Search      Hot    Newest Novel
HOME > Biographical > Harriet Beecher Stowe > CHAPTER VII.
Font Size:【Large】【Middle】【Small】
Among those unfortunates guilty of loving freedom too well, was a beautiful young quadroon girl, named Emily Russell, whose mother is now living in New York. The writer has seen and conversed with her. She is a pious woman, highly esteemed and respected, a member of a Christian church.

By the avails of her own industry she purchased her freedom, and also redeemed from bondage some of her children. Emily was a resident of Washington, D. C., a place which belongs not to any state, but to the United States; and there, under the laws of the United States, she was held as a slave. She was of a gentle disposition and amiable manners; she had been early touched with a sense of religious things, and was on the very point of uniting herself with a Christian church; but her heart yearned after her widowed mother and after freedom, and so, on the fatal night when all the other poor victims sought the Pearl, the child Emily went also among them.

How they were taken has already been 169told. The sin of the poor girl was inexpiable. Because she longed for her mother’s arms and for liberty, she could not be forgiven. Nothing would do for such a sin, but to throw her into the hands of the trader. She also was thrown into Bruin & Hill’s jail, in Alexandria. Her poor mother in New York received the following letter from her. Read it, Christian mother, and think what if your daughter had written it to you!

To Mrs. Nancy Cartwright, New York.
Alexandria, Jan. 22, 1850.

My Dear Mother: I take this opportunity of writing you a few lines, to inform you that I am in Bruin’s Jail, and Aunt Sally and all of her children, and Aunt Hagar and all her children, and grandmother is almost crazy. My dear mother, will you please to come on as soon as you can? I expect to go away very shortly. O, mother! my dear mother! come now and see your distressed and heart-broken daughter once more. Mother! my dear mother! do not forsake me, for I feel desolate! Please to come now.
Your daughter,
Emily Russell.

P. S.—If you do not come as far as Alexandria, come to Washington, and do what you can.

That letter, blotted and tear-soiled, was brought by this poor washerwoman to some Christian friends in New York, and shown to them. “What do you suppose they will ask for her?” was her question. All that she had,—her little house, her little furniture, her small earnings,—all these poor Nancy was willing to throw in; but all these were but as a drop to the bucket.

The first thing to be done, then, was to ascertain what Emily could be redeemed for; and, as it may be an interesting item of American trade, we give the reply of the traders in full:
Alexandria, Jan. 31, 1850.

Dear Sir: When I received your letter I had not bought the negroes you spoke of, but since that time I have bought them. All I have to say about the matter is, that we paid very high for the negroes, and cannot afford to sell the girl Emily for less than EIGHTEEN HUNDRED DOLLARS. This may seem a high price to you, but, cotton being very high, consequently slaves are high. We have two or three offers for Emily from gentlemen from the south. She is said to be the finest-looking woman in this country. As for Hagar and her seven children, we will take two thousand five hundred dollars for them. Sally and her four children. We will take for them two thousand eight hundred dollars. You may seem a little surprised at the difference in prices, but the difference in the negroes makes the difference in price. We expect to start south with the negroes on the 8th February, and if you intend to do anything, you had better do it soon.
Yours, respectfully,
Bruin & Hill.

This letter came to New York before the case of the Edmondsons had called the attention of the community to this subject. The enormous price asked entirely discouraged effort, and before anything of importance was done they heard that the coffle had departed, with Emily in it.

Hear, O heavens! and give ear, O earth! Let it be known, in all the countries of the earth, that the market-price of a beautiful Christian girl in America is from EIGHTEEN HUNDRED to TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS; and yet, judicatories in the church of Christ have said, in solemn conclave, that American slavery as it is is no evil![22]

From the table of the sacrament and from the sanctuary of the church of Christ this girl was torn away, because her beauty was a salable article in the slave-market in New Orleans!

Perhaps some Northern apologist for slavery will say she was kindly treated here—not handcuffed by the wrist to a chain, and forced to walk, as articles less choice are; that a wagon was provided, and that she rode; and that food abundant was given her to eat, and that her clothing was warm and comfortable, and therefore no harm was done. We have heard it told us, again and again, that there is no harm in slavery, if one is only warm enough, and full-fed, and comfortable. It is true that the slave-woman has no protection from the foulest dishonor and the utmost insult that can be offered to womanhood,—none whatever in law or gospel; but, so long as she has enough to eat and wear, our Christian fathers and mothers tell us it is not so bad!

Poor Emily could not think so. There was no eye to pity, and none to help. The food of her accursed lot did not nourish her; the warmest clothing could not keep the chill of slavery from her heart. In the middle of the overland passage, sick, weary, heart-broken, the child laid her down and died. By that lonely pillow there was no mother. But there was one Friend, who loveth at all times, who is closer than a brother. Could our eyes be touched by the seal of faith, where others see only the lonely wilderness and the dying girl, we, perhaps, should see one clothed in celestial beauty, waiting for that short agony to be over, that He might redeem her from all iniquity, and present her faultless before the presence of his Grace with exceeding joy!

170Even the hard-hearted trader was touched with her sad fate, and we are credibly informed that he said he was sorry he had taken her.

Bruin & Hill wrote to New York that the girl Emily was dead. A friend of the fa............
Join or Log In! You need to log in to continue reading

Login into Your Account

  Remember me on this computer.

All The Data From The Network AND User Upload, If Infringement, Please Contact Us To Delete! Contact Us
About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Tag List | Recent Search  
©2010-2018, All Rights Reserved