Death and burial of A slave’s infant.
“The small and great are there,
and the servant is free from his
A Southern gentleman, who was visiting in New York, sent me, with his reply to my inquiries for the welfare of his family at home, the following letter which he had just received from one of his married daughters in the South.
The reader will be so kind as to take the assurance which the writer hereby gives him, that the letter was received under the circumstances now stated, and that it is not a fiction. Certain names and the date only are, for obvious reasons, omitted.
My dear father,—
You have so recently heard from and about those of us left here, and that in a so much more satisfactory way than through letters, that it scarcely seems worth while to write just yet. But Mary left Kate’s poor little baby in such a pitiable state, that I think it will be a relief to all to hear that its sufferings are ended. It died about ten o’clock the night that she left us, very quietly and without a struggle, and at sunset on Friday we laid it in its last resting-place. My husband and I went out in the morning to select the spot for its burial, and finding the state of affairs in the cemetery, we chose a portion of ground and will have it inclosed with a railing. They have been very careless in the management of the ground, and have allowed persons to inclose and bury in any shape or way they chose, so that the whole is cut up in a way that makes it difficult to find a place where two or three graves could be put near each other. We did find one at last, however, about the size of the Hazel Wood lots; and we will inclose it at once, so that when another, either from our own family or those of the other branches, wants a resting-place, there shall not be the same trouble. Poor old Timmy lies there; but it is in a part of the grounds where, the sexton tells us, the water rises within three feet of the surface; so, of course, we did not go there for this little grave. His own family selected his burial-place, and probably did not think of this.
Kate takes her loss very patiently, though she says that she had no idea how much she would grieve after the child. It had been sick so long that she said she wanted to have it go; but I knew when she said it that she did not know what the parting would be. It is not the parting alone, but it is the horror of the grave,—the tender child alone in the far off gloomy burial-ground, the heavy earth piled on the tender little breast, the helplessness that looked to you for protection which you could not give, and the emptiness of the home to which you return when the child is gone. He who made a mother’s heart and they who have borne it, alone can tell the