|"The odious distinctions between white and black, &c. have all been created by tyrants and their co-adjutors for the express purpose of acquiring and preserving their usurped authority. This is the Alpha and Omega of it."|
~ Benjamin Lundy, 1825
During my mother's life I had been to school and learned to read a little. After my father's second marriage, I attended school again for a few weeks, and began to try to write before I was eight years of age. I went again for a short time, when at the age of sixteen, to learn arithmetic. This is all the schooling I ever had.
|Sussex County, New Jersey|
His half-sister wrote of him:
My first recollection of Benjamin was when young, he having returned from Ohio to visit his parents and family. The year I cannot remember, but it was shortly before his marriage. His kind disposition and engaging manners soon won my attachment, and [ received many demonstrations of kindness from him — and though he left us while I was yet young, my recollections of him were always so gentle and tender, that I could not bear to hear a word said in disapprobation of him. This attachment was strengthened by years and a repeated correspondence after I arrived to womanhood, and I doubt not but to this fact I owe much of that fervor of zeal, which I feel to devote my existence to the anti-slavery cause.
My youthful recollections are, that he was of gentle and mild manners, yet quickly perceptible of the views and intentions of others, and always prepared to meet them in the way he thought best suited to them; of a studious habit, he seldom sat without a book in his hand, and always embraced every opportunity for improvement. So great was his desire for mental cultivation, that in the little time he was in New Jersey, he got up in the neighbourhood, where he resided, an association for mental improvement, similar to the lyceums of the present day. It was composed of the most enterprising young men in the neighbourhood. . . . The energy of his active mind (though somewhat impeded in usefulness by a deficiency in hearing, supposed to be caused by over-exertion in boyhood,) breathed animation in those around him.From 1808 to 1812 he lived in Wheeling, Virgina (now in West Virginia), where he served an apprenticeship to a saddler. He later wrote:
My father, while I was at home, had been very strict in restraining me with respect to dress and amusements; but when I found myself free from his control, I felt a strong disposition to indulge my youthful propensities in these matters. I was settled, too, among a worldly minded people, most of whom cared little for my future welfare. The man with whom I lived, was a regular gambler; and my only associates were wild, fashionable youths, "clever" enough, but thoughtless and fond of frivolous sport. For my own part, I had some concern for the future, and, upon reflection, I resolved to check my unreasonable propensities, before it should be too late. I kept on my plain dress, attended regularly the meetings of our religious Society, shunned every species of gambling and frolicking, and spent most of my leisure in reading instructive books.
droves of a dozen to twenty ragged men, chained together and driven through the streets, bareheaded and barefooted, through mud and snow, by the remorseless '"SOUL SELLERS," with horsewhips and bludgeons in their hands!
|Mount Pleasant, Ohio|
In December 1814, Benjamin Lundy and Esther Lewis, 22, declared their intention of marriage to the Friends Meeting in Mount Pleasant. On February 13, 1815, they were married at the meeting house. Her brother, William, married Lydia Stanton, sister of Edwin Stanton's father, David.
The Lundys moved to Saint Clairsville, Ohio, where his business prospered, and in four years had property worth more than $3,000.
In 1815, he organized an anti-slavery association, known as the Union Humane Society, which within a few months had a membership of more than 500. Members included Charles Hammond, who would later become an influential Cincinnati lawyer and editor of the Cincinnati Gazette; James Wilson, a Steubenville editor who would become the grandfather of Woodrow Wilson; and Joseph Howells, grandfather of William Dean Howells.
The first meeting, which was held at my own house, consisted of but five or six persons. In a few months afterwards, the Society contained nearly five hundred members, among whom were most of the influential preachers and lawyers, and many respectable citizens of several counties in that section of the state.Their first child, Susanna Maria Lundy, was born November 18, 1815 in Saint Clairsville, followed by Elizabeth Shotwell Lundy on October 3, 1818. He later wrote,
I had then a loving wife and two beautiful little daughters. ... I was at peace with my neighbors and knew not that I had an enemy; I had bought a lot and built myself a comfortable house; all my wants and those of my lovely family were fully supplied; my business was increasing, and prosperity seemed to smile before me.
At this time, the society had no clear programs to end slavery; their main activities were to aid free blacks and to eliminate racial prejudice and legal discrimination.
At this time the famous "Missouri question,'' being that of the toleration or prohibition of slavery in the Constitution of the proposed new State of Missouri, which was to be formed out of the Louisiana territory, had begun to agitate the American Union. I was on the great scene of discussion, and in the midst of those whose interests were most involved. My feelings prompted me to engage in the controversy. I devoted myself sedulously to an exposition, in the newspapers of Missouri and Illinois, of the evils of slavery. The contest, which was long and severe, terminated in our losing the day. Congress decided that the people of Missouri might form a Constitution, without restriction as to slavery, which was accordingly done; and at the next session of that body, the State with her slave Constitution, was admitted as a member of the Union.
|Courthouse, St. Louis, Missiouri|
After this event, I returned home, a distance of 700 miles, on foot, and in the winter season. I had lost, at St, Louis, some thousands of dollars, and had been detained from home a year and ten months. The tide of misfortune to me, was caused by the utter stagnation of business, which at that time overspread the whole country, and occasioned the sacrifice of property to an incalculable amount.
Before I left St. Louis, I heard that, as I had staid from home so much longer than had been anticipated, Charles Osborne had become quite tired of the employment of editor, and had sold out his printing establishment to Elisha Bates, and also that Elihu Embree had commenced the publication of an anti-slavery paper, called "The Emancipator," at Jonesborough in Tennessee. I therefore made up my mind to settle with my family in Illinois. But on my way home I was informed of the death of E. Embree; and as E. Bates did not come up to my standard of anti-slavery, I determined immediately to establish a periodical of my own. I therefore removed to Mount Pleasant, and commenced the publication of the Genius of Universal Emancipation, in January 1821.
The editor intends that this work shall be a true record of passing events, and of the various transactions relative to the enslavement of the Africans, and he hopes it may eventually prove a faithful history of the final emancipation.
Our printer helped him to get out one number in New York. His next was perhaps issued from Hudson, and the next from Rochester and so on. He carried his column rules, imprint, heading, etc. in his trunk along with his mail and direction book — and so with the help of the local printers, all over the state, he furnished his old subscribers, while getting new ones.
Following the death of Tennessee abolitionist Elihu Embree, who had published The Emancipator, Tennessee abolitionists recruited Lundy to continue the work. After printing eight issues of his paper in Ohio, Lundy purchased Embree's printing equipment and moved to Greeneville, Tennessee in 1822, where he continued publication of the Genius of Universal Emancipation. Esther and the children remained in Ohio until spring.
I travelled, in going there, eight hundred miles, one-half on foot, and the rest by water. On my arrival, I rented the printing office, and immediately went to work with the paper, laboring myself at the mechanical as well as the editorial department. I thus learned to be a printer, by carrying on the trade, without having ever served an hour's apprenticeship.Lundy believed that abolitionism would be most effective if it came from a slave state. He circulated the Genius in more than twenty-one states and kept the abolitionist movement alive in the Upper South, especially in Tennessee, Kentucky, and North Carolina. The paper was not a financial success, however, and in 1822 he began publishing a second newspaper, The American Economist and Weekly Political Recorder, which reported farm prices, published poetry, and relayed local and national economic and political news.
While in Greeneville, Lundy joined the Humane Protecting Society and became president of the Greeneville branch of the Tennessee Manumission Society, one of the largest and most active antislavery societies in the country. In an address to the Society's Convention in 1822, he said:
Neither the powers of earth or hell can move me from my purpose, until the lamp of life shall be extinguished.In Tennessee Lundy found himself in a hostile community and wrote that he was often threatened. He remained in the state for three years before returning with his family to from Ohio. He then began traveling for the cause. Edwin Stanton's parents in Steubenville, Ohio, were opposed to slavery and assisted enslaved people escaping across the Ohio River from Virginia. They also supported Lundy in his anti-slavery efforts. He found hospitality among Friends and often plied his leatherworking trade.
While thus engaged in the midst of a slaveholding region, I was often threatened in various ways. On one occasion two ruffians came a distance of thirty miles to demand some concession respecting an article that had been inserted in the Genius. They asked me into a private room, shut the door, and with deadly weapons undertook to enforce their demand. They found themselves mistaken in the person with whom they had to deal, and the owner of the house hearing the dispute, came in and released me from confinement. Often the bullies vapoured around me with bludgeons, in such a manner, that the sparing of my life might seem to have been providential.Lundy wrote in 1823:
Many of [the slaveholders} are ipso facto the most disgraceful whoremongers upon earth; they make a business of raising bastards and selling them for money; - they keep poor miserable degraded females for this identical purpose; they compel them to submit to their abominable, avaricious, and brutal lusts. . . They laugh to scorn every thing like mildness and persuasion, and must be addressed in such language as will reach their adaminatine hearts . . .
|The Genius of Universal Emancipation|
Unfortunately, few people in the slave states saw any reason to weight the effect on society of their investment in slaves; rather than the welfare of society or the nation as a whole, they focused on promoting their own individual wealth. It also carried little weight with later abolitionists, who focused on the morality of slavery, rather than the economic basis and effects of it.
Morton Dillon wrote in his biography of Lundy:
The morality of slavery mattered to Lundy, of course, and it impelled all his actions, but he also believed that through the use of statistics demonstrating the economic cost of slavery to society he could prevail upon rational men - whose moral sense might otherwise be blunted - to put away an unprofitable institution. Very few heeded his argument, and Lundy was to be proved mistaken in his optimism, though hardly more than his fellow abolitionists who imagined they could sway slaveholders by appeals to the moral sensibilities. Neither Lundy nor his successors ever found way to cope with the irrationalities and the calculations of self-interest that helped to account for the defense and perpetuation of slavery.In January 1824, the Ohio legislature passed resolutions asking Congress to appropriate funds to aid gradual emancipation and the emigration of free blacks. It justified its request by calling slavery a national evil that required action from the national government; the resolutions were sent to other state legislatures for endorsement. Southerners, alarmed at the thought of an antislavery majority in national government, claimed state sovereignty in defense of slavery and white supremacy. Robert Turnbull published letters in the Charleston Mercury denouncing the resolutions as "fanaticism" and singling out Lundy as a menace to southern institution:
Discussion will cause death and destruction to our negro property. Discussion will be equivalent to an act of emancipation . . .
Should the Colonization Society unite the work of Emancipation with their present object of pursuit, I would instantly raise my feeble voice to applaud, and extend both hands to aid them; not that I think it would be absolutely necessary to send the blacks out of the country, on account of difficulty in governing them, but that our prejudice might not operate so strongly as a hinderance to the performance to that great work of justice and righteousness, the total extirpation of slavery from the soil of America. Emancipation, with me, is a primary object, and I cannot for a moment think of joining in any of the colonizing schemes that may be invented, if they shall not have that object in view.
He further remarked that the Society disclaimed emancipation as its object, and aimed only at the removal of those who were already free.
Shortly after the adoption of the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson and other leaders of the Revolutionary era proposed colonization as a solution to the paradox of freedom and liberty in America. In 1815, Paul Cuffe, a wealthy free black from Massachusetts, took thirty-eight Negroes to Africa on his own vessel at an expense to himself of three or four thousand dollars. The American Colonization Society (ACS; in full, "The Society for the Colonization of Free People of Color of America"), had been established in 1817. Its purpose was to support the return of free African Americans to Africa; it helped to found the colony of Liberia in 1821. A congressional act authorized President James Monroe "to send beyond the limits of the United States all captured Negroes, and to appoint agents, residing on the coast of Africa to receive them.'' George Washington's nephew, Bushrod Washington, urged that states organize colonization societies and that the states and the national government appropriate money to establish "a settlement on some part of the African coast, to which captives may be sent.'' Within a few years colonizationists had purchased land and founded Liberia, whose capital--Monrovia--was named for James Monroe.
Antislavery Quakers argued that colonization was founded on principles which unfairly forced expatriation of Africans. Colonization, "as a condition to the slaves being set at liberty, is unjust and oppressive.''
In 1824, Lundy attended the American Convention for the Abolition of Slavery, held at Philadelphia, and came in contact with leaders of the movement in the older states. He also inspired the young Robert Purvis. As the Genius had now attained a considerable circulation, Lundy decided to move to Baltimore and set out for the place on foot in the summer of 1824.
I shouldered my knapsack and set out for Baltimore, on foot, in the summer of 1824. I proceeded through the southwestern part of Virginia into the State of North Carolina, where I had some family connections.
On this occasion, I delivered at Deep Creek, North Carolina, my first public lecture on the subject of slavery. I shall never forget the incidents of that meeting. It was held by the side of a fine spring, in a beautiful shady grove near the Friends' Meeting House at Deep Creek, after the meeting for worship had closed. The audience signified their approbation of the lecture, by appointing another meeting for me to be held in the meeting house on a subsequent day. The second meeting having been publicly advertised, was attended by many persons, besides members of the Society of Friends, and before its adjournment, an anti-slavery or abolition society was organized.
I afterwards, during that visit to North Carolina, held some fifteen or twenty anti-slavery meetings at various places. My discourses were similar to all that I have since delivered in other parts of the United States, and as ultra orthodox in anti-slavery sentiment as any of modern times. I embraced every opportunity of obtaining an audience. At one time I went to the raising of a house, and lectured to the persons who were there assembled. At another I called a meeting at a place where there was to be a militia muster. The captain and some of his men attended, as did also a number of " Friends" who resided in the vicinity. It was quite amusing to see the intermingled plain and military dresses, while I was reminding the wearers of them of the principles of Christian humanity, and of civil liberty, as based upon eternal justice.Later he gave many more lectures and organized more than a dozen anti-slavery societies. Continuing his journey he held meetings and also organized societies in Virginia. Lundy proposed that the national government abolish slavery in all the territories and districts under its immediate control and prohibit the admission of new slave states. It should also prohibit the interstate slave trade. The slave states should arrange for gradual emancipation while the free states should agree to admit blacks as citizens on the same basis as white. Free blacks wanting to leave the country should be aided to do by the national and state governments as well as private philanthropy. Finally, the three-fifths compromise should be abolished by constitutional amendment, as it gave southern white voters more power in the national government than their actual numbers warranted.
Facing a shortage of skilled labor in early 1825, Haiti's president Jean Pierre Boyer sent an invitation to black Americans to settle in Haiti. The government of Haiti offered to pay for their passage and grant them land. They would also have full citizenship and civil rights. Recruiting agents promoted the offer in black communities in the United States. Haitian emigration societies were formed in several cities to investigate settling in Haiti, which because of its slave revolt (1791-1804) and black government had become an important symbol of black resistance and freedom. Estimates indicate that more than 6,000 African Americans left the United States for Haiti.
|Jean Pierre Boyer|
I am sick of the continual clack about the removal of the free people of color. It will never, of itself, do a pin's worth of good. I could not give the toss o f a copper for a system of philanthropy that extends no further than this.He repeated that blacks had a right to remain in the United States, but
prejudice too often presents itself to us as an insurmountable barrier to the attainments of happiness. . . . This [legal and social equality] they cannot expect here, for many generations to come, for the causes that produced the prejudices now existing, on the part of the white inhabitants, will have a tendency to prolong them, and to give them force and effect.The Quaker leader, Elias Hicks, supported Lundy's scheme to assist the emigration of freed slaves to Haiti and in 1824, he hosted a meeting on how to facilitate it at his home in Jericho, New York. In the late 1820s, Hicks argued in favor of raising funds to buy slaves and settle them as free people in the American Southwest.
In the fall of 1825, before an election in Baltimore, handbills signed "Self Preservation" were posted in the streets, warning that Lundy and the anti-slavery societies wanted
to turn loose a depraved and ignorant black population to overrun the country . . . to liberate the slaves, and whether it is done now, or a century hence; whether simultaneously; or gradually, still they will be setting at large a corrupt and ignorant population to infest the country . . . Nature herself has implanted such marked differences in the two races as render it absolutely impossible that they can exist tranquilly, together, on an equality.The opponents were determined to oppose emancipation even if it were scheduled to happen at a date far in the future; they considered it a social necessity regardless of any economic drawbacks.
A slaveowner offered to free twelve of his slaves if Lundy would escort them to Haiti. Lundy agreed. While he was in Haiti, his wife gave birth on April 4, 1826, to twins, and died soon after.
Being detained much longer than I had anticipated, my views of earthly happiness were clouded before my return, by news of the decease of my loved and cherished bosom companion, which was brought me by a vessel that arrived the day before that on which I was to sail for home.
I returned to Baltimore with a heavy heart. On our arrival the vessel was ordered to perform quarantine, and the persons on board were forbidden to land until the next day. I persuaded the captain, however, to go on shore with me at night, that I might see my little orphan children. We rowed a small boat several miles to the shore. I hastened to my dwelling, but found it deserted. All was lone and dreary within its walls. I roused some of the neighbors, but they could tell me nothing about my children. I returned with the captain before daylight to the vessel, and the next day obtained legal permission to land.
On further inquiry, I found that my little ones were scattered among my friends. But 'home with all its pleasures' was gone. The soul that once animated it had been called to the realms of eternal felicity, and I was left to mourn over the desolation that remained. I collected my children together, placed them with friends in whom I could confide, and renewed my vow to devote my energies to the cause of the slave, until the nation should be effectually roused in his behalf. I relinquished every prospect of the future enjoyment of an earthly home until the object should be accomplished.
He wrote to our parents and us of his situation, and thought it best not to keep house, if he could avoid it, or get his little ones more under care such as he desired. Our father and mother, in accordance with our warm desire, soon concluded to bring the three eldest children to our home, and they continued with us until they were nearly grown. He supported the twins with nurses and at board, until they were three years old, and then our father was willing to take them, but a sister-in-law in Ohio, who had lost nearly all her children, insisted upon having them, and came with her husband to Baltimore for them. They have since removed to Illinois.
to give the first bent to the minds of those, who at some future day are to be their country's counselors.
|Elizabeth Margaret Chandler|
|Immediate, Not Gradual Abolition|
|Elizabeth Coltman Heyrick|
Late in the afternoon of January 9, 1827, as Lundy walked down a Baltimore street, Woolfolk attacked him, beating him until bystanders pulled him off. Lundy was seriously injured. He went to a magistrate and charged Woolfolk with assault. His physician then sent him home, where he stayed in bed for two days and in his room for nearly a week, before feeling able to go out again.
|Austin Woolfolk's Plantation House|
Soon after I had published the account of the sending of eleven slaves to Hayti, a young man came to see me from the lower part of Virginia, and asked my counsel and assistance in forwarding to that Island eighty-eight slaves, of which he was the holder. I complied with the request, and they were all settled there, perfectly free. I also persuaded the " Friends," in the State of North Carolina, to send to Hayti one hundred and nineteen slaves who were under their care, and who could not be emancipated, according to the laws of that State, except by migrating beyond its limits.
In the Spring of 1829 I went a second time to Hayti, taking with me twelve more emancipated slaves, which a man in Maryland had given up to me for the purpose.On the trip he not only made arrangements for the people he escorted, he also convinced some Haitian landlords to reform the sharecropping system which was oppressive to earlier emigrants. He returned from Haiti in June 1829.
|William Lloyd Garrison|
After my return from Hayti, William Lloyd Garrison joined me at Baltimore in the editorship of the "Genius." I then set out again on a tour to lecture, but I was soon obliged to return, on account of the imprisonment of Garrison, for writings published in the paper. Being less guarded in his language than myself, he was soon placed between grated walls. The attempt to indict me had been made several times without success. It was remarked by one of the oldest editors, that though more severe than Garrison, I so selected my words that they could not be construed into libels. When the release of Garrison was obtained by the payment of his fine, he left Baltimore, and the paper fell again under my exclusive management. I found that I could not publish it weekly without an assistant, and therefore restored it to its original form of a monthly paper. It had been issued weekly for a period of about four years.
I was indebted to those inestimable friends, James and Lucretia Mott, for a homelike reception, affectionate and delightful. My obligations to them, every since our acquaintance more than nineteen years ago, have been constantly accumulating, and my regard for them amounts to unfeigned veneration. When I was a mere novice in the anti-slavery cause, long before I became identified with it, they were active co-workers with the intrepid pioneer, Benjamin Lundy, for the abolition of slavery.
|James and Lucretia Mott|
At length the spirit of tyranny in Maryland became too strong and malignant for me. My language was forcibly construed into libels, and some half-dozen prosecutions threatened me with a long imprisonment. I was actually in prison a few days, and finally concluded that I could do more good without the walls.
I therefore avoided persecution, by removing to Washington city, at which place the paper was published for some length of time. While there, I had a sharp controversy with several editors, and was freely threatened by some individuals, but the authorities were more friendly to me than in Baltimore. We organized a respectable anti-slavery society in the District of Columbia, and, at one time, obtained the signatures of more than eleven hundred of the inhabitants to petitions to Congress for the abolition of slavery there.
In the years 1830 and 1831, I found it necessary to travel considerably in order to obtain subscribers for my paper. I took a part of the type, &c., along with me, and had the printing done in different places ; but the nominal place of publication was still Washington.Between 1820 and 1830, according to a statement made by Lundy himself, he traveled “more than 5000 miles on foot and 20,000 in other ways, visited 19 states of the Union, and held more than 200 public meetings.”
The August and September issues of the Genius gave accounts of the insurrection of about fifty slaves which took place in Southampton county, Virginia, in August, 1831. The insurgents were headed by an enslaved man named Nat Turner, who professed to be divinely inspired.
About the same time an extensive plot for an insurrection was discovered among the slaves of several counties in North Carolina. Between fifty and one hundred blacks were arrested and put in prison, and several were executed. There were also rumors of plots in Delaware and other parts of the country. These occurrences confirmed the opinions of those who were opposed to the education of the coloured people, as well as to emancipation unless accompanied by expatriation. There was also a growing opposition in the South, against the circulation of anti-slavery newspapers and tracts. The southern newspapers attributed the origin of the plots, to the Genius and William Lloyd Garrison's The Liberator, especially the latter. The Genius of September said,
We regret every attempt to use force, in violation of law, not only because of the ill feeling it creates, or the individual distress it may occasion, but also on account of the insurmountable obstacles it invariably throws in the way of our future progress. Nothing can be more fatal to our hopes — nothing better calculated to retard our philanthropic operations, than such silly, phrenzied, anti-christian proceedings, on the part of the coloured people. And it is gratifying to perceive, that not a single free person, or one of intelligence, among them, has yet been certainly implicated in the horrid proceedings under consideration.
Mexico had abolished slavery in 1829, although it made an exemption for Texas until 1830. It was a decision that increased tensions with slaveholders among the Anglo-Americans. In 1829, as a result of the large influx of U.S. immigrants, the Anglos outnumbered native Spanish speakers in the Texas territory. The Mexican government decided to reinstate the property tax, increase tariffs on U.S. shipped goods, and prohibit slavery. The settlers and many Mexican businessmen in the region rejected the demands, which led to Mexico closing Texas to additional immigration. However, immigration into the Texas territory continued illegally from the United States.
Lundy, believing that Texas might be a good place for free blacks to emigrate if he could get permission from the government, made his first trip there in 1832. He set out from Cincinnati; from Nashville he took a steamboat to New Orleans, then travelled to Nacogdoches, Texas.
The Genius of April, 1833 announced the joyful news that the bill for the emancipation of the slaves in the British colonies had passed both houses of Parliament.
|The United States, 1830|
May 27th. We reached Nashville, where I went on shore and took lodgings with my old friend Thomas Hoge, Jr., Esq.
28th. I rose this morning quite unwell. There is much alarm in town today on account of the cholera, and the court has adjourned in consequence of it. There were twenty or more cases of the disease, and several deaths reported.
29th. I went on foot three miles into the country to see a coloured man about going to Texas.
June 4th, 1833. I stayed with my friend William Bryant, one of the best of men, waiting for a colored man named William Nickens, who has gone some distance, and who is much interested in my Mexican enterprise.
6th. I am quite clear of the cholera myself, though many others are afflicted.
11th. This cholera is an extraordinary disorder. It attacks with the ferocity of a tiger, keeps its hold like a bull dog, and as soon as it is conquered returns again to the charge. As to who or what are its agents, I believe no two agree, that pretend to know. I may therefore venture to give my opinion. It is that the cause of the disease is poisonous animalcules floating in the atmosphere, and taken into the system with our breath. These animalcules, being too minute for discovery, it is impossible to know with certainty and precision how the malady assails us, or how to guard against it. It has been said, that " it is a strange, curious and quite uncommon disorder, and there is no possibility of ascertaining the cause of it." But the ague is also a very curious disorder, baffling the learned to discover the precise causes of its periodical returns, and its alternations of cold and heat. Yet we have ample evidence of its being produced by inhaling the dense and infectious atmosphere of deep vallies, marshes, or stagnant waters, charged with putrid miasma and sickening animalculee. The animalculs which cause the one disease, may be more poisonous than those which produce the other, and of an entirely different nature. Hence the variety in the modes of operation and the different degrees of malignity observable in the character of the two disorders.
14th. I witnessed a fight between an old man and a boy; the old man's head was cut in several places by a club. He got a pistol to defend himself. This is appropriate business for Nashville.
On the 15th I had a smart attack of the cholera, which yielded at once to camphor and laudanum. At 5 o'clock, P.M., I held a meeting of coloured people, at which resolutions favourable to my enterprise were adopted.
18th. I made a knapsack, mended my clothes, and prepared to resume my journey.
26th. I engaged a deck passage on board the steamboat Jefferson for Smithland, Kentucky. Nickens, the coloured man who was to go with me, did not come. We put off about 1 o'clock, and I bade adieu to some very kind friends at Nashville. During the month that I have passed in this place and its vicinity, I have been confined a large portion of the time by the cholera.
27th. We are stopped, waiting for freight. To relieve the irksomeness of the delay, I study Spanish. 30th. We arrived at the mouth of the Ohio river, where those of us who were bound down the Mississippi, went on shore to wait till we could descry a boat going that way, in order to take passage.
In his journeys he was often without shelter at the end of the day. "When night came," he wrote on one occasion, "I laid down on the grass by the road-side, my knapsack serving for a pillow, and my small thin cloak for sheets and counterpane, while my hat, my staff, and my pistol smartly charged, lay at arm's length from my person. Thus, under the broad canopy of heaven, with its countless stars and distilling dews, I reposed till after midnight."
Aug. 7th. At about one in the morning, I rose from my grassy couch, and by the light of a moon nearly in the zenith, pursued my journey. I had six miles of prairie and three of timbered land to traverse before I could reach the nearest house on the Colorado river. It was with difficulty that I could trace the road through the thick and overhanging herbage. Soon after daylight I reached the farm and house of two brothers, named Alley, where I stopped for the day. The two Alleys are industrious immigrants from the State of Missouri. They have never married. They purchased, however, a handsome black girl, who has several fine-looking party coloured children — specimens of the custom of some countries. . .
Aug. 10. I started before daylight, and travelled six miles, to Rocky Creek, where I encamped for a while. In a short time, one of the party of Indians that I had seen the evening before, came to the creek for water. He saw me, but said nothing. A quarter of an hour afterwards, a Mexican, who accompanied the Indians and could speak some English, came and invited me to their camp, where they were dressing a fine deer that they had killed. I went with him, and spent several hours of the hottest part of the day with the Indians. Their camp was pitched beneath some large trees. There, the pleasant breeze, together with Mexican sociability and Indian hospitality, rendered me exceedingly comfortable. Their party consisted of six Indian men, three Indian women, and the Mexican. The Mexican was a little lighter coloured than the rest, and was dressed better. Otherwise, there was little difference in their appearance. About noon, one of the men presented me with a piece of venison elegantly roasted. Their mode of roasting is to build a smart fire, take a stick sharpened at both ends, put the meat on one end and thrust the other end into the ground, near the fire. The venison thus prepared, would not be rejected at the table of any epicure in Washington or Philadelphia. In return for the kindness of my Indian friends, I gave them, out of my small stock of provisions, a little fried bacon and corn bread — articles of which they were entirely destitute, and which appeared to be as great luxuries to them, as their venison was to me. . .
Aug. 23. I shouldered my knapsack and set out about daybreak, passing through a beautiful country, rich and delightful to behold; stopped at a fine stream and ate the remainder of my provisions; then replenished my gourd with water and resumed my journey. In travelling two miles further, I came in sight of the powder magazine near Bexar. Its white cast walls were refreshing to the sight of one who had spent days in the wilderness and on prairies, without beholding a human habitation. There, too, the beautiful valley of the San Antonio river presented itself to the view, and a most grand and delightful prospect lay stretched out to the west and south-west, a vast distance. The scene had the appearance of an immense amphitheatre, within which rose the town of Bexar, appearing to good advantage, though in general but humbly built. Throughout the vast expanse before me, the woodlands and prairies were alternated in regular strips or gradations, producing an effect alike surprising and delightful. I arrived at Bexar, otherwise called San Antonio, before noon, and stopped at the public house of John W. Smith. In the afternoon I took a walk around the town, and in the evening called on my friend Juan Antonio Padilla, with whom I had become acquainted the summer before, at Nacogdoches. He continues as favourable as ever to my project. . .
|1833 Map of Coahuila and Texas|
I spent the rest of the day in looking about town. There lives here, in Bexar, a free black man, who speaks English. He came as a slave, first from North Carolina to Georgia, and then from Georgia to Nacogdoches, in Texas. There his master died, and the heirs sold him to another person. This new master, being apprehended for debt, offered the slave his freedom if he would take him out of prison. The slave complied, but the master dying soon after, an attempt was made by his heirs to re-enslave the man, which however proved unsuccessful. He now works as a blacksmith in this place. I have been to converse with, him, he having seen me at Nacogdoches last summer, and knowing me again when he met me here. He is highly pleased with my plans. Though he is jet-black, he says the Mexicans pay him the same respect as to other laboring people, there being no difference made here on account of colour.
Padilla says it is the policy of the Mexican Government to unite all colours and treat all with respect. The Mexicans, in this region, make as good an appearance as any people; but there are very few among them that we should call white. The inhabitants of Bexar appear far better in general than those of Brazoria, San Felipe or Gonzales. They have graceful manners and honest countenances, and exhibit tokens of wealth and independence. Both men and women are fine looking people; — less vivacious than the Haytiens, but more mild and easy in their manners.
. . . Another of my countrymen got intoxicated yesterday, and behaved as in "the land of the free." Being complained of by the keeper of the North American tavern, he was lodged in prison. Today he was tried and fined ten dollars. A great part of what we hear of the bad treatment of our countrymen among the Mexicans, is caused by the misconduct of such persons. . .
September 14th. I learned today that Joseph Vann, the Cherokee chief, having obtained leave from the government to arrest and take away two of his slaves who had escaped to this vicinity, delegated his authority to one Williams, who went with an assistant to a ranch thirty miles south of this place, and having made demand of the slaves proceeded to take them. One of them resisting was shot dead by Williams; the other escaped. This event has created some excitement here.
I have sold to-day a shot bag and a pair of suspenders at 31 each. Thus I am quite in funds again!
17th. I sold yesterday, two shot bags, and today I sold one to the slave-hunter Williams, before I was aware that he was the person who had shot the black man. Was it providential that this wretch should thus contribute to my support while I was engaged in the cause of freedom ? Hercules will assist your wagon out of the mire, if you but put your own shoulder to the wheel. The authorities have instituted an inquiry into the slave's death; and I learn, in the evening, that the villain, Williams, who shot him, has absconded, under the apprehension that some evidence was to be produced, which would be likely to make the trial go hard with him. It is said that he went in pursuit of the slaves, on condition of receiving one-half their value, in case he should return them to Vann.
29th, I walked out this forenoon with Matthew Thomas, to see the cane patch, grounds, &c., of his father-in-law, Felipe Elua, a black Louisiana Creole, who was formerly a slave, but who has purchased the freedom of himself and family. He has resided here twenty-six years, and he now owns five or six houses and lots, besides a fine piece of land near town. He has educated his children so that they can read and write, and speak Spanish as well as French. They are all fine looking, smart black people. He has a sister also residing in Bexar, who is married to a Frenchman. The sugar cane, of which there is a patch of about an acre on Elua's land, looks as well as that which grows in Hayti, and the land is evidently well adapted to it. The frost does not kill the roots of the plant here as it does further north, but the sprouts make their appearance in the spring, so that it is unnecessary to replant it. Besides the cane, we saw some fine looking cotton, a large patch of sweet potatoes, together with beans and other garden vegetables, the property of the same black man, and all in beautiful order. . . .
October 16th. We proceeded to Santa Rosa, where we arrived in the forenoon, and put up with a gentleman from New York, named Knauff, who practices physic. The town, which is not healthy, contains at present about 2,500 inhabitants, 250 having recently died of the cholera. . .
Santa Rosa is within four miles of the stupendous Rocky mountains, which loom so that at a distance of forty miles they appear to be within ten. . . . As our horses were much fatigued, we concluded to rest at Santa Rosa, for a day or two. . . . They have a kind of whiskey here, called muscal, which is distilled from a plant called Maguey. This liquor, which tastes like Holland gin, is retailed at about twenty-one cents a pint. Poor people cannot afford to drink much of it. I see no beastly drunkards in this country.
While at Santa Rosa, I sold my watch and paid a debt out of the proceeds.
20th. . . . At eleven, A. M., we came to a small village, seated beside a stream of water. There we stopped to rest our horses, and to warm ourselves, after our exposure of the night. Then proceeding again we ascended, ere long, an elevation from which we beheld, at the distance of a few miles, the end of our journey — the city of Monclova. . . .
Oct. 21st. I presented my letter from J. A. Padilla of Bexar, to Santiago del Valle, the Secretary of State for Coahuila and Texas. As he could not speak English, I was obliged to take an interpreter with me, and found some difficulty in obtaining a suitable one for ray purpose.
In the course of the day, I met accidentally with a coloured man, who is a nephew of Robert Douglass of Philadelphia. He is much pleased with my projects, and will assist me in making some arrangements.
24th. This morning early, accompanied by Dr. Pope, I again visited del Valle, the Secretary of State. I had a long conversation with him at his own house, and found him tolerably friendly to my views. He started an objection, however, to my plan of establishing a colony of coloured people from the United States, founded on the degradation of the class from which the emigrants were to be selected; but I explained the matter apparently to his satisfaction. He thinks I shall succeed in obtaining the necessary permission and grant of land, in case the law of 1830, which prohibits the settlement within the Mexican Republic of persons from the United States, should be repealed, but that until such repeal shall take place it will be useless to apply to the governor on the subject, as he has no power to comply with my wishes. I saw the secretary again in the afternoon at his office, in order to examine maps, &c., and he lent me some papers for my information.
There appears to be no distinction in this place as to freedom, or condition, by reason of colour. One complexion is as much respected as another.
30th. I prepared a petition to be in readiness to lay before the governor as soon as the way shall be open, and sent it to Dr. Pope, at Saltillo, who has kindly offered to translate it for me, there being no translator at Monclova since the cholera has prevailed here. Dr. Pope was once a subscriber to the Genius of Universal Emancipation. He is now very friendly to me and my objects.
Nov. 4th. This evening I visited the governor, in company with J. Blackaller, who went as interpreter. I found the governor disposed to listen to my representations, though at first he evidently thought me one of the rash Texan schemers. He had much to say about obedience to the laws . . . I had much unofficial conversation with him, and he appointed 8 A. M., of the 7th instant, for me to call and treat with him officially.
The papers by the mail of this evening bring great news, viz: that of the passage, by the British Parliament, of the bill for the abolition of slavery in the West Indies. Huzza for the triumph of just principles! But thou, my country, with thy heavenly profession and hellish practice, the laurel with which Liberty had crowned thee is torn from thy brow by England.
Nov. 5th. One of my acquaintances here informs me, that, in his opinion, Stephen F. Austin acts a double part in every thing. He says that Austin once told him that it was necessary to practise duplicity in dealing with the Mexicans.
10th. I had, today, a sample of butter, made here by a coloured woman from Mississippi, the article being one that the Mexicans are not accustomed to use. It was white, hard and beautiful. I also had a taste of goat's milk, which I do not like so well as that of the cow. Walking out to the west of the town, I saw some good looking people; but many more who were of a dark reddish complexion. There is a larger proportion of people of unmixed European descent here, than at Bexar; but even here, a great majority are closely allied to the original lords of the soil, as may be seen by their straight raven hair, and the dark hue of their skins.
13th. I changed my quarters today, and took board, lodging, and a room for a shop, with. J. Blackaller. I saw, in the evening, a Mexican newspaper, entitled "The Shade of Washington." This title is indicative of a state of feeling now very prevalent in Mexico. I understand, too, that Santa Anna some time since pledged himself to follow in the footsteps of Washington. Thus far he appears to have redeemed his pledge. The military, it is said, are being disbanded, and liberal measures in relation to religion adopted, as fast as possible. The people — the democrats of the country — are now completely lords of the ascendant. Schools and colleges for public instruction, are about to be established and supported by the funds of the nation; and Mexico is probably destined, ere long, to become the most brilliant of American republics.
14th. A man lately arrived from San Felipe says that the man calling himself Robidoux, with whom I came to Monclova, is an impostor; that he was detected at that place, as well as at Nacogdoches; and that he was flogged at Nacogdoches, instead of being robbed, as he represented. My old friend Davis blamed me for introducing the pretended Robidoux here. I replied that I had been extremely guarded in doing so, and had repeatedly remarked that I could not give him a responsible mercantile recommendation. Davis denied this, and we nearly quarrelled about it, but the ill feeling ultimately passed off. If we have all been deceived in this man, who passes for Robidoux, he is surely a most artful fellow.
20th. I have now learned, to a certainty, that the man calling himself Robidoux, is a villain — and truly he is a most accomplished one.
A large portion of the food consumed here, consists of a kind of cakes called tortillas, the process of making which is as follows: A quantity of dry Indian corn is put into an iron pot, and sprinkled over with a little fresh-slaked lime ; then it is covered with water and boiled a very little. It is then permitted to stand for some hours, until cool, when the lime is washed out with cold water, and the corn ground on the metal. The cakes are made up immediately from it, with the hands, baked on a hot griddle, and put hot upon the table.
. . . I learn that the people here cure pork with red pepper, instead of salt. The seeds of the pepper are ground and mixed with vinegar, and then rubbed upon the meat.
27th. There is important news in town this forenoon. It is said that Stephen F. Austin has written from Mexico a letter to the Ayuntimiento of Bexar, recommending resistance to the General Government, and to the State government of Coahuila and Texas, so far as to establish a State government in Texas, without the authority of either. It is further rumored, that the governor here is taking measures to apprehend Austin, on a charge of treason. The foreigners here express their astonishment at the generally accredited report of such a treasonable correspondence.
29th. I learn, today, that S. F. Austin has used very disrespectful language to the Vice President of the Mexican United States, and that it is feared that it will lead to something serious. Austin's recklessness astonishes our friends generally. A letter from a Senator in Congress, from this State, which has been published, says that the President is about to send the four thousand troops for the protection of the frontier of Texas, &c., under Gen. Mejia, who is very popular in Texas, as I was told when there.
The beautiful sunsets which we have here at present, are unparalleled by any thing ever seen in the higher latitudes. If the air is pure, a vast arch of fiery light of the deepest vermilion colour, rises far above the horizon. Such a flood of effulgence proceeds from the arch this evening, that shadows are distinctly marked on the opposite houses.
December 1st, 1833. — We had a real summer morning, on this first day of the winter. My detention here grows exceedingly irksome: I console myself, however, as far as possible, with the reflection, that "Rome was not built in a day." I have sold my pistol, &c., for seven dollars. All my disposable property of much value is now gone, and I must hereafter depend on my hands.
December 2d. Texas politics run high here. Some of the colonists find fault with the government for withholding its protection; but they do not wish to be molested when smuggling goods, or introducing slaves.
20th. I have concluded to let my landlord, J. Backaller, who is a British subject, take a grant of land in my stead, with the understanding that I shall colonize it. I can then return home immediately, and bring settlers to this country by the time the prohibition expires.
. . . The city has been illuminated every night lately, in conformity to the customary usage for the seven or eight nights preceding Christmas. Paper lanterns are hung outside the doors, or set within the window casements. Some streets are thus pretty well lighted at present, though in ordinary times the lighting of them is not practised.
23d. I walked out this morning to the smaller square of the city, and saw some of the preparations for the Christmas feast. The usual observance of a feast in Mexico consists in abstaining from labour, and engaging in some kind of amusement. . . . On these occasions, they have the best of cakes and confectionary, and liquors in abundance. The feast days are religiously set apart for holidays. Like our "Sabbath," they are instituted for worship, but spent in amusement. There is, however, this difference, that there is not, on such occasions, a twentieth part of the intoxication among the Mexicans that there is with us.
1834. January 1st. I was to have been at home in July last, according to my calculations. I now do not expect to be there before July next. — This evening a ball was to be given to the members of the Legislature who have recently assembled to hold a session at Monclova. Having received an invitation, I went to look at them for a few minutes. The ball was conducted very much like the other which I attended, except that there were more people of distinction present, including the governor, &c. This is a real jovial night in Monclova, and especially characterised by gambling and carousing.
Jan. 2d. This evening I had some unpleasant words with A. R. Guild, who took advantage of my deafness, to make a little fun. This is exceedingly provoking, and all are inhumanly thoughtless in regard to it. Whoever offends me in this respect, shall be offended. I will be an equal in the social circle, or I will have no intercourse with it.
Jan. 4th, 1834. This is the forty-fifth anniversary of my birth day.
The adage says, "At forty wise,"But adages I fear are lies.Wise men their business should contrive,To have a home at forty-five.But I have had a work to doThat kept me rambling to and fro,And conscience doth not chide and striveWithin my breast at forty-five.Now let this rhyming bagatelleGo forth - and journeying ill or well,I pray that all who me survive,May fare no worse at forty-five.
8th. I learn that S. F. Austin has been apprehended at Saltillo, by order of the General Government, and taken back to Mexico. Egerton says that when Austin presented the proposed new Constitution for Texas, to the general Congress, he requested that settlers should be allowed to hold slaves: but to this the Congress would by no means agree. He will probably now be punished for his treasonable communication to the Texans.
The feasting in the Plazuela (or small square,) which began on Christmas day, two weeks since, is now over. The gamblers are gone ; and the owners of the booths are taking them down.
10th. I had applied to J. Davis to take up, in his name, a grant of land for me. Today he informs me that he declines acting in the matter. — Egerton has applied to the governor, and has obtained, as he says, one of the tracts which I expected to take. He now wishes to sell it to me, but his demand is too exorbitant. I rejected it, and then made him a proposition, but we did not come to any definite conclusion. He knew the purpose for which I had come here; he knew that, for the present, the law of 1830 stood in my way; he was told that I had obtained the promise of having the grant as soon as I could legally treat with the government in an official manner; — yet he has stepped between the government and myself, apparently with the sole view of extorting money from me, and from those who may interest themselves in my enterprise before I can lawfully act myself.
In the evening I received a note from Egerton, in which he proposes that I shall contract to furnish him with four hundred settlers, to pay him, or make the settlers pay, eight or nine thousand dollars for the privilege, and to receive, for myself, one fourth of the premium lands as a compensation for my trouble. It is very provoking to be thus tormented by heartless speculators. Egerton and Soto have tried, before, to engage me in their schemes, but they failed, as they will now. I will agree to nothing but what is honest and straight- forward.
12th. The Curate here is a true descendant of the inquisitorial times. Being displeased with a person in his employ, he ordered him to be sewed up in a sack, and kept there for some hours. The man, however, contrived to get out, and went to the Alcalde and entered a complaint. But the Alcalde, being a bigoted tool, decided in favour of the priest. The man then applied to the Legislature, and that body immediately deprived the Alcalde of his office, and imposed on the priest a fine of twenty-four dollars!
13th. This morning I received a visit from Egerton, who being about to depart from the city, came to take leave of me. He said a good deal about philanthropy, and regretted that it would not suit me to embrace his propositions, as we might have done much together, to promote the cause in which I am engaged. I doubt not his willingness to promote it, provided he can make his own fortune by doing so.
Jan. 23d, 1834. Having this morning concluded a written agreement with J. Blackaller, to obtain for me two grants of land, I left Monclova in the afternoon, in company with J. Davis and two Mexican servants. Davis is going to Texas to purchase goods, which he expects to obtain at or near La Bahia (Goliad.) He takes with him nine mules and two horses, in addition to those we ride, and three thousand dollars in specie. It is my present intention to accompany him to San Patricio, on the Nueces, there to part from his company, and proceed, myself, to Metamoras.
Jan. 31. Last night was the coldest that has occurred since we have been out. — It is one year today since my eldest daughter was married, and ten months since I have heard a word from her.
April 14th. We arrived at Louisville, where I applied to a resident of the place for a small loan, but met with a refusal. Several coloured persons on board the boat then lent me as much as was necessary to supply my immediate wants. The coloured people are every where my best friends.
15th. We arrived in the morning at Madison, Indiana, where the Champion stopped for the present; and I left her and went on board the Mount Vernon, for Cincinnati.
16th. I have found, in the Mount Vernon, several coloured persons who wish to migrate to Texas. One of the coloured stewards loaned me a file of the "Emancipator," published at New York. In the afternoon we arrived at Cincinnati, where I received the melancholy intelligence of the decease of my friend Evan Lewis, at Philadelphia. In the evening, I attended some lectures at the African Methodist meeting house, in Cincinnati, which were delivered by students belonging to Lane Seminary. They appointed a meeting, for me to lecture, to be held at the same place on the evening of the 18th.
22d. The editor of the Cincinnati Gazette, C. Hammond, published in his paper of today, a communication of mine, on the affairs of Mexico.
23d. I wrote today, to my friends S. H. Saunders, Lyman A. Spaulding, Dr. Pairish, Samuel Webb, James Mott, Dr. Preston, Abm. L. Pennock, Thos. Shipley, &c., respecting my present situation, views and prospects.
25th. I left Cincinnati, and went by steamboat to Louisville, on my way to Nashville. At Louisville, I was detained a week, by the canal round the falls being closed by mud, so that steamboats could not pass through.
May 2d, 1834. — The boat Fame in which I have taken passage, got through the canal to-day.
3d. This evening we arrived at, and entered the mouth of the Cumberland river, at its junction with the Ohio. It is one year, to-day, since I left Philadelphia, on my Mexican mission. — The coloured people on board the Fame, have found out who I am, and have offered me any assistance that I might want. I have taken a deck passage, and shall try hard to support myself, though my funds are quite exhausted. I have yet left, however, a little coarse provision.
7th. I make my home, at Nashville, with my friend Thos. Hoge, Jr. I am here informed, that since the death of Evan Lewis, the Genius of Universal Emancipation is edited by Dr. E. A. Atlee, of Philadelphia.
8th. This evening I went and conferred with sundry coloured people of Nashville, and its vicinity, at the house of A. M. Sumner.
13th. I have applied for a loan of two hundred dollars, to H. R. W. Hill, an extensive slave- holder of this place. He is a Methodist, an avowed friend of emancipation, and a man in good esteem with the coloured people. My friend Wm. Bryant, of this vicinity, has offered to endorse my note for the amount. 14th. Hill will accommodate me if I will put a note in bank, which I prefer not to do. The coloured friends of the cause propose to raise me one hundred dollars.Typical of the hardships which Lundy endured on his journeys to the south are the experiences described in a letter sent from Texas in September, 1833, and appearing in the Genius in October of that year. He wrote from St. Antonio de Bexar:
I travelled on foot and alone, often from ten to twenty-five miles without seeing a house, partly under the rays of a burning sun, and partly through drenching rains, with a knapsack weighing from 20 to 25 pounds, and the cholera frequently compelled me to stop for a day or two in order to recruit my exhausted energies, worn by excessive fatigue and the wasting effects of cankering disease. Many a time, while in this condition, I have been necessitated to sleep on the wet ground, in the open air, with no bedding but my thin cloak. . . . Time and paper would fail me to give thee an adequate idea of the difficult and dangerous vicissitudes through which I have passed.
Having completed my arrangements, I left Nashville and proceeded to Smithland, at the junction of the Cumberland with the Ohio river, where I arrived on the 25th of May, 1834. There, after four days waiting for the opportunity, I took passage in the steamboat Pacific, for New Orleans. We passed from the Ohio into the Mississippi, on the 30th, the boat lying by, at night, on account of her heavy freight of cotton and the low state of the water, which rendered her passage dangerous.
19th. While waiting at New Orleans for a passage to Matamoras, I became more particularly acquainted with a coloured gentleman named M. B. Evans, a hair dresser, who was introduced to me some time since by Joseph Cassey of Philadelphia. I also had an interview with Madame Lafitte Brocard, who informed me that her brother, Nicholas Dronette a dark mulatto, recently an officer of the Mexican army, had received a grant of land from the Mexican government, for the purpose of colonizing it with coloured settlers from Louisiana. A letter of introduction to him was given me by James Richardson, son-in-law of Madame Brocard.
22d. This evening I visited the dismantled dwelling of Madame Lalaurie, which was a short time since almost totally destroyed by the citizens of all classes, on account of her cruelty to her slaves.
27th. A murder was committed during the night of the 25th inst, on the levee, near where the boat lay, in which I had engaged passage for the Red river. So little notice was taken of the matter, that many persons residing near the place, had heard nothing of it up to this morning. Every day people may be seen dead drunk in the streets here. In other respects, if we except the treatment of the people of colour, New Orleans is not more disorderly than our large cities at the North. And even as to the slaves, the inhabitants in general discountenance cruelty towards them; and free persons of colour are quite as much respected here as in any other part of the country. The present mayor of the city has a coloured family, and no other, and is very friendly to the coloured people.
I arrived on the 13th, at Nacogdoches, where I found Williams, the man who shot the slave of Vann, the Indian chief as mentioned in my former journal.
14th. I went about four miles into the country, to the house of Wm. Goyens, a very respectable coloured man, with whom I became acquainted here in 1832. He still takes a deep interest in my enterprise. He has a white wife, a native of Georgia. They appear to live happily together, are quite wealthy, and are considered as very respectable, by the people generally. Goyens has undertaken to procure me a horse, and I am arranging my baggage so as to pursue my journey on horseback.
18th. I became acquainted with a white man, named David Town, who originally resided in Georgia. Thence he removed to Louisiana, taking with him a black female slave, who was in fact his wife. She was a very capable woman, and had several very likely children. Eight years ago. Town removed from Louisiana to Nacogdoches, where he emancipated his wife and children, who, up to that period, had been slaves, in the eye of the law. They all live together here in harmony, are quite industrious, and make a very respectable appearance. The daughters are as fine looking young women as can be seen almost any where, and are free, in their whole demeanour, from the degrading restraint, so observable among coloured people in our country. The Mexican ladies of Nacogdoches are very sociable with them.
August 9th, 1834. We have accounts of a new revolution in Mexico. It seems that President Santa Anna and the Congress have disagreed. Almonte tells me that the president wished to pursue a moderate course, in reforming the abuses of the church, but that Congress was desirous of prostrating the priesthood at once. The president did not dissolve the Chambers, as it has been reported, but he declared some of their proceedings unconstitutional. The people are generally on the side of the president, and it is hoped that no great difficulty will ensue.
. . . I was told that a proposition had been made by some one to buy a barrel of tar for me. Something was said in my favour, by the only two persons in San Felipe who knew me; and this probably saved me some trouble. I gave them all to understand, however, that I was not to be easily intimidated.
17th. The weather continued cold and rainy. I discovered, in the morning, that I had all the symptoms of cholera, and resorted immediately to my camphor and laudanum. The disorder was checked; but I continued so unwell as to be confined the whole day. At noon the rest of the company left me, and proceeded on their route.
18th. I was confined the whole of this day, a fever having taken the place of the cholera.
19th. I set out in the morning and having travelled seven miles, stopped to feed my horse. I then became too unwell to go further today. The people where I stopped, had just fled from Gonzales, expecting the cholera at that place. They did not invite me into their cabin: so I pitched my tent at a short distance, and did as well as I could. At night, however, they made me a little coffee.
20th. Being nearly recovered, I went on eighteen miles to Gonzales, where I again overtook Almonte and his company.
21st. Being too unwell to proceed, the company left me, and I remained ill at Gonzales for six days.
27th. I started in company with a Mexican, who arrived at Gonzales, from Bexar, yesterday, and who returns to-day. Between Gonzales and San Antonio de Bexar, I passed over the same ground as in my journey of last year. I was quite ill, but made out to travel, so that we reached Bexar, at noon on the 29th. Bexar had truly the appearance of a " deserted village," most of the inhabitants having fled some time before, on account of the cholera. . . . I remained at Bexar six days, during which time I was ill, more or less, with symptoms of cholera.
September 4th, 1834. At near sunset we reached the Madina river, crossed it, and encamped on the west side.
September 18th, 1834. My first stop on the morning after my arrival at Monclova, was to call on my old friend Blackaller, in order to ascertain what he had done in pursuance of our agreement that he should apply for two grants of land, on my behalf. I learned from him, to my great surprise and extreme mortification, that he had failed in his efforts to obtain the land. He stated that he had presented a petition to the governor, who was about to issue the grants, when he received advices from the Legislature, that they were about enacting a new law prohibiting the further granting of lands in any part of the state, and requiring him forthwith to cease from issuing any such grants. Thus, after all my hardships and perils, I am completely baffled in my attempts to establish colonies in Texas. But my labour will not, I hope, be wholly in vain. If I do not profit much myself, others who are grieved, persecuted, wounded and sore, may obtain the opportunity to do so, through my exertions, and this will afford me a fund of consolation, fully equivalent to wealth.
20th. It appears from the accounts we have, that the political atmosphere in this part of the country, is very unsettled. The governor of Coahuila and Texas has resigned his office, and another has been temporarily appointed. The elections for a new Legislature are going on, however, throughout the State; and some persons hope for a better state of things on the assembling of that body . . . In the evening I had a long conversation with Col. Almonte. He tells me that all is now quiet in the interior. The colonel assures me, that the Mexican government will cause its laws in regard to slavery to be respected. The "insurgents'' in the colonies will be curbed, and will find out, as soon as the government is fairly settled, a little more of what Mexican power really is; and then the laws which they now trample upon will be enforced. Among these laws, Mexico has one similar to that of England, relative to fugitives from slavery. No person from a foreign country will be permitted to touch a slave who escapes and takes refuge in Mexico.
7th. My funds having run out, and my friend A. R. Guild, to whom I looked for assistance, not having returned from Saltillo as soon as he was expected, I applied this morning to Blackaller, who was to leave for Santa Rosa in the afternoon, for some aid, but he did not hold out the least idea that I could have any more money, though he has considerable property of mine in his possession, even though I should starve!
Late at night, after I had spent my last cent for provisions, and was reading the letters of Junius, to beguile my thoughts when unable to sleep, I was delighted to see my friend Guild enter the room. He had just arrived in town, most opportunely for me. Before retiring, he gave me assurance of help, and I then felt more disposed to sleep.
8th. My friend Guild wishes me to do a job of harness work for him, and though I am extremely anxious to proceed to Matamoras, my present circumstances induce me to remain here a few days longer.
10th. I sold my watch to-day to Guild, and from the price obtained, repaid to the wife of Blackaller a loan of eight dollars which I had obtained from him.
11th. Guild went today to St. Buenaventura, fifteen miles west of Monclova, leaving his store in my charge. I have now my hands full of entrusted business; Blackaller's dwelling house and domestic animals being in my care, while his wife attends his store, in another part of the town.
15th. Guild informs me that owing to difficulty in procuring trimmings, he can give me but half the work he promised. I shall therefore be badly off for funds to take me to Monclova, yet I am resolved to move in some direction shortly, even if I must, as a last resort, fast, beg or starve.
18th. A. R. Guild left for Saltillo again this morning. As he could not give me all the work he had promised, and he knew the exhausted state of my purse, he tendered me, in a feeling and liberal manner, a present of five dollars, in addition to payment for my work. I accepted it, merely as a loan.
November 5th, 1834. On my arrival at Matamoras, I found Mathew Thomas, who referred me to George Francisco, and from him I learned that Nicholas Drouet resided one mile out of town. Accompanied by Francisco, I proceeded thither, and presented to Drouet my letter from his nephew James Richardson. He gave me an invitation to make my home with him for a while, which I accepted.
|Map of Texas|
6th. Two young mulatto men, formerly of New Orleans, called at the house of Drouet today. One of them is an engineer on board a steamboat which runs from Matamoras to the mouth of the Rio Bravo, the other is a cabinet maker, who carries on his business in Matamoras. They both expressed great aversion to returning to the United States. Coloured people prosper here in pecuniary matters.
12th. I succeeded at last this morning in obtaining a suitable house, at nine dollars per month, in a part of the town which is said to be the best for mechanical business. I have already nearly a month's work engaged, in fitting up saddles, harness and carriages.
From the Vermont Chronicle of Oct. 4th, which I saw this morning, I find that the coloured school of Prudence Crandall, at Canterbury, Connecticut, has been broken up by a mob! This in the boasted " land of steady habits!" Is it the steady habit of New England to war against weak and defenceless, though pious and philanthropic woman?
I was cured to-day of an attack of dysentery, by taking camphor and laudanum, which remedies I believe are without parallel for the cure of this and similar com- plaints.
13th. Having got my bench made, I went to work today in right good earnest. I had another application to do work. Thus I am in hopes to live here, till I am ready to remove elsewhere. Dr. Gilliams has advanced me three dollars, and I have commenced boarding my- self in my own hired house.
15th. There are rumours here that a large Mexican force is on the way to Texas. I am too busy to listen much to the town talk.
16th. Another meeting of the coloured people was held at N. Drouet's house to-day. They adopted resolutions favourable to the emigration to Mexico, of their brethren in the United States.
17th. I obtained to-day a translation of the colonization law of Taraaulipas. It is far more favourable to my enterprise than I expected. A a ball here a few evenings since, some young black men were present, as well as some white clerks to our northern merchants. One of these clerks called the black men "d-d niggers," and said that they ought not to be admitted. He was promptly taken to task for his insolence, by one of the black men, and a fight ensued, in which the clerk was knocked down and considerably hurt, by falling, as it is supposed, on the sword of a cane which he had in his hand. Both parties were taken into custody by the city authorities, and put in prison, where they still remain.
Dec. 1st, 1834. The flowers, the green leaves, and the soft spring-like weather, seem to challenge the veracity of the almanac, which proclaims this to be the first day of winter. Winter — and I am still here at Matamoras, feeling like a fish out of water. I have no heart to work in my shop; for I am conscious that I ought to be doing something else. I must submit, however, to circumstantial fate, and cherish the virtues of patience and perseverance.
2d. It was rumored yesterday, that Texas had declared war against Mexico, and today, as an offset, it is reported, that Gen. Bustamente is marching against Texas, at the head of 4000 troops.
4th. I do not find one foreign white man here, except a cooper named Morris, that is as friendly as he ought to be to the Mexicans. The sole object of the foreigners in general, who come to this place, is to make money; and they indulge in all the unholy prejudices against people of colour, which they brought with them, or have contracted from their associates here.
5th. I changed my residence today, and took board with Henry Powell, the respectable coloured man before spoken of. He kindly furnishes me, upon his own offer, with the use of a very neat and convenient room, free of rent. I am to pay, for board, sixty-two and a half cents per day, which is more than it cost me to board myself; but my total expenditure, which I found too burdensome, will be diminished.
22d. A young coloured man named Smith, formerly of Hatborough, Pennsylvania, called on me this evening, and presented me with five dollars. I shall not forget him.
January 1st, 1835. New Years day, and I am still here! I had a hard ride today, on an unsuccessful search for my horse, which was left with Drouet, and by him suffered to escape, together with one of his own. This, however, will not prevent me from prosecuting my journey to Victoria.
4th. This is the forty-sixth anniversary of my birth. I could scarcely believe it, were it not a matter of incontrovertible record, as I feel so young, and the time I have lived seems so short.
12th. I had the satisfaction, this morning, of seeing my horse again. After several weeks absence, he had been found and brought in, by a Mexican. He has fattened surprisingly. Although it was almost mid-winter, yet he stood in no need of hay or grain.
19th. It appears from a Victoria newspaper that a certain Dutchman, a Baron Rakinitz, has applied for, and probably obtained a grant of the land lying all along the river Nueces, and extending thirty miles into the interior. This is the best part of the very tract that I was about to apply for. Thus, while I am compelled by unfortunate adventitious circumstances, to wait here, one European after another steps in, and takes up the land that I want.
21st. It is a year today since I left Monclova for the United States, to obtain funds. When, alas! shall I be able to return thither?
23d. I saw to-day the amphibious animal called the armadillo. It is about the size of a muskrat, with a shell and skin resembling in texture those of the alligator, and having wreaths or seams, like those of the rhinoceros, around its body, from the head to the end of the tail. It is a pretty creature, and wonderfully expert at burrowing.
Feb. 8th, 1835. At 9 A. M. I set out from Matamoras and proceeded to the house of Nicholas Drouet, who concluded to accompany me to Victoria.
12th. Having got ready to start from San Fernando at 8 o'clock this morning, as Drouet speaks the Spanish language, I left it to him to ascertain which was the right road. When about starting, I asked him if we were to cross the river at a place where we had previously been to water our horses. He carelessly replied, "yes." I then rode on before, for some half a mile to the place referred to, and there filled my gourd with water from the river . . .I then looked back, but could see nothing of Drouet, he having stopped for something on the way. I rode back to see what detained him, but could not find him. Returning to the river I went up and down its bank, but could see him nowhere; and there were several roads diverging in various directions, so that I could not be sure which was the right one.
Having before had some words with Drouet about his remissness in giving me information that I asked for, and having found him possessed of a high idea of his own consequence, and too supercilious to pay the proper attention to others, I now lost all patience with him, and went forthwith and hired a man to go on with me, for one day, as a guide. I got under way with the guide, between nine and ten o'clock, when I soon found that the road was not the right one which I had supposed to be so, from Drouet's answer to my enquiry. After we had crossed the river, and rode a short distance, we met with Drouet, who had been a mile or two further, and then returned, to look for me. When we met, we came near to having a sharp quarrel. He wished me to let the guide go back at once. I told him that he should not return a step, yet a while, for I was determined to have with me some one that I could depend upon, to show me the road, the watering places, &c. So I kept the guide along with us, until Drouet got in a humor to be friendly again, and then permitted him to return.
15th. I arrived at the city of Victoria before sunset, and there took lodgings with a grocer.
16th. Having last night tied my horse, in a yard destitute of gate or bars, back of the house where I put up, he either broke bis rope or some one cut it, and he escaped. This morning I spent two or three hours in a fruitless search for him. I then gave a boy 25 cents to look for him, but he could not find him. I therefore offered a dollar for his recovery, and he was, in consequence, brought back by a young man, in the afternoon. I am not sure that he was not taken away for the purpose of obtaining a reward for his return. My landlord was of the opinion that some one took him out.
I next waited on the governor, showed him my passport and credentials, and with the aid of an interpreter, named Ambrosio de Apuricio, a native of Cuba, and now a director in a college here, I informed him of the nature of my business with him. He approved highly of my design, and after reading my application, observed that he must consult the Council of State, and would see me again, to-morrow at 4 P. M.
March 2d. My funds having again become exhausted, and my friend Bangs having offered some days since, without solicitation, to accommodate me in case of need, I took from him to-day a loan of eight dollars.
He went with me to the governor's secretary, by whom I was informed that my papers were in the hands of the governor, who would no doubt despatch them today. I called myself, on his excellency, afterwards, but he had so much other business on hand, that he put me off till tomorrow morning, at which time he desired me to call.
3d. I called on the governor at eight o'clock this morning, and had a long conversation with him. I find that he and his legal advisers interpret the colonization law in a manner widely different from that of most foreigners and some Mexicans, with whom I have conversed. Conforming to the governor's interpretation, the Council of State consented to let me have a grant of thirty leagues and thirty labones of land, on condition that I settle, on the same land, two hundred and fifty families, the land to be mine, and I to make such terms as I please with the settlers, either as purchasers, donees, or tenants. But the government will not give to these settlers any other lands, although, to those who come at their own expense, and ask for land, it will give what the law specifies.
5th. This forenoon I went again to the governor, but it was too "frio" (cold) to attend to business. I proposed an interview at 4 P. M., which was acceded to. I accordingly went at that hour, but it was still too "frio."
7th. I saw the governor again this forenoon, and proposed to take the land on the terms granted to Baron Rakinitz, with the exception of two articles, one of which stipulated that the government should furnish the settlers with some farming stock on a credit, and the other that the empresario (undertaker or contractor) should give satisfactory security for the payment of the price of the said stock, as well as for the performance of the whole contract. The governor assented to the omission of these two articles, and assured me that my business should have prompt despatch.
Drouet has not yet obtained any alteration in the terras of his grant, which specifies no time for the doing of any thing. He wishes me to fulfil his contract for him, but I have informed him that it will not suit me, at which he is very angry, and talks like a man partially insane.
9th. I went this morning to see the governor, but was informed by his secretary that he was unwell. Going again at 11 A. M., I found him in his office. He gave the papers, relative to my business, to a messenger, to take to the secretary for completion, and request- ed me to accompany the messenger. I did so, but the secretary was not at his office, I went again, however, at 3 o'clock, and found him in, but he told me that he could not arrange the business till tomorrow forenoon. So I must pass another sleepless night.
10th. On going to the secretary, I was required to purchase four sheets of stamped paper, on which to copy my contract, and to pay for them the sum of six dollars. I was thus placed under the necessity of borrowing more from friend Bangs, who now furnished me with nine dollars. In the afternoon the papers were signed by the governor and myself, and handed over to me, together With three dollars of what I had paid for the stamped paper, the secretary having over estimated the quantity that would be requisite. After the business was completed, I showed Drouet my papers. He talked like a fool, or a madman. Bangs, who was present, was more out of patience with him than I was myself.
March 11th, 1835. I took leave, this morning of the governor. As he was busied with the members of the Legislature, which body had just adjourned, I informed him that when he was more at leisure, my friend Bangs would call upon him for instructions as to the mode of procedure in commencing my colony.
I then went and took leave also of S. Bangs and his hospitable lady. She insisted on my taking with me a fine roast fowl, some bread and cheese, &c. My gratitude to this worthy family cannot be expressed, much less, I fear, can their hospitality ever be reciprocated. The traveller seldom meets with strangers half so kind.
I started from Victoria for Matamoras, at about 11 A. M. Drouet was in the house from which I set out, until a few minutes before my departure. He then walked out, to avoid bidding me farewell. Poor fellow!
19th. At 3 P. M. I arrived at Matamoras, and put up at my old quarters with friend Powell.
20th. I visited Richard Pearce to day, and induced him to undertake the translation of my contract with the government of Tamaulipas.
21st. I received from friend Pearce the translation of the contract; and also got a letter from S. Bangs, containing the governor's answer to the questions I had left. From these answers it appears that I cannot locate my grant of land until I bring on a part of the settlers! This information, which I had not anticipated, will render it necessary for me to hurry home and expedite the migration as fast as possible.
30th. After further unsuccessful attempts to negotiate my loan, I went to Richard Pearce, who came to town with me, and we called on J. Butterworth, a merchant from New York. He offered to give ten dollars in aid of my object; and R. Pearce, and a gentleman from the Shetland Islands named Ogilby, undertook to collect some additional sums by way of donation. I then called again on Stryker, who agreed to let me have 35 dollars, upon condition of my paying 50 for him at New York. . . . So I am now in hopes of getting off soon.
April 4th. Having procured a passport, and taken leave of my friends at Matamoras, I set out before noon on horseback, for the "Boca del Rio" (mouth of the river.)
18th. We are now at New Orleans, where we arrived early this morning. Being somewhat short of means to pursue my journey, and finding no one at New Orleans able or willing to assist me, the captain having received half my passage money at Matamoras, has kindly consented to wait for the balance of it, until I can find means to remit it to New Orleans for him. Finding, to-day, a steamboat which is to leave for Nashville in some two or three days, I engaged a passage in her, and put my baggage on board.
21st. Early this afternoon, I was informed that my old friend, George Carey, of Cincinnati, was now in this city. As our boat was to leave in the evening, I immediately hunted him up, and we had a short, but very agreeable interview. He was rejoiced to see me, the more so as my friends, according to his account, had come to the conclusion that even if I had not lost my life, it was at any rate all over with my enterprise. This I expected would have been the case, for I was aware that they had not heard a word from me for about ten months.
Having taken leave of friend Carey, I went on board the steamboat, and at dusk we started from New Orleans to proceed up the Mississippi.
22d. As our boat goes prosperously on her course, I find a number of the deck passengers afflicted with symptoms of cholera. I have taken four of them in hand, and hopes are entertained that they will soon be well. I make no charge for my services, for, not being an authorized practitioner, I am unwilling to suffer the imputation of being a quack.
23d. From the steward of this boat, I have received the melancholy news of the death of my dear friend Thomas Hoge, Esq., of Nashville. Many years since we mutually engaged that, whichever of us survived the other, should publish a biographical notice of him that was first taken hence. This sad duty now devolves on me, quite unexpectedly, as he was much younger than myself. Being unable, at present, to learn the particulars of his disease, I can only mourn the loss of an intimate, valuable, and warmly cherished friend. He took a lively interest in my Mexican scheme, and I expected him to be one of my most efficient coadjutors in promoting it. But alas! . . . the highest hopes are soonest blasted in all the workings of human effort.
30th. For the last week, we have proceeded up the Mississippi, stopping at Natchez, Vicksburg, Montgomery, Memphis, and Randolph, with some detention in discharging freight, &c.,and nothing remarkable to narrate. I find that there have been recently' many cases of cholera on the river. My patients have all been relieved, except one, whose complaint is dysentery.
May 2d. We reached Eddysville, fifty miles up the Cumberland, early this morning, and stopped to land freight. There, my funds and provisions being both exhausted, I borrowed a little money of one of my fellow passengers, called Capt. Carter, who resides near Nashville. He is acquainted with Wm. Bryant, and is very friendly to the cause of emancipation. He says he has one slave, who may go free whenever he wishes to leave him; but that he will never sell him at any price.
4th. Nashville. — We reached Nashville early this morning. The weather was very rainy, and my health no better; but I made out to walk up to town, where I soon met with my friend R. P. Graham. All were glad to see me, as they had received no intelligence from me for a long time, and had concluded that I was not among the living. I took lodgings with friend Graham, and saw Dr. Nye, who kindly got me a physician.
5th. William Bryant visited me to day. The interview was truly affecting. He had given up all hopes of ever seeing me again, thinking that I had certainly lost my life. G. V. H. Forbes heard that I had arrived, and immediately called to see me. He gave me the first intimation of the bequest made to me by my good old friend Wm. Turpin.
6th, 7th and 8th. My disorder now prevents all conversation on my part, and I have a serious time of it. I am frequently visited, however, by my physician, Dr. Jennings, and every possible comfort is administered by friend Graham, and his kind and amiable lady.
June 13th, 1835. From the 16th of May to the present time, I have been detained at Nashville, partly by ill health and partly by business.
Some coloured people in this vicinity, were lately emancipated by the will of Donnelson, the elder brother of Gen. Jackson's wife; but the court decided that their emancipation was illegal, and that they must be held as slaves by the heirs, unless they would leave the United States. The acting executor says he is about to send them to Africa. The coloured people, however, fear to go there, and are apprehensive that the executor will still keep them in bondage, if he can; they have therefore applied to me, through the agency of a friend, for an opportunity to go to my colony. I have visited Stokely Donnelson, who has them in charge, and conversed with him on the subject. He says that he has no objection to their going to my colony, if the Court will agree to it. My friend Bryant has undertaken to attend to the business in my absence.
This evening, in order to reach the mouth of the Ohio river and take passage thence to Cincinnati, I went on board the steamboat Wanderer.
18th. Directly after midnight, an accident happened to our boat that had nearly proved tragical. We met the steamboat Orleans, which, by some mismanagement in attempting to pass, ran foul of us, and drove her bow through the window of the cabin, on the upper deck, carrying away at the same time, the upper and lower guards of our boat, for several feet. The bow of the Orleans passed but a few inches above a coloured woman, who was sleeping at the time by the window. All on board expected that the Wanderer would sink, and there was a great scramble to convey trunks and clothing to the top of the boat. The captain immediately ordered her to be run on shore, while he and the men examined the damaged part, to see whether it admitted the water. Fortunately, it was ascertained that the boat did not leak; the order to run her on shore was countermanded, and she proceeded on her course. The Orleans had kept near us to give assistance, in case of need, until it was found that we were perfectly safe.
On reaching Paduca, I left the Wanderer and went to obtain for the widow of my lamented friend Thomas Hoge, a trunk and other things, which he had left at a public house there, a short time before his death.
26th. We arrived this morning, at Cincinnati. Having tried, without success, to obtain lodging at three boarding houses, I was invited by my friend G. Carey to his house, where I found the most hospitable treatment.
29th. I had a meeting with the coloured people of Cincinnati, which was attended by four or five of the late students of Lane Seminary. I believe they expected to oppose me, but they expressed nothing objectionable.Lundy's journeys to Mexico, where he had hoped to find a home for the slave, were rendered fruitless by the revolution which made Texas first an independent republic and later a slave state. In the Genius of November, 1835, Lundy reported the conflict in Texas, expressing his conviction that slavery was at the back of the trouble. He prepared three pamphlets dealing with the Texan question and also issued in pamphlet form a series of eight articles which he had contributed to the National Gazette. The paper also contained an address to philanthropists respecting Mexican colonization, which stated that a number of colored people, some of whom were slaves that were to be emancipated on condition of migrating, had made application to become settlers in the proposed colony. The first expedition was to leave from Philadelphia in February 1836, unless the disturbances in Texas prevented it.
The same issue contained an obituary notice, by Lundy, of Elizabeth Margaret Chandler, the poet who had been several years assistant editor of the Genius, and an announcement that her poems, accompanied by a biographical sketch, would be soon published. She had died in Michigan, on the 2nd of November, 1834, at the age pf 24. Her articles, poems, and letters were gathered and published by Lundy as two books, and the proceeds from the sale of those books went to the cause of abolition. After that issue, the publication of the Genius was suspended for a period of nine months.
By the 1830s, abolitionists and antislavery zealots vigorously protested against colonization. One antislavery newspaper rejoiced that more astute observers saw the plan as something less than antislavery:
As a scheme of benevolence the Colonization Society is dead. It may, however, replenish its over drawn treasury--it may conduct a greater business of transportation than ever--but still it is dead. It will never gain the confidence of those who really seek the freedom of the slave.While staying at his father's home in New Jersey in March 1836, Lundy wrote the following letters to his children, Elizabeth and Charles, who were living in Illinois:
A religion which consists in mere profession, or formality of outward appearance and action, is nothing but mockery of God — while on the other hand, those who are careless and indifferent respecting the duties which they owe their Maker and Eternal Preserver, seldom enjoy peace in this life, the respect of mankind, or the anchor of hope for happiness here or hereafter.
There is too much profession, and too little practice of religious duty, among the greater portion of men — too much ostentation and pride mingled with their public devotion. A regular attendance of religious meetings, is both profitable to ourselves and others, provided we turn our eye inward; direct our thoughts to God, and in truth and sincerity worship Him while there.
I therefore enjoin it upon you my dear children, to attend your religious meetings as regularly as you can. But do not go there merely for the purpose of seeing others, or being seen yourselves. Go there "to worship your Father which is in Heaven."
Let not the vanities and pleasures of juvenile amusements, nor yet the cares of worldly ambition or gain, influence or even occupy your minds beneath the roof of the solemn sanctuary. Be willing to listen to the admonitions of those who offer their advice upon such occasions. But remember, listening to others, or imitating the conduct of others, is no part of the performance of duty. The worship of God consists in the humble contrition of heart — the turning our thoughts wholly unto Him — and waiting on Him with perfect willingness to be obedient to the manifestations of His will.
And let me impress it upon your tender minds — never indeed forget this solemn injunction from your earthly parent who feels deeply concerned for your welfare, and loves you as he loves his own life: — Always think of your Heavenly Father with reverence. When you are assembled in the house of devotion — when you are engaged in the various occupations of life — when you are amidst the circles of social acquaintance — or in the lonely silent walks of meditation — whenever the idea of His existence occurs to your minds — Think of Him with reverence. This is the performance of religious duty.
While we reverence our Maker, we love Him, and are willing to be obedient to all his requirings. We then feel our passions and vain desires subjected to the principle of virtue — we feel them restrained by the calming and softening influence of Heavenly Grace; and we wish well to all the creatures God hath made. . . .
"Do unto others as you would they should do unto you." This is not only the "golden rule," but it is one of the safest rules by which to regulate our conduct towards each other.
Let these admonitions sink deep in your minds my beloved ones. Do not forget, nor disregard the advice of your absent Father. He loves you with all a parent's fervor. . . The spring time of youth will soon be past. Beauty will fade, — and vivacity give place to the cares of life. All gaiety is transient tinsel. Trust not in the evanescent joys of youthful amusement. The time is not far distant when you must assume the direction of your own affairs altogether. You will then think of choosing more intimate and confidential companions for the rest of your lives. This will be to you a matter of extreme importance. Take the most guarded care, in this particular. . . .Study not to please others, so much as to deserve their esteem by doing well yourselves. Be genteel and polite in your manners, decent in your appearance; modest and liberal, yet unaffected and intelligent in your conversation. And if you study to improve your minds, acquire habits of industry and economy, and make yourselves happy and virtuous; you will thus command the notice and respect of others in a far greater degree than you ever will by any efforts or arts to enlist their esteem. I have now, my dears, written much more than I intended — yet I scarcely know how to stop. Dearly do I love you. Remember my words — bear in mind what I have told you before — and read these lines often. Not only read but often reflect upon what I have said to you; I speak in familiar terms the more readily to meet your youthful comprehension.
Finally — so conduct yourselves, as to become useful members of society, ornaments to your country, benefactors of the human race, sincere followers of Christ, and acceptable servants of the Most High God.
From your ever affectionate Father, BENJAMIN LUNDYBack in Philadelphia, Lundy published articles and pamphlets on the Texas-Mexican troubles, and in the summer of 1836 he established a new antislavery paper, The National Enquirer, continuing The Genius as a weekly.
|The War in Texas|
by Benjamin Lunday
The prime cause, and the real objects of this war, are not distinctly understood by a large portion of the honest, disinterested, and well-meaning citizens of the United States.
Their means of obtaining correct information upon the subject have been necessarily limited;--and many of them have been deceived and misled, by the misrepresentations of those concerned in it, and especially by hireling writers for the newspaper press.
They have been induced to believe that the inhabitants of Texas were engaged in a legitimate contest for the maintenance of the sacred principles of Liberty, and the natural, inalienable Rights of Man:---whereas, the motives of its instigators, and their chief incentives to action, have been from the commencement, of a directly opposite character and tendency.
It is susceptible of the clearest demonstration that the immediate cause and the leading object of this contest originated in a settled design, among the slaveholders of this country, (with land speculators and slave traders) to wrest the large and valuable territory of Texas from the Mexican Republic, in order to re-establish the SYSTEM OF SLAVERY; to open a vast and profitable SLAVEMARKET therein; and, ultimately, to annex it to the United States.
. . . The Slaveholding Interest is now paramount in the Executive branch of our national government; and its influence operates, indirectly, yet powerfully, through that medium, in favor of this Grand Scheme of Oppression and Tyrannical Usurpation. Whether the national Legislature will join hands with the Executive, and lend its aid to this most unwarrantable, aggressive attempt, will depend on the VOICE OF THE PEOPLE, expressed in their primary assemblies, by their petitions, and through the ballot boxes.
. . . I ask, what will be your cause in such a war! Aggression, conquest, and the re-establishment of slavery where it has been abolished.
In that war, sir, the banner of freedom will be the banners of Mexico; and your banners will be the banners of slavery. . . .
Suppose you should annex Texas to these United States; another year would not pass before you would have to engage in a war for the conquest of the Island of Cuba.
. . . In this state of things, propositions were made by the government of the U. States to that of Mexico, for the purchase of the Texas country, with the view of incorporating it into this Union. The overture was instantly rejected by the Mexican authorities, as they neither possessed the inclination nor the constitutional power to alienate any portion of the territory of the Republic. Many of the newspapers in the United States now teemed with essays and remarks, tending to urge the acquisition of Texas by any practicable means; and the agent of the government was charged with intriguing for the purpose at the Mexican Capital.
The idea was also held out by the colonists, that the laws prohibiting the introduction of slaves could be easily evaded, and that they would soon be strong enough to declare and enforce the perpetuation of slavery (although it was abolished by the general and state governments) in that part of the country.
The emigration from the slaveholding States to Texas was thus accelerated, in the hope of eventually accomplishing this object. In order to counteract these efforts, the operations of the colonization system were suspended by law in the year 1830. A few troops were then sent to Texas, in addition to a small number previously stationed there, to prevent the illicit and contraband trade, the introduction of slaves, add to enforce obedience to the laws generally; but their number was insufficient for the purpose; and the regulations of the government were daringly and continually violated with impunity.
The native inhabitants of Mexico are almost to a man, opposed to slavery---the system has been totally abolished in every section of the Republic, except in Texas. There it has been prospectively extinguished, as in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and some of the other states of this Union. But, to explain more particularly the manner in which this was effected---the Constitution of the Mexican Republic, adopted in 1824, expressly provided that no person should, thereafter, be born a slave, or introduced as such in the Mexican states; that all slaves, then held, should receive stipulated wages, and be subject to no punishment but upon trial and judgment by magistrates. The Constitution of Coahuila and Texas, promulgated on the 11th of March, 1827, also contains this important article:---"13. In this state no person shall be born a slave after this Constitution is published in the capital of each district, and six months thereafter, neither will the introduction of slaves be permitted under any pretext."
On the 15th of September, 1829---the Anniversary of Mexican Independence ---President Guerrero, in conformity to an article in the Federal Constitution empowering him to that effect, issued a decree totally and immediately abolishing slavery throughout the Republic.
A change in the administration of the government took place soon after, and representations were made to the general Congress, setting forth that many of the slaves, introduced by the Texas colonists, were so extremely ignorant as to unfit them for freedom; and a dispensation of the aforesaid decree was granted, so far only as related to Texas. . . .
A draught of a Constitution was prepared . . . and Stephen F. Austin was deputed as the bearer of it to the capital of the Republic, to apply for its ratification by the general Congress. Although the then existing Constitution of Coahuila & Texas contained an express prohibition of slavery, as before mentioned, the subject was not even adverted to in this one proposed for Texas Many of the colonists, and even some of the members of the Convention, openly admitted, in conversation with citizens of the United States, that it was the special design of the framers of that instrument, to leave it open for the re-establishment of slavery under the sovereign authority of the contemplated State Government.
. . . The application of Austin, as agent for the Convention, was promptly rejected. . . . On learning the fate of their proposition, the clamors and complaints of the movement party in Texas, were loud and general. . . .
We cannot longer disguise the fact, that the advocates of slavery are resolved, at all hazards, to obtain the territory in question, if possible, FOR THE AVOWED PURPOSE OF ADDING FIVE OR SIX MORE SLAVE. HOLDING STATES TO THIS UNION!!!
It is now time for the people of the United States, who are opposed to the further extension of this horrible evil, (an evil unparalleled in the present state of the world,) to AROUSE FROM THEIR LETHARGY, and nip the monstrous attempt in the bud. We therefore call upon them, with burning anxiety, to open their eyes to a sense of the approaching danger.
. . . It must be borne in mind, that the system of slavery has been abolished in Texas, by the Mexican government. It is now a FREE STATE. But the avowed design of Senator Benton, and others of his political clan, is to change this state of things, and introduce the slave system, with all its barbarities, again. Should the territory be added to this Union, upon the condition that slavery should still be INTERDICTED, a great number of the colored people in the United States, at least those bordering on the Mississippi, might be induced to remove thither. It would be the Most Suitable place for them in the world. But a GREATER CURSE could scarcely befall our country, than the annexation of that immense territory to this Republic, if the system of slavery should likewise be re-established there. . . .
It must be observed that the principal advocates of measures for the acquisition of Texas, in the United States, previous to this period, were the southern slaveholders; -and their influence was now paramount in the Cabinet.
But finding that the territory could not be obtained by negotiation and purchase. . . the scheme was by no means abandoned. A different mode of operations was planned and adopted, for the ultimate and certain accomplishment of their object. It was known that nearly all the colonists in Texas were originally from our slave holding States, and either slave holders themselves, or friendly to the re-establishment and perpetuation of the system of slavery there. The plan thenceforth pursued was, to misrepresent the Mexican laws &colonial regulations, relative to slavery, and induce the emigration of persons favorable to their views, until their numerical and physical strength should enable them to take advantage of some critical conjuncture, and subject the country, at least, to their legislative control. . . . Slaves were taken in without hesitation, and men of wealth, enterprise, and influence throughout the southern and southwestern States, lent their countenance and aid to the scheme. . . .
For the purpose of exciting the sympathy of the people of the United States, the marauders who are engaged in the Texas insurrection have represented the Mexicans as a blood-thirsty race; while they have themselves, by their piratical acts, excited the vengeance of a people with whom their own government is professedly at peace. Some instances of severe retribution have been visited upon them; but most, if not all, of the charges preferred against the Mexicans, as respects their faithlessness and cruelty, are sheer falsehoods. . . .
They will be fighting for that which, at no distant period, will inevitably DISSOLVE THE UNION. PEOPLE OF AMERICA!---Again I entreat you....Let your voice be heard, immediately, in the strongest language of reprobation, and denunciation of the UNHALLOWED SCHEME
---The War in Texas by Benjamin Lundy
After dinner, Benjamin Lundy came at six, and I walked with him to the house of his friend, James Mott, No. 136 North Ninth street, where there was a large tea and evening party of men and women — all of the Society of Friends. I had free conversation with them till between ten and eleven o'clock, upon slavery, the abolition of slavery, and other topics; of all of which the only exceptionable part was the undue proportion of talking assumed by me, and the indiscretion and vanity in which I indulged myself. Lucretia Mott, the mistress of the house, wife of James Mott, is a native of the island of Nantucket, and had heard of my visit there last September. She is sensible and lively, and an abolitionist of the most intrepid school.
|John Quincy Adams|
In March 1838, Lundy resigned from the staff of the National Enquirer, which was being published by the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society. He was succeeded by John G. Whittier, and the name of the paper was changed to The Pennsylvania Free Man. Lundy, in his last issue, wrote that it was his intention to move west and publish the Genius of Universal Emancipation.
|John Greenleaf Whittier|
Well! my papers, books, clothes — everything of value (except my journal in Mexico etc.) are all, all gone — a total sacrifice on the altar of Universal Emancipation.
They have not yet got my conscience, they have not taken my heart, and until they rob me of these, they cannot prevent me from pleading the cause of the suffering slave.
The tyrant may even hold the body bound — But knows not what a range the spirit takes. I am not disheartened, though everything of earthly value (in the shape of property) is lost. Let us persevere in the good cause. We shall assuredly triumph yet.
I am here among my children at last — this is emphatically one of the best and most beautiful countries that I have ever seen. . . . I have attended the (anti- slavery) convention at Hennepin. It was a fine large meeting composed of intelligent men and women. It passed a unanimous resolution to encourage the circulation of the Genius and a large number of subscriptions was immediately obtained.
In early August 1839 he came down with a fever, but was not thought to be dangerously affected. On the morning of the 21st he worked in his printing office, and wrote a note to one of his children, stating that he had been quite unwell but was now better. In the afternoon he had severe pains, and was put to bed at the house of his friend, William Seely. The next day he grew worse with much pain, until 10 o'clock in the evening, when the pain ceased, and he became comfortable. His physician told him that his end was probably approaching, and Lundy replied that he felt better; he felt as if he were in Paradise.
Benjamin Lundy died at 11 P.M., August 22, 1839 at the age of 50. He was laid to rest in Friends Burying Ground of Clear Creek Meeting.
|Grave of Benjamin Lundy|
Seven years later, the Mexican–American War broke out in the wake of the 1845 U.S. annexation of Texas as a slave state. Mexico still considered Texas to be part of its territory. The war lasted a year and a half, from the spring of 1846 to the fall of 1847. American forces quickly occupied New Mexico and California, then invaded other parts of Mexico. An American army captured Mexico City, and the war ended in a victory for the United States.
In 1847, Lundy's family and friends published The Life, Travels and Opinions of Benjamin Lundy:
Our enterprise . . . is to record the deeds of a hero of the soul — of one who toiled incessantly, and patiently endured every privation in order that he might heal the wounds which tyranny had inflicted; that he might bind up the hearts which avarice had rent; that he might sanctify the rights of consanguinity; that he might secure to labour its just reward; to virtue its due protection, to the rights of man their full enjoyment, to human intellect its freedom of expansion, to life the shield of just laws ; and that he might elevate his race to a more full conformity to that religion which teaches peace on earth and good will to men.
|The Life, Travels and Opinions of Benjamin Lundy|
Read the declaration of the Anti-Slavery Convention of 1838, and see what it was found necessary then to declare in Convention. The people were asleep on the subject with some few exceptions. There had been solitary individuals, such as Lundy, and Elias Hicks, and the Benezetts, the Clarksons, and the Wilberforces. But the labours in England for twenty years were simply to arrest the progress of the Slave-Trade; and it was the work of a woman to declare, that "Immediate, not Gradual Abolition, was no less the duty of the master, than the right of the slave.
|Plaque at Lundy's Grave|
It was his lot to struggle, for years almost alone, a solitary voice crying in the wilderness, and, amidst all, faithful to his one great purpose, the emancipation of the slaves.
|Biography of Benjamin Lundy|
by Merton L. Dillon