Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
- Weekly Natchez Courier, March 2, 1827, Page 5.
- The African Observer. United States: I. Ashmead, printer, 1827.
- Mayors Office,
- Philadelphia, january 24, 1827.
I had the pleasure to receive a letter dated, Natchez, 26th December last, from the Hon. David Holmes, and J. E. Davis, Esq. with an enclosure from you containing the narrative of Peter Hook. This narrative of Hook, I have no doubt is substantially true, and unfolds a scene of iniquity and outrage unexampled within our borders, and deeply injurious to the peace and dignity of our city. Great individual distress and affliction have been produced by these repeated aggressions, and the public feeling is highly aroused and excited in consequence thereof — Messrs. Holmes and Davis refer me to you, for further communications, and legal assistance, in order to procure the restoration of these unfortunate blacks, to their friends and homes. I therefore, at the commencement of our correspondence, pray you to leave no stone unturned, no legal or humane effort unessayed, to speedily accomplish this purpose — I shall forward you as I procure it, and I hope before long, a body of documentary evidence, that I trust will at least elucidate the history of this foul transaction, and identify the persons and the loss of most of the children-the great difficulty is to procure even the written evidence of white people, to establish the identity of black children, more particularly, if they have been out of sight for a year or two. I have already found white persons who can identify Peter Hook, Clement Cox and Benjamin Baxter. Before I received the letter of Messrs. Holmes and Davis, I had received information of Hook being at Natchez, and immediately forwarded the description of his parents, Peter and Eliza Hook, and the depositions of Hartman Kuhn, and Judge Hemphill; I enclosed these documents to Mr. Stockton, your attorney general, to whose zeal and politeness on former occasions, I am greatly indebted; I beg leave to refer you to Mr. Stockton, and who will, also, be able to give you full information as to the character of the conspirators engaged in the transaction to which I have alluded. I presume Mr. Stockton has seen the correspondence between Messrs; Hamilton and Henderson, (of Rocky Spring) and myself; these gentlemen, however, if he has it not, will, I know, most willingly, exhibit it to you.
I have acknowledged the receipt of the letter of Messrs. Holmes and Davis, which they will, I presume, exhibit to you —although I have at present, no funds in my possession, to remunerate you for your services in this good work, I will guarantee to you the compensation promised by Messrs. Holmes and Davis, in their letter of the 23d of December last. Will it be absolutely necessary that white persons should go on to your place, in order to identify these coloured people? might not depositions be taken under the act of congress, or in some way that would be availing before your tribunal? otherwise it operates as a monstrous oppression on these poor blacks, most of whom have very little to spare, and the charitable and humane here, as elsewhere, you know, are taxed up to the eyes, for a hundred matters, in which their feelings are continually interested. I hope to hear from you frequently. I shall not easily forget the subject myself, as the parents and relatives of the sufferers, will be continually inquiring after them. Once more I recommend this work to your unremitted exertions, and remain your obedient servant,
- Joseph Watson, Mayor.