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" Ran away, a negro named Arthur. Has a considerable
scar across his breast and each arm, made by a knife ; loves
to talk much of the goodness of God."

"Twenty-five dollars reward for my man Isaac. He has


a scar on his forehead, caused by a blow ; and one on his
back, made by a shot from a pistol."

" Ran away, a negro girl called Mary. Has a small scar
over her eye, a good many teeth missing, the letter A is
branded on her cheek and forehead."

" Ran away, negro Ben. Has a scar on his right hand ;
his thumb and forefinger being injured by being shot last
fall. A part of the bone came out. He has also one or two
large scars on his back and hips."

" Detained at the jail, a mulatto, named Tom. Has a scar
on the right cheek, and appears to have been burned with
powder on the face."

" Ran away, a negro man named Ned. Three of his fingers
are drawn into the palm of his hand by a cut. Has a scar
on the back of his neck, nearly half round, done by a knife."

"Was committed to jail, a negro man. Says his name is
Josiah. His back very much scarred by the whip ; and
branded on the thigh and hips in three or four places, thus
(J M). The rim of his right ear has been bit or cut off."

"Fifty dollars reward, for my fellow Edward. He has a
scar on the corner of his mouth, two cuts on and under his
arm, and the letter E on his arm."

"Ran away, negro boy Ellie. Has a scar on one of his
arms from the bite of a dog."

" Ran away, from the plantation of James Surgette, the
following negroes : Randal, has one ear cropped ; Bob, has
lost one eye ; Kentucky Tom, has one jaw broken."

"Ran away, Anthony. One of his ears cut off, and his
left hand cut with an axe."

"Fifty dollars reward for the negro Jim Blake. Has a
piece cut out of each ear, and the middle finger of the left
hand cut off to the second joint."

"Ran away, a negro woman named Maria. Has a scar
on one side of her cheek, by a cut. Some scars on her

" Ran away, the Mulatto wench Mary. Has a cut oil the


left arm, a scar on the left shoulder, and two upper teeth
missing.' 1

I should say, perhaps, in explanation of this latter piece
of description, that among the other blessings which public
opinion secures to the negroes, is the common practice of
violently punching out their teeth. To make them wear iron
collars by day and night, and to worry them with dogs, are
practices almost too ordinary to deserve mention.

"Ran away, my man Fountain. Has holes in his ears, a
scar on the right side of his forehead, has been shot in the
hind parts of his legs, and is marked on the back with the

"Two hundred and fifty dollars reward for my negro man
Jim. He is much marked with shot in his right thigh. The
shot entered on the outside, halfway between the hip and
knee joints. 1 '

" Brought to jail, John. Left ear crept."

"Taken up, a negro man. Is very much scarred about the
face and body, and has the left ear bit off."

" Ran away, a black girl, named Mary. Has a scar on
her cheek, and the end of one of her toes cut off."

"Ran away, my Mulatto woman, Judy. She has had her
right arm broke."

" Ran away, my negro man, Levi. His left hand has been
burnt, and I think the end of his forefinger is off."

" Ran away, a negro man, NAMED WASHINGTON. Has
lost a part of his middle finger, and the end of his little

"Twenty-five dollars reward for my man John. The tip
of his nose is bit off."

"Twenty-five dollars reward for the negro slave, Sally.
Walks as though crippled in the back."

" Ran away, Joe Dennis. Has a small notch in one of
his ears.'*

"Ran away, negro boy, Jack. Has a small crop .out of
his left ear."


"Ran away, a negro man, named Ivory. Has a small
piece cut out of the top of each ear."

While upon the subject of ears, I may observe that a dis-
tinguished abolitionist in New York once received a negro's
ear, which had been cut off close to the head, in a general
post letter. It was forwarded by the free and independent
gentleman who had caused it to be amputated, with a polite
request that he would place the specimen in his " collection.""

I could enlarge this catalogue with broken arms, and
broken legs, and gashed flesh, and missing teeth, and lace-
rated backs, and bites of dogs, and brands of red-hot irons
innumerable: but as my readers will be sufficiently sickened
and repelled already, I will turn to another branch of the

These advertisements, of which a similar collection might be
made for every year, and month, and week, and day ; and
which are coolly read in families as things of course, and as
a part of the current news and small-talk ; will serve to show
how very much the slaves profit by public opinion, and how
tender it is in their behalf. But it may be worth while to
inquire how the slave-owners, and the class of society to
which great numbers of them belong, defer to public opinion
in their conduct, not to their slaves but to each other; how
they are accustomed to restrain their passions ; what their
bearing is among themselves; whether they are fierce or
gentle; whether their social customs be brutal, sanguinary,
and violent, or bear the impress of civilisation and refinement.

That we may have no partial evidence from abolitionists
in this inquiry, either, I will once more turn to their own
newspapers, and I will confine myself, this time, to a selection
from paragraphs which appeared from day to day, during my
visit to America, and which refer to occurrences happening
while I was there. The italics in these extracts, as in the
foregoing, are my own.

These cases did not ALL occur, it will be seen, in territory
actually belonging to legalised Slave States, though most, and


those the very worst among them did, as their counterparts
constantly do ; but the position of the scenes . of action in
reference to places immediately at hand, where slavery is
the law ; and the strong resemblance between that class of
outrages and the rest; lead to the just presumption that the
character of the parties concerned was formed in slave dis-
tricts, and brutalised by slave customs.

"Horrible Tragedy.

"By a slip from The Soutliport Telegraph, Wisconsin, we
learn that the Hon. Charles C. P. Arndt, Member of the
Council for Brown county, was shot dead on the floor of the
Council chamber, by James R. Vinyard, Member from Grant
county. The affair grew out of a nomination for Sheriff of
Grant county. Mr. E. S. Baker was nominated and sup-
ported by Mr. Arndt. This nomination was opposed by
Vinyard, who wanted the appointment to vest in his own
brother. In the course of debate, the deceased made some
statements which Vinyard pronounced false, and made use of
violent and insulting language, dealing largely in personalities,
to which Mr. A. made no reply. After the adjournment,
Mr. A. stepped up to Vinyard, and requested him to retract,
which he refused to do, repeating the offensive words. Mr.
Arndt then made a blow at Vinyard, who stepped back a
pace, drew a pistol, and shot him dead.

"The issue appears to have been provoked on] the part of
Vinyard, who was determined at all hazards to defeat the
appointment of Baker, and who, himself defeated, turned his
ire and revenge upon the unfortunate Arndt.""

" The Wisconsin Tragedy.

" Public indignation runs high in the territory of Wiscon-
sin, in relation to the murder of C. C. P. Arndt, in the
Legislative Hall of the Territory. Meetings have been held
in different counties of Wisconsin, denouncing the practice of


secretly bearing arms in tlie Legislative chambers of the country.
We have seen the account of the expulsion of James R. Vin-
yard, the perpetrator of the bloody deed, and are amazed
to hear, that, after this expulsion by those who saw Vin-
yard kill Mr. Aradt in the presence of his aged father, who
was on a visit to see his son, little dreaming that he was to
witness his murder, Judge Dunn has discharged Vinyard on
bail. The Miners' 1 Free Press speaks in terms of merited
rebuke at the outrage upon the feelings of the people of
Wisconsin. Vinyard was Avithin arm's length of Mr. Arndt,
when he took such deadly aim at him, that he never spoke.
Vinyard might at pleasure, being so near, have only wounded
him, but he chose to kill him."


" By a letter in a St. Louis paper of the 14th, we notice a
terrible outrage at Burlington, Iowa. A Mr. Bridgman
having had a difficulty with a citizen of the place, Mr. Ross ;
a brother-in-law of the latter provided himself with one of
Coifs revolving pistols, met Mr. B. in the street, and dis-
charged the contents of Jive of the barrels at -him : each shot
taking- effect. Mr. B., though horribly wounded, and dying,
returned the fire, and killed Ross on the spot.""

"Terrible Death of Robert Potter.

" From the * Caddo Gazette/ of the 12th inst, we learn
the frightful death of Colonel Robert Potter. ... He was
beset in his house by an enemy, named Rose. He sprang
from his couch, seized his gun, and, in his night-clothes, rushed
from the house. For about two hundred yards his speed
seemed to defy his pursuers; but, getting entangled in a
thicket, he was captured. Rose told him that he intended to
act a generous part, and give him a chance for his life. He
then told Potter he might run, and he should not be inter-
rupted till he reached a certain distance. Potter started at


the word of command, and before a gun was fired he had
reached the lake. His first impulse was to jump in the water
and dive for it, which he did. Rose was close behind him,
and formed his men on the bank ready to shoot him as he
rose. In a few seconds he came up to breathe; and scarce
had his head reached the surface of the water when it was
completely riddled with the shot of their guns, and he sunk,
to rise no more ! "

"Murder in Arkansas.

"We understand that a severe rencontre came off" a, few days
since in the Seneca Nation, between Mr. Loose, the sub-agent
of the mixed band of the Senecas, Quapaw, and Shawnees,
and Mr. James Gillespie, of the mercantile firm of Thomas
G. Allison and Co., of Maysville, Benton, County Ark, in
which the latter was slain with a bowie-knife. Some difficulty
had for some time existed between the parties. It is said
that Major Gillespie brought on the attack with a cane. A
severe conflict ensued, during which two pistols were fired by
Gillespie and one by Loose. Loose then stabbed Gillespie
with one of those never-failing weapons, a bowie-knife. The
death of Major G. is much regretted, as he was a liberal-
minded and energetic man. Since the above was in type, we
have learned that Major Allison has stated to some of our
citizens in town that Mr. Loose gave the first blow. We
forbear to give any particulars, as the matter will be the
subject of judicial investigation? 1

"Foul Deed.

"The steamer Thames, just from Missouri river, brought
us a handbill, offering a reward of 500 dollars, for the person
who assassinated Lilburn W. Baggs, late Governor of this
State, at Independence, on the night of the 6th inst.
Governor Baggs, it is stated in a written memorandum, was
not dead, but mortally wounded.


" Since the above was written, we received a note from the
clerk of the Thames, giving the following particulars. Gov.
Baggs was shot by some villain on Friday, 6th inst., in the
evening, while sitting in a room in his own house in Indepen-
dence. His son, a boy, hearing a report, ran into the room,
and found the Governor sitting in his chair, with his jaw
fallen down, and his head leaning back ; on discovering the
injury done to his father, he gave the alarm. Foot tracks
were found in the garden below the window, and a pistol
picked up supposed to have been overloaded, and thrown
from the hand of the scoundrel who fired it. Three buck
shots of a heavy load, took effect ; one going through his
mouth, one into the brain, and another probably in or near
the brain ; all going into the back part of the neck and head.
The Governor was still alive on the morning of the 7th ; but
no hopes for his recovery by his friends, and but slight hopes
from his physicians.

" A man was suspected, and the Sheriff* most probably has
possession of him by this time.

*' The pistol was one of a pair stolen some days previous
from a baker in Independence, and the legal authorities have
the description of the other.""

" Rencontre.

"An unfortunate affair took place on Friday evening in
Chatres Street, in which one of our most respectable citizens
received a dangerous wound, from a poignard, in the abdomen.
From the Bee (New Orleans) of yesterday, we learn the follow-
ing particulars. It appears that an article was published in
the French side of the paper oc Monday last, containing
some strictures on the Artillery Battalion for firing their
guns on Sunday morning, in answer to those from the
Ontario and Woodbury, and thereby much alarm was caused
to the families of those persons who were out all night
preserving the peace of the city. Major C. Gaily, Com-
mander of the battalion, resenting this, called at the office


and demanded the author's name ; that of Mr. P. Arpin was
given to him, who was absent at the time. Some angry
words then passed with one of the proprietors, and a challenge
followed; the friends of both parties tried to arrange the
affair, but failed to do so. On Friday evening, about seven
o'clock, Major Gaily met Mr. P. Arpin in Chatres Street,
and accosted him. 'Are you Mr. Arpin? 1

"'Yes, sir.'

" ' Then I have to tell you that you are a ' (applying

an appropriate epithet).

" ' I shall remind you of your words, sir.'

"'But I have said I would break my cane on your

" ' I know it, but I have not yet received the blow.'

"At these words, Major Gaily, having a cane in his hands,
struck Mr. Arpin across the face, and the latter drew a
poignard from his pocket and stabbed Major Gaily in the

"Fears are entertained that the wound will be mortal.
We understand that Mr. Arpin has given security for his
appearance at the Criminal Court to answer the charge"

"Affray in Mississippi.

"On the 27th ult., in an affray near Carthage, Leake
county, Mississippi, between James Cottingham and John
Wilburn, the latter was shot by the former, and so horribly
wounded, that there was no hope of his recovery. On the
2nd instant, there was an affray at Carthage between A. C.
Sharkey and George Goff, in which the latter was shot, and
thought mortally wounded. Sharkey delivered himself up to
the authorities, but changed his mind and escaped!"

"Personal Encounter.

"An encounter took place in Sparta, a few days since,
between the barkeeper of an hotel, and a man named Bury.


It appears that Bury had become somewhat noisy, and that
the barkeeper, determined to preserve order, had threatened to
shoot Bury, whereupon Bury drew a pistol and shot the bar-
keeper down. He was not dead at the last accounts, but
slight hopes were entertained of his recovery.""


"The clerk of the steamboat Tribune informs us that
another duel was fought on Tuesday last, by Mr. Robbins, a
bank officer in Vicksburg, and Mr. Fall, the editor of the
Vicksburg Sentinel. According to the arrangement, the
parties had six pistols each, which, after the word * Fire ! *
tliey were to discharge as fast as they pleased. Fall fired
two pistols without effect. Mr. Robbins' first shot took
effect in Fall's thigh, who fell, and was unable to continue
the combat."

"Affray in Clarke County.

"An unfortunate affray occurred in Clarke county (Mo.),
near Waterloo, on Tuesday the 19th ult., which originated
in settling the partnership concerns of Messrs. M'Kane and
M'Allister, who had been engaged in the business of dis-
tilling, and resulted in the death of the latter, who was shot
down by Mr. M'Kane, because of his attempting to take
possession of seven barrels of whiskey, the property of
M'Kane, which had been knocked oft' to M'Allister at a
sheriffs sale at one dollar per barrel. M'Kane immediately
fled and at the latest dates had not been taken.

" This unfortunate affray caused considerable excitement
in the neighbourhood, as both the parties were men with
large families depending upon them and stood well in the

I will quote but one more paragraph, which, by reason of
its monstrous absurdity, may be a relief to these atrocious


"Affair of Honour.

"We have just heard the particulars of a meeting which
took place on Six Mile Island, on Tuesday, between two
young bloods of our city : Samuel Thurston, aged jifteen,
and William Hine, aged thirteen years. They were attended
by young gentlemen of the same age. The weapons used on
the occasion, were a couple of Dickson's best rifles; the
distance, thirty yards. They took one fire, without any
damage being sustained by either party, except the ball of
Thurston's gun passing through the crown of Bine's hat.
Through tlie intercession oftJie Board of Honour, the challenge
was withdrawn, and the difference amicably adjusted."

If the reader will picture to himself the kind of Board of
Honour which amicably adjusted the difference between these
two little boys, who in any other part of the world would
have been amicably adjusted on two porters 1 backs and
soundly flogged with birchen rods, he will be possessed, no
doubt, with as strong a sense of its ludicrous character, as
that which sets me laughing whenever its image rises up
before me.

Now, I appeal to every human mind, imbued with the
commonest of common sense, and the commonest of common
humanity; to all dispassionate, reasoning creatures, of any
shade of opinion ; and ask, with these revolting evidences of
the state of society which exists in and about the slave
districts of America before them, can they have a doubt of
the real condition of the slave, - or can they for a moment
make a compromise between the institution or any of its
flagrant fearful features, and their own just consciences ?
Will they say of any tale of cruelty and horror, however
aggravated in degree, that it is improbable, when they can
turn to the public prints, and, running, read such signs as
these, laid before them by the men who rule the slaves : in
their own acts and under their own hands?


Do we not know that the worst deformity and ugliness of
slavery are at once the cause and the effect of the reckless
license taken by these freeborn outlaws ? Do we not know
that the man who has been born and bred among its wrongs ;
who has seen in his childhood husbands obliged at the word
of command to flog their wives ; women, indecently compelled
to hold up their own garments that men might lay the heavier
stripes upon their legs, driven and harried by brutal overseers
in their time of travail, and becoming mothers on the field
of toil, under the very lash itself; who has read in youth,
and seen his virgin sisters read, descriptions of runaway men
and women, and their disfigured persons, which could not be
published elsewhere, of so much stock upon a farm, or at a
show of beasts : do we not know that that man, whenever
his wrath is kindled up, will be a brutal savage? Do we
not know that as he is a coward in his domestic life, stalking
among his shrinking, men and women slaves armed with his
heavy whip, so he will be a coward out of doors, and carrying
cowards'" weapons hidden in his breast, will shoot men down
and stab them when he quarrels ? And if our reason did
not teach us this and much beyond ; if we were such idiots
as to close our eyes to that fine mode of training which rears
up such men ; should we not know that they who among
their equals stab and pistol in the legislative halls, and in the
counting-house, and on the market-place, and in all the else-
where peaceful pursuits of life, must be to their dependants,
even though they were free servants, so many merciless and
unrelenting tyrants ?

What ! shall we declaim against the ignorant peasantry of
Ireland, and mince the matter when these American task-
masters are in question ? Shall we cry shame on the brutality
of those who ham-string cattle: and spare the lights of
Freedom upon earth who notch the ears of men and women,
cut pleasant posies in the shrinking flesh, learn to write with
pens of red-hot iron on the human face, rack their poetic
fancies for liveries of mutilation which their slaves shall wear


for life and carry to the grave, breaking living limbs as did
the soldiery who mocked and slew the Saviour of the world,
and set defenceless creatures up for targets ! Shall we
whimper over legends of the tortures practised on each other
by the Pagan Indians, and smile upon the cruelties of
Christian men ! Shall we, so long as these things last, exult
above the scattered remnants of that race, and triumph in
the white enjoyment of their possessions ? Rather, for me,
restore the forest and the Indian village ; in lieu of stars and
stripes, let some poor feather flutter in the breeze; replace
the streets and squares by wigwams; and though the death-
song of a hundred haughty warriors fill the air, it will be
music to the shriek of one unhappy slave.

On one theme, which is commonly before our eyes, and in
respect of which our national character is changing fast, let
the plain Truth be spoken, and let us not, like dastards, beat
about the bush by hinting at the Spaniard and the fierce
Italian. When knives are drawn by Englishmen in conflict
let it be said and known : " We owe this change to Re-
publican Slavery. These are the weapons of Freedom. With
sharp points and edges such as these, Liberty in America
hews and hacks her slaves ; or, failing that pursuit, her sons
devote them to a better use, and turn them on each other. 1 '



THERE are many passages in this book, where I have been at
some pains to resist the temptation of troubling my readers
with my own deductions and conclusions : preferring that
they should judge for themselves, from such premises as I
have laid before them. My only object in the outset, was,
to carry them with me faithfully wheresoever I went : and
that task I have discharged.

But I may be pardoned, if on such a theme as the general
character of the American people, and the general character
of their social system, as presented to a stranger's eyes, I
desire to express my own opinions in a few words, before I
bring these volumes to a close.

They are, by nature, frank, brave, cordial, hospitable, and
affectionate. Cultivation and refinement seem but to enhance
their warmth of heart and ardent enthusiasm ; and it is the
possession of these latter qualities in a most remarkable
degree, which renders an educated American one of the most
endearing and most generous of friends. I never was so won
upon, as by this class ; never yielded up my full confidence
and esteem so readily and pleasurably, as to them; never
can make again, in half a year, so many friends for whom I
seem to entertain the regard of half a life.

These qualities are natural, I. implicitly believe, to the
whole people. That they are, however, sadly sapped and
blighted in their growth among the mass; and that there


are influences at work which endanger them still more, and
give but little present promise of their healthy restoration ;
is a truth that ought to be told.

It is an essential part of every national character to pique
itself mightily upon its faults, and to deduce tokens of its
virtue or its wisdom from their very exaggeration. One great
blemish in the popular mind of America, and the prolific
parent of an innumerable brood of evils, is Universal Distrust.
Yet the American citizen plumes himself upon this spirit,
even when he is sufficiently dispassionate to perceive the ruin
it works ; and will often adduce it, in spite of his own reason,
as an instance of the great sagacity and acuteness of the
people, and their superior shrewdness and independence.

" You carry," says the stranger, " this jealousy and distrust
into every transaction of public life. By repelling worthy
men from your legislative assemblies, it has bred up a class
of candidates for the suffrage, who, in their very act, disgrace
your Institutions and your peopled choice. It has rendered
you so fickle, and so given to change, that your inconstancy
has passed into a proverb ; for you no sooner set up an idol

Online LibraryCharles DickensThe works of Charles Dickens (Volume 28) → online text (page 24 of 43)