Farewell to New Orleans—Revolting Bargain—“The Anglo Saxon” Steam-boat—Moderate Fare—Steam Navigation of the Mississippi—Steam boat and Railway Literature—Parting View of the “Crescent City”—Slave Advertisements—Baton Rouge—A Sugar Estate—Fellow-Passengers—The Ladies’ Cabin—A Baptist Minister—A Reverend Slave-holder.
Preparing to leave New Orleans, on the evening of the 8th of February, we called for our bill, and found, for the nine days of our stay, a charge of eight dollars more than we had agreed for. Unwilling to be imposed upon, I remonstrated; and we split the difference with our “smart” landlady. We turned our backs upon the city, with a hearty wish that we might never see it again. It is a horrid place. Bowie knives, revolving pistols, and other deadly weapons, are exposed for sale on every side,—a pretty clear proof of an extensive demand.
Shall I tell you of a most revolting abomination, which I know, on good authority, occurred about the time we were there? A large importer of slaves from the “slave-breeding” States, having on board a considerable number of young women, made an offer of the use of their persons to a volunteer regiment of soldiers, then waiting to be conveyed to Mexico. The offer was accepted; and the wretch boasted that he had made 700 dollars, or 150_l._ sterling, by the transaction! The laws of this great and free country had, however, consigned these helpless young women to his absolute disposal! Alas! for Freedom, had she no holier home than the Southern States of the American Union! And yet of the country in which this licentious bargain was made, even John Todd, the excellent author of “Lectures to Children,” thus writes,—“This land is free. The mind is here free,—and the child is to be born—if indeed he ever will be born—whose powers and faculties may not be called out and cultivated. There is no bondage to forms or precedents; but the whole mass may be seasoned, leavened, and moved, and is at liberty to do what is great and good in the way that is most convenient.”