Journey to Northampton. --Farmers. --Custom in the distribution of Property by Will. --Law of Descents in case of Intestacy, --Manners. --Prices of Provisions --Mount Holyoke. --Stage, Driver, and Passengers to Boston. --Lecture on Slavery. --African Repository's friendship for the Black Man. --Meeting of Colonization Society. --Death of Dr. Spurzheim. --Africo-Americans excluded from Seats in Church. --Cruelty to a Brazilian and his Wife. --Antiquity of Estates in New England. --Character of White Servants. --Improvement in the Black portion of the Population. --"Liberator" and Abolitionists. --Five thousand Dollars offered by Georgia for Garrison's Arrest. --Squib upon the fair of Boston at Boston Fair. --Mrs. Child. --Black Man preaching in "White" pulpit. --Whites not allowed to marry any but the true "Caucasians." --Lunatic Asylum --Cambridge. --Stage "tabu" for Colored Women. --Boston Pere la Chaise. --Body-snatchers.Nahant. --Young Ladies independent. --Episcopal Church. --Young Gentleman's solicitude for his distant descendants. --Treatment of Africo-American Mechanics.
ON the 13th I left Hartford by the stage for Northampton at eleven, A.M., and arrived about eight, --the distance being forty-eight miles. Eleven miles from the city we came to Tariffville, a very pretty village, situated in a most lovely valley, through which flows the Farmington river, pursuing its devious course to join the Connecticut. At this place a carpet manufacture is carried on by about 400 workmen, --partly American and partly foreign. The quality is said to be good. Three miles further we came to Granby, where we dined. Though it is but a small place and the traffic not sufficient to maintain an hotel, yet we had a luxury at table which a stage-coach passenger would look for in vain at one of our best inns on any of our most frequented roads. We had iced water. The same luxury at a petty tavern was procured for a young woman who was in the stage. It should be observed, however, that there is greater facility, as well as greater necessity, for laying in a provision of this kind in America than with us-as the winters are much more severe, and the summers much hotter; were it not, indeed, for this refrigerating antiseptic, many articles of domestic consumption would be spoiled. At the hotels, during the warm weather, a piece of ice is generally placed upon the butter.
The country between Tariffville and Granby is delightful. The farms, which are cultivated by the proprietors, average about 100 acres. The land is poor, having been worked for some time, and receiving but little manure. This offset of the old English yeomanry are, however, happy and contented, and retain the stem virtues which distinguished their ancestors. A son of one of them was in the coach, and described to me their customs and manners. At the death of the possessor, the estate is distributed among the members of the family, according to the most equitable principles. If any of the children have received a learned education, the advantages to be derived from its acquisition, and the labor lost to the father during the interval, require a commensurate deduction from his share, that all may be put upon an equality. Any misconduct or want of prudence is visited with a diminution of the portion according to the demerit of the party, or the chance of his becoming extravagant and dissipated. These matters are so well understood, that the claims of justice are satisfied, where the interposition of the law might produce supineness or evasion. In case of equal partition by will or intestacy, the farm is saved from too minute subdivision by an arrangement between the claimants, which shall leave one of them to till the paternal acres, while the rest receive an equivalent, and transfer their labor to some other place, or some other employment. Where the children are likely to suffer from the vices of the parent, the law steps in, and, by an appeal to the Court of Probate, a guardian is appointed to administer the estate, and protect the family.
In every State of the Union, with the exception --I believe the only exception --of Louisiana, where restrictions exist on the power of willing in proportion to the number of children, any one may dispose of his estate at his death in any way he pleases. It is a very common thing to omit altogether making a will, under the impression that the law will distribute the property more equitably than the owner could himself. "There is generally, in the Statute laws of the several States," says Kent in his Commentaries, iv. 417, "a provision relative to real and personal estates, similar to that which exists in the English Statute of Distributions, concerning an advancement to a child. If any child of the intestate has been advanced by him, by settlement, either out of the real or personal estate, or both, equal or superior to the amount in value of the share to such child, which would be due from the real and personal estate, if no such advancement had been made, then such child, and his descendants, are excluded from any share in the real and personal estate of the intestate. But, if such advancement be not equal, then the child and his descendants are entitled to receive from the real and personal estate sufficient to make up the deficiency, and no more. The maintenance and education of a child or the gift of money, without a view to a portion or settlement in life, is not deemed an advancement."
I was well acquainted with a man, upon whose education his father had expended a greater sum than upon that of his other children. The former refunded the difference, as soon as he was enabled to do what he considered an act of justice --not wishing that the family harmony should be endangered by any thing like partiality to one of its members. In most countries this would have been thought a remarkable instance of virtue.
In England the family is sacrificed to the estate; in France the estate is sacrificed to the family. The Americans have avoided both extremes. They cannot see the justice of giving the whole "mess" to one son, whether he be Reuben or Benjamin. They are in error, however, with respect to our system. They imagine it to be obligatory; and not, as it really is, except in the case of intestacy, or entails, (which are not, like those in Scotland, perpetual,) a matter that is regulated by custom, and fluctuating as the opinion which upholds it.
As soon as the stage arrived at Northampton, I was shewn into the tea-room of the hotel, where I found, among other guests, a young man at table, conversing with a lady opposite to him. When they had both retired, I was informed that they were a new-married couple --a fact of no very great importance to a stranger, yet shewing him that young people can commit matrimony, without letting the whole world know it, by sitting side by side, reciprocating little attentions and whispers, and throwing an air of mystery and restraint around them. The tea, as is every where the custom, was made at a side table, and served round to the guests as they wanted it; while at dinner the next day, the meat was to be carved by the "consumers," --thus reversing the natural order of things, giving trouble to those who had something else to do, and saving it where it would not be felt. There were seventeen at table; and it fell to my lot to cut up one of the joints, (the last comer being always put at the top of the house and the bottom of the table,) so that I had some reason to complain of the inconvenience. There seems to be a sort of superstition about the art of making tea --a privilege confined to the fair sex. A man may help himself to every thing at the breakfast table without exciting surprise or remark; but he must no more presume to pour out the infusion of "China's fragrant leaf," than a lady to fill her glass with the juice of the grape. Not a word was said at table. No doubt the puritans, from whom the people are descended, were men of few words. By parity of reasoning, they despatched their meals very quickly. They had long graces --they had no time to spare for talking or eating. After dinner, the men retired to a handsome and convenient sitting-room, provided with newspapers; and the "womankind," with their friends, to another apartment, appropriated to their exclusive use.
I had some difficulty, after I had exhausted the contents of the journals, in finding any one to converse with. A young Bostonian, who had been in Europe, had a sort of fellow-feeling for me, and met my advances with much politeness. He was going to Saratoga springs and before we parted, he recommended me to a boardinghouse at Boston, and gave me his card as an introduction to the landlady.
Northampton is a very pretty town, with handsome houses, surrounded by gardens laid out somewhat in the French style. It would be an excellent place of residence for a man with a large family and a small fortune; --a sort of domestic antithesis too common with us. The prices of provisions are low. Pork averages from five to six cents the pound during the year. Beef and mutton about three or four. Veal and lamb a little higher. Eggs ten cents a dozen, and butter twelve cents the pound. Farming men can earn one dollar and a quarter a-day during harvest, exclusive of meals, of which they partake with their employers. The rest of the year the average, with board, is twelve or fourteen dollars a month, washing included. Free blacks are occasionally employed by the farmers; and sometimes even sit down to the same table with the whites. This confirms what I was told in New York, and shews that their services are more wanted in the country than in the towns. When the carpenters struck work at New York, some of the blacks got work from the masters --an additional reason for jealousy to the mechanics. The abuse that is heaped upon the whole race proves that it is rising in the world. The worst are treated with contempt; while the better portion are spoken of with a degree of bitterness, that indicates a disposition to be more angry with their virtues than their vices. It is insufferably disgusting to hear them sneered at as dandy waiters and insolent puppies by men whose ancestors were perhaps transported convicts. Illiberal as this remark may be thought, it is surely a very mild recrimination to treat your forefathers' crimes as a misfortune in you, who treat my forefathers' misfortunes as a crime in me*.
* "The descendants of pedlars talking about rank! and those of exported paupers, or felons perhaps, gathering to themselves respect, because of the virtues of their ancestors."
-Nile's Register, 1831.
Every stranger, as a matter of course, pays a visit to Mount Holyoke before he leaves Northampton, from which it is distant about three miles. The road lies through the "flats", which are celebrated for their rich alluvial soil. The river is crossed by ferry, which is worked by two horses by means of a horizontal wheel --a sort of tread-mill that puts two paddles, similar to those of a steam-boat, into motion. The view from the mountain, which is separated by the Connecticut below, at the distance of 1200 feet, from its twin-brother Tom, is very noble and imposing commanding an extent of vision, on a fine day, of 100 miles. The States of Massachusetts, Vermont, New York, and New Hampshire are visible from hence. The river, which is rather less than a quarter of a mile in breadth, runs, in a very irregular current, towards the sea, and, forming a singular curve, presents one of the most striking features of the scenery. Such is the concourse of visitors to this far-famed spot, that a miserable log hut on the summit, a sort of tavern for selling refreshments, is let at 150 dollars during the season. The average number of daily pilgrims in the summer is about 100.
I left Northampton on the 16th, at three, A.M., for Boston, and arrived at that place about eight in the evening. The road was good; and, if we had not changed our vehicle three times during the journey, and stopped at the various post-offices for the bags, and at the hotels for refreshment, we should have got in much sooner. The first fifteen miles were performed in an hour and forty minutes. The distance is ninety-four miles. The passengers were inclined to be sociable; and, as it was a fine day, and the country not uninteresting, the journey passed off pleasantly enough. An English coachman would have been somewhat amused with the appearance of the stage and the costume of the driver. The former was similar to some that are common enough in France, though not known on our side of the channel. It was on leathern springs; the boot and the hind part being appropriated to the luggage, while the box was occupied by two passengers in addition to the "conducteur," and as many on the roof. on the top, secured by an iron rail, were some of the trunks and boxes, and inside were places for nine; two seats being affixed to the ends, and one, parallel to them, across the middle of the carriage. Our driver sat between two of the outsides, and when there was but one on the box, over the near wheeler; and holding the reins, or lines, as he called them, in such a manner as to separate his team into couples, not a-breast, but in a line or tandem fashion, drove along with considerable skill and dexterity. When he got down, he fastened the "ribbons" to a ring, or a post in front of the house where he had occasion to pull up. One or two of these jehus were without their coats --an undress I was glad to adopt during the heat of the day, and others in a plain country frock. I sat on the box most part of the time, and had a good deal of conversation with my companion. He was a very pleasant merry fellow. As he at first objected to admit a third to the honor of sitting by his side, I endeavored to joke him into good humor, and very soon succeeded, by laughing at his fun. When I asked him, for instance, whether he was full inside? he replied, with a knowing look: --"I guess I am --for I have just had a good dinner." We all laughed heartily. The joke was new to me; and the others were not in a vein to be nice about novelty. Three young men, who were inside, amused themselves by bowing very gravely and with profound respect, to the old folks, who were sitting at their doors, or looking out of the windows as we passed, and who were puzzling their brains, long after we were out of sight, in trying to make out to what acquaintance it could possibly be that they were indebted for this piece of unexpected civility. No one of our party, which was so numerous as to fill two stages, had any reason to complain of its formality. On my arrival, I was well received by the lady of the house to which I had been directed, and a comfortable bed soon made me forget the fatigues of the day.
The next morning I went out to call upon some persons whom I had known at New York --and, on my way, met one of them. He was going to the Athenaeum --a literary institution well provided with papers, and other publications, and an extensive library. After I had looked over the establishment under his guidance, and had had my name inscribed in due form as a visitor, I took my leave of him, and went in search of my English friends. Having with some difficulty found them, we went together in the evening to hear a public lecture on the subject of slavery. The question was clearly stated and ably discussed, as far as the principle, on which the system is founded, is involved. The remainder of the discourse was deferred to the next and a subsequent meeting. The orator's manner was rather more declamatory, and accompanied with more gesticulation than we are accustomed to in England. The matter, however, was excellent; the arrangement and the reasoning clear and conclusive; and the spirit that breathed throughout such as evinced an earnest conviction and a steady purpose. The audience was profoundly attentive, and both numerous and respectable enough to justify the hope of a more speedy settlement of this difficult question than the enemies and pretended friends of freedom are willing to admit. The business of the evening commenced and ended with a prayer from the lecturer, (a minister of the Congregationalists,) and a hymn from a school of colored children, who were stationed in the gallery under the care of their mistress. There were several of the same race present; all of them decent in their dress and decorous in their behavior. Some of them appeared to be in easy circumstances. There are fewer of them in Boston than in New York; but they are not better treated. One of them complained to me that he had experienced, great difficulty in obtaining an employment in which he could get his bread decently and respectably: with the exception of one or two employed as printers, one blacksmith, and one shoemaker there are no colored mechanics in the city.
a license for keeping a house of refreshment is refused, under some frivolous
or vexatious pretence; though the same can easily be procured by a white
man of an inferior condition and with less wealth. The insults heaped upon
these unoffending kind-hearted creatures are of such a nature as would
not be credited in England or in any other part of Europe. "Free
blacks," says the African Repository, are a greater nuisance than
even slaves themselves." "There is not a State in the Union not at this
moment groaning under the evil of this class of persons --a curse and a
contagion wherever they reside." This publication is the organ of the Colonization
Society --a professed friend of this people, that offers them benefits
and insults with the same hand; when their acceptance of them would be
the strongest proof, that the former were thrown away, and the latter fairly
merited. Well may its opponents say that it will rivet the chains of the
slave; since its success, as well as its origin, is connected with that
abject state, in which the planter keeps the manumitted black, whose condition
it is his policy to assimilate as much as possible to that of bondage --as
an excuse for the continuance of the one, and to render the other less
desirable. The breeder of slaves for sale has an interest against the increase
of his "cattle" beyond what will give a profitable return. The buyer has
an interest directly the reverse. Hence the Colonization Society, which
holds out the hope of sending the surplus numbers to Liberia, finds a zealous
friend in Virginia, and a determined foe in Louisiana. The retributive
hand of Providence may be traced in the proceedings of this Association.
It has united the friends of the black man, and sown dissension among his
enemies; it has converted the indignation,that its attempt to deceive had
into zeal for the cause of its victims; it
has attracted the attention of Europe to matters which, for a long time,might
have escaped or eluded observation: and, finally, it has produced a reaction
in the public mind that will not rest contented with the exposure of its
trust, and I believe, that there are many of those, who entertain contemptuous
opinions of their darker brethren, quite unconscious of their injustice
and absurdity. They see the prisons and penitentiaries crowded with them,
and are not aware that they are driven into them by their "poverty" and
not their "will." They forget, or know not, that they have often to struggle
with temptations and obstacles, that the ordinary share of human
fortitude and forbearance cannot resist or remove. They are as little acquainted
with them, as our peers with our scavengers or our fine ladies with their
scullions. If, as servants, they are honest and civil, they look upon them
as exceptions, that serve to prove the general character, and bright spots,
that shew the darkness and deformity of the general mass. At the anti-slavery
meeting there were three or four hundred persons present; chiefly from
that class of society, that constitutes its foundation and
strength, and by which all great national changes are commenced or consummated.
next night I attended a meeting of the rival society. According to
the advertisement, it was to take place at eight o'clock in the evening;
but, after half an hour and more had elapsed, not more than thirty people
had assembled, and some of them from curiosity alone; as a man behind me
asked me what was the object of the meeting. After a good deal of mysterious
whispering and preparation, Mr. Gurley, the secretary of the Colonization
Society rose: "oculos paulum tellure remotos sustulit;" and explained,
in a very embarrassed and hesitating manner the purpose for which they
had been called together. A crisis, he said, had arrived in the affairs
of the institution; the calls on its bounty far exceeded the funds at its
disposal; and, unless "the elements of public opinion with regard to the
colored people," which were now so strong, were embodied in a more effective
form, the colony must retrograde or be abandoned, "comparatively speaking."
He complained that the subject had produced "an unfortunate excitement";
that he had devoted the best years of his life to the cause; and most pathetically
observed that sooner than "go over to the doctrines of the ultra-abolitionists",
he would be contented to lay his head beneath the ruins of an enterprise
so important and benevolent. Having expressed a hope that Boston would
support her character, by opening her heart and her purse-strings to the
impoverished friends of Africa and her children, he sat down, "qualis
ab incepto," confused and dejected. He was followed, after a short
pause, by the chairman-if chairman he might be called, who sat on one of
the cross benches: and a similar appeal, in the same tone and manner was
made to the assembly. Another and a longer pause now ensued, when a third
speaker, with somewhat more self-possession, took the floor, and entered
more fully into the question. All I could gather from his speech was, that
the opposition, which had sprung up against them, was unintelligible in
its motives and weak in its influence; that he and his co-adjutors were
the real friends of the blacks, bond and free; that many of the latter
were anxiously waiting for emigration to "the land of their fathers;" that
they were men of excellent character and conduct; and, that if "the extreme
want of means" were not speedily supplied, the society must pause in its
operations, --and the opportunity of relieving the Southern States from
their apprehensions would be lost for ever. It was now getting late, and,
as the chairman observed, for the second or third time, no specific proposition
had been made, when a middle aged man, who had the organ of self-esteem
"pretty considerably" developed, left his seat, and rushed at once into
a stream of impassioned eloquence, more suited to the warmth of his feelings
than the rules of oratory. He was fortunately, (for I was beginning to
get impatient,) unable to sustain himself at the elevation to which he
had mounted so rapidly, and was, therefore, compelled to descend to humble
prose and offer a resolution, which, after some little debate, was ultimately
adopted unanimously. Its purport was that a committee of thirteen should
be formed, to collect subscriptions to the amount of 5,000 dollars in Boston
and its vicinity. Some one suggested that the subscriptions should be annual,
as that mode of obtaining money would be as easy as the other. As this
was the only thing I had heard in which I could most cordially concur,
I took my departure; fully satisfied that the bubble would soon burst,
and that the "American Colonization Society" had received a blow which
would ultimately carry it into the limbo of vanity*.
The impudence of these pseudo-philanthropists, in asserting that Africa is the home of the Africo-American, is most astonishing; well known as the fact is, that this part of the population, in spite of the great destruction of life in the sugar-grounds of Louisiana and the rice-fields of South Carolina, increases more rapidly than the whites: that, though but one-fifth of the nation, there are four times as many of them, who live beyond the age of 100, as there are of the "pale-faced" race; i.e. for every white above 100 years of age, there would be, were their numbers equal, 20 blacks; and that, consequently the soil and climate of their native country are more congenial to them than to those of European descent. When the Spartan slaves became troublesome by their numbers, they were hunted down, and knocked on the head, like wild beasts. The American helots are goaded by prejudice and proscription into "voluntary" exile, and are shipped off by their Christian brethren for a distant shore to struggle with a tropical sun, a barbarous people, and a pestilential climate. All this is done that the increase of the black population may be kept down to that exact point, which shall quiet the fears, and secure the profits, of the slaveowner; while the New Englander lends his aid to this cruel policy, and talks about abolishing slavery, with the, same self-complacent inconsistency with which the philanthropist sweetens his tea with free-labor sugar, while he lulls his cares with the fumes of slave-grown tobacco. Men will bear much and long before they make up their minds to quit their native land forever, and seek an unhealthy settlement among the most ignorant and uncivilized tribes. To say that these people are "willing" emigrants to Africa, is to acknowledge, that they are driven by injustice and cruelty from America.
* Among these orators, so eager to expel "a degraded and inferior race" from the land of their birth, was one, who is said to be the author of a work entitled, "America, or a general survey," &c. The following is a passage from it: "It would seem, from even a slight examination, that the blacks (whether of the African or Asiatic race) have not only a fair right to be considered as naturally equal to men of any other color, but are even not without some plausible pretensions to a claim of superiority." Again: "if any race have a right, on the fair and honorable ground of talents displayed and benefits conferred, it is precisely this very one, which we take upon us, in the pride of a temporary superiority, to stamp with the brand of essential degradation."
The modest motto of this work is:
"O matre pulchra filia pulchrior!"
It is amusing to see how personal vanity assumes the garb of patriotism; and, while it thinks it is merely paying a just tribute to national glory, is seeking its own gratification. Even the smile which this weakness elicits, proceeds from the same feeling.
July 22d., The weather was oppressively hot. The thermometer stood in the shade at 92, and in one place at 94. The air seemed to have passed through a furnace. It was more than my constitution could bear, though I was assured, by way of consolation, that the second summer is more trying to an European in America than the first. It was fortunate, however, that I had fallen into good hands; and that the few wants I had were supplied by the people of the house with great kindness and solicitude. My Bostonian friends, too, called frequently to see how I was, and to offer me their services. One of them took me out several times in his gig, to enjoy the fresh air, and the beautiful scenery with which the neighborhood of the city abounds.
It was in this house that Dr. Spurzheim breathed his last, on the 10th of November in the preceding year. He had been for some time in a very weak and nervous state; and, when first attacked by the illness which carried him off, seemed to foresee its termination, and persisted, through its successive stages, in declining medical assistance. Some opium he had taken to counteract what he thought too violent an operation of a slight aperient, is supposed to have accelerated his end. He met his death with great calmness and composure; prepared, by habitual resignation and self-government for the extinction of those faculties, which he had dedicated to the service of his fellow-creatures. The lectures he gave at Boston on his favorite subject were well attended; and he had a fair prospect before him of obtaining, by his exertions, an independent and an honorable competency. It was his intention to return to Europe ; and the feeling, to which he most fondly clung, and which he gave up with the greatest reluctance, was the hope of again meeting his friends at Paris, and passing the remainder of his days among his early attachments, and associations. A short time before his death, he received two letters from France; but was too much affected by their contents to finish their perusal. His manner was reserved and dejected; and he seemed to be oppressed by some painful recollection or anticipation. It was probably the loss of his wife that so much affected him; as he was strongly attached to her, and felt deeply the absence of those delicate attentions and affectionate regards, which render home the refuge and comforter of the sick man, and which his well known dislike of giving trouble would not allow him to exact or expect from any but the nearest relative. Though he had resided but a short time at Boston, he was respected by all, who were acquainted with his public character, and beloved by those, who had had an opportunity of witnessing the uniform benevolence of his disposition, and his unassuming demeanor. The servant, who waited upon him during his illness, spoke of him to me as of some superior being; so deeply had he been impressed with a sense of his worth. This, after all, is the sincerest and the most valuable testimony; for it is in the presence of this portion of society that a man's natural character is best seen. It is before them that he lays aside the restraint, that caution or etiquette requires from him before his equals, and strips from his real features the mask of "the hero" or of the philosopher. Dr. Spurzheim was fifty-six years of age at the time of his death.
Professor Follen of Cambridge, in his interesting tribute to the memory of his countryman, says, that when he was asked "what peculiar effect his system had had on his own mind, he said, that, without it, he would have been a misanthrope; --that the knowledge of human nature had taught him to love, respect, and pity his fellow-beings." Dr. Spurzheim observed, that the Americans paid more attention to the controversies, which had sprang out of the Christian religion, than to its influence over the practical duties of life: and that he never experienced so much restraint in the expression of his opinions under monarchical governments, as he had felt in a country where republican freedom is supposed to exist. Every one, who has resided any length of time in the United States, will admit the justice of these remarks. You may traverse the whole globe, and not find on its surface so many men and women, who make their own opinions in matters of faith the standard of orthodoxy, and shelter the suggestions of their own conceit under the name of piety and the sanction of the church, which they have honored with their adherence and allegiance.
The heat continued to be very oppressive; the thermometer rising at one time to ninety-eight. In the evening of the same day it fell to seventy-six. I was told that one day, the year before, there had been a difference of more than forty degrees in the course of four hours. While lying in bed one night, unable to get any sleep from its effects, I heard one of the lodgers let himself into the house between twelve and one o'clock, and close the front door again without fastening it or turning the key. The door remained in that state all night. It would no easy matter to find in Europe a city of sixty or seventy thousand inhabitants, where locks and bolts are not thought necessary against midnight intruders. It was a common practice to leave the entrance thus unprotected. --Another circumstance that was mentioned to me shews that the people are honest, or the police extremely vigilant. It is customary for the market people from the country to leave at the doors of the inhabitants the provisions that had been ordered of them. This is often done at an early hour.
The hackney coaches are perfect models of neatness and cleanliness; and have all the appearance of private carriages: --such carriages I mean as we see in Paris or London; for an American gentleman would be puzzled to find a coachman who would take such care of the carpets and cushions within, and the panels and harness without. They do not stand for hire in the streets, as at New York, but remain on the premises of the proprietors, till they are wanted. Their price, when regulated by time, is about a dollar an hour. The owner of one of them, that attracted my attention as it stood at a door while I was passing, very civilly answered my inquiries about the trade. The people of Boston are, indeed, as civil and obliging as any I ever saw. One person took me through his house to direct me on my way to a street I wanted to find; and another sent her boy with me to point out a house I was looking for in the neighbourhood.
How far the aristocracy of the skin is carried in this pious city, may be seen by a curious document that was put into my hands by an abolitionist. A free black, some few years ago, came into possession of a pew in one of the churches here. It was the only thing he could obtain from a man who was unable, or unwilling, to pay a legal claim he had upon him. Having furnished it, he offered it for sale. Not finding a purchaser at the price he demanded, --and, few would be likely to give the full value for what no one imagined the owner would dare to make use of; --he determined to occupy it himself; --whether he was unconscious of the offence he was about to give, or thought he might as well speculate upon the white man's pride, as, it would seem, the white man had speculated upon his submissiveness. The sensation produced by his unexpected appearance among the favored children of Nature in the very sanctum sanctorum of their distinctions, can be described by those only who witnessed it. The next Sunday, he took his wife and children with him. --It should be observed that the colored people are not admitted to places of worship, except to small pews or boxes set apart expressly for them, and so placed that they can hear without offending the fastidious delicacy of the congregation. --At Albany, there is one where a curtain is placed in front to conceal the occupants, when there are any; for those for whom they are destined, seldom enter them, and speak of them with the contempt they deserve, as "martin-holes " and "human menageries." It was now high time that notice should be taken of this contumacious spirit; and the intruder received the two following notes.
"IF you have any pew-furniture in pew No. 38, Park Street Meeting-house, you will remove it this afternoon.
ODIORNE, for the Committee. March 6, 1830."
With the above was a copy of a note, written the day before to this Agent of the Committee, in, these words.
PEW No. 38 in Park Street Church is let to Mr. Andrew Ellison.
The other letter was addressed to "Mr. Frederick Brinsley, colored man, Elm Street;" the contents are as follow.
"Boston, March 6, 1830.
"MR. FREDERICK BRINSLEY.
"THE Prudential committee of Park Street Church, notify you not to occupy any pew on the lower floor of Park Street Meeting-house on any Sabbath, or on any other day, during the time of Divine worship, after this date-and, if you go there, with such intent, you will hazard the consequences. The pews in the upper galleries are at your service.
GEORGE ODIORNE, for the Committee."
Brinsley, on going again, found a constable at the pew-door. No further
attempt was made to assert the rights of property against such a
formidable combination; and we may seek in vain for the consequences, which
Mr. Odiorne with official brevity, says, would have been hazarded
by another visit to the house of God. The offender is now removed from
this scene of persecution and mortification, to a place "where the wicked
cease from troubling and the weary are at rest."
A similar circumstance occurred some years ago, when the question was tried in a court of justice, and decided in favor of the plaintiff --a colored man of the name of Joshua Easton. He had sued for damages against certain persons, who had ejected him from his pew, or rather had rendered it useless to him. Having purchased seats in a Baptist church, recently erected in the town of Randolph, in the State of Massachusetts, he found, on going thither one Sunday with his family, that the seats had been removed. They, accordingly, sat down as well as they could on the flooring. The next Sunday, nothing but the ground being left for their accommodation, the party were obliged to stand up during the service. The enemy, finding that these repeated inconveniences were unavailing, covered the place with pitch and tar. He was satisfied with the victory he had obtained, and shewed his superiority to this petty vulgar malice by not insisting on his right. He never entered the church again.
While I was at Boston, a cause was about to be tried in a court of justice for a breach of contract. The complainant, a Brazilian, had been a major in the service of his native country, from which he was driven by political dissensions. He endeavored to obtain employment at Haiti; and, subsequently at the Caraccas whence, distrusting the sincerity of Bolivar, he came to the United States; this being his second visit. He was driven from a boardinghouse, where he had been admitted on his arrival, to a miserable lodging, which he left for a private house; and was keeping a store when the circumstances, that gave rise to the litigation, occurred. In the month of November preceding, he was going upon business to Nantucket, and had reached New Bedford, where he took places in the steam-boat for his wife and himself. The boat was to start at ten next day: --at six, he sent his horse and gig on board; when, from the negligence of the captain of the vessel, the poor animal was precipitated into the water, and would have been lost, had not the owner exerted himself to save it; no one, for some time, offering any assistance. When, at last, the animal had been rescued, he was compelled to pay twenty dollars for the trouble it had given. At noon, the vessel left the place; --a heavy rain came on; and his wife descended with an infant at her breast, into the cabin; where she was stopped, and informed, that she must not enter, because she was a negro. There were, at the time, but two women, of the lowest description, in the room. It was in vain that her husband remonstrated against the injustice of refusing him an accommodation, for which he had agreed to pay the same as the other passengers. The captain, was inexorable and insulting; and, though two Americans, who were present, interceded in his behalf, and handed Mrs. Mundrucu down a second time, she was obliged to return on deck, and expose her health (for she was very unwell at the time) and the life of her child,to the inclemency of the weather, which was such, in addition to a thick fog, that the steam-boat returned to New Bedford. The next day the Brazilian party were refused admittance into the boat; and their luggage, together with the horse and gig, were left on shore. These particulars I received from the man himself and from his wife --a very good-looking respectable mulatto. From one of his counsel, Mr. Child, a man whom to know is to esteem, I had some anecdotes --and he told me he knew many others of the same kind, --that shewed how undeserving he was of such treatment. When first he commenced business in the city, he became acquainted with a Polish refugee, whose "necessities" were "yet greater" than his own. He assisted him to the utmost of his power, and gave him a new suit of clothes out of his store. Though fully sensible how inexcusable is the cruelty with which prejudice, unequalled by any thing in his own country, has stamped the black man as an inferior being, yet he would never consent to take Mr. Child's arm, while walking with him in the street; lest such an instance of uncommon liberality should bring reproach or odium on his kind-hearted friend.
At the risk of being tedious, I will mention another trait of generosity in this man. He had, not long before, retained the same counsel in an action he was about to bring against the editor of a newspaper for a libel; when, having received an anonymous letter, advising him to apply for some money owed to him by a person about to fail, and finding, or suspecting, that his libeller and his correspondent were one and the same, he declared that he would proceed no further against him. It must be very galling to a man who is fit for any society anywhere, --for such I found him, --to be insulted by, the lowest blackguard, for no other reason than that nature gave him a brown complexion, and his own industry has given him a good coat to his back. While relating his story to me, he expressed himself with great propriety upon the subject, and exhibited a degree of forbearance, that added not a little to the interest attached to his situation. The Court of Common Pleas, in which this cause was tried, gave Judgement in favor of the plaintiff, with 125 dollars damages; but, on appeal to the Supreme Court, the decision was set aside. It would be difficult to reconcile these proceedings with the Twelfth Article of the Treaty of Peace, made on the 18th of March, 1829, (to be in force for twelve years,) between the United States and the Brazils. By that article, both the contracting parties promise and engage formally to give their special protection to the persons and property of the citizens and subjects of each other, of all occupations, who may be in their territories, subject to the jurisdiction of the one or the other, transient or dwelling therein, leaving open and free to them the tribunals of justice for their judicial intercourse on the same terms which are usual and customary with the natives and citizens or subjects of the country in which they may be; for which they may employ, in defence of their rights, such advocates," &c. Whether applicable to this case or not, this Article would have been openly violated, had Major Mundrucu gone to Charleston in South Carolina; as he would have been imprisoned immediately by a law of that State, directed against the introduction of colored persons. When last I saw Mundrucu, he was about to quit the country on his return to his native land, having been recalled and reinstated, not only as regarded his rank, but the arrears of pay due to him. I pointed out the above Article to him; and he said he would bring it under the notice of his government. He had appealed from the State courts to the Federal court; but the matter would probably be dropped, as his residence in North America was shortly to cease.
Among the many mistakes and misrepresentations, that have been published with regard to the manners and customs of the country, are two, that a very little observation and inquiry will detect. One, to which I have before alluded, is, that estates are cut to pieces by the law of descent, or lost to the family altogether in a couple of generations. This is so far from being the case, that antiquity of possession sometimes goes further back, relatively, than with us. Not, however, that this is any benefit to the community, for, as Sir John Sinclair says, in his Statistical Account of Scotland, "It has often been observed (though there are many exceptions to the rule) that, when a family has long been in possession of an estate, it is apt to be neglected; whereas one, which frequently changes its master, becomes in reality an object of commerce, and every new proprietor endeavors to improve it." We call it an old family that can trace back an uninterrupted descent from the Conquest. Some of our American relatives can trace to the first settlement of the country, when individual possessions were unknown. Mr. Joshua Coffin, of Newbury, in Massachusetts, a name with which Sir Isaac, to whom he is, I believe, distantly related, has made us familiar, has an estate which has been in his family very nearly two centuries; and some of his neighbors, he told me, were of equal and of older standing. An estate in Long Island, belonging to the family of the recorder of New York, (Mr. Riker has descended regularly from father to son for about two centuries. I had the fact from his sister. She added, a singular circumstance, that the estate had usually, I believe I may say uniformly, been transmitted to the youngest son of the immediate occupant. The elder, it appears, had been successively sent from home, and provided for in different professions and employments; and the last, to whom the care of the farm thus fell, continued to cultivate it after the father's death: and the claims of the rest were settled by an arrangement satisfactory to all parties. Equal partition takes place in the case of intestacy alone; and then "If the inheritance will not bear partition, without injury to the parties in interest, the eldest heir, in some of the States, is judiciously allowed to take the whole estate to himself, on paying to the other heirs an equivalent for their shares in money-" Kent's Com. iv. 385.
The other circumstance referred to is the condition of American servants, who are said to be universally idle and insolent. My own experience convinced me that this opinion is entitled to no more credit than the other. At the house where I boarded I found the man, who waited at table, particularly attentive. I had little occasion to ask for any thing; as he was sure to observe what I was in the habit of taking at meals, or might want at any other time, and was ready to supply me. He was very active and observant; and performed what he had to do with alacrity and good will. Two of his predecessors, I was told, were even superior to him in assiduity. One of them saved a thousand dollars in service; and was, when I was at Boston, a merchant's clerk, with, a fair prospect of rising to a higher station. Vermont and New Hampshire generally supply the New England cities with this class of men. They prove honest, industrious, and prudent: and, when they have laid by a little capital, go into business, and raise themselves to a higher, but not a more respectable, rank. Good masters make good servants here as elsewhere; and those, who complain that there is less distance between the parties than there is in an old country, would do well to observe, that the proximity would be dearly exchanged for an estrangement, that might drive one of them into a collusive alliance with dishonest tradesmen. The housekeeper's douceur from the fishmonger, and the butler's percentage upon the Wine-merchant's bill; are extravagant considerations to pay for obsequiousness and servility. --Servants are seldom taught here to say one thing and mean another. If a visitor calls upon any one, who does not wish to be seen, he is informed that the master of the house is engaged: "not at home" is not often the answer given. Falsehood and equivocation are odious vices among the country people; and it would be doing unnecessary violence to the feelings of self-respect, which are imbibed from early infancy, to make a raw and inexperienced lad the medium of communicating what, however intelligible to the initiated, would appear to him either an unwarrantable deception, or a silly deference to a very silly piece of etiquette. This description will not, I fear, apply to the large cities. Domestic service is less distasteful to a New Englander than to a New Yorker. One reason of the difference may perhaps be found in the circumstance that there are, with the exception of the most menial departments, fewer black servants in the eastern States.
all I had seen and heard during my residence in the country, I was not
a little surprised to find in Walsh's "Appeal", an assertion so unfounded
that even those, whose character it is employed to defend in the eyes of
the world, must blush for it. "Nothing," he says, "can be more false than
the representations of English travellers, concerning the treatment of
free blacks by whites in the middle and eastern States. It is not true
that they are 'excluded from the places of public worship, frequented by
the whites' :-that 'the most degraded white will not walk or eat with a
negro': or that they are 'practically slaves'. Their situation as hired
domestics, mechanics, or general laborers, is the same, in all respects,
as that of the whites of the same description: they are fed and paid as
well; equally exempt from personal violence, and free to change their occupation
and their employer. They approach us as familiarly as persons of the correspondent
class in England approach their superiors in rank and wealth; and, in general,
betray much less servility in their tone and carriage." -P. 397.*
* Who would expect in any publication calling itself "Christian" such an unblushing falsehood as the following? --"There are here, thank God! no castes. We have no classes event which are confined to the trade, business, or condition of their parents. We start, all of us, on equal terms as to rights and objects. The highest prizes of society are open to universal competition --and, though in the nature of things, some must fail, the unsuccessful candidate is known only in the result.No man admits beforehand that he or his children should be put out of the race. There is no impassable bar to fortune, fame, rank or honors." Christian Examiner, March 1830.
There are public schools for the blacks at Boston, as well as at New York; and they are in the same manner denominated "African"; though the children who attend them, are no more African, than the American children are English; the English Norman; or the Norman Scandinavian. So far, and so low is this spiteful vulgar distinction carried, that, in the Boston Directory, the names of those, whom it is intended to mortify, are placed by themselves at the end of the book; --in Philadelphia they are marked with an asterisk. Great and manifest improvement is going on among this portion of the population. They have formed themselves into a Lyceum, or school of mutual instruction, at one of the meetings of which I was present at eight in the evening. It was held in one of their chapels. Mr. Isaac Coffin, --a staunch and zealous friend of the cause, --with whom I went, delivered a lecture to them on the elementary principles of arithmetic. There were several women among the auditors. They were all very attentive; and answered, with much propriety, the various questions that incidentally arose during the lecture. The business of the evening commenced with an extempore prayer from one of the men. His language was good, and his pronunciation distinct and correct. The sentiments were appropriate to the place and the occasion; and the devout manner of all assembled was very impressive and interesting. In the course of the evening, some conversation took place relative to Liberia, the last accounts from which had been very discouraging; the mortality among those recently arrived at the colony having been frightfully great. The feeling against this inhuman and preposterous scheme of emigration was unanimous, and most deep-rooted. Yet, in the very next day's Boston Patriot an address from the committee, formed at the meeting I had a short time before attended, was published, with the object of procuring funds for the Colonization Society, and declaring that "there were numerous respectable persons of color making application for assistance to emigrate." At the head of the signatures to this document stood that of A. H. Everett. The committee modestly asked for 10,000 dollars in aid of their undertaking; and concluded their "begging letter" by drawing a sort of parallel between the original founders of New England, and those whom they are doing their utmost to drive out of it. "This appeal," they said, "is, made in behalf of an afflicted people, seeking, as our fathers once sought, an asylum on a distant and uncivilized shore where they may secure for themselves, and their posterity, through all time, blessings like those we so highly prize." These people forget that they are themselves the persecutors ; and that the only heresy the black "pilgrims" have committed is that of the skin. They forget that nonconformity to an established creed was then a crime everywhere; and that non-conformity to an established complexion is a crime nowhere --but among themselves. The "honest chronicler," predestined to Spring from the bosom of Liberia, would do well to borrow Mr. Everett's motto, and expatiating on the matchless merits of his beloved mother-land exclaim: O matre pulchra filia pulchrior!
That this Society have an instinctive dread of discussion is plain from the conduct of many of its members. When The Liberator first made its appearance at Boston, in January 1831, they were willing to support the paper, on condition that it would not offer any opposition to their proceedings; and would submit to the revision of a censorial committee. These terms were rejected by its conductors; and Garrison and his intrepid coadjutor, Knapp, with whom it had originated, continued the publication with a zeal and perseverance that no opposition could daunt, and no discouragement could relax. They had not a dollar in their exchequer, and were often put to great shifts in their efforts to obtain printing paper. They worked, night and day, to procure funds, and keep their little bark afloat. I know, from the best authority, that they deprived themselves of every thing but mere necessaries, and had little beyond bread and water to subsist on.
The result has rewarded their labors. The child of their creation --the Anti-slavery Society, --which came into existence in 1831, has grown with astonishing rapidity. From twelve that gave it being, it numbered, when I was first at Boston, above 2000 members; and auxiliaries were springing up on every side. Its expenditure has usually exceeded its means; as other channels have received the contributions of those who have engaged in the same cause*.
The legislature of Georgia, indignant at the attack made upon its legitimate rights by a northern journal, and aware that the State of Massachusetts would not protect its citizens from any indignity or outrage that hostility to the established system might bring upon them, passed a resolution, that would, if its spirit had been acted up to, have most effectually stopped the editor's mouth. His friends were, indeed, for a long time alarmed for his safety, under an apprehension that he would share the fate of Morgan**,
* When I landed at New York, there was, I believe, but one Anti-Slavery Society in the United States-the one alluded to. I do not speak of the old manumission societies --they have other objects, and employ other means. When I left New York for England, there were at least 150; and their numbers were increasing.
for daring to interfere with a matter much more likely to excite angry and resentful feelings than any connected with masonry.
** Morgan was the name of a man whose imprudence in exposing the secrets of the Masons, is believed to have cost him his life. He was carried off from the State of New York, a few years before, by some members of that society, and never was seen or heard of again.
The State-paper alluded to throws some light on the real condition of that liberty which is supposed to flourish in the favored soil of the western world. it is as follows:--
In Senate, Nov. 30, 1831.
"RESOLVED, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Georgia, in General Assembly met, that the sum of five thousand dollars be, and the same is hereby appropriated, to be paid to any person or persons, who shall arrest, bring to trial, and prosecute to conviction, under the laws of this State, the editor and publisher of a certain paper called the Liberator, published in the town of Boston and State of Massachusetts; or who shall West, &c., any other person or persons who shall utter, publish, or circulate, 'within the limits of this State, said paper called the Liberator, or any other paper, circular, pamphlet, letter or address of a seditious character," &c. [Then follows the authorization of the Governor to draw on the Treasurer for the said sum of 5000 dollars, and to publish the resolutions in the journals.]
Read and agreed to,
THOS. STOCKS, PRESIDENT."
After the attestations of the clerk, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, comes the signature of the Governor, Wilson Lumpkin*.
This bull, it is well known, was thundered at Garrison; who, in the early part of the preceding year, had been sentenced in Baltimore, to a fine of fifty dollars, with costs of prosecution, for "a gross and malicious libel," published in his Genius of Universal Emancipation, against Francis Todd and Nicholas Brown, owner and captain of a vessel, fitted out at Newburyport in Massachusetts for New Orleans. It had been their intention to take in a cargo of slaves at Baltimore for the latter city; and it was for stigmatising these citizens of a "free State," where slavery is said to be held in abhorrence, as "enemies of their own species," "highway robbers and murderers," that the guilt of "calling a spade a spade" was punished by imprisonment in the common jail of Baltimore; --the fine affixed to the crime being beyond the means of the criminal. He was subsequently released by the generosity of Mr. Arthur Tappan, of New York, --the firm and munificent friend of the black man. It was proved, on the trial, that eighty-eight slaves (not seventy-five, as Garrison had stated) were taken in between Baltimore and Annapolis, in Maryland; a new clearance having been obtained at the latter place.
* Equal attention was paid during the session to connubial rights and the rights of property: twenty-one acts of divorce having been passed by the legislature. In 1829, there were twenty-seven. In Missouri, another slave state, there were forty-nine divorces a year or two back-pretty well for a population of whites under 115,000, in 1830! An act of this kind, among others, was granted in Mississippi, in 1830, because the petitioners could not live happily together- "the happiness of the people "--.as the preamble declared- "being the ultimate end and object of all governments,"
The southerners will not allow any one from the other states to interfere with what they consider within their own exclusive jurisdiction. A Bostonian travelling not long ago in one of the slave states with his wife, met a negro in a cart. The poor fellow, overcome by the intense heat of the day, was leaning forward, as if half asleep, when the driver, as he passed him, struck him with his whip across the face with such violence that one of his eyes was either torn from the socket or so much injured as to bleed most profusely. The New Englanders were indignant at this wanton barbarity; and the husband a very humane, but a very highspirited man --expostulated rather warmly with the brute; when he was damn'd for a Yankee, and told to mind his own affairs, and not interfere with people who had a right to do what they liked with the niggers. The well-meant appeal operated like Don Quixote's intercession in favor of the boy whom his master was flogging. The driver, during the rest of the journey, lashed at every man of color he could reach with his whip.
The villages about Boston are very prettily situated, and abound in fine views and picturesque scenery in greater variety probably than any other city of the Union. I had the pleasure of seeing some of them through the kindness of a friend, who took me with him in his open carriage, among several places, to Brooklyne, where there are some country residences belonging to the merchants of the city. Conspicuous above the rest were two, belonging to two brothers of the name of Perkins; to one of whom the public is indebted for the Athenaeum; and to the other for the Blind Asylum. The way in which the latter donation was made was very judicious. The house --worth 30,000 dollars --was given as an institution for the purpose, on condition that 50,000 dollars should be raised by voluntary subscriptions within a certain time. The appropriation had just been made; and the contributions already exceeded the sum required. There was a fair or bazaar upon the occasion, when the ladies of Boston attended to dispose of the toys and trinkets and other articles they had made, or taken in charge, for the benefit of the charity.
A little squib, that had reference either to this or some other meeting, had appeared, when I was there, and, as it depicted the personal peculiarities of some of the actors and actresses in the scene, it had given great offence to the parties concerned, and excited an extraordinary sensation everywhere. I looked over the publication --a little dialogue or drama of a few meagre pages; and a more vulgar insipid performance I scarcely ever read --equally deficient in point, humor, and imagination. It was a coarse farcical picture of oddities that no one would care to see exhibited in others or attributed to himself, nothing indicative of character, good or bad, being connected with them. Yet, to hear what was said on the subject, one would have thought that the author had violated the sanctities of domestic life, and deserved to be kicked out of society for a wanton breach of its most sacred obligations. Satire and caricature must be unknown, where a trifle so thoroughly insignificant can survive a week's notice, or extend beyond the limits of a country town.
On my return from Brooklyne, I spent the remainder of the day at Mr. Child's, whose lady's writings are well known in England, where they are much admired. She had just completed a little work on slavery, --a book that had not only given offence to some of her aristocratical friends, but was likely to affect her interests (if, where there is so much principle, there can be any pecuniary interests felt) as an author. Hints had been given to her, that her devotion to an unpopular cause would alienate some of her friends --I should say acquaintances --from her. These considerations would not, however, have the slightest effect in altering the course of conduct prescribed to her by a sense of duty, as she was as little likely to abandon any object from the fear of censure, as to pursue it from the love of praise. Pierpont, --whose First-Class Book had been discontinued in the schools at the South, because it contained "Webster's Remarks on the Slave Trade," and Cowper's beautiful verses on Slavery, --very considerately asked her whether she did not expect to be treated in the same way as himself for a similar want of prudence.
American literature may be characterised, in general, as timid or mercenary, or both, in the silence it observes, or the defence it takes up on this topic. We, who breathe the air of liberty and liberality in England, and can openly express our abhorrence of the system, careless of the ridicule and resentment of its advocates, can form but a very inadequate conception of the moral intrepidity and strength of mind it requires to stem the torrent of prejudice, to brave the sneers and sarcasms of the worldly, to face the cold looks of our intimate friends, --to be branded as fanatics and firebrands, --to be openly accused of a wish to loosen the bonds of our country's union, and to risk, in the defence of rights withheld or denied, all the annoyances and petty persecutions that self-interest, and envy, and malice, and the consciousness of a mean subserviency to the vilest customs can suggest, to "the great vulgar and the small." All these, and more, will, I doubt not, be nobly and cheerfully borne by a woman, who has done honor to her sex, by being the first and the foremost to dedicate her time and her talents to the honorable task of rescuing it from the disgrace of having so long viewed with apathy and silence the unutterable brutalities by which their helpless and harmless sisters have been tortured and degraded in the slave-states of North America. On returning to my lodgings, after midnight, I found the window on the ground floor open, and the front door unlocked. Leaving every thing as I found it, I retired to my chamber, and slept with the door open, with no other fears than my hospitable friend's lobster presented to my dreaming fancy.
The next Sunday there was so great a crowd at Christchurch, to which I went in the evening, that I had some difficulty in getting a seat. A well dressed man, in one of the pews, observing my embarassment very civilly gave up his place to me, and insisted upon standing in the aisle. The cause of this assemblage was the unusual appearance of a black man in the pulpit. His object in preaching was to procure funds for assisting him to liquidate a debt of 1100 dollars, with which the church he officiated in at Baltimore was encumbered. He had received episcopal ordination, and had been regularly appointed to a colored congregation in that City. The service was well performed; and the sermon, which was sensible, impressive, and well delivered, was listened to with much attention. Yet, though thus permitted to address a white audience, and treated with respect by the proper officers of the church, he was shamefully insulted on his return home. I was behind him and the clergyman of the church where he had preached, both of them in gowns, as is the custom with the Episcopal clergy, when half a dozen young men, whose dress denoted something like respectability, thinking a colored man in canonicals a fit object of ridicule for a Sabbath evening in the orderly city of Boston, burst out into a loud laugh as he passed, and stopping to enjoy the amusement at their leisure, cracked their jokes upon him in the most pointed and offensive manner. I could not restrain the indignation I felt; and turning towards them, I enquired what he had done to offend them, that he should be so insulted. They made no reply-but sneaked off, and shewed they had still some shame left. There were two other persons with me; but they said nothing, hoping that a transaction so discreditable to the manners of the place would have escaped observation.
The next day I had an opportunity of conversing with the stranger, who proved to be a very shrewd and intelligent man. He put into my hands the testimonial, or letter of recommendation, with which he had been furnished on leaving Baltimore to seek assistance in the Middle and Eastern States. It was signed by the ministers of three Episcopalian --churches and a domestic missionary in Baltimore, and stated that his object in soliciting aid was highly useful and praiseworthy. "It may be well to add," they said, "that Mr. Levington serves the parish of which he is rector gratuitously; receiving his whole support from his school; and that the payment of the small debt still due for the building occupied by his church and school, will leave him, without embarrassment to prosecute the important interest to which he is devoted." They spoke of him as "a prudent pious man, of reputable intelligence and sound judgement."
Scanty as his resources were from his school, they were rendered less productive than they might have been, by the unjust and unconstitutional law of the State, prohibiting the introduction of colored persons from without. In consequence of this iniquitous enactment, he had lost several pupils that were offered to him. For one of them, --the daughter of a respectable man at Albany, who, as well as his wife, had been educated by him, --he would have had 100 dollars a-year; but he was compelled to decline receiving her into his house. He related some several instances of insult and indignity to which his color was constantly exposing him. One of them had occurred a few months previously. He was travelling by the De Witt Clinton steam-boat from New York to Albany; and, though the weather was extremely cold, and he had paid the same fare as the rest of the passengers, the captain refused him any accommodations below, and he had to pass the whole night on deck, with nothing to lie upon but the bare boards. To use his own expression, "A dog would have had more care taken of him."
Among those noble-minded men, who are struggling against the influence of this baneful prejudice, there is one at Boston, so determined to rise superior to it, and yet so distrustful of the spirit required to combat it successfully, that he accustoms his children, when very young, to sleep in the same bed with those of the proscribed race, that the first ideas received in infancy may be in favor of kindness towards those whom they will in after life see ill-treated, and that they may escape that detestable superstition he still finds lurking in his own bosom.
After all the inquiries and personal observations I could make among all classes, and in every spot I visited, I could find nothing that could afford the slightest justification of the odium. and contempt thrown upon these unfortunate people. When the cholera was raging at Boston, not an instance occurred of any one among them deserting a friend or a relative: many volunteered their services, and took care of the white patients who had been abandoned by their timid families. I cannot recall to my mind any one instance, in which they spoke of what they had done, or others had neglected to do, on that melancholy occasion.
One would have been led to expect that the Irish, who have quitted their native country to escape persecution, would have felt some sympathy for its victims in the land of their adoption. But, to the shame of that nation, the reverse is the case. Nearly all of them, who have resided there any length of time, are more bitter and severe against the blacks than the native whites themselves. It seems as if the disease were more virulent when taken by inoculation than in the natural way. One of these unworthy countrymen of O'Connell was travelling, on horseback, in Vermont, when he requested a woman, who was standing at the door of a house, to send some one to take care of his horse. She told him she would send her husband. In a few minutes, a black man came out, to the great astonishment of the stranger. "Pray," said he to the wife, "has your family met with any misfortune that you should so far disgrace it as to make such a degrading alliance?" Yes was her reply. "My poor sister met with a misfortune that brought irreparable disgrace upon us: --she married an Irish man!" Such marriages are permitted in the State of Vermont*;
* By the laws of Maryland, the child of a white woman by a negro or mulatto, is to be put out to service till the age of twenty-one; and the mother to forfeit 10l. to the State, and to be publicly whipped by thirty-nine stripes on her bare back, well laid on, at the common whipping-post ; besides standing in the pillory for two hours. The father, in addition to the whipping, to have one ear nailed to the pillory. White men connected with negresses, to be fined 20l., and to receive twenty-one lashes at the common whipping-post. These statutes are, I believe, still in existence; but it is doubtful if they are ever enforced --certainly not the last. In some of the slave states, it is a capital offence in a colored man to cohabit with a white woman. A man was hanged not long ago for this crime at New Orleans. The partner of his guilt --his master's daughter --endeavored to save his life, by avowing that she alone was to blame. She died shortly after his execution. He was a remarkably handsome Quadroon. Marriage, as a bar to the infliction of these penalties, is out of the question.
not so in that of which the religious city of Boston is the metropolis.
The following law may not be at present enforced, but it was in existence so late as 1831, when a Bill "containing an amendment, authorizing the marriage of blacks with whites, which passed to a third reading in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, was finally rejected by that body." Niles's Register. The 7th section of an Act, passed June 22, 1786, enacts, "that no person, authorised (by the Act of which it is a part) to marry, shall join in marriage any white person with any negro, Indian, or mulatto, on penalty of the sum of 50l., (about 38l. sterling,) two third parts thereof to the use of the county wherein such offence shall be committed, and the residue to the prosecutor, to be recovered by the treasurer of the same county, &c.; and all such marriages shall be absolutely null and void." It is not many years ago that the penalty for this enormous offence was enforced; and a clergyman was fined for lending the sanction of religion to an union, which, without it, would have incurred neither punishment nor censure.
The Mayor of Boston (H. G. Otis) writing, in 1831, to an eminent counsellor of the state of S. Carolina, said, "The number of free people of color among us has not yet become inconvenient. They are as yet, a quiet, inoffensive, and in many respects, a useful race. Many of them are worthy and well-principled persons. . . . . But it is not to be disguised, that a repugnance to intimate social relations with them is insurmountable. Our laws forbid the intermarriage of whites with people of color, and every consideration recommends our endeavoring to prevent a disturbance of the mutual understanding which regulates our intercourse." Thus it appears, it is neither "lawful" nor "expedient," in the land of the pilgrim fathers, for a white to marry a quiet, inoffensive, useful, worthy, and well principled person! By the revised statutes of Illinois (1829), whites marrying negroes or mulattoes, are to be whipped, fined, and imprisoned; and the marriage to be ipso facto null and void. Illinois is called a free State: she decreed at the same time, that "any person who shall disturb the peace and good order of society by labor or amusement on the first day of the week, &c., shall be fined-not exceeding five dollars." What broad phylacteries these pious people must have!
I visited but few of the public institutions of Boston, owing to causes, which, as they refer to personal ailments, are equally unfit to be recorded, and unpleasant to be remembered. One of these institutions was the lunatic asylum, about a mile from Boston --an establishment well situated and well conducted. The view from the house towards the city on the opposite side of the water, is very agreeable and cheerful. There is a good garden attached to it with separate grounds for patients of both sexes in the different stages of their complaint. There were forty-five men and thirty women there at the time. The physician (who is also superintendent) was out, but his son took my companion (an American gentleman) and myself over the establishment, and explained with much politeness, the arrangements of the building and the mode of treatment, which did not appear to have any striking peculiarity in it. He told us, that about two-thirds of the cases were cured. The proportion had recently increased, as the reluctance to send relatives to such establishments was declining, since greater confidence had begun to prevail in the improved system of treatment, and more rational notions of what is due to a class of sufferers, who are too often sacrificed to pride and avarice. The Chance of recovery, it is well known, is in an inverse ratio to the duration of the disease. About half a million of dollars had been laid out upon the institution. Forty thousand were originally voted by the legislature for the purpose, on condition that 100,000 should be raised by subscription. The sum stipulated for was advanced; and subsequent donations have been added: one, amounting to 100,000 dollars by the will of a benefactor, in honor of whom the place is called the M'Lean Asylum. It is connected with the Boston Hospital, and is, with that, under the management of a board of twelve trustees, and the inspection of a board of five visitors. The latter consists of the Governor, and Lieutenant-Governor of the State, the President of the Senate, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and the Chaplains of the two houses. The former, whose services are gratuitous, are elected annually, four by the visitors, and the rest by the governors of the hospital. A committee, formed from this body, visit the asylum once every week, for the purpose of seeing that the inmates are properly treated. In one of the wards through which we passed, there were several patients, who were immediately removed into an adjoining room. As they withdrew, they cast glances of displeasure and suspicion about them. Such seemed to me the expression of their countenances. It would be better to accustom them to the sight of strangers, except where violence is to be dreaded, and to keep from their minds every idea of mystery, or mistrust. They should be made to distinguish between punishment for misconduct and precaution against misfortune.
The next day I went to Cambridge, between which place and Boston an omnibus plies several times a day, of such capacious dimensions, that, if the man who drove it was to be credited, a cargo of forty-three persons could be safely stowed inside and outside of it. The professor and librarian of Harvard College, to whom I had letters of introduction, were out (it being vacation time). But I fortunately fell into conversation with a person whom I saw at a bookseller's shop; and he very politely offered his services to attend me through the establishment. He had, I believe, been formerly librarian. We accordingly visited the lecture-rooms, library, &c. The library contains, in addition to the collection of law publications in another building, about 40,000 volumes, which appear to be well selected, and adapted to the literary pursuits of the place. Though not so extensive as many enjoyed by older and more wealthy endowments, it has neither been swelled by a tax upon literature; nor if it were, would the benefits of an eleemosynary grant from the legislature be refused, from difference of religion, to the very persons upon whom it was levied. I was highly gratified by what I saw; and considering that the students are generally younger than they are at our universities, I should conceive that the method of ,instruction is well suited to the purposes for which it is intended. The young men keep (to use a word common at Boston as well as at Cambridge) partly in the college, and partly in lodgings. The former class usually chum together, i.e. have a common sitting-room connected with separate bed-rooms. Those who wish to study law or divinity or physic, remain after they have graduated, and attend lectures appropriate to the respective professions. There are about 300 pupils. In the library I was shown several books that John Hollis, the celebrated republican, presented to the college. One book interested me a good deal; it was a Foulis edition, in folio, of Paradise Lost; and was presented by Brook Watson, sometime Lord Mayor of London, to Phillis Wheatley in July, 1733. Phillis was an African, who had been stolen from her native country at an early age; and having received some instruction from the persons into whose hands she fell, had evinced very considerable talents for poetry, of which she published a small poem --a little production that was honored with the praises of Jefferson, and has very lately made its reappearance in a new form, and with a biographical memoir of its author. There is a copy in the library. In the preface, it is stated, that she had received but eighteen months' education in reading, when she could read, with great propriety and clearness, certain parts of the New Testament "to the astonishment of the beholders." This expression marks, emphatically, the low estimation in which the African intellect was held at that time. She was in London whence the donation is dated, when she was presented with Milton's poem. She, returned to Boston, where she died in great distress having married very unfortunately. After her death, her books were sold to pay her husband's debts; and her copy of the Paradise Lost was presented to Harvard College, in March 1824, by Dudley Pickman, of Salem, in Massachusetts. The donor doubtless expected that the learned pundits of Cambridge would shew this wonderful production "as we shew an ape" in Europe.
Among the arcana of the library is a MS. edition of Hippocrates, of such exquisite finish that it would be almost impossible to distinguish it from printing. It is far superior to the imitations of the same characters by Porson. The writing was the work of an English schoolmaster of the name of Thomasen. It was given to the college by Dr. Nicholls, who sent it over from England. My guide told me there was another specimen of the kind by the same hand at the British Museum in the Oxford collection of MSS.*
Having heard from my English friends, who had now quitted Boston, that there was a very interesting school in the town for colored children++, under the care of a young woman of the name of Paul, whose management of the pupils they had been highly pleased with; I called at her mother's and was informed that her daughter was is the country. Some circumstances connected with her journey had given Miss Paul great uneasiness.
* The work he alluded to is in the Harleian Miscellany at the British Museum, and is marked 6315. It is in folio. It is a manuscript copy of Pindar, and is probably the most beautiful imitation of Greek type in existence. Prefixed is a letter to the Bishop of Chester, dated "Tarvin, near Chester, December 31, 1725," and signed "John Thomasen." It was at the suggestion of the former Bishop of the diocese that he had acquired the art, of which this incomparable specimen remains, as "the only means in his power to help out a small income, and make himself so far known as to be removed (if possible) into some less fatiguing way of life than that of a poor countrey school." His attempts had, he says, proved unsuccessful, though they had more than once promised fairly. The queen gave him fifty pounds, and promised him an annuity, but her death soon after disappointed him of all his hopes from that quarter.
++ Dr. Spurzheim, after he had examined the heads of these children, on a visit he paid to the school, was heard to say "I see no difference;" alluding, doubtless, to the supposed inferiority of cerebral development.
She was going to visit some friends at Exeter, fifty miles from Boston, and had been unable to procure a seat in the stage, as the driver, though her place had been taken the night before, refused to carry her, except on the outside, a seat so seldom occupied by women, that no respectable female would venture to sit there, at the risk of being laughed at or insulted. She declined, therefore, to subject herself to such humiliation, and proceeded to Exeter with her brother, in a gig. Her fare by the coach would have been two dollars and a quarter; while the hire of the gig was seven. Add to this the loss of two days' work to her brother, a lad of twenty years of age, and a repetition of the expense on her return home; and it will be seen how "hard it is to climb" under the double load of industrious poverty and a dark complexion. The journey from, and back to, Boston, cost her and her brother twenty-seven dollars; whereas the whole amount by the stage would have been but four and a half. The proprietors of the stage quoted the Park Street Chapel case, in vindication of their conduct. This Young person's father was a clergyman, well known in England, where he met, during his stay there about twenty years back, those attentions and regards which were due to his exemplary character. Her uncle is married to an English woman, and is, or was, in the native country of his wife. He is not inferior in any respect to his brother. Yet this young woman, who is possessed of an accomplished mind, and exempt from all reproach, cannot visit her distant friends without subjecting herself to ruinous expense or intolerable indignities. Her mother was much affected while relating the story to me, and contrasted the reception of the parent in England, with the refusal of common civility to the daughter at home. Since this occurrence, she has met with still worse treatment. The house, in which this family reside, is situated in a bad neighbourhood, and Miss Paul was in treaty for a better, with the view of removing her establishment to another quarter, when she was informed, that the inhabitants of the street, in which she was about to settle, had resolved to eject her or pull the building down, if she persisted in her determination. Not the slightest objection was offered to her character.
Her brother --a very respectable and clever lad was entered at the grammar-school at Boston: but the opposition to his admission was such, that, though very desirous of studying the dead languages, as a preparation to a higher employment than that he was engaged in, he was induced, by the advice of the Mayor, to withdraw. Some time after this, a mulatto from Nassau, in New Providence, a member of the legislature, who was travelling in the United States, told me he had been much distressed by the insults he had met with. He could not comprehend the reason. On taking his place from Boston to Providence, the book-keeper, who had registered his name, tore it out in his presence, because he declined riding outside. At another office, the driver agreed to take him up at his lodgings. After waiting in vain for him, he had no resource but to hire a private carriage, which cost him 17 dollars. The fare by the stage is not more than two or three.
In the evening, I accompanied a party on an excursion to Mount Auburn, where a cemetery, about five miles from Boston, has been laid out in imitation of Pere la Chaise. Should the simple and appropriate embellishments, of which this place is susceptible, correspond with what has already been done, it may, without any stretch of fancy, be predicted, that the child will be no disgrace to the parent. There are about 100 acres enclosed; and part has been appropriated to the projected object, by small allotments of land, which have been purchased for family vaults. The ground is well wooded; and paths have been made so as to shew the undulations and inequalities of its surface to the greatest advantage. A few monuments have been erected; and when a sufficient number has been added to throw an air of interest and solemnity upon the picturesque scenery around, the effect will be such as to impress the visitor with those feelings which such a spot is calculated to produce.
The ground was consecrated in Sept. 1831, and is now in possession of the Horticultural Society, of which any one who purchases an allotment by the payment of sixty dollars, becomes a member. As this a chartered company, and the legislature has exempted these portions from attachment for debt, and the owners are empowered to dispose of them, there is the best security that the place will be properly kept up, and the sacred character of its destination preserved. At present there are too few emblems of mortality to arrest attention or impose restraint. Parties of pleasure come hither from the city in great number every day. No less than 600 visitors had been there on one day the preceding week. When the cemetery is completed, and the novelty of the thing is worn off, a visit to this hallowed spot will call up reflections and associations more impressive and permanent.
The place is not well secured against "body snatchers," who carry on a very profitable trade in this part of the country --as much as 100 dollars having been given for a subject. Stone-vaults and iron-doors will not easily baffle such adventurers. The odium in which this vile, yet necessary trade is held, is so inveterate, that few people would scruple to shoot the invader of the tomb. One of these midnight marauders was followed for upwards of forty miles, and narrowly escaped the vengeance of his pursuer. A recent law of the State, appropriating the unclaimed bodies of all who die in the public institutions to dissection, will do more to eradicate this band of outlaws than any threats of punishment, public or private, directed against robbing the grave, or having dead bodies in one's possession. This enactment is very unpopular, as if it favored the rich, while in fact, it protects the poor, who were most exposed, under the former system, to be stolen when dead, by the "resurrection-men," and mangled while living, by unskilful. surgeons. The wealthy could hire watchmen for the grave, and purchase the best medical assistance for the sick room. The poor could do neither. Exhumation is punished with great severity in the State of Vermont; the penalty being, in aggravated cases, 1000 dollars' fine, and imprisonment for ten years. Two young men of the name of Daggett --one of them a student of medicine, were sentenced there lately, to three years' imprisonment, and a fine of 500 dollars with costs of prosecution, for disinterring a dead body.
About fifteen miles from Boston, at the extremity of a peninsula which forms part of the bay, is Nahant, a small watering-place, a favorite resort for the city "folk." A friend, to whose kindness I am indebted for similar acts of politeness, took me over in his carriage to see the place. It stands on a rocky promontory, and commands some fine sea-views. The steam-boat, which plies regularly between Boston and Nahant, (Sundays not excepted,) brings them into close contact, and affords, after the business of the day, to the merchants and professional men, the delights of country air in the midst of their families. There are several hotels and boarding-houses, generally crammed during the season. We went into one of them to see the billiard-room. There we found parties of men engaged in the game --there were two or three tables, and among, them one solitary female, surrounded by the rougher sex, and exhibiting a degree of adroitness in knocking the balls about almost as remarkable as her self-possession and ease, under circumstances that would cover a young lady in Europe with confusion and embarrassment. There were at least a dozen men present; and others were continually coming in and out, yet the fair Achilles parried the jokes of the bystanders, and the attacks of her adversary, with equal spirit and readiness; and would not have betrayed her sex at the sight of jewels or laces; nor thrown down the weapon in her band for all the "armour" of the toilette. She was young and good-looking; and her sister, who had not long been married, was considered the belle of the place. This exhibition of independence among the young women, is one of the most striking features to be observed in the manners and customs at places of public resort in the United States. Chaque nation a ses usages; but we cannot forget Madame Dacier's inscription *
in the German album, and must agree with her, that reserve is one of the brightest ornaments in the fair sex.
* r vPa&6'LP ~ CLYj (kipfl KGaIAOV.
My companion, who was engaged to dine with the Humane Society, introduced me to some ladies, with whom I passed the rest of the day very agreeably till our return. They were well-bred, well informed women; and had travelled a good deal in Europe. They amused me much with the description they gave of the extraordinary ignorance they found among the English, of every thing American. They spoke, however, favorably, as all Americans that I have seen, do, who have been there, of their reception in England. The testimony of travellers from both nations is on this point fully reciprocated. The ladies had not long been returned from a visit to the South, and represented that part of the Union as undisguisedly hostile towards the other. "Confusion to New England", was a toast given one day in a convivial party, in presence of a lady from the North. --They had a white servant with them; and, as he was the only man of his color who waited at table, the rest being slaves, much surprise and displeasure were felt, at the house where they boarded in Richmond, at the unusual spectacle of a freeman among the helots. One person present exclaimed, in a transport of fury against what these self created nobles consider an infringement of man's dignity, --"It makes my blood boil in my veins to see a white man standing behind a chair."
One circumstance, mentioned by these ladies, as having particularly struck them in England, --and indeed I have often heard the remark by others, seems to afford a key to a very curious passage in the American Quarterly Review (1827). As it affords a fine specimen of the mock-heroic, I will give it at full length; premising that the connecting link between the ladies at Nahant and the writer in Philadelphia, is the notion entertained among the uneducated classes in the old country, that the inhabitants of the new are all black or dark-colored.
"The chief part of our countrymen conscientiously believe that a mixture of the two races would deteriorate both our physical and intellectual character. Of this hypothesis we give no opinion. It, however, does not want arguments both of reason and authority to support it; but, whether it be true or false, so long as it prevails among our citizens, they will view with aversion and dread what must subject all of their country and, race to a lasting physical debasement*.
Nor can they be expected to be indifferent to the future jeers and scoffs of the unmixed European race on either side of the Atlantic; who, with the ever-ready disposition of mankind, to claim a merit from any peculiarity of their own, would twit them with the ignominy of their descent."
* Here, as far at least as regards the physical character, the Reviewer assumes as true the very hypothesis upon which he had just before said he would give no opinion.
It is unnecessary to point out the extreme absurdity of declaring hostility to the spirit of ridicule; at the moment of inviting its shafts by the display, in all its malignity and sensitiveness, of the "ever-ready disposition" which gives it its existence and amusement. If the feelings here described be really national, it would be difficult to say which was most disgraceful: --the imputation of such a silly taste for jeering, or the dread of becoming its victim. To escape the embarrassment of this contingency, the Reviewer recommends that nearly one-fifth of the whole population should be expatriated:
What a dilemma for a great nation! To tremble at the idea both of insurrection and of amalgamation; and to shrink equally from the resentment and from the love of the African race!
O tortes, pejoraque passi!-cras ingens iterabimus aequor
There are several Episcopal churches in Boston. The first I attended was the Trinity Church (so called, as many would say, who look upon the congregation as heretics, like "common sense" because it is uncommon). It is a neat and very convenient building; --the pews, as well as the aisle, carpeted; and the galleries so placed on each side, as to obstruct neither the light nor the sound. Over the entrance is the organ; and opposite, adjoining the wall, the reading-desk and pulpit: below them the communion-table, on that spot where the parish clerk, with us, sits in all the dignity of the squire's old black coat, and makes the responses mechanically. That office is performed in the American Episcopal churches by the congregation. It happened to be a sacrament day; and there was a goodly, yet modest, display of plate. The clergyman, who officiated, was dressed as his brethren are in England; and descended, at the proper time, to read the Communion service at the table below. The liturgy was nearly the same as ours, with some few alterations, adapted to the political institutions of the country, and the existing state of delicacy with which some expressions in our ritual are not quite in accordance. It was announced, previously to the reading of the Litany, that the prayers of the congregation were requested for two sick persons. A separate prayer, appropriated to this object, was offered up, after the Litany, in which the words, occurring to that effect in ours, were omitted. The singing, as I found in most of the places of worship I attended, was good. The glorification was sung, not between the psalms, but at their conclusion only. As for the sermon, it was, to my ears, perfectly unintelligible; partly owing to the affected pronunciation of the preacher, and partly to his dropping the termination of his sentences and syllables in a low and abrupt voice. This was the more perplexing, as he had read the service very distinctly. On conversing afterwards with one or two persons on the subject, I perceived that the unvarying repetition of the same words every Sunday was becoming, as it is elsewhere, unpalatable to many, with whom the finest composition in profane prose or poetry would lose the greatest part of its beauty, if often read or recited, and cease to command attention, or leave any permanent impression.
Bishoprics are very different things among the descendants of the pilgrims from what they are in other places; and perhaps there maybe an equal difference in the motives for accepting them. The predecessor of the minister I heard at Trinity Church gave up his rectory, which was worth between 3000 and 4000 dollars per annum, and was appointed to a bishopric, which was said to be scarcely more than so many hundreds. Such instances of a pure mind, uninfluenced by mean and mercenary feelings, are, I was told, less rare than they may sound to ears accustomed to tales of a very opposite character --well known histories, that tell us preferment means a higher stipend; and translation signifies removal to a richer see.
The oldest Episcopal church in New England is King's Chapel, at Boston. The proprietors made, in 1785, some alterations in the Liturgy, in accordance with Dr. Samuel Clarke's suggestions, and continued the use of the Common Prayer thus revised till 1811, when further changes took place. In 1787, the congregation ordained Mr. Freeman; Bishop Provost of New York, to whom application had been made for that purpose, not having returned a satisfactory reply. This irregular mode of proceeding, as might have been foreseen, gave rise to a sharp controversy; and the Divine, thus uncanonically appointed, underwent a sort of excommunication from the pulpits of five sister churches in New England. The only notice Mr. Freeman took of this document, was to insert a copy of it in the Columbian Sentinel.
Since the revolution, there have been thirty bishops in the American Protestant church. Of these sixteen are now living; three were consecrated in England, one in Scotland, and the rest in the United States. There are sixty-five students in the General Theological Seminary; eight missionaries employed at home, two in Greece, and one about to be sent to China. Between 1792 and 1832, the Episcopal clergy increased twofold in Connecticut and South Carolina; fourfold in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania, and sevenfold in the State of New York. During the same period, the decrease in Virginia was from sixty-one to fifty-six. In the diocese of New York, there are 190 congregations and 183 clergymen.
Having passed the evening at Mr. Child's, and expressing a wish to see how that portion of the citizens really live, who are condemned to hopeless degradation, he conducted me to the house of a man, with whom he was well acquainted. The owner was ill in bed, and his wife at a religious meeting. On my requesting his boy, who had opened the door, to allow us to look over the house, we were shewn into a sitting-room on the ground-floor, well furnished and in good order. Over the fireplace stood a French clock in a glass case with several neat ornaments: the whole bespeaking the residence of an industrious respectable family. We then went up stairs to visit the invalid. The bedroom corresponded to the one below: --the bedstead of handsome mahogany, and the rest of the furniture such as one might expect to find in an English tradesman's house. We had a good deal of conversation with the sick man, whose language and manner were singularly correct and becoming. He told us he had caught a chill by sleeping, as he had always done, at his store, which was situated in a damp unhealthy part of the town. He had been induced to remain there, during the night, instead of returning home, from an apprehension, that, if a fire should break out in the building, his sons, whom he must have left there, to take care of his goods, would in all probability, be accused of an attempt to burn down the premises. For a similar reason, though his dwelling-house, which he had built himself, had cost him upwards of 1500 dollars, exclusive of the furniture, he had insured it for 1200 only; lest, in case of fire, accidents from which are very frequent in all the large cities, he should meet with some difficulty in recovering the amount of his loss from the insurers. Upon my companion asking him how one of his friends, whom he named, was getting on, --"very badly," was his reply; "he can get but little employment, as the whites will not work with him." The poor fellow was a carpenter. This is a fair specimen of the encouragement given to Africo-American industry!
A committee of the House of Representatives of Massachusetts recommended, in 1821, that some law should be passed against the introduction of free blacks from the south; whence they were likely to be driven by harsh laws. Georgia, it was stated, had taxed every free negro twenty dollars annually. Among other things in this report was an apprehension that these people would, if admitted into the State, "substitute themselves in many labors and occupations, which, in the end, it would be more advantageous to have performed by the whites and native population of the State," --a very remarkable testimony to the industry and enterprise of this class from those who represent them as incorrigibly idle and vicious. If they are so, why dread their competition? If they are not so, why deprive the community of their services? When I took this man by the hand and sat by his bed-side, I could not comprehend how any one that professes the religion of kindness and humility can think himself degraded if he take a chair in a sick negro's house on a Sabbath evening. That dignity must be thin-skinned indeed, which may be rubbed off by contact with any human being. As one proof, among thousands I could adduce, of the extent to which this vile feeling is carried, I may mention what I witnessed at Nahant. I had said, in the hearing of several persons, that a time would come when all colors would be blended in one by an intermixture of the different races, and the human species exhibit, at its termination, as at its commencement, but one complexion. "If things continue in this country," I added, "as they are now, the blacks will out-number the whites: and they must associate together, or the latter will be driven out." "If I thought your prediction would ever be verified," exclaimed a man who called himself an Englishman, "I would rather see my children, dearly as I love them, perish before my eyes, than bear the idea that their posterity, however remote, should one day sit down to table with a colored man"; a very silly, as well as a very malignant speech by the by; for he who uttered it was, by anticipation, condemning his descendants for the very thing he was doing himself --acting in conformity with public opinion*.
* "I am inclined to suspect that our European vanity leads us astray, in supposing that our own is the primitive complexion; which I should rather suppose was that of the Indian, half-way between the two extremes, and, perhaps, the more agreeable to the eye and instinct of the majority of the human race. A colder climate, and a constant use of clothes may have blanched the skin as effectually as a burning sun and nakedness may have tanned it; and I am encouraged in this hypothesis by observing that of animals, the natural colours are generally dusky and uniform; while whiteness and a variety of tint almost invariably follow domestication, shelter from the elements, and a mixed and unnatural diet." Bishop Heber's Narrative of a Journey, &c. In another passage of his work, the Bishop observes, "that the deep bronze tint is more naturally agreeable to the human eye than the fair skins of Europe; since we are not displeased with it even in the first instance, while it is well known that to them," (the colored races,) "a fair complexion gives the idea of ill health, or of that sort of deformity, which, in our eyes, belongs to an Albino."