"There was now," says Smith, "no talk, no hope, no work; but dig gold, wash gold, refine gold. With this imaginary wealth, the first vessel returning to England was loaded, while the culture of the land, and every useful occupation was totally neglected."...
The colonists, thus left, were in miserable circumstances for want of provisions. The remainder of what they had brought with them, was so small in quantity, as to be soon expended—and so damaged in the course of a long voyage, as to be a source of disease.... In their expectation of getting gold, the people were disappointed, the glittering substance they had sent to England, proving to be a valueless mineral. "Smith, on his return to Jamestown, found the colony reduced to thirty-eight persons, who, in despair, were preparing to abandon the country. He employed caresses, threats, and even violence, in order to prevent them from executing this fatal resolution." Ibid., pp. 45-46. In November, 1620, the Pilgrims or Puritans made the harbor of Cape Cod, and after solemn vows and organization previous to setting foot on shore, they landed safely on "Plymouth Rock," December the 20th, about one month after. They were one hundred and one in number, and from the toils and hardships consequent to a severe season, in a strange country, in less than six months after their arrival, "forty-four persons, nearly one-half of their original number," had died.
... "In 1618, in the reign of James I, the British government established a regular trade on the coast of Africa. In the year 1620, negro slaves began to be imported into Virginia: a Dutch ship bringing twenty of them for sale."—Sampson's Hist. Dict., p. 348. The Dutch ship landed her cargo at New Bedford, (now Massachusetts,) as it will be remembered, that the whole coast, now comprising the "Old Thirteen," and original United States, was then called Virginia, so named by Sir Walter Raleigh, in honor of his royal Mistress and patron, Elizabeth, the Virgin Queen, under whom he received his royal patent commission of adventure and expedition.
Beginning their preparation in the slave-trade in 1618, just two years previous, giving time for successfully carrying out the project against the landing of the first emigrant settlers, it will be observed that the African captain, and the "Puritan" emigrants, landed upon the same section of the continent at the same time, 1620—the Pilgrims at Plymouth, and the captives at New Bedford, but a few miles comparatively south.
The country at this period, was one vast wilderness. "The continent of North America was then one continued forest."... There were no horses, cattle, sheep, hogs, or tame beasts of any kind.... There were no domestic poultry.... There were no gardens, orchards, public roads, meadows, or cultivated fields.... They "often burned the woods that they could advantageously plant their corn."... They had neither spice, salt, bread, butter, cheese, nor milk.... They had no set meals, but eat when they were hungry, and could find any thing to satisfy the cravings of nature.... Very little of their food was derived from the earth, except what it spontaneously produced.... The ground was both their seat and table.... Their best bed was a skin.... They had neither steel, iron, nor any metallic instruments....—Ramsay's Hist., pp. 39-40.
We adduce not these historical extracts to disparage our brother the Indian—far be it: whatever he may think of our race, according to the manner in which he has been instructed to look upon it, by our mutual oppressor the American nation; we admire his, for the many deeds of noble daring, for which the short history of his liberty-loving people are replete: we sympathise with them, because our brethren are the successors of their fathers in the degradation of American bondage—but we adduce them in evidence against the many aspersions charged against the African race, that their inferiority to the other races caused them to be reduced to servitude. For the purpose of proving that their superiority, and not inferiority, alone was the cause which first suggested to Europeans the substitution of Africans for that of aboriginal or Indian laborers in the mines; and that their superior skill and industry, first suggested to the colonists, the propriety of turning their attention to agricultural and other industrial pursuits, than that of mining.
It is very evident, from what has been adduced, the settlement of Captain John Smith, being in the course of a few months, reduced to thirty-eight, and that of Plymouth, from one hundred and one, to that of fifty-seven in six months—it is evident, that the whites nor the Indians were equal to the hard and almost insurmountable difficulties, that now stood wide-spread before them.
An endless forest, the impenetrable earth; the one to be removed, and the other to be excavated. Towns and cities to be built, and farms to be cultivated—all these presented difficulties too arduous for the European then here, and unknown to the Indian.
It is very evident, that at a period such as this, when the natives themselves had fallen victims to tasks imposed upon them by their usurpers, and the Europeans were sinking beneath the weight of climate and hardships; when food could not be had nor the common conveniences of life procured—when arduous duties of life were to be performed and none capable of doing them, but those who had previously by their labors, not only in their native country, but in the new, so proven themselves—as the most natural consequence, the Africans were resorted to, for the performance of every duty common to domestic life.
There were no laborers known to the colonists from Cape Cod to Cape Look Out, than those of the African race. They entered at once into the mines, extracting therefrom, the rich treasures that for a thousand ages lay hidden in the earth. And from their knowledge of cultivation, the farming interests in the North, and planting in the South, were commenced with a prospect never dreamed of before the introduction of this most extraordinary, hardy race of men: though pagans, yet skilled in all the useful duties of life. Farmers, herdsmen, and laborers in their own country, they required not to be taught to work, and how to do it—but it was only necessary to tell them to go to work, and they at once knew what to do, and how it should be done.
It is notorious, that in the planting States, the blacks themselves are the only skillful cultivators—the proprietor knowing little or nothing about the art, save that which he learns from the African husbandman, while his ignorant white overseer, who is merely there to see that the work is attended to, knows a great deal less. Tobacco, cotton, rice, hemp, indigo, the improvement in Indian corn, and many other important products, are all the result of African skill and labor in this country. And the introduction of the zigzag, or "Virginia Worm Fence," is purely of African origin. Nor was their skill as herdsmen inferior to their other attainments, being among the most accomplished trainers and horsemen in the world. Indeed, to this class of men may be indebted the entire country for the improvement South in the breed of horses. And any one who has travelled South, could not fail to have observed, that all of the leading trainers, jockies, and judges of horses, as well as riders, are men of African descent.
In speaking of the Bornouese, a people from among whom a great many natives have been enslaved by Arabian traders, and sold into foreign bondage, and of course many into this country, "It is said that Bornou can muster 15,000 Shonaas in the field mounted. They are the greatest breeders of cattle in the country, and annually supply Soudan with from two to three thousand horses."... "Our road lying along one of them, gave me an excellent view of beautiful villages all round, and herds of cattle grazing in the open country."... "Plantations of cotton or indigo now occupy the place where the houses formerly stood."... "The Souga market is well supplied with every necessary and luxury in request among the people of the interior." "The country still open and well cultivated, and the villages numerous. We met crowds of people coming from Karro with goods. Some carried them on their heads, others had asses or bullocks, according to their wealth."... "The country still highly cultivated."... "We also passed several walled towns, quite deserted, the inhabitants having been sold by their conquerors, the Felatohs." "Women sat spinning cotton by the road side, offering for sale to the passing caravans, gussub water, roast-meat, sweet potatoes, coshen nuts," &c. (Dunham and Clapperton's Travels and Discoveries in North and Central Africa, vol. 2, pp. 140, 230, 332, 333, 353.)
The forests gave way before them, and extensive verdant fields, richly clothed with produce, rose up as by magic before these hardy sons of toil. In the place of the unskillful and ill-constructed wigwam, houses, villages, towns and cities quickly were reared up in their stead. Being farmers, mechanics, laborers and traders in their own country, they required little or no instruction in these various pursuits. They were in fact, then, to the whole continent, what they are in truth now to the whole Southern section of the Union—the bone and sinews of the country. And even now, the existence of the white man, South, depends entirely on the labor of the black man—the idleness of the one, is sustained by the industry of the other. Public roads and highways are the result of their labor, as are also the first public works, as wharves, docks, forts, and all such improvements. Are not these legitimate investments in the common stock of the nation, which should command a proportionate interest?
We shall next proceed to review the contributions of colored men to other departments of the nation, and as among the most notorious and historical, we refer to colored American warriors.
COLORED AMERICAN WARRIORS
Among the highest claims that an inhabitant has upon his country, is that of serving in its cause, and assisting to fight its battles. There is no responsibility attended with more personal hazard, and consequently, none for which the country owes a greater debt of gratitude. Amor patria, or love of country, is the first requisition and highest attribute of every citizen; and he who voluntarily ventures his own safety for that of his country, is a patriot of the purest character.
When the country's attention is arrested—her fears aroused—her peace disturbed, and her independence endangered—when in the dread and momentous hour, the tap of the drum, the roll of the reveille, the shrill sound of the bugler's trumpet, or the thunders of the cannon's roar, summons the warrior on to the pending conflict—upon whom then do the citizens place their dependence, and in whom the country her trust? Upon him who braves the consequences, and fights his country's battles for his country's sake. Upon whom does the country look, as the most eligible of her favored sons? Upon none more so than he, who shoulders his musket, girds on his sword, and faces the enemy on to the charge. The hero and the warrior, have long been estimated, the favorite sons of a favored people.
In the Convention for the formation of the national compact, when the question arose on the priority of citizen's rights, an honorable member—Mr. Jefferson, if we mistake not—arose and stated, that for the purpose of henceforward settling a question of such moment to the American people, that nativity of birth, and the descendants of all who had borne arms in their country's struggle for liberty, should be always entitled to all the rights and privileges to which an American citizen could be eligible. This at once, enfranchised the native citizen, and the posterity of all those at the time, who may have been so fortunate as to have been born on the American continent. The question was at once settled, as regards American citizenship. And if we establish our right of equal claims to citizenship with other American people, we shall have done all that is desirable in this view of our position in the country. But if in addition to this, we shall be able to prove, that colored men, not only took part in the great scene of the first act for independence, but that they were the actors—a colored man was really the hero in the great drama, and actually the first victim in the revolutionary tragedy—then indeed, shall we have more than succeeded, and have reared a monument of fame to the history of our deeds, more lasting than the pile that stands on Bunker Hill.
For a concise historical arrangement of colored men, who braved the dangers of the battlefield, we are much indebted to William C. Nell, Esq., formerly of Boston, now of Rochester, N.Y., for a pamphlet, published by him during the last year, which should be read by every American the country through.
For ten years previous, a dissatisfaction had prevailed among the colonists, against the mother country, in consequence of the excessive draughts of supplies, and taxation, made upon them, for the support of the wars carried on in Europe. The aspect began to change, the light grew dim, the sky darkened, the clouds gathered lower and lower, the lightning glimmered through the black elements around—the storm advanced, until on the fifth of March, 1773, it broke out in terrible blasts, drenching the virgin soil of America, with the blood of her own native sons—Crispus Attuck, a colored man, was the first who headed, the first who commanded, the first who charged, who struck the first blow, and the first whose blood was spilt, and baptized the colony, as a peace-offering on the altar of American liberty. "The people were greatly exasperated. The multitude, armed with clubs, ran towards King street, crying, 'Let us drive out the ribalds; they have no business here!' The rioters rushed furiously towards the Custom House; they approached the sentinel crying, 'Kill him, kill him!' They assaulted him with snowballs, pieces of ice, and whatever they could lay their hands upon. They encountered a band of the populace led by a mulatto named Attucks, who brandished their clubs and pelted them with snow-balls. The maledictions, the imprecations, the execrations of the multitudes were horrible. In the midst of a torrent of invectives from every quarter, the military were challenged to fire. The populace advanced to the points of the bayonets; the soldiers appeared like statues; the cries, the howlings, the menaces, the violent din of bells still sounding the alarm, increased the confusion and the horrors of these moments: at length the mulatto and twelve of his companions, pressing forward environed the soldiers, and striking their muskets with their clubs cried to the multitude: 'Be not afraid, they dare not fire; why do you hesitate, why do you not kill them, why not crush them at once?' The mulatto lifted his arm against Captain Preston, having turned one of the muskets, he seized the bayonet with his left hand, as if he intended to execute his threat. At this moment confused cries were heard: 'The wretches dare not fire!' Firing succeeds. Attucks is slain. Two other discharges follow. Three were killed, five severely wounded, and several others slightly." Attucks was killed by Montgomery, one of Captain Preston's soldiers. He had been foremost in resisting, and was first slain; as proof of front and close engagement, received two balls, one in each breast." "John Adams, counsel for the soldier, admitted that Attucks appeared to have undertaken to be the hero of the night, and to lead the army with banners. John Hancock, in 1774, invokes the injured shades of Maverick, Gray, Caldwell, Attucks and Carr." Nell's Wars, 1776 and 1812, pp. 5, 6.—RHODE ISLAND also contributes largely to the capital stock of citizenship. "In Rhode Island, the blacks formed an entire regiment, and they discharged their duty with zeal and fidelity. The gallant defence of Red Bank, in which the black regiment bore a part, is among the proofs of their valor." In this contest it will be recollected, that four hundred men met and repulsed, after a terrible sanguinary struggle, fifteen hundred Hessian troops, headed by count Donop." Ibid., p. 10. CONNECTICUT next claims to be heard and given credit on the nation's books. In speaking of the patriots who bore the standard of their country's glory, Judge Goddard, who held the office of commissioner of pensions for nineteen colored soldiers, says, "I cannot refrain from mentioning one aged black man, Primus Babcock, who proudly presented to me an honorable discharge from service during the war, dated at the close of it, wholly in the hand-writing of GEORGE WASHINGTON. Nor can I forget the expression of his feelings, when informed that, after his discharge had been sent to the department, that it could not be returned. At his request it was written for, as he seemed to spurn the pension and reclaim the discharge." It is related of Babcock, that when the British in a successful charge took a number of the Americans prisoners, they were ordered to deliver up their arms by the British officer of the detachment, which demand was readily conceded to by all the prisoners except Babcock, who looking at the officer sternly—at the margin of a mud pond foot of Bunker Hill—turned his musket bayonet downwards, thrusting it into the mire up to the armpit, drawing out his muddy arm, turned to the British officer, and said, "Now dirty your silk glove, and take it—you red coat!" The officer raised his sword as if to cut him down for the impertinence, then replied, "You are too brave a soldier to be killed, you black devil!" A few years since, a musket evidently a relic of the Revolution, was found near the same spot in the singular position of that thrust down by Babcock, no doubt being the same, which was deposited among the relics in the archives at Washington. Babcock died but a few years ago, aged we believe 101 years.
"When Major Montgomery, one of the leaders in the expedition against the colonists, was lifted upon the walls of the fort by his soldiers, flourishing his sword and calling on them to follow him, Jordan Freeman received him on the point of a pike and pinned him dead to the earth." "NEW HAMPSHIRE gives her testimony to the deposit of colored interest. There was a regiment of blacks in the same situation, a regiment of negroes fighting for our liberty and independence, not a white man among them but the officers, in the same dangerous and responsible position. Had they been unfaithful, or given way before the enemy all would have been lost. Three times in succession were they attacked with most desperate fury by well disciplined and veteran troops, and three times did they successfully repel the assault, and thus preserve the army. They fought thus through the war. They were brave and hearty troops." Nell, pp. 11, 13.
NEW YORK comes bravely to the call, and sends her investments by land and sea. In the convention of 1821, for revising the constitution of the State, the question of equal rights having been introduced, Doctor Clarke among other things said, "In the war of the Revolution, these people helped to fight our battles by land and by sea. Some of your states were glad to turn out corps of colored men, and to stand 'shoulder to shoulder' with them. In your late war, they contributed largely towards some of your most splendid victories. On lakes Erie and Champlain, where your fleets triumphed over a foe superior in numbers and engines of death, they were manned in a large proportion with men of color. And in this very house, in the fall of 1814, a bill passed receiving all the branches of your government, authorising the governor to accept the services of a corps of two thousand free people of color. These were times when a man who shouldered his musket did not know but he bared his bosom to receive a death wound from the enemy ere he laid it aside; and in these times these people were found as ready and as willing to volunteer in your service as any other. They were not compelled to go; they were not draughted.... They were volunteers...." Said Martindale of New York in congress 22 of first month 1828: "Slaves, or negroes who had been slaves, were enlisted as soldiers in the War of the Revolution; and I myself saw a battalion of them, as fine martial looking men as I ever saw, attached to the northern army in the last war, on its march from Plattsburg to Sackett's Harbor."
PENNSYLVANIA contributes an important share in the stock of Independence, as will be seen by the following historical reminiscence: "On the capture of Washington by the British forces, it was judged expedient to fortify without delay, the principal towns and cities exposed to similar attacks. The Vigilance Committee of Philadelphia waited upon three of the principal Colored citizens, namely, James Forten, Bishop Allen, and Absalom Jones, soliciting the aid of the people of Color in erecting suitable defences for the city. Accordingly two thousand five hundred Colored men assembled in the State House yard, and from thence marched to Gray's Ferry, where they labored for two days, almost without intermission. Their labors were so faithful and efficient, that a vote of thanks was tendered them by the Committee. A battalion of Colored troops were at the same time organized in the city, under an officer of the United States army; and they were on the point of marching to the frontier when peace was proclaimed."—Ibid., pp. 14-17-18.
And even in the slave States, where might reasonably be expected, nothing but bitter hate and burning revenge to exist—where the displeasure of Heaven and anger of God was invoked—where it is thought the last glimmering spark of patriotic fire has been quenched, and every aid withheld—even there, in the hour of their country's danger, did they lay aside every consideration of the ten thousand wrongs inflicted—throw in their contributions, and make common cause.
Says Mr. Nell, "The celebrated Charles Pinkney, of South Carolina, in his speech on the Missouri question, in defence of the Slave representation of the South, made the following admission:—They (the colored people) were in numerous instances the pioneers, and in all the labors of our army. To their hands we are owing the greatest part of the fortifications raised for the protection of the country. Fort Moultrie gave, at an early period of inexperience and untried valor of our citizens, immortality to the American arms." And were there no other proof on record, the testimony given to the brave followers of the renowned hero of Chalmet Plains, would of itself be sufficient to establish the right of the colored man to eligibility in his native country. "In 1814," continues Mr. Nell, "when New Orleans was in danger, and the proud criminal distinctions of caste were again demolished by one of those emergencies in which nature puts to silence for the moment the base partialities of art, the free colored people were called into the field in common with the whites; and the importance of their services was thus acknowledged by General Jackson:—
"HEAD-QUARTERS SEVENTH MILITARY DISTRICT, MOBILE, SEPTEMBER 21, 1814.
"To the Free Colored Inhabitants of Louisiana:
"Through a mistaken policy, you have heretofore been deprived of a participation in the glorious struggle for national rights, in which our country is engaged. This no longer shall exist. As sons of Freedom you are now called upon to defend your most estimable blessings. As Americans, your country looks with confidence to her adopted children, for a valorous support, as a faithful return for the advantages enjoyed under her mild and equitable government. As fathers, husbands, and brothers, you are summoned to rally round the standard of the Eagle, to defend all which is dear in existence.
"Your country, although calling for your exertions, does not wish you to engage in her cause, without remunerating you for the services rendered. Your intelligent minds are not to be led away by false representations—your love of honor would cause you to despise the man who should attempt to deceive you. In the sincerity of a soldier, and the language of truth I address you.
"To every noble hearted free man of color, volunteering to serve during the present contest with Great Britain, and no longer, there will be paid the same bounty in money and lands now received by white soldiers of the United States, namely, one hundred and twenty-four dollars in money and one hundred and sixty acres in land. The non-commissioned officers and privates will also be entitled to the same monthly pay and daily rations and clothes furnished to any American soldiers.
"On enrolling yourselves in companies, the Major General commanding will select officers for your government from your white fellow-citizens. Your non-commissioned officers will be appointed from among yourselves.
"Due regard will be paid to the feelings of free men and soldiers.
"You will not, by being associated with white men in the same corps, be exposed to improper comparison, or unjust sarcasm. As a distinct, independent battalion or regiment, pursuing the path of glory, you will, undivided, receive the applause and gratitude of your countrymen.
"To assure you of the sincerity of my intentions, and my anxiety to engage your invaluable services to our country, I have communicated my wish to the Governor of Louisiana, who is fully informed as to the manner of enrollments, and will give you every necessary information on the subject of this address.
"ANDREW JACKSON, "Major General Commanding."
On the 18th of December, 1814, through his Aid-de-camp, Colonel Butler, the General issued another address to the colored soldiers, who had proven themselves, in every particular, worthy of their country's trust, and in every way worthy of the proudest position of enfranchised freemen. To deny to men and their descendants, who are capable of such deeds as are acknowledged in this proclamation, equal rights with other men, is a moral homicide—as assassination, which none but the most malicious and obdurate are capable of perpetrating. Surely, surely, it cannot be, that our fellow-citizens, who control the destiny of the country, one fully advised of the claims of their brethren in adversity—we cannot be persuaded that a people, claiming the self-respect and consideration of the American people, can be satisfied that the perils of war be encountered by them—their country's rights sustained—and their liberty, the liberty of their wives and children defended and protected; then, with a cool deliberation, unknown to any uncivilized people on the face of the earth, deny them a right—withhold their consent to their having equal enjoyment of human rights with other citizens, with those who have never contributed aid to our country—but we give the proclamation and let it speak for itself. Of it Mr. Nell says:—
"The second proclamation is one of the highest compliments ever paid by a military chief to his soldiers."
"SOLDIERS! When on the banks of the Mobile, I called you to take up arms, inviting you to partake the perils and glory of your white fellow-citizens, I expected much from you; for I was not ignorant that you possessed qualities most formidable to an invading enemy. I knew with what fortitude you could endure hunger and thirst, and all the fatigues of a campaign. I knew well how you love your native country, and that you, as well as ourselves, had to defend what man holds most dear—his parents, wife, children, and property. You have done more than I expected. In addition to the previous qualities I before knew you to possess, I found among you noble enthusiasm, which leads to the performance of great things.
"Soldiers! The President of the United States shall hear how praise-worthy was your conduct in the hour of danger; and the representatives of the American people will give you the praise your exploits entitle you to. The General anticipates them in applauding your noble ardor.
"The enemy approaches; his vessels cover our lakes; our brave citizens are united, and all contentions have ceased among them. Their only dispute is, who shall win the prize of valor, or who the most glory, its noblest reward.
"By order, "THOMAS BUTLER, Aid-de-camp."
A circumstance that reflects as well upon the devisor, as upon the commander, or the engineer of the army, is not generally known to the American people. The redoubt of cotton bales, has ever been attributed to the judgment, skill, quick perception, and superior tact of Major General Andrew Jackson; than whom, a braver heart, never beat in the breast of man. But this is a mistake. The suggestion of the cotton bales was made by a colored man, at the instant, when the city of New Orleans was put under martial law. The colored troops were gathering, and their recruiting officers (being colored,) were scouring the city in every direction, and particularly on the Levee, where the people throng for news—to hear, see, and be seen. At such times in particular, the blacks are found in great numbers. The cotton shipped down the Mississippi in large quantities to the city, is landed and piled in regular terrace walls, several thousand feet long, sometimes double rows—and fifteen or twenty feet high. When the sun shines in winter, the days become warm and pleasant after the morning passes off, and at such times, there may be found many of the idle blacks, lying upon the top, and in comfortable positions between or behind those walls of cotton bales. On the approach of the recruiting officer, a number of persons were found stretched out upon the bales, lying scattered upon the ground. On addressing them, they were found to be slaves, which the pride of the recently promoted free colored soldiers, nor the policy of the proclamation, then, justified them in enrolling. On questioning them respecting their fears of the approaching contest—they expressed themselves as perfectly satisfied and safe, while permitted to lie behind the bales. The idea was at once impressed—Chalmet Plain, the battle field, being entirely barren without trees, brush, or stone, and the ingenuity of the General-in-chief and engineer of the army, having been for several days taxed, without successful device; the officer determined that he would muster courage, and hazard the consequences of an approach to the General, and suggest the idea suggested to him, by the observation of a slave, who was indifferent to the safety of others, so that he was secure—and perhaps justly so—whether conscious or not of the importance of its bearing. General Jackson, whatever may be said to the contrary, though firm and determined, was pleasant, affable, and easily approached, and always set equal estimate upon the manhood of a colored man; believing every thing of him, that he expressed in his proclamation to the colored freemen of Louisiana. He did not pretend to justify the holding of slaves, especially on the assumed unjust plea of their incapacity for self-government—he always hooted at the idea; never would become a member of the Colonization Society, always saying "Let the colored people be—they were quiet now, in comparative satisfaction—let them be." But he held them as a policy, by which to make money—and would just as readily have held a white man, had it been the policy of the country, as a black one in slavery. The General was approached—the suggestion made—slaves set to work—the bales conveyed down—the breast-works raised—the Americans protected, as the musketry and artillery proved powerless against the elastic cushion-wall of cotton bales; the battle fought—the British vanquished—the Americans victorious, and Major General Andrew Jackson "all covered with glory," as the most distinguished and skillful captain of the age. It has always been thought by colored men familiar with this circumstance, that the reference of the General is directed to this, when he expresses himself in his last proclamation to them: "You have done more than I expected." Doubtless this was the case. Whatever valor and capacity to endure hardships, the General knew colored men to possess, it was more than he expected of them, to bring skill to his aid, and assist in counseling plans for the defence of the army.
On the Eighth of January, 1851, the celebration of the Battle of New Orleans, in that city one year ago, "Ninety of the colored veterans who bore a conspicuous part in the dangers of the day," (the day of battle,) held "a conspicuous place in the procession," in exaltation of their country's glory. Nor was the NAVY without the representative of colored interest in the liberty of the country. In speaking of the war of 1812, a colored veteran of Philadelphia, the late James Forten, who had himself enlisted and was imprisoned on board of a British man-of-war, the "Old Jersey Prison Ship," affirms: "The vessels of war of that period were all, to a greater or less extent, manned with colored men." The father-in-law of the writer, has often related to him that he saw the three hundred and sixty colored marines, in military pomp and naval array, when passing through Pittsburg in 1812 on their way to the frigate Constitution, then on lake Erie under command of the gallant Commodore Perry. And we cannot close this view of our subject, without reference to one of the living veterans of the battle of New Orleans, now residing where he has for many years, in the city of Pittsburg, Pa., to whom we are indebted for more oral information concerning that memorable conflict, than to any other living person. MR. JOHN JULIUS, was a member of the valiant regiment of colored soldiers, who held so conspicuous a place in the estimation of their General, their country's struggles for Liberty and Independence. He is a tall, good-looking, brown skin creole of Louisiana, now about sixty-three years of age, bearing the terrible gashes of the bayonet still conspicuously in his neck. He was one of the few Americans who encountered the British in single-handed charges on top of the breast-works. Julien Bennoit, (pronounced ben wah,) for such is his name, though commonly known as John Julius, is a man of uprightness and strict integrity of character, having all the delicate sensibility and pride of character known to the Frenchman; and laments more at the injustice done him, in the neglect of the authorities to grant him his claims of money and land, according to the promises set forth in the Proclamation, than at any reverse of fortune with which he has ever met. He is enthusiastic on the subject of the battle scenes of Chalmet Plains, and anxious that all who converse with him may know that he is one of the actors. Not so much for his own notoriety—as all soldiers have a right to—as for the purpose of making known and exposing the wrongs done to him and hundreds of his fellows, who fought shoulder to shoulder with him, in the conflict with Sir Edward Packenham. Mr. Julius is the only person in whose possession we have ever seen a complete draught of the plan of the battle fought on the 8th of January, 1815, drawn on the field, by the U.S. Engineer.
This consists of two charts, one quite large, and the other smaller; the larger giving the whole plan of battle, and the other being the key, which shows the position of the different battalions and regiments of troops, with the several officers of command, in which the Colored Regiment is beautifully and conspicuously displayed. He sets great estimate upon them. Col. Marshall John M. Davis, who was an officer under General Jackson at the battle of New Orleans, now still residing in Allegheny Co., near Pittsburg, bears testimony to the truthfulness of Mr. Julien Bennoit having been a soldier in the Army of the Mississippi in 1814. The deeds of these tried and faithful daring sons of Liberty, and defenders of their country, shall live triumphantly, long after the nation shall have repented her wrongs towards them and their descendants, and hung her head with shame, before the gaze of manhood's stern rebuke.
Mr. John B. Vashon, of Pittsburg, embarked in the service of the United States, and in an engagement of the American squadron in South America, was imprisoned, with Major Henry Bears, a respectable white citizen, still living in that city.
 Captain Jonathan Tudas, who led the 500 brave blacks out to build the Redoubt, is now living in Philadelphia, and since the commencement of this publication, we learned the following particulars: When the news arrived of the approach of the British under Major General Ross, upon Baltimore, the expectation ran high, that the city would be taken, and forced marches made, immediately upon Philadelphia. The whole City consequently was thrown into great alarm, when Captain Tudas, applied to the United States Engineer, and offered the services of colored men, who during the week, were summoned to meet at the African Methodist Episcopal Church, on the following Sabbath; when from the pulpit, the Right Rev. Richard Allen, Bishop of the Connexion, made known to the people the peril of the Country, and demands of the Commonwealth; when, the next day, Monday, five hundred volunteered, working incessantly during that day, and on Tuesday, six hundred more were added, swelling the number to eleven hundred men. William Stansberry, arrested and tried a few years ago, as a fugitive slave from Maryland, and Mr. Ignatius Beck, an old respectable colored man, who appeared as a witness, and by whose testimony alone, Mr. Stansberry was released from the grasp of the oppression of his Country, and thereby saved from endless bondage, were both under Captain Tudas, and belong to the faithful eleven hundred Philadelphia black warriors. He farther informs us, that the Engineer gave them credit for having thrown up superior works to any other men employed in the service, and having done more work in the same time, and drank less, by four-fifth, than twice their number of "Old Countrymen." The relics of the breastworks, still stand on or near the banks of the Schuylkill, as a living monument of the fidelity of the black race to their State and Country. Mr. Stansberry, is still living, and Captain Tudas, now quite an old man, about "turning the corner," as he expresses it, is a very intelligent old gentleman, and a living history of facts. There are few white men of his age and opportunities, that equal him at all in intelligence on any subject. He is a kind of living synoptic-historical Encyclopedia.
CAPACITY OF COLORED MEN AND WOMEN AS CITIZEN MEMBERS OF COMMUNITY
The utility of men in their private capacity as citizens, is of no less import than that of any other department of the community in which they live; indeed, the fitness of men for positions in the body politic, can only be justly measured by their qualification as citizens. And we may safely venture the declaration, that in the history of the world, there has never been a nation, that among the oppressed class of inhabitants—a class entirely ineligible to any political position of honor, profit or trust—wholly discarded from the recognition of citizens' rights—not even permitted to carry the mail, nor drive a mail coach—there never has, in the history of nations, been any people thus situated, who has made equal progress in attainments with the colored people of the United States. It would be as unnecessary as it is impossible, to particularize all the individuals; we shall therefore be satisfied, with a classification and a few individual cases. Our history in this country is well known, and quite sufficiently treated on in these pages already, without the necessity of repetition here; it is enough to know that by the most cruel acts of injustice and crime, our forefathers were forced by small numbers, and enslaved in the country—the great body now to the number of three millions and a half, still groaning in bondage—that the half million now free, are the descendants of the few who by various means, are fortunate enough to gain their liberty from Southern bondage—that no act of general emancipation has ever taken place, and no chance as yet for a general rebellion—we say in view of all these facts, we proceed to give a cursory history of the attainments—the civil, social, business and professional, and literary attainments of colored men and women, and challenge comparison with the world—according to circumstances—in times past and present.
Though shorn of their strength, disarmed of manhood, and stripped of every right, encouraged by the part performed by their brethren and fathers in the Revolutionary struggle—with no records of their deeds in history, and no means of knowing them save orally, as overheard from the mouths of their oppressors, and tradition as kept up among themselves—that memorable event, had not yet ceased its thrill through the new-born nation, until a glimmer of hope—a ray of light had beamed forth, and enlightened minds thought to be in total darkness. Minds of no ordinary character, but those which embraced business, professions, and literature—minds, which at once grasped the earth, encompassed the seas, soared into the air, and mounted the skies. And it is none the less creditable to the colored people, that among those who have stood the most conspicuous and shone the brightest in the earliest period of our history, there are those of pure and unmixed African blood. A credit—but that which is creditable to the African, cannot disgrace any into whose veins his blood may chance to flow. The elevation of the colored man can only be completed by the elevation of the pure descendants of Africa; because to deny his equality, is to deny in a like proportion, the equality of all those mixed with the African organization; and to establish his inferiority, will be to degrade every person related to him by consanguinity; therefore, to establish the equality of the African with the European race, establishes the equality of every person intermediate between the two races. This established beyond contradiction, the general equality of men.
In the year 1773, though held in servitude, and without the advantages or privileges of the schools of the day, accomplishing herself by her own perseverance; Phillis Wheatley appeared in the arena, the brilliancy of whose genius, as a poetess, delighted Europe and astonished America, and by a special act of the British Parliament, 1773, her productions were published for the Crown. She was an admirer of President Washington, and addressed to him lines, which elicited from the Father of his country, a complimentary and courteous reply. In the absence of the poem addressed to General Washington, which was not written until after her work was published, we insert a stanza from one addressed (intended for the students) "To the University at Cambridge." We may further remark, that the poems were originally written, not with the most distant idea of publication, but simply for the amusement and during the leisure moments of the author.
"Improve your privileges while they stay, Ye pupils, and each hour redeem, that bears Or good or bad report of you to heav'n. Let sin, that baneful evil of the soul, By you be shunn'd, nor once remit your guard; Suppress the deadly serpent in its egg. Ye blooming plants of human race divine, An Ethiop tells you 'tis your greatest foe; Its transient sweetness turns to endless pain, And in immense perdition sinks the soul."
"CAMBRIDGE, FEBRUARY 28, 1776. "MISS PHILLIS:
"Your favor of the 26th of October, did not reach my hands till the middle of December. Time enough, you will say, to have given an answer ere this. Granted. But a variety of important occurrences, continually interposing to divert the mind and withdraw the attention, I hope will apologise for the delay, and plead my excuse for the seeming, but not real neglect. I thank you most sincerely for your polite notice of me, in the elegant lines you enclosed; and however undeserving I may be of such encomium and panegyric, the style and manner exhibit a striking proof of your poetic talents; in honor of which, and as a tribute justly due to you, I would have published the poem, had I not been apprehensive, that, while I only meant to give the world this new instance of your genius, I might have incurred the imputation of vanity. This, and nothing else, determined me not to give it place in the public prints.
"If you should ever come to Cambridge, or near head-quarters, I shall be happy to see a person so favored by the Muses, and to whom Nature has been so liberal and beneficent in her dispensations.
"I am, with great respect, your obedient servant, "GEORGE WASHINGTON. "Miss Phillis Wheatley."
The tenor, style, and manner of President Washington's letter to Miss Wheatley—the publication of her works, together with an accompanying likeness of the author, and her inscription and dedication of the volume to the "Right Honorable the Countess of Huntingdon," show, that she, though young, was a person of no ordinary mind, no common attainments; but at the time, one of the brightest ornaments among the American literati. She also was well versed in Latin, in which language she composed several pieces. Miss Wheatley died in 1780, at the age of 26 years, being seven years of age when brought to this country in 1761.
Doctor Peter, who married Miss Wheatley, 1775, was a man of business, tact, and talents—being first a grocer, and afterwards studied law, which he practised with great success, becoming quite wealthy by defending the cause of the oppressed before the different tribunals of the country. And who shone brighter in his day, than Benjamin Bannaker, of Baltimore county, Maryland, who by industry and force of character, became a distinguished mathematician and astronomer,—"for many years," says Davenport's Biographical Dictionary, "calculated and published the Maryland Ephemerides." He was a correspondent of the Honorable Thomas Jefferson, Secretary of State of the United States, taking the earliest opportunity of his acquaintanceship, to call his attention to the evils of American slavery, and doubtless his acquaintance with the apostle of American Democracy, had much to do with his reflections on that most pernicious evil in this country. Mr. Bannaker was also a naturalist, and wrote a treatise on locusts. He was invited by the Commission of United States Civil Engineers, to assist in the survey of the Ten Miles Square, for the District of Columbia. He assisted the Board, who, it is thought, could not have succeeded without him. His Almanac was preferred to that of Leadbeater, or any other calculator cotemporary with himself. He had no family, and resided in a house alone, but principally made his home with the Elliott family. He was upright, honorable, and virtuous; entertaining religious scruples similar to the Friends. He died in 1807, near Baltimore. Honorable John H.B. Latrobe, Esq., of Baltimore, is his biographer.
In 1812, Captain Paul Cuffy was an extensive trader and mariner, sailing out of Boston, to the West Indies and Europe, by which enterprise, he amassed an immense fortune. He was known to the commercial world of his day, and, if not so wealthy, stood quite as fair, and as much respected, as Captain George Laws or Commodore Vanderbilt, the Cunards of America. Captain Cuffy went to Africa, where he died in a few years.
James Durham, originally of Philadelphia, in 1778, at the early age of twenty-one, was the most learned physician in New Orleans. He spoke English, French and Spanish, learnedly, and the great Dr. Rush said of him, "I conversed with him on medicine, and found him very learned. I thought I could give him information concerning the treatment of diseases; but I learned from him more than he could expect from me." And it must be admitted, he must have been learned in his profession, to have elicited such an encomium from Dr. Rush, who stood then at the head of his profession in the country.
We have designed nothing here, but merely to give an individual case of the various developments of talents and acquirements in the several departments of respectability, discarding generalization, and name none but the Africo-American of unmixed extraction, who rose into note subsequent to the American Revolution. In the persons of note and distinction hereafter to be given, we shall not confine ourselves to any such narrow selections, but shall name persons, male and female, regardless of their extraction, so that they are colored persons, which is quite enough for our purpose. And our only excuse for the policy in the above course is, that we desire to disarm the vilifiers of our race, who disparage us, giving themselves credit for whatever is commendable that may emanate from us, if there be the least opportunity of claiming it by "blood." We shall now proceed to review the attainments of colored men and women of the present day.
PRACTICAL UTILITY OF COLORED PEOPLE OF THE PRESENT DAY AS MEMBERS OF SOCIETY—BUSINESS MEN AND MECHANICS
In calling attention to the practical utility of colored people of the present day, we shall not be general in our observations, but simply, direct attention to a few particular instances, in which colored persons have been responsibly engaged in extensive business, or occupying useful positions, thus contributing to the general welfare of community at large, filling their places in society as men and women.
It will studiously be borne in mind, that our sole object in giving these cases publicity, is to refute the objections urged against us, that we are not useful members of society. That we are consumers and non-producers—that we contribute nothing to the general progress of man. No people who have enjoyed no greater opportunity for improvement, could possibly have made greater progress in the same length of time than have done the colored people of the present day.
A people laboring under many disadvantages, may not be expected to present at once, especially before they have become entirely untrammeled, evidence of entire equality with more highly favored people.
When Mr. Jefferson, the great American Statesman and philosopher, was questioned by an English gentleman, on the subject of American greatness, and referred to their literature as an evidence of inferiority to the more highly favored and long-existing European nations; Mr. Jefferson's reply was—"When the United States have existed as long as a nation, as Greece before she produced her Homer and Socrates; Rome, before she produced her Virgil, Horace, and Cicero; and England, before she produced her Pope, Dryden, and Bacon"; then he might consider the comparison a just one. And all we shall ask, is not to wait so long as this, not to wait until we become a nation at all, so far as the United States are concerned, but only to unfetter our brethren, and give us, the freemen, an equal chance for emulation, and we will admit any comparison you may please to make in a quarter of a century after.
For a number of years, the late James Forten, of Philadelphia, was the proprietor of one of the principal sail manufactories, constantly employing a large number of men, black and white, supplying a large number of masters and owners of vessels, with full rigging for their crafts.
On the failure of an extensive house, T. & Co., in that city, during the pressure which followed a removal of the deposits of the United States Treasury in 1837, Mr. Forten lost by that firm, nine thousand dollars. Being himself in good circumstances at the time, hearing of the failure of old constant patrons, he called at the house; one of the proprietors, Mr. T., on his entering the warehouse door, came forward, taking him by the hand observed, "Ah! Mr. Forten, it is useless to call on us—we are gone—we can do nothing!" at which Mr. Forten remarked, "Sir, I hope you think better of me than to suppose me capable of calling on a friend to torture him in adversity! I came, sir, to express my regret at your misfortune, and if possible, to cheer you by words of encouragement. If your liabilities were all in my hands, you should never be under the necessity of closing business." Mr. Forten exchanged paper and signatures with some of the first business men in Philadelphia, and raised and educated a large and respectable family of sons and daughters, leaving an excellent widow.
Joseph Cassey, recently deceased, was the "architect of his own fortune," and by industry and application to business, became a money broker in the city of Philadelphia; who becoming indisposed from a chronic affection, was obliged to retire from business for many years previous to his death. Had Mr. Cassey been favored with health, he doubtless would have become a very wealthy man. His name and paper was good in any house in the city, and there was no banker of moderate capital, of more benefit to the business community than was Joseph Cassey. He also left a young and promising family of five sons, one daughter, a most excellent widow, and a fortune of seventy-five thousand dollars, clear of all encumbrance.
Stephen Smith, of the firm of Smith and Whipper, is a remarkable man in many respects, and decidedly the most wealthy colored man in the United States. Mr. Smith commenced business after he was thirty years of age, without the advantages of a good business education, but by application, qualified himself for the arduous duties of his vocation. For many years, he has been known as the principal lumber merchant in Columbia, Lancaster Co., Pa., and for several years past associated with W. Whipper, a gentleman of great force of character, talents, and business qualifications, Mr. Smith residing in Philadelphia. Smith and Whipper, are very extensive business men, and very valuable members of the community, both of Lancaster and Philadelphia counties. By the judicious investment of their capital, they keep in constant employment a large number of persons; purchasing many rafts at a time, and many thousand bushels of coal. It is not only the laborer in "drawing boards," and the coal hauler and heaver, that are here benefitted by their capital, but the original owners of the lumber and coal purchased by them, and the large number of boatmen and raftsmen employed in bringing these commodities to market.
In the winter of 1849, these gentlemen had in store, several thousand bushels of coal, two million two hundred and fifty thousand feet of lumber; twenty-two of the finest merchantmen cars running on the railway from Philadelphia to Baltimore; nine thousand dollars' worth of stock in the Columbia Bridge; eighteen thousand dollars in stock in the Columbia Bank; and besides this, Mr. Smith was then the reputed owner of fifty-two good brick houses of various dimensions in the city of Philadelphia, besides several in the city of Lancaster, and the town of Columbia. Mr. Smith's paper, or the paper of the firm, is good for any amount wherever they are known; and we have known gentlemen to present the paper of some of the best men in the city, which was cashed by him at sight. The principal active business attended to by Mr. S. in person, is that of buying good negotiable and other paper, and speculating in real estate. The business of the firm is attended to by Mr. Whipper, who is a relative. Take Smith and Whipper from Lancaster and Philadelphia counties, and the business community will experience a hiatus in its connexion, that may not be easily filled.
Samuel T. Wilcox, of Cincinnati, Ohio, also stands conspicuously among the most respectable business men of the day. Being yet a young man, just scanning forty, he is one among the extraordinary men of the times. Born, like the most of colored men in this country, in obscurity, of poor parents, raised without the assistance of a father, and to a commonplace business, without the advantages of schools, by his own perseverance, he qualified himself to the extent that gave him an inclination to traffic, which he did for several years on the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, investing his gains in real estate, until he acquired a considerable property. For the purpose of extending his usefulness, and at the same time pursuing a vocation more in accordance with his own desires, a few years since, he embarked in the wholesale and retail Family Grocery business, and now has the best general assortment and most extensive business house of the kind, in the city of Cincinnati. The establishment is really beautiful, having the appearance more of an apothecary store, than a Grocery House. Mr. Wilcox has a Pickling and Preserving establishment besides, separate from his business house, owning a great deal of first class real estate. There is no man in the community in which he lives, that turns money to a greater advantage than Mr. Wilcox, and none by whom the community is more benefited for the amount of capital invested. He makes constant and heavy bills in eastern houses, and there are doubtless now many merchants in New York, Boston, and Baltimore cities, who have been dealing with S.T. Wilcox, and never until the reading of this notice of him, knew that he was a colored man. He has never yet been east after his goods, but pursuing a policy which he has adopted, orders them; but if deceived in an article, never deals with the same house again. He always gets a good article. The paper of Mr. Wilcox, is good for any amount.
Henry Boyd, is also a man of great energy of character, the proprietor of an extensive Bedstead manufactory, with a large capital invested, giving constant employment to eighteen or twenty-five men, black and white. Some of the finest and handsomest articles of the bedstead in the city, are at the establishment of Mr. Boyd. He fills orders from all parts of the West and South, his orders from the South being very heavy. He is the patentee, or holds the right of the Patent Bedsteads, and like Mr. Wilcox, there are hundreds who deal with Mr. Boyd at a distance, who do not know that he is a colored man. Mr. Boyd is a useful member of society, and Cincinnati would not, if she could, be without him. He fills a place that every man is not capable of supplying, of whatever quarter of the globe his forefathers may have been denizens.
Messrs. Knight and Bell of the same place, Cincinnati, Ohio, are very successful and excellent mechanics. In the spring of 1851, (one year ago) they put in their "sealed proposal" for the plastering of the public buildings of the county of Hamilton—alms-house, &c.—and got the contract, which required ten thousand dollars' security. The work was finished in fine artistic style, in which a large number of mechanics and laborers were employed, while at the same time, they were carrying on many other contracts of less extent, in the city—the public buildings being some four miles out. They are men of stern integrity, and highly respected in the community.
David Jenkins of Columbus, Ohio, a good mechanic, painter, glazier, and paper-hanger by trade, also received by contract, the painting, glazing, and papering of some of the public buildings of the State, in autumn 1847. He is much respected in the capital city of his state, being extensively patronised, having on contract, the great "Neill House," and many of the largest gentlemen's residences in the city and neighborhood, to keep in finish. Mr. Jenkins is a very useful man and member of society.
John C. Bowers, for many years, has been the proprietor of a fashionable merchant tailor house, who has associated with him in business, his brother Thomas Bowers, said to be one of the best, if not the very best, mercers in the city. His style of cutting and fitting, is preferred by the first business men, and other gentlemen of Philadelphia, in whom their patrons principally consist.
Mr. Cordovell, for more than twenty-five years, was the leading mercer and tailor, reporter and originator of fashions in the city of New Orleans, Louisiana. The reported fashions of Cordovell, are said to have frequently become the leading fashions of Paris; and the writer was informed, by Mr. B., a leading merchant tailor in a populous city, that many of the eastern American reports were nothing more than a copy, in some cases modified, of those of Cordovell. Mr. Cordovell, has for the last four or five years, been residing in France, living on a handsome fortune, the fruits of his genius; and though "retired from business," it is said, that he still invents fashions for the Parisian reporters, which yields him annually a large income.
William H. Riley, of Philadelphia, has been for years, one of the leading fashionable gentlemen's boot-makers. Riley's style and cut of boots, taking the preeminence in the estimation of a great many of the most fashionable, and business men in the city. Mr. Riley is much of a gentleman, and has acquired considerable means.
James Prosser, Sen., of Philadelphia, has long been the popular proprietor of a fashionable restaurant in the city. The name of James Prosser, among the merchants of Philadelphia, is inseparable with their daily hours of recreation, and pleasure. Mr. Prosser, is withal, a most gentlemanly man, and has the happy faculty of treating his customers in such a manner, that those who call once, will be sure to call at his place again. His name and paper is good among the business men of the city.
Henry Minton also is the proprietor of a fashionable restaurant and resort of business men and gentlemen of the city. The tables of Mr. Henry Minton are continually laden with the most choice offerings to epicures, and the saloon during certain hours of the day, presents the appearance of a bee hive, such is the stir, din, and buz, among the throng of Chesnut street gentlemen, who flock in there to pay tribute at the shrine of bountifulness. Mr. Minton has acquired a notoriety, even in that proud city, which makes his house one of the most popular resorts.
Mr. Hill, of Chillicothe, Ohio, was for years, the leading tanner and currier in that section of country, buying up the hides of the surrounding country, and giving employment to large numbers of men. Mr. Hill kept in constant employment, a white clerk, who once a year took down, as was then the custom, one or more flatboats loaded with leather and other domestic produce, by which he realised large profits, accumulating a great deal of wealth. By endorsement, failure, and other mistransactions, Mr. Hill became reduced in circumstances, and died in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1845. He gave his children a liberal business education.
Benjamin Richards, Sen., of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, forty years ago, was one of the leading business men of the place. Being a butcher by trade, he carried on the business extensively, employing a white clerk, and held a heavy contract with the United States, supplying the various military posts with provisions. Mr. Richards possessed a large property in real estate, and was at one time reputed very wealthy, he and the late general O'H. being considered the most wealthy individuals of the place,—Mr. Richards taking the precedence; the estate of general O'H. now being estimated at seven millions of dollars. Mr. Richards has been known, to buy up a drove of cattle at one time. By mismanagement, he lost his estate, upon which many gentlemen are now living at ease in the city.
William H. Topp, of Albany, N.Y., has for several years been one of the leading merchant tailors of the city. Starting in the world without aid, he educated and qualified himself for business; and now has orders from all parts of the state, the city of New York not excepted, for "Topp's style of clothing." Mr. Topp stands high in his community as a business man, and a useful and upright member of society. His paper or endorsement is good at any time.
Henry Scott & Co., of New York city, have for many years been engaged extensively in the pickling business, keeping constantly in warehouse, a very heavy stock of articles in their line. He, like the most of others, had no assistance at the commencement, but by manly determination and perseverance, raised himself to what he is. His business is principally confined to supplying vessels with articles and provisions in his line of business, which in this great metropolis is very great. There have doubtless been many a purser, who cashed and filed in his office the bill of Henry Scott, without ever dreaming of his being a colored man. Mr. Scott is extensively known in the great City, and respected as an upright, prompt, energetic business man, and highly esteemed by all who know him.
Mr. Hutson, for years, kept in New York, an intelligence office. At his demise, he was succeeded by Philip A. Bell, who continues to keep one of the leading offices in the city. Mr. Bell is an excellent business man, talented, prompt, shrewd, and full of tact. And what seems to be a trait of character, only to be found associated with talent, Mr. Bell is highly sensitive, and very eccentric. A warm, good hearted man, he has not only enlisted the friendship of all his patrons, but also endeared himself to the multitude of persons who continually throng his office seeking situations. One of his usual expressions to the young women and men in addressing himself to them is, "My child"—this is kind, and philanthropic, and has a tendency to make himself liked. His business is very extensive, being sought from all parts of the city, by the first people of the community. It is said to be not unusual, for the peasantry of Liverpool, to speak of Mr. Bell, as a benefactor of the emigrant domestics. Mr. Bell is extensively known in the business community—none more so—and highly esteemed as a valuable citizen.
Thomas Downing, for thirty years, in the city of New York, has been proprietor of one of the leading restaurants. His establishment situated in the midst of the Wall street bankers, the business has always been of a leading and profitable character. Mr. Downing has commanded great influence, and much means, and it is said of him that he has made "three fortunes." Benevolent, kind, and liberal minded, his head was always willing, his heart ready, and his hands open to "give." Mr. Downing is still very popular, doing a most excellent business, and highly respected throughout New York. Indeed, you scarcely hear any other establishment of the kind spoken of than Downing's.
Henry M. Collins, of the City of Pittsburg, stands among the men of note; and we could not complete this list of usefulness, without the name of Mr. Collins. Raised a poor boy, thrown upon the uncertainties of chance, without example of precept, save such as the public at large presents; Mr. Collins quit his former vocation of a riverman, and without means, except one hundred and fifty dollars, and no assistance from any quarter, commenced speculating in real estate. And though only rising forty, has done more to improve the Sixth Ward of Pittsburg, than any other individual, save one, Captain W., who built on Company capital. Mr. Collins was the first person who commenced erecting an improved style of buildings; indeed, there was little else than old trees in that quarter of the city when Mr. Collins began. He continued to build, and dispose of handsome dwellings, until a different class of citizens entirely, was attracted to that quarter of the town, among them, one of the oldest and most respectable and wealthy citizens, an ex-Alderman. After this, the wealthy citizens turned their attention to the District; and now, it is one of the most fashionable quarters of the City, and bids fair to become, the preferred part for family residences. Mr. Collins' advice and counsel was solicited by some of the first lawyers, and land speculators, in matters of real estate. He has left or contemplates leaving Pittsburg, in April, for California, where he intends entering extensively into land speculation, and doubtless, with the superior advantages of this place, if his success is but half what it was in the former, but a few years will find him counted among the wealthy. Mr. Collins is a highly valuable man in any community in which he may live, and he leaves Pittsburg much to the regret of the leading citizens. Without capital, he had established such a reputation, that his name and paper were good in some of the first Banking houses.
Owen A. Barrett of Pittsburg, Pa., is the original proprietor of "B.A. Fahnestock's Celebrated Vermifuge." Mr. Fahnestock raised Mr. Barrett from childhood, instructing him in all the science of practical pharmacy, continuing him in his employment after manhood, when Mr. Barrett discovered the "sovereign remedy" for lumbricalii, and as an act of gratitude to his benefactor, he communicated it to him, but not until he had fully tested its efficacy. The proprietor of the house, finding the remedy good, secured his patent, or copy right, or whatever is secured, and never in the history of remedies in the United States, has any equaled, at least in sale, this of "B.A. Fahnestock's Vermifuge." Mr. Fahnestock, like a gentleman and Christian, has kept Mr. Barrett in his extensive House, compounding this and other medicines, for sixteen or eighteen years.
In 1840 it was estimated, that of this article alone, the concern had realized eighty-five thousand dollars. Doubtless, this is true, and certainly proves Mr. Barrett to be of benefit, not only in his community, but like many others we have mentioned, to the country and the world.
Lewis Hayden, of Boston, is well deserving a place among the examples of character here given. But eight years ago, having emerged from bondage, he raised by his efforts, as an act of gratitude and duty, six hundred and fifty dollars, the amount demanded by mutual agreement, by the authorities in Kentucky, as a ransom for Calvin Fairbanks, then in the State Prison, at Frankfort, accused for assisting him in effecting his escape. In 1848, he went to Boston, and having made acquaintance, and gained confidence with several business men, Mr. Hayden opened a fashionable Clothing House in Cambridge street, where he has within the last year, enlarged his establishment, being patronized by some of the most respectable citizens of that wealthy Metropolis. Mr. Hayden has made considerable progress, considering his disadvantages, in his educational improvements. He has great energy of character, and extensive information. Lewis Hayden by perseverance, may yet become a very wealthy man. He is generally esteemed by the Boston people—all seeming to know him.
George T. Downing, a gentleman of education and fine business attainments, is proprietor of one of the principal Public houses and places of resort, at Newport, Rhode Island, during the watering Season. This fashionable establishment is spoken of as among the best conducted places in the country—the Proprietor among the most gentlemanly.
Edward V. Clark, is among the most deserving and active business men in New York, and but a few years are required, to place Mr. Clark in point of business importance, among the first men in the city. His stock consists of Jewelry and Silver Wares, and consequently, are always valuable, requiring a heavy capital to keep up business. His name and paper, has a respectable credit, even among the urbane denizens of Wall street.
John Julius and Lady, were for several years, the Proprietors of Concert Hall, a Caffe, then the most fashionable resort for ladies and gentlemen in Pittsburg. Mr. and Mrs. Julius, held Assemblies and Balls, attended by the first people of the city—being himself a fine violinist and dancing master, he superintended the music and dancing. When General William Henry Harrison in 1840, then the President elect of the United States, visited that city, his levee to and reception of the Ladies were held at Concert Hall, under the superintendence of Monsieur John and Madame Edna Julius, the colored host and hostess. No House was ever better conducted than under their fostering care, and excellent management, and the citizens all much regretted their retirement from the establishment.
In Penyan, Western New York, Messrs. William Platt and Joseph C. Cassey, are said to be the leading Lumber Merchants of the place. Situated in the midst of a great improving country, their business extends, and increases in importance every year. The latter gentleman was raised to the business by Smith and Whipper, the great Lumber Merchants of Columbia, Pa., where he was principal Book-Keeper for several years. Mr. Cassey has the credit of being one of the best Accountants, and Business Men in the United States of his age. Doubtless, a few years' perseverance, and strict application to business, will find them ranked among the most influential men of their neighborhood.
Anthony Weston, of Charleston, South Carolina, has acquired an independent fortune, by his mechanical ingenuity, and skillful workmanship. About the year 1831, William Thomas Catto, mentioned in another place, commenced an improvement on a Thrashing Machine, when on taking sick, Mr. Weston improved on it, to the extent of thrashing a thousand bushels a day. This Thrashing Mill, was commenced by a Yankee, by the name of Emmons, who failing to succeed, Mr. Catto, then a Millwright—since a Minister—improved it to the extent of thrashing five hundred bushels a day; when Mr. Weston, took it in hand, and brought it to the perfection stated, for the use of Col. Benjamin Franklin Hunt, a distinguished lawyer of Charleston, upon whose plantation, the machine was built, and to whom it belonged. Anthony Weston, is the greatest Millwright in the South, being extensively employed far and near, and by Southern people, thought the best in the United States.
Dereef and Howard, are very extensive Wood-Factors, keeping a large number of men employed, a regular Clerk and Book-Keeper, supplying the citizens, steamers, vessels, and factories of Charleston with fuel. In this business a very heavy capital is invested: besides which, they are the owners and proprietors of several vessels trading on the coast. They are men of great business habits, and command a great deal of respect and influence in the city of Charleston.
There is nothing more common in the city of New Orleans, than Colored Clerks, Salesmen and Business men. In many stores on Chartier, Camp and other business streets, there may always be seen colored men and women, as salesmen, and saleswomen, behind the counter. Several of the largest Cotton-Press houses, have colored Clerks in them; and on the arrival of steamers at the Levees, among the first to board them, and take down the Manifestos to make their transfers, are colored Clerks. In 1839-40, one of the most respectable Brokers and Bankers of the City, was a black gentleman.
Mr. William Goodrich of York, Pennsylvania, has considerable interest in the branch of the Baltimore Railroad, from Lancaster. In 1849, he had a warehouse in York, and owned ten first-rate merchandise cars on the Road, doing a fine business. His son, Glenalvon G. Goodrich, a young man of good education, is a good artist, and proprietor of a Daguerreo-type Gallery.
Certainly, there need be no further proofs required, at least in this department, to show the claims and practical utility of colored people as citizen members of society. We have shown, that in proportion to their numbers, they vie and compare favorably in point of means and possessions, with the class of citizens who from chance of superior advantages, have studiously contrived to oppress and deprive them of equal rights and privileges, in common with themselves.
LITERARY AND PROFESSIONAL COLORED MEN AND WOMEN
Dr. James McCune Smith, a graduate of the Scientific and Medical Schools of the University of Glasgow, has for the last fifteen years, been a successful practitioner of medicine and surgery in the city of New York. Dr. Smith is a man of no ordinary talents, and stands high as a scholar and gentleman in the city, amidst the literati of a hundred seats of learning.
In 1843, when the character of the colored race was assailed to disparagement, by the representative of a combination of maligners, such was the influence of the Doctor, that the citizens at once agreed to give their presence to a fair public discussion of the subject—the Comparative Anatomy and Physiology of the races. This discussion was kept up for several evenings, attended by large and fashionable assemblages of ladies and gentlemen, until it closed. Doctor Smith, in the estimation of the audience, easily triumphed over his antagonist, who had made this a studied subject. The Doctor is the author of several valuable productions, and in 1846, a very valuable scientific paper, issued from the press in pamphlet form, on the "Influence of Climate on Longevity, with special reference to Life Insurance." This paper, we may surmise, was produced in refutation of the attempt at a physiological disquisition on the part of Hon. John C. Calhoun, United States Senator, on the colored race, which met with considerable favor from some quarters, until the appearance of Dr. Smith's pamphlet—since when, we have heard nothing about Calhoun's learned argument. It may be well to remark, that Senator Calhoun read medicine before he read law, and it would have been well for him if he had left medical subjects remain where he left them, for law. We extract a simple note of explanation without the main argument, to show with what ease the Doctor refutes an absurd argument: "The reason why the proportion of mortality is not a measure of longevity, is the following:—The proportion of mortality is a statement of how many persons die in a population; this, of course, does not state the age at which those persons die. If 1 in 45 die in Sweden, and 1 in 22 in Grenada, the ages of the dead might be alike in both countries; here the greater mortality might actually accompany the greater longevity."—Note to page 6.
About three months since, at a public meeting of scientific gentlemen, for the formation of a "Statistic Institute," Doctor Smith was nominated as one of five gentlemen, to draught a constitution. This, of course, anticipated his membership to the Institution. He, for a number of years, has held the office of Physician to the Colored Orphan Asylum, an excellent institution, at which he is the only colored officer. The Doctor is very learned.
Rev. Samuel Ringgold Ward was, for several years, pastor of a white congregation, in Courtlandville, N.Y., of the Congregational persuasion, and editor of an excellent newspaper, devoted to the religious elevation of that denomination. Mr. Ward is a man of great talents—his fame is widespread as an orator and man of learning, and needs no encomium from us. His name stood on nomination for two or three years, as Liberty-party candidate for Vice President of the United States. Mr. Ward has embraced the legal profession, and intends to practise law. Governor Seward said of him, that he "never heard true eloquence until he heard Samuel R. Ward speak." Mr. Ward has recently left the United States, for Canada West, and is destined to be a great statesman.
Rev. Henry Highland Garnett, was also the pastor of a white congregation, in Troy, N.Y. Mr. Garnett is a graduate of Oneida Institute, a speaker of great pathetic eloquence, and has written several valuable pamphlets. In 1844, Mr. Garnett appeared before the Judiciary Committee of the Legislature at the capital, in behalf of the rights of the colored citizens of the State, and in a speech of matchless eloquence, he held them for four hours spell-bound.
He has also been co-editor of a newspaper, which was conducted with ability. As a token of respect, the "Young Men's Literary Society of Troy," elected him a life-member—and he was frequently solicited to deliver lectures before different lyceums. Mr. Garnett left the United States in the summer of 1849, and now resides in England, where he is highly esteemed.
Rev. James William Charles Pennington, D.D., a clergyman of New York city, was born in Maryland,—left when young—came to Brooklyn—educated himself—studied divinity—went to Hartford, Conn.;—took charge of a Presbyterian congregation of colored people—went to England—returned—went to the West Indies—returned—was called to the Shiloh Presbyterian Colored Congregation—was sent a Delegate to the Peace Congress at Paris, in 1849, preached there, and attended the National Levee at the mansion of the Foreign Secretary of State, Minister De Tocqueville; and had the degree of Doctor of Divinity conferred on him by the ancient time-honored University of Heidleburg, in Germany.
Dr. Pennington is very learned in theology, has fine literacy attainments, and has written several useful pamphlets, and contributed to science, by the delivery of lectures before several scientific institutions in Europe.
He has, by invitation, delivered lectures before the "Glasgow Young Men's Christian Association"; and "St. George's Biblical, Literary, and Scientific Institute," London. In one of the discourses, the following extract will give an idea of the style and character of the speaker:—"One of the chief attributes of the mind is a desire for freedom; but it has been the great aim of slavery to extinguish that desire."
"To extinguish this attribute would be to extinguish mind itself. Every faculty which the master puts forth to subdue the slave, is met by a corresponding one in the latter."... "Christianity is the highest and most perfect form of civilization. It contains the only great standard of the only true and perfect standard of civilization. When tried by this standard, we are compelled to confess, that we have not on earth, one strictly civilized nation; for so long as the sword is part of a nation's household furniture, it cannot be called strictly civilized; and yet there is not a nation, great or small, black or white, that has laid aside the sword."—pp. 7-14. The Doctor has been editor of a newspaper, which was ably conducted. He belongs to the Third Presbytery of New York, and stands very high as a minister of the Gospel, and gentleman.
Rev. John Francis Cook, a learned clergyman of Washington City, has taught an academy in the District of Columbia for years, under the subscribed sanction and patronage of many of the members of Congress, the Mayor of Washington, and some of the first men of the nation, for the education of colored youth of both sexes. Mr. Cook has done a great deal of good at the Capitol; is highly esteemed, and has set as Moderator of a body of Presbyterian Clergymen, assembled at Richmond, Va., all white, except himself.
Charles L. Reason, Esq., a learned gentleman, for many years teacher in one of the Public Schools in New York, in 1849, was elected by the trustees of that institution, Professor of Mathematics and Belles Lettres in Centre College, at McGrawville, in the State of New York. After a short connection with the College, Professor Reason, for some cause, retired from the Institution, much to the regret of the students, who, though a young man, loved him as an elder brother—and contrary to the desire of his fellow-professors.
Mr. Reason is decidedly a man of letters, a high-souled gentleman, a most useful citizen in any community—much respected and beloved by all who know him, and most scrupulously modest—a brilliant trait in the character of a teacher. We learn that Professor Reason, is about to be called to take charge of the High School for the education of colored youth of both sexes, now in course of completion in Philadelphia. The people of New York will regret to part with Professor Reason.
Charles Lenox Remond, Esq., of Salem, Massachusetts, is among the most talented men of the country. Mr. Remond is a native of the town he resides in, and at an early age, evinced more than ordinary talents. At the age of twenty-one, at which time (1832) the cause of the colored people had just begun to attract public attention, he began to take an interest in public affairs, and was present for the first time, at the great convention of colored men, of that year, at which the distinguished colonization gentlemen named in another part of this work, among them, Rev. R.R. Gurley, and Elliot Cresson, Esqs., were present. At this convention, we think, Mr. Remond made his virgin speech. From that time forth he became known as an orator, and now stands second to no living man as a declaimer. This is his great forte, and to hear him speak, sends a thrill through the whole system, and a tremor through the brain.
In 1835, he went to England, making a tour of the United Kingdom, where he remained for two years, lecturing with great success; and if we mistake not was presented the hospitality of one of the towns of Scotland, at which he received a token of respect, in a code of resolutions adopted expressive of the sentiments of the people, signed by the town officers, inscribed to "Charles Lenox Remond, Esq.," a form of address never given in the United Kingdom, only where the person is held in the highest esteem for their attainments; the "Mr." always being used instead.
To C.L. Remond, are the people of Massachusetts indebted for the abolition of the odious distinction of caste, on account of condition. For up to this period, neither common white, nor genteel colored persons, could ride in first class cars; since which time, all who are able and willing to pay, go in them. In fact, there is but one class of cars, (except the emigrant cars which are necessary for the safety and comfort of other passengers) in Massachusetts.
Mr. Remond, appeared at one time before the legislature of Massachusetts, in behalf of the rights of the people above named, where with peals of startling eloquence, he moved that great body of intelligent New Englanders, to a respectful consideration of his subject; which eventually resulted as stated. The distinguished Judge Kelley, of Philadelphia, an accomplished scholar and orator, in 1849, in reply to an expression that Mr. Remond spoke like himself, observed, that it was the greatest compliment he ever had paid to his talents. "Proud indeed should I feel," said the learned Jurist, "were I such an orator as Mr. Remond." Charles Lenox Remond is the soul of an honorable gentleman.