Article Title: "A Horrible Picture! An abolitionist declamation saying that Fernandina and St. Marys are
at the center of an illicit 'chain' to smuggle slaves into the far reaches of the United States."
Published in: National Intelligencer
Place of Publication: Washington, DC
Publication Date: 3/14/1818
A HORRIBLE PICTURE!
FROM THE SAVANNAH REPUBLICAN.
If there had been no other motive for the suppression of the Amelia expedition, a sufficient reason
would be found, in putting a stop to the importation of Africans, and the measure would have done
equal honor to the head and heart of our chief magistrate. Have the wise and virtuous of or own
country enacted laws, only for the purpose of having them violated ? Are abolition societies daily
established in the different sections of our republic in mere mockery ? Or are we in earnest, in
desiring to put an end to this traffic, so odious in the sight of God and man ? Are proofs wanting ?
We refer to the records of Savannah. Will it be credited, that a regular chain of posts is established
from the head of St. Mary's river to the upper country, and through the Indian nation, by means of
which, these emaciated wretches, are hurried and transferred to every part of the country. The
woodsmen of the country, bordering on the river St. Mary's ride, like so many Arabs, loaded with
slaves, ready for market. Pursuit is useless, they push through uninhabited parts, known only to
themselves ; and with a spirit of enterprise, fitted for better purposes, elude all search. If ready for
forming a caravan, an Indian alarm is created, that the woods may be less frequented ; if pursued in
Georgia, they escape into Florida. What will the humane say, when told of the horrors of these
miserable Africans ? One small schooner of about 60 tons, contained 130 souls ; they were almost
packed into a small space, between a floor laid over the water casks and the decknot near three
feetinsufficient for them to set uprightand so close that chafing against each other, their bones pierced
the skin, and became galled and ulcerated by the motion of the vesseltheir food a very stinted
allowance, consisted of rotten rice, in a state of fermentation, and so warm as to comfort their frozen
handsnumbers died of hunger, cold and miserywhile others crawled about, a sort of living anatomies,
dragged, naked and shivering, in this (to them) cold climate and season from their" prison house"
and hurried off, on long and painful journies, to satisfy the cupidity of unfeeling adventurers. Putting
aside the agonies of the body, what tortures of mind have these afflicted sons of Africa not undergone
! When these unhappy sufferers were re-captured by the Saranac, the commonest sailors on board,
touched with the tenderest sympathy, divided amongst them, their clothes, and every aid that
circumstances made possible, was humanely afforded by the officers. What a sight has Fernandina
exhibited ! 'This cradle of liberty,' as some would persuade the publicwhen privateer sailors have led
about, and sold their shares of the spoil to the highest bidder. What a specimen of government !
What a proof of connection with Mexico and Venezuelathat forbid this traffic in the new government.
But has the President been informed of all of this ? Can we suppose that the public officers have
been silent spectators of all these horrors? The partial publication of these reports answer such
interrogationthis is but a faint picture of this monstrous trade. All that has been written and said on
the subject of barbarity and cruelty, is yet extant, whenever it is tolerated, and man when he made a
trade of his fellow, like the hyena, becomes the " fellest of the fell." This much for humanity's sakebut
for the law, it was the duty of the President to prevent its violation by driving from our frontier this
horde of marauders, who disregarded and insulted it, and thanks to himhe has done so.