H. L. GREEN, PUBLISHER.
POLITICAL CLUB OF ROCHESTER, N. Y.
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LUCY N. COLMAN.
I would not have a slave to till my ground,
To carry me, to fan me while I sleep,
And tremble when I wake, for all the wealth
That sinews, bought and sold, have ever earned.
No: dear as freedom is, and in my heart's
Just estimation prized above all price,
I had much rather be myself the slave,
And wear the bonds, than fasten them on him.
BUFFALO, N. Y.
H. L. GREEN, PUBLISHER.
This electronic edition has been prepared for the Antislavery Literature Project, Arizona State University, a public education project working in cooperation with the English Server, Iowa State University. Thanks to Eugenia DeLamotte for supplying the original text, to Joe Lockard for digitalization, and to Ruth Klein for proofreading. All rights reserved by the Antislavery Literature Project. Non-commercial educational use permitted with source citation.
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IN the early years of the antislavery agitation in our country, it was my good fortune to become acquainted with Lucy N. Colman, author of these "Reminiscences" of her life-work ; more particularly in the advocacy of the immediate emancipation of the slave, although she has not failed to demand the equal rights of her own sex with man, not only socially but politically. Since the time of our first acquaintance, we have lived on the most intimate terms of love and friendship. I have never found her faltering in any duty-popular or unpopular. If some one or some cause needed her help, she was ready to give it. Mrs. Colman, by her own exertions, without help from any one, removed from our city of Rochester the blot of the colored school, thereby giving to our colored people equal rights in our public schools, and helping to remove the prejudice so harmful to both races.
Mrs. Colman and myself have in most things "seen eye to eye," but in the matter of Spiritualism we are widely apart. While to me the knowledge, for such it is to me, that my departed loved ones can and do come to me is a blessing so great that I cannot describe it, she has no faith in it whatever. What matter? our friendship is too strong--too sweet to be disturbed by difference of opinion. I cheerfully recommend the work to all reformers of whatever name and grade.
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By LUCY N. COLMAN.
I DO not remember at what age I learned the astounding lesson that in this so-called republican country there were several millions of human beings who were bought and sold like the beasts of the field. But it must have been almost in my babyhood, for I well remember being taught the "Cradle Song," by my mother, who died when I was six years of age. Let me give a few verses of this song which Christian mothers taught their children:
I thank the goodness and the grace
That on my birth bath smiled,
And made me, in these Christian days,
A happy English child.
I was not born, as thousands are,
Where God was never known,
And taught to pray a useless prayer
To blocks of wood and stone.
I was not born a little slave,
To labor in the sun,
And wish I were but in my grave
And all my labor done.
I think my pious mother must have been sorely troubled to answer satisfactorily to herself the questions which I continually asked her: Why did God let children be slaves? And if God made little children, why did he make them black, if that were the reason that they were slaves? And was God good? etc., etc. This being a slave seemed to me at that time the worst of all calamities, save one, that could happen to anybody, and that other was the going to hell, to be burned forever in actual fire.
My poor little brain was so excited in trying to find answers
to these puzzling questions, that I wonder I did not entirely lose my senses and become idiotic. Perhaps the death of my mother and the changes that necessarily followed in the family served to take my mind from this particular problem in theology.
About this time (from 1824 to 1830) there swept over New England what was called a revival of religion. As I look back upon it, it seems like some scourge or plague, so great was the sorrow that followed in its wake. Protracted meetings were everywhere the order of the day; sensational ministers were sought for and employed to preach, with all the effect possible, the coming of the day of judgment, and the sure doom of the impenitent. Here was another problem to be solved. Of what use was preaching, or praying, for those who were elected from the foundation of the world to be saved, and how worse than useless to try, by any means, to avert the doom of those who were fore-ordained to destruction ?
My queries, no matter to whom addressed, always received the same answer, "Child, Satan desires to have you, and so he is putting such questions into your head; answer him as did the Saviour, 'Get thee behind me, Satan!' and remember it is very wicked to reason on the ways of God; you have the Holy Bible, read that, and accept it, it is God's word." At last, in despair, I began to read the bible, consecutively, chapter by chapter, but alas, I found it wholly inexplicable, and when I went to my good Christian aunt (who was in the place of mother to me), and begged her to tell me what such things meant, and why God used such filthy words, and what was the good of such laws, and why woman was required to do things that were wrong in the nature of things, the only answer that she could give me was, "I don't know; put away the bible till you are older; read the Psalms and the New Testament." Such was the food that was given to children to mentally digest sixty and seventy years ago. Is it better to-day? Liberalism has so permeated thought that, like homeopathy in medicine -- all pathies are more or less affected by it, so that no respectable physician to-day salivates with calomel, or bleeds, or denies to patients burning up with fever cold water -- the Protestant religion, in all its different creeds, is a mild mixture compared to what it was seventy years ago. And perhaps for the reason that its hideousness is so nicely covered, there is more need that Liberals be on the alert.
Christianity is the more dangerous when it gives its attention to this life. Christianity demands entire subordination to its edicts, no matter that it keeps out of sight the damnation of infants in another world, if it subjugates all children to its decrees by teaching them, not only in Sunday-schools but in public schools supported by the public at large, the doctrines taught in the bible. Until the majority of the people are emancipated from authority over their minds, we are not safe.
To-day, in this year 287 since Bruno lost his life in defense of freedom, a citizen of New York is under arrest in the State of New Jersey for ridiculing the idea of a God of the universe being born of a woman, and subject to all the ailments of babyhood. It is to be hoped that the jury will fail to convict, but the intelligence of a New Jersey juryman is, at the least, questionable. Freethinkers everywhere should use the utmost diligence to cause the removal of all laws that make free speaking a crime. Within three years three persons have suffered imprisonment in England for caricaturing the God of the established church of that realm. Christians of this country and England do not hesitate to go into foreign countries, decry their gods and demolish the representatives of such gods, and if they, the natives, object, the sword soon settles the matter.
At the time when Mr. Garrison first published his demand for the immediate and unconditional emancipation of the slave, all respectable people considered themselves Christians. The different sects denied the name to each other, but each sect assumed the name for themselves. The Presbyterian, who was at that time Christian par excellence, refused to fellowship the Unitarian because the Unitarian denied that Jesus of Nazareth was the real God; he made him out a strange being, hardly intelligible, perhaps, to himself, but surely not God. Presbyterian and Unitarian alike denied the Christian name to Universalists, for though the Universalist took excellent care of the son of God, making him not exactly equal to the father God, but really of the greatest importance to the human family, in that he had willingly suffered death for every individual, and in so doing had paid to his father (the principal God) the debt which Adam and Eve had entailed upon all of their descendants forever and forever. This debt once paid, the Universalist persisted and so taught, " had destroyed death and hell, and even him that had the power of death,
the devil," and so they were denied the name of Christian, for of what use was a creed without a burning hell, and a devil to so tempt human beings that few could escape the eternal flames?
I was a young girl at that time, just in my teens, but with what eagerness I accepted the Universalist faith! Forgotten were the inconsistencies and vulgar laws recorded in the bible; here were learned men who proved conclusively that all people at death were immediately freed from sin, went to heaven, and, in the society of God and his angels,, were employed in chanting praises to the majesty (be it one or three) who had redeemed them and made them fit subjects for an eternal life. I thought very little about the chattel slave, so happy was I in contemplating the destruction of hell ; the world was redeemed and eternal suffering a thing of the past.
Here are a few anecdotes, showing the egotism with which each sect regaled itself while it enjoyed the discomfiture of the others
There lived at this time a lady in Massachusetts, somewhat famous as a writer, who left the Presbyterian Church and joined the Unitarian. This lady was a great favorite with an aunt of hers, who considered this new heresy as a sin fatal to salvation, but she was so warmly attached to this very sinful niece that she could not deny herself the pleasure of frequently visiting her. One day, when taking leave of her after a pleasant day's visit, the aunt embraced the niece very warmly and, with the tears falling profusely, said to her, "Oh, do come and see me very often while we live, as you know when we die we shall be separated forever." Such was the assurance with which a certain class of Christians were endowed that they could, with great certainty, fix the eternal state of themselves and others.
The Methodists were very few in this country in my girlhood, save in some of the large eastern towns. The Presbyterians opposed them with great vigor. Most of the ministers were settled for life, and the head of every family was obliged to pay a minister's tax. Church and State were as much connected as Church and State in England, only this marked difference was apparent, the "Church of England " was the Episcopal Church, only one degree removed from the Romish Church. The Puritans could not abide anything popish; even the holy days, such as Christmas and Easter, were wholly ignored by them. The com-
ing into their midst of a people so widely different, most of them quite illiterate, noisy in their worship, with a creed which made salvation free, with a possibility of falling from grace and being restored for an indefinite number of times, was too much for these very respectable Christians. They looked upon them very much as the churches look upon the " Salvation Army," when they introduce themselves among them.
In the little town in Massachusetts, where I then lived, the minister of the only church in the place (Presbyterian) was an arrogant, tyrannical man. Settled for life, with a salary of $6oo per year, having married with his wife a good farm, he seemed to feel that he was "monarch of all he surveyed." He visited the schools, ordered the Westminster catechism to be recited every Saturday by all the school, appointed church meetings, in which he told the brethren which of the political candidates they were to vote for, and in any and all matters that came up he was always both judge and jury.
When the Methodists made their entrance into the place, this dictator said they were not to be tolerated. "Keep away from them," was the command; but then, as now, there were some people who were tired of arbitrary rule ; they broke over the command, went to hear these enthusiastic, earnest men, and brought away such glowing descriptions of the exercises that others ventured, and at last a society was formed and a demand made for the use of the meeting-house a portion of the time. At a meeting of the town it was decided that every fourth Sunday the house was to belong to the Methodist Society, and the members "signed off" from the Presbyterian, and were to pay the minister's tax in that direction.
The fourth Sunday at length arrived. My father decided to go and hear the strange speaker, taking his children with him. We arrived in good season ; when the bell ceased tolling, the Presbyterian minister walked up one flight of stairs into the pulpit, the Methodist the other. The Methodist, as is their wont, began the meeting by reading a hymn; the Presbyterian stepped in front of him, lifted his open hands, and said, "Let us ask for the blessing of God." He raised his voice so loud that the more modest Methodist was completely lost, and the congregation were in wonder as to what should be the further proceedings. In the midst of the confusion, a man, by name Dennis Wood, known as
an Infidel, but so honorable that he always held some town office, rose, and with a loud voice invited the new society to use his house (a large dwelling-house opposite the meeting-house) to hold service in. The minister left the pulpit, proceeded to the offered building, followed' by his society. The next day these people began laying the foundation of a meeting-house, which they completed in a very short time, and their society grew apace.
What of the old society? From that day their prosperity began to wane; the congregation diminished; it was impossible to raise the salary required; the minister's farm was so badly managed that it yielded but a small supply for the owner's growing family; they were so poor they were obliged to give up their home; they went to a neighboring town, where a brother of the minister owned a home, which he allowed them to occupy; and finally, in the last years of husband and wife, they were supported by charity, cared for personally by a young woman whom they took in her childhood, treated her so shabbily that even members of their own church sometimes prayed for her as a fatherless orphan. They dared not speak about her to the minister, and so quieted their consciences by asking God to do for her what they dare not do. Perhaps their prayers were a success, at any rate the woman was a success. She went into a city, entered upon a business which proved profitable, and when these people with whom she lived as a servant in her girlhood found themselves poor and needy, she left her business and went and cared for them in all their long illness. So the table turns.
One of the most bitter opposers of the Methodist Church was a man considered rich in those days of small fortunes. He was superintendent of the Sunday-school, and in a general way officious. His eldest daughter had married a man who was converted to this new sect. I think he never forgave him for so great a crime, and made public announcement that if he could see even the steeple of the building where this heresy was preached from his attic window, lie would board it up. "See how these Christians love each other" was as applicable to the different sects sixty and seventy years ago as to-day. The Baptist Church did not flourish much in this region so long ago. I became acquainted with it a few years later, and found it very much like the others.
A religion that has a personal God outside of humanity to worship and to please is quite apt to get
appointed an officer to regulate the people, and particularly to execute punishment, adequate to the offense committed against an infinite ruler of the universe. Humanity so likes authority, and it seems sometimes as if it gloated upon the suffering of its fellows. It is always easy to find persons, called detectives, who, if paid for it, will even mingle with the depraved and assume to commit the crime, if by so doing they may bring the criminal into the power of the law. The "Jesus of Nazareth," whom the Church professes to follow as guide, is reported to have said, "But whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also, and if a man will sue thee at the law and take away thy coat let him have thy cloak also." But let us not glory too much in being Freethinkers, or be too sure of ourselves. Within the last decade, a person brought up at the very feet of Liberalism made quite a journey to fasten upon a brother Freethinker a misdemeanor, which should injure his reputation and thereby destroy his business, while this same Freethinker was shut up in prison suffering for us. In the words of James Parton, "He was suffering for us; human nature itself was outraged in his person ; the act for which he suffered was as innocent as selling a loaf of bread to a hungry person." The editor and publisher of the Truth Seekerdied a martyr to mental liberty, but his paper lives, and is to-day the bible of thousands of readers.
I never heard that this brotherly deed was paid for in money; perhaps the connection which the author of the wrong held for some years to a Liberal paper was sufficient to pay for the labor. Some of us work "dirt cheap." That paper is no more. If any of its readers put on the garments of mourning at its burial we have not heard of it. The paper commanded large talent, but it was not successful enough to live, and so let it rest. Peace and forgetfulness to its ashes.
When I was eighteen years of age I was married, and was too happy in the relation to think much about the slave. Universalism was my religion, in which my husband also believed. I was almost content. Our removal to Boston gave me opportunities for intellectual improvement, that were so grateful to me that I felt myself a most favored person; but alas! for human happiness, it is usually of short duration. My husband was a victim of New England's scourge, consumption. Six years com-
pleted my life with him, and at the age of twenty-four I was a widow. At twenty-six I was again married, and at the age of twenty-eight became a mother. I always like to write the word Mother with a capital M. To me it is the most wonderful word in all the language; it means joy that has never been equaled. I can never forget the ecstacy that came over me when I first looked in the face of my child, and knew that it was mine; but with the joy came the remembrance of the slave-mother's agony as she looked upon her child and knew its fate.
I had not then given much thought to the marriage laws of all the states. I did not realize that only because my husband was too good to take advantage of the law, that he, the father, instead of me, the mother, who had gone down to death's door to give life to the child, ownedit and could control it, at any and all times, against my will.
I was very sick for many months, but in this time of my new motherhood I waked to the understanding of what it is to be obliged to submit to laws in which you have no voice. That the North was by the United Stateslaws just as responsible as the South; for the terrible crime of slavery had become entirely apparent, but what could a woman do to abolish these dreadful laws? She was admonished by the Church that she was to quietly ask her husband at home for knowledge, and to submit to him as to God. I determined to find some way to work for the slaves' deliverance, and from that time till the Emancipation, by and through the War of the Rebellion, I faithfully earned the reputation of an earnest Abolitionist. Some of the scenes through which I passed, as I have related them to my friends, have seemed to them worthy of record, and so, as the work of my seventieth year, I record them.
I shall also find a place in this Autobiography to relate something about wrongs that do not belong exclusively to the "AngloAfrican." In a life of so many years a reformer cannot be very narrow. " Woman's wrongs and rights " must claim much attention. I worked specially for woman till I felt that her cause was in a way to take care of itself; but there come to me, as I look back, many anecdotes bearing upon the subject that I shall not fail to relate.
I have told one instance of the bigotry of a Presbyterian minister. Lest I should seem to look upon the leaders of that sect
as more unjust than the Methodist, I will give an instance of injustice that proves the contrary. In my husband's long sickness of four years, he was visited by religionists of many kinds, .but in the last year of his life a Methodist minister became greatly interested in him. He used to call upon him frequently, and try to convert him to his belief, always telling him " Universalist faith would do to live by, but not to die by." My husband's last words were: "My religion is even better to die by than to live by, tell Mr. Morse" (the minister). I accordingly sent the clergyman a note, asking him, in consideration of having made my husband's case a subject for the pulpit, to have the honesty to say from the pulpit how triumphantly he had died. He did not even mention his death. Such is the honesty of sectarianism.
When my child (a daughter) was seven years old, my husband was killed on the Central Railroad, by an accident caused by the penuriousness of the company -- I perhaps ought to say, the criminality of the officers of the road. A switchman, who had been employed by the company for quite a number of years at the meager wages of seventy-five cents a day, "struck" and demanded one dollar. It was refused and the switchman discharged. A foreigner -- I do not know whether the nationality was English or Irish; no matter, he was an ignorant man who landed a week before -- was employed in place of the discharged switchman. My husband was an engineer, and at that time ran the lightening express. At the station where the accident took place this train never stopped. The whistle was sounded to announce the approach of the train. The new man in his confusion thought he must do something, so turned over the switch, letting the moving train into a freight train standing on the side track, and in a moment my husband was dead, I again a widow, and not yet forty years of age. My husband was buried from Corinthian Hall, Rochester, N. Y., where we then resided, Andrew Jackson Davis officiating at the funeral. I was at that time a Spiritualist. I had given up the Church, more because of its complicity with slavery than from a full understanding of the foolishness of its creed. The Universalist and the Unitarian churches were offered for the funeral, but I did not accept their use. I was no longer in sympathy with them. My husband had belonged to the Odd Fellows association in Boston: That particular Lodge had disbanded, but the
Odd Fellows of Rochester voted to attend the funeral in a body, and take charge of the same when it should leave the hall. I consented to this arrangement, only stipulating that they should omit the prayer-I had at that time fully outgrown public prayer.
I may, in the course of this Autobiography, give a chapter on Spiritualism as it came to me, and I think if those of my friends shall read it who have accused me of not studying its different phases, and putting myself in the way of seeing its phenomena, they will at least acknowledge their mistake. But for the present I have something to say of the great railroad corporation, and here a little of "woman's wrongs" will be admissible. I waited a suitable time, expecting some one of the officers would call to see me, having no doubt they would expect to do what money would do, to atone for their criminality. They had run extra trains from Albany and Buffalo, giving free passage to the hundreds who came over the road to attend the funeral. Mr. Colman was a very popular man with all classes of railroad men. He had served seven years to learn the blacksmith's trade, three years as a machinist, and then ran one of the very earliest trains over one of the first roads in Massachusetts. Besides this he was one of the members of the first brass band in this country, playing second to Kendall's first bugle. Hardly a musician of any reputation in the country but knew him, and musicians as well as mechanics came to his funeral. It was computed that more than five hundred people went away from the hall (the hall seated fifteen hundred) without gaining entrance, every possible spot being filled. Thus much honor was paid to the memory of the murdered man, and the railroad paid the expense. But a large funeral would not support a family, and Mr. Colman left only a home, and that mortgaged. And so because of what the company haddone, I confidently expected more.
I waited some weeks, and then made the journey to a more eastern city. I went to the office of the superintendent, but he was not in. When told he might not be in for hours, I went to his home, with a determination to stay until I should see him. It was nearly night when he came. He told me he never attended to business at home; but I persisted. He finally asked me if I had had dinner, and, in his great condescension, asked me to dine with them. At length, as I persisted, he was obliged to talk business. This was his decision: They, the corporation, acknowl-
edged no obligation to an employee,-it would be a bad precedent. They had already done more for me than for any other case of the kind. They had paid the expenses of the funeral, and a number of the officers had attended the funeral.It would be wrong to take the company's money. Many of the stockholders were widows and orphans. They had no right to take their income and give it to mc. This man had common sense, strange as it may seem, was a shining light in a Christian church, and more than all else, he had caused the discharge of the experienced switchman, replacing him with the ignorant man. Finding him the official incorrigible, I left him, and in the course of a month I had consulted nine lawyers, some of them considered the best in the State. All agreed that it was a clear case, that any jury would give the sum demanded; but they also agreed that I would never get a cent. The company would appeal the case, the "Court of Appeals" was already made over to the railroad, by deciding that a person employed by a corporation becomes a member of such corporation, and of course could claim no damages in case of accident. I asked if a petition to the Legislature to annul such a decision might not be a good thing for some bereaved family in the future. I found the Legislature was controlled by the great Central Railroad of New York.
I then asked the company to give me employment in some of their offices -- a ticket office, I suggested. The official lifted his hands in respectable horror. "Why, Mrs. Colman ; you would not put yourself in such an exposed situation! You have a little daughter; she might be degraded by the mother taking a position of such publicity. Can't you take boarders? We could send you twenty-five of our laborers next week." A little girl would be in no danger of degradation by the daily presence of twenty-five boarders, of not a very elevated class! The price paid would not give mother or child many luxuries, and the mother would not be apt to get out of her sphere in such occupation, but I was not ready yet to take the boarders.
I called on the postmaster, and said, "You have established a ladies' window; will you give me the position as clerk at that window?" "I wish I could," said the gentleman; "a woman ought to have it, but I dare not make the innovation." Not entirely discouraged, I next went to a printing office, which had advertised for boys to learn type-setting, and said, wouldn't you give
me such a place?" No; a printing office is no place for a woman!" "Where is her place, sir? " "At home."
"But if she has no home, only as she earns it, what then?" " She can't come here."
This was nearly forty years ago; now we have women in post offices, printing-offices and ticket-offices. This was a time of Woman's Wrongs. Has she to-day conquered all her Rights? Not till she helps to make the law by which she is governed. I next applied for a place in a public school, and obtained one by taking the place of a man, and doing his work, for which I was paid three hundred and fifty dollars a year. The man who preceded me was paid eight hundred dollars per year. I had an object in view in taking that school, which I accomplished, other than earning my living. There had been for many years in Rochester a school called the colored school, at which all children having colored blood, who accepted public instruction from the city, were required to attend. The house was the basement of the African Church, situated in a low part of the city, speaking either physically or morally, and no matter what the distance from the homes, this was the place. I presume it was because of my known Abolitionism that I was offered the school. Quite a difference between eight hundred dollars and three hundred and fifty. I took the situation, determining in my own mind that I would be the last teacher, and that that school should die. It died in just one year. I persuaded the parents in the different districts to send the more advanced children to the schools in their own districts, suggesting that they always see to it that they went particularly clean, and to impress upon the pupil that his or her behavior be faultless as possible. I then advised the trustees of the church to withdraw the permission for any further use of the building, save for church purposes. When the time came for the opening of the new year's school, there was neither scholars nor school-house. The death was not violent. No mention was made of the decease in the papers, and I presume there were not ten persons in the city that knew, or if they had known would have cared, that the disgrace was abolished. I was given another school, for perhaps no more laudable reason than I obtained the other, but this time it was not to save money.
If I were not writing an Autobiography, I should feel that
there was a good deal of egotism in many of my anecdotes, but I was in them, and my experience is what I am writing. At this time Susan B. Anthony was recognized as a school-teacher, and at the annual meeting of the State Convention of Teachers, held the previous year, had by great adroitness or skill gotten a lady teacher appointed to read an essay the next year; she herself being already on the list. The lady appointed was rather of the milk-and-water kind, and what she would have said, had she not lost her courage for the attempt, I cannot tell. I know what she would not have said. She would not have said anything against the Bible, nor the use of it in schools.
When Miss Anthony found the lady would fail her, she came to me, saying she worked very hard to get the appointment for one of her own sex; asking me to prepare something and take the place as a substitute -- a place I never like. I said they would probably not hear me, but be glad that one woman had failed to meet her appointment; but her persuasions were at last successful.
I had, in the weekly of monthly meetings of the teachers in Rochester, tried to induce the teachers to abolish the use of corporeal punishment in school. This was not pleasing to any of the teachers, save one; all, with this one exception, were sure there could be no order without the whip. I thought if I could be given the opportunity, I would at least say why my opinion was against whipping children, and accordingly prepared an essay which would take about twenty minutes to read. After writing it I carried it to our city superintendent, asking him to do me the kindness to read and criticise it, -- not the argument, but the style. He read it, and said, "You use the personal pronoun I. It would be more elegant to say we" (you see, my friends, I began very early to be egotistical). I said," How can I say we, when I know no one agrees with me." Well, then, it is all right; but I warn you that you will raise a hornet's nest about your ears." His prophesy proved true. Said one of the learned teachers, a minister, by the way (many of the teachers were ministers), "What will you do with the words of the wisest man, Solomon, 'spare the rod and spoil the child'?" I answered, just what I would do with the example of Solomon, if a Mormon were to say to me," Solomon had seven hundred wives; why should not I have seventy or seven?"
I ought to have told you of the difficulty I had in getting permission to read that essay. I was not known to the convention, and in the discussion, in which the pros and cons of the propriety of a substitute taking the place without having been appointed at the same time of the regularly appointed essayist, I kept entirely still. I felt sure that some one of the Rochester teachers had whispered the words, Infidel Abolitionist, and I did not care to be known unless accepted. A teacher sitting by me said, " What is there about that Mrs. Colman, that they object so much to hearing her? Here they have taken the entire time of one session discussing whether or not they will hear her. Do you know the lady?" I said, "A little,"but was not disposed to be communicative. But when I announced, in answer to the question, " What would you do with the words of Solomon?" that I would tell the Mormon that the civilization of the nineteenth century had outgrown Solomon and his wives, the silence for a moment was ominous. Then the hisses came, with "She is an Infidel; I told you so." I was greatly embarrassed when I began the reading of that very simple paper. Now I was not in the least frightened. I am not of the material that can be frightened by opposition, nor thrown from my position by insult. I said in answer to the mournful assertion that " She has taken away my Bible," "If your Bible is a bundle of rods, or a license for adultery, the loss of it will be a blessing."
The session was continued till after the hour for adjournment, and when the evening session came, it was again Mrs. Colman and her Infidelity. I suggested to the chairman that, in my opinion, it would be more profitable to the convention to discuss the subject matter of the essay, rather than the religious opinions of the writer. It was a hot discussion, lasting till eleven o'clock at night. Miss Anthony's essay was hardly noticed (it was "Education of the Sexes Together"), as she in those days, thirty-five years ago, did not trample upon holy ground. Whether she does to-day I do not know. It is many, many years since I have heard her. I am glad to know that her life-long friend and associate, Mrs. Stanton, does sometimes allow herself to be advertised to speak for the Freethinkers.
Now what was the penalty put upon Mrs. Colman for her Infidel essay in Rochester? I was appointed to School No. I, at the time confessedly the most difficult school to govern in all the city,
made up of all nationalities, and over-large for the room, with two assistants, each with a whip in hand. The State Superintendent at the convention where I had declared against the whip (the convention was held in the City of Troy), did me the honor to say that I had convinced him that the Legislature should abolish corporeal punishment, and he should ask them to do it that season; and so, by his advice, I took the whips from the young ladies, told them I was senior teacher, and would from that time do the whipping. Suffice it to say, I had no trouble in managing the school. But the Legislature did not abolish the rod.
In Syracuse the Board of Education, when the Rev. Samuel J. May was chairman of the same, abolished corporeal punishment in its dominions. Mr. May was a reformer in the true sense of the word; an Abolitionist of the most pronounced type, and an open advocate of suffrage for woman (alas, how much woman has missed him, when an advocate for any particular claim has been needed!). He died some years since. His pulpit was always free, almost the only Unitarian pulpit open to Theodore Parker, after his denial of the inspiration of the Hebrew Scriptures, as in any sense different from other histories. He was particularly emphatic in his demand that one code of morals should obtain for both sexes. But though Mr. May's memory is revered and monuments are erected, in no city of my knowledge are the two moral codes more literally indulged than in Syracuse. The long-prophesied millenium is not yet.
I did not remain teacher long in Rochester. The small salary and the wide difference made because of sex, was a bitterness that I could not easily swallow; and then I was not popular among the teachers. I always insisted that the schools were for the benefit of the pupils, and that is not allowable. "Dickens' Nurses" are not by anymeans the only officials whose comfort is the principal thing to be thought of. Everywhere the rule holds good, that the official is the one to be benefited, not the persons over whom he is placed. The exception proves the rule.
I had been feeling for a long time that I must speak for the slave; but how, or where to begin? The death of my oldest sister, with whom my father and mother lived (my aunt had now become my mother), made a change for them imperative, and it seemed best that they should come to me. I could now leave home, as my mother would take care of my little girl and keep
the home. I had one friend in Rochester who thoroughly believed in me, and she has kept that belief in all these years -- Amy Post. We have been more like dear sisters for forty years, than like anything in relationship more remote. She declared herself ready to plan a campaign, and to accompany me as escort. She therefore said: "Get ready; write out two lectures, so that you may be prepared to speak twice in one place, if desirable, and I shall soon make an appointment."
Mrs. Post had been a life-long Friend, prominent, with her husband, in the monthly and yearly meetings of that society, and had only left them because they had been false to freedom in the person of the slave. She of course knew people in every quarter of the state where there were Friends; and in many places there were very many who, like herself, had left the society. One Saturday morning word came to me from my friend that she had made an appointment for me to speak in a Presbyterian church, in the town of Rush, the following Sunday evening, and that she would call for me in a few hours. I was full of fear; to speak in a church was something formidable. What if I should fail? We were to be entertained at the home of the person who had obtained the use of the church -- a Friend -- but whose standing in the town was so respectable that the Church granted the use of the building. Mr. Hallock did not know me, but supposed I was an experienced speaker. Mrs. Post charged me that on no account was I to tell them that I had never spoken, save for a few moments in some convention. She said they had no anxiety, and it would be foolish to give them any.
The bell rang for the services, and with trembling knees I ascended the pulpit. I always had such command of my voice, that my embarrassment was not observable, if I could keep out of sight the trembling that possessed my physical frame. The meeting was pronounced a success. Mrs. Post and Mrs. Hallock sat in the pulpit with me. Mrs. Post opened the meeting with a short speech, and then introduced me in quite a flattering manner.
On riding home that night after the meeting, M.. Hallock said to Mrs. Post: "Does Lucy Colman always speak from a written manuscript?" Mrs. Post's answer was: I never heard her when she used notes until this evening." " Well," said Mr. Hallock, "if she will throw aside her notes, I will obtain the house
in another part of the town, and take her over there for another meeting. I don't like reading -- I am too much of a Friend." And so the notes were carefully put aside, and the next meeting was an extempore speech.
My next public address was in the town of Williamson, where lived a noted reformer -- Griffith Cooper. He had been a naval officer, but had been converted to the doctrine of Peace, in some special outpouring of the spirit, and was a Friend; but left the organization for the same cause that Amy and Isaac Post had, -- pro-slavery in the church. I had a professed friend in Rochester who, though a Friend and Abolitionist, always felt that he held a commission from God to attend to God's business in this world. He was eminently Christian, and kept all the commandments of the law (save paying his debts). He did not like my Infidelity. As soon as he heard that an appointment had been made for me through Griffith Cooper, for a Sunday lecture, he made haste to visit Mr. Cooper, told him he was afraid the speaker would be a great disappointment, as she was entirely new in the business, etc. This was very perplexing to Mr. Cooper, but the meeting was well advertized and must go on. When Mrs. Post and I arrived, Mr. Cooper evinced a great dislike to me, saying that his friend and wife from Rochester were in the house, and had told him that we were imposing upon them a person who was entirely green, and would no doubt disgrace the getters-up of the meeting. I was so chagrined that I refused his hospitality, as did Mrs. Post, and we sought a home, which was easily obtained, elsewhere.
The house in which I was to speak was a union house, built by more than one body of Christians. The Reformed Presbyterians had at that time a settled minister -- Gregg by name. He occupied the pulpit in the morning, giving it to me for the afternoon. At another village the Methodists were having a protracted meeting, but they gave up their meeting for the hour that I should speak, and the ministers came in a body, some five or six of them, and took seats in a line very near the pulpit. Mr. Gregg opened the meeting with prayer. Mrs. Post was with me in the pulpit. The house was crowded, and it was daylight instead of evening. Mrs. Post always said she could hear my heart beat, so actively did it thump; but when I saw Mr. Cooper, with his Rochester friend, looking as though a great catastrophe
was about to happen, I lost all fear, and so conquered the timid getter-up of the meeting that, at the close of the service he came to me, apologized for his inhospitable greeting, said he was proud of my success, and gave me a cordial invitation to his house. But I was already engaged by Mr. Gregg to go that evening to Webster, some twelve miles, and speak for him at his regular evening service.
All these persons, save my constant friend, Amy Post, are dead;* but I have recorded this to show how much more to be dreaded, and if possible avoided, is a false friend than an open foe. Once engage in the dirty work of injuring one who does not believe in your creed, and the work grows apace; and worse than all else, such persons come to think they are really doing God a service for which they shall merit and obtain a high seat in heaven.
In the autumn of that year Mrs. Post proposed that we should go to Michigan and attend the annual convention of the Western Anti-Slavery Society, and so find and plan work for the winter. And now commences my most arduous work for the slave. This annual convention was held in a small town, some fifteen or twenty miles west of Detroit -- not on the line of the railroad -- so we were obliged to stop in Detroit over night, and find as early conveyance as possible. Mrs. Post, always fertile in resources, suggested that we hunt up some of the colored people of the city, quite a number of whom she had entertained at her house. So we went first into a barber-shop, where we found a fine-looking, intelligent mulatto, who, learning our names and business, invited us to go to his house, where he said we would find his wife, who would be glad to entertain us as long as we desired to stay in Detroit; adding that Mrs. Bibb, the widow of Henry Bibb, was a boarder in their family.
I think Henry Bibb deserves some little notice here, as he was somewhat notable, and was also the first colored man whom. I ever heard speak. He made his escape from slavery, was retaken, and subjected to a punishment for the awful crime of trying to be a freeman, that would shame a savage. An iron ring, filled with sharp-pointed nails, was put about his neck and welded together so close, that the least turning of the head in any way
* Since this article was written that noble associate of Mrs. Colman, Amy Post, has also died, as has many others of that noble band of Abolitionists. -- Publisher.
would cause these points to bore into the flesh. Such was his equipment for day and night. The master was a Christian, the deacon of the Presbyterian church in the place. That region of the South where this man was a slave, was at this time greatly troubled by horse-thieves, and a company of them visiting this town, for the purpose of buying horses, as they said, came to see the deacon's stables. They were shocked at the cruelty displayed, and immediately decided to buy the slave, the deacon agreeing to make the price less, because the, slave was so light-colored that he was of less value. The bargain was made, and Bibb was taken to a blacksmith and the iron collar cut from his neck, the horsethieves taking good care to possess themselves, in a few days, of horse-flesh from the possessions of this good man of sufficient value to cover the expense of the slave. They were very kind to their man, but told him they could not afford to give him his freedom without making something out of him, and that they would sell him to some one who would treat him well, compared to the treatment he had received from his former master; and that before they would sell him, they would first teach him to escape from slavery, and put himself beyond being re-taken; all of which they did. Mr. Bibb became a Reverend, quite a successful business man, and died leaving a small property to his widow, who was an accomplished woman.
To return to our journey: We found a more than comfortable home at the residence of our colored acquaintances, William and Agnes Wallace. They were fugitives of some ten years. In that time the husband had earned a home -- a pretty cottage on Congress street -- and the wife had furnished it by the use of her needle; and it was not only comfortable in the furnishing, but there were many elegancies, that very few of the working people of that day felt able to supply themselves with. But they were fugitives, and liable to arrest for the crime of trying to own themselves. Mrs. Wallace proposed that we return to Detroit after the convention closed, and we concluded to do so.
We found a conveyance to our meeting, arriving rather late in the afternoon. We were both of us entire strangers. Henry C. Wright was present, and a man formerly from Rochester, Henry De Garmo, whose father was a Friend. De Garmo had become an Infidel of the Thomas Paine stamp. No one paid much attention to us; and we were a good deal disturbed by the character
that the meeting seemed to have taken. It was the anniversary of the Western Antislavery Society, but Spiritualism was the subject under discussion. My friend Mrs. Post, as well as myself, was a Spiritualist, but we could see no propriety in turning an Abolition meeting into an "experience-meeting" for Spiritualists. Even the veteran Henry C. Wright seemed to have lost all zeal for the work of the slave, saying that now the spirits would, without doubt, bring about the emancipation of the race; just as the Christian would have said, "God will, in his own good time, take care of the slave." Mr. Wright did not make himself at all familiar with us, not even introducing us to any of the residents; but Mr. De Garmo remembered Mrs. Post, and soon found a home for us with his sister and her husband who lived in the place. Here I found the Boston Investicator, as well as The Liberator. This family were ready to become Spiritualists when the proof should come to them; but I think it never came -- never while I knew them.
We had very earnest discussions as to the proper subjects to come before the meeting. Marius Robinson was present from Ohio -- a man almost ethereal in his make-up. He was one of the young men called "the Lane Seminary boys," studying under Dr. Beecher, who left the seminary on account of the position its president held toward the anti-slavery cause. Mr. Robinson gave up his anticipations of the pulpit, became an earnest worker for emancipation -- editing for some years the Antislavery Bugle, a very respectable paper published in Salem, Ohio, -- the organ of the Western Society. This man -- whom to look upon would impress one with his goodness -- was set upon by a mob (some years before the time I am describing), while lecturing, tarred and feathered, left to die, but by an effort removed himself from the solitary place of his persecution. So long a time elapsed before he was discovered and rescued, that his death seemed imminent. He was very sick, and for many months entirely confined to his bed, and never recovered his wonted health. This man was not at all inclined to give up this meeting -- to Spiritualism. He, with Mrs. Post and myself, strongly opposed the whole thing. This was the beginning of hostilities, so to speak, with the Spiritualists of Michigan and myself.
I was appointed by this Western Society as their accredited agent, and so advertised, but had to pay my own expenses, and
make my own salary; not a very bright outlook for earning a living for the home in Rochester. But I had succeeded so well in three months that the American Antislavery Society, having its head-quarters in Boston, being informed that I had kept myself employed, paying my own way, sent me a commission to work for them, guaranteeing my expenses and a small salary, at the same time charging me to make, or rather use diligence to make the collections cover the expenses. I had asked that society to employ me, when I decided to go west, but my Rochester friends had sent them word that I would fail (I had more than one of that kind of friends there); so I had failed to get the appointment.
It was a great satisfaction to be told, as I was, by the general agent at the end of the year, that my work had cost the society less than that of any other agent, and that I had been into many new places that no other person had attempted. I did not tell him, what was true, that when not able to find people friendly to the cause who would entertain me for the cause's sake, I never allowed myself the luxury of more than one meal a day, nor a fire in my room; no matter though the thermometer marked fifteen or twenty degrees below zero.
If reformers were a little less like other people, and would put aside their jealousies, fearing that some other one would be a little more popular than they, and so not be guilty of suggesting that there might be improprieties in their conduct, the work for the world would be more easily done; but if the people of the world were perfect, then there would be no need of reform.
When I went to Michigan, Spiritualism was rioting, like some outbreak of disease. Circles were the order of the day, and of the night. Though I believed at that time in the phenomena as spiritual, I could not consent to be dictated in my work by spirits. Spirits had always existed since the advent of humanity, as had God. Why had they, like God, been so dilatory in their work? I preferred to do my own work, and be responsible for its success or failure
The Indian spirits had not then made their advent, -- they were mostly one's own personal friends, or some noted man like John Quincy Adams, or some minister; if among Methodists, John Wesley; Friends, George Fox or Elias Hicks. They came and communicated by raps, or tips, and some people were
entranced, and delivered speeches; not always full of wisdom, but often, seemingly, above the capacity of the medium. The subject more generally dwelt upon was the inharmonies of domestic life, and more than one couple released themselves from each other by and through the advice of the spirits. I remember one person who, with her husband, was traveling, giving discourses on the development of the "love principle." Their outfit was a hand-cart, containing their wardrobe, some pictures, which they offered for sale, and two children. The husband drew the cart, the wife walked, and the children alternated; sometimes walking, and at others riding.
These people were so refined that they ate no meat, nor anything that grew in the dark -- like roots of any kind -- but as they asked the hostess -- who had taken them into her home to stay over Sunday -- for eggs for their breakfast, I suggested that it would be very improper to eat eggs, as they surely grew in the dark. They, however, ate the eggs with a relish, and their spirituality was not diminished. The wife told me she had never been so happy since she was married as then. She felt that she was helping the spirits to improve the world, and surely I do not know that she was not.
But the most remarkable case of Spiritualism that came under my notice, was that of a young married woman, whom the spirits constantly controlled, who refused all food for weeks at a time. She was informed by her own hand that she must refuse any longer to be the wife of her husband; that even her child was begotten by lust, and hence she was not to see her much; that she was now on a low plane, and that if she would refuse food, she would become ethereal, and the physical body would pass off in particles, and she would become a spirit without death. She practiced the directions, eating nothing for one or two weeks, then eating a small lump of loaf sugar, or a teaspoonful of some highly concentrated preserved fruit.
This woman finally left her home, and, after being gone a year, or thereabouts, returned to the city, and would have returned to her home, but it was shut against her. She had a strange life -- lived some years with another husband, who proved shiftless in all things. She became a Spiritual Healer, accumulated quite a little property, shirked further care of her husband, and when I last saw her, had become a charming woman. I never felt it my
business to decry this woman. She had accepted this new doctrine as a religion, and faithfully she kept its commands. The wrong is in giving up one's sense, and listening to counsel that you do not understand. There was, no doubt, back of all this that I have related, a bitterness that none but a woman married to a coarse, uncongenial husband, could appreciate.
There is in one of the prisons of Michigan to-day, a woman who, in the following year, was sentenced for life for the crime of killing her children -- two, I think -- made possible to her by the acceptance of communications from alleged spirits. This woman is a member of a very respectable family of Central New York. She was always respectable, but a "little queer." She lived in Michigan with her husband, on a small farm, and when she became a widow had three children. I called on her, and had I been describing her, should have said she was doing very well, working hard to support her family, but very ignorant, and inclined to accept all the nonsense coming through mediums as authoritative. A medium at last became an inmate of her family. The younger children were sent to heaven, and she -- and I think the medium -- was sent to prison for life. Why will people give up their own common-sense and take into their homes men and women to give them reports of spirit friends? They are all, so far as I have known them, after the "loaves and fishes" for themselves, and they always obtain them.
When the convention which Mrs. Post and I had attended adjourned, she prepared to go home ; and as I had promised to speak in Detroit, I concluded to go with her on her way home, and fulfill the engagement. Mrs. Wallace had obtained a house, and the meeting was advertised. We had a peaceful meeting, but not large. Mrs. Wallace had been in the habit of doing sewing for the "Ward family." Capt. Ward was reputed rich -- he afterwards employed a medium to advise him in his business -- so it was said. Mrs. W. was confident if I would snake application to him, he would make a donation to the slave's cause; so she undertook to introduce me. I have often been refused money -- sometimes with insolence -- but I do not remember ever to have been so grossly insulted as by this same gentleman. As I recall his words, and looks -- happening more than thirty years ago, my indignation returns; and I find that in all these years I have not forgiven him.
My colored friend was astonished beyond measure -- this was before A. J. Davis had borrowed from the Russians a Diaki, else we might believe some one of the supposed infernals possessed him. Some of the Scriptures are so applicable to people of this century, that I like to quote from them: "Let no man say when he is tempted of evil, he is tempted of God (spirits), for God cannot be tempted of evil, neither tempteth he any man, but every man is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lusts and enticed." It seems to me quite as dishonorable to put our own wrong-doing upon spirits, as it is for a Christian to go into heaven upon the merits of another. Let me at least bear the fruits of my wrongdoing, as well as the honor of my good deeds, or if not the honor, the satisfaction. I cannot feel that the Spiritualist gains anything over the Christian, in having so many gods as guardian spirits, nor so large a number of evil spirits, or devils. I should feel like the little girl who would not allow her pet dog to follow her, because "’t was bad enough to have Dad tagging after," without having a dog also. Too many attendants are not agreeable, of either kind.
I have spun out my reflections upon Capt. Ward to more length than was requisite, and so will say, " peace to his ashes."
After leaving Detroit I went to Ypsilanti, and worked in that region. I found a good home with Samuel Moore and wife-one of the subscribers to The Truth Seeker, and FREETHINKERS' MAGAZINE. He is an old man, but his letters always seem to give me the feeling of a good hand-shake. His wife, a good woman, has "passed on." Mr. Moore took me around the country and spoke with me, wherever he could find a house open to us. We met with very little hostility.
I then went to Ann Arbor. There was a little society there who were mostly Reformed Friends. They had a small house, and it was open to any one who wished to use it for the slave's cause. I had no difficulty in this city. The students of the college, for some reason, did not get aroused to deeds of violence, but a few months later, while an antislavery meeting was in session, addressed by a man, they (the students, with some "others of the baser sort", attacked the speaker, broke the windows of the little church, demolished the seats, and completely broke up the meeting.
I found a home in the family of a Quaker minister, whom I
have been told was very popular in the order of Friends. He was a very tyrant in his family. His eldest son told me he had often flogged him, but the last time he attempted it he had refused to remove his coat, as ordered by his father. He instead said, "If you wish to fight, I am ready. Yesterday I was a boy, and would have obeyed you, but to-day I'm a man."Such was Christian parental authority thirty years ago. Sixty years ago I knew a Methodist presiding elder to stop three times in his morning prayer, and severely whip his child, a mere baby, because it would not keep still through the service. "Spare the rod," etc., was a lesson well learned by some of our fathers of the olden time.
In a little town not far from Ypsilanti, there occurred a circumstance among the Baptists, of which I was not the heroine, but as I spoke in the church a month later, it will not be trespassing to relate it. This place was the home of our infidel friend, Henry De Garmo. He had in his employ a fugitive slave, a very black man, large and good-looking. His wife was also of the same style, very dark, and the children,, of whom there were seven, were ditto. This negro was a very pious Baptist, always attended church, and paid as much as he could afford in support of the minister, but his place was always in the "negro pew." Mr. De Garmo used to ask him if he expected to occupy a pew in heaven, telling him that his brethren cared nothing for him, only that he was a good paying member. This, Jimmie, as he was called, denied the saying, "That they were all one in Christ Jesus." At length a new church was to be built, and Jimmie, when he had a day that could be spared from his regular work, helped about the church with right good will, and in good time the house was completed and dedicated, and the day appointed for the sale of the pews. Mr. De Garmo said, "Wouldn't you like to buy a pew, Jimmie?" "Yes, very much, if I had money." "Well, I want you to buy a pew; it's hardly respectable not to own a pew, such a faithful Baptist as you are; go and bid off the best pew in the broad aisle, and I will find the money. You may go as high as one hundred and fifty dollars; but be sure you have the best seat."
So Jimmie, with that amount of money in his pocket, bid off the "upper seat in the synagogue." I think he paid one hundred and thirty dollars. Of course his white brethren were glad to sell
the pew, as now it would be let at a reasonable price, to some one of the church not able to buy it. Mr. De Garmo had seen to it that the wife and all the seven children were in good trim for church on Sunday; hats and shoes for the children, a new bonnet and shawl for the wife, and all sent to church in proper order. Instead of taking the negro pew, Mr. Jimmie walked up the aisle, followed by his entire family -- nine, all told. The consternation was as dreadful as though the dark cloud had been a western cyclone. The sexton went to the pew and told the owner that he must leave with his family, and take a back seat; but the occupant refused to be disturbed. He had bought the seat and paid for it, and he refused to leave it. The services were gotten through with as soon as possible, the principal members held a consultation, and the minister told the negro that if he persisted in occupying that seat, it would prove him unchristian, as a true Christian was humble, while he was manifestly very proud. The negro and his family left the church, fully convinced that that church, at least, was a sham, and that he, for the future, would worship outside a Baptist church.
I went to Battle Creek and vicinity, but everywhere Spiritualism was in the ascendant, and no one cared much for the slave. I do not remember that we (I had now joined another agent) were violently assailed in Michigan, but in Ohio, Indiana and Illinois, we were constantly in jeopardy. On the Ohio River the spirit of slavery was as strong on the north as the south side. At one place pepper or tobacco would be put upon the stove, the perpetrators of the infamy having first fastened down the windows, so that it was impossible to raise them. Our carriage would be bereft of one wheel, or the harness cut; sometimes the horse would be shorn of mane or tail, and the carriage filled with night-soil, or rotten eggs.
But such things were as nothing to an assault upon us individually. A mob of infuriated men can be compared to nothing but themselves. Stones, brick-bats, and addled eggs are the weapons, and a tar-kettle and pillow of feathers were the most to be dreaded. I fortunately escaped the last, though I have smelled the tar, and seen the bag containing the feathers. And whom do you suppose were the leader~ in these riots? Always ministers, or leaders of the Republican party. Do you not see the logic of the fact ? We showed conclusively that the Church was the "bul-
wark of slavery"; that the holding of slaves was never a hindrance to Church fellowship, but Abolitionism was often a cause of disfellowship.And the new political party was not fond of being told that they were the power that held in bondage four millions of men, women and children. The Fugitive Slave Law was at this time in full operation, and the officers of the law, whether of one party or the other, were required to act, and we were not slow in giving them the name appropriate to their business, blood hounds of and for the South.
A curious little incident which, without much meaning, made a good laugh for the time being, I am tempted to relate. Theodore Parker was speaking to a large and enthusiastic audience in Rochester, N. Y., a short time after the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law by Congress. Mr. Parker drew from his pocket a large hand-bill, advertising a runaway negro -- the negro represented by a grotesque figure --- and written upon the bill, addressed to Mr. Parker, some insulting language. As Mr. P. said "we of the North are commanded to become blood-hounds," a large dog lying just in front of the platform, arose and howled forth his indignation. He seemed furious, but Mr. Parker, in a winning, appeasing voice, said: "No, no, not a respectable, four-legged dog like you; they are the two-legged ones that are meant!" The dog whined out his approval, and became quiet; but the audience was some time in regaining its composure.
We had an antislavery dog in Salem, Ohio, who made his home in the office of the Antislavery Bugle. No one knew where he came from, but he was persistent, and when one of the agents was sent out into some new field, the dog would go also; and when such agent was well settled in a friendly home, the dog would return to Salem. This dog has more than once been my traveling companion. I don't know what became of him; perhaps he lived to be emancipated from his work, when the slaves were no longer chattels, but, like many a hero of those days, his worth is more likely not much remembered.
At a place in Ohio, so near Virginia that you could almost hear the chains rattle, we found one of the Union churches, and a good Abolition family in comfortable condition, to entertain us. We made our appointments, and with our friends proceeded to the house. There was a full attendance, and very turbulent. The minister, who was a resident, and used the house when not en-
gaged, was, I think, Presbyterian, but not very outrageous in his language. He was an old man, and age doesn't always enjoy a fight; but we could feel there were to be demonstrations of hostility.
The meeting-house was surrounded on three sides by a large corn-field, -- and Western corn grows very tall. Mr. Foss; who was then at work with me, said to me: "The rioters are in that corn-field, and will throw their missiles, whatever they are, from behind those high corn-stalks. If by good management we can get by that field before they are aware that we have left the house, we shall escape their blows." Mr. Foss was a large man, and very strong. I was a little woman then, not weighing more than a child of twelve. While our friends were busy trying to defend us by their words (the house was only lighted by a few candles), we quietly slipped out. Mr. Foss took me upon his hip and ran past the corn, and we were out of sight; but as the crowd came out, we could plainly hear the hurrah, and "here they come," shouted. Then the eggs were thrown in great abundance. The poor old minister was covered with the vile-smelling things, which were intended for us. Our friends, supposing that we were somewhere in the house, prolonged their stay in searching for us, and so they escaped the anointing, and the rioters were completely foiled. We were not always so fortunate.
Not very far from this place we had a somewhat similar triumph. The rioters were too pious to profane their church, and so made their attack on us at the house where we were entertained. The weather was mild and the door leading to the street was open. I had been sitting exactly opposite the open door, but getting a little cold, I had just placed my chair back of the door, when there came a shower of eggs that made the air thick for a time. None hit me, nor Mr. Foss, but their townsman, our host, was completely covered. The next day was election, and our host appeared at the polls with his garb all besmeared, telling his fellow-townsmen what it cost in our reputedly-free country to try to maintain free speech.
Ohio at this time was very pro-slavery, notwithstanding it had the Oberlin College, where colored students were received equally with white ones.
In another county of the State, which was blessed with a school where Methodist ministers were manufactured, we found an open-
ing for a series of meetings. There was in the same town that held the school, one of the Union houses, and a few men and women who did not believe in slavery sent us an invitation to come; providing us with a home while we should stay. As soon as it was known that the friends of the slave were in that region, the president of the school and the professors immediately opened a "four days meeting," occupying the house, morning, noon and night, or, more properly speaking, three and four sessions each day. I was in no hurry, and so concluded to stay and attend their meeting. I was not a welcome visitor, but I enjoyed the meeting. God was often informed of my presence, and told of my hostility to Him and His earthly Church, and the people were informed repeatedly that the Methodist Church North had cut itself entirely loose from all connection with slavery. The meeting held its four days, and still the Abolitionist was there. Neither threats nor prayers had any effect upon my stay. I came to hold a meeting to plead for those who were not allowed to plead their own cause, and I could afford to wait their time. Another day was added to the four, and still another. The people were getting weary, and finally the president announced that the next session would close up the series.
The people in this closing meeting were urged to pay no attention to any meeting that should be called by me, saying that the attendance on such a meeting would be an affair that would call for action, and perhaps excommunication from the Church. At last the blessing was pronounced, and on the instant I arose and said I would now open another protracted meeting. I could not say whether it would continue four days, or twice four days, but that it would hold long enough to give me time to prove the falsehood of most of the assertions that they or we had heard made. The minister interrupted me by begging the audience to leave, commanding those of the school. Most of the people left, but they stopped at the door, and looked in at the windows; but at last curiosity triumphed, and they all came back, and the minister with them. I stepped to the front of the platform and said to the president of the school, "Will you do me the favor to lend me your Church Discipline a few minutes?" "No, I will not!" said he; "and I make a request, that no one in the house will lend the woman one." I said, "I will not hurt the book; I would think any one of you would grant such a favor." But not one of
them dared to do it. We talk about Roman Catholic Popes; I have seen popes -- alas! that it is so -- even among Freethinkers. After I had tried my powers of persuasion awhile with no success, I drew from my pocket a new Church Discipline, and holding it up I said, "I have been acquainted with Methodists some time, and judging you from what I have seen, I expected to be refused the use of the book, and so obtained one; if any of you think it is not a bona fide affair, I will let you examine it; but you must first swear that you will return it to me. I can't afford to send to New York for another copy."
I wish I could paint for you the faces of those Methodist Christians. They knew that by that book I would prove false all their assertions concerning non-complicity with slavery. The Methodist "Church North" did not leave the "Church South"; it was the "Church South" that left the North, and the "Church North" begged them not to leave, and some of their Conferences did remain with them; and at that time, according to the records of their own book, there were more than three hundred thousand slaves owned by members of the Northern Church. This all the intelligent ministers knew. But at that time there was great illiteracy among even the ministers of that Church. If a man could speak loud enough, and pray long enough, and shout with sufficient fervor, he had the principal requisite for the ministerial office. I think in all my speaking, I never did more effective work in one series of meetings, than in that place. The members of the Church were some of them roused to indignation; they felt that they had been imposed upon by their leaders, and their eyes were opened to see for themselves.
The next meeting which we held was even more turbulent than this. The demonstrations were so violent, and seemed so murderous, that the gentleman who had kindly taken us in his carriage to the place of meeting, became so thoroughly alarmed that he begged me to escape with him from the window back of the platform. I said "No! I came to speak, and these are the people that need the word. I will not ask you to stay." He said, "If you are so fool-hardy, you must not blame me if I leave you." I said, "Not at all -- go!" and looking as white as a reputed ghost, he let himself out of the window, and was gone. I have never seen him since, nor do I even remember his name. If you think he was cowardly, remember that a mob is not a pleasant thing to
face. I was more safe without than with him, and, as the sequel proved, went away unharmed. The tar-kettle was there, as, also, the feathers ; but they were not used, though the three professional men of the village,-the Reverend, the Doctor, and the Lawyer, tried their best to spur the crowd on to the sport. My voice did me good service that evening in soothing those boisterous spirits. I obtained three subscribers for the Liberator (Mr. Garrison's paper), made friends enough to take me home with them, and take care of me until the time to leave the place.
I did not suffer much in those dreadful times -- at least I did not realize the suffering, -- but to-day, when I feel my nerves so shattered, that to speak a half hour I am obliged to sit, and to walk a half mile I must have the strong arm of some friend, I know that such excitement is always paid for at last; but I am not sorry for the work done, even though I feel the cost. A race redeemed, -- even the little that I did towards it is a memory like a benediction. It is not always what we accomplish that is the personal blessing; it is what we try to do.
About this time there was appointed by the American Home Society, an agent from Massachusetts, who evidently felt that he should be able, by his extreme watchfulness, to guard against any vulgar gossip or libelous report, such as some of the agents had been obliged to encounter. This was a good man, -- no better than the other men who had been employed, -- but he had the faculty of making those with whom lie was associated feel very uncomfortable. He was appointed to travel and hold meetings with me, and the most uncomfortable six weeks I spent that year was while with him.
He seemed to have no idea of propriety in regard to the treatment of the people who opened their houses to us without charge. He commanded them as he would a servant at a hotel, where he would be charged heavily for attentions.
I have as yet said nothing of the homes of the West, thirty or forty years ago; but I am now where it will be quite in order to describe some of them, and in connection with my traveling associate. The houses were many of them log, and divided into one large room and two small bed-rooms. Sometimes there was no division, but a loft, which was reached by a ladder. One would not expect to find many of the luxuries, nor even necessities of modern life, as furniture, in such houses. A wash-bowl
and pitcher had never been seen in many of these homes, and towels were indeed a luxury. I was a guest in one house where the children, some of them twelve years of age, had never seen a mirror.
Our Eastern friend, when shown to his resting-place, always informed the host that he must have water in his room, and two towels. A woman's consternation at such a demand can be imagined; but I could have forgiven him even the demand for two towels, if he only would have gotten up in the morning, and eaten his breakfast with the family, in season for the father to take his children to school, and get about his own business. I tried calling him, until I learned better, as his invariable answer was, when I told him breakfast was ready, "Eat it, then." I have seen the wife and mother break down and cry with perplexity.
In one of our first meetings I said, in referring to some remark he had made, "My brother said." He immediately announced (to the audience) that he was not my brother -- a fact that I never forgot, but invariably spoke of him as Mr. ---, from Massachusetts. He did not mean any insult by this denial, but to be circumspect in word and deed.
In the anecdote which I have made this long preparation to relate, you will see that circumspection will not always keep one's name from libelous report, as in all my public life no libel was ever quite so infamous as the one connecting my name and this same person's together. I was not sorry that it was he, and not another; but I will proceed. We had a meeting appointed five miles from where we had found a home, three sessions on Sunday, with one for the evening previous. Our host had an open wagon and a horse, the use of which he tendered us for the meeting. But when the morning came, it brought one of the most violent, disagreeable storms of the season. The heavy rain became sleet in its fall, and the wind was piercing. Our host had neither buffalo robes nor any other covering for us-just the open wagon. When we had taken our seats, our kind hostess, who was at the door, said: "Mrs. Colman will perish -- stop a minute." She went to her bed, took off what we used to call a coverlet (a home-made spread), and the husband came to the wagon and wrapped it about our laps. In going to our meeting we passed the post-office, and Mr. --- got out of the wagon and went in. I discovered, standing in the office, one of the important men of the
town, a man of wealth and a deacon of the church. He had persistently denied us the use of the church, and we had found it very difficult to find an opening in his neighborhood. We went on to our appointment, neither of us speaking to the other for the entire five miles. I was trying to be circumspect. The next day, after the close of the series of meetings, we returned, stopping again at the post-office. I discovered the same man in the door. We had the coverlet over our laps, as when we went.
A short time after this we were separated. I was sent into another county, and my brother, the agent, went in the opposite direction. After awhile I received a most doleful letter from a friend of the cause, -- a man who was well-to-do, and had entertained me most hospitably, -- saying: "What does it mean? It is the common talk that you and Mr. --- were found under the same bed-cover twice." I was too much amused for the moment to be angry. Here was my immaculate friend, who had avoided being even polite to me, accused of very strange conduct, for a moral man, and with me, whom he had told repeatedly that the agents were so careless in their conduct, that they gave cause for talk. I immediately wrote to my doleful correspondent, "'Tis true; nevertheless, because true, the greater the libel. Get a hall, by paying largely, if necessary, and appoint a meeting next Sunday. Advertise it so thoroughly that all who have heard the slander shall know that I am coming." He did as I requested, and the crowd was so great that they felt it best to put braces under the floor, lest it should yield to the weight.
When I reached the place on Saturday, I sent a letter to the deacon, stating that if he wished to avoid a lawsuit, he would come to my meeting the following day, and settle the matter, or I should put the case into a lawyer's hands on the day after. He came. I had sent to another part of the State, asking A. T. Foss, whom I had traveled with a good deal in the work, and who was a very "Boanerges," to come and help me. He answered by his presence promptly. We had a meeting that all who attended will, I am sure, always remember; and the contemptible Christian man attempted to excuse himself by saying that he said it in a joke. He asked how I would settle. I said, "You will put your name to that paper, which says you will never again speak evil of a woman whom you know nothing evil of. I want none of your money; there are wrongs that money cannot cure; 'your money
perish with you."' This was the only slander I ever paid any attention to. It was too good a chance to humiliate the author to let pass.
The above are some of the experiences of an Abolitionist woman, trying to work for a race who were suffering the horrors of chattel slavery. Christian people of all creeds were making special efforts to raise money, to send missionaries to convert the heathen to Christianity, while in several States of our Union, -- Christian States,-- it was a crime, punishable with death, for a woman with a skin showing African blood, to raise her hands in defense of her chastity, even, against her white Christian master, and in our Northern States, like Ohio, all manner of indignities were put upon us; but when a person is fully baptized into a work for humanity, indignities are of no avail.
Before I leave Ohio, I think I will introduce the reader to some persons, not because of their opinions upon slavery, but to show the dreadful ignorance which then existed upon social matters; and which perhaps is not very far advanced in enlightenment to-day. At one of our meetings-or rather at the close of a meeting -- we were informed that we would be hospitably entertained at the house of a Mr. L ---, some four miles away, and a person in the house would take us to the same. On arriving at Mr. L ---'s we found a good house and cordial reception. The host was a man, I should think, perhaps sixty years old, with a second wife of probably fifty years. The wife was very inferior to the husband, and had married, as many another woman has, for the sake of a home, and found that the home cost much more than it was worth.
Mr. L --- was very communicative, and soon gave me his history. He, with his former wife (both from Massachusetts), were members of the Presbyterian Church, and during a revival in the town, which was where he was then living, the wife became so excited, fearing that her children would be sent to hell, that she cut the throats of two of them,-- the third one was old enough to break away from her, and saved his life. This wife was confined some time in an asylum, a maniac; but the Church could not have the name of a murderer on their books, and so they excommunicated her. The husband then withdrew his name. When the poor crazed woman became calm, the husband took her home, and caused her to give birth, at three different times,
to a child -- the first, a girl (the step-mother told me her depravity was beyond description), was idiotic, though not entirely without sense. She would wander off and become the victim of some masculine demon, and had already been delivered of a child, too much deformed to live. Following her birth, a son was born, more than half a fool, but not given to licentiousness. Then a third son was born -- an entire idiot.
As this man told me of these things, I was so aroused that I said, "You permitted yourself to be the father of three idiotic children, by a woman who had been driven mad by the cruelty of her religious creed! Why," said he, "she was harmless, and she was my WIFE!" I wondered in my heart if he had learned that definition of wifehood from his Bible: "Wives, be obedient," etc. The eldest son controlled the property. The two idiotic sons had a home with him, and the daughter wandered a vagabond upon the face of the earth.
The second wife, a widow with a daughter, had married expecting in that way to make a home for herself and child, but found no place for her child, hardly for herself. Will some one tell me if wifehood, when it means, as it did in her case, legal prostitution, is less degrading than when a mother goes upon the street and yields herself to a stranger, who as yet has not disgusted her by long years of such brutality? Alas! that woman does not yet own her own physical body.
One more anecdote of Ohio customs thirty years ago: A convention was to be held at Crestline. The railroads had just been opened through, and a depot built. The Western Abolitionists owned a commodious tent, which was transported to the place. A number of the more distinguished lecturers from Massachusetts were there to be in attendance, and, as was expected, a large crowd gathered, the new railroad facilities making it easy to reach the place. I arrived early in the morning of the opening day of the meeting. A gentleman met one at the depot, and, on ascertaining that I was Mrs. Colman, said that I was to be entertained at his house. On entering the house I was met by a young lady with whom I had become acquainted the year previous, in Michigan. She came to me with outstretched arms, threw them about my neck, and burst into a fit of violent weeping. I at length succeeded in soothing her, so that she told me her grief. She was a resident of Philadelphia, and had been spending a year
with her uncle in the West. In that time she had become engaged to a young man (the brother of her uncle's wife) who was accompanying her home, to make the acquaintance of her family. As both families were very active, distinguished Abolitionists, the young couple had taken in the Convention on their way. They had been met on their arrival at Crestline, and invited to this house, and given, for the night, one room with two beds, with just space to walk between the beds. I said, "You poor foolish child! You are crying because you have stayed for a night with people so unsophisticated, that they had no idea that chaste, pure people required bolts and bars to keep them from wronging each other. Wipe your eyes; there is no need of crying because you have been entirely trusted by people who did not know you; but what is of much greater consequence to you, you have proved your lover's character to be unblemished, under temptation." That day the house was so filled that the two beds were made into one, and five persons occupied the little room, which had been a cell of suffering and mortification to my little lady on the first night of her arrival.
I cannot leave this part of Ohio without recording a case of woman's wrongs " (a cousin of mine charged me to keep out of my "Reminiscences" any reference to "woman's rights"). I am troubled to find "woman's rights," so much of "woman's wrongs" come up to my memory. I saw no appearance of the getting ready to attend the meeting by our hostess, and so ventured to say, "Are you not going?" "How can you ask? The house full, dinner to get for the crowd, two babies, the oldest not a year older than the youngest, and already heavy with another,-- can you think I have time, or wish to go?" I said, "Have you no help?" She said, "Yes, my sister is here to take care of the children to-day. 0, go and talk about your slaves' wrongs, and if you can find one as much a slave as myself, both night and day, I hope you will pity her." I said, "Will you let me help you to-day? Let me plan for you; give us just some bread and butter at noon, and I will help you to get the dinner after the afternoon session." She said she feared her husband would not like it. I said "Leave him to me. I am to speak to-day, and I shall have something to say to him, and I wish you to hear it." The sister joined me in persuasions, and the poor woman went to the meeting. I found my tongue unloosed, and said quite as much
for oppressed wifehood, as for the chattel slave. I have never seen the family since.
CHAPLAIN PHOTIUS FISK.
I have often queried in my own mind, if the readers of the FREETHINKERS' MAGAZINE, Truth-Seeker, Investigator, etc., have any idea of this man Photius Fisk, and how much we are all indebted to him for his generous help, whenever any call is made for money for any worthy object. If a meeting of the Secular Society is called, and aid is solicited to pay expenses, you will always, or "almost always," see opposite his name $l0.00 given. Is a Liberal sick or aged, and without means of support, you may expect to find a monthly donation from this same man, that shall keep the "wolf from the door." Thus much I know, as I have seen his subjects, and found them quite near home. Does some one wish to put in print something that the Liberals ought to know, Mr. Fisk's purse is opened, and a donation made for that cause. I know a woman who worked hard in the Antislavery times for the slave, and is still in the South teaching among the freed people, who finds her work much lighter from her acquaintance with this generous man. And the freed people, with whom her daily work is done, are always remembered, with barrels of food, once at least every year.
Does some Abolitionist die, who suffered torture and imprisonment at the hands of the slaveholders, like Captain Jonathan Walker, of the "branded hand," Mr. Fisk originates and pays for an appropriate monument, sends it to the burial-place, and has it placed upon the grave. I do not know how many stones he has thus erected, but I know of three. I think he owns a thousand dollars' worth of shares in Paine Hall, and a munificent donation of valuable pictures, gathered from all parts of the world, are already occupying the walls of some of the rooms in that memorial building. But this does not tell my readers who this remarkable man is. I am about to tell you who, so far as I am able to do so, Mr. Fisk is.
I have before me aMissionary Herald of 1822, given me by Mr. Fisk himself, while making him a short visit in the summer of 1886. I asked him to tell me something about himself, and he gave me this book, which says he was a native Greek, by name Photius Kavasales. That he is the only one of his family that
escaped death (in Smyrna) from plague, which ravaged the country in 1814. Father, mother, four brothers and sisters-two each. His age is a disputed matter, one writer making it ten, another twelve, while his uncle, who then had him in charge (1822), calls him sixteen years of age, and says that he was born in Hydra. This Missionary Herald contains a report of a conversation held with this young Greek boy, in reference to being sent abroad by his uncle, with some missionary. The writer says: "When I asked him if he would like to go to America, his eyes sparkled with joy. I asked why he wished to go. He said, 'To learn.' 'How long are you willing to remain?' 'Till I am learned.' I named several branches, and asked if he could learn all these. He answered modestly, 'Quanto posso -- asmuch as I can.' The boy speaks Maltese, and reads and speaks Greek and Italian." The above is taken from a letter dated Malta, Oct. 12, 1822, and signed Pliny Fisk. He, it seems, took, or was given the name of Fisk, perhaps by Mr. Fisk's desire. He was put under the care of the Rev. Mr. Cornelius, of Salem, Mass. So much I take from the Missionary Herald.
I think Mr. Fisk was first sent to a Mission School, in Cornwall, Conn., but not quite liking the strictness of the rules, and showing an inclination to have his own way, he was removed to Amherst, Mass., the college there being in its infancy. Mr. Fisk was not inclined to follow out the rules of the Amherst school, and finally was sent back to Malta. He then worked his way back to America, took his education into his own hands, became quite learned, and finally having been converted was ordained a Christian minister, and for a time preached in Vermont.
Mr. Pillsbury, in a short sketch which I find in an account of "The Man with the Branded Hand," says of Mr. Fisk: "The severities of the winters in Northern Vermont were too much for his constitution; he being of a race born, and for many generations living, under so much more indulgent skies, he soon became unable to discharge the many duties and responsibilities of a minister, especially so far north as Vermont."
Mr. Pillsbury also says: "In his travels he had seen much of Slavery, both in this country and the West Indies, and had become too much of an Abolitionist to be tolerated in an American pulpit."
In 1842 Mr. Fisk received the appointment of Chaplain in the
United States Navy, which he still holds, though retired from active service. On my table is a photograph of Chaplain Fisk, taken in Malta some years ago. I am always asked who the picture represents, and am immediately told, "That person, whoever he is, must be good: what a benevolent face." All of which is true. He did not forget, though on another continent, when the great fires occurred in Chicago and Boston, to telegraph to Wendell Phillips, who had charge of his funds: "Do as I would do." Mr. Fisk was never married, and having no immediate family, he seems to have adopted the poor, and especially the oppressed and down-trodden, as his to care for and comfort.
I have never met a more pronounced Liberal than Chaplain Fisk. He has no patience with anything mamby pamby in theology, but is thoroughly outspoken and candid. I have been often asked by the readers of Liberal papers, "Who is the Photius Fisk who is so liberal a contributor to funds called for?" I have answered as well as I know; but I have no doubt he is more remarkable in that I do not know than what I do. He seems to follow the scriptural injunctions: "Take heed that ye do not your alms before men to be seen of them." "Let not your left hand know what your right hand doeth."
After leaving Ohio I went to Indiana and Illinois. Very little Antislavery work had ever been done in Indiana, and the people were too stupid to be easily aroused. I had suffered all the inconveniences, seemingly, of western life, but the half had not been told. A sample of the hotels may be amusing. I found in my room a bed, and a broken chair,-- no article whatever for the toilet. This was to be put up with without wry faces, where we were given the best they had, "without money and without price," but in a hotel, which had a large swinging sign, on which was painted, in bright-colored letters, "Preserve the Union," and where I paid one dollar per day for accommodations, I felt like demanding a little more, and so asked for water, in some vessel, in my room, for a bath in the morning. Quite late,-- so late that I was already dressed, despairing of the bath,-- I was confronted by a man, with what they used to call in Massachusetts a skillet, with a good quart of water.
This skillet was an iron vessel with three legs, or feet, differing from what is called a kettle in the form of its handle; instead of a bail it had a straight handle on one side. This one would hold
about three pints. The reason of the delay, I was informed, was that this skillet had to be used to cook the meat in for breakfast, and, besides, the towel had to be washed and ironed, a proof of which was, the towel was warm from ironing.
In Ohio I was elected to travel at one time, for two or three weeks, with a Dr. B---. He was then a resident of the State, though his native State was Delaware. I have heard of awkward people, but it has been my fortune to meet but one, and that one was this Doctor. All other awkwardness becomes gracefulness, when I think of him. He drove his own horse, a beast that well represented his owner. I had no trouble with mobs, while under Dr. B---'s escort. Perhaps "those fellows of the baser sort," judging us by our carriage, horse and ourselves, thought we were "hale fellows," in search of a job of their kind, and did not wish to disturb our equipment. I traveled in that vehicle three weeks, and in the many, many times that my driver stepped into his carriage, I do not remember once that he did not step with his entire weight onto me. If by great adroitness I saved my feet, by getting them entirely under the seat, down would come his entire person onto my lap, but he was perfectly oblivious to any trouble. He was always well satisfied with himself and all our accommodations.
Let me describe one of the homes to which he took me, where, as it proved, it was a favorite stopping-place of his. We had started from one of our homes in the early morning, in a violent rain, as it was Saturday, and we were to hold a Convention on the Sunday following. When we came in sight of this house, the Doctor said, "That's the place." It was a white cottage, with green blinds, a front-yard fence and shrubbery, which really looked inviting. As we drove to the door a young woman opened it with a hearty good-morning, saying, "Come in; you must be very wet." Now, if I could only use a brush, I could paint you a picture worth looking at, for nudity in a picture is not objectionable; neither are rags, as they are sometimes preferable to fashionable attire. But in these days of Comstock rule, a Freethinker's work is closely watched.
This woman might have been thirty years of age. She was really beautiful. Her skin was clear, red and white, liquid gray eyes, her teeth like pearls, and her chestnut hair so glossy that you could easily imagine it a mirror. But the dress, or the un-
dress,-- she had evidently been giving her baby its natural nourishment, for her bust was entirely uncovered. Her arms, a model for a sculptor, were equally bare with her bosom, as the sleeves to her garment hung in shreds. We went into the house; the odor was choking. Two babies were in a long cradle; one might have been a year older than the other. I presume they were washed when they first came into the world, but there was nothing at that time to lead one to suppose the bath had ever been repeated.
As the Doctor came in, after putting his horse in the stable, he washed his hands in a hollow stone at the door. The lady said her towel was on the grass, as she only washed the day before. The hands were shaken, and held to the fire to dry,-a large open fire-place. The lady was not at all embarrassed at the lack of a towel. She was well informed, no lack of books and papers, and all the Antislavery papers were in sight. When this woman spread her table, she took from the grass a table-cloth, and held it to the fire until it ceased to drip, then put it on the table. She made for dinner what a Yankee would call "flapjacks," a kind of waffle. The knife she gave me to use would have been greatly benefited had it been on the grass with the tablecloth through the night's rain.
This lady was a teacher from Vermont. A well-to-do widower had married her. Five children in less than eight years had blessed the union. No skill as a housekeeper,-- the rest is easily imagined.
At another hotel, where I arrived in the middle of the clay, I was met by the daughter of the house, a nice-looking girl, if only she had been comfortably clean. Her feet were bare, and they, with her ankles, might have been washed sometime. I would not say they hadn't, but they were certainly in need of a bath then.
I asked for a room, making no further demand, only that the bed should be clean. As I sat down, I drew my watch from its hiding-place (I always wore it out of sight) when this young lady, with the greatest astonishment in her tone, said: "What was that great yellow thing you took out of your bosom?" I had no idea what she meant, but finally learned it was my watch, and that she had never before seen one. In the course of the day she brought all her friends, whom she could reach, to see the
wonder. But the room (which she announced was as clean as it could be)! I was obliged to leave the bed and rest in a chair, for though the one sheet (which, as the young lady said, was all she ever heard of putting onto a bed at a time), was clean, there were more living creatures about the bed than I could comfortably sleep with.
Such were some of the hotels in the west forty, and even thirty, years ago. I was in Indiana at the time of a crusade against saloons, where alcohol in its many stages, and under as many different names, was sold to whoever applied for it. I think the name of the town was Richmond, where the tragedy I am about to record was enacted. The eldest son of a widow, a boy who had just entered his teens, had paid for a drink, and then been treated to more by the proprietor and the regular frequenters of the saloon. He drank until lie was dead drunk, and so entirely dead that no effort could call back life. A young lady, as I remember her, nineteen or twenty years of age -- Amanda Way,-- planned, and was chief actor in, the plot. She, with the mother of the dead boy, led a procession of women, armed with axes, hammers and hatchets, told the several proprietors they would purchase all the liquors in their possession, and then proceeded to break everything, from bottles to barrels, emptying the contents onto the ground. Some of the men who kept these places, took pay for their liquors, and promised to quit the business; others refused, sued Captain Way, as she was called (I don't know if others were sued), and the case was tried by a court of men (no mother nor sister in the jury box); the damages were thirty dollars (a light award, the judge said, because of the tobacco, logwood, and other drugs, that turned the whisky into brandy).
In Illinois, in the northern counties, Spiritualism was again in the way of work. All the places usually opened to lectures were preoccupied by Spiritualists; and heaven in another world was a greater temptation than a free country here and now. Our progress was about the same as in Indiana. Our meetings were disturbed, as usual, though in Chicago we had quite large meetings, and no mobs.
In Whiteside county,-the northwestern county,-- we were entertained right royally by a man formerly from New York, Jacob Powell, and his good housekeeper (now his wife). He
planned our meetings for a month, taking us to them with his own team, and returning us to his hospitable home. I can never forget the little delicate attentions which are so grateful to a woman, away from home, battered and worn by, I think, worse "beasts" than St. Paul fought at Ephesus, that this woman was constantly bestowing upon me; and not only little attentions, but large, everything for our comfort. And then we were made welcome for a life-time, if we had accepted the offer.
While stopping with Mr. Powell, there came in our way a tremendous freshet in Rock River. The bridges were all washed away in that region, and we were cut off from our mail, which we had ordered sent to Lyndon, the other side of the river. One morning, it had been six weeks since letters from home had reached me, Mr. Powell announced that he should take me over the river that day, as he thought it too much for a mother to bear, to wait longer in suspense for news from home. I asked, "How will you cross?" He said that some five miles away there was a bridge, though several feet under water, still fast. That he proposed to go there, and if the bridge failed, his horses would swim the river. We had meetings appointed on that side, and were in haste to be about our work. Mr. Foss was then with me. He had been in the Baptist pulpit twenty-five years, and was less afraid of water than of sin, no matter how deep the water might run.
We started in good season, and having reached the place where the bridge should be, found nothing of that sort in sight; but a long pole was set up on either side of the river, and one about midway, showing the location of the bridge. A man driving the mail wagon preceded us, but when he reached the point to drive into the water, stopped, and no persuasion of Mr. Powell and Mr. Foss combined, could influence him to try the bridge first. He said his life was worth just as much to him as the lady's was to her (and why wasn't it?), and he would not go first; and so Mr. Powell, talking all the time to his horses as though they were human, drove them into the water. When they began to swim, Mr. Foss told me very cheerfully that if by any accident the wagon should be upset, he was strong enough to take me and swim to the shore. He stood in the wagon, and I stood on the seat, he holding me, that I should not fall; and though the water filled the wagon up to the seat, we reached the other side safely,
as did the mail-driver, also. When we were over, Mr. Powell said: "Mrs. Colman, I would not have done that for any one but a mother. You have said very little, but your face had become so anxious, that it was painful to look at it." This was one of the experiences of our trip in Illinois.
Some twenty years before this time, an uncle of mine had emigrated to this State, and settled in a town to which we were at that time destined. My uncle and his wife were both deceased, but two daughters were living, and very orthodox in their opinions. My uncle was, or had been, sheriff of the county, postmaster of the town, and school teacher. He was practically the minister, as he had charge of the little society, read printed sermons to them on Sundays, and led their prayer-meetings during the week. He was an excellent man, save his bigotry, and that was unparalleled. As an instance, when the postal laws required that the mail should be opened on Sunday, he gave up his office rather than break the fourth commandment, though he every Sunday made a fire and ate of the food prepared on that day. As sheriff he apprehended any one suspected of stealing, even though he worshipped as God, Jesus of Nazareth, who expressly forbade his followers to deal with the law of revenge. I presume the command, "Swear not at all, neither by heaven, for it is God's throne, nor by the earth, for it is His footstool," had never presented itself to his mind as a command to be strictly enforced, nor had he ever felt that the office of sheriff was incompatible with the creed of a Christian.
We found no help in our work from either of my relatives. The husband of one of my cousins was a Reverend, a graduate of Oberlin College; but I do not remember one act of common courtesy given me by him or his wife. His was work for the Lord, not for men. We however held two meetings in Lyndon, and had the use of the church for the purpose.
We crossed the Mississippi, worked a little time in Iowa and Wisconsin, meeting with very little opposition and quite as little success. Returning, we stopped awhile in Pennsylvania, where the ignorance of the people was appalling. At a gathering of people engaged in some mechanical work, Mr. Foss said: "Well, my friends, who are you going to have for President? for whom will you vote?" "We don't know; the 'lection man hasn't been 'round to tell us." At another place, putting the same question,
the answer came, " Ginral Jackson." Being informed by us that General Jackson had been dead some years, the speaker seemed astonished at our audacity, and answered us that they had always voted for the Gineral, and that we needn't think we should prevent them from doing it then.
I am not making a plea for Woman's Rights in these Reminiscences, but if I were, I think the answers of these men might be a good text whereon to base an argument. At one of our appointments in Pennsylvania, the agent who was to speak was sick, and I was sent for to fill the place. I went, found a crowded hall, and not one woman among them. I felt rather troubled to be the only one of my sex, but these ignorant men were perfectly respectful, treating me in every respect well. Another argument for a Woman's Rights lecture. If one woman could keep such a company of coarse men on their good behavior, what might not a goodly number do at the polls, or in the halls of Congress, if they went as rightful members of the "body politic," rather than as petted visitors.
My memory takes me now back into the State of New York, where I worked mostly by myself for a year or two. I went through the southern counties, from Buffalo to New York City, with varied experiences. At one place a good Christian man, taking advantage of my permission, if any one wished to speak, that the meeting was free, rose and said that the speaker was no doubt a woman of, to say the least, weak morals, as she entirely ignored the commands of the Bible, "uncovering her head, and speaking in public," all of which was expressly against the laws of God laid down in the Bible. After he had finished his tirade, by saying he did what he could to prevent my obtaining the house, I said, "Have you concluded your speech, sir?" "Yes," he said. I then said: "Do you, sir, keep the laws laid down in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament?" He indignantly answered: "Of course I do. I am a Christian, and I do not wish to be insulted by such a question." I said: " No insult was intended, sir. I knew you were a very ignorant man, but I did suppose you knew something of the Bible laws in reference to your own sex, as you were so familiar with the laws by which I should be governed." He seemed astonished at my audacity. I then said: "You come into a meeting of mine, and insult me with your charges, with your face as smooth as a woman's; and
your Bible says, "Thou shalt not mar the corners of thy beard -- you have cut yours all off" (this was when it was an offense to the Church to wear the full beard). He said, with strong emphasis: "There is no such passage or law in the Bible." I said: "Don't make your ignorance so apparent. If there were a Bible in the house, which there is not, I would read it to you." A man with a full beard, the only one in the large audience, said: "I will get one," and went out for that purpose. When he returned with the book I said: "This is not my book. You can look at it, sir, and see that it is the real Bible, if you wish; " and turning to the law I read it, telling them all, chapter and verse, where it was found. You can realize that that Christian man was a somewhat "wiser, if not better man," when he left that meeting.
I received a letter from Frederick Douglass about this time, introducing to my notice a young colored woman, the daughter of a fugitive slave, who showed considerable talent for public speaking, asking. me if I would take her with me and initiate her into the ways of advertising and getting up meetings; saying: "It is impossible for me to take her with me, as I am a married man, and she is a young woman; and I know of no other speaker of whom I can ask such a favor."
I had my meetings arranged for some weeks, when this request reached me, and had received invitations to be the guest in homes where they were friendly to the cause of emancipation; but I was invited expecting to be alone. To take another with me was embarrassing, but I felt that I could not refuse, and so wrote in answer: "Yes, send her to me." The first place where I presented myself as guest with my new friend, was at Honeoye, the home of Mr. Goodell. The lady, who had sent me a pressing invitation to make her house my home, looked at us with consternation on every feature. She at last said: "Walk in;" and giving my friend a seat near the door, took me into an inner apartment, saying: "Mrs. Colman, I did not, when you were sent the invitation, know that you had a colored woman with you. I am greatly embarrassed, as I have only one guest-room." I said: "Let me relieve you at once. I consulted my friend's prejudices, as I anticipated such happenings, and she told me she had no prejudice against white people, and would be perfectly willing to occupy a room with me. I am sure if you consult her she will not object."
The change in Mrs. A's face was ludicrous, but I kept a very serious look as I said: "If it should happen that the white should leave a stain upon the black skin, I suppose it would be just as bad to bear, as if the black skin should impress itself upon the white." My hostess" saw the point," opened her guest-room and asked us both to walk in and take possession. We did so, and no reference was made to the difference in race again, while we occupied it, but we were cared for in the best possible manner. I have often heard of Mrs. A. referring to the lesson she learned at that time, as one she had never forgotten. We of the North have always indulged in the most bitter prejudice against color. No matter how refined and charming a person may be, if we can discover a little dark blood, we make them social outcasts. At the same time, how many ladies will take into their arms and caress, with the greatest affection, a black dog, bringing the mouth of the four-footed pet into the closest contact with their own! Perhaps they are not degrading themselves by such intimacies. Such is prejudice.
I was once advertised to speak in a place, and was not known to any of the committee who had the meeting in charge. A colored lady was speaking in the State at the same time, and no one of the getters-up of the meeting knew whether the name Colman belonged to the white woman or the colored. I arrived at the station after nightfall, and the problem was unanswered. At last a man, a little more bold than some of the others in waiting, propounded the important question: "Mrs. Colman, we do not know whether you are colored or white. We know there is a colored lady in the lecture field; will you please tell us which you are?" I felt a little mischievous, and so said: "If you are not able to tell a white person and a colored, one from the other, why should you care? If I am colored, and pass for white, I may gain a little among the people who are prejudiced;" and so I refused to tell them. Not one of the audience was able, positively, to decide. The morning light gave them the much-desired answer.
I think, as I am on the subject of color, I will tell a little anecdote, which more properly belongs some years later; but I might omit it should I wait for the more proper time, chronologically speaking. During the war, when I was in Washington, a Dr. Thompson was sent from England by the friends of the colored people, to look about and see what was the best thing to do for
them. Calling at my office he immediately took me for his countrywoman, and was so pleased to be with one of his own nation, that before I was ready to announce myself as a full-blooded Yankee, he had begged me to allow him to remain my guest while he should be in Washington. He was in company with Rev. D. K. Leigh, of New York City, and as Mr. Leigh's daughter, of perhaps fourteen years, was with him, he asked as a great favor that I would take her in charge, show her the sights, etc., while the two gentlemen should find their. business or pleasure without incumbrance. I of course took the young lady to the public reception at the White House. Dr. Thompson and Rev. Mr. Leigh soon after arrived, and following them came Captain Carse, of Freedman Village. Captain Carse was my friend, and seeing me, he came immediately to me, and with great indignation in his voice and look, told me that he had brought Sojourner Truth with his wife, just as he would have brought his own mother, and that they would not allow Sojourner to enter the house, because she was colored. Dr. Thompson was very much surprised, and quite indignant, but there was no help. A colored lady, Mrs. Lincoln's dress-maker, always dressed her (Mrs. Lincoln) for the receptions, but was never permitted to go into the house as a caller. Color, in any degree, was a bar to the entrance. Dr. Thompson said to me, "I would so like to take a colored person on my arm and enter the house." I said, " I will arrange that; you shall." And so, on the next reception day, I introduced him to Miss Josephine Slade (daughter of the usher at the White House under Johnson), who afterwards became Mrs. Wormly. She was very beautiful, and being on the arm of a distinguished English gentleman, the ushers did not detect the color, and so she passed in. Mrs. Lincoln, however, knew the young lady, as she was sometimes employed as her dress-maker's helper, and she did not fail to scowl upon her her contempt at the intrusion.
This prejudice against color looked very contemptible in the eyes of the good Englishman, and it certainly was vulgarly contemptible; but was it more so than the English caste, that prevents the Marquis of Lorne, the husband of one of Queen Victoria's daughters, walking by the side of his wife, and entering the same door with her, in some of the public assemblages in the Fatherland? "Physician, heal thyself," is often an appropriate admonition.
I now return to the field-work again. I was in Ulster County some time, and in Greenfield I had quite a memorable time. In Ellenville there were two or three prominent men who were pronounced Abolitionists, and tolerant in their religion, and with their assistance I had a very successful meeting. I always made it a point in my addresses, to speak of the legal slavery in which every white woman is held, being governed by laws to which she has never given consent; and this statement of her condition raised the ire of some two or three lawyers of the "baser sort," so that after my departure from the county, they made loud threats of what they would do, if I should ever come among them again, getting up a list of questions relating to sex, that were very vulgarly worded, that they announced they should propound to me.
The member of the legislature from Ellenville had served as chairman for my meeting, and was a personal friend. He wrote to me asking if I had personal courage sufficient to come and again speak. I answered, "Engage the hall and advertise." He had by some adroitness obtained a list of the queries that were to overthrow me and the Woman's Cause. I was thus informed of what I was to meet, and fully prepared ; though that matter was a secret between us (Mr. D. and myself). My friend had also obtained the service for chairman of a very prominent, popular man, who believed in maintaining free speech.
I arrived in the morning of the day, and was met with a welcome from several friends, but they were so doleful and fearful, that had I not been sure of myself, I should probably have failed by being affected by their timidity. The hall was well filled,-- many more women than at my first visit. The chairman was skillful as a keeper of order, and the meeting was quiet. When I took my place I announced that I had been informed that some gentlemen, whom I was happy to see were present, had a number of questions to propound, and if they would present them then, at the opening of the meeting, it would oblige me; as perhaps the hour of the evening might all be required for the answers. The audience evinced the greatest anxiety, but the gentlemen kept their seats, and their tongues were tied. I had the list in my pocket, and knew how to answer them in my address, without being at all vulgar or obscene. The vulgarity was in the wording of the queries.
I do not now, nor have I ever found it, obscene to talk about the relations of the sexes. If fathers and mothers would teach their children the laws of physical life, and the sacredness of the human body in all its functions, licentiousness would soon disappear. The meeting was a great success; but these base men wrote a garbled, lying report to the New York Herald, which was published, as thousands of such reports have been since. I was somewhat hurt by hearing that one of the leaders of the Woman's Rights party said, on reading the report, that she was sure Mrs. Colman must be very imprudent, or such things would not have been said. How little she knew about it then. Since that time she has been maligned beyond decency, in a hundred papers, and once hung in effigy in a city of which I have been a resident, the position such that to-day, thirty years since, as I write it the blood mounts to my face, and I involuntarily blush for poor human nature.
I had a collision in Orange County with an officer of the Bible Society, who told me that I ought to be imprisoned, and wishing that he were an officer of the law, so that he could bring about the arrest.
The Baptist Church did not flourish much in this region, so long ago as the time of which I am writing. I became acquainted with it some years later, and found it much like other Protestant Churches. A religion that has a personal God, outside of humanity, to worship and to please, is quite apt to get appointed an official to regulate the people, and particularly to execute punishment adequate to the offense committed against an Infinite Ruler of the universe. Humanity so likes authority, it seems sometimes as if it gloated upon the sufferings of its fellows.
While in the vicinity of Honeoye with my colored friend, a gentleman who attended one of our meetings invited us to speak at his home, some fifteen miles from where we were then speaking. I said, "Yes, if you will provide us with a home in the place." He answered, "I will do so; and as there is no direct public conveyance, I will come with my carriage for you, and entertain you at my house." Accordingly, on the day appointed the gentleman presented himself, with horse and carriage, and we had a delightful drive over fifteen miles. When we arrived our host took us to his door, which was opened by a young lady
whom he introduced to us as his niece. She paid us all needful attention, but I was surprised that the wife did not come in and bid us welcome; and following out our Yankee proclivities, I began to ask questions. The answers were such that I expected some kind of a storm.
At last tea was called, and the young lady escorted us to the dining-room, and, having seated us, took her seat at the head of the table. Very soon a good-looking young woman came into the room, with a child a year old or thereabouts in her arms, and the young lady introduced us to her as her uncle's wife, our hostess. I said, "Are we not to have your company at the table?" She answered very emphatically, "No, I don't eat with niggers. If my husband were not the best man, and the best husband in the world, I would not have one in the house." (The husband was not in the house at the time.) "Oh!" I said, "I beg pardon; I supposed you sympathized with your husband." I put my hand tenderly upon the colored young woman, saying "Never mind the insult; bear it as patiently as you can." When the hostess came into the room again, I said, "You will honor me by going to hear me speak to night, will you not? " "No, I'll stay at home with my baby!" "Can't you take your baby? It's a beautiful evening." I said to the husband, without being heard by the wife, "Get your wife to go to the meeting, and take the baby. Sit in a conspicuous place,-- I want to sell that child from an auction-block." He succeeded, and sat with his wife and child directly in front of the pulpit, and I sold the baby. The picture must have been realistic, for as I struck it off to the highest bidder, the mother sobbed aloud. She was fully converted, and was glad to prove her conversion by eating with the lady in the morning, who was the nigger in the evening; and showed her regret for the unprovoked insult by little pleasant attentions, and even tender words. I never attended but one auction in my life, but I managed a mock one very well, being auctioneer and buyer also. That woman was from that day an Abolitionist, and the husband very happy for the change.
In Naples, Livingston county, I had an experience worthy of record. In this place lived a man, a Mr. Marks, who, besides being a roaring Methodist, was an active Abolitionist; and being rich for those times, a merchant and a general business man, was an acquisition of great worth to the cause of the slave. I wrote
to him, asking him if he would get us up a series of meetings, and entertain me, with my colored co-laborer, at his home? He answered immediately, "Yes, come prepared to speak one week from Sunday next; "and so we went. On Sunday morning Mr. Marks said: "You will go to church, Mrs. Colman?" I said, "Excuse me, I do my own preaching." "No," he said, "I cannot excuse you. I have a purpose in your being seen at church." So with my friend with the colored skin I went to the church.
The building was new and quite fine,-- a large audience, for the Methodists were very flourishing in that place. We listened to a sermon, about the average of Methodist sermons in those days. At its close, Mr. Marks went to the altar and said: "The audience will remember that last Sunday I gave notice that to-day, in this house, we would have two sisters with us, to speak for the slave, if there were no objections; but there have been objections. The sisters are here,-- you see them." Two women, one a black one, were no small attraction in those days for a pulpit. You could hear a buzz of dissatisfaction to the objection. At length Mr. Marks said: "I own another church -- the building next this is mine; and though it has been used for the last two years as an arsenal, you will find it nicely seated to-day; and in that the sisters will speak, commencing at twoo'clock." Mr. Marks had taken his men from his store Saturday night, removed the guns, and with planks from his lumber-yard, had seated the entire floor. At this announcement there was a general shout of glory to God. Mr. Marks did not tell who had made the objections, but the little insignificant minister revealed himself by his crest-fallen look.
We had a great crowd. The minister came, but he could not stay. Miss Holland commenced the service by reading the parable of the man who fell among thieves. I invited the minister to pray, if he would like to do so; but as he did not respond, an illiterate old man performed the service, certainly in an earnest manner. I then read "Whittier's Sabbath Scene." We did not make the application,-- it made itself, and the minister could not remain. I spoke every night that week, often more than two hours without rest, using no notes. I used myself completely up, had an attack of congestion of the brain, and was obliged to give up, for a time, public work.
About this time I made the acquaintance of Captain John
Brown,-- "Ossawatomie Brown," he was called then. I knew of his work in Kansas, and had made the acquaintance of his son, John Brown, Jr., the year previous, in Ohio. The atrocities committed on John Brown, Jr., proved the inhabitants of Missouri ("Border Ruffians," they were called at that time) to have been of the same human nature as the Russians of to-day, who delight in the sufferings which they inflict upon the Nihilists.
I do not know as it is necessary for me to say much of John Brown. He is known as the man who precipitated the War of the Rebellion, by his raid into Virginia, and attacking and holding, for a few hours, the arsenal at Harper's Ferry. He was duly executed for treason, "but his soul went marching on," until a war broke out between the North and the South, which did not end until chattel slavery was abolished. I was intimately acquainted with Captain Brown, and seriously contemplated, at one time, going into the mountains of Virginia, and helping him to establish homes for the fugitives who should escape from slavery. But though in our hatred for slavery, and interest in the bondman, Captain Brown and I were well agreed, we differed entirely in our religious creed, he being the most thorough Calvinist I ever knew, and, added to his Calvinism, he was positively sure God had commissioned him to lead the American chattel slave out of bondage into freedom; and until that work was accomplished his own life was a special care of his God and could not be taken. I had long before that time given up all faith in special providences, and ceased to regard the Hebrew laws as binding upon me; and so, though Captain Brown continually repeated the words, "He that loveth father and mother more than me, is not worthy of me," to me, to father, mother and child seemed my first duty, and I did not join him.
The evening previous to the starting of Captain Brown's followers from Rochester, I spent at the house of Mr. Frederick Douglass, and when ready for my walk home, Shields Green accompanied me. I said to him, while on our walk, "Do you know that by going with Captain Brown into a Southern State, you expose yourself to the gallows? That if you are taken you will surely be executed?" He answered, "Yes; I shall probably lose my life, but if my death will help to free my race, I am willing to die. I have suffered cruel blows from men who said they owned me. Death from the hands of the law for no offense, save
for believing in liberty for myself and my race, would not be a degradation; but blows from an overseer's lash, crush into my soul." Brave and good man! Virginia hung him by the neck until he was dead; but no amount of persuasion, or threat, could draw from him the name or residence of any friend who had helped him on that fatal mission. My own name was in "the carpet bag," but Governor Wise wisely refrained from demanding that New York should give up citizens who had only abetted treason by words. Alas! that to-day free speech istreason.
The year following the execution of those persons engaged in the Harper's Ferry Massacre was one of continuous mobs. Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Albany, were perhaps the most noted. In all these cities the Republicans were in power, save in Albany. The Mayor of Albany was a Democrat, and he alone protected the meeting, by calling out the forces of the law. The Republicans seemed mad upon the subject of preserving the Union, no matter how low they should be required to stoop to their lords of the. South; but when the South opened the war by firing upon Sumter, Republicans and Democrats alike awakened to their degradation.
My daughter had now reached her seventeenth year – 1862 -- and I had begun to feel that she would be able to fulfill all my hopes. She was scholarly and something of a genius. Her talent for drawing was marked when quite a child; but her great desire was for the stage. I could not encourage her in that wish, with neither father nor brother to protect her, and entirely dependent upon my daily labor for a living, and realizing at least some of the difficulties attending the profession, I could only say, No. The New England Woman's Medical College was at that time in operation, and as my sister, Dr. A. F. Raymond, was at that time resident there, I concluded that to be the best opening within my means. The knowledge of anatomy and physiology would be valuable, should she ever use her pencil as a profession. She was accordingly admitted as a student at the fall term in 1862. In two weeks a telegram reached me, saying, "Come! Gertrude is very sick." I reached her twenty-four hours before her reason left her. She lived one week thereafter, and died. Parker Pillsbury and William Lloyd Garrison came to the college, and tried to say words of comfort. I was very anxious to reach home with the remains of the dear one, before death should have destroyed
the natural look; and so my sister, Mrs Clark, of Springfield, who had been with us at the death-bed, made all preparations promptly as possible, and we (Mrs. Clark and myself) started with the corpse on the train for the west, which left Boston at 2 o'clock P. M.My heart was broken, and I thought I would gladly die, if I only could. What was there in life for me?
When we reached Chatham,-- not the village, but a little way into the township,-- in an instant we were thrown from our seats, and the car in which we were was thrown over onto its side. The crash was terrific. The first word I heard was from my sister, who said, "Lucy, if you are alive, speak." I answered, "Yes, and you are, as you can speak." I thought I wanted to die, but I did not, as I found myself trying to extricate myself from the broken seats and other timbers that held me down. The night was very dark; it was then ten o'clock, and we were some four miles from help. The engineer had gone down with his engine, many feet; not killed, but terribly hurt. Not one of all the number was dead, but the groans told of the suffering. We could not perceive our situation, but as we escaped from the car, we found we were on a ridge so steep that we put our hands into the gravel and pulled ourselves up onto the track. Our eyes having become accustomed to the darkness, we were able to move about with safety. Neither my sister nor myself were seriously hurt. We had no broken bones. The cause of the accident was the raising of one of the rails by some one or more persons, to wreck the train, as some companies of soldiers were expected to take that train at a station just east of Chatham. It was just a few days after General McClellan was relieved from the command of the Army of the Potomac, and some people seemed ready to do any desperate act to gratify their revenge. The wreck remained on the track some four hours, when help was obtained, and we were transported on our way.
Among the passengers was a gentleman in the garb of a clergyman. His cravat was white, such as marked a minister in those days, whose conduct was so ludicrous that I have never forgotten it. As my sister and I made our escape from the car, we found some one was before us, and as soon as his (the gentleman's) eyes told him there were ladies near him, he said, "Ladies, are you hurt?" We answered, " Not much." And then came his assertion that he was not hurt: " Well, ladies, I am very happy to tell
you I am not hurt. At first I thought I was; but I find I am not. But, ladies, did you see anything of my umbrella, as you came out?" What a question! we had dragged ourselves out of a car, turned upon its side, in the darkness, hardly knowing whether or not our limbs were left us; and that man, who could no doubt tell any one how to escape hell, was so frightened that his umbrella seemed "the one thing needful," and he required the help of two women to find it for him. After a time a little child, whose mother was among the wounded, became troubled and frightened, and as I took her into my care I drew from my pocket some little crackers, and gave them to her and her sisters older, knowing that children are often reached through their appetites. The clergyman, observing it, said: "I left a paper of crackers in the car; if some one would go into the car and get them, the children could have some of them." If some one at the risk of life or limb, would go into that car and get a paper of crackers from out the debris, the children could have some of them. No wonder such people want to be helped into heaven by and through a Savior.
The services at the funeral were performed by Mr. Frederick Douglass. I did not wish for a minister, but a Universalist minister, a friend of the family, made a few remarks. I do not know at all what was said. I only know that words seemed a mockery. I had no object in life, though my father and mother were with me and needed my care. I felt that one of my sisters could take my place, and I could give up life. By and by a call came from Washington, for a woman without prejudice, to take the place of Matron in the National Colored Orphan Asylum. This institution was founded by Senator Pomeroy's wife, of Kansas. There were a great many houseless, homeless children in and about Washington,-- children from a few months to ten years of age. No one knew where their mothers were, and the fathers were, many of them, in the rebel army, as officers or soldiers. These children were of all shades of color; many of them with blue eyes and silver hair. Surely such had fathers destitute of prejudice against color, so far as the mothers of their children were concerned.
There were also in this institution several old women, from seventy to eighty years old. The institution had officers from, or in, all of the Northern States, and the donations from these states
were what were relied upon to support it, though the government allowed them the use of a commodious house, with large grounds, in Georgetown, owned by a rebel, who fled to Richmond at the breaking out of the war. During the year that had passed since the opening of this asylum, there had been three or four women employed as matrons, who had been successively quarreled away by the resident teacher, a woman from Massachusetts, related to, and recommended by, some of the pronounced Liberals in and about Boston. I will not say this woman was the worst woman who ever lived, because I have not seen all the bad women of my own time; but I have no hesitation in putting her at the head of all I have known, in selfish wickedness. A woman who will deliberately starve, and otherwise abuse, little children, who have no one to care for them, is a monstrosity that I do not wish to be acquainted with.
This teacher bore a name honored and beloved in Massachusetts, and because of her name the Liberals (I mean by Liberals, Unitarians, Agnostics, and the Republicans of Governor Andrew's stamp), were determined to defend her under all circumstances; and so, if a matron made any complaint of the teacher, instead of looking into the matter, the matron was summarily dismissed. Had I known of the condition of things, I could not have been persuaded to take the place; but having taken it, I determined to change its character, or break it up entirely.
I will not tire the reader with a very minute description of these children,-- eighty in number, and not ten healthy ones in all, and not one free from the most disgusting parasites. The teacher had been matron a sufficient time to allow them all to become infested with vermin too bad to write about. The discipline was sustained by taking the food from the disobedient, and as there were always children who could not, if they would, conform to some of the rules, because of feebleness, so there was always hunger. One of the farmers whose land joined the asylum complained to me that he had not been able to keep food for his swine, only as he put it behind a lock, as these hungry children would devour the contents of his swill-barrel with eagerness. Mrs. Senator Pomeroy had died, and the woman who took her place was evidently afraid of Massachusetts.
My friend who had recommended me to the society thought if she could once get me into that institution, I would find it was
not quite time for me to sit down and hug my own grief. Here were atrocities perpetrated daily upon the children of a race whom I had adopted and worked for in the best years of my life -- abused under the name of Christian care, and as yet there was no help. I looked about me. I did not pray, but I used my authority as matron. I said, "You will be mistress of these children in the school-room, but out of the school-room you have no control. Never take away their food again. I will not allow it." She tried it, but found herself circumvented as and where she least expected it. The grounds were covered with trees bearing the most delicious fruit -- early apples, apricots, and, in time, peaches in the greatest abundance. This woman forbade these children to help themselves, though the fruit was wasting upon the ground, I said to them, "You must not climb the trees without permission from me, but eat all you wish from the ground." I sent for one of the army surgeons. His name I do not at this writing recall, but his picture is to be seen at the bedside of President Lincoln in the engraving of the death scene. At this day, more than twenty years since, my heart goes out in thankfulness to him for his kindness. He always came at my call. He told me how to destroy the parasites that were eating the life out of these children. He said the sickness was from want of food and care, encouraged me to do as seemed right, and with his help and counsel, after being there three months, the children were all well and clean, but I had broken down in health, and felt that I must give it all up; but I did not cease my work till that teacher was removed. It was a hard fight, with great odds against me,-- the prominent Antislavery men in Congress, and the Unitarian minister, the Rev. William Henry Channing, then resident of Washington. Only Secretary Stanton and his assistant, Major Luddington, and the indefatigable woman, Jane Gray Swisshelm, had taken time to examine into the matter, and they were with me. Governor Andrew even sent his secretary all the way from Massachusetts to defend this wicked woman.
Mrs. Swisshelm finally announced, that unless the whole thing was thoroughly looked into, she would cause the arrest of the teacher for manslaughter; and as it could be easily proven, her (the teacher's) friends were glad to cease their opposition to the examination, and the private secretary went home, first advising
that the teacher leave the institution. It took three months of hard labor, but the woman was removed.
After the removal Harriet Tubman was employed a month, to rid the asylum of the filth; but the children were sick and many of them died. Starvation and disgusting parasites had done their work. I think that the most charitable reason that can be given of, or for, that teacher's conduct, was that she was under the influence of alcohol, of which there was an abundance in the cellar of the building, in the shape of brandy, whisky, and wine. She was certainly crazed with something. I hope her friends have learned enough of her to repent of their defense of her wickedness.
This was only one of the many cases where the poor colored people were used to profit some broken-down teacher or clergyman. Secretary Stanton told me that the trouble he had with the abuse of these "Contrabands," was almost equal to the war. The North had so many superannuated ministers to care for, that it seemed a Godsend to be able to send them where they would be able to obtain a salary for doing something that was worse than nothing. These colored people could pray and sing quite as well as their teachers. They needed no instruction in that line. The requirements of civilization were not so familiar to them, such as cleanliness, and prudence, sobriety and independence.
After leaving the asylum, I was appointed teacher of a colored school in Georgetown, by the New York Aid Society, but in a few days some other society claimed that as their ground, and so, leaving that particular school, I was made Superintendent of all the schools in the district, supported by the New York Aid Society, some eleven in number. I used to go to each one every week, and speak to them Sundays, in some one of their schoolrooms. I tried to teach them that cleanliness was not only godliness, but that it was positively essential to godliness, and that shouting, praying and singing, would avail them nothing, while the day after all these noisy demonstrations they drank themselves drunk, quarreled with each other, stole and lied as they had learned to do in slavery. It was a hard lesson for some of them, but generations of the most debasing, abject slavery, is not productive of a high order of morals; and these people were only grown-up children. We expected altogether too much of them. I am astonished that we had so little trouble with them.
The American Tract Society early established itself, by their agents, among these people. This society was the most positive proslavery organization in this country. In all their leaflets, as well as their larger publications, they entirely ignored the slave. They sometimes re-published some of the English tracts, carefully excluding all reference to the sin of slaveholding, putting in its place the awful sin of dancing, card-playing, and theatrical exhibitions. One at this day can hardly realize how entirely subservient all classes were to the slave-power. I remember a good liberal clergyman, who, for twenty years, in his own church, fought the rum power and conquered it, publishing a reading book for schools, in which he put one of Cowper's poems, in which occur these grand words against slaveholding:
"I would not have a slave to till my ground,
To carry me, to fan me while I sleep,
And tremble when I wake, for all the wealth
That sinews bought and sold have ever earn'd
No! dear as freedom is, and in my heart's
Just estimation prized above all price,
I had much rather be myself the slave,
And wear the bonds, than fasten them on him."
The South refused to buy the book, and the clergyman bent his knee to the slave power, published another edition, leaving out the objectionable poem.
This Tract Society now ignored its past, and made haste to prepare a room for religious services at Freedman's Village, where my friend Capt. Carse was Superintendent. These agents did not like me, nor my influence in the village, and they tried hard to shut me out. On the other hand Captain Carse thought my influence beneficial, and sometimes sent for me in a troublous time with some of the freed people. One day he said to me, "You ought to have a pass that shall be good for a month, instead of only one day. I will get you such a one." And so, going to the office, he asked Captain Brown for the pass. "How is that?" said the officer. " Here is a man who was just trying to persuade me to refuse Mrs. Colman a pass, never allowing her one for a day." Superintendent Carse looked up, and saw the resident agent of the American Tract Society, and thereupon ensued a scene. "By
what authority do you presume to keep any one out of a district of which I am military commander, sir? Do you know that it is through my permission that you are there?" The monthly pass came, and these agents were obliged to endure my visits oftener than was agreeable to them. They vented their spite by refusing the use of their carriage to take me back and forth. The superintendent and wife always rode on horseback, a feat that was not agreeable to me; but there were plenty of colored people in Washington who owned carriages, and they were always glad to use them for my benefit.
Sojourner Truth, who was not allowed to enter the White House as an equal with other visitors, was living at the village at that time, going among the people and teaching them to make the best use of the little the government gave them to live upon. I think here I will give my readers an account of the visit which I made with this remarkable colored woman to President Lincoln, for the purpose of introducing her to him. Sojourner Truth was a slave in the State of New York, freed by the State in 1817. She was then about forty-five years of age, and she lived till 1883. She never learned to read, but her intuition was wonderful. She was what the Spiritualists call mediumistic, but her "control" was God. She held almost hourly converse with, as she supposed, the God of the universe; asked his opinion about any contemplated business that she proposed to do, and went by his direction. She early came into the Antislavery work, and did valiant service as a lecturer. The first time that she visited Ohio she was nearly seventy years old, but she was quite as vigorous as a person of fifty. Some one of the friends of her race fitted her out with horse and buggy, and she traveled some weeks, getting up her own meetings. She said whenever she came to a place where two roads met, she laid the lines down and said, "God, you drive," and he always drove her to some good place, where she had a successful meeting. She paid her way, and her horse was well taken care of, but I think she did not convert to real abolitionism many on that trip. The people were curious to hear her talk and sing. Her voice was very fine, and she could sing well after she had passed her hundredth year. She was a great smoker till she was ninety years of age. Going among the freed people, and trying to teach them economy, she found it not best to take with her such a useless habit as smoking.
When Mr. Lincoln was elected President, Sojourner determined to make the journey to Washington to see him -- the first Antislavery President -- and so her friends sent her with her grandson, a boy of fourteen years, to me. Somehow if anything was to be done for any special colored person, everybody, far and near, knew I was the one to be called upon to do it, and I am glad to remember that however difficult the work to be done I somehow accomplished it.
When Sojourner reached Washington she supposed she could walk right into the White House, have a good chat with the President, and be asked to call again, perhaps, but it took some weeks to get an appointment for her. This I finally accomplished by the aid of Mrs. Kaightly, Mrs. Lincoln's dressmaker, a colored woman who, because of her business, was in almost daily communication with the President's family. At last the appointment was made for one Saturday morning at eight o'clock, and promptly at the hour we were there. The war was in progress at that time, and much business occupied even the morning hours of Mr. Lincoln. The receiving-room was well filled before nine o'clock, and still no call came for us. At last, at half-past eleven, the call came for Mrs. Colman and her friend. While we were waiting, there had come into the room a colored woman, whom I asked if she had an appointment with the President, or any one to take her into his presence, to which she answered, "No, but I must see him." I said, "You may go in with me," and so I went into the room with two of the blackest women I ever saw, not as my escort, but I as theirs.
We were obliged to wait long enough for the President to tell one of his funny stories to a deputation of merchant tailors from Baltimore, who had come to ask Mr. Lincoln to pardon or release one of their brother merchants, charged with trading with the rebels. I do not know whether or not the merchant was released, the deputation departed with no answer save the story, and that I have forgotten; I wrote it out at the time and it was published in the New York Tribune. When the President was ready I said, "I am very happy, sir, to say to you that I have not come to ask any favor; my business is simply to present to you my friend, Sojourner Truth, a woman widely known, not only in our country, but abroad; she will say to you what she wishes without further help from me." To the other woman I said, "As
soon as Sojourner is through with the President present your business."
Mr. Lincoln was not himself with this colored woman; he had no funny story for her, he called her aunty, as he would his washerwoman, and when she complimented him as the first Antislavery President, he said, "I'm not an Abolitionist; I wouldn't free the slaves if I could save the Union in any other way -- I'm obliged to do it." I said to my friend, "We must not detain the President -- are you ready?" and saying good-bye, I had just reached the door, when Mr. Lincoln said very earnestly, "Mrs. Colman, won't you come back? Walk in here and take a seat," opening the gate of the railing that separated him from his callers. I went back, took the seat, and by Mr. Lincoln's request read the letter which the colored woman who had gone into the room with me had presented to him. As I read, Mr. Lincoln said, "'Tis a hard case, but what can I do? I have no more money than she has. Can't you take her off my hands?" "Mr. President," I said, "when I came in I told you I had no personal favor to ask of you, but I shall be very happy to grant you one, and if you will put upon this envelope the words you have just repeated to me, ' I think this a hard case, but what can I do? I have no more money than she has,' signing your name as the President of the United States, I will gladly relieve you of this woman." He saw his inconsistency, but taking the letter, wrote upon the envelope, "I think this a worthy object. -- Abe Lincoln." When we had done talking, which was some minutes, I knew he was not glad that the war had made him the emancipator of four million slaves. Perhaps he came to rejoice over it, when he realized that by the logic of events his name would be immortal through that act, but at that time he did not see it. He believed in the white race, not in the colored, and did not want them put on an equality.
The letter was from the wife of a colored soldier then at the front. She was hopelessly sick and to be turned out of house for non-payment of rent. The husband had been eleven months in service, but had never been paid for even one month, as no colored soldier had been at that time. When they were paid they only received seven dollars per month. Comment is needless.
After the death of Mr. Lincoln, and Mr. Johnson was inaugurated, Sojourner was again interested to see another President.
The usher at the White House -- a colored man, though much whiter than myself -- easily made the way, and Mr. Johnson sent me an invitation to come one Sunday afternoon, and so we went. Mr. Johnson was quite at home with his colored guest, asking her -- Mrs. Truth, he called her -- to be seated, and refusing to be seated himself while she should stand. At last Sojourner said, "Sit down yourself, President Johnson. Ise used to standing, Ise been a lecturer most fifty years; 'deed I don't know what these United States would have come to if it hadn't been for my lecturing." The President kept on his dignity, invited the old lady to stay longer and to call again.
My work continued with the freed people through the year, though I often visited the hospitals and did what I could to help to while the time away with the poor, maimed and homesick soldiers. A woman's presence was always a joy to them. There was a volunteer nurse, a Mrs. Mary Parker, with whom I was intimate, whose name should be printed in letters of gold in enduring marble. Without pay -- as she did not please the woman who had charge of the nurses' department, and was therefore summarily dismissed from further employment -- she worked on, giving herself very little rest either day or night, sleeping for an hour or two wherever night overtook her. She slept in the warehouse where the soldiers' supplies were stored, when she could get to the building, and she visited all the hospitals as often as possible in the whole District of Columbia, but more especially in Alexandria. The soldiers told her all their grievances, and she never once failed to get them removed, when they were found to be real and not the effect of a morbid condition.
After the first year of work she had become so well known to President Lincoln, that he said to those whom it concerned, "When Mrs. Parker asks for an ambulance, give her the best pair of horses and the most trusty driver; there's no need of questioning her, she is on some mission of mercy which everybody else has forgotten." The Surgeon-General became her powerful friend, and more than one incompetent and cruel surgeon lost his place by being represented in his true colors to him (the Surgeon-General) by Mary Parker. She received no pay, she shared the soldiers' rations and the soldiers shared with her whatever friends sent to her for her comfort.
One day she came to my room, with her feet literally on the
ground. She did not seem to know it, though it was in March and wet and cold. She was full of enthusiasm about a young soldier whom she had in her tent (some of the western soldiers had given her a tent and pitched it for her, and now she had a home). He was very young, had fallen away on his march and reported drunk or a deserter. She had found him, knew that he was sick, had ordered the ambulance and brought him to her home. After getting him comfortably into bed she had been to the President and he had said yes, yes, to whatever she had desired, and now on her way she had called to tell me and to ask me to come and see "her dear, sick boy."
I looked down at her feet; her toes protruding from the holes in her shoes, and said, "Mary Parker! you haven't been into the White House in such a plight?" She said, "I didn't once think of my feet, and I don't believe the President saw them; I was in such haste to get the pardon, before my poor boy soldier dies, so that he could see it." I took five dollars from my purse, and said, "Swear to me you will buy yourself a pair of shoes on your way home, and I will give you this money to pay for them; I can't afford to give it to you for any other purpose." She said, "I will," but a week after, when she came to tell me her young soldier was dead and buried, her feet were in the same ragged shoes, I said, "Your feet! what does it mean?" "I could not help it," she answered; "I know if you had been with me and seen the soldier that I used the money for you would have forgotten bare feet."
Such was Mary Parker, a woman who for all the years of the war gave herself to the welfare of the soldier. She never received one dollar from the government for her services, but I hope some of the soldiers for whom she worked so faithfully remembered her and helped to make her some remuneration.
Jane Grey Swisshelm, one of the earliest Woman's Rights women -- a lineal descendant of the family of Lady Jane Grey -- did valiant service in the hospitals. She had the same power, perhaps in a less degree, that the late Leroy Sunderland possessed her hands holding the limb which was being amputated, or rather from which a part was being removed, soothed the patient and overcame the suffering. But, like my friend Mrs. Parker, she could not come under rules. She knew what and how to do, and when to do it, and so as a soldier she would have been a sharp-shooter
or a scout, never a subordinate. It was my privilege to know her well, and, knowing, to appreciate her.
I used to think, as, in my visits to my various schools, I saw the ambulances filled with maimed and bleeding men, and often dying men, how great must have been the wrong of chattel slavery, that required such a sacrifice of life to abolish; and wondered if woman were only an active power in the government, if she would not have found a way to remove the wrong without the dreadful war. But the thing that most distressed me was to meet young boys handcuffed together, in charge of an officer, charged with deserting, or some lesser offense. These young boys -- they were not old enough for men -- had been in many cases hired by some man as substitute. Having no idea what a soldier's life meant, charmed by the martial music, they had enlisted, and the life was more than their physical or moral nature could endure, and so they had fallen and were prisoners.
At last came the end, and Richmond was taken. But one morning, less than two weeks from the taking of Richmond, came the shock -- the President is dead! What need to write it out? Is not every one familiar with the story?
One thing you are not familiar with, unless you were in Washington or Alexandria, Freedman's Village and Mason Island; that is, the grief of the poor colored people. They looked upon the President as their saviour and they loved him as such, and, added to their grief, they feared that now they would be returned to bondage. It was touching to hear their wailing; every hut whose occupant possessed a rag of black cloth, or not possessing could obtain it, found it a delight to hang it over the door; and when the day came, when for the time being, all, without regard to the color of the skin, were allowed to enter the White House, not one failed to look upon the face of their dead friend. And now came the trial of the assassins, all of which you will find in the chronicles of the day. I only make this record, that, so far as I could judge from the evidence, and I attended the trial, Mrs. Surratt had no more to do with the murder of President Lincoln than any other rebel woman. She no doubt desired it, as did all the other rebels, but that she in any way aided it or even knew anything of it, until it occurred, was not, in my opinion, proven even by circumstantial evidence. But men seemed mad. I was present in the court when Mrs. Surratt's daughter entered, look-
ing wild with grief. She was not allowed to look one moment upon her mother, but an officer took hold of the poor girl's shoulders, turned her around and put her out of court. Mrs. Surratt was not allowed speech with woman after her arrest. Man made the law, man arrested her, man tried her, and by man she was pronounced guilty, and by man she was hung by the neck until she was dead. I do not find anything to say about "Woman's Rights" -- it is all woman's wrongs. My good cousin need not have: warned me that I would make my reminiscences unpopular by writing of the rights of woman; I find so much of wrongs that I have no space for rights.
There were some persons of the other sex that, it seemed to me then and so I still think, were far from guilty of aiding or abetting murder, who were found guilty in a greater or less degree; but the people were mad with fear, and the military commission, as well as the civil authority that tried the prisoners, only carried out the will of the community at large. Had they seen their errors or become less bloodthirsty, that such particular care was taken not to hurt the feelings of that arch traitor, Jefferson Davis? I was on board one of the government gunboats, on my way to Richmond, and saw them putting this man (through whom so many men had lost their lives -- oh! so many by starvation) -- saw him being put in Fortress Monroe, a prisoner. I little thought then that the guard would be ordered to wear slippers because army shoes, by their noise, disturbed the nerves of the important man!
After the excitement of the death and funeral of the President, the trial of the assassins and the hanging of the condemned, the people breathed quietly, and then came the word that some people, in particular some of the teachers of the schools, would be given a pass and return ticket to Richmond, by paying their fare one way; this favor was to hold good a certain number of days.
I thought I would like to go, but my salary did not admit of much superfluous traveling. I think the fare was $7.00 -- am not sure. But there was another reason in the way -- we were to go to Secretary Dana for passes, and I knew that he was prejudiced against me for the part I had taken in getting the teacher of the orphan asylum removed. Unlike Secretary Stanton, he was an eastern man, and the Massachusetts people were all in favor of
the teacher because of her name. I never like to ask favors of prejudice, and so, as one after another of the lady teachers came to me urging me to go, I said, "No, I will not ask the Secretary for a pass." They said, "Then you can not go, and we shall not have half as good time as if you were with us." But they could not induce me. I said, "Go, and depend upon yourselves."
The same day Mrs. Parker, the nurse with the ragged shoes, called for some favor. I said, "Don't you want to go to Richmond? Can't you get a pass for two? If you can I will pay your expenses in Richmond." She answered, "Yes, I do, but I have some soldiers I am at work for now, to get them honorably discharged, so I cannot possibly leave now, but I have a pass for two just given me by the Surgeon-General. I will give you this, but a certain woman will have to go with you, as I have promised her." "No," I said, "I cannot go that way." She went out, and in an hour returned with a pass and transportation both ways for Mrs. Colman. I accordingly went, surprising the ladies very much, as I would not tell them where I obtained the pass or the transportation, only that Secretary Dana did not give it. I arrived in Richmond about seven o'clock in the evening, having left Washington at three in the afternoon of the previous day. The boat-ride was very pleasant. We were out of sight of land some hours. I have too sound a stomach to be sea-sick, and so enjoy the water, or did then -- I do not wish to try the water now. Alas! that we must grow old or die, and at my age, it is according to scripture, that "the grasshopper becomes a burden," much more the sea.
I found a colored boy who showed me the way to the Teachers' Home, expecting to find my friends there, but the matron said they came but she refused to take them; she had all she could accommodate. I said, "This home is given by the government, with rations for the time being; by what authority do you take possession of this immense house, take in whom you please and reject others at this time in the evening -- a stranger and alone. You say you have no bed; you have a floor unoccupied, and an easy chair, which I have possession of, and shall remain in it till morning. In daylight I will report myself to the commandant and find what it means." I had struck the nail on the head. The madam immediately changed her style, prepared me a very comfortable supper; gave me a bed by myself in a room by
myself, with comfortable things for the toilet. This woman, with the teachers, one a reverend, -were from one Christian society, and I, with my teachers, were from another, and as they came first into possession, they determined to hold it. It was nice to have extra accommodations for any friends who should visit the famous place.
There was but one hotel open at that time, the Ballard House, and its charges were very high. In the morning I found the hotel. Most of my friends were preparing to go back, as the length of their purses were not sufficient to pay five, or even three, dollars a day.
"How did you get here, and where did you stay?
I came by the boat, and stayed at the Home, where I expected to find you all."
"Well, but they would not allow us to stay."
"Well, they allowed me to stay; why not know your rights, and then maintain them?" I said. "We will look about and we shall probably find a home with some nice colored family; if not, we will stay at the Home."
We soon found a colored woman who, before the war, had kept a large boarding-house. She took us, though she was in comparatively small quarters; but she was exquisitely clean and gave us excellent food. I wish I could paint for my readers with my pen the graphic picture which this very black woman gave of the taking of Richmond. She said, " We had almost despaired, as we would hear of one city after another being taken, and we feared that in some way, we could not tell how, we had offended God, and so he was going to pass by Richmond, and leave us in our slavery. We humbled ourselves in the very dirt, and, with our faces on the ground, begged God to forgive the sin, whatever it might be, and send us the Yankee soldiers to free us." And on the Monday morning after Jefferson Davis thought it best to leave Richmond, she said, while going to her kitchen to cook her breakfast, she saw coming over the hills a company of soldiers, holding the flag with the stars and stripes. "Oh, how my heart leaped for joy; I ran into the street and with all our people in this part fell upon my knees and shouted glory. And then, when President Lincoln came some days after, I was standing in my door to look upon him. He passed so near me that I could have put my hand upon him, and he turned and looked, and he
certainly bowed to me. Thank the Lord, I saw our deliverer." This woman was a free woman and owned her house-earned it by keeping boarders. She had buried her husband and only child the last year of the war, and she mourned greatly that not a piece of black goods could be found in all that city, with which she could robe herself as a mourner. Like many another, bereaved of husband and child, she felt that sable garments would give her comfort. Grief is its own comforter, I know right well; nothing else soothes us; finally it wears itself out. I was clad in crape myself at that time, and when I saw how much this poor woman wanted such a costume, I gave her my bonnet and shawl and took from her a gingham sun-bonnet, which seemed rather out of place, as you will see, on my way back to Washington.
A woman once a slave, whose history is so marvelous, that I would like to give it to the reader, was one of the company of teachers, as was her daughter, who was so free from taint of color that she was educated in a New England academy in the old slave days, without her parentage being discovered by professor or pupil. This woman had given her pass to a lady friend from Philadelphia, who desired greatly to visit Richmond, and so must return as she came by Baltimore. That city being not under military rule at that time she required no pass. I had tried to persuade another teacher who was going to remain in Richmond a week or two to give this woman her pass, assuring her I could and would procure one, and send it to her, but it was of no avail. When I reached the wharf, ready to take passage in the boat for Washington, this woman was there to say good-bye, wishing very much she could accompany us rather than go alone to Baltimore. As I handed my pass for inspection, the officer said:
"Which is Mrs. Colman? "
"I am Mrs. Colman."
"And which is your nurse?"
I knew in a moment. Putting my hand on this woman, I said, "This is the one."
He looked at the handsome mulatto woman, nicely appareled, with a rather elegant bonnet and nicely-fitting gloves, and then at me, with bare hands, and a gingham sunbonnet on my head, smiled, but endorsed the pass, by saying, "All right -- go on board."
My nurse did not take, and only that her daughter saw that it was a scheme that I fully understood I might not have been able to get her onto the boat. I had a hand-basket in my hand, which I gave to my new nurse, and, with a good deal of authority, said, "Take my basket and go on board; what are you thinking of?"
Bewildered, she turned to the daughter, who echoed my words, and went onto the boat. One of the officers of the boat, as she attempted to enter the cabin, stopped her, saying:
"No niggers allowed in the cabin."
I said, "When was the order given that a lady may not take her servant with her into the cabin?"
"I beg pardon," said the officer; "I did not notice that you had a servant."
So, my good friend, a lady -- in every sense of the word, even in her dress -- had a free ride to Washington in the cabin of a steam gun-boat, and to this day she does not know how it came about. She knows that when the inspector of my pass asked me which was nurse I put my hand upon her shoulder, and when she was ordered out of the cabin I claimed her right as my servant. I told no one about how it was done at the time, as in more cases than one I have found it not best to " let the right hand know what the left doeth; " but as more than twenty years have gone by since this occurred, I will copy the pass:
Pass Mrs. Colman, vol. nurse, with transportation, to Richmond and
return. [Signed by Surgeon-General.]
The writing of the pass was in the professional style, and troublesome to read, and the inspector read "vol." as "and," and having inquired for both Mrs. Colman and the nurse, and seen them both, he was sure he had read the pass correctly; but smaller mistakes than that have sometimes caused great trouble. The inspectors at the two other military stations where the boat stopped read the pass in the same way. The one at Point of Rocks looked very sharp and said
"What is that word?"
I said, "Can't you read, sir! I think the other inspectors had no difficulty in deciphering it to mean 'and.'"
My stay in Richmond of a week was full of interest. General Halleck was the military commander at the time, and every order he issued showed his hatred of the negro. I saw punishment
inflicted upon negroes for the smallest offense, that ought to have given the General's conscience a sting to his dying day.
I visited the celebrated slave-pen where the slaves were kept in confinement, until the gangs were full that were sent to the more southern markets. I have forgotten the name of the man who owned this pen for human beings, who had dealt in them for many years, and had made himself rich in this infamous business. As I told him what I thought of him, he said:
"I hain't no prejudice against color," and calling a boy, perhaps ten years old, to him, he continued, "Lady, this is my son."
This child was a bright octoroon, strongly marked with African features; I said,
"Where is his mother?"
"In New York, lady; she's stopping at a hotel thar, and thar ain't no lady thar that's got dresses as smart as her'n."
I said, "Why is she in New York? "
"Well," he answered, "I tuk her thar and married her a spell ago."
"You had despaired of selling her since the 'emancipation act,' and so married her?" I remarked.
"Well," said he, "I wanted a wife and I knew she'd be a good one, and this's her son, too -- but you don't seem to think I've done suthing to be proud on. I thought you'd think 'twas pious."
Piety is a strange substance. I wonder whether its possession is ever a blessing to its possessor or to those with whom he associates.
I visited Castle Thunder and Libby Prison. Was in Libby when a soldier came in and offered the keeper a hundred-dollar bill to allow him to walk down one of the corridors. I asked the keeper why he refused and he told me that one of the keepers of the prison at Andersonville was in one of the cells that looked into the corridor, and he had no doubt he would have shot him if he had permitted him to get sight of him.
Libby Prison was a sorry place even then, after the North had had possession of it nearly two months. How many people, I wonder, know that a black woman was whipped to death in Richmond for persisting in throwing loaves of bread into that prisonyard to the starving soldiers? And Jefferson Davis was living in Richmond at the time.
Dr. Mary Walker was a prisoner in Castle Thunder some six weeks. These two prisons were very noted as places of cruelty and starvation, but there were other prisons in Richmond equally bad -- prisons for Negroes -- which had been in use for many years, where women even were immured for the awful crime of trying to escape from slavery. I became acquainted with one woman in Richmond who took me into a prison where she was once held a prisoner six weeks with a young babe, because her owner had died insolvent; and so she was put in this dreadful prison to await a purchaser. Fortunately this slave woman had made a friend of a northern woman on whom she had waited; and this friend purchased her and her child, and afterwards gave her a house and lot. This house was on the opposite corner from the one which the President of the Confederacy occupied during the war, after Richmond became the capital.
General Halleck now made his headquarters in this same house, and it was pitiful to see how this man cared for this house -- he was so afraid that I would take something as a relic; even the bushes in the yard were protected by an announcement that they were not to be broken. I have never been a relic-hunter, but had received requests from Northern friends for articles from the "seat of war," but I only gathered a few tufts of grass from the home of Jeff Davis. I had already a piece of the whipping-post and a pair of handcuffs, a slave-whip, etc., which I put with a piece of the coffin and the inside lining of the coffin in which President Lincoln's remains were buried, with many other things of like value, but I have given them all away, preserving nothing save a night-shirt of her husband which Mrs. Lincoln gave me; a rather strange article to give one as a keepsake, but Mrs. Lincoln was a very strange woman.
I visited the colored schools in and about the city; went some miles below Richmond to see a school which I had learned had been applied for by a man who, because he had been a clergyman, had been kept in power over the contrabands at Alexandria till they (these freed people) had risen against him. One of these women had knocked him down with an iron frying-pan and gone herself to the military commandant and told him what she had done, and said she had come to receive the punishment. The commandant said, "Don't do it again." I opened the eyes of
the people to whom he had made application, so that the school was refused him.
I had a reason for wishing to visit Richmond which had nothing to do with schools or pupils at that time. Many, many years before, when I was a widow the first time, I had been employed in a boarding-school where Prof. Minnegerode, a young refugee from Germany, was one of the teachers. He was full of enthusiasm at that time for liberty; had just barely escaped with his life because of the near position which his father held to the emperor, but was compelled to leave the country, as he, with his class in college, had been discovered in instigating treason. He had renounced Roman Catholicism and seemed to be really a Freethinker. He had afterwards been appointed to a professorship in "William and Mary College" in Virginia, and finally the rector of the Episcopal church in Richmond.
We were for some time on such intimate terms as to exchange letters quite frequently, and at one time the gentleman came to Massachusetts to see me; but finally we both married and the correspondence ceased. I wished very much to see him and had pictured to myself something of an exciting interview, as I knew how widely we had grown apart. I had seen a report of a sermon which this rector had preached, some six weeks previous to the taking of Richmond, from the text, "The Lord shall put far away from you the Northern army," and he had said in that sermon "that the people of that city were just as safe as though they were in Abraham's bosom." I went to his house, saw his wife and children, an only daughter, bearing my name, and three or four sons at home. The father was with his eldest son, bringing him home by short stages, as he could bear it, he having been badly wounded by some of the last volleys at Petersburg; and so, as has been often my case in life, I was disappointed. I gave Mrs. Minnegerode my present name; did not tell her what my former name was nor where I knew her husband. Such are some of the changes in life. I have seen somewhere that " a man's good or ill fortune is his wife," but what is the fortune of a wife who marries a man so weak that his wife is obliged to think for him ?
The free woman, who had been paid for by a Northern woman and had her home near Jefferson Davis, had husband and children -- two or three grown up sons. They had several cows and their
business had been selling milk, eggs, etc. This woman made a little party for me and my teachers. She invited several colored people -- ministers and their wives. One of her daughters was soon to be married and the lover was a guest. We had a very nice dinner, with all the et ceteras, and in the evening ice-cream and cake -- all excellent and everything in good taste.
This lady said to me, "I have heard of you, Mrs. Colman, and I am so grateful to you that I would be willing to crawl on my knees from this city to Washington, if only by so doing I could, in any way, do you any good." I am glad to be appreciated; but who pays the slave for his sufferings? In this interminable talk of compensating the slave-owner for his losses, who ever thought of paying the slave for the loss of a lifetime? We are none of us very patient of wrongs done by those whom our race defrauded of everything but life itself, and often of that.
Richmond is beautifully situated, but when I was there it was desolation itself. The rebels set fire to the best part of it and it was lying in ashes. We were invited to the house of the civil governor, a fine-looking place, but one thing looked strange to a Northerner, that was the houses were all dirty. I rather think they knew nothing of house-cleaning; and that was the case in the District of Columbia. The flies, as they awoke in the spring, found their nests as they left them in the autumn-nothing washed. Ignorance and filth are the accompaniments of slavery.
The war was over, the new President inaugurated, the heat of the summer was upon us and it was time to return to my Northern home. I had grown old in these years of the war. Chattel slavery was abolished and I felt that I had fairly earned rest. Many very sad things had come into my domestic life, things that I do not record, because private sorrows are not for public ears. Death is easily talked about, for it is what sooner or later comes to all of us; but there are troubles harder to bear than death, which we hide in our own bosoms, and the world has no suspicion that we are not comfortably happy.
It seemed best to remove my home to Syracuse, where a sister of mine was living, and where in a short time came another sister to die. We were at first four sisters, now only two of us remained.
H. L. Green was at this time a resident of Syracuse, and through his exertions a radical club was formed which, for a time,
was very prosperous, but it was very democratic, and some people who belonged in it intellectually did not like to associate with people who were not always grammatical in speech or fashionable in their attire. However, we held a very respectable meeting once, and sometimes twice a week for several years. I was myself chairman three years. At last I left the city for a year, resigning my place, and assuring the society that I would never hold office again. I was too old, was not physically able to be out evenings, etc. Mr. Green removed from the city and the club gave up the ghost. Soon the Liberal Leagues were formed and the two papers, the Index and Truth Seeker seemed to become partisan. I had taken the Index for two or three years, but it had become distasteful to me and I gave it up. I had never seen but one or two copies of the Truth Seeker, when, receiving a letter from the late D. M. Bennett, I was informed that a league had been formed in Syracuse for the purpose of helping the editor of the Index by votes at the National League, which was soon to meet in Syracuse. I was surprised that two leading members of the old Radical Club had entirely ignored myself and sister, keeping the existence of such society as private from us as though it were something that we should taint by being connected with it. I was somewhat angered, and with my sister I started out. We obtained about double the number of names requisite for a league, sent for a charter and in a week had a Liberal League, which we named after John Stuart Mill, in good running order. The history of the division in the National League is familiar to us all; I do not care to return to it; suffice it to say that it was a hard fight, but those of us who survive, though scarred, feel that for us the battle was a triumph. It is well to know our friends. I was so falsified by men and women at that time that Syracuse has never been the same to me and never can be. I have a few friends whom I love as brothers and sisters and they have been to me everything. In the long sickness, terminating in death, of my last sister, my only surviving near relative, they were all in all to me -- but I feel that my work is nearly done.
The Truth Seeker family, with its supporters are very dear to me-my own family, as I have no other, I may call it. They have always treated me with kindness-with an appreciation far beyond my deserts, never having rejected anything which I have sent them. I have had more than my share of the paper.
Since I came into this family of Truth Seekers we have lost by death very many valuable members. First our martyred editor and publisher, but "his soul has been marching on " through all these years, inspiring his followers to continue the work so well begun by him. Then our loved and highly-talented secretary, T. C. Leland. How much we miss his genial presence and his gifted pen! And then dear and most excellent Elizur Wright -- almost peerless as a helper in all ways; his intellect was marvelous, his heart full of goodness, and his fearlessness was always active. Is it duty? that question answered in the affirmative he never shrank. We have lost others less known-my own sister, Mrs. Raymond, Mrs. Bonnell of Junius, Mr. Mitchell of West Junius and many others. Peace to them all!
I had thought it would be interesting, at least to some of my friends, to give some reminiscences of my experience as a Spiritualist, as many very interesting phenomena have come under my observation. I was very well acquainted with Dr. John Bovee Dods, one of the very earliest psychologists in the country, traveling in many of the states and exhibiting his wonderful psychological powers. I think he was only second to Dr. Sunderland in that matter. I have seen them both on the platform. Dr. Dods' daughter was an inmate of my family for many months. But so much feeling has been expressed by some of the prominent Spiritualists at some things I have published that, for the present, I have abandoned the work.
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A PAPER READ BY LUCY N. COLMAN BEFORE THE WOMAN'S
POLITICAL CLUB OF ROCHESTER, N. Y.
LADIES: You ask of me a short biographical sketch of your late honored friend and member, Mrs. Amy Post. If love and the most sacred friendship are the requisites for success in such an undertaking then I feel that you could not have chosen better. Notwithstanding, I must say. I cannot hope to satisfy you all. I belong to a generation that left woman out from the educational privileges which most, if not all, of you who are today in middle life enjoy. I trust, however, that the matter that I shall bring to you will atone for any lack in the manner of its presentation.
Mrs. Amy Kirby Post was born in 1802 to Jacob and Mary Kirby of Jericho, Long Island, who were honorable members of the Society of Friends; she was of cheerful temperament, enjoying intensely the pleasures of out-door life, so that the restraints which the good mother felt called upon to put upon her child, lest she should be unfaithful to the customs and traditions of her people, were sometimes irksome and hard to bear; for this daughter of a quiet Quaker home would have liked to have danced and sung, for merry she must be; her spirits refused to droop, she loved flowers and would so imitate their form and color on canvas. She appreciated beauty everywhere, and I am sure she felt that her own charming presence would have lost nothing if only she were permitted to choose her own style of dress rather than be confined to the quaint fashion of the long ago. But none of these things, had they been allowed, would have been essential to her happiness very long, for, with a nature like hers, the more serious duties of life soon claimed attention to the exclusion of lighter fancies.
I think Mrs. Post inherited from her parents an active hatred of oppression and persecution. The Friends publications, though not many in the beginning of this century, must have recorded the infamous treatment which these simple and harmless people received, from magistrate and minister alike. Tied to a wagon, not only men but women were whipped naked through the streets of Boston, and admonished that if they returned their lives would be forfeited. They did return and paid the penalty. Amy Post was a descendant of these martyrs and surely knew it. She never evaded a duty through fear of consequences and always presented a brave front against all oppressions.
Our friend was the beloved wife of the late Isaac Post, born into, and
member with her, of the Society of Friends. It is great praise, but justly merited, to say that Isaac Post was worthy to be the husband of our lamented friend, and that they walked together to the end of his long and useful life, each leaning upon and helping the other. When the Antislavery agitation put on renewed earnestness in 1842, or thereabouts, they became most earnest workers for the freedom of the blacks. Mrs. Post, in company with "the world's people," left her home for the purpose of holding bazars or fairs to raise funds to carry on the Antislavery work. This was a violation of the Friends discipline. A committee was appointed to reason with Amy, and one of the objects of this visitation was to advise her in regard to her duty towards her family; also her attitude as working with the "world's people." According to their testimony it was not possible that she could have attended to all her family duties, which led our friend to exhibit the contents of her stocking-bag -the store on hand being sixty-four pairs. Mrs. Post rarely sat idle at social gatherings or public lectures. The only effect these proceedings had was renewed effort in behalf of the down-trodden and oppressed, and finally Isaac and Amy Post withdrew from the Society of Friends.
Mrs. Post had no need to discipline herself for her prejudice against color, she had not one bit in her nature, and when at last the infamous Fugitive Slave Law was passed by Congress, and President Fillmore signed it, the more serious work begun for the Abolitionists. At one time I went to Canada with Mrs. Post to see how those poor fugitive creatures were faring who had sought refuge there -- it was said to the number of forty thousand -- and I doubt, if in all that number, there were one thousand who were unacquainted with the name of Amy Post; and from how many of those once manacled hands, now freed, did this brave woman help strike off the chains none will ever know, as her home, the "central depot" of the underground railroad, was shelter and comforter to the African race for many years.
On one ever memorable Sabbath, when ministers of the city were preaching of a Saviour who nearly nineteen hundred years before was a hated, hunted fugitive from the Judea Church, Isaac and Amy Post, believing deeds not words were fittest sermons to His memory, took beneath their roof twelve hunted fugitives, hopefully watching for the curtains of night to close on Monday evening, to speed to freedom these children of the same Father.
And when we remember, friends, that even to give a cup of cold water to one of these meant imprisonment for not less than one year, and a fine of one thousand dollars, we can better understand how necessary it then was that all must be done in the darkness and silence of the night, if our friends, Isaac and Amy Post, were to be helpful to the slave to the end, and dawn of freedom's morning. Are you not glad, my sisters of the Political Club, that no woman helped to make that law? 0, remember, when you shall help to enact the laws by which you shall govern and be governed, that tyranny and cruelty be excluded from the law books. I cannot dwell longer here upon the Antislavery work of our beloved friend. She was known in all reforms. "Woman's Rights" was a cause she advocated in its earliest stages. She believed with all her heart in the equality of the sexes and was willing to spend and be spent for that cause. It was not easy to bear all the opprobrium
that was cast upon these early workers. Not every woman whose heart was in the work had the loving sympathy which dear, good Isaac Post gave to his wife. Our friend tried, also, to bring about a better condition for domestic help in our cities. When she first became a resident of Rochester she was visited by women whose business it was to ask her not to give her "help" too many privileges, as it made the girls discontented. "Why?" asked our friend, "I have been thinking to-day," said she, "what I could do to improve their condition, as it seems to me the workers should fare better than the idlers. The women found themselves discomfited and did not continue their work. Mrs. Post felt that it was not well to prepare a more elaborate table than could be well afforded because of guests. A circumstance, in which I was interested, I think I will relate, as in it there is a lesson which has often been useful on similar occasions. I had not had an hour alone with my friend for a long time, and she had sent me word that a strange thing had occurred at her home (36 Sophia street) and she would like to see me and tell me about it. The strange happening was that only the immediate family of Mr. and Mrs. Post had slept under their roof the previous night (the first night for fifteen years), and we anticipated a quiet afternoon together. We went to Mrs. Post's room, but were hardly seated when the bell rung. I felt mischievous and pushed her into a large closet, going in and closing the door after me. The girl failed to find us and so reported. The visitors gave their names, saying they would leave their wraps and go shopping and would be back to supper and spend the night. "What shall I get for supper?" said the cook. "Thee must get a very nice supper, for these are not our best friends. We have not a hearty welcome for them, so must treat them as well as we can." I have always remembered from that time that true friends need not be feted.
Some years since, some of the women of the churches of the city decided to try to close the houses of prostitution and to persuade their poor deluded inmates to lead a different life. A meeting was called in one of the churches to consider the matter. The first important subject which came up was to know where these "fallen women could go." Few of these evangelical women could open their homes and say, "Neither do I condemn thee; come with me and sin no more." But our friend spoke up and said, "I will take one, and if there is no second place for the other, I will take her, too."
My friends, you have just laid this noble woman into the silent grave, but do you not remember of whom it was said, "being dead, yet speaketh!" Let us listen, my sisters, possibly we may find echo in our own hearts.
Mrs. Post was hospitable in an eminent degree. She turned none from her door. The pleasant, "Won't thee come in," was the greeting, but it is of a higher hospitality I wish now to speak. She was hospitable, yea, reverent to one's ideas, not always adopting them, but gave them audience. She never prejudged, knowing that every step in the world's progress, as few of us can know, had bruised the feet of those who first broke the path, and was, therefore, careful to entertain those stranger thoughts, knowing that she might, by so doing, entertain diviner wisdom.
My pen almost refuses to stop until I write of her friendship. You who have enjoyed it know what it was. To me it was sacred; only in Spiritualism
were we not agreed. But I loved her none the less, that to her conscious life was unending.'Tis not needful, my friends, that we think alike of the Infinite, or of infinite power, only let us use with all diligence what power we have for the good of Humanity to a higher evolution with the same persistence as opportunity offers, as did our friend, Amy Post.
With one or two incidents which give much insight into the gentle methods of our friend, and I have done. For some years a little beggar girl came to 36 Sophia street, not being turned away; oftener coming, became familiar, even to drumming on the piano, some of the family remonstrated, eliciting this reply: "She enjoys it so; perhaps this is the only pleasant time in her daily life, I do not want her checked."
Another; when years ago an Indian came to borrow an ax, to chop out bows and arrows, when the woods were nearer Cornhill than at present, where he went daily for three weeks, borrowing and returning all this time the ax, until the Indian became a familiar visitor, too; and when sometime after his eyes became diseased, Isaac Post and Friend Frost procured medical treatment, trying to prevent, but in vain, his misfortune of coming blindness. This poor old blind Indian did not cease his yearly visits to our friend. When too dirty and objections became too strong for resistance, for entertaining him in the house, he was still made comfortable in the stable, and though not being able to look upon the face of his friend for nearly forty years, it is to be hoped when he reaches the "Happy Hunting Ground" blind John maybe able to see once more the kind faces of his friends, Isaac and Amy Post, who for so many, many years ministered to his wants so faithfully on earth.