Part 5 out of 20
"During the time I was on missionary ground, which was in 1830 and 31,
I was frequently at the residence of the agent, who was a
slaveholder.--I never knew of his treating his own slaves with
cruelty; but the poor fellows who were escaping, and lodged with him
when detected, found no clemency. I once saw there a fetter for '_the
d----d runaways_,' the weight of which can be judged by its size. It
was at least three inches wide, half an inch thick, and something over
a foot long. At this time I saw a poor fellow compelled to work in the
field, at 'logging,' with such a galling fetter on his ankles. To
prevent it from wearing his ankles, a string was tied to the centre,
by which the victim suspended it when he walked, with one hand, and
with the other carried his burden. Whenever he lifted, the fetter
rested on his bare ankles. If he lost his balance and made a misstep,
which must very often occur in lifting and rolling logs, the torture
of his fetter was severe. Thus he was doomed to work while wearing the
torturing iron, day after day, and at night he was confined in the
runaways' jail. Some time after this, I saw the same dejected,
heart-broken creature obliged to wait on the other hands, who were
husking corn. The privilege of sitting with the others was too much
for him to enjoy; he was made to hobble from house to barn and barn to
house, to carry food and drink for the rest. He passed round the end
of the house where I was sitting with the agent: he seemed to take no
notice of me, but fixed his eyes on his tormentor till he passed quite
Mr. ALFRED WILKINSON, member of the Baptist Church in Skeneateles,
N.Y. and an assessor of that town, testifies as follows :--
"I stayed in New Orleans three weeks: during that time there used to
pass by where I stayed a number of slaves, each with an iron band
around his ankle, a chain attached to it, and an eighteen pound ball
at the end. They were employed in wheeling dirt with a wheelbarrow;
they would put the ball into the barrow when they moved.--I recollect
one day, that I counted nineteen of them, sometimes there were not as
many; they were driven by a slave, with a long lash, as if they were
beasts. These, I learned, were runaway slaves from the plantations
above New Orleans.
"There was also a negro woman, that used daily to come to the market
with milk; she had an iron band around her neck, with three rods
projecting from it, about sixteen inches long, crooked at the ends."
For the fact which follows we are indebted to Mr. SAMUEL HALL, a
teacher in Marietta College, Ohio. We quote his letter.
"Mr. Curtis, a journeyman cabinet-maker, of Marietta, relates the
following, of which he was an eye witness. Mr. Curtis is every way
worthy of credit.
"In September, 1837, at 'Milligan's Bend,' in the Mississippi river, I
saw a negro with an iron band around his head, locked behind with a
padlock. In the front, where it passed the mouth, there was a
projection inward of an inch and a half, which entered the mouth.
"The overseer told me, he was so addicted to running away, it did not
do any good to whip him for it. He said he kept this gag constantly on
him, and intended to do so as long as he was on the plantation: so
that, if he ran away, he could not eat, and would starve to death. The
slave asked for drink in my presence; and the overseer made him lie
down on his back, and turned water on his face two or three feet high,
in order to torment him, as he could not swallow a drop.--The slave
then asked permission to go to the river; which being granted, he
thrust his face and head entirely under the water, that being the only
way he could drink with his gag on. The gag was taken off when he took
his food, and then replaced afterwards."
EXTRACT OF A LETTER FROM MRS. SOPHIA LITTLE, of Newport, Rhode Island,
daughter of Hon. Asher Robbins, senator in Congress for that state.
"There was lately found, in the hold of a vessel engaged in the
southern trade, by a person who was clearing it out, an iron collar,
with three horns projecting from it. It seems that a young female
slave, on whose slender neck was riveted this fiendish instrument of
torture, ran away from her tyrant, and begged the captain to bring her
off with him. This the captain refused to do; but unriveted the collar
from her neck, and threw it away in the hold of the vessel. The collar
is now at the anti-slavery office, Providence. To the truth of these
facts Mr. William H. Reed, a gentleman of the highest moral character,
is ready to vouch.
"Mr. Reed is in possession of many facts of cruelty witnessed by
persons of veracity; but these witnesses are not willing to give their
names. One case in particular he mentioned. Speaking with a certain
captain, of the state of the slaves at the south, the captain
contended that their punishments were often very _lenient_; and, as an
instance of their excellent clemency, mentioned, that in one instance,
not wishing to whip a slave, they sent him to a blacksmith, and had an
iron band fastened around him, with three long projections reaching
above his head; and this he wore some time."
EXTRACT OF A LETTER FROM MR. JONATHON F. BALDWIN, of Lorain county,
Ohio. Mr. B. was formerly a merchant in Massillon, Ohio, and an elder
in the Presbyterian Church there.
"Dear Brother,--In conversation with Judge Lyman, of Litchfield
county, Connecticut, last June, he stated to me, that several years
since he was in Columbia, South Carolina, and observing a colored man
lying on the floor of a blacksmith's shop, as he was passing it, his
curiosity led him in. He learned the man was a slave and rather
unmanageable. Several men were attempting to detach from his ankle an
iron which had been bent around it.
"The iron was a piece of a flat bar of the ordinary size from the
forge hammer, and bent around the ankle, the ends meeting, and forming
a hoop of about the diameter of the leg. There was one or more strings
attached to the iron and extending up around his neck, evidently so to
suspend it as to prevent its galling by its weight when at work, yet
it had galled or griped till the leg had swollen out beyond the iron
and inflamed and suppurated, so that the leg for a considerable
distance above and below the iron, was a mass of putrefaction, the
most loathsome of any wound he had ever witnessed on any living
creature. The slave lay on his back on the floor, with his leg on an
anvil which sat also on the floor, one man had a chisel used for
splitting iron, and another struck it with a sledge, to drive it
between the ends of the hoop and separate it so that it might be taken
off. Mr. Lyman said that the man swung the sledge over his shoulders
as if splitting iron, and struck many blows before he succeeded in
parting the ends of the iron at all, the bar was so large and
stubborn--at length they spread it as far as they could without
driving the chisel so low as to ruin the leg. The slave, a man of
twenty-five years, perhaps, whose countenance was the index of a mind
ill adapted to the degradations of slavery, never uttered a word or a
groan in all the process, but the copious flow of sweat from every
pore, the dreadful contractions and distortions of every muscle in his
body, showed clearly the great amount of his sufferings; and all this
while, such was the diseased state of the limb, that at every blow,
the bloody, corrupted matter gushed out in all directions several
feet, in such profusion as literally to cover a large area around the
anvil. After various other fruitless attempts to spread the iron, they
concluded it was necessary to weaken by filing before it could be got
off which he left them attempting to do."
Mr. WILLIAM DROWN, a well known citizen of Rhode Island, formerly of
Providence, who has traveled in nearly all the slave states, thus
testifies in a recent letter:
"I recollect seeing large gangs of slaves, generally a considerable
number in each gang, being chained, passing westward over the
mountains from Maryland, Virginia, &c. to the Ohio. On that river I
have frequently seen flat boats loaded with them, and their keepers
armed with pistols and dirks to guard them.
"At New Orleans I recollect seeing gangs of slaves that were driven
out every day, the Sabbath not excepted, to work on the streets.
These had heavy chains to connect two or more together, and some had
iron collars and yokes, &c. The noise as they walked, or worked in
their chains, was truly dreadful!"
Rev. THOMAS SAVAGE, pastor of the Congregational Church at Bedford,
New Hampshire, who was for some years a resident of Mississippi and
Louisiana, gives the following fact, in a letter dated January 9,
"In 1819, while employed as an instructor at Second Creek, near
Natchez, Mississippi, I resided on a plantation where I witnessed the
following circumstance. One of the slaves was in the habit of running
away. He had been repeatedly taken, and repeatedly whipped, with
great severity, but to no purpose. He would still seize the first
opportunity to escape from the plantation. At last his owner
declared, I'll fix him, I'll put a stop to his running away. He
accordingly took him to a blacksmith, and had an _iron head-frame_
made for him, which may be called lock-jaw, from the use that was made
of it. It had a lock and key, and was so constructed, that when on the
head and locked, the slave could not open his mouth to take food, and
the design was to prevent his running away. But the device proved
unavailing. He was soon missing, and whether by his own desperate
effort, or the aid of others, contrived to sustain himself with food;
but he was at last taken, and if my memory serves me, his life was
soon terminated by the cruel treatment to which he was subjected."
The Western Luminary, a religious paper published at Lexington,
Kentucky, in an editorial article, in the summer of 1833, says:
"A few weeks since we gave an account of a company of men, women and
children, part of whom were manacled, passing through our streets.
Last week, a number of slaves were driven through the main street of
our city, among whom were a number manacled together, two abreast, all
connected by, and supporting a _heavy iron chain_, which extended the
whole length of the line."
TESTIMONY OF A VIRGINIAN.
The _name_ of this witness cannot be published, as it would put him in
peril; but his _credibility_ is vouched for by the Rev. Ezra Fisher,
pastor of the Baptist Church, Quincy, Illinois, and Dr. Richard Eels,
of the same place. These gentlemen say of him, "We have great
confidence in his integrity, discretion, and strict Christian
principle." He says--
"About five years ago, I remember to have passed, in _a single day_,
four droves of slaves for the south west; the largest drove had 350
slaves in it, and the smallest upwards of 200. I counted 68 or 70 in
a single _coffle_. The '_coffle chain_' is a chain fastened at one
end to the centre of the bar of a pair of hand cuffs, which are
fastened to the right wrist of one, and the left wrist of another
slave, they standing abreast, and the chain between them. These are
the head of the coffle. The other end is passed through a ring in the
bolt of the next handcuffs, and the slaves being manacled thus, two
and two together, walk up, and the coffle chain is passed, and they go
up towards the head of the coffle. Of course they are closer or wider
apart in the coffle, according to the number to be coffled, and to the
length of the chain. _I have seen HUNDREDS of droves and
chain-coffles of this description_, and every coffle was a scene of
misery and wo, of tears and brokenness of heart."
Mr. SAMUEL HALL a teacher in Marietta College, Ohio, gives, in a late
letter, the following statement of a fellow student, from Kentucky, of
whom he says, "he is a professor of religion, and worthy of entire
"I have seen at least _fifteen_ droves of 'human cattle,' passing by
us on their way to the south; and I do not recollect an exception,
where there were not more or less of them _chained_ together."
Mr. GEORGE P.C. HUSSEY, of Fayetteville, Franklin county,
Pennsylvania, writes thus:
"I was born and raised in Hagerstown, Washington county, Maryland,
where slavery is perhaps milder than in any other part of the slave
states; and yet I have seen _hundreds_ of colored men and women
chained together, two by two, and driven to the south. I have seen
slaves tied up and lashed till the blood ran down to their heels."
Mr. GIDDINGS, member of Congress from Ohio, in his speech in the House
of Representatives, Feb. 13, 1839, made the following statement:
"On the beautiful avenue in front of the Capitol, members of Congress,
during this session, have been compelled to turn aside from their
path, to permit a coffle of slaves, males and females, _chained to
each other by their necks_, to pass on their way to this _national
Testimony of JAMES K. PAULDING, Esq. the present Secretary of the
United States' Navy.
In 1817, Mr. Paulding published a work, entitled 'Letters from the
South, written during an excursion in the summer of 1816.' In the
first volume of that work, page 128, Mr. P. gives the following
"The sun was shining out very hot--and in turning the angle of the
road, we encountered the following group: first, a little cart drawn
by one horse, in which five or six half naked black children were
tumbled like pigs together. The cart had no covering, and they seemed
to have been broiled to sleep. Behind the cart marched three black
women, with head, neck and breasts uncovered, and without shoes or
stockings: next came three men, bare-headed, and _chained together
with an ox-chain_. Last of all, came a white man on horse back,
carrying his pistols in his belt, and who, as we passed him, had the
impudence to look us in the face without blushing. At a house where we
stopped a little further on, we learned that he had bought these
miserable beings in Maryland, and was marching them in this manner to
one of the more southern states. Shame on the State of Maryland! and I
say, shame on the State of Virginia! and every state through which
this wretched cavalcade was permitted to pass! I do say, that when
they (the slaveholders) permit such flagrant and indecent outrages
upon humanity as that I have described; when they sanction a villain
in thus marching half naked women and men, loaded with chains, without
being charged with any crime but that of being _black_ from one
section of the United States to another, hundreds of miles in the face
of day, they disgrace themselves, and the country to which they
[Footnote 10: The fact that Mr. Paulding, in the reprint of these
"Letters," in 1835, struck out this passage with all others
disparaging to slavery and its supporters, does not impair the force
of his testimony, however much it may sink the man. Nor will the next
generation regard with any more reverence, his character as a prophet,
because in the edition of 1835, two years after the American
Antislavery Society was formed, and when its auxiliaries were numbered
by hundreds, he inserted a _prediction_ that such movements would be
made at the North, with most disastrous results. "Wot ye not that such
a man as I can certainly divine!" Mr. Paulding has already been taught
by Judge Jay, that he who aspires to the fame of an oracle, without
its inspiration, must resort to other expedients to prevent detection,
than the clumsy one of _antedating_ his responses.]
III. BRANDINGS, MAIMINGS, GUY-SHOT WOUNDS, &c.
The slaves are often branded with hot irons, pursued with fire arms
and _shot_, hunted with dogs and torn by them, shockingly maimed with
knives, dirks, &c.; have their ears cut off, their eyes knocked out,
their bones dislocated and broken with bludgeons, their fingers and
toes cut off, their faces and other parts of their persons disfigured
with scars and gashes, _besides_ those made with the lash.
We shall adopt, under this head, the same course as that pursued under
previous ones,--first give the testimony of the slaveholders
themselves, to the mutilations, &c. by copying their own graphic
descriptions of them, in advertisements published under their own
names, and in newspapers published in the slave states, and,
generally, in their own immediate vicinity. We shall, as heretofore,
insert only so much of each advertisement as will be necessary to make
the point intelligible.
Mr. Micajah Ricks, Nash County, North Carolina, in the Raleigh
"Standard," July 18, 1838.
"Ranaway, a negro woman and two children; a few days before she went
off, _I burnt her with a hot iron_, on the left side of her face,_ I
tried to make the letter M._"
Mr. Asa B. Metcalf, Kingston, Adams Co. Mi. in the "Natchez Courier;'
June 15, 1832.
"Ranaway Mary, a black woman, has a _scar_ on her back and right arm
near the shoulder, _caused by a rifle ball._"
Mr. William Overstreet, Benton, Yazoo Co. Mi. in the "Lexington
(Kentucky) Observer," July 22, 1838.
"Ranaway a negro man named Henry, _his left eye out_, some scars from
a _dirk_ on and under his left arm, and _much scarred_ with the whip."
Mr. R.P. Carney, Clark Co. Ala., in the Mobile Register, Dec. 22, 1832
One hundred dollars reward for a negro fellow Pompey, 40 years old, he
is _branded_ on the _left jaw_.
Mr. J. Guyler, Savannah Georgia, in the "Republican," April 12, 1837.
"Ranaway Laman, an old negro man, grey, has _only one eye._"
J.A. Brown, jailor, Charleston, South Carolina, in the "Mercury," Jan.
"Committed to jail a negro man, has _no toes_ on his left foot."
Mr. J. Scrivener, Herring Bay, Anne Arundel Co. Maryland, in the
Annapolis Republican, April 18, 1837.
"Ranaway negro man Elijah, has a scar on his left cheek, apparently
occasioned by _a shot_."
Madame Burvant corner of Chartres and Toulouse streets, New Orleans,
in the "Bee," Dec. 21, 1838.
"Ranaway a negro woman named Rachel, has _lost all her toes_ except
the large one."
Mr. O.W. Lains, In the "Helena, (Ark.) Journal," June 1, 1833.
"Ranaway Sam, he was _shot_ a short time since, through the hand, and
has _several shots in his left arm and side_."
Mr. R.W. Sizer, in the "Grand Gulf, [Mi.] Advertiser," July 8, 1837.
"Ranaway my negro man Dennis, said negro has been _shot_ in the left
arm between the shoulders and elbow, which has paralyzed the left
Mr. Nicholas Edmunds, in the "Petersburgh [Va.] Intelligencer," May
"Ranaway my negro man named Simon, _he has been shot badly_ in his
back and right arm."
Mr. J. Bishop, Bishopville, Sumpter District, South Carolina, in the
"Camden [S.C.] Journal," March 4, 1837.
"Ranaway a negro named Arthur, has a considerable _scar_ across his
_breast and each arm_, made by a knife; loves to talk much of the
goodness of God."
Mr. S. Neyle, Little Ogeechee, Georgia, in the "Savannah Republican,"
July 3, 1837.
"Ranaway George, he has a _sword cut_ lately received on his left
Mrs. Sarah Walsh, Mobile, Ala. in the "Georgia Journal," March 27,
"Twenty five dollars reward for my man Isaac, he has a scar on his
forehead caused by a _blow_, and one on his back made by _a shot from
Mr. J.P. Ashford, Adams Co. Mi. in the "Natchez Courier," August 24,
"Ranaway a negro girl called Mary, has a small scar over her eye, a
_good many teeth missing_, the letter A _is branded on her cheek and
Mr. Ely Townsend, Pike Co. Ala. in the "Pensacola Gazette," Sep. 16,
"Ranaway negro Ben, has a scar on his right hand, his thumb and fore
finger being injured by being _shot_ last fall, a part of _the bone
came out_, he has also one or two _large scars_ on his back and hips."
S.B. Murphy, jailer, Irvington, Ga. in the "Milledgeville Journal,"
May 29, 1838.
"Committed a negro man, is _very badly shot in the right side_ and
Mr. A. Luminais, Parish of St. John Louisiana, in the New Orleans
"Bee," March 3, 1838.
"Detained at the jail, a mulatto named Tom, has a _scar_ on the right
cheek and appears to have been _burned with powder_ on the face."
Mr. Isaac Johnson, Pulaski Co. Georgia, in the "Milledgeville
Journal," June 19, 1838.
"Ranaway a negro man named Ned, _three of his fingers_ are drawn into
the palm of his hand by a _cut_, has a _scar_ on the back of his neck
nearly half round, done by a _knife_."
Mr. Thomas Hudnall, Madison Co. Mi. in the "Vicksburg Register,"
September 5, 1838.
"Ranaway a negro named Hambleton, _limps_ on his left foot where he
was _shot_ a few weeks ago, while runaway."
Mr. John McMurrain, Columbus, Ga. in the "Southern Sun," August 7,
"Ranaway a negro boy named Mose, he has a _wound_ in the right
shoulder near the back bone, which was occasioned by a _rifle shot_."
Mr. Moses Orme, Annapolis, Maryland, in the "Annapolis Republican,"
June 20, 1837.
"Ranaway my negro man Bill, he has a _fresh wound in his head_ above
William Strickland, Jailor, Kershaw District, S.C. in the "Camden
[S.C.] Courier," July 8, 1837.
"Committed to jail a negro, says his name is Cuffee, he is lame in one
knee, occasioned _by a shot_."
The Editor of the "Grand Gulf Advertiser," Dec. 7, 1838.
"Ranaway Joshua, his thumb is off of his left hand."
Mr. William Bateman, in the "Grand Gulf Advertiser," Dec. 7, 1838.
"Ranaway William, _scar_ over his left eye, one between his eye brows,
one on his breast, and his right leg has been _broken_."
Mr. B.G. Simmons, in the "Southern Argus," May 30, 1837.
"Ranaway Mark, his left arm has been _broken_."
Mr. James Artop, in the "Macon [Ga.] Messenger, May 25, 1837.
"Ranaway, Caleb, 50 years old, has an awkward gait occasioned by his
being _shot_ in the thigh."
J.L. Jolley, Sheriff of Clinton, Co. Mi. in the "Clinton Gazette,"
July 23, 1836.
"Was committed to jail a negro man, says his name is Josiah, his back
very much scarred by the whip, and _branded on the thigh and hips, in
three or four places_, thus (J.M.) the _rim of his right ear has been
bit or cut off_."
Mr. Thomas Ledwith, Jacksonville East Florida, in the "Charleston
[S.C.] Courier, Sept. 1, 1838.
"Fifty dollars reward, for my fellow Edward, he has a _scar_ on the
corner of his mouth, two _cuts_ on and under his arm, and the _letter
E on his arm_."
Mr. Joseph James, Sen., Pleasant Ridge, Paulding Co. Ga., in the
"Milledgeville Union," Nov. 7, 1837.
"Ranaway, negro boy Ellie, has a _scar_ on one of his arms _from the
bite of a dog_."
Mr. W. Riley, Orangeburg District, South Carolina, in the "Columbia
[S.C.] Telescope," Nov. 11, 1837.
"Ranaway a negro man, has a _scar_ on the ankle produced by a _burn_,
and a _mark on his arm_ resembling the letter S."
Mr. Samuel Mason, Warren Co, Mi. in the "Vicksburg Register," July 18,
"Ranaway, a negro man named Allen, he has a scar on his breast, also a
scar under the left eye, and has _two buck shot in his right arm_."
Mr. F.L.C. Edwards, in the "Southern Telegraph", Sept. 25, 1837
"Ranaway from the plantation of James Surgette, the following negroes,
Randal, _has one ear cropped_; Bob, _has lost one eye_, Kentucky Tom,
_has one jaw broken_."
Mr. Stephen M. Jackson, in the "Vicksburg Register", March 10, 1837.
"Ranaway, Anthony, _one of his ears cut off_, and his left hand cut
with an axe."
Philip Honerton, deputy sheriff of Halifax Co. Virginia, Jan. 1837.
"Was committed, a negro man, has a _scar_ on his right side by a burn,
one on his knee, and one on the calf of his leg _by the bite of a
Stearns & Co. No. 28, New Levee, New Orleans, in the "Bee", March 22,
"Absconded, the mulatto boy Tom, his fingers _scarred_ on his right
hand, and has a _scar_ on his right cheek"
Mr. John W. Walton, Greensboro, Ala. in the "Alabama Beacon", Dec. 13,
"Ranaway my black boy Frazier, with a _scar_ below and one above his
Mr. R. Furman, Charleston, S.C. in the "Charleston Mercury" Jan. 12,
"Ranaway, Dick, about 19, has lost the small toe of one foot."
Mr. John Tart, Sen. in the "Fayetteville [N.C.] Observer", Dec. 26,
"Stolen a mulatto boy, _ten_ years old, he has a _scar_ over his eye
which was made by an axe."
Mr. Richard Overstreet, Brook Neal, Campbell Co. Virginia, in the
"Danville [Va.] Reporter", Dec. 21, 1838.
"Absconded my negro man Coleman, has a _very large scar_ on one of his
legs, also one on _each_ arm, by a burn, and his heels have been
The editor of the New Orleans "Bee" in that paper, August 27, 1837.
"Fifty dollars reward, for the negro Jim Blake--has a _piece cut out
of each ear_, and the middle finger of the left hand _cut off_ to the
Mr. Bryant Jonson, Port Valley, Houston county, Georgia, in the
Milledgeville "Union", Oct. 2, 1838.
"Ranaway, a negro woman named Maria--has a scar on one side of her
cheek, by a _cut_--some scars on her back."
Mr. Leonard Miles, Steen's Creek, Rankin county, Mi. in the "Southern
Sun", Sept. 22, 1838
"Ranaway, Gabriel--has _two or three scars across his neck_ made with
Mr. Bezou, New Orleans, in the "Bee" May 23, 1838.
"Ranaway, the mulatto wench Mary--has a _cut on the left arm, a scar
on the shoulder, and two upper teeth missing_."
Mr. James Kimborough, Memphis, Tenn. in the "Memphis Enquirer" July
"Ranaway, a negro boy, named Jerry--has a _scar_ on his right check
two inches long, from the cut of a knife."
Mr. Robert Beasley, Macon, Georgia, in the "Georgia Messenger", July
"Ranaway, my man Fountain--has _holes in his ears, a scar_ on the
right side of his forehead--has been _shot in the hind parts of his
legs_--is marked on the back with the whip."
Mr. B.G. Barrer, St. Louis, Missouri, in the "Republican", Sept. 6,
"Ranaway, a negro man named Jarret--_has a scar_ on the under part of
one of his arms, occasioned by a wound from a knife."
Mr. John D. Turner, near Norfolk, Virginia, in the "Norfolk Herald",
June 27, 1838.
"Ranaway, a negro by the name of Joshua--he has a cut across one of
his ears, which he will conceal as much as possible--one of his
ankles is _enlarged by an ulcer_."
Mr. William Stansell, Picksville, Ala. in the "Huntsville Democrat",
August 29, 1837.
"Ranaway, negro boy Harper--has a scar on one of his hips in the form
of a G."
Hon. Ambrose H. Sevier Senator, in Congress, from Arkansas in the
"Vicksburg Register", of Oct. 18.
"Ranaway, Bob, a slave--has a _scar across his breast_, another on the
_right side of his head_--his back is _much scarred_ with the whip."
Mr. R.A. Greene, Milledgeville, Georgia, in the "Macon Messenger" July
"Two hundred and fifty dollars reward, for my negro man Jim--he is
much marked with _shot_ in his right thigh,--the shot entered on the
outside, half way between the hip and knee joints."
Benjamin Russel, deputy sheriff, Bibb county, Ga. in the "Macon
Telegraph", December 25, 1837.
"Brought to jail, John--_left ear cropt_."
Hon. H Hitchcock, Mobile, judge of the Supreme Court, in the
"Commercial Register", Oct. 27, 1837.
"Ranaway, the slave Ellis--he has _lost one of his ears_."
Mrs. Elizabeth L. Carter, near Groveton, Prince William county,
Virginia, in the "National Intelligencer", Washington, D.C. June 10,
"Ranaway, a negro man, Moses--he has _lost a part_ of one of his
Mr. William D. Buckels, Natchez, Mi. in the "Natchez Courier," July
"Taken up, a negro man--is _very much scarred_ about the face and
body, and has the left _ear bit off_."
Mr. Walter R. English, Monroe county, Ala. in the "Mobile Chronicle,"
Sept. 2, 1837.
"Ranaway, my slave Lewis--he has lost a _piece of one ear_, and a
_part of one of his fingers_, a _part of one of his toes_ is also
Mr. James Saunders, Grany Spring, Hawkins county, Tenn. in the
"Knoxville Register," June 6, 1838.
"Ranaway, a black girl named Mary--has a _scar_ on her cheek, and the
end of one of her toes _cut off_."
Mr. John Jenkins, St Joseph's, Florida, captain of the steamboat
Ellen, "Apalachicola Gazette," June 7, 1838.
"Ranaway, the negro boy Caesar--he has _but one eye_."
Mr. Peter Hanson, Lafayette city, La., in the New Orleans "Bee," July
"Ranaway, the negress Martha--she has _lost her right eye_."
Mr. Orren Ellis, Georgeville, Mi. in the "North Alabamian," Sept. 15,
"Ranaway, George--has had the lower part of _one of his ears bit
Mr. Zadock Sawyer, Cuthbert, Randolph county, Georgia, in the
"Milledgeville Union," Oct. 9, 1838.
"Ranaway, my negro Tom--has a piece _bit off the top of his right
ear_, and his little finger is _stiff_."
Mr. Abraham Gray, Mount Morino, Pike county, Ga. in the "Milledgeville
Union," Oct. 9, 1838.
"Ranaway, my mulatto woman Judy--she has had her _right arm broke_."
S.B. Tuston, jailer, Adams county, Mi. in the "Natchez Courier," June
"Was committed to jail, a negro man named Bill--has had the _thumb of
his left hand split_."
Mr. Joshua Antrim, Nineveh, Warren county, Virginia, in the
"Winchester Virginian," July 11, 1837.
"Ranaway, a mulatto man named Joe--his fingers on the left hand are
J.B. Randall, jailor, Marietta, Cobb county, Ga., in the "Southern
Recorder;" Nov. 6, 1838.
"Lodged in jail, a negro man named Jupiter--is very _lame in his left
hip_, so that he can hardly walk--has lost a joint of the middle
finger of his left hand."
Mr. John N. Dillahunty, Woodville, Mi., in the "N.O. Commercial
Bulletin," July 21, 1837.
"Ranaway, Bill--has a scar over one eye, also one on his leg, from
_the bite of a dog_--has a _burn on his buttock, from a piece of hot
iron in shape of a T_."
William K. Ratcliffe, sheriff, Franklin county, Mi. in the "Natchez
Free Trader," August 23, 1838.
"Committed to jail, a negro named Mike--_his left ear off_"
Mr. Preston Halley, Barnwell, South Carolina, in the "Augusta [Ga.]
Chronicle," July 27, 1838.
"Ranaway, my negro man Levi--his left hand has been _burnt_, and I
think the end of his fore finger _is off_."
Mr. Welcome H. Robbins, St. Charles county, Mo. in the "St. Louis
Republican," June 30, 1838.
"Ranaway, a negro named Washington--has _lost a part of his middle
finger and the end of his little finger_."
G. Gourdon & Co. druggists, corner of Rampart and Hospital streets,
New Orleans, in the "Commercial Bulletin," Sept. 18, 1838.
"Ranaway, a negro named David Drier--has _two toes cut_."
Mr. William Brown, in the "Grand Gulf Advertiser," August 29, 1838.
"Ranaway, Edmund--has a _scar_ on his right temple, and under his
right eye, and _holes in both ears_."
Mr. James McDonnell, Talbot county, Georgia, in the "Columbus
Enquirer," Jan. 18, 1838.
"Runaway, a negro boy _twelve or thirteen_ years old--has a scar on
his left cheek _from the bite of a dog_."
Mr. John W. Cherry, Marengo county, Ala. in the "Mobile Register,"
June 15, 1838.
"Fifty dollars reward, for my negro man John--he has a considerable
scar on his _throat_, done with a _knife_."
Mr. Thos. Brown, Roane co. Tenn. in the "Knoxville Register," Sept 12,
"Twenty-five dollars reward, for my man John--the _tip_ of his nose is
Messrs. Taylor, Lawton & Co., Charleston, South Carolina, in the
"Mercury," Nov. 1838.
"Ranaway, a negro fellow called Hover--has a _cut_ above the right
Mr. Louis Schmidt, Faubourg, Sivaudais, La. in the New Orleans "Bee,"
Sept. 5, 1837.
"Ranaway, the negro man Hardy--has a _scar_ on the upper lip, and
another made with a _knife_ on his neck."
W.M. Whitehead, Natchez, in the "New Orleans Bulletin," July 21,
"Ranaway, Henry--has half of one _ear bit off_."
Mr. Conrad Salvo, Charleston, South Carolina, in the "Mercury," August
"Ranaway, my negro man Jacob--he has but _one eye_."
William Baker, jailer, Shelby county, Ala., in the "Montgomery (Ala.)
Advertiser," Oct. 5, 1838.
"Committed to jail, Ben--his _left thumb off_ at the first joint."
Mr. S.N. Hite, Camp street, New Orleans, in the "Bee," Feb. 19, 1838.
"Twenty-five dollars reward for the negro slave Sally--walks as though
_crippled_ in the back."
Mr. Stephen M. Richards, Whitesburg, Madison county, Alabama, in the
"Huntsville Democrat," Sept 8, 1838.
"Ranaway, a negro man named Dick--has a _little finger off_ the right
Mr. A. Brose, parish of St. Charles, La. in the "New Orleans Bee,"
Feb. 19, 1838.
"Ranaway, the negro Patrick--has his little finger of the right hand
_cut close to the hand_."
Mr. Needham Whitefield, Aberdeen, Mi. in the "Memphis (Tenn.)
Enquirer," June 15, 1838.
"Ranaway, Joe Dennis--has a small _notch_ in one of his ears."
Col. M.J. Keith, Charleston, South Carolina, in the "Mercury," Nov.
"Ranaway, Dick--has _lost the little toe_ of one of his feet."
Mr. R. Faucette, Haywood, North Carolina, in the "Raleigh Register,"
April 30, 1838.
"Escaped, my negro man Eaton--his _little finger_ of the right hand
has been _broke_."
Mr. G.C. Richardson, Owen Station, Mo., in the St. Louis "Republican,"
May 5, 1838.
"Ranaway, my negro man named Top--has had one of his _legs broken_."
Mr. E. Han, La Grange, Fayette county, Tenn. in the Gallatin "Union,"
June 23, 1837.
"Ranaway, negro boy Jack--has a small _crop out of his left ear_."
D. Herring, warden of Baltimore city jail, in the "Marylander," Oct 6,
"Was committed to jail, a negro man--has _two scars_ on his forehead,
and the _top of his left ear cut off_."
Mr. James Marks, near Natchitoches, La. in the "Natchitoches Herald,"
July 21, 1838.
"Stolen, a negro man named Winter--has a _notch_ cut out of the left
ear, and the mark of _four or five buck shot_ on his legs."
Mr. James Barr, Amelia Court House, Virginia, in the "Norfolk Herald,"
Sept. 12, 1838.
"Ranaway, a negro man--_scar back of his left eye_, as if from the
_cut_ of a knife."
Mr. Isaac Michell, Wilkinson county, Georgia, in the "Augusta
Chronicle," Sept 21, 1837.
"Ranaway, negro man Buck--has a very _plain mark_ under his ear on his
jaw, about the size of a dollar, having been _inflicted by a knife._"
Mr. P. Bayhi, captain of the police, Suburb Washington, third
municipality, New Orleans, in the "Bee," Oct. 13, 1837.
"Detained at the jail, the negro boy Hermon--has a scar below his left
ear, from the _wound of a knife_."
Mr. Willie Paterson, Clinton, Jones county, Ga. in the "Darien
Telegraph," Dec. 5, 1837.
"Ranaway, a negro man by the name of John--he has a _scar_ across his
cheek, and one on his right arm, apparently done with a _knife_."
Mr. Samuel Ragland, Triana, Madison county, Alabama, in the
"Huntsville Advocate," Dec. 23, 1837.
"Ranaway, Isham--has a _scar_ upon the breast and upon the under lip,
from the _bite of a dog_."
Mr. Moses E. Bush, near Clayton, Ala. in the "Columbus (Ga.)
Enquirer," July 5, 1838.
"Ranaway, a negro man--has a _scar_ on his hip and on his breast, and
_two front teeth out_."
C.W. Wilkins, sheriff Baldwin Co, Ala, is the "Mobile Advertiser;"
Sept. 24, 1837.
"Committed to jail, a negro man, he is _crippled_ in the right leg."
Mr. James H. Taylor, Charleston South Carolina, in the "Courier,"
August 7, 1837.
"Absconded, a colored boy, named Peter, _lame_ in the right leg."
N.M.C. Robinson, jailer, Columbus, Georgia, in the "Columbus (Ga.)
Enquirer," August 2, 1838.
"Brought to jail, a negro man, his left ankle has been _broke_."
Mr. Littlejohn Rynes, Hinds Co. Mi. in the "Natchez Courier," August,
"Ranaway, a negro man named Jerry, has a small piece _cut out of the
top of each ear_."
The Heirs of J.A. Alston, near Georgetown, South Carolina, in the
"Georgetown [S.C.] Union," June 17, 1837.
"Absconded a negro named Cuffee, has _lost one finger_; has an
A.S. Ballinger, Sheriff, Johnston Co, North Carolina, In the "Raleigh
Standard," Oct. 18, 1838.
"Committed to jail, a negro man; has a _very sore leg_."
Mr. Thomas Crutchfield, Atkins, Ten. in the "Tennessee Journal," Oct.
"Ranaway, my mulatto boy Cy, has but _one hand_, all the fingers of
his right hand were _burnt off_ when young."
J.A. Brown, jailer, Orangeburg, South Carolina, in the "Charleston
Mercury," July 18, 1838.
"Was committed to jail, a negro named Bob, appears to be _crippled_ in
the right leg."
S.B. Turton, jailer, Adams Co. Miss. in the "Natchez Courier," Sept.
"Was committed to jail, a negro man, has his _left thigh broke_."
Mr. John H. King, High street, Georgetown, in the "National
Intelligencer," August 1, 1837.
"Ranaway, my negro man, he has the _end of one_ of his fingers
Mr. John B. Fox, Vicksburg, Miss. in the "Register," March 29, 1837.
"Ranaway, a yellowish negro boy named Tom, has a _notch_ in the back
of one of his ears."
Messrs. Fernandez and Whiting, auctioneers, New Orleans, in the "Bee,"
April 8, 1837.
"Will be sold Martha, aged nineteen, _has one eye out_."
Mr. Marshall Jett, Farrowsville, Fauquier Co. Virginia, in the
"National Intelligencer," May 30, 1837.
"Ranaway, negro man Ephraim, has a _mark_ over one of his eyes,
occasioned by a _blow_."
S.B. Turton, jailer Adams Co. Miss. in the "Natches Courier," Oct. 12,
"Was committed a negro, calls himself Jacob, has been _crippled_ in
his right leg."
John Ford, sheriff of Mobile County, in the "Mississippian," Jackson
Mi. Dec. 28, 1838.
"Committed to jail, a negro man Cary, a _large scar on his forehead_."
E.W. Morris, sheriff of Warren County, in the "Vicksburg [Mi.]
Register," March 28, 1838.
"Committed as a runaway, a negro man Jack, he has _several scars_ on
Mr. John P. Holcombe, In the "Charleston Mercury," April 17, 1828.
"Absented himself, his negro man Ben, _has scars_ on his throat,
occasioned by the _cut of a knife_."
Mr. Geo. Kinlock, in the "Charleston, S.C. Courier," May 1, 1839.
"Ranaway, negro boy Kitt, 15 or 16 years old, _has a piece taken out
of one of his ears_."
Wm. Magee, sheriff, Mobile Co. in the "Mobile Register," Dec. 27, 1837.
"Committed to jail, a runaway slave, Alexander, a _scar_ on his left
Mr. Henry M. McGregor, Prince George County, Maryland, in the
"Alexandria [D.C.] Gazette," Feb. 6, 1838.
"Ranaway, negro Phil, _scar through the right eye brow_ part of the
_middle toe_ right foot _cut off_."
Green B Jourdan, Baldwin County Ga. in the "Georgia Journal," April
"Ranaway, John, has a _scar_ on one of his hands extending from the
wrist joint to the little finger, also a _scar_ on one of his legs."
Messrs. Daniel and Goodman, New Orleans, in the "N.O. Bee," Feb. 2,
"Absconded, mulatto slave Alick, has a _large scar over_ one of his
Jeremiah Woodward, Gonchland, Co. Va. in the "Richmond Va. Whig," Jan.
"200 DOLLARS REWARD for Nelson, has a _scar_ on his forehead
occasioned by a _burn_, and one on his lower lip and one about the
Samuel Rawlins, Gwinet Co. Ga. in the "Columbus Sentinel," Nov. 29,
"Ranaway, a negro man and his wife, named Nat and Priscilla, he has a
small _scar_ on his left cheek, _two stiff fingers_ on his right hand
with a _running sore_ on them; his wife has a _scar_ on her left arm,
and one _upper tooth out_."
The reader perceives that we have under this head, as under previous
ones, given to the testimony of the slaveholders themselves, under
their own names, a precedence over that of all other witnesses. We now
ask the reader's attention to the testimonies which follow. They are
endorsed by responsible names--men who 'speak what they know, and
testify what they have seen'--testimonies which show, that the
slaveholders who wrote the preceding advertisements, describing the
work of their own hands, in branding with hot irons, maiming,
mutilating, cropping, shooting, knocking out the teeth and eyes of
their slaves, breaking their bones, &c., have manifested, _as far as
they have gone_ in the description, a commendable fidelity to truth.
It is probable that some of the scars and maimings in the preceding
advertisements were the result of accidents; and some _may be_ the
result of violence inflicted by the slaves upon each other. Without
arguing that point, we say, these are the _facts_; whoever reads and
ponders them, will need no argument to convince him, that the
proposition which they have been employed to sustain, _cannot be
shaken_. That any considerable portion of them were _accidental_, is
totally improbable, from the nature of the case; and is in most
instances disproved by the advertisements themselves. That they have
not been produced by assaults of the slaves upon each other, is
manifest from the fact, that injuries of that character inflicted by
the slaves upon each other, are, as all who are familiar with the
habits and condition of slaves well know, exceedingly rare; and of
necessity must be so, from the constant action upon them of the
strongest dissuasives from such acts that can operate on human nature.
Advertisements similar to the preceding may at any time be gathered by
scores from the daily and weekly newspapers of the slave states.
Before presenting the reader with further testimony in proof of the
proposition at the head of this part of our subject, we remark, that
some of the tortures enumerated under this and the preceding heads,
are not in all cases inflicted by slaveholders as _punishments_, but
sometimes merely as preventives of escape, for the greater security of
their 'property'. Iron collars, chains, &c. are put upon slaves when
they are driven or transported from one part of the country to
another, in order to keep them from running away. Similar measures are
often resorted to upon plantations. When the master or owner suspects
a slave of plotting an escape, an iron collar with long 'horns,' or a
bar of iron, or a ball and chain, are often fastened upon him, for the
double purpose of retarding his flight, should he attempt it, and of
serving as an easy means of detection.
Another inhuman method of _marking_ slaves, so that they may be easily
described and detected when they escape, is called _cropping_. In the
preceding advertisements, the reader will perceive a number of cases,
in which the runaway is described as '_cropt_,' or a '_notch cut_ in
the ear, or a part or the whole of the ear _cut off_,' &c.
Two years and a half since, the writer of this saw a letter, then just
received by Mr. Lewis Tappan, of New York, containing a negro's ear
cut off close to the head. The writer of the letter, who signed
himself Thomas Oglethorpe, Montgomery, Alabama, sent it to Mr. Tappan
as 'a specimen of a negro's ears,' and desired him to add it to his
Another method of _marking_ slaves, is by drawing out or breaking off
one or two _front teeth_--commonly the upper ones, as the mark would
in that case be the more obvious. An instance of this kind the reader
will recall in the testimony of Sarah M. Grimke, page 30, and of which
she had _personal_ knowledge; being well acquainted both with the
inhuman master, (a distinguished citizen of South Carolina,) by whose
order the brutal deed was done, and with the poor young girl whose
mouth was thus barbarously mutilated, to furnish a convenient mark by
which to describe her in case of her elopement, as she had frequently
The case stated by Miss G. serves to unravel what, to one uninitiated,
seems quite a mystery: i.e. the frequency with which, in the
advertisements of runaway slaves published in southern papers, they
are described as having _one or two front teeth out_. Scores of such
advertisements are in southern papers now on our table. We will
furnish the reader with a dozen or two.
Jesse Debruhl, sheriff, Richland District, "Columbia (S.C.)
Telescope," Feb. 24, 1839.
"Committed to jail, Ned, about 25 years of age, has lost his _two
upper front teeth_."
Mr. John Hunt, Black Water Bay, "Pensacola (Ga.) Gazette," October 14,
"100 DOLLARS REWARD, for Perry, _one under front tooth_ missing, aged
Mr. John Frederick, Branchville, Orangeburgh District, S.C.
"Charleston (S.C.) Courier," June 12, 1837.
"10 DOLLARS REWARD, for Mary, _one or two upper teeth_ out, about 25
Mr. Egbert A. Raworth, eight miles west of Nashville on the Charlotte
road "Daily Republican Banner," Nashville, Tennessee, April 30, 1938.
"Ranaway, Myal, 23 years old, one of his _fore teeth out_."
Benjamin Russel, Deputy sheriff Bibb Co. Ga. "Macon (Ga.) Telegraph,"
Dec. 25, 1837.
"Brought to jail John, 23 years old, _one fore tooth out_."
F. Wisner, Master of the Work House, "Charleston (S.C.) Courier." Oct.
"Committed to the Charleston Work House Tom, _two of his upper front
teeth out_, about 30 years of age."
Mr. S. Neyle, "Savannah (Ga.) Republican," July 3, 1837.
"Ranaway Peter, has lost _two front teeth_ in the upper jaw."
Mr. John McMurrain, near Columbus, "Georgia Messenger," Aug. 2, 1838.
"Ranaway, a boy named Moses, some of his _front teeth out_."
Mr. John Kennedy, Stewart Co. La. "New Orleans Bee," April 7, 1837.
"Ranaway, Sally, her _fore teeth out_."
Mr. A.J. Hutchings, near Florence, Ala. "North Alabamian," August 25,
"Ranaway, George Winston, two of his _upper fore teeth out_
immediately in front."
Mr. James Purdon, 33 Commons street, N.O. "New Orleans Bee," Feb. 13,
"Ranaway, Jackson, has lost _one of his front teeth_."
Mr. Robert Calvert, in the "Arkansas State Gazette," August 22, 1838.
"Ranaway, Jack, 25 years old, has lost _one of his fore teeth_."
Mr. A.G.A. Beazley, in the Memphis Gazette, March 18, 1838.
"Ranaway, Abraham, 20 or 22 years of age, _his front teeth out_."
Mr. Samuel Townsend, in the "Huntsville [Ala.] Democrat," May 24,
"Ranaway, Dick, 18 or 20 years of age, _has one front tooth out_."
Mr. Philip A. Dew, in the "Virginia Herald," of May 24, 1837.
"Ranaway, Washington, about 25 years of age, has _an upper front tooth
J.G. Dunlap, "Georgia Constitutionalist," April 24, 1838.
"Ranaway, negro woman Abbe, _upper front teeth out_."
John Thomas, "Southern Argus," August 7, 1838.
"Ranaway, Lewis, 25 or 26 years old, _one or two of his front teeth
M.E.W. Gilbert, in the "Columbus [Ga.] Enquirer," Oct. 5. 1837.
"50 DOLLARS REWARD, for Prince, 25 or 26 years old, _one or two teeth
out_ in front on the upper jaw."
Publisher of the "Charleston Mercury," Aug. 31, 1838.
"Ranaway, Seller Saunders, _one fore tooth out_, about 22 years of
Mr. Byrd M. Grace, in the "Macon [Ga.] Telegraph," Oct. 16, 1383.
"Ranaway, Warren, about 25 or 26 years old, has lost _some of his
Mr. George W. Barnes, in the "Milledgeville [Ga.] Journal," May 22,
"Ranaway, Henry, about 23 years old, has one of his _upper front teeth
D. Herring, Warden of Baltimore Jail, in "Baltimore Chronicle," Oct.
"Committed to jail Elizabeth Steward, 17 or 18 years old, has _one of
her front teeth out_."
Mr. J.L. Colborn, in the "Huntsville [Ala.] Democrat," July 4, 1837.
"Ranaway Liley, 26 years of age, _one fore tooth gone_."
Samuel Harman Jr. in the "New Orleans Bee," Oct. 12, 1838.
"50 DOLLARS REWARD, for Adolphe, 28 years old, _two of his front
teeth_ are missing."
Were it necessary, we might easily add to the preceding list,
_hundreds_. The reader will remark that all the slaves, whose ages are
given, are _young_--not one has arrived at middle age; consequently it
can hardly be supposed that they have lost their teeth either from age
or decay. The probability that their teeth were taken out by force, is
increased by the fact of their being _front teeth_ in almost every
case, and from the fact that the loss of no _other_ is mentioned in
the advertisements. It is well known that the front teeth are not
generally the first to fail. Further, it is notorious that the teeth
of the slaves are remarkably sound and serviceable, that they decay
far less, and at a much later period of life than the teeth of the
whites: owing partly, no doubt, to original constitution; but more
probably to their diet, habits, and mode of life.
As an illustration of the horrible mutilations _sometimes_ suffered by
them in the breaking and tearing out of their teeth, we insert the
following, from the New Orleans Bee of May 31, 1837.
$10 REWARD.--Ranaway, Friday, May 12, JULIA, a negress, EIGHTEEN OR
TWENTY YEARS OLD. SHE HAS LOST HER UPPER TEETH, and the under ones ARE
ALL BROKEN. Said reward will be paid to whoever will bring her to her
master, No. 172 Barracks-street, or lodge her in the jail.
The following is contained in the same paper.
Ranaway, NELSON, 27 years old,--"ALL HIS TEETH ARE MISSING."
This advertisement is signed by "S. ELFER," Faubourg Marigny.
We now call the attention of the reader to a mass of testimony in
support of our general proposition.
GEORGE B. RIPLEY, Esq. of Norwich, Connecticut, has furnished the
following statement, in a letter dated Dec. 12, 1838.
"GURDON CHAPMAN, Esq., a respectable merchant of our city, one of our
county commissioners,--last spring a member of our state
legislature,--and whose character for veracity is above suspicion,
about a year since visited the county of Nansemond, Virginia, for the
purpose of buying a cargo of corn. He purchased a large quantity of
Mr. ----, with whose family he spent a week or ten days; after he
returned, he related to me and several other citizens the following
facts. In order to prepare the corn for market by the time agreed
upon, the slaves were worked as hard as they would bear, from daybreak
until 9 or 10 o'clock at night. They were called directly from their
bunks in the morning to their work, without a morsel of food until
noon, when they took their breakfast and dinner, consisting of bacon
and corn bread. The quantity of meat was not one tenth of what the
same number of northern laborers usually have at a meal. They were
allowed but fifteen minutes to take this meal, at the expiration of
this time the horn was blown. The rigor with which they enforce
punctuality to its call, may be imagined from the fact, that a little
boy only nine years old was whipped so severely by the driver, that in
many places the whip cut through his clothes (which were of cotton,)
for tardiness of not over three minutes. They then worked without
intermission until 9 or 10 at night; after which they prepared and ate
their second meal, as scanty as the first. An aged slave, who was
remarkable for his industry and fidelity, was working with all his
might on the threshing floor; amidst the clatter of the shelling and
winnowing machines the master spoke to him, but he did not hear; he
presently gave him several severe cuts with the raw hide, saying, at
the same time, 'damn you, if you cannot hear I'll see if you can
feel.' One morning the master rose from breakfast and whipped most
cruelly, with a raw hide, a nice girl who was waiting on the table,
for not opening a _west_ window when he had told her to open an east
one. The number of slaves was only forty, and yet the lash was in
constant use. The bodies of all of them were literally covered with
"Not one of the slaves attended church on the Sabbath. The social
relations were scarcely recognised among them, and they lived in a
state of promiscuous concubinage. The master said he took pains to
breed from his best stock--the whiter the progeny the higher they
would sell for house servants. When asked by Mr. C. if he did not fear
his slaves would run away if he whipped them so much, he replied, they
know too well what they must suffer if they are taken--and then said,
'I'll tell you how I treat my runaway niggers. I had a big nigger that
ran away the second time; as soon as I got track of him I took three
good fellows and went in pursuit, and found him in the night, some
miles distant, in a corn-house; we took him and ironed him hand and
foot, and carted him home. The next morning we tied him to a tree, and
whipped him until there was not a sound place on his back. I then tied
his ankles and hoisted him up to a _limb_--feet up and head down--we
then whipped him, until the damned nigger smoked so that I thought he
would take fire and burn up. We then took him down; and to make sure
that he should not run away the third time, I run my knife in back of
the ankles, and _cut off the large cords_,--and then I ought to have
put some lead into the wounds, but I forgot it'
"The truth of the above is from unquestionable authority; and you may
publish or suppress it, as shall best subserve the cause of God and
EXTRACT OF A LETTER FROM STEPHAN SEWALL, Esq., Winthrop, Maine, dated
Jan. 12th, 1839. Mr. S. is a member of the Congregational church in
Winthrop, and late agent of the Winthrop Manufacturing company.
"Being somewhat acquainted with slavery, by a residence of about five
years in Alabama, and having witnessed many acts of slaveholding
cruelty, I will mention one or two that came under my eye; and one of
excessive cruelty mentioned to me at the time, by the gentleman (now
dead,) that interfered in behalf of the slave.
"I was witness to such cruelties by an overseer to a slave, that he
twice attempted to drown himself, to get out of his power: this was on
a raft of slaves, in the Mobile river. I saw an owner take his runaway
slave, tie a rope round him, then get on his horse, give the slave and
horse a cut the whip, and run the poor creature barefooted, very fast,
over rough ground, where small black jack oaks had been cut up,
leaving the sharp stumps, on which the slave would frequently fall;
then the master would drag him as long as he could himself hold out;
then stop, and whip him up on his feet again--then proceed as before.
This continued until he got out of my sight, which was about half a
mile. But what further cruelties this wretched man, (whose passion was
so excited that he could scarcely utter a word when he took the slave
into his own power,) inflicted upon his poor victim, the day of
judgment will unfold.
"I have seen slaves severely whipped on plantations, but this _is an
every day occurrence_, and comes under the head of general treatment.
"I have known the case of a husband compelled to whip his wife. This I
did not witness, though not two rods from the cabin at the time.
"I will now mention the case of cruelty before referred to. In 1820 or
21, while the public works were going forward on Dauphin Island,
Mobile Bay, a contractor, engaged on the works, beat one of his slaves
so severely that the poor creature had no longer power to writhe under
his suffering: he then took out his knife, and began to _cut his flesh
in strips, from his hips down_. At this moment, the gentleman referred
to, who was also a contractor, shocked at such inhumanity, stepped
forward, between the wretch and his victim, and exclaimed, 'If you
touch that slave again you do it at the peril of your life.' The
slaveholder raved at him for interfering between him and his slave;
but he was obliged to drop his victim, fearing the arm of my
friend--whose stature and physical powers were extraordinary."
EXTRACT OF A LETTER FROM MRS. MARY COWLES, a member of the
Presbyterian church at Geneva, Ashtabula county, Ohio, dated 12th, mo.
18th, 1838. Mrs. Cowles is a daughter of Mr. James Colwell of Brook
county, Virginia, near West Liberty.
"In the year 1809, I think, when I was twenty-one years old, a man in
the vicinity where I resided, in Brooke co. Va. near West Liberty, by
the name of Morgan, had a little slave girl about six years old, who
had a habit or rather a natural infirmity common to children of that
age. On this account her master and mistress would pinch her ears with
hot tongs, and throw hot embers on her legs. Not being able to
accomplish their object by these means, they at last resorted to a
method too indelicate, and too horrible to describe in detail. Suffice
it to say, it soon put an end to her life in the most excruciating
manner. If further testimony to authenticate what I have stated is
necessary, I refer you to Dr. Robert Mitchel who then resided in the
vicinity, but now lives at Indiana, Pennsylvania, above Pittsburgh."
TESTIMONY OF WILLIAM LADD, Esq., now of Minot, Maine, formerly a
slaveholder in Florida. Mr. Ladd is now the President of the American
Peace Society. In a letter dated November 29, 1838, Mr. Ladd says:
"While I lived in Florida I knew a slaveholder whose name was
Hutchinson, he had been a preacher and a member of the Senate of
Georgia. He told me that he dared not keep a gun in his house, because
he was so passionate; and that he had _been the death of three or four
men_. I understood him to mean _slaves_. One of his slaves, a girl,
once came to my house. She had run away from him at Indian river. The
cords of one of her hands were so much contracted that her hand was
useless. It was said that he had thrust her hand into the fire while
he was in a fit of passion, and held it there, and this was the
effect. My wife had hid the girl, when Hutchinson came for her. Out of
compassion for the poor slave, I offered him more than she was worth,
which he refused. We afterward let the girl escape, and I do not know
what became of her, but I believe he never got her again. It was
currently reported of Hutchinson, that he once knocked down a _new_
negro (one recently from Africa) who was clearing up land, and who
complained of the cold, as it was mid-winter. The slave was stunned
with the blow. Hutchinson, supposing he had the 'sulks,' applied fire
to the side of the slave until it was so roasted that he said the
slave was not worth curing, and ordered the other slaves to pile on
brush, and he was consumed.
"A murder occurred at the settlement, (Musquito) while I lived there.
An overseer from Georgia, who was employed by a Mr. Cormick, in a fit
of jealousy shot a slave of Samuel Williams, the owner of the next
plantation. He was apprehended, but afterward suffered to escape. This
man told me that he had rather whip a negro than sit down to the best
dinner. This man had, near his house, a contrivance like that which is
used in armies where soldiers are punished with the picket; by this
the slave was drawn up from the earth, by a cord passing round his
wrists, so that his feet could just touch the ground. It somewhat
resembled a New England well sweep, and was used when the slaves were
"The treatment of slaves at Musquito I consider much milder than that
which I have witnessed in the United States. Florida was under the
Spanish government while I lived there. There were about fifteen or
twenty plantations at Musquito. I have an indistinct recollection of
four or five slaves dying of the cold in Amelia Island. They belonged
to Mr. Bunce of musquito. The compensation of the overseers was a
certain portion of the crop."
GERRIT SMITH, Esq. of Peterboro, in a letter, dated Dec. 15, 1838,
"I have just been conversing with an inhabitant of this town, on the
subject of the cruelties of slavery. My neighbors inform me that he is
a man of veracity. The candid manner of his communication utterly
forbade the suspicion that he was attempting to deceive me.
"My informant says that he resided in Louisiana and Alabama during a
great part of the years 1819 and 1820:--that he frequently saw slaves
whipped, never saw any killed; but often heard of their being
killed:--that in several instances he had seen a slave receive, in the
space of two hours, five hundred lashes--each stroke drawing blood. He
adds that this severe whipping was always followed by the application
of strong brine to the lacerated parts.
"My informant further says, that in the spring of 1819, he steered a
boat from Louisville to New Orleans. Whilst stopping at a plantation
on the east bank of the Mississippi, between Natchez and New Orleans,
for the purpose of making sale of some of the articles with which the
boat was freighted, he and his fellow boatmen saw a shockingly cruel
punishment inflicted on a couple of slaves for the repeated offence of
running away. Straw was spread over the whole of their backs, and,
after being fastened by a band of the same material, was ignited, and
left to burn, until entirely consumed. The agonies and screams of the
sufferers he can never forget."
Dr. DAVID NELSON, late president of Marion College, Missouri, a native
of Tennessee, and till forty years old a slaveholder, said in an
Anti-Slavery address at Northampton, Mass. Jan. 1839--
"I have not attempted to harrow your feelings with stories of cruelty.
I will, however, mention one or two among the many incidents that came
under my observation as family physician. I was one day dressing a
blister, and the mistress of the house sent a little black girl into
the kitchen to bring me some warm water. She probably mistook her
message; for she returned with a bowl full of boiling water; which her
mistress no sooner perceived, than she thrust her hand into it, and
held it there till it was half cooked."
Mr. HENRY H. LOOMIS, a member of the Presbyterian Theological Seminary
in the city of New York, says, in a recent letter--
"The Rev. Mr. Hart, recently my pastor, in Otsego county, New York,
and who has spent some time at the south as a teacher, stated to me
that in the neighborhood in which he resided a slave was set to watch
a turnip patch near an academy, in order to keep off the boys who
occasionally trespassed on it. Attempting to repeat the trespass in
presence of the slave, they were told that his 'master forbad it.' At
this the boys were enraged, and hurled brickbats at the slave until
his face and other parts were much injured and wounded--but nothing
was said or done about it as an injury to the slave.
"He also said, that a slave from the same neighborhood was found out
in the woods, with his arms and legs burned almost to a cinder, up as
far as the elbow and knee joints; and there appeared to be but little
more said or thought about it than if he had been a brute. It was
supposed that his master was the cause of it--making him an example of
punishment to the rest of the gang!"
The following is an extract of a letter dated March 5, 1839, from Mr.
JOHN CLARKE, a highly respected citizen of Scriba, Oswego county, New
York, and a member of the Presbyterian church.
The 'Mrs. Turner' spoken of in Mr. C.'s letter, is the wife of Hon.
Fielding S. Turner, who in 1803 resided at Lexington, Kentucky, and
was the attorney for the Commonwealth. Soon after that, he removed to
New Orleans, and was for many years Judge of the Criminal Court of
that city. Having amassed an immense fortune, he returned to Lexington
a few years since, and still resides there. Mr. C. the writer, spent
the winter of 1836-7 in Lexington. He says,
"Yours of the 27th ult. is received, and I hasten to state the facts
which came to my knowledge while in Lexington, respecting the
occurrences about which you inquire. Mrs. Turner was originally a
Boston lady. She is from 35 to 40 years of age, and the wife of Judge
Turner, formerly of New Orleans, and worth a large fortune in slaves
and plantations. I repeatedly heard, while in Lexington, Kentucky,
during the winter of 1836-7, of the wanton cruelty practised by this
woman upon her slaves, and that she had caused several to be _whipped
to death_; but I never heard that she was suspected of being deranged,
otherwise than by the indulgence of an ungoverned temper, until I
heard that her husband was attempting to incarcerate her in the
Lunatic Asylum. The citizens of Lexington, believing the charge to be
a false one, rose and prevented the accomplishment for a time, until,
lulled by the fair promises of his friends, they left his domicil, and
in the dead of night she was taken by force, and conveyed to the
asylum. This proceeding being judged illegal by her friends, a suit
was instituted to liberate her. I heard the testimony on the trial,
which related only to proceedings had in order to getting her admitted
into the asylum; and no facts came out relative to her treatment of
her slaves, other than of a general character.
"Some days after the above trial, (which by the way did not come to an
ultimate decision, as I believe) I was present in my brother's office,
when Judge Turner, in a long conversation with my brother on the
subject of his trials with his wife, said, '_That woman has been the
immediate cause of the death of_ six _of my servants, by her
"I was repeatedly told, while I was there, that she drove a colored
boy from the second story window, a distance of 15 to 18 feet, on to
the pavement, which made him a cripple for a time.
"I heard the trial of a man for the murder of his slave, by whipping,
where the evidence was to my mind perfectly conclusive of his guilt;
but the jury were two of them for convicting him of manslaughter, and
the rest for acquitting him; and as they could not agree were
discharged--and on a subsequent trial, as I learned by the papers, the
culprit was acquitted."
Rev. THOMAS SAVAGE, of Bedford, New Hampshire, in a recent letter,
states the following fact:
"The following circumstance was related to me last summer, by my
brother, now residing as a physician, at Rodney, Mississippi; and who,
though a pro-slavery man, spoke of it in terms of reprobation, as an
act of capricious, wanton cruelty. The planter who was the actor in it
I myself knew; and the whole transaction is so characteristic of the
man, that, independent of the strong authority I have, I should
entertain but little doubt of its authenticity. He is a wealthy
planter, residing near Natchez, eccentric, capricious and intemperate.
On one occasion he invited a number of guests to an elegant
entertainment, prepared in the true style of southern luxury. From
some cause, none of the guests appeared. In a moody humor, and under
the influence, probably, of mortified pride, he ordered the overseer
to call the people (a term by which the field hands are generally
designated,) on to the piazza. The order was obeyed, and the people
came. 'Now,' said he, 'have them seated at the table. Accordingly they
were seated at the well-furnished, glittering table, while he and his
overseer waited on them, and helped them to the various dainties of
the feast. 'Now,' said he, after awhile, raising his voice, 'take
these rascals, and give them twenty lashes a piece. I'll show them how
to eat at my table.' The overseer, in relating it, said he had to
comply, though reluctantly, with this brutal command."
Mr. HENRY P. THOMPSON, a native and still a resident of Nicholasville,
Kentucky, made the following statement at a public meeting in Lane
Seminary, Ohio, in 1833. He was at that time a slaveholder.
"_Cruelties_, said he, _are so common_, I hardly know what to relate.
But one fact occurs to me just at this time, that happened in the
village where I live. The circumstances are these. A colored man, a
slave, ran away. As he was crossing Kentucky river, a white man, who
suspected him, attempted to stop him. The negro resisted. The white
man procured help, and finally succeeded in securing him. He then
wreaked his vengeance on him for resisting--flogging him till he was
not able to walk. They then put him on a horse, and came on with him
ten miles to Nicholasville. When they entered the village, it was
noticed that he sat upon his horse like a drunken man. It was a very
hot day; and whilst they were taking some refreshment, the negro sat
down upon the ground, under the shade. When they ordered him to go, he
made several efforts before he could get up; and when he attempted to
mount the horse, his strength was entirely insufficient. One of the
men struck him, and with an oath ordered him to get on the horse
without any more fuss. The negro staggered back a few steps, fell
down, and died. I do not know that any notice was ever taken of it."
Rev. COLEMAN S. HODGES, a native and still a resident of Western
Virginia, gave the following testimony at the same meeting.
"I have frequently seen the mistress of a family in Virginia, with
whom I was well acquainted, beat the woman who performed the kitchen
work, with a stick two feet and a half long, and nearly as thick as my
wrist; striking her over the head, and across the small of the back,
as she was bent over at her work, with as much spite as you would a
snake, and for what I should consider no offence at all. There lived
in this same family a young man, a slave, who was in the habit of
running away. He returned one time after a week's absence. The master
took him into the barn, stripped him entirely naked, tied him up by
his hands so high that he could not reach the floor, tied his feet
together, and put a small rail between his legs, so that he could not
avoid the blows, and commenced whipping him. He told me that he gave
him five hundred lashes. At any rate, he was covered with wounds from
head to foot. Not a place as big as my hand but what was cut. Such
things as these are perfectly common all over Virginia; at least so
far as I am acquainted. Generally, planters avoid punishing their
slaves before strangers."
Mr. CALVIN H. TATE, of Missouri, whose father and brothers were
slaveholders, related the following at the same meeting. The
plantation on which it occurred, was in the immediate neighborhood of
"A young woman, who was generally very badly treated, after receiving
a more severe whipping than usual, ran away. In a few days she came
back, and was sent into the field to work. At this time the garment
next her skin was stiff like a scab, from the running of the sores
made by the whipping. Towards night, she told her master that she was
sick, and wished to go to the house. She went, and as soon as she
reached it, laid down on the floor exhausted. The mistress asked her
what the matter was? She made no reply. She asked again; but received
no answer. 'I'll see,' said she, 'if I can't make you speak.' So
taking the tongs, she heated them red hot, and put them upon the
bottoms of her feet; then upon her legs and body; and, finally, in a
rage, took hold of her throat. This had the desired effect. The poor
girl faintly whispered, 'Oh, misse, don't--I am most gone;' and
Extract of a letter from Rev. C.S. RENSHAW, pastor of the
Congregational Church, Quincy, Illinois.
"Judge Menzies of Boone county, Kentucky, an elder in the Presbyterian
Church, and a slaveholder, told me that _he knew_ some overseers in
the tobacco growing region of Virginia, who, to make their slaves
careful in picking the tobacco, that is taking the worms off; (you
know what a loathsome thing the tobacco worm is) would make them _eat_
some of the worms, and others who made them eat every worm they missed
"Mrs. NANCY JUDD, a member of the Non-Conformist Church in Osnaburg,
Stark county, Ohio, and formerly a resident of Kentucky, testifies
that she knew a slaveholder,
"Mr. Brubecker, who had a number of slaves, among whom was one who
would frequently avoid labor by hiding himself; for which he would get
severe floggings without the desired effect, and that at last Mr. B.
would tie large cats on his naked body and whip them to make them tear
his back, in order to break him of his habit of hiding."
Rev. HORACE MOULTON, a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church in
Marlborough, Massachusetts, says:
"Some, when other modes of punishment will not subdue them, _cat-haul_
them; that is, take a cat by the nape of the neck and tail, or by its
hind legs, and drag the claws across the back until satisfied; this
kind of punishment, as I have understood, poisons the flesh much worse
than the whip, and is more dreaded by the slave."
Rev. ABEL BROWN, Jr. late pastor of the first Baptist Church, Beaver,
Pennsylvania, in a communication to Rev. C.P. Grosvenor, Editor of
the Christian Reflector, says:
"I almost daily see the poor heart-broken slave making his way to a
land of freedom. A short time since, I saw a noble, pious, distressed,
spirit-crushed slave, a member of the Baptist church, escaping from a
(professed Christian) bloodhound, to a land where he could enjoy that
of which he had been robbed during forty years. His prayers would have
made us all feel. I saw a Baptist sister of about the same age, her
children had been torn from her, her head was covered with fresh
wounds, while her upper lip had scarcely ceased to bleed, in
consequence of a blow with the poker, which knocked out her teeth; she
too, was going to a land of freedom. Only a very few days since, I saw
a girl of about eighteen, with a child as white as myself, aged ten
months; a Christian master was raising her child (as well his own
perhaps) to sell to a southern market. She had heard of the
intention, and at midnight took her only treasure and traveled twenty
miles on foot through a land of strangers--she found friends."
Rev. HENRY T. HOPKINS, pastor of the Primitive Methodist Church in New
York City, who resided in Virginia from 1821 to 1826, relates the
"An old colored man, the slave of Mr. Emerson; of Portsmouth,
Virginia, being under deep conviction for sin, went into the back part
of his master's garden to pour out his soul in prayer to God. For this
offence he was whipped thirty-nine lashes."
Extract of a letter from DOCTOR F. JULIUS LEMOYNE, of Washington,
Pennsylvania, dated Jan. 9, 1839.
"Lest you should not have seen the statement to which I am going to
allude, I subjoin a brief outline of the facts of a transaction which
occurred in Western Virginia, adjacent to this county, a number of
years ago--a full account of which was published in the "Witness"
about two years since by Dr. Mitchell, who now resides in Indiana
county, Pennsylvania. A slave boy ran away in cold weather, and during
his concealment had his legs frozen; he returned, or was retaken.
After some time the flesh decayed and _sloughed_--of course was
offensive--he was carried out to a field and left there without bed,
or shelter, _deserted to die_. His only companions were the house dogs
which he called to him. After several days and nights spent in
suffering and exposure, he was visited by Drs. McKitchen and Mitchell
in the field, of their own accord, having heard by report of his
lamentable condition; they remonstrated with the master; brought the
boy to the house, amputated both legs, and he finally recovered."
Hon. JAMES K. PAULDING, the Secretary of the Navy of the U. States, in
his "Letters from the South" published in 1817, relates the following:
"At one of the taverns along the road we were set down in the same
room with an elderly man and a youth who seemed to be well acquainted
with him, for they conversed familiarly and with true republican
independence--for they did not mind who heard them. From the tenor of
his conversation I was induced to look particularly at the elder. He
was telling the youth something like the following detested tale. He
was going, it seems, to Richmond, to inquire about a draft for seven
thousand dollars, which he had sent by mail, but which, not having
been acknowledged by his correspondent, he was afraid had been stolen,
and the money received by the thief. 'I should not like to lose it,'
said he, 'for I worked hard for it, and sold many a poor d----l of a
black to Carolina and Georgia, to scrape it together.' He then went on
to tell many a perfidious tale. All along the road it seems he made it
his business to inquire where lived a man who might be tempted to
become a party in this accursed traffic, and when he had got some half
dozen of these poor creatures, _he tied their hands behind their
backs_, and drove them three or four hundred miles or more,
bare-headed and half naked through the burning southern sun. Fearful
that _even southern humanity_ would revolt at such an exhibition of
human misery and human barbarity, he gave out that they were runaway
slaves he was carrying home to their masters. On one occasion a poor
black woman exposed this fallacy, and told the story of her being
_kidnapped_, and when he got her into a wood out of hearing, he beat
her, to use his own expression, 'till her back was white.' It seems he
married all the men and women he bought, himself, because they would
sell better for being man and wife! But, said the youth, were you not
afraid, in traveling through the wild country and sleeping in lone
houses, these slaves would rise and kill you? 'To be sure I was,' said
the other, 'but I always fastened my door, put a chair on a table
before it, so that it might wake me in falling, and slept with a
loaded pistol in each hand. It was a bad life, and I left it off as
soon as I could live without it; for many is the time I have separated
wives from husbands, and husbands from wives, and parents from
children, but then I made them amends by marrying them again as soon
as I had a chance, that is to say, I made them call each other man and
wife, and sleep together, which is quite enough for negroes. I made
one bad purchase though,' continued he. 'I bought a young mulatto
girl, a lively creature, a great bargain. She had been the favorite of
her master, who had lately married. The difficulty was to get her to
go, for the poor creature loved her master. However, I swore most
bitterly I was only going to take to take her to her mother's at ----
and she went with me, though she seemed to doubt me very much. But
when she discovered, at last, that we were out of the state, I thought
she would go mad, and in fact, the next night she drowned herself in
the river close by. I lost a good five hundred dollars by this foolish
trick.'" Vol. I. p. 121.
Mr. ---- SPILLMAN, a native, and till recently, a resident of
Virginia, now a member of the Presbyterian church in Delhi, Hamilton
co., Ohio, has furnished the two following facts, of which he had
"David Stallard, of Shenandoah co., Virginia, had a slave, who run
away; he was taken up and lodged in Woodstock jail. Stallard went with
another man and took him out of the jail--tied him to their
horses--and started for home. The day was excessively hot, and they
rode so fast, dragging the man by the rope behind them, that he became
perfectly exhausted--fainted--dropped down, and died.
"Henry Jones, of Culpepper co., Virginia, owned a slave, who ran away.
Jones caught him, tied him up, and for two days, at intervals,
continued to flog him, and rub salt into his mangled flesh, until his
back was literally cut up. The slave sunk under the torture; and for
some days it was supposed he must die. He, however, slowly recovered;
though it was some weeks before he could walk."
Mr. NATHAN COLE, of St. Louis, Missouri, in a letter to Mr. Arthur
Tappan, of New-York, dated July 2, 1834, says,--
"You will find inclosed an account of the proceedings of an inquest
lately held in this city upon the body of a slave, the details of
which, if published, not one in ten could be induced to believe
true. It appears that the master or mistress, or both, suspected
the unfortunate wretch of hiding a bunch of keys which were missing;
and to extort some explanation, which, it is more than probable, the
slave was as unable to do as her mistress, or any other person, her
master, Major Harney, an officer of our army, had whipped her for
three successive days, and it is supposed by some, that she was kept
tied during the time, until her flesh was so lacerated and torn that
it was impossible for the jury to say whether it had been done with a
whip or hot iron; some think both--but she was tortured to death. It
appears also that the husband of the said slave had become suspected
of telling some neighbor of what was going on, for which Major Harney
commenced torturing him, until the man broke from him, and ran into
the Mississippi and drowned himself. The man was a pious and very
industrious slave, perhaps not surpassed by any in this place. The
woman has been in the family of John Shackford, Esq., the present
doorkeeper of the Senate of the United States, for many years; was
considered an excellent servant--was the mother of a number of
children--and I believe was sold into the family where she met her
fate, as matter of conscience, to keep her from being sent below."
[Footnote 11: The following is the newspaper notice referred to:--
An inquest was held at the dwelling house of Major Harney, in this
city, on the 27th inst. by the coroner, on the body of Hannah, a
slave. The jury, on their oaths, and after hearing the testimony of
physicians and several other witnesses, found, that said slave "came
to her death by wounds inflicted by William S. Harney."]
MR. EZEKIEL BIRDSEYE, a highly respected citizen of Cornwall,
Litchfield co., Connecticut, who resided for many years at the south,
furnished to the Rev. E. R. Tyler, editor of the Connecticut Observer,
the following personal testimony.
"While I lived in Limestone co., Alabama, in 1826-7, a tavern-keeper
of the village of Moresville discovered a negro carrying away a piece
of old carpet. It was during the Christmas holidays, when the slaves
are allowed to visit their friends. The negro stated that one of the
servants of the tavern owed him some twelve and a half or twenty-five
cents, and that he had taken the carpet in payment. This the servant
denied. The innkeeper took the negro to a field near by, and whipped
him cruelly. He then struck him with a stake, and punched him in the
face and mouth, knocking out some of his teeth. After this, he took
him back to the house, and committed him to the care of his son, who
had just then come home with another young man. This was at evening.
They whipped him by turns, with heavy cowskins, and made the _dogs
shake him_. A Mr. Phillips, who lodged at the house, heard the cruelty
during the night. On getting up he found the negro in the bar-room,
terribly mangled with the whip, and his flesh so torn by the dogs,
that the cords were bare. He remarked to the landlord that he was
dangerously hurt, and needed care. The landlord replied that he
deserved none. Mr. Phillips went to a neighboring magistrate, who took
the slave home with him, where he soon died. The father and son were
both tried, and acquitted!! A suit was brought, however, for damages
in behalf of the owner of the slave, a young lady by the name of Agnes
Jones. _I was on the jury when these facts were stated on oath_. Two
men testified, one that he would have given $1000 for him, the other
$900 or $950. The jury found the latter sum.
"At Union Court House, S.C., a tavern-keeper, by the name of Samuel
Davis, procured the conviction and execution of his own slave, for
stealing a cake of gingerbread from a grog shop. The slave raised the
latch of the back door, and took the cake, doing no other injury. The
shop keeper, whose name was Charles Gordon, was willing to forgive
him, but his master procured his conviction and execution by hanging.
The slave had but one arm; and an order on the state treasury by the
court that tried him, which also assessed his value, brought him more
money than he could have obtained for the slave in market."
Mr. ----, an elder of the Presbyterian Church in one of the slave
states, lately wrote a letter to an agent of the Anti-Slavery Society,
in which he states the following fact. The name of the writer is with
the Executive Committee of the American Anti-Slavery Society.
"I was passing through a piece of timbered land, and on a sudden I
heard a sound as of murder; I rode in that direction, and at some
distance discovered a naked black man, hung to the limb of a tree by
his hands, his feet chained together, and a pine rail laid with one
end on the chain between his legs, and the other upon the ground, to
steady him; and in this condition the overseer gave him _four hundred
lashes_. The miserably lacerated slave was then taken down, and put to
the care of a physician. And what do you suppose was the offence for
which all this was done? Simply this; his owner, observing that he
laid off corn rows too crooked, he replied, 'Massa, much corn grow on
crooked row as on straight one!' This was it--this was enough. His
overseer, boasting of his skill in managing a _nigger_, he was
submitted to him, and treated as above."