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Trial and Imprisonment of Jonathan Walker, at Pensacola, Florida, for Aiding Slaves to Escape from Bondage
Reproduced from the frontispiece of the 1846 edition.
Trial and Imprisonment of Jonathan Walker, at Pensacola, Florida, for Aiding Slaves to Escape from Bondage LibraryPress@UF,
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The Florida and the Caribbean Open Books SeriesIn rf, the University Press of Florida, in collaboration with the George A. Smathers Libraries of the University of Florida, received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, under the Humanities Open Books program, to republish books related to Florida and the Caribbean and to make them freely available through an open access platform. ne resulting list of books is the Florida and the Caribbean Open Books Series published by the LibraryPress@UF in collaboration with the University of Florida Press, an imprint of the University Press of Florida. A panel of distinguished scholars has selected the series titles from the UPF list, identied as essential reading for scholars and students. n e series is composed of titles that showcase a long, distin guished history of publishing works of Latin American and Caribbean scholarship that connect through generations and places. ne breadth and depth of the list demonstrates Floridas commitment to transnational history and regional studies. Selected reprints include Daniel Brintons A Guide-Book of Florida and the South (f), Cor nelis Goslingas e Dutch in the Caribbean and on the Wild Coast, (f), and Nelson Blakes Land into WaterWater into Land (fr). Also of note are titles from the Bicentennial Floridiana Facsimile Series. ne series, published in f in commemoration of Americas bicentenary, comprises twenty-ve books regarded as classics, out-of-print works that needed to be in more libraries and readers bookcases, including Sidney Laniers Florida: Its Scenery, Climate, and History (f) and Silvia Sunshines Petals Plucked from Sunny Climes (fr). T odays readers will benet from having free and open access to these works, as they provide unique perspectives on the historical
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nis book is reissued as part of the Humanities Open Books program, funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
BICENTENNIAL COMMISSION OF FLORIDA. Governor Reubin O'D. Askew, Honorary Chairman Lieutenant Governor Tom Adams, Chairman Pat Dodson, Vice Chairman Shelton Kemp, Executive Director George I. Baumgartner, North Miami Beach Wyon D. Childers, Pensacola Johnnie Ruth Clarke, St. Petersburg A. H. Craig, St. Augustine Dorothy Glisson, Tallahassee James A. Glisson, Tavares Jack D. Gordon, Miami Beach Richard S. Hodes, Tampa Joe Lang Kershaw, Miami Ney C. Landrum, Tallahassee Mrs. Raymond Mason, Jacksonville Mrs. E. D. Pearce, Coral Gables Charles E. Perry, Miami W. E. Potter, Orlando Samuel Proctor, Gainesville Ted Randell, Fort Myers F. Blair Reeves, Gainesville George E. Saunders, Winter Park Don Shoemaker, Miami
Vt BICENTENNIAL COMMISSION. Don L. Spicer, Tallahassee Harold W. Stayman, Jr., Tampa Alan Trask, Fort Meade Ralph Turlington, Tallahassee W. Robert Williams, Tallahassee Lori Wilson, Merritt Island
GENERAL EDITOR'S PREFACE. THE letters SS-Slave Stealerwere burned onto the right hand of Jonathan Walker in Pensacola in 1844. This cruel punishment placed him at once in the forefront of the American abolitionist movement. Walker, a poor and modest man who lived in obscurity all of his life, was convicted in a Pensacola court of helping slaves escape. Always an egalitarian, Walker had experienced little personal con tact with slavery until he came to live in the South. He abhorred oppression. He resented the way that men and women were brutalized and humiliated. His opposition to slavery was buttressed by the things that he saw on every hand. To him, the institution of slavery was completely devoid of either justification or virtue. The Declaration of Independence had de creed "that all men are created equal/' and this affirmation became Walker's creed. As he saw it, slavery was not only a black tragedy but it debased and corrupted all people, what ever their color or creed. That all men should have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness was the philosophy that had de-
viii PREFACE. manded political liberty in 1776 and had given birth to our nation. This was Jonathan Walk er's philosophy of life. In Pensacola, Walker agreed to take several blacks by boat to Nassau. Overtaken in the waters near Key West by a wrecking schooner, he was transported back to Pensacola to stand trial. He pleaded "not guilty" on grounds, that assisting men to escape from slavery was not a crime. "How could peaceably aiding those robbed of their liberty be considered stealing?" he asked. "Guilty" was the jury's ver dict. In addition to a fine, fifteen days impris onment, and standing in the pillory for one hour, Walker was to be branded. A roar of protest inflamed public opinion. In the North, Walker was hailed as an abolitionist martyr, as the "scarred veteran of the liberty war." Even in the South there were those who were repelled by this unnecessary harshness and cruelty. Released from imprisonment in Pen sacola, Walker was immediately drafted for the anti-slavery lecture circuit. He had not only a story to tell but a brand to show. Walker's hand became even more famous when John Greenleaf Whittier wrote a poem about it. The poem and a picture"an exact repre sentation" of the handwere printed in dozens of papers throughout the United States. The poem was also set to music and became a great favorite at countless anti-slavery gatherings.
PREFACE. IX The "Branded Hand" was recited by many generations of schoolchildren. Walker described his Florida experiences in Trial and Imprisonment of Jonathan Walker, at Pensacola, Florida, for Aiding Slaves to Es cape from Bondage, with an appendix contain ing a sketch of his life, published in Boston in 1845. Some critics compared it with Frederick Douglass's autobiography, and it was indeed significant in the anti-slavery movement. It was a simple story, told without embellishment, and readers admired Walker's courage and honesty, and particularly his commitment to emancipation. The book is a valuable source for the study of Florida history, and for this reason it was selected as one of the twenty-five volumes to be published in the Bicentennial Floridiana Facsimile Series. Completion of this series of rare, out-of-print books will make a substantial contribution to Florida history and to scholar ship in general. Scholars like Professor Joe M. Richardson of Florida State University, author of the Introduction to Walker's Trial and Im prisonment, were asked to do an introduction and to compile an index. In addition to the fac similes, the Florida Bicentennial Commission will publish a series of monographs, pamphlets, and books on Florida for use in the classroom and for the general public. The Commission is also sponsoring many state and local-Jevel
X PREFACE. programs aimed at achieving "goals that will make a lasting contribution to the welfare and betterment of the people of Florida and the United States." The Commission was set up by the Florida legislature to plan the state's in volvement in the national celebration. Professor Richardson points out in his In troduction that unlike some abolitionist tracts of the period there was little exaggeration in Trial and Imprisonment of Jonathan Walker. He describes it as "a measured, judicious, and forgiving treatment of his trial and imprison ment as he perceived it/* Walker makes many observations about slavery and the attitudes of white Floridians, but he rarely condemns individuals. His ordeal did not turn him into a bitter man. As Walker pointed out, and as Professor Richardson quotes, he endeavored to avoid "all false coloring and deviation from the simple truth." The strength of the book, according to Richardson, lay in its "Strict ad herence to the truth." This characteristic, he suggests, makes the book "more useful as a document for later historians than as an antislavery polemic." Joe Martin Richardson is professor of his tory at Florida State University and special izes in Reconstruction and black history. A native of the state of Missouri, he received his undergraduate education at Southwest Mis souri State College and his masters and Ph.D.
PREFACE. xi degrees at Florida State University. He is the author of The Negro in the Reconstruction of Florida, 1865-1877, published by the Florida State University Press, and reprinted by Trend House. His history of Fisk University has been accepted for publication. He has published sev eral articles dealing with various aspects of the Negro and Reconstruction history in pro fessional and scholarly journals. SAMUEL PROCTOR General Editor of the BICENTENNIAL FLORIDIANA FACSIMILE SERIES University of Florida
INTRODUCTION. Jonathan Walker was an obscure man who performed one notable act and then lapsed back into obscurity after several years of re sulting notoriety. Born March 22, 1799 of a poor family in Harwich, Massachusetts, Walker spent his first sixteen years on a small, sandy, subsistence Cape Cod farm. His formal education was meager.1 To his parents, work on the farm was more important than study in the schoolroom. At age seventeen Walker went to sea. From that time until 1835 he was a sailor, with oc casional interruptions for work on shore in the ship yards. Though uneducated, Walker was intelligent and observant and undoubtedly learned much of the world* He shivered through Russian winters and wilted under a burning equatorial sun. In 1818 he lay danger ously ill with a raging fever for more than twenty days in an East Indian village. Desti tute and totally dependent, he was cared for by an alien people whose language he could not speak. Probably he would later remember their kindness when he came in contact with American slaves. While he failed to distinguish himself par-
xiv INTRODUCTION. ticularly as a sailor, Walker believed that "a more than ordinary Providence" had attended him throughout his sailing career. Less than a year after his recovery from the earlier sickness, he almost lost his life in a severe gale in the English channel. While working the pumps Walker was knocked unconscious and washed into the lee scuppers of the ship. The storm staved in the bulwarks, taking Walker and all that was movable along. When the water cleared the deck, he was found crawling out between the lanyards of the lee main rigging. If not seized by his mates, he would soon have been washed overboard to certain death. Sev eral months afterward, he was catapulted over board from the fore top-sail yard arm. It was a dark, cold night. Fortunately, he came into contact with the bottom of the vessel, acci dentally caught a rope, and was dragged along until the captain heard his shouts. No one knew he had fallen, and again he was miracu lously rescued. In 1824 Walker was in Havana during the yellow fever epidemic. Dozens of people succumbed to the dread disease. Walker was prostrated, but after several days' flirta tion with death, he recovered. A simple and religious man, Walker perhaps came to believe that God had a special reason for permitting him to live.2 There is no way to determine absolutely how or if Walker's life at sea affected his atti-
INTRODUCTION. XV tude toward slavery. It is reasonable to sur mise that his association with other peoples and black sailors may have been important factors. Blacks served conspicuously on United States vessels. Walker, definitely an egalitarian, probably formed friendships with black men and shared their resentment at discrim inatory treatment in southern ports. It is pos sible also that his experiences as a seaman strengthened his tendency to despise all types of oppression. He strongly believed that next to the slave, the sailor was "thrown most shamefully into the scale of oppression, wrong, and neglect." Sailors were commonly subjected to scurrilous language, threats, floggings, and waving pistols, Walker said, and if the ordi nary seaman attempted to defend himself or his mates "from violent abuse or blows from an intemperate, overbearing, foul-mouthed" captain, he was charged with mutiny and thrown into prison "to undergo a mock trial with overwhelming prejudice and power ar rayed against him." Walker personally knew the feeling of being subject to virtually un limited power and authority. In none of his writings did Walker indicate what event or events turned him into an abo litionist. He claimed only that he became an abolitionist in 1831 and thereafter acted upon those principles.8 Circumstantial evidence points to William Lloyd Garrison as playing a
XVI INTRODUCTION. role in his public declaration of antislavery. Garrison, in Walker's view, was the pre eminent antislavery agitator, the "straight forward, unwavering, unflinching Editor, fronting the hottest of the battle for universal freedom and right." In his strictures against slavery Walker quoted Garrison more often than any source other than the scriptures. He was distinctly Garrisonian in his views to ward slavery, abolition, the church, and politi cal action. Garrison's Liberator began publica tion the same year Walker reputedly declared himself an abolitionist. Working out of Mas sachusetts, Walker undoubtedly was familiar with the Liberator. Perhaps he had heard Gar rison speak or had talked with him personally. Whatever the reasons, by 1831 he had strong antislavery sentiments. One of his friends later said that Walker was a conductor on the underground railroad from around 1832, but there is no proof for the claim.4 During the first thirty-five years of his life, Walker experienced little personal contact with slavery, but a decision made in 1835 resulted in his living several years in the South. In early 1835 he corresponded with Benjamin Lundy, who had recently secured a 138,000acre land grant in the Mexican province of Tamaulipas. Lundy intended to establish a refuge for blacks who wished to escape Ameri can slavery and prejudice.* Walker, impressed
INTRODUCTION. xvii with Lundy's scheme, agreed to accept an invi tation to join him but decided to examine the promised land before moving his family. As a result, in November 1835 Walker, accompanied by his twelve-year-old son and a mechanic, set sail from New Bedford, Massachusetts, in a twelve-ton vessel for Mexico/After a rough, stormy passage, the party arrived in Matamoras to find the country in an unsettled state and experiencing a growing prejudice against American citizens because of the TexasMexican War.8 Following a futile wait for others of the Lundy party to join him, Walker contracted with several Matamoras mercantile houses to carry mail for them to and from New Orleans.7 On a return trip from New Orleans, June 6,1836, Walker landed on the coast and was attacked by a band of robbers while disembarking. Walker's mechanic, R. Marble, fled, pursued by two armed men. Walker never saw him again. Walker's son dived into the surf and swam out to sea. Walker himself re ceived two musket balls, one through the wrist, the other in the abdomen. He asked for mercy, but quickly deciding that none was forthcom ing, plunged into the sea after his son/For tunately, the attack occurred at sundown. By divesting themselves of their clothing, Walker and his son were able to keep their heads above water until darkness permitted them to elude their attackers and come ashore some
xviii INTRODUCTION. distance from their vessel. Fearful of return ing to Matamoras they started toward the small village of Rancho, some forty miles dis tant at the mouth of the Rio del Norte. Trav eling afoot, suffering from pain, lack of water, and loss of blood (he could stanch the bleeding only by holding his wrist above his head), Walker and his son staggered into the village on the evening of June 7. Local citizens gen erously provided medical aid, food, water, and lodging.8 Always poor, Walker now was destitute. His boat and all provisions had been lost. Since his wounds prevented immediate travel or work, he was once again dependent upon the charity of a kindly and foreign people. After his wounds healed sufficiently (his arm was ever afterward lame), he built another boat and re turned to the United States. In order to earn desperately needed money, Walker determined to engage in the Alabama-Florida coastal trade rather than proceeding immediately to Massa chusetts. While involved in this venture he re putedly assisted several slaves who chanced to come aboard in obtaining their freedom. Eventually Walker settled in Pensacola, Flor ida. A resident remembered later that he had arrived in town in a "little sloop" loaded with bricks, potatoes, beets, and other notions. He rented a house and began retailing his cargo. In early 1837 Walker moved his family to Pen-
INTRODUCTION. XtX sacola, where he now remained for five years.9 Walker's abhorrence of oppression was strengthened and deepened by his stay in the South. At every opportunity he studied the operations and effects of the peculiar institution. He "scrutinized it in the parlor and in the kitchen, in the cottage, and in the field, in the city and in the country." He saw slaves brutally beaten, men and women treated as children or sometimes as animals. He read southern slave codes, saw advertisements for runaways, and viewed the humiliating spec tacle of men and women being poked and prodded and forced to perform before being sold at public auction. Walker came to believe as did Thomas Jefferson that "the whole com merce" between master and slave was "a per petual exercise of the most boisterous pas sions ; the most unremitting despotism on the one part, and degrading submission on the other." His observations confirmed his earlier views that slavery "ranked with the highest wrongs and crimes that ever were invented by the enemy of man." It was "ingeniously con trived to destroy the social and kind feelings existing between man and man." Furthermore the institution was detrimental to "the virtue and morals of both master and slave." Slavery was, Walker believed, "a family, community, political, and national poison." It obstructed the "circulating friendly and Christian sym-
XX INTRODUCTION. pathy" and gave "vent to the worst passions and most debasing and corroding feelings that human nature" could experience.10 Walker's reasons for opposing slavery were simple. There were many evils and no virtues in the institution. He firmly believed the lan guage of the Declaration of Independence: "That all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain un alienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Walker believed that God had "made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on the face of the whole earth," and that slavery was the "most heinous, unjust, oppressive and God-provoking system that ever cursed" mankind. Slavery, he said, nourished jealousy and discord in the country, "poisoning the life-streams" of the union and destroying "the mental and moral faculties of one portion" of the nation while corrupting and debasing the other.11 While in Pensacola Walker worked as a car penter, sailor, boatbuilder, and mechanic. On one occasion he contracted to build a portion of a proposed railroad, and when the railroad failed he was employed to live at the depot and care for the company's property. In the course of his work he was able to overcome his re pugnance to slavery sufficiently to hire a num ber of men from their owners to assist him. These black men boarded in his home on terms
INTRODUCTION. XXI of equality with the rest of the family. At meal time they ate with Walker while his wife and daughter waited the table. Although Walker was affiliated with no church in Flor ida, he was a religious man and invited his co workers to join in family prayers and services. John M'Kinlay, editor of the Pensacola Ga zette, charged that Walker preached to blacks, saying they were as good as he and that color was insignificant. He was suspected of hav ing been accessory to the escape of at least two slaves.12 Some of Walker's white neighbors strongly objected to his practice of "social equality." He listened to their complaints but quietly pur sued his former course. On two different oc casions, city officials warned him that his viola tion of local customs regarding black-white re lations might place him in danger, and, if so, they would be powerless to protect him from his neighbors' wrath. Walker made no attempt to disguise his antislavery feelings. He con tinued to treat blacks as equals, visited jailed slaves to pray with them, and frequently gave utterance to his abolitionist views. The case of William Cook was an example of Walker's inability to understand white-Florida views. Cook,.a free black man from Virginia, came to Pensacola without his free papers. Immediately he Was thrown into jail by Peter Woodbine, the jailer, and advertised as a pos-
xxii INTRODUCTION. sible runaway. Walker talked with Cook, who convinced him that he was free. A lawyer was retained to find proof of freedom. Cook was kept captive for several months, first in the jail and then chained in the attic of Wood bine's house. He had been a prisoner almost a year before his papers could be secured. By this time a serious illness and constant con finement resulted in dropsy. Walker took Cook into his home and treated him with cayenne, lobelia, and steam until the unfortunate man was restored to health. Walker urged his guest to leave Pensacola as quickly as he was able, but when Cook did so he was again seized. The physician who had treated him in jail, a lawyer, Woodbine, and the Pensacola Gazette had bills against him for more than two hun* dred dollars. The Gazette charged him more than thirty dollars for advertising him, and Woodbine billed him thirty-seven and one-half cents per day for board during his confine ment; Cook, unable to pay, was hired by the United States government to work in the local navy yard to meet his obligations. To Walker this was one of the many southern examples of the irrationality of color prejudice and slavery.13 Despite his antislavery views, Walker's sin cerity and honesty won him the respect of many Pensacola whites. A local editor wrote that Walker "seemed a very devout Christian,
INTRODUCTION. XXiU and by his apparent uprightness and integrity had gained the confidence of many highly re spectable members of our community." An other resident said later that "before the com mission of the offense for which he is confined, his conduct had been exceptional, except in so far as he was influenced by the blind spirit of infatuation and false philanthropy/'14 J, T. W. Brow of Pensacola informed the Charleston Courier that Walker "by his demure counte nance, his sanctified air and speech, and his apparent devoutness and humility as a Chris tian had secured the confidence of several highly respectable gentlemen of this city."15 Christian was a word frequently used by his friends to describe Walker. It is difficult to determine how large a role religion played in Walker's abolitionist views. He frequently invoked the name of God in at tacking slavery, but he was not certain there was a God, at least a personal one. In his early years he had belonged to the Harwich Baptist church, but he later disdained church membership. Since the Bible was used by Southerners to defend the "peculiar institution," he re jected it "as being the super-naturally inspired word of God/' Whatever in the Bible appealed to him he accepted, but not necessarily as divinely-inspired truth. Miracles were rejected as an impossible violation of natural law, yet he believed that a "special providence" had
xxiv INTRODUCTION. accompanied him through his life. More im portant to his antislavery views was his high esteem for Jesus. While Walker discounted his miraculous birth as legend, he regarded Christ as the world's greatest reformer. He had great admiration for Jesus' work among the lowly, poor, and oppressed. This to Walker was much more significant than a divinelyinspired Bible, a personal God, or miracles. The minister who officiated at Walker's funeral claimed that Walker was not "technically a Christian. He did not even call himself one. He was not indeed a theological Christian, but far better, he was a practical one."16 The characteristics most often emphasized by Walker's acquaintances were his generosity, empathy, and concern for the unfortunate. His Harwich neighbors knew him as a man of "sterling worth; for goodness of heart and acts of disinterested benevolence, he hardly has his equal. He has ever manifested ... a deep interest for the poor, the defenceless, and the oppressed." Joseph Marsh, who was un acquainted with Walker, inquired of his neigh bors and concluded that he was "a worthy mana blessing to any communitya chris tian man." Another friend described him as "kind and affable in manners and whoever found his acquaintance could not fail to dis cover that his was a warm, generous and sym pathising heart."17 Those who knew him were
INTRODUCTION. XXV not surprised that he would take risks to help slaves escape. After five years in Pensacola, Walker de cided to return North. When he first moved South he had been inclined to make his per manent home in Florida. The climate appealed to him; the South was most favored by nature and the easiest part of the country in which to make a living, he claimed. With the excep tion of slavery, southern customs were no more repugnant to him than northern ones. He de cided, however, that he did not wish his chil dren to grow up amidst the influences of slav ery. Little is known of Walker's family. His long-suffering wife, Jane, apparently grace fully accepted his frequent movements about the country with and without her. Certainly she agreed with her husband's views on slav ery and always strongly supported his actions. The names of their three youngest children William Lloyd Garrison, William Wilberforce, and Lydia M. Childreflected family senti ments. Walker moved his family, now numbering six children, to Harwich, Massachusetts, where he continued his association with sailing, some times as shipwright, sometimes as captain of a fishing vessel. Always willing to work, yet itchy to be on the move, Walker decided in the late fall of 1843 to return temporarily to the South. There are two versions of how he got
XXvi INTRODUCTION. there and why he went. One indicated that he purchased a boat in Harwich, intending to sell the boat in the South and to return to Massa chusetts by the way of the West. He had long been interested in that part of the country and did eventually emigrate to Wisconsin. Ac cording to another version, he and his twentyyear-old son took passage to Mobile and pur chased a boat there. It is certain that he went to Mobile and while there had a vessel twentyfive to thirty feet long "with plenty of beams, clinker built, very light and schooner rigged."18 Walker worked the winter and spring as a shipwright in Mobile. On June 2, 1844, he sailed in his boat for Pensacola, os tensibly to raise part of a nearby wrecked ship to secure the copper on it. Unable to reach agreement with the wreck's claimant, he went several miles up the coast to visit friends for a few days. He then returned to Pensacola and rented a room near the beach from a free black woman. The editor of the Pensacola Gazette intimated that during this time Walker shunned white company, associating only with blacks. Walker claimed that he in tended to stay in Pensacola a few days and then return to the North.19 His son had al ready gone home, and Walker's family ex pected him to follow shortly. Soon after his arrival in Pensacola, Walker was contacted by some slaves who had worked
INTRODUCTION. XXvU and lived with him during his former resi dence in the city. They asked his assistance in going North. Walker was fearful of detection on a long coastal trip to the North in his small boat and declined, but he offered to share the risk of a trip to Nassau, from which the men could go in any direction they pleased. Walker insisted that he had not planned such an es cape plot; the men made a simple request and he responded. The editor of the Pensacola Gazette, on the other hand, claimed that Walker had negotiated with the men one by one, told them he could help them secure their freedom, and he wanted only men "stout and lively ... of good character, who did not get drunk." This charge laid the basis for subse quent local rumors that Walker had stolen the men with the intention of selling them.20 After agreeing to participate in the escape, Walker began to prepare for the journey. He collected several barrels of fresh water, con siderable bread and meat, a supply of small stores, a binnacle and compass. When local whites noticed his preparations, he said he was going to Mobile to sell his boat and then re turn to Massachusetts by way of a western route.21 On the evening of June 22, 1844, Walker and seven black menMoses Johnson, Charles Johnson, Anthony Catlett, Silas Scott, Harry Scott, Charles Phil, and Len Johnsonleft the harbor and started eastward.
XXVlii INTRODUCTION. The ill-fated trip proved to be an agonizing one for Walker. For the first several days head winds, rain, and frequent squalls slowed progress. Walker had been ill before departure, he thought from sun stroke, and day and night exposure in the open boat made him worse. By the 26th, the party had arrived at St. Andrew's harbor where they stopped to dry clothing, cook food, and take on more water. Walker was still unwell and took an emetic. The 29th found them at St. George Island, where they again stopped to secure water and cook. By July 1, when nearing Cedar Key, Walker was so ill he was unable to attend the boat; on occasion he was delirious. Several days later (Walker had lost count of the time), he and associates landed at St. Martins Key, where they cooked some food but were unable to find fresh water. For several days Walker apparently believed he might die. He continued to administer emetics and large doses of cay enne pepper and bitters to himself. Because of these remedies, or perhaps in spite of them, his health improved, though he was weak, cov ered with sores, and much reduced in weight. Still unable to exert himself, he could now at least supervise the boat.22 Just as it began to appear that the escape could be successfully completed, disaster struck. Walker's health had improved, and even though short of water, the group had
INTRODUCTION. xxix managed to sail within about fifty miles of Cape Florida. Prom that point the fugitives planned to cross the Gulf to freedom. Unfor tunately, about sunrise on July 8 Walker's boat was hailed by two wrecking vessels sail ing out of Key West. Richard Roberts, captain of the schooner Eliza Catharine, had spied the vessel with seven blacks and one white man and became suspicious that they were run away slaves. He went alongside, tied the smaller boat to his, and requested that Walker and associates come aboard. Four of the men had boarded the Eliza Catharine when Walker advised against it. One immediately returned, but the other three were detained. Captain Roberts extracted a confession from one of the men that he was indeed an escaped slave. All were then taken aboard, transported to Key West, and turned over to authorities. Walker and the slaves had sailed and rowed more than seven hundred milesalmost to freedom; an hour sooner or later in passing that point, and they would never have been detected. Had Walker not been ill, the trip might well have been concluded two days sooner.23 On July 9 Walker was taken before a Key West magistrate. Too weak to walk alone, he had to be assisted by two men. Unable to give the $1,000 bail required by the judge, Walker was committed to the jail. He remained there for three days, but local excitement over his
XXX INTRODUCTION. "crime" resulted in his being escorted by the district attorney, sheriff, and constable to the soldiers' barracks. The following day he was placed aboard the United States steamer Gen eral Taylor, his hands and feet in irons, to be transported to Pensacola. His boat and friends had already been sent to Pensacola on the sloop ReformM In the meantime, Robert C. Caldwell, Byrd C. Willis, and George Willis, the slaves' owners, had posted a reward of $1,000 for Walker's capture and $100 each for the return of the blacks. It was assumed that Walker was im plicated in the runaway plot. He was known as an opponent of slavery and had been seen talking with some of the men who dis appeared.26 The June 29 issue of the Pensacola Gazette contained a lengthy article on the re puted kidnapping. "The most daring and im pudent outrage upon the peace and dignity of the territory is thought to have been perpe trated, by the abduction of seven negro slaves," the editor raged. Walker, identified as the villain, was described as "a man of large frame, about six feet high, with dark hair and dark complexion, a suspicious countenance, slouchy person, stooping shoulders, and a swinging rolling gaitis lame in one arm from a gun shot wound." The slaves were reported to have taken most of their clothing, especially their winter attire, as if they intended to go
INTRODUCTION. xxxi North. The editor apparently assumed that slaves would not leave of their own volition. The abduction had "set an intelligent friend" to thinking of "the probable connection be tween this event" and the presence in Pensacola sometime recently of northern newspaper agents. Local citizens were advised to be on guard against men from the Nortli. The editor then questioned the efficiency of local officials: "Where is our police? Where is our patrol? Row is it that numbers of negroes can prowl unmolested the limits, of the corporation and from our very dwellings, while persons are in the pay of the corporation to see that no negro is at large after the bell rings?'* The editor was convinced that "this most daring outrage will induce the adopting of more vigorous measures on the part of the mayor and alder men and stir up the watchmen to greater vigi lance." Other Florida newspapers noted the escape and expressed pleasure when Walker and slaves were recaptured.28 The local populace was so aroused by the time Walker was returned to Pensacola on July 19, that a friend wrote later that on his way to the Pensacola jail the abolitionist "would have been lynched by the frenzied crowd but for the persistent determination of the sheriff and the deputy, who, with drawn revolvers, kept the infuriated mob at bay/' A local resident informed the Liberator that a
XXXit INTRODUCTION. large number of people gathered and made threats. The Emancipator reported that "the people were so exasperated against him that they sought his life, and were intimidated only by the firmness and courage of the sher iff, who was determined to defend him at every hazard." Walker himself said only that there was a large, "talkative," and sometimes "noisy" collection of people at the wharf, but no vio lence was attempted.27 Taken directly to court, Walker was ordered to give bail of $10,000 or be remanded to jail. Though still weak from his illness, Walker was determined to go to jail in a dignified manner under his own power. He started the trip walking between the marshal and con stable but collapsed on the way and had to be hauled in a cart. Upon arriving at the jail he was attached to a ring bolt by a large log chain and a shackle around his leg. For the first several days the floor served as his bed, table, and chair. Still suffering from chills and fever, headache, and stomach distress, he doc tored himself by eating large numbers of red peppers. Within three months his health was nearly restored, although in the meantime he suffered considerably.28 Years later Walker wrote his granddaughter about his imprison ment. His friends, he said, would hardly have recognized him those first few weeks in jail. Illness and "severe treatment in jail reduced
IKTRODUCTTON xxxiii me very near to a skeleton. Many a time have I grasped around my leg above the knee joint, over my pants, with one hand so as to meet thumb and finger." Unable at first to eat the prison fare, he tried unsuccessfully to get some local grocers to supply him with food. Finally a Danish grocer agreed to let his son deliver food to the jail, and his health began to improve. Walker, who was accustomed to vigorous work, also complained of the lack of exercise. The chain prevented even his walk ing about the small room.29 He was also agi tated by having to listen to the screams of the jailer's slave cook, who was whipped almost daily. Walker never seemed to entertain any hostility toward Pensacola residents or those who captured and convicted him, but he al ways remembered the jail as "that womanwhipping shop in Florida."80 Despite the unpleasantness, Walker accepted his imprisonment with good grace. He wrote his wife and children of the attempted escape, his capture, discomfort, and ill health, and admonished them to trust in Jesus. "The Lord Jesus has been abundantly good to me through all my afflictions thus far," he told them, "and I feel and trust that his spirit will accompany me through." He boldly told the jailer and all others who would listen of his antislavery sen timents and openly proclaimed that he would take the same action again if placed in similar
xxxiv INTRODUCTION. circumstances.81 His obvious sincerity and stoic acceptance of his fate evoked sympathy from a number of proslavery Pensacolans. Walker's plight quickly came to the attention of northern abolitionists. On July 15, 1844, the Boston Emancipator and Weekly Chronicle had a brief notice about him, followed by an August 2 statement in the Liberator. For the next several years, Walker's name appeared constantly in abolitionist newspapers. The most popular antislavery martyr at that time was Charles T. Torrey, a Congregationalist min ister who had resigned a pastorate in Provi dence, Rhode Island, to take up the cause and who was in a Baltimore jail for assisting a slave family to escape. Walker's escapade be gan to supplant Torrey in the news.82 Joshua Leavitt, editor of the Emancipator, and Wil liam Lloyd Garrison of the Liberator both seemed to take a special interest in the Walker case. Garrison especially was responsible for making it a major issue. In late July, black Bostonians met to consider Torrey's difficulty and to pass resolutions of sympathy. When Garrison mentioned Walker, a resolution was also passed sympathizing with both of those "worthy but unfortunate friends of the human race," and pledging cooperation to provide aid and counsel for Walker. In August a resolu tion concerning Torrey was received from abolitionists in Glasgow, Scotland. Garrison
INTRODUCTION. XXXV said it was a pleasure to receive the letter, "but as yet, the still more afflicting and hope less case of the unfortunate Walker ap pears to attract very little attention/9 Some thing should be done for him immediately, Garrison said. "Every town on Gape Cod [Walker's home] ought to hold a public meet ing and pass strong resolutions on the sub ject."88 Support for Walker quickly began to grow. A New Bedford, Massachusetts resident wrote Garrison asking what he and his friends amid do. James Fuller of Skandatales, New York, sent him sympathy and twenty dollars. Samuel E. Sewall proclaimed that "Walker must be defended. He is a fellow soldier with us in the j^reat moral warfare against slavery. Neither money nor labor must be spared to obtain his deliverance/9 Lewis Tappan, noted abolitionist and treasurer of the Ameri can and Foreign Antislavery Society, printed an appeal for money.84 By late August and early September, indig nation meetings were being held throughout New England. Citizens of Harwich, Massa chusetts, assembled at the town house on Au gust 26 to consider the case of Walker, "a worthy and respectable citizen of this town.9' After commending him as an honest, upright, generous man, they passed five resolutions sympathizing with Walker, his destitute wife and eight children, and the aged parents de-
XXXvi INTRODUCTION. pendent upon him. Since the Declaration of Independence declared all men created equal and with certain unalienable rights, one reso lution read, the part taken by the federal gov ernment (Walker had been transported from Key West to Pensacola on a United States steamer) was "base prostitution of the powers delegated to them by the people; and is de serving of our unqualified rebuke/' Harwich citizens further declared that the seizure of Walker by the captain of the Eliza Catharine was an act of piracy. They concluded their ses sion by calling upon "friends of freedom" throughout the country to call public meetings to protest and collect funds for Walker's de fense. A three-man committee was appointed to arrange other meetings in the county. Shortly thereafter, a meeting was called for Malboro Chapel in Boston. Joshua Leavitt pre sented several resolutions similar to those passed at the Harwich meeting. A new element was added, however, that became an important point in the Walker controversy. Florida was a territory* and Congress had no authority to establish or permit slavery in territories. Doz ens of meetings used the same argument. A later Boston session resolved "that as Florida is a territory of the United States, and conse quently, under the control of the general gov ernment, having imprisoned one of our fellow citizens (taken upon the high seas) for obey-
INTRODUCTION. XXXvii ing the law of God, and doing an act of kindness, deserves tot be looked upon by the civi lized world as a nation favoring piracy and robbery/' The Boston meeting called upon Massachusetts to interpose to assist Walker. A collection of $108 was taken and a perma nent committee established to raise funds to employ counsel and aid Walker's family.85 Scores of towns and counties held meetings and collected small sums of money.36 Some of the best-known abolitionists, men such as Garrison, Wendell Phillips, and Frederick Douglass, made speeches urging others to action. Most people, apparently unaware that Florida's law concerned with assisting slaves to escape did not decree the death penalty, believed that Walker's life was at stake. It was widely agreed that should he be convicted, his case should be appealed up to the United States Supreme Court. An impassioned letter to the Barnstable Patriot concluded with the plea, "Let public meetings be called all over the Cape to accomplish the noble object, viz: THE DELIVERANCE OF CAPT. WALKER FROM PRISON AND DEATH!! Let the very best counsel be employed, and if need be, carry the case to the Supreme Court of the United States. Let us see whether the law under which Capt. Walker was arrested is constitu tional"37 By November, the Boston Committee had collected more than seven hundred dollars,
XXXvffi INTRODUCTION. and other societies had accumulated anywhere from five to one hundred dollars. Some of the money went to Walker's family; the remainder was set aside to employ counsel. Considerable pressure was brought upon the governor of Massachusetts in Walker's behalf. A Harwich Committee, "deeply feeling that the case of Capt. Walker, who has re cently been piratically taken by a Southern wrecker, and has since been confined in Pensacola jail" was "in entire opposition to the laws of the United States," demanded that the "sovereign voice of Massachusetts" be raised in his behalf. A Boston group sent a memorial to the governor and his council asking execu tive interference and later met with a council committee. The council sympathized with the demand but doubted that the governor had constitutional power to appropriate money without legislative authorization. The council advised the governor that he had no jurisdic tion in the matter, no authority to provide counsel or use public funds in the ways asked by the memorials. The governor could, how ever, direct the secretary of state to write the governor of Florida on the subject88 On October 2,1844, Secretary of State John G. Palfrey wrote to Governor John Branch of Florida. He had been informed, the secretary said, that Walker's confinement was attended by hardship, irons, poor health, and other
INTRODUCTION. XXXtX severe treatment. He understood that Walker was poor and unable to secure legal assistance without aid, which took time. The governor of Massachusetts was interested in the case, the secretary continued, and suggested a delay in the trial. Governor Branch was asked to use his influence "to prevent the exercise of need less severities in the case by subordinate officers, and to cause the legal proceeding to be delayed for a sufficient time to afford the ac cused party every reasonable advantage for establishing his innocence/' Branch was urged "to take care that he [Walker] may be re lieved from any illegal or unusual severity in the manner of his confinement." Branch re ferred the letter to Walker Anderson, United States attorney for West Florida, with the statement that he had not and probably would not take any official notice of it. Anderson, Branch added, was at liberty to make such use of it as he thought proper. The governor ex pressed "entire confidence" in Anderson's ''dis cretion and ability to do justice to a subject which seems to excite the sensibility of the good people of the Commonwealth, and which can not be one of indifference to the southern slave-holder/' Anderson answered that the Massachusetts governor had been misinformed about Walker's suffering. It was true that Walker was in irons, but such action was con sidered necessary. The law violated by Walker
Xl INTRODUCTION. was a grave one, Anderson said, "and the ex ecutive officers of our court have looked to that law for their guidance, rather than to the opinions of those to whom they at least owe no accountability." While Branch reacted publicly to the letter with initial calm, his message to the legisla ture demonstrated his anger. Massachusetts, the governor said, "had tried to interpose and stay the proceedings of a co-ordinate depart ment of this Government, to gratify the mor bid feelings of Northern fanatics, thereby im peaching the impartiality and purity of our highest judicial tribunals." Anderson's re sponse to the letter, Branch continued, was "full of instructive admonition to those de luded victims of a vicious credulity; and it is hoped that their incendiary and disorganizing intermeddling with our domestic institutions will stand rebuked by his calm and dignified refutation of their unfounded calumnies." The governor believed that penalties for men such as Walker ought to be harsher. "Death is the punishment provided by law for such offenses in the slaveholding states generally, and it ought to be so in Florida."89 In the meantime, the Walker story continued to attract attention. More and more meetings were held, and additional resolutions were passed. Even the British Foreign and AntiSlavery Society took notice. At its October 4
INTRODUCTION. xli meeting the society passed a resolution of sympathy for Walker and Torrey. "Many hopes are entertained/' the society proclaimed, "and most fervently do we share in them, that the numerous and important legal questions which arise out of the cases of Torrey and Walker, will be decided in favour of humanity and freedom." John Scoble, secretary of the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, wrote Walker expressing sympathy for his affliction and hoping that the "efforts which are to be made for your deliverance from the power of evil men and evil laws will be suc ceeded by the divine blessing."40 In the United States, the Walker Committee in Boston sent notices to ministers throughout the North ask ing them to devote a service to a discussion of Walker and the collection of funds for his counsel and family. Amos B. Merrill was en gaged by the committee to go to Pensacola and defend Walker. Merrill turned the money and duties over to T. M. Blount, who arrived in Pensacola after the trial was over.41 While Blount was slowly making his way to Pensacola, Walker was being tried. On Novem ber 11, 1844, he was taken to the courthouse, placed in the prisoner's box, and asked if he had a lawyer. Walker replied in the negative. He was too poor to afford counsel, he said, but he was daily expecting advice and assist ance from friends. The judge informed him
xlii INTRODUCTION. that he could select anyone from the local bar (there were three lawyers in Pensacola) to defend him, but agreed to his request for a postponement. The trial was delayed until November 14. When no attorney had yet ar rived on that date, Walker selected Benjamin D. Wright for his defense. Soon after he had been committed to jail, Walker had sent a note to Wright requesting an interview. Wright responded several weeks later, explaining why he had not called on him. "In common with all who know you as a citizen here, I was very indignant," Wright wrote, "not so much at the injury which your offense occasioned, as at the insult which it implied to the whole com munity." The indignation was still strong, he added, but was giving way to "gentler a im pulses." Wright believed after thinking the matter over several weeks that he would de fend Walker if asked. Walker had good cause to doubt that he would receive a vigorous defense.42 Walker was charged with four indictments: assisting Silas Scott in running away, enticing Charles Johnson to attempt to escape, and one each for stealing Anthony Catlett and Moses Johnson. Wright objected to four indictments, whereupon the judge decided that one case would be tried first. Walker pleaded not guilty on the grounds that assisting men to escape from slavery was not a crime. He asked rhe-
INTRODUCTION. xKU torically how peaceably aiding those robbed of their liberty could be considered stealing. Robert Caldwell, one of the owners of the es caped slaves, testified that he had met Walker when he was returned to Pensacola, that Walker said Silas Scott came to his boat and got in with some others, and that he, Walker, had determined that he would assist slaves if given the opportunity. Captain Richard Rob erts testified to finding Walker and the seven black men, and that some had confessed to being runaway slaves. The jury was charged and returned in a half hour with a guilty ver dict and penalty of branding on the right hand with the letters SS. The same jury was then resworn and presented with the other three indictments. After more than two hours' de liberation, they returned a verdict of guilty and added to the sentence standing in the pillory for one hour, fifteen days imprison ment, and a fine of $150. Walker was then returned to jail to await formal pronounce ment of and execution of sentence. On Novem ber 16 the judge sentenced him to one hour in the pillory; he was then to be brought into the courthouse to be branded, returned to prison for fifteen days, and to remain there until his fine of $150 plus court costs was paid.48 The first part of the sentence to be exe cuted was standing in the pillory. When a
Xliv INTRODUCTION. deputy marshal placed a handkerchief over Walker's head to shield him from the sun, George Willis, owner of two of the men who had escaped, snatched the cover off and pelted him with rotten eggs.44 This act reputedly "excited a burst of indignation from many present." At the end of the hour Walker was given water to wash off the rotten eggs and taken into the courthouse to be branded. The brand was applied by United States Marshal Ebenezer Dorr, formerly of Maine, now a southern slaveholder.45 Walker was placed in the prisoners' box and his hand tied to the railing. He assured Dorr he would hold his hand steady while it was branded, but the marshal thought it best to tie him. The mar shal then took the red-hot branding iron and placed it on the ball of Walker's hand for about twenty seconds.46 The glowing iron made a splattering noise as it burned into the flesh the SS mark that Walker carried to his grave. Most of those who watched Walker in the pillory apparently had little desire to ob serve the branding, though George Willis ob served with apparent glee. An eyewitness of the proceedings wrote that Walker remained silent throughout the ordeal except for casual conversation with Marshal Dorr. He seemed in good spirits, the reporter continued, "and thinks that, if it is for the best, he shall weather the storm by and by."47 After exe-
INTRODUCTION. xlv cution of sentence Walker was returned to jail, but not placed in irons as previously. Walker's troubles were far from over. Within a few hours he was served with three writs for trespass and damage upon the prop erty of Robert C. Caldwell, Byrd C. Willis, and George Willis, to the amount of $106,000. Byrd Willis and Caldwell asked $3,000 each, while George Willis demanded $100,000. Walker was ordered to appear at the May, 1845, court session.48 He had no money with which to pay his fines and court costs; indeed he was unable to get a statement of the amount of costs until December 6. Fine and costs amounted to $423. He knew that friends were collecting money for an attorney, but no lawyer or funds had yet arrived. His frustra tion was undoubtedly increased by the knowl edge that it took approximately forty days to send a letter to Massachusetts and receive an answer.49 The attorney secured by Walker's friends proved to be of no assistance. Blount arrived in Pensacola soon after the trial but failed to visit or confer with Walker until after he had been in town thirteen days. On December 2 he appeared at the jail for a few minutes to ask Walker if he cared to appeal. Walker said yes, if he could be bailed in the meantime. Blount returned in a few days to report that an ap peal was impossible, but that he was going to
xM INTRODUCTION. New York to attempt to stir up Walker's friends to get him released. If not actually dishonest, Blount was certainly at least in competent. He apparently had been detained on his original trip by high water on some of the southern rivers, but when he did arrive he took no action. As the Anti-Slavery Standard reported, "pocketing the fee ($750) was theoniy part of the business that he thought it worth his while to attend to." Much of the money collected for the cause was thus dis sipated. Walker himself claimed that employ ing Blount as his counsel "was nearly the greatest insult that friends at the North could impose on me." Walker "knew him to be void of any good principle. ." He was known by many as "a very corrupt minded man and a base common swindler."50 The northern reaction to Walker's capture and imprisonment was mild compared to the indignation generated by his branding. The uniqueness of the punishment enhanced his fameprobably a long prison sentence would have stirred less anger than branding. Walk er's story "sizzled through the North like the branding iron on his skin."51 Within a few weeks the entire nation knew of his punish ment, and scores of abolitionists were dis cussing it at public meetings. Before, Walker had evoked sympathy for his principles and courage. The brand made him a true abolition-
INTRODUCTION. xlvii ist martyr. For the next two years probably no other abolitionist was in the news as much as this "scarred veteran of the Liberty War."62 The New Bedford (Massachusetts) Bulletin claimed that "the heartless,, cold-blooded wretches who inflicted the inhuman outrage" upon Walker believed they would thereby for ever disgrace him. Not so, the editor said. Walker was respected and cherished by his fel low citizens, and the brand in the future would serve him as a passport to favor and distinction.58 Garrison vowed that "If Walker can only be suffered to return to the North, THAT BRANDED HAND must be held up in the presence of all people ... to fill their bosoms with indignation and horror, and to unite them for the overthrow of the diabolical slave system." The Christian Citizen annotated the "amiable, noble-hearted" Walker a part of "a new order of knighthood in this heroic age of philan thropy." He was a member of the Legion of Order devoted to God, the Citizen added, one who was unafraid of "stripes and bruising and branding irons." His hand was "daguerreotyped in the chancery of heaven; where, we ween, it shall be shown in pride to every angel that comes to look into the record of human actions."64 Wendell Phillips declared that the SS imprinted upon Walker's hand meant Slave Savior. A short-lived newspaper, devoted to the "cause of these noble anti-
Xlvili INTRODUCTION. slavery martyrs," began publication in late 1844 in Providence, Rhode Island: the name, The Branded Handfi* By November 1844 the Walker meetings had begun to wane, but after the branding they again increased. Walker was still in jail. A damage suit had been brought against him, and it appeared that more punishment was possible. There was a flurry of meetings to advertise Walker's plight and collect funds for him and his family. Frederick Douglass and Charles L. Redmond went on a speaking tour for Walker, Scores of meetings were held. In Boston a Martyr's Fund was established for families of Walker and Torrey and others who might find themselves in similar circumstances. The idea spread from Boston throughout New England and then to the midwest and north west. Gerrit Smith made the first contribution. A group from New Bedford petitioned the United States Congress to refund Walker's fines and "likewise pay him, as far as it can be done, for the imprisonment, and branding, and loss of usefulness to his family." Walker's case was used to point up federal government complicity. David Ruggles, a black and now blind opponent of slavery, wrote: "The man ner in which Jonathan Walker was captured, ironed, imprisoned, sentenced, and tortured, by agents of the general government, shows beyond all question the pro-slavery position of
INTRODUCTION. xlix the government and the people who sustain it/'56 Naturally, support for Walker was not universal. Democratic newspapers often con demned him or refused even to mention the case. Others advocated obeying the law, what ever it might be. The New York Herald in discussing Walker and Torrey remarked that southern states were "determined to give a few practical lessons to the wild enthusiasts among the abolitionists who visit their territories." Abolitionists were cautioned to con duct themselves with propriety when visiting the South. The Boston Christian Witness sug gested that if Walker did not appreciate Flor ida slave laws, he should never have gone there. The Reverend Henry Jackson of New Bedford, Massachusetts, a town strong in sup port of Walker, announced that "Walker had no more than his just deserts for breaking the laws of the government."57 While his friends were making speeches and collecting funds, Walker was facing an other trial. The damage suit had been dropped, but he was once again indicted for assisting slaves to escape. The first trial had been based on the escape of four men. He was now to be tried for inducing the other three to leave their owners. Fear of the trial's results provoked Walker into a futile attempt to escape. Al ready disappointed at the failure of his friends to effect his release, Walker was considerably
I INTRODUCTION. depressed by the news of another bout with the court.58 On February 6, 1845, he was in formed by a friend that late in the afternoon he would be taken by the marshal to appear before a magistrate on other charges. Walker, fearful that this might be a device of enemies dissatisfied with the court's initial decision, hinted to his informant that some extra-legal punishment was in the offing. The reply: "They are going to play the devil with you." His suspicions were increased by the knowl-% edge that the judge was away. When the mar shal arrived at 4:00 P.M. Walker refused to accompany him, insisting that any examina tion take place at the jail. Marshal Dorr left and soon returned, saying that the magistrate refused to come to the jail. Walker still de clined to leave, whereupon the marshal read him a letter from the district judge instructing that Walker be taken before a magistrate to be examined on charge of assisting the three slaves. Faced with the prospect of remaining in jail until the May court session and repeat ing the expensive process of a trial, making his release even more difficult, and prolonging the separation from his family as well as forcing them to remain on charity of friends, Walker decided to escape.5* Getting out of jail proved to be simple. He had not been chained since the conclusion of the first trial, and with a pick axe provided
INTRODUCTION. li by an unnamed friend, Walker easily opened the door. Unfortunately, the jailer who slept just above him heard the noise and quickly apprehended him. Walker was widely censured by his friends. Apparently martyrs were not supposed to break jail. Even Garrison ex pressed disappointment. "We are sorry that such a hopeless attempt should have been made," Garrison wrote, "when arrangement had been made to free him at the earliest practical period." The Boston Emancipator editor thought the attempt incredible, "as Mr. W. must have been aware of the efforts of his friends, to supply him with the funds neces sary for his release." The editor proclaimed, however, that it was no crime to attempt to escape "from the fangs of the slaveholder, or his merciless bloodhounds."60 As a result of the abortive escape, Walker's friends were spurred to greater activity, and large num bers of Floridians were greatly angered.61 When the jailer apprehended Walker he searched him and found the two letters sent by the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery So ciety. They were forwarded to Governor Branch in Tallahassee, who reacted angrily. Apparently the governor suspected the British of being a part of a widespread plot against Florida. In a communication to the legislative council, Branch accused the Society of "clan destinely co-operating with authorities of Mas-
Hi INTRODUCTION. sachusetts, in fiendish machinations against our domestic institutions/' Under such cir cumstances, the governor added, "further for bearance on our part, not only ceases to be a virtue,^but ... an abandonment of our vital interests." Branch believed the time had ar rived "when Florida has a rightnay, would be false to herself, were she not to demand from the Federal Government a prompt en forcement of the Federal Constitution." The Cincinnati Philanthropist ridiculed the gov ernor, suggesting that an extra session of the United States Congress should be called to deal with the "horrible plot the disclosure of which calls for prompt and decisive action on the part of the General Government." Perhaps, the paper added, Branch should urge Secretary of State James Buchanan to make formal de mands of Lord Aberdeen for those "vile in cendiaries and fugitives from justice ... charged with fiendish machinations against the domestic institutions of Pensacola." The British lion would probably crouch and still its roar when it learned that Branch had con cluded that forbearance was no longer a virtue.62 The legislative council found much less humor in Branch's communication than did the Cincinnati Philanthropist. The report of a joint committee of the legislative council re flected the general Florida attitude toward
INTRODUCTION. UU Walker and other abolitionists. The rights to define crimes and pass laws to punish such crimes, the committee reported, were among the most valuable and obvious rights of free people; foreign interference with that right was "insulting and unwarrantable/' and should be "promptly and indignantly" re pelled. This "undeniable" principle acquired additional importance in the Walker case, the -* committee added, because "systematic and powerful influences are at work throughout a large portion of Europe and many parts of our own country, the direct tendency of which is to impair our rights of property." Vicious fanatics were prowling around Florida's borders, "invading our inmost sanctuaries" with the intention of deluging "our very hearth stones in blood" and destroying "all that is precious to us as freemen and dear to us as men." The most sanguine southerners, the report continued, were painfully aware of the unfriendly feeling of some Americans. The southern mind had "been roused to a state of distrust and watchfulness, which augured ill for that harmony which is becoming between members of the same great family." Its posi tion had been one of self-defense. "They would be recreant to themselves ... if they were to falter in the assertion of their rights and their resistance to this foul injustice." The South had been patient, the committee de-
Uv INTRODUCTION. clared, and the nation's'common bonds promp ted still further forbearance, even though "millions of bosoms" were "throbbing under a sense of the injury and outrage which have been so wantonly inflicted upon us by our Northern brethren." But any southerner would "unhesitatingly fling to the winds all the cherished recollections of the past ... rather than bow down in slavish abasement to the demands of those who seek to sacrifice us upon the shrine of their unholy fanaticism." The committee noted that the sentiments which prompted forbearance under injuries done by northern "abolition incendiaries" did not obtain to "foreign incendiaries, who inter meddle with our domestic institutions and seek to interfere with the administration of our laws." Such "false and intrusive philanthropy" provoked "unmingled resentment" and Florida must resist, "and in the most effectual manner, all their efforts to control us in our internal police." After deliberate consideration, the committee concluded that the only way to counteract foreign "hostile designs and to avert danger to ourselves" was to increase pen alties for law breakers and to control the black population more closely. It was unfortunate, the committee added, that punishment should fall upon "the less responsible agent" who was motivated by "ignorant fanaticism" or desire for gain rather than upon "the more wicked
INTRODUCTION. Iv and intelligent felon, who plots his cowardly schemes ... in the security of a foreign coun try." The committee further regretted that Florida should be "constrained, in self-defense, to cut off some of those indulgences to our Slaves, which has made their situation hitherto one of happy contentedness." But increased penalties were not the fault of Floridians, the committee added. Rather, abolitionists, both in the North and in Europe, by "ignorant and wicked intermeddling" with the affairs of which they knew but little were responsible. The Walker case, "where the offence was fla grant and the evidence conclusive/9 showed that slave-stealing had been punished in Flor ida with leniency. His "slight" punishment in dicated that Floridians had not in any way been acting out of "undue resentment," the committee said. Unfortunately, the report con tinued, such punishmentbranding, fine, im prisonmentfailed to deter men such as Walker. Slave stealers were upheld, even en couraged and aided, by important men who inspired them to new feats. Therefore, in the future inducing slaves to leave their masters could not be considered simple larceny but treason against the State"a direct assault upon the very existence of our institutions." Florida's safety necessitated the death penalty for slave stealing or aiding in slave stealing.63 Death for liberating slaves would not com-
Ivi INTRODUCTION. pletely solve the problem. Walker's case had convinced the committee that there were evildisposed Floridians who allowed "themselves to be made channels of intercourse between the convicted felons in our prisons and their accomplices abroad, and in other ways lend their aid to the dissemination of unsound and dangerous doctrines on the subject of slavery." Such offenders must be punished unsparingly. However, fearing that laws necessary to con trol the population might prove embarrassing at a time when the territorial status of Florida was being considered, the committee recom mended postponing such legislation until the meeting of the first General Assembly when Florida was a state.64 Incidentally, the chair man of the committee was Walker Anderson, the prosecutor at Walker's trial. The Walker case had a strong impact on Florida. Although there was considerable an noyance when he was first captured, there was no great excitement. Slave escapes were not too unusual. But when praise began to be heaped upon Walker from the North and England, and when there was widespread dis cussion of "evil laws and evil men" in Florida, the annoyance turned to anger and fear. Aid ing slaves to escape was made punishable by death, the patrol system was at least tempo rarily tightened, and Floridians became more suspicious of each other.65 After all, there had
INTRODUCTION. Ivii to be some white sympathizers in Pensacola. Who was the unnamed friend who supplied the pick axe? Why was there a burst of indigna tion when Walker was smashed with rotten eggs? Who were the eyewitnesses who wrote to the Liberator and other abolitionist media? The introduction to Walker's narrative of his imprisonment stated that "many interesting and illustrative incidents" had to be sup pressed "out of regard to the safety of indi viduals whose liberties and lives their publica tion would endanger/' Apparently this state ment applied to those in Pensacola who sym pathised with and assisted Walker. Fortunately for Walker, the angry reaction did not affect him personally. The day after his escape attempt, he was taken to court, in dicted for enticing three men to leave their bondage, and ordered to appear for trial in May. Bail was set at $3,000. Unable to pay, he was returned to jail and this time placed in irons. Before the trial Walker was quite confident. It seemed to be local opinion, Walker wrote a friend in Harwich, that the second trial would result in nothing more than a nominal verdict. He believed there had been "a revulsion of public feeling in his favor," and apparently he was correct.66 On May 8 Walker was taken to the courthouse. Since he still had no counsel, the judge appointed two local lawyers, Alfred L. Woodward and W. W. J. Kelly,
Iviii INTRODUCTION. to defend him. His attorneys claimed to know little of the case, so the trial was postponed until next day. The district attorney presented three indictments for assisting slaves. Walk er's counsel questioned "the validity of the law in the multiplication of punishments" for the same act. The judge decided that he could be tried separately for each man assisted, even though there was but one act committed. Robert C. Caldwell, the only witness, gave vir tually the same testimony as in the first trial. The district attorney attacked "fanatical abo litionists," talked of the magnitude of Walker's crime, and told the jury about strict penalties in other cases in other states. Kelly claimed the penalty already inflicted had been severe: Walker had been confined for many months in chains and his destitute family needed him. Woodward appealed to the "magnanimity and humanity" of the jury, reminding them that the defendant had already been punished, that he had "quietly submitted, without a murmur, to the heaviest punishments the law could in flict upon him." Walker seemed more satisfied with his de fense in the second trial than in the first. The jury was charged by the judge to find the de fendant guilty, not to let sympathy prevent the infliction of strict justice. "The rights, safety, and honor of the country demanded justice" from the court. The trial lasted only
INTRODUCTION. lix about two hours. While the jury retired to deliberate, Walker was returned to jail. The following morning a note from Kelly informed him that the jury had found Walker guilty in each of the three cases and assessed a fine of fifteen dollars.67 Walker was, of course, pleased with the results. The maximum penalty in Florida provided for imprisonment not exceed ing six months, standing in the pillory, branding, or a fine of not more than $1,000 at the jury's discretion. Based on the judge's in terpretation, the penalty could have been im posed for each of the seven men assisted. Walker attributed the small second sentence "to the magnanimous and humane" jury. They acted, he wrote a friend, "as men untrammelled by prejudice or revenge; and have shown the world that they delight not in the accumula tion or aggravation of the misery of their un fortunate and helpless fellow being." All things considered. Walker continued, the jury did "great honor to themselves and their country, and will ever be entitled to the es teem of Jonathan Walker and his destitute, afflicted family." Walker believed his punishment proved that "vengeance has not yet buried humanity, nor destroyed all the sympathy" existing between men whose opinions differed. The judge, dis trict attorney, his counsel, and some of the jury were slaveholders. Yet Walker found the
Ix INTRODUCTION. jury an intelligent one, and claimed that he submitted his case "confident that the verdict would be as mild as their responsible situation would admit." He did believe the judge dem onstrated considerable prejudice against him in the last trial. Walker thought that by the second trial "there was a strong abhorrence" on the part of many local citizens to any fur ther punishment. They might disapprove his act, but they believed that though wrong he was acting on principle and had been suffi ciently punished. Pensacola did not reflect general Florida opinion, Walker proclaimed. Many citizens were of French or Spanish de scent and "not generally so irresistibly de voted to the system of slavery as the Ameri can born and bred citizens were: and this Creole population manifested more sympathy for me than the rest of the community did."69 Although the second sentence was mild, Walker spent several more days in chains. He had to remain in jail until fines and court costs, which amounted to $597.05% were paid.70 Lawyers' fees brought the total to $1,400. His friends finally were able to get the required funds to Pensacola, and on June 16, 1845, Walker was freed.71 Walker returned North to a hero's welcome. Upon arrival in New York on July 11, he was immediately taken in hand by local abolition ists who reported that his health had obviously
INTRODUCTION. Ixi suffered and his clothing indicated the hard ships of prison. All were eager to see his branded hand, which he styled the "coat of arms of the United States." Even before his release from jail it was obvious that Walker would be drafted for the antislavery lecture circuit. He had not only a story to tell, but a brand to show. The Boston Emancipator pro claimed, "His branded hand must be seen all over Massachusetts." Garrison informed read ers that Walker soon would returna return that would "create a thrilling sensation in the breasts of thousands who had deplored the im prisonment of the noble Walker as among the blackest atrocities of the age." Garrison longed "to see this Christian martyr, face to face, that we may thank him for what he has done, and bless him for what he has suffered, in the cause of God and Liberty. As soon as prac ticable," Garrison added, "we hope he will make his appearance before thronging multi tudes and lift up THAT BRANDED HAND in their presence, that thus a fire may be kindled against slavery that shall not cease to burn till the shackles of every slave be melted, and the trump of jubilee sounded throughout the land."72 Though Garrison would later be disappointed at the response to Walker, the "hero of Pensacola" spent the next several years on the antislavery circuit, and for about a year he was perhaps the most
Ixii INTRODUCTION. sought after speaker at abolitionist meetings. Walker's first large meeting was at Lynn, Massachusetts, July 27, 1845. The gathering had been arranged as a welcome for him, and though there were many speakers, the enthusi astic crowd of approximately fifteen hundred anxiously awaited the introduction of slavery's most recent martyr. After several speeches praising him, Walker was introduced and went to the podium "amid the long-continued cheer ing of the audience." He held up his famous hand, assuring the thrilled spectators that it would be lifted against slavery as long as the system continued. The house rocked with ap plause. "The whole audience were deeply im pressed with the sincerity and honesty of his appearance, his manly dignity and strong good sense." Garrison assumed that Walker's hand was "designed by God to write the doom of slavery as effectually and legibly, as did that of old the condemnation of Belshazzar on the palace wall" When slaveholders saw that what they meant as a mark of infamy was indeed a "passport to the society of all the true friends of God and man," their knees would "smite together, as did their predecessors."78 Walker went from Lynn to Waltham on August 1 to an antislavery picnic celebrating West Indian Emancipation. People came as far as fifty miles to see the man "who had so hon orably distinguished himself." He was there,
INTRODUCTION. tettt "shocking, fit to be gazed at with round eyes, confirming in his own person" what the audi ence had heard of slavocracy. Walker made a brief speech after warning the audience that he was "but a rough sailor and unpracticed" in public speaking. He concluded his short talk by saying, "I repent not of what I have done. As long as life remains in me, this hand and this voice shall be raised against slavery, that shameful violation of all the rights of man and all the laws of God." Audiences reacted with sympathy for Walker and indignation at slav ery when this "honest looking, hardy son of New England" told them in simple, sincere words of his tribulation and the suffering of slaves.74 Frederick Douglass, who worked with Walker for a time, wrote years later, "I well remember the sensation produced by the exhi bition of his branded hand. It was one of the few atrocities of slavery," Douglass added, "that roused the justice and humanity of the North to a death struggle with slavery." Doug lass remembered that "looking into his simple, honest face, it was easy to see that on such a countenance as his no trace of infamy could be made by stocks, stripes, or branding irons. His example of self sacrifice moved us all to more heroic endeavor in behalf of the slaves." The Walker meetings were sometimes emotional. To the audience it seemed that this "solid, blue-eyed son of their own," was
Ixiv INTRODUCTION. asking them to give to the struggle against slavery, but "asking them to give a hundred times less than he had."75 Walker's hand became even more famous when John G. Whittier was inspired to honor him in verse. On August 6 the Boston Emanci pator printed "an exact representation" of the branded hand copied from a daguerreotype. Accompanying the picture was a statement by editor Joshua Leavitt. "Ponder it, fellow citizens," Leavitt advised, "and as you burn and blush, and weep, at the disgrace of our country, the indignity done to a worthy neighbor and the misery of the poor slaves, let the fire burn until your soul is enkindled to the high re solve, that the letters on Jonathan Walker's hand shall be made to readSalvation to the Slave." The picture and comment were fol lowed by Whittier's offering. The Branded Hand Welcome home again, brave seaman! with thy thoughtful brow and grey, And the old heroic spirit of our earlier, better day With that front of calm endurance, on whose steady nerve, in vain, Pressed the iron of the prison, smote the fiery shafts of pain! Is the tyrant's brand upon thee? Did the
INTRODUCTION. Ixv brutal cravens aim To make God's truth thy falsehood, His holiest work thy shame? When, all blood-quenched, from the tor ture the iron was withdrawn, How laughed their evil angel the baffled fools to scorn! They changed to wrong, the duty which God hath written out On the great heart of humanity too legible for doubt! They, the loathsome mortal lepers, blotched from foot-sole up to crown, Give to shame what God hath given unto honor and renown! Why, that brand is highest honor! that its traces never yet Upon old armorial hatchments was a prouder blazon set; And thy unborn generations, as they crowd our rocky strand, Shall tell with pride the story of their father's BRANDED HAND! As the templar home was welcomed, bear ing back from Syrian wars The scars of Arab lances, and of Paynim scimetars, The pallor of the prison and the shackle's crimson span, So meet thee, so we greet thee, truest friend of God and man!
Ixvi INTRODUCTION. He suffered for the ransom of the dear Redeemer's grave, Thou for His living presence in the bound and bleeding slave; He for a soil no longer by the feet of angels trod, Thou for the true Shechinah, the present home of God! For, while the jurist sitting with the slave-whip o'er him swung, From the tortured truths of freedom the lie of slavery wrung, And the solemn priest to Moloch, on each God-deserted shrine, Broke the bondman's heart for bread, poured the bondman's blood for wine While the multitude in blindness to a far off Savior knelt, And spurned, the while, the temple where a present Savior dwelt; Thou beheld'st Him in the task field, in the prison shadows dim And thy mercy to the bondsman, it was mercy unto Him! In thy lone and long night watches, sky above and wave below Thou did'st learn a higher wisdom than the babbling school-men know; God's stars and silence taught thee as His angels only can, That, the one, sole sacred thing beneath
INTRODUCTION. Ixvti the scope of heaven is man! That he, who treads profanely on the scrolls of law and creed, In the depth of God's great goodness may find mercy in his need; But woe to him who crushes the SOUL with chain and rod, And herds with lower natures the awful form of God! Then lift that manly right hand, bold ploughman of the wave! Its branded palm shall prophecy 'SALVATION TO THE SLAVE' Hold up its fire-wrought language, that whoso reads may feel His heart swell strong within him, his sinews change to steel. Hold it up before our sunshine, up against our Northern air Ho! men of Massachusetts, for the love of God look there! Take it henceforth for your standardlike Bruce's heart of yore. In the dark strife closing round ye, let that hand be seen before! And the tyrants of the slave land shall tremble at that sign, When it points its finger Southward along the Puritan line: Woe to the State-gorged leeches, and the church's locust band,
IxviU INTRODUCTION. When they look from slavery's ramparts on the coming of that hand! The representation and Whittier's poem were later reprinted in the Liberator and dozens of other papers. Juxtaposing the pic ture and the poem had a great impact. Whittier wrote Leavitt, saying "the picture was a capital ideait is worth far more than my lines; it tells its own tale, a startling hiero glyphic! It is like sending Walker himself with his 'hand-writing' over the whole coun try." The Christian Citizen made one of its many attempts at eloquence when commenting upon the picture. "There is the hand of that great-hearted hero opening its branded palm to the reader, into which are burned those letters of mighty and immortal signifi cance, SS'Salvation to the Slave.'" A new order of knighthood had been created, the Citizen added, "and its burning and bloody badge" would open to the wearer a fellowship with humanity and command a reverence greater than that of any other order. "That Branded Hand! Look at it, ye Belshazzars en throned on the necks of three million of God's human children," the Citizen continued, "no transient opposition that; no mystic, vapory characters of ambiguous meaning has it traced upon the crumbling walls of slavery. ."76
INTRODUCTION. Ixix Whittier was not the only poet moved to verse. In the August 25 issue of the Boston Emancipator and Weekly Chronicle, T. D. P. Stone tried his hand as follows: "MARCH! HERE COMES THE BRANDED HAND!" The castled lord, in days of yore, When foemen challenged at his door, Sent heralds through each peaceful glen To summon forth his warlike men. The signal bonfire gleamed at night Its warning to the men of might, The trumpet swelled its martial sound, While steeds and champions gathered round, And quivering lance, and plume, and spear, Proclaimed a fearful contest near. The peasant, then unknown to fame, As swift the flying courier came, Saw, at a glance, his country's need, And armed him for some daring deed. The matron bade her son prepare To show what sons like hers' could dare; The maiden set her lover's plume, And wished him "conquest, or the tomb.'9
Ixx INTRODUCTION. Then followed deeds which told in story; And scrolled those names in lines of glory. Freemen! a courier scours our land. His signal is "the branded hand." See Slavery; See Shame, eeredeem pur country's fame. Farmer! in thy harvest field, Hark,the freeman's trump has pealed. Haste thee,by thy banner stand, Seethere comes "the branded hand." Smith, lay down that heated bar, Harkthe trumpet sounds from far "Liberty through all the land" Marchhere comes "the branded hand." "Shut the water from the wheel;9' Girls,hush, hear that trumpet peal, Quit the milljoin freedom's bandLookhere comes "the branded hand." Cooper, let that humdrum cease, Cordwright, give that twist release, Silence in each shop command, For here comes "the branded hand." Move on, move on;from eye to eye, Let ^^^JB like lightening fly, Till the picture drawn by light, Shall each freeman's soul incite, Not to deeds of bloody death, Not to words of vengeful wrath, But to action till one slave Shall no more your pity crave.
INTRODUCTION. Ixxi Neither Whittier's nor Stone's poems were particularly good, but they were widely read and appreciated by abolitionists. George W. Clark set Whittier's poem to music and sang it "with thrilling effect" at numerous antislavery gatherings. The "Branded Hand" was for years declaimed as a schoolroom classic of antislavery poetry.77 Walker's fame caused him to be in great de mand, and for the next year he was constantly on tour. He worked with many of the import ant abolitionists, including Garrison, Wendell Phillips, Theodore Parker, Stephen S. Foster, Parker Pillsbury, Whittier, Douglass, Lydia Maria Child, and Charles Sumner. In August 1845, he and Douglass spoke together at a meeting in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Walker "appeared before the audience in his simple manner, and told his simple tale/' He was followed by Douglass, who turned on the oratory. For the next several months Walker was scheduled to speak almost every day. Most Massachusetts towns were graced with "the Branded Hand."7* In September 1845, publication of Walker's narrative of the attempted escape and result ing trials temporarily enhanced his popularity on the antislavery lecture circuit. Though it never became as famous, it was at the time compared with Douglass's autobiography. Garrison said Walker's book and that of Doug-
Ixxii INTRODUCTION. lass, "containing most vivid and faithful pic tures of slavery as it is," should be circulated throughout the land. The National AntiSlavery Standard proclaimed that "we have in Frederick Douglass's book, life on a Southern plantation; a fitting companion will be a year of a freeman's life in a Southern prison." Maria Weston Chapman in writing the intro duction to Trial and Imprisonment made a similar comparison.79 Even though it was not of the quality of Douglass's classic narrative, Trial and Im prisonment was significant in the antislavery movement. It was widely advertised, and, for a time, widely read. Walker's simple, unembellished story probably had greater impact than many diatribes written at the time. Readers admired his courage, his honesty, his forgiving spirit, and his commitment to eman cipation. There were no real villains or heroes in the book, but it was difficult to read it with out experiencing considerable sympathy for those in bondage. It increased Walker's pop ularity, and along with his speeches and the publicity attending his trial and punishment, contributed to the intensification of abolitionist and sectional sentiment. Miss Chapman urged publication of Walker's manuscript because she hoped that others would be "touched by the excellence of the example." Apparently it had the desired effect.
INTRODUCTION. Ixxiii The book remains a valuable source for the study of abolition and Florida history, espe cially the latter. Unlike some tracts of the period, there was little exaggeration in Walk er's narrative. It was a measured, judicious, and forgiving treatment of his trial and im prisonment as he perceived it. The author made numerous enlightened observations about slavery and white attitudes in Florida, and individuals were rarely condemned. Walker endeavored to avoid "all false coloring and de viation from the simple truth." He did not write "at the expense of truth, or in a spirit of ill-will to any." The reader learned that there were good as well as evil men in Florida, that there was a surprising degree of sym pathy for Walker in Pensacola, and that a slaveholding jury could show mercy to an avowed enemy of the peculiar institution. The strength of the book lay in Walker's strict ad herence to the truth, and this characteristic may have made the book more useful as a doc ument for later historians than as an antislavery polemic. Trial and Imprisonment was only one of Walker's journalistic endeavors. In 1846 he published, A Brief View of American Chattelized Humanity and Its Supports, a vigorous denunciation of slavery and those who main tained it. Africans in America had never in any way forfeited their liberty, Walker said,
Ixxiv INTRODUCTION. and the Declaration of Independence should apply to all. Yet Africans were mangled, im prisoned, starved, tortured, and degraded. Walker then described various slave codes and ways in which they were implemented. Slaves "suffer all that can be inflicted by wanton caprice, by grasping avarice, by brutal lust, by malignant spite and by insane anger." He denied the southern claim that slaves were happy and contented. The system could be sus tained only with "cow-hides, gags, and thumb screws; with chains, prisons, and starvation; with edgetools, halter and buckshot; with branding irons, muskets and blood hounds teeth." These crimes against slaves were mild, though, as compared to the greatest outrage of all. "When man is unmade, when he is chattelized, when his humanity is taken away and he becomes a thing," Walker said, "then the greatest possible wrong is done to the man." After illustrating the horrors of slavery with a number of atrocity stories, Walker asked by whose support were slaves held in bondage? All Americans were responsible. Not only the "baby scourgers and woman polluters" of the South but Northerners also. The constitution had been drawn by slave tyrants. The threefifths compromise and the fugitive slave clause demonstrated clearly that the government "was designed and adapted" to hold a part of the inhabitants "as slaves in the condition of
INTRODUCTION. Ixxv chattels personal.99 The same government that had enslaved Americans had brutalized the Indians and had annexed Texas. War had been waged against Mexico, where slavery had long been abolished, "to gratify a few steel hearted slave-breeders, and human flesh mongers." Americans could not shield themselves from blame or individual accountability by hiding behind the government and southern political power, Walker contended. Being a member of an organized body in no way relieved individ ual responsibility. Obviously Garrisonian in thought, Walker condemned the church as being as guilty as the government. He denounced the present church and government as being anti-christian and anti-republican, "being in covenant with death, and in agreement with hellusing their combined, oppressive, hypocritical and bloody measures to crush the lingering surviving hopes of the unfortunate and the helpless." The two were leagued together, in Walker's view. "Was not this government when formed cemented to the system of slavery by the prayers and precepts of the church?" he asked; and had not the government ever since with all "its pollution and blood guiltness" been re ceiving plaudits of the church? Walker was filled with "unutterable loathing" when he contemplated that man stealers were ministers, women whippers were missionaries, and cradle
Ixxvi INTRODUCTION. plunderers were church members. "The man who wields the blood-clotted cow-skin during the week fills the pulpit on Sunday and claims to be a minister of the meek and lowly Jesus." Those who claimed it a religious duty to read the Bible, nevertheless denied slaves the right to read. The religious advocates of marriage robbed "millions of its sacred influence, and leaves them to the ravages of wholesale pollution." The defenders of family relationships divided mother, father, and children. In short, Walker said, religion and robbery were allies "devils dressed in angel's robes, and hell presenting the semblance of paradise." Church members would be shocked at fellowship with a sheep thief, but hugged "to their communion a raaw-stealer."80 Terrible as the picture drawn by Walker was, he still believed that slaves could be re stored to their rightful owners: themselves. And the people capable of doing that were working men and women. The pamphlet was an appeal to the working classes: others were "merely stumbling blocks and drones, not pro ductive of good to any extent." The laboring class, Walker proclaimed, owed a duty to the slave, their country, their children, and their God. The chain that secured the limbs of southern slaves was attached on the other end to "working people." The chain must be thrown off. Working men and women must no longer
INTRODUCTION. Ucxvii shield themselves behind the government. They were the government, and their action could cleanse the United States.81 Walker, a modest and usually only a mildly critical man, offended large numbers with this thirty-six page pamphlet. Never popular on the church circuit, he soon found even more church doors closed to him. Walker next wrote an abolitionist tract for children, entitled A Picture of Slavery For Youth. His child readers were informed that slavery was so terrible it could be known only by seeing and feeling its cruelty as did the slaves. In graphic language he emphasized the cruelty of slavery. Newspaper advertisements of slaves for sale were quoted. He noted that black men without regard to age or ability were called "boys." Children were forcibly dragged from clinging, weeping mothers. He had personally been in sight of slave auctions, but had always turned away because it made his "heart ache to see them sold/' Certainly his method of combining advertisements, com ments, and pictures must have created indig nation in many a youth. Runaways, Walker in formed, were sometimes hunted with dogs and "not infrequently, the poor fugitives are shot badly, their flesh is torn in pieces by savage bloodhounds, and they are left in the wood to die." Brutal whippings and torture in which "the skin and flesh give way as the bloody
Ixxviii INTRODUCTION. scourge meets the naked parts of the body of the helpless victim" were not rare. Children were implored to make slavery their cause. Walker believed that hope lay in reaching children while they were yet impressionable. "Just as the twig is bent, the tree's inclined" he stated in his introduction.82 Although his writings received some attention, Walker's speeches and displays of his branded hand attracted more notice. Through out 1846 he toured constantly, much of the time in Maine and New Hampshire, making brief, modest talks, showing his brand to the curious, and trying to sell his narrative in order to repay publication expenses. But the excitement over the Walker story soon began to pale.83 No one seemed interested in seeing a branded hand more than once, and Walker's oratory contained too little bombast to excite crowds. He met many discouragements and barely collected enough to support his family,84 He found that many Northerners were as un concerned with the evils of slavery as his Pensacola neighbors. The southern "slave breeders and female polluters," with John G. Calhoun at their head, were no more disgusting to Walker than "the cringing time-serving, and hypocritical politicians and religionists" of New England, "whose hinges are always on the squeak in turning to the nod ... or dictation of the speculators of their own species."86
INTOODUCTION. IxxtX By 1847, Walker's large family was ap proaching complete destitution. Walker re ceived no pay for his anti-slavery labors, and he lived on what little he could make selling abolitionist literature. Walker was neither an orator nor a scholar. He was not a polished speaker and was unable to electrify an audience by dealing in "thoughts that breathe and words that burn." Had he been blessed with the gift of speech and charisma to accompany his martyrdom, he could have created a greater sensation and perhaps made a modest liveli hood. But as it was, the battered mariner passed from town to town, now somewhat ob scurely, resolutely distributing publications and bearing faithful testimony against human bondage. The once famous hand still excited some curiosity but stirred no general indignation. Garrison feared that even thousands of branded hands would fail to make a lasting impression in the North. People had "grown callous to all sufferings inflicted by the Slave Power."** Walker was not dissuaded by his lack of financial success. In November 1847, he and John S. Jacobs, a self-emancipated slave, set out for a tour of New York state. Their ac tivities consisted primarily of giving short speeches and selling literature. Their reception was not always good. In Herkimer, with a pop ulation of 3,500, about fifteen adults attended
Ixxx INTRODUCTION. their meeting, and only one of the seven local clergymen appeared. The collection amounted to fifty-six cents. Their room rent for the night was one dollar. While speaking earlier in East Hamilton, Walker had been ''sprinkled with a shower of musket shot, but as they were not buried in powder, they fell harmless." He and Jacobs persevered until April 1848, reaching a few people and earning just money enough to supply room and board. In 1849 Walker was back in New England, still speaking and as saulting the church in letters to newspapers. In a note to the Liberator he attacked Sabbath day laws which required special observance. He advocated repeal of these "partial, despotic, and unchristian" laws, but he believed "the strength of early education and old superstition, matured and nursed by sectarian bigotry and a selfish, corrupt priesthood" would keep them on the books.87 In February 1850 Walker apologized for his inactivity in the antislavery cause. His family required his presence at home. Yet his recent "inactivity" included a three-week tour of Mas sachusetts, two weeks in New Hampshire, a few days in Connecticut, and three weeks in Vermont. At the time of the writing he was in Montpelier, Vermont, which he found a "hard" place for introduction of antislavery. Eventual ly he decided his Vermont trip had been a success, though in some towns he was unable
INTRODUCTION. Ixxxi to find anyone who would give him accommo dations. The Compromise of 1850 provoked a new series of letters and speeches from Walker. He criticized Daniel Webster's Seventh of March speech, but had "no vials of wrath to pour on the poor man's devoted head, for his lamentable exhibition," because Webster was a mere tool for northeastern manufacturing and mercantile interests who were allied with the slave power. Any who expected Webster to make a bold defense of freedom and equal rights in the Senate had mistaken their man, Walker claimed. Webster was unequal to the task, he lacked the independence and moral courage. Walker added that intellects such as Webster, Clay, and Calhoun were "prostituted to prop up" the infamous, inhuman, slave system. Walker also attacked the recently enacted "inglorious" Fugitive Slave Bill which, he said, converted the entire free population into slave catchers, forcing them "to become sub stitutes for Southern trained blood-hounds, to bark on the track of the panting fugitive from degradation and chains."88 Walker advocated disobedience of the law. After a two and one-half month tour of Ver mont in late 1850 and early 1851, Walker in formed Garrison that he probably would have no more reports on his antislavery tours, as circumstances prevented his further labors. He did continue to attack the Fugitive Slave
Ixxxii INTRODUCTION. Act and formed a vigilance committee in Ply mouth, Massachusetts, to assist runaways. He urged each town to form a vigilance commit tee and to resist the Fugitive Slave Act with "all physical and mental means that can be sanctioned by sound morality and reasonable philosophy." In Plymouth, Walker apparently was virtually a one-man committee. In May 1851 he had several fugitive slaves sharing the "rough and humble cabin" with him and his family. They had been there three weeks and as yet had been unable to find jobs or better places to live. In the meantime the old sailor was working in "mud-docks, under the bottoms of vessels, in all possible positions ... in order to meet the demands of hunger, cold and oppression."89 In late 1851 Walker moved his family to Washington, Vermont. Though he worked with a local vigilance com mittee and tried to create antislavery senti ment locally, he never again was significant on the lecture circuit. Always on the outlook for a better place to live and greater opportunity, Walker moved west in 1853, eventually settling in Sheboygan County, Wisconsin. He continued his activities against slavery, but in moving west be began the drift back into the obscurity which had veiled the first forty-five years of his life. Only rarely was he mentioned in abolitionist newspapers after 1858. In 1854 he and his
INTRODUCTION. Ixxxiii wife, Jane, advertised for antislavery migrants to come to Sheboygan County to form an aboli tionist community. There was little response. Again in 1856 Walker wrote the Liberator, describing how migrants were arriving in his area of Wisconsin from the eastern states and Germany. He once more called for the forma tion of "a social community of Equality/* A few months later he attacked abolitionists who gave money to promote armed insurrection for the forcible overthrow of slavery. He favored giving peaceful means "preference in settling difficulties with our erring brothers." He had long believed that any means short of violence should be used to destroy slavery. He sus pected that using force was attacking one evil with another. Though his activity was local, Walker con tinued to sustain the antislavery movement with speeches, any money he could spare, and occasional letters to the Liberator and Eman cipator. In 1864 he made his last major at tempt to assist his black brethren. Numerous slaves were congregated at Fortress Monroe, Virginia, many working for the army, others employed on government farms. Walker be lieved his experience in agriculture and me chanics could be useful. He arrived in the East in April. General Benjamin Butler, then in command in Virginia, was away and had left orders that no civilians were to be admitted
IXXXW INTRODUCTION. to the area in his absence. After waiting about three weeks, Walker accompanied two teachers of the American Missionary Association to Norfolk, where he was given a pass by the military and orders for employment on a gov ernment farm. When he arrived at the farm, the overseer informed him that he was not needed. Walker then went to Fortress Monroe and observed the American Missionary Associ ation school. He was much impressed with the ability of black students. Soon he received orders to go to another farm. Upon arriving he noticed the overseer putting his musket in working order. In response to Walker's ques tion about local game, the overseer said there were some "damn niggers" he would be pleased to shoot. Walker and the overseer obviously could not work together. His health failing and unable to locate a place to labor, Walker returned home wondering if black folk had made much gain in exchanging Southern mas ters for United States Army overseers.90 After the war Walker lived quietly and humbly on a small fruit farm in Muskegon County, Michigan.91 Though he never lost in terest in the reforms important to himr rights for blacks, women's rights, and improve ment of conditions for seamenhe never again attracted national attention. When he died at age seventy-nine on April 30, 1878, many who knew Whittier's poem "The Branded Hand"
INTRODUCTION. Ixxxv were unaware of the man who had inspired it. Yet there were those who did remember. A friend, the Reverend Photius Fiske of Boston, paid for a monument to be erected to the old antislavery warrior. About six thousand per sons attended the unveiling on August 1,1878, appropriately enough the anniversary of eman cipation in the West Indies. Many of his for mer antislavery friends were dead or too ill to attend. A letter from Frederick Douglass read at the ceremony probably described Walker as accurately as possible. "Yes I knew Jonathan Walker, and knew him well/' Doug lass wrote, "knew him to love him and to honor him as a true man, a friend to humanity, a brave but noiseless lover of liberty, not only for himself but for all men; one who possessed the qualities of a hero and martyr, and was ready to take any risks to his own safety and personal ease to save his fellow-men from slavery." Walker was not "less entitled to grateful memory than the most honored of them all."" Always shy of publicity and preferring the approval of his own conscience to the ap plause of his fellows, Walker was quickly for gotten. But for several years he had been a major figure in the antislavery movement. He had been an asset to abolitionists, as were other martyrs. His experiences and their re cital intensified antislavery and sectional feel-
IXXXVI INTRODUCTION. ing. The modest granite monument at Muske gon was a fitting memorial to the modest Walker. On one side is a quotation from Whittier's poem. On another side are Walker's birth and death dates, and on the eastern face of the shaft is a replica of his branded hand.98 JOE M. RICHARDSON The Florida State University NOTES 1. Facts about Walker's first forty-five years are scarce. The numerous newspaper articles about him after he became famous failed to fill in many of the missing details of his early life. Mabel Weekes, The Man with the Branded Hand (pamphlet, 1902) p. 7; Frank E. Kittredge, The Man with the Branded Hand. An Authentic Sketch of the Life and Services of Capt. Jonathan Walker (pamphlet, 1899), p. 12; A Short Sketch of the Life and Services of Jonathan Walker, The Man with the Branded Hand, with a poem by John G. Whittier and an address by Hon. Parker Pittsbury, one of Walker's Anti-Slavery friends, and a funeral oration by Rev. F. E. Kittredge (pamph let, 1879), pp. 1, 9. 2. Kittredge, The Man with the Branded Hand, p. 12; Jonathan Walker, Trial and Imprisonment of Jonathan Walker, at Pensacola, Florida, for Aiding Slaves to Escape from Bondage, with an Appendix Containing a Sketch of His Life (Boston, 1845), pp. 105-7. 3. Liberator, 8 Aug. 1845, p. 126; Walker, Trial
INTRODUCTION. IXXXVU and Imprisonment, pp. 115,117. 4. Kittredge, The Man with the Branded Hand, p. 12; Jonathan Walker, A Brief View of Amer ican Chattelized Humanity and Its Supports (Boston, 1846), pp. 33-34. 5. Merton L. Dillon, Benjamin Lundy and the Struggle for Negro Freedom (Urbana, 111., 1966), pp. 177-219. 6. Walker, Trial and Imprisonment, p. 108; Sketch of the Life and Services of Jonathan Walker, p. 1; Weekes, Man with the Branded Hand, p. 8. 7. The other settlers never arrived. The Texas victory at San Jacinto, 21 April 1836, disrupted Lnndy*s plans. After the battle, Mexican troops withdrew south of the Rio Grande, and Texas ex tended its authority to that river. As a result, Lundy's grant of land now lay in Texas, and Lundy was aware that Texans were unsympa thetic to his abolitionist scheme. Dillon, Benjamin Lundy, p. 219. 8. Walker, Trial and Imprisonment, pp. 108-10; Sketch of the Life and Services of Jonathan Walker, p. 1; Liberator, 27 Sept. 1844, p. 154; Joseph March to Joshua Leavitt, 10 Sept. 1844, in Boston Emancipator and Weekly Chronicle, 16 Sept. 1844. 9. Liberator, 8 Aug. 1845, p. 126; Sketch of the Life and Services of Jonathan Walker, p. 1; Pensacola Gazette, 29 June 1844. 10. Liberator, 16 Aug. 1844, p. 129; 8 Aug. 1845, p. 126; Walker, Trial and Imprisonment, pp. 8-10; Walker, American Chattelized Human ity, p. 13. 11. Walker, Trial and Imprisonment, pp. 85, 93, 101. 12. Pensacola Gazette, 29 June 1844; Liberator, 8 Aug. 1845, p. 126; Henry Wilson, History of
IxXXViU INTRODUCTION. the Rise and Fall of the Slave Power in America, 3rd ed., 3 vols. (Boston, 1875-77), II: 82-83; Henrietta Buckmaster, Let My People Go: The Story of the Underground Railroad and the Growth of the Abolition Movement (Boston: Bea con Press, 1959), p. 130. 13. Liberator, 8 Aug. 1845, p. 126; Walker, Trial and Imprisonment, pp. 9, 21-22; Walker, American Chattelized Humanity, p. 8. 14. Boston Emancipator and Weekly Chronicle, 23 Oct. 1844; Pensacola Gazette, 29 June 1844. 15. Quoted in Boston Emanicpator and Weekly Chronicle, 23 Oct. 1844. 16. Jonathan Walker to Dear Wife and Children, 29 July 1844, quoted in Boston Emancipator and Weekly Chronicle, 27 Aug. 1844; Sketch of the Life and Services of Jonathan Walker p. 7. 17. Loring Moody to Joshua Leavitt, 2 Aug. 1844, in Boston Emancipator and Weekly Chron icle, 7 Aug. 1844, 11 Sept. 1844; Joseph Marsh to Editor, Barnstable (Mass.) Patriot, 11 Sept. 1844; Joseph Marsh to Joshua Leavitt, 10 Sept. 1844, in Boston Emancipator and Weekly Chron icle, 16 Sept. 1844. 18. Loring Moody to Joshua Leavitt, 21 Aug. 1844, in Boston Emancipator and Weekly Chron icle, 7 Aug. 1844; see also Boston Emancipator, 15 July 1844; Walker, Trial and Imprisonment, p. 9. 19. Walker, Trial and Imprisonment, p. 10; Pensacola Gazette, 29 June 1844; Kittredge, Man with the Branded Hand, p. 14. 20. Walker, Trial and Imprisonment, p. 10; Pensacola Gazette, 27 July 1844; Liberator, 8 Aug. 1845, p. 126; Boston Emancipator and Week ly Chronicle, 7 Aug. 1844. 21. Pensacola Gazette, 29 June 1844; Boston Emancipator and Weekly Chronicle, 14 Aug. 1844;
INTRODUCTION. Uxxix Kittredge, The Man With the Branded Hand, p. 16. 22. Walker, Trial and Imprisonment, p. 12. 23. Boston Emancipator and Weekly Chronicle, 27 Aug. 1844; Barnstable (Mass.) Patriot, 18 Sept. 1844; Liberator, 2 Aug. 1844, p. 123; Walker, Trial and Imprisonment, pp. 13, 36. 24. The men who attempted to escape were punished less harshly than Walker. Robert C. Caldwell, who claimed three of the escapees, said he did not intend to punish them, and as far as can be determined, he did not. The other four men were placed in the Pensacola jail, July 28, and on August 5 they were each whipped fifty blows with a paddle. When they were released August 8, they reportedly could walk only with difficulty. Walker, Trial and Imprisonment, pp. 14-15, 24-25; Boston Emancipator and Weekly Chronicle, 27 Aug. 1844; Liberator, 2 Aug. 1844, p. 123. 25. Boston Emancipator and Weekly Chronicle, 15 July 1844; Pensacola Gazette, 25 June 1844, quoted in Kittredge, The Man with the Branded Hand, p. 14. 26. Pensacola Gazette, 25 June 1844; St. Au gustine Florida Herald and Southern Democrat, 23 July 1844. 27. It was not the sheriff and his deputy who escorted Walker through the crowd but U.S. Deputy Marshal James Gonzalez. Liberator, 13 Sept. 1844, p. 147; National Anti-Slavery Stan* dard, quoted in Boston Emancipator and Weekly Chronicle, 13 Aug. 1845; Kittredge, Man With the Branded Hand, p. 17; Walker, Trial and Im prisonment, p. 16. 28. Walker, Trial and Imprisonment, pp. 16-17. 29. During his time in the Pensacola jail, 256 days were spent in solitary confinement3 of them in irons.
xc INTRODUCTION. 30. Liberator, 6 Mar. 1846, p. 39; Boston Emancipator and Weekly Chronicle, 21 May 1845; Sketch of the Life and Services of Jonathan Walker, p. 4; Walker, Trial and Imprisonment, p. 20. 31. Walker to Dear Wife and Children, 29 July 1844, quoted in Liberator, 6 Sept. 1844, p. 144; Boston Emancipator and Weekly Chronicle, 13 Aug. 1844. 32. Louis Filler, The Crusade against Slavery, 1880-1860 (New York, 1960), pp. 163-64; Wilbur H. Siebert, The Underground Railroad From Slavery to Freedom (New York, 1898), pp. 168-70. 33. Liberator, 9 Aug. 1844, p. 1261; 23 Aug. 1844, p. 135; Boston Emancipator and Weekly Chronicle, 28 Aug. 1844. 34. Boston Emancipator and Weekly Chronicle, 25 Sept. 1844; Liberator, 6 Sept. 1844, p. 143. .. 35. Barnstable (Mass.) Patriot, 18 Sept. 1844; Boston Emancipator and Weekly Chronicle, 2, 11, 18, 25 Sept. 1844; Liberator, 27 Sept. 1844, p. 154; 29 Nov. 1844, p. 189. 36. For descriptions of several meetings and copies of resolutions passed, see Liberator and Boston Emancipator and Weekly Chronicle, August-December, 1844. 37. Joseph Marsh to Editor, Barnstable (Mass.) Patriot, 11 Sept. 1844. 38. Liberator, 11 Oct. 1844, p. 163; 7 Feb. 1845, p. 23; Boston Emancipator and Weekly Chronicle, 16 Oct 1844. 39. John G. Palfrey to John Branch, 2 Oct 1844; John Branch to Walker Anderson, 25 Oct. 1844; Walker Anderson to John Branch, 9 Nov. 1844, quoted in Florida Senate Journal, 18A5, pp. 27-28 in appendix. 40. British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Reporter,
INTRODUCTION. XCt 2 Oct. 1844,189-90; Aug. 1845, pp. 159-60; John Scoble to Walker, 8 Oct. 1844, quoted in Walker, Trial and Imprisonment, p. 84. 41. Boston Emancipator and Weekly Chronicle, 23 Oct., 6 Nov., 4 Dec 1844. 42. Walker, Trial and Imprisonment, pp. 72-78. 43. National Anti-Slavery Standard* quoted in Boston Emancipator and Weekly Chronicle, 13 Aug. 1845; Barnstable (Mass.) Patriot, 14 May 1845; Walker, Trial and Imprisonment, pp. 34-40; Liberator, 6 Dec 1844, p. 195. 44. Willis was arrested as an offender "against good order." He was later tried in an adjoining county and fined six and one-quarter cents. 45. Dorr and Walker had been relatively close acquaintances and Dorr apparently performed his duty as marshal reluctantly. In September 1844, Dorr had written, "I am extremely sorry, as well as almost every other person in this community, that a man so much respected as Capt. Walker was in this city, should have placed himself in so terrible a situation." Boston Emancipator and Weekly Chronicle, 23 Oct 1844. 46. Marshal Dorr had no branding iron, and one had to be made. Reportedly the first black smith asked to make the iron indignantly refused, claiming that brands were for animals not men. His shop was nearest to the courthouse, but he refused to permit his forge to be used for the branding. National Anti-Slavery Standard, quoted in Boston Emancipator and Weekly Chronicle, 13 Aug. 1845; Weekes, The Man with the Branded Hand, pp. 10-11. 47. An eyewitness to H. W. Williams, ? Nov. 1844, quoted in Boston Emancipator and Weekly Chronicle, 9 Dec 1844; Boston Evening Tran script, 6 Dec 1844; J. P. Nickerson to editor, 7 May 1845, in Barnstable (Mass.) Patriot, 14
xcii INTRODUCTION. May 1845; National Anti-Slavery Standard, quoted in Boston Emancipator and Weekly Chronicle, 13 Aug. 1845. 48. An eyewitness to Henry W. Williams, 17 Nov. 1844, in Liberator, 6 Dec. 1844, p. 195, 49. J. P. Nickerson to editor, 7 May 1845, in Barnstable (Mass.) Patriot, 7 May 1845. 50. AntuSlavery Standard, quoted in Barn stable (Mass.) Patriot, 2 July 1845; Boston Emancipator and Weekly Chronicle, 19 Mar., 30 June 1845; Walker, Trial and Imprisonment, pp. 45, 102-4. 51. Henrietta Buckmaster, Let My People Go, p. 131. 52. Boston Emancipator and Weekly Chronicle, 6 Aug. 1845. 53. New Bedford (Mass.) Bulletin, 13 Aug. 1845. 54. Christian Citizen, quoted in Liberator, Sept. 1845, p. 141, 6 Dec. 1844, p. 195. 55. Carleton Mabee, Black Freedom: The Non violent Abolitionists from 1880 through the Civil War (London, 1970), p. 269; Liberator, 10 Jan. 1845, p. 7. 56. Liberator, 3 Jan. 1845, p. 3, 22 Aug. 1845, p. 135. 57. Boston Christian Witness, quoted in Liber ator, 3 Oct. 1845, pp. 157-58, 17 Jan. 1845, p. 9, 22 Aug. 1845, p. 135. 58. His friends had tried to secure his release. They had collected money for an attorney, and when he proved worthless, Walker's Harwich neighbors concluded to forgo the appeal and secure his freedom. The fine and court cost amourtted to $423. A letter was sent to Captain Samuel Smith, Jr., of Harwich, who was then in Florida with his ship, authorizing him to pay as much as $500, provided Walker could accompany
INTRODUCTION. xciii him. When the captain received the message, his ship was loaded, ready to sail. Furthermore, the marshal was away for several days and nothing could be done without his presence. Since mail traveled so slowly, Walker had been reindicted before other means could be attempted. J. P. Nickerson to editor, 7 May 1845, in Barnstable (Mass.) Patriot, 4 May 1845. 59. Jonathan Walker to J. P. Nickerson, 31 Mar. 1845, in Barnstable (Mass.) Patriot, 4 May 1845; Walker Trial and Imprisonment, pp. 47-48. 60. Boston Emancipator and Weekly Chronicle, 26 Feb. 1845; Liberator, 28 Feb. 1845, p. 35; Pensacola Gazette, 8 Feb. 1845. 61. When commenting upon Walker's escape attempt, the Pensacola Gazette remarked that "It is a subject of no little wonder here, that the zeal and benevolence of W's abolition friends abroad, have not yet lead to his being supplied with the funds necessary for his relief." Such a comment from Florida, widely reprinted in northern papers, irritated abolitionists, and they began to ask the same question of each other and in news papers. Pensacola Gazette, 8 Feb. 1845; George W. Brewster to editor, 28 Apr. 1845, in Barn stable (Mass.) Patriot, 30 Apr. 1845; Boston Evening Transcript, 28 Feb. 1845. 62. Cincinnati Philanthropist, quoted in Liberator, 28 Mar. 1845, p. 50; Boston Emancipator and Weekly Chronicle, 19 Mar. 1845; Florida Senate Journal, 1845, p. 148. 63. At the time the report was made, the Flor ida Senate was already considering a bill to make slave stealing punishable by death. 64. Florida Senate Journal, 1845, pp. 174-77. 65. On March 10, 1845, a new law was passed which declared that "any person convicted of stealing a slave shall suffer death." Naturally it
XWO INTRODUCTION. would not apply retroactively to Walker's case. Leslie A. Thompson (comp.), A Manual or Digest of the Statute Law of the State of Florida, of a General Character, in Force at the end of the Second Session of the General Assembly of the State, on the Sixth Day of January, 18k7 (Boston, 1847), p. 492. 66. Walker to J. P. Nickerson, 31 Mar. 1845, in Barnstable (Mass.) Patriot, 14 May 1845; Boston Emancipator and Weekly Chronicle, 13 Aug. 1845. 67. Walker, Trial and Imprisonment, pp. 52-55; Boston Emancipator and Weekly Chronicle, 13 Aug. 1845. 68. Walker to J. P. Nickerson, 10 May 1845, in Barnstable (Mass.) Patriot, 28 May 1845. 69. Walker, Trial and Imprisonment, pp. 55, 102; Boston Emancipator and Weekly Chronicle, 6 Aug. 1845. 70. Of the total cost to Walker, $87.50 was for guarding the jail. (Between 1798-1857 the United States coined a copper half cent.) Previous to his first trial there was a special guard at the jail each night. At first Walker was told the guard was there to prevent his being molested by local citizens; on another occasion he was informed that the guard was employed to prevent his es caping. /' 71. Walker, Trial and Imprisonment, pp. 99-100; Liberator, 25 July 1845, p. 118. 72. Liberator, 18 July 1845, p. 115, 25 July 1845, p. 118; Boston Emancipator and Weekly Chronicle, 6 Aug. 1845. 73. Liberator 25 July 1845, p. 119, 1 Aug. 1845, p. 173. 74. It is interesting to note how descriptions of Walker in New England differed from the one in the Pensacola Gazette. While the Gazette portrayed him as having "a suspicious counte nance, slouchy person, stooping shoulders,"
INTRODUCTION. XCV northern newspapers depicted him as "a tall, stout, fine looking specimen of a Cape Cod skip per with a countenance expressive of good sense and benevolence," and an "honest looking" man, "just such a man as would be likely to have his sympathies awaked in behalf of the oppressed and downtrodden." Essex (Mass.) Transcript, quoted in Liberator, 10 Oct. 1845, p. 162; New Bedford (Mass.) Bulletin, 13 Aug. 1845. 75. P. Douglass to P. Fiske, 15 July 1878, quoted in Sketch of the Life and Services of Jonathan Walker, 14-15; Liberator, 8 Aug. 1845, p. 126; Buckmaster, Let My People Go, p. 181. 76. Christian Citizen, 13 Aug. 1845; Boston Emancipator and Weekly Chronicle, 6, 13 Aug. 1845; Liberator, 15 Aug. 1845, p. 132. 77. Siebert, Underground Railroad, pp. 171; Alice Pelt Tyler, Freedom*s Ferment: Phases of American Social History from the Colonial Period to the Outbreak of the Civil War (New York: Harper Torchbooks, 1962). 78. Walker's speaking schedule was usually printed in the Liberator. Between 17 August and 25 August he spoke in eight different towns. His schedule continued at the same intensive pace throughout 1845. 79. Liberator, 19 Sept. 1845, p. 152; National Anti-Slavery Standard, quoted in Boston Eman cipator and Weekly Chronicle, 13 Aug. 1845; Walker, Trial and Imprisonment, p. v. 80. Many of Walker's strictures against the church were drawn from the speeches and writ ings of Frederick Douglass. 81. Jonathan Walker, A Brief View of Amer ican Chattelized Humanity, and Its Supports (Boston, 1846). 82. Jonathan Walker, A Picture of Slavery For Youth (Boston, n.d.). 83. There was still a strong desire to see
xcvi INTRODUCTION. Walker in areas other than New England. In 1847 he was urged to come West: "thousands will flock to hear his story and see his Branded Hand/' an abolitionist wrote from Cincinnati Liberator, 7 Apr. 1847, p. 57. 84. Liberator, 23 Jan. 1846, p. 15, 12 June 1846, p. 95, 7 July 1846, p. 115. 85. Walker to S. H. Gray, 8 March 1847, in Liberator, 9 Apr. 1847, p. 57. 86. Liberator, 9 Apr. 1847, p. 58. 87. Ibid., 3 Dec. 1847, p. 195, 11 Feb. 1848, p. 23, 14 Apr. 1848, p. 58, 26 May 1848, p. 83, 30 Nov. 1849, p. 191, 14 Dec. 1849, p. 199. 88. Ibid., 1 Mar. 1850, p. 36, 8 Mar. 1850, p. 39, 29 Mar. 1850, p. 52, 10 May 1850, p. 76, 31 May 1850, p. 87, 11 Oct. 1850, p. 163. 89. Mabee, Black Freedom, p. 298; Liberator, 14 Feb. 1851, p. 28, 6 June 1851, p. 92. 90. Weekes, Man With the Branded Hand, p. 11; Liberator, 22 Apr. 1853, p. 63, 18 Aug. 1854, p. 131, 13 Oct. 1854, p. 163; 11 Jan. 1856, p. 8, May, 1856, p. 74, 2 Sept. 1864, p. 143. 91. He left Wisconsin and settled in Muskegon County in 1863. 92. Frederick Douglass to P. Fiske, 15 July 1878, in Sketch of the Life and Services of Jon athan Walker',pp. &-14. 93. Sketch of the Life and Services of Jonathan Walker, pp. 11-12; Kittredge, Man With the Branded Hand, pp. 11-12.
TRIAL AND IMPRISONMENT OP JONATHAN WALKER, AT PENSACOLA, FLORIDA, FOE AIDING SLAVES TO BSOAFB FROM BONDAGE. WITH AN APPENDIX, CONTAINING A SKETCH OF HIS LIFE. "All things whataoerer ye would that men ahould doimto you, do ye erea so unto them. For this is the law end the prophets.'* BOSTON: PUBLISHED AT THE ANTI-SLAVERY OFFICE, 25 Oornhill. 1845.
Entered according to act of Congress, in the year 1845, by JONATHAN WALKER. In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of Massachusetts. Stereotyped by GEORGE CURTIS; > TYBB AMD STBBBOTYPB fOUNDBY* BOSTON: DOW A JACKSON'S POWER rfUSSB M Devonshire Street.
PREFACE. ON his return from Florida, after his release, Captain Walker called on me with the manuscript narrative of his trial and imprisonment. In common with very many of the members of the American Anti-Slavery Society, I had long known his character as a man of the strictest veracity and the highest conscientiousness; and his narrative seemed to me to cast so strong a light upon the religious, the moral, and the political condition of the United States, from the practical workings of their great organic lawf-the constitu tiondown to the minutest of the territorial usages and enactments which result from that few; and to exhibit in so clear a view the contrast between the principles and ideas which at present govern the public mind, and those which are beginning to struggle for the mastery, that I could not but warmly urge this publication. There are those who doubt whether the North is as guilty as the South with respect to slavery; whether the system is degrading to the slave and disgraceful to the master; whether the slave is cruelly treated; whether the system is injurious to the reputation of this country, a reproach to its Christianity, and ruinous to the character of its people. There are also those who, while they condemn slavery, at the same time assert that its extinction may be best pro moted by studied silence, and by a quiet waiting for the gradual operations of a moral and religious system which declares that it is hot in its nature sinful, and justifies it from the Scriptures; and of a political and governmental system which is a solemn guaranty in its favor. There are those, too, who believe the abolitionists to be
iv PREFACE. instigated by a bitter, unkind, fanatical and insurrectionary spirit; hostile to law and order, sectional in their views, and possessed by one idea. And there are others, who, honoring the holy cause, and respecting the disinterestedness of abolitionists, yet justify themselves in standing aloof from the movement, under the idea of being better able to befriend the cause by refusing to be numbered among its adherents, and suffering themselves to be counted in the ranks of the opponents. It was for the sake of all these classes that I most earnestly urged Captain Walker to give to the public, whose great majority they compose, the manuscript which he had prepared for the satisfaction of his friends. When they see, in its unstudied pages, the good, forgiving, self-denying spirit of the Christian, the indomitable deter mination of the Freeman, and the severe devotedness of the Puritan, all uniting in an unconscious exhibition of the uncompromising Abolitionist, I cannot but hope that their hearts will be touched by the excellence of the example. It is to be lamented that many interesting and illustrative incidents must be suppressed, out of regard to the safety of individuals, whose liberties and lives their publication would endanger; yet what could, better than such a fact, illustrate the condition of slaves and freemen in the United States of North America; or better plead the cause of those few of the inhabitants who are pronounced by the rest to be over zealous, because they have been the first to perceive what all will soon be obliged to acknowledge,that the liberties of our land are gone t It was a deep observation of facts that led Montesquieu to say, *( A republic may lose its liberties in* a day, and not find it out for a century." The day that sunk ours, was that of the adoption of the Federal Constitution the day when we perpetrated, as a nation, an eternal wrong for the sake of guilty prosperity and peace. But it now begins to be very plainly discerned, that between slavery and freedom there can be no covenant. The futile hope of
PREFACE. V f our fathers, in attempting such a one, was peace;after the lapse of sixty years, their descendants hear from that guilty past, Ancestral voices, prophesying WAR !" The narrative of Frederick Douglass gives a picture of the condition of a slave in the land that their folly and their fear betrayed. That of Jonathan Walker shows the condition of the freeman whose lot is cast in the same land, little more than half a century only after the perpetration of that treason to humanity. The most ignominious tortures are now the lot of him who, in the United States of America, determines to he truly a freeman, nor lose his own liberties with the sinking ones of the republic; of him whose liberty it is to choose his part with the enslaved, and not with the slaveholder. It may but prove, in the language of those old puritans whose blood yet floods a Massachusetts heart so strongly, a greater liberty to suffer, a more freedom to die." Yet whatever be the result, God grant, throughout the land, a continual outpouring of that free, devoted spirit to us and to our children! a spirit which, by the might of its good will, by the strength of its sense of duty, shall overcome tyranny, prejudice and cruelty; bigotry, avarice and knavery; and the whole array of sins of which slavery is at once the cause and the effect. This is a painful tale for an American to read, and think, meanwhile, that it is circulating through the civilized world ; but, if worthy of the name, he will find comfort in the thought that it is confirming the abolitionist and con futing the slave-holder, showing an example to both of the dutiful obedience to right, which is mighty to save a nation from utter reproach and destruction. It will be a painful tale for all, to whom the carefully concealed features and inevitable consequences of the slavesystem have never before been exhibited. Such are to be 1*
ti PREFACE. I found at the South as well as at the North; and both wiU do well, in the intensity of their pain and disgust, to remember the words of GARRISON : Let us not sentimentally shrink from such knowledge; we will know what we have to do, that we may more surely do it. We go forth to take off chains; and there is need that our virtue should be robust." Very consoling is the reflection that this uprising of the heart against wrong is not a sectional one, but felt at the south as well as at the north, by men of all parties and of all sects. Very exalting is the idea that the virtual slaveholder of the north, not merely reproaching the planter, the overseer and the driver, has begun the work of self-sacrificing reform with his own heart, by refusing all political and ecclesiasti cal participation in their deed. The abolition of slavery is sure, since these most guilty and efficient slaveholders begin to make abolitionism not only an ethical statement, but a Christian life. MARIA WESTON CHAPMAN. Boston, August, 1845.
TRIAL AND IMPRISONMENT OF JONATHAN WALKER. CHAPTER L HAVING been arraigned before the public by providential circumstances of a somewhat unusual nature, and having been the subject of much remark and ridicule; passing through evil report and good report," throughout the United States, and having received tokens of sympathy from abroad in conse quence of the treatment I received from the tribunals of my own country for an attempted act of kindness towards some of the down-trodden of my own country men; and confident that but a scanty and imperfect knowledge of the case has found its way to the people, who have a right to know the real facts; it appears to be a matter of duty to them and the cause for which I have suffered, that I should relate the substance of the whole transaction as it actually occurred. This I have endeavored to do with much carefulness in avoid ing all false coloring or deviation from the simple truth.
8 TRIAL AND IMPRISONMENT Having never been favored with an education, and laboring under the disadvantage of writing hastily, on my passage home, as I found opportunity, the narrative will not be so attractive as it otherwise might be. But such readers as desire a simple ungarnished statement of the case, will, I hope, find their minds led by it to a subject of the first consideration to every American citizen. I look upon the southern States as the most favored part of my country, which nature seems to have done and to be doing much more for, than for the northern States. Their soft and genial climate, their rich and luxuriant soil, their long and uniform summers, their short and mild winters, their beautiful timber forests ana4 great water-privileges, all far exceed those of New England, in my opinion; and I am fully under the impression that I could support my family at the south for less than half the labor and exertions that I can at the north. Neither are the customs of the peo ple there more repugnant to my feelings than the cus toms of the northern people generally, with the exception of what belongs to the system of slavery. I have long since cast into oblivion all sectional and hostile feelings toward my fellow-men. I have no illwill to the slave-holders, or the advocates of slavery; but I pity them for their awful depravity in regarding as property those who are, by the rule of right and the laws of God, entitled to the same privileges and bene fits as themselves. It is the system of slavery, that sheds mildew upon the fair prospects of our country blasting its social, political, moral, and religious prosperitywhich I do unhesitatingly contend against;
OF JONATHAN WALKER. 9 since the master's true interest and rights do not suffer in consequence of his slaves becoming free laborers; for they cannot, I say it emphatically, be his property, nor can his rights consist in other people's wrongs. I have spent a good deal of time in the southern States, and have closely and carefully observed the mode and operation of the slave system in several of them; and have lived five or six years with my fam ily in Pensacola, Florida; being known by the people generally to be hostile to the system of slavery. Twice, while living there, I was called upon by differ ent persons,the chief executive officers or mayors for the time being,in consequence of the reports in circulation that I was on good terms with the colored people; and it was intimated that there was danger in regard to my peace and safety, for should the people be excited in consequence of my discountenance of some of their rules and customs respecting the asso ciation of white with colored men, it would be out of their power to shield me from violence. CHAPTER H. LATE in the fall of 1843,1 left my home in Harwich, Massachusetts, and took passage on board of a vessel bound for Mobile, where I spent the winter and spring mostly in working at the ship-wright business, which is my trade. I left Mobile on the 2d June, 1844, for Pensacola,
10 TRIAL AND IMPRISONMENT in a boat belonging to myself; chiefly for the purpose of raising a part of the wreck of a vessel sunk near the latter place, for the sake of getting the copper that was attached to it. I arrived on the 4th, made some examination and some inquiry about the wreck, and was informed that it was claimed by a citizen of the place. Although it had been sunk there more than thirty years, no effort had been made to raise it. I called on the person who claimed it, but we could not agree on terms. I passed up the bay thirty or forty miles, to see an old friend or two, stayed a few days, and returned to Pensacola again. Soon after, I had an interview with three or four persons that were dis posed to leave the place. I gave them to understand that if they chose to go to the Bahama Islands in my boat, I would share the risk with them. Preparations were made, and on the evening of the 22d, seven men came on board the boat, and we left the place, went out of the harbor, and followed in the direction of the coast to the eastward. We had for several days strong head winds, with frequent squalls and rain. I had for two days been somewhat unwell, hav ing been much exposed to the violence of the sun, and had been what is called sun-struck, and was now exposed to the sudden changing elements night and day in an open boat. On the 26th, we arrived at St. Andre's harbor, where we stopped part of the day, dried our clothing, cooked some provisions, recruited the water-barrel, and I took an emetic. In the even ing we left, and the next day run up St Joseph's Bay, with the intention of taking the boat across into St George's Sound, to avoid going round Gape
OF JONATHAN WALKER. 11 St Blass; bat we found the distance too great, abandoned the idea, and passed out of the bay again and went round the cape. On the 28-~9th> went through St George's Sound, stopping a few hours at St George's Island to cook a little, and recruit our water. We passed Apalacha Bay, following some what the direction of the coast, and on the 1st of July were in the vicinity of Cedar Keys.* Up to this time my sickness had still increased, and I was so unwell as to be obliged to leave the management of the boat pretty much entirely to those that were with me, for by spells I was somewhat delirious. I remember looking at the red horizon in the west, soon after sun-down, as I thought for the last time in this world, not expecting to behold that glorious lumi nary shedding its scorching rays on me more. While using the remaining faculties which I possessed, in aid of the slave's escape from his master, the reader may be anxious to know the state of my mind at that time, when in prospect of speedy dissolution, on the subject of slavery; or, more properly, of my anti-slavery feeling. Among other things, my mind was occupied on that subject also, and I calmly and deliberately thought it over; and, as on other occasions, came to the conclusion that slavery was evil and only evil, and that continually; and that any mode or process of emancipation, short of blood-shed or the sacrifice of principle, would not be in violation Prom the shore of the west and south part of the peninsula of Florida, shoal ground extends to a considerable distance, on which are numerous small islands denominated Keys, each having its own
12 TRIAL AND IMPRISONMENT of right or duty, but the contrary; and therefore calculated to secure the approbation of that great Judge of all the earth, who doeth right," and before whose presence I soon expected to appear. After passing this night, I scarcely know how, the next morning I found myself more comfortable, and felt some relief. In a day or two after, (for I was now unable to keep the run of time,) we landed on one of St. Martin's Keys, and cooked provisions, but could get no water. For several days nature and my disease seemed to be about on a balance, and it was doubtful which would rule the day; I took another emetic, made free use of cayenne pepper and bitters, which appeared to have a good effect, and in a few days my face was nearly covered with sores, and my whole system, which had been so much oppressed that I could with difficulty respire, felt much relieved. But my strength and flesh were nearly gone, and the sys tem so much reduced, that it is a wonder to me how, after undergoing so much privation, exposure, and the treatment that followed, I was enabled to recover at all. We continued down the coast, landing several times in search of water, without being able to get any, but being confident that we should find some at Cape Florida, where we intended to stop before cross ing the gulf. But fortunately, or unfortunately, which, I cannot tell, at day-break on the morning of July the 8th, we saw two sloops* within a short The sloops were wrecking vessels of eighty, or ninety tons, manned with fifteen or twenty men each, and sailed very fast. They are employed for the sake of saving or getting what they can from vessels wrecked on the coast. They hailed from Key West.
OF JONATHAN WALKER. 13 distance, standing towards us. In a few moments they came within hail, and inquired, Where are you from, and where are you bound ?" I answered, From St. Joseph's, bound to Cape Florida."* The captain of one of the sloops said, "I am going that way, and will give you a tow;" at the same time he ran alongside of the boat and made a rope fast to it, and invited us on board the sloop. The men were going on board, when I advised them to stay in the boat. Four of them had stepped on board, but one immediately returned. The others were not allowed to. The sloop directly reversed her course and run back where she had come from, and anchored. I requested the captain to allow the men to return in the boat; he made no reply, but took his boat and went on board of the other sloop, which had followed him back to the anchorage. Soon after he returned and requested me to come on board the vessel. I, being then exposed to the violent heat of the sun, thought it prudent to comply, confident that we should be detained at all events. While on board I was treated with civility, and permitted to pass the time in the cabin or on deck, as I chose for my convenience or comfort. We were then forty or fifty miles from Cape Florida, and if we had not been detained, would have got there before night, and been ready to cross The reader has seen that St. Joseph's was the last port we left, and we intended to call at Cape Florida. This has been used to make it appear that I resorted to falsehood, because we had started from Pensacola, and were bound, ultimately, to Nassau, New Providence. 2
14 TRIAL AND IMPRISONMENT the gulf the next morning. But our voyage was up, and we had other prospects now before us. We had now been fourteen days on our passage* and had sailed and rowed more than seven hundred miles; but for the last eight or ten days the weather had proved more uniform and mild, and the winds favorable but light. Had I been well, it is probable we should not have been more than ten or twelve days to this place, and saved much distance by running more direct courses. If we had been one hour sooner or later in passing this place, we should not have come in contact with those vessels. Since leaving St. Martin's Keys, whenever we landed, we were harassed with swarms of-mosquitoes, each anxious to have his bill entered without examination or delay. The sloop lay at anchor until night, then got under way and run for Key West, with the boat in tow, where she arrived the next day afternoon. CHAPTER DDL I WAS now taken before a magistrate, borne by two men, not being able to walk alone. There I was re quired to give bail in the sum of one thousand dollars for my appearance at the next November court; but being unable to do so, I was committed to jail, or rather to the house in which the constable lived. I was placed in a small room on the second floor, with three other prisoners, but slept in the room with the constable and family; the prisoners eat at the same table the family
OF JONATHAN WALKER. 15 did, after they had eaten. I was handcuffed one night, but was permitted to use my hands the rest of the time while there, in fighting mosquitoes, which were very annoying at all times. Most of my things which I had in the boat were brought from the vessel by the sheriff, and placed in charge of the constable, with the exception of a trunk and bundle of clothing which I was allowed to retain for my own use. I begged to be allowed to retain a small trunk of botanic medicine which I had, but was refused. After remaining at this place three days, it was said there was much excitement in the village, and I was escorted by the constable, sheriff, esquire, and district attorney, to the soldiers' barracks, and con* fined in a room with another prisoner, where I stayed but one night, and the next day was put on board the steamboat General Taylor, in the United States' em ploy, to be taken to Pensacola. I requested that my effects, which were in charge of the constable, might be taken with me, but it was not complied with; and I have not been able to learn anything from them since, except that they were sold. I subsequently wrote twice to the sheriff, but received no answer. They were of no great value/ but to one in my cir cumstances, it was a good deal. I had an excellent spy-glass, for which I paid twenty dollars, and a chest of carpenter's tools, and several other articles, besides some things that the sheriff said he could not find on board of the sloop. My boat and the seven men were put on board of another sloop, (named the Reform,) and sent to Pensacola previous to my leaving Key West
16 TBIAL AND IMPRISONMENT I was placed down the hold of the steamboat, on the ceiling, where it was very filthy, and put in double irons, (both hands and feet,) where I was kept for six days, with the exception of being per mitted to come on deck a few hours in a day, and sit or lie upon the hatches. The food given me was salt beef, pork, and navy-bread, with a slight exception. We left Key West on the 13th, went to Tampa Bay, took in some wood, and on the night of the 18th arrived at Pensacola navy-yard. The next day I was conducted to Pensacola by the deputy-marshal in a small boat, and in a rain storm, (distance eight miles.) On landing at the wharf, there was a large collection of people, who appeared to be very talkative, and some were noisy; but no violence was attempted. By summoning all the strength I could muster, I suc ceeded in walking to the court-house. The court was already convened, whether solely on my ac count or not, I do not know. Mytrunk and bundle were searched, but nothing taken therefrom. I was required to give bail in the sum of ten thousand dollars, or be committed to prison to await my trial when ever it should take place: with me there was no alternative but to comply with the latter. I attempted to walk to the jail in company with the marshal and constable, but gave out by the way, and was carried there in a cart, placed in a room by myself, and secured to a ring-bolt by a large size log-chain, and a shackle of round iron, weighing about five pounds, round the ankle. The marshal searched my person, found on me about fifteen dollars in money, which be took/ but afterwards gave me again. The floor
OF JONATHAN WALKER. 17 was my bed, seat, and table; and it was nearly a month before I could procure anything to lie upon, other than a few clothes which 1 had with me. But I finally succeeded in getting a chair, small table, and some straw, of which I made a pallet on the floor, and it served for my bed during my imprisonment. Although the rage of my disease had much abated, I was still kept low, and suffered from alternate chills and fever, attended with much pain in the head and distress at the stomach; but I gradually gained strength, and by eating a large quantity of red-peppers got rid of the chills, and in about three months was nearly restored to health again. In three or four days after I had arrived in Pensacola, the sloop Reform arrived with the other men and my boat. Soon after, Robert C. Caldwell called to see me, and appeared very friendly, saying that he did not intend to punish his servants for going away with me; and intimated that the custom-house and the wreckers both had claims on the boat, and it was very doubtful whether I should be able to realize anything for her; and as he had lost a good deal by his servants' going away with me, if I would consent for him to have the boat, he would try to compromise with the claimants, and might get something for it. Placing some confidence in what he said, and thinking that a refusal might excite a spirit of revenge, and tnat if disposed, he could make my situation more desperate than it was already, and being of the opinion that I should not be able to realize anything from it if I refused him, I consented for him to get what he could from it; and so put an end to what I had there in the g* 2
IS TRIAL AND IMPRISONMENT shape of property. I should be no further harassed on that point. The jail is a brick building of two stories, about eighteen by thirty-six feet, hairing upon each floor two rooms, the lower part for the occupation of the prisoners, and the upper part for the jailer's family. The rooms for the prisoners are fifteen to sixteen feet square, with double doors, and two small grated win dows from six to eight feet from the lower floor. Over head is a single board floor, which but litde obstructs the noise of the upper part from being distinctly heard below, and vice versa. About twenty feet from the jail, and fronting the windows, was a wooden building denominated the kitchen. Its door having previously taken refuge in the fire, and the wooden windows shutting only as the wind blew them to, I had a pretty fair view of what was transacted there from the only window which I could look out of, and from which I was often compelled to turn away, for the scene was too disgust ing to look upon. There was scolding and cowhiding dealt out without measure, and ihe filthiness far exceeded anything I ever saw before connected with cooking. The place was a common resort for all the lank and starving domestics about the premises, seeking to pacify their hungry rage where the cook performed; and one might truly say that The cook tad the hens for the kitchen went snacks, With two hones, three dogs, and five cats; for there the cook, the poultry, and the horse might be seen helping themselves from the same meal barrel, and
OF JONATHAN WALKER. 19 the dogs eleaoiiig (he cooking utensils, and some times taking a favorite bit from the market-basket, before its contents had been otherwise disposed of. The board on which the food was prepared for cook ing, was common to the tread of the cats and the poultry. The cook was a slave woman, and had a small straight-haired child, whose lungs were the strongest of any human being I ever saw of its size, and it made the freest use of them. For hours and hours of each day, for months, my ears rang with its tormenting screams, for it could not be called cry ing. And to make the matter still worse, there were three more small children of the family, all, alas! having the same habits; and no reasonable means or effort appeared to be put forth to reduce their noise. The young band were allowed to continue or to cease their music at their pleasure. For many years I have been in the habit of being much among children, and am passionately fond of them, and delight to mingle in their company and sports; and I well know that children will cry, and to stop them entirely, could only be done by stopping their breath. But there is avast difference between crying naturally and occasionally, and screaming at the top of one's voice with rage and passion, trying at each breath to exceed the previous note, for hours together. I do not wish to exaggerate, but, to speak within bounds, I honestly think that for the first three months I was there, crying would occupy six hours per day; and frequently two or three would be under way at a time. The reader may imagine me worn down by expo*
20 TRIAL AND IMPEISONMEKT sure and disease almost to a skeleton; and that deli cate organ, the brain, which is the seat of the nerves, having been powerfully affected by violent action upon it, was now rendered much more susceptible to the least impression. My stomach, from weakness and loss of digestive powers, rejected and loathed most of the common food of life; and, while the system was harassed with violent chills and fever, I was chained to the sleepers of a solitary cell, rolling from side to side, and shifting from one position to another on the floor to relieve my aching bones, which were covered with little more than the skin wrapped over them. Let the reader imagine him or herself in this situation, and it will be clearly seen that these, with other things of a kindred nature, must have had a very sensible effect to aggravate the misery and sufferings of imprisonment. One of my first objects after I was incarcerated, was to procure such nourishment as would not quarrel with nature, and this I found rather difficult at first; a part of the jail feed I could not relish, and if I attempted to eat it, it would sicken and distress me. The bread, a dish of soup once a day, and sometimes a little fish, was all that I could eat of my rations, and it was difficult to get any one to bring me any thing for two or three weeks. But I finally succeeded in getting a Dane, who kept a grocery, to let his boy bring me such things as I needed, and by this means I obtained much relief and accommodation throughout my confinement; and both the father and his little son, who was very attentive to my wants, are entitled to my grateful and warmest thanks. For several months my feet and legs were much
OF JONATHAN WALKER. 21 swelled, and the first irons I had on were partly buried in the flesh, but after some weeks' entreaty they were taken off and replaced by others larger. On die 4th September I was moved to the adjoining room; and here were two objects which attracted my attention. On one side of the room, much of the floor was stained with the blood of a slave, who had three days before committed suicide by cutting open his belly and throat with a razor; he had been committed that morning, charged with stealing, but it was subsequently ascer tained that the article which he was accused of steal ing had only been removed by some other person to another place, and nothing had the appearance of dis honesty in the case. But life had gone, and neither innocence nor skill could restore it I have no doubt but his miserable condition as a slave to a severe mas ter, and the expectation of undergoing severe punish ment for the alleged offence, was the cause of his put ting an end to his degraded existence. This was one of .the seven slaves whom I had vainly endeavored to save from bondage, and on whose account I was now imprisoned. The other object was the chain to which I was attached, it being the same which I had noticed fas tened to the leg of Isaac, a slave man under sentence of death, nearly three years previous. The day before he was to be executed, I called to see him. Hehad undergone three trials, charged with committing a rape upon a woman of doubtful character. The two first juries did not agree, but the third rendered a verdict of guilty, and consequently he was sentenced to he hung the day following my visit He still per-
22 TRIAL AND IMPBISONMENT sisted in his innocence, forgiving his accusers, and appeared much resigned to bis expected fate. His mind appeared calm, and he manifested confidence in the mercy of God through his Son. A petition, nu merously signed, had been forwarded to the governor of the territory, but as yet no intelligence had arrived. I had conversed with the prisoner a few moments, and we had knelt together in supplication, in His name who is able to take away the sting of death and smooth its rough passage, by his own blood, rendering it safe to all who truly and faithfully trust in Him for divine aid. We had scarcely risen, when the mar shal entered, and read a letter from the governor con taining the full pardon of the condemned man, and ordered his irons to be*taken off, and delivered him up to his master; and I saw him no more. But while I am writing this, I can see and feel the same chain attached to my leg. But few, if any, believed Isaac to be guilty of the charge against him, but that the pros ecution was raised, on pecuniary considerations, out of revenge towards his master. And what is my crime ? what have I done ? I have attempted to assist a few of my fellow-beings to escape from bondage, to which they were subjected for no cause over which they or their ancestors had any control; but because they were of the weaker party, and had not the power to assert their rights among men. From about the year 1822,1 began to go amoLgst slavery, and from that time, on all occasions which presented, I tried to inform myself of its mode of operation, and have, in several of the slave states, scrutinized it in the parlor and in the kitchen, in the
OF JONATHAN WALKEB. 83 cottage and in the field, in the city and in the country; and have long since made up my mind that it ranked with the highest wrongs and crimes that ever were invented by the enemy of man, and ingeniously con trived to destroy the social and kind feelings existing between man and man, and the virtue and morals of both the master and the slave; subjecting one to the deepest degradation and misery, and die other to dis sipation, and contempt of the laws and government of God. It is a family, community, political, and na tional poison;obstructing the circulation of friendly and Christian sympathy, and giving vent to the worst passions and most debasing and corroding feelings that human nature can experience. CHAPTER IV. IN addition to what has been already said respecting the jail, and what was transacted there, I will make a short abstract from a journal I kept while there, and in so doing, shall have to be somewhat personal which I should be glad to avoid if I could do justice to the subject; but shall be careful to avoid everything which is not strictly true, and void of false coloring; and if some individuals find their names here brought in juxtaposition with some improper transactions, they will have no occasion to charge me with falsehood or malignity. I had scarcely been secured in my cage like some rabid, dangerous animal, before I found I
24 TRIAL AND IMPRISONMENT had to encounter a species of torment which I had not counted on, in the terrible amount of noise from the domestics about the premises; for I was continually afflicted with a severe headache, and now it was brought in contact with circumstances directly calcu lated to increase it. The family consisted of F. T. the jailerL. T. his wife, and six children; a mulatto woman and her child, five or six months old. Of course the work about the yard and kitchen devolved on the slave woman, who, by the bye, was not without her faults. She had been brought up in the family under the lash, as the only stimulant, which, as a natural conse quence, had instilled the most bitter hatred and care lessness, with other kindred qualifications. July 19. When I was committed, there was one slave man in the adjoining room, for what I know not. 22. L. T. whipped the cook.* 24. << << 25. I wrote to Benj. D. Wright, counsellor at law, requesting an interview. L. T. whipped the cook twice. 28. Four of the slaves who had left with me were brought here and put in the adjoining room. L. T. whipped the cook. 29. My health a little improved; could sit up half die day. Wrote to my wife. Aug. 1. L. T. whipped the cook. 4, L. T. Whenerer the cook was whipped, it was done, with a few exceptions, with a raw-hide switch, about three feet in length, generally from twenty to fifty strokes at a time.
OF JONATHAN WALKER, 25 5. The four fugitive slaves in the adjoining room whipped fifty blows each, with a paddle. 8. Were taken out; with much difficulty could walk, being very sore. Cook whipped twice, once by L. T. and once by F. T. 12. A fugitive slave man caught and committed* L. T. whipped the cook. 14. L. T. whipped the cook. 17. u u u four ifo^ Mistress dreadfully cross. 19. L. T. whipped the cook. SI. u M u u twice. 22. The slave man committed on the 12th, taken out and sent to Alabama. 28. L. T. whipped the cook; children got some too; lots of scolding dealt out, in both English and French. Slave woman committed; had been brought from New Orleans by mistake on board steamboat 30. L. T. whipped the cook. L. T. confined; brought forth a fine boy. 31. The slave woman, put in the 28th, was taken out and sent back. Sept. 1. A slave man was committed on suspicion of larceny; he committed suicide same day by cutting his throat and belly open, and lived but two or three hours after. 2. I received a letter from my wife, parent and children, and another from J. P. Nickerson, of Har wich; also one from S. Underwood and E. Nickerson, Jr. 3. Received $25 cash, from an old shipmate, by remittance from New York. 3
96 TRIAL AND IMPEISOWMENT 4 I was shifted to the adjoining room; received a letter from B. D. Wright, counsellor at law, in answer to a note I sent him the 25th July. 6. Wrote to my wife, S. Underwood, and E. Nickerson, Jr. A white man committed; had difficulty with his wife* 9. Let out again. We have had quite still times since the 30th of August, but scolding revives again. 11. A slave man brought to jailwhipped twenty blows with a paddle, and sent back. If the reader is not acquainted with paddle-whip ping, he may form some idea of it from the following description. The paddles which I have seen, are about twenty inches in length, made of pitch-pine board, from an inch to an inch and a quarter thick, and seven or eight inches of one end is three and a half or four inches wide, having from ten to fifteen holes through it die size of a large nail gimblet, and the other part is made round for the handle. The unfortunate subjects who are to feel the effects of this inhuman drubbing, are first tied, his or her wrists together, then made to sit down on the floor or ground, and put the knees through between the aims, then a stick or broom-han dle is inserted through the angle of the legs, directly tinder the knees and over the arms, which confines them in a doubled and helpless condition. Previous to this arrangement, the victims are made naked from the waist down. The operator now takes hold with one hand of one end of the stick which has been inserted to confine the legs and arms together, and cants them on one side, and in the other hand holds
OF JONATHAN WALKER. 29 the before mentioned paddle, which he applies to the backside of his helpless fellow-creature; stopping at short intervals to allow the sufferer to answer such questions as are asked, or make such promises as it is thought best to extort; and to give the numbness which has been excited by repeated blows, time to subside, which renders the next blows more acute and painful. After a requisite number of blows with the paddle are given, which is generally from ten to fifty, as the master or mistress may dictate, the raw-hide switch is next applied to the bruised and blistered parts, with as many or more blows laid on; after which the sufferer is loosed and suffered to get over it the best way they can. Not only men but women are subject to the same mode of punishment. There is no precise rule to be observed in regard to punish ment, but the masters or mistresses are the sole judges as to method and quantity; and whenever the paddle is brought in requisition, it means that the raw-hide (more commonly called cow-hide) is not equal to the offence. The reader will pardon me for this digression, while I return to the memorandum again. Sept. 12. A IT. S. seaman committed for not being down to the boat in time to go on board. 13. He was taken out and sent on board steamer Union. Cook whipped severely by L. T.'s brother, at her request. 15. A white man from the navy-yard committed; he had come to the city without permission. 16. He was taken out and sent back. Received a letter from J. P. Nickerson, Esq., of Harwich. 3*
30 TEIAL AND MPKISONMENT 17* I wrote to the same. 18. A white man committed for being noisy in the streets. 20. He was let oat again, and smother committed for being too drank to take care of himself. 23. I wrote to the sheriff at Key West 24. L. T. whipped cook. 25. A large fire in the city. A number of houses burnt A white man committed on suspicion of setting the fire. He was examined and discharged. Another white man committed, charged with larceny. 26. He was examined and discharged. A slave man committed, charged with attempting to steal fruit. He was whipped four blows with a paddle, and twenty-four with the cow-hide, and let out A white man committed, charged with larceny. 27. The white man committed on the 20th, dis charged. Tremendous scolding about this time. 29. Slave man committed; did not stay at home enough on the Sabbath to do chores; next morning let out. The noisy white man, mentioned the 18th, committed again for like offence. Oct. 1. L. T. whipped the cook; children cry by wholesale. 2. L. T. whipped the cook. A slave man com mitted for debt 3. Two sailors from brig Wetomka committed; they were intoxicated, and quarrelled. Three sailors committed, who had taken French leave from U. S. steamer Union. The whole number now confined in the adjoining room is seven. 4. The slave man, put in on the 29th, discharged.
OF JONATHAN WALKER. 31 A sailor belonging to IT. S. vessel Vandalia, com mitted, and taken out the same day. 7. Three men, attached to the U. S. steamer, taken oat and sent on board. 8. L. T. whipped the cook severely, with both ends of the cow-hide. 9. A white man committed on suspicion of partici pating in murder. Three seamen from the U. S. steamer General Taylor, committed for having some difficulty with the clerk on shore. 10. Two of them taken oat and sent on board. The two seamen from brig Wetomka, committed on the 3d, were let out 11. The white man committed the 9th, on suspicion, discharged. 14. The other man, (the boatswain,) belonging to the U. S. steamer General Taylor, let out. He went on board, and made me a present of a pair of blankets. One white man in the adjoining room and myself are the only remaining prisoners. 15. L. T.'s mother whipped the cook. 17. A sailor, a deserter from the XJ. S. service, caught and committed. 19. L. T. whipped the cook. 20. The other prisoner discharged. 25. Rather squally overhead and about the kitchen. L. T. whipped the cook twice, and another servant once; the children get some,scolding dealt out unsparingly. 27. A white man committed for fighting. 28. Discharged. At night the prisoner in the adjoining room broke out and went off.
32 TRIAL AND IMPRISONMENT Nov. 3. L. T. whipped the cook severely with a broomstick; scolds tremendously; gives unlimited scope to passion, and tapers off by crying herself. 5. White man committed for quarrelling with his wife. 7. Received a letter from A. B. Merrill, of Boston, counsellor at law. L. T. whipped the cook. 9. A slave man committed for leaving wood at the wrong place. 10. The white man, committed on the 5th, dis charged. Received a visit from the district attorney, Walker Anderson. 11. The slave man, committed on the 7th, dis charged, and a free colored woman put in for allowing the slave man to put wood in her yard. I was taken to court for trial; had it put off till the 14th; re manded again. 12. The colored woman, committed yesterday, dis charged, and another committed for attempting to defend herself when about to be flogged by a naval officer, but discharged same day. 14. I was again conducted to court; tried; jury rendered a verdict of guilty on four indictments, viz., aiding and inducing two slaves to run away, and steal ing two others. 15. F. T. whipped the cook. 16. I was again taken to court, sentenced, placed in the pillory one hour, pelted with rotten eggs, branded in the right hand, and remanded to prison again ; the sheriff called soon after and served three writs upon me for trespass and damage, to the amount of $106,000; I was not put in irons as before. Received a visit and
OF JONATHAN WALKEB. 33 some money from a naval officer, who had witnessed the acts of attempted degradation which I had under gone, and expressed his sympathy in my behalf. 19. Slave man committed for being out too late. 20. Was flogged twenty-four blows with paddle and discharged. Received a letter from A. Chase; also one from J. P. Nicholson, Esq. of South Harwich. CHAPTER V. The following are the particulars of my trial. On the 11th Nov., between 10 and 11, A. M., I was taken from prison, conducted to the court-house, and placed in the prisoner's box, and was asked by the judge if I had counsel. I replied that I had not, and that my means were too limited to provide counsel; but that I was daily expecting advice from friends in regard to that point; and I requested that my trial might be put off a few days. The judge informed me that if I was not able to provide counsel for myself, he would furnish me with counsel, and that I could have any one from the bar that I chose, to defend me, (there being three, besides the prosecuting attorney.) I said, that I would be glad to have my trial deferred a few days; and that if I was not then provided with counsel, I would avail myself of his honor's proffer. So the trial was postponed until the 14th, and I was again placed in jail. Soon after 10, A. M., on the 14th, I was again conducted to court, and, not having any more information from my friends, chose Benjamin D. Wright, a member of the bar, to defend me. 3
34 TRIAL AND IMPRISONMENT The district attorney, who was the prosecuting officer, presented four indictments against me, which were as followsomitting the forms of the three last, being the same, and beginning at 1844 : [1st.] In the Superior Court of Escambia County, in the District of West Florida, November Term, 1844. Territory of Florida, Escambia County, to wit: The Grand Jurors of and for the Territory of Flor ida, summoned and sworn to inquire in and for the body of the County of Escambia, upon their oaths pre sent that Jonathan Walker, late of the County of Escambia, laborer, on the first day of July, in the year of our Lord eighteen hundred and forty-four, with force and arms, in the county aforesaid, one negro man slave, named Silas Scott, of the value of six hundred dollars, of the goods and chattels of one Robert C. Caldwell, then and there being found, felo niously and unlawfully did aid and assist to runaway, thereby wilfully causing a loss of labor of the said slave to the said Robert C. Caldwell, against the dig nity of the Territory of Florida, and against the form of the statute in such case made and provided WALKER ANDERSON, IT. S. Attorney for West Florida, and Prosecuting Officer for the Territory of Florida. [2nd] -In the county aforesaid, one negro man slave, known by the name of Anthony Catlett, of the* value of six hundred dollars, of the goods and chattels of one Byrd C. Willis, then and there being found, feloni*
Of JONATHAN WALKER. 35 ously, unlawfully, and with force and arms, did steal, take, and carry away, against the peace and dignity of the Territory of Florida, and against the form of the statute in such case made and provided. WALKER ANDERSON, U. S. Attorney, $c. [3rd] With force and aims, in the county aforesaid, forcibly, wilfully, and unlawfully did steal and carry away a certain negro slave, named Moses Johnson, of the goods and chattels of one Robert C. Caldwell, then and there being found, of the value of six hun dred dollars, against the peace and dignity of the Ter ritory of Florida, and the form of the statute in such case made and provided. WALKER ANDERSON, U. & Attorney,
36 TRIAL AND IMPRISONMENT arrayed against me for one act of offence, if it was an act at all. On this point, a discussion of some length took place between him and the prosecuting attorney; but the judge decided, that in order to come at the subject properly, one case should be tried. Accord ingly, the jury were selected and sworn, and took their seats. ROBERT C. CALDWELL, being qualified as witness, testified that he accompanied the district marshal to the steamboat Gen. Taylor, at the navy-yard, to con duct the prisoner to Pensacola, and in conversation with him, prisoner said that Silas came to his boat a little below the city, and got in with some others, but that he did not know him, and did not recollect ever seeing him before. This he (witness) believed to be correct, for it agreed with what the boy (Silas) had told him; and that prisoner also said that he had for a long time been of the opinion that he would aid slaves to secure their liberty, if opportunity offered. RICHARD ROBERTS, called and sworn, testified, that at day-break, on the morning of the 8th of July, about five leagues to the westward of the light ship on Carryfut's reef, he fell in with the prisoner and seven black men in a boat. He was suspicious that the black men were runaway slaves; he went alongside of the boat with his vessel, and told his mate to make fast to the boat, and requested prisoner and the black men to come on board his sloop, and said that he was bound the same way, and would give them a tow; but he found out, by some of the black men, that they were runaway slaves; consequently, he took them all to Key West, and delivered them up to the authorities
.-. ,1 i s
OF JONATHAN WALKER. 39 at that place. The prisoner was very sick at the time, hut requested that he might be allowed to have his boat and proceed on, saying that he had a family that were dependent on him for support, and, if jlejpgfae'd of his services, would suffer in consequence. The jury were charged, in a few formal words, and the first indictment handed to them. They retired to their room, and in about a half an hour returned with the verdict, that they had found the prisoner guilty, and awarded him to be branded on the right hand with the letters SS. The same jury was sworn again, and by the judge charged on the other three indictments. They withdrew, and were out between two and three hours, and returned with the following verdict: that they had found the prisoner guilty of all the charges pre ferred against him in the other three indictments, and awarded him to stand in the pillory one hour, to be imprisoned fifteen days-, and to pay a fine of one hun dred and fifty dollars. I was again remanded to prison, until the 16th, at 10, A. M.; when I was conducted to court, and on arriving at the court-house, (in front of which was the pillory,) the marshal proceeded to place me in the pillory. I told him that I had not yet received sentence. The marshal replied that this was sentence enoughreferring to the pillory. But before I was properly secured, the deputy marshal ordered me to be brought into court. This order was obeyed; and I was again arraigned before the court, to receive the following sentence :To be placed in the pillory for one hour; then brought into court, and branded in the
40 TRIAL AND IMPRISONMENT right hand with the letters SS.; and then remanded to prison for fifteen days, and remain there until the fine (one hundred and fifty dollars) and the costs of prosecution should be paid.* I was then placed in the pillory, and when I had been there about half an hour, George Willis, mentioned in the fourth indictment, stepped from the crowd of spectators,'who were stand ing by, (quietly beholding the inhuman administration of the laws of Florida,) and snatched from my head a handkerchief, which had been placed there by the deputy marshal, to screen me from the sun; saying, that he had offered a dollar to any person that would do it; but, as no one else would, he would do it himself. He then took from his coat pocket two rotten eggs, and hurled them very spitefully at my head, which took effect, and excited a burst of indignation from the bystanders. The said Willis was heard to offer the boys a great price for rotten eggs; but he could find none vile enough to accommodate him. He was indicted, and appealed to the December court in Saint Rosa (adjoining) county, and was there tried, and fine4 six and a quarter cents. After the expiration of the hour, I was taken back of the court-house, and water given me to wash with, and then conducted into court again, to receive the remainder of my sentence. When about to be branded, I was placed in the prisoner's box. The marshal, Ebenezer Dorr, formerly of Maine, pro ceeded to tie my hand to a part of die railing in front. After repeated solicitations, I was able to get at the amount of the costs, the 6th of December, twenty-one dap after my trial.
tf"H-HHBH! 0^ m^ HHPl i:i(B^': MK mr *:4, mm
OF JONATHAN WALKER. 43 I remarked that there was no need of tying it, for I would hold still. He observed that it was best to make sure, and tied it firmly to the post, in fair view; he then took from the fire the branding-iron, of a slight red heat, and applied it to the ball of my hand, and pressed it on firmly, for fifteen or twenty seconds. It made a spattering noise, like a handftd of salt in the fire, as the skin seared and gave way to the hot iron. The pain was severe while the iron was on, and for some time afterwards. There appeared to be but few that wished to witness the scene; but my friend, George Willis, placed himself where he could hare a fair view, and feasted his eyes upon it, appa rently with great delight. I was then remanded to prison, hut not put in irons as before. A few hours after my re-commitment, the marshal called and served three writs upon me, for trespass and damage, to the amount of one hundred and six thousand dollars, on the property of Robert C. Caldwell, Byrd C. Willis, and George Willis. The Territory of Florida was established by a law of the United States, passed March 30,1822, The fifth section of this act provides, "that the legislative power shall be vested in the governor, and in thirteen of the most fit and discreet persons of the territory, to be called the Legislative Council," &c.; that their legislative powers shall also extend to all the rightfid subjects of legislation ; but no law shell be valid which is inconsistent with the constitution and laios of the United States, or which shall lay any person under restraint, burthen, or disability, on account of his religious opinions, professions or wor-
44 TRIAL AND IMPRISONMENT ship, in all which he shall be free to maintain his own, and not burthened with those of another." The tenth section of the same act provides, That to the end that the inhabitants may be protected in their liberty, property, and the exercise of their religion, no law shall ever be valid which shall impair, or in any way restrain, the freedom of religious opinions, professions, or worship; they shall be entitled to the benefit of the writ of habeas carpus; they shall be bailable in all cases, except for capital offences, where the proof is evident, or the presumption great; all fines shall be moderate and proportioned to the offence, and excessive bail shall not be required, nor cruel nor unusual punishments inflicted" The Act of March 3rd, 1823, contains the same provisions. The law under which I was indicted, was enacted by the territorial government, and provides as the punishment for the crime therein recited, imprisonment not exceeding six months; standing in the pillory; brandings or a fine not exceeding one thousand dollars, at the discretion of the jury. It seems plain, that the law of the United States having prohibited cruel and unusual punishments, and having declared that no law of the territorial govern ment, inconsistent with the United States laws, shall ever be valid; this territorial law, under which I was punished, is void. CHAPTER VI. 26. I will conclude my memorandum. L. T. and mother whipped the cook, alternately, spell and spell.
OF JONATHAN WALKEB. 45 F. T. whipped the cook, severely. Dec. 2. Received a visit from T. M. Blunt, of New York. He had been in the city thirteen days. 5. A slave woman committed for not staying at home enough, and taken out next day. S. Received a letter from John Scoble, London, and a resolution adopted by a committee of the British and Foreign Anti-slavery Society in regard to Charles T. Torrey and myself.* 9. A slave man committed for being in liquor and quarrelsome, and let out next day. 16. A slave man committed for disobedience; whipped ten blows with a paddle, and let out next day. 25. Two seamen committed from brig Hazard, of Portland, for attempting to obtain their discharge* They had refused to do duty on board. 27. A slave man committed. He was intoxicated. 28. He was let out again; and one of the seamen put in on the 25th, was discharged. 29. L. T. whipped the cook. Jan. 3, 1845. L. T. whipped the cook twice. 9. Two white men committed for debt, and dis charged. Received a letter from J. P. Nickerson, Esq. 10. L. T. whipped the cook. A slave man com mitted for going out of town at Christmas, and staying too long. A slave boy put in with me. He had played truant. He was let out next morning. 13. A white man committed, on suspicion of plot ting to rob the mail. 14. L. T. whipped the cook. 15. A white man put in with me, to get sober, to use in evidence. He was taken out next day. See page 84-
46 TRIAL AND IMPRISONMENT 16. L. T. whipped the cook twice. 20. The white man committed the 13th, on suspicion, was discharged. 21. A slave boy committed for running away. 24. The other seaman, put in from brig. Hazard, on the 25th ult., was discharged. A deserting soldier caught, committed, taken out, and sent to the navyyard. 26. The slave man put in on the 10th, taken out, and sent to New Orleans, to be sold. 27. A slave woman committed for attempting to defend herself when about to be whipped by her mistress. The next day she was flogged twenty-four blows with the paddle, and twelve with the cowhide, and sent home. Feb. 6. I will detail the following circumstance, for which I have been almost censured by warm friends. My readers can make their own comments. While eating my dinner, I was informed, by what I thought good authority, that the marshal would take me, at 4, P. M., before a magistrate, to be examined on other chargeswhat, my informant would not, or could not tell; but said that he heard the marshal say he was coming for me at four o'clock. I was somewhat apprehensive that it was a device of some persons illdisposed towards me, and not satisfied with the course which the law had taken, and who were disposed to make use of other than legal means. I hinted this to my informant. His reply was, They are going to play the devil with you." My suspicion was strength ened by the district attorney and judge being abroad at the time, and by the lateness of the hour selected
OF JONATHAN WALKER. 47 for taking me from prison; so I did not think it pru dent for me to leave the prison, except I could be con vinced that I should be subject to no illegal dealings. At the above mentioned time, the marshal called, and requested me to go with him before a magistrate. I declined going, and gave him some reasons why; and told him, that whatever examination I was to undergo, I preferred it should take place where I was. The marshal leil, and some time after returned, saying that the magistrate refused to come to the jail; and again requested me to go with him. I still declined. He then started to leave, when the jailer spoke to him a few minutes. He then returned, and read to me a letter from the district judge, who was then at Talahassee, (Middle Florida,) with instructions to take me before a magistrate for examination, on a charge of inducing three slaves to leave the service of their masters. The marshal then led me; and the reader may picture to his mind my feelings, as well as he can; for I have no faculty to express them on paper. I had for several weeks been expecting to be libe rated from my disagreeable situation, through the liberality of friends who had been imposed upon in regard to ray true situation, and prevented from doing for me what they had attempted, by supplying the pecuniary means to satisfy the demands of the court; and had been twice disappointed; but now it seemed that the rriost favorable issue which I could expect, was to be chained up for three or four months longer in that woman whipping-shop, and go through another trial for the same offence; with the continual accumu lation of obstacles to my release; and for my family
48 TRIAL AND IMPRISONMENT to remain objects of charity; my aged parents and other near friends, suffering affliction; and all to gra tify a few God and man-haters, who were feasting their rage upon one helpless object, whom Providence had in some measure placed where they could wreak their vengeance on him. These were some of the most favorable considerations which occurred to my mind; and which have since been realized. Knowing that my enemies would spare no pains in doing me all the injury in their power, I thought it no harm to use some pacific means to place myself beyond their power', feeling confident that right did not demand the punishment my persecutors intended for me. Neither had I much time to reflect on the subject; for I was confident that the next day I should be put in irons again, and then about all chance to rescue myself would be cut off. Seeing that it required but little effort or ingenuity to open the doors myself, I gave way to the impulse of present feeling, and without any difficulty succeeded in open ing the doors, without doing them one dollar's worth of injury; although I was charged ten dollars for repairing the door, including a new lock. For what purpose the lock was used I know not. I am sure it was not used on any of the jail doors, for the same locks that were on the doors when I went there, were on the doors when I left But, as a very slight noise could be heard in the rooms above, the family took the alarm, and prevented my departure. I was made secure until the next day, when the marshal called, and without any ceremony, took me before three magistrates. Satisfactory evidence against me was
OF JONATHAN WALKEE. 49 produced to insure my committal until the next term of court in May, unless I give bail in the sum of $3,000. So I was remanded to prison again and put in irons, to await the result of what might follow. I shall mention but a few more items from my memorandum, and then, briefly notice some other points. Feb. 9. A slave man and woman were committed for being out too late, but discharged the next day. 10. The slave boy committed the 21st of last month, taken out, and sent to New Orleans, to sell. None but myself now in jail. 17. Two slave women and one man brought to jail and whipped ten blows each, on the bare back, and discharged. They were accused of using some of their master's money without his permission. 19. L. T. whipped the cook. The jailer's family moved to another house. 25. A slave boy committed, who received twenty blows with the paddle, and was then sent home* He had played truant. 27. A slave man brought to jail and whipped twenty-five blows with cowhide. His master was intoxicated; lost some change; the slave picked it up, and attempted to use some of it A white man com mitted, for being intoxicated and quarrelsome. March 1. A slave man committed, to gratify a drunken master, and released again the same day. 4. The white man committed on the 27th ult. was released. 16. A slave man brought to jail and flogged twenty5 4
50 TRIAL AND nCPBISONMEITC fire blows with a paddle, and twenty with a cowbide* He was charged with not doing work enough. 19. A slave boy committed; flogged for playing truant, and let out tbe same day. 20. A sick slave man committed, I do not know for what, and let out the next day. 31. A slave man committed for getting intoxicated, and let out tbe next day. April 1. A slave man committed; be bad been sent to New Orleans for sale, but was returned. 2. A white man committed at his own request; he had been on a drinking spree, and was afraid he should do something to get bim into trouble. 7. He was discharged. 12. A slave woman brought to jail and flogged severely. The slave man committed on the 1st, flog ged twenty-four blows with the paddle, and thirty with the cowhide, to gratify his drunken mistress, as tbey could not sell him to their mind, in New Orleans. The flogging made him quite sick for several days. A white man committed, charged with assault and battery. 15. A slave man committed for allowing a horse to run with him in the street. 16. He was flogged fifteen blows with a cowhide, and discharged. 19. The slave man flogged on the 12th, was taken from jail and sent to Mobile to be sold. This is the slave that was committed on the 10th of January, for staying too long with bis wife and chil dren at Christmas. His master had a plantation thirty or forty miles from Pensacok, where be had lived
OF JONATHAN WALKER. 51 for a number of years, but had lately moved to Pensacola and offered his plantation for sale; and, not hav ing employment for his slaves, was desirous to con vert some of them into other property. And although this slave was permitted at Christmas to go and see his family, who still lived in the neighborhood he had formerly lived in, and were claimed as property by anotherman, yet his staying over his time, gave suffi cient cause (as per slave code) for removing him for ever from them, notwithstanding he offered to produce the proof of his inability to return at the time appointed, on account of sickness. Nevertheless, he was kept in jail sixteen days, and then sent to New Orleans. But being too old to meet with a ready sale in that mar ket, he was returned again the 1st of April, and lodged in jail until the 12th, when his mistress came there in a rage, under the influence of liquor, and caused him to be flogged as mentioned above; and during the performance, she stood by and gave direc tions to the operator, yelping all the while at the man gled victim of her anger. A few days after, he was sent to Mobile for sale. He did not meet with a mar ket, and was sent back; but soon after his return escaped from his tormentors, and I have since heard no more of him. 27. I received a letter from B. D. Wright, coun sellor at law, enclosing a letter to him from H. L Bowditch of Boston, relating to my circumstances. Hay LA fugitive slave apprehended and com mitted ; he had straight hair, and looked more like an Indian than a negro, and tried to oass himself for one*
52 TRIAL AND IMPRISONMENT CHAPTER VII. MAT the 8th, soon after 10 A. M., I was conducted to the court-house by the marshal and constable. The judge inquired if I had counsel. I replied that I had not. He then appointed Alfred L. Woodward to defend me, and also W. W. J. Kelly, Esq., assistant counsel. As Mr. Woodward was not duly informed in the case, we thought it best to have the trial put off until the next day. I had no desire to have counsel to manage my defence, not thinking it would be to my advantage, but to submit the case to the magnanhiBty of the jury; but as the judge had appointed coun sel, I did not deem it advisable to reject it,confi dent that it would excite his displeasure, which would be likely to have an unfavorable effect on my case. I remarked to my counsel that I consented to a present trial, only on condition that all relating to the charges preferred against me, should be placed before the court for final action; and that no part or section be kept back or reserved for a future consideration. I was remanded to jail again, and that afternoon had an interview with Mr. Woodward. May 9th, between 10 and 11 A. M., 1 was arraigned before the court, and soon after a jury was called and qualified. The district attorney produced three indict ments against me, charging me with assisting as many slaves to escape from their masters, &c. A short discussion followed between the district attorney and counsel for the defendant, respecting the validity of
OF JONATHAN WALKER. 53 the law in the multiplication of punishments for the same offence, and at different periods; but the court decided that I was liable to be tried separately for each charge alleged against me, although there was but one act in the commission. Robert C. Caldwell, the only witness in the case, was sworn, and testified that he accompanied the dep uty marshal to and from the steamboat General Tay lor, where he went to conduct the defendant from said steamboat to the city, about the 20th July last, and on the passage to the city in the boat, he heard defendent say that he took from the shore near the city, the slaves mentioned in the indictments, on board his boat on the evening of the 22d June last, and went to sea with them, and was taken by a sloop not far from Gape Florida, and carried to Key West, and that defendant told him that he had been for a long time of the opinion that whenever an opportunity offered, he would assist slaves to obtain their freedom. The district attorney addressed the jury for a few minutes, portraying the magnitude of the offence, the abuse of rights, &c., stating the result of the trials of Charles T. Torrey and Calvin Fairbanks, in Maryland and Kentucky-not forgetting to direct a few shot at the northern fanatical abolitionists." W. W. J. Kelly next made some very appro priate and feeling remarks upon the administration and severity of the law already inflicted on the prisoner for the same offence, and his long confine ment in prison and in chains, and the deprivation entailed upon his deeply afflicted family, &c. He was followed by A. L. Woodward, commenting on 3*
54 TKIAL AND OfPRISONMBNT the multiplicity of punishments for the same offence* when no act of an incendiary, or violent character had appeared, to aggravate the case, but the prisoner had quietly submitted, without a murmur, to the heaviest punishments the law could inflict upon him. He appealed to the magnanimity and humanity of the jury to pat a stop to this persecution; neither the law nor the interest and welfare of the country demanded more; even common sense forbade it. He requested them to render a verdict which their conscience would approve, and not to heap vengeance on the head of their helpless fellow-being, &c. &e. The judge chained the jury to find the prisoner guilty, and not to allow any sympathy for the accused to sway them from inflicting strict justice on him, for it was not the accused who had the right to complain of the severity of the law, or demand their sympathy; but those that were dead and their friends.* The rights, safety, and honor of the country demanded justice from its courts. The cases were submitted to the jury at about 12 M., and I was soon after remanded to jail again, and placed in irons as usual. The next day I received a note from W. W. J. Kelly, stating that the jury had that morning returned in court, and rendered a verdict of guilty in each case, and assessed me a fine of $5 in each case; and that I was to remain in custody until the fines and costs were paid. The judge, district attorney, and my counsel were I know not what lie meant by this expression, except be had bis ere on that old St. Domingo hobby horse so often backed by the adrocates of slavery.
OF JONATHAN WALKER. 65 slave-holders, and some of the jury also. Surrounded by slave-holders, and in a section of the country where slavery is held to be one of their most sacred rights, what had I to expect at their hands; well known, and thoroughly proved to be hostile in the highest degree to the system of American slavery, and placed in their power, subject to their will, for the commission of an act, which is now held to be a capital offence, and punishable with death ?* In considera tion of these, and some other things which might be brought into the account, it shows that vengeance has not yet buried humanity, nor destroyed all the sym pathy existing between men and those whose opinion differs from their own upon subjects of great impor tance. The jury was an intelligent one, and among them was the city mayor, and I submitted my case cheer fully to their decision, confident that the verdict would be as mild as their responsible situation would admit of; and my expectations were more than realized; for which mild and humane verdict they are entitled to my grateful thanks and high consideration, for they have shown themselves to be untrammelled by preju dice, or actuated by revenge toward their helpless fel low-being. I thought the judge manifested a considerable de gree of prejudice against me, especially in this last trial; Surely oppression maketh a wise man mad." But I saw no display of any unkind feelings from any The recommendation of the Legislative Committee, (sea page ,) wag adopted at the same session.
56 TRIAL AND IMPRISONMENT other persons, in or out of court, except by those who considered themselves so grievously injured and im posed upon by my allowing some of their two-legged chattels to walk off in company with me; or rather, to allow the wind to blow them away from that mill which is constantly grinding the faces of the poor, and whose owner, like the greedy horseleech, thirsts for more, and saith, it is not enough." CHAPTER VH. HAVING gone through with the principal events in relation to my capture, return, imprisonment, and legal dealings, I shall notice a few points which may not be altogether improper or unimportant. And if it be ne cessary to make some personal allusions or pointed remarks, it shall not be done at the expense of truth, or in a spirit of ill-will to any. But as they in some instances have sacrificed truth and right for the sake of casting obloquy and envy upon me and the abolitionists, and to excite a greater degree of hatred against those who sympathize with their unfortunate and deeply injured fellow-beings, they haye no reason to complain if I should expose them a little. All those who have had any control over me, will only be spoken of as relates to their conduct to my positive knowledge. I have before said, that Captain Richard Roberts, of
OF JONATHAN WALKER. 67 the sloop Eliza Catherine, treated me with civility while on board of his vessel. But who delegated to him the right to take charge of me and my boat by force on the high seas, without consent or ceremony, and convey me more than a hundred miles from my course, to a distant island, where I could have no means of self-defence, without any knowledge of my being in any way liable ? Is not this food for skepticism? Here are two indi viduals brought in contact, both professing the same religious faith, both having privately and publicly declared, before God and man, that they have resolved to be followers of him who taught his disciples to have compassion on, and extend their aid to their suffering fellow-men, and who illustrated the same by numerous precepts and examples of his own life;one endeavoring to rescue some of those who had fallen among thieves and been cruelly dealt with, and try ing to assist them to obtain their lost but natural rights, to which they are entitled by the declaration of American Independence, and by the laws of God given to men. The other, being in possession of supe rior power, not only opposing the efforts of the former, and preventing him from complying with the com mand of their divine Master, of doing unto others as he would that others would do unto him, were he in similar circumstances,but placing his helpless bro ther in a situation where his life would be in jeopardy, and his dependant family and friends made miserable. I do not wish to cast any undue reflections upon Captain Roberts; but I do lament the lack of moral
58 TRIAL AND IMPRISONMENT courage, and the deep depravity of such professors of Christianity; for surely he that hath no pity on those of his fellow-creatures "whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?" For saith Jesus, "As ye have not done it unto one of these, ye have not done it unto me." Captain Roberts manifested great seriousness and devotion to the cause of religion. Yet profanity passed freely in the cabin and about his vessel's decks unrebuked. And I could not but think that he did not pay any too strict regard to honesty, as several articles that were taken from my boat on board of his vessel, could not be found by the sheriff, who went on board for them. I tried to have some conversation with him while on board, but that he carefully avoided by keeping at a distance. But Captain Roberts may be assured that I have no unkind feelings toward him; if he acted under the conviction of duty and justice, he has nothing to fear; but if otherwise his conscience and his Judge will adjust it. The treatment of Sheriff Page, at Key West, was kind and obliging, and of him I should have no occa sion to complain, if he had, as I requested, informed me what disposition was made of my effects which were in his charge. Esquire Balany (I think that was the name of the magistrate to whom my case was submitted) mani fested no unkind feelings towards me, and allowed me as much indulgence as circumstances would admit of. But the district attorney, whom I saw on two occasions, appeared to have "taken pepper in his nose,9' and soon gave me to understand that I had no
OF JONATHAN WALKER. 69 favors to expect from that quarter. I also received kind treatment from the jailer at that placebut did not stay long enough at the soldiers' barracks to form any acquaintance there. As to Commander Ferrand, of the steamboat Gen eral Taylor, on board of which I was shipped to Pensacola, he did not make any great display of good feeling in my behalf, although he indulged me in a steam bath a considerable part of the passage, by hav ing me placed in the hold of the boat, where the engine and fire were, to my no small discomfort. Also good care was taken that I should neither dance nor play on the fiddle, by closely confining both hands and feet in irons. The lieutenant was a South Carolina chicken, well stuffed with McDuffieism, from whom no answer to any question could be obtained, or any reply directly to me. His name, I think, was Anderson. He had got his lesson from the nullification roost, and was prepared to look daggers at everything in the shape of abolitionism. Soon after my committal to jail in Pensacola, a printed hand-bill was presented to me, offering a reward of $1700 for the apprehension and delivery at Pensacola of seven slaves, at one hundred dollars each, if taken out of the territory; and if within its limits, fifty dollars each; and after giving some de scription of each, it goes on at a considerable length in detailing some truths and some falsehoods, and con cludes in the following words: From these and other circumstances, the belief exists that said Jona than Walker has carried these slaves off in his boat. And therefore, for his apprehension and conviction of
60 TRIAL AND IMPRISONMENT said offence, the subscribers will pay a further reward of one thousand dollars. R. C. CALDWELL, GEO. WILLIS, by JAS. QXJIGLES, Agent." CHAPTER IX. IT may not be improper to introduce to the reader John M'Kinlay, editor of the Pensacola Gazette. Al though he had no control over me, yet, as he had control over the only paper published in Pensacola, it was in his power to give an unfair statement of the circum stances, which he did not fail to do. But feeling per fectly willing to credit him with truth when he utters it, I here annex a paragraph in the Gazette of July 22donly remarking that the last word is incor rect. But unfortunately in the next number (July 27th) he crowded into a part of a column of that small paper, twenty odd lies at my expense. Whether that libellous statement was voluntary on the part of its crouching editor, or whether he was dictated to, I know not. But to the paragraph: The man Jonathan Walker, who recently abduct ed the seven negro slaves belonging to Messrs. Wil lis and Caldwell, was captured with the negroes, in his whaleboat, about fifteen miles from the light-boat at Careyfut's Reef, on the 8th inst. by the wrecking sloop Eliza Catherine,' and brought to Key West on
OP JONATHAN WALKER. 61 the 9th. The negroes are on board the sloop Reform, and are expected every hour. "TheU. S.steamer Gen. Tdyhr.hi. Com.E.Farrand, arrived here last Thursday evening from Key West, brought prisoner Walker under a commitment from the civil authority; and on being taken before the XJ. S. District Judge, the court being in session, was immediately remanded to prison, on failing to give the necessary bail, to await his trial at the next term of the court. The indignation felt by this community on the subject of this outrage is very great When the prisoner landed on the wharf the crowd was immense, and as he was escorted to the court-house by the deputy marshal, the crowd thronged the streets and side-walks, and the court-room was filled to overflow ing with a highly excited mass of people. Great as the excitement was, however, and aggravated as its cause, to the credit of our good citizens be it said, not the least attempt was made to commit violence upon the person of the offender; on the contrary, while a few could not refrain from openly expressing their feelings of resentment, the great body seemed to look upon the prisoner as a miserable object of pity. How far he is truly to be pitied, however, we are not pre pared to say, for the Gren. Taylor brings the rumor from Key West that Walker said his conduct was rash, but that he had done nothing wrong, and that he would do the same thing again if he had oppor tunity." But to show with what sacredness he regards truth before the public, I quote a few statements made in the Gazette of November 23d. After some prelimi6
TRIAL AND IMPRISONMENT No jury had jet been empan-neled, ana no disclosures or allu-sioos were made to the public; he (the district attorney) frankly stated to the court that he had four indictments against the prisoner for slave stealing. nary remarks and observations upon my first trial, he says: On the first of these indictments the prisoner was arraigned and plead not guilty. But before proceeding to offer bis testimony, the district attorney, with a frankness which cannot be too highly commended, disclosed to the Jury, the prisoner's counsel, and the public, that he held in his hand four indictments against the prisoner, embracing as many distinct offences." "Several hours were spent in the discussion of this question, during which a host of authorities were arrayed on the part of the prosecution, to justify the course taken by the district attor neywhile, on the other hand, many long arguments of great force were advanced by the opposite counsel." "The court held the matter under advisement until next day, and after sleeping on the point, gave it clearly in firvor of the district attorney. Not more than forty minutes were consumed in discussion on the subject, and but two authorities (on cases) were cited to justify the course taken by the district attorney-so that all the long arguing of great force on the discussion was done in less than 40 minutes. The court did not hold the matter under advisement until next day, for the whole trial, from commencement to end, did not exceed three hours, with the exception of the time consumed by the jury on the test indictments, and including that time the whole did not exceed five hours. (See first trial.) Two days after the verdicts were rendered the prisoner was called, sentenced, c. "The day after the verdicts were rendered, the prisoner was called to the bar, and the sentence of the court pronounced upon him accordingly. He was placed in the pillory/' &c I will notice one or two more of the Gazette man's editorial displays, and so leave him for the present. Three days after the three last writs were served on me, and I was strongly chained in prison, to await a trial four months hence, the Gazette man belches forth-" It is a matter of wonder here, that
OF JONATHAN WALKER. 63 the zeal and benevolence of Walker's abolition friends hare not led to his being furnished with the means of release.'' In a short time after this, the proprietor of the same paper writes to a friend of mine in Boston, who made the inquiry through him to know on what conditions I could be released; and his reply was, that it was impossible for anything to be done until after my trial at May court." Since writing the foregoing, I have fallen in with the Pensacola Gazette, of June the 29th, 1844, in which an attempt was made to tell how and when I came there, and my business and course of conduct while there, &c.; but in that description they only succeeded in getting at now and then a truth. I here insert a short paragraph, which contains most of the truth in the statement: He was employed, after the bursting of the rail road and New Town bubble, to live at the depot, and take care of the railroad property.He is a carpenter, or boat-builder, and occasionally employed as a mechanic.-He seemed a very devout Christian, and by his uprightness and integrity, had gained the con fidence of many highly respectable members of our community. Whilst he lived at the depot, however, he had frequent occasions to have negroes to work for him, and he associated with them on terms of equality and intimacy-seating them by himself, at his table, while his daughters, (half grown girls,) waited on the table. He preached to the negroes, and exhorted them with brotherly affection, telling them that they were just as good as he was, and that the difference of color was a mere shadow, &c He was suspected of tarn-
64 TEIAL AND IMPRISONMENT pering with the negroes, and being accessory to the concealment on board of a vessel and the escape of two slaves, about three or four years ago." CHAPTER X. I HAVE before stated that I was escorted from the steamboat General Taylor to the court-house by the deputy marshal. Although this officer had but little to do with me, yet so far as he had anything to do with me, he manifested a kind and friendly feeling. Those who have never been in critical circumstances cannot tell how sensibly every look, action and word is felt by one in my situation. The name of this officer is James Gonzalez, who is entitled to my thanks fot his humane deportment towards me. The marshal of the district, Ebenezer Dorr, was formerly from the State of Maine, with whom I had been well acquainted for eight or nine years, and we had always been on terms of friendship; but now our mutual feelings were about to be tested; for circum stances having rendered our situations very different, there was no more equality. He was a practical slave-holder and a strong advocate of the system; I an uncompromising opponent of American slavery in all its forms; he holding a high office under the terri torial government; I, a prisoner for a violation of the territorial law, placed in his custody, and subject almost entirely to his control. I do not pretend that
OF JONATHAN WALKER. 65 our former acquaintance or friendly intercourse enti tled me to any unusual indulgence, or that he should violate any duty, or deviate from the path of justice to accommodate me, or ameliorate my condition; but I did suppose that there should be some consideration made on the score of humanity, towards any one in so feeble a state as I was at the time of my committal, which might aid in the restoration of health, or that would not tend to reduce me still more ; for the reader has already been informed that I was placed in heavy irons, without even a handful of straw to lie on, or anything done to provide me with food suitable for a sick personfor it was impossible for me to recover solely on my jail fare. Not but the quantity was sufficient, but the quality was not suitable for one out of health; and I deprived, as was supposed, of what money I had for several days; so that all means were thwarted of providing for myself. But, as I wish not to forget any favor shown me, I pass to his credit a bottle of milk which he gave me, and an occasional call and inquiry after my health, and the loan of some newspapers, &c. My correspondence had to pass under his inspection, and for one or two words in a private letter to my wife, respecting my situation, I received from him a severe reprimand. But suffice it to say, that he might have made my situation more irksome, or he might have ameliorated it, without infringing upon his official duties. He permitted George Willis to take from my head a handkerchief, which his deputy had placed there to keep off the violence of the sun, and heave rotten eggs at me, whilst standing in the 6* 5
6 TRIAL AND IMPRISONMENT pillory, without interfering other than saying, Ddn't, Mr. Willis, for we have got to take him into court," as much as to say, he would appear indecent," or some one's senses will be offended." Walker Anderson, the district attorney, who, by the bye, was the prosecuting officer, is entitled to my thanks for his kindness and humanity towards me, both in his private and official capacity. He is a mild, considerate and intelligent man; and were he not surrounded by a powerful slavery influence, any society might be proud of such a member. I have for a number of years known him, and can say that he is of the most amiable disposition of any person I ever knew in Pensacolanotwithstanding a few misstate ments in his letter to the governor of Florida, in reply to a letter from the secretary of Massachusetts to that functionary, which I may notice hereafter. For a considerable part of my confinement, he furnished me with reading matter and the news of the day; and in his absence, his kind and amiable wife would supply me with literary food. It may not be out of place here to make mention of George Willis and Robert C. Caldwell, the claimants of the slaves that went away with me. George Willis claims a high standing in society, is considered a man of considerable property; said to be the owner of a considerable number of slaves, with whom he is very severe; he is a haughty, overbearing and cruel man, and associates with but few. He was marshal of the west district of Florida, two or three years, whilst I lived in Pensacola; during which time he had the honor of hanging three or four colored men.
OF JONATHAN WALKER. 67 From my previous knowledge of him, I was prepared to expect no favor from that quarter, and had he been at home when I was brought back to Pensacola, I have no doubt he would have sought illegal revenge upon me;the manner in which he displayed his feelings at the court-house, when undergoing the penalties of my first trial, may be considered a speci men of the man. R. G. Caldwell was at this time, a second lieutenant in the navy, but has since been promoted to a first lieutenancy. He is from the State of Ohio; and, as I have been credibly infonned, had studied for the ministry, but finally entered the navy; and two or three years ago, married a wealthy young woman in Pensacola, who had a number of slaves, and in this way became in possession of property and slaves.Thus he 'is year after year receiving pay from the United States government, for overseeing his own or his wife's slaves. My first personal acquaintance with this man took place in the boat in which I was brought from the steamboat General Taylor to Pensacola, while in charge of the deputy marshal. He visited me several times soon after my committal, appeared very friendly and seemed disposed to urge upon my mind some religious considerations, and had the politeness to bring me some pound-cake, as he called it; but no sooner had he succeeded in getting possession of what little I had in the shape of property, than every friendly and social consideration was abandoned, and he spared no pains to persecute me to the extent of his ability; and was still anxious to gratify his malig nant appetite on the victim of his rage, to the very last
68 TRIAL AND IMPRISONMENT With some reluctance, I introduce to the reader Francis Torward, the jailer, or constable, but more commonly designated by the title of city marshal. The jail is the property of the city, and the jailer (city marshal) is chosen yearly by a vote of the city, and is paid a salary per month. His duty is to look after the peace and quiet of the city; to commit and release all prisoners; to ring the city bell on all proper occasions, especially at the hours of 8, P. M., in winter, and 9, P. M., in summer; and to take up all slaves found in the streets without a pass after the bell has been rung, &c. He provides the prisoners with their food and drink, for which he is allowed 37J cents each, per day. He also inflicts punishment upon slaves sent there by their masters or mistresses to be punished. I know not whether he is under any official obligation to perform this task, or whether custom has made it a rule. For this service, I believe he is entitled to extra pay from the persons who employ him for that purpose. It is by no means a general rule for masters or mistresses to have their slaves flogged by the city marshal, for it frequently costs them some loss of their service or time, besides what they have to pay the marshal; so that but few are disposed to incur the expense, when they can save it by a few minutes' exertion of their own muscular powers, and at the same time feed their rapacious revenge upon their helpless slaves. I am not prepared to say what the compensation is for flogging, or whether it is in all cases the same, or proportioned to the degree of infliction; but I am inclined to think there is a stipulated price, and I had grounds for the conclusion that it is 75 cents, each
OF JONATHAN WALKER. 69 time. There appears to be no amount of punishment fixed by any law or rule, but the kind and quantity is prescribed by the master or mistress, as their feelings or inclination may influence them. Suppose the slave whom I have so often mentioned as being flogged by her mistress, had cost her master 75 cents for each whipping, the amount would have been about $30 from the 19th July, when I was com mitted, to the 19th February, when the family moved from the jail. The reader will have perceived that those whippings were much more frequent in the warm weather than in the cold, and also before her mistress' confinement, than afterwards. The reader is at liberty to make his or her comments or conjectures as to the cause of this. It may be thought that those whippings were of no great, severity, and merely administered as a parent would correct a child; but to test the quality let a person be covered only with a thin cotton frock, and let a woman, excited to uncontrolled passion, apply a raw-hide switch to the back of the other with her greatest strength from twenty to fifty blows, and they would not need a repetition of it to ascertain its mildness. But some of those floggings were applied by a more powerful arm than that of the mistress; and the marks and scars were visible upon the slave's neck and face from the time I was first committed to the day of my release. My senses have conveyed to my heart inexpressible feelings of disgust and abhorrence for such a mode of discipline or punishment upon rational human beings. Often when these exhibi-
70 TRIAL AND IMPRISONMENT tions have taken place, have I thought of the follow ing lines: Hate's quivering lip, the fix'd, the starting eye, The grin of vengeance, and the forehead pale, The deep drawn breath, the short hyena cry, All in connection tell the dreadful tale" Where cowhide, paddle, chains, and slavery does prevail. If any parents, guardians or masters, wish their child, minor, or servant, to hate them with a perfect hatred, let them flog them! If parents, guardians or their masters, wish to destroy all good will and ready obe dience to superiors, and all self-respect in their chil dren, minors or servants, let them flog them, and they may be assured that they are in a fair way to obtain that object. I was somewhat acquainted with the jailer before my incarceration, but not at all with any of his fam ily; but I soon found that what St. Paul called the weaker vessel was the stronger vessel, for none could carry so great a press of sail as my hostess. Her colors were nailed at mast-head, and all about the premises were to be controlled by her undisputed sway. It may be asked what treatment I received at their hands ? I answer, that for the most part of the time, it was better than that which fell to the lot of other prisoners ; after being there for some time, by some cause or other, I seemed to get partly into their good grace, and was treated by her with perfect civility and some degree of kindness; and frequently found in my dish some little luxuries, unusual, I presume, for prisoners to receive except at their own expense, or by the kind-
OF JONATHAN WALKER. 71 ness of friends. But if I had had no means to provide anything for myself, I should much of the time have gone hungry, as the portion given me which I could eat, was insufficient. My food consisted mostly of bread and fish for breakfast, and bread and a dish of soup or some calavance beans for dinner. The bread was generally good, made of flour, and most of the time raised; and the rest was mixed up and baked in thin cakes without raising. I had the curiosity to weigh it for two weeks, and the result was ten pounds seven dunces for fourteen successive days, two pounds thir teen and one half ounces of which was Johnny-cake, or flour and water kneaded up and baked by the fire as above. Some days I had but little other than bread given me. The district attorney says in his letter to Governor Branch, Nov. 9th, 1844, that I informed him that I was in perfect health," and that I assured him that I had nothing to complain of in the treatment of the jailer and his family." He should have said that I informed him that my health was as good as my sit uation would admit of; and that I did not complain of the treatment of the jailer or his family. It was for my benefit to make as little complaint as possible, and therefore, having a little money, I sup plied at my own expense what was lacking on their part, which amounted to little more than a dollar per week during my imprisonment, for food, washing, and a little clothing. The reader may not readily understand how I ascertained the weight of the bread I have spoken of. By the use of a small stick and a little paper and
72 TRIAL AND IMPRISONMENT twine, I made a balance, and for weights I used silver coin; and in this way I also weighed the chain attached to my leg, by weighing one link of medium size, and multiplying the others by that, which pro duct was twenty-two and one-half pounds, beside the shackle which encircled my ankle. As to the persons, whose names I have here been using, I have no inclination to misrepresent or abuse them, for I delight not in vilifying my fellow-creatures, but would far rather speak well of them; and what I have here said, has been under a sense of deep moral feeling, and I have suppressed much that might have been said with propriety, and in strict accordance with truth. But if any, whose names I have here dealt with, or may deal with, can show in any instance where I have misused them, I will hasten to make public confession, and beg their pardon. CHAPTER XI. I NOW introduce some correspondence, and the expressions of others in relation to my case. As soon after I was committed to prison in Pensacola, as I was able to write, I sent a note to Benjamin D. Wright, counsellor at law; requesting an interview with him. My object was to obtain information in regard to some points of law relating to my case, as then there was a probability of my coming to a trial before the Novem ber term; and after the lapse of several weeks, I received the following reply:
OF JONATHAN WALKER. 73 PemacoU, Aug. 30,1844. SIR,I have for some time thought I ought to answer your note, handed me some weeks ago, in which you request me to call and see you. I have not called for reasons which I will frankly state. In common with all who know you as a citizen here, I was very indignant, not so much at the injury which your offence occasioned, as at the insult which it implied to the whole community. This feeling is still strong in me, but I feel that it is gradually giving way to gentler impulses. It is the indignant feeling above mentioned that has hitherto prevented me from seeing you* If the object of your note was to avail yourself of my professional services, I can only say that after thinking the matter over, I do not see how I can refuse them, nor do I think that by the time the November court comes on, I should desire to refuse, so that if you cannot do better, I will then attend to your defence. Yours, &Ci BENJAMIN D< "WEIGHT. MR. J, WALKER. The reason of my requesting ah interview with B. D. Wright, was, knowing that he was a candid man, and experienced in his profession, and that I should be likely to obtain correct information from him. In a day or two after I wrote to my family giving them a statement of what had taken place, and my present condition; the substance of which has been made public through the newspaper press. And in due time I received several letters from friends; from one I make an extract, and another I give entire.
74 TRIAL AND IMPRISONMENT Harwich, Aug. lllih, 1844. My very dear suffering friend Jonathan yafter much concern, we have had a letter from thine own hand; the troth of which we can confide in. Thy family are all in health. Some days after the news of thy capture came, I went over to see thy wife and thy parents, and they expressed much concern about thee. I mentioned to them the well-known passage of Scripture: if ye suffer for righteousness, happy are ye," &c. Be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled, but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts." At a meeting, on the first day of August, we made a small collection for thy family. We also chose a committee to see to thy family. It was a consolation to many, to have a letter from thee; many sympathize with thee. I think I can see the good hand of God with you, in chastening and afflicting you. I rejoice to see thy integrity and thy confidence in Christ; thy believing that he has stood by thee, and that thou canst not part with him! Tea, let everything else go first! Yea, let life go before Him. Jesus says, he came not to do his own will, but the will of his Father that sent him!" and he has left us an example that we should walk in his steps; "for he that hath suffered in the flesh, hath ceased from sin." When liberty, truth and right, has been trampled upon for a long time; the authority, law, and government of God been disregarded; human inventions set up; the laws, usages, and customs of men been considered para* mount to the will, law, or government of God, it will, sorely, cost more or less suffering to make a change. E. NICKERSON.
OF JONATHAN WALKER. 76 In a subsequent letter the same person says,u My dear brother, you have a glorious trial; make a right use of it" Harwich, Aug. 20,1844. CAPT. J. WALKER :..'.-. DEAR SIR,When your condition became known here, a good deal of interest was excited in your behalf. A meeting of the citizens was held at the congregational meeting-house yesterday, (19th,) agree ably to previous notice, to take into consideration your case; and the undersigned were made a committee to ascertain through you, your friends, or the authorities of Pensacola, in what way, if at all, your condition may be ameliorated. We learn that you were committed to prison for want of bail; and we wish to know whether you would be now released from confinement if the neces* sary bail should be obtained ? Do you wish for bail ? or had you rather remain confined until your trial? Have you any counsel ? And if not, do you wish for any ? And if so, have you the means of employing counsel? Or does the government furnish counsel for you? You state in your letter that you are chained so that you cannot walk your room. This we cannot but regret; as we know that a little exercise would afford you much relief, and we trust that the humanity V of those who have you in keeping, will prompt them to afford you some relief in mis particular. Is the room in which you are confined, so ventilated that you can have a supply of fresh air? Are you con fined alone, or are there others in the room with you?
76 TRIAL AND IMPRISONMENT if so, how many ? Will there be a special court for your trial, or shall you wait till the regular term in November? An early answer to the above inquiries, or so many of them as may be of importance to you, is desired. From our long acquaintance with you, we are assured, that the act for which you have been arrested, and are now suffering, was done under a high sense of moral obligation. How far that sense has been mistaken, is not for us to determine. We can only regret the occurrence; leaving the adjustment of its morality between you and your own conscience. Have you a comfortable supply of good and whole some food ? Is there any way in which we can be of any service to you ? If so, inform us, and our efforts to render your condition more comfortable shall not be wanting. SIDNEY UNDERWOOD. ELKANAH NICKERSON, JR. I prefix here f| copy of three official letters; the first written by John G. Palfrey, Secretary of the State of Massachusetts to the Governor of Florida; the second by Governor Branch, of Florida, to Walker Anderson, District Attorney for the Western District of West Florida; the third by Walker Anderson, in reply to the two first. COMMONWEALTH OF MASSACHUSETTS, \ Secretary's Office, Boston, > October 2nd, 1844. ) SIR,I have it in charge from the Governor of this Commonwealth, respectfully to ask your Excellency's
OF JONATHAN WALKER. 77 attention to the case of Jonathan Walker, a citizen of Massachusetts, said to be now in prison in Pensacola, in the Territory of Florida, awaiting his trial on a charge of abducting certain slaves from that terri tory. It is represented to the Governor, by respectable persons, that the confinement of said Walker is attended with circumstances of unusual hardship: that, in a feeble state of health, he is loaded with heavy irons, and suffering from other severe treat ment, unnecessary for his safe keeping and endanger ing his life. It is further alleged that his friends are confident of his having a good legal defence against the charge for which he stands committed, but that they need time to take the proper steps for his vindication, he being a poor man, the head of a numerous family dependent upon his labor, and unable to command the necessary professional aid, without assistance, which cannot be immediately obtained. And the Executive of this Commonwealth is invoked to interest itself in any manner consistent with its constitutional obligations, to obtain a mitigation of the hardships which he is said to be enduring, and such a delay of proceed ings as may afford opportunity for securing that high est object of justice, safety to the innocent. The Governor feels it to be due to the importance of the occasion, as well as to the high respectability of the sources whence these representations proceed, and to the sensibility which exists upon the subject, among the good people of this Commonwealth, to apprize your Excellency of the circumstances, as they are reported to him, and respectfully request such 7*
78 TRIAL AND IMPRISONMENT exertion of influence or authority, on your part, as official obligations may permit, and the claims of jus tice and humanity may dictate, to prevent the exercise of needless severities in this case by subordinate officers, and to cause the legal proceedings to* be delayed for a sufficient time to afford the accused party every reasonable advantage for establishing his innocence. I am accordingly directed, respectfully to request your Excellency to cause this prosecution to be stayed long enough to admit of arrangements being made to obtain for said Jonathan Walker, such able and effectual assistance as may enable him to maintain his rights before the tribunals of hjs country. And I am further instructed to request that your Excellency will be pleased to take care that he may be relieved from any illegal or unusual severity in the manner of his confinement Assured that your Excellency will estimate justly the solicitude on the part of the Governor of this Commonwealth, for the safety of its helpless citizens, which dictates this communication, I have the honor to sub scribe myself, Most respectfully, Your Excellency's obedient servant, JOHN 6. PALFREY, Secretary. To his Excellency, the Governor of Florida. Executive Office, October 25th, 1844. Mv DEAR SIR,I herewith transmit to you a eopy of a somewhat extraordinary communication which I have received from the Secretary of the Common wealth of Massachusetts. I have not, and probably may not take any official notice of it, for reasons which
OF JONATHAN WALKBK. 79 will readily occur to you. You are, however, at liberty to make such use of it as you may think proper; as I have entire confidence in your discretion and ability to do justice to a subject which seems to excite the sensibility of the good people of that Common wealth, and which cannot be one of indifference to the southern slave-holder. With the highest respect and esteem, I am yours truly, JOHN BRANCH. To Walker Anderson, U. S. Att'y for West Florida. Officeof the Attorney of the U. S.for West Florida. Pensacola, November 9th, 1844. SIB,On my return a few days since from Walton Court, I found your Excellency's letter of the 25th October, enclosing a copy of a communication to yourself from the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, on the subject of Jonathan Walker, now in prison here, awaiting his trial on a charge of negro stealing. Though I have kept myself informed, generally, as to Walker's condition in prison ever since his arrest, I have taken pains since die receipt of your letter, to procure more precise information on the subject, both from himself and from the officers who have had him in charge, and I am happy to inform your Excellency, that the Governor of Massachusetts has been entirely misled by the "respectable persons" who have repre sented to him, that the confinement of said Walker is attended with circumstances of unusual hardship, and that in a feeble state of health, he is loaded with
80 TRIAL AND IMPRISONMENT heavy irons, and suffering from other severe treatment unnecessary for his safe keeping, and endangering his life." When he was committed, he was in very feeble health, resulting from his long exposure at sea in an open boat; but notwithstanding his confinement, his health has gradually ameliorated until the present moment, when, as he informs me, and as he looks to be, he is in perfect health. He assures me that there is nothing he has to complain of in the treatment of the jailer and his family towards him, and that his prison fare has been satisfactory to him, except that for a short time after his arrest, his feeble health made his ordinary fare distasteful to him; but that he was soon able to supply himself with such things as he wished. It is true that he has been confined with a single chain" around his ankle, but this was not regarded as "unnecessary to his safe keeping," nor as being a "circumstance of unusual hardship." The crime with which he is charged is characterized by our law as a very grave one, and the executive officers of our court have looked to that law for their guidance, rather than to the opinions of those to whom they at least owe no accountability. Their duty required them to keep their prisoner securely, and I think I may assure your Excellency, that in performing this duty they have in no degree violated the dictates of humanity, or infringed any of the rights of the unfor tunate man. I trust that these representations, when conveyed by your Excellency to the Governor of Massachusetts,
OF JONATHAN WALKER. 81 may allay the sensibility which exists upon the sub ject among the good people of that Coram on wealth." The Secretary of the Commonwealth proceeds to say, I am directed to request your Excellency to cause his prosecution to be stayed long enough to admit of arrangements being made to obtain for said Jonathan Walker such able and effectual assistance as may enable him to maintain his rights before the tri bunals of his country." There is no disposition, lam sure, in any of the officers of this court to press this trial with unusual precipitancy, but on the contrary, there is a sincere desire to do justice, and no more than justice, to the accused; and I may add that there prevails a wish to receive with due respect, the inter position of the authorities of Massachusetts in his behalf; but I apprehend to postpone the trial indefi nitely, and thereby prolong a confinement considered so irksome, could scarcely be yielded with propriety to the request of the Governor of Massachusetts, if opposed to the wishes of the prisoner himself. He has a right to demand his immediate trial, and I have been assured by him only to-day that he is anxious that his case should be disposed of during the present term of the court. This desire of his, so natural in itself, we shall feel bound to regard as paramount in its claim upon us, to the wishes of his friends abroad to say nothing of his right to enforce it. I trust, therefore, that his Excellency of Massachusetts will perceive that we are prevented from complying with his request by the superior duty of yielding to the wishes of the prisoner in this regard. Walker has expressed a wish that his trial should 6
82 TRIAL AND IMPRISONMENT be postponed to as late a period of the term as practi cable, and it has accordingly been fixed for the second week of the term, and I doubt not it will be put off to a still later period of the term, if the prisoner should show good cause therefor. I deem it scarcely necessary to assure your Excel lency that the delay so earnestly pressed upon your Excellency by the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is hot indispensable "to obtain for Walker such able and effectual assistance as may en able him to maintain his rights before the tribunals of his country." Counsel is within his reach here, fully competent to the task of maintaining his rights any where, and your Excellency, I am sure, anticipates me, in the assurance that his poverty will oppose no obstacle to his procuring the aid of such counseL I remain, Sir, with much respect, Your Excellency's obt serv't, WALKER ANDERSON. U. S. AWy.for West Florida. To his Excellency, JOHN BRANCH, Governor of Florida, Tallahassee. Through the kindness of a friend in New York, I received the following resolution and the annexed epistle, just two months from its adoption. But the original paper, with some others, was wrested by force from me, and laid before a committee of the legislative council of the Territory of Florida, for their action, which report I place below. By some exertion I suc ceeded in obtaining all the papers except the one of which I place a copy here.
OF JONATHAN WALKBK. 63 British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, for the Abolition of Slavery and the Slave trade throughout the world. 27 New Broad street, London. At a meeting of the British and Foreign AntiSlavery Society, held at 27 New Broad street, on Friday, October 4,1844, George Stacy, Esq., in the chair, it was resolved unanimously, That, considering the enormous wickedness of American Slavery, whether viewed in relation to the iniquity of its principle, which deprives nearly three millions of human beings of their personal rights, or to the atrocity of its practice, which subjects them to the deepest degradation and misery; this committee feel it to* be their duty, publicly and warmly, to ex press their sympathy with those devoted friends of humanity, the Rev. Charles T. Torrey and Captain Jona than Walkerwho are now incarcerated in the prisons of Maryland and West Florida, for Jiaving aided or attempted to aid some of their countrymen in their escape from bondage; and to assure those Christian philanthropists that they consider the cause for which they may hereafter be called to suffer, honorable to them as men and as Christians; and the laws under which they are to be arraigned, as utterly disgraceful to a civilized community, and in the highest degree repugnant to the spirit and precepts of the gospel. On behalf of the committee, THOMAS CLARKEON, President. JOHN SCOBLB, Secretary. To Capt Jonathan Walker. October 8, 1844.
84 TRIAL AND IMPRISONMENT VftiNew Broad street. London* DEAR SIHThe painful circumstances in which you have been placed by your humane and Christian attempt to deliver some of your fellow-men from the sufferings and degradation of slavery, are not, as you will perceive by the accompanying resolution, un known to the Abolitionists in Great Britain. They truly sympathize with you in your affliction, and they trust that the efforts which are to be made for your deliverance from the power of evil men and evil laws, will be succeeded by the divine blessing. Your faith and patience may be greatly tried, but I trust you will be divinely sustained through the con flict, and that you will have a large share in the prayers* as well as in the sympathies and assistance of your friends. Trusting that you will meet With becoming forti tude your approaching trial, and that whatever may be its issue, you may find the joy of the Lord to be your strength," I am, dear sir, with great respect and esteem/ Yours very truly, JOHN SCOBLE, Secrefaryi To Capt. Jonathan Walker. TO THE COMMITTEE OP THE BRITISH AND FOREIGN ANTI-SLAVERY SOCIETY, LONDON. New York City, My 12ih91845. VERY KIND AND HIGHLY ESTEEMED FRIENDS : I arrived this day in this city, and embrace the ear liest convenient opportunity to acknowledge the recep-
OF JONATHAN WALKER. 85 tion of the kind letter of your worthy secretary, John Scoble, and the accompanying resolution adopted at your meeting in London, on the, 4th of October, 1844, expressive of your opinion of, and feelings towards Charles T. Torrey and myself. The letter was for warded through the kindness of a friend in New York, and reached me just two months after its date. But it is impossible for me to express upon paper the feelings which the reception of the letter and resolu tion excited. I am an American-bora citizen, and have lived forty-five years under this republican form of gov ernment, but I am ashamed to acknowledge that, while enjoying the greatest social and religious priv ileges of any nation upon the earth, boasting of our liberal and free institutions, of the inherent right of all men to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," of our arts and sciences, civilization, and the dispensation of the gospel; yet we cherish in our midst the most heinous, unjust, oppressive, and God-provoking sys tem that ever cursed the dwellers of earth, nourishing jealousy and discord through the land, poisoning the life-streams of our Union, corroding the vitals of this young and growing nation, and destroying the mental and moral faculties of one portion of its inhabitants, to corrupt and debase the other; and if any one is found among her sons whose humane feelings prompt him to extend an act of sympathy towards his deeply in jured fellow-subjectswho have nowhere to look with any earthly hope for the mitigation of their wretchedness, but in the hearts of the few, and are denied the privilege of seeking redress from the laws and coun8
86 TRIAL AND IMPRISONMENT sels of their countrysuch an one is sought out and hunted like a beast of prey, and dealt with as a traitor to his country, and as a skyer of his fellow-men; and this, notwithstanding every precaution has been used to prevent any act of violence on the part of the truly wronged, and none but pacific means are countenanced to obtain relief. While my mind has been filled with such consider ations, and while undergoing the most degrading punishments that human invention has produced, from the hands of my own countrymen, I receive from a high and honorable source in a foreign and monarchical country, the warm and cordial sympathies, and favor able consideration and approbation of the cause for which I suffer, and detestation of the course pursued against me, from entire strangers, whom I never saw, and probably never shall see this side of another world. I heartily respond, gentlemen, to the declaration in the last clause of the resolution which you adopted, that the laws under which we were to be arraigned are utterly disgraceful to a civilized community, and in the highest degree repugnant to the spirit and precepts of the gospel." You are probably aware ere this of the result of my first trial in November last, under four indictments. Since that time I have been detained in prison until the 16th of June, when, after having undergone a second trial, on the 9th. of May, under three indict ments, I was released by the liberality of friends, in paying the fines and costs of prosecution, which were charged against me. With the exception of two
OF JONATHAN WALKER. 87 and a half months, I was kept in chains during the whole of my imprisonment. Let me assure you again, my dear friends, of my gratitude for four kind and humane consideration. It is a source of deep regret to me that the original letter and resolution were taken from me while in prison by the authorities, but not however till I had secured a copy of each, which I hold invaluable. They were laid before the legislative council of Florida, and a report made thereon, a copy of which I enclose. Trusting that all needful blessings from our divine Lord may attend you individually and collectively in all coming time, and enable you to accomplish much In the righteous cause you have espoused for the amelioration of the condition of the deeply-injured and oppressed children of men, I remain, respectfully, your grateful friend, JONATHAN WALKER. REPORT OF THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL OF FLORIDA. Mr. Ferguson, from a joint select committee, made the following report:, The joint select committee, to which was referred the governor's communication in relation to the cor* respondence of the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society with Jonathan Walker, with the accompany ing papers, beg leave to report: That they regard the right of defining crimes and passing laws to prevent or punish such crimes, as amongst the clearest and most valuable rights of a free people, and the interference of foreign states with the exercise of that right, as insulting and unwarrantable,
88 TRIAL AND IMPRISONMENT and that it should be repelled promptly and indig nantly. This principle, so undeniable in the abstract, ac quires additional interest and importance from the cir cumstances of the particular case to which the duty of the committee has directed its attention. It can no longer be denied that systematic and powerful influ ences are at work throughout a large portion of Eu rope and many parts of our own country, the direct tendency of which is to impair our rights of property, and to involve ourselves and the unconscious objects of this false philanthropy in one common ruin. A vicious fanaticism, clothed in the garb of religion, is prowling around our borders, and by means of its more reckless and abandoned instruments, invading our in most sanctuaries, whose direct purposes, scarcely con cealed, are to deluge our very hearth-stones in blood, and to rear an altar to its false principles upon the ruin of all that is precious to us as freemen and dear to us as men. The most sanguine and forbearing amongst us must long since have been painfully convinced of the exist ence of this unfriendly feeling towards us among some of our own countrymen; and the public mind throughout the whole of the Southern States has been roused to a state of distrust and watchfulness, which augurs ill for that harmony which is becoming be tween members'of the same great family. The South has no cause for self-reproach, growing out of this feeling of estrangement. Their position has been eminently that of self-defence; and they are prompted to maintain that position by every consideration of
OF JONATHAN WALKER. 89 duty and of self-interest. They would be recreant to themselves, and unworthy of the rank which they hold among the nations, if they were to falter in the asser tion of their rights and their resistance of this foul injustice. In the unhappy dissensions which have grown up between ourselves and our countrymen of the North, there are, however, considerations prompting us to still longer forbearance. It is not easy to forget that we are brothers, enjoying the same great heritage of liberty which was purchased by the blood of our common sires. We are reluctant to let go our confidence in the returning sense of justice of those who are bound to us by such endearing ties, and we will not willingly dissever from our soil the blood-honored fields of Lex ington of Bunker Hill, and of Saratogawe will" suffer long and be kind "will bear many things, hope many things, and endure many things. And we do this the more readily because there is no hesitation amongst us as to the limits of this endurance. Among the millions of bosoms that are throbbing under a sense of the injury and outrage which have been so wantonly inflicted upon us by our Northern brethren, though there are many that plead for longer forbearance and forgiveness, there is probably not one that does not feel that there is a point beyond which forbearance would be ruin and dishonorthere is not one that would not unhesitatingly fling to the winds all the cherished recollections of the past, and all the exulting hopes of the future, rather than bow down in slavish abasement to the demands of those who seek to sacri fice us upon the shrine of their unholy fanaticism. 8*
90 TRIAL AMD IMPRISONMENT But the feelings which thus prompt us to forbearance, under the injuries done to us by the abolition incen diaries of the North, teach no such forbearance towards the foreign incendiaries, who intermeddle with our domestic institutions, and seek to interfere with the administration of our laws. We regard their false and intrusive philanthropy with unmingled resentment, and it becomes us to resist at once, and in the most effectual manner, all their efforts to control us in our internal police. The committee regret that the only means which are within our reach to counteract their hostile designs, and to avert danger from our selves, consist of increased penalties for the violation of our laws, and in stricter police arrangements in regard to the negro population. It is to be regretted that the punishment for such flagrant crimes should fall rather upon the less responsible agent, who is induced by a desire of gain or by an ignorant fanati cism to come among us on his unholy crusade, than on the more wicked and intelligent felon, who plots his cowardly schemes of mischief in the security of a foreign country and still more is it to be regretted that we are constrained, in self-defence, to cut off some of those indulgences to our SLAVES, which has made their situation hitherto one of happy contentedness. But the responsibility is not with us. Heavy is the accountability of the Abolitionists, both in Europe and at the North, not so much for the happiness and har mony of a great nation, which he has disturbed and perilled by his ignorant and wicked intermeddling with the affairs of which he knows but little, as for the new burdens which he has imposed on the slave,
OF JONATHAN WALKER, 01 and the new obstacles which he has interposed to the gradual amelioration and improvement of his condi tion. Self-protection is the primary law, and we shall stand justified, in the eyes of God and of man, in defending ourselves from unjust aggressions, though the means of safety may bring punishment and suffer ing where it is not most deserved. The crime of negro-stealing has heretofore been punished by our laws with exceeding leniency, and in the very striking case to which the attention of the committee is now directed, where the offence was flagrant, and the evidence conclusive, the punishment of the guilty man was so slight as to prove that, here tofore, in punishing this crime, we have not in any degree been moved by undue resentment. Hencefor ward we are compelled to regard negro-stealing, by the instruments of the abolitionists, as a crime of a differ ent character. It is no longer a mere larceny, but a species of treason against the Statea direct assault upon the very existence of our institutions. The negro-stealer, too, is now armed with new powers; he is upheld, encouraged, aided, and almost canonized by men in high places, whose commendation and sym pathy inspire new vigor and fresh perseverance. The thief is taught to regard himself as an agent in the hand of Providence, and he encounters danger with the spirit of a martyr. Slight punishments will not deter him from renewed offences; for he is taught to believe that his sufferings excite the sympathies, and bring down upon his head the blessings and the pray ers of the Christian world.
92 TRIAL AND IMPRISONMENT In obedience, then, to the rule which requires that the punishment of an offence should be commensurate with the difficulty of preventing it, as well as its enor mity, the committee feel constrained to recommend that the crime of negro-stealing, and of aiding and abetting negro-stealing, be made punishable here after by death. They make this recommendation not lightly, but with a deep and impressive sense of the responsibility which they assume; but they feel that the responsibility, in its heaviest extent, rests elsewhere. They believe that such a law is necessary to the safety of the country in the new aspect in which this crime must now be regarded; and if blood be the penalty which the negro-stealer has to pay for his crime, it will be upon the skirts of those whose excite ments and applause have driven him to his doom. As there is a bill now before the Senate making negro-stealing punishable with death, the committee content themselves on this head with earnestly recom mending its enactment into a law. Some of the circumstances developed in this case of Jonathan Walker have satisfied the committee that there are evil-disposed persons amongst us who per mit themselves to be made channels of intercourse between the convicted felons in our prisons and their accomplices abroad, and in other ways lend their aid to the dissemination of unsound and dangerous doc trines on the subject of slavery. Towards such offend ers the law should be unsparing in its penalties. To punish such of this class as are found among us with sufficient severity, and exclude those who may be offi ciously intruded upon us, its most solemn sanction
OF JONATHAN WALKER. 93 should be invoked; but the committee apprehend that while we remain in a territorial government some embarrassment might arise in the enforcement of police laws adequate in their rigor to the suppression of the mischief; and as we are about to assume, under the blessing of God, the privileges and the powers of a free sovereign State, the committee recommend that this subject, together with that of new police regulations, with regard to the slaves themselves, be post poned till the meeting of the first General Assembly of the State of Florida and they earnestly invoke its serious attention to the whole subject, in all its rela tions anjl bearings. The committee, having considered all the subjects referred to them, beg to be discharged from their fur ther consideration. WALKER ANDERSON, Qurirman of the Senate Committee, I. FERGUSON, Jr., Chairman of the House Committee. The reader has already seen that I have repeatedly been stigmatized with the epithet of slave-stealer;" to which charge I did, and do still plead not guilty although punished for that offence; neither was it ever my intention to commit it, and God forbid it ever should be. Have not the fathers of our nation proclaimed to the world, by the declaration of independence, that all men are born free and equal?" and that they are endowed by their creator" "with an inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness!" And
94 TRIAL AND IMPRISONMENT is peaceably assisting those who have been robbed of these rights, without in any way infringing upon the rights of others, slave-stealing ? Was the benevolent and humane conduct of the Samaritan, in assisting the man, who had fallen among thieves and was rob bed, to get to the inn where he could be provided for, stealing? Is practising on that invaluable rule, of doing to others as we would they should do unto us under similar circumstancesenjoined upon all Christians, by JESUS CHRIST himselfslave-stealing ? As to my infringing upon any man's rights, or tres passing upon any man's property, I deny it in toto. Neither Byrd C. Willis, George Willis, nor Robert C. Caldwell had any more right to Anthony Catlet, Charles Johnson, or Silas Scott, than I or any other per son had; nor did they ever have a right to those men. Under God, they had a right to themselves, which they had never forfeited; and those who claim them as property or chattels, assume authority over the ALMIGHTY CREATOR of all things. Much has been said about invading the rights of the slave-holder, by opposing the system of slavery. As to any of the honestly gained property of the slave-holder, or any one else, I have nothing to say; but I deny that he has any right or just claim to his fellowbeings, without their forfeiture or consent, in the shape of property or chattels;one American-born citizen being the property of another American-born citizen is ridiculous in the highest degree, and repugnant to every true republican and Christian feeling, and should never be countenanced for a moment by any one hav ing the least idea of liberty or equal rights. All that can
OP JONATHAN WALKBB. 95 be said in favor of American slavery can he said in support of robbery or piracy. I know that many are ready to say, they are guar antied to their holders by the laws of this govern ment, and so are held by right. But neither this government nor these States have the right to guar anty one part of the home-born citizens to become the property of another part, nor to delegate the inherent rights and liberties of one portion to the absolute con trol and disposal of another portion. From whence do rights proceed ? I repeat again that they never had such rights. What the slave-holder calls his right of property in human beings, consists of the slave's wrongs; handed over from the inhuman kidnapper, who stole his human prey, and transferred it to the human flesh-buyer; and how many such flagrant wrongs does it take to make one reasonable right ? If there be a just God, to whom man is accountable, what is our hope for the perpetrators of these repeated wrongs, when they shall have passed on through life down to the oppressor's grave ? But what beyond that goal may be What portion in eternity, For those who oppress to gain their wealth, And die without a hope in death ? I know notand I dare not think; Awhile I shudder o'er the brink Of that unfathomable deep, In which heaven's secret judgments sleep." Your riches are corrupted, and your garments are moth-eaten; your gold and silver is cankered, and the rust of them shall be a witness against you,
96 TRIAL AND IMPRISONMENT and shall eat your flesh as it were fire.""Ye have lived in pleasure on the earth, and been wanton; ye have nourished your hearts, as in a day of slaugh ter ; ye have condemned and killed the just,and he did not resist you." Remember that in thy lifetime thou hast received thy good things," &c. Luke xvi. 25. No community, society, sect, creed, or any persons or individuals, are accountable for, or chargeable with my opinions or conduct, with respect to the system of slavery,I alone am responsible; and, as I trust, under the influence of the spirit of God. If I have erred through the weakness of human judgment, then be the offence mine, and the mercy-seat my resort for pardon. To those who charge me with having by over-zeal gone too far in aid of suffering humanity, I would say, let none other be charged with participating in what has taken place in my caseI will bear the blame alone. Be it known to all people, that I made no bargain, contract, or agreement with any of those persons for any pecuniary remuneration for the aid and expense which I devoted to their escape from bondage, other than this: that I remarked to one or two of the men, that if they succeeded in getting where they could be free, and accumulate something for themselves, they might give me what they felt able or disposed to, in payment of the expense of their passage, as it might suit their convenience or circumstances; and when we arrived at New Providence, they would be at liberty to go where they pleased, or remain there. I am aware that many innocent and well-disposed persons have suffered under the tongue of slander and
OP JONATHAN WALKER. 97 calumny on my account, and that my case has been misrepresented and made a hobby-horse to ride into the anti-slavery ranks, and vilify the true philanthropists. Since my return I have been credibly informed that some persons in my vicinity, in Massachusetts, have attempted to promulgate the belief that some of those warm-hearted friends in Harwich, who have endea vored to afford me such aid as was in their power, were interested in the transaction, and were expecting to reap some pecuniary benefit therefrom. But I wish it to be distinctly understood, that no one but myself and those who were with me in the boat, had any knowledge of the undertaking; and I never gave the hint to any other person. Some editorials of the Barnstable (Massachusetts) Patriot have gone forth, to prejudice the people's minds against every reasonable measure calculated to aid the abolition of slavery* and to cherish a pro-slavery feeling, and a most unsocial and unchristian spirit. I lament the depravity and lack of dignity which seem to preside over the genius of its editor. Let those who sport with the good feelings of others, and ridicule the efforts which are made to rescue the oppressed from the hands of the oppressor, remember, that they, too, are accountable for the part they act, and for the influence tbey attempt to disseminate. Let them not build their hopes of the decline of the anti-slavery cause upon my failing to accomplish my undertaking, in aiding a few individuals to obtain some of their rights; for I doubt not but it will event ually be the cause of awakening many sleepers to 9 7 .7
98 TRIAL AND IMPRISONMENT look upon die hideous monster, slavery, in its natural and true form; and may God grant that this nation may soon have right views and right feelings in regard to this corroding system, which is eating up its vitals, and threatening speedy distraction and destruction through the land, unless an overruling and benignant Providence should ward off the blow, and spare us from our just deserts. It seems to have been a matter of wonder to many here at the north, to know what I expected to gain by aiding those slaves to escape from their masters. In reply, I will also ask what did the good Samaritan expect to gain by helping the man who had fallen among thieves, and was robbed and wounded, to a place of refuge and health ? In Pensacola, and in the south generally, I believe there is but one opinion in regard to my motivethat it was to aid the slaves in obtaining their freedom, because I considered it their right The following is the bill of costs, brought against me by the territory of Florida: [COPY.] TERRITORY OF FLORIDA } Abducting Seven Slaves, vs. > Verdict, JONATHAN WALKER. ) Guilty. Cost of Court, and fines in seven suits, $291 05 Paid Witness from Key West, .... 57 75 do. R*C. Caldwell,. 3 75 do. R. C. Caldwell,... 2 50 Deputy for travelling to navy-yard, to arrest, 3 00 Carried forward, f358 05
OF JONATHAN WALKER. 99 Brought forward, .. $358 05 Paid Lock for Jail, 0 87 J Blacksmith, repairing Jail,.... 9 13 D. Quind, for guarding Jail, &c. ". 87 50 City of Pensacola for use of Jail, 25 00 City Jailer, for board up to May 23rd, 1845, .......... 115 50 $596 05} (Signed) E. DOER, U.S. Marshal. RECEIVED, Pensacola, 20th May, 1845, of C. C, Keyser, Esq., Five hundred ninety-six 5-100 dollars, in full for the above bill of cost. (Signed) EBEN. DORR, U. 8. Marshal for West Florida.
100 TRIAL AND IMPRISONMENT REMARKS. City of Pensacola, to use of Jail, 925." This to me, I confess, is rather a singular charge to bring against a prisoner. City marshal's bill for board," was at the rate of 374 cents per day; but a small part of which was expended for me, as I was under the necessity of using about forty dollars, to provide myself with food, which consisted mostly of bread and molasses. Cost of court and fines, in seven suits, $291 05." The fines were one hundred and sixty-five dollars, and the cost of court consisted of the district attorney's, marshal's and clerk's fees, and the evidence before the grand jury. There were other charges in the case, and I sup pose they were brought against the United States; and the whole cost and expense would have been charged to the United States, if my friends had not paid it, in order to my release. It may not be improper to remark here that I had no witness, nor asked for any; and those whose fees are charged in the bill areRichard Roberts, of Key West, master of the vessel that took me, near Cape Florida, and the other, Robert C. Caldwell, who claimed to be an owner of three of the slaves that left Pensacola in my boat. These were summoned by the prosecution to testify against me. The charge for guarding the jail, $87 50, is a mooted point with me; at one time I was told that it was guarded to prevent people without from molest ing me, and at another time, that it was guarded to prevent my escape from prison; but I think, probably, more to make a show than anything else.
OF JONATHAN WALKER. 101 Blacksmithrepairing jail, &c. $9 13." A slave man came to jail one day, and worked on the doors about two hours, and fastened a piece of iron athwart an aperture in the door, through which I had been in the habit of receiving my food; and I do not know what the &c." is for, except for riveting the irons oh my leg, and making the branding iron. The lock was not used on or about the jail. Since my return home, I have often heard the expressions used, "We never expected to see you here again;" and How is it that they let you come so soon ?" My answer is this:Although what they term the laws of Florida could have been executed with greater severity, and I subjected to more cost and longer imprisonment, yet there was a strong abhorrence on the part of the citizens of Pensacola, generally, to any further infliction of punishment; and many were opposed to its execution thus far. Dur ing my residence in Pensacola, I had formed an acquaintance with most of the people of that place, and was on social and friendly terms with all; never having any difficulty or misunderstanding with any. Another reason is,that there was, as I believe I have before stated, but one opinion as to the motives which induced me to commit the act for which I was called to suffer;all seeing that I was acting upon the principle which I believed to be true, just and rightthat God has made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on the face of the whole earth," and "that all men are born free and equal," and are enti0*
102 TRIAL AND IMPRISONMENT tied to the same rights, by the laws of God and nature. All the people saw that I was not influenced by pecu niary considerations, and that I had no intention of trespass or fraud upon the rights or property of any one. There was less indignant feeling towards me on another account. A large part of the inhabitants were Creoles, (descendants of French and Spanish parents,) and not generally so irresistibly devoted to the system of slavery as the American-born and bred citizens were; and this Creole population manifested more sympathy for me than the rest of the community did. There has also been much inquiry of me in regard to the doings of Thomas M. Blunt, who was employed in New York to manage my defence at the November Court, in Pensacola,or to take an appeal to the United States Supreme Court, and have the case pre sented there. I have not attempted to give any account of him, other than noting his visits to me at the prison in December last; feeling that his being sent was nearly the greatest insult that friends at the north could impose on me. I was sufficiently well acquainted with the man, and his course of behavior and conduct, for seven or eight years and knew him to be void of any good principle, and pro-slavery to the back-bone; bred and practised in the hot-bed of that soul-destroy ing system, which is one of the greatest scourges arrayed against the well-being and happiness of man, and one of the highest insults against the authority and government of God, who has provided ample
OF JONATHAN WALKER. 103 means for the happiness and welfare of the great human family. Thomas M. Blunt was also looked upon by the inhabitants there as a very corrupt-mindod man, and a base and common swindler. The first knowledge I had of his having anything to do with my case, was the 2nd of December last, eighteen days after I had my trial He then called at the prison, and talked with me a few minutes through the window, without offering to come in. He stated to me that he had seen Amos B. Merrill before he left New York, and he got him to attend to my case; but in consequence of the high (!) or low (!) stage of the water in some of the rivers near there, he was prevented from being in the place in time to attend to my trial. He had then been in the place twelve or thirteen days, and said he had told people there, that he was paid two hundred dollars to manage my case, and that my friends wished to take an appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States, and wanted to know if I would consent to an appeal I told him that I would, in case I could be bailed out, and not be subjected to illegal treatment He said he would try to get an appeal on the case. He wanted to know what the expense amounted to; I told him that I had not yet been able to ascertain what it was. He left me, and, after a few days, called again; when I gave him a schedule of the charges then against me, which had been handed me a day or two before by the marshal, the amount of which was $421 45. I informed him that the fine, $150," could be paid in Territorial scrip, which could be bought at a large discount, and that a sum of less than four hundred dollars would
104 WALKER'S TRIAL AND IMPRISONMENT. be sufficient to effect my release. I asked him if he could not make some arrangement to satisfy the demand, so that I might leave the place. He said that he was going to the next county, where he had some money owing him, and if he could get that, he would release me; but that he could not get an appeal on the case, for the bail would be so high that it could not be given. He handed me a paper in which was enclosed a letter, and resolution from the British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, and left, until the 25th, when he called again, and said he was then going to New York, and would stir up my friends about the matter, and urge them to have the means necessary to my release forthcoming. This is the substance of my positive knowledge of the doings of Thomas M. Blunt, in regard to my case; but since my return, I have been informed that he received from a committee, who had been acting in the case, seven hundred and fifty dollars, which had been subscribed to provide me with counsel, and my family with such aid as they might need.
APPENDIX. MY mind has for a long lime been strongly impressed with the conviction that a more than ordinary providence has attended me thus far through life. The variety of scenes and situations which I have passed through, and many a narrow escape from death, cause me greatly to wonder that I am yet a spared subject upon God's footstool; and for his great power and preserving care, attended with numerous and great mercies towards me, I delight to acknowledge him as my Governor, King, and God, to whom be glory in the highest! In view of the numerous causes that have a tendency to shorten trail man's earthly exis tence, I will unite with David in saying, Strange that a harp of thousand string! Should keep in tune so long!" When about fifteen years of age, one severe cold day, while sliding on the ice upon a deep pond, 1 incautiously went over a part that was scarcely frozen, broke through and went in, and was almost miraculously rescued by the assist ance of another boy about the same age. In the year 1817, at the age of eighteen, for twenty odd days I was stretched upon a sick couch, in a thatched bamboo* shantee, suffering with, and but scarcely surviving, a violent and raging fever, more than eight thousand miles from home, kindred and friends, among strange people and of a strange languagewatched over mostly at night by lizardsinnocent little creatures I never wish to forget. With what apparent earnestness and anxiety they seemed to regard me, as they crept over me and about the walls of my humble abode, by the light shining from a clay dish of cocoa-nut oil, with a string one end in the oil and the other Large reed that grows in the East Indies.
106 APPENDIX. on the side of the dish, lit up as a substitute for a lamp. Many long, silent and wakeful hours have I observed the harmless little reptiles in their movements, while their bright and sparkling eyes surveyed me as though they felt a deep interest in my case. Their looks and actions were always pleasant and agreeable, and aided me in beguiling away the long and tedious nights. Before I had so far recovered as to be able to prosecute any employment, my small purse was exhausted, and I was left destitute and dependent upon the kindness of those whom I never saw before, and could neither speak their language nor they mine; but a kind Providence interposed, and I was soon again in comfortable circumstances. Less than one year from that time I was knocked down senseless and washed into the lee scuppers, on board of a ship lying to in the English channel, in a severe gale, while at the pump. A sea struck her midships with great violence, staving in much of the bulwarks and carrying with it all that was moveable, and me with the rest; and the next tiling I knew, I was lying on the cabin floor, and was told, that when the water had cleared from the decks, I was found crawling out between the lanyards of the lee main rigging, and would, if let alone, in a few seconds have been overboard, and clear of the vessel. Within a few days of one year from that time, in March, 1890, while en a passage from Europe to the United States in a brig, I was precipitated from the fore top-sail yard-arm head-foremost overboard, in a dark night and gale of wind. The weather being cold, I had on at that time heavy boots and thick clothing, which greatly obstructed my exertions in the water; and the first thing I came in contact with was the bottom of the vessel, and after some struggling to gain the surface, and before I was sensible of reaching it, I caught a rope and seized it with my whole strength, and soon found myself raised partly out of water, and the next instant plunged under again and dragged forcibly through
APPENDIX. 107 k, at a rapid rate. Thus, for three or four minutes, as near as I can judge, I remained in that situation, hallooing at the top of my voice whenever my head was above water, and was nearly losing my hold when I was seized by the captain, mate, and another man, who, with some difficulty, succeeded in getting me on board. There were two men on the same yard, and a third coming up, when I fell off, and neither knew that I had fallen off until they had reefed the topsail and come down upon deck. Had I fallen on the vessel in my headlong position, it would have insured instant death. Had I fallen in any other position than I did in the water, the concussion would, in all probability, have rendered me incapable of immediate exertion. Had I gained the surface at any other place than I did, there would have been nothing to get hold of, and in less than one minute the vessel would have passed away from me altogether and forever; for there was-no possi bility of getting to me with vessel or boat at such a time as that, if such an attempt should have been thought of. T was at Havana in the sickly summer of 1824, when die yellow fever was multiplying its victims among for eigners at a fearful rate, and carrying them off with the black vomit, while death hoisted his desolating ensign over the fleet of shipping that was then in port, and sending its cart-loads daily of European and American citkens and seamen out of the city, and from on ship-board, to their last earthly abode, no more to return to the social circle and their active vocations, in which they had acted their part; but leaving gloom and despair in the countenances of many a gallant crew. In some cases there were not men enough left to pass their sleeping shipmate over the vessel's side into the waterman's boat, to be transferred to the dead-cart. I too was singled out, and prostrated by that scourge of humanity, but after five days of severe conflict, the pale horse and his rider passed by, and permitted mercy to attend, and nature to revive again, contrary to human
108 APPENDIX. expectation; for I knew not the second one that could say that he was rescued from the clutches of the fell destroyer* I wOl briefly notice one more circumstance of my life, and then would gladly have them all, with.many other transactions, forever erased from my mind, were it not that I can see something in them that looks like the goodness of God in his merciful dealings with rebellious dust, and that derates my grateful feelings to him, fox Ms wonderful works to the children of men." In the fore part of the year 1835,1 had some correspon dence with the late Benjamin Lunday, then residing in Philadelphia. That eminent philanthropist had previously travelled and spent a considerable time in Mexico, and had obtained a grant to settle a colony in the northern part of the province of Tamaulipas, on very liberal terms, and I had a mind to favor the scheme to the best of my ability, and began to look that way for my earthly home; but thought it best to see the promised land before adopting it as my local resting-place with my family. In order to do so, I left New Bedford, Massachusetts, in the following No vember, in a vessel of twelve tons, if so small a craft may be called a vessel. Our number was three; myself and son, of the age of twelve years, and another young man, a mechanic. We had a long and rough passage, and encountered five gales before we reached Mexico. When we arrived at Matamoras I found the country in a very unsettled state, and strong and growing prejudices were arrayed against cit izens of the United States, on account of the war that was then raging between Mexico and her rebellious Texas, carried on mainly by assistance from the United States. I remained there some time expecting to be joined by others, but none appeared; they were prevented doubtless by the war. I was chartered by mercantile houses in Matamoras to ran several trips between that place and New Orleans, as a
APPENDIX. 109 courier to carry letters for them on mercantile business. Returning on my last trip, we got ashore on the coast, and in the act of getting off, we were attacked by a gang of robbers. My young friend, R. Marble, attempted to escape by flight, but was pursued by two of the armed assassins, and I saw him no more. My son plunged into the surf and swam to sea. They fired at me, and I received two of their musket balls, and made supplication for mercy, but they soon convinced me, by attempting to use a pistol and their knives upon me, that if I looked to them for quarter,! looked in vain. My only chance to escape immediate death, was to follow if possible the example of my son, and while they were making the attempt to despatch me, I succeeded in gaining the surf, and joined my son in the offing. We found it necessary to divest ourselves of what clothing we had on, to enable us to exercise ourselves with more activity and ease. And now let the reader imagine our situation. On one side was the shore guarded by the robbers ready to butcher us if we landed, and on the other side was the whole bay of Mexico; and myself deprived of the use of one hand by a bullet, being shot through the wrist joint. The blood oozing freely from that and another bullet-wound in the abdomen, was well suited to invite a greedy shark to finish the work of his two-legged brothers on shore. From whence now could we look for aid or hope, but to God, the only sure source and fountain of hope and safety, in times of need and danger ? And thither did we look, and not in vain; for, by divine assistance, we were enabled to keep our heads above water until the darkness of night afforded us an opportunity to elude their vigilance, and land at some distance from the place where we first swam. We carefully surveyed the shore, before landing, to see that we were not observed by any of the banditti, and took the direction of the shore toward the nearest inhabited place I knew of, in search of aid and protection. It was nearly 10
110 APPENDIX. son-down when we were attached, and I think we were in the water something over one hour. After travelling that night and the greater part of the next day, suffering severely from pain, raging thirst, weakness hy loss of blood, and the heat of a burning sun acting upon our naked bodies,[if memory serves, this circumstance took place on the 6th of June, 1836, in the latitude of 36 North,]on the after noon of the 7th, we presented our miserable and almost exhausted persons at a Rancho, (small village,) at the mouth of the Rio del Norte, where we found aid and hos pitable treatment from its poor inhabitants, for which we were very grateful. Thus we were thrown upon the charity of strangers more than two thousand miles from home, entirely naked, and pennyless, myself severely wounded and in a very delicate state of health. The distance we had travelled was estimated by the inhabitants at forty miles, and we were unable to procure any fresh water during the whole distance. I was frequently compelled to lie down, being overcome with thirst and pain. The wound in the wrist continued to bleed upwards of fifteen hours, and could only be stanched by keeping the wound higher than the shoulder, and in order to do that I was obliged to hold it up with the other hand* I am of the opinion that I lost but very little, if any, short of four quarts of blood before it stopped; and before reaching the Rancho, I was reeling and staggering like a drunken person, and could with difficulty make any progress. The last special circumstance or transaction which I have encountered, has been related in the preceding narrative. Except the foregoing, I do not suppose that I have expe rienced anything more or stranger than thousands of others, who, like myself, have passed upwards often years of their lives on the salt blue sea, and gone among as many different nations; inhaling the atmosphere of each quarter of the globe; sometimes shivering with Russia's cold piercing winds in her ice-bound seas, and anon wilting under a
APPENDIX. Ill burning vertical son; whilst gliding through the torrid zone, gently moved along by the refreshing breeze that always blows one way; and at other tunes scarcely able to turn the weather-beaten face to the furious howling blasts, while my habitation majestically mounted the lofty wave which it had hove up,the next instant rushing down its declivity with the rapidity of thought, as if bound in haste to the nether regions, almost ingulfed between two water hills; tumbling, careening, and again rearing the summit, like a thing of life. Then again all is hushed, and the troubled ocean exhibits a surface as if it was one sheet of polished glass, without a ripple, Or any visible object, except now and then a homeless Mother Cary's chicken, wander ing over the vast expanse of water, as if moved by instinct, regardless of its coarse, or where night may overtake it. Thus nature seems to have forgotten her activity, and to have fallen asleep. But again the heavens gather blackness; the smooth, lamb-like, uniform appearance of all around, changes its aspect, and assumes the leopard's skin, and the tiger's nature. Jack's eyes brighten; he looks at the thickening cloud, then at the distant horizon; he paces the decks with hurried steps, glancing an occasional eye at the spread canvass, and begins to talk about tying it up. Old ocean's race is again about to suffer agitation, and its infant peaks begin to put on their white caps. All now is hurry and bustle ; the halyards, sheets, due-lines and gaskets, are put in requisition; the wind whistles through die rigging; the awakened craft rolls up her sea-washed side, and trembles like a frightened horse; the rumbling of the deads' chariotwheels is heard approaching from the upper regions; torrents of cold water descend from their beds above, and the busy mariner is immersed without consultation or consent. The forked lightnings shoot forth; and the little floating world seems to be wrapped up in a frightful thunder cloud. The bold blasphemer feels that the weapons of death are
112 APPENDIX. suspended over his head, and shunning those objects most likely to attract the liquid fire, he casts off his atheistical faith, which can only serve him in less threatening hours, when conscience is smothered and deprived of its office. But a kind Providence presides, and the heavens assume a milder hue; sail after sail is spread to catch the declining breeze; and the valiant craft speeds on towards her port of destination, regardless of the past. But in due time, the delightful sound of Land, ho! falls from the mast-head; joy brightens up each countenance, and imagination stands tiptoe. Soon the landward eye surveys the approaching hills, forests and fields, that produce food for men and beasts. Then comes to view a whitened pinnacle-formed edifice, fixed on some projecting point or sea-worn rock, to warn the watchful mariner of his danger when surrounded by the darkness of night. Soon new objects attract the attention; for now are seen the clustered buildings which contain a complicated multitude with their numerous avocations, with here and there a towering steeple of some public edifice established for the improvement of the physical, mental, or moral faculties of the children of men. Some might be led to suppose that the inward-bound sailor would there find a recess from his multiplied cares and exposed situation,a refuge from the furious contending elements; but not so; other and greater dangers and expo sures are here in reserve for those who have escaped the perils incident to a sea-faring life. Not the mighty dashing billows, nor the swift rushing blasts that pack up the sea in heaps and ridges, not the lee iron-bound coasts, nor the much dreaded thunder-cloud, dealing out His chain-lightnings, are half so dangerous as the snares and gins there laid to entrap, deceive and destroy those, whose heart is not fixed on the Lord their God," who openeth the eyes of the blind," who preserveth the strangers," and giveth grace to the humble and contrite ones." There Beelzebub has established his active agents, and
APPENDIX. 113 furnished them with a recruiting robe, and instructed them to appear in numerous attractive forms; and, at every unguarded place, heave, out their baits to induce the lover of pleasure and the inexperienced youth to enter and partake of their dainties,the flowing bowl, a pack of cards, the jovial song, the merry dance, the gamingtable,and to mingle in the social circle of the house that leads to death. The end is poverty, degradation, misery, delirium and death, with awful forebodings of the future, without one cheering ray of hope beyond the grave. Of such exposures and of such vicissitudes is a sailor's life made up; and what rather would like to place his boy in such a situation?or what mother would not use all her influence to direct or induce her son to seek some other honest or useful employ ment, that would not cause her heart to be wrung by day and by night, at the thoughts of his exposed condition Ior to break at the knowledge of his untimely, sudden, or inglorious death, without any adequate preparation for a safe landing On that West shore of endless joy, Where troubles come no more I" I hope the reader will not charge me with a total depart ure from the subject, or with designed inconsistency, if I have somewhat digressed from the main course which I have attempted to keep, and whose importance demands the ablest pens, and the first talents, and the warmest sympa thies of the land, to combat the evils and expose the true causes which entail so much shame, sin, and the fruit of both, on a laudable calling. For I think that next to the slave, the sailor is thrown most shamefully into the scale of oppression, wrong, and neglect. Although some efforts have been made by many well-disposed persons for the improvement of those brave and useful sons of the main, yet nothing equal to the importance of the case has come to my knowledge. I would not be understood to overlook or 10* 8
114 APPENDIX. lightly esteem the benevolent and humane efforts that have been pnt forth by the Seaman's Friend Society, and others favorably disposed toward the amelioration of their condition. But so long as the numerous and active schools of deception and vice are in fall operation, and parents cannot, or will not, prevent their children from receiving instruction in them, we cannot or should not expect much of a refor mation, or think that we have any reasonable grounds for hope of the removal of the evil. By personal observation, I am compelled to believe that there is a great obligation and responsibility resting upon parents and guardians, ship-owners and the nation. When parents and guardians so far neglect their duty to their children and minors, as to induce them to embark on the dangerous experiment, by their neglecting to aid them in some other pursuit or employment, or drive them away by improper treatment, they have no right to complain if they have to partake of the bittercup of sorrow and remorse themselves, as the natural fruit of their unnatural conduct towards those for whom they are, by the laws of nature and of God, held accountable. I do. not intend to charge the feet upon all the parents that have children who follow the seas; neither do I contend that there is anything dishonorable or improper necessarily connected with that vocation. But I do unhesitatingly, and without the fear of contradiction, say that no way of life in the United States places a young man in so critical a situation as is common to a seafaring life; or one in which he is so likely to make shipwreck of his soul, unless guarded by the strongest moral feelings, or merci fully dealt with by a kind and overruling Providence. Especially is this true of the United States service. I have hinted that ship-owners are the responsible party; but those who can truly plead not guilty to the charge, (and I hope and believe there are some, although the number is by far too small,) are not intended to come under it. When the owner is about to fit his ship for a voyage, he
APPENDIX. 115 is perfectly aware that she must be manned, in order to perform her voyage. And does he not incur a responsi bility in regard to the rights and welfare of those who have to leave home and friends, the watchful care of parents, and the restraints of civilized society, to check them from participating in those vices incident to a sailor's life, intemper ance and promnity, which are the highway to numerous other vices ? I would ask, if the owner has no other duty or obligation' resting on him, than to famish his vessel with such master and officers as in his opinion would be likely to perform a voyage with the least possible expense, and aid him in the accumulation of the greatest number of dollare, regardless of all pertaining to the welfare of those he employs, whether physically, mentally, or morally! Will he attempt to satisfy his conscience, and say that he has done all that he should do for them, when he has paid them their small wages, while they have undergone much privation and risked their lives for his benefit! The owner, if he chooses, can place his ship, without making any sacrifice or incurring any risk, in charge of masters and officers who are of temperate habits and humane hearts; such as can control themselves, and not allow their own passions and outbreaks of improper conduct and lan guage to disgrace them in the eyes of the crew, and excite them to disobedience, anger and rebellion. Self-control is no small part of the qualification of a master or officer; and by judicious authority, and a reasonable course of correct conduct towards the crew, he will insure respect and ready obedience on the part of the crew, and bind the cords of friendship and good-will stronger, and excite to a faithful discharge of their duty, more than by all the curses, threats, blasphemy, blows, floggings and pistols that could be displayed on a ship's deck. Seamen, as well as other people, are in some measure creatures of circumstances, and partake much of the cus toms and spirit of those whom they have constant inter10
116 APPENDIX* course and business with. If the master and officers do not indulge in improper language and conduct themselves, they hare a right, and it is their duty, to insist on the same from the crew, and I doubt not but they would generally be met by a response on the part of the crew. "As iron sharpen ed iron, so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend." As in water face answereth to face, so the heart of man to man." Another point worthy of serious consideration, and for which, owners should be entitled to the censure of every sailor's friend, is the careless manner in which they ship, or have their crews shipped; which frequently causes much and serious damage and difficulty on the voyage. It is very common for sailors to go or be carried on board of vessels, ignorant of the purport of the articles of agreement which they have signed or others have signed for them; for their consent is too often given, and their signatures are affixed, while under the influence of intoxicating liquors, or instigated by other improper agents, and soon after they find cause to regret it, without the ability to retract the unguarded transaction. There is nothing more common than for sailors to be sadly deficient in a knowledge of the law by which they are governed, and for the violation of which, they frequently have to suffer severely. Many serious occurrences and difficulties have passed under my own observation, both at sea and in port, in consequence of their ignorance of the purport of the articles of agreement, and the law by which they are bound and by which they are to be governed; and this, consequently, is the means of constantly furnishing jails and prisons with inmates, and courts with employment; which attempted remedy often proves worse than the disease. How much would it cost to furnish each outward-bound vessel with a copy of so much of the maritime law as relates to their obligation and duty, so that each man could
APPENDIX. 117 know for himself his limits, and shape his course of conduct and actions accordingly ? It is not my intention to go into a minute investigation, or notice this subject here at any length; but a sense of duty to that class of citizens, for whose welfare I feel very solicitous, and for whose wrongs much abhorrence, induces me to say thus much. The cabin and quarter deck are frequently lit up by instruction, conversation and reading; but darkness and silence generally hang over the forecastle and main deck, except it is broken-by notice of some misdemeanor on Jack's part. Then, if he speaks, or attempts to defend himself or his shipmates from violent abuse or blows from an intemperate, overbearing, foul-mouthed captain, he is charged with mutiny, and hove into a distant prison, desti tute and despised, to await the pleasure of the assaulting party, and to undergo a mock trial, with overwhelming prejudices and power arrayed against him. While I am writing this, a part of the crews of two brigs are now incar cerated with me, as I have intimated, without any adequate means for their defence. This nation has incurred disgrace abroad, and shame and guilt at home, by the course she has pursued in the instruction of her sons in the arts of vice and immorality, by her schools of sin and degradation. It is a notorious fact, that a large portion of those who serve on board of a man-of-war, leave that service in a far worse condition than when they joined it, if they leave it alive. How can it be otherwise, when a young man is confined for years in a crowd that make the most liberal use of the most licentious, blackguard and profane language that can be spoken; and receiving with his daily rations the bewitching, destructive and poisonous draught, which stim ulates and excites the worst passions, and inflames the mind, while learning the art of killing his fellow-men to gratify a few avaricious, self-willed, cruel monsters in human
us APPBITOTX* shape* whoneither tear God nor regard the welfare of men! And if these lessons do not sufficiently destroy all the best feelings and dignity of the man* then take him to the gang way and give him two or three dozen* in view of all his associates, on the bare back, with the cat-o'-nine-taila, a* the reward of some misconduct that he has jnst been trained to. He is then qualified to.be anything that a man should not be, and to participate in the most degrading vice that can fall iri his way. He is then rigged out with his life diploma; stamped with indelible stripes across his back, only to be obliterated when death shalltemove him from his degraded earthly tabernacle! I again repeat, that if tins drilling and fostering in the cradle of vice and immorality do not sufficiently debase and ruin the poor victim, it will not be for the want of national support and countenance. In the lew passing remarks I have here made, I intend no disrespect to seamen generally, though I very much regret to say they yield too readily to their own downfall and ruin; yet I am proud and prepared to say, that of all classes of men, none possess more open or greater hearts than do the sailors; or are so ready to run any risk ox make any sacri fice in aid of their suffering fellow-beings. To such I am indebted, more than others, for their active and manifest sympathies toward me when in prison and in chains. They did not, as did some others, call to see what kind of a looking animal an abolitionist was; but to see in what way they could contribute to my comfort, or ameliorate my condition; and their purses were tendered me cheerfully, although some were entire strangers* Sailors generally, if they have not been spoiled by unreasonable and inhuman treatment, by brutal blows and cursing, can be managed under almost all circumstances without difficulty. They are the most sensible of favors of any people that I have ever had the privilege to be among; and though their appearance and manner is rough, and in many respects different from others,
APPENDIX* ue yet they are susceptible of the finest feelings, and possess warm hearts. Those who hare read the circumstances attending the fete of the ship Dorchester on her passage from Liverpool to the United States last December, have in that transaction seen an example of their fortitude, heroism and resignation, in the magnanimity of her brave captain and crew toward each other and their passengers in their helpless and perilous situation. I do not intend to say that it is a universal thing for owners to pay no attention to the moral qualifications of their captains, or that, whenever difficulties occur on ship-board, it is always the fault of the masters or officers. But I do intend to be distinctly understood to say, that owners generally, are guilty of great neglect in the selection and instruction of their masters, and in their duty to their seamen; and that the masters or officers do, either by improper conduct, language, or neglect of proper pacific means, excite or permit the excitement of a large proportion of the difficulties which occur on shipboard. Neither do I take sides with the sailor because he is a sailor, nor the slave because he is a black man, bat because they are the injured and oppressed party. For on the side of the oppressor there is power;" the spoil of the poor is in their houses." Since writing the foregoing, I have ran afoul of a neat little book entitled, Thirty-two Years from Home, or a Voice from the Main Deck," wiuchlrwommfind to the care ful perusal of all parents before sending their children to sea, and to all persons that are interested either in seafaring business, or the welfare of seafaring people, particularly that of the navy.
INDEX. (Italicized roman numerals refer to the introduc tion.) Abolitionists: reaction to Walker's branding, xlvi; condemned by legislative council, 88-90 American Anti-Slavery Society, iii American Missionary Association, Ixxxiv Anderson, Walker, U.S. District Attorney, 66,71: letter to Governor John Branch, xxxix-xl, 79-82; chairman of Legislative Council Committee, Iv; discussed by Walker, 66 Anti-slavery Standard, xlvi Barnstable (Mass.) Patriot, xxxvii, 97 Blount, T. M.: engaged to defend Walker, xli, 103; visits Walker, xlv, 45; condemned by Walker, xlvi, 102-4; accused of fraud, xlvi Boston Committee: supports Walker, xxxvi; col lects money for Walker's family, xxxvii-xxxviii; asks churches to collect funds for Walker, xli Bowditch, H. I., 51 Branch, John, governor of Florida: letter to Walker Anderson, xxxix, 78-79; message to legislative council, xl; calls for death penalty for slave stealing, xl; reaction to British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society, li "Branded Hand," Ixiv-lxviii: set to music by George W. Clark, Ixxi; declaimed as classic antislavery poetry, Ixxi Branded Hand, The, a periodical, Ixxiv
2 INDEX. Brief View of American Chattelized Humanity and Its Supports, A, Ixxiii-lxxvii British and Foreign Anti-Slavery Society: reso lution concerning Walker, xl-xlit 83; letters to Walker, xli, li, 45; condemned by legislative council, 87-88 Brow, J. T. W., xxvii Bulletin (New Bedford, Mass.), praises Walker, xlvii Butler, General Benjamin, Ixxxiii Caldwell, Robert C, xxx, 17, 34, 35, 43: testifies against Walker, xliii, Iviii, 36, 53; description of, by Walker, 67 Cape Florida, 12, 13 Cape St. Blass, 10-11 Catlett, Anthony, slave who escaped with Walker, xxvii, xlii, 34 Cedar Key, xxviii, 11 Chapman, Maria Weston, compares Walker's nar rative with Douglass' autobiography, Ixxii Chase, A., 33 Child, Lydia Maria, Ixxxi Christian Citizen: praises Walker, xlvii; com ments upon Walker's branded hand, Ixviii Christian Witness, condemns Walker, xlix Clark, George W., set "The Branded Hand" to music, Ixxi Constitution, U.S., iii-iv Cook, William, xxi-xxii Dorr, Ebenezer, U.S. Marshal, 16: brands Walker, xliv, 40-41; serves writs on Walker, 43, 46-47, 48; discussed by Walker, 64-66 Douglass, Frederick, xxxvi, xlviii, Ixxi: comments upon Walker, Ixiii; letter concerning Walker, Ixxv
INDEX. 3 Emancipator and Weekly Chronicle: reports threats on Walker's life, xxxii; mentions Walker, xxxiv; comments upon Walker's branded hand, Ixi; discusses Walker's escape attempt, Ixxzv Fairbanks, Calvin, 53 Ferrand, ., commander of the General Taylor, 50-61 Fiske, Photius, buys monument for Walker, Ixxxv Foster, Stephen S., Ixxi Free black woman, placed in jail, 32 Fuller, James, xxxv Garrison, William L., xv, xvi, xxxvii, Ixxi: sup ports Walker, xxxiv, xxxv; discusses Walker, xlvii; expresses regret at Walker's escape at tempt, li; informs readers of Walker's return north, Ixi Gazette (Pensacola), xxi, xxii, xxvi-xxvii: warns against abolitionists, xxxi-xxxii General Taylor, the, 15, 31 Gonzalez, James, U.S. Deputy Marshal, 39, 64 Harwich, Mass., 9 Herald (New York), condemns Walker, xlix Isaac, slave pardoned by governor, 21-22 Jackson, Rev. Henry, condemns Walker, xlix Jacobs, John S., tours with Walker, Ixxix-lxxx Jail, description of, at Pensacola, 16-17,18 Jefferson, Thomas, quoted by Walker, xix Johnson, Charles, slave who escaped with Walker, xxvii, xlii, 35 Johnson, Len, xxvii Johnson, Moses, slave who escaped with Walker, xxvii, xlii, 35
4 INDEX. Kelly, W. W. J., defends Walker, Ivii-lviii, 52-54 Key West, 14-16 Leavitt, Joshua, xxxiv, xxxvi: comments upon "The Branded Hand," Ixiv Legislative council of Florida: report of, lii-lvi, 87-93; condemns British and Foreign AntiSlavery Society, liv, 87-88; discusses antislavery sentiment in the North, liti, 88-90; recom mends death penalty for slave stealing, Iv, 91-92; denounces southern sympathy for Walker, Iv, 92; recommends more stringent slave codes, 90 Liberator, xxxi, xxxiv Lundy, Benjamin, xvi M'Kinlay, John, editor of Pensacola Gazette, xxi, xxxi, 60-64 Marble, R., xvii "March! Here Comes the Branded Hand!" IxixIxx Marsh, Joseph, xxiv Martyrs' Fund, established for Walker and Torrey, xlviii Merrill, A. B., xli, 32,103 Montesquieu, quoted, iv Nickerson, Elkanah, Jr., letters to Walker, 25, 74-76 Nickerson, J. P., 25, 29, 33, 45 Page, sheriff at Key West, 15, 58 Palfrey, John G., letter to Governor John Branch, xxxviii-xxxix, 76-77 Parker, Theodore, Ixxi Pensacola, Fla.: sympathy of citizens of, for Walker, Ivii, 40, 101-2; mentioned, 9,10, 15, 16, 17, 36, 50, 51, 59, 66, 72, 77, 98, 101; fire in, 30
INDEX. 5 Phil, Charles, xxvii Philanthropist (Cincinnati), Ui Phillips, Wendell, xxxvii, xlvii, Ixxi Picture of Slavery for Youth, Ixxvii-lxxviii Pillsbury, Parker, Ixxi Redmond, Charles L., xlviii Reform, the sloop, returns escaped slaves to Pensacola, 15, 17 Roberts, Richard: apprehends Walker, xxix9 13; accused of piracy, xxxvi; testifies against Walker, xliii, 36; commented upon by Walker, 57-58 Ruggles, David, speaks for Walker, xlviii St. Andrews harbor, xxviii, 10 St. George Island, xxviii, 10-11 St. Josephs Bay, 10 St. Martins Keys, xxviii, 12 Scoble, John, letter to Walker, xli, 45, 84 Scott, Harry, slave who escaped with Walker, xxvii Scott, Silas, slave who escaped with Walker, xxvii, xlii, xliii, 34, 36, 94 Seawall, Samuel E., xxxv Slave paddle: description of, 26; picture of, 27 Slave punishment, 24-26, 27, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 44, 45, 46, 49, 50, 68, 69, 70 Slaves: condition of, at the jail, 18; suicide, 21, 25; admitted to jail, 24, 25, 26, 30, 32, 33, 45, 46, 49, 51 Smith, Gerrit, xlviii Stone, T. D. P., Ixxi: writes "March! Here Comes the Branded Hand!" honoring Walker, Ixix Sumner, Charles, Ixxi Tampa Bay, 16 Tappan, Lewis, xxxv
6 INDEX. Torrey, Charles T., xxxiv, 45, 53, 83, 85 Torward, Francis, the jailer: prevents Walker's escape, li; mentioned, 24, 25, 29-33; whips cook, 45, 69; discussed by Walker, 68; treat ment of Walker, 70-71 Torward, L., 29-33: whips cook, 24, 25, 31, 32, 44, 45, 46, 49, 69; description by Walker, 70 Trial and Imprisonment: compared with Douglass' autobiography, Ixxi-lxxii; evaluation of, lxxiir4xxiii Underwood, Sidney, 25, 26: letter to Walker, 7576 Union, the, steamer, 29, 30 Vandalia, the, 31 Walker, Mrs. Jane, xxv, 24, 25, 26 Walker, Jonathan: birth and early years, xiii; education, xiii, 8; religion, xiii, xxiii-xxiv; goes to sea, xiii, 105; barely escapes death as a youth, xiii, 105; in India and Russia, xiii; ac cident in English Channel, xiv, 104; near death in Havana, Cuba, xiv, 107; becomes an aboli tionist; xv; associates with black sailors, xv; describes condition of seamen, xv, 110-20; cor respondence with Benjamin Lundy, xvi, 108; goes to Mexico, xvii, 108; attacked by Mexican bandits, xvii, 109; settles in Pensacola, xviii; lamness in arm, xviii; befriended in Rancho, Mexico, xviii; studies slavery in Florida, xix; view of slavery, xix, xx, Ixxiv-lxxvii, 8-9, 11-12, 22-23, 88-89, 93-96; hires slaves, xx; early years in Pensacola, xx, xxi, 63-64; Pensacola white neighbors' attitude toward, xxi-xxtii; re jects miracles, xxiii; abolitionism influenced by religion, xxiii; view of Bible, xxiii; characteri zation of, xxiv, esteem for Jesus, xxiv; view of
INDEX. 7 South, xxv; reasons for returning north, xxv; returns to South, xxv-xxvi; works in Mobile, xxvi; goes to Pensacola in 1844, xxvi, 9-10; leaves Pensacola with slaves, xxvti, 10; trip with slaves, xxviii-xxix, 10-14; illness while on trip with slaves, xxviii-xxix, 10, 11, 12, 14, 17, 37; capture of, xxix, 1^-14; jailed in Key West, xxixf 14; described by Pensacola Gazette, xxx; reward offered for his capture, xxx, 59-60; re turned to Pensacola, xxx, 15; threatened by Pensacola mob, XXXtl jailed at Pensacola, xxxii, 16; placed in chains, xxxii, 16, 20, 90; be friended while in jail, xxxiii, 20, 31, 32-33; ill health while in jail, xxxiii, 20, 21, 65, 80; sym pathy in Pensacola, xxxiv; praised by black Bostonians, xxxiv; praised by citizens of Harwick, Mass., xxxv; trial of, xlU-xliii, 38-39; in dictments against, xlii, 34-35; pleads not guilty to slave stealing, xlii, 93-94; accused of entic ing slaves to escape, xliii, 34-35; convicted, xliU, 39; sentenced, xliii, 32, 39-40; returned to jail after trial, xliii, xlv, 39; confined in pillory, xliii, 32, 38, 39, 40; branded, Ixiv, 32, 40-43; pelted with rotten eggs, xliv, 32; served with writs for trespass and damages, xlv; court costs against, xlv, 98-101; martryred, xlvi-xlvii; attempts to escape, xlix-li, 48; impact of case on Florida, Ivi; view of public opinion in Pen sacola, Ivii-lx; placed in chains again, Ivii, 49; indicted a second time, Mi, 48-49; second trial, Ivii-lviii, 52-54; second sentence, lix, 54; com ments upon his jury, lix, 55; released from jail, Ix, 86; returns north after sentence, Ix; descrip tion of, upon return north, Ixi; sought after as abolitionist lecturer, UBU; speeches at Lynn, Waltham, and New Bedford, Mass., Ixii, Ixxi; publication of his narrative enhances his popu larity, Ixxi; condemns the church, Ixxv-lxxvi;
8 INDEX. denounces New England slavery sympathizers, Ixxviii; waning popularity, Ixxviii; an antislavery tour, Ixxviii; financial problems, lxxviiiIxxix; as an orator, Ixxviii-lxxix; tours New York with John S. Jacobs, lxxix4xxx; shot at in New York, Ixxx; letter to Liberator, Ixxx; tours New England, Ixxx; apologizes for inac tivity, Ixxx; tours Vermont, Ixxxi; denounces Fugitive Slave Bill, Ixxxi; criticizes Webster's Seventh of March speech, Ixxxi; forms a vigi lance committee in Plymouth, Mass., Ixxxii; shares his home with fugitive slaves, Ixxxii; works as ship mechanic, Ixxxii; moves to Wash ington, Vt., then to Wisconsin, Ixxxii; adver tises for antislavery migrants to Wisconsin, Ixxxiii; attacks abolitionists who promoted armed insurrection, Ixxxiii; goes to Fortress Monroe, Va., to assist slaves, Ixxxiii; visits American Missionary Association school for black youth, Ixxxiv; moves to Michigan, Ixxxiv; death of, Ixxxiv; memorial service for, Ixxxv; monument for, Ixxxvi Wetomka, the, brig, 30, 31 Whittier, John G.: writes "The Branded Hand," honoring Walker, Ixiv; poem reprinted, Ixviii, mentioned, Ixxi, Ixxiv Willis, Byrd C., xxx, 34, 43 Willis, George, xxx, 35, 43: pelted Walker with rotten eggs, xliv, 40, 65; description of, by Walker, 66-67 Woodbine, Peter, xxi-xxii Woodward, Alfred L., defends Walker, Iviir-lviii, 52-53 Wright, Benjamin D., xlii, 24, 26: defends Walker, 33, 35, 51, 72; letter to Walker, xlii, 73
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