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Miscellany: Immediate Emancipation. A Sketch

Miscellany: Immediate Emancipation. A Sketch image
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It may be gratifying to those who desire to lliink weü of liumnn nature, to know that the leading incidents of the subjoined sketch are literal matters of fact, occürring in the city of Cincinnati, whicli have come within the scope of the writer's personal khowledge - the incidents have merely béeh clöthed in a dramatic form, fo present them more vividly to the reader; In one of thé hofel pfirlors of our Queen City, á yo'ung gentleman, apparëntly in ttö' very easy frame of mind, Svas pacing up a'nd down the room, looking alternately at his Watch ártd out of the windöw, as ff èxpecting somebódy. Ái last he rang tlië béil violently, and a liotèl sèrVant soo'n appeared. 'Has my m'an Saift corhe in yet?' he inquire'd. The poliáhed yellövv gentleman o whottí tíiiá was addressétf, anweréd with a polite, biit soméwhat sinister smirk, that nothing had been seen of hini since early that morning. 'Lazy dog! fuíí three hö'urs since I Sent him off to B - - strèet, and I have seen nothing of him sincé.' The yellow gentleman reïriarked with ConSölitory politeness, that 'hè hopëd Sam had not run aibáy? adding with an illconcealed grin, that "them boys was mighty apt to show the clean heel vhen tlley come into a free State." 'Oh, no, I'm quite easy as to tliat,' reitirned the yourig gentleman; 'I'll risk Sam's ever being willing to part from me; I brought hirix because I was sure of ï)im." 'Don't you be to'ö sure,' remarked a gentleman from beh'tnd, who had been listoning to the conversötioii. 'There nre plenty óf mischief-making busybodies on fhe train of every Soïrthórn gentleman, to interfere With his fam'ily rnatters, and decoy ofFhis'servants.' 'Did'nt I see Sam taïking at the córner with the Quaker Simmons?' said another serv ant wljo meanwhile had enteréd.'Talking with Simmons, was heV re-ji mnrked the last speaker, with irritation; j that rascal Simmons does nothiug else I believe, but tote awny gentlemen's servants. Wel], if Simmons has got him, i you may as well be quiet; you'll not see your fellow again in a hurry.' 'And who the duce is this Simmons?' said ou r young gentleman, who ihough evidently of a good nauired mould, was now beginning to wax wrong, "and whai business has he to interfere with other people's aflairs!" "You had better have asked those questions n few days ngo, and then you would have kept a closer eye on your fellow; a meddlesome, canting, Quaker rasca], that all these black hounds run to, to be helped into Canada, and nobody knows wheveall." The young gentleman jerked out his watch vith increasing energy, and then walking up to the colored waiter who was setting the dinner lable with an air of provoking satisfaction, he thundercd at him, "You rasca!, you understand this matter; I see it in your eyes." Our gentleman of color bowed, and with an air of mischievous intelligence. protested that he -liever interfered with other gentlemen's matters, while sundry of his brethren in office, looked unutterable things out of the corners of their eyes. "There is some cursed plot hatched up among you," said the young man. - "You have talked Sam into it; I know he never would have thought of leaving me unless he was put into it. Teil me now," he resumed, "have you heard Sam say any thing about it? Come, be leasonable," he added, in a milder tone; "you shall find your account in il." Thus adjured, the waiter protested he would be happy to give the gentleman any satisfaction in his power. The fact was, Sam liad been pretiy full of notions latei}', and had been to see Simmons, and, in short, he should not wonder if he never saw any moro of him. And as hour a ft er hour passed, the whole day, the whole night, and no Sam was forchcorning, the truth of the surmise became increasingly evident. Our young hero, Mr. Alfred JB , was a good deal provoked, and st range as the fact may seem, a good deal grieved too, fer he really loved the fellow. "Loved him!" - says some scorn ful zealot; "aslaveholder love his slave!" Yes, brother; why not? A warm-hearted mon will love his dog, his horse, even to grieving bitterly for their loss, and why not credit the fact that such an one may love. the human creature whom accursed custom has placed on the same level. The fact was Alfred B did love this young man; he -hád been appropriated to him in childhood, and Alfred had always redressed his grievances, fought his battle.?, got him out of scrapes, and purchased for him with a liberal hand, indulgences fo whichhis comrades were strangers. He had taken pridc to dress him smai-tly,and as Cor hardship and want, they had never come r.ear him. "The poorsilly, ungrateful puppy!" soliloquized he, "what can he do with himselfi Confound that Quaker, and all his meddlesome tribe - been at him with their bloody-boneslories,I suppose- Sam knows bettar - tbc scnmp - Hollon, there.he called to öné of the wailors. "where doos this Simpkins - Simon - Simmons, or what d'ye cali him, live1?' "His shop is No 5, on G streel.' "Well, Pil go to him and see what business he has with my aflairs." The Quaker was sitting at the door of his shop, with a round, rosy, good-humoied face, so expressive of placidity and satis faction, that it was difficult to aproad) in ireful feeling. i;Is your name Simmons?" demanded Alfred in a voice whose natural urbanity was somevvhat sharpened by voxation. "Yes, friendj what dost thou wish?" (i I wished to inquire whetiier you have seen any thingofmy colored fellow,Sam; a man of twenty-fivo ór thereabouts, lodging at the Pearl street house?" aI rather suspect 1 have," sak) the Quaker, in a quiet, meditativc tone, as i f thinking the matter over with himself. "And is it true, sir, that you have encouraged and ass'sted him in bis eiïbrtsto get out of my service;" "Such, truly. is the fact, my friend." Losing patience at thisprovokingequanimity, our young friend poured forlh his sentunents with no inconsiderable energy, and in terms not the most select or pacific, all of which our Quaker roceived with that placid, full-orbed tranquiliiy of countenance, which sëemed to say, 'Pray, relieve your mind: don't be particular: scold as hard as you lilcc." - The singularity of this expréssion struck the young man and as his wrath became gradually spent, he could hardly help laughing at the tranquility of his opponent, and hc gradually changed liis tone tbr one of expostuiation. , "Whát motivecould induce you, sir, thus to incotnmode i a stranger, and one who liever injured I you nt all?" i 'I am sorry thou art incommoded.' I joined thg Quaker. 'Tliy servant, astbee ; calis him, carne to me, and I helpcd him i is I would any other poor fellow in i tress.' 'Poor fellow!' said Alfred, angrily; I tliat's tlie story of the whole of you. 1 í teil you.there is not a free negro in your ' city so well ofF as my Sam is, and ' ways has been, and he'll find itoutbefore ong.' i 'But teil me, friend, thou mayest die, ; as well as another man; thy ment may fall into debt as well as another man's; and thy may be sold by 1 the sheriff for debt, or change hands in', j dividing the estáte, and so, though he wa ared easily, and well cared íbr, he may come to be a field hand, under hard maslers, starved, beaten, over-worked - such things do happen sometimes, do they not?' ! 'Sometimes, perhaps, they do,' replied i the young man. 'Well, look you, by our laws ín Ohio, thy Sam is now a free man, as free as I or thou; he hath a strong back, good i : hands, good courage, eau earn his ten or twelve dollars a month - or do better; now taking all things into account, if thee werc in his place, what would thee do - j would thee go back a slave, or try thy luck as a free man?' Alfred said nothing in reply to this; only after a while he murmiired half to himself, 'I thought the fellow had more gratitude, after all my kindness.' 'Thee talks of gratitude said the Quaker, how does that account stand? Thou hast fed, and clothed, and protected this man; thou hast not starved, beaten, or abused him; it would have been unworthy of thee; thou hast shown him special kindness, and in return, he has given thee faithful service lor fifteen or twenty ycars; uil this lime, all liis strength. all he could do or be, he has given thee, and i ye are about eveu.' The young man looked thoughtful but made no reply. 'Sir,' said he, at last, 'I will take no unfair ndvanlage of you; I wish to get my servant once more; can I do so?' 'Certainly. I will bring him to thy lodgings this evening, if thee wishes it. - I know thee will do what is fair,' replied the Quaker. It were difficult to define the thoughts of the young man, as he returned to his lodgings. Naturally genecous and humane he had never dreamed that he had rendered injustice to the human beings he claimed as his own. Injustice and oppression he had sometimes seen with detestation in other establishmenis, but it had been his pride that they were excluded from his own. It had been his pride to think iliat his indulgence and liberality made a situation of dependence on him preferable even to liberty. The dark picture of possible reverses which the slave system hangs over the lot of the most favored slaves, never occurred to him. Accordingly at si.v o'clock that evening, a light tap at the door of Mr. B's. parlor, announr-ed the Quaker, and back behind him, the reluctant Sam. who, with all his newly acquired love of liberty, feit almost as if he were treating his olcl master rather shabbily, in deserting him. 'So. Sam,' said Alfred, 'how is this? they say you want to leave me. 'Yes, masler.' 'Why, what's the matter, Sam?' hav'nt il always been good to you: and ! not my fat her always been good to you?' 'Oh, yes, master; very good.' 'Have you not always had good food, good cloihes. and lived easy?' 'Yes, master.' 'And nobody has ever abused you?' 'No, master.' 'Well, then, why do you wish to leave me?' 'Oh, massa, I want to be a freeman.' 'Why, Sam; ain't you well enough off. now?' 'Oh, massa mny die; then nobody knows who get me, some dreadful folks, you know, master, might get me, as ihey did Jim Saníord, and nobody to take my part. No, master, I raíher be [vee man.' Alfred turned to the window, and thought a few moments, and then said, turning about, 'Well, Sam, I believe you are right. I think on the whole, I'd llke best to bc a freo man myself, and I must not wonder that you do. So, for aught I soe, you must go; buttheiij Sam, there's your wifê and child.' Sam's countenance feil. 'Never mimi, Sam. I will send thehri up to you.' 'Oh, master!' 'I wijl: but you must remember now, Sam, you have got both yourself undthem t.o tnke care of, and master r tolook aftér you; be steady, sober and 1 industrious, and thcn, if ever you gct f to distresSj.send word to me, and I'll help ' vou.' Lest any accuse us of ! ing pur story, we will close it by extracting a passage or two from the letter which the 'generous young man left in the hands of the Quaker for hisetnancipated , servant. We can assure our readers ihnt ( we copy from the original document, i which now lies before us: 1 ftear Sam - I am just on the eve of my departure for Phfsburgb; 1 may not ace ' you a gain for along time, possibly ncver, and I leave ibis letter with your friends, ' Messrs. A. & B., for you, and herewith bid you an effectionate farewell. Let me j give you some advicé, which is, now that ( you are a freo marvin n free State, bej obedient as you were when a slave. ferm all the duties required of you, and do all you can for your future welfare and respectability. Let meassure you that 1 have the same good feeling towards you that you know 1 always had, and let me teil you farther, that if ever you want a friend, cali or write to me, and I will be that friend. Shouldyou be sick. and not ¦¦, able lo work, and want money to a small , amount at different times, write to me and I will always let you have it. I have not with me at present much money. tho' I will leave with my agent here, the Messrs. W's., five dollars for you; you must give them your receipt for it. On my return from Pittsburgh, I wi)l cali and see you if ï have time; fail not to write to my father, for he made you a good master, and you should always treat hiin with respect, and cherish his memory so long as you live. Be good, industrious and honorable, and if unfortunate in your undertakings, never forget that you have a friend in me. Farewell, and believe me your aflectionate young master and friend, R . - That dispoaitioTis tra ingenous and onbleas that of this young man, are commonly to be found either ïn slave States or in free, is more than we dare assert. - But when we see them foundeven among those who are born and bred slaveholders, we ca u not but feel that there is encouragement for a fair, and mild, and brotherly presentation of truth, and every reason to lament hasty and wholesale denunciations. The great error of controvérsy is, that it is ever ready to assail ¦persons rather than principies. The slave system as a sysíem, perhaps, concentrares more wrong than ony other now existing, and vet those who live under and in it may be, as we see, enlightened, generous, and amenable to reason. If the sysievi alone is attacked, such mindswill he the first to percieve its evils and turn against it; but if the system be attacked, through individuals, self-love. wounded pride, and a thousand natural i feelings will at once be enlisted for its preservation. We thcrefore subjoin it as the moral of our story, that a man who has had the misfortune to be born and bred a slave-holder, may bo enlightened, generous, humane, and ca pable of the most disinterested regard to the welfare of his slave.


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