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Antislavery Poetry from San Francisco

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The Pacific Appeal was the leading African American newspaper on the West Coast during the early 1860s.  A newly-published set of eight antislavery poems from the journal's inaugural 1862 volume captures the sense of expectancy within the African American community for the imminent end of US slavery.  These poems include the work of James Madison Bell, a San Francisco plasterer, brickmason, and poet.  Read more... 
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The Generous Planter, and his Carpenter, Ben (XHTML)

[cover]

 

 

 

THE

 

 

 

GENEROUS PLANTER,

 

 

AND

 

 

HIS CARPENTER, BEN.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BOSTON:

PUBLISHED BY ISAAC KNAPP,

No. 25 Cornhill,

1837.

 

 


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_______________________

 

The Generous Planter.

 

_______________________

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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THE

 

 

GENEROUS PLANTER,

 

 

AND

 

 

 

HIS CARPENTER, BEN.

 

 

 

 

 

 

WORCESTER:

       HENRY J. HOWLAND.

1837.


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The following narrative was first published in the Anti-Slavery Record

for August, 1835. Its present form is adapted for the Sabbath School and Juvenile Library, where the story, true to life and nature, richly merits a place.

                     PRINTED BY HENRY J. HOWLAND,
                  WORCESTER.


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The Generous Planter

 

 

            Susan.  Oh how I wish I could help you, my dear mother!                                            

            Mother. You do help me, my dear Susan.                                    

            Susan. How do I help you, mother?

            Mother. I will tell you. When you are good, and do as I bid you, it makes my work go on easier. This is one way you help me. And you are able to do many little things which I should have to leave off to do, that helps me. Besides, I can speak to you of your father, and that is pleasant to us both, and so makes my work pleasant.

Susan. But, mother, it seems as if you could never get money enough to pay for father's free­dom, they ask so many, many dollars, and you can hardly get one in a day, even when you have work enough, and sometimes you cannot


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get any, and then how sorry I feel, and yet I am glad too, to have you rest a little while.

Mother:  I should be sometimes almost dis­couraged, only the good young gentlemen are so kind, and help us so much, and they say they all pray for us. But go to bed now, my dear, and take care of yourself, for it would be a great trouble to have you get sick again.

      The preceding conversation passed between a mother and her child, in a small hovel in the most crowded part of the city of Cincinnati. Lu­cy, the mother, was among the number of eman­cipated slaves resident there, who, with energy and untiring industry truly heroic, are toiling day and night to procure the means of liberating some beloved relative or friend still left in bond­age. What a striking manifestation of the power and beauty of the domestic affections, which slavery, with all its debasing and deaden­ing influences, has so the power to extinguish, or even to weaken! Yet how does this aggravate the guilt of that system, which was begun and continued in sundering the dearest ties of domestic life; a system in whose continuance this outrage is an inherent! But I for­bear. I am telling a story, not writing an essay.

 


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Yet it is almost impossible to keep within bounds, for every relation in regard to slavery, brings to light some iniquitous principle belonging to it, against which it is difficult to avoid stopping to vent our indignation.                                                                              

           But to return to our interesting band of mar­tyrs, martyrs truly in their spirit, and, it is to be feared, some of them will be martyrs in their fate, for it seems scarcely possible but some of the feeblest frames must sink under such long continued labors before their object can be ac­complished.                                                             

Lucy had been made free about two years be­fore, by the tardy justice of her mistress, who, at her death, had liberated all her slaves. This mistress, was a kind, well meaning woman, with only a few domestic slaves, who were made as comfortable as the state of slavery admits. Some might say happy, but it is degrading the word happincss, to apply it to a state where mind has so little place. They had plenty of food and clothing, and beds to lie on, and had received more than a usual share of moral and religious instruction. Lucy had been the personal atten­dant and favorite of her mistress, who, in leaving her her freedom only without any provision for


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her or her children, showed that she well under­stood how high a value would be placed on the gift.           

Lucy was now a free woman, and her children were her own; but Lucy was a wife, and her husband was a slave. After many anxious con­sultations, it was settled between them, that Lu­cy, with her children, should go to a free state, and that Ben, her husband, should follow as soon as any way offered, for liberty was the day-dream of Ben's existence.  Few slaves are sunk so low as to be indifferent to the recovery of their birth­right, freedom. There are few to whom it does not afford agleam of hope. There is a vague undefined feeling, that at some period or other, however distant, the blessing is in store for them. Their master, as others have done, may give them freedom, or at least, at his death, may leave them free; or, in the various chances of human affairs, some circumstance may occur to open a way to freedom. The earnestness with which they desire it, is probably generally in proportion to the intellectual development of their minds, and their hope in proportion to the power they feel within themselves of struggling to attain it. Just as it is in minds farther advanced, in pro

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portion to the development of the spiritual na­ture is the strength of the aspiration for purely spiritual enjoyments, for that perfect liberty of the soul which can only be attained by release from the bondage of sin. In proportion as each one feels within himself a power to struggle for this liberty, will be the firmness of his belief, that he is destined to the glorious life of unseen real­ities beyond this material existence.  

Freedom, as we have said, was the day-dream of Ben's existence, and being an active, intelli­gent man, he was not without a reasonable hope, that he might be able, in time, to purchase it for himself.  He had already saved a considerable sum, which was committed to the care of Lucy, and he well knew that she would make every possible exertion to add to it. This little wid­owed family had been in Cincinnai two years at the time my story opens, which was about the period of the excitement at the Lane seminary. There was at this time a generous sympathy awakened, not only at the seminary, but in the city, to befriend the colored inhabitants, and Lu­cy was among the number who received great assistance.                                                                                  

She had three children, Harry, a stout healthy


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boy of eleven years; Susan, a slender, sickly child of nine; and little Ned, about five. The two elder children remembered their father, and the little one scarcely understood that he did not, so constantly was he hearing and talking of him.   At all events, he was fully imbued with the animating spirit which pervaded this happy family—happy in having constantly in view the attainment of a blessing which called forth all the energies of their nature. "Daddy's freedom" was the goal toward which every thought and every movement tended. Day and night Lucy was at her washing and ironing. Harry brought and carried the clothes, and gave all other assistance in his power to his mother in fetching water, preparing fires, &c. Susan prepared the meals; but her office was little more than a sinecure, for they scarcely allowed themselves any other food than the broken victuals they were permitted to get from a neighboring boarding house. Little Ned, if he could do no more, could clap his hands at the sight of every new bundle of clothes brought for his mother to wash. Some ladies, who had become interested in the colored people, and saw the exertions the whole family were making, took charge of the children's clothes, not only supply-


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ing, but making and mending them. Lucy was therefore able to keep constantly at work, and to deposite the greater part of her earnings in the hoard for "father's freedom." The children, too, had their little hoard, in which to place their contributions for "daddy's freedom." Harry was able by his activity and faithfulness to earn a good deal of money for so young a boy, partic­ularly in the season of berries. Harry's berries were sure to find purchasers, they were always so clean and so ripe and so fresh. All he got this way, and every little piece of money he had given him for doing an errand, was scrupulously drop­ped into the "little mug," which contained their treasure. Poor little Sue, though not able to add much by her earnings, would sometimes have a piece of money given her to buy an orange, be­cause she looked so sick, but the self-denying little creature would no more have applied it to her own use, than her mother would. No! they felt no other value for money, than that it would hasten the hour of  "daddy's freedom."

Some may doubt the truth of this picture, and say, "we can understand and believe the moth­er's self-denial, but children are such selfish little animals, we can't believe it of them." No one,


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however, who is much interested in children, and has ever studied their capabilities, will doubt it. The power of sympathy alone with an affectionate child, (and what child is not affectionate?) would engage its interest for what seemed to form the great object of its mother's existence. And when that object is one it can fully understand, and is a generous one, the ardor with which the child's whole soul will be absorbed in it, is truly wonderful, and may well put to shame the luke­-warm zeal of after life.                                  

Never but in one instance was a farthing of the children's withheld from the sacred deposite, and that was by my favorite little Ned. But I must describe Ned, to obtain for him the good will of my readers; and I should begin by saying he was a very pretty child, but that I fear a smile from some of the fair of both sexes. He was however a bright, intelligent boy, with fine fea­tures, and of a complexion softened through two or three generations in America to a hue which allowed his countenance to show the rosy color­ing when the blood rushed to his face from ex­ercise or increased animation.   He walked erect in all the native dignity of a prince in the land of his forefathers. He had not felt the withering


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influence of slavery; he had never shrunk from a blow; he had none of that downcast, abject look, which at a few years' later age may be seen in many of his race, whether in bondage or nomi­nally free. He was all bright and joyous. If any one will look at a group of colored children, and there are among them any little boys of four or five, he will scarcely fail of seeing a counter­part to Ned. A dignified, important, non-chalant air. In an older boy, such a look is what would be generally called saucy, but in a younger one, it is amusing, and in a colored child it is to me peculiarly interesting, as showing that as he comes from the hand of his Maker, he is in no degree the inferior of his white brethren, but that the depressed and debased state in which we too of­ten find the African race, is, alas! our own work.  Grievous as it is to behold man thus afflicted by his brother man, let us, in filial confidence, re­joice that the reproach does not belong to the righteous Father of us all. "Let God be true," though all others fall from their integrity.                                     Our favorite, Ned, was but a little boy, and was as fond of sweet things as any little white boy of the same age. Once a lady, who was struck with his pleasing appearance, called him in, and

 

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gave him half an orange. A few days after this, he had a small piece of money given him, and in a moment of forgetfulness he was tempted by the example of another boy of the same age, to buy a couple of oranges. As he drew near his home, his recollection returned, and he began to wish he had his little piece of money to give Harry to drop into the little mug. It was always a scene of great rejoicing and clapping of hands whenever any little addition was made to their treasure, and he began to think the oranges would not be so welcome as the money. He was too artless to have a thought of concealing them, but instead of entering with his usual air of ease and impor­tance, he opened the door softly, and with a con­strained air walked timidly, but straight forward, up to his mother, who he felt was his most indul­gent friend, looking first at her and then at the children, as if to learn by the judgment they passed on him, what the degree of his offence was.                          "What have you got there, Ned ?" said Harry. "Two orange. Good gentleman give me money. I give it to man in shop, he give me two orange. Dick Smith do so." His mother simply said, "I am sorry my little boy forgets that his poor father


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is a slave, and never gets such good things to eat." But the other children were not so lenient to him. "Oh for shame, Ned," said Harry, "to take the money for father's freedom to buy any thing for yourself. I would not be so greedy." "Only think of poor father," said little Sue;  "if I felt ever so sick, I would not take the money to buy oranges with."  "Do not say any thing more to him," said his mother; "he did not mean to be naughty, and he won't do so again, but will bring home the money to put in the little mug for father."

Poor little Ned, relieved by his mother's sooth­ing tone, echoed her soothing words, "Won't do so again, put money in little mug again, sorry;" and as a complete proof of penitence, he ran to Harry with the oranges, saying, "put orange in little mug." Finding they only laughed at this, the little culprit next tried to atone for his fault by offering to divide the oranges with them. But they would not touch them. Children are stern moralists. They know not how to excuse anoth­er, for yielding to a temptation which they feel themselves able to withstand. Candor and char­ity are not the virtues of youth, but are the growth of self-knowledge and observation. Poor


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little Ned shrank into a corner with his oranges, and the little creature actually felt himself degra­ded. Right glad was he, when the last mouth­ful disappeared, and it was long before he could hear of an orange without a feeling of shame.                              

Harry had one day been gone rather longer than usual to the boarding-house for the frag­ments of their dinner. Little Ned, who was watching, at last espied him laboring under the additional burden of a well known and welcome sight, a large bundle of clothes. "He's coming, mother, and he's got a nice great big bundle of clothes for you to wash." Harry ran in, over­flowing with important information.

"Oh! mother, there's ever so many strangers at Mrs. Gibson's, and I know you'll have the washing of them all, for the gentleman I brought these clothes for says he'll ask them, and he's a nice kind gentleman, and I told him all about how hard you worked, and all of us, for father's freedom;  and I told him all about your great box full of money, and about how our little mug was almost fill, and he gave me a whole quarter of a dollar to put in, and I am going to show him that it's the biggest piece we ever got yet."

Lucy, who was accustomed to his loquacity,


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did not till this moment turn round, when she beheld a gentleman standing in a very thoughtful mood. It was a countenance well known to her, though her's was entirely unknown to him. Rea­der, unless you have some portion of romance in your composition, you will not conjecture who this was. Know, then, it was her husband's mas­ter, the master of Ben, a slave-holder. These remarkable coincidences do certainly sometimes occur in this unromantic, busy, trading world, but they are not of man.                        

Lucy was greatly agitated, and sunk down on the floor, covering her face with both her hands. She had not heard from her husband for two years, and she knew that the cholera had been very destructive among the colored people in that part of the country she had left. Now that in­formation was at hand, she dreaded to hear, but suspense was intolerable. "What is the matter, good woman?" said the slave-holder; "what are you frightened at?" With a great mental effort, and raising her heart to heaven for support, she sobbed out, "Oh! master, my poor husband! is Ben alive?"  "Ben, what Ben? I dont know who your hus­band is."

 

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            "Oh master!  Ben Wilson, your carpenter, that's get a great scar on his right cheek."

It was now the slave-holder's turn to be agita­ted, but repressing his emotion he hastened to relieve Lucy.                                                                                                            "My carpenter, Ben, your husband! Yes, he's alive and well, and as honest, faithful a fellow, as ever."                                                                                                                                  

"Thank God! thank God!" said Lucy. "Oh! if he's alive, I know he's good."                                                                                          

The slave-holder now threw himself into the only chair Lucy's room afforded. He had been much interested by the simple relation of Harry, as he had walked along with him, and been at­tracted by it to enter the dwelling. He saw its reality; every thing bespoke the greatest indi­gence. Susan had placed on the table, or rather wash bench, their only table, the heterogenous fragments of the dinner from which he had dined the day before. There was no superfluity of ta­ble apparatus; there was but one dish out of which all were to eat, and but one knife and fork. Yet they had hundreds of dollars hoarded up.                               Harry by this time had placed the little mug of silver before him;  "but I can't lift mother's


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                                                                                                                                                                                                                           box, said, he.  "Do, mother, help me; you can tell how much there is in it." The box too was soon at his feet, and they all now surrounded the slave-holder, who appeared to have lost the pow­er of speech.                                                                                                   "Feel how heavy the box is," said Barry.                                                                                    "Feel how heavy little mug is," said my Ned; and in attempting to hand it to him, he scattered all the little shining six, ten, and twelve cent pieces, around the slave-holder. Each little piece, as it fell, seemed to sound a reproach to his heart. Lucy named the sum she had.                                                                                                   

"Oh, master!" said she, falling at his feet, the children all following her example; "Oh, master! wont you be willing to sell Ben his freedom. I know there is not enough yet," said she, with a desponding look, which suddenly changed to one of proud satisfaction, as she added, "for Ben is worth a good price, I know."                    

"Is there not almost enough for father's free­dom?" said little Sue.                                   "Do, please do, let daddy be free," said little Ned.                                    

The slave-holder was still speechless. Think you he was touched by the scene before him?                                                                                                                                             "Has the slave-holder a heart?" some unchar­-


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itable abolitionist may reply, for, strange paradox, abolitionists are sometimes uncharitable. Yes, our slave-holder had a heart, and it was touched, deeply touched. His mind had been for sometime previous preparing for such a scene to have its full effect on him. Here in this miserable hovel, in a family of slaves, the wife and children of one of his own bondmen, was a degree of mor­al energy and of self-denial beyond what he had ever dreamed of. To the outward eyes all was low, mean, abject;  but he saw the beauty and sublimity of the fountain of virtue within, as he had never seen it before. The proud, the weal­thy, the hospitable, the humane planter, as he had been called, when he compared himself with these poor  slaves, felt himself sunk to the very depths of littleness.      

"Is master sick?" said Lucy.                                                                                           "Yes, good woman," he replied ; "yes, sick, sick of myself, sick of slavery, sick of everything."  Poor Lucy, not understanding him, looked be­wildered. The slave-holder, with great effort, calmly added, "Lucy, your husband has been worth more to me than all the money you have in that box. I have no right to any of it.  Keep it for yourselves. Your husband is free from this


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moment. May you all be as happy as you deserve to be." He then darted out of the house.

Lucy continued on her knees, and in silence poured out the gratitude of her heart to that Being to whom she had learned to look "in trou­ble and in joy." The children of course could not understand all their mother's feelings, but they understood that the long-desired blessing had arrived; they understood that their father was now free, and they had been taught whom to thank for all blessings.                                                  

"Mother is thanking God," said little Ned, in a low voice, " because father is free."

"Let us thank him too," said Susan.                                                            

"How shall we say it," said Harry.                                                              

"Our teacher says no matter what words we say; I'll say it," said Susan, and folding her little hands, she said, "thank you, good Father in Heaven, for being so good to father, and moth­er, and Harry, and me, and Ned."                                                

"Thank you, good Father in Heaven," respon­ded both the other children.    

Their mother turned to them with overflowing eyes, and kissing them all, said, "How happy your father will be to find he has got such good children."

 

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"How soon will father get here?" said Harry, "I cannot tell. I hope soon."                                                                                         

 "And will he eat dinner, and breakfast, and supper, with us?" said Ned.         

"I hope so now," said his mother.                                                                     

"He never did before," said Susan.

"No, my dear," said her mother, "fathers cannot be much with their children when they are slaves, and belong to different masters; but now we are all free."

"Oh how good," said Susan. "Father, and mother, and children, all live together now, and be happy. It will seem like two mothers when father gets here."

"No, indeed," said Harry; "when father comes, he and I will do the hard work that is the man's business, and mother will only have to take care of the house and the children, and she shall never do so much hard work again."

"Shan't we have some dinner to-day?" said little Ned.

"Oh, no matter for dinner," said Harry, dan­cing about and kicking over the wash bench, ali­as table, with all the dinner, which safely lodged itself in a tub of suds. "No matter for dinner," said he, a little more seriously, as he saw the din-


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ner's fate, but soon began singing and capering about, "Daddy's free, daddy's free, daddy, daddy, we shall see, Oh how happy we shall be," &c.  The African race have a great taste for singing and rhyming, as well as dancing.

Little Ned, and even poor little Sue, were soon animated to join in the frolic.

"Come mother, do dance too, now father's free."

"No, my children, I cannot dance, but I like to see you."

The happiness of children shows itself in frolic and gaiety, and they have little apprehension of that higher degree of happiness so nearly allied to pain, and which, like all our strongest feelings, is always serious.

After they had danced and sung till they were tired, the want of dinner began to be felt. As Miss Edgeworth says, dinner time will come to break in upon the most eventful scenes of life, and with a set of poor little children, appetites will come with it. "What shall we have for dinner?" was the general inquiry, with a look at the un­lucky tub of suds.

"You may go and buy something for dinner," said their mother.

 


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"Buy dinner!'' said little Ned, with astonishment.

            "To be sure," said Harry, "we may buy dinner now. What shall I get, mother?"

"You may get what you please," said their mother. "You shall choose your dinner the day of your father's freedom."                                                                                                            "I'll have some gingerbread," said Harry.                                                                        "I'll have gingerbread too," said Ned.                                                    

"Mother," said Susan, "may Harry buy me an orange, it would taste so good?"   "Yes. Harry, get a couple of nice oranges for her;" and she looked anxiously at Susan, as she observed her pallid countenance and parched lips. "Susan, my dear, I am afraid I have not attended to you as I ought. You look sick and feverish; you have not had proper food."                                                                                                                               "Oh yes, mother, I have; I should not have liked to have you spend money for me."                                                                                                                                                "What will you have for your dinner, moth­er?" said Harry.                                              "Oh, any thing. You may get me some choc­olate."                                                                Harry soon returned with the various articles for dinner. Lucy prepared her bowl of chocolate, a luxury she had not tasted since her days of


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slavery. Harry and Ned feasted on their ginger­bread. Susan seized the oranges with the ea­gerness of disease, and could I bring her as distinctly before my reader, as I have her in my mind's eye, "I think he would say he had never enjoyed eating an orange himself, more than he would in imagination seeing Susan devour hers; and he must at the same time bear in mind, that this self-denying little creature had never given the least hint of the craving she had felt for this cooling, delicious fruit, so grateful to the feverish invalid. "It wont be naughty now," said little Ned, "to buy oranges sometimes, when good gentleman gives me money."                                             

But we must leave this interesting group, and look after our slave-holder, about whom and his slaves, as he is a large slave owner, I feel some little anxiety; not much, however, for as he per­ceived his duty with regard to his carpenter, he will not be long in applying the same principles to the others. After quiting the house, he walked rapidly up and down several streets for an hour or two, then shut himself up in his room for de­cision and for action.                                                                           

We have said that his mind had been preparing for a favorable result from such reflections as now

 

 

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occupied it. Some time before, several anti-slavery articles had come into his hands, and his eyes began to be opened. It was a slow process, yet he never wilfully turned from the truth.                                                                                                              

                  "Impossible!" again exclaims some abolitionist; "impossible but what he must have known that he had no right to keep his fellow-men in bon­dage."It is nevertheless true, that the subject had never been fairly brought before the bar of conscience. We cannot, however, extend our charity so far as to believe this to be a common case in our enlightened republic, but that there are some such cannot be doubted. He had in­herited his slaves from his father, who was an unenlightened, simple-minded man, of a mild disposition, and chiefly devoted to the care of his plantation. The slaves being much under his own personal superintendance, were of course much better treated, and made more comforta­ble, than when left to the arbitrary control of despotic deputies.             Our slave-holder was an only son, and had been educated at one of the universities of the north, where it is to be regretted that the stan­dard of morals with regard to slavery, varied but little from that of the south. It is well known,


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that not many years since "the delicate subject" was most carefully avoided in the presence of any connected with slavery, and if by any chance it happened to be introduced, every thing like an expression of disapprobation was avoided with the most punctilious etiquette. Yes, let human­ity blush at its weakness, in allowing a sentiment of etiquette towards the oppressor to overpower our compassion for the oppressed. We now per­ceive that by this course of conduct we have extinguished our own sympathy for our afflicted countrymen in bondage, and lulled to sleep the consciences of their oppressors. Are we not then accessories to their crime?                                                

While at the north our slave-holder became attached to an amiable young lady, whom he afterwards married. We need scarcely a stron­ger proof of the low tone of morals on this subject throughout the country, than the frequency of such connexions. Could any who viewed slave­holding in its true light, and as Christians should view it, be willing thus to connect themselves with, and in fact become partakers in such crime? How many inferior kinds of wrong-doing are there, which the delicate female would shrink from connecting herself with as from contamina-

 

 


 

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tion?  How could she shudder at the thought of marrying a man even suspected of stealing mon­ey? Yet, "who steals my purse steals trash," compared to him who robs me of myself, my lib­erty, my wife, my children, my all.                                                                 But, to pursue our story, our slave-holder, after his father's death, endeavored to follow his steps as nearly as the difference in their education ad­mitted. He had been much troubled at the in­creasing restrictions upon the instruction of slaves in some of the states, and his wife still more so. She had been much shocked and grieved at the increase of the slaves, when she found herself in the midst of them, and fairly understood what slavery was. She and her husband had planned Sunday schools and other modes of instruction, in the hope of improving their moral condition.                         

It was just at this time, and while their minds were in a state of perplexity, that the anti-slavery publications came into their hands. The slave­holder was astounded. The violence, the bitterness of much of the language, offended him; yet at the same time it roused him, and did not blind him to what was true in it. He determined to give the subject a thorough investigation, that,  if possible, he might ascertain what there was so


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abhorent in the system of slavery, that could draw forth such language, such unqualified con­demnation, such urgent remonstrances. He was too honest not to perceive that the abolitionists were acting from principle, and could only be influenced by benevolent motives, however their zeal might sometimes betray them into the use of unjustifiable language.                                                                                    

The accounts they gave of injustice and cruel­ty, were not new to him; he knew that the slaves were in many cases treated with great cruelty, but it had no more occurred to him, that this was a reason against keeping slaves, than it occured to him, or than it occurs to us, as a reason against keeping horses, that truckmen and wag­oners sometimes abuse their cattle. He now first considered that a system which admitted of in­flicting such tremendous atrocities on human beings, must be radically evil and iniquitous. He began to perceive, that although he had been what is called a humane master, yet that he had never in fact regarded his slaves exactly as fel­low-men, as having the same feelings and the same rights as his white brethren had, that he had not thought of them as brethren. The pleadings, the arguments, the appeals of anti-sla­-


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very writers in their behalf, found their way to his conscience, and opened his heart to their claims to brotherhood. He never stopped from steadfastly and fearlessly seeking the whole truth.                                                                                                

But—might there not be some delusion; his good father, could he have committed such injustice as this new doctrine taught him it was,—­what would his fellow-citizens say? He had only heard of abolitionists as fanatics, fools, and mad men. It was with his mind in this state of perplexity and conflict, and with all the restlessness of an awakened conscience trembling to continue in sin, yet fearful of delusion, that he contrived some business which would carry him to Cincinnati. Here he knew there were a great many colored people, whose situation he wished to look into, that he might judge what would be the condition of such of his slaves as chose to leave him, in case he should liberate them. He met, as we have related, with Harry, and was led by him to his mother's habitation. The scene which passed there was well suited to bring him to decision.  It showed to him, in the clearest light, the criminality of withholding liberty from beings by whom it was so dearly prized, and who proved the selves capable of so nobly using it. He could not

 


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of course suppose that all his slaves, still less the general mass, were as well fitted for emancipation as Ben and his family were, and he knew that it must be placed to the iniquity of slavery that they were not so.                                                                                    It would be in vain to attempt to describe all that passed in his mind while at Lucy's hovel, and during his walk to his lodgings. It is per­haps a slave-holder only, who has been under similar circumstances, that could form a correct idea of it. It cannot be said that it was remorse he felt, that worst of mental sufferings, for that would imply that he had been sensible of the in­justice he was committing, and this we have said was not the case; but he experienced that over­whelming, heart-felt regret, which must ever fill a good mind at the thought of having committed great injustice and wrong, however unconscious­ly. Connected with this feeling was of course the determination to make the best reparation in his power. There was no longer any doubt on his mind as to the course which it was his duty to pursue. The voice of conscience was clear in its decisions, and conscience was "obeyed as God's most intimate presence in the soul."  He was lawyer enough himself to know bow to draw

 

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up an instrument providing for the immediate emancipation of his slaves. He would not sleep till he had performed this act of justice, this first step towards reparation; and he went to bed a happier man than he had for many months, per­haps more truly happy than he ever had before.                                                                                         

The next morning our slave-holder, or now, rather, our generous emancipator, set out for home. "Not generous," says some cavilling abolitionist; "he was but barely just." This is true; but it has been well remarked by a refined moralist, that in justice there is always an element of generosity. Let not the praise of generosity be denied to our emancipator, for none but a generous mind would be capable of such an act of justice. None other would so discern and acknowledge the rights of others, which neither law nor custom required him to regard. Imme­diately on his return home, he made known to all his slaves that they were free. The universal rejoicing among them at the intelligence, was far beyond what he had expected, and it showed him how entirely mistaken he had been in supposing, with many others, that they were in general con­tented with their lot, because he had never heard from them any expression of a desire for liberty.


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But now, when the restraints were removed which slavery had imposed on such an expression, here were as vociferous bursts of genuine elo­quence from them in praise of liberty, as ever proceeded from the lips of the most patriotic statesman in the country. The sight of their happiness, with the blissful reflection, that, under Providence, he was the author of it, was, to the good planter, a rich reward for every sacrifice, whether real or imaginary, which he had made. How is it any slave-holder can refrain from an act which brings so high a recompense! Surely this is the slave-holder's appropriate compensation, and a beautiful one it is. Need he wish for any other?                                   

The greater part of our emancipated slaves gave the best testimony to their having had a good master, by choosing to remain on the plan­tation as his hired laborers. A few restless spir­its preferred to seek their fortune elsewhere, and for these he had endeavored to make the best pro­vision in his power. The greater part of them however soon returned to him.                                                                                                                       

Let not our carpenter, Ben, be forgotten. He was among the happiest of the happy, at the news of his freedom, which his master himself


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communicated to him, relating also a great part of the scene which passed at Lucy's hovel. He was impatient to set out and join his family, and take a look at the great world. Gladly would I convey to the reader some idea of the joy of their meeting, but find myself inadequate to the task, and therefore leave it to his own imagination.

 

 

______________________

 

 

Hear it and hail it;—the call,                                                                        Island to island prolong;

LIBERTY! LIBERTY!—all

Join in the jubilee song:

Hark! 'tis the children's hosannas that ring,

      Hark! they are free whose voices unite;

While England, the Indies, and Africa sing,

  "Amen, Hallelujah! "Let there be light."

                                                                                                Montgomery.


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DIFFERENCE OF COLOR.

 

By Mrs. Sigourney.

 

God gave to Afric's sons

     A brow of sable dye,—

And spread the country of their birth

     Beneath a burning sky,—

And with a cheek of olive, made

      The Little Hindoo child,

And darkly stained the forest tribes

      That roam our Western wild.

 

To me he gave a form

      Of fairer, whiter clay,—

But am I, therefore, in his sight,

       Respected more than they?—

No.  'Tis the hue of deeds and thoughts

      He traces in his Book,—

'Tis the complexion of the heart,

      On which he deigns to look.

 

Not by the tinted cheek,

       That fades away so fast,

But by the color of the soul,

      We shall be judged at last.

And God, the judge, will look at me,

      With anger in his eyes,

If I my brother's darker brow

    Should ever dare despise.

 


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                                            THE SAVIOR'S RULE.          

                                           

        "Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them."           

 

 

When on the fragrant sandal tree

The woodman's axe descends,

And that which flourished beauteously,

Beneath his keen stroke bends,

E'en on the edge that wrought its death,

Dying, it sheds its sweetest breath,

As if to token in its fall,

Peace to its foes, and love to all.

 

How hardly we this lesson learn,

To smile and bless the hands that spurn,—

­To see the blow,— to feel the pain,

Yet render only love again:

One bore this spirit, who from heaven

Dwelt on our earth and was betrayed,

No curse he breathed, no plaint he made,

But when in death for them he sighed

Prayed for his murderers, and died!