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NARRATIVE OF SAMUEL SCOMP.

transit they are not permitted to hold

side in the middle states, have never any conversation with white persons, been within our borders to reside, but except in the presence of their keep- || have, like our free born blacks for the ers, and every guard and caution is last 12 years at least, been the subjects thrown around them in order to pre of a most cruel oppression, the victims vent the truth of their story from being of a gang of unprincipled kidnappers, known to the purchaser, until the who have so far almost with impunity wages of iniquity have been pocketed set at defiance the laws of God and by the seller, and he has secured his man. Many of their haunts are now retreat;

and when the truth of the known to the police of this city, and transaction is afterwards developed, it it would seem there has been a reguat once becomes a question between lar system of operations carried on, a the interest and the conscience of the chain of posts established from Pennholder, who has given value for what sylvania to Louisiana. It gives us great he considered a legal property, and pleasure to publish a letter on the subhence the tedious and protracted de ject written by the late Richard Stockcisions, that so frequently attend cases ton, then attorney general of Mississipof kidnapping

pi, it breathes all that humanity and fine There is a kind of noble feeling in feeling for which he was so well the people of Mississippi in relation to known and so greatly beloved by his this subject, if we may judge from the friends. sample before us, that does them infinite credit; they denounce in the strongest terms of detestation, the illegal | City of Philadelphia, Commonwealth of and infamous traffick which is the sub Pennsylvania, ss. Mayor's Office, ject of our discussion. It is indeed June 30, 1826. exhilirating to the friends of humanity,

Samuel Scomp, deposeth that he is to perceive, that even the chief ma

about sixteen years of age ; that he is gistrate of the commonwealth can con

the bound servant of David Hill of descend from his exalted situation to

New Jersey, was to serve Mr. Hill uninquire into the misfortunes of a poor til he was 25 years old, ran away from kidnapped boy, “and to stretch forth

his said master and came to Philadelhis hand to relieve those who are rea

phia in the summer of the last year dy to perish.” To all who thus do,

1825, was at Market street wharf, in waa blessing is promised by him whose

ter melon and peach time; a small muword is truth. It is our deliberate

latto man named J. Smith, spoke to deopinion, founded upon much observa

ponent to help him bring a load of water tion and experience, that the difficul

melons from the Navy Yard up to Marties which have occasionally arisen in

ket street wharf, for which Smith was to opposition to the claimants of fugitives

pay him a quarter dollar ; they walked from labour, who having absconded

down town, below the Navy Yard and from their masters' service, have har

the Rope Walks, clear of all the houses, boured in this and other of the mid

when a little boat came ashore from a dle states, has in a great degree been small sloop at anchor near the middle the consequence of the repeated ag of the river; Smith asked the white gressions of this kind, and by unautho man in the boat if he had water melons rized attempts of persons under claim to sell, said he had plenty ; when they of law; and we further believe on un

got on board, a white man by the questionable authority, that many name of Joseph Johnson, asked them slaves who have been missed from the

to go into the cabin to take a drink; states of Maryland and Virginia parti- || they did so, no persons but themselves cularly, and who are supposed to re were in the cabin ; Joe Johnson came dren are whipped unmercifully for their veraci

down in a few minutes, crossed depoty, and directed to tell a tale better suited to the nent's hands and tied them with rope views of the professed masters. This discipline is continued at intervals until they become so

yarn, at the same time he tied Smith's completely drilled, that a stranger, whether the hands in the same way, (this was about professed owner is present or not, can scarcely 8 o'clock in the morning,) Johnson obtain from them, by any means whatever, any other account than the false one which has been

said to deponent, that deponent's faprepared for them.

ther and himself were slaves and had

since ;

run away from him in Maryland, that Jesse Cannon's about a week in irons this was the first time he had seen him in a garret. On a Saturday night they

had a large Spanish knife, with were put into a wagon with Mary Fishwhich he threatened to cut his throat er, (and another woman who said she if he resisted or made a noise. John was a slave named Maria Neal.) Mary Smith sat still in the mean time, Joe Fisher declared she was a free woman, Johnson then untied Smith and told had been kidnapped, and carried to him to be off, and not let him catch Patty Cannon's; they rode about three him there again; there was no peach miles in the wagon, which was drove es, or melons, or corn, or other cargo on by John Smith the mulatto ; Ebene. board the sloop, she was ballasted with zer Johnson and his wife, were behind stone ; saw Smith in the boat going | in a gig; they were put into a boat and ashore, a white man lifted the hatch of

rowed on board of a larger sloop than the sloop and put him below and came the one they were first in on the Deldown and put a round horse lock on aware ; they were put into the hold in his legs; thinks this man's name was irons and kept so, the vessel went to Collins, for he heard Joe Johnson as sea for about a week, when they again they went afterwards through a corn landed, he don't know where; he don't field call him by that name. When de know either of the sloops' names, the ponent was put into the hold of the last sloop was commanded by Robert sloop, he found Enos Tilghman and Dunn, an old man who also cooked on Alexander Manlove already there, board ; Ebenezer Johnson and his wife Enos was in irons, Alexander was not; and Jesse Cannon, were passengers on these boys told deponent they had board, and helped to work the vessel. been caught the night before, by the Deponent and fellow prisoners were same John Smith. The same day a then marched through Alabama, with boy, who called himself Joe Johnson, the irons off in the day time, and put a sweep, about 16 years old, was also on always when they stopt ; Cornelius brought on board by John Smith, and Sinclair was parted from them, and was also immediately put in leg irons. said to be sold in Tuscaloosa, for 400 Cornelius Sinclair, (who was sold at dollars, as he heard Ebenezer JohnTuscaloosa,) was the last one brought son tell his wife; they had a one horse on board the sloop by John Smith, wagon with some provision and bagabout an hour after the boy Joe John gage, it was generally drove by the son;

he also had leg irons put on him ; little boys Enos Tilghman and AlexCollins came down, and said to them, ander Manlove; the wagon was fol. Now boys, be still make no noise or l’H lowed by Ebenezer and his wife in cut your throats. On the same night the gig; the older and bigger prisonthey got up the anchor and went ers walked as he believes 600 miles, down the river, and were on the wa until they arrived at Rocky Spring ; ter about a week, when they were lan believes they walked 30 miles a day, ded, he don't know whether in Dela without shoes; when they complained ware or Maryland, about twenty miles of sore feet and being unable to trafrom Joe Johnson's house, don't think vel they were most cruelly flogged ; the sloop was at sea on this occasion, that deponent has received more than they landed in a kind of pond about fifty lashes at one time; that himself, two hours after sun down, the irons Joe and Cornelius, were most frewere taken off their legs, and ropes quently flogged; their feet became tied round their necks, they were then frosted in Alabama ; that on one ocmarched through marshes, corn fields, casion this deponent attempted to esand brushwood, until they were ta cape while in the Choctaw nation, but ken up by a carriage driven by Joe was caught by an Indian, and returnJohnson, and carried to his house ; ed to Ebenezer Johnson, who flogged they were confined in a garret there him with a hand saw and with hickoin irons 24 hours, then carried to Jes ries in a most dreadful manner; (the se Cannon's on a Sunday night, by him back of this deponent and his head, (Cannon,) and by Ebenezer F. John were dreadfully scarred by the repeatson; this was the first time the boys ed beatings he had received, (the ever saw Ebenezer, they were kept at party of prisoners except Cornelius,

remained near a month and a half, near correspondence between you, fortha small town called Ashville, within with to New Orleans, and that you 16 miles of the Cherokee nation, low may expect them shortly. 'He has no down in Alabama ; Ebenezer Johnson doubt from the documents transmitted, owned a log house and some land but that they have been basely kidnapthere ; they then proceeded to Rocky | ped, and are really entitled to their Spring; and when within 7 miles of freedom. He is, however, under obli. Rocky Spring, Joe Johnson, one of the gations to have them returned, if their boys, died in the wagon in conse freedom is not established by the first quence of the frequent and cruel beat. day of January next, and may by posings he received from Ebenezer John. sibility be subject to serious inconveson : deponent once heard Johnson's nience, and labours under considerawife declare that it did her good to ble anxiety. The necessity you sugsee him beat the boys; Joe was lame gest of having their testimony, to enand frosted in the feet, was very weak, sure a conviction of the wretches who and for near three weeks fell frequent have thus torn them from their friends, ly as he walked; the weather was has induced me to advise him to send very cold in Alabama ; about one day them and risk the consequences. If before he died he was severely flog the felons should be convicted, you ged with a cart whip, he died in the will oblige a most worthy man by forwagon; Mrs. Johnson was in the wa warding to him the record, properly gon when he died; Ebenezer had pre and legally authenticated. He has viously sold his horse and gig and one been already at great trouble and exhorse wagon, and traded for a four pense, and a suit to recover them from horse wagon; they were all except him, would be at once burthensome the slave woman, taken from Ebenezer Johnson by Mr. John W. Hamil It is a subject of deep regret to ton, a planter, about seven miles east me that proper measures were not of Rocky Spring, who kept them and taken to ascertain the cause of the provided well for them, and took care death of one of the unfortunate youths, of them for four or five months, until at the time the rest were stopped. he took them to Natchez, put them There is no doubt upon my mind, but on board of a steam boat and sent that he was cruelly and barbarously them to Benjamin Morgan at New Or murdered. The situation of Sam and leans, who procured them a passage to Enos, too clearly proves the treatment this port, where they arrived on the they had received, and if their testimo29th inst. Mary Fisher, the woman, ny can be relied upon, the cause of the declined coming by sea, and preferred other's death is apparent. Mary Fishremaining with Mr. Hamilton, where er is entirely unwilling to go by sea, she enjoyed the rights of a free wo but prefers remaining until an opporman; and further deponent sayeth not. tunity may occur to send her by land.

She is treated as a free woman, and will his

be held subject to your orders. I SAMUEL ☆ SCOMP.

would suggest the propriety of sendmark.

ing on the evidences of her freedom, Witness present, ?

if you should deem it advisable to ADAM TRAQUAIR. S

give directions for her return. She is Sworn and subscribed before me,

still in the possession of Mr. Hamilton, the day and year aforesaid,

who is a man every way worthy of JOSEPH Watson, Mayor.

confidence, and who will be guided entirely by your decision as to her fu

ture destination. The state of MissisNatchez, May 26th, 1826. | sippi, is a slave holding state, but be The Honourable JOSEPH WATSON.

assured, Sir, there is no community that

holds in greater abhorrence, the infa. Dear Sir. I have been requested mous traffic carried on by negro steal. by Mr. John W. Hamilton, of this state, ers, and none that by public sentiment to inform you he would send the ne and by legislative enactment, give groes which have been the subject of greater facilities, for those unjustly de.

VOL.I.--6

tained, to obtain their emancipation. A simple petition will put the parties upon trial before any of our Circuit Courts, no person can evade the obligations of the law, and the legal guards against oppression are ample and encouraging. There has not been a solitary instance, among the numerous' applications annually made, when time has not been allowed to procure testimony, even from the most distant parts. Public feeling is uniformly enlisted in favour of the petitioning slave, the bar are ever ready to tender their professional services, and the provisions of our humane statutes are enforced, and generally at the expense of our own fellow citizens, who are innocent purchasers. For myself I can say, that in my private situation, and as attorney general of the state of Mississippi, no trouble will be considered too great, and no exertions shall be

spared, to bring to a punishment, which under our law is capital, those infamous miscreants who thus deal in human suffering; and believe me, Sir, in pursuing the dictates of my own feelings, I am but acting in conformity with the general sentiment of the citizens of the state. With the most respectful consideration, I remain your obedient servant,

RICHARD STOCKTON.

to him for his politeness on the occasion, but as a citizen of this state, for his benevolent and persevering endeavours to bring the criminals to justice, to liberate the captives and restore them to their families and their friends.

In laying the circumstances connected with the stealing of the negroes before the public, we cannot forbear to express our belief, that there is not any portion of the American people, who view with more horror, transactions of this kind, than those of the state of Mississippi ; none we are certain that would more readily step forth to aid the constituted authorities in bringing the offenders to justice, and to assist in doing every thing that was proper to release the victims of their rapacity from bondage; for the manner of making them slaves and dragging them from their homes and their connexions, is an outrage against the laws of God and man.

During the last session of the legislature, we endeavoured by a variety of arguments, founded on the policy which we thought was necessary, from the situation of this state, to pursue, to pass a law prohibiting the introduction of slaves into this

state, and we were in hopes, from the self-evident necessity of such a measure, no difficulties would have been interposed to prevent the passage of the act; we are however gratified to learn that the opposition to it was of a very feeble character, and that no apprehensions are to be entertained as to the passage of such a law at the next session. The transactions which have led us at this time to refer to our former remarks, will we hope, convince every citizen, of the state, of the necessity of prohibiting the introduction of slaves within its limits, excepting the application of it to our positive and settled citizens, or those who are about to become such. It is true we have a law prohibiting certain descriptions of slaves from being brought into the state, but it is very inefficient and difficult of execution. At the last session of the criminal court of this county, an attempt was made to carry the law into operation. Several individuals implicated in the violation of it, were presented by the grand jury, and bills found against them, and though the defen

Natchez, March 2, 1827. We can scarcely conceive of any crime more repugnant to the feeling's of humanity, than that of kidnapping, none which should be more positively denounced by a civilized people, none which should be more promptly acted against, in order to bring the offenders to justice, and restore the captives to their homes and their families. We are induced to make these remarks, by reading in the American Daily Advertiser, the following account of a number of free, persons of colour, who were stolen and brought on by force from the respective places of their birth or of their homes, and sold as slaves in this state, and other southern sections of the U on. Shortly after reading the account, we applied to Duncan S. Walker, Esq. of this city, for such further information on the subject as he might be in possession of, and the editor feels not only indebted

ought to be free, and such as are known to have done so are not esteem ed in our society.

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dants were ably defended by their counsel, R. H. Adams and W. B. Griffith, Esquires, before Judge Winchester, on a motion to quash the presentment, yet the strength of argument and the eloquence of the counsels for the state, Robert Walker and George Adams, Esquires, would undoubtedly have prevailed, but for the defect which was evident in the presentment. As our fellow citizens have deemed the subject worthy of great consideration, and as it is rendered more particularly so in consequence of the number of free negroes forcibly brought into this state for sale, we avail ourselves of Mr. Walker's permission to publish such documents connected with the affair alluded to, as have not yet been made known and with which he has furnished us.

Independently of every humane consideration of the subject, it is proper to observe that the dangers to be apprehended from the kidnapping of negroes into this state is of a very serious character. Good slaves may be stolen or seduced from good masters ; husbands, wives and children may be separated from each other, it is true, by the cunning and management of the kidnapper, and many heart-rending scenes may occur, the recital of which would create a sympathy in the bosom of every human being. “But to the people of a slave holding state, the evils to be apprehended from the introduction of such negroes are of no ordinary character; the bad as well as the good, the bond as well as the free, are alike liable to be seized by the kidnapper and brought into the state, and however much we might be disposed to liberate a free negro from the irons of the wretch who stole him, yet for the most part free negroes are the worst description of people that could even willingly be brought among us.

Policy, therefore, as well as humanity, requires that our citizens take every measure in their power to assist in restoring these unfortunate beings to their homes and their families; most certain we are, whatever some few of our Atlantic brethren may think to the contrary, that scarcely any established citizen of the state could be found, who would be willing to hold in bondage, a fellow being, who of right

Natchez, December 23, 1826. DEAR SIR.--The enclosed statement of a most cruel and complicated piece of villany, was accidentally discovered by the servant of Mr. Holmes, (late Governor of this State,) and afterwards taken down by D. S. Walker, Esq. a gentleman of the bar, whose professional services we have thought advisable to engage, and whose note we herewith send you.

Public justice requires that prompt measures be taken, to release these unfortunate persons, and if possible to punish the aggressors. Aware of the benevolent feelings of the Philadelphians, and the readiness with which the public authorities would be exerted in the cause of humanity, we have not hesitated to institute an inquiry for their relief. Some creditable person or persons, will have to be sent out for the purpose of identifying these people, and to prove their condition. The residence of many of these persons is unknown to us, but it is believed they may be all found upon search.

Since this statement was made out, the woman, Lydia Smith, has been brought to this city, and sold as a slave, measures are now taking to have her secured against further removal. We are, respectfully, your obedient servants,

David HOLMES,

J. E. Davis. The Hon. Joseph Watson, Mayor of the

City of Philadelphia.

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THE NARRATIVE, Of Peter Hook, a black boy, now in the possession of Mr. Perryman, of Holmesville, Pike county, Mississippi, says, that he is free. That he was born in Philadelphia. He seems, from his statement, to have been kidnapped June, 1825. That he was induced one evening by a black man whom they called John, to go down to a schooner near Arch street wharf to get a dram. That a white man, whom they called Joe Johnson, took him down, tied his hands across and chained him to the pump. Two hoys, William Miller,

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