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The Anti-Slavery Examiner, Part 2 of 4 by American Anti-Slavery Society

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reputation of being a good overseer, and an excellent manager, when
sober. The slaves on some of the neighboring plantations were certainly
worse clothed and fed, and more frequently and cruelly whipped than
ours. Whenever the saw them they complained of over working and short
feeding. One of Flincher's, and one of Sturtivant's hands ran away,
while I was in Alabama: and after remaining in the woods awhile, and
despairing of being able to effect their escape, resolved to put an end
to their existence and their slavery together. Each twisted himself a
vine of the muscadine grape, and fastened one end around the limb of an
oak, and made a noose in the other. Jacob, Flincher's man, swung himself
off first, and expired after a long struggle. The other, horrified by
the contortions and agony of his comrade, dropped his noose, and was
retaken. When discovered, two or three days afterwards, the body of
Jacob was dreadfully torn and mangled, by the buzzards, those winged
hyenas and goules of the Southwest.

Among the slaves who were brought from Virginia, were two young and
bright mulatto women, who were always understood throughout the
plantation to have been the daughters of the elder Larrimore, by one of
his slaves. One was named Sarah and the other Hannah. Sarah, being in a
state of pregnancy, failed of executing her daily allotted task of
hoeing cotton. I was ordered to whip her, and on my remonstrating with
the overseer, and representing the condition of the woman, I was told
that my business was to obey orders, and that if I was told "to whip a
dead nigger I must do it." I accordingly gave her fifty lashes. This was
on Thursday evening. On Friday she also failed through weakness, and was
compelled to lie down in the field. That night the overseer himself
whipped her. On Saturday the wretched woman dragged herself once more to
the cotton field. In the burning sun, and in a situation which would
have called forth pity in the bosom of any one save a cotton-growing
overseer, she struggled to finish her task. She failed--nature could do
no more--and sick and despairing, she sought her cabin. There the
overseer met her and inflicted fifty more lashes upon her already
lacerated back.

The next morning was the Sabbath. It brought no joy to that suffering
woman. Instead of the tones of the church bell summoning to the house of
prayer, she heard the dreadful sound of the lash falling upon the backs
of her brethren and sisters in bondage. For the voice of prayer she
heard curses. For the songs of Zion obscene and hateful blasphemies. No
bible was there with its consolations for the sick of heart. Faint and
fevered, scarred and smarting from the effects of her cruel punishment,
she lay upon her pallet of moss--dreading the coming of her relentless
persecutor,--who, in the madness of one of his periodical fits of
drunkenness, was now swearing and cursing through the quarters.

Some of the poor woman's friends on the evening before, had attempted to
relieve her of the task which had been assigned her, but exhausted
nature, and the selfishness induced by their own miserable situation,
did not permit them to finish it and the overseer, on examination, found
that the week's work of the woman, was still deficient. After breakfast,
he ordered her to be tied up to the limb of a tree, by means of a rope
fastened round her wrists, so as to leave her feet about six inches from
the ground. She begged him to let her down for she was very sick.

"Very well!" he exclaimed with a sneer and a laugh,--"I shall bleed you
then, and take out some of your Virginia blood. You are too proud a miss
for Alabama."

He struck her a few blows. Swinging thus by her arms, she succeeded in
placing one of her feet against the body of the tree, and thus partly
supported herself, and relieved in some degree the painful weight upon
her wrists. He threw down his whip--took a rail from the garden fence,
ordered her feet to be tied together, and thrust the rail between them.
He then ordered one of the hands to sit upon it. Her back at this time
was bare, but the strings of the only garment which she wore passed over
her shoulders and prevented the full force of the whip from acting on
her flesh. These he cut off with his pen-knife, and thus left her
entirely naked. He struck her only two blows, for the second one cut
open her side and abdomen with a frightful gash. Unable to look on any
longer in silence, I entreated him to stop, as I feared he had killed
her. The overseer looked at the wound--dropped his whip, and ordered her
to be untied. She was carried into the house in a state of
insensibility, and died in three days after.

During the whole season of picking cotton, the whip was frequently and
severely plied. In his seasons of intoxication, the overseer made no
distinction between the stout man and the feeble and delicate woman--the
sick and the well. Women in a far advanced state of pregnancy were
driven out to the cotton field. At other times he seemed to have some
consideration; and to manifest something like humanity. Our hands did
not suffer for food--they had a good supply of ham and corn-meal, while
on Flincher's plantation the slaves had meat but once a year, at

Near the commencement of the weeding season of 1835, I was ordered to
whip a young woman, a light mustee, for not performing her task. I told
the overseer that she was sick. He said he did not care for that, she
should be made to work. A day or two afterwards, I found him in the
house half intoxicated. He demanded of me why I had not whipped the
girl; and I gave the same reason as before. He flew into a dreadful
rage, but his miserable situation made him an object of contempt rather
than fear. He sat shaking his fist at me, and swearing for nearly half
an hour. He said he would teach the Virginia lady to sham sickness; and
that the only reason I did not whip her was, that she was a white woman,
and I did not like to cut up her delicate skin. Some time after I was
ordered to give two of our women, named Hannah and big Sarah, 150 lashes
each, for not performing their tasks. The overseer stood by until he saw
Hannah whipped, and until Sarah had been tied up to the tree. As soon as
his back was turned I struck the tree instead of the woman, who
understanding my object, shrieked as if the whip at every blow was
cutting into her flesh. The overseer heard the blows and the woman's
cries, and supposing that all was going on according to his mind, left
the field. Unfortunately the husband of Hannah stood looking on; and
indignant that his wife should be whipped and Sarah spared, determined
to revenge himself by informing against me.

Next morning Huckstep demanded of me whether I had whipped Sarah the day
before; I replied in the affirmative. Upon this he called Sarah forward
and made her show her back, which bore no traces of recent whipping. He
then turned upon me and told me that the blows intended for Sarah should
be laid on my back. That night the overseer, with the help of three of
the hands, tied me up to a large tree--my arms and legs being clasped
round it, and my body drawn up hard against it by two men pulling at my
arms and one pushing against my back. The agony occasioned by this alone
was almost intolerable. I felt a sense of painful suffocation, and could
scarcely catch my breath.

A moment after I felt the first blow of the overseer's whip across my
shoulders. It seemed to cut into my very heart. I felt the blood gush,
and run down my back. I fainted at length under the torture, and on
being taken down, my shoes contained blood which ran from the gashes in
my back. The skin was worn off from by breast, arms, and thighs, against
the rough bark of the tree. I was sick and feverish, and in great pain
for three weeks afterwards; most of which time I was obliged to lie with
my face downwards, in consequence of the extreme soreness of my sides
and back, Huckstep himself seemed concerned about me, and would come
frequently to see me, and tell me that he should not have touched me had
it not been for "the cursed peach brandy."

Almost the first person that I was compelled to whip after I recovered,
was the man who pushed at my back when I was tied up to the tree. The
hands who were looking on at that time, all thought he pushed me much
harder than was necessary: and they expected that I would retaliate upon
him the injury I had received. After he was tied up, the overseer told
me to give him a severe flogging, and left me. I struck the tree instead
of the man. His wife, who was looking on, almost overwhelmed me with her

At length one morning, late in the fall of 1835, I saw Huckstep, and a
gentleman ride out to the field. As they approached, I saw the latter
was my master. The hands all ceased their labor, and crowded around him,
inquiring about old Virginia. For my own part, I could not hasten to
greet him. He had too cruelly deceived me. He at length came towards me,
and seemed somewhat embarrassed. "Well James," said he, "how do you
stand it here?" "Badly enough," I replied. "I had no thought that you
could be so cruel as to go away and leave me as you did." "Well, well,
it was too bad, but it could not be helped--you must blame Huckstep for
it." "But," said I, "I was not his servant; I belonged to you, and you
could do as you pleased." "Well," said he, "we will talk about that by
and by." He then inquired of Huckstep where big Sarah was. "She was sick
and died," was the answer. He looked round amoung the slaves again, and
inquired for Harry. The overseer told him that Harry undertook to kill
him, and that, to save his life, he was obliged to fire upon him, and
that he died of the wound. After some further inquiries, he requested me
to go into the house with him. He then asked me to tell him how things
had been managed during his absence. I gave him a full account of the
overseer's cruelty. When he heard of the manner of Harry's death, he
seemed much affected and shed tears. He was a favorite servant of his
father's. I showed him the deep scars on my back occasioned by the
whipping I had received. He was, or professed to be, highly indignant
with Huckstep; and said he would see to it that he did not lay hands on
me again. He told me he should be glad to take me with him to Virginia,
but he did not know where he should find a driver who would be so kind
to the hands as I was. If I would stay ten years, he would give me a
thousand dollars, and a piece of land to plant on my own account. "But,"
said I, "my wife and children." "Well," said he, "I will do my best to
purchase them, and send them on to you." I now saw that my destiny was
fixed: and that I was to spend my days in Alabama, and I retired to my
bed that evening with a heavy heart.

My master staid only three or four days on the plantation. Before he
left, he cautioned Huckstep to be careful and not strike me again, as he
would on no account permit it. He told him to give the hands food
enough, and not over-work them, and, having thus satisfied his
conscience, left us to our fate.

Out of the two hundred and fourteen slaves who were brought out from
Virginia, at least one-third of them were members of the Methodist and
Baptist churches in that State. Of this number five or six could read.
Then had been torn away from the care and discipline of their respective
churches, and from the means of instruction, but they retained their
love for the exercises of religion; and felt a mournful pleasure in
speaking of the privileges and spiritual blessings which they enjoyed in
Old Virginia. Three of them had been preachers, or exhorters, viz.
Solomon, usually called Uncle Solomon, Richard and David. Uncle Solomon
was a grave, elderly man, mild and forgiving in his temper, and greatly
esteemed among the more serious portion of our hands. He used to snatch
every occasion to talk to the lewd and vicious about the concerns of
their souls, and to advise them to fix their minds upon the Savior, as
their only helper. Some I have heard curse and swear in answer, and
others would say that they could not keep their minds upon God and the
devil (meaning Huckstep) at the same time: that it was of no use to try
to be religious--they had no time--that the overseer wouldn't let them
meet to pray--and that even Uncle Solomon, when he prayed, had to keep
one eye open all the time, to see if Huckstep was coming. Uncle Solomon
could both read and write, and had brought out with him from Virginia a
Bible, a hymn-book, and some other religious books, which he carefully
concealed from the overseer, Huckstep was himself an open infidel as
well as blasphemer. He used to tell the hands that there was no hell
hereafter for white people, but that they had their punishment on earth
in being obliged to take care of the negroes. As for the blacks, he was
sure there was a hell for them. He used frequently to sit with his
bottle by his side, and a Bible in his hand; and read passages and
comment on them, and pronounce them lies. Any thing like religious
feeling among the slaves irritated him. He said that so much praying and
singing prevented the people from doing their tasks, as it kept them up
nights, when they should be asleep. He used to mock, and in every
possible way interrupt the poor slaves, who after the toil of the day,
knelt in their lowly cabins to offer their prayers and supplications to
Him whose ear is open to the sorrowful sighing of the prisoner, and who
hath promised in His own time to come down and deliver. In his drunken
seasons he would make excursions at night through the slave-quarters,
enter the cabins, and frighten the inmates, especially if engaged in
prayer or singing. On one of these occasions he came back rubbing his
hands and laughing. He said he had found Uncle Solomon in his garden,
down on his knees, praying like an old owl, and had tipped him over, and
frightened him half out of his wits. At another time he found Uncle
David sitting on his stool with his face thrust up the chimney, in order
that his voice might not be heard by his brutal persecutor. He was
praying, giving utterance to these words, probably in reference to his
bondage:--"_How long, oh, Lord, how long_?" "As long as my whip!" cried
the overseer, who had stolen behind him, giving him a blow. It was the
sport of a demon.

Not long after my master had left us, the overseer ascertained for the
first time that some of the hands could read, and that they had brought
books with them from Virginia. He compelled them to give up the keys of
their chests, and on searching found several Bibles and hymn-books.
Uncle Solomon's chest contained quite a library, which he could read at
night by the light of knots of the pitchpine. These books he collected
together, and in the evening called Uncle Solomon into the house. After
jeering him for some time, he gave him one of the Bibles and told him to
name his text and preach him a sermon. The old man was silent. He then
made him get up on the table, and ordered him to pray. Uncle Solomon
meekly replied, that "forced prayer was not good for soul or body." The
overseer then knelt down himself, and in a blasphemous manner, prayed
that the Lord would send his spirit into Uncle Solomon; or else let the
old man fall from the table and break his neck, and so have an end of
"nigger preaching." On getting up from his knees he went to the
cupboard, poured out a glass of brandy for himself, and brought another
to the table. "James," said he, addressing me, "Uncle Solomon stands
there, for all the world, like a Hickory Quaker. His spirit don't move.
I'll see if another spirit wont move it." He compelled the old preacher
to swallow the brandy; and then told him to preach and exhort, for the
spirit was in him. He set one of the Bibles on fire, and after it was
consumed, mixed up the ashes of it in a glass of water, and compelled
the old man to drink it, telling him that as the spirit and the word
were now both in him, there was no longer any excuse for not preaching.
After tormenting the wearied old man in this way until nearly midnight
he permitted him to go to his quarters.

The next day I saw Uncle Solomon, and talked with him about his
treatment. He said it would not always be so--that slavery was to come
to an end, for the Bible said so--that there would then be no more
whippings and fightings, but the lion the lamb would lie down together,
and all would be love. He said he prayed for Huckstep--that it was not
he but the devil in him who behaved so. At his request, I found means to
get him a Bible and a hymn-book from the overseer's room; and the old
man ever afterwards kept them concealed in the hen-house.

The weeding season of 1836, was marked by repeated acts of cruelty on
the part of Huckstep. One of the hands, Priscilla, was, owing to her
delicate situation, unable to perform her daily task. He ordered her to
be tied up against a tree, in the same manner that I had been. In this
situation she was whipped until _she was delivered of a dead infant, at
the foot of the tree_! Our men took her upon a sheet, and carried her to
the house, where she lay sick for several months, but finally recovered.
I have heard him repeatedly laugh at the circumstance.

Not long after this, we were surprised, one morning about ten o'clock,
by hearing the horn blown at the house. Presently Aunt Polly came
screaming into the field. "What is the matter, Aunty?" I inquired. "Oh
Lor!" said she, "Old Huckstep's pitched off his horse and broke his
head, and is e'en about dead."

"Thank God!" said little Simon, "The devil will have him at last."

"God-a-mighty be praised!" exclaimed half a dozen others.

The hands, with one accord dropped their hoes; and crowded round the old
woman, asking questions. "Is he dead?"--"Will he die?" "Did you feel of
him--was he cold?"

Aunt Polly explained as well as she could, that Huckstep, in a state of
partial intoxication, had attempted to leap his horse over a fence, had
fallen and cut a deep gash in his head, and that he was now lying

It is impossible to describe the effect produced by this news among the
hands. Men, women and children shouted, clapped their hands, and laughed
aloud. Some cursed the overseer, and others thanked the Lord for taking
him away. Little Simon got down on his knees, and called loudly upon God
to finish his work, and never let the overseer again enter a cotton
field. "Let him die, Lord," said he, "let him. He's killed enough of us:
Oh, good Lord, let him die and not live."

"Peace, peace! it is a bad spirit," said Uncle Solomon, "God himself
willeth not the death of a sinner."

I followed the old woman to the house; and found Huckstep at the foot of
one of those trees, so common at the South, called the Pride of China.
His face was black, and there was a frightful contusion on the side of
his head. He was carried into the house, where, on my bleeding him, he
revived. He lay in great pain for several days, and it was nearly three
weeks before he was able to come out to the cotton fields.

On returning to the field after Huckstep had revived, I found the hands
sadly disappointed to hear that he was still living. Some of them fell
to cursing and swearing, and were enraged with me for trying to save his
life. Little Simon said I was a fool; if he had bled him he would have
done it to some purpose. He would at least, have so disable his arm that
he would never again try to swing a whip. Uncle Solomon remonstrated
with Simon, and told that I had done right.

The neighbouring overseers used frequently to visit Huckstep, and he, in
turn, visited them. I was sometimes present during their interviews, and
heard them tell each other stories of horse-racing, negro-huntings, &c.
Some time during this season, Ludlow, who was overseer of a plantation
about eight miles from ours, told of a slave of his named Thornton, who
had twice attempted to escape with his wife and one child. The first
time he was caught without much difficulty, chained to the overseer's
horse, and in that way brought back. The poor man, to save his wife from
a beating, laid all the blame upon himself; and said that his wife had
no wish to escape, and tried to prevent him from attempting it. He was
severely whipped; but soon ran away again, and was again arrested. The
overseer, Ludlow, said he was determined to put a stop to the runaway,
and accordingly had resort to a somewhat unusual method of punishment.

There is a great scarcity of good water in that section of Alabama; and
you will generally see a large cistern attached to the corners of the
houses to catch water for washing &c. Underneath this cistern is
frequently a tank from eight to ten feet deep, into which, when the
former is full the water is permitted to run. From this tank the water
is pumped out for use. Into one of these tanks the unfortunate slave was
placed, and confined by one of his ancles to the bottom of it; and the
water was suffered to flow in from above. He was compelled to pump out
the water as fast as it came in, by means of a long rod or handle
connected with the pump above ground. He was not allowed to begin until
the water had risen to his middle. Any pause or delay after this, from
weakness and exhaustion, would have been fatal, as the water would have
risen above his head. In this horrible dungeon, toiling for his life, he
was kept for twenty-four hours without any sustenance. Even Huckstep
said that this was too bad--that he had himself formerly punished
runaways in that way--but should not do it again.

I rejoice to be able to say that this sufferer has at last escaped with
his wife and child, into a free state. He was assisted by some white
men, but I do not know all the particulars of his escape.

Our overseer had not been long able to ride about the plantation after
his accident, before his life was again endangered. He found two of the
hands, Little Jarret and Simon, fighting with each other, and attempted
to chastise both of them. Jarret bore it patiently, but Simon turned
upon him, seized a stake or pin from a cart near by, and felled him to
the ground. The overseer got up--went to the house, and told aunt Polly
that he had nearly been killed by the 'niggers,' and requested her to
tie up his head, from which the blood was streaming. As soon as this was
done, he took down his gun, and went out in pursuit of Simon, who had
fled to his cabin, to get some things which he supposed necessary
previous to attempting his escape from the plantation. He was just
stepping out of the door when he met the enraged overseer with his gun
in his hand. Not a word was spoken by either. Huckstep raised his gun
and fired. The man fell without a groan across the door-sill. He rose up
twice on his hands and knees, but died in a few minutes. He was dragged
off and buried. The overseer told me that there was no other way to deal
with such a fellow. It was Alabama law, if a slave resisted to shoot him
at once. He told me of a case which occurred in 1834, on a plantation
about ten miles distant, and adjoining that where Crop, the negro
hunter, boarded with his hounds. The overseer had bought some slaves at
Selma, from a drove or coffle passing through the place. They proved
very refractory. He whipped three of them, and undertook to whip a
fourth who was from Maryland. The man raised his hoe in a threatening
manner, and the overseer fired upon him. The slave fell, but instantly
rose up on his hands and knees, and was beaten down again by the stock
of the overseer's gun. The wounded wretch raised himself once more, drew
a knife from the waistband of his pantaloons, and catching hold of the
overseer's coat, raised himself high enough to inflict a fatal wound
upon the latter. Both fell together, and died immediately after.

Nothing more of special importance occurred until July, of last year,
when one of our men named John, was whipped three times for not
performing his task. On the last day of the month, after his third
whipping, he ran away. On the following morning, I found that he was
missing at his row. The overseer said we must hunt him up; and he blew
the "nigger horn," as it is called, for the dogs. This horn was only
used when we went out in pursuit of fugitives. It is a cow's horn, and
makes a short, loud sound. We crossed Flincher's and Goldsby's
plantations, as the dogs had got upon John's track, and went of barking
in that direction, and the two overseers joined us in the chase. The
dogs soon caught sight of the runaway, and compelled him to climb a
tree. We came up; Huckstep ordered him down, and secured him upon my
horse by tying him to my back. On reaching home he was stripped entirely
naked and lashed up to a tree. Flincher then volunteered to whip him on
one side of his legs, and Goldsby on the other. I had, in the meantime,
been ordered to prepare a wash of salt and pepper, and wash his wounds
with it. The poor fellow groaned, and his flesh shrunk and quivered as
the burning solution was applied to it. This wash, while it adds to the
immediate torment of the sufferer, facilitates the cure of the wounded
parts. Huckstep then whipped him from his neck down to his thighs,
making the cuts lengthwise of his back. He was very expert with the
whip, and could strike, at any time, within an inch of his mark. He then
gave the whip to me and told me to strike directly across his back. When
I had finished, the miserable sufferer, from his neck to his heel, was
covered with blood and bruises. Goldsby and Flincher now turned to
Huckstep, and told him, that I deserved a whipping as much as John did:
that they had known me frequently disobey his orders, and that I was
partial to the "Virginia ladies," and didn't whip them as I did the men.
They said if I was a driver of theirs they would know what to do with
me. Huckstep agreed with them; and after directing me to go to the house
and prepare more of the wash for John's back, he called after me with an
oath, to see to it that I had some for myself, for he meant to give me,
at least, two hundred and fifty lashes. I returned to the house, and
scarcely conscious of what I was doing, filled an iron vessel with
water, put in the salt and pepper; and placed it over the embers.

As I stood by the fire watching the boiling of the mixture, and
reflecting upon the dreadful torture to which I was about to he
subjected, the thought of _escape_ flashed upon my mind. The chance was
a desperate one; but I resolved to attempt it. I ran up stairs, tied my
shirt in a handkerchief, and stepped out of the back door of the house,
telling Aunt Polly to take care of the wash at the fire until I
returned. The sun was about one hour high, but luckily for me the hands
as well as the three overseers, were on the other side of the house. I
kept the house between them and myself, and ran as fast as I could for
the woods. On reaching them I found myself obliged to proceed slowly as
there was a thick undergrowth of cane and reeds. Night came on. I
straggled forward by a dim star-light, amidst vines and reed beds. About
midnight the horizon began to be overcast; and the darkness increased
until in the thick forest, I could scarcely see a yard before me.
Fearing that I might lose my way and wander towards the plantation,
instead of from it, I resolved to wait until day. I laid down upon a
little hillock, and fell asleep.

When I awoke it was broad day. The clouds had vanished, and the hot
sunshine fell through the trees upon my face. I started up, realizing my
situation, and darted onward. My object was to reach the great road by
which we had travelled when we came out from Virginia. I had, however,
very little hope of escape. I knew that a hot pursuit would be made
after me, and what I most dreaded was, that the overseer would procure
Crop's bloodhounds to follow my track. If only the hounds of our
plantation were sent after me, I had hopes of being able to make friends
of them, as they were always good-natured and obedient to me. I
travelled until, as near as I could judge, about ten o'clock, when a
distant sound startled me. I stopped and listened. It was the deep bay
of the bloodhound, apparently at a great distance. I hurried on until I
came to a creek about fifteen yards wide, skirted by an almost
impenetrable growth of reeds and cane. Plunging into it, I swam across
and ran down by the side of it a short distance, and, in order to baffle
the dogs, swam back to the other side again. I stopped in the reed-bed
and listened. The dogs seemed close at hand, and by the loud barking I
felt persuaded that Crop's hounds were with them. I thought of the fate
of Little John, who had been torn in pieces by the hounds, and of the
scarcely less dreadful condition of those who had escaped the dogs only
to fall into the hands of the overseer. The yell of the dogs grew
louder. Escape seemed impossible. I ran down to the creek with a
determination to drown myself. I plunged into the water and went down to
the bottom; but the dreadful strangling sensation compelled me to
struggle up to the surface. Again I heard the yell of the bloodhounds;
and again desperately plunged down into the water. As I went down I
opened my mouth, and, choked and gasping, I found myself once more
struggling upward. As I rose to the top of the water and caught a
glimpse of the sunshine and the trees, the love of life revived in me. I
swam to the other side of the creek, and forced my way through the reeds
to a large tree, and stood under one of its lowest limbs, ready in case
of necessity, to spring up into it. Here panting and exhausted, I stood
waiting for the dogs. The woods seemed full of them. I heard a bell
tinkle, and, a moment after, our old hound Venus came bounding through
the cane, dripping wet from the creek. As the old hound came towards me,
I called to her as I used to do when out hunting with her. She stopped
suddenly, looked up at me, and then came wagging her tail and fawning
around me. A moment after the other dog came up hot in the chase, and
with their noses to the ground. I called to them, but they did not look
up, but came yelling on. I was just about to spring into the tree to
avoid them when Venus the old hound met them, and stopped them. They
then all came fawning and playing and jumping about me. The very
creatures whom a moment before I had feared would tear me limb from
limb, were now leaping and licking my hands, and rolling on the leaves
around me. I listened awhile in the fear of hearing the voices of men
following the dogs, but there was no sound in the forest save the
gurgling of the sluggish waters of the creek, and the chirp of black
squirrels in the trees. I took courage and started onward once more,
taking the dogs with me. The bell on the neck of the old dog, I feared
might betray me, and, unable to get it off her neck, I twisted some of
the long moss of the trees around it, so as to prevent its ringing. At
night I halted once more with the dogs by my side. Harassed with fear,
and tormented with hunger, I laid down and tried to sleep. But the dogs
were uneasy, and would start up and bark at the cries or the footsteps
of wild animals, and I was obliged, to use my utmost exertions to keep
them quiet, fearing that their barking would draw my pursuers upon me. I
slept but little; and as soon as daylight, started forward again. The
next day towards evening, I reached a great road which, I rejoiced to
find, was the same which my master and myself had travelled on our way
to Greene county. I now thought it best to get rid of the dogs, and
accordingly started them in pursuit of a deer. They went off, yelling on
the track, and I never saw them again. I remembered that my master told
me, near this place, that we were in the Creek country, and that there
were some Indian settlements not far distant. In the course of the
evening I crossed the road, and striking into a path through the woods,
soon came to a number of Indian cabins. I went into one of them and
begged for some food. The Indian women received me with a great deal of
kindness, and gave me a good supper of venison, corn bread, and stewed
pumpkin. I remained with them till the evening of the next day, when I
started afresh on my journey. I kept on the road leading to Georgia. In
the latter part of the night I entered into a long low bottom, heavily
timbered--sometimes called Wolf Valley. It was a dreary and frightful
place. As I walked on, I heard on all sides the howling of the wolves,
and the quick patter of their feet on the leaves and sticks, as they ran
through the woods. At daylight I laid down, but had scarcely closed my
eyes when I was roused up by the wolves snarling and howling around me.
I started on my feet, and saw several of them running by me. I did not
again close my eyes during the whole day. In the afternoon, a bear with
her two cubs came to a large chestnut tree near where I lay. She crept
up the tree, went out on one of the limbs, and broke off several twigs
in trying to shake down the nuts. They were not ripe enough to fall,
and, after several vain attempts to procure some of them, she crawled
down the tree again and went off with her young.

The day was long and tedious. As soon as it was dark, I once more
resumed my journey. But fatigue and the want of food and sleep rendered
me almost incapable of further effort. It was not long before I fell
asleep, while walking, and wandered out of the road. I was awakened by a
bunch of moss which hung down from the limb of a tree and met my face. I
looked up and saw, as I thought, a large man standing just before me. My
first idea was that some one had struck me over the face, and that I had
been at last overtaken by Huckstep. Rubbing my eyes once more, I saw the
figure before me sink down upon its hands and knees. Another glance
assured me that it was a bear and not a man. He passed across the road
and disappeared. This adventure kept me awake for the remainder of the
night. Towards morning I passed by a plantation, on which was a fine
growth of peach trees, full of ripe fruit. I took as many of them as I
could conveniently carry in my hands and pockets, and retiring a little
distance into the woods, laid down and slept till evening, when I again
went forward.

Sleeping thus by day and travelling by night, in a direction towards the
North Star, I entered Georgia. As I only travelled in the night time, I
was unable to recognize rivers and places which I had seen before until
I reached Columbus, where I recollected I had been with my master. From
this place I took the road leading to Washington, and passed directly
through that village. On leaving the village, I found myself contrary to
my expectation, in an open country with no woods in view. I walked on
until day broke in the east. At a considerable distance ahead, I saw a
group of trees, and hurried on towards it. Large and beautiful
plantations were on each side of me, from which I could hear dogs bark,
and the driver's horn sounding. On reaching the trees, I found that they
afforded but a poor place of concealment. On either hand, through its
openings, I could see the men turning out to the cotton fields. I found
a place to lie down between two oak stumps, around which the new shoots
had sprung up thickly, forming a comparatively close shelter. After
eating some peaches, which since leaving the Indian settlement had
constituted my sole food, I fell asleep. I was waked by the barking of a
dog. Raising my head and looking through the bushes, I found that the
dog was barking at a black squirrel who was chattering on a limb almost
directly above me. A moment after, I heard a voice speaking to the dog,
and soon saw a man with a gun in his hand, stealing through the wood. He
passed close to the stumps, where I lay trembling with terror lest he
should discover me. He kept his eye however upon the tree, and raising
his gun, fired. The squirrel dropped dead close by my side. I saw that
any further attempt at concealment would be in vain, and sprang upon my
feet. The man started forward on seeing me, struck at me with his gun
and beat my hat off. I leaped into the road; and he followed after,
swearing he would shoot me if I didn't stop. Knowing that his gun was
not loaded, I paid no attention to him, but ran across the road into a
cotton field where there was a great gang of slaves working. The man
with the gun followed, and called to the two colored drivers who were on
horseback, to ride after me and stop me. I saw a large piece of woodland
at some distance ahead, and directed my course towards it. Just as I
reached it, I looked back, and saw my pursuer far behind me; and found,
to my great joy, that the two drivers had not followed me. I got behind
a tree, and soon heard the man enter the woods and pass me. After all
had been still for more than an hour, I crept into a low place in the
depth of the woods and laid down amidst a bed of reeds, where I again
fell asleep. Towards evening, on awaking, I found the sky beginning to
be cloudy, and before night set in it was completely overcast. Having
lost my hat, I tied an old handkerchief over my head, and prepared to
resume my journey. It was foggy and very dark, and involved as I was in
the mazes of the forest, I did not know in what direction I was going. I
wandered on until I reached a road, which I supposed to be the same one
which I had left. The next day the weather was still dark and rainy, and
continued so for several days. During this time I slept only by leaning
against the body of a tree, as the ground was soaked with rain. On the
fifth night after my adventure near Washington, the clouds broke away,
and the clear moonlight and the stars shone down upon me.

I looked up to see the North Star, which I supposed still before me. But
I sought it in vain in all that quarter of the heavens. A dreadful
thought came over me that I had been travelling out of my way. I turned
round and saw the North Star, which had been shining directly upon my
back. I then knew that I had been travelling away from freedom, and
towards the place of my captivity ever since I left the woods into which
I had been pursued on the 21st, five days before. Oh, the keen and
bitter agony of that moment! I sat down on the decaying trunk of a
fallen tree, and wept like a child. Exhausted in mind and body, nature
came at last to my relief, and I fell asleep upon the log. When I awoke
it was still dark. I rose and nerved myself for another effort for
freedom. Taking the North Star for my guide, I turned upon my track, and
left once more the dreaded frontiers of Alabama behind me. The next
night, after crossing the one on which I travelled, and which seemed to
lead more directly towards the North. I took this road, and the next
night after, I came to a large village. Passing through the main street,
I saw a large hotel which I at once recollected. I was in Augusta, and
this was the hotel at which my master had spent several days when I was
with him, on one of his southern visits. I heard the guards patrolling
the town cry the hour of twelve; and fearful of being taken up, I turned
out of the main street, and got upon the road leading to Petersburg. On
reaching the latter place, I swam over the Savannah river into South
Carolina, and from thence passed into North Carolina.

Hitherto I had lived mainly upon peaches, which were plenty on almost
all the plantations in Alabama and Georgia; but the season was now too
far advanced for them, and I was obliged to resort to apples. These I
obtained without much difficulty until within two or three days journey
of the Virginia line. At this time I had had nothing to eat but two or
three small and sour apples for twenty-four hours, and I waited
impatiently for night, in the hope of obtaining fruit from the orchards
along the road. I passed by several plantations, but found no apples.
After midnight, I passed near a large house, with fruit trees around it.
I searched under, and climbed up and shook several of them to no
purpose. At last I found a tree on which there were a few apples. On
shaking it, half a dozen fell. I got down, and went groping and feeling
about for them in the grass, but could find only two, the rest were
devoured by several hogs who were there on the same errand with myself.
I pursued my way until day was about breaking, when I passed another
house. The feeling of extreme hunger was here so intense, that it
required all the resolution I was master of to keep myself from going,
up to the house and breaking into it in search of food. But the thought
of being again made a slave, and of suffering the horrible punishment of
a runaway restrained me. I lay in the worlds all that day without food.
The next evening, I soon found a large pile of excellent apples, from
which I supplied myself.

The next evening I reached Halifax Court House, and I then knew that I
was near Virginia. On the 7th of October, I came to the Roanoke, and
crossed it in the midst of a violent storm of rain and thunder. The
current ran so furiously that I was carried down with it, and with great
difficulty, and in a state of complete exhaustion, reached the
opposite shore.

At about 2 o'clock, on the night of the 15th, I approached Richmond, but
not daring to go into the city at that hour, on account of the patrols,
I lay in the woods near Manchester, until the next evening, when I
started in the twilight, in order to enter before the setting of the
watch. I passed over the bridge unmolested, although in great fear, as
my tattered clothes and naked head were well calculated to excite
suspicion; and being well acquainted with the localities of the city,
made my way to the house of a friend. I was received with the utmost
kindness, and welcomed as one risen from the dead. Oh, how inexpressibly
sweet were the tones of human sympathy, after the dreadful trials to
which I had been subjected--the wrongs and outrages which I witnessed
and suffered! For between two and three months I had not spoken with a
human being, and the sound even of my own voice now seemed strange to my
ears. During this time, save in two or three instances I had tasted of
no food except peaches and apples. I was supplied with some dried meat
and coffee, but the first mouthful occasioned nausea and faintness. I
was compelled to take my bed, and lay sick for several days. By the
assiduous attention and kindness of my friends, I was supplied with
every thing which was necessary during my sickness. I was detained in
Richmond nearly a month. As soon as I had sufficiently recovered to be
able to proceed on my journey, I bade my kind host and his wife an
affectionate farewell, and set forward once more towards a land of
freedom. I longed to visit my wife and children in Powhatan county, but
the dread of being discovered prevented me from attempting it. I had
learned from my friends in Richmond that they were living and in good
health, but greatly distressed on my account.

My friends had provided me with a fur cap, and with as much lean ham,
cake and biscuit, as I could conveniently carry. I proceeded in the same
way as before, travelling by night and lying close and sleeping by day.
About the last of November I reached the Shenandoah river. It was very
cold; ice had already formed along the margin, and in swimming the river
I was chilled through; and my clothes froze about me soon after I had
reached the opposite side. I passed into Maryland, and on the 5th of
December, stepped across the line which divided the free state of
Pennsylvania from the land of slavery.

I had a few shillings in money which were given me at Richmond, and
after travelling nearly twenty-four hours from the time I crossed the
line, I ventured to call at a tavern, and buy a dinner. On reaching
Carlisle, I enquired of the ostler in a stable if he knew of any one who
wished to hire a house servant or coachman. He said he did not. Some
more colored people came in, and taking me aside told me that they knew
that I was from Virginia, by my pronunciation of certain words--that I
was probably a runaway slave--but that I need not be alarmed, as they
were friends, and would do all in their power to protect me. I was taken
home by one of them, and treated with the utmost kindness; and at night
he took me in a wagon, and carried me some distance on my way to
Harrisburg, where he said I should meet with friends.

He told me that I had better go directly to Philadelphia, as there would
be less danger of my being discovered and retaken there than in the
country, and there were a great many persons there who would exert
themselves to secure me from the slaveholders. In parting he cautioned
me against conversing or stopping with any man on the road, unless he
wore a plain, straight collar on a round coat, and said, "thee," and
"thou." By following his directions I arrived safely in Philadelphia,
having been kindly entertained and assisted on my journey, by several
benevolent gentlemen and ladies, whose compassion for the wayworn and
hunted stranger I shall never forget, and whose names will always be
dear to me. On reaching Philadelphia, I was visited by a large number of
the Abolitionists, and friends of the colored people, who, after hearing
my story, thought it would not be safe for me to remain in any part of
the United States. I remained in Philadelphia a few days; and then a
gentleman came on to New-York with me, I being considered on board the
steam-boat, and in the cars, as his servant. I arrived at New-York, on
the 1st of January. The sympathy and kindness which I have every where
met with since leaving the slave states, has been the more grateful to
me because it was in a great measure unexpected. The slaves are always
told that if they escape into a free state, they will be seized and put
in prison, until their masters send for them. I had heard Huckstep and
the other overseers occasionally speak of the Abolitionists, but I did
not know or dream that they were the friends of the slave. Oh, if the
miserable men and women, now toiling on the plantations of Alabama,
could know that thousands in the free states are praying and striving
for their deliverance, how would the glad tidings be whispered from
cabin to cabin, and how would the slave-mother as she watches over her
infant, bless God, on her knees, for the hope that this child of her day
of sorrow, might never realize in stripes, and toil, and grief
unspeakable, what it is to be a slave?

* * * * *

This Narrative can he had at the Depository of the American Anti-Slavery
Society, No 143 Nassau Street, New York, in a neat volume, 108 pp.
12mo., embellished with an elegant and accurate steel engraved likeness
of James Williams, price 25 cts. single copy, $17 per hundred.

* * * * *

NO. 7







This periodical contains 4 sheets.--Postage under 100 miles, 6 cents;
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according to the act of Congress, in the year 1838, by
Treasurer, of the American, Anti-Slavery Society,
in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States,
for the Southern District of New York.

Price $12 50 per hundred copies, 18-3/4 cents single copy, _in sheets_:
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NOTE.--This work is published in this cheap form, to give it a wide
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This work, as originally published, can be had at the Depository of the
American Anti-Slavery Society, No. 143, Nassau Street, New York, on fine
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copy, $75 per hundred.


* * * * *


Geography and Statistics of the Island,--Reflections on
arrival,--Interview with Clergymen,--with the Governor,--with a
member of Assembly,--Sabbath,--Service at the Moravian
Chapel,--Sabbath School,--Service at the Episcopal Church,--Service
at the Wesleyan Chapel,--Millar's Estate,--Cane-holing,--Colored
planter,--Fitch's Creek Estate,--Free Villages,--Dinner at the
Governor's,--Donovan's Estate,--Breakfast at Mr. Watkins,--Dr.
Ferguson,--Market,--Lockup house,--Christmas Holidays,--Colored
Population,--Thibou Jarvis's Estate,--Testimony of the
Manager,--Anniversary of the Friendly Society,--A negro
patriarch,--Green Castle Estate,--Testimony of the
Manager,--Anniversary of the Juvenile Association,--Wetherill
Estate,--Testimony of the Manager,--Conversation with a
boatman,--Moravian station at Newfield,--Testimony of the
Missionaries,--School for Adults,--Interview with the Speaker of the
Assembly,--Moravian "Speaking,"--Conversation with Emancipated
Slaves,--The Rector of St. Philip's,--Frey's Estate,--Interview with
the American Consul,--Sabbath at Millar's,--Breakfast at the Villa
Estate,--A Fair,--Breakfast at Mr. Cranstoun's,--His
Testimony,--Moravian Station at Cedar Hall,--Conversation with
Emancipated Slaves,--Moravian Station at Grace Bay,--Testimony of
the Missionaries,--Grandfather Jacob,--Mr. Scotland's Estate.--A day
at Fitch's Creek,--Views of the Manager,--A call from the
Archdeacon,--from Rev. Edward Fraser,--Wesleyan District
Meeting,--Social interviews with the Missionaries,--Their Views and
Testimony,--Religious Anniversaries,--Temperance Society,--Bible
Society,--Wesleyan Missionary Society.--Resolution of the
Meeting,--Laying the Corner Stone of a Wesleyan Chapel,--Resolutions
of the Missionaries.



Religion,--Statistics of Denominations,--Morality,--Reverence for
the Lord's Day,--Marriage,--Conjugal faithfulness,--Concubinage
decreasing,--Temperance,--Profane Language rare,--Statistics of the
Bible Society,--Missionary Associations,--Temperance
Societies,--Friendly Societies,--Daily Meal Society,--Distressed
Females' Friend Society,--Education,--Annual Examination of the
Parochial School,--Infant Schools in the Country,--Examination at
Parham,--at Willoughby Bay,--Mr. Thwaite's Replies to Queries on
Education,--Great Ignorance before Emancipation,--Aptness of the
Negroes to learn,--Civil and Political Condition of the Emancipated.



IMMEDIATE ABOLITION--an immense change to the condition of the
Slave,--Adopted from Political and Pecuniary Considerations,--Went
into operation peaceably,--gave additional security to Persons and
Property,--Is regarded by all as a great blessing to the
Island,--Free, cheaper than Slave labor,--More work done, and better
done, since Emancipation,--Freemen more easily managed than
Slaves,--The Emancipated more Trustworthy than when Slaves,--They
appreciate and reverence Law,--They stay at home and mind their own
business,--Are less "insolent" than when Slaves,--Gratitude a strong
trait of their character,--Emancipation has elevated them,--It has
raised the price of Real Estate, given new life to Trade, and to all
kinds of business,--Wrought a total change in the views of the
Planters,--Weakened Prejudice against Color,--The Discussions
preceding Emancipation restrained Masters from
Cruelties,--Concluding Remarks.


Passage to Barbadoes,--Bridgetown,--Visit to the Governor,--To the
Archdeacon,--Lear's Estate,--Testimony of the Manager,--Dinner Party
at Lear's,--Ride to Scotland,--The Red Shanks,--Sabbath at Lear's;
Religious Service,--Tour to the Windward,--Breakfast Party at the
Colliton Estate,--Testimony to the Working of the
Apprenticeship,--The Working of it in Demerara,--The Codrington
Estate,--Codrington College,--The "Horse,"--An Estate on Fire,--The
Ridge Estate; Dinner with a Company of Planters,--A Day at Colonel
Ashby's; his Testimony to the Working of the
Apprenticeship,--Interviews with Planters; their Testimony,--The
Belle Estate,--Edgecombe Estate; Colonel Barrow,--Horton
Estate,--Drax Hall Estate,--Dinner Party at the
Governor's,--Testimony concerning the Apprenticeship,--Market
People,--Interview with Special Justice Hamilton; his
Testimony,--Station House, District A; Trials of Apprentices before
Special Magistrate Colthurst,--Testimony of the Superintendent of
the Rural Police,--Communication from Special Justice
Colthurst,--Communication from Special Justice Hamilton,--Testimony
of Clergymen and Missionaries,--Curate of St. Paul's,--A FREE
Church,--A Sabbath School Annual Examination,--Interview with
Episcopal Clergymen; their Testimony,--Visit to Schools,--Interview
with the Superintendent of the Wesleyan Mission,--Persecution of the
Methodists by Slaveholders,--The Moravian Mission,--Colored
Population,--Dinner Party at Mr. Harris's,--Testimony concerning the
objects of our Mission,--A New Englander,--History of an Emancipated
Slave,--Breakfast Party at Mr. Thorne's,--Facts and Testimony
concerning Slavery and the Apprenticeship,--History of an
Emancipated Slave,--Breakfast Party at Mr. Prescod's,--Character and
History of the late Editor of the New Times,--Breakfast Party at Mr.
Bourne's,--Prejudice,--History and Character of an Emancipated
Slave,--Prejudice, vincible,--Concubinage,--Barbadoes as it was;
"Reign of Terror;"--Testimony; Cruelties,--Insurrection of
1816,--Licentiousness,--Prejudice--Indolence and Inefficiency of the
Whites,--Hostility to Emancipation,--Barbadoes as it is,--The
Apprenticeship System; Provisions respecting the Special
Magistrates,--Provisions respecting the Master,--Provisions
respecting the Apprentice,--The Design of the
Apprenticeship,--Practical Operation of the
Apprenticeship,--Sympathy of the Special Magistrates with the
Masters,--Apprenticeship, modified Slavery,--Vexatious to the
Master,--No Preparation for Freedom,--Begets hostility between
Master and Apprentice,--Has illustrated the Forbearance of the
Negroes,--Its tendency to exasperate them,--Testimony to the Working
of the Apprenticeship in the Windward Islands generally.


Sketch of its Scenery,--Interview with the Attorney General,--The
Solicitor General; his Testimony,--The American Consul; his
Testimony,--The Superintendent of the Wesleyan Missions,--The
Baptist Missionaries; Sabbath; Service in a Baptist
Chapel,--Moravians; Episcopalians; Scotch Presbyterians,--Schools in
Kingston,--Communication from the Teacher of the Wolmer Free School;
Education; Statistics,--The Union School,--"Prejudice
Vincible,"--Disabilities and Persecutions of Colored People,--Edward
Jordan, Esq.,--Colored Members of Assembly,--Richard Hill,
Esq.,--Colored Artisans and Merchants in Kingston,--Police Court of
Kingston,--American Prejudice in the "limbos,"--"Amalgamation!"--St.
Andrew's House of Correction; Tread-mill,--Tour through "St. Thomas
in the East,"--Morant Bay; Local Magistrate; his lachrymal
forebodings,--Proprietor of Green Wall Estate; his
Testimony,--Testimony of a Wesleyan Missionary,--Belvidere Estate;
Testimony of the Manager,--Chapel built by Apprentices,--House of
Correction,--Chain-Gang,--A call from Special Justice Baines; his
Testimony,--Bath,--Special Justice's Office; his
Testimony,--"Alarming Rebellion,"--Testimony of a Wesleyan
Missionary,--Principal of the Mico Charity School; his
Testimony,--Noble instance of Filial Affection in a Negro
Girl,--Plantain Garden River Valley; Alexander Barclay,
Esq.,--Golden Grove Estate; Testimony of the Manager,--The Custos of
the Parish; his Testimony,--Amity Hall Estate; Testimony of the
Manager,--Lord Belmore's Prophecy,--Manchioneal; Special Magistrate
Chamberlain; his Testimony,--his Weekly Court,--Pro slavery
gnashings,--Visit with the Special Magistrate to the Williamsfield
Estate; Testimony of the Manager,--Oppression of
Book-keepers,--Sabbath; Service at a Baptist Chapel,--Interview with
Apprentices; their Testimony,--Tour through St. Andrew's and Port
Royal,--Visit to Estates in company with Special Justice
Bourne,--White Emigrants to Jamaica,--Dublin Castle Estate; Special
Justice Court,--A Despot in convulsions; arbitrary power dies
hard,--Encounter with Mules in a mountain pass,--Silver Hill Estate;
cases tried; Appraisement of an Apprentice,--Peter's Rock
Estate,--Hall's Prospect Estate,--Female Traveling Merchant,--Negro
Provision Grounds,--Apprentices eager to work for Money,--Jury of
Inquest,--Character of Overseers,--Conversation with Special Justice
Hamilton,--With a Proprietor of Estates and Local Magistrate;
Testimony,--Spanishtown,--Richard Hill, Esq., Secretary of the
Special Magistracy,--Testimony of Lord Sligo concerning him,--Lord
Sligo's Administration; its independence and
impartiality,--Statements of Mr. Hill,--Statements of Special
Justice Ramsey,--Special Justice's Court,--Baptist Missionary at
Spanishtown; his Testimony,--Actual Working of the Apprenticeship;
no Insurrection; no fear of it; no Increase of Crime; Negroes
improving; Marriage increased; Sabbath better kept; Religious
Worship better attended; Law obeyed,--Apprenticeship vexatious to
both parties,--Atrocities perpetrated by Masters and
Magistrates,--Causes of the ill-working of the
Apprenticeship--Provisions of the Emancipation Act defeated by
Planters and Magistrates,--The present Governor a favorite with the
Planters,--Special Justice Palmer suspended by him,--Persecution of
Special Justice Bourne,--Character of the Special
Magistrates,--Official Cruelty; Correspondence between a Missionary
and Special Magistrate,--Sir Lionel Smith's Message to the House of
Assembly,--Causes of the Diminished Crops since
Emancipation,--Anticipated Consequences of full Emancipation in
1840,--Examination of the grounds of such anticipations,--Views of
Missionaries and Colored People, Magistrates and
Planters;--Concluding Remarks.


Official Communication from Special Justice Lyon,--Communication
from the Solicitor General of Jamaica,--Communication from Special
Justice Colthurst,--Official Returns of the Imports and Exports of
Barbadoes,--Valuations of Apprentices in Jamaica,--Tabular View of
the Crops in Jamaica for fifty-three years preceding 1836; Comments
of the Jamaica Watchman on the foregoing Table,--Comments of the
Spanishtown Telegraph,--Brougham's Speech in Parliament.


It is hardly possible that the success of British West India
Emancipation should be more conclusively proved, than it has been by the
absence among us of the exultation which awaited its failure. So many
thousands of the citizens of the United States, without counting
slaveholders, would not have suffered their prophesyings to be
falsified, if they could have found whereof to manufacture fulfilment.
But it is remarkable that, even since the first of August, 1834, the
evils of West India emancipation on the lips of the advocates of
slavery, or, as the most of them nicely prefer to be termed, the
opponents of abolition, have remained in the future tense. The bad
reports of the newspapers, spiritless as they have been compared with
the predictions, have been traceable, on the slightest inspection, not
to emancipation, but to the illegal continuance of slavery, under the
cover of its legal substitute. Not the slightest reference to the rash
act, whereby the thirty thousand slaves of Antigua were immediately
"turned loose," now mingles with the croaking which strives to defend
our republican slavery against argument and common sense.

The Executive Committee of the American Anti-Slavery Society, deemed it
important that the silence which the pro-slavery press of the United
States has seemed so desirous to maintain in regard to what is strangely
enough termed the "great experiment of freedom," should be thoroughly
broken up by a publication of facts and testimony collected on the spot.
To this end, REV. JAMES A. THOME, and JOSEPH H. KIMBALL, ESQ., were
deputed to the West Indies to make the proper investigations. Of their
qualifications for the task, the subsequent pages will furnish the best
evidence: it is proper, however, to remark, that Mr. Thome is thoroughly
acquainted with our own system of slavery, being a native and still a
resident of Kentucky, and the son of a slaveholder, (happily no longer
so,) and that Mr. Kimball is well known as the able editor of the Herald
of Freedom, published at Concord, New Hampshire.

They sailed from New York, the last of November, 1836, and returned
early in June, 1837. They improved a short stay at the Danish island of
St. Thomas, to give a description of slavery as it exists there, which,
as it appeared for the most part in the anti-slavery papers, and as it
is not directly connected with the great question at issue, has not been
inserted in the present volume. Hastily touching at some of the other
British islands, they made Antigua, Barbadoes, and Jamaica, successively
the objects of their deliberate and laborious study--as fairly
presenting the three grand phases of the "experiment"--Antigua,
exemplifying immediate unrestricted abolition; Barbadoes, the best
working of the apprenticeship, and Jamaica the worst. Nine weeks were
spent in Antigua, and the remainder of their time was divided between
the other two islands.

The reception of the delegates was in the highest degree favorable to
the promotion of their object, and their work will show how well they
have used the extraordinary facilities afforded them. The committee
have, in some instances, restored testimonials which their modesty led
them to suppress, showing in what estimation they themselves, as well as
the object of their mission, were held by some of the most distinguished
persons in the islands which they visited.

So wide was the field before them, and so rich and various the fruit to
be gathered, that they were tempted to go far beyond the strength
supplied by the failing health they carried with them. Most nobly did
they postpone every personal consideration to the interests of the
cause, and the reader will, we think, agree with us, that they have
achieved a result which undiminished energies could not have been
expected to exceed--a result sufficient, if any thing could be, to
justify the sacrifice it cost them. We regret to add that the labors and
exposures of Mr. Kimball, so far prevented his recovery from the
disease[A] which obliged him to resort to a milder climate, or perhaps
we should say aggravated it, that he has been compelled to leave to his
colleague, aided by a friend, nearly the whole burden of preparing for
the press--which, together with the great labor of condensing from the
immense amount of collected materials, accounts for the delay of the
publication. As neither Mr. Thome nor Mr. Kimball were here while the
work was in the press, it is not improbable that trivial errors have
occurred, especially in the names of individuals.

[Footnote A: We learn that Mr. Kimball closed his mortal career at
Pembroke, N.H. April 12th, in the 25th year of his age. Very few men in
the Anti-Slavery cause have been more distinguished, than this lamented
brother, for the zeal, discretion and ability with which he has
advocated the cause of the oppressed. "Peace to the memory of a man
of worth!"]

It will be perceived that the delegates rest nothing of importance on
their own unattested observation. At every point they are fortified by
the statements of a multitude of responsible persons in the islands,
whose names, when not forbidden, they leave taken the liberty to use in
behalf of humanity. Many of these statements were given in the
handwriting of the parties, and are in the possession of the Executive
Committee. Most of these island authorities are as unchallengeable on
the score of previous leaning towards abolitionism, as Mr. McDuffie of
Mr. Calhoun would be two years hence, if slavery were to be abolished
throughout the United States tomorrow.

Among the points established in this work, beyond the power of dispute
or cavil, are the following:

1. That the act of IMMEDIATE EMANCIPATION in Antigua, was not attended
with any disorder whatever.

2. That the emancipated slaves have readily, faithfully, and efficiently
worked for wages from the first.

3. That wherever there has been any disturbance in the working of the
apprenticeship, it has been invariably by the fault of the masters, or
of the officers charged with the execution of the "Abolition Act."

4. That the prejudice of caste is fast disappearing in the emancipated

5. That the apprenticeship was not sought for by the planters as a
_preparation for freedom_.

6. That no such preparation was needed.

7. That the planters who have fairly made the "experiment," now greatly
prefer the new system to the old.

8. That the emancipated people are perceptibly rising in the scale of
civilization, morals, and religion.

From these established facts, reason cannot fail to make its inferences
in favor of the two and a half millions of slaves in our republic. We
present the work to our countrymen who yet hold slaves, with the utmost
confidence that its perusal will not leave in their minds a doubt,
either of the duty or perfect safety of _immediate emancipation_,
however it may fail to persuade their hearts--which God grant it
may not!

By order of the Executive Committee of the American Anti-Slavery

New York, April 28th, 1838.

* * * * *


1. The words 'Clergy' and 'Missionary' are used to distinguish between
the ministers of the English or Scotch church, and those of all other

2. The terms 'church' and 'chapel' denote a corresponding distinction in
the places of worship, though the English Church have what are
technically called 'chapels of ease!'

3. 'Manager' and 'overseer' are terms designating in different islands
the same station. In Antigua and Barbadoes, _manager_ is the word in
general use, in Jamaica it is _overseer_--both meaning the practical
conductor or immediate superintendent of an estate. In our own country,
a peculiar odium is attached to the latter term. In the West Indies, the
station of manager or overseer is an honorable one; proprietors of
estates, and even men of rank, do not hesitate to occupy it.

4. The terms 'colored' and 'black' or 'negro' indicate a distinction
long kept up in the West Indies between the mixed blood and the pure
negro. The former as a body were few previous to the abolition act; and
for this reason chiefly we presume the term of distinction was
originally applied to them. To have used these terms interchangeably in
accordance with the usage in the United States, would have occasioned
endless confusion in the narrative.

5. 'Praedial' and 'non-praedial' are terms used in the apprenticeship
colonies to mark the difference between the agricultural class and the
domestic; the former are called _praedials_, the latter _non-praedials_.

* * * * *


(_Compiled from recent authentic documents._)

British Colonies. White. Slave. F. Col'd. Total.
Anguilla 365 2,388 357 3,110
Antigua[A] 1,980 29,839 3,895 35,714
Bahamas 4,240 9,268 2,991 16,499
Barbadoes 15,000 82,000 5,100 102,100
Berbicel 550 21,300 1,150 23,000
Bermuda[A] 3,900 4,600 740 9,240
Cape of Good Hope[B] 43,000 35,500 29,000 107,500
Demerara[B] 3,000 70,000 6,400 79,400
Dominica 850 15,400 3,600 19,850
Grenada 800 24,000 2,800 27,600
Honduras[B] 250 2,100 2,300 4,650
Jamaica 37,000 323,000 55,000 415,000
Mauritius[B] 8,000 76,000 15,000 99,000
Montserrat 330 6,200 800 7,330
Nevis 700 6,600 2,000 9,300
St. Christophers,St. Kitts 1,612 19,310 3,000 23,922
St. Lucia[B] 980 13,600 3,700 18,280
St. Vincent 1,300 23,500 2,800 27,600
Tobago 320 12,500 1,200 14,020
Tortola 480 5,400 1,300 7,180
Trinidad[B] 4,200 24,000 16,000 44,200
Virgin Isles 800 5,400 600 6,800

Total 131,257 831,105 162,733 1,125,095

[Footnote A: These islands adopted immediate emancipation, Aug 1, 1834.]

[Footnote B: These are crown colonies, and have no local legislature.]



Antigua is about eighteen miles long and fifteen broad; the interior is
low and undulating, the coast mountainous. From the heights on the coast
the whole island may be taken in at one view, and in a clear day the
ocean can be seen entirely around the land, with the exception of a few
miles of cliff in one quarter. The population of Antigua is about
37,000, of whom 30,000 are negroes--lately slaves--4500 are free people
of color, and 2500 are whites.

The cultivation of the island is principally in sugar, of which the
average annual crop is 15,000 hogsheads. Antigua is one of the oldest of
the British West India colonies, and ranks high in importance and
influence. Owing to the proportion of proprietors resident in the
Island, there is an accumulation of talent, intelligence and refinement,
greater, perhaps, than in any English colony, excepting Jamaica.

Our solicitude on entering the Island of Antigua was intense. Charged
with a mission so nearly concerning the political and domestic
institutions of the colony, we might well be doubtful as to the manner
of our reception. We knew indeed that slavery was abolished, that
Antigua had rejected the apprenticeship, and adopted entire
emancipation. We knew also, that the free system had surpassed the hopes
of its advocates. But we were in the midst of those whose habits and
sentiments had been formed under the influences of slavery, whose
prejudices still clinging to it might lead them to regard our visit with
indifference at least, if not with jealousy. We dared not hope for aid
from men who, not three years before, were slaveholders, and who, as a
body, strenuously resisted the abolition measure, finally yielding to it
only because they found resistance vain.

Mingled with the depressing anxieties already referred to, were emotions
of pleasure and exultation, when we stepped upon the shores of an
unfettered isle. We trod a soil from which the last vestige of slavery
had been swept away! To us, accustomed as we were to infer the existence
of slavery from the presence of a particular hue, the numbers of negroes
passing to and fro, engaged in their several employments, denoted a land
of oppression; but the erect forms, the active movements, and the
sprightly countenances, bespoke that spirit of disinthrallment which had
gone abroad through Antigua.

On the day of our arrival we had an interview with the Rev. James Cox,
the superintendent of the Wesleyan mission in the island. He assured us
that we need apprehend no difficulty in procuring information, adding,
"We are all free here now; every man can speak his sentiments unawed. We
have nothing to conceal in our present system; had you come here as the
_advocates of slavery_ you might have met with a very different

At the same time we met the Rev. N. Gilbert, a clergyman of the English
Church, and proprietor of an estate. Mr. G. expressed the hope that we
might gather such facts during our stay in the island, as would tend
effectually to remove the curse of slavery from the United States. He
said that the failure of the crops, from the extraordinary drought which
was still prevailing, would, he feared, be charged by persons abroad to
the new system. "The enemies of freedom," said he, "will not ascribe the
failure to the proper cause. It will be in vain that we solemnly
declare, that for more than thirty years the island has not experienced
such a drought. Our enemies will persist in laying all to the charge of
our free system; men will look only at the amount of sugar exported,
which will be less than half the average. They will run away with this
fact, and triumph over it as the disastrous consequence of abolition."

On the same day we were introduced to the Rev. Bennet Harvey, the
principal of the Moravian mission, to a merchant, an agent for several
estates, and to an intelligent manager. Each of these gentlemen gave us
the most cordial welcome, and expressed a warm sympathy in the objects
of our visit. On the following day we dined, by invitation, with the
superintendent of the Wesleyan mission, in company with several
missionaries. _Freedom in Antigua_ was the engrossing and delightful
topic. They rejoiced in the change, not merely from sympathy with the
disinthralled negroes, but because it had emancipated them from a
disheartening surveillance, and opened new fields of usefulness. They
hailed the star of freedom "with exceeding great joy," because it
heralded the speedy dawning of the Sun of Righteousness.

We took an early opportunity to call on the Governor, whom we found
affable and courteous. On learning that we were from the United States,
he remarked, that he entertained a high respect for our country, but its
slavery was a stain upon the whole nation. He expressed his conviction
that the instigators of northern mobs must be implicated in some way,
pecuniary or otherwise, with slavery. The Governor stated various
particulars in which Antigua had been greatly improved by the abolition
of slavery. He said, the planters all conceded that emancipation had
been a great blessing to the island, and he did not know of a single
individual who wished to return to the old system.

His excellency proffered us every assistance in his power, and requested
his secretary--_a colored gentleman_--to furnish us with certain
documents which he thought would be of service to us. When we rose to
leave, the Governor followed us to the door, repeating the advice that
we should "see with our own eyes, and hear with our own ears." The
interest which his Excellency manifested in our enterprise, satisfied us
that the prevalent feeling in the island was opposed to slavery, since
it was a matter well understood that the Governor's partialities, if he
had any, were on the side of the planters rather than the people.

On the same day we were introduced to a barrister, a member of the
assembly and proprietor of an estate. He was in the assembly at the time
the abolition act was under discussion. He said that it was violently
opposed, until it was seen to be inevitable. Many were the predictions
made respecting the ruin which would be brought upon the colony; but
these predictions had failed, and abolition was now regarded as the
salvation of the island.


The morning of our first Sabbath in Antigua came with that hushed
stillness which marks the Sabbath dawn in the retired villages of New
England. The arrangements of the family were conducted with a studied
silence that indicated habitual respect for the Lord's day. At 10
o'clock the streets were filled with the church-going throng. The rich
rolled along in their splendid vehicles with liveried outriders and
postillions. The poor moved in lowlier procession, yet in neat attire,
and with the serious air of Christian worshippers. We attended the
Moravian service. In going to the chapel, which is situated on the
border of the town, we passed through and across the most frequented
streets. No persons were to be seen, excepting those whose course was
toward some place of worship. The shops were all shut, and the voices of
business and amusement were hushed. The market place, which yesterday
was full of swarming life, and sent forth a confused uproar, was
deserted and dumb--not a straggler was to be seen of all the multitude.

On approaching the Moravian chapel we observed the negroes, wending
their way churchward, from the surrounding estates, along the roads
leading into town.

When we entered the chapel the service had begun, and the people were
standing, and repeating their liturgy. The house, which was capable of
holding about a thousand persons, was filled. The audience were all
black and colored, mostly of the deepest Ethiopian hue, and had come up
thither from the estates, where once they toiled as slaves, but now as
freemen, to present their thank-offerings unto Him whose truth and
Spirit had made them free. In the simplicity and tidiness of their
attire, in its uniformity and freedom from ornament, it resembled the
dress of the Friends. The females were clad in plain white gowns, with
neat turbans of cambric or muslin on their heads. The males were dressed
in spencers, vests, and pantaloons, all of white. All were serious in
their demeanor, and although the services continued more than two hours,
they gave a wakeful attention to the end. Their responses in the litany
were solemn and regular.

Great respect was paid to the aged and infirm. A poor blind man came
groping his way, and was kindly conducted to a seat in an airy place. A
lame man came wearily up to the door, when one within the house rose and
led him to the seat he himself had just occupied. As we sat facing the
congregation, we looked around upon the multitude to find the marks of
those demoniac passions which are to strew carnage through our own
country when its bondmen shall be made free. The countenances gathered
there, bore the traces of benevolence, of humility, of meekness, of
docility, and reverence; and we felt, while looking on them, that the
doers of justice to a wronged people "shall surely dwell in safety and
be quiet from fear of evil."

After the service, we visited the Sabbath school. The superintendent was
an interesting young colored man. We attended the recitation of a
Testament class of children of both sexes from eight to twelve. They
read, and answered numerous questions with great sprightliness.

In the afternoon we attended the Episcopal church, of which the Rev.
Robert Holberton is rector. We here saw a specimen of the aristocracy of
the island. A considerable number present were whites,--rich proprietors
with their families, managers of estates, officers of government, and
merchants. The greater proportion of the auditory, however, were colored
people and blacks. It might be expected that distinctions of color would
be found here, if any where;--however, the actual distinction, even in
this the most fashionable church in Antigua, amounted only to this, that
the body pews on each side of the broad aisle were occupied by the
whites, the side pews by the colored people, and the broad aisle in the
middle by the negroes. The gallery, on one side, was also appropriated
to the colored people, and on the other to the blacks. The finery of the
negroes was in sad contrast with the simplicity we had just seen at the
Moravian chapel. Their dresses were of every color and style; their hats
were of all shapes and sizes, and fillagreed with the most tawdry
superfluity of ribbons. Beneath these gaudy bonnets were glossy
ringlets, false and real, clustering in tropical luxuriance. This
fantastic display was evidently a rude attempt to follow the example set
them by the white aristocracy.

The choir was composed chiefly of colored boys, who were placed on the
right side of the organ, and about an equal number of colored girls on
the left. In front of the organ were eight or ten white children. The
music of this colored, or rather "amalgamated" choir, directed by a
colored chorister, and accompanied by a colored organist, was in
good taste.

In the evening, we accompanied a friend to the Wesleyan chapel, of which
the Rev. James Cox is pastor. The minister invited us to a seat within
the altar, where we could have a full view of the congregation. The
chapel was crowded. Nearly twelve hundred persons were present. All sat
promiscuously in respect of color. In one pew was a family of whites,
next a family of colored persons, and behind that perhaps might be seen,
side by side, the ebon hue of the negro, the mixed tint of the mulatto,
and the unblended whiteness of the European. Thus they sat in crowded
contact, seemingly unconscious that they were outraging good taste,
violating natural laws, and "confounding distinctions of divine
appointment!" In whatever direction we turned, there was the same
commixture of colors. What to one of our own countrymen whose contempt
for the oppressed has defended itself with the plea of _prejudice
against color_, would have been a combination absolutely shocking, was
to us a scene as gratifying as it was new.

On both sides, the gallery presented the same unconscious blending of
colors. The choir was composed of a large number, mostly colored, of all
ages. The front seats were filled by children of various ages--the rear,
of adults, rising above these tiny choristers, and softening the
shrillness of their notes by the deeper tones of mature age.

The style of the preaching which we heard on the different occasions
above described, so far as it is any index to the intelligence of the
several congregations, is certainly a high commendation. The language
used, would not offend the taste of any congregation, however refined.

On the other hand, the fixed attention of the people showed that the
truths delivered were understood and appreciated.

We observed, that in the last two services the subject of the present
drought was particularly noticed in prayer.

The account here given is but a fair specimen of the solemnity and
decorum of an Antigua sabbath.


Early in the week after our arrival, by the special invitation of the
manager, we visited this estate. It is situated about four miles from
the town of St. John's.

The smooth MacAdamized road extending across the rolling plains and
gently sloping hill sides, covered with waving cane, and interspersed
with provision grounds, contributed with the fresh bracing air of the
morning to make the drive pleasant and animating.

At short intervals were seen the buildings of the different estates
thrown together in small groups, consisting of the manager's mansion and
out-houses, negro huts, boiling house, cooling houses, distillery, and
windmill. The mansion is generally on an elevated spot, commanding a
view of the estate and surrounding country. The cane fields presented a
novel appearance--being without fences of any description. Even those
fields which lie bordering on the highways, are wholly unprotected by
hedge, ditch, or rails. This is from necessity. Wooden fences they
cannot have, for lack of timber. Hedges are not used, because they are
found to withdraw the moisture from the canes. To prevent depredations,
there are watchmen on every estate employed both day and night. There
are also stock keepers employed by day in keeping the cattle within
proper grazing limits. As each estate guards its own stock by day and
folds them by night, the fields are in little danger.

We passed great numbers of negroes on the road, loaded with every kind
of commodity for the town market. _The head is the beast of burthen_
among the negroes throughout the West Indies. Whatever the load, whether
it be trifling or valuable, strong or frail, it is consigned to the
head, both for safe keeping and for transportation. While the head is
thus taxed, the hands hang useless by the side, or are busied in
gesticulating, as the people chat together along the way. The negroes we
passed were all decently clad. They uniformly stopped as they came
opposite to us, to pay the usual civilities. This the men did by
touching their hats and bowing, and the women, by making a low courtesy,
and adding, sometimes, "howdy, massa," or "mornin', massa." We passed
several loaded wagons, drawn by three, four, or five yoke of oxen, and
in every instance the driver, so far from manifesting any disposition
"insolently" to crowd us off the road, or to contend for his part of it,
turned his team aside, leaving us double room to go by, and sometimes
stopping until we had passed.

We were kindly received at Millar's by Mr. Bourne, the manager. Millar's
is one of the first estates in Antigua. The last year it made the
largest sugar crop on the island. Mr. B. took us before breakfast to
view the estate. On the way, he remarked that we had visited the island
at a very unfavorable time for seeing the cultivation of it, as every
thing was suffering greatly from the drought. There had not been a
single copious rain, such as would "make the water run," since the first
of March previous. As we approached the laborers, the manager pointed
out one company of ten, who were at work with their hoes by the side of
the road, while a larger one of thirty were in the middle of the field.
They greeted us in the most friendly manner. The manager spoke kindly to
them, encouraging them to be industrious He stopped a moment to explain
to us the process of cane-holing. The field is first ploughed[A] in one
direction, and the ground thrown up in ridges of about a foot high. Then
similar ridges are formed crosswise, with the hoe, making regular
squares of two-feet-sides over the field. By raising the soil, a clear
space of six inches square is left at the bottom. In this space the
_plant_ is placed horizontally, and slightly covered with earth. The
ridges are left about it, for the purpose of conducting the rain to the
roots, and also to retain the moisture. When we came up to the large
company, they paused a moment, and with a hearty salutation, which ran
all along the line, bade us "good mornin'," and immediately resumed
their labor. The men and women were intermingled; the latter kept pace
with the former, wielding their hoes with energy and effect. The manager
addressed them for a few moments, telling them who we were, and the
object of our visit. He told them of the great number of slaves in
America, and appealed to them to know whether they would not be sober,
industrious, and diligent, so as to prove to American slaveholders the
benefit of freeing all their slaves. At the close of each sentence, they
all responded, "Yes, massa," or "God bless de massas," and at the
conclusion, they answered the appeal, with much feeling, "Yes, massa;
please God massa, we will all do so." When we turned to leave, they
wished to know what we thought of their industry. We assured them that
we were much pleased, for which they returned their "thankee, massa."
They were working at a _job_. The manager had given them a piece of
ground "to hole," engaging to pay them sixteen dollars when they had
finished it. He remarked that he had found it a good plan to give
_jobs_. He obtained more work in this way than he did by giving the
ordinary wages, which is about eleven cents per day. It looked very much
like slavery to see the females working in the field; but the manager
said they chose it generally "_for the sake of the wages_." Mr. B.
returned with us to the house, leaving the gangs in the field, with only
an aged negro in charge of the work, as _superintendent._ Such now is
the name of the overseer. The very _terms_, _driver_ and _overseer_, are
banished from Antigua; and the _whip_ is buried beneath the soil
of freedom.

[Footnote A: In those cases where the plough is used at all. It is not
yet generally introduced throughout the West Indies. Where the plough is
not used, the whole process of holing is done with the hoe, and is
extremely laborious]

When we reached the house we were introduced to Mr. Watkins, a _colored_
planter, whom Mr. B. had invited to breakfast with us. Mr. Watkins was
very communicative, and from him and Mr. B., who was equally free, we
obtained information on a great variety of points, which we reserve for
the different heads to which they appropriately belong.


From Millar's we proceeded to Fitch's Creek Estate, where we had been
invited to dine by the intelligent manager, Mr. H. Armstrong. We three
met several Wesleyan missionaries. Mr. A. is himself a local preacher in
the Wesleyan connection. When a stranger visits an estate in the West
Indies, almost the first thing is an offer from the manager to accompany
him through the sugar works. Mr. A. conducted us first to a new boiling
house, which he was building after a plan of his own devising. The house
is of brick, on a very extensive scale. It has been built entirely by
negroes--chiefly those belonging to the estate who were emancipated in
1834. Fitch's Creek Estate is one of the largest on the Island,
consisting of 500 acres, of which 300 are under cultivation. The number
of people employed and living on the property is 260. This estate
indicates any thing else than an apprehension of approaching ruin. It
presents the appearance, far more, of a _resurrection_, from the grave.
In addition to his improved sugar and boiling establishment, he has
projected a plan for a new village, (as the collection of negro houses
is called,) and has already selected the ground and begun to build. The
houses are to be larger than those at present in use, they are to be
built of stone instead of mud and sticks, and to be neatly roofed.
Instead of being huddled together in a bye place, as has mostly been the
case, they are to be built on an elevated site, and ranged at regular
intervals around three sides of a large square, in the centre of which a
building for a chapel and school house is to be erected. Each house is
to have a garden. This and similar improvements are now in progress,
with the view of adding to the comforts of the laborers, and attaching
them to the estate. It has become the interest of the planter to make it
for the _interest of the people_ to remain on his estate. This _mutual
interest_ is the only sure basis of prosperity on the one hand and of
industry on the other.

The whole company heartily joined in assuring us that a knowledge of the
actual working of abolition in Antigua, would be altogether favorable to
the cause of freedom, _and that the more thorough our knowledge of the
facts in the case, the more perfect would be our confidence in the
safety of_ IMMEDIATE _emancipation_.

Mr. A. said that the spirit of enterprise, before dormant, had been
roused since emancipation, and planters were now beginning to inquire as
to the best modes of cultivation, and to propose measures of general
improvement. One of these measures was the establishing of _free
villages_, in which the laborers might dwell by paying a small rent.
When the adjacent planters needed help they could here find a supply for
the occasion. This plan would relieve the laborers from some of that
dependence which they must feel so long as they live on the estate and
in the houses of the planters. Many advantages of such a system were
specified. We allude to it here only as an illustration of that spirit
of inquiry, which freedom has kindled in the minds of the planters.

No little desire was manifested by the company to know the state of the
slavery question in this country. They all, planters and missionaries,
spoke in terms of abhorrence of our slavery, our snobs, our prejudice,
and our Christianity. One of the missionaries said it would never do for
him to go to America, for he should certainly be excommunicated by his
Methodist brethren, and Lynched by the advocates of slaver. He insisted
that slaveholding professors and ministers should be cut off from the
communion of the Church.

As we were about to take leave, the _proprietor_ of the estate rode up,
accompanied by the governor, who he had brought to see the new
boiling-house, and the other improvements which were in progress. The
proprietor reside in St. John's, is a gentleman of large fortune, and a
member of the assembly. He said he would be happy to aid us in any
way--but added, that in all details of a practical kind, and in all
matters of fact, the planters were the best witnesses, for they were the
conductors of the present system. We were glad to obtain the endorsement
of an influential proprietor to the testimony of practical planters.


On the following day having received a very courteous invitation[A] from
the governor, to dine at the government house, we made our arrangements
to do so. The Hon. Paul Horsford, a member of the council, called during
the day, to say, that he expected to dine with us at the government
house and that he would be happy to call for us at the appointed hour,
and conduct us thither. At six o'clock Mr. H.'s carriage drove up to our
door, and we accompanied him to the governor's, where we were introduced
to Col. Jarvis, a member of the privy council, and proprietor of several
estates in the island, Col. Edwards, a member of the assembly and a
barrister, Dr. Musgrave, a member of the assembly, and Mr. Shiel,
attorney general. A dinner of state, at a Governor's house, attended by
a company of high-toned politicians, professional gentlemen, and
proprietors, could hardly be expected to furnish large accessions to our
stock of information, relating to the object of our visit. Dinner being
announced, we were hardly seated at the table when his excellency
politely offered to drink a glass of Madeira with us. We begged leave to
decline the honor. In a short time he proposed a glass of
Champaign--again we declined. "Why, surely, gentlemen," exclaimed the
Governor, "you must belong to the temperance society." "Yes, sir, we
do." "Is it possible? but you will surely take a glass of liqueur?"
"Your excellency must pardon us if we again decline the honor; we drink
no wines." This announcement of ultra temperance principles excited no
little surprise. Finding that our allegiance to cold water was not to be
shaken, the governor condescended at last to meet us on middle ground,
and drink his wine to our water.

[Footnote A: We venture to publish the note in which the governor
conveyed his invitation, simply because, though a trifle in itself, it
will serve to show the estimation in which our mission was held.

"If Messrs. Kimball and Thome are not engaged Tuesday next, the
Lieut. Governor will be happy to see them at dinner, at six o'clock,
when he will endeavor to facilitate their philanthropic inquiries,
by inviting two or three proprietors to met them."

"_Government House, St. John's, Dec. 18th_, 1836."

The conversation on the subject of emancipation served to show that the
prevailing sentiment was decidedly favorable to the free system. Col.
Jarvis, who is the proprietor of three estates, said that he was in
England at the time the bill for immediate emancipation passed the
legislature. Had he been in the island he should have opposed it; but
_now_ he was glad it had prevailed. The evil consequences which he
apprehended had not been realized, and he was now confident that they
never would be.

As to prejudice against the black and colored people, all thought it was
rapidly decreasing--indeed, they could scarcely say there was now any
such thing. To be sure, there was an aversion among the higher classes
of the whites, and especially among _females_, to associating in parties
with colored people; but it was not on account of their _color_, but
chiefly because of their _illegitimacy_. This was to us a new _source_
of prejudice: but subsequent information fully explained its bearings.
The whites of the West Indies are themselves the authors of that
_illegitimacy_, out of which their aversion springs. It is not to be
wondered at that they should be unwilling to invite the colored people
to their social parties, seeing they might not unfrequently be subjected
to the embarrassment of introducing to their white wives a colored
mistress or an _illegitimate_ daughter. This also explains the special
prejudice which the _ladies_ of the higher classes feel toward those
among whom are their guilty rivals in a husband's affections, and those
whose every feature tells the story of a husband's unfaithfulness!

A few days after our dinner with the governor and his friends, we took
breakfast, by invitation, with Mr. Watkins, the _colored_ planter whom
we had the pleasure of meeting at Millar's, on a previous occasion. Mr.
W. politely sent in his chaise for us, a distance of five miles, At an
early hour we reached Donovan's, the estate of which he is manager. We
found the sugar works in active operation: the broad wings of the
windmill were wheeling their stately revolutions, and the smoke was
issuing in dense volumes from the chimney of the boiling house. Some of
the negroes were employed in carrying cane to the mill, others in
carrying away the _trash_ or _megass_, as the cane is called after the
juice is expressed from it. Others, chiefly the old men and women, were
tearing the megass apart, and strewing it on the ground to dry. It is
the only fuel used for boiling the sugar.

On entering the house we found three planters whom Mr. W. had invited to
breakfast with us. The meeting of a number of intelligent practical
planters afforded a good opportunity for comparing their views. On all
the main points, touching the working of freedom, there was a strong

When breakfast was ready, Mrs. W. entered the room, and after our
introduction to her, took her place at the head of the table. Her
conversation was intelligent, her manners highly polished, and she
presided at the table with admirable grace and dignity.

On the following day, Dr. Ferguson, of St. John's, called on us. Dr.
Ferguson is a member of the assembly, and one of the first physicians in
the island. The Doctor said that freedom had wrought like a magician,
and had it not been for the unprecedented drought, the island would now
be in a state of prosperity unequalled in any period of its history. Dr.
F. remarked that a general spirit of improvement was pervading the
island. The moral condition of the whites was rapidly brightening;
formerly concubinage was _respectable_; it had been customary for
married men--those of the highest standing--to keep one or two colored
mistresses. This practice was now becoming disreputable. There had been
a great alteration as to the observance of the Sabbath; formerly more
business was done in St. John's on Sunday, by the merchants, than on all
the other days of the week together. The mercantile business of the town
had increased astonishingly; he thought that the stores and shops had
multiplied in a _ratio of ten to one_. Mechanical pursuits were likewise
in a flourishing condition. Dr. F. said that a greater number of
buildings had been erected since emancipation, than had been put up for
twenty years before. Great improvements had also been made in the
streets and roads in town and country.


SATURDAY.--This is the regular market-day here. The negroes come from all
parts of the island; walking sometimes ten or fifteen miles to attend
the St. John's market. We pressed our way through the dense mass of all
hues, which crowded the market. The ground was covered with wooden trays
filled with all kinds of fruits, grain, vegetables, fowls, fish, and
flesh. Each one, as we passed, called attention to his or her little
stock. We passed up to the head of the avenue, where men and women were
employed in cutting up the light fire-wood which they had brought from
the country on their heads, and in binding it into small bundles for
sale. Here we paused a moment and looked down upon the busy multitude
below. The whole street was a moving mass. There were broad Panama hats,
and gaudy turbans, and uncovered heads, and heads laden with water pots,
and boxes, and baskets, and trays--all moving and mingling in seemingly
inextricable confusion. There could not have been less than fifteen
hundred people congregated in that street--all, or nearly all,
emancipated slaves. Yet, amidst all the excitements and competitions of
trade, their conduct toward each other was polite and kind. Not a word,
or look, or gesture of insolence or indecency did we observe. Smiling
countenances and friendly voices greeted us on every side, and we felt
no fears either of having our pockets picked or our throats cut!

At the other end of the market-place stood the _Lock-up House_, the
_Cage_, and the _Whipping Post_, with stocks for feet and wrists. These
are almost the sole relics of slavery which still linger in the town.
The Lock-up House is a sort of jail, built of stone--about fifteen feet
square, and originally designed as a place of confinement for slaves
taken up by the patrol. The Cage is a smaller building, adjoining the
former, the sides of which are composed of strong iron bars--fitly
called a _cage!_ The prisoner was exposed to the gaze and insult of
every passer by, without the possibility of concealment. The Whipping
Post is hard by, but its occupation is gone. Indeed, all these
appendages of slavery have gone into entire disuse, and Time is doing
his work of dilapidation upon them. We fancied we could see in the
marketers, as they walked in and out at the doorless entrance of the
Lock-up House, or leaned against the Whipping Post, in careless chat,
that harmless defiance which would prompt one to beard the dead lion.

Returning from the market we observed a negro woman passing through the
street, with several large hat boxes strung on her arm. She accidentally
let one of them fall. The box had hardly reached the ground, when a
little boy sprang from the back of a carriage rolling by, handed the
woman the box, and hastened to remount the carriage.


During the reign of slavery, the Christmas holidays brought with them
general alarm. To prevent insurrections, the militia was uniformly
called out, and an array made of all that was formidable in military
enginery. This custom was dispensed with at once, after emancipation. As
Christmas came on the Sabbath, it tested the respect for that day. The
morning was similar, in all respects, to the morning of the Sabbath
described above; the same serenity reigning everywhere--the same quiet
in the household movements, and the same tranquillity prevailing through
the streets. We attended morning service at the Moravian chapel.
Notwithstanding the descriptions we had heard of the great change which
emancipation had wrought in the observance of Christmas, we were quite
unprepared for the delightful reality around us. Though thirty thousand
slaves had but lately been "turned loose" upon a white population of
less than three thousand! instead of meeting with scenes of disorder,
what were the sights which greeted our eyes? The neat attire, the
serious demeanor, and the thronged procession to the place of worship.
In every direction the roads leading into town were lined with happy
beings--attired for the house of God. When groups coming from different
quarters met at the corners, they stopped a moment to exchange
salutations and shake hands, and then proceeded on together.

The Moravian chapel was slightly decorated with green branches. They
were the only adorning which marked the plain sanctuary of a plain
people. It was crowded with black and colored people, and very many
stood without, who could not get in. After the close of the service in
the chapel, the minister proceeded to the adjacent school room, and
preached to another crowded audience. In the evening the Wesleyan chapel
was crowded to overflowing. The aisles and communion place were full. On
all festivals and holidays, which occur on the Sabbath, the churches and
chapels are more thronged than on any other Lord's day.

It is hardly necessary to state that there was no instance of a dance or
drunken riot, nor wild shouts of mirth during the day. The Christmas,
instead of breaking in upon the repose of the Sabbath, seemed only to
enhance the usual solemnity of the day.

The holidays continued until the next Wednesday morning, and the same
order prevailed to the close of them. On Monday there were religious
services in most of the churches and chapels, where sabbath-school
addresses, discourses on the relative duties of husband and wife, and on
kindred subjects, were delivered.

An intelligent gentleman informed us that the negroes, while slaves,
used to spend during the Christmas holidays, the extra money which they
got during the year. Now they save it--_to buy small tracts of land for
their own cultivation_.

The Governor informed us that the police returns did not report a single
case of arrest during the holidays. He said he had been well acquainted
with the country districts of England, he had also travelled extensively
in Europe, yet he had never found such a _peaceable, orderly, and
law-abiding people as those of Antigua_.

An acquaintance of nine weeks with the colored population of St. John's,
meeting them by the wayside, in their shops, in their parlors, and
elsewhere, enables us to pronounce them a people of general
intelligence, refinement of manners, personal accomplishments, and true
politeness. As to their style of dress and mode of living, were we
disposed to make any criticism, we should say that they were
extravagant. In refined and elevated conversation, they would certainly
bear a comparison with the white families of the island.


After the Christmas holidays were over, we resumed our visits to the
country. Being provided with a letter to the manager of Thibou Jarvis's
estate, Mr. James Howell, we embraced the earliest opportunity to call
on him. Mr. H. has been in Antigua for thirty-six years, and has been a
practical planter during the whole of that time. He has the management
of two estates, on which there are more than five hundred people. The
principal items of Mr. Howell's testimony will be found in another
place. In this connection we shall record only miscellaneous statements
of a local nature.

1. The severity of the drought. He had been in Antigua since the year
1800, and he had never known so long a continuance of dry weather,
although the island is subject to severe droughts. He stated that a
field of yams, which in ordinary seasons yielded ten cart-loads to the
acre, would not produce this year more than _three_. The failure in the
crops was not in the least degree chargeable upon the laborers, for in
the first place, the cane plants for the present crop were put in
earlier and in greater quantities than usual, and _until_ the drought
commenced, the fields promised a large return.

2. _The religious condition_ of the negroes, during slavery, was
extremely low. It seemed almost impossible to teach them any higher
_religion_ than _obedience to their masters_. Their highest notion of
God was that he was a _little above_ their owner. He mentioned, by way
of illustration, that the slaves of a certain large proprietor used to
have this saying, "Massa only want he little finger to touch God!" that
is, _their master was lower than God only by the length of his little
finger_. But now the religious and moral condition of the people was
fast improving.

3. A great change in the use of _rum_ had been effected on the estates
under his management since emancipation. He formerly, in accordance with
the prevalent custom, gave his people a weekly allowance of rum, and
this was regarded as essential to their health and effectiveness. But he
has lately discontinued this altogether, and his people had not suffered
any inconvenience from it. He gave them in lieu of the rum, an allowance
of molasses, with which they appeared to be entirely satisfied. When Mr.
H. informed the people of his intention to discontinue the spirits, he
told them that he should _set them the example_ of total abstinence, by
abandoning wine and malt liquor also, which he accordingly did.

4. There had been much less _pretended sickness_ among the negroes since
freedom. They had now a strong aversion to going to the sick house[A],
so much so that on many estates it had been put to some other use.

[Footnote A: The _estate hospital_, in which, during slavery, all sick
persons were placed for medical attendance and nursing. There was one on
every estate.]

We were taken through the negro village, and shown the interior of
several houses. One of the finest looking huts was decorated with
pictures, printed cards, and booksellers' advertisements in large
letters. Amongst many ornaments of this kind, was an advertisement not
unfamiliar to our eyes--"THE GIRL'S OWN BOOK. BY MRS. CHILD."

We generally found the women at home. Some of them had been informed of
our intention to visit them, and took pains to have every thing in the
best order for our reception. The negro village on this estate contains
one hundred houses, each of which is occupied by a separate family. Mr.
H. next conducted us to a neighboring field, where the _great gang_[B]
were at work. There were about fifty persons in the gang--the majority
females--under two inspectors or superintendents, men who take the place
of the _quondam drivers_, though their province is totally different.
They merely direct the laborers in their work, employing with the
loiterers the stimulus of persuasion, or at farthest, no more than the
violence of the tongue.

[Footnote B: The people on most estates are divided into three gangs;
first, the great gang, composed of the principal effective men and
women; second, the weeding gang, consisting of younger and weekly
persons; and third, the grass gang, which embraces all the children
able to work.]

Mr. H. requested them to stop their work, and told them who we were, and
as we bowed, the men took off their hats and the women made a low
courtesy. Mr. Howell then informed them that we had come from America,
where there were a great many slaves: that we had visited Antigua to see
how freedom was working, and whether the people who were made free on
the first of August were doing well--and added, that he "hoped these
gentlemen might be able to carry back such a report as would induce the
masters in America to set their slaves free." They unanimously replied,
"Yes, massa, we hope dem will gib um free." We spoke a few words: told
them of the condition of the slaves in America, urged them to pray for
them that they might be patient under their sufferings, and that they
might soon be made free. They repeatedly promised to pray for the poor
slaves in America. We then received their hearty "Good bye, massa," and
returned to the house, while they resumed their work.

We took leave of Mr. Howell, grateful for his kind offices in
furtherance of the objects of our mission.

We had not been long in Antigua before we perceived the distress of the
poor from the scarcity of water. As there are but few springs in the
island, the sole reliance is upon rain water. Wealthy families have
cisterns or tanks in their yards, to receive the rain from the roofs.
There are also a few public cisterns in St. John's. These ordinarily
supply the whole population. During the present season many of these
cisterns have been dry, and the supply of water has been entirely
inadequate to the wants of the people. There are several large open
ponds in the vicinity of St. John's, which are commonly used to water
"stock." There are one or more on every estate, for the same purpose.
The poor people were obliged to use the water from these ponds both for
drinking and cooking while we were in Antigua. In taking our morning
walks, we uniformly met the negroes either going to, or returning from
the ponds, with their large pails balanced on their heads, happy
apparently in being able to get even such foul water.

Attended the anniversary of the "Friendly Society," connected with the
church in St. John's. Many of the most respectable citizens, including
the Governor, were present. After the services in the church, the
society moved in procession to the Rectory school-room. We counted one
hundred males and two hundred and sixty females in the procession.
Having been kindly invited by the Rector to attend at the school-room,
we followed the procession. We found the house crowded with women, many
others, besides those in the procession, having convened. The men were
seated without under a canvass, extended along one side of the house.
The whole number present was supposed to be nine hundred. Short
addresses were made by the Rector, the Archdeacon, and the Governor.

The Seventh Annual Report of the Society, drawn up by the secretary, a
colored man, was read. It was creditable to the author. The Rector in
his address affectionally warned the society, especially the female
members, against extravagance in dress.

The Archdeacon exhorted them to domestic and conjugal faithfulness. He
alluded to the prevalence of inconstancy during past years, and to the
great improvement in this particular lately; and concluded by wishing
them all "a happy new-year and _many_ of them, and a blessed immortality
in the end." For this kind wish they returned a loud and general
"thankee, massa."

The Governor then said, that he rose merely to remark, that this society
might aid in the emancipation of millions of slaves, now in bondage in
other countries. A people who are capable of forming such societies as
this among themselves, deserve to be free, and ought no longer to be
held in bondage. You, said he, are showing to the world what the negro
race are capable of doing. The Governor's remarks were received with
applause. After the addresses the audience were served with
refreshments, previous to which the Rector read the following lines,
which were sung to the tune of Old Hundred, the whole congregation

"Lord at our table now appear
And bless us here, as every where;
Let manna to our souls be given,
The bread of life sent down from heaven."

The simple refreshment was then handed round. It consisted merely of
buns and lemonade. The Governor and the Rector, each drank to the health
and happiness of the members. The loud response came up from all within
and all around the house--"thankee--thankee--thankee--massa--thankee
_good_ massa." A scene of animation ensued. The whole concourse of
black, colored and white, from the humblest to the highest, from the
unlettered apprentice to the Archdeacon and the Governor of the island,
joined in a common festivity.

After the repast was concluded, thanks were returned in the following
verse, also sung to Old Hundred.

"We thank thee, Lord, for this our food,
But bless thee more for Jesus' blood;
Let manna to our souls be given,
The bread of life sent down from heaven."

The benediction was pronounced, and the assembly retired.

There was an aged negro man present, who was noticed with marked
attention by the Archdeacon, the Rector and other clergymen. He is
sometimes called the African Bishop. He was evidently used to
familiarity with the clergy, and laid his hand on their shoulders as he
spoke to them. The old patriarch was highly delighted with the scene. He
said, when he was young he "never saw nothing, but sin and Satan. _Now I
just begin to live_."

On the same occasion the Governor remarked to us that the first thing to
be done in our country, toward the removal of slavery, was to discard
the absurd notion that _color_ made any difference, intellectually or
morally, among men. "All distinctions," said he, "founded in color, must
be abolished everywhere. We should learn to talk of men not as _colored_
men, but as MEN _as fellow citizens and fellow subjects_." His
Excellency certainly showed on this occasion a disposition to put in
practice his doctrine. He spoke affectionately to the children, and
conversed freely with the adults.


According to a previous engagement, a member of the assembly called and
took us in his carriage to Green Castle estate.

Green Castle lies about three miles south-east from St. John's, and
contains 940 acres. The mansion stands on a rocky cliff; overlooking the
estate, and commanding a wide view of the island. In one direction
spreads a valley, interspersed with fields of sugar-cane and provisions.
In another stretches a range of hills, with their sides clad in culture,
and their tops covered with clouds. At the base of the rock are the
sugar Houses. On a neighboring upland lies the negro village, in the
rear of which are the provision grounds. Samuel Bernard, Esq., the
manager, received us kindly. He said, he had been on the island
forty-four years, most of the time engaged in the management of estates.
He is now the manager of two estates, and the attorney for six, and has
lately purchased an estate himself. Mr. B. is now an aged man, grown old
in the practice of slave holding. He has survived the wreck of slavery,
and now stripped of a tyrant's power, he still lives among the people,
who were lately his slaves, and manages an estate which was once his
empire. The testimony of such a man is invaluable. Hear him.

1. Mr. B. said, that the negroes throughout the island were very
peaceable when they received their freedom.

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