A narrative of the life and travels of Mrs. Nancy Prince
I was born in Newburyport, September the 15th, 1799. My mother was born in Gloucester, Massachusetts--the daughter of Tobias Wornton, or Backus, so called. He was stolen from Africa, when a lad, and was a slave of Captain Winthrop Sargent; but, although a slave, he fought for liberty. He was in the Revolutionary army, and at the battle of Bunker Hill. He often used to tell us, when little children, the evils of Slavery, and how he was stolen from his native land. My grandmother was an Indian of this country; she became a captive to the English, or their descendants. She served as a domestic in the Parsons family. My father, Thomas Gardner, was born in Nantucket; his parents were of African descent. He died in Newburyport, when I was three months old. My mother was thus a second time left a widow, with
6her two children, and she returned to Gloucester to her father. My mother married her third husband, by whom she had six children. My step-father was stolen from Africa, and while the vessel was at anchor in one of our Eastern ports, he succeeded in making his escape from his captors, by swimming ashore. I have often heard him tell the tale. Having some knowledge of the English language, he found no trouble to pass. There were two of them, and they found, from observation, that they were in a free State. I have heard my father describe the beautiful moon-light night when they two launched their bodies into the deep, for liberty. When they got upon soundings, their feet were pricked with a sea-plant that grew under water, they had to retreat, and, at last they reached the shore. When day began to break, they laid down under a fence, as naked as they were born--soon they heard a rattling sound, and trembling, they looked to see what it meant. In a few minutes, a man with a broad-brimed hat on, looked over the fence and cried out, "Halloo boys! you are from that ship at anchor?" Trembling, we answered, yes. He kindly took us by the hand, and told us not to fear, for we were safe. "Jump, boys," said he, "into my cart," which we readily did. He turned about, and soon entered a large yard--we were
7taken to his house and carried to an apartment, where he brought us clothes and food, and cheered us with every kindness. No search was made for us; it was supposed we were drowned, as many had jumped over-board on the voyage, thinking they could get home to Africa again. I have often heard my step-father boast how brave they were, and say they stood like men and saw the ship set sail with less than half they stole from Africa. He was selling his bamboo baskets, when he was seized by white men, and put in a boat, and taken on board the ship that lay off; many such ships there were! He was called "Money Vose," and his name may be found on the Custom House books in Gloucester. His last voyage was with Captain Elias Davis, in the brig Romulus, belonging to Captain Fitz William Sargent, in whose employ he had been twelve years. During the war, the brig was taken by a British privateer, and he was pressed into their service. He was sick with the dropsy a long while, and died oppressed, in the English dominions. My mother was again left a widow, with an infant six weeks old, and seven other children. When she heard of her husband's death, she exclaimed, "I thought it; what shall I do with these children?" She was young, inexperienced, with no hope in God, and without the knowledge of her Saviour. Her
8grief, poverty, and responsibilities, were too much for her; she never again was the mother that she had been before. I was, at this time, in Captain F.W. Sargent's family. I shall never forget the feelings I experienced, on hearing of the decease of my father-in-law, although he was not kind to me or my sister; but, by industry a humble home was provided, for my mother and her younger children. Death had twice visited our family, in less than three months. My grandfather died before my father-in-law sailed. I thought I would go home a little while, and try and comfort my mother. The three oldest children were put into families.
My brother and myself stayed at home that Summer. We gathered berries and sold them in Gloucester; strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and whortleberries, were in abundance, in the stony environs, growing spontaneously. With the sale of these fruits, my brother and myself nearly supported my mother and her children, that Summer. My brother George, young as he was, caught fish and sold them, and run of errands, and was always watching for something to do, that he might help his mother. At one time he was missing; we expected he was drowned; a search was made for him in the water; the neighbors were all on the alert. Poor mother returning
9from a hard day's work, supposing the boy was lost, was like a lunatic. The lad was supposed to have fallen from the wharf, where he was fishing. Our friends had all given up the search--it was then eleven o'clock at night. Mother and I locked up the children and went round to the harbor, to one Captain Warner, who traded to the Eastward. Mrs. Warner informed us that my brother came there in the morning, with his bundle, and they supposed he was sent, as the Captain wished to take him with him. He went on board, and the vessel sailed that afternoon. In three weeks, he came home, to the comfort of his mother and all of us. He brought back, for his pay, four feet of wood and three dollars.
We stayed with our mother until every resource was exhausted; we then heard of a place eight miles out of town, where a boy and girl were wanted. We both went and were engaged. We often went home with our wages, and all the comforts we could get; but we could not approach our mother as we wished. God in mercy took one little boy of seven years, who had been in a consumption one year.
My oldest sister, Silvia, was seventy miles in the country, with the family that brought her up; so we were scattered all about. Soon as the war
10was over, I determined to get more for my labor. I left Essex and went to Salem, in the month of April, 1814, without a friend, without a guide. I first went to Gloucester, to bid my mother and the family adieu. George, my brother, I left with a promise to send for him when I should be settled. When I reached the Cove, about five miles from Gloucester, I stopped at a friend's, who urged me not to go, holding up obstacles. It rained and snowed, but I travelled along, following the guide-posts, until I reached Beverly bridge. I crossed it when the clock struck four, in the afternoon. I now wished to find a friend in Becket Street, Salem, but was afraid of the people that I met near the Bridge, they were so covered with rags and dirt. I kept on until I reached the Common; I then asked a woman who was neatly dressed, for the lady I wished to find. She did not know. I asked for another person, that I knew was not very good; she took me there, but I soon found my friend that I wished, and stopped there two weeks, and then went to live with a respectable colored family. My mother was not satisfied, and came after me. I would not go to Gloucester. She left me at a friend's, and this woman had a daughter, who came home from service, sick. I took her place, and thought myself fortunate to be with religious
11people, as I had enjoyed the happy privilege of religious instruction. My dear grandfather was a member of a Congregational Church, and a good man; he always attended meeting in the morning, and took his children with him. In the afternoon he took care of the smaller children, while my mother attended with her little group. He thought it was wrong for us to go to school where the teacher was not devoted to God. Thus I early knew the difference between right and wrong.
There were seven in the family, one sick with a fever, and another in a consumption; and of course, the work must have been very severe, especially the washings. Sabbath evening I had to prepare for the wash; soap the clothes and put them into the steamer, set the kettle of water to boiling, and then close in the steam, and let the pipe from the boiler into the steém box that held the clothes. At two o'clock, on the morning of Monday, the bell was rung for me to get up; but, that was not all, they said I was too slow, and the washing was not done well; I had to leave the tub to tend the door and wait on the family, and was not spoken kind to, at that.
Hard labor and unkindness was too much for me; in three months, my health and strength were gone. I often looked at my employers, and thought to myself, is this your religion? I did
12not wonder that the girl who had lived there previous to myself, went home to die. They had family prayers, morning and evening. Oh! yes, they were sanctimonious! I was a poor stranger, but fourteen years of age, imposed upon by these good people; but I must leave them. In the year 1814, they sent me to Gloucester in their chaise. I found my poor mother in bad health, and I was sick also; but, by the mercy of God, and the attention and skill of Dr. Dale, and the kindness of friends, I was restored, so that in a few months, I was able again to go to work, although my side afflicted me, which I attributed to overworking myself.
In the Spring of 1815, I returned to Salem, accompanied by my eldest sister, and we obtained good places. She took it into her head to go to Boston, as a nursery girl, where she lived a few months and was then deluded away. February 7th, 1816, a friend came to Salem and informed me of it. To have heard of her death, would not have been so painful to me, as we loved each other very much, and more particularly, as our step-father was not very kind to us. When little girls, she used to cry about it, and we used to say, when we were large enough we would go away.
It was very cold; but notwithstanding, I was so
13distressed about my sister that I started the next morning for Boston, on foot. A friend was with me. At Lynn Hotel we refreshed ourselves, and all seemed much interested about me; two women took me aside, and inquired how it was that I was with that woman. I told my reason; she was well known all about; she lived as a cook in Boston, she came after her son, a little child whom she held in her arms. By the time we were seven miles from Salem, cold and fatigued, I could walk no farther, and we hired a horse and sleigh, and a man to drive us to Boston, where we arrived at seven o'clock in the evening. The house where we stopped was in Green street, the lady kindly invited me to stop; I refused; I was suspicious the house was not good; the woman I came with took me to Belknap street, where I found an old friend; I would not stop, they went with me to Bedford street, where I intended to put up. The inmates received me very kindly; my feet, hands and ears were all frostbitten. I needed all the hospitality that was extended to me. I was young and inexperienced, but God knew that my object was good. "In wisdom he chooses the weak things of the earth." Without his aid, how could I ever have rescued my lost sister? Mr. Brown, when he learned my errand, kindly offered to assist me. He found where my sister resided, and taking with him a
14large cane, he accompanied me to the house, on Sabbath evening. My sister I found seated with a number of others round a fire, the mother of harlots at the head. My sister did not see me until I clasped her round the neck. The old woman flew at me, and bid me take my hands off of her; she opened a door that led down into a cellar kitchen, and told me to come down, she attempted to take my hands off of my sister. Mr. Brown defended me with his cane; there were many men and girls there, and all was confusion. When my sister came to herself, she looked upon me and said: "Nancy, O Nancy, I am ruined!" I said, "Silvia, my dear sister, what are you here for? Will you not go with me?" She seemed thankful to get away; the enraged old woman cried out, "she owes me, she cannot go." Silvia replied, "I will go." The old woman seized her to drag her down into the kitchen; I held on to her, while Mr. Brown at my side, used his great cane; he threatened her so that she was obliged to let my sister go, who, after collecting her things, accompanied Mr. Brown and myself.
Now while I write, I am near the spot that that was then the hold of all foul and unclean things. "The lips of a strange woman drop as an honey comb, and her mouth is smoother than oil; there she has slain her thousands; her end is bitter as
15wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword, and lieth in wait at every corner, with an impudent face, saying, I have peace offerings, I have payed my vows. With her much fair speech, she flattereth: she hath cast down many wounded, yea, many strong have been slain by her; her house is the way to hell going down to the chambers of death." Even now, I cannot refrain my feelings, although death has long separated us; but her soul is precious; she was very dear to me; she was five years older than myself, and often protected me from the blows of an unkind step-father. She often said she was not fit to live, nor fit to die.
The next day, after breakfast, one of Mrs. Brown's daughters accompanied us to the stage office; we expected Mr. Low, the driver of the Gloucester stage, who knew us as his towns-people, would let us take passage with him without any difficulty; but he refused unless we would ride upon the top. It was very cold; I had sent my mother my wages the week before, and what money I had, I had taken in advance, of my employers. We were greatly embarrassed, when a colored man, unknown to us, penetrated our difficulty, and asked us if we had two dollars; we told him we had; he very kindly took us to the stage office, and we bargained for a horse and sleigh to carry us to Salem, where we arrived
16safely in about two hours and a half; and we gave up our conveyance to the same owners, with ten thousand thanks to our colored friend, and to our Heavenly Father; had we attempted to walk, we must have frozen by the way. The horse and sleigh belonged to the stage-office, so we had no more care for that. The man who let it to us was very humane, although a stranger. The price was two dollars, of which he not only gave us back fifty cents to pay our toll, but went with us as far as to Charlestown bridge.
I often thought of the contrast between our townsman, Mr. Low, and the stranger who was so kind to us. The lady I lived with, Mrs. John Deland, received us very kindly, and permitted my sister to remain with me awhile; then she returned to Gloucester, to the family who brought her up, and I thought we had gained a great victory.
My brother George and myself were very desirous to make our mother comfortable: he went to sea for that purpose; the next April, I came to Boston to get a higher price for my labor; for we had agreed to support my mother, and hoped she would take home our little brother and take care of him, who was supported by the town. George came home, and sailed again in the same employ, leaving mother a draw bill for half his wages. My sister returned to Boston to find me,
17and wished to procure a place to work out. I had just changed my place for one more retired, and engaged my sister with me as a chamber maid; she tried me much. I thought it a needy time, for I had not yielded my heart to the will of God, though I had many impressions, and formed many resolutions; but the situations that I had been placed in, (having left my mother's house at the age of eight,) had not permitted me to do as I wished, although the kind counsels of my dear grandfather and pious teachers followed me wherever I went. Care after care oppressed me--my mother wandered about like a Jew--the young children who were in families were dissatisfied; all hope but in God was lost. I resolved, in my mind, to seek an interest in my Savior, and put my trust in Him; and never shall I forget the place or time when God spake to my troubled conscience. Justified by faith I found peace with God, the forgiveness of sin through Jesus Christ my Lord. After living sixteen years without hope, and without a guide, May 6th, 1819, the Rev. Thomas Paul, baptized myself, and seven others, in obedience to the great command.
We, on him our anchor cast--
Poor and needy, lean on him,
He will bring us through at last.
The same day, we received the right hand of
18fellowship from our then beloved pastor. After the absence of nine years, I had the happy privilege of meeting with two of the number, who were unshaken in the faith; they have since gone to join the spirits in glory. I had the happy privilege of attending them in sickness.
I now turn to the scenes of youth. George again returned home, and we again provided a home for mother and the little ones. He shipped in the same vessel again, and affairs now seemed to promise comfort and respectability; but mother chose to marry again; this was like death to us all. George returned home, but was so disappointed that he shipped again to return no more. Although a boy of sixteen, he was as steady as most men at twenty. My cares were consequently increased, having no one to share them with me. My next brother, who lived in South Essex, came to Salem to his mother's, but was driven away by her husband, and came to me; I carried him to Gloucester and left him in the hands of the town; he stayed but three weeks, and returned to me again; I then boarded him out for one dollar a week, until I could procure suitable employment for him. When winter came, poor mother's health was declining. Little Samuel could do but little; my father-in-law was very cross, his disappointment was very
19great, for he expected to be supported by my brother George and myself. I could not see my mother suffer, therefore I left my place and went to Salem to watch over her and Samuel, and lived in the Rev. Dr. Bolle's family. In the Spring, I returned to Boston, and took my brother Samuel with me; soon after, my sister Lucy left her place and went to her mother, but was not permitted to stay; my mother wrote to me, requesting me to take care of her. I then determined, in my mind, to bring her to Boston, and if possible, procure a place for her; I then had Samuel and John on my hands; Lucy was not nine, and very small of her age, I could not easily get her a place, but fortunately obtained board for her and Samuel for one dollar a week. My brother John, whom I had boarded, at last got a place where he had wages. Soon the Lord opened the way for little Samuel; Dr. Phelps took him to bring up: so that I was left with one only to sustain; soon my hopes were blasted. John left his place, and was several months on my hands again; finally, he made up his mind to go to sea; I was so thankful that he had concluded to do something, that I took two months' wages in advance to fit him out for Liverpool, in five months he returned without a single thing but the clothes he had on. The ship brought passengers
20from Ireland. As soon as the vessel arrived, he came to seek me; I went with him for his things; but passengers and all were gone. His wages were small, not enough to make him comfortable: and, had not a friend given him a home, he would again have been dependent on my exertions; another friend took Lucy, with whom she stayed eleven months. She lived in different families until she was about twelve years old; I then put her in the Rev. Mr. Mann's family, at Westminster, for a certain time, thinking it would be best for her; and John I left to fight his own battles. My sister Silvia, was one of my greatest trials. Knowing she was in Boston, my mother, in one of her spells of insanity, got away from her home and travelled to Boston after her; she came where I lived, my employers were very kind to her, she tarried a few days, when I hired a horse and chaise and took them both back to Salem, and returned to my place in 1822, with a determination to do something for myself; I left my place after three months, and went to learn a trade; and after seven years of anxiety and toil, I made up my mind to leave my country. September 1st, 1823, Mr. Prince arrived from Russia. February 15th, 1824, we were married. April 14th, we embarked on board the Romulus, captain Epes Sargent commander, bound for
21Russia. May 24th, arrived at Elsinore, left the same day for Copenhagen, where we remained twelve days. We visited the king's palace, and several other extensive and beautiful buildings. We attended a number of entertainments, among the Danes and English, who were religious; observed that their manners and customs were similar; they are attentive to strangers; the Sabbath is very strictly observed; the principal religion is Lutheran and Calvinistic, but all persuasions are tolerated. The languages are Dutch, French and English. The Danes are very modest and kind, but like all other nations, they know how to take the advantage. We left Copenhagen the 7th of June, and arrived at Cronstadt on the 19th; left there the 21st for St. Petersburg, and in a few hours, were happy to find ourselves at our place of destination, through the blessing of God, in good health, and soon made welcome from all quarters. We took lodgings with a Mrs. Robinson, a native of our country, who was Patience Mott, of Providence, who left here in the year 1813, in the family of Alexander Gabriel, the man who was taken for Mr. Prince. There I spent six weeks very pleasantly, visiting and receiving friends, in the manner of the country. While there I attended two of their parties; there were various amusements in which I did not partake,
22which caused them much disappointment. I told them my religion did not allow of dancing or dice playing, which formed part of the amusements. As they were very strict in their religion, they indulged me in the same privilege. By the help of God I was ever enabled to preserve my stand.
Mr. Prince was born in Marlborough, and lived in families in this city. In 1810 he went to Gloucester, and sailed with captain Theodore Stanwood, for Russia. He returned with him, and remained in his family, and at this time visited at my mother's. He sailed with captain Stanwood in 1812, for the last time. The Captain took with him his son Theodore, in order to place him in School in St. Petersburg. When the Captain sailed for home, Mr. Prince went to serve the Princess Purtossof, one of the noble ladies of the Court. The palace where the imperial family reside is called the court, or the seat of Government. This magnificent building is adorned with all the ornaments that possibly can be explained; there are hundreds of people that inhabit it, besides the soldiers that guard it. There are several of these splendid edifices in the city and vicinity. The one that I was presented in, was in a village, three miles from the city. After leaving the carriage, we entered the first ward;
23where the usual salutation by the guards was performed. As we passed through the beautiful hall, a door was opened by two colored men in official dress. The Emperor Alexander, stood on his throne, in his royal apparel. The throne is circular, elevated two steps from the floor, and covered with scarlet velvet, tasseled with gold; as I entered, the Emperor stepped forward with great politeness and condescension, and welcomed me, and asked several questions; he then accompanied us to the Empress Elizabeth; she stood in her dignity, and received me in the same manner the Emperor had. They presented me with a watch, &c. It was customary in those days, when any one married, belonging to the court, to present them with gifts, according to their standard; there was no prejudice against color; there were there all casts, and the people of all nations, each in their place.
The number of colored men that filled this station was twenty; when one dies, the number is immediately made up. Mr. Prince filled the place of one that had died. They serve in turns, four at a time, except on some great occasions, when all are employed. Provision is made for the families within or without the palace. Those without go to court at 8 o'clock in the morning; after breakfasting, they take their station in the
24halls, for the purpose of opening the doors, at signal given, when the Emperor and Empress pass.
First of August, we visited the burying-ground where the people meet, as they say, to pay respect to their dead. It is a great holiday; they drink and feast on the grave stones, or as near the grave as they can come; some groan and pray, and some have music and dancing. At a funeral no one attends except the invited; after the friends arrive, a dish of rice, boiled hard, with raisins, is handed round; all are to take a spoonful, with the same spoon, and out of the same dish; in the meanwhile the priest, with his clerk, performs the ceremony, perfuming the room with incense. The lid is not put on to the coffin, the corpse being laid out in his or her best dress. The torch-men (who are dressed in black garments, made to slope down to their feet, with broad brimmed hats that cover their shoulders,) form a procession, with lighted torches in their hands, bowing their heads as they pass along very gravely; then comes one more with the lid on his head; then the hearse with the corpse drawn by four horses, covered with black gowns down to their feet; they all move along with great solemnity. Before entering the grave-yard, the procession goes to an adjoining church, where
25there are many ladies, placed on benches, side by side, according to their ages; the ladies dressed as if they were going to a ball-room, displaying a most dreadful appearance. Each one has her hands crossed, and holding in one of them a pass to give to Peter, that they may enter into Heaven. At this place they light their candles, and receive their rice in the manner before mentioned. The top is then put on to the coffin, and the procession forms and repairs to the grave; the priest sanctifies the grave, then casts in dust, and the coffin is consigned to its narrow-house; then commence the yells; they drink, eat cake, black bread, and finish their rice, when the party return back to dinner, where every thing has been prepared during their absence. This is the Greek mode of burying their dead. On the birth of a child, the babe is not dressed until it is baptized; it is immersed all over in water; a stand with an oval basin, is brought for the purpose by the clerk. The mother is presented with gifts, which are placed under her pillow. Should the babe die before this rite is performed, it is not placed with the others; but should it die having been baptized, although not more than two hours old, it is dressed and placed on the bench at church with the rest. In this manner, the common people bury their dead.
When any of the imperial family dies, they are laid in state forty days, and every thing accordingly. There is a building built expressly for the imperial families, where their remains are deposited. In the front part of it, the criminals that have rebelled against the imperial family are placed in cells, thus combining the prison and the tomb; and in sailing by, these miserable creatures are exposed to the careless gaze of unfeeling observers.
St. Petersburg was inundated October 9th, 1824. The water rose sixteen feet in most parts of the city; many of the inhabitants were drowned. An island between the city and Cronstadt, containing five hundred inhabitants, was inundated, and all were drowned, and great damage was done at Cronstadt. The morning of this day was fair; there was a high wind. Mr. Prince went early to the palace, as it was his turn to serve; our children boarders were gone to school; our servant had gone of an errand. I heard a cry, and to my astonishment, when I looked out to see what was the matter, the waters covered the earth. I had not then learned the language, but I beckoned to the people to come in. The waters continued to rise until 10 o'clock, A.M. The waters were then within two inches of my window, when they ebbed and went out as fast as
27they had come in, leaving to our view a dreadful sight. The people who came into my house for their safety retired, and I was left alone. At four o'clock in the afternoon, there was darkness that might be felt, such as I had never experienced before. My situation was the more painful, being alone, and not being able to speak. I waited until ten in the evening; I then took a lantern, and started to go to a neighbor's, whose children went to the same school with my boarders. I made my way through a long yard, over the bodies of men and beasts, and when opposite their gate I sunk; I made one grasp, and the earth gave away; I grasped again, and fortunately got hold of the leg of a horse, that had been drowned. I drew myself up, covered with mire, and made my way a little further, when I was knocked down by striking against a boat, that had been washed up and left by the retiring waters; and as I had lost my lantern, I was obliged to grope my way as I could, and feeling along the walk, I at last found the door that I aimed at. My family were safe and they accompanied me home. At 12 o'clock, Mr. Prince came home, as no one was permitted to leave the palace, till his majesty had viewed the city. In the morning the children and the girl returned, and I went to view the pit into which I had sunk.
28It was large enough to hold a dozen like myself, where the earth had caved in. Had not the horse been there, I should never again have seen the light of day, and no one would have known my fate. Thus through the providence of God, I escaped from the flood and the pit.
My helper, God, I bless thy name;
The same thy power, thy grace the same;
I'midst ten thousand dangers stand,
Supported by thy guardian hand."
Should I attempt to give an account of all the holidays, it would fill volumes. The next to notice is Christmas and New Year. The first day of January a grand masquerade is given by his majesty, at the winter palace; forty thousand tickets are distributed; every thing is done in order; every gentleman wears a mask and cloak, and carries a lady with him. They are formed in a procession, and enter at the west gate; as they pass through, all the golden vessels and ornaments are displayed; these were back of a counter, which extends two hundred feet; there the company receive a cup of hot chocolate, and a paper of comfits, and a bun; a great many are in attendance, as a vast many persons are permitted to pass in and view the palace, and go out at the east gate.
The 6th of January is a still greater day, for then the water is christened; a church is built on
29the ice, ornamented with gold and evergreens, and a row of spruce trees, extending from the door of the palace to the church. At this time all the nobles, of different nations, make their appearance in their native costume. The Patriarch, Archbishops, and other dignitaries of the court, have a service; then they pass through and christen the water, and make it holy; then there is a great rush of the people for this holy water. On the plain an ice hill is built, eighty feet high, where the emperor and his court exercise themselves.
February 10th is another holiday. Buildings are constructed on the plain for the occasion. All kinds of amusements may be found here, and all kinds of animals seen; much time and money are spent. The buildings are built in rotation. All the children of the different seminaries and institutions of education, are driven round in gilded carriages to witness the performances. After this is the great Fast, previous to the crucifixion of our Saviour. Then Christ is represented as riding into Jerusalem; branches of trees are placed on the ice, and strewed through the streets, and every performance is carried out. The Saviour is made of white marble; he is crucified and buried, and on the third day he rises, according to the Scriptures; then the cannons
30are fired. At the close of this forty day's Fast, they have a great feast and fair; all business is suspended, and the festivity and frolic continue for one week.
The first day of May is another great holiday. The merchant's daughters are arranged on each side of a long mall, in the beautiful gardens, and arrayed in their best clothes, under the care of an old woman known in their families; the gentlemen walk round and observe them, and if they see one they fancy, they speak to the old woman; she takes him to the parents and introduces him; if the parties agree, they prepare for the betrothal. It is their custom to marry one of their own station. All these holidays are accounted sacred. The first year I noted them all, as I was accustomed to attend them.
May, 1825. I spent some time visiting the different towns in the vicinity of St. Petersburg. In the fall of the same year, the Emperor retired to a warmer climate for the health of the Empress Elizabeth. January, 1826, the corpse of Alexander was brought in state, and was met three miles from the city by the nobles of the court; and they formed a procession, and the body was brought in state into the building where the imperial family were deposited. March, of the same year, the corpse of Elizabeth was brought
31in the same manner. Constantine was then king of Poland, he was next heir to the throne, and was, unanimously voted by the people, but refused and resigned the crown in favor of his brother Nicholas. The day appointed the people were ordered to assemble as usual, at the ringing of the bells; they rejected Nicholas; a sign was given by the leaders that was well understood, and the people great and small rushed to the square and cried with one voice for Constantine. The emperor with his prime minister, and city governor, rode into the midst of them, entreating them to retire, without avail; they were obliged to order the cannons fired upon the mob; it was not known when they discharged them that the emperor and his ministers were in the crowd. He was wonderfully preserved, while both his friends and their horses were killed. There was a general seizing of all classes, who were taken into custody. The scene cannot be described; the bodies of the killed and mangled were cast into the river, and the snow and ice were stained with the blood of human victims; as they were obliged to drive the cannon to and for in the midst of the crowd, the bones of those wounded, who might have been cured, were crushed. The cannon are very large, drawn by eight horses, trained for the purpose. The scene was awful;
32all business was stopped. This deep plot originated in 1814, in Germany, with the Russian nobility and German, under the pretence of a Free Mason's Lodge. When they returned home they increased their numbers and presented their chart to the emperor for permission, which was granted. In the year 1822, the emperor being suspicious that all was not right, took their chart from them. They carried it on it small parties, rapidly increasing, believing they would soon be able to destroy all the imperial branches, and have a republican government. Had not this taken place, undoubtedly they would at last have succeeded. So deep was the foundation of this plot laid, both males and females were engaged in it. The prison-houses were filled, and thirty of the leading men were put in solitary confinement, and twenty-six of the number died, four were burned. A stage was erected and faggots were placed underneath, each prisoner was secured by iron chains, presenting a most appalling sight to an eye-witness. A priest was in attendance to cheer their last dying moments, then fire was set to the faggots, and those brave men were consumed. Others received the knout, and even the princesses and ladies of rank were imprisoned and flogged in their own habitations. Those that survived their punishment were banished to Siberia.
33The mode of banishment is very imposing and very heart-rending, severing them from all dear relatives and friends, for they are never permitted to take their children. When they arrive at the gate of the city, their first sight is a guard of soldiers, then wagons with provisions, then the noblemen in their banished apparel guarded, then each side, conveyance for the females, then ladies in order, guarded by soldiers.
Preparations were now being made for the coronation of the new Emperor and Empress. This took place September, 1826, in Moscow, 555 miles south-east from St. Petersburg. All persons engaged in the court were sent before-hand, in order to prepare for the coming event. After his majesty's laws were read, as usual on such occasions, those who wished to remain in his service did so, and those who did not were discharged.
After the coronation, the Emperor and his court returned to St. Petersburg. June, 1827, war was declared between Russia and Turkey. They had several battles, with varied success. The Russians surrounded and laid siege to Constantinople. The Sultan of Turkey sued for peace, and a treaty was at last signed, and peace was proclaimed in 1829. In March, of the same year, war was declared with Poland. 1831. The cholera,
34that malignant disease, made its appearance in Austria, from thence to little Russia, making great ravages, thousands of people falling a prey. It then began to rage in St. Petersburg, carrying off 9255. This disease first appeared in Madagascar, 1814, where most of the inhabitants died. It is called the plague, that God sent among the people of Israel and other nations, for centuries back. Much might be said of this dreadful disease and others that are but little known in this country. God often visits nations, families, and persons, with judgments as well as mercies.
The present Emperor and Empress are courteous and affable. The Empress would often send for the ladies of the court at 8 oclock in the evening to sup with her: when they arrive at the court they form a procession and she takes the lead. On entering the hall, the band strikes up; there are two long tables on each side, and in the midst circular tables for the Imperial family. The tables are spread apparently with every variety of eatables and desserts, but everything is artificial, presenting a novel appearance. When the company are seated, the Emperor and Empress walk around the tables and shake hands with each individual, as they pass. The prisoners of war who are nobles, are seated by themselves with their faces veiled. There is a tender or waiter to each
35person, with two plates, one with soup and the other with something else. After a variety of courses, in one hour they are dismissed by the band. They then retire to another part of the palace to attend a ball or theatrical amusements. At the Empress' command they are dismissed. She carries power and dignity in her countenance, and is well adapted to her station. And after her late amusements at night, she would be out at an early hour in the morning, visiting the abodes of the distressed, dressed in as common apparel as any one here, either walking, or riding in a common sleigh. At her return she would call for her children, to take them in her arms and talk to them. "She riseth while it is yet night and giveth meat to her household and a portion to her maidens, she stretcheth out her hands to the poor, yea, she reacheth out her hands to the needy; she is not afraid of the snow, for all her household are clothed in scarlet." Then she would go to the cabinet of his Majesty; there she would write and advise with him.
The Russian ladies follow the fashions of the French and English. Their religion is after the Greek Church. There are no seats in their churches; they stand, bow, and kneel, during the service. The principal church is on the Main street. There are the statues of the great commanders
36that have conquered in battle. They are clad in brass, with flags in their hands, and all their ancient implements of war are deposited there. The altar is surrounded by statues of the Virgin Mary and the twelve apostles. When Russia is at war, and her armies are about to engage in battle, it is here that the Emperor and his family and court, come to pray for victory over the enemy. The day they engaged in battle against the Poles, the Empress Dowager took her death; she was embalmed and laid in state six weeks in the hall of the winter palace. I went a number of times to see her, and the people pay her homage, and kiss the hands of that lump of clay. All religion is tolerated, but the native Russians are subject to the Greek Church. There are a number of institutions in St. Petersburg where children of all classes have the privilege of instruction. The sailors' and soldiers' boys enter the corps at the age of seven, and are educated for that purpose. The girls remain in the barracks with their parents, or go to some institution where they are instructed in all the branches of female education. There are other establishments, where the higher classes send their children.
There is another spacious building called the Market, half a mile square, where all kinds of
37articles may be bought. Between the Market and the church there is a block of buildings where silver articles of all kinds are to be purchased. These stores present a very superb appearance and are visited by every foreigner that comes into the place. Besides these buildings, Main Street is lined with elegant buildings with projecting windows, to the extent of twelve miles. Nearly at the termination of the street there is a spacious building of stone which encloses the Taberisey Garden, so called from its having every kind of tree, shrub, flower and fruit, of the known world, which flourish alike in winter as in summer. There is an extensive Frozen Market which forms a square as large as Boston Common. This space of ground is covered with counters, on which may be purchased every variety of eatable, such as frozen fish, fowl, and meats of every description, besides every other article of commerce which will bear the extreme cold of a St. Petersburg winter. This city was founded by Peter the Great, and built upon a bog which was occupied by a few fishermen's huts, and belonged to the Finns. It is situated at the extremity of the Gulf of Finland, and is built partly on the main land and partly on several small islands. The foundation of the city is extremely marshy, which subjects it to frequent inundations. For
38this reason there are canals which are cut through the streets, very beautifully laid out, faced with granite, railed with iron chains nubbed with brass, with bridges to cross from one street to the other. The city houses are built of stone and brick, and twice the thickness of American houses. They are heated by Peaches, of similar construction to our furnaces; the outside of which is faced with China tiles, presenting a very beautiful appearance. The village houses are built of logs corked with oakum, where the peasants reside. This class of people till the land, most of them are slaves and are very degraded. The rich own the poor, but they are not suffered to separate families or sell them off the soil. All are subject to the Emperor, and no nobleman can leave without his permission. The mode of travelling is principally by stages which are built something like our omnibusses, with settees upon the top railed and guarded by soldiers, for the purpose of protecting the travellers from the attacks of wild beats. The common language is a mixture of Sclavonian and Polish. The nobility make use of the modern Greek, French and English. I learned the languages in six months, so as to be able to attend to my business, and also made some proficiency in the French. My time was taken up in domestic affairs; I took two children to
39board, the third week after commencing housekeeping, and increased their numbers. The baby linen making and childrens' garments were in great demand. I started a business in these articles and took a journeywoman and apprentices. The present Empress is a very active one, and inquired of me respecting my business, and gave me much encouragement by purchasing of me garments for herself and children, handsomely wrought in French and English styles, and many of the nobility also followed her example. It was to me a great blessing that we had the means of grace afforded us. The Rev. Richard Kenell, was the Protestant pastor. We had service twice every Sabbath, and evening prayer meetings, also a female society, so that I was occupied at all times.
At the time of the inundation, the Bibles and other books belonging to the society, were injured. But Mr. Kenell took the liberty to purchase at full price and sell at an advance. In order that the poor might have them, we all agreed to labor for that purpose. I often visited the matron of the Empress' children, and encouraged by her I took some to the Palace, and by this means disposed of many at head quarters. Other friends without the court continued to labor until hundreds and thousands were disposed of. The old
40Bishop finding his religion was in danger sent a petition to the Emperor that all who were found distributing Bibles and Tracts should be punished severely. Many were taken and imprisoned, two devoted young men were banished; thus the righteous were punished, while evil practices were not forbidden, for there the sin of licentiousness is very common.
I have mentioned that the climate did not agree with me; in winter my lungs were much affected. It was the advice of the best physicians that I had better not remain in Russia during another cold season. However painful it was to me to return without my husband, yet life seemed desirable, and he flattered me and himself that he should soon follow. It is difficult for any one in the emperor's employment to leave when they please. Mr. Prince thought it best for me to return to my native country, while he remained two years longer to accumulate a little property, and then return--but death took him away. I left St. Petersburg, August 14th, 1833, having been absent about nine years and six months. On the 17th, I sailed from Cronstadt, for New York. Arrived at Elsinore the 25th. Tuesday, 29, left. September the 2d, laid to in a gale. September 18th, made Plymouth, Old England, 19th sailed. Arrived in New York, Oct. 10th.
41Left there Tuesday 18th, arrived in Boston the 23d. Sabbath, Nov. 9th, I had the privilege of attending service in the old place of worship. On this day I also had the pleasure of meeting with an old friend of my grandfather, nearly one hundred years of age. I found things much changed; my mother and sister Silvia died in 1827, (that I was aware of.) The Rev. T. Paul was dead, and many of my old friends were gone to their long home. The old church and society was in much confusion; I attempted to worship with them but it was in vain. The voyage was of great benefit to me. By the advice of friends I applied to a Mrs. Mott, a female physician in the city, that helped me much. I am indebted to God for his great goodness in guiding my youthful steps; my mind was directed to my fellow brethren whose circumstances were similar to my own. I found many a poor little orphan destitute and afflicted, and on account of color shut out from all the asylums for poor children. At this my heart was moved, and I proposed to my friends the necessity of a home for such, where they might be sheltered from the contaminating evils that beset their path. For this purpose I called a meeting of the people and laid before them my plan: as I had had the privilege of assisting in forming an Asylum for
42such a purpose in St. Petersburg, I thought it would be well to establish one on the same principles, not knowing that any person had had a thought of anything of the kind. We commenced with eight children. I gave three months of my time. A board was formed of seven females, with a committee of twelve gentlemen of standing, to superintend. At the end of three months the committee was dispensed with, and for want of funds our society soon fell through.
I passed my time in different occupations and making arrangements for the return of my husband, but death took him from me. I made my home at the Rev. J.W. Holman's, a Free Will Baptist, until I sailed for Jamaica. There had been an Anti-Slavery Society established by W.L. Garrison, Knapp, and other philanthropists of the day. Their design was the amelioration of the nominally free colored people of these States, and the emancipation of the slaves in other States. These meetings I attended with much pleasure, until a contention broke out among themselves; there has been a great change in some things, but much remains to be done; possibly I may not see so clearly as some, for the weight of prejudice has again oppressed me, and were it not for the promises of God, one's heart would fail, for
made man in his own image, in the
43image of God, created he him, male and female, that they should have dominion over the fish of the sea, the fowl of the air, and the beast of the field, &c. This power did God give man, that thus far should he go and no farther; but man has disobeyed his Maker, and become vain in his imagination, and their foolish hearts are darkened. We gather from this, that God has in all ages of the world punished every nation and people for their sins. The sins of my beloved country are not hid from his notice; his all seeing eye sees and knows the secrets of all hearts; the angels that kept not their first estate but left their own habitations, he hath reserved in everlasting chains unto the great day.
My mind, after the emancipation in the West Indies, was bent upon going to Jamaica. A field of usefulness seemed spread out before me. While I was thinking about it, the Rev. Mr. Ingraham, who had spent seven years there, arrived in the city. He lectured in the city at the Marlboro' Chapel, on the results arising from the emancipation at the British Islands. He knew much about them, he had a station at a mountain near Kingston, and was very desirous to have persons go there to labor. He wished some one to go with him to his station. He called on me with the Rev. Mr. William Collier, to persuade
44me to go. I told him it was my intention to go if I could make myself useful, but that I was sensible that I was very limited in education. He told me that the moral-condition of the people was very bad, and needed labor aside from any thing else.
I left America, November 16th, 1840, in the ship Scion, Captain Mansfield, bound for Jamaica, freighted with ice and machinery for the silk factory. There were on board a number of handicraftsmen and other passengers. We sailed on Monday afternoon, from Charlestown, Massachusetts. It rained continually until Saturday. Sunday, the 23d, was a fine day. Mr. De Grass, a young colored clergyman, was invited to perform divine service, which he did with much propriety. He spoke of the dangers we had escaped and the importance of being prepared to meet our God, (he died of fever about three weeks after arriving at Jamaica,) some who were able to attend came on deck, and listened to him with respect, while others seemed to look on in derision; these spent the afternoon and evening in card-playing. About twelve at night a storm commenced; on Monday were in great peril; the storm continued until Friday, the 27th. On that day a sail was seen at some distance making towards us, the captain judging her to be a piratical vessel, ordered
45the women and children below, and the men to prepare for action. The pirates were not inclined to hazard an engagement; when they saw the deck filled with armed men they left us. Thus were we preserved from the storm and from the enemy. Sabbath, 29th, divine service,--our attention was directed to the goodness of God, in sparing us.
Monday, and we mortals are still alive. Tuesday, thus far the Lord has led us on. Wednesday, thus far his power prolongs our days. Thursday, December 3d, to-day made Turks Island. Friday, this day had a view of Hayti, its lofty mountains presented a sublime prospect. Saturday, we had a glance at Cuba. Sunday, December 6th, at six o'clock in the evening, dropped anchor at St. Ann Harbor, Jamaica. We blessed the Lord for his goodness in sparing us to see the place of our destination; and here I will mention my object in visiting Jamaica. I hoped that I might aid, in some small degree, to raise up and encourage the emancipated inhabitants, and teach the young children to read and work, to fear God, and put their trust in the Saviour. Mr. Whitmarsh and his friend came on board and welcomed us. On Tuesday we went on shore to see the place and the people; my intention had been to go directly to Kingston, but
46the people urged me to stay with them, and I thought it my duty to comply, and wrote to Mr. Ingraham to that effect. I went first to see the minister, Mr. Abbott; I thought as he was out, I had better wait his return. The people promised to pay me for my services, or send me to Kingston. When Mr. Abbott returned he made me an offer, which I readily accepted. As I lodged in the house of one of the class-leaders I attended her class a few times, and when I learned the method, I stopped. She then commenced her authority and gave me to understand if I did not comply I should not have any pay from that society. I spoke to her of the necessity of being born of the spirit of God before we become members of the church of Christ, and told her I was sorry to see the people blinded in such a way.
She was very angry with me and soon accomplished her end by complaining of me to the minister; and I soon found I was to be dismissed, unless I would yield obedience to this class-leader. I told the minister that I did not come there to be guided by a poor foolish woman. He then told me that I had spoken something about the necessity of moral conduct in church members. I told him I had, and in my opinion, I was sorry to see it so much neglected. He replied, that he hoped I would not express myself so except to
47him; they have the gospel, he continued, and let them into the church. I do not approve of women societies; they destroy the world's convention; the American women have too many of them. I talked with him an hour. He paid me for the time I had been there. I continued with the same opinion, that something must be done for the elevation of the children, and it is for that I labor. I am sorry to say the meeting house is more like a play house than a place of worship. The pulpit stands about the middle of the building, behind are about six hundred children that belong to the society; there they are placed for Sabbath School, and there they remain until service is over, playing most of the time. The house is crowded with the aged and the young, the greater part of them barefooted. Some have on bonnets, but most of the women wear straw hats such as our countrymen wear.
I gave several Bibles away, not knowing that I was hurting the minister's sale, the people buy them of him at a great advance. I gave up my school at St. Ann, the 18th of March. I took the fever and was obliged to remain until the 7th of April. The people of St. Ann fulfilled their promise which they made to induce me to stop with them. On the 11th of April I arrived at Kingston, and was conducted to the Mico Institution,
48where Mr. Ingraham directed me to find him; he had lost his pulpit and his school, but Mr. Venning, the teacher, kindly received me. I remained there longer than I expected; the next morning he kindly sent one of the young men with me to the packet for my baggage. I then called on the American Consul, he told me he was very glad to see me for such a purpose as I had in view in visiting Jamaica, but he said it was a folly for the Americans to come to the island to better their condition; he said they came to him every day praying him to send them home.
He likewise mentioned to me the great mortality among the emigrants. The same day I saw the Rev. J.S. Beadslee, one of our missionaries, who wished me to accompany him forty miles into the interior of the country.
On May the 18th, I attended the Baptist Missionary meeting, in Queen Street Chapel; the house was crowded. Several ministers spoke of the importance of sending the gospel to Africa; they complimented the congregation on their liberality the last year, having given one hundred pounds sterling; they hoped this year they would give five hundred pounds, as there were five thousand members at the present time. There was but one colored minister on the platform. It
49is generally the policy of these missionaries to have the sanction of colored ministers, to all their assessments and taxes. The colored people give more readily, and are less suspicious of imposition, if one from themselves recommends the measure; this the missionaries understand very well, and know how to take advantage of it. On the 22d and 23d of June, the colored Baptists held their missionary meeting, the number of ministers, colored and mulattoes, was 18, the colored magistrates were present. The resolutions that were offered were unanimously accepted, and every thing was done in love and harmony. After taking up a contribution, they concluded with song and prayer, and returned home saying jocosely, "they would turn macroon hunters."
Mack is the name of a small coin in circulation at Jamaica. I called, on my return, at the market, and counted the different stalls. For vegetables and poultry 196, all numbered and under cover; beside 70 on the ground; these are all attended by colored women. The market is conveniently arranged, as they can close the gates and leave all safe. There are nineteen stalls for fresh fish, eighteen for pork, thirty for beef, eighteen for turtle. These are all regular built markets, and are kept by colored men and
50women. These are all in one place. Others also may be found, as with us, all over the city. Thus it may be hoped they are not the stupid set of beings they have been called; here
surely we see industry
; they are enterprising and quick in their perceptions, determined to possess themselves, and to possess property besides, and quite able to take care of themselves. They wished to know why I was so inquisitive about them. I told them we had heard in America that you are lazy, and that emancipation has been of no benefit to you; I wish to inform myself of the truth respecting you, and give a true account on my return. Am I right? More than two hundred people were around me listening to what I said.
They thanked me heartily. I gave them some tracts, and told them if it so pleased God I would come back to them and bring them some more books, and try what could be done with some of the poor children to make them better. I then left them, and went to the East Market, where there are many of all nations. The Jews and Spanish looked at me very black. The colored people gathered around me. I gave them little books and tracts, and told them I hoped to see them again.
There are in this street upwards of a thousand young women and children, living in sin of every
51kind. From thence I went to the jail, where there were seventeen men, but no women. There were in the House of Correction three hundred culprits; they are taken from there, to work on plantations. I went to the Admiral's house, where the emigrants find a shelter until they can find employment, then they work and pay
for their passage. Many leave their homes and come to Jamaica under the impression that they are to have their passage free, and on reaching the island are to be found, until they can provide for themselves.
How the mistake originated, I am not able to say, but on arriving here, strangers poor and unacclimated, find the debt for passage money hard and unexpected. It is remarkable that whether fresh from Africa, or from other islands, from the South or from New England, they all feel deceived on this point. I called on many Americans and found them poor and discontented,--rueing the day they left their country, where, notwithstanding many obstacles, their parents lived and died,--a country they helped to conquer with their toil and blood; now shall their children stray abroad and starve in foreign lands.
There is in Jamaica an institution, established in 1836, called the Mico Institution. It is named after its founder, Madame Mico, who left a large
52sum of money to purchase, (or rather to ransom, the one being a Christian act, the other a sin against the Holy Ghost, who expressly forbids such traffic.) Madame Mico left this money to ransom the English who were in bondage to the Algerines; if there was any left, it was to be devoted to the instruction of the colored people in the British Isles.
Beside the Mico establishment, there are in Jamaica twenty-seven church missionary schools, where children are taught gratis. Whole number taught, 952. London Missionary Society Schools, sixteen; the number taught not ascertained. National Schools, thirty-eight. There are also the Wesleyan, Presbyterian and Moravian Schools; it is supposed there are private schools, where three or four thousand are educated in the city of Kingston, and twice the number in the street without the means of instruction. All the children and adults taught in the above named schools, are taxed £1 a year, except the English Church School, this is the most liberal. The Rev. Mr. Horton, a Baptist minister in Kingston, told me he had sent ninety children away from the Baptist school because they did not bring their money. It is sufficient to say they had it not to bring!
Most of the people of Jamaica are emancipated
53slaves, many of them are old, worn out and degraded. Those who are able to work, have yet many obstacles to contend with, and very little to encourage them; every advantage is taken of their ignorance; the same spirit of cruelty is opposed to them that held them for centuries in bondage; even religious teaching is bartered for their hard earnings, while they are allowed but thirty-three cents a day, and are told if they will not work for that they shall not work at all; an extraordinary price is asked of them for every thing they may wish to purchase, even the Bibles are sold to them at a large advance on the first purchase. Where are their apologists, if they are found wanting in the strict morals that Christians ought to practice? Who kindly says, forgive them when they err. "Forgive them, this is the bitter fruit of slavery." Who has integrity sufficient to hold the balance when these poor people are to be weighed? Yet their present state is blissful, compared with slavery.
Many of the farmers bring their produce twenty or thirty miles. Some have horses or ponys, but most of them bring their burdens on their head. As I returned from St. Andrew's Mountain, where I had been sent for by a Mr. Rose, I was overtaken by a respectable looking man on horseback; we rode about ten miles in company.
54The story he told me of the wrongs he and his wife had endured while in slavery, are too horrible to narrate. My heart sickens when I think of it. He asked me many questions, such as where I came from? Why I came to that Isle? Where had I lived, &c. I told him I was sent for by one of the missionaries to help him in his school. Indeed, said he, our color need the instruction. I asked him why the colored people did not hire for themselves? We would be very glad to, he replied, but our money is taken from us so fast we cannot. Sometimes they say we must all bring 1
.; to raise this, we have to sell at a loss or to borrow, so that we have nothing left for ourselves; the Macroon hunters take all--this is a nickname they give the missionaries and the class-leaders--a cutting sarcasm this!
Arrived at a tavern, about a mile from Kingston, I bade the man adieu, and stopped for my guide. The inn-keeper kindly invited me in; he asked me several questions, and I asked him as many. How do the people get along, said I, since the emancipation? The negroes, he replied, will have the island in spite of the d--.Do not you see how they live, and how much they can bear? We cannot do so. This man was an Englishman, with a large family of mulatto children. I returned with my mind fully
55made up what to do. Spent three weeks at the Mico establishment, and three with my colored friends from America. We thought something ought to be done for the poor girls that were destitute; they consulted with their friends, called a meeting, and formed a society of forty; each agreed to pay three dollars a year and collect, and provide a house, while I came back to America to raise the money for all needful articles for the school. Here I met Mr. Ingraham for the first time; he had come from the mountains, and his health had rapidly declined. Wishing to get his family home before the Lord took him away, he embarked for Baltimore in the Orb, and I sailed for Philadelphia, July 20th, 1841, twenty-one days from Jamaica, in good health. I found there, Fitz W. Sargent's family, from Gloucester, who I lived with when a little girl; they received me very kindly, and gave donations of books and money for that object.
I met the Anti Slavery Society at Mrs. Lucretia Motts, who took great interest in the cause. I visited among the friends, and spent my time very pleasantly. August 5th, I started for New York; arrived safely, and staid with an old friend; ascertained that Mr. Ingraham's family were at Newark, at Theodore Wells'. He died four days after his arrival. I was invited to Mrs. Ingraham's,
56(his cousin's widow) to spend a week. There I met with much encouragement to labor in the cause. Missionaries were coming and going, and all seemed to be interested in my object. Saturday evening I went to the bath room, where I left my neck ribbon: returning after it, I had the misfortune to fall through an open trap door, down fifteen feet, on hard coal. I had no light with me. I dislocated my left shoulder, and was generally very much bruised; my screams brought the girl to my assistance, and by the help of God she brought me out of the cellar; it was some time before a surgeon could be procured; at last Dr. Josselyn came to my relief, and set my shoulder. I was obliged to remain at Mrs. Ingraham's three weeks; as soon as I was able, I left there for Boston. I intended to have gone by the western boat, but by mistake got on board Captain Comstock's, and was exposed on deck all night in a damp east wind, and when I arrived at the landing I could not assist myself; a sailor, who saw and pitied my situation, kindly took care of me and my baggage, and, on my arrival in Boston, procured a carriage for me. If it had not been for his kindness, I know not how I should have got along.
As soon as I was able, I commenced my task of collecting funds for my Free Labor School in
57Jamaica. I collected in Boston and vicinity, in New York and Philadelphia, but not sufficient to make up the required sum, and I was obliged to take fifty dollars from my own purse, thinking that when I returned to Jamaica, they would refund the money to me. April 15th, embarked on board the brig Norma, of New York, for Jamaica. I arrived at Kingston May 6th, and found every thing different from what it was when I left; the people were in a state of agitation, several were hanged, and the insurrection was so great that it was found necessary to increase the army to quell it. Several had been hanged. On the very day I arrived a man was hanged for shooting a man as he passed through the street. Such was the state of things that it was not safe to be there.
A few young people met to celebrate their freedom on an open plain, where they hold their market; their former masters and mistresses, envious of their happiness, conspired against them, and thought to put them down by violence. This only served to increase their numbers; but the oppressors were powerful, and succeeded in accomplishing their revenge, although many of them were relations. There was a rule among the slave holders, to take care of the children they have by their slaves; they select them out and place them in asylums. Those who lived with
58their white fathers were allowed great power over their slave mothers and her slave children; my heart was often grieved to see their conduct to their poor old grand parents. Those over twenty-one were freed in 1834, all under twenty-one were to serve their masters till twenty-one. It is well known that at that time, the children, alike with others, received twenty-five dollars a head for their relatives. Were I to tell all my eyes have seen among that people, it would not be credited. It is well known that those that were freed, knowing their children were still in bondage, were not satisfied. In the year 1838, general freedom throughout the British Islands gave the death blow to the power of the master, and mothers received with joy their emancipated children; they no longer looked the picture of despair, fearing to see their mulatto son or daughter beating or abusing their younger brothers and sisters of a darker skin. On this occasion there was an outrage committed by those who were in power. What little the poor colored people had gathered during their four years of freedom, was destroyed by violence; their fences were broken down, and their horses and hogs taken from them. Most of the mulattoes and masters are educated, many of them are very poor, some are very rich; the property is left to the oldest daughter, she divides it with her
59brothers and sisters; since slavery ended many of them have married; those who are poor, and mean to live in sin, make for New Orleans and other slave States; many of the planters left the island when slavery was abolished. In June, 1841, a number of people arrived from Sierra Leone at Jamaica; these were Maroons who were banished from the island. They were some of the original natives who inhabited the mountains, and were determined to destroy the whites. These Maroons would secrete themselves in trees, and arrest the whites as they passed along; they would pretend to guide them, when they would beat and abuse them as the whites did their slaves; the English, finding themselves defeated in all their plans to subdue them, proposed to take them by craft. They made a feast in a large tavern in Kingston, and invited them to come. After they had eaten, they were invited on board three ships of war that were all ready to set sail for Sierra Leone; many of them were infants in their mother's arms, they were well taken care of by the English and instructed; they were removed about the year 1796--they are bright and intelligent; I saw and conversed with them; when they heard of the abolition of slavery, they sent a petition to Queen Victoria that they might return to Jamaica, which was granted. Several of them were very old
60when they returned; they were men and women when they left the island, they had not forgot the injuries they had received from the hands of man, nor the mercies of God to them, nor his judgments to their enemies. Their numbers were few, but their power was great; they say the island, of right, belongs to them. Had there been a vessel in readiness, I should have come back immediately, it seemed useless to attempt to establish a Manual Labor School, as the government was so unsettled that I could not be protected. Some of my former friends were gone as teachers to Africa, and some to other parts of the island. I called on the American Consul to consult with him, he said that although such a school was much wanted, yet every thing seemed so unsettled that I had no courage to proceed. I told him there was so much excitement that I wished to leave the island as soon as he could find me a passage, it seemed useless to spend my time there. As soon as it was known that I intended to return, a movement was made to induce me to remain. I was persuaded to try the experiment for three months, not thinking their motive was bad. Before I left the United States, I got all that was needed, within fifty dollars. The fifty dollars I got from my own purse, expecting they would pay me. It cost me ten dollars for freight, and twenty-five for passage
61money; these people that I had hoped to serve, were much taken up with the things I had brought, they thought that I had money, and I was continually surrounded; the thought of color was no where exhibited, much notice was taken of me. I was invited to breakfast in one place, and to dine in another, &c. A society was organized, made up of men and women of authority. A constitution was drafted by my consent, by those who were appointed to meet at my rooms. Between the time of the adjournment they altered it to suit themselves. At the time appointed we came together with a spirit apparently becoming any body of Christians; most of them were members of Christian churches. The meeting was opened with reading the Scriptures and prayer. Then said the leader, since our dear sister has left her native land and her friends to come to us, we welcome her with our hearts and hands. She will dwell among us, and we will take care of her--Brethren think of it! after which he sat down, and the constitution was called for. The Preamble held out all the flattery that a fool could desire; after which they commenced the articles, supposing that they could do as they thought best. The fourth article unveiled their design. As we have designed to take care of our sister,
we the undersigned will take charge of all she has brought;
62the vote was called, every person rose in a moment except myself: every eye was upon me; one asked me why I did not vote, I made no answer--they put the vote again and again, I remained seated. Well, said the President, we can do nothing without her vote; they remained some time silent, and then broke up the meeting. The next day the deacon called to see what the state of my mind was, and some of the women proposed that we should have another meeting. I told them no, I should do no more for them. As soon as they found they could not get the things in the way they intended, they started to plunder me; but I detected their design, and was on my guard. I disposed of the articles, and made ready to leave when an opportunity presented. A more skilful plan than this, Satan never designed, but the power of God was above it. It is not surprising that this people are full of deceit and lies, this is the fruits of slavery, it makes master and slaves knaves. It is the rule where slavery exists to swell the churches with numbers, and hold out such doctrines as,
obedience to tyrants
, is a duty to God. I went with a Baptist woman to the house of a minister of the Church of England, to have her grandchild christened before it died; she told me if she did not have it christened, it would rise up in judgment against her. This poor deluded
63creature was a class leader in the Baptist Church, and such is the condition of most of the people: they seemed blinded to every thing but money. They are great for trade, and are united in their determination for procuring property, of which they have amassed a vast amount. Notwithstanding I had made over various articles to one of the American missionaries, a Mr. J.S.O. Beadslee, of Clarendon Mountains, I also gave to others, where they were needed, which receipts and letters I have in my possession. Notwithstanding all this, they made another attempt to rob me, and as a passage could not be obtained for me to return home, I was obliged to go to the Mico establishment again for safety, such was the outrage. Houses were broken open and robbed every night. I came very near being shot: there was a certain place where we placed ourselves the first of the evening. A friend came to bring us some refreshments, I had just left the window when a gun was fired through it, by one that often sat with us; this was common in the time of slavery. Previous to vessels arriving, passages were engaged. I disposed of my articles and furniture at a very small profit. On the 1st of August, Capt. A. Miner arrived, and advertised for passengers. The American Consul procured me a passage, and on
64the 18th of August, myself and nine other passengers embarked for New York.
Before giving an account of the voyage from Jamaica, it may prove interesting to some readers, to have a brief description of the country. With her liberty secured to her, may she now rise in prosperity, morality, and religion, and become a happy people, whose God is the Lord.