Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

pointed us to his employer, a man much younger and quite as black as himself, named Willis Penn. There is a coloured man in the island, a Mr. Montgomery, who keeps a store here, and has an interest in several tracts of land that are being tilled. Penn is one of his partners, and is working about seventy-five acres. Montgomery has the store independent of his other interests, and has advanced capital to those whom he has made partners in raising a crop. Penn has two hands employed to assist him in cultivating the seventy

. five acres

We found him planting corn in a spot where the cotton had been drowned out by the recent high water.

“I next found three women working a large garden, and on enquiry ascertained that a small company had formed themselves into a community and leased ten acres, which they were working in common. By subsequent enquiries I learned that in these two ways the whole island is now being worked, some who were able leasing tracts and hiring help; others banding themselves into little communities to work the land they jointly lease."*

The writer adds that some of the lessees were coloured men from other States, who were free before the proclamation of emancipation, and were drawn to this spot by a spirit of enterprize, and others, both of the lessees and the hired labourers, had been formerly slaves on the estates they are cultivating.”

One of these estates was that of the late Confederate President, and while it is impossible not to be struck with the sort of political justice here exhibitedhis lands divided among his bondsmen, who cultivate, as free-men, for their own advantage, the acres which once they worked under the lash, as slaves, for the benefit of another, and his house inhabited by teachers of those whom the laws which he fought to maintain forbade to be taught—most Englishmen will hope that a speedy return of Southern landowners to their allegiance and their duties as citizens of the United States will prevent the actual confiscation of their estates. And, therefore, while these instances are abundantly sufficient to show the capabilities of the negro, and his willingness to work, and open the prospect of abundant prosperity for his race in the future, we must not regard them as examples of what is likely immediately to happen, except under circumstances which, however favourable to the coloured people, we should greatly regret if milder measures would suffice.

For the most part we must expect that the freed-men will be the labourers of their former owners, and pass through privation in consequence of their poverty while protected from their oppression. Even in Lancashire, men, however industrious, could not work when there was no employment. The Southern planters have not the means, and too often not the will, to recommence energetically the cultivation of their fields. There must be a period, during which wages will be finding their level and masters learning how to employ free-men, of great and wide-spread distress; but the evident elasticity of the negro character, and the hand of God so manifest in the whole of these events

1

* Letter from Dr. Walden to the Rev. Dr. Storrs, 15th June, 1865.

66

[ocr errors]

gives us every reason to believe that, if Christian men in America and in our own country help in the emergency, the difficulties will all be overcome, and a once down-trodden race be transformed into an industrious peasantry.

A fourth reason why we in England should take part in this great act of reparation to an oppressed people is the fact that we are partners in the crime.

Slavery was introduced into North America and maintained there under the sanction of British laws. It is matter of history that at one period since the War of Independence the conscience of the Southern planters was so moved by the iniquity of a then unprofitable system that they actually thought of abolishing it, when a sudden demand for cotton for the English market silenced its voice, and gradually raised the accursed crime to the level of a Divine institution. This was the result simply of English gold. « In the midst of our too pharisaical self-complacency, let us remember that we have made the South what it is,” said the “ Manchester Examiner and Times,” while the war was raging. “If slavery is an evil, we have fostered it; if a crime, we are the perpetrators. Every factory we have built for the last twenty years has been a buttress and outwork of slavery. We have bought the produce of slaves, manufactured it in our mills, sold it in our shops, and worn it on our backs. We have grown rich by the toil of slaves. The great fortunes which have been made in these districts may be traced to Southern plantations as much as the fortunes of the slave-owners themselves. We relieve ourselves from blame by throwing it upon the system, but this is the apology of the slave-owner-the chief difference being that he admires the system of which he pockets the gains, while we, in pocketing the gains, denounce the system.”

We have suffered comparatively little during the American war. The Lancashire cotton famine was tided over with less difficulty than could have been expected to begin with, and the nation was perhaps never richer than at the present moment. But surely we have reason to fear lest He who gave, to use President Lincoln's words, “ to both North and South this terrible war, as was due to those by whom the offence came,” should not leave England without her share in the scourge, as she has shared so largely in the wealth piled by bondsmen by 250 years' unrequited toil,"t and shall do wisely as well as rightly in taking our part in the reparation by our voluntary offerings. To do so on a national scale would be an act of national repentance, and might avert much evil, for with the spectacle of America before our eyes who can doubt that God deals with nations retributively, or that God is just ?

A fifth and last reason may be drawn from the obligation which lies upon us to help in bringing to a successful issue an emancipation which was the result in part of our own example and our own expostulations.

I pass over the last five years since the war broke out. We shall be glad as

* November 29th, 1862.

† Inaugural Address, 16th March, 1865.

[ocr errors]

a nation to forget much that has been said and written under the influence of a temporary madness, inflamed by a few pro-slavery journalists. But in the New Jersey Democratic Convention* resolutions have just been passed ascribing the war to “ the fanaticism of the Abolitionists in their opposition to slavery. And had we no share in arousing this opposition ? Half-a-million signatures of women of Great Britain and Ireland were attached to an “ Affectionate and Christian Address” to “their sisters the women of the United States of America” upon this very subject, including the names of persons of all ranks, from the foot of the throne downwards, and concluding with these noble words—“We acknowledge with grief and shame our heavy share in this great sin. We acknowledge that our forefathers introduced, nay, compelled the adoption of slavery in those mighty colonies. We humbly confess it before Almighty God; and it is because we so deeply feel and so unfeignedly avow our own complicity, that we may now venture to implore your aid to wipe away our common crime and our common dishonour."

That address was sent six years before the war broke out, and it had its effect. "No one act, perhaps," says Mrs. Stowe, "ever produced more frantic irritation" in the slaveholding states, “ or called out more unsparing abuse. It came with the whole united weight of the British aristocracy and commonalty on the most diseased and sensitive part of our national life; and it stimulated that fierce excitement which was working before, and has worked since till it has broken out into open war.”

It doubtless had its effect also in strengthening the resolution of the opponents of slavery; at all events it helped to bring about the consummation, not in the way which English women or American women designed, but which God determined; and shall it be said that now these slaves are freed, and all that remains is to provide means for enabling them to meet the first difficulties of their new position, the women of Great Britain and Ireland, so ready to denounce the crime, and own their own complicity in it ten years ago in language so true and just and penetrating as to draw forth “a flood of indignant recrimination" from the slaveholding states, will withhold their silver and their gold, and that power of persuasion with which God has endowed them, and which they know so well how to use with their fathers, brothers, and husbands?

Surely not! Nor must we forget that if Englishmen did not address them on this subject collectively, as English women did, they made Americans in other ways conscious of their feelings. Our Emancipation Act was their continual reproach, and if we did not speak they knew what we thought. The slaveholders felt themselves, as one of them expressed it, “ under the ban of the civilized world," and their fellow-citizens shared in the dishonour, and while somewhat resenting our silent blame were stirred up by it because they know it to be just.

* " Times," 11th September, 1865.

The tone adopted in this country during the war surprised and irritated them, as well it might. But now let them see that we are ourselves again, and ready to take our share in binding up the wounds of the race we have shared in oppressing. It is our plain positive duty, and the sooner it is done and the more liberally the better will it be for us and for them.

PROGRESS AND PROMISE. Their love of good clothes is well known, and We are indebted to Maurice Williams, Esq., they now buy them, as well as tea, coffee, of Liverpool, for an extract from a letter writ. and other luxuries, or, as we should call them, ten by a gentleman of high standing in Boston, necessaries, of which in the old slavery time United States, well known to ourselves; his they knew nothing. The importations, I am testimony may be implicitly relied on. told, of the black settlements on the Sea

“The returned soldiers are all absorbed, you Islands, near Port Royal, are nearly, if not see few uniformed—they seem to be glad to quite, as large in value as those of an equal get them off and to go to work. It was very number of New Englanders. The effect of fortunate that peace came in the spring, when this great and sudden addition to the demand farm labourers were much needed. The ac. upon northern industry will doubtless during counts of the Freed-men vary with the preju- the next year be very large, and it is already dices of the observer. I am satisfied that wher- felt. The autumn trade has rarely before ever they are treated decently they work well sprung up at so early a period of the season and I am sure there will be less trouble with as this year, and there is for the north a prothem than with the ignorant whites. I also mise of a winter of extraordinary prosperity feel very certain that the rebel states will be and activity.-- From Correspondent of Daily kept under military control until equal politi- News," Nevı York, Sept. 2, 1865. cal rights are secured to all. In the mean

We are happy to say that the circulation of time, the high price of cotton will make a great the Freed-Man increases. As we are desi. competition for negro labor, and when it gets rous of the support of all who are interested to be time to prepare for next year's crop, such in the great work now going on, we beg to competition will secure good treatment and suggest to persons friendly to the improvement protection against abuse. From Missouri, of the Freed-men that they may greatly aid where guerillas prevailed, we have accounts

our labours by donations for the gratuitous of absolute peace; real estate, especially im. circulation of the Freed-Man. Contributions proved lands, rising in value very rapidly; may be sent to any of the officers of the Freednegroes returning to their homes, where they Men's Aid Society, or to the Editor, at Mr. are employed for wages; and rebel and union Partridge's, Paternoster Row, London. soldiers fraternising without the least ani

Tue following important communication has mosity. The other border states cannot resist such influences, and by another spring this been received in answer to a document prepictare will apply to Kentucky, Tennessee,

sented by a deputation of the National Com.

mittee to Earl Russell : and Arkansas. Such is my view of affairs."

“ Foreign Office, July 20th, 1865. GOODS WANTED BY THE SOUTH. “Sir-I am directed by Earl Russell to The demand for goods during the winter acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the promises to be great, as the people are in need 6th inst., forwarding a memorial of the several of everything from pins and needles up; and, Freed-men's Aid Societies upon the subject of what had not I think been much calculated Slavery in North America; and I am to state on by anybody, the negroes are coming for. to you in reply, that sympathy for those en. ward as large consumers. It must be said, in gaged in abolishing slavery, and joy at the fact, that the effect of emancipation is to fur- prospect, have been already expressed in Parnish four millions of customers to the North liament and in Despatches. for articles which blacks never used before. J. Hodgkin, Esq.

A, H. LAYARD."

The Freed-Man.

his sp

NOTICES TO CORRESPONDENTS. He served with McLellan before Rich

He beAll orders and enquiries concerning Adver: mond, where he lost an arm.

tisements, or other business connected with came a general, saw much service this Magazine, are to be addressed to in the South, and now he presides over ARLISS ANDREWS, 7, Duke Street, Blooms- the Freed-Men's Bureau. On the evebury.

ning of the 28th of August last, General We are compelled to reserve many articles for Howard addressed an immense meeting a future issue, owing to great pressure on

of the citizens of Chicago in behalf of our space.

the Freed-men of America. Every portion of the hall in which he delivered

speech was thronged by a most reOCTOBER, 1865.

spectable and highly interested audi

ence of ladies and gentlemen representGENERAL HOWARD. ing the best circles of society in the The gentleman whose name we place city, together with a number of colored at the head of this article, was chosen people, who came to learn what is to by the late President as the chief of the be done with the recently emancipated Freed-men's bureau. This Bureau is people of their race.

We regret our a department of the Government at- space does not allow of our giving the tached to the United States War Office ; entire address of General Howard : we called into existence for the purpose of will however endeavour to present the overlooking and controlling the affairs principal points in his speech. of the freed-men and the white refugees The General first gives an account of the Southern States. When this of his appointment, and then says department was established, the ap- All matters concerning refugees, freed-men pointment of its head was a matter of and abandoned lands, were committed to the great anxiety to the friends of freedom. commission. Abandoned and confiscated lands We believe that no better appointment allotted to freed-men.

were to be set apart in a certain section, and

It spoke of certain could have been made than that of benevolent objects, and that was to be the General Howard to this important and whole. Everything else was to be left to the trying position. General Howard is a commisssioner to arrange. As soon as I had scholar, a gentleman and a christian. got everything in order at Washington, I made He was educated for the military pro- my proposition to the Secretary of war to sepafession at the West Point Military lands, one of labor, and another of schools, and

rate the work into three divisions-one of School where he greatly distinguished obtained as good an officer from the army himself. At the time of the breaking as I knew, for the work of each division, with out of the Rebellion he was engaged as a corresponding secretary. a Professor of Mathematics at Bowdoin General Howard appointed his subCollege, in the State of Maine, but at ordinates, and amongst them Colonel once relinquished the toga and went Eaton, well known to many in this into the army. His great abilities and country for the active part he has taken scientific acquirements secured for him in the cause of the negro in the West. an appointment as colonel of engineers. The General adds

« PředchozíPokračovat »