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Communications: For The Signal Of Liberty: Slave-hunting In ...

Communications: For The Signal Of Liberty: Slave-hunting In ... image
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Union City, (Micii.) Feu. Llst 1813. Mkssrs Editors: The following chapter onmcn and thing-s, is prepared with the hope, that the grsat cause of humanity will be subserved by its publication. Arnong a company of slnver, owncd by Prcsley Nclnis in Anson county in the southern part ofNcrth Carolina, vvas David Sniith, a son of his master by onother slavc. Smith wos early tanght (he blticksmiths trade, and contimied lo follow it under the direction of his master, till his hcad began to blossom for the grave. He was permit:ed lo marry, and was blesscd with several children. He had the confidence and estcem of his master who manifested his favor toward Smith, by ninking lrim a supervisor of his out-door aft'airs. lie toiled at theforge from early in the morning1, til! late at night, for his task was to keep the implements on tlie p'antation in working order, and do such custom work as was presented, besides the supervisión he gave to other business. The orders for work were never allovved to lie over a single day. The necessity for thi, aróse from the fact that the amount of work lo be done every doy was nearly the same, nnd consequently, it would not do for a part of one daj's business to be thrown into the next. He was un commonly iiidustrious, and attentive to his work, and seldom passed a singlo quarter of un hour in idleness. For nll ihis labor, he was cornpensated with one peck of corn and two pounds of pork per week, and a scanty supply of clothing. The master becomin"1 aged, an] having used the nwn till he was nearly used up,' he being 51 years oíd at this time, doubtless thotight thaí manumission would atone for all the guilt of enslaving God's immage. So he presented Smith free paper?, and made hirn what his Creator designed him to be years befow?, a - Mr. Sinith was assured that upon bis being prepared in somc free state to support and take care of his family, they should also be eniancipated, and juin him. He accordingly wont to Ohf, añd after the lapse of nearly four months, was about going South lo receivo his family, consitting of a wife, two sonsand two daugliters. Just before setting out on his jourhey, he received intelligfiice that his oíd master liad died, and by his last vvill had mamimitted his ,'Smith's) family in accordance with his previous pledge. Bnt tlie pleasure which ths information wasadnpted to awaken was but for a moment, for he at the same lime learned tliat tho will which had been executed hnd failed to receive the signafures of the requisito number of witnesses, and the beirsof his oíd master, taking advantage of this circumsíance, had proceeded to set he instrurrent entirely aside, and to rnake such disposal of the utihappy victims of' their villany as interest might dictate. T the lot of Charles Nelm, feil Mr. Smitli's eldest son Andrew, who was about twenty oneyears old. Aridrew was a blacksmith, and Aas liighly valued for his industrious habits, and ingenuit}-. His master being about to remove further south and take him along, ] Ándrew took it inlo his head, that lic would sceki and traverse the path that leads towards ' the star of libcrty. A neighboring planter named Pemberton, became npprised of this feeling in Andrew, and offered him his assistance and counsel in his escape. He had for severa! years manifested a friendly disDosition towards Mr. Srni;h and his family. I This fact emboldtned Aiulrëw to perse-vere, and Pemberlon's proflered help Was gladly acerpted. Yonng Smith abruptly left his fnastCr, and was kindly welcomed intö Pemberíon's own j house. Peinberton informed Andrew that he had been mnch o'fFended by old Nelm, his former inaster, in being denied the hand of his i daughler which he had sougrü; and that he ' had resolved to be nvenged in the escape ofi his elaves. He induced Andrew to believe that he acted niainly under this provocation in abetting n his escape. Andrew wrote to his father in Ohio, and invited him to correspond with Pomberton on the subject. The old man rejoiced in the effort, and by the assistance of Pembertoft prepafed a set of frëe papers for his son's use in his northern tour. From the time of Androw's tírat escape to the reception of the forged papers, a period of nearly four monlhs elapsed . While Andrew was secreted in the vicinity of his old masterV residence, among some of his otfier acqnaintance?, he had reason to believe that Pemberton's friendship was false, that he was only keeping him away "from his master, for the purpose of buying him vvlicn at large for a small sum, and thus making a speculation out of him. Andrew acled on this conviction and fied to ühio, wliere his father had been residing. At the time of his master's decease, Mr. Smith had been adviied by friends at the South to remove from Ohio, bccauso it was feared his title to hiviself niight bc viliated, and the old man reduced again to bondage. Accordingly he carne to'this place, nnd was hircd by one onr black sniiths. But to return to the son. Ife made tiis way by means of the free papers safely to Ohio, wherc he found many true friends and acquaintances of his fother's. Upon Peniberton's becoming npprised of the fiigh' of Andrew, he set out on horse back in jursuit of him, and after journeying six weeks, found him in Mercercounty, Ohio. The first int;- mation Andrew had of Pemberton's following Inm was made by the Shenffof Mercer coun ty, vh o seized hira as Pemberton's runaway slave. The poor fellow was kept in custociy for a day or two, but subscquently was liberated on bail. Owingto somc inaceuracy in the procecdings, Pomberton abandoned tho snit and pairl his own cost. He was asked an explanation of his strange conduct, in his intercourse with Andrew, afier profossing so much friendship. He stated that he had beeti detected in aidinq Andrew by the Post Master, who perceiving the letter froni Smith of a larger size than usual, and from u free State, directed to him, had his suspicions excited and upon opening the package, found it to contain money, forged free papers and advicc from Andrew's father, relativo to his escape. The papers were cópied by tho Post Masicr, re-sealed and deliveret to him, and he had not been apprised of' the delection till a process of law was instiluted ogainst him, after the slave had left. That he had been compelled to buy Andrew, and pay fifteen hundred dollars, besides nearly five hundred dollars costs of a civil suit. He further stated, that he had been arrestcd on a criminal process, and barsly escaped being sontnced to the penitentiary for two ycart.but tiig leniont jndge had put him under bonds in the sum of five thousand dollars to appear at the fall term of court in 1343, and produce the sluve within the boundaries of the county, where tho court is to be held. The only proof of the truth of these sentiments, b the declaration of Pemberton. Upon the suit in Ohio bcing qnashed. two brothers by the name of Alfred, magnanimously ofFered to accompany Andrew on foot to his father at this placr, distant one hun dred and sixty miles thinking he wou'.d be 6afer here, and nearer the boundary line of slovery, over which he might stept, in case of emergency. The trio starled during a violent rain storm at nrdnight on foot, with but a very email allowance of spending money. A day or two after their departure, Pemberton üiscovered that he had again missed his victim, off he started in the pursuif, nnd when wilhin six miles of our village, overtook Andrew with his travling cornpanions. - The whole compuny carne into town togelher, and directcd their footsteps to the abode of Mr. Smith. Tl:e first intimation that Mr. S. had of tho safety and success of his son, was in beholding liim, and in being pcrniilted tosav, "This my son was dcad and is nliyc again.'' The meeting was affecting nnd interresting. Pemberlon immedintely conu menced a series of earnest &L vigorous cffortF, and by argument, pcrsuasior,and threalening, endeavored to convince both father and son that Andrew was moraïïy bound to return with hitn. He pleaded his inability to pay the 5,000 bond, wilhout being obliged to sell many "dear servants'; whose Iiearts would be broker!, were they compelled to be separated from him. All the eloquencc of four six barrel Colt's repeaters and bovvie knife, were brouglit into requisition, in connexion with stirnng appeals, and many tears. But all this did not avail. Further proof seemcd requisite to cstablish the truth of the alledged facls, and llie decisión was that the personal possessión of libefty, must not be hazarded by a return, where the nrmlicious and selfish feelings of the sbveholde-, might be demonstrated in tho misery and sorrow of their slave. Although Pemberton pledged his honor thát tipon being ïeleased frem paying the 84,000 bond, and upon receiving security for the imrnediate payment of the $2000 which he pretended to have paid on Andrews account, he would willingly einanci pate him. All this, however did not appear satisfuctory, and Pernberton fmding it a hopeless task to hbor for Andrew's return with him, pretended to leave the matter wholly to the honorable feelings of Mr. Smilh and his son. who gave him ëncourageme,nt to expect from them any reasonable service which : ised h;m relief, providot they were convinced ofthe correctness of his statements. This compromise, Pemberton ackno;v!edged satis - fúctory, and lie left usj as he alledgcd for j home, pledging in the most solernn manncr , to use no further effort, to coerce a return. - Upon lea ving he voluntecred fome goed advice to his slave,a part of which was to nmain here with his fiiends. Our opprehensions were not entirely at rest, for we tho-.ight it harely possible that the purchascr of flcsli and blood might yel return. Soon after his departure, we thought a change of scenery and air might not prove injnrious tü Andrew, and j recommended to him Victorias Asylum, wards which he started on foot. In about j two weeks fiom Pemberton's leaving we weie visited by a couplc of men f lom Cold Water, Constable Picrson nnd tavern keeper Fo&tcr, 'vvlio coinmenced making secret inquines, relativo to t lie sltivc. ' It f ooii leaked out, that tlicy were after Anew. The iiews came like a tlmndcr cla, but without Baying much iibout it, a mrssenger was posted off al eight o'clock in the eveninj o the Canada track, to appnse theyoung man of his Öangér and j hasten his escape bcyond llie reacb of the ons of the American Eaglo, witlnn the protcctive roar of the British Lion. The trut!) soon eked out. T!ie miserable feilow, in; tcad of going home, went onlv to Mercer county Ohio, where a3 he stated, lie had when there before, accidentally left hisbill of sale of the slave, which prevented liim from taking legal ! menns to kidnap Andrew whilc licre. A warrant issucd by Ilenry Warrer, E-. Post master of Cold Water, gave the pretended right to the daring constable nnd liis abettor, wlio came "armed to the teetli," with one of the leveling nslrmnents and bowie kniie which were borrowcd of the Southerner. Desperate nnd courageous mnn, to carry a loaded six barrel shooter so near his heart. What if it had gone off accidentally, or what if some of tlie barrels had biirst when shot at the slave, or eome of his fnends; T wonder if they prac tised before starting on ihe darmg expedilion, so ns to toke dead aim and kill on the h'rst fire? I ad vise these chivnlrous gentlemen to bc very careful how thcy fire such dangerous things, for if they ahould by any means disable or hurt ♦thetnselve?, the southern men-seekers would fare slim at Cold Water. It is hinled that the Justice expves?ed douLts as to his jurisdiction in the ca-e, but the ndvice and learning of the Cou.nskllor Cok, dispelled his fears. We are infornied that the warrant deputized some half a dozen of our fcllow citizons wlio were duly constituted a sort of body guard to the person of the constable, and who were also expecled to aid in the capture. I have no doubt that the help which some of these half a dozen genilemcn could have aflbrded, would to one of the parlirs have been uteful and highly valuab!e in the event of an attack. Suflice it to say. noblood was spilt, not even a "bang ' was heard from the repeatcr. In silence, deep but eloquent, the two caplurers ieuirned captiveless to report to their innster the progress of their foe bevond their veach; without having it in their power to saüsfy their etnployer that a single test had been made of their courageous and valoroue dispesition. Their loss must have nearly cqualled Pemberton's in the safe and fortúnate arrival of Andrew at Sandwich, Canada, where ihe fetters of his spirit were removed and where he feit on sitting his feet on the Bntiïh soil, as free as the air of heaven. orthe snow fljkes that fail thick aroiind liim. Thus closes the hislory of Andrew ímilh, but not of Simeón D. Pemberton. A constaule was despatched to Cold Water pistoüess and IcnifelefSjWith a warrant tor Ium,by means of which he was brought over totake anolher forewell look of his .ld friend?, receive their embrace, and leavc them a parting momento ofhid late visit, in the shape of two cf his yellow mint drop?, being the amount of a judgement and costF ob!ained for board and horse keeping during his first visit to us. - Wliile here the second time, pains were taken lo indoctr;natc liim a liitle move deeply in the ' science of human nature,and we cannot doubt ! bul that the lessons iaught wil! he romtmbered and will prove not to have been rnit-applied,


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