Thus Romescos concludes the details of his nefarious trade, amid cheers and bravos. The party are in ecstasies, evincing a singular merriment at the issue. There is nothing like liberty—liberty to do what you please, to turn freedom into barbarity! They gloat over the privileges of a free country; and, as Romescos recounts each proceeding,—tracing it into the lowest depths of human villainy, they sing songs to right, justice, freedom-they praise the bounties of a great country. How different is the picture below! Beneath this plotting conclave, devising schemes to defraud human nature of its rights, to bring poverty and disgrace upon happy families-all in accordance with the law-are chained in narrow cells poor mortals, hoping for an end to their dreary existence, pining under the weight of pinions dashing their very souls into endless despair. A tale of freedom is being told above, but their chains of death clank in solemn music as the midnight revelry sports with the very agony of their sorrows. Oh! who has made their lives a wanton jest?-can it be the will of heaven, or is it the birthright of a downtrodden race? They look for to-morrow, hope reverberates one happy thought, it may bring some tidings of joy; but again they sink, as that endless gloom rises before them. Hope fades from their feelings, from the bleeding heart for which compassion is dead. The tyrant’s heart is of stone; what cares he for their supplications, their cries, their pleadings to heaven; such things have no dollars for him!
Arranging the preliminaries necessary for proceeding with Marston’s affairs, they agreed to the plans, received orders from Graspum in reference to their proceedings on the following day, and retired to their homes, singing praises to great good laws, and the freedom of a free country.
Another shade of the picture.
While the proceedings we have detailed in the foregoing chapter were progressing at Graspum’s slave-pen, a different phase of the system was being discussed by several persons who had assembled at the house of Deacon Rosebrook. Rumour had been busy spreading its many-sided tales about Marston-his difficulties, his connection with Graspum, his sudden downfall. All agreed that Marston was a noble-minded fellow, generous to a fault-generous in his worst errors; and, like many other southerners, who meant well, though personally kind to his slaves, never set a good example in his own person. Religion was indispensably necessary to preserve submission; and, with a view to that end, he had made the Church a means of producing it.