|EXCERPTS FROM A BOOKLET PUBLISHED BY THE LONDON ANTI-SLAVERY SOCIETY
The extracts from the letter describe the hardships the children in the photograph below experienced as they escaped to Canada.
The booklet itself was designed to raise funds in Britain that were used to combat slavery and alleviate its effects.
PHOTOGRAPHIC PORTRAITS OF COLORED SCHOOL CHILDREN.
"March 3, 1859.- With this I send you the portrait mentioned in my last, and a short description of each. My object in having so many taken together was to show the varieties of color between the genuine African and the nearest approximation to Anglo-Saxon.
"The boy on my right, James S---, is of real African parentage, and although he had the happiness of being born free, his parents had been slaves. When I called to show them the picture the mother's hearty, ringing laugh, as she looked at "our Jim', almost made me wish for the same lightheartedness, but it is characteristic of the race. And, though in great distress, she could afford to laugh while she said, 'Wall, raly I thought our Jim was a better lookin fellow then that; but, 'deed, Misses Williams, I shouldn't a knowed you no how, you looks reel weel.' Of course I could appreciate the doubtful compliment.
25"No. 2 shade, the little Lizzie L----, on my left (in front) was born in slavery. Her mother was owned by some wealthy people in Maryland, who were very kind to her, and, approving of her marriage with the slave of a neighbouring planter, purchased him, and settled them both comfortably upon a farm a few miles distant. Still they were slaves, and as they heard of one after another of the people being sold, in consequence of their master's losses at the gaming table, they began to fear lest they might share the same fate. So, collecting a good supply of food and what money they could, they started for Canada. Walking by night, hiding in the bush by day, and carrying their provisions and little Lizzie, then three years old -- often going a considerable distance out of the way, either from ignorance of the road, or fear of detection, they made slow progress. Arrived at Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania; they took the cars, reached Detroit, crossed the river, and were safe in Canada just three weeks after they started.
"No. 3 shade, Alice G---, on my left, I have no particular information about; her parents had been slaves.
"No. 4, John P---, on S.'s right, is a mixture of Africa, Indian, and Saxon. His grandmother, a very interesting Quadroon, had been left free by her master's will; married and had seven daughters, two of whom, the mother and the aunt of John, were married; but all were near the old lady. On a sudden she heard it whispered that the heirs of her late master, having discovered some flaw in the will, intended to claim herself, her children and grandchildren, now seventeen in all. Greatly alarmed, she consulted a lawyer, who kindly told her that her only safety would be in flight. Not even a shadow of protection would the 'star-spangled banner' afford this poor woman, whose only crime was the hue of her face. Acting upon the lawyer's friendly advice, she took refuge in Canada, and now, while she has the pleasure of seeing her children's children, and their children-- her daughters all married but one, and the seventeen more than doubled, -- she has the satisfaction of knowing that they never can be slaves. John is a boy of moderate abilities, much darker in color than his mother.
No. 5, the Mulatto, William L---, tells his own story; and you would almost fail to recognise in his open countenance any indication of his parentage; still less would you suspect the beautiful little Quadroon girl on my right of belonging to the proscribed race, and yet that girl was born in slavery. When I tell you that her mother was an interesting Mulatto woman, you will read in that fair young face the sad story of her mother's wrongs. Soon after little Fanny's birth the poor slave-mother was obliged to leave her child, and accompany her young mistress on her marriage tour. On reaching Cincinnati she found friends among some abolitionists, who assisted her escape to Canada, where she obtained a respectable situation with good wages, and at last succeeded in purchasing her child, then eighteen months old, for 250 dollars. She has since married a respectable mechanic, and, though another little one claims their affection, I think the little slave holds the highest place.
"So far I have given you only the bright side of the picture, but there is another and a sadder phase of fugitive history. The effects of the demoralizing system under which they have been 'raised'
26are not shaken off with the yoke of slavery. They have never been taught self-respect; in fact, the effect of their 'raising' has been to destroy what they had. Many of these unhappy women have children, some born before, some since, they came here. Could these be taken from the blighting influences of home, instructed in the fear of God and in a higher morality, and fitted for domestic servants, they might yet become useful and virtuous members of society.
"When Dr. Hellmuth was here last he proposed a plan by which a few orphan or fugitive children might be taken and provided for. If this could only take effect, and a few of the poor children, whom I have spoken of, be rescued from the terrible future which opens before them it would be a great blessing. And surely no amount of labor or self-denial need be thought too great, if it, by God's blessing, produced such results. I have written and spoken to Dr. Hellmuth relative to a desirable locality, and I have no doubt he will communicate with you on the subject."
Miss King, voluntary teacher and missionary in connexion with the Society in London, has rendered valuable services, which the Committee desire gratefully to acknowledge. Their prayer is that she may be made a true spiritual blessing to many souls among the colored people. From various quarters the Committee have received strong testimony to the zeal and success with which Miss King has devoted herself to promote the eternal interests of the fugitive slaves. She writes:--
CASES OF REFUGEES.
"May 1, 1858.-- A short time back I met a man, a carpenter by trade, who arrived here recently from New Orleans. He had heard that he was to be sold down South, and that his master was to have 25,000 dols. for him, and, dreading the prospect, the poor fellow came away and got here in safety. Finding he could read a little I gave him a New Testament, with which he was much pleased.
"The school children have received the book-markers, bags, &c., made for them by the children of the Rev. J. Hambleton's school and other friends, and were much pleased with their little presents. And we purpose on Whit Tuesday to have them all to tea by way of a treat.
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