« EelmineJätka »
From The Spectator. alike crusted with dirt, covered with vermin, MISS KEMBLES « GEORGIA.” * and stinking from the absence of any
habit THERE is but one argument for slavery of bathing. The infirmary was a long buildwhich is openly produced in England, and ing of two stories, crowded with women who that is something like this; slavery is, after lay under every extremity of suffering, all, but a name; in every country the laborer wrapped in dirty blankets, on the bare floor, is subjected to the power of the capitalist, and shivering with the cold. It was the and the compulsion of hunger, if not more women to whom Miss Kemble chiefly atsevere, is more regular and persistent than tended ; among them the forms of suffering the compulsion of physical pain. For the were manifold and terrible, for besides every rest, slavery as a form of labor has large com- kind of pain to which free laborers are liapensations, the workman being saved from ble, there is one peculiar to the slave women, anxiety, from the dread of starvation, and and of which Miss Kemble's book is full till from the terror of an old age of poverty and it is sickening to read. Slave-breeding pays want. Except for the immutability of his well, and, as a consequence, the women, condition, an incident accompanying free la- transferred to one “ husband” after another, bor everywhere except in the United States and at the mercy of every overseer-headand a small section of Europe, the slave is as man Frank’s wife was quietly taken away well off as the unskilled white artisan. while the authoress was there, kept a year by
We would recommend all to whom this the overseer, and then returned-perish of line of argument seems effective to read a childhearing. The women are stimulated by series of letters just published by Messrs. the pride of being valuable to the estate, and Longman. They were written in 1838, by wretched creatures worn out with labor still Miss F. A. Kemble, then the English wife of exultingly told their mistress that they would a planter in Georgia, whose estate on the yield “ plenty of little nigs for massa." island of Darien is now occupied by the Fed- They have frequently ten or eleven children, eral troops, and were not originally intended are flogged when pregnant, and three weeks for publication. The wife of a planter of after confinement driven back to work in the strong Southern opinions, living on the profits cotton field. The consequence is an illness of the system, and not moved apparently by not often mentioned out of a medical journal, any strong religious ideas, Miss Kemble had pain in the back, and every conceivable form singular opportunities for unprejudiced ob- of uterine disease. The one petition of these servation, and the result is a condemnation poor women was for a longer period of rest, of slavery more severe than any in which pro- and they were flogged for petitioning, flogged, fessed philanthropists would venture to in- as a pretty young negress herself told the dulge. It is a system based upon human story :misery and degradation, having no end save
• She had not finished her task one day, the owner's profit, no bulwark except inces- when she said she felt ill, and unable to do sant terror. Miss Kemble, it will be remem- so, and had been severely flogged by driver bered, was on a well-managed plantation, Bran, in whose gang.' she then was. The held by nerciful owners, where punishment, next day, in spite of this encouragement to by a rule of the estate, was strictly limited, labor, she had again been unable to complete and where the head man was himself a grave, her that he'd tie her up and flog her if she
her appointed work; and Bran having told intelligent negro. On this property she found did not get it done, she had left the field and the negroes lodged in wretched huts, with
run into the swamp.
Louisa ! one room twelve feet square and two little said I, • what is that?' She then described! side cabins like those of a ship. Two fami- to me that they were fastened up by their lies, sometimes eight or ten in number, lived wrists to a beam or branch of a tree, their in each, sleeping on mattresses of strewn for- feet barely touching the ground, so as to allow est moss, and covered with a “ pestilential
5, them no purchase for resistance or evasion of blanket. Each house had a little garden, and their backs scored with a leather thong,
the lash, their clothes turned over their heads, usually untended and uncultivated,” and either by the driver himself, or if he pleases the inmates and swarming children were all to inflict their punishment by deputy, any of
* Journal of a Residence.on a Georgian Plantation. the men he may choose to summon to the By F. A. Kemble. Longmans.
office ; it might be father, brother,, husband,
or lover, if the overseer so ordered it. I read were strictly enforced ; she was told by turned sick, and my blood curdled listening her own overseer that her mere presence to these details from the slender young slip among the slaves was full of danger to the of a lassie, with her poor piteous face and institution ; her husband forbade her to premurmuring pleading voice."
sent petitions, and she was finally compelled The rule is relentlessly enforced, the over- to leave the South utterly unable to endure seers pleading, what is probably the truth, the sense of her own powerlessness. And that if any excuses were accepted there would this is an inevitable incident of slavery, and be no end to the contrivances to obtain the prohibits even the influence of voluntary bemuch desired rest.
nevolence from above. Suppose, for exam“ Among others, a poor woman called ple, a slaveowner, full of intelligence and Mile, who could hardly stand for pain and courage, chose to rely on the military force swelling in her limbs ; she had had fifteen which is always in practice behind him, and children and two miscarriages ; nine of her treat his slaves as the Roman patrician did, children had died; for the last three years i.e., retain his despotic power, but cultivate she had become almost a cripple with chronic every man to the limit of his ability, making rheumatism, yet she is driven every day to
one a scholar like Æsop, another a physician work in the field. She held my hands and stroked them in the most appealing way,
such as St. Luke probably was, a third an while she exclaimed, • my missis! my
armed athlete, such as every slave gladiator miseis ! me neber sleep till day for de pain," must have been. The system under the presand with the day her labor must again be re sure of modern ideas would collapse in a sumed. I gave her flannel and sal volatile to twelvemonth, and the planters, well aware rub her poor swelled limbs with; rest I could of the fact, intercept the danger at the benot give her–rest from her labor and pain- ginning by making intelligence a crime. The this mother of fifteen children.”
slave can never improve, for he can never This eternal labor was supported on two learn. Thrift is valueless, for he can hold no meals of hominy a day, one of them eaten property. Carefulness is waste of thought, after six hours of hungering labor, a prac- for losses are not his. Industry is hateful, tice, however, we are bound to add, which is for why do more than is necessary to avoid not intended as an aggravation of cruelty. the lash ? Even native brain-power is danThough extremely injurious, it is almost uni- gerous, for the able are always an irritation versal among the free agriculturists of Ben- to absolute masters, who require, as the Emgal, the motive being economy. An early peror Francis said, obedient subjects, not probreakfast followed by hard labor 6 goes for fessors. Moreover, the most wretched peasnothing,” and the plowman, unless he eats ant in Belgium, whose life passes in toil for after his first spell of toil, would be compelled bare subsistence, whose wife helps to draw to eat like an Englishman three times a day. the plow, and whose children begin ditching
But it will be urged, in what does this at ten, has, at least, some alleviations. He state of affairs differ from that common among can have a home, sympathy from his wife, the proletariat of every country? In all love from his children, excitement from vilthere are classes who are overworked, whose lage gossip, consolation from the assured hope wives are forced to field labor, who live in that his condition in the next world will comfilth and misery, and who die early, worn pensate him for his sufferings in this. How out by toil and childbearing. That is true, does it stand with the slave ? though not to the same dreadful degree, the
". She was the wife of headman Frank, the terror of the lash being extinct, for instance, most intelligent and trustworthy of Mr. in the two countries, Ireland and Belgium, slaves ; the head driver-second in command in which there is the greatest amount to the overseer, and, indeed, second to none physical suffering. But the special aggra- during the pestilential season, when the rice vation in Georgia is that this condition is swamps cannot with impunity be inhabited permanent, that there is a deliberate inten- by any white man, and when, therefore, the tion not to allow the slave to better herself, island remains entirely under his authority
whole force employed in its cultivation on the or, if possible, to obtain the intelligence to and control. His wilé-a tidy, trim, intelliwish for a higher position. Miss Kemble gent woman, with a pretty figure, but a defound that the laws against teaching slaves to cidedly negro face-was taken from him by
the overseer left in charge of the plantation | timony to the condition of the mean whites by the Messrs. the all-efficient and all on the pine lands, the class whose existence satisfactory Mr. K and she had a son by is so stoutly denied by men familiar only with him, whose straight features and diluted Maryland and Virginia. color, no less than his troublesome, discontented, and insubmissive disposition, bear witness to his Yankee descent. "I do not know ulation who, too poor to possess land or
“ I speak now of the scattered white pophow long Mr. K 's occupation of Frank's slaves, and having no means of living in wife continued, or how the latter endured the towns, squat (most appropriately it is so wrong done to him. When I visited the termed) either on other men's land or Govisland, Betty was again living with her hus ernment districts—always here swampor band—a grave, sad, thoughtful-looking man, pine barren—and claim masterdom over the whose admirable moral and mental qualities place they invade, till ejected by the rightful were extolled to me by no worse a judge of proprietors. These wretched creatures will such matters than Mr. K himself, during not, for they are whites (and labor belongs the few days he spent with Mr. while
to blacks and slaves alone here), labor for we were on the plantation. This outrage their own subsistence. They are hardly proupon this man's rights was perfectly notori- tected from the weather by the rude shelters ous among all the slaves.'
they frame for themselves in the midst of The same overseer, the instant there was these dreary woods. Their food is chiefly any dispute between husband and wife, used supplied by shooting the wild fowl and venito separate and remarry them to other slaves, son, and stealing from the cultivated patches celibacy for any period being unprofitable to clothes hang about them in filthy tatters, and
of the plantations nearest at hand." Their the owner. The children die horribly fast, the combined squalor and fierceness of their faster even than among the outcasts of Lon- appearance are really frightful.” don; and as for religion, the most successful t. These are the so-called pine-landers of overseers are utterly opposed to any mode of Georgia, I suppose the most degraded race of religious teaching. On this plantation a human beings claiming an Anglo-Saxon orislave was allowed to preach ; but the creed gin that can be found on the face of the
earth,-filthy, lazy, ignorant, brutal, proud, which teaches that all men are brothers is a
penniless savages, without one of the nobler dangerous one for a slave plantation. To attributes which have been found occasionmake the system consistent the planters ally allied to the vices of savage nature. should be Mahommedans, but then every They own no slaves, for they are almost withslave who turned Mahommedan would be out exception abjectly poor; they will not free, every woman who had borne a child to work, for that, as they conceive, would reher owner, every child of a white man, and duce them to an equality with the abhorred
negroes ; they squat, and steal, and starve, every slave endangered by violence in life or
on the outskirts of this lowest of all civilized limb, and so the plantation would be depop- societies, and their countenances bear witness ulated. As a rule, according to our author- to the squalor of their condition and the utter
the negro is brutishly ignorant, the degradation of their natures. To the crime women unable even to tell their children's of slavery, though they have no profitable ages ; the men unable to do anything, except part or lot in it, they are fiercely accessory, the work to which they are flogged. The because it is the barrier that divides the
black and white races, at the foot of which “ system,” wholly apart from its merits or they lie wallowing in unspeakable degradademerits on moral grounds, establishes bar- tion, but immensely proud of the base freebarism as the condition of the laboring class, dom which still separates them from the lashand consequently cripples society at its base. driven tillers of the soil.”
We have one more extract to make-a tes
From Fraser's Magazine. morning ?” Some rather heavy bills from FALSE GROUND AND FIRM. the tobacconist and tailor which had come in Ich habe gelebt und geliebt.
at breakfast, had disposed him to be someSOMEWHERE in the county of Wiltshire is a what captious towards this usually much-inpleasant sunny piece of down, embroidered dulged son. with cowslips, gilded with patches of gorse, “Oh, nothing, nothing at all; I am doing and offering here and there the pleasant shelter no harm in the world," said Augustus, rather of a small tangled copse, or a clump of young hastily, edging between the tree and his fabeech-trees. In these trees and copses the ther : “I am only waiting for Wilcox and blackbirds pipe their nest-music, and the his ferrets. By the by, have you seen what nightingales make the air ring and bubble work the rabbits have made of the young with the delicious caprices of their May mad- barley? We shall have Farmer Jarret grumness. On one side, the down is bounded by bling at a fine rate presently.” And with a farm-road, which, as it nears a mansion diplomatic address he walked his father on below, assumes a statelier aspect, and becomes through the little wood to the arable land a fine beech-avenue; on the other it forms a outside ; but here, unfortunately, at the sight wall of considerable height and steepness to of the steep sheep-path which led from the the pretty little valley which nestles at its down into the vale, his prudence or his fear base, its emerald floor mapped out into blue- forsook him—sooth to say, the tree and his veined water-meadows, and its low, gray late occupation upon it had entirely gone out church-tower, and ivy-gabled rectory, and of his head--and saying he must see what fly deep cottage roofs, huddling all together in was on the water, he started at a dangerous one corner under the protection of some old pace down the slippery steep, leaving his farook-haunted elms.
ther to take his homeward way alone. Mr. Down in this little valley lived, at the time Bryant also had for the moment forgotten the my story begins, a fair young foreigner, gov- piece of mischief on which he had found his son erness to the rector's children ; and up in the engaged, but as, in his return, he came up to clump on the downs above was a young beech- the tree, the “Ottilia” was so conspicuous, tree, whose smooth stem bore, in clear and and stared him so uncompromisingly in the well-cut characters, the un-English name of face, that he could not fail to observe it. He “ Ottilia.” It was not often that the se- stopped, surveyed it grimly, and calling to cluded and somewhat uncultured spot which mind, what he had once heard without payI have described was honored by a visit from ing any attention, that a pretty German govthe lord of the domain in which it was in- erness was in the immediate neighborhood, cluded; he preferred to it a tour through his he hastened hoinewards to impart the suspiorchard-houses, or a constitutional turn on cions which had dawned on his mind to Mrs. the broad, smooth, gravelled terrace of the Bryant. kitchen-garden; or, still more, a drive in his This lady was on the alert immediately. wife's brougham, and a gossip with such She had met with better opportunities than stray country gentlemen as he was lucky her husband of noticing the unusual charms enough to meet in the neighboring market- of Fraulein Berthal, but had prudently held town. But on the day which witnessed the her tongue concerning them, fondly flattering inscription of the pretty foreign name, it did herself meantime that they had been undishappen to come into his head that he would covered by her son since his return from his step up to the downs and see “ how the private tutor's. Here, however, was proof young trees were coming on ;” and in the too evident that they had not only been disprocess of this inspection he came upon his covered, but sufficiently dwelt upon to proson, a young gentleman at present waiting at duce the immemorially lover-like custom of home for his commission, just as he was en- this inscription. Full of lofty indignation gaged in giving the final scoop to the tail of and energy she instantly set off for the parthe last “a” in “ Ottilia.”
sonage“ to have the whole matter out" with os What are you about there, Augustus, Mrs. Mowbray. hacking away at the young trees, and killing Poor, meek, little Mrs. Mowbray, anxious them ?” said Mr. Bryant, somewhat testily: to clear her governess, whom she liked, and 66 cannot you
find anything better to do this to palliate the wrath of Mrs. Bryant, whom
she feared, “ hoped,” and “ was sure," and lady knew no bounds ; no terms of indigna“ was sorry," and " did not think there was tion were strong enough to reprobate the conanything such as Mrs. Bryant supposed ; ' duct of the "good-for-nothing girl;” while but her assertions and denials were all the it was evidently expected that Mrs. Mowbray time much weakened by an uneasy remem- should be overwhelmed with shame, and conbrance, called up by Mrs. Bryant's words, of trition, and anguish of mind, for having been the frequent mention made by her children, the primary cause of such machinations havon their return from their walks, of Augustus ing been employed against the heart and forBryant; how he had found a bird's nest, or tune of the illustrious Augustus. hit a squirrel, or started them on their races Mrs. Bryant was anxious to see the culon the downs; she recalled to mind also that prit, and deliver her mind in person ; but the visits of that gentleman and his rod had here Mr. Mowbray was called into the counof late been far more frequent than formerly cil, and objected. It did not yet appear, he on the river-bank opposite the rectory gar- said, how far, if at all, Miss Berthal had conden.
sented to any over-frequent intercourse with Mrs. Bryant was not to be put off with Mr. Bryant; and she would be far more faint denials or suppositions ; she desired likely to speak frankly, and to confess the that Mrs. Mowbray would question her chil- exact state of matters between them, in a dren as to the frequency of their meeting quiet conversation with Mrs. Mowbray, than with her son, and the behavior of their gov- in an agitating and alarming interview with erness when these meetings took place. “Of the mother of the young man himself. course, Mrs. Mowbray,” she said,
will Mrs. Bryant submitted with an ill grace ; see, with me, how absolutely necessary it is but Mr. Mowbray’s quiet manner always exthat any such designing and improper be- ercised over her a repressing influence which havior, as it appears this young person has she could not shake off; and she returned been guilty of, should-be discovered and put home, after flinging this Parthian dart : a stop to immediately : it is not to be borne “ Pray, dear Mrs. Mowbray, do not commit that a young man of the expectations and yourself to another governess till you have position of my son should be exposed to her consulted me : it is so necessary, you see, to low arts."
have a knowledge of the world, to judge of Poor Mrs. Mowbray would fain have de- the character of this sort of people ; and I clined this task of examining her children, have so many friends who apply to me: in a but she was allowed no excuse; and that day, day or two I shall be able to recommend with faltering voice which she tried to make some one who will exactly suit you.” indifferent, and burning cheeks she asked After indulging in a “good cry her little ones if they had seen Augustus own room, Mrs. Mowbray proceeded to the Bryant.
schoolroom, and, sending away the children, “Oh, yes, mamma, we see him every day, began questioning Miss Berthal in a confused, now! he nearly always comes and walks with hesitating manner. It was unnecessary to
say much : when she once understood Mrs. “Oh, he walks with you, dears, does he?" Mowbray’s drift, the cheek of the
young girl said their mother, catching at a straw;“and flushed deeply, then became very pale; and what does he talk about?”
she answered with a peculiarly sweet voice, “ Oh, he does not talk much to us : when and great quiet: “ It is true that I do meet we come to a dry place he sits down with Mr. Augustus, that I do talk with Mr. AuFraulein, and wont run any more, because, gustus ; I am the affianced of Mr. Augustus.” he says, he has sprained his ankle ; and then “ The afianced ! ” gasped Mrs. Mowbray. we go and pick up snail-shells and make " Oh, my dear Fraulein! what are you sayposegays. Isn't it funny, mamma, that he ing; what do you mean?” always sprains his ankle just when we get up “ He loves me,” said Ottilia, looking down, to the beechwood ?"
while a happy light overspread her fair face; Poor Mrs. Mowbray! she heard this with and so I do love him.” sinking heart, and her conscience obliged her For a few moments Mrs. Mowbray sat in to report all the information thus gained to blank dismay at this cool statement, which Mrs. Bryant. The righteous wrath of that went so far beyond her worst fears. Then
" in her