Half a Century eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 294 pages of information about Half a Century.

A brown-haired girl, Maria, the educated, refined daughter of a Kentucky farmer, was lashed by her brutal purchaser, once, and again and again for chastity, where hundreds who heard the blows and shrieks knew the cause.  From that house she was taken to the work-house and scourged by the public executioner, backed by the whole force of the United States government.  Oh!  God!  Can this nation ever, ever be forgiven for the blood of her innocent children?

Passing a crowded church on a Sabbath afternoon, I stepped in, when the preacher was descanting on the power of religion, and, in illustration, he told of two wicked young men in that state, who were drinking and gambling on Sunday morning, when one said: 

“I can lick the religion out of any nigger.”

The other would bet one hundred dollars that he had a nigger out of whom the religion could not be licked.  The bet was taken and they adjourned to a yard.  This unique nigger was summoned, and proved to be a poor old man.  His master informed him he had a bet on him, and the other party commanded him to “curse Jesus?” on pain of being flogged until he did.  The old saint dropped on his knees before his master, and plead for mercy, saying: 

“Massa!  Massa!  I cannot curse Jesus!  Jesus die for me!  He die for you, Massa.  I no curse him; I no curse Jesus!”

The master began to repent.  In babyhood he had ridden on those old bowed shoulders, then stalwart and firm, and he proposed to draw the bet, but the other wanted sport and would win the money.  Oh! the horrible details that that preacher gave of that day’s sport, of the lashings, and faintings, and revivals, with washes of strong brine, the prayers for mercy, and the recurring moan!

“I no curse Jesus, Massa!  I no curse Jesus; Jesus die for me, Massa; I die for Jesus?”

As the sun went down Jesus took him, and his merciful master had sold a worthless nigger for one hundred dollars.  But, the only point which the preacher made, was that one in favor of religion.  When it could so support a nigger, what might it not do for one of the superior race?

For months I saw every day a boy who could not have been more than ten years old, but who seemed to be eight, and who wore an iron collar with four projections, and a hoop or bail up over his head.  This had been put on him for the crime of running away; and was kept on to prevent a repetition of that crime.  The master, who thus secured his property, was an Elder in the Second Presbyterian church, and led the choir.

The principal Baptist preacher owned and hired out one hundred slaves; took them himself to the public mart, and acted as auctioneer in disposing of their services.  The time at which this was done, was in the Christmas holidays, or rather the last day of the year, when the slaves’ annual week of respite ended.

A female member of the Fourth St. Methodist church was threatened with discipline, for nailing her cook to the fence by the ear with a ten-penny nail.  The preacher in charge witnessed the punishment from a back window of his residence.  Hundreds of others witnessed it, called by the shrieks of the victim; and his reverence protested, on the ground that such scenes were calculated to injure the church.

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Half a Century from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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