Biography of an American Bondman
"What! mothers from their children riven?
What! God's own image bought and sold?
to market driven,
And bartered, as the brutes, for gold?"
and mismanagement had so far reduced the Doctor's finances, that he
found himself compelled to sell some of his slaves to repair his affairs, and Elizabeth, William's
mother, was among the first that were sold. William had three brothers, who, together with his
mother, were taken to the St. Louis negro market, and sold to the highest bidder. The boys were
purchased by a slave-trader, and sent off to the lower country; but the mother was more fortunate,
and became the slave of Isaac Mansfield, a gentleman residing in the city of St. Louis. The last
tidings that William had of his brothers was, that they had been brought by a planter, and sent to
his farm on the Yazoo River. If still living, they are lingering out a miserable existence on a
cotton, sugar, or rice plantation, in a part of the country where the life of the slave has no parallel
in deeds of atrocity. Nothing can be worse than slavery in Louisiana and Mississippi, on the
banks of the noblest river in the world. A ride down that beautiful stream on one of the western
floating palaces, causes one's heart to ache at seeing humanity so degraded. The rich plantations,
waving with green
18and golden crops of cane, are interspersed here and there by a cotton plantation, with intervals of
untrodden forests hanging over the banks, showing Nature in her most luxuriant state. Nothing
can exceed the grandeur and beauty of the land thus cursed by the foul system of negro slavery.
Truly may it be said, that this outrageous and unnatural institution has monopolized the best soil
and finest climate in the New World.