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The comforts of the slave, in his slaves are concerned, is in the liability established domicil, are probably to be sold, rather than in the particu. overrated, as well as the misery usu lar manner in which the sale should be ally attendant upon a judicial sale, in effected. order to heighten the colouring of the
“ The distress and terror among a picture.--It is, however, safe to conclude that the evil thus pathetically deputy, with his dogs and other as
gang of Negroes, when the marshal's described, is sufficiently grievous to
sistants, comes to levy in a large way, call for immediate and ample redress.
cannot be conceived by those who, How far the case is changed or the
happily for themselves, have never suffering diminished by a sale and dis
been spectators of such scenes, and persion of the negroes at the option
can scarcely be described by those of the master, or in execution of his
who have witnessed them. I was will, is perhaps not easily determin
once on a coffee mountain (staying for ed. To a mind little conversant with
a few days with a brother clergyman, the technicalities of slavery, it would
who had permission to reside there,) appear that the evil, as far as the
on which were about seventy or eighty
negroes.' The proprietor was much must have tended towards the end
in debt, and was aware that one or proposed by the historian, an attachment of the slaves to the soil. two of his largest creditors had for Under that law, land and slaves were some time wished to make a levy on answerable for debts of equal degree, and might of course be sold together.
his slaves to pay themselves; but by -In 1797, four years after the publi- keeping his gates locked, and the cation of his history, the author, then fences round the dwelling house and a member of parliament, brought for
negro-houses in good repair, he had ward a motion for a repeal of the act complained of; urging, in support of hitherto baffled the Argus eyed depuhis motion, similar complaints with ty and his deputies. The night after those contained in the history.--The I arrived on the property, however, I friends of abolition, without much examination of the subject, gave credit
was awaked, about an hour before to the representation, and a bill was
daylight, by a great noise, as of arms, immediately passed in accordance with with cries of women and children. In his suggestion.
a few minutes a private servant came The repealing act however, does not even profess to attach the slaves
to my window and informed me, that to the soil, or to direct that lands and it was the marshal's deputies making slaves shall be sold together, or that a levy on the negroes, and that the either shall be exempt from sale; but merely repeals so much of the former
noise proceeded from the clashing of act as relates to negroes. The slaves weapons; for some of the slaves, he were thus left, in regard to sale, un said, had stoutly resisted. I then der the unrestrained operation of co alarmed my friend, and we determin. lonial usages and laws: and there is good reason to believe, that no at
ed to go out to see that no improper tempt has yet been made, by any of was made of the tremendous the local legislatures, to place the slaves on the ground of villeins regar
power given to these Cerberuses. By dant, or in any other way to redress
the time we arrived at the negro-houses the grievances 60 pathetically de.
the resistance had ceased; for the plored.
negroes being divided, had been over.
come by the myrmidons of the law. now guarded them. As it was, two One poor fellow, however, was being or three of the poor fellows were dragged along like a thief by a fierce wounded; and I was assured by a free , and horrid looking Irishman, who had brown man, who was looking after the been one of M'Gregor's freebooters, property in the master's absence, that and who when we came near, grasped had the proprietor been there, there his victim more tightly, and brandish would have been sad work, and very ed his broad sword over the poor crea
ea- likely murder; for it was an illegal ture with the grin and growl of a de levy, and the resistance would have
been desperate under their master's “Many of the men escaped from the eye
and voice. They were tied togeproperty, and some few others, with ther, or hand-cuffed, and driven off some women, secreted themselves the same morning to Spanish-Town among the coffee trees, till the party gaol, a distance of twenty miles; but had gone off with their prey. They
as they had been seized before sunsecured, however, ten or twelve men,
rise, and the fence had been also broand many of the women and children, ken through, both of which are illeamounting in the whole to obetween gal, the owner obtained their enlargethirty and forty, who were huddled ment shortly after and they were allowtogether on the outside of the princi ed to go back to the spot they loved. pal fence, and presented such a heart I might here remark, that the labour rending scene as I never witnessed is much lighter on a coffee mountain before, and should be very sorry ever tha on a sugar estate, and that the to witness again. Some of the chil negroes are not required to be up so dren had lost their mothers and some much at night, to pick and cure coffee, of the mothers had been torn away
as they are to make sugar; where, from a part of their children; for some
therefore, they have good provision of the little urchins also escaped. One grounds, as they had on this mountain woman in particular, a housewoman,
I have been speaking of, they are had six or seven children: two or much more comfortable, and less hathree of them were seized, and the
rassed than on a sugar estate."--Bickothers escaped; but the youngest, an
ell's Picture of Slavery. infant, had been caught, and she wept As it frequently happens that husaloud and very bitterly for it, saying, band and wife are held by different that she must give up herself if the proprietors, the breaking up of a child was not got back, for she could gang in consequence of the decease or not live separated from it. There were insolvency of their owner, must often many a bitter cry and sad lament dissolve for life those matrimonial ties, among the women and children, for which, in civilized society, form the they loved their master, who was kind, sweetest solace of life. No marvel and had excellent provision grounds for then that among persons, liable at all them: but most of the men were dog times, to this cruel separation, the maged and sullen, and only wanted arms trimonial bond should be held exto obtain their freedom from the sa. tremely loose. The general profligacy vage whites and their associates, who of manners, prevalent among the
West Indian slaves, has been frequent or parent, though expressly retained assigned as a cause of their decrease, by the seller, pass by the same conBut independently of the example of veyance to the purchaser, and may be their superiors, that profligacy must claimed without any additional price. be greatly increased, if not originally | The most express and solemn stipulaproduced, by the precarious tenure tion between the parties, contrary to by which all their domestic comforts this rule, has been adjudged to be are held.—The poor untutored slave void. No such limitation of the mascan hardly form a proper estimate of ter's power is found in the codes of the sanctity of the marriage covenant, any British sugar island. when he beholds it lightly dissolved Of the liability of slaves to be seizby his more enlightened proprietor. ed and sold, separate from the lands
The incident of negro slavery above they cultivate at the suit of creditors, noticed, if not peculiar to that species for the payment of the master's debts, of servitude, is by no means the com
om- | it is believed no precedent can be mon lot of slaves. Instances to the
found in any part of the ancient world, contrary, both in ancient and modern
nor can any be found where such a times, and among people reputed bar. liability would be productive of so barous, are noted in the preceding much practical evil, as in the countries numbers. The slaves among our half under review.-There more than in civilized ancestors of the middle ages, any other place, the planters are strugappear to have been generally of the gling with difficulties and burdened class denominated villeins regardent, with debts, and their property fluctuwho were attached to the soil and not
ating from hand to hand. liable to separation from it; and such In the United States, with a partial are at this day the slaves of Poland and
exception in the state of Louisiana,* Russia.
Plantation slaves, not only in the * In a law of Louisiana, passed in Spanish and Portuguese, but in the 1806, it is provided, that “ slaves shall French Islands also, are real estate,
always be reputed and considered real
estate; shall be, as such, subject to be attached to the soil they cultivate, and
mortgaged according to the rules prenot liable to be seized and sold to sa scribed by law, and they shall be seiztisfy the debts of their owners.
ed and sold as real estate." By the With regard to domestics, the power
civil code they are pronounced im
moveable property; and therefore it of alienation, where it prevails, is mo would appear that when slaves, and dified by various restrictions, founded
the land on which they are located, on humanity towards the slaves. There
belong to the same proprietor, they
are not liable to be separated by prois a wise and merciful provision in the cess of law. Code Noir which prohibits the selling In the same state it is enacted, that of the husband without the wife, the
“if at a public sale of slaves, there
happen to be some who are disabled, parents without the children, and vice
through old age or otherwise, and who Sales made contrary to this re have children, such slaves shall not gulation, if by process of law under
be sold but with such of their chil. seizure for debts, are declared void ;
dren as they may choose to go with."
Unfortunately this humane provision, but if voluntary on the part of the has shared the fate to which, almost master, the wife or husband, children all the laws, designed for the protec
the slave is liable to be sold, at the op.
much greater number of slaves, than tion of the master, or by process of
he can profitably employ. If in such law, as a personal chartel.-In one or case one supernumerary slave may two of the states where slavery is still
be sold or given away, why not an
hundred? tolerated, slaves are not legally remorable beyond the limits of the state,
No further south than the eastern and in several of them laws are in shore of Maryland, a regular traffic in force which prohibit their introduc. slaves is carried on.—A correspondent tion, except under particular circum- residing in one of the small towns in stances.*
that district, mentions, in a letter to As, however, slaves are, with very
the editor, “ there are now, or have few exceptions, liable to be sold to
been within a few days past, eight or any one who may choose to purchase ten persons at this place, whose them, and an open market for their arowed object is to obtain slaves. sale remains in several of the south. They are almost daily going and comern and western portions of the Uni- ing, but we may fairly conclude that ted States, an interterritorial traffic from four to six make this their place in their persons, is prosecuted, to an
of rendezvous for several months of extent which baffles calculation, and the year, for as one goes off with his stamps a stigma on our national cha
booty, another comes to supply his racter. Even where the introduction
place.” In one small county where of slaves, as an article of trade, is
the trade was not carried on so es. legally proscribed, the authority al. itensively as in some others, eighty lowed to emigrants intending to set
three were recorded in the jailors tle in any of those states, to bring
books in the course of six months, with them any number of slaves what.
as deposited for safe keeping. We ever, must open à door for a consi
may, however, presume that a part derable traffic of this kind. For the
only of those sold are thus deposited. emigrant may very soon discover, that
-So common has this traffic become, he has brought for his own use, a
that the poor manacled slaves are
frequently seen travelling in droves tion of slaves in the slave-holding toward the place of their destination, districts, have, by some strange fata
and little or no examination made lity, been condemned. Though the parents in this case may not be sold
into the legality of the power by without the children, an evil not very which they are held.—This trade is likely to be inflicted where they are held in the state of Maryland, to be superannuated or otherwise disabled from labour, yet the children may be
entirely legal, and may be prosecutsold without the parents, and thus
ed, with impunity, to any extent.effect a complete dissolution of the family ties. Every person is also pro * In the county alluded to, the hibited from selling separately from whole slave population between 14 their mother, the children who shall and 45, in 1820, amounted to 2119. not have attained the age of ten years. -These ages, probably include most If, however, the mother may be sold of those who would be confined in without the children, which I believe jail, in order to be sold, and there. may be legally done, the great evil fore it would appear that nearly eight remains unredressed. See note page 54.
per cent. of the most saleable part of the slaves were annually sold.
The transportation of slaves from at a definite but future period; are Baltimore and Alexandria, to the peculiarly exposed to the danger of southern ports, appears a regular busi being removed, by this shameful
From the latter, three or four traffic, beyond the power of rescue. small vessels sail once or twice a year, Poor, ignorant and friendless, how carrying from seventy to an hundred can the indented black, when sold to persons. But the number who are a southern trader, and carried to a conveyed by land, from the neigh distant market, where the colour of bourhood of the Potomac, to the his skin is legal evidence of his slastates bordering on the Mississippi very, recover the liberty to which he and the Mexican gulf, can be cor is entitled ? Numerous instances have rectly determined by those only who occurred of free persons, or those are connected with the trade.-Two who were bound for a limited time, thousand are supposed to be annually || being rendered the objects of this transported by land and water, from trade. the District of Columbia, and the ad In the legalized traffic, sufficient jacent parts of Maryland and Virgi evidence appears that the dictates of nia. If in these states, slaves are not humanity are frequently so far reraised purposely for sale, they cer. garded, as to pay some respect to fa. tainly, when raised, compose an im mily ties, and so to manage the sales portant part of the annual exports of as to prevent the disruption of the the country. A correspondent from marriage union : yet it is a lamentable Virginia, estimates the returns of truth, that this most important part of cash from the sale of slaves, as nearly the negro's destiny, is left almost en. equal to those derived from the pro- || tirely, to the discretion of the parties duce of the soil. How near the truth to the sale. In our own country, as this estimate is, I have not the means well as in the British West Indies, the to determine. Though the state of marriages of slaves are seldom regis. Tennessee is of comparatively recent tered, or in any manner legally recog. settlement, there are several hun nized. The union of slaves being dreds annually exported. They are thus left to be formed and dissolved to be seen travelling in droves of 100 by themselves, as fancy or passion or upwards; those who appear re may
it is difficult to suppose fractory, being frequently chained that a very scrupulous regard should together in companies of fifteen or be paid to these feeble and fragile twenty.
connexions, when the parties become Where a traffic in slaye$ is thus ac. an object of trade. These circum. tively carried on, and sanctioned by stances, as already observed, must existing laws, those coloured persons | powerfully contribute to the general who are legally free, must necessarily dissoluteness of manners, so mnourn hold their freedom by a very preca. || fully prevalent where slavery predorious tenure, particularly, where minates; an evil which is seldom con. every person tinged with an African fined to the servile class. die, is presumed to be a slave, unless The government of the United proved to be free. Such also of this States, by identifying the African race, as are entitled to their freedom, slave trade with the crime of piracy,