Infant Schools. --State of Education in Pennsylvania. --Almshouse. --Increase of Pauperism. --Institution for poor Children. --House of Refuge. --Hackney-coachmen and Barbers in Philadelphia. --Quaker schism. --Elias Hicks. --Generous and affectionate Character of the Blacks.
THE public schools in Philadelphia are nearly on the same plan with those at New York. At one of the establishments I visited, the infant school, which is preparatory to the others, was on the ground floor; and the apartments, appropriated to the girls and to the boys, were in regular succession above. The average number of pupils in all was about 700. The salaries of the instructors are 800 dollars a year for the masters, and 400 for the female teachers, besides 200 a year for assistants to the latter. The infants were all neatly dressed, and appeared to take great pleasure in the exercises.
They were asked a few questions in astronomy and in numbers; a small planetary, to represent the solar system in action, and the usual arithmetical board, being placed before them. They seemed to answer mechanically. When they are receiving instruction in natural history, or other subjects that can be illustrated by reference to familiar objects, their attention is directed to those facts that are suited to their tastes and capacities. Very little difficulty is experienced in preserving order and good temper among them. They belong to that class, who are too much occupied to spoil their children. Three days are generally sufficient for the mistress "her statutes to maintain" by taming the most rebellious who enter, and recommending obedience to the most refractory new comers.
The teacher, who was a remarkably intelligent young woman, and devoted to the occupation she was engaged in, observed that she found the girls more quick and docile than the boys, during the early periods of life; whereas, when both had arrived at the age of fourteen or fifteen, there was a greater degree, she thought, of judgment and steadiness on the other side.
The parents are so satisfied with the improvement their children derive from these schools in disposition and intellect, that they are anxious they should attend regularly and properly dressed; while the little things themselves are never so happy as when they are surrounded by their school-fellows, under the eye of their teacher and friend. Those who live at a distance bring their dinners with them, and nothing like discord or discontent is to be seen while they are at their meals. I took particular notice of this, as I had seen a remarkable instance at Paris of the tractable disposition, to which children may be habituated in these establishments. All the pupils of an infant school there voluntarily laid down what they had begun to eat, and ran to their places, to resume their exercises. It is here that the benevolent affections may be cultivated, and self-control acquired, --when impressions are most easily made and most durable. It is here that the gratification of the intellectual appetite is felt by the young mind to be above those pleasures in supplying or promising which, the senses and the passions degrade or delude.
The system of infant schools is not so popular in the United States as it was at its introduction, and might be again, if more attention were paid to its original object. Intellectual cultivation has unfortunately been more thought of than the improvement of the disposition; and the faculties of the mind are prematurely exercised, while those of the body are comparatively neglected. The Sunday School Union seems to have mistaken both the means and the end of these institutions. "In accordance" (it says in one of its reports,) "with the resolution passed at the last meeting of the Society, particular attention has been paid to the preparation of manuals and forms of instruction for infant schools. The series of lessons and lithographic prints in natural history has been continued; and a volume of lessons has been prepared with great care for the instruction of very young children in the fundamental doctrines and duties of our holy religion. We know not that the attempt has ever before been made to state such doctrines as the incarnation and atonement of Christ; the nature and evidences of regeneration; the resurrection of the body and the retributions of the world to come, in such language and with such illustrations, as are intelligible to a child of five or six years of age. It has been done, however, in our 'first lessons on the great principles. of religion,' and with so much success, as to place teachers of infant schools, and classes, under great obligations to the author for her valuable services in this behalf."
A better understanding, however, of the end these places are calculated to answer, seems to prevail. A writer in the American Annals of Education for July, 1833, says: "Never were the infant schools of this country in a better condition, than at this moment. They may, indeed, be fewer in number than formerly; though we are not sure that ,even this is the fact. But they are better organized --their purposes better understood --the intellect is cultivated less in proportion, and the affections more --teachers are becoming better qualified --the methods of instructing and educating are becoming less mechanical --and the school-room and its inmates, in appearance and influences, are daily assuming a stronger resemblance to the parlor and the domestic circle."
It is to be hoped that these schools will become more general throughout the Union --and, indeed, throughout the world: --for a more charming picture of human nature as it is, or a more promising prospect of what it may be, than they present, cannot any where be found. In Europe, the delight we receive in visiting them is unalloyed by the intermixture of painful reflections. In America, we are reminded of the base antipathies that have separated the two races. Were they to associate together in the early periods of life, no room would be left for those feelings of arrogance and contempt that now step in to divide them. What is now called natural repugnance would be seen to be nothing but an artificial affection of the mind produced by the conjunction of two ideas that have no necessary connexion. In the South, where children of both colors are brought up together, and the white infant is often suckled at a black breast, the link that unites the prejudice of the mind with the visible object, is supplied from a different source. It is not the color, but the condition that qualifies the sentiment. It is the idea of servitude, which inseparably accompanies that of the complexion, and produces an abhorrence, not so much of the person, as of his occupation. There is something even honorable to our nature in the feeling; as it is associated with contempt for those who degrade it, by submitting to oppression. In the North it is unmixed absurdity and wickedness --gross and grovelling --with nothing generous to redeem it, and no misconception to excuse it*.
* In Martinique, a white man (Bardel) a year or two ago, sent a challenge to a colored man (Frotte) --an honor which we sometimes see refused in England to a candidate for a patrician death, though the distinction of rank in the one case is so much less than that of complexion in the other, that a plebeian eye cannot see the difference, and a generous mind would not make it.
Pennsylvania, though one of the wealthiest and most populous States in the Union, has done much less for the education of her people, than others that are inferior to her in both respects. The legislature has recently passed an act for supplying this defect in her policy. The Committee on education thus expressed themselves in their report on the subject. "Assuming the last census as a basis, we have 637,849 children under the age of twenty; between four and five hundred thousand of these are, by the constitution, placed under the guardianship of the legislature; of which [of whom] by official returns made last year to the Secretary of the Commonwealth, only 17,462 are now receiving --and that nominally, perhaps --instruction gratis. Here then are 400,000 at least wholly without any kind of schooling: yet we now only begin to hear a murmur of discontent." "A citizen," they observe, "who pays a tax of a few cents only, can go to the election with power equal to [that of] him who pays a tax of many hundred dollars, and by his vote directs the public weal with the same authority as the wealthiest citizen. It becomes necessary, therefore, to give the man of humble means an opportunity of understanding the advantages in which he so largely shares."
There is a large number, according to their evidence, of voters who cannot read the tickets that are handed to them at the polls; and their number is increasing. A legislative enactment has now provided for the more effectual education of the good people of Pennsylvania. Two inspectors are to be appointed for each county, to visit the schools once at least every three months, to inquire into the character of the teachers, and to give certificates to such as, on examination, shall be found properly qualified. Without such certificate, which is to last one year, no compensation is to be paid for their professional services. Another act, passed the same session, shews that capital punishments are either odious to the people, or considered injurious to public morals when openly inflicted. Executions are, for the future, to take place in the gaol-yards belonging to the county where the conviction took place. The sheriff, or the coroner, is to attend and depose on oath, or by affirmation, to the due execution of the sentence. Immediate relatives, and two, but not more, ministers of religion, may be present --but no minor of either sex, "on any account."
While the penitentiary is elevating the criminal, the almshouse, it is much to be feared, is degrading the unfortunate; and the demoralisation that is checked among the prisoners, is spreading among the paupers. On the other side of the Schuylkill, and about a mile and a half from the city, a vast and splendid edifice rears its head, and attracts the curiosity of the passing stranger. He is informed that the palace he sees before him, is destined to the reception of the city poor; that the establishment they formerly occupied in the town is for sale, as too small or badly situated for its object; and that they have just entered their new abode. Formerly it was the custom to relieve them at their own homes, where something like self-respect might survive their calamity; and the bread of honest industry be still sweet on the restoration of health, or better days. This system has now ceased; and the casualties to which the poor are exposed, are to find, with some exceptions, relief or remedy in the lazar-house --where the idle and the industrious, the sober and the intemperate, are to seek an asylum, and mix with people of the most uncongenial and opposite habits.
A committee, appointed by the Guardians of the Philadelphia Poor to inquire, &c., reported, in 1821, as the result of experience, "that of all modes of providing for the poor, the most wasteful, the most expensive, and the most injurious to their morals and destructive of their industrious habits, is that of supply in their own families." Is not this because the relief given is "seen of men?" Let a distinction be made between crime and misfortune, by a well-organized system of domiciliary visits. Let the name of the indigent be studiously concealed, as among the Quakers of Philadelphia, and assistance bestowed "in secret" with such delicacy as may snatch the sufferer from the dangers of self-humiliation; and it will be found that the vis medicatrix of the mind, like that of the body, will aid the prudent physician in his efforts to remove the disorder or relieve the patient. why, indeed, should not every religious sect imitate the example of the Friends, and provide for its own poor? It may be said that they have their preachers to pay --a tax from which the others are exempt: That is the very reason why the public should not be saddled with their paupers. They would take good care to appoint no minister, the effects of whose negligence in inculcating habits of economy and prudence would fall on themselves. Such a regulation would afford a criterion of their relative value to the State. There would no longer be a fashionable religion. The poor would naturally be attracted to the rich; and the same wealth, which is now heedlessly employed in encouraging mendicity, would soon find some plan to prevent it.
The new building consists of a square, that encloses within its sides about ten acres of ground, to be appropriated to such purposes as the wants of the establishment may require. Each side is 500 feet in length, and three stories high, in addition to the garrets above. Those which contain the infirmary and the workshops, are opposite to each other, as are the sides inhabited respectively by the men and the women.
There are 187 acres of land attached to the house. Fifty are to be reserved for meadow, and 100 for arable. In the centre of the area stands the wash-house, communicating with the different offices into which the space included within the square is divided. The sale of the old premises will, it is thought, realize 200,000 dollars, and reduce the debt upon the new to six or seven hundred thousand.
The infirmary is divided into two departments, for the male and the female patients; the wards having each two windows looking towards the outside of the building, and two folding doors opening from the cieling to the floor, into a lofty and spacious passage that runs along the side, and commands a view of the court-yard. The arrangements above correspond with those below. At each end of the infirmary is a ward for lunatics, the sexes being separated by the hospital. On each story are private cells or dormitories for the patients, opening into the passage, and kept in a very clean and comfortable condition. This part of the institution appears to be the best both in its construction and its management. The whole building is supplied with water by means of pipes communicating with pumps, at which the paupers are employed to draw water from wells below. There is a shower-bath attached to the insane department, where the shock is employed both to subdue the violent and punish the disobedient. Opposite the cells, and in that part where light cannot be obtained except through the door, are small rooms where delinquents suffer solitary confinement. Upon asking the keeper whether the inmates of these wretched holes did not disturb the patients, I was told that the addition of a few tongues was hardly perceptible in this nocturnal Babel. Had I reversed the question, the answer would have shewn less regard for the prisoners. He wished that the patients were not allowed to see their relatives, as they were generally worse after such visits.
There were seventy women and forty men among the insane. The latter I did not see. Among the females were several colored persons. The two races agree together pretty well; though some repugnance is at first expressed by some of the "more worthy." Habit, however, reconciles them to an unavoidable necessity; and more rational conduct is exhibited by those who have lost their reason, than by those who are supposed to retain it in all its vigor.
Mania a putu is much more common among the white than the black women. The same may be said generally of inebriety. Dr. Parrish, jun., who was with me, confirmed what the keeper said on this subject. The year before, 123 persons, of whom twenty were women, died of this complaint in the city and liberties of Philadelphia.
A fact equally honorable to the African race, was mentioned by the matron of the female infirmary, where one or two were employed at the side of a sick relative in keeping off the flies, and assuaging the heat of the day with a fan. She said that there were but few of them in the establishment, their aversion to enter its walls being as strong as that of their white fellow-countrymen. To many of both death would be preferable to the disgrace of living in the almshouse. The second report of the Ladies' Branch of the Union Benevolent Association, pays an honorable and a well merited tribute to these people, "Nine colored families have agreed to make deposits [to the Fuel Saving Society]. They reside in one court, and might be held up as patterns for habits of order, industry, and regularity."
The proportion of Irish paupers in the house is very great. Out of 1,500 inmates, 500 only had a legal settlement in the State. Of 2,396 females, who were admitted into the almshouse during two years and a half from May 1828, no less than 554 were foreigners: of these, 450 were from Ireland, while England sent seventy-five, and Scotland sixteen. The whiskey is to the roast beef, like Falstaff's sack to his bread. Of 3,197 out-door poor, who received relief in wood in 1831-32, there were 950 foreigners. Here again the Irish came in for their share; their number being 491, while that of the English was 157, and that of the Scotch thirty-eight. Pat prefers the "house" to his home.
There are generally from three to four hundred Irish, who have been working on the rail-roads during the summer, and who come in a complete state of destitution, approaching to nudity, into the house, till the return of the fine season allures them to their former haunts, There they find the tools, and clothes, and money they had secreted during the period of their hybernation. These migratory movements are as periodical as the visit and the departure of the swallow or the woodcock.
There is room, in this enormous asylum, for 3000 paupers; and even more might easily be accommodated within its walls. The average number is about 1400. They prefer their present quarters; as each has a separate dormitory, instead of being crowded together in the same room. The aged and infirm are distinct from the rest. There is no arrangement for the cruel and demoralizing separation of husband and wife. The building is well contrived; the wards and dormitories being on one side of the passage, and the windows, looking into the court, on the other. By opening the doors, a thorough ventilation is produced, the construction resembling that of the infirmary. The chief cause of pauperism is drinking. Seventy-five per cent. may be attributed to that alone.
When the workshops are completed, it is expected that there will be less inducement to seek refuge within the walls; as a certain quantity of labor will be exacted from every able-bodied man. Every sort of work, that the place will admit of, will be carried on there. The cost of each, including all the expenses of the establishment, is one dollar and eighteen cents per week. It is thought it will be somewhat greater in future. At the Baltimore alms-house a debtor and creditor account is opened against every pauper, on his entrance; and the work he has to perform, if able-bodied, must balance the cost of his keep. Should he abscond, before this is cleared, he is liable to an imprisonment of twelve months. Whatever property he may have about him, is set aside as an additional pledge against his running away.
It will be an arduous task to prevent corruption in the managers, and enforce discipline among the objects of such an establishment as the Philadelphia alms-house. Any vigilant and systematic plan of superintendence is liable to be thwarted by those party predilections that influence official appointments and removals, while every regulation that evasion or disobedience gives birth to, will be the parent of new frauds and irregularities. Nine tenths of the inmates have lost all feeling of self respect. Every day sufficient liquor is introduced to inebriate forty of them. There appears to be little or no effectual discipline, whether punitive or reformatory. Solitary confinement, for twenty-four hours, is scarcely any punishment to a drunken man, who sleeps the time away, or loses all consciousness of its duration. Two-thirds come out worse than they went in. The "black book" exhibits numerous instances of relapses into misbehavior; and the register shews that attachment to the place still clings to those who have left it. It may be considered an unfortunate circumstance that the almshouse should be situated in the immediate vicinity of the city; as the temptations to abscond are multiplied by all the attractions that old acquaintances and old haunts can offer, in addition to the shelter and encouragement that vice and crime can always find in a mixed population.
But the effect produced on the honest and industrious outside is still worse, as they become gradually familiarized with the conduct and sentiments of those, who are living on the public bounty, with no sensible diminution of cheerfulness and contentment, --with no marks of self-abasement, and no signs of inferiority. The relief of which any pressing emergency may compel the acceptance, will spread the contagion of vice and improvidence, and gradually undermine that honest pride, which shrinks at the approach of an humiliating charity. No permanent preventive of distress can be depended on, that appeals to the worst part of our nature.
Every nation has its own standard of respectability; to descend from which is much easier than to preserve its level, or recover it when it is lost.
To foreigners this place will offer an attractive asylum on their arrival; and they will have little objection to hard work, till they can procure an eligible situation. As for applicants from other States, they cannot gain a settlement in Philadelphia, except on the same conditions as at home, a retaliatory law having been passed to meet those cases, which the former facility of obtaining relief from the public fund, had rendered a serious evil.
There are eight medical students resident in the house. They pay 200 dollars a-year for board and lodging, in addition to the privilege of witnessing the practice at the hospital, and enjoying the benefits of the library. This sum is paid into the funds of the institution. There are four physicians, four surgeons, and one accoucheur, who visit it in turns, and the fee (ten dollars) which is paid for attendance on their lectures, is made over, as at the Pennsylvania hospital, to the establishment. The services of the medical officers are thus altogether gratuitous. They have no reason to complain of the fare they meet with at table; for, if I was not misinformed by one, who had occasionally partaken of it, every eatable is in profusion, --bottled porter ad libitum, --and such a repast, as is to be found in few private houses.
The cost of this institution will, when completed, amount, on a moderate calculation, to eight or nine hundred thousand dollars. A committee of twelve managers, chosen by the corporation, visit the house once a week, and four of them visit it twice in rotation during the same time.
Philadelphia, like New York, finds the increase of pauperism going on in a greater ratio than her population; and there is little reason to hope it will be checked by the judicious application of charity. The Union Benevolent Association, the object of which is to prevent misery by the encouragement of prudential and economical habits among the poor, complains that the principles on which it acts, are not well understood, even by its members. "The questions --'what is the use of visiting in the summer?' --'How would you get at people who ask for nothing?' are not uncommon." The "Provident Society for employing the poor" promises work to all who will apply for it, without regard to those wants in the community which can alone supply it beneficially. "The consequence of this free delivery of work to the poor," says one of its reports, "has occasioned a large accumulation of goods; and it has unfortunately happened, that we have experienced greater difficulties this season, than we have before known in disposing of them: in addition to which, we had a considerable quantity at the commencement of the last year, remaining unsold in the hands of our correspondents. The demand for such goods as we have to sell is in this city very limited, and our shipping merchants are discouraged, by the results of former shipments, from making further purchases from us. We have, therefore, been put to the necessity of shipping for sale on our account the bulk of the shirts made during the last season."
The Society expected that the goods thus sent out, must be sold at reduced prices --unconscious, it appears, of the injury it was inflicting upon trade. Though its resources were inadequate to its objects, it still hoped for "further remittances," and "benevolent contributions," and added, that the people whom it had set to work, had expressed their thanks, when the usual demand for hands had arrived, "hoping to be employed again on the return of another season." The promises of assistance are not likely to be lost upon them: for who will lay by for a rainy day, when the hand of mistaking kindness thus offers him a shelter?
The principle upon which this well-meaning association proceeds, inverts the natural order of things. It attracts labor to an overstocked market, and diverts capital from its appropriate channels. It places between demand and supply an artificial interloper, that lessens the former while it increases the latter. The result corresponds with the tendency. Prices that were already below the remunerating level, sink still lower; and a course of action is continued which enlightened self-interest, if left to itself, would have shewn to be ruinous to the individual and to society. Were the acting committee composed, in part, of sensible persons from the working class, more judicious measures would be adopted, and the experiment might act as an example to the mother country; where it seems to be an acknowledged maxim, that those alone are qualified to prevent or provide for "adversity," who have neither known its "sweet uses," nor dreaded its bitter inflictions.
If these good people, instead of detaining labor in the cities, where it is not wanted, and where it is too much disposed to linger, would find some way to forward it to the west, where it is so scarce, that the most iniquitous means are often used to obtain it, they would rescue the distant States from slavery, and their own from pauperism. The Virginia "breeders " ought to subscribe to the Provident Society, as it indirectly creates a demand for their "stock" in Indiana and Illinois.
That the "good cheer" to be had at the almshouse is such a bounty on improvidence, as the ordinary motives to the opposite virtues will hardly be powerful enough to resist, will appear from the following facts: --During the year ending on the 20th of May, 1833, there were, on an average, 1010 paupers upon the establishment. The whole cost of their support was at the rate of one dollar 18-4/5 cents per week for each. Among other items of expenditure for the year, there were 173,329 pounds of beef, and 23,116 of mutton, 1900 barrels of wheat flour, and 224-45/70 of bushels of Indian meal; 1,183 pounds of tea, and 10,352 of coffee; 17,937 pounds of brown sugar, 1,347-1/2 of lump sugar, and 1,172 of white Havana, and 12-1/2 boxes of segars. The expenses of the steward's table for the same period, amounted to 2,137 dollars, 96 cents; of the whole 1010, 499 were men, 443 women, and 68 children. The proceeds arising from the sale of manufactured goods, amounted to 949 dollars, 14 cents, while the value of what was consumed in the house, was 5,484 dollars, 6 cents; leaving in raw material, machinery, and goods on hand, 4,138 dollars, 18 cents. The amount received in fees from resident students, &c., was 3,461 dollars, 45 cents. This last sum was paid into the treasury by the steward. In the winter of 1831-32, 3197 out door poor received relief in wood; of these, 950 were foreigners; 2794 were whites, and 403 blacks. Of the whole number, 438 were on the regular list of paupers, As many of these had families, the aggregate of persons, including children, thus relieved, was 11,538. Among them were twenty between ninety and 100; three between 100 and 110, and one whose age exceeded the last mentioned period. The number who received wood next winter, was 3175; of whom 478 were on the regular list. There were 158 between eighty and ninety years of age; fifteen from ninety to 100 ; five from 100 to 110, and one above the last period. Of the whole number, 888 were foreigners --493 from Ireland, 103 from England, twenty-two from Scotland, and 195 Germans. The latter, as well as the Irish, are in the habit of begging their way, having frequently money concealed about the person. Wherever I went, I heard complaint of German meanness. Some emigrants of that class are accustomed, I was told, to send out their children to beg, while they themselves are living in comfortable houses. One family, consisting of eight or ten, with the parents, passed through a town, and stopped to ask for money at every door. Having gone along the principal street, the father, with the boys on one side, and the mother, with the daughters, on the other, they crossed over, and returned on each other's path. This is the general character of the Dutch or German laborers, as these emigrants are indiscriminately called. All those with whom I conversed on the subject, concurred in the same description of them.
The out-door expenses for the poor, during the preceding year, amounted to 33,551 dollars, 54 cents, including medical treatment, salaries of visitors, &c.
By the register it appears, that there had been admitted into the house,
While the cholera was raging at Philadelphia, eight Sisters of Charity were sent, at the request of the managers, from Emmetsburg, to the alms-house. They were subsequently withdrawn by the superior of the order; their continuance not being, as was stated in a letter to the Board, "in accordance with the charitable end of the Society, and with the religious retirement, and the exercises of piety peculiar to its members." Any thing like a well regulated discipline among such a mixed and lawless medley, can hardly be expected to be kept up. "With all the goodwill and kindness," says the writer, "which you, gentlemen, have manifested in their regard, I do not perceive that, consistently with the principle on which the institution is founded, supported, and governed, it is in your power to secure to them those opportunities of practising the duties of their state of life, according to their rules; --that protection of their feelings from the rude assaults of such persons as are necessarily in your institution, and who regard it as their own, whilst they look upon those who minister to their comfort, as servants paid for doing it; --or that security from misrepresentation of motives and of actions, to which a few retiring and timid females are necessarily exposed, labouring amidst such a population of paupers."
At each end of that side of the square appropriated to the workshops, is an asylum for children --one for each of the two races, which, while they are destined to inhabit together the land of their common inheritance, are studiously separated in infancy and in manhood --in sickness and in old age --in the manufactory and the poorhouse --in the school and the hospital --in the house of prayer, and in the house of mourning --in the public festival, and in the private assembly --in the day of battle, and in the hour of death --in the funeral procession, and in the grave itself.
While the cholera was raging, the only ministers who attended at the hospital to afford religious consolation to the patients, were the Catholic priests, whom no personal considerations could prevail upon to quit the post assigned them by their sense of duty. It was the same at the time of the yellow-fever. I have both facts from one of the physicians who attended. On the former occasion, the only spiritual aid the Protestant sick received, was from a black man, who prayed by their bed-side, and some women of the same race, who were employed to wash the linen, and who sang hymns to the poor sufferers. Similar desertion, and similar devotedness, were remarked in other places. Who are the persons most respected in the city? Those who abandoned it in its affliction! Who are most reviled as religionists and despised as men? The very people who exposed their lives in smoothing the path of death to its inhabitants!
In the establishment, appropriated to the children of the white paupers, an old building in Philadelphia, formerly the scene of a fete given by the "Tory party" to General Howe, in honor of the short-lived trophies he had gained, there are one hundred and twenty-six inmates, ninety-eight of whom are boys. The age of admittance is from eighteen months to eight years. Some, however, exceed the latter age. More than three fourths are of foreign parents, chiefly Irish. Formerly they were liable to be removed by their family or friends. To remedy the evils, that had arisen from thus affording a temporary retreat to the victims of want or caprice, a regulation was made, that none should be withdrawn, except on payment of their board during their residence. This demand, though estimated at a low rate, had the effect of checking a practice which was as injurious to the discipline of the institution, as to the economy which the state of its funds required. The children are, in general, very reluctant to return home, or to be put out as apprentices: and, indeed, if an opinion could be formed of their treatment from what I saw of the matron, I should conclude they had good reason for the feeling. Their education, their morals, and their comfort seem to be zealously provided for. The apartments are well adapted, from the cleanliness in which they are kept, and the cheerful aspect around, to the purposes for which they are destined. There was something melancholy, however, in the appearance of the inmates. Many of them were stunted and squalid, with every indication of having been neglected in infancy, and exposed to the most vicious and unhealthy habits.
The parents have, in nearly every instance, been reduced to pauperism by intemperance; and many of the children have shared in the vice as well as in its consequences. A child, about five years of age, was brought into the house, two or three years before, a confirmed drunkard. She had been in a state of intoxication for six weeks. Her constant cry was "give me whiskey --give me whiskey." She is now thoroughly reformed; and her health, as well as her morals, in a sound state. The parents and friends of the children are allowed to visit them once a month. More of the boys are bound out, in proportion to their numbers, than of the girls, as their services are available at an earlier age. On their first arrival, nearly all are subject to sore eyes; a complaint that has been observed to prevail in most institutions of the kind. It is soon relieved by proper medical treatment. It seems to be the result of the sudden change they undergo of air and diet --a restorative process of Nature.
A satisfactory recommendation is required to obtain apprentices from the institution. It is found that those parents, who stand most in need of relief, are the last to avail themselves of that which the asylum offers --not from any feeling of shame, to which they have long been strangers --not from affection to their children, whose welfare has long been indifferent to them --but from some unaccountable caprice, that urges them to retain what has ceased to be an object of endearment --beings whom they can neither protect nor provide for; and who can no further administer to their gratification than in partaking of their vices, and submitting to their humors.
The more one sees of paupers, --and pauper establishments, the deeper is the conviction, that the distresses of the laboring classes are chiefly, if not entirely, owing to intemperance, or want of foresight; and that the remedies, usually employed for their relief, are better fitted to increase, than prevent, the evil, by weakening the chief check to indulgence in removing the dread of its consequences. This asylum, however, does honor to its benevolent founders and conductors. They have been peculiarly fortunate in the choice of a matron, who understands the disposition of children, and of parents, and is equally successful in managing the one by mildness, and the other by firmness. Harsh treatment never does any good with the former, while good humor and a little tact keeps the whole body in order. Falsehood and tale-bearing are discouraged; and every thing is done to make the flock as kind, as happy, and as fat as the portly shepherdess.
The Philadelphia House of Refuge is similar in its object to the institution which bears the same name at New York; being established for the reformation of juvenile offenders of both sexes; who, though under the same roof, are separated from each other --not, however, so completely as they are in the latter place. The matron regretted that the sexes had not, as in London; a distinct building allotted to each.
Sufficient provision has been made, in the disposition of the dormitories, for the free admission of air, and the complete separation of their inmates. They run the whole length of the building in front; those for the girls being on one side of the entrance, where the superintendent receives visits and applications, and those for the boys on the other. This is an injudicious arrangement; as communication can, unless constant vigilance be exercised, take place through the windows or apertures with persons on the outside.
The State makes occasional grants in aid of the institution; and the subscriptions are still further increased by bequests from benevolent individuals. A legacy of 100,000 dollars was left to it not long ago --contingent on the life of the testator's widow. 25,000 dollars have been raised upon this security.
The room, in which the girls work and dine, looks into the court, where the boys are allowed, when their task is done, to amuse themselves by play, or in reading the books, with which a well-stored library supplies them. The windows happened to be open on account of the hot weather. The matron, when I made some remark upon the inconvenience of such a vicinity, said, that the shutters were generally closed. Still the place was ill-chosen for its purposes, as whatever was said or done on either side of the partition, was liable to be heard on the other.
Every thing in this part of the building bore the marks of strict attention to order and cleanliness. The young women, who are sent into the country after their discharge, do much better than those who get places in the city; where solicitation and recognition are more apt to undermine the resolutions of amendment, and weaken the hope of redeeming their character. The applications for servants and apprentices are too numerous to be supplied. This may arise as much from the scarcity of hands, as from the favorable opinion entertained by the public of the reformatory system pursued here. The latter, however; is known to be eminently successful, both from the annual reports of the Committee, and from the testimony to its excellent management given by a portion of the legislature, who had been appointed to examine it. It is very rarely that any allusion is made, in the way of accusation, whether by the boys or the girls, to the previous conduct of those with whom they may have any altercation. Disputes and quarrels seldom happen. Silence seems to be observed by common consent with regard to the past. The boys sometimes make their escape.
Shoe-making, book-binding, brass-foundering, &c., are carried on in the work-shops; in each of which a list of the names is stuck up on a board. Attached to them, are movable pegs, by observing the situation of which the superintendant can see at a glance, on entering, how many and who have behaved ill. The foreman is not allowed to punish the offenders. The proceeds of their labour are disposed of by open contract. No complaint has been made, except by the shoe-makers, of being undersold by the establishment.
Each boy has a certain quantity of work to do for the day. It is divided into two portions; and the time that remains, after it is finished, belongs to himself. It was ten o'clock when I visited the workshops, and several of the inmates were already in the court below, having completed their half-day's task. There was one colored boy among them. His conduct was as good as that of the others, and his treatment the same. No contempt or aversion was manifested against him. The poor fellow had stolen a watch --an offence that his destitute condition might almost excuse. He had neither father, nor mother, nor friend, to advise and correct him. He was literally without a home, and did not know that he had ever had one.
There were 106 boys and fifty-eight girls --one-third vagrants. They are discharged, the former at twenty-one, the latter at eighteen --the legal ages of majority.
The dormitories are separate, and placed in three stories with corresponding galleries above each other. The highest are used for solitary confinement, in cases of misconduct. A watchman goes his rounds regularly every night, to prevent escape or communication.
The girls are employed in sewing and other work for the house. Their dormitories are neatly decorated with prints and paintings, and other ornaments, that shew at once, by the taste exhibited in their selection and distribution, that they are inhabited by the fairer and more fanciful portion of the species. The chapel is so arranged, that the boys sit below the gallery, where the girls are placed, and are not seen, except by the younger part of the former. The school-room, which is well supplied with maps and books, is common to both sexes, and affords facilities for correspondence by means of writing; the places of concealment being known to the parties alone. It is very difficult to prevent these practices.
Monitors are chosen in the school for good conduct. Would it not be better that they should become so by rotation? There would then be less jealousy and self conceit. The duties of the situation would perhaps be more impartially performed, if they were official than if they were personal, and exclusion would be a punishment as well as a disqualification. The average work per day is eight hours --three hours and a half during the summer, and four in the winter, are appropriated to the school.
Here, as well as at the refuge in New York, the solicitude shewn for the welfare of the children extends beyond the period of their residence. Inquiries are made into their conduct at the places where they are settled, and the results are, in general, satisfactory. Some of them visit the house from time to time, and one of them is now a life-subscriber. The board of managers appoint the visiting committees. Twelve ladies meet monthly, and appoint two of their number to visit the establishment weekly.
A case of great hardship occurred while I was at Philadelphia. A man of the name of William Hector was claimed as a slave by a person from Maryland. He had been resident ten or twelve years in Pennsylvania: --the greater part of which time he had passed honestly and industriously in the city. Such at least was the testimony I received to his character from one of his neighbors, who had long been acquainted with him. There were 300 or 400 blacks present when the trial took place. The judge decided in favor of the claimant (Southern); having refused to allow sufficient time to procure evidence that would have established the prisoner's right to freedom. Three weeks were requested, and three days only were granted. His mother was an Indian; and his brother, it was said, had obtained judgment against a similar claim, on that ground. His wife, who was present, expressed her grief in a way that would have melted the heart of any one, but the administrator of the most cruel and unjust code that ever disgraced a civilized community --the sole interpreter and agent of a slave-holding legislature's will --with no jury to direct him, and little conscience to restrain him. If a black man's cow is taken from him, twelve honest men assist him to recover his property; if his person is seised, a judge or a magistrate decides on his right to his own body. In New Jersey and in other States, a justice of the peace has summary and definitive jurisdiction in such cases. By the revised statutes of New York, a supposed fugitive might formerly take out a writ de homine replegiando, and obtain the protection of a jury. Such security is now denied; as the superior court have unanimously declared the law, under which he seeks a remedy, unconstitutional. "I would observe," said Judge Hoffman, "that, as far as concerns the southern States, without this provision, (giving exclusive jurisdiction to a single magistrate,) our present government would not have been in existence. I may say it was the price of that constitution."
The law, by which the liberty of a human being is placed at the mercy of one man, was passed by the legislature of Pennsylvania in 1826. By the sixth section it is enacted, that "a fugitive " (any colored person may be claimed as a fugitive "from labor or service, shall be brought before a judge, and upon proof, to the satisfaction of such judge, that the person so seized or arrested, doth, under the laws of the State or territory from which he or she fled, owe service to the person claiming him or her, it shall be the duty of such judge to give a certificate thereof to such claimant, his or her duly authorized agent or attorney, which shall be sufficient warrant for removing the said fugitive to the State or territory from which he or she fled."
In many of the cities in the Union, the free blacks are hackney coachmen; and some of them drive their own carriages, which are usually the best and the neatest on the stand. I asked one of them, whether the whites did not prefer them. He replied that they did, and added, that there were three reasons for the preference; --because they had no fear that they would assume any thing like equality, --because they could order them about in the tone of masters, --and still more, because it might be thought they were riding in their own carriages --like our cockneys, who put a livery-servant at the back of a glasscoach, and then pass it off as their own. Hence it is that these men are more attentive to the appearance both of themselves and their vehicles, and elevate their condition by the means employed to degrade it.
It is highly gratifying to see the pride of man defeating its own purposes, and enriching the very persons it would impoverish and depress. It is the same with the barbers, who are almost entirely colored men. The whites are too proud or too lazy to shave themselves; and one of the few employmeats they have left open to the despised race, has given it both wealth and influence. The barber's shop is a lounging place, and a reading-room; where the customers amuse themselves with caricatures and newspapers; while the conversation that passes makes the operator acquainted with the occurrences of the day. The information these men possess is astonishing. Most of them take in the abolition papers, which thus find a powerful support, and the best channel to convey their sentiments to the public. Were they to act in concert, their numbers would enable them to exercise a salutary check upon a large portion of the periodical press, by limiting their subscriptions to those publications that are friendly or less violent in their hostility to them. There are many who express themselves freely upon those topics, in which they are personally interested, who, in handling a colonizationist, are as ready with their logic as their razors, and can take off his arguments and his beard with equal dexterity.
The respectability of this class was proved a few years back, by a memorial they sent to the legislature of the State. According to statistical tables, the accuracy of which could not be disputed, they contributed 2500 dollars annually to the poor fund, and seldom received more than 2000 from it, --while but four per cent. upon the whole amount of paupers, whether in or out of the alms-house, belonged to them; --eight and a quarter per cent. being, in 1830, their proportion of the population in Philadelphia. They were paying annually for rents 100,000 dollars, and had six methodist(sic) meetinghouses, two Baptist, two Presbyterian, one Episcopalian, and one public hall, all supported by themselves, and valued at upwards of 100,000 dollars. They owned two Sunday schools, two tract societies, two Bible societies, two temperance societies, and one female literary institution. "We have among ourselves," say these ill-treated men, "more than fifty beneficent societies, some of which are incorporated, for mutual aid in times of sickness and distress." The members were liable to be expelled or suspended for misconduct. Upwards of 7000 dollars, raised among themselves, were expended annually in the relief of sickness or distress. "It is worthy of remark," they add, "that we cannot find a single instance of one of the members of these societies being convicted in any of our courts. One instance only has occurred of a member brought up and accused before a court, but this individual was acquitted."
The Quakers in the United States are less noted for their co-operation in works of benevolence with the members of other religious societies than their brethren in the mother country. This difference is partly owing to the spirit of sectarianism; but more particularly to the custom, which generally prevails, of opening charitable meetings with prayer --an observance, to comply with which would be inconsistent with the principles of many among the "Friends." It was dispensed with on this account at the convention for forming the National Antislavery Society; which thus adopted a rule that has obviated any scruples or objections on this head in England. It is a great misfortune that any obstacle of the kind should exist, to cripple the exertions of men, who would be able to act more effectually in concert, and who are often defeated, when isolated, where they might have been successful united. It would be highly honorable to the society, if it were merely an adherence to principle, and not a deviation from it, that distinguished them from the parent stock. Had they, as a body, acted up to the rule they profess as individuals; had they publicly borne their "testimony " against the prejudice they condemn in private, and admitted their sable brethren to that social equality which they generally acknowledge is due to them, the national character would never have been stained by such cruel and cowardly proceedings as have lately taken place; an appeal to their conduct would have been an unanswerable reply to the charge of "amalgamation" (if the prejudice which gave it birth could have survived the respect they had ceased to pay to it). Instead of being stigmatized, by the victims of this wicked antipathy, as hypocrites and timeservers, they would have been found the best friends and protectors of the free, as they have always been the unwearied opponent of the kidnapper. No one could have raised his voice successfully against a practice which they had sanctioned by their example. The followers of Penn would have abashed the apostles of mischief; and those who may now fairly lay their misfortunes at the door of Quaker apostasy, would have been indebted for their safety to Quaker consistency.
The sons of Africa are reminded, even in the Quaker meeting-houses, of the mark which has been set upon them, as if they were the children of Cain. Yet the rules of discipline particularly forbid such unchristian distinctions. Monthly meetings are desired by them, to exercise due deliberation, in consulting upon the qualification of applicants for admission; and to receive such as are found worthy "into membership, without distinction of nation or color." who, on reading this injunction, would believe that "colored friends," when assembled with their white brethren to worship their common father, are obliged to sit by themselves; and that those attempts, which are now and then made, to join the excluded, or invite them to sit among the privileged, have been rewarded with remonstrance, reproach, and persecution? Even upon the subject of slavery, the Society is far from an explicit, or an unequivocal denunciation of its injustice. Among the rules of discipline, published at Philadelphia in 1831, is the following: --"We earnestly desire it may become the concern of our members generally, to use the influence they have with those who hold slaves, by inheritance or otherwise, that they may be treated with moderation and kindness, and instructed as objects of the common salvation, in the principles of the Christian religion, as well as in such branches of school learning as may fit them for freedom, and to become useful members of society." What is this but an encouragement of slavery? Talk of moderation indeed to a man, the very coat on whose back you know to be purchased at the expense of the person for whom you ask it! Tell him to be kind, while you see he knows not how to be just! Advise the open violator of religion to disseminate its principles, among those, who would thus become the judges, as they are now the victims, of his wickedness! Recommend the instruction of the very beings from whose ignorance he derives his pelf and his power! --and urge him to prepare his slaves for freedom, when it is the want of that preparation that supplies him with an apology for his guilt, and a motive for its continuance! If it be a sin in Quakers to hold slaves, they must consider it a sin in others; and they are partakers of the sin, who employ their influence with the offender, to palliate its heinousness with the suggestion of an amelioration, or to connive at its enormities by their silence on the paramount duty of repentance and reparation. What follows is little better: "Also, that friends in their several neighborhoods, advise and assist such of the black people, as are at liberty, in the education of their children, and common worldly concerns." Is there no better way, in which they can be assisted? Do they labor under no disabilities or grievances? Will not the assistance thus recommended by "the discipline," make them feel more keenly the pressure of their wrongs, and the denial of their rights? The black man stands in need of far other protection from the Quaker: --"Bear your testimony, he would say, against the pride of your white brother, by removing the barrier it has planted between his children and mine. Shew your sincerity by your humility, and let not the ill-treatment I receive be sanctioned by your deference to the votaries of worldly-mindedness. Let your practice conform to your principles, and those common courtesies be observed, which you would not dare to refuse me in any other country."
Nothing is said in the rules above quoted about the sin of slavery. The slave-trade alone is condemned; and "hiring slaves" is called "an unrighteous traffic." Its victims, however, are never spoken of as men entitled to the same rights as every other branch of the human family. Friends are exhorted "to educate those whom they or their predecessors have released from bondage, that they may become useful and respectable members of the community." They are described, whenever they are named, as a distinct race, --as objects of beneficence and condescension, destined to never-ending inferiority --doomed to experience, in the very kindness they receive, the proofs of hopeless degradation, and the sentence of unrelenting exclusion. What a disgraceful contrast does this apostate body of religionists exhibit with the Synod of Cincinnati, who, the year before, had declared slavery to be "a heinous sin and scandal!" Even the enemies of human freedom --those who hold that emancipation would destroy the constitution, and dissolve the Union, have openly insulted the Quakers, by praising their prudence and forbearance in this matter. The "Friends" and the New York rioters have been coupled together as sharers of that approbation, which the "waiters upon" public opinion are so skilful in applying.
Those who feel no abhorrence for the shouts of incendiaries, may well be pleased with the canting of time-servers.
It should be observed that a great schism has separated the Society into two hostile camps. The orthodox, who happen to be in the minority, are naturally anxious to conciliate public favor, and to obtain from without the power they want within. To this cause may be attributed the retrograde movement which has for some time characterised their "sayings and doings." Those who are abolitionists of the new school, who would take off the fetters from the white man's mind, as well as from the black man's body --veteres avias de pulmone-- are chiefly of that party who are stigmatized as "Hicksites;" and, as the "orthodox" have ceased to hold communion with them in their schools --their places of worship --their alms-houses --and, as far as they could, in the common intercourse of life, subjecting them to a degree of obloquy and persecution that is happily without a parallel among the Quakers of other countries, what was merely indifferent has become distasteful; and an approximation to the opinions and practices of new friends, has followed the desertion of the old. Thus, as is always the case where the passions have gained the mastery over reason, things which have no necessary connexion have been identified by juxta-position, and the "true believers" have adopted the observances of the world they have sought, and eschewed those of the brethren they have left.
So far have they carried their hostility, that they have prejudiced many "Friends" in England against its unoffending objects; who have in vain requested to be heard in their own defence, and solicited attention to a remonstrance which has been twice returned to them from that country unanswered. Even the grave cannot bury their animosity. The gate which leads to "the narrow house," must be forced by the living before the dead can find a place of repose. The whole country was lately scandalized by the sight of a Quaker litigation in a court of justice. A school in New Jersey, founded by the Society, was claimed by both parties; and they, who never had any articles of faith, and who deprecate appeals to legal adjudication in all disputes between members of the same religious family, called upon a legal tribunal to scrutinize the belief of their forefathers, and permitted the creed of another sect to be set up as a standard for their own.
Though the defendants in the suit, many of whom were subscribers to the school, proposed that the fund in question should be divided among the contending parties in proportion, to their numbers, yet judgment was prayed for by the plaintiffs, and the decision was in their favor. It is singular that a similar trial was productive of similar results, about the same time, in England --a coincidence which the "orthodox" party were not slow to turn to their own advantage, though there was wanting, in the two cases, that analogy which might have afforded them some plea for their conduct. The possessors of the litigated fund in England were neither its founders, nor the descendants of its founders; while the creed of the donor was the creed of the claimants; and no violation of principle was involved in the dispute or the decision. If the secular power is thus to cut the Gordian knot of polemical controversy, and declare what is nonconformity with the tenets it may in its wisdom think fit to ascribe to any religious society, there will soon be an end of sectarian equality, and the State may proceed to celebrate its union with the Church upon its ruins. The triumph will be the greater, as it will be owing to the most zealous opponents of the connexion. No persons have had a keener eye upon the various sects into which the nation is separated, or seen more clearly the efforts made by each for the ascendancy, than this society; and it is, in some measure, owing to this jealousy, that the American Quakers unite so seldom with other denominations in the performance of "good deeds."
They are suspicious, and perhaps with good reason, that the ministers of some of the latter are striving to prepare the public mind for a change in ecclesiastical matters. Some of them, indeed, have very unguardedly boasted of their numbers and influence, expressing a wish to spiritualize the body politic, by making the profession of certain dogmas the condition of obtaining a seat in the legislature. Nomination to public offices would thus lead, by an easy transition, to a command of the public treasury; and fixed salaries from the government would render the present stipendiaries of individual congregations independent of all control, by dissevering the tie that now binds together the doctrines of the one, and the interests of the other.
While the Missouri question was under discussion, a memorial was sent by the Philadelphians to Congress against admitting a new State into the Union with the curse of slavery upon it. I was informed that several Quakers affixed their names to it. I am unwilling to believe that any "Friend" would adopt or approve of such sentiments as the following: "Your memorialists will not deny that most of the slave-holding States are free from blame with respect to the introduction of negro slavery, and its continuance until the present time among them; that its immediate total abolition is incompatible with their safety, and even with genuine benevolence to the blacks; and that, in permitting its admission in the new States of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, Congress pursued a policy perhaps indispensable for the general security of our brethren of the South."
Elias Hicks, whose "heresies" are recorded in the appellation bestowed upon the Quaker "neologists", had so much influence with the monthly meeting, of which he was a member, that he prevailed upon all of them not only to manumit their slaves, but to pay them the arrears of those wages which would have been due to them if free. He abstained entirely from every article of food, or dress, or furniture, which had been produced by slave-labor. He evinced, in his last moments, how strong the ruling principle of his life was even in death. He was observed, by those who surrounded his bed at that awful moment, to push off, with what little strength remained, a cotton coverlid that had been put over him. As he repeated the effort three or four times in succession, some one remarked that it was probably on account of the material of which it was made, that he was unwilling it should remain upon him. He fixed his eyes upon the speaker, and, nodding assent, turned round on his side, and soon after, breathed his last.
An anecdote told me by Isaac Hopper, who has the active benevolence, as well as the religious opinions, of the heresiarch, throws some light on the relative characteristics of the two races that seem destined to share the new continent between them. It is seldom, indeed, that any one has an opportunity of ascertaining the validity of those opinions which ascribe generosity and high-mindedness to the owner, and the opposite qualities to his bondsman A citizen of Delaware, of the name of Perry Boots, had allowed his slave, Daniel Benson, some twenty years ago, to reside in Philadelphia, on condition that he would pay him forty dollars a-year. The "rent" of his own body was punctually paid for some time, though the "tenant" had to support his own mother, as well as to provide for his own maintenance. Having, however, been told that he was free by the laws of Pennsylvania, he applied to Mr. Hopper for advice; and the latter informed his master, by letter, that he had no further claim upon his services. It was in vain that remonstrances were made, and lawyers consulted. The case was plain. His consent had been given for a longer residence than that within which his property in human flesh could be retained; and the man was declared to be no longer "bound to service". Disappointed and chagrined at the decision, the master upbraided the man with ingratitude for the kindness he had always shewn him. "It is true", replied the other, "that you have always treated me well; and I feel attached to your family, from having lived with your father but the same law which gave you my labor, now gives me my liberty. You say you intended to grant me my freedom on some future day: --what price would you ask for me, were I still your slave?" "One hundred dollars." "The money is yours," said the generous black, producing a bag of hard dollars that he had laid by; "and now that I am a free citizen of the United States, I hope you will do me the honor of dining with me to-day." Both offers were accepted: a receipt was given for the money; and the parties sat down together to as good a banquet as the remainder of the hoard could provide.
Another story I had from the same quarter, presents a melancholy picture of the attachment these people possess for their children. A fugitive, who had accumulated a handsome fortune in Philadelphia, was anxious, about fifteen years back, to recover his family; and Isaac Hopper undertook to pay his master 150 dollars for his freedom. The bargain having been settled, and the necessary papers completed, the father went into Maryland in search of his little ones. They were no longer there. He had been promised them. They were sold. The shock was too much for a parent's feelings. His wealth had lost all its charms. He returned to Philadelphia, and died of a broken heart.
Isaac Hopper assured me, that he never knew a slave-owner whose word he could trust in any case where slave-property was concerned. He has had great experience in such matters; having rescued and redeemed many from the horrors of slavery, and being well acquainted with the tricks and treachery of those who are engaged in this infamous traffic. Yet these men frequently confide in the honor of their slaves, allowing them to work out their own emancipation, with no other security for their observance of the agreement than their integrity. The servant at the house where I lodged in Philadelphia, was 100 dollars in debt to his master, --having bound himself to pay the purchase-money of his freedom by instalments. He was without any incumbrance, and might with ease have made his escape to Canada.
When I asked him why he remained, he replied that he had given his honor, and nothing should induce him to break his faith. Such instances are very frequent. He himself put to me a case of conscience, and asked my advice. A person, with whom he was acquainted, had been brought from Virginia by his owner, with the hope that some one would advance the price of his freedom, (400 dollars,) and, as the slave's wife, a free woman, and her children, were in Philadelphia, he had left him there, while he went on to New York. The slave had promised not to run away. I recommended that he should return to Virginia, and, taking the first opportunity of rejoining his wife, proceed to Canada.
Both master and man were disappointed at the result, the one of his visit to Philadelphia, the other of his application to friends. Such was the sense of honor, that restrained the latter from violating his engagement, that he went back to his chains. Masters often work on the compassion of benevolent men, and connive at the escape of their slaves, with the hope of obtaining their value, when they cannot dispose of them in the usual way. To purchase under such circumstances, or indeed under any, is doubly injurious to the interests of humanity; as it acknowledges the right of the master to sell, and enables him to replace his stock. The sum of human suffering is not in the slightest degree diminished. There is merely a change in its distribution: --for, while the system continues, the necessary instruments of its operation will be sought for.
remarkable trait of generosity occurred about thirty years ago. Three men,
who had concealed themselves in Philadelphia, fell into the hands of their
master. A Quaker, whose name was Harrison, advanced, though he had never
seen them, the sum of 250 dollars for them. In the mean time, two of them
had made their escape; and a person, who wanted a servant, agreed to pay
Harrison 125 dollars for the one that remained. When, at the expiration
of five years, for which he had been bound, the man became his own master,
he went to his benefactor, and offered to return him the remainder of the
money; observing, that the whole debt had become his, by the flight of
his comrades, and that it was hard upon Harrison that he should suffer
from an act of kindness. I need not say what reply was made to the proposal.