The Earlham Series, No. 15.
The Baldwin Library
m 1 Ploda
MR. B. was a great merchant in Balti-
more. One morning' as he was passing
over the vessels that lay at the wharf, he
stepped upon the deck of one, at the
stern of which he saw a negro sitting,
whose dejected countenance gave indi-
cation of distress. He accosted himwith-
Hey my man, what is the matter ?"
The negro lifted up his eyes, and
looking at Mr. B., replied,-
"Ah, massa, I'se in great trouble."
"What about ? "
Kase I'se fetched up to be sold."
"What for? what have you been
doing? have you been stealing? or did
you run away ? or what ?"
1 Prior to the abolition of slavery in the United States.
4 Old Aoses.
"No, no, massa, none o' dat; it's
bekase I don't mine de audes."
What kind of orders ?"
"Well, massa stranger, I will tell you.
Massa Willum werry strick man, and
werry nice man too, and ebry body on
de place got to mine him, and I break
trew de rule, but I didn't tend to break
de rule doe; I forgot myself, an' I got
"It is for getting drunk then, is it ?"
Oh no, sah, not dat another "
"Then why are you to be sold ?"
For prayin, sah."
"For praying; that is a strange tale.
Will not your master let you pray ?"
Oh yes, sah, he let me pray easy, but
I hollers too loud."
"And why do you halloo in your
"Kase de Spirit comes on me, an' I
Old Moses. 5
gets happy 'fore I knows it; den I gone;
kant trol myself den, I knows nutting
'bout massa's rule."
"And do you suppose your master'
will really sell you for that ?"
Oh yes, no help for me now: all de
men in the world couldn't help me now;
kase w'en Massa Willum say one ting
he no do anoder."
What is your name ?"
What is your master's name ?"
Massa name Colonel Willum C."
"Where does he live ? "
Down on de Easin Shoah."
Is he a good master ? "
Oh yes, no better massa in de world."
Stand up and let me look at you."
And Moses stood up and presented a
"Where is your master ? "
6 Old Moses.
"Yander he is, jis coming to de warf."
As Mr. B. started for the shore he
heard Moses give a heavy sigh, followed
by a deep groan. Moses was not at all
pleased with the present phase of affairs.
He was strongly impressed with the idea
that Mr. B. was a trader, and intended to
buy him, and it was this that made him
so unwilling to communicate to Mr. B.
the desired information. Mr. B. reached
the wharf just as Colonel C. did. He
introduced himself, and said,-
"I understand you want to sell that
negro man yonder on board the
Colonel C. replied that he did.
What do you ask for him ?"
Seven hundred dollars."
How old do you reckon him to be ?"
"Somewhere about thirty."
"Is he healthy?"
Old Moses. 7
"Very'; he never had any sickness in
his life, except one or two spells of the
Is he hearty ?"
Yes, sir, he will eat as much as any
man ought, and it does him good."
Is he a good hand ?"
"Yes, sir, he is the best hand on my
place. He is steady, honest, and in-
dustrious. He has been my foreman
for the last ten years, and a more trusty
negro I never knew."
Why do you wish to sell him ?"
Because he disobeyed my orders.
As I said, he is my foreman, and that
he might be available at any moment
I might want him, I built his hut
within a hundred yards of my own
house, and I have never rung the bell
at any time in the night or morning
that his horn did not answer in five
8 Old Moses.
minutes after. But two years ago he
got religion, and commenced what he
terms family prayer-that is, prayer in
his hut every night and morning: and
when he began his prayer it was im-
possible to tell when he would stop,
especially if (as he termed it) he got
happy. Then he would sing and pray
and halloo for an hour or two together,
that you might hear him nearly mile off.
And he would pray for me and my wife
and my children; and our whole family
connexion to the third generation; and
sometimes when we would have visitors,
Moses' prayers would interrupt the con-
versation and destroy the enjoyment of
the whole company. The womenwould
cry, and the children would cry, and it
would get me almost frantic; and even
after I had retired it would sometimes
be near daylight before I could go to
Cld Moses. 9
sleep, for it appeared to me that I could
hear Moses pray for three hours after he
had finished. I bore as long as I could,
and then forbade his praying any more,
and Moses promised obedience, but he
soon transgressed; and my rule is never
to whip, but whenever a negro proves
incorrigible, I sell him. This keeps them
in better subjection, and is less trouble
than whipping. And I pardoned Moses
twice for disobedience in praying so
loud ; but the third time I knew I must
sell him, or every negro on the farm
would soon be regardless of my orders."
"You spoke of Moses' hut ; I suppose
from that he has a family ?"
Yes, he has a woman and three
children, or wife, I suppose, he calls her
now, for soon after he got religion he
asked me if they might be married, and
I presume they were."
10 Old Moses.
What will you take for her and the
If you want them for your own use
I will take seven hundred dollars; but
I shall not sell Moses nor them to go
out of the State."
I wish them all for my own use,
and will give you fourteen hundred
Mr. B. and Colonel C. then went to
B.'s store, drew up the writings, and
closed the sale; after which they re-
turned to the vessel, and Mr. B. ap-
proached the negro, who sat with his
eyes fixed upon the deck, wrapt in
meditation of 'the most awful fore-
bodings, and said-
"Well, Moses, I have bought you."
Moses made a very low bow, and
every muscle of his face worked with
emotion as he replied,-
Old Moses. II
"Is you, massa? where is I gwine,
massa ? Is I gwine to Georgia ?"
"No," said Mr. B. ; "I am a merchant
here in the city; and I want you
to attend on the store, and I have pur-
chased your wife and children too,
that you may not be separated."
"Bress God for dat ; and massa, kin
I go to meeting' sometimes ?"
"Yes, Moses, you can go to church
three times on the Sabbath, and every
night in the week, and you can pray as
often as you choose, and as loud as you
choose, and as long as you choose; and
every time you pray, whether it be at
home or in the church, I want you to
pray for me, my wife, and all my chil-
dren; for, if you are a good man, your
prayers will do us no harm, and we need
them very much; and if you wish to,
you may pray for everybody of my
12 Old Moses.
name in the State. It will not injure
While Mr. B. was dealing out these
privileges to Moses, the negro's eyes
danced in their socket, and his full heart
laughed outright for gladness, exposing
two rows of as even clean ivories as any
African can boast; and his heart's
response was, Bress God, bress God all
de time, and bress you too, massa;
Moses neber tinks' bout he gwine to
have all dese commondationers; dis
make me tink 'bout Joseph in de Egypt."
And after Moses had poured a few
blessings upon Colonel C., and bidden
him a warm adieu, and requested him
to. give his love and farewell to his
mistress, the children, and all the
servants, he followed Mr. B. to the store,
to enter upon the functions of his new
Old Moses. 13
The return of the schooner brought
to Moses his wife and children.
Early the next spring as Mr. B. one
day was standing at the store door, he
saw a man leap upon the wharf from
the deck of a vessel and walk hurriedly
towards the store. He soon recognized
him as Colonel C. They exchanged
salutations, and to the Colonel's inquiry
after Moses, Mr. B. replied that he was
upstairs measuring grain, and invited
him to walk up and see him. Soon Mr.
B.'s attention was arrested by a very
confused noise above. He listened and
heard an unusual shuffling of feet, some
one sobbing violently, and some one
talking very hurriedly; and when he
reflected on Colonel C.'s peculiar expres-
sion of countenance, he became alarmed,
and determined to see what was trans-
14 Old Moses.
When he reached the head of the
stairs he was startled by seeing Moses
in the middle of the floor down upon
one knee, with his arm around the
Colonel's waist, and talking most rapidly,
while the Colonel stood weeping audibly.
So soon as the Colonel could sufficiently
control his feelings, he told Mr. B. that
he had never been able to free himself
from the influence of Moses' prayers,
and that during the past year he and
his wife and his children had been con-
verted to God.
Moses responded: "Bress God, Massa
C., doe I way up hea, I neber forgit you
in my prayers; I oller put de ole massa
side de new one. Bress God, dis make
Moses tink about Joseph in de Egypt
The Colonel then stated to Mr. B.
that his object in coming to Baltimore
Old Moses. 15
was to buy Moses and his family back
again. But Mr. B. assured him that was
out of the question, for he could not part
with him; and he intended to manumit
Moses and his wife at forty, and his
children at thirty-five years of age.
Moses was not far wrong in his refer-
ence to Joseph. For when Joseph was
sold to Egypt, God overruled it to his
good, and he obtained blessings that
were far beyond his expectations; so
with Moses. Joseph eventually proved
the instrument, in God's hands, of saving
the lives of those who sold him. Moses
proved the instrument, in God's hands,
of saving the man's soul who sold him.
Old Moses is still living. He long
since obtained his freedom, and at pre-
sent occupies a comfortable house of his
own, and is doing well for both worlds.
,..A <.i) i/^..^
S. W. PARTRIDGE AND Co., 9, Paternoster Row, London.