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St. John, after sailing through Lake ladies was French altogether. The Borgne and Lake Portchartrain. population is of every complexion These meadows, with the nuine- from the most beautiful white and rous herds of cattle which were red, through all the various shades grazing in them, had a more English of brown and yellow to jet black. appearance than any views we have Indeed, perhaps no city in the yet seen; the absence of a rich world exhibits a more miscellaneous green surface, clear of wood, being collection of inhabitants ;-Amerito us one of the most constant pe- cans from every State from Maine culiarities of the American scenery to Georgia ; English, French, Spathrough which we have yet passed. nish, Creole, Indian and African ;- The prairies were the nearest ap- and it is not always, as you will proach to our home views. It was readily believe, the best of their renot until I had crossed the city, that spective nations who have chosen I first caught a glimpse of the noble to place themselves on the forlorn Mississippi. It was in food, rising hope in this pestilential region. and flowing rapidly, but majesti- My stay was too short to authorize cally, to the ocean. I cannot de- me to pretend to describe the state scribe my sensations when I found of society. I will only say theremyself actually on the banks of a fore, that the impressions which I river which had so long and so carried with me from England and powerfully impressed my imagi- the northern States, were by no pation. At dinner we had the means effaced by the opportunity water of the river in the decanters; of actual observation. and, muddy as it was till it had I took up my abode at Madame deposited its copious sediment, I - 's, where there were several - looked at it with no common inte- gentlemen whom I knew, Judge rest, and was elated with the idea General and a Captain that I was drinking water from a of the American Navy, whose liberal stream which, rising in the north- sentiments, general information, and ern regions in the same Table-lands gentlemanly manners, would have from which more wintry currents done no discredit to the captain flow to Hudson's Bay and Niagara, of a British frigate. My quarters, and actually freezing near its source therefore, might have been very on the bottom of the canoes in the agreeable, if my landlady, who middle of summer, traverses this keeps by far the best boardingwestern continent for nearly 3000 house in New Orleans, had been miles, and after watering the orange of a different character. Unfortugroves and sugar plantations of nately, my room adjoined hers; and Louisiana, and spreading itself far I heard her at four or five o'clock and wide ove an immense delta of in the morning calling for her cowalluvion, falls into the Gulph of skin to square the preceding day's Mexico under pearly the same lati. account with her Negroes. She tude as the waters of the Nile. was in bulk like a large English
After perambulating the city, my landlady; and I have heard the former unpleasant impressions re- heavy blows of her brawny arm turned in their full force, and were and the piercing cries of the wretchconfirmed by every day's residence. ed slave succeed each other till she The first thing which struck me was completely exhausted. Had I was the French names of most of bad reason to believe that I should the streets, an old French theatre, avoid such disgusting occurrences and an old French or Spanish fort. by removing, I would have left imThe advertisements on a large pro- mediately; but such exhibitions portion of the shops were in French: were too general to be escaped. many of the shopkeepers spoke I have no doubt, however, that French only; and the dress of the the moral aspect of the town is imothers from the western country. At tually reminds me of home. The the boarding-house I found the Go- thick clover, the scattered knolls vernor of the state ; a worthy old with their wood-crowned summits, gentlemau of handsome property, differing only from those most faand of a highly respectable family miliar to me in the magnificence of in Virginia. He took his meals at the foliage with which they are the common table, where there was shaded, and the neat husbandry of a promiscuous assemblage of mer- the intervening plantations, give the chants, agents, and clerks; and I whole country the appearance of an kept my letter of introduction to English park. An Irishman with him in my pocket two days, little whom I was riding last night reaware that I was in his company. marked, that the roads strongly I mention the circumstance, as a resemble those through the large trait of the manners of this part of domains in Ireland. I leave you to the country, which surprized me a make due allowance for our anxiety little, as I had met at Washington to trace every little resemblance Governors of other States, with far to our native land. At this distance less solid titles to personal and he- from home we are not solicitous by reditary respectability, aristocratical too accurate a discrimination to enough in their behaviour. When dispel an illusion, if it be one, which I had delivered my letters to him, affords us so much pleasure. You he insisted on sending his servant remember Humboldi's beautiful oband horses with me in my calls on servation : " If amid this exotic some of the principal planters in nature, the bellow of a cow or the the neighbourhood, for the roads roaring of a bull were heard from through the forests are intricate, the depth of a valley, the rememand you seldom meet any one to brance of our country was awakenset you right, if you take a wrong ed suddenly at the sound. They direction.
were like distant voices resounding Our boarding house is near the from beyond the ocean, and with Mississippi, which is now falling a magical force transporting us from foot every day; the spring flood one hemisphere to the other.” Bot having reached its height while I the gigantic plane and maple Trees, was at New Orleans; but the flood
a large proportion of the seventy or from the Missouri has not yet ar- eighty different species of the Amerived. Nearly opposite the win- rican oak, theSassafras, the Hiccory, dows of the room in which I am the Pride of India, the Catalpa, the writing, the river takes one of its Liquid Amber Styraciflua, the Lirionoblest
sweeps under what are cal- dendron Tulipifera, above all, the led the Bluffs, from which you look Magnolia Grandiflora, one hundred down over it upon a dense forest, feet high, with its deep green leaves which stretches to the horizon, and and broad white flowers expanded in which the sun seems to extin. like a full-blown rose, remind us guish his latest rays. On these that we are far from home, while at Bluffs I generally take my evening night the brilliancy of the stars, the walk, and please myself with the delicious fragrance of the surroundidea that a few hours previously you ing woods, and especially the firemay have been watching the setting flies which sparkle on every side, of this glorious luminary behind
seem almost to transport us into our favourite hills; for in
the regions of eastern romance.
We are also often gratified with the “These lands, beneath Hesperian skies, sight of many beautiful birds which Our daylight sojouros till your mor. row rise."
are strangers to us, and sometimes
catch a glimpse of the wild deer. Indeed there is something in the A day or two since, I rode close vicinity of Natchez which perpe. pasta rattlesnake in the woods which we afterwards killed, and cut ments. Their houses are spacious off its rattle. It was about four and handsome, and their grounds and a half feet long.There is much are laid out like a forest park. In the in the plain friendly manners of society of some of these families I many of the planters in this neigh- passed a few days very agreeably ; bourhood with which I have been and wbile listening to some of our greatly pleased; and if slavery own favourite melodies on the harp 'were banished from their domestic and piano forte, I could have fanand agricultural economy, I should cied myself on the banks of the envy their retired, unostentatious, Lune or the Mersey, rather than on and independent mode of existence. those of the Mississippi.
The men are generally hospitable The younger branches of many of and well informed as respects the these families have been educated, common concerns of life, and the the young men at the colleges in women modest and obliging, al- the northern and eastern States ; though cold in their manners at and the young ladies at boarding first acquaintance. Many persons schools in Philadelphia ; and some with incomes of 20001. to 30001. of them have formed matrimonial per annum, live something in the connections with northern families. style of our second and third rate The tastes and feelings, as well as farmers; the White joiners and arti- the accomplishments and literature, ficers whom they may be employ- of the north, are thus gradually ing eating with them, and forming introduced into these southern repart of the family. If you take gions; and ove happy consequence ihem by surprize they make you is a degree of repugnance to the welcome, but offer no apology for slave system on the part of some of their common fare. They gene- the younger members of the comrally, however, offer you a bed ; munity, and a growing desire to and if you remain till the next day, mitigate its severities on the part of assiduously furnish you with a most others. Indeed, it is impossible plentiful iable. I visited an old that, assimilated as many of them couple who had settled nine chil- must be in mental habits and moral dren in their neighbourhood (a term feelings to the society in which they which here often comprizes a large were educated, and in which slavery district), giving each of them about is an object of abhorrence, they 1000 acres of land and a stock of Ne- should become reconciled at once groes, and retaining for themselves to the violation of the natural rights only just sufficient for their wants, of an unoffending class of their feland to supply a little occupation. low-creatures, or capable of witIn the higher ranks of the plain nessing, without horror, the dreadplanters, you find a state of society ful scenes occasionally exhibited which I think must strongly re. here. The other day I passed a semble that of our second rate plantation whose country gentlemen or yeomanry monibs before had shot one of seventy or eighty years since; the his slaves; and I conversed with a females being brought up strictly, mild young planter, I think not 22 with little knowledge, and great at- years old, who had also shot a slave tention to personal neatness and pro- within a year. The offence, in both priety, and the men filling alternate- cases, was stated to be runding ly the situation of soldiers, justices, away, and no notice whatever was and planters. There are, however, taken of either of the murders. some families in the neighbourhood A friend of mine who has resided of Natchez, who live much in the here some time, told me that callstyle of the higher classes in Eng- ing one morning on a most respectland, possessing polished manners, able planter, a man of eminentand respectable literary acquire. ly humane and amiable manners, he was surprised to see him sit- the time at an inn in the neighbourting in his virandah with his gun hood, from which many of the comin his hand, earnestly watching a pany went to see the horrid specslave in the court, who was looking tacle. On so serious a subject as up at him with great emotion, as if this, I am particularly guarded in meditating an escape. By and bye mentioning to you nothing for which the overlooker came and took the I have not unquestionable authorislave away: My friend turned to ty. The following fact rests on the the planter, and asked him what was evidence of my own senses. At a the matter. He replied, “While dining party of five or six gentleI was at breakfast, that Negro came men, I heard one of tbe guests, who and delivered himself up, telling is reputed a. respectable planter, me that he had run away from my say, in the course of conversation, plantation, to avoid a threatened that he shot at one of his slaves Aogging, but that, as he had return- last year with intent to kill him for ed voluntarily, he hoped I would running away; that on another oeintercede with the overseer and get casion finding that two runaway him excused. I told him I seldom slaves had taken refuge on his interfered with the overseer, but plantation, he invited some of his would send and inquire into the friends out of town to dinner and a circumstances. I sent for him, but frolic; that after dinner they went the Negro in the mean time, appre. out to hunt the slaves, and hearing hending the result, looked as if he a rustling in the reeds or canes in would dart off into the woods. I which they believed them to be ordered my gun, and if he had at- concealed, “ they all fired at their tempted to stir, I should have been game, but unfortunately missed." obliged to shoot him dead; for Does not your blood curdle? Yet there is no other way of enforcing he did not appear to be sensible obedience and subordination." that he was telling any thing ex.
CHRIST. OBSERV. No. 252. 5 H
A very short time since, a cruel traordinary, nor to understand wealthy planter tried to work his the silence of astonishment and slaves half the night as well as the borror. I could extend this sad whole of the day. They remon- recital; but why should I harrow strated with the overseer and up your feelings? No incident became refractory, on which the could supply, indeed imagination planter undertook to controul them. could scarcely conceive, a more He took his seat on the trunk of a striking and decisive proof than is tree to inspect them, with his gun afforded by the last anecdote of the iu his hand to shoot the first wbo degree to which the Negro is deshould shrink. About twelve o'clock graded in the public estimation. at night he fell asleep. The slaves If any place is allotted to him in seized bis gun, shot him, and burnt the scale of humanity, it is so low, him to ashes on the fires which he and so distant from that occupied was compelling them to make at by his White brethren, as for the midnight, of the wood they were most part to exclude him from their employed in clearing. The case sympathy. Experience proves, what was so glaring, and the planter's reason would anticipate, that it is cruelty so notorious, that the mat- impossible to regard the same obter was hushed up as well as it could jects one moment as merchandize be, and the slaves were pot punish- or cattle, and the best as fellow. ed; though wbile at Charleston I saw men. The planter whom example an account of a young Negro woman and habit have led to believe, that being burnt to death in South Ca- he must render the Negro industri. rolina the week before, for murder- ous by the use of the lash, and obeing her master. An acquaintance dient by shooting the refractory, of mine told me he was staying at acts as you and I should probably
have acted under similar circum- considers it a degradation to eat stances ; but is not that a horrible with a Black one ; and that if system which can so eradicate from take a White servant to a planter's men of education and liberal at- or an inn, he is obliged to have setainments all fellow-feeling for their parate meals; and, where it is prackind ? Nothing but familiarity with licable, an apartment separate from the degradation and sufferings of the Black servants. I remember the Negroes could induce their that as the mail stopped in Virgivia White masters, many of whom are and Carolina, I generally saw a little respectable, liberal, and humane White boy stuffed in one corner; in the ordinary relations of life, to and for a long time without being tolerate the constant use of the lash. particularly struck with the circumYou continually see the overseer stance. At last, something leading stalking about with his long lash me to inquire into the cause, I found whip, while the poor slaves are toil- there was a law prohibiting the mail ing with little rest or respite from bags being entrusted to a Black morn to night-for here I observe man. Now, as the coachmen were they seem to work many hours long- Negroes, this little lad was stuffed er than in Carolina. A friend told in, as a matter of form, as the nome, that while walking on the Levée minal White guard of the United at New Orleans, he has distinctly States' mail bags. heard the successive lashes on the And who are these fellow-creaback of a poor slave on the other tures who are thus degraded below side of the Mississippi, which is the level of their kind ; and what half a-mile across. Another friend, is the crime which is visited with who was riding with me here, told the atrocious cruelties I have detailme, that one evening lately spend- ed? Are they cannibals, who have ing a night at the house of a invaded these peaceful regions to planter who was from home, the massacre and devour its inbabitants? planter's wife said how glad she monsters whom no boods of amity was to see him, as she was just can restrain from rapine and devasgoing to log one of her slaves, tation, whose hand is against every and he would be kind enough to man, and every man's band, theresave her the trouble. My friend, fore, of necessity and in self-dehowever, who was from the north, fence against them? No, my friend : had not been accustomed to the they are the simple, docile, unofoffice of executioner, and did not fending natives of a distant land, choose to take the biot, broad as it whose colour is their crime, and was. The lady resumed the sub- who have been torn from their ject before supper, and again as kindred and their country by stratasoon as the cloth was drawn, when gem and force. They are the people my friend told her he could not of whom Mungo Park observes, think of complying with her wishes. after alluding to those traces of our She was extremely offended, and general depravity which are to be evinced her displeasure so openly, found among the Negroes as much that had there been another house as in every other branch of the within a few miles, my friend would human family; “It is impossible have withdrawn. Before bed time, for me to forget the disinterested however, another traveller arrived, charity and tender solicitude of to whom the lady complained aloud many of these poor heathens, from of the ungentlemanly conduct of the sovereign of Sego to the poor her first guest, who in common women who received me at different courtesy undertook to lacerate times into their cottages when. I Cato's back, without inquiring into was perishing with hunger, sympa his offence. You will not wonder, thized with me in my sufferings, after these details, that a White man relieved my distresses, and contri.