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.
his own mother, and not drop a tear of sympathy for this mother—­so young, so interesting, and yet so degraded?  “Now, gentlemen, who bids for Margaret and her child?  She is between sixteen and seventeen years of age, and is six months gone in pregnancy of her second child:  I mention the last circumstance, because you would not think it to look at her,—­it is right, however, that you should know.  She cooks well, sews well, washes well, and irons well.  Only 545 dollars!  Really, gentlemen, it’s throwing the girl away; she is well worth 800 dollars of any man’s money.  She’ll no doubt be the mother of a great many children; and that is a consideration to a purchaser who wants to raise a fine young stock.  Only 545 dollars offered for her!” No higher offer being made, she was sent down,—­it was no sale.  Let us breathe again.

LETTER VIII.

St. Louis Exchange—­Inspection of Human Chattels—­Artizan Slaves—­Scenes and Proceedings of the Auction—­Sale of the Men.

Finding that another slave-auction was to be held at noon next day in the St. Louis Exchange, I resolved to attend.  The day was dull and dirty.  “Please, sir,” said I to the first man I met, “to tell me where St. Louis Exchange is?” “Don’t know, sir.”  I walked on a little further, and tried again.  “Please to direct me to St. Louis Exchange?” “Can’t; but it’s somewhere in that direction,” pointing with his finger.  “Is this the way to St. Louis Exchange?” I asked a third.  “I guess it is,” was the curt and characteristic reply.  “How far is it?” “Three blocks further on; then turn to your right; go a little way down, and you will find it on your left.”  I went as directed, and came to an immense building—­a kind of hotel.  There were nearly a dozen entrances, all leading into one vast saloon, where I found about 200 gentlemen,—­some drinking, some eating, some smoking, some reading, some talking, and all spitting.  One end of the saloon was fitted up as a refreshment place, similar to those on railway stations in England.  But I could see nothing like preparations for a sale.

On looking around I perceived a large door in two halves, with spring hinges, leading as it were further into the building.  I pushed one half open, and found myself in a spacious circular hall,—­its roof, ending in a dome, supported by a suitable number of massive columns.  The floor was tastefully paved with black and white marble, and all the light came from the dome.  Some 100 gentlemen were sauntering about, and now and then turning to several groupes of black people to ask them questions.  This place was evidently fitted up for auctioneering purposes, and seemed peculiarly adapted for man-selling.  At equal distances were a dozen elevated desks for the chief actors, each with a small platform in front for the exhibition of the articles of sale.

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