by F. C. Adams
OR, The Sovereign Rule of South Carolina.
WITH VIEWS OF SOUTHERN LAWS, LIFE, AND HOSPITALITY.
BY F. C. ADAMS.
WRITTEN IN CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA. WASHINGTON, D. C.:
CHAPTER I. THE
CHAPTER II. THE
CHAPTER III. THE
CHAPTER IV. THE
CHAPTER V. MR.
MAN OF THE
CHAPTER VI. THE
JANSON IN THE
ARRIVAL OF THE
CHAPTER VIII. A
NEW DISH OF
CHAPTER VIII. A
FEW POINTS OF
CHAPTER X. THE
CHAPTER XI. THE
CHAPTER XII. THE
HOW IT IS.
CHAPTER XV. THE
PLEA OF JUST
CONSTANCY OF THE
THE CAPTAIN, AND
LITTLE TOMMY AND
CHAPTER XIX. THE
AND THE MAYOR'S
EMEUTE AMONG THE
CHAPTER XXI. THE
JOHN PAUL, AND
AND HIS FATHER'S
CHAPTER XXVI. A
IN NEW YORK.
CHAPTER XXX. THE
OUR generous friends in Georgia and South Carolina will not add
among their assumptions that we know nothing of the South and Southern
life. A residence of several years in those States, a connection with
the press, and associations in public life, gave us opportunities
which we did not lose, and have not lost sight of; and if we dipped
deeper into the vicissitudes of life and law than they gave us credit
for at the time, we trust they will pardon us, on the ground of
interest in the welfare of the South.
Perhaps we should say, to support the true interests of the South,
we should and must abandon many of those errors we so strenuously
supported in years past; and thus we have taken up the subject of our
book, based upon the practical workings of an infamous law, which we
witnessed upon the individual whose name forms a part of the title.
Imprisoning a shipwrecked sailor, and making it a penal offence for
a freeman to come within the limits of a republican State, whether
voluntarily or involuntarily, seems to be considered commonplace,
instead of barbarous in South Carolina. This may be accounted for by
the fact that the power of a minority, created in wrong, requiring
barbarous expedients to preserve itself intact, becomes an habitual
sentiment, which usage makes right.
This subject has been treated with indifference, even by the press,
which has satisfied itself in discussing the abstract right as a
question of law, rather than by disclosing the sufferings of those who
endure the wrong and injustice. When we are called upon to support,
and are made to suffer the penalty of laws founded in domestic fear,
and made subservient to various grades of injustice, it becomes our
duty to localize the wrong, and to point out the odium which attaches
to the State that enacts such laws of oppression.
A "peculiar-institution" absorbs and takes precedence of every
thing; its protection has become a sacred element of legislative and
private action; and fair discussion is looked upon as ominous, and
proclaimed as incendiary. But we speak for those who owe no allegiance
to that delicate institution; citizens to all intents and, purposes
(notwithstanding their dark skins) of the countries to which they
severally belong; peaceable persons, pursuing their avocations, to
provide a respectable maintenance for their families, and worthy of
the same protective rights claimed by the more fortunate citizens of
such countries. In doing this we shall give a practical illustration
of the imprisonment of four individuals in South Carolina, and ask
those who speculate in the abstract science of State sovereignty, to
reflect upon the issue of that lamentable injustice which inflicts
punishment upon persons guiltless of crime. We prefer to be plain, and
we know our Southern friends will not accuse us of misconstruction,
for we have their interests at heart, as well as the cause of
humanity, which we shall strive to promote, in spite of the struggles
of modern barbarism, seeking to perpetuate itself. Fear, the inventor
of such pretexts as are set up, and mantled in Southern modesty, must
remodel its code for South Carolinians, before it can assert a power
unknown to law, or trample upon the obligations of treaty, or enforce
nullification of individual rights.
CHARLESTON, S. C., July 17,1852.
CHAPTER I. THE UNLUCKY SHIP.
THE British brig Janson, Thompson, master, laden with sugar,
pimento, left Kingston, Jamaica, in the early part of March, in the
present year, bound for Glasgow. The skipper, who was a genuine son of
the "Land o' Cakes," concluded to take the inside passage, and run
through the gulf. This might have been questioned by seamen better
acquainted with the windward passage; but as every Scotchman likes to
have his own way, the advice of the first officer—an experienced salt
in the West India waters—went to leeward. On rounding Cape Antoine,
it was evident that a strong blow was approaching. The clouds hung
their dark curtains in threatening blackness; and, as the sharp
flashes of lightning inflamed the gloomy scene, the little bark seemed
like a speck upon the bosom of the sea. It was the first mate's watch
on deck. The wind, then blowing from the W.S.W., began to increase and
veer into the westward; from whence it suddenly chopped into the
northward. The mate paced the quarter wrapt in his fearnought jacket,
and at every turn giving a glance aloft, then looking at the compass,
and again to the man at the wheel, as if he had an instinct of what
He was a fearless navigator, yet, like many others who had yielded
to the force of habit, was deeply imbued with that prevalent
superstition so common to sailors, which regards a particular ship as
unlucky. Imagine an old-fashioned boatswain, with north-country
features strongly marked, a weather-beaten face, and a painted
south-wester on his head, and you have the "Mister Mate" of the old
"Keep her full, my hearty. We must take in our light sails and go
on the other tack soon. If we don't catch it before daylight, I'll
miss my calculation. She's an unlucky old craft as ever I sailed in,
and if the skipper a'n't mighty careful, he'll never get her across.
I've sworn against sailing in her several times, but if I get across
in her this time, I'll bid her good-by; and if the owners don't give
me a new craft, they may get somebody else. We're just as sure to
have bad luck as if we had cats and parsons aboard."
Thus saying, he descended the companion-way, and reported the
appearance of the weather to the skipper, who arose quickly, and,
consulting his barometer, found it had fallen to near the lowest
scale. After inquiring the quarter of the wind, and how she headed,
what sail she was carrying, and the probable distance from the cape,
he gave orders to call all hands to take in the topgallant-sails,
double reef the fore, and single reef the maintop-sails, and stow the
flying-jib—dressed himself, and came on deck. Just as he put his head
above the slide of the companion, and stopped for a minute with his
hands resting upon the sides, a vivid flash of lightning hung its
festoons of fire around the rigging, giving it the appearance of a
chain of livid flame.
"We'll catch the but-end of a gulf sneezer soon. Tell the boys to
bear a hand with them sails. We must get her snug, and stand by to
lay her under a double-reefed maintop-sail and jib, with her head to
the northward and eastward. We may make a clear drift—chance if it
lasts long," said Skipper Thompson, as he stood surveying the horizon
and his craft. Scarcely had he given the orders before the storm burst
upon them with all its fury. Its suddenness can only be appreciated by
those who have sailed in the West India passages, where the sudden
shocks of the short-chopping sea acts with a tremendous strain upon
the hull of a heavy-laden vessel. The captain ran to the windward
gangway, hurrying his men in the discharge of their duty, and giving
another order to clew up the coursers and foretop-sail. Just as the
men had executed the first, and were about to pull on the clew-lines
of the latter, a sudden gust took effect upon the bag of the sail and
carried it clean from the bolt-ropes. The halyards were lowered and
the yards properly braced up, while the Janson was brought to under
the canvas we have before described. In a few minutes more the wind
had increased to a gale, and, as the sailors say, several times the
old craft "wouldn't look at it." Several times we had to put her helm
up, and as many times she shipped those forcing cross seas which drive
every thing before them, and sweep the decks. At length a piece of
canvas was lashed to the fore-rigging which gave her a balance, and
she rode easy until about five o'clock in the morning, when by a
sudden broach the canvas was carried away, and a tremendous sharp sea
boarded her forward; starting several stanchions, carrying away part
of her starboard bulwark and rail, and simultaneously the
foretop-gallant-mast, which snapped just above the withe. As a
natural consequence, every thing was in the utmost confusion—the old
hull worked in every timber. The wreck swayed to and fro, retarding
the working of the vessel and endangering the lives of those who
attempted to clear it from obstruction. Thus she remained for more
than half an hour, nearly on her beam-ends, and at the mercy of each
succeeding sea that threatened to engulf her.
As daylight broke, the wind lulled, and, as usual in those waters,
the sea soon ran down. Enabled to take the advantage of daylight,
they commenced to clear away the wreck. In the mean time it was found
necessary to remove the fore-hatch in order to get out some spare
sails that had been stowed away near the forward bulkhead, instead of
a more appropriate place. The mate, after trying the pumps in the
early part of the gale, reported that she had started a leak; which,
however, was so trifling as to require but one man to keep her free,
until she broached, and carried away her topgallant-mast. The man on
duty then reported the water increasing, and another was ordered to
assist him. On an examination in the morning, it was found that she
was strained in the fore-channels, and had started a but.
"She's an unlucky concern, skipper," said the mate as he brought
the axe to take the battons off the forehatch. "A fellow might as well
try to work a crab at low tide as to keep her to it in a blow like
that. She minds her helm like a porpoise in the breakers. Old Davy
must have put his mark upon her some time, but I never know'd a lucky
vessel to be got as she was. She makes a haul on the underwriters
every time she drifts across; for I never knew her to sail clear since
I shipped in the old tub. If she was mine, I'd find a place for her at
The sea became smooth, the water was found to have receded, the
wind, light, had hauled to W.S.W., and Cape Antoine was judged by
dead reckoning to bear S.S.W. about thirty miles distant. The
larboard fore-shrouds were found to have been scorched by the
lightning, which had completely melted the tar from the after-shroud.
All hands were now busily employed repairing the wreck, which by two
o'clock P.M. they had got so far completed as to stand on their course
in the gulf, at the rate of six knots an hour.
The skipper now consulted in his mind as to the expediency of
making for Havana or proceeding on his cruise. The leak had materially
diminished, and, like all old vessels, though she gave a good portion
of work at the pumps, a continuation of good weather might afford an
opportunity to shove her across. Under these feelings, he was inclined
to give the preference to his hopes rather than yield to his fears. He
considered the interest of all concerned—consulted his mate, but
found him governed by his superstition, and looking upon the issue of
his life about as certain whether he jumped overboard or "stuck by the
old tub." He considered again the enormous port-charges imposed in
Havana, the nature of his cargo in regard to tariff, should his vessel
be condemned, and the ruinous expenses of discharging, together with
the cost of repairs, providing they were ordered. All these things he
considered with the mature deliberation of a good master, who has the
general interests of all concerned at heart. So, if he put away for a
port, in consideration of all concerned, his lien for general average
would have strong ground in maritime law; yet there were circumstances
connected with the sea-worthy condition of the craft—known to
himself, if not to the port-wardens, and which are matters of
condition between the master and his owners—which might, upon
certain technicalities of law, give rise to strong objectionable
points. With all these glancing before him, he, with commendable
prudence, resolved to continue his voyage, and trust to kind
Providence for the best.
"Captain," said the mate, as he stood viewing the prospect, with a
marlinespike in one hand and a piece of seizing in the other—"I
verily think, if that blow had stuck to us two hours longer, the old
tub would a' rolled her futtocks out. Ye don't know her as well as I
do. She's unlucky, anyhow; and always has been since she sot upon the
water. I've seen her top-sides open like a basket when we've been
trying to work her into port in heavy weather: and a craft that won't
look nearer than nine points close-hauled, with a stiff breeze, ought
to be sent into the Clyde for a coal-droger. An old vessel's a perfect
pickpocket to owners; and if this old thing hasn't opened their purses
as bad as her own seams, I'll miss my reckonin'. I've had a strong
foreknowledge that we wouldn't get across in her. I saw the rats
leaving in Jamaica—taking up their line of march, like marines on the
fore. It's a sure sign. And then I'd a dream, which is as sure as a
mainstay—never deceives me. I can depend on its presentiment. I have
dreamed it several times, and we always had an awful passage. Twice we
come within a bobstay of all goin' to Old Davy's store-house. I once
escaped it, after I'd had my mysterious dream; but then I made the
cook throw the cat overboard just after we left port, and 'twas all
that saved us."
Thus saying, he went forward to serve a topgallant-stay that was
stretched across the forecastle-hatch from the cat-heads, and had
just been spliced by the men, followed by an old-fashioned
sea-urchin, a miniature of the tar, with a mallet in his hand. The
captain, although a firm, intelligent man, and little given to such
notions of fate as are generally entertained by sailors, who never
shake off the spiritual imaginings of the forecastle, displayed some
discomfiture of mind at the strong character of the mate's
misgivings. He knew him to be a good sailor, firm in his duty, and
unmoved by peril. This he had proved on several occasions when
sailing in other vessels, when the last ray of hope seemed to be
gone. He approached the mate again, and with a pretence of making
inquiries about the storage of the cargo, sounded him further in
regard to his knowledge of the Bahamas, and with special reference to
the port of Nassau.
"Six-tenths of her timbers are as rotten as punk," said the mate;
"this North American timber never lasts long; the pump-wells are
defective, and when we carry sail upon her, they don't affect the
water in the lee-bilge, and she rolls it through her air-streaks like
a whale. She'll damage the best cargo that ever floated, in that way.
Take my word for it, skipper, she'll never go across the Banks; she'll
roll to splinters as soon as she gets into them long seas; and if we
get dismasted again, it's gone Davy."
"I know the old scow before to-day, and wouldn't shipped in her, if
I hadn't been lime-juiced by that villanous landlord that advanced me
the trifle. But I seen she was as deep as a luggerman's sand-barge,
and I popped the old cat overboard, just as we rounded the point
coming out o' Kingston harbour," said a fine, active-looking sailor,
who bore every trait of a royal tar, and boasted of serving five years
in the East-India service, to his shipmate, while he continued to
serve the stay. His words were spoken in a whisper, and not intended
for the captain's ears. The captain overheard him, however; and, as a
vessel is a world to those on board, the general sentiment carries its
weight in controlling its affairs. Thus the strong feeling which
prevailed on board could not fail to have its effect upon the
"Well, we'll try her at any rate," said the captain, walking aft
and ordering the cabin-boy to bring up his glass; with which he took a
sharp look to the southward.
"I'd shape her course for a southern Yankee port. I haven't been
much in them, but I think we'll stand a better chance there than in
these ports where they make a speculation of wrecking, and would take
a fellow's pea-jacket for salvage." "We're always better under the
protection of a consul than in a British port," said the mate, coming
aft to inform the skipper that they had carried away the chains of the
bobstay, and that the bowsprit strained her in the knight-heads.
CHAPTER II. THE STEWARD'S BRAVERY.
DURING the worst of the gale, a mulatto man, with prominent
features, indicating more of the mestino than negro character, was
moving in busy occupation about the deck, and lending a willing hand
with the rest of the crew to execute the captain's orders. He was
rather tall, well formed, of a light olive complexion, with dark,
piercing eyes, a straight, pointed nose, and well-formed mouth. His
hair, also, had none of that crimp so indicative of negro extraction,
but lay in dark curls all over his head. As he answered to the
captain's orders, he spoke in broken accents, indicating but little
knowledge of the English language. From the manner in which the crew
treated him, it was evident that he was an established favourite with
them as well as the officers, for each appeared to treat him more as
an equal than a menial. He laboured cheerfully at sailor's duty until
the first sea broke over her, when, seeing that the caboose was in
danger of being carried from the lashings, and swept to leeward in the
mass of wreck, he ran for that all-important apartment, and began
securing it with extra lashings. He worked away with an earnestness
that deserved all praise; not with the most satisfactory effect for an
angry sea immediately succeeding completely stripped the furnace of
its woodwork, and in its force carried the gallant fellow among its
fragments into the lee-scuppers, where he saved himself from going
overboard only by clinging to a stanchion.
The second mate, a burly old salt, ran to his assistance, but,
before he reached him, our hero had recovered himself, and was making
another attempt to reach his coppers. It seemed to him as much a
pending necessity to save the cooking apparatus as it did the captain
to save the ship.
"He no catch me dis time," said he to the mate, smiling as he
lifted his drenched head from among the fragments of the wreck. "I fix
a de coffee in him yet, please God."
After securing the remains of his cooking utensils, he might be
seen busily employed over a little stove, arranged at the foot of the
stairs that led to the cabin. The smoke from the funnel several times
annoyed the captain, who laboured under the excitement consequent upon
the confusion of the wreck and peril of his vessel, bringing forth
remonstrances of no very pleasant character. It proved that the good
steward was considering how he could best serve Jack's necessities;
and while they were laboring to save the ship, lie was studiously
endeavoring to anticipate the craving of their stomachs. For when
daylight appeared and the storm subsided, the steward had a bountiful
dish of hot coffee to relieve Jack's fatigued system. It was received
with warm welcome, and many blessings were heaped upon the head of the
steward; A good "doctor" is as essential for the interests of owners
and crew as a good captain. So it proved in this instance, for while
he had a careful regard for the stores, he never failed to secure the
praises of the crew.
"When I gib de stove fire, den me gib de Cap-i-tan, wid de crew,
some good breakfas," said he with a gleam of satisfaction.
This individual, reader, was Manuel Pereira, or, as he was called
by his shipmates, Pe-rah-re. Manuel was born in Brazil, an extract of
the Indians and Spanish, claiming birthright of the Portuguese
nation. It mattered but very little to Manuel where he was born, for
he had been so long tossed about in his hardy vocation that he had
almost become alienated from the affections of birthplace. He had
sailed so long under the protection of the main-jack of old England
that he had formed a stronger allegiance to that country than to any
other. He had sailed under it with pride, had pointed to its emblem,
as if he felt secure, when it was unfurled, that the register-ticket
which that government had given him was a covenant between it and
himself; that it was a ticket to incite him to good behavior in a
foreign country; and that the flag was sure to protect his rights,
and insure, from the government to which he sailed respect and
hospitality. He had sailed around the world under it—visited savage
and semi-civilized nations—had received the hospitality of
cannibals, had joined in the merry dance with the Otaheitian, had
eaten fruits with the Hottentots, shared the coarse morsel of the
Greenlander, been twice chased by the Patagonians—but what shall we
say?—he was imprisoned, for the olive tints of his color, in a land
where not only civilization rules in its brightest conquests, but
chivalry and honor sound its fame within the lanes, streets, and
court-yards. Echo asks, Where—where? We will tell the reader. That
flag which had waved over him so long and in so many of his
wayfarings—that flag which had so long boasted its rule upon the
wave, and had protected him among the savage and the civilized, found
a spot upon this wonderful globe where it ceased to do so, unless he
could change his skin.
CHAPTER III. THE SECOND STORM.
ON the fourth night succeeding the perilous position of the Janson
off Cape Antoine, the brig was making about seven knots, current of
the gulf included. The sun had set beneath heavy radiant clouds,
which rolled up like masses of inflamed matter, reflecting in a
thousand mellow shades, and again spreading their gorgeous shadows
upon the rippled surface of the ocean, making the picture serene and
As darkness quickly followed, these beautiful transparencies of a
West-India horizon gradually changed into murky-looking monitors,
spreading gloom in the sombre perspective. The moon was in its second
quarter, and was rising on the earth. The mist gathered thicker and
thicker as she ascended, until at length she became totally obscured.
The Captain sat upon the companion-way, anxiously watching the sudden
change that was going on overhead; and, without speaking to any one,
rose, took a glance at the compass, and then went forward to the
lookout, charging him to keep a sharp watch, as they were not only in
a dangerous channel, but in the track of vessels bound into and out of
the gulf. After this, he returned amidship, where the little miniature
salt we have described before lay, with his face downward, upon the
main-hatch, and ordering him to bring the lead-line, he went to
leeward and took a cast; and after paying out about twenty-five
fathoms without sounding, hauled aboard again. The wind was southward
and light. As soon as he had examined the lead he walked aft and
ordered the sheets eased and the vessel headed two points farther off.
This done, he went below, and shaking his barometer several times,
found it had begun to fall very fast. Taking down his coast-chart, he
consulted it very studiously for nearly half an hour, laying off an
angle with a pair of dividers and scale, with mathematical minuteness;
after which he pricked his course along the surface to a given point.
This was intended as his course.
"Where do you make her, Captain?" said the mate, as he lay in his
"We must be off the Capes—we must keep a sharp look out for them
reefs. They are so deceptive that we'll be on to them before we know
it. There's no telling by sounding. We may get forty fathoms one
minute and strike the next. I've heard old West-India coasters say
the white water was the best warning," replied the Captain.
"I'm mighty afraid of that Carysfort reef, since I struck upon it
in 1845. I was in a British schooner then, bound from Kingston,
Jamaica, to New York. We kept a bright lookout, all the way through
the passage, and yet struck, one morning just about day-light; and,
five minutes before, we had sounded without getting bottom. When it
cleared away, that we could see, there was two others like ourselves.
One was the ship John Parker, of Boston, and the other was a
'long-shoreman. We had a valuable cargo on board, but the craft wasn't
hurt a bit; and if the skipper—who was a little colonial man, not
much acquainted with the judicial value of a wrecker's services—had
a' taken my advice, he wouldn't got into the snarl he did at Key West,
where they carried him, and charged him thirty-six hundred dollars for
the job. Yes, and a nice little commission to the British consul for
counting the doubloons, which, by-the-by, Skipper, belonged to that
great house of Howland Aspinwalls. They were right clever fellows, and
it went into the general average account for the relief of the
underwriters' big chest," continued the mate.
"We must have all hands ready at the call," said the Captain. "It
looks dirty overhead, and I think we're going to catch it from the
north-east to-night. If we do, our position is not as good as before.
I don't feel afraid of her, if we only get clear of this infernal
coast," said the Skipper, as he rolled up his chart, and repaired on
During this time, Manuel, who, had given the crew some very
acceptable hot cakes for supper, was sitting upon the windlass,
earnestly engaged, with his broken English, recounting an adventure
he had on the coast of Patagonia, a few years previous, while serving
on board a whaleman, to a shipmate who sat at his left. It was one of
those incidents which frequently occur to the men attached to vessels
which visit that coast for the purpose of providing a supply of wood
and water, and which would require too much space to relate here.
"Did you run, Manuel?" said the listening shipmate.
"What else did me do? If I no run, I'd not be here dis night,
because I be make slave, or I be killed wid club. Patagonian don't
care for flag—nor not'in' else—I trust—e my leg, an' he get to de
boat jus' when cap-i-tan come to rescue."
"Was you on board an Englishman then, Manuel?" inquired the
"Yes, I'm always sail in English ship, because I can get protection
from flag and consul, where I go—any part of globe," said he.
"I never liked this sailing among barbarous nations; they've no
respect for any flag, and would just as lief imprison an Englishman
or an American as they would a dog. They're a set of wild barbarians,
and if they kill a fellow, there's no responsibility for it. It's like
a parcel of wolves chasing a lamb, and there's no finding them after
they've killed it. But they give a fellow his rights in Old England
and the States. A man's a man there, rich or poor, and his feelings
are just as much his own as anybody's. It's a glorious thing, this
civilization, and if the world keeps on, there'll be no danger of a
fellow's being imprisoned and killed among these savages. They're a
cowardly set, for nobody but cowards are afraid of their own actions.
Men neither imprison nor kill strangers, that don't fear the injustice
of their own acts. You may smoke that in your pipe, Manuel, for I've
heard great men say so. But you'd been done making dough-nuts then,
Manuel, if they'd got hold o' you."
"Never catch Manuel among Patagonians, again; they not know what
the flag be, nor they can't read de registrum ticket, if they know'd
where England was," said Manuel; and just as he was concluding the
story of his adventure, the little sailor-boy put his arm around
Manuel's waist, and, laying his head on his breast, fondled about him
with an affectionate attachment. The little fellow had been a shipmate
with Manuel on several voyages, and, through the kindness he had
received at his hands, naturally formed an ardent attachment to him.
Taking advantage of the good treatment, he knew how to direct his
attention to the steward whenever he wanted a snack from the
cabin-locker of that which was not allowed in the forecastle. After
holding him for a minute, encircling his arm around the little
fellow's shoulder, he arose, and saying, "I know what you want,
Tommy," proceeded to the cabin and brought him several little
eatables that had been left at the captain's table.
The wind now began to veer and increase, her sails kept filling
aback; and as often as the man at the helm kept her off, the wind
would baffle him, until finding it would be necessary to go on the
other tack, or make some change of course, he called the Captain. The
moment the latter put his foot upon deck, he found his previous
predictions were about to be verified. The rustling noise of the
gulf, mingling its solemn sounds with the petrel-like music of that
foreboding wind that "whistles through the shrouds," awakened the
more superstitious sensations of a sailor's heart. The clouds had
gathered their sombre folds into potent conclaves, while the
sparkling brine in her wake, seemed like a fiery stream, rolling its
troubled foam upon the dark waters.
"Brace the yards up sharp-hard a-starboard!—and trim aft the
sheets," ordered the Captain, who had previously given the order,
"All hands on deck!"
The order was scarcely executed, before the noise of the
approaching gale was heard in the distance. All hands were ordered to
shorten sail as quickly as possible; but before they could get aloft,
it came upon them with such fury from E.N.E. as to carry away the
foretop-mast and topgallant-mast, together with its sails, and the
main-topgallant-mast with the sail. The foretop-mast, in going by the
board, carried away the flying-jib-boom and flying-jibs. Thus the
ill-fated Janson was doomed to another struggle for her floating
existence. The sea began to rise and break in fearful power; the leak
had already increased so, that two men were continually kept working
the pumps. The crew, with commendable alacrity, cut away the wreck,
which had been swaying to and fro, not only endangering the lives of
those on board, but obstructing every attempt to get the vessel into
any kind of working order. The main-sail had rent from the leash to
the peak of the gaff, and was shaking into shreds. The starboard sheet
of the maintop-sail was gone, and it had torn at the head from the
bolt-rope, flying at every gust like the shreds of a muslin rag in a
hail-storm. Without the government of her helm, she lay in the trough
of the sea more like a log than a manageable mass. Sea after sea broke
over her, carrying every thing before them at each pass. The officers
and crew had now as much as they could do to retain their holds,
without making any effort to save the wreck, while the men at the
pumps could only work at each subsiding of the sea, and that under the
disadvantage of being lashed to the frame. A more perilous position
than that in which the old brig Janson now lay, it was impossible to
"'Tis the worst hurricane I've ever experienced upon the West India
coast, Captain, but it's too furious to last long; and if she don't
go to pieces before morning, I'll give her credit for what I've
always swore against her. She can't keep afloat though, if it hangs
on another hour in this way," said the mate, who, with the Captain
and Manuel, had just made an ineffectual attempt to rig a storm
stay-sail, to try and lay her to under it. For the mate swore by his
knowledge of her qualities, that to put her before it, would be
certain foundering. The gale continued with unabated fury for about
two hours, and stopped about as suddenly as it commenced. The work of
destruction was complete, for from her water-line to the stump of the
remaining spars, the Janson floated a complete wreck.
The captain gave orders to clear away the wreck, and get what
little sail they could patch up, upon her, for the purpose of working
her into the nearest port. The mate was not inclined to further the
order, evidently laboring under the strong presentiment that she was
to be their coffin. He advised that it was fruitless to stick by her
any longer, or hazard an attempt to reach a port with her, in such a
leaky and disabled condition. "If we don't abandon her, Skipper,"
said he, "she'll abandon us. We'd better make signal for the first
vessel, and bid the old coffin good-by."
The captain was more determined in his resolution, and instead of
being influenced by the mate's fears, continued his order, and the
men went to work with a cheerful willingness. None seemed more
anxious to lend a ready hand than Manuel, for in addition to is
duties as steward, he had worked at sail-making, and both worked at
and directed the repairing of the sails. Those acquainted with
maritime affairs can readily appreciate the amount of labor necessary
to provide a mess with the means at hand that we have before
described. And yet he did it to the satisfaction of all, and
manifested a restless anxiety lest he should not make everybody
comfortable, and particularly his little pet boy, Tommy.
"We'll get a good observation at meridian, and then we shall shape
our course for Charleston, South Carolina. We'll be more likely to
reach it than any other southern port," said the captain to his mate.
"That steward, Manuel, is worth his weight in gold. If we have to
abandon the old craft, I'll take him home; the owners respect him just
as much as a white man; his politeness and affability could not but
command such esteem, with a man that a'n't a fool. I never believed in
making equals of negroes, but if Manuel was to be classed with niggers
for all the nigger blood that's in him, seven-tenths of the
inhabitants of the earth would go with him. I never saw such an
attachment between brothers, as exists between him and Tommy. I verily
believe that one couldn't go to sleep without the other. I should
think they were brothers, if the lad wasn't English, and Manuel a
Portuguese. But Manuel is as much an Englishman at heart as the lad,
and has sailed so long under the flag that he seems to have a
reverence for the old jack when he sees the bunting go up. He likes to
tell that story about the Patagonians chasing him. I have overheard
him several times, as much amused in his own recital as if he was
listening to the quaint jokes of an old tar. But he swears the
Patagonians will never catch him on their shores again, for he says he
doesn't believe in making 'drum-head of man-skin,'" said the Captain,
evidently with the intention of affecting the mate's feelings, and
drawing his mind from its dark forebodings.
"Well, Skipper, I pray for a happy deliverance," said the mate,
"but if we make Charleston with her, it'll be a luck that man nor
mermaid ever thought of. I hearn a good deal o' tell about Charleston,
and the Keys. That isn't one of the places our stewards are so 'fraid
of, and where owners don't like to send their ships when they can
find freight in other ports?"
"I expect it is, sir; but I apprehend no such trouble with any of
my crew," answered the Captain promptly. "I sail under the faith of my
nation's honor and prowess, the same as the Americans do under
theirs. We're both respected wherever we go, and if one little State
in the Union violates the responsibility of a great nation like that,
I'm mistaken. Certainly, no nation in Christendom could be found, that
wouldn't open their hearts to a shipwrecked sailor. I have too much
faith in what I have heard of the hospitality of Southerners, to
believe any thing of that kind."
"Talk's all very well, Skipper," said the mate; "but my word for
it, I know'd several ships lying in the Mersey, about three years ago,
bound to Southern ports for cotton. White stewards worth any thing
couldn't be had for love nor money, and the colored ones wouldn't
ship for ports in Slaves States. The Thebis got a colored man, but
the owners had to pay him an enormous advance, and this, too, with
the knowledge of his being locked up the whole time he was in port;
thus having to incur the very useless expense of supplying his place,
or find boarding-house accommodations for the officers and crew. If it
be true, what I've hearn 'em say in the Mersey, the man doesn't only
suffer in his feelings by some sort of confinement they have, but the
owners suffer in pocket. But it may be, Skipper, and I'm inclined to
think with you, our case is certainly deplorable enough to command
pity instead of imprisonment. The government must be found cutting a
dirty figure on the national picture, that would ill-treat sailors who
had suffered as much as our boys have. I would hate to see Manuel shut
up or ill-used. He's as brave a fellow as ever buckled at a handspike
or rode a jib-boom. Last night, while in the worst of the gale, he
volunteered to take Higgins's place, and, mounting the jib-boom, was
several times buried in the sea; yet he held on like a bravo, and
succeeded in cutting away the wreck. I thought he was gone once or
twice, and I own I never saw more peril at sea; but if he hadn't
effected it, the foot of the bowsprit would have strained her open in
the eyes, and we'd all been sharks'-bait before this. The fellow was
nearly exhausted when he came on board; says I, its gone day with you,
old fellow; but he come to in a little while, and went cheerily to
work again," continued Mr. Mate, who though pleased with the Captain's
determination to make the nearest port, seemed to dread that all would
not be right in Charleston—that the bar was a very intricate
one—water very shoal in the ship-channel, and though marked with
three distinctive buoys, numbered according to their range, impossible
to crops without a skilful pilot. The mate plead a preference for
Savannah, asserting, according to his own knowlege, that a ship of any
draft could cross that bar at any time of tide, and that it was a
better port for the transaction of business.
The Janson was headed for Charleston, the queen city of the sunny
South, and, as may be expected from her disabled condition, made very
slow progress on her course. During the gale, her stores had become
damaged, and on the third day before making Charleston light, Manuel
Pereira came aft, and with a sad countenance reported that the last
cask of good water was nearly out; that the others had all been stove
during the gale, and what remained, so brackish that it was unfit for
use. From this time until their arrival at Charleston, they suffered
those tortures of thirst, which only those who have endured them can
CHAPTER IV. THE CHARLESTON POLICE.
MR. DURKEE had said in Congress, that a negro was condemned to be
hung in Charleston for resisting his master's attempts upon the
chastity of his wife; and that such was the sympathy expressed for
the negro, that the sheriffs offer of one thousand dollars could
induce no one present to execute the final mandate. Now, had Mr.
Durkee been better acquainted with that social understanding between
the slave, the pretty wife, and his master, and the acquiescing
pleasure of the slave, who in nineteen cases out of twenty
congratulates himself on the distinguished honor, he would have saved
himself the error of such a charge against the tenor of social life in
Charleston. Or, had he been better acquainted with the character of
her police, he certainly would have saved the talent of Mr. Aiken its
sophomore display in that cumbrous defence. In the first place, Mr.
Durkee would have known that such attempts are so common among the
social events of the day, and so well understood by the slave, that
instead of being resented, they are appreciated to a great extent. We
speak from long experience and knowledge of the connection between a
certain class of slaves and their masters. In the second place, Mr.
Durkee would have known that any man connected with the city
police—save its honorable mayor, to whose character we would pay all
deference—would not for conscience' sake scruple to hang a man for
five dollars. We make no exception for color or crime. A qualification
might be called for, more adapted to our knowledge of it as it has
existed for the last four or five years; but we are informed by those
whose lives and fortunes have been spent for the moral elevation of
the city police, that it was even worse at the time referred to.
The reader may think we are making grave charges. Let us say,
without fear of refutation, they are too well known in the community
that tolerates them. As a mere shadow of what lays beneath the
surface, we would refer to the only independent speech we ever
listened to in Charleston,—except when self-laudation was the
theme,—made by G. R—, Esq., in one of her public halls a few weeks
ago. Mr. R—is a gentleman of moral courage and integrity, and,
without fear or trembling, openly denounced the corruption and
demoralization of the police department. Even the enemies of his
party, knowing the facts, appreciated his candor as a man, while they
denounced the publicity, (for his speech was paraded by the press,)
lest the fair name of the queen city should suffer abroad. A beautiful
farce followed this grave exposition. The board of aldermen, composed
of fourteen men of very general standing, remained mum under the
accusation for a long time. Its object was to show up the character of
a class of officials, whose character and nefarious arts have long
disgraced the city. But in order to make a display of his purity, Mr.
C—, a gentleman entitled to high moral consideration, chose to make
it a personal matter; yet, not content with a private explanation
given by Mr. R—, he made a call through the press. Mr. R—responded
in a proper and courteous manner, acknowledging the due respect to
which Mr. C—'s private character was entitled; thus increasing the
ambition of the board generally, who, with the expectation of Mr.
R—making a like acknowledgment to them as a body, (not excepting
their honorable head,) made a demand in joint-officio. This being duly
signalized through the columns of the Courier and Mercury, Mr. R—met
it with a response worthy of a gentleman. He referred them to the
strongest evidence of his assertions, in the countenance which they
gave to a class of officials too well known to the community for the
honor of its name and the moral foundation of its corporate dignity.
Thus ended a great municipal farce, to prolong which the principal
performers knew would disclose the intriguing scenes of their
secondary performers. The plot of this melo-comic concern was in the
sequel, and turned upon the very grave fact of Mr. C—having some time
previous withdrawn from the honorable board, to preserve some very
delicate considerations for conscience' sake.
How much spiritual consolation Mr. C—realized through the
acknowledgment of Mr. R—, or the honorable board in joint-officio
from the firm admonition, we leave for the secondary consideration of
proper wives and daughters.
But the reader will ask, what has this to do with poor Manuel
Pereira,—or the imprisonment of free citizens of a friendly nation?
We will show him that the complex system of official spoliation, and
the misrepresentations of the police in regard to the influence of
such persons upon the slave population, is a principal feature in its
enforcement. To do this, we deem it essentially necessary to show the
character of such men and the manner in which this law is carried out.
We shall make no charges that we cannot sustain by the evidence of the
whole city proper, and with the knowledge that truth is stronger than
What will the reader say when we tell him that, among the leading
minds of the city—we say leading minds, for we class those who are
considered foremost in the mercantile sphere among them—are three
brothers, unmarried, but with mistresses bought for the purpose,
whose dark skins avert the tongue of scandal;—that, twice, men were
sold, because of the beauty of their wives, to distant traders, that
the brothers might cast off their old mistresses, and appropriate new
ones to an unholy purpose; that these men enjoy their richly furnished
mansions, are known for their sumptuous entertainments, set an example
of mercantile honor and integrity, are flattered among the populace,
receive the attentions of very fine and very virtuous ladies, wield a
potential voice in the city government, and lead in the greatest
development of internal improvements;—that these men even whisper
high-sounding words of morality, and the established custom considers
their example no harm when color is modified.
What will the reader think, when we tell him that there is no
city-marshal in Charleston, but innumerable marshalled men, supported
by an onerous tax upon the people, to quiet the fears of a few. And
what will they think, when we tell them that the man whose name is so
frequently sounded through the columns of the press as the head of
police, and applauded for his activity among thieves, is the
well-known prince-officio of a voluptuous dwelling, where dazzling
licentiousness fills his pockets with the spoils of allurement. This
man has several counterparts, whose acts are no secrets to the public
ear, and who turn their office into a mart of intrigue, and have
enriched themselves upon the bounty of espionage and hush-money, and
now assert the dignity of their purse. It may be asked, why are these
men kept in office?—or have these offices become so disgraced that
honest men will not deign to accept them? No! such is not the case. It
is that moral integrity is not considered in its proper light, and is
not valued as it should be; that these men have a secret influence
which is well known, and are countenanced and retained for the weight
of their control among a certain class; and, strange to say, that the
party ex-officio make these demoralizing things the basis of their
complaints against the "powers that be;" yet such is their feeble
dependence, that no sooner are they in office than we have the
repetition of the same things.
Now, how far his honor is answerable for these things we must leave
the reader to judge. The leading characteristics of his nature
conflict with each other; his moral character is what is considered
sound here; and truly he is entitled to much respect for his
exemplary conduct, whether it be only exerted as an example, or the
heartfelt love of Christian purity. Some people are pious from
impulse, and become affected when purpose serves to make it
profitable. We, however, are not so uncharitable as to charge such
piety to our worthy head of the city government, but rather to a
highly developed organ of the love of office, which has outgrown the
better inclinations of his well-established Christianity.
We must invite the reader's attention to another and still more
glaring evidence of the demoralization of social life in Charleston.
A notorious woman, who has kept the worst kind of a brothel for
years, where harlots of all shades and importations break the
quietude of night with their polluted songs, becomes so bold in her
infamy that she appeals to the gracious considerations of the city
council, (board of aldermen.) How is this? Why, we will tell the
reader:—She remained unmolested in her trade of demoralization,
amassed a fortune which gave her boldness, while her open display was
considered very fine fun for the joking propensities of officials and
gallants. With her wealth she reared a splendid mansion to infamy and
shame, where she, and such as she, whose steps the wise man tells us
"lead down to hell," could sway their victory over the industrious
poor. So public was it, that she openly boasted its purpose and its
adaptation to the ensnaring vices of passion. Yes, this create in
female form had spread ruin and death through the community, and
brought the head of many a brilliant young man to the last stage of
cast-off misery. And yet, so openly tolerated and countenanced by
leading men are these things, that on the 31st of July, 1852, this
mother of crime appeals to the honorable board of aldermen, as
appeared in the "Proceedings of Council" in the Charleston Courier of
that date, in the following manner:
"Laid over until a monied quorum is present.
"Letter from Mrs. G. Pieseitto, informing Council that having
recessed her new brick building in Berresford street at least two
feet, so as to dedicate it to the use of the citizens of Charleston,
if they will pave with flag-stones the front of her lot, respectfully
requests, that if accepted, the work may be done as soon as possible.
Referred to the Aldermen, Ward No. 4." The street is narrow and little
used, except for purposes known to the lanterns, when honest people
should sleep. The information might have been couched with more
modesty, when the notoriety of the woman and the dedication of her
tabernacle of vice was so public. How far the sensitive aldermen of
the fourth ward have proceeded in the delicate mission, or how much
champagne their modest consideration has cost, the public have not yet
been informed. Rumor says every thing is favorable. We are only
drawing from a few principal points, and shall leave the reader to
draw his own inference of the moral complexion of our social being. We
make but one more view, and resume our story.
An office connected with the judiciary, so long held as one of high
responsibility and honorable position, is now held merely as a medium
of miserable speculation and espionage. It is an elective office, the
representative holding for four years. The present incumbent was
elected more through charity than recompense for any amiable
qualities, moral worth, or efficient services to party ends. A more
weak man could not have been drawn from the lowest scale of party
hirelings, though he had abdicated the office once before to save his
name and the respectability of the judiciary. It may be said, he was
elected in pity to speculate on misery; and thus it proved in the case
of MANUEL PEREIRA. This functionary was elected by a large majority.
Could his moral worth have been taken into consideration? We should
think not! For several times have we been pointed to two interesting
girls,—or, if their color was not shaded, would be called young
ladies—promenading the shady side of King street, with their faces
deeply vailed, and informed who was their father. The mother of these
innocent victims had been a mother to their father, had nursed him and
maintained him through his adversity, and had lived the partner of his
life and affections for many years, and had reared to him an
interesting but fatal family. But, no sooner had fortune begun to shed
its smiling rays, than he abandoned the one that had watched over him
for the choice of one who could boast no more than a white skin.
If men who fill high places live by teaching others to gratify
their appetites and pleasures alone, instead of setting a commendable
example for a higher state of existence, by whom can we expect that
justice and moral worth shall be respected?
Connected with the city constabulary are two men whose duty it is
to keep a sharp lookout for all vessels arriving, and see that all
negroes or colored seamen are committed to prison. One is a South
Carolinian, by the name of Dusenberry, and the other an Irishman, by
the name of Dunn. These two men, although their office is despicable
in the eyes of many, assume more authority over a certain class of
persons, who are unacquainted with the laws, than the mayor himself.
The former is a man of dark, heavy features, with an assassin-like
countenance, more inclined to look at you distrustfully than to meet
you with an open gaze. He is rather tall and athletic, but never has
been known to do any thing that would give him credit for bravery.
Several times he has been on the brink of losing his office for
giving too much latitude to his craving for perquisites; yet, by some
unaccountable means, he manages to hold on. The other is a robust son
of the Emerald Isle, with a broad, florid face, low forehead, short
crispy hair very red, and knotted over his forehead. His dress is
usually very slovenly and dirty, his shirt-collar bespotted with
tobacco-juice, and tied with an old striped bandana handkerchief.
This, taken with a very wide mouth, flat nose, vicious eye, and a
countenance as hard as ever came from Tipperary, and a lame leg, which
causes him to limp as he walks, gives our man Dunn the incarnate
appearance of a fit body-grabber. A few words will suffice for his
character. He is known to the official department, of which the
magistrates are a constituent part, as a notorious—l; and his
better-half, who, by-the-way, is what is called a free-trader,
meaning, to save the rascality of a husband, sells liquor by small
portions, to suit the Murphys and the O'Neals. But, as it pleases our
Mr. Dunn, he very often becomes a more than profitable customer, and
may be found snoring out the penalty in some sequestered place, too
frequently for his own character. Between the hours of ten and twelve
in the morning, Dunn, if not too much incapacitated, may be seen
limping his way down Broad street, to watch vessels arriving and
departing, carrying a limp-cane in one hand, and a large covered whip
in the other. We were struck with the appearance of the latter,
because it was similar to those carried in the hands of a rough,
menial class of men in Macon, Georgia, who called themselves marshals,
under a misapplication of the term. Their office was to keep the negro
population "straight," and do the whipping when called upon, at fifty
cents a head. They also did the whipping at the jails, and frequently
made from five to six dollars a day at this alone; for it is not
considered fashionable for a gentleman to whip his own negro. We
noticed the universal carrying of this whip, when we first visited
Macon, some four years ago, and were curious to know its purport,
which was elucidated by a friend; but we have since seen the practical
demonstrations painfully carried out. Those who visited Boston for the
recovery of Crafts and Ellen—whose mode of escape is a romance in
itself—were specimens of these "marshals." How they passed themselves
off for gentlemen, we are at a loss to comprehend.
During the day, the Messrs. Dusenberry and Dunn may be seen at
times watching about the wharves, and again in low grog-shops—then
pimping about the "Dutch beer-shops and corner-shops"—picking up,
here and there, a hopeful-looking nigger, whom they drag off to limbo,
or extort a bribe to let him go. Again, they act as monitors over the
Dutch corner-shops, the keepers of which pay them large sums to save
themselves the heavy license fine and the information docket. When
they are no longer able to pay over hush-money, they find themselves
walked up to the captain's office, to be dealt with according to the
severe penalty made and provided for violating the law which
prohibits the sale of liquor to negroes without an order. The failure
to observe this law is visited with fine and imprisonment,—both
beyond their proportionate deserts, when the law which governs the
sale of liquor to white men is considered. Things are very strictly
regulated by complexions in South Carolina. The master sets the most
dissipated and immoral examples in his own person, and allows his
children not only to exercise their youthful caprices, but to gratify
such feelings as are pernicious to their moral welfare, upon his
slaves. Now, the question is, that knowing the negro's power of
imitation, ought not some allowance to be made for copying the errors
of his master? Yet such is not the case; for the slightest deviation
from the strictest rule of discipline brings condign punishment upon
the head of the offender.
CHAPTER V. MR. GRIMSHAW, THE MAN OF
ON the 22d of March last, about ten o'clock in the morning, a thin,
spare-looking man, dressed in a black cashmeret suit, swallow-tail
coat, loose-cut pants, a straight-breasted vest, with a very
extravagant shirt-collar rolling over upon his coat, with a black
ribbon tied at the throat, stood at the east corner of Broad and
Meeting street, holding a very excited conversation with officers
Dusenberry and Dunn. His visage was long, very dark—much more so
than many of the colored population—with pointed nose and chin,
standing in grim advance to each other; his face narrow, with high
cheek-bones, small, peering eyes, contracted forehead, reclining with
a sunken arch between the perceptive and intellectual organs—or,
perhaps, we might have said, where those organs should have been. His
countenance was full of vacant restlessness; and as he stared at you
through his glasses, with his silvery gray hair hanging about his ears
and neck in shaggy points, rolling a large quid of tobacco in his
mouth, and dangling a little whip in his right hand, you saw the index
to his office. As he raised his voice— which he did by twisting his
mouth on one side, and working his chin to adjust his enormous
quid—the drawling tone in which he spoke gave a picture not easily
"You must pay more attention to the arrivals," said he in a
commanding tone. "The loss of one of these fellers is a serious
drawback to my pocket; and that British consul's using the
infernalest means to destroy our business, that ever was. He's worse
than the vilest abolitionist, because he thinks he's protected by
that flag of their'n. If he don't take care, we'll tar-and-feather
him; and if his government says much about it, she'll larn what and
who South Carolina is. We can turn out a dozen Palmetto regiments
that'd lick any thing John Bull could send here, and a troop o' them
d—d Yankee abolitionists besides. South Carolina's got to show her
hand yet against these fellers, afore they'll respect the honor and
standing of her institutions. They can't send their navy to hurt us.
And it shows that I always predicts right; for while these commercial
fellers about the wharves are telling about digging out the channel,
I've al'ays said they didn't think how much injury they were doing;
for it was our very best protection in war-time. South Carolina can
lick John Bull, single-fisted, any time; but if that pack of
inconsiderate traders on the wharves get their own way, away goes our
protection, and John Bull would bring his big ships in and blow us up.
And these fellows that own ships are getting so bold, that a great
many are beginning to side with Mathew, the consul. Yes, they even
swear that 'tis the officials that stick to the law for the sake of
the fees. Now, if I only knew that the consul was the means of that
Nassau nigger getting away, I'd raise a mob, and teach him a lesson
that South Carolinians ought to have teached him before. It took about
seventeen dollars out of my pocket, and if I was to sue him for it, I
could get no recompense. The next time you allow one to escape, I must
place some other officer over the port," said our man whom, we shall
continue to call Mr. Grimshaw.
"Sure I heard the same consul, when spakin to a gintleman, say that
the law was only an abuse of power, to put money into the pockets of
yourself and a few like ye. And whin meself and Flin put the irons on
a big nigger that the captain was endeavoring to skulk by keeping him
in the forecastle of the ship, he interfered between me and me duty,
and began talking his balderdash about the law. Sure, with his own
way, he'd have every nigger in the city an abolitionist in three
weeks. And sure, Mr. Sheriff, and ye'd think they were babies, if
ye'd see himself talk to them at the jail, and send them up things,
as if they were better than the other criminals, and couldn't live on
the jail fare," said officer Dunn, who continued to pledge himself to
the sheriff that the wharves should not be neglected, nor a hopeful
English darky escape his vigilant eye.
"For my own part, I think they're better off in jail than they
would be on the wharf," continued Grimshaw. "They're a worthless set,
and ha'n't half the character that a majority of our slaves have; and
instead of attending the captain on board, they'd be into Elliot
street, spending their money, getting drunk, and associating with our
worst niggers. And they all know so much about law, that they're
always teaching our bad niggers the beauties of their government,
which makes them more unhappy than they are. Our niggers are like a
shoal of fish—when one becomes diseased, he spreads it among all the
rest; and before you know where you are, they're done gone."
"They're not very profitable customers for us, Sheriff," said
Dusenberry. "We have a deal of watching, and a mighty smart lot of
trouble after we get them fellows; and if we get a perquisite, it
never amounts to much, for I seldom knew one that had money enough to
treat as we took him up. These Britishers a'n't like us; they don't
pay off in port and if the fellows get any thing in jail from the
consul, it's by drib-drabs, that a'n't no good, for it all goes for
liquor. And them criminals make a dead haul upon a black steward, as
soon as he is locked up. But if these sympathizing fools follow up
their bugbears about the treatment at the jail, they'll get things so
that our business won't be worth a dollar. For my own part, I'm not so
much beholdin', for I've made myself comfortable within the last few
years, but I want my son to succeed me in the office. But if this
consul of their'n keeps up his objections, appeals, and his protests
in this way, and finds such men as his honor the district-attorney to
second him with his nonsense and his notions, folks of our business
might as well move north of Mason and Dixon's."
"I can wake him up to a point," said Grimshaw, "that that abolition
consul ha'n't learnt before; and if he'd stuck his old petition in
Charles Sumner's breeches pocket instead of sending it to our
legislature, he might have saved his old-womanish ideas from the
showing' up that Myzeck gave 'em. It takes Myzeck to show these
blue-skin Yankees how to toe the mark when they come to South
Carolina. If South Carolina should secede, I'd say give us Myzeck and
Commander to lead our war, and we'd be as sure to whip 'em as we won
the Mexican war for the Federal Government. There is three things
about an Englishman, Dusenberry, which you may mark for facts. He is
self-conceited, and don't want to be advised;—he thinks there is no
law like the law of England, and that the old union-jack is a
pass-book of nations;—and he thinks everybody's bound to obey his
notions of humanity and the dictates of his positive opinions. But
what's worse than all, they've never seen the sovereignty of South
Carolina carried out, and according to Consul Mathew's silly notions,
they think we could be licked by a gun-boat.
"It's no use arguing this thing, you must keep a keen eye upon the
English niggers; and when a man pretends to dispute the right, tell
him its 'contrary to law,' and to look at the statute-books; tell him
it costs more to keep them than they're all worth; and if they say the
law was never intended for foreign citizens, tell 'em its 'contrary to
law.' South Carolina's not bound to obey the voice of the General
Government, and what does she care for the federal courts? We'll
pursue a course according to the law; and any thing that is contrary
to it we will take care of for the better protection of our
institutions. Now, don't let one pass, upon the peril of your office,"
continued Mr. Grimshaw.
"It's not a button I'd care for the office," said Dunn. "Sure it's
yerself be's makin' all the fees, and ourselves getting the paltry
dollar; and yerself gives us as much trouble to get that as we'd be
earning two dollars at magistrate Jiles' beyant. Sure! himself's
liberal and doesn't be afraid to give us a division of the fees when
the business is good. And sure ye make yer ten times the fees on an
English nigger, and never gives us beyant the dollar," continued he,
moving off in high dudgeon, and swearing a stream of oaths that made
the very blood chill. There was a covert meaning about Mr. Grimshaw's
language that was not at all satisfactory to Mr. Dunn's Irish;
especially when he knew Mr. Grimshaw's insincerity so well, and that,
instead of being liberal, he pocketed a large amount of the fees, to
the very conscientious benefit of his own dear self. The reader must
remember that in Charleston, South Carolina, there is a large majority
of men who care little for law, less for justice, and nothing for
Christianity. Without compunction of conscience, and with an inherited
passion to set forward the all-absorbing greatness of South Carolina,
these men act as a check upon the better-disposed citizens. The more
lamentable part is, that forming a large portion of that species of
beings known as bar-room politicians, they actually control the
elections in the city; and thus we may account for the character of
the incumbents of office, and for the tenacity with which those
oppressive laws are adhered to.
This almost incompatible conversation between a high sheriff and
two menial constables, may to many seem inconsistent with the dignity
that should be observed between such functionaries. Nevertheless, all
restraint is not only annihilated by consent, but so prominently is
this carried out, and so well understood by that respectable class of
citizens whose interests and feelings are for maintaining a good name
for the city and promoting its moral integrity, that in all our
conversation with them, we never heard one speak well of those
functionaries or the manner in which the police regulations of the
city were carried out.
CHAPTER VI. THE JANSON IN THE
AFTER several days' suffering for want of wafer and fatigue of
labor, several of the crew were reported upon the sick-list. Manuel,
who had borne his part nobly and cheerfully, was among the number;
and his loss was more severely felt, having done a double duty, and
succeeded, as far as the means were at hand, in making everybody on
board comfortable. He had attended upon those who gave up first, like
a good nurse, ready at the call, whether night or day, and with a
readiness that seemed pleasure to him. From the captain to the little
boy Tommy, his loss was felt with regret; and the latter would often
go into the forecastle where he lay, lean over him with a child-like
simplicity, and smooth his forehead with his little hand. "Manuel! I
wish poor Manuel was well!" he would say, and again he would lay his
little hand on his head and smooth his hair. He would whisper
encouragement in his ear; and having learned a smattering of
Portuguese, would tell him how soon they would be in port, and what
pleasant times they would have together.
On the 21st they descried land, which proved to be Stono, about
twenty-five miles south of Charleston. Tommy announced the news to
Manuel, which seemed to cheer him up. His sickness was evidently
caused by fatigue, and his recovery depended more upon rest and
nourishment than medical treatment. That night at ten o'clock the
wind came strong north-west, and drove the Janson some distance to
sea again; and it was not until the morning of the 23d that she made
Charleston light, and succeeded in working up to the bar. Signal was
made for a pilot, and soon, a very fine cutter-looking boat,
"Palmetto, No. 4," was seen shooting out over the bar in the main
channel. Manuel, somewhat recovered, had a few minutes before been
assisted on deck, and through the captain's orders was laid upon a
mattrass, stretched on the starboard side of the companion-way. By
his side sat little Tommy, serving him with some nourishment.
The boat was soon alongside, and the pilot, a middle-sized man,
well dressed, with a frank, open countenance, rather florid and
sun-stained, and a profusion of gold chain and seal dangling from his
fob, came on board. After saluting the captain, he surveyed the
weather-beaten condition of the craft, made several inquiries in
regard to her working, and then said in a sang-froid manner, "Well! I
reckon you've seen some knocking, anyhow." Then turning again and
giving some orders in regard, to getting more way upon her, he viewed
the laborious working at the pumps, and walking about midships on the
larboard side, took a sharp survey of her waist. "Don't she leak
around her topsides, Captain?" said he.
Receiving an answer in the affirmative, he gave a glance aloft, and
then at the sky to windward; asked how long he had worked her in that
condition, and where he took the gale. "It's a wonder she hadn't
swamped ye before now. I'd a' beached her at the first point, if she'd
bin mine; I'd never stand at slapping an old craft like this on. She
reminds me of one o' these down-east sugar-box crafts what trade to
Cuba," he continued. Then walking across the main-hatch to the
starboard side, he approached the men who were pumping, and after
inquiring about freeing her, suddenly caught a glimpse of Manuel, as
he lay upon the mattrass with his face uncovered.
"Heavens! What! have you got the yellow fever on board at this
season of the year?" he inquired of the mate, who had just come aft
to inquire about getting some water from the pilot-boat.
"No, we've had every thing else but the yellow fever; one might as
well bin on a raft as such an infernal unlucky old tub as she is.
It's the steward, sir—he's got a touch of a fever; but he'll soon be
over it. He only wants rest, poor fellow! He's bin a bully at work
ever since the first gale. He'll mend before he gets to town," was
"Ah! then you've had a double dose of it. It gives a fellow bringer
off them capes once in a while.—The steward's a nigger, isn't he?"
inquired the pilot.
"Nigger!—not he," said the mate. "He's a Portuguese mixed breed; a
kind o' sun-scorched subject, like a good many of you Southerners. A
nigger's mother never had him, you may bet your 'davie on that.
There's as much white blood in his jacket as anybody's got, only them
Portuguese are dark-lookin' fellers. He's no fool—his name's Manuel,
a right clever feller, and the owners think as much of him as they do
of the Skipper."
"Gammon," said the pilot to himself. "What would he think if we
were to show him some specimens of our white niggers in Charleston?"
And turning, he walked past Manuel with a suspicious look, and took a
position near the man at the wheel, where he remained for some time
fingering the seals of his watch-chain. The Captain had gone into the
cabin a few minutes before, and coming on deck again, walked toward
the place where the pilot stood, and took a seat upon an old
"Cap," said the pilot, "ye'll have trouble with that nigger of
your'n when ye git to town. If you want to save yerself and the
owners a d—d site o' bother and expense, y' better keep him close
when y' haul in; and ship him off to New York the first chance. I've
seen into the mill, Cap, and y' better take a friend's advice."
"Nigger!" said the Captain indignantly, "what do they call niggers
in Charleston? My steward's no more a nigger than you are!"
"What, sir?" returned the pilot in a perfect rage. "Do you know the
insulting nature of your language? Sir, if the law did not subject
me, I would leave your vessel instantly, and hold you personally
responsible as soon as you landed, sir."
The Captain, unconscious of the tenacity with which the chivalrous
blood of South Carolina held language that mooted a comparison of
colors, considered his answer; but could see nothing offensive in it.
"You asked me a question, and I gave you a proper answer. If you
consider such a man as my steward—poor fellow—a nigger, in your
country, I'm glad that you are blessed with so many good men."
"We polishes our language, Captain, when we speak of niggers in
South Carolina," said the pilot. "A South Carolinian, sir, is a
gentleman all over the world. It don't want nothin' further than the
name of his State to insure him respect. And when foreign folks and
Northerners from them abolition States bring free niggers into South
Carolina, and then go to comparing them to white folks, they better
be mighty careful how they stir about. South Carolina ought to've
seceded last year, when she talked about it, and sent every Yankee
home to make shoe-pegs. We wouldn't bin insulted then, as we are now.
I'll tell you what it is, Cap," said he, rather cooling off, "if our
folks was only as spunky as they were in eighteen hundred and
thirty-two times, them fellers what come here to feed upon South
Carolina, put the devil in the heads of the niggers, and then go home
again, would see stars and feel bullet-holes."
The Captain listened to the pilot's original South Carolina talk,
or, as the pilot himself had called it, polished language, without
exhibiting any signs of fear and trembling at its sublime dignity;
yet, finding that the pilot had misconstrued the tenor of his answer,
said, "You must have mistaken the intention of my reply, sir; and the
different manner in which you appropriate its import may be attributed
to a custom among yourselves, which makes language offensive that has
no offensive meaning. We never carry pistols or any such playthings in
my country. We have a moral security for our lives, and never look
upon death as so great an enemy that we must carry deadly weapons to
defend it. In fact, pilot," he said in a joking manner, "they're
rather cumbersome little bits for a feller's pocket: I'd rather carry
my supper and breakfast in my pocket. Now tell us, who do you call
niggers in South Carolina?"
"Why, Captain, we call all what a'n't white folks. Our folks can
tell 'em right smart. They can't shirk out if it's only marked by the
seventeenth generation. You can always tell 'em by the way they
look—they can't look you in the face, if they are ever so white. The
law snaps 'em up once in a while, and then, if they're ever so white,
it makes 'em prove it. I've known several cases where the doubt was in
favor of the nigger, but he couldn't prove it, and had to stand aside
among the darkies. Dogs take my skin, Cap, if theren't a Jew feller in
town as white as anybody, and his father's a doctor. It got whispered
round that he was a nigger, and the boarders where he stayed raised a
fuss about it. The nigger's father had two of them sued for slander,
but they proved the nigger by a quirk of law that'd make a volume
bigger than Blackstone; and instead of the old Jew getting
satisfaction, the judges, as a matter of policy, granted him time to
procure further proof to show that his son wasn't a nigger. It was a
very well-considered insinuation of the judges, but the young-un
stands about A 1 with a prime nigger-feller."
"I should like to have 'em try me, to see whether I was a nigger or
a white man. It must be a funny law, 'nigger or no nigger.' If a
feller's skin won't save him, what the devil will?" said the Captain.
"Why, show your mother and her generation were white, to be sure!
It's easy enough done, and our judges are all very larned in such
things—can tell in the twinkling of an eye," said the pilot.
"I should think the distinguishing points would be to show that
their mother had nothing to do with a nigger. Do your judges make
this a particular branch of jurisprudence? If they do, I'd like to
know what they took for their text-books. If the intermixture is as
complex as what you say, I should think some of the judges would be
afraid of passing verdict upon their own kin."
"Not a whit!" said the pilot; "they know enough for that."
"Then you admit there's a chance. It must be an amusing affair,
'pon my soul! when a nice little female has to draw aside her vail
before a court of very dignified judges, for the purpose of having her
pedigree examined," said the Captain.
"Oh! the devil, Cap; your getting all astray—a woman nigger never
has the advantage of the law. They always go with the niggers, ah!
"But suppose they're related to some of your big-bugs. What then?
Are your authorities so wise and generous that they make allowance
for these things," asked the Captain, innocently.
"Oh! poh! there you're again: you must live in Charleston a year or
two, but you'll have to be careful at first that you don't fall in
love with some of our bright gals, and think they're white, before
you know it. It doesn't matter seven coppers who they're got by,
there's no distinction among niggers in Charleston. I'll put you
through some of the bright houses when we get up, and show you some
scions of our aristocracy, that are the very worst cases. It's a
fact, Cap, these little shoots of the aristocracy invariably make bad
niggers. If a fellow wants a real prime, likely nigger wench, he must
get the pure African blood. As they say themselves, 'Wherever
Buckra-man bin, make bad nigger.'"
"Well, Pilot, I think we've had enough about mixed niggers for the
present. Tell me! do you really think they'll give me trouble with my
steward? He certainly is not a black man, and a better fellow never
lived," inquired the Captain earnestly.
"Nothing else, Cap," said the pilot. "It's a hard law, I tell you,
and if our merchants and business men had a say in it, 'twouldn't
last long; ye can't pass him off for a white man nohow, for the
thing's 'contrary to law,' and pays so well that them contemptible
land-sharks of officers make all the fuss about it, and never let one
pass. Just take the infernal fees off, and nobody'd trouble themselves
about the stewards. It all goes into old Grimshaw's pocket, and he'd
skin a bolt-rope for the grease, and sell the steward if he could get
a chance. He has sold a much nearer relation. I'm down upon the law,
you'll see, Cap, for I know it plays the dickens with our business,
and is a curse to the commerce of the port. Folks what a'n't
acquainted with shipping troubles, and a shipowner's interests, think
such things are very small affairs. But it's the name that affects us,
and when an owner stands at every item in the disbursements, and a
heavy bill for keeping his steward, and another for filling his place,
or boarding-house accommodations, and then be deprived of his
services, he makes a wry face, and either begins to think about
another port, or making the rate of freight in proportion to the
annoyance. It has an effect that we feel, but don't say much about.
I'm a secessionist, but I don't believe in running mad after politics,
and letting our commercial interests suffer."
"But what if I prove my steward a'n't a colored man?" said the
Captain; "they surely won't give me any trouble then. It would pain
my feelings very much to see Manuel locked up in a cell for no crime;
and then to be deprived of his services, is more than I can stand. If
I'd known it before, I'd suffered the torments of thirst, and put for
a port farther north."
"It'll cost more than it's worth," said the pilot. "Take my plain
advice, Cap; never try that; our lawyers are lusty fellows upon fees;
and the feller'd rot in that old nuisance of a jail afore you'd get
him out. The process is so slow and entangled, nobody'd know how to
bring the case, and ev'ry lawyer'd have an opinion of his own. But the
worst of all is that it's so unpopular, you can't get a lawyer worth
seven cents to undertake it. It would be as dangerous as an attempt to
extricate a martyr from the burning flames. Public opinion in
Charleston is controlled by politicians; and an attempt to move in a
thing so unpopular would be like a man attempting to speak, with
pistols and swords pointed to his head."
"Then it's folly to ask justice in your city, is it?" asked the
Captain. "But your people are generous, a'n't they? and treat
strangers with a courtesy that marks the character of every
"Yes!—but society in South Carolina has nothing to do with the
law; our laws are gloriously ancient. I wish, Cap, I could only open
your ideas to the way our folks manage their own affairs. I'm opposed
to this law that imprisons stewards, because it affects commerce, but
then our other laws are tip-top. It was the law that our legislature
made to stop free niggers from coming from the abolition States to
destroy the affections of our slaves. Some say, the construction
given to it and applied to stewards of foreign vessels a'n't legal,
and wasn't intended; but now it's controlled by popular will,—the
stewards a'n't legislators, and the judges know it wouldn't be
popular, and there's nobody dare meddle with it, for fear he may be
called an abolitionist. You better take my advice, Cap: ship the
nigger, and save yourself and Consul Mathew the trouble of another
fuss," continued the pilot.
"That I'll never do! I've made up my mind to try it, and won't be
driven out of a port because the people stand in fear of a harmless
man. If they have any souls in them, they'll regard with favor a poor
sailor driven into their port in distress. I've sailed nearly all over
the world, and I never got among a people yet that wouldn't treat a
shipwrecked sailor with humanity. Gracious God! I've known savages to
be kind to poor shipwrecked sailors, and to share their food with
them. I can't, pilot, imagine a civilization so degraded, nor a public
so lost to common humanity, as to ill treat a man in distress. We've
said enough about it for the present. I'll appeal to Mr. Grimshaw's
feelings, when I get to the city; and I know, if he's a man, he'll let
Manuel stay on board, if I pledge my honor that he won't leave the
"Humph!—If you knew him as well as I do, you'd save your own
feelings. His sympathies don't run that way," said the pilot.
The Janson had now crossed the bar, and was fast approaching Fort
Sumpter. Manuel had overheard enough of the conversation to awaken
fears for his own safety. Arising from the mattrass, in a manner
indicating his feeble condition, he called Tommy, and walking
forward, leaned over the rail near the fore-rigging, and inquired
what the Captain and the pilot were talking about. Observing his
fears, the little fellow endeavoured to quiet him by telling him they
were talking about bad sailors.
"I think it is me they are talking about. If they sell me for slave
in Charleston, I'll kill myself before a week," said he in his broken
"What's that you say, Manuel?" inquired the first mate as he came
along, clearing up the decks with the men.
"Pilot tell Captain they sell me for slave in South Carolina. I'd
jump overboard 'fore I suffer him," said he.
"Oh, poh! don't be a fool; you a'n't among Patagonians, Manuel; you
won't have to give 'em leg for your life. They dont sell foreigners
and outlandish men like you for slaves in Carolina—it's only black
folks what can't clothe the'r words in plain English. Yer
copper-colored hide wouldn't be worth a sixpence to a
nigger-trader—not even to old Norman Gadsden, that I've heard 'em
tell so much about in the Liverpool docks. He's a regular Jonathan
Wild in nigger-dealing; his name's like a fiery dragon among the
niggers all over the South; and I hearn our skipper say once when I
sailed in a liner, that niggers in Charleston were so 'fraid of him
they'd run, like young scorpions away from an old he-devil, when they
saw him coming. He sells white niggers, as they call 'em, and black
niggers—any thing that comes in his way, in the shape of saleable
folks. But he won't acknowledge the corn when he goes away from home,
and swears there's two Norman Gadsdens in Charleston; that he a'n't
the one! When a man's ashamed of his name abroad, his trade must be
very bad at home, or I'm no sailor," said the mate.
"Ah, my boys!" said the pilot in a quizzical manner, as he came to
where several of the men were getting the larboard anchor ready to
let go,—"if old Norman Gadsden gets hold of you, you're a gone
sucker. A man what's got a bad nigger has only got to say Old Gadsden
to him, and it's equal to fifty paddles. The mode of punishment most
modern, and adopted in all the workhouses and places of punishment in
South Carolina, is with the paddle, a wooden instrument in, the shape
of a baker's peel; with a blade from three to five inches wide, and
from eight to ten long. This is laid on the posteriors—generally by
constables or officers connected with the police. Holes are frequently
bored in the blade, which gives the application a sort of percussive
effect; The pain is much more acute than with the cowhide; and several
instances are known where a master ordered an amount of strokes beyond
the endurance of the slave, and it proved fatal. at the workhouse.
They tell a pretty good story about the old fellow. I don't know if
it's true, but the old fellow's rich now, and he does just what he
pleases. It was that somebody found one of those little occasional
droppings of the aristocracy, very well known among the secrets of the
chivalry, and called foundlings, nicely fixed up in a basket.—It's
among the secrets though, and mustn't be told abroad.—The finders
labelled it, 'Please sell to the highest bidder,' and left it at his
door. There was a fund of ominous meaning in the label; but Norman
very coolly took the little helpless pledge under his charge, and,
with the good nursing of old Bina, made him tell to the tune of two
hundred and thirty, cash, 'fore he was two year old. He went by the
name of Thomas Norman, the Christian division of his foster-father's,
according to custom. The old fellow laughs at the joke, as he calls
it, and tells 'em, when they stick it to him, they don't understand
the practice of making money. You must keep a bright look out for him,
Manuel—you'll know him by the niggers running when they see him
The pilot now returned to the quarter, and commenced dilating upon
the beauty of Charleston harbor and its tributaries, the Astley and
Cooper Rivers—then upon the prospects of fortifications to beat the
United States in the event of South Carolina's seceding and raising
an independent sovereignty, composed of her best blood. The Captain
listened to his unsolicited and uninteresting exposition of South
Carolina's prowess in silence, now and then looking up at the pilot
and nodding assent. He saw that the pilot was intent upon astonishing
him with his wonderful advancement in the theory of government, and
the important position of South Carolina. Again he looked dumbfounded,
as much as to acknowledge the pilot's profundity, and exclaimed,
"Well! South Carolina must be a devil of a State: every thing seems
captivated with its greatness: I'd like to live in Carolina if I
didn't get licked."
"By scissors! that you would, Captain; you ha'n't an idee what a
mighty site our people can do if they're a mind to! All South
Carolina wants is her constitutional rights, which her great men
fought for in the Revolution. We want the freedom to protect our own
rights and institutions—not to be insulted and robbed by the General
Government and the abolitionists."
"Do you practice as a people upon the same principles that you ask
of the General Government!" inquired the Captain.
"Certainly, Captain, as far as it was intended for the judicious
good of all white citizens!"
"Then you claim a right for the whites, but withhold the right when
it touches on the dark side. You'll have to lick the Federal
Government, as you call it, for they won't cut the constitution up to
suit your notions of black and white." * * *
"That's just the thing, Cap, and we can do it just as easy as we
now protect our own laws, and exterminate the niggers what attempt
insurrections. South Carolina sets an example, sir, of honor and
bravery that can't be beat. Why, just look a-yonder, Cap: the Federal
Government owns this 'er Fort Sumpter, and they insulted us by
building it right in our teeth, so that they could command the harbor,
block out our commerce, and collect the duties down here. But, Cap,
this don't scare South Carolina nohow. We can show 'em two figures in
war tactics that'd blow 'em to thunder. Ye see yonder!" said he, with
an earnest look of satisfaction, pointing to the south, "That's Morris
Island. We'd take Fort Moultrie for a breakfast spell, and then we'd
put it to 'em hot and strong from both sides, until they'd surrender
Fort Sumpter. They couldn't stand it from both sides. Yes, sir, they
shut Fort Moultrie against us, and wouldn't let us have it to
celebrate independence in. There's a smouldering flame in South
Carolina that'll burst forth one of these days in a way that must
teach the Federal Government some astonishing and exciting lessons.
There's old Castle Pinckney, sir; we could keep it for a reserve, and
with Generals Quattlebum and Commander, from Georgetown and Santee
Swamp, we could raise an army of Palmetto regiments that would whip
the Federal Government troop and gun-boat."
We have given this singular conversation of the pilot with a
strange Captain, which at the time was taken as an isolated case of
gasconade peculiar to the man; but which the Captain afterward found
to harmonize in sentiment, feeling, and expression with the general
character of the people—the only exceptions being the colored
CHAPTER VII. ARRIVAL OF THE JANSON.
ABOUT five o'clock on the evening of the 23d, the Janson passed
Castle Pinckney, ran up to the wharf with the flood-tide, let go her
anchor, and commenced warping into the dock. Her condition attracted
sundry persons to the end of the wharf, who viewed her with a sort of
commiseration that might have been taken for sincere feeling. The
boarding officer had received her papers, and reported her character
and condition, which had aroused a feeling of speculative curiosity,
that was already beginning to spread among ship-carpenters and
Conspicuous among those gathered on the wharf was a diminutive
little dandy, with an olive-colored frock-coat, black pants,
embroidered vest, and an enormous shirt-collar that endangered his
ears. This was secured around the neck with a fancy neckcloth, very
tastefully set off with a diamond pin, He was very slender, with a
narrow, feminine face, round popeyes—requiring the application of a
pocket-glass every few minutes—and very fair complexion, with little
positive expression of character in his features. His nose was
pointed; his chin, projected and covered with innumerable little
pimples, gave an irregular and mastiff-shaped mouth a peculiar
expression. He wore a very highly-polished and high-heeled pair of
boots, and a broad-brimmed, silk-smooth hat. He seemed very anxious
to display the beauty of two diamond rings that glittered upon his
delicate little fingers, made more conspicuous by the wristbands of
his shirt. Standing in a very conspicuous place upon the capsill of
the wharf, he would rub his hands, then running from one part of the
wharf to another, ordering sundry niggers about making fast the
lines, kicking one, and slapping another, as he stooped, with his
little hand. All paid respect to him. The Captain viewed him with a
smile of curiosity, as much as to say, "What important specimen of a
miss in breeches is that?" But when the little fellow spoke, the
secret was told. He gathered the inflections of his voice, as if he
were rolling them over the little end of a thunderbolt in his mouth.
As the vessel touched the wharf, he sprang to the corner and cried
out at the top of his voice, "Yer' welcome to Charleston, Captain
Thompson! Where did you get that knocking?—where are ye bound
for?—how many days are you out?—how long has she leaked in that
way?" and a strain of such questions, which it would be impossible to
trace, such was the rapidity with which he put them. The Captain
answered him in accordance with the circumstances; and supposing him
clothed with authority, inquired where he should find some hands to
work his pumps, in order to relieve his men. "By-Je-w-hu! Captain,
you must a' had a piping time, old feller. Oh! yes, you want help to
work your pumps. Get niggers, Captain, there's lots on 'em about
here. They're as thick as grasshoppers in a cotton-patch."
"Yes, but I want 'em now, my men are worn out; I must get some
Irishmen, if I can't get others at once," said the Captain, viewing
his man again from head to foot.
"Oh! don't employ Paddies, Captain; 'ta'n't popular; they don't
belong to the secession party; Charleston's overrun with them and the
Dutch! Why, she won't hurt to lay till to-morrow morning, and there'll
be lots o' niggers down; they can't be out after bell-ring without a
pass, and its difficult to find their masters after dark. Haul her up
'till she grounds, and she won't leak when the tide leaves her. We can
go to the theatre and have a right good supper after, at Baker's or
the St. Charles's. It's the way our folks live. We live to enjoy
ourselves in South Carolina. Let the old wreck go to-night." The
little fellow seemed so extremely polite, and so anxious to "do the
genteel attention," that the Captain entirely forgot the tenor of his
conversation with the pilot, while his feelings changed with the
prospect of such respectful attention; and yet he seemed at a loss how
to analyze the peculiar character of his little, pedantic friend.
"You must not think me intrusive, Captain," said he, pulling out
his segar-pouch and presenting it with at Chesterfieldian politeness.
"It's a pleasure we Carolinians take in being hospitable and
attentive to strangers. My name, sir, is—! My niggers call me Master
George. Yes, sir! our family!—you have heard of my father
probably—he belongs to one of the best stocks in Carolina—owns a
large interest in this wharf, and is an extensive cotton-broker,
factors, we call them here—and he owns a large plantation of niggers
on Pee-Dee; you must visit our plantation. Captain, certain! before
you leave the city. But you mustn't pay much attention to the gossip
you'll hear about the city. I pledge you my honor, sir, it don't
amount to any thing, nor has it any prominent place in our society."
"Really, sir," replied the Captain, "I shall do myself the honor to
accept of your hospitable kindness, and hope it may be my good
fortune to reciprocate at some future day. I'm only too sorry that
our wrecked condition affords me no opportunity to invite you to my
table to-night; but the circumstances which you see everywhere
presenting themselves are my best apology."
"Oh, dear me! don't mention it, I pray, Captain. Just imagine
yourself perfectly at home. We will show you what Southern
hospitality is. We don't go upon the Yankee system of Mr. So-and-so
and What-do-ye-call-'um. Our feelings are in keeping with our State
pride, which, with our extreme sensibility of honor, forbids the
countenance of meanness. South Carolinians, sir, are at the very top
of the social ladder—awake to every high-minded consideration of
justice and right. We are not moved by those morbid excitements and
notions that so often lead people away at the North. Make no
unnecessary preparation, Captain, and I will do myself the honor to
call upon you in an hour." Thus saying, he shook his hand and left.
The pilot had delivered his charge safe, and was about to, bid the
Captain good-by for the night. But in order to do the thing in
accordance with an English custom, that appears to have lost none of
its zest in South Carolina, he was invited into the Captain's cabin
to take a little prime old Jamaica. Manuel, who had somewhat
recovered, brought out the case from a private locker, and setting it
before them, they filled up, touched glasses, and drank the usual
standing toast to South Carolina. "Pilot," said the Captain, "who is
my polite friend—he seems a right clever little fellow?"
"Well, Captain, he's little, but he's first-rate blood, and a
genuine sprig of the chivalry. He's a devil of a secessionist, sir.
If ye were to hear that fellow make a stump speech on States' rights,
you'd think him a Samson on Government. His father is the head of a
good mercantile house here; 'twouldn't be a bad idea to consign to
him. But I must bid you good-night, Captain; I'll call and see you
to-morrow," said the pilot, leaving for his home.
The Janson was hauled well up the dock, and grounded on the
ebb-tide. Manuel prepared supper for the officers and crew, while the
Captain awaited the return of his new acquaintance. "Captain," said
Manuel, "I should like to go ashore to-night and take a walk, for my
bones are sore, and I'm full of pains. I think it will do me good. You
don't think anybody will trouble me, if I walk peaceably along?"
"Nobody would trouble you if they knew you, Manuel; but I am afraid
they will mistake you in the night. You had better keep ship until
morning; take a good rest, and to-morrow will be a fine day—you can
then take some exercise."
Manuel looked at the Captain as if he read something doubtful in
his countenance, and turned away with a pitiful look of
dissatisfaction. It seems that through his imperfect knowledge of
English, he had misconceived the position of the celebrated Thomas
Norman Gadsden, whom he imagined to be something like an infernal
machine, made and provided by the good citizens of Charleston to catch
bad niggers. "Nora-ma Gazine no catch-e me, Cap-i-tan, if me go
ashore, 'case me no make trouble in no part de world where me sail,
Oh! no, Cap-i-tan, Manuel know how to mine dis bisness," said he
returning again to the Captain.
"Yes, yes, Manuel, but we can't let the crew go ashore 'till we get
through the custom-house; you must content yourself to-night, and in
the morning 'twill be all right. I'm afraid you'll get sick again-the
night-air is very bad in this climate; old Gadsden won't trouble you.
He don't walk about at night."
Manuel walked forward, not very well satisfied with the manner in
which the Captain put him off. The latter felt the necessity of
caution, fearing he might infringe upon some of the municipal
regulations that the pilot had given him an account of, which
accounted for his refusal Manuel sat upon the main-hatch fondling
Tommy, and telling him what good things they would have in the
morning for breakfast, and how happy they ought to be that they were
not lost during the gales, little thinking that he was to be the
victim of a merciless law, which would confine him within the iron
grates of a prison before the breakfast hour in the morning. "I like
Charleston, Tommy," said Manuel; "it looks like one of our old
English towns, and the houses have such pretty gardens, and the
people they say are all so rich and live so fine. Tommy, we'll have a
long walk and look all around it, so that we can tell the folks when
we get home. The ship, owes me eleven pounds, and I mean to take some
good things home for presents, to show what they have in South
"You better buy a young nigger, and take him home as a curiosity to
show among the Highlands. You can buy a young Sambo for any price,
just the same as you would a leg of mutton at the butcher's; put him
in a band-box, lug him across, and you'll make a fortune in the North
country. But I'd rather buy a young wife, for the young niggers are
more roguish than a lot o' snakes, and al'a's eat their heads off
afore they're big enough to toddle. They sell gals here for niggers
whiter than you are, Manuel; they sell 'em at auction, and then they
sell corn to feed 'em on. Carolina's a great region of supersensual
sensibility; they give you a wife of any color or beauty, and don't
charge you much for her, providing you're the right stripe. What a
funny thing it would be to show the Glasgow folks a bright specimen of
a bought wife from the renowned State of South Carolina, with genuine
aristocratic blood in her veins; yes, a pure descendant of the
Huguenots!" said the mate, who was leaning over the rail where Manuel
and Tommy were seated, smoking a segar and viewing the beautiful
scenery around the harbor.
"Ah!" said Manuel, "when I get a wife and live on shore, I don't
want to buy one-it might be a dangerous bargain. Might buy the body,
but not the soul-that's God's."
CHAPTER VIII. A NEW DISH OF
ABOUT a quarter past eight o'clock in the evening, Master George,
as he called himself, the little pedantic man, came skipping down the
wharf. As soon as he approached the brig, he cried out at the top of
his voice, "Captain! Captain!!"
The Captain stepped to the gangway, and the little fellow, who had
stood crossing and working his fingers, reached out his hand to
assist him ashore. This done, he took the Captain's arm, and
commencing a discourse upon the wonderful things and people of South
Carolina they wended their way to the Charleston Theatre. The company
then performing was a small affair, and the building itself perfectly
filthy, and filled with an obnoxious stench. The play was a little
farce, which the Captain had seen to much perfection in his own
country, and which required some effort of mind to sit out its present
mutilation. Yet, so highly pleased was Master George, that he kept up
a succession of applauses at every grimace made by the comedian. Glad
when the first piece was over, the Captain made a motion to adjourn to
the first good bar-room and have a punch. It was agreed, upon the
condition that the little man should "do the honor," and that they
should return and see the next piece out. The Captain, of course,
yielded to the rejoinder, though it was inflicting a severe penalty
upon his feelings. There was another piece to come yet, which the
little fellow's appetite was as ready to devour as the first. The
Captain, seeing this, could not refrain expressing his surprise. This
was taken as a charge against his taste, and George immediately
commenced a discussion upon the subject of the piece, the intention of
the author, and the merits of the principal performers, whose proper
adaptation he admired. The Captain knew his subject, and instead of
contending in detail, advised him to take a peep into the theatres of
New York and London. Not to be undone, for he was like all little men,
who insist upon the profoundness of their own opinions, he asserted
that it could be only the different views which individuals
entertained of delineating character, and that the Charlestonians were
proverbially correct in their judgment of music and dramatic
"I pity the judgment that would award merit to such a performance
as that," said the Captain.
"How strange, that you Englishmen and Scotchmen always find fault
with every thing we Americans do. Your writers manifest it in their
books upon us and the people seem of necessity to copy from them, and
echo their grumblings," rejoined Master George.
"You judge from the common saying, instead of a knowledge front
observation, I fear," said the Captain.
"Lord, sir! you must not judge me by that rule. Carolinians, sir,
always appreciate intelligent strangers, for they always exert a
healthy influence, and never meddle with our institutions; so you see
it wouldn't do to follow the pestilent notions of petty scribblers,
lest we should form wrong opinions."
"But tell me," said the Captain, "do you consider yourselves
Americans in South Carolina?—the pilot must have led me astray."
"Americans! yes, indeed, the true blood at that, and no man of
tip-top judgment ever questioned it. But you must mark the
difference; we ha'n't Yankees, nor we don't believe in their infernal
humbuggery about abolition. If it wasn't for South Carolina and
Georgia, the New-Englanders would starve for want of our cotton and
rice. It's the great staple what keeps the country together; and as
much as they talk about it, just take that away, and what would the
United States be? We South Carolinians give no symptoms or expressions
of what we mean to do that we cannot maintain. We have been grossly
insulted by the Federal Government, but it dar'n't come at us and just
give us a chance at fair fight. We'd show 'em the thunder of the
Palmetto, that they'd never trouble our sovereignty again. Captain, I
pledge you my honor that if there wasn't so many infernal Yankees in
Georgia, and she'd follow our lead in secession, we'd just lick the
whole North. Georgia's a big State, but she a'n't pluck, and has no
chivalry at all among her people. She allows such privileges to them
Yankees-gives them power to control her manufacturing interests-and
this is just what will uproot the foundation of their slave
institution. Georgians a'n't a bit like us; first, they are too
plebeian in their manners-have no bond of guardianship for their laws,
and exert no restraints for the proper protection of good society.
But, Captain, their stock has a different origin, and the peculiarity
which now marks our character may be traced to the offspring of early
settlement. We derived our character and sentiments from the
Huguenots; they, from an uncharacterized class of coarse adventurers,
whose honesty was tinctured with penal suspicion. This, sir, accounts
for the differences so marked in our character."
The little fellow pressed this kind of conversation in the lobby of
the theatre, and at the same time took the very particular pleasure
of introducing the Captain to several of the young bloods, as he
called them, while they walked to and from the boxes. At length the
Captain found himself in a perfect hornet's nest, surrounded by
vicious young secessionists, so perfectly nullified in the growth
that they were all ready to shoulder muskets, pitchforks, and
daggers, and to fire pistols at poor old Uncle Sam, if he should poke
his nose in South Carolina. The picture presented was that of an
unruly set of children dictating their opinions to a hoary-headed old
daddy-accusing him of pragmatism, and threatening, if he was twice as
old, they'd whip him unless he did as they directed. The knowledge of
South Carolina's power and South Carolina's difficulties with the
Federal Government he found so universally set forth as to form the
atmosphere of conversation in the parlor, the public-house, the school
and the bar-room, the lecture-room and the theatre.
The little man extended his invitation to a party of the bloods.
The Captain was taken by the arms in a kind of bond fellowship, and
escorted into Baker's eating-saloon, a place adjacent to the theatre,
and, to a man unaccustomed to the things that are in Charleston, a
very rowdy place. This is considered by Charlestonians one of the
finest places in the Southern country; where good suppers and
secession (the all-engrossing subjects with Charles-tonians) form the
only important element of conversation. It may be set down as a fact,
that among seven-tenths of the people of Charleston, the standard of a
gentleman is measured according to his knowledge of secession and his
ability to settle the question of hot suppers. We say nothing of that
vigorous patriotism so often manifested in a long string of fulsome
toasts that disgrace the columns of the Mercury and Courier.
At Baker's the place was literally crowded with all kinds and
characters, graded from the honorable judge down to the pot-boy; a
pot-pouri of courtesy and companionship only exhibited in England on
the near approach of elections. The reader may think this strange,
but we can assure him that distinctions are strangely maintained; an
exclusive arrogance being observed in private life, while a too
frequent and general resort to bar-rooms has established plebeianism
in public. Voices were sounding at all parts of the counter, and for
as many different voices as many different mixtures were named. The
Captain received a great many introductions, and almost as many
invitations to drink; but the little man, Master George, claimed the
exclusive honor, and keeping an eye wide awake, took the advantage of
his own dimensions, and began working his way through a barricade of
bodies and elbows, until he had reached the counter. His party
followed close, at his heels. Altogether, they called for cocktails,
smashes, toddies, cobblers, juleps, and legitimates. These disposed
of, the company repaired to what is called a "box up-stairs."
Scarcely seated, Master George rang the bell with such violence that
he disjointed the cord and tassel, and gave such an alarm that three
or four darkies came poking their alarmed countenances through the
curtains at once.
"There's nothing like making the fellows mind; they've got so
infernal independent here, and old Tom thinks so much of his young
wife, that his niggers have begun to imitate him. One's enough at a
time!" said Master George, with all the importance of his character.
A "bright boy," with his hair nicely parted on the middle of his
head, and frizzed for the occasion, made a polite bow, while the
"What have you choice for supper, to-night? We want something ripe
for the palate-none of your leavings, now, you infernal nigger, and
don't tell us none of your lies."
"Birds, sir, grouse, woodcock, partridge, canvas-backs, and quails;
meats, venison, and oysters, master-did up in any shape what the
gentlemen wish. Wines, if they want," replied the servant, without
any of the negro dialect, at the same time making a low bow to Master
"Name it! name your dishes, gentlemen! Don't be backward. I suppose
his birds are as usual, without age to flavor them. It's perfectly
heathenish to eat birds as they are served here: we never get a bird
here that is sufficiently changed to suit a gentleman o' taste; their
beef's tough, and such steak as they make is only fit for shoemakers
and blacksmiths. I never come into the place but I think of my journey
in France, where they know the style and taste of a gentleman, and
things are served to suit your choice." Thus our little friend
continued his connoisseur remarks, to give the Captain a particular
idea of his proficiency in the requisite qualities, age, and time of
keeping necessary to make the adjuncts of a supper fit for a
gentleman. "D—me! we don't know when edibles are choice, and the
Yankees are perfect brutes in these things, and have no more taste
than a cow. Our folks ought to all go to France for a year or two, to
learn the style of cooking. It's perfect murder to eat a bird the very
day after it's killed; yes, sir! no man that considers his stomach
will do it," said George.
The servant waited impatiently-the Captain rubbed his eyes, and
began to pour out a glass of water; and dryly said he'd no choice,
which was responded to by the rest. It was left to Master George, and
he ordered a bountiful supply of grouse, partridges, oyster, and
champagne of his favourite brand-none other. There was also a
billiard-room, reading-room, a room for more important gambling, and
a bar-room, up-stairs. All these were well filled with very well-
dressed and very noisy people; the latter being a very convenient
place, the party sent to it for tipplers to fill up time.
"This is but a small portion of what constitutes life in
Charleston, Captain. We live for living's sake, and don't stand upon
those blueskin theories of temperance and religion that Yankees do,
and blame the Father of generations for not making the world better. I
never saw one of them that wasn't worse than we Southerners before
he'd been in Charleston a year, and was perfect death on niggers.
Yes, sir, it's only the extreme goodness of the Southern people's
hearts that makes the niggers like them so. I never saw a Northerner
yet that wouldn't work his niggers to death in two years. D—me, sir,
my servants all love me as if I was a prince. Have you ever been in
France, sir?" said he, suddenly breaking off. The Captain replied in
"Ah! then you can speak French! the most polished language known to
refined society. I wouldn't part with my French for the world. All
the first families in Charleston are familiar with it. It's the
modern gentleman's curt-blanche to society here. There's no language
like it for beauty and flexibility; but one must go to France and
learn to acquire its grace and ease," said he, in rapid succession,
rolling out his words in imitation of a London sprig of the Inner
Temple, and working his little mastiff mouth.
"No, sir," said the Captain quaintly. "I never stopped long enough
in France to get hold of the lingo."
"God bless me, what a misfortune! and can't speak it yet, ah? Why,
Captain, if you wanted to court a petit‚ madmoselle, you'd be in a
sad fix-she wouldn't understand what you were talking about and would
take your love-pledges for gammon."
"You're mistaken there, my good fellow. Love grows on trees in
France, and a French woman can see it. before you begin to tell her
about it!" retorted the Captain, which brought a "Good! good! hit him
again!" from the whole party. At this, Master George commenced reading
the Captain a disquisition upon the best mode of acquiring the French
language. Supper was brought-in old Tom Baker's best flourish-and the
party begun to discuss its merits with great gusto. What the little,
chivalrous fellows lacked in physical dimension, they made up in
patriotic sentiment in behalf of the grand sove- reignty of South
Carolina, which they continued to pour out until a late hour, every
man backing his sayings by the authority of the great and wonderful
The Captain sat eating away, and seeming more disposed to enjoy the
physical consolation of his supper than to elevate his ideas upon
South Carolina's politics.
"Now, Captain," said Master George, in a very serious tone, after
he had been striking his hand upon the marble table for more than an
hour to confirm the points of his reasoning,—"what is your opinion
of the great question at issue between the Federal Government and
South Carolina? And what do you think of the Old Dominion? how will
she stand upon the test-question?"
The poor Captain looked confounded-took another oyster, and began
to get his mouth. in a fix, while little George worked his fingers
through his nice curly hair, and the young bloods awaited the
rejoinder with anxiety.
"Really, sir, you have the advantage of me in your question. It is
so much beyond my profession that I am entirely ignorant of the
subject-therefore could not give an opinion. In truth, sir, I do not
know the purport of the question. It has given me pleasure and
information to listen to your conversation and the ability you
displayed in argument, but, as a stranger, I could take no part,"
replied the Captain very sincerely.
Not content with this, Master George wished to be more direct.
"It's the right of secession, Captain-the power to maintain the right
by the constitution."
"Probably; but may I expose my ignorance by inquiring what is meant
by secession? and to what it is applied so frequently?" inquired the
"Oh! murder Captain; have you never heard of nullification times!
Well, sir, you must be posted on the affairs of our government." So
he commenced an analysis of nearly an hour long, and in it gave some
astonishing accounts of the wonderful statesmanship of Calhoun,
Butler, and Rhett, tapering down with a perfect fire-and-thunder
account of the military exploits of General Quattlebum and Captain
Blanding. The Captain began to stretch and gape, for he labored under
the fatigue of a perilous voyage, and repose was the only sovereign
remedy. He felt that the limits of propriety were entirely
overstepped, and that he would have reason to remember the first
night spent with little George the secessionist.
"But, Captain! my dear fellow. I see you don't understand our
position yet. We've been insulted; yes, most rascally insulted by the
Federal Government, and they keep it up every year. We can't get our
rights. Oh! no, sir, there's no such thing in the knowledge of the
Federal officers as justice for South Carolina; and you must
understand, Captain, that she is the greatest State in the Union, and
there a'n't nothing like her people for bravery. The political power's
got North and West, the old constitution is being dissected to suit
the abolitionists, and they're drawing the cordon around us faster and
faster; and they're now out like a warrior boldly to the conquest,
sounding their voices in the halls of Congress, appealing to human and
divine power to protect their nonsense, and bidding defiance to our
constitutional rights, Our slaves are our property, protected by the
law of God-by that inspired and superhuman wisdom that founded our
great and glorious constitution. Yes, sir! it was an institution
entailed upon us by our forefathers, and a wise providence has
provided proper laws by which we shall protect and see these poor
miserable devils of helpless slaves, that can't take care of
themselves, straight through."
"But how does this affect you and the Federal Government?" inquired
"Why, sir, most directly!" replied Master George, screwing his
mouth and giving his head a very learned attitude. "Directly,
sir!—the Federal Government is acquiescing in every abolition scheme
that is put forward by that intriguing Northern compact for the
establishment of new governments in the territories. She is granting
unconstitutional privileges to designing politicians, whose chief aim
is to uproot our domestic institution and destroy the allegiance of
the slave to his master, by which the slaves would be cast upon the
world unprotected, and we disarmed of power to protect them. Ah! sir,
I tell you, of all fruits of the imagination that would be the most
damnable, and the slave would be the sufferer. It would be worse for
him, poor fellow; it would be an abuse of human power without
precedent. So far as political power is concerned, we are nearly
disarmed. The influx of population finds its way into the opened
avenues of the North and West. And with opinions predisposed against
our institutions, and the contaminating influence standing ready with
open arms to embrace the great current, what can we expect? It's the
increasing power made by foreign influx that's giving tone to our
government. If our Southern Convention stand firm we are saved; but
I'm fearful there's too many doubtful shadows in it that won't stand
to the gun. That's what's always played the devil with us," said
George, striking his hand upon the table. "There's no limitation to
their interpositions, and their resolves, and their adjournments;
which don't come up to my principles of making the issue, and standing
to the question with our coffins on our backs. These condescensions of
thought and feeling arise from the misconceived notions of a few, who
are always ready to join, but never willing to march to action, and
must not be taken as a specimen of South Carolina bravery. The Federal
Government has become vicious and even puerile toward South Carolina;
and since the Herculean power of the great Calhoun is gone, it treats
us like a semi-barbarous and secluded people, mistaking our character.
But we'll learn the Federal Government a lesson yet."
"Do not your legislators make laws for your government, or how is
it that you express such a restive dissatisfaction? Do not the same
laws which govern you, govern the whole of the slave States?"
Little George had previously monopolized all the conversation, but
at this juncture five or six voices broke out, each fired with a
reply to the Captain's question; and yet the answer was of the same
old stamp: What South Carolina had done-how she had fought and gained
the Mexican war-how she was interested in slaves, and how she yet
feared to strike the blow because a set of mere adventurers had got
the power to vote in her elections, and cowards through them had got
into the legislature.
"Why, gentlemen, listen to me in this particular. If"—
"Your oysters are getting cold, George," interrupted a blood at his
left, rather facetiously.
"I claim the respect due a gentleman, sir! A South Carolinian will
transgress no rules of etiquette," said George, grasping his tumbler
in a passionate manner and smashing it upon the marble slab, causing
a sudden emeute in the camp. "Order! order! order!" was sounded from
every tongue. "You mustn't be afeard, Captain," said one of the
party. "This is perfectly South Carolinian-just the oscillating of
the champagne; it won't last long."
The noise was more loud than ordinary, and brought a score of
people around to hear the trouble. George had got in high dudgeon, and
it took several persons to hold him, while the remainder, not
excepting the Captain, were engaged in a pacification. The scene was
very extravagant in folly; and through the kind interposition of
friends, the matter was settled to the honorable satisfaction of both
parties-the question was called for-the Captain called for a
legitimate, rubbed his eyes, and little George proceeded. "If my
friend Thomas Y. Simmons, Jr., had been elected to the legislature
he'd altered the position of things in South Carolina. All these
corruptions would have been exposed, and the disparity of party would
have dwindled into obscurity. Every true Carolinian voted for him to
the hilt, but how was he defeated? Gentlemen, can you answer? it will
be a favor highly gratifying to me to hear your opinions!" A voice
answered, "Because he wasn't big enough!" "No, sir," said George, "it
was because there was intrigue in the party, and the Yankee influence
went to put him down. The world'll hear from him yet. He's my
particular friend, and will stand in the halls of Congress as great a
statesman as ever lisped a political sentiment."
George's account of his particular friend, Thomas Y. S—, Jr., was
so extravagant, and not having heard of him before, the Captain's
curiosity was aroused to know who he was and where he resided. We
will not tax the reader with George's wonderful memoir of his friend,
but merely inform him that "little Tommy Simmons," as he is usually
styled in Charleston, is an exact pattern of Master George, with the
exception of his mouth, which is straight and regular; and if we may
be allowed to condescend to the extremes, we should say that the
cordwainer had done more for his heels. Otherwise, no daguerreotype
could give a counterpart more correct. Tommy is a very small member of
the Charleston bar, who, though he can seldom be seen when the court
is crowded, makes a great deal of noise without displaying power of
elucidation or legal abilities, yet always acquitting himself
cleverly. Tommy was little George in two particulars-he had studied
law, and was a great secessionist; and if George had never practised,
it was only from inclination, which he asserted arose from a humane
feeling which he never could overcome-that he never wished to oppress
anybody. But the greatest contrast that the reader can picture to
himself between mental and physical objects existed between Tommy's
aspirations and the physical man. His mind was big enough, and so was
his self- confidence, to have led the Assyrian and Chaldean army
against the Hebrews. To this end, and to further the formula of his
statesmanship, no sooner was he twenty-one, and the corner just
turned, than he sounded his war-trumpet-secession or death!—mounted
the rostrum and "stump'd it," to sound the goodness and greatness of
South Carolina, and total annihilation to all unbelievers in
nullification. It was like Jonah and the whale, except the
swallowing, which spunky Tommy promised should be his office, if the
Federal Government didn't toe the mark. Yes, Tommy was a candidate
for the legislature, and for the Southern Congress, (which latter was
exclusively chivalrous;) and the reader must not be surprised when we
tell him that he lacked but a few votes of being elected to the
former. Such was the voice of the Charleston district.
Supper had been discussed down to the fragments, and all expressed
their satisfaction of the quantity and declined any more; but George
called on another bottle of champagne, and insisted that the party
should take a parting glass. The servant had begun to extinguish the
lights-a sure sign that the success of the bar was ended for the
night. George reprimanded the negro-the sparkling beverage was
brought, glasses filled up, touched, and drunk with the standing
toast of South Carolina. A motion to adjourn was made and seconded,
and the party, feeling satisfied with their evening's recreation,
moved off accordingly.
CHAPTER VIII. A FEW POINTS OF THE
IN Charleston, such an adjournment at a bar-room or an
eating-house, when parties are enjoying what is termed a "pleasant
occasion," does not mean an adjournment to the domestic fireside; nor
are the distinctions between married and single men regarded, though
domestic attachments may be considered as governing the thoughts and
feelings. The practical definition of such an adjournment means to
some place where beauty secludes itself to waste in shame.
The party descended into the lower bar-room, which, though rather
thinned, presented a picture of characters stimulated to the
tottering point. A motion had been made and strongly seconded to
visit the voluptuous house of a certain lady, which it is considered
a stranger has not seen Charleston until he has visited. The Captain
remonstrated against this, assuring the party that he must go to the
ship and needed rest. Again and again they insisted, setting forth
the charms and beauty of the denizens, but he as often declined in
the most positive manner. Unable to move him in his resolution, one
by one began to give him a hearty shake of the hand and bid him
good-night, leaving little Master George to the exclusive honor of
seeing him home.
Standing in the centre of the room, surrounded by five or six
persons well-dressed but very weak in the knees, was a portly-looking
gentleman; with very florid countenance, keen dark eyes, and aquiline
nose which he frequently fingered. There was an air of respectability
about him, though his countenance was not marked with any particularly
prominent feature to distinguish him from the ordinary class of
respectable men. He spoke well, yet without taste or discrimination in
his language, was rather bald and gray, with small head. and low
perceptive powers; and judging from the particular tone of his voice
and. the cant terms he used, we should think he had figured among the
Kentucky horse-traders, or made stump speeches in Arkansas. His dress
was inclined to the gaudy. He wore a flashy brown-colored frock-coat
with the collar laid very far back, a foppish white vest exposing his
shirt-bosom nearly down to the waistbands of his pants, which were of
gray stripes. But the more fanciful portions of his dress were a large
and costly fob-chain, which hung very low and supported an immense
seal containing a glistening stone, which he seemed very fond of
dangling with his left hand. Attached to this was a very prominently
displayed black ribbon, answering the purpose of a guard-chain, and
laid with great contrasting care over the bosom of his shirt. This,
with a neckerchief of more flashy colors than Joseph's coat, and a
late style Parisian hat, with the rim very exquisitely turned upon
the sides, make up our man.
He was discussing politics, with a great many sensible sayings,
though nothing like close reasoning; and strange as it may seem, he
was strongly opposed to the rabid views of several staggering
secessionists, who surrounded him, and advocated the views set forth
in convention by Mr. Butler. We remarked this more particularly, for
it was about the only instance we witnessed of a public man being
independent enough to denounce the fanaticism of secession. A more
amusing scene than that presented by the attitudes-the questions in
regard to South Carolina licking the Federal Government-the strange
pomp-ribald gasconade, and high-sounding chivalry of the worthies,
cannot be imagined. They were in a perfect ecstasy with themselves
and South Carolina, and swore, let whatever come, they were ready to
Little Master George seemed very anxious that the Captain should
become acquainted with him, and commenced giving him a monstrous
account of his distinguished abilities. "And that's not all!" said
George; "he's not only one of the greatest characters in Charleston,
or perhaps the State, but he's a right good fellow."
We will interrupt, by informing the reader that he was one of the
good fellows-a numerous family in Charleston-who never use fine
instruments when they select their company; and pay a large amount of
worthy tribute to the liquor-dealers. There is no discriminating
latitude attached to the good-fellow family, for its members may be
found with alike gratifying inclinations, from the highest
aristocracy to the negro population.
"That, sir, is Col. S—e; belongs to one of the first families,
sir. He can beat old Pettigru all hollow; his eloquence is so
thrilling that he always reminds me of Pericles. He can beat little
Thomas Y. Simmons, Jr., all to pieces-make the best stump
speech-address a public assemblage, and rivet all their minds-can make
a jury cry quicker than any other man-can clear the worst criminal
that ever committed crime-and he's good-hearted too-can draw the most
astonishing comparisons to confound the minds of stupid jurors, and
make them believe the d—dest nonsense that ever man invented. Yes,
sir-when he makes a speech, everybody goes to hear him, for he says
what he pleases, and old Judge Withers, whose will is as arbitrary as
Julius C‘sar's, and has got the obstinacy of Tom Boyce's mule, dar'n't
attempt to control the tenor of his plea. And he can tell the best
invented story of any man in town. He cleared the villanous Doctor
Hines once upon the color of his pantaloons."
George waited impatiently for the end of the political controversy,
determined to introduce his friend to the colonel. He soon had an
opportunity, for the colonel, finding himself beset by a set of
unreasonable secessionists, made a sweeping declaration. "Gentlemen,"
said he, "let me tell you a modest fact: seven-eighths of the
secession fire-eaters don't know what the proper meaning of government
is: I make the charge against my own people-but it is true." "Traitor!
traitor!—traitor to South Carolina," was sounded at the top of a
"Then, if I am such in your opinions, I'm gratified to know that my
feelings are my own. Good-night!"
Thus saying, he withdrew from the party, and making his way for the
door, was saluted by George, who introduced him to his friend, the
Captain. The colonel was a very sociable, communicative man; and
taking the Captain's arm, as they walked along, entered into an
interesting conversation about his voyage and first visit to the
city, at the same time displaying his good sense in not trying to
force the great things of South Carolina into his mind.
We, a few weeks afterward, had the good fortune to hear the legal
abilities of this gentleman displayed in a plea at the bar. There
were many good points in it, which, if not legally pointed, were said
well; yet we should class him as belonging to the loud school.
The Captain, thinking it a good opportunity to make some inquiries
about his steward, as they proceeded, commenced in the following
Your laws are very stringent in South Carolina, I believe, sir!"
"Well, no sir," said the colonel, "if we except those which govern
the niggers; they of necessity must be so; we have had so many
emeutes with them, that no law can be made too strict in its
bearings. We have so many bad niggers poured in upon us, that the
whole class is becoming corrupted."
"Your laws, of course, make a distinction between good and bad
niggers, and free negroes?" interposed the Captain.
"We make no distinction between the colors-some are as white as you
are; but the grades are so complex that it would be impossible to
make a sliding-scale law for any fixed complexions. The law which
governs them is distinctive and comprehensive-made in order to shield
the white population from their ignorance of law and evidence. We
never could govern them in their respective spheres, unless the laws
were made stringent in their effect. As for the free niggers, they're
the greatest nuisance we have; it is our policy to get rid of them,
and to that end we tax them severely. The riddance of this class of
niggers would be an essential benefit to our slaves, as upon account
of their influence our negro-laws are made more stringent. And the
worst of it is that they increase faster. But we make it a principal
point to get all the free men we can married to slaves, and the free
women run off. You, that are accustomed to the free institutions of
your country, may think some of these things singular at first; but
you would soon become accustomed to them, and would really admire them
when you saw how beautifully they worked."
"Is there no discretionary power left?" inquired the Captain. "It
must be oppressive, if carried out; Good men-whether they be white or
black-are entitled to the advantages due them; but where laws such as
you describe are carried out, a good man's evidence being black, the
intention could not be made white. Now, according to my idea of the
law of nature, a man's merits are in his moral integrity and
behaviour; therefore I should establish the rule that a good black man
was better than a bad white man, and was as much entitled to the
respect and government of law."
"Hi!—oh! Captain; it won't do to talk so in South Carolina. Just
let a nigger imagine himself as good as a white man, and all the seven
codes in Christendom wouldn't keep 'em under. Ah! you've got to learn
a thing or two about niggers yet," interrupted Master George, before
the Colonel had time to speak.
"I only speak from my observation of human nature; but I may become
better acquainted with your laws, if I remain among you," said the
"As I have said before sir," replied the Colonel, "our nigger-laws
are such as to require a strict enforcement. If we allowed the
prerogative of a discretionary power, it would open the way to an
endless system of favoritism, just at the mercy and feelings of those
exercising it. As it is now, the white or black nigger, male or
female, gets the same law and the same penalty. We make no distinction
even at the paddle-gallows. The paddle-gallows is a frame with two
uprights, and a wrench screw at the top. The negro's hands are secured
in iron wristlets-similar to handcuffs; a rope is then attached to an
eye in these, and passing over the wrench, which being turned, the
negro is raised in an agonizing position until the tips of his toes
scarcely touch the floor. Thus suspended, with the skin stretched to
its utmost tension, it not unfrequently parts at the first blow of the
paddle. Sometimes the feet are secured, when the effect of this modern
science of demonstrating the tension of the human body for punishment
becomes more painful under the paddle. South Carolinians deny this
mode of punishment generally, and never allow strangers to witness it.
It is not, as some writers have stated, practised in Georgia, where,
we are happy to say, that so far as punishment is conducted in a legal
manner, at the jails and prisons, it is administered in a humane
manner; and instead of turning modern barbarity into a science, as is,
done in South Carolina, a strict regard for the criminal is observed.
I will relate some singular facts connected with the strictness with
which we South Carolinians carry out our laws. And now that we are on
the spot connected with it, its associations are more forcibly
impressed on my mind. It brings with it many painful remembrances,
and, were we differently situated, I should wish the cause to be
removed. But it cannot be, and we must carry out the law without
making allowances, for in these little leniencies all those evils
which threaten the destruction of our peculiar institution creep in.
In fact, Captain, they are points of law upon which all our domestic
quietude stands; and as such, we are bound to strengthen our means of
enforcing them to the strictest letter. Our laws are founded upon the
ancient wisdom of our forefathers, and South Carolina has never
traduced herself or injured her legal purity. We have reduced our
system almost to a practical science, so complete in its bearings and
points of government as to be worthy the highest and noblest purposes
of our country. And at the same time, such is the spirit and
magnanimity of our people, that in framing laws to guard against the
dangerous influences of that wing of our country that spreads its
ambitious fallacies—its tempting attractions-shallow criticisms upon
minute and isolated cases-redundant theories without measure or
observation, and making a standard for the government of slaves upon
foolish and capricious prejudices, we have been careful to preserve a
conservative moderation toward the slave. But, to my remarks."
The party had now arrived opposite to what was formerly known as
Jones's Hotel, where the Colonel made a halt to relate the singular
case that had pained his feelings, though he held very tenaciously to
the law as it was, because he believed strongly in the wisdom of the
South Carolina judiciary.
"Our first and great object is to prevent the interchange of
sentiment between our domestic niggers, whether bond or free, and
niggers who reside abroad or have left our State; To do this, it
became imperative to establish a law prohibiting free negroes from
coming into the State, and those in the State from going out, under
penalty of imprisonment and fine, if they returned. The penalty
amounted to sale upon a peon form; and subjected the offender to the
slave system in a manner that he seldom retrieved himself. You will
observe, Captain, the penalty is not desired by our people, the
object being to prevent them from returning, and as such it must be
taken in the spirit of its origin. Another very wise provision was
made by our legislators, and which has prevented a great deal of
suffering on the part of the slave. A few years ago, our wise
legislature made a law to revert the power of emancipation from the
board of magistrates where it had been very much abused, to the House
itself. And such is the law at the present day, that no master can
give his slaves their freedom, except by special act of the
legislature, and that with such a multiplicity of provisions and
conditions that few even attempt it. But I'm about to refer to cases
in which some modification might be said to have been necessary,
because in them are embodied the worst germs for abolition
"That, Captain, is Jones's Hotel," said the Colonel, pointing to an
odd-looking house of antique and mixed architecture, with a large
convex window above the hall-entrance, in the second story. This
house is situated in Broad street, next to the aristocratic St.
Michael's Church, one of the most public places in the city. "In
years past, that house was kept by Jones, a free nigger. Jones was
almost white, a fine portly-looking man, active, enterprising,
intelligent, honest to the letter, and whose integrity and
responsibility was never doubted. He lived in every way like a white
man, and, I think, with few exceptions, never kept company with even
bright folks. His house was unquestionably the best in the city, and
had a widespread reputation. Few persons of note ever visited
Charleston without putting up at Jones's, where they found, not only
the comforts of a private house, but a table spread with every luxury
that the county afforded. The Governor always put up at Jones's; and
when you were travelling abroad, strangers would speak of the
sumptuous fare at Jones's in Charleston, and the elegance and
correctness of his house. But if his house and fare were the boast of
Carolinians, and the remark of strangers, his civility and courteous
attention could not be outdone. Jones continued in the popularity of
his house for many years, reared a beautiful, intelligent, and
interesting family; at the same time accumulated about forty thousand
dollars. The most interesting part of his family was three beautiful
daughters, the eldest of whom was married to a person now in New York.
She was fairer than seven-eighths of those ladies who term themselves
aristocracy in Charleston, and promenade King street in the afternoon.
"She removed to New York with her husband, who now resides in that
city, engaged in lucrative and respectable business. A short time
after, her second sister-not dreaming that the law would be so
stringent as to class her with the lowest nigger, or even lay its
painful bearings at her door; for the family were very high-minded,
and would have considered themselves grossly insulted to have the
opprobrious name of nigger applied to them-paid her a visit. The
public became acquainted with the fact, and to his surprise, Jones
was informed by authority that upon no condition could she be allowed
to return-that the law was imperative, and no consideration could be
given to the circumstances, for such would be virtually destroying its
validity, and furnishing a precedent that would be followed by
innumerable cases. In spite of all the remonstrances which Jones could
set forth, and the influence of several friends of high standing, he
was compelled to relinquish all hope of his daughter's being allowed
to return to the family. The reasoning set forth had every
plausibility; but such is our respect for the law, that we were
compelled to forego our hospitality, and maintain it, even though the
case was painful to our feelings. Thus, you see, we maintain the point
and spirit of the law above every thing else.
"But the end is not here! A few years after this, Jones received a
letter, that his daughter was very sick and not expected to
live-accompanied with a desire to have the last soothing comfort of
seeing her parents. Jones being an affectionate man, and dotingly
fond of his children, without regarding the former admonition,
immediately prepared himself, and left in disguise for New York.
Mature consideration would have convinced him of the error of one so
well known as himself trying to elude recognition.
"His son-in-law, Lee, a noble fellow, kept the house, and when
Jones was inquired for, it was reported that he was confined to his
room. It would have been well if Jones had kept himself secluded in
New York; but he was recognised by a Charlestonian, and, as such
reports have uncommon wings, the news of it soon reached the
authorities; when a mandate was issued accordingly, and Jones
subjected to the fate of his daughter. There are many painful
circumstances connected with the affair, which, if well told, would
make quite a romance," said the Colonel, all of which the Captain
listened to with profound attention. "His family all moved to New
York, and his affairs were put into the hands of attorneys here, for
settlement, by his son- in-law, who continued the business for some
"Of course he got his property restored to him?" interrupted the
"Most certainly, Captain! The spirit of justice is coequal with
that of honorable law, in South Carolina," said George, anxious to
relieve the Colonel of the answer.
"It is somewhat difficult to settle a man's business by legal
process when the principal is not present. The law's delay and
lawyers' spoils make time hallowed and costly," said the Captain.
"You're right there, Captain," said the Colonel; "and I doubt-to
speak honestly-whether Jones ever got much of his property. There's a
good many stories told, and a great deal of mystery about it that's
got to be explained to my mind. But you're a stranger, Captain, and it
would not be interesting to the feelings of a Scotchman. I may give
you the details more minutely at some future day."
"Why, Colonel!" said George, "you should be considerate in your
statements. Remember the immense difficulty that has attended Jones's
affairs-they're not all settled yet."
"True, George; and I'm afraid they never will be;—but there are
some very singular appearances connected with it. I mean no personal
disrespect toward those cousins of yours who have figured in the
case. 'Tis bad to call names, but there is a mystery about a certain
member of our profession getting rich, when poor Jones declares he's
got nothing, and Lee has had to give up the house,—I don't say what
for." * * *
"Yes, strange things must be kept strangely secret in some parts of
the world, and only whispered when there's no wind," said the
"But that's the only case, Captain," said George; "and the Colonel
was indiscreet in recounting it; for from that you may conceive wrong
impressions of the best institutions and laws in the world. Jones was
an old fool, led away by his nigger-like affections for them gals of
his. He never knew when he was well off, and always wanted to be with
white folk when he was here. 'Twould been a great deal better if he'd
let them youngest gals gone with Pingree and Allston. They'd have made
the tip-top mistresses—been kept like ladies, and not been bothered,
and brought all this trouble upon their heads through these infernal
abolitionists. I really believe the old fool thought some white man
would marry them at one time."
"What harm would there've been in that, providing they're as white
as anybody, and got plenty of money, and were handsome? There must be
a singular sensibility, that I don't understand, exerting itself in
your society," said the Captain laconically.
"Harm! You'd find out the harm. Just live in South Carolina a year
or two. 'Tisn't the fair complexion-we don't dispute that-but it's
"Oh! then the legal objection," said the Captain, "is what is so
revolting to society, eh! It may be sown broadcast in licentiousness,
then, and custom sustains an immoral element that is devouring the
essential bond of society."
"Excuse me, Captain," interrupted the Colonel. "George, you are
always taking me upon suppositions. I only related it to the Captain
in order to show the power and integrity of our law, and how South
Carolinians frequently sacrifice their own interests to maintain it
intact. Nothing could be more fatal to its vitality than to make
provisions which would entail legal preferences. The law in regard to
free niggers leaving the State should be looked upon in the light of
protection rather than alienation, for it is made to protect property
and society. Yet where a case is attended with such circumstances as
that of Jones's, some disposition to accommodate might have been
evinced without endangering the State's sovereignty. And I must also
differ with you, George, so far as the girls maintained their
self-respect. It was commendable in them to get husbands whom they
could live with in the bonds of matrimony. My word for it, George,
though I am a Southerner, and may give rein to improprieties at times,
nothing can be more pernicious to our society than this destructive
system of our first people in keeping mistresses. It's a source of
misery at best, depending upon expediency instead of obligation, and
results in bringing forth children and heirs with an entailed burden
upon their lives, to be disowned, cast off from paternal rights, and
left to the tender mercies of the law. We see the curse, yet
countenance it-and while it devours domestic affections and has
cankered the core of social obligations, we look upon it as a flowery
garden as we pass by the wayside.. There may be but a shadow between
the rightful heir and the doubtful son-the former may enjoy the bounty
of his inheritance, but the latter is doomed to know not his sire nor
his kinsman, but to suffer the doubts and fears and the dark gloom
which broods over a bondman's life."
"By-je-w-hu! Colonel, what in scissors are you preaching about. You
must a' got a pull too much at Bakers's. You're giving vent to real
abolition sentiments. Exercise your knowledge of the provision that
is made for such children. The Captain will certainly draw incorrect
notions about us," said George, with anxiety pictured on his
countenance. He knew the Colonel's free, open, and frank manner of
expressing himself, and feared lest the famous name of the chivalry
should suffer from his unconscious disclosures.
"Provisions! George, you know my feelings concerning that vice
which is so universally practised in our community. If you know of any
provision, it's more than I do. Perhaps you are older and have had
more experience. 'Tis the want of such a provision that is just
destroying our institution of slavery!"
At this juncture the Captain interrupted them, and begging that the
Colonel would finish the story about Jones, said he had a few
questions to ask them after it was through.
"Well," said the Colonel, "Jones died, I believe; but his family
are as industrious as ever, and have made money enough to live
comfortable; but the scamps have turned out perfect helpmates of the
abolitionists, and make their intelligence figure at the bottom of
many an escape. But Lee's case is as hard as Jones's. His son went to
New York to see his grandfather, and was debarred by the same statute
of limitations. Lee, however, was a very capable fellow, and after
trying for two years, and finding it would be impossible to return to
his father, very shrewdly set about some kind of business, and is now
largely engaged in the preserve and pickle business. Lee's celebrated
pickle and preserve establishment, New York. The father is now in this
city, making a living for his family at something or other. He has
made several efforts to sell out his little property, but there's some
trouble about the title; and if he leaves it to go and see his son, he
knows what the consequences will be; and to leave it for settlement
would be to abandon it, to the same fate that swallowed up Jones's.
Thus the son cannot come to visit his father, nor the father go to
visit the son. This, in my opinion, is carrying a prohibition to an
extreme point; and although I believe the law should be maintained, I
cannot believe that any good arises from it upon such people as the
Jones's and Lee's, from the very fact that they never associated with
niggers. Hence, where there is no grounds for fear there can be no
cause for action," continued the Colonel.
"Just what I wanted to know," said the Captain. "As I informed you,
I am driven into your port in distress. Charleston, as you are aware,
is in an advantageous latitude for vessels to refit that have met with
those disasters which, are frequent in the gulf and among the Bahamas.
Thus I expected to find good facilities here, without any unkind
feeling on the part of the people"—
"Oh! bless me, Captain, you will find us the most hospitable people
in the world," said the Colonel.
"But your pilot told me I would have trouble with my steward, and
that the law would make no distinction between his being cast upon
your shores in distress and subject to your sympathy, and his coming
"What!" said little George. "Is he a nigger, Captain? Old
Grimshaw's just as sure to nab him as you're a white man. He'll buy
and sell a saint for the fees, and gives such an extended construction
to the terms of the act that you need expect no special favor at his
hands. The law's no fiction with him. I'm sorry, Captain: you may
judge his conduct as an index of that of our people, and I know him so
well that I fear the consequences."
"No!" said the Captain. "My steward is a Portuguese, a sort of
mestino, and one of the best men that ever stepped foot aboard a
vessel. He is willing, intelligent, always ready to do his duty, and
is a great favorite with his shipmates, and saves his wages like a
good man-but he is olive complexion, like a Spaniard. He has sailed
under the British flag for a great many years, has been 'most all
over the world, and is as much attached to the service as if he was a
Londoner, and has got a register ticket. Nothing would pain my
feelings more than to see him in a prison, for I think he has as
proud a notion of honesty as any man I've seen, and I know he
wouldn't commit a crime that would subject him to imprisonment for
the world. The boys have been pestering the poor fellow, and telling
him about some old fellow they heard the pilot speak about, called
Norman Gadsden; they tell him if he catches him they'll sell him for
"The question is one about which you need give yourself no concern.
Our people are not so inhuman but that they will shelter a castaway
sailor, and extend those comforts which are due from all humane
people. The act under which seamen are imprisoned is the law provided
to prohibit free niggers from entering our port, and, in my opinion,
was brought into life for the sake of the fees. It's no more nor less
than a tax and restriction upon commerce, and I doubt whether it was
ever the intention of the framers that it should be construed in this
manner. However, so far as your steward is con- cerned, the question
of how far his color will make him amenable to the law will never be
raised; the mere circumstance of his being a seaman in distress,
thrown upon our sympathies, will be all you need among our hospitable
people. I'm not aware of a precedent, but I will guaranty his safety
from a knowledge of the feelings of our people. Our merchants are,
with few exceptions, opposed to the law in this sense, but such is the
power and control of a class of inexperienced legislators, prompted by
a most trifling clique of office-holders, that their voice has no
weight. I am opposed to this system of dragging people into courts of
law upon every pretext. It is practised too much in our city for the
good of its name."
Upon this the Colonel and little George accompanied the Captain to
his ship, and, expressing their heartfelt regrets at her appearance,
bid him good-night-George promising to call upon him in the morning,
and the Colonel charging him to give himself no trouble about his
steward, that he would see Mr. Grimshaw that night, and make all
Thus ended the Captain's first night in Charleston, and represented
a picture from which he might have drawn conclusions somewhat
different from the actual result. Alas! that all the good fellowship
and pleasant associations of a people should be disgraced by an
absurdity arising from their fears.
The Colonel might have given many other instances equally as
painful as that connected with the transportation of Jones and his
family, and the fetters that were placed upon poor Lee. He might have
instanced that of Malcome Brown, a wealthy, industrious, honest,
high-minded, and straightforward man, now living at Aiken, in South
Carolina. Brown conducts a profitable mechanical business, is
unquestionably the best horticulturist in the State, and produces the
best fruit brought to the Charleston market. What has he done to be
degraded in the eyes of the law? Why is he looked upon as a dangerous
citizen and his influence feared? Why is he refused a hearing through
those laws which bad white men take the advantage of? He is compelled
to submit to those which were made to govern the worst slaves! And why
is he subjected to that injustice which gives him no voice in his own
behalf when the most depraved whites are his accusers? Can it be the
little crimp that is in his hair? for he has a fairer skin than those
who make laws to oppress him. If he inhaled the free atmosphere from
abroad, can it be that there is contagion in it, and Malcome Brown is
the dreaded medium of its communication? And if the statement rung in
our ears be true, "that the free colored of the North suffer while the
slave is cared for and comfortable," why belie ourselves? Malcome's
influence is, and always has been, with the whites, and manifestly
good in the preservation of order and obedience on the part of the
slaves. He pursues his avocation with spirit and enterprise, while he
is subjected to menial and oppressive laws. His father visited New
York, and was forbidden to return. He appealed again and again, set
forth his claims and his integrity to the State and her laws, but all
was of no avail. He was hopelessly banished, as it were, from ever
seeing his son again, unless that son would sacrifice his property and
submit to perpetual banishment from the State. If we reflect upon the
many paternal associations that would gladden the hearts of father and
child to meet in happy affection, we may realize the effect of that
law which makes the separation painful and which denies even the
death-bed scene its last cheering consolation.
We have conversed with poor Brown on many occasions, found him a
very intelligent man, full of humour, and fond of relating incidents
in the history of his family-even proud of his good credit in
Charleston. He frequently speaks of his father and the gratifying
hope of meeting him at some future day, when he can give vent to his
feelings in bursts of affection. He wants his father to return and
live with him, because he says he knows they would be more happy
together. "I suppose the law was made in justice, and it's right for
me to submit to it," he would say when conversing upon its
stringency; and it also seems a sort of comfort to him that he is not
the only sufferer.
If South Carolina would awake to her own interest, she would find
more to fear from the stringency of her own laws than from the
influence of a few men coming from abroad.
CHAPTER X. THE PROSPECT DARKENING.
AFTER the Colonel and little George left the Captain, as we have
stated in the foregoing chapter, he descended into the cabin, and
found Manuel sitting upon one of the lockers, apparently in great
anxiety. He, however, waited for the mate to speak before he
addressed the Captain. The mate awoke and informed the Captain that a
slender, dark-complexioned man had been aboard a few minutes after he
left, making particular inquiries about the steward; that he spoke
like an official man, was dressed in black clothes, and wore
"I asked him if we'd have any trouble with Manuel, and tried to
make him understand that he wasn't a black, and that our situation
might excuse us from any annoyance through their peculiar laws. But
the old chap seemed mighty stupid about every thing, and talked just
as if he didn't know any thing about nothing. 'A nigger's a nigger in
South Carolina,' said he dryly, and inquired for a quid of tobacco,
which I handed him, and he took one big enough for six. Said I,
'Mister, do you call a man a nigger what's a Portugee and a'n't
black?' 'It depends on how he was born,' says he. 'Well, but ye can't
make a white man a nigger nohow, whether it's in South Carolina or
Scotland,' says I. 'Well, we don't stand upon such things here; we can
show you niggers as white as you be, Mr. Mate,' says he. 'But, Mister,
what's to do about our steward, that ye make yer inquiries about him;
he ha'n't did nothing,' said I. 'Well, Mr. Mate; it's contrary to law
to bring nigger stewards into our port. They're a bad set of fellows
generally, and we claim the right to lock 'em up to insure their good
behavior and keep their bad influence away from our slaves. 'Tis not
my office. I observed your arrival and wrecked condition, and merely
came to take a look,' said he. 'Well now, Mister, our steward thinks
as much of himself as anybody and wouldn't mix with your niggers on
any account. But Mister! won't it make a difference because we're cast
upon your shore in distress,' says I. 'Not a whit! it's contrary to
law, and the law's got nothing to do with wind and weather. We love
the sovereignty of our law too well to make any discrimination. We're
a hospitable people, and always give folks plenty to eat, but we never
allow any favors in the law. I'll call and see you in the, morning,'
said he, and away he went."
This individual was Mr. Grimshaw, the principal mover of the powers
that be, notwithstanding he asserted that it was not his office, and
that he just walked round to take a look.
During his visit on board, Manuel was absent on board a Boston
bark, where he met a white steward, who gave him a sad picture of the
Charleston jail and the cruel treatment that was inflicted upon
prisoners there by starvation. He told him that he was once put in
for a trifling offence, and nearly starved to death before he got
out. "You will be sure to go there, Manuel," said he, "for they make
no distinction; and if a man's a foreigner, and can't speak for
himself, he'll stand no chance at all. I'd give 'em the slip afore
I'd suffer such another punishment," he continued.
This so worked upon the poor fellow's mind, that it became a matter
of little moment whether he jumped overboard or remained on the ship.
He waited until the mate had concluded, and commenced appealing to the
Captain in a most pitiful manner. The disgrace of being imprisoned
seemed worse than the punishment; and he did not seem to comprehend
the intention that he should be imprisoned for no crime in the United
States, when he had sailed around the world and visited a majority of
its ports, both barbarous and civilized, without molestation. He
wanted the Captain to pay him off and let him leave by some vessel in
the morning. The Captain endeavored to soothe his fears by assuring
him that there was no danger of his being imprisoned; that the people
of Charleston had too much good feeling in them to be cruel to a
distressed sailor; that the power of the consul was a sufficient
guarantee of protection. "You are not among Patagonians, Manuel," said
he. "There's no use of working your mind into a fever, you'll be as
well taken care of here and be thought as much of as you would in
London." This assurance had the effect to soothe his mind, upon which
he left the cabin more at ease, and went into the forecastle to turn
in with his little companion Tommy. Men had been detailed for the
pumps as soon as the flood-tide made, and the Captain retired to his
It seemed there was a mutual understanding between the pilots and
officers in regard to the arrival of colored stewards; and the pilot,
after leaving the vessel, went directly to Mr. Grimshaw's office and
reported a nut for him to crack: this brought him to the wharf to
Early in the morning the crew were at their duty. The mate
commenced giving orders to clear away the deck, and Manuel to make
preparations for breakfast. He had scarcely commenced before two men,
Messrs. Dunn and Dusenberry walked up and down the wharf for several
minutes, then they would stand together and gaze as if to watch the
approach of some vessel in the offing. At length, Dusenberry, seeing
Manuel come to the gangway with a bucket in his hand, walked to her
side, and, stepping on board, seized him by the collar, and drawing a
paper from his pocket, said, "You're my prisoner! you must go to
jail-come, be quick, sir; you must not stop to get your things; you
must send for them after you're committed."
The mate and several of the crew being near, at once gathered
around him. At the same time Dunn, who was standing at the end of the
wharf awaiting the result, thinking Dusenberry was opposed, came to
his assistance. The officers and crew knew the respect due to the laws
too well to oppose any obstacles to the constables in executing their
duty. The mate, in a very polite manner, asked as a favor that they
would leave the man a few minutes until the Captain came on deck. They
yielded to his solicitation after a great deal of grumbling. The
arrest made a deep feeling among the seamen, but none felt it more
than little Tommy; he heard the noise upon deck, and came running with
tears in his eyes, and cried, "Oh! Manuel, why Manuel, what are they
going to take you away for? Won't I see you again, Manuel?" The little
fellow's simplicity touched the feelings of all present. But the lame
officer, Dunn, stood with a pair of handcuffs in his hand, as unmoved
as a stoic, while Dusenberry expressed his impatience, and began to
push the boy away, and motion to march him off.
"Hold a bit!" said the mate. "The Captain will be on deck in a few
minutes; he wants a word or two with you."
"We can't stop unless we're compensated for our time. 'Tis no use
to delay-'twon't do any good; he's a nigger to all intents and
purposes. I know by the curl in his hair-they can't escape me, I've
had too much to do with them!" said Dunn. "Yes, to be sure, I can
tell a nigger by his ear, if his skin's as white as chalk!" said
Dusenberry. "It's all gammon this bringing bright outlandish men
here, and trying to pass them off for white folks. 'Twon't stick-you
must come up and be registered, and you'll have a good time at the
jail, my boy; there's plenty of bright gals in there, and you can
have a wife, if you know how to do the courting."
The Captain now came upon deck; and began to intercede, begging
that they would not take Manuel away until he had seen the British
Consul. "I know I can make every thing straight. There is no occasion
to imprison my steward-he's neither a nigger nor a bad man; and I'll
pledge you my honor that he shall not leave the ship, or even go upon
the wharf, if you will only allow me to see the Consul before you take
any further action," he continued.
"That is beyond our power, sir; you must see the sheriff-you'll
find him in his office bright and early. But you might as well put
your appeal in your pocket, or send it to Queen Victoria, for all
Consul Mathew can do for you. He's been kicking up a fuss for two
years; but he might as well whistle agin a brickbat as to talk his
nonsense about English niggers to South Carolina. He'll get tarred and
feathered yet, if he a'n't mighty shy about his movements. Sorry,
Captain, we can't accommodate you, but we're only actin' for the
sheriff, and his orders are imperative to bring him right up. We must
lock the fellow up. We don't make the law, nor we ha'n't the power to
control it." Thus saying, Dunn took a little key from his pocket and
begun to turn it in the handcuffs.
"What!" said the Captain-"don't attempt to put them things on my
man, upon your peril. Is that the way you treat a poor shipwrecked
sailor in South Carolina, the State of boasted hospitality? No, sir!
I will sacrifice my life before my man shall submit to such a thing,"
said the Captain, with his Scotch energy aroused.
"Captain!" said Dunn, "we'd not be takin' the advantage of ye
because ye're a stranger, but 'tis the law; and if we accommodates
ye, sure it'll be at our own risk. But anyhow, Captain, ye'd be
keepin' meself an' this gentleman a long time waiting, 'twouldn't be.
amiss to be giving us the usual perquisite. You won't miss it, and
we've a great deal to do for small fees, that niver compinsate for the
accommodation we be's to give everybody-an' the loss of time's the
loss of money."
"Give you a perquisite!—no, indeed; I never pay for such favors.
Wait a few moments; I will accompany you myself, if you will not take
my honor for his good conduct on the way to prison," continued the
"Captain, sure ye needn't trouble yerself anyhow; we'll take yer
honor that he don't run away, and if he does ye'll stand the odds at
the sheriff's. Sure a case would niver pass Mr. Grimshaw s
observation; but to plase ye, and considering' the wreck, meself and
Dusenberry 'll put him up without," said Dunn.
During the conversation, Manuel plead hard to be heard before the
Consul, having a mistaken idea that the Consul could protect him from
all danger; and that if he could get a hearing before him, he was sure
to be released. The Captain shook his hand and told him to be
contented until the Consul's office opened, when he would come to the
jail and see him. Manuel then turned to the crew, and shaking the
hands of each, took his little bundle in one hand, and holding little
Tommy by the other, (who accompanied him to the head of the wharf,)
was soon out of sight.
But will the reader believe what was the practice of these petty
officers? We can assure them that such instances as the one we shall
relate are not only practised in Charleston to an unlimited extent,
but the fact is well known to both magistrates and the public; the
former treat it as moonshine, and the latter rail against it, but
never take proper action.
Scarcely had little Tommy left them at the head of the wharf,
before they intimated that it would be well to consider a morning
dram. To this end, they walked into a "Dutch corner shop," and passing
into the back room, gave sundry insinuations that could not be
misunderstood. "Well! come, who pays the shot?" said Dunn, stepping
up to the counter, and crooking his finger upon his nose at a
dumpling-faced Dutchman, who stood behind the counter, waiting for
his man to name it. The Dutchman was very short and very thick,
leaving the impression that he had been very much depressed in his
own country when young. He rubbed his hands and flirted his fingers
in motion of anxiety, "Every ting vat de shentleman vant him—dare
notin like to my zin and brondty vat him got mit ze zity," said
"Gentlemen, I should be glad to have you drink with me, if it be
proper to ask," said Manuel
"Oh! yes—certainly, yes!—just what we come for, something to cut
away the cobwebs—'twouldn't do to go out in the morning fog without
a lining," said Dunn.
"Name it! name it! shentlemen," exclaimed the Dutchman, as he
rapped his fingers upon the counter, and seemed impatient to draw
forth his filthy stuff. They named their drinks, each with a different
name. Manuel not being a Charleston graduate in the profession of
mixing drinks and attaching slang names to them, Mr. Dusenberry
undertook to instruct him in a choice. The Dutchman was an adept at
mixing, and the "morning pulls" were soon set out to the extreme
satisfaction of Dunn and Dusenberry. "All right! tip her down, my old
fellow; none o' yer screwed faces over such liquor as that. We drink
on the legitimate, in Charleston, and can put it down until we see
stars," said Dusenberry, addressing himself to Manuel, who was making
a wry face, while straining to swallow the cut-throat stuff.
Dusenberry now left Manuel in charge of Dunn, saying he was going
out to attend to some business. Manuel drew from his pocket a quarter
of a Colombian doubloon, and throwing it upon the counter, told the
Dutchman to give him change. The Dutchman picked it up, turned it over
several times, and squinting at it, inquired, in a very unpretending
manner, what its value was. He knew already, yet this was only done to
try Manuel. At the same moment he winked to Dunn, who, stepping up,
gave it a significant toss upon the counter. "The divil a bit more
than two dollars; all right, Swizer," said he.
"'Tis four dollar, West Inge-I want my change," said Manuel,
shrugging his shoulders. "I no want no more than my own; and no man
to cheat-e me."
"Don't be bothering with your four dollars-sure ye a'n't in the
West Inges now; and money's plenty in Charleston, and I can't bring up
so much-half so much. Don't be bothering with yer West Inge nonsense.
If ye try to raise a fuss here, I'll make the Captain suffer. Ye must
learn that it won't do for a nigger to dispute a white man in
Charleston; we'd twitch ye up by the same law; we'd put it to our own
niggers, and ye'd git trised up, and about fifty paddles on yer bare
butt." The Dutchman put down a dollar and seventy cents, but Manuel
refused to take it up; when this fellow, Dunn, pretending to be the
friend of Manuel, held out his hand, and telling the bar-keeper to put
another dollar, which he did, he passed it hurriedly into Manuel's
hand, and making a pass, told him to put it into his pocket.
It was now about good business time for the Dutchman, and his
customers were coming in with their bottles and pots in great
numbers. The place was a little filthy hole, very black and dirty,
about twelve feet long, and seven feet wide, with a high board
counter almost in the centre. The only stock-in-trade that decorated
it, was a few barrels of lager beer; several kegs, with names to set
forth the different qualities of liquors painted upon them; a bushel
basket about half full of onions, and a few salt fish in a keg that
stood by the door. Around the room were several benches similar to
those in guard-houses. Upon two of them were stretched two ragged and
filthy-looking negroes, who looked as if they had been spending the
night in debauchery. Dunn, as if to show his authority, limped toward
them, and commenced fledging their backs with his hickory stick in a
most unmerciful manner, until one poor old fellow, with a lame hand,
cried out for mercy at the top of his voice.
"It's a bad business keeping these niggers here all night,
Swizer-you know I've done the clean thing with you several times,"
said Dunn, pointing his finger at the Dutchman; who winked, and
coming from behind the counter, slipped something into his hand, and
stepping to the door, assumed some threatning language against the
negroes, should they ever came back to his store. A large portion of
those who came for liquor were negroes, who looked as if they were
parting with their last cent for stimulant, for they were ragged and
dirty, and needed bread more than liquor. Their condition seemed
pitiful in the extreme, and yet the Dutch "corner-shop keeper"
actually got rich from their custom, and so craving was he upon their
patronage, that he treated them with much more courtesy than his white
These "Dutch corner-shops" are notorious places in Charleston, and
are discountenanced by respectable citizens, because they become the
rendezvous of "niggers," who get into bad habits and neglect their
masters' or mistresses' business. Yet the keepers exert such an
influence at elections, that the officials not only fear them, but in
order to secure their favors, leave their rascality unmolested. Well
might a writer in the Charleston Courier of August 31, 1852, say—
"We were astonished, with many others, at the sweeping charges made
in the resolutions passed at the HUTCHINSON meeting at Hatch's Hall,
and were ready to enlist at once to lend our voice to turn out an
'administration' that for two years permitted 'moral sentiment to be
abandoned,' 'truthfulness disregarded,' 'reverence for religion
obliterated,' 'protection to religious freedom refused,'
'licentiousness allowed,' 'and a due administration for vice,
neglected.'" These charges stand unrefuted, and with but one or two
exceptions, we have never known one of those unlawful corner shops
prosecuted by the present administration. And those single instances
only where they were driven to notice the most flagrant abuses.
It is strictly "contrary to law in Charleston," to sell liquor to a
negro without an order from a white man; the penalty being fine and
imprisonment. Yet, so flagrant has become the abuse, that it is
notorious that hush-money is paid by a certain class of Dutch
liquor-sellers to the officers. In nearly all the streets of
Charleston, where there is a shanty or nook large enough to hold a
counter and some tumblers, these wretches may be found dealing out
their poisonous drugs to a poor, half-starved class of negroes, who
resort to all kinds of dishonest means to get money to spend at their
counters. These places are nearly all kept by foreigners, whose
merciless avarice scruples at nothing, however mean. They soon become
possessed of considerable means, and through their courtesy and
subserviency to the negro-for they are the only class of whites that
will beg his pardon, if they have offended him-carry on a sort of
active rivalry with each other for his custom. It is from these
miserable hells that seven-tenths of the crimes arise for which the
poor negro is dragged to the work-house and made to suffer under the
And yet these very men, whose connivance at vice and crime is
disregarded by the law, rise and take position in society-not only
entering into more respectable business-but joining in that phalanx
who are seeking the life-blood of the old Southerner, and like a
silent moth, working upon his decay. There is a deep significance in
the answer so frequently given in Charleston to the interrogatory,
"Who lives in that splendid dwelling-it seems to have been the
mansion of a prince, but is somewhat decayed?"
"Oh! bless me, yes! It was once the mansion of the So-and-sos, one
of the first families, but they're very poor now. Mr.
What-you-may-call-em owns it now-they say he didn't get it honestly.
He kept a little grog-shop on the Bay, or sold bacon and whisky on
the Bay, and made awful charges against poor So-and-so, and after a
long trial in Chancery he got his house. He's a big fellow; now, I
tell you, and is going to fit the house up for himself!"
Dunn told Manuel to be seated, that there was no occasion for
hurrying; it would be all right if he got to the sheriffs office at
nine o'clock; and then commenced descanting upon the fine time he
would have at the jail. "There's a right good lot of comrades there,
me boy; ye'll have fiddling and dancing, plenty of gals, and a jolly
time; and ye a'n't a criminal, ye know, so it won't be any thing at
all, only keep up a stiff under-lip. Come, let us take another drink;
I feel mighty husky this morning!" said he.
Just at this time Dusenberry re-entered, puffing and blowing as if
he had been engaged in a foot-race. "Another bird for old Grimshaw,
at Commercial Wharf! I know'd she had one aboard, 'cause I seed him
from the wharf," said he, in perfect ecstasy, pulling out a pencil
and making a note in a little book.
"Don't be a child," said Dunn. "Come, we have just proposed another
drink; you join of course; ye niver says no,—eh, Duse?" They stepped
to the counter, and Dunn, again, pointing his finger upon his nose at
the Dutchman, who stood with his hands spread upon the counter, called
for gin and bitters, Stoughton light. Turning to Manuel, who was
sitting upon a bench with his head reclined upon his hand, apparently
in deep meditation, he took him by the collar in a rude manner, and
dragging him to the counter, said, "Come, by the pipers, rouse up your
spirits, and don't be sulking, my old Portugee; take another
O-be-joyful, and it'll put ye all right, and ye'll dance a hornpipe
like a jim-crack."
"Excuse me, sir; I think I have taken enough; do, please, either
take me back to my vessel, or where you are going to. This is no
place for me!" said Manuel.
"Sure, what signifies; don't be talking your botheration here; a
nigger musn't sauce a white man. Come, there's no use backing out;
you must take a glass of Swizer's lager beer," said Dunn.
Manuel looked around him, and then closing up very reluctantly, the
Dutchman filled his glass with frothy beer, and the three touched
glasses and drank. They then retired to a bench and commenced
discussing the propriety of some point of their official privileges,
while Manuel was left standing at the counter.
"Who pay de drink vat shu get?" inquired the Dutchman, anxious to
serve two little niggers who had just come in with bottles in their
"It was our friend's treat; come, my good fellow, do the clean
thing according to Southern science. We'll put a good word in for you
to the jailer; you won't lose nothing by it," said Dusenberry.
"My friends, I work hard for my money, and have none to spend
foolishly. The small amount is of little consequence, but I would
much sooner make you a present of it, than to be drugged by pretence.
I've no desire to indulge the propensities of others. Whatever you are
going to do with me, do it; and let me know my fate. I am sick and
fatigued, and have need for the doctor. Take me to a prison or where
you please. I have done no crime; I want sleep, not punishment. Next
time I shipwrecked, I get plank and go overboard 'fore I cum to
Charleston." So saying, he pulled out fifty cents and threw it upon
the counter, and the Dutchman swept it into the drawer, as if it was
all right, and "just the change."
"Shut up, you black rascal, you; you musn't talk that way in South
Carolina; we'll have you stretched on the frame and paddled for
insolence to a white man. D—n me, if you're in such a hurry for it,
just come along," said Dusenberry; and reaching his hand over to
Dunn, took the handcuffs from him and attempted to put them on
Manuel's wrists. The poor fellow struggled and begged for more than
ten minutes, and was wellnigh overpowering them, when Dusenberry drew
a long dirk-knife from his bosom, and holding it in a threatening
attitude at his breast, uttered one of those fierce yells such as are
common to slave-hunters, whose business it is to hunt and run down
runaway niggers with bloodhounds. "Submit, you black villain, or I'll
have your heart's blood; bring a rope, and we'll trise him up here.
Jump, be quick, Swizer!" said he, addressing himself to the Dutchman.
The Dutchman ran into the front apartment; brought out a cord similar
to a clothes-line; and commenced to undo it.
"Do you give up now?" said Dusenberry, still holding the knife
pointed at him. Manuel was in the habit of carrying a poniard when on
shore in foreign countries, and put his hand to his breast-pocket to
feel for it. He remembered that he had left it in his chest, and that
resistance would be useless against a posse giving expression to such
hostility to him. The shackles were put upon his hands with ruffianly
"Oh! am I a man, or am I a brute? What have I done to receive such
treatment? May God look down upon me and forgive me my
transgressions; for in his hands are my rights, and he will give me
justice," said Manuel, looking his cruel torturers in the face.
"A man! No, by heavens, you're a nigger; an' it's that we'd he
teaching you! Come, none of yer sermons here, trot off! We'll give
you a handkerchief to cover your hands, if you're so d—d delicate
about walking through the streets," said Dunn, throwing him an old
red handkerchief, and marching him along through Broad street.
Dusenberry now left him entirely in the charge of Dunn; while, as he
said, he went to Adger's Wharf to keep his eye on another vessel that
was approaching the dock. The tricks of this man Dunn were well known
to those, connected with the police and sheriff's office; but, instead
of being displaced for his many offences, he was looked upon by them
as the best officer upon the rolls; and in fishing for mischievous
niggers he was held as a perfect paragon. In this instance he was not
contented with the outrages he had inflicted upon Manuel at the Dutch
grog-shop, which he had forced him into, but he would stop in the
public street to hold conversation with every cove he met, and keep
the poor man standing for public gaze, like chained innocence awaiting
the nod of a villain. The picture would have been complete, if a
monster in human form were placed in the foreground applying the lash,
according to the statute laws of South Carolina.
CHAPTER XI. THE SHERIFF'S OFFICE.
IT is nine o'clock, on the morning of the 24th March, 1852. Manuel
was marched into the sheriff's office, situated in the court-house,
on the corner of Broad and Meeting streets. A large table stood in
the centre of the room, covered with sundry old papers and an
inkstand. At one side was an old sofa, bearing strong evidence of its
being worn out at the expense of the State. A few pine-wood and
painted book-stands, several tip-staffs, old broken-backed chairs,
and last, but not least, a wood-sawyer's buck-saw, stood here and
there in beautiful disorder around the room; while, as if to display
the immense importance of the office, a "cocked" hat with the
judicial sword hung conspicuously above the old sofa. A door opened
upon the left hand, leading into the clerk's office, where the books
and archives of the office were kept. Mr. Kanapeaux, the incumbent,
exhibited a great deal of good feeling, which it would have lost the
sheriff none of his reputation to pattern after, and kept his office
in very respectable order.
"Come in 'ere, Manwell, or whatever yer name is," said Dunn, as he
led the way into the presence of Mr. Grimshaw, the lean,
haggard-looking man we have before described. His dark, craven
features, as he sat peering through his glasses at the morning news,
gave him the appearance of a man of whom little was, to be expected
by those who had the misfortune to fall into his hands.
"Ah! Dunn, you are the best officer in the city; 'pon my soul,
these fellows can't escape you! Where did you pick up that nigger?"
said he, with a look of satisfaction.
"A fat fee case, Mr. Grimshaw, 'contrary to law;' he's a Portugee
nigger. Never had so much trouble with a nigger in my life; I didn't
know but the fellow was going to preach a sermon. The Captain-he
belongs to a wrecked Englishman-wanted to come the gammon game with
him, and pass him for a white man; but sure he couldn't come that
game over meself and Duse, anyhow," said Dunn.
Without saying a word, Manuel stood up before his accusers, upon
this strange charge of "contrary to law."
As he looked upon his accusers, he said, "What have I done to
suffer a murderer's fate? Am I to be sold as a slave, because of the
visitation of God? I have done no murder! No!—nor have I stolen in
your land! and why did these men decoy me into"—
"Silence! silence! You are in the sheriff's office," said Dunn,
pointing his finger at his nose. "You can't come your John Bull
nigger in South Carolina."
This brought the sheriff's clerk to the door that led into the
passage. "Dunn, I have warned you about these things several times;
the public are getting wind of them; they'll bring this office into
disrepute yet. You ought to know what effect the association of
officials with these 'corner-shop keepers' is already having in the
community," said he.
"How the divil do ye know what yer talking about; sure it's his
honor's bisniss, and not yours at all, at all," said Dunn, addressing
himself to Mr. Kanapeaux, and then looking at Mr. Grimshaw.
"Mr. Kanapeaux, you must not interfere with the officers and their
duty; attend to your business, and get, your book ready to register
this nigger-boy," said Grimshaw.
"Well, now, my good fellow," continued Grimshaw, "I dislike this
business very much; it don't pay me enough for all the bother I have
with it. 'Tis just a little filtering of fees, which makes the duty
of my office exceedingly annoying. But we must respect the law. We do
these things to protect our institutions and make them as light as
possible. I might give you a great deal of trouble; I have the power,
but I make it a point to consider men in your case, and we'll make you
so comfortable that you won't think of being imprisoned. You must
understand that it is 'contrary to law' to come among our niggers in
this way; it gives them fanciful ideas. There's such an infernal
imperfect state of things as these abolitionists are getting every
thing into, behooves us to watch the communications which are going on
between, designing people and our slaves. We are a hospitable
people—the world knows that—and have a religious respect for our
laws, which we enforce without respect to persons. We'd like to let
you go about the city, but then it's 'contrary to law.' Make up your
mind, my good fellow, that you are among humane people, who will seek
to benefit you among men of your class. Make yourself happy—and look
upon me as a friend, and you will never be deceived. I control the
jail, and my prisoners are as much attached to me as they would be to
"It must be humanity that puts these symbols of ignominy upon my
hands," said Manuel; "that confines me in a dungeon lest I should
breathe a word of liberty to ears that know it only as a fable."
Nobody had asked him to sit down, and, feeling the effect of his
sickness and fatigue, he turned around as if to look for something to
rest against. "You must not sit down,—take off your hat!" said
The poor fellow made an effort, but could not effect it with the
fetters on his hands; at which, Dunn stepped up, and snatching it
from his head, flung it upon the floor. "You should learn manners, my
good fellow," said Grimshaw, "when you come into a sheriff's office.
It's a place of importance, and people always pay respect to it when
they come into it; a few months in Charleston would make you as polite
as our niggers."
"Had you not better take the irons off the poor fellow's hands?—he
looks as if he was tired out," said Mr. Kanapeaux, the clerk, who
again came to the door and looked upon Manuel with an air of pity.
The words of sympathy touched his feelings deeply; it was a simple
word in his favour, so different from what he had met since he left
the vessel, that he felt a kind friend had spoken in his behalf, and
he gave way to his feeling in a gush of tears.
"Good suggestion, Mr. Kanapeaux!" said Grimshaw. "Better take 'em
off, Mr. Dunn; I don't think he'll give you any more difficulty. He
seems like a 'likely fellow,' and knows, if he cuts up any nigger
rascality in Charleston, he'll be snapped up. Now, my good fellow,
put on your best-natured countenance, and stand as straight as a
ramrod. Mr. Kanapeaux, get your book ready to register him,"
Manuel now stood up under a slide, and his height and general
features were noted in the following manner, in order to appease that
sovereign dignity of South Carolina law, which has so many strange
devices to show its importance:—"Contrary to Law." Violation of the
Act of 1821, as amended, Manuel Pereira vs. State of South Carolina,
Steward on board British Brig Janson, Captain Thompson. Entered 24th
Height, 5 feet 81/2 inches.
Complexion, light olive, (bright.)
Features, sharp and aquiline.
[Hair and eyes, dark and straight; the former inclined to curl.]
General remarks:—Age, twenty-nine; Portuguese by birth; speaks
rather broken, but politely; is intelligent, well formed, and good
looking. Fees to Sheriff:
To arrest, $2-Registry, $2 $4 00 To Recog. $1.31-Constable $1 2 31
To Commitment and discharge, 1 00
Jail fees to be added when discharged.
After these remarks were duly entered, and Mr. Grimshaw read
another lecture to him on the importance of South Carolina law, and
the kindness he would receive at his hands if he made himself con-
tented, he was told that he could go and be committed. The poor
fellow had stood up until he was nearly exhausted; yet, it was not
enough to gratify the feelings of that miserable miscreant, Dunn.
Scarcely had he left the sheriff's office, or passed two squares from
the court-house, before he entered another Dutch grog-shop, a little
more respectable in appearance-but not in character. They entered by a
side door, which led into a back apartment provided with a table and
two wooden settees. As Dunn entered, he was recognised by two
negro-fellows, who were playing dominoes at the table. They arose and
ran through the front store, into the street, as if some evil spirit
had descended among them. The Dutchman sprang for the dominoes, and
quickly thrust them into a tin measure which he secreted under the
"Ah! Drydez!" said Dunn; "you vagabond, you; up to the old tricks
again? Ye Dutchmen are worse than the divil! It's meself'll make ye
put a five for that. Come, fork it over straight, and don't be
muttering yer Dutch lingo!"
"Vat zue drink mit me dis morning? Misser Dunz' te best fellow vat
comez in my shop," said Drydez.
"Ah! stop yer botheration, and don't be comin' yer Dutch logger
over an Irishman! put down the five dollars, and we'll take the drinks
presently; meself and me friend here'll drink yer health," said Dunn,
pointing to Manuel, who shook his head as much as to decline. The
Dutchman now opened his drawer, and rolling a bill up in his fingers,
passed it as if unobserved into the hands of Dunn.
"Now, Drydez," said Dunn, "if ye want to do the clean thing, put a
couple of brandy smashes-none of your d—d Dutch cut-throat brandy-
the best old stuff. Come, me old chuck, (turning to Manuel and
pulling him by the Whiskers,) cheer up, another good stiff'ner will
put you on your taps again. South Carolina's a great State, and a man
what can't be happy in Charleston, ought to be put through by daylight
by the abolitionists."
The Dutchman soon prepared the smashes, and supplying them with
straws, put them upon the table, and seated chairs close at hand.
"Excuse me!" said Manuel, "I've drunk enough already, and should like
to lie down. I am unwell, and feel the effect of what I have already
taken. I am too feeble. Pray tell me how far the prison is from here,
and I will go myself."
"Go, is it?—the divil a go ye'll go from this until ye drink the
smash. None of yer Portugee independence here. We larn niggers the
politeness of gintlemen in Charleston, me buck!" and seizing him by
the collar, dragged him to the table, then grasping the tumbler with
the other hand, he held it before his face. "Do you see that? and,
bedad, ye'll drink it, and not be foolin', or I'd put the contents in
your phiz," said he.
Manuel took the glass, while the Dutchman stood chuckling over the
very nice piece of fun, and the spice of Mr. Dunn's wit, as he called
it. "Vat zu make him vat'e no vants too? You doz make me laugh so ven
zu comes 'ere, I likes to kilt myself," said Drydez.
A bright mulatto-fellow was now seen in the front store, making
quizzical signs to the Dutchman; who understanding its signification,
lost no time in slipping into his pocket a tumbler nearly half full of
brandy and water; and stepping behind the division door, passed it
slily to the mulatto, who equally as slily passed it down his throat;
and putting a piece of money into the Dutchman's hand, stepped up to
the counter, as if to wait for his change. "All right!" said the
Dutchman, looking around at his shelves, and then again under the
"No so!" said the mulatto; "I want fourpence; you done' dat befor'
several times; I wants my money."
"Get out of my store, or I'll kick you out," said the Dutchman, and
catching up a big club, ran from behind the counter and commenced
belaboring the negro over the head in a most unmerciful manner. At
this, the mulatto retreated into the lane, and with a volley of the
vilest epithets, dared the Dutchman to come out, and he would whip
Dunn ran to the scene, and ordered the negro to be off, and not use
such language to a white man, that it was "contrary to law," and he
would take him to the workhouse.
"Why, massa, I knows what 'em respect white men what be gemmen like
yersef, but dat Dutchman stand da'h a'n't no gentlem', he done gone
tieffe my money seven time; an' I whip him sure-jus' lef' him. come
out here. I doesn't care for true, and God saw me, I be whip at the
wukhouse next minute. He tief, an' lie, an 'e cheat me." The Dutchman
stood at the door with the big stick in his hand-the negro in the
middle of the lane with his fists in a pugilistic attitude, daring and
threatening, while the limping Dunn stood by the side of the Dutchman,
acting as a mediator. Manuel, taking advantage of the opportunity,
emptied his tumbler down a large opening in the floor.
It is a notorious fact in Charleston, that although the negro,
whether he be a black or white one, is held in abject obedience to
the white man proper, no matter what his grade may be, yet such is
the covetous and condescending character of these groggery keepers,
that they become courteous to the negro and submit to an equality of
sociability. The negro, taking advantage of this familiarity, will
use the most insulting and abusive language to this class of
Dutchmen, who, either through cowardice, or fear of losing their
trade, never resent it. We may say, in the language of Dunn, when he
was asked if negroes had such liberties with white men in Charleston,
"A nigger knows a Dutch shopkeeper better than he knows himself-a
nigger dare not speak that way to anybody else."
The Dutchman gets a double profit from the negro, and with it
diffuses a double vice among them, for which they have to suffer the
severest penalty. It is strictly "contrary to law" to purchase any
thing from a negro without a ticket to sell it, from his master. But
how is this regarded? Why, the shopkeeper foregoes the ticket,
encourages the warehouse negro to steal, and purchases his stealings
indiscriminately, at about one-half their value. We might enumerate
fifty different modes practised by "good" legal voting
citizens—totally regardless of the law—and exerting an influence
upon the negro tenfold more direful than that which could possibly
arise from the conversation of a few respectable men belonging to a
Dunn, after driving the mulatto man from the door and upbraiding
the Dutchman for his cowardice, returned to the table, and patting
Manuel upon the back, drank the balance of his smash, saying, "Come,
me good fellow, we must do the thing up brown, now; we've got the
Dutchman nailed on his own hook. We must have another horn; it's just
the stuff in our climate; the 'Old Jug's' close by, and they'll be
makin' a parson of you when you get there. We've had a right jolly
time; and ye can't wet your whistle when ye're fernint the gates."
"I don't ask such favors, and will drink no more," said Manuel.
"Fill her up, Drydez! fill her up! two more smashes-best brandy and
no mistake. You must drink another, my old chuck-we'll bring the
pious notions out o' ye in Charleston," said Dunn, turning around to
The Dutchman filled the glasses, and Dunn, laying his big hickory
stick upon the counter, took one in each hand, and going directly to
Manuel, "There, take it, and drink her off-no humbugging; yer mother
niver gave such milk as that," said he.
"Excuse me, sir; I positively will not!" said Manuel, and no sooner
had he lisped the words, than Dunn threw the whole contents in his
face. Enraged at such outrageous conduct, the poor fellow could stand
it no longer, and fetched him a blow that levelled him upon the floor.
The Dutchman ran to the assistance of Dunn, and succeeded in
relieving him from his unenviable situation. Not satisfied, however,
they succeeded, after a hard struggle, in getting him upon the floor,
when the Dutchman-after calling the assistance of a miserable negro,
held him down while Dunn beat him with his stick. His cries of
"Murder" and "Help" resounded throughout the neighbourhood, and
notwithstanding they attempted to gag him, brought several persons to
the spot. Among them was a well-known master builder, in Charleston-a
very muscular and a very humane man. The rascality of Dunn was no new
thing to him, for he had had practical demonstrations of it upon his
own negroes,—who had been enticed into the "corner shops" for the
double purpose of the Dutchmen getting their money, and the officers
getting hush-money from the owner.
The moment he saw Dunn, he exclaimed, "Ah! you vagabond!" and
springing with the nimbleness of a cat, struck the Dutchman a blow
that sent him measuring his length, into a corner among a lot of
empty boxes; then seizing Dunn by the collar, he shook him like a
puppy, and brought him a slap with his open hand that double-dyed his
red face, and brought a stream of claret from his nose; while the
miserable nigger, who had been struggling to hold Manuel down, let go
his hold, and ran as if his life was in danger. The scene was
disgusting in the extreme. Manuel arose, with his face cut in several
places, his clothes bedaubed with filth from the floor, and his neck
and shirt-bosom covered with blood; while the aghast features of Dunn,
with his red, matted hair, and his glaring, vicious eyes, bespattered
with the combined blood of his victim and his own nasal organ, gave
him the most fiendish look imaginable.
The gentleman, after reprimanding the Dutchman for keeping up these
miserable practices, which were disgracing the community, and
bringing suffering, starvation, and death upon the slaves, turned to
Dunn, and addressed him. "You are a pretty officer of the law! A
villain upon the highway-a disgrace to your color, and a stain upon
those who retain you in office. A man who has violated the peace and
every principle of honest duty, a man who every day merits the worst
criminal punishment, kept in the favor of the municipal department,
to pollute its very name. If there is a spark of honesty left in the
police department, I will use my influence to stop your conduct. The
gallows will be your doom yet. You must not think because you are
leagued in the same traffic."
Dunn kept one of the worst and most notorious drinking-shops in
Charleston, but, to reconcile his office with that strict requirement
which never allowed any thing "contrary to law" in Charleston, he made
his wife a "free trader." This special set of South Carolina may in
effect be classed among its many singular laws. It has an exceedingly
accommodating effect among bankrupt husbands, and acts as a masked
battery for innumerable sins in a business or official line. It so
happens, once in a while, that one of the "fair free dealers" gets
into limbo through the force of some ruthless creditor; and the
"Prison Bounds Act," being very delicate in its bearings, frequently
taxes the gallantry of the chivalrous gentlemen of the Charleston bar.
that you are to go unpunished. And you, Drydez," said he, turning to
the Dutchman, "I shall enter you upon the information docket, as soon
as I go down into the city."
"Zeu may tu vat zeu plas mit me-te mayor bees my friend, an' he
knowz vot me ams. Yuz sees zel no bronty, no zin! Vot yu to mit de
fine, ah?" * * *
"I'd like to see you do that same agin Mr.—. It wouldn't be savin'
yerself a pace-warrant, and another for assault and battery! Sure
magistrate Gyles is a first-rate friend of me own, and he'd not
suffer me imposed on. The d—d nigger was obstinate and wouldn't go
to jail," said Dunn in a cowardly, whimpering manner.
"Oh yez, me heard mit 'im swore, vat he no go to zale!" rejoined
the Dutchman anxiously.
"Tell me none of your lies," said he; "you are both the biggest
rascals in town, and carry on your concerted villany as boldly as if
you had the control of the city in your hands." Manuel was trembling
under the emotions of grief and revenge. His Portuguese blood would
have revenged itself at the poniard's point, but fortunately he had
left it in his chest. He saw that he had a friend at his hand, and
with the earnestness of a child, resigned himself to his charge.
In a few minutes quiet was produced, and the gentleman expressing a
desire to know how the trouble originated, inquired of Manuel how it
was brought about. But no sooner had he commenced his story, than he
was interrupted by Dunn asserting his right, according to the laws of
South Carolina, to make his declaration, which could not be refuted by
the negro's statement, or even testimony at law; and in another moment
jumped up, and taking Manuel by the collar, commanded him to come
along to jail; and turning to the gentleman, dared him to interfere
with his duty.
"I know how you take people to jail, very well. I'll now see that
you perform that duty properly, and not torture prisoners from place
to place before you get there. You inflict a worse punishment in
taking poor, helpless people to jail, than they suffer after they get
there!" said he; and immediately joined Manuel and walked to the jail
CHAPTER XII. THE OLD JAIL.
THERE are three institutions in Charleston-either of which would be
a stain upon the name of civilization-standing as emblems of the
time-established notions of a people, and their cherished love for
the ancestral relics of a gone-by age. Nothing could point with more
unerring aim than these sombre monuments do, to the distance behind
the age that marks the thoughts and actions of the Charlestonians.
They are the poor-house, hospital, and jail; but as the latter only
pertains to our present subject, we prefer to speak of it alone, and
leave the others for another occasion. The workhouse may be said to
form an exception-that being a new building, recently erected upon a
European plan. It is very spacious, with an extravagant exterior,
surmounted by lofty semi-Gothic watch-towers, similar to the old
castles upon the Rhine. So great was the opposition to building this
magnificent temple of a workhouse, and so inconsistent, beyond the
progress of the age, was it viewed by the "manifest ancestry," that
it caused the mayor his defeat at the following hustings. "Young
Charleston" was rebuked for its daring progress, and the building is
marked by the singular cognomen of "Hutchinson's Folly." What is
somewhat singular, this magnificent building is exclusively for
negroes. One fact will show how progressive has been the science of
law to govern the negro, while those to which the white man is
subjected are such as good old England conferred upon them some
centuries ago. For felonious and burglarious offences, a white man is
confined in the common jail; then dragged to the market-place,
stripped, and whipped, that the negroes may laugh "and go see buckra
catch it;" while a negro is sent to the workhouse, confined in his
cell for a length of time, and then whipped according to modern
science,—but nobody sees it except by special permission. Thus the
negro has the advantage of science and privacy.
The jail is a sombre-looking building, with every mark of antiquity
standing boldly outlined upon its exterior. It is surrounded by a
high brick wall, and its windows are grated with double rows of bars,
sufficiently strong for a modern penitentiary. Altogether, its dark,
gloomy appearance strikes those who approach it, with the thought and
association of some ancient cruelty. You enter through an iron-barred
door, and on both sides of a narrow portal leading to the right are
four small cells and a filthy-looking kitchen, resembling an
old-fashioned smoke-house. These cells are the debtors'; and as we
were passing out, after visiting a friend, a lame "molatto-fellow"
with scarcely rags to cover his nakedness, and filthy beyond
description, stood at what was called the kitchen door. "That poor
dejected object," said our friend, "is the cook. He is in for
misdemeanor-one of the peculiar shades of it, for which a nigger is
honored with the jail." "It seems, then, that cooking is a punishment
in Charleston, and the negro is undergoing the penalty," said we.
"Yes!" said our friend; "but the poor fellow has a sovereign
consolation, which few niggers in Charleston can boast of-and none of
the prisoners here have-he can get enough to eat."
The poor fellow held out his hand as we passed him, and said,
"Massa, gin poor Abe a piece o' 'bacca'?" We freely gave him all in
On the left side, after passing the main iron door, are the
jailer's apartments. Passing through another iron door, you ascend a
narrow, crooked stairs and reach the second story; here are some eight
or nine miserable cells-some large and some small-badly ventilated,
and entirely destitute of any kind of furniture: and if they are badly
ventilated for summer, they are equally badly provided with means to
warm them in winter. In one of these rooms were nine or ten persons,
when we visited it; and such was the morbid stench escaping from it,
that we were compelled to put our handkerchiefs to our faces. This
floor is appropriated for such crimes as assault and battery; assault
and battery, with intent to kill; refractory seamen; deserters;
violating the statutes; suspicion of arson and murder; witnesses; all
sorts of crimes, varying from the debtor to the positive murderer,
burglar, and felon. We should have enumerated, among the rest, all
stewards, (colored,) whether foreign or domestic, who are committed on
that singular charge, "contrary to law." And it should have been
added, even though cast away upon our "hospitable shores." Among all
these different shades of criminals, there must be some very bad men.
And we could recount three who were pointed out to us, as very
dangerous men, yet were allowed the favor of this floor and its
associations. One was an Irish sailor, who was sentenced to three
years and nine months' imprisonment by the United States court, for
revolt and a desperate attempt to murder the captain of a ship; the
next was a German, a soldier in the United States army, sentenced to
one year and eight months' imprisonment for killing his comrade; and
the third was an English sailor, who killed a woman-but as she
happened to be of doubtful character, the presiding judge of the
sessions sentenced him to a light imprisonment, which the Governor
very condescendingly pardoned after a few weeks.
The two former acted as attendants, or deputy jailers; with the
exception of turning the key, which privilege the jailer reserved for
himself exclusively. The principle may seem a strange one, that places
men confined upon such grave charges in a superior position over
prisoners; and may be questionable with regard to the discipline
From this floor, another iron door opened, and a winding passage
led into the third and upper story, where a third iron door opened
into a vestibule, on the right and left of which were grated doors
secured with heavy bolts and bars. These opened into narrow portals
with dark, gloomy cells on each side. In the floor of each of these
cells was a large iron ring-bolt, doubtless intended to chain
refractory prisoners to; but we were informed that such prisoners
were kept in close stone cells, in the yard, which were commonly
occupied by negroes and those condemned to capital punishment. The
ominous name of this third story was "Mount Rascal," intended, no
doubt, as significant of the class of prisoners it contained. It is
said that genius is never idle: the floor of these cells bore some
evidence of the fact in a variety of very fine specimens of carving
and flourish work, done with a knife. Among them was a well-executed
crucifix; with the Redeemer, on Calvary-an emblem of hope, showing
how the man marked the weary moments of his durance. We spoke with
many of the prisoners, and heard their different stories, some of
which were really painful. Their crimes were variously stated, from
that of murder, arson, and picking pockets, down to the felon who had
stolen a pair of shoes to cover his feet; one had stolen a pair of
pantaloons, and a little boy had stolen a few door-keys. Three boys
were undergoing their sentence for murder. A man of genteel
appearance, who had been sentenced to three years imprisonment, and
to receive two hundred and twenty lashes in the market, at different
periods, complained bitterly of the injustice of his case. Some had
been flogged in the market, and were awaiting their time to be
flogged again and discharged; and others were confined on suspicion,
and had been kept in this close durance for more than six months,
awaiting trial. We noticed that this worst of injustice, "the law's
delay," was felt worse by those confined on the suspicion of some
paltry theft, who, even were they found guilty by a jury, would not
have been subjected to more than one week imprisonment. Yet such was
the adherence to that ancient system of English criminal
jurisprudence, that it was almost impossible for the most innocent
person to get a hearing, except at the regular sessions, "which sit
seldom, and with large intervals between." There is indeed a city
court in Charleston, somewhat more modern in its jurisprudence than
the sessions. It has its city sheriff, and its city officers, and
holds its terms more frequently. Thus is Charleston doubly provided
with sheriffs and officials. Both aspire to a distinct jurisdiction
in civil and criminal cases. Prisoners seem mere shuttlecocks between
the sheriffs, with a decided advantage in favor of the county sheriff,
who is autocrat in rei over the jail; and any criminal who has the
good fortune to get a hearing before the city judge, may consider
himself under special obligation to the county sheriff for the favor.
We noticed these cells were much cleaner than those below, yet
there was a fetid smell escaping from them. This we found arose from
the tubs being allowed to stand in the rooms, where the criminals were
closely confined, for twenty-four hours, which, with the action of
the damp, heated atmosphere of that climate, was of itself enough to
breed contagion. We spoke of the want of ventilation and the noxious
fumes that seemed almost pestilential, but they seemed to have become
habituated to it, and told us that the rooms on the south side were
lighter and more comfortable. Many of them spoke cheerfully, and
endeavored to restrain their feelings, but the furrows upon their
haggard countenances needed no tongue to utter its tale.
Hunger was the great grievance of which they complained; and if
their stories were true—and we afterward had strong proofs that they
were—there was a wanton disregard of common humanity, and an abuse of
power the most reprehensible. The allowance per day was a loaf of bad
bread, weighing about nine ounces, and a pint of thin, repulsive soup,
so nauseous that only the most necessitated appetite could be forced
to receive it, merely to sustain animal life. This was served in a
dirty-looking tin pan, without even a spoon to serve it. One man told
us that he had subsisted on bread and water for nearly five weeks-that
he had lain down to sleep in the afternoon and dreamed that he was
devouring some wholesome nourishment to stay the cravings of his
appetite, and awoke to grieve that it was but a dream. In this manner
his appetite was doubly aggravated, yet he could get nothing to
appease its wants until the next morning. To add to this cruelty, we
found two men in close confinement, the most emaciated and abject
specimens of humanity we have ever beheld. We asked ourselves, "Lord
God! was it to be that humanity should descend so low?" The first was
a forlorn, dejected-looking creature, with a downcast countenance,
containing little of the human to mark his features. His face was
covered with hair, and so completely matted with dirt and made
fiendish by the tufts of coarse hair that hung over his forehead, that
a thrill of horror invaded our feelings. He had no shoes on his feet;
and a pair of ragged pantaloons, and the shreds of a striped shirt
without sleeves, secured around the waist with a string, made his only
clothing. In truth, he had scarce enough on to cover his nakedness,
and that so filthy and swarming with vermin, that he kept his
shoulders and hands busily employed; while his skin was so incrusted
with dirt as to leave no trace of its original complexion. In this
manner he was kept closely confined, and was more like a wild beast
who saw none but his keepers when they came to throw him his feed.
Whether he was kept in this manner for his dark deeds or to cover the
shame of those who speculated upon his misery, we leave to the
judgment of the reader.
We asked this poor mortal what he had done to merit such a
punishment? He held his head down, and motioned his fevered lips.
"Speak out!" said we, "perhaps we can get you out." "I had no shoes,
and I took a pair of boots from the gentleman I worked with," said he
in a low, murmuring tone,
"Gracious, man!" said we, "a pair of boots! and is that all you are
"Yes, sir! he lives on the wharf, is very wealthy, and is a good
man: 't wasn't his fault, because he tried to get me out if I'd pay
for the boots, but they wouldn't let him."
"And how long have you been thus confined?" said we.
"Better than five months-but it's because there a'n't room up
stairs. They've been promising me some clothes for a long time, but
they don't come," he continued.
"And how much longer have you to stop in this condition?"
"Well, they say 'at court sets in October; it's somethin' like two
months off; the grand jury'll visit the jail then, and maybe they'll
find a bill' against me, and I'll be tried. I dont't care if they
only don't flog me in that fish-market."
"Then you have not been tried yet? Well, may God give that man
peace to enjoy his bounty, who would consign a poor object like thee
to such cruelty!" said we.
"I was raised in Charleston-can neither read nor write-I have no
father, and my mother is crazy in the poor-house, and I work about
the city for a living, when I'm out!" said he. There was food for
reflection in this poor fellow's simple story, which we found to be
correct, as corroborated by the jailer.
"Do you get enough to eat?" we asked.
"Oh no, indeed! I could eat twice as much-that's the worst on't: 't
wouldn't be bad only for that. I git me loaf' in the mornin', and me
soup at twelve, but I don't git nothin' to eat at night, and a
feller's mighty hungry afore it's time to lay down," said he.
We looked around the room, and not seeing any thing to sleep upon,
curiosity led us to ask him where he slept.
"The jail allows us a blanket-that's mine in the corner: I spread
it at night when I wants to go to bed," he answered, quite
contentedly. We left the poor wretch, for our feelings could withstand
it no longer. The state of society that would thus reduce a human
being, needed more pity than the calloused bones reduced to such a
bed. His name was Bergen.
The other was a young Irishman, who had been dragged to jail in his
shirt, pantaloons, and hat, on suspicion of having stolen seven
dollars from a comrade. He had been in jail very near four months,
and in regard to filth and vermin was a counterpart of the other. A
death-like smell, so offensive that we stopped upon the threshold,
escaped from the room as soon as the door opened, enough to destroy a
common constitution, which his emaciated limbs bore the strongest
The prisoners upon the second story were allowed the privilege of
the yard during certain hours in the day, and the debtors at all
hours in the day; yet, all were subjected to the same fare. In the
yard were a number of very close cells, which, as we have said
before, were kept for negroes, refractory criminals, and those
condemned to capital punishment. These cells seemed to be held as a
terror over the criminals, and well they might, for we never
witnessed any thing more dismal for the tenement of man.
CHAPTER XIII. HOW IT IS.
IT is our object to show the reader how many gross abuses of power
exist in Charleston, and to point him to the source. In doing this,
the task becomes a delicate one, for there are so many things we
could wish were not so, because we know there are many good men in
the community whose feelings are enlisted in the right, but their
power is not coequal; and if it were, it is checked by an opposite
The more intelligent of the lower classes look upon the subject of
politics in its proper light—they see the crashing effect the
doctrine of nullification has upon their interests; yet, though their
numbers are not few, their voice is small, and cannot sound through
the channels that make popular influence. Thus all castes of society
are governed by impracticable abstractions.
The jail belongs to the county—the municipal authorities have no
voice in it; and the State, in its legislative benevolence, has
provided thirty cents a day for the maintenance of each prisoner.
This small sum, in the State of South Carolina, where provision is
extremely high, may be considered as a paltry pittance; but more
especially so when the magnificent pretensions of South Carolina are
taken into consideration, and a comparison is made between this
meagre allowance and that of other States. Even Georgia, her sister
State, and one whose plain modesty is really worthy of her
enterprising citizens, takes a more enlightened view of a criminal's
circumstances-allows forty-four cents a day for his maintenance, and
treats him as if he was really a human being. But for this disparity
and the wanton neglect of humane feelings South Carolinians excuse
themselves upon the ground that they have no penitentiary; nor do
they believe in that system of punishment, contending that it creates
an improper competition with the honest mechanic, and gives
countenance to crime, because it attempts to improve criminals. The
common jail is made the place of confinement, while the whipping-post
and starvation supply the correctives.
The sheriff being created an absolute functionary, with unlimited
powers to control the jail in all its varied functions, without
either commissioners or jail-committee, what state of management may
be expected? The court gives no specific direction as to the
apartment or mode of confinement when sentencing a criminal;
consequently, it becomes an established fact that the legislative
confidence deposed in the sheriff is used as a medium of favors, to
be dispensed as best suits the feelings or interests of the
incumbent. Such power in the hands of an arbitrary, vindictive, or
avaricious man, affords unlimited means of abuse, and without fear of
It may be inferred from what we have said that the jailer was relax
in his duty. This is not the case, for we have good authority that a
more kind-hearted and benevolent man never filled the office. But his
power was so restricted by those in absolute control, that his office
became a mere turnkey's duty, for which he was paid the pittance of
five hundred dollars a year or thereabouts. Thus he discharged his
duty according to the instructions of the sheriff, who, it was well
known, looked upon the jail as a means of speculation; and in carrying
out his purposes, he would give very benevolent instructions in words,
and at the same time withhold the means of carrying them out, like the
very good man who always preached but never practised.
Now, how is it? What is the regimen of this jail-prison and how is
it provided? We will say nothing of that arduous duty which the
jailer performs for his small sum; nor the report that the sheriff's
office is worth fourteen thousand dollars a year: these things are
too well established. But the law provides thirty cents a day for the
prisoner's maintenance, which shall be received by the sheriff, who is
to procure one pound of good bread, and one pound of good beef per day
for each man. Now this provision is capable of a very elastic
construction. The poor criminal is given a loaf of bad bread, costing
about three cents, and a pound of meat, the most unwholesome and
sickly in its appearance, costing five cents. Allowing a margin,
however, and we may say the incumbent has a very nice profit of from
eighteen to twenty cents per day on each prisoner. But, as no
provision is made against the possibility of the criminal eating his
meat raw, he is very delicately forced to an alternative which has
another profitable issue for the sheriff; that of taking a pint of
diluted water, very improperly called soup. Thus is carried out that
ancient law of England which even she is now ashamed to own. Our
feelings are naturally roused against the perpetration of such abuses
upon suffering humanity. We struggle between a wish to speak well of
her whose power it is to practise them, and an imperative duty that
commands us to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves.
These things could not exist if the public mind was properly
enlightened. It is unnecessary to spend many words in exposing such
palpable abuses, or to trace the cause of their existence and
continuance. One cause of this is the wilful blindness and silly
gasconade of some of those who lead and form public opinion. With
South Carolinians, nothing is done in South Carolina that is not
greater than ever was done in the United States-no battles were ever
fought that South Carolina did not win-no statesman was ever equal to
Mr. Calhoun-no confederacy would be equal to the Southern, with South
Carolina at its head-no political doctrines contain so much vital
element as secession, and no society in the Union is equal to South
Carolina for caste and elegance-not excepting the worthy and learned
aristocracy of Boston.
A will to do as it pleases and act as it pleases, without national
restraint, is the great drawback under which South Carolina sends
forth her groaning tale of political distress. Let her look upon her
dubious glory in its proper light-let her observe the rights of
others, and found her acts in justice!—annihilate her grasping
spirit, and she will find a power adequate to her own preservation.
She can then show to the world that she gives encouragement to the
masses, and is determined to persevere in that moderate and
forbearing policy which creates its own protection, merits admiration
abroad, instead of rebuke, and which needs no gorgeous military
display to marshal peace at the point of the bayonet.
CHAPTER XIV. MANUEL PEREIRA
IT was nearly eleven o'clock as they ascended the jail steps and
rang the bell for admittance. The jailer, a stout, rough-looking man,
opened the iron door, and as Manuel was about to step over the stone
sill, Dunn gave him a sudden push that sent him headlong upon the
floor. "Heavens! what now?" inquired the jailer with a look of
astonishment, and at the next moment Dunn raised his foot to kick
Manuel in the face.
"You infernal beast!" said the jailer, "you are more like a savage
than a man-you are drunk now, you vagabond," and jumped in between
them to save him from the effect of the blow. As he did this, the
gentleman who accompanied them from the "corner-shop," as a
protection against Dunn's cruelty, fetched Dunn a blow on the back of
the neck that made him stagger against a door, and created such
confusion as to arouse the whole jail. Turning to Manuel, he, with
the assistance of the jailer, raised him from the ground and led him
into the jail-office. "Mister jailer," said Dunn, "the prisoner is
mine until such times as you receipt the commitment, and I demand
protection from you against this man. He has committed two violent
assaults upon me, when I'd be doing me duty."
"You have violated all duty, and are more like an incarnate fiend.
You first decoy men into rum-shops, and then you plunder and abuse
them, because you think they are black and can get no redress. You
abused that man unmercifully, because you knew his evidence was not
valid against you!" said the gentleman, turning to the jailer, and
giving him the particulars of what he saw in the "corner-shop," and
what cruelties he had seen practised by Dunn on former occasions.
The jailer looked upon Manuel with commiseration, and handed him a
chair to sit down on. The poor fellow was excited and fatigued, for
he had eaten nothing that day, and been treated more like a brute
than a human being from the time, he left the ship until he arrived
at the jail. He readily accepted the kind offer, and commenced to
tell the story of his treatment.
"You need' not tell me,—I know too much of that man already. It
has long been a mystery to me why he is retained in office."—
Here Dunn interrupted. "Sure it's yer master I'd obey and not
yerself, an' I'd do what I'd plase with prisoners, and, it's his
business and not yeers. If ye had yer way, sure you'd be makin' white
men of every nigger that ye turned a key upon."
"Give me none of your insolence," said the jailer. "You have no
authority beyond my door. Your brutal treatment to prisoners has
caused me an immense deal of trouble-more than my paltry pay would
induce me to stay for. Suppose you were indicted for these outrages?
What would be the result?" asked the jailer.
"Sure it's meself could answer for the sheriff, without yer
bothering yerself. I'd not work for yer, but for him; and he's yer
master anyhow, and knows all about it. Give me the receipt, and
that's all I'd ax yer. When a nigger don't mind me, I just makes him
feel the delight of a hickory stick."
"Yes, if you had the shame of a man in you, you'd not make a beast
of yourself with liquor, and treat these poor stewards as if they
were dogs," said the jailer.
"Indeed, ye might learn a thing or two if ye was a politician like
meself, and belonged to the secession party. An' if his honor the
sheriff-for he's a dacent man-knew ye'd be preachin' in that shape,
ye wouldn't keep the jail f'nent the morning. Be letting me out, and
make much of the nigger; ye have him there."
The jailer unlocked the door and allowed him to pass out, with a
pertinent rebuke. This was but a trifling affair in Dunn's ear, for
he knew his master's feelings too well, and was backed by him in his
most intolerable proceedings. Returning to the office, he looked at
the commitment, and then again at Manuel. "This is a 'contrary to
law' case, I see, Mr. Manuel; you are a likely fellow too, to come
within that," said he.
"Yes. If I understand him right, he's a shipwrecked sailor,
belonging to a foreign vessel that was driven in here in distress,"
said the man. "It's a hard law that imprisons a colored seaman who
comes here voluntarily; but it seems beyond all manner of precedent
to imprison a shipwrecked man like this, especially when he seems so
respectable. There are no circumstances to warrant the enforcement of
such a law." Thus saying, he left the jail.
Be it said of the jailer, to his honor, so far as personal kindness
went, he did his utmost—brought him water to wash himself, and gave
him some clean clothes. After which, he was registered upon the
criminal calendar as follows:—
"March 24, 1852.—Manuel Peirire.—[Committed by] Sheriff—Sheriff.
Crime—Contrary to law."
Now the jailer had done his duty, so far as his feelings were
concerned; but, such were the stern requirements of the law, and his
functions so restricted by Mr. Grimshaw, that he dare not make
distinctions. He called Daley, one of the criminal assistants, and
ordered him to show the prisoner his room.
"Here, my boy, take yer blanket," said Daley; and throwing him a
coarse, filthy-looking blanket, told him to roll it up and follow
him. "It's on the second floor we'll put ye, among the stewards;
there's a nice lot on 'em to keep yer company, and ye'll have a jolly
time, my boy." Manuel followed through the second iron door until he
came to a large door secured with heavy bolts and bars, which Daley
began to withdraw and unlock. "Don't be takin' it amiss; it's a right
good crib, savin' the' bed, an' it's that's the worst of it. Bad luck
to old Grimshaw, an' himself thinks everybody's bones be's as tuf as
his own," said Daley, and threw open the heavy doors, sending forth
those ominous prison sounds. "All here? Ah! yer a pretty set of lambs,
as the British consul calls yees. Have ye ever a drop to spare?" At
this, three or four respectable-looking black men came to the door and
greeted Manuel. "Come, talk her out, for th' auld man'll be on the
scent." At this, one of the confined stewards, a tall, good-looking
mulatto man, ran his hand into a large opening in the wall, and drew
forth a little soda-bottle filled with Monongahela whisky. Without
giving reasonable time for politeness, Daley seized the bottle, and
putting it to his mouth, gauged about half its contents into his
homony dep“t, smacked his lips, wiped his mouth with his cuff, and,
passing the balance back, shut and rebolted the door, after saying,
"Good luck till yees, an' I wish yees a merry time." The reader may
imagine what provision the State or the sheriff had made for the
comfort of these poor men, one of whom was imprisoned because it was
"contrary to law" to be driven into the port of Charleston in
distress, and the rest, peaceable, unoffending citizens belonging to
distant States and countries, and guilty of no crime, when we describe
the room and regimen to which they were subjected. The room was about
twenty-six feet long and ten feet wide. The brick walls were plastered
and colored with some kind of blue wash, which, however, was so nearly
obliterated with dirt and the damp of a southern climate, as to leave
but little to show what its original color was. The walls were covered
with the condensed moisture of the atmosphere, spiders hung their
festooned network overhead, and cockroaches and ants, those
domesticated pests of South Carolina, were running about the floor in
swarms, and holding all legal rights to rations in superlative
contempt. Two small apertures in the wall, about fourteen inches
square, and double-barred with heavy flat iron, served to admit light
and air. The reader may thus judge of its gloomy appearance, and what
a miserable unhealthy cell it must have been in which to place men
just arrived from sea. There was not the first vestige of furniture
in the room, not; even a bench to sit upon, for the State, with its
gracious hospitality, forgot that men in jail ever sit down; but it
was in keeping with all other things that the State left to the
control of its officials.
"Am I to be punished in this miserable place? Why, I cannot see
where I'm going; and have I nothing to lay down upon but the floor,
and that creeping with live creatures?" inquired Manuel of those who
were already inured to the hardship.
"Nothing! nothing! Bring your mind to realize the worst, and forget
the cruelty while you are suffering it; they let us out a part of the
day. We are locked up to-day because one of the assistants stole my
friend's liquor, and he dared to accuse him of the theft, because he
was a white man," said a tall, fine-looking mulatto man by the name of
James Redman, who was steward on board a Thomastown (Maine) ship, and
declared that he had visited Charleston on a former occasion, and by
paying five dollars to one of the officers, remained on board of the
"And how long shall I have to suffer in this manner?" inquired
Manuel. "Can I not have my own bed and clothing?"
"Oh, yes," said Redman; "you can have them, but if you bring them
here, they'll not be worth anything when you leave; and the prisoners
upon this floor are so starved and destitute, that necessity forces
them to steal whatever comes in their way; and the assistants are as
much implicated as the prisoners. You'll fare hard; but just do as we
do in a calm, wait for the wind to blow, and pray for the best. If you
say any thing, or grumble about it, the sheriff will order you locked,
up on the third story, and that's worse than death itself. The first
thing you do, make preparations for something to eat. We pay for it
here, but don't get it; and you'd starve afore you'd eat what they
give them poor white prisoners. They suffer worse than we do, only
they have cleaner rooms."
"I pray for my deliverance from such a place as this."
His manners and appearance at once enlisted the respect of those
present, and they immediately set to work, with all the means at
hand, to make him comfortable. Joseph Jociquei, a young man who had
been taken from a vessel just arrived from Rio, and was more
fortunate than the rest, in having a mattrass, seeing Manuel's weak
condition, immediately removed it from its place, and spreading it
upon the floor, invited him to lay down. The invitation was as
acceptable as it was kind on the part of Jociquei, and the poor
fellow laid his weary limbs upon it, and almost simultaneously fell
into a profound sleep. Manuel continued to sleep. His face and head
were scarred in several places; which were dressed and covered with
pieces of plaster that the jailer had supplied. His companions, for
such we shall call those who were confined with him, sat around him,
discussing the circumstances that brought him there, and the manner
in which they could best relieve his suffering. "It's just as I was
sarved," said Redman. "And I'll bet that red-headed constable, Dunn,
brought him up: and abused him in all them Dutch shops. I didn't know
the law, and he made me give him three dollars not to put the
handcuffs upon me, and then I had to treat him in every grog-shop we
came to. Yes, and the last shop we were in, he throw'd liquor in me
face, cursed the Dutchman that kept the shop, kick'd me, and tried
every way in the world to raise a fuss. If I hadn't know'd the law
here too well, I'd whipt him sure. I have suffered the want of that
three dollars since I bin here. 'Twould sarved me for coffee. We have
neither coffee nor bread to-night, for we gave our allowance of bad
bread to the white prisoners, but we must do something to make the
poor fellow comfortable. I know the constable has kept him all day
coming up, and he'll be hungry as soon as he awakes."
"Won't he receive his allowance to-day like another prisoner?"
inquired Copeland, a thick-set, well made, dark-skinned negro
steward, who had formerly conducted a barber shop in Fleet street,
Boston, but was now attached to the schooner Oscar Jones, Kellogg,
"Oh! no, sir," said Redman, "that's against the rules of the
jail-every thing is done by rule here, even to paying for what we
don't get, and starving the prisoners. A man that don't come in
before eleven o'clock gets no ration until the next morning. I know,
because I had a fuss with the jailer about it, the first day I was
brought in; but he gin me a loaf out of his own house. The old
sheriff never allows any thing done outside the rules, for he's
tighter than a mantrap. 'T a'n't what ye suffers in this cell, but
it's what ye don't get to eat; and if that poor feller a'n't got
money, he'll wish himself alongside the caboose again 'fore he gets
out." The poor fellows were driven to the extreme of providing
sustenance to sustain life. They mustered their little means
together, and by giving a sum to the sheriff's black boy, (a man more
intelligent, gentlemanly, and generous-hearted than his master,) had a
measure of coffee, sugar, and bread brought in. Necessity was the
mother of invention with them, for they had procured a barrel for
twenty-five cents, and made it supply the place of a table. With a few
chips that were brought to them by a kind-hearted colored woman that
did their washing, and bestowed many little acts of kindness, they
made a fire, endured the annoyance of a dense smoke from the old
fire-place, and prepared their little supper. As soon as it was upon
the table, they awoke Manuel, and invited him to join in their humble
fare. The poor fellow arose, and looking around the gloomy,
cavern-like place, heaved a deep sigh. "It's hard to be brought to
this for nothing!" said he; "and my bones are so sore that I can
scarcely move. I must see the Captain and consul."
"That won't do any good; you might as well keep quiet and drink
your coffee. A prisoner that says the least in this jail is best off,"
Manuel took his bowl of coffee and a piece of bread, eating it with
a good appetite, and asking what time they got breakfast. "It's the
first time I was abused in a foreign country. I'm Portuguese, but a
citizen of Great Britain, and got my protection.-When it won't save
me, I'll never come to South Carolina again, nor sail where a flag
won't protect me. When I go among Patagonians, I know what they do;
but when I sail to United States or be cast away on them, I don't
know what they do, because I expect good people." * * *
"Never mind, my good fellow," said Redman; "cheer up, take it as a
good sailor would a storm, and in the morning you'll get a small loaf
of sour bread and a bucket of water for breakfast, if you go to the
pump for it. Be careful to moderate your appetite when you breakfast
according to the State's rules; for you must save enough to last you
during the day, and if you can keep "banyan day," as the Bluenose
calls it, you're just the man for this institution, and no mistake.
Come, I see you're hungry; drink another bowl of coffee, and eat
plenty of bread; then you'll be all right for another good sleep."
"Yes, but I don't expect to be in here long. But tell me, do we get
nothing more than a loaf? didn't the jail give us this supper?" he
inquired with surprise.
"Supper, indeed!—it's against the rules for prisoners to have
coffee; that's our private fixings; but you'll get a pound of bloody
neck-bone, they call beef, in the morning. I have twice thrown mine
to the dog, but he doesn't seem to thank me for it; so I told the
cook he needn't trouble his steelyards for me again."
Redman's conversation was interrupted by a noise that seemed to be
a ring of the prison bell, and an anxious expression which Manuel gave
utterance to, indicated that he expected somebody would come to see
him. He was not disappointed, for a few minutes after, the bolts were
heard to withdraw and the heavy door swung back. There, true to his
charge, was little Tommy, in his nicest blue rig, tipped off a la
man-o'-war touch, with his palmetto-braid hat,—a long black ribbon
displayed over the rim,—his hair combed so slick, and his little
round face and red cheeks so plump and full of the sailor-boy
pertness, with his blue, braided shirt-collar laid over his jacket,
and set off around the neck, with a black India handkerchief, secured
at the throat with the joint of a shark's backbone. He looked the very
picture and pattern of a Simon-Pure salt. He had wended his way
through strange streets and lanes, with a big haversack under his arm,
which Daley had relieved him of at the door, and brought into the room
under his arm. As soon as Manuel caught a glimpse of him, he rose and
clasped the little fellow in his arms with a fond embrace. No greeting
could be more affecting. Manuel exulted at seeing his little
companion; but Tommy looked grieved, and asked, "But what has scarred
your face so, Manuel? You didn't look that way when you left the brig.
We have had a site o' folks down to see us to-day."
"Oh, that's nothing!—just a little fall I got; don't tell the
Captain: it'll all be well to-morrow."
"Here, Jack, take your knapsack; did yer bring ever a drop o'
liquor for the steward?" said Daley, addressing himself to Tommy, and
putting the package upon the floor.
"Yes, Manuel!" said Tommy, "the Captain sent you some nice bread
and ham, some oranges and raisins, and a bottle of nice claret,—for
he was told by the consul that they didn't give 'em nothing to eat at
the jail. And I had a tug with 'em, I tell you. I got lost once, and
got a good-natured black boy to pilot me for a Victoria
threepence,—but he did not like to carry the bundle to the jail, for
fear of his master. Captain 'll be up first thing in the morning, if
he can get away from business," said the little tar, opening the
haversack and pulling out its contents to tempt the hungry appetites
of those around him.
Daley very coolly took the bottle of claret by the neck, and
holding it between himself and the light, took a lunar squint at it,
as if doubting its contents; and then, putting it down, exclaimed,
"Ah! the divil a red I'd give you for your claret. Sure, why didn't ye
bring a token of good old hardware?" "Hardware! what is hardware?"
inquired Manuel. "Ah! botheration to the bunch of yees—a drap of old
whiskey, that 'd make the delight cum f'nent. Have ye ne'er a drap
among the whole o' yees?" Receiving an answer in the negative, he
turned about with a Kilkenny, "It don't signify," and toddled for the
door, which he left open, to await Tommy's return. Redman knew Daley's
propensity too well, and having ocular proof that he had wet t'other
eye until it required more than ordinary effort to make either one
stay open, he declined recognising his very significant hint.
As soon as Daley withdrew, Manuel invited his companions to partake
of the Captain's present, which they did with general satisfaction.
CHAPTER XV. THE LAW'S INTRICACY.
WHILE the scenes we have described in the foregoing chapter were
being performed, several very interesting ones were going through the
course of performance at the consul's office and other places, which
we must describe. The British Government, in its instructions to Mr.
Mathew, impressed upon him the necessity of being very cautious lest
he should in any manner prejudice the interests of the local
institutions within his consular jurisdiction; to make no requests
that were incompatible with the local laws; but to pursue a judicious
course in bringing the matter of Her Majesty's subjects properly to
the consideration of the legal authorities, and to point to the true
grievance; and as it involved a question of right affecting the
interests and liberties of her citizens, to ask the exercise of that
judicial power from which it had a right to expect justice. The main
object was to test the question whether this peculiar construction
given to that local law which prohibits free colored men from coming
within the limits of the State, was legal in its application to those
who come into its ports connected with the shipping interests,
pursuing an honest vocation, and intending to leave whenever their
ship was ready. The consul was censured by the press in several of the
slaveholding States, because he dared to bring the matter before the
local legislature. We are bound to say that Consul Mathew, knowing the
predominant prejudices of the Carolinians, acted wisely in so doing.
First, he knew the tenacious value they put upon courtesy; secondly,
the point at issue between South Carolina and the Federal Government,
(and, as a learned friend in Georgia once said, "Whether South
Carolina belonged to the United States, or the United States to South
Carolina;") and thirdly, the right of State sovereignty, which South
Carolina held to be of the first importance. To disregard the first,
would have been considered an insult to the feelings of her people;
and if the question had first been mooted with the Federal Government,
the ire of South Carolinians would have been fired; the slur in
placing her in a secondary position would have sounded the war-trumpet
of Abolition encroachments, while the latter would have been
considered a breach of confidence, and an unwarrantable disregard of
her assertion of State rights. The Executive transmitted the documents
to the Assembly, that body referred them to special committees, and
the Messrs. Mazyck and McCready, reported as everybody in South
Carolina expected, virtually giving the British consul a very
significant invitation to keep his petitions in his pocket for the
future, and his "black lambs" out of the State, or it might disturb
their domesticated ideas. Thus was the right clearly reserved to
themselves, and the question settled, so far as the State Legislature
was concerned. The next course for Mr. Mathew was to appeal to the
Judiciary, and should redress be denied, make it the medium of
bringing the matter, before the Federal courts.
We cannot forbear to say, that the strenuous opposition waged
against this appeal of common humanity arose from political
influence, supported by a set of ultra partisans, whose theoretical
restrictions, assisted by the voice of the press, catered to the
war-spirit of the abstractionists.
The British consul, as the representative of his government,
knowing the personal suffering to which the subjects of his country
were subjected by the wretched state of the Charleston prison, and its
management, sought to remove no restriction that might be necessary
for protecting their dangerous institutions, but to relieve that
suffering. He had pointed the authorities to the wretched state of
the prison, and the inhuman regimen which existed within it; but,
whether through that superlative carelessness which has become so
materialized in the spirit of society—that callousness to misfortune
so strongly manifested by the rich toward the industrious poor and the
slaves-or, a contempt for his opinions, because he had followed out
the instructions of his government, things went on in the same
neglected manner and no attention was paid to them.
Now, we dare assert that a large, portion of the excitement which
the question has caused has arisen from personal suffering,
consequent upon that wretched state of jail provisions which exists
in South Carolina, and which, to say the least, is degrading to the
spirit and character of a proud people. If a plea could be made, for
excuse, upon the shattered finances of the State, we might tolerate
something of the abuse. But this is not the case; and when its
privileges become reposed in men who make suffering the means to
serve their own interests, its existence becomes an outrage.
A stronger evidence of the cause of these remonstrances on the part
of the British Government, is shown by the manner in which it has
been submitted to in Georgia. The British consul of the port of
Savannah, a gentleman whose intelligence and humane feelings are no
less remarkable than Mr. Mathew's, has never had occasion to call the
attention of the Executive of Georgia to the abuse of power consequent
upon the imprisonment of colored seamen belonging to the ships of
Great Britain in that port. The seaman was imprisoned, consequently
deprived of his liberty; but there was no suffering attendant beyond
the loss of liberty during the stay of the vessel; for the
imprisonment itself was a nominal thing; the imprisoned was well cared
for; he had good, comfortable apartments, cleanly and well ordered,
away from the criminals, and plenty of good, wholesome food to eat.
There was even a satisfaction in this, for the man got what he paid
for, and was treated as if he were really a human being. Thus, with
the exception of the restriction on the man's liberty, and that evil,
which those interested in commerce would reflect upon as a tax upon
the marine interests of the port to support a municipal police,
because it imposes a tax and burdensome annoyance upon owners for that
which they have no interest in and can derive no benefit from, the
observance of the law had more penalty in mental anxiety than bodily
suffering. We have sometimes been at a loss to account for the
restriction, even as it existed in Georgia, and especially when we
consider the character of those controlling and developing the
enterprising commercial affairs of Savannah.
But we must return to South Carolina. If we view this law as a
police regulation, it only gives us broader latitude. If a community
has that within itself which is dangerous to its well-being, it
becomes pertinent to inquire whether there is not an imperfect state
of society existing, and whether this policy is not injurious to the
well-being of the State. The evil, though it be a mortifying fact, we
are bound to say, arises from a strange notion of caste and color,
which measures sympathy according to complexion. There is no proof
that can possibly be adduced, showing that colored seamen have made
any infections among the slaves, or sought to increase the dangers of
her peculiar institution.
CHAPTER XVI. PLEA OF JUST
CONSIDERATION AND MISTAKEN CONSTANCY OF THE LAWS.
THE consul's office opened at nine o'clock,—the Captain, with his
register-case and shipping papers under his arm, presented himself to
Mr. Mathew, handed him his papers, and reported his condition. That
gentleman immediately set about rendering every facility to relieve
his immediate wants and further his business. The consul was a man of
plain, unassuming manners, frank in his expressions, and strongly
imbued with a sense of his rights, and the faith of his
Government,—willing to take an active part in obtaining justice,
and, a deadly opponent to wrong, regardless of the active hostility
that surrounded him. After relating the incidents of his voyage, and
the circumstances connected with Manuel's being dragged to
prison,—"Can it be possible that the law is to be carried to such an
extreme?" said he, giving vent to his feelings.
"Your people seem to have a strange manner of exhibiting their
hospitality," said the Captain, in reply.
"That is true; but it will not do to appeal to the officials." Thus
saying, the consul prepared the certificate, and putting on his hat,
repaired to the jail. Here he questioned Manuel upon the
circumstances of his arrest, his birthplace, and several other
things. "I am not sure that I can get you out, Manuel, but I will do
my best; the circumstances of your being driven in here in distress
will warrant some consideration in your case; yet the feeling is not
favorable, and we cannot expect much."
From thence he proceeded to the office of Mr. Grimshaw, where he
met that functionary, seated in all the dignity of his office.
"Good morning, Mr. Consul. Another of your darkies in my place,
this morning," said Mr. Grimshaw.
"Yes; it is upon that business I have called to see you. I think
you could not have considered the condition of this man, nor his
rights, or you would not have imprisoned him. Is there no way by which
I can relieve him?" inquired the consul, expecting little at his
hands, but venturing the effort.
"Sir! I never do any thing inconsistent with my office. The law
gives me power in these cases, and I exercise it according to my
judgment. It makes no exceptions for shipwrecks, and I feel that you
have no right to question me in the premises. It's contrary to law to
bring niggers here; and if you can show that he is a white man,
there's the law; but you must await its process."
"But do you not make exceptions?" inquired the consul. "I do not
wish to seek his relief by process of law; that would increase
expense and delay. I have made the request as a favor; if you cannot
consider it in that light, I can only say my expectations are
disappointed. But how is it that the man was abused by your officers
before he was committed?"
"Those are things I've nothing to do with; they are between the
officers and your niggers. If they are stubborn, the officers must
use force, and we have a right to iron the whole of them. Your
niggers give more trouble than our own, and are a set of unruly
fellows. We give 'em advantages which they don't deserve, in allowing
them the yard at certain hours of the day. You Englishmen are never
satisfied with any thing we do," returned Mr. Grimshaw, with
indifference, appearing to satisfy himself that the law gave him the
right to do what he pleased in the premises. There seemed but one idea
in his head, so far as niggers were concerned, nor could any mode of
reasoning arouse him: to a consideration of any extenuating
circumstances. A nigger was a nigger with him, whether white or
black-a creature for hog, homony, and servitude.
"I expected little and got nothing. I might have anticipated it,
knowing the fees you make by imprisonment. I shall seek relief for
the man through a higher tribunal, and I shall seek redress for the
repeated abuses inflicted upon these men by your officers," said the
consul, turning to the door.
"You can do that, sir," said Mr. Grimshaw; "but you must remember
that it will require white evidence to substantiate the charge. We
don't take the testimony of your niggers."
Just as the consul left the office, he met Colonel S—entering. The
colonel always manifested a readiness to relieve the many cases of
oppression and persecution arising from bad laws and abused official
duty. He had called upon Mr. Grimshaw on the morning of the arrest,
and received from him an assurance that the case would be considered,
the most favorable construction given to it, and every thing done for
the man that was in his power. Notwithstanding this to show how far
confidence could be put in such assurances, we have only to inform the
reader that he had despatched the officers an hour previously.
The colonel knew his man, and felt no hesitation at speaking his
mind. Stepping up to him, "Mr. Grimshaw," said he, "how do you
reconcile your statement and assurances to me this morning with your
"That's my business. I act for the State, and not for you. Are you
counsel for these niggers, that you are so anxious to set them at
liberty among our slaves? You seem to have more interest in it than
that interfering consul. Just let these Yankee niggers and British
niggers out to-night, and we'd have another insurrection before
morning; it's better to prevent than cure," said Grimshaw.
"The only insurrection would have been in your heart, for the loss
of fees. If you did not intend what you said, why did you deceive me
with such statements? I know the feelings of our people, as well as I
do yours for caging people within that jail. Upon that, I intimated to
the Captain what I thought would be the probable result, and this
morning I proceeded to his vessel to reassure him, upon your
statement. Imagine my mortification when he informed me that his
steward had been dragged off to jail early in the morning, and that
those two ruffians whom you disgrace the community with, behaved in
the most outrageous manner. It is in your power to relieve this man,
and I ask it as a favor, and on behalf of what I know to be the
feelings of the citizens of Charleston."
"Your request, colonel," said Mr. Grimshaw, with a little more
complacency, "is too much in the shape of a demand. There's no
discretion left me by the State, and if you have a power superior to
that, you better pay the expenses of the nigger, and take the
management into your own hands. I never allow this trifling
philanthropy about niggers to disturb me. I could never follow out
the laws of the State and practise it; and you better not burden
yourself with it, or your successors may suffer for adequate means to
support themselves. Now, sir, take my advice. It's contrary to law for
them niggers to come here; you know our laws cannot be violated. South
Carolina has a great interest at stake in maintaining the reputation
of her laws. Don't excite the nigger's anxiety, and he'll be better
off in jail than he would running about among the wenches. He won't
have luxuries, but we'll make him comfortable, and he must suit his
habits to our way of living. We must not set a bad example before our
own niggers; the whiter they are the worse they are. They struggle for
their existence now, and think they're above observing our nigger
laws. We want to get rid of them, and you know it," returned Grimshaw.
"Yes; I know it too well, for I have had too many cases to protect
them from being 'run off' and sold in the New Orleans market. But
when you speak of white niggers, I suppose you mean our brightest; I
dispute your assertion, and point you to my proof in the many men of
wealth among them now pursuing their occupations in our city. Can you
set an example more praiseworthy? And notwithstanding they are imposed
upon by taxes, and many of our whites take the advantage of law to
withhold the payment of debts contracted with them, they make no
complaint. They are subject to the same law that restricts the
blackest slave. Where is the white man that would not have yielded
under such inequality? No! Mr. Grimshaw, I am as true a
Southerner-born and bred-as you are; but I have the interests of
these men at heart, because I know they are with us, and their
interests and feelings are identical with our own. They are Native
Americans by birth and blood, and we have no right to dispossess them
by law of what we have given them by blood. We destroy their feelings
by despoiling them of their rights, and by it we weaken our own cause.
Give them the same rights and privileges that we extend to that
miserable class of foreigners who are spreading pestilence and death
over our social institutions, and we would have nothing to fear from
them, but rather find them our strongest protectors. I want to see a
law taking from that class of men the power to lord it over and abuse
A friend, who has resided several years in Charleston, strong in
his feelings of Southern rights, and whose keen observation could not
fail to detect the working of different phases of the slave
institution, informed us that he had conversed with a great many very
intelligent and enterprising men belonging to that large class of
"bright" men in Charleston, and that which appeared to pain them most
was the manner they were treated by foreigners of the lowest class;
that rights which they had inherited by birth and blood were taken
away from them; that, being subjected to the same law which governed
the most abject slave, every construction of it went to degrade them,
while it gave supreme power to the most degraded white to impose upon
them, and exercise his vindictive feelings toward them; that no
consideration being given to circumstances, the least deviation from
the police regulations made to govern negroes, was taken advantage of
by the petty guardmen, who either extorted a fee to release them, or
dragged them to the police-office, where their oath was nothing, even
if supported by testimony of their own color; but the guardman's word
was taken as positive proof. Thus the laws of South Carolina forced
them to be what their feelings revolted at. And I want to see another
making it a penal offence for those men holding slaves for breeding
purposes. Another, which humanity calls for louder than any other, is
one to regulate their food, punish these grievous cases of starvation,
and make the offender suffer for withholding proper rations."
"Well-pretty well!" said Grimshaw, snapping his fingers very
significantly. "You seem to enjoy the independence of your own
opinion, colonel. Just prove this nigger's a white, and I'll give you
a release for him, after paying the fees. You better move to
Massachusetts, and preach that doctrine to William Lloyd Garrison and
"Give me none of your impudence, or your low insults. You may
protect yourself from personal danger by your own consciousness that
you are beneath the laws of honor; but that will not save you from
what you deserve, if you repeat your language. Our moderation is our
protection, while such unwise restrictions as you would enforce, fan
the flame of danger to our own households," said the colonel,
evidently yielding to his impulses; while Mr. Grimshaw sat trembling,
and began to make a slender apology, saying that the language was
forced upon him, because the colonel had overstepped the bounds of
propriety in his demands.
"I'm somewhat astonished at your demand, colonel, for you don't
seem to comprehend the law, and the imperative manner in which I'm
bound to carry it out. Shipowners should get white stewards, if they
want to avoid all this difficulty. I know the nature of the case, but
we can't be accountable for storms, shipwrecks, old vessels, and all
these things. I'll go and see the fellow to-morrow, and tell the
jailer-he's a pattern of kindness, and that's why I got him for
jailer-to give him good rations and keep his room clean," said
Grimshaw, getting up and looking among some old books that lay on a
dusty shelf. At length he found the one, and drawing it forth,
commenced brushing the dust from it with a dust-brush, and turning
his tobacco-quid. After brushing the old book for a length of time,
he gave it a scientific wipe with his coat-sleeve, again sat down,
and commenced turning over its pages.
"It's in here, somewhere," said he, wetting his finger and thumb at
"What's in there, pray? You don't think I've practised at the
Charleston bar all my life without knowing a law which has called up
so many questions?" inquired the colonel.
"Why, the act and the amendments. I believe this is the right one.
I a'n't practised so long, that I reckon I've lost the run of the
appendix and everything else," adding another stream of tobacco-spit
to the puddle on the floor.
"That's better thought than said. Perhaps you'd better get a
schoolboy to keep his finger on it," continued the colonel,
"Well, well; but I must find it and refresh your memory. Ah! here
it is, and it's just as binding on me as it can be. There's no mistake
about it-it's genuine South Carolina, perfectly aboveboard." Thus
saying, he commenced reading to the colonel as if he was about to
instruct a schoolboy in his rudiments. "Here it is-a very pretty
specimen of enlightened legislation-born in the lap of freedom,
cradled in a land of universal rights, and enforced by the strong arm
of South Carolina."
"An Act for the better regulation and government of free negroes
and persons of color, and for other purposes," Mr. Grimshaw read; but
as the two first sections are really a disgrace to the delegated
powers of man, in their aim to oppress the man of color, we prefer to
pass to the third section, and follow Mr. Grimshaw as he reads:—
"That if any vessel shall come into any port or harbor of this
State, (South Carolina,) from any other State or foreign port, having
on board any free negroes or persons of color, as cooks, stewards, or
mariners, or in any other employment on board said vessel, such free
negroes or persons of color shall be liable to be seized and confined
in jail until said vessel shall clear out and depart from this State;
and that when said vessel is ready to sail, the captain of said vessel
shall be bound to carry away the said free negro or person of color,
and pay the expenses of detention; and in case of his refusal or
neglect to do so, he shall be liable to be indicted, and, on
conviction thereof, shall be fined in a sum not less than one thousand
dollars, and imprisoned not less than two months; and such free
negroes or persons of color shall be deemed and taken as absolute
slaves, and sold in conformity to the provisions of the act passed on
the twentieth day of December, one thousand eight hundred and twenty
Mr. Grimshaw's coolness in the matter became so intolerable, that
the colonel could stand it no longer; so, getting up while Mr.
Grimshaw was reading the law, he left the office, perfectly satisfied
that further endeavors at that source would be fruitless.
After Mr. Grimshaw had concluded, he looked up, perfectly amazed to
find that he was enjoying the reading of the act to himself. "Had I
not given it all the consideration of my power, and seen the
correctness of the law, I should not have given so much importance to
my opinion. But there it is, all in that section of the Act, and they
can't find no convention in the world to control the Legislature of
South Carolina. There's my principles, and all the Englishmen and
Abolitionists in Christendom wouldn't change me. Now, I've the power,
and let 'em get the nigger out of my place, if they can," said
Grimshaw, shutting the book, kicking a good-sized, peaceable-looking
dog that lay under the table, and deliberately taking his hat and
walking into the street.
Here is an Act, bearing on its face the arrogant will of South
Carolina, setting aside all constitutional rights, and denying the
validity of stipulations made by the United States in her general
commercial laws. She asserts her right to disregard citizenship, to
make criminals of colored men, because they are colored, and to sell
them for slaves to pay the expenses which she had incurred to make
them such. And what is still worse, is, that the exercise of this
misconceived and unjust law is so unrelentingly enforced, and so
abused by those who carry it out.
During this time the consul had been unremitting in his endeavors
to procure the man's release. The mayor had no power in the premises;
the attorney-general was not positive in regard to the extent of his
power in such a case, though he admitted the case to be an aggravated
one; the judges could only recognise him as a nigger, consequently
must govern their proceedings by legislative acts. Upon the whole, he
found that he was wasting his time, for while they all talked
sympathy, they acted tyranny. Cold, measured words about niggers,
"contrary to law," constitutional rights, inviolable laws, State
sovereignty and secession, the necessary police regulations to protect
a peculiar institution, and their right to enforce them, everywhere
greeted his ears. There was about as much in it to relieve Manuel, as
there would have been had a little bird perched upon the prison-wall
and warbled its song of love to him while strongly secured in his
cell-more tantalizing because he could hear the notes, but not see the
Notwithstanding the commendable energy of the consul, he had the
satisfaction of knowing that several very improbable reports touching
his course, and construing it into an interference with the
institution of slavery, had been widely circulated, and were creating
a feeling against him among a certain class of "fire-eating"
secessionists. He was too well aware of the source from which they
originated to awaken any fears, and instead of daunting his energy
they only increased it, and brought to his aid the valuable services
of the Hon. James L. Petigru, a gentleman of whom it is said,
(notwithstanding his eminence at the bar,) that had it not been for
his purity of character, his opinions in opposition to the State would
have long since consigned him to a traitor's exile. The truth was-and
much against Mr. Petigru's popularity in his own State-that he was a
man of sound logic, practical judgment, and legal discrimination. Thus
endowed with the requisite qualities of a good statesman, and pursuing
a true course to create a conservative influence in the State, he
failed to become popular beyond his legal sphere. Had he espoused that
most popular of all doctrines in South Carolina-nullification and
secession-and carried abstraction to distraction, James L. Petigru
would have added another "Roman name" to that which has already passed
from South Carolina's field of action.
The consul did his duty, but effected nothing; and such was the
opposition manifested by the officials who were interested in the
spoils of law, and politicians who could not see any thing important
beyond secession, that there was no prospect of it. And, as the last
resort, he appealed to the Judiciary through the "habeas corpus," the
result of which we shall show in a subsequent chapter.
CHAPTER XVII. LITTLE GEORGE, THE
CAPTAIN, AND MR. GRIMSHAW.
THE consul had returned to his office rather discomfited at not
being able to relieve Manuel, yet satisfied that he had placed
matters in their proper light before the public. The Captain reported
and left his manifest at the custom-house, after entering his protest
and making the necessary arrangements for survey, And Colonel
S—became so well satisfied of the affectation of law protectors, and
that his services in behalf of humanity were like straws contending
against a foaming current, that, acknowledging his regrets to the
Captain, he preferred to make up in attention what he could not do for
Manuel through the law.
Little George paid his respects to the Janson between ten and
eleven o'clock, duly dressed. "Mr. Mate, where's your, skipper?" he
inquired, with an air of consequence that put an extra pucker on his
little twisting mouth.
"Gone to jail, or to see Doctor Jones, I expect, not giving ye an
ill answer," replied the old mate, gruffly.
"Perhaps you don't know who I am, sir. Your answer's not polite.
You must remember, sir, you're in South Carolina, the sunny city of
the South," said the little secessionist.
"I al'a's make my answer to suit myself. I study hard work and
honesty, but never was known to carry a grammar in my pocket. But, my
taut friend, I should know'd I was in South Carolina if you hadn't
said a word about it, for no other nation under the sky would a
dragged a poor cast-away sailor to prison because he had the
misfortune to have a tawny hide. It's a ten-to-one, my hearty, if you
don't find the skipper in jail, and all the rest of us, before we
leave. I'm lookin' now to see some body-grabber coming down with a
pair of handcuffs," continued the mate.
"What! do you mean to insult me again, Mr. Mate? Explain yourself!
I'm not accustomed to this ironical talk!"
"Well, it's something like your laws. They dragged our steward off
to jail this morning, without judge or jury, and with about as much
ceremony as a Smithfield policeman would a pickpocket."
"What! you don't say. Well, I was afraid of that. Our officers are
mighty quick, but I'd hoped differently. But, sir, give my
compliments to the Captain. Tell him I'll make the matter all right;
my influence, sir, and my father's—he is one of the first men in the
city—tells mightily here. I have promised my services to the
Captain, and I'll see him through. Just pledging my word to Grimshaw
will be enough to satisfy the judicial requisites of the law," said
George, switching his little cane on his trowsers.
"My good fellow," said the mate, "if you can get our steward out a
limbo, you'll be doing us all a good turn, and we'll remember you as
long as we pull a brace."
"You may reckon on me, Mister Mate; and if I a'n't down before six
o'clock, my father will certainly take the matter in hand; and he and
Mazyck belong to the secession party, and control things just as they
please at Columbia." So saying, George bid the old mate good morning,
and bent his course for the head of the wharf.
"There," said the old mate, "it's just what I thought all along; I
knew my presentiment would come true. I'll wager a crown they treat
Manuel like a dog in that old prison, and don't get him out until he
is mildewed; or perhaps they'll sell him for a slave a'cos he's got
curly black hair and a yellow skin. Now I'm a hardy sailor, but I've
sailed around the world about three times, and know something of
nature. Now ye may note it as clear as the north star, prisons in
slave countries a'n't fit for dogs. They may tell about their fine,
fat, slick, saucy niggers, but a slave's a slave—his master's
property, a piece of merchandise, his chattel, or his
football-thankful for what his master may please to give him, and
inured to suffer the want of what he withholds. Yes, he must have his
thinking stopped by law, and his back lashed at his master's will, if
he don't toe the mark in work. Men's habits and associations form
their feelings and character, and it's just so with them fellers;
they've become so accustomed to looking upon a nigger as a mere tool
of labor—lordin' it over him, starving him, and lashing him-that they
associate the exercise of the same feelings and actions with every
thing connected with labor, without paying any respect to a poor white
man's feelings," continued the mate, addressing himself to his second,
as they sat upon the companion, waiting for the Captain to come on
board and give further orders.
Never were words spoken with more truth. The negro is reduced to
the lowest and worst restrictions, even by those who are considered
wealthy planters and good masters. We say nothing of those whose
abuse of their negroes by starvation and punishment forms the theme
of complaint among slaveholders themselves. His food is not only the
coarsest that can, be procured, but inadequate to support the system
for the amount of labor required. Recourse to other means becomes
necessary. This is supplied by giving the slave his task, which, so
far as our observation extends, is quite sufficient for any common,
laborer's day's-work. This done, his master is served; and as an act
of kindness, (which Sambo is taught to appreciate as such,) he is
allowed to work on his own little cultivated patch to raise a few
things, which mass'r (in many cases) very condescendingly sells in
the market, and returns those little comforts, which are so much
appreciated by slaves on a plantation-tea, molasses, coffee, and
tobacco-and now and then a little wet of whiskey. This is the
allowance of a good man doing a good week's work, and getting two
pounds of bacon and a peck of corn as his compensation. But, in
grateful consideration, his good master allows him to work nights and
Sundays to maintain himself. In this way was "Bob's bale of cotton"
raised, which that anxious child of popular favor, the editor of the
"Savannah Morning News," so struggled to herald to the world as
something magnificent on the part of the Southern slave-masters. At
best, it was but a speck. If the many extra hours of toil that poor
Bob had spent, and the hours of night that he had watched and nursed
his plants, were taken into account, there would be a dark picture
connected with "Bob's bale of cotton," which the editor forgot to
Every form of labor becomes so associated with servitude, that we
may excuse the Southerner for those feelings which condemn those
devoted to mechanical pursuits as beneath his caste and dignity.
Arrogance and idleness foster extravagance, while his pride induces
him to keep up a style of life which his means are inadequate to
support. This induces him to subsist his slaves on the coarsest fare,
and becoming hampered, embarrassed, and fretted in his fast- decaying
circumstances, his slaves, one by one, suffer the penalty of his
extravagance, and finally he himself is reduced to such a condition
that he is unable to do justice to himself or his children any longer;
his slaves are dragged from him, sold to the terrors of a distant
sugar-plantation, and he turned out of doors a miserable man.
We see this result every day in South Carolina; we hear the
comments in the broadways and public places, while the attorney and
bailiff's offices and notices tell the sad tale of poverty's wasting
George, in passing from the wharf into the bay, met the Captain,
who was shaping his course for the brig. He immediately ran up to him,
and shook his hands with an appearance of friendship. "Captain, I'm
right sorry to hear about your nigger. I was not prepared for such a
decision on the part of Mr. Grimshaw, but I'm determined to have him
out," said he.
"Well!" said the Captain, "I'm sorry to say, I find things very
different from what I anticipated. My steward is imprisoned, for
nothing, except that he is a Portuguese, and everybody insists that
he's a nigger. Everybody talks very fine, yet nobody can do any
thing; and every thing is left to the will of one man."
"Why, Captain, we've the best system in the world for doing
business; you'd appreciate it after you understood it! Just come with
me, and let me introduce you to my father. If he don't put you right,
I'll stand convicted," said little George.
Accepting the invitation, they walked back to the "old man's"
counting-room. George had given the Captain such an extended account
of his father's business and estates, that the latter had made up his
mind to be introduced to an "India Palace' counting-room. Judge of his
surprise, then, when George led the way into an old, dirty-looking
counting-room, very small and dingy, containing two dilapidated high
desks, standing against the wall. They were made of pitch pine,
painted and grained, but so scarred and whittled as to have the
appearance of long use and abuse. In one corner was an old-fashioned
low desk, provided with an ink-stand, sundry pieces of blotting-paper,
the pigeon-holes filled with loose invoices, letters, and bills of
lading, very promiscuously huddled together; while hanging suspended
on a large nail, driven in the side, and exposed to view, was an
enormous dust-brush. A venerable-looking subject of some foreign
country stood writing at one desk, a little boy at the other, and
George's veritable "old man" at the low desk. Here and there around
the floor were baskets and papers containing samples of sea-island and
upland cotton. George introduced the Captain to his father with the
suavity of a courtier. He was a grave-looking man, well dressed, and
spoke in a tone that at once enlisted respect. Unlike George, he was a
tall, well-formed man, with bland, yet marked features, and very gray
hair. He received the Captain in a cold, yet dignified manner-inquired
about his voyage, and who he had consigned to, and what steps he had
taken to proceed with his business,—all of which the Captain answered
according to the circumstances.
"What! then you have consigned already, have you?" said little
George, with surprise.
"Oh yes," returned the Captain, "I have left my business in the
hands of the consul, and shall follow his directions. It's according
to my sailing orders. But there's so much difficulty, I shouldn't
wonder if I had to leave the port, yet!"
"Not so, Captain; I'll take care of that!" said George, giving his
father a statement of the Captain's trouble about Manuel's
imprisonment, and begging that he would bestow his influence in
behalf of his friend the Captain. Although George coupled his request
with a seeming sincerity, it was evident that he felt somewhat
disappointed at the consignment. The old gentleman looked very wise
upon the subject, lifted his gold-framed spectacles upon his forehead,
gratified his olfactory nerves with a pinch of snuff, and then said in
a cold, measured tone, "Well, if he's a nigger, I see no
alternative,—the circumstances may give a coloring of severity to the
law; but my opinion has always been, that the construction of the law
was right; and the act being founded upon necessity, I see no reason
why we should meddle with its prerogative. I think the interference of
the consul unwarrantable, and pressed upon mere technical grounds.
These stories about the bad state of our jail, and the sufferings of
criminals confined in it, arise, I must think, from the reports of bad
prisoners. I have never been in it. Our people are opposed to vice,
and seldom visit such a place; but the sheriff tells me it is
comfortable enough for anybody. If this be so, and I have no reason to
doubt his word, we can exercise our sympathy and kindness for his
shipwrecked circumstances, and make him as comfortable there as we
could anywhere else. There are many different opinions, I admit,
touching the effect of this law; but I'm among those who support
stringent measures for better protection. His color can form no
excuse, Captain, so long as there is symptoms of the negro about him.
We might open a wide field for metaphysical investigation, if we
admitted exceptions upon grades of complexion; for many of our own
slaves are as white ar the brightest woman. Consequently, when we
shut the gates entirely, we save ourselves boundless perplexity. Nor
would it be safe to grant an issue upon the score of intelligence,
for experience has taught us that the most intelligent 'bright
fellows' are the worst scamps in creating discontent among the
slaves. I only speak of these things, Captain, in a general sense.
Your man may be very good, noble, generous, and intelligent; and,
more than all, not inclined to meddle with our peculiar
institution,—but it would be a false principle to make him an
exception, setting an example that would be entirely incompatible
with our greatest interests. So far as my word will affect the
sheriff, and enlist his better feelings in making him comfortable, I
will use it," said the 'old man,' again adjusting his specs.
Little George seemed dumbfounded with mortification, and the
Captain felt as though he would give a guinea to be on board his brig.
It was no use for him to enter into the extenuating circumstance of
his voyage, or the character of the man, Manuel. The same cold
opinions about the law, and the faith and importance of South Carolina
and her peculiar institutions, met his ears wherever he went. The
Captain arose, took his hat, and bidding the old gentleman good
morning, again left for his brig.
"Don't be worried about it-I'll do what I can for you," said the
old man, as the Captain was leaving. George followed him into the
street, and made a great many apologies for his father's opinions and
seeming indifference, promising to do himself what his father did not
seem inclined to undertake. The Captain saw no more of him during his
stay in Charleston, and if his influence was exerted in Manuel's
behalf, he did not feel its benefits.
Business had so occupied the Captain's attention during the day,
that he had no time to visit Manuel at the jail; and when he returned
to the vessel, a message awaited him from the British consul. One of
the seamen had been detailed to fill Manuel's place, who, with his
dinner all prepared, reminded the Captain that it was awaiting him. He
sat down, took dinner, and left to answer the consul's call. Arriving
at the office, he found the consul had left for his hotel, and would
not return until four o'clock. As he passed the post-office, a knot of
men stood in front of it, apparantly in anxious discussion. Feeling
that their conversation might be interesting to him, or have some
connection with his case, he walked slowly back, and as he approached
them, observed that the conversation had become more excited. The
principals were Mr. Grimshaw, and a factor on the bay, deeply
interested in shipping.
"A man acting in your capacity," said the factor, "should never
make use of such expressions-never give encouragement to mob law. It's
not only disgraceful to any city, but ruinous to its interests.
Officials never should set or encourage the example. Want of order is
already in the ascendant, and if the populace is to be led on to riot
by the officials, what check have we? God save us from the direful
"Well, perhaps I went too far," said Mr. Grimshaw, "for I think as
much of the name of our fair city as you do. But we ought to teach
him that he can't pursue this open, bold, and daring course,
endangering our institutions, because he's consul for Great Britain.
I would, at all events, treat him as we did the Yankee HOAR from
Massachusetts, and let the invitation be given outside of official
character, to save the name; then, if he did not move off, I'd go for
serving him as they did the Spanish consul, in New Orleans. These
English niggers and Yankee niggers are fast destroying the peace of
"You would, would you?" said another. "Then you would incite the
fury of an ungovernable mob to endanger the man's life for carrying
out the instructions of his government."
"That don't begin to be all that he does, for he's meddling with
every thing, and continually making remarks about our society," said
Grimshaw, evidently intending to create ill feeling against the
consul, and to make the matter as bad as possible.
"Now, Mr. Grimshaw," said the factor, "you know your jail is not
fit to put any kind of human beings into, much less respectable men.
It's an old Revolutionary concern, tumbling down with decay, swarming
with insects and vermin; the rooms are damp and unhealthy, and without
means to ventilate them; the mildew and horrible stench is enough to
strike disease into the strongest constitution; and you aggravate
men's appetites with food that's both insufficient and unwholesome, I
know, because I visited a friend who was put in there on 'mesne
"There is little confidence to be placed in the stories of
prisoners; they all think they must be treated like princes, instead
of considering that they are put there for cause, and that a jail was
intended for punishment," interrupted Grimshaw, anxious to change the
subject of conversation, and displaying an habitual coldness to
misfortune which never can see the gentleman in a prisoner.
"Yes, but you must not measure men by that standard. Circumstances
which bring them there are as different as their natures. I've known
many good, honest, and respectable, citizens, who once enjoyed
affluence in our community, put in there, month after month, and year
after year, suffering the persecution of creditors and the effects of
bad laws. Now these men would not all complain if there was no cause,
and they all loved you, as you state. But tell me, Mr. Grimshaw, would
it not be even safer for our institutions to make a restriction
confining them to the wharf, which could be easily done, and with but
small expense to the city? Niggers on the wharves could have no
communication with them, because each is occupied in his business, and
ours are too closely watched and driven during working hours. As soon
as those hours end, they are bound to leave, and the danger ends.
Again, those niggers who work on the wharves are generally good
niggers, while, on the other hand, bad niggers are put into jail; and
during the hours these stewards are allowed the privilege of the yard,
they mix with them without discrimination or restraint. Their
feelings, naturally excited by imprisonment, find relief in
discoursing upon their wrongs with those of their own color, and
making the contamination greater," said the factor, who seemed
inclined to view the matter in its proper light.
"Oh! what sir? That would never do. You mistake a nigger's feelings
entirely. Privileges never create respect with them. Just make a law
to leave 'em upon the wharf, and five hundred policemen wouldn't keep
'em from spoiling every nigger in town, just destroying the
sovereignty of the law, and yielding a supreme right that we have
always contended for. It's 'contrary to law,' and we must carry out
the law," replied Grimshaw.
"Pshaw! Talk such stuff to me! Just take away the sixteen hundred
or two thousand dollars that you make by the law; and you'd curse it
for a nuisance. It would become obsolete, and the poor devils of
stewards would do what they pleased; you'd never trouble your head
about them. Now, Grimshaw, be honest for once; tell us what you would
do if circumstances compelled the Captain to leave that nigger boy
"Carry out the letter of the law; there's no alternative. But the
Captain swears he's a white man, and that would give him an
opportunity to prove it."
"How is he to prove it, Grimshaw? We take away the power, and then
ask him to do what we make impossible. Then, of course, you would
carry out the letter of the law and sell him for a slave. * * * Well,
I should like to see the issue upon a question of that kind carried
out upon an English nigger. It would be more of a curse upon our slave
institution than every thing else that could be raised," said the
"Gentlemen, you might as well preach abolition at once, and then
the public would know what your sentiments were, and how to guard
against you. I must bid you good-by." So saying, Mr. Grimshaw twisted
his whip, took a large quid of tobacco, and left the company to
discuss the question among themselves.
CHAPTER XVIII. LITTLE TOMMY AND THE
WE must take the reader back to the old jail, and continue our
scene from where we left little Tommy spreading the Captain's present
before the imprisoned stewards, whose grateful thanks were showered
upon the head of the bestower. Kindness, be it ever so small, to a
man in prison, is like the golden rays of the rising sun lighting up
the opening day. They all partook of the refreshments provided for
them with grateful spirits.
It was near ten o'clock when Daley came to announce that it was
time to close the prison, and all strangers must withdraw. Tommy had
insisted upon stopping with Manuel during the night, but Daley,
This man Daley was a proverbial drunkard, a tyrant in the exercise
of his "little brief authority," and a notorious—. Singular as it
may seem, considering his position, he would quarrel with the men for
a glass of whiskey, had given the jailer more trouble than any other
man, and been several times confined in the cells for his incorrigible
vices. If any thing more was wanting to confirm our note, we could
refer to Colonel Condy, the very gentlemanly United States marshal. in
a very rude manner, told him it was against the rules, and putting his
hand to his back, pushed him out of the cell and secured the bolts.
The little fellow felt his way through the passage and down the stairs
in the dark until he reached the corridor, where the jailer stood
awaiting to let him pass the outer iron-gate. "You've made a long
stay, my little fellow. You'll have a heap o' trouble to find the
wharf, at this time o' night. I'd o' let you stopped all night, but
it's strictly against the sheriff's orders," said the jailer, as, he
passed into the street, at the same time giving him a list of
imperfect directions about the course to proceed.
The jail is in a distant and obscure part of the city, surrounded
by narrow streets and lanes, imperfectly laid out and undefined. In
leaving the walls of the prison, he mistook his direction, and the
night being very dark, with a light, drizzling rain, which commenced
while he was in the prison, the whole aspect of things seemed
reversed. After travelling about for some time, he found himself upon
a narrow strip of land that crossed a basin of water and led to
Chisholm's mill. The different appearance of things here convinced
him of his error. Bewildered, and not knowing which way to proceed,
he approached a cross road, and sitting down upon a log, wept
bitterly. He soon heard a footstep, and as it approached, his cares
lightened. It proved to be a negro man from the mill,
These mills are worked all night, and the poor negroes, wishing to
follow an example which massa sets on a grand scale, save that they
have an excuse in the fatigue of labor, will delegate some shrewd one
of their number to proceed to a Dutch "corner-shop" in the suburbs,
run the gauntlet of the police, and get a bottle of whiskey, When
interrogated, they are always "going for a bottle of molasses." They
keep a keen watch for the police, and their cunning modes of eluding
their vigilance forms many amusing anecdotes. They are bound to have a
pass from master, or some white man; but if they can reach the shop in
safety, the Dutchman will always furnish them with one to return. It
not unfrequently happens that the guard-men are much more ignorant
than the slaves. The latter knowing this, will endeavor to find their
station and approach by it, taking with them either an old pass or a
forged one, which the guard-man makes a wonderful piece of importance
about examining and countersigning, though he can neither read nor
write. Thus Sambo passes on to get his molasses, laughing in his
sleeve to think how he "fool ignorant buckra." A change of guard often
forms a trap for Sambo, when he is lugged to the guard-house, kept all
night, his master informed in the morning, and requested to step up
and pay a fine, or Sambo's back catches thirty-nine, thus noting a
depression of value upon the property. Sometimes his master pays the
municipal fine, and administers a domestic castigation less
lacerating. bound into the city on the usual errand of procuring a
little of molasses. When he first discovered Tommy, he started back a
few paces, as if in fear; but on being told by Tommy that he was lost,
and wanted to find his way to the wharves, he approached and
recovering, confidence readily, volunteered to see him to the corner
of Broad street. So, taking him by the hand, they proceeded together
until they reached the termination of the Causeway, and were about to
enter Tradd street, when suddenly a guard-man sprang from behind an
old shed. The negro, recognising his white belt and tap-stick, made
the best of his time, and set off at full speed down a narrow lane.
The watchman proceeded close at his heels, springing his rattle at
every step, and pouring out a volley of vile imprecations. Tommy
stood for a few moments, but soon the cries of the negro and the
beating of clubs broke upon his ear; he became terrified, and ran at
the top of his speed in an opposite direction. Again he had lost his
way, and seemed in a worse dilemma than before; he was weary and
frightened, and hearing so many stories among the sailors about
selling white children for slaves, and knowing the imprisonment of
Manuel, which he did not comprehend, his feelings were excited to the
highest degree. After running for a few minutes, he stopped to see if
he could recognize his position. The first thing that caught his eye
was the old jail, looming its sombre walls in the gloomy contrast of
night. He followed the walls until he reached the main gate, and then,
taking an opposite direction from his former route, proceeded along
the street until he came to a lantern, shedding its feeble light upon
the murky objects at the corner of a narrow lane. Here he stood for
several minutes, not knowing which way to proceed: the street he was
in continued but a few steps farther, and turn which ever way he
would, darkness and obstacles rose to impede his progress. At length
he turned down the lane, and proceeded until he came to another
junction of streets; taking one which he thought would lead him in the
right direction, he wandered through it and into a narrow, circuitous
street, full of little, wretched-looking houses. A light glimmered
from one of them, and he saw a female passing to and fro before the
window. He approached and rapped gently upon the door. Almost
simultaneously the light was extinguished. He stood for a few minutes,
and again rapped louder than before; all was silent for some minutes.
A drenching shower had commenced, adding to the already gloomy
picture; and the rustling leaves on a tree that stood near gave an
ominous sound to the excited feelings of the child. He listened at the
door with anxiety and fear, as he heard whispers within; and as he was
about to repeat his rapping, a window on the right hand was slowly
raised. The female who had been pacing the floor protruded her head
with a caution that bespoke alarm. Her long, black hair hanging about
her shoulders, and her tawny, Indian countenance, with her ghost-like
figure dressed in a white habiliment, struck him with a sort of
terror that wellnigh made him run.
"Who is that, at this time of night?" inquired the woman, in a low
"It's only me. I'm lost, and can't find my way to our vessel," said
Tommy, in a half-crying tone.
"Mother," said the woman, shutting the window, "it's only a little
sailor-boy, a stranger, and he's wet through."
She immediately unbarred and opened the door, and invited him to
come in. Stepping beyond the threshold, she closed the door against
the storm, and placing a chair at the fire, told him to sit down and
warm himself. They were mulatto half-breeds, retaining all the Indian
features which that remnant of the tribe now in Charleston are
distinguished by a family well known in the city, yet under the
strictest surveillance of the police. Every thing around the little
room denoted poverty and neatness. The withered remnant of an aged
Indian mother lay stretched upon a bed of sickness, and the daughter,
about nineteen years old, had been watching over her, and
administering those comforts, which her condition required. "Why,
mother, it's a'most twelve o'clock. I don't believe he'll come
She awaited her friend, or rather he whose mistress she had
condescended to be, after passing from several lords. The history of
this female remnant of beautiful Indian girls now left in Charleston,
is a mournful one. The recollection of their noble sires, when
contrasted with their present unhappy associations, affords a sad
subject for reflection. and this little boy can stop till morning in
our room up-stairs," said she, looking up at an old Connecticut clock
that adorned the mantel-piece.
"Oh! I could not stay all night. The mate would be uneasy about me,
and might send the crew to look for me. I'm just as thankful, but I
couldn't stop," said Tommy.
"But you never can find the bay on such a night as this; and I've
no pass, or I would show you into Broad street, and then you could
find the way. I am afraid of the guardmen, and if they caught me and
took me to the station, my friend would abuse me awfully," said
Angeline, for such was her name; and she laid her hand upon his arm to
feel his wet clothes.
He now arose from the chair, and putting on his hat, she followed
him to the door and directed him how to proceed to find Broad street.
He proceeded according to her directions, and soon found it. Now,
he thought, he was all right; but the wind had increased to a gale,
and having a full sweep through the street, it was as much as he could
do to resist it. He had scarcely reached half the distance of the
street when it came in such sudden gusts that he was forced to seek a
refuge against its fury in the recess of a door. He sat down upon a
step, and buttoning his little jacket around him, rested his head upon
his knees, and while waiting for the storm to abate, fell into a deep
sleep. From this situation he was suddenly aroused by a guardman, who
seized him by the collar, and giving him an unmerciful twitch,
brought, him headlong upon the sidewalk.
"What are you at here? Ah! another miserable vagrant, I suppose.
We'll take care of such rascals as you; come with me. We'll larn ye
to be round stealing at this time o' night."
"No, sir! no, sir! I didn't do nothing"—
"Shut up! None of your lyin' to a policeman, you young rascal. I
don't want to hear, nor I won't stand your infernal lies."
"Oh do, mister, let me tell you all about it, and I know you won't
hurt me. I'm only going to the vessel, if you'll show me the way,"
said the little fellow imploringly.
"Stop yer noise, ye lying young thief, you. Ye wouldn't be prowling
about at this time o' night if ye belonged to a vessel. 'Pon me soul,
I believe yer a nigger. Come to the light," said the guardman,
dragging him up to a lamp near by. "Well, you a'n't a nigger, I
reckon, but yer a strolling vagrant, and that's worse," he continued,
after examining his face very minutely. So, dragging him to the
guardhouse as he would a dog, and thrusting him into a sort of
barrack-room, the captain of the guard and several officials soon
gathered around him to inquire the difficulty. The officers listened
to the guardman's story, with perfect confidence in every thing he
said, but refused to allow the little fellow to reply in his own
behalf. "I watched him for a long time, saw him fumbling about
people's doors, and then go to sleep in Mr. T—'s recess. These boys
are gettin' to be the very mischief-most dangerous fellows we have to
deal with," said the policeman.
"Oh, no! I was only goin' to the brig, and got turned round. I've
been more than two hours trying to find my way in the storm. I'm sure
I a'n't done no harm. If ye'll only let me tell my story," said Tommy.
"Shut up! We want no stories till morning. The mayor will settle
your hash to-morrow; and if you belong to a ship, you can. tell him
all about it; but you'll have the costs to pay anyhow. Just lay down
upon that bench, and you can sleep there till morning; that's better
than loafing about the streets," said the captain of the guard, a
large, portly-looking man, as he pointed Tommy to a long bench
similar to those used in barrack-rooms.
The little fellow saw it was no use to attempt a hearing, and going
quietly to the bench, he pulled off his man-a-war hat, and laying it
upon a chair, stretched himself out upon it, putting his little hands
under his head to ease it from the hard boards.
But he was not destined to sleep long in this position, for a loud,
groaning noise at the door, broke upon their ears though the pelting
fury of the storm, like one in agonizing distress.
"Heavens! what is that!" said the captain of the guard, suddenly
starting from his seat, and running for the door, followed by the
whole posse. The groans grew louder and more death-like in their
sound, accompanied by strange voices, giving utterance to horrible
imprecations, and a dragging upon the floor. The large door opened,
and what a sight presented itself! Three huge monsters, with
side-arms on, dragged in the poor negro who proffered to show Tommy
into Broad street. His clothes were nearly torn from his back,
besmeared with mud, from head to foot, and his face cut and mangled
in the most shocking manner. His head, neck, and shoulders, were
covered with a gore of blood, and still it kept oozing from his mouth
and the cuts on his head. They dragged him in as if he was a dying dog
that had been beaten with a club, and threw him into a corner, upon
the floor, with just about as much unconcern.
"Oh! massa! massa! kill me, massa, den 'em stop sufferin'!" said
the poor fellow, in a painful murmur, raising his shackled hands to
his head, and grasping the heavy chain that secured his neck, in the
agony of pain.
"What has he done?" inquired the officer.
"Resisted the guard, and ran when we told him to stop!" responded a
trio of voices. "Yes, and attempted to get into a house. Ah! you
vagabond you; that's the way we serve niggers like you!—Attempt to
run again, will you? I'll knock your infernal daylights out, you
nigger you," said one of the party.
"It does seem tome that you might have taken him, and brought him
up with less severity," said the officer.
"What else could we do, sure? Didn't we catch him prowling about
with a white fellow, and he runn'd till we couldn't get him. Indeed
it was nothing good they were after, and it's the like o' them that
bees doing all the mischief beyant the city."
"An' 'imself, too, struck Muldown two pokes, 'efore he lave de
hancuffs be pat upon him, at all!" said another of the guardmen; and
then turning around, caught a glimpse of poor little Tommy, who had
been standing up near a desk, during the scene, nearly "frightened
out of his wits."
"By the pipers,—what! and is't here ye are? The same that was with
himself beyant! Come here, you spalpeen you. Wasn't ye the same what
runn'd whin we bees spaken to that nigger?" said the same guardman,
taking hold of Tommy's arm, and drawing him nearer the light.
"Yes, he was coming along with me, to show me"—
"Stop!—you know you are going to lie already. Better lock 'em both
up for the night, and let them be sent up in the morning," said
"Then you won't let me speak for myself—"
"Hush, sir!" interrupted the officer; "you can tell your story in
the morning! but take care you are not a vagrant. If it's proved that
you were with that nigger at the improper hour, you'll get your back
scarred. Come, you have owned it, and I must lock you up."
Without attempting to wash the blood off the negro, or dress his
wounds, they unlocked the handcuffs, and loosened the chain from his
neck, handling him with less feeling than they would a dumb brute.
Relieved of his chains, they ordered him to get up.
The poor creature looked up imploringly, as if to beg them to spare
his life, for he was too weak to speak. He held up his hands,
drenched with blood, while beneath his head was a pool of gore that
had streamed from his mounds. "None of your infernal humbuggery-you
could run fast enough. Just get up, and be spry about it, or I'll
help you with the cowhide," said the officer, calling to one of the
guardmen to bring it to him. He now made an effort, and had got upon
his knees, when the guardman that seemed foremost in his brutality
fetched him a kick with his heavy boots in the side, that again
felled him to the ground with a deep groan.
"Ot-tut! that will not do. You mus'n't kill the nigger; his master
will come for him in the morning," said the officer, stooping down
and taking hold of his arm with his left hand, while holding a
cowhide in his right. "Come, my boy, you must get up and go into the
lock-up," he continued.
"Massa! oh, good massa, do-don't! I's most dead now, wha'for ye no
lef me whare a be?" said he in a whining manner; and making a second
attempt, fell back upon the floor, at which two of them seized him by
the shoulders, and dragging him into a long, dark, cell-like room,
threw him violently upon the floor. Then returning to the room, the
officer took Tommy by the arm, and marching him into the same room,
shut the door to smother his cries. The little fellow was so
frightened, that he burst into an excitement of tears. The room was
dark, and as gloomy as a cavern. He could neither lie down, sleep, nor
console himself. He thought of Manuel, only to envy his lot, and would
gladly have shared his imprisonment, to be relieved from such a
horrible situation. Morning was to bring, perhaps, worse terrors. He
thought of the happy scenes of his rustic home in Dunakade, and his
poor parents, but nothing could relieve the anguish of his feelings.
And then, how could he get word to his Captain? If they were so cruel
to him now, he could not expect them to be less so in the morning. In
this manner, he sat down upon the floor with the poor negro, and, if
he could do nothing more, sympathized with his feelings. The poor
negro murmured and groaned in a manner that would have enlisted the
feelings of a Patagonian; and in this way he continued until about
three o'clock in the morning, when his moaning became so loud and
pitiful, that the officer of the guard came to the door with an
attendant, and unbolting it, entered with a lantern in his hand. He
held the light toward his face, and inquired what he was making such a
noise about? "Oh! good massa, good massa, do send for docta; ma head
got a pile o' cuts on him," said he, putting his hand to his head. The
officer passed the lantern to his attendant, and after putting a pair
of gloves on his hands, began to feel his head, turn aside his torn
clothes, and wipe the dirt from the places where the blood seemed to
be clotted. "Good gracious! I didn't conjecture that you were cut so
bad. Here, my good fellow, (addressing himself to Tommy,) hold the
lantern. Michael, go get a pail of water, and some cloths," said he,
very suddenly becoming awakened to the real condition of the man,
after he had exhibited a coldness that bordered on brutality.
Water and cloths were soon brought. The attendant, Michael,
commenced to strip his clothes off, but the poor fellow was so sore
that he screeched, in the greatest agony, every time he attempted to
touch him. "Be easy," said the officer, "he's hurt pretty badly. He
must a' been mighty refractory, or they'd never beaten him in this
manner," he continued, opening a roll of adhesive plaster, and
cutting it into strips. After washing, him with water and whiskey,
they dressed his wounds with the plaster, and bound his head with an
old silk handkerchief which they found in his pocket, after which
they left the light burning and retired.
After they retired, Tommy inquired of the negro how they came to
keep him so long, before they brought him to the guard-house? It
proved, that as soon as they came up with him, the first one knocked
him down with a club; and they all at once commenced beating him with
their bludgeons, and continued until they had satisfied their mad
fury. And while he lay groaning in the streets, they left one of their
number in charge, while the others proceeded to get handcuffs and
chains, in which they bound him, and dragged him, as it were, the
distance of four squares to the guard-house. What a sublime picture
for the meditations of a people who boast of their bravery and
CHAPTER XIX. THE NEXT MORNING, AND
THE MAYOR'S VERDICT.
SHORTLY after daylight, Tommy fell into a dozing sleep, from which
he was awakened by the mustering of the prisoners who had been
brought up during the night, and were to appear before the mayor at
nine o'clock. A few minutes before eight o'clock, an officer opened
the cell-door, and they were ordered to march out into a long room.
In this room they found all the prisoners gathered. There were three
blacks and five whites, who had been arrested on different charges;
and as the mayor's court was merely a tribunal of commitment-not
judgment-if the charges upon which the prisoners were brought up were
sustained-which they generally were, because the policeman who made
the arrest was the important witness, they were committed to await the
tardy process of the law.
Considerable uneasiness had been felt on board of the Janson for
Tommy, and the Captain suggested that he might have got astray among
the dark lanes of the city, and that the mate had better send some of
the crew to look for him. The mate, better acquainted with Tommy's
feelings and attachment for Manuel than he was with the rules of the
prison and Mr. Grimshaw's arbitrary orders, assured the Captain that
such a course would be entirely unnecessary, for he knew when he left
that he would stop all night with Manuel. This quieted the Captain's
apprehensions, and he said no more about it until he sat down to
breakfast. "I miss Tommy amazingly," said the Captain. "If he stopped
all night, he should be here by this time. I think some one had better
be sent to the jail to inquire for him." Just as he arose from the
table, one of the crew announced at the companion that a person on
deck wished to see the Captain. On going up, he found a policeman, who
informed him that a little boy had been arrested as a vagrant in the
street, last night, and when brought before the mayor a few minutes
ago, stated that he belonged to his vessel, and the mayor had
despatched him to notify the master. "Circumstances are suspicious; he
was seen in company with a negro of very bad habits; but if you can
identify the boy, you had better come quick, or he'll be sent to jail,
and you'll have some trouble to get him out," said the messenger,
giving the Captain a description of the boy.
"Oh yes!" said the Captain, "that's my Tommy. I verily believe
they'll have us all in jail before we get away from the port."
Numerous appointments engrossed his time, and he had promised to meet
the consul at an early hour that morning. Notwithstanding this, he
gave a few orders to the mate about getting the hatches ready and
receiving the port-wardens, and then immediately repaired to the
all-important guard-house. He was just in time to receive the
mortifying intelligence that the mayor's court had concluded its
sitting, and to see little Tommy, with a pair of handcuffs on his
hand, in the act of being committed to jail by a Dutch constable. He
stopped the constable, and being told that his honor was yet in the
room, put a couple of dollars into his hand to await his
intercession. Another fortunate circumstance favored him; just as he
stopped the constable, he saw his friend, Colonel S—, approaching.
The colonel saw there was trouble, and with his usual, characteristic
kindness, hastened up and volunteered his services.
We must now return to the arraignment, as it proceeded after the
messenger had been despatched.
The negro confined with Tommy presented a wretched picture when
brought into the light room among the other prisoners. His head was
so swollen that no trace of feature was left in his face. Cuts and
gashes were marked with plaster all over his neck and face; his head
tied up with an old red handkerchief; his eyes, what could be seen of
them, more like balls of blood than organs of sight; while the whiskey
and water with which his head had been washed, had mixed with the
blood upon his clothes, and only served to make its appearance more
disgusting. Altogether, a more pitiful object never was presented to
Some minutes before the clock struck nine, an intelligent-looking
gentleman, very well dressed, and portly in his appearance, entered
the room. He was evidently kindly disposed, but one of those men
whose feelings prompt them to get through business with despatch,
rather than inquire into the circumstances of aggravated cases. He
held a consultation with the officer for some minutes with reference
to the prisoners. After which he mounted a little tribune, and
addressing a few words to the white prisoners, (a person who acted
the part of clerk announced court by rapping upon a desk with a
little mallet,) inquired whether the officers had notified the owners
of the negroes. Being informed that they had, he proceeded with the
negroes first. One, by some good fortune, was taken away by his
master, who paid the usual fee to swell the city treasury; another was
sentenced to receive twenty paddles on the frame at the workhouse; and
the third, the man we have described, being brought forward, weak with
the loss of blood, leaned his hand upon the back of a chair. "Stand up
straight!" said the officer, in a commanding tone.
"Now, my boy, this is twice you have been before this court. Your
master has left you to the mercy of the law, and given strict orders
to the police in the event that you were caught a third time. Your
crime is worse now, for you were caught in company with that white
boy-probably on some errand of villany, prowling about the streets
after drum-beat. I shall, in consideration of the facts here stated
by the police, whose evidence I am bound to recognise, sentence you
to nineteen paddles on the frame, and to be committed to jail, in
accordance with your master's orders, there to await his further
"Arraign the white prisoners according to the roll, Mr.—. Have you
sent a message to the Captain about that boy?" inquired the mayor.
"No, yer honor; but I will send at once," said the officer,
stepping into the passage and calling an attendant.
The little fellow was arraigned first. He stood up before the mayor
while the ruffianly policeman who arrested him preferred the charges
and swore to them, adding as much to give coloring as possible. "Now,
my man, let me hear what you have got to say for yourself. I have sent
for your captain," said the mayor, looking as if he really felt pity
for the little fellow.
He commenced to tell his simple story, but soon became so convulsed
with tears that he could proceed no further. "I only went to the jail
to see Manuel, the steward, and I got lost, and begged the black man
to show me the way"—said he, sobbing.
"Well, I have heard enough," said the mayor, interrupting him. "You
could not have been at the jail at that time o' night-impossible. It
was after hours-contrary to rules-and only makes the matter worse for
yourself. You can stand aside, and if the Captain comes before court
is through, we will see further; if not, you must be committed as a
vagrant. I'm afraid of you young strollers."
The officer of the guard, as if the poor boy's feelings were not
already sufficiently harassed, took him by the arm, and pushing him
into a corner, said, "There, you young scamp, sit down. You'll get
your deserts when you get to the jail."
He sat down, but could not restrain his feelings. The presence of
the Captain was his only hope. He saw the prisoners arraigned one by
one, and join him as they were ordered for committal. He was
handcuffed like the rest, and delivered to the constable. The reader
can imagine the smile of gladness that welcomed the Captain's timely
appearance. The latter's exhibition of feeling, and the simple
exclamation of the child's joy, formed a striking picture of that
fondness which a loving child manifests when meeting its parents
after a long absence.
"Take the irons off that child," said the colonel to the constable.
"A man like you should not put such symbols of ignominy upon a youth
"I would do any thing to oblige you, colonel; but I cannot without
orders from the mayor," returned the man, very civilly.
"I'll see that you do, very quick," rejoined the colonel,
impatiently; and taking the little fellow by the arm in a
compassionate manner, led him back into the presence of the mayor,
followed by the Captain.
"I want to know what you are committing this lad for," said the
colonel, setting his hat upon the table, while his face flushed with
"Vagrancy, and caught prowling about the streets with a negro at
midnight. That is the charge, colonel," replied the mayor, with
particular condescension and suavity.
"Was there any proof adduced to substantiate that fact?"
"None but the policeman's; you know we are bound to take that as
"Then it was entirely ex parte. But you know the character of these
policemen, and the many aggravated circumstances that have arisen
from their false testimony. I wish to cast no disrespect, your honor;
but really they will swear to any thing for a fee, while their
unscrupulous bribery has become so glaring, that it is a disgrace to
our police system. Have you heard the boy's story?" said the colonel.
"Well, he began to tell a crooked story, so full of admissions, and
then made such a blubbering about it, that I couldn't make head or
tail of it."
"Well, here is the Captain of his vessel, a friend of mine, whom I
esteem a gentleman-for all captains ought to be gentlemen, not
excepting Georgia captains and majors," said the colonel, jocosely,
turning round and introducing the Captain to his honor. "Now, your
honor, you will indulge me by listening to the little fellow's story,
which will be corroborated in its material points by the statements of
the Captain, which, I trust, will be sufficient; if not, we shall
recur to the jailer."
"It will be sufficient. I am only sorry there has been so much
trouble about it," said the mayor.
The boy now commenced to tell his story, which the mayor listened
to with all learned attention. No sooner had Tommy finished, and the
Captain arose to confirm his statements, than the mayor declared
himself satisfied, apologized for the trouble it had caused, and
discharged the boy upon paying the costs, the amount of which the
colonel took from his pocket and threw upon the table. Thus was
Tommy's joy complete; not so the poor negro whose ill luck he shared.
This high-sounding mayor's court was like C‘sar's court, with the
exceptions in C‘sar's favor.
CHAPTER XX. EMEUTE AMONG THE
SEVERAL days had passed ere we again introduce the reader to the
cell of the imprisoned stewards. The captain of the Janson had been
assured by Mr. Grimshaw that every thing was comfortable at the jail,
and Manuel would be well cared for. Confiding in this, the activity of
the consul to bring the matter before the proper authorities-and the
manner in which his own time was engrossed with his business-left him
no opportunity to visit Manuel at the jail. Tommy and one of the
sailors had carried him his hammock, and a few things from the ship's
stores; and with this exception, they had but little to eat for
several days. Copeland had but a few days more to remain, and,
together with those who were with him, had exhausted their means, in
providing from day to day, during their imprisonment. The poor woman
who did their washing, a generous-hearted mulatto, had brought them
many things, for which she asked no compensation. Her name was Jane
Bee, and when the rules of the jail made every man his own
washerwoman, she frequently washed for those who had nothing to pay
her. But her means were small, and she worked hard for a small
pittance, and had nothing to bring them for several days. They were
forced to take the allowance of bread, but could not muster resolution
to eat the sickly meat.
Those who had suffered from it before, took it as a natural
consequence, looking to the time of their release, as if it was to
bring a happy change in their lives. But Manuel felt that it was an
unprecedented outrage upon his feelings, and was determined to
remonstrate against it. He knocked loudly at the door, and some of
the prisoners hearing it, reported to the jailer, who sent Daley to
answer it. As soon as the door was opened, he rushed past, and
succeeded in gaining the iron door that opened into the vestibule,
where he could converse with the Jailer, through the grating, before
Daley could stop him.
The jailer seeing him at the grating, anticipated his complaint.
"Well, Pereira,—what's the matter up-stairs?" said he.
"For God's sake, jailer, what am I put in here for-to starve? We
cannot eat the meat you send us, and we have had little else than
bread and water for three days. Do give us something to eat, and
charge it to consul, or Captain, an' I'll pay it from my wages when I
get out, if I ever do," said he.
"My dear fellow!" said the jailer, "no one knows your case better
than I do; but I am poor, and the restrictions which I am under allow
me no privileges. You had all better take your meat in the morning-if
you won't take soup-and try to cook it, or get Jane to do it for you.
I will give you some coffee and bread from my own table, to-night, and
you better say as little about it as possible, for if Grimshaw hears
it, he may lock you up."
"Do, I shall be very thankful, for we are really suffering from
hunger, in our cell, and I pay you when I get money from Captain,"
said Manuel, manifesting his thankfulness at the jailer's kindness.
"I will send it up in a few minutes, but you needn't trouble
yourself about pay-I wouldn't accept it!" said the jailer; and as
good as his word, he sent them up a nice bowl of coffee for each, and
some bread, butter, and cheese. They partook of the humble fare, with
many thanks to the donor. Having despatched it, they seated themselves
upon the floor, around the faint glimmer of a tin lamp, while Copeland
read the twentieth and twenty-first chapters of the Acts of the
Apostles. Copeland was a pious negro, and his behaviour during his
imprisonment enlisted the respect of every one in jail. Singular as
the taste may seem, he had his corner in the cell decorated with
little framed prints. Among them we noticed one of the crucifixion,
and another of the Madonna. After reading the chapters, they retired
to their hard beds. About nine o'clock the next morning, Daley came to
the door with a piece of neck meat, so tainted and bloody that its
smell and looks more than satisfied the stomach.
"Here it is, boys," said he; "yer four pound, but ye's better take
soup, cos ye'll niver cook that bone, anyhow."
"Do you think we're like dogs, to eat such filth as that? No! I'd
rather starve!" said Manuel.
"Indeed, an' ye'll larn to ate any thing win ye'd be here a month.
But be dad, if ye don't watch number one about here, ye's won't get
much nohow," replied Daley, dropping the bloody neck upon the floor,
and walking out.
"Better take it," said Copeland. "There's no choice, and hunger
don't stand for dainties, especially in this jail, where everybody is
famished for punishment. If we don't eat it, we can give it to some of
the poor prisoners up-stairs."
"While I have good ship-owners, and a good Captain, I never will
eat such stuff as that; oh! no," returned Manuel.
The meat was laid in a corner for the benefit of the flies; and
when dinner time arrived, the same hard extreme arrived with it-bread
and water. And nobody seemed to have any anxieties on their behalf;
for two of them had written notes to their Captains, on the day
previous, but they remained in the office for want of a messenger to
carry them. Fortunately, Jane called upon them in the afternoon, and
brought a nice dish of rice and another of homony.
We will here insert a letter we received from a very worthy friend,
who, though he had done much for the Charleston people, and been
repaid in persecutions, was thrown into jail for a paltry debt by a
ruthless creditor. Cleared by a jury of twelve men, he was held in
confinement through the wretched imperfection of South Carolina law,
to await nearly twelve months for the sitting of the "Appeal Court,"
more to appease the vindictiveness of his enemies than to satisfy
justice, for it was well understood that he did not owe the debt. His
letter speaks for itself. Charleston Jail, March 31, '52.
MY DEAR FRIEND,—I could not account for your absence during the
last few days, until this morning, when Mr. F***** called upon me for
a few moments, and from him I learnt that you had been quite unwell.
If you are about to-morrow, do call upon me; for a more dreary place,
or one where less regard is paid to the calls of humanity, cannot be
found among the nations of the earth.
Such is the ordinary condition of suffering within this
establishment, that men, and even women, are forced to all kinds of
extremes to sustain life; and, to speak what experience has taught
me, crime is more increased than reduced by this wretched system.
There seems to be little distinction among the prisoners, and no
means to observe it, except in what is called Mount Rascal on the
third story. Pilfering is so common, that you cannot leave your room
without locking your door. The jailer is a good, kind-hearted old
man, very often giving from his own table to relieve the wants of
debtors, many of whom repay him with ingratitude. I have suffered
many privations from shipwreck and cold, but never until I came to
South Carolina was I compelled to endure imprisonment and subsist
several days upon bread and water.
Talk about chivalry and hospitality! How many men could join with
me and ask, "Where is it?" But why should I demur, when I see those
abroad who have been driven from this State to seek bread; when I
hear the many voices without tell of struggling to live, for want of
system in mechanical employment, and when I look upon several within
these sombre walls who are even worse than me. Here is a physician,
with a wife and large family, committed for a debt which he was
unable to pay. His father's name stands among the foremost of the
State—a General of distinction, who offered his life for her in time
of war, and whose name honors her triumphs, and has since graced the
councils of state.
General Hammond, whose name occupies such a conspicuous place in
the military history of South Carolina. The father's enthusiasm for
his country's cause led him to sacrifice his all, and by it he
entailed misfortune upon his descendants. When I consider the case of
Shannon, whose eleven years and seven months' imprisonment for debt,
as it was called, but which eventually proved to be a question
turning upon technicalities of law, gave him, body and soul, to the
vindictiveness of a persecutor, whose unrelenting malignity was kept
up during that long space of time. It was merely a breach of
limitation between merchants, the rights of which should be governed
by commercial custom. Shannon had, amassed about twenty thousand
dollars by hard industry; his health was waning, and he resolved to
retire with it to his native county. The gem proved too glaring for
the lynx eye of a "true Carolinian," who persuaded him to invest his
money in cotton. Moved by flattering inducements, he authorized a
factor to purchase for him upon certain restrictions, which,
unfortunately for himself, were not drawn up with regard to legal
enforcement-one of those singular instruments between a merchant and
an inexperienced man which a professional quibbler can take advantage
of. Cotton was at the tip-top, and very soon Shannon was presented
with an account of purchase, and draft so far beyond his limits, that
he demurred, and rejected the purchase entirely; but some plot should
be laid to entrap him. The factor undertook the force game, notified
him that the cotton was held subject to his order, and protested the
draft for the appearance of straightforwardness. Cotton shortly fell
to the other extreme, the lot was "shoved up" for sale on Shannon's
account, Shannon was sued for the balance, held to bail, and in
default committed to prison. His confinement and endurance of it would
form a strange chapter in the history of imprisonment for debt.
Carrying his money with him, he closed the door of his cell, and
neither went out nor would allow any one but the priest to enter for
more than three years; and for eleven years and seven months he paced
the room upon a diagonal line from corner to corner, until he wore the
first flooring, of two-and- a-quarter-inch pine, entirely through.
I might go on and tell of many others, whose poverty was well
known, and yet suffered years of imprisonment for debt; but I find I
have digressed. I must relate an amusing affair which took place this
morning between Manuel Pereira, the steward of the English brig
Janson, which put into this port in distress, and the jailer. He is
the man about whom so much talk and little feeling has been
enlisted—a fine, well-made, generous-hearted Portuguese. He is
olive-complexioned—as light as many of the Carolinians—intelligent
and obliging, and evidently unaccustomed to such treatment as he
Manuel appeared before the jailer's office this morning with two
junks of disgusting-looking meat, the neck-bones, tainted and bloody,
in each hand. His Portuguese ire was up. "Mister Poulnot, what you
call dis? In South Carolina you feed man on him, ah? In my country, ah
yes! we feed him to dog. What you call him? May-be somethin' what me
no know him. In South Carolina, prison sailor when he shipwreck,
starve him on nosin', den tell him eat this, ah! I sails 'round ze
world, but never savage man gives me like zat to eat! No, I starve
'fore I eat him, be gar! Zar, you take him," said he, throwing the
pieces of meat upon the floor in disdain.
"Meat! Yes, it's what's sent here for us. You mustn't grumble at
me; enter your complaints to the sheriff, when he comes," said the
jailer, with an expression of mortification on his countenance.
"Meat, ah! You call dat meat in South Carolina? I call him
bull-neck, not fit for dog in my country. I see, when Capitan come,
vat he do," said Manuel, turning about and going to his room in a
"You'd better be careful how you talk, or you may get locked up
when the sheriff comes."
It seems that the Captain had received a note from him, addressed
by one of the white prisoners on the same floor, and reached the jail
just as Manuel had ascended the stairs. He rang the bell and
requested to see Manuel.
"Manuel Pereira?" inquired the jailer.
"Yes," said the Captain, "he is my steward."
He heard the Captain's voice, and immediately returned to the
lobby. The tears ran down his cheeks as soon as he saw his old
protector. "Well, Manuel, I am glad to see you, but sorry that it is
in imprisonment. Tell me what is the matter. Don't they use you well
here?" inquired the Captain.
Stepping within the office door, he caught up the pieces of meat,
and bringing them out in his hands, held them up. "There, Capitan,
that no fit for man, is it?" said he. "Law send me prison, but law no
give not'ing to eat. What I do dat people treat me so? Ah, Capitan,
bull neck, by gar, yes-bull born in South Carolina, wid two neck. Ils
sont r‚duits … l'extr‚mit‚," said he, concluding with broken French.
"That cannot be; it's against the law to kill bulls in South
Carolina," interrupted the jailer jocosely.
"Must be. I swear he bull-neck, 'cas he cum every day just like
him. Bull born wid one neck no cum so many. What I get for breakfast,
Capitan, ah?—piece bad bread. What I get for dinner, ah?—bull-neck.
Yes, what I get for supper, too?—piece bread and bucket o' water.
May-be he bad, may be he good, just so he come. You think I live on
dat, Capitan?" said he, in reply to the Captain's questions.
The Captain felt incensed at such treatment, and excused himself
for not calling before; yet he could not suppress a smile that stole
upon his countenance in consequence of Manuel's quaint earnestness.
"That is certainly strange fare for a human being; but the supper
seems rather a comical one. Did you drink the bucket of water,
Manuel?" inquired the Captain, retaining a sober face.
"Capitan, you know me too well for dat. I not ask 'em nozin' what
he no get, but I want my coffee for suppe'. I no eat him like zat,"
throwing the putrid meat upon the floor again.
"Hi, hi! That won't do in this jail. You're dirtying up all my
floor," said the jailer, calling a negro boy and ordering him to
carry the bull-necks, as Manuel called them, into the kitchen.
"You call him dirt, ah, Miser Jailer? Capitan, just come my room; I
shown him," said Manuel, leading the way up-stairs, and the Captain
followed. A sight at the cell was enough, while the sickly stench
forbid him to enter beyond the threshold. He promised Manuel that he
would provide for him in future, and turning about suddenly,
retreated into the lower lobby.
"Jailer, what does all this mean? Do you allow men to starve in a
land of plenty, and to suffer in a cell like that?" asked the Captain
in a peremptory tone.
"I feel for the men, but you must enter your complaints to the
sheriff-the ration of the jail is entirely in his hands."
"But have you no voice in it, by which you can alleviate their
"Not the least! My duty is to keep every thing-every thing to
rights, as far as people are committed. You will find the sheriff in
his office, any time between this and two o'clock," said the jailer.
And the Captain left as suddenly as he came.
You will think I have written you an essay, instead of a letter
inviting you to come and see me. Accept it for its intention, and
excuse the circumstances. Your obedient servant,
CHAPTER XXI. THE CAPTAIN'S
INTERVIEW WITH MR. GRIMSHAW.
THE appearance of things at the jail was forlorn in the extreme.
The Captain knew the integrity of Manuel, and not only believed his
statement, but saw the positive proofs to confirm them. He repaired
to the sheriff's office, and inquiring for that functionary, was
pointed to Mr. Grimshaw, who sat in his large chair, with his feet
upon the table, puffing the fumes of a very fine-flavored Havana, as
unconcerned as if he was lord in sovereignty over every thing about
the city. "I am captain of the Janson, and have called to inquire
about my steward?" said the Captain.
"Ah! yes,—you have a nigger fellow in jail. Oh! by-the-by, that's
the one there was so much fuss about, isn't it?" said Mr. Grimshaw,
"It is an imperative duty on me to seek the comfort of my officers
and crew," said the Captain. "I received a note from my steward, this
morning,—here it is, (handing him the note,) you can read it. He
requested me to call upon him at the jail, where I lost no time in
going, and found what he stated there to be too true. How is it! From
the great liberality of tone which everywhere met my ears when I first
arrived, I was led to believe that he would be made comfortable; and
that the mere confinement was the only feature of the law that was a
grievance. Now I find that to be the only tolerable part of it. When a
man has committed no crime, and is imprisoned to satisfy a caprice of
public feeling, it should be accompanied with the most favoring
attendants. To couple it with the most disgraceful abuses, as are
shown here, makes it exceedingly repugnant. If we pay for confining
these men, and for their living while they are confined, in God's name
let us get what we pay for!"
The reader will observe that Mr. Grimshaw was a man of coarse
manners and vulgar mind, with all their traces preserved on the outer
man. He looked up at the Captain with a presumptuous frown, and then
said, "Why, Mr. Captain, how you talk! But that kind o' talk won't do
here in South Carolina. That nigger o' yourn gives us a mighty site of
trouble, Captain. He doesn't seem to understand that he must be
contented in jail, and live as the other prisoners do. He gets what
the law requires, and if he gives us any further trouble, we shall
lock him up in the third story."
"You cannot expect him to be contented, when you furnish the means
of discontent. But I did not come here to argue with you, nor to ask
any thing as a favour, but as a right. My steward has been left to
suffer! Am I to pay for what he does not get? Or am I to pay you for
the pretence, and still be compelled to supply him on account of the
owners? You must excuse my feelings, for I have had enough to provoke
them!" returned the Captain.
"That business is entirely my own! He gets what the State allows,
and I provide. Your steward never wrote that note; it was dictated by
some of them miserable white prisoners. I can hear no complaints upon
such cases as them. If I were to listen to all these nonsensical
complaints, it would waste all my time. I wish the devil had all the
nigger stewards and their complaints; the jail's in a fuss with them
all the time. I can hear nothing further, sir-nothing further!" said
Grimshaw emphatically, interrupting the Captain as he attempted to
speak; at which the Captain became so deeply incensed, that he
relieved his feelings in that sort of plain English which a Scotchman
can best bestow in telling a man what he thinks of his character.
"You must remember, sir, you are in the office of the sheriff of
the county-parish, I mean,—and I am, sir, entitled to proper respect.
Begone!—avaunt! you have no right to come here and traduce my
character in that way. You musn't take me for a parish beadle," said
Grimshaw, contorting the unmeaning features of his visage, and
letting fly a stream of tobacco juice in his excitement.
"If you have no laws to give me justice, you have my opinion of
your wrongs," returned the Captain, and taking his hat, left the
office with the intention of returning to the jail. On reflection, he
concluded to call upon Colonel S—, which he did, and finding him in
his office, stated the circumstances to him.
"These things are the fruits of imbecility; but I am sorry to say
there is no relief from them. We are a curious people, and do a great
many curious things according to law, and leave a great many things
undone that the law and lawmakers ought to do. But I will go with you
to the jail, and whatever my influence will effect is at your
service," said the Colonel, putting on his hat, and accompanying the
Captain to the jail.
Mr. Grimshaw had forestalled them, and after having given the
jailer particular instructions to lock Manuel up if he made any
further complaint, and to carry out his orders upon the peril of his
situation, met them a few steps from the outer gate, on his return.
"There, Captain!" said Grimshaw, making a sort of halt, "I have given
the jailer particular orders in regard to your grumbling nigger!"
Neither the Captain nor Colonel S—took any notice of his remarks,
and passed on into the jail. Colonel S—interceded for the man,
explaining the circumstances which had unfortunately brought him
there, and begged the jailer's kind consideration in his behalf. The
jailer told them what his orders had been, but promised to do as far
as was in his power, and to see any thing that was sent to him safely
After leaving the jail, Colonel S—proposed a walk, and they
proceeded along a street running at right angles with the jail, until
they came to a corner where a large brick building was in process of
erection. The location was not in what might strictly be called "the
heart of the city," nor was it in the suburbs. Carpenters and masons,
both black and white, were busily employed in their avocations, and
from the distance all seemed fair and moving with despatch. As they
approached nearer, cries and moans sounded upon the air, and rose high
above the clatter of the artisans' work. The Captain quickened his
pace, but the colonel, as if from a consciousness of the effect,
halted, and would fain have retraced his steps. "Come!" said the
Captain, "let us hasten-they are killing somebody!" They approached
the building, and entered by an open door in the basement. The
passage, or entry-way, was filled with all sorts of building
materials; and on the left, another door opened into a long basement
apartment, with loose boards laid upon the floor-joists overhead. Here
in this dark apartment was the suffering object whose moans had
attracted their attention. A large billet of wood, about six feet long
and three feet square, which had the appearance of being used for a
chopping-block, laid near. A poor negro man, apparently advanced in
years, was stripped naked and bent over the block, in the shape of a
horse-shoe, with his hands and feet closely pinioned to stakes, driven
in the ground on each side. His feet were kept close together, and
close up to the log, while he was drawn over, tight by the hands,
which were spread open. Thus, with a rope around his neck, tied in a
knot at the throat, with each end carried to the pinion where his
hands were secured, his head and neck were drawn down to the tightest
point. The very position was enough to have killed an ordinary human
being in less than six hours. His master, a large, robust man, with a
strong Irish brogue, started at their appearance, as if alarmed at the
presence of intruders, while holding his hand in the attitude of
administering another blow. "There! you infernal nigger; steal again,
will you?" said he, frothing at the mouth with rage—with his coat
off, his shirt-sleeves rolled up, and his face, hands, arms and
shirt-bosom so bespattered with blood, that a thrill of horror ran
through the Captain. On the ground lay several pieces of hoop, broken
and covered with blood, while he held in his hand another piece,
(which he had torn from a lime-cask,) reeking with blood, presenting
the picture of a murderer bestained with the blood of his victim. But
the poor sufferer's punishment had wasted his strength,—his moans
had become so faint as to be scarcely perceptible. His posteriors
were so cut and mangled that we could compare them to nothing but a
piece of bullock's-liver, with its tenacity torn by craven dogs. His
body was in a profuse perspiration, the sweat running from his neck
and shoulders, while the blood streamed from his bruises, down his
legs, and upon some shavings on the ground. Just at this moment a boy
brought a pail of water, and set it down close by the tyrant's feet.
"Go away, boy!" said he, and the, boy left as quick as possible. The
Captain stood dismayed at the bloody picture.
"Unmerciful man!" said the colonel in a peremptory tone; "what have
you been doing here? You fiend of hell, let the man up! You own
slaves to bring disgrace upon us in this manner! Epithets of contempt
and disgust are too good for you. It is such beasts as you who are
creating a popular hatred against us, and souring the feelings of our
countrymen. Let the man up instantly; the very position you have him
in is enough to kill him, and, if I'm not mistaken, you've killed him
"Indeed, he's me own property, and it's yerself won't lose a
ha'penny if he's kilt. An' I'll warrant ye he's cur't of stalin'
better than the man beyant at the wurk'o'se would be doin' if. Bad
luck to the nager, an' it's the second time he'd be doin' that same
thing," said he, as unconcernedly as if he had just been killing a
"I'll 'your own' you, you miserable wretch! Your abuse and cruel
treatment of your slaves is becoming a public thing; and if you a'n't
very careful, something will be done about it before council. If they
are your own, you must not treat them worse than dogs; they have
feeling, if you have no compassion. Be quick! release him at once!"
demanded the colonel, feeling the man's wrist and head.
The tyrant vent deliberately to work, unloosing the cords. This
provoked the colonel still more, and taking his knife from his
pocket, he severed the cords that bound his hands and feet, while as
suddenly the Captain sprang with his knife and severed those that
bound his hands and neck. "Stop, Captain, stop! take no part," said
the colonel, with a significant look.
"Gintlemen, I wish yes wouldn't interfere with my own business,"
said the master.
"Take him up, you villanous wretch! I speak to you as you deserve,
without restraint or respect," again the colonel repeated.
He called to the boy who was bringing the pail of water when they
entered. He came forward, and taking the poor fellow by the
shoulders, this beast in human form cried out, "Get up now, ye
miserable thief, ye." The poor fellow made a struggle, but as the
black man raised his head-which seemed to hang as a dead
weight-exhaustion had left him without strength, and he fell back
among the bloody shavings like a mutilated mass of lifeless flesh.
"None of your humbugging; yer worth a dozen dead niggers anyhow,"
said he, taking up the pail of water and throwing nearly half of it
over him; then passing the bucket to the black man and ordering him
to get more water and wash him down; then to get some saltpetre and a
sponge to sop his flesh.
"Well," said the colonel, "I have seen a good deal of cruelty to
slaves, but this is the most beastly I have ever beheld. If you don't
send for a doctor at once, I shall report you. That man will die, to a
moral certainty. Now, you may depend upon what I say-if that man dies,
you'll feel the consequences, and I shall watch you closely."
"Sure I always takes care of me own niggers, an' it's himself that
won't be asked to do a stroke of work for a week, but have the same
to git well in," said the tyrant as the colonel and Captain were
"God be merciful to us, and spare us from the savages of mankind.
That scene, with its bloody accompaniment, will haunt me through
life. Do your laws allow such things?" said the Captain, evidently
"To tell the truth, Captain," said the colonel, "our laws do not
reach them. These men own a few negroes, which, being property, they
exercise absolute control over; a negro's testimony being invalid,
gives them an unlimited power to abuse and inflict punishment; while,
if a white man attempts to report such things, the cry of
'abolitionist' is raised against him, and so many stand ready to
second the cry, that he must have a peculiar position if he does not
prejudice his own interests and safety. I am sorry it is so; but it
is too true, and while it stigmatizes the system, it works against
ourselves. The evil is in the defects of the system, but the remedy
is a problem with diverse and intricate workings, which, I own, are
beyond my comprehension to solve. The reason why I spoke to you as I
did when you cut the pinions from the man's hands, was to give you a
word of precaution. That is a bad man. Negroes would rather be sold
to a sugar plantation in Louisiana any time than be sold to him. He
soon works them down; in two years, fine, healthy fellows become
lame, infirm, and sickly under him; he never gives them a holiday,
and seldom a Sunday, and half-starves them at that. If his feelings
had been in a peculiar mood at the instant you cut that cord, and he
had not labored under the fear of my presence, he would have raised a
gang of his stamp, and with the circumstance of your being a stranger,
the only alternative for your safety would have been in your leaving
"That vagabond has beaten the poor creature so that he will die; it
can't be otherwise," said the Captain.
"Well, no; I think not, if he is well taken care of for a week or
so; but it's a chance if that brute gives him a week to get well.
When proud-flesh sets in, it is very tedious; that is the reason, so
far as the law is concerned, that the lash was abolished and the
paddle substituted—the former mangled in the manner you saw just
now, while the latter is more acute and bruises less. I have seen a
nigger taken from the paddle-frame apparently motionless and
lifeless, very little bruised, and not much blood drawn; but he would
come to and go to work in three or four days," said the colonel as
they passed along together.
We would print the name of this brute in human form, that the world
might read it, were it not for an amiable wife and interesting
family, whose feelings we respect. We heard the cause of this cruel
torture a short time after, which was simply that he had stolen a few
pounds of nails, and this fomented the demon's rage. In the manner we
have described, this ferocious creature had kept his victim for more
than two hours, beating him with the knotty hoops taken from
lime-casks. His rage would move at intervals, like gusts of wind
during a gale. Thus, while his feelings raged highest, he would vent
them upon the flesh of the poor pinioned wretch; then he would stop,
rest his arm, and pace the ground from wall to wall, and as soon as
his passion stormed, commence again and strike the blows with all his
power, at the same time keeping the black boy standing with a bucket
of water in his hand ready to pour upon the wretch whenever signs of
fainting appeared. Several times, when the copious shower came over
him, it filled his mouth, so that his cries resounded with a gurgling,
death-like noise, that made every sensation chill to hear it. During
this space of time, he inflicted more than three hundred blows. Our
information is from the man who did his master's bidding—poured the
water—and dared not say, "Good massa, spare poor Jacob." We visited
the place about a month afterward, on a pretext of examining the
basement of the building, and saw the unmistakable evidences of
civilized torture yet remaining in the ground and upon the shavings
that were scattered around.
"Captain, you must not judge the institution of slavery by what you
saw there; that is only one of those isolated cases so injurious in
themselves, but for which the general character of the institution
should not be held answerable," said the colonel.
"A system so imperfect should be revised, lest innocent men be made
to suffer its wrongs," said the Captain.
They continued their walk through several very pretty parts of the
city, where fine flowering gardens and well-trimmed hedges were
nicely laid out; these, however, were not the habitations of the "old
families." They occupied parts of the city designated by
massive-looking old mansions, exhibiting an antiqueness and mixed
architecture, with dilapidated court-yards and weather-stained walls,
showing how steadfast was the work of decay.
The colonel pointed out the many military advantages of the city,
which would be used against Uncle Sam if he meddled with South
Carolina. He spoke of them ironically, for he was not possessed of
the secession monomania. He had been a personal friend of Mr.
Calhoun, and knew his abstractions. He knew Mr. McDuffie; Hamilton,
(the transcendant, of South Carolina fame;) Butler, of good component
parts-eloquent, but moved by fancied wrongs; Rhett, renouncer of that
vulgar name of Smith, who hated man because he spoke, yet would not
fight because he feared his God; and betwixt them, a host of worthies
who made revenge a motto; and last, but not least, great Quattlebum,
whose strength and spirit knows no bound, and brought the champion
Commander, with his enthusiastic devotion, to lead unfaltering forlorn
hopes. But he knew there was deception in the political dealings of
this circle of great names.
Returning to the market, they took a social glass at Baker's, where
the colonel took leave of the Captain; and the latter, intending to
repair to his vessel, followed the course of the market almost to its
lowest extreme. In one of the most public places of the market, the
Captain's attention was attracted by a singular object of mechanism.
It seemed so undefined in its application, that he was reminded of the
old saying among sailors when they fall in with any indescribable
thing at sea, that it was a "fidge-fadge, to pry the sun up with in
cloudy weather." It was a large pedestal about six feet high, with a
sort of platform at the base for persons to stand upon, supplied with
two heavy rings about eight inches apart. It was surmounted by an
apex, containing an iron shackle long enough for a sloop-of-war's best
bower chain, and just, beneath it was a nicely-turned moulding. About
three feet from the ground, and twelve inches from the pedestal, were
two pieces of timber one above the other, with a space of some ten
inches between them, the upper one set about five inches nearest the
pedestal, also containing two rings, and both supported by posts in
the ground. Above the whole was a framework, with two projecting
timbers supplied with rings, and standing about fourteen inches in a
diagonal direction above the big ring in the apex of the shaft. It was
altogether a curious instrument, but it designated the civilization of
the age, upon the same principle that a certain voyager who, on
landing in a distant country, discovered traces of civilization in the
decaying remains of an old gallows.
He viewed the curious instrument for some time, and then turning to
an old ragged negro, whose head and beard were whitened with the
flour of age, said, "Well, old man, what do you call that?"
"Why, massa, him great t'ing dat-what big old massa judge send
buckra-man to get whip, so color foke laugh when 'e ketch 'im on de
back, ca' bim; an' massa wid de cock-up hat on 'e head put on big vip
jus' so," said the old negro.
It was the whipping-post, where white men, for small thefts, were
branded with ignominy and shame.
"Are you a slave, old man?" inquired the Captain.
The old man turned his head aside and pulled his ragged garments,
as if shame had stung his feelings.
"Do, good massa-old Simon know ye don'e belong here-give him piece
of 'bacca," replied the hoary-headed veteran evidently intending to
evade the question. The Captain divided his "plug" with him, and gave
him a quarter to get more, but not to buy whiskey. "Tank-e, massa,
tank-e; he gone wid ole Simon long time."
"But you haven't answered my question; I asked you if you were a
"Ah! massa, ye don'e know him how he is, ah ha! ha! I done gone
now. Massa Pringle own 'im once, but 'im so old now, nobody say I own
'im, an' ole Simon a'n't no massa what say I his fo' bacon. I don't
woff nofin' nohow now, 'cos I ole. When Simon young-great time
'go-den massa say Simon his; woff touzan' dollars; den me do eve'
ting fo' massa just so. I prime nigga den, massa; now I woff nosin',
no corn and bacon 'cept what 'im git from Suke-e. She free; good
massa make her free," said he.
"How old are you, old man?" inquired the Captain.
"Ah, Massa Stranger, ye got ole Simon da! If me know dat, den 'im
know somefin' long time ago, what buckra-man don' larn. I
con'try-born nigger, massa, but I know yonder Massa Pringle house fo'
he built 'im." Just at this moment several pieces of cannon and other
ordnance were being drawn past on long, low-wheeled drays. "Ah, massa,
ye don'e know what 'em be," said the old negro, pointing to them. "Dem
wa' Massa South Ca'lina gwan to whip de 'Nited States wid Massa
Goberna' order 'em last year, an 'e jus' come. Good masse gwan' to
fight fo' we wid 'em." The poor old man seemed to take a great
interest in the pieces of ordnance as they passed along, and to have
inherited all the pompous ideas of his master. The negroes about
Charleston have a natural inclination for military tactics, and
hundreds of ragged urchins, as well as old daddies and mammies, may be
seen following the fife and drum on parade days.
"Then I suppose you've a home anywhere, and a master nowhere, old
man?" said the Captain, shaking him by the hand, as one who had worn
out his slavery to be disowned in the winter of life.
CHAPTER XXII. COPELAND'S RELEASE,
AND MANUEL'S CLOSE CONFINEMENT.
THE Captain of the Janson, finding that no dependence was to be
placed upon the statements of the officials, after returning to his
vessel, gave orders that Tommy should be sent to the jail every day
with provisions for Manuel. The task was a desirable one for Tommy,
and every day about ten o'clock he might be seen trudging to the jail
with a haversack under his arm. There were five stewards confined in
the cell, and for some days previous to this attention on the part of
the Captain they had been reduced to the last stage of necessity. The
quantity may be considered as meagre when divided among so many, but
added to the little things brought in by Jane, and presents from
several of the crew of the Janson, they got along. Still it was a
dependence upon chance and charity, which any casual circumstance
might affect. For several days they made themselves as contented and
happy as the circumstances would admit; and always being anxious to
enjoy the privilege of their time in the yard, they would leave their
cell together, and mix with the prisoners of their own color under the
After a few days, they found that their cell had been entered, and
nearly all their provisions stolen. Not contented with this, the act
was repeated for several days, and all the means they provided to
detect the thief proved fruitless. The jailer made several searches
through their remonstrances, but without effecting any thing. They
kept their provisions in a little box, which they locked with a
padlock; but as Daley had the keys of the cell, they had no means of
locking the door. At length Manuel set a trap that proved effectual.
One morning Tommy came puffing into the jail with a satchel over his
back. "I guess Manuel won't feel downhearted when he sees this—do
you think he will?" said the little fellow, as he put the satchel
upon the floor and looked up at the jailer. "An' I've got some
cigars, too, the Captain sent, in my pocket," said he, nodding his
head; and putting his hand into a side-pocket, pulled out one and
handed it to the jailer.
"Ah! you are a good little fellow-worth a dozen of our boys. Sit
down and rest yourself," said the jailer, and called a monstrous
negro wench to bring a chair and take the satchel up to the cell.
Then turning to the back-door, he called Manuel; and, as if conscious
of Tommy's arrival, the rest of the stewards followed. He sprang from
the chair as soon as he saw Manuel, and running toward him, commenced
telling him what he had got in the satchel and at the same time pulled
out a handful of segars that the Captain had sent for himself. Manuel
led the way up-stairs, followed by Tommy and the train of stewards.
Tommy opened the satchel, while Manuel laid the contents, one by one,
on the table which necessity had found in the head of a barrel.
"Now eat, my friends, eat just as much as you want, and then I'll
catch the thief that breaks my lock and steals my meat. I catch him,"
said Manuel. After they had all done, he locked the balance up in his
box, and sent everybody down-stairs into the yard, first covering
himself with two mattrasses, and giving orders to Copeland to lock the
door after him. Every thing was ready to move at the word. In this
position he remained for nearly half an hour. At length he heard a
footstep approach the door, and then the lock clink. The door opened
slowly, and the veritable Mr. Daley limped in, and taking a key from
his pocket, unlocked the little box, and filling his tin pan, locked
it, and was walking off as independent as a wood-sawyer, making a
slight whistle to a watch that was stationed at the end of the
passage. "It's you, is it?" said Manuel, suddenly springing up and
giving him a blow on the side of the head that sent him and the
contents of the pan into a promiscuous pile on the floor. Daley
gathered himself up and made an attempt to reach the door, but Manuel,
fearing what might be the consequence if the other prisoners came to
his assistance, shut the door before him and fastened it on the
"Bad luck to yer infernal eyes, will ye strike a white man, ye
nager ye, in a country like this same?" said Daley, as he was
gathering himself up. This incensed Manuel's feelings still more. To
have insult added to injury, and a worthless drunkard and thief abuse
him, was more than he could bear. He commenced according to a
sailor's rule of science, and gave Daley a systematic threshing,
which, although against the rules of the jail, was declared by
several of the prisoners to be no more than he had long deserved. As
may have been expected, Daley cried lustily for help, adding the very
convenient item of murder, to make his case more alarming. Several
persons had crowded around the door, but none could gain admittance.
The jailer had no sooner reached the door, than (most unfortunately
for Manuel) he was called back to the outer door, to admit Mr.
Grimshaw, who had just rung the bell. The moment he entered, Daley's
noise was loudest, and reached his ears before he had gained the
outside gate. He rushed up-stairs, followed by the jailer, and
demanded entrance at the cell door, swearing at the top of his voice
that he would break it in with an axe if the command was not instantly
The door opened, and Manuel stood with his left hand extended at
Daley. "Come in, gentlemen, I catch him, one rascal, what steal my
provision every day, and I punish him, what he remember when I
Daley stood trembling against the wall, bearing the marks of
serious injury upon his face and eyes. "At it again, Daley? Ah! I
thought you had left off them tricks!" said the jailer.
Daley began to tell a three-cornered story, and to give as many
possible excuses, with equally as many characteristic bulls in them.
"I don't want to hear your story, Daley," said Mr. Grimshaw. "But,
Mr. Jailer, I command you to lock that man up in the third story,"
pointing to Manuel. "I don't care what the circumstances are. He's
given us more trouble than he's worth. He tried to pass himself off
for a white man, but he couldn't come that, and now he's had the
impudence to strike a white man; lock him up! lock him up!! and keep
him locked up until further orders from me. I'll teach him a lesson
that he never learnt before he came to South Carolina; and then let
Consul Mathew sweat over him, and raise another fuss if he can."
"If he's guilty of violating the rules of the jail, Daley is guilty
of misdemeanour, and the thieving has been aggravatingly continued.
If we put one, we must put both up," said the jailer.
"Just obey my orders, Mr. Jailer. I will reprimand Daley to-morrow.
I shall just go to the extent of the law with that feller," said
"You may lock me up in a dungeon, do with me as you will, if the
power is yours; but my feelings are my own, and you cannot crush
them. I look to my consul, and the country that has protected me
around the world, and can protect me still," said Manuel, resigning
himself to the jailer, whose intentions he knew to be good.
Poor little Tommy stood begging and crying for his friend and
companion, for he heard Mr. Grimshaw give an imperative order to the
jailer not to allow visitors into his cell. "Never mind, Tommy, we
shall soon meet again, and sail companions for the old owners. Don't
cry; the jailer will let you see me to-morrow," said Manuel.
"No, I can't do that; you heard my orders; I must obey them. I
should like to do it, but it's out of my power," returned the jailer,
awaiting with a bunch of keys in his hand.
Manuel turned to the little fellow, and kissing him as he would an
affectionate child, bade him adieu, and ascended, the steps leading
to the third story (Mount Rascal) in advance of the jailer, to be
confined in a dark, unhealthy cell, there to await the caprice of one
man. To describe this miserable hole would be a task too harrowing to
our feelings. We pass it for those who will come after us. He little
thought, when he shook the hand of his little companion, that it was
the last time he should meet him for many months, and then only to
take a last parting look, under the most painful circumstances. But
such is the course of life!
Copeland had received notice to hold himself in readiness, as his
vessel would be ready for sea the next morning. He was not long in
getting his few things in order, and when morning came he was on
hand, prepared to bound from the iron confines of the Charleston
jail, like a stag from a thicket. As he bade good-by to his
fellow-prisoners in the morning, he said, "This is my last
imprisonment in Charleston. I have been imprisoned in Savannah, but
there I had plenty to eat, comfortable apartments, and every thing I
asked for, except my liberty. Never, so long as I sail the water,
shall I ship for such a port as this again." He requested to see
Manuel, but being refused, upon the restraint of orders, he left the
jail. It was contrary to law; and thus in pursuing his vocation
within the limits of South-Carolina, his owners were made to pay the
following sum, for which neither they nor the man who suffered the
imprisonment received any compensation. "Contrary to Law." Schooner
"Oscar Jones," Captain Kelly, For William H. Copeland, Colored
Seaman. To Sheriff of Charleston District. 1852,
To Arrest, $2; Registry, $2, $4.00 To Recog. $1.31; Constable, $1,
2.31 To Commitment and Discharge, 1.00 To 15 Days' Jail Maintenance
of Wm. H. Copeland, at 80 cts. per day, 4.50 Received payment, $11.81
J. D—, Per Charles E. Kanapeaux, Clerk.
God save the sovereignty of South Carolina, and let her mercy and
hospitality be known on earth!
CHAPTER XXIII. IMPRISONMENT OF JOHN
PAUL, AND JOHN BAPTISTE PAMERLIE.
IN order to complete the four characters, as we designed in the
outset, we must here introduce the persons whose names fill the
caption. The time of their imprisonment was some two months later
than Manuel's release; but we introduce them here for the purpose of
furnishing a clear understanding of the scenes connected with
John Paul was a fine-looking French negro, very dark, with
well-developed features, and very intelligent,—what would be called
in South Carolina, "a very prime feller." He was steward on board of
the French bark Senegal, Captain—. He spoke excellent French and
Spanish, and read Latin very well,—was a Catholic, and paid
particular respect to devotional exercises,—but unfortunately he
could not speak or understand a word of English. In all our
observation of different characters of colored men, we do not
remember to have seen one whose pleasant manner, intelligence, and
civility, attracted more general attention. But he could not
comprehend the meaning of the law imprisoning a peaceable man without
crime, and why the authorities should fear him, when he could not
speak their language. He wanted to see the city-what sort of people
were in it-if they bore any analogy to their good old forefathers in
France; and whether they had inherited the same capricious feelings as
the descendants of the same generation on the other side of the water.
There could be no harm in that; and although he knew something of
French socialism, he was ignorant of Carolina's peculiar institutions,
her politics, and her fears of abolition, as a "Georgia cracker"
A sort of semi-civilized native, wearing a peculiar homespun dress;
with a native dialect strongly resembling many of the Yorkshire
phrases. They are generally found located in the poorer parishes and
districts, where their primitive-looking cabins are easily designated
from that of the more enterprising agriculturist. But few of them can
read or write,—and preferring the coarsest mode of life, their habits
are extremely dissolute. Now and then one may be found owning a negro
or two,—but a negro would rather be sold to the torments of hell, or
a Louisiana sugar-planter, than to a Georgia cracker. You will see
them approaching the city on market-days, with their travelling-cart,
which is a curiosity in itself. It is a two-wheeled vehicle of the
most primitive description, with long, rough poles for shafts or
thills. Sometimes it is covered with a blanket, and sometimes with a
white rag, under which are a few things for market, and the good wife,
with sometimes one or two wee-yans; for the liege lord never fails to
bring his wife to market, that she may see the things of the city. The
dejected-looking frame of some scrub-breed horse or a half-starved
mule is tied (for we can't call it harnessed) between the thills,
with a few pieces of rope and withes; and, provided with a piece of
wool-tanned sheep-skin, the lord of the family, with peculiar dress,
a drab slouched hat over his eyes, and a big whip in his hand, mounts
on the back of the poor animal, and placing his feet upon the thills
to keep them down, tortures it through a heavy, sandy road. The horses
are loaded so much beyond their strength, that they will stop to blow,
every ten or fifteen minutes, while the man will sit upon their backs
with perfect unconcern. Remonstrate with them in regard to the
sufficient draught added to the insupportable weight upon their backs,
and they will immediately commence demonstrating how he can draw
easier when there is an immense weight upon his back. The husband
generally exchanges his things for whiskey, rice, and tobacco, while
the wife buys calico and knick-knacks. Sometimes they get "a right
smart chance o' things" together, and have a "party at home," which
means a blow-out among themselves. Sometimes they have a shucking,
which is a great affair, even. among the little farmers in Upper
Georgia, where, only, corn-shuckings are kept up with all the spice of
old custom, and invitations are extended to those at a distance of ten
or fifteen miles, who repay the compliment with their presence, and
join in the revelry. There are two classes of the cracker in Georgia,
according to our observation, differing somewhat in their dialect, but
not in their habits. One is the upper, and the other the low country,
or rather what some call the "co-u-n-try-b-o-r-n" cracker. The
up-country cracker gives more attention to farming, inhabits what's
known as the Cherokee country and its vicinity, and is designated by
the sobriquet of "wire-grass man." would be of Greek. Like his
predecessors in confinement, he fell into the hands of the veritable
Dunn, without the assistance of his friend Duse, as he called him; but
had it not been for the timely appearance of a clerk in the French
consul's office, who explained the nature of the arrest, in his native
tongue, Mr. Dunn would have found some trouble in making the arrest.
Already had the officers and crew of the bark gathered around him,
making grimaces, and gibbering away like a flock of blackbirds
surrounding a hawk, and just ready to pounce. "Don't I'se be tellin'
yees what I wants wid 'im, and the divil a bit ye'll understand me.
Why don't yees spake so a body can understand what yees be blatherin'
about. Sure, here's the paper, an' yees won't read the English of it.
The divil o' such a fix I was ever in before wid yer John o' crapue's
an' yer chatter. Ye say we-we-we; sure it's but one I wants. Ah! whist
now, captain, and don't ye be makin' a bother over it. Shure, did ye
niver hear o' South Carolina in the wide world? An' ye bees travellin'
all over it, and herself's such a great State, wid so many great
gintlemen in it," said Dunn, talking his green-island Greek to the
"We, we! mon Dieu, ah!" said the Frenchman.
"Ah, shure there ye are again. What would I be doin' wid de 'hole
o' yees? It's the nager I want. Don't ye know that South Carolina
don't allow the likes o' him to be comin ashore and playing the divil
wid her slaves," continued Dunn, stretching himself up on his lame
The clerk stepped up at this moment. "It's 'imself'll be telling
yes all about it, for yer like a parcel of geese makin' a fuss about a
goslin." Mr. Dunn had got his Corkonian blood up; and although the
matter was explained, he saw the means at hand, and fixed his
feelings for a stiff compensation. The clerk, after explaining to the
captain, turned to John Paul and addressed him. As soon as he was
done, John commenced to pack up his dunnage and get money from the
captain, as if he was bound on an Arctic Expedition. Dunn's eyes
glistened as he saw the money passing into Paul's hand; but he was
not to be troubled with the dunnage, and after hurrying him a few
times, marched him off. He went through the regular system of
grog-shop sponging; but his suavity and willingness to acquiesce in
all Mr. Dunn's demands, saved him some rough usage. There was this
difference between John Paul and Manuel, that the former, not
understanding the English language, mistook Dunn's deception for
friendship, and moved by that extreme French politeness and warmth of
feeling, which he thought doing the gentleman par excellence; while
the latter, with a quicker perception of right and wrong, and
understanding our language, saw the motive and disdained its
nefarious object. For when Paul arrived at the jail he was minus a
five-dollar gold-piece, which his very amiable official companion
took particular care of, lest something should befall it. Poor John
Paul! He was as harmless as South Carolina's secession and
chivalry-two of the most harmless things in the world, not excepting
As soon as he entered the jail and found that the jailer could
speak French, he broke out in a perfect tornado of enthusiasm. "Je
serai charm‚ de lier connaissance avec un si amiable compagnon," said
he, and continued in a strain so swift and unabated that it would have
been impossible for an Englishman to have traced the inflections.
The jailer called Daley, and telling him to take his blanket, the
State's allotment, ordered him shown to his cell. Daley took the
blanket under his arm and the keys in his hand, and Paul soon
followed him upstairs to be introduced to his cell. "There, that's
the place for yees. We takes the shine off all ye dandy niggers whin
we gets ye here. Do ye see the pair of eyes in the head o' me?" said
Daley, pointing to his blackened eyes; "an' he that done that same is
in the divil's own place above. Now, if ye have ever a drap of
whiskey, don't be keepin' it shy, an' it'll be tellin' ye a good many
"Ah! mon Dieu! Cela fait dresser les cheveux … la tˆte," said Paul,
shrugging his shoulders.
"Bad luck to the word of that I'd be understandin' at all, at all.
Can't ye spake so a body'd understand what ye'd mane?"
"C'est ma grande consolation d'avoir. * * * Les Etats-Unis est une
mod‚le de perfection r‚publicaine," said he, taking the blanket from
Daley and throwing it upon the floor. He was but a poor companion for
his fellow-prisoners, being deprived of the means to exercise his
social qualities. He went through the same course of suffering that
Manuel did; but, whether from inclination or necessity, bore it with
more Christian fortitude, chanting vespers every morning, and reading
the Latin service every evening. The lesson which Manuel taught Daley
proved of great service to Paul, who gave Daley the jail-ration which
it was impossible for him to eat, and was saved from his pilfering
propensities. Thus, after John Paul had suffered thirty-five days'
imprisonment, in mute confinement, to satisfy the majesty of South
Carolina, he was released upon the following conditions, and taken to
his vessel at early daylight, lest he should see the city or leave
something to contaminate the slaves. "Contrary to law." State vs.
"Contrary to law." French bark "Senegal," Capt.—For John Paul,
Colored Seaman. To Sheriff Charleston Dist.
July 18, 1852. To Arrest, $2; Registry, $2, $4.00" "Recog. $1.31;
Constable, $1, 2.31" "Commitment and discharge, 1.00" "35 Days'
Maintenace of John Paul, at 30 cents per day, 10.50
Recd. payment, $17.81 J. D—, S. C. D. Per Chs. E. Kanapeaux,
A very nice item of disbursements to present to the owners-a
premium paid for the advanced civilization of South Carolina!
We have merely noticed the imprisonment of John Paul, our limits
excluding the details. We must now turn to a little, pert, saucy
French boy, eleven years old, who spoke nothing but Creole French,
and that as rotten as we ever heard lisped. The French bark Nouvelle
Amelie, Gilliet, master, from Rouen, arrived in Charleston on the
twenty-ninth of July. The captain was a fine specimen of a French
gentleman. He stood upon the quarter-deck as she was being
"breasted-in" to the wharf, giving orders to his men, while the
little child stood at the galley looking at the people upon the
wharf, making grimaces and pointing one of the crew to several things
that attracted his attention. Presently the vessel hauled alongside of
the dock, and Dusenberry, with his companion Dunn, who had been
watching all the movements of the vessel from a hiding-place on the
wharf, sprang out and boarded her ere she had touched the piles.
The "nigger," seeing Dusenberry approach him, waited until he saw
his hand extended, and then, as if to save himself from impending
danger, ran aft and into the cabin, screaming at the top of his
voice. The crew began to run and move up into close quarters. The
issue was an important one, and rested between South Carolina and the
little "nigger." Dusenberry attempted to descend into the cabin. "Vat
you vant wid my John, my Baptiste? No, you no do dat, 'z my cabin;
never allow stranger go down 'im," said the captain, placing himself
in the companionway, while the little terrified nigger peeped above
the combing, and rolled his large eyes, the white glowing in contrast,
from behind the captain's legs. In this tempting position the little
darkie, knowing he was protected by the captain and crew, would taunt
the representative of the State with his bad French. Dunn stood some
distance behind Dusenberry, upon the deck, and the mission seemed to
be such a mystery to both captain and crew, that their presence
aroused a feeling of curiosity as well as anxiety. Several of the
sailors gathered around him, and made antic grimaces, pointing their
fingers at him and swearing, so that Dunn began to be alarmed by the
incomprehensible earnestness of their gibberish, turned pale, and
retreated several steps, to the infinite amusement of those upon the
Vat 'e do, ah, you vant 'im? Vat you do vid 'im ven zu gets him,
ah? Cette affaire d‚licate demande," said one of the number, who was
honored with the title of mate, and who, with a terrific black
moustache and beard, had the power of contorting his face into the
most repugnant grimaces. And, at the moment, he drew his sheath-knife
and made a pretended plunge at Dunn's breast, causing him to send
forth a pitiful yell, and retreat to the wharf with quicker movements
than he ever thought himself capable of.
"Il n'y a pas grand mal … cela," said the Frenchman, laughing at
Dunn as he stood upon the capsill of the wharf.
"Bad luck to ye, a pretty mess a murderous Frinchmin that ye are.
Do yees be thinkin' ye'd play that trick in South Carolina? Ye'll get
the like o' that taken out o' ye whin yer before his honor in the
mornin'," said Dunn.
Dusenberry had stood parleying with the captain at the
companion-door, endeavoring to make the latter understand that it was
not a case which required the presence of the silver oar. There is a
prevailing opinion among sailors, that no suit in Admiralty can be
commenced, or seaman arrested while on board, without the presence of
the silver oar. And thus acting upon this impression, the captain and
officers of the Nouvelle Amelie contended for what they considered a
right. The mate and crew drew closer and closer toward Dusenberry,
until he became infected with the prevailing alarm. "Captain, I demand
your protection from these men, in the name of the State of South
Carolina," said he.
"Who he? De State Souf Ca'lina, vat I know 'bout him, ah? Bring de
silver oar when come take my man. II y a de la malhomm‚, tet‚ dans
sou proc‚s," said Captain Gilliet, turning to his mate.
"Avaunt! avaunt!" said the big man with the large whiskers, and
they all made a rush at Dusenberry, and drove him over the rail and
back to the wharf, where he demanded the assistance of those anxious
spectators, for and in the name of the State. It was a right good
vaudeville comique, played in dialogue and pantomime. The point of
the piece, which, with a little arrangement, might have made an
excellent production, consisted of a misunderstanding between an
Irishman and a Frenchman about South Carolina, and a law so peculiar
that no stranger could comprehend its meaning at first and as neither
could understand the language of the other, the more they explained
the more confounded the object became, until, from piquant comique,
the scene was worked into the appearance of a tragedy. One represented
his ship, and to him his ship was his nation; the other represented
South Carolina, and to him South Carolina was the United States; and
the question was, which had the best right to the little darkie.
The spectators on the wharf were not inclined to move, either not
wishing to meddle themselves with South Carolina's affairs-wanting
larger game to show their bravery-or some more respectable officer to
act in command. The little darkie, seeing Dusenberry driven to the
wharf, ran to the gangway, and protruding his head over the rail,
worked his black phiz into a dozen pert expressions, showing his
ivory, rolling the white of his eyes, and crooking his finger upon his
nose in aggravating contempt.
"Shure, we'll turn the guard out and take ye an' yer ship, anyhow.
Why don't yees give the nager up dasently, an' don't be botherin'.
An' isn't it the law of South Carolina, be dad; an' be the mortis,
ye'd be getting' no small dale of a pinalty for the same yer doin',"
A gentleman, who had been a silent looker-on, thinking it no more
than proper to proffer his mediation, perceiving where the difficulty
lay, stepped on board and introducing himself to the captain,
addressed him in French, and explained the nature of the proceeding.
The captain shook his head for some time, and shrugged his shoulders.
"La police y est bien administr‚e," said he, with an air of
politeness; and speaking to his mate, that officer again spoke to the
men, and Dusenberry was told by the gentleman that he could come on
board. Without further ceremony, he mounted the rail and made a second
attempt at the young urchin, who screamed and ran into the cook's
galley, amid the applause of the seamen, who made all sorts of shouts
inciting him to run, crying out, "Run, Baptiste! run, Baptiste!" In
this manner the little darkie kept the officer at bay for more than
fifteen minutes, passing out of one door as the officer entered the
other, to the infinite delight of the crew. At length his patience
became wearied, and as he was about to call Dunn to his assistance,
the captain came up, and calling the child to him-for such he
was-delivered him up, the little fellow roaring at the top of his
voice as the big officer carried him over the rail under his arm. This
ended the vaudeville comique on board of the French bark Nouvelle
Amelie, Captain Gilliet.
The dignity of the State was triumphant, and the diminutive nigger
was borne off under the arm of its representative. What a beautiful
theme for the painter's imagination! And how mutely sublime would
have been the picture if the pencil of a Hogarth could have touched
it. The majesty of South Carolina carrying a child into captivity!
After carrying John Baptiste about halfway up the wharf, they put
him down, and made him "trot it" until they reached the Dutch
grog-shop we have described in the scene with Manuel. Here they
halted to take a "stiff'ner," while Baptiste was ordered to sit down
upon a bench, Dunn taking him by the collar and giving him a hearty
shake, which made the lad bellow right lustily. "Shut up, ye whelp of
a nigger, or ye'll get a doz for yeer tricks beyant in the ship," said
Dunn; and after remaining nearly an hour, arguing politics and
drinking toddies, Mr. Dunn got very amiably fuddled, and was for
having a good-natured quarrel with every customer that came; into the
shop. He laboured under a spirit-inspired opinion that they must treat
or fight; and accordingly would attempt to reduce his opinions to
practical demonstrations. At length the Dutchman made a courteous
remonstrance, but no sooner had he done it, than Dunn drew his
hickory stick across the Dutchman's head, and levelled him upon the
floor. The Dutchman was a double-fisted fellow, and springing up
almost instantly, returned the compliment. Dusenberry was more sober,
and stepped in to make a reconciliation; but before he had time to
exert himself, the Dutchman running behind the counter, Dunn aimed
another blow at him, which glanced from his arm and swept a tin
drench, with a number of tumblers on it, into a smash upon the floor.
This was the signal for a general mel‚e, and it began in right earnest
between the Dutch and the Irish,—for the Dutchman called the
assistance of several kinsmen who were in the front store, and Dunn,
with the assistance of Dusenberry, mustered recruits from among a
number of his cronies, who were standing at a corner on the opposite
side, of the street. Both came to the rescue, but the O'Nales and
Finnegans outnumbering the Dutch, made a Donnybrook onset, disarming
and routing their adversaries, and capsizing barrels, boxes, kegs,
decanters, and baskets of onions, into one general chaos,—taking
possession of the Dutchman's calabash, and proclaiming their victory
with triumphant shouts.
They had handcuffed the boy Baptiste as soon as they entered the
store, and in the midst of the conflict he escaped without being
observed, and ran for his vessel, handcuffed, and crying at the top
of his voice. He reached the Nouvelle Amelie, to the consummate
surprise of the officers and crew, and the alarm of pedestrians as he
passed along the street. "Mon Dieu!" said the mate, and taking the
little fellow to the windlass-bits, succeeded in severing the
handcuffs with a cold-chisel, and sent him down into the forecastle
to secrete himself.
When Dunn's wild Irish had subsided, Dusenberry began to reason
with him upon the nature of the affair, and the matter was reconciled
upon the obligations that had previously existed, and a promise to
report no violations of the ordinances during a specified time.
Looking around, Dunn exclaimed, "Bad manners till ye, Swizer, what a'
ye done with the little nager? Where did ye put him?—Be dad, Duse,
he's gone beyant!" An ineffectual search was made among barrels and
boxes, and up the old chimney. "Did ye see him?" inquired Dunn, of a
yellow man that had been watching the affray at the door, while
Dusenberry continued to poke with his stick among the boxes and
"Why, massa, I sees him when he lef de doo, but I no watch him
'till 'e done gone," said the man.
Dunn was despatched to the vessel in search, but every thing there
was serious wonderment, and carried out with such French nav‹et‚,
that his suspicions were disarmed, and he returned with perfect
confidence that he was not there. A search was now made in all the
negro-houses in the neighborhood; but kicks, cuts, and other abuses
failed to elicit any information of his whereabouts. At length Dunn
began to feel the deadening effects of the liquor, and was so muddled
that he could not stand up; then, taking possession of a bed in one of
the houses, he stretched himself upon it in superlative contempt of
every thing official, and almost simultaneously fell into a profound
sleep. In this manner he received the attention of the poor colored
woman whose bed he occupied, and whom he had abused in searching for
the boy. In this predicament, Dusenberry continued to search alone,
and kept it up until sundown, when he was constrained to report the
case to the sheriff, who suspended Mr. Dunn for a few days. The matter
rested until the next morning, when the case of the little saucy
nigger vs. South Carolina was renewed with fresh vigor. Then Mr.
Grimshaw, accompanied by Dusenberry, proceeded to the barque, and
there saw the boy busily engaged in the galley. Mr. Grimshaw went on
board, followed by Duse, and approaching the cabin door, met the
captain ascending the stairs. "Captain, I want that nigger boy of
yourn, and you may just as well give him up peaceably," said he.
"Yes, monsieur,—but you no treat 'im like child wen you get 'im,"
said the captain. Retiring to the cabin, and bringing back the broken
manacles in his hand, he held them up to Mr. Grimshaw, "You put such
dem thing on child like 'im, in South Carolina, ah? What you tink 'im
be, young nigger, ox, horse, bull, ah! what? Now you take'e him! treat
him like man, den we no 'struct to laws wat South Carolina got,"
Mr. Grimshaw thanked the captain, but made no reply about the
manacles; taking them in his hand, and handing the boy over into the
charge of Dusenberry. In a few minutes he was ushered into the
sheriff's office, and the important points of his dimensions and
features noted in accordance with the law. We are not advised whether
the pert characteristics of his nature were emblazoned,—if they were,
the record would describe a singular specimen of a frightened French
darkie, more amusing than judicial. But John Baptiste Pamerlie passed
the ordeal, muttering some rotten Creole, which none of the officials
could understand, and was marched off to the jail, where the jailer
acted as his interpreter. Being so small, he was allowed more latitude
to ware and haul than the others, while his peculiar bon point and
pert chatter afforded a fund of amusement for the prisoners, who made
him a particular butt, and kept up an incessant teasing to hear him
jabber. The second day of his imprisonment he received a loaf of bread
in the morning, and a pint of greasy water, misnamed soup. That was
the allowance when they did not take meat. He ran down-stairs with the
pan in hand, raising an amusing fuss, pointing at it, and spitting out
his Creole to the jailer. He was disputing the question of its being
soup, and his independent manner had attracted a number of the
prisoners. Just at the moment, the prison dog came fondling against
his legs, and to decide the question, quick as thought, he set the pan
before him; and as if acting upon an instinctive knowledge of the
point at issue, the dog put his nose to it, gave a significant scent,
shook his head and walked off, to the infinite delight of the
prisoners, who sent forth a shout of acclamation. Baptiste left his
soup, and got a prisoner, who could speak Creole, to send for his
captain, who came on the next morning and made arrangements to relieve
his condition from the ship's stores. The following day he whipped one
of the jailer's boys in a fair fight; and on the next he killed a
duck, and on the fourth he cut a white prisoner. Transgressing the
rules of the jail in rejecting his soup-violating the laws of South
Carolina making it a heinous offence for a negro to strike or insult
a white person—committing murder on a duck—endeavoring to get up a
fandango among the yard niggers, and trying the qualities of cold
steel, in a prisoner's hand, thus exhibiting all the versatility of a
Frenchman's genius with a youthful sang-froid, he was considered
decidedly dangerous, and locked up for formal reform. Here he
remained until the seventeenth of August, when it was announced that
the good barque Nouvelle Amelie, Captain Gilliet, was ready for sea,
and he was forthwith led to the wharf between two officers, and
ordered to be transferred beyond the limits of the State, the Captain
paying the following nice little bill, of costs. "Contrary to Law."
"French Barque Nouvelle Amelie, Captain Gilliet, from Rouen, For John
Baptiste Pamerlie, Colored Seaman. 1852. To Sheriff of Charleston
District. August 26th, To Arrest, $2; Registry, $2, $4.00"
"Recog. 1.31; Constable, $1, 2.31"
"Commitment and Discharge, 1.00"
"20 days' Jail Maintenance of John Baptiste Pamerlie, at 30 cts.
per day, $6.00
"Received payment, 13.31 J. D., S. C. D. Per Charles E. Kanapeaux,
Thus ended the scene. The little darkie might have said when he was
in jail, "Je meurs de faim, et l'on ne m'apport‚ rien;" and when he
left, "Il est faufite avec les chevaliers d'industrie."
CHAPTER XXIV. THE JANSON CONDEMNED.
WE must now return to Manuel. He was in close confinement, through
Mr. Grimshaw's orders. Tommy continued to bring him food from day to
day, but was not allowed to see him. The mate and several of the crew
were also refused admittance to him. This was carrying power to an
unnecessary limit, and inflicting a wanton punishment without proper
cause, at the same time exhibiting a flagrant disrespect for personal
feelings. Tommy did not report the affair to the Captain, lest it
should be misconstrued, and worse punishment be inflicted; but when
the men were refused, they naturally mistrusted something, and made
inquiries of the jailer, who readily gave them all the information in
his power concerning the affair, and his orders. This they reported to
the Captain, who immediately repaired to the consul's office, where he
found Mr. Mathew reading a note which he had just received from
Manuel. It stated his grievances in a clear and distinct manner, and
begged the protection of that government under whose flag he sailed,
but said nothing about his provisions. The consul, accompanied by the
Captain, proceeded to the sheriff's office, but could get no
satisfaction. "I never consider circumstances when prisoners violate
the rules of the jail,—he must await my orders! but I shall keep him
closely confined for two weeks, at least," said Mr. Grimshaw.
This incensed the consul still more, for he saw the manner in which
a clique of officials were determined to show their arbitrary power.
It was impossible for him to remain indifferent to this matter,
affecting, as it did, the life and liberty of his fellow-countryman.
He could invoke no sympathy for the man, and the extent of punishment
to which he had been subjected was evidently excited by vindictive
feelings. He applied for a writ of habeas corpus,—but mark the
The Captain proceeded to the jail, and demanded to see his steward;
the jailer hesitating at first, at length granted his permission. He
found Manuel locked up in a little, unwholesome cell, with scarcely a
glimmer of light to mark the distinction of day and night; and so pale
and emaciated, that had he met him in the street he should scarcely
have recognised him. "Gracious God! What crime could have brought such
an excess of punishment upon you?" inquired the Captain.
Manuel told him the whole story; and, added to that, the things
which had been sent to him during the seven days he had been confined
in that manner, had seldom reached him. He had lost his good friend
Jane, and the many kind acts which she was wont to bestow upon him,
and had been compelled to live upon bread and water nearly the whole
time, suffering the most intense hunger. Upon inquiry, it was
ascertained that the few things sent to make him comfortable had been
intrusted to Daley to deliver, who appropriated nearly the whole of
them to his own use, as a sort of retaliatory measure for the
castigation he received from Manuel. He had not failed to carry him
his pan of soup at twelve o'clock every day, but made the "choice
bits" serve his own digestion. The jailer felt the pain of the
neglect, and promised to arrange a safer process of forwarding his
things by attending to it himself, which he did with all the attention
in his power, when Manuel's condition became more tolerable. The
Captain told Manuel how his affairs stood-that he should probably have
to leave him in charge of the consul, but to keep up good spirits;
that he would leave him plenty of means, and as soon as his release
was effected, to make the best of his way to Scotland and join the old
owners. And thus he left him, with a heavy heart, for Manuel did read
in his countenance what he did not speak.
The Janson had been discharged, a survey held upon the cargo,
protest extended, and the whole sold for the benefit of whom it might
concern. Necessary surveys were likewise held upon the hull, and
finding it so old and strained as to be unworthy of repair, it was
condemned and sold for the benefit of the underwriters. Thus the
register "de novo" was given up to the consul, the men discharged,
and paid off according to the act of William IV., which provides that
each man shall receive a stipend to carry him to the port in Great
Britain from which he shipped, or the consul to provide passage for
him, according to his inclination, to proceed to a point where the
voyage would be completed. The consul adopted the best means in his
power to make them all comfortable and satisfied with their discharge.
Their several register-tickets were given up to them, and one by one
left for his place of destination; Tommy and the second mate only
preferring to remain and seek some new voyage. The old chief mate
seemed to congratulate himself in the condemnation of the unlucky
Janson. He shipped on board an English ship, laden with cotton and
naval stores, and just ready for sea. When he came on board to take a
farewell of the Captain, he stood upon deck, and looking up at the
dismantled spars, said, "Skipper, a shadow may save a body after all.
I've always had a presentment that this unlucky old thing would serve
us a trick. I says to meself that night in the Gulf, 'Well, old craft,
yer goin' to turn yer old ribs into a coffin, at last,' but I'll
praise the bridge that carries me safe over, because I've an affection
for the old thing after all, and can't part without saying God bless
her, for it's an honest death to die in debt to the underwriters. I
hope her old bones will rest in peace on terra-firma. Good-by,
Captain,—remember me to Manuel; and let us forget our troubles in
Charleston by keeping away from it."
CHAPTER XXV. GEORGE THE
SECESSIONIST, AND HIS FATHER'S SHIPS.
AS we have said, the second mate and little Tommy remained to seek
new voyages. Such was the fact with the second mate; but Tommy had
contracted a violent cold on the night he was locked up in the
guard-house, and had been a subject for the medicine-chest for some
time; and this, with his ardent attachment for Manuel, and hopes to
join him again as a sailing companion, was the chief inducement for
his remaining. The Captain gave them accommodations in the cabin so
long as he had possession of the ship, which afforded the means of
saving their money, of which Tommy had much need; for notwithstanding
he received a nice present from the consul, and another from the
Captain, which, added to the few dollars that were coming to him for
wages, made him feel purse-proud, though it was far from being
adequate to sustain him any length of time, or to protect him against
any sudden adversity.
The Captain had not seen little George, the secessionist, since his
assurance that he would make every thing right with Mr. Grimshaw, and
have Manuel out in less than twenty-four hours. It was now the
fourteenth of April, and the signs of his getting out were not so
good as they were on the first day he was committed, for the vessel
being condemned, if the law was carried to the strictest literal
construction, Manuel would be tied up among the human things that are
articles of merchandise in South Carolina. He was passing from the
wharf to the consul's office about ten o'clock in the morning, when he
was suddenly surprised in the street by little George, who shook his
hand as if he had been an old friend just returned after a long
absence. He made all the apologies in the world for being called away
suddenly, and consequently, unable to render that attention to his
business which his feelings had prompted. Like all secessionists,
George was very fiery and transitory in his feelings. He expressed
unmeasurable surprise when the Captain told him the condition of his
man in the old jail. "You don't say that men are restricted like that
in Charleston? Well, now, I never was in that jail, but it's unsuited
to the hospitality of our society," said he.
"Your prison groans with abuses, and yet your people never hear
them," replied the Captain.
George seemed anxious to change the subject, and commenced giving
the Captain a description of his journey to the plantation, his
hunting and fishing, his enjoyments, and the fat, saucy, slick
niggers, the fine corn and bacon they had, and what they said about
massa, ending with an endless encomium of the "old man's" old
whiskey, and how he ripened it to give it smoothness and flavor. His
description of the plantation and the niggers was truly wonderful,
tantalizing the Captain's imagination with the beauties of a growing
principality in itself. "We have just got a new vessel added to our
ships, and she sails for the Pedee this afternoon. We got the right
stripe of a captain, but we have made him adopt conditions to be true
to the secession party. As soon as I get another man, we'll despatch
her in grand style, and no mistake."
The Captain thought of his second mate, and suggested him at once.
"Just the chap. My old man would like him, I know," said George, and
they returned directly to the Janson, where they found the second
mate lashing his dunnage. The proposition was made and readily
accepted. Again the Captain parted with little George, leaving him to
take the mate to his father's office, while he pursued his business at
George led the mate into the office. "Here, father, here's a man to
go in our vessel," said he. The old man looked upon him with a serene
importance, as if he was fettered with his own greatness.
"My shipping interests are becoming very extensive, my man; I own
the whole of four schooners, and a share in the greatest steamship
afloat-I mean screw-ship, the South Carolina—you've heard of her, I
suppose?" said the old man.
Jack stood up with his hat in his hand, thinking over what he meant
by big interests, and "reckoning he hadn't seen the establishment of
them ship-owners about Prince's Dock, what owned more ships apiece
than there were days in the month."
"Now, my man," continued the old man, "I'm mighty strict about my
discipline, for I want every man to do his duty for the interests of
the owners. But how many dollars do you want a month, my man?"
"Nothing less than four pounds starling; that's twenty dollars your
currency, if I reckon right," said Jack, giving his hat a twirl upon
"Wh-e-w! you belong to the independent sailors. You'll come down
from that afore you get a ship in this port. Why, I can get a good,
prime nigger feller sailor for eight dollars a month and his feed."
Jack concluded not to sail in any of the old man's big ships, and
said, "Yes, I joined them a long time ago, and I ha'n't regretted it,
neither; wouldn't pull a bow-line a penny less. I don't like drogging,
no-how. Good morning, sir," said he, putting on his hat. and backing
out of the door.
"I wish you'd a' taken a chance with my father, old fellow; he'd a'
made you captain afore a year," said George, as he was leaving the
"The like o' that don't signify. I've been skipper in the West
Ingie trade years ago. There isn't much difference between a nigger
and a schooner's captain," said Jack, as he walked off to the Janson,
preparatory to taking lodgings ashore.
That afternoon about five o'clock, a loud noise was heard on board
a little schooner, of about sixty tons' register, that lay in a bend
of the wharf a few lengths ahead of the Janson. Captain Thompson and
his second mate were seated on a locker in the cabin, conversing upon
the prospects ahead, when the noise became so loud that they ran upon
deck to witness the scene.
George stood upon the capsill of the wharf, with mortification
pictured in his countenance. "Well, captain, you needn't make so much
noise about it; your conduct is decidedly ungentlemanly. If you don't
wish to sail in father's employ, leave like a gentleman," said George,
pulling up the corners of his shirt-collar.
It was the great craft that George had distended upon, and the
veritable captain of the right stripe, who promised to toe the mark
according to secession principles, but made no stipulations for the
nigger feed that was the cause of the excitement. The captain, a
Baltimore coaster, and accustomed to good feed in his vessels at
home, had been induced by a large representations to take charge of
the craft and run her in the Pedee trade, bringing rice to
Charleston. On being told the craft was all ready for sea, he
repaired on board, and, to his chagrin, found two black men for a
crew, and a most ungainly old wench, seven shades blacker than
Egyptian darkness, for a cook. This was imposition enough to arouse
his feelings, for but one of the men knew any thing about a vessel;
but on examining the stores, the reader may judge of his feelings, if
he have any idea of supplying a vessel in a Northern port, when we
tell him that all and singular the stores consisted of a shoulder of
rusty Western bacon, a half-bushel of rice, and a jug of molasses; and
this was to proceed the distance of a hundred miles, But to add to the
ridiculous farce of that South Carolina notion, when he remonstrated
with them, he was very indifferently told that it was what they always
provided for their work-people.
"Take your' little jebacca-boat and go to thunder with her," said
the captain, commencing to pick up his duds.
"Why, captain, I lent you my gun, and we always expect our captains
to make fresh provision of game as you run up the river," said
"Fresh provisions, the devil!" said the captain. "I've enough to do
to mind my duty, without hunting my living as I pursue my voyage,
like a hungry dog. We don't do business on your nigger-allowance
system in Maryland." And here we leave him, getting one of the
negroes to carry his things back to his boarding-house.
A few days after the occurrence we have narrated above little
Tommy, somewhat recovered from his cold, shipped on board a little
centre-board schooner, called the Three Sisters, bound to the Edisto
River for a cargo of rice. The captain, a little, stubby man, rather
good looking, and well dressed, was making his maiden voyage as
captain of a South Carolina craft. He was "South Carolina born," but,
like many others of his kind, had been forced to seek his advancement
in a distant State, through the influence of those formidable opinions
which exiles the genius of the poor in South Carolina. For ten years
he had sailed out of the port of Boston, had held the position of mate
on two Indian voyages under the well-known Captain Nott, and had
sailed with Captain Albert Brown, and received his recommendation, yet
this was not enough to qualify him for the nautical ideas of a pompous
Tommy got his baggage on board, and before leaving, made another
attempt at the jail to see his friend Manuel. He presented himself to
the jailer, and told him how much he wanted to see his old friend
before he left. The jailer's orders were imperative. He was told if
he came next week he would see him; that he would then be released,
and allowed to occupy the cell on the second floor with the other
stewards. Recognising one of the stewards that had joined with them
when they enjoyed their social feelings around the festive barrel, he
walked into the piazza to meet him and bid him good-by. While he stood
shaking hands with him, the poor negro
The name of this poor fellow was George Fairchild. After being sent
to the workhouse to receive twenty blows with the paddle when he was
scarcely able to stand, he was taken down from the frame and
supported to the jail, where he remained several weeks, fed at a cost
of eighteen cents a day. His crime was "going for whiskey at night,"
and the third offence; but there were a variety of pleadings in his
favor. His master worked his negroes to the very last tension of their
strength, and exposed their appetites to all sorts of temptation,
especially those who worked in the night-gang. His master flogged him
once, while he was in the jail, himself, giving him about forty
stripes with a raw hide on the bare back: not satisfying his feelings
with this, he concluded to send him to New Orleans. He had an
affectionate wife and child, who were forbidden to see him. His master
ordered that he should be sent to the workhouse and receive
thirty-nine paddles before leaving, and on the morning he was to be
shipped, his distressed wife, hearing the sad news, came to the jail;
but notwithstanding the entreaties of several debtors, the jailer
could not allow her to come in, but granted, as a favor, that she
should speak with him through the grated door. The cries and
lamentations of that poor woman, as she stood upon the outside,
holding her bond-offspring in her arms, taking a last sorrowing
farewell of him who was so dearly cherished and beloved, would have
melted a heart of stone. She could not embrace him, but waited until
he was led out to torture, when she threw her arms around him, and was
dragged away by a ruffian's hand.
Poor George Fairchild! We heard him moaning under the acute pain of
the paddle, and saw him thrust into a cart like a dog, to be shipped
as a bale of merchandise for a distant port. who had suffered with
him in the guard-house came up and saluted him with a friendly
recognition. Some two weeks had passed since the occurrence, and yet
his head presented the effects of bruising, and was bandaged with a
cloth. "Good young massa, do give me a' fo' pence, for Is'e mose
starve," he said in a suppliant tone. Tommy put his hand into his
pocket, and drawing out a quarter, passed it to the poor fellow, and
received his thanks. Leaving a message for Manuel that he would be
sure to call and see him when he returned, he passed from the house
of misery and proceeded to his vessel.
The captain of the schooner had been engaged by parties in
Charleston, who simply acted as agents for the owners. He had been
moved to return to Charleston by those feelings which are so inherent
in our nature, inspiring a feeling for the place of its nativity, and
recalling the early associations of childhood. Each longing fancy
pointed back again, and back he came, to further fortune on his native
soil. His crew, with the exception of Tommy, consisted of three good,
active negroes, one of whom acted as pilot on the Edisto River.
Accustomed to the provisioning of Boston ships, he had paid no
attention to his supplies; for, in fact, he only took charge of the
little craft as an accommodation to the agents, and with the promise
of a large vessel as soon as he returned; and sailing with a fine
stiff breeze, he was far outside the light when the doctor announced
dinner. "What have you got that's good, old chap?" said he to the
"Fust stripe, Massa Cap'en. A right good chance o' homony and bacon
fry," returned the negro.
"Homony and what? Nothing else but that?"
"Why, massa! gracious, dat what Massa Whaley give all he cap'en,
an' he tink 'em fust-rate," said the negro.
As they were the only whites on board, the captain took little
Tommy into the cabin with him to sit at the same table; but there was
too much truth in the negro's statement, and instead of sitting down
to one of those nice dinners which are spread in Boston ships, both
great and small, there, on a little piece of pine board, swung with a
preventer, was a plate of black homony covered with a few pieces of
fried pork, so rank and oily as to be really repulsive to a common
stomach. Beside it was an earthen mug, containing about a pint of
molasses, which was bedaubed on the outside to show its quality. The
captain looked at it for a minute, and then taking up the iron spoon
which stood in it, and letting one or two spoonfuls drop back, said,
"Old daddie, where are all your stores? Fetch them out here."
"Gih, massa! here 'em is; 'e's jus' as Massa Stoney give 'em," said
the negro, drawing forth a piece of rusty and tainted bacon, weighing
about fifteen pounds, and, in spots, perfectly alive with motion;
about a half-bushel of corn-grits; and a small keg of molasses, with a
piece of leather attached to the bung.
"Is that all?" inquired the captain peremptorily.
"Yes, massa, he all w'at 'em got now, but git more at Massa Whaley
plantation win 'em git da."
"Throw it overboard, such stinking stuff; it'll breed pestilence on
board," said the captain to the negro, (who stood holding the spoiled
bacon in his hand, with the destructive macalia dropping on the
floor,) at the same time applying his foot to the table, and making
wreck of hog, homony, molasses, and plates.
"Gih-e-wh-ew! Massa, I trow 'im o'board, Massa Whaley scratch 'em
back, sartin. He tink 'em fust-rate. Plantation nigger on'y gits
bacon twice week, Massa Cap'en," said he, picking up the wreck and
carrying it upon deck, where it was devoured with great gusto by the
negroes, who fully appreciated the happy God-send.
The captain had provided a little private store of crackers,
cheese, segars, and a bottle of brandy, and turning to his trunk, he
opened it and drew them out one by one, passing the crackers and
cheese to Tommy, and imbibing a little of the deacon himself, thus
satisfying the cravings of nature. Night came on; they were crossing
the bar and approaching the outlet of the Edisto, which was broad in
sight; but there was neither coffee. nor tea on board, and no prospect
of supper-nothing but a resort to the crackers and cheese remained,
the stock of which had already diminished so fast, that what was left
was treasured among the things too choice to be eaten without
limitation. They reached the entrance, and after ascending a few
miles, came to anchor under a jut of wood that formed a bend in the
river. The baying of dogs during the night intimated the vicinity of
a settlement near, and in the morning the captain sent one of the
negroes on shore for a bottle of milk. "Massa, dat man what live
yonder ha'n't much no-how, alwa's makes 'em pay seven-pence," said
the negro. Sure enough it was true; notwithstanding he was a planter
of some property, he made the smallest things turn to profit, and
would charge vessels going up the river twelve and a half cents per
bottle for milk.
The captain had spent a restless night, and found himself blotched
with innumerable chinch-bites; and on examining the berths and
lockers, he found them swarming in piles. Calling one of the black
men, he commenced overhauling them, and drew out a perfect storehouse
of rubbish, which must have been deposited there, without molestation,
from the day the vessel was launched up to the present time, as varied
in its kinds as the stock of a Jew-shop, and rotten with age. About
nine o'clock they got under weigh again, and proceeding about twenty
miles with a fair wind and tide, they came to another point in the
river, on which a concourse of men had assembled, armed to the teeth
with guns, rifles, and knives. As he passed up, they were holding
parley with a man and boy in a canoe a few rods from the shore. At
every few minutes they would point their rifles at him, and with
threatening gestures, swear vengeance against him if he attempted to
land. The captain, being excited by the precarious situation of the
man and his boy, and anxious to ascertain the particulars, let go his
anchor and "came to" a few lengths above.
Scarcely had his anchor brought up than he was hailed from the
shore by a rough-looking man, who appeared to be chief in the
manouvre, and who proved to be no less a personage than a Mr. S—k, a
"Don't take that man on board of your vessel, at the peril of your
life, captain. He's an abolitionist," said he, accompanying his
imperative command with a very Southern rotation of oaths.
The man paddled his canoe on the outside of the vessel, and begged
the captain "for God's sake to take him on board and protect him;
that an excitement had been gotten up against him very unjustly, and
he would explain the circumstances if he would allow him to come on
"Come on board," said the captain. "Let you be abolitionist or what
you will, humanity will not let me see you driven out to sea in that
manner; you would be swamped before you crossed the bar."
He came on board, trembling and wet, the little boy handing up a
couple of carpet-bags, and following him. No sooner had he done so,
than three or four balls whizzed past the captain's head, causing him
to retreat to the cabin. A few minutes intervened, and he returned to
"Lower your boat and come on shore immediately," they cried out.
The captain, not at all daunted, lowered his boat and went on
shore. "Now, gentlemen, what do you want with me?" said he, when S—k
stepped forward, and the following dialogue ensued:—
"Who owns that vessel, and what right have you to harbor a d—d
"I don't know who owns the vessel; I know that I sail her, and the
laws of God and man demand that I shall not pass a man in distress,
especially upon the water. He protests that he is not, and never was
an abolitionist; offers to prove it if you will hear him, and only
asks that you allow him to take away his property," rejoined the
"What! then you are an abolitionist yourself?"
"No, sir. I'm a Southern-born man, raised in Charleston, where my
father was raised before me."
"So much, so good; but just turn that d—d scoundrel ashore as
quick as seventy, or we'll tie your vessel up and report you to the
Executive Committee, and stop your getting on more freight on the
"That I shall not do. You should have patience to investigate these
things, and not allow your feelings to become so excited. If I turn
him and his son adrift, I'm answerable for their lives if any
accident should occur to them," rejoined the captain.
"Are you a secessionist, captain, or what are your political
principles? You seem determined to protect abolitionists. That
scoundrel has been associating with a nigger, and eating at his house
ever since he has been here."
"Yes, yes, and we'll be d—d if he isn't an abolitionist," joined
in a dozen voices, "for he dined at Bill Webster's last Sunday on a
wild-turkey. Nobody but an infernal abolitionist would dine with a
"As for politics, I never had much to do with them, and care as
little about secession as I do about theology; but I like to see men
act reasonably. If you want any thing more of me, you will find me at
Colonel Whaley's plantation to-morrow." Thus saying, he stepped into
his boat and returned on board of his vessel. Just as he was getting
under-weigh again, whiz! whiz! whiz! came three shots, one in quick
succession after the other, the last taking effect and piercing the
crown of his hat, at which they retired out of sight. Fearing a
return, he worked his vessel about two miles farther up and came to
anchor on the other side of the channel, where he waited the return of
the tide, and had an opportunity to put his affrighted passengers on
board a schooner that was passing down, bound to Charleston.
The secret of such an outrage is told in a few words. The man was a
timber-getter from the vicinity of New Bedford, Massachusetts, who,
with his son, a lad about sixteen years of age, had spent several
winters in the vicinity of the Edisto, getting live-oak, what he
considered a laudable enterprise. He purchased the timber on the
stump of the inhabitants, at a price which left him very little
profit, and had also been charged an exorbitant price for every thing
he got, whether labor or provisions; and so far had that feeling of
South Carolina's self-sufficiency been carried out against him in all
its cold repulsiveness, that he found much more honesty and true
hospitality under the roof of a poor colored man. This so enraged some
of the planters, that they proclaimed against him, and that mad-dog
cry of abolitionist was raised against him. His horse and buggy, books
and papers were packed up and sent to Charleston-not, however, without
some of the most important of the latter being lost. His business was
destroyed, and he and his child taken by force, put into a little
canoe with one or two carpet-bags, and sent adrift. In this manner
they had followed him two miles down the river, he begging to be
allowed the privilege of settling his business and leave
respectably-they threatening to shoot him if he attempted to near the
shore, or was caught in the vicinity. This was his position when the
captain found him. He proceeded to Charleston, and laid his case
before James L. Petigru, Esq., United States District Attorney, and,
upon his advice, returned to the scene of "war on the banks of the
Edisto," to arrange his business; but no sooner had he made his
appearance than he was thrown into prison, and there remained when we
last heard of him.
This is one of the many cases which afford matter for exciting
comment for the editors of the Charleston Mercury and the Courier,
and which reflect no honor on a people who thus set law and order at
CHAPTER XXVI. A SINGULAR RECEPTION.
IT was about ten o'clock on the night of the fifteenth of April
when the schooner "Three Sisters" lay anchored close alongside of a
dark jungle of clustering brakes that hung their luxuriant foliage
upon the bosom of the stream. The captain sat upon a little box near
the quarter, apparently contemplating the scene, for there was a
fairy-like beauty in its dark windings, mellowed by the shadowing
foliage that skirted its borders in mournful grandeur, while stars
twinkled on the sombre surface.
The tide had just turned, and little Tommy, who had rolled himself
up in a blanket and laid down close to the captain, suddenly arose.
"Captain, did you hear that?" said he.
"Hark! there it is again," said the captain. "Go and call the
men,—we must get under weigh."
It was a rustling noise among the brakes; and when little Tommy
went forward to call the men, two balls came whistling over the
quarter, and then a loud rustling noise indicated that persons were
retreating. The captain retired to the cabin and took Tommy with him,
giving orders to the negro pilot to stand to the deck, get her anchor
up, and let her drift up stream with the tide, determined that if they
shot any person, it should be the negroes, for whose value they would
be held answerable. Thus she drifted up the stream, and the next
morning was at the creek at Colonel Whaley's plantation.
A number of ragged negroes came down to the bank in high glee at
the arrival, and making sundry inquiries about corn and bacon. One old
patriarchal subject cried out to the pilot, "Ah, Cesar, I 'now'd ye
wah cumin'. Massa, an' young Massa Aleck, bin promis' bacon mor' den
week, gess he cum' now."
"Got sum corn, but ven ye gets bacon out o' dis craf' ye kotch
wesel, dat a'n't got no hair on 'im," said Cesar.
The scene around was any thing but promising-disappointing to the
captain's exalted ideas of Colonel Whaley's magnificent plantation.
The old farm-house was a barrack-like building, dilapidated, and
showing no signs of having lately furnished a job for the painter,
and standing in an arena surrounded by an enclosure of rough slats.
Close examination disclosed fragments of gardening in the arena, but
they showed the unmistakable evidences of carelessness. At a short
distance from this was a cluster of dirty-looking negro-huts, raised
a few feet from the ground on palmetto piles, and strung along from
them to the brink of the river were numerous half-starved cattle and
hogs, the latter rooting up the sod.
It was now nearly slack water, on a high flood, and the schooner
lay just above the bend of the creek. Presently a large,
portly-looking man, dressed like as Yorkshire farmer, came, to the
bank, and in a stentorious voice ordered the captain to haul into the
creek at once! The manner in which the order was given rather taxed
the captain's feelings, yet he immediately set his men to work heaving
up the anchor and carrying out "a line" to warp her in. But that slow
motion with which negroes execute all orders, caused some delay, and
no sooner had he, begun to heave on the line than the tide set strong
ebb and carried him upon the lower point, where a strong eddy, made by
the receding water from the creek, and the strong undertow in the
river, baffled all his exertions. There she stuck, and all the warps
and tow-lines of a seventy-four, hove by the combined strength of the
plantation, would not have started her. When the tide left, she
careened over toward the river, for there was no means at hand to
shore her up.
One of the drivers went up and reported "Massa captain got 'im ship
ashore," and down came Colonel Whaley, with all the pomp of seven
lord mayors in his countenance. "What sort of a feller are you to
command a ship? I'd whip the worst nigger on the plantation, if he
couldn't do better than that. Rig a raft out and let me come o' board
that vessel!" said he, accompanying his demands with a volley of vile
imprecations that would have disgraced St. Giles'.
"Do you know who you're talking to? You mus'n't take me for a
nigger, sir! I know my duty, if you don't good manners," rejoined the
"Do you know who owns that ship? you impudent feller, you! Take the
sails off her, immediately-at once! or I'll shoot you, by heavens!"
he bawled out again.
"Why didn't you say mud-scow? Call such a thing as this a ship? I
don't care who owns her, I only know it's a disgrace to sail her; but
I've got the papers, and you may help yourself. When you pay me for my
time, and give me something for myself and these men to eat, you may
take your old jebac—car-boat,—but you don't put a foot aboard her
till you do!"
This made the colonel rage worse. "I'll teach you a lesson how you
disobey my orders. Go get my rifle, Zeke," said the colonel, turning
to an old negro who stood close by. And then calling to the men on
board, he ordered them to take charge of the vessel and take the
sails off her at once.
"Don't you move a hand to unbend a sail, Cesar! I don't know that
man ashore there. This vessel is mine until further orders from the
persons who shipped me," rejoined the captain with an imperative
demand to his men.
"Why, la! massa, he own em dis ere vessel, an' he shoot em sartin
if we done do him; ye done know dat massa, as I does," said Cesar.
"Don't touch a hand to those sails, I command one and all of you.
There's two can play at shooting, and I'll shoot you if you disobey
my orders." Then turning to those on shore, he warned them that he
would shoot the first nigger that attempted to make a raft to come on
board. The reader will observe that the poor negroes were in a worse
dilemma than the captain; goaded on the one side by a ruthless master,
who claims ownership and demands the execution of his orders, while on
the other extreme the hired master proclaims his right, and warns them
against the peril of varying one iota from his commands. Here the
clashing feelings of arbitrary men come together, which have placed
many a good negro in that complex position, that he would be punished
by one master for doing that which he would have been punished by the
other if he had left undone.
It may be said to the colonel's credit, he did not return, rifle in
hand, nor did the captain see him afterward; but a young gentleman, a
son, who represented the father, came to the bank about an hour after
the occurrence, and making a lame apology for his father's temper,
requested the captain to come on shore. The latter had concluded to
await the return of the tide, run the vessel back to Charleston,
report his reception, and deliver the vessel up to the agents; but on
further consideration, there was nothing to eat on board, and what
could he do? He went on shore, and held a parley with the young man,
whom he found much more inclined to respect his color. "Your father
took me for a nigger, and as such he presumed upon the dignity of his
plantation. Now I know my duty, and have sailed in the finest ships
and with the best masters in the country. All I want is proper
respect, something to eat, what there is coming to me, and my passage
paid back to Charleston by land. No! I will not even request so much
as that; give me something to eat, and my passage to Charleston, and
you may do what you please with the vessel, but I shall deliver the
papers to nobody but the persons who shipped me. And I shall want you
to see this little boy attended to, for he's quite sick now," said the
captain, pointing to Tommy, and calling him to him.
"Oh yes," replied the young man, "we'll take care of the little
fellow, and see him sent safely back," and took leave, promising to
have another interview in the afternoon. About twelve o'clock a negro
boy came to the vessel with a tin pan covered with a towel, and
presenting it to Cesar, for "massa cap'en and buckra boy." Cesar
brought it aft and set it upon the companion. It contained some rice,
a piece of bacon, corn-cake, and three sweet-potatoes.
"Coarse fare, but I can get along with it. Come Tommy, I guess
you're hungry, as well as myself," said the captain, and they sat
down, and soon demolished the feast of Southern hospitality. About
five o'clock in the evening, the young man not making his appearance,
the Captain sent Tommy ashore to inquire for him at the house, telling
him (in order to test their feelings) that he could stop and get his
supper. Tommy clambered ashore, and up the bank wending his way to the
house. The young man made his appearance, offering an apology for his
delay and inattention, saying the presence of some very particular
friends from Beaufort was the cause. "My father, you are aware, owns
this vessel, captain!—You got a good dinner, to-day, by-the-by," said
"Yes, we got along with it, but could have eaten more," rejoined
"Ah! bless me, that was the nigger's fault. These niggers are such
uncertain creatures, you must watch 'em over the least thing. Well
now, captain, my father has sent you five dollars to pay your passage
"Well, that's a small amount, but I'll try and get along with it,
rather than stop here, at any rate," said the captain, taking the
bill and twisting it into his pocket, and giving particular charges
in regard to taking care of the boy. That night, a little after
sundown, he took passage in a downward-bound coaster, bid a long
good-by to the Edisto and Colonel Whaley's plantation, and arrived in
Charleston the next night. On the following morning he presented
himself to the agents, who generously paid him, all his demands, and
expressed their regrets at the circumstance. Acting upon the smart of
feeling, the captain enclosed the five-dollar bill and returned it to
the sovereign Colonel Whaley.
The Savannah Republican, of the 11th September, says-"We have been
kindly furnished with the particulars of a duel which came off at
Major Stark's plantation, opposite this city, yesterday morning,
between Colonel E. M. Whaley, and E. E. Jenkins, of South Carolina."
Another paper stated that "after a single exchange of shot, * * * *
the affair terminated, but without a reconciliation." The same
Colonel Whaley! Either 'of these journals might have give particulars
more grievous, and equally as expressive of Southern life. They might
have described a beautiful wife, a Northern lady, fleeing with her two
children, to escape the abuses of a faithless husband-taking shelter
in the Charleston Hotel, and befriended by Mr. Jenkins and another
young man, whose name we shall not mention-and that famous
establishment surrounded by the police on a Sabbath night, to guard
its entrances-and she dragged forth, and carried back to the home of
CHAPTER XXVII. THE HABEAS CORPUS.
THE Captain of the Janson had settled his business, and was anxious
to return home. He had done all in his power for Manuel, and
notwithstanding the able exertions of the consul were combined with
his, he had effected nothing to relieve him. The law was imperative,
and if followed out, there was no alternative for him, except upon
the ground of his proving himself entitled to a white man's
privileges. To do this would require an endless routine of law, which
would increase his anxiety and suffering twofold. Mr. Grimshaw had
been heard to say, that if an habeas corpus were sued out, he should
stand upon the technicality of an act of the legislature, refuse to
answer the summons or give the man up. No, he would himself stand the
test upon the point of right to the habeas corpus, and if he was
committed for refusing to deliver up the prisoner, he would take
advantage of another act of the legislature, and after remaining a
length of time in jail, demand his release according to the statutes.
So far was Mr. Grimshaw impressed with his own important position in
the matter, and of the course which he should pursue, that he several
times told the prisoners that he should be a prisoner among them in a
few days, to partake of the same fare.
Judge Withers, however, saved him the necessity of such important
trouble. To those acquainted with Judge Withers it would be needless
to dwell upon the traits of his character. To those who are not, we
can say that his were feelings founded upon interest-moving in the
foremost elements of secession-arbitrary, self-willed, and easily
swayed by prejudice-a man known to the public and the bar for his
frigidity, bound in his own opinions, and yielding second to the
wishes and principles of none-fearful of his popularity as a judge,
yet devoid of those sterling principles which deep jurists bring to
their aid when considering important questions, where life or liberty
is at stake-a mind that would rather reinstate monarchy than spread
the blessings of a free government. What ground have we here to hope
for a favorable issue?
Thus when the consul applied for the writ of habeas corpus, the
right was denied him, notwithstanding the subject was heir-inherent
to all the rights of citizenship and protection, which the laws of
his own nation could clothe him with. To show how this matter was
treated by the press-though we are happy to say the feelings of the
mercantile community are not reflected in it-we copy the leader from
the "Southern Standard," a journal published in Charleston, the
editor of which professes to represent the conservative views of a
diminutive minority. Here it is:—"CHARLESTON, APRIL 23, 1852.
"Colored Seamen and State Rights.
" Our readers have not forgotten the correspondence which some time
since took place between His Excellency Governor Means and Her
British Majesty's Consul, Mr. Mathew. We published in the Standard,
of the 5th December last, the very temperate, dignified, and
well-argued report of Mr. Mazyck, chairman of the special committee
of the Senate, to whom had been referred the message of the Governor,
transmitting the correspondence. In our issue of the 16th December, we
gave to our readers the able report of Mr. McCready, on behalf of the
committee of the other house, on the same subject.
"We have now to call the attention of the public to the fact, that
the practical issue has been made, by which the validity of the laws
in regard to colored seamen arriving in our port is to be submitted
to the judicial tribunals of the country. For ourselves we have no
fears for the credit of the State in such a controversy. The right of
the State to control, by her own legislation, the whole
subject-matter, can, as we think, by a full discussion, be
established upon a basis which, in the South at least, will never
hereafter be questioned. If there be defects in the details of the
regulations enacted, the consideration of them is now precluded, when
the issue presented is the right of the State to act at all times in
"The writ of habeas corpus was applied for before Judge Withers,
during the term of the court which has just closed, by the British
consul, through his counsel, Mr. Petigru, in behalf of one Manuel
Pereira, a colored sailor, who claims to be a Portuguese subject,
articled to service on board an English brig driven into this port by
stress of weather; the said Manuel Pereira being then in jail under
the provisions of the act of the legislature of this State, passed in
1835, emendatory of the previous acts on the subject. Judge Withers,
in compliance with the requirements of the act of 1844, refused the
writ of habeas corpus, and notice of appeal has been given. Thus is
the issue upon us.
"We have but one regret in the matter, and that is that the case
made is one where the party asking his liberty has been driven into
our harbor involuntarily. Great Britain, it is true, is the last
power which should complain on this account, with her own example in
the case of the Enterprise before her eyes; but we do not, we
confess, like this feature of the law. We have no doubt, however,
that this fact being brought to the notice of the executive, he will
interfere promptly to release the individual in the present case,
provided the party petitions for the purpose, and engages at once to
leave the State. But we shall see nothing of this. Mr. Manuel
Pereira, like another John Wilkes, is to have settled in his person
great questions of constitutional liberty. The posterity which in
after times shall read of his voluntary martyrdom and heroic self-
sacrifice in the cause of suffering humanity, must be somewhat better
informed than Mr. Pereira himself; for we observe that his clerkly
skill did not reach the point of enabling him to subscribe his name to
the petition for habeas corpus, which is to figure so conspicuously in
future history, it being more primitively witnessed by his 'mark.'"
An appeal was taken from this refusal, and carried before the
appeal court, sitting at Columbia, the capital of the State. How was
this treated? Without enlisting common respect, it sustained the
opinion of Judge Withers, who was one of its constituted members.
Under such a state of things, where all the avenues to right and
justice were clogged by a popular will that set itself above law or
justice, where is the unprejudiced mind that will charge improper
motives in asking justice of the highest judicial tribunal in the
In the year 1445, a petition was presented, or entered on the rolls
of the British Parliament, from the commons of two neighboring
counties, praying the abatement of a nuisance which promised fearful
interruptions to the peace and quiet of their hamlets, in consequence
of the number of attorneys having increased from eight to twenty-four,
setting forth that attorneys were dangerous to the peace and happiness
of a community, and praying that there should be no more than six
attorneys for each county. The king granted the petition, adding a
clause which left it subject to the approval of the judges. Time works
mighty contrasts. If those peaceable old commoners could have seen a
picture of the nineteenth century, with its judiciary dotted upon the
surface, they would certainly have put the world down as a very
unhappy place. The people of Charleston might now inquire why they
have so much law and so little justice?
CHAPTER XXVIII. THE CAPTAIN'S
DEPARTURE AND MANUEL'S RELEASE.
AFTER remaining nearly three weeks in close confinement in a cell
on the third story, Manuel was allowed to come down and resume his
position among the stewards, in the "steward's cell." There was a sad
change of faces. But one of those he left was there; and he, poor
fellow, was so changed as to be but a wreck of what he was when Manuel
was confined in the cell.
After little Tommy left, the Captain deposited a sum of money with
the jailer to supply Manuel's wants. The jailer performed his duty
faithfully, but the fund was soon exhausted, and Manuel was forced to
appeal to his consul. With the care for its citizens that marks the
course of that government, and the characteristic kindness of its
representative in Charleston, the appeal was promptly responded to.
The consul attended him in person, and even provided from his own
purse things necessary to make him comfortable. We could not but
admire the nobleness of many acts bestowed upon this humble citizen
through the consul, showing the attachment and faith of a government
to its humblest subject. The question now was, would the Executive
release him? Mr. Grimshaw had interposed strong objections, and made
unwarrantable statements in regard to his having been abandoned by his
captain, the heavy expenses incurred to maintain the man, and
questioning the validity of the British consul's right to protect him.
Under the effect of these representations, the prospect began to
darken, and Manuel became more discontented, and anxiously awaited the
In this position, a petition was despatched to the Executive,
asking that the man might be released, on the faith of the British
Government that all expenses be paid, and he immediately sent beyond
the limits of the State.
But we must return and take leave of Captain Thompson, before we
receive the answer to the petition. The day fixed for his departure
had arrived. He had all his papers collected, and arose early to take
his accustomed walk through the market. It was a little after seven
o'clock, and as he approached the singular piece of wood-work that we
have described in a previous chapter as the Charleston Whipping-post,
he saw a crowd collected around it, and negroes running to the scene,
crying out, "Buckra gwine to get whip! buckra get 'e back scratch!" He
quickened his pace, and, arriving at the scene, elbowed his way
through an immense crowd until he came to where he had a fair view.
Here, exposed to view, were six respectably dressed white men, to be
whipped according to the laws of South Carolina, which flog in the
market for petty theft. Five of them were chained together, and the
other scientifically secured to the machine, with his bare back
exposed, and Mr. Grimshaw (dressed with his hat and sword of office to
make the dignity of the punishment appropriate) laying on the stripes
with a big whip, and raising on tip-toe at each blow to add force,
making the flesh follow the lash. Standing around were about a dozen
huge constables with long-pointed tipstaffs in their hands, while two
others assisted in chaining and unchaining the prisoners. The
spectacle was a barbarous one, opening a wide field for reflection. It
was said that this barbarous mode of punishment was kept up as an
example for the negroes. It certainly is a very singular mode of
inspiring respect for the laws.
He had heard much of T. Norman Gadsden, whose fame sounded for
being the greatest negro-seller in the country, yet he had not seen
him, though he had witnessed several negro-sales at other places. On
looking over the papers after breakfast, his eye caught a flaming
advertisement with "T. Norman Gadsden's sale of negroes" at the head.
There were plantation negroes, coachmen, house-servants, mechanics,
children of all ages, with descriptions as various as the kinds. Below
the rest, and set out with a glowing delineation, was a description of
a remarkably fine young sempstress, very bright and very intelligent,
sold for no fault. The notice should have added an exception, that the
owner was going to get married.
He repaired to the place at the time designated, and found them
selling an old plantation-negro, dressed in ragged, gray clothes,
who, after a few bids, was knocked down for three hundred and fifty
dollars. "We will give tip-top titles to everything we sell here
to-day; and, gentlemen, we shall now offer you the prettiest wench in
town. She is too well-known for me to say more," said the notorious
A number of the first citizens were present, and among them the
Captain recognised Colonel S—, who approached and began to descant
upon the sale of the woman. "It's a d—d shame to sell that girl, and
that fellow ought to be hung up," said he, meaning the owner; and upon
this he commenced giving a history of the poor girl.
"Where is she? Bring her along! Lord! gentlemen, her very curls are
enough to start a bid of fifteen hundred," said the auctioneer.
"Go it, Gadsden, you're a trump," rejoined a number of voices.
The poor girl moved to the stand, pale and trembling, as if she was
stepping upon the scaffold, and saw her executioners around her. She
was very fair and beautiful-there was something even in her graceful
motions that enlisted admiration. Here she stood almost motionless
for a few moments.
"Gentlemen, I ought to charge all of you sevenpence a sight for
looking at her," said the auctioneer. She smiled at the remark, but
it was the smile of pain.
"Why don't you sell the girl, and not be dogging her feelings in
this manner?" said Colonel S—.
Bids continued in rapid succession from eleven hundred up to
thirteen hundred and forty. A well-known trader from New Orleans
stood behind one of the city brokers, motioning him at every bid, and
she was knocked down to him. We learned her history and know the
The Captain watched her with mingled feelings, and would fain have
said, "Good God! and why art thou a slave?"
The history of that unfortunate beauty may be comprehended in a few
words, leaving the reader to draw the details from his imagination.
Her mother was a fine mulatto slave, with about a quarter Indian
blood. She was the mistress of a celebrated gentleman in Charleston,
who ranked among the first families, to whom she bore three beautiful
children, the second of which is the one before us. Her father,
although he could not acknowledge her, prized her highly, and
unquestionably never intended that she should be considered a slave.
Alice, for such was her name, felt the shame of her position. She knew
her father, and was proud to descant upon his honor and rank, yet must
either associate with negroes or nobody, for it would be the death of
caste for a white woman, however mean, to associate with her. At the
age of sixteen she became attached to a young gentleman of high
standing but moderate means, and lived with him as his mistress. Her
father, whose death is well known, died suddenly away from home. On
administering on his estate, it proved that instead of being wealthy,
as was supposed, he was insolvent, and the creditors insisting upon
the children being sold. Alice was purchased by compromise with the
administrator, and retained by her lord under a mortgage, the interest
and premium on which he had regularly paid for more than four years.
Now that he was about to get married, the excuse of the mortgage was
the best pretext in the world to get rid of her.
The Captain turned from the scene with feelings that left deep
impressions upon his mind, and that afternoon took his departure for
his Scottish home.
Time passed heavily at the jail, and day after day Manuel awaited
his fate with anxiety. At every tap of the prison-bell he would
spring to the door and listen, asserting that he heard the consul's
voice in every passing sound. Day after day the consul would call
upon him and quiet his fears, reassuring him that he was safe and
should not be sold as a slave. At length, on the seventeenth day of
May, after nearly two months' imprisonment, the glad news was
received that Manuel Pereira was not to be sold, according to the
statutes, but to be released upon payment of all costs, and
immediately sent beyond the limits of the State. We leave it to the
reader's fancy, to picture the scene of joy on the reception of the
news in the "stewards' cell."
The consul lost no time in arranging his affairs for him, and at
five o'clock on the afternoon of the 17th of May, 1852, Manuel
Pereira, a poor, shipwrecked mariner, who, by the dispensation of an
all-wise Providence, was cast upon the shores of South Carolina, and
imprisoned because hospitality to him was "contrary to law," was led
forth, pale and emaciated, by two constables, thrust into a closely
covered vehicle, and driven at full speed to the steamboat then
awaiting to depart for New York. This is but a faint glimpse, of the
suffering to which colored stewards are subjected in the Charleston
There were no less than sixty-three cases of colored seamen
imprisoned on this charge of "contrary to law," during the calendar
year ending on the twelfth of September, 1852. And now that abuses
had become so glaring, a few gentlemen made a representation of the
wretched prison regimen to his Excellency, Governor Means, who, as if
just awoke from a dream that had lasted a generation, addressed a
letter to the Attorney-General, dated on the seventh of September,
1852, requesting a statement in regard to the jail-how many prisoners
there were confined on the twelfth day of September, under sentence
and awaiting trial, the nature of offences, who committed by, and how
long they had awaited trial; what the cost of the jail was, how much
was paid by prisoners, and how much by the State, In that statement,
the number of colored seamen was, for reasons best known to Mr.
Grimshaw, kept out of the statement; so also was the difference
between thirty cents and eight cents a day, paid for the ration for
each man. The real statement showed a bounty to the sheriff of
fourteen hundred and sixty-three dollars on' the provisions alone-a
sad premium upon misery. Now add to this a medium amount for each of
these sixty-three sailors, and we have between eight and nine hundred
dollars more, which, with sundry jail-fees and other cribbage-money,
makes the Charleston jail a nice little appendage to the sheriff's
office, and will fully account for the tenacity with which those
functionaries cling to the "old system."
We conclude the bills by giving Manuel's as it stands upon the
books:—"Contrary to law." British brig "Janson," Capt. Thompson. For
Manuel Pereira, Colored Seaman. 1852. To Sheriff of Charleston
May 15th. To Arrest, $2; Register, $2, $4.00" "Recog., $1.31;
Constable, $1, 2.31" "Commitment and Discharge, 1.00" "52 Days'
Maintenance of Manuel Pereira, at 30 cents per day, 15.60
$22.81 Rec' payment, J. D—, S. C. D. Per Chs. Kanapeaux, Clerk.
This amount is exclusive of all the long scale of law charges and
attorney's fees that were incurred, and is entirely the perquisite of
Now, notwithstanding that high-sounding clamor about the laws of
South Carolina, which every South Carolinian, in the redundance of
his feelings, strives to impress you with the sovereignty of its
justice, its sacred rights, and its pre-eminent reputation, we never
were in a country or community where the privileges of a certain
class were so much abused. Every thing is made to conserve popular
favor, giving to those in influence power to do what they please with
a destitute class, whether they be white or black. Official
departments are turned into depots for miserable espionage, where the
most unjust schemes are practised upon those whose voices cannot be
heard in their own defence. A magistrate is clothed with, or assumes a
power that is almost absolute, committing them without a hearing, and
leaving them to waste in jail; then releasing them before the court
sits, and charging the fees to the State; or releasing the poor
prisoner on receiving "black mail" for the kindness; giving one man a
peace-warrant to oppress another whom he knows cannot get bail; and
where a man has served out the penalty of the crime for which he was
committed, give a peace-warrant to his adversary that he may continue
to vent his spleen upon him. In this manner, we have known a man who
had served seven months' imprisonment for assault and battery, by an
understanding between the magistrate and the plaintiff, continued in
jail for several years upon a peace-warrant, issued by the magistrate
from time to time, until at length he shot himself in jail. The man
was a peaceable man, and of a social temperament. He had been offered
the alternative of leaving the State, but he scorned to accept it. To
show that we are correct in what we say respecting some of the
Charleston officials, we insert an article which appeared in the
Charleston Courier of Sept. 1, 1852:—[For the Courier.]
"Many of the quiet and moral portion of our community can form no
adequate conception of the extent to which those who sell liquor, and
otherwise trade with our slaves, are now plying their illegal and
demoralizing traffic. At no period within our recollection has it
prevailed to such an alarming extent; at no period has its influence
upon our slave population been more palpable or more dangerous; at no
period has the municipal administration been so wilfully blind to
these corrupt practices, or so lenient and forgiving when such
practices are exposed.
* * * *
"We have heard it intimated that when General Schnierle is a
candidate for the mayoralty, they are regularly assessed for means to
defray the expenses of the canvass. Instances are not wanting where
amounts of money are paid monthly to General Schnierle's police as a
reward for shutting their eyes and closing their lips when unlawful
proceedings are in progress. We have at this moment in our possession
a certificate from a citizen, sworn to before Mr. Giles, the
magistrate, declaring that he, the deponent, heard one of the city
police-officers (Sharlock) make a demand for money upon one of these
shop-keepers, and promised that if he would pay him five dollars at
stated intervals, 'none of the police-officers would trouble him.'
This affidavit can be seen, if inquired for, at this office. Thus
bribery is added to guilt, and those who should enforce the laws are
made auxiliaries in their violation. Said one of these
slave-destroyers to us, 'General Schnierle suits us very well. I have
no trouble with General Schnierle'—remarks at once repugnant and
suggestive. * * * We are told by one, that Mr. Hutchinson, when in
power, fined him heavily (and, as he thought, unjustly) for selling
liquor to a slave; hence he would not vote for him. An additional
reason for this animosity toward Mr. Hutchinson arises from the fact
that the names of offenders were always published during that
gentleman's administration, while under that of General Schnierle they
are screened from public view. On any Sunday evening, light may be
seen in the shops of these dealers. If the passer-by will for a few
moments stay his course, he will witness the ingress and egress of
negroes; if he approach the door, he will hear noise as of
card-playing and revelry within. And this is carried on unblushingly;
is not confined to a shop here and a shop there, but may be observed
throughout the city. The writer of this article, some Sundays since,
witnessed from his upper window a scene of revelry and gambling in one
of these drinking-shops, which will scarcely be credited. A party of
negroes were seen around a card-table, with money beside them, engaged
in betting; glasses of liquor were on the table, from which they ever
and anon regaled themselves with all the nonchalance and affected
mannerism of the most fashionable blades of the beau monde.
"This may not be a 'desecration of the Sabbath' by the municipal
authorities themselves, but they are assuredly responsible for its
profanation. Appointed to guard the public morals, they are assuredly
censurable if licentiousness is suffered to run its wild career
unnoticed and unchecked. We do not ask to be believed. We would prefer
to have skeptical rather than credulous readers. We should prefer that
all would arise from the perusal of this article in doubt, and
determine to examine for themselves. We believe in the strength and
sufficiency of ocular proof, and court investigation.
* * *
"We are abundantly repaid if we succeed in arousing public
attention to the alarming and dangerous condition of our city. * * *
Let inquiry be entered into. We boldly challenge it. It will lead to
other and more astonishing developments than those we have revealed.
"A RESPONSIBLE CITIZEN."
CHAPTER XXIX. MANUEL'S ARRIVAL IN
WHEN we left Manuel, he was being hurried on board the steamship,
as if he was a bale of infected goods. Through the kindness of the
clerk in the consul's office, he was provided with a little box of
stores to supply his wants on the passage, as it was known that he
would have to "go forward." He soon found himself gliding over
Charleston bar, and took a last look of what to him had been the city
of injustice. On the afternoon of the second day, he was sitting upon
the forward deck eating an orange that had been given to him by the
steward of the ship, probably as a token of sympathy for his sickly
appearance, when a number of passengers, acting upon the information
of the clerk of the ship, gathered around him. One gentleman from
Philadelphia, who seemed to take more interest in the man than any
other of the passengers, expressed his indignation in no measured
terms, that such a man should be imprisoned as a slave. "Take care,"
said a bystander, "there's a good many Southerners on board."
"I don't care if every slaveholder in the South was on board,
holding a knife at my throat; I'm on the broad ocean, where God
spreads the breezes of freedom that man cannot enslave," said he,
sitting down beside Manuel, and getting him to recount the details of
his shipwreck and imprisonment. The number increased around him, and
all listened with attention until he had concluded. One of the
spectators asked him if he would have something good to eat? but he
declined, pulling out the little box that the consul had sent him,
and, opening it before them, showed it to be well-stored with little
The Philadelphian motioned that they take up a subscription for
him, and almost simultaneously took his hat off and began to pass it
around; but Manuel, mistaking the motive, told them that he never yet
sought charity-that the consul had paid him his wages, and he had
money enough to get home. But if he did not accept their
contributions, he had their sympathies and their good wishes, which
were more prized by him, because they were contrasted with the cold
hospitality he had suffered in Charleston.
On the morning of the twentieth he arrived in New York. Here things
wore a different aspect. There were no constables fettering him with
irons, aggravating his feelings, and dragging him to a miseerable
cell overrun with vermin. He had no scientific ordeal of the statutes
to pass through, requiring the measure of his form and features; and
he was a man again, with life and liberty, and the dark dread of the
oppressor's power far from him. He went to his comfortable
boarding-house, and laid his weary limbs down to rest, thanking God
that he could now sleep in peace, and awake to liberty. His system was
so reduced that he was unable to do duty, although he was anxious to
proceed on his way to join the old owners, but wanted to work his way
in the capacity of steward. Thus he remained in New York more than
four weeks, gaining vigor and strength, and with a lingering hope that
he should meet his little companion.
On the twenty-first of June, being well recruited, he sailed for
Liverpool, and after a remarkably calm passage of thirty-four days,
arrived in the Mersey, and in forty-eight hours more the ship was
safely within the Princess' Dock, and all hands ready to go on shore.
In the same dock was a ship taking in cargo and passengers for
Charleston, South Carolina. Manuel went on board, and found, in
conversation with the steward, that she had sailed from that port on
the 23d of May. A short conversation disclosed that they had been old
shipmates from the Thames, on board of the Indiaman, Lord William
Bentick, and were on board of that ship when an unfortunate
circumstance occurred to her on entering a British North American
port, many years ago. Here they sat recounting the many adventures
through which they had passed since that period, the ships they had
sailed in, the sufferings they had gone through, and the narrow
escapes they had had for their lives, until past midnight. Manuel
wound up by giving a detailed account of his sufferings in
"What!" said the steward of the Charleston ship, "then you must
have known our cabin-boy, he belonged to the same vessel!"
"What was his name?" inquired Manuel.
"Tommy Ward! and as nice a little fellow as ever served the cabin;
poor little fellow, we could hardly get him across."
"Gracious! that's my Tommy," said Manuel. "Where is he? He loves me
as he does his life, and would run to me as a child would to its
father. Little as he is, he has been a friend through my severest
trials, and a companion in my pleasures."
"Ah, poor child! I'm afraid you wouldn't know him now. He has
suffered much since you saw him."
"Is he not aboard? Where can I find him?" inquired Manuel, hastily.
"No, he is not aboard; he is at the hospital in Dennison street. Go
there to-morrow, and you will find him."
CHAPTER XXX. THE SCENE OF ANGUISH.
WE are sorry, that having traced the details of our narrative as
they occurred, without adding for dramatic effect, we are constrained
to conclude with a picture at once painful and harrowing to the
feelings. We do this that we may be sustained by records, in what we
have stated, rather than give one of those more popular conclusions
which restore happiness and relieve the reader's feelings.
Manuel retired to his berth, full of meditation. His little
companion was before him, pictured in his child-like innocence and
playfulness. He saw him in the youthful zeal and freshness of the
night when he brought the well-laden haversack into his dreary cell,
and which kind act was repaid by a night of suffering in the
guard-house. There was too much of life and buoyancy in the picture
his imagination called up, to reconcile the belief that any thing
serious had befallen him; and yet the man spoke in a manner that
aroused the intensity of his feelings. It was a whisper full of
fearful forebodings, and filled his mind with anxious expectation. He
could not sleep-the anxiety of his feelings had awakened a nervvous
restlessness that awaited the return of morning with impatience.
Morning came. He proceeded to the hospital and rang the bell. An
aged gentleman came to the door, and to his questions about Tommy
being there, answered in the affirmative, and called an attendant to
show him the ward in which the little sufferer lay. He followed the
attendant, and after ascending several flights of stairs and
following a dark, narrow passage nearly to its end, was shown into a
small, single-room on the right. The result was suggestive in the
very atmosphere, which had a singular effect upon the senses. The
room, newly-whitewashed, was darkened by a green curtain tacked over
the frame of the window. Standing near the window were two
wooden-stools and a little table, upon which burned the faint light
of a small taper, arranged in a cup of oil, and shedding its feeble
flickers on the evidences of a sick-chamber. There, on a little,
narrow cot, lay the death-like form of his once joyous companion,
with the old nurse sitting beside him, watching his last pulsation.
Her arm encircled his head, while his raven locks curled over his
forehead, and shadowed the beauty of innocence even in death.
"Is he there? is he there?" inquired Manuel in a low tone. At the
same time a low, gurgling noise sounded in his ears. The nurse
started to her feet as if to inquire for what he came. "He is my
companion-my companion," said Manuel.
It was enough. The woman recognised the object of the little
sufferer's anxiety. "Ah! it is Manuel. How often he has called that
name for the last week!" said she.
He ran to the bedside and grasped his little fleshless hand as it
lay upon the white sheet, bathing his cold brow with kisses of grief.
Life was gone-the spirit had winged its way to the God who gave it.
Thus closed the life of poor Tommy Ward. He died as one resting in a
calm sleep, far from the boisterous sound of the ocean's tempest, with
God's love to shield his spirit in another and brighter world.
IN a preceding chapter, we left the poor boy on the plantation of
Colonel Whaley, affected by a pulmonary disease, the seeds of which
were planted on the night he was confined in the guard-house, and the
signs of gradual decay evinced their symptoms. After Captain
Williams—for such was the name of the captain of the Three
Sisters—left the plantation, no person appeared to care for him, and
on the second day he was attacked with a fever, and sent to one of
the negro cabins, where an old mulatto woman took care of him and
nursed him as well as her scanty means would admit. The fever
continued for seven days, when he became convalescent and able to
walk out; but feeling that he was an incumbrance to those around him,
he packed his clothes into a little bundle and started for Charleston
on foot. He reached that city after four days' travelling over a
heavy, sandy road, subsisting upon the charity of poor negroes, whom
he found much more ready to supply his wants than the opulent
planters. One night he, was compelled to make a pillow of his little
bundle, and lay down in a corn-shed, where the planter, aroused by the
noise of his dogs, which were confined in a kennel, came with a
lantern and two negroes and discovered him. At first he ordered him
off, and threatened to set the dogs upon him if he did not instantly
comply with the order; but his miserable appearance affected the
planter, and before he had gone twenty rods one of the negroes
overtook him, and said his master had sent him to bring him back. He
returned, and the negro made him a coarse bed in his cabin, and gave
him some homony and milk.
His hopes to see Manuel had buoyed him up through every fatigue,
but when he arrived, and was informed at the jail that Manuel had left
three days before, his disappointment was extreme. A few days after
he shipped as cabin-boy on board a ship ready for sea and bound to
Liverpool. Scarcely half-way across, he was compelled to resign
himself to the sick-list. The disease had struck deep into his
system, and was rapidly wasting him away. The sailors, one by one in
turns, watched over him with tenderness and care. As soon as the ship
arrived, he was sent to the hospital, and there he breathed his last
as Manuel entered the sick-chamber. We leave Manuel and a few of his
shipmates following his remains to the last resting-place of man.
SINCE the foregoing was written, Governor Means, in his message to
the Legislature of South Carolina, refers to the laws under which
"colored seamen" are imprisoned. We make the subjoined extract,
showing that he insists upon its being continued in force, on the
ground of "self-preservation"—a right which ship-owners will please
regard for the protection of their own interests:—
"I feel it my duty to call your attention to certain proceedings
which have grown out of the enforcement of that law of our State
which requires the Sheriff of Charleston to seize and imprison
colored seamen who are brought to that port. You will remember that
the British Consul addressed a communication to the legislature in
December, 1850, on the subject of a modification of this law. A
committee was appointed by the House and Senate to report upon it at
the next session of the legislature. These committees reported
adverse to any modification. On the 24th March, 1852, Manuel Pereira
was imprisoned in accordance with the law alluded to. The vessel in
which he sailed was driven into the port of Charleston in distress.
This was looked upon as a favorable case upon which to make an issue,
as so strong an element of sympathy was connected with it.
Accordingly, a motion was made before Judge Withers for a writ of
'habeas corpus,' which was refused by him. These proceedings were
instituted by the British Consul, it is said, under instructions from
his government, to test the constitutionality of the Act. I think it
here proper to state, that Pereira was at perfect liberty to depart at
any moment that he could get a vessel to transport him beyond the
limits of the State. In truth, in consideration of the fact that his
coming into the State was involuntary, the Sheriff of Charleston, with
his characteristic kindness, procured for him a place in a ship about
to sail for Liverpool. Early in April, Pereira was actually released,
and on his way to the ship, having himself signed the shipping
articles, when, by interposition of the British Consul, he was again
consigned to the custody of the sheriff. A few days after this, the
British Consul insisted no longer on his detention, but voluntarily
paid his passage to New York. This was looked upon as an abandonment
of that case. The statement of Mr. Yates, together with the letter of
the British Consul, are herewith transmitted.
"While these proceedings were pending, the Sheriff of Charleston
had my instructions not to give up the prisoners even if a writ of
habeas corpus had been granted. I considered that the 'Act of 1844,'
entitled, 'An Act more effectually to prevent negroes and other
persons of color from entering into this State, and for other
purposes,' made it my duty to do so.
"On the 19th May, Reuben Roberts, a colored seaman, a native of
Nassau, arrived in the steamer Clyde, from Baracoa. The Sheriff of
Charleston, in conformity with the law of the State, which has been
in force since 1823, arrested and lodged him in the district jail,
where he was detained until the 26th of May, when, the Clyde being
ready to sail, Roberts was put on board, and sailed the same day.
"On the 9th of June, a writ in trespass, for assault and false
imprisonment, from the Federal Court, was served upon Sheriff Yates,
laying the damage at $4000.
"The Act of 1844, I take it, was intended to prevent all
interference on the part of any power on the face of the earth, with
the execution of this police regulation, which is so essential to the
peace and safety of our community. Had the legislature which passed it
ever dreamed that the sheriff was to be subjected to the annoyance of
being dragged before the Federal Court for doing his duty under a law
of the State, I am sure it would have provided for his protection. As
no such provision has been made for so unexpected a contingency, I
recommend that you so amend this Act of 1844, that it may meet any
case that may arise.
"It is certainly wrong to tolerate this interference with the laws
enacted for the protection of our institution. In the general
distribution of power between the Federal and State Governments, the
right to make their own police regulations was clearly reserved to
the States. In fact, it is nothing more nor less than the right of
self-preservation-a right which is above all constitutions, and above
all laws, and one which never was, nor never will be, abandoned by a
people who are worthy to be free. It is a right which has never yet
been attempted to be denied to any people, except to us.
"The complaint against this law is very strange, and the attempt to
bring us in conflict with the General Government on account of it, is
still more remarkable; when, so far from its being at variance with
the laws of the United States, it is only requiring the State
authorities to enforce an Act of Congress, approved February 28th,
1803, entitled, An Act to prevent the importation of certain persons
into certain States, where, by the laws thereof, their importation is
prohibited. By referring to this Act, you will see that the plaintiff
in the action alluded to was prohibited by it from entering into this
State. I deem it unnecessary, however, to enter fully into the
argument. If any doubt should be entertained by you, as to its
constitutionality, I beg leave to refer to the able opinion of the
Hon. J. McPherson Berrien, delivered at the time he was
Attorney-General of the United States, which I herewith send you.
"On the subject of the modification of this law, I am free to say,
that when Her B. M.'s Government, through its consul, made a
respectful request to our legislature to that effect, I was anxious
that it should be made. It was with pleasure that I transmitted his
first communication to the last legislature. I would have made a
recommendation of its modification a special point in my first
message, but that I thought it indelicate to do so, as the matter was
already before the legislature, and committees had been appointed to
report upon it. Another reason for the neglect of this recommendation,
was the then excited state of party politics, which might have
precluded the possibility of a calm consideration of the subject. But
for the proceedings instituted in the premises, I would even now
recommend a modification of the law, so as to require captains to
confine their colored seamen to their vessels, and to prevent their
landing under heavy penalties. For while I think the State has a
perfect right to pass whatever laws on this subject it may deem
necessary for its safety, yet the spirit of the age requires that
while they should be so formed as to be adequate to our protection,
they should be at the same time as little offensive as possible to
other nations with whom we have friendly relations. But since an
attempt has been made to defy our laws, and bring us in conflict with
the Federal Government, on a subject upon which we are so justly
sensitive, our own self-respect demands that we should not abate one
jot or tittle of that law, which was enacted to protect us from the
influence of ignorant incendiaries."
We are under many obligations to Governor Means for his remarks
upon this subject. We esteem his character too highly to entertain an
idea that he would knowingly make an incorrect statement; but, with a
knowledge of the facts, we can assure him that he was misled by those
whom he depended upon for information. And also, though his name
deserves to stand pre-eminent among the good men of Carolina, for
recurring to that frightful state of things which exists in the
Charleston prison, that he did not receive a correct statement in
regard to it. In this want, his remarks lose much of their value.
Subjects and grievances exist there which he should know most of, and
yet he knows least, because he intrusts them to the caretakers, who
make abuses their medium of profit.
Under the influence of that exceedingly suspicious, and yet
exceedingly credulous characteristic of a people, few know the power
that is working beneath the sunshine of South Carolina, and those who
do, stand upon that slaveworn ostentation which considers it beneath
We have no interest nor feeling beyond that of humanity, and a
right to expose the mendacity of those who have power to exercise it
over the prisoners in Charleston. That mendacity has existed too long
for the honor of that community, and for the feelings of those who
have suffered under it.
It may be true that this case was considered a favorable one to try
the issue upon, but no elements of sympathy were sought by the
consul. That functionary to whom the Governor has attributed
"characteristic kindness," said, in our presence, and we have the
testimony of others to confirm what we say, that if Judge Withers had
granted the habeas corpus, he would not have given up the prisoner,
but rather gone to jail and suffered the same regimen with the
prisoners. Had he tried the accommodations, he would have found the
"profits" more than necessary to appease common hunger.
The Governor says, "Pereira was at liberty to depart at any moment
that he could get a vessel to transport him beyond the limits of the
State." How are we to reconcile this with the following sentence,
which appears in the next paragraph:—"While these proceedings were
pending," (meaning the action instituted by the consul to release the
prisoner,) "the sheriff of Charleston had my instructions not to give
up the prisoner, even if a writ of habeas corpus had been granted?"
According to this, the sheriff assumed a power independent of and
above the Governor's prerogative. We have attempted to picture the
force of this in our work, and to show that there are official abuses
cloaked by an honorable dishonesty, which dignifies the business of
the local factor and vendor of human property, and which should be
stayed by the power of the Executive.
The singular fact presents itself, that while Judge Withers was
deliberating upon the question of granting the "habeas corpus," the
proceedings pending, and the Governor's instructions to the contrary
before him, the sheriff takes it upon himself to smuggle the prisoner
out of port. Now what was the object of this Secret and concerted
movement? Was it "kindness" on the part of that functionary, who has
grasped every pretence to enforce this law? We think not. The reader
will not require any extended comments from us to explain the motive;
yet we witnessed it, and cannot leave it without a few remarks.
It is well known that it has been the aim of that functionary,
whose "characteristic kindness" has not failed to escape the
Governor's notice, to thwart the consul in all his proceedings. In
this instance, he engaged the services of a "shipping master" as a
pretext, and with him was about to send the man away when his
presence was essential to test his right to the habeas corpus, and at
this very time, more than two months wages, due him from the owners,
lay in the hands of the consul, ready to be paid on his release.
The nefarious design speaks for itself.
The consul was informed of the proceeding, and very properly
refused to submit to such a violation of authority, intended to annul
his proceedings. He preferred to await the "test," demanding the
prisoner's release through the proper authorities. That release,
instead of being "a few days after this," as the message sets forth,
was-not effected until the fifteenth of May.
Let the Governor institute an inquiry into the treatment of these
men by the officials, and the prison regimen, and he will find the
truth of what we have said. Public opinion will not credit his award
of "characteristic kindness" to those who set up a paltry pretext as
an apology for their wrong-doing.
If men are to be imprisoned upon this singular construction of law,
(which is no less than arming the fears of South Carolina,) is it any
more than just to ask that she should pay for it, instead of imposing
it upon innocent persons? Or, to say the least, to make such
comfortable provision for them as is made in the port of Savannah, and
give them what they pay for, instead of charging thirty cents a day
for their board, and making twenty-two of that profit?
Had the Governor referred to the "characteristic kindness" of the
jailer, his remarks would have been bestowed upon a worthy man, who
has been a father to those unfortunates who chanced within the turn
of his key.
In another part of his message, commenting upon the existence of
disgraceful criminal laws, the management and wretched state of
prisons, he says, "The attorney-general, at my request, has drawn up
a report on the subject of prisons and prison discipline." Now, if
such were the facts, the reports would be very imperfect to be drawn
up by one who never visits the prisons.
We are well aware that he called for this report, and further, that
the attorney-general, in a letter to the sheriff, (of which we have a
copy,) propounded numerous questions in regard to the jail, calling
for a statement in full, particularly the amount of fees paid to
certain functionaries; those charged to the State, and the average
number of prisoners per month, from Sept. 1851, to Sept. 1852, That
letter was transmitted to the jailer-a man whose character and
integrity is well known, and above reproach in Charleston-with a
request that he would make out his report. He drew up his report in
accordance with the calendar and the facts, but that report was not
submitted. Why was it not submitted? Simply because it showed the
profit of starving men in South Carolina prisons.
We have the evidence in our possession, and can show the Executive
that he has been misled. We only ask him to call for the original
statement, made out in the jailer's handwriting, and compare it with
the calendar; and when he has done that, let us ask, Why the average
of prisoners per month does not correspond? and why the enormous
amount of fees accruing from upward of fifty "colored seamen,"
imprisoned during the year, and entered upon the calendar "contrary
to law," was not included?
It is a very unhealthy state of things, to say the least; but as
the sheriff considers it his own, perhaps we have no right to meddle
All this clamor about the bad influence of "colored seamen" is kept
up by a set of mendicant officials who harvest upon the fees, and
falls to naught, when, at certain hours of the day during their
imprisonment, they are allowed to associate with "bad niggers,"
committed for criminal offences and sale. If their presence is
"dangerous," it certainly would be more dangerous in its connection
with criminals of the feared class.
Take away the fees—the mercantile community will not murmur, and
the official gentry will neither abuse nor trouble themselves about
enforcing the law to imprison freemen.