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Presbyterian Versus Methodist

Presbyterian Versus Methodist image
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A few doyo since, we liad the plcnsure of tak(ftg by the hand a Methodist brother from the land of slavcry, named John Billings. He-waa about twenty seven yenrs of age, intelligent, sensible, and polite and had every nppearance of a sincere Chrietinn. Some particulars of his fcislo ry, as related by him, may interest our readers, ae ihey illusirate the state of society at the South John BilJings wai bom in Charleston, S. C. - When quite young, although a slave, his mother eteht hitn to a school lor free colored children, tohere he learned to read. At the age of eight years, he and his mother wcre removed by their mastcr to Lexington, Ky. His master's name waa Atcherson. He follovved the business of raising horses, espeeially rnce horses, for the southern inarket. Twice a year he despatched John and o;herslaves to Charleston with a drove of horses, and upually brcught back a drove of slaves, eometimes thirty or forty in nmnber.- They were chiifly young persons of both sexes, robust and healthy, as such were the most saleablc. Alchcrson uaiially told the slaves he wnnt thetn for lis own use; but they werecd of ader their nrrival in Kentncky. He was personnlly kind and liberal to his slaves, keeping no overseer, and oftcn leaving them to their work for days together without being present with ihem. While on tlieir wny from South Carolina, the slaves travelled n compony, anc campcd out. They were not chained togeiher, as thcy were usual rilling to go to the west in hopea of bettet Hbndition. ín South Carolina, the usual nllowance of a slave was a peck of corn, and a pound of mcat per week. The corn was ground by the slaves at night in handmills. Slaves dicl not usually have gardensof their own in South Carolina or Kentho latter atate they had eneugh to cat. Some years since, Mr. Atcherson died. and John, with acven otlicrs, became the property of his son Daniel, a young gentíeman now about twenty-two years of age, who is studying for tho mimstry at a Theological Inetitution at Dansville. This young student is a Presbyterian, and every year hired out John to such persons as would give the greatest price for his services. - He usually obtained for him $120 per annum,and sometimes more, giving to John all he could earn beyond that amount to provide fot his necewities. Thus John was worth to hh maaier $J20 year clcar of all expense. Among olhers wilh whom he lived, was a Methodist minister, named Spencer Cooper who owned twcnty-hve or thirly slaves. He raited a largo number of race horses, which were sold in Lexinglon and clsewhere. He employed John to train these florees for that business; and on set days, they were taken to the course, and their speed and bottom asceitained. He preached frequently in Lexington.Ashland, the seat of Henry Clay, is distan t from Lexington only about a mile. He keeps an overseer on hts plantatiori. John was familiar with many of Mr. Clay's slaves. He gave the eame dcscription of ihe placeas J. C. Fuller did, when ho visited it last sumnier. Upon ment ioning to him the particulars of Mr. Fuller's vleit, he said tbe old woman with whom Mr. F. conversed, who had been bought by Mr. Clay at Washington, and from whom so many children had been sold, was Mrs. Jopee, the mother of Mr. Clay's favorite body servant, Charles. This old woman was formerly maid servant to Mr. Clay, being very epry and active . Mr. Clay's man Charles iL of dark complexion, and can neither read nor write, but his natural parts are good, and he is thought by some to be a smarter man than his master. Mr. C. keeps this man constanüy with him wherever he goes. Mr. Clay is notat all popular with the colored people, as they believe he uses his influence on all occasions to prevent emancipation. On one occasion where he was called in to write a will for a wealthy old gentleman who owned many slaves, and wbo had long promised to emancípate them at his death, he persuaded him not to do it, and all the slaves were sold at his decease, or divided among the heirs. John fully confirmed the statement in 'Slaverj as it is,' that the son-in-Iaw oi Mr. Clay Mr. Erwin, was formerly engaged extensively in the domestLc slave trade.In Lexington, races are held twice a year. - Cock-fighting iscommon n the country. Card playing ia a fashionable amusement of ladies and gentlemen, though the amount played for is commonly email, not exceeding a few dollars. - It ia usual ior yoting gentlemen at the South to go armed with pistola - sometimes with four pistols and a dirk. Professors of religión and elderly gentlemen do not usually carry arms - or if they do, they are not exposed to sight. John has been a member of the Methodist Church for 11 years. He is connected with the colored church in Lexington, which hs a ministar of their own people, eupported exclusivcly by them. Through all the South, th e colored people prefer attending meetings by themselvep.The colored people of Lexington are not allowed to meet for instruction in a Sabbath school, either from booke, or by oral instruction. Many slaves can read, and have Bibles and other books, which they have purchased, or which have been given to them by religious people. The Presbyteriano havo displaycd more interest in the spiritual welfare of the calorad people than the other denomina distribu ting Bibles and tracts, and impar ting religious instmction. The ministers of all denominations in Lexington, hold slaves. John bas a wife and two children. Her mistress is a memher of the Episcopalian clurch. He has a ister in Louisville, owned by a Presbyterian. It is customary for the slavcs, thiough the entíre South, to be married, usually by a colored minister. No slaves of any respectability would think of living together, without being married. The marriage, however, has no legality to it, and ie u eeaily annulled as contracted. Where the parties are sold away from each other, without any prospect of being re-united, it is customary, with the consent of the former companion, to eelect another, even when the geparation hos existed only a few months. The colored ministers of all denominatioii8 sanction this arrangement, and it ia acted upon generally by the colored inwofemTtvlrarcbtt without ecruple.The slaves at Lexington wore kept voy ignorant of all anti-slavery movementa. Every ubolition paper, nfrer being read by white pcople was na cnrefuüy locked up as ihough il was so much gold. But the local pnpers ïnight be rend by the slaves without rcstraint. Jühn had rcac an account of the affair of the C.eole in the Lexington pnpers. The trentment of the slaves varied exccedingly uith the character of their masters or employer8. While 80me were treated with much lundness and indulgence, being seldom or never punished. others were ready to die from the cruehies and privaiions they endured. Some moalcve and ntistresses whipped their own slavea: while others called in the aid of the watch, wlio took tliem to a particular place in the city for punishment, or 6ome:imes flogged theni without taking them rom the house, wherc the cellara were eo constructed as to prevent their screams irom disturbng the neighborhood. From nhat intercourse he had had wiih the slaves of the South & West, John was of opinión hat all eíTorts to excite them to insurrection, originating among themselves, would be unsuccessul Jo any considerable extent. They luckeduumiuuuuc ia memsejves ana in eacn otner. - They were worn down and dispirited. Bat shoulJ an.arniy of foreigners land on the South ern ehores, and ofler ihem freedom and a supply of urnis. they would bc joined by tens of tliou8ands, who, unless encouraged by foreign aid, would never think of asserting their rights by force. Evcry one knows that the A frican race ara strongly attached to thrir friends. A Jarge share of their joys anJ griefs are intertwined with iheir social relations. John enjoyed the society of bis wife nnd children; but his felicity hung by a prccnrious tenure. His fnmily might be parted from him at any moment by thes.ile oí himself, his wife, or children. His experience in the slave trade in his oíd master's service enabled him to know that no íenr of pundering family ties would be allowed to have the least weight in disturbing the caleulations thnt the owners of a family might mfike respecting them. Those who purchnse slaves select them on the same principies they do their horaes, choosingsuch asare young, likely and intelligent.fíis young master imimated to him that he thought of removing to Miesouri, when he sliould have completed his ministerial studies, with the intention of ascertaining whether he would wiilingly accompany him. He assured his master Ihat he never would go. Nothing more was smd; but John well knew that the next step would be sell him, perhaps to some slave trader to be sent south. He had not a very exalted opinión of his master as a Christian, and he thoughi he might sell him to go South out of revenge for refusing to accompany him to Missouri. He was advised to go to Canada, and he determined his family should go with him. Accordingly, by previous concert, his wifeobtained leave to visit, with her chidren, a connection n the country who was sick, with the privilege of being absent several days. John boldly entered the stage office, and paid for the transportation of his wife and children to Cincinnati. Being well known in the city, no questions were asked, and they were inken to Cincinnati in a day, where a gentleman engaged their passage to Detroit, andin nine days he received a letter from Malden, informnig him of the safe arrival of liis famüy. without any disfurbance whatever. John availed himself of the first cpportunity to follow, although by a more tsdious route, and he hns no fear vbatever but that he can take care of himself. Now reader, you understand the paTticulars of this attempt of a Methodist to defraud his Presbyterian brothcr of his whole value, which is a thousand dollars. We could not persuade him that he had done wrong. He insisted thnt he owned himself, and that tlie $120 per year he paid Brothcr Atcherson was wrongfully extorted from him. On the olher hand, Brother Atcherson feels that the said Brother Billings was bound nccording to Scripture, to serve him till dath.- Both of these brethren cannot be r'ight. Their positioriB clnsh. One has certainly robbed the other. If the Method ist be wrong, bis sin is aggravated. It may be he has hin dered his Presbyterian brother from ever preachine a manstenling Gospel! He ooght be sent back, like Onesimus, and all Methodists who have knowingly helped him should be disciplined. But suppose this Presbyterian student is all wrong, and has robbed ibis Methodist brother - what then? VVill the two denominations look into this matter, and execute righteous judgment between these Christian brethren?


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