Mr. W. I presume it was Will—and though I do not know what he may have told you, yet I will undertake to say that he has told you nothing but the truth. I am always safe in believing him, and do not believe he would tell me an untruth for any thing that could be offered him....
Mr. J. Well, sir, you have seen I trust in your family, good fruits from the beginning.
Mr. W. Yes indeed, sir, and that man was most instrumental in reconciling and encouraging all my people in the change. From that time I have regarded him as more a friend and assistant, than a slave. He has taught the younger ones to read, and by his kindness and example, has been a great benefit to all. I have told them that I would do what I could to instruct and improve them; and that if I found any so vicious, that they would not receive it and strive to amend, I would not keep them; that I hoped to have a religious, praying family, and that none would be obstinately bent on their own ruin. And from time to time, I endeavored to convince them that I was aiming at their own good. I cannot tell you all the happiness of the change, that God has been pleased to make among us, all by these means. And I have been benefited both temporally and spiritually by it; for my work is better done, and my people are more faithful, contented, and obedient than before; and I have the comfort of thinking that when my Lord and master shall call me to account for those committed to my charge, I shall not be ashamed to present them.—Bishop William Meade’s “Tracts and Dialogues,” etc., in the Appendix of Thomas Bacon’s Sermons Addressed to Masters and Servants.
(Written about 1800)
Some years ago an English gentleman had occasion to be in North America, where, among other adventures, the following circumstances occurred to him which are related in his own words.
“Every day’s observation convinces me that the children of God, viz. those who believe in him, and on such terms are accepted by him through Jesus Christ, are made so by his own especial grace and power inclining them to what is good, and, assisting them when they endeavor to be and continue so.
“In one of my excursions, while I was in the province of New York, I was walking by myself over a considerable plantation, amused with its husbandry, and comparing it with that of my own country, till I came within a little distance of a middle aged negro, who was tilling the ground. I felt a strong inclination to converse with him. After asking him some little questions about his work, which he answered very sensibly, I wished him to tell me, whether his state of slavery was not disagreeable to him, and whether he would not gladly exchange it for his liberty?”