The Spectator, January 17, 1860, p. 2, c. 2
Northern Free Negroes and Southern Slaves
The New York Herald publishes the speech of one of the "clerical agents," relative to the runaway slaves in Canada, together with an account of the unfortunate fugitives in Nova Scotia. The condition of both, says the Herald, is miserable and degraded in the extreme. . . . The wretched lot to which these poor fugitives are abandoned by the abolitionists, after they are stolen away from their comfort and the protection of their Southern homes, is the most pitiable to which their race is condemned, outside of the original savage state from which they have been rescued.
In August last a difficulty occurred in Green county, Pennsylvania, between the blacks and a portion of the white population, in consequence of an attempt of the latter to drive the negroes off. Believing that the presence of the negroes tended to lower the price of labor, the whites gave them notice to leave, and this led to a collision in which one white man was killed and another wounded. Eight negroes were arrested, and a few days ago six of them were convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to the Penitentiary for five years. No doubt the sentence was a just and proper one, but the assault upon the negroes in the first instance shows what sort of sympathy the blacks receive in the free States.
On the other hand, in regard to the treatment of Virginia slaves, the Norfolk Herald mentions a fact or two. It states that a gentleman of Norfolk county, whose name is given, lately paid to his servants $550, for corn raised by them for their own benefit on his land. Another gentleman paid to his servants $600, earned in the same way; and another paid $300. Such treatment of slaves is not peculiar to Norfolk county, but is practiced more or less all over the State. We know it is not uncommon in this region.
The negroes alluded to, says the [Norfolk] Herald, like millions in the Southern States, are not only plentifully provided for in every way, but they are saving money to use as they may find best in coming years--and withal they seem as happy as lords. They work well and cheerfully in the day, and at night, during the holidays they sing, dance and smoke, eat sweet potatoes, drink hard cider, sit around big kitchen fires, "laugh and grow fat," regardless of all the "tomfoolery" and nonsense about the "poor oppressed slaves."
Answer as many of the questions as you can--not all of the questions can be answered with this document. Some of your classmates are reading different articles and will share their answers with you at the end of this activity. Add their contributions in the spaces provided.
1. How are slaves depicted? Give exact quotes.
2. What are slaves' feelings toward masters and masters' families, according to article?
3. What evidence does the author present to prove that slaves feel this way?
4. How are abolitionists depicted?
5. On what grounds is slavey defended? Give exact quotes.
6. How is freedom depicted. . .a. for free blacks in the North:
b. for slaveholders:
Go back to "Valley of the Shadow in the Classroom" homepage. This material was developed by Alice Carter for the University of Virginia's Curry School of Education.