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This was the last letter I wrote from the plantation, and I never returned there, nor ever saw again any of the poor people among whom I lived during this winter, but Jack, once, under sad circumstances. The poor lad’s health failed so completely, that his owners humanely brought him to the north, to try what benefit he might derive from the change; but this was before the passing of the Fugitive Slave Bill, when touching the soil of the northern states, a slave became free; and such was the apprehension felt lest Jack should be enlightened as to this fact by some philanthropic abolitionist, that he was kept shut up in a high upper room of a large empty house, where even I was not allowed to visit him. I heard at length of his being in Philadelphia; and upon my distinct statement that I considered freeing their slaves the business of the Messrs. —— themselves, and not mine, I was at length permitted to see him. Poor fellow! coming to the north did not prove to him the delight his eager desire had so often anticipated from it; nor under such circumstances is it perhaps much to be wondered at that he benefited but little by the change,—he died not long after.
I once heard a conversation between Mr. O—— and Mr. K——, the two overseers of the plantation on which I was living, upon the question of taking slaves, servants, necessary attendants, into the northern states; Mr. O—— urged the danger of their being ‘got hold of,’ i.e., set free by the abolitionists, to which Mr. K—— very pertinently replied, ’Oh, stuff and nonsense, I take care when my wife goes north with the children, to send Lucy with her; her children are down here, and I defy all the abolitionists in creation to get her to stay north.’ Mr. K—— was an extremely wise man.
I wrote the following letter after reading several leading articles in the Times newspaper, at the time of the great sensation occasioned by Mrs. Beecher Stowe’s novel of ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin,’ and after the Anti-Slavery Protest which that book induced the women of England to address to those of America, on the subject of the condition of the slaves in the southern states.