Ebenezer Davies.

American Scenes, and Christian Slavery A Recent Tour of Four Thousand Miles in the United States online

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Thumb? Or (for I am not very tall) why has he made me a man of 5 feet 6
inches instead of 6 feet high? A man may as well be excluded from
society on account of his stature as his colour."

At this moment my wife, seeing I was waxing warm, pulled me by the
coat-tail, and I said no more. The lady, however, went on to say that
she was opposed to slavery - was a colonizationist, and heartily wished
all the coloured people were back again in their own country. "In their
own country, indeed!" I was going to say, - "why, this is their country
as much as it is yours;" but I remembered my wife's admonition, and
held my peace. These were the sentiments of a lady first and foremost
in the charitable movements of the day, and regarded by those around
her as a pattern of piety and benevolence. She was shocked at the
notion of the poor coloured orphan mingling with fellow-orphans of a
fairer hue.

In the evening we went to take tea at the house of an English Quaker.
About half-a-dozen friends had been invited to meet us. These were
kindred spirits, anti-slavery out-and-out, and we spent the evening
very pleasantly. One of the company, in speaking of the American
prejudice against colour, mentioned a remarkable circumstance. Some
time ago, at an hotel in one of the Eastern States, a highly
respectable coloured gentleman, well known to the host and to his
guests, was about to sit down at the dinner table. A military
officer - a conceited puppy - asked the landlord if that "nigger" was
going to sit down? The landlord replied in the affirmative. "Then,"
said the fop, "_I_ cannot sit down with a nigger." The rest of the
company, understanding what was going forward, rose as one man from
their seats, ordered another table to be spread, and presented a
respectful invitation to the coloured gentleman to take a seat with
them. The military dandy was left at the first table, "alone in his
glory." When thus humbled, and when he also understood who the coloured
man was, he went up to him to apologize in the best way he could, and
to beg that the offence might be forgotten. The coloured gentleman's
reply was beautiful and touching, - "Favours I write on marble, insults
on sand."

On the morning of the 5th of March, the sun shining pleasantly, we were
tempted to cross over to Covington, on the Kentucky or slave side of
the river. Ferry-steamers ran every five or ten minutes, and the fare
was only 5 cents. At this place the Baptists have a large and important
college. Why did they erect it on the slave rather than on the free
side of the Ohio? This institution I was anxious to see; but I found it
too far off, and the roads too bad. Feeling weary and faint, we called
at a house of refreshment, where we had a genuine specimen of American
inquisitiveness.

In five minutes the daughter of the house had asked us where we came
from - what sort of a place it was - how long we had been in the United
States - how long it took us to come - how far we were going - how long we
should stay - and if we did not like that part of America so well that
we would come and settle in it altogether! and in five minutes more our
answers to all these important questions had been duly reported to the
rest of the family in an adjoining room. This inquisitiveness prevails
more in the slave than in the free States, and originates, I believe,
in the fidgetty anxiety they feel about their slaves. The stranger must
be well catechised, lest he should prove to be an Abolitionist come to
give the slaves a sly lesson in geography.

In the afternoon I went to see the school of the coloured children in
Cincinnati. This was established about four years ago by a Mr. Gilmore,
a white gentleman, who is also a minister of the Gospel. He is a man of
some property, and all connected with this school has been done at his
own risk and responsibility. On my venturing to inquire what sacrifice
of property he had made in the undertaking, he seemed hurt at the
question, and replied, "No sacrifice whatever, sir." "But what, may I
ask, have these operations cost beyond what you have received in the
way of school-fees?" I continued. "About 7,000 dollars," (1,500_l._)
said he. Including two or three branches, there are about 300 coloured
children thus educated. Mr. Gilmore was at first much opposed and
ridiculed; but that state of feeling was beginning to wear away.
Several of the children were so fair that, accustomed as I am to shades
of colour, I could not distinguish them from the Anglo-Saxon race; and
yet Mr. Gilmore told me even they would not have been admitted to the
other public schools! How discerning the Americans are! How proud of
their skin-deep aristocracy! And the author of "Cincinnati in 1841," in
speaking of those very schools from which these fair children were
excluded, says, "These schools are founded not merely on the principle
that all men are free and equal, but that all men's children are so
likewise; and that, as it is our duty to love our neighbour as
ourselves, it is our duty to provide the same benefits and blessings to
his children as to our own. These establishments result from the
recognition of the fact also, that we have all a common
interest - moral, political, and pecuniary - in the education of the
whole community." Those gloriously exclusive schools I had no wish to
visit. But I felt a peculiar pleasure in visiting this humbler yet
well-conducted institution, for the benefit of those who are despised
and degraded on account of their colour. As I entered, a music-master
was teaching them, with the aid of a piano, to sing some select pieces
for an approaching examination, both the instrument and the master
having been provided by the generous Gilmore. Even the music-master,
notwithstanding his first-rate ability, suffers considerable loss of
patronage on account of his services in this branded school. Among the
pieces sung, and sung exceedingly well, was the following touching
appeal, headed "The Fugitive Slave to the Christian" - Air,
"Cracovienne."

"The fetters galled my weary soul, -
A soul that seemed but thrown away:
I spurned the tyrant's base control,
Resolved at last the man to play:
The hounds are haying on my track;
O Christian! will you send me back?

"I felt the stripes, - the lash I saw,
Red dripping with a father's gore;
And, worst of all their lawless law,
The insults that my mother bore!
The hounds are baying on my track;
O Christian! will you send me back?

"Where human law o'errules Divine,
Beneath the sheriff's hammer fell
My wife and babes, - I call them mine, -
And where they suffer who can tell?
The hounds are baying on my track;
O Christian! will you send me back?

"I seek a home where man is man,
If such there be upon this earth, -
To draw my kindred, if I can,
Around its free though humble hearth.
The hounds are baying on my track;
O Christian! will you send me back?"

March 7. - This being the Sabbath, we went in the morning to worship at
Mr. Boynton's church. The day was very wet, and the congregation small.
His text was, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every
creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that
believeth not shall be damned." The sermon, though read, and composed
too much in the essay style, indicated considerable powers of mind and
fidelity of ministerial character. Although from incessant rain the day
was very dark, the Venetian blinds were down over all the windows! The
Americans, I have since observed, are particularly fond of the "dim
religious light." Among the announcements from the pulpit were several
funerals, which it is there customary thus to advertise.

In the afternoon I heard Dr. Beecher. Here, again, I found the blinds
down. The Doctor's text was, "Let me first go and bury my father," &c.
Without at all noticing the context, - an omission which I
regretted, - he proceeded at once to state the doctrine of the text to
be, that nothing can excuse the putting off of religion - that it is
every man's duty to follow Christ immediately. This subject,
notwithstanding the heaviness of the day, the infirmities of more than
threescore years and ten (74), and the frequent necessity of adjusting
his spectacles to consult his notes, he handled with much vigour and
zeal. Some of his pronunciations were rather antiquated; but they were
the elegant New England pronunciations of his youthful days. The sermon
was marked by that close and faithful dealing with the conscience in
which so many American ministers excel.

Professor Allen called to take me up to Lane Seminary, where I was to
address the students in the evening. The service was public, and held
in the chapel of the institution; but the evening being wet, the
congregation was small. I had, however, before me the future pastors of
about fifty churches, and two of the professors. I was domiciled at Mr.
Allen's. Both he and his intelligent wife are sound on the subject of
slavery. They are also quite above the contemptible prejudice against
colour. But I was sorry to hear Mrs. Allen say, that, in her domestic
arrangements, she had often had a great deal of trouble with her
_European_ servants, who would refuse to take their meals with black
ones, though the latter were in every respect superior to the former! I
have heard similar remarks in other parts of America. Mr. Allen's
system of domestic training appeared excellent. His children, of whom
he has as many as the patriarch Jacob, were among the loveliest I had
ever seen.

At 8 o'clock in the morning of the 8th of March I left Lane Seminary,
with a heavy heart at the thought that in all probability I should
never see it again. There was a sharp frost. Dr. Stowe accompanied me
to the omnibus. "All right!" - "_Pax vobiscum!_" - the vehicle moved on,
and directly the Doctor was at a distance of a hundred yards waving a
farewell. It was the last look.

At 11 A.M. myself, wife, baggage, - all were setting off from the "Queen
City" for Pittsburgh, a distance of 496 miles, in the Clipper No. 2, a
fine boat, and in good hands.




LETTER XXII.

Cincinnati - Its History and Progress - Its Trade and Commerce - Its
Periodical Press - Its Church Accommodation - Its Future Prospects
- Steaming up the Ohio - Contrast between Freedom and Slavery - An
Indian Mound - Splendid Scenery - Coal Hills.


Before proceeding with our trip to Pittsburg, I will bring together all
the material points of information I have gathered relative to
Cincinnati.

1. _Its History and Progress_. - The first year of the present century
found here but 750 inhabitants. In 1810 there were 2,540; in 1820,
9,602; in 1830, 24,381; in 1840, 46,382. At present the population is
estimated at 80,000. The coloured population forms one twenty-fifth, or
4 per cent., of the whole. The native Europeans form one-fifth of the
white population.

2. _Its Trade and Commerce_. - The principal trade is in pork. Hence
the nickname of _Porkapolis_. The yearly value of pork packed and
exported is about five millions of dollars, or one million of guineas!
As a proof of the amazing activity which characterizes all the details
of cutting, curing, packing, &c., I have been credibly informed that
two men, in one of the pork-houses, cut up in less than thirteen hours
850 hogs, averaging 300 lbs. each, - two others placing them on the
block for the purpose. All these hogs were weighed singly on scales in
the course of eleven hours. Another hand trimmed the hams, 1,700
pieces, in "Cincinnati style," as fast as they were separated from the
carcases. The hogs were thus cut up and disposed of at the rate of more
than one per minute! And this, I was told, was not much beyond the
ordinary day's work at the pork-houses.

Steam-boat building is another important branch of trade in this place.

DOLLARS.
In 1840 there were built here 33 boats of 15,341 tons,
costing 592,600
1844 " " 37 " 7,838 " 542,500
1845 " " 27 " 6,609 " 506,500

3. _Its Periodical Press_. - There are sixteen daily papers! Of these,
thirteen issue also a weekly number. Besides these, there are seventeen
weekly papers unconnected with daily issues. But Cincinnati is liberal
in her patronage of eastern publications. During the year 1845 one
house, that of Robinson and Jones, the principal periodical depot in
the city, and through which the great body of the people are supplied
with this sort of literature, sold of

Magazines and Periodicals 29,822 numbers.
Newspapers 25,390[1] "
Serial Publications 30,826 "
Works of Fiction 48,961 " !

[Footnote 1: Besides an immense quantity sent direct per mail!]

It is estimated that the people of the United States, at the present
time, support 1,200 newspapers. There being no stamp-duty, no duty on
paper, and none on advertisements, the yearly cost of a daily paper,
such as the _New York Tribune_ for instance, is only 5 dollars, or one
guinea. The price of a single copy of such papers is only 2 cents, or
one penny; and many papers are only one cent, or a half-penny per copy.

4. _Its Church Accommodation_. - By the close of the year 1845 the
voluntary principle, without any governmental or municipal aid
whatever, had provided the following places of worship: -

Presbyterian 12 New Jerusalem 1
Methodist Episcopal 12 Universalist 1
Roman Catholic 7 Second Advent 1
Baptist 5 Mormons 1
Lutheran 5 Friends 1
Protestant Episcopal 4 Congregational 1
"Christian Disciples" 4 Restorationists 1
Methodist Protestants 3 United Brethren 1
Jewish 2 "Christians" 1
Welsh 2
German Reformed 2 Total 67

This number of places of worship, at an average of 600 persons to each,
would afford accommodation for nearly two-thirds of what the entire
population was at that time; and surely two-thirds of any community is
quite as large a proportion as can, under the most favourable
circumstances, be expected to attend places of worship at any given
time. Behold, then, the strength and efficiency of the voluntary
principle! This young city, with all its wants, is far better furnished
with places of worship than the generality of commercial and
manufacturing towns in England.

Dr. Reed visited Cincinnati in 1834. He gives the population at that
time at 30,000, and the places of worship as follows. I insert them
that you may see at a glance what the voluntary principle did in the
eleven years that followed.

Presbyterian 6 Campbellite Baptists 1
Methodist 4 Jews 1
Baptist 2 -
Episcopalian 2 Total in 1834 21
German Lutheran 2 Do. in 1845 67
Unitarian 1 -
Roman Catholic 1 Increase 46
Swedes 1

5. _Its Future Prospects_. - The author of "Cincinnati in 1841" says, "I
venture the prediction that within 100 years from this time Cincinnati
will be the greatest city in America, and by the year of our Lord 2,000
the greatest city in the world." Our cousin here uses the superlative
degree when the comparative would be more appropriate. Deduct 80 or 90
per cent, from this calculation, and you still leave before this city a
bright prospect of future greatness.

We must, however, bid adieu to this "Queen of the West," and pursue our
course against the Ohio's current towards Pittsburg. We steam along
between freedom and slavery. The contrast is striking. On this subject
the remarks of the keen and philosophic M. de Tocqueville are so
accurate, and so much to the point, that I cannot do better than
transcribe and endorse them.

"A century had scarcely elapsed since the foundation of the colonies,
when the attention of the planters was struck by the extraordinary fact
that the provinces which were comparatively destitute of slaves
increased in population, in wealth, and in prosperity, more rapidly
than those which contained the greatest number of negroes. In the
former, however, the inhabitants were obliged to cultivate the soil
themselves, or by hired labourers; in the latter, they were furnished
with hands for which they paid no wages: yet, although labour and
expense were on the one side, and ease with economy on the other, the
former were in possession of the most advantageous system. * * * The
more progress was made, the more was it shown that slavery, which is so
cruel to the slave, is prejudicial to the master.

"But this truth was most satisfactorily demonstrated when civilization
reached the banks of the Ohio. The stream which the Indians had
distinguished by the name of Ohio, or Beautiful River, waters one of
the most magnificent valleys which have ever been made the abode of
man. Undulating lands extend upon both shores of the Ohio, whose soil
affords inexhaustible treasures to the labourer. On either bank the air
is wholesome and the climate mild; and each of those banks forms the
extreme frontier of a vast State: that which follows the numerous
windings of the Ohio on the left is Kentucky [in ascending the river it
was on our _right_]; that on the right [our left] bearing the name of
the river. These two States differ only in one respect, - Kentucky has
admitted slavery, but the State of Ohio has not. * * *

"Upon the left bank of the stream the population is rare; from time to
time one descries a troop of slaves loitering in the half-desert
fields; the primeval forest recurs at every turn; society seems to be
asleep, man to be idle, and nature alone offers a scene of activity and
life.

"From the right bank, on the contrary, a confused hum is heard, which
proclaims the presence of industry; the fields are covered with
abundant harvests; the elegance of the dwellings announces the taste
and activity of the labourer; and man appears to be in the enjoyment of
that wealth and contentment which are the reward of labour."

The Kentucky and the Ohio States are nearly equal as to their area in
square miles. Kentucky was founded in 1775, and Ohio in 1788. In 1840
the population of Kentucky was 779,828, while that of Ohio was
1,519,467 - nearly double that of the former. By this time it is far
more than double.

"Upon the left bank of the Ohio," continues De Tocqueville, "labour is
confounded with the idea of slavery; upon the right bank it is
identified with that of prosperity and improvement: on the one side it
is degraded, on the other it is honoured. On the former territory no
white labourers can be found, for they would be afraid of assimilating
themselves to the negroes; on the latter no one is idle, for the white
population extends its activity and its intelligence to every kind of
improvement. Thus the men whose task it is to cultivate the rich soil
of Kentucky are ignorant and lukewarm; while those who are active and
enlightened either do nothing or pass over into the State of Ohio,
where they may work without dishonour."

March the 9th was a dull day; but the scenery was of surpassing beauty.
At night a terrible storm of thunder and lightning, accompanied with
rain, compelled us to "lie to." A charming morning succeeded. During
the forenoon, we passed a small town on the Virginia side called
Elizabeth Town. An Indian mound was pointed out to me, which in size
and shape resembled "Tomen y Bala" in North Wales. These artificial
mounds are very numerous in the valleys of the Ohio and the
Mississippi. The ancient relics they are sometimes found to contain
afford abundant proofs that these fertile regions were once peopled by
a race of men in a far higher state of civilization than the Indians
when first discovered by the white man. The innocent and imaginative
speculations of a Christian minister in the State of Ohio on these
ancient remains laid the foundation of the curious book of "Mormon."

Nature being now arrayed in her winter dress, we could form but a faint
conception of her summer loveliness when clothed in her gayest green.
Hills were seen rising up, sometimes almost perpendicularly from the
stream, and sometimes skirted with fertile fields extending to the
river's edge. Here a house on the brow of a hill, and there another at
its base. Here the humble log hut, and there the elegant mansion, and
sometimes both in unequal juxtaposition. The hills are in parts
scolloped in continuous succession, presenting a beautiful display of
unity and diversity combined; but often they appear in isolated and
distinct grandeur, like a row of semi-globes; while, in other
instances, they rise one above another like apples in a fruit-vase.
Sometimes the rivulets are seen like silver cords falling
perpendicularly into the river; at other times, you discern them only
by their musical murmurs as they roll on through deep ravines formed by
their own action. These hills, for more than 100 miles before you come
to Pittsburg, are literally heaps of coal. In height they vary from 100
to 500 feet, and nothing more is required than to clear off the soil,
and then dig away the treasure.

What struck me most was the immense number of children everywhere
gazing upon us from the river's banks. At settlements of not more than
half-a-dozen houses, I counted a groupe of more than twenty children.




LETTER XXIII.

Arrival at Pittsburg - Its Trade and Prospects - Temperance - Newspapers
- Trip up the Monongahela to Brownsville - Staging by Night across the
Alleghany Mountains - Arrival at Cumberland - The Railway Carriages of
America.


Arriving at Pittsburg in the middle of the night of the 10th of March,
we remained on board till morning. As we had been accustomed on this
"Clipper No. 2" to breakfast at half-past 7, I thought they surely
would not send us empty away. But no! we had to turn out at that early
hour of a morning piercingly cold, and get a breakfast where we could,
or remain without. This was "clipping" us rather too closely, after we
had paid seven dollars each for our passage and provisions.

Pittsburg is in the State of Pennsylvania. Its progress has been rapid,
and its prospects are bright. Seventy years ago the ground on which it
stands was a wilderness, the abode of wild beasts and the hunting
ground of Indians. Its manufactures are chiefly those of glass, iron,
and cotton. It is the Birmingham of America. Indeed one part of it,
across the river, is called "Birmingham," and bids fair to rival its
old namesake. Its advantages and resources are unparalleled. It
occupies in reference to the United States, north and south, east and
west, a perfectly central position. It is surrounded with, solid
mountains of coal, which - dug out, as I have intimated, with the
greatest ease - is conveyed with equal ease down inclined planes to the
very furnace mouths of the foundries and factories! This great workshop
communicates directly, by means of the Ohio, the Mississippi, Red
River, &c., with immense countries, extending to Texas, to Mexico, and
to the Gulph. Its population, already 70,000, is (I believe)
incomparably more intelligent, more temperate, more religious, and more
steady than that of any manufacturing town in England. In fact, England
has not much chance of competing successfully with America, unless her
artizans copy more extensively the example of the American people in
the entire abandonment of intoxicating liquors. In travelling leisurely
from New Orleans to Boston (the whole length of the United States), and
sitting down at all sorts of tables, on land and on water, private and
public, I have never once seen even wine brought to the table. Nothing
but water was universally used!

At Pittsburg I bought three good-sized newspapers for 5 cents, or
twopence-halfpenny. One of them, _The Daily Morning Post_, was a large
sheet, measuring 3 feet by 2, and well filled on both sides with close
letter-press, for 2 cents, or one penny. The absence of duty on paper
and of newspaper stamps is no doubt one great cause of the advanced
intelligence of the mass of the American people. What an absurd policy
is that of the British Government, first to impose taxes upon
_knowledge_, and then to use the money in promoting _education_!

At Pittsburg the Ohio ends, or rather begins, by the confluence of the
Alleghany and the Monongahela rivers. We ascended the latter to


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