"A Slaveholder's Letter,"(probably from a Northampton, MA newspaper), 1850



The following letter was recently received by Mr. Martin Stowell of Warren, Mass, from a South Carolina Doctor, in reply to one asking information respecting the wife and child of the negro Jackson, who not long since escaped from Slavery. It is a genuine production, and will be read with interest.

Mr. Jackson invites the good people of Northampton to listen to his experience while a slave, and the manner of his escape. His story will be found quite interesting, and from the testimonials he can show, is worthy of credit. The meeting will be held in the TOWN HALL, Northamton, on Thursday evening next, at 7 o'clock. At the close a collection will be taken up to assist in purchasing his wife and child.

MR. MARTIN

STOWELL.--Dear Sir:--Mr. Isby Wells received a letter a few days since written by yourself, purporting certain inquiries of a negro fellow, calling himself Andrew Jackson, the property of a Mr. English of this County. Excuse the liberty I take in thus volunteering in reply to say a few things which perhaps may be of service both to yourself and your confederate, the said Andrew.

We will first dispose of the boy's inquiries concerning his wife and child. Mr.Wells informs me that they are both well and still the property of Mr. Law. You can say to him that he need not stop short of $800, as less than that amount will not purchase his wife and child. And so, Andrew and his friends must stir themselves and contribute liberally or else he will never be able again to see his family. Poor Andrew Jackson! I fear that the boating philanthropy of his friends, the Abolitionists, their sympathy and concern for the wretchedness of the slave, will prove to him, that the Yankees' zeal in the cause, amounts to a mere hypocritical declaration, and that he will find after a few months, if he wants to purchase his family, he must go to work and depend upon his own individual labor to raise the needful.

And so you think it a horrible affair, that in this land of boasted liberty, a man has to make a purchase of his wife and family, or never see them. Well, to take the thing in an unqualified sense, it certainly would be as revolting as your fine sensibility might conceive, but under the present or like circumstances, I think you are laboring under a mistake, and that the one-sided view which you take of the matter is certainly calculated to confirm such impressions. I suppose, sir, you are a follower of our common Lord an Redeemer, and that you are perfectly familiar with the historic events of that Book, the inspired oracle of God himself. Well, all this you admit, and if you are honest you will further admit that Slavery abounds from the days of Abraham to the Christian Era. If you say, as some Abolitionists affirm, that you can discover neither precept or toleration for Slavery in the Book of God, then I give you up, and you had better stop reading and throw my letter in the fire, for, like Ephraim of old, you are joined to your idol, and I had better let you alone. But, sir, I hope better things of you, and that you are not one of that rascally class of Abolitionists who will lie any time to make his case as tolerable as possible. Well, after presuming most liberally respecting your honesty and candor, let me ask you a single question. Do you believe that the great Ruler of Heaven and earth is any wiser or more merciful now than He was in the days of the Patriarch? Common sense prompts, no doubt, the affirmative answer; (and is it not most disgusting to think that poor feeble man is troubling himself to reform that which had its origin with God, the great mandate of Heaven and Earth?) Well, so far, so good. Now answer yourself , another query as simple and as easy. Do you not think that if the institution was of that horrible caste, which judges of the present day seem to attach to it, that our glorious high Priest, Jesus Christ, would in some way have given it such reproof as would tend to rid the world of an evil so revolting to the nice sense and cultivated feelings of men now inhabiting this glorious land of wooden-hams and wooden-nutmegs? Well, now my dear sir, let me tell you what I believe; our Savior thought it of far more consequence to teach falling, erring man, that HONESTY was far more indispensable in His sight than this horrible thing, Slavery, at which you revolt. Don't you think so, and if so, recollect you are aiding and abetting a great rascal who was so dishonest as to run away from a kind master and to violate one of the precepts of our great Teacher, which was, "Obey your mater in all things, for that is acceptable with God."

Did you ever trace your family's history back some 50 or 80 years to see if your Father or Grand-father did not in some way speculate in the kidnapping and transporting of negroes from Africa to this country? Certain I am of one thing, that the Yankees and the English had all this glorious work to themselves, and now after making themselves rich with the spoils, an put in our midst a race of beings whose skin so perfectly represents the cupidity and blackness of their hearts, they are ready to see our throats cut and if necessary, to help do it. I sincerely believe the negroes, as a class of laborers, are the most happy class of beings in the world. And I have often thought so when I have seen them together in the field, talking and cracking their jokes; or, at the corn-shucking singing their merry songs; or, at the camp-meeting,joining in glorious hallelujahs and praise to a triune God, and clapping their hands with very joy, that things were as well with them as they are. Just imagine a set of poor old women and little children weeping, and listening to the graphic description of their wretchedness by some pseudo-abolitionist and think how perfectly ridiculous is such a sight!
In haste Yours, &c.

H. HAYNSWORTH

P. S. I did intend copying this, and giving you my sentiments a little improved, but I haven't time.

H. H.

 

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