Part 32 out of 52
_A native of Tennessee, educated there, and for a number of years a
preacher in slave states--now pastor of a church in Ripley, Ohio._
"Many poor slaves are stripped naked, stretched and tied across
barrels, or large bags, _and tortured with the lash during hours, and
even whole days, until their flesh is mangled to the very bones_.
Others are stripped and hung up by the arms, their feet are tied
together, and the end of a heavy piece of timber is put between their
legs in order to stretch their bodies, and so prepare them for the
torturing lash--and in this situation they are often whipped until
their bodies are covered _with blood and mangled flesh_--and in order
to add the greatest keenness to their sufferings, their wounds are
washed with _liquid salt_! And some of the miserable creatures are
permitted to hang in that position until they actually _expire_; some
die under the lash, others linger about for a time, and at length die
of their wounds, and many survive, and endure again similar torture.
These bloody scenes are _constantly exhibiting in every slave holding
country--thousands of whips are every day stained in African blood_!
Even the poor _females_ are not permitted to escape these shocking
These letters were published fifteen years ago.--They were addressed
to a brother in Virginia, who was a slaveholder.
TESTIMONY OF THE AMERICAN COLONIZATION SOCIETY.
"We have heard of slavery as it exists in Asia, and Africa, and
Turkey--we have heard of the feudal slavery under which the peasantry
of Europe have groaned from the days of Alaric until now, but
excepting only the horrible system of the West India Islands, we have
never heard of slavery in any country, ancient or modern, Pagan,
Mohammedan, or _Christian! so terrible in its character_, as the
slavery which exists in these United States."--_Seventh Report
American Colonization Society,_ 1824.
TESTIMONY OF THE GRADUAL EMANCIPATION SOCIETY OF NORTH CAROLINA.
_Signed by Moses Swain, President, and William Swain, Secretary._
"In the eastern part of the state, the slaves considerably outnumber
the free population. Their situation is there wretched beyond
description. Impoverished by the mismanagement which we have already
attempted to describe, the master, unable to support his own grandeur
and maintain his slaves, puts the unfortunate wretches upon short
allowances, scarcely sufficient for their sustenance, so that a great
part of them go half naked and half starved much of the time.
Generally, throughout the state, the African is an _abused, a
monstrously outraged creature."--See Minutes of the American
Convention, convened in Baltimore, Oct._ 25, 1826.
FROM NILES' BALTIMORE REGISTER FOR 1829, VOL 35, p. 4.
"Dealing in slaves has become a _large business_. Establishments are
made at several places in Maryland and Virginia, at which they are
sold like cattle. These places of deposit are strongly built, and well
supplied with _iron thumb-screws and gags_, and ornamented with
_catskins and other whips--often times bloody_."
Judge RUFFIN, of the Supreme Court of North Carolina, in one of his
judicial decisions, says--"The slave, to remain a slave, must feel
that there is NO APPEAL FROM HIS MASTER. No man can anticipate the
provocations which the slave would give, nor the consequent wrath of
the master, prompting him to BLOODY VENGEANCE on the turbulent
traitor, a vengeance _generally_ practiced with impunity, by reason of
its PRIVACY."--See _Wheeler's Law of Slavery_ p. 247.
MR. MOORE, of VIRGINIA, in his speech before the Legislature of that
state, Jan. 15, 1832, says: "It must be confessed, that although the
treatment of our slaves is in the general, as mild and humane as it
can be, that it must always happen, that there will be found hundreds
of individuals, who, owing either to the natural ferocity of their
dispositions, or to the effects of intemperance, will be guilty of
cruelty and barbarity towards their slaves, which is _almost
intolerable_, and at which humanity revolts."
TESTIMONY OF B. SWAIN, ESQ., OF NORTH CAROLINA.
"Let any man of spirit and feeling, for a moment cast his thoughts
over this land of slavery--think of the _nakedness_ of some, the
_hungry yearnings_ of others, the _flowing tears and heaving sighs_ of
parting relations, the _wailings and wo, the bloody cut of the keen
lash, and the frightful scream that rends the very skies_--and all
this to gratify ambition, lust, pride, avarice, vanity, and other
depraved feelings of the human heart.... THE WORST IS NOT GENERALLY
KNOWN. Were all the miseries, the horrors of slavery, to burst at once
into view, a peal of seven-fold thunder could scarce strike greater
alarm."--_See "Swain's Address,"_ 1830.
TESTIMONY OF DR. JAMES C. FINLEY,
_Son of Dr. Finley, one of the founders of the Colonization Society,
and brother of R.S. Finley, agent of the American Colonization
Society._ Dr. J.C. Finley was formerly one of the editors of the
Western Medical Journal, at Cincinnati, and is well known in the west
as utterly hostile to immediate abolition.
"In almost the last conversation I had with you before I left
Cincinnati, I promised to give you some account of some scenes of
atrocious cruelty towards slaves, which I witnessed while I lived at
the south. I almost regret having made the promise, for not only are
they _so atrocious_ that you will with difficulty believe them, but I
also fear that they will have the effect of driving you into that
_abolitionism_, upon the borders of which you have been so long
hesitating. The people of the north _are ignorant of the horrors of
slavery_--of the _atrocities_ which it commits upon the unprotected
slave. * * *
"I do not know that any thing could be gained by particularizing the
scenes of _horrible barbarity_, which fell under my observation during
my _short_ residence in one of the wealthiest, most intelligent, and
most moral parts of Georgia. Their _number_ and _atrocity_ are such,
that I am confident they would gain credit with none but
_abolitionists_. Every thing will be conveyed in the remark, that in a
state of society calculated to foster the worst passions of our
nature, the slave derives _no protection_ either from _law_ or _public
opinion_, and that ALL the cruelties which the Russians are reported
to have acted towards the Poles, after their late subjugation, ARE
SCENES OF EVERY-DAY OCCURRENCE in the southern states. This statement,
incredible as it may seem, falls short, very far short of the truth."
The foregoing is extracted from a letter written by Dr. Finley to Rev.
Asa Mahan, his former pastor, then of Cincinnati, now President of
TESTIMONY OF REV. WILLIAM T. ALLAN, OF ILLINOIS, _Son of a
Slaveholder, Rev. Dr. Allan of Huntsville, Ala._
"At our house it is so common to hear their (the slaves') screams,
that we think nothing of it: and lest any one should think that in
_general_ the slaves are well treated, let me be distinctly
understood:--_cruelty_ is the _rule_, and _kindness_ the _exception_."
Extract of a letter dated July 2d, 1834, from Mr. NATHAN COLE, of St.
Louis, Missouri, to Arthur Tappan, Esq. of this city:
"I am not an advocate of the immediate and unconditional emancipation
of the slaves of our country, yet _no man has ever yet depicted the
wretchedness of the situation of the slaves in colors as dark for the
truth_.... I know that many good people _are not aware of the
treatment to which slaves are usually subjected_, nor have they any
just idea of the extent of the evil."
TESTIMONY OF REV. JAMES A. THOME, _A native of Kentucky--Son of Arthur
Thome Esq., till recently a Slaveholder._
"Slavery is the parent of more suffering than has flowed from any one
source since the date of its existence. Such sufferings too!
_Sufferings inconceivable and innumerable--unmingled wretchedness_
from the ties of nature rudely broken and destroyed, the _acutest
bodily tortures, groans, tears and blood_--lying forever in weariness
and painfulness, in watchings, in hunger and in thirst, in cold and
"Brethren of the North, be not deceived. _These sufferings still
exist_, and despite the efforts of their cruel authors to hush them
down, and confine them within the precincts of their own plantations,
they will ever and anon, struggle up and reach the ear of
humanity."--_Mr. Thome's Speech at New York, May,_ 1834.
TESTIMONY OF THE MARYVILLE (TENNESSEE) INTELLIGENCER, OF OCT. 4, 1835.
The Editor, in speaking of the sufferings of the slaves which are
taken by the internal trade to the South West, says:
"Place yourself in imagination, for a moment, in their condition.
With _heavy galling chains_, riveted upon your person; _half-naked,
half-starved_; your back _lacerated_ with the 'knotted Whip;'
traveling to a region where your _condition through time will be
second only to the wretched creatures in Hell_.
"This depicting is not visionary. Would to God that it was."
TESTIMONY OF THE PRESBYTERIAN SYNOD OF KENTUCKY; _A large majority of
whom are slaveholders._
"This system licenses and produces _great cruelty_.
"Mangling, imprisonment, starvation, every species of torture, may be
inflicted upon him, (the slave,) and he has no redress.
"There are now in our whole land two millions of human beings,
exposed, defenceless, to every insult, and every injury short of
maiming or death, which their fellow men may choose to inflict. _They
suffer all_ that can be inflicted by wanton caprice, by grasping
avarice, by brutal lust, by malignant spite, and by insane anger.
Their happiness is the sport of every whim, and the prey of every
passion that may, occasionally, or habitually, infest the master's
bosom. If we could calculate the amount of wo endured by ill-treated
slaves, it would overwhelm every compassionate heart--it would move
even the obdurate to sympathy. There is also a vast sum of suffering
inflicted upon the slave by humane masters, as a punishment for that
idleness and misconduct which slavery naturally produces.
"_Brutal stripes_ and all the varied kinds of personal indignities,
are not the only species of cruelty which slavery licenses."
TESTIMONY OF THE REV. N.H. HARDING, Pastor of the Presbyterian Church,
in Oxford, North Carolina, a slaveholder.
"I am greatly surprised that you should in any form have been the
apologist of a system so full of deadly poison to all holiness and
benevolence as slavery, the concocted essence of fraud, selfishness,
and cold hearted tyranny, and the fruitful parent of unnumbered evils,
both to the oppressor and the oppressed, THE ONE THOUSANDTH PART OF
WHICH HAS NEVER BEEN BROUGHT TO LIGHT."
MR. ASA A. STONE, a theological student, who lived near Natchez,
(Mi.,) in 1834 and 5, sent the following with other testimony, to be
published under his own name, in the N.Y. Evangelist, while he was
still residing there.
"Floggings for all offences, including deficiencies in work, are
_frightfully common_, and _most terribly severe._
"_Rubbing with salt and red pepper is very common after a severe
TESTIMONY OF REV. PHINEAS SMITH, Centreville, Allegany Co., N.Y. who
lived four years at the South.
"They are badly clothed, badly fed, wretchedly lodged, unmercifully
whipped, from month to month, from year to year, from childhood to old
REV. JOSEPH M. SADD, Castile, Genessee CO. N.Y. who was till recently
a preacher in Missouri, says,
"It is true that barbarous cruelties are inflicted upon them, such as
terrible lacerations with the whip, and excruciating tortures are
sometimes experienced from the thumb screw."
Extract of a letter from SARAH M. GRIMKE, dated 4th Month, 2nd, 1839
"If the following extracts from letters which I have received from
South Carolina, will be of any use thou art at liberty to publish
them. I need not say, that the names of the writers are withheld of
necessity, because such sentiments if uttered at the south would peril
--South Carolina, 4th Month, 5th, 1835. "With regard to slavery I
must confess, though we had heard a great deal on the subject, we
found on coming South the _half_, the _worst_ half too, had not been
told us; not that we have ourselves seen much oppression, though truly
we have felt its deadening influence, but the accounts we have
received from every tongue that nobly dares to speak upon the subject,
are indeed _deplorable_. To quote the language of a lady, who with
true Southern hospitality, received us at her mansion. "The _northern_
people don't know anything of slavery at all, they think it is
_perpetual bondage merely_, but of the _depth of degradation_ that
that word involves, they have no conception; if they had any just idea
of it, they would I am sure use every effort until an end was put to
such a shocking system.'
"Another friend writing from South Carolina, and who sustains herself
the legal relation of slaveholder, in a letter dated April 4th, 1838,
says--'I have some time since, given you my views on the subject of
slavery, which so much engrosses your attention. I would most
willingly forget what I have seen and heard in my own family, with
regard to the slaves. _I shudder when I think of it_, and increasingly
feel that slavery is a curse since it leads to such _cruelty_.'"
The slaves are terribly lacerated with whips, paddles, &c.; red pepper
and salt are rubbed into their mangled flesh; hot brine and turpentine
are poured into their gashes; and innumerable other tortures inflicted
We will in the first place, prove by a cloud of witnesses, that the
slaves are whipped with such inhuman severity, as to lacerate and
mangle their flesh in the most shocking manner, leaving permanent
scars and ridges; after establishing this, we will present a mass of
testimony, concerning a great variety of other tortures. The
testimony, for the most part, will be that of the slaveholders
themselves, and in their own chosen words. A large portion of it will
be taken from the advertisements, which they have published in their
own newspapers, describing by the scars on their bodies made by the
whip, their own runaway slaves. To copy these advertisements _entire_
would require a great amount of space, and flood the reader with a
vast mass of matter irrelevant to the _point_ before us; we shall
therefore insert only so much of each, as will intelligibly set forth
the precise point under consideration. In the column under the word
"witnesses," will be found the name of the individual, who signs the
advertisement, or for whom it is signed, with his or her place of
residence, and the name and date of the paper, in which it appeared,
and generally the name of the place where it is published. Opposite
the name of each witness, will be an extract, from the advertisement,
containing his or her testimony.
Mr. D. Judd, jailor, Davidson Co., Tennessee, in the "Nashville
Banner," Dec. 10th, 1838.
"Committed to jail as a runaway, a negro woman named Martha, 17 or 18
years of age, has _numerous scars of the whip on her back_."
Mr. Robert Nicoll, Dauphin st. between Emmanuel and Conception st's,
Mobile, Alabama, in the "Mobile Commercial Advertiser."
"Ten dollars reward for my woman Siby, _very much scarred about the
neck and ears by whipping_."
Mr. Bryant Johnson, Fort Valley Houston Co., Georgia, in the "Standard
of Union," Milledgeville Ga. Oct. 2, 1838. "Ranaway, a negro woman,
named Maria, _some scars on her back occasioned by the whip_."
Mr. James T. De Jarnett, Vernon, Autauga Co., Alabama, in the
"Pensacola Gazette," July 14, 1838.
"Stolen a negro woman, named Celia. On examining her back you will
find marks _caused by the whip_."
Maurice Y. Garcia, Sheriff of the County of Jefferson, La., in the
"New Orleans Bee," August, 14, 1838.
"Lodged in jail, a mulatto boy, _having large marks of the whip,_ on
his shoulders and other parts of his body."
R.J. Bland, Sheriff of Claiborne Co, Miss., in the "Charleston (S.C.)
Courier." August, 28, 1838.
"Was committed a negro boy, named Tom, is _much marked with the
Mr. James Noe, Red River Landing, La., in the "Sentinel," Vicksburg,
Miss., August 22, 1837.
"Ranaway, a negro fellow named Dick--has _many scars on his back from
William Craze, jailor, Alexandria, La. in the "Planter's
Intelligencer." Sept. 26, 1838.
"Committed to jail, a negro slave--his back is _very badly scarred."_
John A. Rowland, jailor, Lumberton, North Carolina, in the
"Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer," June 20, 1838.
"Committed, a mulatto fellow--his back shows _lasting impressions of
the whip,_ and leaves no doubt of his being A SLAVE"
J.K. Roberts, sheriff, Blount county, Ala., in the "Huntsville
Democrat," Dec. 9, 1839.
"Committed to jail, a negro man--his back _much marked_ by the whip."
Mr. H. Varillat, No. 23 Girod street, New Orleans--in the "Commercial
Bulletin," August 27, 1838.
"Ranaway, the negro slave named Jupiter--has a _fresh mark_ of a
cowskin on one of his cheeks."
Mr. Cornelius D. Tolin, Augusta, Ga., in the "Chronicle and Sentinel,"
Oct. 18, 1838.
"Ranaway, a negro man named Johnson--he has a _great many marks of the
whip_ on his back."
W.H. Brasseale, sheriff; Blount county, Ala., in the "Huntsville
Democrat," June 9, 1838.
"Committed to jail, a negro slave named James--_much scarred_ with a
whip on his back."
Mr. Robert Beasley, Macon, Ga., in the "Georgia Messenger," July 27,
"Ranaway, my man Fountain--he is marked _on the back with the whip."_
Mr. John Wotton, Rockville, Montgomery county, Maryland, in the
"Baltimore Republican," Jan. 13, 1838.
"Ranaway, Bill--has _several_ LARGE SCARS on his back from a _severe_
whipping in _early life."_
D.S. Bennett, sheriff, Natchitoches, La., in the "Herald," July 21,
"Committed to jail, a negro boy who calls himself Joe--said negro
bears _marks of the whip."_
Messrs. C.C. Whitehead, and R.A. Evans, Marion, Georgia, in the
Milledgeville (Ga.) "Standard of Union," June 26, 1838.
"Ranaway, negro fellow John--from being whipped, has _scars on his
back, arms, and thighs."_
Mr. Samuel Stewart, Greensboro', Ala., in the "Southern Advocate,"
Huntsville, Jan. 6, 1838.
"Ranaway, a boy named Jim--with the marks of the _whip_ on the small
of the back, reaching round to the flank."
Mr. John Walker, No. 6, Banks' Arcade New Orleans, in the "Bulletin,"
August 11, 1838.
"Ranaway, the mulatto boy Quash--_considerably marked_ on the back and
other places with the lash."
Mr. Jesse Beene, Cahawba, Ala., in the "State Intelligencer,"
Tuskaloosa, Dec. 25, 1837.
"Ranaway, my negro man Billy--he has the _marks of the_ whip."
Mr. John Turner, Thomaston, Upson county, Georgia--in the "Standard of
Union," Milledgeville, June 26, 1838.
"Left, my negro man named George--has _marks of the whip very plain on
James Derrah, deputy sheriff; Claiborne county, Mi., in the "Port
Gibson Correspondent," April 15, 1837.
"Committed to jail, negro man Toy--he has been _badly whipped."_
S.B. Murphy, sheriff, Wilkinson county, Georgia--in the Milledgeville
"Journal," May 15, 1838.
"Brought to jail, a negro man named George--he has a _great many scars
from the lash."_
Mr. L.E. Cooner, Branchville Orangeburgh District, South Carolina--in
the Macon "Messenger," May 25, 1837.
"One hundred dollars reward, for my negro Glasgow, and Kate, his wife.
Glasgow is 24 years old--has _marks of the whip_ on his back. Kate is
26--has a _scar_ on her cheek, _and several marks of a whip."_
John H. Hand, jailor, parish of West Feliciana, La., in the St.
"Francisville Journal," July 6, 1837
"Committed to jail, a negro boy named John, about 17 years old--his
back _badly marked_ with the _whip_, his upper lip and chin _severely
The preceding are extracts from advertisements published in southern
papers, mostly in the year 1838. They are the mere _samples_ of
hundreds of similar ones published during the same period, with which,
as the preceding are quite sufficient to show the _commonness_ of
inhuman floggings in the slave states, we need not burden the reader.
The foregoing testimony is, as the reader perceives, that of the
slaveholders themselves, voluntarily certifying to the outrages which
their own hands have committed upon defenceless and innocent men and
women, over whom they have assumed authority. We have given to _their_
testimony precedence over that of all other witnesses, for the reason
that when men testify against _themselves_ they are under no
temptation to exaggerate.
We will now present the testimony of a large number of individuals,
with their names and residences,--persons who witnessed the
inflictions to which they testify. Many of them have been
slaveholders, and _all_ residents for longer or shorter periods in
Rev. JOHN H. CURTISS, a native of Deep Creek, Norfolk county,
Virginia, now a local preacher of the Methodist Episcopal Church in
Portage co., Ohio, testifies as follows:--
"In 1829 or 30, one of my father's slaves was accused of taking the
key to the office and stealing four or five dollars: he denied it. A
constable by the name of Hull was called; he took the Negro, very
deliberately tied his hands, and whipped him till the blood ran freely
down his legs. By this time Hull appeared tired, and stopped; he then
took a rope, put a slip noose around his neck, and told the negro he
was going to _kill_ him, at the same time drew the rope and began
whipping: the Negro fell; his cheeks looked as though they would burst
with strangulation. Hull whipped and kicked him, till I really thought
he was going to kill him; when he ceased, the negro was in a complete
gore of blood from head to foot."
Mr. DAVID HAWLEY, a class-leader in the Methodist Church, at St.
Alban's, Licking county, Ohio, who moved from Kentucky to Ohio in
1831, testifies as follows:--
"In the year 1821 or 2, I saw a slave hung for killing his master. The
master had whipped the slave's mother to DEATH, and, locking him in a
room, threatened him with the same fate; and, cowhide in hand, had
begun the work, when the slave joined battle and slew the master."
SAMUEL ELLISON, a member of the Society of Friends, formerly of
Southampton county, Virginia, now of Marlborough, Stark county, Ohio,
gives the following testimony:--
"While a resident of Southampton county, Virginia, I knew two men,
after having been severely treated, endeavor to make their escape. In
this they failed--were taken, tied to trees, and whipped to _death_ by
their overseer. I lived a mile from the negro quarters, and, at that
distance, could frequently hear the screams of the poor creatures when
beaten, and could also hear the blows given by the overseer with some
Major HORACE NYE, of Putnam, Ohio, gives the following testimony of
Mr. Wm. Armstrong, of that place, a captain and supercargo of boats
descending the Mississippi river:--
"At Bayou Sarah, I saw a slave _staked out,_ with his face to the
ground, and whipped with a large whip, which laid open the flesh for
about two and a half inches _every stroke._ I stayed about five
minutes, but could stand it no longer, and left them whipping."
Mr. STEPHEN E. MALTBY, inspector of provisions, Skeneateles, New York,
who has resided in Alabama, speaking of the condition of the slaves,
"I have seen them cruelly whipped. I will relate one instance. One
Sabbath morning, before I got out of my bed, I heard an outcry, and
got up and went to the window, when I saw some six or eight boys, from
eight to twelve years of age, near a rack (made for tying horses) on
the public square. A man on horseback rode up, got off his horse, took
a cord from his pocket, _tied one of the boys_ by the _thumbs_ to the
rack, and with his horsewhip lashed him most severely. He then untied
him and rode off without saying a word.
"It was a general practice, while I was at Huntsville, Alabama, to
have a patrol every night; and, to my knowledge, this patrol was in
the habit of traversing the streets with cow-skins, and, if they found
any slaves out after eight o'clock without a pass, to whip them until
they were out of reach, or to confine them until morning."
Mr. J.G. BALDWIN, of Middletown, Connecticut, a member of the
Methodist Episcopal Church, gives the following testimony:--
"I traveled at the south in 1827: when near Charlotte, N.C. a free
colored man fell into the road just ahead of me, and went on
peaceably.--When passing a public-house, the landlord ran out with a
large cudgel, and applied it to the head and shoulders of the man with
such force as to shatter it in pieces. When the reason of his conduct
was asked, he replied, that he owned slaves, and he would not permit
free blacks to come into his neighborhood.
"Not long after, I stopped at a public-house near Halifax, N.C.,
between nine and ten o'clock P.M., to stay over night. A slave sat
upon a bench in the bar-room asleep. The master came in, seized a
large horsewhip, and, without any warning or apparent provocation,
laid it over the face and eyes of the slave. The master cursed, swore,
and swung his lash--the slave cowered and trembled, but said not a
word. Upon inquiry the next morning, I ascertained that the only
offence was falling asleep, and this too in consequence of having been
up nearly all the previous night, in attendance upon company."
Rev. JOSEPH M. SADD, of Castile, N.Y., who has lately left Missouri,
where he was pastor of a church for some years, says:--
"In one case, near where we lived, a runaway slave, when brought back,
was most cruelly beaten--bathed in the _usual_ liquid--laid in the
sun, and a physician employed to heal his wounds:--then the same
process of punishment and healing was _repeated_, _and repeated
again_, and then the poor creature was sold for the New Orleans
market. This account we had from the _physician himself_."
MR. ABRAHAM BELL, of Poughkeepsie, New York, a member of the Scotch
Presbyterian Church, was employed, in 1837 and 38, in levelling and
grading for a rail-road in the state of Georgia: he had under his
direction, during the whole time, thirty slaves. Mr. B. gives the
"_All_ the slaves had their backs scarred, from the oft-repeated
whippings they had received."
Mr. ALONZO BARNARD, of Farmington, Ohio, who was in Mississippi in
1837 and 8, says:--
"The slaves were often severely whipped. I saw one _woman_ very
severely whipped for accidentally cutting up a stalk of cotton.
When they were whipped they were commonly _held down by four men_: if
these could not confine them, they were fastened by stakes driven
firmly into the ground, and then lashed often so as to draw blood at
each blow. I saw one woman who had lately been delivered of a child in
consequence of cruel treatment."
[Footnote 8: Mr. Cornelius Johnson, of Farmington, Ohio, was also a
witness to this inhuman outrage upon an unprotected woman, for the
unintentional destruction of a stalk of cotton! In his testimony he is
more particular, and says, that the number of lashes inflicted upon
her by the overseer was "ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY."]
Rev. H. LYMAN, late pastor of the Free Presbyterian Church at Buffalo,
"There was a steam cotton press, in the vicinity of my boarding-house
at New Orleans, which was driven night and day, without intermission.
My curiosity led me to look at the interior of the establishment.
There I saw several slaves engaged in rolling cotton bags, fastening
ropes lading carts, &c.
"The presiding genius of the place was a driver, who held a rope four
feet long in his hand, which he wielded with cruel dexterity. He used
it in single blows, just as the men were lifting to _tighten_ the bale
cords. It seemed to me that he was desirous to edify me with a
specimen of his authority; at any rate the cruelty was horrible."
Mr. JOHN VANCE, a member of the Baptist Church, in St. Albans, Licking
county, Ohio, who moved from Culpepper county, Va., his native state
in 1814, testifies as follows:--
"In 1826, I saw a woman by the name of Mallix, flog her female slave
with a horse-whip so horribly that she was washed in salt and water
several days, to keep her bruises from mortifying.
"In 1811, I was returning from mill, in Shenandoah county, when I
heard the cry of murder, in the field of a man named Painter. I rode
to the place to see what was going on. Two men, by the names of John
Morgan and Michael Siglar, had heard the cry and came running to the
place. I saw Painter beating a negro with a tremendous club, or small
handspike, swearing he would kill him: but he was rescued by Morgan
and Siglar. I learned that Painter had commenced flogging the slave
for not getting to work soon enough. He had escaped, and taken refuge
under a pile of rails that were on some timbers up a little from the
ground. The master had put fire to one end, and stood at the other
with his club, to kill him as he came out. The pile was still burning.
Painter said he was a turbulent fellow and he _would_ kill him. The
apprehension of P. was TALKED ABOUT, but, as a compromise, the negro
was sold to another man."
EXTRACT FROM THE PUBLISHED JOURNAL OF THE LATE WM. SAVER, of
Philadelphia, an eminent minister of the Religious Society of
"6th mo. 22d, 1791. We passed on to Augusta, Georgia. They can
scarcely tolerate us, on account of our abhorrence of slavery. On the
28th we got to Savannah, and lodged at one Blount's, a hard-hearted
slaveholder. One of his lads, aged about fourteen, was ordered to go
and milk the cow: and falling asleep, through weariness, the master
called out and ordered him a flogging. I asked him what he meant by a
flogging. He replied, the way we serve them here is, we cut their
backs until they are raw all over, and then salt them. Upon this my
feelings were roused; I told him that was too bad, and queried *if it
were possible; he replied it was, with many curses upon the blacks. At
supper this unfeeling wretch _craved a blessing_!
"Next morning I heard some one begging for mercy, and also the lash as
of a whip. Not knowing whence the sound came, I rose, and presently
found the poor boy tied up to a post, his toes scarcely touching the
ground, and a negro whipper. He had already cut him in an unmerciful
manner, and the blood ran to his heels. I stepped in between them, and
ordered him untied immediately, which, with some reluctance and
astonishment, was done. Returning to the house I saw the landlord, who
then showed himself in his true colors, the most abominably wicked man
I ever met with, full of horrid execrations and threatenings upon all
northern people; but I did not spare him; which occasioned a bystander
to say, with an oath, that I should be "popped over." We left them,
and were in full expectation of their way-laying or coming after us,
but the Lord restrained them. The next house we stopped at we found
the same wicked spirit."
Col. ELIJAH ELLSWORTH, of Richfield, Ohio, gives the following
"Eight or ten years ago I was in Putnam county, in the state of
Georgia, at a Mr. Slaughter's, the father of my brother's wife. A
negro, that belonged to Mr. Walker, (I believe,) was accused of
stealing a pedlar's trunk. The negro denied, but, without ceremony,
was lashed to a tree--the whipping commenced--six or eight men took
turns--the poor fellow begged for mercy, but without effect, until he
was literally _cut to pieces, from his shoulders to his hips_, and
covered with a gore of blood. When he said the trunk was in a stack of
fodder, he was unlashed. They proceeded to the stack, but found no
trunk. They asked the poor fellow, what he lied about it for; he said,
"Lord, Massa, to keep from being whipped to death; I know nothing
about the trunk." They commenced the whipping with redoubled vigor,
until I really supposed he would be whipped to death on the spot; and
such shrieks and crying for mercy! Again he acknowledged, and again
they were defeated in finding, and the same reason given as before.
Some were for whipping again, others thought he would not survive
another, and they ceased. About two months after, the trunk was found,
and it was then ascertained who the thief was: and the poor fellow,
after being nearly beat to death, and twice made to lie about it, was
as innocent as I was."
The following statements are furnished by Major HORACE NYE, of Putnam,
Muskingum county, Ohio.
"In the summer of 1837, Mr. JOHN H. MOOREHEAD, a partner of mine,
descended the Mississippi with several boat loads of flour. He told me
that floating in a place in the Mississippi, where he could see for
miles a head, he perceived a concourse of people on the bank, that for
at least a mile and a half above he saw them, and heard the screams of
some person, and from a great distance, the crack of a whip, he run
near the shore, and saw them whipping a black man, who was on the
ground, and at that time nearly unable to scream, but the whip
continued to be applied without intermission, as long as he was in
sight, say from one mile and a half, to two miles below--he probably
saw and heard them for one hour in all. He expressed the opinion that
the man could not survive.
"About four weeks since I had a conversation with Mr. Porter, a
respectable citizen of Morgan county of this state, of about fifty
years of age. He told me that he formerly traveled about five years in
the southern states, and that on one occasion he stopped at a private
house, to stay all night; (I think it was in Virginia,) while he was
conversing with the man, his wife came in, and complained that the
wench had broken some article in the kitchen, and that she must be
whipped. He took the _woman_ into the door yard, stripped her clothes
down to her hips--tied her hands together, and drawing them up to a
limb, so that she could just touch the ground, took a very large
cowskin whip, and commenced flogging; he said that every stroke at
first raised the skin, and immediately the blood came through; this he
continued, until the blood stood in a puddle down at her feet. He then
turned to my informant and said, 'Well, Yankee, what do you think of
EXTRACT OF A LETTER FROM MR. W. DUSTIN, a member of the Methodist
Episcopal Church, and, when the letter was written, 1835, a student of
Marietta College, Ohio.
"I find by looking over my journal that the murdering, which I spoke
of yesterday, took place about the first of June, 1834.
"Without commenting upon this act of cruelty, or giving vent to my own
feelings, I will simply give you a statement of the fact, as known
from _personal_ observation.
"Dr. K. a man of wealth, and a practising physician in the county of
Yazoo, state of Mississippi, personally known to me, having lived in
the same neighborhood more than twelve months, after having scourged
one of his negroes for running away, declared with an oath, that if he
ran away again, he would kill him. The negro, so soon as an
opportunity offered, ran away again. He was caught and brought back.
Again he was scourged, until his flesh, mangled and torn, and thick
mingled with the clotted blood, rolled from his back. He became
apparently insensible, and beneath the heaviest stroke would scarcely
utter a groan. The master got tired, laid down his whip and nailed the
negro's ear to a tree; in this condition, nailed fast to the rugged
wood, he remained all night!
"Suffice it to say, in the conclusion, that the next day he was found
"Well, what did they do with the master? The sum total of it is this:
he was taken before a magistrate and gave bonds, for his appearance at
the next court. Well, to be sure he had plenty of cash, so he paid up
his bonds and moved away, and there the matter ended.
"If the above fact will be of any service to you in exhibiting to the
world the condition of the unfortunate negroes, you are at liberty to
make use of it in any way you think best.
Yours, fraternally, M. DUSTIN."
Mr. ALFRED WILKINSON, a member of the Baptist Church in Skeneateles,
N.Y. and the assessor of that town, has furnished the following:
"I went down the Mississippi in December, 1838 and saw twelve of
fourteen negroes punished on one plantation, by stretching them on a
ladder and tying them to it; then stripping off their clothes, and
whipping them on the naked flesh with a heavy whip, the lash seven or
eight feet long: most of the strokes cut the skin. I understood they
were whipped for not doing the tasks allotted to them."
FROM THE PHILANTHROPIST, Cincinnati, Ohio, Feb. 26, 1839.
"A very intelligent lady the widow of a highly respectable preacher of
the gospel of the Presbyterian Church, formerly a resident of a free
state, and a colonizationist, and a strong antiabolitionist, who,
although an enemy to slavery, was opposed to abolition on the ground
that it was for carrying things too rapidly, and without regard to
circumstances, and especially who believed that abolitionists
exaggerated with regard to the evils of slavery, and used to say that
such men ought to go to slave states and see for themselves, to be
convinced that they did the slaveholders injustice, has gone and seen
for herself. Hear her testimony."
_Kentucky, Dec._ 25, 1835.
"Dear Mrs. W.--I am still in the land of oppression and cruelty, but
hope soon to breathe the air of a free state. My soul is sick of
slavery, and I rejoice that my time is nearly expired: but the scenes
that I have witnessed have made an impression that never can be
effaced, and have inspired me with the determination to unite my
feeble efforts with those who are laboring to suppress this horrid
system. I am _now_ an _abolitionist_. You will cease to be surprised
at this, when I inform you, that I have just seen a poor slave who was
beaten by his inhuman master until he could neither walk nor stand. I
saw him from my window carried from the barn where he had been
whipped to the cabin, by two negro men; and he now lies there, and if
he recovers, will be a sufferer for months, and probably for life. You
will doubtless suppose that he committed some great crime; but it was
not so. He was called upon by a young man (the son of his master,) to
do something, and not moving as quickly as his young master wished him
to do, he drove him to the barn, knocked him down, and jumped upon
him, stamped, and then cowhided him until he was almost dead. This is
not the first act of cruelty that I have seen, though it is the
_worst_; and I am convinced that those who have described the
cruelties of slaveholders, have not exaggerated."
EXTRACT OF A LETTER FROM GERRIT SMITH, Esq., of Peterboro'. N.Y.
Peterboro', December 1, 1838.
_To the Editor of the Union Herald_: "My dear Sir:--You will be happy
to hear, that the two fugitive slaves, to whom in the brotherly love
of your heart, you gave the use of your horse, are still making
undisturbed progress towards the _monarchical_ land whither
_republican_ slaves escape for the enjoyment of liberty. They had
eaten their breakfast, and were seated in my wagon, before day-dawn,
"Fugitive slaves have before taken my house in their way, but never
any, whose lips and persons made so forcible an appeal to my
sensibilities, and kindled in me so much abhorrence of the
hell-concocted system of American slavery.
"The fugitives exhibited their bare backs to myself and a number of my
neighbors. Williams' back is comparatively scarred. But, I speak
within bounds, when I say, that one-third to one-half of the whole
surface of the back and shoulders of poor Scott, _consists of scars
and wales resulting from innumerable gashes._ His natural complexion
being yellow and the callous places being nearly black, his back and
shoulders remind you of a spotted animal."
The LOUISVILLE REPORTER (Kentucky,) Jan. 15, 1839, contains the report
of a trial for inhuman treatment of a female slave. The following is
some of the testimony given in court.
"Dr. CONSTANT testified that he saw Mrs. Maxwell at the kitchen door,
whipping the negro severely, without being particular whether she
struck her in the face or not. The negro was lacerated by the whip,
and the blood flowing. Soon after, on going down the steps, he saw
quantities of blood on them, and on returning, saw them again. She had
been thinly clad--barefooted in very cold weather. Sometimes she had
shoes--sometimes not. In the beginning of the winter she had linsey
dresses, since then, calico ones. During the last four months, had
noticed many scars on her person. At one time had one of her eyes tied
up for a week. During the last three months seemed declining, and had
become stupified. Mr. Winters was passing along the street, heard
cries, looked up through the window that was hoisted, saw the boy
whipping her, as much as forty or fifty licks, while he staid. The
girl was stripped down to the hips. The whip seemed to be a cow-hide.
Whenever she turned her face to him, he would hit her across the face
either with the butt end or small end of the whip to make her turn her
back round square to the lash, that he might get a fair blow at her.
"Mr. Say had noticed several wounds on her person, chiefly bruises.
"Captain Porter, keeper of the work-house, into which Milly had been
received, thought the injuries on her person very bad--some of them
appeared to be burns--some bruises or stripes, as of a cow-hide."
LETTER OF REV. JOHN RANKIN, of Ripley, Ohio, to the Editor of the
RIPLEY, Feb. 20, 1839.
"Some time since, a member of the Presbyterian Church of Ebenezer,
Brown county, Ohio, landed his boat at a point on the Mississippi. He
saw some disturbance among the colored people on the bank. He stepped
up, to see what was the matter. A black man was stretched naked on
the ground; his hands were tied to a stake, and one held each foot. He
was doomed to receive fifty lashes; but by the time the overseer had
given him twenty-five with his great whip, the blood was standing
round the wretched victim in little puddles. It appeared just as if it
had rained blood.--Another observer stepped up, and advised to defer
the other twenty-five to another time, lest the slave might die; and
he was released, to receive the balance when he should have so
recruited as to be able to bear it and live. The offence was, coming
one hour too late to work."
Mr. RANKIN, who is a native of Tennessee, in his letters on slavery,
published fifteen years since, says:
"A respectable gentleman, who is now a citizen of Flemingsburg,
Fleming county, Kentucky, when in the state of South Carolina, was
invited by a slaveholder, to walk with him and take a view of his
farm. He complied with the invitation thus given, and in their walk
they came to the place where the slaves were at work, and found the
overseer whipping one of them very severely for not keeping pace with
his fellows--in vain the poor fellow alleged that he was sick, and
could not work. The master seemed to think all was well enough, hence
he and the gentleman passed on. In the space of an hour they returned
by the same way, and found that the poor slave, who had been whipped
as they first passed by the field of labor, was actually dead! This I
have from unquestionable authority."
Extract of a letter from a MEMBER OF CONGRESS, to the Editor of the
New York American, dated Washington, Feb. 18, 1839. The name of the
writer is with the Executive Committee of the American Anti-Slavery
"Three days ago, the inhabitants in the vicinity of the new Patent
Building were alarmed by an outcry in the street, which proved to be
that of a slave who had just been knocked down with a brick-bat by his
pursuing master. Prostrate on the ground, with a large gash in his
head, the poor slave was receiving the blows of his master on one
side, and the kicks of his master's son on the other. His cries
brought a few individuals to the spot; but no one dared to interfere,
save to exclaim--You will kill him--which was met by the response, "He
is mine, and I have a right to do what I please with him." The
heart-rending scene was closed from _public_ view by dragging the poor
bruised and wounded slave from the public street into his master's
stable. What followed is not known. The outcries were heard by members
of Congress and others at the distance of near a quarter of a mile
from the scene.
"And now, perhaps, you will ask, is not the city aroused by this
flagrant cruelty and breach of the peace? I answer--not at all. Every
thing is quiet. If the occurrence is mentioned at all, it is spoken of
_From the Mobile Examiner, August_ 1, 1837.
"POLICE REPORT--MAYOR'S OFFICE.
_Saturday morning, August_ 12, 1837.
"His Honor the Mayor presiding.
"Mr. MILLER, of the foundry, brought to the office this morning a
small negro girl aged about eight or ten years, whom he had taken into
his house some time during the previous night. She had crawled under
the window of his bed room to screen herself from the night air, and
to find a warmer shelter than the open canopy of heaven afforded. Of
all objects of pity that have lately come to our view, this poor
little girl most needs the protection of authority, and the sympathies
of the charitable. From the cruelty of her master and mistress, she
has been whipped, worked and starved, until she is now a breathing
skeleton, hardly able to stand upon her feet.
"The back of the poor little sufferer, (which we ourselves saw,) _was
actually cut into strings, and so perfectly was the flesh worn from
her limbs,_ by the wretched treatment she had received, that _every
joint showed distinctly its crevices_ and protuberances through the
skin. Her little lips clung closely over her teeth--her cheeks were
sunken and her head narrowed, and when her eyes were closed, the lids
resembled film more than flesh or skin.
"We would desire of our northern friends such as choose to publish to
the world their own version of the case we have related, not to forget
to add, in conclusion, that the owner of this little girl is a
foreigner, speaks against slavery as an institution, and reads his
Bible to his wife, with the view of finding proofs for his opinions."
Rev. WILLIAM SCALES, of Lyndon, Vermont, gives the following testimony
in a recent letter:
"I had a class-mate at the Andover Theological Seminary, who spent a
season at the south,--in Georgia, I think--who related the following
fact in an address before the Seminary. It occasioned very deep
sensation on the part of opponents. The gentleman was Mr. Julius C.
Anthony, of Taunton, Mass. He graduated at the Seminary in 1835. I do
not know where he is now settled. I have no doubt of the fact, as be
was an _eye-witness_ of it. The man with whom he resided had a very
athletic slave--a valuable fellow--a blacksmith. On a certain day a
small strap of leather was missing. The man's little son accused this
slave of stealing it. He denied the charge, while the boy most
confidently asserted it. The slave was brought out into the yard and
bound--his hands below his knees, and a stick crossing his knees, so
that he would lie upon either side in form of the letter S. One of the
overseers laid on fifty lashes--he still denied the theft--was turned
over and fifty more put on. Sometimes the master and sometimes the
overseers whipping--as they relieved each other to take breath. Then
he was for a time left to himself, and in the course of the day
received FOUR HUNDRED LASHES--still denying the charge, Next morning
Mr. Anthony walked out--the sun was just rising--he saw the man
greatly enfeabled, leaning against a stump. It was time to go to
work--he attempted to rise, but fell back--again attempted, and again
fell back--still making the attempt, and still falling back, Mr.
Anthony thought, nearly _twenty times_ before he succeeded in
standing--he then staggered off to his shop. In course of the morning
Mr. A. went to the door and looked in. Two overseers were standing by.
The slave was feverish and sick--his skin and mouth dry and parched.
He was very thirsty. One of the overseers, while Mr. A, was looking at
him, inquired of the other whether it were not best to give him a
little water. 'No. damn him, he will do well enough,' was the reply
from the other overseer. This was all the relief gained by the poor
slave. A few days after, the slaveholder's _son confessed that he
stole the strap himself._"
Rev. D.C. EASTMAN, a minister of the Methodist Episcopal church at
Bloomingburg, Fayette county, Ohio, has just forwarded a letter, from
which the following is an extract:
"GEORGE ROEBUCK, an old and respectable farmer, near Bloomingburg,
Fayette county, Ohio, a member of the Methodist Episcopal church,
says, that almost forty-three years ago, he saw in Bath county,
Virginia, a slave girl with a sore between the shoulders of the size
and shape of a _smoothing iron._ The girl was 'owned' by one M'Neil. A
slaveholder who boarded at M'Neil's stated that Mrs. M'Neil had placed
the aforesaid iron when hot, between the girl's shoulders, and
produced the sore.
"Roebuck was once at this M'Neil's father's, and whilst the old man
was at morning prayer, he heard the son plying the whip upon a slave
out of doors.
"ELI WEST, of Concord township, Fayette county, Ohio, formerly of
North Carolina, a farmer and an exhorter in the Methodist Protestant
church, says, that many years since he went to live with an uncle who
owned about fifty negroes. Soon after his arrival, his uncle ordered
his waiting boy, who was _naked_, to be tied--his hands to horse rack,
and his feet together, with a rail passed between his legs, and held
down by a person at each end. In this position he was whipped, from
neck to feet, till covered with blood; after which he was _salted._
"His uncle's slaves received one quart of corn each day, and that
only, and were allowed one hour each day to cook and eat it. They had
no meat but once in the year. Such was the general usage in that
"West, after this, lived one year with Esquire Starky and mother. They
had two hundred slaves, who received the usual treatment of
starvation, nakedness, and the cowhide. They had one lively negro
woman who bore no children. For this neglect, her mistress had her
back made naked and a severe whipping inflicted. But as she continued
barren, she was sold to the 'negro buyers.'"
"THOMAS LARRIMER, a deacon in the Presbyterian church at Bloomingburg,
Fayette county, Ohio, and a respectable farmer, says, that in April,
1837, as he was going down the Mississippi river, about fifty miles
below Natchez, he saw ahead, on the left side of the river, a colored
person tied to a post, and a man with a driver's whip, the lash about
eight or ten feet long. With this the man commenced, with much
deliberation, to whip, with much apparent force, and continued till he
got out of sight.
"When coming up the river forty or fifty miles below Vicksburg, a
Judge Owens came on board the steamboat. He was owner of a cotton
plantation below there, and on being told of the above whipping, he
said that slaves were often whipped to death for great offences, such
as _stealing,_ &c.--but that when death followed, the overseers were
generally severely _reproved!_
"About the same time, he spent a night at Mr. Casey's, three miles
from Columbia, South Carolina. Whilst there they heard him giving
orders as to what was to be done, and amongst other things, "That
nigger must be buried." On inquiry, he learnt that a gentleman
traveling with a servant, had a short time previous called there, and
said his servant had just been taken ill, and he should be under the
necessity of leaving him. He did so. The slave became worst, and
Casey called in a physician, who pronounced it an old case, and said
that he must shortly die. The slave said, if that was the case he
would now tell the truth. He had been attacked, a long time since,
with a difficulty in the side--his master swore he would 'have his own
out of him' and started off to sell him, with a threat to kill him if
he told he had been sick, more than a few days. They saw them making
a rough plank box to bury him in.
"In March, 1833, twenty-five or thirty miles south of Columbia, on the
great road through Sumpterville district, they saw a large company of
female slaves carrying rails and building fence. Three of them were
far advanced in pregnancy.
"In the month of January, 1838, he put up with a drove of mules and
horses, at one Adams', on the Drovers' road, near the south border of
Kentucky. His son-in-law, who had lived in the south, was there. In
conversation about picking cotton, he said, 'some hands cannot get the
sleight of it. I have a girl who to-day has done as good a day's work
at grubbing as any _man_, but I could not make her a hand at
cotton-picking. I whipped her, and if I did it once I did it five
hundred times, but I found she _could_ not; so I put her to carrying
rails with the men. After a few days I found her shoulders were so
_raw_ that every rail was _bloody_ as she laid it down. I asked her if
she would not rather pick cotton than carry rails. 'No,' said she, 'I
don't get whipped now.'"
WILLIAM A. USTICK, an elder of the Presbyterian church at
Bloomingburg, and Mr. G.S. Fullerton, a merchant and member of the
same church, were with Deacon Larrimer on this journey, and are
witnesses to the preceding facts.
Mr. SAMUEL HALL, a teacher in Marietta College, Ohio, and formerly
secretary of the Colonization society in that village, has recently
communicated the facts that follow. We quote from his letter.
"The following horrid flagellation was witnessed in part, till his
soul was sick, by MR. GLIDDEN, an inhabitant of Marietta, Ohio, who
went down the Mississippi river, with a boat load of produce in the
autumn of 1837; it took place at what is called 'Matthews' or
'Matheses Bend' in December, 1837. Mr. G. is worthy of credit.
"A negro was tied up, and flogged until the blood ran down and filled
his shoes, so that when he raised either foot and set it down again,
the blood would run over their tops. I could not look on any longer,
but turned away in horror; the whipping was continued to the number of
500 lashes, as I understood; a quart of spirits of turpentine was then
applied to his lacerated body. The same negro came down to my boat, to
get some apples, and was so weak from his wounds and loss of blood,
that he could not get up the bank, but fell to the ground. The crime
for which the negro was whipped, was that of telling the other
negroes, that _the overseer had lain with his wife."_
Mr. Hall adds:--
"The following statement is made by a young man from Western Virginia.
He is a member of the Presbyterian Church, and a student in Marietta
College. All that prevents the introduction of his _name,_ is the
peril to his life, which would probably be the consequence, on his
return to Virginia. His character for integrity and veracity is above
"On the night of the great meteoric shower, in Nov. 1833. I was at
Remley's tavern, 12 miles west of Lewisburg, Greenbrier Co., Virginia.
A drove of 50 or 60 negroes stopped at the same place that night.
They usually 'camp out,' but as it was excessively muddy, they were
permitted to come into the house. So far as my knowledge extends,
'droves,' on their way to the south, eat but twice a day, early in the
morning and at night. Their supper was a compound of 'potatoes and
meal,' and was, without exception, the _dirtiest, blackest looking
mess I ever saw._ I remarked at the time that the food was not as
clean, in appearance, as that which was given to a _drove of hogs_, at
the same place the night previous. Such as it was, however, a black
woman brought it on her head, in a tray or trough two and a half feet
long, where the men and women were promiscuously herded. The slaves
rushed up and seized it from the trough in handfulls, before the woman
could take it off her head. They jumped at it as if half-famished.
"They slept on the floor of the room which they were permitted to
occupy, lying in every form imaginable, males and females,
promiscuously. They were so thick on the floor, that in passing
through the room it was necessary to step over them.
"There were three drivers, one of whom staid in the room to watch the
drove, and the other two slept in an adjoining room. Each of the
latter took a female from the drove to lodge with him, as is the
common practice of the drivers generally. There is no doubt about this
particular instance, _for they were seen together_. The mud was so
thick on the floor where this drove slept, that it was necessary to
take a shovel, the next morning, and clear it out. Six or eight in
this drove were chained; all were for the south.
In the autumn of the same year I saw a drove of upwards of a hundred,
between 40 and 50 of them were fastened to one chain, the links being
made of iron rods, as thick in diameter as a man's little finger. This
drove was bound westward to the Ohio river, to be shipped to the
south. I have seen many droves, and more or less in each, almost
without exception, were chained. I never saw but one drove, that went
on their way making merry. In that one they were blowing horns,
singing, &c., and appeared as if they had been drinking whisky.
"They generally appear extremely dejected. I have seen in the course
of five years, on the road near where I reside, 12 or 15 droves at
least, passing to the south. They would average 40 in each drove. Near
the first of January, 1834, I started about sunrise to go to
Lewisburg. It was a bitter cold morning. I met a drove of negroes, 30
or 40 in number, remarkably ragged and destitute of clothing. One
little boy particularly excited my sympathy. He was some distance
behind the others, not being able to keep up with the rest. Although
he was shivering with cold and crying, the driver was pushing him up
in a trot to overtake the main gang. All of them looked as if they
were half-frozen. There was one remarkable instance of tyranny,
exhibited by a boy, not more than eight years old, that came under my
observation, in a family by the name of D----n, six miles from
Lewisburg. This youngster would swear at the slaves, and exert all the
strength he possessed, to flog or beat them, with whatever instrument
or weapon he could lay hands on, provided they did not obey him
_instanter_. He was encouraged in this by his father, the master of
the slaves. The slaves often fled from this young tyrant in terror."
Mr. Hall adds:--
"The following extract is from a letter, to a student in Marietta
College, by his friend in Alabama. With the writer, Mr. Isaac Knapp, I
am perfectly acquainted. He was a student in the above College, for
the space of one year, before going to Alabama, was formerly a
resident of Dummerston, Vt. He is a professor of religion, and as
worthy of belief as any member of the community. Mr. K. has returned
from the South, and is now a member of the same college.
"In Jan. (1838) a negro of a widow Phillips, ranaway, was taken up,
and confined in Pulaski jail. One Gibbs, overseer for Mrs. P., mounted
on horseback, took him from confinement, compelled him to run back to
Elkton, a distance of fifteen miles, whipping him all the way. When he
reached home, the negro exhausted and worn out, exclaimed, 'you have
broke my heart,' i.e. you have killed me. For this, Gibbs flew into a
violent passion, tied the negro to a stake, and, in the language of a
witness, '_cut his back to mince-meat_.' But the fiend was not
satisfied with this. He burnt his legs to a blister, with hot embers,
and then chained him _naked_, in the open air, weary with running,
weak from the loss of blood, and smarting from his burns. It was a
cold night--and _in the morning the negro was dead_. Yet this monster
escaped without even _the shadow_ of a trial. 'The negro,' said the
doctor, 'died, by--he knew not what; any how, Gibbs did not kill
him.' A short time since, (the letter is dated, April, 1838.)
'Gibbs whipped another negro unmercifully because the horse, with
which he was ploughing, broke the reins and ran. He then raised his
whip against Mr. Bowers, (son of Mrs. P.) who shot him. Since I came
here,' (a period of about six months,) there have been eight white men
and two negroes killed, within 30 miles of me."
[Footnote 9: Mr. Knapp, gives me some further verbal particulars about
this affair. He says that his informant saw the negro dead the next
morning, that his legs were blistered, and that the negroes affirmed
that Gibbs compelled them to throw embers upon him. But Gibbs denied
it, and said the blistering was the effect of frost, as the negro was
much exposed to before being taken up. Mr. Bowers, a son of Mrs.
Phillips by a former husband, attempted to have Gibbs brought to
justice, but his mother justified Gibbs, and nothing was therefore
done about it. The affair took place in Upper Elkton, Tennessee, near
the Alabama line.]
The following is from Mr. Knapp's own lips, taken down a day or two
"Mr. Buster, with whom I boarded, in Limestone Co., Ala., related to me
the following incident: 'George a slave belonging to one of the
estates in my neighborhood, was lurking about my residence without a
pass. We were making preparations to give him a flogging, but he
escaped from us. Not long afterwards, meeting a patrol which had just
taken a negro in custody without a pass, I inquired, Who have you
there? on learning that it was _George_, well, I rejoined, there is a
small matter between him and myself that needs adjustment, so give me
the raw hide, which I accordingly took, and laid 60 strokes on his
back, to the utmost of my strength.' I was speaking of this barbarity,
afterwards, to Mr. Bradley, an overseer of the Rev. Mr. Donnell, who
lives in the vicinity of Moresville, Ala., 'Oh,' replied he, 'we
consider _that_ a very light whipping here' Mr. Bradley is a professor
of religion, and is esteemed in that vicinity a very pious, exemplary
EXTRACT OF A LETTER FROM REV. C. STEWART RENSHAW, of Quincy, Illinois,
dated Jan. 1, 1839.
"I do not feel at liberty to disclose the name of the brother who has
furnished the following facts. He is highly esteemed as a man of
scrupulous veracity. I will confirm my own testimony by the
certificate of Judge Snow and Mr. Keyes, two of the oldest and most
respectable settlers in Quincy.
Quincy, Dec. 29, 1838"
"Dear Sir,--We have been long acquainted with the Christian brother
who has named to you some facts that fell under his observation while
a resident of slave states. He is a member of a Christian church, in
good standing; and is a man of strict integrity of character.
Henry H. Snow, Willard Keyes.
Rev. C. Stewart Renshaw."
"My informant spent thirty years of his life in Kentucky and Missouri.
Whilst in Kentucky he resided in Hardin co. I noted down his testimony
very nearly in his own words, which will account for their
_evidence-like_ form. On the general condition of the slaves in
Kentucky, through Hardin co., he said, their houses were very
uncomfortable, generally without floors, other than the earth: many
had puncheon floors, but he never remembers to have seen a plank
floor. In regard to clothing they were very badly off. In summer
they cared little for clothing; but in winter they almost froze. Their
rags might hide their nakedness from the sun in summer, but would not
protect them from the cold in winter. Their bed-clothes were tattered
rags, thrown into a corner by day, and drawn before the fire by night.
'The only thing,' said he, 'to which I can compare them, in winter, is
_stock without a shelter.'_
"He made the following comparison between the condition of slaves in
Kentucky and Missouri. So far as he was able to compare them, he said,
that in Missouri the slaves had better _quarters_-but are not so well
clad, and are more severely punished than in Kentucky. In both states,
the slaves are huddled together, without distinction of sex, into the
same quarter, till it is filled, then another is built; often two or
three families in a log hovel, twelve feet square.
"It is proper to state, that the sphere of my informant's observation
was mainly in the region of Hardin co., Kentucky, and the eastern part
of Missouri, and not through those states generally.
"Whilst at St. Louis, a number of years ago, as he was going to work
with Mr. Henry Males, and another carpenter, they heard groans from a
barn by the road-side: they stopped, and looking through the cracks of
the barn, saw a negro bound hand and foot to a post, so that his toes
just touched the ground; and his master, Captain Thorpe, was
inflicting punishment; he had whipped him till exhausted,--rested
himself, and returned again to the punishment. The wretched sufferer
was in a most pitiable condition, and the warm blood and dry dust of
the barn had formed a mortar up to his instep. Mr. Males jumped the
fence, and remonstrated so effectually with Capt. Thorpe, that he
ceased the punishment. It was six weeks before that slave could put on
"John Mackey, a rich slaveholder, lived near Clarksville, Pike co.,
Missouri, some years since. He whipped his slave Billy, a boy fourteen
years old, till he was sick and stupid; he then sent him home. Then,
for his stupidity, whipped him again, and fractured his skull with an
axe-helve. He buried him away in the woods; dark words were whispered,
and the body was disinterred. A coroner's inquest was held, and Mr. R.
Anderson, the coroner, brought in a verdict of death from fractured
skull, occasioned by blows from an axe-handle, inflicted by John
Mackey. The case was brought into court, but Mackey was rich, and his
murdered victim was his SLAVE; after expending about $500 be walked
"One Mrs. Mann, living near ----, in ---- co., Missouri was known to
be very cruel to her slaves. She had a bench made purposely to whip
them upon; and what she called her "six pound paddle," an instrument
of prodigious torture, bored through with holes; this she would wield
with both hands as she stood over her prostrate victim.
"She thus punished a hired slave woman named Fanny, belonging to Mr.
Charles Trabue, who lives neat Palmyra, Marion co., Missouri; on the
morning after the punishment Fanny was a corpse; she was silently and
quickly buried, but rumor was not so easily stopped. Mr. Trabue heard
of it, and commenced suit for his _property_. The murdered slave was
disinterred, and an inquest held; her back was a mass of jellied
muscle; and the coroner brought in a verdict of death by the 'six
pound paddle.' Mrs. Mann fled for a few months, but returned again,
and her friends found means to protract the suit.
"This same Mrs. Mann had another hired slave woman living with her,
called Patterson's Fanny, she belonged to a Mr. Patterson; she had a
young babe with her, just beginning to creep. One day, after washing,
whilst a tub of rinsing water yet stood in the kitchen, Mrs. Mann came
out in haste, and sent Fanny to do something out of doors. Fanny tried
to beg off--she was afraid to leave her babe, lest it should creep to
the tub and get hurt--Mrs. M. said she would watch the babe, and sent
her off. She went with much reluctance, and heard the child struggle
as she went out the door. Fearing lest Mrs. M. should leave the babe
alone, she watched the room, and soon saw her pass out of the opposite
door. Immediately Fanny hurried in, and looked around for her babe,
she could not see it, she looked at the tub--there her babe was
floating, a strangled corpse. The poor woman gave a dreadful scream;
and Mrs. M. rushed into the room, with her hands raised, and
exclaimed, 'Heavens, Fanny! have you drowned your child?' It was vain
for the poor bereaved one to attempt to vindicate herself: in vain she
attempted to convince them that the babe had not been alone a moment,
and could not have drowned itself; and that she had not been in the
house a moment, before she screamed at discovering her drowned babe.
All was false! Mrs. Mann declared it was all pretence--that Fanny had
drowned her own babe, and now wanted to lay the blame upon her! and
Mrs. Mann was a white woman--of course her word was more valuable than
the oaths of all the slaves of Missouri. No evidence but that of
slaves could be obtained, or Mr. Patterson would have prosecuted for
his 'loss of property.' As it was, every one believed Mrs. M. guilty,
though the affair was soon hushed up."
Extract of a letter from Col. THOMAS ROGERS, a native of Kentucky, now
an elder in the Presbyterian Church at New Petersburg, Highland co.,
"When a boy, in Bourbon co., Kentucky, my father lived near a
slaveholder of the name of Clay, who had a large number of slaves; I
remember being often at their quarters; not one of their shanties, or
hovels, had any floor but the earth. Their clothing was truly neither
fit for covering nor decency. We could distinctly, of a still morning,
hear this man whipping his blacks, and hear their screams from my
father's farm; this could be heard almost any still morning about the
dawn of day. It was said to be his usual custom to repair, about the
break of day, to their cabin doors, and, as the blacks passed out, to
give them as many strokes of his cowskin as opportunity afforded; and
he would proceed in this manner from cabin to cabin until they were
all out. Occasionally some of his slaves would abscond, and upon being
retaken they were punished severely; and some of them, it is believed,
died in consequence of the cruelty of their usage. I saw one of this
man's slaves, about seventeen years old, wearing a collar, with long
iron horns extending from his shoulders far above his head.
"In the winter of 1828-29 I traveled through part of the states of
Maryland and Virginia to Baltimore. At Frost Town, on the national
road, I put up for the night. Soon after, there came in a slaver with
his drove of slaves; among them were two young men, chained together.
The bar room was assigned to them for their place of lodging--those in
chains were guarded when they had to go out. I asked the 'owner' why
he kept these men chained; he replied, that they were stout young
fellows, and should they rebel, he and his son would not be able to
manage them. I then left the room, and shortly after heard a
_scream_, and when the landlady inquired the cause, the slaver coolly
told her not to trouble herself, he was only chastising one of his
women. It appeared that three days previously her child had died on
the road, and been thrown into a hole or crevice in the mountain, and
a few stones thrown over it; and the mother weeping for her child was
chastised by her master, and told by him, she 'should have something
to cry for.' The name of this man I can give if called for.
"When engaged in this journey I spent about one month with my
relations in Virginia. It being shortly after new year, _the time of
hiring_ was over; but I saw the pounds, and the scaffolds which
remained of the pounds, in which the slaves had been penned up"
M. GEORGE W. WESTGATE, of Quincy, Illinois, who lived in the
southwestern slave states a number of years, has furnished the
"The great mass of the slaves are under drivers and overseers. I never
saw an overseer without a whip; the whip usually carried is a short
loaded stock, with a heavy lash from five to six feet long. When they
whip a slave they make him pull off his shirt, if he has one, then
make him lie down on his face, and taking their stand at the length of
the lash, they inflict the punishment. Whippings are so _universal_
that a negro that has not been whipped is talked of in all the region
as a wonder. By whipping I do not mean a few lashes across the
shoulders, but a set flogging, and generally _lying down._
"On sugar plantations generally, and on some cotton plantations, they
have negro drivers, who are in such a degree responsible for their
gang, that if they are at fault, the driver is whipped. The result is,
the gang are constantly driven by him to the extent of the influence
of the lash; and it is uniformly the case that gangs dread a negro
driver more than a white overseer.
"I spent a winter on widow Culvert's plantation, near Rodney,
Mississippi, but was not in a situation to see extraordinary
punishments. Bellows, the overseer, for a trifling offence, took one
of the slaves, stripped him, and with a piece of burning wood applied
to his posteriors, burned him cruelly; while the poor wretch screamed
in the greatest agony. The principal preparation for punishment that
Bellows had, was single handcuffs made of iron, with chains, by which
the offender could be chained to four stakes on the ground. These are
very common in all the lower country. I noticed one slave on widow
Calvert's plantation, who was whipped from twenty-five to fifty lashes
every fortnight during the whole winter. The expression 'whipped to
death,' as applied to slaves, is common at the south.
"Several years ago I was going below New Orleans, in what is called
the Plaquemine country, and a planter sent down in my boat a runaway
he had found in New Orleans, to his plantation at Orange 5 Points. As
we came near the Points he told me, with deep feeling, that he
expected to be whipped almost to death: pointing to a graveyard, he
said, 'There lie five who were whipped to death.' Overseers generally
keep some of the women on the plantation; I scarce know an exception
to this. Indeed, their intercourse with them is very much
promiscuous,--they show them not much, if any favor. Masters
frequently follow the example of their overseers in this thing.
"GEORGE W. WESTGATE."
II. TORTURES, BY IRON COLLARS, CHAINS, FETTERS, HANDCUFFS, &c.
The slaves are often tortured by iron collars, with long prongs or
"horns" and sometimes bells attached to them--they are made to wear
chains, handcuffs, fetters, iron clogs, bars, rings, and bands of iron
upon their limbs, iron masks upon their faces, iron gags in their
In proof of this, we give the testimony of slaveholders themselves,
under their own names; it will be mostly in the form of extracts from
their own advertisements, in southern newspapers, in which, describing
their runaway slaves, they specify the iron collars, handcuffs,
chains, fetters, &c., which they wore upon their necks, wrists,
ankles, and other parts of their bodies. To publish the _whole_ of
each advertisement, would needlessly occupy space and tax the reader;
we shall consequently, as heretofore, give merely the name of the
advertiser, the name and date of the newspaper containing the
advertisement, with the place of publication, and only so much of the
advertisement as will give the particular _fact_, proving the truth of
the assertion contained in the _general head_.
William Toler, sheriff of Simpson county, Mississippi, in the
"Southern Sun," Jackson, Mississippi, September 22, 1838.
"Was committed to jail, a yellow boy named Jim--had on a _large lock
chain around his neck."_
Mr. James R. Green, in the "Beacon," Greensborough, Alabama, August
"Ranaway, a negro man named Squire--had on a _chain locked with a
house-lock, around his neck."_
Mr. Hazlet Loflano, in the "Spectator," Staunton, Virginia, Sept. 27,
"Ranaway, a negro named David--with some _iron hobbles around each
Mr. T. Enggy, New Orleans, Gallatin street, between Hospital and
Barracks, N.O. "Bee," Oct. 27, 1837.
"Ranaway, negress Caroline--had on a _collar with one prong turned
Mr. John Henderson, Washington, county, Mi., in the "Grand Gulf
Advertiser," August 29, 1838.
"Ranaway, a black woman, Betsey--had an _iron bar on her right leg."_
William Dyer sheriff, Claiborne, Louisiana, in the "Herald,"
Natchitoches, (La.) July 26, 1837.
"Was committed to jail, a negro named Ambrose--has a _ring of iron
around his neck."_
Mr. Owen Cooke, "Mary street, between Common and Jackson streets," New
Orleans, in the N.O. "Bee," September 12, 1837.
"Ranaway, my slave Amos, had a _chain_ attached to one of his legs"
H.W. Rice, sheriff, Colleton district, South Carolina, in the
"Charleston Mercury," September 1, 1838.
"Committed to jail, a negro named Patrick, about forty-five years old,
and is _handcuffed._"
W.P. Reeves, jailor, Shelby county, Tennessee, in the "Memphis
Enquirer, June 17, 1837.
"Committed to jail, a negro--had on his right leg an _iron band_ with
one link of a chain."
Mr. Francis Durett, Lexington, Lauderdale county, Ala., in the
"Huntsville Democrat," August 29, 1837.
"Ranaway, a negro man named Charles--had on a _drawing chain,_
fastened around his ankle with a house lock."
Mr. A. Murat, Baton Rouge, in the New Orleans "Bee," June 20, 1837.
"Ranaway, the negro Manuel, _much marked with irons."_
Mr. Jordan Abbott, in the "Huntsville Democrat," Nov. 17, 1838.
"Ranaway, a negro boy named Daniel, about nineteen years old, and was
Mr. J. Macoin, No. 177 Ann street, New Orleans, in the "Bee," August
"Ranaway, the negress Fanny--had on an _iron band about her neck."_
Menard Brothers, parish of Bernard, Louisiana, In the N.O. "Bee,"
August 18, 1838.
"Ranaway, a negro named John--having an _iron around his right foot."_
Messrs. J.L. and W.H. Bolton, Shelby county, Tennessee, in the
"Memphis Enquirer," June 7, 1837.
"Absconded, a colored boy named Peter--had an _iron round his neck_
when he went away."
H. Gridly, sheriff of Adams county, Mi., in the "Memphis (Tenn.)
Times," September, 1834.
"Was committed to jail, a negro boy--had on a _large neck iron_ with a
_huge pair of horns and a large bar or band of iron_ on his left leg."
Mr. Lambre, in the "Natchitoches (La.) Herald," March 29, 1837.
"Ranaway, the negro boy Teams--he had on his neck an _iron collar."_
Mr. Ferdinand Lemos, New Orleans, in the "Bee," January 29, 1838.
"Ranaway, the negro George--he had on _his neck an iron collar,_ the
branches of which had been taken off"
Mr. T.J. De Yampert, merchant, Mobile, Alabama, of the firm of De
Yampert, King & Co., in the "Mobile Chronicle," June 15, 1838.
"Ranaway, a negro boy about _twelve_ years old--had round his neck _a
chain dog-collar_, with 'De Yampert' engraved on it."
J.H. Hand, jailor, St. Francisville, La., in the "Louisiana
Chronicle," July 26, 1837.
"Committed to jail, slave John--has several scars on his wrists,
occasioned, as he says, by _handcuffs."_
Mr. Charles Curener, New Orleans, in the "Bee," July 2, 1838.
"Ranaway, the negro, Hown--has a ring of iron on his left foot. Also,
Grise, his _wife,_ having a _ring and chain on the left leg."_
Mr. P.T. Manning, Huntsville, Alabama, in the "Huntsville Advocate,"
Oct. 23, 1838.
"Ranaway, a negro boy named James--said boy was _ironed_ when he left
Mr. William L. Lambeth, Lynchburg, Virginia, in the "Moulton [Ala.]
Whig," January 30, 1836.
"Ranaway, Jim--had on when he escaped a pair of _chain handcuffs."_
Mr. D.F. Guex, Secretary of the Steam Cotton Press Company, New
Orleans, in the "Commercial Bulletin," May 27, 1837.
"Ranaway, Edmund Coleman--it is supposed he must have _iron shackles
on his ankles_."
Mr. Francis Durett, Lexington, Alabama, in the "Huntsville Democrat,"
March 8, 1838.
"Ranaway ----, a mulatto--had on when he left, a _pair of handcuffs_
and a _pair of drawing chains_."
B.W. Hodges, jailor, Pike county, Alabama, in the "Montgomery
Advertiser," Sept. 29, 1837.
"Committed to jail, a man who calls his name John--he has a _clog of
iron on his right foot which will weigh four or five pounds_."
P. Bayhi captain of police, in the N.O. "Bee," June 9, 1838.
"Detained at the police jail, the negro wench Myra--has several marks
of _lashing_, and has _irons on her feet_."
Mr. Charles Kernin, parish of Jefferson, Louisiana, in the N.O. "Bee,"
August 11, 1837.
"Ranaway, Betsey--when she left she had on her _neck an iron collar_."
The foregoing advertisements are sufficient for our purpose, scores of
similar ones may be gathered from the newspapers of the slave states
To the preceding testimony of slaveholders, published by themselves,
and vouched for by their own signatures, we subjoin the following
testimony of other witnesses to the same point.
JOHN M. NELSON, Esq., a native of Virginia, now a highly respected
citizen of highland county, Ohio, and member of the Presbyterian
Church in Hillsborough, in a recent letter states the following:--
"In Staunton, Va., at the horse of Mr. Robert M'Dowell, a merchant of
that place, I once saw a colored woman, of intelligent and dignified
appearance, who appeared to be attending to the business of the house,
with an _iron collar_ around her neck, with horns or prongs extending
out on either side, and up, until they met at something like a foot
above her head, at which point there was a bell attached. This _yoke_,
as they called it, I understood was to prevent her from running away,
or to punish her for having done so. I had frequently seen _men_ with
iron collars, but this was the first instance that I recollect to have
seen a _female_ thus degraded."
Major HORACE NYE, an elder in the Presbyterian Church at Putnam,
Muskingum county, Ohio, in a letter, dated Dec. 5, 1838, makes the
"Mr. Wm. Armstrong, of this place, who is frequently employed by our
citizens as captain and supercargo of descending boats, whose word may
be relied on, has just made to me the following statement:--
"While laying at Alexandria, on Red River, Louisiana, he saw a slave
brought to a blacksmith's shop and a collar of iron fastened round his
neck, with two pieces rivetted to the sides, meeting some distance
above his head. At the top of the arch, thus formed, was attached a
large cow-bell, the motion of which, while walking the streets, made
it necessary for the slave to hold his hand to one of its sides, to
"In New Orleans he saw several with iron collars, with horns attached
to them. The first he saw had three prongs projecting from the collar
ten or twelve inches, with the letter S on the end of each. He says
iron collars are quite frequent there."
To the preceding Major Nye adds:--
"When I was about twelve years of age I lived at Marietta, in this
state: I knew little of slaves, as there were few or none, at that
time, in the part of Virginia opposite that place. But I remember
seeing a slave who had run away from some place beyond my knowledge at
that time: he had an iron collar round his neck, to which was a strap
of iron rivetted to the collar, on each side, passing over the top of
the head; and another strap, from the back side to the top of the
first--thus inclosing the head on three sides. I looked on while the
blacksmith severed the collar with a file, which, I think, took him
more than an hour."
Rev. JOHN DUDLEY, Mount Morris, Michigan, resided as a teacher at the
missionary station, among the Choctaws, in Mississippi, during the
years 1830 and 31. In a letter just received Mr. Dudley says:--
"During the time I was on missionary ground, which was in 1830 and 31,
I was frequently at the residence of the agent, who was a
slaveholder.--I never knew of his treating his own slaves with
cruelty; but the poor fellows who were escaping, and lodged with him
when detected, found no clemency. I once saw there a fetter for '_the
d----d runaways_,' the weight of which can be judged by its size. It
was at least three inches wide, half an inch thick, and something over
a foot long. At this time I saw a poor fellow compelled to work in the
field, at 'logging,' with such a galling fetter on his ankles. To
prevent it from wearing his ankles, a string was tied to the centre,
by which the victim suspended it when he walked, with one hand, and
with the other carried his burden. Whenever he lifted, the fetter
rested on his bare ankles. If he lost his balance and made a misstep,
which must very often occur in lifting and rolling logs, the torture
of his fetter was severe. Thus he was doomed to work while wearing the
torturing iron, day after day, and at night he was confined in the
runaways' jail. Some time after this, I saw the same dejected,
heart-broken creature obliged to wait on the other hands, who were
husking corn. The privilege of sitting with the others was too much
for him to enjoy; he was made to hobble from house to barn and barn to
house, to carry food and drink for the rest. He passed round the end
of the house where I was sitting with the agent: he seemed to take no
notice of me, but fixed his eyes on his tormentor till he passed quite
Mr. ALFRED WILKINSON, member of the Baptist Church in Skeneateles,
N.Y. and an assessor of that town, testifies as follows :--
"I stayed in New Orleans three weeks: during that time there used to
pass by where I stayed a number of slaves, each with an iron band
around his ankle, a chain attached to it, and an eighteen pound ball
at the end. They were employed in wheeling dirt with a wheelbarrow;
they would put the ball into the barrow when they moved.--I recollect
one day, that I counted nineteen of them, sometimes there were not as
many; they were driven by a slave, with a long lash, as if they were
beasts. These, I learned, were runaway slaves from the plantations
above New Orleans.
"There was also a negro woman, that used daily to come to the market
with milk; she had an iron band around her neck, with three rods
projecting from it, about sixteen inches long, crooked at the ends."
For the fact which follows we are indebted to Mr. SAMUEL HALL, a
teacher in Marietta College, Ohio. We quote his letter.
"Mr. Curtis, a journeyman cabinet-maker, of Marietta, relates the
following, of which he was an eye witness. Mr. Curtis is every way
worthy of credit.
"In September, 1837, at 'Milligan's Bend,' in the Mississippi river, I
saw a negro with an iron band around his head, locked behind with a
padlock. In the front, where it passed the mouth, there was a
projection inward of an inch and a half, which entered the mouth.
"The overseer told me, he was so addicted to running away, it did not
do any good to whip him for it. He said he kept this gag constantly on
him, and intended to do so as long as he was on the plantation: so
that, if he ran away, he could not eat, and would starve to death. The
slave asked for drink in my presence; and the overseer made him lie
down on his back, and turned water on his face two or three feet high,
in order to torment him, as he could not swallow a drop.--The slave
then asked permission to go to the river; which being granted, he
thrust his face and head entirely under the water, that being the only
way he could drink with his gag on. The gag was taken off when he took
his food, and then replaced afterwards."
EXTRACT OF A LETTER FROM MRS. SOPHIA LITTLE, of Newport, Rhode Island,
daughter of Hon. Asher Robbins, senator in Congress for that state.
"There was lately found, in the hold of a vessel engaged in the
southern trade, by a person who was clearing it out, an iron collar,
with three horns projecting from it. It seems that a young female
slave, on whose slender neck was riveted this fiendish instrument of
torture, ran away from her tyrant, and begged the captain to bring her
off with him. This the captain refused to do; but unriveted the collar
from her neck, and threw it away in the hold of the vessel. The collar
is now at the anti-slavery office, Providence. To the truth of these
facts Mr. William H. Reed, a gentleman of the highest moral character,
is ready to vouch.
"Mr. Reed is in possession of many facts of cruelty witnessed by
persons of veracity; but these witnesses are not willing to give their
names. One case in particular he mentioned. Speaking with a certain
captain, of the state of the slaves at the south, the captain
contended that their punishments were often very _lenient_; and, as an
instance of their excellent clemency, mentioned, that in one instance,
not wishing to whip a slave, they sent him to a blacksmith, and had an
iron band fastened around him, with three long projections reaching
above his head; and this he wore some time."
EXTRACT OF A LETTER FROM MR. JONATHON F. BALDWIN, of Lorain county,
Ohio. Mr. B. was formerly a merchant in Massillon, Ohio, and an elder
in the Presbyterian Church there.
"Dear Brother,--In conversation with Judge Lyman, of Litchfield
county, Connecticut, last June, he stated to me, that several years
since he was in Columbia, South Carolina, and observing a colored man
lying on the floor of a blacksmith's shop, as he was passing it, his
curiosity led him in. He learned the man was a slave and rather
unmanageable. Several men were attempting to detach from his ankle an
iron which had been bent around it.
"The iron was a piece of a flat bar of the ordinary size from the
forge hammer, and bent around the ankle, the ends meeting, and forming
a hoop of about the diameter of the leg. There was one or more strings
attached to the iron and extending up around his neck, evidently so to
suspend it as to prevent its galling by its weight when at work, yet
it had galled or griped till the leg had swollen out beyond the iron
and inflamed and suppurated, so that the leg for a considerable
distance above and below the iron, was a mass of putrefaction, the
most loathsome of any wound he had ever witnessed on any living
creature. The slave lay on his back on the floor, with his leg on an
anvil which sat also on the floor, one man had a chisel used for
splitting iron, and another struck it with a sledge, to drive it
between the ends of the hoop and separate it so that it might be taken
off. Mr. Lyman said that the man swung the sledge over his shoulders
as if splitting iron, and struck many blows before he succeeded in
parting the ends of the iron at all, the bar was so large and
stubborn--at length they spread it as far as they could without
driving the chisel so low as to ruin the leg. The slave, a man of
twenty-five years, perhaps, whose countenance was the index of a mind
ill adapted to the degradations of slavery, never uttered a word or a
groan in all the process, but the copious flow of sweat from every
pore, the dreadful contractions and distortions of every muscle in his
body, showed clearly the great amount of his sufferings; and all this
while, such was the diseased state of the limb, that at every blow,
the bloody, corrupted matter gushed out in all directions several
feet, in such profusion as literally to cover a large area around the
anvil. After various other fruitless attempts to spread the iron, they
concluded it was necessary to weaken by filing before it could be got
off which he left them attempting to do."
Mr. WILLIAM DROWN, a well known citizen of Rhode Island, formerly of
Providence, who has traveled in nearly all the slave states, thus
testifies in a recent letter:
"I recollect seeing large gangs of slaves, generally a considerable
number in each gang, being chained, passing westward over the
mountains from Maryland, Virginia, &c. to the Ohio. On that river I
have frequently seen flat boats loaded with them, and their keepers
armed with pistols and dirks to guard them.
"At New Orleans I recollect seeing gangs of slaves that were driven
out every day, the Sabbath not excepted, to work on the streets.
These had heavy chains to connect two or more together, and some had
iron collars and yokes, &c. The noise as they walked, or worked in
their chains, was truly dreadful!"
Rev. THOMAS SAVAGE, pastor of the Congregational Church at Bedford,
New Hampshire, who was for some years a resident of Mississippi and
Louisiana, gives the following fact, in a letter dated January 9,
"In 1819, while employed as an instructor at Second Creek, near
Natchez, Mississippi, I resided on a plantation where I witnessed the
following circumstance. One of the slaves was in the habit of running
away. He had been repeatedly taken, and repeatedly whipped, with
great severity, but to no purpose. He would still seize the first
opportunity to escape from the plantation. At last his owner
declared, I'll fix him, I'll put a stop to his running away. He
accordingly took him to a blacksmith, and had an _iron head-frame_
made for him, which may be called lock-jaw, from the use that was made
of it. It had a lock and key, and was so constructed, that when on the
head and locked, the slave could not open his mouth to take food, and
the design was to prevent his running away. But the device proved
unavailing. He was soon missing, and whether by his own desperate
effort, or the aid of others, contrived to sustain himself with food;
but he was at last taken, and if my memory serves me, his life was
soon terminated by the cruel treatment to which he was subjected."
The Western Luminary, a religious paper published at Lexington,
Kentucky, in an editorial article, in the summer of 1833, says:
"A few weeks since we gave an account of a company of men, women and
children, part of whom were manacled, passing through our streets.
Last week, a number of slaves were driven through the main street of
our city, among whom were a number manacled together, two abreast, all
connected by, and supporting a _heavy iron chain_, which extended the
whole length of the line."
TESTIMONY OF A VIRGINIAN.
The _name_ of this witness cannot be published, as it would put him in
peril; but his _credibility_ is vouched for by the Rev. Ezra Fisher,
pastor of the Baptist Church, Quincy, Illinois, and Dr. Richard Eels,
of the same place. These gentlemen say of him, "We have great
confidence in his integrity, discretion, and strict Christian
principle." He says--
"About five years ago, I remember to have passed, in _a single day_,
four droves of slaves for the south west; the largest drove had 350
slaves in it, and the smallest upwards of 200. I counted 68 or 70 in
a single _coffle_. The '_coffle chain_' is a chain fastened at one
end to the centre of the bar of a pair of hand cuffs, which are
fastened to the right wrist of one, and the left wrist of another
slave, they standing abreast, and the chain between them. These are
the head of the coffle. The other end is passed through a ring in the
bolt of the next handcuffs, and the slaves being manacled thus, two
and two together, walk up, and the coffle chain is passed, and they go
up towards the head of the coffle. Of course they are closer or wider
apart in the coffle, according to the number to be coffled, and to the
length of the chain. _I have seen HUNDREDS of droves and
chain-coffles of this description_, and every coffle was a scene of
misery and wo, of tears and brokenness of heart."
Mr. SAMUEL HALL a teacher in Marietta College, Ohio, gives, in a late
letter, the following statement of a fellow student, from Kentucky, of
whom he says, "he is a professor of religion, and worthy of entire
"I have seen at least _fifteen_ droves of 'human cattle,' passing by
us on their way to the south; and I do not recollect an exception,
where there were not more or less of them _chained_ together."
Mr. GEORGE P.C. HUSSEY, of Fayetteville, Franklin county,
Pennsylvania, writes thus:
"I was born and raised in Hagerstown, Washington county, Maryland,
where slavery is perhaps milder than in any other part of the slave
states; and yet I have seen _hundreds_ of colored men and women
chained together, two by two, and driven to the south. I have seen
slaves tied up and lashed till the blood ran down to their heels."
Mr. GIDDINGS, member of Congress from Ohio, in his speech in the House
of Representatives, Feb. 13, 1839, made the following statement: