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An Englishman's Travels in America by John Benwell

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times of peace, are of every-day occurrence between contending armies.

Amongst those I had occasion to call on at St. Louis, was a Major ----.
He had formerly been engaged in Indian warfare, and, having received a
wound from a rifle-ball, that incapacitated him for active military
duty, he was living as a retired citizen--his wife's jointure, and an
allowance from Government, allowing him to keep up a tolerably good
establishment. He was the owner of several slaves, and, amongst the
rest, a young woman who was employed as nursemaid in the family. The
first time I called at his residence, I thought him a man of superior
manners and education, and was much pleased with the visit, which was
concluded with a promise to renew it on a future day. When, however, I
repeated my visit soon after, I found him alone in his study, and his
constrained manner soon led me to perceive that something unusual
perturbed his mind. The cause was soon after explained, for, the
negress, before mentioned, coming into the room on some trifling errand,
to my surprise accosted him rather freely. Her master suddenly broke out
in a paroxysm of rage, swore at her awfully, and accused her in a
ruffianly way of being insolent to her mistress. Then, violently ringing
a bell which stood on the table, he summoned a negro lad into the room,
and at once despatched him to a neighbour's house to borrow a new
raw-hide whip, threatening all the while to flay her alive. In vain the
terrified creature pleaded innocence; he would take no excuse, and,
although I begged earnestly for him to pass over the offence, and the
poor slave fell on her knees in the greatest terror, he vowed vengeance
with dreadful imprecations. At last the whip came, and, disregarding
alike the presence of a stranger, and the entreaties of a woman, he
began the flagellation with murderous earnest. My interference only
added to his ungovernable rage. The raw-hide was new, and the major
being a strong, muscular man, every stroke told. The blood soon flowed
from the back, neck, and breasts, of the poor victim, whose cries, as
she writhed under the savage infliction, entered my soul. They, however,
made no impression on her brutal tormentor, who kept vociferating with
all his energy to keep her quiet. It was with some difficulty I stood by
and witnessed the assault, but I well know my life would be in jeopardy
if I attempted to interfere. I, however, screwed up my courage to stay,
in the hope that some sense of shame might induce the fellow to hold his
hand. This was, however, a delusive hope, for he continued to lay on
the whip until he was exhausted.

The girl was now on the floor of the room, moaning piteously, and a
stream of blood was flowing from her lacerated person, which soaked the
matting that covered the floor. Her dress was hanging in tatters, and
the blood trickling down her cheeks had a horrifying effect. As soon as
the ruffian was tired, he bid the woman get down stairs and wash
herself. The miserable creature arose with difficulty, and picking up
her apron and turban, which were in different parts of the room, she
hobbled out crying bitterly. As soon as she was gone, the major pointed
to the blood, and said, "If we did not see that sometimes, there would
be no living with the brutes;" to which I replied in terms he could not
misunderstand, and at once left the house, determined never again to
enter it--a resolution I religiously kept. I afterwards heard that this
miserable creature was pregnant at the time, a circumstance that would
have induced at least some regard to leniency in any man not utterly
debased.

Those who are acquainted with southern scenes will see nothing
extraordinary in this recital, for they are every-day occurrences, and
scarcely elicit a remark, unless the perpetrator should happen to be a
slave-holding Wesleyan or Whitfieldite, when, perhaps, he would be
called to some account--his own version of the affair being of course
admitted _in limine_. Many of the slave-holders are an incorrigibly
degraded set of men. It is by no means uncommon for them to inflict
chastisement on negresses with whom they are in habitual illicit
intercourse, and I was credibly informed that this cruelty was often
resorted to, to disabuse the mind of a deceived and injured wife who
suspects unfair treatment. This attested fact, disgraceful as it is, can
scarcely be wondered at in men who mercilessly subject defenceless women
to the lash without a spark of human feeling, or compunction of
conscience. It is little to the credit of United States senators that
they have not at least made laws to protect women from the barbarous
usage of flogging. One would imagine that men, who, perhaps, above all
others in the world, pay homage to the sex, would have established a
distinction in this respect; but I apprehend the truth to be, that they
are so far influenced by their wives, who are notoriously jealous of
their sable rivals, that they have succumbed to their sentiments and
dictation.

There are many Dutch in St. Louis, and along the levee you perceive
boarding-houses and groceries kept for their accommodation. These men
are generally great drinkers, and think as little of quaffing at a few
draughts half-a-pint of whiskey, as an Englishman would the same
quantity of malt liquor. They consume, also, vast quantities of claret.
I have frequently seen a couple of these men at a cafe, drink five or
bottles without betraying any ill effects. It must, however, be
remembered that claret is not so potent as the heavier wines.

A few days after my arrival, while standing in the vestibule of my
hotel, my attention was drawn to a loud altercation going on at the bar,
and as it was evident, from the manner of the parties, that some public
question was being discussed, I listened, and ascertained that an
obnoxious citizen had been seized for perpetrating a petty act of
revenge on a neighbour by damaging his horse, and was that day to be
publicly tarred, feathered, and escorted out of the city, as they said,
bag and baggage. Having ascertained the spot selected for the scene, I
determined to witness it. Accordingly, at noon, the appointed hour, I
repaired to an open spot of building-land on the Carondelet side of the
city. Here I found assembled a motley assemblage of citizens, negroes,
steamboat-hands, and the general riff-raff of the place. Although the
crowd was not so great, the meeting strongly reminded me of those scenes
of infamy and disgrace in England--public executions; the conduct of the
assembled throng on this occasion being the more decorous of the two.
Precisely at twelve, the mob made a rush towards one corner of the open
space, from which direction I saw the culprit advancing, in charge of
thirty or forty well-dressed people (the committee appointed for the
occasion being among the number). He was a stout man, and described to
me as a great bully; but now he looked completely crest-fallen. As the
party came on, he was hissed by the mob, who, however, kept at a good
distance from his guard. A man, with a large tin can of smoking pitch, a
brush of the kind used in applying the same, and a pillow of feathers
under his arm, followed immediately behind the prisoner, vociferating
loudly. Arrived at the spot, the poor wretch was placed on a stool, and
a citizen, who had taken a very prominent part in front of the
procession, and who, I was told, was the chief cause of this outrage,
stepped in front of him, and pulling out a sheet of paper, read a
lecture on the enormity of his crime, which wound up with the sentence
about to be enforced. When this was finished, the man who carried the
tar-vessel stepped up, and began, with a scissors, to cut off the
culprit's hair, which he did most effectually, flinging portions amongst
the crowd, who scrambled after them. As soon as this was finished, and
the man was stripped to the waist, the brush was dipped into the pitch,
and the upper part of his person lathered therewith. Not a word escaped
him, but the individual who had taken so prominent a part in the
punishment, kept giving directions to the operator to put it on thick.
Even his eyes and ears were not spared. As soon as this part of the
operation was complete, the bag of feathers was ripped open by a
by-stander, and the contents stuck thickly on the parts besmeared with
tar, amidst the deafening cheers of the spectators, who were by this
time in such frantic excitement that I began to fear a tragedy would
ensue, especially as many of them shouted, "Now hang the varmint! hang
him!" This proposal was eagerly seconded by the mob. This was, however,
resolutely overruled by his keepers. The appearance presented by the
victim, in this peculiarly American dress, was ludicrous in the extreme,
and _looked_ very comfortable. As soon as this part of the exhibition
was finished, a man, with a small drum, followed by the mob, with yells
and execrations drove the culprit before them at a run. The poor wretch
ran like a deer from his pursuers, who followed at his heels, shouting
frantically, until he reached the brink of the river, where a boat was
waiting to take him off. He dashed into it, and was at once rowed into
the middle of the stream, out of reach of his tormentors, who, I quite
believe, would have administered more severe lynch-law if they could
have got hold of him, for their passions were wrought up to the highest
pitch of excitement. One feature in the scene I could not help
remarking--the negroes all appeared in high glee, and many of them
actually danced with joy. I did not wonder at this, for the negroes
always seemed to exult if a white man was in disgrace; which, after all,
is no more than might be expected from a class of men tyrannized over as
the coloured people are there, and is one of the results of the
oppressive system that exacts everything that human labour can furnish,
without remuneration, and without (in by far the greater number of
instances) any approach to sympathy or grateful feeling. This alone,
without taking into consideration the outrages inflicted on the race by
their cruel oppressors, supplies a sufficient cause for such a tendency,
if every other were wanting.

Passing through the principal street the day before I left St Louis, an
assembly of men, chiefly overseers and negro dealers, who stood at the
entrance of a large store, attracted my attention. Large placards, with
a description of various lots of negroes to be submitted to public
competition, soon told me I should now be able to gratify my curiosity
by witnessing a Missouri slave-vendue. A man with a bell, which he rang
most energetically at the door, shortly after summoned the company, the
auction being about to commence. On a table inside, a negress, of a
little over middle age, was standing, vacantly gazing with grief-worn
countenance on the crowd that now thronged to the table. On the floor
stood two children, of about the ages of ten and thirteen respectively.
The auctioneer, with the customary volubility of such men in America,
began by stating, that the lots now to be offered were the remnants of a
preceding sale, which he gratuitously observed had been a most
satisfactory one, and after dilating with some energy on the good
qualities of the woman before us, whose face brightened up a little on
hearing such a flattering account of her good qualities, he earnestly
requested a bidding. The poor creature was evidently in ill-health.
After the most revolting questions had been put to her, and her person
examined by the competitors with disgraceful familiarity, she was
pronounced all but worthless, "used up," as one of the company observed,
and was, after much demur on the part of the auctioneer, knocked down
for two hundred dollars; this sum being, as he remarked, but the moiety
of what she ought to have realized. She was then roughly told to get off
the table, and take her stand near it, at a place pointed out by her
purchaser, who was a rollicking-looking, big-whiskered fellow, with an
immense Leghorn hat, the brim of which was lined with black, and having
a broad black ribbon round the crown. As the poor woman got down, she
cast a furtive glance at her children, who, although the auctioneer
certainly tried to prevent it, were sold to two individuals, neither of
whom was the purchaser of the parent. The poor woman looked about in
great despair while the bidding was going on. It was in vain I sought
one sympathizing look in that company; but how could it be expected,
when it consisted of men long inured to such heartless scenes--men whose
hearts were case-hardened by the impious traffic they were now engaged
in. I was, however, pleased to hear afterwards that the purchasers all
resided in St. Louis, and that the woman would often see her
children--poor amends it is true for a cruel separation, but more
satisfactory than such cases generally are.

CHAPTER IV.

"Where Will-o'-the-wisps and glow-worms shine,
In bulrush and in brake;
Where waving mosses shroud the pine,
And the cedar grows, and the poisonous vine
Is spotted like the snake."--LONGFELLOW.

From St. Louis, on the Missouri river, I took passage to New Orleans, in
one of those magnificent steamers that crowd the inland waters of the
American continent, and which, sumptuously furnished as they are, have
not inaptly been termed "floating palaces." We had a prosperous passage
as far as the junction of the Ohio with the Mississippi, where the boat
struck the branches of a large tree, that had been washed into the bed
of the stream, and was there stuck fast, root downwards. This formidable
chevaux-de-frise (or snag, as it was termed by the captain) fortunately
did not do much damage to the vessel, although at first an alarm was
raised that she was sinking, and much confusion ensued. This
apprehension was, however, soon dissipated by the report of the
carpenter, whose account of the damage was so far favourable, that after
extrication by backing the vessel, and a few temporary repairs, she was
again got under headway.

The pellucid waters of the Ohio, as they enter the turbid rushing
current of the Mississippi, which is swollen by the Illinois and other
tributaries, has a remarkable effect, the clear current of the former
river refusing, for a considerable distance, to mingle with the murky
stream of the latter, and forming a visible blue channel in its
centre--a phenomenon I thought allegorical of the slave-stained
condition of the one state, and the free soil of the other, for while
Ohio is free from the curse of slavery, the banks of the Mississippi
have for centuries been deep dyed in the life's blood of the oppressed
African.

Our vessel was borne on the rushing waters with great impetuosity, the
maddening current of the Mississippi seeming to carry everything before
it. As we proceeded we constantly saw trees topple over into the river,
the banks of which are continually widening, and which in many parts has
the appearance of a lake after a storm, impregnated with debris. The
trees, thus washed into the bed of the river, sink root downwards and
make the navigation perilous, as I have before described. We met
numerous steamers coming up the stream, one of them having a freight of
Indians from Florida, removing to the western frontier, under the
surveillance of U.S. soldiery and government agents. The compulsory
removal of Indians, from one remote state to another, whenever new
territory is needed, forms a disgraceful feature in internal American
policy. Transported to new hunting grounds, the poor Indians are brought
into contact with other tribes, when feuds arise from feelings of
jealousy, and the new-comers are often annihilated in a few years. Many
tribes have thus become totally extinct, and the remainder are rapidly
becoming so. As the steamer passed us with her freight of red men they
set up a loud yell, which reverberated through the forests on the
river-shores. It sounded to me very much like defiance, and probably
was, for they execrate the white men as hereditary enemies, and feel
deeply the wrongs inflicted on their people.

All the steamers we met were more or less crowded with passengers, the
visages of many of whom bore traces of fever and ague, and who were,
doubtless, removing to a healthier climate. This insidious disease often
terminates fatally in the cities and districts skirting the swamps of
Louisiana, and, to avoid its baneful effects, the more affluent people
migrate south-west or north when the sickly season sets in. The yellow
fever is also very fatal in such situations, and annually claims numbers
of victims.

We had by this time reached that latitude where perpetual summer reigns.
The banks of the mighty Mississippi, which has for ages rolled on in
increasing grandeur, present to the eye a wilderness of sombre scenery,
indescribably wild and romantic. The bays, formed by the current, are
choked with palmetto and other trees, and teem with alligators,
water-snakes, and freshwater turtle, the former basking in the sun in
conscious security. Overhead, pelicans, paroquets, and numberless other

"Strange bright birds on their starry wings,
Bear the rich hues of all glorious things;"

while the gorgeous magnolia, in luxuriant bloom, and a thousand other
evergreens, on shore, vie with voluptuous aquatic flowers to bewilder
and delight the astonished traveller, accustomed hitherto only to the
more unassuming productions of the sober north. Everything here was new,
strange, and solemn. The gigantic trees, encircled by enormous vines,
and heavily shrouded in grey funereal moss, mournfully waving in the
breeze--the doleful night-cry of the death-bird and the
whip-poor-will--the distant bugle of the advancing boats--the moan of
the turbid current beneath--the silent and queenly moon above, appearing
nearer, larger, and brighter than in our cooler latitudes--the sultry
atmosphere--and most of all, perhaps, the sense of the near vicinity of
death in this infected region--oppressed my spirit with an ominous
feeling of solemnity and awe.

As we passed the plantations which here and there varied the scene,
gangs of negroes could be seen at labour--their sturdy overseers, of
ruffianly mien, prowling sulkily about, watching every motion of the
bondsmen, whip in hand; which weapon they applied with the most wanton
freedom, as if the poor sufferers were as destitute of physical
sensation, as they themselves were of moral or humane feeling. Armed
with a huge bowie-knife and pistols, these embruted creatures were very
cut-throats in appearance; and it is well known there, that their
conduct in general towards those they lord over, justifies the
appellation I have given them.

The steamer halted at intervals to take in wood, which is invariably
used, instead of coal as in England. This is piled in parrallelograms on
the banks--the logs being split longitudinally. This forms a source of
good profit, and is, in many instances, the chief maintenance of the
squalid settlers of these plague-stricken and unwholesome places. After
the measurement of the pile by the mate or captain, the deck-passengers
and boat-hands stow it away in the vicinity of the furnaces--it being
part of the terms of passage, that the lower order of passengers shall
assist in the operation. This is much disliked by the latter, and many
of the Germans of this class on board, endeavoured to escape the
laborious duty by hiding amongst the packages on deck. A general search
was, however, instituted by the officers of the vessel, just before it
stopped at a wooding-station--and the skulkers were brought out, amidst
the clamorous jeers of their fellows. The class of passengers I have
just referred to, consisted chiefly of Germans and Irish, who, although
there is no professed distinction, bargain for a deck-passage, the
charge being better suited to their means. Amongst the objects that
arrested my attention, as our vessel floated majestically down the
turbid current, were gibbets standing on the banks, depending from
several of which were short chains, doubtless required occasionally in
carrying out this kind of discipline. As the horrifying objects occurred
at intervals of a few miles, I at first imagined they were cranes used
to lower bales of cotton into the holds of vessels, and addressing a
passenger whose physiognomy prepossessed me in his favour, and who had
several times shown a disposition to impart the knowledge he possessed
concerning the objects around, he soon convinced me of my mistake,
adding, that such engines were as necessary to the proper discipline of
the negroes in that latitude as the overseer himself. He then proceeded
to detail several instances of fugitive negroes being dragged in capture
to the foot of the gallows, where, with halter-encircled necks, they
were made not only to acknowledge the error committed and expose
accessories, but "pumped dry," as he facetiously termed it, as to the
intended flight of other negroes on the estate. Sometimes, he said, it
was necessary to suspend the culprit for a moment or so, to intimidate,
but this was only in cases where the victim (he used the word rascal)
was inclined to be sullen, and refused readily to give the required
information. I inquired whether it ever occurred that actual execution
took place; to this my new acquaintance replied, "Wall, yes, where the
nigger had dar'd to strike a white man;" but that it was usual to go to
a magistrate first, in such cases. The appearance of these gibbets,
after the information I had received respecting them from my
slave-holding acquaintance, made my flesh creep as we steamed onwards,
the more so as, in many of the grounds skirting the river, where these
sombre murky-looking objects presented themselves to the gaze of the
traveller, gangs of negroes were at work, looking up complacently for a
moment as the vessel glided by. I was subsequently told by a gentleman
who had been long resident in the state of Louisiana, that no punishment
so effectually strikes with terror the negro mind, as that of hanging,
the very threat being sufficient to subdue (in general) the most
hardened offenders. This I do not wonder at, for perhaps there are few
field-hands living in the south but have, at some time or other,
witnessed the barbarities used at a negro execution, sudden death by
pistol or bowie knife being far preferable to the brutal sneers and
indignities heaped upon the victim by the cowardly assassins who
superintend such operations.

The monotony of the scenes which had for a thousand miles rendered the
passage irksome, began to break as we approached Natchez. This place
takes its name from the Natch-i-toches, or Red River, which falls into
the Mississippi, the abbreviation being a corruption of the original
Indian name, which is as above stated. The town stands on a declivity or
bluff, and is of considerable extent. I did not visit it, although the
boat halted for a considerable time, to land letter-bags and passengers.
I was informed by a fellow-passenger of gentlemanly bearing, who
resided in the vicinity, that it was a dissipated place, and gambling
the chief occupation of its inhabitants. The locality has been
remarkable for landslips, owing to the siliceous nature of the soil; I
saw traces of a fearful catastrophe of the kind which had, some time
before, buried or destroyed many of the houses and their occupants, the
enormous mass having also sunk several steam-boats and other vessels
which were moored at the foot of the bluff under the town.

After leaving Natchez, we steamed away with renewed vigour towards that
centre of slavery and dissipation, New Orleans, and were in due course
moored to the levee, which extends the whole river-length of the city,
and is about a mile in extent. The first news I heard, and which alarmed
me not a little, was that the yellow fever was at this time raging in
the city. New Orleans is just fifty-four miles from the mouth of the
Mississippi, and being built at the time of the Orleans Regency,
contains many ancient structures. Its inhabitants, even to this day, are
to a great extent either French or of Gaelic origin. It lies exceedingly
flat, which causes the locality to be unhealthy and ill-suited to
European constitutions; the soil is, however, fertile and rich; this is,
perhaps, to be accounted for by the constant irrigation it undergoes
from the overflowing of the Mississippi, which, like another Nile,
periodically submerges the country around its banks. The town is
situated on the east side of the river.

The vast quantity of shipping of all classes in the harbour is a very
striking feature in this extensive and wealthy city. The bad eminence to
which New Orleans has attained is painful to contemplate. Its wealth is
purchased by the blood and tears of thousands of slaves, who are daily
exposed like cattle in its markets; and this fact operates on the mind
of an Englishman to the prejudice of its inhabitants. I was myself
filled with disgust towards the whites, as well as pity towards the
blacks, on beholding, immediately on our arrival, a gang of forty or
fifty negroes, of both sexes, and nearly all ages, working in shackles
on the wharf. These, I was informed, were principally captured
fugitives; they looked haggard and care-worn, and as they toiled with
their barrows with uncovered heads, under a burning sun, they were
mercilessly lashed with a heavy slave-whip, by a tall, athletic negro,
who acted as overseer, and who, with refined cruelty, dispensed the
punishment alike on stout men, slender youths, and thin attenuated
females. Our arrival having attracted the notice of the gang, and
induced a momentary halt in their work, the unfeeling wretch commenced
a furious onslaught with the whip, each crack of which, followed, as it
was, by the groans or cries of the sufferer, roused the indignant
feelings of the passengers, many of whom were from the free states, and
who simultaneously raised a yell of execration which made the welkin
resound, and caused the cruel driver to stand aghast. This demonstration
drew a remonstrance from the captain, who represented to the passengers
the danger of such conduct, and concluded by observing that if it was
repeated, it would probably arouse the indignation of the citizens, who
were very bigoted. He should be sorry, he added, to be obliged to put
the vessel about again, a proceeding that might be necessary for the
safety of all on board, unless they were more cautious. Some of the
passengers seemed disposed to dispute this argument, but they were
overruled by the majority, who, better acquainted with southern usages,
prejudices, and barbarities, thought that discretion under the
circumstances would be the better part of valour. I afterwards found
that the captain's view was a strictly correct one, for so jealous are
the citizens of men entertaining hostility to the pro-slavery cause,
that spies are often sent on board newly-arrived boats, to ascertain if
missionaries are amongst the passengers. These spies, with Jesuitical
art, introduce themselves by making apparently casual inquiries on
leading topics of those they suspect, and if their end is subserved,
basely betray them, or, what is more usual, keep them under strict
surveillance, with a view to their being detected in disseminating
abolition doctrines amongst the slaves, when they are immediately made
amenable to the laws, and are fined or imprisoned.

On landing, I hired a sorry conveyance, driven by a creole and drawn by
a mule, and had my luggage taken to a house in the suburbs, where I had
been recommended to take up my residence during my stay, which, owing to
the presence of the yellow fever, that daily carried off numbers of
victims, I had determined, contrary to my original intention, should be
short.

The crowds of people on the levee, attracted by the constant arrival of
steam-boats, had a motley appearance; many of these were rough-looking
fellows, fit for any occupation, most of them being armed with bowie
knives, the silver hilts of which could often be seen peering
suspiciously from under the waistcoat, in the inner lining of which a
case or scabbard of leather is sewn for the reception of the weapon. The
vast proportion of blacks in the streets soon struck me. I should think
they were five to one of the white population. These, for the most part,
wore in wretched plight; many of them begged of the passers-by, which
practice I found afterwards to be very general, especially in the
suburbs of the city.

Amongst the passengers on our boat, was a person, apparently of the
better class, who was met at the levee by two black servants with a
carriage. I noticed particularly, that, although the negroes touched
their hats, and inquired how he was (by which I concluded he had been
absent for some time), he did not deign to answer their inquiries. From
their timidity, it was evident that he was an overbearing man, and the
imperial haughtiness manifested in giving them his orders, confirmed
this impression. This individual was one of those who condemned the
demonstration I have noticed, when the boat first approached the levee.

After a day's rest at my boarding-house, I walked through the city, and
afterwards visited the calaboose, which in New Orleans is a mart for
produce, as well as a place of detention and punishment for slaves. Here
those owners who are averse to correcting their slaves in a rigorous
manner at home, send them to be flogged. The brutal way in which this is
done at the calaboose, strikes terror into the negro mind, and the
threat is often sufficient to tame the most incorrigible. Instances, I
was told, have often occurred of negroes expiring under the severity of
the discipline here; but it was remarked that the pecuniary loss
attendant on such casualties made the keepers careful not to exceed the
physical endurance of the sufferer, and that they were so well
acquainted with negro constitutions that it was a rare exception for
death to ensue. The punishment, however, almost always resulted in the
victim being invalided and unfitted for exertion for a considerable
time.

I believe New Orleans to be as vile a place as any under the sun; a
perfect Ghetto or cursed place; in fact, it is the rendezvous of
renegades of all nations, and hordes of negro traders and planters are
to be seen flocking round the hotels. These are extensive patrons of the
gambling-houses; and the faro, _rouge-et-noir,_ roulette, and other
establishments, fitted up with gorgeous saloons, are generally crowded
with them. As you pass, you may observe the frequenters of such places
in dozens, deeply engaged in play, while the teller of the establishment
sits at a table with a huge heap of Spanish doubloons or Mexican mill
dollars before him, which he adds to or takes from with the tact of a
banker's clerk, as the chances of luck may arise. Violence and Woodshed
have been indigenous to this city from time immemorial, and feuds are
instantly settled by an appeal to the bowie knife, or ever-ready
revolver. Highway robberies are very frequent, and I was told it was
more than your life was worth to be out after dark, in certain
localities, unless armed and on your guard. The police authorities are,
nevertheless, vigilant, and the magistrates severe, so that many
desperadoes are brought to justice.

The suburbs of New Orleans lie low, and the swampy soil emits a
poisonous miasma. This is, without doubt, the cause of virulent
epidemics that visit the city annually with direful effect. Thousands
fly to the northern states, to escape the contagion; but there are many
who, for want of means, are obliged to risk a continued residence at
such periods, and it is amongst those that the yellow fever, the ague,
or the flux, plays dreadful havoc. It is the custom for the small
store-keepers, as well as the more affluent merchants, to confide their
affairs at such seasons to others, and I have frequently seen
advertisements in the _New Orleans Picayune_, and other papers, offering
a gratuity to persons to undertake the charge in their absence.

The heat, although the summer was not far advanced, was excessive, and
the thousands of mosquitoes that filled the air, especially after a fall
of rain, when they seemed to burst into life in myriads spontaneously,
kept up an increasing annoyance. At night this was ten-fold, for
notwithstanding the gauze awnings, or bars, as they are called, which
completely enveloped the bedstead, to the floor of the room, they found
admittance with pertinacious audacity, and kept up a buzzing and humming
about my ears that almost entirely deprived me of rest. This unceasing
nuisance in the hot season, makes it difficult to keep one's equanimity
of temper, and has, probably, much to do with that extreme irascibility
shown by the southern inhabitants of the American continent.

The appearance and situation of hundreds of quadroon females in this
city, soon attracted my attention, and deserve notice. I saw numbers of
them not only at the bazaars or shops making purchases, but riding in
splendid carriages through the streets. So prodigal are these poor
deluded creatures of their money, that, although slaves and liable to
immediate sale at the caprice of their keepers, they have often been
known to spend in one afternoon 200 dollars in a shopping excursion.
Endowed with natural talents, they are readily instructed in every
accomplishment, requisite to constitute them charming companions. Often
as a carriage dashes by, the pedestrian is able to catch a glimpse of
some jewelled and turbaned sultana, of dazzling beauty, attended by her
maid, who does not always possess a sinecure, for the mistress is often
haughty, proud, and petulant, very hard to please, and exacts great
deference from her inferiors. Many of them live in regal splendour, and
everything that wealth and pampered luxury can bestow is theirs, as long
as their personal charms remain; but when their beauty has ceased to
gratify the passions of their masters, they are, in most instances, cast
off, and frequently die in a condition which presents the greatest
possible contrast to their former gay but not happy life.

"Oh that they had earlier died,
Sleeping calmly side by side,
Where the tyrant's power is o'er,
And the fetter galls no more."

Many of such poor outcasts are to be found scattered all over the slave
states, some employed as field hands, but in general they are selected
as domestics, their former habits of luxury and ease rendering their
constitutions too delicate for the exposure of ordinary field labour. It
is not, however, as the reader will have observed, commiseration that
saves them from that degradation. As soon as beauty begins to fade,
which in southern climes it does prematurely, the unfeeling owners of
these unfortunates succeed in ridding themselves of what is now
considered a burden, by disposing of the individual to some heartless
trader. This is done unknown to the victim, and the news, when it
reaches her, drives her almost frantic; she at once seeks her
perfidious paramour, and finds to her dismay, that he has been gone
some days on a tour to the provinces, and is, perhaps, a thousand miles
off. Tears and protestations avail her nothing, the trader is
inexorable, she belongs to him by law, and go she must; at length,
having vainly expended her entreaties, she becomes calm, and submits in
sullen apathy to her wretched fate. This is the ordinary history of such
cases.

Considering it unsafe to remain longer in this infected city, from the
reports that the fever was gaining ground, I now made preparations for
leaving New Orleans, and as I had made an engagement to manage the
affairs of a gentleman in Florida, during his absence at Washington, I
determined to proceed thither with the least possible delay. In
furtherance of this object I made inquiries for a conveyance by water to
St. Marks, giving the preference to steam. In this object I was,
however, disappointed, and was obliged to take a passage on board a
brig, about to sail for that obscure port. The vessel was towed down to
the balize or mouth of the Mississippi, in company with two others, by a
departing steamer, which had on board the mail for Bermuda and St.
George's Island. Arrived at the balize, whose banks for several miles
are overflowed by the sea, I saw a small fleet of vessels, some outward
and some inward bound. Amongst these was a United States ship of war,
of great beauty, carrying heavy guns. A boat from this vessel, in charge
of an officer, boarded us, and delivered to the captain a sealed packet,
which I understood to be a dispatch, addressed to General Taylor, the
officer in command of the troops operating against the Indians in
Florida.

The coast about the balize is low and swampy, and everywhere abounds in
rush and cane brakes which give its sea-beach a desolate appearance.
These morasses harbour thousands of alligators, whose roar had a
singular effect as it rose above the breeze. Flocks of aquatic birds
were to be seen on every side, the most numerous being the pelican, and
a bird of the cotinga species, about the size of an English throstle,
the plumage of which, being jet black and flamingo red, had a beautiful
effect in the sunshine, as they flew or settled in thousands on the
canes.

Our passage across the Gulf of Mexico was a favourable one, but when
within forty miles of our destination, the vessel struck on a hidden
sand-bank. The fog was so dense, that the captain had been mistaken in
his reckoning, and had taken a wrong course. For a considerable time we
were in great jeopardy, and every attempt to get the ship again afloat
was unavailing; and, had not the weather been moderate, there is little
doubt but that she would have been lost, and our lives placed in great
peril. After some hours' exertion, during which an anchor was lost, and
a quantity of iron thrown overboard, we had the satisfaction to find
that the vessel was adrift. This was a great relief to us, for had a
gale sprung up in the night, which was closing in, we must have taken to
the boat, and abandoned the vessel, a perilous undertaking, from which
we all felt too happy to have escaped. I was told by the captain that
the coast here abounds with hidden sand-banks of the description we had
encountered. This, perhaps, together with the poor harbour accommodation
in Florida, accounts for the small size of the vessels which generally
trade there.

The desolate look of the coast from the deck of the vessel, did not
convey to my mind a very favourable impression of the country, and the
hostile disposition of the Indians tended not a little to excite
forebodings of evil, that at one time almost induced me to abandon my
intention, and return to the north. These apprehensions were, however,
allayed by the representations of the captain of the vessel, who stated
that the Indians seldom attempted to molest armed parties, and that an
understanding with the government was daily expected, through the recent
capture of some important sachems or chiefs, under whose influence and
leadership hostilities had been carried on. This information reassured
me, and I determined to proceed, although I found afterwards that it was
almost entirely a misrepresentation, which, however, I cannot believe
was wilful, as the captain would have had me for a passenger on the
return voyage.

I soon after landed in a boat from the shore. The bay or harbour of St.
Marks is not attractive, neither is the town, which presents a desolate
appearance. The houses or stores are chiefly of wood, painted white, the
venetian blinds of the houses being green, as in most parts of the
United States. The hotel-entrances were crowded with loungers, in
snow-white clothing, large Leghorn or palmetto hats, and fancy-coloured
shirts, who smoked cigars incessantly, and generally discussed with
energy the inroads of the Indians, or other leading topics of the day.
The houses are low and irregularly built, and the appearance of the
whole place and its inhabitants, as far as I could see, wore a
forbidding aspect, and was indicative of anything but prosperity.

My next stage was to Tallahassee by railroad, through a desolate-looking
country, whose soil was sand, and whose vegetation looked stunted,
presenting little to cheer the senses, or call forth remark; in fact,
everything around told of a country whose centre is flourishing, but
whose frontiers are a wilderness. Just before we started, a
well-dressed negro, apparently a footman or butler, applied for a seat
in the carriage. He was told by the station-keeper, that there was no
conveyance for "niggers" this train, and he must wait for the following
one. He at first disputed his right to refuse him a passage in the
carriage, which roused the ire of the station-keeper, who threatened to
kick him if he was not soon off. This seemed to awe him, for he quietly
left the station, muttering, however, as he went, his intention of
reporting the circumstance to Colonel Gambole. This caused me to make
some inquiry about the colonel whose name he had mentioned, and who I
learned was his master. I was also informed that no negroes in that
district were so insolent, owing to the indulgence with which all his
hands were treated. I could see, however, that the negro had different
men to deal with here, and if he had not taken his departure, he would,
without a doubt, have been kicked or felled to the ground, on the least
further provocation--a course pursued without hesitation in cases where
a negro assumes anything like equality in the south.

CHAPTER V.

"The fragrant birch above him hung
Her tassels in the sky,
And many a vernal blossom sprung,
And nodded careless by.
But there was weeping far away;
And gentle eyes for him,
With watching many an anxious day,
Were sorrowful and dim."--BRYANT.

Florida, in which state I now found myself, is divided into East, West,
and Middle. It is a wild extent of country, about 300 miles from north
to south. The king of Spain held possession of the territory in 1810,
but it was afterwards ceded by treaty to the Federal Government. It was
discovered in 1497 by Sebastian Cabot. St. Augustine is the capital of
East, and Pensacola of West, Florida. This country is, for the most
part, a howling wilderness, and is never likely to become thickly
populated. The dreary pine-barrens and sand-hills are slightly
undulating, and are here and there thickly matted with palmetto.

In pursuance of my original design, I had now to penetrate nearly a
hundred miles into the interior; and, as the Indians and fugitive
negroes were scouring that part of the country in hostile bands, I
contemplated this part of my route with no little anxiety. I determined,
however, to proceed. The journey lay through a wild country, intersected
with streams and rivers, every one of which swarmed with alligators.
This, although not a very pleasant reflection, did not trouble me much,
as I had by this time become acquainted with the propensities of these
creatures, and knew that they were not given to attacking white men,
unless provoked or wounded, although a negro or a dog is never safe
within their reach. They are, however, repulsive-looking creatures, and
it is not easy to divest the mind of apprehension when in their
vicinity.

My destination was an inlet of the sea, called Deadman's Bay, from
whence it was my intention, after transacting some business I had
undertaken, to take passage by steamer to Cuba, intending to return to
the continent, after a limited stay there, and on some of the adjacent
islands. In this, however, I was disappointed, as I shall by-and-by
show. My plan was to travel by easy stages under escort, and encamp out
at night; so, having secured the services of six men, who were well
armed and mounted on horseback, and having furnished ourselves with a
tent and other necessaries, which were carried by individuals of the
party, we left Tallahassee, on our way inland, under a scorching sun. We
could proceed but slowly after reaching the pine-barrens, the soil of
which is loose sand, and at every step the animals we rode sank to the
fetlock, which caused them to be greatly fatigued at the close of the
day.

At night-fall, after selecting our ground adjacent to a river, we
pitched our tent, and supper was prepared. This consisted of jerked
venison (dried by a slow fire), broiled turkey, two of which we had shot
upon our way, bread, and coffee. One of our party walked round our
position as a sentinel, and was relieved every two hours; it being
necessary to keep a vigilant look out, on account of the Indian and
runaway negro marauders, who roam through these wilds in bands, and
subsist chiefly in plundering farms and small parties. A huge fire of
resinous pine branches (which are plentiful in these solitudes, and
strew the ground in all directions, blackened with fire and age) was
blazing to keep off the wolves and catamounts, whose terrific yells, in
conjunction with other beasts, prevented our sleeping. They did not,
however, venture within rifle shot. The Indians, on attacking small
parties, have a practice of imitating the cry of the wolf, and this
circumstance being known to us, tended not a little to raise our
suspicions on hearing the fearful howlings that rang through the
wilderness.

In the morning, we proceeded through barren sand-plains, skirted with
dense hammocks (jungles) and forests. We were much annoyed by mosquitoes
and sand-flies, which kept the whole party in discomfort from their
attacks. Dusky-looking deer-flies constantly alighted on our faces and
hands, and made us jump with the severity of their bites, as did also a
large fly, of brilliant mazarine blue colour, about the size of a humble
bee, the name of which I have forgotten.

In crossing one of the numerous streams, we had to wade or swim our
horses over, an incident occurred which rather alarmed me. I was on a
horse of that Arabian blood, build, and spirit, so common in
saddle-horses in America, and a little in advance of the party, when I
reached a river that intersected our track, and which we had to cross.
After allowing the animal to quench its thirst, I applied spurs and
urged it into the stream; it being averse from some cause to take the
water. The stream was, however, deeper than I anticipated, and the horse
immediately began to stumble and flounder in an alarming manner,
showing that the river bed was uneven and rocky. About half-way across
was a small island, that divided the stream, which after much difficulty
he reached; resting here about a minute, I again urged him forward, but
the animal seemed very reluctant to go. He wheeled short round, snorted
loudly as if in fear, and was evidently in unusual alarm. After some
coaxing, he, however, plunged into the water, and I expected to be able
to gain the opposite shore in advance of my companions, but just as we
were half-way between the little island and the opposite bank, which was
very steep, the horse again became restive, rearing as if dreadfully
frightened. I had the greatest difficulty to keep the saddle, which was
a high Mexican one, covered with bear-skin, and as easy to ride in as a
chair. I now began to suspect the cause of his alarm. The stream was one
of those black-looking currents that flow noiselessly along, and which
in Florida always harbour the largest-sized alligators. When I first
came to it, I remembered this, and thinking to frighten off any of these
lurkers that might be in the vicinity, I had dashed precipitately into
the stream. This practice, or shouting loudly and firing a pistol into
the water, usually succeeds. I soon found out, however, that the
presence of one of the ugly creatures was the cause of the horse's
trepidation, for, within six feet of us, I discerned a pair of eyes, set
in huge brown excrescences, fixed intently on me and my horse, with
malicious gaze. I knew they belonged to a veteran, and dreading lest its
snout might be within two feet of my leg, for the old alligators boast
enormous length of jaw, I sat tailor-wise in my saddle, and levelled my
rifle at the horrid object; the reptile had, however, observed my
movements, and disappeared beneath the surface; I instantly discharged
my piece in the direction he had taken, and certainly gave him a lesson,
for the water around me was directly after tinged with blood; he was
probably hurt severely, or he might have resented my temerity. I soon
after reached the shore in safety, where I was speedily joined by the
escort, who saw nothing of the reptile in their way across, and who,
being men bred amongst such scenes, and totally divested of fear, at
once took the water, although they had witnessed the encounter.

The cayman of South America is very ferocious, and is popularly styled
the hyena of the alligator tribe. This savage creature will instantly
attack a man or a horse, and on this account the Indians of Chili,
before wading a stream, take the precaution of using long poles, to
ascertain its presence or to drive it away. Naturalists assert that the
cayman is not found in the North American rivers, and I should imagine
this to be correct, for, although engaged in many alligator hunts, I
found from personal experience and minute inquiry that the species found
in North America is harmless if unmolested.

After a laborious ride we arrived at Fort Andrews, where we found a
military station of U.S. Infantry. We halted here for several days, I
having business requiring my attention, and ourselves and our beasts
needing to recruit our strength, before continuing our route to the Bay.
The forest scenery here almost defies description. Immense cedars, and
other lordly trees, rear their gigantic and lightning-scathed heads over
their smaller and less hardy but graceful neighbours; cactuses,
mimonias, and tropical shrubs and flowers, which at home are to be seen
only in conservatories or green-houses are here in profusion,

"And plants, at whose name the verse feels loath,
Fill the place with a monstrous undergrowth,
Prickly, and pulpous, and blistering, and blue,
Livid, and starred with a lurid hue,"

while innumerable forms of insect and reptile life, from the tiny yellow
scorpion to the murky alligator of eighteen feet in length, give a
forbidding aspect to the scene. Racoons, squirrels, wild turkeys,
pelicans, vultures, quails, doves, wild deer, opossums, chickmuncks,
white foxes, wild cats, wolves,--are ever and anon to be seen among the
high palmetto brakes, and the alligators in the bayous arid swamps,
"make night hideous" with their discordant bellowings and the vile odour
which they emit. The _tout ensemble_ of the place brings to recollection
those striking lines of Hood,

"O'er all there hung the shadow of a fear,
A sense of mystery the spirit daunted,
And said, as plain as whisper in the ear,
The place is haunted."

During my stay at Fort Andrews, a large detachment of U.S. troops
arrived, continuing a campaign against the recreant Indians and negroes.
The appearance of the men and officers was wretched in the extreme; they
had for weeks been beating through swamps and hammocks, thickly matted
with palmetto bush, which had torn their undress uniforms in tatters,
searching for an invisible enemy, who, thoroughly acquainted with the
everglades, defied every attempt at capture. The whole party looked
harassed, disappointed, and forlorn. General Taylor was with and had
command of this detachment, which was about 400 strong. As I had heard
this man vauntingly spoken of in the north, as the brave cotemporary of
Scott, I felt no little curiosity to see him. His appearance surprised
me. He was a burly, unmilitary-looking man, of most forbidding aspect,
and much more like a yeoman than a soldier. A sword, much out of place,
dangled awkwardly by his side, and was the only badge of his profession
about him, except a black leathern cap; otherwise, he was habited as a
private citizen. His small army encamped below the fort; and, as I
thought, in most un-general style, he superintended the erection of his
own marquee. He had with him several negroes, who were his body
servants; and the coarse epithets he applied to them during the
operation did not prepossess me in his favour, or, I thought, reflect
much credit on his refinement.

At nightfall cries of distress arose from the marquee, and as I
approached it I could distinctly hear one of the bondsmen earnestly
pleading for mercy. Listening for a moment, I heard this distinguished
general exclaiming vociferously, and belabouring the poor negro heavily
with a raw-hide whip; most likely venting the spleen he felt at his
non-success against the Indians, the expedition having hitherto been
unsuccessful. The poor negro had offended his master, by some trivial
act, no doubt, and in southern style he was correcting him, without much
regard, it is true, to publicity. This, in southern latitudes, is so
common, that it is thought little of; and the occurrence caused on this
occasion only a passing remark from those present. The negro was his
own, and he had a right, it was stated, to correct him, as and when he
pleased; who could dispute it? For my own part, I entertained the most
abhorrent feelings towards a man, who, without sense of shame, or decent
regard for his station, thus unblushingly published his infamy amongst
strangers, and this man a would-be patriot, too, and candidate for the
Presidential chair, which, it will be remembered, he afterwards
obtained. I was told that flogging his negroes was a favourite pastime
with this eminently-distinguished general, and that he was by no means
liked by his officers or men. His appearance bespoke his tyrannical
disposition; and this, coupled with incapacity, there is little doubt,
conduced to make it necessary for him to relinquish his command of the
army of the south, which he did not long after, being succeeded, I
believe, by General Armstead.

As I mentioned before, the force that accompanied him was in forlorn
case, reminding me strongly of Shakspere's description of Falstaff's
ragged regiment. It consisted chiefly of raw, undrilled troops, quite
unused to discipline, but, perhaps, as effective as veterans in the
service in which they were employed, the adroitness of the enemy,
accustomed to the interminable swamps, hammocks, and cane-brakes which
abound in this country, quite paralyzing the energies of the men, and
destroying that _esprit du corps_ without which no success can be
expected in an army.

Several Indian sachems or chiefs accompanied the command; these were
fine-looking fellows, but appeared exhausted from long marching through
the wilderness One of these, named Powell, particularly attracted my
notice; he was a very interesting young man, of feminine aspect, and
little resembling his stalwart companions. He had originally been
captured, but by kind treatment had been brought over to friendly views,
and was now acting as a guide. It was stated that his father was much
incensed against him, and had employed emissaries to despatch him
secretly. A few months after this campaign I heard that he was shot
while out hunting; no doubt, at the instigation of his unnatural parent,
who preferred his death to his continuing in league with white men.

Leaving Fort Andrews, I now pushed onward to Deadman's Bay. The country
we passed through was much the same as I have before described; the
journey took us the better part of two days. On the way we saw a herd of
wild cattle, which scoured the plain in consternation on espying our
party; urging on our horses, we tried to bring one down, but they
outstripped us. Some miles farther on, and near a thick hammock, about a
quarter of a mile a-head, a huge black bear stood snuffing the air; we
again put spurs to our horses to try to intercept his retreat, but he
was too quick for us, and made at his utmost speed (a sort of shambling
trot) for the coppice or jungle, which he soon entered, and disappeared
from our sight. At nightfall, a pack of ravenous wolves, headed by a
large white one, serenaded us, and came near enough to our camp-fire to
seize a small terrier belonging to one of the party. The poor animal,
unused to the dangers around, had the temerity to run out and bark at
the pack--he soon after gave one agonizing yelp, and we never saw him
again. As a reprisal, three of the party fired, and brought one of the
wolves to the ground; he was of great size, and, I should say, could
have carried away a sheep, or a good sized hog (of which they are very
fond), with ease. We could not, however, skin him--he was so infested
with fleas. In the settlements they often seize and carry off children,
but they do not molest adults.

As we proceeded, we kept a vigilant look-out for Indians, a number of
whom, we had heard at Fort Andrews, had been driven in the direction we
were travelling. We fortunately escaped molestation, but saw in several
places human bones, probably the relics of a former combat between the
United States troops, or travellers like ourselves, and Indians or
negroes. One skull I picked up had been split with a tomahawk, besides
having a bullet-hole in it about the region of the left ear. Our
situation was one of great peril, but I had made up my mind to proceed
at all hazards, despite the opposition shown by two or three of the
settlers composing my escort, who, on more than one occasion, pointed
out Indian camp-grounds of only a few days' age. At one of these we
found a quantity of Indian flour or arrowroot, part of a bridle, and the
offal of a calf; but we left the former, imagining it might be poisoned,
the latter was of no use, our only dog having been devoured by the
wolves. Passing through a dense hammock, of a quarter of a mile in
width, through which the pioneers of the American army had recently cut
a rough road, I dismounted, to take a view of these sombre shades on
either hand. The solemn stillness around seemed to me like the shadow of
death--especially so, from the peril we were in through the deadly feud
existing at the time between the Indians and white men. I penetrated for
full a quarter of a mile into this fastness in a lateral direction, and,
in doing so, suddenly startled two immense white birds of the adjutant
species, which were standing in a swamp surrounded by majestic cedar
trees. I could easily have brought one down with my rifle, but I thought
it wanton cruelty to do so. They were, I should think, quite six feet
high, and beautifully white, with a yellow tinge. The head of one,
which, I suppose, was the male bird, was surmounted by a golden crest.
They sailed quietly away over my head, not appearing much alarmed by the
intrusion.

In these primeval shades, where, perhaps, the foot of man never before
trod (for I looked in vain for such traces), are many beasts, birds, and
reptiles, which live in perfect security; for, although the Indian
dwells here, and subsists by hunting, yet the territory is so vast, and
the red men are so few in proportion, that there can be little doubt
that many places are untraversed.

Emerging on the open sand-plain somewhat unexpectedly, I caused my party
no little alarm; they instinctively grasped their rifles, imagining the
approach of a party of hostile Indians.

The constant dread of molestation causes the traveller here to be ever
on the _qui-vive_, the precaution being highly necessary, to prevent
surprise. The least movement in a coppice excites apprehension, and
fills the soul of both the resolute and the timorous with anticipations
of danger. Nor are these fears groundless, for the treacherous Indian
crawls stealthily to the attack, and, without a moment's warning, two or
three of a party may fall to the earth, pierced by rifle-balls, or
rearing horses may throw the riders, and leave them at the mercy of
these ruthless assassins.

Arriving at length at the Bay in safety, I was accommodated in the
officers' quarters of a temporary fort or stockade, erected there. The
steamer had left, so that I was compelled to remain here longer than I
had intended, awaiting the arrival of the next boat. To beguile the
time, I went for miles into the forests, looking for game, often coming
back disappointed and weary; at others rewarded by, perhaps, a racoon,
or, what I valued more, a fawn or wild turkey. There was, however,
plenty of sport on the river, and thousands of wild ducks, gannet, and
pelicans, inhabited the little islands in the vicinity, and reared their
young there; some of these islands being covered with their eggs. Large
numbers of alligators infested the streams adjacent, and their
bellowings, in concert with bull-frogs and other reptiles, often
banished sleep for nights together, although I was pretty well
accustomed to such annoyances. Snakes were often to be met with,
although harmless if unmolested; amongst these, the moccason, hoop, and
garter snakes, of which I procured several specimens, were the most
common to be met with. Rattle-snakes exist in rocky districts, but I saw
none of them here.

The steamer not arriving as I anticipated, after remaining for a
considerable time, and getting tired of so solitary a life, I determined
to retrace my steps to Tallahassee.

While remaining at this post, a party of mounted volunteers arrived from
Georgia. These men were mostly sons of farmers, who had suffered from
the unceasing attacks of the Indians on their farms, in many instances
accompanied by the butchery of some members of their families. It was
arranged that a company of U.S. Infantry, stationed at the fort, should
act in concert with these men, and scour the country for twenty miles
round, to search for Indians, traces of whom had been seen, and who, it
was very certain, were encamped not many miles off. As I felt desirous
of observing the operations of these little campaigns against so wily a
foe, I intimated to a major, my intention of accompanying the
expedition. He was pleased with the proposal, and furnished me with a
splendid rifle and other equipments, from the stores of the depot. After
a short delay, owing to the non-arrival of some waggons that were
intended to accompany the expedition, the whole force mustered in front
of the stockade enclosure, and being furnished with ten days' provisions
for man and horse, started under command of the major aforesaid, across
the sand-plains, in order to reach a dense cedar and cypress swamp, ten
miles distant, where it was suspected the enemy was concealed. After a
tedious march through a wild country, so overgrown with saw palmetto and
underbrush, that our horses had great difficulty to get through it, we
arrived at the skirts of the swamp; here a consultation took place
between the officers present, and it was arranged that an Indian guide
whom we had with us, should go in and hold a parley with the Indians, to
induce them if possible, to surrender. The guide went into the hammock,
which extended along the edge of the swamp as far as the eye could
reach, right and left. I should have mentioned, that this man, with the
usual Indian acuteness, had discovered indubitable signs that the enemy
was in the vicinity, long before we reached the spot. After an absence
of about an hour, during which time we refreshed ourselves, and made
preparations for an expected struggle, our guide returned, bringing with
him a bow and quiver of arrows, as proofs of his interview with the
secreted Indians. The account he gave, which was interpreted by a
half-bred Indian who accompanied the expedition for the purpose, was,
that after penetrating some distance into the fastness, he came to the
encampment of the enemy, and was instantly surrounded by warriors, who
seized him, but after parleying for a considerable time, let him go,
presenting him with a bow and arrows, as a symbol of their unflinching
resolve to continue the war.

On hearing this, it was at once determined by the officer in command
that the whole force (except a guard for the horses and waggons) should
go in and surprise them. The guide shook his head at this, and, pointing
towards the swamp, said, "That is the way. I have shown it to you;
follow it if you will; I do not go." It was, however, of no use to
dally, and orders were given for all hands to follow into the swamp. For
my own part, I wished to stay behind, but was told that such a course
was attended with danger, as the Indians would most likely emerge from
another part of the hammock, and endeavour to seize the horses, and
ransack the waggons. This decided my adopting the least of the two
evils, although I fully expected we should have a battle. After
penetrating for I should think upwards of two miles, sometimes up to our
knees in miry clay, and often stopped by impassable barriers of wild
vines and other prehensile plants, which annoyed us greatly, and made me
regret a thousand times that I had courted such dangers and
inconveniences, the sound of two rifle-shots threw the whole party into
indescribable commotion. Supposing we were attacked, all hands flew as
quick as thought to the trees around, where each one, peeping from
behind the trunks which were sought as a shelter against the rifle-balls
of the expected foe, waited for a few moments in great suspense, when,
suddenly, a loud cheer from the party in advance, followed by several
rifle-shots, told us they had come upon the encampment. As the firing
ceased, I knew the Indians had fled; this seemed also the opinion of the
volunteers near me, who simultaneously left their hiding-place, and
pushed forward to the scene. On arriving at the spot, I found the
soldiers around a large Indian fire, over which was suspended a boiling
cauldron, filled with venison, the Indians having been, no doubt,
preparing a meal when disturbed by us; by the side, and not far from the
fire, was a large trough, made out of a fallen tree, in which was a
quantity of arrowroot in course of preparation. This plant grows
plentifully in this latitude, and is the principal fare of the Indians,
their squaws superintending the management of it. The remains of a fine
buck lay near, and also some moccasons, leggings, and other Indian gear.

The enemy we had so unceremoniously disturbed had, as usual, taken
flight; but we found traces of blood, and the advanced party stated that
they had fired on two warriors, who, with a woman and two children, were
on the spot when they came up.

As it was deemed quite useless to pursue them, from their being, no
doubt, well acquainted with the intricacies of the fastness, and,
therefore, sure to evade us, we regaled ourselves on the venison, of
which some refused to partake, lest it should be poisoned. It was
decided that the force should emerge from the swamp to the open plain
about a mile above the spot where we had left the waggons, by a
circuitous route; this was accordingly done, but our progress was so
difficult, that the Indians had ample opportunity to fly before us, and
we saw no further traces of them.

On reaching the waggons, we found, to our great satisfaction, that all
was safe, and as night was approaching, it was decided to encamp there,
a spring of turbid water being in the vicinity A cordon of sentinels was
accordingly placed around our resting-place, and some tents were pitched
for a portion of the party; the remainder, wrapped in blankets, sleeping
on the sand. After the whiskey had passed round, the jocular little
major in command proposed a song, and as one of the infantry soldiers
was an adept at the art, he was invited to our marquee. Although in the
very midst of danger, for we knew not how formidable in number the
Indians were, we passed a merry evening.

Soon after this affair, the party returned to the bay, and in a day or
two I started on my return to Tallahassee. About twenty miles from
Deadman's Bay, we overtook a fugitive negro, and as we came upon him
unexpectedly, when turning the edge of a hammock, he had not time to
retreat, being within rifle-range, or he would doubtless have done so.
He threw up his arms, and gave a piercing shriek (an unvariable custom
of Indians when in danger), expecting to be instantly shot. He had,
however, nothing to fear, having fallen in with friends and not foes. As
I saw he was without a rifle, I dashed forward and accosted him first.
He was soon assured, by my manner of addressing him, and begged
earnestly that we would not detain or hurt him. This I at once promised,
if he would inform us whether Indians were near. He said no, they had
left that country two suns (days) ago, taking an easterly direction, and
we might proceed to Fort Andrews in safety.

After putting several other questions to him, I inquired if the Indians
would cross our path to Tallahassee from that post. He said no, they
were far off in another direction, having gone to East Florida, eighty
miles distant. The fellow was in poor case, and begged for food, saying
he was starving. I, therefore, desired the men to supply him with some
dried venison and bread, which he ate with avidity. He refused to tell
me his master's name, but said there were hundreds of negroes fighting
with the Indians, six from the same plantation as himself. My companions
were at first intent upon securing him, but being averse to that
course, I dared them to do it; when, seeing I was fully determined on
this point, they did not insist. Pointing to the hammock, after giving
him a dram of brandy, I bid him be off, when he darted like a deer into
the thicket, and disappeared from our view, with a loud shout of
exultation.

About ten miles further on, as we passed the edge of a dense hammock, we
heard the bay of an Indian dog, and fearing the proximity of a party of
marauders, we were instantly on the alert. The dog did not, however,
come out of the wood, and we rode from the dangerous vicinity with all
dispatch. Arrived again at Fort Andrews, without any further adventure
worth recording, we found a party of volunteers about to proceed to Fort
Pleasant, in the direction we were going. After recruiting my now almost
exhausted strength by a refreshing sleep, I went down to their
encampment, by the river's edge. They had the day before encountered a
strong party of Indians, whom they repulsed with loss. Some of the party
showed me several bloody scalps of warriors they had killed. I could not
help remarking the beauty of the hair, which was raven-black, and shone
with a beautiful gloss. They had several captured Indian women with
them, and half-a-dozen children; the former were absorbed in grief, and
one in particular, whose young husband had been shot in the fray, and
whose scalp was one of those I have just mentioned, was quite
overwhelmed. The children, little conscious of the misery of their
parents, swam about and dived in the river like amphitrites; they each
carried a small bow and quiver of arrows. There is no doubt the Indians
these volunteers had fallen in with and routed, were the identical party
referred to by the negro we had met some forty-eight hours before.

I had made up my mind to stay at Fort Andrews for a time, partly to
fulfil an engagement with a friend whom I had arranged to meet here, and
to whom I shall shortly have to refer more at length, and partly to
recruit my strength, a tertian ague having seized me, which much
debilitated my frame, and made travelling very irksome. My accommodation
was indifferent, but medical assistance, which I needed most, was not
wanting, and I shall never forget the courtesy of the officers.

I employed my time chiefly in rambling the woods, when health would
permit, and had a boat lent to me, with which, in company, I several
times penetrated the tortuous river, Esteenahatchie, to the bay, some
miles distant. At night the boats were all sunk, or they would have been
stolen or destroyed by the Indians, who hovered round and committed
petty depredations at every opportunity. Below the fort, was a ruinous
mill, in a gloomy dell, through which the river wended its silent
course. This had once been tenanted, but the inhabitants were murdered
some years before by the Indians, who afterwards (as is their almost
unvarying custom), added to the atrocity by setting fire to the
building.

Sitting one day, after a lengthened ramble, in solitary meditation on my
position and the surrounding scenery, I saw a fine Indian, who appeared
greatly fatigued, emerge from the adjoining hammock, and walk to the
edge of the stream, and there, after glancing round him with eager eye
and air, he laid down his rifle, and stepping on to a tree which
debouched into the stream (lying as it had been struck down by a
tornado), he crouched down at the end of it, and commenced laving
himself with the water. His appearance was romantic, and there is no
doubt, from his dress, he was a warrior of some note, probably following
his wife, one of the squaws captured by the volunteers I have before
mentioned, and who were still at Fort Andrews, awaiting orders from
General Taylor. I could have shot him to a certainty, had I been armed,
which was not the case. Had it been so, however, I was predetermined
never, unless in self-defence, to imbrue my hands in Indian or negro
blood while in the territory, neither was I disposed to betray him, for
I deeply sympathized with the misfortunes of his race, and well knew
that an inexcusable spirit of aggrandizement on the part of the Federal
Government had in the first place roused the indignation of both negroes
and red men, and provoked hostilities. After performing his ablution,
the Indian stalked like a deer into the recesses of the forest, I having
in the mean time, as a matter of policy, moved out of danger, for he was
no doubt animated with feelings of dire revenge, and in a very different
mood from that in which I have described myself to have been at the
time.

During my visit to Deadman's Bay, I had become acquainted with a Scotch
gentleman, who was employed on the medical staff of the U.S. army, I
believe, as a supernumerary, or candidate for a commission as a surgeon.
He was a most agreeable companion, of good natural parts, fluent in
conversation, intelligent in remark, free from egotism, and well
educated, I believe, at Cambridge, in England. We soon became attached
to each other. He accompanied me in my rambles, and we were almost
inseparable companions during my stay. He was one of those beings, in
fine, who seem to be sent at times to cheer the darkened highway of
existence under gloomy circumstances; and I fondly hoped to enjoy with
him a lengthened period of virtuous intimacy, and close, unalloyed
friendship, on more propitious soil.

But the decrees of Providence are inscrutable, and "his ways," indeed,
"past finding out." This was certainly strikingly exemplified by the
catastrophe I am about to relate, which deprived me for ever of my
friend.

When at the bay, he expressed a wish to visit St. Marks, Tallahassee,
and Apalachicola, and stated his intention, as soon as his engagements
permitted, to proceed thither by steamer, if opportunity offered--or
failing this, to go overland, availing himself of some escort which
might be proceeding in that direction. As I felt desirous to have his
company, on my route to South Carolina, I arranged to halt at Fort
Andrews, as before stated, that he should join me there in a week, and
then proceed in company with me to Fort Pleasant, forty miles distant,
and thence to Tallahassee.

The time having now come at which I was expecting his arrival, I was one
morning anxiously looking out through the long vista of pine trees and
barrens, when I descried in the distance two horsemen approaching at
their greatest speed; I at first imagined them to be, as they indeed
proved, an advanced party of my friend's escort--but, on their coming
up, I could see, from the agitation they were in, and the foaming state
of their horses, which were quite white and in a dreadfully exhausted
state, that something alarming had happened.

The tale was soon told:--It appeared, that about midway between the two
settlements, or stations, a party of Indians in ambush had fired upon
the party, and my friend had been treacherously murdered. I was much
affected by this intelligence, and, after some consultation with a
gentleman there, determined to get up a pretty strong party, and proceed
to the scene of the murder, to collect the remains of my poor friend,
whose bones would otherwise be left, as I had seen others in those
regions, to bleach on the sand hills. We soon started, the party
consisting of fourteen men, well armed with rifles, bowie knives, and
pistols, accompanied by a waggon, drawn by four stout mules and driven
by a negro, to convey back the remains. The expedition was attended with
no little danger, from the proximity of a newly-discovered party of
Indians, who were committing dreadful ravages in the district--but
whether in large or small force, was uncertain; they were, probably, the
party I have before adverted to, lingering about the vicinity.

After a melancholy journey, during which we were so absorbed by our
feelings, that little was said; we reached the fatal spot, it being
pointed but by one of the party who formed my friend's escort.' It was
on the edge of a dense hammock, by the skirts of which lay some enormous
trees, which had been levelled by a recent tornado. From behind this
barricade the Indians had unexpectedly fired on the party--the attack
was so sudden, that they appeared to have been quite taken by surprise.
This was the more extraordinary, as the whole neighbourhood was of a
description likely to be chosen by the red men for an ambuscade. The
party attacked must have been in great trepidation, for, from what I
could glean, the survivors put spurs to their horses' flanks, and
galloped off to Fort Andrews, leaving my poor friend entirely at the
mercy of the enemy. The survivor, who accompanied us, stated, that they
were riding in Indian file, as is customary there; that poor H---- was
in front of him; and that, directly the Indians gave their fire, he saw
him fall backwards from his horse, at the same time raising his left
hand to his head. He could tell no more, the horse he was on having
wheeled round suddenly, and been urged on in retreat by its rider, who
was in the greatest imaginable terror. Had the party halted, and
returned the fire, for they were well armed, in all probability some of
the marauders would have been laid low, or, if the Indians were but few,
they might at least have rescued my poor friend.

We found footmarks of Indians, which we traced; by these it appeared
that they were in small force, and that when H---- fell from his horse
he recovered his feet, and ran from the enemy, in the direction of the
plain, for about two hundred yards--here it was evident he had been
overtaken, and his skull cloven with a tomahawk from behind. We soon
discovered his remains in the sand, denuded of every particle of flesh
and muscle by the vultures and the ravenous wolves. We collected the
bones with reverential care, and placed them in the waggon, for transit
to Fort Andrews.

On the bones of the little finger of the left hand was an emerald ring,
which I had often seen the murdered man wear, and which, being covered
with blood and sand at the time of the catastrophe, no doubt escaped the
attention of the villians who perpetrated the atrocious act. The left
jaw was fractured by a rifle-bullet, which knocked him off his horse
backwards, as described by one of the survivors.

In the pines opposite the place of ambush, we found several balls
imbedded, and one had lodged in the pummel of the saddle of the man who
was present, and who formed one of our party. It appeared probable that
there were not more than four or five Indians engaged in the attack; a
force which might easily have been repelled and annihilated with
ordinary courage, but formidable enough to men wanting the presence of
mind which is necessary under such circumstances.

After a fatiguing journey, for which I was at the time almost totally
unfitted by ill-health, our party reached Fort Andrews, with the mangled
remains of the victim. A short time afterwards these were committed to
the sand, a military salute being fired over the grave by some soldiers
at the garrison. On an elevated slab of wood, to the north of Fort
Andrews, may be seen a zinc plate, erected by me to the memory of my
friend, with his name, the date of his death, and an epitome of the
circumstances attending it. This memento of regard has, in all
probability, escaped the cupidity of the Indians, for I took the
precaution to have it placed as much out of sight as possible, and the
place of burial was off the beaten track.

Thus perished miserably, one whose generous openness and manly virtues
rendered him dear to all who had the privilege of his acquaintance. He
was a native of somewhere near Arbroath in Scotland, but his accent did
not betray his nativity.

In traversing the sandy deserts of West Florida, I had frequent
opportunities of tracing the devastating effects of those awful
visitations in tropical climates--hurricanes, or tornadoes; and,
notwithstanding I had the good fortune to escape the danger of being
exposed to one, I more than once prepared for the worst. One of these
was accompanied with phenomena so unusual and striking to a native of
Europe, that I must not omit some notice of it, if for no other purpose
than to convey to the mind of the reader one of the many unpleasant but
wonderful accompaniments of a residence in these latitudes, so
poetically, and indeed so truthfully, apostrophized as "the sunny
south."

It was while on a journey (accompanied by two yeomen from East Florida,
who were proceeding to join an expedition against the Indians to defend
their hearths, and by the friend whose melancholy loss I have adverted
to) from Deadman's Bay towards Tallahassee, that the occurrence I am
about to mention took place It was in the height of summer, and for
several days Fahrenheit's barometer had ranged from 84 to 90 degrees,
the temperature being occasionally even higher, by some degrees, than
this. We started soon after eight in the morning, and had ridden all day
under a scorching sun, from the effects of which we were but
ill-defended by our palm-leaf hats, for our heads were aching
intensely--my own being, in common parlance, "ready to split," not an
inapt simile, by the way, as I often experienced in the south. Towards
evening, the sultriness increased to a great degree, and respiration
became painful, from the closeness of the atmosphere. A suspicious lull
soon after succeeded, and we momentarily expected the storm to overtake
us. It was not, however, one that was to be relieved by an ordinary
discharge of thunder, lightning, and rain--deeper causes being evidently
at work. The denseness of the air was accompanied by a semi-darkness,
similar to that which prevails during an eclipse of the sun, which
luminary, on the occasion I refer to, after all day emitting a lurid
glare, was so shrouded in vapour as to be scarcely discernible, even in
outline--while a subterranean noise added to the terrors of our
situation, which strongly called to mind the accounts we read of
earthquakes and similar phenomena.

We moved slowly on, as people naturally would who were about to be
overwhelmed in a calamity that threatened their annihilation, while an
indefinable sensation of sleepiness and inertia seized the whole of the
party. Vultures and other birds of prey screamed dismally, as they
hovered round our heads in the greatest excitement, arising either from
terror or the anticipation of a rich repast, we could not tell which.
These voracious creatures, with great audacity, often descended to
within a few feet of the heads of our horses, which seemed
terror-stricken at their near approach. I took aim at one of the largest
of them with my rifle, and it fell a little to my left, with an impetus
I can only compare to the fall of a human being. Directly it touched the
ground, it vomited carrion and died. It was many feet in breadth from
tip to tip of wing, but we were too perturbed to stop and measure it.
When I discharged the rifle, the report was unusually faint, owing to
the state of the air; so much so, that my companions, who were not fifty
yards behind, scarcely heard it. The wild animals in the jungle which
skirted the road, and which, in general, skulk in silence and secresy in
their haunts, rent the air with their howlings. The very order of nature
seemed about to be reversed, while the long streamers of grey moss
swayed backwards and forwards mournfully from the trees, adding to the
solemnity of the scene. As the party slowly wended its way through the
wilderness, each individual looked round with suspicion, exchanging
furtive glances, or now and then uttering some exclamation of
alarm--their manner and bearing indicating minds ill at ease.

This dismal state of things lasted nearly an hour, after which time
nature seemed to recover herself by a sudden throe, for a brisk breeze,
which was highly refreshing to our senses, and which was attended by the
loud hollow subterranean sound I have before referred to, unexpectedly
sprang up, and swept off, as if by magic, the inertia of nature. What
made the phenomenon more extraordinary, was the total absence of thunder
or lightning. My companions shouted for joy when the hollow moan of the
embryo tempest was heard to move off to the eastward (for, as they
informed me, it told of deliverance from peril); I felt a sensation of
delight I cannot describe, and heartily responded to the noisy
demonstration of satisfaction raised by my companions.

Our horses, apparently participating in our delight, pricked up their
ears, and snorted, fairly prancing with pleasure, tired and jaded as
they were after thirty miles' travel through sand, into which they sank
at every step fetlock deep, often groaning pitifully.

I noticed that, during the impending storm, they hung down their heads
in a listless manner, and sighed heavily, a circumstance that to our
minds presaged calamity, and which, I may add, was altogether unlike the
usual indication of fatigue in animals which have travelled a great
distance. Had the tornado burst upon us, instead of passing off as it
did, it is very doubtful whether the hand that writes this would not
have been mingled with its native dust, in the arid sands of Florida;
for, as we rode on, we saw gigantic pine, cedar, and hiccory trees,
torn up by the roots, and scattered over the surrounding country, by
by-gone hurricanes, many of them hundreds of yards from the spot that
nurtured their roots--while the gnarled branches lying across our track,
scorched black-with the lightning, or from long exposure to a burning
sun, impeded our advance, and made the journey anything but pleasant.

The occurrence I have mentioned formed a topic of conversation for some
miles as we journeyed to our destination; and one of my companions
stated, that a few months before, when in the neighbourhood of
Pensacola, a hurricane came on unexpectedly, and caused great
devastation, unroofing the houses, tearing up trees, and filling the air
with branches and fragments of property. He happily escaped, although
his little estate, situated at Mardyke Enclosure, some short distance
from the town, was greatly injured, and some six or eight people were
crushed to death by the falling trees and ruins of houses.

CHAPTER VI.

"Before us visions come
Of slave-ships on Virginia's coast,
Of mothers in their childless home,
Like Rachel, sorrowing o'er the lost;
The slave-gang scourged upon its way.
The bloodhound and his human prey."--WHITTIER.

Florida produces oranges, peaches, plums, a species of cocoa-nut, and
musk and water-melons in abundance. The more open portions of the
country are dotted over with clumps of gnarled pines, of a very resinous
nature, white and red oak, hiccory, cedar, and cypress, and is in
general scantily clad with thin grass, fit only for deer to browse upon.
The dreary sameness of the interior of this desolate country is
distressing to the traveller; and the journey from one settlement to
another, through pine-forests, seems almost interminable.

One morning, a short time prior to my intended departure for
Tallahassee, I was roused before daybreak by a rifle-shot, which was
instantly followed by the cry of "Guard, turn out!" and much hubbub. As
this was no unusual occurrence, from the constant apprehension we were
in of an attack by the Indians on the stockade, and as it had several
times occurred before during my stay, I resolved to lie and listen
awhile before I rose. The earnest conversation and the noise of horses
soon after satisfied me it was only a friendly arrival. I, however, felt
anxious to obtain intelligence as to the success of a treaty then
pending between the United States Government and the Indians; the
favourable termination of which would not only render my return to
Tallahassee more safe, but put a stop, perhaps for ever, to those
constant scenes of blood and depredation that were by this time become
quite sickening to me. This feeling was much enhanced at the time by the
express between Fort Andrews and Deadman's Bay, being shot by a party of
the common enemy. The body of this poor fellow was never found, but
traces of blood were to be seen near the spot where he had been
attacked; and the saddle and bridle of his horse were found cut into a
thousand pieces; the probability being that he was wounded and taken
prisoner, doubtless to be tortured to death, a practice common with all
Indian tribes in time of war.

On my proceeding to a house used as officers' quarters, outside the
stockade, I found the stir had been caused by the arrival of two
companies of light-horse soldiers from St. Marks, escorting several
couples of bloodhounds, to aid the army, operating in that part of
Florida, to exterminate the Indians. These dogs were very ferocious,
and, on approaching the leashmen, who had them in charge, they opened in
full yell, and attempted to break loose. The dogs had just arrived from
Cuba with their keepers, their importation having been caused by the
supposition, that, like the Maroons in Jamaica, who, for nearly thirty
years, defied the colonists there, the Indians would be terrified into
submission. This, however, turned out to be erroneous; for, on their
first trial, the Indians killed several, and the scheme was very
properly abandoned a short time after.

Such barbarous means were very unjustifiable, although many (to use the
language of the Earl of Chatham, when deprecating a similar course in
the English House of Lords) considered that every means that God and
nature had placed in their hands, were allowable in the endeavour to
bring to a close a war that had cost the Federal Government an immense
amount of blood and treasure. I am of opinion, however, from what I
afterwards heard, that the step was not an altogether popular one in the
eastern and northern states, although it certainly was so in the
southern; it being argued in the public prints there, that as dogs had
been used in hunting down fugitive negroes from time immemorial, the
mere fact of bloodhounds being used instead of mastiffs was a peccadillo
unworthy of name.

The tobacco plant, though growing in many parts of Florida
spontaneously, like the broad-leafed dock in England, is often
cultivated in garden-ground for domestic use, some of the finer kinds
being as aromatic as those of Cuba. The soil in such places is rich;
indeed, the plant will not thrive in many parts where this is not the
case. The method of propagation, generally followed by the large
growers, is that recommended by Loudon, in his incomparable
_Encyclopedia of Agriculture,_ and is as follows:--The soil selected is
in general loamy and deep; this is well broken up before planting, and
frequently stirred to free it from the rich growth of weeds that, in
Florida in particular, choke the growth of all plants if neglected. The
seeds being small, they are lightly covered with earth, and then the
surface is pressed down with a flat instrument used for the purpose. In
two months after, the seedlings are ready to transplant, and are placed
in drills, three feet apart every way. These are frequently watered, if
there happens to be but little rain, which, in that arid climate, is
often the case for weeks together, and the plants regularly looked
over, to destroy a species of worm winch, if not removed, plays great
havoc with the young buds. When four inches high, the plants are moulded
up like potatoes in England; when they have six or seven leaves, and are
just putting out a stalk, the top is nipped off, to make the leaves
stronger and more robust. After this, the buds, which show themselves at
the joints of the leaves, are plucked, and then the plants are daily
examined, to destroy a caterpillar, of a singular form and grey in
colour, which makes its appearance at this stage, and is very
destructive to narcotic plants. When fit for cutting, which is known by
the brittleness of the leaves, the plants are cut close to the ground,
and allowed to lie some time. They are then put in farm-houses, in the
chimney-corner, to dry; or, if the crop is extensive, the plants are
hung upon lines in a drying-house, so managed that they will not touch
each other. In this state, they are left to sweat and dry. When this
takes place, the leaves are stripped off and tied in bundles; these are
put in heaps, and covered with a sort of matting, made from the
cotton-fibre or seaweed, to engender a certain heat to ripen the aroma,
care being taken lest a fermentation should occur, which injures the
value of the article; to avoid which the bundles are exposed and spread
about now and then in the open air. This operation is called
ventilating by the planters, and is continued until there is no apparent
heat in the heaps. The plant is quite ornamental, and its blossoms form
a pleasing feature in a garden of exotic productions.

After a brief stay at Fort Andrews, subsequent to the last sad offices
for my deceased friend, I left that spot on horseback for Tallahassee,
in company with four settlers. We soon reached the more populated
districts, without being molested by the Indians. Here they had
committed sad devastations; we saw many farms without occupants, the
holders having been either murdered by midnight assassins, or having
fled in alarm. Adjoining these habitations, we found line peach
orchards, teeming with fruit of the richest description, which lay in
bushels on the ground, and with which we regaled ourselves. Enclosed
maize fields overgrown with brambles, and cotton fields with the gins
and apparatus for packing the produce in bales for the market, presented
to the eye the very picture of desolation.

Owing to cross roads we were at one time completely at fault, and there
being no house in sight, I volunteered to ride off to the right and
endeavour to obtain the information we were in need of. After riding
about half-a-mile, I heard voices through a road-side coppice, which I
took to be those of field-hands at work; going farther on I dismounted,
and climbing the zigzag rail fence approached a negro at work in the
field. I inquired if he could put me on the road to Tallahassee; he
appeared much frightened at the intrusion, but stated he did not know,
but his mas'r did, at the same time pointing to the plantation-house,
situate the greater part of a mile distant; being averse to going there,
for fear of impudent interrogation, I offered him money to go with me to
the point where I had left my companions, and show us the way to the
next house; he did not even know what it was I offered him, and in
apparent amazement inquired what that was for; I explained, buy tobacco,
buy whiskey; he appeared totally ignorant of its use, and I have no
doubt he had never had money in his possession, or learned its use.
Still, he refused to leave the field, a wise precaution, as I afterwards
found, both for himself and me. The negro being resolute, there was now
no alternative but to go to the house, on arriving at which, I met with
such a reception as I had feared and anticipated. Three fierce dogs of
the mastiff breed, regularly trained to hunting fugitive negroes, rushed
out upon me. I had only a small riding whip with me, having left my
fire-arms with a friend at Fort Andrews, and much dreaded laceration.
Their noise soon brought out a ferocious, lank-visaged-looking man,
about forty years of age, who immediately called off the dogs; but
before I had time to make the inquiry that brought me there, he began in
about the following strain,

"What dye yer waunt up yar, stranger? Arter no good, I guess; you'd
better put it 'bout straight. I see'd yer torking to the hands
yonder--none o' yer 'mancipator doctrines yar."

The fellow's address "struck me all of a heap," as he would himself have
said, had he been in my situation; he spoke so fast, that I could not
edge in a word; at last I stated the cause of my intrusion, but he would
not believe a word, ordered me to quit the plantation or he would set
the dogs on me, and was getting into such an ungovernable rage, that I
thought it would be wise to follow his advice. So I slowly retreated to
the yard entrance by which I had come in. Returning to my companions at
the cross-roads, I found that, in my absence, a passer-by had given them
the wished-for information, and we pushed on to a house of call, a few
miles distant.

As the ride was a long one, we halted at this house for refreshment,
and, after baiting our horses, regaled ourselves upon some choice ham
and eggs. At the table, three little negroes, one girl and two boys,
under fourteen years of age, served as waiters. Their clothing was
supplied by nature, being solely the primitive habiliments worn in Eden
before the fall. This is quite customary in the south, where the rules
of decency are commonly set at defiance, as if the curse of Adam's
transgression applied not in this respect to the African race. The
little creatures did not seem to be in the least aware of their degraded
state; they were as agile as fawns, and their tact in administering to
the wants of the company was quite remarkable.

Just as we were about to proceed on our journey, a party of some
half-a-dozen planters or overseers of neighbouring estates, mounted on
fine mules, who had been searching for fugitive field-hands, rode up. I
could see they were greatly excited, and one of them had a negro lassoed
by the neck, one end of the rope being fastened to his high Spanish
saddle. On coming up to the entrance gate, the one most in advance
dismounted to open it; the mule, eager, perhaps, to get to a crib, or,
what is more likely, to evade a brutal kick or blow, trotted through;
this did not please its owner, who bellowed loudly to it to stop. The
mule, however, still kept on, when the ruffian, in demoniac anger, drew
from his belt a long bowie knife, and darting after the animal, hurled
it at him with all his force. The blade of the weapon, which was six or
seven inches long, entered and stuck fast in the abdomen of the agonized
creature, which, for about twenty yards, ran on furiously, with the
murderous knife in its vitals. It then fell-with a deep groan, while the
fiend who had perpetrated this wanton act of barbarity and his
companions watched its fall, and loudly exulted in it. I noticed that
there was a deep scowl of hatred on the countenance of the negro
prisoner as this drama was being enacted, and when the knife struck the
poor mule he cried out, "Oh, mas'r, mas'r!" Societies for the
suppression of cruelty to animals, are, as might be supposed, unknown in
such remote situations, nor do they exist in any of the slave States and
territories of America; so that redress in such a case was out of the
question. I therefore consoled myself that the outrage had brought its
own punishment in the loss of the mule, which was at least worth from
eighty to one hundred dollars.

Passing onwards, we reached Tallahassee by rather a circuitous route,
_via_ Mount Pleasant. Although in an indifferent state of health, from
exposure to the poisonous miasma of the country, I, on the whole, felt
pleased with my journey, now that its dangers were over, and grateful to
the great Dispenser of all good, who had safely conducted me through
them. At Tallahassee I saw in the streets, in charge of a
ruffianly-looking fellow, two negroes, with heavy iron collars round
their necks. These were captured run-aways; the collars, which must
have weighed seven or ten pounds, had spikes projecting on either side.
One of the poor creatures had hold of the spikes as he walked along to
ease the load that pressed painfully on his shoulders.

General Murat resided at the time in this neighbourhood; he is the
brother of Jehoiachin, ex-king of Naples, and owns a large plantation,
and, I was told, upwards of two hundred negroes, who were described as
being humanely treated by him. This, however, is a very indefinite term,
where all slave-owners profess to do the same, though the poor wretches
over whom by law they impiously assume God's heritage, in ninety cases
out of every hundred, are scantily clothed, worse fed than horses or
mules, and worked to the utmost extent of human endurance, the humanity
being, in most cases, left to the tender mercies of a brutal overseer,
who exacts all he can. If the poor, tattered, squalid-looking beings I
saw in Tallahassee be a fair specimen of the "humane treatment" I have
referred to, heaven help them.

General Murat, some years ago, married an American lady, who delighted
in being called the "princess," a little piece of vanity quite in
keeping with the aristocratical prejudices of American females in the
south, who are devoted worshippers of lordly institutions and usages. I
did not see the general myself, but was told he was often to be met
lounging about the bars of the principal hotels (being quite
Americanized in this respect). He was described as a very garrulous old
gentleman, extremely fond of recounting his adventures, particularly his
escape when the allied troops entered Paris, about the year of
Bonaparte's subjugation.

After remaining a few days in Tallahassee, I took the conveyance to
Macon in Georgia, intending to pursue my route overland to Charleston in
South Carolina. In the diligence (a clumsy apology for a coach) from
Tallahassee to Macon, were several loquacious passengers. One of these
amused and disgusted us by turns; for, after giving an epitome of his
career, which was a chequered one, he related an incident that had
recently occurred on a plantation he had been visiting, and, as it
presents a novel feature in the asserted rights of slave-holders--how
profane, I will not stop to inquire--I think it worth recording. After a
recital of a drunken debauch, in which he had taken a part, described by
him as a frolic, and which had been kept up for several days, his host,
he said, anxious to show the high sense he entertained of the honour of
the visit by making almost any sacrifice (this was said with great
conceit), proposed to put a negro up with an apple on his head, in
imitation of the ordeal imposed on William Tell, the Swiss patriot,
declaring that he who divided the apple, or perforated it with a
rifle-ball, should own the slave. This proposal, the gentleman very
facetiously observed, the party jumped at, expecting some good sport;
but added, "The fellow spoilt it, for he refused to stand still,
although we 'used up' a cowhide over him for his obstinacy." The
frivolous manner in which this intended outrage was related, filled me
and my fellow-passengers with disgust. I thought it was not safe to
remark on the proceeding, for I could see he was a very strenuous
upholder of that disgraceful system of oppression, which stigmatizes and
degrades the Americans as a people, and will continue to do so, until it
is utterly abrogated, and their characters retrieved.

This would-be patrician was a pedantic, swaggering bully, who, it was
evident, entertained high notions of his importance, and owned, perhaps,
large possessions,--in a word, he was an American aristocrat, and the
description I have given is a fair one of his class in the south.
Pointing to a hill, as we entered a little settlement on our way to
Macon, he exclaimed, "See there, gentlemen, twenty years ago I toiled up
that hill without a cent in my wallet (purse), but now" he continued,
with the air of a potentate, "my niggers are the sleekest in our
country. In those days," he went on, "glass inkstands stood on the
desks of the bank I now am chief proprietor of; we have nothing but gold
ones now." The fellow's bombast lowered him in the esteem of the
passengers, who seemed indisposed to listen to him, and the latter part
of the journey he said little, being in fact regularly sent to Coventry
by us all. He afterwards amused himself much to our annoyance by
whistling airs and singing snatches of songs, which caused one of the
passengers, a lady, to leave the diligence at the next change of horses.
He was quite an adept at whistling the air of "Yankee doodle." This want
of deference to the sex, which I must say is an exception to the general
behaviour of men there and in other parts of the Union I visited, did
not fail to call forth animadversion; the remarks at one time being so
pointed, that I began to feel uneasy lest the pugnacious spirit might be
aroused in him, which leads so often in the south to serious encounters.

Our conveyance, which more resembled a waggon than, a stage-coach,
having by this time stopped at a large hotel at Macon, I alighted with
much pleasure, for the roughness of the road, the disagreeable loquacity
of the passenger I have described, and the recklessness of the driver,
made the journey excessively unpleasant.

The negro population in Georgia is very numerous, and their constant
attempts to escape to the everglades in Florida, make unceasing
vigilance on the part of their owners necessary for the safety of their
property. In many instances where suspicion exists, they are never
allowed on any pretence, to leave the estate or residence of the owner.

At the Greensborough Railway Terminus, I noticed two negroes on their
way to Charleston. Before being allowed to take their seat in an open
carriage in the rear of the train, the clerk at the station stepped up
to them, and with an air of great effrontery demanded to see their
passes; these were instantly shown with an alacrity that plainly
indicated fear; they were then shut in a box in the rear of the train,
in which I could see no sitting accommodation. The way in which these
men were treated presented nothing new, for I had invariably noticed
that coloured people in the south, whether bond or free, were spoken to
with supercilious haughtiness, which I never once saw them openly
resent.

On arriving at the next station a trader got into the carriage. He had
with him two negro men and a boy; these were secured to each other by
hand-cuffs and a slight negro chain.

For the last forty miles of my journey, I had a very pleasant companion
in a gentleman from the state of Alabama. He was a most agreeable and
intelligent young fellow, but invalided like myself through the
poisonous miasma of the south. I entered freely into conversation with
him on general matters, in the course of which I introduced slavery in
several of its bearings. I soon discovered by his bias, that he was
decidedly in favour of "things as they are."

Being anxious to obtain some information as to the observance of the
nuptial tie amongst slaves, I touched upon that subject, when he told me
the ceremony was mostly a burlesque, and that unions were in general but
temporary, although he had known some very devoted couples. But he
proceeded to state that there was much room for reform in this respect.
"I will relate to you an instance," said he, "of the manner in which
this, as we white people consider it, solemn compact, is entered into
amongst field-hands. When a couple wish to live together as man and
wife, the male nigger mentions it to the overseer, and if there are no
impediments, they have a cabin assigned to them." He described a scene
of this kind, which I will endeavour to give verbatim. He said it
occurred on his father's estate, some years before, and that he was
standing by at the time, "although," he continued, "'tis done the same
now in most instances." A negro approached where the overseer was
standing, apparently, by his sidling manner, about to ask some favour,
when the following colloquy ensued.

_Overseer_.--Well, you black rascal, what do you stand grinning there
for?

_Negro_.--Please, mas'r, want Lucy for wife.

_Overseer_.--Wife, you scoundrel, what do you want a wife for; be off
with you, and mind your horses. (He was employed as a teamster on the
estate.)

_Negro_.--Oh, mas'r, I loves Lucy.

_Overseer_.--And she loves you, I suppose. A fine taste she must have,
indeed. Where are you going to live?

_Negro_--Got room in No. 2 cabin, if mas'r please let 'um.

_Overseer_.--Well, now listen; go along, and take her, but, you lazy
dog, if you get into any scrapes, and don't work like live coals, I'll
send her to the other estate (which was situated forty miles distant),
and flay you alive into the bargain.

The poor fellow, after thanking the overseer (not for his politeness,
certainly), darted off to communicate the joyful intelligence to his
affianced, making the welkin ring with his shouts. The gentleman who
described this scene said that it was always the custom on his father's
estate to give a gallon or two of whiskey for the attendant
merry-making.

After numerous stoppages, the train at length reached Charleston. The
journey from Greensborough had been a tedious one; besides the annoyance
of slow travelling, through the inefficient state of the line, which was
so defective that the carriages frequently left the rails, the noisome
effluvia arising from the swamps we had to pass through, which harbour
innumerable alligators and other reptiles, had the most debilitating
effect on the frame, which was increased by the extreme sultriness of
the weather After leaving my ticket at the terminus, I disposed of my
baggage by hiring a negro to carry it to my boarding-house, and slowly
wended my way into the city. A spacious public square at the end of
King-street, through which I had to pass to my _table d'hote_, presented
an animated view, the citizens being assembled to celebrate the
anniversary of the Independence conferred by Washington and his
compatriots by the solemn declaration of the 4th July, 1776. Long
tables, under gay awnings, to shield the company from the burning rays
of the sun, which at the time were intense, groaned with every luxury
the climate afforded; but the banquet was not furnished by this alone,
for Cuba and some of the neighbouring islands, it was stated, had been
ransacked for delicacies. Crowds of elegantly-dressed ladies (in general
of very sallow look and languid air) and spirit-like children, with
swarthy-looking men, many of whose visages bore evident traces of
exposure to the ill effects of the climate and of dissipation, crowded
the festive board. The negro attendants in dozens moved about with
automatic order, as is characteristic of all the race on such occasions,
for the negro is a "model waiter" at a banquet. Their snowy costumes
contrasting strongly with their black visages and the jovial scene
around. The merry peals of laughter, as some unlucky wight upset a dish,
or scattered the sauce in everybody's face within reach, indicated
lightness of heart, and merriment and conviviality seemed the order of
the day.

The imposing scene before me, after a long absence from social meetings
in civilized life, was very cheering, and, had it not been for the
inertia I felt at the time, arising from a fatiguing journey and the
tertian ague, I should have felt disposed to participate in the day's
enjoyment. Other considerations might, however, have prevented this: I
was a stranger to all around, and knew that I should be either subjected
to impertinent interrogations, or become the object of invidious
remark--this, in my debilitated state of health, I felt anxious to
avoid, as calculated to impede my restoration. My joining the assembled
party might also have involved the chance of surveillance during my
stay, which, before my departure for Europe, I intended should be rather
protracted. I may have been mistaken in this view, but, from the
character I had heard of the place, I felt justified in giving way to
the suspicion.

I was beguiled into the erroneous idea that a sense of happiness and
security reigned in the assembled multitude, a notion quite fallacious,
from attendant circumstances, as I shall directly explain. Troops were
stationed at a guard-house in the vicinity, and the sentinels paced in
front of the building, as if in preparation for, or in expectation of, a
foe, affording a great contrast to the apparent security of the
inhabitants assembled in the square. Before reaching Charleston, I had
been apprised of the state of jeopardy the citizens were in from the
possibility of a recurrence of those scenes of anarchy enacted at the
insurrection of the slaves some time before--scenes which had filled
every heart with dismay, and spread ruin and desolation on every side.
From what I could glean of that fearful drama, the slaves in the
surrounding districts, on a concerted signal from their confederates in
Charleston, made a descent upon the city, and, rendered furious by long
oppression, proceeded to fire it and massacre the inhabitants. No
language can convey an accurate idea of the consternation of the white
inhabitants, as it was described to me. The tocsin was sounded, the
citizens assembled, armed _cap-a-pie_, and after much hard fighting,
the rebellion was crushed, and large numbers of the insurgents were
slain or arrested. Then came the bloody hand of what was impiously
termed retributive justice. A court, or sort of drum-head court-martial,
not worthy to be called a trial, condemned numbers of the slaves to
death, and they were led out instantly to execution. My informant told
me that many a brave, noble-hearted fellow was sacrificed, who, under
happier circumstances, though in a cause not half so righteous, would
have been extolled as a hero, and bowed down with honours. Many a humble
hearth was made desolate, and, in the language quoted by my informant,
"as in the days of the curse that descended on the people of the
obdurate Pharaoh, every house mourned its dead." Still, there was a
strong lurking suspicion that the _emeute_ of the negroes had only been
temporarily suppressed, and awful forebodings of fire and of blood
spread a gloom on the minds of all. This was the version given to me by
a friend, of what he described as the most fearful rising amongst the
negroes ever before known in the southern states of America.

As I passed up the long range of tables, the health of the President of
the Republic was responded to by the company. The cheers were deafening,
and, what most surprised me was, that the negro waiters joined
heartily, I may say frantically, in it, and danced about like mad
creatures, waving their napkins, and shouting with energy. Some of the
elder ones, I noticed, looked mournfully on, and were evidently not in a
gay humour, seeming a prey to bitter reflections. Notwithstanding the
curse of slavery, which, like a poisonous upas, taints the very air they
breathe with the murdered remains of its victims, the white citizens of
the south are extremely sensitive of their civil and political rights,
and seem to regard the palladium of independence secured by their
progenitors as an especial benefit conferred by the Deity for their good
in particular. Actuated by this mock patriotism (for it is nothing
less), the citizens of the south omit no opportunity of demonstrating
the blessings they so undeservedly inherit, and which, if I am not
mistaken, will, ere many years elapse, be wrested from them, amidst the
terrible thunders of an oppressed and patient people, whose powers of
endurance are indeed surprising.

Leaving the square, I passed up King-street, at the top of which was my
intended boarding-house. The shops in this fashionable resort are fitted
out in good style, and the goods are of the best description. After
sunset the streets are often lined with carriages. The city lies flat,
like the surrounding country, and, owing to this, is insalubrious;
stagnant water collects in the cellars of the houses, and engenders a
poisonous vapour, which is a fertile source of those destructive
epidemics, that, combined with other causes, are annually decimating the
white population of the south of the American continent in all parts.

At the top of King-street, facing you as you advance, is a large
Protestant episcopal church. I went there to worship on the following
Sunday, but was obliged to leave the building, there being, it was
stated by the apparitor, no accommodation for strangers, a piece of
illiberality that I considered very much in keeping with the
slave-holding opinions of the worshippers who attend it. This want of
politeness I was not, however, surprised at, for it is notorious, as has
been before observed by an able writer, that, excepting the Church of
Rome, "the members of the unestablished Church of England--the
Protestant Episcopalian, are the most bigotted, sectarian, and
illiberal, in the United States of America. Being fully persuaded," to
follow the same writer, "that prelatical ordination and the three orders
are indispensable to their profession, they are, like too many of their
fellow professors in the mother country, deeply dyed with Laudean
principles, or that love of formula in religion and grasping for power
which has so conspicuously shown itself among the Oxford tractarians,
and which, it is to be feared, is gradually undermining Protestant
conformity, by gnawing at its very heart, in the colleges of Great
Britain." Vital piety, or that deep sense of religious duty that impels
men to avoid the devious paths of sin, and to live "near to God," is, I
am inclined to believe (and I regret it, as a painful truth), by no
means common in America. There are, however, many pastors who faithfully
warn their flocks of the dangers of the world, and who strenuously
advise their hearers to take warning lest they be over-captivated with
the "Song of the Syrens." These, however, I must say, are chiefly in the
free states, for I cannot regard southern ministers in any other light
than pharisaical, while they continue openly (as is their constant
practice) to support from their pulpits the institution that is the main
stay of the southern states; I mean slavery. In my intercourse with
serious individuals with whom I came in contact during my stay on the
continent of America, the doctrines of Dr. Pusey and his confederates
were often referred to; and although I believe "the Association for
restoring the ancient powers of the Clergy, and the primary rites and
usages of the Church," does not acknowledge the Protestant Episcopalians
in America (owing, perhaps, chiefly to the invidious position the
latter stand in with the state, and the little chance of their views
being universally embraced by them, but partially, no doubt, to the
evangelical principles of most of the ministers officiating in that
Church), yet the subject has excited much interest there, and the Romish
propensities of many pastors plainly indicate that inherent love of
power that invariably, and, it may be said, necessarily, developes
itself in hierarchical institutions--a propensity that ought to be
closely watched by Protestant lay congregations, as being not only
innovating and dangerous in its tendency, but calculated to foster that
superstition which is at once the fundamental principle of the faith of
the city of the seven hills, and the power of that triple-crowned
monster, Popery.

I afterwards went into a large Independent chapel in another part of the
town, where I was more courteously treated. Here was a very eloquent and
noted preacher, a Dr. Groyard, from Mobile. He was delivering a very
eloquent harangue, interspersed with touches of pro-slavery,
sentimentalism and rhetorical flourish, the former especially directed to
the negroes in the gallery, when, suddenly, a cry of "Fire! fire!" was
raised in the street. The learned Doctor stood as if electrified, and
the instant after his hearers rushed pell-mell out of the chapel,
amidst the shrieks of the females, and the consternation of the men,
caused, without doubt, by a lurking suspicion of impending evil from the
negroes which I have before referred to. On ascertaining that the alarm
was caused by a house being on fire in the vicinity, the service was
abruptly terminated.

The following day I continued my perambulations; to the left of the
episcopal church I have already mentioned, and surrounded by umbrageous
trees in a park-like enclosure, is the Town-hall. I entered this
building, where I found a bench of magistrates, the mayor of the city
being amongst them, adjudicating on the cases brought before them. These
consisted chiefly of negroes apprehended in the streets after nine
o'clock the previous night; they were in all cases, except where their
owners paid the fine, sentenced to receive from ten to twenty lashes,
which were administered at once by the city gaoler, in a yard at the
rear of a building, near which officers were in attendance for the
purpose. I must mention, in explanation, that one of the laws passed
directly after the insurrection, was to prohibit negroes, on any
pretence, to be out after nine, p.m. At that hour, the city guard, armed
with muskets and bayonets, patrolled the streets, and apprehended every
negro, male or female, they found abroad. It was a stirring scene, when
the drums beat at the guard-house in the public square I have before
described, preparatory to the rounds of the soldiers, to witness the
negroes scouring the streets in all directions, to get to their places
of abode, many of them in great trepidation, uttering ejaculations of
terror as they ran. This was an inexorable law, and punishment or fine
was sure to follow its dereliction, no excuse being available, and as
the owners seldom submitted to pay the fine, the slaves were compelled
to take the consequences, which, in the language that consigned them to
the cruel infliction, "consisted of from ten to twenty lashes, well laid
on with a raw-hide," a murderous whip, which draws blood after the first
few strokes, and is as torturing, I should imagine, as the Russian
knout, certainly proving in many instances as fatal as that odious
instrument. The crowning severity of the enactments I have referred to,
remains, however, to be told. So heinous in a negro, is the crime of
lifting his hand in opposition to a white man in South Carolina, that
the law adjudges that the offending member shall be forfeited. This is,
or was, quite as inexorable as the one I have before spoken of, and when
in Charleston, I frequently, amongst the flocks of negroes passing and
repassing, saw individuals with one hand only. Like the administration
of miscalled justice on negroes in all slave-holding states in America,
the process was summary; the offender was arrested, brought before the
bench of sitting magistrates, and on the _ex parte_[A] statement of his
accuser, condemned to mutilation, being at once marched out to the rear
of the building and the hand lopped off on a block fixed there for the
purpose. I noticed a block and axe myself in the yard of a building near
the town-hall, and on looking at them closely, saw they were stained
almost black, with what I have little hesitation in saying was human
blood. My conductor, however, tried to divert my attention from the
object, and knowing I was an Englishman, refused to enter on the
subject.

[FOOTNOTE A: The writer was assured, when in Charleston, that this was
the case in five out of every six cases.]

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