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Our World, or, The Slaveholders Daughter by F. Colburn Adams

Part 3 out of 12

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Nimrod, twisting the hair with which his face is covered into
fantastic points.

"Oh, my good fellows, public opinion's the dockerment; with the
bright side of public opinion! Public opinion whispers about
Clotilda: it says she looks so much like that niece of Marston's,
that you couldn't tell them apart. And they are like two pins,
gentlemen; but then one's property and t'other's anything but
property. One will bring something substantial in the market: I
wouldn't say much about the other. But there's pride in the whole
family, and where it's got into the niggers it's worth a few extra
dollars. The Marstons and Roveros don't think much of we dealers
when they don't want our money; but when they do we are cousins of
the right stripe. However, these ere little aristocratic notions
don't mount to much; they are bin generous blood-mixers, and now
they may wince over it-"

Graspum is interrupted again. Bengal has been analysing his logic,
and rises to dispute the logic of his arguments. He is ready to
stake his political faith, and all his common sense-of which he
never fails to boast-that mixing the blood of the two races destroys
the purity of the nigger, spiles the gauge of the market, detracts
from real plantation property, and will just upset the growin' of
young niggers. He is sure he knows just as much about the thing as
anybody else, has never missed his guess, although folks say he aint
no way clever at selection; and, rubbing his eyes after adjusting
the long black hair that hangs down over his shoulders, he folds his
arms with an independent air, and waits the rejoinder.

The dingy room breathes thick of deleterious fumes; a gloom hangs
over their meditations, deep and treacherous: it excites fear, not
of the men, but of the horrors of their trade. A dim light hangs
suspended from the ceiling: even the sickly shade contrasts
strangely with their black purpose.

"Variety of shade, my dear Bengal, is none of our business. If you
make a division you destroy the property and the principle. We don't
represent the South: if we did, my stars! how the abolitionists
would start up,--eh! Now, there's a right smart chance of big
aristocrat folks in the district, and they think something of their
niggers, and some are fools enough to think niggers have souls just
as white as we. That's where the thing don't strike our morals
alike. It's all right to let such folks represent us-that it is! It
tells down north."

"I goes in for that! It puts a polished face on the brown side of
things. That's the way I puts it on when I gets among the big 'uns
on 'Change. I talks to one, shakes hands with another, touches my
hat to the president of the bank; and then them what don't know
thinks how I do a little in the taking a corner of notes line!" "In
the same sly way that directors of banks do," interrupts a voice,
sullenly and slow. It was long Joe Morphet, the constable's sponge,
who did a little in the line of nigger trailing, and now and then
acted as a contingent of Graspum. Joe had, silently and with great
attention, listened to their consultations, expecting to get a hook
on at some point where his services would play at a profit; but it
all seemed beyond his comprehension-amounted to nothing.

"There's something in Joe, gentlemen! But our genteelest folks don't
alway do the genteelest things, arter all. Right-right! Joe's
right!" Graspum has suddenly comprehended Joe's logic, and brightens
up with the possession of a new idea, that at first was inclined to
get crosswise in his mind, which he has drilled in the minor details
of human nature rather than the political dignity of the state.
Joe's ideas are ranging over the necessity of keeping up a good
outside for the state; Graspum thinks only of keeping up the dignity
of himself. "Well, give in, fellers; Joe's right clever. He's got
head enough to get into Congress, and if polished up wouldn't make
the worst feller that ever was sent: he wouldn't, to my certain
knowledge. Joe's clever! What great men do with impunity little men
have no scruples in following; what the state tolerates, knaves may
play upon to their own advantage. To keep up the dignity of a slave
state, slave dealers must keep up dignity among themselves: the one
cannot live without the other. They must affect, and the state must
put on, the dignity; and northerners what aint gentlemen must be
taught to know that they aint gentlemen." This is the conclusion to
which Graspum has arrived on the maturest reflection of a few
minutes: it conforms with the opinion and dignity of
slaveocracy-must be right, else the glorious Union, with the
free-thinking north unfortunately attached, could never be
preserved. It's the nut of a glorious compact which the south only
must crack, and will crack. Graspum apologised for the thing having
escaped his memory so long. He remembered that southerners left no
stone unturned that could serve the policy of concentrating slave
power; and he remembered that it was equally necessary to keep an
eye to the feeling abroad. There were in America none but southern
nobles,--no affable gentlemen who could do the grace of polite
circles except themselves,--none who, through their bland manners,
could do more to repel the awful descriptions given of southern
society, nor who could not make strangers believe slaves were happy
mortals, happily created to live in all the happiness of slave life.
"There's nothing like putting our learned folks ahead-they're
polished down for the purpose, you see-and letting them represent us
when abroad; they puts a different sort of shine on things what our
institution makes profitable. They don't always set good examples at
home, but we can't control their tastes on small matters of that
kind: and then, what a valuable offset it is, just to have the power
of doing the free and easy gentleman, to be the brilliant companion,
to put on the smooth when you go among nobility what don't
understand the thing!" Graspum adds, with a cunning wink.

"Pooh! pooh! such talk don't jingle. You can't separate our
aristocracy from mistress-keeping. It's a matter of romance with
them,--a matter of romance, gentlemen, that's all. The south couldn't
live without romance, she couldn't!" adds Nimrod, stretching back in
his chair.

"And where did you get that broad idea from, Jakey? I kind o' likes
that sort of philosophy," adds another.

"Philosophy! I reckon how there is deep and strong philosophy in
that ar; but ye can't calc'late much on't when ye haint talents to
bring it out. That point where the soul comes in is a puzzler on
Yankees; but it takes our editors and parsons to put the arguments
where the Yankees can't demolish them. Read the Richmond--, my
grandmother of the day, if ye want to see the philosophy of niggers,
and their souls. That editor is a philosopher; the world's got to
learn his philosophy. Just take that preacher from New Jersey, what
preaches in All Saints; if he don't prove niggers aint no souls I'm
a Dutchman, and dead at that! He gives 'em broadside logic,
gentlemen; and if he hadn't been raised north he wouldn't bin so up
on niggers when he cum south," was the quick rejoinder of our
knowing expounder, who, looking Graspum in the face, demanded to
know if he was not correct. Graspum thinks it better to waste no
more time in words, but to get at the particular piece of business
for which they have been called together. He is a man of money,--a
man of trade, ever willing to admit the philosophy of the
man-market, but don't see the difference of honour between the
aristocrat who sells his bits in the market, and the honourable
dealer who gets but a commission for selling them. And there's
something about the parson who, forgetting the sanctity of his
calling, sanctifies everything pertaining to slavery. Conscience, he
admits, is a wonderful thing fixed somewhere about the heart, and,
in spite of all he can do, will trouble it once in a while.
Marston-poor Marston!-he declares to be foolishly troubled with it,
and it makes him commit grievous errors. And then, there's no
understandin' it, because Marston has a funny way of keeping it
under such a knotty-looking exterior. Graspum declares he had
nothing to do with the breaking out of the cholera, is very sorry
for it,--only wants his own, just like any other honest man. He kind
o' likes Marston, admits he is a sort of good fellow in his way;
mighty careless though, wouldn't cheat anybody if he knew it, and
never gave half a minute's thinking about how uncertain the world
was. But the cholera-a dire disease among niggers-has broke out in
all the fury of its ravages; and it makes him think of his sick
niggers and paying his debts. "You see, gentlemen-we are all
gentlemen here," Graspum continues,--"a man must pay the penalty of
his folly once in a while. It's the fate of great men as well as
smaller ones; all are liable to it. That isn't the thing, though; it
don't do to be chicken-hearted afore niggers, nor when yer dealing
in niggers, nor in any kind o' business what ye want to make coin
at. Marston 'll stick on that point, he will; see if he don't. His
feelins' are troubling him: he knows I've got the assignment; and if
he don't put them ar' white 'uns of his in the schedule, I'll snap
him up for fraud,--I will-"

The conversation is here interrupted by a loud rap at the door,
which is opened by the negro, who stands with his finger on the
latch. Romescos, in his slovenly garb, presents himself with an air
of self-assurance that marks the result of his enterprise. He is a
prominent feature in all Graspum's great operations; he is desperate
in serving his interests. Drawing a handkerchief from his pocket-it
is printed with the stars and stripes of freedom-he calls it a New
England rag, disdainfully denounces that area of unbelievers in
slaveocracy, wipes his blistered face with it, advances to the
table-every eye intently watching him-and pauses for breath.

"What success, Anthony? Tell us quickly," Graspum demands, extending
his hand nervously. "Anthony never fails! It's a fool who fails in
our business," was the reply, delivered with great unconcern, and
responded to with unanimous applause. A warrior returned from
victory was Anthony,--a victory of villainy recorded in heaven, where
the rewards will, at some day, be measured out with a just but awful

The bosom of his shirt lays broadly open: one by one they shake his
hand, as he hastily unties the chequered cloth about his neck, pours
out his drink of whiskey, seats himself in a chair, and deliberately
places his feet upon the table. "Ther's nothin' like making a
triangle of oneself when ye wants to feel so ye can blow
comfortable," he says. "I done nothin' shorter than put all straight
at Marston's last night. It was science, ye see, gents; and I done
it up strictly according to science. A feller what aint cunnin', and
don't know the nice work o' the law, can't do nothin' in the way o'
science. It's just as you said"-addressing his remarks to Graspum,--
"Marston's slackin' out his conscience because he sees how things
are goin' down hill with him. If that old hoss cholera don't clar
off the nigger property, I'm no prophet. It'll carry 'em into glory;
and glory, I reckon, isn't what you calls good pay, eh, Graspum? I
overheard his intentions: he sees the black page before him; it
troubles the chicken part of his heart. Feels mighty meek and gentle
all at once; and, it's no lie, he begins to see sin in what he has
done; and to make repentance good he's goin' to shove off that nabob
stock of his, so the creditors can't lay paws upon it. Ye got to
spring; Marston 'll get ahead of ye if he don't, old feller. This
child 'll show him how he can't cum some o' them things while Squire
Hobble and I'm on hand." Thus quaintly he speaks, pulling the bill
of sale from a side-pocket, throwing it upon the table with an air
of satisfaction amounting to exultation. "Take that ar; put it where
ye can put yer finger on't when the 'mergency comes." And he smiles
to see how gratefully and anxiously Graspum receives it, reviews it,
re-reviews it,--how it excites the joy of his nature. He has no soul
beyond the love of gold, and the system of his bloody trade. It was
that fatal instrument, great in the atmosphere of ungrateful law,
bending some of nature's noblest beneath its seal of crimes. "It's
from Silenus to Marston; rather old, but just the thing! Ah, you're
a valuable fellow, Anthony." Mr. Graspum manifests his approbation
by certain smiles, grimaces, and shakes of the hand, while word by
word he reads it, as if eagerly relishing its worth. "It's a little
thing for a great purpose; it'll tell a tale in its time;" and he
puts the precious scrip safely in his pocket, and rubbing his hands
together, declares "that deserves a bumper!" They fill up at
Graspum's request, drink with social cheers, followed by a song from
Nimrod, who pitches his tune to the words, "Come, landlord, fill the
flowing bowl."

Nimrod finishes his song: Romescos takes the floor to tell a story
about the old judge what hung the nigger a'cos he didn't want to
spend his patience listening to the testimony, and adjourned the
court to go and take a drink at Sal Stiles's grocery. His
description of the court, its high jurisdiction, the dignity of the
squire what sits as judge, how he drinks the three
jurymen-freeholders-what are going to try a nigger, how they goes
out and takes three drinks when the case gets about half way
through, how the nigger winks and blinks when he sees the jury
drunk, and hears the judge say there's only two things he likes to
hang,--niggers and schoolmasters. But as it's no harm to kill
schoolmasters-speaking in a southern sense-so Romescos thinks the
squire who got the jury inebriated afore he sent the "nigger" to be
hung doesn't mean the least harm when he evinces an abhorrence to
the whole clan of schoolmaster trash. He turns to the old story of
doing everything by system; ends by describing his method of
drinking a whole jury. He has surprised Marston, got him on the hip,
where he can feather him or sciver him, and where things must be
done sly. Public opinion, he whispers, may set folks moving, and
then they'll all be down upon him like hawks after chickens. In his
mind, the feller what pulls first comes off first best-if the law
hounds are not too soon let loose! If they are, there will be a long
drag, a small cage for the flock, and very few birds with feathers
on. Romescos cares for nobody but the judge: he tells us how the
judge and he are right good cronies, and how it's telling a good
many dollars at the end of the year to keep on the best of terms
with him, always taking him to drink when they meet. The judge is a
wonderfully clever fellow, in Romescos' opinion; ranks among
first-class drinkers; can do most anything, from hanging a nigger to
clearing the fellow that killed the schoolmaster, and said he'd
clear a dozen in two two's, if they'd kill off ever so many of the
rubbish. It is well to make his favour a point of interest. The
company are become tired of this sort of cantation; they have heard
enough of high functionaries, know quite enough of judges:--such
things are in their line of business. Romescos must needs turn the
conversation. "Well, taking it how I can entertain ye to most
anything, I'll give ye a story on the secrets of how I used to run
off Ingin remnants of the old tribes. 'Taint but a few years ago, ye
know, when ther was a lot of Ingin and white, mixed stuff-some
called it beautiful-down in Beaufort district. It was temptin'
though, I reckon, and made a feller feel just as if he was runnin'
it off to sell, every time it come in his way. Ye see, most on't was
gal property, and that kind, ollers keeps the whole district in a
hubbub; everybody's offended, and there's so much delicacy about the
ladies what come in contact with it. Yes, gentlemen! the ladies-I
means the aristocracy's ladies-hate these copper-coloured Ingins as
they would female devils. It didn't do to offend the delicacy of our
ladies, ye see; so something must be done, but it was all for
charity's sake. Squire Hornblower and me fixes a plan a'tween us: it
was just the plan to do good for the town-we must always be kind, ye
know, and try to do good-and save the dear good ladies a great deal
of unnecessary pain.

"Now, the squire had law larnin', and I had cunnin'; and both put
together made the thing work to a point. The scheme worked so nicely
that we put twelve out of fifteen of 'em right into pocket-money in
less than three years-"

"Hold a second, Romescos; how did you play the game so adroitly,
when they were all members of families living in the town? You're a
remarkable fellow," Graspum interposes, stretching his arms, and
twisting his sturdy figure over the side of his chair.

"That's what I was coming at. Ye see, whenever ye makes white trash
what ain't slaved a nuisance, you makes it mightily unpopular; and
when folks is unpopular the nuisance is easily removed, especially
when ye can get pay for removing it. The law will be as tame as a
mouse-nobody 'll say nothin'? Ingin and white rubbish is just
alike-one's worth as little as t'other. Both's only fit to sell,
sir!-worthless for any other purpose. Ye see, gentlemen, I'm
something of a philosopher, and has strong faith in the doctrine of
our popular governor, who believes it better to sell all poor whites
into slavery. 'Tain't a free country where ye don't have the right
to sell folks what don't provide for number one. I likes to hear our
big folks talk so"-Anthony's face brightens-"'cause it gives a
feller a chance for a free speculation in them lank, lean rascals;
and, too, it would stop their rifle-shooting and corn-stealing-"

"You never try your hand at such hits-do you, Nathe?" Bengal
interrupts, his fore-finger poised on his nose.

"Now, Dan," Anthony quaintly replies, "none o' yer pointed
insinuations. 'Twouldn't be much harm if the varmin would only keep
its mouth shut along the road. But when the critturs ar' got
schoolmaster gumption it's mighty apt to get a feller into a
tarnation snarl. Schoolmaster gumption makes d-d bad niggers; and
there's why I say it's best to hang schoolmasters. It's dangerous,
'cos it larns the critturs to writin' a scrawl now and then; and,
unless ye knows just how much talent he's got, and can whitewash him
yaller, it's plaguy ticklish. When the brutes have larnin', and can
write a little, they won't stay sold when ye sell 'em-that is, I
mean, white riff-raff stuff; they ain't a bit like niggers and
Ingins. And there's just as much difference a'tween the human natur
of a white nigger and a poverty-bloated white as there is a'twixt
philosophy and water-melons."

"You're drawing a long bow, Anthony," interrupts Graspum, with a
suggestion that it were better to come to the point; and concludes
by saying: "We don't care sevenpence about the worthless whites all
over the State. They can't read nor write-except a few on 'em-and
everybody knows it wouldn't do to give them learning-that wouldn't
do! We want the way you cleared that nuisance out of Beaufort
district so quick-that's what we want to hear."

"Well, ye'h sees, it took some keen play, some sly play, some
dignity, and some talent; but the best thing of the whole was the
squire's honour. He and me, ye see, joined partners--that is, he gets
places for 'em away out o' town--you understand--places where I keeps
a couple of the very best nags that ever stepped turf. And then he
puts on the soft sauder, an' is so friendly to the critturs--gets 'em
to come out with him to where he will make 'um nice house servants,
and such things. He is good at planin', as all justices is, and
would time it to arrive at midnight. I, havin' got a start, has all
ready to meet him; so when he gives me the papers, I makes a bolt at
full speed, and has 'um nowhere afore they knows it. And then, when
they sees who it is, it don't do to make a fuss about it--don't! And
then, they're so handsome, it ain't no trouble finding a market for
'em down Memphis way. It only takes forty-eight hours--the way things
is done up by steam--from the time I clears the line until Timothy
Portman signs the bond-that's five per cent. for him-and Ned Sturm
does the swearin', and they're sold for a slap-up price--sent to
where there's no muttering about it. That's one way we does it; and
then, there's another. But, all in all, there's a right smart lot of
other ways that will work their way into a talented mind. And when a
feller gets the hang on it, and knows lawyer gumption, he can do it
up smooth. You must strap 'em down, chain 'em, look vengeance at
'em; and now and then, when the varmin will squeal, spite of all the
thrashin' ye can give 'em, box 'em up like rats, and put yer horses
like Jehu until ye cl'ar the State. The more ye scars 'em the
better-make 'em as whist as mice, and ye can run 'em through the
rail-road, and sell 'um just as easy.

"There was another way I used to do the thing-it was a sort of an
honourable way; but it used to take the talents of a senator to do
it up square, so the dignity didn't suffer. Then the gals got shy of
squire, 'cos them he got places for never cum back; and I know'd how
'twas best to leave two or three for a nest-egg. It was the way to
do, in case some green should raise a fuss. But connected with these
Ingin gals was one of the likleest yaller fellers that ever shined
on a stand. Thar' was about twelve hundred dollars in him, I saw it
just as straight, and felt it just as safe in my pocket; and then it
made a feller's eyes glisten afore it was got out of him. I tell you
what, boys, it's rather hard when ye comes to think on't." Anthony
pauses for a moment, sharpens his eloquence with another drop of
whiskey, and resumes his discourse. "The feller shined all outside,
but he hadn't head talents-though he was as cunnin' as a fox-and
every time the squire tried an experiment to get him out o'town, the
nigger would dodge like a wounded raccoon. 'Twarn't a bit of use for
the squire-so he just gin it up. Then I trys a hand, ye see, comes
the soft soap over him, in a Sam Slick kind of a way. I'se a private
gentleman, and gets the fellers round to call me a sort of an
aristocrat. Doing this 'ere makes me a nabob in the town-another
time I'm from New York, and has monstrous letters of introduction to
the squire. Then I goes among the niggers and comes it over their
stupid; tells 'em how I'm an abolitionist in a kind of secret
way-gets their confidence. And then I larns a right smart deal of
sayings from the Bible-a nigger's curious on Christianity, ye
see-and it makes him think ye belong to that school, sartin! All the
deviltry in his black natur' 'll cum out then; and he'll do just
what ye tells him. So, ye see, I just draws the pious over him, and
then-like all niggers-I gets him to jine in what he calculates to be
a nice little bit of roguery-running off."

Graspum becomes interested in the fine qualities of the prospective
property, and must needs ask if he is bright and trim.

"Bright! I reckon he warn't nothin' else in a money sense-brighter
nor most niggers, but mighty Inginy. Had the fierce of one and the
cunnin' of t'other. Tom Pridgeon and me has an understandin' about
the thing; and Tom's such a ripper for tradin' in nigger property-he
is about the only devil niggers can imagine; and they delight to
play tricks on Tom. Well, the nigger and me's good friends, right to
the point; a good trick is to be played off on Tom, who buys the
nigger in confidence; the nigger is to run off when he gets to
Savannah, and Tom is to be indicted for running off 'free niggers.'
I'se a great Christian, and joins heart and hand with the darkey; we
takes our walks together, reads together, prays together. And then
'tain't long afore I becomes just the best white man in his
estimation. Knowing when Tom makes up his gang, I proposes a walk in
the grove to the nigger. 'Thank ye, sir,' says he, in an Ingin kind
of way, and out we goes, sits down, talks pious, sings hymns, and
waits to see the rascally nigger-trader come along. Presently Tom
makes his appearance, with a right smart lot of extra prime
property. The nigger and me marches down the road just like master
and servant, and stops just when we meets Tom. You'd laughed to see
Tom and me do the stranger, 'Well, mister,' says I, 'how's trade in
your line?-there's mighty good prices for cotton just now; an' I
'spose 't keeps the market stiff up in your line!'"

'Well, no,' says Tom: 'a feller can turn a good penny in the way o'
fancy articles, just now; but 'tain't the time for prime
plantation-stock. Planters are all buying, and breeders down
Virginia way won't give a feller a chance to make a shaving. It
drives a feller hard up, ye see, and forces more business in running
the free 'uns.'

'Why, stranger! what on 'arth do you mean by that 'ar;-wouldn't ye
get straightened if you'd git catched at that business?'

'Oh, nothing, nothing! I forgot what I was saying,' says Tom, just
as if he was scared at what he had let slip.

'I say, trader, ye got the brightest assortment of property thar' I
seen for many a day: you don't call them gals slaves, do you? Down
where I cum from, our folks wouldn't know 'em from white folks.' I
tell you, boys, he had some bits that would o' made yer heart cum
straight up.

'But I say, mister, I kind 'a like yer horse property-somehow he's
full blood,' says I.

'Yes,' says Tom; 'he's one o' the best critturs to drive niggers
with that ye ever did see; and he's beat the best horse on the
Columbia course, twice.'

'Well, now; seein' how I likes the animal, about how much do ye'h
set him at?' says I.

'Well! can't part with the nag nohow; seems as if he knowed a
nigger, and understands the business right up.'

'But, you see, I'se got a bit of nigger property here what ye'h
don't pick up every day for the Memphis trade,' says I, looking at
the feller, who played his part right up to the hilt.

'Well, I don't mind strikin' a trade,' says Tom: 'but you see my
nag's worth a little risin' a thousand dollars.'

'I don't doubt that, stranger,' says I: 'but ye'h sees this 'ar
piece of property o' mine is worth more 'an twelve hundred. You
don't come across such a looking chap every day. There's a spec. in
him, in any market down south,' says I; and I puts my hands on the
nigger and makes him show out, just as if Tom and me was striking
for a trade. So Tom examines him, as if he was green in nigger
business, and he and me strangers just come from t'other side of
moon shadows.

'Well, now,' says Tom, 'it's mighty likely property, and seeing it's
you, jist name a trade.'

'Put down the nag and two hundred dollars, and I'll sign the bill of
sale, for a swap.' And Tom plants down the dimes, and takes the
nigger. When Tom gets him to Savannah, he plunks him into jail, and
keeps him locked up in a cell until he is ready to start south. I
promises the nigger half of the spiles; but I slips an X

Ten dollars. into his hand, and promises him the rest when he gets
back-when he does! And ye see how Tom just tryced him up to the
cross and put thirty-nine to his bare skin when he talked about
being free, in Savannah; and gagged him when he got his Ingin up.
Warn't that doing the thing up slick, fellers?" exclaimed Romescos,
chuckling over the sport.

"It warn't nothing else. That's what I calls catching a nigger in
his own trap," said one. "That's sarvin' him right; I go for sellin'
all niggers and Ingins," said another. "Free niggers have no souls,
and are impediments to personal rights in a free country," said a

"Ye'h see, there's such an infernal lot of loose corners about our
business, that it takes a feller what has got a big head to do all
the things smooth, in a legal way; and it's so profitable all round
that it kind o' tempts a feller, once in a while, to do things he
don't feel just right in; but then a glass of old monongahela brings
ye'h all straight in yer feelins again, a'ter a few minutes," said

"It's an amusing business; a man's got to have nerve and maxim, if
he wants to make a fortune at it. But-now, gentlemen, we'll take
another round," said Graspum, stopping short. "Anthony, tell us how
you work it when you want to run a free nigger down Maryland way."

"There ain't no trouble about that," replied Romescos, quickly. "You
see," he continued, squinting his eye, and holding his glass between
his face and the light. "Shut out all hope first, and then prime
legal gentlemen along the road, and yer sartin to make safe
business. I has chaps what keeps their eye on all the free bits, and
makes good fellers with 'em; niggers think they'r the right stripe
friends; and then they gives 'em jobs once in a while, and tobacco,
and whiskey. So when I gets all fixed for a run, some on 'm gets the
nigger into a sly spot, and then we pounces upon him like a hawk on
a chicken-gags him, and screws him up in the chains, head and
feet,--boxes him up, too, and drives him like lightning until I meets
Tilman at the cross-roads; and then I just has a document

"A forged bill of sale, all ready, which I gives to Till, and he
puts his nags in-a pair what can take the road from anything
about-and the way he drives, just to make the nigger forget where
he's going, and think he's riding in a balloon on his way to glory.
Just afore Til. gets to the boat, ye see, he takes the headchains
off-so the delicate-hearted passengers won't let their feelins get
kind-a out o' sorts. Once in a while the nigger makes a blubber
about being free, to the captain,--and if he's fool enough t' take
any notice on't then there's a fuss; but that's just the easiest
thing to get over, if ye only know the squire, and how to manage
him. You must know the pintes of the law, and ye must do the clean
thing in the 'tin' way with the squire; and then ye can cut 'em
right off by makin' t'other pintes make 'em mean nothing. Once in a
while t'll do to make the nigger a criminal, and then there's no
trouble in't, 'cos ye can ollers git the swearin' done cheap. Old
Captain Smith used to get himself into a scrape a heap o' times by
listenin' to free nigger stories, till he gets sick and would kick
every nigger what came to him about being free. He takes the law in
his hands with a nigger o' mine once, and hands him over to a city
policeman as soon as we lands. He didn't understand the thing, ye
see, and I jist puts an Ten dollars into the pole's hand, what he
takes the hint at. 'Now, ye'll take good care on the feller," says
I, giving him a wink. "And he just keeps broad off from the old
hard-faced mayor, and runs up to the squire's, who commits him on
his own committimus. Then I gets Bob Blanker to stand 'all right'
with the squire, who's got all the say in the matter, when it's done
so. I cuts like lightenin' on to far down Mississippi, and there
gets Sam Slang, just one o' the keenest fellers in that line, about.
Sam's a hotel-keeper all at once, and I gets him up afore the
Mississippi squire; and as Sam don't think much about the swearin'
and the squire ain't particular, so he makes a five: we proves
straight off how the crittur's Sam's runaway, gets the dockerment
and sends to Bob Blanker, who puts a blinder on the squire's eye,
and gets an order to the old jailor, who must give him up, when he
sees the squire's order. You see, it's larnin' the secret, that's
the thing, and the difference between common law and nigger law; and
the way to work the matter so the squire will have it all in his own
fingers, and don't let the old judge get a pick. Squire makes it
square, hands the nigger over to Bob, Bob puts fifty cuts on his
hide, makes him as clever as a kitten, and ships him off down south
afore he has time to wink. Then, ye sees, I goes back as independent
as a senator from Arkansas, and sues Captain Smith for damages in
detainin' the property, and I makes him pay a right round sum, what
larns him never to try that agin."

Thus Romescos concludes the details of his nefarious trade, amid
cheers and bravos. The party are in ecstasies, evincing a singular
merriment at the issue. There is nothing like liberty--liberty to do
what you please, to turn freedom into barbarity! They gloat over the
privileges of a free country; and, as Romescos recounts each
proceeding,--tracing it into the lowest depths of human villainy,
they sing songs to right, justice, freedom-they praise the bounties
of a great country. How different is the picture below! Beneath this
plotting conclave, devising schemes to defraud human nature of its
rights, to bring poverty and disgrace upon happy families-all in
accordance with the law-are chained in narrow cells poor mortals,
hoping for an end to their dreary existence, pining under the weight
of pinions dashing their very souls into endless despair. A tale of
freedom is being told above, but their chains of death clank in
solemn music as the midnight revelry sports with the very agony of
their sorrows. Oh! who has made their lives a wanton jest?-can it be
the will of heaven, or is it the birthright of a downtrodden race?
They look for to-morrow, hope reverberates one happy thought, it may
bring some tidings of joy; but again they sink, as that endless
gloom rises before them. Hope fades from their feelings, from the
bleeding heart for which compassion is dead. The tyrant's heart is
of stone; what cares he for their supplications, their cries, their
pleadings to heaven; such things have no dollars for him!

Arranging the preliminaries necessary for proceeding with Marston's
affairs, they agreed to the plans, received orders from Graspum in
reference to their proceedings on the following day, and retired to
their homes, singing praises to great good laws, and the freedom of
a free country.



WHILE the proceedings we have detailed in the foregoing chapter were
progressing at Graspum's slave-pen, a different phase of the system
was being discussed by several persons who had assembled at the
house of Deacon Rosebrook. Rumour had been busy spreading its
many-sided tales about Marston-his difficulties, his connection with
Graspum, his sudden downfall. All agreed that Marston was a
noble-minded fellow, generous to a fault-generous in his worst
errors; and, like many other southerners, who meant well, though
personally kind to his slaves, never set a good example in his own
person. Religion was indispensably necessary to preserve submission;
and, with a view to that end, he had made the Church a means of
producing it.

Now, if the southerner resorted to the Church in the purity of
Christian motives, he would merit that praise which many are so
willing to bestow. Or, if Christianity were embraced by the
southerner with heartfelt purity and faith, it would undoubtedly
have a beneficial influence, elevate the character of the slave,
promote kindly feelings between him and his master, and ultimately
prove profitable to both. But where Christianity, used by
irreligious persons, whose very acts destroy the vitality of the
means, is made the medium of enforcing superstition, and of debasing
the mind of the person it degrades into submission, its application
becomes nothing less than criminal. It is criminal because it brings
true religion into contempt, perverts Christianity-makes it a
mockery, and gives to the degraded whites of the South a plea for
discarding its precepts. Religion-were it not used as a mechanical
agency-would elevate the degraded white population of the South;
they would, through its influence, become valuable citizens.

These remarks have been forced upon us by observation. Frequently
have we lamented its application, and grieved that its holy mission
were made to serve the vilest purposes in a land of liberty, of
Christian love. Religion a means of degrading the masses-a
subservient agent! It is so, nevertheless; and men use it whose only
desire it is to make it serve a property interest-the interest of
making men, women, and children, more valuable in the market. God
ordained it for a higher purpose,--man applies it for his benefit in
the man-market. Hence, where the means for exercising the mind upon
the right is forbidden-where ignorance becomes the necessary part of
the maintenance of a system, and religion is applied to that end, it
becomes farcical; and while it must combine all the imperfections of
the performer, necessarily tends to confine the ignorance of those
it seeks to degrade, within the narrowest boundary. There are
different ways of destroying the rights of different classes; and as
many different ways, after they are destroyed, of wiping out the
knowledge of their ever having had rights. But, we regret to say,
that most resorted to by the South, in the face of civilisation, is
the Holy Scriptures, which are made the medium of blotting out all
knowledge of the rights a people once possessed. The wrong-doer thus
fears the result of natural laws; if they be allowed to produce
results through the cultivation of a slave's mind, such may prove
fatal to his immediate interests. And to maintain a system which is
based on force, the southern minister of the gospel is doubly
culpable in the sight of heaven; for while he stimulates ignorance
by degrading the man, he mystifies the Word of God, that he may
remain for ever and ever degraded.

What a deplorable process of stealing-nay, gently taking away the
knowledge which an all-wise Providence has given to man as his
inheritance; how it reduces his natural immunities to sensual
misery! And, too, it forbids all legitimate influences that could
possibly give the menial a link to elevation, to the formation of a
society of his own. We would fain shrink from such a system of
debasing mankind-even more, from the hideous crimes of those who
would make Scripture the means to such an end. And yet, the Church
defender of slavery-the Christian little one-his neck-cloth as white
as the crimes he defends are black-must distinguish his arguments;
and that the world may not suspect his devotion, his honesty, his
serious intention, he points us to the many blessings of the

Heavenly divinity! Let us have faith in the little ones sent to
teach it; they tell us slavery enforces Christianity! The management
of ignorance under the direction of ministers of the gospel is
certainly becoming well-defined; while statesmen more energetically
legalise it. The one devises, the other carries out a law to make
man ignorant of everything but labour. But while the statesman
moulds the theory, the preacher manufactures Scripture texts, that
the menial may believe God has ordained him the pliable victim.

Under the apparent necessity of the slave world, Marston had
regularly paid Elder Pemberton Praiseworthy for preaching to his
property on Sundays; and to the requisite end the good Elder felt
himself in duty bound to inculcate humility in all things that would
promote obedience to a master's will. Of course, one sermon was
quite sufficient; and this the credulous property had listened to
for more than three years. The effect was entirely satisfactory, the
result being that the honest property were really impressed with a
belief, that to evince Christian fortitude under suffering and
punishment was the best means of cleansing themselves of the sins
they were born to. This formality was misnamed Christianity--it was!
And through the force of this one sermon the Elder became indolent;
and indolence led him to its natural yoke-fellow-intemperance. His
indulgent mood, such as we have described him enjoying in a previous
chapter, became too frequent, leading to serious annoyances. They
had been especially serious for Marston, whom they placed in an
awkward situation before his property, and he resolved to tolerate
them no longer. Probably this resolution was hastened by the sudden
discovery of Harry's singular knowledge of Scripture; be that as it
may, the only difficulty in the way was to know if Harry could be so
trained, that he would preach the "right stripe" doctrine. This,
however, was soon settled, and Marston not only suspended his
engagement with the Elder, but entered into a contract with the
neighbouring planters, by the terms of which Harry will fill their
pulpit, and preach extempore--the Elder has brought written sermons
into contempt with Harry--at a stipulated price per Sunday. In this
new avocation-this leap from the plantation to the pulpit, Harry, as
a piece of property, became extremely valuable; while, through the
charm of his new black coat, he rose a great man in the estimation
of the common property. Here was a valuable incentive of submission,
a lesson for all bad niggers, a chance for them to improve under the
peculiar institution. It proved to niggerdom what a good nigger
could be if he only fear God and obey his master in all things.

Here was proof that a nigger could be something more than a nigger,
in spite of southern philosophy. The Elder-good, pious man that he
was-found himself out of pocket and out of preaching. Thrown upon
the resources of his ingenuity, he had, in order to save the
dictates of his conscience, while taking advantage of the many
opportunities of making money afforded by the peculiar institution,
entered upon another branch of business, having for its object the
advancement of humanity. He resolved to go forth purchasing the sick
and the dying; to reclaim sinking humanity and make it marketable.

But, before describing the vicissitudes through which Elder
Pemberton Praiseworthy passes in his new mission of humanity, we
must introduce the reader to the precincts of a neat little villa,
situated at the outskirts of the city of C--. It is a small cottage
surrounded with verandas and trellis-work, over which are creeping
numerous woodbines and multafloras, spreading their fragrant
blossoms, giving it an air of sequestered beauty. An arbour of
grapevines extends from a little portico at the front to a wicker
fence that separates the embankment of a well-arranged garden, in
which are pots of rare plants, beds and walks decorated with
flowers, presenting great care and taste. A few paces in the rear of
the cottage are several "negro cabins" nicely white-washed without,
and an air of cheerfulness and comfort reigning within. The house-
servants are trimly dressed; they look and act as if their thoughts
and affections were with "mas'r and missus." Their white aprons and
clean bright frocks-some bombazine, and some gingham-give them an
appearance of exactness, which, whether it be voluntary or force of
discipline, bears evidence of attention in the slave, and
encouragement on the part of the master. This is the Villa of Deacon
Rosebrook; they call him deacon, by courtesy; in the same sense that
Georgia majors and South Carolina generals are honoured with those
far-famed titles which so distinguish them when abroad. Perhaps we
should be doing the deacon no more than justice if we were to admit
that he had preached in very respectable spheres; but, feeling that
he was wanting in the purity of divine love-that he could not do
justice to his conscience while setting forth teachings he did not
follow, he laid the profession aside for the more genial
associations of plantation life. Indeed, he was what many called a
very easy backslider; and at times was recognised by the somewhat
singular soubriquet of Deacon Pious-proof. But he was kind to his
slaves, and had projected a system singularly at variance with that
of his neighbours-a system of mildness, amelioration, freedom.

His plantation, a small one, some few miles from the Villa,
presented the same neatness and comfort, the same cheerfulness among
the negroes, and the same kindly feeling between master and slave,
which characterised the Villa.

We enter a neatly-furnished parlour, where the deacon and a friend
are seated on a sofa; various pictures are suspended from the
wall,--everything betokens New England neatness. The old-fashioned
dog-irons and fender are polished to exquisite brightness, a
Brussels carpet spreads the floor, a bright surbase encircles the
room; upon the flossy hearth-rug lies crouched the little canine
pet, which Aunt Dolly has washed to snowy whiteness. Aunt Dolly
enters the room with a low curtsy, gently raises the poodle, then
lays him down as carefully as if he were an heir to the estate.
Master is happy, "missus" is happy, and Aunt Dolly is happy; and the
large bookcase, filled with well-selected volumes, adds to the air
of contentment everywhere apparent. In a niche stands a large
pier-table, upon which are sundry volumes with gilt edges, nets of
cross-work, porcelain ornaments, and card-cases inlaid with mosaic.
Antique tables with massive carved feet, in imitation of lions'
paws, chairs of curious patterns, reclines and ottomans of softest
material, and covered with satin damask, are arranged round the room
in harmony and good taste.

"Now, Mr. Scranton," the deacon says to his friend, who is a tall,
prim, sedate-looking man, apparently about forty, "I pity Marston; I
pity him because he is a noble-hearted fellow. But, after all, this
whispering about the city may be only mother Rumour distributing her
false tales. Let us hope it is all rumour and scandal. Come, tell
me-what do you think of our negroes?"

"Nigger character has not changed a bit in my mind, since I came
south. Inferior race of mortals, sir!-without principles, and fit
only for service and submission. A southern man knows their
composition, but it takes a northern to study the philosophy-it
does," replies Mr. Scranton, running his left hand over his
forehead, and then his right over the crown of his head, as if to
cover a bald spot with the scanty remnant of hair that projected
from the sides.

The deacon smiles at the quaint reply. He knows Mr. Scranton's
northern tenacity, and begs to differ with him. "You are ultra, a
little ultra, in all things, Mr. Scranton. I fear it is that,
carried out in morals as well as politics, that is fast reducing our
system to degradation and tyranny. You northern gentlemen have a
sort of pedantic solicitude for our rights, but you underrate our
feelings upon the slavery question. I'm one among the few
southerners who hold what are considered strange views: we are
subjected to ridicule for our views; but it is only by those who see
nothing but servitude in the negro,--nothing but dollars and cents in
the institution of slavery."

Mr. Scranton is struck with astonishment, interrupts the argument by
insisting upon the great superiority of the gentlemen whites, and
the Bible philosophy which he can bring to sustain his argument.

"Stop one moment, my philosophic friend," the deacon interposes,
earnestly. "Upon that you northerners who come out here to sustain
the cause of slavery for the south, all make fools of yourselves.
This continual reasoning upon Bible philosophy has lost its life,
funeral dirges have been played over it, the instruments are worn
out. And yet, the subject of the philosophy lives,--he belies it with
his physical vigour and moral action. We doubt the sincerity of
northerners; we have reasons for so doing; they know little of the
negro, and care less. Instead of assisting southerners who are
inclined to do justice to the wretch-to be his friend-to improve his
condition-to protect him against a tyrant's wrong, you bring us into
contempt by your proclaiming virtue over the vice we acknowledge
belongs to the institution. We know its defects-we fear them; but,
in the name of heaven, do not defend them at the cost of virtue,
truth, honesty. Do not debase us by proclaiming its glories over our
heads;-do not take advantage of us by attempting to make wrong
right." The deacon's feelings have become earnest; his face glows
with animation.

Mr. Scranton seems discomfited. "That's just like all you
southerners: you never appreciate anything we do for you. What is
the good of our love, if you always doubt it?"

"Such love!" says the deacon, with a sarcastic curl on his lip.
"It's cotton-bag love, as full of self as a pressed bale-"

"But, deacon; you're getting up on the question."

"Up as high as northern sincerity is low. Nothing personal," is the
cool rejoinder.

Mr. Scranton inquires very seriously-wishing it particularly to be
understood that he is not a fighting-man-if Deacon Rosebrook
considers all northerners white-washed, ready to deceive through the
dim shadows of self. The deacon's frank and manly opinion of
northern editors and preachers disturbs Scranton's serious
philosophy. "Cotton-bag love!" there's something in it, and contempt
at the bottom, he declares within himself. And he gives a serious
look, as much as to say-"go on."

"I do! He who maketh right, what those most interested in know to be
wrong, cherishes a bad motive. When a philosopher teaches doctrines
that become doubtful in their ultraness, the weakness carries the
insincerity,--the effort becomes stagnant. Never sell yourself to any
class of evils for popularity's sake. If you attempt it you mistake
the end, and sell yourself to the obscurity of a political
trickster, flatttered by a few, believed by none."

"Deacon! a little more moderate. Give us credit for the good we do.
Don't get excited, don't. These are ticklish times, and we
northerners are quick to observe-"

"Yes, when it will turn a penny on a nigger or a bale of cotton."

"Allow me; one minute if you please!" returned Scranton, with a
nasal twang peculiar to his class, as he began to work himself up
into a declamatory attitude. "You southerners don't understand what
a force them northern abolitionists are bringing against you; and
you know how slow you are to do things, and to let your property all
go to waste while you might make a good speculation on it. There's
just the difference of things: we study political economy so as to
apply it to trade and such like; you let things go to waste, just
thinking over it. And, you see, it's our nature to be restless and
searching out the best avenues for developing trade. Why, deacon,
your political philosophy would die out if the New Englander didn't
edit your papers and keep your nigger principles straight."

"Nigger principles straight! Ah, indeed! Only another evidence of
that cotton bag love that has caused the banns of matrimony to be
published between tyrants who disgrace us and northern speculators.
The book-publisher-poor servile tool-fears to publish Mrs. Johnson's
book, lest it should contain something to offend Mrs. Colonel
Sportington, at the south. Mr. Stevens, the grocer, dare not put his
vote into the ballot-box for somebody, because he fears one of his
customers at the south will hear of it. Parson Munson dare not speak
what he thinks in a New England village, because Mrs. Bruce and
Deacon Donaldson have yearly interests in slaves at the south; and
old Mattock, the boot-maker, thinks it aint right for niggers to be
in church with white folks, and declares, if they do go, they should
sit away back in one corner, up stairs. He thinks about the
combination that brings wealth, old age, and the grave, into one
vortex,--feels little misgiving upon humanity, but loves the union,
and wants nothing said about niggers. We understand what it all
means, Mr. Scranton; and we can credit it for what it's worth,
without making any account for its sincerity and independence. I am
one among the few who go for educating the negroes, and in that
education to cultivate affections between slave and master, to make
encouragement perform the part of discipline, and inspire energy
through proper rewards."

"What!-educate a nigger! These are pretty principles for a
southerner to maintain! Why, sir, if such doctrines were advocated
in the body politic they would be incendiary to southern
institutions. Just educate the niggers, and I wouldn't be an editor
in the south two days. You'd see me tramping, bag and baggage, for
the north, much as I dislike it! It would never do to educate such a
miserable set of wretches as they are. You may depend what I say is
true, sir. Their condition is perfectly hopeless at the north, and
the more you try to teach them, the greater nuisance they become."

"Now, my good northern friend, not so fast, if you please; I can see
the evil of all this, and so can you, if you will but study the
negro's character a little deeper. The menial man who has passed
through generations of oppression, and whose life and soul are
blotted from the right of manhood, is sensitive of the power that
crushes him. He has been robbed of the means of elevating himself by
those who now accuse him of the crime of degradation: and, wherever
the chance is afforded him of elevation, as that increases so does a
tenacious knowledge of his rights; yet, he feels the prejudice that
cuts and slights him in his progress, that charges him with the
impudence of a negro, that calls his attempts to be a man mere
pompous foolery."

"And it is so! To see a nigger setting himself up among white
folks-it's perfectly ridiculous!"

"Mark me, Mr. Scranton: there's where you northerners mistake
yourselves. The negro seldom desires to mix with whites, and I hold
it better they should keep together; but that two races cannot live
together without the one enslaving the other is a fallacy popular
only with those who will not see the future, and obstinately refuse
to review the past. You must lessen your delicate sensibilities; and
when you make them less painful to the man of colour at the north,
believe me, the south will respond to the feeling. Experience has
changed my feelings,--experience has been my teacher. I have based
my new system upon experience; and its working justifies me in all I
have said. Let us set about extracting the poison from our
institutions, instead of losing ourselves in contemplating an
abstract theory for its government."

"Remember, deacon, men are not all born to see alike. There are
rights and privileges belonging to the southerner: he holds the
trade in men right, and he would see the Union sundered to atoms
before he would permit the intervention of the federal government on
that subject," Mr. Scranton seriously remarks, placing his two
thumbs in the armpits of his vest, and assuming an air of
confidence, as if to say, "I shall outsouthern the southerner yet, I

"That's just the point upon which all the villainy of our
institution rests: the simple word man!-man a progressive being; man
a chattel,--a thing upon which the sordid appetite of every wretch
may feed. Why cannot Africa give up men? She has been the victim of
Christendom-her flesh and blood have served its traffic, have
enriched its coffers, and even built its churches; but like a
ferocious wolf that preys upon the fold in spite of watchers, she
yet steals Afric's bleeding victims, and frowns upon them because
they are not white, nor live as white men live."

"Mercy on me!" says Mr. Scranton, with a sigh, "you can't ameliorate
the system as it stands: that's out of the question. Begin to loosen
the props, and the whole fabric will tumble down. And then, niggers
won't be encouraged to work at a price for their labour; and how are
you going to get along in this climate, and with such an enormous
population of vagabonds?"

"Remember, Mr. Scranton," ejaculated the deacon, "there's where you
mistake the man in the negro; and through these arguments, set forth
in your journal, we suffer. You must have contracted them by
association with bad slave-owners. Mark ye! the negro has been sunk
to the depths where we yet curse him; and is it right that we should
keep him cursed?-to say nothing of the semi-barbarous position in
which it finds our poor whites. He feels that his curse is for
life-time; his hopes vibrate with its knowledge, and through it he
falls from that holy inspiration that could make him a man, enjoying
manhood's rights. Would not our energy yield itself a sacrifice to
the same sacrificer? Had we been loaded with chains of tyranny, what
would have been our condition? Would not that passion which has led
the Saxon on to conquest, and spread his energy through the western
world, have yielded when he saw the last shadow of hope die out, and
realised that his degradation was for life-time? Would not the
yearnings of such a consummation have recoiled to blast every action
of the being who found himself a chattel? And yet this very chattel,
thus yoked in death, toils on in doubts and fears, in humbleness and
submission, with unrequited fortitude and affection. And still all
is doubted that he does, even crushed in the prejudice against his

"Well, deacon, you perfectly startle me, to hear a southerner talk
that way at the south. If you keep on, you'll soon have an abolition
society without sending north for it."

"That's just what I want. I want our southerners to look upon the
matter properly, and to take such steps as will set us right in the
eyes of the world. Humanity is progressing with rapid
strides-slavery cannot exist before it! It must fall; and we should
prepare to meet it, and not be so ungrateful, at least, that we
cannot reflect upon its worth, and give merit to whom merit is due."
Thus were presented the north and south; the former loses her
interests in humanity by seeking to serve the political ends of the



AT this juncture of the conversation, a sprightly, well-dressed
servant opens the parlour-door, announces missus! The deacon's good
lady enters. She is a perfect pattern of neatness,--a
finely-developed woman of more than ordinary height, with blonde
features, and a countenance as full of cheerfulness as a bright May
morning. She bows gracefully; her soft eyes kindle with intelligence
as she approaches Mr. Scranton, who rises with the coldness of an

"Be seated, Mr. Scranton," she says, with a voice so full of
gentleness,--"be seated." Her form is well-rounded, her features
exquisite. Mr. Scranton views her seriously, as if he found
something of great interest in that marble forehead, those fine
features moulding a countenance full of soul, love, and sweetness.
Her dress is of plain black brocade, made high at the neck, where it
is secured with a small diamond pin, the front opening and
disclosing a lace stomacher set with undressed pearls. Rufflets and
diamond bracelets, of chaste workmanship, clasp her wrists; while
her light auburn hair, neatly laid in plain folds, and gathered into
a plait on the back of her head, where it is delicately secured with
gold and silver cord, forms a soft contrast. There is chasteness and
simplicity combined to represent character, sense, and refinement.
She is the mother of the plantation: old negroes call her mother,
young ones clamour with joy when she visits their abodes: her very
soul is in their wants; they look to her for guidance. Their
happiness is her pleasure, and by sharing the good fortune that has
followed them she has fostered the energy of their negroes, formed
them into families, encouraged their morality, impressed them with
the necessity of preserving family relations. Against the stern
mandates of the law, she has taught them to read the Bible, reading
and explaining it to them herself. Indeed, she has risen above the
law: she has taught the more tractable ones to write; she has
supplied the younger with little story-books, attractive and
containing good moral lessons. She rejoices over her system: it is
honest, kind, generous,--it will serve the future, and is not
unprofitable at present. It is different from that pursued by those
who would, through the instrumentality of bad laws, enforce
ignorance. Nay, to her there is something abhorrent in using the
Word of God as an excuse for the existence of slavery. Her system is
practicable, enlightening first, and then enforcing that which gives
encouragement to the inert faculties of our nature. Punishments were
scarcely known upon her plantation; the lash never used. Old and
young were made to feel themselves part and parcel of a family
compact, to know they had an interest in the crop, to gather hopes
for the future, to make home on the old plantation pleasant. There
was something refreshing in the pride and protection evinced in the
solicitation of this gentle creature for her negroes. In early life
she had listened to their fables, had mixed with them as children,
had enjoyed their hours of play, had studied their sympathies, and
entered with delight into the very soul of their jargon merriment.
She felt their wants, and knew their grievances; she had come
forward to be their protector, their mother! "Why, Mr. Scranton,"
she exclaims, laughingly, in reply to that gentleman's remarks, as
she interrupted the conversation between him and the deacon, "we
would sooner suffer than sell one of our boys or girls-even if the
worst came to the worst. I know the value of family ties; I know how
to manage negroes. I would just as soon think of selling our
Matilda, I would! If some of you good northern folks could only see
how comfortable my negroes are!-"

"Oh, yes!" interrupts the deacon, "she takes it all out of my hands;
I'm going to give her the reins altogether one of these days. She
has got a nice way of touching a negro's feelings so that anything
can be done with him: it tells largely at times." Mr. Scranton's
face becomes more serious; he doesn't seem to understand this new
"nigger philosophy." "Poor creatures!" the deacon continues, "how
wonderful is the power of encouragement;-how much may be done if
proper means are applied-"

"The trouble is in the means," Mr. Scranton interposes, scratching
his head, as if ideas were scarce, and valuable for the distance
they had to be transported.

Our good lady smiles. "I cannot help smiling, Mr. Scranton." She
speaks softly. "There are two things I want done-done quickly: I
want southern philosophers to consider, and I want southern ladies
to act-to put on energy-to take less care of themselves and more of
the poor negro!" She lays her hand gently upon Mr. Scranton's arm,
her soft blue eyes staring him in the face. "When they do this," she
continues, "all will be well. We can soon show the north how much
can be done without their assistance. I don't believe in women's
rights meetings,--not I; but I hold there should be some combination
of southern ladies, to take the moral elevation of the slave into
consideration,--to set about the work in good earnest, to see what
can be done. It's a monster work; but monster evils can be removed
if females will give their hands and hearts to the task. This
separating families to serve the interests of traders in human
beings must be stopped: females know the pains it inflicts on
suffering wretches; they are best suited to stop that heinous
offence in the sight of God and man. They must rise to the work;
they must devise means to stay the waste of fortune now progressing
through dissipation; and, above all other things, they must rise up
and drive these frightful slave-dealers from their doors."

Mr. Scranton admits there is something in all this, but suggests
that it were better to let the future take care of itself; there's
no knowing what the future may do; and to let those who come in it
enjoy our labours "aint just the policy." He contends-willing to
admit how much the ladies could do if they would-it would not be
consistent with the times to put forth such experiments, especially
when there is so much opposition. "It wouldn't do!" he whispers.

The deacon here interrupts Mr. Scranton, by stepping to the door and
ordering one of the servants to prepare refreshments.

"'It must do! It won't do!' keeps us where we are, and where we are
always complaining that we never have done. You know I speak
frankly, Mr. Scranton-women may say what they please;-and let me
tell you, that when you do your duty it will do. Hard times never
were harder than when everybody thought them hard. We must infuse
principle into our poor people; we must make them earnest in
agricultural pursuits; we must elevate the character of labour; we
must encourage the mechanic, and give tone to his pursuits; and,
more than all, we must arrest the spread of conventional nonsense,
and develope our natural resources by establishing a system of paid
labour, and removing the odium which attaches itself to those who
pursue such avocations as the slave may be engaged in. My word for
it, Mr. Scranton, there's where the trouble lies. Nature has been
lavish in her good gifts to the south; but we must lend Nature a
helping hand,--we must be the women of the south for the south's
good; and we must break down those social barriers clogging our
progress. Nature wants good government to go along with her, to be
her handfellow in regeneration; but good government must give Nature
her rights. This done, slavery will cease to spread its loathsome
diseases through the body politic, virtue will be protected and
receive its rewards, and the buds of prosperity will be nourished
with energy and ripen into greatness."

Mr. Scranton suggests that the nigger question was forced upon him,
and thinks it better to change the conversation. Mr. Scranton was
once in Congress, thinks a deal of his Congressional experience, and
declares, with great seriousness, that the nigger question will come
to something one of these days. "Ah! bless me, madam," he says,
adjusting his arms, "you talk-very-like-a-statesman. Southerners
better leave all this regenerating of slaves to you. But let me say,
whatever you may see in perspective, it's mighty dangerous when you
move such principles to practice. Mark me! you'll have to pull down
the iron walls of the south, make planters of different minds, drive
self out of mankind, and overthrow the northern speculator's
cotton-bag love. You've got a great work before you, my dear
madam,--a work that'll want an extended lease of your life-time.
Remember how hard it is to convince man of the wrong of anything
that's profitable. A paid system, even emancipation, would have been
a small affair in 1824 or 1827. Old niggers and prime fellows were
then of little value; now it is different. You may see the obstacle
to your project in the Nashville Convention or Georgia platform-"

"Nashville Convention, indeed!" exclaims Mrs. Rosebrook, her face
infused with animation, and a curl of disdain on her lip. "Such
things! Mere happy illustrations of the folly of our political
affairs. The one was an exotic do-nothing got up by Mister
Wanting-to-say-something, who soon gets ashamed of his mission; the
other was a mixture of political log-rolling, got up by those who
wanted to tell the Union not to mind the Nashville Convention. What
a pity they did not tell the Union to be patient with us! We must
have no more Nashville Conventions; we must change Georgia platforms
for individual enterprise,--southern conventions for moral
regeneration. Give us these changes, and we shall show you what can
be done without the aid of the north." Several servants in tidy
dresses, their white aprons looking so clean, come bustling into the
room and invite missus and her guest into an airy ante-room, where a
table is bountifully spread with cake, fruit, fine old Madeira, and
lemonade. Mr. Scranton bows and asks "the pleasure;" Mrs. Rosebrook
acknowledgingly takes his arm, while the negroes bow and scrape as
they enter the room. Mr. Scranton stands a few moments gazing at the
set-out. "I hope Mr. Scranton will make himself quite at home," the
good lady interposes. Everything was so exquisitely arranged, so set
off with fresh-plucked flowers, as if some magic hand had just
touched the whole.

"Now!" continued Mrs. Rosebrook, motioning her head as she points to
the table: "you'll admit my negroes can do something? Poor helpless
wretches, we say continually: perhaps they are worse when bad owners
can make the world look upon them through northern prejudice. They
are just like children; nobody gives them credit for being anything
else; and yet they can do much for our good. It would trouble some
persons to arrange a table so neatly; my boys did it all, you see!"
And she exults over the efficiency of her negroes, who stand at her
side acknowledging the compliment with broad grins. The deacon helps
Mr. Scranton, who commences stowing away the sweetmeats with great
gusto. "It is truly surprising what charming nigger property you
have got. They don't seem a bit like niggers" he concludes
deliberately taking a mouthful. Mrs. Rosebrook, pleased at the
honest remark, reminds him that the deacon carries out her views
most charmingly, that she studies negro character, and knows that by
stimulating it with little things she promotes good. She studies
character while the deacon studies politics. At the same time, she
rather ironically reminds Mr. Scranton that the deacon is not guilty
of reading any long-winded articles on "state rights and secession."
"Not he!" she says, laughingly; "you don't catch him with such
cast-iron material in his head. They call him pious-proof now and
then, but he's progress all over."

Mr. Scranton, attentive to his appetite, draws a serious face, gives
a side glance, begs a negro to supply his plate anew, and reckons he
may soon make a new discovery in southern political economy. But he
fears Mrs. Rosebrook's plan will make a mongrel, the specific nature
of which it would be difficult to define in philosophy. Perhaps it
will not be acceptable to the north as a thinking people, nor will
it please the generosity of southern ladies.

"There is where the trouble lies!" exclaimed the deacon, who had
until then yielded up the discussion to his good lady. "They look
upon our system with distrust, as if it were something they could
not understand."

"I move we don't say another word about it, but take our part
quietly," says Mrs. Rosebrook, insinuating that Mr. Scranton had
better be left to take his refreshment comfortably; that he is a
little misanthropic; that he must be cheered up. "Come, my
boys"-directing her conversation to the negroes-"see that Mr.
Scranton is cared for. And you must summon Daddy; tell him to get
the carriage ready, to put on his best blue coat,--that we are going
to take Mr. Scranton over the plantation, to show him how things can
prosper when we ladies take a hand in the management." The negro
leaves to execute the order: Mr. Scranton remains mute, now and then
sipping his wine. He imagines himself in a small paradise, but
"hadn't the least idea how it was made such a place by niggers."
Why, they are just the smartest things in the shape of property that
could be started up. Regular dandy niggers, dressed up to "shine
so," they set him thinking there was something in his politics not
just straight. And then, there was so much intelligence, so much
politeness about the critters! Why, if it had not been for the
doctrines he had so long held, he would have felt bashful at his
want of ease and suavity,--things seldom taught in the New England
village where our pro-slavery advocate was born and educated.

Presently servants are seen outside, running here and there, their
eyes glistening with anxiety, as if preparing for a May-day
festival. Old Dolly, the cook, shining with the importance of her
profession, stands her greasy portions in the kitchen door, scolds
away at old Dad, whose face smiles with good-nature as he fusses
over the carriage, wipes it, rubs it, and brushes it, every now and
then stopping to see if it will reflect his full black face. Little
woolly-headed urchins are toddling round old Maum Dolly, pulling the
folds of her frock, teasing for cakes and fritters. One, more expert
in mischief, has perched himself in an aperture over the door,
substituting himself for the old black hat with which it is usually
filled. Here, his face like a full moon in a cloud, he twists his
moving fingers into the ingeniously-tied knot of Dolly's bandana,
which he cunningly draws from her head. Ben and Loblolly, two minor
sprats of the race, are seated in the centre of the yard, contending
for the leaves of a picture-book, which, to appease their
characteristic inquisitiveness, they have dissected. Daddy has the
horses ready and the carriage waiting; and Uncle Bradshaw, the
coachman, and C‘sar, the likely fellow, wait at the door with as
much satisfaction expressed in their faces as if it were all for
them. Missus is not to be outdone in expertness: a few minutes ago
she was "snaring" Mr. Scranton with his own philosophy; now she is
ready to take her seat.

"Missus! I wants t' go down yander wid ye, I doe," says Daddy,
approaching her with hand extended, and working his black face up
into a broad grin as he detects Mr. Scranton's awkwardness in
getting into the carriage.

"Certainly, Daddy, certainly: you shall go. Daddy knows how to get
alongside of Aunt Rachel when he gets down on the plantation. He
knows where to get a good cup of coffee and a waff." And she pats
the old negro on the head as he clambers up on the box. "No, him
aint dat. Daddy want t' go wid missus-ya'h, ya! dat him, tis. Missus
want somebody down da'h what spry, so'e take care on 'em round de
old plantation. Takes my missus to know what nigger is," says Daddy,
taking off his cap, and bowing missus into the carriage.

"Not one word for mas'r, eh, Daddy?" rejoins the deacon, looking
playfully at Daddy. "Why, Boss, you aint nofin whin missus about,"
returns Daddy, tauntingly, as he buttons his grey coat, and tells
Bradshaw to "go ahead!" Away they go, galloping over the plain,
through the swamp, for the plantation,--that model experiment doubted
by so many. Major Sprag, the politician, and Judge Snow, the
statesman, had declared publicly it never would do any good. With
them it was not practical,--it gave negroes too much liberty; and
they declared the system must be kept within the narrowest sphere of
law, or it would be destroyed for ever.

Onward the carriage bounded, and long before it reached the
plantation gate was espied by the negroes, who came sallying forth
from their white cabins, crying out at the top of their
voices-"Missus comin'! Missus comin! Da'h missus-dat she! I know'd
missus wa' comin' t' day!" and the music of their voices re-echoed
through the arbour of oaks that lined the road. Their tongues seemed
to have taken new impulse for the occasion. The dogs, at full run,
came barking to the gate; old daddies and mammas, with faces "all
over smiles," followed in the train. And they were dressed so
tidily, looked so cheerful, and gave such expressions of their
exuberant feelings, that Mr. Scranton seemed quite at a loss how to
account for it. He had never before witnessed such a mingling of
fondness for owners,--the welcome sounds of "God bless good missus!"
They were at variance with the misanthropic ideas he had imbibed at
the north. And then there was a regular retinue of the "small-fry
property" bringing up the rear, with curious faces, and making the
jargon more confounding with the music of their voices. They
toddled, screamed, and shouted, clustered around the gate, and
before Daddy had time to dismount, had it wide open, and were
contending for the palm of shaking missus by the hand "fust."

The carriage drives to the plantation house, followed by the train
of moving darkness, flocking around it like as many devotees before
an object of superstitious worship. Mas'r is only a secondary
consideration, Missus is the angel of their thoughts; her kindness
and perseverance in their behalf has softened their
feelings--stimulated their energy. How touching is the fondness and
tenderness of these degraded mortals! They love their benefactor.
And, too, there is a lesson in it worthy the statesman's
consideration,--it shows a knowledge of right, and a deep sense of
gratitude for kindness bestowed. Mrs. Rosebrook alights from the
carriage, receives their warm congratulations, and, turning to Mr.
Scranton, touches him on the arm, and remarks:--"Now, here they are.
Poor old bodies,"--taking them by the hand in rotation-just like as
many children. "What do you think of them, Mr. Scranton? do you not
find a softening sympathy creeping upon you? I forgot, though, your
political responsibility! Ah! that is the point with statesmen. You
feel a touch of conscience once in a while, but cannot speak for
fear of the consequences." And she laughs heartily at Mr. Scranton,
who draws his face into a very serious length. "Pest the niggers!"
he says, as they gather at his feet, asking all sorts of importune

"My good lady is a regular reformer, you see, Mr. Scranton," rejoins
the deacon, as he follows that gentleman into the hall.

Mr. Scranton remarks, in reply, that such does not become caste, and
two pompous-looking servants set upon him brushing the dirt from
his clothes with great earnestness. The negroes understand Mr.
Scranton at a glance; he is an amiable stoic!

Mrs. Rosebrook disappears for a few minutes, and returns minus her
bonnet and mantle. She delights to have the old and the young around
her,--to study their characters, to hear their stories, their
grievances, and to relieve their wants. "These little black imps,"
she says, patting them on the head as they toddle around her,
"They're just as full of interest as their shiny black skins are
full of mischief;" and one after another, with hand extended, they
seek a recognition; and she takes them in her arms, fondling them
with the affection of a nurse.

"Here's Toby, too; the little cunning rascal! He is as sleek as a
mole, a young coon," she ejaculates, stooping down and playfully
working her fingers over Toby's crispy hair, as he sits upon the
grass in front of the house, feasting on a huge sweet potato, with
which he has so bedaubed his face that it looks like a mask with the
terrific portrayed in the rolling of two immense white eyes. "And
here is Nichol Garvio!" and she turns to another, pats him on the
head, and shakes his hand. "We mean to make a great man of him, you
see,--he has head enough to make a Congress man; who knows but that
he'll get there when he grows up?"

"Congress, happily, is beyond niggers," replies Mr. Scranton,
approving the lady: "Congress is pure yet!" Turning round, she
recommends Mr. Scranton to put his northern prejudices in his
pocket, where they will be safe when required for the purposes of
the south. "A nigger 's a nigger all over the world," rejoins Mr.
Scranton, significantly shrugging his shoulders and casting a
doubtful glance at the young type.

"True! true!" she returns, giving Mr. Scranton a look of pity. "God
give us sight to see! We praise our forefathers-honest praise!-but
we forget what they did. They brought them here, poor wretches;
decoyed them, deceived them,--and now we wish them back at the very
time it would be impossible to live without them. How happy is the
mind that believes a 'nigger' must be a nigger for ever and ever;
and that we must do all in our power to keep him from being anything
else!" And her soft blue eyes glowed with sympathy; it was the soul
of a noble woman intent on doing good. She had stepped from the
darkness of a political error into the airy height of light and

Daddy and Bradshaw had taken care of the horses; the deacon greeted
his negroes as one by one they came to welcome him; and for each he
had a kind word, a joke, a shake of the hand, or an enquiry about
some missing member of a family. The scene presented an interesting
picture-the interest, policy, and good faith between master and
slave. No sooner were the horses cared for, than Daddy and Bradshaw
started for the "cabins," to say welcome to the old folks, "a heap
a' how de" to the gals, and tell de boys, down yander, in de tater
patch, dat Missus come. They must have their touching
congratulations, interchange the news of the city for the gossip of
the plantation, and drink the cup of tea Mamma makes for the
occasion. Soon the plantation is all agog; and the homely, but neat
cabins, swarm with negroes of all ages, bustling here and there, and
making preparations for the evening supper, which Aunt Peggy, the
cook, has been instructed to prepare in her very best style.

The deacon joins his good lady, and, with Mr. Scranton, they prepare
to walk over and view the plantation. They are followed by a retinue
of old and young property, giving vent to their thoughts in
expressions of gratitude to Missus and Mas'r. A broad expanse of
rural beauty stretches towards the west, soft and enchanting. The
sun is sinking into the curtains of a refulgent cloud; its crimson
light casts a mellow shade over the broad landscape; the evening
breeze is wafting coolly over the foliage, a welcome relief to the
scorching heat of mid-day; the balmy atmosphere breathes sweetness
over the whole. To the north stands a clump of fine old oaks, high
above the distant "bottom," reflecting in all their richness the
warm tints of the setting sun. The leaves rustle as they pass along;
long lines of cotton plants, with their healthy blossoms, brighten
in the evening shade; the corn bends under its fruit; the potato
field looks fresh and luxuriant, and negroes are gathering from the
slip-beds supplies of market gardening. There is but one appearance
among the workers-cheerfulness! They welcome Mas'r as he passes
along; and again busily employ themselves, hoeing, weeding, and
working at the roots of vines in search of destructive insects.

"My overseers are all black, every one! I would'nt have a white one;
they are mostly tyrants," says the deacon, looking at his fields,
exultingly. "And my overseers plan out the very best mode of
planting. They get through a heap of work, with a little kindness
and a little management. Those two things do a deal, Sir! Five years
ago, I projected this new system of managing negroes-or, rather my
lady planned it,--she is a great manager, you see,--and I adopted it.
You see how it has worked, Mr. Scranton." The deacon takes Mr.
Scranton by the arm, pointing over the broad expanse of cultivated
land, bending under the harvest. I make all my negroes marry when
they have arrived at a specific age; I assure them I never will sell
one unless he or she commits a heinous crime; and I never have.
There is a great deal in keeping faith with a negro; he is of
mankind, and moved by natural laws mentally and physically, and
feels deeply the want of what we rarely regard of much
consequence-confidence in his master's word. Wife encourages their
moral energy; I encourage their physical by filling their bellies
with as much corn and bacon as they can eat; and then I give them
five cents per day (the heads of families) to get those little
necessaries which are so essential to their comfort and
encouragement. I call it our paid-labour system; and I give them
tasks, too, and when they have finished them I allow a small stipend
for extra work. It's a small mite for a great end; and it's such an
encouragement with them that I get about thirty per cent. more work
done. And then I allow them to read just as much as they please-what
do I care about law? I don't want to live where learning to read is
dangerous to the State, I don't. Their learning to read never can
destroy their affections for me and wife; and kindness to them will
make them less dangerous in case of insurrection. It's not the
education we've got to fear; our fears increase with the knowledge
of our oppression. They know these things-they feel them; and if by
educating them one can cultivate their confidence, had we not better
do it with a view to contingencies? Now, as the result of our
system, we have promised to give all our negroes their freedom at
the expiration of ten years, and send such as wish to go, to
Liberia; but, I hold that they can do as much for us at home, work
for us if properly encouraged, and be good free citizens, obedient
to the laws of the State, serving the general good of a great

"Yes!" the good lady interposes; "I want to see those things carried
out; they will yet work for the regeneration of their own race.
Heaven will some day reward the hand that drags the cursed mantle
from off poor Africa; and Africa herself will breathe a prayer to
Heaven in grateful acknowledgment of the act that frees her from the
stain of being the world's bonded warehouse for human flesh and

The deacon interrupts,--suggests "that it were better to move
practically; and that small streams may yet direct how a mountain
may be removed. Our Union is a great monument of what a Republic may
be,--a happy combination of life, freshness, and greatness, upon
which the Old World looks with distrust. The people have founded its
happiness-its greatness! God alone knows its destiny; crowned heads
would not weep over its downfall! It were better each citizen felt
his heart beating to the words-It is my country; cursed be the hand
raised to sever its members!" The lady tells Mr. Scranton that their
produce has increased every year; that last year they planted one
hundred and twenty acres with cotton, ninety with corn, forty with
sweet potatoes, as many more with slips and roots; and three acres
of water-melons for the boys, which they may eat or sell. She
assures him that by encouraging the pay system they get a double
profit, besides preparing the way for something that must come.

"Come!" Mr. Scranton interrupts: "let the south be true to herself,
and there's no fear of that. But I confess, deacon, there is
something good as well as curious about your way of treating
niggers." And Mr. Scranton shakes his head, as if the practicability
yet remained the great obstacle in his mind. "Your niggers ain't
every body's," he concludes.

"Try it, try it!" Mrs. Rosebrook rejoins: "Go home and propound
something that will relieve us from fear-something that will prepare
us for any crisis that may occur!"

It was six o'clock, the plantation bell struck, and the cry sounded
"All hands quit work, and repair to supper!" Scarcely had the echoes
resounded over the woods when the labourers were seen scampering for
their cabins, in great glee. They jumped, danced, jostled one
another, and sang the cheering melodies, "Sally put da' hoe cake
down!" and "Down in Old Tennessee."

Reaching their cabins they gathered into a conclave around Daddy and
Bradshaw, making the very air resound with their merry jargon. Such
a happy meeting-such social congratulations, pouring forth of the
heart's affections, warm and true,--it had never been before Mr.
Scranton's fortune to witness. Indeed, when he listened to the ready
flashes of dialogue accompanying their animation, and saw the
strange contortions of their fresh, shining faces, he began to
"reckon" there was something about niggers that might, by a process
not yet discovered, be turned into something.

Old "Mammies" strive for the honour of having Daddy and Bradshaw sup
at their cabins, taunting each other on the spareness of their meal.
Fires are soon lit, the stew-pans brought into requisition, and the
smoke, curling upward among a myriad of mosquitoes, is dispersing
them like a band of unwelcome intruders; while the corn-mills rattle
and rumble, making the din and clatter more confounding. Daddy and
Bradshaw being "aristocratic darkies from the city"-caste being
tenaciously kept up among negroes-were, of course, recipients of the
choicest delicacies the plantation afforded, not excepting fresh
eggs poached, and possum. Bradshaw is particularly fond of ghost
stories; and as old Maum Nancy deals largely in this article, as
well as being the best believer in spectres on the plantation, he
concludes to sup with her, in her hospitable cabin, when she will
relate all that she has seen since she last saw him. Maum Nancy is
as black as a crow, has a rich store of tales on hand; she will
please the old man, more particularly when she tells him about the
very bad ghost seen about the mansion for more than "three weeks of
nights." He has got two sarpents' heads; Maum Nancy declares the
statement true, for uncle Enoch "seen him,"-he is a grey ghost-and
might a' knocked him over with his wattle, only he darn't lest he
should reek his vengeance at some unexpected moment. And then he was
the very worst kind of a ghost, for he stole all the chickens, not
even leaving the feathers. They said he had a tail like the thing
Mas'r Sluck whipped his "niggers" with. Bradshaw sups of Maum
Nancy's best, listening to her stories with great concern. The story
of the ghost with two heads startles him; his black picture, frame
fills with excitement; he has never before heard that ghosts were
guilty of predatory crimes. So enchained and excited is he with her
story, that the party at the house having finished supper, have made
preparations to leave for the city. A finger touches him on the
shoulder; he startles, recognises Daddy, who is in search of him,
and suddenly becomes conscious that his absence has caused great
anxiety. Daddy has found him quietly eating Maum Nancy's cakes,
while intently listening to the story about the ghost "what" steals
all her chickens. He is quite unconcerned about Mas'r,
Missus-anything but the ghost! He catches his cap, gives Nancy's
hand a warm shake, says God bless 'em, hastens for the mansion,
finds the carriage waiting at the door, for Mas'r and Missus, who
take their seats as he arrives. Bradshaw mounts the box again, and
away it rolls down the oak avenue. The happy party leave for home;
the plantation people are turned out en masse to say good bye to
Missus, and "hope Mas'r get safe home." Their greetings sound forth
as the carriage disappears in the distance; fainter and fainter the
good wish falls upon their ears. They are well on the road; Mr.
Scranton, who sits at the side of the good lady, on the back seat,
has not deigned to say a word: the evening grows dark, and his mind
seems correspondingly gloomy. "I tell you, I feel so pleased, so
overjoyed, and so happy when I visit the plantation, to see those
poor creatures so happy and so full of fondness! It's worth all the
riches to know that one is loved by the poor. Did you ever see such
happiness, Mr. Scranton?" Mrs. Rosebrook enquires, coolly.

"It requires a great deal of thinking, a great deal of caution, a
great deal of political foresight, before answering such questions.
You'll pardon me, my dear madam, I know you will; I always speak
square on questions, you know. It's hard to reconcile oneself to
niggers being free."

"Ah! yes-it's very amiable to think; but how much more praiseworthy
to act! If we southern ladies set ourselves about it we can do a
great deal; we can save the poor creatures being sold, like cows and
calves, in this free country. We must save ourselves from the moral
degradation that is upon us. What a pity Marston's friends did not
make an effort to change his course! If they had he would not now be
in the hands of that Graspum. We are surrounded by a world of
temptation; and yet our planters yield to them; they think
everything a certainty, forgetting that the moment they fall into
Graspum's hands they are gone."

Mr. Scranton acknowledges he likes the look of things on the
plantation, but suggests that it will be considered an
innovation,--an innovation too dangerous to be considered.
Innovations are dangerous with him,--unpopular, cannot amount to much
practical good. He gives these insinuations merely as happy
expressions of his own profound opinion. The carriage approaches the
villa, which, seen from the distance, seems sleeping in the calm of
night. Mr. Scranton is like those among us who are always fearing,
but never make an effort to remove the cause; they, too, are
doggedly attached to political inconsistency, and, though at times
led to see the evil, never can be made to acknowledge the wrong.
They reach the garden gate; Mr. Scranton begs to be excused from
entering the Villa,--takes a formal leave of his friend, and wends
his way home, thinking. "There's something in it!" he says to
himself, as he passes the old bridge that separates the city from
the suburb. "It's not so much for the present as it is for the
hereafter. Nobody thinks of repairing this old bridge, and yet it
has been decaying under our eyes for years. Some day it will
suddenly fall,--a dozen people will be precipitated into the water
below, some killed; the city will then resound with lamentations;
every body knows it must take place one of these days, everybody is
to blame, but no special criminal can be found. There's something in
the comparison!" he says, looking over the old railing into the
water. And then his thoughts wandered to the plantation. There the
germs of an enlightened policy were growing up; the purity of a
noble woman's heart was spreading blessings among a downcast race,
cultivating their minds, raising them up to do good for themselves,
to reward the efforts of the benefactor. Her motto was:--Let us
through simple means seek the elevation of a class of beings whose
degradation has distracted the political wisdom of our happy
country, from its conquest to the present day. "There's something in
it," again mutters Mr. Scranton, as he enters his room, lights his
taper, and with his elbow resting on the table, his head supported
in his hand, sits musing over the subject.



LET us beg the reader's indulgence for a few moments, while we say
that Mr. Scranton belonged to that large class of servile flatterers
who too often come from the New England States-men, who, having no
direct interest in slaves, make no scruple of sacrificing their
independence that they may appear true to the south and slavery.
Such men not unfrequently do the political vampirism of the south
without receiving its thanks, but look for the respect of political
factions for being loudest supporters of inconsistency. They never
receive the thanks of the southerner; frequently and deservedly do
they sink into contempt!

A few days after the visit to the plantation we have described in
the foregoing chapter, Elder Pemberton Praiseworthy, divested of his
pastoral occupation, and seriously anxious to keep up his friendly
associations with those who had taken a part in furthering the cause
of humanity, calls on his old acquaintance, Mrs. Rosebrook. He has
always found a welcome under her hospitable roof,--a good meal, over
which he could discourse the benefits he bestowed, through his
spiritual mission, upon a fallen race; never leaving without kindly
asking permission to offer up a prayer, in which he invoked the
mercy of the Supreme Ruler over all things. In this instance he
seems somewhat downcast, forlorn; he has changed his business; his
brown, lean face, small peering eyes, and low forehead, with bristly
black hair standing erect, give his features a careworn air. He
apologises for the unceremonious call, and says he always forgets
etiquette in his fervour to do good; to serve his fellow-creatures,
to be a Christian among the living, and serve the dying and the
dead-if such have wants--is his motto. And that his motives may not
be misconstrued he has come to report the peculiar phases of the
business he found it actually necessary to turn his hand to. That he
will gain a complete mastery over the devil he has not the fraction
of a doubt; and as he has always--deeming him less harmless than many
citizens of the south--had strong prejudices against that gentleman,
he now has strong expectations of carrying his point against him.
Elder Praiseworthy once heard a great statesman--who said singular
things as well in as out of Congress--say that he did'nt believe the
devil was a bad fellow after all; and that with a little more
schooling he might make a very useful gentleman to prevent
duelling--in a word, that there was no knowing how we'd get along at
the south without such an all-important personage. He has had
several spells of deep thinking on this point, which, though he
cannot exactly agree with it, he holds firmly to the belief that, so
far as it affects duelling, the devil should be one of the
principals, and he, being specially ordained, the great antagonist
to demolish him with his chosen weapon--humanity.

"They tell me you have gone back into the world," says Mrs.
Rosebrook, as the waiter hands Elder Pemberton Praiseworthy a chair.
"It's only the duty of love, of Christian goodness, he humbly
replies, and takes his seat as Mrs. Rosebrook says-"pray be seated!"

"I'm somewhat fatigued; but it's the fatigue of loving to do good,"
he says, rubbing his hands very piously, and giving a look of great
ministerial seriousness at the good lady. We will omit several minor
portions of the Elder's cautious introduction of his humane
occupation, commencing where he sets forth the kind reasons for such
a virtuous policy. "You honestly think you are serving the Lord, do
you?" enquires the lady, as she takes her seat.

The Elder evinces surprise at such a question. Hath he moved among
Christians so many years, ministering to spiritual wants, and yet
the purity of his motives be questioned? "Good madam! we must have
faith to believe. All that is meant well should be accepted in the
greatness of the intention. You will observe, I am neither a lawyer
nor a politician; I would'nt be for the world! We must always be
doing something for the good of others; and we must not forget,
whilst we are doing it, to serve the Allwise one; and while we are
effecting the good of one we are serving the designs of the other."
Thus emphatically spoke the Elder, fingering a book that lay on the
table. "I buy sick people, I save the dying, and I instruct them in
the ways of the Lord as soon as they are cured, and-" And here the
Elder suddenly stops.

"Add, Mr. Praiseworthy, that when you have cured them, and
instructed them in the way of the Lord, you sell them!" interrupts
the lady, watching the sudden changes that pass over his craven

"I always get them good masters; I never fail in that. Nor do I
stand upon the profit-it's the humanity I takes into the balance."
He conceives good under the motley garb of his new mission.

"Humanity-strange humanity, with self coiled beneath. Why, Mr.
Praiseworthy!" the lady starts from her seat, and speaks with
emphasis, "do you tell me that you have become a resurrection man,
standing at the platform of death, interposing with it for a

"It's no uncommon business, Madam; hundreds follow it; some have got
rich at it."

"Got rich at it!" Mrs. Rosebrook interrupts, as a sagacious looking
cat bounds on the table, much to the discomfiture of the Elder, who
jumps up in a great fright,--"What irresistible natures we have; may
heaven save us from the cravings of avarice!"

The Elder very methodically puts the interrupting cat upon the
floor, and resumes his seat. "Why, bless us, good madam, we must
have something to keep our consciences clear; there's nothing like
living a straightforward life."

"What a horrible inconsistency! Buying the sick and the dying. May
the dead not come in for a portion of your singular generosity? If
you can speculate in the dying why exclude the dead? the principle
would serve the same faith in Christianity. The heart that can
purchase the dying must be full of sad coldness, dragging the woes
and pains of mortality down to a tortuous death. Save us from the
feelings of speculation,--call them Christian, if you will,--that
makes man look upon a dying mortal, valuing but the dollars and
cents that are passing away with his life," she interrupts, giving
vent to her pent-up feelings.

Mr. Praiseworthy suggests that the good lady does not comprehend the
virtue lying beneath his motives; that it takes a philosophical mind
to analyse the good that can be done to human nature, especially
poor black human nature. And he asserts, with great sincerity, that
saving the lives of those about to die miserable deaths is a
wonderful thing for the cause of humanity. Buying them saves their
hopeless lives; and if that isn't praiseworthy nothing can be, and
when the act is good the motive should not be questioned.

"Do you save their lives for a Christian purpose, or is it lucre you
seek, Mr. Praiseworthy?" she enquires, giving the Elder a
significant look, and waiting for a reply.

The Elder rises sedately, and walks across the room, considering his
reply. "The question's so kind of round about," he mutters, as she

"Sick when you purchase, your Christianity consists in the art of
healing; but you sell them, and consequently save their lives for a
profit. There is no cholera in our plantation, thank God! you cannot
speculate on our sick. You outshine the London street Jews; they
deal in old clothes, you deal in human oddities, tottering
infirmity, sick negroes." Mrs. Rosebrook suggests that such a
business in a great and happy country should be consigned to its
grave-digger and executioner, or made to pay a killing income tax.

The humane Elder views his clothes; they have become somewhat
threadbare since he entered upon his new profession. He, as may be
supposed, feels the force of the lady's remarks, and yet cannot
bring his mind to believe himself actuated by anything but a love to
do good. Kindness, he contends, was always the most inherent thing
in his nature: it is an insult to insinuate anything degrading
connected with his calling. And, too, there is another consolation
which soars above all,--it is legal, and there is a respectability
connected with all legal callings.

"To be upright is my motto, madam," the Elder says, drawing his hand
modestly over his mouth, and again adjusting the tie of his white
neck-cloth. "I'm trying to save them, and a penny with them. You
see-the Lord forgive him!-my dear madam, Marston didn't do the clean
thing with me; and, the worst of all was, he made a preacher of that
nigger of his. The principle is a very bad one for nigger property
to contend for; and when their masters permit it, our profession is
upset; for, whenever a nigger becomes a preacher, he's sure to be a
profitable investment for his owner. There is where it injures us;
and we have no redress, because the nigger preacher is his master's
property, and his master can make him preach, or do what he pleases
with him," says Mr. Praiseworthy, becoming extremely serious.

"Ah! yes,--self pinches the principles; I see where it is, Elder,"
says the lady. "But you were indiscreet, given to taking at times;
and the boy Harry, proving himself quite as good at preaching,
destroyed your practice. I wish every negro knew as much of the
Bible as that boy Harry. There would be no fear of insurrections; it
would be the greatest blessing that ever befell the South. It would
make some of your Christians blush,--perhaps ashamed."

"Ashamed! ashamed! a thing little used the way times are," he
mutters, fretting his fingers through his bristly hair, until it
stands erect like quills on a porcupine's back. This done, he
measuredly adjusts his glasses on the tip of his nose, giving his
tawny visage an appearance at once strange and indicative of all the
peculiarities of his peculiar character. "It wasn't that," he says,
"Marston did'nt get dissatisfied with my spiritual conditions; it
was the saving made by the negro's preaching. But, to my new
business, which so touches your sensitive feelings. If you will
honour me, my dear madam, with a visit at my hospital, I am certain
your impressions will change, and you will do justice to my

"Indeed!" interrupts the lady, quickly, "nothing would give me more
gratification,--I esteem any person engaged in a laudable pursuit;
but if philanthropy be expressed through the frailties of
speculation,--especially where it is carried out in the buying and
selling of afflicted men and women,--I am willing to admit the age of
progress to have got ahead of me. However, Elder, I suppose you go
upon the principle of what is not lost to sin being gained to the
Lord: and if your sick property die pious, the knowledge of it is a
sufficient recompense for the loss." Thus saying, she readily
accepted the Elder's kind invitation, and, ordering a basket of
prepared nourishment, which, together with the carriage, was soon
ready, she accompanied him to his infirmary. They drove through
narrow lanes and streets lined with small dilapidated cottages, and
reached a wooden tenement near the suburb of the city of C--. It was
surrounded by a lattice fence, the approach being through a gate, on
which was inscribed, "Mr. Praiseworthy's Infirmary;" and immediately
below this, in small letters, was the significant notice, "Planters
having the cholera and other prevailing diseases upon their
plantations will please take notice that I am prepared to pay the
highest price for the infirm and other negroes attacked with the
disease. Offers will be made for the most doubtful cases!"

"Elder Praiseworthy!" ejaculates the lady, starting back, and
stopping to read the strange sign. "'Offers will be made for the
most doubtful cases!'" she mutters, turning towards him with a look
of melancholy. "What thoughts, feelings, sentiments! That means,
that unto death you have a pecuniary interest in their bodies; and,
for a price, you will interpose between their owners and death. The
mind so grotesque as to conceive such a purpose should be
restrained, lest it trifle with life unconsciously."

"You see," interrupts Mr. Praiseworthy, looking more serious than
ever, "It's the life saved to the nigger; he's grateful for it; and
if they ain't pious just then, it gives them time to consider, to
prepare themselves. My little per centage is small-it's a mean
commission; and if it were not for the satisfaction of knowing how
much good I do, it wouldn't begin to pay a professional gentleman."
As the Elder concludes his remarks, melancholy sounds are breaking
forth in frightful discord. From strange murmurings it rises into
loud wailings and implorings. "Take me, good Lord, to a world of
peace!" sounds in her ears, as they approach through a garden and
enter a door that opens into a long room, a store-house of human
infirmity, where moans, cries, and groans are made a medium of
traffic. The room, about thirty feet long and twenty wide, is
rough-boarded, contains three tiers of narrow berths, one above the
other, encircling its walls. Here and there on the floor are cots,
which Mr. Praiseworthy informs us are for those whose cases he would
not give much for. Black nurses are busily attending the sick
property; some are carrying bowls of gruel, others rubbing limbs and
quieting the cries of the frantic, and again supplying water to
quench thirst. On a round table that stands in the centre of the
room is a large medicine-chest, disclosing papers, pills, powders,
phials, and plasters, strewn about in great disorder. A bedlam of
ghastly faces presents itself,--dark, haggard, and frantic with the
pains of the malady preying upon the victims. One poor wretch
springs from his couch, crying, "Oh, death! death! come soon!" and
his features glare with terror. Again he utters a wild shriek, and
bounds round the room, looking madly at one and another, as if
chased by some furious animal. The figure of a female, whose
elongated body seems ready to sink under its disease, sits on a
little box in the corner, humming a dolorous air, and looking with
glassy eyes pensively around the room at those stretched in their
berths. For a few seconds she is quiet; then, contorting her face
into a deep scowl, she gives vent to the most violent bursts of
passion,--holds her long black hair above her head, assumes a tragic
attitude, threatens to distort it from the scalp. "That one's lost
her mind-she's fitty; but I think the devil has something to do with
her fits. And, though you wouldn't think it, she's just as harmless
as can be," Mr. Praiseworthy coolly remarks, looking at Mrs.
Rosebrook, hoping she will say something encouraging in reply. The
lady only replies by asking him if he purchased her from her owner?

Mr. Praiseworthy responds in the affirmative, adding that she
doesn't seem to like it much. He, however, has strong hopes of
curing her mind, getting it "in fix" again, and making a good penny
on her. "She's a'most white, and, unfortunately, took a liking to a
young man down town. Marston owned her then, and, being a friend of
hers, wouldn't allow it, and it took away her senses; he thought her
malady incurable, and sold her to me for a little or nothing," he
continues, with great complacency.

This poor broken flower of misfortune holds down her head as the
lady approaches, gives a look of melancholy expressive of shame and
remorse. "She's sensitive for a nigger, and the only one that has
said anything about being put among men," Mr. Praiseworthy remarks,
advancing a few steps, and then going from berth to berth,
descanting on the prospects of his sick, explaining their various
diseases, their improvements, and his doubts of the dying. The lady
watches all his movements, as if more intently interested in Mr.
Praiseworthy's strange character. "And here's one," he says, "I fear
I shall lose; and if I do, there's fifty dollars gone, slap!" and he
points to an emaciated yellow man, whose body is literally a crust
of sores, and whose painful implorings for water and nourishment are
deep and touching.

"Poor wretch!" Mr. Praiseworthy exclaims, "I wish I'd never bought
him-it's pained my feelings so; but I did it to save his life when
he was most dead with the rheumatics, and was drawn up as crooked as
branch cord-wood. And then, after I had got the cinques out of him-
after nearly getting him straight for a 'prime fellow' (good care
did the thing), he took the water on the chest, and is grown out
like that." He points coolly to the sufferer's breast, which is
fearfully distended with disease; saying that, "as if that wasn't
enough, he took the lepors, and it's a squeak if they don't end
him." He pities the "crittur," but has done all he can for him,
which he would have done if he hadn't expected a copper for selling
him when cured. "So you see, madam," he reiterates, "it isn't all
profit. I paid a good price for the poor skeleton, have had all ny
trouble, and shall have no gain-except the recompense of feeling.
There was a time when I might have shared one hundred and fifty
dollars by him, but I felt humane towards him; didn't want him to
slide until he was a No. 1." Thus the Elder sets forth his own
goodness of heart.

"Pray, what do you pay a head for them, Mr. Praiseworthy?" enquires
the lady, smoothing her hand over the feverish head of the poor
victim, as the carnatic of her cheek changed to pallid languor.
Pursuing her object with calmness, she determined not to display her
emotions until fully satisfied how far the Elder would go.

"That, madam, depends on cases; cripples are not worth much. But,
now and then, we get a legless fellow what's sound in body, can get
round sprightly, and such like; and, seeing how we can make him
answer a sight of purposes, he'll bring something," he sedately
replies, with muscles unmoved. "Cases what doctors give up as 'done
gone,' we gets for ten and twenty dollars; cases not hanging under
other diseases, we give from thirty to fifty-and so on! Remember,
however, you must deduct thirty per cent. for death. At times, where
you would make two or three hundred dollars by curing one, and
saving his life, you lose three, sometimes half-a-dozen head." The
Elder consoles his feelings with the fact that it is not all profit,
looks highly gratified, puts a large cut of tobacco in his mouth,
thanks God that the common school-bill didn't pass in the
legislature, and that his business is more humane than people
generally admit.

"How many have you in all?"

"The number of head, I suppose? Well, there's about thirty sick, and
ten well ones what I sent to market last week. Did-n-'t-make-a-good
market, though," he drawls out.

"You are alone in the business?"

"Well, no; I've a partner-Jones; there's a good many phases in the
business, you see, and one can't get along. Jones was a
nigger-broker, and Jones and me went into partnership to do the
thing smooth up, on joint account. I does the curing, and he does
the selling, and we both turns a dollar or two-"

"Oh, horrors!" interrupts the lady, looking at Mr. Praiseworthy
sarcastically. "Murder will out, men's sentiments will betray them,
selfishness will get above them all; ornament them as you will,
their ornaments will drop,--naked self will uncover herself and be
the deceiver."

"Not at all!" the Elder exclaims, in his confidence. "The Lord's
will is in everything; without it we could not battle with the
devil; we relieve suffering humanity, and the end justifies the

"You should have left out the means: it is only the end you aim at."

"That's like accusing Deacon Seabury of impious motives, because he
shaves notes at an illegal interest. It's worse-because what the law
makes legal the church should not make sinful." This is
Praiseworthy's philosophy, which he proclaims while forgetting the
existence of a law of conscience having higher claims than the
technicalities of statutes. We must look to that to modify our
selfishness, to strengthen our love for human laws when founded in

"And who is this poor girl?" enquires Mrs. Rosebrook, stepping
softly forward, and taking her by the hand.

"Marston's once; some Indian in her, they say. She's right fair
looks when she's herself. Marston's in trouble now, and the cholera
has made sad havoc of his niggers," Mr. Praiseworthy replies,
placing a chair, and motioning his hand for the lady to be seated.
The lady seats herself beside the girl,--takes her hand.

"Yes, missus; God bless good missus. Ye don't know me now," mutters
the poor girl, raising her wild glassy eyes, as she parts the long
black hair from her forehead: "you don't know me; I'm changed so!"

"My child, who has made you this wretch?" says the good lady,
pressing her tawny hand.

My child!" she exclaims, with emphasis: "My child Nicholas,--my
child! Missus, save Nicholas; he is my child. Oh! do save him!" and,
as if terrified, she grasps tighter the lady's hand, while her
emotions swell into a frantic outburst of grief. "Nicholas, my
child!" she shrieks.

"She will come to, soon: it's only one of her strange fits of
aberration. Sometimes I fling cold water over her; and, if it's very
cold, she soon comes to," Mr. Praiseworthy remarks, as he stands

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