Location: Natchez, Adams, Mississippi, United States
Weekly Natchez Courier, March 2, 1827, Page 5.
partially re-published in
The African Observer. United States: I. Ashmead, printer, 1827.
- Friday, March 2, 1827.
Kidnapping.— We can scarcely conceive of any crime more repugnant to the feelings of humanity, than that of kidnapping, none which should be more positively denounced by a civilized people, none which should be more promptly acted against, in order to bring the offenders to justice, and restore the captives to their homes and their families. We are induced to make these remarks, by reading in the American Daily Advertiser, the following account of a number of free persons of colour, who were stolen an brought on by force from the respective places of their birth or of their homes, and sold as slaves in this state, and other southern sections of the Union. Shortly after reading the account, we applied to Duncan S. Walker, Esq. of this city for such further information on the subject as be might be in possession of, and the editor feels not only indebted to him for his politeness on the occasion, but as a citizen of this state, for his benevolent and persevering endeavours to bring the criminals to justice, to liberate the captives and restore them to their families and their friends
In laying the circumstances connected with the stealing of the negroes before the public, we cannot forbear to express our belief, that there· is not any portion of the American people, who view with more horror, transactions of this kind, than those of the state of Mississippi; none we are certain that would more readily step forth to aid the constituted authorities in bringing the offenders to justice, and to assist in doing every thing that was proper to release the victims of their rapacity from bondage; for the manner of making them slaves and dragging them from their homes and their connexions, is an outrage against the laws of God and man.
During the last session of the legislature, we endeavoured by a variety of arguments, founded on the policy which we thought was necessary, from the situation of this state, to pursue, to pass a law prohibiting the introduction of slaves into this state, and we were in hopes, from the self-evident necessity of such a measure, no difficulties would have been interposed to prevent the passage of the act; we are however gratified to learn that the opposition to it was of a very feeble character, and that no apprehensions are to be entertained as to the passage of such a law at the next session. The transactions which have led us at this time to refer to our former remarks will we hope, convince every citizen, of the state, of the necessity of prohibiting the introduction of slaves within its limits, excepting the application of it to our positive and settled citizens, or those who are about to become such. It is true we have a law prohibiting certain descriptions of slaves from being brought into the state, but it is very inefficient and difficult of execution. At the last session of the criminal court of this county, an attempt was made to carry the law into operation. Several individuals implicated in the violation of it, were presented by the grand jury, and bills found against them, and though the defendants were ably defended by their counsel. R. H. Adams and W. B. Griffith, Esquires, before Judge Winchester, on a motion to quash the presentment, yet the strength of argument and the eloquence of the counsels for the state, Robert Walker and George Adams, Esquires, would undoubtedly have prevailed, but for the defect which was evident in the presentment. As our fellow citizens have deemed the subject worthy of great consideration, and as it is rendered more particularly so in consequence of the number of free negroes forcibly brought into this state for sale, we avail ourselves of Mr. Walker's permission to publish such documents connected with the affair alluded to, as have not yet been made known and with which he has furnished us.
Independently of every humane consideration of the subject, it is proper to observe that the dangers to be apprehended from the kidnapping of negroes into this state is of a very serious character. Good slaves may be stolen or seduced from good masters; husbands, wives and children may be separated from each other, it is true, by the cunning and management of the kidnapper, and many heart-rending scenes may occur, the recital of which would create a sympathy in the bosom of every human being. But to the people of a slave holding state, the evils to be apprehended from the introduction of such negroes are of no ordinary character; the bad as well as the good, the bond as well as the free, are alike liable to be seized by the kidnapper and brought into the state, and however much we might be disposed to liberate a free negro from the irons of the wretch who stole him, yet for the most part free negroes are the worst description of people that could even willingly be brought among us.
Policy, therefore, as well as humanity, requires that our citizens take every measure in their power to assist in restoring these unfortunate beings to their homes and their families; most certain we are, whatever some few of our Atlantic brethren may think to the contrary, that scarcely any established citizen of the state could be found, who would be willing to hold in bondage, a fellow being, who of right ought to be free, and such as are known to have done so are not esteemed in our society; most certain we are that the slaves, with a few exceptions, are better clothed, fed, and in many respects better taught in this state, than the free negroes of the eastern and northern sections of our country; we are certain that there are not a fifth part as many rogues and beggars among the slaves in the county of Adams, as there are amongst the free negroes within the district of Southwark, in the city of Philadelphia, and as soon as the people of the Atlantic cities can by humane and rational means get rid of that description of population, the better will it be for them and for us, the less reason will we have to complain that the free negroes of those places are forced on us, and that the runaway slaves from the south find a miserable existence in the streets and the allies of our northern cities.