The years any thoughtful man spends abroad
must enlarge his mind and store it richly. But such a visit is to a
colored man more than merely intellectual education. He lives for the
first time free from the blighting chill of prejudice. He sees no
society, no institution, no place of resort or means of comfort from
which his color debars him.

“We have to thank our friend for the fidelity with which he has, amid
many temptations, stood by those whose good name religious prejudice
is trying to undermine in Great Britain. That land is not all Paradise
to the colored man. Too many of them allow themselves to be made
tools of the most subtle of their race. We recognize, to-night, the
clear-sightedness and fidelity of Mr. Brown’s course abroad, not only
to thank him, but to assure our friends there that this is what the
Abolitionists of Boston endorse.”

Mr. Phillips proceeded:--“I still more rejoice that Mr. Brown has
returned. Returned to what? Not to what he can call his ‘country.’ The
white man comes ‘home.’ When Milton heard, in Italy, the sound of arms
from England, he hastened back--young, enthusiastic, and bathed in
beautiful art as he was in Florence. ‘I would not be away,’ he said,
‘when a blow was struck for liberty.’ He came to a country where his
manhood was recognized, to fight on equal footing.

“The black man comes home to no liberty but the liberty of
suffering--to struggle in fetters for the welfare of his race. It is
a magnanimous sympathy with his blood that brings such a man back. I
honor it. We meet to do it honor. Franklin’s motto was, _Ubi Libertas,
ibi patria_--Where liberty is, there is my country. Had our friend
adopted that for his rule, he would have stayed in Europe. Liberty for
him is there. The colored man who returns, like our friend, to labor,
crushed and despised, for his race, sails under a higher flag. His
motto is,--‘Where my country is, there will I bring liberty!’”

Although Dr. Brown could have entered upon the practice of his
profession, for which he was so well qualified, he nevertheless, with
his accustomed zeal, continued with renewed vigor in the cause of the
freedom of his race.

In travelling through the country and facing the prejudice that met
the colored man at every step, he saw more plainly the vast difference
between this country and Europe.

In giving an account of his passage on the little steamer that plies
between Ithica and Cayuga Bridge, he says,--

“When the bell rang for breakfast, I went to the table, where I found
some twenty or thirty persons. I had scarcely taken my seat, when a
rather snobby-appearing man, of dark complexion, looking as if a South
Carolina or Georgia sun had tanned him, began rubbing his hands, and,
turning up his nose, called the steward, and said to him, ‘Is it the
custom on this boat to put niggers at the table with white people?’

“The servant stood for a moment, as if uncertain what reply to make,
when the passenger continued, ‘Go tell the captain that I want him.’
Away went the steward. I had been too often insulted on account of my
connection with the slave, not to know for what the captain was wanted.
However, as I was hungry, I commenced helping myself to what I saw
before me, yet keeping an eye to the door, through which the captain
was soon to make his appearance. As the steward returned, and I heard
the heavy boots of the commander on the stairs, a happy thought struck
me; and I eagerly watched for the coming-in of the officer.

“A moment more, and a strong voice called out, ‘Who wants me?’

“I answered at once, ‘I, sir.’

“‘What do you wish?’ asked the captain.

“‘I want you to take this man from the table,’ said I.

“At this unexpected turn of the affair, the whole cabin broke out
into roars of laughter; while my rival on the opposite side of the
table seemed bursting with rage. The captain, who had joined in the
merriment, said,--

“‘Why do you want him taken from the table?’

“‘Is it your custom, captain,’ said I, ‘to let niggers sit at table
with white folks on your boat?’

“This question, together with the fact that the other passenger had
sent for the officer, and that I had ‘stolen his thunder,’ appeared
to please the company very much, who gave themselves up to laughter;
while the Southern-looking man left the cabin with the exclamation,
‘Damn fools!’”

In the autumn of 1854, Dr. Brown published his “Sketches of Places and
People Abroad,” that met with a rapid sale, and which the New York
Tribune said, was “well-written and intensely interesting.”

His drama, entitled “The Dough Face,” written shortly after, and read
by him before lyceums, gave general satisfaction wherever it was heard.

Indeed, in this particular line the doctor seems to excel, and the
press was unanimous in its praise of his efforts. The Boston Journal
characterized the drama and its reading as “interesting in its
composition, and admirably rendered.”

“The Escape; or, Leap for Freedom,” followed the “Dough Face,” and
this drama gave an amusing picture of slave life, and was equally as
favorably received by the public.

In 1863, Dr. Brown brought out “The Black Man,” a work which ran
through ten editions in three years, and which was spoken of by the
press in terms of the highest commendation, and of which Frederick
Douglass wrote in his own paper,--

“Though Mr. Brown’s book may stand alone upon its own merits, and
stand strong, yet while reading its interesting pages,--abounding
in fact and argument, replete with eloquence, logic, and learning,
clothed with simple yet eloquent language,--it is hard to repress the
inquiry, Whence has this man this knowledge? He seems to have read and
remembered nearly everything which has been written and said respecting
the ability of the negro, and has condensed and arranged the whole into
an admirable argument, calculated both to interest and convince.”

William Lloyd Garrison said, in The Liberator, “This work has done
good service, and proves its author to be a man of superior mind and
cultivated ability.”

Hon. Gerritt Smith, in a letter to Dr. Brown, remarked,--“I thank you
for writing such a book. It will greatly benefit the colored race. Send
me five copies of it.”

Lewis Tappen, in his Cooper Institute speech, on the 5th of January,
1863, said,--“This is just the book for the hour; it will do more for
the colored man’s elevation than any work yet published.”

The space allowed me for this sketch will not admit the many
interesting extracts that might be given from the American press in
Dr. Brown’s favor as a writer and a polished reader. However, I cannot
here omit the valuable testimony of Professor Hollis Read, in his
ably-written work, “The Negro Problem Solved.” On page 183, in writing
of the intelligent colored men of the country, he says: “As a writer,
I should in justice give the first place to Dr. William Wells Brown,
author of ‘The Black Man.’”

“Clotelle,” written by Dr. Brown, a romance founded on fact, is one of
the most thrilling stories that we remember to have read, and shows the
great versatility of the cast of mind of our author.

The temperance cause in Massachusetts, and indeed, throughout New
England, finds in Dr. Brown an able advocate.

The Grand Division of the Sons of Temperance of Massachusetts did
itself the honor of electing him Grand Worthy Associate of that body,
and thereby giving him a seat in the National Division of the Sons of
Temperance of North America, where, at its meeting in Boston, 1871,
his speech in behalf of the admission of the colored delegates from
Maryland, will not soon be forgotten by those who were present.

The doctor is also a prominent member of the Good Templars of
Massachusetts. His efforts, in connection with his estimable wife, for
the spread of temperance among the colored people of Boston, deserve
the highest commendation.

Some five years ago, our author, in company with others, organized “The
National Association for the Spread of Temperance and Night-schools
among the Freed People at the South,” of which he is now president.
This society is accomplishing great good among the freedmen.

It was while in the discharge of his duties of visiting the South, in
1871, and during his travels through the State of Kentucky, he became
a victim of the Ku-Klux, and of which the following is the narrative:--

“I visited my native State in behalf of The National Association for
the Spread of Temperance and Night-schools among the Freedmen, and
had spoken to large numbers of them at Louisville, and other places,
and was on my way to speak at Pleasureville, a place half-way between
Louisville and Lexington. I arrived at Pleasureville dépôt a little
after six in the evening, and was met by a colored man, who informed me
that the meeting was to take place five miles in the country.

“After waiting some time for a team which was expected, we started
on foot, thinking we would meet the vehicle. We walked on until dark
overtook us, and seeing no team, I began to feel apprehensive that all
was not right. The man with me, however, assured me that there was no
danger, and went on. But we shortly after heard the trotting of horses,
both in front and in the rear, and before I could determine what to do,
we were surrounded by some eight or ten men, three of whom dismounted,
bound my arms behind me with a cord, remounted their horses, and
started on in the direction I had been travelling. The man who was with
me disappeared while I was being tied. The men were not disguised, and
talked freely among themselves.

“After going a mile or more they stopped, and consulted a moment
or two, the purport of which I could not hear, except one of them
saying,--‘Lawrence don’t want a nigger hung so near his place.’ They
started again; I was on foot, a rope had been attached to my arms, and
the other end to one of the horses. I had to hasten my steps to keep
from being dragged along by the animal. Soon they turned to the right,
and followed up what appeared to be a cow-path.

“While on this road my hat fell off, and I called out to the man behind
and said, ‘I’ve lost my hat.’

“‘You’ll need no hat in half an hour’s time,’ he replied. As we were
passing a log house on this road, a man came out and said, in a
trembling voice, ‘Jim’s dying!’ All the men now dismounted, and, with
the exception of two, they went into the building. I distinctly heard
the cries, groans, and ravings of the sick man, which satisfied me at
once that it was an extreme case of delirium tremens; and as I treated
the malady successfully by the hypodermic remedy, and having with me
the little instrument, the thought flashed upon my mind that I might
save my life by the trial. Consequently, I said to one of the men,--‘I
know what’s the matter with that man, and I can relieve him in ten

“One of the men went into the house, related what I had said, and the
company came out. The leader, whom they all addressed as ‘Cap,’ began
to question me with regard to my skill in such complaints. He soon
became satisfied, untied me, and we entered the sick man’s chamber. My
hands were so numb from the tightness of the cord which bound my arms,
that I walked up and down the room for some minutes, rubbing my hands,
and contemplating the situation. The man lay upon a bed of straw, his
arms and legs bound to the bedstead to keep him from injuring himself
and others. He had, in his agony, bitten his tongue and lips, and his
mouth was covered with bloody froth, while the glare of his eyes was
fearful. His wife, the only woman in the house, sat near the bed with
an infant upon her lap, her countenance pale and anxious, while the
company of men seemed to be the most desperate set I had ever seen.

“I determined from the first to try to impress them with the idea
that I had derived my power to relieve pain from some supernatural
source. While I was thus thinking the matter over, ‘Cap’ was limping
up and down the room, breathing an oath at nearly every step, and
finally said to me,--‘Come, come, old boy, take hold lively; I want
to get home, for this d--d old hip of mine is raising h--l with me.’
I said to them,--‘Now, gentlemen, I’ll give this man complete relief
in less than ten minutes from the time I lay my hands on him; but I
must be permitted to retire to a room alone, for I confess that I have
dealings with the devil, and I must consult with him.’ Nothing so
charms an ignorant people as something that has about it the appearance
of superstition, and I did not want these men to see the syringe, or
to know of its existence. The woman at once lighted a tallow candle,
handed it to ‘Cap,’ and pointed to a small room. The man led the way,
set the light down, and left me alone. I now took out my case, adjusted
the needle to the syringe, filled it with a solution of the acetate of
morphia, put the little instrument into my vest pocket, and returned to
the room.

“After waving my hands in the air, I said,--‘Gentlemen, I want your
aid; give it to me, and I’ll perform a cure that you’ll never forget.
All of you look upon that man till I say, “Hold!” Look him right in
the eye.’ All eyes were immediately turned upon the invalid. Having
already taken my stand at the foot of the bed, I took hold of the right
leg near the calf, pinched up the skin, inserted the needle, withdrew
it after discharging the contents, slipped the syringe into my pocket,
and cried at the top of my voice, ‘Hold!’ The men now turned to me,
alternately viewing me and the sick man. From the moment that the
injection took place, the ravings began to cease, and in less than ten
minutes he was in perfect ease. I continued to wave my hands, and to
tell the devils ‘to depart and leave this man in peace.’ ‘Cap’ was the
first to break the silence, and he did it in an emphatic manner, for he
gazed steadily at me, then at the sick man, and exclaimed,--‘Big thing!
big thing, boys, d--d if it ain’t!’

“Another said,--‘A conjurer, by h--ll! you heard him say he deals with
the devil.’ I now thought it time to try ‘Cap,’ for, from his limping,
groaning, and swearing about his hip, it seemed to me a clear case of
sciatica, and I thus informed him, giving him a description of its
manner of attack and progress, detailing to him the different stages of

“I had early learned from the deference paid to the man by his
associates, that he was their leader, and I was anxious to get my
hands on him, for I had resolved that if ever I got him under the
influence of the drug, he should never have an opportunity of putting
a rope around my neck. ‘Cap’ was so pleased with my diagnosis of
his complaint, that he said,--‘Well, I’ll give you a trial, d--d if
I don’t!’ I informed him that I must be with him alone. The woman
remarked that we could go in the adjoining room. As we left the
company, one of them said: ‘You aint agoin’ to kill “Cap,” is you?’
‘Oh, no!’ I replied. I said, ‘Now, “Cap,” I’ll cure you, but I need
your aid.’ ‘Sir,’ returned he, ‘I’ll do anything you tell me.’ I told
him to lay on the bed, shut his eyes, and count one hundred. He obeyed
at once, and while he was counting, I was filling the syringe with the

“When he had finished counting, I informed him that I would have to
pinch him on the lame leg, so as to get the devil out of it. ‘Oh!’
replied he, ‘you may pinch as much as you d--d please, for I’ve seen
and felt h--ll with this old hip!’ I injected the morphia as I had done
in the previous case, and began to sing a noted Methodist hymn as soon
as I had finished. As the medicine took effect, the man went rapidly
off into a slumber, from which he did not awake while I was there, for
I had given him a double dose.

“I will here remark, that while the morphia will give most instant
relief in sciatica, it seldom performs a perfect cure. But in both
cases I knew it would serve my purpose. As soon as ‘Cap’ was safe, I
called in his companions, who appeared still more amazed than at first.
They held their faces to his to see that he breathed, and would shake
their heads and go out. I told them that I should have to remain with
the man five or six hours. At this announcement one of the company got
furious, and said, ‘It’s all a trick to save his neck from the halter,’
and concluded by saying at the top of his voice, ‘Come to the tree, to
the tree!’ The men all left the room, assembled in the yard, and had a
consultation. It was now after eleven o’clock, and as they had a large
flask of brandy with them they appeared to keep themselves well-filled,
from the manner in which the room kept scented up. At this juncture
one of the company, a tall, red-haired man, whose face was completely
covered with beard, entered the room, took his seat at the table, drew
out of his pocket a revolver, laid it on the table, and began to
fill his mouth with tobacco. The men outside mounted their horses and
rode away, one of whom distinctly shouted, ‘Remember, four o’clock.’
I continued to visit one and then the other of the invalids, feeling
their pulse, and otherwise showing my interest in their recovery.

“The brandy appeared to have as salutary effect on the man at the
table as the morphia had on the sick, for he was fast asleep in a few
minutes. The only impediment in the way of my escape now was a large
dog, which it was difficult to keep from me when I first came to the
house, and was now barking, snapping, and growling, as if he had been
trained to it.

“Many modes of escape suggested themselves to me while the time was
thus passing, the most favored of which was to seize the revolver, rush
out of the house, and run my chance with the dog. However, before I
could put any of these suggestions into practice, the woman went out,
called ‘Lion, Lion,’ and returned, followed by the dog, which she made
lie down by her as she reseated herself. In a low whisper, this woman,
whose fate deserves to be a better one, said,--‘They are going to
hang you at four o’clock; now is your time to go.’ The clock was just
striking two when I arose, and with a grateful look, left the house.
Taking the road that I had come, and following it down, I found my hat,
and after walking some distance out of the way by mistake, I reached
the station, and took the morning train for Cincinnati.”

I cannot conclude this sketch of our author’s life without alluding to
an incident which occurred at Aurora, my native town, on a visit to
that place in the winter of 1844.

Dr. Brown was advertised to speak in the old church, which he found
filled to overflowing, with an audience made up mostly of men who had
previously determined that the meeting should not be held.

The time for opening the meeting had already arrived, and the speaker
was introduced by my father, who acted as chairman.

The coughing, whistling, stamping of feet, and other noises made by
the assemblage, showed the prejudice existing against the anti-slavery
cause, the doctrines of which the speaker was there to advocate. This
tumult lasted for half an hour or more, during which time unsalable
eggs, peas, and other missiles were liberally thrown at the speaker.

One of the eggs took effect on the doctor’s face, spattering over
his nicely-ironed shirt bosom, and giving him a somewhat ungainly
appearance, which kept the audience in roars of laughter at the expense
of our fugitive friend.

Becoming tired of this sort of fun, and getting his Southern blood
fairly aroused, Dr. Brown, who, driven from the pulpit, was standing in
front of the altar, nerved himself up, assumed a highly dramatic air,
and said: “I shall not attempt to address you; no, I would not speak to
you if you wanted me to. However, let me tell you one thing, and that
is, if you had been in the South a slave as I was, none of you would
ever have had the courage to escape; none but cowards would do as you
have done here to-night.”

Dr. Brown gradually proceeded into a narrative of his own life and
escape from the South. The intense interest connected with the various
incidents as he related them, chained the audience to their seats,
and for an hour and a half he spoke, making one of the most eloquent
appeals ever heard in that section in behalf of his race.

I have often heard my father speak of it as an effort worthy of our
greatest statesmen. Before the commencement of the meeting, the mob had
obtained a bag of flour, taking it up into the belfry of the church,
directly over the entrance door, with the intention of throwing it over
the speaker as he should pass out.

One of the mob had been sent in with orders to keep as close to the
doctor as he could, and who was to give the signal for the throwing of
the flour. So great was the influence of the speaker on this man, that
his opinions were changed, and instead of giving the word, he warned
the doctor of the impending danger, saying,--“When you hear the cry of
‘let it slide,’ look out for the flour.” The fugitive had no sooner
learned these facts than he determined to have a little fun at the
expense of others.

Pressing his way forward, and getting near a group of the most
respectable of the company, including two clergymen, a physician, and
a justice of the peace, he moved along with them, and as they passed
under the belfry, the doctor cried out at the top of his voice, “Let
it slide!” when down came the flour upon the heads of some of our best
citizens, which created the wildest excitement, and caused the arrest
of those engaged in the disturbance.

Everybody regarded Dr. Brown’s aptness in this matter as a splendid
joke; and for many days after, the watchword of the boys was, “Let it

Dr. Brown wrote “The Negro in the Rebellion,” in 1866, which had a
rapid sale.




The origin of the African race has provoked more criticism than any
other of the various races of man on the globe. Speculation has
exhausted itself in trying to account for the Negro’s color, features,
and hair, that distinguish him in such a marked manner from the rest of
the human family.

All reliable history, and all the facts which I have been able to
gather upon this subject, show that the African race descended from the
country of the Nile, and principally from Ethiopia.

The early history of Ethiopia is involved in great obscurity. When
invaded by the Egyptians, it was found to contain a large population,
consisting of savages, hunting and fishing tribes, wandering herdsmen,
shepherds, and lastly, a civilized class, dwelling in houses and in
large cities, possessing a government and laws, acquainted with the
use of hieroglyphics, the fame of whose progress in knowledge and the
social arts had, in the remotest ages, spread over a considerable
portion of the earth. Even at that early period, when all the nations
were in their rude and savage state, Ethiopia was full of historical
monuments, erected chiefly on the banks of the Nile.

The earliest reliable information we have of Ethiopia, is (B. C. 971)
when the rulers of that country assisted Shishank in his war against
Judea, “with very many chariots and horsemen.” Sixteen years later, we
have an account of Judea being again invaded by an army of a million
Ethiopians, unaccompanied by any Egyptian force.[1] The Ethiopian power
gradually increased until its monarchs were enabled to conquer Egypt,
where three of them reigned in succession, Sabbackon, Sevechus, and
Tarakus, the Tirhakah of Scripture.[2]

Sevechus, called so in Scripture, was so powerful a monarch that
Hoshed, king of Israel, revolted against the Assyrians, relying on his
assistance,[3] but was not supported by his ally. This indeed, was the
immediate cause of the captivity of the Ten Tribes; for “in the ninth
year of Hoshed the king, the king of Assyria took Samaria, and carried
Israel away into Assyria,” as a punishment for unsuccessful rebellion.

Tirhakah was a more war-like prince; he led an army against
Sennacherib,[4] king of Assyria, then besieging Jerusalem; and the
Egyptian traditions, preserved in the age of Herodotus, give an
accurate account of the providential interposition by which the pride
of the Assyrians was humbled.

It is said that the kings of Ethiopia were always elected from the
priestly caste; and there was a strange custom for the electors, when
weary of their sovereign, to send him a courier with orders to die.
Ergamenes was the first monarch who ventured to resist this absurd
custom; he lived in the reign of the second Ptolemy, and was instructed
in Grecian philosophy. So far from yielding, he marched against the
fortress of the priests, massacred most of them, and instituted a new

Queens frequently ruled in Ethiopia; one named Candace made war on
Augustus Cæsar, about twenty years before the birth of Christ, and
though not successful, obtained peace on very favorable conditions.

The pyramids of Ethiopia, though inferior in size to those in Egypt,
are said to surpass them in architectural beauty, and the sepulchres
evince the greatest purity of taste.

But the most important and striking proof of the progress of the
Ethiopians in the art of building, is their knowledge and employment
of the arch. Hoskins has stated that their pyramids are of superior
antiquity to those of Egypt. The Ethiopian vases depicted on the
monuments, though not richly ornamented, display a taste and elegance
of form that has never been surpassed. In sculpture and coloring,
the edifices of Ethiopia, though not so profusely adorned, rival the
choicest specimens of Egyptian art.

Meroe was the _entrepot_ of trade between the North and the South,
between the East and the West, while its fertile soil enabled the
Ethiopians to purchase foreign luxuries with native productions. It
does not appear that fabrics were woven in Ethiopia so extensively
as in Egypt; but the manufacture of metal must have been at least as

But Ethiopia owed its greatness less to the produce of its soil or
its factories than to its position on the intersection of the leading
caravan routes of ancient commerce.

The Ethiopians were among the first nations that organized a regular
army, and thus laid the foundation of the whole system of ancient
warfare. A brief account of their military affairs will therefore
illustrate not only their history, but that of the great Asiatic
monarchies, and of the Greeks during the heroic ages. The most
important division of an Ethiopian army was the body of war-chariots,
used instead of cavalry. These chariots were mounted on two wheels and
made low; open behind, so that the warrior could easily step in and
out; and without a seat.

They were drawn by two horses and generally contained two warriors,
one of whom managed the steeds while the other fought. Nations were
distinguished from each other by the shape and color of their chariots.

Great care was taken in the manufacturing of the chariots and also of
the breeding of horses to draw them. Nothing in our time can equal
the attention paid by the ancients in the training of horses for the

The harness which these animals wore was richly decorated; and a quiver
and bow-case, decorated with extraordinary taste and skill, were
securely fixed to the side of each chariot. The bow was the national
weapon, employed by both cavalry and infantry. No nation of antiquity
paid more attention to archery than the Ethiopians; their arrows better
aimed than those of any other nation, the Egyptians perhaps excepted.
The children of the warrior caste were trained from early infancy to
the practice of archery.

The arms of the Ethiopians were a spear, a dagger, a short sword, a
helmet, and a shield. Pole-axes and battle-axes were occasionally
used. Coats of mail were used only by the principal officers, and some
remarkable warriors, like Goliath, the champion of the Philistines. The
light troops were armed with swords, battle-axes, maces, and clubs.
Some idea of the manly forms, great strength, and military training of
the Ethiopians, may be gathered from Herodotus, the father of ancient

After describing Arabia as “a land exhaling the most delicious
fragrance,” he says,--“Ethiopia, which is the extremity of the
habitable world, is contiguous to this country on the south-west. Its
inhabitants are very remarkable for their size, their beauty, and their
length of life.”[5]

In his third book he has a detailed description of a single tribe
of this interesting people, called the Macrobian, or long-lived
Ethiopians. Cambyses, the Persian king, had made war upon Egypt,
and subdued it. He is then seized with an ambition of extending his
conquests still farther, and resolves to make war upon the Ethiopians.
But before undertaking his expedition, he sends spies into the country
disguised as friendly ambassadors, who carry costly presents from
Cambyses. They arrive at the court of the Ethiopian prince, “a man
superior to all others in the perfection of size and beauty,” who sees
through their disguise, and takes down a bow of such enormous size that
no Persian could bend it. “Give your king this bow, and in my name
speak to him thus:--

“‘The king of Ethiopia sends this counsel to the king of Persia.
When his subjects shall be able to bend this bow with the same ease
that I do, then let him venture to attack the long-lived Ethiopians.
Meanwhile, let him be thankful to the gods, that the Ethiopians have
not been inspired with the same love of conquest as himself.’”[6]

Homer wrote at least eight hundred years before Christ, and his poems
are well ascertained to be a most faithful mirror of the manners and
customs of his times, and the knowledge of his age.

In the first book of the Iliad, Achilles is represented as imploring
his goddess-mother to intercede with Jove in behalf of her aggrieved
son. She grants his request, but tells him the intercession must be
delayed for twelve days. The gods are absent. They have gone to the
distant climes of Ethiopia to join in its festal rites. “Yesterday
Jupiter went to the feast with the _blameless_ Ethiopians, away upon
the limits of the ocean, and all the gods followed together.”[7] Homer
never wastes an epithet. He often alludes to the Ethiopians elsewhere,
and always in terms of admiration and praise, as being the most just of
men; the favorites of the gods.[8]

The same allusion glimmers through the Greek mythology, and appears in
the verses of almost all the Greek poets ere the countries of Italy and
Sicily were even discovered. The Jewish Scripture and Jewish literature
abound in allusion to this distinct and mysterious people; the annals
of the Egyptian priests are full of them, uniformly the Ethiopians are
there lauded as among the best, most religious, and most civilized of

Let us pause here one moment, and follow the march of civilization
into Europe. Wherever its light has once burned clearly, it has been
diffused, but not extinguished. Every one knows that Rome got her
civilization from Greece; that Greece again borrowed hers from Egypt,
that thence she derived her earliest science and the forms of her
beautiful mythology.

The mythology of Homer is evidently hieroglyphical in its origin, and
has strong marks of family resemblance to the symbolical worship of

It descended the Nile; it spread over the delta of that river, as it
came down from Thebes, the wonderful city of a hundred gates. Thebes,
as every scholar knows, is more ancient than the cities of the
delta. The ruins of the colossal architecture are covered over with
hieroglyphics, and strewn with the monuments of Egyptian mythology. But
whence came Thebes? It was built and settled by colonies from Ethiopia,
or from cities which were themselves the settlements of that nation.
The higher we ascend the Nile, the more ancient are the ruins on which
we tread, till we come to the “hoary Meroe,” which Egypt acknowledged
to be the cradle of her institutions.

But Meroe was the queenly city of Ethiopia, into which all Africa
poured its caravans laden with ivory, frankincense, and gold. So it is
that we trace the light of Ethiopian civilization first into Egypt,
thence into Greece, and Rome, whence, gathering new splendor on its
way, it hath been diffusing itself all the world over.[10]

We now come to a consideration of the color of the Ethiopians, that
distinguish their descendants of the present time in such a marked
manner from the rest of the human race.

Adam, the father of the human family, took his name from the color of
the earth from which he was made.[11]

The Bible says but little with regard to the color of the various races
of man, and absolutely nothing as to the time when or the reasons why
these varieties were introduced. There are a few passages in which
color is descriptive of the person or the dress. Job said, “My skin is
black upon me.” Job had been sick for a long time, and no doubt this
brought about a change in his complexion. In Lamentations, it is said,
“Their visage is blacker than a coal;” also, “our skin was blacker than
an oven.” Both of these writers, in all probability, had reference to
the change of color produced by the famine. Another writer says, “I am
black, but comely.” This may have been a shepherd, and lying much in
the sun might have caused the change.

However, we now have the testimony of one whom we clearly understand,
and which is of the utmost importance in settling this question.
Jeremiah asks, “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his
spots?” This refers to a people whose color is peculiar, fixed, and
unalterable. Indeed, Jeremiah seems to have been as well satisfied
that the Ethiopian was colored, as he was that the leopard had spots;
and that the one was as indelible as the other. The German translation
of Luther has “Negro-land,” for Ethiopia, _i. e._, the country of the

All reliable history favors the belief that the Ethiopians descended
from Cush, the eldest son of Ham, who settled first in Shina in Asia.
Eusebius informs us that a colony of Asiatic Cushites settled in that
part of Africa which has since been known as Ethiopia proper. Josephus
asserts that these Ethiopians were descended from Cush, and that in
his time they were still called Cushites by themselves and by the
inhabitants of Asia. Homer divides the Ethiopians into two parts, and
Strabo, the geographer, asserts that the dividing line to which he
alluded was the Red Sea. The Cushites emigrated in part to the west
of the Red Sea; these, remaining unmixed with other races, engrossed
the general name of Cushite, or Ethiopian, while the Asiatic Cushites
became largely mingled with other nations, and are nearly or quite
absorbed, or, as a distinct people well-nigh extinct. Hence, from
the allusion of Jeremiah to the skin of the Ethiopian, confirmed and
explained by such authorities as Homer, Strabo, Herodotus, Josephus,
and Eusebius, we conclude that the Ethiopians were an African branch
of the Cushites who settled first in Asia. Ethiop, in the Greek,
means “sunburn,” and there is not the slightest doubt but that these
people, in and around Meroe, took their color from the climate. This
theory does not at all conflict with that of the common origin of man.
Although the descendants of Cush were black, it does not follow that
all the offspring of Ham were dark-skinned; but only those who settled
in a climate that altered their color.

The word of God by his servant Paul has settled forever the question of
the equal origin of the human races, and it will stand good against all
scientific research. “God hath made of one blood all the nations of men
for to dwell on all the face of the earth.”

The Ethiopians are not constitutionally different from the rest of the
human family, and therefore, we must insist upon _unity_, although we
see and admit the variety.

Some writers have endeavored to account for this difference of color,
by connecting it with the curse pronounced upon Cain. This theory,
however, has no foundation; for if Cain was the progenitor of Noah,
and if Cain’s new peculiarities were perpetuated, then, as Noah was
the father of the world’s new population, the question would be, not
how to account for any of the human family being black, but how can
we account for any being white? All this speculation as to the change
of Cain’s color, as a theory for accounting for the variety peculiar
to Cush and the Ethiopians, falls to the ground when we trace back the
genealogy of Noah, and find that he descended not from Cain, but from

Of course Cain’s descendants, no matter what their color, became
extinct at the flood. No miracle was needed in Ethiopia to bring about
a change in the color of its inhabitants. The very fact that the nation
derived its name from the climate should be enough to satisfy the
most skeptical. What was true of the Ethiopians was also true of the
Egyptians, with regard to color; for Herodotus tells us that the latter
were colored and had curled hair.

The vast increase of the population of Ethiopia, and a wish of its
rulers to possess more territory, induced them to send expeditions down
the Nile, and towards the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Some of
these adventurers, as early as B. C. 885, took up their abode on the
Mediterranean coast, and founded the place which in later years became
the great city of Carthage. Necho, king of Egypt, a man distinguished
for his spirit of enterprise, sent an expedition (B. C. 616) around
the African coast. He employed Phœnecian navigators. This fleet sailed
down the Red Sea, passed the straits of Balel-Mandeb, and, coasting
the African continent, discovered the passage around the Cape of Good
Hope, two thousand years before its re-discovery by Dias and Vasco de
Gama. This expedition was three years in its researches, and while
gone, got out of food, landed, planted corn, and waited for the crop.
After harvesting the grain, they proceeded on their voyage. The fleet
returned to Egypt through the Atlantic Ocean, the straits of Gibralter,
and the Mediterranean.

The glowing accounts brought back by the returned navigators of the
abundance of fruits, vegetables, and the splendor of the climate
of the new country, kindled the fire of adventurous enthusiasm in
the Ethiopians, and they soon followed the example set them by the
Egyptians. Henceforward, streams of emigrants were passing over the
Isthmus of Suez, that high road to Africa, who became permanent
residents of the promised land.


[1] 2 Chron. xiv: 8-13.

[2] Hawkins, in his work on Meroe, identifies Tirhakah with the priest
Sethos, upon ground, we think, not tenable.

[3] 2 Kings, xvii: 4.

[4] 2 Kings, xix: 9.

[5] Herod. iii: 114.

[6] Herod iii: 21.

[7] Iliad II: 423.

[8] Iliad XXIII.

[9] Chron. xiv: 9; xvi: 8; Isaiah xlv: 14; Jeremiah xlvi: 9; Josephus
Aut. II; Heeren, vol I: p. 290.

[10] E. H. Sears, in the “Christian Examiner,” July, 1846.

[11] Josephus Ant., Vol. I: p. 8.



Although it is claimed in history that Carthage was settled by the
Phœnecians, or emigrants from Tyre, it is by no means an established
fact; for when Dido fled from her haughty and tyrannical brother,
Pygmalion, ruler of Tyre, and sailing down the Nile, seeking a place of
protection, she halted at Carthage, then an insignificant settlement
on a peninsula in the interior of a large bay, now called the gulf
of Tunis, on the northern shore of Africa (this was B. C. 880), the
population was made up mainly of poor people, the larger portion of
whom were from Ethiopia, and the surrounding country. Many outlaws,
murderers, highwaymen, and pirates, had taken refuge in the new
settlement. Made up of every conceivable shade of society, with but
little character to lose, the Carthaginians gladly welcomed Dido,
coming as she did from the royal house of Tyre, and they adopted her
as the head of their government. The people became law-abiding, and
the constitution which they adopted was considered by the ancients as
a pattern of political wisdom. Aristotle highly praises it as a model
to other States. He informs us that during the space of five centuries,
that is, from the foundation of the republic down to his own time, no
tyrant had overturned the liberties of the State, and no demagogue had
stirred up the people to rebellion. By the wisdom of its laws, Carthage
had been able to avoid the opposite evils of aristocracy on the one
hand, and democracy on the other. The nobles did not engross the whole
of the power, as was the case in Sparta, Corinth, and Rome, and in more
modern times, in Venice; nor did the people exhibit the factious spirit
of an Athenian mob, or the ferocious cruelty of a Roman rabble.

After the tragical death of the Princess Dido, the head of the
government consisted of the _suffetes_, two chief magistrates, somewhat
resembling the consuls of Rome, who presided in the senate, and whose
authority extended to military as well as civil affairs. These officers
appeared to be entirely devoted to the good of the State and the
welfare of the people.

The second was the senate itself, composed of illustrious men of the
State. This body made the laws, declared war, negotiated peace, and
appointed to all offices, civil and military. The third estate was
still more popular. In the infancy and maturity of the republic, the
people had taken no active part in the government; but, at a later
period, influenced by wealth and prosperity, they advanced their claims
to authority, and, before long, obtained nearly the whole power. They
instituted a council, designed as a check upon the nobles and the
senate. This council was at first very beneficial to the State, but
afterwards became itself tyrannical.

The Carthaginians were an enterprising people, and in the course of
time built ships, and with them explored all ports of the Mediterranean
Sea, visiting the nations on the coast, purchasing their commodities,
and selling them to others. Their navigators went to the coast of
Guinea, and even advanced beyond the mouths of the Senegal and the
Gambia. The Carthaginians carried their commerce into Spain, seized
a portion of that country containing mines rich with gold, and built
thereon a city which they called New Carthage, and which to the present
day is known as Carthaginia.

The Mediterranean was soon covered with their fleets, and at a time
when Rome could not boast of a single vessel, and her citizens were
entirely ignorant of the form of a ship. The Carthaginians conquered
Sardinia, and a great part of Sicily. Their powerful fleets and
extensive conquests gave them the sovereign command of the seas.

While Carthage possessed the dominion of the seas, a rival State was
growing up on the opposite side of the Mediterranean, distant about
seven hundred miles, under whose arms she was destined to fall. This
was Rome, the foundation of which was commenced one hundred years after
that of Carthage. These two powerful nations engaged in wars against
each other that lasted nearly two hundred years. In these conflicts the
Carthaginians showed great bravery.

In the first Punic war, the defeat and capture of Regulus, the
Roman general, by the Carthaginians, and their allies, the Greeks,
humiliated the Romans, and for a time gave the former great advantage
over the latter. The war, however, which lasted twenty-four years,
was concluded by some agreement, which after all, was favorable to
the Romans. The conclusion of the first Punic war (B. C. 249) was not
satisfactory to the more republican portion of the ruling spirits among
the Carthaginians, and especially Hamilcar, the father of Hannibal,
who, at that time occupied a very prominent position, both on account
of his rank, wealth, and high family connections at Carthage; also
on account of the great military energy which he displayed in the
command of the armies abroad. Hamilcar had carried on the wars which
the Carthaginians waged in Africa and Spain after the conclusion of
the war with the Romans, and he was anxious to begin hostilities with
the Romans again. On Hamilcar’s leaving Carthage the last time to join
his army in Spain, he took his son Hannibal, then a boy of nine years,
and made him swear on the altar of his country eternal hatred to the
Romans, an oath that he kept to the day of his death.

When not yet twenty years of age, Hannibal was placed second in
command of the army, then in Spain, where he at once attracted the
attention and the admiration of all, by the plainness of his living,
his abstinence from strong drink, and the gentlemanly treatment that he
meted out to the soldiers, as well as his fellow-officers.

He slept in his military cloak on the ground, in the midst of his
soldiers on guard; and in a battle he was always the last to leave
the field after a fight, as he was foremost to press forward in every
contest with the enemy. The death of Hasdrubal placed Hannibal in
supreme command of the army, and inheriting his father’s hatred to
Rome, he resolved to take revenge upon his ancient enemy, and at once
invaded the Roman possessions in Spain, and laid siege to the city of
Saguntum, which, after heroic resistance, yielded to his victorious
arms. Thus commenced the second Punic war, in which Hannibal was to
show to the world his genius as a general.

Leaving a large force in Africa, and also in Spain, to defend these
points, Hannibal set out in the spring of the year B. C. 218, with a
large army to fulfill his project against Rome.

His course lay along the Mediterranean; the whole distance to Rome
being about one thousand miles by the land route which he contemplated.
When he had traversed Spain, he came to the Pyrenees, a range of
mountains separating that country from Gaul, now France. He was here
attacked by wild tribes of brave barbarians, but he easily drove them
back. He crossed the Pyrenees, traversed Gaul, and came at last to
the Alps, which threw up their frowning battlements, interposing a
formidable obstacle between him and the object of his expedition.

No warrior had then crossed these snowy peaks with such an army; and
none but a man of that degree of resolution and self-reliance which
could not be baffled, would have hazarded the fearful enterprise.
Indeed, we turn with amazement to Hannibal’s passage of the Alps;
that great and daring feat surpasses in magnitude anything of the
kind ever attempted by man. The pride of the French historians have
often led them to compare Napoleon’s passage of the Great St. Bernard
to Hannibal’s passage of the Alps; but without detracting from the
well-earned fame of the French Emperor, it may safely be affirmed
that his achievements will bear no comparison whatever with the
Carthaginian hero. When Napoleon began the ascent of the Alps from
Martigny, on the shores of the Rhone, and above the Lake of Geneva, he
found the passage of the mountains cleared by the incessant transit of
two thousand years. The road, impracticable for carriages, was very
good for horsemen and foot passengers, and was traversed by great
numbers of both at every season of the year.

Comfortable villages on the ascent and descent afforded easy
accommodation to the wearied soldiers by day and by night; the ample
stores of the monks at the summit, and the provident foresight of
the French generals had provided a meal for every man and horse that
passed. No hostile troops opposed their passage; the guns were drawn
up in sleds made of hollowed firs; and in four days from the time
they began the ascent from the banks of the Rhone, the French troops,
without losing a man, stood on the Doria Baltea, the increasing waters
of which flowed towards the Po, amidst the gardens and vineyards, and
under the sun of Italy. But the case was very different when Hannibal
crossed from the shores of the Durance to the banks of the Po.

The mountain sides, which had not yet been cleared by centuries of
laborious industry, presented a continual forest, furrowed at every
hollow by headlong Alpine torrents. There were no bridges to cross
the perpetually recurring obstacles; provisions, scanty at all times
in those elevated solitudes, were then nowhere to be found, having
been hidden away by the natives, and a powerful army of mountaineers
occupied the entrance of the defiles, defended with desperate valor
the gates of their country, and when dispersed by the superior
discipline and arms of Hannibal’s soldiers, still beset the ridges
about their line of march, and harassed his troops with continual
hostility. When the woody region was passed, and the vanguard emerged
in the open mountain pastures, which led to the verge of perpetual
snow, fresh difficulties awaited them.

The turf, from the gliding down of the newly-fallen snow on those steep
declivities, was so slippery that it was often scarcely possible for
the men to keep their feet; the beasts of burden lost their footing at
every step, and rolled down in great numbers into the abyss beneath;
the elephants became restive amidst privation and a climate to which
they were totally unaccustomed; and the strength of the soldiers,
worn out by incessant marching and fighting, began to sink before
the continued toil of the ascent. Horrors formidable to all, but in
an especial manner terrible to African soldiers, awaited them at the

It was the end of October; winter in all its severity had already set
in on those lofty solitudes; the mountain sides, silent and melancholy
even at the height of summer, when enameled with flowers and dotted
with flocks, presented then an unbroken sheet of snow; the lakes which
were interspersed over the level valley at their feet, were frozen
over and undistinguishable from the rest of the dreary expanse, and
a boundless mass of snowy peaks arose at all sides, presenting an
apparently impassable barrier to their further progress. But it was
then that the genius of Hannibal shone forth in all its lustre.

“The great general,” says Arnold, “who felt that he now stood
victorious on the ramparts of Italy, and that the torrent which rolled
before him was carrying its waters to the rich plains of cisalpine
Gaul, endeavored to kindle his soldiers with his own spirit of hope.
He called them together; he pointed out to them the valley beneath, to
which the descent seemed but the work of a moment.

“That valley,” said he, “is Italy; it leads to the country of our
friends, the Gauls, and yonder is our way to Rome.” His eyes were
eagerly fixed on that part of the horizon, and as he gazed, the
distance seemed to vanish, till he could almost fancy he was crossing
the Tiber, and assailing the capital. Such were the difficulties of
the passage and the descent on the other side, that Hannibal lost
thirty-three thousand men from the time he entered the Pyrenees till
he reached the plains of Northern Italy, and he arrived on the Po with
only twelve thousand Africans, eight thousand Spanish infantry, and six
thousand horse.

Then followed those splendid battles with the Romans, which carried
consternation to their capital, and raised the great general to the
highest pinnacle in the niche of military fame.

The defeat of Scipio, at the battle of Ticinus, the utter rout and
defeat of Sempronius, the defeat of Flaminius, the defeat of Fabius,
and the battle of Cannæ, in the last of which, the Romans had
seventy-six thousand foot, eight thousand horse, and many chariots,
and where Hannibal had only thirty thousand troops, all told, and
where the defeat was so complete that bushels of gold rings were taken
from the fingers of the dead Romans, and sent as trophies to Carthage,
are matters of history, and will ever give to Hannibal the highest
position in the scale of ancient military men. Hannibal crossed the
Alps two hundred and seventeen years before the Christian Era, and
remained in Italy sixteen years. At last, Scipio, a Roman general of
the same name of the one defeated by Hannibal at Ticinus, finished
the war in Spain, transported his troops across the Mediterranean;
thus “carrying the war into Africa,” and giving rise to an expression
still in vogue, and significant of effective retaliation. By the aid
of Masinissa, a powerful prince of Numidia, now Morocco, he gained two
victories over the Carthaginians, who were obliged to recall Hannibal
from Italy, to defend their own soil from the combined attacks of the
Romans and Numidians.

He landed at Leptis, and advanced near Zama, five days’ journey to the
west of Carthage. Here he met the Roman forces, and here, for the first
time, he suffered a total defeat. The loss of the Carthaginians was
immense, and they were compelled to sue for peace. This was granted by
Scipio, but upon humiliating terms.

Hannibal would still have resisted, but he was compelled by his
countrymen to submit. Thus ended the second Punic war (B. C. 200),
having continued about eighteen years.

By this war with the Romans, the Carthaginians lost most of their
colonies, and became in a measure, a Roman province. Notwithstanding
his late reverses, Hannibal entered the Carthaginian senate, and
continued at the head of the state, reforming abuses that had crept
into the management of the finances, and the administration of justice.
But these judicious reforms provoked the enmity of the factious nobles
who had hitherto been permitted to fatten on public plunder; they
joined with the old rivals of the Barcan family, of which Hannibal was
now the acknowledged head, and even degraded themselves so far as to
act as spies for the Romans, who still dreaded the abilities of the
great general.

In consequence of their machinations, the old hero was forced to fly
from the country he had so long labored to serve; and after several
vicissitudes, died of poison, to escape the mean and malignant
persecution of the Romans whose hatred followed him in his exile, and
compelled the king of Bithynia to refuse him protection. The mound
which marks his last resting-place is still a remarkable object.

Hannibal, like the rest of the Carthaginians, though not as black
as the present African population, was nevertheless, colored; not
differing in complexion from the ancient Ethiopians, and with curly
hair. We have but little account of this wonderful man except from
his enemies, the Romans, and nothing from them but his public career.
Prejudiced as are these sources of evidence, they still exhibit him as
one of the most extraordinary men that have ever lived.

Many of the events of his life remind us of the career of Napoleon.
Like him, he crossed the Alps with a great army; like him, he was
repeatedly victorious over disciplined and powerful forces in Italy;
like him, he was finally overwhelmed in a great battle; like him, he
was a statesman, as well as a general; like him, he was the idol of the
army; like him, he was finally driven from his country, and died in
exile.[12] Yet, no one of Napoleon’s achievements was equal to that
of Hannibal in crossing the Alps, if we consider the difficulties he
had to encounter; nor has anything in generalship surpassed the ability
he displayed in sustaining himself and his army for sixteen years in
Italy, in the face of Rome, and without asking for assistance from his
own country.

We now pass to the destruction of Carthage, and the dispersion of
its inhabitants. Fifty years had intervened since Hannibal with his
victorious legions stood at the gates of Rome; the Carthaginian
territory had been greatly reduced, the army had witnessed many
changes, Hannibal and his generals were dead, and a Roman army under
Scipio, flushed with victory and anxious for booty, were at the gates
of Carthage.

For half a century the Carthaginians had faithfully kept all their
humiliating treaties with the Romans; borne patiently the insults and
arrogance of Masinissa, king of Numidia, whose impositions on Carthage
were always upheld by the strong arm of Rome; at last, however,
a serious difficulty arose between Carthage and Numidia, for the
settlement of which the Roman senate dispatched commissioners to visit
the contending parties and report.

Unfortunately for the Carthaginians, one of these commissioners
was Cato the elder, who had long entertained a determined hatred
to Carthage. Indeed, he had, for the preceding twenty years,
scarcely ever made a speech without closing with,--“_Delenda est
Carthago_.”--Carthage must be destroyed. Animated by this spirit, it
can easily be imagined that Cato would give the weight of his influence
against the Carthaginians in everything touching their interest.

While inspecting the great city, Cato was struck with its magnificence
and remaining wealth, which strengthened him in the opinion that the
ultimate success of Rome depended upon the destruction of Carthage; and
he labored to bring about that result.

Scipio demanded that Carthage should deliver up all its materials of
war as a token of submission, which demand was complied with; and
the contents of their magazines, consisting of two hundred thousand
complete suits of armor, two thousand catapults, and an immense number
of spears, swords, bows and arrows. Having disarmed themselves, they
waited to hear the final sentence. The next demand was for the delivery
of the navy; this too was complied with. It was then announced that the
city was to be razed to the ground, the inhabitants sent elsewhere for
a residence, and that the Carthaginian name was to be blotted out. Just
then the navy, the largest in the world, containing vessels of great
strength and beauty, was set on fire, the flames of which lighted up
with appalling effect the coast forty miles around.

The destruction of this fleet, the naval accumulation of five
centuries, was a severe blow to the pride of the conquered
Carthaginians, and taking courage from despair, they closed the gates
of the city, and resolved that they would fight to the last.

As in all commonwealths, there were two political parties in Carthage,
struggling for the ascendency; one, republican, devoted to the liberty
of the people and the welfare of the State; the other, conservative in
its character, and in favor of Roman rule. It was this last party that
had disarmed the State at the bidding of the Roman invaders; and now
that the people had risen, the conservatives who could, fled from the
city, to escape the indignation of the masses.

Unarmed and surrounded by an army of one hundred thousand men,
resistance seemed to be madness; yet they resisted with a heroism that
surprised and won the esteem of their hard-hearted conquerors.

Everything was done to repair the damage already sustained by the
surrender of their navy and munitions of war. The pavements of the
streets were torn up, houses demolished, and statues broken to pieces
to obtain stones for weapons, which were carried upon the ramparts
for defence. Everybody that could work at a forge was employed in
manufacturing swords, spear-heads, pikes, and such other weapons as
could be made with the greatest facility and dispatch. They used all
the iron and brass that could be obtained, then melted down vases,
statues, and the precious metals, and tipped their spears with an
inferior pointing of silver and gold.

When the supply of hemp and twine for cordage for their bows had
failed, the young maidens cut off their hair, and twisted and braided
it into cords to be used as bow-strings for propelling the arrows which
their husbands and brothers made. Nothing in the history of war, either
ancient or modern, will bear a comparison with this, the last struggle
of the Carthaginians. The siege thus begun was carried on more than
two years; the people, driven to the last limit of human endurance,
had aroused themselves to a hopeless resistance in a sort of frenzy of
despair, and fought with a courage and a desperation that compelled the
Romans to send home for more troops.

Think of a walled city, thirty miles in circumference, with a
population of seven hundred and fifty thousand souls, men, women, and
children, living on limited fare, threatened with starvation, and
surrounded by the sick, the dying, and the dead!

Even in this condition, so heroic were the Carthaginians, that they
repulsed the Romans, sent fireships against the invaders’ fleet, burned
their vessels, and would have destroyed the Roman army, had it not been
for the skill of Scipio, who succeeded in covering the retreat of the
Roman legions with a body of cavalry.

On the arrival of fresh troops from Rome, the siege was renewed; and
after a war of three years, famine reduced the population to a little
more than fifty thousand.

The overpowering army of Scipio finally succeeded in breaking through
the gates, and gaining admission into the city; the opposing forces
fought from street to street, the Carthaginians retreating as the
Romans advanced. One band of the enemy’s soldiers mounted to the tops
of the houses, the roofs of which were flat, and fought their way
there, while another column moved around to cut off retreat to the
citadel. No imagination can conceive the uproar and din of such an
assault upon a populous city--a horrid mingling of the vociferated
commands of the officers, and the shouts of the advancing and
victorious enemy, with the screams of terror from affrighted women
and children, and the dreadful groans and imprecations from men dying
maddened with unsatisfied revenge, and biting the dust in agony of

The more determined of the soldiers with Hasdrubal, the Carthaginian
general at their head, together with many brave citizens of both sexes,
and some Roman deserters, took possession of the citadel, which was in
a strongly-fortified section of the city.

The Romans advanced to the walls of this fortification, and set that
part of the city on fire that lay nearest to it; the fire burned for
six days. When the fire had ceased burning near the citadel, the Roman
troops were brought to the area thus left vacant by the flames, and the
fight was renewed.

Seeing there was no hope of successfully resisting the enemy, Hasdrubal
opened the gates, and surrendered to the Romans. There was, however,
a temple in the citadel, capable of holding ten or fifteen thousand
persons; in this, many of the brave men and women took refuge; among
these were Hasdrubal’s wife and two children. The gates of the temple
had scarcely been closed and securely barred, ere some one set the
building on fire from within. Half-suffocated with the smoke, and
scorched with the flames, these people were soon running to and fro
with the wildest screams; many of whom reached the roof, and among
them, Hasdrubal’s wife.

Looking down and seeing her husband standing amongst the Roman
officers, she loaded him with reproaches for what she conceived to
be his cowardice, stabbed her children, threw them into the flames,
and leaped in herself. The city was given up to pillage, and set on
fire. After burning for seventeen days, this great city, the model of
beauty and magnificence, the repository of immense wealth, and one of
the chief States of the ancient world, was no more. The destruction of
Carthage, previously resolved upon in cold blood, after fifty years of
peace, and without any fresh provocation from the defenceless people,
who had thrown themselves on the generosity of their rivals, was one of
the most hard-hearted and brutal acts of Roman policy. The sequel of
the history of Carthage presents a melancholy and affecting picture of
the humiliation and decline of a proud and powerful State.

Meroe, the chief city, and fountain-head of the Ethiopians, was already
fast declining, when Carthage fell, and from that time forward,
the destiny of this people appeared to be downward. With the fall
of Carthage, and the absorption of its territory by Rome, and its
organization into a Roman province, the Carthaginian State ceased. Of
the seven hundred and fifty thousand souls that Carthage contained at
the time that the Romans laid siege to the city, only fifty thousand
remained alive at its fall. The majority of these, hating Roman rule,
bent their way towards the interior of Africa, following the thousands
of their countrymen who had gone before.

After Carthage had been destroyed, the Romans did everything in their
power to obliterate every vestige of the history of that celebrated
people. No relics are to be seen of the grandeur and magnificence of
ancient Carthage, except some ruins of aqueducts and cisterns.

In the language of Tasso:--

     “Low lie her towers, sole relics of her sway;
       Her desert shores a few sad fragments keep;
     Shrines, temples, cities, kingdoms, states decay;
       O’er urns and arch triumphal, deserts sweep
       Their sands, and lions roar, or ivies creep.”


[12] “Famous Men of Ancient Times,” p. 154.

[13] “Abbott’s History of Hannibal.”



In the desert between the Nile and the Red Sea, and among that range of
mountains running parallel with the coast, are Hadharebe, the Ababdeh,
and the Bishari, three very ancient tribes, the modern representatives
of the Ethiopians of Meroe. The language of these people, their
features, so different from the Arabs, and the Guinea Negro, together
with their architecture, prove conclusively that they descended from
Ethiopia; the most numerous and powerful of these tribes being the

Leaving the shores of the Mediterranean, and passing south of
Abyssinia, along the coast of Africa, and extending far into the
interior over rich mountain-plains, is found the seat of what are
called the “Galla nations.” They are nomadic tribes, vast in numbers,
indefinable in their extent of territory, full of fire and energy,
wealthy in flocks and herds, dark-skinned, woolly-haired, and

Passing farther west into that vast region which lies between the
Mountains of the Moon and the Great Desert, extending through Central
Africa even to the western coast, we come into what may be more
appropriately called “Negro-land.”

It is a widely-extended region, which abounds in the arts of
civilization. Here are large cities containing from ten thousand to
thirty thousand souls. Here is a great family of nations, some but just
emerging out of barbarism, some formed into prosperous communities,
preserving the forms of social justice and of a more enlightened
worship, practicing agriculture, and exhibiting the pleasing results of
peaceful and productive industry.

Mungo Park gives a glowing account of Sego, the capital of Bambuwa,
a city containing thirty thousand inhabitants, with its two-story
houses, its mosques seen in every quarter, its ferries conveying men
and horses over the Niger. “The view of this extensive city,” he says,
“the numerous canoes upon the river, the crowded population, and the
cultivated state of the surrounding country, formed altogether a
prospect of civilization and magnificence which I little expected to
find in the bosom of Africa.”

Farther east he found a large and flourishing town called Kaffa,
situated in the midst of a country so beautiful and highly cultivated
that it reminds him of England. The people in this place were an
admixture of light brown, dark brown, and dingy black, apparently
showing the influence of the climate upon their ancestors.

The Mountains of the Moon, as they terminate along the western coast of
Africa, spread out into a succession of mountain plains. These present
three lofty fronts toward the sea, each surrounded with terraces,
declining gradually into the lowlands, each threaded with fertilizing
streams, and fanned with ocean breezes.

The most northern of these plateaus, with their declivities and plains,
forms the delightful land of one of the most powerful and intelligent
of the African tribes, namely, the Mandingoes. They are made up of
shrewd merchants and industrious agriculturists; kind, hospitable,
enterprising, with generous dispositions, and open and gentle manners.
Not far from the Mandingoes, are the people called Solofs, whom Park
describes as “the most beautiful, and at the same time the blackest
people in Africa.”

But perhaps the most remarkable people among these nations are the
“Fulahs,” whose native seat is the southern part of the plateaus above
described. Here, in their lofty independence, they cultivate the soil,
live in “clean and commodious dwellings,” feed numerous flocks of sheep
and goats, and herds of oxen and horses, build mosques for the worship
of one God, and open schools for the education of their children.

Timbri, their capital, is a military station, containing nine thousand
inhabitants, from which their victorious armies have gone forth and
subdued the surrounding country. They practice the mechanic arts with
success, forge iron and silver, fabricate cloth, and work skilfully
with leather and wood. Like the Anglo-Saxon, their capital has been
the hive whence colonies have swarmed forth to form new settlements,
and extend the arts of industry; and the “Fellatahs,” an enterprising
people who dwell a thousand miles in the interior, are well known to
belong to the same stock.

There are many other nations, or rather, tribes, in this vast central
region, described by Pritchard more or less minutely, variously
advanced in the arts of life, and exhibiting various degrees of
enterprise and energy.

Passing along the western shore southward, we next come to the coast
of Guinea, where we find the Negro in his worst state of degradation.
Hither comes the slave-trader for his wretched cargo, and hence have
been exported the victims of that horrible commerce, which supplied
the slave-marts of the western world. The demonizing influence of this
traffic on the character of the natives defies all description.

In the mountains and ravines of this portion of Africa lurk gangs
of robbers, ever on the watch to seize the wives and children of
the neighboring clans and sell them to the traders. Every corner of
the land has been the scene of rapine and blood. Parents sell their
children, and children sell their parents. Such are the passions
stimulated by Christian gold, and such the state of society produced by
contact with Christian nations. These people, degraded and unhumanized
by the slaver, are the progenitors of the black population of the
Southern States of the American Union.

Still we are to observe, that though the lowest type of Negro character
is to be found on the Guinea coast and the adjacent region, it is not
uniformly degraded. Tribes are to be found, considerably advanced in
civilization, whose features and characters resemble those of the
central region which we have just described.

Passing southward still farther, and crossing the line, we come into
southern Africa. This whole region from the equator to the Cape, with
the exception of the Hottentots, is, so far as discovered, occupied
by what is called the “Great South African Race.” They are a vast
family of nations, speaking dialects of the same language, furnishing
incontrovertible evidence, so says Pritchard, of “a common origin.”

There is one fact, in reference to them, of absorbing interest; it
is that among these nations, and sometimes among the same tribe, are
found specimens of the lowest Negro type, and specimens of the same
type elevated and transfigured so as to approximate far towards the
European form and features. Between these two there is every possible
variety, and the variations depend much on moral condition and physical
surroundings. Along the coast humanity generally sinks down into its
lowest shapes, and puts on its most disgusting visage.

Rising into the interior, and climbing the tablelands, the evidence
of decided improvement generally appears. Perhaps the most savage of
these tribes is to be found on the coast of Congo. They are cannibals
of great ferocity and brutality. But on the eastern coast are found
a people called Kafirs, some tribes occupying the coast, and a few
the mountain plains. Some of these tribes, “whose fine forms and easy
attitudes remind the traveller of ancient statues,” inhabit large towns
and cities, have made great progress in the arts of industry, cultivate
vast fields of sugar and tobacco, manufacture various kinds of cutlery,
and “build their houses with masonry, and ornament them with pillars
and mouldings.”

They exhibit fine traits of intellectual and moral character. Mixed
up with their superstitions, they have some lofty, religious ideas;
believe in the immortality of the soul, in a Supreme Being, whom they
call “The Beautiful,” who exercises a providence over mankind. Such
are the nations of Central and Southern Africa; and if we can rely
on the reports of the best travellers, they furnish some of the best
material, out of which to build up prosperous states and empires, that
is to be found on the face of the earth.

We come next to the Hottentots, including the Bushmen, who belong to
the same race. In the scale of humanity, he probably sinks below the
inhabitants of Guinea or Congo.

The Hottentot has long furnished a standard of comparison to moral
writers by which to represent the lowest condition of man. He inhabits
the desert, lives in caves, subsists on roots or raw flesh, has no
religious ideas, and is considered by the European as too wretched a
being to be converted into a slave. How came he thus degraded?

That is a question which we do not often see answered, and which
must be answered, to the shame of Christian Europe. Before that evil
hour when the Christian navigator neared the Cape of Good Hope, the
Hottentots were “a numerous people, divided into many tribes under a
patriarchal government of chiefs and elders.”

They had numerous flocks and herds, lived in movable villages, were
bold in the chase, courageous in warfare, yet mild in their tempers and
dispositions; had rude conceptions of religion, and exhibited a scene
of pastoral life like that of the ancient Nomads of the Syrian plains.
In a word, they were a part of that stream of emigration to which we
have referred in a previous chapter, and who evidently were living
somewhat as they had in the country of their ancestors.

Kolben, who saw the Hottentots in the day of their prosperity,
enumerates eighteen tribes of the race. The European colonists hunted
these tribes as they would hunt beasts of prey. Most of them they
exterminated, and seized upon their possessions; the rest they robbed
and drove into forests and deserts, where their miserable descendants
exist as wandering Bushmen, exhibiting to good Christian people
material for most edifying studies in “anatomy and ethnology.”

There is an immense region, comprising the greater part of interior
Africa, two thousand miles in length, and one thousand in breadth,
nearly equal to the whole of the United States, which has seldom been
trodden by the foot of the Caucasian. It spreads out beneath the
tropics, and is supposed by Humboldt to be one of the most interesting
and fertile regions on the face of the earth.

“It must be,” he says, “a high table-land, rising into the cooler
strata of the atmosphere, combining therefore the qualities of
the _tierra caliente_ of Mexico, with its ‘cloudless ethers,’ the
luxuriant slopes of the Andes, and the pastoral plains of Southern
Asia. It cannot be a sandy desert, though sometimes put down as such
upon the maps, because vast rivers come rolling down from it into the
surrounding seas.”

It has long been the land of romance, mystery, and wonder, and of
strange and tantalizing rumors. The “blameless Ethiopians” of Homer,
the favorites of the gods, and the wonderful Macrobians of Herodotus,
are placed by Heeren on the outskirts of this region, where they would
be most likely to be offshoots from its parent stock. This country is
guarded from the European by forces more potent than standing armies.

Around it stretches a border on which brood malaria, pestilence,
and death, and which the English government for half a century have
expended lives and treasure to break through. In one expedition after
another sent out from the island of Ascension, nine white men out of
ten fell victims to the “beautiful, but awful climate.”

Nevertheless, news from the interior more or less distinct has found
its way over this belt of danger and death. Being a land of mystery, it
should be borne in mind that there is a strong tendency to exaggeration
in all that comes from it. The Niger, one of the noblest of rivers,
skirts this unknown country for some hundreds of miles, after sweeping
away through the middle portion of Central Africa already described.

The “Colonial Magazine,” speaking of the exploration of this river by
the English expeditions, says: “They have found that this whole tract
of country is one of amazing fertility and beauty, abounding in gold,
ivory, and all sorts of tropical vegetation. There are hundreds of
woods, invaluable for dyeing and agricultural purposes, not found in
other portions of the world.

“Through it for hundreds of miles sweeps a river from three to six
miles broad, with clean water and unsurpassable depth, flowing on at
the rate of two or three miles an hour, without rock, shoal, or snag
to intercept its navigation. Other rivers pour into this tributary
waters of such volume as must have required hundreds of miles to be
collected, yet they seem scarcely to enlarge it. Upon this river are
scattered cities, some of which are estimated to contain a million of
inhabitants; and the whole country teems with a dense population. Far
in the interior, in the very heart of this continent, is a portion of
the African race in an advanced state of civilization.”

In the year 1816, Captain Tuckey, of the English Navy, made a
disastrous expedition up the Congo. In 1828, Mr. Owen, from the
opposite coast, attempted to penetrate this land of mystery and marvel,
with a like result. But they found a manifest improvement in the
condition of the people the farther they advanced, and they met with
rumors of a powerful and civilized nation still farther inward, whose
country they attempted in vain to explore.

In 1818, John Campbell, agent of the London Missionary Society, tried
to reach this country by journeying from the Cape northward; and later
still, Captain Alexander led an expedition, having the same object in
view. They found large and populous cities situated in a fertile and
highly-cultivated country, but they did not reach the land of marvel
and mystery, though they heard the same rumors respecting its people.
A writer in the “Westminster Review,” who lived several years on the
western coast, gives an interesting description of the interior of the
country. He says:--

“A state of civilization exists among some of the tribes, such as had
not been suspected hitherto by those who have judged only from such
accounts as have been given of the tribes with which travellers have
come in contact. They cannot be regarded as savages, having organized
townships, fixed habitations, with regular defences about their cities,
engaging in agriculture and the manufacture of cotton cloths for
clothing, which they ornament with handsome dyes of native production,
exhibit handicraft in their conversion of iron and precious metals into
articles of use and ornament.”

But to no traveller is the cause of African civilization more indebted
than to Dr. Livingstone. Twenty-six years of his life have been spent
in exploring that country and working for the good of its people. In
August, 1849, he discovered Lake Ngami, one of the most beautiful
sheets of water in that sunny land. His discovery of the source of the
Zambesi River and its tributaries, the Victoria Falls, the beds of
gold, silver, iron and coal, and his communication with a people who
had never beheld a white man before, are matters of congratulation to
the friends of humanity, and the elevation of man the world over.

Along the shores of the Zambesi were found pink marble beds, and white
marble, its clearness scarcely equaled by anything of the kind ever
seen in Europe. In his description of the country through which this
splendid river passes, Dr. Livingstone says: “When we came to the top
of the outer range of the hills, we had a glorious view. At a short
distance below us we saw the Kafue, wending away over a forest-clad
plain to the confluence, and on the other side of the Zambesi, beyond
that, lay a long range of dark hills.

“A line of fleecy clouds appeared, lying along the course of that river
at their base. The plain below us, at the left of the Kafue, had more
large game on it than anywhere else I had seen in Africa. Hundreds
of buffaloes and zebras grazed on the open spaces, and there stood
lordly elephants feeding majestically, nothing moving apparently, but
the proboscis. I wish that I had been able to take a photograph of
the scene so seldom beheld, and which is destined, as guns increase,
to pass away from earth. When we descended, we found all the animals
remarkably tame. The elephants stood beneath the trees, fanning
themselves with their large ears, as if they did not see us.”

The feathered tribe is abundant and beautiful in this section of
Africa. Dr. Livingstone says: “The birds of the tropics have been
described as generally wanting in power of song. I was decidedly of the
opinion that this was not applicable to many parts of Londa. Here the
chorus, or body of song, was not much smaller in volume than it is in
England. These African birds are not wanting in song; they have only
lacked poets to sing their praises, which ours have had from the time
of Aristophanes downward.”

Speaking of the fruits, he says: “There are great numbers of wild
grape-vines growing in this quarter; indeed, they abound everywhere
along the banks of the Zambesi. They are very fine; and it occurred to
me that a country which yields the wild vines so very abundantly might
be a fit one for the cultivated species. We found that many elephants
had been feeding on the fruit called mokoronga. This is a black-colored
plum, having purple juice. We all ate it in large quantities, as we
found it delicious.”

While exploring the Zambesi, Dr. Livingstone visited the hot spring of
Nyamboronda, situated in the bed of a small rivulet called Nyaondo,
which shows that igneous action is not yet extinct. The spring emitted
water hot enough to cook a fish that might accidentally get into it.

Dr. Livingstone represents the inhabitants, throughout his long
journey of more than one thousand miles, as well disposed toward
strangers, and a majority of them favorable to civilization and the
banishment of the slave-trade, that curse of Africa.

The population of this immense country has been estimated at from fifty
to one hundred and fifty millions; but as we have no certain data from
which to compute anything like a correct estimate of its inhabitants,
it is difficult to arrive at a proper conclusion. Yet from all we can
learn, I should judge one hundred and fifty millions is nearest to it.

Recent travellers in Africa have discovered ruins which go far to show
that the early settlers built towns, and then abandoned them for more
healthy locations. In September, 1871, the South African explorer,
Carl Mauch, visited the ruins of an ancient and mysterious city in the
highland between the Zambesi and Limpopo Rivers, long known by native
report to the Portuguese, and situated in a land, which from its gold
and ivory, has long been identified by some authorities, as the Ophir
of Scripture. Zimbaoe lies in about lat. 20 degrees 14 seconds S.;
long. 31 degrees 48 seconds E.

One portion of the ruins rises upon a granite hill about four hundred
feet in relative height; the other, separated by a slight valley, lies
upon a somewhat raised terrace. From the curved and zigzag form still
apparent in the ruined walls which cover the whole of the western
declivity of the hill, these have doubtless formed a once impregnable
fortress. The whole space is densely overgrown with nettles and bushes,
and some great trees have intertwined their roots with the buildings.

Without exception, the walls, some of which have still a height of
thirty feet, are built of cut granite stones, generally of the size of
an ordinary brick, but no mortar has been used. The thickness of the
walls where they appear above ground is ten feet, tapering to seven or
eight feet. In many places monolith pilasters of eight to ten feet in
length, ornamented in diamond-shaped lines, stand out of the building.
These are generally eight inches wide and three in thickness, cut
out of a hard and close stone of greenish-black color, and having a
metallic ring.

During the first hurried visit, Mauch was unable to find any traces of
inscription, though carvings of unknown characters are mentioned by the
early Portuguese writers. Such however, may yet be found, and a clue
be thus obtained as to the age of the strange edifice. Zimbaoe is, in
all probability, an ancient factory, raised in very remote antiquity
by strangers to the land, to overawe the savage inhabitants of the
neighboring country, and to serve as a depot for the gold and ivory
which it affords. No native tribes dwelling in mud huts could ever have
conceived its erection.



The various colors seen in the natives in Africa, where amalgamation
with other races is impossible, has drawn forth much criticism, and
puzzled the ethnologist not a little. Yet nothing is more easily
accounted for than this difference of color amongst the same people,
and even under the same circumstances. Climate, and climate alone, is
the sole cause.

And now to the proof. Instances are adduced, in which individuals,
transplanted into another climate than that of their birth, are said to
have retained their peculiarities of form and color unaltered, and to
have transmitted the same to their posterity for generations. But cases
of this kind, though often substantiated to a certain extent, appear to
have been much exaggerated, both as to the duration of time ascribed,
and the absence of any change. It is highly probable, that the original
characteristics will be found undergoing gradual modifications, which
tend to assimilate them to those of the new country and situation.

The Jews, however slightly their features may have assimilated to those
of other nations amongst whom they are scattered, from the causes
already stated, certainly form a very striking example as regards the
uncertainty of perpetuity in color.

Descended from one stock, and prohibited by the most sacred
institutions from intermarrying with the people of other nations, and
yet dispersed, according to the divine prediction, into every country
on the globe, this one people is marked with the colors of all; fair in
Briton and Germany; brown in France and in Turkey; swarthy in Portugal
and in Spain; olive in Syria and in Chaldea; tawny or copper-colored
in Arabia and in Egypt;[14] whilst they are “black at Congo, in

Let us survey the gradations of color on the continent of Africa
itself. The inhabitants of the north are whitest; and as we advance
southward towards the line, and those countries in which the sun’s rays
fall more perpendicularly, the complexion gradually assumes a darker
shade. And the same men, whose color has been rendered black by the
powerful influence of the sun, if they remove to the north, gradually
become whiter (I mean their posterity), and eventually lose their dark

The Portuguese who planted themselves on the coast of Africa a few
centuries ago, have been succeeded by descendants blacker than many
Africans.[17] On the coast of Malabar there are two colonies of Jews,
the old colony and the new, separated by color, and known as the “black
Jews,” and the “white Jews.” The old colony are the black Jews, and
have been longer subjected to the influence of the climate. The hair of
the black Jews are curly, showing a resemblance to the Negro. The white
Jews are as dark as the Gipsies, and each generation growing darker.

Dr. Livingstone says,--“I was struck with the appearance of the people
in Londa, and the neighborhood; they seemed more slender in form, and
their color a lighter olive, than any we had hitherto met.”[18]

Lower down the Zambesi, the same writer says: “Most of the men are
muscular, and have large, ploughman hands. Their color is the same
admixture, from very dark to light olive, that we saw at Londa.”[19]

In the year 1840, the writer was at Havana, and saw on board a
vessel just arrived from Africa some five hundred slaves, captured
in different parts of the country. Among these captives were colors
varying from light brown to black, and their features represented the
finest Anglo-Saxon and the most degraded African.

There is a nation called Tuaricks, who inhabit the oases and southern
borders of the great desert, whose occupation is commerce, and whose
caravans ply between the Negro countries and Fezzan. They are described
by the travellers Hornemann and Lyon.

The western tribes of this nation are white, so far as the climate and
their habits will allow. Others are of a yellow cast; others again,
are swarthy; and in the neighborhood of Soudan, there is said to be a
tribe completely black. All speak the same dialect, and it is a dialect
of the original African tongue. There is no reasonable doubt of their
being aboriginal.

Lyon says they are the finest race of men he ever saw, “tall,
straight, and handsome, with a certain air of independence and pride,
which is very imposing.”[20] If we observe the gradations of color
in different localities in the meridian under which we live, we
shall perceive a very close relation to the heat of the sun in each
respectively. Under the equator we have the deep black of the Negro,
then the copper or olive of the Moors of Northern Africa; then the
Spaniard and Italian, swarthy, compared with other Europeans; the
French, still darker than the English, while the fair and florid
complexion of England and Germany passes more northerly into the
bleached Scandinavian white.[21]

It is well-known, that in whatever region travellers ascend mountains,
they find the vegetation at every successive level altering its
character, and gradually assuming the appearances presented in more
northern countries; thus indicating that the atmosphere, temperature,
and physical agencies in general, assimilate, as we approach Alpine
regions, to the peculiarities locally connected with high latitudes.

If, therefore, complexion and other bodily qualities belonging to races
of men, depend upon climate and external conditions, we should expect
to find them varying in reference to elevation of surface; and if they
should be found actually to undergo such variations, this will be a
strong argument that these external characteristics do, in fact, depend
upon local conditions.

Now, if we inquire respecting the physical characters of the tribes
inhabiting high tracts in warm countries, we shall find that they
coincide with those which prevail in the level or low parts of more
northern tracts.

The Swiss, in the high mountains above the plains of Lombardy, have
sandy or brown hair. What a contrast presents itself to the traveller
who descends into the Milanese territory, where the peasants have
black hair and eyes, with strongly-marked Italian, and almost Oriental

In the higher part of the Biscayan country, instead of the swarthy
complexion and black hair of the Castilians, the natives have a fair
complexion, with light blue eyes, and flaxen, or auburn hair.[22]

In the intertropical region, high elevations of surface, as they
produce a cooler climate, occasion the appearance of light complexions.
In the higher parts of Senegambia, which front the Atlantic, and
are cooled by winds from the Western Ocean, where, in fact, the
temperature is known to be moderate, and even cool at times, the light
copper-colored Fulahs are found surrounded on every side by black Negro
nations inhabiting lower districts; and nearly in the same parallel,
but on the opposite coast of Africa, are the high plains of Enared and
Kaffa, where the inhabitants are said to be fairer than the inhabitants
of Southern Europe.[23]

Do we need any better evidence of the influence of climate on man, than
to witness its effect on beasts and birds? Æolian informs us that the
Eubaea was famous for producing white oxen.[24] Blumenbach remarks,
that “all the swine of Piedmont are black, those of Normandy white, and
those of Bavaria are of a reddish brown. The turkeys of Normandy,”
he states, “are all black; those of Hanover almost all white. In
Guinea, the dogs and the gallinaceous fowls are as black as the human
inhabitants of the same country.”[25]

The lack of color, in the northern regions, of many animals which
possess color in more temperate latitudes,--as the bear, the
fox, the hare, beasts of burden, the falcon, crow, jackdaw, and
chaffinch,--seems to arise entirely from climate. The common bear
is differently colored in different regions. The dog loses its coat
entirely in Africa, and has a smooth skin.

We all see and admit the change which a few years produces in the
complexion of a Caucasian going from our northern latitude into the


[14] Smith on “The Complexion of the Human Species.”

[15] Pritchard.

[16] “Tribute for the Negro,” p. 59.

[17] Pennington’s Text Book, p. 96.

[18] “Livingstone’s Travels,” p. 296.

[19] Ibid, p. 364.

[20] Heeren, Vol. I., p. 297.

[21] Murray’s “North America.”

[22] Pritchard.

[23] Ibid.

[24] Æolian, lib. xii, cap. 36.

[25] Pritchard.



We now come to a consideration of the difference in the features of
the human family, and especially the great variety to be seen in
the African race. From the grim worshippers of Odin in the woods of
Germany, down to the present day, all uncivilized nations or tribes
have more or less been addicted to the barbarous custom of disfiguring
their persons.

Thus, among the North American Indians, the tribe known as the “flat
heads,” usually put their children’s heads to press when but a few
days old; and consequently, their name fitly represents their personal
appearance. While exploring the valley of the Zambesi, Dr. Livingstone
met with several tribes whose mode of life will well illustrate this
point. He says:--

“The women here are in the habit of piercing the upper lip and
gradually enlarging the orifice until they can insert a shell. The lip
then appears drawn out beyond the perpendicular of the nose, and gives
them a most ungainly aspect. Sekwebu remarked,--‘These women want to
make their mouths like those of ducks.’ And indeed, it does appear as
if they had the idea that female beauty of lip had been attained by
the _Ornithorhynchus paradoxus_ alone. This custom prevails throughout
the country of the Maravi, and no one could see it without confessing
that fashion had never led women to a freak more mad.”[26]

There is a tribe near the coast of Guinea, who consider a flat nose the
paragon of beauty; and at early infancy, the child’s nose is put in
press, that it may not appear ugly when it arrives to years of maturity.

Many of the tribes in the interior of Africa mark the face, arms,
and breasts; these, in some instances, are considered national
identifications. Knocking out the teeth is a common practice, as will
be seen by reference to Dr. Livingstone’s travels. Living upon roots,
as many of the more degraded tribes do, has its influence in moulding
the features.

There is a decided coincidence between the physical characteristics
of the varieties of man, and their moral and social condition; and it
also appears that their condition in civilized society produces marked
modification in the intellectual qualities of the race. Religious
superstition and the worship of idols have done much towards changing
the features of the Negro from the original Ethiopian of Meroe, to the
present inhabitants of the shores of the Zambesi.

The farther the human mind strays from the ever-living God as a
spirit, the nearer it approximates to the beasts; and as the mental
controls the physical, so ignorance and brutality are depicted upon the

As the African by his fall has lost those qualities that adorn
the visage of man, so the Anglo-Saxon, by his rise in the scale of
humanity, has improved his features, enlarged his brain, and brightened
in intellect.

Let us see how far history will bear us out in this assertion. We all
acknowledge the Anglo-Saxon to be the highest type of civilization. But
from whence sprang this refined, proud, haughty, and intellectual race?
Go back a few centuries, and we find their ancestors described in the
graphic touches of Cæsar and Tacitus. See them in the gloomy forests
of Germany, sacrificing to their grim and gory idols; drinking the
warm blood of their prisoners, quaffing libations from human skulls;
infesting the shores of the Baltic for plunder and robbery; bringing
home the reeking scalps of enemies as an offering to their king.

Macaulay says:--“When the Britons first became known to the Tyrian
mariners, they were little superior to the Sandwich Islanders.”

Hume says:--“The Britons were a rude and barbarous people, divided into
numerous clans, dressed in the skins of wild beasts: druidism was their
religion, and they were very superstitious.” Cæsar writing home, said
of the Britons,--“They are the most degraded people I ever conquered.”
Cicero advised his friend Atticus not to purchase slaves from Briton,
“because,” said he, “they cannot be taught music, and are the ugliest
people I ever saw.”

An illustration of the influence of circumstances upon the physical
appearance of man may be found still nearer our own time. In the Irish
rebellion in 1641, and 1689, great multitudes of the native Irish were
driven from Armagh and the South down into the mountainous tract
extending from the Barony of Flews eastward to the sea; on the other
side of the kingdom the same race were expelled into Litrin, Sligo,
and Mayo. Here they have been almost ever since, exposed to the worst
effects of hunger and ignorance, the two great brutalizers of the human

The descendants of these exiles are now distinguished physically, from
their kindred in Meath, and other districts, where they are not in a
state of personal debasement. These people are remarkable for open,
projecting mouths, prominent teeth, and exposed gums; their advancing
cheek-bones and depressed noses carry barbarism on their very front.

In Sligo and northern Mayo, the consequences of two centuries of
degradation and hardship exhibit themselves in the whole physical
condition of the people, affecting not only the features, but the
frame, and giving such an example of human degradation as to make it

They are only five feet two inches, upon an average, bow-legged,
bandy-shanked, abortively-featured; the apparitions of Irish ugliness
and Irish want.[27]

Slavery is, after all, the great demoralizer of the human race. In
addition to the marks of barbarism left upon the features of the
African, he has the indelible imprint of the task-master. Want of food,
clothing, medical attention when sick, over-work, under the control of
drunken and heartless drivers, the hand-cuffs and Negro whip, together
with the other paraphernalia of the slave-code, has done much to
distinguish the blacks from the rest of the human family. It must also
be remembered that in Africa, the people, whether living in houses or
in the open air, are oppressed with a hot climate, which causes them
to sleep, more or less, with their mouths open. This fact alone is
enough to account for the large, wide mouth and flat nose; common sense
teaching us that with the open mouth, the features must fall.

As to the hair, which has also puzzled some scientific men, it is
easily accounted for. It is well-known that heat is the great crisper
of the hair, whether it be on men’s heads or on the backs of animals. I
remember well, when a boy, to have witnessed with considerable interest
the preparations made on great occasions by the women, with regard to
their hair.

The curls which had been carefully laid away for months, were taken
out of the drawer, combed, oiled, rolled over the prepared paper, and
put in the gently-heated stove, there to remain until the wonted curl
should be gained. When removed from the stove, taken off the paper
rolls, and shaken out, the hair was fit to adorn the head of any lady
in the land.

Now, the African’s hair has been under the influence for many
centuries, of the intense heat of his native clime, and in each
generation is still more curly, till we find as many grades of hair as
we do of color, from the straight silken strands of the Malay, to the
wool of the Guinea Negro. Custom, air, food, and the general habits
of the people, spread over the great area of the African continent,
aid much in producing the varieties of hair so often met with in the
descendants of the country of the Nile.

In the recent reports of Dr. Livingstone, he describes the physical
appearance of a tribe which he met, and which goes to substantiate
what has already been said with regard to the descent of the Africans
from the region of the Nile. He says:--

“I happened to be present when all the head men of the great chief
Msama who lives west of the south end of Tanganayika, had come together
to make peace with certain Arabs who had burned their chief town, and I
am certain one could not see more finely-formed, intellectual heads in
any assembly in London or Paris, and the faces and forms corresponded
with the finely-shaped heads. Msama himself had been a sort of Napoleon
for fighting and conquering in his younger days.

“Many of the women are very pretty, and, like all ladies, would be
much prettier if they would only let themselves alone. Fortunately,
the dears cannot change their darling black eyes, beautiful foreheads,
nicely-rounded limbs, well-shaped forms, and small hands and feet;
but they must adorn themselves, and this they will do by filing their
splendid teeth to points like cats’ teeth. These specimens of the fair
sex make shift by adorning their fine, warm brown skins, and tattooing
various pretty devices without colors. They are not black, but of a
light warm brown color.

“The Cazembe’s queen would be esteemed a real beauty, either in London,
Paris, or New York; and yet she had a small hole through the cartilage,
near the tip of her fine aquiline nose. But she had only filed one side
of two of the front swan-white teeth, and then what a laugh she had!
Large sections of the country northwest of Cazembe, but still in the
same inland region, are peopled with men very much like those of Msama
and Cazembe.”


[26] “Livingstone’s Travels,” p. 366.

[27] “Dublin University Magazine,” Vol. IV., p. 653.



While paganism is embraced by the larger portion of the African races,
it is by no means the religion of the land. Missionaries representing
nearly every phase of religious belief have made their appearance in
the country, and gained more or less converts. Mohammedanism, however,
has taken by far the greatest hold upon the people.

Whatever may be said of the followers of Mohammed in other countries,
it may truly be averred that the African has been greatly benefited by
this religion.

Recent discussions and investigations have brought the subject of
Mohammedanism prominently before the reading public, and the writings
of Weil, and Noldeke, and Muir, and Sprenger, and Emanuel Deutsch,
have taught the world that “Mohammedanism is a thing of vitality,
fraught with a thousand fruitful germs;” and have amply illustrated the
principle enunciated by St. Augustine, showing that there are elements
both of truth and goodness in a system which has had so wide-spread an
influence upon mankind, embracing within the scope of its operations
more than one hundred millions of the human race; that the exhibition
of the germs of truth, even though “suspended in a gallery of
counterfeits,” has vast power over the human heart.

Whatever may be the intellectual inferiority of the Negro tribes (if,
indeed, such inferiority exists), it is certain that many of these
tribes have received the religion of Islam without its being forced
upon them by the overpowering arms of victorious invaders. The quiet
development and organization of a religious community in the heart
of Africa has shown that Negroes, equally with other races, are
susceptible of moral and spiritual impressions, and of all the sublime
possibilities of religion.

The history of the progress of Islam in the country would present
the same instances of real and eager mental conflict of minds in
honest transition, of careful comparison and reflection, that have
been found in other communities where new aspects of truth and fresh
considerations have been brought before them. And we hold that it shows
a stronger and more healthy intellectual tendency to be induced by the
persuasion and reason of a man of moral nobleness and deep personal
convictions to join with him in the introduction of beneficial changes,
than to be compelled to follow the lead of an irresponsible character,
who forces us into measures by his superior physical might.

Mungo Park, in his travels seventy years ago, everywhere remarked the
contrast between the pagan and Mohammedan tribes of interior Africa.
One very important improvement noticed by him was abstinence from
intoxicating drinks.

“The beverage of the pagan Negroes,” he says, “is beer and mead, of
which they often drink to excess; the Mohammedan converts drink nothing
but water.”

Thus, throughout Central Africa there has been established a vast total
abstinence society; and such is the influence of this society that
where there are Moslem inhabitants, even in pagan towns, it is a very
rare thing to see a person intoxicated. They thus present an almost
impenetrable barrier to the desolating flood of ardent spirits with
which the traders from Europe and America inundate the coast at Caboon.

Wherever the Moslem is found on the coast, whether Jalof, Fulah, or
Mandingo, he looks upon himself as a separate and distinct being from
his pagan neighbor, and immeasurably his superior in intellectual
and moral respects. He regards himself as one to whom a revelation
has been “sent down” from Heaven. He holds constant intercourse with
the “Lord of worlds,” whose servant he is. In his behalf Omnipotence
will ever interpose in times of danger. Hence he feels that he cannot
indulge in the frivolities and vices which he considers as by no means
incompatible with the character and professions of the Kafir, or

There are no caste distinctions among them. They do not look upon the
privileges of Islam as confined by tribal barriers or limitations.
On the contrary, the life of their religion is aggressiveness. They
are constantly making proselytes. As early as the commencement of the
present century, the elastic and expansive character of their system
was sufficiently marked to attract the notice of Mr. Park.

“In the Negro country,” observes that celebrated traveller, “the
Mohammedan religion has made, and continues to make, considerable
progress.” “The yearning of the native African,” says Professor
Crummell, “for a higher religion, is illustrated by the singular fact
that Mohammedanism is rapidly and peaceably spreading all through the
tribes of Western Africa, even to the Christian settlements of Liberia.”

From Senegal to Lagos, over two thousand miles, there is scarcely
an important town on the seaboard where there is not at least one
mosque, and active representatives of Islam often side by side with
the Christian teachers. And as soon as a pagan, however obscure or
degraded, embraces the Moslem faith, he is at once admitted as an equal
to their society. Slavery and slave-trade are laudable institutions,
provided the slaves are Kafirs. The slave who embraces Islamism is
free, and no office is closed against him on account of servile

Passing over into the southern part, we find the people in a state
of civilization, and yet superstitious, as indeed are the natives

The town of Noble is a settlement of modern times, sheltering forty
thousand souls, close to an ancient city of the same name, the Rome of
aboriginal South Africa. The religious ceremonies performed there are
of the most puerile character, and would be thought by most equally
idolatrous with those formerly held in the same spot by the descendants
of Mumbo Jumbo.

On Easter Monday is celebrated the _Festa del Señor de los Temblores_,
or Festival of the Lord of Earthquakes. On this day the public plaza
in front of the cathedral is hung with garlands and festoons, and the
belfry utters its loudest notes. The images of the saints are borne
out from their shrines, covered with fresh and gaudy decorations. The
Madonna of Bethlehem, San Cristoval, San Blas, and San José, are borne
on in elevated state, receiving as they go the prayers of all the
Maries, and Christophers, and Josephs, who respectively regard them
as patrons. But the crowning honors are reserved for the miraculous
Crucifix, called the Lord of Earthquakes, which is supposed to protect
the city from the dreaded terrestrial shocks, the _Temblores_.

The procession winds around a prescribed route, giving opportunity
for public prayers and the devotions of the multitude; the miraculous
image, in a new spangled skirt, that gives it the most incongruous
resemblance to an opera-dancer, is finally shut up in the church; and
then the glad throng, feeling secure from earthquakes another year,
dance and sing in the plaza all night long.

The Borers, a hardy, fighting, and superstitious race, have a showy
time at weddings and funerals. When the appointed day for marriage has
arrived, the friends of the contracting parties assemble and form a
circle; into this ring the bridegroom leads his lady-love.

The woman is divested of her clothing, and stands somewhat as mother
Eve did in the garden before she thought of the fig-leaf. The man
then takes oil from a shell, and anoints the bride from the crown of
her head to the soles of her feet; at the close of this ceremony, the
bridegroom breaks forth into joyful peals of laughter, in which all
the company join, the musicians strike up a lively air, and the dance
commences. At the close of this, the oldest woman in the party comes
forward, and taking the bride by the right hand, gives her to her
future husband.

Two maids standing ready with clothes, jump to the bride, and begin
rubbing her off. After this, she is again dressed, and the feast
commences, consisting mainly of fruits and wines.

The funeral services of the same people are not less interesting. At
the death of one of their number, the body is stripped, laid out upon
the ground, and the friends of the deceased assemble, forming a circle
around it, and commence howling like so many demons. They then march
and counter-march around, with a subdued chant. After this, they hop
around first on one foot, then on the other; stopping still, they cry
at the top of their voices--“She’s in Heaven, she’s in Heaven!” Here
they all fall flat upon the ground, and roll about for a few minutes,
after which they simultaneously rise, throw up their hands, and run
away yelling and laughing.

Among the Bechuanas, when a chief dies, his burial takes place in his
cattle-yard, and all the cattle are driven for an hour over the grave,
so that it may be entirely obliterated.[29] In all the Backwain’s
pretended dreams and visions of their God, he has always a crooked leg
like the Egyptian.[30]

Musical and dancing festivities form a great part of the people’s time.
With some of the tribes, instrumental music has been carried to a high
point of culture. Bruce gives an account of a concert, the music of
which he heard at the distance of a mile or more, on a still night in
October. He says: “It was the most enchanting strain I ever listened

It is not my purpose to attempt a detailed account of the ceremonies of
the various tribes that inhabit the continent of Africa; indeed, such a
thing would be impossible, even if I were inclined to do so.


[28] Prof. Blyden, in “Methodist Quarterly Review,” June, 1871.

[29] Dr. Livingstone.

[30] Thau.



According to Bruce, who travelled extensively in Africa, the
Abyssinians have among them a tradition, handed down from time
immemorial, that Cush was their father. Theodore, late king of
Abyssinia, maintained that he descended in a direct line from Moses.
As this monarch has given wider fame to his country than any of his
predecessors, it will not be amiss to give a short sketch of him and
his government.

Theodore was born at Quarel, on the borders of the western Amhara, and
was educated in a convent in which he was placed by his mother, his
father being dead. He early delighted in military training, and while
yet a boy, became proficient as a swordsman and horseman.

Like Robert Clive, Warren Hastings, and many other great warriors,
Theodore became uneasy under the restraint of the school-room, and
escaped from the convent to his uncle, Dejatch Comfu, a noted rebel,
from whom he imbibed a taste for warlike pursuits, and eventually
became ruler of a large portion of Abyssinia. Naturally ambitious
and politic, he succeeded in enlarging his authority steadily at
the expense of the other “Ras,” or chiefs, of Abyssinia. His power
especially increased when, in 1853, he defeated his father-in-law,
Ras Ali, and took him prisoner. At length in 1855, he felt himself
strong enough to formally claim the throne of all Abyssinia, and he was
crowned as such by the Abuna Salama, the head of the Abyssinian church.

His reign soon proved to be the most effective Abyssinia had ever
had. As soon as he came into power, his attention was directed to the
importance of being on terms of friendship with the government which
rules India, and which has established itself in the neighboring
stronghold of Aden. He therefore resolved to assert the rights assured
to him by virtue of the treaty made between Great Britain and Abyssinia
in the year 1849, and ratified in 1852, in which it was stipulated that
each State should receive embassadors from the other. Mr. Plowden, who
had been for many years English consul at Massawah, although not an
accredited agent to Abyssinia, went to that country with presents for
the people in authority, and remained during the war which broke out at
the succession of Theodore.

Unfortunately, Mr. Plowden, who had succeeded in winning the favor of
the emperor, to a large extent, was killed; and his successor, Mr.
Cameron, was informed, soon after his arrival in 1862, by the King,
that he desired to carry out the above-mentioned treaty; he even wrote
an autograph letter to Queen Victoria, asking permission to send an
embassy to London. Although the letter reached England in February,
1863, it remained unanswered; and the supposition is, that this
circumstance, together with a quarrel with Mr. Stern, a missionary, who
in a book on Abyssinia, had spoken disrespectfully of the King, and who
had remonstrated against the flogging to death of two interpreters,
roused the King’s temper, and a year after having dispatched the
unanswered letter, he sent an armed force to the missionary station,
seized the missionaries, and put them in chains. He also cast Mr.
Cameron into prison, and had him chained continually to an Abyssinian

Great excitement prevailed in England on the arrival of the news of
this outrage against British subjects: but in consideration of an armed
expedition having to undergo many hardships in such a warm climate,
it was deemed best by the English government to use diplomacy in its
efforts to have the prisoners released. It was not until the second
half of August, 1865, that Mr. Rassam, an Asiatic, by birth, was sent
on a special mission to the Abyssinian potentate, and was received
on his arrival in February, 1866, in a truly magnificent style, the
release of the prisoners being at once ordered by the King. But the
hope thus raised was soon to be disappointed, for when Mr. Rassam and
the other prisoners were just on the point of taking leave of the
Emperor, they were put under arrest, and notified that they would have
to remain in the country as State guests until an answer could be
obtained to another letter which the King was going to write to the

After exhausting all diplomatic resources to obtain from Theodore the
release of the captives, the English government declared war against
Theodore. The war was chiefly to be carried on with the troops,
European and native, which in India had become accustomed to the hot
climate. The first English troops made their appearance in October,
1867, but it was not until the close of the year that the whole of
the army arrived. The expedition was commanded by General Sir Robert
Napier, heretofore commanding-general at Bombay. Under him acted as
commanders of divisions, Sir Charles Steevely, and Colonel Malcolm,
while Colonel Merewether commanded the cavalry. The distance from
Massowah, the landing-place of the troops, to Magdala, the capital of
Theodore, is about three hundred miles. The English had to overcome
great difficulties, but they overcame them with remarkable energy. King
Theodore gradually retired before the English without risking a battle
until he reached his capital. Then he made a stand, and fought bravely
for his crown, but in vain; he was defeated, the capital captured, and
the King himself slain.

King Theodore was, on the whole, the greatest ruler Abyssinia has
ever had: even, according to English accounts, he excelled in all
manly pursuits, and his general manner was polite and engaging. Had he
avoided this foolish quarrel with England, and proceeded on the way of
reform which he entered upon in the beginning of his reign, he would
probably have played an important part in the political regeneration of
Eastern Africa.

As a people, the Abyssinians are intelligent, are of a ginger-bread,
or coffee color, although a large portion of them are black. Theodore
was himself of this latter class. They have fine schools and colleges,
and a large and flourishing military academy. Agriculture, that great
civilizer of man, is carried on here to an extent unknown in other
parts of the country.



The Colony of Sierra Leone, of which Free Town is the capital, is
situated in 8 degrees 30 minutes north latitude, and is about 13½
degrees west longitude; was settled by the English, and was for a long
time the most important place on the western coast of Africa. The three
leading tribes on the coast of Sierra Leone are the Timanis, the Susus,
and the Veys. The first of these surround the British Colony of Sierra
Leone on all sides. The Susus have their principal settlements near
the head-waters of the Rio Pongas, and are at some distance from the
sea coast. The Veys occupy all the country about the Gallinas and Cape
Mount, and extend back into the country to the distance of fifty or a
hundred miles.

The Timanis cultivate the soil to some extent, have small herds of
domestic animals, and are engaged to a greater or less extent in barter
with the English colonists of Sierra Leone. They may be seen in large
numbers about the streets of Free Town, wearing a large square cotton
cloth thrown around their persons. They are strong and healthy in
appearance, but have a much less intellectual cast of countenance than
the Mandingoes or Fulahs, who may also be seen in the same place. Like
all the other tribes in Africa, especially the pagans, they are much
addicted to fetichism,--worship of evil spirits,--administering the
red-wood ordeal, and other ceremonies. They are depraved, licentious,
indolent, and avaricious. But this is no more than what may be said of
every heathen tribe on the globe.

The Veys, though not a numerous or powerful tribe, are very
intellectual, and have recently invented an alphabet for writing
their own language, which has been printed, and now they enjoy the
blessings of a written system, for which they are entirely indebted
to their own ingenuity and enterprise. This is undoubtedly one of the
most remarkable achievements of this or any other age, and is itself
enough to silence forever the cavils and sneers of those who think so
contemptuously of the intellectual endowments of the African race. The
characters used in this system are all new, and were invented by the
people themselves without the aid of outsiders. The Veys occupy all the
country along the sea-board from Gallinas to Cape Mount.

In stature, they are about the ordinary height, of slender, but
graceful figures, with very dark complexions, but large and well-formed

As the Veys are within the jurisdiction of Liberia, that government
will be of great service to them. The Biassagoes, the Bulloms, the
Dego, and the Gola, are also inhabitants of the Sierra Leone coast.
Other tribes of lesser note are scattered all along the coast, many of
which have come under the good influence of the Liberian government.
Cape Coast Castle, the stronghold of the English on the African coast,
has, in past years, been a place of great importance. It was from
this place that its governor, Sir Charles McCarthy, went forth to the
contest with the Ashantees, a warlike tribe, and was defeated, losing
his life, together with that of seven others.

Here, at this castle, “L. E. L.,” the gifted poetess and novelist of
England, died, and was buried within the walls. This lamented lady
married Captain McLean, the governor-general of the castle, and her
death caused no little comment at the time, many blaming the husband
for the wife’s death.

The Kru people are also on the coast, and have less general
intelligence than the Fulahs, Mandingoes, and Degos. They are
physically a fine-appearing race, with more real energy of character
than either of the others. It would be difficult to find better
specimens of muscular development, men of more manly and independent
carriage, or more real grace of manner, anywhere in the world. No
one ever comes in contact with them, for the first time, without
being struck with their open, frank countenances, their robust and
well-proportioned forms, and their independent bearing, even when they
have but the scantiest covering for their bodies.

Their complexion varies from the darkest shade of the Negro to that of
the true mulatto. Their features are comparatively regular; and, though
partaking of all the characteristics of the Negro, they are by no means
strongly marked in their general outline or development. The most
marked deficiency is in the formation of their heads, which are narrow
and peaked, and do not indicate a very high order of intellectual
endowment. Experience, however, has shown that they are as capable of
intellectual improvement as any other race of men.[31]

In the interior of Youeba, some distance back from Cape Coast, lies the
large city of Ibaddan, a place with a population of about two hundred
thousand souls. Abeokuta has a population of more than one hundred
thousand, and is about seventy-five miles from the sea coast, with
a history that is not without interest. Some fifty years ago, a few
persons of different tribes, who had been constantly threatened and
annoyed by the slave-traders of the coast, fled to the back country,
hid away in a large cave, coming out occasionally to seek food, and
taking in others who sought protection from these inhuman men-hunters.

This cavern is situated on the banks of the Ogun, and in the course
of time became the hiding-place of great numbers from the surrounding
country. At first, they subsisted on berries, roots, and such other
articles of food as they could collect near their place of retreat; but
growing in strength by the increase of population, they began to bid
defiance to their enemies.

A slave-hunting party from Dahomey, having with them a considerable
number of captives, passing the cavern, thought it a good opportunity
to add to their wealth, and consequently, made an attack upon the
settlers. The latter came forth in large force from their hiding-place,
gave battle to the traders, defeated them, capturing their prisoners
and putting their enemies to flight. The captives were at once
liberated, and joined their deliverers. In the course of time this
settlement took the name of Abeokuta. These people early turned their
attention to agriculture and manufacturing, and by steady increase
in population, it soon became a city of great wealth and importance.
About thirty years ago, a number of recaptives from Sierra Leone, who
had formerly been taken from this region of country, and who had been
recaptured by the English, liberated and educated, visited Lagos for
trade. Here they met many of their old friends and relations from
Abeokuta, learned of the flourishing town that had grown up, and with
larger numbers returned to swell the population of the new city.

The King of Dahomey watched the growing power of Abeokuta with an evil
eye, and in 1853, he set in motion a large army, with the view of
destroying this growing city, and reducing its inhabitants to slavery.
The King made a desperate attack and assault upon the place, but he
met with a resistance that he little thought of. The engagement was
carried on outside of the walls for several hours, when the Dahomian
army was compelled to give way, and the King himself was saved only by
the heroism and frantic manner in which he was defended by his Amazons.
This success of the people of Abeokuta gave the place a reputation
above what it had hitherto enjoyed, and no invading army has since
appeared before its walls.

Much of the enterprise and improvement of these people is owing to the
good management of Shodeke, their leader. Coming from all sections near
the coast, and the line of the slave-traders, representing the remnants
of one hundred and thirty towns, these people, in the beginning, were
anything but united. Shodeke brought them together and made them
feel as one family. This remarkable man had once been captured by
the slave-traders, but had escaped, and was the first to suggest the
cave as a place of safety. Throughout Sierra Leone, Abeokuta, and
the Yoruba country generally the best-known man in connection with
the African civilization, is Mr. Samuel Crowther, a native, and who,
in the Yoruba language, was called Adgai. He was embarked as a slave
on board a slaver at Badagry, in 1822. The vessel was captured by a
British man-of-war and taken to Sierra Leone. Here he received a good
education, was converted, and became a minister of the Gospel, after
which he returned to his native place.

Mr. Crowther is a man of superior ability, and his attainments in
learning furnish a happy illustration of the capacity of the Negro
for improvements. Dahomey is one of the largest and most powerful of
all the governments on the west coast. The King is the most absolute
tyrant in the world, owning all the land, the people, and everything
that pertains to his domain. The inhabitants are his slaves, and they
must come and go at his command. The atrocious cruelties that are
constantly perpetrated at the command and bidding of this monarch,
has gained for him the hatred of the civilized world; and strange to
say, these deeds of horror appear to be sanctioned by the people, who
have a superstitious veneration for their sovereign, that is without
a parallel. Abomi, the capital of Dahomey, has a large population, a
fort, and considerable trade. The King exacts from all the sea-port
towns on this part of the coast, and especially from Popo, Porto Novo,
and Badagry, where the foreign slave-trade, until within a very short
period, was carried on as in no other part of Africa.

The Dahomian soldiery, for the past two hundred years, have done little
less than hunt slaves for the supply of the traders.

The English blockading squadron has done great service in breaking
up the slave-trade on this part of the coast, and this has turned
the attention of the people to agriculture. The country has splendid
natural resources, which if properly developed, will make it one of
the finest portions of Western Africa. The soil is rich, the seasons
are regular, and the climate favorable for agricultural improvements.
Indian corn, yams, potatoes, manico, beans, ground-nuts, plantains, and
bananas are the chief products of the country. Cotton is raised to a
limited extent.

The practice of sacrificing the lives of human beings upon the graves
of dead kings every year in Dahomey, and then paving the palace
grounds with the skulls of the victims, has done much to decrease the
population of this kingdom. As many as two thousand persons have been
slaughtered on a single occasion. To obtain the required number, wars
have been waged upon the surrounding nations for months previous to the
sacrifice. There is no place where there is more intense heathenism;
and to mention no other feature in their superstitious practice, the
worship of snakes by the Dahomians fully illustrates this remark.

A building in the centre of the town is devoted to the exclusive use of
reptiles, and they may be seen here at any time in great numbers. They
are fed, and more care taken of them than of the human inhabitants of
the place. If they are found straying away they must be brought back;
and at the sight of them the people prostrate themselves on the ground,
and do them all possible reverence. To kill or injure one of them is to
endure the penalty of death. On certain days they are taken out by the
priests or doctors, and paraded about the streets, the bearers allowing
them to coil themselves around their arms, necks, and bodies, and even
to put their heads into the carriers’ bosoms.

They are also employed to detect persons who are suspected of theft,
witchcraft, and murder. If in the hands of the priest they bite the
suspected person, it is sure evidence of his guilt; and no doubt the
serpent is trained to do the will of his keeper in all cases. Images
called _greegrees_, of the most uncouth shape and form, may be seen in
all parts of the town, and are worshipped by everybody.

In every part of Africa, polygamy is a favorite institution. In their
estimation it lies at the very foundation of all social order, and
society would scarcely be worth preserving without it. The highest
aspiration that the most eminent African ever rises to, is to have a
large number of wives. His happiness, his reputation, his influence,
his position in society, and his future welfare, all depend upon it.
In this feeling the women heartily concur; for a woman would much
rather be the wife of a man who had fifty others, than to be the sole
representative of a man who had not force of character to raise himself
above the one-woman level.

The consequence is, that the so-called wives are little better than
slaves. They have no purpose in life other than to administer to the
wants and gratify the passions of their lords, who are masters and
owners, rather than husbands.

In nearly every nation or tribe, the wife is purchased; and as this
is done in the great majority of cases when she is but a child, her
wishes, as a matter of course, are never consulted in this most
important affair of her whole life.

As both father and mother hold a claim on the daughter, and as each
makes a separate bargain with the future son-in-law, the parent
generally makes a good thing out of the sale. The price of a wife
ranges all the way from the price of a cow to three cows, a goat or
a sheep, and some articles of crockery-ware, beads, and a few other
trinkets. Where the girl is bought in infancy, it remains with the
parents till of a proper age. There are no widows, the woman being sold
for life, and becomes the wife of the husband’s brother, should the
former die. A man of respectability is always expected to provide a
separate house for each of his wives. Each woman is mistress of her own
household, provides for herself and her children, and entertains her
husband as often as he favors her with his company.

The wife is never placed on a footing of social equality with her
husband. Her position is a menial one, and she seldom aspires to
anything higher than merely to gratify the passions of her husband. She
never takes a seat at the social board with him.

Men of common standing are never allowed to have as many wives as a
sovereign. Both the Kings of Dahomey and Ashantee are permitted by
law to have three thousand three hundred and thirty-three. No one is
allowed to see the King’s wives except the King’s female relatives, or
such messengers as he may send, and even these must communicate with
them through their bamboo walls. Sometimes they go forth in a body
through the streets, but are always preceded by a company of boys,
who warn the people to run out of the way, and avoid the unpardonable
offence of seeing the King’s wives. The men especially, no matter
what their rank, must get out of the way; and if they have not had
sufficient time to do this, they must fall flat on the ground and
hide their faces until the procession has passed. To see one of the
King’s wives, even accidentally, is a capital offence; and the scene of
the confusion which occasionally takes place in the public market in
consequence of the unexpected approach of the royal cortege, is said to
be ludicrous beyond all description.

At the death of the King, it is not uncommon for his wives to fall upon
each other with knives, and lacerate themselves in the most cruel and
barbarous manner; and this work of butchery is continued until they are
forcibly restrained. Women are amongst the most reliable and brave in
the King’s army, and constitute about one-third of the standing army in
Ashantee and Dahomey.

One of the most influential and important classes in every African
community is the deybo, a set of professional men who combine the
medical and priestly office in the same person. They attend the sick
and administer medicines, which usually consist of decoctions of herbs
or roots, and external applications. A doctor is expected to give his
undivided attention to one patient at a time, and is paid only in case
of successful treatment. If the case is a serious one, he is expected
to deposit with the family, as a security for his good behavior and
faithful discharge of duty, a bundle of hair that was shorn from his
head at the time he was inaugurated into office, and without which he
could have no skill in his profession whatever.

The doctor professes to hold intercourse with, and have great influence
over demons. He also claims to have communications from God. No man
can be received into the conclave without spending two years or more
as a student with some eminent member of the fraternity. During this
period he must accompany his preceptor in all his journeyings, perform
a variety of menial services, is prohibited from shaving his head,
washing his body, or allowing water to be applied to him in any way
whatever, unless perchance he falls into a stream, or is overtaken
by a shower of rain, when he is permitted to get off as much dirt as
possible from his body. The doctor’s badge of office is a monkey’s
skin, which he carries in the form of a roll wherever he goes, and of
which he is as proud as his white brother of his sheep-skin diploma.

In their capacity as priests, these men profess to be able to raise
the dead, cast out devils, and do all manner of things that other
people are incapable of doing. The doctor is much feared by the
common classes. No innovation in practice is allowed by these men. A
rather amusing incident occurred recently, which well illustrates the
jealousy, bigotry, and ignorance of these professionals.

Mr. Samuel Crowther, Jr., having returned from England, where he
had studied for a physician, began the practice of his profession
amongst his native people. The old doctors hearing that Crowther was
prescribing, called on him in a large delegation. Mr. Crowther received
the committee cordially; heard what they had to say, and expressed his
willingness to obey, provided they would give him a trial, and should
find him deficient. To this they agreed; and a time was appointed
for the test to take place. On the day fixed, the regulars appeared,
clothed in their most costly robes, well provided with charms, each
holding in his hand his monkey’s skin, with the head most prominent.

Mr. Crowther was prepared to receive them. A table was placed in the
middle of the room, and on it a dish, in which were a few drops of
sulphuric acid, so placed that a slight motion of the table would cause
it to flow into a mixture of chlorate of potassa and white sugar. An
English clock was also in the room, from which a cock issued every hour
and crowed. It was arranged that the explosion from the dish, and the
crowing of the rooster, should take place at the same moment.

The whole thing was to be decided in favor of the party who should
perform the greatest wonder. After all were seated, Mr. Crowther made a
harangue, and requested them to say who should lead off in the contest.

This privilege they accorded to him. The doors were closed, the
curtains drawn, and all waited in breathless silence. Both the hands on
the clock were fast approaching the figure twelve. Presently the cock
came out and began crowing, to the utter astonishment of the learned
visitors. Crowther gave the table a jostle; and suddenly, from the
midst of the dish burst forth flame and a terrible explosion. This
double wonder was too much for these sages. The scene that followed
is indescribable. One fellow rushed through the window and scampered;
one fainted and fell upon the floor; another, in his consternation,
overturned chairs, tables, and everything in his way, took refuge
in the bedroom, under the bed, from which he was with difficulty
afterwards removed.

It need not be added that they gave no more trouble, and the practice
they sought to break up was the more increased for their pains.[32]

In Southern Guinea, and especially in the Gabun country, the natives
are unsurpassed for their cunning and shrewdness in trade; and even in
everything in the way of dealing with strangers. The following anecdote
will illustrate how easily they can turn matters to their own account.

There is a notable character in the Gabun, of the name of Cringy. No
foreigner ever visits the river without making his acquaintance; and
all who do so, remember him forever after. He speaks English, French,
Portuguese, and at least half a dozen native languages, with wonderful
ease. He is, in person, a little, old, grey-headed, hump-backed man,
with a remarkably bright, and by no means unpleasant eye. His village
is perched on a high bluff on the north side of the Gabun River, near
its outlet. He generally catches the first sight of vessels coming in,
and puts off in his boat to meet the ship. If the captain has never
been on the coast before, Cringy will make a good thing out of him,
unless he has been warned by other sailors. The cunning African is a
pilot; and after he brings a vessel in and moors her opposite his town
by a well-known usage, it is now Cringy’s. He acts as interpreter;
advises the captain; helps to make bargains, and puts on airs as if the
ship belonged to him. If anybody else infringes on his rights in the
slightest degree, he is at once stigmatized as a rude and ill-mannered
person. Cringy is sure to cheat everyone he deals with, and has been
seized half a dozen times or more by men-of-war, or other vessels, and
put in irons. But he is so adroit with his tongue, and so good-natured
and humorous, that he always gets clear.

The following trick performed by him, will illustrate the character of
the man.

Some years ago, the French had a fight with the natives. After reducing
the people near the mouth of the river to obedience by the force of
arms, Commodore B-- proposed to visit King George’s towns, about thirty
miles higher up the river, with the hope of getting them to acknowledge
the French authority without further resort to violence. In order to
make a favorable impression, he determined to take his squadron with
him. His fleet consisted of two large sloops-of-war and a small vessel.
As none of the French could speak the native language, and none of King
George’s people could speak French, it was a matter of great importance
that a good interpreter should be employed. It was determined that
Cringy was the most suitable man. He was sent for, accepted the offer
at once--for Cringy himself had something of importance at stake--and
resolved to profit by this visit.

One of Cringy’s wives was the daughter of King George; and this woman,
on account of ill-treatment, had fled and gone back into her father’s
country. All his previous efforts to get his wife had failed. And now
when the proposition came from the commodore, the thought occurred to
Cringy that he could make himself appear to be a man of great influence
and power. The party set out with a favoring wind and tide, and were
soon anchored at their place of destination. With a corps of armed
marines, the commodore landed and proceeded to the King’s palace.

The people had had no intimation of such a visit, and the sudden
arrival of this armed body produced a very strong sensation, and all
eyes were on Cringy, next to the commodore, for he was the only one
that could explain the object of the expedition. King George and his
council met the commodore, and Cringy was instructed to say that the
latter had come to have a friendly talk with the King, with the view of
establishing amicable relations between him and the King of France, and
would be glad to have his signature to a paper to that effect. Now was
Cringy’s moment; and he acted his part well.

The wily African, with the air of one charged with a very weighty
responsibility, said: “King George, the commodore is very sorry that
you have not returned my wife. He wishes you to do it now in a prompt
and quiet manner, and save him the trouble and pain of bringing his big
guns to bear upon your town.”

King George felt the deepest indignation; not so much against the
commodore, as Cringy, for resorting to so extraordinary a measure to
compel him to give up his daughter. But he concealed the emotions of
his heart, and, without the slightest change of countenance, but with
a firm and determined tone of voice, he said to his own people, “Go
out quietly and get your guns loaded; and if one drop of blood is shed
here to-day, be sure that not one of these Frenchmen get back to their
vessels. But be sure and”--he said it with great emphasis, “let Cringy
be the first man killed.”

This was more than Cringy had bargained for. And how is he to get out
of this awkward scrape? The lion has been aroused, and how shall he be
pacified? But this is just the position to call out Cringy’s peculiar
gift, and he set to work in the most penitent terms. He acknowledged,
and begged pardon for his rash, unadvised counsel; reminded his
father-in-law that they were all liable to do wrong sometimes, and
that this was the most grievous error of his whole life. And as to the
threat of the commodore, a single word from him would be sufficient to
put a stop to all hostile intentions.

The wrath of the King was assuaged. The commodore, however, by this
time had grown impatient to know what was going on, and especially,
why the people had left the house so abruptly. With the utmost
self-possession, Cringy replied that the people had gone to catch a
sheep, which the King had ordered for the commodore’s dinner; and as
to signing the paper, that would be done when the commodore was ready
to take his departure. And to effect these two objects, Cringy relied
wholly upon his own power of persuasion.

True enough the sheep was produced and the paper was signed. King
George and the French commodore parted good friends, and neither of
them knew for more than a month after, the double game which Cringy
had played; and what was more remarkable than all, Cringy was rewarded
by the restoration of his wife.[33]


[31] Wilson’s “Western Africa.”

[32] “A Pilgrimage to my Motherland.” Campbell.

[33] “Western Africa.” Wilson.



The slave-trade has been the great obstacle to the civilization of
Africa, the development of her resources, and the welfare of the Negro
race. The prospect of gain, which this traffic held out to the natives,
induced one tribe to make war upon another, burn the villages, murder
the old, and kidnap the young. In return, the successful marauders
received in payment gunpowder and rum, two of the worst enemies of an
ignorant and degraded people.

Fired with ardent spirits, and armed with old muskets, these people
would travel from district to district, leaving behind them smouldering
ruins, heart-stricken friends, and bearing with them victims whose
market value was to inflame the avaricious passions of the inhabitants
of the new world.

While the enslavement of one portion of the people of Africa by another
has been a custom of many centuries, to the everlasting shame and
disgrace of the Portuguese, it must be said they were the first to
engage in the foreign slave-trade. As early as the year 1503, a few
slaves were sent from a Portuguese settlement in Africa into the
Spanish colonies in America. In 1511 Ferdinand, the fifth king of
Spain, permitted them to be carried in great numbers.

Ferdinand, however, soon saw the error of this, and ordered the trade
to be stopped. At the death of the King, a proposal was made by
Bartholomew de las Cassas, the bishop of Chiapa, to Cardinal Ximenes,
who held the reins of the government of Spain till Charles V. came
to the throne, for the establishment of a regular system of commerce
in the persons of the native Africans. The cardinal, however, with a
foresight, a benevolence, and a justice which will always do honor to
his memory, refused the proposal; not only judging it to be unlawful to
consign innocent people to slavery at all, but to be very inconsistent
to deliver the inhabitants of one country over for the benefit of

Charles soon came to the throne, the cardinal died, and in 1517 the
King granted a patent to one of his Flemish favorites, containing an
exclusive right of importing four thousand Africans into the islands
St. Domingo, Porto Rico, Cuba, and Jamaica. In 1562 the English, during
the reign of Queen Elizabeth, commenced the importation of African
slaves, which were taken to Hispaniola by Sir John Hawkins. The trade
then became general. The French persuaded Louis XIII., then King of
France, that it would be aiding the cause of Christianity to import
the Africans into the colonies, where they could be converted to the
Christian religion; and the French embarked in the trade.

The Dutch were too sharp-eyed to permit such an opportunity to fill
their coffers to pass by, so they followed the example set by the
Portuguese, the English, and the French. The trade being considered
lawful by all countries, and especially in Africa, the means of
obtaining slaves varied according to the wishes of the traders.

Some whites travelled through the country as far as it was practical,
and bartered goods for slaves, chaining them together, who followed
their masters from town to town until they reached the coast, where
they were sold to the owners of ships. Others located themselves on the
coast and in the interior, and bought the slaves as they were brought
in for sale.

A chief of one of the tribes of the Guinea coast, who had been out
on a successful marauding expedition, in which he had captured some
two hundred slaves, took them to the coast, sold his chattels to the
captain of a vessel, and was invited on board the ship. The chief with
his three sons and attendants had scarcely reached the deck of the ship
when they were seized, hand-cuffed, and placed with the other Negroes,
which enabled the captain to save the purchase money, as well as adding
a dozen more slaves to his list.

Had this happened in the nineteenth century, it would have been
pronounced a “Yankee trick.”

Some large ships appeared at the slave-trading towns on the coast,
ready to convey to the colonies any slaves whose owners might see fit
to engage them. Their cargoes would often be made up of the slaves of
half a dozen parties, on which occasions the chattels would sometimes
become mixed, and cause a dispute as to the ownership. To avoid this,
the practice of branding the slaves on the coast before shipping them,
was introduced. Branding a human being on the naked body, the hot iron
hissing in the quivering flesh, the cries and groans of the helpless
creatures, were scenes enacted a few years ago, and which the African
slave-trader did not deny.

     There on a rude mat, spread upon the ground,
     A stalwart Negro lieth firmly bound;
     His brawny chest one brutal captor smites,
     And notice to the ringing sound invites;
     Another opes his mouth the teeth to show,
     As cattle-dealers aye are wont to do.
     Hark, to that shrill and agonizing cry!
     Gaze on that upturned, supplicating eye!

     How the flesh quivers, and how shrinks the frame,
     As the initials of her owner’s name
     Burn on the back of that Mandingo girl;
     Yet calmly do the smoke-wreaths upward curl
     From his cigar, whose right unfaltering hand
     Lights with a match the cauterizing brand,
     The while his left doth the round shoulder clasp,
     And hold his victim in a vise-like grasp.

As cruel as was the preparation before leaving their native land,
it was equalled, if not surpassed, by the passage on shipboard. Two
thousand human beings put on a vessel not capable of accommodating half
that number; disease breaking out amongst the slaves, when but a few
days on the voyage; the dead and the dying thrown overboard, and the
cries and groans coming forth from below decks is but a faint picture
of the horrid trade.

     “All ready?” cried the captain;
       “Ay, ay!” the seamen said;
     “Heave up the worthless lubbers--
       The dying and the dead.”
     Up from the slave-ship’s prison
       Fierce, bearded heads were thrust;
     “Now let the sharks look to it--
       Toss up the dead ones first!”

Slave-factories, or trading-pens, were established up and down the
coast. And although England for many years kept a fleet in African
waters, to watch and break up this abominable traffic, the swiftness of
the slavers, and the adroitness of their pilots, enabled them to escape
detection by gaining hiding-places in some of the small streams on the
coast, or by turning to the ocean until a better opportunity offered
itself for landing.

Calabar and Bonny were the two largest slave-markets on the African
coast. From these places alone twenty thousand slaves were shipped, in
the year 1806. It may therefore be safe to say, that fifty thousand
slaves were yearly sent into the colonies at this period; or rather,
sent from the coast, for many thousands who were shipped, never reached
their place of destination. During the period when this traffic
was carried on without any interference on the part of the British
government, caravans of slaves were marched down to Loango from the
distance of several hundred miles, and each able-bodied man was
required to bring down a tooth of ivory. In this way a double traffic
was carried on; that in ivory by the English and American vessels, and
the slaves by the Portuguese.

All who have investigated the subject, know that the rivers Benin,
Bonny, Brass, Kalabar, and Kameruns, were once the chief seats of this
trade. It is through these rivers that the Niger discharges itself into
the ocean; and as the factories near the mouths of these different
branches had great facility of access to the heart of Africa, it is
probable that the traffic was carried on more vigorously here than
anywhere else on the coast.

But the abolition of the slave-trade by England, and the presence of
the British squadron on the coast, has nearly broken up the trade.

The number of vessels now engaged in carrying on a lawful trade in
these rivers is between fifty and sixty; and so decided are the
advantages reaped by the natives from this change in their commercial
affairs, that it is not believed they would ever revert to it again,
even if all outward restraints were taken away. So long as the African
seas were given up to piracy and the slave-trade, and the aborigines
in consequence were kept in constant excitement and warfare, it was
almost impossible either to have commenced or continued a missionary
station on the coast for the improvement of the natives. And the fact
that there was none anywhere between Sierra Leone and the Cape of
Good Hope, previous to the year 1832, shows that it was regarded as

Christianity does not invoke the aid of the sword; but when she can
shield from the violence of lawless men by the intervention of “the
powers that be,” or when the providence of God goes before and smoothes
down the waves of discord and strife, she accepts it as a grateful
boon, and discharges her duty with greater alacrity and cheerfulness.

Throughout all the region where the slave-trade was once carried on,
there is great decline in business, except where that traffic has been
replaced by legitimate commerce or agriculture. Nor could it well be
otherwise. The very measures which were employed in carrying on this
detestable traffic at least over three-fourths of the country, were
in themselves quite sufficient to undermine any government in the
world. For a long term of years the slaves were procured on the part of
these larger and more powerful governments by waging war against their
feebler neighbors for this express purpose; and in this way they not
only cut off all the sources of their own prosperity and wealth, but
the people themselves, while waging this ruthless and inhuman warfare,
were imbibing notions and principles which would make it impossible for
them to cohere long as organized nations.

The bill for the abolition of the British slave-trade received the
royal assent on March 25, 1807; and this law came into operation on and
after January 1, 1808. That was a deed well done; and glorious was the
result for humanity. To William Wilberforce, Thomas Clarkson, Granville
Sharp, and a few others, is the credit due for this great act.

Although the slave-trade was abolished by the British government, and
afterwards by the American and some other nations, the slave-trade
still continued, and exists even at the present day, in a more limited
form, except, perhaps, in Northern and Central Africa, and on the Nile.
In that section the trade is carried on in the most gigantic manner. It
begins every year in the month of August, when the traders prepare for
a large haul.

All the preparations having been completed, they ascend the Nile in a
regular squadron. Every expedition means war; and, according to its
magnitude, is provided with one hundred to one thousand armed men.
The soldiers employed consist of the miserable Dongolowie, who carry
double-barrelled shot-guns and knives, and are chiefly noted for their
huge appetites and love of marissa (beer). Each large dealer has his
own territory, and he resents promptly any attempt of another trader to
trespass thereon.

For instance, Agate, the most famous of all African slave-traders,
knew, and his men frequently visited, the Victoria Nyanza, long before
Speke ever dreamed of it. Agate’s station is now near the Nyanza, and
he keeps up a heavy force there, as indeed he does at all his stations.
When the expedition is ready, it moves slowly up to the Neam-Neam
country, for instance, and if one tribe is hostile to another, he joins
with the strongest and takes his pay in slaves. Active spies are kept
in liberal pay to inform him of the number and quality of the young
children; and when the chief believes he can steal one hundred he
settles down to work, for that figure means four thousand dollars. He
makes a landing with his human hounds, after having reconnoitred the
position,--generally in the night time. At dawn he moves forward on the
village, and the alarm is spread among the Negroes, who herd together
behind their aboriginal breastplates, and fire clouds of poisoned
arrows. The trader opens with musketry, and then begins a general
massacre of men, women, and children. The settlement, surrounded by
inflammable grass, is given to the flames, and the entire habitation
is laid in ashes. Probably out of the wreck of one thousand charred
and slaughtered people, his reserve has caught the one hundred coveted
women and children, who are flying from death in wild despair. They
are yoked together by a long pole, and marched off from their homes
forever. One-third of them may have the small-pox; and then with this
infected cargo the trader proceeds to his nearest station.

Thence the Negroes are clandestinely sent across the desert to
Kordofan, whence, they are dispersed over Lower Egypt and other
markets. It not unfrequently happens that the Negroes succeed in
killing their adversaries in these combats. But the blacks here are not
brave. They generally fly after a loss of several killed, except with
the Neam-Neams, who always fight with a bravery commensurate with their
renown as cannibals.

The statistics of the slave-trade are difficult to obtain with absolute
accuracy, but an adequate approximation may be reached. It is safe to
say that the annual export of slaves from the country lying between
the Red Sea and the Great Desert is twenty-five thousand a year,
distributed as follows: From Abyssinia, carried to Jaffa or Gallabat,
ten thousand; issuing by other routes of Abyssinia, five thousand; by
the Blue Nile, three thousand; by the White Nile, seven thousand. To
obtain these twenty-five thousand slaves and sell them in market, more
than fifteen thousand are annually killed, and often the mortality
reaches the terrible figure of fifty thousand. It is a fair estimate
that fifty thousand children are stolen from their parents every year.
Of the number forced into slavery, fifteen thousand being boys and ten
thousand girls, it is found that about six thousand go to Lower Egypt,
two thousand are made soldiers, nine thousand concubines, five hundred
eunuchs, five thousand cooks or servants, while ten thousand eventually
die from the climate, and three thousand obtain their papers of
freedom. They are dispersed over three million square miles of
territory, and their blood finally mingles with that of the Turk, the
Arab, and the European. The best black soldiers are recruited from the
Dinkas, who are strong, handsome Negroes, the finest of the White Nile.
The other races are thickly built and clumsy, and are never ornamental;
the Abyssinians, for whatever service and of whatever class, excel
all their rival victims in slavery. They are quiet and subdued, and
seldom treacherous or insubordinate. They prefer slavery, many of them,
to freedom, because they have no aspirations that are inordinate.
The girls are delicate, and not built for severe labor. Though born
and bred in a country where concubines are as legitimate and as much
honored as wives, they revolt against the terrors of polygamy.

In Abyssinia there is a feature of the slave-commerce which does not
seem to exist elsewhere. The natives themselves enslave their own
countrymen and countrywomen. Since the death of Theodore, the country
has been the scene of complex civil war. Each tribe is in war against
its neighbor; and when the issue comes to a decisive battle, the victor
despoils his antagonist of all his property, makes merchandise of the
children, and forwards them to the Egyptian post of Gallabat, where
they find a ready and active market. All along the frontier there is
no attempt to prevent slavery. It exists with the sanction of the
officials, and by their direct co-operation. Another profession is
that of secret kidnappers. The world knows little how much finesse and
depravity and duplicity are required in this business. The impression
is abroad, that the slave-trade provokes nothing more than murder,
theft, arson, and rape. But it is a disgraceful fact that some traders
habitually practice the most inhuman deception to accomplish their end.
They frequently settle down in communities and households in the guise
of benefactors, and while so situated they register each desirable boy
and girl, and afterward conspire to kidnap or kill them, as chance may
have it. Such is the story of the African slave-trade of to-day.


[34] Wilson’s “Western Africa.”



The Republic of Liberia lies on the west coast of Africa, and was
settled by emigrants from the United States in 1822.

The founders of this government met with many obstacles: First,
disease; then opposition from the natives; all of which, however, they
heroically overcame.

The territory owned by the Liberian government extends some six hundred
miles along the West African coast, and reaches back indefinitely
towards the interior, the native title to which has been fairly

It has brought within its elevating influence at least two hundred
thousand of the native inhabitants, who are gradually acquiring
the arts, comforts, and conveniences of civilized life. It has a
regularly-organized government, modelled after our own, with all the
departments in successful operation. Schools, seminaries, a college,
and some fifty churches, belonging to seven different denominations,
are in a hopeful condition. Towns and cities are being built where
once the slave-trade flourished with all its untold cruelty,
bloodshed, and carnage. Agriculture is extending, and commerce is
increasing. The Republic of Liberia numbers to-day among its civilized
inhabitants, about thirty thousand persons, about fifteen thousand of
which are American Liberians; that is, those who have emigrated from
the United States with their descendants. More than three hundred
thousand aborigines reside within the territory of Liberia, and
are brought more or less directly under the influence and control
of her civilized institutions. There are churches in the Republic,
representing different denominations, with their Sunday Schools and
Bible classes, and contributing something every week for missionary
purposes. The exports in the year 1866, amounted to about three hundred
thousand dollars.

The undeveloped capacities for trade, no one can estimate. With a most
prolific soil, and a climate capable of producing almost every variety
of tropical fruit, the resources of the land are beyond computation. A
sea-coast line, six hundred miles in length, and an interior stretching
indefinitely into the heart of the country, offer the most splendid
facilities for foreign commerce.

For a thousand miles along the coast, and two hundred miles inland,
the influence of the government has been brought to bear upon domestic
slavery among the natives, and upon the extirpation of the slave-trade,
until both have ceased to exist.

The interior presents a country inviting in all its aspects; a fine,
rolling country, abounding in streams and rivulets; forests of timber
in great variety, abundance, and usefulness; and I have no doubt quite
salubrious, being free from the miasmatic influences of the mangrove
swamps near the coast.

The commercial resources of Liberia, even at the present time, though
scarcely commenced to be developed, are of sufficient importance to
induce foreigners, American and European, to locate in the Republic
for the purposes of trade; and the agricultural and commercial sources
of wealth in Western and Central Africa are far beyond the most
carefully-studied speculation of those even who are best acquainted
with the nature and capacity of the country. The development of these
will continue to progress, and must, in the very nature of things,
secure to Liberia great commercial importance; and this will bring her
citizens into such business relations with the people of other portions
of the world as will insure to them that consideration which wealth,
learning, and moral worth never fail to inspire.

From the beginning, the people of Liberia, with a commendable zeal
and firmness, pursued a steady purpose towards the fulfilment of the
great object of their mission to Africa. They have established on her
shores an asylum free from political oppression, and from all the
disabilities of an unholy prejudice; they have aided essentially in
extirpating the slave-trade from the whole line of her western coast;
they have introduced the blessings of civilization and Christianity
among her heathen population, and by their entire freedom from all
insubordination, or disregard of lawful authority, and by their
successful diplomacy with England, France, and Spain, on matters
involving very perplexing international questions, they have indicated
some ability, at least for self-government and the management of their
own public affairs.

The banks of the St. Paul’s, St. John’s, Sinoe, and Farmington Rivers,
and of the River Cavalla, now teeming with civilized life and industry,
presenting to view comfortable Christian homes, inviting school-houses
and imposing church edifices, but for the founding of Liberia would
have remained until this day studded with slave-barracoons, the
theatres of indescribable suffering, wickedness, and shocking deaths.

Liberia is gradually growing in the elements of national stability. The
natural riches of that region are enormous, and are such as, sooner
or later, will support a commerce, to which that at present existing
on the coast is merely fractional. The Liberians own and run a fleet
of “coasters,” collecting palm-oil, cam-wood, ivory, gold-dust, and
other commodities. A schooner of eighty tons was built, costing eleven
thousand dollars, and loaded in the autumn of 1866, at New York, from
money and the proceeds of African produce sent for that purpose by an
enterprising merchant of Grand Bassa County.

A firm at Monrovia are having a vessel built in one of the ship-yards
of New York to cost fifteen thousand dollars.

An intelligent friend has given us the following as an approximate
estimate of the sugar-crop on the St. Paul’s in 1866: “Sharp, one
hundred and twenty thousand pounds; Cooper, thirty thousand pounds;
Anderson, thirty-five thousand pounds; Howland, forty thousand pounds;
Roe, thirty thousand pounds; sundry smaller farmers, one hundred and
fifty thousand; total, five hundred and seventy-five thousand pounds.
The coffee-crop also is considerable, though we are not able to state
how much.”

During the year 1866, not less than six hundred tons of cam-wood,
twelve hundred tons of palm-oil, and two hundred tons of palm-kernels,
were included in the exports of the Republic. And these articles of
commercial enterprise and wealth are capable of being increased to
almost any extent.

The Colonization Society, under whose auspices the colony of Liberia
was instituted, was, as the writer verily believes, inimical to the
freedom of the American slaves, and therefore brought down upon it
the just condemnation of the American abolitionists, and consequently
placed the people in a critical position; I mean the colonists. But
from the moment that the Liberians in 1847 established a Republic,
unfurled their national banner to the breeze, and began to manage their
own affairs, we then said, “Cursed be the hand of ours that shall throw
a stone at our brother.”

Fortunately, for the colony, many of the emigrants were men of more
than ordinary ability; men who went out with a double purpose; first,
to seek homes for themselves and families out of the reach of the
American prejudice; second, to carry the gospel of civilization to
their brethren. These men had the needed grit and enthusiasm.

Moles, Teage, and Johnson, are names that we in our boyhood learned to
respect and love. Roberts, Benson, Warner, Crummell, and James, men of
more recent times, have done much to give Liberia her deservedly high

With a government modelled after our own constitution and laws, that
are an honor to any people, and administered by men of the genius
and ability which characterizes the present ruling power, Liberia is
destined to hold an influential place in the history of nations. Her
splendid resources will yet be developed; her broad rivers will be
traversed by the steamship, and her fertile plains will yet resound
to the thunder of the locomotive. The telegraph wire will yet catch
up African news and deposit it in the Corn Exchange, London, and Wall
Street, New York.

That moral wilderness is yet to blossom with the noblest fruits of
civilization and the sweetest flowers of religion. She will yet have
her literature, her historians and her poets. Splendid cities will rise
where now there are nothing but dark jungles.



It is a pleasing fact to relate that the last fifty years have
witnessed much advance towards civilization in Africa; and especially
on the west coast. This has resulted mainly from the successful efforts
made to abolish the slave-trade. To the English first, and to the
Liberians next, the praise must be given for the suppression of this
inhuman and unchristian traffic. Too much, however, cannot be said in
favor of the missionaries, men and women, who, forgetting native land,
and home-comforts, have given themselves to the work of teaching these
people, and thereby carrying civilization to a country where each went
with his life in his hands.

Amongst the natives themselves, in several of the nations, much
interest is manifested in their own elevation. The invention of an
alphabet for writing their language, by the Veys, and this done too by
their own ingenuity, shows remarkable advancement with a race hitherto
regarded as unequal to such a task.

This progress in civilization is confined more strictly to the Jalofs,
the Mandingoes, and the Fulahs, inhabiting the Senegambia, and the
Veys, of whom I have already made mention. Prejudice of race exists
among the Africans, as well as with other nations. This is not,
however, a prejudice of color, but of clan or tribe. The Jalofs, for
instance, are said by travellers to be the handsomest Negroes in
Africa. They are proud, haughty, and boast of their superiority over
other tribes, and will not intermarry with them; yet they have woolly
hair, thick lips, and flat noses, but with tall and graceful forms. In
religion they are Mohammedans.

Rev. Samuel Crowther has been one of the most successful missionaries
that the country has yet had. He is a native, which no doubt gives
him great advantage over others. His two sons, Josiah and Samuel, are
following in the footsteps of their illustrious father.

The influences of these gentlemen have been felt more directly in the
vicinity of Lagos and Abeokuta. The Senior Crowther is the principal
Bishop in Africa, and is doing a good work for his denomination, and

Native eloquence, and fine specimens of oratory may be heard in many
of the African assemblies. Their popular speakers show almost as
much skill in the use of happy illustrations, striking analogies,
pointed argument, historical details, biting irony, as any set of
public speakers in the world; and for ease, grace, and naturalness of
manner, they are perhaps unsurpassed. The audiences usually express
their assent by a sort of grunt, which rises in tone, and frequently
in proportion, as the speaker becomes animated, and not unfrequently
swells out into a tremendous shout, and thus terminates the discussion
in accordance with the views of the speaker. He has said exactly what
was in the heart of the assembly, and they have no more to say or hear
on the subject.[35] Civilization is receiving an impetus from the
manufacturing of various kinds of goods as carried on by the people
through Africa, and especially in the Egba, Yoruba, and Senegambia
countries. Iron-smelting villages, towns devoted entirely to the
manufacturing of a particular kind of ware, and workers in leather,
tailors, weavers, hat, basket, and mat-makers, also workers in silk and
worsted may be seen in many of the large places.

Some of these products would compare very favorably with the best
workmanship of English and American manufacturers.

Much is done in gold, silver, and brass, and jewelry of a high order is
made in the more civilized parts of the country.

The explorations of various travellers through Africa, during the
past twenty-five years, have aided civilization materially. A debt of
gratitude is due to Dr. Livingstone for his labors in this particular

I have already made mention of the musical talent often displayed in
African villages, to the great surprise of the traveller.

The following account from the distinguished explorer, will be read
with interest. Dr. Livingstone says: “We then inquired of the King
relative to his band of music, as we heard he had one. He responded
favorably, saying he had a band, and it should meet and play for us
at once. Not many minutes elapsed until right in front of our house
a large fire was kindled, and the band was on the ground. They began
to play; and be assured I was not a little surprised at the harmony of
their music. The band was composed of eight members, six of whom had
horns, made of elephant tusks, beautifully carved and painted. These
all gave forth different sounds, or tones. The bass horn was made of a
large tusk; and as they ascended the scale the horns were less. They
had a hole cut into the tusk near its thin end, into which they blew
the same as into a flute or fife. They had no holes for the fingers,
hence the different tones were produced by the lengths of the horns,
and by putting the hand into the large, open part of the horn and
again removing it. I noticed that one small horn had the large end
closed and the small one open. The different tones were produced by
the performer opening and closing this end with the palm of his hand.
They had also two drums; one had three heads placed on hollow sticks
or logs, from one to two feet long; the other had but one head; they
beat them with their hands, not sticks. I however saw a large war-drum,
about five feet high, made on the principle of the above, which was
beaten with sticks. The band serenaded us three times during our stay.
They played different tunes, and there was great variety throughout
their performance; sometimes only one horn was played, sometimes two
or three, and then all would join in; sometimes the drums beat softly,
then again loud and full. The horns used in this band are also used for

“At about eleven o’clock we were awakened by music,--a human voice
and an instrument--right before our door. “What is it?” “A guitar?”
“No; but it is fine music.” “Ah! it is a harp. Let us invite him in.”
Such conjectures as the above were made as the old man stood before
our door and sang and played most beautifully. We invited him in; and
true enough, we found it to be a species of harp with twelve strings.
He sang and played a long while, and then retired,--having proven to
us that even far out in the wild jungles of Africa, that most noble of
all human sciences is to a certain degree cultivated. We were serenaded
thrice by him. He came from far in the interior.”

One of the greatest obstacles to civilization in Africa, is the
traders. These pests are generally of a low order in education, and
many of them have fled from their own country, to evade the punishment
of some crime committed. Most of them are foul-mouthed, licentious men,
who spread immorality wherever they appear. It would be a blessing
to the natives if nine-tenths of these leeches were driven from the


[35] Wilson’s “Western Africa.”



In sketching an account of the people of Hayti, and the struggles
through which they were called to pass, we confess it to be a difficult
task. Although the writer visited the Island thirty years ago, and has
read everything of importance given by the historians, it is still no
easy matter to give a true statement of the revolution which placed
the colored people in possession of the Island, so conflicting are the

The beautiful island of St. Domingo, of which Hayti is a part, was
pronounced by the great discoverer to be the “Paradise of God.”

The splendor of its valleys, the picturesqueness of its mountains, the
tropical luxuriance of its plains, and the unsurpassed salubrity of
its climate, confirms the high opinion of the great Spaniard. Columbus
found on the Island more than a million of people of the Caribbean
race. The warlike appearance of the Spaniards caused the natives to
withdraw into the interior. However, the seductive genius of Columbus
soon induced the Caribbeans to return to their towns, and they extended
their hospitality to the illustrious stranger.

After the great discoverer had been recalled home and left the Island,
Dovadillo, his successor, began a system of unmitigated oppression
towards the Caribbeans, and eventually reduced the whole of the
inhabitants to slavery; and thus commenced that hateful sin in the New
World. As fresh adventurers arrived in the Island, the Spanish power
became more consolidated and more oppressive. The natives were made
to toil in the gold-mines without compensation, and in many instances
without any regard whatever to the preservation of human life; so much
so, that in 1507, the number of natives had, by hunger, toil, and the
sword, been reduced from a million to sixty thousand. Thus, in the
short space of fifteen years, more than nine hundred thousand perished
under the iron hand of slavery in the island of St. Domingo.

The Island suffered much from the loss of its original inhabitants;
and the want of laborers to till the soil and to work in the mines,
first suggested the idea of importing slaves from the coast of Africa.
The slave-trade was soon commenced and carried on with great rapidity.
Before the Africans were shipped, the name of the owner and the
plantation on which they were to toil was stamped on their shoulders
with a burning iron. For a number of years St. Domingo opened its
markets annually to more than twenty thousand newly-imported slaves.
With the advance of commerce and agriculture, opulence spread in every
direction. The great tide of immigration from France and Spain, and
the vast number of Africans imported every year, so increased the
population that at the commencement of the French Revolution, in 1789,
there were nine hundred thousand souls on the Island. Of these, seven
hundred thousand were Africans, sixty thousand mixed blood, and the
remainder were whites and Caribbeans. Like the involuntary servitude
in our own Southern States, slavery in St. Domingo kept morality at a
low stand. Owing to the amalgamation between masters and slaves, there
arose the mulatto population, which eventually proved to be the worst
enemies of their fathers.

Many of the planters sent their mulatto sons to France to be educated.
When these young men returned to the Island, they were greatly
dissatisfied at the proscription which met them wherever they appeared.
White enough to make them hopeful and aspiring, many of the mulattoes
possessed wealth enough to make them influential. Aware, by their
education, of the principles of freedom that were being advocated in
Europe and the United States, they were ever on the watch to seize
opportunities to better their social and political condition. In the
French part of the Island alone, twenty thousand whites lived in the
midst of thirty thousand free mulattoes and five hundred thousand
slaves. In the Spanish portion, the odds were still greater in favor of
the slaves. Thus the advantage of numbers and physical strength was on
the side of the oppressed. Right is the most dangerous of weapons--woe
to him who leaves it to his enemies!

The efforts of Wilberforce, Sharp, Buxton, and Clarkson, to abolish
the African slave-trade, and their advocacy of the equality of the
races, were well understood by the men of color. They had also learned
their own strength in the Island, and that they had the sympathy of
all Europe with them. The news of the oath of the Tennis Court, and
the taking of the Bastile at Paris, was received with the wildest
enthusiasm by the people of St. Domingo.

The announcement of these events was hailed with delight by both
the white planters and the mulattoes; the former, because they
hoped the revolution in the Mother Country would secure to them the
independence of the colony; the latter, because they viewed it as a
movement that would give them equal rights with the whites; and even
the slaves regarded it as a precursor to their own emancipation. But
the excitement which the outbreak at Paris had created amongst the
free men of color and the slaves, at once convinced the planters that
a separation from France would be the death-knell of slavery in St.

Although emancipated by law from the dominion of individuals, the
mulattoes had no rights; shut out from society by their color, deprived
of religious and political privileges, they felt their degradation even
more keenly than the bond slaves. The mulatto son was not allowed to
dine at his father’s table, kneel with him in his devotions, bear his
name, inherit his property, nor even to lie in his father’s graveyard.
Laboring as they were under the sense of their personal social wrongs,
the mulattoes tolerated, if they did not encourage, low and vindictive
passions. They were haughty and disdainful to the blacks, whom they
scorned, and jealous and turbulent to the whites, whom they hated and

The mulattoes at once despatched one of their number to Paris, to lay
before the Constitutional Assembly their claim to equal rights with
the whites. Vincent Oge, their deputy, was well received at Paris
by Lafayette, Brisot, Barnave, and Gregoire, and was admitted to a
seat in the Assembly, where he eloquently portrayed the wrongs of his
race. In urging his claims, he said if equality was withheld from the
mulattoes, they would appeal to force. This was seconded by Lafayette
and Barnave, who said: “Perish the Colonies, rather than a principle.”

The Assembly passed a decree, granting the demands of the men of color,
and Oge was made bearer of the news to his brethren. The planters armed
themselves, met the young deputy on his return to the Island, and a
battle ensued. The free colored men rallied around Oge, but they were
defeated and taken, with their brave leader; were first tortured, and
then broken alive on the wheel.

The prospect of freedom was put down for the time, but the blood of Oge
and his companions bubbled silently in the hearts of the African race;
they swore to avenge them.

The announcement of the death of Oge in the halls of the Assembly
at Paris, created considerable excitement, and became the topic of
conversation in the clubs and on the boulevards. Gregoire defended the
course of the colored men and said: “If liberty was right in France, it
was right in St. Domingo.” He well knew that the crime for which Oge
had suffered in the West Indies, had constituted the glory of Mirabeau
and Lafayette at Paris, and Washington and Hancock in the United
States. The planters in the Island trembled at their own oppressive
acts, and terror urged them on to greater violence. The blood of Oge
and his accomplices had sown everywhere despair and conspiracy. The
French sent an army to St. Domingo to enforce the law.

The planters repelled with force the troops sent out by France, denying
its prerogatives, and refusing the civic oath. In the midst of these
thickening troubles, the planters who resided in France were invited
to return, and to assist in vindicating the civil independence of
the Island. Then was it that the mulattoes earnestly appealed to the
slaves, and the result was appalling. The slaves awoke as from an
ominous dream, and demanded their rights with sword in hand. Gaining
immediate success, and finding that their liberty would not be granted
by the planters, they rapidly increased in numbers; and in less than a
week from its commencement, the storm had swept over the whole plain
of the north, from east to west, and from the mountains to the sea.
The splendid villas and rich factories yielded to the furies of the
devouring flames; so that the mountains, covered with smoke and burning
cinders, borne upward by the wind looked like volcanoes; and the
atmosphere as if on fire, resembled a furnace.

Such were the outraged feelings of a people whose ancestors had been
ruthlessly torn from their native land and sold in the shambles of St.
Domingo. To terrify the blacks and convince them that they could never
be free, the planters were murdering them on every hand by thousands.

The struggle in St. Domingo was watched with intense interest by the
friends of the blacks, both in Paris and in London, and all appeared
to look with hope to the rising up of a black chief, who should prove
himself adequate to the emergency. Nor did they look in vain. In the
midst of the disorder that threatened on all sides, the negro chief
made his appearance in the person of a slave named Toussaint. This man
was the grandson of the King of Ardra, one of the most powerful and
wealthy monarchs on the west coast of Africa. By his own energy and
perseverance, Toussaint had learned to read and write, and was held in
high consideration by the surrounding planters, as well as their slaves.

In personal appearance he was of middle stature, strongly-marked
African features, well-developed forehead, rather straight and neat
figure, sharp and bright eye, with an earnestness in conversation that
seemed to charm the listener. His dignified, calm, and unaffected
demeanor would cause him to be selected in any company of men as one
who was born for a leader.

His private virtues were many, and he had a deep and pervading
sense of religion; and in the camp carried it even as far as Oliver
Cromwell. Toussaint was born on the Island, and was fifty years of age
when called into the field. One of his chief characteristics was his

Before taking any part in the revolution, he aided his master’s family
to escape from the impending danger. After seeing them beyond the reach
of the revolutionary movement, he entered the army as an inferior
officer, but was soon made aid-de-camp to General Bissou. Disorder
and bloodshed reigned through the Island, and every day brought fresh
intelligence of depredations committed by whites, mulattoes, and blacks.

Hitherto, the blacks had been guided by Jean-François, Bissou, and
Jeannot. The first of these was a slave, a young Creole of good
exterior; he had long before the revolution obtained his liberty. At
the commencement of the difficulties, he fled to the mountains and
joined the Maroons, a large clan of fugitive slaves then wandering
about in the woods and mountains, that furnished this class a secure
retreat. This man was mild, vain, good-tempered, and fond of luxury.

Bissou belonged to the religious body designated “The Fathers of
Charity.” He was fiery, wrathful, rash, and vindictive; always in
action, always on horseback, with a white sash, and feathers in his
hat, or basking in the sunshine of the women, of whom he was very fond.
Jeannot, a slave of the plantation of M. Bullet, was small and slender
in person, and of boundless activity. Perfidious of soul, his aspect
was frightful and revolting. Capable of the greatest crimes, he was
inaccessible to regret or remorse.

Having sworn implacable hatred against the whites, he thrilled with
rage when he saw them; and his greatest pleasure was to bathe his hands
in their blood. These three were the leaders of the blacks till the
appearance of Toussaint; and under their rule, the cry was “Blood,
blood, blood!” Such was the condition of affairs when a decree was
passed by the Colonial Assembly, giving equal rights to the mulattoes,
and asking their aid in restoring order and reducing the slaves again
to their chains. Overcome by this decree, and having gained all they
wished, the free colored men joined the planters in a murderous crusade
against the slaves. This union of the whites and mulattoes to prevent
the bondman getting his freedom, created an ill-feeling between the two
proscribed classes, which seventy years have not been able to efface.
The French government sent a second army to St. Domingo to enforce
the laws, giving freedom to the slaves, and Toussaint joined it on its
arrival in the Island, and fought bravely against the planters.

While the people of St. Domingo were thus fighting amongst themselves,
the revolutionary movement in France had fallen into the hands of
Robespierre and Danton, and the guillotine was beheading its thousands
daily. When the news of the death of Louis XVI. reached St. Domingo,
Toussaint and his companions left the French and joined the Spanish
army, in the eastern part of the Island, and fought for the King of
Spain. Here Toussaint was made brigadier-general, and appeared in the
field as the most determined foe of the French planters.

The two armies met; a battle was fought in the streets, and many
thousands were slain on both sides; the planters, however, were
defeated. During the conflict the city was set on fire, and on every
side presented shocking evidence of slaughter, conflagration, and
pillage. The strifes of political and religious partisanship, which
had raged in the clubs and streets of Paris, were transplanted to St.
Domingo, where they raged with all the heat of a tropical clime, and
the animosities of a civil war. Truly did the flames of the French
revolution at Paris, and the ignorance and self-will of the planters,
set the island of St. Domingo on fire. The commissioners with their
retinue retired from the burning city into the neighboring highlands,
where a camp was formed to protect the ruined town from the opposing
party. Having no confidence in the planters, and fearing a reaction,
the commissioners proclaimed a general emancipation to the slave
population, and invited the blacks who had joined the Spaniards
to return. Toussaint and his followers accepted the invitation,
returned, and were enrolled in the army under the commissioners. Fresh
troops arrived from France, who were no sooner in the Island than
they separated--some siding with the planters, and others with the
commissioners. The white republicans of the Mother Country were arrayed
against the white republicans of St. Domingo, whom they were sent out
to assist. The blacks and the mulattoes were at war with each other;
old and young of both sexes, and of all colors, were put to the sword,
while the fury of the flames swept from plantation to plantation, and
from town to town.



During these sad commotions, Toussaint, by his superior knowledge of
the character of his race, his humanity, generosity, and courage,
had gained the confidence of all whom he had under his command. The
rapidity with which he travelled from post to post astonished every
one. By his genius and surpassing activity, Toussaint levied fresh
forces, raised the reputation of the army, and drove the English and
Spanish from the Island.

The boiling caldron of the revolution during its progress, had thrown
upon its surface several new military men, whose names became household
words in St. Domingo. First of these, after Toussaint, was Christophe,
a man of pure African origin, though a native of New Grenada. On being
set free at the age of fifteen, he came to St. Domingo, where he
resided until the commencement of the revolution. He had an eye full of
fire, and a braver man never lived. Toussaint early discovered his good
qualities, and made him his lieutenant, from which he soon rose to be a
general of division.

As a military man, Christophe was considered far superior to Toussaint;
and his tall, slim figure, dressed in the uniform of a general, was
hailed with enthusiasm wherever he appeared.

Next to Christophe was Dessalines. No one who took part in the St.
Domingo revolution has been so severely censured as this chief. At the
commencement of the difficulties, Dessalines was the slave of a house
carpenter, with whom he had learned the trade. He was a small man, of
muscular frame, and of a dingy black. He had a haughty and ferocious
look. Hunger, thirst, fatigue, and loss of sleep he seemed made to
endure, as if by peculiarity of constitution. Dessalines was not a
native of either of the West India Islands, for the marks upon his arms
and breast, and the deep furrows and incisions on his face, pointed out
the coast of Africa as his birth-place. Inured by exposure and toil to
a hard life, his frame possessed a wonderful power of endurance. By
his activity and singular fierceness on the field of battle, he first
attracted the attention of Toussaint, who placed him amongst his guides
and attendants, and subsequently advanced him rapidly through several
grades, to the dignity of third in command. A more courageous man never
appeared upon the battle-field. What is most strange in the history of
Dessalines is, that he was a savage, a slave, a soldier, a general, and
died when an emperor.

Among the mulattoes were several valiant chiefs. The ablest of these
was Rigaud, the son of a wealthy planter. Having been educated at
Paris, his manner was polished, and his language elegant. Had he been
born in Asia, Rigaud would have governed an empire, for he had all the
elements of a great man.

In religion he was the very opposite of Toussaint. An admirer of
Voltaire and Rousseau, he had made their works his study. A long
residence in Paris had enabled him to become acquainted with many of
the followers of these two distinguished philosophers.

He had seen two hundred thousand persons following the bones of
Voltaire, when removed to the Pantheon; and, in his admiration for the
great writer, had confounded liberty with infidelity.

Rigaud was the first amongst the mulattoes, and had sided with the
planters in their warfare against the blacks. But the growing influence
of this chief early spread fear in the ranks of the whites, which was
seen and felt by the mulattoes everywhere.

In military science, horsemanship, and activity, Rigaud was the
first man on the Island, of any color, Toussaint bears the following
testimony to the great skill of the mulatto general: “I know Rigaud
well. He leaps from his horse when at full gallop, and he puts all his
force in his arm when he strikes a blow.” He was boundless in resources
as he was brave and daring. High-tempered and irritable, he at times
appeared haughty. The charmed power that he held over the men of his
color can scarcely be described. At the breaking out of the revolution,
he headed the mulattoes in his native town, and soon drew around him a
formidable body of men. Rigaud’s legion was considered to be by far the
best drilled and most reliable in battle of all the troops raised on
the Island.

The mulattoes were now urging their claims to citizenship and
political enfranchisement, by arming themselves in defence of their
rights; the activity and talent of their great leader, Rigaud, had
been the guidance and support of their enterprise. He was hated by the
whites in the same degree as they feared his influence with his race.

The unyielding nature of his character, which gave firmness and
consistency to his policy while controling the interest of his
brethren, made him dear to them.

Intrigue and craftiness could avail nothing against the designs of one
who was ever upon the watch, and who had the means of counteracting all
secret attempts against him; and open force in the field could not be
successful in destroying a chieftain whose power was often felt, but
whose person was seldom seen.

Thus to accomplish a design which had long been in contemplation,
the whites of Aux Cayes were now secretly preparing a mine for
Rigaud,--which, though it was covered with flowers, and to be sprung
by the hand of professed friendship,--it was thought would prove a
sure and efficacious method of ridding them of such an opponent, and
destroying the pretensions of the mulattoes forever.

It was proposed that the anniversary of the destruction of the Bastile
should be celebrated in the town by both whites and mulattoes, in
union and gratitude. A civic procession marched to the church, where
the Te Deum was chanted and an oration pronounced by citizen Delpech.
The Place d’Armes was crowded with tables of refreshments, at which
both whites and mulattoes seated themselves. But beneath this seeming
patriotism and friendship a dark and fatal conspiracy lurked, plotting
treachery and death.

It had been resolved that at a preconcerted signal every white at the
table should plunge his knife into the bosom of the mulatto who was
seated nearest to him. Cannon had been planted around the place of
festivity, that no fugitive from the massacre should have the means
of escaping; and that Rigaud should not fail to be secured as the
first victim to a conspiracy prepared especially against his life, the
commander-in-chief of the national guard had been placed at his side,
and his murder of the mulatto chieftain was to be the signal for a
general onset upon all his followers.

But between the conception and the accomplishment of a guilty deed,
man’s native abhorrence of crime often interposes many obstacles to
success. The officer to whom had been entrusted the assassination
of Rigaud, found it no small matter to screw his courage up to the
sticking-place, and the expected signal which he was to display in
blood to his associates, was so long delayed that secret messengers
began to come to him from all parts of the table, demanding why
execution was not done on Rigaud. Urged on by these successive appeals,
the white general at last applied himself to the fatal task which had
been allotted him. But instead of silently plunging his dagger into the
bosom of the mulatto chief, he sprang upon him with a pistol in his
hand, and with a loud execration, fired it at his intended victim. But
Rigaud remained unharmed, and in the scuffle which ensued the white
assassin was disarmed and put to flight.

The astonishment of the mulattoes soon gave way to tumult and
indignation, and this produced a drawn battle, in which both whites and
mulattoes, exasperated as they were to the utmost, fought man to man.

The struggle continued fiercely, until the whites were driven from the
town, having lost one hundred and fifty of their number, and slain
many of their opponents. Tidings of this conspiracy flew rapidly in
all directions; and such was the indignation of the mulattoes at this
attack on their chief, whose death had even been announced in several
places as certain, that they seized upon all the whites within their
reach, and their immediate massacre was only prevented by the arrival
of intelligence that Rigaud was still alive.[36]

The hostile claims of Toussaint and Rigaud, who shared between them the
whole power of the Island, soon brought on a bloody struggle between
the blacks and mulattoes.

The contest was an unequal one, for the blacks numbered five hundred
thousand, while the mulattoes were only thirty thousand. The mulattoes,
alarmed by the prospect that the future government of the Island was
likely to be engrossed altogether by the blacks, thronged from all
parts of the Island to join the ranks of Rigaud. As a people, the
mulattoes were endowed with greater intelligence; they were more
enterprising, and in all respects their physical superiority was more
decided than their rivals, the blacks.

They were equally ferocious, and confident as they were in their
superior powers, they saw without a thought of discouragement or fear
the enormous disparity of ten to one in the respective numbers of
their adversaries and themselves. Rigaud began the war by surprising
Leogane, where a multitude of persons of every rank and color were put
to death without mercy.

Toussaint, on learning this, hastened together all the troops which he
then had in the neighborhood of Port au Prince, and ordered all the
mulattoes to assemble at the church of that town, where he mounted the
pulpit, and announced to them his intended departure to war against
their brethren. He said, “I see into the recesses of your bosoms; you
are ready to rise against me; but though my troops are about to leave
this province, you cannot succeed, for I shall leave behind me both
my eyes and my arms; the one to watch, and the other to reach you.”
At the close of this admonition, threatening as it was, the mulattoes
were permitted to leave the church, and they retired, awestruck and
trembling with solicitude, to their homes.

The forces of Rigaud, fighting under the eyes of the chief whom they
adored, defended with vigor the passes leading to their territory;
and though they were but a handful, in comparison with the hordes who
marched under the banners of Toussaint, their brave exertions were
generally crowned with success.

The mulattoes under Rigaud, more skilled in the combinations of
military movements, made up for their deficiency in numbers by greater
rapidity and effectiveness in their operations. A series of masterly
manœuvres and diversions were followed up in quick succession, which
kept the black army in full employment. But Toussaint was too strong,
and he completely broke up the hopes of the mulattoes in a succession
of victories, which gave him entire control of the Island, except,
perhaps, a small portion of the South, which still held out. Rigaud,
reduced in his means of defence, had the misfortune to see his towns
fall one after another into the power of Toussaint, until he was driven
to the last citadel of his strength--the town of Aux Cayes. As he thus
yielded foot by foot, everything was given to desolation before it was
abandoned, and the genius of Toussaint was completely at fault in his
efforts to force the mulatto general from his last entrenchments.

He was foiled at every attempt, and his enemy stood immovably at bay,
notwithstanding the active assaults and overwhelming numbers of his

The government of France was too much engaged at home with her own
revolution, to pay any attention to St. Domingo. The republicans in
Paris, after getting rid of their enemies, turned upon each other. The
revolution, like Saturn, devoured its own children; priest and people
were murdered upon the thresholds of justice. Marat died at the hands
of Charlotte Corday; Louis XVI. and Marie Antoinette were guillotined,
Robespierre had gone to the scaffold, and Bonaparte was master of

The conqueror of Egypt now turned his attention to St. Domingo. It was
too important an island to be lost to France, or be destroyed by civil
war; and through the mediation of Bonaparte, the war between Toussaint
and Rigaud was brought to a close.

With the termination of this struggle, every vestige of slavery, and
all obstacles to freedom, disappeared. Toussaint exerted every nerve to
make Hayti what it had formerly been. He did everything in his power to
promote agriculture; and in this he succeeded beyond the most sanguine
expectations of the friends of freedom, both in England and France.
Even the planters who had remained on the Island acknowledged the
prosperity of Hayti under the governorship of the man whose best days
had been spent in slavery.

The peace of Amiens left Bonaparte without a rival on the continent,
and with a large and experienced army which he feared to keep idle; and
he determined to send a part of it to St. Domingo.

The army for the expedition to St. Domingo was fitted out, and no pains
or expense spared to make it an imposing one. Fifty-six ships of war,
with twenty-five thousand men, left France for Hayti. It was, indeed,
the most valiant fleet that had ever sailed from the French dominions.
The Alps, the Nile, the Rhine, and all Italy had resounded with the
exploits of the men who were now leaving their country for the purpose
of placing the chains again on the limbs of the heroic people of St.
Domingo. There were men in that army that had followed Bonaparte from
the siege of Toulon to the battle under the shades of the pyramids of
Egypt,--men who had grown gray in the camp. Among them were several
colored men, who had distinguished themselves on the field of battle.

There was Rigaud, the bravest of the mulatto chiefs, whose valor had
disputed the laurels with Toussaint. There, too, was Pétion, the most
accomplished scholar of whom St. Domingo could boast; and lastly,
there was Boyer, who was destined at a future day to be President of
the Republic of Hayti. These last three brave men had become dupes and
tools of Bonaparte, and were now on their way to assist in reducing the
land of their birth to slavery.


[36] Brown’s History of Sant. Domingo, Vol. I., p. 257.



Le Clerc, the brother-in-law of Bonaparte, the man who had married the
voluptuous Pauline, was commander-in-chief of the army. Le Clerc was
not himself a man of much distinction in military affairs; his close
relationship with the ruler of France was all that he had to recommend
him to the army of invasion. But he had with him Rochambeau, and other
generals, who had few superiors in arms. Before arriving at Hayti the
fleet separated, so as to attack the island on different sides.

News of the intended invasion reached St. Domingo some days before the
squadron had sailed from Brest; and therefore the blacks had time to
prepare to meet their enemies. Toussaint had concentrated his forces
at such points as he expected would be first attacked. Christophe was
sent to defend Cape City, and Port au Prince was left in the hands of

Le Clerc, with the largest part of the squadron, came to anchor off
Cape City, and summoned the place to surrender. The reply which he
received from Christophe was such as to teach the captain-general
what he had to expect in the subjugation of St. Domingo. “Go tell your
general that the French shall march here only over ashes; and that the
ground shall burn beneath their feet,” was the answer that Le Clerc
obtained in return to his command. The French general sent another
messenger to Christophe, urging him to surrender, and promising the
black chief a commission of high rank in the French army. But he found
he had a man, and not a slave, to deal with. The exasperated Christophe
sent back the heroic reply, “The decision of arms can admit you only
into a city in ashes; and even on these ashes will I fight still.” The
black chief then distributed torches to his principal officers, and
awaited the approach of the French.

With no navy, and but little means of defence, the Haytians determined
to destroy their towns rather than they should fall into the hands of
the enemy. Late in the evening the French ships were seen to change
their position, and Christophe, satisfied that they were about to
effect a landing, set fire to his own house, which was the signal for
the burning of the town. The French general wept as he beheld the ocean
of flames rising from the tops of the houses in the finest city in St.

Another part of the fleet landed in Samana, where Toussaint, with an
experienced wing of the army, was ready to meet them. On seeing the
ships enter the harbor, the heroic chief said: “Here come the enslavers
of our race. All France is coming to St. Domingo, to try again to put
the fetters upon our limbs; but not France with all her troops of the
Rhine, the Alps, the Nile, the Tiber, nor all Europe to help her, can
extinguish the soul of Africa. That soul, when once the soul of a
man, and no longer that of a slave, can overthrow the pyramids, and
the Alps themselves, sooner than again be crushed down into slavery.”
The French, however, effected a landing, but they found nothing but
smouldering ruins where once stood splendid cities. Toussaint and his
generals at once abandoned the towns, and betook themselves to the
mountains, those citadels of freedom in St. Domingo, where the blacks
have always proved too much for the whites.

Toussaint put forth a proclamation to the colored people, in which he
said: “You are now to meet and fight enemies who have neither faith,
law, nor religion. Let us resolve that these French troops shall
never leave our shores alive.” The war commenced, and the blacks
were victorious in nearly all the battles. Where the French gained a
victory, they put their prisoners to the most excruciating tortures;
in many instances burning them in pits, and throwing them into boiling
chaldrons. This example of cruelty set by the whites, was followed by
the blacks. Then it was that Dessalines, the ferocious chief, satisfied
his long pent-up revenge against the white planters and French soldiers
that he made prisoners. The French general saw that he could gain
nothing from the blacks on the field of battle, and he determined upon
a stratagem, in which he succeeded too well.

A correspondence was opened with Toussaint in which the captain-general
promised to acknowledge the liberty of the blacks, and the equality of
all, if he would yield. Overcome by the persuasions of his generals,
and the blacks who surrounded him, and who were sick and tired of
the shedding of blood, Toussaint gave in his adhesion to the French
authorities. This was the great error of his life.

The loss that the French army had sustained during the war, was great.
Fifteen thousand of their best troops, and some of their bravest
generals, had fallen before the arms of these Negroes, whom they

Soon after Toussaint gave in his adhesion, the yellow fever broke out
in the French army, and carried off nearly all of the remaining great
men,--more than seven hundred medical men, besides twenty-two thousand
sailors and soldiers. Among these were fifteen hundred officers. It
was at this time that Toussaint might have renewed the war with great
success. But he was a man of his word, and would not take the advantage
of the sad condition of the French army.

Although peace reigned, Le Clerc was still afraid of Toussaint; and by
the advice of Napoleon, the black general was arrested, together with
his family, and sent to France.

The great chief of St. Domingo had scarcely been conveyed on board the
ship Creole, and she out of the harbor, ere Rigaud, the mulatto general
who had accompanied Le Clerc to St. Domingo, was arrested, put in
chains, and sent to France.

The seizure of Toussaint and Rigaud caused suspicion and alarm among
both blacks and mulattoes, and that induced them to raise again the
flag of insurrection, in which the two proscribed classes were united.

Twenty thousand fresh troops arrived from France, but they were not
destined to see Le Clerc, for the yellow fever had taken him off. In
the mountains were many barbarous and wild blacks, who had escaped
from slavery soon after being brought from the coast of Africa. One of
these bands of savages were commanded by Lamour de Rance, an adroit,
stern, savage man, half naked, with epaulettes tied to his bare
shoulders for his only token of authority. This man had been brought
from the coast of Africa, and sold as a slave in Port au Prince. On
being ordered one day to saddle his master’s horse, he did so; then
mounted the animal, fled to the mountains, and ever after made these
fearful regions his home. Lamour passed from mountain to mountain with
something of the ease of the birds of his own native land. Toussaint,
Christophe, and Dessalines, had each in their turn pursued him, but in
vain. His mode of fighting was in keeping with his dress. This savage,
united with others like himself, became complete master of the wilds
of St. Domingo. They came forth from their mountain homes, and made
war on the whites wherever they found them. Le Clerc was now dead, and
Rochambeau, who succeeded him in the government of St. Domingo, sent
to Cuba to get bloodhounds, with which to hunt down the blacks in the

In personal appearance, Rochambeau was short and stout, with a deformed
body, but of robust constitution; his manner was hard and severe,
though he had a propensity to voluptuousness. He lacked neither ability
nor experience in war. In his youth, he had, under the eyes of his
illustrious father, served the cause of freedom in the United States;
and while on duty in the slave portion of our government, formed a low
idea of the blacks, which followed him even to St. Domingo.

The planters therefore hailed with joy Rochambeau as a successor to Le
Clerc; and when the bloodhounds which he had sent to Cuba for arrived,
cannon were fired, and demonstrations of joy were shown in various ways.

Even the women, wives of the planters, went to the sea-side, met the
animals, and put garlands about their necks, and some kissed and
caressed the dogs.[37]

Such was the degradation of human nature. While the white women
were cheering on the French, who had imported bloodhounds as their
auxiliaries, the black women were using all their powers of persuasion
to rouse the blacks to the combat. Many of these women walked from
camp to camp, and from battalion to battalion, exhibiting their naked
bodies, showing their lacerated and scourged persons;--these were the
marks of slavery, made many years before, but now used for the cause of
human freedom.

Christophe, who had taken command of the insurgents, now gave
unmistakable proofs that he was a great general, and scarcely second
to Toussaint. Twenty thousand fresh troops arrived from France to the
aid of Rochambeau; yet the blacks were victorious wherever they fought.
The French blindly thought that cruelty to the blacks would induce
their submission, and to this end they bent all their energies. An
amphitheatre was erected, and two hundred dogs, sharpened by extreme
hunger, put there, and black prisoners thrown in. The raging animals
disputed with each other for the limbs of their victims, until the
ground was dyed with human blood.

Three hundred brave blacks were put to death in this horrible manner.
The blacks, having spread their forces in every quarter of the island,
were fast retaking the forts and towns. Christophe commanded in the
north, Dessalines in the west, and Clervaux in the south.

Despotism and sensuality have often been companions. In Rochambeau,
the one sharpened the appetite for the other, as though greediness of
bodily pleasure welcomed the zest arising from the sight of bodily pain.

No small part of his time Rochambeau passed at table, or on sofas,
with the Creole females, worshippers of pleasure, as well as most
cruel towards their slaves. To satisfy these fascinating courtesans,
scaffolds were raised in the cities, which were bathed in the blood of
the blacks. They even executed women and children, whose only crime
was, that they had brothers, fathers, or husbands among the revolters.
These brutal murders by the French filled the blacks with terror.
Dessalines started for the Cape, for the purpose of meeting Rochambeau,
and avenging the death of the blacks. In his impetuous and terrible
march, he surrounded and made prisoners a body of Frenchmen; and with
branches of trees, that ferocious chief raised, under the eyes of
Rochambeau, five hundred gibbets, on which he hanged as many prisoners.

The numerous executions which began at the Cape soon extended to other
places. Port au Prince had its salt waters made bloody, and scaffolds
were erected and loaded, within and without the walls. The hand of
tyranny spread terror and death over the shores of the north and the
west. As the insurrection became more daring, it was thought that the
punishments had not been either numerous enough, violent enough, or
various enough. The colonists counselled and encouraged more vengeance.
Children, women, and old men were confined in sacks, and thrown into
the sea; this was the punishment of parricides among the Romans, ten
centuries before; and now resorted to by these haters of liberty.

Rochambeau put five hundred blacks, prisoners whom he had taken in
battle, to death in one day. Twenty of Toussaint’s old officers were
chained to the rocks and starved to death.

But the blacks were gradually getting possession of the strongholds in
the islands.

“To arms! to arms!” was the cry all over the island, until every one
who could use even the lightest instrument of death, was under arms.

Dessalines, Belair, and Lamartiniere, defeated the French general at
Verettes; in no place was the slaughter so terrible as there. At a mere
nod of Dessalines, men who had been slaves, and who dreaded the new
servitude with which they were threatened, massacred seven hundred of
the whites that Dessalines had amongst his prisoners.

The child died in the arms of its sick and terrified mother; the father
was unable to save the daughter, the daughter unable to save the
father. Mulattoes took the lives of their white fathers, to whom they
had been slaves, or whom, allowing them to go free, had disowned them;
thus revenging themselves for the mixture of their blood. So frightful
was this slaughter, that the banks of the Artibonite were strewn with
dead bodies, and the waters dyed with the blood of the slain. Not a
grave was dug, for Dessalines had prohibited interment, in order that
the eyes of the French might see his vengeance even in the repulsive
remains of carnage.

The united enthusiasm and bravery of the blacks and mulattoes was too
much for the French. Surrounded on all sides, Rochambeau saw his troops
dying for the want of food. For many weeks they lived on horse flesh,
and were even driven to subsist on the dogs that they had imported from

Reduced to the last extremity by starvation, the French general sued
for peace, and promised that he would immediately leave the Island;
it was accepted by the blacks, and Rochambeau prepared to return to
France. The French embarked in their vessels of war, and the standard
of the blacks once more waved over Cape City, the capital of St.
Domingo. As the French sailed from the Island, they saw the tops of
the mountains lighted up;--it was not a blaze kindled for war, but for
freedom. Every heart beat for liberty, and every voice shouted for joy.
From the ocean to the mountains, and from town to town, the cry was
“Freedom! Freedom!” Thus ended Napoleon’s expedition to St. Domingo. In
less than two years the French lost more than fifty thousand persons.
After the retirement of the whites, the men of color put forth a
Declaration of Independence, in which they said: “We have sworn to show
no mercy to those who may dare to speak to us of slavery.”


[37] Beard’s Life of Toussaint L’Ouverture.



While the cause of independence, forced at length on the aspirations
of the natives of Hayti, was advancing with rapid strides, amid all
the tumult of armies, and all the confusion of despotic cruelties,
Toussaint L’Ouverture pined away in the dark, damp, cold prison of Joux.

This castle stands on the brink of the river Daubs; on the land side,
the road of Besancon, leading into Switzerland, gives the stronghold
the command of the communications between that country and France. This
dungeon built by the Romans, has in it a room fifteen feet square, with
a stone floor, the same of which the entire castle is constructed.
One small window, high up on the side, looking out on the snows of
Switzerland, is the only aperture that gives light to the dismal spot.
In winter, ice covers the floor; in summer, it is deep with water. In
this living tomb, Toussaint was placed, and left to die.

All communication was forbidden him with the outer world. He received
no news of his wife and family. He wrote to Bonaparte, demanding a
trial, but received no reply. His fare was limited to a sum not
sufficient to give him the comforts of life. His servant was taken
away, and food reduced to a still smaller quantity; and thus the
once ruler of St. Domingo, the man to whom in the darkest day of the
insurrection the white planters looked for safety, knowing well his
humanity, was little by little brought to the verge of starvation.

Toussaint’s wife and children had been arrested, sent to France,
separated from him, and he knew nothing of their whereabouts. He wrote
to Napoleon in behalf of them. The document contained these words:

“General Le Clerc employed towards me means which have never been
employed towards the greatest enemies. Doubtless I owe that contempt
to my color; but has that color prevented me from serving my country
with zeal and fidelity? Does the color of my body injure my honor or my
courage? Suppose I was a criminal, and that the general-in-chief had
orders to arrest me; was it needful to employ carabineers to arrest my
wife and children; to tear them from their residence without respect,
and without charity? Was it necessary to fire on my plantations, and
on my family, or to ransack and pillage my property? No! My wife, my
children, my household, were under no responsibility; have no account
to render to government. General Le Clerc had not even the right to
arrest them. Was that officer afraid of a rival?

“I compare him to the Roman Senate, that pursued Hannibal even into his
retirement. I request that he and I may appear before a tribunal, and
that the government bring forward the whole of my correspondence with
him. By that means, my innocence, and all I have done for the republic,
will be seen.”

Toussaint was not even aware of Le Clerc’s death. Finding that the
humanity of Colomier, the governor of the castle, would not allow
the prisoner to starve fast enough, Napoleon ordered the keeper to a
distance; and on his return, Toussaint was dead.

Thus in the beginning of April, in the year 1803, died Toussaint
L’Ouverture, a grandson of an African king. He passed the greater
number of his days in slavery, and rose to be a soldier, a general, a
governor, and to-day lives in the hearts of the people of his native
isle. Endowed by nature with high qualities of mind, he owed his
elevation to his own energies and his devotion to the welfare and
freedom of his race. His habits were thoughtful, and, like most men of
energetic temperaments, he crowded much into what he said.

So profound and original were his opinions, that they have been
successively drawn upon by all the chiefs of St. Domingo since his
era, and still without loss of adaptation to the circumstances of the
country. His thoughts were copious and full of vigor; and what he could
express well in his native patois, he found tame and unsatisfactory in
the French language, which he was obliged to employ in the details of
his official business.

He would never sign what he did not fully understand, obliging two or
three secretaries to re-word the document, until they had succeeded in
furnishing the particular phrase expressive of his meaning. While at
the height of his power, and when all around him were furnished with
every comfort, and his officers living in splendor, Toussaint himself
lived with an austere sobriety, which bordered on abstemiousness.

Clad in a common dress, with a red Madras handkerchief tied around his
head, he would move amongst the people as though he were a laborer.
On such occasions he would often take a musket, throw it up into the
air, and catching it, kiss it; again hold it up, and exclaim to the
gazing multitude, “Behold your deliverer; in this lies your liberty!”
Toussaint was entirely master of his own appetites and passions.

It was his custom to set off in his carriage with the professed object
of going to some particular point of the Island, and when he had
passed over several miles of the journey, to quit the carriage, which
continued its route under the same escort of guards, while Toussaint
mounted on horseback, and followed by his officers, made rapid
excursions across the country to places where he was least expected. It
was upon one of these occasions that he owed his life to his singular
mode of travelling. He had just left his carriage when an ambuscade
of mulattoes, concealed in the thickets of Boucassin, fired upon the
guard; several balls pierced the carriage, and one of them killed an
old servant, who occupied the seat of his master.

No person knew better than he the art of governing the people under his
jurisdiction. The greater part of the blacks loved him to idolatry.
Veneration for Toussaint was not confined to the boundaries of St.
Domingo; it ran through Europe; and in France his name was frequently
pronounced in the senate with the eulogy of polished eloquence. No one
can look back upon his career without feeling that Toussaint was a
remarkable man. Without being bred to the science of arms, he became a
valiant soldier, and baffled the skill of the most experienced generals
that had followed Napoleon. Without military knowledge, he fought like
one born in the camp.

Without means, he carried on a war successfully. He beat his enemies in
battle, and turned their weapons against them. He possessed splendid
traits of genius, which were developed in the private circle, in the
council chamber, and upon the field of battle. His very name became a
tower of strength to his friends and a terror to his foes.



Rochambeau, with the remnant of his defeated army, had scarcely
retired from St. Domingo before the news of the death of Toussaint
reached the Island. The announcement of this, together with the fact
that their great general had died by starvation, assured the natives
of the essential goodness of their cause, and the genuine vigor of
their strength. They had measured swords with the whites, and were
conscious of their own superiority. Slavery in St. Domingo was dead,
and dead forever. The common enemy was gone, and the victory had
been gained by the union of the blacks and mulattoes, and these put
forth a Declaration of Rights, in which they said: “The independence
of St. Domingo is proclaimed. Restored to our primitive dignity, we
have secured our rights; we swear never to cede them to any power in
the world. The frightful veil of prejudice is torn in pieces; let it
remain so forever. Woe to him who may wish to collect the blood-stained
tatters. We have sworn to show no mercy to those who may dare to speak
to us of slavery.” This document was signed by Dessalines, Christophe,
and Clervaux, the three chiefs who had conducted the war after the
capture of Toussaint.

The first of these were black, and represented that class of his race
who held sentiments of the most extreme hatred to the whites. The
second was also black, but of a feeling more inclined to moderation.
The third represented the mulattoes, although he had none of the
prejudice against the blacks, so prevalent in those days. Clervaux was
a brave man, and had fought under Toussaint before the landing of Le
Clerc and Rochambeau.

By the daring manifested on the field of battle, his fierce and
sanguinary look, his thirst for blood, Dessalines had become the leader
of the blacks in the war for liberty; and now that victory was perched
upon their banners, and the civil government of the Island was to fall
into their hands, he set his associates aside, and took the State into
his own charge. Jean Jacques Dessalines was appointed governor-general
for life. He was not only a life officer, but he had the power to
establish laws, to declare war, to make peace, and even to appoint his

Having by a show of mildness gained the advantage which he sought,--the
acquisition of power,--Dessalines, a few weeks after his appointment as
governor for life, threw aside the mask, and raised the cry of “Hayti
for the Haytians,” thinking by proscribing foreigners, he should most
effectually consolidate his own authority.

From that moment the career of this ferocious man was stained with
innocent blood, and with crimes that find no parallel, unless in
the dark deeds of Rochambeau, whom he seemed anxious to imitate.
The blacks, maddened by the recollection of slavery, and crimes
perpetrated under its influence; maddened by the oft-repeated stories
of murders committed by the French, and the presence of many of their
old masters still on the Island, and whose bloody deeds Dessalines
continually kept before them in his proclamations, were easily led into
the worst of crimes by this man.

On the 8th of October, 1804, Dessalines was proclaimed Emperor of
Hayti, with the title of Jean Jacques the First. A census taken in 1805
showed the population of that part of the Island ruled by Dessalines,
to be only four hundred thousand.

The title of majesty was conferred on the new Emperor, as well as
on his august consort, the empress; their persons were declared
inviolable, and the crown elective; but the Emperor had the right to
nominate his successor among a chosen number of candidates. The sons of
the sovereign were to pass through all the ranks of the army.

Every emperor who should attach to himself a privileged body, under the
name of guard of honor, or any other designation, was, by the fact,
to be regarded as at war with the nation, and should be driven from
the throne, which then was to be occupied by one of the councillors of
state, chosen by the majority of the members of that body.

The emperor had the right to make, and approve and publish the laws;
to make peace and war; to conclude treaties; to distribute the armed
force at his pleasure; he also possessed the exclusive prerogative
of pardon. The generals of brigade and of division were to form part
of the council of state. Besides a secretary of state, there was to
be a minister of finances, and a minister of war. All persons were
encouraged to settle their differences by arbitration.

No dominant religion was admitted; the liberty of worship was
proclaimed; the State was not to take on itself the support of any
religious institution. Marriage was declared a purely civil act, and in
some cases divorce was permitted. State offences were to be tried by
a council to be named by the Emperor. All property belonging to white
Frenchmen was confiscated to the State. The houses of the citizens were
pronounced inviolable.

The Constitution was placed under the safeguard of the magistrates, of
fathers, of mothers, of citizens, of soldiers, and recommended to their
descendants, to all the friends of liberty, to the philanthropists of
all countries, as a striking token of the goodness of God, who, in the
order of his immortal decrees, had given the Haytians power to break
their bonds, and make themselves a free, civilized, and independent
people. This Constitution, which, considering its origin, contains so
much that is excellent, and which even the long civilized States of
Europe might advantageously study, was accepted by the emperor, and
ordered to be forthwith carried into execution.

The condition of the farm-laborer was the same as under the system
of Toussaint L’Ouverture; he labored for wages which were fixed at
one-fourth of the produce, and that produce was abundant. The whip and
all corporal punishments were abolished.

Idleness was regarded as a crime, but was punished only by
imprisonment. Two-thirds of the labor extracted under slavery was
the amount required under the new system. Thus the laborers gained
a diminution of one-third of their toil, while their wants were
amply supplied. The mulattoes, or quaterons, children of whites and
mulattoes, who were very numerous, if they could show any relationship,
whether legitimate or not, with the old white proprietors, were allowed
to inherit their property.

Education was not neglected in the midst of these outward and material
arrangements. In nearly all the districts, schools were established;
and the people, seeing what advantage was to be derived from learning,
entered them, and plied themselves vigorously to gain in freedom what
they had lost in slavery.

A praiseworthy effort was made by the framers of the constitution,
under which Dessalines was inaugurated emperor, to extinguish all
distinctions of color among the colored people themselves.

They decreed that the people should be denominated _blacks_; but such
distinctions are far stronger than words on paper. Unfortunately,
the distinctions in question, which was deeply rooted, and rested
on prejudices and antipathies which will never be erased from human
nature, had been aggravated by long and sanguinary contests between the
blacks and mulattoes.

Aware of that individual superiority which springs from a share in
the influences of civilization, the mulattoes of Hayti despised the
uneducated black laborers by whom they were surrounded, and felt that
by submitting to their sway, they put themselves under the domination
of a majority whose sole authority lay exclusively in their numbers.
The mulattoes really believed that their natural position was to fill
the places in the government once held by the whites.

They would no doubt have forgotten their party interests, and labored
for the diffusion through the great body of the people of the higher
influence of civilization, if they could have secured those positions.

The mutual hatred between the mulattoes and the blacks was so deeply
rooted, that neither party could see anything good in the other;
and therefore, whatever was put forth by one party, no matter how
meritorious in itself, was regarded with suspicion by the other.

The regular army of Dessalines was composed of fifteen thousand men,
in which there was included a corps of fifteen hundred cavalry. They
were a motley assemblage of ragged blacks, kept in the ranks, and
performing their limited routine of duty through the awe inspired among
them by the rigid severity of the imperial discipline. The uniform
of the troops had not been changed when the Island was erected into
an independent power, and the red and blue of the French army still
continued to distinguish the soldiers of the Haytian army, even when
the French were execrated as a race of monsters, with whom the blacks
of St. Domingo should have nothing in common. Together with the regular
army of the empire, there existed a numerous corps of national guard,
composed of all who were capable of bearing arms; though the services
of these were not required but in some dangerous emergency of the
State. The national guard and regular army were called into the field
four times every year; and during these seasons of military movement,
the government of Dessalines was over a nation of soldiers in arms, as
they remained in their encampment for some days, to be instructed in
military knowledge, and to be reviewed by the great officers of the

Dessalines now put forth a proclamation filled with accusations against
the white French still on the Island.

This ferocious manifesto was intended as a preliminary measure in the
train of horrible events to follow. In the month of February, 1805,
orders were issued for the pursuit and arrest of all those Frenchmen
who had been accused of being accomplices in the executions ordered by

Dessalines pretended that more than sixty thousand of his compatriots
had been drowned, suffocated, hung, or shot in these massacres. “We
adopt this measure,” said he, “to teach the nations of the world that,
notwithstanding the protection which we grant to those who are loyal
towards us, nothing shall prevent us from punishing the murderers who
have taken pleasure in bathing their hands in the blood of the sons of

These instigations were not long in producing their appropriate
consequences among a population for so many years trained to cruelty,
and that hated the French in their absence in the same degree that
they feared them when present. On the 28th of April it was ordered by
proclamation that all the French residents in the Island should be put
to death; and this inhuman command of Dessalines was eagerly obeyed by
his followers, particularly by the mulattoes, who had to manifest a
flaming zeal for their new sovereign, in order to save themselves from
falling victims to his sanguinary vengeance. Acting under the dread
surveillance of Dessalines, all the black chiefs were forced to show
themselves equally cruel; and if any French were saved from death, it
was due to the mercy of the inferior blacks, who dared not to avoid
their generosity. Dessalines made a progress through all the towns
where there were any French citizens remaining, and while his soldiers
were murdering the unfortunate victims of his ferocity, the monster
gloated with secret complacency over the scene of carnage, like some
malignant fiend glorying in the pangs of misery suffered by those who
had fallen a sacrifice to his wickedness.

The massacre was executed with an attention to order, which proves how
minutely it had been prepared. All proper precautions were taken, that
no other whites than the French should be included in the proscription.
In the town of Cape François, where the massacre took place, on the
night of the 20th of April, the precaution was first taken of sending
detachments of soldiers to the houses of the American and English
merchants, with strict orders to permit no person, not even the black
generals, to enter them, without the permission of the master of
the house, who had been previously informed of all that was about
to happen. This command was obeyed so punctually, that one of these
privileged individuals had the good fortune to preserve the lives of
a number of Frenchmen whom he had concealed in his house, and who
remained in their asylum until the guilty tragedy was over.

The priests, surgeons, and some necessary artisans were preserved from
destruction, consisting in all, of one-tenth of the French residents.
All the rest were massacred without regard to age or sex. The personal
security enjoyed by the foreign whites was no safeguard to the horror
inspired in them by the scenes of misery which were being enacted
without. At every moment of the night, the noise was heard of axes,
which were employed to burst open the doors of the neighboring houses;
of piercing cries, followed by a deathlike silence, soon, however, to
be changed to a renewal of the same sounds of grief and terror, as the
soldiers proceeded from house to house.

When this night of horror and massacre was over, the treacherous
cruelty of Dessalines was not yet appeased. An imperial proclamation
was issued in the morning, alleging that the blacks were sufficiently
avenged upon the French, and inviting all who had escaped the
assassination of the previous night to make their appearance upon
the Place d’Armes of the town, in order to receive certificates of
protection; and it was declared to them that in doing this they might
count upon perfect safety to themselves.

Many hundreds of the French had been forewarned of the massacre, and by
timely concealment had succeeded in preserving their lives. Completely
circumvented by the fiendish cunning of Dessalines, this little remnant
of survivors came out of their places of concealment, and formed
themselves in a body upon the Place d’Armes. But at the moment when
they were anxiously expecting their promised certificates of safety,
the order was given for their execution. The stream of water which
flowed through the town of Cape François was fairly tinged with their

Many of the great chiefs in the black army were struck with horror
and disgust at this fiendish cruelty of their emperor. Christophe
was shocked at the atrocity of the measure, though he dared not
display any open opposition to the will of the monarch. Dessalines
had no troublesome sensibilities of soul to harass his repose for a
transaction almost without a parallel in history. He sought not to
share the infamy of the action with the subordinate chiefs of his army,
but without a pang of remorse he claimed to himself the whole honor of
the measure.

In another proclamation, given to the world within a few days after
the massacre, he boasts of having shown more than ordinary firmness,
and affects to put his system of policy in opposition to the lenity
of Toussaint, whom he accuses, if not of want of patriotism, at least
of want of firmness in his public conduct. Dessalines was prompted to
the share he took in this transaction by an inborn ferociousness of
character; but a spirit of personal vengeance doubtless had its effect
upon the subordinate agents in the massacre. They hated the French for
the cruelties of Rochambeau.

Although the complete evacuation of the Island by the forces of the
French, and the ceaseless employment of the armies of Napoleon in
the wars of Europe, had left the blacks of St. Domingo in the full
possession of that Island, Dessalines lived in continual dread that the
first moment of leisure would be seized by the conqueror of Europe to
attempt the subjugation of his new empire. The black chief even alleged
in excuse for the massacre which he had just accomplished, that the
French residents in the Island had been engaged in machinations against
the dominion of the blacks, and that several French frigates then lying
at St. Jago de Cuba had committed hostilities upon the coast, and
seemed threatening a descent upon this land.

Influenced by this perpetual solicitude, Dessalines now turned his
attention to measures of defence, in case the French should again
undertake the reduction of the country. It was ordered that at the
first appearance of a foreign army ready to land upon the shores of the
Island, all the towns upon the coast should be burnt to the ground, and
the whole population be driven to the fastnesses of the interior.

He also built fortifications in the mountains as places of refuge in
the event of foreign invasion. Always violent and sanguinary, when
there remained no whites upon whom to employ his ferocity, his cruelty
was lavished upon his own subjects. For the slightest causes, both
blacks and mulattoes were put to death without mercy and without the
forms of trial. The sight of blood awakened within him his desire of
slaughter, and his government became at length a fearful despotism,
against the devouring vengeance of which none, not even those of his
own household, was safe. The generals Clervaux, Geffrard, and Gabart
died suddenly and mysteriously; and the aggressions of Dessalines,
directed particularly against the mulattoes, soon awakened the
vengeance of that jealous class, who were already displeased at their
insignificance in the State, and at the exaltation of the black dynasty
which seemed about to become permanent in the country. A secret
conspiracy was accordingly planned against the black monarch, and when,
on the 17th of October, 1806, he commenced a journey from St. Marks
to Port au Prince, the occasion was improved to destroy him. A party
of mulattoes lying in ambuscade at a place called Pont Rouge, made an
attack upon him, and he was killed at the first fire.

Thus closed the career of Dessalines, a man who had commenced life as a
slave, and ended as an emperor; a man whose untiring energy, headlong
bravery, unsurpassed audacity, and native genius made him to be feared
by both blacks and whites, and whose misdeeds have furnished to the
moralists more room for criticism than any other man whose life was
passed in the West Indies.

Yet this “monster,” with all his faults, did much for the redemption
of his race from slavery. Had Dessalines been in the position of
Toussaint, he would never have been captured and transported to
Europe. He who reads the history of the St. Domingo struggle without
prejudice, and will carefully examine the condition of parties, see
the efforts made by the expatriated planters to regain possession of
the Island, and view impartially the cruel and exterminating war upon
the blacks, as carried on by Le Clerc and Rochambeau, cannot feel like
throwing the mantle of charity over some of the acts of Jean Jacques
Dessalines. After the death of the emperor, the victorious mulattoes
followed up their success by attacking the partisans of Dessalines,
and four days were expended in destroying them. Upon the 21st there
appeared a proclamation, portraying the crimes of the fallen emperor,
and announcing that the country had been delivered of a tyrant. A
provisional government was then constituted, to continue until time
could be afforded for the formation of a new constitution, and General
Christophe was proclaimed the provisional head of the State.


[38] Malo.



The ambitious and haughty mulattoes had long been dissatisfied with
the obscure condition into which they had been thrown by the reign of
Dessalines; and at the death of that ruler, they determined to put
forward their claim. Therefore, while Christophe was absent from the
capital, the mulattoes called a convention, framed a constitution,
organized a republic, and elected for their president, Alexandre Pétion.

This man was a quadroon, the successor of Rigaud and Clervaux
to the confidence of the mulattoes. He had been educated at the
military school at Paris; was of refined manners, and had ever been
characterized for his mildness of temper and the insinuating grace
of his address. He was a skilful engineer, and at the time of his
elevation to power he passed for the most scientific officer and the
most erudite individual among the people of Hayti. Attached to the
fortunes of Rigaud, Pétion had acted as his lieutenant in the war
against Toussaint, and had accompanied that chief to France. Here he
remained until the departure of the expedition under Le Clerc, when
he embarked in that disastrous enterprise, to employ his talents
in restoring his country to the dominion of France. Pétion joined
Dessalines, Christophe, and Clervaux when they revolted and turned
against the French, and aided in gaining the final independence of
the Island. He was commanding a battalion of mulattoes, under the
government of Dessalines, at the close of the empire.

Christophe, therefore, as soon as he heard that he had a rival in
Pétion, rallied his forces, and started for Port au Prince, to meet
his enemy, and obtain by conquest what had been refused him by right
of succession; and, as he thought, of merit. Pétion was already in the
field; the two armies met, and a battle was fought.

In this contest, the impetuosity of Christophe’s attack was more than
a match for the skill and science of Pétion; and the new president was
defeated in his first enterprise against the enemy of his government.
The ranks of Pétion were soon thrown into irretrievable confusion, and
in a few minutes they were driven from the field--Pétion himself being
hotly pursued in his flight, finding it necessary, in order for the
preservation of his life, to exchange his decorations for the garb of a
farmer, whom he encountered on his way, and to bury himself up to the
neck in a marsh until his fierce pursuers had disappeared.

After this signal success, Christophe pressed forward to Port au
Prince, and laid siege to that town, in the hope of an easy triumph
over his rival. But Pétion was now in his appropriate sphere of action,
and Christophe discovered that in contending against an experienced
engineer in a fortified town, success was of more difficult attainment
than while encountering the same enemy in the open field, where his
science could not be brought into action. Christophe could make no
impression on the town; and feeling ill assured of the steadfastness of
his own proper government at Cape François, he withdrew his forces from
the investment of Port au Prince, resolved to establish in the North
a separate government of his own, and to defer to some more favorable
opportunity the attempt to subdue his rival at Port au Prince.

Thus placing themselves in hostile array against each other, the two
chiefs of Hayti employed themselves in strengthening and establishing
their respective governments, and in attempts to gain over the
different parts of the Island to an acknowledgment of their authority.
Christophe assumed the title of President of the State, and Pétion,
of the Republic; and the inhabitants of the country conferred their
allegiance according to the opinions of their chiefs, or the places of
their residence.

The successes of Christophe in his late campaign against his rival
at Port au Prince, had encouraged him with the hope of obtaining a
complete conquest over him when he had strengthened and confirmed
his power over the blacks of the North. The greater part of this
province had already declared for him, and refused to acknowledge the
new president at Port au Prince, who had been taken from among the
mulattoes of the South. In this state of public feeling, Christophe
proceeded to issue a series of proclamations and addresses to the
people and the army, encouraging them to hope for a better era about to
arise under his auspices, in which the evils of foreign invasion and
the disaster of intestine disturbance were to cease, and the wounds of
the country to be healed by the restoration of peace and tranquillity.
He manifested a desire to encourage the prosperity of commerce and
agriculture; and by thus fostering individual enterprise, to ensure
the happiness of the people under his rule. To support the credit of
his government among the commercial nations abroad, he dispatched
a manifesto to each of them, with a design to remove the distrust
which had begun to be entertained in the mercantile world of the new
governments of Hayti.

It was announced in these dispatches that the storehouses and magazines
of the Island were crowded and overflowing with the rich productions
of the Antilles, awaiting the arrival of foreign vessels to exchange
for them the produce and fabrics of other lands; that the vexatious
regulations and ignorant prohibitions of his predecessor no longer
existed to interfere with the commercial prosperity of the Island;
and that protection and encouragement would be granted to commercial
factors from abroad, who should come to reside in the ports of the

Christophe felt that his assumption of power was but a usurpation, and
that so long as his government remained in operation without the formal
sanction of the people, his rival at Port au Prince possessed immense
advantages over him, inasmuch as he had been made the constituted head
of the country by an observance of the forms of the constitution. To
remedy this palpable defect, which weakened his authority, he resolved
to frame another constitution, which would confirm him in the power he
had usurped, and furnish him with a legal excuse for maintaining his
present attitude. In accordance with this policy he convoked another
assembly at Cape François, composed of the generals of his army and
the principal citizens of that province, and after a short session
these subservient legislators terminated their labors by giving to
the world another constitution of the country, dated upon the 17th of
February, 1807. This new enactment declared all persons residing upon
the territory of Hayti, free citizens, and that the government was to
be administered by a supreme magistrate, who was to take the title of
President of the State, and General-in-Chief of the land and the naval

The office was not hereditary, but the president had the right
to choose his successor from among the generals of the army; and
associated with him in the government there was to exist a Council
of State, consisting of nine members, selected by the President from
among the principal military chiefs. This, like the constitution, which
conferred power upon Dessalines, made Christophe an autocrat, though he
was nominally but the mere chief magistrate of a republic.

The rival government of Port au Prince differed from that of
Christophe, by its possessing more of the forms of a republic. With
a president who held his power for life, and who could not directly
appoint his successor, there was associated a legislative body,
consisting of a chamber of representatives chosen directly by the
people, and a senate appointed by the popular branch of the government,
to sustain or control the president in the exercise of his authority.

Hostilities between Christophe and Pétion were carried on for a long
time, which led to little less than the enfeeblement of both parties.
The black chief, however, established his power on solid foundations
in the North, while Pétion succeeded in retaining a firm position in
the South. Thus was the Island once more unhappily divided between two
authorities, each of which watched its opportunity for the overthrow of
the other.

The struggle between the two presidents of Hayti had now continued
three years, when a new competitor started up, by the arrival of Rigaud
from France. He had passed by way of the United States, and arrived
at Aux Cayes on the 7th of April, 1810. This was an unexpected event,
which awakened deep solicitude in the bosom of Pétion, who could not
avoid regarding that distinguished mulatto as a more formidable rival
than Christophe. He feared his superior talents, and dreaded the
ascendency he held over the mulatto population. Rigaud was welcomed
by his old adherents with enthusiastic demonstrations of attachment
and respect; and after enjoying for a few days the hospitalities that
were so emulously offered to him, he proceeded on his way to Port au
Prince. Though Pétion could not feel at his ease while such a rival
was journeying in a species of triumph through the country, he dared
not, at least in his present condition, to make an open manifestation
of his displeasure, or employ force against one who had such devoted
partisans at his command. He determined, therefore, to mask his jealous
feelings, and wear an exterior of complaisance, until he could discover
the designs of Rigaud. The latter was received graciously by the
President, whose suspicions were all effectually lulled by the harmless
deportment of the great mulatto chieftain; and he was even invested by
Pétion with the government of the South. This was to place an idol in
the very temple of its worshippers, for Rigaud returned to Aux Cayes to
draw all hearts to himself. No one in that province now cast a thought
upon Pétion; and within a short period Rigaud was in full possession
of his ancient power. Pétion, affrighted at his situation, surrounded
as he was by two such rivals as Rigaud and Christophe, began an open
rupture with the former before he had fully ascertained whether he
could sustain himself against the hostilities of the latter. Some of
the mulattoes, who, with a spirit of patriotism or clanship foresaw
the triumphs which would be offered to the blacks by civil dissensions
among themselves, proposed a compromise between Rigaud and Pétion; but
this was rejected by the latter, who began to make preparations to
invade Rigaud’s province.

Resolved to profit by this division, Christophe marched against Pétion,
but the common danger brought about a union, and Christophe judged it
prudent to retire.

When Pétion had been left at peace, by the temporary retirement of
Christophe from the war against him, all his former jealousy was
awakened within him against Rigaud. The treaty of Miragoane had been
wrung from him by the hard necessities of his situation, which were
such as to force him to choose between yielding himself a prey to the
warlike ambition of Christophe, or complying with the urgent demands
pressed upon him by the political importance of Rigaud. A compact thus
brought about by the stern compulsion of an impending danger, and
not yielded as a voluntary sacrifice for the preservation of peace,
was not likely to remain unviolated when the necessity of the moment
had passed away and was forgotten. Thus, as has been observed, when
Christophe, engaged as he was in renovating the structure of his
government, had ceased from his hostilities against Pétion, the latter
became immediately infested with all his former dislike of Rigaud.
Intrigues were commenced against him, to shake the fidelity of his
followers, and to turn the hearts of the Southern blacks against the
mulatto who had been placed over them as their chief.

Emissaries were employed in all parts of that province, reminding
the people of the obligations which they owed to the constituted
authorities of the Republic at Port au Prince, and conjuring them to
remember that the preservation of the country against the designs of
France could only be assured by the unanimous support given to the
chief of the Republic, who alone could perpetuate the institutions of
the country, and maintain its independence against its foreign enemies.

An armistice concluded between Pétion and the Maroon chief, Gomar,
furnished an opportunity to the former to arm this formidable brigand
against the government of the South. Gomar’s followers, eager for new
scenes of plunder, commenced their depredations in the plain of Aux
Cayes, and the plantations in that quarter were soon subjected to the
same ravages as had fallen to the lot of those of Grand Anse. While
Rigaud was involved in a perplexing war with these banditti, and had
already discovered that the allegiance of his own followers at Aux
Cayes was wavering and insecure, he was dismayed at the intelligence
that Pétion had already invaded his territory at the head of an
army. Thus were the mulattoes committing suicide upon their political
hopes, if not upon their very existence, by a mad strife in the cause
of their respective chiefs, when their formidable enemy in the North
was concentrating his power, and watching a favorable moment to pour
destruction upon both.

Rigaud hastened to collect his forces, in order to defend his territory
against this invasion of Pétion; and the latter, having already passed
the mountains of La Hotte, was met by his antagonist in the plain of
Aux Cayes. A furious battle immediately took place; and after a gallant
resistance, Rigaud’s troops had already begun to give ground before the
overpowering numbers and successive charges of the enemy, when a strong
reinforcement of troops under the command of General Borgella, coming
in from Aquin, turned the tide of battle in favor of Rigaud, and Pétion
was defeated in his turn, and his army almost annihilated in the rout
which followed.[39]

The joy of this signal victory over his opponent, which had driven him
from the southern territory, did not efface the bitter recollections
which had fastened themselves upon the sensitive mind of Rigaud. In
that province, where he had once been all-powerful, and Pétion a
subservient instrument of his will, he saw that his former glory had so
far departed that he could not trust the fidelity of his own personal
attendants, while his former lieutenant was now his triumphant rival.
The applauses and sworn devotedness with which the multitude had once
followed in the march of his power had now with proverbial fickleness,
been exchanged for the coldness of indifference, or an open alliance
with his foes.

In this desolate state of his fortunes, Rigaud had lost his wonted
energies; and instead of following up his late success, and arming
himself for the last desperate effort to crush his insinuating but
unwarlike opponent, he returned to Aux Cayes, to new solicitudes and
new experience of the faithlessness of that mob whose whirlwind-march
he had once guided by a single word. Pétion’s partisans had now gained
over to their opinions a formidable proportion of the people of Aux
Cayes, and Rigaud had scarcely entered his capital when a multitude
of blacks and mulattoes were gathered in the streets opposite the
government house.

Their cries of vengeance upon Rigaud, and their menacing preparations,
struck a panic into the little body of followers, who, faithful among
the faithless, still adhered with unshaken constancy to the declining
fortunes of their once glorious chief. His friends besought Rigaud not
to attempt the hazardous experiment of showing himself in the gallery
to persuade the mob to disperse. But not suspecting that the last
remnant of his once mighty influence had departed from him, Rigaud
persevered in his design, and advancing to the gallery of the house,
he demanded in a mild voice of the leaders of the multitude what they
intended by a movement so threatening, when he received in answer a
volley of musketry aimed at his life.

But he remained unharmed, though he returned into the house heart-sick
and desperate. A furious onset was immediately commenced from without,
and this was answered by a vigilant and deadly defence from Rigaud’s
followers within. The contest continued through the night, but the mob
were defeated in every attempt which they made to obtain a lodgment
within the walls of the edifice, and no decisive success could be
obtained to disperse them. Rigaud, now convinced that the witchery of
his power existed no longer, made a formal abdication of his authority,
and nominated General Borgella as his successor in the command of
the South. Rigaud, worn with chagrin and humiliation, retired to his
plantation, Laborde, where he died within a few days after, a victim to
the faithlessness of the multitude.

Thus ended the life of André Rigaud, the ablest scholar and most
accomplished military man of any color which the St. Domingo revolution
had produced. The death of Rigaud had the effect of uniting the mulatto
generals, Borgella and Boyer under Pétion, and against Christophe; the
latter, however, succeeded in maintaining his authority in the North,
and still looked forward to a time when he should be able to govern the
whole Island.

Christophe, like Dessalines, had been made a monarch by the
constitution which formed a basis to his power; but he had at
first only assumed to himself the modest title of President. This
moderation in his ambition arose from the desire to supplant Pétion
in his government, and become the supreme head of the whole country
without any rival or associate. For this purpose it was necessary to
surround his power with republican forms; to make it attractive in
the estimation of the better class of blacks and mulattoes, with whom
republican notions happened to be in vogue.

But the prospect of superseding Pétion in his authority had become less
clear with every succeeding attempt, of Christophe against him; and
after years of untiring hostility, it was evident that Pétion was more
firmly enthroned in the hearts of his people than at the commencement
of his administration, and that no solid and durable advantages had
been gained over him in the field. Christophe was thus led to change
his policy; and, instead of seeking to assimilate the nature of the two
governments, in order to supplant his rival in the affections of his
countrymen, he now resolved to make his government the very contrast of
the other, and leave it to the people of his country to decide which of
the two forms of power was the best adapted to the nature and genius of
the population over which they maintained their sway.

The one was a republic in direct contact with the people, and governed
by a plain engineer officer, who, though clothed with the sovereignty
of the state, “bore his faculties so meekly” that he mixed freely with
his fellow-citizens, but as a man in high repute for his intelligence
and his virtues.

Christophe determined that the other should be a monarchy, surrounded
by all the insignia of supreme power, and sustained by an hereditary
nobility, who, holding their civil and military privileges from the
crown, would be props to the throne, and maintain industry and order
among the subjects of the government. The Republic was a government
of the mulattoes, and had been placed under the rule of a mulatto
president. The monarchy was to be essentially and throughout, a
dominion of the pure blacks, between whom and the mulattoes it was
alleged there was such diversity of interest and personal feeling that
no common sympathy could exist between them.

In pursuance of this new policy, Christophe’s Council of State was
convoked, and commenced its labors to modify the constitution of
February, 1807, in order to make it conformable to the new ambition
of Christophe. With this council there had been associated the
principal generals of the army and several private citizens, who were
sufficiently in the favor of Christophe to be ranked among those
willing to do him honor. The labors of this council were brief, and
upon the 20th of March, 1811, the session was closed by the adoption
of a new form of government. The imperial constitution of 1805 was
modified to form an hereditary monarchy in the North, and to place the
crown of Hayti upon Christophe, under the title of Henry the First.

In their announcement to the world of this new organization of the
government, the Council declared that the constitution which had been
framed in the year 1807, imperfect as it was, had been adapted to the
circumstances of the country at that epoch, but that the favorable
moment had arrived to perfect their work, and establish a permanent
form of government, suited to the nature and condition of the people
over which it was to bear rule.

They added that the majority of the nation felt with them the necessity
of establishing an hereditary monarchy in the country, inasmuch as
a government administered by a single individual was, less than any
other, subject to the chances of revolution, as it possessed within
itself a higher power to maintain the laws, to protect the rights of
citizens, to preserve internal order, and maintain respect abroad; that
the title of governor-general, which had been conferred upon Toussaint
L’Ouverture, was insufficient to the dignity of a supreme magistrate;
that that of emperor, which had been bestowed upon Dessalines, could
not in strictness be conferred but upon the sovereign of several states
united under one government, while that of president did not, in fact,
carry with it the idea of sovereign power at all. In consideration of
these grave objections to all other terms to designate the supreme head
of the state, the council expressed itself driven at last to adopt the
title of king. The council next proceeded by a formal decree to confer
the title of King of Hayti upon Henri Christophe and his successors
in the male line, and to make such changes and modifications in the
constitution of 1807 as were required by the recent alteration in the
structure of the government.

On the 4th of April, the Council of State, which, with the additions
made to their number from among the chiefs of the army and the leaders
among the population, was pompously styled the Council General, in
their robes of state, and headed by their president, proceeded to the
palace of Christophe, to announce in formal terms the termination
of their labors, which had resulted in the formation of a new
constitution, making the crown of Hayti hereditary in the family of
the reigning prince. After a speech filled with the very essence of
adulation, the President of the Council, General Romaine, exclaimed
in the presence of the sovereign, “People of Hayti, regard with pride
your present situation. Cherish no longer any fears for the future
prosperity of your country, and address your gratitude to Heaven; for
while there exists a Henry upon the throne, a Sully will ever be found
to direct the march of your happiness.”

On the day following, the new constitution was proclaimed by official
announcement throughout the kingdom, and Christophe entered upon the
exercise of the kingly powers which had been conferred upon him. The
first act of his reign was the promulgation of a royal edict, creating
an hereditary nobility, as a natural support to his government, and
an institution to give éclat and permanence to his sovereignty. These
dignitaries of the kingdom were taken mostly from among the chiefs
of the army, and consisted of two princes, not of the royal blood,
of seven dukes, twenty-two counts, thirty-five barons, and fourteen

Of priority in rank among the princes of the kingdom, were those of the
royal blood, consisting of the two sons of Christophe, the eldest of
whom, as heir apparent, received the title of Prince Royal.

Having finished these creations of his new monarchy, and received
the two royal crowns of Hayti, Christophe appointed the 2d of June,
1811, as the day for his coronation. All the chiefs of the army and
other grandees of the realm had orders to repair to the capital, and
among them there appeared a deputation from the blacks of the Spanish
territory, who had assumed to themselves the pompous appellations of
Don Raphael de Villars, chief commandant of Santiago; Don Raymond de
Villa, commandant of Vega; Don Vincent de Luna, and Don José Thabanes,
who at least represented the Spanish creoles by the grandiloquence
of their names. An immense pavilion had been erected upon the Place
d’Armes of Cape Henry, furnished with a throne, galleries for the
great ladies of the court, chapels, oratories, an orchestra, and all
the arrangements necessary for the august ceremony. This was performed
in due stateliness by the new archbishop of Hayti, the capuchin Brelle,
who consecrated Christophe King of Hayti, under the title of Henry the


[39] Lacroix.



Christophe, now enthroned as the sovereign of the North, seized upon
the leisure which was afforded him after perfecting the internal
details of his new government, to attempt a peaceable union of the
blacks of the South with those who were already the loyal subjects
of what he considered the legitimate authority of the Island. For
this purpose a large deputation was dispatched from his capital, to
proceed into the territory of the republic as the envoys of the black
king, who proposed the union of the whole population in one undivided
government, secured under the form of an hereditary monarchy, both
from the revolutions and weakness of one, the structure of which was
more popular. These emissaries, sent to declare the clemency and
peaceful intentions of the monarch of the North, were taken from among
the prisoners who had fallen into the power of Christophe by the
capitulation of the Mole St. Nicholas, and who had been adopted into
the royal army, and made the sharers of the royal bounty of the black
king. To assist in this new measure, a proclamation was issued from
the palace at Cape Henry on the 4th of September, 1811, addressed to
the inhabitants of the South, who were no longer called the enemies of
the royal government, but erring children, misled by the designing;
and they were implored to return to their allegiance to the paternal
government of that chief who had just been constituted the hereditary
prince of the blacks. “A new era,” said this royal document, “has now
dawned upon the destinies of Hayti.

“New grades, new employments, new dignities; in fine, an order of
hereditary nobility are hereafter to be the rewards of those who devote
themselves to the State. You can participate in all these advantages.
Come, then, to join the ranks of those who have placed themselves under
the banners of the royal authority, which has no other design than the
happiness and glory of the country.”

This policy of Christophe was to employ the weapons of Pétion against
himself. But the republican chieftain was in better play with the foils
than his more unsophisticated rival of the monarchy, and Christophe
soon discovered that while he was attacking the government of Pétion by
appeals to the blacks, who were to be dazzled with his royal goodness,
the arts of his rival were employed in the very heart of his dominions,
and had already insinuated the poison of rebellion among his most
trusted subjects. His infant navy had hardly been launched and manned
with the objects of his clemency and royal favor, when a detachment of
the squadron, consisting of the Princess Royal and several brigs of
war, abjured his authority, and raised the standard of the republic.
This defection was punished by an English frigate under Sir James
Lucas Yeo,[40] who captured the rebellious squadron, and restored the
agents to Christophe’s vengeance.

Indignant at these attempts of the mulatto government to divert the
affections of his subjects from their sworn allegiance to his throne,
Christophe resolved on immediate war and the employment of the sword
against that race whose pride and hatred made them the enemies of the
pure blacks. Conscious of his military superiority, he resolved to make
his preparations for the intended enterprise such as to ensure success
over his opponent, and all the disposable forces of his army were
gathered together for an invasion of the territories of the Republic.

The Artibonite was soon crossed, and Pétion’s forces, under the command
of General Boyer, were met and defeated in the gorges of the mountains
of St. Marks; and the way thus laid open for an immediate advance on
Port au Prince.

The siege of this place was the object of the expedition, and
Christophe pressed forward once more to try the fortune of war against
his hated enemy. So sudden was the invasion, that Pétion was taken
totally unprepared--a considerable portion of his army being absent
from the capital, employed in watching the movements of General
Borgella in the south.

In this state of weakness the town might have been surprised, and
fallen an easy prey to the invading army, but Christophe had not
calculated upon such a speedy result, and though his vanguard had
seized upon a post a little to the north of the town, while the
inhabitants in their exposed condition were panic-struck at the
certain prospect of being captured immediately, the arrival of the main
body of Christophe’s army being delayed twenty-four hours, time was
thus afforded to Pétion to rally and concentrate his means of defence,
so as to be prepared for an effectual resistance. Christophe’s whole
force came up the next day, and Pétion’s capital was nearly surrounded
by a formidable train of artillery, and an army of twenty thousand men.

In this gigantic attempt of their old adversary, the mulattoes felt
with terror that defeat and conquest would not be to them a simple
change of government, but would involve in its tremendous consequences
the total extermination of their race. In so hazardous a situation,
they were taught to reflect upon the madness of their ambition, which,
by sowing dissensions among themselves, had exposed them, weak and
unarmed, to the whole power of their natural enemy. In so fearful a
crisis, the resolution was at last taken to repair their former error,
and thus avert the disasters which now overhung them by an attenuated
thread. Negotiations were hastily commenced with General Borgella, who,
sympathizing with his brethren of Port au Prince in their perilous
situation, consented to conditions of peace, and even yielded himself
to the orders of Pétion. The assistance of the army of the South was
thus secured, and General Borgella at the head of his forces marched
to the assistance of Pétion, and succeeded, in spite of the efforts of
Christophe, in gaining an entrance into the town.

The operations of the siege had already commenced; but the mulattoes,
now united, were enabled to make a vigorous defence. Christophe’s
formidable train of artillery had been mounted in batteries upon the
heights above the town, and kept up a slow but ceaseless fire upon the
works of the garrison within.

Pétion conducted the defence with considerable ability, and a
succession of vigorous sallies made upon the lines of the besieging
army without the town, taught the latter that they had a formidable
adversary to overcome before the town would yield itself to their mercy.

Amidst these continued struggles, which daily gave employment to the
two forces, and had already begun to inflame Christophe with the rage
of vexation that his anticipated success was so likely to be exchanged
for defeat, Pétion had, one day, at the head of a reconnoitering party,
advanced too far beyond his lines, when he was pursued by a squadron of
the enemy’s cavalry.

The President of the Republic had been discovered by the decorations
upon his hat; and the enemy kept up a hot pursuit, which hung upon
the very footsteps of the mulatto commander-in-chief, whose escape in
such circumstances seemed impossible, when one of his officers devoted
himself to death to save the life of his chief.

Exchanging hats with the president, he rode swiftly in another
direction. The whole party of the enemy were thus drawn after him, and
he was soon overtaken and cut down, while Pétion made his escape into
the town.

The siege of Port au Prince had now continued two months, and the
obstinacy of its defence had already begun to make Christophe despair
of final success, when an occurrence took place which determined him
to raise it immediately. Indignant at the tyranny of the black king,
several chiefs of his army had formed a conspiracy to assassinate him
during his attendance at church. Christophe was always punctual at
mass, and upon these occasions the church was filled with officers in
waiting, and surrounded with soldiers. It had been arranged to stab him
while he was kneeling at the altar, and then to proclaim the death of
the tyrant to the soldiery, whose attachment to their monarch, it was
thought, was not so warm as to render such an enterprise hazardous.

This dangerous undertaking had been prepared in such secrecy, that
a great number of the officers and soldiers of the army had been
drawn into the ranks of the conspirators, and all things were now in
readiness for the final blow. In this stage of the transaction, a
mulatto proved faithless to his associates, and informed Christophe
minutely of all the plans of the conspiracy, and of all the agents who
had devoted themselves to his destruction.

The monarch, thus possessed of a full knowledge of all that had been
prepared against him, concealed the vengeful feelings that burned
within him under an appearance of the utmost composure. He feared
lest a whisper intimating that he had been informed of the intentions
of the conspirators might snatch them from his vengeance by urging
them to desert to the enemy. At the usual hour the troops paraded
at the church, and Christophe, instead of entering to assist at the
mass, placed himself at the head of his army, and designated by their
names the leaders of the conspiracy, who were ordered to march to
the centre. An order was then given to the troops to fire, and the
execution was complete.

A black named Etienne Magny, was one of the ablest of Christophe’s
generals; and though he had been secretary to the council of state that
had raised the latter to the throne of Hayti, he had now become so
dissatisfied with his work that nothing retained him to the standard
of his king but the reflection that his family, whom he had left at
Cape Henry, would be required to pay the forfeit of his defection
with their heads. A body of black soldiers, who were upon the point
of deserting to the army of Pétion, willing to give éclat to their
defection by taking their commander with them, surrounded the tent of
Magny by night, and communicated to him their intention. The black
general hesitated not to express his willingness to accompany them; but
he urged that tenderness for his family forbade an attempt which would
doom them all to certain destruction.

The black soldiers refused to yield to these considerations, and
seizing upon Magny, they bore him off undressed, and without his arms,
into the town. To preserve the lives of Magny’s family, Pétion treated
him as a prisoner of war; and he remained at Port au Prince until the
death of Christophe, when he was made the commander of the North under

Christophe, discouraged at his defeats, and enraged at the sweeping
defections which were every day diminishing the numbers of his army,
and strengthening the resources of his rival, now commenced his retreat
towards the north, whence intelligence had lately reached him of
designs in preparation against him among his own subjects. The army
of the republic, under General Boyer, commenced a pursuit. The cause
of Pétion seemed triumphant. Boyer pressed closely upon the rear of
the royal army, and Christophe seemed on the point of losing all, when
the cautious policy of Pétion restrained Boyer’s activity, and the
republicans turned back from the pursuit. Christophe had been foiled
in his great effort by Pétion and Borgella, and he now regarded the
mulattoes with a hatred so deep and fiendlike, that nothing would
satisfy the direness of his vengeance but the utter extermination of
that race. A body of mulatto women of the town of Gonaives, who had
sympathized with their brethren of Port au Prince in the struggle
which the latter were maintaining against the power of Christophe, and
with this communion of feeling had made prayers to the Virgin against
the success of their king, became the first victims of the rage of
Christophe against their race.

They were marched out of the town, and all subjected to military
execution, without a distinction in their punishment or consideration
of mercy for their sex. Christophe had long ago resolved to rest the
foundation of his power upon the support of the pure blacks, and he
now determined to make his administration one of ceaseless hatred and
persecution to the mulattoes.

Through the influence of this policy, he hoped to make the number of
the blacks prevail over the superior intelligence and bravery of the


[40] Lacroix.



Christophe had now discovered the too palpable truth, that so far from
his possessing the means to drive his rival from the government of the
South, all his cares and precautions were requisite to maintain the
sovereignty over his own subjects of the North. A train of perpetual
suspicions kept his jealousy ever alive, and vexed by the tortures of
eternal solicitude, his despotic temper grew by the cruelty which had
become its aliment. Together with this perpetual inquietude for the
safety of his power, which made the new throne of Hayti a pillow of
thorns and torture, other considerations had their influence to arrest
the hostilities between the two chiefs of the country. The giant power
of Napoleon had now extended itself over almost all the thrones of
Europe, and with such an infinity of means at his disposal, it was
yearly expected that another armament, proportioned to the overgrown
power of the French Emperor, would be sent to crush the insurgents of
St. Domingo, and restore that island once more to the possession of its
ancient colonists.

Influenced by the fears inspired by these forebodings, the two
governments of Hayti were actuated by a common instinct of
self-preservation to cease from their warfare, and instead of
spending their resources in a civil strife which threatened to become
interminable, to employ themselves in giving permanence to their
existing condition, and prosperity to the country under their control.
The population, which had been employed in the armies of the two
powers, had been taken from their labors upon the soil, and the ravages
of war had consumed and destroyed the scanty growth of the plantations.

Amidst this unproductiveness of agriculture, which spread the miseries
of want and destitution among the inhabitants of both governments, the
occurrence of a maritime war between the United States and England
entirely cut off the supplies which had been drawn from those two
countries, and the evil condition of the Island was complete. In this
sad state of their affairs, both Christophe and Pétion ceased from all
military operations against each other, without previous arrangement or
military truce; and they directed all their efforts to heal the wounds
which had been inflicted by hostile depredation or the neglect of
peaceful employments within their respective territories.

The tax laid by Christophe upon his subjects exceeded in despotism
anything of the kind ever before known in the Island; and even
surpassed the outrageous demands of Dessalines.

Pétion dared not to tax his subjects to supply the wants of his
administration; and for this purpose he was driven to embarrass
commerce by the imposition of enormous duties upon the trade carried
on in his ports. But Christophe had assumed a station which forebade
him to fear his subjects, and he furnished yearly millions to his
treasury by a territorial tax, which poured one-fourth of all the
productions of the kingdom into the royal coffers. Possessed of this
revenue, which placed his finances beyond the contingencies of chance,
the commercial regulations of Christophe were the very opposites of
those enforced within the republic; and the traffic in the ports of the
kingdom was annually augmented by a competition sustained at advantages
so immense.

The army of the monarchy was in all things better furnished and more
respectable than that of the republic. The troops were well clothed
and well armed. They were kept under a discipline so strict that it
knew no mercy and permitted no relaxation. The smallest delinquency was
visited upon the offender with unsparing flagellation or with military
execution. The troops received a merely nominal stipend for their
services, and each soldier was required to gain his subsistence by the
cultivation of a few acres of ground, which were allotted him out of
the national domain; and of this scanty resource a fourth was required
to be delivered into the hands of the king’s officers, as a part of the
royal revenues.

Although Christophe had determined to maintain his power by the
bayonets of the soldiery, he condescended to no measures of unusual
moderation in his conduct toward these supporters of his authority. The
soldiers of the army, as well as the laborers of the plantations, lived
in perpetual dread of the rod of authority which was ever brandished
over their heads; and of the merciless inflictions of authority the
former obtained a more than ordinary share.

Upon common occasions, Christophe assumed little state, showing himself
among his subjects but as a private individual of superior rank. Like
his model, George III., it was his habit to walk the streets of the
capital dressed in plain citizen’s costume, and with no decorations
to designate his rank but a golden star upon his breast. In this
unostentatious manner he was often seen upon the quay, watching the
operations at the custom-house; or in the town, superintending the
laborers engaged in the erection of public edifices. His never-failing
companion upon these occasions was a huge cane, which he exercised
without mercy upon those who were idle in his presence, or whose petty
offences of any kind called for extemporary flagellation.

Christophe was without education, but like his predecessor, Dessalines,
he found a royal road to learning. His knowledge of books was
extensive, as several educated mulattoes retained about his person
under the name of secretaries were employed several hours of each day
in reading to the monarch. He was particularly delighted with history,
of which his knowledge was extensive and accurate; and Frederick the
Great of Prussia was a personage with whom above all others he was
captivated, the name of Sans Souci, his palace, having been borrowed
from Potsdam.

Such sharpness had been communicated to his genius, naturally astute,
by having knowledge thus dispensed to him in daily portions, that
Christophe became at last a shrewd critic upon the works read before
him, and even grew fastidious in the selection of his authors. The
events of that stormy period of European history, as detailed in the
public journals of the time, were listened to with a greedy ear, and
the course of Napoleon’s policy was watched with a keenness which
manifested Christophe’s own interest in the affair.

Christophe, though a pure African, was not a jet black, his complexion
being rather a dusky brown. His person was commanding, slightly
corpulent, and handsome. His address was cold, polished, and graceful.
He possessed a certain air of native dignity which corresponded well
with his high official station, and he exacted great personal deference
from all who approached him. The personal qualities and majestic
bearing of the black king impressed his own characteristics upon his
court. The most formal ceremony was observed upon public occasions,
and no grandee of the realm could safely appear at the court of
his sovereign without the costume and decorations of his rank. The
ceremonial and observances were modelled after the drawing-rooms at St.
James palace, and Christophe was always pleased with the attendance of
whites, particularly if they were titled Englishmen. Many distinguished
foreigners visited the court of the black monarch, attracted thither
by a curiosity to witness the spectacle of an African levée, a scene
which, by established regulation, was held at the palace on the
Thursday of every week.

The company was collected in an ante-chamber which adjoined the
principal hall of the palace, where the novices in courtly life were
suitably drilled and instructed in the minute details of the parts
they were expected to play in the coming pageantry, by two or three
assistants of the grand master of ceremonies, the Baron de Sicard. When
all things were in readiness, both within and without, the doors were
thrown open, and the monarch of Hayti appeared seated upon the throne
in royal costume, with the crown upon his head, and surrounded by a
glittering cortege composed of his ministers, grand almoner, grand
marshal of the palace, chamberlains, and heralds at arms.

Political offences were never left unpunished by Christophe, and
towards delinquents of this kind he never manifested his vengeance
by open violence or a display of personal indignation. Those who had
excited his mistrust were upon some occasions even favored with a
personal visit from the monarch, who studiously concealed his vengeful
purposes under a show of kindness, and the utmost graciousness of
manner. But the arrival of his vengeance was not retarded by this
display of civility. The agents of Christophe generally made their
appearance by night, and the suspected offender was secretly hurried
off to the fate which awaited him. But though Christophe’s anger for
offences not of a political character was violent, it was seldom bloody.

Amidst a torrent of philippics against such persons, his customary
expression, “O! diable,” was a signal to those in attendance to fall
upon the offender and scourge him with canes; and when the punishment
had been made sufficient, the justice of the monarch was satisfied, and
the culprit was restored again to his favor. Sometimes, however, his
indignation in these cases was aroused to the ferocity of a savage not
to be appeased but by the blood of his victim.

We must now turn to the affairs of the republic. Pétion had long been
despondent for the permanence of the republic, and this feeling had by
degrees grown into a settled despair, when he discovered that his long
administration had not succeeded in giving order and civilization to
the idle and barbarous hordes composing the dangerous population of his
government. While the more despotic sway of Christophe maintained the
prosperity of his kingdom, Pétion found that the people of the republic
was becoming every day a more ungovernable rabble, indolent, dissolute,
and wretched. While the coffers of Christophe were overflowing with
millions of treasures wrung by the hard exactions of his tyranny from
the blacks who toiled upon the soil, the finances of the republic
were already in irretrievable confusion, as the productions of that
territory were hardly sufficient for the sustenance of its population.

Amidst these perplexities and embarrassments, Pétion fell sick in the
month of March, 1818, and after a malady which continued but eight
days, he perished of a mind diseased, declaring to his attendants that
he was weary of life.

The announcement that Pétion was no more threw all the foreign
merchants of the republic into consternation. They expected that
an event like this would be the harbinger of another revolution to
overturn all that had been achieved, or of a long and destructive
anarchy, which would completely annihilate the little authority there
yet remained in the republic. Merchandise to the amount of millions
had been sold to the credit of the country, in the doubtful hope that
its government would be durable. Both treasures and blood were at
stake, but the terror of the moment was soon appeased. At the tidings
of Pétion’s illness, the Senate had assembled itself in session, and
this body conferred power upon the expiring president to nominate his
successor; and Pétion, when he foresaw that his death was inevitable,
designated for this purpose General Boyer, then commanding the
arrondissement of Port au Prince.

The funeral ceremonies of the deceased president took place upon the
first of April, and were performed with the most august solemnity.
All the great officers of the army were ordered to their posts, and
required to maintain a ceaseless vigilance for the preservation of
tranquillity. An embargo was laid until the Sunday following upon all
vessels in the harbor of Port au Prince, and several detachments of
troops were ordered to march towards different points of the frontier.
The observance of every precaution which the most anxious solicitude
could suggest for the maintenance of internal peace, and the prevention
of invasion from abroad, was evidence that Pétion had bequeathed his
power to a successor worthy of his choice.

There was a wide difference between Pétion and Christophe; the former
was a republican at heart, the latter, a tyrant by nature. Assuming
no pretensions to personal or official dignity, and totally rejecting
all the ceremonial of a court, it was Pétion’s ambition to maintain
the exterior of a plain republican magistrate. Clad in the white linen
undress of the country, and with a Madras handkerchief tied about his
head, he mixed freely and promiscuously with his fellow-citizens, or
seated himself in the piazza of the government house, accessible to all.

Pétion was subtle, cautious, and designing. He aspired to be the
Washington, as Christophe was deemed the Bonaparte, of Hayti. By
insinuating the doctrines of equality and republicanism, Pétion
succeeded in governing, with but ten thousand mulattoes, a population
of more than two hundred thousand blacks.

The administration of Pétion was mild, and he did all that he could
for the elevation of the people whom he ruled. He was the patron
of education and the arts; and scientific men, for years after his
death, spoke his name with reverence. He was highly respected by the
representatives of foreign powers, and strangers visiting his republic
always mentioned his name in connection with the best cultivated
and the most gentlemanly of the people of Hayti. The people of the
republic, without distinction of color or sect, regarded Pétion’s
death as a great national calamity; and this feeling extended even
into Christophe’s dominion, where the republican president had many
warm friends amongst the blacks as well as the mulattoes. Pétion was
only forty-eight years of age at his death. He was a man of medium
size, handsome, as were nearly all of the men of mixed blood, who took
part in the Haytian war. His manners were of the Parisian school, and
his early military training gave him a carriage of person that added
dignity to his general appearance.



Boyer, the new president, was peaceably acknowledged by the people of
the republic as their lawful chief, and no other general of the army
manifested any disposition to establish an adverse claim to the vacant

Boyer, finding himself tranquilly seated in power, and placed beyond
any danger from the hostile enterprises of the rival dynasty, devoted
himself to the encouragement of agriculture and commerce within his
territory. He made a tour of inspection through all the different
districts, and in each of them the due observance of the laws was
enjoined, and the citizens were urged to abandon their idle habits, and
for the good of the State, if not for the promotion of their individual
interests, to employ themselves in the development of the great
resources of the country.

Within a few months after his elevation to power, the new president
formed the resolution to disperse the hordes of banditti that infested
Grande Anse, and kept the whole South in perpetual alarm. Conscious of
the importance there existed of depriving his great competitor of a
lodgment within the very heart of the republic, such as to expose its
very capital to the danger of an attack both in front and rear, Boyer
determined to fit out a sufficient force to sweep the mountains of La
Hotte, and if possible, to capture Gomar within the very fastnesses
which had been for so many years his natural citadel.

Christophe, on the other hand, determined, if possible, to preserve
this important point from which he could so easily gain an entrance to
the territory of the republic, made a diversion in favor of the Maroons
in this movement against them, by assuming a hostile attitude upon
the northern frontier of the republic. A formidable detachment of the
royal army was already entering the neutral territory of Boucausin,
and threatening another attack upon Port au Prince, when Boyer found
it necessary to defer his intended expedition against Gomar, and
recall all his forces to repel the danger which was threatening in an
opposite quarter. This was the single result which Christophe designed
to accomplish by his movement on Port au Prince; and when this had been
effected, his army returned to its quarters in the North.

But Boyer was not to be turned aside from his resolution of rescuing
the best districts of his territory from continual spoliation, and
when the panic had subsided which had been inspired by the threatened
invasion of Christophe, he put his troops in motion in the autumn of
1819, for a campaign against the Maroons of Grande Anse. The troops of
the republic met, and defeated the brigands.

Having accomplished the objects of his visit, and left peace and
tranquillity where those conditions had so long been unknown, Boyer
commenced his return to his capital, gratified that his attainment
of power had been effected so peaceably, and that the hopes of his
administration were already based more solidly than ever upon the
wishes of the people.

Boyer had now attained complete success in his design to shut the
boundaries of his states against the machinations of Christophe; and
until a more favorable moment he contented himself to maintain a policy
strictly defensive against an opponent so warlike. The latter, on his
side, enraged at the defeat and overthrow of his allies of Grande Anse,
began to threaten another invasion of Boyer’s territory, and many
months glided away in the daily expectation of the commencement of
hostilities between the two governments. In this interval the growing
tyranny of Christophe forced a flood of emigration from his realms
into the territories of the republic, and the very household troops
of the monarch began to desert in large numbers from the service of a
sovereign whose cruelty decimated their ranks at the instigation of
his caprice. Bold, crafty, and suspicious, Christophe with one breath
congratulated his subjects upon the glorious possession which they held
of personal liberty and national independence, and with another he
doomed them to scourgings, imprisonment, and death.

So unlimited and habitual was his severity, that it was said of
him that he would put a man to death with as little hesitation as
a sportsman would bring down an article of game. His dungeons were
filled with thousands of victims of all colors, and new detachments of
prisoners were daily arriving to swell the number. The innocent were
confounded with the guilty; for under the promptings of his hatred or
jealousy, the despot would not stop to make nice discriminations.



Christophe, who now might be denominated the Caligula of the blacks,
was every day adding to the discontent and terror of his subjects. His
soldiers were treated with extreme severity for every real or fancied
fault, and they sought for nothing so earnestly as for an occasion
to abandon his service, and gain an asylum within the territories
of his rival; or to attempt, what they scarcely dared to meditate,
the dethronement of a tyrant who caused them to pass their lives in
wretchedness. Christophe possessed a knowledge of this disaffection
entertained towards him, and instead of seeking to assure and
perpetuate the allegiance of his army, to the bayonets of which he was
indebted for his power, his vengeance became every day more watchful
and more terrible, until his conduct exceeded in cruelty even that
which had already spread hatred and misery throughout the nation.
Christophe determined to rule through the inspirement of fear alone,
and he practised no arts of conciliation to preserve to his interests
those even who were necessary to the maintenance of his power.

His despotism was thus carried beyond the limits of endurance. So
far from seeking to attach his great officers to his own person, by
lavishing upon them the favors of his government, his suspicions had
become alarmed at the growing wealth of his nobles, in consequence
of the immense incomes drawn by them from the estates placed under
their control, within the districts of which they were the titulary
lords. To prevent this inordinate increase of wealth among a class of
persons who, it was thought, might one day employ it against the throne
and dignity of the sovereign, an institution was formed, called the
Royal Chamber of Accounts, which, by a sort of star-chamber process,
appraised the estates of the nobility, and disburdened them of so
much of their wealth as the king deemed a matter of superfluity to
them. Several of the black nobles had already been subjected to the
jurisdiction of this royal court; and, actuated by secret indignation
for this arbitrary spoliation of their property, they sought only for
an opportunity to drive Christophe from his power, in the hope to share
the same authority among themselves.

In the month of August, 1820, Christophe, while attending mass, was
attacked with paralysis, and was immediately carried to his palace at
Sans Souci, where he remained an invalid for many months, to the great
satisfaction of his subjects.

This event, so favorable to the treacherous designs of the discontented
chiefs of his government, furnished an occasion for the formation of a
dangerous conspiracy, at the head of which were Paul Romaine, Prince
of Limbe, and General Richard, the governor of the royal capital.
The conspirators designed to put Christophe to death, and after the
performance of a deed so acceptable to the nation, to form a northern
republic, similar in its structure to that which existed in the South,
at the head of which was to be placed General Romaine, with the title
of president.

But before this scheme could be carried out, a division of the royal
army, stationed at St. Marks, and consisting of a force of six thousand
men, exasperated at the cruelties practiced upon them, seized upon
this occasion to revolt. The commanding general was beheaded, and a
deputation of the mutineers was dispatched to carry the head of the
murdered officer to the president of the republic at Port au Prince.

The intelligence of this revolt was carried quickly to Christophe’s
capital, and it produced an explosion of popular feeling that betokened
the speedy downfall of the black monarchy. The troops of the capital
immediately put themselves under arms, and assumed a threatening
attitude. On the evening of the 6th of October, the inhabitants of the
capital were startled at the noise of drums beating to arms.

The streets were soon filled with soldiers, obeying or resisting the
authority of their officers, as the latter happened to favor or hate
the power of the king. The governor of the capital, who did not wish
for such a dénouement to his plans, undertook measures to subdue the
mutinous spirit of the troops; but though he sought for support on
every side, he found no readiness, either on the part of the army or
of the people, to assist him in his attempt. The tumult increased
every moment, and spread by degrees to every part of the town, until
the whole population became united in the rebellion. The army took the
lead, and the whole body of the inhabitants followed the example of
the soldiers. It was decided by acclamation to march upon Sans Souci,
and seize upon Christophe within his own palace, but this movement was
deferred until the following day.

Meantime, Christophe had been informed of these proceedings, so ominous
to the preservation of his power, if not of his life. He had not yet
recovered from his malady, but his unconquerable energy of soul had
not been paralyzed by disease, for he leaped immediately from his bed,
demanding that his arms should be brought to him, and that his horse
should be ordered to the door. But if his bold spirit did not quail
before the calamities which were impending over him, his bodily frame
proved unequal to the activity of his mind, and he was compelled to
rest satisfied with sending forward his guards to subdue the rebellious
troops of the capital, while he remained within his palace to await his

Meantime, General Richard, the governor of the capital, had put himself
at the head of the insurgents, the number of whom amounted to ten or
twelve thousand, and the column took up its march directly for Sans
Souci. On Sunday, the 8th of October, the insurgents encountered
on their way the detachment of body guards which the monarch had
dispatched against them.

The two forces quickly arranged themselves in order of battle, and a
brisk fire commenced between them. It continued, however, but a few
minutes. The cry of the insurgents was, “Liberté, liberté,” and the
utterance of this magical word soon became contagious in the ranks of
the royal guards. The latter had even less predilection for their
monarch than the other corps of the army, for their situation and
rank bringing them in nearer contact with the royal person, they were
frequently exposed to the terrific explosions of the royal vengeance.

Thus the watchword of the mutineers was answered with redoubled
enthusiasm by the household troops, and they passed over in a body to
join the forces of the insurgents. The whole military power of the
kingdom was now united in a vast column of mutineers, burning for
vengeance upon Christophe, and pressing onward to the palace of Sans

The king was soon informed that his guards had declared against him,
and that the forces of the insurgents were already in the immediate
vicinity of his palace. At this astounding intelligence he exclaimed in
despair, “Then all is over with me!” and seizing a pistol, shot himself
through the heart.

Thus perished a man who had succeeded in maintaining his authority over
the blacks for a longer time than any of the chiefs of the revolution.
This he accomplished through the single agency of the extraordinary
energy of his character. The unshrinking boldness and decision of his
measures made terror the safeguard of his throne, until his excessive
cruelty drove his subjects to a point at which fear is changed into
desperation. His policy at first was that of Toussaint, but he carried
it to an access of rigor which made his government a despotism.
Like his great predecessor, he possessed such intimate knowledge
of the African character, as enabled him to succeed completely in
controlling those placed under his sway, and, in spite of the national
propensities, to make his plans effectual for developing the resources
of the country. While the territory was still a neglected waste, and
its population poor, the lands of Christophe were in a condition of
high productiveness, and the monarch died, leaving millions in the
royal treasury.

But the salutary restraints imposed upon his disorderly subjects at the
commencement of his reign, had been augmented by degrees to correspond
to the demands of an evergrowing jealousy, until they had become
changed to a rigorous severity of discipline, or vengeance, such as
has been practised in few countries upon the globe. The dungeons of
the Citadel Henry were almost as fatal to human life as the Black Hole
at Calcutta, and it has been asserted, that amidst the pestiferous
exhalations and suffocative atmosphere of these abodes of misery, the
prisoners were almost sure to perish after a short confinement. With
less truth it has been alleged, that fifty thousand persons lost their
lives in these living tombs, while thirty thousand others perished
of fatigue, hunger, and hardship of those who had been condemned for
offences of a lighter nature, to labors upon the public works of the
kingdom, all of which were performed under the lash and bayonet of the

These estimates are probably beyond the truth, though the number
is incredible of those who perished under the severe exactions of
Christophe’s tyranny, by hardship, imprisonment, military execution, or
the infliction of sudden death, executed amidst a burst of ferocious
vengeance in the despot. Christophe failed of giving perpetuity to his
government through the mere abuse of his power.

The king was fifty-three years of age at his death, having reigned nine
years. With a mind little capable of continuous thought, Christophe
possessed a strong and obstinate will. When once he had gained an
elevated position, he manifested great energy of character. Anxious
to augment by commerce the material strength of his dominions, and to
develop its moral power by education, he imposed on the emancipated
people a labor not unlike that of the days of their servitude. Many
hundreds of lives were sacrificed in erecting the palace of Sans Souci,
and grading its grounds. The schools put in operation in his time,
surpassed anything of the kind ever introduced in that part of the
Island before or since.


[41] Malo.



The death of Christophe was hailed with enthusiasm and applause, in his
own part of the Island, as well as in the republic; and on the 15th of
October, 1821, General Paul Romaine put himself at the head of affairs,
and proclaimed a republic. A deputation was at once dispatched to
President Boyer, with an offer to unite the two governments under him,
as their head. This was accepted, and in a short time the union took

From the time of the evacuation of the Island by the French under
Rochambeau, Santo Domingo, the Spanish part of the Island, had become a
place of refuge for the white colonist, and the persecuted mulattoes;
and during the administration of Dessalines and Christophe, Santo
Domingo was comparatively quiet, except an occasional visit from the
partisans of some of the Haytian chiefs. Santo Domingo was a mulatto
government, and it hailed with joy the union under Boyer, and a scheme
was set on foot to carry the Spanish part of the Island over to Boyer.
Many of their best men thought it would be better for the whole Island
to be governed by one legislature, and that its capital should be at
Port au Prince.

The authorities of Santo Domingo were clearly of this opinion, for when
the new project was laid before them, they yielded a ready assent, and
a deputation immediately set forward in the month of December, 1821,
to convey the wishes of the Spanish blacks to the mulatto chief of
the French part of the Island. Boyer was formally solicited to grant
his consent that the Spanish part of the Island should be annexed to
the republic. This was a demand so gratifying to Boyer’s personal
ambition that any reluctance on his part to comply with it was clearly
impossible. Thus the Spanish deputies were received with the utmost
graciousness, and dismissed with every favor that gratified hope could

But a year had elapsed since the rebellion in the North had transferred
the realms of Christophe as a precious godsend to the peaceable
possession of Boyer, and the army of the republic was now ordered to
put itself in readiness for a victorious and bloodless march to Santo
Domingo. Boyer placed himself at its head, and a rapid advance was made
into the heart of the Spanish territory. Not the least resistance was
encountered, and the inhabitants of each of the towns in succession
hastened emulously to testify their adherence to the cause of the
republic, until the invading column marched at last in a sort of
triumph into the city of Santo Domingo.

The principal authorities, and the people generally, made a formal
transfer of their allegiance to their new rulers, and were permitted
to remain in the enjoyment of their former privileges. The chief
command of the lately acquired territory was placed by Boyer in the
hands of General Borgella, and the president returned to Port au
Prince, gratified by the extraordinary success with which fortune had
crowned his administration; which he commenced by governing a distant
province in the southwestern part of the Island, and by a succession
of unlooked-for incidents, he had been placed at the head of the whole
country, without a competitor to annoy him, or any malcontents to
disturb the internal repose of his government.

The death of Christophe, and the elevation of Boyer to the government
of all St. Domingo, were events which had in the meantime created a
strong sensation in the ranks of the old colonists residing in France,
as well as at the office of the minister for the colonies. Boyer’s
attachment to France was presumed to be stronger than that of his
predecessor, Pétion, and under such circumstances, new hope was derived
from the event of his exaltation to power. It was now thought that
an occurrence so propitious to the claims of France upon her ancient
colony would lead to a satisfactory adjustment of the difficulty which
had been interposed against the success of former negotiation. The
French cabinet immediately formed the resolution to sound the new chief
of Hayti as to his sentiments in regard to an arrangement between
the two governments. The difficulties in the way of an easy conquest
of the country, and the tone of firmness which had been held both by
Christophe and Pétion to all former demands made upon them by the
agents of France, had by degrees depressed the hopes of the colonists,
and diminished the expectations of the French government in relation
to the claims upon St. Domingo. The restoration of the Island to its
former condition of colonial dependence, and the establishment of the
ancient planters in the possession of their estates and negroes, were
no longer regarded as events within the bounds of possibility, and the
demands of France upon the government of Hayti were now lowered to the
mere claim of an indemnity to the colonists for the losses which had
reduced them to beggary.

At length, a secret agent of the minister of marine held an audience
with Boyer, and informed him that the French government having in
former years made repeated attempts to accomplish an arrangement
between the two countries, all of which had been fruitless, it was
desired that Boyer himself would renew the negotiations in his turn. In
consequence of this information, Boyer appointed General Boyé as his
plenipotentiary, who was furnished with instructions authorizing him
to commence negotiations with the appointed agent of France, either
in that or some neutral country, for the purpose of terminating the
differences existing between their respective governments. M. Esmangart
and the Haytian envoy agreed to hold their conferences at Brussels, but
the hopes of the two contracting nations were in this instance also
destined to be frustrated. The parties could not agree as to the nature
of the indemnity to be made.

At length, in 1825, after the recognition of the independence of Hayti
by others, the French, under Charles X., sold to its inhabitants the
rights which they had won by their swords for the sum of one hundred
and fifty millions of francs, to be paid as an indemnity to the
colonists. This was the basis of a treaty of peace and fraternal
feeling between France and Hayti, that resulted in great good to
the latter. In 1843, a party opposed to president Boyer made its
appearance, which formed itself into a conspiracy to overthrow the
government. Seeing that he could not make head against it, Boyer, in
disgust, took leave of the people in a dignified manner, and retired to
the island of Jamaica, where, a few years since, he died.

Jean Pierre Boyer was born at Port au Prince, on the second of
February, 1776, received a European education at Paris, fought under
Rigaud and Toussaint L’Ouverture; and in consequence of the success
which the black leader obtained, quitted the Island. Boyer returned to
Hayti in Le Clerc’s expedition; he, however, separated from the French
general-in-chief, and joined in the foremost in the great battle for
the freedom of his race. He was a brave man, a good soldier, and proved
himself a statesman of no ordinary ability. When he came into power,
the mountains were filled with Maroons, headed by their celebrated
chief, Gomar; Rigaud and Pétion had tried in vain to rid the country of
these brigands.

Boyer, however, soon broke up their strongholds, dispersed them,
and finally destroyed or brought them all under subjection. By his
good judgment, management, and humanity, he succeeded in uniting the
whole island under one government, and gained the possession of what
Christophe had exhausted himself with efforts to obtain, and what
Pétion had sighed for, without daring to cherish a single hope that
its attainment could be accomplished. Few men who took part in the St.
Domingo drama, did more good, or lived a more blameless life, than



General Riche, a _griffe_, or dark mulatto, was selected to fill the
place left vacant by the flight of Boyer; and his ability, together
with the universal confidence reposed in him by all classes, seemed to
shadow forth a prosperous era for the republic. He had, however, done
little more than enter upon his arduous duties, when he was carried off
by a sudden malady, universally regretted by the entire population.

The Senate, whose duty it was to elect the president, gave a majority
of their votes for Faustin Soulouque, on the first of March, 1847, and
he was inaugurated into the position the same day.

Soulouque was a tall, good-natured, full-blooded negro, who, from the
year 1804, when he was house-servant for General Lamarre, had passed
through all the events of his country without leaving any trace of
himself, whether good or bad. With no education, no ability, save that
he was a great eater, he was the last man in the republic that would
have been thought of for any office, except the one he filled.

True, in 1810, while his master, General Lamarre, was defending the
Mole against Christophe, the former was killed, and Soulouque was
charged to carry the general’s heart to Pétion, who made the servant a
lieutenant in his mounted guard; and on Pétion’s death, he bequeathed
him to Boyer, as a piece of furniture belonging to the presidential
palace. Boyer made Soulouque first servant, under the title of
“captain,” to his housekeeper. Here he grew fat, and was forgotten
till 1843, when the revolution brought him into note. After serving a
short time as president, his vanity induced Soulouque to aspire to be
emperor, and that title was conferred upon him in the year 1849. In
this silly step he took for his model Napoleon Bonaparte, according to
whose court and camp Soulouque formed his own.

But the people of Hayti soon saw the sad mistake in the election of
such a man to power, and his change of base aroused a secret feeling
against the empire, which resulted in its overthrow, in 1859.



Fabre Geffrard was born at Cayes September 19, 1806. His father was
General Nicholas Geffrard, one of the founders of Haytian independence.
He became a soldier at the early age of fifteen, and after serving in
the ranks, passed rapidly through several grades of promotion, until
he obtained a captaincy. In 1843, when General Herard took up arms
against President Boyer, he choose Geffrard for his lieutenant, who,
by his skill and bravery, contributed largely to the success of the
revolutionary army. As a reward for his valuable services, he received
from the new government the brevet rank of general of brigade, and was
commandant of Jacmel, and in 1845 he was named general of division.
In 1849 he was appointed by Soulouque to take command of his Haytian
army sent against the Dominicans, and in 1856 it fell to his lot, by
the display of rare military talents, to repair in some measure the
disasters attending the invasion of St. Domingo by the Haytian army,
led by the emperor himself. Shortly after, Soulouque, moved thereto,
doubtless, by jealousy of Geffrard’s well-earned fame, disgraced him;
but the emperor paid dearly for this, for in December, 1858, Geffrard
declared against him, and in January, 1859, Soulouque was overthrown,
with his mock empire, and Geffrard proclaimed President of the
Republic, which was restored.

He at once set himself vigorously to work to remedy the numerous
evils which had grown up under the administration of his ignorant,
narrow-minded, and cruel predecessor, and became exceedingly popular.
He established numerous schools in all parts of the Republic, and
gave every encouragement to agricultural and industrial enterprise
generally. In 1861, he concluded a concordat with the Pope, creating
Hayti an Archbishopric. Humane in his disposition, enlightened and
liberal in his views, and a steady friend of progress, his rule, at one
time, promised to be a long and prosperous one.

Geffrard was in color a _griffe_, and was fifty-two years of age when
called to the presidency of Hayti. He was of middle height, slim in
figure, of a pleasing countenance, sparkling eye, gray hair, limbs
supple by bodily exercise, a splendid horseman, and liberal to the
arts, even to extravagance. Possessing a polished education, he was
gentlemanly in his conversation and manners. Soon after assuming the
presidency, he resolved to encourage immigration, and issued an address
to the colored Americans, which in point of sympathy and patriotic
feeling for his race, has never been surpassed by any man living or

It may be set down as a truism, that slavery, proscription,
and oppression are poor schools in which to train independent,
self-respecting freemen. Individuals so trained are apt to have all
their aspirations, aims, ends, and objects in life on a level with the
low, grovelling, and servile plane of a slavish and dependent mind; or
if by chance that mind has grown restless under its fetters, and sighs
for enfranchisement and liberty, it is apt to rush to the other extreme
in its desires, and is led to covet those positions for which it has
no proper qualifications whatever. The bent of the slavery-disciplined
mind is either too low or too high. It cannot remain in equilibrium. It
either cringes with all the dastard servility of the slave, or assumes
the lordly airs of a cruel and imperious despot.

These things, therefore, being true of the victims of abject servitude,
we have herein the key to the failure of the colored emigration to

At the invitation of President Geffrard, in 1861, some of the colored
citizens of the United States did accept the invitation and went out;
but it would have been better for them and for Hayti had they remained
at home. The majority of the emigrants ventured on the voyage to Hayti,
because a free passage was given them by Geffrard; and the offer of the
Haytian government to supply the emigrants with provisions until they
could raise a crop, was a bait which these idlers could not withstand.

Men who had been failures in their own country, could scarcely be
expected to meet with success by merely a trip across the sea.

What Hayti needed were men with stout hearts and hard hands, fitted for
an agricultural life, determined upon developing the resources of the
country. Men of the above type are to be found in our land, but they
can easily make a living here, and have no cause to emigrate.

The liberal offer of the Haytian president to Americans and other
blacks to come to the Island, and his general progressive efforts to
elevate his people, were not appreciated by the Haytians, and the
spirit of revolution which had so long governed the Island, soon began
to manifest itself.

The several rebellions against the authority of President Geffrard, of
Hayti, at length culminated in his overthrow and expulsion from the
Island, and the elevation of his old enemy, Salnave, to the presidency.
The rebellion, which was headed by Salnave, was begun in 1865. The
rebels seized and held the town of Cape Haytian for several months,
and were only finally driven out on its bombardment by the English
man-of-war, Bull Dog, commanded by Captain Wake. Salnave was forced to
leave Hayti and take refuge in St. Domingo. Captain Wake was called by
the British government, and cashiered for his attack on Cape Haytian.

In his exile Salnave continued his efforts to revolutionize the
country, and found many adherents, but few opportunities for an
uprising. An attempt was made by his friends at Port au Prince on
February 1, 1867; but Geffrard had been forewarned, and this attempt
failed, and the ringleaders were captured and shot. The revolutionists
did not despair, however, and on the night of February 22d a more
successful effort was made; Geffrard was driven to seek safety in
flight, and abdicating the presidency, went into exile in Jamaica. A
Provisional Government was appointed, and Salnave, whom the people
hailed as the “Garibaldi of Hayti,” and the “Deliverer of the People,”
was appointed President on April 26, 1867. He however insisted that he
would not accept the presidency except at the hands of the people. An
election was therefore ordered and held. There were no rival candidates
in the field, the other most distinguished participants in the
revolution, Generals Nissage and Chevallier, conceding the presidential
chair to Salnave with great good-will. He was unanimously elected, and
on Sunday, May 12, was sworn into office.



President Salnave was a native of Cape Haytian, and was forty-one
years of age when elevated to power. He was the son of French and
Negro parents. He entered the army of Hayti in early youth, and was a
major under Geffrard when the empire was overthrown. While holding the
same commission under the Republic, Salnave projected the rebellion
of 1865, and seized Cape Haytian, from which he was driven, as we
have described. He was said to be a man of unusual intelligence, of
progressive and liberal ideas, great energy of character, and brilliant
results were expected from his administration.

However, obtaining supreme power by force, so common in Hayti, any
one could see that Salnave’s government would be of short duration.
The same influences as some of the men who aided him in driving out
Geffrard, soon began secretly to work against the new president, and
on the 18th of December, 1869, Salnave found himself shut up in his
capital, and surrounded on all sides by his most bitter enemies. At
last, on the 8th of January, 1870, the Haytian president sought safety
in flight, but was captured by President Cabral, of Dominica, into
whose government Salnave had taken refuge.

Delivered up to his own government by the Dominican president, Salnave
was tried for high treason, condemned and shot. In personal appearance
the defeated chief was a fine representative of the race. He was brown
in complexion, hair black, soft, and wavy, education good, for the
West Indies. Salnave was high-tempered, heedless, and even cruel. He
was succeeded in the government of Hayti by General Nissage Saget, who
seems to have the confidence of the people, and whom, it is hoped, he
will have the power to unite.



Jamaica, the chief of the British West India Islands, was discovered by
Columbus on his second voyage, in May, 1494, and was taken from Spain
by the English in May, 1655, during the reign of Oliver Cromwell. It
thus became an appendage to the British crown, after it had been in the
possession of Spain for one hundred and forty-six years. The number of
slaves on the Island at this time was about fifteen hundred.

Morgan, a notorious pirate and buccaneer, was knighted and made
governor of the Island in 1670. Lord Vaughan succeeded Morgan, and
under his administration the African Company was formed, and the
slave-trade legalized; Africans were imported in large numbers, and the
development of the natural resources of Jamaica greatly increased the
wealth of the planters.

The number of slaves annually imported into the Island amounted to
sixteen thousand,[42] so that within thirty years the slave population
had increased from ninety-nine thousand to upwards of two hundred
thousand, whilst the total numerical strength of the whites did not
exceed sixteen thousand.

From this time down to the year 1832, it presented a succession of
wars, usurpations, crimes, misery, and vice; nor in this desert of
human wretchedness is there one green spot on which the mind of a
philanthropist would love to dwell; all is one revolting scene of
infamy, bloodshed, and unmitigated woe; of insecure peace and open
disturbance; of the abuse of power, and of the reaction of misery
against oppression. In 1832 an insurrection of the slaves occurred,
by which the lives of seven hundred slaves were sacrificed, and an
expense, including property destroyed, of one hundred and sixty-two
thousand pounds sterling.

The total importation of slaves from the conquest of the Island by the
English to 1805, amounted to eight hundred and fifty thousand, and this
added to forty thousand brought by the Spaniards, made an aggregate of
eight hundred and ninety thousand, exclusive of all births, in three
hundred years. The influence which the system of slavery spread over
the community in Jamaica and the rest of the British West Indies, was
not less demoralizing than in Hayti and the other islands.

Crimes which in European countries would have been considered and
treated as a wanton insult to society at large, did not exclude the
parties from the pale of respectable society, or generally operate to
their disadvantage among the female portion of the community.

The reckless destroyers of female innocence and happiness united in
the dance, mingled in public entertainments, and were admitted at the
social board, and were on terms of intimacy with the younger branches
of families.[43]

The intermediate colors between the whites[44] and pure blacks, were
denominated as follows: A Sambo is the offspring of a mulatto woman by
a black man; a mulatto is the child of a black woman and white man; a
quadroon is the offspring of a mulatto by a white man, and a mestee
is that of a quadroon woman by a white man. The offspring of a female
mestee by a white man being above the third in lineal descent from the
Negro ancestor, was white, in the estimation of the law, and enjoyed
all the privileges and immunities of Her Majesty’s white subjects; but
all the rest, whether mulattoes, quadroons, or mestees, were considered
by the law as mulattoes or persons of color.

Although the people of Jamaica represented to the home government that
the slaves were satisfied and happy, and would not accept their freedom
were it offered them, a revolt of the blacks took place in 1832.
More than fifty thousand were engaged in this effort to obtain the
long-wished-for boon.

The man with whom the insurrection originated,--Samuel Sharp,--was
a slave, and a member of the Baptist Church in Montego Bay. He was
born in slavery, but he had never felt anything of the bitterness of
slavery. He was born in a family that treated him indulgently; he was
a pet, and was brought up as the playmate of the juvenile members of
the family, and had opportunities of learning to read and for mental
cultivation, to which very few of his fellow-slaves had access; and
Sharp, above all this, was possessed of a mind worthy of any man, and
of oratorical powers of no common order.

Sharp determined to free himself and his fellow-slaves. I do not know
whether he was himself deceived, or whether he knowingly deceived
his fellow-conspirators; but he persuaded a large number of them to
believe that the British government had made them free, and that their
owners were keeping them in slavery, in opposition to the wishes of
the authorities in England. It so happened, that, just at that time,
the planters themselves were pursuing a course which favored Sharp’s
proceedings directly. They were holding meetings through the length and
breadth of the Island, protesting against the interference of the home
government with their property, passing very inflammatory resolutions,
and threatening that they would transfer their allegiance to the United
States, in order that they might perpetuate their interest in their

The insurrection was suppressed, and about two thousand of the slaves
were put to death. This effort of the bondmen to free themselves,
gave a new impetus to the agitation of the abolition movement, which
had already begun under the auspices of Buxton, Allen, Brougham, and
George Thompson, the successors of Clarkson, Wilberforce, Sharp, and
Macaulay; and the work went bravely on. Elizabeth Heyrick, feeling that
the emancipation of the slave could never be effected by gradual means,
raised the cry of “Immediate emancipation.” She wrote: “Immediate
emancipation is the object to be aimed at; it is more wise and
rational, more politic and safe, as well as more just and humane, than
gradual emancipation. The interests, moral and political, temporal and
eternal, of all parties concerned, will be best promoted by immediate

The doctrine of immediate emancipation was taken up by the friends of
the Negro everywhere, and Brougham, in Parliament, said:--

“Tell me not of rights; talk not of the property of the planter in
his slaves. I deny the right; I acknowledge not the property. The
principles, the feelings, of our common nature, rise in rebellion
against it. Be the appeal made to the understanding or to the heart,
the sentence is the same that rejects it. In vain you tell me of laws
that sanction such a claim.”

John Philpot Curran followed, in one of the finest speeches ever made
in behalf of the rights of man. Said he,--

“I speak in the spirit of the British Law, which makes liberty
commensurate with, and inseparable from, the British soil; which
proclaims, even to the stranger and the sojourner, the moment he sets
his foot upon British earth, that the ground on which he treads is
holy, and consecrated by the genius of Universal Emancipation. No
matter in what language his doom may have been pronounced; no matter
what complexion, incompatible with freedom, an Indian or an African
sun may have burnt upon him; no matter in what disastrous battle his
liberty may have been cloven down; no matter with what solemnities he
may have been devoted upon the altar of slavery; the first moment he
touches the sacred soil of Britain, the altar and the god sink together
in the dust; his soul walks abroad in her own majesty; his body swells
beyond the measure of his chains, that burst from around him, and he
stands redeemed, regenerated, and disenthralled, by the irresistible
genius of universal emancipation.”

The name and labors of Granville Sharp have been overshadowed by those
of other men, who reaped in the full, bright sunshine of success the
harvest of popular admiration for the results of a philanthropic
policy, of which Granville Sharp was the seed-sower. Zachary, Macaulay,
Clarkson, Wilberforce, and Buxton are regarded as the leaders of the
great movement that emancipated the slaves of Great Britain. Burke and
Wilkes are remembered as the enlightened advocates of the Independence
of America; and these great names throw a shadow over the Clerk in the
Ordnance, who, with high-souled integrity, resigned his place, and
gave up a calling that was his only profession and livelihood, rather
than serve a government that waged a fratricidal war, and who, in
defiance of the opinions of the Solicitor and Attorney-General, and of
the Lord Chief-Justice, opposed by all the lawyers, and forsaken even
by his own professional advisers, undertook to search the indices of
a law library, to wade through an immense mass of dry and repulsive
literature, and to make extracts from all the most important Acts of
Parliament as he went along; until, at the very time that slaves were
being sold by auction in Liverpool and London, and when he could not
find a single lawyer who agreed with his opinion, he boldly exclaimed,
“God be thanked! there is nothing in any English law or statute that
can justify the enslaving of others.”

Granville Sharp, in his boyhood a linen-draper’s apprentice, and
afterwards a clerk in the Ordnance Department of England, one day,
in the surgery of his brother, saw a negro named Jonathan Strong,
lame, unable to work, almost blind, very ill, and turned adrift in the
streets of London, by his master, a lawyer in Barbadoes. The assistance
of Granville Sharp, and of his brother William, the surgeon, restored
Jonathan Strong to health, and obtained for him a situation. Two years
afterwards, the Barbadoes lawyer recognized his slave, strong, healthy,
and valuable, serving as a footman behind a lady’s carriage, and he
arrested the negro, and put him in prison, until there should be an
opportunity to ship him for the West Indies.

Mr. Sharp appealed to the Lord Mayor, who, although he decided that he
was incompetent to deal with the legal question of the black’s freedom,
released Strong, because there was no offence charged against him.

And then--it was in 1767--now more than a hundred years ago--then began
the protracted movement in England in favor of the slave. The master
of Jonathan Strong immediately commenced an action against Granville
Sharp, to recover possession of his negro, of whom he said he had been
robbed: and Sharp drew up the result of his study of the question, in a
plain, clear, and manly statement, which, after having been circulated
some time in manuscript, was printed in 1769, and was headed, “On the
injustice of tolerating slavery in England.”

It produced such an effect on the opinion of the public, that the
lawyer abandoned his proceedings. Other cases soon tested the earnest
philanthropy of the slaves’ friend. The wife of one Styles was seized
and sent to Barbadoes. Sharp compelled the aggressor to bring the
woman back. In 1776, Thomas Lewis was kidnapped and shipped for
Jamaica. Sharp found him chained to the mainmast of a ship at Spithead,
and by a writ of _habeas corpus_ brought him before Lord Mansfield, the
very judge whose opinion had been most strongly expressed in opposition
to that entertained by Granville Sharp on the subject of slavery.

Lord Mansfield discharged the negro, because no evidence was adduced
to show that he was ever nominally the property of the man who claimed
him; but the great question of liberty or slavery remained as undecided
as before. At this time the slave-trade was carried on openly in the
streets of London, Bristol, and Liverpool.

Negro slavery was enforced by merchants, supported by lawyers, and
upheld by judges; and that a clerk in a public office, without personal
influence, and armed, only with integrity and moral courage, should,
under such circumstances, assert, and, in the end, should prove, that
the slave who sets his foot on British ground becomes at that instant
free, is one of the most striking incidents in modern history.

An opportunity for bringing the conflicting opinions to an issue soon
occurred. A negro named James Somerset had been taken to England and
left there by his master, who afterwards wished to send him back to
Jamaica. Sharp found counsel to defend the negro, and Lord Mansfield
intimated that the case was one of such general concern, that he should
take the opinions of all the judges upon it. The case was adjourned
and readjourned, and was carried over from term to term; but at length
Lord Mansfield declared the court to be clearly of opinion that “the
claim of slavery never can be supported in England; that the power
claimed never was in use in England nor acknowledged by law; and
that, therefore, the man James Somerset, must be discharged.” By this
judgment, the slave-trade in England was effectually abolished.

History affords no nobler picture than that of Granville Sharp.
Standing alone, opposed to the opinions of the ablest lawyers, and the
most rooted prejudices and customs of the times; fighting unassisted
the most memorable battle for the constitution of his country, and for
the liberties of British subjects, and by his single exertions gaining
a most memorable victory.

On the 1st of August, 1838, eight hundred thousand African bondmen were
made fully and unconditionally free; an act of legislation the most
magnanimous and sublime in the annals of British history. Although the
enemies of emancipation had predicted that murder and pillage would
follow such an act, the conduct of the freed people was everything that
the most ardent friends of the Negro could wish.

On the evening of the day preceding that which witnessed the actual
bestowment of the inestimable boon on the apprentices of Jamaica,
the towns and missionary stations throughout the Island were crowded
with people especially interested in the event, and who, filling the
different places of worship, remained in some instances performing
different acts of devotion until the day of liberty dawned, when they
saluted it with the most joyous acclamations. Others, before and
after similar services, dispersed themselves in different directions
throughout the town and villages, singing the national anthem and
devotional hymns, occasionally rending the air with their acclamations
of “Freedom’s come! We’re free, we’re free; our wives and our children
are free!”

The conduct of the newly-emancipated peasantry everywhere, would have
done credit to Christians of the most civilized country in the world.
Their behavior was modest, unassuming, civil, and obliging to each
other as members of one harmonious family.

Many of the original stock of slaves had been imported from amongst the
Mandingoes, and Foulahs, from the banks of the Senegal, the Gambia,
and the Rio Grande, the most refined and intellectual of the African
tribes; and from the Congoes of Upper and Lower Guinea, the most
inferior of the African race. The latter class brought with them all
the vices and superstitions of their native land, and these had been
cultivated in Jamaica.

The worst of these superstitious ideas was obeism, a species of
witchcraft employed to revenge injuries, or as a protection against
theft and murder, and in favor for gaining the love of the opposite
sex. It consisted in placing a spell or charm near the cottage of
the individual intended to be brought under its influence, or when
designed to prevent the depredations of thieves, in some conspicuous
part of the house, or on a tree; it was signified by a calabash or
gourd, containing among other ingredients, a combination of different
colored rags, cats’ teeth, parrots’ feathers, toads’ feet, egg-shells,
fish-bones, snakes’ teeth, and lizards’ tails.[45]

Terror immediately seized upon the individual who beheld it, and
either by resigning himself to despair, or by the secret communication
of poison, in most cases death was the inevitable consequence. Similar
to the influence of this superstition was that of their solemn curses
pronounced upon thieves, but which would be too tedious to detail here.
All of the Negro physicians of the olden times professed to have the
gift of obeism, and were feared far more than they were loved.

Dreams and visions constituted fundamental articles of their religious
creed. Some supernatural revelations were regarded as indispensable
to qualify for admission to the full privileges of their community.
Candidates were required, indeed, to dream a certain number of dreams
before they were received to membership, the subjects of which were
given them by their teachers.

The meetings of this fraternity were frequently prolonged through
nearly half the night. The ministers enjoined on their followers the
duty of fasting one or two days in the week, and encouraged a weekly
meeting at each other’s houses, alternately, to drink “hot water”
out of white tea-cups (the whole of the tea-table paraphernalia
corresponding), which they designated by the absurd and inappropriate
epithet of “breaking the peace.” To such a deplorable extent did
they carry these superstitious practices, and such was the degree of
ignorance on the part of both minister and people, that, in the absence
of better information as to what was to be sung in their religious
assemblies, they were in the habit of singing the childish story of
“The house that Jack built.”

The missionaries, and especially the Baptists, who had been laboring
against great disadvantages before the abolition of slavery, now that
the curse was out of the way, did a noble work for the freed people.
The erection of chapels all through the Island soon changed the moral
and social condition of the blacks, as well as gave them a right idea
of Christian duty.


[42] “Jamaica, Past and Present.” Phillippo.

[43] Phillippo.

[44] Phillippo.

[45] “Jamaica, Past and Present.” Phillippo.



The Portuguese introduced slavery into Brazil about the year 1558, and
the increase of that class of the population was as rapid as in any
part of the newly discovered country. The treatment of the slaves did
not differ from Jamaica, St. Domingo, and Cuba.

Brazil has given the death-blow to the wicked system which has been so
long both her grievous burden and her foul disgrace. Henceforth, every
child born in the empire is free, and in twenty years the chains will
fall from the limbs of her last surviving slave. By this decree, nearly
three million blacks are raised up from the dust; and though but few
of this generation can hope to see the day of general emancipation, it
is much for them to know that the curse which rested on the parents
will no longer be transmitted to the children; it is something that
the younger of them have a bright although distant future to look
toward and to wait for. Very likely, too, the dying institution will
not be suffered to linger out the whole of the existence which the new
law accords to it; as the benefits of free labor to the whole country
become appreciated fresh legislation may hasten the advent of national
liberty and justice.

The first colonists enslaved the Indians; and, despite the futile
measures of emancipation adopted by the Portuguese crown in 1570, in
1647, and in 1684, these unfortunate natives remained in servitude
until 1755, and would perhaps have been held to this day, had they
not proved very unprofitable. Negroes were accordingly imported from
other Portuguese dominions, and a slave-trade with the African coast
naturally sprang up, and is only just ended. Portugal bound herself
by treaty with England, in 1815, to abolish the trade. Brazil renewed
the obligation in her own name in 1826. Yet in 1839 it was estimated
that eighty thousand blacks were imported every year; and, ten years
later, the Minister of Foreign Affairs reported that the brutal traffic
had only been reduced one-fourth. The energetic action of England,
declaring in 1845 that Brazilian slave-ships should be amenable to
English authorities, led to a long diplomatic contest, and threats of
war; but it bore fruit in 1850 in a statute wherein Brazil assimilated
the trade to piracy, and in 1852 the emperor declared it virtually

In the mean time, an opposition, not to the slave-trade alone, but
to slavery, too, gradually strengthened itself within the empire.
Manumission became frequent, and the laws made it very easy. A society
was organized under the protection of the emperor, which, every year,
in open church, solemnly liberated a number of slaves; and in 1856 the
English Embassador wrote home that the government had communicated
to him their resolution gradually to abolish slavery in every part
of the empire. The grand step which they have now taken has no doubt
been impelled by the example of our own country. It is one of the many
precious fruits which have sprung, and are destined yet to spring, from
the soil which we watered so freely with patriot blood.

Information generally, with regard to Brazil, is scanty, especially in
connection with the blacks; but in all the walks of life, men of color
are found in that country.

In the Brazilian army, many of the officers are mulattoes, and some of
a very dark hue. The prejudice of color is not so prominent here, as in
some other slaveholding countries.



Cuba, the stronghold of Spain, in the western world, has labored
under the disadvantages of slavery for more than three hundred years.
The Lisbon merchants cared more for the great profits made from the
slave-trade, than for the development of the rich resources of this,
one of the most beautiful of the West India Islands, and therefore,
they invested largely in that nefarious traffic. The increase of
slaves, the demand for sugar and the products of the tropics, and the
inducement which a race for wealth creates in the mind of man, rapidly
built up the city of Havana, the capital of the Island. The colored
population of Cuba, like the whites, have made but little impression on
the world outside of their own southern home. There is, however, one
exception in favor of the blacks. In the year 1830, there appeared in
Havana a young colored man, whose mother had recently been brought from
Africa. His name was Placido, and his blood was unmixed. Being with a
comparatively kind master, he found time to learn to read, and began
developing the genius which at a later period showed itself.

The young slave took an interest in poetry, and often wrote poems which
were set to music and sung in the drawing-rooms of the most refined
assemblies in the city. His young master, paying his addresses to a
rich heiress, the slave was ordered to write a poem embodying the
master’s passion for the young lady. Placido acquitted himself to the
entire satisfaction of the lover, who copied the epistle in his own
hand, and sent it on its mission. The slave’s compositions were so much
admired that they found their way into the newspapers; but no one knew
the negro as their author.

In 1838, these poems, together with a number which had never appeared
in print, were entrusted to a white man, who sent them to England,
where they were published and much praised for the talent and scholarly
attainment which they evinced. A number of young whites, who were
well acquainted with Placido, and appreciated his genius, resolved to
purchase him, and present him his freedom, which was done in 1842.

But a new field had opened itself to the freed black, and he began to
tread in its paths. Freedom for himself was only the beginning; he
sighed to make others free.

The imaginative brain of the poet produced verses which the slaves sung
in their own rude way, and which kindled in their hearts a more intense
desire for liberty. Placido planned an insurrection of the slaves, in
which he was to be their leader and deliverer; but the scheme failed.

After a hasty trial, he was convicted and sentenced to death. The
fatal day came, he walked to the place of execution with as much
calmness as if it had been to an ordinary resort of pleasure. His manly
and heroic bearing excited the sympathy and admiration of all who saw
him. As he arrived at the fatal spot, he began reciting the hymn, which
he had written in his cell the previous night.

     “Almighty God; whose goodness knows no bound,
       To Thee I flee in my severe distress;
       O, let Thy potent arm my wrongs redress,
     And rend the odious veil by slander wound
     About my brow. The base world’s arm confound,
         Who on my front would now the seal of shame impress.”

The free blacks in Cuba form an important element in her population,
and these people are found in all the professions and trades. The first
dentists are Blake and Coopat, mulattoes; the first musician, Joseito
White, a mulatto; one of the best young ladies’ academies at present
existing at Havana is personally conducted by an accomplished negro
woman, Maria de Serra, to whom many a lady of high rank owes her social
and intellectual accomplishments. The only Cuban who has distinguished
herself as an actress on foreign stages is Dacoste, a mulatto;
Covarrubias, the great comedian and lively writer, for many years the
star of the Cuban stage, was also a mulatto; Francisco Manzano, the
poet, was a negro slave.

The prompter of the theatre of St. John, of Porto Rico, is Bartolo
Antique, a negro, so intelligent that the dramatic companies that come
from Spain prefer him to their own prompters. The engineer of the
only steamboat in Porto Rico is a colored man. The only artist worthy
to be mentioned, in the same Island, is the religious painter, José
Campeche, a mulatto. These are only a few known and acknowledged as
colored, but should we search the sources of every family in Cuba and
Porto Rico, we are sure that more or less, we could trace the African
blood in the greatest number of our most illustrious citizens.

In Porto Rico, Dubois, a mulatto, paid the penalty of his head for his
boldness and patriotism. There were in Cuba, in 1862, two hundred and
twenty-one thousand four hundred and seventeen free colored people, and
three hundred and sixty-eight thousand five hundred and fifty slaves.
In Porto Rico, in the same year, there were two hundred and forty-one
thousand and fifteen free colored people, and forty-one thousand seven
hundred and thirty-six slaves.

When the English troops invaded the Island of Cuba, in 1762, the
negroes behaved so well during the siege at Havana, that a large
number of them received from Governor Prado’s hands, and in the name
of the King, their letters of emancipation, in acknowledgment of their
gallantry and good services.



Although not strictly a Spanish possession, Santo Domingo may be
counted in, with the people already enumerated in the West Indies.
Its history is identical with that of Hayti. Forming a part of the
same Island, and inhabited by blacks, mulattoes, and whites; and being
part of the battle-ground upon which the negroes fought the French, in
the revolution which freed the Island from its former masters. Santo
Domingo has passed through all the scenes of blood and desolation, only
in a milder form, that their neighbors of the other end of the Island
have experienced. Santo Domingo has been under Spanish, French, and
Haytian rule, and often a republic of her own, the latter of which she
now enjoys.

It was during the government of Boyer that the Spanish or Dominican
part of the Island was united with the French part. In relation to
this matter, gross misrepresentations have been made;--it has been
urged in defence of the Dominican claim to an independent government,
an independence based upon nullification, that they were beaten down,
trampled upon, and almost crushed before they would unite with a
nation of blacks.

The facts are these: at the time of Boyer’s election, the Spanish part
of the Island was independent, but its situation was most precarious;
the war between Spain and her revolted provinces in South America
was at its height, and the Columbian privateers which thronged the
Caribbean sea were continually plundering the people along the shores
of the Spanish coast; moreover, there were many persons in that
division of the Island who were inclined to favor a union with the
patriots of South America, but by far the largest number opposed this

Such was the state of things at the commencement of Boyer’s
administration. After maturely reflecting upon the difficulties by
which they were surrounded, the feeble government of the Spanish part
sought protection in a union with the Haytians, and Boyer was formally
solicited by them to grant his consent to the annexation of the Eastern
part. This request was complied with, and the Eastern region became a
part and parcel of that republic.

Thus it is seen that the Dominicans adopted the Haytian government, not
only voluntarily, but joyfully.

At the close of Boyer’s administration the Dominicans separated from
the Haytians, and formed a republic, since which time the latter has
made war upon the former, whenever an opportunity presented itself, and
which has been the great cause of the poverty and want of development
of both sections of the Island.

Herard, who succeeded Boyer in the government of Hayti, and who was
president when the Dominicans seceded, was himself a mulatto, and there
appeared to be no cause of difficulty, but the people of Santo Domingo
wanted the change.

The Dominicans enjoyed a better state of civilization than their
neighbors, and if let alone, would soon outstrip Hayti in everything
pertaining to free and independent government.

But the Dominicans have to keep a large standing army, which takes most
of their young men, and are always in an unsettled state, which greatly
hinders the commercial and agricultural growth of the country.

Both Hayti and Santo Domingo will doubtless, at no distant day, fall
into the hands of some more civilized nation or nations, for both are
on the decline, especially as regards self-defence. Both are to-day at
the mercy of nearly all other nations, and some day the “Doctor” will
go in to look after the “Sick man.”



Simultaneously with the landing of the Pilgrims from the Mayflower,
on Plymouth Rock, December 22d, 1620, a clumsy-looking brig, old and
dirty, with paint nearly obliterated from every part, slowly sailed
up the James River, and landed at Jamestown. The short, stout, fleshy
appearance of the men in charge of the vessel, and the five empty
sour-crout barrels which lay on deck, told plainly in what country the
navigators belonged.

Even at that early day they had with them their “native beverage,”
which, though not like the lager of the present time, was a drink
over which they smoked and talked of “Farderland,” and traded for
the negroes they brought. The settlers of Jamestown, and indeed, all
Virginia at that time, were mainly cavaliers, gentlemen-adventurers,
aspiring to live by their wits and other men’s labor. Few of the
pioneers cherished any earnest liking for downright persistent muscular
exertion, yet some exertion was urgently required to clear away the
heavy forest which all but covered the soil of the infant colony, and
to grow the tobacco which easily became the staple export by means of
which nearly everything required by its people but food was to be paid
for in England.

The landing of the twenty slaves from the Dutch brig was the signal
for all sorts of adventurers to embark in the same nefarious traffic.
Worn-out and unseaworthy European ships, brigs, barks, schooners,
and indeed, everything else that could float, no matter how unsafe,
were brought into requisition to supply the demand for means of
transportation in the new commerce.

Thousands of persons incarcerated in the prisons of the old world
were liberated upon condition that they would man these slave-trading
vessels. The discharged convicts were used in the slave factories on
the African coast, and even the marauding expeditions sent out from
the slave ships in search of victims were mainly made up of this vile
off-cast and scum of the prison population of England, France, Germany,
Spain, and Portugal. So great was the increase of this traffic, that
in a short time the importation in a single year amounted to forty
thousand slaves.

The immense growth of the slave population in the Southern States, soon
caused politicians to take sides for or against the institution. This,
however, did not manifest itself to any very great extent, until the
struggle for National Independence was over, and the people, North and
South, began to look at their interests connected with each section of
the country.

At the time that the Declaration of Independence was put forth, no
authentic enumeration had been made; but when the first census was
taken in 1791, the total number of slaves in what are now known as the
Northern States, was forty thousand three hundred and seventy; in the
Southern, six hundred and fifty-three thousand nine hundred and ten.

It is very common at this day to speak of our revolutionary struggle as
commenced and hurried forward by a union of free and slave colonies;
but such is not the fact. However slender and dubious its legal basis,
slavery existed in each and all of the colonies that united to declare
and maintain their Independence. Slaves were proportionately more
numerous in certain portions of the South; but they were held with
impunity throughout the North, advertised like dogs or horses, and sold
at auction, or otherwise, as chattels. Vermont, then a territory in
dispute between New Hampshire and New York, and with very few civilized
inhabitants, mainly on its southern and eastern borders, is probably
the only portion of the revolutionary confederation never polluted by
the tread of a slave.

The spirit of liberty, aroused or intensified by the protracted
struggle of the colonists against usurped and abused power in the
mother-country, soon found itself engaged in natural antagonism against
the current form of domestic despotism.

“How shall we complain of arbitrary or unlimited power exerted over
us, while we exert a still more despotic and inexcusable power over a
dependent and benighted race?” was very fairly asked. Several suits
were brought in Massachusetts--where the fires of liberty burned
earliest and brightest--to test the legal right of slaveholding;
and the leading Whigs gave their money and their legal services to
support these actions, which were generally on one ground or another,
successful. Efforts for an express law of emancipation, however,
failed, even in Massachusetts; the Legislature doubtless apprehended
that such a measure, by alienating the slaveholders, would increase the
number and power of the Tories; but in 1777, a privateer having brought
a lot of captured slaves into Jamaica, and advertised them for sale,
the General Court, as the legislative assembly was called, interfered,
and had them set at liberty. The first Continental Congress which
resolved to resist the usurpations and oppressions of Great Britain by
force, had already declared that our struggle would be “for the cause
of human nature,” which the Congress of 1776, under the lead of Thomas
Jefferson, expanded into the noble affirmation of the right of “all
men to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” contained in the
immortal preamble to the Declaration of Independence. A like averment
that “all men are born free and equal,” was in 1780 inserted in the
Massachusetts Bill of Rights; and the Supreme Court of that State, in
1783, on an indictment of a master for assault and battery, held this
declaration a bar to slave-holding henceforth in the State.

A similar clause in the second Constitution of New Hampshire, was
held by the courts of that State to secure freedom to every child
born therein after its adoption. Pennsylvania, in 1780, passed an act
prohibiting the further introduction of slaves, and securing freedom
to all persons born in that State thereafter. Connecticut and Rhode
Island passed similar acts in 1784. Virginia, in 1778, on motion of Mr.
Jefferson, prohibited the further importation of slaves; and in 1782,
removed all legal restrictions on emancipation. Maryland adopted both
of these in 1783. North Carolina, in 1786, declared the introduction
of slaves into the State “of evil consequences and highly impolitic,”
and imposed a duty of £5 per head thereon. New York and New Jersey
followed the example of Virginia and Maryland, including the domestic
in the same interdict with the foreign slave-trade. Neither of these
states, however, declared a general emancipation until many years
thereafter, and slavery did not wholly cease in New York until about
1830, nor in New Jersey till a much later date. The distinction of free
and slave states, with the kindred assumption of a natural antagonism
between the North and South, was utterly unknown to the men of the



The earliest account we have of slavery in Massachusetts is recorded in
Josselyn’s description of his first visit to New England, in 1638. Even
at that time, slave-raising on a small scale had an existence at the
North. Josselyn says: “Mr. Maverick had a negro woman from whom he was
desirous of having a breed of slaves; he therefore ordered his young
negro man to sleep with her. The man obeyed his master so far as to go
to bed, when the young woman kicked him out.”[46] This seems to have
been the first case of an insurrection in the colonies, and commenced,
too, by a woman. Probably this fact has escaped the notice of the
modern advocates of “Woman’s Rights.” The public sentiment of the early
Christians upon the question of slavery can be seen by the following
form of ceremony, which was used at the marriage of slaves.

This was prepared and used by the Rev. Samuel Phillips, of Andover,
whose ministry there, beginning in 1710, and ending with his death, in
1771, was a prolonged and eminently distinguished service of more than
half the eighteenth century:--

     “You, Bob, do now, in ye Presence of God and these Witnesses, Take
     Sally to be your wife;

     “Promising, that so far as shall be consistent with ye Relation
     which you now Sustain as a servant, you will Perform ye Part of
     an Husband towards her: And in particular, as you shall have
     ye Opportunity & Ability, you will take proper Care of her in
     Sickness and Health, in Prosperity & Adversity;

     “And that you will be True & Faithfull to her, and will Cleave
     to her only, so long as God, in his Providence, shall continue
     your and her abode in Such Place (or Places) as that you can
     conveniently come together. ---- ---- Do You thus Promise?

     “You, Sally, do now, in ye Presence of God, and these Witnesses,
     Take Bob to be your Husband;

     “Promising, that so far as your present Relation as a Servant
     shall admit, you will Perform the Part of a Wife towards him: and
     in particular,

     “You Promise that you will Love him; And that as you shall have
     the Opportunity & Ability, you will take a proper Care of him in
     Sickness and Health; in Prosperity and Adversity:

     “And you will cleave to him only, so long as God, in his
     Providence, shall continue his & your Abode in such Place (or
     Places) as that you can come together. ---- ---- Do you thus
     Promise? I then, agreeable to your Request, and with ye Consent of
     your Masters & Mistresses, do Declare that you have License given
     you to be conversant and familiar together as Husband and Wife, so
     long as God shall continue your Places of Abode as aforesaid; And
     so long as you Shall behave yourselves as it becometh servants to

     “For you must both of you bear in mind that you remain still, as
     really and truly as ever, your Master’s Property, and therefore it
     will be justly expected, both by God and Man, that you behave and
     conduct yourselves as Obedient and faithfull Servants towards your
     respective Masters & Mistresses for the Time being:

     “And finally, I exhort and Charge you to beware lest you give
     place to the Devel, so as to take occasion from the license now
     given you, to be lifted up with Pride, and thereby fall under the
     Displeasure, not of Man only, but of God also; for it is written,
     that God resisteth the Proud but giveth Grace to the humble.

     “I shall now conclude with Prayer for you, that you may become
     good Christians, and that you may be enabled to conduct as such;
     and in particular, that you may have Grace to behave suitably
     towards each Other, as also dutifully towards your Masters &
     Mistresses, Not with Eye Service as Men pleasers, ye Servants of
     Christ doing ye Will of God from ye heart, &c.



We have given the above form of marriage, _verbatim et literatim_.

In 1641, the Massachusetts Colony passed the following law:--

“There shall never be any bond slaverie, villinage, or captivitie
amongst us unless it be lawfull captives taken in just warres, and such
strangers as willingly sell themselves. And these shall have all the
liberties and Christian usages, which the law of God established in
Israel concerning such persons doth morally require. This exempts none
from servitude, who shall be judged thereto by authority.”

In 1646, one James Smith, a member of a Boston church, brought home two
negroes from the coast of Guinea, and had been the means of killing
near a hundred more. In consequence of this conduct, the General Court
passed the following order:--

“The General Court conceiving themselves bound by the first opportunity
to bear witness against the heinous and crying sin of man-stealing,
as also to prescribe such timely redress for what is passed, and such
a law for the future as may sufficiently deter all others belonging
to us to have to do in such vile and odious courses, justly abhorred
of all good and just men, do order that the negro interpreter with
others unlawfully taken, be by the first opportunity at the charge of
the country for the present, sent to his native country (Guinea) and
a letter with him of the indignation of the Court thereabouts, and
justice thereof desiring our honored Governor would please put this
order in execution.”

From this time till about 1700, the number of slaves imported into
Massachusetts was not large. In 1680, Governor Simon Bradstreet, in
answer to inquiries from “the lords of his Majesty’s privy council,”
thus writes:--

“There hath been no company of blacks or slaves brought into the
country since the beginning of this plantation, for the space of fifty
yeares, only one small vessell about two yeares since after twenty
months’ voyage to Madagascar brought hither betwixt forty and fifty
negroes, most women and children, sold for £10, £15, and £20 apiece,
which stood the merchants in near £40 apiece one with another: now and
then two or three negroes are brought hither from Barbadoes and other
of His Majesty’s plantations, and sold here for about £20 apiece, so
that there may bee within our government about one hundred, or one
hundred and twenty, and it may bee as many Scots brought hither and
sold for servants in the time of the war with Scotland, and most now
married and living here, and about halfe so many Irish brought hither
at several times as servants.”

The number of slaves at this period in the middle and southern colonies
is not easily ascertained, as few books, and no newspapers were
published in North America prior to 1704. In that year, the “Weekly
News Letter” was commenced, and in the same year the “Society for the
propagation of the Gospels in foreign parts opened a catechising school
for the slaves at New York, in which city there were then computed
to be about fifteen hundred Negro and Indian slaves,” a sufficient
number to furnish materials for the “irrepressible conflict,” which had
long before begun. The catechist, whom the Society employed, was “Mr.
Elias Neau, by nation a Frenchman, who having made a confession of the
Protestant religion in France, for which he had been confined several
years in prison, and seven years in the galleys.” Mr. Neau entered upon
his office “with great diligence, and his labors were very successful;
but the negroes were much discouraged from embracing the Christian
religion upon the account of the very little regard showed them in any
religious respect. Their marriages were performed by mutual consent
only, without the blessing of the church; they were buried by those
of their own country and complexion, in the common field, without any
Christian office; perhaps some ridiculous heathen rites were performed
at the grave by some of their own people. No notice was given of their
being sick, that they might be visited; on the contrary, frequent
discourses were made in conversation that they had no souls, and
perished as the beasts, and that they grew worse by being taught and
made Christians.”[47]

From this time forward, the increase of slaves was very rapid in
Virginia and South Carolina, and with this increase, discontent began
to show itself amongst the blacks.


[46] John Josselyn.

[47] Joshua Coffin



The first serious effort at rebellion by the slaves in the colonies,
occurred in New York, in 1712; where, if it had not been for the timely
aid from the garrison, the city would have been reduced to ashes. The
next insurrection took place in South Carolina, in 1720, where the
blacks in considerable numbers attacked the whites in their houses and
in the streets.

Forces were immediately raised and sent after them, twenty-three of
whom were taken, six convicted, three executed, and three escaped.

In October, 1722, about two hundred negroes near the mouth of the
Rappahannock River, Virginia, got together in a body, armed with the
intent to kill the people in church, but were discovered, and fled.

On the 13th of April, 1723, Governor Dummer issued a proclamation with
the following preamble, viz:--

“Whereas, within some short time past, many fires have broke out
within the town of Boston, and divers buildings have thereby been
consumed: which fires have been designedly and industriously kindled
by some villainous and desperate negroes, or other dissolute people,
as appears by the confession of some of them (who have been examined
by the authority), and many concurring circumstances; and it being
vehemently suspected that they have entered into a combination to burn
and destroy the town, I have therefore thought fit, with the advice of
his Majesty’s council, to issue forth this proclamation,” etc.

On the 18th of April, 1723, Rev. Joseph Sewall preached a discourse,
particularly occasioned “by the late fires yt have broke out in Boston,
supposed to be purposely set by ye negroes.”

On the next day, April 19th, the Selectmen of Boston made a report to
the town on the subject, consisting of nineteen articles, of which the
following is No. 9:--

“That if more than two Indians, Negro or Mulatto Servants or Slaves
be found in the Streets or Highways in or about the Town, idling or
lurking together unless in the service of their Master or Employer,
every one so found shall be punished at the House of Correction.”

So great at that time were the alarm and danger in Boston, occasioned
by the slaves, that in addition to the common watch, a military force
was not only kept up, but at the breaking out of every fire, a part of
the militia were ordered out under arms to keep the slaves in order!!

In 1728, an insurrection of slaves occurred in Savannah, Georgia, who
were fired on twice before they fled. They had formed a plot to destroy
all the whites, and nothing prevented them but a disagreement about the
mode. At that time, the population consisted of three thousand whites
and two thousand seven hundred blacks.

In August, 1730, an insurrection of blacks occurred in Williamsburgh,
Virginia, occasioned by a report, on Colonel Spotswood’s arrival, that
he had directions from His Majesty to free all baptized persons. The
negroes improved this to a great height. Five counties were in arms
pursuing them, with orders to kill them if they did not submit.

In August, 1730, the slaves in South Carolina conspired to destroy all
the whites. This was the first open rebellion in that State where the
negroes were actually armed and embodied, and took place on the Sabbath.

In the same month, a negro man plundered and burned a house in Malden
(Mass.,) and gave this reason for his conduct, that his master had sold
him to a man in Salem, whom he did not like.

In 1731, Captain George Scott, of Rhode Island, was returning from
Guinea with a cargo of slaves, who rose upon the ship, murdered three
of the crew, all of whom soon after died, except the captain and boy.

In 1732, Captain John Major, of Portsmouth, New Hampshire, was
murdered, with all his crew, and the schooner and cargo seized by the

In 1741, there was a formidable insurrection among the slaves in New
York. At that time the population consisted of twelve thousand whites,
and two thousand blacks. Of the conspirators, thirteen were burned
alive, eighteen hung, and eighty transported.

Those who were transported were sent to the West India islands. As a
specimen of the persons who were suitable for transportation, I give
the following from the “Boston Gazette,” Aug. 17, 1761:--

“To be sold, a parcel of likely young Negroes, imported from Africa,
cheap for cash. Inquire of John Avery. Also, if any person have any
negro men, strong and hearty, though not of the best moral character,
which are proper subjects of transportation, they may have an exchange
for small negroes.”

In 1747, the slaves on board of a Rhode Island ship commanded by
Captain Beers, rose, when off Cape Coast Castle, and murdered the
captain and all the crew, except the two mates, who swam ashore.

In 1754, C. Croft, Esq., of Charleston, South Carolina, had his
buildings burned by his female negroes, two of whom were burned alive!!

In September, 1755, Mark and Phillis, slaves, were put to death
at Cambridge (Mass.,) for poisoning their master, Mr. John Codman
of Charlestown. Mark was hanged, and Phillis burned alive. Having
ascertained that their master had, by his will, made them free at his
death, they poisoned him in order to obtain their liberty so much the

In the year 1800, the city of Richmond, Virginia, and indeed the whole
slave-holding country were thrown into a state of intense excitement,
consternation and alarm, by the discovery of an intended insurrection
among the slaves. The plot was laid by a slave named Gabriel, who was
claimed as the property of Mr. Thomas Prosser. A full and true account
of this General Gabriel, and of the proceedings consequent on the
discovery of the plot, has never yet been published. In 1831, a short
account which is false in almost every particular, appeared in the
Albany “Evening Journal,” under the head of “Gabriel’s Defeat.”

The following is the copy of a letter dated September 21, 1800,
written by a gentleman of Richmond, Virginia, published in the “Boston
Gazette,” October 6th:--

“By this time, you have no doubt heard of the conspiracy formed in this
country by the negroes, which, but for the interposition of Providence,
would have put the metropolis of the State, and even the State itself,
into their possession. A dreadful storm, with a deluge of rain, which
carried away the bridges, and rendered the water-courses everywhere
impassable, prevented the execution of their plot. It was extensive
and vast in its design. Nothing could have been better contrived. The
conspirators were to have seized on the magazine, the treasury, the
mills, and the bridges across James River. They were to have entered
the city of Richmond in three places with fire and sword, to commence
an indiscriminate slaughter, the French only excepted. They were then
to have called on their fellow-negroes and the friends of humanity
throughout the continent, by proclamation, to rally round their
standard. The magazine, which was defenceless, would have supplied them
with arms for many thousand men.

“The treasury would have given them money, the mills bread, and the
bridges would have enabled them to let in their friends, and keep
out their enemies. Never was there a more propitious season for the
accomplishment of their purpose.

“The country is covered with rich harvests of Indian corn; flocks and
herds are everywhere fat in the fields, and the liberty and equality
doctrine, nonsensical and wicked as it is (in this land of tyrants and
slaves), is for electioneering purposes sounding and resounding through
our valleys and mountains in every direction. The city of Richmond
and the circumjacent country are in arms, and have been so for ten or
twelve days past. The patrollers are doubled through the State, and the
Governor, impressed with the magnitude of the danger, has appointed for
himself three aids-de-camp. A number of conspirators have been hung,
and a great many more are yet to be hung. The trials and executions are
going on day by day. Poor, deluded wretches! Their democratic deluders,
conscious of their own guilt, and fearful of the public vengeance, are
most active in bringing them to punishment.”



The Boston Massacre, March 5, 1770, may be regarded as the first act in
the great drama of the American Revolution. “From that moment,” said
Daniel Webster, “we may date the severance of the British Empire.” The
presence of the British soldiers in King Street excited the patriotic
indignation of the people. The whole community was stirred, and sage
counsellors were deliberating and writing and talking about the public
grievances. But it was not for “the wise and prudent” to be the first
to act against the encroachments of arbitrary power.

A motley rabble of men and boys, led by Crispus Attucks, a negro, and
shouting, “The way to get rid of these soldiers is to attack the main
guard; strike at the root; this is the nest!” with more valor than
discretion, they rushed to King Street, and were fired upon by Captain
Preston’s company. Crispus Attucks was the first to fall; he and Samuel
Gray and Jonas Caldwell were killed on the spot. Samuel Maverick and
Patrick Carr were mortally wounded.

The excitement which followed was intense. The bells of the town
were rung; an impromptu meeting was held, and an immense assembly was
gathered. Three days after, on the 8th, a public funeral of the martyrs
took place. The shops in Boston were closed; all the bells of Boston
and neighboring towns were rung. It was said that a greater number of
persons assembled on this occasion than were ever before gathered on
the continent for a similar purpose.

The body of Attucks, the negro slave, had been placed in Faneuil Hall,
with that of Caldwell, both being strangers in the city. Maverick was
buried from his mother’s house in Union Street, and Gray from his
brother’s, in Royal Exchange Lane. The four hearses formed a junction
in King Street, and there the procession marched on in columns six
deep, with a long file of coaches belonging to the most distinguished
citizens, to the middle burying-ground, where the four victims were
deposited in one grave, over which a stone was placed with the
following inscription:

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

The anniversary of this event was publicly commemorated in Boston, by
an oration and other exercises, every year until after our national
independence was achieved, when the Fourth of July was substituted for
the fifth of March, as the more proper day for general celebration. Not
only was the occasion commemorated, but the martyrs who then gave up
their lives were remembered and honored. For half a century after the
close of the war, the name of Crispus Attucks was honorably mentioned
by the most noted men of the country, who were not blinded by foolish
prejudice, which, to say the most, was only skin-deep.

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

“Nor should history forget to record, that, as in the army at
Cambridge, so also in this gallant band, the free negroes of the colony
had their representatives. For the right of free negroes to bear arms
in the public defence was, at that day, as little disputed in New
England as their other rights. They took their place not in a separate
corps, but in the ranks with the white man; and their names may be read
on the pension-rolls of the country, side by side with those of other
soldiers of the Revolution.”[48]

The capture of Major-General Prescott, of the British army, on the
9th of July, 1777, was an occasion of great rejoicing throughout the
country. Prince, the valiant negro who seized that officer, ought
always to be remembered with honor for his important service.

The battle of Red Bank, and the battle of Rhode Island, on the 29th of
August, 1778, entitle the blacks to perpetual honor.[49]

When Colonel Green was surprised and murdered, near Points Bridge, New
York, on 14th of May, 1781, his colored soldiers heroically defended
him till they were cut to pieces; and the enemy reached him over the
dead bodies of his faithful negroes. Of this last engagement, Arnold,
in his “History of Rhode Island,” says:--

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


[48] Bancroft’s “History of the United States.” Vol. VII. p. 421.

[49] Moore’s “Diary of the American Revolution.” Vol. I. p. 468.



In the war of 1812, colored men again did themselves honor by
volunteering their services in aid of American freedom, both at
the North and at the South. In the latter section, even the slaves
were invited, and entered the army, where their bravery was highly
appreciated. The following document speaks for itself.

            MOBILE, September 21, 1814.                 }

     “_To the Free Colored Inhabitants of Louisiana_:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


     “Major-General Commanding.”[50]

December 18th, 1814, General Jackson issued the following address to
the colored members of his army:--

     “SOLDIERS!--When, on the banks of the Mobile, I called you to
     take up arms, inviting you to partake of the perils and glory of
     your white fellow-citizens, I expected much from you; for I was
     not ignorant that you possessed qualities most formidable to an
     invading enemy. I knew with what fortitude you could endure hunger
     and thirst, and all the fatigues of a campaign. I knew well how
     you loved your native country, and that you, as well as ourselves,
     had to defend what man holds most dear--his parents, wife,
     children, and property. You have done more than I expected. In
     addition to the previous qualities I before knew you to possess, I
     found among you a noble enthusiasm, which leads to the performance
     of great things.

     “Soldiers! the President of the United States shall hear how
     praiseworthy was your conduct in the hour of danger, and the
     representatives of the American people will give you the praise
     your exploits entitle you to. Your general anticipates them in
     applauding your noble ardor.

     “The enemy approaches; his vessels cover our lakes; our brave
     citizens are united, and all contention has ceased among them.
     Their only dispute is, who shall win the prize of valor, or who
     the most glory, its noblest reward.

     “By order,

     “THOMAS BUTLER, Aid-de-camp.”

The “New Orleans Picayune,” in an account of the celebration of the
Battle of New Orleans, in that city, in 1851, says:--

“Not the least interesting, although the most novel feature of the
procession yesterday, was the presence of ninety of the colored
veterans who bore a conspicuous part in the dangers of the day they
were now for the first time called to assist in celebrating, and who,
by their good conduct in presence of the enemy, deserved and received
the approbation of their illustrious commander-in-chief. During the
thirty-six years that have passed away since they assisted to repel
the invaders from our shores, these faithful men have never before
participated in the annual rejoicings for the victory which their valor
contributed to gain.

“Their good deeds have been consecrated only in their memories, or
lived but to claim a passing notice on the page of the historian. Yet,
who more than they deserve the thanks of the country, and the gratitude
of succeeding generations? Who rallied with more alacrity in response
to the summons of danger? Who endured more cheerfully the hardships of
the camp, or faced with greater courage the perils of the fight? If,
in that hazardous hour, when our homes were menaced with the horrors
of war, we did not disdain to call upon the colored population to
assist in repelling the invading horde, we should not, when the danger
is past, refuse to permit them to unite with us in celebrating the
glorious event which they helped to make so memorable an epoch in our
history. We were not too exalted to mingle with them in the affray;
they were not too humble to join in our rejoicings.

“Such, we think, is the universal opinion of our citizens. We conversed
with many yesterday, and without exception, they expressed approval of
the invitation which had been extended to the colored veterans to take
part in the ceremonies of the day, and gratification at seeing them in
a conspicuous place in the procession.

“The respectability of their appearance, and the modesty of their
demeanor, made an impression on every observer and elicited unqualified
approbation. Indeed, though in saying so we do not mean disrespect
to any one else, we think that they constituted decidedly the most
interesting portion of the pageant, as they certainly attracted the
most attention.”

On Lakes Erie and Champlain, colored men were also engaged in these
battles which have become historical, exhibiting the same heroism that
characterized them in all their previous efforts in defence of their
country’s rights.


[50] Niles’ Register, Vol. VII., p. 205.



The demoralization which the institution entailed upon all classes in
the community in which it existed, was indeed fearful to contemplate;
and we may well say that slavery is the curse of curses. While it made
the victim a mere chattel, taking from him every characteristic of
manhood, it degraded the mind of the master, brutalized his feelings,
seared his conscience, and destroyed his moral sense.

Immorality to a great extent, pervaded every slaveholding city, town,
village, and dwelling in the South. Morality and virtue were always the
exceptions. The Southern clergy, backed by the churches, defended their
right to hold slaves to the last. Houses of religious worship and the
negro pen were often in sight of each other.

The Southern newspapers teemed with advertisements, which were a fair
index to this monstrous social evil.

Now that slavery is swept away, it may be interesting to see some
of these newspaper notices, in the light of the new dispensation of

The New Orleans “True Delta” in 1853, graced its columns with the
following: “Mr. Joseph Jennings respectfully informs his friends and
the public, that, at the request of many of his acquaintances, he has
been induced to purchase from Mr. Osborn, of Missouri, the celebrated
dark bay horse “Star,” age five years, square trotter, and warranted
sound, with a new light-trotting buggy and harness; also the stout
mulatto girl “Sarah,” aged about twenty years, general house servant,
valued at nine hundred dollars, and guaranteed; will be raffled for
at four o’clock, P. M., February 1st, at any hotel selected by the

“The above is as represented, and those persons who may wish to engage
in the usual practice of raffling will, I assure them, be perfectly
satisfied with their destiny in this affair.

“Fifteen hundred chances, at one dollar each.

“The whole is valued at its just worth, fifteen hundred dollars.

“The raffle will be conducted by gentlemen selected by the interested
subscribers present. Five nights allowed to complete the raffle. Both
of above can be seen at my store, No. 78 Common Street, second door
from Camp, at from 9 o’clock, A. M., till half-past two, P. M.

“Highest throw takes the first choice; the lowest throw the remaining
prize, and the fortunate winners to pay twenty dollars each, for the
refreshments furnished for the occasion.”

The “Picayune,” of the same city, gives the following:

“$100 REWARD.--Run away from the plantation of the undersigned, the
negro man Shedrick, a preacher, five feet nine inches high, about
forty years old, but looking not over twenty-three, stamped N. E. on
the breast, and having both small toes cut off. He is of a very dark
complexion, with eyes small, but bright, and a look quite insolent.
He dresses good, and was arrested as a runaway at Donaldsonville,
some three years ago. The above reward will be paid for his arrest,
by addressing Messrs. Armant Brothers, St. James Parish, or A.
Miltenberger & Co., 30 Carondelet Street.”

A Savannah (Georgia) paper has the annexed notice.

“Committed to prison, three weeks ago, under suspicious circumstances,
a negro woman, who calls herself Phebe, or Phillis. Says she is free,
and lately from Beaufort District, South Carolina. Said woman is about
fifty years of age, stout in stature, mild-spoken, five feet four
inches high, and weighs about one hundred and forty pounds. Having made
diligent inquiry by letter, and from what I can learn, said woman is a
runaway. Any person owning said slave can get her by making application
to me, properly authenticated.”

The practice of capturing runaway slaves, with blood-hounds trained for
the purpose, during the days of slave rule in the South, is well known.
We give below one of the advertisements as it appeared in print at the

“The undersigned, having an excellent pack of hounds for trailing and
catching runaway slaves, informs the public that his prices in future
will be as follows for such services:

     For each day employed in hunting or trailing   $2.50
     For catching each slave                        10.00
     For going over ten miles, and catching slaves  20.00

     “If sent for, the above prices will be exacted in cash. The
     subscriber resides one mile and a half south of Dadeville, Ala.

     “B. BLACK.”

Slavery so completely seared the conscience of the whites of the South,
that they had no feeling of compassion for the blacks, as the following
illustration will show. At St. Louis, in the year 1835, Francis
McIntosh, a free colored man, while defending himself from an attack of
white ruffians, one of the latter was killed. At once the colored man
was taken, chained to a tree, and burnt to death. One of the newspapers
at the time gave the following account of the inhuman affair:--

“All was silent as death while the executioners were piling wood around
their victim. He said not a word, until feeling that the flames had
seized upon him. He then uttered an awful howl, attempting to sing
and pray, then hung his head, and suffered in silence, except in
the following instance. After the flames had surrounded their prey,
his eyes burnt out of his head, and his mouth seemingly parched to
a cinder, some one in the crowd, more compassionate than the rest,
proposed to put an end to his misery by shooting him, when it was
replied, ‘That would be of no use, since he was already out of pain.’
‘No, no,’ said the wretch, ‘I am not, I am suffering as much as ever;
shoot me, shoot me.’ ‘No, no,’ said one of the fiends who was standing
about the sacrifice they were roasting, ‘he shall not be shot. I would
sooner slacken the fire, if it would increase his misery;’ and the man
who said this was, as we understand, an officer of justice!”

Lest this demonstration of “public opinion” should be regarded as a
sudden impulse merely, not an index of the settled tone of feeling in
that community, it is important to add, that the Hon. Luke E. Lawless,
Judge of the Circuit Court of Missouri, at a session of that court
in the city of St. Louis, some months after the burning of this man,
decided officially that since the burning of McIntosh was the act,
either directly or by countenance of a majority of the citizens, it
is “a case which transcends the jurisdiction” of the Grand Jury! Thus
the State of Missouri proclaimed to the world that the wretches who
perpetrated that unspeakably diabolical murder, and the thousands that
stood by consenting to it, were her representatives, and the Bench
sanctified it with the solemnity of a judicial decision.



An undeveloped discontent always pervaded the black population of the
South, bond and free. Human bondage is ever fruitful of insurrection,
wherever it exists, and under whatever circumstances it may be found.
The laws forbidding either free people of color or slaves to assemble
in any considerable numbers for religious, or any other purpose,
without two or more whites being present, and the rigorous enforcement
of such laws, show how fearful the slave-masters were of their injured

Everything was done to make the Negro feel that he was not a man, but
a thing; his inferiority was impressed upon him in all possible ways.
In the great cities of the South, free colored ladies were not allowed
to wear a veil in the streets, or in any public places. A violation of
this law was visited with thirty-nine lashes upon the bare back. The
same was inflicted upon the free colored man who should be seen upon
the streets with a cigar in his mouth, or a walking-stick in his hand.
Both, when walking the streets, were forbidden to take the inside of
the pavement. Punishment of fine and imprisonment was laid upon any
found out of their houses after nine o’clock at night.

An extra tax was placed upon every member of a free colored family.
While all these odious edicts were silently borne by the free colored
people of Charleston, South Carolina, in 1822, there was a suppressed
feeling of indignation, mortification, and discontent, that was only
appreciated by a few. Among the most dissatisfied of the free blacks
was Denmark Vesey, a man who had purchased his freedom in the year
1800, and since that time had earned his living by his trade, being a
carpenter and joiner.

In person, Vesey was tall and of spare make; in color, a dark mulatto;
high forehead; eyes, dark brown; nose, long and with a Roman cast. His
education was superior to that of his associates, and he had read much,
especially of the condition of his own race, and felt deeply for them
in their degraded condition.

Vesey was a native of the West Indies. Having been employed on
shipboard by his master, Captain Vesey, Denmark had seen a great
deal of the world, and had acquired a large fund of information, and
was regarded as a leading man among the blacks. He had studied the
Scriptures, and never lost an opportunity of showing that they were
opposed to chattel-slavery. He spoke freely with the slaves upon the
subject, and often with the whites, where he found he could do so
without risk to his own liberty.

After resolving to incite the slaves to rebellion, he began taking
into his confidence such persons as he could trust, and instructing
them to gain adherents from among the more reliable of both bond and
free. Peter Poyas, a slave of more than ordinary foresight and ability,
was selected by Vesey as his lieutenant; and to him was committed the
arduous duty of arranging the mode of attack, and of acting as the
military leader.

His plans showed some natural generalship; he arranged the night
attack; he planned the enrollment of a mounted troop to scour the
streets; and he had a list of all the shops where arms and ammunition
were kept for sale. He voluntarily undertook the management of the
most difficult part of the enterprise,--the capture of the main
guard-house,--and had pledged himself to advance alone, and surprise
the sentinel. He was said to have a magnetism in his eye, of which his
confederates stood in great awe; if he once got his eye upon a man,
there was no resisting it.

Gullah Jack, Tom Russell, and Ned Bennett. The last two were not less
valuable than Peter Poyas; for Tom was an ingenious mechanic, and made
battle-axes, pikes, and other instruments of death, with which to carry
on the war. All of the above were to be generals of brigades, and were
let into all the secrets of the intended rising. It has long been
the custom in Charleston for the country slaves to visit the city in
great numbers on Sunday, and return to their homes in time to commence
work on the following morning. It was therefore determined by Denmark
to have the rising take place on Sunday. The slaves of nearly every
plantation in the vicinity were enlisted, and were to take part.

The details of the plan, however, were not rashly committed to the
mass of the confederates; they were known only to a few, and were
finally to have been announced after the evening prayer-meeting on
the appointed Sunday. But each leader had his own company enlisted,
and his own work marked out. When the clock struck twelve, all were
to move. Peter Poyas was to lead a party ordered to assemble at South
Bay, and to be joined by a force from James’ Island; he was then to
march up and seize the arsenal and guard-house opposite St. Michael’s
Church, and detach a sufficient number to cut off all white citizens
who should appear at the alarm posts. A second body of negroes, from
the country and the Neck, headed by Ned Bennett, was to assemble on
the Neck and seize the arsenal there. A third was to meet at Governor
Bennett’s Mills, under command of Rolla, another leader, and, after
putting the governor and intendant to death, to march through the
city, or be posted at Cannon’s Bridge, thus preventing the inhabitants
of Cannonsborough from entering the city. A fourth, partly from the
country and partly from the neighboring localities in the city, was to
rendezvous on Gadsden’s Wharf, and attack the upper guard-house.

A fifth, composed of country and Neck negroes, was to assemble at
Bulkley’s farm, two miles and a half from the city, seize the upper
powder magazine, and then march down; and a sixth was to assemble at
Denmark Vesey’s, and obey his orders. A seventh detachment, under
Gullah Jack, was to assemble in Boundary Street, at the head of King
Street, to capture the arms of the Neck company of militia, and to
take an additional supply from Mr. Duquercron’s shop. The naval stores
on Mey’s Wharf were also to be attacked. Meanwhile a horse company,
consisting of many draymen, hostlers, and butcher boys, was to meet at
Lightwood’s Alley, and then scour the streets to prevent the whites
from assembling. Every white man coming out of his own door was to
be killed, and, if necessary, the city was to be fired in several
places--slow match for this purpose having been purloined from the
public arsenal and placed in an accessible position.

The secret and plan of attack, however, were incautiously divulged
to a slave named Devany, belonging to Colonel Prioleau, and he at
once informed his master’s family. The mayor, on getting possession
of the facts, called the city council together for consultation. The
investigation elicited nothing new, for the slaves persisted in their
ignorance of the matter, and the authorities began to feel that they
had been imposed upon by Devany and his informant, when another of
the conspirators, being bribed, revealed what he knew. Arrests after
arrests were made, and the Mayor’s Court held daily examinations for
weeks. After several weeks of incarceration, the accused, one hundred
and twenty in number, were brought to trial: thirty-four were sentenced
to transportation, twenty-seven acquitted by the court, twenty-five
discharged without trial, and thirty-five condemned to death. With but
two or three exceptions, all of the conspirators went to the gallows
feeling that they had acted right, and died like men giving their lives
for the cause of freedom. A report of the trial, written soon after,
says of Denmark Vesey:--

“For several years before he disclosed his intentions to any one, he
appears to have been constantly and assiduously engaged in endeavoring
to embitter the minds of the colored population against the white.
He rendered himself perfectly familiar with all those parts of the
Scriptures which he thought he could pervert to his purpose, and would
readily quote them to prove that slavery was contrary to the laws of
God,--that slaves were bound to attempt their emancipation, however
shocking and bloody might be the consequences,--and that such efforts
would not only be pleasing to the Almighty, but were absolutely
enjoined, and their success predicted, in the Scriptures. His favorite
texts, when he addressed those of his own color, were Zachariah xiv:
1-3, and Joshua vi: 21; and in all his conversations he identified
their situation with that of the Israelites.

The number of inflammatory pamphlets on slavery brought into Charleston
from some of our sister states within the last four years (and once
from Sierra Leone), and distributed amongst the colored population of
the city, for which there was a great facility, in consequence of the
unrestricted intercourse allowed to the persons of color between the
different states in the Union, and the speeches in Congress of those
opposed to the admission of Missouri into the Union, perhaps garbled
and misrepresented, furnished him with ample means for inflaming the
minds of the colored population of this State; and by distorting
certain parts of those speeches, or selecting from them particular
passages, he persuaded but too many that Congress had actually declared
them free, and that they were held in bondage contrary to the laws of
the land.

Even whilst walking through the streets in company with another, he
was not idle; for if his companion bowed to a white person, he would
rebuke him, and observe that all men were born equal, and that he was
surprised that any one would degrade himself by such conduct,--that
he would never cringe to the whites, nor ought any one who had
the feelings of a man. When answered, ‘We are slaves,’ he would
sarcastically and indignantly reply, ‘You deserve to remain slaves;’
and if he were further asked, ‘What can we do?’ he would remark,
‘Go and buy a spelling-book and read the fable of Hercules and the
Wagoner,’ which he would then repeat, and apply it to their situation.
He also sought every opportunity of entering into conversation with
white persons, when they could be overheard by negroes near by,
especially in grog shops; during which conversation, he would artfully
introduce some bold remark on slavery; and sometimes, when, from the
character he was conversing with, he found he might be still bolder, he
would go so far, that, had not his declarations in such situations been
clearly proved, they would scarcely have been credited. He continued
this course until some time after the commencement of the last winter;
by which time he had not only obtained incredible influence amongst
persons of color, but many feared him more than their owners, and, one
of them declared, even more than his God.”

The excitement which the revelations of the trial occasioned, and
the continual fanning of the flame by the newspapers, were beyond
description. Double guard in the city, the country patrol on
horseback and on foot, the watchfulness that was observed on all
plantations, showed the deep feeling of fear pervading the hearts of
the slaveholders, not only in South Carolina, but the fever extended
to the other Southern states, and all seemed to feel that a great
crisis had been passed. And indeed, their fears seem not to have been
without ground, for a more complicated plan for an insurrection could
scarcely have been conceived. And many were of opinion that the rising
once begun, they would have taken the city and held it, and might have
sealed the fate of slavery in the South.[51] But a more successful
effort in rebellion was made in Southampton, Virginia, in the year
1831, at the head of which was Nat Turner.

On one of the oldest and largest plantations in Southampton County,
Virginia, owned by Benjamin Turner, Esq., Nat was born a slave, on
the 2d of October, 1800. His parents were of unmixed African descent.
Surrounded as he was by the superstition of the slave quarters, and
being taught by his mother that he was born for a prophet, a preacher,
and a deliverer of his race, it is not strange that the child should
have imbibed the principles which were afterwards developed in his
career. Early impressed with the belief that he had seen visions, and
received communications direct from God, he, like Napoleon, regarded
himself as a being of destiny. In his childhood Nat was of an amiable
disposition; but circumstances in which he was placed as a slave,
brought out incidents that created a change in his disposition, and
turned his kind and docile feeling into the most intense hatred to the
white race.

Being absent one night from his master’s plantation without a pass,
he was caught by Whitlock and Mull, the two district patrolers, and
severely flogged. This act of cruelty inflamed the young slave, and he
resolved upon having revenge. Getting two of the boys of a neighboring
plantation to join him, Nat obtained a long rope, went out at night
on the road through which the officers had their beat, and stationing
his companions, one on each side of the road, he stretched the rope
across, fastening each end to a tree, and drawing it tight. His rope
thus fixed, and his accomplices instructed how to act their part, Nat
started off up the road. The night being dark, and the rope only six or
eight inches from the ground, the slave felt sure that he would give
his enemies a “high fall.”

Nat hearing them, he called out in a disguised voice, “Is dat you,
Jim?” To this Whitlock replied, “Yes, dis is me.” Waiting until the
white men were near him, Nat started off upon a run, followed by the
officers. The boy had placed a sheet of white paper in the road, so
that he might know at what point to jump the rope, so as not to be
caught in his own trap. Arriving at the signal he sprung over the
rope, and went down the road like an antelope. But not so with the
white men, for both were caught by the legs and thrown so hard upon
the ground that Mull had his shoulder put out of joint, and his face
terribly lacerated by the fall; while Whitlock’s left wrist was
broken, and his head bruised in a shocking manner. Nat hastened home,
while his companions did the same, not forgetting to take with them
the clothesline which had been so serviceable in the conflict. The
patrolers were left on the field of battle, crying, swearing, and
calling for help.

Snow seldom falls as far south as the southern part of Virginia; but
when it does, the boys usually have a good time snow-balling, and on
such occasions the slaves, old and young, women and men, are generally
pelted without mercy, and with no right to retaliate. It was only a
few months after his affair with the patrolers, that Nat was attacked
by a gang of boys, who chased him some distance, snow-balling with all
their power. The slave boy knew the lads, and determined upon revenge.
Waiting till night, he filled his pockets with rocks, and went into
the street. Very soon the same gang of boys were at his heels, and
pelting him. Concealing his face so as not to be known, Nat discharged
his rocks in every direction, until his enemies had all taken to their

The ill treatment he experienced at the hands of the whites, and the
visions he claimed to have seen, caused Nat to avoid, as far as he
could, all intercourse with his fellow-slaves, and threw around him a
gloom and melancholy that disappeared only with his life.

Both the young slave and his friends averred that a full knowledge of
the alphabet came to him in a single night. Impressed with the belief
that his mission was a religious one, and this impression strengthened
by the advice of his grandmother, a pious but ignorant woman, Nat
commenced preaching when about twenty-five years of age, but never
went beyond his own master’s locality. In stature he was under the
middle size, long-armed, round-shouldered, and strongly marked with
the African features. A gloomy fire burned in his looks, and he had a
melancholy expression of countenance. He never tasted a drop of ardent
spirits in his life, and was never known to smile. In the year 1828 new
visions appeared to Nat, and he claimed to have direct communication
with God. Unlike most of those born under the influence of slavery, he
had no faith in conjuring, fortune-telling, or dreams, and always spoke
with contempt of such things.

Being hired out to cruel masters, he ran away and remained in the woods
thirty days, and could have easily escaped to the free states, as
did his father some years before; but he received, as he says in his
confession a communication from the spirit, which said, “Return to your
earthly master, for he who knoweth his Master’s will, and doeth it not,
shall be beaten with many stripes.” It was not the will of his earthly,
but his heavenly Master that he felt bound to do, and therefore Nat
returned. His fellow-slaves were greatly incensed at him for coming
back, for they knew well his ability to reach Canada, or some other
land of freedom, if he was so inclined.

He says further: “About this time I had a vision, and saw white spirits
and black spirits engaged in battle, and the sun was darkened, the
thunder rolled in the heavens, and blood flowed in streams; and I heard
a voice saying, ‘Such is your luck; such are you called on to see; and
let it come, rough or smooth, you must surely bear it.’”

Some time after this, Nat had, as he says, another vision, in which
the spirit appeared and said, “The serpent is loosened, and Christ has
laid down the yoke he has borne for the sins of men, and you must take
it up, and fight against the serpent, for the time is fast approaching
when the first shall be last, and the last shall be first.” There is no
doubt but that this last sentence filled Nat with enthusiastic feeling
in favor of the liberty of his race, that he had so long dreamed of.
“The last shall be first, and the first shall be last,” seemed to him
to mean something. He saw in it the overthrow of the whites, and the
establishing of the blacks in their stead, and to this end he bent
the energies of his mind. In February, 1831, Nat received his last
communication, and beheld his last vision. He said, “I was told I
should arise and prepare myself, and slay my enemies with their own

The plan of an insurrection was now formed in his own mind, and the
time had arrived for him to take others into the secret; and he at once
communicated his ideas to four of his friends, in whom he had implicit
confidence. Hark Travis, Nelson Williams, Sam Edwards, and Henry Porter
were slaves like himself, and like him had taken their names from their
masters. A meeting must be held with these, and it must take place in
some secluded place, where the whites would not disturb them; and a
meeting was appointed. The spot where they assembled was as wild and
romantic as were the visions that had been impressed upon the mind of
their leader.

Three miles from where Nat lived was a dark swamp filled with reptiles,
in the middle of which was a dry spot, reached by a narrow, winding
path, and upon which human feet seldom trod, on account of its having
been the place where a slave had been tortured to death by a slow fire,
for the crime of having flogged his cruel and inhuman master. The
night for the meeting arrived, and they came together. Hark brought a
pig; Sam, bread; Nelson, sweet potatoes, and Henry, brandy; and the
gathering was turned into a feast. Others were taken in, and joined
the conspiracy. All partook heartily of the food and drank freely,
except Nat. He fasted and prayed. It was agreed that the revolt should
commence that night, and in their own master’s households, and that
each slave should give his oppressor the death-blow. Before they left
the swamp Nat made a speech, in which he said, “Friends and brothers:
We are to commence a great work to-night. Our race is to be delivered
from slavery, and God has appointed us as the men to do his bidding,
and let us be worthy of our calling. I am told to slay all the whites
we encounter, without regard to age or sex. We have no arms or
ammunition, but we will find these in the houses of our oppressors,
and as we go on, others can join us. Remember that we do not go forth
for the sake of blood and carnage, but it is necessary that in the
commencement of this revolution all the whites we meet should die,
until we shall have an army strong enough to carry on the war upon a
Christian basis. Remember that ours is not a war for robbery and to
satisfy our passions; it is a struggle for freedom. Ours must be deeds,
and not words. Then let’s away to the scene of action.”

Among those who had joined the conspirators was Will, a slave, who
scorned the idea of taking his master’s name. Though his soul longed
to be free, he evidently became one of the party, as much to satisfy
revenge, as for the liberty that he saw in the dim distance. Will had
seen a dear and beloved wife sold to the negro-trader and taken away,
never to be beheld by him again in this life. His own back was covered
with scars, from his shoulders to his feet. A large scar, running from
his right eye down to his chin, showed that he had lived with a cruel
master. Nearly six feet in height, and one of the strongest and most
athletic of his race, he proved to be the most unfeeling of all the
insurrectionists. His only weapon was a broad-axe, sharp and heavy.

Nat and his accomplices at once started for the plantation of Joseph
Travis, with whom the four lived, and there the first blow was struck.
In his confession, just before his execution, Nat said:--

“On returning to the house, Hark went to the door with an axe, for the
purpose of breaking it open, as we knew we were strong enough to murder
the family should they be awakened by the noise; but reflecting that
it might create an alarm in the neighborhood, we determined to enter
the house secretly, and murder them whilst sleeping. Hark got a ladder
and set it against the chimney, on which I ascended, and hoisting a
window, entered, and came down-stairs, unbarred the doors, and removed
the guns from their places. It was then observed that I must spill
the first blood. On which, armed with a hatchet, and accompanied by
Will, I entered my master’s chamber. It being dark, I could not give
a death-blow. The hatchet glanced from his head; he sprang from the
bed and called his wife. It was his last word; Will laid him dead with
a blow of his axe, and Mrs. Travis shared the same fate as she lay
in bed. The murder of this family, five in number, was the work of a
moment; not one of them awoke. There was a little infant sleeping in a
cradle, that was forgotten until we had left the house and gone some
distance, when Henry and Will returned and killed it. We got here four
guns that would shoot, and several old muskets, with a pound or two
of powder. We remained for some time at the barn, where we paraded;
I formed them in line as soldiers, and after carrying them through
all the manœuvres I was master of, marched them off to Mr. Salathiel
Francis’s, about six hundred yards distant.

“Sam and Will went to the door and knocked. Mr. Francis asked who was
there; Sam replied it was he and he had a letter for him; on this he
got up and came to the door; they immediately seized him, and dragging
him out a little from the door, he was despatched by repeated blows on
the head. There was no other white person in the family. We started
from there to Mrs. Reese’s, maintaining the most perfect silence on our
march, where, finding the door unlocked, we entered and murdered Mrs.
Reese in her bed while sleeping; her son awoke, but only to sleep the
sleep of death; he had only time to say, ‘Who is that?’ and he was no

“From Mrs. Reese’s we went to Mrs. Turner’s, a mile distant, which we
reached about sunrise, on Monday morning. Henry, Austin, and Sam, went
to the still, where, finding Mr. Peebles, Austin shot him; the rest of
us went to the house. As we approached, the family discovered us and
shut the door. Vain hope! Will, with one stroke of his axe, opened it,
and we entered, and found Mrs. Turner and Mrs. Newsome in the middle
of the room, almost frightened to death. Will immediately killed Mrs.
Turner with one blow of his axe. I took Mrs. Newsome by the hand, and
with the sword I had when apprehended, I struck her several blows over
the head, but was not able to kill her, as the sword was dull. Will,
turning round and discovering it, despatched her also. A general
destruction of property, and search for money and ammunition, always
succeeded the murders.

“By this time, my company amounted to fifteen, nine men mounted, who
started for Mrs. Whitehead’s, (the other six were to go through a
by-way to Mr. Bryant’s, and rejoin us at Mrs. Whitehead’s).

“As we approached the house, we discovered Mr. Richard Whitehead
standing in the cotton patch, near the lane fence; we called him over
into the lane, and Will, the executioner, was near at hand, with his
fatal axe, to send him to an untimely grave. As we pushed on to the
house, I discovered some one running around the garden, and thinking it
was some of the white family, I pursued; but finding it was a servant
girl belonging to the house, I returned to commence the work of death;
but they whom I left had not been idle; all the family were already
murdered but Mrs. Whitehead and her daughter Margaret. As I came round
to the door, I saw Will pulling Mrs. Whitehead out of the house, and at
the step he nearly severed her head from her body with his broadaxe.
Miss Margaret, when I discovered her, had concealed herself in the
corner formed by the projection of the cellar cap from the house; on
my approach she fled, but was soon overtaken, and after repeated blows
with a sword, I killed her with a blow over the head with a fence rail.
By this time the six who had gone by Mr. Bryant’s rejoined us, and
informed me they had done the work of death assigned them.

“We again divided, part going to Mr. Richard Porter’s, and from thence
to Nathaniel Francis’s, the others to Mr. Howell Harris’s and Mr.
T. Doyles’s. On my reaching Mr. Porter’s, he had escaped with his
family. I understood there that the alarm had already spread, and I
immediately returned to bring up those sent to Mr. Doyles’s and Mr.
Howell Harris’s; the party I left going on to Mr. Francis’s, having
told them I would join them in that neighborhood. I met those sent to
Mr. Doyles’s and Mr. Howell Harris’s returning, having met Mr. Doyles
on the road and killed him.

“Learning from some who joined them that Mr. Harris was from home, I
immediately pursued the course taken by the party gone on before; but
knowing that they would complete the work of death and pillage at Mr.
Francis’s before I could get there, I went to Mr. Peter Edwards’s,
expecting to find them there; but they had been there already. I then
went to Mr. John T. Barrows’s; they had been there and murdered him. I
pursued on their track to Captain Newitt Harris’s. I found the greater
part mounted and ready to start; the men, now amounting to about forty,
shouted and hurrahed as I rode up; some were in the yard loading their
guns, others drinking. They said Captain Harris and his family had
escaped; the property in the house they destroyed, robbing him of money
and other valuables.

“I ordered them to mount and march instantly; this was about nine or
ten o’clock, Monday morning. I proceeded to Mr. Levi Waller’s, two
or three miles distant. I took my station in the rear, and as it was
my object to carry terror and devastation wherever we went, I placed
fifteen or twenty of the best mounted and most to be relied on in
front, who generally approached the houses as fast as their horses
could run. This was for two purposes; to prevent their escape, and
strike terror to the inhabitants. On this account I never got to
the houses, after leaving Mrs. Whitehead’s, until the murders were
committed, except in one case. I sometimes got in sight in time to see
the work of death completed, view the mangled bodies as they lay, in
silent satisfaction, and immediately start in quest of other victims.
Having murdered Mrs. Waller and ten children, we started for Mr.
William Williams’s. We killed him and two little boys that were there:
while engaged in this, Mrs. Williams fled, and got some distance from
the house; but she was pursued, overtaken, and compelled to get up
behind one of the company, who brought her back, and after showing her
the mangled body of her lifeless husband, she was told to get down and
lie by his side, where she was shot dead.

“I then started for Mr. Jacob Williams’s, where the family were
murdered. Here we found a young man named Drury, who had come on
business with Mr. Williams; he was pursued, overtaken, and shot. Mrs.
Vaughan’s was the next place we visited; and after murdering the family
here, I determined on starting for Jerusalem. Our number amounted now
to fifty or sixty, all mounted and armed with guns, axes, swords, and
clubs. On reaching Mr. James W. Parker’s gate, immediately on the road
leading to Jerusalem, and about three miles distant, it was proposed to
me to call there; but I objected, as I knew he was gone to Jerusalem,
and my object was to reach there as soon as possible; but some of the
men having relations at Mr. Parker’s, it was agreed that they might
call and get his people.

“I remained at the gate on the road, with seven or eight, the others
going across the field to the house, about half a mile off. After
waiting some time for them, I became impatient, and started to the
house for them, and on our return we were met by a party of white men,
who had pursued our blood-stained track, and who had fired on those
at the gate, and dispersed them, which I knew nothing of, not having
been at that time rejoined by any of them. Immediately on discovering
the whites, I ordered my men to halt and form, as they appeared to be
alarmed. The white men, eighteen in number, approached us within about
one hundred yards, when one of them fired, and I discovered about half
of them retreating. I then ordered my men to fire and rush on them;
the few remaining stood their ground until we approached within fifty
yards, when they fired and retreated.

“We pursued and overtook some of them, whom we thought we left dead;
after pursuing them about two hundred yards, and rising a little hill,
I discovered they were met by another party, and had halted, and were
reloading their guns, thinking that those who retreated first, and the
party who fired on us at fifty or sixty yards distant, had only fallen
back to meet others with ammunition. As I saw them reloading their
guns, and more coming up than I saw at first, and several of my bravest
men being wounded, the others became panic-stricken, and scattered
over the field; the white men pursued and fired on us several times.
Hark had his horse shot under him, and I caught another for him that
was running by me; five or six of my men were wounded, but none left
on the field. Finding myself defeated here, I instantly determined to
go through a private way, and cross the Nottoway River at the Cypress
Bridge, three miles below Jerusalem, and attack that place in the rear,
as I expected they would look for me on the other road, and I had a
great desire to get there to procure arms and ammunition.”

Reënforcements came to the whites, and the blacks were overpowered and
defeated by the superior numbers of their enemy. In this battle many
were slain on both sides. Will, the bloodthirsty and revengeful slave,
fell with his broad-axe uplifted, after having laid three of the whites
dead at his feet with his own strong arm and his terrible weapon. His
last words were, “Bury my axe with me;” for he religiously believed
that in the next world the blacks would have a contest with the whites,
and that he would need his axe. Nat Turner, after fighting to the last
with his short-sword, escaped with some others to the woods near by,
and was not captured for nearly two months. He had aroused the entire
country by his deeds, and for sixty days had eluded a thousand armed
men on his track. When taken, although half starved, and exhausted by
fatigue, like a fox after a weary chase, he stood erect and dignified,
proud and haughty, amid his captors, his sturdy, compact form, marked
features, and flashing eye, declaring him to be every inch a man.

When brought to trial, he pleaded “not guilty;” feeling, as he said,
that it was always right for one to strike for his own liberty. After
going through a mere form of trial, he was convicted and executed at
Jerusalem, the county seat for Southampton County, Virginia. Not a
limb trembled nor a muscle was observed to move. Thus died Nat Turner,
at the early age of thirty-one years--a martyr to the freedom of
his race, and a victim to his own fanaticism. He meditated upon the
wrongs of his oppressed and injured people, till the idea of their
deliverance excluded all other ideas from his mind, and he devoted his
life to its realization. Everything appeared to him a vision, and all
favorable omens were signs from God. That he was sincere in all that he
professed, there is not the slightest doubt. After being defeated, he
might have escaped to the free states, but the hope of raising a new
band kept him from doing so.

He impressed his image upon the minds of those who once beheld him.
His looks, his sermons, his acts, and his heroism live in the hearts
of his race, on every cotton, sugar, and rice plantation at the South.
The present generation of slaves have a superstitious veneration for
his name. He foretold that at his death the sun would refuse to shine,
and that there would be signs of disapprobation given from Heaven.
And it is true that the sun was darkened, a storm gathered, and more
boisterous weather had never appeared in Southampton County than on the
day of Nat’s execution. The sheriff, warned by the prisoner, refused to
cut the cord that held the trap. No black man would touch the rope. A
poor old white man, long besotted by drink, was brought forty miles to
be the executioner. And even the planters, with all their prejudice and
hatred, believed him honest and sincere; for Mr. Gray, who had known
Nat from boyhood, and to whom he made his confession, says of him:--

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

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

Fifty-five whites and seventy-three blacks lost their lives in the
Southampton rebellion. On the fatal night when Nat and his companions
were dealing death to all they found, Captain Harris, a wealthy
planter had his life saved by the devotion and timely warning of his
slave Jim, said to have been half-brother to his master. After the
revolt had been put down, and parties of whites were out hunting the
suspected blacks, Captain Harris, with his faithful slave, went into
the woods in search of the negroes. In saving his master’s life, Jim
felt that he had done his duty, and could not consent to become a
betrayer of his race; and on reaching the woods, he handed his pistol
to his master, and said, “I cannot help you hunt down these men; they,
like myself, want to be free. Sir, I am tired of the life of a slave;
please give me my freedom, or shoot me on the spot.” Captain Harris
took the weapon and pointed it at the slave. Jim, putting his right
hand upon his heart, said, “This is the spot; aim here.” The captain
fired, and the slave fell dead at his feet.


[51] T. W. Higginson, in Atlantic Monthly, June, 1861.



The vast increase of the slave population in the Southern States, and
their frequent insurrectionary efforts, together with the fact that the
whole system was in direct contradiction to the sentiments expressed in
the declaration of American independence, was fast creating a hatred to

The society of Friends, the first to raise a warning voice against the
sin of human bondage, had nobly done its duty; and as early as 1789 had
petitioned Congress in favor of the abolition of slavery.

Previous to this, however, William Beorling, a Quaker, of Long Island,
Ralph Sandiford of Philadelphia, Benjamin Lay, and several others of
the society of Friends, had written brave words in behalf of negro

Benjamin Lundy, also a member of the Society of Friends, commenced, in
1821, at Baltimore, the publication of a monthly paper, called “The
Genius of Universal Emancipation.” This journal advocated gradual, not
immediate emancipation. It had, however, one good effect, and that was,
to attract the attention of William Lloyd Garrison to the condition of
the enslaved negro.

Out of this interest grew “The Liberator,” which was commenced January
1, 1831, at Boston. Two years later, the American Anti-slavery Society
was organized at Philadelphia.

After setting forth the causes which the patriots of the American
Revolution had to induce them to throw off the British yoke, they nobly
put forth the claim of the slave to his liberty.

The document was signed by sixty-four persons, among whom was William
Lloyd Garrison, and John G. Whittier.

The formation of the American Anti-slavery Society created considerable
excitement at the time, and exposed its authors to the condemnation
of the servile pulpit and press of that period. Few, however, saw the
great importance of such a work, and none of the movers in it imagined
that they would live to witness the accomplishing of an object for
which the society was brought into being.

One of the most malignant opposers that the abolitionists had to meet,
in their commencement, was the American Colonization Society, an
organization which began in 1817, in the interest of the slaveholders,
and whose purpose was to carry off to Africa the free colored people.
Garrison’s “Thoughts on African Colonization,” published in 1832, had
already drawn the teeth of this enemy of the Negro, and for which the
society turned all its batteries against him.

The people of the Southern States were not alone in the agitation, for
the question had found its way into all of the ramifications of society
in the North.

Miss Prudence Crandall, about this time, started a school for colored
females, in Canterbury, Connecticut, which was soon broken up, and Miss
Crandall thrown into prison.

David Walker, a colored man, residing at Boston, had published an
appeal in behalf of his race, filled with enthusiasm, and well
calculated to arouse the ire of the pro-slavery feeling of the country.

The liberation of his slaves, by James G. Binney of Kentucky, and his
letters to the churches, furnished fuel to the agitating flames.

The free colored people of the North, especially in Boston, New York,
and Philadelphia, were alive to their own interest, and were yearly
holding conventions, at which they would recount their grievances, and
press their claims to equal rights with their white fellow-citizens.

At these meetings, the talent exhibited, the able speeches made, and
the strong appeals for justice which were sent forth, did very much to
raise the blacks in the estimation of the whites generally, and gained
for the Negroes’ cause additional friends.



In the year 1834, mob law was inaugurated in the free states, which
extended into the years 1835-6 and 7.

The mobbing of the friends of freedom commenced in Boston, in October,
1835, with an attack upon William Lloyd Garrison, and the ladies’
Anti-slavery Society. This mob, made up as it was by “Gentlemen of
property and standing,” and from whom Mr. Garrison had to be taken to
prison to save his life, has become disgracefully historical.

The Boston mob was followed by one at Utica, New York, headed by Judge
Beardsley, who broke up a meeting of the New York State Anti-slavery
Society. Arthur Tappan’s store was attacked by a mob in New York City,
and his property destroyed, to the value of thirty thousand dollars.
The Rev. Elijah P. Lovejoy, a brave man of the State of Maine, had
located at St. Louis, where he took the editorial charge of “The St.
Louis Times,” and in its columns nobly pleaded for justice to the
enslaved negro. The writer of this was for a period of six months
employed in the office of “The Times,” and knew Mr. Lovejoy well.
Driven from St. Louis by mob law, he removed to Alton, Illinois. Here
the spirit of slavery followed him, broke up his printing-press, threw
it into the river, and murdered the heroic advocate of free speech.

Thus this good man died; but his death raised up new and strong friends
for the oppressed. Wendell Phillips visited the grave of the martyr
recently, and gave the following description of his burial-place:--

“Lovejoy lies buried now in the city cemetery, on a beautiful knoll.
Near by rolls the great river. His resting-place is marked by an oblong
stone, perhaps thirty inches by twenty, and rising a foot above the
ground; on this rests a marble scroll bearing this inscription:

                      Jam parce sepulto.

     [_Here lies Lovejoy, Spare him, now, in his grave._]”

A more marked testimonial would not, probably, have been safe from
insult and disfigurement, previous to 1864. He fought his fight so far
in the van, so much in the hottest of the battle, that not till after
nigh thirty years and the final victory could even his dust be sure of

In the cities of New York, Philadelphia, Albany, Utica, and many other
places in the free states, the colored people were hunted down like
wild beasts, and their property taken from them or destroyed.

In the two first-named places, the churches and dwellings of these
unoffending citizens were set on fire in open day, and burnt to ashes
without any effort on the part of the authorities to prevent it.

Even the wives and children of the colored men were stoned in the
streets, and the school-houses sought out, their inmates driven away,
and many of the children with their parents had to flee to the country
for safety.

Such was the feeling of hate brought out in the North by the influence
of slavery at the South.

During this reign of terror among the colored people in the free
states, their brethren in slavery were also suffering martyrdom. Free
blacks were arrested, thrown into jail, scourged in their own houses,
and if they made the slightest resistance, were shot down, hung at a
lamp-post, or even burnt at the stake.



In the month of August, 1839, there appeared in the newspapers a
shocking story:--that a schooner, going coastwise from Havana to
Neuvitas, in the Island of Cuba, early in July, with about twenty white
passengers, and a large number of slaves, had been seized by the slaves
in the night time, and the passengers and crew all murdered except two,
who made their escape to land in an open boat. About the 20th of the
same month, a strange craft was seen repeatedly on our coast, which was
believed to be the captured Spanish coaster, in the possession of the
negroes. She was spoken by several pilot-boats and other vessels, and
partially supplied with water, of which she was very much in want. It
was also said that the blacks appeared to have a great deal of money.
The custom-house department and the officers of the navy were instantly
aroused to go in pursuit of the “pirates,” as the unknown possessors
of the schooner were spontaneously called. The United States steamer
Fulton, and several revenue cutters were dispatched, and notice given
to the collectors at the various seaports.

On the 10th of August, the “mysterious schooner” was near the shore at
Culloden Point, on the east end of Long Island, where a part of the
crew came on shore for water and fresh provisions, for which they paid
with undiscriminating profuseness. Here they were met by Captain Green
and another gentleman, who stated that they had in their possession a
large box filled with gold. Shortly after, on the 26th, the vessel was
espied by Captain Gedney, U. S. N., in command of the brig Washington,
employed on the coast survey, who despatched an officer to board her.
The officer found a large number of negroes, and two Spaniards, Pedro
Montez and José Ruiz, one of whom immediately announced himself as the
owner of the negroes, and claimed his protection. The schooner was
thereupon taken possession of by Captain Gedney.

The leader of the blacks was pointed out by the Spaniards, and his
name given as Joseph Cinque. He was a native of Africa, and one of the
finest specimens of his race ever seen in this country. As soon as he
saw that the vessel was in the hands of others, and all hope of his
taking himself and countrymen back to their home land at an end, he
leaped overboard with the agility of an antelope. The small boat was
immediately sent after him, and for two hours did the sailors strive
to capture him before they succeeded. Cinque swam and dived like an
otter, first upon his back, then upon his breast, sometimes his head
out of water, and sometimes his heels out. His countrymen on board
the captured schooner seemed much amused at the chase, for they knew
Cinque well, and felt proud of the untameableness of his nature. After
baffling them for a time, he swam towards the vessel, was taken on
board, and secured with the rest of the blacks, and they were taken
into New London, Connecticut.

The schooner proved to be the Amistad, Captain Ramon Ferrer, from
Havana, bound to Principe, about one hundred leagues distant, with
fifty-four negroes held as slaves, and two passengers. The Spaniards
said, that after being out four days, the negroes rose in the night and
killed the captain and a mulatto cook; that the helmsman and another
sailor took to the boat and went on shore; that the only two whites
remaining were the said passengers, Montez and Ruiz, who were confined
below until morning; that Montez the elder, who had been a sea-captain,
was required to steer the ship for Africa; that he steered easterly in
the day-time, because the negroes could tell his course by the sun,
but put the vessel about in the night. They boxed about some days in
the Bahama Channel, and were several times near the Islands, but the
negroes would not allow her to enter any port. Once they were near Long
Island, but then put out to sea again, the Spaniards all the while
hoping they might fall in with some ship of war that would rescue them
from their awkward situation. One of the Spaniards testified that when
the rising took place, he was awaked by the noise, and that he heard
the captain order the cabin boy to get some bread and throw it to the
negroes, in hope to pacify them. Cinque, however, the leader of the
revolt, leaped on deck, seized a capstan bar, and attacked the captain,
whom he killed at a single blow, and took charge of the vessel; his
authority being acknowledged by his companions, who knew him as a
prince in his native land.

After a long litigation in the courts, the slaves were liberated and
sent back to their native land.

In the following year, 1840, the brig Creole, laden with slaves, sailed
from Richmond, bound for New Orleans; the slaves mutinied, took the
vessel, and carried her into the British West Indies, and thereby
became free. The hero on this occasion was Madison Washington.



The resolute and determined purpose of the Southerners to make the
institution of slavery national, and the equally powerful growing
public sentiment at the North to make freedom universal, showed plainly
that the nation was fast approaching a crisis on this absorbing
question. In Congress, men were compelled to take either the one or
the other side, and the debates became more fiery, as the subject

John P. Hale led in the Senate, while Joshua R. Giddings was the
acknowledged leader in the House of Representatives in behalf of
freedom. On the part of slavery, the leadership in the Senate lay
between Foot of Mississippi, and McDuffie of South Carolina; while
Henry A. Wise, followed by a ravenous pack watched over the interest of
the “peculiar institution” in the House.

The early adoption of the famous “Gag Law,” whereby all petitions on
the subject of slavery were to be “tabled” without discussion, instead
of helping the Southern cause, brought its abettors into contempt. In
the House, Mr. Giddings was censured for offering resolutions in regard
to the capture of the brig Creole.

Mr. Giddings resigned, went home, was at once re-elected, and returned
to Congress to renew the contest. An attempt to expel John Quincy
Adams, for presenting a petition from a number of persons held in
slavery, was a failure, and from which the friends of the negro took
fresh courage.

In the South, the Legislatures were enacting laws abridging the
freedom of speech and of the press, and making it more difficult for
Northerners to travel in the slave states. Rev. Charles T. Torry was
in the Maryland Penitentiary for aiding slaves to escape, and Jonathan
Walker had been branded with a red-hot iron, and sent home for the same
offence. The free colored people of the South were being persecuted in
a manner hitherto unknown in that section. Amid all these scenes, there
was a moral contest going on at the North. The Garrison abolitionists,
whose head-quarters were in Boston, were at work with a zeal which has
scarcely ever been equalled by any association of men and women.

“The Liberator,” Mr. Garrison’s own paper, led the vanguard; while the
“National Anti-slavery Standard,” edited at times by Oliver Johnson,
Lydia Maria Child, David Lee Child, and Sydney Howard Gay, gave no
uncertain sound on the slavery question.

The ladies connected with this society, headed by Maria Weston Chapman,
held an annual fair, and raised funds for the prosecution of the work
of changing public sentiment, and otherwise aiding the anti-slavery
movement. Lecturing agents were kept in the field the year round, or
as far as their means would permit. A few clergymen had already taken
ground against the blood-stained sin, and were singled out by both
pulpit and press, as marks for their poisoned arrows. The ablest and
most ultra of these, was Theodore Parker, the singularly gifted and
truly eloquent preacher of the 28th Congregational Society of Boston.
Thomas Wentworth Higginson, though younger and later in the cause,
was equally true, and was amongst the first to invite anti-slavery
lecturers to his pulpit. The writer of this, a negro, at his invitation
occupied his desk at Newburyport, when it cost something to be an

Brave men of other denominations, in different sections of the country,
were fast taking their stand with the friends of the slave.

The battle in Congress was raging hotter and hotter. The Florida war,
the admission of Texas, and the war against Mexico, had given the
slaveholders a bold front, and they wielded the political lash without
the least mercy or discretion upon all who offended them. Greater
protection for slave property in the free states was demanded by those
who saw their human chattels escaping.

The law of 1793, for the recapture of fugitive slaves, was now
insufficient for the great change in public opinion, and another
code was asked for by the South. On the 18th of September, 1850, the
Fugitive Slave Bill was passed, and became the law of the land.

This was justly condemned by good men of all countries, as the most
atrocious enactment ever passed by any legislative body. The four
hundred thousand free colored residents in the non slave-holding
states, were liable at any time to be seized under this law and
carried into servitude.

Intense excitement was created in every section of the free states
where any considerable number of colored persons resided. In
Pennsylvania, New York, and Ohio, where there were many fugitives
and descendants of former slaves, the feeling rose to fever-heat.
Every railroad leading toward Canada was thronged with blacks fleeing
for safety. In one town in the State of New York, every member of a
Methodist Church, eighty-two in number, including the pastor, fled to

The passage of the Fugitive Slave Bill was a sad event to the colored
citizens of this State. At that time there were eight thousand nine
hundred and seventy-five persons of color in Massachusetts. In
thirty-six hours after the passage of the bill was known here, five and
thirty colored persons applied to a well-known philanthropist in this
city for counsel. Before sixty hours passed by, more than forty had
fled. The laws of Massachusetts could not be trusted to shelter her own
children; they must flee to Canada.[52]

Numbers of these fugitives had escaped many years before, had married
free partners, had acquired property, and had comfortable homes; these
were broken up and their members scattered. Soon after the law went
into force, the kidnappers made their appearance in Boston.

The fact that men-stealers were prowling about the streets, through
which, eighty years before, the enemies of liberty had been chased,
caused no little sensation amongst all classes, and when it was
understood that William Craft and his beautiful quadroon wife were
the intended victims, the excitement increased fearfully. These two
persons had escaped from Macon, in the State of Georgia, a year and a
half before. The man was of unmixed negro, the woman, nearly white.
Their mode of escape was novel. The wife, attired as a gentleman,
attended by her husband as a slave, took the train for the North, and
arrived in Philadelphia, after a journey of two days; part of which
was made on steamboats. The writer was in the Quaker City at the time
of their arrival, and was among the first to greet them. Many exciting
incidents occurred during the passage to the land of freedom, which
gave considerable notoriety to the particular case of the Crafts, and
the slave-catchers were soon marked men.

After many fruitless attempts to have the fugitives arrested, Hughs and
his companions returned to the South; while Craft and his wife fled to

Boston was not alone in her commotion; Daniel had been arrested at
Buffalo, and taken before Henry K. Smith, a drunken commissioner, and
remanded to his claimant; Hamlet was captured by the kidnappers in
New York City, and Jerry was making his name famous by his arrest at
Syracuse, in the same state.

The telegrams announcing these events filled the hearts of the blacks
with sad emotions, and told the slave-holders that the law could be
executed. News soon came from Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, and other
states, of the arrest and rendition of persons claimed as slaves, many
of whom were proven to be free-born. Boston was not permitted to remain
long ere she again witnessed the reappearance of the negro-catcher.

A colored man named Shadrach was claimed as a slave; he was arrested,
put in prison, and the kidnappers felt that for once they had a sure
thing. Boston, however, was a strange place for a human being to be
in a dungeon for wanting to be free; and Shadrach was spirited away
to Canada, no one knew how. The men of Boston who traded largely with
the South, felt that their city was in disgrace in not being able to
execute the Fugitive Slave Bill, and many of them wished heartily for
another opportunity.

So, on the night of the third of April, 1851, Thomas Simms was
arrested, and after a trial which became historical, was sent back into
slavery, to the utter disgrace of all concerned in his return.

Next came the rendition of Anthony Burns, a Baptist clergyman, who
was arrested at the instance of Charles F. Suttle, of Virginia. The
commissioner before whom the case was tried was Ellis Greely Loring.
This trial excited even more commotion than did the return of Simms. A
preacher in fetters because he wanted to be free was a new thing to the
people of Boston.

During the progress of the hearing, the feeling extended to the country
towns, and nearly every train coming in brought large numbers of
persons anxious to behold the new order of things. To guard against the
possibility of a rescue, the building in which the commissioner did his
work was in chains. Burns was delivered to Suttle, and the Union was
once more safe.

The Boston Court House in chains, two hundred rowdies and thieves sworn
in as special policemen, respectable citizens shoved off the sidewalks
by these slave-catchers, all for the purpose of satisfying “our
brethren of the South.”

But this act did not appease the feelings or satisfy the demands of the
slave-holders, while it still further inflamed the fire of abolitionism.

The “Dred Scott Decision” added fresh combustibles to the smouldering
heap. Dred Scott, a slave, taken by his master into free Illinois, and
then beyond the line of thirty-six degrees thirty minutes, and then
back into Missouri, sued for and obtained his freedom, on the ground
that having been taken where, by the Constitution, slavery was illegal,
his master lost all claim.

But the Supreme Court, on appeal, reversed the judgment, and Dred
Scott, with his wife and children, was taken back into slavery.


[52] “Rendition of Thomas Simms.” Theodore Parker, p. 20, 1852.



Caste, the natural product of slavery, did not stop at the door of the
sanctuary, as might be presumed that it would, but entered all, or
nearly all, of the Christian denominations of our country, and in some
instances even pursued the negro to the sacramental altar. All churches
had their “Negro-pew,” where there were any blacks to put into them.
This was the custom at the South, and it was the same at the North.

As the religion of the country was fashioned to suit the public
sentiment, which was negro-hating in its character, the blacks of the
United States would have formed a poor idea of the Christian religion
in its broadest sense, had not an inward monitor told them that there
was still something better.

The first step towards the enjoyment of religious freedom was taken
by the colored people of Philadelphia. This was caused by the unkind
treatment of their white brethren, who considered them a nuisance in
their houses of worship, where they were pulled off their knees while
in the act of prayer, and ordered to the back seats. From these and
other acts of unchristian conduct, the blacks considered it their duty
to devise means of having a house for religious worship, of their own.
Therefore, in November, 1787, they seceded from the Methodist Church,
in Philadelphia, formed a society, built a house to meet in, and set up
for themselves.

Although the whites considered the blacks as intruders in their
churches, they were, nevertheless, unwilling to allow them to worship
by themselves, unless they should have the privilege of furnishing
their sable brethren with preachers. The whites denied the blacks
the right of taking the name of Methodist without their consent, and
even went so far as to force their white preachers into the pulpits
of the colored people on Sundays. The law, however, had more justice
in it than the Gospel; and it stepped in between the blacks and their
religious persecutors, and set the former free.

In 1793, Rev. Richard Allen built a church for his people in
Philadelphia, and henceforth their religious progress was marvellous.
In 1816, Richard Allen was ordained Bishop of the African Methodist
Episcopal Church; Morris Brown was ordained a bishop in 1828; Edward
Waters in 1836; and William P. Quinn in 1844. These were known as the
Bethel Methodists. About the same time, the colored Christians of New
York, feeling the pressure of caste, which weighed heavily upon them,
began to sigh for the freedom enjoyed by their brethren in the City of
Brotherly Love; and in 1796, under the lead of Francis Jacobs, William
Brown, and William Miller, separated from their white brethren, and
formed a church, now known as the African Methodist Episcopal Zion
Church. This branch of seceders equalled in prosperity their brethren
in Philadelphia.

The first annual conference of these churches was held in the city of
Baltimore, in April, 1818. The example set by the colored ministers of
Philadelphia and New York was soon followed by their race in Baltimore,
Richmond, Boston, Providence, and other places. These independent
religious movements were not confined to the sect known as Methodists,
but the Baptists, Presbyterians, and Episcopalians were permitted to
set up housekeeping for themselves.

The Episcopalians, however, in New York and Philadelphia, had to suffer
much, for they were compelled to listen to the preacher on Sunday who
would not recognize them on Monday. The settlement of the Revs. Peter
Williams at New York, and William Douglass at Philadelphia, seemed
to open a new era to the blacks in those cities, and the eloquence
of these two divines gave the members of that sect more liberty
throughout the country. In the Southern States, the religious liberty
of the blacks was curtailed far more than at the North. The stringent
slave-law, which punished the negro for being found outside of his
master’s premises after a certain time at night, was construed so as to
apply to him in his going to and from the house of God; and the poor
victim was often flogged for having been found out late, while he was
on his way home from church.

These laws applied as well to the free blacks as to the slaves, and
frequently the educated colored preacher had his back lacerated with
the “cat-o’-nine-tails” within an hour of his leaving the pulpit.

In all of the slave states laws were early enacted regulating the
religious movements of the blacks, and providing that no slave or free
colored person should be allowed to preach. The assembling of blacks
for religious worship was prohibited, unless three or more white
persons were present.



The year 1859 will long be memorable for the bold attempt of John Brown
and his companions to burst the bolted door of the Southern house of
bondage, and lead out the captives by a more effectual way than they
had yet known; an attempt in which, it is true, the little band of
heroes dashed themselves to bloody death, but, at the same time, shook
the prison walls from summit to foundation, and shot wild alarm into
every tyrant heart in all the slave-land. What were the plans and
purposes of the noble old man is not precisely known, and perhaps will
never be; but whatever they were, there is reason to believe they had
been long maturing,--brooded over silently and secretly, with much
earnest thought, and under a solemn sense of religious duty.

Of the five colored men who were with the hero at the attack on
Harper’s Ferry, only two, Shields Green and John A. Copeland, were
captured alive. The first of these was a native of South Carolina,
having been born in the city of Charleston, in the year 1832. Escaping
to the North in 1857, he resided in Rochester, New York, until
attracted by the unadorned eloquence and native magnetism of John Brown.

Shields Green was of unmixed blood, good countenance, bright eye, and
small in figure. One of his companions in the Harper’s Ferry fight,
says of Green, “He was the most inexorable of all our party; a very
Turco in his hatred against the stealers of men. Wiser and better
men no doubt there were, but a braver man never lived than Shields

He behaved with becoming coolness and heroism at his execution,
ascending the scaffold with a firm, unwavering step, and died as he had
lived, a brave man, expressing to the last his eternal hatred to human
bondage, prophesying that slavery would soon come to a bloody end.

John A. Copeland was from North Carolina, and was a mulatto of superior
abilities, and a genuine lover of liberty and justice. He died as
became one who had linked his fate with that of the hero of Harper’s


[53] “A Voice from Harper’s Ferry.” O. P. Anderson.



The assault on Fort Sumter on the 12th of April, 1861, was the dawn of
a new era for the Negro. The proclamation of President Lincoln, calling
for the first seventy-five thousand men to put down the Rebellion, was
responded to by the colored people throughout the country. In Boston,
at a public meeting of the blacks a large number came forward, put
their names to an agreement to form a brigade, and march at once to
the seat of war. A committee waited on the Governor three days later,
and offered the services of these men. His Excellency replied that he
had no power to receive them. This was the first wet blanket thrown
over the negro’s enthusiasm. “This is a white man’s war,” said most of
the public journals. “I will never fight by the side of a nigger,” was
heard in every quarter where men were seen in Uncle Sam’s uniform.

Wherever recruiting offices were opened, black men offered themselves,
and were rejected. Yet these people, feeling conscious that right would
eventually prevail, waited patiently for the coming time, pledging
themselves to go at their country’s call.

While the country seemed drifting to destruction, and the
administration without a policy, the heart of every loyal man was
made glad by the appearance of the proclamation of Major-General John
C. Fremont, then in command at the West. The following extract from
that document, which at the time caused so much discussion, will bear
insertion here:--

“All persons who shall be taken with arms in their hands within these
lines, shall be tried by court-martial; and if found guilty, will be
shot. The property, real and personal, of all persons in the State of
Missouri, who shall take up arms against the United States, or who
shall be directly proven to have taken active part with their enemies
in the field, is declared to be confiscated to the public use, and
their slaves, if any they have, are hereby declared free men.”

The above was the first official paper issued after the commencement of
the war, that appeared to have the ring of the right kind of mettle.

Without waiting for instructions from the capital, General Fremont
caused manumission papers to be issued to a number of slaves,
commencing with those owned by Thomas L. Snead, of St. Louis. This
step taken by the brave Fremont was followed by a similar movement of
General Hunter, then stationed in South Carolina. President Lincoln,
however, was persuaded to annul both of the above orders.

In the month of June, 1861, the schooner S. J. Waring, from New York,
bound to South America, was captured on the passage by the rebel
privateer Jeff Davis, a prize-crew put on board, consisting of a
captain, mate, and four seamen, and the vessel set sail for the port of
Charleston, South Carolina. Three of the original crew were retained
on board, a German as steersman, a Yankee, who was put in irons, and a
black man named William Tillman, the steward and cook of the schooner.
The latter was put to work at his usual business, and told that he was
henceforth the property of the Confederate States, and would be sold on
his arrival at Charleston as a slave.

Night comes on; darkness covers the sea; the vessel is gliding swiftly
towards the South; the rebels, one after another, retire to their
berths; the hour of midnight approaches; all is silent in the cabin;
the captain is asleep; the mate, who has charge of the watch, takes
his brandy toddy, and reclines upon the quarter-deck. The negro thinks
of home and all its endearments; he sees in the dim future chains and

He resolves, and determines to put the resolution into practice upon
the instant. Armed with a heavy club, he proceeds to the captain’s
room. He strikes the fatal blow. He next goes to the adjoining room;
another blow is struck, and the black man is master of the cabin.
Cautiously he ascends to the deck, strikes the mate. The officer is
wounded, but not killed. He draws his revolver, and calls for help.
The crew are aroused; they are hastening to aid their commander. The
negro repeats his blows with the heavy club; the rebel falls dead at
Tillman’s feet. The African seizes the revolver, drives the crew below
deck, orders the release of the Yankee, puts the enemy in irons, and
proclaims himself master of the vessel.

Five days more, and the “S. J. Waring” arrives in the port of New York,
under the command of William Tillman, the negro patriot.

The brave exploit of Tillman had scarcely ceased being the topic of
conversation, ere the public were again startled by the announcement
that Robert Small, a slave, had escaped with the steamer Planter
from Charleston, South Carolina. This event was communicated to the
Secretary of War, by Commodore Dupont.

Up to this time, the services of colored men in the war had not been
recognized; however, soon after Major-General B. F. Butler accepted and
acknowledged their services in Louisiana.

It is probably well known that the free colored population of New
Orleans, in intelligence, public spirit, and material wealth, surpass
those of the same class in any other city of the Union. Many of these
gentlemen have been highly educated, have travelled extensively in this
and foreign countries, speak and read the French, Spanish, and English
languages fluently, and in the Exchange Rooms, or at the Stock Boards,
wield an influence at any time fully equal to the same number of white
capitalists. Before the war, they represented in that city alone
fifteen millions of property, and were heavily taxed to support the
schools of the State, but were not allowed to claim the least benefit

These gentlemen, representing so much intelligence, culture, and
wealth, and who would, notwithstanding the fact that they all have
negro blood in their veins, adorn any circle of society in the
North, who would be taken upon Broadway for educated and wealthy
Cuban planters, rather than free negroes, although many of them have
themselves held slaves, have always been loyal to the Union; and, when
New Orleans seemed in danger of being recaptured by the rebels under
General Magruder, these colored men rose _en masse_, closed their
offices and stores, armed and organized themselves into six regiments,
and for six weeks abandoned their business, and stood ready to fight
for the defence of New Orleans, while at the same time not a single
white regiment from the original white inhabitants was raised.



In 1862 slavery was abolished in the District of Columbia, the honor of
which in the main belongs to Henry Wilson, Senator from Massachusetts.

With the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia, commenced
a new era at our country’s capital. The representatives of the
governments of Hayti and Liberia had both long knocked in vain to be
admitted with the representatives of other nations. The slave power had
always succeeded in keeping them out. But a change had now come over
the dreams of the people, and Congress was but acting up to this new
light in passing the bill admitting the representatives of the black

As we have before stated, the slave-trade was still being carried on
between the Southern States and Africa. Ships were fitted out in the
Northern ports for the purpose of carrying on this infernal traffic.
And although it was prohibited by an act of Congress, none had ever
been convicted for dealing in slaves. The new order of things was to
give these trafficers a trial, and test the power by which they had so
long dealt in the bodies and souls of men whom they had stolen from
their native land.

One Nathaniel Gordon was already in prison in New York, and his trial
was fast approaching. It came, and he was convicted of piracy in the
United States District Court in the city of New York; the piracy
consisting in having fitted out a slaver, and shipped nine hundred
Africans at Congo River, with a view to selling them as slaves. The
same man had been tried for the same offence before; but the jury
failed to agree, and he accordingly escaped punishment for the time.
Every effort was made which the ingenuity of able lawyers could invent,
or the power of money could enforce, to save this miscreant from the
gallows; but all in vain; for President Lincoln utterly refused to
interfere in any way whatever, and Gordon was executed on the 7th of

This blow appeared to give more offence to the commercial Copperheads
than even the emancipation of the slaves in the District of Columbia;
for it struck an effectual blow at a very lucrative branch of commerce,
in which the New Yorkers were largely interested. Thus it will be seen
that the nation was steadily moving on to the goal of freedom.

In September, 1862, the colored people of Cincinnati, Ohio, organized
the “Black Brigade,” and rendered eminent service in protecting that
city from the raids of John Morgan and other brigands.

On the first of January, 1863, President Lincoln put forth his
Emancipation Proclamation, as follows:--

     “Whereas, On the 22d day of September, in the year of our Lord one
     thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, a proclamation was issued
     by the President of the United States, containing, among other
     things, the following; to wit:

     “That, On the first day of January, in the year of our Lord one
     thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, all persons held as slaves
     within any State or any designated part of a State, the people
     whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States,
     shall be then, henceforward, and forever, free; and the Executive
     Government of the United States, including the military and naval
     force thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such
     persons, and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or
     any of them, in any effort they may make for their actual freedom;
     that the Executive will, on the first day of January aforesaid,
     by proclamation, designate the States and parts of States, if
     any, in which the people therein respectively shall then be in
     rebellion against the United States; and the fact that any State
     or people thereof shall on that day be in good faith represented
     in the Congress of the United States by members chosen thereto,
     at elections wherein a majority of the qualified voters of such
     States shall have participated, shall, in the absence of strong
     countervailing testimony, be deemed conclusive evidence that such
     State and the people thereof are not then in rebellion against the
     United States.

     “Now, therefore, I, Abraham Lincoln, President of the United
     States, by virtue of the power in me vested, as Commander-in-Chief
     of the Army and Navy of the United States in times of actual
     rebellion against the authorities and government of the United
     States, and as a fit and necessary war-measure for suppressing
     this rebellion, do on this, the first day of January, in the
     year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and
     in accordance with my purpose so to do, publicly proclaimed for
     the full period of one hundred days from the date of the first
     above-mentioned order, designate as the States and parts of
     States wherein the people thereof, respectively, are this day in
     rebellion against the United States. The following, to wit:--

     “Arkansas, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida,
     Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia.

     “Louisiana (except the parishes of Placquemines, St. Mary,
     Jefferson, St. John, St. Charles, St. James, Ascension,
     Assumption, Terre Bonne, Lafourche, St. Bernard, St. Martin, and
     Orleans, including the city of New Orleans), Mississippi, Alabama,
     Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Virginia,
     except the forty-eight counties designated as West Virginia, and
     also the counties of Berkley, Accomac, Northampton, Elizabeth
     City, York, Princess Anne, and Norfolk, including the cities of
     Norfolk and Portsmouth, which excepted parts are for the present
     left precisely as if this proclamation were not made.

     “And by virtue of the power, for the purpose aforesaid, I do order
     and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated
     States and parts of States are, and henceforward shall be, FREE;
     and the Executive Government of the United States, including
     the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and
     maintain the freedom of such persons.

     “And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to
     abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self-defence; and I
     recommend to them, that, in all cases where allowed, they labor
     faithfully for reasonable wages.

     “And I further declare and make known, that such persons, if in
     suitable condition, will be received into the armed service of
     the United States, to garrison forts, positions, stations, and
     other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service. And
     upon this, sincerely believed to be an act of justice warranted
     by the constitution, and upon military necessity, I invoke the
     considerate judgment of mankind and the gracious favor of Almighty

     “In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the
     seal of the United States to be affixed.

     “Done at the city of Washington, this first day of January, in
     the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three,
     and of the independence of the United States of America the

     (Signed) “ABRAHAM LINCOLN.”



Attorney-General Bates had already given his opinion with regard to
the citizenship of the negro, and that opinion was in the black man’s
favor. The Emancipation Proclamation was only a prelude to calling
on the colored men to take up arms, and the one soon followed the
other; for the word “Emancipation” had scarcely gone over the wires,
ere Adjutant-General Thomas made his appearance in the valley of the
Mississippi. At Lake Providence, Louisiana, he met a large wing of
the army, composed of volunteers from all parts of the country, and
proclaimed to them the new policy of the administration.

The Northern regiments stationed at the South, or doing duty in that
section, had met with so many reverses on the field of battle, and had
been so inhumanly treated by the rebels, both men and women, that the
new policy announced by Adjutant-General Thomas at Lake Providence and
other places, was received with great favor, especially when the white
soldiers heard from their immediate commanders that the freedmen when
enlisted would be employed in doing fatigue-duty, when not otherwise
needed. The slave, regarding the use of the musket as the only means
of securing his freedom permanently, sought the nearest place of
enlistment with the greatest speed.

The appointment of men from the ranks of the white regiments over the
blacks caused the former to feel still more interest in the new levies.
The position taken by Major-General Hunter, in South Carolina, and
his favorable reports of the capability of the freedmen for military
service, and the promptness with which that distinguished scholar and
Christian gentleman, Thomas Wentworth Higginson, accepted the colonelcy
of the First South Carolina, made the commanding of negro regiments
respectable, and caused a wish on the part of white volunteers to seek
commissions over the blacks.

The new regiments filled up rapidly; the recruits adapted themselves
to their new condition with a zeal that astonished even their friends;
and their proficiency in the handling of arms, with only a few days’
training, set the minds of their officers at rest with regard to their
future action.

On the 7th of June, 1863, the first regular battle was fought between
the blacks and whites in the valley of the Mississippi. The planters
had boasted, that, should they meet their former slaves, a single look
from them would cause the negroes to throw down their weapons, and run.
Many Northern men, especially Copperheads, professed to believe that
such would be the case. Therefore, all eyes were turned to the far-off
South, the cotton, sugar, and rice-growing States, to see how the
blacks would behave on the field of battle; for it is well known that
the most ignorant of the slave population belonged in that section.

The first intimation that the commanding officer at Milliken’s Bend
received was from one of the black men, who went into the colonel’s
tent, and said, ‘Massa, the secesh are in camp.’ The colonel ordered
him to have the men load their guns at once. He instantly replied,--

“We have done did dat now, massa.” Before the colonel was ready, the
men were in line, ready for action.

“The enemy charged us so close that we fought with our bayonets, hand
to hand. I have six broken bayonets to show how bravely my men fought,”
said the colonel. “I can truly say,” continued he, “that I never saw a
braver company of men in my life.

“Not one of them offered to leave his place until ordered to fall back.
I went down to the hospital, three miles, to-day, to see the wounded.
Nine of them were there, two having died of their wounds. A boy who had
cooked for me came and begged a gun when the rebels were advancing, and
took his place with the company; and when we retook the breastworks, I
found him badly wounded, with one gun-shot and two bayonet wounds. A
new recruit I had issued a gun to the day before the fight was found
dead, with a firm grasp on his gun, the bayonet of which was broken
in three pieces. So they fought and died, defending the cause that we
revere. They met death coolly, bravely; not rashly did they expose
themselves, but all were steady and obedient to orders.”

This battle satisfied the slave-masters of the South that their
charm was gone; and that the negro, as a slave, was lost forever.
Yet there was one fact connected with the battle of Milliken’s Bend
which will descend to posterity, as testimony against the humanity of
slave-holders; and that is, that no negro was ever found alive that was
taken a prisoner by the rebels in this fight.

The next engagement which the blacks had, was up the St. Mary’s River,
South Carolina, under the command of Colonel T. W. Higginson. Here,
too, the colored men did themselves and their race great credit.

We now come to the battle of Port Hudson, in which the black forces
consisted of the First Louisiana, under Lieutenant-Colonel Bassett, and
the Third Louisiana, under Colonel Nelson. The line-officers of the
Third were white; and the regiment was composed mostly of freedmen,
many of whose backs still bore the marks of the lash, and whose brave,
stout hearts beat high at the thought that the hour had come when they
were to meet their proud and unfeeling oppressors.

The First was the noted regiment called “The Native Guard,” which
General Butler found when he entered New Orleans, and which so
promptly offered its services to aid in crushing the Rebellion. The
line-officers of this regiment were all colored, taken from amongst the
most wealthy and influential of the free colored people of New Orleans.
It was said that not one of them was worth less than twenty-five
thousand dollars. The brave, the enthusiastic, and the patriotic, found
full scope for the development of their powers in this regiment, of
which all were well educated; some were fine scholars. One of the most
efficient officers was Captain André Callioux, a man whose identity
with his race could not be mistaken. This regiment petitioned their
commander to allow them to occupy the post of danger in the battle, and
it was granted.

As the moment of attack drew near, the greatest suppressed excitement
existed; but all were eager for the fight. Captain Callioux walked
proudly up and down the line, and smilingly greeted the familiar faces
of his company. Officers and privates of the white regiments looked
on as they saw these men at the front, and asked each other what they
thought would be the result. Would these blacks stand fire? Was not
the test by which they were to be tried too severe? Colonel Nelson
being called to act as brigadier-general, Lieutenant-Colonel Finnegas
took his place. The enemy in his stronghold felt his power, and bade
defiance to the expected attack. At last the welcome word was given,
and our men started. The enemy opened a blistering fire of shell,
canister, grape, and musketry. The first shell thrown by the enemy
killed and wounded a number of the blacks; but on they went. “Charge”
was the word.

At every pace, the column was thinned by the falling dead and wounded.
The blacks closed up steadily as their comrades fell, and advanced
within fifty paces of where the rebels were working a masked battery,
situated on a bluff where the guns could sweep the whole field over
which the troops must charge. This battery was on the left of the
charging line. Another battery of three or four guns commanded the
front, and six heavy pieces raked the right of the line as it formed,
and enfiladed its flank and rear as it charged on the bluff. It was
ascertained that a bayou ran under the bluff where the guns lay,--a
bayou deeper than a man could ford. This charge was repulsed with
severe loss. Lieutenant-Colonel Finnegas was then ordered to charge,
and in a well-dressed, steady line his men went on the double-quick
down over the field of death.

No matter how gallantly the men behaved, no matter how bravely they
were led, it was not in the course of things that this gallant brigade
should take these works by charge. Yet charge after charge was ordered
and carried out under all these disasters with Spartan firmness. Six
charges in all were made. Colonel Nelson reported to General Dwight the
fearful odds he had to contend with. Says General Dwight, in reply,
“Tell Colonel Nelson I shall consider that he has accomplished nothing
unless he take those guns.” Humanity will never forgive General Dwight
for this last order; for he certainly saw that he was only throwing
away the lives of his men. But what were his men? “Only niggers.” Thus
the last charge was made under the spur of desperation.

The ground was already strewn with the dead and wounded, and many of
the brave officers had fallen early in the engagement. Among them was
the gallant and highly-cultivated Anselmo. He was a standard-bearer,
and hugged the stars and stripes to his heart as he fell forward upon
them pierced by five balls. Two corporals near by struggled between
themselves as to who should have the honor of again raising those
blood-stained emblems to the breeze. Each was eager for the honor; and
during the struggle a missile from the enemy wounded one of them, and
the other corporal shouldered the dear old flag in triumph, and bore it
through the charge in the front of the advancing lines.

Shells from the rebel guns cut down trees three feet in diameter, and
they fell, at one time burying a whole company beneath their branches.
Thus they charged bravely on certain destruction, till the ground was
slippery with the gore of the slaughtered, and cumbered with the bodies
of the maimed. The last charge was made about one o’clock. At this
juncture, Captain Callioux was seen with his left arm dangling by his
side,--for a ball had broken it above the elbow,--while his right hand
held his unsheathed sword gleaming in the rays of the sun; and his
hoarse, faint voice was heard cheering on his men. A moment more, and
the brave and generous Callioux was struck by a shell, and fell far in
advance of his company.

The fall of this officer so exasperated his men, that they appeared
to be filled with new enthusiasm; and they rushed forward with a
recklessness that probably has never been surpassed. Seeing it to be
a hopeless effort, the taking of these batteries, the order was given
to change the programme; and the troops were called off. But had they
accomplished anything more than the loss of many of their brave men?
Yes; they had. The self-forgetfulness, the undaunted heroism, and the
great endurance of the Negro, as exhibited that day, created a new
chapter in American history for the colored man.

Many Persians were slain at the battle of Thermopylæ; but history
records only the fall of Leonidas and his four hundred companions. So
in the future, when we shall have passed away from the stage, and
rising generations shall speak of the conflict at Port Hudson, and the
celebrated charge of the negro brigade, they will forget all others in
the admiration for André Callioux and his colored associates. General
Banks, in his report of the battle of Port Hudson, says: “Whatever
doubt may have existed heretofore as to the efficiency of organizations
of this character, the history of this day proves conclusively to those
who were in a condition to observe the conduct of these regiments, that
the government will find in this class of troops effective supporters
and defenders. The severe test to which they were subjected, and the
determined manner in which they encountered the enemy, leaves upon my
mind no doubt of their ultimate success.”

The splendid behavior of the blacks in the valley of the Mississippi,
was soon equalled by the celebrated Fifty-fourth Massachusetts
Regiment, commanded by the lamented Robert G. Shaw.

On the sixteenth of July, the Fifty-fourth Regiment (colored),
Colonel R. G. Shaw, was attacked by the enemy, on James Island, in
which a fight of two hours’ duration took place, the Rebels largely
out-numbering the Union forces. The Fifty-fourth, however, drove the
enemy before them in confusion. The loss to our men was fourteen killed
and eighteen wounded. During the same day, Colonel Shaw received
orders from General Gillmore to evacuate the Island. Preparations
began at dusk. The night was dark and stormy, and made the movement
both difficult and dangerous. The march was from James Island to Cole
Island, across marshes, streams, and dikes, and part of the way upon
narrow foot-bridges, along which it was necessary to proceed in
single file. The whole force reached Cole Island the next morning,
July 17, and rested during the day on the beach opposite the south end
of Folly Island. About ten o’clock in the evening, the colonel of the
Fifty-fourth received orders directing him to report, with his command,
to General George C. Strong, at Morris Island, to whose brigade the
regiment was transferred.

From eleven o’clock of Friday evening until four o’clock of Saturday,
they were being put on the transport, the “General Hunter,” in a boat
which took about fifty at a time. There they breakfasted on the same
fare, and had no other food before entering into the assault on Fort
Wagner in the evening.

The General Hunter left Cole Island for Folly Island at six A. M.; and
the troops landed at Pawnee Landing about nine and a half A. M., and
thence marched to the point opposite Morris Island, reaching there
about two o’clock in the afternoon. They were transported in a steamer
across the inlet, and at four P. M., began their march for Fort Wagner.
They reached Brigadier-General Strong’s quarters, about midway on the
Island, about six or six and a half o’clock, where they halted for five

General Strong expressed a great desire to give them food and
stimulants; but it was too late, as they had to lead the charge. They
had been without tents during the pelting rains of Thursday and Friday
nights. General Strong had been impressed with the high character of
the regiment and its officers; and he wished to assign them the post
where the most severe work was to be done, and the highest honor was to
be won.

The march across Folly and Morris Islands was over a sandy road, and
was very wearisome. The regiment went through the centre of the Island,
and not along the beach, where the marching was easier.

When they had come within six hundred yards of Fort Wagner, they formed
in line of battle, the colonel heading the first, and the major the
second battalion. This was within musket-shot of the enemy. There
was little firing from the enemy; a solid shot falling between the
battalions, and another falling to the right, but no musketry. At this
point, the regiment, together with the next supporting regiment, the
Sixth Connecticut, Ninth Maine, and others, remained half an hour. The
regiment was addressed by General Strong and by Colonel Shaw. Then, at
seven and a half or seven and three-quarters o’clock, the order for
the charge was given. The regiment advanced at quick time, changed to
double-quick when at some distance on.

The intervening distance between the place where the line was formed
and the fort was run over in a few minutes. When about one hundred
yards from the fort, the rebel musketry opened with such terrible
effect that for an instant the first battalion hesitated,--but only
for an instant; for Colonel Shaw, springing to the front and waving
his sword, shouted, “Forward, my brave boys!” and with another cheer
and a shout they rushed through the ditch, gained the parapet on the
right, and were soon engaged in a hand-to-hand conflict with the enemy.
Colonel Shaw was one of the first to scale the walls. He stood erect,
to urge forward his men, and while shouting for them to press on was
shot dead, and fell into the fort. His body was found, with twenty of
his men lying dead around him; two lying on his own body.

The Fifty-fourth did well and nobly; only the fall of Colonel Shaw
prevented them from entering the fort. They moved up as gallantly as
any troops could, and with their enthusiasm, they deserved a better

Sergeant-Major Lewis H. Douglass, son of Frederick Douglass, the
celebrated orator, sprang upon the parapet close behind Colonel Shaw,
and cried out, “Come, boys, come; let’s fight for God and Governor
Andrew.” This brave young man was the last to leave the parapet. Before
the regiment reached the parapet, the color-sergeant was wounded; and
while in the act of falling, the colors were seized by Sergeant William
H. Carney, who bore them up, and mounted the parapet, where he, too,
received three severe wounds. But on orders being given to retire, the
color-bearer, though almost disabled, still held the emblem of liberty
in the air, and followed his regiment by the aid of his comrades,
and succeeded in reaching the hospital, where he fell exhausted and
almost lifeless on the floor, saying, “The old flag never touched the
ground, boys.” Captain Lewis F. Emilio, the junior captain,--all of his
superiors having been killed or wounded,--took command, and brought the
regiment into camp. In this battle, the total loss in officers and men,
killed and wounded, was two hundred and sixty-one.

When inquiry was made at Fort Wagner, under flag of truce, for the body
of Colonel Shaw of the Massachusetts Fifty-fourth, the answer was,
“We have buried him with his niggers!” It is the custom of savages to
outrage the dead, and it was only natural that the natives of South
Carolina should attempt to heap insult upon the remains of the brave
young soldier; but that wide grave on Morris Island will be to a whole
race a holy sepulchre. No more fitting place for burial, no grander
obsequies could have been given to him who cried, as he led that
splendid charge, “On, my brave boys,” than to give to him and to them
one common grave.

Shaw’s Regiment afterwards distinguished itself in the hard-fought
battle of Olustee, an engagement that will live in the history of the

The battle of Olustee was fought in a swamp situated thirty-five
miles west of Jacksonville, and four miles from Sanderson, in the
State of Florida. The expedition was under the immediate command
of General C. Seymour, and consisted of the Seventh New Hampshire,
Seventh Connecticut, Eighth United States (colored) Battery, Third
United States Artillery, Fifty-fourth Massachusetts (colored), and
First North Carolina (colored). The command having rested on the night
of the 19th of February, 1864, at Barbour’s Ford, on the St. Mary’s
River, took up its line of march on the morning of the 20th, and
proceeded to Sanderson, nine miles to the west, which was reached at
one o’clock, P. M., without interruption; but about three miles beyond,
the advance drove in the enemy’s pickets. The Seventh Connecticut,
being deployed as skirmishers, fell in with the enemy’s force in the
swamp, strengthened still more by rifle-pits. Here they were met by
cannon and musketry; but our troops, with their Spencer rifles, played
great havoc with the enemy, making an attempt to take one of his pieces
of artillery, but failed. However, they held their ground nobly for
three-quarters of an hour, and were just about retiring as the main
body of our troops came up.

The Eighth (colored), which had never been in battle, and which had
been recruited but a few weeks, came up and filed to the right, when
they met with a most terrific shower of musketry and shell. General
Seymour now came up, and pointing in front, towards the railroad, said
to Colonel Fribley, commander of the Eighth, “Take your regiment in
there,”--a place which was sufficiently hot to make the oldest and most
field-worn veterans tremble; and yet these men, who had never heard the
sound of a cannon before, rushed in where they commenced dropping like
grass before the sickle. Still on they went without faltering, until
they came within two hundred yards of the enemy’s strongest works. Here
these brave men stood for nearly three hours before a terrible fire,
closing up as their ranks were thinned out, fire in front, on their
flank, and in the rear, without flinching or breaking.

Colonel Fribley, seeing that it was impossible to hold the position,
passed along the lines to tell the officers to fire, and fall back
gradually, and was shot before he reached the end. He was shot in the
chest, told the men to carry him to the rear, and expired in a very
few minutes. Major Burritt took command, but was also wounded in a
short time. At this time Captain Hamilton’s battery became endangered,
and he cried out to our men for God’s sake to save his battery. Our
United States flag, after three sergeants had forfeited their lives by
bearing it during the fight, was planted on the battery by Lieutenant
Elijah Lewis, and the men rallied around it; but the guns had been
jammed up so indiscriminately, and so close to the enemy’s lines, that
the gunners were shot down as fast as they made their appearance; and
the horses, whilst they were wheeling the pieces into position, shared
the same fate. They were compelled to leave the battery, and failed to
bring the flag away. The battery fell into the enemy’s hands. During
the excitement, Captain Bailey took command, and brought out the
regiment in good order. Sergeant Taylor, Company D., who carried the
battle-flag, had his right hand nearly shot off, but grasped the colors
with the left hand, and brought them out.

The Seventh New Hampshire was posted on both sides of the wagon-road,
and broke, but soon rallied, and did good execution. The line was
probably one mile long, and all along the fighting was terrific.

Our artillery, where it could be worked, made dreadful havoc on the
enemy; whilst the enemy did us but very little injury with his;
with the exception of one gun, a sixty-four pound swivel, fixed on
a truck-car on the railroad, which fired grape and canister. On the
whole, their artillery was very harmless; but their musketry fearful.

Up to this time, neither the First North Carolina nor the Fifty-fourth
Massachusetts had taken any part in the fight, as they were in the
rear some distance. However, they heard the roar of battle, and were
hastening to the field, when they were met by an aide, who came riding
up to the colonel of the Fifty-fourth, saying, “For God’s sake,
Colonel, double-quick, or the day is lost!” Of all the regiments, every
one seemed to look to the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts with the most
dependence on the field of battle. This regiment was under the command
of Colonel E. N. Hallowell, who fell wounded by the side of Colonel
Shaw, at Fort Wagner, and who, since his recovery, had been in several
engagements, in all of which he had shown himself an excellent officer,
and had gained the entire confidence of his men, who were willing to
follow him wherever he chose to lead. When the aide met these two
regiments, he found them hastening on.

The First North Carolina was in light marching order; the Fifty-fourth
Massachusetts was in heavy marching order, with knapsacks, haversacks,
canteens, and every other appurtenance of the soldier. But off went
everything, and they double-quicked on to the field. At the most
critical juncture, just as the rebels were preparing for a simultaneous
charge along the whole line, and they had captured our artillery and
turned it upon us, Colonel James Montgomery, Colonel Hallowell, and
Lieutenant-Colonel Hooper formed our line of battle on right by file
into line.

The Fifty-fourth Massachusetts went in first, with a cheer. They were
followed by the First North Carolina (colored); Lieutenant-Colonel
Reed, in command, headed the regiment, sword in hand, and charged
upon the rebels. They broke when within twenty yards of contact with
our negro troops. Overpowered by numbers, the First North Carolina
fell back in good order, and poured in a destructive fire. Their
colonel fell, mortally wounded. Major Bogle fell wounded, and two
men were killed in trying to reach his body. The Adjutant, William
C. Manning, before wounded at Malvern Hills, got a bullet in his
body, but persisted in remaining until another shot struck him. His
lieutenant-colonel, learning the fact, embraced him, and implored him
to leave the field. The next moment the two friends were stretched
side by side; the colonel had received his own death-wound. But the
two colored regiments had stood in the gap, and saved the army. The
Fifty-fourth Massachusetts, which, with the First North Carolina, may
be truly said to have saved the forces from utter rout, lost eighty men.

There were three color-sergeants shot down; the last one was shot
three times before he relinquished the flag of his country. His name
was Samuel C. Waters, Company C., and his body sleeps where he fell.
The battle-flag carried by Sergeant Taylor was borne through the fight
with the left hand, after the right one was nearly shot off. The rebels
fired into the place where the wounded were being attended to; and
their cavalry was about making a charge on it just as the Fifty-fourth
Massachusetts appeared on the field, when they retired.

Had Colonel Hallowell not seen at a glance the situation of affairs,
the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteers would have been killed or
captured. When they entered the field with the First North Carolina,
which is a brave regiment, they (the First North Carolina) fired well
while they remained; but they gave way, thus exposing the right. On
the left, the rebel cavalry were posted; and as the enemy’s left
advanced on our right, their cavalry pressed the left. Both flanks
were thus being folded up, and slaughter or capture would have been
the inevitable result. We fell back in good order, and established new
lines of battle, until we reached Sanderson.

Here a scene that beggars description was presented. Wounded men
lined the railroad station; and the roads were filled with artillery,
caissons, ammunition, baggage-wagons, infantry, cavalry, and
ambulances. The only organized bodies ready to repel attack were a
portion of the Fortieth Massachusetts Mounted Infantry, armed with the
Spencer repeating-rifle, the Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Volunteers, and
the Seventh Connecticut, commanded by Colonel Hawley, now governor of

An occurrence of thrilling interest took place during the battle, which
I must not omit to mention. It was this:--

Colonel Hallowell ordered the color-line to be advanced one hundred
and fifty paces. Three of the colored corporals, Pease, Palmer, and
Glasgow, being wounded, and the accomplished Goodin killed, there were
four only left,--Wilkins, the acting sergeant, Helman, and Lenox. The
colors were perforated with bullets, and the staff was struck near the
grasp of the sergeant; but the color-guard marched steadily out, one
hundred and fifty paces to the front, with heads erect and square to
the front; and the battalion rallied around it, and fought such a fight
as made Colonel Hallowell shout with very joy, and the men themselves
to ring out defiant cheers which made the pines and marshes of Ocean
Pond echo again.

Although these colored men had never been paid off, and their families
at home were in want, they were as obedient, and fought as bravely, as
the white troops, whose pockets contained “greenbacks,” and whose wives
and children were provided for.

The Fifty-fourth Massachusetts went into the battle with “Three cheers
for Massachusetts, and seven dollars a month.”

It is well known that the general in command came to the colonel and
said, “The day is lost; you must do what you can to save the army
from destruction.” And nobly did they obey him. They fired their
guns till their ammunition was exhausted, and then stood with fixed
bayonets till the broken columns had time to retreat, and though once
entirely outflanked, the enemy getting sixty yards in their rear,
their undaunted front and loud cheering caused the enemy to pause, and
allowed them time to change front. They occupied the position as rear
guard all the way back to Jacksonville; and wherever was the post of
danger, there was the Fifty-fourth to be found.

When the forces arrived at Jacksonville, they there learned that the
train containing the wounded was at Ten-Mile Station, where it had
been left, owing to the breaking down of the engine. The Fifty-fourth
Massachusetts, fatigued and worn out as it was, was despatched at once,
late at night, to the assistance of the disabled train. Arriving at
Ten-Mile Station, they found that the only way to bring the wounded
with them was to attach ropes to the cars, and let the men act as
motive power. Thus the whole train of cars containing the wounded from
the battle of Olustee was dragged a distance of ten miles by that brave
colored regiment.

The battle of Poison Springs, Arkansas, between one thousand Union and
eight thousand rebel troops, was one of the most severe conflicts of
the war. Six hundred of the Union forces were colored, and from Kansas,
some of them having served under old John Brown during the great
struggle in that territory. These black men, as it will be seen, bore
the brunt of the fight, and never did men show more determined bravery
than was exhibited on this occasion.

Nothing in the history of the Rebellion equalled in inhumanity and
atrocity the horrid butchery at Fort Pillow, Kentucky, on the 13th of
April, 1864. In no other school than slavery could human beings have
been trained to such readiness for cruelties like these. Accustomed
to brutality and bestiality all their lives, it was easy for them to
perpetrate the atrocities which startled the civilized foreign world,
as they awakened the indignation of our own people.

After the rebels were in undisputed possession of the fort, and the
survivors had surrendered, they commenced the indiscriminate butchery
of all the Federal soldiery. The colored soldiers threw down their
guns, and raised their arms, in token of surrender; but not the least
attention was paid to it. They continued to shoot down all they found.
A number of them, finding no quarter was given, ran over the bluff
to the river, and tried to conceal themselves under the bank and in
the bushes, where they were pursued by the rebel savages, whom they
implored to spare their lives. Their appeals were made in vain; and
they were all shot down in cold blood, and, in full sight of the
gunboat, chased and shot down like dogs. In passing up the bank of the
river, fifty dead might be counted strewed along. One had crawled into
a hollow log, and was killed in it; another had got over the bank into
the river, and had got on a board that ran out into the water. He lay
on it on his face, with his feet in the water. He lay there, when
exposed, stark and stiff. Several had tried to hide in crevices made by
the falling bank, and could not be seen without difficulty; but they
were singled out, and killed. From the best information to be had, the
white soldiers were, to a very considerable extent, treated in the same

We now record an account of the battle of Honey Hill, South Carolina,
and one of the most famous engagements in which the blacks fought
during the war.

Honey Hill is about two and a half miles east of the village of
Grahamville, Beaufort District. On the crest of this, where the road
or the highway strikes it, is a semicircular line of earthworks,
defective, though, in construction, as they are too high for infantry,
and have little or no exterior slope. These works formed the centre
of the rebel lines; while their left reached up into the pinelands,
and their right along a line of fence that skirted the swamp below the
batteries. They commanded fully the road in front as it passes through
the swamp at the base of the hill, and only some fifty or sixty yards
distant. Through the swamp runs a small creek, which spreads up and
down the roads for some thirty or forty yards, but is quite shallow the
entire distance. Some sixty yards beyond the creek, the main road turns
off to the left, making an obtuse angle; while another and smaller road
makes off to the right from the same point.

The Union forces consisted of six thousand troops, artillery, cavalry,
and infantry, all told, under the command of Major-General J. G.
Foster, General John P. Hatch having the immediate command. The First
Brigade, under General E. E. Potter, was composed of the Fifty-sixth
and One Hundred and Forty-fourth United States, Twenty-fifth Ohio,
and Thirty-fourth and Thirty-fifth United States (colored). The Second
Brigade, under Colonel A. S. Hartwell, was composed of the Fifty-fourth
and Fifty-fifth Massachusetts, and Twenty-sixth and Thirty-second
United States (colored). Colonel E. P. Hallowell, of the Fifty-fourth
Massachusetts, had, in spite of his express desire, been left behind in
command of Morris and Folly Islands. As at the battle of Olustee, the
enemy was met in small numbers some three or four miles from his base.
The Union forces approached the fort by the left road, which brought
them in front of the enemy’s guns, pointing down the hill, which was
also down the road.

The Thirty-second United States colored troops were ordered to charge
the rebel fort; had got in position at the head of the road. They
attempted, but got stuck in the marsh, which they found impassable at
the point of their assault; and a galling fire of grape, canister, and
musketry being opened on them, they were forced to retire.

The Thirty-fourth United States colored troops also essayed an assault,
but could not get near enough to produce any effect upon it. These
regiments, however, only fell back to the line of battle, where they
remained throughout the entire fight.

The Fifty-fifth Massachusetts (colored) went into the fight on the
right of the brigade, commanded by Colonel Hartwell. The fire became
very hot; but still the regiment did not waver, the line merely
quivered. Captain Goraud, of General Foster’s staff, whoso gallantry
was conspicuous all day, rode up just as Colonel Hartwell was wounded
in the hand, and advised him to retire; but the colonel declined.

Colonel Hartwell gave the order; the colors came to the extreme front,
when the colonel shouted, “Follow your colors!” The bugle sounded the
charge, and then the colonel led the way himself.

After an unsuccessful charge in line of battle by the Fifty-fourth and
Fifty-fifth Massachusetts, the Fifty-fifth was formed in column by
company, and again thrice marched up that narrow causeway in the face
of the enemy’s batteries and musketry.

Captain Crane, of the Fifty-fifth Massachusetts, whose company had been
left in charge of Fort Delafield, at Folly Island, but who, at his own
request, had gone as aide to Colonel Hartwell, was, as well as the
colonel, mounted.

Just as they reached the marsh in front of the turn in the road, and
within a short distance of the rebel works, the horse of brave Colonel
Hartwell, while struggling through the mud, was literally blown in
pieces by a discharge of canister.

The colonel was wounded at the same time, and attempted to jump from
his horse; but the animal fell on him, pressing him into the mud.
At this time, he was riding at the side of the column, and the men
pressed on past; but as they neared the fort they met a murderous fire
of grape, canister, and bullets at short range. As the numbers of the
advance were thinned, the few who survived began to waver, and finally
the regiment retreated.

In retiring, Lieutenant Ellsworth, and one man of the Fifty-fifth
Massachusetts, came to the rescue of Colonel Hartwell, and in spite
of his remonstrance that they should leave him to his fate, and take
care of themselves, released him from his horse, and bore him from the
field. But before he was entirely out of range of the enemy’s fire,
the colonel was again wounded, and the brave private soldier who was
assisting was killed, and another heroic man lost.

The Twenty-fifth Ohio, soon after the commencement of the engagement,
were sent to the right, where they swung around, and fought on a line
nearly perpendicular to our main front. A portion of the Fifty-fifth
Massachusetts were with them. One or two charges were essayed, but
were unsuccessful; but the front was maintained there throughout the
afternoon. The Twenty-fifth had the largest loss of all the regiments.

The colored troops fought well throughout the day. Counter-charges were
made at various times during the fight by the enemy; but our infantry
and artillery mowed them down, and they did not at any time get very
near our lines. Whenever a charge of our men was repulsed, the rebels
would flock out of their works, whooping like Indians; but Ames’s guns
and the terrible volleys of our infantry would send them back. The
Naval Brigade behaved splendidly.

The Fifty-fourth Massachusetts, heroes of all the hard fights that
occurred in the department, were too much scattered in this battle to
do full justice to themselves. Only two companies went into the fight
at first, under Lieutenant-Colonel Hooper. They were posted on the
left. Subsequently they were joined by four more companies, who were
left on duty in the rear.

Many scenes transpired in this battle which would furnish rich material
for the artist. In the midst of the engagement, a shell exploded
amongst the color-guard, severely wounding the color-sergeant, Ring,
who was afterwards killed by a bullet. Private Fitzgerald, of Company
D., Massachusetts Fifty-fifth, was badly wounded in the side and leg,
but remained at his post. Major Nutt, seeing his condition, ordered
him to the rear. The man obeyed; but soon the major saw that he had
returned, when he spoke sharply, “Go to the rear, and have your wounds
dressed.” The man again obeyed the order; but in a few minutes more
was seen by the major, with a handkerchief bound around the leg, and
loading and firing. The major said to our informant, “I thought I would
let him stay.”

Like the Fifty-fourth at Olustee, the Fifty-fifth was the last regiment
to leave the field, and cover the retreat at Honey Hill.

It is only simple justice to the Fifty-fifth Massachusetts Regiment,
to say that at Honey Hill it occupied the most perilous position
throughout nearly the entire battle.

Three times did these heroic men march up the hill nearly to the
batteries, and as many times were swept back by the fearful storm of
grape-shot and shell; more than one hundred being cut down in less than
half an hour. Great was its loss; and yet it remained in the gap, while
our outnumbered army was struggling with the foe on his own soil, and
in the stronghold chosen by himself.

What the valiant Fifty-fourth Massachusetts had been at the battle of
Olustee, the Fifty-fifth was at Honey Hill.

Never was self-sacrifice, by both officers and men, more apparent than
on this occasion; never did men look death more calmly in the face.
See the undaunted and heroic Hartwell at the head of his regiment, and
hear him shouting, “Follow your colors, my brave men!” and with drawn
sword leading his gallant band. His horse is up to its knees in the
heavy mud. The rider, already wounded, is again struck by the fragment
of a shell, but keeps his seat; while the spirited animal struggling
in the mire, and plunging about, attracts the attention of the braves,
who are eagerly pressing forward to meet the enemy, to retake the lost
ground, and gain a victory, or at least, save the little army from
defeat. A moment more, he is killed; and the brave Hartwell attempts to
jump from his charger, but is too weak. The horse falls with fearful
struggles upon its rider, and both are buried in the mud. The brave
Captain Crane, the Adjutant, is killed, and falls from his horse near
his colonel. Lieutenant Boynton, while urging his men, is killed.
Lieutenant Hill is wounded, but still keeps his place. Captains Soule
and Woodward are both wounded, and yet keep their command. The blood
is running freely from the mouth of Lieutenant Jewett; but he does not
leave his company. Sergeant-Major Trotter is wounded, but still fights.
Sergeant Shorter is wounded in the knee, yet will not go to the rear. A
shell tears off the foot of Sergeant-Major Charles L. Mitchel; and as
he is carried to the rear, he shouts, with uplifted hand, “Cheer up,
boys; we’ll never surrender!” But look away in front: there are the
colors, and foremost amongst the bearers is Robert M. King, the young,
the handsome, and the gentlemanly sergeant, whose youth and bravery
attract the attention of all. Scarcely more than twenty years of age,
well educated, he left a good home in Ohio to follow the fortunes of
war, and to give his life to help redeem his race. The enemy train
their guns upon the colors, the roar of cannon and crack of rifle is
heard, the advanced flag falls, the heroic King is killed; no, he is
not dead, but only wounded. A fellow-sergeant seizes the colors; but
the bearer will not give them up. He rises, holds the old flag aloft
with one hand, and presses the other upon the wound in his side to
stop the blood. “Advance the colors!” shouts the commander. The brave
King, though saturated with his own blood, is the first to obey the
order. As he goes forward, a bullet passes through his heart, and he
falls. Another snatches the colors; but they are fast, the grasp of
death holds them tight. The hand is at last forced open, the flag is
raised to the breeze, and the lifeless body of Robert M. King is borne
from the field. This is but a truthful sketch of the part played by one
heroic son of Africa, whose death was lamented by all who knew him.
This is only one of the two hundred and forty-nine that fell on the
field of Honey Hill. With a sad heart we turn away from the picture.

The Sixth Regiment United States colored troops was the second
which was organized at Camp William Penn, near Philadelphia, by
Lieutenant-Colonel Wagner, of the Eighty-eighth Pennsylvania
Volunteers. The regiment left Philadelphia on the 14th of October,
1863, with nearly eight hundred men, and a full complement of officers,
a large majority of whom had been in active service in the field.

The regiment reported to Major-General B. F. Butler, at Fortress
Monroe, and were assigned to duty at Yorktown, Virginia, and became
part of the brigade (afterwards so favorably known), under the
command of Colonel S. A. Duncan, Fourth United States colored troops.
Here they labored upon the fortifications, and became thoroughly
disciplined under the tuition of their colonel, John W. Ames, formerly
captain of the Eleventh Infantry, United States army, ably seconded
by Lieutenant-Colonel Royce and Major Kiddoo. During the winter,
the regiment took a prominent part in the several raids made in the
direction of Richmond, and exhibited qualities that elicited the praise
of their officers, and showed that they could be fully relied upon in
more dangerous work.

The regiment was ordered to Camp Hamilton, Virginia, in May, 1864,
where a division of colored troops was formed, and placed under the
command of Brigadier-General Hinks. In the expedition made up the James
River the same month, under General Butler, this division took part.
The white troops were landed at Bermuda Hundreds. Three regiments of
colored men were posted at various points along the river. Duncan’s
brigade landed at City Point, where they immediately commenced
fortifications. The Sixth and Fourth Regiments were soon after removed
to Spring Hill, within five miles of Petersburg. Here they labored
night and day upon those earthworks which were soon to be the scene of
action which was to become historical. The Sixth was in a short time
left alone, by the removal of the Fourth Regiment to another point.

On the 29th of May, the rebel forces made an assault on the
picket-line, the enemy soon after attacking in strong force, but were
unable to drive back the picket-line any considerable distance. The
Fourth Regiment was ordered to the assistance of the Sixth; but our
forces were entirely too weak to make it feasible or prudent to attack
the enemy, who withdrew during the night, having accomplished nothing.

This was the first experience of the men under actual fire, and they
behaved finely. When the outer works around Petersburg were attacked,
June 15, Duncan’s brigade met the rebels, and did good service, driving
the enemy before him. We had a number killed and wounded in this
engagement. The rebels sought shelter in their main works, which were
of the most formidable character. These defences had been erected by
the labor of slaves, detailed for the purpose. Our forces followed
them to their stronghold. The white troops occupied the right; and in
order to attract the attention of the enemy, while these troops were
manœuvring for a favorable attacking position, the colored soldiers
were subject to a most galling fire for several hours, losing a number
of officers and men. Towards night, the fight commenced in earnest by
the troops on the right, who quickly cleared their portion of the line;
this was followed by the immediate advance of the colored troops, the
Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Twenty-second Regiments. In a very short
time the rebels were driven from the whole line; these regiments
capturing seven pieces of artillery, and a number of prisoners. For
their gallantry in this action the colored troops received a highly
complimentary notice from General W. H. Smith in General Orders.

A few hours after entering the rebel works, our soldiers were gladdened
by a sight of the veterans of the Army of the Potomac, who that
night relieved our men at the front. A glance at the strong works
gave the new-comers a better opinion of the fighting qualities of
the negroes than they had calculated upon; and a good feeling was at
once established, that rapidly dispelled most of the prejudices then
existing against the blacks; and from that time to the close of the
war, the negro soldier stood high with the white troops.

After spending some time at the Bermuda Hundreds, the Sixth Regiment
was ordered to Dutch Gap, Virginia, where, on the 16th of August, they
assisted in driving the rebels from Signal Hill; General Butler, in
person, leading our troops. The Sixth Regiment contributed its share
towards completing Butler’s famous canal, during which time they were
often very much annoyed by the rebel shells thrown amongst them. The
conduct of the men throughout these trying scenes reflected great
credit upon them. On the 29th of September, the regiment occupied the
advance in the demonstration made by Butler that day upon Richmond. The
first line of battle was formed by the Fourth and Sixth Regiments; the
latter entered the fight with three hundred and fifteen men, including
nineteen officers.

The enemy were driven back from within two miles of Deep Bottom, to
their works at New Market Heights; the Sixth was compelled to cross a
small creek, and then an open field. They were met by a fearful fire
from the rebel works; men fell by scores; still the regiment went
forward. The color-bearers, one after another, were killed or wounded,
until the entire color-guard were swept from the field. Two hundred and
nine men, and fourteen officers, were killed and wounded. Few fields of
battle showed greater slaughter than this; and in no conflict did both
officers and men prove themselves more brave. Captains York and Sheldon
and Lieutenant Meyer were killed close to the rebel works. Lieutenants
Pratt, Landon, and McEvoy subsequently died of the wounds received.
Lieutenant Charles Fields, Company A., was killed on the skirmish-line:
this left the company in charge of the first sergeant, Richard Carter,
of Philadelphia, who kept it in its advanced position through the
entire day, commanding with courage and great ability, attracting
marked attention for his officer-like bearing. During the battle many
instances of unsurpassed bravery were shown by the common soldier,
which proved that these heroic men were fighting for the freedom of
their race, and the restoration of a Union that should protect man
in his liberty without regard to color. No regiment did more towards
extinguishing prejudice against the Negro than the patriotic Sixth.



The prompt manner in which colored men in the North had enlisted in
the army to aid in putting down the Rebellion, and the heroism and
loyalty of the slaves of the South in helping to save the Union, so
exasperated the disloyal people in the Northern States, that they
early began a system of cowardly warfare against the blacks wherever
they found them. The mob spirit first manifested itself at a meeting
held in Boston, December 3, 1860, to observe the anniversary of the
death of John Brown. A combination of North End roughs and Beacon
Street aristocrats took possession of the Tremont Temple, the place of
holding the meeting, appointed Richard S. Fay as Chairman, and passed a
series of resolutions in favor of the slave-holders of the South, and
condemnatory of the abolitionists.

This success induced these enemies of free discussion to attempt to
break up the meeting of the Twenty-eighth Congregational Society at
Music Hall the following Sunday, at which Frederick Douglass was the
speaker. Wendell Phillips addressed the same society at the same place,
on the 19th following, when the mob spirit seemed even more violent
than on any previous occasion. These events were still fresh in the
minds of the haters of negro freedom, when, on the 10th of July, 1863,
the great mob commenced in the city of New York.

The mob was composed of the lowest and most degraded of the foreign
population (mainly Irish), raked from the filthy cellars and dens of
the city, steeped in crimes of the deepest dye, and ready for any
act, no matter how dark; together with the worst type of our native
criminals, whose long service in the prisons of the country, and whose
training in the Democratic party, had so demoralized their natures that
they were ever on the hunt for some deed of robbery or murder.

This conglomerated mass of human beings were under the leadership of
men standing higher than themselves in the estimation of the public,
but, if possible, really lower in moral degradation. Cheered on by men
holding high political positions, and finding little or no opposition,
they went on at a fearful rate.

Never, in the history of mob-violence, was crime carried to such
an extent. Murder, arson, robbery, and cruelty reigned triumphant
throughout the city, day and night, for more than a week.

Hundreds of the blacks, driven from their homes, and hunted and chased
through the streets, presented themselves at the doors of jails,
prisons, police-stations, and begged admission. Thus did these fiends
prowl about the city, committing crime after crime; indeed, in point of
cruelty, the Rebellion was transferred from the South to the North.

The destruction of the colored Orphan Asylum, after first robbing
the little black children of their clothing, seemed a most heartless

Nearly forty colored persons were murdered during this reign of terror.
Some were hung at lamp-posts, some thrown off the docks, while others,
shot, clubbed, and cut to pieces with knives, were seen lying dead in
the streets.

Numbers of men and boys amused themselves by cutting pieces of flesh
from the dead body of a black man who was suspended from a lamp-post at
the corner of Prince Street.

Hundreds of colored men and women had taken shelter in the buildings
reached by passing through the “Arch,” on Thompson Street. The mob made
several unsuccessful attempts to gain admission to this alley, where,
in one of the buildings, was a room about thirty by forty feet square,
in the centre of which stood an old-fashioned cook-stove, the top of
which seemed filled with boilers, and all steaming away, completely
filling the place with a dense fog. Two lamps, with dingy chimneys,
and the light from the fire, which shone brightly through the broken
doors of the stove, lighted up the room. Eight athletic black women,
looking for all the world as if they had just returned from a Virginia
corn-field, weary and hungry, stood around the room.

Each of these Amazons was armed with a tin dipper, apparently new,
which had no doubt been purchased for the occasion. A woman of
exceedingly large proportions--tall, long-armed, with a deep scar
down the side of her face, and with a half grin, half smile--was the
commander-in-chief of the “hot room.” This woman stood by the stove,
dipper in hand, and occasionally taking the top from the large
wash-boiler, which we learned was filled with boiling water, soap, and

In case of an attack, this boiler was to be the “King of Pain.”

Guided by a friend who had furnished us a disguise, the writer entered
the “hot room,” and took a view of its surroundings. As we saw the
perspiration streaming down the faces of these women, we ventured a few

“Do you expect an attack?” we asked.

“Dunno, honey; but we’s ready ef dey comes,” was the reply from the
aunty near the stove.

“Were you ever in slavery?” we continued.

“Yes; ain’t bin from dar but little while.”

“What State?”

“Bred and born in ole Virginny, down on de Pertomuc.”

“Have you any of your relations in Virginia now?”

“Yes; got six chilens down dar somewhar, an’ two husbuns--all sole to
de speclaturs afore I run away.”

“Did you come off alone?”

“No; my las ole man bring me ’way.”

“You don’t mean to be taken back by the slave-catchers, in peace?”

“No; I’ll die fuss.”

“How will you manage if they attempt to come into this room?”

“We’ll all fling hot water on ’em, an’ scall dar very harts out.”

“Can you all throw water without injuring each other?”

“O yes, honey; we’s bin practicin’ all day.” And here the whole
company joined in a hearty laugh, which made the old building ring.

The intense heat drove us from the room. As we descended the steps and
passed the guards, we remarked to one of them,--

“The women seem to be prepared for battle.”

“Yes,” he replied; “dem wimmens got de debil in ’em to-night, an’ no
mistake. Dey’ll make dat a hot hell in dar fur somebody.”

And here the guards broke forth into a hearty laugh, which was caught
up and joined in by the women in the house, which showed very clearly
that these blacks felt themselves masters of the situation.

As the mob made their last attempt to gain an entrance to the alley,
one of their number, a man bloated with strong drink, and heaping oaths
upon the “niggers,” succeeded in getting through, and made his way to
the “hot room,” where, it is said, he suddenly disappeared. It was
whispered that the washerwomen made soap-grease of his carcass.

The inhabitants of the “Arch” were not again disturbed.



Caste is usually found to exist in communities or countries among
majorities, and against minorities. The basis of it is owing to some
supposed inferiority or degradation attached to the hated ones.
However, nothing is more foolish than this prejudice. But the silliest
of all caste is that which is founded on color; for those who entertain
it have not a single logical reason to offer in its defence.

The fact is, slavery has been the cause of all the prejudice against
the negro. Wherever the blacks are ill-treated on account of their
color, it is because of their identity with a race that has long worn
the chain of slavery. Is there anything in black that should be hated?
If so, why do we see so much black in common use as clothing among all
classes? Indeed, black is preferred to either white or colors. How
often the young man speaks in ecstasies of the black eyes and black
hair of his lady-love! Look at the hundreds of advertised hair-dyes,
used for the purpose of changing Nature! See men with their gray
beards dyed black; women with those beautiful black locks, which but
yesterday were as white as the driven snow! Not only this, but even
those with light or red whiskers run to the dye-kettle, steal a color
which Nature has refused them, and an hour after curse the negro for
a complexion that is not stolen. If black is so hateful, why do not
gentlemen have their boots whitewashed? If the slaves of the South had
been white, the same prejudice would have existed against them. Look at
the “poor white trash,” as the lower class of whites in the Southern
States are termed.

The general good conduct of the blacks during the Rebellion, and
especially the aid rendered to our Northern men escaping from Southern
prisons, has done much to dispel the prejudice so rampant in the
free states. The following, from the pen of Junius Henri Browne, the
accomplished war correspondent of “The Tribune,” is but a fair sample
of what was said for the negro during the great conflict. In his very
interesting work, “Four Years in Secessia,” he says:--

“The negro who had guided us to the railway had told us of another of
his color to whom we could apply for shelter and food at the terminus
of our second stage. We could not find him until nearly dawn; and when
we did, he directed us to a large barn filled with corn-husks. Into
that we crept with our dripping garments, and lay there for fifteen
hours, until we could again venture forth. Floundering about in the
husks, we lost our haversacks, pipes, and a hat.

“About nine o’clock we procured a hearty supper from the generous
negro, who even gave me his hat,--an appropriate presentation, as one
of my companions remarked, by an ‘intelligent contraband’ to the
reliable gentleman of ‘The New York Tribune.’ The negro did picket-duty
while we hastily ate our meal, and stood by his blazing fire. The old
African and voice and moistened eyes, as we parted from them with
grateful hearts. ‘God bless negroes!’ say I, with earnest lips. During
our entire captivity, and after our escape, they were ever our firm,
brave, unflinching friends. We never made an appeal to them they did
not answer. They never hesitated to do us a service at the risk even of
life; and under the most trying circumstances, revealed a devotion and
a spirit of self-sacrifice that were heroic.

“The magic word ‘Yankee’ opened all their hearts, and elicited the
loftiest virtues. They were ignorant, oppressed, enslaved; but they
always cherished a simple and beautiful faith in the cause of the
Union, and its ultimate triumph, and never abandoned or turned aside
from a man who sought food or shelter on his way to freedom.”

The month of May, 1864, saw great progress in the treatment of
the colored troops by the government of the United States. The
circumstances were more favorable for this change than they had
hitherto been. Slavery had been abolished in the District of Columbia,
Maryland, and Missouri. The heroic assault on Fort Wagner, the
unsurpassed bravery exhibited at Port Hudson, the splendid fighting at
Olustee and Honey Hill, had raised the colored men in the estimation of
the nation. President Lincoln and his advisers had seen their error,
and begun to repair the wrong. The year opened with the appointment
of Dr. A. T. Augusta, a colored gentleman, as surgeon of colored
volunteers, and he was at once assigned to duty, with the rank of
major. Following this, was the appointment, by Governor Andrew,
of Massachusetts, of Sergeant Stephen A. Swailes, of Company F.,
Fifty-fourth Massachusetts Regiment, as second lieutenant.

M. R. Delany, M. D., was soon after appointed a major of negro
volunteers, and assigned to duty at Charleston, South Carolina. W. P.
Powell, Jr., received an appointment as surgeon, about the same time.

The steamer Planter, since being brought out of Charleston by Robert
Small, was under the command of a Yankee, who, being ordered to do
service where the vessel would be liable to come under the fire of
rebel guns, refused to obey; whereupon Lieutenant-Colonel Elwell,
without consultation with any higher authority, issued an order,
placing Robert Small in command of the “Planter.”

The acknowledgment of the civil rights of the negro had already been
granted, in the admission of John S. Rock, a colored man, to practice
law in all the counties within the jurisdiction of the United States.
John F. Shorter, who was promoted to a lieutenancy in Company D,
Fifty-fifth Massachusetts Regiment, was by trade a carpenter, and was
residing in Delaware County, Ohio, when the call was made for colored
troops. Severely wounded at the battle of Honey Hill, South Carolina,
on the 30th of November, 1864, he still remained with his regiment,
hoping to be of service.

At the conclusion of the war, he returned home, but never recovered
from his wound, and died a few days after his arrival. James Monroe
Trotter, promoted for gallantry, was wounded at the battle of Honey
Hill. He is a native of Grand Gulf, Mississippi; removed to Cincinnati,
Ohio; was educated at the Albany (Ohio) Manual Labor University, where
he distinguished himself for his scholarly attainments. He afterwards
became a school-teacher, which position he filled with satisfaction
to the people of Muskingum and Pike Counties, Ohio, and with honor
to himself. Enlisting as a private in the Fifty-fifth Massachusetts
Regiment, on its organization, he returned with it to Boston as a
lieutenant, an office honorably earned.

William H. Dupree, a native of Petersburg, Virginia, was brought up
and educated at Chillicothe, Ohio. He enlisted in the Fifty-fifth
Massachusetts Regiment, on its formation, as a private, was soon made
orderly-sergeant, and afterwards promoted to a lieutenancy for bravery
on the field of battle.

Charles L. Mitchel, promoted to a lieutenancy in the Fifty-fifth
Massachusetts Regiment for gallantry at the battle of Honey Hill, where
he was severely wounded (losing a limb), is a native of Hartford,
Connecticut, and son of William A. Mitchel of that city. Lieutenant
Mitchel served an apprenticeship to William H. Burleigh, in the office
of the old “Charter Oak,” in Hartford, where he became an excellent
printer. For five or six years previous to entering the army, he was
employed in different printing-offices in Boston, the last of which was
“The Liberator,” edited by William Lloyd Garrison, who never speaks of
Lieutenant Mitchel but in words of the highest commendation. General
A. S. Hartwell, late colonel of the Fifty-fifth Massachusetts Regiment,
makes honorable mention of Lieutenant Mitchel.

In the year 1867, Mr. Mitchel was elected to the Massachusetts
Legislature, from Ward Six, in Boston. The appointment of John M.
Langston to a position in the Freedman Bureau, showed progress.

However, the selection of E. D. Bassett, as Minister and Consul-General
to Hayti, astonished even those who had the most favorable opinion of
President Grant, and satisfied the people generally, both colored and
white. Since the close of the war, colored men have been appointed to
honorable situations in the Custom Houses in the various States, also
in the Post Office and Revenue Department.



A little more than forty years ago, William Lloyd Garrison hoisted the
banner of immediate and unconditional emancipation, as the right of
the slave, and the duty of the master. The men and women who gradually
rallied around him, fully comprehended the solemn responsibility they
were then taking, and seemed prepared to consecrate the best years
of their lives to the cause of human freedom. Amid the moral and
political darkness which then overshadowed the land, the voice of
humanity was at length faintly heard, and soon aroused opposition; for
slavery was rooted and engrafted in every fibre of American society.
The imprisonment of Mr. Garrison at Baltimore, at once directed public
attention to the heinous sin which he was attacking, and called around
him some of the purest and best men of the country.

The Boston mob of 1835 gave now impulse to the agitation, and brought
fresh aid to the pioneer of the movement. Then came the great battle
for freedom of speech and the press; a battle in which the heroism of
this small body of proscribed men and women had ample room to show
their genius and abilities. The bold and seeming audacity with which
they attacked slavery in every corner where the monster had taken
refuge, even in the face of lynchings, riots, and murders, carried with
it a charm which wrung applause from the sympathizing heart throughout
the world, and showed that the American Abolitionists possessed a
persistency and a courage which had never found a parallel in the
annals of progress and reform.

In the spring of 1859, we attended a meeting of the Executive Committee
of the American Anti-slavery Society, as it was then organized, and
we shall write of the members as they appeared at that time. The
committee was composed of twelve persons besides the chairman, and were
seated around a long table. At the head of the table sat William Lloyd
Garrison, the Chairman of the Board, and the acknowledged leader of the
movement. His high and prominent forehead, piercing eye, pleasant, yet
anxious countenance, long nose, and smile upon his lips, point him out
at once as a man born to guide and direct.

The deference with which he is treated by his associates shows their
appreciation of his abilities and his moral worth. Tender and blameless
in his family affections, devoted to his friends, simple and studious,
upright, guileless, distinguished, and worthy, like the great men
of antiquity, to be immortalized by another Plutarch. As a speaker,
he is forcible, clear, and logical; as a writer, he has always been
regarded as one of the ablest in our country. How many services, never
to be forgotten, has he not rendered to the cause of the slave and the
welfare of mankind.

Many of those who started out with him in young manhood, when he left
his Newburyport home, were swept away like so much floating wood before
the tide.

When the sturdiest characters gave way, when the finest geniuses passed
one after another under the yoke of slavery, Garrison stood firm to
his convictions, like a rock that stands stirless amid the conflicting
agitation of the waves. He is not only the friend and advocate of
freedom with his pen and tongue, but to the oppressed of every clime he
opens his purse, his house, and his heart. In days past, the fugitive
slave, fresh from the prison-house of the South, who was turned off by
the politician, and had experienced the cold shoulder of the divine,
found a warm bed and breakfast under the hospitable roof of William
Lloyd Garrison.

The society whose executive committee is now in session, is one of no
inconsiderable influence in the United States. No man has had more
bitter enemies or stauncher friends than Mr. Garrison.

There are those among his friends who would stake their all upon
his veracity and integrity; and we are sure that the colored people
throughout America, in whose cause he has so long labored, will with
one accord assign the highest niche in their affections to the champion
of universal emancipation. This is not intended as an eulogium, for
no words of ours could add the weight of a feather to the world-wide
fame of William Lloyd Garrison; but we simply wish to record the
acknowledgment of a grateful negro to the most distinguished friend of
his race.

On the right of the chairman sat Wendell Phillips, America’s ablest
orator. He is a little above the middle height, well made, and
remarkably graceful in person. His golden hair is now growing thin and
changing its color, and his youthful look has gone; but he shows no
yielding to age, and is in the full maturity of his powers. Descended
from one of the oldest and most cultivated stock of New England’s sons;
educated at the first university; graduating with all the honors which
the college could bestow on him; studying law with Judge Story, and
becoming a member of the bar; he has all the accomplishments that these
advantages can give to a man of a great mind.

Nature has treated Mr. Phillips as a favorite. His expressive
countenance paints and reflects every emotion of his soul. His
gestures, like his delivery, are wonderfully graceful. There is a
fascination in the soft gaze of his eyes, which none can but admire.
Being a close student, and endowed by Nature with a retentive memory,
he supplies himself with the most complicated dates and historical
events. Nothing can surpass the variety of his matter. He extracts
from a subject all that it contains, and does it as none but Wendell
Phillips can. His voice is beautifully musical, and it is calculated
to attract wherever it is heard. He is a man of calm intrepidity, of
a patriotic and warm heart, with temper the most gentle, a rectitude
of principle entirely natural, a freedom from ambition, and a modesty
quite singular.

His speeches upon every subject upon which he has spoken, will
compare favorably with anything ever uttered by Pitt or Sheridan in
their palmiest days. No American is so eagerly reported in Europe,
in what he says on the platform, as Mr. Phillips. His appeal for
Cretan independence was circulated in the language of Demosthenes and
Isocrates through Greece and its islands, and reached the ears of the
mountaineers of Crete, for whom he spoke.

But it is in the Anti-slavery cause that we love to write of him. As a
speaker on that platform, he has never had an equal; and the good he
has rendered the slave by his eloquent speeches can never be estimated.

Considering his position in society, his talents and prospects when in
youth he entered the ranks of the proscribed and hated Abolitionists,
we feel that Mr. Phillips has sacrificed more upon the altar of freedom
than any other living man.

On the opposite side of the table from Mr. Phillips, sits Edmund
Quincy, the ripe scholar and highly-cultivated gentleman and
interesting writer. If he is not so eloquent a speaker as his friend
Phillips, he is none the less staunch in his adherence to principle. He
is one of the best presiding officers that New England can produce.

A little farther down on the same side is Francis Jackson. His calm
Roman face, large features, well-developed head, and robust-looking
frame tells you at once that he is a man of courage. He was one of
the first to take his stand by the side of Mr. Garrison; and when the
mob in 1835 broke up the anti-slavery meeting held by the ladies, Mr.
Jackson, with a moral courage scarcely ever equalled, came forward and
offered his private dwelling to them to hold their meeting in.

Still farther down on the same side sits Maria Weston Chapman, the
well-read and accomplished lady, the head and heart of the Anti-slavery
Bazaar. Many an influential woman has been induced to take part in
the Bazaar and Subscription Festival, solely on account of the earnest
eloquence and polished magnetism of Mrs. Chapman. By her side sits her
gifted little sister, Anne Warren Weston. On the opposite side of the
table is Samuel May, Jr., the able and efficient general agent of the
Society. To his perseverance, industry, gentlemanly manners, and good
sense, the Society owes much of its success. In the earlier days of the
movement, Mr. May left the pulpit and a lucrative salary, that he might
devote his time to the cause in which his heart had long been engaged.
Mr. May is an earnest speaker, and never takes the platform unless
he has something to say. He is simple, plain, and one of the best of
friends. It was the good fortune of the writer to be associated with
him for a number of years; and he never looks back to those days but
with the best feeling and most profound respect for the moral character
and Christian worth of Samuel May, Jr.

Not far from Mr. May sat Charles F. Hovey, the princely Summer Street
merchant, the plain, honest, outspoken man whose heart felt the wrongs
of the oppressed as keenly as if he himself had been one of the race.
Gathered since to his heavenly rest, he bequeathed a large sum of
money to carry on the battle for the negro’s freedom. Farther down the
table was Eliza Lee Follen, whose poems in favor of liberty have so
often been sung in our anti-slavery conventions. Sydney Howard Gay,
the polished writer, the editor of the Society’s organ, occupied a
seat next to Mrs. Follen. With small frame, finely-cut features, and
pleasant voice, he is ever listened to with marked attention. Mr. Gay
is a gentleman in every sense of the term.

Near the end of the table is William I. Bowditch, the able scholar, the
ripe lawyer, the devoted friend of freedom. Lastly, there is Charles
K. Whipple, the “C. K. W.,” of “The Liberator,” and the “North,” of
the “Anti-slavery Standard.” A stronger executive board for a great
moral object probably never existed. They were men and women in whom
the public had the utmost confidence, individually, for rectitude of

There were also present on this occasion five persons who were not
members of the board, but whose long and arduous labors entitled them
to a seat around the table. These were Samuel J. May, Lydia Maria
Child, James and Lucretia Mott, and Thomas Garrett; and of these we
shall now make mention.

Born in Boston, educated in her unsurpassed schools, a graduate of
Harvard University, and deeply imbued with the spirit and teachings
of the great leader of our salvation, and a philanthropist by nature,
Samuel J. May was drawn to the side of Mr. Garrison by the force of
sympathy. He was a member of the Philadelphia Convention in 1833,
at the formation of the American Anti-slavery Society, and his name
is appended to the immortal “Declaration of Sentiments,” penned by
Garrison, his life-long friend. When Prudence Crandall was imprisoned
at Canterbury, Connecticut, for the crime of teaching colored girls
to read, her most attached friend was Samuel J. May. He defended the
persecuted woman, and stood by her till she was liberated. Although
closely confined to his duties as preacher of the Gospel, Mr. May
gave much of his time to the slaves’ cause. As a speaker, he was
always interesting; for his sweet spirit and loving nature won to him
the affectionate regard of all with whom he came in contact. As an
Abolitionist, none were more true, more fearless. His house was long
the home of the fugitive slaves passing through Syracuse, New York, and
his church was always open to the anti-slavery lecturer when others
were shut against him.

Lydia Maria Child early embraced the cause of the enslaved negro. Her
sketches of some of the intellectual characters of the race appeared
more than thirty years ago, and created considerable sensation from the
boldness with which she advocated the black man’s equality.

James and Lucretia Mott were amongst the first in Pennsylvania to take
the stand by the side of Mr. Garrison in defence of negro freedom.
They were Abolitionists in every sense of the term, even to their
clothing and food, for they were amongst the earliest to encourage the
introduction of free-labor goods as a means of breaking up slavery,
by reducing the value of the products of the slave’s toil. As a
speaker, Mrs. Mott was doubtless the most eloquent woman that America
ever produced. A highly-cultivated and reflective mind, thoroughly
conversant with the negro’s suffering, hating everything that savored
of oppression, whether religiously or politically, and possessing the
brain and the courage, Mrs. Mott’s speeches were always listened to
with the closest attention and the greatest interest.

Mr. Mott took little or no part in public gatherings; but his
suggestions on committees, and his advice generally, were reliable. He
gave of his means liberally, and seconded every movement of his noble

Thomas Garrett was an Abolitionist from his youth up; and though the
grand old cause numbered among its supporters, poets, sages, and
statesmen, it had no more faithful worker in its ranks than Thomas
Garrett. The work of this good man lay in Delaware, one of the
meanest states in the Union, and the services which he rendered the
free colored people of that State in their efforts to rise above the
prejudice exhibited against their race can never be estimated.

But it was as a friend of the bondman escaping from his oppressor that
Mr. Garrett was most widely known. For more than forty years he devoted
himself to aiding the runaway slave in getting his freedom.

We have written of the executive officers of the most radical wing
of the Anti-slavery movement, yet there was still another band whose
labors were, if possible, more arduous, and deserve as much praise as
any of whom we have made mention.

These were the lecturing agents, the men and women who performed the
field service, the most difficult part of all the work. They went from
city to city, and from town to town, urging the claims of the slave to
his freedom; uttering truths that the people were not prepared for, and
receiving in return, rotten eggs, sticks, stones, and the condemnation
of the public generally. Many of these laborers neither asked nor
received any compensation; some gave their time and paid their own
expenses, satisfied with having an opportunity to work for humanity.

In the front rank of this heroic and fearless band, stood Abby Kelly
Foster, the Joan of Arc, of the anti-slavery movement. Born, we
believe, in the Society of Friends, and retaining to a great extent the
seriousness of early training, convinced of the heinousness of slavery,
she threw comfort, ease, and everything aside, and gave herself, in the
bloom of young womanhood, to the advocacy of the right of the negro to
his freedom. We first met Mrs. Foster (then Miss Kelly), about thirty
years ago, at Buffalo, in the State of New York, and for the first time
listened to a lecture against the hated system from which we had so
recently escaped.

Somewhat above the common height, slim, but well-proportioned,
finely-developed forehead and a pleasing countenance, eyes bright,
voice clear, gestures a little nervous, and dressed in a plain manner,
Mrs. Foster’s appearance on that occasion made a deep and lasting
impression upon her audience. The life-like pictures which she drew of
the helpless condition of her sisters in chains brought tears to many
eyes, and when she demanded that those chains should be broken they
responded with wild applause.

As a speaker, Mrs. Foster is logical, forcible; leaping from irony to
grave argument. Her illustrations, anecdotes, and figures are always to
the point. She is sharp and quick at repartee. In the earlier days of
the movement, she was considered very able in discussion. At Buffalo,
where we first heard her, she basted one of our ablest lawyers until
he acknowledged the fact, amid loud applause. Mrs. Foster was at times
harsh, but not harsher than truth. She is uncompromising, and always
reliable in a public meeting where discussion on reformatory questions
is under consideration. This lady gave the best years of her useful
life to the redemption of the negro from slavery.

We may well give Stephen S. Foster a place by the side of his noble
wife. He, too, embraced the cause of the slave at the dawn of the
agitation of the subject, and at once became one of its ablest
advocates. In downright field-work, as a lecturer, he did more than any
other man. Mr. Foster was the most unpopular of all the anti-slavery
agents; and simply because he “hewed to the line and the plummet,”
not caring in whose face the chips flew. He was always at home in a
discussion, and woe betide the person who fell into his hands. His
announcement of his subject often startled his hearers, and even his
best friends and associates would sometimes feel that he had overstated
the question. But he always more than proved what he had said in the
outset. In private life he is almost faultless; proverbially honest,
trustworthy, and faithful in all his dealings, possessing in the
estimation of his neighbors a high moral character.

Parker Pillsbury entered the field as an advocate of freedom about the
same time as did Mr. Foster, and battled nobly for the oppressed.

Charles L. Remond was, we believe, the first man of color to take the
platform as a regular lecturer in the anti-slavery cause, and was, no
doubt, the ablest representative that the race had till the appearance
of Frederick Douglass, in 1842. Mr. Remond prided himself more as the
representative of the educated free man of color, and often alluded to
the fact that “not a drop of slave blood” coursed through his veins.
Mr. Remond has little or no originality, but his studied elocutionary
powers, and fine flow of language, together with his being a colored
man, always gained for him an attentive hearing. But the genius and
originality of Frederick Douglass, and his unadorned eloquence,
overshadowed and threw Remond in the shade. This so soured the latter
that he never recovered from it, and even at the present time speaks
disparagingly of his early friend and associate. However, both of these
gentlemen did much to bring about the abolition of American Slavery.

Conspicuous among the advocates of freedom, almost from its earliest
dawn to its close, was Charles C. Burleigh, the devoted friend of
humanity. Nature has been profuse in showering her gifts upon Mr.
Burleigh, but all have been bestowed upon his head and heart. There
is a kind of eloquence which weaves its thread around the hearer,
and gradually draws him into its web, fascinating him with its
gaze, entangling him as the spider does the fly, until he is fast.
Such is the eloquence of Charles C. Burleigh. As a debater, he is
unquestionably the ablest who took sides with the slave. If he did not
speak so fast, he would equal Wendell Phillips; if he did not reason
his subject out of existence, he would surpass him. Cyrus M. Burleigh
also did good service in the anti-slavery cause, both as a lecturer and
editor of “The Pennsylvania Freeman.”

If Lucy Stone did not come into the field as early as some of whom we
have made mention, she brought with her when she did an earnestness
and enthusiasm that gave her an attentive audience wherever she spoke.
Under the middle size, hair generally cut short, round face, eyes
sparkling, not handsome, yet good to look upon, always plainly dressed,
not a single dollar for diamonds, but a heart gushing for humanity,
Lucy Stone at once became one of the most popular of the anti-slavery
speakers. Her arguments are forcible, her appeals pathetic, her
language plain, and at times classical. She is ready in debate, fertile
in illustration, eloquent in enunciation, and moves a congregation as
few can.

For real, earnest labor, as a leader of a corps of agents in a
reformatory movement, Susan B. Anthony has few equals. As a speaker,
she is full of facts and illustrations, and at times truly eloquent.
Susan is always reliable; and if any of her travelling companions are
colored, her hawk-eye is ever on the watch to see that their rights
are not invaded on the score of their complexion. The writer’s dark
skin thoroughly tested Miss Anthony’s grit some years ago at Cleveland,
Ohio; but when weighed, she was not found wanting. On that occasion
she found an efficient backer in our able and eloquent friend, Aaron
M. Powell. These two, backed by the strong voice and earnest words of
Andrew T. Foss, brought the hotelkeeper to his senses; and the writer
was allowed to go to the dinner-table, and eat with white folks. Mr.
Powell has for some years been the sole editor of the “Anti-Slavery
Standard,” and as editor and speaker has rendered a lasting service
to the cause of negro freedom. Andrew T. Foss left his pulpit some
twenty years ago, to devote his entire time to the discussion of the
principles of liberty, where his labors were highly appreciated.

Sallie Hollie filled an important niche on the anti-slavery platform.
Her Orthodox antecedents, her scriptural knowledge, her prayerful and
eloquent appeals obtained for her admission into churches when many
others were refused; yet she was as uncompromising as truth.

Oliver Johnson gave his young manhood to the negro’s cause when to
be an Abolitionist cost more than words. He was, in the earlier days
of the movement, one of the hardest workers; both as a lecturer and
writer, that the cause had. Mr. Johnson is a cogent reasoner, a deep
thinker, a ready debater, an accomplished writer, and an eloquent
speaker. He has at times edited the “Herald of Freedom,” “Anti-Slavery
Standard,” and “Anti-Slavery Bugle;” and has at all times been one of
the most uncompromising and reliable of the “Old Guard.”

Henry C. Wright was also among the early adherents to the doctrine of
universal and immediate emancipation, and gave the cause the best years
of his life.

Giles B. Stebbins, a ripe scholar, an acute thinker, earnest and able
as a speaker, devoted to what he conceives to be right, was for years
one of the most untiring of freedom’s advocates.

Of those who occasionally volunteered their services without money and
without price, few struck harder blows at the old Bastile of slavery
than James N. Buffum, a man of the people, whose abilities have been
appreciated and acknowledged by his election as mayor of his own city
of Lynn.

James Miller McKim was one of the signers of the Declaration of
Sentiments, at Philadelphia, in 1833, and ever after gave his heart
and his labors to the slave’s cause. For many years the leading man
in the Anti-slavery Society in Pennsylvania, Mr. McKim’s labors were
arduous, yet he never swerved from duty. He is a scholar, well
read, and is a good speaker, only a little nervous. His round face
indicates perseverance that will not falter, and integrity that will
not disappoint. He always enjoyed the confidence of the Abolitionists
throughout the country, and is regarded as a man of high moral
character. Of the underground railroad through Pennsylvania, Mr. McKim
knows more than any man except William Still.

Mary Grew, for her earnest labors, untiring activity, and truly
eloquent speeches, was listened to with great interest and attention
wherever she spoke. A more zealous and able friend the slave never had
in Pennsylvania.

Lucretia Mott, the most eloquent woman that America ever produced,
was a life-long Abolitionist, of the straightest kind. For years her
clothing, food, and even the paper that she wrote her letters on, were
the products of free labor. Thirty years ago we saw Mrs. Mott take from
her pocket a little paper bag filled with sugar, and sweeten her tea.
We then learned that it was her practice so to do when travelling, to
be sure of having free sugar.

A phrenologist would pronounce her head faultless. She has a thoughtful
countenance, eyes beaming with intelligence, and a voice of much
compass. Mrs. Mott speaks hesitatingly at times, when she begins her
remarks, and then words flow easily, and every word has a thought. She
was always a favorite with the Abolitionists, and a welcome speaker at
their anniversary meetings.

This was the radical wing of the Abolitionists,--men and women who
believed mainly in moral suasion. Outside of these were many others
who were equally sincere, and were laboring with all their powers
to bring about emancipation, and to some of them I shall now call

Some thirty years ago we met for the first time a gentleman of noble
personal appearance, being about six feet in height, well-proportioned;
forehead high and broad; large dark eyes, full of expression; hair
brown, and a little tinged with gray. The fascination of his smiling
gaze, and the hearty shake of his large, soft hand, made us feel at
home when we were introduced to Gerrit Smith. His comprehensive and
well-cultivated mind, his dignified and deliberate manner and musical
voice fit him for what he is,--one of Nature’s noblest orators.
Speaking is not the finest trait in the character of Mr. Smith, but his
great, large heart, every pulsation of which beats for humanity. He
brought to the negro’s cause wealth and position, and laid it all upon
the altar of his redemption. In the year 1846 he gave three thousand
farms to the same number of colored men; and three years later he gave
a farm each to one thousand white men, with ten thousand dollars to be
divided amongst them.

Mr. Smith has spent in various ways many hundred thousand dollars
for the liberation and elevation of the blacks of this country. Next
to Mr. Smith, in the State of New York, is Beriah Greene, whose long
devotion to the cause of freedom is known throughout our land. Many of
the colored men whose career have done honor to the race, owe their
education to Mr. Greene. He is the most radical churchman we know of,
always right on the question of slavery. He did much in the early days
of the agitation, and his speeches were considered amongst the finest
productions on the anti-slavery platform.

The old Abolitionists of thirty years ago still remember with pleasure
the smiling face and intellectual countenance of Nathaniel P. Rogers,
editor of the “Herald of Freedom,” a weekly newspaper that found a
welcome wherever it went. Mr. Rogers was a man of rare gifts, of a
philosophical and penetrating mind, high literary cultivation, quick
perception, and of a most genial nature. He dealt hard blows at the
peculiar institution with both his tongue and his pen. As a speaker,
he was more argumentative than eloquent, but was always good in a
discussion. As an ardent friend of Mr. Garrison, and a co-worker with
him, Mr. Rogers should have been named with the moral suasionists.

William Goodell, a prolific writer, a deep thinker, a man of great
industry, and whose large eyes indicate immense language, has labored
long and faithfully for justice and humanity.

John P. Hale was the first man to make a successful stand in Congress,
and he did his work nobly. His free-and-easy manner, his Falstaffian
fun, and Cromwellian courage, were always too much for Foote and his
Southern associates in the Senate, and in every contest for freedom the
New Hampshire Senator came off victorious. Mr. Hale is a large, fat,
social man, fine head, pleasing countenance, possessing much pungent
wit, irony, and sarcasm; able and eloquent in debate, and has always
been a true friend of negro freedom and elevation.

Charles Sumner had made his mark in favor of humanity, and especially
in behalf of the colored race, long before the doors of the United
States Senate opened to admit him as a member. In the year 1846,
he refused to lecture before a New Bedford lyceum, because colored
citizens were not allowed to occupy seats in common with the whites.
His lectures and speeches all had the ring of the right metal. His
career in Congress has been one of unsurpassed brilliancy. His
oratorical efforts in the capital of the nation equal anything ever
reported from the forums of Rome or Athens. Whatever is designed to
promote the welfare and happiness of the human race, Mr. Sumner has the
courage to advocate and defend to the last.

In firmness, he may be said to be without a rival on the floor of
the Senate, and has at times appeared a little dogged. However,
his foresight and sagacity show that he is generally in the right.
Mr. Sumner’s efforts in favor of reform have been ably seconded in
Congress by his colleague and friend, Henry Wilson, a man of the
people, and from the people. Without great educational attainments,
modest in his manners, never assuming aristocratic airs, plain, blunt,
yet gentlemanly, Mr. Wilson has always carried with him a tremendous
influence; and his speeches exhibit great research and much practical
common sense. He is a hard worker, and in that kind of industry which
is needed on committees, he is doubtless unequalled. As an old-time
Whig, a Free-soiler, and a Republican, Mr. Wilson has always been an
Abolitionist of the most radical stripe; and in Congress, has done as
much for negro emancipation, and the elevation of the blacks, as any
living man.

Foremost in his own State, as well as in Congress, for many years, was
that good old man, Thaddeus Stevens, an earnest friend of the poor man,
whether white or black. Strong in the consciousness of being right,
he never shrank from any encounter, and nobody said more in fewer
words, or gave to language a sharper bite, than he. On the question
of slavery, Mr. Stevens was uncompromisingly the negro’s friend and
faithful advocate.

Joshua R. Giddings, next to John Quincy Adams, was the first man, we
believe, that really stirred up the House of Representatives in behalf
of the slave. Mr. Giddings was a man without fear, entirely devoted to
the welfare of mankind; not an orator, in the accepted sense of the
term, but an able debater; ready in facts and illustrations, and always
to be relied upon when the Southerners attempted to encroach upon
freedom. Mr. Giddings never denied, even in the earlier days of the
agitation, that he was an Abolitionist.

George W. Julian, of Indiana, entered the halls of Congress as an enemy
of negro slavery, and, up to the present time, stands firm to his early

Thomas Russell began life as a friend of negro emancipation, and
wherever his eloquent voice was heard, it gave no uncertain sound on
the subject of freedom. The Judge is a special favorite of the colored
men of Boston, and richly deserves it; for, as a Collector of Customs,
he has given employment to a large number of the proscribed class.

Charles W. Slack, the talented editor of “The Commonwealth,”--the
outspoken friend of liberty, whose gentlemanly deportment, polished
manners, and sympathetic heart extend to the negro the same cordial
welcome in his office that he gives to the white man,--is an old-time
Abolitionist. The colored clerk in his Revenue department is _prima
facie_ evidence that he has no prejudice against the negro. Both as
a speaker and a writer, Mr. Slack did the cause of the slave great
service, when it cost something to be a friend to the race.



The close of the Rebellion opened to the negro a new era in his
history. The chains of slavery had been severed; and although he had
not been clothed with all the powers of the citizen, the black man was,
nevertheless, sure of all his rights being granted, for revolutions
seldom go backward. With the beginning of the work of reconstruction,
the right of the negro to the ballot came legitimately before the
country, and brought with it all the virus of negro hate that could be
thought of. President Andrew Johnson threw the weight of his official
influence into the scales against the newly-liberated people, which
for a time cast a dark shadow over the cause of justice and freedom.
Congress, however, by its Constitutional amendments, settled the
question, and clothed the blacks with the powers of citizenship; and
with their white fellow-citizens they entered the reconstruction
conventions, and commenced the work of bringing their states back into
the Union. This was a trying position for the recently enfranchised
blacks; for slavery had bequeathed to them nothing but poverty,
ignorance, and dependence upon their former owners for employment and
the means of sustaining themselves and their families. The transition
through which they passed during the war, had imparted to some a
smattering of education; and this, with the natural aptitude of the
negro for acquiring, made the colored men appear to advantage in
whatever position they were called to take part.

The speeches delivered by some of these men in the conventions and
state legislatures exhibit a depth of thought, flights of eloquence,
and civilized statesmanship, that throw their former masters far in the

In the work of reconstruction, the colored men had the advantage
of being honest and sincere in what they undertook, and labored
industriously for the good of the country.

The riots in various Southern states, following the enfranchising of
the men of color, attest the deep-rooted prejudice existing with the
men who once so misruled the rebellious states. In Georgia, Tennessee,
and Louisiana, these outbursts of ill feeling caused the loss of many
lives, and the destruction of much property. No true Union man, white
or black, was safe. The Constitutional amendment, which gave the ballot
to the black men of the North in common with their brethren of the
South, aroused the old pro-slavery feeling in the free states, which
made it scarcely safe for the newly enfranchised to venture to the
polls on the day of election in some of the Northern cities. The cry
that this was a “white man’s government,” was raised from one end of
the country to the other by the Democratic press, and the Taney theory
that “black men had no rights that white men were bound to respect,”
was revived, with all its negro hate.

Military occupation of the South was all that saved the freedmen
from destruction. Under it, they were able to take part in the
various Constitutional and Legislative elections, and to hold seats
in those bodies. As South Carolina had been the most conspicuous in
the Rebellion, so she was the first to return to the Union, and to
recognize the political equality of the race whom in former days she
had bought and sold. Her Senate hall, designed to echo the eloquence
of the Calhouns, the McDuffies, the Hammonds, the Hamptons, and the
Rhetts, has since resounded with the speeches of men who were once her
bond slaves. Ransier, the negro, now fills the chair of President of
the Senate, where once sat the proud and haughty Calhoun; while Nash,
the tall, gaunt, full-blooded negro, speaks in the plantation dialect
from the desk in which Wade Hampton in former days stood. The State
is represented in Congress by Elliott, Rainey, and De Large. South
Carolina submitted quietly to her destiny.

Not so, however, with Georgia. At the election in November, 1867,
for members to the State Convention, thirty thousand white and
eighty thousand colored votes were polled, and a number of colored
delegates elected. A Constitution was framed and ratified, and a
Legislature elected under it was convened. After all this, supposing
they had passed beyond Congressional control, the Rebel element in
the Legislature asserted itself; and many of those whose disabilities
had been removed by the State Convention, which comprised a number of
colored members, joined in the declaration which was made by that
Legislature, that a man having more than one-eighth of African blood in
his veins was ineligible to office.

These very men to whom the Republican party extended all the rights
and privileges of citizenship, of which they had deprived themselves,
denied political equality to a large majority of their fellow-citizens.
Twenty-eight members were expelled on December 22, 1869; an Act of
Congress was passed requiring the re-assembling of the persons declared
elected by the military commander, the restoration of the expelled
members, and the rejection of others, who were disqualified.

The expulsion of the ex-rebels from the Georgia Legislature, and the
admission of the loyal colored men, whose seats had been forcibly
taken from them, had a good effect upon all the Southern States, for
it showed that the national administration was determined that justice
should be done.

The prompt admission of Hiram R. Revels to a seat in the United States
Senate from Mississippi, showed that progress was the watch-word of
the Republican party. The appointments of E. D. Bassett as Minister to
Hayti, and J. Milton Turner as Consul-General to Liberia, set at rest
all doubt with regard to the views of President Grant, and the negro’s
political equality.

In 1869, colored men, for the first time in the history of the District
of Columbia, were drawn as jurors, and served with white men. This was
the crowning event of that glorious emancipation which began at the
capital, and radiated throughout the length and breadth of the nation.
Since then, one by one, distinguishing lines have been erased, and now
the black man is deemed worthy to participate in all the privileges of
an American citizen.

The election of Oscar J. Dunn as Lieutenant-Governor of Louisiana,
was a triumph which gladdened the hearts of his race from Maine to
California. Alabama sent B. S. Turner to Congress; Florida, J. T.
Walls, while colored men entered the Legislative halls of several
states not named in this connection.

The National Republican Convention, held at Philadelphia in June, 1872,
received as delegates a number of colored men, and for the first time
in the history of Presidential conventions, the negro’s voice was heard
and applauded.

Education is what we now need, and education we must have, at all
hazards. Wilberforce and Avery Colleges, and Lincoln University, have
all done good service. Howard University, Lincoln Institute, Hampton
Manual Labor School, and Fisk University, are harbingers of light to
our people. But we need an educated ministry; and until we have it, the
masses will grope in darkness. The cause of Temperance, that John the
Baptist of reforms, must be introduced into every community, and every
other method resorted to by the whites for their elevation should be
used by the colored men.

Our young men must be encouraged to enter the various professions,
and to become mechanics, and thereby lay the foundation for future

An ignorant man will trust to luck for success; an educated man will
make success. God helps those who help themselves.



In our Sketches of Representative Men and Women, some will be found to
have scarcely more than a local reputation; but they are persons who
have contributed, of their ability, towards the Freedom of the Race,
and should not be forgotten. Others bid fair to become distinguished in
the future. We commence with our first hero:--


The principle that taxation and representation were inseparable was
in accordance with the theory, the genius, and the precedents of
British legislation; and this principle was now, for the first time,
intentionally invaded. The American colonies were not represented in
Parliament; yet an act was passed by that body, the tendency of which
was to invalidate all right and title to their property. This was the
“Stamp Act,” of March 23, 1765, which ordained that no sale, bond,
note of hand, nor other instrument of writing, should be valid, unless
executed on paper bearing the stamp prescribed by the home government.
The intelligence of the passage of the stamp act at once roused
the indignation of the liberty-loving portion of the people of the
colonies, and meetings were held at various points to protest against
this high-handed measure.

Massachusetts was the first to take a stand in opposition to the
mother country. The merchants and traders of Boston, New York, and
Philadelphia entered into non-importation agreements, with a view of
obtaining a repeal of the obnoxious law. Under the pressure of public
sentiment, the stamp act officers gave in their resignations. The
eloquence of William Pitt and the sagacity of Lord Camden brought about
a repeal of the stamp act in the British Parliament. A new ministry, in
1767, succeeded in getting through the House of Commons a bill to tax
the tea imported into the American colonies, and it received the royal
assent. Massachusetts again took the lead in opposing the execution of
this last act, and Boston began planning to take the most conspicuous
part in the great drama. The agitation in the colonies provoked the
home government, and power was given to the governor of Massachusetts
to take notice of all persons who might offer any treasonable
objections to these oppressive enactments, that the same might be
sent home to England to be tried there. Lord North was now at the
head of affairs, and no leniency was to be shown to the colonies. The
concentration of British troops in large numbers at Boston convinced
the people that their liberties were at stake, and they began to rally.

A crowded and enthusiastic meeting, held in Boston, in the latter
part of the year 1769, was addressed by the ablest talent that the
progressive element could produce. Standing in the back part of the
hall, eagerly listening to the speakers, was a dark mulatto man, very
tall, rather good-looking, and apparently, about fifty years of age.
This was Crispus Attucks. Though taking no part in the meeting, he
was nevertheless destined to be conspicuous in the first struggle in
throwing off the British yoke. Twenty years previous to this, Attucks
was the slave of William Brouno, Esq., of Framingham, Massachusetts;
but his was a heart beating for freedom, and not to be kept in the
chains of mental or bodily servitude.

From the “Boston Gazette” of Tuesday, November 20, 1750, I copy the
following advertisement:--

     “Ran away from his master William Brouno Framingham, on the
     30th of Sept., last, a Molatto Fellow, about 27 years of Age
     named Crispus, well set, six feet 2 inches high, short curl’d
     Hair, knees nearer together than common; had on a light coloured
     Bearskin Coat, brown Fustian jacket, new Buckskin Breeches, blew
     yarn Stockins and Checkered Shirt. Whoever shall take up said
     Runaway, and convey him to his above said Master at Framingham,
     shall have Ten Pounds, old Tenor Reward and all necessary charges

The above is a _verbatim et literatim_ advertisement for a runaway
slave one hundred and twenty-two years ago. Whether Mr. Brouno
succeeded in recapturing Crispus or not, we are left in the dark.

Ill-feeling between the mother country and her colonial subjects
had been gaining ground, while British troops were concentrating
at Boston. On the 5th of March, 1770, the people were seen early
congregating at the corners of the principal streets, at Dock Square,
and near the Custom House. Captain Preston, with a body of redcoats,
started out for the purpose of keeping order in the disaffected
town, and was hissed at by the crowds in nearly every place where he
appeared. The day passed off without any outward manifestation of
disturbance, but all seemed to feel that something would take place
after nightfall. The doubling of the guard in and about the Custom
House showed the authorities felt an insecurity that they did not care
to express. The lamps in Dock Square threw their light in the angry
faces of a large crowd who appeared to be waiting for the crisis, in
whatever form it should come. A part of Captain Preston’s company was
making its way from the Custom House, when they were met by the crowd
from Dock Square, headed by the black man Attucks, who was urging
them to meet the redcoats, and drive them from the streets. “These
rebels have no business here,” said he; “let’s drive them away.” The
people became enthusiastic, their brave leader grew more daring in
his language and attitude, while the soldiers under Captain Preston
appeared to give way. “Come on! don’t be afraid!” cried Attucks. “They
dare not shoot; and, if they dare, let them do it.”

Stones and sticks, with which the populace were armed, were freely
used, to the great discomfiture of the English soldiers. “Don’t
hesitate! come on! We’ll drive these rebels out of Boston!” were the
last words heard from the lips of the colored man, for the sharp crack
of muskets silenced his voice, and he fell weltering in his blood.
Two balls had pierced his sable breast. Thus died Crispus Attucks, the
first martyr to American liberty, and the inaugurator of the revolution
that was destined to take from the crown of George the Third its
brightest star. An immense concourse of citizens followed the remains
of the hero to its last resting-place, and his name was honorably
mentioned in the best circles. The last words, the daring, and the
death of Attucks gave spirit and enthusiasm to the revolution, and his
heroism was imitated by both whites and blacks. His name was a rallying
cry for the brave colored men who fought at the battle of Bunker’s
Hill. In the gallant defence of Redbank, where four hundred blacks
met and defeated fifteen hundred Hessians, headed by Count Donop, the
thought of Attucks filled them with ardor. When Colonel Green fell at
Groton, surrounded by his black troops who perished with him, they went
into the battle feeling proud of the opportunity of imitating the first
martyr of the American revolution.

No monument has yet been erected to him. An effort was made in the
legislature of Massachusetts a few years since, but without success.
Five generations of accumulated prejudice against the negro had
excluded from the American mind all inclination to do justice to one of
her bravest sons. Now that slavery is abolished, we may hope, in future
years, to see a monument raised to commemorate the heroism of Crispus


In the year 1761, when Boston had her slave market, and the descendants
of the Pilgrims appeared to be the most pious and God-fearing people
in the world, Mrs. John Wheatley went into the market one day, for
the purpose of selecting and purchasing a girl for her own use. Among
the group of children just imported from the African coast was a
delicately-built, rather good-looking child of seven or eight years,
apparently suffering from the recent sea-voyage and change of climate.
Mrs. Wheatley’s heart was touched at the interesting countenance and
humble modesty of this little stranger. The lady bought the child, and
she was named Phillis. Struck with the slave’s uncommon brightness,
the mistress determined to teach her to read, which she did with no
difficulty. The child soon mastered the English language, with which
she was totally unacquainted when she landed upon the American shores.

Her school lessons were all perfect, and she drank in the Scriptural
teachings as if by intuition. At the age of twelve, she could write
letters and keep up a correspondence that would have done honor to one
double her years. Mrs. Wheatley, seeing her superior genius, no longer
regarded Phillis as a servant, but took her as a companion. It was
not surprising that the slave-girl should be an object of attraction,
astonishment, and attention with the refined and highly-cultivated
society that weekly assembled in the drawing-room of the Wheatleys.

As Phillis grew up to womanhood, her progress and attainments kept
pace with the promise of her earlier years. She drew around her the
best educated of the white ladies, and attracted the attention and
notice of the literary characters of Boston, who supplied her with
books, and encouraged the ripening of her intellectual powers. She
studied the Latin tongue, and translated one of Ovid’s tales, which was
no sooner put in print in America, than it was republished in London,
with elegant commendations from the reviews.

In 1773, a small volume of her poems, containing thirty-nine pieces,
was published in London, and dedicated to the Countess of Huntingdon.
The genuineness of this work was established in the first page of the
volume, by a document signed by the governor of Massachusetts, the
lieutenant-governor, her master, and fifteen of the most respectable
and influential citizens of Boston, who were acquainted with her
talents and the circumstances of her life. Her constitution being
naturally fragile, she was advised by her physician to take a sea
voyage, as the means of restoring her declining health.

Phillis was emancipated by her master at the age of twenty-one years,
and sailed for England. On her arrival, she was received and admired in
the first circles of London society; and it was at that time that her
poems were collected and published in a volume, with a portrait and a
memoir of the authoress. Phillis returned to America, and married Dr.
Peters, a man of her own color, and of considerable talents. Her health
began rapidly to decline, and she died at the age of twenty-six years,
in 1780. Fortunately rescued from the fate that awaits the victims of
the slave-trade, this injured daughter of Africa had an opportunity
of developing the genius that God had given her, and of showing to the
world the great wrong done to her race.

Although her writings are not free from imperfections of style and
sentiment, her verses are full of philosophy, beauty, and sublimity. It
cost her no effort to round a period handsomely, or polish a sentence
until it became transparent with splendor. She was easy, forcible, and
eloquent in language, and needed but health and a few more years of
experience to have made her a poet of greater note.


The services rendered to science, to liberty, and to the intellectual
character of the negro by Banneker, are too great for us to allow his
name to sleep, and his genius and merits to remain hidden from the

Benjamin Banneker was born in the State of Maryland, in the year 1732,
of pure African parentage; their blood never having been corrupted by
the introduction of a drop of Anglo-Saxon. His father was a slave, and
of course could do nothing towards the education of the child. The
mother, however, being free, succeeded in purchasing the freedom of
her husband, and they, with their son, settled on a few acres of land,
where Benjamin remained during the lifetime of his parents.

His entire schooling was gained from an obscure country school,
established for the education of the children of free negroes; and
these advantages were poor, for the boy appears to have finished
studying before he arrived at his fifteenth year. Although out of
school, Banneker was still a student, and read with great care and
attention such books as he could get. Mr. George Ellicott, a gentleman
of fortune and considerable literary taste, and who resided near to
Benjamin, became interested in him, and lent him books from his large
library. Among these books were Mayer’s Tables, Fergusson’s Astronomy,
and Leadbeater’s Lunar Tables. A few old and imperfect astronomical
instruments also found their way into the boy’s hands, all of which he
used with great benefit to his own mind.

Banneker took delight in the study of the languages, and soon mastered
the Latin, Greek, and German. He was also proficient in the French. The
classics were not neglected by him, and the general literary knowledge
which he possessed caused Mr. Ellicott to regard him as the most
learned man in the town, and he never failed to introduce Banneker to
his most distinguished guests.

About this time, Benjamin turned his attention particularly to
Astronomy, and determined on making calculations for an almanac, and
completed a set for the whole year. Encouraged by this attempt, he
entered upon calculations for subsequent years, which, as well as the
former, he began and finished without the least assistance from any
person or books than those already mentioned; so that whatever merit is
attached to his performance is exclusively his own.

He published an almanac in Philadelphia for the years 1792-3-4-5, and
which contained his calculations, exhibiting the different aspects of
the planets, a table of the motions of the sun and moon, their risings
and settings, and the courses of the bodies of the planetary system.

By this time, Banneker’s acquirements had become generally known,
and the best scholars in the country opened correspondence with him.
Goddard & Angell, the well-known Baltimore publishers, engaged his pen
for their establishment, and became the publishers of his almanacs. A
copy of his first production was sent to Thomas Jefferson, together
with a letter intended to interest the great statesman in the cause of
negro emancipation and the elevation of the negro race, in which he

“It is a truth too well attested to need a proof here, that we are a
race of beings who have long labored under the abuse and censure of
the world; that we have long been looked upon with an eye of contempt,
and considered rather as brutish than human, and scarcely capable of
mental endowments. I hope I may safely admit, in consequence of the
report which has reached me, that you are a man far less inflexible in
sentiments of this nature than many others; that you are measurably
friendly and well disposed towards us, and that you are willing to lend
your aid and assistance for our relief from those many distresses and
numerous calamities to which we are reduced.

“If this is founded in truth, I apprehend you will embrace every
opportunity to eradicate that train of absurd and false ideas and
opinions which so generally prevail with respect to us, and that your
sentiments are concurrent with mine,--which are, that one universal
Father hath given being to us all; that he hath not only made us all
of one flesh, but that he hath also, without partiality, afforded us
all the same sensations, and endowed us all with the same faculties;
and that, however variable we may be in society or religion, however
diversified in situation or in color, we are all of the same family,
and stand in the same relation to him. If these are sentiments of which
you are fully persuaded, you cannot but acknowledge that it is the
indispensable duty of those who maintain the rights of human nature,
and who profess the obligations of Christianity, to extend their power
and influence to the relief of every part of the human race from
whatever burden or oppression they may unjustly labor under; and this,
I apprehend a full conviction of the truth and obligation of these
principles should lead all to.

“I have long been convinced that if your love for yourselves, and for
those inestimable laws which preserved to you the rights of human
nature, is founded on sincerity, you cannot help being solicitous that
every individual, of whatever rank or distinction, might with you
equally enjoy the blessings thereof; neither can you rest satisfied
short of the most active effusion of your exertions, in order to
effect their promotion from any state of degradation to which the
unjustifiable cruelty and barbarism of men may have reduced them.

“I freely and cheerfully acknowledge that I am one of the African race,
and in that color which is natural to them, of the deepest dye; and it
is under a sense of the most profound gratitude to the Supreme Ruler of
the universe, that I now confess to you that I am not under that state
of tyrannical thraldom and inhuman captivity to which too many of my
brethren are doomed; but that I have abundantly tasted of the fruition
of those blessings which proceed from that free and unequalled liberty
with which you are favored, and which I hope you will willingly allow
you have mercifully received from the immediate hand of that Being from
whom proceedeth every good and perfect gift.

“Your knowledge of the situation of my brethren is too extensive to
need a recital here; neither shall I presume to prescribe methods by
which they may be relieved, otherwise than by recommending to you
and to others to wean yourselves from those narrow prejudices which
you have imbibed with respect to them, and, as Job proposed to his
friends, ‘put your soul in their souls’ stead.’ Thus shall your hearts
be enlarged with kindness and benevolence towards them; and thus shall
you need neither the direction of myself or others in what manner to
proceed herein.... The calculation for this almanac is the production
of my arduous study in my advanced stage of life; for having long had
unbounded desires to become acquainted with the secrets of nature,
I have had to gratify my curiosity herein through my own assiduous
application to astronomical study, in which I need not recount to you
the many difficulties and disadvantages which I have had to encounter.”

Mr. Jefferson at once replied, and said:--

“I thank you sincerely for your letter and the almanac it contained.
Nobody wishes more than I do to see such proofs as you exhibit, that
Nature has given to our black brethren talents equal to those of the
other colors of men, and that the appearance of the want of them is
owing merely to the degraded condition of their existence, both in
Africa and America. I can add with truth, that nobody wishes more
ardently to see a good system commenced for raising their condition,
both of their body and their mind, to what it ought to be, as far as
the imbecility of their present existence, and other circumstances,
which cannot be neglected, will admit. I have taken the liberty of
sending your almanac to Monsieur de Condorcet, secretary of the Academy
of Sciences at Paris, and a member of the Philanthropic Society,
because I consider it as a document to which your whole color have
a right, for their justification against the doubts which have been
entertained of them.”

The letter from Banneker, together with the almanac, created in the
heart of Mr. Jefferson a fresh feeling of enthusiasm in behalf of
freedom, and especially for the negro, which ceased only with his life.
The American statesman wrote to Brissot, the celebrated French writer,
in which he made enthusiastic mention of the “Negro Philosopher.” At
the formation of the “Society of the Friends of the Blacks,” at Paris,
by Lafayette, Brissot, Barnave, Condorcet, and Gregoire, the name of
Banneker was again and again referred to to prove the equality of the
races. Indeed, the genius of the “Negro Philosopher” did much towards
giving liberty to the people of St. Domingo. In the British House of
Commons, Pitt, Wilberforce, and Buxton often alluded to Banneker by
name, as a man fit to fill any position in society. At the setting off
of the District of Columbia for the capital of the federal government,
Banneker was invited by the Maryland commissioners, and took an
honorable part in the settlement of the territory. But, throughout
all his intercourse with men of influence, he never lost sight of the
condition of his race, and ever urged the emancipation and elevation
of the slave. He well knew that everything that was founded upon the
admitted inferiority of natural right in the African was calculated to
degrade him and bring him nearer to the foot of the oppressor, and he
therefore never failed to allude to the equality of the races when with
those whites whom he could influence. He always urged self-elevation
upon the colored people whom he met. He felt that to deprive the black
man of the inspiration of ambition, of hope, of wealth, of standing,
among his brethren of the earth, was to take from him all incentives to
mental improvement.

What husbandman incurs the toil of seed-time and culture, except with
a view to the subsequent enjoyment of a golden harvest? Banneker was
endowed by Nature with all those excellent qualifications which are
necessary previous to the accomplishment of a great man. His memory was
large and tenacious, yet, by a curious felicity, chiefly susceptible of
the finest impressions it received from the best authors he read, which
he always preserved in their primitive strength and amiable order. 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 equality, without which,
judgment is cold, and knowledge is inert; that energy which collects,
combines, amplifies, and animates.

He knew every branch of history, both natural and civil; he had read
all the original historians of England, France, and Germany, and
was a great antiquarian. Criticism, metaphysics, morals, politics,
voyages, and travels, were all studied and well digested by him. With
such a fund of knowledge, his conversation was equally interesting,
instructive, and entertaining. Banneker was so favorably appreciated
by the first families in Virginia, that in 1803 he was invited by
Mr. Jefferson, then President of the United States, to visit him at
Monticello, where the statesman had gone for recreation. But he was
too infirm to undertake the journey. He died the following year, aged
seventy-two. Like the golden sun that has sunk beneath the western
horizon, but still throws upon the world, which he sustained and
enlightened in his career, the reflected beams of his departed genius,
his name can only perish with his language.

Banneker believed in the divinity of reason, and in the omnipotence of
the human understanding, with Liberty for its handmaid. The intellect,
impregnated by science, and multiplied by time, it appeared to him,
must triumph necessarily over all the resistance of matter. He had
faith in liberty, truth, and virtue. His remains still rest in the
slave state where he lived and died, with no stone to mark the spot, or
tell that it is the grave of Benjamin Banneker. He labored incessantly,
lived irreproachably, and died in the literary harness, universally
esteemed and regretted.


The man who lays aside home comforts, and willingly becomes a
missionary to the poorest of the poor, deserves the highest praise
that his fellow-men can bestow upon him. After laboring faithfully for
the upbuilding of the church in New York, Baltimore, and Philadelphia,
William P. Quinn, thirty-five years ago, went to the West, a most
undesirable place for a colored man at that time. But he did not count
the cost; it was enough for him to know that his services were needed,
and he left the consequences with God.

Never, probably, was a man more imbued with the spirit of the Great
Teacher, than was Mr. Quinn in his missionary work. Old men and women
are still living who delight to dwell on the self-denial, Christian
zeal, manly graces, and industry that characterized this good man in
the discharge of his duties in Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri.
His advice was always fatherly; his example inculcated devoted piety.

As a speaker, he was earnest and eloquent, possessing an inward
enthusiasm that sent a magnetic current through his entire
congregation. Having the fullest confidence of the people with whom
he was called to labor, they regarded him as one sent of God, and
they hung upon his words as if their future welfare depended upon the
counsel they received.

In 1844, Mr. Quinn was made a bishop, a position for which he had every
qualification. Tanner, in his “Apology,” says:--

“The demands of the work made it necessary to elect another bishop,
and, as if by inspiration, a large majority fixed their eyes on the
great missionary as the man most competent to fill the post.”

Bishop Quinn died in February, 1873, at the advanced age of eighty-five


Of those who took part in the anti-slavery work thirty-five years ago,
none was more true to his race than David Ruggles. Residing in the city
of New York, where slaveholders often brought their body servants, and
kept them for weeks, Mr. Ruggles became a thorn in the sides of these
Southern sinners. He was ready at all times, in dangers and perils,
to wrest his brethren from these hyenas, and so successful was he in
getting slaves from their masters, and sending them to Canada, that he
became the terror of Southerners visiting northern cities. He was one
of the founders of the celebrated underground railroad.

Harassed by the pro-slavery whites, and betrayed and deserted by some
of his own color, David Ruggles still labored for his people.

He was deeply interested in the moral, social, and political elevation
of the free colored men of the North, and to that end published and
edited for several years the “Mirror of Liberty,” a quarterly magazine,
devoted to the advocacy of the rights of his race.

As a writer, Mr. Ruggles was keen and witty,--always logical,--sending
his arrows directly at his opponent. The first thing we ever read,
coming from the pen of a colored man, was “David M. Reese, M. D.,
used up by David Ruggles, a man of color.” Dr. Reese was a noted
colonizationist, and had written a work in which he advocated the
expatriation of the blacks from the American continent; and Mr.
Ruggles’s work was in reply to it. In this argument the negro proved
too much for the Anglo-Saxon, and exhibited in Mr. Ruggles those
qualities of keen perception, deep thought, and originality, that mark
the critic and man of letters.

He was of unmixed blood, of medium size, genteel address, and
interesting in conversation.

Attacked with a disease which resulted in total blindness, Mr. Ruggles
visited Northampton, Massachusetts, for the benefit of his health. Here
he founded a “Water Cure,” which became famous, and to which a large
number of the better classes resorted. In this new field, Mr. Ruggles
won honorable distinction as a most successful practitioner, secured
the warm regard of the public, and left a name embalmed in the hearts
of many who feel that they owe life to his eminent skill and careful
practice. Mr. Ruggles was conscientious, upright, and just in all his
dealings. He died in 1849, universally respected and esteemed.


The career of this distinguished individual whose name heads this
sketch, is more widely known than that of any other living colored
man. Born and brought up under the institution of slavery, which
denied its victims the right of developing those natural powers that
adorn the children of men, and distinguish them from the beasts of
the forest,--an institution that gave a premium to ignorance, and
made intelligence a crime, when the possessor was a negro,--Frederick
Douglass is, indeed, the most wonderful man that America has ever
produced, white or black.

His days of servitude were like those of his race who were born at the
South, differing but little from the old routine of plantation life.
Douglass, however, possessed superior natural gifts, which began to
show themselves even when a boy, but his history has become too well
known for us to dwell on it here. The narrative of his life, published
in 1845, gave a new impetus to the black man’s literature. All other
stories of fugitive slaves faded away before the beautifully-written,
highly-descriptive, and thrilling memoir of Frederick Douglass. Other
narratives had only brought before the public a few heart-rending
scenes connected with the person described. But Mr. Douglass, in his
book, brought not only his old master’s farm and its occupants before
the reader, but the entire country around him, including Baltimore
and its shipyard. The manner in which he obtained his education,
and especially his learning to write, has been read and re-read by
thousands in both hemispheres. His escape from slavery is too well
understood to need a recapitulation here.

He took up his residence in New Bedford, where he still continued the
assiduous student, mastering the different branches of education which
the accursed institution had deprived him of in early life.

His advent as a lecturer was a remarkable one. White men and black men
had talked against slavery, but none had ever spoken like Frederick
Douglass. Throughout the North the newspapers were filled with the
sayings of the “eloquent fugitive.” He often travelled with others, but
they were all lost sight of in the eagerness to hear Douglass. His
travelling companions would sometimes get angry, and would speak first
at the meetings; then they would take the last turn; but it was all
the same--the fugitive’s impression was the one left upon the mind. He
made more persons angry, and pleased more, than any other man. He was
praised, and he was censured. He made them laugh, he made them weep,
and he made them swear.

His “Slaveholders’ Sermon” was always a trump card. He awakened an
interest in the hearts of thousands who before were dead to the slave
and his condition. Many kept away from his lectures, fearing lest
they should be converted against their will. Young men and women, in
those days of pro-slavery hatred, would return to their fathers’ roofs
filled with admiration for the “runaway slave,” and would be rebuked by
hearing the old ones grumble out, “You’d better stay at home and study
your lessons, and not be running after the nigger meetings.”

In 1841, he was induced to accept an agency as a lecturer for the
Anti-slavery Society, and at once became one of the most valuable of
its advocates. He visited England in 1845. There he was kindly received
and heartily welcomed; and after going through the length and breadth
of the land, and addressing public meetings out of number on behalf of
his countrymen in chains, with a power of eloquence which captivated
his auditors, and brought the cause which he pleaded home to their
hearts, he returned home, and commenced the publication of the “North
Star,” a weekly newspaper devoted to the advocacy of the cause of

Mr. Douglass is tall and well made. His vast and fully-developed
forehead shows at once that he is a superior man intellectually. He is
polished in his language, and gentlemanly in his manners. His voice is
full and sonorous. His attitude is dignified, and his gesticulation is
full of noble simplicity. He is a man of lofty reason; natural, and
without pretension; always master of himself; brilliant in the art
of exposing and abstracting. Few persons can handle a subject, with
which they are familiar, better than he. There is a kind of eloquence
issuing from the depth of the soul as from a spring, rolling along its
copious floods, sweeping all before it, overwhelming by its very force,
carrying, upsetting, ingulfing its adversaries, and more dazzling and
more thundering than the bolt which leaps from crag to crag. This is
the eloquence of Frederick Douglass. One of the best mimics of the age,
and possessing great dramatic powers; had he taken up the sock and
buskin, instead of becoming a lecturer, he would have made as fine a
Coriolanus as ever trod the stage.

As a speaker, Frederick Douglass has had more imitators than almost
any other American, save, perhaps, Wendell Phillips. Unlike most
great speakers, he is a superior writer also. Some of his articles,
in point of ability, will rank with anything ever written for the
American press. He has taken lessons from the best of teachers, amid
the homeliest realities of life; hence the perpetual freshness of his
delineations, which are never over-colored, never strained, never
aiming at difficult or impossible effects, but which always read like
living transcripts of experience.

Mr. Douglass has obtained a position in the front rank as a lyceum
lecturer. His later addresses from manuscripts, however, do not, in
our opinion, come up to his extemporaneous efforts.

But Frederick Douglass’s abilities as an editor and publisher have done
more for the freedom and elevation of his race than all his platform
appeals. Previous to the year 1848, the colored people of the United
States had no literature. True, the “National Reformer,” the “Mirror
of Liberty,” the “Colored American,” “The Mystery,” the “Disfranchised
American,” the “Ram’s Horn,” and several others of smaller magnitude,
had been in existence, had their run, and ceased to live. All of the
above journals had done something towards raising the black man’s
standard, but they were merely the ploughs breaking up the ground
and getting the soil ready for the seed-time. Newspapers, magazines,
and books published in those days by colored men, were received with
great allowance by the whites, who had always regarded the negro as an
uneducated, inferior race, and who were considered out of their proper
sphere when meddling with literature.

The commencement of the publication of the “North Star” was the
beginning of a new era in the black man’s literature. Mr. Douglass’s
well-earned fame gave his paper at once a place with the first journals
in the country; and he drew around him a corps of contributors and
correspondents from Europe, as well as all parts of America and the
West Indies, that made its columns rich with the current news of the

While the “North Star” became a welcome visitor to the homes of whites
who had never before read a newspaper edited by a colored man, its
proprietor became still more popular as a speaker in every State in
the Union where abolitionism was tolerated.

“My Bondage and My Freedom,” a work published by Mr. Douglass a few
years ago, besides giving a fresh impulse to anti-slavery literature,
showed upon its pages the untiring industry of the ripe scholar.

Some time during the year 1850, we believe, his journal assumed the
name of “Frederick Douglass’s Paper.” Its purpose and aim was the same,
and it remained the representative of the negro till it closed its
career, which was not until the abolition of slavery.

Of all his labors, however, we regard Mr. Douglass’s efforts as
publisher and editor as most useful to his race. For sixteen years,
against much opposition, single-handed and alone, he demonstrated the
fact that the American colored man was equal to the white in conducting
a useful and popular journal.


Bishop Wayman was born in Maryland, in 1821, and consequently, is
fifty-two years of age. He showed an early love of books, and used
his time to the best advantage. He began as a preacher in the A. M.
E. Church in 1842, being stationed on the Princeton circuit, in New
Jersey. From that time forward his labors were herculean. In 1864, he
was, by an almost unanimous vote, elected a bishop. Tanner, in his
“Apology,” said of him:--

“As a preacher, the bishop appears to advantage. Of dignified mien,
easy gestures, and a rolling voice, he is sure to make a favorable
impression, while the subject-matter of his discourse is so simple that
the most illiterate may fully comprehend it; the wisest, also, are
generally edified.”

It is said that Bishop Wayman is scarcely ever seen with any book
except the Bible or a hymn-book, and yet he is a man of letters, as
will be acknowledged by all who have had the pleasure of listening to
his eloquent sermons. He is a student, and is well read in history and
the poets, and often surprises his friends by his classical quotations.
There is a harmonious blending of the poetical and the practical,
a pleasant union of the material with the spiritual, an arm-in-arm
connection of the ornamental and useful, a body and soul joined
together in his discourses. There is something candid, tangible, solid,
nutritious, and enduring in his sermons. He is even at times, profound.
He presents his arguments and appeals with an articulation as distinct
and as understandable as his gesticulation is impressive.

In person, the bishop is stout, fleshy, and well-proportioned. His
round face, smiling countenance, twinkling eye, and merry laugh,
indicate health and happiness. He is of unadulterated African origin.
Blameless in all the relations of life, a kind and affectionate
husband, a true friend, and a good neighbor, Bishop Wayman’s character
may safely be said to be above suspicion.


Professor Reason has for a number of years been connected with the
educational institutions of New York. In 1849, he was called to the
professorship of Mathematics and Belles-Lettres in New York Central
College. This position he held during his own pleasure, with honor to
himself and benefit to the students. A man of fine education, superior
intelligence, gentlemanly in every sense of the term, of excellent
discrimination, one of the best of students, Professor Reason holds a
power over those under him seldom attained by men of his profession.

Were I a sculptor, and looking for a model of a perfect man in personal
appearance, my selection would be Charles L. Reason. As a writer of
both prose and poetry, he need not be ashamed of his ability. Extremely
diffident, he seldom furnishes anything for the public eye. In a
well-written essay on the propriety of establishing an industrial
college, and the probable influence of the free colored people upon the
emancipated blacks, he says:--

“Whenever emancipation shall take place, immediate though it be,
the subjects of it, like many who now make up the so-called free
population, will be in what geologists call the ‘transition state.’
The prejudice now felt against them for bearing on their persons the
brand of slaves, cannot die out immediately. Severe trials will still
be their portion: the curse of a ‘taunted race’ must be expiated by
almost miraculous proofs of advancement; and some of these miracles
must be antecedent to the great day of jubilee. To fight the battle
upon the bare ground of abstract principles will fail to give us
complete victory. The subterfuges of pro-slavery selfishness must now
be dragged to light, and the last weak argument, that the negro can
never contribute anything to advance the national character, ‘nailed
to the counter as base coin.’ To the conquering of the difficulties
heaped up in the path of his industry, the free colored man of the
North has pledged himself. Already he sees, springing into growth,
from out his foster work-school, intelligent young laborers, competent
to enrich the world with necessary products; industrious citizens,
contributing their proportion to aid on the advancing civilization of
the country; self-providing artisans, vindicating their people from the
never-ceasing charge of fitness for servile positions.”

In the “Autographs for Freedom,” from which the above extract is taken,
Professor Reason has a beautiful poem, entitled “Hope and Confidence,”
which, in point of originality and nicety of composition, deserves a
place among the best productions of Wordsworth.

A poem signifies design, method, harmony, and therefore consistency of
parts. A man may be gifted with the most vividly ideal nature; he may
shoot from his brain some blazing poetic thought or imagery, which may
arouse wonder and admiration, as a comet does; and yet he may have no
constructiveness, without which the materials of poetry are only so
many glittering fractions. A poem can never be tested by its length or
brevity, but by the adaptation of its parts. A complete poem is the
architecture of thought and language. It requires artistic skill to
chisel rough blocks of marble into as many individual forms of beauty;
but not only skill, but genius, is needed to arrange and harmonize
those forms into the completeness of a Parthenon. A grave popular
error, and one destructive of personal usefulness, and obstructive to
literary progress, is the free-and-easy belief that because a man has
the faculty of investing common things with uncommon ideas, therefore
he can write a poem.

The idea of poetry is to give pleasurable emotions, and the world
listens to a poet’s voice as it listens to the singing of a summer
bird; that which is the most suggestive of freedom and eloquence being
the most admired. Professor Reason has both the genius and the artistic
skill. He is highly respected in New York, where he resides, and is
doing a good work for the elevation of his race.


At the head of our representative men,--especially our men of
letters,--stands Professor Wilson. He has, at times, contributed some
very able papers to the current literature of the day. In the columns
of “Frederick Douglass’s Paper,” the “Anglo-African Magazine,” and
the “Weekly Anglo-African,” appeared at times, over the signature of
“Ethiop,” some of the raciest and most amusing essays to be found in
the public journals of this country. As a sketch writer of historical
scenes and historical characters,--choosing his own subjects,
suggested by his own taste or sympathies,--few men are capable of
greater or more successful efforts than William J. Wilson.

In his imaginary visit to the “Afric-American Picture Gallery,”
he exhibits splendid traits of the genius of the true critic. His
criticism on the comparative merits of Samuel R. Ward and Frederick
Douglass, published in the papers some years ago, together with his
essay on Phillis Wheatley, raised Mr. Wilson high in the estimation of
men of letters. His “School Room Scene” is both amusing and instructive.

To possess genius, the offspring of which ennobles the sentiments,
enlarges the affections, kindles the imagination, and gives to us
a view of the past, the present, and the future, is one of the
highest gifts that the Creator bestows upon man. With acute powers
of conception, a sparkling and lively fancy, and a quaintly-curious
felicity of diction, Mr. Wilson wakes us from our torpidity and
coldness to a sense of our capabilities.

As a speaker, he is pleasing in style, with the manners of a gentleman.
His conversational powers are of the first order, in which he exhibits
deep thought. In personal appearance, he is under the middle size;
his profile is more striking than his front face; he has a smiling
countenance, under which you see the man of wit. The professor is
of unmixed race, of which he is not ashamed. He is cashier of the
Freedmen’s Savings Bank at Washington, and his good advice to his race
with whom he has dealings in money matters proves of much service to


One of the best of men was born in one of the meanest States in
the Union. Jabez P. Campbell is a native of the insignificant and
negro-hating State of Delaware, and is in the sixty-eighth year of his
age. His father was a Revolutionary soldier, and when he laid aside the
knapsack and the musket, he put on the armor of the Lord, and became a
preacher of the A. M. E. Church. Like all colored boys in those days,
the subject of this sketch found many difficulties in obtaining an
education in a part of the country where colored men had “no rights
that white men were bound to respect.”

After a few quarters’ schooling, under incompetent teachers, Campbell
began a course of self-instruction, ending in the study of theology. In
1839, he commenced as a preacher, laboring in various sections of the
country, eventually settling down as General Book Steward of the A. M.
E. Church, and editor of the “Christian Recorder.”

In the year 1864, the subject of our sketch was elected a bishop, and
since that time he has labored principally in the Indiana, Missouri,
Louisiana, and California districts.

The bishop is eminently a man of the people, not conceited in the
least, yet dignified and gentlemanly. He is a man of ready wit, keen
in discussion, well posted up on all questions of the day, and is not
afraid to avow his views. Bishop Campbell has a wonderful gift of
language, and uses it to the best advantage. His delivery is easy, and
his gestures natural; and, as a preacher, he ranks amongst the first
in the denomination. In person, he is of medium size, dark brown skin,
finely chiselled features, broad forehead, and a countenance that
betokens intelligence.


John M. Langston is a native of Chillicothe, Ohio, and a graduate
of Oberlin College. He studied theology and law, and preferring the
latter, was admitted to the bar, practised successfully in the courts
of his native state till the breaking out of the Rebellion, when he
removed to Washington, where he now resides. During the war, and some
time after its close, Mr. Langston was engaged in superintending the
Freedmen’s Schools at the South. He now occupies a professorship in
Howard University.

The end of all eloquence is to sway men. It is, therefore, bound by
no arbitrary rules of diction or style, formed on no specific models,
and governed by no edicts of self-elected judges. It is true, there
are degrees of eloquence, and equal success does not imply equal
excellence. That which is adapted to sway the strongest minds of an
enlightened age ought to be esteemed the most perfect, and, doubtless,
should be the criterion by which to test the abstract excellence of
all oratory. Mr. Langston represents the highest idea of the orator,
as exemplified in the power and discourses of Sheridan in the English
House of Commons, and Vergniaud in the Assembly of the Girondists. He
is not fragmentary in his speeches; but, as a deep, majestic stream, he
moves steadily onward, pouring forth his rich and harmonious sentences
in strains of impassioned eloquence. His style is bold and energetic;
full of spirit. He is profound, without being hollow, and ingenious,
without being subtile.

An accomplished scholar and a good student, he displays in his speeches
an amount of literary acquirements not often found in the mere business
lawyer. When pleading, he speaks like a man under oath, though without
any starched formality of expression. The test of his success is the
permanent impression which his speeches leave on the memory. They do
not pass away with the excitement of the moment, but remain in the
mind, with the lively colors and true proportions of the scenes which
they represent. Mr. Langston is of medium size, and of good figure;
high and well-formed forehead; eyes full, but not prominent; mild and
amiable countenance; modest deportment; strong, musical voice; and
wears the air of a gentleman. He is highly respected by men of all
classes, and especially, by the legal profession. He is a vigorous
writer, and, in the political campaigns, contributes both with speech
and pen to the liberal cause. Few men in the south-west have held the
black man’s standard higher than John Mercer Langston.

As Dean of the Law Department in Howard University, he has won the
admiration of all connected with the institution, and, in a recent
address, delivered in the State of New York, on law, Mr. Langston
has shown that he is well versed in all that pertains to that high


Among the fine-looking men that have been sent out by the A. M. E.
Church, to preach the gospel, none has a more manly frame, intellectual
countenance, gentlemanly demeanor, Christian spirit, and love of his
race, than John M. Brown. When the Committee on Boundary in the A. M.
E. Church recommended in the General Conference of 1864, “that there be
set apart a Conference in the State of Louisiana, to be known as the
Louisiana Conference, embracing the States of Louisiana, Mississippi,
Arkansas, Alabama, Texas, and all that part of Florida lying west of
Chattanooga River,” Mr. Brown was selected as the man eminently fitted
to go to the new field of labor. Money was evidently not a burden to
him, for, being a barber, he got on a steamer, and shaved his way to
his post of labor.[54]

He arrived in New Orleans, unfurled his banner, and went to work in a
way that showed that he was “terribly in earnest.” He sowed the seed,
and, although he was thrown into the calaboose, his work still went
on, a church was erected, members were gathered in, and the cause
of Christian missions prospered. After laboring faithfully in this
field, Mr. Brown was appointed Corresponding Secretary of the A. M. E.
Church, with his head-quarters in Baltimore. He now holds the high and
honorable position of bishop, a place that no one is better qualified
to fill than he.

He is a mulatto, of middle age, with talents of a high order, fluent
speaker, terse writer, and popular with all classes. Oberlin College
has not turned out a more praiseworthy scholar, nor a better specimen
of a Christian gentleman, than Bishop Brown.


Mr. Gaines was born at Cincinnati, Ohio, November 6th, 1821. His early
education was limited, as was generally the case with colored youth in
that section, in those days. Forced into active life at an early age,
he yet found time to make himself a fair English scholar, and laid the
foundation of that power to be useful, which he afterwards exercised
for the benefit of his people.

At the age of sixteen, he was found in attendance upon a convention,
held in one of the interior towns of his native state. At that early
age, he showed clearly his mental powers, and men, many years his
senior listened with respect to the sage counsel which even then he
was capable of giving. From that time to the very day of his death he
mingled in the councils, and busied himself with the affairs of his
people; and it is no derogation to the merits of others to say, that
few have counselled more wisely, or acted more successfully than he.

The enterprise with which his name is the most permanently connected,
is the movement which has given to Cincinnati her system of public
schools for colored youth. When the law of 1849, granting school
privileges to colored youth, was passed, the City Council of
Cincinnati refused to appropriate the funds placed in the treasury for
the support of the schools, alleging that there was no authority to do
so. Here was a chance for our deceased friend to exhibit those high
qualities which made him a lamp to the feet of his people. Cautious,
but firm, determined, but patient, he led in the movement, which
resulted in a decision of the Supreme Court of the State, placing
the colored public schools upon the same footing as the other public
schools of the city, and gave their control to a board of directors
selected by the colored people. The contest was prolonged nearly two
years, but at last the little black man triumphed over the city of

His next aim was to have the schools thoroughly organized, and placed
in comfortable houses. He cheerfully performed the onerous duties
of clerk and general agent to the Board, his only reward being a
consciousness that he was useful to his people. His purposes were
temporarily interrupted in 1853, by a law taking the control of the
schools from the colored people. Not connected officially with the
schools, he still maintained a deep interest in their condition, and,
in 1856, an opportunity offering, he used his influence and means
to have the schools again placed under the control of the colored
people. This point gained, he again set on foot measures looking to
the erection of school-houses. This he at last accomplished. His
first report to the City Council, made in 1851, urges the erection
of school-houses, and his last report, made in 1859, announces the
completion of two large houses, costing over twenty-four thousand

If he is a benefactor of his race, who causes two blades of grass to
grow where but one grew before, surely, he is worthy of praise, who
has let rays of intellectual light fall upon the famished minds of a
forlorn race, whom a hard fate has condemned to slavery and ignorance.

He was, from early youth, a firm, though not fanatical adherent of
the Temperance cause. He felt that intoxicating drinks had caused
many strong men to fall, and, for his brother’s sake, he abstained.
Meeting one evening, at a social party, a gentleman from a neighboring
State, eminent in the world of politics and philanthropy, a bottle
of sparkling Catawba and two glasses were placed on the table before
them, the host remarking at the time that “there was no need for two
tumblers, for Mr. Gaines would not use his.”

“Surely, Mr. Gaines will pledge me, a friend of his race, in a glass
of wine made from the grape that grows on his native hills,” said the

Mr. Gaines shook his head. “I appreciate the honor,” said he, “but
conscience forbids.”

The character of his mind was much to be prized by a people who need
prudent counsels. Seldom speaking until he had examined his subject
thoroughly, he was generally prepared to speak with a due regard to the
effects of his speech.

The subject of this sketch was of pure African descent, small in
stature, of genteel figure, countenance beaming with intelligence,
eloquent in speech, and able in debate. He died November 27, 1859.


Unable to get justice done him in the educational institutions of his
native country, James M’Cune Smith turned his face towards a foreign
land. He graduated with distinguished honors at the University of
Glasgow, Scotland, where he received his diploma of M. D. For the last
twenty-five years he has been a practitioner in the city of New York,
where he stands at the head of his profession. On his return from
Europe, the doctor was warmly welcomed by his fellow-citizens, who were
anxious to pay due deference to his talents; since which time he has
justly been esteemed among the leading men of his race on the American
continent. When the natural ability of the negro was assailed, some
years ago, in New York, Dr. Smith came forward as the representative of
the black man, and his essays on the comparative anatomy and physiology
of the races, read in the discussion, completely vindicated the
character of the negro, and placed the author among the most logical
and scientific writers in the country.

The doctor has contributed many valuable papers to the different
journals published by colored men during the last quarter of a
century. The New York dailies have also received aid from him during
the same period. History, antiquity, bibliography, translation,
criticism, political economy, statistics,--almost every department
of knowledge,--receive emblazon from his able, ready, versatile, and
unwearied pen. The emancipation of the slave, and the elevation of the
free colored people, has claimed the greatest share of his time as a

The law of labor is equally binding on genius and mediocrity. The
mind and body rarely visit this earth of ours so exactly fitted to
each other, and so perfectly harmonizing together, as to rise without
effort, and command in the affairs of men. It is not in the power of
every one to become great. No great approximation, even towards that
which is easiest attained, can be accomplished without exercise of much
thought and vigor of action; and thus is demonstrated the supremacy of
that law which gives excellence only when earned, and assigns labor its
unfailing reward.

It is this energy of character, industry, and labor, combined with
superior intellectual powers, which gave Dr. Smith so much influence in
New York.

As a speaker, he was eloquent, and at times brilliant, but always
clear, and to the point. In stature, the doctor was not tall, but
thick, and somewhat inclined to corpulency. He had a fine and
well-developed head; broad and lofty brow; round, full face; firm
mouth; and an eye that dazzled. In blood he stood, apparently, equal
between the Anglo-Saxon and the African.


Teacher of a small school at Charleston, South Carolina, in the
year 1834, Daniel A. Payne felt the oppressive hand of slavery too
severely upon him, and he quitted the Southern Sodom, and came North.
After going through a regular course of theological studies, at
Gettysburg Seminary, he took up his residence at Baltimore, where
he soon distinguished himself as a preacher in the African Methodist
denomination. He was several years since elected bishop, and is now
located in the State of Ohio.

Bishop Payne is a scholar and a poet; having published, in 1850, a
volume of his productions, which created considerable interest for the
work, and gave the author a standing among literary men. His writings
are characterized by sound reasoning and logical conclusions, and
show that he is well read. The bishop is devotedly attached to his
down-trodden race, and is constantly urging upon them self-elevation.
After President Lincoln’s interview with the committee of colored men
at Washington, and the colonization scheme recommended to them, and the
appearance of Mr. Pomeroy’s address to the free blacks, Bishop Payne
issued, through the columns of the “Weekly Anglo-African,” a word of
advice, which had in it the right ring, and showed in its composition
considerable literary ability. A deep vein of genuine piety pervades
all the productions of Bishop Payne. As a pulpit orator, he stands
deservedly high. In stature, he is rather under the middle size,
intellectual countenance, and gentlemanly in appearance. He has done
much towards building up Wilberforce College in Ohio, an institution
that is an honor to the race.


Among the many bright examples of the black man which we present,
one of the foremost is Alexander Crummell. Blood unadulterated, a
tall and manly figure, commanding in appearance, a full and musical
voice, fluent in speech, a graduate of Cambridge University, England,
a mind stored with the richness of English literature, competently
acquainted with the classical authors of Greece and Rome, from the
grave Thucydides to the rhapsodical Lycophron, gentlemanly in all his
movements, language chaste and refined, Dr. Crummell may well be put
forward as one of the best and most favorable representatives of his
race. He is a clergyman of the Episcopal denomination, and deeply
versed in theology. His sermons are always written, but he reads them
as few persons can.

In 1848, Dr. Crummell visited England, and delivered a well-conceived
address before the Anti-slavery Society in London, where his eloquence
and splendid abilities were at once acknowledged and appreciated. The
year before his departure for the Old World, he delivered an “Eulogy on
the Life and Character of Thomas Clarkson,” which was a splendid, yet
just tribute to the life-long labors of that great man.

Dr. Crummell is one of our ablest speakers. His style is polished,
graceful, and even elegant, though never merely ornate or rhetorical.
He has the happy faculty of using the expressions best suited to the
occasion, and bringing in allusions which give a popular sympathy to
the best cultivated style. He is, we think, rather too sensitive, and
somewhat punctillious.

Dr. Crummell is a gentleman by nature, and could not be anything else,
if he should try. Some ten years since, he wrote a very interesting
work on Africa, to which country he emigrated in 1852.

We have had a number of our public men to represent us in Europe
within the past twenty-five years; and none have done it more honorably
or with better success to the character and cause of the black man,
than Alexander Crummell. We met him there again and again, and followed
in his track wherever he preached or spoke before public assemblies,
and we know whereof we affirm. Devotedly attached to the interest
of the colored man, and having the moral, social, and intellectual
elevation of the natives of Africa at heart, we do not regret that he
considers it his duty to labor in his fatherland. Warmly interested in
the Republic, and so capable of filling the highest position that he
can be called to, we shall not be surprised, some day, to hear that
Alexander Crummell is president of Liberia.

Avery College has just done itself the honor of conferring the degree
of Doctor of Divinity upon this able man; and sure we are that a title
was never better bestowed than in the present instance.

Since writing the above sketch, we learn that Dr. Crummell has
returned, and taken up his residence in the City of New York, where he
is now pastor of a church.


Though born a slave in the State of Maryland, Henry Highland Garnett
is the son of an African chief, stolen from the coast of his native
land. His father’s family were all held as slaves till 1822, when they
escaped to the north. In 1835, he became a member of Canaan Academy,
New Hampshire. Three months after entering the school, it was broken up
by a mob, who destroyed the building. Dr. Garnett afterwards entered
Oneida Institute, New York, under the charge of that noble-hearted
friend of man, Beriah Green, where he was treated with equality by the
professors and his fellow-students. There he gained the reputation of
a courteous and accomplished man, an able and eloquent debater, and a
good writer.

His first appearance as a public speaker, was in 1837, in the City of
New York, where his speech at once secured for him a standing among
first-class orators. Dr. Garnett is in every sense of the term a
progressive man. He is a strenuous advocate of freedom, temperance,
education, and the religious, moral, and social elevation of his
race. He is an acceptable preacher, evangelical in his profession.
His discourses, though showing much thought and careful study, are
delivered extemporaneously, and with good effect. Having complete
command of his voice, he uses it with skill, never failing to fill the
largest hall. One of the most noted addresses, ever given by a colored
man in this country was delivered by Dr. Garnett at the National
Convention of Colored Americans, at Buffalo, New York, in 1843.
None but those who heard that speech have the slightest idea of the
tremendous influence which he exercised over the assembly.

Dr. Garnett visited England in 1850, where he spent several months,
and went thence to the island of Jamaica, spending three years there
as a missionary. He has written considerably, and has edited one or
two journals at different times, devoted to the elevation of his race.
Dr. Garnett was, for two or three years, president of Avery College,
where he was considered a man of learning. He also spent some time
in Washington, as pastor of the Presbyterian Church in that city. At
present, he is located over Shiloh Church, New York City.

For forty years an advocate of the rights of his race, forcible and
daring as a speaker, having suffered much, with a good record behind
him, Dr. Garnett may be considered as standing in the front rank as a
leader of his people.


Born and brought up in Salem, Massachusetts, Mr. Remond had the
advantage of early training in the best of schools. In 1838, he
took the field as a lecturer, under the auspices of the American
Anti-slavery Society, and, in company with the Rev. Ichabod Codding,
canvassed the States of Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and Maine.
In 1840, he visited England as a delegate to the first “World’s
Anti-slavery Convention,” held in London. He remained abroad two years,
lecturing in the various towns in the united kingdom.

Mr. Remond was welcomed on his return home, and again resumed his
vocation as a lecturer. In stature, he is small, of spare make, neat,
wiry build, and genteel in his personal appearance. He has a good
voice, and is considered one of the best declaimers in New England.
He has written little or nothing for the press, and his notoriety is
confined solely to the platform. Sensitive to a fault, and feeling
sorely the prejudice against color which exists throughout the
United States, his addresses have been mainly on that subject, on
which he is always interesting. Mr. Remond’s abilities have been very
much overrated. His speeches, when in print, attracted little or no
attention, and he was never able to speak upon any subject except
slavery, upon which he was never deep.


Dr. Delany has long been before the public. His first appearance, we
believe, was in connection with “The Mystery,” a weekly newspaper
published at Pittsburg, and of which he was editor. His journal was
faithful in its advocacy of the rights of man, and had the reputation
of being a well-conducted sheet. The doctor afterwards was associated
with Frederick Douglass in the editorial management of his paper at
Rochester, New York. From the latter place, he removed to Canada, and
resided in Chatham, where he was looked upon as one of its leading

Dr. Martin R. Delany, though regarded as a man high in his profession,
is better and more widely known as a traveller, discoverer, and
lecturer. His association with Professor Campbell in the “Niger Valley
Exploring Expedition,” has brought the doctor very prominently before
the world, and especially that portion of it which takes an interest
in the civilization of Africa. The official report of that expedition
shows that he did not visit that country with his eyes shut. His
observations and suggestions about the climate, soil, diseases, and
natural productions of Africa, are interesting, and give evidence that
the doctor was in earnest. The published report, of which he is the
author, will repay a perusal.

On his return home, Dr. Delany spent some time in England, and lectured
in the British metropolis and the provincial cities, with considerable
success, on Africa and its resources. As a member of the International
Statistical Congress, he acquitted himself with credit to his position
and honor to his race. The foolish manner in which the Hon. Mr. Dallas,
our minister to the court of St. James, acted on meeting Dr. Delany in
that august assembly, and the criticisms of the press of Europe and
America, will not soon be forgotten.

He is short, compactly built, has a quick, wiry walk, and is decided
and energetic in conversation, unadulterated in race, and proud of
his complexion. Though somewhat violent in his gestures, and paying
but little regard to the strict rules of oratory, Dr. Delany is,
nevertheless, an interesting, eloquent speaker. Devotedly attached
to his fatherland, he goes for a “Negro Nationality.” Whatever he
undertakes, he executes it with all the powers that God has given him;
and what would appear as an obstacle in the way of other men, would be
brushed aside by Martin R. Delany.


Dr. Pennington was born a slave on the farm of Colonel Gordon, in the
State of Maryland. His early life was not unlike the common lot of
the bondmen of the Middle States. He was by trade a blacksmith, which
increased his value to his owner. He had no opportunities for learning,
and was ignorant of letters when he made his escape to the north.
Through intense application to books, he gained, as far as it was
possible, what slavery had deprived him of in his younger days. But he
always felt the early blight upon his soul.

Dr. Pennington had not been free long ere he turned his attention
to theology, and became an efficient preacher in the Presbyterian
denomination. He was several years settled over a church at Hartford,
Connecticut. He has been in Europe three times, his second visit being
the most important, as he remained there three or four years, preaching
and lecturing, during which time he attended the Peace Congresses held
at Paris, Brussels, and London. While in Germany, the degree of Doctor
of Divinity was conferred upon him by the University of Heidelberg. On
his return to the United States, he received a call, and was settled as
pastor over Shiloh Church, New York City.

The doctor was a good student, a ripe scholar, and deeply versed in
theology. While at Paris, in 1849, we, with the American and English
delegates to the Peace Congress, attended divine service at the
Protestant Church, where Dr. Pennington had been invited to preach.
His sermon, on that occasion, was an elegant production, made a marked
impression on his hearers, and created upon the minds of all a more
elevated idea of the negro. In past years, he has labored zealously
and successfully for the education, and moral, social, and religious
elevation of his race. The doctor was unadulterated in blood, with
strongly-marked African features. In stature, he was of the common
size, slightly inclined to corpulency, with an athletic frame and a
good constitution. The fact that Dr. Pennington was considered a good
Greek, Latin, and German scholar, although his early life was spent in
slavery, is not more strange than that Henry Diaz, the black commander
in Brazil, is extolled in all the histories of that country as one of
the most sagacious and talented men and experienced officers of whom
they could boast. Dr. Pennington died in 1871, his death being hastened
by the excessive use of intoxicating liquors, which had impaired his
usefulness in his latter days.


The boiling cauldron of the rebellion threw upon its surface in the
Southern States a large number of colored men, who are now playing
a conspicuous part in the political affairs of their section of
the country. Some of these, like their white brethren, are mere
adventurers, without ability, native or acquired, and owe their
elevated position more to circumstances than to any gifts or virtues of
their own. There are, however, another class, some of whom, although
uneducated, are men of genius, of principle, and Christian zeal,
laboring with all their powers for the welfare of the country and
the race. A few of the latter class have had the advantages of the
educational institutions of the North and of Europe, as well as at the
South, and were fully prepared for the situation when called upon to
act. One of the most gifted of these, a man of fine education, honest,
upright, just in his dealings with his fellows; one whose good sense
and manly qualities never desert him,--is Francis L. Cardozo.

Born in Charleston, South Carolina, his father a white man and
a slaveholder, his mother a mulatto, Mr. Cardozo is of a fair
complexion. He is above the middle size, robust and full-faced, with
a well-developed head, large brain, and a face of fine expression.
Educated in Scotland, and having travelled extensively abroad, he
presents the exterior of a man of refinement and of high culture,
possessing considerable literary taste, and his conversation at once
shows him to be a man of learning. Industrious and methodical in his
habits, still the ardent student, young in years, comparatively, Mr.
Cardozo bids fair to be one of the leading men at the national capital,
as he is now in his own State. He studied theology, was ordained as a
minister, and preached for a time in Connecticut with great acceptance.

As a speaker, Mr. Cardozo has few equals, colored or white. Without any
strained effort, his expressions are filled with integrity, sobriety,
benevolence, satire, and true eloquence. Forcible in speech, his
audience never get tired under the sound of his musical voice.

During the rebellion, he returned to his native State, where he
was of great service to his own people. He took a leading part in
the reconstruction convention that brought South Carolina back in
the Union, and was elected to the state legislature, where he was
considered one of their ablest men. He now fills the high and honorable
position of Secretary of State of his own commonwealth. He is held in
high estimation by all classes: even the old negro-hating whites of
the “palmetto” state acknowledge the ability and many manly virtues of
Francis L. Cardozo.


Miss Lewis, the colored American artist, is of mingled Indian and
African descent. Her mother was one of the Chippewa tribe, and her
father a full-blooded African. Both her parents died young, leaving the
orphan girl and her only brother to be brought up by the Indians. Here,
as may well be imagined, her opportunities for education were meagre

Edmonia Lewis is below the medium height; her complexion and features
betray her African origin; her hair is more of the Indian type, black,
straight, and abundant. Her head is well balanced, exhibiting a large
and well-developed brain. Although brought up in the wilderness, she
spent some time at Oberlin College, and has a good education.

Her manners are childlike and simple, and most winning and pleasing.
She has the proud spirit of her Indian ancestor, and if she has more
of the African in her personal appearance, she has more of the Indian
in her character. On her first visit to Boston, she saw a statue of
Benjamin Franklin. It filled her with amazement and delight. She did
not know by what name to call “the stone image,” but she felt within
her the stir of new powers.

“I, too, can make a stone man,” she said to herself; and at once she
went to visit William Lloyd Garrison, and told him what she knew she
could do, and asked him how she should set about doing it.

Struck by her enthusiasm, Garrison gave her a note of introduction to
Brackett, the Boston sculptor, and after a little talk with her, Mr.
Brackett gave her a piece of clay and a mould of a human foot, as a

“Go home and make that,” said he; “if there is anything in you, it will
come out.”

Alone in her own room, the young girl toiled over her clay, and when
she had done her best, carried the result to her master. He looked
at her model, broke it up, and said, “Try again.” She did try again,
modelled feet and hands, and at last undertook a medallion of the head
of John Brown, which was pronounced excellent.

The next essay was the bust of a young hero, Colonel Shaw, the first
man who took the command of a colored regiment, and whose untimely and
glorious death, and the epitaph spoken by the South, “Bury him with his
niggers,” have made him an immortal name in the history of our civil

The family of this young hero heard of the bust which the colored girl
was making as a labor of love, and came to see it, and were delighted
with the portrait which she had taken from a few poor photographs. Of
this bust she sold one hundred copies, and with that money she set out
for Europe, full of hope and courage.

Arriving at Rome, Miss Lewis took a studio, and devoted herself to hard
study and hard work, and here she made her first statue--a figure of
Hagar in her despair in the wilderness. It is a work full of feeling,
for, as she says, “I have a strong sympathy for all women who have
struggled and suffered. For this reason the Virgin Mary is very dear to

The first copy of Hagar was purchased by a gentleman from Chicago. A
fine group of the Madonna with the infant Christ in her arms, and two
adoring angels at her feet, attests the sincerity of her admiration
for the Jewish maiden. This last group has been purchased by the young
Marquis of Bute, Disraeli’s Lothair, for an altar-piece.

Among Miss Lewis’s other works are two small groups, illustrating
Longfellow’s poem of Hiawatha. Her first, “Hiawatha’s Wooing,”
represents Minnehaha seated, making a pair of moccasins, and Hiawatha
by her side, with a world of love-longing in his eyes. In the marriage,
they stand side by side with clasped hands. In both, the Indian
type of features is carefully preserved, and every detail of dress,
etc., is true to nature. The sentiment is equal to the execution.
They are charming hits, poetic, simple, and natural; and no happier
illustrations of Longfellow’s most original poem were ever made than
these by the Indian sculptor.

A fine bust, also, of this same poet, is about to be put in marble,
which has been ordered by Harvard College; and in this instance, at
least, Harvard has done itself honor. If it will not yet open its doors
to women who ask education at its hands, it will admit the work of a
woman who has educated herself in her chosen department.

Miss Lewis has a fine medallion portrait of Wendell Phillips, a
charming group of sleeping babies, and some other minor works, in her
studio. At Rome, she is visited by strangers from all nations, who
happen in the great city, and every one admires the genius of the

The highest art is that which rises above the slavish copying of
nature, without sinking back again into a more slavish conventionalism.
All the forms of such art are intensely simple and natural, but through
the natural, the spiritual speaks. The saintly glory shines through
the features of its saints, and does not gather in a ring around their
heads. It speaks a language all can understand, and has no jargon of
its own. It needs no initiation before we can understand its mysteries,
excepting that of the pure heart and the awakened mind. It represents
nature, but in representing, it interprets her. It shows us nothing but
reality, but in the real, it mirrors the invisible ideal.

A statue is a realized emotion, or a thought in stone--not an embodied
dream. A picture is a painted poem--not a romance in oil. Working
together with nature, such art rises to something higher than nature
is, becomes the priestess of her temple, and represents to more prosaic
souls that which only the poet sees. The truly poetical mind of Edmonia
Lewis shows itself in all her works, and exhibits to the critic the
genius of the artist.


Robert Purvis was born in Charleston, South Carolina, but had the
advantages of a New England collegiate education. He early embraced
the principles of freedom as advocated by William Lloyd Garrison, and
during the whole course of the agitation of the question of slavery,
remained true to his early convictions.

Possessed of a large fortune at the very commencement of life, Mr.
Purvis took an active part in aiding slaves to obtain their freedom, by
furnishing means to secure for them something like justice before the
pro-slavery courts of Pennsylvania, when arrested as fugitives, or when
brought into the state voluntarily by their owners.

Mr. Purvis did not stop with merely giving of his abundant means, but
made many personal sacrifices, and ran risks of loss of life in doing
what he conceived to be an act of duty. Though white enough to pass as
one of the dominant race, he never denied his connection with the negro.

In personal appearance, and in manners, Mr. Purvis is every inch
the gentleman. Possessing a highly-cultivated mind, a reflective
imagination, easy and eloquent in speech, but temper quickly aroused,
he is always interesting as a public speaker.

Although he spent a large amount in philanthropic causes, Mr. Purvis is
still a man of wealth, and owns a princely residence at Bybury, some
fifteen miles from Philadelphia. With character unblemished, blameless
in his domestic life, an ardent friend, and a dangerous foe, Robert
Purvis stands to-day an honor to both races.


James M. Whitfield was a native of Massachusetts, and removed in early
life to Buffalo, New York, where he followed the humble occupation
of a barber. However, even in this position, he became noted for his
scholarly attainments and gentlemanly deportment. Men of polish and
refinement were attracted to his saloon, and while being shaved, would
take pleasure in conversing with him; and all who knew him felt that he
was intended by Nature for a more elevated station in life.

He wrote some fine verses, and published a volume of poems in 1846,
which well stood the test of criticism. His poem, “How long, O God,
how long!” is a splendid production, and will take a place in American

Mr. Whitfield removed to California some years since, where he took a
forward stand with the progressive men of his race.


Although we have but a meagre historical record, as producers of
books, magazines, and newspapers, it must still be admitted that some
noble efforts have been made, and not a little time and money spent by
colored men in literary enterprises during the last forty years. The
oldest, and one of the ablest of American journalists, is Phillip A.

This gentleman started the “Colored American” in the year 1837, as
co-editor with the late Rev. Samuel E. Cornish, and subsequently, with
the late Dr. James M’Cune Smith. The paper was a weekly, and published
in the city of New York. The “Colored American” was well conducted,
had the confidence of the public, distinguished for the ability shown
in its editorials, as well as its correspondents.

Mr. Bell retired from the management of the paper, in 1840. All,
however, who remember as far back as thirty-five years, will bear
testimony to the efficient work done by the “Colored American,” and the
honor that is due to its noble founder. Some ten years ago, Mr. Bell
removed to California, where he, in company with Mr. Peter Anderson,
flung to the breeze the “Pacific Appeal,” a weekly newspaper, devoted
to the interest of the colored man, and which has accomplished great
good for humanity. In 1865, Mr. Bell launched the “Elevator,” a spicy
weekly, the columns of which attest its ability. Science, philosophy,
and the classics are treated in a masterly manner.

Mr. Bell is an original and subtile writer, has fine powers of
analysis, and often flings the sparkling rays of a vivid imagination
over the productions of his pen.

His articles are usually of a practical nature, always trying to remove
evils, working for the moral, social, and political elevation of his

In person, Mr. Bell is of medium size, of dark complexion, pleasing
countenance, gentlemanly in his manners, a man of much energy, strong
determination, unbending endurance, and transparent honesty of purpose.

Of good education and a highly-cultivated mind, Mr. Bell attracts to
him the most refined of his color, who regard him as the Napoleon of
the colored press. Our subject was not intended by Nature for the
platform, and has the good sense not to aspire to oratorical fame. In
conversation, however, he is always interesting, drawing from a rich
and varied experience, full of dry humor.

Mr. Bell has a host of friends in New York, where he is always spoken
of in the highest manner, and is regarded as the prince of good fellows.


Dr. Ray is a clergyman of the Presbyterian order, and has resided in
the city of New York for the last half century. In the year 1840,
he became the editor of the “Colored American,” a journal which he
conducted with signal ability, always true to the cause of the Southern
slave, and the elevation of the black man everywhere. Dr. Ray is well
educated, a man of liberal and reformatory views, a terse and vigorous
writer, an able and eloquent speaker, well informed upon all subjects
of the day.

He has long been identified with every good work in New York, and
enjoys the confidence and respect of a large circle of friends.

In person, Dr. Ray is of small stature, neat and wiry build, in race
standing about half-way between the African and the Anglo-Saxon. He is
polished in his manners, and gentlemanly in his personal appearance.
As a writer, a preacher, and a platform-speaker, he has done much to
elevate the standard of the colored man in the Empire State.

In the multitude of national and state conventions held thirty years
ago and thereabouts, the assembly was scarcely considered complete
without the presence of Charles B. Ray, D. D.

In the religious conventions of his own denomination, he was always
regarded with respect, and his sermons delivered to white congregations
never failed to leave a good impression for the race to which the
preacher belonged. Blameless in his family relations, guided by the
highest moral rectitude, a true friend to everything that tends to
better the moral, social, religious, and political condition of man,
Dr. Ray may be looked upon as one of the foremost of the leading men of
his race.


Thirty-five years ago, it was not an easy thing to convince an American
community that a colored man was fit for any position save that of a
servant. A few men, however, one after another, came upon the surface,
and demonstrated beyond a doubt that genius was not confined to race
or color. Standing foremost amongst these, was John J. Zuille of New
York, who, by his industry, sobriety, and fair dealing, did much to
create for the black man a character for business tact in the great
metropolis. Mr. Zuille is, by trade, a practical printer, and in
company with Bell, Cornish, and others, started the “Colored American”
in 1837. As printer of that journal, he showed mechanical skill that
placed him at once amongst the ablest of the craft.

Mr. Zuille has also taken a prominent part in all matters pertaining
to the welfare of his race in the Empire State. For the past ten years
he has been cashier of the Freedmen’s Bank in the city of New York, a
position for which his ability as a business man eminently qualifies

Mr. Zuille seems to be but little adulterated in race, short,
thick-set, pleasant countenance, energetic and gentlemanly in his

His reputation stands without blot or blemish, and he is surrounded by
a large circle of friends, whose entire confidence he enjoys.


The tall, fine figure, manly walk, striking profile, and piercing eye
of George T. Downing would attract attention in any community, even
where he is unknown. Possessing remarkable talents, finely educated, a
keen observer, and devoted to the freedom and elevation of his race,
he has long been looked upon as a representative man. A good debater,
quick to take advantage of the weak points of an opponent, forcible in
speech, and a natural orator, Mr. Downing is always acceptable as a

He is a native of New York, but resides at the national capital, where
he exerts considerable influence in political affairs, especially those
pertaining to the welfare of the negro race.

A diplomatist by nature, Mr. Downing can “buttonhole” a congressman
with as good effect as almost any man. Daring and aspiring, anxiously
catching at the advantage of political elevation, he is always a
leading man in conventions. Upright in his dealings, uncompromising,
and strongly attached to the principles of justice. Mr. Downing enjoys
the confidence and respect of both white and colored. As he is well
qualified to fill any position, we would be glad to see him appointed
to represent our government at some foreign court.


Miss Forten is a native of Philadelphia; came to Massachusetts in 1854,
entered the Higginson Grammar School at Salem, where she soon earned
the reputation of an attentive and progressive student. She graduated
from that institution with high honor, having received a premium for “A
Parting Hymn,” sung at the last examination. In this composition Miss
Forten gave unmistakable evidence of genius of a high order. She became
a correspondent of the “National Anti-slavery Standard,” and wrote some
very spicy letters, extracts from which were given in other journals.

In a poem entitled “The Angel’s Visit,” she makes a touching allusion
to her departed mother, which for style and true poetical diction,
is not surpassed by anything in the English language. In blood,
Miss Forten stands between the Anglo-Saxon and the African, with
finely-chiselled features, well-developed forehead, countenance beaming
with intelligence, and a mind richly stored with recollections of
the best authors. Highly cultivated, and sensitive to the prejudice
existing against her color, Miss Forten’s lot is not an easy one in
this world of ours. She still continues to write for the press, giving
most of her articles in the “Atlantic Monthly.”

During the war, and since its close, she has spent much time in
teaching in the Southern States, where her labors are highly


The subject of this sketch was born in Pittsburg, through the schools
of which he passed, then studied at Oberlin College, graduating with
the degree of Master of Arts. After reading law with Hon. Walter
Forward, he was admitted to the bar in 1847. Mr. Vashon soon after
visited Hayti, where he remained three years, returning home in 1850.
Called to a professorship in New York Central College, Mr. Vashon
discharged the duties of the office with signal ability. A gentleman--a
graduate of that institution, now a captain in the federal army--told
the writer that he and several of his companions, who had to recite to
Professor Vashon, made it a practice for some length of time to search
Greek, Latin, and Hebrew for phrases and historical incidents, and
would then question the professor, with the hope of “running him on a

“But,” said he, “we never caught him once, and we came to the
conclusion that he was the best read man in the college.”

Literature has a history, and few histories can compare with it in
importance, significance, and moral grandeur. There is, therefore,
a great price to pay for literary attainments, which will have an
inspiring and liberalizing influence--a price not in silver and gold,
but in thorough mental training. This training will give breadth of
view, develop strength of character, and a comprehensive spirit, by
which the ever-living expressions of truth and principle in the past,
may be connected with those of a like character in the present.

Mr. Vashon seems to have taken this view of what constitutes the
thorough scholar, and has put his theory into practice. All of the
productions of his pen show the student and man of literature. But
he is not indebted alone to culture, for he possesses genius of no
mean order--poetic genius, far superior to many who have written and
published volumes. As Dryden said of Shakspeare, “He needed not the
spectacles of books to read Nature; he looked inward, and found her
there.” The same excellence appertains to his poetical description
of the beautiful scenery and climate of Hayti, in his “Vincent Oge.”
His allusion to Columbus’ first visit to the Island is full of solemn

Mr. Vashon is of mixed blood; in stature, of medium size, rather round
face, with a somewhat solemn countenance, a man of few words,--needs
to be drawn out to be appreciated. While visiting a distinguished
colored gentleman at Rochester, New York, some years ago, the host,
who happened to be a wit as well as an orator, invited in “Professor
T----,” a man ignorant of education, but filled with big talk and
high-sounding words, without understanding their meaning,--to entertain
Mr. Vashon, intending it as a joke. “Professor T----” used all the
language that he was master of, but to no purpose. The man of letters
sat still, listened, gazed at the former, but did not dispute any point
raised. The uneducated professor, feeling that he had been imposed
upon, called Mr. D---- one side, and in a whisper, said:--

“Are you sure that this is an educated man? I fear that he is an
impostor; for I tried, but could not call him out.”

Mr. Vashon has long been engaged in imparting education to his
down-trodden race, and in this path of duty has contributed much for
the elevation of his people. We are somewhat surprised that none of
the liberal colleges have done themselves the honor to confer upon Mr.
Vashon the title of LL. D.


It is a compliment to a picture to say that it produces the impression
of the actual scene. Taste has, frequently, for its object, works of
art. Nature, many suppose, may be studied with propriety; but art,
they reject as entirely superficial. But what is the fact? In the
highest sense, art is the child of Nature; and is most admired when
it preserves the likeness of its parent. In Venice, the paintings of
Titian, and of the Venetian artists generally, exact from the traveller
a yet higher tribute, for the hues and forms around him constantly
remind him of their works.

Many of the citizens of Boston, New York, Washington, Philadelphia, and
other cities of our country, are often called to mention the names of
their absent or departed friends, by looking upon their features, as
transferred to canvas by the pencil and brush of William H. Simpson,
the young colored artist. He has evidently taken Titian, Murillo, and
Raphael for his masters. The Venetian painters were diligent students
of the nature that was around them. The subject of our sketch seems to
have imbibed their energy, as well as learned to copy the noble example
they left behind. The history of painters, as well as poets, is written
in their works. The best life of Goldsmith is to be found in his poem
of “The Traveller,” and his novel of “The Vicar of Wakefield.” No one
views the beautiful portrait of J. P. Kemble, in the National Gallery
in London, in the character of Hamlet, without thinking of Sir Thomas
Lawrence, who executed it.

The organ of color is prominent in the cranium of Mr. Simpson, and
it is well developed. His portraits are admired for their life-like
appearance, as well as for the fine delineation which characterizes
them all. It is very easy to transcribe the emotions which paintings
awaken, but it is no easy matter to say why a picture is so painted
as that it must awaken certain emotions. Many persons feel art; some
understand it; but few both feel and understand it. Mr. Simpson is
rich in depth of feeling and spiritual beauty. His portrait of John T.
Hilton, which was presented to the Masonic Lodge a few months since, is
a splendid piece of art. The longer you look on the features, the more
the picture looks like real life.

The taste displayed in the coloring of the regalia, and the admirable
perspective of each badge of honor, show great skill. No higher praise
is needed than to say that a gentleman of Boston, distinguished for
his good judgment in the picture gallery, wishing to secure a likeness
of Hon. Charles Sumner, induced the senator to sit to Mr. Simpson
for the portrait; and in this instance the artist has been signally

His likenesses have been so correct, that he has often been employed
to paint whole families, where only one had been bargained for in
the commencement. He is considered unapproachable in taking juvenile
faces. Mr. Simpson does not aspire to anything in his art beyond
portrait-painting. Nevertheless, a beautiful fancy sketch, hanging in
his studio, representing summer, exhibits marked ability and consummate
genius. The wreath upon the head, with different kinds of grain
interwoven, and the nicety of coloring in each particular kind, causes
those who view it to regard him as master of his profession. Portraits
of his execution are scattered over most of the Northern States and the
Canadas. Some have gone to Liberia, Hayti, and California.

Mr. Simpson is a native of Buffalo, New York, where he received a
liberal education. But even in school, his early inclination to draw
likenesses materially interfered with his studies. The propensity to
use his slate and pencil in scratching down his schoolmates, instead of
doing his sums in arithmetic, often gained him severe punishment. After
leaving school, he was employed as errand boy by Matthew Wilson, Esq.,
the distinguished artist, who soon discovered young Simpson’s genius,
and took him as an apprentice. In 1854, they removed to Boston, where
Mr. Simpson labored diligently to acquire a thorough knowledge of the
profession. Mr. Wilson stated to the writer, that he never had a man
who was more attentive or more trustworthy than William H. Simpson.

Of unmixed negro blood, small in stature, a rather mild and womanly
countenance, firm and resolute eye, gentlemanly in appearance, and
intelligent in conversation, Mr. Simpson will be respected for his many
good qualities. He died in 1872.


Edward Jordan was born in Kingston, Jamaica, in the year 1798. After
quitting school, he entered a clothing store, as a clerk; but his deep
hatred to slavery, and the political and social outrages committed upon
the free colored men, preyed upon his mind to such an extent that, in
1826, he associated himself with Robert Osborn, in the publication
of “The Watchman,” a weekly newspaper devoted to the freedom and
enfranchisement of the people of color.

His journal was conducted with marked ability, and Mr. Jordan soon
began to wield a tremendous influence against the slave power. While
absent from his editorial duties, in 1830, an article appeared in
“The Watchman,” upon which its editor was indicted for constructive
treason. He was at once arrested, placed in the dock, and arraigned for
trial. He pleaded “Not guilty,” and asked for time to prepare for his
defence. The plea was allowed, and the case was traversed to the next
court. The trial came on at the appointed time; the jury was packed,
for the pro-slavery element had determined on the conviction of the
distinguished advocate of liberty. The whole city appeared to be lost
to everything but the proceedings of the assize. It was feared that, if
convicted, a riot would be the result, and the authorities prepared for

A vessel of war was brought up abreast of the city, the guns of which
were pointed up one of the principal streets, and at almost every
avenue leading to the sea, a merchant vessel was moored, armed with
at least one great gun, pointing in a similar direction, to rake the
streets from bottom to top. A detachment of soldiers was kept under
arms, with orders to be ready for action at a moment’s warning.
The officers of the court, including the judge, entered upon their
duties, armed with pistols; and the sheriff was instructed to shoot
the prisoner in the dock if a rescue was attempted. If convicted, Mr.
Jordan’s punishment was to be death. Happily for all, the verdict was
“Not guilty.” The acquittal of the editor of “The Watchman” carried
disappointment and dismay into the ranks of the slave oligarchy, while
it gave a new impetus to the anti-slavery cause, both in Jamaica and in
Great Britain, and which culminated in the abolition of slavery on the
1st of August, 1834. The following year, Mr. Jordan was elected member
of the Assembly for the city of Kingston, which he still represents.
About this time, “The Watchman” was converted into a daily paper, under
the title of “The Morning Journal,” still in existence, and owned by
Jordan and Osborn. In 1853, Mr. Jordan was elected mayor of his native
city without opposition, which office he still holds. He was recently
chosen premier of the Island, and president of the privy council.

No man is more respected in the Assembly than Mr. Jordan, and reform
measures offered by him are often carried through the house, owing to
the respect the members have for the introducer. In the year 1860, the
honorable gentleman was elevated to the dignity of knighthood by the

Sir Edward Jordan has ever been regarded as an honest, upright, and
temperate man. In a literary point of view, he is considered one of the
first men in Jamaica.

It is indeed a cheering sign for the negro to look at one of his race
who a few years ago was tried for his life in a city in which he has
since been mayor, and has held other offices of honor.

Mr. Jordan has died since the above sketch was written, and no man in
Jamaica ever received greater honors at his funeral than he.


Edwin M. Bannister was born in the town of St. Andrew, New Brunswick,
and lost his father when only six years old. He attended the Grammar
School in his native place, and received a better education than
persons generally in his position. From early childhood he seems to
have had a fancy for painting, which showed itself in the school-room
and at home. He often drew portraits of his school-fellows, and the
master not unfrequently found himself upon the slate, where Edwin’s
success was so manifest that the likeness would call forth merriment
from the boys, and create laughter at the expense of the teacher.

At the death of his mother, when still in his minority, he was put out
to live with the Hon. Harris Hatch, a wealthy lawyer, the proprietor
of a fine farm some little distance in the country. In his new home
Edwin did not lose sight of his drawing propensities, and though the
family had nothing in the way of models except two faded portraits,
kept more as relics than for their intrinsic value, he nevertheless
practised upon them, and often made the copy look more lifelike than
the original. On the barn doors, fences, and every place where drawings
could be made, the two ancient faces were to be seen pictured.

When the family were away on the Sabbath at church, the young artist
would take possession of the old Bible, and copy its crude engravings,
then replace it upon the dusty shelf, feeling an inward gratification,
that, instead of satisfying the inclination, only gave him fresh zeal
to hunt for new models. By the great variety of drawings which he had
made on paper, and the correct sketches taken, young Bannister gained
considerable reputation in the lawyer’s family, as well as in the
neighborhood. Often, after the household had retired at night, the
dim glimmer from the lean tallow candle was seen through the attic
chamber window. It was there that the genius of the embryo artist was
struggling for development.

There is a great diversity of opinion with regard to genius, many
mistaking talent for genius. Talent is strength and subtilty of
mind: genius is mental inspiration and delicacy of feeling. Talent
possesses vigor and acuteness of penetration, but is surpassed by the
vivid intellectual conceptions of genius. The former is skilful and
bold, the latter aspiring and gentle. But talent excels in practical
sagacity; and hence those striking contrasts so often witnessed in the
world,--the triumphs of talent through its adroit and active energies,
and the adversities of genius in the midst of its boundless, but
unattainable aspirations. Mr. Bannister is a lover of poetry and the
classics, and is always hunting up some new model for his gifted pencil
and brush.

He has a beautiful scene representing “Cleopatra waiting to receive
Marc Antony,” which I regret that I did not see. I am informed,
however, that it is a beautifully-executed picture.

Mr. Bannister is of mixed blood, of spare make, slim, with an
interesting cast of countenance, quick in his motions, easy in his
manners, and respected by all.


Mr. Nell is a native of Boston, and from the beginning of the
anti-slavery agitation was identified with the movement. He labored
long and arduously for equal school-rights for the colored children of
his native city, where he performed a good work.

Mr. Nell is the author of the “Colored Patriots of the American
Revolution,” a book filled with interesting incidents connected with
the history of the blacks of this country, past and present. He has
also written several smaller works, all of which are humanitarian in
their character.

Deeply interested in the intellectual development and cultivation of
his race, he has given much toil without compensation.

Mr. Nell is of medium height, slim, genteel figure, quick step, elastic
movement, a thoughtful yet pleasant brow, thin face, and chaste in his

A student, and a lover of literature, he has a cultivated
understanding, and has collected together more facts on the race with
which he is identified than any other man of our acquaintance.

Mr. Nell is of unimpeachable character, and highly respected by his


On looking over the columns of “The Times,” one morning, I saw it
announced under the head of “Amusements,” that “Ira Aldridge, the
African Roscius,” was to appear in the character of Othello, in
Shakspeare’s celebrated tragedy of that name, and having long wished to
see my sable countryman, I resolved at once to attend. Though the doors
had been open but a short time when I reached the Royal Haymarket,
the theatre where the performance was to take place, the house was
well filled, and among the audience I recognized the faces of several
distinguished persons of the nobility, the most noted of whom was Sir
Edward Bulwer Lytton, the renowned novelist--his figure neat, trim,
hair done up in the latest fashion--looking as if he had just come out
of a band-box. He is a great lover of the drama, and has a private
theatre at one of his country seats, to which he often invites his
friends, and presses them into the different characters.

As the time approached for the curtain to rise, it was evident that
the house was to be “jammed.” Stuart, the best Iago since the days of
Young, in company with Roderigo, came upon the stage as soon as the
green curtain went up. Iago looked the villain, and acted it to the
highest conception of the character. The scene is changed, all eyes are
turned to the right door, and thunders of applause greet the appearance
of Othello.

Mr. Aldridge is of the middle size, and appeared to be about
three-quarters African; has a voice deep and powerful; and it was very
evident that Edmund Kean, once his master, was also the model which
he carefully followed in the part. There were the same deliberate,
over-distinct enunciations, the same prolonged pauses and gradually
performed gestures, in imitation of Kean’s manner. As Iago began to
work upon his feelings, the Moor’s eyes flashed fire, and, further on
in the play, he looked the very demon of despair. When he seized the
deceiver by the throat, and exclaimed,--

     “Villain, be sure thou prove my love false!
     Be sure of it; give me the ocular proof;
     Or, by the worth of mine eternal soul,
     Thou hadst been better have been born a dog,
     Than answer my waked wrath,”

the audience, with one impulse, rose to their feet amid the wildest
enthusiasm. At the end of the third act, Othello was called before
the curtain, and received the applause of the delighted multitude. I
watched the countenance and every motion of Bulwer Lytton with almost
as much interest as I did that of the Moor of Venice, and saw that none
appeared to be better pleased than he. The following evening I went to
witness his Hamlet, and was surprised to find him as perfect in that as
he had been in Othello; for I had been led to believe that the latter
was his greatest character.

The whole court of Denmark was before us; but till the words,

     “’Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother,”--

fell from the lips of Mr. Aldridge, was the general ear charmed, or the
general tongue arrested. The voice was so low, and sad, and sweet, the
modulation so tender, the dignity so natural, the grace so consummate,
that all yielded themselves silently to the delicious enchantment. When
Horatio told him that he had come to see his father’s funeral, the deep
melancholy that took possession of his face showed the great dramatic
power of Mr. Aldridge.

     “I pray thee, do not mock me, fellow-student!”

seemed to come from his inmost soul.

Ira Aldridge was a native of Africa, born soon after his father’s
arrival in Senegal, came to the United States on the father’s return,
remained here for a time, and was then sent to Scotland, where he
received a liberal education. During his latter years, Mr. Aldridge
travelled extensively on the Continent of Europe, visiting among other
places St. Petersburg, where the Russians became wild and enthusiastic
over his dramatic representations. He died in London, in 1868, leaving
a widow, a Swedish lady, with whom he had lived happily, and in
magnificent style, near London, for several years.


Oscar J. Dunn was a native of Louisiana, and by trade a plasterer, at
which he worked during his early life. His education was limited, but
what he lacked in book learning was made up in good common sense. In
color, he was a brown skin, of commanding appearance, dignified in
manners, and calculated to make a favorable impression upon all who had
the good fortune to make his acquaintance. Although born a slave, he
was, nevertheless, one of Nature’s noblest men.

Called into public life at a time when the condition of his race was in
a critical transition state, he exhibited powers of intellect, honesty
of purpose, and private virtues seldom equalled. General Sheridan,
while in command at New Orleans, early discovered the rare gifts of Mr.
Dunn, and appointed him a member of the city council. He served the
city and state in various ways until he was elected to the position of
lieutenant-governor of the state. Intelligent upon all subjects, and
remarkable for sound judgment, his opinion and counsel upon questions
of state were sought by men of all parties. As a presiding officer in
the Louisiana Senate, Mr. Dunn exhibited parliamentary talent that at
once commanded the respect and challenged the admiration of the most
fastidious; and for dispatch of business in his official chair, few
men in the country have been his equal.

But the greatest characteristic of this man was his downright honesty.
In this he stood almost alone, for while the legislature of Louisiana
was charged with being a stock-jobbing concern, and its members, one
after another, rolling in their new-gained wealth, Oscar J. Dunn was
not only above suspicion, but actually died a poor man.

He was a calm, vigilant sentry for Louisiana when she dreamed it least.
Firmly resisting temptations to sin, which too often beset official
station, he could never be made an accomplice with others against her.
His inflexible integrity was in itself a mighty protest against the
shams of the state administration, and commanded such candid respect
even from the Democrats, that of late the authors of those shams, in
their recourse to Democrats for the fresh lease of power denied them
by Republicans, were constrained to revive a prejudice for a pretext,
and to charge him with instigating a black man’s party. There existed
not a fact to justify the charge; but a lie was a fit auxiliary to
new projects of fraud, and unhappily, there were “itching palms” to
subscribe it per order.

His views were most catholic on the question of class. He wanted
amity, not jealousy, between the colors, for he recognized all in the
political society as brethren, not as rivals. He felt that injustice
to any one citizen, white or black, was, if unredressed, a menace to
all; that our interests were in common; our ballots, honestly counted,
our common consent; and our influence for good, our common basis of
endeavor for Louisiana. His aims for his race were too sincere to
embarrass its progress by provoking anew the old sectional spleen
against it--and he tacitly compelled in his own case a recognition,
which any citizen might envy. Standing in a high official trust, and
yet in a dark skin, he rebuked with quiet, inoffensive emphasis, the
miserable heresy that a man is more or less a worthy citizen because of
his color.

As a speaker, Mr. Dunn was not what the world would call “eloquent,”
but what he said was always listened to with the greatest interest
and respect. All classes held him in high esteem, and with his own
color his power was unlimited. Attacked by a sudden and sure malady,
death swept him away while in the zenith of his influence, on the
twenty-first of November, 1871.


The late rebellion has not produced a more remarkable instance of a
self-made man than is seen in the career of John R. Lynch, Speaker of
the House of Representatives of Mississippi. He was born in Louisiana,
just opposite Natchez, in the year 1847, of a slave mother, then
the property of a Mr. Lapiche, and is now in his twenty-fifth year.
His father, being a man of wealth and character, made the necessary
arrangements when Mr. Lynch was yet a child, to have him and his mother
set free, but by his sudden and unexpected death, and treachery on the
part of those who had entered into the agreement with him, the plan
was not carried out, and both remained slaves until emancipated by the
result of the war.

During his time of servitude, and while he was yet a boy, Mr. Lynch had
a deep, irrepressible desire to rise above the hopeless lot to which
destiny seemed to have assigned him, and went forward with the energy
which has characterized him since that time, to the acquirement of as
much education as was within his reach. He learned to read and write
while a slave, but no more. After his mother became the property of
Mr. Alfred Davis, she was taken to Natchez with her children, and has
lived there ever since. In 1864, and while the Federal troops were in
possession of that city, Mr. Lynch enjoyed the opportunity of attending
night school, for four months only, and that closed all the educational
advantages of which he has been possessed. Since that time he has been
entirely dependent on his own efforts and resources, and his innate
desire to obtain knowledge, for the advancement he has made.

That his career has been most remarkable thus far, cannot be denied by
any one. This will appear most evident by a comparison of his humble
origin and the many disadvantages under which he has labored, with the
honorable position he now holds, and the high qualifications he brings
with him to sustain him in that place. In point of education, he is
amply fitted; in natural ability that is well-defined, cultivated, and
ready, he certainly has no superior in the House. His knowledge of
parliamentary law and usages has been tested in many heated contests
with the best tacticians of the legislature, and proved to be inferior
to none, however able. Nor do all these high qualifications, so
amply possessed by Mr. Lynch, contain all the good things we have to
say of him. He has the still higher virtue of unimpeached honesty
and veracity. During all the two years of tempting trials that he
has witnessed, it never once was intimated that he was even open to
suspicion. The record he made during all that time is as pure and
untarnished as the driven snow. No one ever questioned his integrity,
or clouded his fair name with the intimation that he deviated from the
path of rectitude and right. If he sometimes departed from the course
marked out by a majority of his party, he did so, as he believed, in
the discharge of a solemn duty, and with no other desire than to do
what he conceived to be right.

He was appointed justice of the peace by General Ames in 1868, for
the city of Natchez, took a prominent part in the constitutional
convention of the State, was a member of the last legislature, and now
fills the Speaker’s chair. Mr. Lynch is fluent in speech, eloquent
in his addresses, chaste in his language, and gentlemanly in all his
intercourse with others. Medium in size, genteel in figure, brown in
complexion, with piercing eyes, amiable countenance, manly and upright
walk, Mr. Lynch makes a dignified appearance in the speaker’s chair,
and handles the gavel according to Cushing. He has been elected to a
seat in Congress from his state.


The subject of this sketch is one of the deepest thinkers of which the
black man can boast in our broad land. In early life, he was engaged
in the lumber trade in Columbia, Pennsylvania, in which he secured
a competency. Even while battling with the world for filthy lucre,
Mr. Whipper gave much of his time to the advocacy of the freedom of
the slave, and the elevation of the colored men of the North. In his
business relations with the whites he always left a good impression of
the negro’s capability, honesty, and gentlemanly deportment.

In 1833, he took charge of the editorial department of the “National
Reformer,” a monthly magazine, published by the American Moral Reform
Society. Mr. Whipper’s editorials were couched in chaste and plain
language, but bold and outspoken in the advocacy of truth. He said:--

“We believe that Education, Temperance, Economy, and Universal Liberty,
if properly carried out, will prove a powerful auxiliary in producing
this necessary reformation, on which rests the Christian’s hope.
They are now producing wonders in our country, under distinct and
specific organizations. They are adhesive virtues, and as capable of
uniting with each other as a like number of seas are of commingling
their waters, and forming one great ocean. If this mighty current of
philanthropy could become united in one living stream, it would soon
sweep from our country every vestige of misery and oppression. And is
it not as necessary that it should be so, as that a single mind should
embrace these principles alone? Our country is rich with the means of
resuscitating her from moral degeneracy. She possesses all the elements
for her redemption; she has but to will it, and she is free.”

Mr. Whipper is a mulatto of fine personal appearance, above the middle
size, stoops a little,--that bend of the shoulders that marks the
student. He is remarkably well read, able to cite authority from
the ancients, and posted in all the current literature of the day.
He is social and genial, and very interesting and entertaining in
conversation. Mr. Whipper resides in Philadelphia, where he is highly
respected by all classes, and loved and looked up to by his own race.


Mr. Cardozo is a native of Charleston, South Carolina; is a mulatto,
with a slight preponderance of Anglo-Saxon blood. He is thirty-five
years old, and therefore, is in the prime of life. He was born free,
and had advantages of northern schools, and finished his education
at the Newburg Collegiate Institute. From 1861 to 1866, he was a
school-teacher. In 1868, he went to North Carolina as a pioneer in the
cause of education among the freedmen, and to establish a normal school
in the eighteenth congressional district, and to use his influence
in procuring state aid in organizing a system of common schools. His
success in this enterprise was all that the most sanguine devotee could
have expected. He remained there until the schools were firmly fixed
upon a substantial basis.

In 1870, Mr. Cardozo removed to Vicksburg, Mississippi. He did not
apply for any office, although it is well known that all the offices in
the State were in that year filled by appointment of the governor,--but
he went to work, and organized a large school in the city, which soon
took rank among the first in the State. In 1871, at the earnest
solicitation of the members of the Republican party, he became a
candidate for, and was elected to, the office of Circuit Clerk of
Warren County. For the manner in which he has discharged the intricate
duties of that very responsible office, he elicited the highest
compliments from the judge as well as the members of the bar.

Mr. Cardozo has recently been nominated for State Superintendent of
Education, a position which he is in every way well qualified to fill.
He will bring to the office a practical knowledge which will be of
great service to the State, and a lasting benefit to the race with whom
he is identified.

Modest and reserved, dignified and gentlemanly, Mr. Cardozo is
calculated to gain the esteem and confidence of all with whom he may
come in contact.


Although born free, in Norfolk, Virginia, Mrs. De Mortie’s education
was limited. This, however, she strove to improve by studying when the
time for her school days had passed. She came to Boston in 1853, we
believe, and made it her home. In the autumn of 1862, Mrs. De Mortie
began as a public reader in Boston, and her rare ability, eloquent
rendering of the poets, pleasing manner, and good sense, gained for
her a host of admiring friends, among whom were some of the leading
men and women of the country, and a successful public career seemed
to be before her. But hearing of the distress and want amongst the
colored children of New Orleans, left orphans by the war, she resolved
to go there, and devote herself to their welfare. Although urged by
her relatives and friends at the North to leave New Orleans until the
yellow fever had ceased, she refused to desert her post, saying that
her duty was with her helpless race.

In 1867, Mrs. De Mortie undertook to raise the means to build an Orphan
Home, and succeeded in obtaining the amount required for the erection
of the building. But her useful career was cut short by the yellow
fever. She died on the tenth of October, 1867, in the thirty-fourth
year of her age. She bore her illness with Christian fortitude, and in
her last moments said, with a childlike simplicity, “I belong to God,
our Father.”

The announcement of her death was received with regret by her large
circle of friends at the North, while the newspapers of New Orleans,
her adopted home, spoke of her in the most eulogistic terms.

Mrs. De Mortie was a remarkably gifted and brilliant woman. In personal
appearance, she was somewhat taller than the middle height, with a
Grecian cast of countenance, eyes dark and sparkling, lips swelling,
forehead high, refined manners, and possessing energy which always
brings success. In fact, it may be truthfully said, that Louise De
Mortie was one of the most beautiful of her sex.


Mr. Bassett is a self-made man, and may safely be put forward as
one of the best representatives of his race. Born at Litchfield,
Connecticut, in 1833, Mr. Bassett graduated, the foremost scholar of
his class, at the Birmingham Academy, when quite young, and afterwards
graduated at the Connecticut State Normal School, with high honor, in
1853. He immediately thereafter removed to New Haven, took charge of
a public grammar school in that city, and eagerly availed himself of
the facilities afforded by Yale College, to prosecute the study of
the classics, mathematical science, and general literature. In 1855,
he was called by the Orthodox Society of Friends to the charge of the
Philadelphia Colored High School, which, under his management, became
very widely known as the foremost institution of the kind in the
country. The honorary degree of Master of Arts was conferred upon him
by the Lincoln University at Oxford, Pennsylvania.

On the elevation of General Grant to the presidency, Mr. Bassett became
a candidate for the Haytian Mission, and so well satisfied were the
people generally, that he received the unsolicited endorsement of the
ablest men, colored and white, of all parties.

He is a mulatto of medium size, prominent features, nearly straight
black hair, neat figure, gentlemanly in personal appearance,
intelligent and chaste in conversation, and possesses a high moral
character. He is a ripe scholar, well versed in the classics, and has
much literary taste.

As a representative of the United States to another government, Mr.
Bassett has more than fulfilled the most sanguine expectations of his
friends, while the country generally regard him as one of the ablest
of our diplomatic agents. His correspondence with the Home Government
has shown him to be a man of decided ability. Indeed, Mr. Bassett’s
manly deportment, and dignified and high-toned character, have raised
the Haytian mission to a more elevated position than it has ever before


As a student at Oberlin College, William Howard Day stood well, and
graduated with honors. He resided some years at Cleveland, Ohio, where,
for a time, he published a weekly newspaper, which rendered timely and
efficient service to the cause of freedom, and the elevation of the
colored people of that State. In 1856 or 1857, he visited England,
where he was much admired for his scholarly attainments, and truly
genuine eloquence. On his return home, Mr. Day became associate
editor of the “Zion’s Standard and Weekly Review.” He now resides at
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where he publishes “Our National Progress,” a
paper devoted to the cause of reform, and the elevation of man.

As a speaker, Mr. Day may be regarded as one of the most effective of
the present time; has great self-possession, and gaiety of imagination;
is rich in the selection of his illustrations, well versed in history,
literature, science, and philosophy, and can draw on his finely-stored
memory at will. As a writer, Mr. Day is far above newspaper editors
generally, exhibiting much care and thought in many of his articles. As
a speaker and writer, he has done a good work for his race.

He is a mulatto of ordinary size, has a large and well-balanced head,
high forehead, bright eyes, intellectual and pleasing countenance,
genteel figure, and is what the ladies would call “a handsome man.” Mr.
Day, besides his editorial duties, holds a responsible and lucrative
office in the State Department of Pennsylvania, which he fills with
honor to himself, and profit to the State.


Dr. Revels is a native of North Carolina, where, at Fayetteville,
Cumberland County, he was born, a freeman, on the first of September,
A. D., 1822. Passing his boyhood and youth, until about twenty-one
years of age, in North Carolina, he went to northern Indiana, the laws
of his native state forbidding colored schools. The parents of the lad
had been permitted to prepare him somewhat for an education, and he
had been studying, off and on, some years previous to leaving for the
North. He passed two years in Indiana, attending a Quaker school, and
then removed to Dark County, Ohio, where he remained for some time, and
subsequently graduated at Knox College, at Galesburg, Illinois; and
after that, entered the ministry as a preacher of the gospel under the
auspices of the Methodist Church. At this time he was twenty-five years
of age. His first charge was in Indiana. From entering the service
of the church to the present time he has steadily persevered as a
preacher, and is well known as a practical Christian and a zealous and
eloquent expounder of the word.

After some years in Indiana, he filled important posts in Missouri,
Maryland, Kentucky, and Kansas, in the cause of the African M. E.
Church. He was in Maryland in 1861, at the breaking out of the war, and
materially aided in forming in that State the first Maryland colored
regiment. He was also able to assist in Missouri in raising the first
colored regiment in that State, and returned to Mississippi in 1864,
settling in Vicksburg, where he had charge of a church congregation,
and assisted in organizing other churches, and in forming and putting
into operation the school system, visiting various portions of the
State on his own responsibility, and among other places, preaching in
Jackson. His health failing, Dr. Revels went to the North once more,
after the close of hostilities, where he remained eighteen months.
Returning, he located at Natchez, where he preached regularly to a
large congregation, and where General Ames, then military governor,
appointed him to the position of alderman. In 1869, he was duly elected
to the State Senate.

In January, 1870, Dr. Revels was selected to represent Mississippi in
the United States Senate, the announcement of which took the country by
surprise, and as the time drew near for the colored senator to appear
in his place in Congress, the interest became intense. Many who had
heard reconstruction discussed in its length and breadth,--by men of
prophetic power and eloquent utterance, by men of merely logical and
judicial minds, by men narrow and selfish, as well as those sophistical
and prejudiced,--and who had no particular interest in the debates,
still came day after day, hoping to see qualified for his seat in the
senate the first colored man presenting himself for so high an office,
the first to be in eminent civil service in the general government.

At last, on Friday, February 25, 1870, a day never to be forgotten,
at about five o’clock, in the presence of the chamber and galleries
crowded with expectant and eager spectators, the oath was administered
to Hiram R. Revels, by the vice-president. Senator Wilson accompanied
him to the chair, and he was at once waited upon to his seat by the

Saulsbury had done his best to turn backward the wheels of progress;
Davis fought in vain, declaring he would “resist at every step”
this unconstitutional measure, giving illustrations, dissertations,
execrations, and recommendations of and for the “Negro” and his
Republican friends; Stockton, in the interest of law and precedent,
begged that the subject should go to the judiciary committee, but the
party of freedom moved on in solid phalanx of unanimity to the historic
result. Mr. Sumner, who had not taken part in the debate, raised his
voice with impressiveness and power, comprehending the whole question
in a short speech just before the vote.

Thus was accomplished the last important step in the National
Legislature for those once enslaved, and the crowning rebuke to the
Rebellion, especially as the Mississippi senator took the seat made
vacant by Jefferson Davis when his treason became known to the North
and to the government. After the close of his senatorial course, he
was appointed President of Alcorn University, with a salary of two
thousand five hundred dollars per annum, which place and its emoluments
he left,--at the desire of Governor Powers, and as he thought it his
duty,--to serve as Secretary of State, at the longest possible time,
for less than one year. He had four years still remaining of his office
as President of the University; hence, financially considered, he
sacrificed something in reaching the higher official honors. It is due
to him to say that the appointment was bestowed unsolicited by himself,
through the governor’s belief in his fitness for the position.

Dr. Revels is a mulatto, of good address, of medium size, hair curly,
features somewhat prominent, with something of the ministerial air.


Mr. Elliott has the honor of representing in Congress the South
Carolina District, once filled by John C. Calhoun, the most
distinguished man of the olden time from the Palmetto State. We have
not been able to inform ourselves as to Mr. Elliott’s birth-place and
educational advantages; but we understand, however, that he studied and
adopted the law as a profession, in which he stands high. He commenced
his political career at the South, and was a member of the State
Constitutional Convention of South Carolina in 1868; was a member of
the House of Representatives of South Carolina from July 6, 1868, to
October 23, 1870; was appointed, on the 25th of March, 1869, Assistant
Adjutant-General, which position he held until he was elected to the
Forty-second Congress as a Republican.

Mr. Elliott is black, of unmixed blood, strongly-marked negro
features, close curly hair, bright and penetrating eyes, genteel
in his personal appearance, somewhat English in his accent, a good
speaker, and dignified in his manners. His speeches in Congress, and
his public addresses before his constituents, show him to be a man of
high cultivation. With his own race, Mr. Elliott stands deservedly
well, and commands the respect of the whites everywhere. In Congress,
he is looked upon as an able debater, and is listened to with marked


The negro’s ability to master language, his vivid imagination, his
great delight in rhetorical exercise, his inward enthusiasm, his
seeming power to transport himself into the scene which he describes,
or the emotion he has summoned, has long puzzled the brain of our
deepest and most acute thinkers. The best test of true eloquence is the
effect it produces upon the listener. The finest illustration of the
self-made orator may be found in J. Madison Bell, whose poetic genius,
classic mind, and highly-cultivated understanding has never been
appreciated by our people.

In the winter of 1867, it was our good fortune to make the acquaintance
of this gentleman, then giving a series of poetical readings at
Washington. His evening’s entertainment was made up entirely of his
own writings, and they were all of a superior character. Mr. Bell is
a rare instance of the combination of the highest excellence of the
poet with the best style of the orator. The oratory of some men is not
easily described; so it is with Mr. Bell. His masterly argument, acute
reasoning, and the soul-stirring appeals to the highest feelings of our
nature soon carry away the listener in an enthusiasm of admiration.
His descriptive powers, both in his writings and his extemporaneous
addresses, are of the highest order.

Mr. Bell has spent some years in California, where he did much for
the elevation of his race. He now resides in Ohio, and exerts a good
influence in behalf of the cause of universal freedom. He is a mulatto,
of fine physical appearance, high, broad forehead, countenance beaming
with intelligence, handsome, like most of his race who have a mixture
of Anglo-Saxon. Mr. Bell was born in Gallipolis, in 1827, and was in
early life a plasterer by trade, but ere long he laid aside the trowel
for the pen.


The subject of this sketch was born a slave, and resided in Missouri.
He received his education at Oberlin College, where he gained the
reputation of possessing remarkable oratorical ability. Whether he
graduated at that institution or not, we have been unable to learn. It
is said, however, that he has a classical education, and is refined
in his manners. In the last presidential election, Mr. Turner was the
leader of the colored citizens in St. Louis, where it is asserted that
he was the most eloquent man on the stump.

After the inauguration of President Grant, Mr. Turner received the
appointment of Consul General to Liberia, the government of which
received him with distinguished honors. At his reception, Mr. Turner
said: “In the true spirit of progress, you have planted upon these
shores the germ of a republic that is destined not only to develop
a civilization worthy of the respect and admiration of unborn
generations, but by means of the Christian religion to debarbarize and
benefit for almost immediate usefulness thousands of human beings whose
intellects are to-day debased by the destructive potency of heathenish


Of our many gifted, enthusiastic, and eloquent men, few have been more
favored by nature than Henry M. Turner. A native of South Carolina,
he seems to have the genius and fire of the Calhouns and McDuffies,
without possessing a drop of their blood. Mr. Turner is a good-sized,
fine-looking, brown-skinned man, of forty years of age, with a splendid
voice, fluent in speech, pleasing in gestures, and powerful in his
delivery. It is said that at the tender age of twelve, he had a dream
in which he saw multitudes of men coming to him to be taught.[55] That
dream made an impression that followed him to the present time, and no
doubt had much influence in shaping his course of life. He was licensed
to preach before he had reached his twenty-first year. He joined
the A. M. E. Church in 1857. During the rebellion, President Lincoln
appointed him chaplain of the 1st Regiment, U. S. C. T., and the first,
too, of all the colored chaplains. He resigned his pastoral relations
with his church, and followed his brother-men to the battle-field, and
remained in service till the close of the war.

In his “Apology,” Tanner says of Dr. Turner: “He is a remarkable man;
and though at times the paraphernalia of the kitchen seems to be in
the parlor, and, _vice versa_, there is always enough of him to demand
the respect of the most learned and the admiration of the masses. More
earnest than polite, a man who thinks for himself, speaks as he feels,
and who fears only God, his memory will not cease with his life--a man
who may truly say with Themistocles, ‘’Tis true I never learned how to
tune a harp, or play upon a lute; but I know how to raise a small and
inconsiderable city to glory and greatness.’”

In a sermon preached on the death of the Rev. Milton Tillinghast,
pastor of the First Baptist Church, Macon, Georgia, Dr. Turner
shows himself to be an able theologian, and a man of the finest
sensibilities. His “Negro in all Ages” is a production of rare merit,
and exhibits great research.


Mr. Rainey is a native of South Carolina, and was born at Georgetown.
His parents purchased their freedom, and gave the son a good education,
although it was against the law to do such an act. His father was a
barber, and he followed that occupation at Charleston till 1862, when,
having been forced to work on the fortifications of the Confederates,
he escaped to the West Indies, where he remained until the close of the
war, when he returned to his native town. He was elected a delegate
to the State Constitutional Convention of 1868, and was a member of
the State Senate of South Carolina in 1870, resigning when elected to
the Forty-first Congress as a Republican to fill the vacancy caused
by the non-reception of B. F. Whittemore, and was re-elected to the
Forty-second Congress as a Republican.

Mr. Rainey is below the medium size, of a dark olive complexion,
straight, black hair, finely chiseled features, modest in manners, and
dignified in his deportment. Although not what the world would call
an orator, he is, nevertheless, an able debater, and in his reply to
“Sunset” Cox, in the House of Representatives, showed talents superior
to the New Yorker.


Miss Jackson was born, we believe, in the District of Columbia,
about the year 1837, and was left an orphan while yet a child. She
was brought up by her aunt, Mrs. Sarah Clark. She had but limited
opportunities for education in Washington, in those days. In charge
of Mrs. Orr, she removed to New Bedford when in her sixteenth year.
After remaining here a while, she took up her residence in the family
of Mayor Caldwell, at Newport, Rhode Island. It was at this time that
Miss Jackson evinced those high attributes of mind which have since
culminated in the ripe scholar.

Her rare genius attracted the attention of Mr. Caldwell, and by his
aid, in connection with Mrs. Clark, she was able to enter school at
Bristol, Rhode Island, and begin the studies of the higher branches.
After due preparation here, Miss Jackson went to Oberlin College, where
she soon took rank with the most industrious and progressive students.
To enable her to assist in paying her increased expenses, she taught
music in families in the village, and thereby aided others while she
was helping herself. Her intellectual aspirations and moral endowments
gained the undivided respect and sympathy of her Oberlin teachers.

Graduating with honors, Miss Jackson at once took a position as teacher
in the high school for colored youths in Philadelphia, where she is
at present the principal. Her ability in governing an institution
of learning has given her more than a local fame. She believes in
progress, and is still the student. She has written some good articles
for the press, which evince culture of no mean order. As a writer, she
is a cogent reasoner, a deep thinker, taking hold of live issues, and
dealing with them in a masterly manner.

Miss Jackson has appeared on the platform, and with telling effect.
In her addresses, which are always written, she is more fluent than
eloquent, more solid than brilliant, more inclined to labored arguments
than to rounded periods and polished sentences, and yet no period or
sentence lacks finish. Wit, humor, pathos, irony,--flow from her lips
as freely as water from an unfailing fountain.

Looking back at her struggles for education and the high position
she has attained as a teacher and a lady of letters, Miss Jackson is
altogether one of the most remarkable women of our time.

In person, she is of medium size; in complexion, a mulatto; features,
well-defined, with an intelligent cast of countenance. The organ of
benevolence is prominently developed, as are the organs of causality,
comparison, ideality, and sublimity. This accounts for the elegance of
her diction, the dazzle of her rhetoric, and the native grace of her
fascinating powers. Irreproachable in her reputation, with her rare
gifts and moral aspirations, Miss Jackson cannot fail to be of untold
benefit to her race.


Mr. Ransier is, in every respect, a self-made man. Born in Charleston,
South Carolina, and, although his parents were free, they had to
contend with poverty on the one hand and slavery on the other, and
the son’s opportunities for education were poor. It is said that he
never had any regular schooling. Yet he so far advanced in a common
business education that at the age of sixteen years he was engaged
in shipping cotton, rice, and other produce for some of the leading
commercial houses in Charleston. Throughout all his business relations,
Mr. Ransier gained the respect and confidence of those with whom he had

Immediately after the war, he contributed much towards the first
Republican Convention held in his State, 1866, and was chosen by it
to convey a memorial from that body to the Congress of the United
States, setting forth the grievances of the loyal people, and asking
the protection and aid of the government in their behalf. He remained
in Washington nearly one month, as a member of what was known as the
“Outside Congress,” which was composed of the leading colored men from
all parts of the country. He was chairman of the executive committee of
that body.

He was a member of the constitutional convention, and presidential
elector on the Grant and Colfax ticket in 1868. He conducted that
campaign, as chairman of the Republican State Executive Committee,
with great judgment and ability. He was auditor of Charleston County,
and resigned it on accepting the nomination as a candidate for
lieutenant-governor. Being elected by a large majority to the latter
position, he became, _ex-officio_, presiding officer of the senate,
and, as such, was very popular among the members, because of his just
rulings and courteous manners.

He is known to be favorable to general amnesty, and somewhat
conservative upon many questions of public policy, but no one has ever
assailed his private reputation. He may be regarded as one of the most
reliable and influential men in the South.

Mr. Ransier is a mulatto, under forty years of age, of good address,
energetic, and at times enthusiastic, full of activity, genial,
good-natured, genteel in his personal appearance, and has all the
bearing of a well-bred gentleman. He has been elected to a seat in
Congress, where he will no doubt ably represent his race, and prove
a valuable addition to the cause of Republicanism. As a speaker,
Mr. Ransier stands well, being a good debater, always using refined
language and--what is better than all,--good sense in his arguments.


To be a good debater is one of the noblest gifts of God to a public
speaker. There are thousands of men in and out of the pulpit, who can
deliver sermons and addresses, original or selected, and do it in the
most approved style of oratory, and yet cannot debate a simple question
with a child. This may seem extravagant to those who have not been
behind the curtain with public men. A proficient and reliable debater
must have brains, a well-stored mind, with ability to draw upon the
resources at will; then the gift of gab, a temper entirely under his
control, and must possess a common degree of politeness. Give such a
man a fair cause, and you have a first-class debater. We listened to
the ablest men in and out of the British Parliament twenty years ago,
when Brougham, Derby, Thompson, Disraeli, Cobden, and a host of English
orators, were in their prime, and we sat with delight in the gallery of
the French Assembly when the opposition was led by Lamartine. We spent
twenty-five years with the abolitionists of our own country, and in
whose meetings more eloquence was heard than with any other body of men
and women that ever appeared upon the world’s platform. And after all,
we have come to the conclusion that the most logical, ready, reliable,
and eloquent debater we have ever heard is a black man, and that black
man, the gentleman whose name heads this sketch.

Isaiah C. Wears is a resident of Philadelphia, but a native of
Baltimore, Maryland, and is about fifty years of age. For more than
a quarter of a century he has been a leading man in his city, and
especially in the organization and support of literary societies. The
“Platonian Institute,” “Garrisonian Institute,” “The Philadelphia
Library Company,” and some smaller associations, owe their existence to
the energy, untiring zeal, and good judgment of Mr. Wears. Fidelity to
the freedom and elevation of his own race kept him always on the alert,
watching for the enemy. The Colonization Society found in him a bitter
and relentless foe; and the negro, an able and eloquent advocate.

He has long stood at the head of “The Banneker Institute,” one of
the finest and most useful associations in our country, and where we
have listened to as good speeches as ever were made in the halls of
Congress. Mr. Wears is not confined in his labors to the literary and
the political, but is one of the foremost men in the church, and, had
he felt himself called upon to preach, he would now be an ornament to
the pulpit.

In person, he is small, of neat figure, pure in his African origin,
intelligent countenance, and an eye that looks right through you. Mr.
Wears has a good education, is gentlemanly in appearance, well read,
with a character unimpeachable, and is a citizen honored and respected
by all.


Josiah T. Walls was born at Winchester, Virginia, December 30, 1842;
received a common-school education; is a planter; was elected a member
of the State Constitutional Convention in 1868; was elected a member of
the House of Representatives of the State Legislature in 1868; after
serving one year, was elected to the State Senate for four years in
1869, and was elected to the Forty-second Congress as a Republican,
from the State of Florida.

In stature, Mr. Walls is slim and thin; in complexion, a mulatto;
close, curly hair; genteel in dress; polite in manners; and well
esteemed by those who know him best.

He sometimes reads his speeches, which makes him appear dull; but, in
reality, he is a man of force and character, and has done a good work
in his adopted State.

Mr. Walls is deeply interested in agriculture, and takes pride in
inculcating his well-informed views in the freedmen, whose welfare
he has at heart. As a farmer, he ranks amongst the foremost in his
locality, and his stock is improved far above that of his neighbors.


James D. Sampson, of North Carolina, the father of the subject of this
notice, by his wealth and enterprise as a house carpenter, gave the
Sampson family distinction in that State many years ago. They were
free people, of Scottish and African lineage, who valued education
highly, and boasted somewhat of their revolutionary ancestry. He
educated his children at Northern schools, and (by special legislation)
before the war, was allowed certain privileges for his family. It
was a question, however, with the authorities, after he had erected
several fine buildings, whether he should be allowed to live in the one
intended for his family, although the street in the neighborhood of his
property took his name.

John, Benjamin, and Joseph were inclined to literary professions.
Benjamin, probably the best scholar, graduated at Oberlin College; was
professor of the classics at the Avery Institute, in Pennsylvania,
and is now filling a similar position with credit, at Wilberforce,
Ohio. John P. Sampson, the most active in public life, was born in
Wilmington, North Carolina, 1838. At an early age, he was sent to
Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he acquired a common-school education;
then among the first colored youth entering the white schools of
Boston, he graduated from Comer’s College through a course in
book-keeping, navigation, and civil engineering, but began life as a
teacher in the public schools of New York, until inspired by a speech
from William Watkins, when he gave up the school, and engaged to
canvass New York under Horace Greeley and James M’Cune Smith, in behalf
of Negro Suffrage, continuing for several years in the lecturing field
through the West.

He published the “Colored Citizen” several years at Cincinnati, the
only colored war-policy paper published during the war, and was aided
by the Christian Commission, which circulated thousands among the
colored soldiers. The paper was generally quoted as the soldiers’
organ. At the same time, he edited through the mail a paper published
by a company of colored men in Louisville, Kentucky. He studied
theology at the Western Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania, and
was ordained elder over a prosperous congregation in Alleghany,
Pennsylvania; was principal of the Phonetic Academy, at Bowling Green,
Kentucky, assisted by Professor Murray and other able teachers. He
accepted an engagement in the work of reconstruction; was commissioned
by General Howard to look after schools in the Third District of North
Carolina; elected treasurer and assessor of Wilmington; nominated for
the Legislature, and soon became a prominent candidate for Congress;
and might have succeeded, were it not for some perversion of his
father’s connection with the purchase of slaves before the war, in
order to assist them in obtaining their freedom.

Becoming interested in the profession of the law, he gave up his
prospects in the South, stood a clerical examination at Washington, was
appointed to a clerkship in the Treasury, read law at the National Law
University, graduated, and was admitted to practice in the District
Supreme Court. He soon became prominent in district politics, published
a spirited campaign paper, was engaged by the general committee
to speak in the Republican canvass of 1872, and has since been
commissioned by Governor Cook as one of the justices for the district,
in connection with his present position at the Treasury.

Mr. Sampson is an able writer, an eloquent and interesting speaker,
polished and gentlemanly in his manners, and highly respected. In
person, he is tall and slim, with a genteel figure, well-balanced head,
bright eye, and a countenance beaming with intelligence.


Mr. Turner is a man of large size, full chest, and broad shoulders,
flat nose, curly hair, and has the appearance of having experienced
plantation life.

He was born in Halifax County, North Carolina, March 17, 1825; was
raised as a slave, and received no early education, because the laws
of that State made it criminal to educate slaves; removed to Alabama
in 1830, and, by clandestine study, obtained a fair education; is now
a dealer in general merchandise; was elected tax collector of Dallas
County, in 1867, and councilman of the city of Selma, in 1869; and was
elected to the Forty-second Congress as a Republican from the State
of Alabama. Mr. Turner, though always in his seat during the sitting
of the House, is very quiet; is seldom seen conversing; votes, but
never speaks; has a reputation for good sense and political business
sagacity. He has the unbounded confidence of his constituents, and is
looked up to as a leader amongst his people.


Struggling upward from the colored man’s starting-point in the
South, and at last reaching a seat in the United States Senate, Mr.
Pinchback has placed himself in the front rank of the race which his
color represents. His position as Lieutenant-Governor of the State of
Louisiana, at a time when true courage, manly vigor, great prudence,
and good judgment were needed, showed him to be in possession of some
of the best qualities of a statesman.

The wily Warmoth found more than his match in his attempts to make a
tool of the colored man. Becoming acting Governor of the State, he
surprised even his most intimate friends in the ability he exhibited.

For the victory over Warmoth, and the great benefit that will
accrue from it to the State, the people of Louisiana owe much to
Acting-Governor Pinchback. Had he accepted the tendered bribe of
Warmoth, and acted as his accomplice, the outrages upon the treasury
of the State, the installation of persons as State officials against
the expressed wish of the people, would have been carried out without
any means of redress being left in the hands of the people. By the
patriotic action of Governor Pinchback, the calamities that would have
followed the continuance of the power of Warmoth were averted, and a
greater feeling of security at once sprang up amongst the masses.

The colored population of Louisiana have reason to be proud that one of
their race was so conspicuously instrumental in seizing the opportunity
for opening the way to rid the State of that power which had retarded
its progress.

The statesmanlike conduct of Oscar J. Dunn and Mr. Pinchback reflects
great credit upon the intelligence of the colored citizens of that

Mr. Pinchback is a man of energy, eloquent in speech, gentlemanly in
manners, kind and hospitable, and is said to be a man of wealth.


Mr. Lynch was born in the city of Baltimore, Maryland, about the year
1840. His father, who followed a mercantile pursuit, was a freedman,
and his mother had been a slave, but had her liberty purchased by
her husband. While quite young, James was employed in caring for his
father’s interests, and there are those living who remember him as a
remarkably smart and fine appearing lad, driving the delivery team
which hauled goods to his father’s patrons in the city. As soon as
old enough, he was sent to Hanover, New Hampshire, to enter Kimball
University, from which institution, in due time, he graduated with
usual honors.

After completing his education, Mr. Lynch went to Indiana, where he
was a preacher of the Gospel for some years. He then went to Galena,
Illinois, where he married. We next hear of him in Philadelphia,
pursuing the honorable calling of editor of the “Recorder,” a popular
Methodist publication. He was known everywhere as an eloquent speaker
and able and fluent writer, and he moved in as good society as perhaps
any of his compeers enjoyed.

In the year 1867, Mr. Lynch removed to the State of Mississippi, and
filled the pulpit in one of the Methodist churches in Jackson. He there
became editor of a religious journal.

Lynch’s articles were always carefully prepared, thoughtful,
argumentative, and convincing, and undoubtedly performed a good work
wherever read.

He first became politically prominent in Mississippi in what is
denominated as the “Dent-Alcorn” campaign of 1869, when he was
nominated for the office of Secretary of State by the Republicans,
made the canvass with the best speakers in the State, and was duly
elected and qualified, and up to the time of his decease had ably
and efficiently filled all the requirements of that important and
responsible position.

Mr. Lynch was of a brown, or coffee color, a little below the medium
size, good features, gentlemanly and kind-hearted, a genial companion,
and well beloved by all who knew him. He died on the 18th of December,


The subject of this sketch is a native of the State of New Jersey, and
was born in Burlington County, on the 7th of October, 1821. He was
brought up on a farm owned by his father and mother, Levin and Charity
Still. The immediate neighborhood of his birth-place afforded but
little advantage for the education of the poorer class of whites, much
less for colored children, who had to meet the negro-hating prejudice
of those times; yet William’s thirst for knowledge and love of books
created in his favor a good impression with the teacher of the common
school, which obtained for the lad a quarter’s schooling, and some
additional aid on rainy days.

The colored boy’s companions were all white, nevertheless his good
behavior, earnest zeal, and rapid advancement gained him the friendship
of both teacher and scholars, and did much to break down the prejudice
against the colored race in that vicinity.

By assiduous study and outside aid he became proficient in reading,
writing, and arithmetic, and, as age advanced, paid considerable
attention to the classics.

The harsh prejudice of race which William Still was called upon to
meet in his business intercourse with the whites, early made him
deeply interested in the cause of freedom, then being advocated by
the Abolitionists, and he became a subscriber to one of their weekly
journals. At this time he was the only colored man in the town that
took such a paper, and it was hard work, with his small wages, to meet
its subscription and postage demands.

Seeing the bad effects of the use of intoxicating liquors in the
community, Mr. Still early adopted the principles of temperance, to
which he tenaciously clings to the present day.

Well-grounded in moral, religious, and temperance views, William Still,
at the age of twenty-three years, went to the city of Philadelphia to

Although the temptations of the great Babel were laid before him, his
early convictions kept him from yielding.

The long connection of William Still with the anti-slavery office
in Philadelphia, his intimate relationship with the Pennsylvania
Abolitionists, a body of men and women of whom too much cannot be said
in their praise, and the deep interest he felt in the fleeing bondmen
passing through that city to Canada, has brought him very prominently
before the American people.

Mr. Still is well educated, has good talents, and has cultivated
them. He is an interesting and forcible writer, and some of the
stories of escaped slaves, which he has recently put forth in his
valuable work, “The Underground Railroad,” point him out as one of the
best benefactors of his race. After the beginning of the war of the
slaveholders had made it certain that slavery would be abolished, and
the close of the anti-slavery office in Philadelphia, Mr. Still went
into the coal trade, by which he has become independent.

Upright and honest in all his dealings, a faithful friend, blameless
in his family relations, an affectionate husband and father, we have
always taken pride in putting forth William Still as a model man.

The subject of this sketch is of medium size, unadulterated in race,
prominent and regular features, always a smile upon his countenance,
affable, humorous, neat in his person, gentlemanly in his deportment,
and interesting in his conversation. With all classes of good men and
women who know him, both colored and white, no man stands higher, or is
regarded with more confidence, than William Still.


As an acute thinker, an eloquent and splendid speaker, possessing
rare intellectual gifts, fine education with large culture, a moral
nature full of sympathy and benevolence for all mankind, Peter H.
Clark justly stands in the foremost rank of the noted men of his race.
Although not an old man, Mr. Clark has, for the past quarter of a
century, taken a prominent part in all of the great conventions called
to consider the condition, and the best means for the moral, social,
and political elevation of the colored population of the United States.
Mr. Clark was associated with Frederick Douglass in the editorial
management of the “North Star” twenty years ago, and his articles were
always fresh, vigorous, and telling.

In the various political contests in the State of Ohio for the last ten
years, he has taken a foremost position, and his appearance at public
meetings in Hamilton County has done much towards annihilating the
prejudice so rampant in that section.

His argumentative speeches, scholastic attainments, and gentlemanly
bearing, have been of untold benefit to his race throughout Ohio.

During the Rebellion, when the colored citizens of Cincinnati were
sorely and cruelly abused, Peter H. Clark stepped forward as their
representative man, and nobly did he do his duty.

The history of “The Black Brigade,” written at that time, did him great
credit, and was of immense value to the black man.

Mr. Clark is a resident of Cincinnati, and is the principal of the
Gaines High School in that city. To him, probably more than to any
other man, are the colored people there indebted for the inculcation of
the creditable desire for education and advancement true of them.

He is somewhat below the middle size, thin, sharp features, bright
eye, rather of a dyspeptic appearance, hospitable and kind, upright
and gentlemanly in all the relations of life, with a host of admirers
wherever he is known. No man has been truer to his oppressed people
than Peter H. Clark, and none are more deserving of their unlimited
confidence than he.

To the pen of Mr. Clark we are indebted for the sketch of John I.
Gaines, in this work.


Mrs. Harper is a native of Maryland, and was born in Baltimore, in
1825, of free parents. What she was deprived of in her younger days in
an educational point of view, she made up in after years, and is now
considered one of the most scholarly and well-read women of the day.
Her poetic genius was early developed, and some of her poems, together
with a few prose articles, with the title of “Forest Leaves,” were
published, and attracted considerable attention, even before she became
known to the public through her able platform orations.

An article on “Christianity,” by Mrs. Harper, will stand a comparison
with any paper of the kind in the English language.

Feeling deeply the injury inflicted upon her race, she labored most
effectually by both pen and speech for the overthrow of slavery, and
for ten years before the commencement of the Rebellion, the press
throughout the free states recorded her efforts as amongst the ablest
made in the country.

Few of our American poets have written verses more pointed against
existing evils, than Frances Ellen Harper. Her eloquent poem, “To the
Union Savers of Cleveland,” on the return of a fugitive slave to her
master at the South, will always be read with a feeling of indignation
against the people of the North who could suffer such things to be done.

“The Slave Mother” will stand alongside of Whittier’s best poems on
the “Peculiar Institution.” The poems on “The Proclamation,” and the
“Fifteenth Amendment,” will be read by her race with delight in after

All of Mrs. Harper’s writings are characterized by chaste language,
much thought, and a soul-stirring ring that are refreshing to the

As a speaker, she ranks deservedly high; her arguments are forcible,
her appeals pathetic, her logic fervent, her imagination fervid, and
her delivery original and easy. Mrs. Harper is dignified both in public
and in private, yet witty and sociable. She is the ablest colored lady
who has ever appeared in public in our country, and is an honor to the
race she represents.

In person, Mrs. Harper is tall, and of neat figure; mulatto in color,
bright eyes, smiling countenance, and intelligent in conversation.


Mr. Butler is a native of Halifax, Nova Scotia, and came to the States
in 1853. Three years later, he was ordained by Rev. William H. Bishop,
and began as a preacher of the Zion M. E. Church. He is now pastor of
St. Mark’s Church, New York. For the past three or four years, Mr.
Butler has taken an active part in the politics of the Empire State,
and was sent as a delegate to the National Republican Convention that
nominated General Grant for his second term, and in which assembly he
exercised considerable influence with the colored delegates from the

Mr. Butler is a man of good education, well read, of retentive memory,
able in debate, quick to take advantage of an opponent, an eloquent,
extemporaneous speaker, and popular with the masses.

He is considered “headstrong” by the older preachers of “Zion,” and
came out from that connection a few years since, and has built up the
church over which he now presides. He has great energy and force of
character, and will generally be found in the front rank, rather than
as a follower. In stature, Mr. Butler is below the medium, of neat
figure, genteel in appearance, of mixed blood, sharp, bright eyes,
pleasing countenance, easy in manners, and interesting in conversation.
He is about thirty years of age. In all emergencies, he has been
considered true to his race, and may be regarded as a representative


Mr. Chester is a native of Pennsylvania, and is by profession, a
lawyer. He spent some years in Liberia, returned home, and took
an honorable part in the war of the Rebellion. He has travelled
extensively in Europe, making a good impression wherever he appeared.
In 1867, Hon. C. M. Clay, Minister to Russia, in a correspondence with
the State Department at Washington, said of Mr. Chester’s visit to St.

“SIR:--Captain T. Morris Chester, late of the United States Volunteer
Army, being in St. Petersburg, coming well recommended by distinguished
citizens of the United States, and being also well educated, and of
good address, I called upon the minister of foreign affairs, and told
him that I would not apply in the usual way, by note, to have Captain
Chester, a colored American citizen, presented to his Imperial Majesty,
as there was no precedent, and I did not know how his Imperial Majesty
would be disposed to act; but I desired that he would approach his
Imperial Majesty in an informal way, and ascertain his wishes in this
regard. The assistant minister of foreign affairs, Mr. De Westmann,
acquiesced in the proposal, and, in a few days, wrote me that the
Emperor had given orders to have Captain Chester’s name put upon the
list of persons for the first presentation.

“To-day being the occasion of a grand review of the imperial guard, the
Emperor sent an invitation to Captain Chester to assist in the review,
which he did, riding around with his Imperial Majesty’s staff, and
taking lunch at the winter palace with the staff officers and a portion
of the Imperial family, who accompanied the Emperor at the lunch.

“I have made these facts known to you, as I regard the affair of some
importance. We have four millions of colored citizens; they are with
us, and of us, for good as well as evil.

“I think that it is the duty of all good citizens to try and elevate
the African race in America, and inspire them with all possible
self-respect, and prepare them for that ultimate influence which they
must sooner or later have, upon the political and economical interests
of the United States. These are the views which have influenced my
action in this case, which, not partisan in their character, I should
hope would be satisfactory to all patriotic Americans.”

Mr. Chester is of pure African origin, a splendid looking man, with
manners highly cultivated.


Joseph J. Clinton is a native of Philadelphia, born October 3, 1823,
possesses a good, common-school education, studied at the Alleghany
Institute, but did not graduate. He was apprenticed to Francis Chew,
a hair-worker, and learned that trade. At the age of fifteen, he
experienced religion, joined the Zion Methodist denomination, and
became an ardent advocate of the cause of Christ. He began as a lay
preacher, at the early age of seventeen. At eighteen, he went into
business for himself in the hair work, yet continued dispensing the
Gospel to those who would hear.

In 1843, Bishop Clinton was ordained an elder, and in 1856, was made
bishop. During the civil war, he spent almost his entire time at the
South. As chaplain of the First United States Colored Regiment, Colonel
Holman, Mr. Clinton did a good work amongst his race. He did not
confine himself to mere camp duties, but performed a mission work which
had its influence amongst the slaves, far and wide. Seeing that the
spread of the Gospel was of greater importance than remaining with a
regiment, Bishop Clinton gave himself entirely up to gospel missionary
work. He organized ten conferences, ordained and licensed seven hundred
ministers, admitted two hundred thousand members in the denomination,
brought one hundred thousand children into the Sabbath School,
and travelled in all of the Southern States. In 1869, he visited
California, and organized a conference in San Francisco.

In person, Bishop Clinton is stout, fleshy, and well-proportioned.
He has a full face, which indicates the best of health and happy
contentment; countenance mild, benignant and thoughtful, with an
expression of integrity, denoting his inability to do a mean thing.
The bishop is a good declaimer, and the outbursting and overwhelming
effusions of his natural eloquence, the striking originality of his
conceptions, the irresistible power of his captivating voice, the vivid
and copious display of illustration, thrill and charm the hearer. He is
justly popular with the public, as well as with his own denomination.
He presides in the conferences with great dignity and impartiality,
deciding questions according to Cushing and justice, and without
fear or favor. Bishop Clinton resides in the city of Philadelphia,
surrounded by a loving family and a host of admiring friends.


Dr. Tanner is the editor of the “Christian Recorder,” the organ of the
African Methodist Episcopal Church (Bethel). He is a mulatto of medium
size, modest and genteel, social and pleasant in conversation, and
has a classical education. Tanner’s “Apology for African Methodism,”
is the ablest written work yet produced upon that subject. In it, he
employs facts and statistics, but they have the varied beauty of the
rainbow, and the golden glow of the sunlight, when viewed through the
prism of his rich imagination. There are but few men who can excel him
in description; indeed, he wields a masterly pen in that department
of literature, every idea being full of thought. As editor of “The
Recorder,” he has written many witty, pithy, and brilliant sentiments.
There is a tinge of opulent fancy running through his editorials which
always refreshes one. As a speaker, Dr. Tanner ranks well, being
fluent, ready, easy in his manner, and reliable in his statements.

The wide reputation of his journal, outside of his own denomination,
is probably the best test of his ability as a newspaper conductor. He
has done much to build up Methodism among our people, and to inculcate
the feeling for a better educated ministry, which is everywhere needed.
Dr. Tanner’s efforts towards the elevation of his race have been of
lasting good, and, as he is still a young man, we look forward to his
accomplishing more in the large field before him. As a citizen of
Philadelphia, he is enterprising, energetic, and works for the public
good. He is highly respected by all classes, and justly holds the
position of a representative man, whose title was gained by merit, and
not by favor.


Singleton T. Jones is a native of Pennsylvania, and is about fifty
years of age. He is tall, and of a fine figure, pleasing countenance,
bright eye, and unadulterated in race and color. He commenced
travelling as a preacher of the Zion Methodist denomination in the year
1847, and was ordained a bishop in 1868. He is a man of surpassing
power and eloquence. His sermons are brilliant with unmeasured poetry,
and abound in wit, invective, glowing rhetoric, and logic.

The bishop often surprises his attentive listeners with his historical
knowledge. When in the pulpit, he throws light on the subject by the
coruscations of his wit, drives home a truth by solid argument, and
clinches it by a quotation from Scripture, and a thrilling and pointed
appeal which moves his audience like a shock from an electric battery.
No one sleeps under the preaching of Bishop Jones, for he has long been
considered the most eloquent man in his denomination. His character is
without a blemish, and he is blest with a large circle of friends, and
the happiest family relations.


Born a slave at the South, and escaping to the free states some thirty
years ago, Jermin W. Loguen passed through the fiery ordeal that
awaited every fugitive lecturer or preacher in those days. He was
among the earliest of those to take stock in the underground railroad,
and most nobly did he do his work. For more than twenty years Bishop
Loguen labored in season and out of season, in western New York, as an
efficient conductor on the road, helping the fugitive on his way to
Canada. As a lecturer, his varied experience, eloquent and effective
speeches, did much to change public opinion in behalf of liberty.

As a preacher, he was very popular with the Zion Methodist
denomination, with whom he acted. His education was limited, yet he
used good language, both in his sermons and addresses. He was made a
bishop some time about 1868, and discharged his duties with credit to
himself, and satisfaction to his people.

But Bishop Loguen will be remembered longer for his humanitarian work.
If to have been true and faithful to the cause of his people in the day
of their sorrow and destitution, when friends were few, and enemies
were many; if to have been eyes to the blind, legs to the lame, bread
to the hungry, and shelter to the outcast of our afflicted and hunted
people when it was the fashion in America to hunt men; if to have
devoted a whole life to works of humanity and justice, entitles a man
to the respect and esteem of his fellow-men, and especially, of the
class benefited, Jermin W. Loguen has well earned such respect and

In person, he was of large frame, of mixed blood, strong, manly
voice, fine countenance, genteel in his manners, and interesting in
conversation. He died in 1871.


“The National Monitor” is a wide-awake journal, edited by Rufus L.
Perry, a live man, in every sense of the term. As corresponding
secretary of “The Consolidated American Educational Association,” Mr.
Perry has been of great benefit to the cause of education at the South
amongst the freedmen who so much need such efforts. His society is
mainly engaged in sending into the field approved missionary preachers
and teachers; organizing schools and missions on a self-sustaining
basis, in the more interior portions of the South; looking up, and
having on hand, qualified colored teachers, to send out as they may be
called for.

The association is under the auspices of the Baptist denomination, and
the “National Monitor,” of which Mr. Perry is editor, may be termed an
organ of that sect. The columns of the paper show well the versatile
character of the gentleman whose brain furnishes the mental food for
its readers, and the cause of its wide-spread popularity.

Mr. Perry is a self-made man, well educated, possessing splendid
natural abilities, an able and eloquent speaker, popular with other
religious bodies as well as his own, and makes himself generally useful
wherever he may happen to be. He is devotedly attached to his race, and
never leaves a stone unturned to better their moral, social, religious,
and political condition.

As a resident of Brooklyn, New York, his influence is felt in building
up and maintaining the character of the colored people. Mr. Perry is
considered one of the most efficient of the Baptist clergymen of the
“City of Churches.”


A native of Loudon County, Virginia, born in Leesburg, in 1815, of free
parents, Leonard A. Grimes was subjected to all the disabilities that
his race had to endure in the South, except being a bound slave. While
yet a boy, young Grimes went to Washington, where he was employed in
a butcher’s shop, and afterwards in an apothecary’s establishment. He
subsequently hired himself out to a slaveholder, whose confidence he
soon gained. Accompanying his employer in some of his travels in the
remote South, he had an opportunity of seeing the different phases of
slave life; and its cruelty created in his mind an early hatred to the
institution, which lasted him during his long and eventful career.

On his return to Washington, the subject of this sketch began to take
an interest in the underground railroad, and to him many escaped slaves
were indebted for their freedom. A free colored man with a slave wife
and seven children appealed to Mr. Grimes to aid them to escape, for
the wife and children were to be carried to the far South. Through the
kindness of this good man the family succeeded in reaching Canada,
where they were free. Search was made for the family, suspicion fell
upon Grimes as the author of their escape, he was tried, found guilty,
and sent to the state prison at Richmond for two years.

At the expiration of his imprisonment, Mr. Grimes returned to
Washington, and soon removed to New Bedford, Massachusetts, where
he resided two years, and then came to Boston. A small Baptist
congregation was worshipping in a hall at this time, and they called
Mr. Grimes to be their pastor. In this new field of labor he soon
began to show the great executive ability which was to be a blessing
to his race in Boston. The Twelfth Baptist Church, of which he was the
head for a quarter of a century, and the congregation, consisting of
some of the better class of the colored citizens of the metropolis, is
a monument that no one need be ashamed of. Mr. Grimes was an ardent
anti-slavery man, when many of his clerical brethren were on the other
side of the question.

Mr. Grimes was a man of great amiability of character, with always a
cheering word and a smile for those with whom he came in contact. As
a preacher, he was a man of power, though he was not an easy speaker.
He was a mulatto of fine appearance, good manners, dignified, and
courteous. No man was more beloved by his friends or respected by the
community. At his funeral, which occurred in March, 1873, more than
fifty carriages were among the long cortege that followed his remains.
It is not often that a man leaves the world with fewer enemies or more
substantial friends than Leonard A. Grimes.


John Sella Martin is a native of the State of North Carolina, and was
born at Charlotte, in 1832. He was the slave of his master, who sold
him while he was yet a child. Part of his life was passed in Georgia
and Louisiana, from the latter of which States he escaped in 1856.
Mr. Martin resided some time at Chicago, studied for the ministry at
Detroit, and was first settled over a church at Buffalo. He came to
Boston in 1859, and was introduced to the public at Tremont Temple,
by Rev. Mr. Kalloch, for whom he preached several weeks, during that
gentleman’s vacation. The impression which Mr. Martin made while at
the Temple was very favorable; and after supplying a pulpit for some
time at Lawrence, he was settled over the Joy Street Baptist Church in
Boston. He has since preached in New York and Washington, but is now
engaged in politics, having renounced the ministry three or four years

Mr. Martin has visited England three times, and is well informed upon
matters pertaining to that country, as well as this. He is an easy
speaker, fluent and ready, and gives the impression of a man well
informed on the subject upon which he talks. He was, for a time, editor
of the “National Era,” and then corresponding editor of the same paper.
However, he lacks stability of purpose. In his newspaper articles, Mr.
Martin evinces considerable literary ability. In person, he is of mixed
blood, gentlemanly in his appearance, and refined in his manners.


For eight or ten years previous to the breaking out of the Rebellion,
all who frequented anti-slavery conventions, lectures, picnics, and
fairs, could not fail to have seen a black woman of medium size, upper
front teeth gone, smiling countenance, attired in coarse, but neat
apparel, with an old-fashioned reticule, or bag, suspended by her
side, and who, on taking her seat, would at once drop off into a sound
sleep. This woman was Harriet Tubman, better known as “Moses.”

She first came to Boston in 1854, and was soon a welcome visitor to
the homes of the leading Abolitionists, who were always attentive
listeners to her strange and eventful stories. Her plantation life,
where she was born a slave at the South, was cruelly interesting. Her
back and shoulders, marked with the biting lash, told how inhuman was
the institution from which she had fled. A blow upon the head had
caused partial deafness, and inflicted an injury which made her fall
asleep the moment she was seated. Moses had no education, yet the most
refined person would listen for hours while she related the intensely
interesting incidents of her life, told in the simplest manner, but
always seasoned with good sense.

During her sojourn in Boston, Moses made several visits to the South,
and it was these that gave her the cognomen of “Moses.” Men from
Canada, who had made their escape years before, and whose families were
still in the prison-house of slavery, would seek out Moses, and get her
to go and bring their dear ones away. How strange! This woman,--one
of the most ordinary looking of her race; unlettered; no idea of
geography; asleep half of the time,--would penetrate the interior slave
states, hide in the woods during the day, feed on the bondsman’s homely
fare at night, bring off whole families of slaves, and pilot them to
Canada, after running the gauntlet of the most difficult parts of the
Southern country. No fugitive was ever captured who had Moses for a

While in Canada, in 1860, we met several whom this woman had brought
from the land of bondage, and they all believed that she had
supernatural power. Of one man we inquired, “Were you not afraid of
being caught?”

“O, no,” said he, “Moses is got de charm.”

“What do you mean?” we asked.

He replied, “De whites can’t catch Moses, kase you see she’s born wid
de charm. De Lord has given Moses de power.”

Yes, and the woman herself felt that she had the charm, and this
feeling, no doubt, nerved her up, gave her courage, and made all who
followed her feel safe in her hands.

When the war broke out, instinct called Moses into active service, and
she at once left for the South. Long before Butler’s “Contraband of
War” doctrine was recognized by the government, Moses was hanging upon
the outskirts of the Union army, and doing good service for those of
her race who sought protection in our lines. When the Negro put on the
“blue,” Moses was in her glory, and travelled from camp to camp, being
always treated in the most respectful manner. These black men would
have died for this woman, for they believed that she had a charmed life.

It is said that General Burnside, on one occasion, sent Moses into the
enemy’s camp, and that she returned in due time, with most valuable
information. During the last year of the Rebellion, she had in her
possession a paper, the presentation of which always gained for her a
prompt passage through any part of the Union lines.

Moses followed Sherman in his march “From Atlanta to the Sea,” and
witnessed the attack on Petersburg. The great deference shown her by
the Union officers, who never failed to tip their caps when meeting
her, and the strange stories told of her pioneer adventures, and the
substantial aid given by her to her own race, has left with them a
lasting impression that Moses still holds “the charm.”


Mary Ann Shadd Carey is a native of Delaware, and has resided for
several years in Canada. She is tall and slim, with a fine head, which
she carries in a peculiar manner. She has good features, intellectual
countenance, bright, sharp eyes, that look right through you. She holds
a legitimate place with the strong-minded women of the country.

Mrs. Carey received a far better education than usually fell to the lot
of the free colored people of her native State, and which she greatly
improved. She early took a lively interest in all measures tending
to the elevation of her race, and has, at various times, filled the
honorable positions of school teacher, school superintendent, newspaper
publisher and editor, lecturer, and travelling agent. As a speaker, she
ranks deservedly high; as a debater, she is quick to take advantage of
the weak points of her opponent, forcible in her illustrations, biting
in her sarcasm, and withering in her rebukes.

Mrs. Carey is resolute and determined, and you might as well attempt
to remove a stone wall with your little finger, as to check her in
what she conceives to be right and her duty. Although she has mingled
much in the society of men, attended many conventions composed almost
exclusively of males, and trodden paths where women usually shrink to
go, no one ever hinted aught against her reputation, and she stands
with a record without blot or blemish. Had she been a man, she would
probably have been with John Brown at Harper’s Ferry.

When the government determined to put colored men in the field to aid
in suppressing the Rebellion, Mrs. Carey raised recruits at the West,
and brought them on to Boston, with as much skill, tact, and order
as any of the recruiting officers under the government. Her men were
always considered the best lot brought to head-quarters. Indeed, the
examining surgeon never failed to speak of Mrs. Carey’s recruits as
faultless. This proves the truth of the old adage, that “It takes a
woman to pick out a good man.” Few persons have done more real service
for the moral, social, and political elevation of the colored race than
Mrs. Carey. She is a widow, and still in the full-orbed womanhood of
life, working on, feeling, as she says, “It is better to wear out, than
to rust out.”


One of the most damaging influences that the institution of slavery had
on the colored population of the country, was to instill in the mind of
its victim the belief that he could never rise above the position of
a servant. The highest aspiration of most colored men, thirty years
ago, was to be a gentleman’s body servant, a steward of a steam-boat,
head-waiter at a first-class hotel, a boss barber, or a boot-black with
good patronage, and four or five boys under him to do the work. Even
at this day, although slavery has been abolished ten years, its spirit
still clings to the colored man, and, more especially, at the North. To
wait at parties, attend weddings and dinners, and above all, to be a
caterer, seems to be the highest aim of our Northern young men, when,
to be a good mechanic, would be far more honorable, and have greater
tendency towards the elevation of the race. A few exceptions to what I
have penned above are to be found occasionally, and one of these is the
gentleman whose name heads this sketch.

George L. Ruffin was born in Richmond, Virginia, of free parents, and
of course had limited educational opportunities. He came to Boston some
twenty years ago, and followed the calling of a hairdresser up to about
five years since, when he began the study of the law with Honorable
Harvey Jewell. In due time, he was admitted to the bar, and is now in
the enjoyment of a good practice in his profession. One of the most
praiseworthy acts connected with Mr. Ruffin’s elevation, is that he
studied law while he was at his barber’s chair, and dependent upon it
for a living.

As a member of the Massachusetts Legislature, Mr. Ruffin exhibited
scholarly attainments in his speeches that placed him at once amongst
the foremost men of that body. As a speaker, he is interesting, for his
addresses show that he gives his subjects a thorough canvassing before
he delivers them. Mr. Ruffin is a good student, and is destined, we
think, to rise still higher in his profession.

He takes a deep interest in the elevation and welfare of his race, is
prominent in all public meetings, has a happy faculty in discharging
the duties of presiding officer, or chairman of a committee, and writes
resolutions that are readable, as well as to the purpose for which they
are intended. Mr. Ruffin is highly respected in the community, and has
done much in his dealings with prominent citizens to lift upward the
standard of the colored man. He is of mixed blood, short, stout, with
a rather pleasing cast of countenance, and features good to look upon.
In speaking to our young men, we have often mentioned the career of Mr.
Ruffin as worthy of imitation.


Richard T. Greener is a graduate of Harvard University, which, under
ordinary circumstances, is considered a passport to future usefulness
and preferment. Soon after leaving college, he was invited to become
a teacher in the institute for colored youth, at Philadelphia. Here
his labors were highly appreciated, and many regrets were manifested
on his leaving to take charge of another institution of learning at
Washington, where he now resides.

Mr. Greener takes a deep interest in everything tending towards
the development of the genius of the race, and has written some
very readable articles on education for the “New National Era.” His
writings exhibit considerable research, a mind well stored from
English literature, and show that he is a man of industry and progress.
Long before leaving college, Mr. Greener gave evidence of possessing
talents for the platform, and recent speeches and addresses place him
in the advanced ground in the art of oratory.

Mr. Greener is a mulatto, and, in personal appearance, is of medium
size, good figure, well-balanced head, intellectual face, interesting
conversationalist, and eager for distinction. Mr. Greener is not
more than twenty-eight or thirty years of age, and has before him a
brilliant future. He is a good representative of our rising young men,
and is well calculated to inspire the youth of the country with noble
feelings for self-elevation. His motto is “the young men to the front.”
But he should remember that while the young men may take a legitimate
place at the front, the old men must not be asked to take a back seat.
The race cannot afford, yet a while, to dispense with the services of
the “Old Guard.”


The senior editor of the “New National Era” is the eldest son of
Frederick Douglass, and inherits a large share of the father’s
abilities. He was born in Massachusetts, has a liberal education, is a
practical printer, received excellent training in the office of “The
North Star,” at Rochester, New York, and is well calculated to conduct
a newspaper. Mr. Douglass distinguished himself at the attack on Fort
Wagner, where the lamented Colonel Robert G. Shaw fell. His being the
first to ascend the defences surrounding the fort, and his exclamation
of “Come, boys, we’ll fight for God and Governor Andrew,” was at the
time commented upon by the press of Europe as well as of our own

Mr. Douglass is an active, energetic man, deeply alive to every
interest of his race, uncompromising in his adherence to principle, and
is a valuable citizen in any community. He has held several important
positions in Washington, where his influence is great. He is a good
writer, well informed, and interesting in conversation. In asserting
his rights against the proscriptive combinations of the printers
of Washington, Mr. Douglass was more than a match for his would-be
superiors. As a citizen, he is highly respected, and is regarded as
one of the leading men of the district. He is of medium size, a little
darker in complexion than the father, has a manly walk, gentlemanly in
his manners, intellectual countenance, and reliable in his business
dealings. His paper, the “New National Era,” is well conducted, and
should receive the patronage of our people throughout the country.


Mr. Cain is well known as a Methodist preacher of some note, having
been a leading man in that denomination for many years. During the
Rebellion he took up his residence in South Carolina, where his good
judgment, industry, and executive ability gave him considerable
influence with his race. In the Constitutional and Reconstruction
Conventions Mr. Cain took an active part, and in the State Legislature,
gave unmistakable evidence of a knowledge of state affairs. He has been
called to fill several positions of honor and trust, and discharged his
duties with signal ability.

The moral, social, religious, and political elevation of his people has
long claimed a large share of Mr. Cain’s time and attention.

As an editor, he exhibited much literary tact and talent in conducting
his paper, urging in its columns education, character, and wealth,
as a basis for man’s elevation. In 1872, he was elected to Congress,
representing the city of Charleston. As a politician, Mr. Cain stands
high in his State, being considered one of their ablest stump-speakers,
and stump-speaking is regarded at the South as the best quality of an
orator. Mr. Cain is nearly pure in blood, rather under the medium size,
bright eye, intelligent countenance, strong, loud voice, energetic
in his actions, throwing some dramatic fervor into his elocutionary
powers, and may be termed an enthusiastic speaker. Gentlemanly in his
manners, blameless in his family relations, staunch in his friendship,
honest in his dealings with his fellow-men, Mr. Cain may be regarded as
a representative man, and an able one, too.


In no state in the Union have the colored people had greater obstacles
thrown in the way of their moral, social, and political elevation,
than in Pennsylvania. Surrounded by a population made up of the odd
ends of all countries, the German element predominating, with a large
sprinkling of poor whites from the Southern States, holding prejudice
against the race, the blacks of Pennsylvania have had a hard struggle.
Fortunately, however, for them, there were scattered over the State
a few representative men, who, by their industry, honesty, and moral
courage did much to raise the character and standard of the colored man.

Foremost among these was Stephen Smith, who, while a young man began
life as a lumberman in Columbia, where, for twenty-five years, he
was one of the principal dealers in that business. By upright and
patient labor, Mr. Smith amassed a fortune, removed to the city of
Philadelphia, where he has since resided, and where he has long been
one of the pillars of society.

For many years, the subject of this sketch has been an acceptable
preacher in the Methodist denomination, to which sect he has given
liberally of his vast means. Several years ago, Mr. Smith built a
church at his own expense, and gave it to his people. More recently, he
has erected and endowed an asylum for the poor of his race.

Mr. Smith is a mulatto, of medium size, strongly built, fascinating
countenance, yet plain looking, with indelibly marked features. He is
now in the sunset of life, and his head is thickly sprinkled with gray
hairs. Although he is in the autumn of his years, he is still vigorous,
attending to his own business, preaching occasionally, and looking
after the interest of “our people.”

Always interested in the elevation of man, few have done more for his
race than Stephen Smith. He is highly respected, and has the entire
confidence of the people of his own city, as well as all who enjoy his


Thirty years ago, the underground railroad was in full operation, and
many daring attempts were made by Northern men to aid slaves in their
escape to a land of freedom. In some instances, both the fugitives and
their friends were captured, taken back, tortured, and imprisoned. The
death of the Rev. Charles T. Torrey, in the Maryland Penitentiary, for
helping away a family of slaves; the branding of Jonathan Walker for
the same offence; the capture of Captain Daniel Drayton for bringing
off a number of bondmen in his vessel, the “Pearl;” and the long and
cruel imprisonment of the Rev. Calvin Fairbanks, are historical facts
well known to the old Abolitionists.

The subject of this sketch was born in Lexington, Kentucky, where he
spent his early days in slavery. Lewis Hayden and his family made their
escape from the State of Kentucky in the year 1846; by the assistance
of the Rev. Calvin Fairbanks and Miss Delia A. Webster. Both of the
above persons suffered cruelly, for their kindness to the fugitives.
Miss Webster, after several months’ imprisonment, was liberated, but
Mr. Fairbanks remained in the State Prison at Frankfort, Kentucky, more
than ten years, during which time everything was done by officials of
the prison to make his confinement as painful as possible.

To the great credit of Mr. Hayden, he labored faithfully to secure the
release of his friend, and was, we believe, the means of shortening his

With his family, Mr. Hayden took up his residence in Boston, where he
has since remained, and where he now enjoys the respect and confidence
of a large circle of friends.

Daring the reign of terror, caused by the attempt to enforce the
Fugitive Slave Law, in the return of escaped bondmen, Mr. Hayden became
conspicuous as one of the most faithful friends of his race, daring
everything for freedom, never shrinking from any duty, and never
counting the cost.

For the past dozen years, he has held a situation at the State House,
and, last winter, served in the Legislature, where his speeches and his
votes were given for reform.

While he does not attempt to be an orator, Mr. Hayden is, nevertheless,
a very effective speaker. He is a man of common size, with little or no
Anglo-Saxon blood, genteel in his manners, intelligent in conversation,
and correct in all the relations of life.


To be able to tell a story, and tell it well, is a gift, and not an
acquirement; a gift that one may well be proud of. The gentleman whose
name heads this sketch, left his sunny home in the Island of Jamaica,
last autumn, and paid a flying visit to our country. We had heard of
Mr. Murray as the able editor of the leading newspaper in Kingston,
and, therefore, he was not an entire stranger to us.

But his great powers as a lecturer, we were ignorant of. With a number
of friends, we went one evening to listen to a lecture on “Life among
the Lowly in Jamaica.” The speaker for the occasion was Henry G.
Murray, who soon began his subject. He was a man of fine personal
appearance, a little inclined to corpulency, large, electric eyes,
smiling countenance beaming with intelligence, and wearing the air of a
well-bred gentleman.

He commenced in a calm, cool, moderate manner, and did not depart from
it during the evening. Mr. Murray’s style is true to nature, and the
stories which he gave with matchless skill, convulsed every one with
laughter. He evinced talent for both tragic and comic representation,
rarely combined. His ludicrous stories, graphically told, kept every
face on a grin from the commencement to the end. For pathos, genius,
inimitable humor, and pungent wit, we have never seen his equal. He
possesses the true _vivida vis_ of eloquence. Mr. Murray is a man
of learning, accomplishment, and taste, and will be warmly welcomed
whenever he visits us again.


Bishop Talbot is a native of Massachusetts, and was born in the town
of Stoughton. He received a good, common-school education at West
Bridgewater, went to the West, and studied theology, and began to
preach, at the age of twenty-five years. Returning East, he preached
in Boston for two years, where he made many friends. He was ordained
a bishop of the A. M. E. Zion Church, about nine years ago, and now
resides in Washington, D. C.

Bishop Talbot is about fifty-five years of age, of common size and
stature, a dark mulatto, fine head, and thoughtful face, with but
little of the negro cast of countenance. He is a good student, well
read, and better informed than the clergy generally.

As a speaker, he is sound, clear, thorough, and though not brilliant,
is a very interesting preacher. His dignified, calm utterance has great
power. He is much admired in the pulpit, and never lacks hearers.

The absence of fire and brimstone in his sermons gives the bishop a
gentlemanly air in the pulpit that strongly contrasts with his brethren
of the cloth. He is a good presiding officer, and rules according to
Cushing. Living a blameless life, having an unblemished reputation, and
taking a deep interest in everything pertaining to the moral, social,
and political condition of the race, Bishop Talbot is highly respected
by all.


Dr. Purvis is a son of Robert Purvis, the well-known philanthropist,
and co-worker with William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips, and
Lucretia Mott. When a boy, “Burleigh” often met us at the steamer or
the cars, a number of miles away, took us to the homestead at Bybery,
listened to our lecture in the “old hall,” and then returned us to the
train or boat the next morning, and always did it cheerfully, and with
a smile.

The subject of our sketch was born in Philadelphia, in 1841, received
a collegiate education, graduating A. M.; studied at the Cleveland
Medical College, where, in 1864, he received the degree of M. D. He
entered the army as acting-assistant surgeon during the summer of the
same year.

Dr. Purvis now resides at Washington, and holds the honorable
position of Professor of _Materia Medica_ and Jurisprudence in Howard
University. The doctor takes a lively interest in the education and
elevation of his race, and exercises considerable influence in the
affairs of the District.

He inherits much of his father’s enthusiasm and oratorical powers,
and has spoken eloquently and successfully in public meetings and

By close attention to his profession, Dr. Purvis has taken a high
rank as a physician. In complexion, he stands about half-way between
the Anglo-Saxon and the negro, probably throwing in a little mite of
Indian. Like his father, the doctor is of fine personal appearance,
dignified and gentlemanly in his manners, and respected by every one.


That spicy and spirited weekly, “The Progressive American,” is edited
by the gentleman whose name heads this sketch. By his native genius,
untiring industry, and scholarly attainments, he has created and kept
alive a newspaper that is a welcome guest in New York, and the country
around. As an editor, Mr. Freeman has been eminently successful,
and his journal now ranks amongst the very best of our papers. His
editorials exhibit more than ordinary tact and talent, and are always
on the side of right, morality, and the elevation of man. He has long
taken a leading part in state affairs, and has held prominent places in
conventions and public meetings.

As a speaker, he is interesting, and knows what he talks about.

His speeches consist of strong arguments and spirited appeals.
Personally, Mr. Freeman is sociable and affable in his manners, and
hearty and pleasant in his address. In complexion, he is of a brown
skin, with well-defined features, intellectual forehead, slim and
straight, with a walk something akin to the Indian. He is gentlemanly,
upright, and correct in his intercourse with mankind, and highly
respected as a man of advanced ideas.


The subject of this sketch is a grandson of the late Rev. Thomas Paul,
whose eloquence as a preacher is vividly remembered by Bostonians of
forty years ago, as one of the most entertaining of divines. Born in
Boston, Elijah W. Smith is well known as one of her most respected
citizens. He is by trade a printer, which he learned in the office
of “The Liberator,” with Wm. Lloyd Garrison, who always speaks of
“Elijah” with the utmost respect. No one can read Mr. Smith’s poems
without a regret that he has written so little, and yet he has given
us more poetry than any other colored American. Few living poets
understand, better than he, the elements of true poetry.

The evenness of his numbers, the polish of his diction, the rich melody
of his musically-embodied thoughts, and the variety of his information,
show that Nature has not been sparing in showering her gifts upon him.

In his poetry Mr. Smith seeks to make mankind, and things around him,
in harmony with a better state of moral existence.

His contributions to literature will ever tend to delight and instruct
the lovers of liberty and pure and refined society. Most of his
articles have appeared in “The Boston Daily Traveller,” and “The
Saturday Evening Express.” The longest poem contains thirty verses.

“Keep off the Grass,” and “Welcome to Spring,” shows the author’s
leaning towards Nature. “Crushed At Sedan,” “Vive La France,” and “A
Plea for the Recognition of Cuba,” are the promptings of a sympathetic
heart. “Peter and Joseph’s Trip to Vermont” is full of humor, and shows
that our author is at home in comic poetry. Mr. Smith’s finer feelings
find vent in those beautiful poems the “Winter Song of the Poor,”
and “Merry Christmas,” either of which is enough to give a writer
everlasting fame.

The Republican Party owes our author a debt of gratitude for the lyrics
he has contributed to its aid in this section. The following lines are
from the beautiful and soul-stirring poem entitled “Freedom’s Jubilee,”
read at a Ratification Meeting of the Fifteenth Amendment:

     “Glory to God! for the struggle is ended,
       Glory to God! for the victory won,
     Honor to those who the Right have defended,
       Through the long years since the conflict begun.

     “O, may the prayers of those ready to perish
       Guard them from harm like a girdle of fire!
     Deep in our hearts their good deeds we will cherish,
       And to deserve them we’ll ever aspire.

     “God! at Thine altar, in thanksgiving bending,
       Grant that our eyes Thy great goodness may see;
     O, may Thy light, while the temple’s veil rending,
       Show, through its portals, the path of the Free.”

“Our Lost Leader,” written on the death of Charles Sumner, is one of
Mr. Smith’s best productions. “The Boston Daily Traveller” says: “This
is a beautiful poem written by Elijah W. Smith, who is a true poet, and
who has produced some of the best poetry called forth by the death of
Mr. Sumner.”

We can only give the last verse:

     “Give us the faith to kneel around
       Our Country’s shrine, and swear
     To keep alive the sacred flame
       That SUMNER kindled there!”

The “Song of The Liberators” has in it the snap and fire that shows the
author’s sound appreciation of the workers for liberty. We give a few
of those spirited verses, and regret that want of space prevents our
placing the entire poem before the reader:

     “The battle-cry is sounding
       From every hill and vale,
     From rock to rock resounding,
       Now shall the tyrants quail.
     No more with chain and fetter,
       No more with prison cell,
     Shall despots punish heroes
       In the land they love so well.

     “And thou, O Isle of Beauty,
       Thy plaintive cry is heard;
     Throughout our wide dominions,
       The souls of men are stirred;
     And rising in their manhood,
       They shout from sea to sea,
     ‘Destruction to the tyrants!
       Fair Cuba shall be free!’”

In person Mr. Smith is short, and inclined to be stout, with complexion
of a light brown.

His head is large and well developed; the expression of his features
are mild and good, his eyes are lively, and the turn of his face is
graceful and full of sensibility, and delicately susceptible of every

Still on the sunny side of fifty, and being of studious habits and an
impassioned lover of Nature, we may yet look for valuable contributions
from his versatile pen.

We hope, ere long, to see his poems given to the reading public in a
collected form, for we are sure that they would be a prized accession
to the current literature of the day, besides the valuable work they
would do for the elevation of his own race.

Mr. Smith has written more than sixty poems, one of which will be found
in the fore-part of this volume.


[54] “An Apology for Methodism.” B. T. Tanner, p. 388.

[55] Tanner’s “Apology,” p. 415.


Or, the South and Its People.



The following are some of the comments of the Press:--

     “This book may well be termed the great inside view of the South.
     It runs back for fifty years, and gives the state of society in
     the olden time. For wit and humor it has had no equal. Dr. Brown
     faces the whole problem of the negroes’ past and future in a
     manly, sensible, incisive way.”--_Daily Advertiser, Boston._

     “The work is full of spicy incidents and anecdotes.”--_The
     Commonwealth, Boston._

     “The book is very entertaining and suggestive, and will be read
     with pleasure and profit.”--_Zion’s Herald, Boston._

     “Dr. Brown has given us an interesting book.”--_The Journal,

     “A racy book, brim full of instruction, wit, and humor, and will
     be read with delight.”--_Daily Transcript, Boston._

     “Dr. Brown has written a very interesting and instructive volume
     upon the South and its people at the present time. The book is
     illustrated with an engraving of the author, which does no justice
     at all to the handsome features of one of the most able of the
     anti-slavery orators of the past generation.”--_Sunday Herald,

     “The most graphic and racy work yet written on the South and its
     people.”--_New York Times._

     “Dr. Brown gives an interesting picture of the South, discusses
     the Negro question with sound sense and logical force, and clearly
     points out to the proscribed colored man the way to rise and rank
     as a man among men. We commend the book to our readers.”--_The
     National Monitor, Brooklyn, N. Y._

     “The style is easy and pleasing. The portrayal is wonderful.
     Throughout the work there is a vein of humor running which is
     a characteristic of the author, and creative of side-splitting
     laughter in its effect. Be sure and get the book.”--_Virginia
     Star, Richmond, Va._

     “‘My Southern Home,’ is a true and faithful picture of Southern
     Whites and Blacks. Read the book by all means.”--_Herald and
     Pilot, Nashville, Tenn._

     “Dr. Brown has written an interesting book.”--_Fred Douglass._

A. G. BROWN & CO., Publishers, Boston, Mass.



Containing 380 Pages, Bound in Cloth, Price, $1.50.

This splendid work was published in 1867, and nearly the whole edition
was burnt in the great Boston fire, so that but few copies were sold.

The universal demand now, for the only History which has done justice
to the heroism of the colored Americans in the late war, induces us to
get out this new edition.

_The following are some of the comments of the Press_:--

     “William Wells Brown, M.D., the colored historian, is an author of
     whom the American Negro ought to feel proud. He has written much,
     and become popular as an author.

     “Commencing with the first cargo of slaves landed in the Colonies
     in 1620, Dr. Brown carries the Negro through the war of 1812,
     the John Brown Raid, and the Rebellion, portraying in a graphic
     manner the horrors of the slave-trade, 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 book is full of interesting and instructive facts, told in a
     fascinating way.”--_The National Monitor, Brooklyn, N. Y._

     “Dr. Brown has laid his race under great obligations to him for
     writing this History of the services of the Negro in the Wars for
     American Liberty.”--_Wm. Lloyd Garrison._

     “The Negro in the Rebellion is a needed accession to our
     literature, and does the author great credit.”--_New York Tribune._

     “Every soldier of the war, and especially every colored soldier,
     will want this book.”--_New York Evening Post._

A. G. BROWN & CO., Publishers, Boston, Mass.

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