Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Free Classic E-books

The Anti-Slavery Examiner, Omnibus by American Anti-Slavery Society

Part 29 out of 52

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 6.2 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

Slaves are overworked;
Henry Clay;
Child-bearing prevented;
Dr. Channing;
Sacrifice of a set of hands every seven years;
Laws of Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, South Carolina, and Virginia.
Nudity of slaves;
John Randolph's legacy to Essex and Hetty.
Slaves are wretchedly sheltered and lodged.


Woman delivered of a dead child, being whipped;
Slaves shot by Hilton;
Cruelties to slaves;
Whipping post;
Assaults, and maimings;
Puryear, "the Devil,";
Overseers always armed;
Licentiousness of Overseers;
"Bend your backs";
Mrs. H., a Presbyterian, desirous to cut Arthur Tappan's throat;
Clothing, Huts, and Herding of slaves;
Iron yokes with prongs;
Marriage unknown among slaves;
Presbyterian minister at Huntsville;
Concubinage in Preacher's house;
Slavery, the great wrong.

Slave's life.

Nakedness of slaves;
Traffic in slaves.

Long, a professor of religion killed three men;
Salt water applied to wounds to keep them from putrefaction.

Acts of cruelty.

Woman with a child chained to her neck;
Amalgamation, and mulatto children.

Rev. Conrad Speece influenced Alexander Nelson when dying not to
emancipate his slaves;
George Bourne opposed Slavery in 1810.

Slave-driving female professors of religion at Charleston, S.C.;
Whipping women and prayer in the same room;
_Slaveholding religion_;
Slave-driving mistress prayed for the divine blessing upon her
whipping of an aged woman;
Girl killed with impunity;
Jewish law;
Medical attendance upon slaves;
Young man beaten to epilepsy and insanity;
Mistresses flog their slaves;
Blood-bought luxuries;
Borrowing of slaves;
Meals of slaves;
All comfort of slaves disregarded;
Severance of companion lovers;
Separation of parents and children;
Slave espionage;
Sufferings of slaves;
Horrors of slavery indescribable.

Colonization Society;
Emancipation Society of North Carolina;

Witnesses and Testimony.

Droves of slaves.

Slaves like Stock without a shelter;
"Six pound paddle."

Iron collars, chains, fetters, and hand-cuffs;
Advertisements for fugitive slaves;
Iron head-frame;
Chain coffles;
Droves of 'human cattle';
Washington, the National slave market;
Testimony of James K. Paulding, Secretary of the Navy;
_Literary fraud and pretended prophecy_ by Mr. Paulding;
Brandings, Maimings, and Gun-shot wounds;
Witnesses and Testimony;
Mr. Sevier, senator of the U.S.;
Judge Hitchcock, of Mobile;
Commendable fidelity to truth in the advertisements of slaveholders;
Thomas Aylethorpe cut off a slave's ear, and sent it to Lewis Tappan;
Advertisements for runaway slaves with their teeth mutilated;
Excessive cruelty to slaves;
Slaves burned alive;
Mr. Turner, a slave-butcher;
Slaves roasted and flogged;
Cruelties common;
Fugitive slaves;
Slaves forced to eat tobacco worms;
Baptist Christians escaping from slavery;
Christian whipped for praying;
James K. Paulding's testimony;
Slave driven to death;
Coroner's inquest on Harney's murdered female slave;
Man-stealing encouraged by law;
Trial for a murdered slave;
Female slave whipped to death, and during the torture delivered of
a dead infant;
Slaves murdered;
Slave driven to death;
Slaves killed with impunity;
George, a slave, chopped piece-meal, and burnt by Lilburn Lewis;
Retributive justice in the awful death of Lilburn Lewis;
Trial of Isham Lewis, a slave murderer.


No appeal from Overseers to Masters.

Nudity of slaves.

Mothers of slaves;
Presbyterian minister killed his slave;
Methodist colored preacher hung;
Night in a Slaveholder's house;
Twelve slaves murdered;
Slave driving Baptist preachers;
Hunting of runaways slaves;

Whipping of slaves.
Testimony of Eleazer Powel;
Overseer of Hinds Stuart, shot a slave for opposing the torture of
his female companion.

Three slaves murdered with impunity;
Separation of lovers, parents, and children.

a Presbyterian kind woman-killer;
Female slave whipped to death;
Nakedness of slaves;
Old man flogged after praying for his tyrant;
Slave-huts not as comfortable as pig-sties.

Suit for the value of slave 'property';
Anson Jones, Ambassador from Texas;
No trial or punishment for the murder of slaves;
Slave-hunting in Texas;
Suffering drives the slaves to despair and suicide.

Ignorance of northern citizens respecting slavery;
Betting upon crops;
Extent and cruelty of the punishment of slaves;
Slaveholders excuse their cruelties by the example of Preachers, and
professors of religion, and Northern citizens;
Novel torture, eulogized by a professor of religion;
Whips as common as the plough;
_Ladies_ use cowhides, with shovel and tongs.

Starvation of slaves;
Slaves lacerated, without clothing, and without food.

Cotton plantations on St. Simon's Island;
Cultivation of rice;
No time for relaxation;
Sabbath a nominal rest;

Slave cabins;
Whipping every day;
Treatment of slaves as brutes;
Slave-boys fight for slaveholder's amusement;
Amalgamation common.

'Lie down,' for whipping;
'Ball and chain' men;
Whipping at the same time, on three plantations;
Hours of Labor;
_Christians_ slave-hunting;
Many runaway slaves annually shot;
Slaves in the stocks;
Slave branding.

Slavery is unmixed cruelty;
Fear the only motive of slaves;
Pain is the means, not the end of slave-driving;
Characters of Slave drivers and Overseers, brutal, sensual, and
Ownership of human beings utterly destroys _their_ comfort.


I. Such cruelties are incredible.
Slaves deemed to be working animals, or merchandize; and called
'Stock,' 'Increase,' 'Breeders,' 'Drivers,' 'Property,' 'Human
Testimony of Thomas Jefferson;
Slaves worse treated than quadrupeds;
Contrast between the usage of slaves and animals;
Northern incredulity discreditable to consistency;
Religious persecutions;
Recent 'Lynchings,' and Riots, in the United States;
Many outrageous Felonies perpetrated with impunity;
Large faith of the objectors who 'can't believe';
'Doe faces,' and 'Dough faces';
Slave-drivers acknowledge their own enormities;
Slave plantations in Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi 'second only
to hell';
Legislature of North Carolina;
Incredulity discreditable to intelligence;
Abuse of power in the state, and churches;
Legal restraints;
American slaveholders possess absolute power;
Slaves deprived of the safe guards of law;
Mutual aversion between the oppressor and the slave;
Cruelty the product of arbitrary power;
Testimony of Thomas Jefferson;
Judge Tucker;
Presbyterian Synod of South Carolina, and Georgia;
General William H. Harrison;
President Edwards;

OBJECTION II.--"Slaveholders protest that they treat their slaves well."
Not testimony but opinion;
'Good treatment' of slaves;
Novel form of cruelty.

OBJECTION III.--"Slaveholders are proverbial for their kindness, and
Hospitality and benevolence contrasted;
Slaveholders in Congress, respecting Texas and Hayti;
'Fictitious kindness and hospitality.'

OBJECTION IV.--"Northern visitors at the south testify that the slaves
are not cruelly treated."
'Gubner poisened';
Parlor slaves;
Chief Justice Durell.

OBJECTION V.--"It is for the interest of the masters to treat their
slaves well."
Rev. J.N. Maffitt;
Masters interest to treat cruelly the great body of the slaves;
Various classes of slaves;
Hired slaves;

OBJECTION VI.--"Slaves multiply; a proof that they are not inhumanly
treated, and are in a comfortable condition."
Martin Van Buren;
Foreign slave trade;
'Beware of Kidnappers';
'Citizens sold as slaves';
Kidnapping at New Orleans;
Slave breeders.

OBJECTION VII.--"Public opinion is a protection to the slave."
Decision of the Supreme Court of North and South Carolina;
'Protection of slaves';
Mischievous effects of 'public opinion' concerning slavery;
Laws of different states;
Heart of slaveholders;
Reasons for enacting the laws concerning cruelties to slaves;
'Moderate correction';
Hypocrisy and malignity of slave laws;
Testimony of slaves excluded;
Capital crimes for slaves;
'Slaveholding brutality,' worse than that of Caligula;
Public opinion destroys fundamental rights;
Character of slaveholders' advertisements;
Public opinion is diabolical;
Brutal indecency;
Murder of slaves by law;
Judge Lawless;
Health of slaves;
Acclimation of slaves;
Liberty of Slaves;
Kidnapping of free citizens;
Law of Louisiana;
FRIENDS', memorial;
Domestic slavery;
Childhood, old age;
Butchering dead slaves;
South Carolina Medical college;
Charleston Medical Infirmary;
Slave murders;
John Randolph;
Charleston slave auctions;
'Never lose a day's work';
Lynch law;
Slaves murdered;
Slavery among Christians;
Licentiousness encouraged by preachers;
'Fine old preacher who dealt in slaves';
Cruelty to slaves by professors of religion;
Daniel O'Connel, and Andrew Stevenson;
Virginia a negro raising menagerie;
Legislature of Virginia;
Colonization Society;
Inter-state slave traffic;
Battles in Congress;
Ignorance of slaveholders;
'Slaveholding civilization, and morality';
Slave driving ruffians;
Butcheries in Mississippi;
Fatal Affray in Columbia;
Presentment of the Grand Jury of Shelby County;
Testimony of Bishop Smith of Kentucky.

North Carolina;
Trading with Negroes;


Reader, you are empannelled as a juror to try a plain case and bring
in an honest verdict. The question at issue is not one of law, but of
facts--"What is the actual condition of the slaves in the United
States?" A plainer case never went to a jury. Look at it. TWENTY-SEVEN
HUNDRED THOUSAND PERSONS in this country, men, women, and children,
are in SLAVERY. Is slavery, as a condition for human beings, good,
bad, or indifferent? We submit the question without argument. You have
common sense, and conscience, and a human heart;--pronounce upon it.
You have a wife, or a husband, a child, a father, a mother, a brother
or a sister--make the case your own, make it theirs, and bring in your
verdict. The case of Human Rights against Slavery has been adjudicated
in the court of conscience times innumerable. The same verdict has
always been rendered--"Guilty;" the same sentence has always been
pronounced, "Let it be accursed;" and human nature, with her million
echoes, has rung it round the world in every language under heaven,
"Let it be accursed. Let it be accursed." His heart is false to human
nature, who will not say "Amen." There is not a man on earth who does
not believe that slavery is a curse. Human beings may be inconsistent,
but human _nature_ is true to herself. She has uttered her testimony
against slavery with a shriek ever since the monster was begotten; and
till it perishes amidst the execrations of the universe, she will
traverse the world on its track, dealing her bolts upon its head, and
dashing against it her condemning brand. We repeat it, every man knows
that slavery is a curse. Whoever denies this, his lips libel his
heart. Try him; clank the chains in his ears, and tell him they are
for _him_; give him an hour to prepare his wife and children for a
life of slavery; bid him make haste and get ready their necks for the
yoke, and their wrists for the coffle chains, then look at his pale
lips and trembling knees, and you have _nature's_ testimony against

Two millions seven hundred thousand persons in these States are in
this condition. They were made slaves and are held each by force, and
by being put in fear, and this for no crime! Reader, what have you to
say of such treatment? Is it right, just, benevolent? Suppose I should
seize you, rob you of your liberty, drive you into the field, and make
you work without pay as long as you live, would that be justice and
kindness, or monstrous injustice and cruelty? Now, every body knows
that the slaveholders do these things to the slaves every day, and yet
it is stoutly affirmed that they treat them well and kindly, and that
their tender regard for their slaves restrains the masters from
inflicting cruelties upon them. We shall go into no metaphysics to
show the absurdity of this pretence. The man who _robs_ you every day,
is, forsooth, quite too tender-hearted ever to cuff or kick you! True,
he can snatch your money, but he does it gently lest he should hurt
you. He can empty your pockets without qualms, but if your _stomach_
is empty, it cuts him to the quick. He can make you work a life time
without pay, but loves you too well to let you go hungry. He fleeces
you of your _rights_ with a relish, but is shocked if you work
bareheaded in summer, or in winter without warm stockings. He can make
you go without your _liberty_, but never without a shirt. He can
crush, in you, all hope of bettering your condition, by vowing that
you shall die his slave, but though he can coolly torture your
feelings, he is too compassionate to lacerate your back--he can break
your heart, but he is very tender of your skin. He can strip you of
all protection and thus expose you to all outrages, but if you are
exposed to the _weather_, half clad and half sheltered, how yearn his
tender bowels! What! slaveholders talk of treating men well, and yet
not only rob them of all they get, and as fast as they get it, but rob
them of _themselves_, also; their very hands and feet, all their
muscles, and limbs, and senses, their bodies and minds, their time and
liberty and earnings, their free speech and rights of conscience,
their right to acquire knowledge, and property, and reputation;--and
yet they, who plunder them of all these, would fain make us believe
that their soft hearts ooze out so lovingly toward their slaves that
they always keep them well housed and well clad, never push them too
hard in the field, never make their dear backs smart, nor let their
dear stomachs get empty.

But there is no end to these absurdities. Are slaveholders dunces, or
do they take all the rest of the world to be, that they think to
bandage our eyes with such thin gauzes? Protesting their kind regard
for those whom they hourly plunder of all they have and all they get!
What! when they have seized their victims, and annihilated all their
_rights_, still claim to be the special guardians of their
_happiness_! Plunderers of their liberty, yet the careful suppliers of
their wants? Robbers of their earnings, yet watchful sentinels round
their interests, and kind providers for their comfort? Filching all
their time, yet granting generous donations for rest and sleep?
Stealing the use of their muscles, yet thoughtful of their ease?
Putting them under _drivers_, yet careful that they are not
hard-pushed? Too humane forsooth to stint the stomachs of their
slaves, yet force their _minds_ to starve, and brandish over them
pains and penalties, if they dare to reach forth for the smallest
crumb of knowledge, even a letter of the alphabet!

It is no marvel that slaveholders are always talking of their _kind
treatment_ of their slaves. The only marvel is, that men of sense can
be gulled by such professions. Despots always insist that they are
merciful. The greatest tyrants that ever dripped with blood have
assumed the titles of "most gracious," "most clement," "most
merciful," &c., and have ordered their crouching vassals to accost
them thus. When did not vice lay claim to those virtues which are the
opposites of its habitual crimes? The guilty, according to their own
showing, are always innocent, and cowards brave, and drunkards sober,
and harlots chaste, and pickpockets honest to a fault. Every body
understands this. When a man's tongue grows thick, and he begins to
hiccough and walk cross-legged, we expect him, as a matter of course,
to protest that he is not drunk; so when a man is always singing the
praises of his own honesty, we instinctively watch his movements and
look out for our pocket-books. Whoever is simple enough to be hoaxed
by such professions, should never be trusted in the streets without
somebody to take care of him. Human nature works out in slaveholders
just as it does to other men, and in American slaveholders just as in
English, French, Turkish, Algerine, Roman and Grecian. The Spartans
boasted of their kindness to their slaves, while they whipped them to
death by thousands at the altars of their gods. The Romans lauded
their own mild treatment of their bondmen, while they branded their
names on their flesh with hot irons, and when old, threw them into
their fish ponds, or like Cato "the Just," starved them to death. It
is the boast of the Turks that they treat their slaves as though they
were their children, yet their common name for them is "dogs," and for
the merest trifles, their feet are bastinadoed to a jelly, or their
heads clipped off with the scimetar. The Portuguese pride themselves
on their gentle bearing toward their slaves, yet the streets of Rio
Janeiro are filled with naked men and women yoked in pairs to carts
and wagons, and whipped by drivers like beasts of burden.

Slaveholders, the world over, have sung the praises of their tender
mercies towards their slaves. Even the wretches that plied the African
slave trade, tried to rebut Clarkson's proofs of their cruelties, by
speeches, affidavits, and published pamphlets, setting forth the
accommodations of the "middle passage," and their kind attentions to
the comfort of those whom they had stolen from their homes, and kept
stowed away under hatches, during a voyage of four thousand miles. So,
according to the testimony of the autocrat of the Russias, he
exercises great clemency towards the Poles, though he exiles them by
thousands to the snows of Siberia, and tramples them down by millions,
at home. Who discredits the atrocities perpetrated by Ovando in
Hispaniola, Pizarro in Peru, and Cortez in Mexico,--because they
filled the ears of the Spanish Court with protestations of their
benignant rule? While they were yoking the enslaved natives like
beasts to the draught, working them to death by thousands in their
mines, hunting them with bloodhounds, torturing them on racks, and
broiling them on beds of coals, their representations to the mother
country teemed with eulogies of their parental sway! The bloody
atrocities of Philip II, in the expulsion of his Moorish subjects, are
matters of imperishable history. Who disbelieves or doubts them? And
yet his courtiers magnified his virtues and chanted his clemency and
his mercy, while the wail of a million victims, smitten down by a
tempest of fire and slaughter let loose at his bidding, rose above the
_Te Deums_ that thundered from all Spain's cathedrals. When Louis XIV.
revoked the edict of Nantz, and proclaimed two millions of his
subjects free plunder for persecution,--when from the English channel
to the Pyrennees the mangled bodies of the Protestants were dragged on
reeking hurdles by a shouting populace, he claimed to be "the father
of his people," and wrote himself "His most _Christian_ Majesty."

But we will not anticipate topics, the full discussion of which more
naturally follows than precedes the inquiry into the actual condition
and treatment of slaves in the United States.

As slaveholders and their apologists are volunteer witnesses in their
own cause, and are flooding the world with testimony that their slaves
are kindly treated; that they are well fed, well clothed, well housed,
well lodged, moderately worked, and bountifully provided with all
things needful for their comfort, we propose--first, to disprove their
assertions by the testimony of a multitude of impartial witnesses, and
then to put slaveholders themselves through a course of
cross-questioning which shall draw their condemnation out of their own
mouths. We will prove that the slaves in the United States are treated
with barbarous inhumanity; that they are overworked, underfed,
wretchedly clad and lodged, and have insufficient sleep; that they are
often made to wear round their necks iron collars armed with prongs,
to drag heavy chains and weights at their feet while working in the
field, and to wear yokes, and bells, and iron horns; that they are
often kept confined in the stocks day and night for weeks together,
made to wear gags in their mouths for hours or days, have some of
their front teeth torn out or broken off, that they may be easily
detected when they run away; that they are frequently flogged with
terrible severity, have red pepper rubbed into their lacerated flesh,
and hot brine, spirits of turpentine, &c., poured over the gashes to
increase the torture; that they are often stripped naked, their backs
and limbs cut with knives, bruised and mangled by scores and hundreds
of blows with the paddle, and terribly torn by the claws of cats,
drawn over them by their tormentors; that they are often hunted with
bloodhounds and shot down like beasts, or torn in pieces by dogs; that
they are often suspended by the arms and whipped and beaten till they
faint, and when revived by restoratives, beaten again till they faint,
and sometimes till they die; that their ears are often cut off, their
eyes knocked out, their bones broken, their flesh branded with red hot
irons; that they are maimed, mutilated and burned to death over slow
fires. All these things, and more, and worse, we shall _prove_.
Reader, we know whereof we affirm, we have weighed it well; _more and
worse_ WE WILL PROVE. Mark these words, and read on; we will establish
all these facts by the testimony of scores and hundreds of eye
witnesses, by the testimony of _slaveholders_ in all parts of the
slave states, by slaveholding members of Congress and of state
legislatures, by ambassadors to foreign courts, by judges, by doctors
of divinity, and clergymen of all denominations, by merchants,
mechanics, lawyers and physicians, by presidents and professors in
colleges and _professional_ seminaries, by planters, overseers and
drivers. We shall show, not merely that such deeds are committed, but
that they are frequent; not done in corners, but before the sun; not
in one of the slave states, but in all of them; not perpetrated by
brutal overseers and drivers merely, but by magistrates, by
legislators, by professors of religion, by preachers of the gospel, by
governors of states, by "gentlemen of property and standing," and by
delicate females moving in the "highest circles of society." We know,
full well, the outcry that will be made by multitudes, at these
declarations; the multiform cavils, the flat denials, the charges of
"exaggeration" and "falsehood" so often bandied, the sneers of
affected contempt at the credulity that can believe such things, and
the rage and imprecations against those who give them currency. We
know, too, the threadbare sophistries by which slaveholders and their
apologists seek to evade such testimony. If they admit that such deeds
are committed, they tell us that they are exceedingly rare, and
therefore furnish no grounds for judging of the general treatment of
slaves; that occasionally a brutal wretch in the _free_ states
barbarously butchers his wife, but that no one thinks of inferring
from that, the general treatment of wives at the North and West.

They tell us, also, that the slaveholders of the South are
proverbially hospitable, kind, and generous, and it is incredible that
they can perpetrate such enormities upon human beings; further, that
it is absurd to suppose that they would thus injure their own
property, that self-interest would prompt them to treat their slaves
with kindness, as none but fools and madmen wantonly destroy their own
property; further, that Northern visitors at the South come back
testifying to the kind treatment of the slaves, and that the slaves
themselves corroborate such representations. All these pleas, and
scores of others, are bruited in every corner of the free States; and
who that hath eyes to see, has not sickened at the blindness that saw
not, at the palsy of heart that felt not, or at the cowardice and
sycophancy that dared not expose such shallow fallacies. We are not to
be turned from our purpose by such vapid babblings. In their
appropriate places, we propose to consider these objections and
various others, and to show their emptiness and folly.

The foregoing declarations touching the inflictions upon slaves, are
not hap-hazard assertions, nor the exaggerations of fiction conjured
up to carry a point; nor are they the rhapsodies of enthusiasm, nor
crude conclusions, jumped at by hasty and imperfect investigation, nor
the aimless outpourings either of sympathy or poetry; but they are
proclamations of deliberate, well-weighed convictions, produced by
accumulations of proof, by affirmations and affidavits, by written
testimonies and statements of a cloud of witnesses who speak what they
know and testify what they have seen, and all these impregnably
fortified by proofs innumerable, in the relation of the slaveholder to
his slave, the nature of arbitrary power, and the nature and history
of man.

Of the witnesses whose testimony is embodied in the following pages, a
majority are slaveholders, many of the remainder have been
slaveholders, but now reside in free States.

Another class whose testimony will be given, consists of those who
have furnished the results of their own observation during periods of
residence and travel in the slave States.

We will first present the reader with a few PERSONAL NARRATIVES
furnished by individuals, natives of slave states and others,
embodying, in the main, the results of their own observation in the
midst of slavery--facts and scenes of which they were eye-witnesses.

In the next place, to give the reader as clear and definite a view of
the actual condition of slaves as possible, we propose to make
specific points; to pass in review the various particulars in the
slave's condition, simply presenting sufficient testimony under each
head to settle the question in every candid mind. The examination will
be conducted by stating distinct propositions, and in the following
order of topics.






6. _In conclusion,_ a variety of OBJECTIONS and ARGUMENTS will be
considered which are used by the advocates of slavery to set
aside the force of testimony, and to show that the slaves are kindly

Between the larger divisions of the work, brief personal narratives
will be inserted, containing a mass of facts and testimony, both
general and specific.

* * * * *


MR. NEHEMIAH CAULKINS, of Waterford, New London Co., Connecticut, has
furnished the Executive Committee of the American Anti-Slavery
Society, with the following statements relative to the condition and
treatment of slaves, in the south eastern part of North Carolina. Most
of the facts related by Mr. Caulkins fell under his personal
observation. The air of candor and honesty that pervades the
narrative, the manner in which Mr. C. has drawn it up, the good sense,
just views, conscience and heart which it exhibits, are sufficient of
themselves to commend it to all who have ears to hear.

The Committee have no personal acquaintance with Mr. Caulkins, but
they have ample testimonials from the most respectable sources, all of
which represent him to be a man whose long established character for
sterling integrity, sound moral principle and piety, have secured for
him the uniform respect and confidence of those who know him.

Without further preface the following testimonials are submitted to
the reader.

This may certify, that we the subscribers have lived for a number of
years past in the neighborhood with Mr. Nehemiah Caulkins, and have no
hesitation in stating that we consider him a man of high
respectability and that his character for truth and veracity is
_Waterford, Ct., Jan. 16th, 1839._

Mr. Comstock is a Justice of the Peace. Mr. L. Beebe is the Town Clerk
of Waterford. Mr. J. Beebe is a member of the Baptist Church. Mr. Otis
is a member of the Congregational Church. Mr. Morgan is a Justice of
the Peace, and Messrs. Perkins and Rogers are designated by their
titles. All those gentlemen are citizens of Waterford, Connecticut.

To whom it may concern. This may certify that Mr. Nehemiah Caulkins,
of Waterford, in New London County, is a near neighbor to the
subscriber, and has been for many years. I do consider him a man of
_unquestionable veracity_ and certify that he is so considered by
people to whom he is personally known. EDWARD R. WARREN. _Jan. 15th,

Mr. Warren is a Commissioner (Associate Judge) of the County Court,
for New London County.

This may certify that Mr. Nehemiah Caulkins, of the town of Waterford,
County of New London, and State of Connecticut, is a member of the
first Baptist Church in said Waterford, is in good standing, and is
esteemed by us a man of truth and veracity. FRANCIS DARROW, Pastor of
said Church. _Waterford, Jan. 16th, 1839._

This may certify that Nehemiah Caulkins, of Waterford, lives near me,
and I always esteemed him, and believe him to be a man of truth and
veracity. ELISHA BECKWITH. _Jan. 16th, 1839._

Mr. Beckwith is a Justice of the Peace, a Post Master, and a Deacon of
the Baptist Church.

Mr. Dwight P. Jones, a member of the Second Congregational Church in
the city of New London, in a recent letter, says;

"Mr. Caulkins is a member of the Baptist Church in Waterford, and in
every respect a very worthy citizen. I have labored with him in the
Sabbath School, and know him to be a man of active piety. The most
_entire confidence_ may be placed in the truth of his statements.
Where he is known, no one will call them in question."

We close these testimonials with an extract, of a letter from William
Bolles, Esq., a well known and respected citizen of New London, Ct.

"Mr. Nehemiah Caulkins resides in the town of Waterford, about six
miles from this City. His opportunities to acquire exact knowledge in
relation to Slavery, in that section of our country, to which his
narrative is confined, have been very great. He is a carpenter, and
was employed principally on the plantations, working at his trade,
being thus almost constantly in the company of the slaves as well as
of their masters. His full heart readily responded to the call, [for
information relative to slavery,] for, as he expressed it, he had long
desired that others might know what he had seen, being confident that
a general knowledge of facts as they exist, would greatly promote the
overthrow of the system. He is a man of undoubted character; and where
known, his statements need no corroboration.



I feel it my duty to tell some things that I know about slavery, in
order, if possible, to awaken more feeling at the North in behalf of
the slave. The treatment of the slaves on the plantations where I had
the greatest opportunity of getting knowledge, _was not so bad_ as
that on some neighboring estates, where the owners were noted for
their cruelty. There were, however, other estates in the vicinity,
where the treatment was better; the slaves were better clothed and
fed, were not worked so hard, and more attention was paid to their

The scenes that I have witnessed are enough to harrow up the soul; but
could the slave be permitted to tell the story of his sufferings,
which no white man, not linked with slavery, _is allowed to know,_ the
land would vomit out the horrible system, slaveholders and all, if
they would not unclinch their grasp upon their defenceless victims.

I spent eleven winters, between the years 1824 and 1835, in the state
of North Carolina, mostly in the vicinity of Wilmington; and four out
of the eleven on the estate of Mr. John Swan, five or six miles from
that place. There were on his plantation about seventy slaves, male
and female: some were married, and others lived together as man and
wife, without even a mock ceremony. With their owners generally, it is
a matter of indifference; the marriage of slaves not being recognized
by the slave code. The slaves, however, think much of being married by
a clergyman.

The cabins or huts of the slaves were small, and were built
principally by the slaves themselves, as they could find time on
Sundays and moonlight nights; they went into the swamps, cut the logs,
backed or hauled them to the quarters, and put up their cabins.

When I first knew Mr. Swan's plantation, his overseer was a man who
had been a Methodist minister. He treated the slaves with great
cruelty. His reason for leaving the ministry and becoming an overseer,
as I was informed, was this: his wife died, at which providence he was
so enraged, that he swore he would not preach for the Lord another
day. This man continued on the plantation about three years; at the
close of which, on settlement of accounts, Mr. Swan owed him about
$400, for which he turned him out a negro woman, and about twenty
acres of land. He built a log hut, and took the woman to live with
him; since which, I have been at his hut, and seen four or five
mulatto children. He has been appointed _justice of the peace_, and
his place as overseer was afterwards occupied by a Mr. Galloway.

It is customary in that part of the country, to let the hogs run in
the woods. On one occasion a slave caught a pig about two months old,
which he carried to his quarters. The overseer, getting information of
the fact, went to the field where he was at work, and ordered him to
come to him. The slave at once suspected it was something about the
pig, and fearing punishment, dropped his hoe and ran for the woods. He
had got but a few rods, when the overseer raised his gun, loaded with
duck shot, and brought him down. It is a common practice for overseers
to go into the field armed with a gun or pistols, and sometimes both.
He was taken up by the slaves and carried to the plantation hospital,
and the physician sent for. A physician was employed by the year to
take care of the sick or wounded slaves. In about six weeks this slave
got better, and was able to come out of the hospital. He came to the
mill where I was at work, and asked me to examine his body, which I
did, and counted twenty-six duck shot still remaining in his flesh,
though the doctor had removed a number while he was laid up.

There was a slave on Mr. Swan's plantation, by the name of Harry, who,
during the absence of his master, ran away and secreted himself is the
woods. This the slaves sometimes do, when the master is absent for
several weeks, to escape the cruel treatment of the overseer. It is
common for them to make preparations, by secreting a mortar, a
hatchet, some cooking utensils, and whatever things they can get that
will enable them to live while they are in the woods or swamps. Harry
staid about three months, and lived by robbing the rice grounds, and
by such other means as came in his way. The slaves generally know
where the runaway is secreted, and visit him at night and on Sundays.
On the return of his master, some of the slaves were sent for Harry.
When he came home, he was seized and confined in the stocks. The
stocks were built in the barn, and consisted of two heavy pieces of
timber, ten or more feet in length, and about seven inches wide; the
lower one, on the floor, has a number of holes or places cut in it,
for the ancles; the upper piece, being of the same dimensions, is
fastened at one end by a hinge, and is brought down after the ancles
are placed in the holes, and secured by a clasp and padlock at the
other end. In this manner the person is left to sit on the floor.
Barry was kept in the stocks _day and night for a week_, and flogged
_every morning_. After this, he was taken out one morning, a log chain
fastened around his neck, the two ends dragging on the ground, and he
sent to the field, to do his task with the other slaves. At night he
was again put in the stocks, in the morning he was sent to the field
in the same manner, and thus dragged out another week.

The overseer was a very miserly fellow, and restricted his wife in
what are considered the comforts of life--such as tea, sugar, &c. To
make up for this, she set her wits to work, and, by the help of a
slave, named Joe, used to take from the plantation whatever she could
conveniently, and watch her opportunity during her husband's absence,
and send Joe to sell them and buy for her such things as she directed.
Once when her husband was away, she told Joe to kill and dress one of
the pigs, sell it, and get her some tea, sugar, &c. Joe did as he was
bid, and she gave him the offal for his services. When Galloway
returned, not suspecting his wife, he asked her if she knew what had
become of his pig. She told him she suspected one of the slaves,
naming him, had stolen it, for she had heard a pig squeal the evening
before. The overseer called the slave up, and charged him with the
theft. He denied it, and said he knew nothing about it. The overseer
still charged him with it, and told him he would give him one week to
think of it, and if he did not confess the theft, or find out who did
steal the pig, he would flog every negro on the plantation; before the
week was up it was ascertained that Joe had killed the pig. He was
called up and questioned, and admitted that he had done so, and told
the overseer that he did it by the order of Mrs. Galloway, and that
she directed him to buy some sugar, &c. with the money. Mrs. Galloway
gave Joe the lie; and he was terribly flogged. Joe told me he had been
several times to the smoke-house with Mrs. G, and taken hams and sold
them, which her husband told me he supposed were stolen by the negroes
on a neighboring plantation. Mr. Swan, hearing of the circumstance,
told me he believed Joe's story, but that his statement would not be
taken as proof; and if every slave on the plantation told the same
story it could not be received as evidence against a white person.

To show the manner in which old and worn-out slaves are sometimes
treated, I will state a fact. Galloway owned a man about seventy years
of age. The old man was sick and went to his hut; laid himself down on
some straw with his feet to the fire, covered by a piece of an old
blanket, and there lay four or five days, groaning in great distress,
without any attention being paid him by his master, until death ended
his miseries; he was then taken out and buried with as little ceremony
and respect as would be paid to a brute.

There is a practice prevalent among the planters, of letting a negro
off from severe and long-continued punishment on account of the
intercession of some white person, who pleads in his behalf, that he
believes the negro will behave better, that he promises well, and he
believes he will keep his promise, &c. The planters sometimes get
tired of punishing a negro, and, wanting his services in the field,
they get some white person to come, and, in the presence of the slave,
intercede for him. At one time a negro, named Charles, was confined in
the stocks in the building where I was at work, and had been severely
whipped several times. He begged me to intercede for him and try to
get him released. I told him I would; and when his master came in to
whip him again, I went up to him and told him I had been talking with
Charles, and he had promised to behave better, &c., and requested him
not to punish him any more, but to let him go. He then said to
Charles, "As Mr. Caulkins has been pleading for you, I will let you go
on his account;" and accordingly released him.

Women are generally shown some little indulgence for three or four
weeks previous to childbirth; they are at such times not often
punished if they do not finish the task assigned them; it is, in some
cases, passed over with a severe reprimand, and sometimes without any
notice being taken of it. They ate generally allowed four weeks after
the birth of a child, before they are compelled to go into the field,
they then take the child with them, attended sometimes by a little
girl or boy, from the age of four to six, to take care of it while the
mother is at work. When there is no child that can be spared, or not
young enough for this service, the mother, after nursing, lays it
under a tree, or by the side of a fence, and goes to her task,
returning at stated intervals to nurse it. While I was on this
plantation, a little negro girl, six years of age, destroyed the life
of a child about two months old, which was left in her care. It seems
this little nurse, so called, got tired of her charge and the labor of
carrying it to the quarters at night, the mother being obliged to work
as long as she could see. One evening she nursed the infant at sunset
as usual, and sent it to the quarters. The little girl, on her way
home, had to cross a run or brook, which led down into the swamp; when
she came to the brook she followed it into the swamp, then took the
infant and plunged it head foremost into the water and mud, where it
stuck fast; she there left it and went to the negro quarters. When the
mother came in from the field, she asked the girl where the child was;
she told her she had brought it home, but did not know where it was;
the overseer was immediately informed, search was made, and it was
found as above stated, and dead. The little girl was shut up in the
barn, and confined there two or three weeks, when a speculator came
along and bought her for two hundred dollars.

The slaves are obliged to work from daylight till dark, as long as
they can see. When they have tasks assigned, which is often the case,
a few of the strongest and most expert, sometimes finish them before
sunset; others will be obliged to work till eight or nine o'clock in
the evening. All must finish their tasks or take a flogging. The whip
and gun, or pistol, are companions of the overseer; the former he uses
very frequently upon the negroes, during their hours of labor, without
regard to age or sex. Scarcely a day passed while I was on the
plantation, in which some of the slaves were not whipped; I do not
mean that they were _struck a few blows_ merely, but had a _set
flogging_. The same labor is commonly assigned to men and women,--such
as digging ditches in the rice marshes, clearing up land, chopping
cord-wood, threshing, &c. I have known the women go into the barn as
soon as they could see in the morning, and work as late as they could
see at night, threshing rice with the flail, (they now have a
threshing machine,) and when they could see to thresh no longer, they
had to gather up the rice, carry it up stairs, and deposit it in the

The allowance of clothing on this plantation to each slave, was given
out at Christmas for the year, and consisted of one pair of coarse
shoes, and enough coarse cloth to make a jacket and trowsers. If the
man has a wife she makes it up; if not, it is made up in the house.
The slaves on this plantation, being near Wilmington, procured
themselves extra clothing by working Sundays and moonlight nights,
cutting cordwood in the swamps, which they had to back about a quarter
of a mile to the ricer; they would then get a permit from their
master, and taking the wood in their canoes, carry it to Wilmington,
and sell it to the vessels, or dispose of it as they best could, and
with the money buy an old jacket of the sailors, some coarse cloth for
a shirt, &c. They sometimes gather the moss from the trees, which they
cleanse and take to market. The women receive their allowance of the
same kind of cloth which the men have. This they make into a frock; if
they have any under garments _they must procure them for themselves_.
When the slaves get a permit to leave the plantation, they sometimes
make all ring again by singing the following significant ditty, which
shows that after all there is a flow of spirits in the human breast
which for a while, at least, enables them to forget their

Hurra, for good ole Massa,
He giv me de pass to go to de city
Hurra, for good ole Missis,
She bile de pot, and giv me de licker.
Hurra, I'm goin to de city.

[Footnote 1: Slaves sometimes sing, and so do convicts in jails under
sentence, and both for the same reason. Their singing proves that they
_want_ to be happy not that they _are_ so. It is the _means_ that they
use to make themselves happy, not the evidence that they are so
already. Sometimes, doubtless, the excitement of song whelms their
misery in momentary oblivion. He who argues from this that they have
no conscious misery to forget, knows as little of human nature as of

Every Saturday night the slaves receive their allowance of provisions,
which must last them till the next Saturday night. "Potatoe time," as
it is called, begins about the middle of July. The slave may measure
for himself, the overseer being present, half a bushel of sweet
potatoes, and heap the measure as long as they will lie on; I have,
however, seen the overseer, if he think the negro is getting too many,
kick the measure; and if any fall off tell him he has got his measure.
No salt is furnished them to eat with their potatoes. When rice or
corn is given, they give them a little salt; sometimes half a pint of
molasses is given, but not often. The quantity of rice, which is of
the small, broken, unsaleable kind, is one peck. When corn is given
them, their allowance is the same, and if they get it ground, (Mr.
Swan had a mill on his plantation,) they must give one quart for
grinding, thus reducing their weekly allowance to seven quarts. When
fish (mullet) were plenty, they were allowed, in addition, one fish.
As to meat, they seldom had any. I do not think they had an allowance
of meat oftener than once in two or three months, and then the
quantity was very small. When they went into the field to work, they
took some of the meal or rice and a pot with them; the pots were given
to an old woman, who placed two poles parallel, set the pots on them,
and kindled a fire underneath for cooking; she took salt with her and
seasoned the messes as she thought proper. When their breakfast was
ready, which was generally about ten or eleven o'clock, they were
called from labor, ate, and returned to work; in the afternoon, dinner
was prepared in the same way. They had but two meals a day while in
the field; if they wanted more, they cooked for themselves after they
returned to their quarters at night. At the time of killing hogs on
the plantation, the pluck, entrails, and blood were given to the

When I first went upon Mr. Swan's plantation, I saw a slave in
shackles or fetters, which were fastened around each ankle and firmly
riveted, connected together by a chain. To the middle of this chain he
had fastened a string, so as in a manner to suspend them and keep them
from galling his ankles. This slave, whose name was Frank, was an
intelligent, good looking man, and a very good mechanic. There was
nothing vicious in his character, but he was one of those
high-spirited and daring men, that whips, chains, fetters, and all the
means of cruelty in the power of slavery, could not subdue. Mr. S. had
employed a Mr. Beckwith to repair a boat, and told him Frank was a
good mechanic, and he might have his services. Frank was sent for, his
_shackles still on_. Mr. Beckwith set him to work making _trundels_,
&c. I was employed in putting up a building, and after Mr. Beckwith
had done with Frank, he was sent for to assist me. Mr. Swan sent him
to a blacksmith's shop and had his shackles cut off with a cold
chisel. Frank was afterwards sold to a cotton planter.

I will relate one circumstance, which shows the little regard that is
paid to the feelings of the slave. During the time that Mr. Isaiah
Rogers was superintending the building of a rice machine, one of the
slaves complained of a severe toothache. Swan asked Mr. Rogers to take
his hammer and _knock out the tooth_.

There was a slave on the plantation named Ben, a waiting man. I
occupied a room in the same hut, and had frequent conversations with
him. Ben was a kind-hearted man, and, I believe, a Christian; he would
always ask a blessing before he sat down to eat, and was in the
constant practice of praying morning and night.--One day when I was at
the hut, Ben was sent for to go to the house. Ben sighed deeply and
went. He soon returned with a girl about seventeen years of age, whom
one of Mr. Swan's daughters had ordered him to flog. He brought her
into the room where I was, and told her to stand there while he went
into the next room: I heard him groan again as he went. While there I
heard his voice, and he was engaged in prayer. After a few minutes he
returned with a large cowhide, and stood before the girl, without
saying a word. I concluded he wished me to leave the hut, which I did;
and immediately after I heard the girl scream. At every blow she would
shriek, "Do, Ben! oh do, Ben!" This is a common expression of the
slaves to the person whipping them: "Do, Massa!" or, "Do, Missus!"

After she had gone, I asked Ben what she was whipped for: he told me
she had done something to displease her young missus; and in boxing
her ears, and otherwise beating her, she had scratched her finger by a
pin in the girl's dress, for which she sent her to be flogged. I asked
him if he stripped her before flogging; he said, yes; he did not like
to do this, but was _obliged_ to: he said he was once ordered to whip
a woman, which he did without stripping her: on her return to the
house, her mistress examined her back; and not seeing any marks, he
was sent for, and asked why he had not whipped her: he replied that he
had; she said she saw no marks, and asked him if he had made her pull
her clothes off; he said, No. She then told him, that when he whipped
any more of the women, he must make them strip off their clothes, as
well as the men, and flog them on their bare backs, or he should be
flogged himself.

Ben often appeared very gloomy and sad: I have frequently heard him,
when in his room, mourning over his condition, and exclaim, "Poor
African slave! Poor African slave!" Whipping was so common an
occurrence on this plantation, that it would be too great a repetition
to state the _many_ and _severe_ floggings I have seen inflicted on
the slaves. They were flogged for not performing their tasks, for
being careless, slow, or not in time, for going to the fire to warm,
&c. &c.; and it often seemed as if occasions were sought as an excuse
for punishing them.

On one occasion, I heard the overseer charge the hands to be at a
certain place the next morning at sun-rise. I was present in the
morning, in company with my brother, when the hands arrived. Joe, the
slave already spoken of, came running, all out of breath, about five
minutes behind the time, when, without asking any questions, the
overseer told him to take off his jacket. Joe took off his jacket. He
had on a piece of a shirt; he told him to take it off: Joe took it
off: he then whipped him with a heavy cowhide full six feet long. At
every stroke Joe would spring from the ground, and scream, "O my God!
Do, Massa Galloway!" My brother was so exasperated; that he turned to
me and said, "If I were Joe, I would kill the overseer if I knew I
should be shot the next minute."

In the winter the horn blew at about four in the morning, and all the
threshers were required to be at the threshing floor in fifteen
minutes after. They had to go about a quarter of a mile from their
quarters. Galloway would stand near the entrance, and all who did not
come in time would get a blow over the back or head as heavy as he
could strike. I have seen him, at such times, follow after them,
striking furiously a number of blows, and every one followed by their
screams. I have seen the women go to their work after such a flogging,
crying and taking on most piteously.

It is almost impossible to believe that human nature can endure such
hardships and sufferings as the slaves have to go through: I have seen
them driven into a ditch in a rice swamp to bail out the water, in
order to put down a flood-gate, when they had to break the ice, and
there stand in the water among the ice until it was bailed out. I have
_often_ known the hands to be taken from the field, sent down the
river in flats or boats to Wilmington, absent from twenty-four to
thirty hours, _without any thing to eat,_ no provision being made for
these occasions.

Galloway kept medicine on hand, that in case any of the slaves were
sick, he could give it to them without sending for the physician; but
he always kept a good look out that they did not sham sickness. When
any of them excited his suspicions, he would make them take the
medicine in his presence, and would give them a rap on the top of the
head, to make them swallow it. A man once came to him, of whom he said
he was suspicious: he gave him two potions of salts, and fastened him
in the stocks for the night. His medicine soon began to operate; and
_there he lay in all his filth till he was taken out the next day._

One day, Mr. Swan beat a slave severely, for alleged carelessness in
letting a boat get adrift. The slave was told to secure the boat:
whether he took sufficient means for this purpose I do not know; he
was not allowed to make any defence. Mr. Swan called him up, and asked
why he did not secure the boat: he pulled off his hat and began to
tell his story. Swan told him he was a damned liar, and commenced
beating him over the head with a hickory cane, and the slave retreated
backwards; Swan followed him about two rods, threshing him over the
head with the hickory as he went.

As I was one day standing near some slaves who were threshing, the
driver, thinking one of the women did not use her flail quick enough,
struck her over the head: the end of the whip hit her in the eye. I
thought at the time he had put it out; but, after poulticing and
doctoring for some days, she recovered. Speaking to him about it, he
said that he once struck a slave so as to put one of her eyes entirely

A patrol is kept upon each estate, and every slave found off the
plantation without a pass is whipped on the spot. I knew a slave who
started without a pass, one night, for a neighboring plantation, to
see his wife: he was caught, tied to a tree, and flogged. He stated
his business to the patrol, who was well acquainted with him but all
to no purpose. I spoke to the patrol about it afterwards: he said he
knew the negro, that he was a very clever fellow, but he had to whip
him; for, if he let him pass, he must another, &c. He stated that he
had sometimes caught and flogged four in a night.

In conversation with Mr. Swan about runaway slaves, he stated to me
the following fact:--A slave, by the name of Luke, was owned in
Wilmington; he was sold to a speculator and carried to Georgia. After
an absence of about two months the slave returned; he watched an
opportunity to enter his old master's house when the family were
absent, no one being at home but a young waiting man. Luke went to the
room where his master kept his arms; took his gun, with some
ammunition, and went into the woods. On the return of his master, the
waiting man told him what had been done: this threw him into a violent
passion; he swore he would kill Luke, or lose his own life. He loaded
another gun, took two men, and made search, but could not find him: he
then advertised him, offering a large reward if delivered to him or
lodged in jail. His neighbors, however, advised him to offer a reward
of two hundred dollars for him _dead or alive_, which he did. Nothing
however was heard of him for some months. Mr. Swan said, one of his
slaves ran away, and was gone eight or ten weeks; on his return he
said he had found Luke, and that he had a rifle, two pistols, and a

I left the plantation in the spring, and returned to the north; when I
went out again, the next fall, I asked Mr. Swan if any thing had been
heard of Luke; he said he was _shot_, and related to me the manner of
his death, as follows:--Luke went to one of the plantations, and
entered a hut for something to eat. Being fatigued, he sat down and
fell asleep. There was only a woman in the hut at the time: as soon as
she found he was asleep, she ran and told her master, who took his
rifle, and called two white men on another plantation: the three, with
their rifles, then went to the hut, and posted themselves in different
positions, so that they could watch the door. When Luke waked up he
went to the door to look out, and saw them with their rifles, he
stepped back and raised his gun to his face. They called to him to
surrender; and stated that they had him in their power, and said he
had better give up. He said he would not: and if they tried to take
him, he would kill one of them; for, if he gave up, he knew they would
kill him, and he was determined to sell his life as dear as he could.
They told him, if he should shoot one of them, the other two would
certainly kill him: he replied, he was determined not to give up, and
kept his gun moving from one to the other; and while his rifle was
turned toward one, another, standing in a different direction, shot
him through the head, and he fell lifeless to the ground.

There was another slave shot while I was there; this man had run away,
and had been living in the woods a long time, and it was not known
where he was, till one day he was discovered by two men, who went on
the large island near Belvidere to hunt turkeys; they shot him and
carried his head home.

It is common to keep dogs on the plantations, to pursue and catch
runaway slaves. I was once bitten by one of them. I went to the
overseer's house, the dog lay in the piazza, as soon as I put my foot
upon the floor, he sprang and bit me just above the knee, but not
severely; he tore my pantaloons badly. The overseer apologized for his
dog, saying he never knew him to bite a _white_ man before. He said he
once had a dog, when he lived on another plantation, that was very
useful to him in hunting runaway negroes. He said that a slave on the
plantation once ran away; as soon as he found the course he took, he
put the dog on the track, and he soon came so close upon him that the
man had to climb a tree, he followed with his gun, and brought the
slave home.

The slaves have a great dread of being sold and carried south. It is
generally said, and I have no doubt of its truth, that they are much
worse treated farther south.

The following are a few among the many facts related to me while I
lived among the slaveholder. The names of the planters and
plantations, I shall not give, _as they did not come under my own
observation_. I however place the fullest confidence in their truth.

A planter not far from Mr. Swan's employed an overseer to whom he paid
$400 a year; he became dissatisfied with him, because he did not drive
the slaves hard enough, and get more work out of them. He therefore
sent to South Carolina, or Georgia, and got a man to whom he paid I
believe $800 a year. He proved to be a cruel fellow, and drove the
slaves almost to death. There was a slave on this plantation, who had
repeatedly run away, and had been severely flogged every time. The
last time he was caught, a hole was dug in the ground, and he buried
up to the chin, his arms being secured down by his sides. He was kept
in this situation four or five days.

The following was told me by an intimate friend; it took place on a
plantation containing about one hundred slaves. One day the owner
ordered the women into the barn, he then went in among them, whip in
hand, and told them he meant to flog them all to death; they began
immediately to cry out "What have I done Massa? What have I done
Massa?" He replied; "D--n you, I will let you know what you have done,
you don't breed, I haven't had a young one from one of you for several
months." They told him they could not breed while they had to work in
the rice ditches. (The rice grounds are low and marshy, and have to be
drained, and while digging or clearing the ditches, the women had to
work in mud and water from one to two feet in depth; they were obliged
to draw up and secure their frocks about their waist, to keep them out
of the water, in this manner they frequently had to work from daylight
in the morning till it was so dark they could see no longer.) After
swearing and threatening for some time, he told them to tell the
overseer's wife, when they got in that way, and he would put them upon
the land to work.

This same planter had a female slave who was a member of the Methodist
Church; for a slave she was intelligent and conscientious. He proposed
a criminal intercourse with her. She would not comply. He left her and
sent for the overseer, and told him to have her flogged. It was done.
Not long after, he renewed his proposal. She again refused. She was
again whipped. He then told her why she had been twice flogged, and
told her he intended to whip her till she should yield. The girl,
seeing that her case was hopeless, her back smarting with the
scourging she had received, and dreading a repetition, gave herself up
to be the victim of his brutal lusts.

One of the slaves on another plantation, gave birth to a child which
lived but two or three weeks. After its death the planter called the
woman to him, and asked her how she came to let the child die; said it
was all owing to her carelessness, and that he meant to flog her for
it. She told, him with all the feeling of a mother, the circumstances
of its death. But her story availed her nothing against the savage
brutality of her master. She was severely whipped. A healthy child
four months old was then considered worth $100 in North Carolina.

The foregoing facts were related to me by white persons of character
and respectability. The following fact was related to me on a
plantation where I have spent considerable time and where the
punishment was inflicted. I have no doubt of its truth. A slave ran
away from his master, and got as far as Newbern. He took provisions
that lasted him a week; but having eaten all, he went to a house to
get something to satisfy his hunger. A white man suspecting him to be
a runaway, demanded his pass; as he had none he was seized and put in
Newbern jail. He was there advertised, his description given, &c. His
master saw the advertisement and sent for him; when he was brought
back, his wrists were tied together and drawn over his knees. A stick
was then passed over his arms and under his knees, and he secured in
this manner, his trowsers were then stripped down, and he turned over
on his side, and severely beaten with the paddle, then turned over and
severely beaten on the other side, and then turned back again, and
tortured by another bruising and beating. He was afterwards kept in
the stocks a week, and whipped every morning.

To show the disgusting pollutions of slavery, and how it covers with
moral filth every thing it touches, I will state two or three facts,
which I have on such evidence I cannot doubt their truth. A planter
offered a white man of my acquaintance twenty dollars for every one of
his female slaves, whom he would get in the family way. This offer was
no doubt made for the purpose of improving the stock, on the same
principle that farmers endeavour to improve their cattle by crossing
the breed.

Slaves belonging to merchants and others in the city, often hire their
own time, for which they pay various prices per week or month,
according to the capacity of the slave. The females who thus hire
their time, pursue various modes to procure the money; their masters
making no inquiry how they get it, provided the money comes. If it is
not regularly paid they are flogged. Some take in washing, some cook
on board vessels, pick oakum, sell peanuts, &c., while others, younger
and more comely, often resort to the vilest pursuits. I knew a man
from the north who, though married to a respectable southern woman,
kept two of these mulatto girls in an upper room at his store; his
wife told some of her friends that he had not lodged at home for two
weeks together, I have seen these two _kept misses_, as they are there
called, at his store; he was afterwards stabbed in an attempt to
arrest a runaway slave, and died in about ten days.

The clergy at the north cringe beneath the corrupting influence of
slavery, and their moral courage is borne down by it. Not the
hypocritical and unprincipled alone, but even such as can hardly be
supposed to be destitute of sincerity.

Going one morning to the Baptist Sunday School, in Wilmington, in
which I was engaged, I fell in with the Rev. Thomas P. Hunt, who was
going to the Presbyterian school. I asked him how he could bear to see
the little negro children beating their hoops, hallooing, and running
about the streets, as we then saw them, their moral condition entirely
neglected, while the whites were so carefully gathered into the
schools. His reply was substantially this:--"I can't bear it, Mr.
Caulkins. I feel as deeply as any one can on this subject, but what

Now, if Mr. Hunt was guilty of neglecting his duty, as a servant of
HIM who never failed to rebuke sin in high places, what shall be said
of those clergymen at the north, where the power that closed his mouth
is comparatively unfelt, who refuse to tell their people how God
abhors oppression, and who seldom open their mouth on this subject,
but to denounce the friends of emancipation, thus giving the strongest
support to the accursed system of slavery. I believe Mr. Hunt has
since become an agent of the Temperance Society.

In stating the foregoing facts, my object has been to show the
practical workings of the system of slavery, and if possible to
correct the misapprehension on this subject, so common at the north.
In doing this I am not at war with slave-holders. No, my soul is moved
for them as well as for the poor slaves. May God send them repentance
to the acknowledgment of the truth! Principle, on a subject of this
nature, is dearer to me than the applause of men, and should not be
sacrificed on any subject, even though the ties of friendship may be
broken. We have too long been silent on this subject, the slave has
been too much considered, by our northern states, as being kept by
necessity in his present condition.--Were we to ask, in the language
of Pilate, "what evil have they done"--we may search their history, we
cannot find that they have taken up arms against our government, nor
insulted us as a nation--that they are thus compelled to drag out a
life in chains! subjected to the most terrible inflictions if in any
way they manifest a wish to be released.--Let us reverse the question.
What evil has been done to them by those who call themselves masters?
First let us look at their persons, "neither clothed nor naked"--I
have seen instances where this phrase would not apply to boys and
girls, and that too in winter. I knew one young man seventeen years of
age, by the name of Dave, on Mr. J. Swan's plantation, worked day
after day in the rice machine as naked as when he was born. The reason
of his being so, his master said in my hearing, was, that he could not
keep clothes on him--he would get into the fire and burn them off.

Follow them next to their huts; some with and some without floors:--Go
at night, view their means of lodging, see them lying on benches, some
on the floor or ground, some sitting on stools, dozing away the
night:--others, of younger age, with a bare blanket wrapped about
them; and one or two lying in the ashes. These things _I have often
seen with my own eyes._

Examine their means of subsistence, which consists generally of seven
quarts of meal or eight quarts of small rice for one week; then follow
them to their work, with driver and overseer pushing them to the
utmost of their strength, by threatening and whipping.

If they are sick from fatigue and exposure, go to their huts, as I
have often been, and see them groaning under a burning fever or
pleurisy, lying on some straw, their feet to the fire with barely a
blanket to cover them; or on some boards nailed together in form of a

And after seeing all this, and hearing them tell of their sufferings,
need I ask, is there any evil connected with their condition? and if
so; upon whom is it to be charged? I answer for myself, and the reader
can do the same. Our government stands first chargeable for allowing
slavery to exist, under its own jurisdiction. Second, the states for
enacting laws to secure their victim. Third, the slaveholder for
carrying out such enactments, in horrid form enough to chill the
blood. Fourth, every person who knows what slavery is, and does not
raise his voice against this crying sin, but by silence gives consent
to its continuance, is chargeable with guilt in the sight of God. "The
blood of Zacharias who was slain between the temple and altar," says

Look at the slave, his condition but little, if at all, better than
that of the brute; chained down by the law, and the will of his
master; and every avenue closed against relief; and the names of those
who plead for him, cast out as evil;--must not humanity let its voice
be heard, and tell Israel their transgressions and Judah their sins?

May God look upon their afflictions, and deliver them from their cruel
task-masters! I verily believe he will, if there be any efficacy in
prayer. I have been to their prayer meetings and with them offered
prayer in their behalf. I have heard some of them in their huts before
day-light praying in their simple broken language, telling their
heavenly Father of their trials in the following and similar language.

"Fader in heaven, look upon de poor slave, dat have to work all de day
long, dat cant have de time to pray only in de night, and den massa
mus not know it.[2] Fader, have mercy on massa and missus. Fader, when
shall poor slave get through de world! when will death come, and de
poor slave go to heaven;" and in their meetings they frequently add,
"Fader, bless de white man dat come to hear de slave pray, bless his
family," and so on. They uniformly begin their meetings by singing the

"And are we yet alive
To see each other's face," &c.

[Footnote 2: At this time there was some fear of insurrection and the
slaves were forbidden to hold meetings.]

Is the ear of the Most High deaf to the prayer of the slave? I do
firmly believe that their deliverance will come, and that the prayer
of this poor afflicted people will be answered.

Emancipation would be safe. I have had eleven winters to learn the
disposition of the slaves, and am satisfied that they would peaceably
and cheerfully work for pay. Give them education, equal and just laws,
and they will become a most interesting people. Oh, let a cry be
raised which shall awaken the conscience of this guilty nation, to
demand for the slaves immediate and unconditional emancipation.

* * * * *


Mr. Moulton is an esteemed minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church,
in Marlborough, Mass. He spent five years in Georgia, between 1817 and
1824. The following communication has been recently received from him.

MARLBOROUGH, MASS., Feb. 18, 1839.


Yours of Feb. 2d, requesting me to write out a few facts on the
subject of slavery, as it exists at the south, has come to hand. I
hasten to comply with your request. Were it not, however, for the
claims of those "who are drawn unto death," and the responsibility
resting upon me, in consequence of this request, I should forever hold
my peace. For I well know that I shall bring upon myself a flood of
persecution, for attempting to speak out for the dumb. But I am
willing to be set at nought by men, if I can be the means of promoting
the welfare of the oppressed of our land. I shall not relate many
particular cases of cruelty, though I might a great number; but shall
give some general information as to their mode of treatment, their
food, clothing, dwellings, deprivations, &c.

Let me say, in the first place, that I spent nearly five years in
Savannah, Georgia, and in its vicinity, between the years 1817 and
1824. My object in going to the south, was to engage in making and
burning brick; but not immediately succeeding, I engaged in no
business of much profit until late in the winter, when I took charge
of a set of hands and went to work. During my leisure, however, I was
an observer, at the auctions, upon the plantations, and in almost
every department of business. The next year, during the cold months, I
had several two-horse teams under my care, with which we used to haul
brick, boards, and other articles from the wharf into the city, and
cotton, rice, corn, and wood from the country. This gave me an
extensive acquaintance with merchants, mechanics and planters. I had
slaves under my control some portions of every year when at the south.
All the brick-yards, except one, on which I was engaged, were
connected either with a corn field, potatoe patch, rice field, cotton
field, tan-works, or with a wood lot. My business, usually, was to
take charge of the brick-making department. At those jobs I have
sometimes taken in charge both the field and brick-yard hands. I have
been on the plantations in South Carolina, but have never been an
overseer of slaves in that state, as has been said in the public

I think the above facts and explanations are necessary to be connected
with the account I may give of slavery, that the reader may have some
knowledge of my acquaintance with _practical_ slavery: for many
mechanics and merchants who go to the South, and stay there for years,
know but little of the dark side of slavery. My account of slavery
will apply to _field hands_, who compose much the largest portion of
the black population, (probably nine-tenths,) and not to those who are
kept for kitchen maids, nurses, waiters, &c., about the houses of the
planters and public hotels, where persons from the north obtain most
of their knowledge of the evils of slavery. I will now proceed to take
up specific points.


Males and females work together promiscuously on all the plantations.
On many plantations _tasks_ are given them. The best working hands can
have some leisure time; but the feeble and unskilful ones, together
with slender females, have indeed a hard time of it, and very often
answer for non-performance of tasks at the _whipping-posts_. None who
worked with me had tasks at any time. The rule was to work them from
sun to sun. But when I was burning brick, they were obliged to take
turns, and _sit up all night_ about every other night, and work all
day. On one plantation, where I spent a few weeks, the slaves were
called up to work long before daylight, when business pressed, and
worked until late at night; and sometimes some of them _all night_. A
large portion of the slaves are owned by masters who keep them on
purpose to hire out--and they usually let them to those who will give
the highest wages for them, irrespective of their mode of treatment;
and those who hire them, will of course try to get the greatest
possible amount of work performed, with the least possible expense.
Women are seen bringing their infants into the field to their work,
and leading others who are not old enough to stay at the cabins with
safety. When they get there, they must set them down in the dirt and
go to work. Sometimes they are left to cry until they fall asleep.
Others are left at home, shut up in their huts. Now, is it not
barbarous, that the mother, with her child of children around her,
half starved, must be whipped at night if she does not perform her
task? But so it is. Some who have very young ones, fix a little sack,
and place the infants on their backs, and work. One reason, I presume
is, that they will not cry so much when they can hear their mother's
voice. Another is, the mothers fear that the poisonous vipers and
snakes will bite them. Truly, I never knew any place where the land is
so infested with all kinds of the most venomous snakes, as in the low
lands round about Savannah. The moccasin snakes, so called, and water
rattle-snakes--the bites of both of which are as poisonous as our
upland rattlesnakes at the north,--are found in myriads about the
stagnant waters and swamps of the South. The females, in order to
secure their infants from these poisonous snakes, do, as I have said,
often work with their infants on their backs. Females are sometimes
called to take the hardest part of the work. On some brick yards where
I have been, the women have been selected as the _moulders_ of brick,
instead of the men.


It was a general custom, wherever I have been, for the masters to give
each of his slaves, male and female, _one peck of corn per week_ for
their food. This at fifty cents per bushel, which was all that it was
worth when I was there, would amount to twelve and a half cents per
week for board per head.

It cost me upon an average, when at the south, one dollar per day for
board. The price of fourteen bushels of corn per week. This would make
my board equal in amount to the board of _forty-six slaves!_ This is
all that good or bad masters allow their slaves round about Savannah
on the plantations. One peck of gourd-seed corn is to be measured out
to each slave once every week. One man with whom I labored, however,
being desirous to get all the work out of his hands he could, before I
left, (about fifty in number,) bought for them every week, or twice a
week, a beef's head from market. With this, they made a soup in a
large iron kettle, around which the hands came at meal-time, and
dipping out the soup, would mix it with their hommony, and eat it as
though it were a feast. This man permitted his slaves to eat twice a
day while I was doing a job for him. He promised me a beaver hat and
as good a suit of clothes as could be bought in the city, if I would
accomplish so much for him before I returned to the north; giving me
the entire control over his slaves. Thus you may see the temptations
overseers sometimes have, to get all the work they can out of the poor
slaves. The above is an exception to the general rule of feeding. For
in all other places where I worked and visited; the slaves had
_nothing from their masters but the corn_, or its equivalent in
potatoes or rice, and to this, they were not permitted to come but
_once a day_. The custom was to blow the horn early in the morning,
as a signal for the hands to rise and go to work, when commenced; they
continued work until about eleven o'clock, A.M., when, at the signal,
all hands left off and went into their huts, made their fires, made
their corn-meal into hommony or cake, ate it, and went to work again
at the signal of the horn, and worked until night, or until their
tasks were done. Some cooked their breakfast in the field while at
work. Each slave must grind his own corn in a hand-mill after he has
done his work at night. There is generally one hand-mill on every
plantation for the use of the slaves.

Some of the planters have no corn, others often get out. The
substitute for it is, the equivalent of one peek of corn either in
rice or sweet potatoes; neither of which is as good for the slaves as
corn. They complain more of being faint, when fed on rice or potatoes,
than when fed on corn. I was with one man a few weeks who gave me his
hands to do a job of work, and to save time one cooked for all the
rest. The following course was taken,--Two crotched sticks were driven
down at one end of the yard, and a small pole being laid on the
crotches, they swung a large iron kettle on the middle of the pole;
then made up a fire under the kettle and boiled the hommony; when
ready, the hands were called around this kettle with their wooden
plates and spoons. They dipped out and ate standing around the kettle,
or sitting upon the ground, as best suited their convenience. When
they had potatoes they took them out with their hands, and ate them.
As soon as it was thought they had had sufficient time to swallow
their food they were called to their work again. _This was the only
meal they ate through the day._ now think of the little, almost naked
and half starved children, nibbling upon a piece of cold Indian cake,
or a potato! Think of the poor female, just ready to be confined,
without any thing that can be called convenient or comfortable! Think
of the old toil-worn father and mother, without anything to eat but
the coarsest of food, and not half enough of that! then think of
_home_. When sick, their physicians are their masters and overseers,
in most cases, whose skill consists in bleeding and in administering
large potions of Epsom salts, when the whip and _cursing_ will not
start them from their cabins.


The huts of the slaves are mostly of the poorest kind. They are not as
good as those temporary shanties which are thrown up beside railroads.
They are erected with posts and crotches, with but little or no
frame-work about them. They have no stoves or chimneys; some of them
have something like a fireplace at one end, and a board or two off at
that side, or on the roof, to let off the smoke. Others have nothing
like a fireplace in them; in these the fire is sometimes made in the
middle of the hut. These buildings have but one apartment in them; the
places where they pass in and out, serve both for doors and windows;
the sides and roofs are covered with coarse, and in many instances
with refuse boards. In warm weather, especially in the spring, the
slaves keep up a smoke, or fire and smoke, all night, to drive away
the gnats and musketoes, which are very troublesome in all the low
country of the south; so much so that the whites sleep under frames
with nets over them, knit so fine that the musketoes cannot fly
through them.

Some of the slaves have rugs to cover them in the coldest weather, but
I should think _more have not_. During driving storms they frequently
have to run from one hut to another for shelter. In the coldest
weather, where they can get wood or stumps, they keep up fires all
night in their huts, and lay around them, with their feet towards the
blaze. Men, women and children all lie down together, in most
instances. There may be exceptions to the above statements in regard
to their houses, but so far as my observations have extended, I have
given a fair description, and I have been on a large number of
plantations in Georgia and South Carolina up and down the Savannah
river. Their huts are generally built compactly on the plantations,
forming villages of huts, their size proportioned to the number of
slaves on them. In these miserable huts the poor blacks are herded at
night like swine, _without any conveniences of beadsteads, tables or
chairs._ O Misery to the full! to see the aged sire beating off the
swarms of gnats and musketoes in the warm weather, and shivering in
the straw, or bending over a few coals in the winter, clothed in rags.
I should think males and females, both lie down at night with their
working clothes on them. God alone knows how much the poor slaves
suffer for the want of convenient houses to secure them from the
piercing winds and howling storms of winter, almost as much in Georgia
as I do in Massachusetts.


The masters [in Georgia] make a practice of getting two suits of
clothes for each slave per year, a thick suit for winter, and a thin
one for summer. They provide also one pair of northern made sale shoes
for each slave in _winter_. These shoes usually begin to rip in a few
weeks. The negroes' mode of mending them is, to _wire_ them together,
in many instances. Do our northern shoemakers know that they are
augmenting the sufferings of the poor slaves with their almost good
for nothing sale shoes? Inasmuch as it is done unto one of those poor
sufferers it is done unto our Saviour. The above practice of clothing
the slave is customary to some extent. How many, however, fail of
this, God only knows. The children and old slaves are, I should think,
_exceptions_ to the above rule. The males and females have their suits
from the same cloth for their winter dresses. These winter garments
appear to be made of a mixture of cotton and wool, very coarse and
_sleazy_. The whole suit for the men consists of a pair of pantaloons
and a short sailor-jacket, _without shirt, vest, hat, stockings, or
any kind of loose garments!_ These, if worn steadily when at work,
would not probably last more than one or two months; therefore, for
the sake of saving them, many of them work, especially in the summer,
with no clothing on them except a cloth tied round their waist, and
_almost all_ with nothing more on them than pantaloons, and these
frequently so torn that they do not serve the purposes of common
decency. The women have for clothing a short petticoat, and a short
loose gown, something like the male's sailor-jacket, _without any
under garment, stockings, bonnets, hoods, caps, or any kind of
over-clothes._ When at work in the warm weather, they usually strip
off the loose gown, and have nothing on but a short petticoat with
some kind of covering over their breasts. Many children may be seen in
the summer months _as naked as they came into the world_. I think, as
a whole, they suffer more for the want of comfortable bed clothes,
than they do for wearing apparel. It is true, that some by begging or
buying have more clothes than above described, but the _masters
provide them with no more_. They are miserable objects of pity. It may
be said of many of them, "I was _naked_ and ye clothed me not." It is
enough to melt the hardest heart to see the ragged mothers nursing
their almost naked children, with but a morsel of the coarsest food to
eat. The Southern horses and dogs have enough to eat and good care
taken of them, but Southern negroes, who can describe their misery?


The ordinary mode of punishing the slaves is both cruel and barbarous.
The masters seldom, if ever, try to govern their slaves by moral
influence, but by whipping, kicking, beating, starving, branding,
_cat-hauling_, loading with irons, imprisoning, or by some other cruel
mode of torturing. They often boast of having invented some new mode
of torture, by which they have "tamed the rascals," What is called a
moderate flogging at the south is horribly cruel. Should we whip our
horses for any offence as they whip their slaves for small offences,
we should expose ourselves to the penalty of the law. The masters whip
for the smallest offences, such as not performing their tasks, being
caught by the guard or patrol by night, or for taking any thing from
the master's yard without leave. For these, and the like crimes, the
slaves are whipped thirty-nine lashes, and sometimes seventy or a
hundred, on the bare back. One slave, who was under my care, was
whipped, I think one hundred lashes, for getting a small handful of
wood from his master's yard without leave. I heard an overseer
boasting to this same master that he gave one of the boys seventy
lashes, for not doing a job of work just as he thought it ought to be
done. The owner of the slave appeared to be pleased that the overseer
had been so faithful. The apology they make for whipping so cruelly
is, that it is to frighten the rest of the gang. The masters say, that
what we call an ordinary flogging will not subdue the slaves; hence
the most cruel and barbarous scourgings ever witnessed by man are
daily and _hourly_ inflicted upon the naked bodies of these miserable
bondmen; not by masters and negro-drivers only, but by the constables
in the common markets and jailors in their yards.

When the slaves are whipped, either in public or private, they have
their hands fastened by the wrists, with a rope or cord prepared for
the purpose: this being thrown over a beam, a limb of a tree, or
something else, the culprit is drawn up and stretched by the arms as
high as possible, without raising his feet from the ground or floor:
and sometimes they are made to stand on tip-toe; then the feet are
made fast to something prepared for them. In this distorted posture
the monster flies at them, sometimes in great rage, with his
implements of torture, and cuts on with all his might, over the
shoulders, under the arms, and sometimes over the head and ears, or on
parts of the body where he can inflict the greatest torment.
Occasionally the whipper, especially if his victim does not beg enough
to suit him, while under the lash, will fly into a passion, uttering
the most horrid oaths; while the victim of his rage is crying, at
every stroke, "Lord have mercy! Lord have mercy!" The scenes exhibited
at the whipping post are awfully terrific and frightful to one whose
heart has not turned to stone; I never could look on but a moment.
While under the lash, the bleeding victim writhes in agony, convulsed
with torture. Thirty-nine lashes on the bare back, which tear the skin
at almost every stroke, is what the South calls a very _moderate
punishment!_ Many masters whip until they are tired--until the back is
a gore of blood--then rest upon it: after a short cessation, get up
and go at it again; and after having satiated their revenge in the
blood of their victims, they sometimes _leave them tied, for hours
together, bleeding at every wound_.--Sometimes, after being whipped,
they are bathed with a brine of salt and water. Now and then a master,
but more frequently a mistress who has no husband, will send them to
jail a few days, giving orders to have them whipped, so many lashes,
once or twice a day. Sometimes, after being whipped, some have been
shut up in a dark place and deprived of food, in order to increase
their torments: and I have heard of some who have, in such
circumstances, died of their wounds and starvation.

Such scenes of horror as above described are so common in Georgia that
they attract no attention. To threaten them with death, with breaking
in their teeth or jaws, or cracking their heads, is _common talk_,
when scolding at the slaves.--Those who run away from their masters
and are caught again generally fare the worst. They are generally
lodged in jail, with instructions from the owner to have them cruelly
whipped. Some order the constables to whip them publicly in the
market. Constables at the south are generally savage, brutal men. They
have become so accustomed to catching and whipping negroes, that they
are as fierce as tigers. Slaves who are absent from their yards, or
plantations, after eight o'clock P.M., and are taken by the guard in
the cities, or by the patrols in the country, are, if not called for
before nine o'clock A.M. the next day, secured in prisons; and hardly
ever escape, until their backs are torn up by the cowhide. On
plantations, the _evenings_ usually present scenes of horror. Those
slaves against whom charges are preferred for not having performed
their tasks, and for various faults, must, after work-hours at night,
undergo their torments. I have often heard the sound of the lash, the
curses of the whipper, and the cries of the poor negro rending the
air, late in the evening, and long before day-light in the morning.

It is very common for masters to say to the overseers or drivers, "put
it on to them," "don't spare that fellow," "give that scoundrel one
hundred lashes," &c. Whipping the women when in delicate
circumstances, as they sometimes do, without any regard to their
entreaties or the entreaties of their nearest friends, is truly
barbarous. If negroes could testify, they would tell you of instances
of women being whipped until they have miscarried at the
whipping-post. I heard of such things at the south--they are
undoubtedly facts. Children are whipped unmercifully for the smallest
offences, and that before their mothers. A large proportion of the
blacks have their shoulders, backs, and arms all scarred up, and not a
few of them have had their heads laid open with clubs, stones, and
brick-bats, and with the butt-end of whips and canes--some have had
their jaws broken, others their teeth knocked in or out; while others
have had their ears cropped and the sides of their cheeks gashed out.
Some of the poor creatures have lost the sight of one of their eyes by
the careless blows of the whipper, or by some other violence.

But punishing of slaves as above described, is not the only mode of
torture. Some tie them up in a very uneasy posture, where they must
stand _all night_, and they will then work them hard all day--that is,
work them hard all day and torment them all night. Others punish by
fastening them down on a log, or something else, and strike them on
the bare skin with a board paddle full of holes. This breaks the skin,
I should presume, at every hole where it comes in contact with it.
Others, when other modes of punishment will not subdue them,
_cat-haul_ them--that is, take a cat by the nape of the neck and tail,
or by the hind legs, and drag the claws across the back until
satisfied. This kind of punishment poisons the flesh much worse than
the whip, and is more dreaded by the slave. Some are branded by a hot
iron, others have their flesh cut out in large gashes, to mark them.
Some who are prone to run away, have iron fetters riveted around their
ancles, sometimes they are put only on one foot, and are dragged on
the ground. Others have on large iron collars or yokes upon their
necks, or clogs riveted upon their wrists or ancles. Some have bells
put upon them, hung upon a sort of frame to an iron collar. Some
masters fly into a rage at trifles and knock down their negroes with
their fists, or with the first thing that they can get hold of. The
whiplash-knots, or rawhide, have sometimes by a reckless stroke
reached round to the front of the body and cut through to the bowels.
One slaveholder with whom I lived, whipped one of his slaves one day,
as many, I should think, as one hundred lashes, and then turned the
_butt-end_ and went to beating him over the head and ears, and truly I
was amazed that the slave was not killed on the spot. Not a few
slaveholders whip their slaves to death, and then say that they died
under a "moderate correction." I wonder that ten are not killed where
one is! Were they not much hardier than the whites many more of them
must die than do. One young mulatto man, with whom I was well
acquainted, was killed by his master in his yard with _impunity_. I
boarded at the same time near the place where this glaring murder was
committed, and knew the master well. He had a plantation, on which he
enacted, almost daily, cruel barbarities, some of them, I was
informed, more terrific, if possible, than death itself. Little notice
was taken of this murder, and it all passed off without any action
being taken against the murderer. The masters used to try to make me
whip their negroes. They said I could not get along with them without
flogging them--but I found I could get along better with them by
coaxing and encouraging them than by beating and flogging them. I had
not a heart to beat and kick about those beings; although I had not
grace in my heart the three first years I was there, yet I sympathised
with the slaves. I never was guilty of having but one whipped, and he
was whipped but eight or nine blows. The circumstances were as
follows: Several negroes were put under my care, one spring, _who were
fresh from Congo and Guinea_. I could not understand them, neither
could they me, in one word I spoke. I therefore pointed to them to go
to work; all obeyed me willingly but one--he refused. I told the
driver that he must tie him up and whip him. After he had tied him, by
the help of some others, we struck him eight or nine blows, and he
yielded. I told the driver not to strike him another blow. We untied
him, and he went to work, and continued faithful all the time he was
with me. This one was not a sample, however--many of them have such
exalted views of freedom that it is hard work for the masters to whip
them into brutes, that is to subdue their noble spirits. The negroes
being put under my care, did not prevent the masters from whipping
them when they pleased. But they never whipped much in my presence.
This work was usually left until I had dismissed the hands. On the
plantations, the masters chose to have the slaves whipped in the
presence of all the hands, to strike them with terror.


Numbers of poor slaves run away from their masters; some of whom
doubtless perish in the swamps and other secret places, rather than
return back again to their masters; others stay away until they almost
famish with hunger, and then return home rather than die, while others
who abscond are caught by the negro-hunters, in various ways.
Sometimes the master will hire some of his most trusty negroes to
secure any stray negroes, who come on to their plantations, for many
come at night to beg food of their friends on the plantations. The
slaves assist one another usually when they can, and not be found out
in it. The master can now and then, however, get some of his hands to
betray the runaways. Some obtain their living in hunting after lost
slaves. The most common way is to train up young dogs to follow them.
This can easily be done by obliging a slave to go out into the woods,
and climb a tree, and then put the young dog on his track, and with a
little assistance he can be taught to follow him to the tree, and when
found, of course the dog would bark at such game as a poor negro on a
tree. There was a man living in Savannah when I was there, who kept a
large number of dogs for no other purpose than to hunt runaway
negroes. And he always had enough of this work to do, for hundreds of
runaways are never found, but could he get news soon after one had
fled, he was almost sure to catch him. And this fear of the dogs
restrains multitudes from running off.

When he went out on a hunting excursion, to be gone several days, he
took several persons with him, armed generally with rifles and
followed by the dogs. The dogs were as true to the track of a negro,
if one had passed recently, as a hound is to the track of a fox when
he has found it. When the dogs draw near to their game, the slave must
turn and fight them or climb a tree. If the latter, the dogs will stay
and bark until the pursuer come. The blacks frequently deceive the
dogs by crossing and recrossing the creeks. Should the hunters who
have no dogs, start a slave from his hiding place, and the slave not
stop at the hunter's call, he will shoot at him, as soon as he would
at a deer. Some masters advertise so much for a runaway slave, dead or
alive. It undoubtedly gives such more satisfaction to know that their
property is dead, than to know that it is alive without being able to
get it. Some slaves run away who never mean to be taken alive. I will
mention one. He run off and was pursued by the dogs, but having a
weapon with him he succeeded in killing two or three of the dogs; but
was afterwards shot. He had declared, that he never would be taken
alive. The people rejoiced at the death of the slave, but lamented the
death of the dogs, they were such ravenous hunters. Poor fellow, he
fought for life and liberty like a hero; but the bullets brought him
down. A negro can hardly walk unmolested at the south.--Every colored
stranger that walks the streets is suspected of being a runaway slave,
hence he must be interrogated by every negro hater whom he meets, and
should he not have a pass, he must be arrested and hurried off to
jail. Some masters boast that their slaves would not be free if they
could. How little they know of their slaves! They are all sighing and
groaning for freedom. May God hasten the time!


When the slaves have done their day's work, they must be herded
together like sheep in their yards, or on their plantations. They have
not as much liberty as northern men have, who are sent to jail for
debt, for they have liberty to walk a larger yard than the slaves
have. The slaves must all be at their homes precisely at eight
o'clock, P.M. At this hour the drums beat in the cities, as a signal
for every slave to be in his den. In the country, the signal is given
by firing guns, or some other way by which they may know the hour when
to be at home. After this hour, the guard in the cities, and patrols
in the country, being well armed, are on duty until daylight in the
morning. If they catch any negroes during the night without a pass,
they are immediately seized and hurried away to the guard-house, or if
in the country to some place of confinement, where they are kept until
nine o'clock, A.M., the next day, if not called for by that time, they
are hurried off to jail, and there remain until called for by their
master and his jail and guard house fees paid. The guards and patrols
receive one dollar extra for every one they can catch, who has not a
pass from his master, or overseer, but few masters will give their
slaves passes to be out at night unless on some special business:
notwithstanding, many venture out, watching every step they take for
the guard or patrol, the consequence is, some are caught almost every
night, and some nights many are taken; some, fleeing after being
hailed by the watch, are shot down in attempting their escape, others
are crippled for life. I find I shall not be able to write out more at
present. My ministerial duties are pressing, and if I delay this till
the next mail, I fear it will not be in season. Your brother for those
who are in bonds,


* * * * *


Miss Grimke is a daughter of the late Judge Grimke, of the Supreme
Court of South Carolina, and sister of the late Hon. Thomas S. Grimke.

As I left my native state on account of slavery, and deserted the home
of my fathers to escape the sound of the lash and the shrieks of
tortured victims, I would gladly bury in oblivion the recollection of
those scenes with which I have been familiar; but this may not, cannot
be; they come over my memory like gory spectres, and implore me with
resistless power, in the name of a God of mercy, in the name of a
crucified Savior, in the name of humanity; for the sake of the
slaveholder, as well as the slave, to bear witness to the horrors of
the southern prison house. I feel impelled by a sacred sense of duty,
by my obligations to my country, by sympathy for the bleeding victims
of tyranny and lust, to give my testimony respecting the system of
American slavery,--to detail a few facts, most of which came under my
_personal observation_. And here I may premise, that the actors in
these tragedies were all men and women of the highest respectability,
and of the first families in South Carolina, and, with one exception,
citizens of Charleston; and that their cruelties did not in the
slightest degree affect their standing in society.

A handsome mulatto woman, about 18 or 20 years of age, whose
independent spirit could not brook the degradation of slavery, was in
the habit of running away: for this offence she had been repeatedly
sent by her master and mistress to be whipped by the keeper of the
Charleston work-house. This had been done with such inhuman severity,
as to lacerate her back in a most shocking manner; a finger could not
be laid between the cuts. But the love of liberty was too strong to be
annihilated by torture; and, as a last resort, she was whipped at
several different times, and kept a close prisoner. A heavy iron
collar, with three long prongs projecting from it, was placed round
her neck, and a strong and sound front tooth was extracted, to serve
as a mark to describe her, in case of escape. Her sufferings at this

Book of the day: