American Scenes, and Christian Slavery eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 236 pages of information about American Scenes, and Christian Slavery.
generosity, it was too evident that much of what was done was done in a spirit of self-glorification over a humbled and afflicted rival.  It was a fine opportunity to feed the national vanity, and to deal hard blows to England.  Not that I was sorry to see those blows, or to feel them.  They drew no blood, and were a hundred times more efficacious than if they had.  I felt that there was much in the conduct of England towards her unhappy sister-isle for which she deserved the severest castigation.  But I must protest against the form of putting the case, which was very common throughout the United States:  “You are shocked at our slavery; and yet you have horrors of ten times greater magnitude, in the Irish famine at your own doors.”  In this way the Irish famine, was a God-sent sort of a salvo for the slave-holder’s conscience, so soothing and grateful to his tortured feelings that he was but too happy to pay for it by a contribution for the relief of Ireland.

In consequence of the following advertisement in the Picayune, I screwed up my feelings, and resolved for once at least in my life to see a slave-auction.  I was the more disposed to attend this, as it was distinctly stated that they would be sold in families.  I should not therefore have to behold the wife torn away from the husband, the husband from the wife, the parent from the child, or the child from the parent, as is so commonly done.

“COTTON-FIELD HANDS.—­By Beard, Calhoun, and Co., auctioneers.—­Will be sold at auction, on Friday, the 5th inst., at 12 o’clock, at Bank’s Arcade, thirty-seven Field Slaves; comprising eighteen from one plantation, and fourteen from another.  All acclimated Negroes.  To be sold in Families.  Full particulars at sale.”

“F. 4.”

Setting off a few minutes before 12, after about half-a-dozen inquiries, and as many “guessing” answers, I found “Bank’s Arcade.”  It was very near the Presbyterian church, in which I had heard such excellent sermons on the preceding Sabbath.  It was a large open building:  one side occupied as a bar for the retail of strong drinks, and the other fitted up for auctioneering purposes,—­there being conveniences for three or four of the trade to exercise their vocation at the same time.  One end was used for the sale of books and other publications, chiefly novels; and the other for the exhibition of fancy goods.

As I got in at one end, I heard a voice—­with that peculiar, twirling, rapid, nasal twang, which marks the Transatlantic auctioneer—­say, “400 dollars for this fine young woman—­only 400 dollars—­420, only 420—­430—­440, only 440 dollars offered for this fine young woman.”  By this time I had got in front of the performer, and had a full view of the whole affair.  And sure enough she was a “fine young woman,” about twenty-three years of age, neatly dressed, not quite——­But the scene shall form the subject of my next letter.

LETTER VII.

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American Scenes, and Christian Slavery from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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