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Miscellany: A Tale Of Slavery

Miscellany: A Tale Of Slavery image
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The following account, givcn by a correspondent of the "Christian Advocate and Journal," is evidently drawn frorn life, and is such a scène as mast often occur underthe system of Slavery in this land. There is no law to prevent its occuring as often as a rnaster shall find it for his convenience to part with any portion of his slaves. Tho occurence took place at Wilmington, North Carolina : There are at Washington city, at Norfolk, at Charleston, and perhaps at Eomo oter places in the old States of the S,outh, slavö markets, where slave dealers purchase upon speculation such slaves as they can obtain, for tho purpose of resale at a profit in the extreme South. As I vent on board the steamboat, I noticpu öight colored men, hand-cuffed and chained togethcr in pairs, four women, and eight or ten children, at the apparent ages of from four to ten years, all standing together in the bow of the boat in charge of a man standing near lhem. Of the men, one was sixty, onetvvo, three of them ubout thirty, two of them about twenty-five, and one about twcnty years of age, as I subsequently learned from them. The two first had children, the next three had wives and children, and the other three we re single, but had parents living from them. Coming near them I perceived ihcy were all greatly agitated ; and, on inquiring, 1 found that they were all slaves, who had been bom and raised in North Carolina, and had just been sold to a speculatqr who was now taking them to the Charles ton market. Upon the shore there was a number of colored persons, women and children, waiting the departure of the oat ; and my attention was particularly attracted by two colored females of -uncommonly respectable appearance, neatly attired, who stood together, a little disance from the crowd, and upon whose countenances was depicted the keenest orrow. As the last bell was tolling, I aw the tears gushing from their cye.s, and they raised their cotton aprons and viped their faces under the cutting anjuish of severed aflection. They were he wives of two of the men in chains ! Hiere, too, were mothers and sisters, veeping at the departure of their sons and brothers ; and there, too, were fathers aking the last look of their wives and children. My whole attention was directed to those on the shore, as they eemed to stand in solemn, submissive silence, occasionally giving utterance to he intensity of their feelings by a sigh or a stifled groan. As the boat wasloosed from her rnoorings, they cast a distressed, lingering look towards those on oard, and turned away in silence. My eye now turned to those in the boat ; and although 1 tried to control my feelings amidst my sympathies for those on shore, ; could conceal them no longer, and bund myself literally "weeping with those that weep." I stood near them, and when one of the husbands saw his wife upon the shore wave her hand for the ast time, in token of her affection, his manly eöbrts to restrainhis feelings gave way, and his watery eyes upon her, ie exclaimed, "this is the most distressing thing of all ! My dear wife and children, farewell!" The husbandof the other wife stood weeping in silence, and with his manacled hands raised to his face, he looked upon her for the last time. Of the poor women on board, three of them had husbands whom they left behind. One of them had three children, another had two, and the third had none. These husbands and fathers were among the throng upon the shore, witnessing the departure of their wives and children, and as they took leave of them they were sitting together upon the floor of the boat, sobbing in silence, but giving utterance to no complaint. But the distressing scène was not vet ended. Sailing down Cpe Fear river twenty-five miles, we touched at the little village of Smithport, on the south side of the river. It was at this place that one ofthese slaves lived, and here was his wife and five children ; and while at work on Monday last, his purchaser took him away from his family, carried him in chains to VVilmington, where he had since remained in jail. As we approached the wharf a flood of tcars gushed from his eyes, and anguish seemed to have pierced his heart. The boat stopped but a moment, and as she loft, he bid farewell to some of his acquaintances whom he saw upon the shore, exclaiming, 'boys, I wish you wcll ; teil Molly ('meaning his wife) and the children 1 wish them well, and hope God will bless them." At that moment he espied his wife on the stoop of a house some rods from the shore, and with one hand which was not in the cufTs, he pulled off his old hat, and waving itward her, exclaimed "farewell!" As he saw by the waving of her apron Ihat she recognized him, he leaned back upon the railing, and with faltering voice repcated, "farewell, forever." After a moment' s silence, conflicting passions seemed to tear open lus heart, and he exclaimed, 'whst have I doue, that Í should suffer this doom ? Oh, my wife and children ! I want to live no longer !" and the big lears rolled down his cheek, which he wiped away with the palm of his unchained hand, looked once at the mother of his fivb children, and the turning of the boat hid her face from him forever. As I looked around, I saw that mine was not the only heart that was afTected by the scène, but that the tears standing in the eyes of man y of my fcllow passengers bore testimony to the influence of human sympathy ; and I could, as an American citizen, standing within the limits ofone of the old thirteen States, butrepeatthe language of Jeflerson, in relation to the general subject, "I tremble for my country when I remember that Godisjust." After we left Smithport, I conversed freely with all these persons ; and in intelligence and respectability ofappearance, the three men who have thus been torn f rom their families would compare favorably with the respectable portion of our colored men at the North. - This is a specimen of what almost daily occurs in the business of the slave trade. Yours, in the bondsof the Gospel,