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The Fugitive Blacksmithor, Events in the History of James W. C. Pennington   By: (1809-1870)

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THE FUGITIVE BLACKSMITH; OR, EVENTS IN THE HISTORY OF JAMES W.C. PENNINGTON, PASTOR OF A PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, NEW YORK, FORMERLY A SLAVE IN THE STATE OF MARYLAND, UNITED STATES.

"Let mine outcasts dwell with thee, Moab; be thou a covert to them from the face of the spoiler." ISAIAH xvi. 4.

Second Edition.

LONDON: CHARLES GILPIN, 5, BISHOPSGATE WITHOUT.

1849

[ Transcriber's Note: This project was transcribed from a contemporary printing of the work, not from the 1849 edition. Certain spellings may have been modernized and typographic and printer's errors changed from the original. ]

MR. CHARLES GILPIN,

MY DEAR SIR,

The information just communicated to me by you, that another edition of my little book, "The Fugitive Blacksmith," is called for, has agreeably surprised me. The British public has laid me under renewed obligations by this mark of liberality, which I hasten to acknowledge. I would avail myself of this moment also, to acknowledge the kindness of the gentlemen of the newspaper press for the many favourable reviews which my little book has received. It is to them I am indebted, in no small degree, for the success with which I have been favoured in getting the book before the notice of the public.

Yours truly,

J.W.C. PENNINGTON.

Hoxton, Oct. 15th, 1849.

PREFACE.

The brief narrative I here introduce to the public, consists of outline notes originally thrown together to guide my memory when lecturing on this part of the subject of slavery. This will account for its style, and will also show that the work is not full.

The question may be asked, Why I have published anything so long after my escape from slavery? I answer I have been induced to do so on account of the increasing disposition to overlook the fact, that THE SIN of slavery lies in the chattel principle, or relation. Especially have I felt anxious to save professing Christians, and my brethren in the ministry, from falling into a great mistake. My feelings are always outraged when I hear them speak of "kind masters," "Christian masters," "the mildest form of slavery," "well fed and clothed slaves," as extenuations of slavery; I am satisfied they either mean to pervert the truth, or they do not know what they say. The being of slavery, its soul and body, lives and moves in the chattel principle, the property principle, the bill of sale principle; the cart whip, starvation, and nakedness, are its inevitable consequences to a greater or less extent, warring with the dispositions of men.

There lies a skein of silk upon a lady's work table. How smooth and handsome are the threads. But while that lady goes out to make a call, a party of children enter the apartment, and in amusing themselves, tangle the skein of silk, and now who can untangle it? The relation between master and slave is even as delicate as a skein of silk: it is liable to be entangled at any moment.

The mildest form of slavery, if there be such a form, looking at the chattel principle as the definition of slavery, is comparatively the worst form. For it not only keeps the slave in the most unpleasant apprehension, like a prisoner in chains awaiting his trial; but it actually, in a great majority of cases, where kind masters do exist, trains him under the most favourable circumstances the system admits of, and then plunges him into the worst of which it is capable.

It is under the mildest form of slavery, as it exists in Maryland, Virginia, and Kentucky, that the finest specimens of coloured females are reared. There are no mothers who rear, and educate in the natural graces, finer daughters than the Ethiopian women, who have the least chance to give scope to their maternal affections. But what is generally the fate of such female slaves? When they are not raised for the express purpose of supplying the market of a class of economical Louisian and Mississippi gentlemen, who do not wish to incur the expense of rearing legitimate families, they are, nevertheless, on account of their attractions, exposed to the most shameful degradation, by the young masters in the families where it is claimed they are so well off... Continue reading book >>




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