Part 38 out of 52
Charleston, contains the following passage:--
"Some advantages of a _peculiar_ character are connected with this
Institution, which it may be proper to point out. No place in the
United States offers as great opportunities for the acquisition of
anatomical knowledge, SUBJECTS BEING OBTAINED FROM AMONG THE COLORED
POPULATION IN SUFFICIENT NUMBER FOR EVERY PURPOSE, AND PROPER
DISSECTIONS CARRIED ON WITHOUT OFFENDING ANY INDIVIDUALS IN THE
_Without offending any individuals in the community_! More than half
the population of Charleston, we believe, is 'colored;' _their_ graves
may be ravaged, their dead may be dug up, dragged into the dissecting
room, exposed to the gaze, heartless gibes, and experimenting knives,
of a crowd of inexperienced operators, who are given to understand in
the prospectus, that, if they do not acquire manual dexterity in
dissection, it will be wholly their own fault, in neglecting to
improve the unrivalled advantages afforded by the institution--since
each can have as many human bodies as he pleases to experiment
upon--and as to the fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, brothers, and
sisters, of those whom they cut to pieces from day to day, why, they
are not 'individuals in the community,' but 'property,' and however
_their_ feelings may be tortured, the 'public opinion' of slaveholders
is entirely too 'chivalrous' to degrade itself by caring for them!
The following which has been for some time a standing advertisement of
the South Carolina Medical College, in the Charleston papers, is
another index of the same 'public opinion' toward slaves. We give an
"_Surgery of the Medical College of South Carolina, Queen st_.--The
Faculty inform their professional brethren, and the public that they
have established a _Surgery_, at the Old College, Queen street, FOR
THE TREATMENT OF NEGROES, which will continue in operation, during the
session of the College, say from first November, to the fifteenth of
"The _object_ of the Faculty, in opening this Surgery, is to collect
as _many interesting cases_, as possible, for the _benefit_ and
_instruction_ of their pupils--at the same time, they indulge the
hope, that it may not only prove an _accommodation_, but also a matter
of economy to the public. They would respectfully call the attention
of planters, living in the vicinity of the city, to this subject;
particularly such as may have servants laboring under Surgical
diseases. Such _persons of color_ as may not be able to pay for
Medical advice, will be attended to gratis, at stated hours, as often
as may be necessary.
"The Faculty take this opportunity of soliciting the co-operation of
such of their professional brethren, as are favorable to their
"The first thing that strikes the reader of the advertisement is, that
this _Surgery_ is established exclusively 'for the treatment of
_negroes_; and, if he knows little of the hearts of slaveholders
towards their slaves, he charitably supposes, that they 'feel the dint
of pity,' for the poor sufferers and have founded this institution as
a special charity for their relief. But the delusion vanishes as he
reads on; the professors take special care that no such derogatory
inference shall be drawn from their advertisement. They give us the
three reasons which have induced them to open this 'Surgery for the
treatment of negroes.' The first and main one is, 'to collect as many
_interesting cases_ as possible for the benefit and instruction of
their _pupils_--another is, 'the hope that it may prove an
_accommodation_,'--and the third, that it may be 'a matter of economy
to the _public_' Another reason, doubtless, and controlling one,
though the professors are silent about it, is that a large collection
of 'interesting surgical cases,' always on hand, would prove a
powerful attraction to students, and greatly increase the popularity
of the institution. In brief, then, the motives of its founders, the
professors, were these, the accommodation of their _students_--the
accommodation of the _public_ (which means, _the whites_)--and the
accommodation of slaveholders who have on their hands disabled slaves,
that would make 'interesting cases,' for surgical operation in the
presence of the pupils--to these reasons we may add the accommodation
of the Medical Institution and the accommodation of _themselves_! Not
a syllable about the _accommodation_ of the hopeless sufferers,
writhing with the agony of those gun shot wounds, fractured sculls,
broken limbs and ulcerated backs which constitute the 'interesting
cases' for the professors to 'show off' before their pupils, and, as
practice makes perfect, for the students themselves to try their hands
at by way of experiment.
Why, we ask, was this surgery established 'for the treatment of
_negroes'_ alone? Why were these 'interesting cases' selected from
that class exclusively? No man who knows the feeling of slave holders
towards slaves will be at a loss for the reason. 'Public opinion'
would tolerate surgical experiments, operations, processes, performed
upon them, which it would execrate if performed upon their master or
other whites. As the great object in collecting the disabled negroes
is to have 'interesting cases' for the students, the professors who
perform the operations will of course endeavor to make them as
'interesting' as possible. The _instruction of the student_ is the
immediate object, and if the professors can accomplish it best by
_protracting_ the operation, pausing to explain the different
processes, &c. the subject is only a negro, and what is his protracted
agony, that it should restrain the professor from making the case as
'interesting' as possible to the students by so using his knife as
will give them the best knowledge of the parts, and the process,
however it may protract or augment the pain of the subject. The _end_
to be accomplished is the _instruction_ of the student, operations
upon the negroes are the _means_ to the end; _that_ tells the whole
story--and he who knows the hearts of slaveholders and has common
sense, however short the allowance, can find the way to his
conclusions without a lantern.
By an advertisement of the same Medical Institution, dated November
12, 1838, and published in the Charleston papers, it appears that an
'infirmary has been opened in connection with the college.' The
professors manifest a great desire that the masters of servants should
send in their disabled slaves, and as an inducement to the furnishing
of such _interesting cases_ say, all medical and surgical aid will be
offered _without making them liable to any professional charges_.
Disinterested bounty, pity, sympathy, philanthropy. However difficult
or numerous the surgical cases of slaves thus put into their hands by
the masters, they charge not a cent for their _professional services_.
Their yearnings over human distress are so intense, that they beg the
privilege of performing all operations, and furnishing all the medical
attention needed, _gratis_, feeling that the relief of misery is its
own reward!!! But we have put down our exclamation points too
soon--upon reading the whole of the advertisement we find the
professors conclude it with the following paragraph:--
"The SOLE OBJECT Of the faculty in the establishment of such an
institution being to promote the interest of Medical Education within
their native State and City."
In the "Charleston (South Carolina) Mercury" of October 12, 1838, we
find an advertisement of half a column, by a Dr. T. Stillman, setting
forth the merits of another 'Medical Infirmary,' under his own special
supervision, at No. 110 Church street, Charleston. The doctor, after
inveighing loudly against 'men totally ignorant of medical science,'
who flood the country with quack nostrums backed up by 'fabricated
proofs of miraculous cures,' proceeds to enumerate the diseases to
which his 'Infirmary' is open, and to which his practice will be
mainly confined. Appreciating the importance of 'interesting cases,'
as a stock in trade, on which to commence his experiments, he copies
the example of the medical professors, and advertises for them. But,
either from a keener sense of justice, or more generosity, or greater
confidence in his skill, or for some other reason, he proposes to _buy
up_ an assortment of _damaged_ negroes, given over, as incurable, by
others, and to make such his 'interesting cases,' instead of
experimenting on those who are the 'property' of others.
Dr. Stillman closes his advertisement with the following notice:--
"To PLANTERS AND OTHERS.--Wanted _fifty negroes_. Any person having
sick negroes, considered incurable by their respective physicians, and
wishing to dispose of them, Dr. S. will pay cash for negroes affected
with scrofula or king's evil, confirmed hypocondriasm, apoplexy,
diseases of the liver, kidneys, spleen, stomach and intestines,
bladder and its appendages, diarrhea, dysentery, &c. The highest cash
price will be paid on application as above."
The absolute barbarism of a 'public opinion' which not only tolerates,
but _produces_ such advertisements as this, was outdone by nothing in
the dark ages. If the reader has a heart of flesh, he can feel it
without help, and if he has not, comment will not create it. The total
indifference of slaveholders to such a cold blooded proposition, their
utter unconsciousness of the paralysis of heart, and death of
sympathy, and every feeling of common humanity for the slave, which it
reveals, is enough, of itself to show that the tendency of the spirit
of slaveholding is, to kill in the soul whatever it touches. It has no
eyes to see, nor ears to hear, nor mind to understand, nor heart to
feel for its victims as _human beings_. To show that the above
indication of the savage state is not an index of individual feeling,
but of 'public opinion,' it is sufficient to say, that it appears to
be a standing advertisement in the Charleston Mercury, the leading
political paper of South Carolina, the organ of the Honorables John C.
Calhoun, Robert Barnwell Rhett, Hugh S. Legare, and others regarded as
the elite of her statesmen and literati. Besides, candidates for
popular favor, like the doctor who advertises for the fifty
'incurables,' take special care to conciliate, rather than outrage,
'public opinion.' Is the doctor so ignorant of 'public opinion' in his
own city, that he has unwittingly committed violence upon it in his
advertisement? We trow not. The same 'public opinion' which gave birth
to the advertisement of doctor Stillman, and to those of the
professors in both the medical institutions, founded the Charleston
'Work House'--a soft name for a Moloch temple dedicated to torture,
and reeking with blood, in the midst of the city; to which masters and
mistresses send their slaves of both sexes to be stripped, tied up,
and cut with the lash till the blood and mangled flesh flow to their
feet, or to be beaten and bruised with the terrible paddle, or forced
to climb the tread-mill till nature sinks, or to experience other
The "Vicksburg (Miss.) Register," Dec. 27, 1838, contains the
following item of information: "ARDOR IN BETTING.--Two gentlemen, at a
tavern, having summoned the waiter, the poor fellow had scarcely
entered, when he fell down in a fit of apoplexy. 'He's dead!'
exclaimed one. 'He'll come to!' replied the other. 'Dead, for five
hundred!' 'Done!' retorted the second. The noise of the fall, and the
confusion which followed, brought up the landlord, who called out to
fetch a doctor. 'No! no! we must have no interference--there's a bet
depending!' 'But, sir, I shall lose a valuable servant!' 'Never mind!
you can put him down in the bill!'"
About the time the Vicksburg paper containing the above came to hand,
we received a letter from N.P. ROGERS, Esq. of Concord, N.H. the
editor of the 'Herald of Freedom,' from which the following is an
"Some thirty years ago, I think it was, Col. Thatcher, of Maine, a
lawyer, was in Virginia, on business, and was there invited to dine at
a public house, with a company of the gentry of the south. _The place_
I forget--the fact was told me by George Kimball, Esq. now of Alton,
Illinois who had the story from Col. Thatcher himself. Among the
servants waiting was a young negro man, whose beautiful person,
obliging and assiduous temper, and his activity and grace in serving,
made him a favorite with the company. The dinner lasted into the
evening, and the wine passed freely about the table. At length, one of
the gentlemen, who was pretty highly excited with wine, became
unfortunately incensed, either at some trip of the young slave, in
waiting, or at some other cause happening when the slave was within
his reach. He seized the long-necked wine bottle, and struck the young
man suddenly in the temple, and felled him dead upon the floor. The
fall arrested, for a moment, the festivities of the table. 'Devilish
unlucky,' exclaimed one. 'The gentleman is very unfortunate,' cried
another. 'Really a loss,' said a third, &c, &c. The body was dragged
from the dining hall, and the feast went on; and at the close, one of
the gentlemen, and the very one, I believe, whose hand had done the
homicide, shouted, in bacchanalian bravery, and _southern generosity_,
amid the broken glasses and fragments of chairs, 'LANDLORD! PUT THE
NIGGER INTO THE BILL!' This was that murdered young man's _requiem and
Mr. GEORGE A. AVERY, a merchant in Rochester, New York, and an elder
in the Fourth Presbyterian Church in that city, who resided four years
in Virginia, gives the following testimony:
"I knew a young man who had been out hunting, and returning with some
of his friends, seeing a negro man in the road, at a little distance,
deliberately drew up his rifle, and shot him dead. This was done
without the slightest provocation, or a word passing. This young man
passed through the _form_ of a trial, and, although it was not even
_pretended_ by his counsel that he was not guilty of the act,
deliberately and wantonly perpetrated, _he was acquitted_. It was
urged by his counsel, that he was a _young_ man, (about 20 years of
age,) had no _malicious_ intention, his mother was a widow, &c, &c"
Mr. BENJAMIN CLENDENON, of Colerain, Lancaster county, Pennsylvania, a
member of the Society of Friends, gives the following testimony:
"Three years ago the coming month, I took a journey of about
seventy-five miles from home, through the eastern shore of Maryland,
and a small part of Delaware. Calling one day, near noon, at
Georgetown Cross-Roads, I found myself surrounded in the tavern by
slaveholders. Among other subjects of conversation, their human cattle
came in for a share. One of the company, a middle-aged man, then
living with a second wife, acknowledged, that after the death of his
first wife, he lived in a state of concubinage with a female slave;
but when the time drew near for the taking of a second wife, he found
it expedient to remove the slave from the premises. The same person
gave an account of a female slave he formerly held, who had a
propensity for some one pursuit, I think the attendance of religious
meetings. On a certain occasion, she presented her petition to him,
asking for this indulgence; he refused--she importuned--and he, with
sovereign indignation, seized a chair, and with a blow upon the head,
knocked her senseless upon the floor. The same person, for some act of
disobedience, on the part, I think, of the same slave, when employed
in stacking straw, felled her to the earth with the handle of a pitch
fork. All these transactions were related with the _utmost composure_,
in a bar-room within thirty miles of the Pennsylvania line."
The two following advertisements are illustrations of the regard paid
to the marriage relations by slaveholding judges, governors, senators
in Congress, and mayors of cities.
From the "Montgomery, (Ala.) Advertiser," Sept. 29, 1837.
"$20 REWARD.--Ranaway from the subscriber, a negro man named Moses. He
is of common size, about 28 years old. He formerly belonged to Judge
Benson, of Montgomery, and it is said, has a wife in that county. John
The John Gayle who signs this advertisement, is an Ex-Governor of
From the "Charleston Courier," Nov. 28.
"Ranaway from the subscriber, about twelve months since, his negro man
Paulladore. His complexion is dark--about 50 years old. I understand
Gen. R.Y. Hayne has purchased his wife and children from H.L.
Pinckney, Esq. and has them now on his plantation, at Goose Creek,
where, no doubt, the fellow is frequently lurking. Thomas Davis."
It is hardly necessary to say, that the GENERAL R.Y. HAYNE, and H.L.
PINCKNEY, Esq. named in the advertisement, are Ex-Governor Hayne,
formerly U.S. Senator from South Carolina, and Hon. Henry L.
Pinckney, late member of Congress from Charleston District, and now
Intendant (mayor) of that city.
It is no difficult matter to get at the 'public opinion' of a
community, when _ladies_ 'of property and standing' publish, under
their own names, such advertisements as the following.
Mrs. ELIZABETH L. CARTER, of Groveton, Prince William county,
Virginia, thus advertises her negro man Moses:
"Ranaway from the subscriber, a negro man named Moses, aged about 40
years, about six feet high, well made, and possessing a good address,
and HAS LOST A PART ON ONE OF HIS EARS."
Mrs. B. NEWMAN, of the same place, and in the same paper, advertises--
"Penny, the wife of Moses, aged about 30 years, brown complexion, tall
and likely, _no particular marks of person recollected._"
Both of the above advertisements appear in the National Intelligencer,
(Washington city,) June 10, 1837.
In the Mobile Mercantile Advertiser, of Feb. 13, 1838, is an
advertisement Signed SARAH WALSH, of which the following is an
"Twenty-five dollars reward will be paid to any one who may apprehend
and deliver to me, or confine in any jail, so that, I can get him, my
man Isaac, who ranaway sometime in September last. He is 26 years of
age, 5 feet 10 inches high, has a _scar on his forehead, caused by a
blow_, and one on his back, MADE BY A SHOT FROM A PISTOL."
In the "New Orleans Bee," Dec. 21, 1838, Mrs. BURVANT, whose residence
is at the corner of Chartres and Toulouse streets, advertises a woman
"Ranaway, a negro woman named Rachel--_has lost all her toes except
the large one_."
From the "Huntsville (Ala.) Democrat," June 16, 1838:
"TEN DOLLARS REWARD.--Ranaway from the subscriber, a negro woman named
Sally, about 21 years of age, taking along her two children--one three
years, and the other seven months old. These negroes were PURCHASED BY
ME at the sale of George Mason's negroes, on the first Monday in May,
and left _a few days_ thereafter. Any person delivering them to the
jailor in Huntsville, or to me, at my plantation, five miles above
Triana, on the Tennessee river, shall receive the above reward.
From the "Mississippian," May 13, 1838:
"TEN DOLLARS REWARD.--Ranaway from the subscriber, a man named Aaron,
yellow complexion, blue eyes, &c. I have no doubt he is lurking about
Jackson and its vicinity, probably harbored by some of the negroes
sold as the property of _my late husband_, Harry Long, deceased. Some
of them are about Richland, in Madison co. I will give the above
reward when brought to me, about six miles north-west of Jackson, or
put IN JAIL, _so that I can get him_. LUCY LONG."
If the reader, after perusing the preceding facts, testimony, and
arguments, still insists that the 'public opinion' of the slave states
protects the slave from outrages, and alleges, as proof of it, that
_cruel_ masters are frowned upon and shunned by the community
generally, and regarded as monsters, we reply by presenting the
following facts and testimony.
"Col. MEANS, of Manchester, Ohio, says, that when he resided in South
Carolina, _his neighbor_, a physician, became enraged with his slave,
and sentenced him to receive two hundred lashes. After having received
one hundred and forty, he fainted. After inflicting the full number of
lashes, the cords with which he was bound were loosed. When he
revived, he staggered to the house, and sat down in the sun. Being
faint and thirsty, he _begged_ for some water to drink. The master
went to the well, and procured some water but instead of giving him to
drink, he threw the whole bucket-full in his face. Nature could not
stand the shock--he sunk to rise no more. For this crime, the
physician was bound over to Court, and tried, and _acquitted_--and THE
NEXT YEAR HE WAS ELECTED TO THE LEGISLATURE!"
Testimony of Hon. JOHN RANDOLPH, of Virginia
"In one of his Congressional speeches, Mr. R. says: Avarice alone can
drive, as it does drive, this _infernal_ traffic, and the wretched
victims of it, like so many post horses, _whipped to death_ in a mail
coach. Ambition has its cover-sluts in the pride, pomp, and
circumstance of glorious war; but where are the trophies of avarice?
The hand cuff, the manacle, the blood-stained cowhide! WHAT MAN IS
WORSE RECEIVED IN SOCIETY FOR BEING A HARD MASTER? WHO DENIES THE HAND
OF A SISTER OR DAUGHTER TO SUCH MONSTERS?"
Mr. GEORGE A. AVERY, of Rochester, New York, who resided four years in
Virginia, testifies as follows:
"I know a local Methodist minister, a man of talents, and popular as a
preacher, who took his negro girl into his barn, in order to whip
her--and _she was brought out a corpse_! His friends seemed to think
this of _so little importance to his ministerial standing_, that
although I lived near him about three years, I do not recollect to
have heard them apologize for the deed, though I recollect having
heard ONE of his neighbors allege this fact as a reason why he did not
wish to hear him preach."
Notwithstanding the mass of testimony which has been presented
establishing the fact that in the 'public opinion' of the South the
slaves find no protection, some may still claim that the 'public
opinion' exhibited by the preceding facts is not that of the _highest
class of society at the South_, and in proof of this assertion, refer
to the fact, that 'Negro Brokers,' Negro Speculators, Negro
Auctioneers, and Negro Breeders, &c., are by that class universally
despised and avoided, as are all who treat their slaves with cruelty.
To this we reply, that, if all claimed by the objector were true, it
could avail him nothing for 'public opinion' is neither made nor
unmade by 'the first class of society.' That class produces in it, at
most, but slight modifications; those who belong to it have generally
a 'public opinion,' within their own circle which has rarely more,
either of morality or mercy than the public opinion of the mass, and
is, at least, equally heartless and more intolerant. As to the
estimation in which 'speculators,' 'soul drivers,' &c. are held, we
remark, that, they are not despised because they _trade in slaves_ but
because they are _working_ men, all such are despised by slaveholders.
White drovers who go with droves of swine and cattle from the free
states to the slave states, and Yankee pedlars, who traverse the
south, and white day-laborers are, in the main, equally despised, or,
if negro-traders excite more contempt than drovers, pedlars, and
day-laborers, it is because, they are, as a class more ignorant and
vulgar, men from low families and boors in their manners. Ridiculous
to suppose, that a people, who have, _by law_, made men articles of
trade equally with swine, should despise men-drovers and traders, more
than hog-drovers and traders. That they are not despised because it is
their business to trade in _human beings_ and bring them to market, is
plain from the fact that when some 'gentleman of property and
standing' and of a 'good family' embarks in a negro speculation, and
employs a dozen 'soul drivers' to traverse the upper country, and
drive to the south coffles of slaves, expending hundreds of thousands
in his wholesale purchases, he does not lose caste. It is known in
Alabama, that Mr. Erwin, son-in-law of the Hon. Henry Clay, and
brother of J.P. Erwin, formerly postmaster, and late mayor of the
city of Nashville, laid the foundation of a princely fortune in the
slave-trade, carried on from the Northern Slave States to the Planting
South; that the Hon. H. Hitchcock, brother-in-law of Mr. E., and since
one of the judges of the Supreme Court of Alabama, was interested with
him in the traffic; and that a late member of the Kentucky Senate
(Col. Wall) not only carried on the same business, a few years ago,
but accompanied his droves in person down the Mississippi. Not as the
_driver_, for that would be vulgar drudgery, beneath a gentleman, but
as a nabob in state, ordering his understrappers.
It is also well known that President Jackson was a 'soul driver,' and
that even so late as the year before the commencement of the last war,
he bought up a coffle of slaves and drove them down to Louisiana for
Thomas N. Gadsden, Esq. the principal slave auctioneer in Charleston,
S.C. is of one of the first families in the state, and moves in the
very highest class of society there. He is a descendant of the
distinguished General Gadsden of revolutionary memory, the most
prominent southern member in the Continental Congress of 1765, and
afterwards elected lieutenant governor and then governor of the state.
The Rev. Dr. Gadsden, rector of St. Phillip's Church, Charleston, and
the Rev. Phillip Gadsden, both prominent Episcopal clergymen in South
Carolina, and Colonel James Gadsden of the United States army, after
whom a county in Florida was recently named, are all brothers of this
Thomas N. Gadsden, Esq. the largest slave auctioneer in the state,
under whose hammer, men, women and children go off by thousands; its
stroke probably sunders _daily_, husbands and wives, parents and
children, brothers and sisters, perhaps to see each other's faces no
more. Now who supply the auction table of this Thomas N. Gadsden, Esq.
with its loads of human merchandize? These same detested 'soul
drivers' forsooth! They prowl through the country, buy, catch, and
fetter them, and drive their chained coffles up to his stand, where
Thomas N. Gadsden, Esq. knocks them off to the highest bidder, to
Ex-Governor Butler perhaps, or to Ex-Governor Hayne, or to Hon. Robert
Barnwell Rhett, or to his own reverend brother, Dr. Gadsden. Now this
high born, wholesale _soul-seller_ doubtless despises the retail
'soul-drivers' who give him their custom, and so does the wholesale
grocer, the drizzling tapster who sneaks up to his counter for a keg
of whiskey to dole out under a shanty in two cent glasses; and both
for the same reason.
The plea that the 'public opinion' among the highest classes of
society at the south is mild and considerate towards the slaves, that
_they_ do not overwork, underfeed, neglect when old and sick, scantily
clothe, badly lodge, and half shelter their slaves; that _they_ do not
barbarously flog, load with irons, imprison in the stocks, brand and
maim them; hunt them when runaway with dogs and guns, and sunder by
force and forever the nearest kindred--is shown, by almost every page
of this work, to be an assumption, not only utterly groundless, but
directly opposed to masses of irrefragable evidence. If the reader
will be at the pains to review the testimony recorded on the foregoing
pages he will find that a very large proportion of the atrocities
detailed were committed, not by the most ignorant and lowest classes
of society, but by persons 'of property and standing,' by masters and
mistresses belonging to the 'upper classes,' by persons in the learned
professions, by civil, judicial, and military officers, by the
_literati_, by the fashionable elite and persons of more than ordinary
'respectability' and external morality--large numbers of whom are
professors of religion.
It will be recollected that the testimony of Sarah M. Grimke, and
Angelina G. Weld, was confined exclusively to the details of slavery
as exhibited in the _highest classes of society_, mainly in
Charleston, S.C. See their testimony pp. 22-24 and 52-57. The former
has furnished us with the following testimony in addition to that
"Nathaniel Heyward of Combahee, S.C., one of the wealthiest planters
in the state, stated, in conversation with some other planters who
were complaining of the idle and lazy habits of their slaves, and the
difficulty of ascertaining whether their sickness was real or
pretended, and the loss they suffered from their frequent absence on
this account from their work, said, 'I never lose a day's work: it is
an _established_ rule on my plantations that the tasks of all the sick
negroes _shall be done by those who are well in addition to their
own_. By this means a vigilant supervision is kept up by the slaves
over each other, and they take care that nothing but real sickness
keeps any one out of the field.' I spent several winters in the
neighborhood of Nathaniel Heyward's plantations, and well remember his
character as a severe task master. _I was present when the above
statement was made_."
The cool barbarity of such a regulation is hardly surpassed by the
worst edicts of the Roman Caligula--especially when we consider that
the plantations of this man were in the neighborhood of the Combahee
river, one of the most unhealthy districts in the low country of South
Carolina; further, that large numbers of his slaves worked in the
_rice marshes_, or 'swamps' as they are called in that state--and that
during six months of the year, so fatal to health is the malaria of
the swamps in that region that the planters and their families
invariably abandon their plantations, regarding it as downright
presumption to spend a single day upon them 'between the frosts' of
the early spring and the last of November.
The reader may infer the high standing of Mr. Heyward in South
Carolina, from the fact that he was selected with four other
freeholders to constitute a Court for the trial of the conspirators in
the insurrection plot at Charleston, in 1822. Another of the
individuals chosen to constitute that court was Colonel Henry Deas,
now president of the Board of Trustees of Charleston College, and a
few years since a member of the Senate of South Carolina. From a late
correspondence in the "Greenvile (S.C.) Mountaineer," between Rev.
William M. Wightman, a professor in Randolph, Macon, College, and a
number of the citizens of Lodi, South Carolina, it appears that the
cruelty of this Colonel Deas to his slaves, is proverbial in South
Carolina, so much that Professor Wightman, in the sermon which
occasioned the correspondence, spoke of the Colonel's inhumanity to
his slaves as a matter of perfect notoriety.
Another South Carolina slaveholder, Hon. Whitmarsh B. Seabrook,
recently, we believe, Lieut. Governor of the state, gives the
following testimony to his own inhumanity, and his certificate of the
'public opinion' among South Carolina slaveholders 'of high degree.'
In an essay on the management of slaves, read before the Agricultural
Society of St. Johns, S.C. and published by the Society, Charleston,
1834, Mr. S. remarks:
"I consider _imprisonment in the stocks at night_, with or without
hard labor in the day, as a powerful auxiliary in the cause of _good_
government. To the correctness of this opinion _many_ can bear
testimony. EXPERIENCE has convinced ME that there is no punishment to
which the slave looks with more _horror_."
The advertisements of the Professors in the Medical Colleges of South
Carolina, published with comments--on pp. 169, 170, are additional
illustrations of the 'public opinion' of the _literati_.
That the 'public opinion' of _the highest class of society_ in South
Carolina, regards slaves a mere _cattle_, is shown by the following
advertisement, which we copy from the "Charleston (S.C.) Mercury" of
"NEGROES FOR SALE.--A girl about twenty years of age, (raised in
Virginia,) and her two female children, one four and the other two
year old--is remarkably strong and healthy--never having had a day's
sickness, with the exception of the small pox, in her life. The
children are fine and healthy. She is VERY PROLIFIC IN HER GENERATING
QUALITIES, _and affords a rare opportunity to any person who wishes to
raise a family of strong and healthy servants for their own use._
"Any person wishing to purchase will please leave their address at the
The Charleston Mercury, in which this advertisement appears, _is the
leading political paper in South Carolina_, and is well known to be
the political organ of Messrs. Calhoun, Rhett, Pickens, and others of
the most prominent politicians in the state. Its editor, John Stewart,
Esq., is a lawyer of Charleston, and of a highly respectable family.
He is a brother-in-law of Hon. Robert Barnwell Rhett, the late
Attorney-General, now a Member of Congress, and Hon. James Rhett, a
leading member of the Senate of South Carolina; his wife is a niece of
the late Governor Smith, of North Carolina, and of the late Hon. Peter
Smith, Intendant (Mayor) of the city of Charleston; and a cousin of
the late Hon. Thomas S. Grimke.
The circulation of the 'Mercury' among the wealthy, the literary, and
the fashionable, is probably much larger than that of any other paper
in the state.
These facts in connection with the preceding advertisement, are a
sufficient exposition of the 'public opinion' towards slaves,
prevalent in these classes of society.
The following scrap of 'public opinion' in Florida, is instructive. We
take it from the Florida Herald, June 23, 1838:
Ranaway from my plantation, on Monday night, the 13th instant, a negro
fellow named Ben; eighteen years of age, polite when spoken to, and
speaks very good English for a negro. As I have traced him out in
several places in town, I am certain he is harbored. This notice is
given that I am determined, that whenever he is taken, _to punish him
till he informs me_ who has given him food and protection, and _I
shall apply the law of Judge Lynch to my own satisfaction_, on those
concerned in his concealment.
June 16, 1838."
Now, who is this A. Watson, who proclaims through a newspaper, his
determination to _put to the torture_ this youth of eighteen, and to
Lynch to his 'satisfaction' whoever has given a cup of cold water to
the panting fugitive. Is he some low miscreant beneath public
contempt? Nay, verily, he is a 'gentleman of property and standing,'
one of the wealthiest planters and largest slaveholders in Florida. He
resides in the vicinity of St. Augustine, and married the daughter of
the late Thomas C. Morton, Esq. one of the first merchants in New
We may mention in this connection the well known fact, that many
wealthy planters make it a _rule never to employ a physician among
their slaves_. Hon. William Smith, Senator in Congress, from South
Carolina, from 1816 to 1823, and afterwards from 1826 to 1831, is one
of this number. He owns a number of large plantations in the south
western states. One of these, borders upon the village of Huntsville,
Alabama. The people of that village can testify that it is a part of
Judge Smith's _system_ never to employ a physician _even in the most
extreme cases_. If the medical skill of the overseer, or of the slaves
themselves, can contend successfully with the disease, they live, if
not, _they die_. At all events, a physician is _not to be called_.
Judge Smith was appointed a judge of the Supreme Court of the United
States three years since.
The reader will recall a similar fact in the testimony of Rev. W.T.
Allan, son of Rev. Dr. Allan, of Huntsville, (see p. 47,) who says
that Colonel Robert H. Watkins, a wealthy planter, in Alabama, and a
PRESIDENTIAL ELECTOR in 1836, who works on his plantations three
hundred slaves, 'After employing a physician for some time among his
negroes, he ceased to do so, alledging as the reason, that it was
_cheaper to lose a few negroes every year than to pay a physician_.'
It is a fact perfectly notorious, that the late General Wade Hampton,
of South Carolina, who was the largest slaveholder in the United
States, and probably the wealthiest man south of the Potomac, was
_excessively cruel_ in the treatment of his slaves. The anecdote of
him related by a clergyman, on page 29, is perfectly characteristic.
For instances of barbarous inhumanity of various kinds, and manifested
by persons BELONGING TO THE MOST RESPECTABLE CIRCLES OF SOCIETY, the
reader can consult the following references:--Testimony of Rev. John
Graham, p. 25, near the bottom; of Mr. Poe, p. 26, middle; of Rev. J.
O. Choules, p. 39, middle; of Rev. Dr. Channing, p. 41, top; of Mr.
George A. Avery, p. 44, bottom; of Rev. W.T. Allan, p. 47; of Mr. John
M. Nelson, p. 51, bottom; of Dr. J.C. Finley, p. 61, top; of Mr.
Dustin, p. 66, bottom; of Mr. John Clarke, p. 87; of Mr. Nathan Cole,
p. 89, middle; Rev. William Dickey, p. 93; Rev. Francis Hawley, p. 97;
of Mr. Powell, p. 100, middle; of Rev. P. Smith p. 102.
The preceding are but a few of a large number of similar cases
contained in the foregoing testimonies. The slaveholder mentioned by
Mr. Ladd, p. 86, who knocked down a slave and afterwards piled brush
upon his body, and consumed it, held the hand of a female slave in the
fire till it was burned so as to be useless for life, and confessed to
Mr. Ladd, that he had killed _four_ slaves, had been a _member of the
Senate of Georgia_ and a _clergyman_. The slaveholder who whipped a
female slave to death in St. Louis, in 1837, as stated by Mr. Cole,
p. 69, was a _Major in the United States Army_. One of the physicians
who was an abettor of the tragedy on the Brassos, in which a slave was
tortured to death, and another so that he barely lived, (see Rev. Mr.
Smith's testimony, p. 102.) was Dr. Anson Jones, a native of
Connecticut, who was soon after appointed minister plenipotentiary
from Texas to this government, and now resides at Washington city. The
slave mistress at Lexington, Ky., who, as her husband testifies, has
killed six of his slaves, (see testimony of Mr. Clarke, p. 87,) is the
wife of Hon. Fielding S. Turner, late judge of the criminal court of
New Orleans, and one of the wealthiest slaveholders in Kentucky.
Lilburn Lewis, who deliberately chopped in pieces his slave George,
with a broad-axe, (see testimony of Rev. Mr. Dickey, p. 93) was a
wealthy slaveholder, and a nephew of President Jefferson. Rev. Francis
Hawley, who was a general agent of the Baptist State Convention of
North Carolina, confesses (see p. 47,) that while residing in that
state he once went out with his hounds and rifle, to hunt fugitive
slaves. But instead of making further reference to testimony already
before the reader, we will furnish additional instances of the
barbarous cruelty which is tolerated and sanctioned by the 'upper
classes' of society at the south; we begin with clergymen, and other
officers and members of churches.
That the reader may judge of the degree of 'protection' which slaves
receive from 'public opinion,' and among the members and ministers of
professed christian churches, we insert the following illustrations.
Extract from an editorial article in the "Lowell (Mass.) Observer" a
religious paper edited at the time (1833) by the Rev. DANIEL S.
SOUTHMAYD, who recently died in Texas.
"We have been among the slaves at the south. We took pains to make
discoveries in respect to the evils of slavery. We formed our
sentiments on the subject of the cruelties exercised towards the
slaves from having witnessed them. We now affirm that we never saw a
man, who had never been at the south, who thought as much of the
cruelties practiced on the slaves, as we _know_ to be a fact.
"A slave whom I loved for his kindness and the amiableness of his
disposition, and who belonged to the family where I resided, happened
to stay out _fifteen minutes longer_ than he had permission to stay.
It was a mistake--it was _unintentional_. But what was the penalty? He
was sent to the house of correction with the order that he should have
_thirty lashes upon his naked body with a knotted rope!!!_ He was
brought home and laid down in the stoop, in the back of the house, in
_the sun, upon the floor_. And there he lay, with more the appearance
of a rotten carcass than a living man, for four days before he could
do more than move. And who was this inhuman being calling God's
property his own, and ruing it as he would not have dared to use a
beast? You may say he was a tiger--one of the more wicked sort, and
that we must not judge others by him. _He was a professor of that
religion which will pour upon the willing slaveholder the retribution
due to his sin_.
"We wish to mention another fact, which our own eyes saw and our own
ears heard. We were called to evening prayers. The family assembled
around the altar of their accustomed devotions. There was one female
_slave_ present, who belonged to another master, but who had been
hired for the day and tarried to attend family worship. The precious
Bible was opened, and nearly half a chapter had been read, when the
eye of the master, who was reading, observed that the new female
servant, instead of being seated like his own slaves, _flat upon the
floor_, was standing in a stooping posture upon her feet. He told her
to sit down on the floor. She said it was not her custom at home. He
ordered her again to do it. She replied that her master did not
require it. Irritated by this answer, he repeatedly _struck her upon
the head with the very Bible he held in his hand_. And not content
with this, he seized his cane and _caned her down stairs most
unmercifully_. He then returned to resume his profane work, but we
need not say that _all_ the family were not there. Do you ask again,
who was this wicked man? _He was a professor of religion!!_"
Rev. HUNTINGTON LYMAN, late pastor of the Free Church in Buffalo, New
"Walking one day in New Orleans with a professional gentleman, who was
educated in Connecticut, we were met by a black man; the gentleman was
greatly incensed with the black man for passing so _near_ him, and
turning upon him _he pushed him with violence off walk into the
street_. This man was a professor of religion."
(And _we_ add, a member, and if we mistake not an officer of the
Presbyterian Church which was established there by Rev. Joel Parker,
and which was then under his teachings-ED.)
Mr. EZEKIEL BIRDSEYE, a gentleman of known probity, in Cornwall,
Litchfield county, Conn. gives the testimony which follows:--
"A BAPTIST CLERGYMAN in Laurens District, S.C. WHIPPED HIS SLAVE TO
DEATH, whom he _suspected_ of having stolen about sixty dollars. The
slave was in the prime of life and was purchased a few weeks before
for $800 of a slave trader from Virginia or Maryland. The coroner, Wm.
Irby, at whose house I was then boarding, _told me_, that on reviewing
the dead body, he found it _beat to a jelly from head to foot_. The
master's wife discovered the money a day or two after the death of the
slave. She had herself removed it from where it was placed, not
knowing what it was, as it was tied up in a thick envelope. I happened
to be present when the trial of this man took place, at Laurens Court
House. His daughter testified that her father untied the slave, when
he appeared to be failing, and gave him cold water to drink, of which
he took freely. His counsel pleaded that his death _might_ have been
caused by drinking cold water in a state of excitement. The Judge
charged the jury, that it would be their duty to find the defendant
guilty, if they believed the death was caused by the whipping; but if
they were of opinion that drinking cold water caused the death, they
would find him not guilty! The jury found him--NOT GUILTY!"
Dr. JEREMIAH S. WAUGH, a physician in Somerville, Butler county, Ohio,
testifies as follows:--
"In the year 1825, I boarded with the Rev. John Mushat, a Seceder
minister, and principal of an academy in Iredel county, N.C. He had
slaves, and was in the habit of restricting them on the Sabbath. One
of his slaves, however, ventured to disobey his injunctions. The
offence was he went away on Sabbath evening, and did not return till
Monday morning. About the time we were called to breakfast, the Rev.
gentleman was engaged in chastising him for _breaking the Sabbath_. He
determined not to submit--attempted to escape by flight. The master
immediately took down his gun and pursued him--levelled his instrument
of death, and told him, if he did not stop instantly _he would blow
him through_. The poor slave returned to the house and submitted
himself to the lash; and the good master, while YET PALE WITH RAGE,
_sat down to the table, and with a trembling voice_ ASKED GOD'S
The following letter was sent by Capt. JACOB DUNHAM, of New York city,
to a slaveholder in Georgetown, D.C. more than twenty years since:
"Georgetown, June 13, 1815.
"Dear sir--Passing your house yesterday, I beheld a scene of cruelty
seldom witnessed--that was the brutal chastisement of your negro girl,
_lashed to a ladder and beaten in an inhuman manner, too bad to
describe_. My blood chills while I contemplate the subject. This has
led me to investigate your character from your neighbors; who inform
me that you have _caused the death_ of one negro man, whom you struck
with a sledge for some trivial fault--that you have beaten another
black girl with such severity that the _splinters_ remained in her
back for some weeks after you sold her--and many other acts of
barbarity, too lengthy to enumerate. And to my great surprise, I find
you are a _professor of the Christian religion!_
"You will naturally inquire, why I meddle with your family affairs. My
answer is, the cause of humanity and a sense of my duty requires
it.--these hasty remarks I leave you to reflect on the subject; but
wish you to remember, that there is an all-seeing eye who knows all
our faults and will reward us according to our deeds.
I remain, sir, yours, &c
Master of the brig Cyrus, of N.Y."
Rev. SYLVESTER COWLES, pastor of the Presbyterian church in Fredonia,
"A young man, a member of the church in Conewango, went to Alabama
last year, to reside as a clerk in an uncle's store. When he had been
there about nine months, he wrote his father that he must return home.
To see members of the same church sit at the communion table of our
Lord one day, and the next to see one seize any weapon and knock the
other down, _as he had seen_, he _could not_ live there. His good
father forthwith gave him permission to return home."
The following is a specimen of the shameless hardihood with which a
professed minister of the Gospel, and editor of a religious paper,
assumes the right to hold God's image as a chattel. It is from the
Southern Christian Herald:--
"It is stated in the Georgetown Union, that a negro, supposed to have
died of cholera, when that disease prevailed in Charleston, was
carried to the public burying ground to be interred; but before
interment signs of life appeared, and, by the use of proper means, he
was restored to health. And now the man who first perceived the signs
of life in the slave, and that led to his preservation, claims the
property as his own, and is about bringing suit for its recovery. As
well might a man who rescued his neighbor's slave, or his _horse_,
from drowning, or who extinguished the flames that would otherwise
soon have burnt down his neighbor's house, claim the _property_ as his
Rev. GEORGE BOURNE, of New York city, late Editor of the "Protestant
Vindicator," who was a preacher seven years in Virginia, gives the
"Benjamin Lewis, who was an elder in the Presbyterian church, engaged
a carpenter to repair and enlarge his house. After some time had
elapsed, Kyle, the builder, was awakened very early in the morning by
a most piteous moaning and shrieking. He arose, and following the
sound, discovered a colored woman nearly naked, tied to a fence, while
Lewis was lacerating her. Kyle instantly commanded the slave driver to
desist. Lewis maintained his jurisdiction over his slaves, and
threatened Kyle that he would punish him for his interference.
Finally Kyle obtained the release of the victim.
"A second and a third scene of the same kind occurred, and on the
third occasion the altercation almost produced a battle between the
elder and the carpenter.
"Kyle immediately arranged his affairs, packed up his tools and
prepared to depart. 'Where are you going?' demanded Lewis. 'I am
going home;' said Kyle. 'Then I will pay you nothing for what you
have done,' retorted the slave driver, 'unless you complete your
contract.' The carpenter went away with this edifying declaration, 'I
will not stay here a day longer; for I expect the fire of God will
come down and burn you up altogether, and I do not choose to go to
hell with you.' Through hush-money and promises not to whip the women
any more, I believe Kyle returned and completed his engagement.
"James Kyle of Harrisonburg, Virginia, frequently narrated that
circumstance, and his son, the carpenter, confirmed it with all the
minute particulars combined with his temporary residence on the
"John M'Cue of Augusta county, Virginia, a _Presbyterian preacher_,
frequently on the Lord's day morning, tied up his slaves and whipped
them; and left them bound, while he went to the meeting house and
preached--and after his return home repeated his scourging. That
fact, with others more heinous, was known to all persons in his
congregation and around the vicinity; and so far from being censured
for it, he and his brethren justified it as essential to preserve
their 'domestic institutions.'
"Mrs. Pence, of Rockingham county, Virginia, used to boast,--'I am the
best hand to whip a _wench_ in the whole county.' She used to pinion
the girls to a post in the yard on the Lord's day morning, scourge
them, put on the '_negro plaster_,' salt, pepper, and vinegar, leave
them tied, and walk away to church as demure as a nun, and after
service repeat her flaying, if she felt the whim. I once expostulated
with her upon her cruelly. 'Mrs. Pence, how can you whip your girls
so publicly and disturb your neighbors so on the Lord's day morning.'
Her answer was memorable. 'If I were to whip them on any other day I
should lose a day's work; but by whipping them on Sunday, their backs
get well enough by Monday morning.' That woman, if alive, is
doubtless a member of the church now, as then.
"Rev. Dr. Staughton, formerly of Philadelphia, often stated, that when
he lived at Georgetown, S.C. he could tell the doings of one of the
slaveholders of the Baptist church there by his prayers at the prayer
meeting. 'If,' said he, 'that man was upon good terms with his
slaves, his words were cold and heartless as frost; if he had been
whipping a man, he would pray with life; but if he had left a woman
whom he had been flogging, tied to a post in his cellar, with a
determination to go back and torture her again, O! how he would pray!'
The Rev. Cyrus P. Grosvenor of Massachusetts can confirm the above
statement by Dr. Staughton.
"William Wilson, a Presbyterian preacher of Augusta county, Virginia,
had a young colored girl who was constitutionally unhealthy. As no
means to amend her were availing, he sold her to a member of his
congregation, and in the usual style of human flesh dealers, warranted
her 'sound,' &c. The fraud was instantly discovered; but he would not
refund the amount. A suit was commenced, and was long continued, and
finally the plaintiff recovered the money out of which he had been
swindled by slave-trading with his own preacher. No Presbytery
censured him, although Judge Brown, the chancellor, severely condemned
"In the year 1811, Johab Graham, a preacher, lived with Alexander
Nelson a Presbyterian elder, near Stanton, Virginia, and he informed
me that a man had appeared before Nelson, who was a magistrate, and
swore falsely against his slave,--that the elder ordered him
thirty-nine lashes. All that wickedness was done as an excuse for his
dissipated owner to obtain money. A negro trader had offered him a
considerable sum for the 'boy,' and under the pretence of saving him
from the punishment of the law, he was trafficked away from his woman
and children to another state. The magistrate was aware of the
perjury, and the whole abomination, but all the truth uttered by every
colored person in the southern states would not be of any avail
against the notorious false swearing of the greatest white villain who
ever cursed the world. 'How,' said Johab Graham, can I preach
to-morrow?' I replied, 'Very well; go and thunder the doctrine of
retribution in their ears, Obadiah 15, till by the divine blessing you
kill or cure them. My friends, John M. Nelson of Hillsborough, Ohio,
Samuel Linn, and Robert Herron, and others of the same vicinity, could
'make both the ears of every one who heareth them tingle' with the
accounts which they can give of slave-driving by professors of
religion in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia.
"In 1815, near Frederick, in Maryland, a most barbarous planter was
killed in a fit of desperation, by four of his slaves _in
self-defence_. It was declared by those slaves while in prison that,
besides his atrocities among their female associates, he had
deliberately butchered a number of his slaves. The four men were
murdered by law, to appease the popular clamor. I saw them executed on
the twenty-eighth day of Jan'y, 1816. The facts I received from the
Rev. Patrick Davidson of Frederick, who constantly visited them during
their imprisonment--and who became an abolitionist in consequence of
the disclosures which he heard from those men in the jail. The name of
the planter is not distinctly recollected, but it can be known by a
inspection of the record of the trial in the clerk's office,
"A minister of Virginia, still living, and whose name must not be
mentioned for fear of Nero Preston and his confederate-hanging
myrmidons, informed me of this fact in 1815, in his own house. 'A
member of my church, said he, lately whipped a colored youth to death.
What shall I do?' I answered, 'I hope you do not mean to continue him
in your church.' That minister replied, 'How can we help it'
We dare not call him to an account. We have no legal testimony.'
Their communion season was then approaching. I addressed his
wife,--'Mrs. ---- do you mean to sit at the Lord's table with that
murderer?'--,'Not I,' she answered: 'I would as soon commune with the
devil himself.' The slave killer was equally unnoticed by the civil
and ecclesiastical authority.
"John Baxter, a Presbyterian elder, the brother of that slaveholding
doctor in divinity, George A. Baxter, held as a slave the wife of a
Baptist colored preacher, familiarly called 'Uncle Jack.' In a late
period of pregnancy he scourged her so that the lives of herself and
her unborn child were considered in jeopardy. Uncle Jack was advised
to obtain the liberation of his wife. Baxter finally agreed, I think,
to sell the woman and her children, three of them, I believe for six
hundred dollars, and an additional hundred if the unborn child
survived a certain period after its birth. Uncle Jack was to pay one
hundred dollars per annum for his wife and children for seven years,
and Baxter held a sort of mortgage upon them for the payment. Uncle
Jack showed me his back in furrows like a ploughed field. His master
used to whip up the flesh, then beat it downwards, and then apply the
'negro plaster,' salt, pepper, mustard, and vinegar, until all Jack's
back was almost as hard and unimpressible as the bones. There is
slaveholding religion! A Presbyterian elder receiving from a Baptist
preacher seven hundred dollars for his wife and children. James Kyle
and uncle Jack used to tell that story with great Christian
sensibility; and uncle Jack would weep tears of anguish over his
wife's piteous tale, and tears of ecstasy at the same moment that he
was free, and that soon, by the grace of God, his wife and children,
as he said, 'would be all free together.'"
Rev. JAMES NOURSE, a Presbyterian clergyman of Mifflia co. Penn.,
whose father is, we believe, a slaveholder in Washington City, says,--
"The Rev. Mr. M----, now of the Huntingdon Presbytery, after an absence
of many months, was about visiting his old friends on what is commonly
called the 'Eastern Shore.' Late in the afternoon, on his journey, he
called at the house of Rev. A.C. of P----town, Md. With this brother
he had been long acquainted. Just at that juncture Mr. C. was about
proceeding to whip a colored female, who was his slave. She was firmly
tied to a post in FRONT of his dwelling-house. The arrival of a
clerical visitor at such a time, occasioned a temporary delay in the
execution of Mr. C's purpose. But the delay was only temporary; for
not even the presence of such a guest could destroy the bloody design.
The guest interceded with all the mildness yet earnestness of a
brother and new visitor. But all in vain, 'the woman had been saucy
and must be punished.' The cowhide was accordingly produced, and the
_Rev. Mr. C_., a large and very stout man, applied it 'manfully' on
'woman's' bare and 'shrinking flesh.' I say bare, because you know
that the slave women generally have but three or four inches of the
arm near the shoulder covered, and the neck is left entirely exposed.
As the cowhide moved back and forward, striking right and left, on the
head, neck and arms, at every few strokes the sympathizing guest would
exclaim, 'O, brother C. desist' But brother C. pursued his brutal
work, till, after inflicting about sixty lashes, the woman was found
to be suffused with blood on the hinder part of her neck, and under
her frock between the shoulders. Yet this Rev. gentleman is well
esteemed in the church--was, three or four years since, moderator of
the synod of Philadelphia, and yet walks abroad, feeling himself
unrebuked by law or gospel. Ah, sir does not this narration give
fearful force to the query--_What has the church to do with slavery_?'
Comment on the facts is unnecessary, yet allow me to conclude by
saying, that it is my opinion such occurrences _are not rare in the
REV. CHARLES STEWART RENSHAW, of Quincy, Illinois, in a recent letter,
speaking of his residence, for a period, in Kentucky, says--
"In a conversation with Mr. Robert Willis, he told me that his negro
girl had run away from him some time previous. He was convinced that
she was lurking round, and he watched for her. He soon found the place
of her concealment, drew her from it, got a rope, and tied her hands
across each other, then threw the rope over a beam in the kitchen, and
hoisted her up by the wrists; 'and,' said he, 'I whipped her there
till I made the lint fly, I tell you.' I asked him the meaning of
making 'the lint fly,' and he replied, '_till the blood flew_.' I spoke
of the iniquity and cruelty of slavery, and of its immediate
abandonment. He confessed it an evil, but said, 'I am a
_colonizationist_--I believe in that scheme.' Mr. Willis is a teacher
of sacred music, and a member of the Presbyterian Church in Lexington,
Mr. R. speaking of the PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER and church where he
"The minister and all the church members held slaves. Some were
treated kindly, others harshly. _There was not a shade of difference_
between their slaves and those of their _infidel_ neighbors, either in
their physical, intellectual, or moral state: in some cases they would
_suffer_ in the comparison.
"In the kitchen of the minister of the church, a slave man was living
in open adultery with a slave woman, who was a member of the church,
with an 'assured hope' of heaven--whilst the man's wife was on the
minister's farm in Fayette county. The minister had to bring a cook
down from his farm to the place in which he was preaching. The choice
was between the wife of the man and this church member. He _left the
wife_, and brought the church member to the adulterer's bed.
"A METHODIST PREACHER last fall took a load of produce down the river.
Amongst other _things_ he took down five slaves. He sold them at New
Orleans--he came up to Natchez--bought seven there--and took them down
and sold them also. Last March he came up to preach the Gospel again.
A number of persons on board the steamboat (the Tuscarora.) who had
seen him in the slave-shambles in Natchez and New Orleans, and now,
for the first time, found him to be a preacher, had much sport at the
expense of 'the fine old preacher who dealt in slaves.'
A non-professor of religion, in Campbell county, Ky. sold a female and
two children to a Methodist professor, with the proviso that they
should not leave that region of country. The slave-driver came, and
offered $5 more for the woman than he had given, and he sold her. She
is now in the lower country, and _her orphan babes are in Kentucky_.
"I was much shocked once, to see a Presbyterian elder's wife call a
little slave to her to kiss her feet. At first the boy hesitated--but
the command being repeated in tones not to be misunderstood, be
approached timidly, knelt, and kissed her foot."
Rev. W.T. ALLAN, of Chatham, Illinois, gives the following in a letter
dated Feb. 4, 1839:
"Mr. Peter Vanarsdale, an elder of the Presbyterian church in
Carrollton, formerly from Kentucky, told me, the other day, that a
Mrs. Burford, in the neighborhood of Harrodsburg, Kentucky, had
_separated a woman and her children_ from their husband and father,
taking them into another state. Mrs. B. was a member of the
_Presbyterian Church_. The bereaved husband and father was also a
professor of religion.
"Mr. V. told me of a slave woman who had lost her son, separated from
her by public sale. In the anguish of her soul, she gave vent to her
indignation freely, and perhaps harshly. Sometime after, she wished to
become a member of the church. Before they received her, she had to
make humble confession for speaking as she had done. _Some of the
elders that received her, and required the confession, were engaged is
selling the son from his mother_."
The following communication from the Rev. WILLIAM BARDWELL, of
Sandwich, Massachusetts, has just been published in Zion's Watchman,
New York city:
_Mr. Editor_:--The following fact was given me last evening, from the
pen of a shipmaster, who has traded in several of the principal ports
in the south. He is a man of unblemished character, a member of the
M.E. Church in this place, and familiarly known in this town. The
facts were communicated to me last fall in a letter to his wife, with
a request that she would cause them to be published. I give verbatim,
as they were written from the letter by brother Perry's own hand while
I was in his house.
"A Methodist preacher, Wm. Whitby by name, who married in Bucksville,
S.C., and by marriage came into possession of some slaves, in July,
1838, was about moving to another station to preach, and wished, also,
to move his family and slaves to Tennessee, much against the will of
the slaves, one of which, to get clear from him, ran into the woods
after swimming a brook. The parson took after him with his gun, which,
however, got wet and missed fire, when he ran to a neighbor for
another gun, with the intention, as he said, of killing him: he did
not, however, catch or kill him; he chained another for fear of his
running away also. The above particulars were related to me by William
Whitby himself. THOMAS C. PERRY. March 3, 1839."
"I find by examining the minutes of the S.C. Conference, that there is
such a preacher in the Conference, and brother Perry further stated to
me that he was well acquainted with him, and if this statement was
published, and if it could be known where he was since the last
Conference, he wished a paper to be sent him containing the whole
affair. He also stated to me, verbally, that the young man he
attempted to shoot was about nineteen years of age, and had been shut
up in a corn-house, and in the attempt of Mr. Whitby to chain him, he
broke down the door and made his escape as above mentioned, and that
Mr. W. was under the necessity of hiring him out for one year, with
the risk of his employer's getting him. Brother Perry conversed with
one of the slaves, who was so old that he thought it not profitable to
remove so far, and had been sold; _he_ informed him of all the above
circumstances, and said, with tears, that he thought he had been so
faithful as to be entitled to liberty, but instead of making him free,
he had sold him to another master, besides parting one husband and
wife from those ties rendered a thousand times dearer by an infant
child which was torn for ever from the husband.
_Sandwich, Mass._, March 4, 1839."
Mr. WILLIAM POE, till recently a slaveholder in Virginia, now an elder
in the Presbyterian Church at Delhi, Ohio, gives the following
"An elder in the Presbyterian Church in Lynchburg had a most faithful
servant, whom he flogged severely and sent him to prison, and had him
confined as a felon a number of days, for being _saucy_. Another elder
of the same church, an auctioneer, habitually sold slaves at his
stand--very frequently _parted families_--would often go into the
country to sell slaves on execution and otherwise; when remonstrated
with, he justified himself, saying, 'it was his business;' the church
also justified him on the same ground.
"A Doctor Duval, of Lynchburg, Va. got offended with a very faithful,
worthy servant, and immediately sold him to a negro trader, to be
taken to New Orleans; Duval still keeping the wife of the man as his
slave. This Duval was a professor of religion."
Mr. SAMUEL HALL, a teacher in Marietta College, Ohio, says, in a
"A student in Marietta College, from Mississippi, a professor of
religion, and in every way worthy of entire confidence, made to me the
following statement. [If his name were published it would probably
cost him his life.]
"When I was in the family of the Rev. James Martin, of Louisville,
Winston county, Mississippi, in the spring of 1838, Mrs. Martin became
offended at a female slave, because she did not move faster. She
commanded her to do so; the girl quickened her pace; again she was
ordered to move faster, or, Mrs. M. declared, she would break the
broomstick over her head. Again the slave quickened her pace; but not
coming up to the _maximum_ desired by Mrs. M. the latter declared she
would _see_ whether she (the slave) could move or not: and, going into
another apartment, she brought in a raw hide, awaiting the return of
her husband for its application. In this instance I know not what was
the final result, but I have heard the sound of the raw-hide in at
least _two_ other instances, applied by this same reverend gentleman
to the back of his _female_ servant."
Mr. Hall adds--"The name of my informant must be suppressed, as" he
says, "there are those who would cut my throat in a moment, if the
information I give were to be coupled with my name." Suffice it to say
that he is a professor of religion, a native of Virginia, and a
student of Marietta College, whose character will bear the strictest
scrutiny. He says:--
"In 1838, at Charlestown, Va. I conversed with several members of the
church under the care of the Rev. Mr. Brown, of the same place. Taking
occasion to speak of slavery, and of the sin of slaveholding, to one
of them who was a lady, she replied, "I am a slaveholder, and I
_glory_ in it." I had a conversation, a few days after, with the
pastor himself, concerning the state of religion in his church, and
who were the most exemplary members in it. The pastor mentioned
several of those who were of that description; the _first_ of whom,
however, was the identical lady who _gloried_ in being a slaveholder!
That church numbers nearly two hundred members.
"Another lady, who was considered as devoted a Christian as any in the
same church, but who was in poor health, was accustomed to flog some
of her female domestics with a raw-hide till she was exhausted, and
then go and lie down till her strength was recruited, rising again and
resuming the flagellation. This she considered as not at all
derogatory to her Christian character."
Mr. JOEL S. BINGHAM, of Cornwall, Vermont, lately a student in
Middlebury College, and a member of the Congregational Church, spent a
few weeks in Kentucky, in the summer of 1838. He relates the following
occurrence which took place in the neighborhood where he resided, and
was a matter of perfect notoriety in the vicinity.
"Rev. Mr. Lewis, a Baptist minister in the vicinity of Frankfort, Ky.
had a slave that ran away, but was retaken and brought back to his
master, who threatened him with punishment for making an attempt to
escape. Though terrified the slave immediately attempted to run away
again. Mr. L. commanded him to stop, but he did not obey. _Mr. L. then
took a gun, loaded with small shot and fired at the slave, who fell_;
but was not killed, and afterward recovered. Mr. L. did not probably
intend to kill the slave, as it was his legs which were aimed at and
received the contents of the gun. The master asserted that he was
driven to this necessity to maintain his authority. This took place
about the first of July, 1838."
The following is given upon the authority of Rev. ORANGE SCOTT, of
Lowell, Mass. for many years a presiding elder in the Methodist
"Rev. Joseph Hough, a Baptist minister, formerly of Springfield, Mass.
now of Plainfield, N.H. while traveling in the south, a few years ago,
put up one night with a Methodist family, and spent the Sabbath with
them. While there, one of the female slaves did something which
displeased her mistress. She took a chisel and mallet, and very
deliberately cut off one of her toes!"
SLAVE BREEDING AN INDEX OF PUBLIC 'OPINION' AMONG THE 'HIGHEST CLASS
OF SOCIETY' IN VIRGINIA AND OTHER NORTHERN SLAVE STATES.
But we shall be told, that 'slave-breeders' are regarded with
contempt, and the business of slave breeding is looked upon as
despicable; and the hot disclaimer of Mr. Stevenson, our Minister
Plenipotentiary at the Court of St. James, in reply to Mr. O'Connell,
who had intimated that he might be a 'slave breeder,' will doubtless
be quoted. In reply, we need not say what every body knows, that
if Mr. Stevenson is not a 'slave breeder,' he is a solitary exception
among the large slaveholders of Virginia. What! Virginia slaveholders
not 'slave-breeders?' the pretence is ridiculous and contemptible; it
is meanness, hypocrisy, and falsehood, as is abundantly proved by the
testimony which follows:--
Mr. GHOLSON, of Virginia, in his speech in the Legislature of that
state, Jan. 18, 1832, (see Richmond Whig,) says:--
"It has always (perhaps erroneously) been considered by steady and
old-fashioned people, that the owner of land had a reasonable right to
its annual profits; the owner of orchards, to their annual fruits; the
owner of _brood mares_, to their product; and the owner of _female
slaves, to their increase_. We have not the fine-spun intelligence,
nor legal acumen, to discover the technical distinctions drawn by
gentlemen. The legal maxim of '_Partus sequitur ventrem_' is coeval
with the existence of the rights of property itself, and is founded in
wisdom and justice. It is on the justice and inviolability of this
maxim that the master foregoes the service of the female slave; has
her nursed and attended during the period of her gestation, and raises
the helpless and infant offspring. The value of the property justifies
the expense; and I do not hesitate to say, that in its _increase
consists much of our wealth_."
Hon. THOMAS MANN RANDOLPH, of Virginia. formerly Governor of that
state, in his speech before the legislature in 1832, while speaking of
the number of slaves annually sold from Virginia to the more southern
slave states, said:--
"The exportation has _averaged_ EIGHT THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED for the
last twenty years. Forty years ago, the whites exceeded the colored
25,000, the colored now exceed the whites 81,000; and these results
too during an exportation of near 260,000 slaves since the year 1790,
now perhaps the fruitful progenitors of half a million in other
states. It is a practice and an increasing practice, in parts of
Virginia, to rear slaves for market. How can an honorable mind, a
patriot and a lover of his country, bear to see this ancient dominion
converted into one grand menagerie, where men are to be reared for
market, like oxen for the shambles."
Professor DEW, now President of the University of William and Mary,
Virginia, in his Review of the Debate in the Virginia Legislature,
1831-2, says, p 49.
"From all the information we can obtain, we have no hesitation in
saying that upwards of six thousand [slaves] are yearly exported [from
Virginia] to other states.' Again, p. 61: 'The 6000 slaves which
Virginia annually sends off to the south, are a source of wealth to
Virginia'--Again, p. 120: 'A full equivalent being thus left in the
place of the slave, this emigration becomes an advantage to the state,
and does not check the black population as much as, at first view, we
might imagine--because it furnishes every inducement to the master to
attend to the negroes, to ENCOURAGE BREEDING, and to cause the
_greatest number possible to be raised._ &c."
_"Virginia is, in fact, a negro-raising state for other states."_
Extract from the speech of MR. FAULKNER, in the Va. House of
Delegates, 1832. [See Richmond Whig.]
"But he [Mr. Gholson,] has labored to show that the Abolition of
Slavery, were it practicable, would be _impolitic_, because as the
drift of this portion of his argument runs, your slaves constitute the
entire wealth of the state, all the _productive capacity_ Virginia
possesses. And, sir, as things are, _I believe he is correct_. He
says, and in this he is sustained by the gentleman from Halifax, Mr.
Bruce, that the slaves constitute the entire available wealth at
present, of Eastern Virginia. Is it true that for 200 years the only
increase in the wealth and resources of Virginia, has been a remnant
of the natural _increase_ of this miserable race?--Can it be, that on
this _increase_, she places her solo dependence? I had always
understood that indolence and extravagance were the necessary
concomitants of slavery; but, until I heard these declarations, I had
not fully conceived the horrible extent of this evil. These gentlemen
state the fact, which the history and _present aspect of the
Commowealth but too well sustain_. The gentlemen's facts and argument
in support of his plea of impolicy, to me, seem rather unhappy. To me,
such a state of things would itself be conclusive at least, that
something, even as a measure of policy, should be done. What, sir,
have you lived for two hundred years, without personal effort or
productive industry, in extravagance and indolence, sustained alone
_by the return from sales of the increase of slaves_, and retaining
merely such a number as your now impoverished lands can sustain, AS
STOCK, _depending, too, upon a most uncertain market_? When that
market is closed, as in the nature of things it must be, what then
will become of this gentleman's hundred millions worth of slaves, AND
THE ANNUAL PRODUCT?"
In the debates in the Virginia Convention, in 1829, Judge Upsher
said--"The value of slaves as an article of property [and it is in
that view only that they are legitimate subjects of taxation] _depends
much on the state of the market abroad_. In this view, it is the value
of land _abroad_, and not of land here, which furnishes the ratio. It
is well known to us all, that nothing is more fluctuating than the
value of slaves. A late law of Louisiana reduced their value 25 per
cent, in two hours after its passage was known. IF IT SHOULD BE OUR
LOT, AS I TRUST IT WILL BE, TO ACQUIRE THE COUNTRY OF TEXAS, THEIR
PRICE WILL RISE AGAIN."--p. 77.
Mr. Goode, Of Virginia, in his speech before the Virginia Legislature,
in Jan. 1832, [See Richmond Whig, of that date,] said:--
"The superior usefulness of the slaves in the south, will constitute
an _effectual demand_, which will remove them from our limits. We
shall send them from our state, because _it will be our interest to do
so_. Our planters are already becoming farmers. Many who grew tobacco
as their only staple, have already introduced, and commingled the
wheat crop. They are already semi-farmers; and in the natural course
of events, they must become more and more so.--As the greater quantity
of rich western lands are appropriated to the production of the staple
of our planters, that staple will become less profitable.--We shall
gradually divert our lands from its production, until we shall become
actual farmers.--Then will the necessity for slave labor diminish;
then will the effectual demand diminish, and then will the quantity of
slaves diminish, until they shall be adapted to the effectual demand.
"But gentlemen are alarmed _lest the markets of other states be closed
against the introduction of our slaves_. Sir, the demand for slave
labor MUST INCREASE through the South and West. It has been heretofore
limited by the want of capital; but when emigrants shall be relieved
from their embarrassments, contracted by the purchase of their lands,
the annual profits of their estates, will constitute an accumulating
capital, which they will _seek to invest in labor_. That the demand
for labor must increase in proportion to the increase of capital, is
one of the demonstrations of political economists; and I confess, that
for the removal of slavery from Virginia, I look to the efficacy of
that principle; together with the circumstance that our southern
brethren are constrained to continue planters, by their position, soil
The following is from Niles' Weekly Register, published at Baltimore,
Md. vol. 35, p. 4.
_"Dealing in slaves has become a large business_; establishments are
made in several places in Maryland and Virginia, at which they are
sold like cattle; these places of deposit are strongly built, and well
supplied with thumb-screws and gags, and ornamented with cow-skins and
other whips oftentimes bloody."
R.S. FINLEY, Esq., late General Agent of the American Colonization
Society, at a meeting in New York, 27th Feb. 1833, said:
"In Virginia and other grain-growing slave states, the blacks do not
support themselves, and the only profit their masters derive from them
is, repulsive as the idea may justly seem, in breeding them, like
other live stock for the more southern states."
Rev. Dr. GRAHAM, of Fayetteville, N.C. at a Colonization Meeting,
held in that place in the fall of 1837 said:
"He had resided for 15 years in one of the largest slaveholding
counties in the state, had long and anxiously considered the subject,
and still it was dark. There were nearly 7000 slaves offered in New
Orleans market last winter. From Virginia alone 6000 were annually
sent to the south; and from Virginia and N.C. there had gone, in the
same direction, in the last twenty years, 300,000 slaves. While not
4000 had gone to Africa. What it portended, he could not predict, but
he felt deeply, that _we must awake in these states and consider the
Hon. PHILIP DODDRIDGE, of Virginia, in his speech in the Virginia
Convention, in 1829, [Debates p. 89.] said:--
"The acquisition of Texas will greatly _enhance the value of the
property_, in question, [Virginia slaves.]"
Hon C.F. MERCER, in a speech before the same Convention, in 1829,
"The tables of the natural growth of the slave population demonstrate,
when compared with the increase of its numbers in the commonwealth for
twenty years past, that an annual revenue of not less than a million
and a half of dollars is derived from the exportation of a part of
this population." (Debates, p. 199.)
Hon. HENRY CLAY, of Ky., in his speech before the Colonization
Society, in 1829, says:
"It is believed that nowhere in the farming portion of the United
States, would slave labor be generally employed, if the proprietor
were not tempted to RAISE SLAVES BY THE HIGH PRICE OF THE SOUTHERN
MARKET WHICH KEEPS IT UP IN HIS OWN."
The New Orleans Courier, Feb. 15, 1839, speaking of the prohibition of
the African Slave-trade, while the internal slave-trade is plied,
"The United States law may, and probably does, put MILLIONS _into the
pockets of the people living between the Roanoke, and Mason and
Dixon's line_; still we think it would require some casuistry to show
that _the present slave-trade from that quarter_ is a whit better than
the one from Africa. One thing is certain--that its results are more
menacing to the tranquillity of the people in this quarter, as there
can be no comparison between the ability and inclination to do
mischief, possessed by the Virginia negro, and that of the rude and
That the New Orleans Editor does not exaggerate in saying that the
internal slave-trade puts 'millions' into the pockets of the
slaveholders in Maryland and Virginia, is very clear from the
following statement, made by the editor of the Virginia Times, an
influential political paper, published at Wheeling, Virginia. Of the
exact date of the paper we are not quite certain, it was, however,
sometime in 1836, probably near the middle of the year--the file will
show. The editor says:--
"We have heard intelligent men estimate the number of slaves exported
from Virginia within the last twelve months, at 120,000--each slave
averaging at least $600, making an aggregate at $72,000,000. Of the
number of slaves exported, not more than _one-third_ have been sold,
(the others having been carried by their owners, who have removed,)
_which would leave in the state the_ SUM OF $24,000,000 ARISING FROM
THE SALE OF SLAVES."
According to this estimate about FORTY THOUSAND SLAVES WERE SOLD OUT
OF THE STATE OF VIRGINIA IN A SINGLE YEAR, and the 'slave-breeders'
who hold them, put into their pockets TWENTY-FOUR MILLION OF DOLLARS,
the price of the 'souls of men.'
The New York Journal of Commerce of Oct. 12, 1835, contained a letter
from a Virginian, whom the editor calls 'a very good and sensible
man,' asserting that TWENTY THOUSAND SLAVES had been driven to the
south from Virginia _during that year_, nearly one-fourth of which was
The Maryville (Tenn.) Intelligencer, some time in the early part of
1836, (we have not the date,) says, in an article reviewing a
communication of Rev. J.W. Douglass, of Fayetteville, North Carolina:
"Sixty thousand slaves passed through a little western town for the
southern market, during the year 1835."
The Natchez (Miss.) Courier, says "that the states of Louisiana,
Mississippi, Alabama, and Arkansas, imported TWO HUNDRED AND FIFTY
THOUSAND SLAVES from the more northern slave states in the year 1836."
The Baltimore American gives the following from a Mississippi paper,
"The report made by the committee of the citizens Of Mobile, appointed
at their meeting held on the 1st instant, on the subject of the
existing pecuniary pressure, states, among other things: that so large
has been the return of slave labor, that purchases by Alabama of that
species of property from other states since 1833, have amounted to
about TEN MILLION DOLLARS ANNUALLY."
FURTHER the _inhumanity_ of a slaveholding 'public opinion' toward
slaves, follows legitimately from the downright ruffianism of the
slaveholding _spirit_ in the 'highest class of society,' When roused,
it tramples upon all the proprieties and courtesies, and even common
decencies of life, and is held in check by none of those
considerations of time, and place, and relations of station,
character, law, and national honor, which are usually sufficient, even
in the absence of conscientious principles, to restrain other men from
outrages. Our National Legislature is a fit illustration of this.
Slaveholders have converted the Congress of the United States into a
very bear garden. Within the last three years some of the most
prominent slaveholding members of the House, and among them the late
speaker, have struck and kicked, and throttled, and seized each other
by the hair, and with their fists pummelled each other's faces, on the
floor of Congress. We need not publish an account of what every body
knows, that during the session of the last Congress, Mr. Wise of
Virginia and Mr. Bynum of North Carolina, after having called each
other "liars, villains" and "damned rascals" sprung from their seats
"both sufficiently armed for any desperate purpose," cursing each
other as they rushed together, and would doubtless have butchered each
other on the floor of Congress, if both had not been seized and held
by their friends.
The New York Gazette relates the following which occurred at the close
of the session of 1838.
"The House could not adjourn without another brutal and bloody row. It
occurred on Sunday morning immediately at the moment of adjournment,
between Messrs. Campbell and Maury, both of Tennessee. He took offence
at some remarks made to him by his colleague, Mr. Campbell, and the
The Huntsville (Ala.) Democrat of June 16, 1838, gives the particulars
"Mr. Maury is said to be badly hurt. He was near losing his life by
being knocked through the window; but his adversary, it is said, saved
him by clutching the hair of his head with his left hand, while he
struck him with his right."
The same number of the Huntsville Democrat, contains the particulars
of a fist-fight on the floor of the House of Representatives, between
Mr. Bell, the late Speaker, and his colleague Mr. Turney of Tennessee.
The following is an extract:
"Mr. Turney concluded his remarks in reply to Mr. Bell, in the course
of which he commented upon that gentleman's course at different
periods of his political career with great severity.
"He did not think his colleague [Mr. Turney,] was actuated by private
malice, but was the willing voluntary instrument of others, the tool
Mr. Turney. It is false! it is false!
Mr. Stanley called Mr. TURNEY to order.
At the same moment both gentlemen were perceived in personal conflict,
and blows with the fist were aimed by each at the other. Several
members interfered, and suppressed the personal violence; others
called order, order, and some called for the interference of the
The Speaker hastily took the chair, and insisted upon order; but both
gentlemen continued struggling, and endeavoring, notwithstanding the
constraint of their friends, to strike each other."
The correspondent of the New York Gazette gives the following, which
took place about the time of the preceding affrays:
"The House was much agitated last night, by the passage between Mr.
Biddle, of Pittsburgh, and Mr. Downing, of Florida. Mr. D. exclaimed
"do you impute falsehood to me!" at the same time catching up some
missile and making a demonstration to advance upon Mr. Biddle. Mr.
Biddle repeated his accusation, and meanwhile, Mr. Downing was
arrested by many members."
The last three fights all occurred, if we mistake not, in the short
space of one month. The fisticuffs between Messrs. Bynum and Wise
occurred at the previous session of Congress. At the same session
Messrs. Peyton of Tenn. and Wise of Virginia, went armed with pistols
and dirks to the meeting of a committee of Congress, and threatened to
shoot a witness while giving his testimony.
We begin with the first on the list. Who are Messrs. Wise and Bynum?
Both slaveholders. Who are Messrs. Campbell and Maury? Both
slaveholders. Who are Messrs. Bell and Turney? Both slaveholders. Who
is Mr. Downing, who seized a weapon and rushed upon Mr. Biddle? A
slaveholder. Who is Mr. Peyton who drew his pistol on a witness before
a committee of Congress? A slaveholder of course. All these bullies
were slaveholders, and they magnified their office, and slaveholding
was justified of her children. We might fill a volume with similar
chronicles of slaveholding brutality. But time would fail us. Suffice
it to say, that since the organization of the government, a majority
of the most distinguished men in the slaveholding states have gloried
in strutting over the stage in the character of murderers. Look at the
men whom the people delight to honor. President Jackson, Senator
Benton, the late Gen. Coffee,--it is but a few years since these
slaveholders shot at, and stabbed, and stamped upon each other in a
tavern broil. General Jackson had previously killed Mr. Dickenson.
Senator Clay of Kentucky has immortalized himself by shooting at a
near relative of Chief Justice Marshall, and being wounded by him; and
not long after by shooting at John Randolph of Virginia. Governor
M'Duffie of South Carolina has signalized himself also, both by
shooting and being shot,--so has Governor Poindexter, and Governor
Rowan, and Judge M'Kinley of the U.S. Supreme Court, late senator in
Congress from Alabama,--but we desist; a full catalogue would fill
pages. We will only add, that a few months since, in the city of
London, Governor Hamilton, of South Carolina, went armed with pistols,
to the lodgings of Daniel O'Connell, 'to stop his wind' in the
bullying slang of his own published boast. During the last session of
Congress Messrs. Dromgoole and Wise of Virginia, W. Cost Johnson
and Jenifer of Maryland, Pickens and Campbell of South Carolina, and
we know not how many more slaveholding members of Congress have been
engaged, either as principals or seconds, in that species of murder
dignified with the name of duelling. But enough; we are heart-sick.
What meaneth all this? Are slaveholders worse than other men? No! but
arbitrary power has wrought in them its mystery of iniquity, and
poisoned their better nature with its infuriating sorcery.
Their savage ferocity toward each other when their passions are up, is
the natural result of their habit of daily plundering and oppressing
The North Carolina Standard of August 30, 1837, contains the following
illustration of this ferocity exhibited by two southern lawyers in
settling the preliminaries of a duel.
"The following conditions were proposed by Alexander K. McClung, of
Raymond, in the State of Mississippi, to H.C. Stewart, as the laws to
govern a duel they were to fight near Vicksburg:
"Article 1st. The parties shall meet opposite Vicksburg, in the State
of Louisiana, on Thursday the 29th inst. precisely at 4 o'clock, P.M.
"2d. The weapons to be used by each shall weigh one pound two and a
half ounces, measuring sixteen inches and a half in length, including
the handle, and one inch and three-eighths in breadth. Agreed to.
"3d. Both knives shall be sharp on one edge, and on the back shall be
sharp only one inch at the point. Agreed to.
"4th. Each party shall stand at the distance of eight feet from the
other, until the word is given. Agreed to.
"5th. The second of each party shall throw up, with a silver dollar, on
the ground, for the word, and two best out of three shall win the
word. Agreed to.
"6th. After the word is given, either party may take what advantage he
can with his knife, but on throwing his knife at the other, shall be
shot down by the second of his opponent. Agreed to.
"7th. Each party shall be stripped entirely naked, except one pair of
linen pantaloons; one pair of socks, and boots or pumps as the party
please. Acceded to.
"8th. The wrist of the left arm of each party shall be tied tight to
his left thigh, and a strong cord shall be fastened around his left
arm at the elbow, and then around his body. Rejected.
"9th. After the word is given, each party shall be allowed to advance
or recede as he pleases, over the space of twenty acres of ground,
until death ensues to one of the parties. Agreed to--the parties to be
placed in the centre of the space.
"10th. The word shall be given by the winner of the same, in the
following manner, viz: "Gentlemen are you ready?" Each party shall
then answer, "I am!" The second giving the word shall then distinctly
command--_strike_. Agreed to.
"If either party shall violate these rules, upon being notified by the
second of either party, he may be liable to be shot down instantly. As
established usage points out the duty of both parties, therefore
notification is considered unnecessary."
The FAVORITE AMUSEMENTS of slaveholders, like the gladiatorial shows
of Rome and the Bull Fights of Spain, reveal a public feeling
insensible to suffering, and a depth of brutality in the highest
degree revolting to every truly noble mind. One of their most common
amusements is cock fighting. Mains of cocks, with twenty, thirty, and
fifty cocks on each side, are fought for hundreds of dollars aside.
The fowls are armed with steel spurs or '_gafts_,' about two inches
long. These 'gafts' are fastened upon the legs by sawing off the
_natural_ 'spur,' leaving only enough of it to answer the purpose of a
_stock_ for the tube of the "gafts," which are so sharp that at a
stroke the fowls thrust them through each other's necks and heads, and
tear each other's bodies till one or both dies, then two others are
brought forward for the amusement of the multitude assembled, and this
barbarous pastime is often kept up for days in succession, hundreds
and thousands gathering from a distance to witness it. The following
advertisements from the Raleigh Register, June 18, 1838, edited by
Messrs. Gales and Son, the father and brother of Mr. Gales, editor of
the National Intelligencer, and late Mayor of Washington City, reveal
the public sentiment of North Carolina.
"CHATHAM AGAINST NASH, or any other county in the State. I am
authorized to take a bet of any amount that may be offered, to FIGHT A
MAIN OF COCKS, at any place that may be agreed upon by the parties--to
be fought the ensuing spring. GIDEON ALSTON. Chatham county, June 7,
Two weeks after, this challenge was answered as follows:
"TO MR. GIDEON ALSTON, of Chatham county, N.C.
"SIR: In looking over the North Carolina Standard of the 20th inst. I
discover a challenge over your signature, headed 'Chatham against
Nash,' in which you state: that you are 'authorized to take a bet of
any amount that may be offered, to fight a main of cocks, at any place
that may be agreed upon by the parties, to be fought the ensuing
spring' which challenge I ACCEPT: and do propose to meet you at
Rolesville, in Wake county, N.C. on the last Wednesday in May next,
the parties to show thirty-one cocks each--fight four days, and be
governed by the rules as laid down in Turner's Cock Laws--which, if
you think proper to accede to, you will signify through this or any
other medium you may select, and then I will name the sum for which we
shall fight, as that privilege was surrendered by you in your
"I am, sir, very respectfully, &c. NICHOLAS W. ARRINGTON, near
Hilliardston, Nash co. North Carolina June 22nd, 1838"
The following advertisement in the Richmond Whig, of July 12, 1837,
exhibits the public sentiment of Virginia.
"MAIN OF COCKS.--A large 'MAIN OF COCKS,' 21 a side, for $25 'the
fight', and $500 'the odd,' will be fought between the County of
Dinwiddie on one part, and the Counties of Hanover and Henrico on the
"The 'regular' fighting will be continued _three days_, and from the
large number of 'game uns' on both sides and in the adjacent country,
will be prolonged no doubt a _fourth_. To prevent confusion and
promote 'sport,' the Pit will be enclosed and furnished with _seats_;
so that those having a curiosity to witness a species of diversion
originating in a better day (for they had no rag money then,) can have
_that_ very _natural_ feeling gratified.
"The Petersburg Constellation is requested to copy."
_Horse-racing_ too, as every body knows, is a favorite amusement of
slaveholders. Every slave state has its race course, and in the older
states almost every county has one on a small scale. There is hardly a
day in the year, the weather permitting, in which crowds do not
assemble at the south to witness this barbarous sport. Horrible
cruelty is absolutely inseparable from it. Hardly a race occurs of any
celebrity in which some one of the coursers is not lamed, 'broken
down,' or in some way seriously injured, often for life, and not
unfrequently they are killed by the rupture of some vital part in the
struggle. When the heats are closely contested, the blood of the
tortured animal drips from the lash and flies at every leap from the
stroke of the rowel. From the breaking of girths and other accidents,
their riders (mostly slaves) are often thrown and maimed or killed.
Yet these amusements are attended by thousands in every part of the
slave states. The wealth and fashion, the gentlemen and _ladies_ of
the 'highest circles' at the south, throng the race course.
That those who can fasten steel spurs upon the legs of dunghill fowls,
and goad the poor birds to worry and tear each other to death--and
those who can crowd by thousands to _witness_ such barbarity--that
those who can throng the race-course and with keen relish witness the
hot pantings of the life-struggle, the lacerations and fitful spasms
of the muscles, swelling through the crimsoned foam, as the tortured
steeds rush in blood-welterings to the goal--that such, should look
upon the sufferings of their slaves with, indifference is certainly
Perhaps we shall be told that there are thronged race-courses at the
North. True, there are a few, and they are thronged chiefly by
_Southerners_, and 'Northern men with _Southern_ principles,' and
supported mainly by the patronage of slaveholders who summer at the
North. Cock-fighting and horse-racing are "_Southern_ institutions."
The idleness, contempt of labor, dissipation, sensuality, brutality,
cruelty, and meanness, engendered by the habit of making men and women
work without pay, and flogging them if they demur at it, constitutes a
congenial soil out of which cock-fighting and horse-racing are the
Again,--The kind treatment of the slaves is often argued from the
liberal education and enlarged views of slaveholders. The facts and
reasonings of the preceding pages have shown, that 'liberal
education,' despotic habits and ungoverned passions work together with
slight friction. And every day's observation shows that the former is
often a stimulant to the latter.
But the notion so common at the north that the majority of the
slaveholders are persons of education, is entirely erroneous. A _very
few_ slaveholders in each of the slave states have been men of _ripe_
education, to whom our national literature is much indebted. A larger
number may be called _well_ educated--these reside mostly in the
cities and large villages, but a majority of the slaveholders are
ignorant men, thousands of them notoriously so, _mere boors_ unable to
write their names or to read the alphabet.
No one of the slave states has probably so much general education as
Virginia. It is the oldest of them--has furnished one half of the
presidents of the United States--has expended more upon her university
than any state in the Union has done during the same time upon its
colleges--sent to Europe nearly twenty years since for her most
learned professors, and in fine, has far surpassed every other slave
state in her efforts to disseminate education among her citizens, and
yet, the Governor of Virginia in his message to the legislature (Jan.
7, 1839) says, that of four thousand six hundred and fourteen adult
males in that state, who applied to the county clerks for marriage
licenses in the year 1837, 'ONE THOUSAND AND FORTY SEVEN _were unable
to write their names_.' The governor adds, 'These statements, it will
be remembered, are confined to one sex: the education of females it is
to be feared, is in a condition of _much greater neglect_.'
The Editor of the Virginia Times, published at Wheeling, in his paper
of Jan. 23, 1839, says,--
"We have every reason to suppose that one-fourth of the people of the
state cannot write their names, and they have not, of course, any
other species of education."
Kentucky is the child of Virginia; her first settlers were some of the
most distinguished citizens of the mother state; in the general
diffusion of intelligence amongst her citizens Kentucky is probably in
advance of all the slave states except Virginia and South Carolina;
and yet Governor Clark, in his last message to the Kentucky
Legislature, (Dec 5, 1838) makes the following declaration: "From the
computation of those most familiar with the subject, it appears that
AT LEAST ONE THIRD OF THE ADULT POPULATION OF THE STATE ARE UNABLE TO
WRITE THEIR NAMES."
The following advertisement in the "Milledgeville (Geo.) Journal,"
Dec. 26, 1837, is another specimen from one of the 'old thirteen.'
"NOTICE.--I, Pleasant Webb, of the State of Georgia, Oglethorpe
county, being an _illiterate man, and not able to write my own name_,
and whereas it hath been represented to me that there is a certain
promissory note or notes out against me that I know nothing of, and
further that some man in this State holds a bill of sale for _a
certain negro woman named Ailsey and her increase, a part of which is
now in my possession_, which I also know nothing of. Now do hereby
certify and declare, that I have no knowledge whatsoever of any such
papers existing in my name as above stated and I hereby require all or
any person or persons whatsoever holding or pretending to hold any
such papers, to produce them to me within thirty days from the date
hereof, shewing their authority for holding the same, or they will be
considered fictitious and fraudulently obtained or raised, by some
person or persons for base purposes after my death.
"Given under my hand this 2nd day of December, 1837. PLEASANT WEBB.
his mark X."
FINALLY, THAT SLAVES MUST HABITUALLY SUFFER GREAT CRUELTIES, FOLLOWS
INEVITABLY FROM THE BRUTAL OUTRAGES WHICH THEIR MASTERS INFLICT ON
Slaveholders, exercising from childhood irresponsible power over human
beings, and in the language of President Jefferson, "giving loose to
the worst of passions" in the treatment of their slaves, become in a
great measure unfitted for self control in their intercourse with each
other. Tempers accustomed to riot with loose reins, spurn restraints,
and passions inflamed by indulgence, take fire on the least friction.
We repeat it, the state of society in the slave states, the duels, and
daily deadly affrays of slaveholders with each other--the fact that
the most deliberate and cold-blooded murders are committed at noon
day, in the presence of thousands, and the perpetrators eulogized by
the community as "honorable men," reveals such a prostration of law,
as gives impunity to crime--a state of society, an omnipresent public
sentiment reckless of human life, taking bloody vengeance on the spot
for every imaginary affront, glorying in such assassinations as the
only true honor and chivalry, successfully defying the civil arm, and
laughing its impotency to scorn.
When such things are done in the green tree, what will be done in the
dry? When slaveholders are in the habit of caning, stabbing, and
shooting _each other_ at every supposed insult, the unspeakable
enormities perpetrated by such men, with such passions, upon their
defenceless slaves, _must_ be beyond computation. To furnish the
reader with an illustration of slaveholding civilization and morality,
as exhibited in the unbridled fury, rage, malignant hate, jealousy,
diabolical revenge, and all those infernal passions that shoot up rank
in the hot-bed of arbitrary power, we will insert here a mass of
testimony, detailing a large number of affrays, lynchings,
assassinations, &c., &c., which have taken place in various parts of
the slave states within a brief period--and to leave no room for cavil
on the subject, these extracts will be made exclusively from
newspapers published in the slave states, and generally in the
immediate vicinity of the tragedies described. They will not be made
second hand from _northern_ papers, but from the original _southern_
papers, which now lie on our table.
Before proceeding to furnish details of certain classes of crimes in
the slave states, we advertise the reader--1st. That _we shall not_
include in the list those crimes which are ordinarily committed in the
free, as well as in the slave states. 2d. We shall not include any of
the crimes perpetrated by whites upon slaves and free colored persons,
who constitute a majority of the population in Mississippi and
Louisiana, a large majority in South Carolina, and, on an average,
two-fifths in the other slave states. 3d. Fist fights, canings,
beatings, biting off noses and ears, gougings, knockings down, &c.,
unless they result in _death_, will not be included in the list, nor
will _ordinary_ murders, unless connected with circumstances that
serve as a special index of public sentiment. 4th. Neither will
_ordinary, formal duels_ be included, except in such cases as just
specified. 5th. The only crimes which, as the general rule, will be
specified, will be deadly affrays with bowie knives, dirks, pistols.
rifles, guns, or other death weapons, and _lynchings_. 6th. The crimes
enumerated will, for the most part, be only those perpetrated
_openly_, without _attempt at concealment_. 7th. We shall not attempt
to give a full list of the affrays, &c., that took place in the
respective states during the period selected, as the only files of
southern papers to which we have access are very imperfect.
The reader will perceive, from these preliminaries, that only a
_small_ proportion of the crimes actually perpetrated in the
respective slave states during the period selected, will be entered
upon this list. He will also perceive, that the crimes which will be
presented are of a class rarely perpetrated in the free states; and if
perpetrated there at all, they are, with scarcely an exception,
committed either by slaveholders, temporarily resident in them, or by
persons whose passions have been inflamed by the poison of a southern
contact--whose habits and characters have become perverted by living
among slaveholders, and adopting the code of slaveholding morality.
We now proceed to the details, commencing with the new state of
At the last session of the legislature of that state, Col. John
Wilson, President of the Bank at Little Rock, the capital of the
state, was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives. He had
been elected to that office for a number of years successively, and
was one of the most influential citizens of the state. While presiding
over the deliberations of the House, he took umbrage at words spoken
in debate by Major Anthony, a conspicuous member, came down from the
Speaker's chair, drew a large bowie knife from his bosom, and attacked
Major A., who defended himself for some time, but was at last stabbed
through the heart, and fell dead on the floor. Wilson deliberately
wiped the blood from his knife, and returned to his seat. The
following statement of the circumstances of the murder, and the trial
of the murderer, is abridged from the account published in the
Arkansas Gazette, a few months since--it is here taken from the
Knoxville (Tennessee) Register, July 4, 1838.
"On the 14th of December last, Maj. Joseph J. Anthony, a member of the
Legislature of Arkansas, was murdered, while performing his duty as a
member of the House of Representatives, by John Wilson, Speaker of
"The facts were these: A bill came from the Senate, commonly called the
_Wolf Bill_. Among the amendments proposed, was one by Maj. Anthony,
that the signature of the President of the Real Estate Bank should be
attached to the certificate of the wolf scalp. Col. Wilson, the
Speaker, asked Maj. Anthony whether he intended the remark as
personal. Maj. Anthony promptly said, "_No, I do not_." And at that
instant of time, a message was delivered from the Senate, which
suspended the proceedings of the House for a few minutes. Immediately
after the messenger from the Senate had retired, Maj. Anthony rose
from his seat, and said he wished to explain, that he did not intend
to insult the Speaker or the House; when Wilson, interrupting,
peremptorily ordered him to take his seat. Maj. Anthony said, as a
member, he had a right to the floor, to explain himself. Wilson said,
in an angry tone, 'Sit down, or you had better;' and thrust his hand
into his bosom, and drew out a large bowie knife, 10 or 11 inches in
length, and descended from the Speaker's chair to the floor, with the
knife drawn in a menacing manner. Maj. Anthony, seeing the danger he
was placed in, by Wilson's advance on him with a drawn knife, rose
from his chair, set it out of his way, stepped back a pace or two, and
drew his knife. Wilson caught up a chair, and struck Anthony with it.
Anthony, recovering from the blow, caught the chair in his left hand,
and a fight ensued over the chair. Wilson received two wounds, one on
each arm, and Anthony lost his knife, either by throwing it at Wilson,
or it escaped by accident. After Anthony had lost his knife, Wilson
advanced on Anthony, who was then retreating, looking over his
shoulder. Seeing Wilson pursuing him, he threw a chair. Wilson still
pursued, and Anthony raised another chair as high as his breast, with
a view, it is supposed, of keeping Wilson off. Wilson then caught hold
of the chair with his left hand, raised it up, and with his right hand
deliberately thrust the knife, up to the hilt, into Anthony's heart,
and as deliberately drew it out, and wiping off the blood with his
thumb and finger, retired near to the Speaker's chair.
"As the knife was withdrawn from Anthony's heart, he fell a lifeless
corpse on the floor, without uttering a word, or scarcely making a
struggle; so true did the knife, as deliberately directed, pierce his
"Three days elapsed before the constituted authorities took any notice