Documenting the American South Logo
Loading

Battles and Victories of Allen Allensworth,
A. M., Ph. D., Lieutenant-Colonel, Retired, U. S. Army:

Electronic Edition.

Alexander, Charles, b. 1868


Funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities
supported the electronic publication of this title.


Text transcribed by Apex Data Services, Inc.
Images scanned by Lee Ann Morawski
Text encoded by Lee Ann Morawski and Natalia Smith
First edition, 2000
ca. 740K
Academic Affairs Library, UNC-CH
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill,
2000.

        © This work is the property of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. It may be used freely by individuals for research, teaching and personal use as long as this statement of availability is included in the text.

Source Description:
(title page) Battles and Victories of Allen Allensworth, A. M., Ph. D., Lieutenant-Colonel, Retired, U. S. Army
(cover) Battles and Victories of Allen Allensworth
(spine) Battles and Victories of Allen Allensworth
Charles Alexander
[14], 429 p., ill.
BOSTON
SHERMAN, FRENCH & COMPANY
1914

Call number 923.573 A433A (Perkins Library, Duke University)


        The electronic edition is a part of the UNC-CH digitization project, Documenting the American South.
        The text has been encoded using the recommendations for Level 4 of the TEI in Libraries Guidelines.
        Original grammar, punctuation, and spelling have been preserved. Encountered typographical errors have been preserved.
        All footnotes are inserted at the point of reference within paragraphs.
        Any hyphens occurring in line breaks have been removed, and the trailing part of a word has been joined to the preceding line.
        All quotation marks, em dashes and ampersand have been transcribed as entity references.
        All double right and left quotation marks are encoded as " and " respectively.
        All single right and left quotation marks are encoded as ' and ' respectively.
        All em dashes are encoded as --
        Indentation in lines has not been preserved.
        Running titles have not been preserved.
        Spell-check and verification made against printed text using Author/Editor (SoftQuad) and Microsoft Word spell check programs.


Library of Congress Subject Headings, 21st edition, 1998

Languages Used:

LC Subject Headings:


Revision History:


Illustration


Illustration


Illustration


Illustration


Illustration


BATTLES AND VICTORIES
OF
ALLEN ALLENSWORTH, A.M., Ph.D.
Lieutenant-Colonel, retired, U. S. Army

BY

CHARLES ALEXANDER

BOSTON
SHERMAN, FRENCH & COMPANY
1914


Page verso

COPYRIGHT, 1914 SHERMAN, FRENCH & COMPANY


Page i

TO THE
SAINTED MOTHER
WHO INSPIRED HIS LIFE AND WHOSE
PRAYERS HAVE FOLLOWED HIM,
AND TO HIS
BELOVED WIFE
WHOSE WISE COUNSELS AND UNWAVERING
DEVOTION IN TIMES OF TRIAL AND
DISCOURAGEMENT HAVE BEEN
THE SUPPORT AND
STRENGTH OF THE
HERO OF THIS
NARRATIVE


Page ii

FOREWORD

        In this book is written the marvelous and inspiring life-story of a man of the Negro race who rose up from the most abject condition of birth and environment to dignity and honor, power and authority, before the snows of the winter age had whitened his head.

        The descendant of ancestors who had been dragged from the jungles of Africa into the slavery of the American cotton field, himself born in slavery and sold as a human chattel on the block of the slave market of Henderson, Kentucky, this man fought his way with a dogged persistence and a sublime courage to a place of peerage in the affairs of the nation that had shackled himself and his fathers. Withal, he preserved throughout his life a nobility of character and a gentleness of soul which saved him to blithe and serene living, and which leaves him now, in the twilight of his days, at peace with the world, honored by the community where he lives, distinguished in the service he rendered the nation which had enslaved him, loved by all who know him without regard to race or creed--a man of deeds and Christian charity.

        Colonel Allen Allensworth is my friend, and I am proud to call him such. All men would be the better for knowing him, and every man and woman, boy and girl, white or black, will receive both inspiration and a deep sense of pleasure for reading this his "Battles and Victories."

JOHN STEVEN MCGROARTY.

LOS ANGELES,
CALIFORNIA.


Page iii

PREFACE

        Herein the reader will find a story--an unvarnished tale--the faithful record of a busy, courageous, consecrated, useful life. The battles of this man were hard battles; but the victories have been complete. Colonel Allen Allensworth is one of the heroes of our generation--a strong link in the chain which binds the strenuous present to a fast fading past. While reaching forward to his seventy-third birthday, he is still possessed of a buoyant, youthful spirit, and is ever active in good works for the elevation of his race. Young men of the Negro race of the present generation need the stimulus of his example to support them in their hardships and difficulties.

        Slavery had its baneful effects upon the white man as well as upon the black man. Both suffered by the institution. The slaveholder, as well as the slave, was the victim of the system. A man's character invariably takes its hue from the condition and color of the things about him. This is an inexorable law. In the peculiar relation of slave and master there was hardly room for the development of honorable character by either. In the case of the master, reason was imprisoned, and too often the passions of the idle master ran wild. His authority and power permitted excesses too despicable to mention. The system of slavery marred the master's social life; poisoned the spring of his domestic stream; robbed statesmen of their dignity (for they had to


Page iv

resort to low cunning and base methods and sophistries in order to harmonize the contending forces in the body politic); it distorted and fairly prostituted public opinion, stultifying and strangling the noblest sentiments of the human heart. In nearly every section of the country the system put to silence the conscience of the public press; forced pious churchmen,--professed men of God,--to bow low in the very dust before its unrelenting power; and even judges of the courts and governors of the states were subjugated to its compelling behests.

        It is fortunate that there are still alive men of intelligence and high character of the ex-slave class who have vivid recollections of the terrible cruelties of slavery in the United States. Words from their quivering lips tell the story of the onward and upward march of the Negro. These men are furnishing the final chapters of the awful American drama. Their narratives contain the tragic elements in a marked degree.

        While the struggling army of those who came up out of the seething vortex of degradation, with tattered garbs, bruised and bleeding backs, without land, or home, or property of any sort; with poverty facing them at every turn; while this army is rapidly thinning, yet the soft, weak, trembling voice, freighted with sorrow and grief, telling of man's inhumanity to man, is still distinctly audible to those who will hear. Though this thin army is reaching the vanishing point along the distant horizon, faint echoes of the pathetic sorrow-song can plainly be heard.

        The experiences of those who lived under the system of slavery have not all been faithfully recorded. The battles for existence have been too engrossing. Few


Page v

have had the time or inclination to set forth what they knew about the ante-bellum period. Those experiences were varied, no two of them were exactly the same; but each story brings back afresh to our memories the distressing pictures of an almost forgotten past. The faithful record compels our attention, our sympathetic interest. These thrilling chapters, among the last of the great American drama, reveal an ever unfolding scroll, full writ, telling of the cruelty, wickedness, iniquity, injustice, wrong, lasciviousness and the wanton criminality of the white man.

        The brief glimpse of slavery given in connection with the story of a single human life is intended to refresh the memory of the reader that he may better understand the enthralled condition of the humble slaves during the dark period in which the institution of slavery flourished; and it is intended also to draw the reader's attention to the moral force largely responsible for the extinction of the institution. There is no wish on the part of the writer to ignore any noble character worthy of mention with Frederick Douglass and John Brown; these names are given place in the book because they furnished Allen Allensworth with ideals of courage, perseverance and sacrifice, rare in any race, and they have aided the writer to a more enthusiastic appreciation of the constructive work of his hero, and his splendid moral and intellectual attainments.

        The present generation may tire of the sad and sometimes bitter plaint of those who have come up from slavery; their recognition is not yet full and free; strict limitations are still hedging them about. But the future race must know of the splendid battles,--the battles of industry, economy, thrift, enterprise, truth-telling,


Page vi

high moral living, distinguished service to others, our hero has fought and so gloriously won. The slow, steady climb up from the lowly estate of slavery to one of the most honorable positions in the gift of a great nation, the reward of merit, required something more than mere physical effort. This climb required, first of all, character. Colonel Allen Allensworth has won his victories; and the future generations must know about them. They will afford inspiration to the ambitious. And so, we lay this, our story of the trials and tribulations, joys and triumphs of a true, good man before you. Read it and think of the marvelous possibilities of your life, if you, like Colonel Allensworth, will live up to the highest light in your soul; if you, cherishing lofty ideals, keeping your mind pure and without bitterness of spirit, hatred or malice, will forge your way to the front in the battle of life and make sure of certain and uncontested victories.

CHARLES ALEXANDER.

LOS ANGELES,
CALIFORNIA.


Page vii

CONTENTS

  • CHAPTER I
    • The Founding of the Negro Town in California--Home of the Founder--The Attitude of Colonel Allensworth toward all Good Causes--He was Born in Kentucky--Worth of His Example to the Negro--His Mother--Unlawful for Negroes to be Caught Reading a Book 1-9
  • CHAPTER II
    • Playing School--The Effort of His Father--Young Allensworth Falls into the Hands of Kind-hearted Quaker Woman--His Happy Hours Take Flight--Sent to Plantation--The Mother's Precious Gift--His Trip Down The Mississippi River 10-19
  • CHAPTER III
    • The Blue-back Spelling Book--The Temple of Knowledge--Dissipation of Slave-Traders on the Mississippi--Allen Charmed by Appearance of Cabin Boys--On the Pat Smith Farm--First Impressions--The Boy is Tortured on Account of Mistake of His Mistress 20-34
  • CHAPTER IV
    • Introduction to the Chapter, Showing the Setting of Allensworth's Life in the Great Drama of Slavery and its Abolition--The Brotherhood of Man--Teaching of the Moral Law--The Introduction of Slavery at Jamestown, Va.,
      Page viii

      1619--Ties of Friendship between Poor Whites and Slaves Severed--The Indians--Perverted notions about Government--The Design of Government 35-48

  • CHAPTER V
    • Claim made by those favorable to Slavery--Public Opinion--Laws of the Period, 1619-1775--Diabolical Treatment of the Slaves--How Values were regarded--Change of Public Opinion--Slaves not permitted to Testify in Courts of Justice 49-61
  • CHAPTER VI
    • Duty of Strong toward the Weak--Doctrinaires claimed Slavery Divine Institution--The baneful Influence of Chattelism--Brutality of Slaveholders--No Punishment for Murder--Slave Advertisements Showing Character of Masters 62-75
  • CHAPTER VII
    • What Happens when Respect for Women is Wanting--Extracts from Southern Newspapers--Awful Scenes of Brutality Described--The Dog's part in Slave-hunting--Sheriff's Sale of Slaves--"Free" Men not Free--The Runaway Slaves--How Treated 76-91
  • CHAPTER VIII
    • Judge William Jay and Others--The Sayings of Patrick Henry--Growth of Anti-Slavery Sentiment in the North--The Organization of Manumission and Abolition Societies 92-98
  • CHAPTER IX
    • The Contest over Missouri--North Divided on the Slavery Question--William Jay's Letter--
      Page ix

      The Winchester Resolution in the Interest of Gilbert Horton--Slavery in the District of Columbia 99-111

  • CHAPTER X
    • John Brown and His Men--The Story of Kansas--What was Thought of John Brown 112-120
  • CHAPTER XI
    • Frederick Douglass--Douglass Born 1817--His Language, His Convictions--Dunbar's Tribute to Douglass--The Industry and Skill of Douglass 121-128
  • CHAPTER XII
    • Allen's Suffering on Pat Smith Farm--Studies while Fishing--In 1855, at Age of 13, Made Break for Canada--Captured--Sold at Auction for $960--Experience in Slave pen--Jolt to his Moral Sensibilities when He learns of His Master's Conduct--Back to Louisville 129-143
  • CHAPTER XIII
    • Description of Louisville--Number Negro Troops in Civil War from Kentucky--Washington Irving's Observations--Religious Instruction Denied--The Cat-o'-Nine-Tails--Immoral exhibition--Characteristics of Negro in Religious Worship 144-156
  • CHAPTER XIV
    • Allen's Return to Louisville--The Meeting with His Blind Sister--Copy of Manumitting Papers--Pathetic Meeting of His Mother--Her Noble Deeds in New Orleans--Her Son's Hard Punishment 157-166

    Page x

  • CHAPTER XV
    • The Irrepressible Conflict--The Ficklin Farm--Some Slave Superstitions--Allen Turns Musician--Ignorance of Nature's Laws Cause much dread Among the Slaves--Allen joins Hospital Corps of 44th Illinois--First Experience on Battle Field 167-177
  • CHAPTER XVI
    • Unfriendly Attitude of Men toward each other--Dr. A. J. Gordon's Great Hospitality--Allen Enlists in United States Navy--His Rapid Advance 178-183
  • CHAPTER XVII
    • Allensworth on the Tawah--How some Rebel Soldiers were Trapped by their Wives--Allensworth Completes His Term of Enlistment--Again enters the Navy--In 1867 enters into business in St. Louis--Enters School . 184-190
  • CHAPTER XVIII
    • Starts out as Teacher and Missionary--Enters Baptist Institute--Preached in Mission Church while attending School--One of the Founders of State University--Influence of Negro Preachers--He Enters the Pastorate 191-205
  • CHAPTER XIX
    • The Ignorance of the Negro--Education Needed--What Christianity Accomplishes--The Moral Philosophy of Slavery Days--What the white man says he means by social equality--In Whatever degree black men are unequal to white men, white men are unequal to each other 206-209

    Page xi

  • CHAPTER XX
    • Allen Allensworth's View as to Duty of Individual--His Work at Louisville--His Educational plan in Advance of Contemporaries--Leaves Louisville for Bowling Green--Finished Church Building--Enters Politics 210-218
  • CHAPTER XXI
    • Allen Allensworth Enters Lecture Field--Fine Newspaper Comments on His Work--His Lecture "The Battle of Life and How to Fight It" 219-230
  • CHAPTER XXII
    • Allen Allensworth studies Oratory in Philadelphia--Suffers from Self-depreciation--Unique Experience in Joy Street Baptist Church in Boston--Appointed Missionary by American Baptist Publication Society--Attended National Republican Convention--Ex-Governor Kellogg of Louisiana 231-240
  • CHAPTER XXIII
    • Blessed with Two Daughters--Seeks Better Environment--First Effort to Secure Appointment in Army--Cincinnati Papers Pay Him Tribute--Appointed Chaplain while Pastor of Union Baptist Church in Cincinnati, Ohio 241-255
  • CHAPTER XXIV
    • Church Tenders Chaplain Grand Reception--Daily Press Recounts His Worth--Experience in Hotel at Kansas City--Reception at the Garrison--His Efficient Work in Cultivation of Soil--What it Means to be an Officer and a Gentleman--Article in New York Age 256-267

    Page xii

  • CHAPTER XXV
    • Hospital Ward for Chapel at Fort Bayard--Use of Stereopticon to illustrate Sermons and Educational Subjects--Literary Entertainments in Garrison--Salt Lake next Station--What the term "Friend" Meant to Despondent Soldier--Chaplain's School Work--Goes to Manila--Educational Service in Philippines 268-282
  • CHAPTER XXVI
    • The Military Garrison a Government--Requirements in Case of Fire--The Inspection--Paying Soldiers--Hobson's Choice in Negro Regiments--Good Stations--John M. Langston--Opposition to Colored Soldiers--Preaching in Salt Lake City Churches 283-299
  • CHAPTER XXVII
    • Chaplain Allensworth joins McKean Post--Elected Delegate to Cincinnati G. A. R. Encampment--Delivers Memorial Day Oration at Salt Lake--At Fort Harrison--The Trial of Goings--Sample of Officer's Report--Ranking Staff Officers 300-312
  • CHAPTER XXVIII
    • Ethics of Army Life--Chaplain Allensworth Calls on Governor--Social Question--Army Life has Valuable Lessons--Five Manly Virtues--Social Limitations--Only Two Classes of Women in Army--Unusual Marriage Ceremony 313-330
  • CHAPTER XXIX
    • Race Prejudice--Strange Alchemy at Work--What the White Man Must Learn--Parliament
      Page xiii

      of Religions--Chaplain's services in Columbian Exposition--Selected to Address National Educational Association--To be a Good Soldier Man Must be Good Citizen--The Chaplain's Address in Canada 331-348

  • CHAPTER XXX
    • The Spanish-American War--Chaplain's Address to Departing Soldiers--On Recruiting Duty--Visit to Louisville--Peculiar Advertisements--Chaplain Successful Recruiting Officer--Draws on Kentucky for 456 Men 349-364
  • CHAPTER XXXI
    • Chaplain, Exchange Officer at Fort McDowell--Joins Regiment at Fort Harrison--Organizes Exchange--Becomes Post Treasurer--Splendid Testimonials to the Heroism of Negro Soldiers--The Chug of Bullets--Hardships of the Private Soldier--Pictures of Distress Were the Men Who Came out of the Battle--The Color Line--Editorial from New York Tribune 365-382
  • CHAPTER XXXII
    • Twenty-Fourth Returns to Fort Douglas--Letters to Chaplain--Trip to the Philippines--Description of Seaports--Burial at Sea--Arrival at Manila--How Manila Provides Against Earthquakes 383-395
  • CHAPTER XXXIII
    • Chaplain Sustains Painful Injury--Manila Paper Gives Account--Chaplain Treasurer--Organized First Christian Endeavor Society in
      Page xiv

      Philippines--On Return to United States Stops at Nagasaki, Yokohama, and Tokio--Battle for Confirmation as Major--Retirement--Fine Testimonials--Texan's Resolution 396-415

  • CHAPTER XXXIV
    • The Record--Harmony and Concord His Object--What the Colonel Saw in His Day--Bishop Charles B. Galloway on the Negro--What the Negro Has done in the Line of Invention--Quotation from H. G. Wells of England--The End 416-429

BATTLES AND VICTORIES
OF ALLEN ALLENSWORTH


Page 1

CHAPTER I

        THE FOUNDING OF THE NEGRO TOWN IN CALIFORNIA--HOME OF THE FOUNDER--THE ATTITUDE OF COLONEL ALLENSWORTH TOWARD ALL GOOD CAUSES--HE WAS BORN IN KENTUCKY--WORTH OF HIS EXAMPLE TO THE NEGRO--HIS MOTHER--UNLAWFUL FOR NEGROES TO BE CAUGHT READING A BOOK.

        In Southern California, in a small Negro community named in his honor, lives Colonel Allen Allensworth, a retired Army Chaplain, and his devoted wife. This community is located in the San Joaquin Valley, between Bakersfield, which is at the south, and Fresno, which is at the north, on the Santa Fé Railroad. The town is a little more than six years old. The people at Allensworth belong chiefly to an aspiring, self-respecting, self-supporting middle class--a class largely moved by the independent spirit to break away from the servant class and try their hand at agriculture and trade on their own responsibility.

        In all there are about 160 souls at Allensworth. They are all farmers, dairymen and traders. There is a hotel, with good accommodations and low rates; plenty of cool, refreshing water; several good country stores, a post-office, a railroad station with telephone and telegraph offices, and a large grain storage warehouse for the farmers of the district. The Negroes of


Page 2

this town are hard workers. They are prosperous, happy and contented.

        The beautiful home in which the founder of the colony lives is simple in construction, but commodious. Its furnishings reflect the ideals and the character of the dwellers therein. Taste and culture are the outward expressions of the inner life; and they are exhibited here in a marked degree. For both Colonel Allensworth and his wife are educated and cultured people, who have seen life in its various phases and have agreed that the simple, pastoral life is the best for genuine happiness. That mysterious faculty called taste, which every man and woman must inevitably manifest at some time and in some degree, is quietly and beautifully developed and exhibited in this peaceful and altogether delightful home. While the rooms are not lavishly furnished with costly bric-a-brac, or expensive paintings, good taste is shown in every detail. There is a harmonious blending of colors in the pictures and paper on the walls and the furniture. There is nothing in the house which is not indispensable to the comfort of those living therein. On every hand are evidences of sound Christian training. The love of the Bible is manifested. Here is the home life of a man of true character. Colonel Allensworth is a clergyman, a man of God. He has walked among his fellows, a modest, humble, unobtrusive, God-fearing man, and with no aid save an indomitable courage he has made his way to the front at a time when getting to the front was most difficult.

        Every true mother, whatever her station in life, wants her son to live a clean, pure, useful life, and is anxious that when he becomes a man he shall fill an honorable place among his people. So, though born in slavery,


Page 3

and handicapped by all the tricks of that awful institution, the humble mother of Allensworth prayed that God would keep her son clean; that He would give him courage, and will power and self-control to persevere in good works; that he should bear himself so as not to incur abuse or vilification, carrying his share of the responsibility of life with intelligence; and that in every relation of life, as brother, husband, and father, in spirit and letter he should endeavor to prove himself true and faithful.

        After his emancipation, Allensworth gave himself to the support of every good cause, and his usefulness in the communities where he lived won for him that recognition which called him finally to the service of his country as a chaplain in the Army. His spirit was touched by the lowly condition of his people, with whom he was surrounded, and his pity, his indignation at the injustices they had to endure, his zeal for their relief and improvement, and his remarkable self-control under many provocations made him a valuable citizen. The simplicity of his life and the splendid toleration of his spirit made him a good counselor and a wise leader. It is difficult fully to estimate the variety and value of his services both in civil and military life, for he has not only been a forceful and eloquent preacher, an indefatigable and successful school-teacher, but a gallant soldier and now the founder of a flourishing Negro town.

        Colonel Allensworth has lived through the most interesting and thrilling period of American history. When his prayers and the prayers of thousands of others were ascending to God that in some way He might bring deliverance to the slaves from their terrible


Page 4

thraldom, he did not dream, nor did anybody dream what the firing on Fort Sumter meant. Nobody thought that four long years of the bitterest war in history would follow; that fathers and brothers would be slain by the thousand; that families would be separated, divided forever; that business throughout the land would be paralyzed; that factories would be closed indefinitely; commerce blocked; traffic cut off; the best of friends made, in a brief period, the bitterest of enemies; but out of it all, after the fires had gone out, the smoke vanished from the distant horizon, freedom, blessed freedom was to come to the oppressed Negroes and the stern responsibilities of citizenship were to be imposed upon them. Having lived through this, he has striven to justify it all by his upright living and his manly attitude on all important public questions.

        Colonel Allensworth was born in Kentucky. He was not born with a silver spoon in his mouth, though he has lived to use many. He was born in slavery, and those familiar with the history of that institution, know what that means. He was determined, even in his youth, to make his way in life and by his indomitable courage he has succeeded. He realized after the Civil War that to live in the United States is a fine thing after all. In his youth the world was to him, as it is to most boys, a great big, mysterious place, which he could not and did not try to comprehend. The grandeur of the innumerable stars studding the heavens, the everlasting puzzle of the great, silent, towering mountain peaks, the soft, curling mists reflecting the effulgent rays of the morning sun, that roll gently and quietly over the hill-tops from the deep luxuriant valleys, the flowers of


Page 5

the fields in their beauty, the sparkling dewdrops in their mellow splendor, were all objects of wonder and admiration to him, and as he grew older and saw and felt and experienced life's strange variabilities, the world became more mysterious to him. He looked out upon life, as a great ocean and in a vague way imagined great ships sailing by in their calm, steady, majestic movements; their curious air of travel; their great white spreading sails; their complicated riggings and towering masts, creating the feeling that they must have come from some distant land, where strange people live, and were bound for unknown shores. The vision charmed and fascinated him. He wanted to see the world. He wanted to understand more of life and its purposes. Like the curious boy at the circus, he longed to see it all, and hence his striving, even to this day. Although he has played an important part in the tragedy of color and the drama of prejudice in this country, his activities have not ceased. He is still doing a large share in solving a problem of which he is a conspicuous part. How well he has done and is doing his part succeeding chapters of this book will tell.

        Colonel Allensworth has long since learned that the individual man cannot see all of life--this is only done by the larger groups and they must be scattered over the world. Each life is circumscribed or travels in a circle. Some men live to cultivate the soil that others may engage in other equally useful pursuits; some stand at the spindles and the looms that others may be clothed; some hammer the rough metals into useful tools and implements that others may have no excuse to shirk labor; some fashion wood into needed forms that others may enjoy comfort; some cook and wash and build,


Page 6

while others enjoy the pleasures of travel or repose in luxury. Only a few may travel and study and impart wisdom. Some lives are dull and grey and uneventful, others, impelled by a strong wandering instinct, are filled with the knowledge gained by travel, and reflect an inspiring light to those with whom they come in contact. And so it is with Colonel Allensworth. Considering the space of time over which he has passed, considering his early handicaps of slavery, ignorance, superstition, enforced degradation; considering the uncertain outlook of his youth, and the heroic manner in which he has overcome some of his handicaps such as hereditary weaknesses, ignorance and superstition, and the remarkable progress he has made in the world, we think it worth while, for the benefit of the future generations of his race, to chronicle Colonel Allensworth's achievements; for this race still requires the stimulus of success if it would hold its courage.

        Colonel Allensworth has lived long enough to appreciate the wonders of civilization. He also appreciates the glory of nature, her varied forms, colors and voices. His personality has won for him an enviable, place in whatever society his life has led him. He has witnessed some of the most marvelous strides made by the human race in civilization. He has seen the steam engine developed and perfected in his day from a crude thing, to the most useful, indispensable and faithful servant of man. He has seen it become the mainspring of civilization, bringing valuable material from the depths of the mines; turning the dynamo that lights our cities, and propelling our street cars; turning the powerful propeller which sends the monster steamship through the waters, as well as furnishing the power to make the most


Page 7

delicate parts of a watch. He has seen it annihilate distance and make all men of this globe commercially brothers. And, too, he has witnessed the successful experiment of the flying machine, wireless telegraphy, moving pictures, color photography, the X-ray, talking machine, the steam-plough throwing sixteen furrows at one time; the fifty-story office building constructed of cement, steel and stone; the marvelous suspension bridge, six thousand five hundred thirty-seven feet long, with a single span of one thousand five hundred ninety-five feet; the powerful search-light that blazes the way for the enormous steel gunboat; the automobile or horseless carriage, and smokeless powder. He has seen what were waste materials converted into valuable articles of utility.

        Allen, the son of Phyllis and Levi Allensworth, was born in Louisville, Kentucky, April 7, 1842. His mother was the slave of Mrs. A. P. Starbird of Louisville, and as soon as Allen was old enough to be of any service, he was given to Mrs. Starbird's son, Thomas, to be his little "nigger," as was the prevailing custom among such people at that time. Thus he began his battle of life.

        We are too far removed in time from the appalling scenes of horror to appreciate now the awful system under which Allen spent the first years of his life. It would be very difficult for the men and women born since the days of American slavery fully to realize the dark and bewildering reign of terror which characterized the period in which he came into the world.

        The spectacle of millions of human beings doomed, apparently forever, to incessant and unrequited toil, absolutely shut out from the protection of the law of the land, imprisoned in the grossest ignorance and superstition


Page 8

brutalized, driven by the cruel lash, branded with hot iron and degraded by inhuman practices, is a terrible and fearful picture to contemplate. So it will be seen that Allen Allensworth was born at the bottom of the pit of the most revolting system of degradation that can be conceived.

        His mother was a kind-hearted, gentle-spirited woman, sympathizing with her son's trials and handicaps from the start. She was anxious to have him form habits of strict integrity, honor and usefulness. She, though a slave, was intelligent enough to appreciate the responsibilities of life. She was conscientious in the discharge of her duties, a consistent Christian, enduring hardships and sorrow with calmness. She had her ideals. They were given her by that invisible Spirit who inspires each willing soul with kindness, and an abhorrence of cruelty, unkindness, injustice and wrong. Her simplicity and sincerity of character won for her the confidence of her owners and all who knew her.

        Instinctively his mother knew the advantages of education, so she said to Allen one day, "My son, Miss Bett is sending 'Little Marse' Tommy to school to get a learning; now, my son, what is good for 'Little Marse' Tommy is good for you. Your mother can't send you to no school, where you can learn to read and write and figure, so you must ask your 'Marse' Tom to play school with you every day when he comes home; then you can learn to read and write like him." She told him that his "Marse" Tom would be a great man some day and have a big store like his father. Tom's father was a member of the large wholesale drug company of Wilson, Starbird & Smith in Louisville. Deep down in her heart she felt that in some way God would redeem


Page 9

her son from the thraldom of slavery; that, somehow, he would, if even partly educated, win his freedom. She told him that she had named him after the great preacher of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, Bishop Allen, and that she wanted him to grow up to be a great and good man like the bishop. In substance she said, "To be a great and good man, and a useful man to others, you must know how to read the Bible and fit yourself to live up to its teachings. No man can be truly great and good who does not believe in the good Book and follow its teachings. The only way to learn is to play schoolboy with your 'Marse' Tom and have him learn you. Now don't let on to him that I told you to ask him to play school, for if you do, he won't teach you. Now may God help you, my son, may God help you." With this suggestion, she allowed her son to exercise his own diplomacy in working out this problem.

        She knew that it was a crime before the laws of man (the white man of the South) for a Negro to learn to read. The white man had said that the black man could not learn to read or write, that he was too thick-headed, and he made it a crime for any one to attempt the experiment on the black man. This dear soul felt keenly the vital power involved in the words "read" and "write," and while she was not able to teach her boy herself, she could show him the way. It is surprising to what extent the slaves regarded the ability of one to read and write as a great mystery. They everywhere whispered the words, "read and write."


Page 10

CHAPTER II

        PLAYING SCHOOL--THE EFFORT OF HIS FATHER--YOUNG ALLENSWORTH FALLS INTO THE HANDS OF KIND-HEARTED QUAKER WOMAN--HIS HAPPY HOURS TAKE FLIGHT--SENT TO PLANTATION--THE MOTHER'S PRECIOUS GIFT--HIS TRIP DOWN THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER.

        THIS playing school was Allen's first battle in diplomacy. Did he win? The remarkable story of his achievements in later years will serve as the answer to this question. He thought much over what his mother had said to him. His ambition was aroused; from that moment. He, too, realized the value of the mystery involved in the arts of reading and writing, and he was determined to work out his mother's shrewd scheme for acquiring an education. He made up his mind to learn; he wanted to be a man, and his spirit was thoroughly aroused. He wanted to please his mother, but he wanted, too, to satisfy an inward longing, a longing to realize the potentiality of the mystery of letters. He began to feel that there was bound up in his spiritual being a dynamic force capable of the highest development and he was determined to set to work to realize it in a manner that would justify his risk and meet his dear, devoted mother's expectations. She had planted the seed that was destined to grow into a great tree of inspirational power. His mother was


Page 11

alone in the struggle in his behalf. She had been robbed of her long cherished hope for liberty by the death of her husband, who, during his active life, was a splendid examplar of the most commendable industry, thrift and frugality. For it was during Allen's infancy that his father had the courage to go to his master and make known his desire to gain his freedom. His master permitted him to hire his time and thus pay the price of his liberty. He planned to purchase his own freedom first and then his wife's and then his children's. His wife prayed earnestly that God would spare him to accomplish this great task. He hired his time at the rate of twenty-five dollars per month, with the understanding that he should pay twelve hundred dollars for his complete freedom. For his "free papers" he was to make three payments of four hundred dollars each, making a total of twelve hundred dollars. This was in addition to the twenty-five dollars per month. The price of his freedom was one item, the hire of his time another. With this understanding he started out for "Freetown."

        He engaged in the transportation business between Louisville and a place called Portland. He was able to secure in some way two mules, a dray and a cart, and with this outfit he made his monthly payments and turned over to his wife the extra amounts earned in his business toward the three installments of four hundred dollars. She was his banker, and a safe, reliable one at that; for she was as much interested in his success as he could be; her liberty as well as his own was at stake. On making his second payment, he was given a note to carry to a Mr. Collins, who, on reading it, said: "Levi, you belong to me." It is not difficult to imagine


Page 12

how his heart sank within him; how he almost broke into tears as he listened to the words freighted with so much meaning. He hastened to inform his new owner that he had just made a second payment on his own purchase on the promise of his master that he should be free; but Collins informed him that his master had borrowed eight hundred dollars on him and that he had failed to meet the note when due, and that he was turned over to him in payment of the note. Levi told his story again to Collins and the latter finally agreed to allow him to work out the debt, and thus obtain his freedom on practically the same terms as before, but with the difference that instead of a balance of four hundred dollars, he must pay eight hundred dollars. This was hard indeed, and even slave owners themselves were moved by this system of injustice meted out to the humble slave in this case. Mr. Starbird, his wife's master, said that it was a shame for Levi to be treated in this manner and volunteered to act as his agent, to see that he was dealt with squarely. Well, Levi started out the second time to purchase his freedom; but the shock of disappointment and the extra hard work brought on physical prostration; after a brief illness, all worn out, sad and heart-broken, he died. His new owner claimed his teams for the remaining debt.

        This was Allen's first and greatest early loss. His mother experienced a depression of spirit that finally led to melancholy abstractions, interpreted by her mistress as "impertinence," and so Miss Bett informed Mr. Starbird that she must be sold. She was given the privilege of selecting her own master in consideration of her former faithfulness. This was one of the advantages enjoyed only by the devoted and true. The slave was


Page 13

a keen observer of human nature; he had his likes and dislikes. He appreciated kindness in his master and was greatly influenced in his own actions by that kindness.

        So the mother of Allen started out to sell herself, and she wanted to sell herself to some one who would be kind to her and would give her a chance in life. Allen's mother was one of the first-class cooks of the day. Her skill as a pastry cook was known by all the residents of the square, so she had no trouble in finding a purchaser. The first one to whom she applied was the wife of Attorney Nat Wolfe, three doors south of the Starbird home. As soon as he learned she was for sale the purchase was made. This change took Allen to the Wolfe home, where he became a playmate of Mr. Wolfe's two sons, Willie and Nat, and alternated between the home of his owner and that of his mother. It is interesting to note that the Starbird boy and Wolfe boys, with Allen, constituted the fighting force of the square, where many battles were pitched. In one of these, Allen was struck with a stone over his left eye, which left an indentation for life.

        When Allen entered the U. S. Navy in 1863, Willie and Nat Wolfe entered the U. S. Army, and remained until the close of the Rebellion. They subsequently entered the regular army with commissions as second lieutenants. When Allen entered in 1886 he was surprised to find the sons of his mother's former owner in the service and he their superior in rank. Thus time brings the little slave boy to the front as the superior officer of the boys he played with and called "Marse Willie" and "Marse Nat."

        It was about this time that Miss Bett discovered that


Page 14

"Little Marse" Tommy, her son, and Allen were quite chummy. Tommy was working out in an admirable manner the scheme of Allen's mother for his education and equipment for the battle of life. Tommy had turned the nursery room into a school room. Little Tommy, feeling himself the master and imitating his teacher, was found by Miss Bett giving his orders. He was told after this discovery that he was doing wrong, that he must not continue the practice; but boy-like, he persisted in doing the very thing he was forbidden to do. Allen was told that he must not play school with Tommy, but he had gotten the habit, and the spirit had entered his soul and brain, and so he continued to play school and encouraged Tommy in the sport. Miss Bett finding the nursery school still doing business at the same old stand, after repeated warnings, finally decided to break it up for good. Her method was that of elimination. She told Mr. Starbird and he forthwith found another home for Allen. Mr. Starbird learned that Mr. Talbot, a retail merchant, wanted a little chap to do odd jobs around his house for his mother; a bargain was made, and Allen was turned over to Talbot. Reuben, the carriage driver, escorted him to his new home. Here it was that Allen tasted for the first time what was to him real happiness. Mrs. Talbot was a Quaker woman, gentle of spirit, soft in speech, and sympathetic of heart. She treated him like a mother. She arranged a neat little bed for him in her own room, and every night before retiring, she required him to say:


                         "Now I lay me down to sleep,
                         I pray the Lord my soul to keep;
                         If I should die before I wake,
                         I pray the Lord my soul to take."


Page 15

        She took unusual interest in the boy. Every morning at ten o'clock, she would have him bring his little chair and sit near her while she would hear him recite his lessons. Over and over again he would be required to repeat:


                         Ba, be, bi, bo, bu,
                         Ma, me, mi, mo, mu,
                         Sa, se, si, so, su.

        As young as he was, Allen regarded this simple course of instruction as the answer to his dear mother's prayers. Mrs. Talbot had her son take him down town one day, and buy him a nice suit of clothes. His pride was exuberant. Store clothes! my! The pride gendered by this bit of good fortune became firmly set in his nature, and while he is not a man of extravagant tastes, Colonel Allensworth is today one of the neatest men of the Negro race.

        It was Sunday afternoon, when he was arrayed in his best, that his dear, dear mother visited him. She was overjoyed to see how well he was cared for by his new mother, and with tears in her eyes she exclaimed: "Thankie, Jesus; thankie, Jesus!" This was her usual way of expressing her appreciation to God for what she regarded as an answer to her prayers.

        But the new home brought other blessings to Allen. At the St. Paul P. E. Church, a school was started for little slave children. This school was in session Sunday afternoons, and while the little children were taught "Servants obey your masters," the "Ten Commandments" and the "Lord's Prayer," such things as were approved by the slave owners, at the same time Allen was too bright a boy not to profit in other directions by


Page 16

the opportunities thus afforded him. Whenever his mother would see him, she would always shower upon him her blessings and urge him to be a good boy. At home his instruction was confined to spelling and reading. He was making rapid advance, and soon the news reached the ears of Miss Bett. This appalled her. She felt that the boy would be ruined for life. It was absolutely fatal to his future to have him learn to read and write. Indeed, Miss Bett regarded Mrs. Talbot's course as particularly injurious to the boy's future well-being. It was a dire calamity--worse than an accident to his physical person, for if an arm or leg were broken, it might be repaired, or an artificial one supplied; but the development of his mind would implant in his heart a discontent and a spirit of unrest that would completely unfit him for the performance of his duties as a slave.

        Miss Bett decided that something must be done at once to stop this boy's progress in his awful acquisition. And so the matter was taken up with John J. Smith of Louisville, who owned a large plantation in Henderson County, Ky., down the river. This plantation was managed by Pat Smith, the brother of John J. who had a "reputation." So in the spring of 1854, Old Lady Talbot said to the boy one morning, "Allen, your Miss Bett has a new home for you. Get all your things together and bring them to me."

        A new home? What a terrible thought to the boy at his age and with his longings and aspirations. After this brief sojourn of real pleasure, the boy is to be carried away to the plantation where his environment would have quite another sort of influence upon him than the city life. And so, Reuben came for him one


Page 17

day to take him to see his mother. Mrs. Talbot who was present when Reuben came, directed little Allen to go to her room and there he would find his belongings, tied up in a bundle,--a neat, precious little bundle was this. It was the first showing of real ownership and the boy was very proud of it. His mother's place was about ten city squares away. With Reuben, he went to see her. The scene was a pathetic one. His dear, saintly mother who had brought into this world of sorrow thirteen children, and he the last of them, was sick in bed. Reuben knocked at the door of her room. In response to his knock he heard the feeble voice say, "Come in." Reuben's heart was so sad and full of sympathy that it was difficult for him to greet her with his "Howdy, Aunt Phyllis." But as he said the words, tears streaming down his cheeks, he heard her weak voice, "I'm right poorly, Reuben, right poorly." In the gloom of this room stood Allen looking with pity into his mother's tear-stained eyes, and the pain which was in his heart can well be imagined, for he felt in the depth of his young soul that this might be the last time he would see her alive. Reuben delivered his message. He said, "Aunt Phyllis, Miss Bett told me to bring Allen to you to tell you goodbye. She's going to send him down the river." Can the reader imagine for a moment a more pathetic and touching scene than this? The mother helpless in bed, all of her children torn from her side by the cruel slaveholders, and here her last child stands, in whom her love, her intense, unfailing love, was centered; in whom all her hopes of the future were bound; in whom she expected to realize her dreams of freedom and rest and comfort in her declining years, here he stood ready at the bidding of old mistress to say "Goodbye."


Page 18

The grief of that mother was overwhelming. Her children one by one had either been torn from her and sold, or had made their escape to Canada via the "underground" Rail Road system. Lila, with her intended husband, "ran off" to Canada; William, George, Frank and Levi were sold down the river--the whole family hopelessly separated and perhaps forever--and no means of communication between them.

        This sick and heart-broken mother mustered what strength she could, and after an exclamation which was freighted with all the grief and disappointment of one in despair, she got out of bed. Almost too weak to stand alone, she crept over to one corner of the room and after searching through an old box for awhile, she finally brought out a silver half dollar. With a voice full of tenderness and love for her child, she tearfully and earnestly prayed to God a fervent prayer that He would keep her son pure and clean, and make him a good strong Christian man. Then with an emotion which she could not control she burst into a flood of tears and bitter wailing. After she became calm she handed Allen the coin and said, "Take this, my son, buy yourself a book and a comb. Put knowledge from the book into your head, and comb everything else out with the comb." And he has been doing that ever since. The boy did not understand then fully the gravity of the situation. He was too young to appreciate what this great sacrifice meant to this humble mother, who with the departure of her last hope from her sight, she gave her last coin.

        With a final farewell she kissed her boy, turned her face toward the wall of her cabin and gave herself up to grief, while Reuben and the boy left the place for the


Page 19

trip down the river. Whenever a slave driver wanted to strike terror to the heart of a slave he would always threaten him with a trip "down the river." Going down the Mississippi River to the slave was much like going to hell and perhaps more dreaded because more real.

        One hour after the scenes above described, Allen was on the steamer "Rainbow" on his way down the river, where he was to receive his punishment for trying to learn to read and write the English language.


Page 20

CHAPTER III

        THE BLUE-BACK SPELLING BOOK--THE TEMPLE OF KNOWLEDGE--DISSIPATION OF SLAVE-TRADERS ON THE MISSISSIPPI--ALLEN CHARMED BY APPEARANCE OF CABIN BOYS--ON THE PAT SMITH FARM--FIRST IMPRESSIONS--THE BOY IS TORTURED ON ACCOUNT OF MISTAKE OF HIS MISTRESS.

        AFTER leaving his sick, heart-burdened mother, Allen started for the steamer, accompanied by uncle Reuben. As they were about to pass a book store, Allen asked uncle Reuben to allow him to stop for the purpose of purchasing a book. He had already bought a comb, complying with his mother's instructions, and now he must buy a book, and he wanted the most useful book he could get. In this store young Allen purchased a copy of Webster's Spelling Book, the most famous of all books among the slaves in that day. It is traditional that the blue-back speller was the fountain of all learning to the aspiring slaves, and somehow, the booksellers knew this. Whenever a slave made application for a book, the bookdealers invariably recommended "Webster's Spelling Book." After the Bible, no book was so popular or more highly prized among the slaves as this little volume; it opened wide the magic door to learning; it set aflame the passion for knowledge; it pointed the way to freedom. For as humble as were the slaves' condition, they were conscious of the fact that ignorance


Page 21

was their chief handicap. Their benighted condition made it easy to keep them in subjection. From this blue-back spelling book these simple-hearted people learned their first lessons in the mysterious arts of reading and spelling. This book is alluded to by nearly every Negro who has left a record of his struggles in slavery. Immediately after he won his freedom, he told of the help given him by this book. All who have come up from slavery have some knowledge of the wonderful influence this book exerted upon the lives of the race during the ante-bellum period. It was diligently studied by the flame of the pine knot at night and secretly by day.

        As Allen and uncle Reuben walked along the streets in Louisville that day, the boy's heart beat with delight as he contemplated the treasure which he carried in his hand, which he hoped quickly to transfer to his head. He could not refrain from examining his precious little blue-back book; and when he studied the picture which was the frontispiece, uncle Reuben pointed out that the woman leading the little child by the hand in the picture was Allen's mother and the child was Allen himself; and the building to which the mother is pointing is the temple of knowledge and the higher building with the round dome is the temple of fame. Uncle Reuben told Allen that if he could make his way into the temple of knowledge, later he would be able to win his way into the temple of fame,--that by getting knowledge he would become a famous man. Uncle Reuben knew instinctively that knowledge is the greatest power in the world, and that the man who possessed it, and used it in the wisest and best way would become a famous man. He told Allen that his mother wanted him to become a


Page 22

famous man, and that he must get all the knowledge in his head possible. "Yo' mah wants you to 'come famous, Allen, and you kin do it. Don't let nuffin' git in yo' way. De Devil will try to keep you frum de temple of larnin'; but don't you neber let him do it." This was the advice given the boy by the old man who was leading him to the river where he was to board the steamer "Rainbow" to go far away from his mother, his boy friends and all who were near and dear to him. He would soon find himself among strangers.

        On arrival at the steamer, uncle Reuben and Allen found Mr. John J. Smith, Mr. Starbird's partner in the wholesale drug business, in waiting. Mr. Smith was not like many of the other slaveholders, mean and unsympathetic; he took a personal interest in Allen and wanted to see him well cared for on the boat. The "Rainbow" was a typical river steamer. In those days it was considered a fine thing in the Southern States to travel on a river steamer. Railroads were not much in use, and the most convenient mode of travel was by the steamers which plowed the muddy streams. White men who enjoyed the older kinds of sport, took frequent trips on these steamers with a view to finding their match in games of chance; and, too, much of their slave-trading was carried on in the saloons and cabins of these river boats. High life among those slaveholders who delighted in riotous dissipation reached its limit here; and according to the temper of the passengers while the good time was going on, the cabin boys or waiters would reap various rewards for their diligence and promptness in supplying their wants. Allen was quick to see his personal advantage in any given situation; and observing the alertness and celerity of these neatly attired black


Page 23

men, their cheerful faces and happy modes, he at once decided that a cabin boy's position was good enough for him.

        Mr. John Smith was on his way to Henderson, Kentucky, where he was going to visit his brother, Pat Smith. He took Allen in charge, and when on board of the boat, he turned him over to Uncle Dabney, the colored steward, for safe-keeping. In the days of slavery, it was the habit of people always to speak of older colored folks as "uncle" and "aunt." The steward on the "Rainbow" was an old colored man who had spent nearly all his days on the river. He was well known and he was spoken of as "uncle" Dabney by young and old among both whites and slaves. He was a man of some distinction,--he occupied a unique place in the life of the river people. Uncle Dabney was a member of the same church in Louisville with which Allen's mother was connected, and he knew the boy. He was very kind to the boy. He was very generous in the supply of food which he gave him and this endeared him to Allen. He told the boy that he wanted him to enjoy the trip down the river; that he must keep his eyes open and take in all the beautiful sights along the slowly shifting scenes of the river banks. Allen was too young to comprehend any unusual change in his life; he did not appreciate the gravity of the situation. While going down the river was a painful ordeal to older slaves, Allen rather enjoyed the experience. One would have thought, to see the beaming smile on his face, that he was the son of some wealthy slaveholder on an outing for pleasure or for his health.

        On the bosom of this stream, on these slow-going boats, some of the most horrible tragedies of the slavery


Page 24

period were enacted. Not alone among the humble slaves, but the passions of white men, engaged in gambling, sometimes broke loose and they killed each other. Men, drunk with wine, often fought, stabbed, and shot each other over trifling disputes. Young Allen did not know that while he was riding in the cabin, surrounded on every hand by bright, ornamented fittings and brilliant lights, on the lower deck of the steamer were members of his race bound together in chains; dejected, spiritless, on their way to a more terrible fate. These creatures were lying about on the cold, damp deck of the boat, or they slept on hard boxes or barrels, if they slept at all. These poor men and women sang songs in spite of their hard lot; but these songs were not the acclaims of joy and gladness; they were not the sweet melodies of cheer and hope; they were not the strains of light-hearted, care-free, intelligent human beings; but rather the pathetic soul-cries, the sorrow-songs, the weird sobs of grief, the tremulous wails, the moans and groans of heart-bleeding, simple-minded, long-suffering black folks. They were a people of deep religious fervor and their ardent prayers in the form of songs constituted their appeals to the Almighty God for deliverance from bondage.

        Uncle Dabney devoted as much of his time and attention to Allen as he could afford. And Allen enjoyed immensely the experiences of the hour. Seeing that the cabin boys were dressed in neat, white aprons and jackets; that these young men were bright, sharp, intelligent fellows, Allen thought at once that he would like to be in their class. The grace and efficiency of these waiters caught his fancy. For the moment they represented his ideal. These young slave men had been


Page 25

very carefully selected, not only on account of their peculiar fitness and capacity, but for their adeptness, agility, manners and personal appearance. These waiters watched eagerly every movement of the guests while at their tables, they anticipated and supplied their wants with the utmost promptness; they moved about lightly in the dining room, without making any noise, and carried out orders quickly. Contrasted with those slaves chained on the deck of the boat, these cabin boys occupied an exalted station, they constituted a sort of aristocracy,--they lived in heaven, while the others were in hell. These cabin boys had the best of food, for they ate what the fastidious and squeamish passengers left on their plates; and, about some things, they were quite as dainty as the people they served. But the poor unfortunates chained on the deck of the boat ate only corn meal mush served to them as it was served to hogs and cattle. The distance between the sprightly cabin boys, with their hair well combed, wearing clean, white shirts and jackets, and having their shoes highly polished, and the sorrowful, hunger-smitten creatures on the dirty deck below was great indeed. The squalor, wretchedness, privation and anguish suggested by the latter's condition was unknown and unnoticed by the more favored class. This favored class appealed to Allen, but he was horrified by the condition of the other. In these cabin boys he saw significant results of the contact with educated people; he saw a certain degree of culture, intelligence and refinement in them that attracted him. He saw also a certain rivalry in higher things among these cabin boys, which he knew was but hopeless expectation in the degraded group on the lower deck. There was something extremely fascinating in


Page 26

the work of the waiters, as they turned this way and that, serving the ladies and gentlemen seated around the tables in the cabin. Allen thought to himself that it must be a high privilege to serve one's master in this fashion; the intimate association, the pleasant smile, as a token of appreciation of prompt service, these were the rewards which a slave might claim with gratification and satisfaction. And so Allen wanted to be a cabin boy. To travel on steamboats and wait on tables became his strongest desire. He made known his wish to uncle Dabney. The old man indulged his whim, and though he had not previously done this particular kind of waiting, he was assigned a table at once, and took his first lessons in steamboat service as a cabin boy.

        In due time Allen reached the landing on the river where he must leave the boat and go to the Pat Smith farm, three miles in the country. He found an old, dilapidated, two-wheeled cart awaiting him. This cart was drawn by a lanky old mule whose heritage was aversion to any sort of quick bodily motion, except when called to the stable for his feed. A country carriage was in waiting for Mr. Smith. They were soon on their way to the plantation.

        The approach to the famous Pat Smith farmhouse was through a large, luxuriant grove of majestic oaks, sycamores and cottonwood trees. This scene thus presented to his young and expanding vision was simply enchanting to Allen. To see the nimble squirrels hopping from limb to limb in the trees, exhibiting the utmost freedom, and the soft-cooing turtle-doves, with their plaintive sounds, gave him strange delight. There were conflicting emotions in his young heart. The cooing of the doves had a depressing effect on his spirit,


Page 27

reminding him of the sick mother he had left behind him in the big city of Louisville. As he came nearer the farmhouse he observed a neat, extensive, one-story house, with spacious yard and a fence around it. In the yard he saw luxuriant shrubbery, a great variety of fragrant flowers, and other evidences of taste and care. The very air was ladened with the perfume of flowers.

        Young Allensworth became an object of interest at once. He was a "likely" boy and aunt Betty, the cook, aunt Phyllis, the house-woman, and Eddie, the orphan white boy, all became intensely interested in the new-comer. Allen and Eddie soon became good friends,--chums and daily companions. Aunt Phyllis showed him tender sympathy and remarked to aunt Betty that it was a pity "ter tek' dat po' chile fum his sick mamma, and brung him on dis place whah he won't meet nobody but a pas'le o' low-down, good-for-nuttin' strangers." This remark attached the boy to aunt Phyllis and he loved her ever afterward. He loved her, too, because she had the same name as his mother. Aunt Phyllis was a big-hearted old soul, and she looked with commiseration on all who suffered affliction or distress.

        Mr. and Mrs. Pat Smith scrutinized Allen very closely. He was given his preliminary instructions in house manners. He was told that he must always speak of Mr. Pat Smith as Marse Pat, and Mrs. Smith as Miss Hebe. At first, they impressed the boy with the idea that they were a very gentle people. He was given his choice of a corner in one of a number of rooms where he was to sleep on the floor at night. His liberal supply of bedding consisted of one quilt. He wisely selected a corner in the dining room, near the "safe" containing


Page 28

the food, where he could at least smell the food, if he could not help himself to it when hungry. In selecting his sleeping quarters, Allen, though yet a mere lad showed a shrewdness which has not ceased even to this day to be one of his chief characteristics. If left to choose a place in any sphere, he will select now, as he did then, the very best place available. In the dining room he was not only near the food, but he was also near his master's room where he could hear his call at any hour of the night. It was his duty to rise at four o'clock in the morning, blow a horn which was furnished him, and arouse the other slaves of the plantation. He was taught to blow his horn in slavery and he has been blowing it ever since. On hearing the horn blow at four o'clock in the morning, all the slaves arose and started about their work in the fields. After blowing the horn, it was his next duty to sweep the dining room floor, arrange the table for the morning meal, and see that everything was in order for the day. He was allowed a plain candle box in which to keep his little belongings, which consisted of a limited supply of clothing and a few trinkets. The comb which he purchased with a part of the money his mother gave him was a pretty article. Miss Hebe decided that it was too good for Allen. She took it from him and give it to the white orphan boy, Eddie, and gave Allen an old-fashioned wool-card to "card" his head instead of combing it. This made him feel sad for a time, but he had the good sense not to complain. He knew that silence in such case was a virtue.

        After a few days on the Pat Smith farm Allen had adjusted himself to his surroundings, and become familiar with the situation. The orchard with its fruit trees, the garden with its great variety of vegetables, the


Page 29

running grape-vines heavy with grapes, the sweet flowers, the hennery with its beautiful young chickens, the chicken coops and houses, the stables and farm buildings,--all interested him, and he took a sort of proprietary pride in them all. He was a loyal worker; he was concerned about everything on the farm. Surveying the farm, the agricultural implements, the cattle and barns, he regarded these as means by which he should make himself useful. With wise discernment, he made up his mind to do his full duty; to be truthful, obedient, and industrious, and win the confidence of his master. Allen gave himself to work.

        It may appear strange to many readers, but it is nevertheless true, that a large proportion of the slaves, on account of long years of cruel oppression, acquired a characteristic indifference and apathy to their unfortunate lot; the habits of servitude became fixed upon them; they really loved those who hated and flogged them; they longed to kiss the hand of the tyrants who degraded them; they found pleasure in their very debasement. The hard crust and callous of servility, caused by generations of stunt and serfdom, could not produce ambitiously sensitive souls, except in rare instances. And this is not to be wondered at; both the mental and physical deformity of the mass of the race was well-nigh complete, and if not complete, glaringly apparent; especially was this so in the old folks who lacked the inspiration of hope and of quenchless ambition and perseverance. These noble qualities of character were slow of evolution, even after freedom came. Too often the younger people, too, at the time of their emancipation were lacking in ambition. In slavery their labors brought no personal rewards. Stimulation to diligence and industry,


Page 30

came only from a consciousness that if they did their best, they would avert whippings, and save their backs from scars and bruises.

        In some remote sense, all slaves at intervals hoped for freedom; but it was the exceptional slave who saw the vision; who knew that wrong could not always last; that justice and humanity would not forever be set aside. These were the slaves who chafed under subjection,--the yoke kept their necks perpetually sore and bleeding. The inexorable ban of Southern slaveholding ethics gave the slaves no hope. The gregarious blacks knew no way out; they were weary of their chains; but no potency of their wills could resist the subtle encroachments of the life-sapping cables which bound them so tightly together in one common destiny.

        The disposition on the part of the mass of these people to make the best of their trying situation led many masters to declare that the Negro was really happy in slavery; that it was his natural condition; because he sometimes danced and sang, these slaveholders declared that slavery was the Negro's happiest state.

        Allen was not moved by any consideration of selfishness or even acquiescence in the system of slavery. He was too young to think about the hardships or sufferings of others. One thing, aside from the faithful performance of his duties, engrossed his attention, and that was the blue-back speller. It was not long before Miss Hebe discovered his inclination to study his book. When she found that he had this book, she ordered him to stop reading it, and never to be caught with it in his hands again. But little Eddie was interested also, and the two boys formed an alliance to comfort each other. They whipped Eddie for not getting his lessons and


Page 31

they punished Allen for studying. The two boys were in misery and they enjoyed each other's company. Allen proposed to Eddie that he would help him in his studies, if he in turn would keep his tongue about it and would help him. They needed each other's assistance. They got together on the proposition and were making rapid progress. These two boys found a secret place where, at odd hours, they could come together and study. While Miss Hebe disapproved of Allen's learning to read, she would often speak of him with pride as a smart boy; and this had the effect of encouraging him. She often said that if Allen had the proper training he would become an intelligent man. She often said, too, that Eddie was a stupid fellow and that it was quite a task to keep him interested in his books.

        Recalling the hardships which came to him on account of his ambition to learn to read and study, Col. Allensworth says:

        "Upon the discovery of my having an ambition to read and write, Marse Pat and Miss Hebe,--as I had been instructed to call these people,--commenced a series of persecutions to throttle every ambition, stifle every desire, and choke every aspiration that was within me to carry out the instructions of my mother to prepare myself to be a good and useful man. Many things were charged against me of which I was innocent. On one occasion, when the rats carried off the new cucumbers that had been placed on ice in the old underground icehouse, Eddie and I were charged with stealing these cucumbers. We pleaded our innocence. Miss Hebe, in order to be certain,--so that the whipping she gave would be the more severe,--decided to prove to us and to herself that we had eaten the cucumbers; therefore


Page 32

she gave each of us an emetic, a dose of ipecac. She stood each of us in a separate corner in her sitting room, in our shirt tails, so that our limbs would be bare and ready to receive what she intended to give us. She had two cow-hides, one painted blue, called the 'Bluebird,' and one painted red, called the 'Redbird.' She used the 'Bluebird' on Eddie and the 'Redbird' on me. She sat with those two instruments of torture on her sewing table, waiting for us to surrender, as she thought we would do, the cucumbers we had eaten. As she was a very religious Presbyterian, she sat there humming hymns, waiting patiently for the operation of the emetic. After awhile the contents of Eddie's stomach were surrendered. She inspected the contents of his stomach as emptied into a pail, and found no cucumbers there. This sight assisted the emetic she gave me to do its work, and soon I surrendered what I had in my stomach, and there were no cucumbers. To reward us for the pangs of this ordeal, she gave each of us a cold biscuit. This, to us, was a very great treat. It was seldom that we received any luxuries. I was forced to scheme for a few luxuries when they had company. I owned a tin cup and tin plate. These I kept to gather the scraps of biscuit, etc., left by the guests on the plates. In waiting on the table I always moved in time to pass the biscuits to the guests so one would be taken and scraps left. I would not wait for their coffee cup to be emptied, but would be active and pick it up and pass it to be refilled. In this way considerable coffee was left. This I would pour into my tin cup as soon as the guests and Miss Hebe left the table for the parlor, and hide it somewhere in the dining room. Miss Hebe frequently on her return would hunt for them when she saw the


Page 33

scraps were gone, take them away from me and give them to Eddie. This favoritism for Eddie did not change our friendly relation. We had a common misery between us that was sufficiently strong to continue our friendship.

        "One of the most torturing whippings I ever received was from Pat Smith and his brother Bob, when I was charged with purloining a bank note. I had been sent to town on an errand, and returning with this bank bill, gave it to Miss Hebe while she was reading. She placed it between the leaves of the book she was reading, continued to read and turn the leaves. Closing the book and laying it aside, she forgot what became of the bank note, and charged me with stealing it. I was denuded, tied, bucked and gagged, and for three hours I was whipped unmercifully. This castigation was to force me to confess to the purloining of the bank note. The torture was so great and the pain so intense that I finally confessed that I took the money, thinking that they would cease beating me; but then I could not tell what I did with it. I told all sorts of stories when they demanded to know what I did with it and none of them was true. Yet they continued to ply the leather lash to my already lacerated body. I could not cry out; I could only moan and groan. They finally released me. Two days afterwards Miss Hebe took up the book to continue the story and found the bill. I was simply informed that they had found the bill where she had placed it, but, of course, nothing was done as a redress for the horrible treatment I had received, nor to relieve my injured feeling."

        In this way thousands of these poor people in the South were falsely charged and forced to make confessions,


Page 34

thinking that the confessions would lessen the persecutions and cruel treatment; not knowing at the time that other things follow a confession, which, unless they were corroborated, would make the confession worse for them. It is so today in the South in the confessions that are forced out of these folks when they are charged with assaults and other misdemeanors.

        It will be seen that this great evil of punishing innocent and blameless black men, and forcing them to confess to crimes which they did not commit, had its birth in slavery. Since the emancipation of the Negro, it has been the common practice in the South to lynch innocent black men upon the accusation of excited white women. Thousands of these defenseless men have been brutally tortured by the mob. But the effect upon the civilization of the South has been degrading and destructive of higher ideals of citizenship in the younger generation. The brutalization of the lynchers has extended to the whole country, deadened the finer feelings, aroused the demons of passion, and presented our Western civilization in a reproachful light before the world. It is awful, unspeakably and indescribably dreadful, to witness a human being, however humble, ignorant and depraved, chained to a stake, his body riddled with bullets, then covered with oil and slowly burned to death, while the heartless mob stabs his burning body with hot irons and sticks red hot torches into his eyes. The damning effect of such scenes must reach not only all who participate in these barbarities, but as well to those who read the horrible details.


Page 35

CHAPTER IV

        INTRODUCTION TO THE CHAPTER, SHOWING THE SETTING OF ALLENSWORTH'S LIFE IN THE GREAT DRAMA OF SLAVERY AND ITS ABOLITION--THE BROTHERHOOD OF MAN--TEACHING OF THE MORAL LAW--THE INTRODUCTION OF SLAVERY AT JAMESTOWN, VA., 1619--TIES OF FRIENDSHIP BETWEEN POOR WHITES AND SLAVES SEVERED--THE INDIANS--PERVERTED NOTIONS ABOUT GOVERNMENT--THE DESIGN OF GOVERNMENT.

        THE foregoing chapters introduce to the reader the hero of this book, but the story of his life depends, for its interest to the reading public, upon the fact that he was born a slave, and that he lived and had a part in the nation's great struggle with the institution of slavery. In order to give his life a proper setting, that the true plot of the story may be understood by the reader, it is necessary to devote a few chapters, at this point, to a description of the awful institution of slavery, and its inherent wickedness, and to the deep agitation for its abolition that preceded the Civil War in which Allen Allensworth had a part.

        God is the All-Wise Father of all men. For "He hath made of one blood all nations of men to dwell on ALL the face of the earth." Mankind is one great brotherhood, differing slightly in physical form, features, color of skin and habits, but essentially the same in having


Page 36

like feelings, affections, duties, responsibilities, aspirations and desires. All alike are striving to improve their condition according to the light which is in their hearts and minds; and the civilization of mankind is advanced in proportion as men recognize the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. The moral law teaches not only the love of friends, family and race; but it commands each one to love all men of whatever race, or color, or clime. It is not so easy to obey the law which says, "All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them." It is the duty, however, of each man in civilized society to respect the rights and feelings of others; and each man should demand justice and fair play. But it must be remembered that rights and duties balance each other in the moral law, and justice demands that a man perform faithfully his duties toward society before urging the full protection of this law. Love and proper regard for a man's neighbor require that he shall do nothing to handicap his neighbor, nothing to endanger his neighbor's life, restrict his liberty, insult or offend his person, irritate his feelings, or disturb or destroy his property. In truth there is but one sort of equality among men, the equality of natural rights. Men are unequal in size, in physical strength, in wealth and material possessions, in intelligence, in mental powers, and in many other respects; but however unequal men may be in these respects, these differences do not entitle one man or one class of men to put restrictions upon the intelligence, ownership of property, or physical powers or other natural rights of other men. Because one man is ignorant, the intelligent neighbor is not warranted and has no right to take advantage of


Page 37

him. Because one man is poor and weak and needy, his wealthy neighbor has no right to defraud him or impose upon him. The law of mutual kindness, if universally adopted, would bring about peace among men. The principle of pure morality requires that, instead of the enlightened slighting the ignorant, the wealthy defrauding the poor, the strong oppressing the weak, those with superior gifts and fortunes should give aid and comfort to those less fortunate.

        The white boy learns his lessons of duty, responsibility, honor, integrity, and heroism, as well as kindliness, gentleness, forbearance, tolerance, benevolence and self-sacrifice, from the books he reads and studies while attending school; and thus he receives his first incentives to culture, refinement, faithfulness to obligation, and high ideals, from the splendid examples pictured in these books. These examples represent the more exalted and generous lives of his forefathers. The men who write these books are among the greatest benefactors of their race. They are expected to employ the most elegant language, the richest vocabulary, the finest turning of delicate phrase, imagery, fancy, and metaphor, in depicting the illustrious careers of their lofty-minded ancestors. These white men devote years of their lives to hard study in their efforts to produce these inspirational books and these books breathe forth the tenderest appreciation of the best men and women of his race. The chief object of such books is to furnish the youth worthy models for emulation.

        An old Georgia Negro of the illiterate type was fortunate enough on one occasion to hear an eloquent lecture by an eminent Northern orator. This orator took for his subject, "The Transcendent Glory and Grandeur


Page 38

of the White Man's Achievements," and he gave a running sketch of the marvelous inventions and discoveries of the white man during the past fifty years. The old Negro was asked what he thought of the brilliant address. He scratched his head and said, dubiously, "Well he sho' did recommen' hisself high!" It is by this process of recommending himself "high" that the white boy gets his stimulus from his forbears.

        It is well, perhaps, that the Negro should begin to recommend himself as a worthy model to the coming generations of his race, that the coming generations may realize that virtue and honor are not the sole possession of any one race.

        It is fitting, fifty years after the abolition of chattel slavery in the United States, that a brief review of that odious system be given to the world, together with the record of the long life of useful and honorable achievement of one who came through that trying ordeal. Lives such as his serve as a justification of the faith of those who believed in, and suffered for, the cause of emancipation, and they are also irrefutable evidence that those who advocated the rights of one class to enslave and to keep under subjection another class were entirely wrong.

        It is not the purpose of this book, however, to give a complete history of chattel slavery in the United States. That has already been well done by other able writers in the past. And, too, that task would involve arduous labors which would hardly be rewarded by the serious consideration of the feverish, on-rushing, wealth-seeking people of our day. So wild and inordinate is the rush for wealth in this century that men find little time for reading about the past; they rarely look back over


Page 39

the past and consider the depth from which our country has arisen. Realizing this, it is thought that a great service can be rendered the reading public by giving briefly the narrative of one whose rise from slavery has signalized the capabilities and the possibilities of a class once almost wholly discredited and completely denied the common advantages of education, ownership of property and the felicity of the domestic fire side. This man, by indefatigable industry, indomitable will-power and energy, discriminate reading, profound meditation on the vital issues of life, and perseverance in the studies of sociology and history, as well as important problems of the human race in many lands, although reared in the hard school of adversity, has become a leader of thought, and an admirable example and guide, for the coming generations of his race in America.

        The nefarious traffic in human beings was first begun on the North American continent when a Dutch Man-of-War in 1619 brought a number of Negroes to Jamestown, Virginia, and the chief officer of the vessel, Captain Miles Kendall, tendered these Negroes to the people of the Colony in exchange for food to relieve the hunger of his starving white sailors.

        With this introduction of Negro slavery in the little struggling Colony in Virginia, began also the effort to keep the poor whites, who represented a submerged class, and the enslaved blacks separate. Cruel taskmasters, in their merciless greed for gain and in their unrelenting purpose to keep under subjection both classes, dehumanized both the unfortunate white servants as well as the helpless black slaves. Yet they stood out for the purity of the white race. While these white servants were forced to work side by side with the black slaves; while


Page 40

the toiling whites and the degraded blacks occupied the very same industrial level; while they were bound together in serfdom, yet there was a difference made in their clothes and food, religious ideals and political rights and on account of these differences a social chasm was created between the two servant classes. For a while the poor whites suffered all the hardships of the hopeless blacks; but this did not last long, the white taskmasters having mercy on the white servants even when unrelenting in their dealings with the Negro slaves. Thus it will be seen that the whites were given the advantage over the blacks from the very start and were taught to regard themselves as superior to the blacks.

        This effort of the slave-owners and controllers of the servant class among the poor whites in the Colony produced an anomalous result. In order to keep under control and subjection the poor whites, and oppress the helpless blacks, and at the same time justify themselves and their system, even those who posed as Christians and respectable citizens in the Colony invoked the aid of the law to sanction and make secure their position. It is one of the acknowledged truisms that a guilty conscience needs a multitude of subterfuges to guard against dreaded contingencies. And so, when the society folks of the Virginia Colony had made up their minds that the Negro slaves were merely heathen, they stood ready to punish severely any white man or woman who had the temerity to cross over the line drawn between the races. Public sentiment and the law agreed that the two races should be kept separate, notwithstanding the similarity in the condition of the poor whites and the enslaved blacks.

        The first prohibition relating to the servant status


Page 41

of two races seems to have been made in 1630; for it was about this time that the poor white servants and the Negro slaves began to form ties of friendship. They lived largely together in a debased and degrading serfdom. As they became acquainted with each other, they found in one another qualities which they mutually admired, and so their relationships became more and more intimate. They frequently violated the law and public opinion of the Colony, and hence the prohibition. The legal distinction between Negro slaves and white servantes was set forth in the law of the Colony as follows: "The Negroes shall be slaves for life; the white servants for a time."

        For forty-three years, that is, from 1619 to 1662, there was no visible sanction of the system of slavery in the laws of the Virginia Colony. The system was wholly controlled by public opinion, and that was sufficient. It was simply a matter of common consent that slavery was allowed to exist. On the 14th of December, 1662, however, the foundation of the institution of slavery was firmly laid by the passage of an act in which slavery was duly sanctioned and made hereditary by statutory enactment.

        In 1670 the Colonists considered the grave question as to whether the stubborn and often retaliating Indians taken in battle were to become servants for a time or slaves for life. The sagacious Colonists entertained certain fears concerning the Indians which they did not experience in the case of the Negroes; and so they adroitly provided that captive Indians should be made servants for a time, or term of years, while the Negroes should be made slaves for life. The Colonists probably hated the Indians as much as they did the Negroes, but


Page 42

they realized that the Indians were natives of the soil, and they were being robbed both of their land and their liberties, thus being more unjustly treated than the Negroes who were robbed only of their liberties. And, again, the Indians constituted an element of danger and peculiar dread to the Colonists; while in the case of the Negroes there was nothing to fear from them.

        In 1682 the little Virginia Colony found itself in a flourishing condition, prosperity and plenty abounded. The usual thing happened. Opulence has a tendency to make men tyrannical, and great success in business frequently leads to the heartlessness and unmerciful attitude of the fortunate toward the unfortunate. While the captured Indians were not classed as slaves up to this time, but simply as servants for a term of years, the growing wealth and increasing number of Colonists seemed to embolden them, and they threw off the mask which they had been wearing and boldly repealed the law which they had previously made respecting the Indians. Instead of them being held as servants for a term of years, they were made slaves for life, on the same footing as the Negroes. After the passage of this law, slavery, the cruel and inhuman institution, flourished and spread over the entire country, and the slave trade was entered into with great commercial activity. With the spread of slavery there sprang up philosophers and logicians who justified on the ground of human reason, the maintenance and perpetuity of the institution. Many of them, with pious pretentions, sought justification for the system in the Holy Bible.

        The little Colony of Virginia encouraged the traffic in human beings from 1619 to 1775, because by doing


Page 43

so she was able to enrich herself. During this period the slaves in the Colony had no political or military rights. As early as 1639 slaves were prohibited by law from owning arms or carrying weapons of defense of any sort. In 1705 slaves were barred by special act from holding or exercising any office of honor or trust, civil, military or ecclesiastical; or occupying any place of public duty or power in the Colony. If found with a gun, sword, club, staff, or any other weapon, such slave was turned over to the constable who was required to administer twenty-five lashes on his bare back.

        Indeed, such a thing as personal rights was incompatible with the condition of slavery as it existed at the time in the Colony. These poor creatures, the slaves, were not allowed to leave their master's plantation at any time without a written "pass," and such passes were granted in only exceptional cases. If a slave attempted to lift his hand against a white man in defense of himself, he was punished by thirty lashes on his bare back; and if he dared to resist his master while his master was correcting him, he might be killed, and the master go unaccused in the eyes of the law of the Colony. If a slave was permitted to remain on another plantation more than four hours, his master was liable to a fine of two hundred pounds of tobacco; and if any white person had any commercial dealings with a slave, he was liable to imprisonment for one month without bail and compelled to give security in the sum of ten pounds. If a slave earned and owned a horse and buggy, it was perfectly lawful to seize them, and the church-warden was charged with the sale of the articles. Even with the full permission of his master, if a slave was found going about in the Colony trading


Page 44

articles for his own or for his master's profit, his master was liable to a fine of ten pounds and this fine went to the church-warden for the benefit of the poor of the parish in which the slave did the trading.

        In no matters of law, civil, religious, or criminal, had the slave any rights. Even the free Negroes (and they were somewhat numerous in the Colony in 1775) were totally deprived of the right of the franchise. But being denied the right of suffrage did not exempt them from taxation. Although they had no representation, they were forced to pay taxes just the same. The free Negroes contributed to the support of schools and schoolteachers, but neither they nor their children were granted the benefits and blessings of education. The most common civilities and amenities of life were denied them.

        But slavery was not confined to the little Colony of Virginia. It soon became a nation-wide institution. Some of the noblest and best people, North and South, owned slaves, and they were evidently sincere in their belief that the institution was of divine origin, as many of them contended. Able scientific scholars and theologians defended the institution. Some of the very strongest books written during the period were published in defense of the view that God made the black race for the purpose of serving the white race; that God gave this race peculiar physical structure and endowed it with certain qualities which rendered it well adapted to the climate of the South. Believing this, these scientists and theologians could not conceive any wrong or injustice connected with their treatment of the Negroes. "The long habit of thinking a thing right gives it the


Page 45

superficial appearance of being right,"*

        * Thomas Paine.


though it might be at variance with every principle of common justice. But wrong cannot permanently hold sway. Right must triumph in the end. If a certain course of conduct leads uniformly to health, happiness, and prosperity, it is fair to assume that such a course is right; but, if, on the other hand, such a course leads to poverty, sorrow, degradation and woe, and at the same time vitiates the characters of those who follow that course, such a course is assuredly a violation of some fundamental law in nature which God has ordained for the good of mankind. If it is found that in all climes, under all forms of government, under all conditions of society, the results are the same, it is not unsafe to draw the inference from these facts that such an institution is unworthy to be perpetuated.

        It is hardly to be expected in this day, fifty years after the abolition of slavery, that any sane man can be found who will urge that the institution of slavery was really beneficial to the country at large, or that the system was calculated to promote loftier ideals of justice and brotherhood among men.

        Not a single phase of the national life was unaffected by the institution. It engrossed the profoundest attention and consideration of senators and congressmen, of governors and judges; it was the one perplexing problem in industry, literature, agriculture, commerce, morals and religion. The entire country for some time was identified with the system. By the ramifications of business, education, commerce, and manufacture, there was hardly a village, town or city that was not, either directly or remotely, affected by it. The questions of


Page 46

morals and religion, the questions of right and wrong, the questions of justice and injustice, were all involved, and these important questions knew no geographical boundaries, were not limited by conventional lines, were not circumscribed by winding streams or lofty mountains. These questions were of universal interest and moment, and the destiny of the nation rested upon them.

        It must be embarrassing to the brave, big-hearted, conscientious, intelligent white man of this day to review the past history of the nation, and to contemplate the perverted ethical ideals entertained by his ancestors, and their strange and corrupt notions of justice. He will find it difficult to undersand how they arrived at such conclusions and established such public opinion as was fostered by them in the darker days of this nation.

        Under a Democratic form of government the people make the laws, and these laws express crystallized public opinion. It was public opinion that made slaves of the Africans in 1619 and kept them slaves until fifty years ago, when that public opinion underwent radical changes. This public opinion must undergo further changes before the Negroes of this Republic can enjoy all of the rights guaranteed them by the Constitution. While they are free from the tyranny of slavery in the sense that they are no longer chattels; yet the inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are still denied to the Negro by the white public opinion of this day.

        The United States government is founded on the principle of the equality of natural rights among men. This principle is proclaimed as one of the fundamental doctrines in the famous Declaration of Independence, which was adopted by the fathers of the republic, on the 4th


Page 47

day of July, 1776, the nation's birthday. This great document says:

        "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed; and that when any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it, and to institute a new government, laying its foundations on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness."

        It is self-evident that all men, without reference to country, color, creed, or condition, are equal in natural rights; and also that no man or set of men has a natural right to exercise authority over others in opposition to their wishes. A self-evident truth is one that does not need to be proved. The truth of man's natural right is a self-evident truth. No sane man will willingly surrender to another his life, his liberty, or his chances for happiness; these are God's gifts, and are inalienable. They can be justly taken away from a man--only when he violates the laws and becomes a dangerous member of society.

        Just as it is self-evident that all men have natural rights, so is it also self-evident that the purpose and design of government is, and should always be, the protection of the people in the just exercise of their rights. The design of government should be to secure to each and every man his life, liberty, reputation, and property, by the enactment and execution of good laws. Government


Page 48

should not be established for the glory and pride, nor for the special benefit or protection of any one class of people, but for the welfare of all the people. The people alone have the right to determine what is best, what system to adopt, and when they are not suited, they may, in an orderly and legal manner, change it, and select some other form that is better adapted to promote their safety and happiness.

        The fundamental law of the United States, reflected in the Preamble to the Constitution, was conceived in noble hearts, for it sought perfect union, justice, domestic tranquillity, common defense, general welfare and the blessing of liberty. But, as will be seen in the next two chapters of this work, many bad men controlled governmental affairs in the South just after this government was established, and out of their heartless and selfish methods, they wrought in ways that are repugnant to fair-minded people of this day.


Page 49

CHAPTER V

        CLAIM MADE BY THOSE FAVORABLE TO SLAVERY--PUBLIC OPINION--LAWS OF THE PERIOD, 1619-1775--DIABOLICAL TREATMENT OF THE SLAVES--HOW VALUES WERE REGARDED--CHANGE OF PUBLIC OPINION--SLAVES NOT PERMITTED TO TESTIFY IN COURTS OF JUSTICE.

        IT was claimed in the days of slavery that the Negroes needed the wise oversight, guidance and protection of the white race; that the institution of slavery was, in reality, a system designed for the development and protection of the heathen African, brought to this country to help develop its wonderful natural resources. This protection, however, took a strange turn; it was the queerest system of protection known in history. It protected (?) the slaves by depriving them of trial by jury; by forbidding them to assemble for the worship of God, unless their oppressors were present; by branding them as liars, in denying them their oath in law; by leaving it to their masters to determine how much or how little clothing was required to keep them warm, or to clothe or let them go naked as their masters pleased; by leaving it to their masters to feed or starve them, as whim or caprice might dictate; by allowing their masters to drive them to work in good weather or bad, in rain, cold or heat, without sufficient rest or sleep. This is the sort of protection (?) and guidance which slavery hedged about its victims.


Page 50

        The institution of slavery and public opinion were in harmony with each other, for public opinion justified the institution that deprived the slaves of their liberty, robbed them of the fruits of their toil, denied them the right to improve their minds and morals, rendered it impossible oftentimes for them to enjoy the companionship of their parents and friends; under it they could not better their condition, eat when hungry, rest when tired, sleep when sleep was needed, nor even cover their nakedness independent of the wishes of their masters.

        It may be truthfully said that slavery had not a single virtue nor one benevolent purpose as its chief foundation-stone. It was not instituted to develop and cultivate the mental and moral natures of those who were subject to its operations. On the contrary it encouraged and deliberately set aflame the dormant sensuality of the Negro, nurtured and caressed his productive wantonness and flogged into insensibility every conscientious scruple in its mercenary greed and mad strife to increase human herds for use and sale. And, too, the moral integrity of the white man suffered a severe strain in the midst of so much enforced sensuous corruption as existed among the slaves, and hence the millions of mixed-blooded Negroes throughout the United States in our day.

        The institution of slavery, supported by public opinion, placed the Negroes on the auction block, to be handled, scrutinized and knocked down to the highest bidder. Its determined policy decreed that under no circumstances should they have their liberty; and even if their masters gave it to them, the freedmen could be sold back into slavery. It was public opinion crystallized


Page 51

that formally attached the following legal penalties to the following acts of the slaves:

        "If more than seven slaves were found together in one road, unaccompanied by a white person, twenty lashes apiece; for visiting a plantation without a written pass, ten lashes; for letting loose a boat from where it was made fast, thirty-nine lashes for the first offence, and for the second, one ear to be cut off from his head; for keeping, or carrying a club, thirty-nine lashes; for having any article for sale, without a ticket from his master, ten lashes; for traveling in any other than the usual and most accustomed road, when going alone to any one place, forty lashes; for traveling in the night without a pass, forty lashes; for being found in another Negro's quarters, forty lashes; for hunting with dogs in the woods, thirty lashes; for being on horseback without the written permission of his master, twenty-five lashes; for riding or going abroad at night, or riding a horse in the day-time, without permission, a slave might be whipped, cropped, or branded in the cheek with the letter R, or otherwise punished, not extending to life or so as to render him unfit for labor."

        Laws similar to these existed throughout the Southern slave state codes. Extracts sufficient to fill a volume might easily be gathered from these laws, showing the sort of protection (?) public opinion afforded the slaves. Hunger, nakedness, terror, bereavement, robbery, imprisonment, the stocks, iron collars, being hunted with dogs and guns, mutilation of their bodies, and being murdered, were some of the phases of protection (?) given the slaves by public opinion.

        A few specimens of the earlier laws and the judicial


Page 52

decisions will show what was the state of public opinion among slaveholders towards their slaves. Let the following suffice:--"Any person may lawfully kill a slave, who has been outlawed for running away and lurking in swamps."--(Law of North Carolina.) "A slave endeavoring to entice another slave to run away, shall be punished with death. And a slave who shall aid the slave so endeavoring to entice another slave to run away, shall also suffer death."--(Law of South Carolina.) Another law of South Carolina provides that if a slave, male or female, shall, when absent from the plantation, refuse to be examined by "any white person," (no matter how crazy or drunk) "such white person may seize and chastise him; and if the slave shall strike such white person, such slave may be lawfully killed."--(2 Brevard's Digest, 231.)

        The following was one of the laws of Georgia:--"If any slave shall presume to strike any white person, such slave shall, upon trial and conviction before the justice or justices, suffer such punishment for the first offence as they shall think fit, not extending to life or limb; and for the second offence, death."--(Prince's Digest, 450.) The same law existed in South Carolina, with this difference, that death was made the punishment for the third offence. In both states, the law contained this remarkable proviso: "Provided always, that such striking be not done by the command and in the defence of the person or property of the owner, or other person having the government of such slave, in which case the slave shall be wholly excused." According to this law, if a slave, by the direction of his overseer, struck a white man who was beating said overseer's dog, "the slave shall be wholly excused"; but if the white man had


Page 53

rushed upon the slave himself, instead of the dog, and was furiously beating him, if the slave retaliated a single blow, the legal penalty was any punishment "not extending to life or limb"; and if the tortured slave had a second onset made upon him, and, after suffering all but death, again struck back in self-defence, the law killed him for it. So, if a female slave, in obedience to her mistress, and in defence of her property, struck a white man who was found kicking her mistress' pet kitten, she was "wholly excused," saith the considerate (?) law; but if the unprotected girl, when beaten and kicked herself, raised her hand against her brutal assailant, the law condemned her to any punishment, "not extending to life or limb"; and if a wretch assailed her again, and attempted to violate her chastity, and the trembling girl, in her anguish and terror, instinctively raised her hand against him in self-defence, she should, saith the law, "suffer death."

        Reader, this diabolical law was the crystallization of the public opinion of Georgia and South Carolina toward the slaves. This was the vaunted protection (?) afforded them by their "high-souled chivalry." To show that the public opinion of the slave states far more effectually protected the property of the master than the person of the slave, the reader is referred to two laws of Louisiana, passed in 1819. The one attached a penalty "not exceeding one thousand dollars," and "imprisonment not exceeding two years," to the crime of "cutting or breaking any iron chain or collar," by a white man which any master of slaves had used to prevent their running away; the other, a penalty "not exceeding five hundred dollars," for "wilfully cutting out the tongue, putting out the eye, cruelly burning,


Page 54

or depriving any slave of any limb." Look at it--the most horrible dismemberment conceivable could not be punished by a fine of more than five hundred dollars. The law expressly fixed that as the utmost limit, and it might not be half that sum. Not a single moment's imprisonment threatened the wretch to deter him from such brutality. But let a man break a chain put upon a slave to keep him from running away, and, besides paying double the penalty that could be inflicted upon him for cutting off a slave's leg, the law would imprison him not exceeding two years!

        This law revealed the heart of the slaveholders towards their slaves, their indifference to the most excruciating and protracted torments that might be, and often were inflicted on them. It revealed, too, the relative protection (?) afforded by public opinion to the person of the slave, in appalling contrast with the vastly surer protection which it afforded to the master's property in the slave. The wretch who cut out the tongue, tore out the eyes, shot off the arms, or burned off the feet of a slave over a slow fire, could not legally be fined more than five hundred dollars; but if one should in pity loose a chain from the slave's galled neck, placed there by the master to keep him from escaping, and thus put his property rights in the slave in some jeopardy, he would be fined one thousand dollars, and thrust into a prison for two years! and this, be it remembered, not for stealing the slave from the master, nor for enticing, or even advising him to run away, or giving him any information how he might effect his escape; but merely, because, touched with sympathy for the bleeding victim, as he saw the rough iron chafe the torn flesh at every turn, he removed it.


Page 55

        The preceding law is another illustration of the protection (?) afforded to the limbs and lives of slaves, by public opinion among slaveholders.

        Here follow two other illustrations of the brutal indifference of public opinion to the torments of the slave. While this public opinion is full of zeal to compensate the master, if any one should disable his slave so as to lessen his market value, there is no consideration of the slave. The first was a law of South Carolina. It provided that if a slave, engaged in his owner's service, be attacked by a person not having sufficient cause for so doing, and if the slave should be maimed or disabled by him, causing the owner to suffer a loss from the slave's disability, the person maiming him should pay for his lost time, and also the charges for the cure of the slave! This vandal law did not deign to take the least notice of the anguish of the "maimed" slave, made, perhaps, a groaning cripple for life. The horrible wrong and injury done him was passed over in utter silence. It was thus not a criminal act to maim a slave, but the pecuniary interests of the master were not to be neglected by public opinion. Oh no! its tender bowels of sympathy ran over at the master's injury in the "lost time" of his slave, and it carefully provided that he should have pay for the whole of it.--(See 2 Brevard's Digest, 231, 2.)

        A law similar to the above was passed in Louisiana, which contained an additional provision for the benefit of the master, ordaining that, if the slave (thus maimed and disabled) be forever rendered unable to work, the person maiming should pay the master the appraised value of the slave before the injury, and should, in addition, take the slave, and maintain him during life. Thus


Page 56

public opinion transferred the helpless cripple from the hand of his master, who, as he had always had the benefit of his services, might possibly feel some tenderness for him, to the wretch who had disabled him for life. What but butchery by piecemeal could, under such circumstances, be expected from a man brutal enough to maim and disable the slave, and now exasperated by being obliged to pay his full value to the master, and to have, in addition, the daily care and expense of his maintenance!

        It has already abundantly been shown that the public sentiment of the slaveholding states toward the slaves was fiendish. Even if there were laws in those states, the terms of which granted to the life of the slave the same protection granted to that of the master, they did not avail. The public sentiment which made the slave "property," permitted all sorts of hideous practices of wrong and cruelty. This was the case in South Carolina till a few years before the Civil War; a slaveholder might butcher his slave in the most deliberate manner--with the most barbarous and protracted torments,--and yet not be subjected to a single hour's imprisonment; all he had to do was to pay the fine required by law.

        Previous to 1821, the killing of a slave in South Carolina "on a sudden heat of passion, or by undue correction," was punished by a fine of three hundred and fifty pounds. In that year an amendment was passed diminishing the fine for such an offense to five hundred dollars, but authorizing an imprisonment not exceeding six months. Just before the American Revolution, the legislature of North Carolina passed a law making imprisonment the penalty for the wilful and


Page 57

malicious murder of a slave. About twenty years after the revolution, the state found itself becoming "odious," as the spirit of abolition was pervading the nations. The legislature, perceiving that Christendom would before long rank the people of the state with barbarians if they so cheapened human life, repealed the law, candidly assigning in the preamble of the new one the reason for repealing the old, that it was "disgraceful" and "degrading." As this preamble expressly recognized the slave as "a human creature," and was couched in a phraseology which indicated some sense of justice, the legislature would have been given credit for sincerity, and been believed to have humane motives towards the slave, but for a proviso in the law clearly revealing that the show of humanity indicated by the terms was nothing more than a hollow pretense--a hypocritical flourish. After declaring that he who was guilty of wilfully and maliciously killing a slave, should suffer the same punishment as if he had killed a freeman, the act concluded thus: "Provided, always, this act shall not extend to the person killing a slave outlawed by virtue of any act of Assembly of this state; or to any slave in the act of resistance to his lawful overseer, or master, or to any slave dying under moderate correction." Reader, look at this proviso. 1. It gave free license to all persons to kill outlawed slaves. Well, what was an outlawed slave? A slave who ran away, lurked in swamps, etc., or one who killed a hog or some other domestic animal to keep himself from starving to death. Such a slave was subject to a proclamation of outlawry (Haywood's Manual, 521); then whoever found such an outlawed slave might shoot him, allow dogs to tear him in pieces, burn him to death over a slow fire, or kill


Page 58

him by any other tortures. 2. The proviso granted full license to a master to kill his slave, if the slave resisted him. The North Carolina Bench had decided that this law included not only actual resistance to punishment, etc., but also offering to resist.--(Stroud's Sketch, 37.) If, for example, a slave, undergoing the process of branding, should resist by pushing aside the burning stamp; or if wrought up to frenzy by the torture of the lash, he should catch and hold it fast; or if he should break loose from his master and run, refusing to stop at his command; or if he refused to be flogged; or struggled to keep his clothes on while his master tried to strip him; if, in these, or any one of a hundred other ways he resisted, or offered, or threatened to resist the infliction; or, if the master attempted the violation of the slave's wife, and the husband resisted the attempt without the least effort to injure him, but merely to shield his wife from assault, this law not merely permitted, but it authorized, the master to murder the slave on the spot.

        The brutality of these two provisos branded the authors as barbarians. But the third cause of exemption could not be outdone by the legislation of fiends.

        "Provided always," says the law, "this act shall not extend to any slave dying under moderate correction!" "Dying under moderate correction!" was a formal proclamation of impunity to murder--an express pledge of acquittal to all slaveholders who wished to murder their slaves, a legal absolution!--an indulgence granted before the commission of the crime! Look at the phraseology. Nothing was said of maimings, dismemberments, skull fractures, of severe bruisings, or lacerations, or even of floggings; but a word is used, the common-parlance


Page 59

import of which was, slight chastisement; it was not even whipping, but "correction." And as if hypocrisy and malignity were on the rack to outwit each other, even that weak word must be still further diluted; so "moderate" is added: and, to crown the climax, compounded of absurdity, hypocrisy, and cold-blooded murder, the legal definition of "moderate correction" was covertly given; which was any punishment that killed the victim. All inflictions were either moderate or immoderate; and the design of this law was manifestly to shield the murderer from conviction, by carrying on its face the rule for its own interpretation; thus advertising, courts and juries, beforehand, that the fact of any infliction producing death, was no evidence that it was immoderate, and that beating a man to death came within the legal meaning of "moderate correction"! The design of the legislature of North Carolina in framing this law was manifest; it was to produce the impression upon the world, that they had so high a sense of justice as voluntarily to grant adequate protection to the lives of their slaves. This was ostentatiously set forth in the preamble, and in the body of the law. That this was the most despicable hypocrisy, and that they had predetermined to grant no such protection, notwithstanding the pains taken to get the credit for it, was fully revealed by the proviso, which was framed in such way as to nullify the law, and for the express accommodation of slaveholding gentlemen (?) murdering their slaves. All such, find in this proviso a convenient accomplice before the fact, and a packed jury, with a ready-made verdict of "not guilty," both gratuitously furnished by the government! The preceding law and proviso are to be found in Haywood's Manual, 530;


Page 60

also in Laws of Tennessee, Act of October 23, 1791; and in Stroud's Sketch, 37.

        Enough has been given already to show that, though the laws of the slave states professed to grant adequate protection to the life of the slave, such professions were mere empty pretence, no such protection being in reality afforded by them. But there was still another fact, showing that all laws which professed to protect the slaves from injury by the whites were a mockery. It was this, that the testimony, neither of a slave nor of a free Negro, was legal evidence against a white man. To this rule there was no exception in any of the slave states: and this, were there no other evidence, would be sufficient to stamp, as hypocritical, all the provisions of the codes which professed to protect the slaves; professing to grant protection, it stripped them of the only means by which they could make that protection effective. Injuries must be legally proved before they can be legally redressed. To deprive men of the power of proving their injuries, is itself one of the greatest of injuries. How could a slave prove outrages perpetrated upon him by his master or overseer, when his own testimony and that of all his fellow-slaves, his kindred, associates, and acquaintances, was ruled out of court, and when he was entirely in the power of those who injured him?

        The Supreme Court of Louisiana, in their decision, in the case of Crawford vs. Cherry (15, Martin's La. Rep. 142; also "Law of Slavery," 249), where the defendant was sued for the value of a slave whom he had shot and killed, say, "The act charged here is one rarely committed in the presence of witnesses" (whites). So in the case of the State vs. Mann (Devereux, N. C. Rep.


Page 61

263; and "Law of Slavery," 247), in which the defendant was charged with shooting a slave girl belonging to the plaintiff; The Supreme Court of North Carolina, in their decision, speaking of the provocation of the master by the slave, and the consequent wrath of the master prompting him to bloody vengeance, add, "a vengeance generally practised with impunity by reason of its privacy."

        Laws disqualifying the testimony of slaves and free Negroes, where a white person was concerned, did not exist in all of the slave states. One or two of the states had no legal enactment on the subject whatever; but, in such states, public opinion took the place of legal enactment and carried the same force.


Page 62

CHAPTER VI

        DUTY OF STRONG TOWARD THE WEAK--DOCTRINAIRES CLAIMED SLAVERY DIVINE INSTITUTION--THE BANEFUL INFLUENCE OF CHATTELISM--BRUTALITY OF SLAVEHOLDERS--NO PUNISHMENT FOR MURDER--SLAVE ADVERTISEMENTS SHOWING CHARACTER OF MASTERS.

        IT is generally agreed among sensible people, that justice, patience, sympathy and practical aid is due the weaker element of society from the stronger; that the duty of the wise is to enlighten the unwise; that the rich should help the poor; that for the good of all, every advantage should be afforded to make truer, better citizens of those who represent the alien element of the population. The dominant race should protect the property, natural rights and interests of all, that all might enjoy peace and prosperity.

        Wise men of our time realize that abuse of power by the strong over the weak, any curtailing of personal liberty, will make the fundamental problems of all the people more acute, and more trying and difficult will become the issues of our complex civilization. The right and duty of every citizen to an equal participation in the government, and in the enacting of the laws which are to govern all alike, is the vital principle of our Republic. This means equal political and civil rights. Every man is entitled to equal opportunities and equal


Page 63

protection under the laws of the land. This is fundamental to American government. While this is no new doctrine, it did not apply to the black man of this country in the days of slavery. These views, if entertained at all, related to white men only. From the very beginning of organized society in North America, it was assumed that Negroes were the natural property of white men,--mere subjects of bondage. Indeed, Negro chattelism appeared to be one of the essential elements of the civilization of the times; it produced in the white man a monstrous aberration of the sense of human rights and justice. Some of the most powerful Christian teachers and doctrinaires deliberately taught from their platforms and pulpits that slavery was a God-ordained institution. But this unequal power, this domination of one class by another, had its corrupting effects upon both classes.

        It is a recognized fact that government reflects the character of those who govern. If the governing class is stupid, foolish, perverse and ignorant, they make laws which oppress and degrade those who are subject to their power. Wherever the law-making class has been narrow and prejudiced, it has made laws which hurt and embarrass the helpless minority. Wherever the lawmakers were bad, impure, dishonest, their laws have reflected their characters and have brought degradation upon all of the people alike. The abuses, evils and perils of the governed, therefore, it will thus be seen, proceed from the weak, faulty characters of those who govern.

        The relations of the two races, the white and the black, as master and slave, had a tendency to corrupt both. The white man's moral vision became perverted


Page 64

and warped; his moral integrity strained to the breaking point; self-indulgent, haughty, supercilious, brutal, lustful, masterful in speech, audacious in action, with all restraints of decency thrown off, he sank to the level of one who entertained no sense of moral obligation to society or to God. He was worse morally than those whom he oppressed.

        It was the master class that created and maintained the public opinion in the slave states. This public opinion justified the plundering, torturing and murdering of the slaves at every turn. Capital punishment was inflicted upon slaves for trivial offenses, while if like offenses were committed by masters, the legal penalty would be imprisonment merely, or no punishment at all would be inflicted. Judge Stroud, in his historical sketch of Laws of Slavery, said that, by the laws of Virginia, there were seventy-one crimes for which slaves were capitally punished, though in none of these cases were white men punished in a manner more severe than by imprisonment. In Mississippi, slaves were punished capitally for more than thirty crimes, for which white men were punished by fines and imprisonment only. Eight of these were not recognized as crimes at all, when committed by the whites. In South Carolina slaves were punished capitally for nine more crimes than the whites; in Georgia, for six; and in Kentucky for seven more than whites. In all of the slave states the Negroes were made the special subjects of legislation, and what was a crime in their case hardly constituted an offense in the eyes of the whites if committed by whites.

        Surely it is not necessary to call further attention to the monstrous inequality with which the penal codes of


Page 65

the slave states abounded, as they related to slaves and masters. When we consider that guilt is reckoned in proportion to intelligence,--that culpability and blame-worthiness depend upon the degree of knowledge of the offender, and when we consider that these masters had doomed the slaves to perpetual ignorance, making it a crime to develop their intelligence, and then, as the poor benighted blacks darkled and groped along their blind way, to inflict harsh penalties upon them for acts that would not be regarded as reprehensible in the whites, to call such a policy inhuman, savage, murderous, diabolical, would be to use but mild terms.

        But slaveholding brutality did not stop here. While slaves were punished for crimes with vastly greater severity than were their masters for like crimes, the laws made certain acts crimes when done by Negroes, which were not crimes when done by white people. Furthermore, the slaves were not instructed in this barbarous penal code. They were left to get a knowledge of these laws as best they could, and cases must have been of constant occurrence in the south, in which slaves got their first knowledge of the existence of a law by suffering its penalty. Indeed, this is the only way in which they could learn what the laws were; for how else could the slave get a knowledge of the laws? He could not read--he could not learn to read; if he tried to master the alphabet, so that he might spell out the words of the law, and thus avoid its penalties, the law shook its terrors at him; while, at the same time, those who made the laws refused to make them known to those who were to be affected by them.

        The memory of Caligula will blacken with execration while time lasts, because he hung up his laws so high that


Page 66

people could not read them, and then punished them because they did not keep them. The slaveholders aspired to blacker infamy. Caligula was content with hanging up his laws where his subjects could see them; and if they could not read them, they knew where they were, and might get at them, if, in their zeal to learn his will, they had used the same means to get up to them that those did who hung them there. Even Caligula, wretch as he was, would have shuddered at cutting their legs off, to prevent their climbing to them; or, if they had got there, at boring their eyes out, to prevent their reading them. The slaveholders virtually did both; for they prohibited their slaves acquiring that knowledge of letters which would enable them to read the laws; and if, by stealth, they got it in spite of them, they prohibited them books and papers, and flogged them if they were caught at them. Further, Caligula merely hung his laws so high that they could not be read, the slaveholders hung theirs so high above the slave that they could not be seen--they were utterly out of sight, and he found out that they were there only by the falling of the severe penalties on his head.

        Thus the "public opinion" of slave states protected (?) the defenceless slave by arming a host of legal penalties and setting them in ambush at every thicket along his path, to spring upon him unawares, like wild beasts.

        Having already drawn so largely on the reader's patience in illustrating southern "public opinion" slave laws, instead of adding illustrations of the same point, there are grouped together here a few particulars, which show that "public opinion" as expressed in the forms of law, trampled on all those fundamental principles


Page 67

of right, justice, and equity, which are recognized as sacred by all civilized nations.

        One of these principles is, that the benefits of law to the subject shall overbalance its burdens--its protection more than compensate for its restraints and exactions--and its blessings altogether outweigh its inconvenience and evils--the former being numerous, positive, and permanent, the latter shall be few, negative, and incidental. Totally the reverse of all this was true in the case of the slave. Law was to him all exaction and no protection: instead of lightening his natural burdens, it crushed him under a multitude of artificial ones; instead of a friend to succor him, it was his deadliest foe, transfixing him at every step from the cradle to the grave. Law has been beautifully defined to be "benevolence acting by rule;" to the American slave it was malevolence torturing by system. It is an old truth, that responsibility increases with capacity; but those laws which made the slave a "chattel," required of him more than of other men. The same law which made him a thing incapable of obligation, loaded him down with obligations superhuman; while sinking him below the level of a brute in dispensing its benefits, it put upon him burdens which would break down an angel.

        Deprivation of liberty is one of the severest punishments of crime; and in proportion to the justice of a penalty when inflicted on the guilty, is its injustice when inflicted on the innocent; this terrible injustice was inflicted on a vast number of human beings for over two hundred years.

        Self-preservation and self-defence are universally regarded as the most sacred of human rights, yet the laws


Page 68

of slave states punished the slave with death for exercising these rights. The safeguards of law are most needed for the weak.

        Every principle of justice and equity requires that those who are totally unprotected by birth, station, wealth, friends, influence, and popular favor, and especially those who are the innocent objects of public contempt and prejudice, should be more vigilantly protected by law, than those who are so fortified by favorable circumstances, as to stand in little need of legal protection; yet the poor slave who was fortified by none of these personal bulwarks, was denied the protection of law, while the master, surrounded by them all, was panoplied in the mail of legal protection, even to the hair of his head.

        The grand object of law is to protect men's natural rights, but instead of protecting the natural rights of the slaves, it gave slaveholders license to wrest these rights from them.

        This was the protection (?) thrown around the rights of American slaves by the "public opinion" of slaveholders; these were the restraints (?) that held back their masters, overseers, and drivers, from inflicting injuries upon them!

        Under a Democratic form of government, law is the pulse of the government heart--as the heart beats the pulse beats, except that it often beats weaker and the heart, never stronger--or to drop the figure, laws are never worse than those who make them, very often better.

        Law establishes what should be the custom or practice of a community: a rule or mode of conduct is made obligatory by the sanction of a recognized authority;


Page 69

and this applies to any single rule of conduct so imposed and enforced. Law-making is a formal, deliberate act, performed by persons of mature age, embodying the intelligence, wisdom, justice and humanity, of the community; established, too, at leisure, after full opportunity for a comprehensive survey of all the relations to be affected, after careful investigation and protracted discussion. Consequently, laws should, in the main, be a true index of the permanent feelings, the settled frame of mind, cherished by the community upon subjects, and towards those persons and classes of persons whose rights the laws are designed to protect and enforce. If the laws are in a high degree cruel and inhuman towards any class of persons, it proves that the feelings habitually exercised towards that class of persons by those who make and perpetuate those laws, are at least equally cruel and inhuman. If the habitual state of feeling towards a class be unmerciful, it follows that that feeling must be unspeakably cruel, relentless and malignant when excited; if its ordinary action is inhuman, its excited action and spasms must be tragedies; if the waves run high when there has been no wind, where will they not break when the tempest heaves them?

        Further, when the spirit of the law towards a proscribed class is cruel, when it legalizes great outrages upon this class, it will connive at, and abet greater outrages, and virtually become an accomplice of all who perpetrate them. Hence, in such cases, though the outrages be illegal in all their degrees, the perpetrator will rarely be convicted, and, even if convicted, will be almost sure to escape punishment. This is not theory but history.

        Every judge and lawyer in the slave states knew that


Page 70

the legal conviction and punishment of masters, for illegal outrages upon their slaves, was an event which had rarely, if ever, occurred in those states; they knew, also, that, although hundreds of slaves were murdered by their masters, and though the fact that those murders had been committed by the masters was established beyond a doubt in the minds of the surrounding community, the murderers were not, in a single instance, made to suffer the penalty of the law.

        Finally, since slaveholders deliberately legalized the perpetration of the most cold-blooded atrocities upon their slaves, and persistently refused to make these atrocities illegal, and to punish those who perpetrated them, they stood convicted before the world, upon their own testimony, of the most barbarous, brutal, and habitual inhumanity. If this be slander and falsehood, their own lips have uttered it, their own fingers written it, their own acts demonstrated it.

        Having dwelt at such length on the legal code of the slave states, that unerring index of the public opinion of slaveholders towards their slaves; and having shown that it did not protect the slaves from cruelty, and that even in the few instances in which the letter of the law, if executed, would have afforded some protection, it was virtually nullified by the connivance of the courts and juries of that day. It might be safe to rest the case here, assured that every honest reader would spurn the absurd falsehood, that the public opinion of the slave states protected the slaves and restrained the master. But, as the assertion was made so often by slaveholders, and with so much confidence, notwithstanding its absurdity was fully revealed by their own legal code, its falsehood will be shown by applying other tests.


Page 71

        It is a truth that can be made no plainer by reasoning, that the same public opinion which restrains men from committing outrages, will restrain them from publishing such outrages, if they do commit them; in other words, if a man is restrained from certain acts through fear of losing his character, should they become known, he will not voluntarily destroy his character by making them known, should he be guilty of them. It was assumed that public opinion was so pronounced against cruelty to the slaves, that the fear of disgrace would restrain masters from inflicting it, even were there no other motives.

        Now, that this is sheer fiction is shown by the fact that the newspapers in the slaveholding states contained numerous advertisements for runaway slaves, in which the masters described their slave men and slave women as having been "branded with a hot iron," on their cheeks, jaws, breasts, arms, legs, and thighs; also as "scarred," "very much scarred" "cut up," "marked" etc., "with the whip"; also with "iron collars on," "chains," "bars of iron," "fetters," "bells," "horns," "shackles," etc. They also described them as having been "wounded by buckshot," "rifle balls," etc., fired at them by their owners and others when in pursuit; also, as having "notches cut in their ears," the tops or bottoms of their ears "cut off," or "slit," or "one ear cut off," or "both ears cut off," etc. The masters who thus advertised their runaway slaves coolly signed their names to their advertisements, giving the street and number of their residences, if in cities, their post-office addresses, if in the country; thus making public proclamation as widely as possible that they did brand, scar, gash, cut up, etc., the flesh of their slaves; load


Page 72

them with irons, cut off their ears, etc.; they referred to these things with the utmost composure and indifference, not seeming to think it possible that any one would esteem them at all the less because of these outrages upon their slaves; further, these advertisements were found in great numbers in many of the largest and most widely circulated political and commercial papers published in the slave states. The editors of those papers were of the literati of the slave states; they moved in the highest circle of society, and were among the popular men in the community, and, as a class, were more influential than any other; yet these editors published these advertisements with iron indifference. So far from notifying these brutal masters that their papers would not be their bloodhounds, to hunt down the innocent and mutilated victims who had escaped from their torture, they freely furnished these wicked oppressors every facility, thus becoming their accomplices and sharing their spoils.

        To show that the public opinion of the slave states, towards the slaves, was absolutely diabolical, the following advertisements from newspapers are exhibited:

        The North Carolina Standard:--"TWENTY DOLLARS REWARD. Ran away from the subscriber, a Negro woman and two children; the woman is tall and black, and a few days before she went off, I burnt her with a hot iron on the left side of her face; I tried to make the letter M, and she kept a cloth over her head and face, and a fly bonnet on her head so as to cover the burn; her children are both boys, the oldest is in his seventh year; he is a mulatto and has blue eyes; the youngest is black and is in his fifth year. The woman's name is Betty, commonly called Bet.--Micajah Ricks."


Page 73

        Hear the wretch tell his story, with as much indifference as if he were describing the cutting of his initials in the bark of a tree. "I burnt her with a hot iron on the left side of her face; I tried to make the letter M," and this he says in a newspaper and puts his name to it, and the editor of the paper, who was also its proprietor, published it for him and pocketed his fee. Perhaps the reader will say, "Oh, it must have been published in an insignificant sheet printed in some obscure corner of the state; perhaps by a gang of 'squatters,' in the Dismal Swamp, universally regarded as a pest, and edited by some scapegallows, who was detested by the whole community." The reply is, that the "North Carolina Standard," the paper which contained the advertisement, was a large six column weekly paper, well printed and ably edited; it was the leading Democratic paper in North Carolina, and was published at Raleigh, the capital of the state, Thomas Loring, Esq., editor and proprietor. The motto in capitals under the head of the paper was, "The Constitution and the Union of the States--they must be preserved." The same editor and proprietor, who exhibited such brutality of feeling towards the slaves, by giving this advertisement a conspicuous place in his columns, and taking his pay for it, entertained apparently a keen sense of the proprieties of life, where whites were concerned, and a high regard for the rights, character and feelings of those whose skin was colored like his own. As a proof of this, here is copied from the number of the paper containing the foregoing advertisement, an Editorial on the pending political canvass:

        "We cannot refrain from expressing the hope that the Gubernatorial canvass will be conducted with a due


Page 74

regard to the character, and feeling of the distinguished individuals who are candidates for that office; and that the Press of North Carolina will set an example in this respect worthy of imitation and of praise."

        What was this but chivalrous and honorable feeling? The good name of North Carolina was dear to him; on the comfort, "character and feelings," of her white citizens he placed high values; he felt, too, most deeply for the character of the Press of North Carolina, seeing that it was a city set on a hill, and implored his brethren of the editorial corps to "set an example" of courtesy and magnanimity worthy of imitation and praise. Now, reader, put all these things together and con them over, and then read again the preceding advertisement contained in the same number of the paper, and you have the true "North Carolina Standard," by which to measure the protection (?) extended to slaves by the public opinion of that state.

        J. P. Ashford advertised as follows in the "Natchez Courier":--"Runaway, a Negro girl called Mary, has a small scar over her eye, a good many teeth missing, the letter A is branded on her cheek and forehead."

        A. B. Metcalf thus advertised a woman in the same paper:--"Runaway, Mary, a black woman, has a scar on her back and right arm near the shoulder, caused by a rifle ball."

        John Henderson, in the "Grand Gulf Advertiser," advertised: "Betsey:--Runaway, a black woman Betsey, has an iron bar on her right leg."

        Robert Nicoll, whose residence was in Dauphin Street, Mobile, Alabama, thus advertised a woman in the "Mobile Commercial Advertiser";--"TEN DOLLARS REWARD will be given for my Negro woman Liby. The


Page 75

said Liby is about 30 years old, and very much scarred about the neck and ears, occasioned by whipping, had on a handkerchief tied round her ears, as she commonly wears it to hide the scars."

        Advertisement from the "Charleston (S. C.) Courier":--"TWENTY DOLLARS REWARD.--Ran away from the subscriber, a Negro girl named Molly. She is 16 or 17 years of age, slim made, lately branded on the left cheek, thus, R, and a piece taken off of her ear on the same side; the same letter on the inside of both her legs.--Abner Ross, Fairfield District."

        Similar advertisements, illustrating the horrible brutality of slaveholders toward their slaves might be multiplied to the extent of filling many volumes; advertisements describing not only men and boys, but women, aged and middle-aged, matrons and girls of tender years, their necks chafed with iron collars with prongs, their limbs galled with iron rings, and chains, and bars of iron, iron hobbles and shackles, all parts of their persons scarred with the lash, and branded with hot irons, and torn with rifle bullets, pistol balls and buck shot, and gashed with knives, their eyes out, their ears cut off, their teeth drawn out, and their bones broken.


Page 76

CHAPTER VII

        WHAT HAPPENS WHEN RESPECT FOR WOMEN IS WANTING--EXTRACTS FROM SOUTHERN NEWSPAPERS--AWFUL SCENES OF BRUTALITY DESCRIBED--THE DOG'S PART IN SLAVE-HUNTING--SHERIFF'S SALE OF SLAVES--"FREE" MEN NOT FREE--THE RUNAWAY SLAVES--HOW TREATED.

        HOWEVER far gone a community may be in brutality, something of protection may yet be hoped for from its public opinion, if respect for woman survive the general wreck; that gone, protection perishes; public opinion becomes universal rapine; outrages, once occasional, become habitual; the torture, which was before inflicted only by passion, becomes the constant product of a system, and, instead of being the index of sudden and fierce impulses, is coolly plied as the permanent means to an end.

        When women were branded with hot irons on their faces; when iron collars, with prongs, were riveted about their necks; when iron rings were fastened upon their limbs, and they were forced to drag after them chains and fetters; when their flesh was torn with whips, and mangled with bullets and shot, and lacerated with knives; and when those who did such things were regarded in the community, and associated with, as "gentlemen," to say that the public opinion of such a


Page 77

community was a protection to its victims, would mean to place a strange construction upon the term.

        To illustrate the hardened brutality with which slave-holders regarded their slaves, the shameless and apparently unconscious indecency with which they spoke of their female slaves, examined their persons, and described them, under their own signatures, in newspapers, hand-bills, and in verbal utterances, just as they would describe the marks of cattle and swine on all parts of their bodies; a few extracts from southern papers will give ample showing.

        Mr. P. Abdie, of New Orleans, advertised in the "New Orleans Bee," for one of his female slaves as follows:--"Ran away, the Negro wench named Betsey, aged about 22 years, handsome-faced, and good countenance; having the marks of the whip behind her neck, and several others on her rump. The above reward, ($10), will be given to whoever will bring that wench to P. Abdie."

        The "New Orleans Bee," in which the advertisement of this human brute appeared, was the Official Gazette of the State, of the General Council, and of the first and third Municipalities of New Orleans. It was the largest and the most influential paper in the southwestern states, and perhaps the most ably edited, and had undoubtedly a larger circulation than any other. It was a daily paper, twelve dollars a year, and its circulation was mainly among the larger merchants, planters, and professional men; it was a fair index of the public opinion of Louisiana, with respect to the slaves. Advertisements quite as gross, indecent, and abominable, could be found in almost every number of that paper.

        Mr. William Robinson, Georgetown, District of Columbia,


Page 78

advertised for his slave in the "National Intelligencer," of Washington City, as follows:--"Eloped from my residence a young Negress, 22 years old, of a chestnut, or brown color. She has a very singular mark--this mark, to the best of my recollection, covers a part of her breasts, body, and limbs; and when her neck and arms are uncovered, is very perceptible; she has been frequently seen east and south of the Capitol Square, and is harbored by ill-disposed persons, of every complexion, for her service."

        Mr. John C. Beasely, near Huntsville, Alabama, thus advertised a young girl of eighteen, in the "Huntsville Democrat":--"Ran away, Maria about 18 years old, very far advanced with child." He then offered a reward to any one who would commit this young girl, in this condition, to jail.

        Mr. James T. DeJarnett, Vernon, Autauga Co., Alabama, thus advertised a woman in the "Pensacola Gazette":--"Celia is a bright copper-colored Negress, fine figure and very smart. On examining her back, you will find marks caused by the whip." He closes the advertisement, by offering a reward of five hundred dollars to any person who will lodge her in jail, so that he can get her.

        Mr. Francis Foster, of Troup Co., Georgia, advertised in the "Columbus (Ga.) Enquirer":--"My Negro woman Patsey, has a stoop in her walking, occasioned by a severe burn on her abdomen."

        The above are but a few specimens of the gross details, in describing the persons of females, of all ages, and the marks upon all parts of their bodies; proving incontestably, that slaveholders were in the habit not only of stripping their female slaves of their clothing,


Page 79

and inflicting punishment upon their shrinking flesh, but of subjecting their naked persons to the most minute and revolting inspection, and then publishing to the world the results of their examination, as well as the scars, their length, size, and exact position on the body left by their own inflictions; all this without seeming to impair in the least the standing in the community of the shameless wretches who thus proclaimed their own abominations. That such things should not at all affect the standing of such persons in society, was certainly no marvel. How could they affect it, when the same communities enacted laws requiring their own legal officers to inspect minutely the persons and bodily marks of all slaves taken up as runaways, and to publish in the newspapers a particular description of all such marks and peculiarities of their persons, their size, appearance, position on the body, etc.? Yea, verily, when the public opinion of the community, in the solemn form of law, commanded jailers, sheriffs, captains of police, etc., to divest aged matrons and young girls of their clothing, in order to examine minutely their naked persons, and publish the results of their examinations, who could marvel that the same public opinion should justify the slaveholders themselves in doing the same things to their own property?

        The indifference with which slaveholding public opinion regarded the taking of the lives of slaves may be illustrated by the following advertisements, taken from a multitude of similar ones in Southern papers:--

        "Ten silver dollars reward will be paid for apprehending and delivering to me my man Moses, who ran away this morning; or I will give five times the sum to any person who will make due proof of his being killed,


Page 80

and never ask a question to know by whom it was done.--W. Skinner, Perquimons County, N. C."

        The late John Parrish, of Philadelphia, an eminent minister of the religious society of Friends, who traveled through the slave states, on a religious mission, published on his return a pamphlet of forty pages, entitled "Remarks on the Slavery of the Black people." From this work is extracted the following illustrations of public opinion in North and South Carolina and Virginia at that period:--

        "When I was traveling through North Carolina, a black man, who was outlawed, being shot by one of his pursuers, and left wounded in the woods, they came to an ordinary where I had stopped to feed my horse, in order to procure a cart to bring the poor wretched object in. Another, I was credibly informed, was shot, his head cut off, and carried in a bag by the perpetrators of the murder, who received the reward, which was said to be $200, continental currency, and that his head was stuck on a coal house at an iron works in Virginia--and this for going to visit his wife at a distance. Crawford gives an account of a man being gibbetted alive in South Carolina, and the buzzards came and picked out his eyes. Another was burnt to death at a stake in Charleston, surrounded by a multitude of spectators, some of whom were people of the first rank; . . . the poor object was heard to cry, as long as he could breathe, 'not guilty, not guilty.'"

        Here is a description of one of the lynchings during the slavery period. The lynching occurred in the city of St. Louis, Missouri. A black man, named McIntosh, had stabbed an officer, who had arrested him. The Negro was seized by the multitude, fastened to a tree in


Page 81

the midst of the city, wood piled around him, and in open day and in the presence of an immense throng of citizens, he was burned to death. The "Alton (Ill.) Telegraph," in its account of the scene said:

        "All was silent as death while the executioners were piling wood around their victim. He said not a word, until feeling that the flames had seized upon him. He then uttered an awful howl, attempting to sing and pray, then hung his head, and suffered in silence, except in the following instance:--After the flames had surrounded their prey, his eyes burnt out of his head, and his mouth seemingly parched to a cinder, some one in the crowd, more compassionate than the rest, proposed to put an end to his misery by shooting him, when it was replied, 'That would be of no use, since he was already out of pain.' 'No, no,' said the wretch, 'I am not, I am suffering as much as ever; shoot me, shoot me.' 'No, no,' said one of the fiends who were standing about the sacrifice they were roasting, 'he shall not be shot. I would sooner slacken the fire, if that would increase his misery;' and the man who said this was an officer of Justice!"

        The St. Louis correspondent of a New York paper reported:--

        "The shrieks and groans of the victim were loud and piercing, and to observe one limb after another drop into the fire was awful indeed. He was about fifteen minutes in dying. I visited the place this morning, and saw his body, or the remains of it, at the place of execution. He was burnt to a crump. His legs and arms were gone, and only a part of his head and body were left."

        Lest this demonstration of public opinion should be


Page 82

regarded as a sudden impulse merely and not as an index of the settled tone of feeling in that community, it is important to add, that the Hon. Luke E. Lawless, Judge of the Circuit Court of Missouri, at a session of that Court in the city of St. Louis, some months after the burning of this man, decided officially that "since the burning of McIntosh was the act, either directly or by countenance of a majority of the citizens, it is a case which transcends the jurisdiction of the Grand Jury!" Thus the state of Missouri declared to the world, that the wretches who perpetrated that unspeakably diabolical murder, and the thousands that stood by consenting to it, were her representatives, and the Bench sanctified it with the solemnity of a judicial decision.

        In the "Macon (Ga.) Telegraph," the following account of a runaway's den, and of the good luck of a "Mr. Adams," in running down one of the runaways "with his excellent dogs," appeared:--

        "A runaway's den was discovered on Sunday near the Washington Spring, in a little patch of woods, where it had been for several months, so artfully concealed under ground, that it was detected only by accident, though in sight of two or three houses, and near the road and fields where there has been constant daily passing. The entrance was concealed by a pile of pine straw, representing a hog bed--which being removed, discovered a trap door and steps that led to a room about six feet square, comfortably ceiled with plank, containing a small fireplace, the flue of which was ingeniously conducted above ground and concealed by the straw. The inmates took the alarm and made their escape; but Mr. Adams and his excellent dogs being put upon the trail, soon run down and secured one of them,


Page 83

which proved to be a Negro fellow who had been out about a year. He stated that the other occupant was a woman, who had been a runaway a still longer time. In the den was found a quantity of meal, bacon, corn, potatoes, etc., and various cooking utensils and wearing apparel."

        Note that it was Mr. Adams' "excellent dogs" that did the work! They were well trained, swift, fresh, keen-scented, "excellent" men-hunters, and though the poor fugitive in his frenzied rush for liberty, strained every muscle, yet the dogs gained upon him, and after dashing through fens, brier-beds, and the tangled under-growth till faint and torn, he sank, and the bloodhounds were upon him. What blood-vessels the poor struggler burst in his desperate rush for life--how much he was bruised and lacerated in his plunge through the forest, or how much the dogs tore him, the Macon editor did not chronicle. These were matters of no moment but his heart was touched with the merits of Mr. Adams' "excellent dogs," that "soon run down and secured" a guiltless and trembling human creature!

        The "Georgia Constitutionalist" contained the following letter from the coroner of Barnwell District, South Carolina:--

"To the Editor of the Constitutionalist:

        "I have just returned from an inquest I held over the body of a Negro man, a runaway, that was shot near the South Edisto, in this District (Barnwell), on Saturday last. He came to his death by his own recklessness. He refused to be taken alive--and said that other attempts to take him had been made, and he was determined that he would not be taken. He was at


Page 84

first, (when those in pursuit of him found it absolutely necessary), shot at with small shot, with the intention of merely crippling him. He was shot at several times, and at last he was so disabled as to be compelled to surrender. He kept in the run of a creek in a very dense swamp all the time that the neighbors were in pursuit of him. As soon as the Negro was taken, the best medical aid was procured, but he died on the same evening. One of the witnesses at the Inquisition, stated that the Negro boy said he was from Mississippi, and belonged to so many persons that he did not know who his master was, but again he said his master's name was Brown. He said his name was Sam, and when asked by another witness, who his master was, he muttered something like Augusta or Augustine. The boy was apparently above thirty-five or forty years of age, about six feet high, slightly yellow in the face, very long beard or whiskers, and very stout built, and a stern countenance; and appeared to have been a runaway for a long time.

"WILLIAM H. PRITCHARD, CORONER (Ex-officio),
Barnwell Dist. S. C."


        The "Norfolk (Va.) Herald" had the following:

        "Three Negroes in a ship's yawl, came on shore yesterday evening, near New Point Comfort, and were soon after apprehended and lodged in jail. Their story is, that they belonged to a brig from New York bound to Havana, which was cast away to the southward of Cape Henry, some day last week; that the brig was called the Maria, Captain Whittemore. I have no doubt they were deserters from some vessel in the bay, as their statements are very confused and inconsistent. One of


Page 85

these fellows is a mulatto, and calls himself Isaac Turner; the other two are quite black, the one passing by the name of James Jones and the other John Murray. They have all their clothing with them, and are dressed in sea-faring apparel. They attempted to make their escape, and it was not till a musket was fired at them, and one of them slightly wounded, that they surrendered. They will be kept in jail till something further is discovered respecting them."

        The "St. Francisville (La.) Chronicle" gives the following account of a "Negro Hunt," in that Parish:

        "Two or three days since a gentleman of this parish, in hunting runaway Negroes, came upon a camp of them in the swamp on Cat Island. He succeeded in arresting two of them, but the third made fight; and upon being shot in the shoulder, fled to a sluice, where the dogs succeeded in drowning him before assistance could arrive."

        The following was written by a sister-in-law of Gerritt Smith, Esq., Peterboro:--

        "In North Carolina, some years ago, several slaves were arrested for committing serious crimes and depredations, in the neighborhood of Wilmington, among other things, burning houses, and, in one or more instances, murder.

        "It happened that the wife of one of these slaves resided in one of the most respectable families in W. in the capacity of nurse. Mr. J., the first lawyer in the place, came into the room, where the lady of the house was sitting with the nurse, who held a child in her arms, and, addressing the nurse, said, 'Hannah! would you know your husband if you should see him?' 'Oh, yes, sir,' she replied; when he drew from beneath


Page 86

his cloak the head of the slave, at the sight of which the poor woman immediately fainted. The heads of the others were placed upon poles, in some part of the town, afterwards known as 'Negro Head Point.' "

        "New Orleans, Sabbath, February 15. Early this morning accompanied A. H. Esq. to the hospital, with the view of making arrangements to preach to such of the sick as could understand English. The first room we entered presented a scene of human misery, such as I had never before witnessed. A poor Negro man was lying upon a couch, apparently in great distress; a more miserable object can hardly be conceived. His face was much disfigured, an iron collar, two inches wide and half an inch thick, was clasped about his neck, while one of his feet and part of the leg were in a state of putrefaction. We inquired the cause of his being in this distressing condition, and he answered us in a faltering voice, that he was willing to tell us all the truth.

        "He belonged to Mr.--, a Frenchman, ran away, was caught, and punished with one hundred lashes! This happened about Christmas; and during the cold weather at that time, he was confined in the cane-house, with a scanty portion of clothing, and without fire. In this situation his foot had frozen, and mortified, and having been removed from place to place, he was yesterday brought here by order of his new master, who was an American. I had no time to protract my conversation with him then, but resolved to return in a few hours and pray with him.

        "Having returned home, I again visited the hospital at half past eleven o'clock, and concluded first of all (he was to preach at 12) to pray with the poor lacerated Negro. I entered the apartment in which he lay,


Page 87

and observed an old man sitting upon a couch; but, without saying anything went up to the bedside of the Negro, who appeared to be asleep. I spoke to him, but he gave no answer. I spoke again, and moved his head, still he said nothing. My apprehensions were immediately excited, and I felt for his pulse, but it was gone. Said I to the old man, 'Surely this Negro is dead.' 'No,' he answered, 'he has fallen asleep, for he had a very restless season last night.' I again examined and called the old gentleman to the bed, and alas, it was found true, that he was dead. Not an eye had witnessed his last struggle, and I was the first, as it should happen, to discover the fact. I called several men into the room, and without ceremony they wrapped him in a sheet, and carried him to the dead-house as it is called."--Edwards' "Life of Rev. Elias Cornelius," pp. 101, 2, 3.

        From the "Vicksburg (Miss.) Register":--"I offer my plantation for sale. Also seventy-five acclimated Negroes.--O. B. Cobb."

        From the "Southerner":--"I will sell my Old-River plantation near Columbia in Arkansas; also one hundred and thirty acclimated slaves.--Benj. Hughes."

        From the "Arkansas Advocate":--"By virtue of a Deed of Trust, executed to me, I will sell at public auction at Fisher's Prairie, Arkansas, sixty likely Negroes, consisting of men, women, boys and girls the most of whom are well acclimated.--Grandson D. Royston, Trustee."

        From the "Mobile Register":--"WILL BE SOLD CHEAP FOR CASH, in front of the Court House of Mobile County, on the 22d day of July next, one mulatto man named Henry Hall, who says he is free; his


Page 88

owner or owners, if any, having failed to demand him, he is to be sold according to the statute in such cases made and provided, to pay Jail fees.--Wm. Magee, Sh'ff M. C."

        From the "Grand Gulf (Miss.) Advertiser":--"Committed to the jail of Chickasaw Co. Edmund, Martha, John and Louisa; the man 50, the woman 35, John 3 years old, and Louisa 14 months. They say they are free and were decoyed to this state."

        The "Southern Argus" contained the following:--"Ran away from my plantation, a Negro boy named William. Said boy was taken up by Thomas Walton, and says he was free, and that his parents live near Shawneetown, Illinois, and that he was taken from that place in July; says his father's name is William, and his mother's Sally Brown, and that they moved from Fredericksburg, Virginia. I will give twenty dollars to any person who will deliver said boy to me or Col. Byrn, Columbus.--Samuel H. Byrn."

        The first of the following advertisements was a standing one, in the "Vicksburg Register," from December till August. The second advertised the same free man for sale.

        "SHERIFF'S SALE. Committed, to the jail of Warren county, as a Runaway, on the 23d inst. a Negro man, who calls himself John J. Robinson; says that he is free, says that he kept a baker's shop in Columbus, Miss., and that he peddled through the Chickasaw Nation to Pontotoc, and came to Memphis, where he sold his horse, took water, and came to this place. The owner of said boy is requested to come forward, prove property, pay charges, and take him away, or he will


Page 89

be dealt with as the law directs.--Wm. Everett, Jailer."

        "NOTICE is hereby given, that the above-described boy, who calls himself John J. Robinson, having been confined in the Jail of Warren county as a Runaway, for six months--and having been regularly advertised during this period, I shall proceed to sell said Negro boy at public auction, to the highest bidder for cash, at the door of the Court House in Vicksburg, on Monday, 1st day of August, 1836, in pursuance of the statute in such cases made and provided.--E. W. Morris, Sheriff, Vicksburg."

        See "Newburn (N. C.) Spectator," January 5, 1837, for the following advertisement:

        "Ran away, from the subscriber a Negro man known as Frank Pilot. He is five feet eight inches high, dark complexion, and about 50 years old, has been free since 1829--is now my property, as heir at law of his last owner, Samuel Ralston, dec. I will give the above reward if he is taken and confined in any jail so that I can get him.--Samuel Ralston, Pactolus, Pitt County."

        From the Tuscaloosa (Ala.) "Flag of the Union," June 7, 1837:--"Committed to the Jail at Tuscaloosa County, a Negro man, who says his name is Robert Winfield, and says he is free.--R. W. Barber, Jailer."

        That public opinion, in the slave states, afforded no protection to the liberty of Negro persons, even after those persons became legally free, by the operation of their own laws, was declared by Governor Comegys, of Delaware, in an address to the Legislature of that state. The Governor, commenting upon the law of the state which provided that persons convicted of certain


Page 90

crimes should be sold as servants for a limited time, said:--

        "The case is widely different with the Negro (!). Although ordered to be disposed of as a servant for a term of years, perpetual slavery in the south is his inevitable doom, unless, peradventure, age or disease may have rendered him worthless, or some resident of the State, from motives of benevolence, will pay for him three or four times his intrinsic value. It matters not for how short a time he is ordered to be sold, so that he can be carried from the State. Once beyond its limits, all chance of restored freedom is gone--for he is removed far from the reach of any testimony to aid him in an effort to be released from bondage when his legal term of servitude has expired. Of the many Negro convicts sold out of the State, it is believed none ever return. Of course they are purchased with the express view to their transportation for life, and bring such enormous prices as to prevent all competition on the part of those of our citizens who require their services, and would keep them in the State."

        From the "Memphis (Tenn.) Enquirer":--"$50 REWARD. Ran away, from the subscriber, on Thursday last, a Negro man named Isaac, 22 years old, about 5 feet 10 or 11 inches high, dark complexion, well made, full face, speaks quick, and very correctly for a Negro. He was originally from New York, and no doubt will attempt to pass himself as free. I will give the above reward for his apprehension and delivery, or confinement, so that I obtain him, if taken out of the state, or $30 if taken within the State.--Jno. Simpson."

        Mark, with what shameless indifference to the injustice of the case this Jno. Simpson told the public that


Page 91

he knew Isaac Wright was a free man! "He was originally from New York," he declared. And yet he added with brazen effrontery, "He will attempt to pass himself as free." This Isaac Wright was shipped by a man named Lewis, of New Bedford, Massachusetts, and sold as a slave in New Orleans. After passing through several hands, and being flogged nearly to death, he made his escape, and returned to his friends in Philadelphia.

        From the "Baltimore Sun":--"FREE NEGROES.--Merry Ewall, a free Negro, from Virginia, was committed to jail, at Snow Hill, Md., last week, for remaining in the State longer than is allowed by the law. The fine in his case amounts to $225. Capril Purnell, a Negro from Delaware, is now in jail in the same place, for a violation of the same act. His fine amounts to four thousand dollars, and he will be sold in a short time."

        With these descriptions and details concerning the laws and public opinion of the slavery period in mind, the reader will appreciate the story of the life of Allen Allensworth, which follows.


Page 92

CHAPTER VIII

        JUDGE WILLIAM JAY AND OTHERS--THE SAYINGS OF PATRICK HENRY--GROWTH OF ANTI-SLAVERY SENTIMENT IN THE NORTH--THE ORGANIZATION OF MANUMISSION AND ABOLITION SOCIETIES.

        THE four preceding chapters expose some of the atrocities of slavery, and the determined policy of the slave power to extend and perpetuate it. The following four chapters give the reader a short story of the revolt of public sentiment and opinion against the institution, and the development of the forces that finally in the bloody conflict of the Civil War abolished it, reintroducing the hero of the story who took part in this great national drama.

        There were wise, and far-seeing men in that day not only in the north but in the south as well, who believed in human equality, in human brotherhood, in the common rights of man. Such noble men as John Brown, George L. Stearns, Samuel J. May, William Lloyd Garrison, Wendell Phillips, Charles Sumner, John Greenleaf Whittier, Frederick Douglass, Judge William Jay, Abraham Lincoln, and thousands of other great souls possessed the vision of universal rights.

        These men knew, as men know today, that the philosopher and logician can always find strong arguments in defence of wrong, as well as right; and that men have a weakness for supporting the wrong.


Page 93

        William Jay, a judge, and a man of great heart and sympathies, published in 1835, his "Inquiry into the Character and Tendency of the American Colonization and American Anti-slavery Societies." The book bore upon its title page the words of Milton, "Give me liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely, according to my conscience, above all liberties,"--a sentiment considered treasonable in America by the Slave Power. This book had a powerful effect upon public opinion, not only on account of the arguments it contained, but largely on account of the character and position of the author. It was the policy of the pro-slavery party to represent the abolitionists as ignorant and reckless agitators, with nothing to lose. But here was a man of family and fortune, a judge on the bench, high in the counsels of the Episcopal Church, who set forth the detested doctrines with judicial moderation and unanswerable logic.

        Judge Jay began his work by an exposure of the Colonization Society. He showed that it was merely a scheme to get rid of the free blacks at the South, where they were regarded as a nuisance; that its officers represented it at the North as a solution of the slavery question, to quiet emancipationists, and to obtain their subscriptions. He set forth the constitutional and merciful objects of the American Anti-slavery Society. He showed that abolitionists were neither acting in opposition to law, nor were in any manner exciting the slaves to insurrection; that the opinions they professed were such as had been freely uttered by Jefferson, Franklin and numerous Southern statesmen within fifty years. He exposed the cruel character of American slavery, the beastly degradation, physical, moral and mental, to


Page 94

which it condemned the blacks; the horrors of the interstate slave trade, tearing husband from wife and children from their mothers to be sold into distant places; he pointed out the national disgrace involved in the fact that in the city of Washington, under the stars and stripes, slave-dealers were licensed to ply their trade in human flesh, leading the chained "coffles" of black wretches about the streets. The concluding chapters were devoted to showing that emancipation could be accomplished with safety, and that the real danger of the country lay in the continuation of slavery.

        The movement which culminated in the Civil War and the total abolition of slavery in the United States was first humanitarian, and subsequently political. Philanthropists prepared the way for the statesman and the soldier.

        The humanitarian movement had begun before the time of William Jay and his fellow workers. To find its beginnings, we must look back into the colonial days of the eighteenth century. There, among the first, was George Keith, of Pennsylvania, denouncing the system on grounds of both Christianity and public policy. And Samuel Sewall, Chief-Justice of Massachusetts, who, in his pamphlet, "The Selling of Joseph" quaintly testified to the truth. "These Ethiopians," he said, "as black as they are, seeing they are the sons and daughters of the first Adam and the offspring of God, they ought to be treated with respect agreeable." Ralph Sandiford, Benjamin Day, William Burling, Anthony Benezet, the Huguenot, were men who spoke as sincerely as later abolitionists and whose words were heard. There was John Woolman of New Jersey, who pointed out "the dark gloominess overhanging the land, the spirit


Page 95

of fierceness and love of dominion," resulting from this iniquity; and Dr. Samuel Hopkins, of Newport, R. I., whose eloquent exhortations banished the slave trade from a congregation growing rich on its spoils; and Dr. Benjamin Rush of Philadelphia, who foretold that "future ages will be at a loss which to condemn most, our folly, or our guilt in abetting this direct violation of nature and religion." The legislatures of Virginia, South Carolina, Pennsylvania and Massachusetts in turn attempted to restrict the slave trade; but their efforts were annulled by England, where the slave interest, through its champion, Lord Sandwich, resisted any interference with "a traffic so beneficial to the nation."

        The slave-trade was generally regarded in America as indefensible. There were men who denounced slavery itself as an abominable evil. Even those most determined to maintain the institution took the ground that it was an unfortunate necessity, but that it must be preserved to avoid greater evils. In 1787, through the noble efforts of Thomas Jefferson, Timothy Pickering, Rufus King, Nathan Dane, William Grayson, and Richard Henry Lee, Congress passed the great ordinance which forbade slavery to cross the Ohio River into the Northwest Territory.

        The struggle between right and wrong had begun, but the opposing forces were very unequal. On one side was humane sentiment; on the other was deeply rooted habit, pecuniary interest, the pressure of political questions of seemingly overriding importance. Among the great leaders of the time, there are two whose opinions and practice give an excellent illustration of the prevailing anti-slavery feeling, John Jay of New York, Patrick


Page 96

Henry of Virginia. There is no disagreement as to the moral elevation of John Jay's character. Abroad and at home, officially and unofficially, he was always the opponent of slavery. Yet Jay purchased and held men as slaves. To obtain domestic servants otherwise was extremely difficult. After his slaves had served him long enough to return to him what he considered the value of his outlay, he gave them their freedom. He believed that slavery in principle was wrong, but he yielded so far to convenience and custom. Patrick Henry was an anti-slavery man and placed his position on record in the following words: "Is it not amazing that, at a time when the rights of humanity are defined and understood with precision, in a country above all others fond of liberty, in such an age, we find men professing a religion the most humane, mild, meek, gentle, and generous adopting a principle as repugnant to humanity as it is inconsistent with the Bible, and destructive of liberty? Every thinking, honest man rejects it in speculation, but how few in practice, from conscientious motives! Would any one believe that I am a master of slaves of my own purchase? I am drawn along by the general inconvenience of living without them. I will not, I cannot, justify it; however culpable my conduct, I will so far pay my devoirs to duty as to own the excellence and rectitude of her precepts and lament my want of conformity to them. I believe a time will come when an opportunity will be offered to abolish this lamentable evil; everything we can do is to improve it, if it happens in our own day; if not, let us transmit to our own descendants, together with our slaves, a pity for their unhappy lot and an abhorrence of slavery."


Page 97

        Such being the character of anti-slavery sentiment, its chances of success seem hopeless enough when we hear the other side. When Congress was considering the Articles of Confederation, Wilson, of Pennsylvania, said: "Dismiss your slaves, freemen will take their places." The reply of Lynch, of South Carolina, showed the existence of men willing to sacrifice everything to the preservation of slavery. "Our slaves are our property," said he; "if that is debated, there is an end to confederation."

        The struggle over this subject in the days of the formation of the government was the beginning of the "irrepressible conflict." The Slave Power had come into being as a distinct force, aiming to dominate the rest of the community in the interest of property in man. On the other hand, the opposition began to organize. Several abolition and manumission societies were formed. The oldest of these was that of Pennsylvania, which in 1787 chose Benjamin Franklin for its president. A society was formed in New York in 1785 with John Jay as president and Alexander Hamilton as secretary; in Rhode Island in 1789, under the lead of Dr. Hopkins. In 1791, before the Connecticut society, Jonathan Edwards, the younger, maintained the doctrine of immediate emancipation. Similar associations were at work in New Jersey, Virginia, and Maryland. Anti-slavery men were thus uniting in their cause, but unfortunately they were, with rare exceptions, devoid of the earnestness which characterized their opponents. Their hostility to the system was a sentiment rather than a principle. It could hasten, somewhat, emancipation at the North; but it had no force to contend against the pecuniary interests which were daily binding


Page 98

tighter the bonds of the Negro in the South. There, in the early years of the present century, the cotton gin, which had been invented in 1793, gave an impetus to the production of cotton which nearly doubled the value of slaves. At the North the profits of the African trade which supplied this increased demand for Negroes gave to the Slave Power allies almost as determined as themselves.

        The year 1808, fixed by the Constitution as the limit of the duration of the slave-trade, witnessed the next contest. The result was a definite prohibition of the trade by law. But it was a barren victory for the cause of humanity. The interests involved in both Northern and Southern States had grown so large and influential as to make the law a dead letter. The trade continued with unabated vigor, and marked by even greater cruelties to the wretched cargoes. The Slave Power was growing in strength and determination, bent on controlling the national government, influencing our foreign relations, reaching out already to grasp new slave territory.


Page 99

CHAPTER IX

        THE CONTEST OVER MISSOURI--NORTH DIVIDED ON THE SLAVERY QUESTION--WILLIAM JAY'S LETTER--THE WINCHESTER RESOLUTION IN THE INTEREST OF GILBERT HORTON--SLAVERY IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.

        FROM 1818 to 1821 the great contest over the admission of Missouri as a slave state was continued. Men were not wanting to expose and condemn the contemplated evil. But the Slave Power had grown to great proportions. Henry Clay, who had believed "slavery to be a wrong, a grievous wrong, which no contingency can make right," now, at the behest of slaveholders, threw his great influence against the cause of humanity. As in the days of the Constitutional Convention the Slave Power had secured the perpetuation of its system by threats of preventing a union of the states, so in 1821, by threats of dissolving the Union, it obtained a recognition of the principle of the extension of slavery. Thomas Jefferson, so faithful an advocate of freedom, was now appalled by the sound of a strife which, "like the fire-bell at midnight," announced disaster, and he counseled concession. So Congress passed the so-called Missouri Compromise, which allowed slavery to break its bounds and to spread over Arkansas and Missouri. The Slave Power had won a great victory. The old apologetic claim that the system, although


Page 100

wrong, could not be abolished without entailing greater evils, was now exchanged for the bold doctrine that slavery was a good thing, to be extended and strengthened.

        The struggle was growing fiercer and becoming more clearly an issue between North and South, but the bone of contention was yet the extension, not the abolition, of slavery. The Slave Power, warned by the opposition it had met in Congress, that a new spirit was arising in the North, instinctively felt that its position could be maintained only by further aggression. None but slaveholders were allowed to represent the South in Congress, and every public measure was considered first in its light upon the institution of slavery. Such humane laws regarding the blacks as still existed in the slave states were repealed, new and more cruel enactments were passed and the manumission of slaves by grateful or repentant masters was prohibited.

        While at the South opinion tended towards united and vigorous action, the sentiments of the people at the North were divided. The majority, although disliking slavery "in the abstract," were so fearful of the outcome of the contention, were so anxious to see some settlement which would put an end to agitation, that they were disposed to accept the line drawn by the Missouri Compromise as the best solution possible, and to resent any further anti-slavery expression as an element of profitless disturbance. In this class there grew up a dislike for Negroes, a hatred of the questions involved in their presence in the country and a general prejudice against color. Many persons who preserved abolition views were lulled into repose of conscience by support of the Colonization Society, an organization formed in the


Page 101

South to get rid of free colored persons by shipping them to Africa, but skillfully made to appear as a philanthropic scheme to solve the slavery problem. Men of the highest character and with the best intentions had joined this society in the belief that therein might be found the means of uprooting slavery. The ten years following the Missouri Compromise was unpromising for the cause of the slave. The Southern States were ceaselessly strengthening themselves. Race prejudice, the fear of business disturbance and a general apathy made the North acquiescent. Cotton was king, and to that authority conscience submitted.

        "Still there were signs of light and materials for improvement. In 1822 the exciting struggle for the establishment of slavery in Illinois resulted in favor of freedom. There existed in the whole country one hundred and forty anti-slavery societies, of which one hundred and six were in the South. In 1826 a convention was held in Baltimore at which eighty-one of these societies were represented. There was not enough "fight" among these anti-slavery men to make much impression. Their views were directed towards the prevention of slavery, towards its abolition in the District of Columbia (where its existence involved recognition by the United States government) and its "gradual" cessation elsewhere."*

        * William Jay.


        There were earnest men already engaged in a new and more vigorous crusade: Elias Hicks, the Quaker, who proclaimed boldly the sin of owning men or condoning the practice in others; Rev. John Rankin, of Tennessee, who removed with his congregation across the Ohio River, rather than acquiesce in slavery; William


Page 102

Goodell, of Providence, beginning a career of forty years; above all, Benjamin Lundy, who sacrificed to the cause all that men hold dear. Between 1815 and 1818 four abolition papers were being published, "The Emancipator" in Tennessee, "The Abolition Intelligencer" in Kentucky, "The Liberalist" in Louisiana, and, most important, Lundy's "Genius of Universal Emancipation" in Maryland. All of these papers were published in the South, and the majority of the manumission societies were there. Thus, in 1826, when William Jay began his labors, the line between freedom and slavery was not yet drawn. A few slaves were still held in New York. Many anti-slavery people were to be found in the South and many proslavery people in the North. The United States was a slaveholding nation.

        Jay was a deeply interested observer of the contest in Congress which resulted in the Missouri Compromise. In 1819, when he was thirty years of age, his attitude towards the extension of slavery was stated in a letter to Elias Boudinot:

        "I have no doubt that the laws of God, and, as a necessary and inevitable consequence, the true interests of our country, forbid the extension of slavery. If our country is ever to be redeemed from the curse of slavery the present Congress must stand between the living and the dead and stay the plague. Now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation. If slavery once takes root on the other side of the Mississippi, it can never afterwards be exterminated, but will extend with the future Western Empire, poisoning the feelings of humanity, checking the growth of those principles of virtue and religion which constitute alike the security and happiness of civil society."


Page 103

        In the year 1826 an incident occurred which marks the beginning of a new phase in the anti-slavery struggle, the movement which demanded abolition in the District of Columbia. There, on territory exclusively under the jurisdiction of the National Congress, it could be claimed justly that the question of states rights was not involved and that the constitutional provisions did not apply. In this movement, which continued until its object was accomplished in April, 1862, William Jay was a pioneer.

        In August of the year 1826 John Owen, the proprietor of a paper mill at Croton Falls, N. Y., near the Jay farm at Bedford, received a parcel from New York City which happened to have been wrapped in a Washington newspaper, "The National Intelligencer," of the 1st of August. On looking it over his eye caught the following advertisement:

        "Was committed to the jail of Washington County, District of Columbia, on the 22d of July last, a runaway Negro man by the name of Gilbert Horton. He is five feet high, stout made, large full eyes, and a scar on his left arm near the elbow; had on when committed a tarpaulin hat, linen shirt, blue cloth jacket and trousers; says that he was born free in the State of New York near Peekskill. The owner or owners of the above described Negro man, if any, are requested to come and take him away, or he will be sold for his jail fees and other expenses, as the law directs."

        There is a sort of grim humor about this advertisement, appearing, as it did, according to law, in the capital of the great free (?) republic of the world, under a flag supposed to typify human liberty. It declared that a man who claimed to be, and actually was


Page 104

a citizen of the state of New York, was held in jail without any charge and would be sold into lifelong slavery unless claimed as a slave by an owner who did not exist. It declared, in short, that a free citizen of the United States who had any Negro blood in his veins could be reduced to slavery by the act of setting foot in the capital of his country. Here was an issue which involved the rights of the state of New York, but could not be said to be an attack on those of Virginia or South Carolina.

        Mr. Owen recognized in the Gilbert Horton thus described a free man who had worked in his neighborhood. He lost no time in mounting his horse and riding over to Bedford to submit the matter to Judge Jay. By the latter's advice a letter was despatched at once to the marshal of the District of Columbia, giving proofs of Horton's freedom, and a meeting of the citizens of Westchester County was called to take action on the subject. This meeting, held on the 30th of August, with Oliver Green in the chair and William Jay as secretary, passed the following resolutions:

  • That this meeting view this procedure with the indignation becoming men who have a just sense of the value of personal liberty, and a proper abhorrence of cruelty and oppression.
  • That the evidence affords unequivocal proof of the freedom of Horton.
  • That the secretary is hereby desired to transmit to His Excellency the Governor the evidence above referred to, and, in the name of this meeting, to request His Excellency to demand from the proper authorities
    Page 105

    the instant liberation of the said Horton as a free citizen of the state of New York.

  • That by the fourth article of the Constitution of the United States the citizens of each state are entitled to all the privileges and immunities of the several states, and that it is the duty of the state of New York to protect its citizens in the enjoyment of these rights without regard to their complexion.
  • That the law under which Horton has been imprisoned, and by which a free citizen without evidence of crime and without trial by jury may be condemned to servitude for life, is repugnant to our republican institutions, and revolting to justice and humanity; and that the representatives of this state in Congress are hereby requested to use their endeavors to procure its repeal.
  • That the secretary, John Owen, Esq., be a committee to prepare and to present to the citizens of this county, for their signatures, a petition to Congress for the immediate abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia.
  • That the proceedings of this meeting be signed by the chairman and secretary, and published."

        On receiving from Judge Jay the Westchester resolutions, Governor Clinton submitted them immediately to President John Quincy Adams, who was paying a summer visit to his home at Quincy, Massachusetts, with a respectful demand for the liberation of Gilbert Horton as a free man and a citizen. The President sent the papers with a letter from himself to Henry Clay, then Secretary of State. Henry Clay was absent


Page 106

at the time, and the Chief Clerk of the department wrote to Governor Clinton that the instructions of the President had been anticipated by the discharge of Horton by the marshal of the District. The committal had taken place under an old law of Maryland, "which was adopted by Congress with the other general laws then in force in that state for the county of Washington upon its assuming exclusive jurisdiction over the territory."

        This disposal of the case left the principle at issue untouched, and Jay could not be satisfied with such a result. His views are expressed in a letter written in September to Hon. Charles Miner, a member of Congress: "Since I read a introduced by you in relation to slavery in the District of Columbia, the subject has been scarcely absent from my mind, and the late imprisonment in Washington of a citizen of this county afforded an opportunity which I gladly embraced of obtaining an expression of public opinion. I do not entertain the slightest hope that our petition will be favorably received, nor the slightest apprehension that the cause we espouse will not finally triumph. The history of the abolition of the slave trade teaches us the necessity of patient perseverance, and affords a pledge that perseverance will be ultimately crowned with success. We have nothing to fear, but much to hope, from the violence and threats of our opponents. Apathy is the only obstacle we have reason to dread, and to remove this obstacle it is necessary that the attention of the public should be constantly directed to the subject. Every discussion in Congress in relation to slavery, no matter how great may be the majority


Page 107

against us, advances our cause. We shall rise more powerful from every defeat."

        Jay's next step was to draft the memorial to Congress ordered by the Westchester resolutions. It declared:

        "The outrage offered to a citizen of this county, and a violation of the constitutional rights involved in that outrage, affords to the meeting new and strong evidences of the impropriety of the continuance of slavery in the District of Columbia. As citizens of the republic, professing to acknowledge that all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, and that among them are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, your petitioners cannot but regard it as derogatory to the government of the country that its laws should violate any of these rights in a territory under its exclusive jurisdiction. To your honorable body was given by the Constitution the exclusive jurisdiction in all cases whatever over that District, and your right and ability to grant the prayer of these petitioners cannot be called in question, and the confined limit of the District and the comparatively small number of slaves it contains obviates the objections sometimes urged against sudden emancipation.

        "Your petitioners therefore earnestly entreat your honorable body that the government of this great republic, glorying as it does in acknowledging and protecting the rights of mankind, diffusing the blessings of freedom, may no longer by law withhold these rights and blessings from any portion of the inhabitants of its own immediate territory, but in the exercise of your prerogative you will immediately provide for the abolition of


Page 108

slavery in the District of Columbia in such a manner as in your wisdom may seem best."

        The publication of the Westchester resolutions elicited no unfavorable comments at the North, but it gave no little disquietude to Southern editors, two of whom declared that black persons travelling in the South should carry proofs of their freedom, as whites in Europe were compelled to carry passports. The introduction of this subject into Congress, even at that day, when there was no excitement at the North on the subject of slavery, brought out the susceptibility and dictatorial tone of the slaveholding interests which marked all subsequent debates down to the election of Lincoln.

        Soon after the assembling of Congress in 1827, Mr. Aaron Ward, representing Westchester County, introduced a resolution instructing the committee on the District of Columbia to inquire into the circumstances of Horton's arrest, the fact of his being a citizen of New York, and the danger in which he stood of being sold as a slave. He contrasted the law under which such proceedings could be had with the provisions of the national Constitution; and he concluded by saying: "The jurisdiction of the District, sir, ought to be exhibited to the country and to the world without a stain. Its object should be not to oppress but to vindicate the rights of freemen, and if there is a spot on earth where these rights are to be held sacred that place is the District of Columbia."

        For a Northern man merely to touch upon the rights of colored persons was enough to arouse the leading Southern members of the House to angry opposition. John Forsythe, who as minister to Spain had arranged the cession of Florida to the United States by Spain;


Page 109

James Hamilton, an extreme advocate of states rights, afterwards Governor of South Carolina; Charles A. Wickliffe, afterwards Postmaster-General under President Tyler, and George McDuffie, of Georgia, all took pains to throw ridicule upon the resolution and to oppose its consideration. They considered, no doubt correctly, that to have any Negroes spoken of in Congress otherwise than as property was an indirect blow at slavery. W. L. Brent, of Maryland, said that the resolution as it stood was calculated to excite only angry debate and irritated feelings. If the mover would omit the words "being a citizen of any State," the most objectionable part would be removed. Mr. Ward consented to this emasculation and his resolution was then carried. The committee reported on the 16th of July, that in the District of Columbia, "if a freeman of color should be apprehended as a runaway, he is subjected to the payment of all fees and rewards given by law for apprehending runaways; and upon failure to make such payment, is liable to be sold as a slave." "That is," said Judge Jay, "a man acknowledged to be free and unaccused of any offence is to be sold as a slave to pay fees and rewards given by law for apprehending runaways. If Turkish despotism is disgraced by an enactment of equal atrocity, we are ignorant of the fact." The committee thought the law rather hard, and recommended such an alteration of it as would make such charges payable by the corporation of Washington. But even this alteration was never made. "The code of Washington," Jay said some years later, "is yet polluted by unquestionably the most iniquitous statute in Christendom." The fact continued that a colored citizen of a free state could be sold into slavery if found


Page 110

in Washington. Convinced that no reform could be expected except by the total abolition of slavery in United States territory; convinced, too, that this was the first necessary step in a campaign against slavery itself, Jay set on foot a movement for popular petitions to Congress and for legislative expressions on the subject. The Pennsylvania Legislature passed such resolutions in January, 1829; the New York Assembly followed soon afterwards, when Jay wrote to his friend Charles Miner: "The mail this evening brings the news that resolutions instructing our representatives in Congress to vote for the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia have passed our Assembly by vote of 57 to 39. In the fulness of my heart I thank God and take courage." Among his co-workers at this time was Henry D. Sedgwick, to whom he wrote in 1831: "I have read your pamphlet with much interest; your ideas on the abolition of slavery correspond with those I have long entertained and expressed. Duty is the only safe rule of expediency. No nation has ever suffered, and none ever will, for doing justice and loving mercy. But moral considerations apart, I have no doubt it would be wise policy in the Southern States immediately to emancipate their slaves. The period must arrive when slavery must cease on this continent. The progress of knowledge and religion, the example of St. Domingo, the abolition of slavery in Mexico and South America, the decreasing value of slave labor, and the rapidly augmenting colored population in the South, all combine in rendering this event inevitable. But the slaves will either receive their freedom as a boon, or they will wrest it by force from their masters; and the evils attending these two modes of emancipation certainly bear no proportion


Page 111

to each other. You remark, 'Our country fought for justice and should be ready to render the justice which it demanded.' I observe a similar sentiment in a letter written by my father from Spain to Judge Benson during the contest to which you allude. Speaking of the abolition of slavery, he says, 'Till America comes into this measure her prayers to Heaven for liberty will be impious.' This is a strong expression, but it is just. Were I in your Legislature I would prepare a bill for the purpose with great care, and would never cease moving it till it became a law or I ceased to be a member. I believe that God governs the world, and I believe it to be a maxim in His Court, as in ours, that those who ask for equity ought to do it. I do not think the free states guiltless of upholding slavery while, through their representatives, they tolerate it in the District of Columbia. Were the free states to will it, slavery would cease at the capital of the republic, and an example would be set that could not fail of having a salutary influence."


Page 112

CHAPTER X

        JOHN BROWN AND HIS MEN--THE STORY OF KANSAS--WHAT WAS THOUGHT OF JOHN BROWN.

        "ON the 9th of May, 1800, at Torrington, Connecticut, was born a man who lived for two generations, but accomplished the work of two centuries. That man was John Brown, who ranks among the world's greatest heroes.

        "John Brown was nearly six feet tall, slim, wiry, dark in complexion, sharp in features, dark hair sprinkled with gray, eyes a dark gray and penetrating, with a countenance that betokened frankness, honesty and firmness. His brow was prominent, the center of the forehead flat, the upper part retreating, which, in conjunction with his slightly Roman nose, gave him an interesting appearance. The crown of his head was remarkably high, the region of the phrenological organs of firmness, conscientiousness and self-esteem, indicating a stern will, unswerving integrity, and marvelous self-possession. He walked rapidly with a firm and elastic tread.

        "When Kansas lay bleeding at the feet of border ruffians; when Congress gave the free-state settlers no protection, but was rather trying to drag the territory into the Union with a slave constitution, without noise or bluster John Brown dropped down into Osage County. He was not a member of the Republican party; but


Page 113

rather hated its reticence on the slave question. When it cried, 'Halt!' he gave the command, 'Forward, March!' He was not in sympathy with any of the parties, political or anti-slavery. All were too conservative to suit him. So, as a political protestant he went into Kansas, organized and led a new party that swore eternal death to slavery. The first time he appeared in a political meeting in Kansas, at Osawatomie, the politicians were trimming their speeches and shaping their resolutions to please each political faction. John Brown took the floor and made a speech that threw the convention into consternation. He denounced slavery as the curse of the ages; affirmed the manhood of the slave; dealt 'middle men' terrible blows; and said he could 'see no use in talking. Talk does no good for the slave.' He thought it an excuse very well adapted to weak men. Men who were too cowardly to fight, but too honest to be silent, deceived themselves by supposing that they had discharged their duty to the slave by denouncing the slaveholders. His ideas of duty were far different; the slaves, in his eyes, were prisoners of war; their tyrants, as he held, had taken up the sword, and must perish by it."*

        * "History of the Negro Race in America," by George W. Williams.


        That John Brown intended to free the slaves, and nothing more, the record shows clearly. His move on Harper's Ferry was well planned, and had all the parties interested done their part the work would have been done well. As to the rectitude of his intentions he gives the world this leaf of history:

        "And now, gentlemen, let me press this one thing on your minds. You all know how dear life is to you, and how dear your lives are to your friends: and in remembering


Page 114

that, consider that the lives of others are as dear to them as yours are to you. Do not, therefore, take the life of any one if you can possibly avoid it; but if it is necessary to take life in order to save your own, then make sure work of it."--John Brown, before the battle at Harper's Ferry.

        "I never intended murder, or treason, or the destruction of property, or to excite or incite slaves to rebellion, or to make insurrections. The design on my part was to free the slaves."--John Brown, after the battle at Harper's Ferry.

        Distance lends enchantment to the view. What the world condemns today is applauded to-morrow. We must have a "fair count" on the history of yesterday and last year. The events chronicled yesterday, when the imagination was wrought upon by exciting circumstances, need revision today. The bitter words spoken this morning reproach at eventide the smarting conscience. And the judgments prematurely formed, and the conclusions rapidly reached, may be rectified and repaired in the light of departed years and enlarged knowledge.

        John Brown is rapidly settling down to his proper place in history, and "the madman" has been transformed into a "saint." When John Brown struck his first blow for freedom, at the head of his little band of liberators, it was almost the universal judgment of both Americans and foreigners that he was a "fanatic." It seemed the very soul of weakness and arrogance for John Brown to attempt to do so great a work with so small a force. Men reached a decision with the outer and surface facts. But many of the most important facts bearing upon the motive and purpose of that


Page 115

"bold move," have been hidden from the public view, either by prejudice or fear.

        Some people have thought John Brown, "the Hero of Harper's Ferry," a hot-headed, bloodthirsty brigand, they animadverted against the precipitancy of his measures, and the severity of his invectives; said that he was lacking in courage and deficient in judgment; that he retarded rather than accelerated the cause he championed. But this was the verdict of other times, not the judgment of today.

        John Brown said to a personal friend during his stay in Kansas: "Young men must learn to wait. Patience is the hardest lesson to learn. I have waited for twenty years to accomplish my purpose." These are not the words of a mere visionary idealist, but the mature language of a practical and judicious leader, a leader than whom the world has never seen a greater. By greatness is meant deep convictions of duty, a sense of the infinite, "a strong hold on truth," a "conscience void of offense toward God and man," to which the appeals of the innocent and helpless are more potential than the voices of angry thunder or destructive artillery. Such a man was John Brown. He was strong in his moral and mental nature, as well as in his physical nature. He was born to lead; and he led, and made himself the pro-martyr of a cause rapidly perfecting. All through his boyhood days he felt himself lifted and quickened by great ideas and sublime purposes. He had flowing in his veins the blood of his great ancestor, Peter Brown, who came over in the "Mayflower"; and the following inscription appears upon a marble monument in the graveyard at Canton Centre, New York: "In memory of Captain John Brown, who died


Page 116

in the Revolutionary army, at New York, September 3, 1776. He was the fourth generation, in regular descent, from Peter Brown, one of the Pilgrim Fathers, who landed from the 'Mayflower,' at Plymouth, Mass., December 22, 1620," This is the best commentary on his inherent love of absolute liberty and his marvelous courage. For years he elaborated and perfected his plans, working upon public sentiment by the most praiseworthy means. He bent and bowed the most obdurate conservatism of his day, and rallied to his standards the most eminent men, the strongest intellects in the North. His ethics and religion were as broad as the universe, and beneficent in their wide ramifications. It was upon his "religion of humanity," that embraced our entire species, that he proceeded with his herculean task of striking off the chains of the enslaved. Few, very few of his most intimate friends knew his plans for freeing the slaves. Many knew his great faith, his exalted sentiments, his ideas of liberty, in their crudity; but to a faithful few only did he reveal his stupendous plans in their entirety.

        Hon. Frederick Douglass, Mr. Geo. L. Stearns, and Col. Richard J. Hinton knew more of Brown's real purposes than any other persons, with the exception of J. H. Kagi, Osborn Anderson, Owen Brown, Richard Realf, and George B. Gill.

        "Of men born of women," there is not a greater than John Brown. He was the forerunner of Lincoln, the great apostle of freedom.

        One year before he went to Harper's Ferry, a friend met Brown in Kansas (in June, 1858), and learned that during the previous month he had brought almost all of his plans to perfection; and that the day and


Page 117

hour were fixed to strike the blow. A convention had met, on the 8th of May, 1858, at Chatam, Canada. At this convention a provisional constitution and ordinances were drafted and adopted, with the following officers: Commander-in-Chief, John Brown; Secretary of War, J. H. Kagi; Members of Congress, Alfred M. Ellsworth, Osborn Anderson; Treasurer, Owen Brown; Secretary of the Treasury, Geo. B. Gill; Secretary of State, Richard Realf.

        John Brown made his appearance in Ohio and Canada in the spring of 1859. He wrote letters, made speeches, collected funds for his little army, and made final arrangements with his Northern allies, etc. He purchased a small farm about six miles from Harper's Ferry, on the Maryland side, and made it his ordnance depot. He had 102 Sharp's rifles, 68 pistols, 55 bayonets, 12 artillery swords, 483 pikes, 150 broken handles of pikes, and 40 shovels, besides quite a number of other appurtenances of war. This was in July. He intended to make all of his arrangements during the summer of 1859, and meet his men in the Alleghanies in the fall of the same year.

        The apparent rashness of the John Brown movement may be mitigated somewhat by the fact that he failed to carry out his original plans. During the summer of 1859 he instructed his Northern soldiers and sympathizers to be ready for the attack on the night of the 24th of October, 1859. But while at Baltimore, in September, he got the impression that there was conspiracy in his camp, and in order to preclude its consummation, suddenly, without sending the news to his friends at the North, determined to strike the first blow on the night of the 17th of October. The news of his


Page 118

battle and his bold stand against the united forces of Virginia and Maryland swept across the country as the wild storm comes down the mountain side. Friend and foe were alike astonished and alarmed. The enemies of the cause he represented, when they recovered from their surprise, laughed in scorn, and eased their feelings by referring to him as the "madman." Friends faltered, and, while they did not question his earnestness, doubted his judgment. "Why," they asked, "should he act with such rashness, and thereby render more difficult and impossible the emancipation of the slaves?"

        They claimed that the blow he struck, instead of severing, only the more tightly riveted the chains upon the helpless and hapless Blacks. But in the face of subsequent history we think his surviving friends will change their views. There is no proof that his fears were not well grounded; that a conspiracy was in progress. And who can tell whether a larger force would have been more effective, or the night of the 24th more opportune? May it not be believed that the good old man was right, and that Harper's Ferry was just the place, and the 17th of October just the time, to strike for freedom, and make the rock-ribbed mountains of Virginia tremble at the presence of a "master!"--the king of freedom?

        He was made a prisoner on the 19th of October, 1859, and remained until the 7th of November without a change of clothing or medical aid. Forty-two days from the time of his imprisonment he expiated his crime upon the scaffold--a crime against slave-holding, timorous Virginia, for bringing liberty to the oppressed. He was a man, and there was nothing that interested man which was foreign to his nature. He had gone


Page 119

into Virginia to save life, but not to destroy it. The sighs and groans of the oppressed had entered into his soul. He had heard the Macedonian cry to come over and help them. He went, and it cost him his life, but he gave it freely.

        Captain Acvis, the jailer, said: "He was the gamest man I ever saw." Mr. Valandingham, at that time a member of Congress from Ohio, and who examined him in court, said in a speech afterward: "It is in vain to underrate either the man or the conspiracy. Capt. John Brown is as brave and resolute a man as ever headed an insurrection, and, in a good cause, and with a sufficient force, would have been a consummate partisan commander. He has coolness, daring, persistency, stoic faith and patience, and a firmness of will and purpose unconquerable! He is the farthest possible remove from the ordinary ruffian, fanatic or madman."

        No friend, however ardent in his love, could have woven a chaplet more worthy than the one placed upon the brow of the old hero by his most bitter foe. A truer estimate of John Brown cannot be had.

        South Carolina, Missouri and Kentucky each sent a rope to hang him, but, the first two lacking strength, Kentucky had the everlasting disgrace of furnishing the rope to strangle the noblest man that ever lived.

        The man who hung him, Governor Wise, lived to see Brown's cherished hopes fulfilled. He heard the decisive shot fired at Sumter, saw Richmond fall, the war end in the victory of the cause to which John Brown gave his life; saw the slave-pen converted into a school-house, and the four millions for whom Brown fought and died elevated to the honors of citizenship; and at last he has entered the grave, where his memory will perish


Page 120

with his body, while the soul and fame of John Brown will go marching down the centuries!

        Copernicus, Galileo, Newton and John Brown have to wait the calmer judgments of future generations. These men believed that God sent them to do a certain work--to reveal a hidden truth, to pour light into the minds of benighted and superstitious men. They completed their work; they did nobly and well, then bowed to rest--


                         "With patriarchs of the infant world--with kings,
                         The powerful of the earth,"

        while generation after generation studies their handwriting on the scroll of time and interprets their thoughts. Despised, persecuted, and unappreciated while in the flesh, they are honored after death, and enrolled among earth's good and great, her wise and brave. The shock that Brown gave the walls of the slave institution was felt from its center to its utmost limits. It was the entering wedge; it laid bare the accursed institution, and taught good men everywhere to hate it with a perfect hatred. Slavery received its death wound at the hands of a "lonely old man." When he smote Virginia, the non-resistants, the anti-slavery men, learned a lesson. They saw what was necessary to accomplish their work, and were now ready for the worst. He rebuked the conservatism of the North, and gave an example of adherence to duty, devotion to truth, and fealty to God and man that make the mere "professor" tremble with shame. "John Brown's body lies mouldering in the clay," but his immortal name will be pronounced with blessing in all lands and by all people till the end of time.


Page 121

CHAPTER XI

        FREDERICK DOUGLASS--DOUGLASS BORN 1817--HIS LANGUAGE HIS CONVICTIONS--DUNBAR'S TRIBUTE TO DOUGLASS--THE INDUSTRY AND SKILL OF DOUGLASS.

        WITH John Brown, William Lloyd Garrison, Judge William Jay, and others, labored Frederick Douglass. In his life is epitomized the whole history of slavery.

        On several important occasions, Allensworth, though a much younger man, was associated with Frederick Douglass, and they together contributed their moral force to the solution of the great problem of race elevation.

        It is but a short interval of time between 1817 and 1895, when we contemplate the vast eternity yet before the human race. But it is a long distance from the estate of slavery, to which Frederick Douglass was born, to that of freedom which he helped to bring about--a long span from the lowly, degraded bondsman to the noble statesman, filling with signal fitness and dignity a diplomatic station, representing a powerful government.

        Whatever may be said to the contrary, Frederick Douglass is still the one great synonym for human enfranchisement in the eyes of the more intelligent and thoughtful American citizen. He is the embodiment of right and justice,--the one grand, historic character who stands out boldly, a model for young and old. His


Page 122

loyalty and patriotic devotion to the cause of human liberty should ever be an inspiration to the serious minded Negro of this country.

        Douglass was not like the leafless dodder vine, which, after it has attached itself to some other flourishing plant, lifts its roots from the soil and allows them to perish, depending for nourishment and support upon the plant to which it attaches itself. He was never a parasite nor a sycophant. He gave more freely than he ever received.

        Frederick Douglass preserved his individuality and self-respect to the very end of his career. His noble character was his chief asset. He knew that poverty degraded, that ignorance was a handicap and he urged industry for the first and schools for the latter.

        The one strong feature of his character was consistency. He never at any time, during all the vicissitudes of his life, compromised his principles. During his darkest days his devotion and patriotism never waned. He had the courage of his convictions at all times. His intrepid spirit knew no discomfiture. When other men quailed and surrendered before the enemy, brave Douglass dashed to the front of the line. He never apologized nor found excuse for his public acts. He stood up straight--a man in the fullest sense. His allegiance to principle, his fearlessness, his unceasing fight for freedom, his great ability, his compelling eloquence, his picturesque and noble physical appearance, his remarkable personality--all conspired to command the confidence, respect, and the esteem of the best men and women of every race. He lived to see justice triumphant.

        It is fortunate for the Negro race that such characters


Page 123

as Allen Allensworth and Frederick Douglass lived.

        Many of the great men of this country were born in obscurity, in poverty, in squalor; in log huts and hovels, amid unpropitious prospects; and many had their beginning in the humblest occupation. Lincoln was a rail-splitter, Grant, a tanner, Garfield, a canal-driver, and yet there is not in all the annals of American history a single example comparable with that of the humble start of Frederick Douglass.


                         "How does it happen that, in every clime,
                         When any groaning nation of the earth
                         Hath need of some new leader of a race,
                         Or some true prophet of a better time,
                         The Heavens elect him for his lowly birth,
                         Ere they uplift him to his lofty place?


                         "I answer: 'He must first be taught to know--
                         (I say to know, and not to guess)--how real
                         Is all the misery which he hopes to heal!
                         The high may show a kindness to the low:
                         Some wealthy lord is generous--be it so:
                         Yet who except the poor and pinched can feel
                         Their pang of poverty? . . .
                         So for their weal,
                         They need a champion who has borne their woe!' "*

        * Theodore Tilton.


        Lincoln, Grant, and Garfield had no such obstacles as confronted Frederick Douglass. They did not spring from a despised race; they were not born slaves; public sentiment was not arrayed against them on account of blood; the schools and colleges of the land were not closed to them. It was not a crime for them to learn to read and write the English language--every avenue


Page 124

of active life was open to them. They were free born. Of Douglass the reverse was true. Handicapped from his very birth by reason of the color of his skin and by the condition under which he came into the world; yet, because of the natural elements within him; spurred onward by ambition's glowing spark; supported by an indomitable will, he arose majestically to an honorable place among the great men of the nation, at a time when getting to the front was more difficult than at any other period of our history. He was a marvel among marvels. He did for himself what Harvard and Yale and Princeton have not been able to do for thousands of men of more favorable antecedents. In spite of his environment, with everything to discourage him, with obstacles of every description rising like mountain peaks before him at every step, by the sheer force of his inherent strength of character, and by his almost superhuman effort, he took his place among the most distinguished men of his day.

        When a man with favorable antecedents, with wealth to insure confidence in his future, and with large chances for technical and intellectual training, rises in the world, we give him credit; because we have learned to realize that at best, mediocrity describes the condition of the mass of humanity. But when a man of the humblest origin, under the most unpromising conditions, facing barriers at every turn, most of them seemingly insurmountable, by dint of innate qualities of head and heart, wins an exalted place among illustrious men, in a period of intense activity and rivalry, in a period when great men were plentiful, and holds that place for more than a generation, we must set it down, whether we care to or not, that such a man is indeed and in reality a remarkable


Page 125

example of the superiority of manhood to environment.

        Douglass was a man of unusual intellectual endowment--at once a logician and a philosopher. Considering his slim chances for acquiring knowledge, his own literary work, for elegance of diction, loftiness of style, and power of description, excites our wonder and our admiration.

        Frederick Douglass was born on a dilapidated plantation about the middle of February, 1817. The place was called Tuckahoe, and it was located in Talbot County, on the Eastern shore of Maryland. It was a dull, flat and unthrifty district, bordered by the Choptank River, a sluggish, muddy stream, surrounded by an indigent and spiritless population, largely composed of poor whites. These people were of the lowest order, indolent, profane and drunken. He was not a branch of any flourishing genealogical tree, he never knew his father and became but slightly acquainted with his mother. He died in his home at Washington, District of Columbia, February 20, 1895, at the ripe age of 78 years.

        It was from such beginnings and in such surroundings as these came the hero of this chapter, the illustrious exemplar, which is to show that character, ambition, perseverance and tremendous purpose, can conquer all obstacles to achievement. Allensworth admired the great character of Douglass and followed his example in worthy strivings.

        The horrors of the institution of slavery have never been set forth in more vigorous language than that which was employed by Douglass in his four books. His own condition, his own experiences, were typical of all other


Page 126

slaves throughout the slave states. In his childhood and youth he knew nothing of the comforts of boots and stockings, or jackets and trousers. Two coarse shirts were the only garments given him during a whole year. He was hungry most of the time during his youth and never had a comfortable night's sleep. He often fought with the watchdog for crumbs and other fragments of food. He slept in a little closet on the bare dirt floor, without covering of any sort. He shared the slave children's regular diet, which was a trough of corn meal mush, from which all ate at one time, each scooping out his share with an oyster shell or a chip of wood.

        Strange as it may seem, he learned to read and write at an early age, and it was largely because of this knowedge that he realized more and more the utter wretchedness of his condition in slavery.

        He was convinced that slavery was wrong, that it was unjust, and immoral. His hatred of the system was intense; his uncompromising and vehement denunciation of it after he had made his escape to New England, was both eloquent and forceful, and constitutes one of the most thrilling chapters to be found in the literature of the period.

        Douglass was an extraordinary man from the very start. He was thoughtful, reasoned logically; was brave enough to leave the path of conventionality, and was not sequatious, but original. There was no servility or cringing in his nature. He was never contented with the situation in which he found himself when the light of reason began to illumine his soul.


                         "And he was no soft-tongued apologist;
                         He spoke straight forward, fearlessly, uncowed;


Page 127


                         The sunlight of his truth dispelled the mist
                         And set in bold relief each dark-hued cloud.
                         To sin and crime he gave their proper hue,
                         And hurled at evil what was evil's due."*

        * "Lyrics of Lowly Life," by Dunbar.


        Every race has its hero, its pioneer, its Moses. Douglass was the Negro's Moses. Douglass not only pointed the way from superstition and ignorance to light and truth, but helped to lead his people from physical bondage to freedom. He kept his face toward the dawn, watching for the sunlight. He was no vague dreamer. He performed well his part in the difficult task of breaking forever the hard chains of servitude from the limbs of millions of human beings. From the loftiest peak of philosophy--standing erect, away above the wild, seething throng below him, with a vision as clear as the sunlight of heaven, overlooking petty prejudices and the cunning sophistries of his day, he contended for equal rights and for common justice for his people. He was good enough, brave enough and wise enough to be consistent. From his very childhood he reasoned that, "He who puts chains upon the body of another shackles his own soul."

        With infinite industry, the skill of a master statesman, and a genius equalled by few of his contemporaries, he unselfishly waged a battle against power and might, the like of which the world had never before seen. He did not leave for others to do what he could do for himself and his race. He appreciated sympathy and help, but he was too great to depend upon either. He stood out boldly amidst fury's flames, with the dead and dying all around him, never losing poise, never allowing passion to rob him of judgment's sensitive scales, unawed


Page 128

by threats, never giving quarter to hate and malice--a perfect hero in the greatest drama ever enacted on the North American Continent. And fame has placed upon his commanding brow an immortal wreath.

        To be associated with such a man was Allen Allensworth's high privilege--and to join with him in working out the problems of their race after freedom came was a great honor.


Page 129

CHAPTER XII

        ALLEN'S SUFFERING ON PAT SMITH FARM--STUDIES WHILE FISHING--IN 1855, AT AGE OF 13, MAKES BREAK FOR CANADA--CAPTURED--SOLD AT AUCTION FOR $960--EXPERIENCE IN SLAVE PEN--JOLT TO HIS MORAL SENSIBILITIES WHEN HE LEARNS OF HIS MASTER'S CONDUCT--BACK TO LOUISVILLE.

        IT was in the spring of the year when young Allensworth reached the Pat Smith farm. He was at once attracted by the beautiful country, the broad expanse of cultivated fields and the genial climate. He lost all thought of steamboat life as he surveyed his new country surroundings.

        Allen had a reasonable supply of clothing for this season of the year, and he was satisfied. But by fall his clothes were well worn and tattered. The mornings and evenings were very chilly, and soon the frost made its appearance and then his hardships and sufferings began. During the summer months he ran about in his bare feet, but now that the ground was covered with frost during the early hours of the day, going without shoes caused him great suffering. The skin on his exposed feet would crack open and bleed from the cold. He asked Aunt Phyllis what he could do for shoes. She informed him that he would have to wait until Christmas; that at that time a pair would probably


Page 130

be given him as a Christmas gift. The experience became more and more torturing to the boy as the weather grew colder and the frost heavier on the ground. Among his many other duties, he had to go to the corn field early in the morning and help gather corn for the animals in the stables. While on this errand he would often protect his bleeding feet by tying fresh corn shucks around them, securing the covering by improvising strings from the new shucks. On his way to the field he would go to the stable and other places where the cows and hogs were bedded, drive them out of their beds, and stand in the warm places, thus securing temporary relief and comfort; and after lingering for awhile, long enough to get his feet thoroughly warm, he would continue his journey to the corn fields.

        Occasionally the young boys on the plantation had an opportunity to earn a little money by assisting the older men who had been given small parcels of ground to "'tend" as a "patch," on which they raised vegetables for their families. The more industrious among them would raise more than they could consume, and would sell to others. When they had a good crop they sometimes employed the children to help them gather the crop, and when they sold the crop they would pay the children for their services. This, however, was not often the case. With the money earned in this manner, the children often bought cheap pairs of shoes, which they wore only on Sundays when they went to church. It was the common habit of the slaves to walk barefoot to the edge of the town, wipe the dust off their feet with their hands, slip on their shoes, and then strut into the town as if they owned a plantation. As sorrowful as was their lot, they often exhibited great


Page 131

pride and vanity at these Sunday services in the town.

        The slaves were all treated about alike throughout the South as regards the supply of clothing. Two suits, one for summer and the other for winter wear, a straw hat with the first and a cotton cap with the latter, constituted the wardrobe of the poor slave. Most of them suffered from cold in the fall and winter.

        As the farm season opened (this being in the spring of the year), Allen was assigned to light duties with the men, such as cutting briers and assisting in clearing rough brush from the fields. When plowing time came he was given a light plow and a gentle mule to split corn rows. The caring for the mule was left to the men, as he had the house duty to perform before going to the field. He had nothing to do but mount his mule and take to the field. On his return he would leave his mule at the stable, and care for the table at the noon and supper hours.

        During the fishing season Allen would obtain permission to go to the creek and fish. It was while fishing that he had a better opportunity to study his book. He had advanced from b-a ba, b-e be and b-i bi to p-r-a pra, p-r-e pre and p-r-i pri. This lesson he would study between bites. He would watch the bites on his hook and fight the bites on his bare skin from the mosquitoes, for mosquitoes were very much in evidence. The boy was very fond of fishing; later he became a fisher of men.

        After a time Mr. Smith visited his brother in Louisville, leaving the farm in charge of an overseer, one whom the men thought the most cruel to be found in all the South. With the malign and tyrannical qualities of the average Negro-driver, he daunted the slaves


Page 132

by a mere glance of his terrible eyes. His malicious sternness repelled all advances; his ferocious and sinister visage kept the slaves on the Pat Smith farm in constant dread. He was a terror, and all the slaves feared him. An old lady was found to take charge of the house and the house servants on the Pat Smith farm. The overseer was very cruel to little Eddie and Allen. On one occasion Aunt Betty, who was the cow milker, reported Eddie for failing to turn in the calves at the proper time. This was in the morning after the milking. The overseer proceeded to give Eddie a sound thrashing. Allen had just finished setting the table for breakfast. Breakfast was not yet ready. He was standing around waiting on the cook. Times being so hot for Eddie, Allen thought he had better be doing something and not be seen standing around idle; so he did what first suggested itself to his mind, and that was to take the pan, get some water and wash his hands and face. This was noticed by the overseer and enraged him. He asked Allen what he meant by washing his hands and face after setting the table. Then he was reminded of his mistake, as he had already washed his hands before setting the table. Allen informed the overseer that he wanted to do something and that was the best thing to do. The overseer then proceeded to thrash Allen most brutally. His thrashing lacerated the boy's body so badly that he could hardly put on his clothes when it was time for him to take the cart containing sacks of wheat and corn to the mill. His entire body was marked with stripes and bruises.

        While in the town waiting for the meal and flour,


Page 133

Allen determined to run away. This was in 1855. He made up his mind to go to Canada. This was an unknown country to him. Although he was but thirteen years of age, he had heard of Canada as a haven for those who longed for freedom. So on his return to the farm he planned to take his little blanket, his ax, and all the food he could gather, and leave that night for the woods. He looked forward with a great deal of anxiety to the going down of the sun and the rising of the moon. It was about ten o'clock at night when he stealthily left the dining room, taking with him all the food he could find in the safe. He went to the kitchen, took all the food that was left there for the men's breakfast and putting it in his blanket, tying it up securely, preparatory to his long, uncertain journey. Started with the runaway's proverbial bundle across the handle of his ax, by the shimmering light of the moon, he wended his way to the dark, forbidding woods. After traveling some four or five miles into a dense forest, he stopped, raked some dead leaves together, and lay himself down to sleep. On the rising of the sun the next morning, he arose, ate some of the food which he carried, and put the rest in a package. He then tied his ax in the bundle with the food and left all at the root of a tree in the forest, and started on his way to a distant farmhouse. He left his bundle in the woods with the expectation of finding it again later on; but he was never able to locate it again.

        On reaching the farmhouse he informed the occupants that the Smiths had gone to Louisville (which was very true), and had given him permission to stay with them until their return (which was not very true). Here he


Page 134

had a very pleasant time. His story was believed. After two weeks spent on this farm he was told that he had better return home.

        Allen then reluctantly started toward home, but instead of returning to the Pat Smith farm, he went into the city of Henderson. Here he was discovered to be a runaway slave and was turned over to Bill Quinn, a notorious slave hunter. He placed poor Allen on a mule, tied him to the animal's back with ropes running under the mule from one leg to the other, his hands tied behind him, and his body to the rings in the back of the saddle; in this condition he was carried back to the Pat Smith farm and the cruel overseer. On reaching the farm they found no one at the house except the old housekeeper and the domestic servants. The overseer was down in the fields with the field hands. Allen was taken to the old smoke-house and locked in it. This smoke-house was a very large log building which had been used for curing the meat of the hundreds of hogs that were killed during the winter season on the farm. Allen had Eddie's sympathy, and Eddie called to him from the rear of the house and told him that the overseer had said that if he was ever caught and brought back to the farm, he intended to tie him to a barrel, stripped naked, and lash him with a cat-o'-nine-tails soaked in salt water. Allen remembered his mother's advice, that when in trouble, he should look to the Lord. As this was a troublesome time with him, and he was anticipating even greater trouble, he commenced looking to the Lord. He engaged in earnest prayer to the Lord to let him out of that house. After he had been praying a short time, in some strange way he was very forcibly directed to a spade sitting in the corner of the


Page 135

smoke-house, and with that spade, he was directed (spiritually or mentally) to pry off the bolt of the immense lock on the door. The door was thus opened and he was then free to leave his prison. Notwithstanding Aunt Phyllis was sitting on the veranda, right on a line with the door of the smoke-house, and the house-keeper was also on the porch of the big house at the time, where they had a commanding view of the smoke-house, Allen passed out of the door through a pathway to the garden and crawled under the servants' part of the double cabin, which served as their house and kitchen. In this place he could hear everything that went on on the porches of the servants' cabin or of the big house. He heard the overseer when he came with Quinn. They went to the smoke-house door, put the key in and expressed great surprise when they discovered that Allen had gotten out. The women said they had been sitting there and had seen no one leave the smoke-house; they said they knew nothing about the boy. Bill Quinn immediately returned to the city and brought out his pack of Negro bloodhounds and put them on the boy's trail. Inside of two hours these hounds were in hot pursuit of him. Although he had not had an opportunity to take a bath for a month, they did not detect any odor that would lead them to him. They passed by him several times and went down the field two miles from the house, thus leading his pursuers astray. The bloodhounds in this case were not infallible.

        Allen remained in this hiding place for more than a week, until eventually discovered by Aunt Betty, who reported to the overseer his hiding place. This report was made after sun down, when the overseer returned


Page 136

from the field. On hearing her report his whereabouts, the boy lost no time in leaving the place. He ran away again. This time down through the fields in the same direction the bloodhounds had gone, and he continued until reaching the farmhouse of a neighbor two miles away. This was on Saturday night and he had gone without food for two days. He went into the hay-loft of this farmer and burrowed under the hay, where he remained all day during the Sabbath. The children of the place frequently played over the hay and searched around in the nooks for hens' nests, but they did not go far enough into the hay to find him. After dark he left this retreat and again started toward the city of Henderson, making his way to a house where lived a number of slaves with whom he was acquainted. He asked for food. The old, kind-hearted cook gave him a large piece of cornbread and a generous slice of fat meat, and told him with bated breath to leave the place immediately before the white folks saw him. He then went to the woods again, where he devoured the food with a ravenous appetite. Never before or since did food taste so sweet to him. He had gone more than two days without food of any kind; and the reader may well imagine his famished condition.

        The next day he was again detected. This time he was taken in charge by Dr. Jones, the Smiths' family physician, who said to his captors that he would see that the boy was safely turned over to the Smiths. Dr. Jones gave a receipt for the boy, so that his captors could claim the runaway reward. For this turn of affairs Allen was rather grateful to fate; for he could see starvation staring him in the face. He remained with the Jones's until the Smiths returned from Louisville.


Page 137

When they returned they had instructions from his owners in Louisville to sell him to the first Negro trader that would buy him. He was then confined until one day he was sold at auction on the Court House steps of Henderson, Kentucky, to Martin S. Hancock, a Negro trader. He was knocked down to him for $960.

        Allen remained with the Hancock family for some time. He thought he had a permanent city home; but to his surprise, on going to the steamboat landing, on the arrival of one of the Louisville and New Orleans packets, he saw a large number of Negroes on deck and he asked them to whom they belonged; they said, "Bill Payne and Martin S. Hancock." Then it dawned on him that he might soon join that number. Two days later, his owner, Martin S. Hancock, said to him, "Allen, get ready; I am going down the river tomorrow and you are to go with me."

        Sure enough, on the morrow, down the river they went. Their destination was Memphis, Tennessee. There Allen was put in a Negro slave mart, with the crowd of Negroes who had preceded him. He was placed on sale, and held at $1,200. After remaining there a week or more without a sale being effected, these unfortunate chattels, men, women and children, were to be transferred to a better market. The next day, under a Negro driver, they were marched out of the slave mart here, double file to the steamboat landing at Memphis and placed on a packet for New Orleans. In due time they arrived and were driven like cattle to the Negro mart of Poindexter & Little, where there were over a thousand Negroes, each one waiting for a master. The rules and regulations of this mart were altogether


Page 138

different from those of Memphis. In this mart the Negroes were classified and seated on benches, as goods are arranged on shelves in a well regulated store. The cooks, mechanics, farm-hands, house-girls, seamstresses, wash-women, barbers, and boys each had his or her place. They were dressed in blue cloth clothing, tight-fitting jackets with flat brass buttons, and had the appearance of convicts.

        In this mart, or "nigger" pen, as it was called, were confined over one thousand souls, it being one of the largest in New Orleans. These people were under strict rule and discipline. It was equipped with every known device and implement of torture. There was Uncle Billy with a gigantic physical frame, who looked as if he drank ox blood at every meal, whose business it was to give the cat-o'-nine-tails when a man or woman was assigned to the "horse." This "horse" consisted of a four-legged litter: on it were rings and straps, used to secure the victim to it. Many times were men and women sent out to Uncle Billy to be punished, possibly in compliance with the instructions of their owners, who, when placing these folks, ordered that for so many days they were to be given from ten to fifty lashes a day on their naked backs. On the second floor of the building were two rooms known as "inspection rooms." In these rooms men and women were denuded for inspection by the prospective purchasers. On various occasions when a good-looking house-girl would be sent up stairs for inspection, the hearts of those in the slave-pen would be deeply touched, as they knew what it meant. Many a girl went to the room of inspection with a heavy heart and with tears in her eyes. For here she knew that she would be exposed to the unrestrained


Page 139

sexual impulses and lascivious embraces of the white male inspectors.

        The slaves retained their seats in the exhibition room for a number of hours at a time, to be shown to prospective purchasers; then they were relieved and sent into the yard for exercise. It was very common when a man or woman passed by to look at the wretches standing in their respective positions, to hear these wretched people cry out to the persons looking at them, "Massa, please buy me! Massa, please buy me! Massa, please buy me!" These cries were made daily by those who were willing to go anywhere in order to get out of this terrible slave-pen. At certain times, while exercising, the fiddlers and banjo-pickers among them were allowed to play, and any one who wished, was permitted to dance. As strange as it may appear, there were some who could dance, even under these adverse conditions.

        Finally a large, fat man with a globular head and a prominent "marble front" (that is what the slaves called bald-headed people), came in looking for a jockey. Allen stretched his eyes and opened his mouth wide and said, as the others frequently said, "Massa, please buy me. I will be a good boy." After having him step around to notice his spryness, the sale was made, and he was knocked down at one thousand dollars,--and out he went into fresh air, and he was a glad soul. So now he had "Marse" Fred. His new master's name was Fred Scruggs, a horse-racer and Negro-trader. He bought the boy for a jockey--a racehorse rider. He carried him up to Jefferson City and placed him in charge of Uncle Dan, his horse trainer. Allen was soon trained to ride Scruggs' celebrated four-mile horse, "Red Oak." In those days horses ran for endurance


Page 140

rather than speed. "Marse" Fred was a very good-hearted man, but there was no telling when he would sell his slaves. He was a speculator, as all gamblers are. He would sell anything he had. He fed and clothed well, and this was refreshing to the boy. Allen was given a suit of store clothes and made to feel very proud of himself again,--much the same feeling as when he was with the old Quaker lady in Louisville.

        In addition to exercising "Red Oak," it was his duty to ride around with "Marse" Fred and hold the reins of the horse during his absence. One day, by some means or other, Scruggs discovered that Allen could read names and street numbers. Instead of becoming angry with him, as other slave-owners would have done, he was pleased, and said he had a much smarter "nigger" then he knew. He really appreciated the boy's knowledge of letters and would encourage him to read signs and numbers. This task Allen very willingly performed; but the time soon came for Scruggs to let the boy go. He met a merchant from Jackson, Mississippi, who wanted a "likely" boy. "Marse" Fred wanted this merchant's illegitimate daughter, Lale. She was a beautiful girl. Her father feared if she remained with him he might debauch her, and was willing to sell her to any man who would remove the temptation from his path; so he proposed to exchange this girl for Allen. Allen was very sorry; for he was well treated by "Marse" Fred.

        When the boy was taken down to the store to meet this Mississippi merchant and to be exhibited, he made a very favorable impression on the merchant. "Marse" Fred was proud of this and in order to emphasize the boy's value, "Marse" Fred said to this merchant, "He


Page 141

is not like other little 'niggers'; when you want to send them on an errand you must send some one with them to show them where to go; but give him the name of the street and the number and he can go and return without any trouble." This merchant exclaimed, "What! do you mean to say, Mr. Scruggs, that this little 'nigger' can read?" Mr. Scruggs answered proudly in the affirmative, and proceeded to have Allen read names on the signs in front of the stores across the street, and also addresses on the boxes in the store; and to give other evidences of his intelligence. The merchant then said, "Mr. Scruggs, I like him very well, but he is too smart. I do not want any 'nigger' around me that can read." "Marse" Fred said, "I have one who is not so smart"; so he carried little Dan down, who was a year or two younger than Allen and not so "likely." The next thing Allen knew, Dan was exchanged for Lale who went to the boarding-house with "Marse" Fred. White men who violated the chastity of the poor, helpless, slave women, became more depraved than those whom they debauched. It was a common practice among many of them to debauch their own illegitimate offspring, and then sell them to others for the same purpose. This practice was one of the most demoralizing features of the slave system and it has left an indelible mark upon Southern society.

        This girl remained in the boarding-house until all had orders to go up the river. "Marse" Fred hurried them off, as there was but one chance,--there was only one boat leaving New Orleans which would be permitted by the Confederates to pass Memphis. The Confederates were blockading the river at Memphis and the Federals were blockading it at Cairo. So with the horses


Page 142

and Uncle Dan and all the riders and rubbers, "Marse" Fred's little band started for the Oakland race-course, Louisville, Kentucky. Allen's heart bounded with joy when this boat cast her lines and headed for Louisville, where a few years before he had left his mother. He now expected to see her again.

        The trip up the river was uneventful. On reaching Louisville, the horses were quartered, the trainers and rubbers were placed at a boarding-house, and "Marse" Fred with Lale went to the St. Cloud Hotel, corner of Second and Jefferson Streets. It was the general talk among the slave men that unbecoming relations existed between Lale and "Marse" Fred; but what could they do about it? They were absolutely helpless to interpose objections or barriers to the practice. They knew that the most heinous infringement of the moral law by slave-owners, could not be contested by the slaves. The slave-owners' ethical code did not include the slaves. There was no remorse, no shame, no contrition,--the slave-owners wantonly pursued their vicious indulgences, their destructive licentiousness and morbid gratifications and still maintained good social standing among their own women. It was commonly known in Louisville that wealthy white merchants had slave women whom they favored and kept, and nothing was said about it in the society in which they moved. In the case of "Marse" Fred and Lale, all the slaves knew that the girl was bought for the purpose of debauchery and that "Marse" Fred, the race-horse gambler, had no other use for her.

        The brutal and degrading pastime of prizefighting, which appeals so strongly to the baser instincts of man's nature and involves myriad vices of horrible proportions;


Page 143

the infamy of the white slave traffic, so rampant everywhere in the United States; the degenerate orgies of drunken men, the frightful debauching of boys in the city, the systematic ruin of young white girls in town and city for the gratification of lecherous white men of wealth and standing, and the maintaining of high-toned recruiting places, such as cafés, restaurants and exclusive hotels, of white libertines, in our day may easily be traced to the indulgent system of slavery. Under that system white men permitted their passions to run riot. The tree is known by its fruit, and surely the fruit of the tree of slavery is abundant!

        The excitement of war was growing intense. Drums were beating in the streets, the people of all classes were expectant. Finally "Marse" Fred, finding there would be no races on the Oakland course, decided to leave his slaves with Jim Ficklin, whose place was located some twelve or fifteen miles from Louisville. They were to remain with him until such time as he would need them.


Page 144

CHAPTER XIII

        DESCRIPTION OF LOUISVILLE--NUMBER OF NEGRO TROOPS IN CIVIL WAR FROM KENTUCKY--WASHINGTON IRVING'S OBSERVATIONS--RELIGIOUS INSTRUCTION DENIED--THE CAT-'O-NINE-TAILS--IMMORAL EXHIBITION--CHARACTERISTICS OF NEGRO IN RELIGIOUS WORSHIP.

        LOUISVILLE is one of the most important cities of the Southern section of the country, and it has long since occupied a unique position in the list of American cities. The rank of city was conferred upon it by the Kentucky Legislature in 1828, when the population was about ten thousand. The plan of the city is regular and spacious, especially in its residential portions, where the houses are surrounded by lawns and flower gardens. The city was named in honor of Louis XVI of France, who rendered the American colonies great assistance in their struggles for independence. It was in 1778 that brave Colonel George Rogers Clark, on his way down the Ohio river, left a small company of pioneer settlers, who took possession of Corn Island (no longer existing), near the Kentucky shore above the falls and in the following year the first rude cluster of cabins appeared on the site of the present city. Kentucky has become noted for several things; its beautiful blue grass, fine horses and mules, leaf tobacco, pretty women and red whiskey. At the time that Allensworth was


Page 145

born, the city was noted for the liberal attitude it had assumed toward the slaves. At that time the population of the state of Kentucky was 982,405; of this number 761,413 were white and 220,992 were Negroes. Of the number of Negroes 210,981 were slaves and 10,011 were free. The population of the city of Louisville in 1850 was 43,196, of which about 12,000 were slaves and the balance whites.

        The state of Kentucky took an honorable part in the War of 1812. The state suffered a heavy loss in the defeat at the river Raisin, and in the barbarous massacre which followed it. About 800 of her very best citizens were sacrificed in the miserably managed attempt to relieve Fort Meigs. In the Mexican War, the state sent 13,000 men to the field in response to the call of the governor for only 5,000. In this war the gallant conduct of the Kentucky troops won them lasting renown. In the Civil War, Kentucky attempted to maintain a neutral position; but found it impossible to stand out against the powerful influences brought to bear by the Confederacy. The state furnished 23,703 Negro troops in the Civil War.

        The system of slavery grew out of the labor problem. This perplexing problem has been responsible in all ages for much of man's inhumanity to man. In every race and nation there has always been, and always will be, perhaps, those individuals who entertain a natural aversion to labor, who regard all toil as degrading, and who assume that God has conferred upon them the special favor of immunity and exemption from work.

        The Virginia Colonists came from countries where arts and letters flourished; where royalty and nobility were recognized; where the masses were oppressed; where


Page 146

the legal right to plunder was a part of the system of government, and they expected to establish themselves in this new country in such fashion as to follow the examples of kings and queens. Avowedly and practically, so far as they were concerned, a certain stigma was attached to human toil which they could not tolerate. And yet the wisest of them recognized the fact that the world receives everything of good, use, beauty and real value from human labor,--everything that charms the senses or ministers to the wants and necessities of the race requires labor, everything except the air we breathe comes from Mother Earth.

        The discovery of the new country by Columbus in October, 1492, led to the introduction into the Western hemisphere of that element of humanity who regarded labor as demoralizing. Eight years after Columbus landed upon the Western Hemisphere, Francis de Bovadilla sent him home in chains and at the same time, reduced to a terrible bondage the native Indians whom the Spaniards found on the continent. The very first year of the sixteenth century witnessed the introduction into America of that abhorrent and baneful system which spread over the land and caused men in all walks of life to be degraded by it.

        The almost complete extinction of a race by cruel oppressions--a race which fair-minded historians represent as gentle, inoffensive and hospitable--reveals the barbarity of the white man of other days. Columbus was disgraced because he did not get enough gold out of the rich mines of the new country to satisfy royalty.

        Isabella, just and merciful, issued orders that the Indians should be free from servitude and that they


Page 147

should not be molested in their habitations. But she died in 1504, and it was left to Ferdinand to issue the decree of his Privy Council, which declared that, "After mature consideration of the Apostolic Bull and other titles by which the crown of Castile claimed the right to its possessions in the New World, the servitude of the Indians was warranted both by the laws of God and man." Here was the beginning of slavery in America.

        In Irving's "Columbus," the reader will find the following vivid description of the cruelties practiced upon the poor Indians: "They (the Indians) were separated the distance of several days' journey from their wives and children, and doomed to intolerable labor of all kinds, extorted by the cruel infliction of the lash." "When the Spaniards, who superintended the mines were at their repasts," says Las Casas, "the famished Indians scrambled like dogs for any bone thrown to them. If they fled from the incessant toil and barbarous coercion, and took refuge in the mountains, they were hunted like wild beasts, scourged in the most in-human manner, and laden with chains to prevent a second escape."

        Las Casas' history is full of the horrors of which he claimed to be an eye-witness. "I have found," says he, "many dead in the road, others gasping under the trees, and others, again, in the pangs of death, faintly crying, 'Hunger! hunger!'"

        "So intolerable," says Washington Irving, "were the toils and sufferings inflicted upon this weak and unoffending race, that they sank under them, dissolving, as it were, from the face of the earth." There is hardly any exaggeration in this statement, for Robertson, the noted historian, confirms it, giving some very general


Page 148

statistics on the subject, saying: "The original inhabitants on whose labor the Spaniards in Hispaniola depended for their prosperity and even their existence, wasted so fast that the extinction of the whole race seemed to be inevitable. When Columbus discovered Hispaniola, the number of its inhabitants was computed to be at least a million. They were reduced to sixty thousand in fifteen years."

        This was in 1507. Scarcely half a generation had elapsed since Europeans had found these people weak and ignorant indeed, but simple, cheerful, and happy; and, in that short period of time, so atrocious had been the cruelty of their treatment that ninety-four out of every hundred of the victims sank and perished under it. But the terrible picture in all its blackness was just in the making. The deaths had increased with frightful rapidity, and it was found that the Indians were not equal to the system; then it was that, as the culmination of enormities that have left an indelible stain on the Spanish name, an expedient was resorted to, into the conception of which entered not alone inhuman barbarity, but treachery as well. This infamous expedient is ascribed to Ovando. It was under his government, in 1508, that the King was advised that the Lucayo Islands, now known as the Bahama Islands, were full of people, and that these people could be carried over to Hispaniola, instructed in the Christian religion and civilized. King Ferdinand was probably deceived by Ovando's proposal; but he gave his assent, and the Spaniards who went in the first ships told the poor people of the Islands that they came from Hispaniola, where the souls of their parents, kindred and friends lived at their ease; and if they desired to see them in their happy


Page 149

homes, they would be glad to take them over the waters in their ships. The people of the Islands were ignorant and superstitious. They believed that the soul is immortal, and that, when the body was dead, it went to a certain place of delight, where it wanted for nothing that might give it supreme satisfaction.

        The people of these Islands listened with wonder and credulity to the stories of the Spaniards, and accepted the invitation of the cunning enslavers with eagerness. By this artifice over forty thousand were decoyed into Hispaniola to share in the sufferings which were the lot of the inhabitants and to mingle their groans and tears with that wretched race. By this system human labor was stigmatized as a degradation, and it is so stigmatized even until this day by a certain element of the population. The mind cannot realize--the imagination shrinks from conceiving--the atrocious barbarities to which the system thus gave rise.

        The terrible attestation to the immeasurable sufferings that may result from a single crime is a common object lesson. Well did De Tocqueville write: "There is one calamity which penetrated furtively into the world, and which at first, was scarcely distinguishable amidst the ordinary abuses of power: it originated with an individual whose name history has not preserved: it was wafted like some accursed germ upon a portion of the soil: but it afterwards nurtured itself, grew without effort, and spread naturally with the society to which it belonged. This calamity is slavery. Christianity suppressed slavery, but the Christians of the sixteenth century re-established it--as an exception, indeed, to their social system, and restricted to one of the races of mankind." That the Indians escaped perpetual


Page 150

servitude, was not due to the mercy or forbearance of their oppressors, but to the tender mercies of Death. After years of experience, it was thought that Negroes from Africa, being a hardier race than the Indians, would be the best sort of laborers for the new country. Herrera affirmed that one Negro could actually do more work than four Indians, and hence Spain turned her attention to Africa, and African slavery was introduced.

        No just conception of the aggregate of evil and suffering produced by the gigantic development of the slave system is possible at this late date; and those who engaged in the trade became cruel in their treatment, vulgar in their speech, relished with avidity obscene allusions, and were indecent and lax in their morality. These men violated the chastity of young, budding womanhood among the slaves with impunity.

        This running sketch of Indian slavery is here given that the reader may compare the one race with the other,--the red and the black. This black race stood the hard test and it is still looking the white race in the face and keeping its blood warm.

        In the days of slavery, it was not only contrary to public sentiment to teach the Negro to read and write, but it was also a crime in many sections of the slaveholding states, to give him religious instruction. In Louisville, the slave children had little or no religious instruction. They were permitted to go to church in the town once a month. The service consisted of an exhortation by a slave preacher, illiterate, ignorant and superstitious, who, having heard his master preach in the morning, was expected to remember enough of the sermon to exhort his slave companions. The Negroes gathered in the afternoon, in the basement of the white


Page 151

church (as they were not permitted to have any other meeting place) and listened to their preacher; even then a patrolman, known among the slaves as "Pataroller," would be present to hear what was being said. The preaching and sentiment of the times was against religious instruction to the Negroes in slavery.

        Objections were made to the religious instruction in the slave states for the following reasons:

  • If we suffer our Negroes to be instructed, the tendency will be to change the civil relations of society as now constituted.
  • The way will be opened for men from abroad to enter in and inculcate doctrines subversive to our interests and safety.
  • The religious instruction of the Negroes will lead to neglect of duty and insubordination.
  • The Negroes will embrace seasons of religious worship for originating and executing plans of insubordination and villainy.
  • Religious instruction will do no good; it will only make the Negroes worse men and worse hypocrites."

        These were objections urged against the religious instruction of Negroes. The same opinion that existed in 1842, the time the above was printed for public instruction, exists in the South today. The same spirit exists today against men who are sent from the North to the Southern states by benevolent societies to instruct the Negroes in right and orderly living. These white men are still ostracized by both the intelligent and unlettered whites, and in a number of instances, these white men have been driven out of the South.


Page 152

        In Dr. C. C. Jones' book, "The Religious Instruction of the Negroes in the United States," published in 1842, the author says: "The field of labor among the Negroes in the South is one, in many respects, of no ordinary difficulty; and it is the dictate as well of benevolence as of prudence to inquire into the character and qualifications of those who enter it. They should be Southern men; men entitled to that appellation; either those who have been born and reared in the South, or those who have identified themselves with the South, and are familiarly acquainted with the structure of society; in a word, men having their interests in the South. Such men would possess the confidence of the community; for they would not act in their official connection with the Negroes, in such manner as to breed disturbances, which would inevitably jeopard their own lives and tend to the utter prostration of their families and interests. They would also, from their experience and observation and knowledge, be competent and profitable instructors of the Negroes." This illustrated the sentiment that existed in the South at that time. That same sentiment obtains today, as in a number of places in the South they will not permit the employment of a Negro teacher who is educated elsewhere than in the South. The method pursued in many Southern communities today is a mockery upon the idea of public instruction.

        While in the old smoke-house, when Allen was in hiding, Eddie informed Allen what might be expected from the overseer when he was turned over to him by Jim Quinn, the hunter of runaway Negroes. Eddie informed him that the cat-o'-nine-tails would be used.


Page 153

This cat-o'-nine-tails consisted of a piece of leather about two inches wide, with the end split into nine strips, the other end worked into a substantial handle. This was the usual instrument for thrashing torture. Many Negroes who ran away and were caught were punished, by having an iron collar, having three sharp prongs, locked around their necks and on the ends of these upright prongs were small bells. They, in the meantime, were kept well under watch, and frequently castigated with the cat-o'-nine-tails, and this punishment was often extended for a long time.

        In the Negro market at Memphis, the slaves, when in the yard exercising, would relate the experiences and happenings in their respective neighborhoods. From them Allen learned all about their own treatment and that of other slaves as well. One case that was very pathetic was that of a woman from Paducah, Kentucky, who was sold for threatening to stab her master. Her master had used her as his mistress. As a result of this unlawful association there was a girl born. The mother naturally took a great deal of interest in her daughter. At the age of thirteen or fourteen her master wanted to debauch this daughter, when her mother went into his room with a butcher knife and said to him, "The day you touch her, I will stick this knife into your heart." For this she was sold down the river from her daughter.

        In all communities where brutality is practiced, the members of that community become brutal. Slaveholders gave their consciences anæsthetics to quiet them, the same as would be given to persons to deaden their nerves preparatory to surgical operations. The administration


Page 154

of an anæsthetic is designed to fool the nerves, and the slaveholders understood how to administer to their own consciences.

        Reflecting minds perceive that when men hold human beings as property, they will, from the nature of the case, treat them worse than they treat their horses and mules and oxen. It is impossible for cattle to excite in men such tempests of fury as men excite in each other. Men are often provoked if their horses or hounds refuse to do their bidding or their pigs refuse to go where they wish to drive them, but the feeling is rarely intense and aggravated and never permanent. It is vexation and impatience, rather than rage, malignity, or revenge. If horses and dogs were intelligent beings, their opposition to the wishes of their owners would exasperate them immeasurably more than it would be possible for them to do with the mere instincts of brutes. The greatest provocation to human nature is opposition to its will. If a man's will be resisted by one far below him, the provocation is greater than when it is resisted by an acknowledged superior. In the former case, it inflames strong passions, while in the latter it may be endured.

        The rage of proud Haman knew no bounds against the poor Jew, Mordecai, who would not do as he wished, and so he built a gallows for him. If the person opposing the will of another, be so far below him as to be on a level with chattels, and be actually held and used as an article of property, too much rage and revenge explode together upon the hapless victim. The idea of property having a will, and that, too, in opposition to the will of its owner, is a terrible stimulant to the human passions; and from the nature of slavery, and the


Page 155

constitution of the human mind, this fierce stimulant must, with various degrees of strength, have acted upon slaveholders almost without ceasing. The slave, however abject and crushed, was an intelligent being; he had a will, and that will could not be annihilated,--it would show itself; if for a moment it were smothered, like pent-up fires, when vent is found, its flames became the fiercer. Make intelligence property, and its manager will have his match; he is met at every turn by an opposing will, not in the form of downright rebellion and defiance, but yet, visibly, an ever-opposing will. He sees it in the dissatisfied look and reluctant air and unwilling movement, the constrained strokes of labor, the drawling tones, the slow hearing, the feigned stupidity, the sham pains and sickness, the short memory; and he feels it every hour, in innumerable forms, frustrating his designs by a ceaseless though perhaps invisible countermining. This unceasing opposition to the will of its "owner," on the part of his rational "property," was to the slaveholder as the hot iron to the nerve. He raved under it, and stormed and gnashed, and smited; but the more he smited, the hotter it became, and the more it burned him. Further, this opposition of the slave's will to his owner's not only excited him to severity, that he might gratify his rage, but made it necessary for him to use violence in breaking down the resistance--thus subjecting the slave to additional torture.

        In their ignorance and superstition, the Negroes in slavery expressed their emotions in their religious services by moaning and groaning. In their religious worship to-day, among the illiterate is still heard the moaning and groaning, handed down from the days of slavery.


Page 156

In those days while the Negroes were being whipped, they pleaded with moans and groans for mercy, thinking their moans and groans would touch the heart of the persecutor. They use the same today in their supplication to God, thinking that God has a heart of flesh and they must use the same moans and groans to touch Him. Thus we see the fruits of ignorance wedded to superstition.

        It was during the early life of Allen that the printing press of William Lloyd Garrison, the verse of John Greenleaf Whittier, the pulpit of Henry Ward Beecher, the matchless oratory of Frederick Douglass, Wendell Phillips, Charles Sumner, John Brown, and a host of other unselfish men had so aroused the national conscience that the doom of the institution of slavery was assured. For many years an earnest, conscientious movement, directed to the end that slavery should be abolished, had been spreading over the land; though the advocates of the abolition of slavery were considered by the slave-owners rather as impracticable fanatics, disturbers of the public peace, irresponsible and seditious individuals, than as practical workers in national politics. These reformers had, however, brought about a general conviction that slavery was a menace to our national life; that in the words of Lincoln, the nation could not endure half slave and half free. These reformers had compelled the entire nation to understand that the Negro was in deed and in reality a man, endowed with all the instincts and senses of a man, and not a mere chattel.


Page 157

CHAPTER XIV

        ALLEN'S RETURN TO LOUISVILLE--THE MEETING WITH HIS BLIND SISTER--COPY OF MANUMITTING PAPERS--PATHETIC MEETING OF HIS MOTHER--HER NOBLE DEEDS IN NEW ORLEANS--HER SON'S HARD PUNISHMENT.

        ON his return to Louisville, after a number of years of hardships, Allen felt relieved, though he was still a slave. He, with the trainers, rubbers and jockeys, composed the working force of the Fred Scruggs' race-horse outfit. The horses were brought from the steamer, the baggage unloaded, and all found a home in the livery stable at the corner of Second and Market Streets in the city. The slave attendants were given the choice of any part of the hay loft for their bedrooms, and arrangements were made for their meals at the Moore House, a cheap hotel, located near the stable on Market Street.

        After he was located, Allen was given permission to go in search of his mother. It was with great anxiety and a bounding heart that he started out to find the one soul in all the world dearer to him than any other; for this slave boy cherished untold love for his mother. He went first to the Starbird house, the house of his former owner, and there made inquiries concerning his mother's whereabouts; to his exultant delight, he found that she had obtained her freedom,--though she had


Page 158

gone to New Orleans with a Mr. Cuthbert Bullitt, with the hope of finding her children. While Allen was pleased to learn that his mother had been given her freedom, he was much disappointed in not finding her, and complained to himself of Fate's hard dealing with him. He had just come from New Orleans and had fully expected to find his mother where he had left her a number of years before. He was consoled, however, when he learned that Mr. Bullitt was a Union man, that he had been banished from New Orleans by the Confederates and would soon return to Louisville, and that Allen's mother would accompany him and his family. This cheering news gave his aching heart relief.

        He then started in search of his sister, Mary Jane Smith, his mother's oldest daughter. With little difficulty he located her. The meeting of Allen and his sister was a sad one; indeed, there was mingled joy and sadness in this meeting; for while he rejoiced to find her, his heart sank within him when he discovered that she had lost her eyesight by overwork. The poor woman was totally blind and had to grope her way about the house in impenetrable darkness. Mary hastened to tell Allen the story of her misfortune. It was one of the saddest stories ever chronicled of the shameful treatment to which a slave woman might be subjected by her master, and it was all on account of her desire for freedom. The following is the sad story: Her master agreed to let her have her freedom on the payment to him in a given period of time of twelve hundred dollars. To earn this amount of money in the time allotted, the woman realized that she must work night and day; for at best, the wages paid slave women at that


Page 159

time were small. She performed all sorts of labor; took in washing and ironing during the day, and sewing at night. Her struggles were unceasing. She would sew by a dim light nearly all night, take a little rest, and then, rising early in the morning, would start about her washing and ironing. A number of white people who had learned of her ambition and who sympathized with her, gave her more laundry work and sewing than she could do; but she was zealous in her efforts, and by her industry she would satisfy all who patronized her. This unusual strain and taxation upon her energies and her eyes soon told on her health. Her eyesight was gradually failing, and this she knew; but she must struggle on, for her master was unrelenting in his demands for the payments agreed upon. She might have saved her eyesight, but in order to do so, she must employ an eye specialist, and that would cost her money. She had no money except that which belonged to her master and that she would not spend for anything. Not being able to employ an eye specialist, she resorted to the use of such remedies as were suggested by the poor people of her class. These remedies were dictated by traditional superstitions, and they did not prove effective. She used almost everything that was recommended to her, but without avail. Her eyes grew weaker and weaker, until finally the light faded away entirely, and she was left in utter darkness. Then it was, that the master, knowing full well that she was helpless, that her days of usefulness had gone by, proposed that he would release her on the payment of all the money she had accumulated, which amounted to eight hundred dollars. She gladly surrendered to him all the


Page 160

money she possessed, and so, when Allen paid her this unexpected visit, he found her poor, blind and absolutely dependent.

        Mary was married and had one son. Her master, wanting to appear humane and pious (he was one of the leading officials in the church), issued to her and her son Anderson manumitting papers couched in language implying that he had done so voluntarily and without financial consideration.

        "Know all men that I, Daniel Cobb, of the City of Louisville, do hereby manumit, emancipate and set free a negro woman named Mary, and Anderson, her child. Mary is of light brown complexion, about thirty-one years of age, and her boy Anderson is about eight years of age. Mary being the same sold in 1841 by Hamilton Smith to William Bacon and Cobb, and afterwards purchased by me from William Bacon.

         Witness my hand and seal this 5th day of November, 1849, at Louisville, Ky.

(Signed) DANIEL COBB."


"STATE OF KENTUCKY."

        At a County Court held for Jefferson County at the Court House in the City of Louisville, on the fifth day of November, 1849.

         The foregoing deed of Emancipation produced in Court and acknowledged and delivered by said Cobb, to be his act and deed and ordered to be recorded, and is recorded, and the said Cobb executed two bonds with Harrison Bridges his security in the penalty, and with the conditions required by law.

        In testimony whereof, I, the clerk of said Court, have


Page 161

hereto set my hand and offered the seal of said County the date above.

(Signed) CURRAN POPE.


        But it will be seen that the poor woman paid dearly for her freedom. Allen heard his sister's sorrowful story with a heavy heart; but he was helpless in the matter. He told her of his trials and tribulations, and when there was a pause in the exchange of stories, he related how he had called at the Starbird home and learned of his mother's whereabouts, that it was likely that she would soon return to Louisville, that the family with whom she had gone to New Orleans had been banished from the city by the Confederates, and such other information as he had been able to obtain in his brief interview with his former owners. This sister and brother looked forward to the coming of their mother with anxiety.

        In a few days the mother arrived in Louisville. The family with whom she came from New Orleans caught the last train permitted to pass through the line by the Confederates. On her arrival she went immediately to the home of her daughter to report the good news that while in New Orleans she had found her son Major. And to her great joy, she had hardly finished unfolding this pleasant news, when Mary told her about the presence of Allen in the city. Upon receiving this information, the mother started out in search of Allen. In the meanwhile Allen had learned that his mother was in the city and he asked permission to go and see her. He was on his way to his sister's house to meet his mother, and the mother was on her way to the livery


Page 162

stable to meet her son. The boy and the mother met face to face on Second Street. Such a meeting! The emotion of the Negro is well known to the students of psychology. It can well be imagined just what display of pent-up emotion these two human beings made when they came together in the public streets of this big city. For the first time in many years, the mother looked upon. her son, whom she had thought she would never see again, when, a number of years before he had been sent away down the river; and the son's long-felt hope and wish were realized in seeing his dear, devoted mother. The mother's favorite expression when giving vent to her feeling of gratitude, gladness and ecstasy, was always, "Thankie Jesus!" She was profuse and exuberant in her "Thankie Jesus; thankie Jesus," as she threw her arms about her son's neck. The hot tears rushed to her eyes and ran down her cheeks, while she repeated in unrestrained tones: "Thankie Jesus! Thankie Jesus! You sho' has heard my humble prayer; you sho' has heard my prayer. You kept my boy and done brought him back to me. Thankie Jesus! Thankie Jesus! Thankie Jesus!" With each repetition the tone of her voice became softer, and her son was so overcome that he could utter no word. The meeting was most pathetic. A number of people, passing in the street, stopped to learn the meaning of this "Thankie Jesus," expressed with so much pathos; and they were rewarded, for they witnessed an exhibition of a true mother's love for her son. The mother, after she had become calm, and after she had wiped away the tears of joy from her cheeks, told the son all about her life since last he saw her; he then related briefly his battles; and then they parted, the mother returning to the


Page 163

house of her daughter and Allen to the stable where he discharged his duties for the remainder of the day.

        It was claimed in the days of slavery that the negro lacked the sentiment that the white man had in reference to the family ties; that the limited intellectual power, the feeble moral nature, and superficial and capricious affections of the Negro, led him to regard the separations of wives and husbands, parents and children, with indifference; that the Negro had none of the parental and conjugal affections common to the white man, and that separating children from their parents and husbands from wives was not attended by any suffering. But this was not true. Even to this day Allensworth speaks of his mother with a tenderness, an affection, that shows that God endowed him with that beautiful, mysterious love characteristic of the most cultivated white man.

        It was agreed between mother and son that they would meet again in the evening. Allen promised to meet her at his sister's house as soon as he had finished his work for the day at the stable. He was able to secure a "pass" allowing him to remain away from the stable for several hours, and he lost no time getting to his mother. He knew that he must not be found on the street, pass or no pass, after a certain hour at night. His pass permitted him to remain out until the Engine House bell rang out the hour of ten o'clock. Every Negro halted on the street by a policeman was required to exhibit a pass, especially at night; but if caught on the street after ten o'clock, pass or no pass, meant ten or twenty lashes from the cat-o'-nine-tails vigorously laid on.

        That was a memorable evening in Allen's life. On


Page 164

reaching his sister's house and finding his mother in anxious waiting, he related to her all his experiences during the time he was on the Pat Smith farm and in the slave mart in New Orleans. The mother told the boy her reason for going to New Orleans. They were both in that city at the same time, and were within easy reach of each other, but they did not know it.

        Allen's mother told her son the circumstances of her emancipation. She told him about Lawyer Wolfe's (her master) financial troubles terminating in bankruptcy; how he was forced to sell out everything he had to satisfy his creditors, and how the Rev. Mr. Bayliss bought her with a view to having her nurse his invalid wife. This minister promised her that if she would remain faithful and true to Mrs. Bayliss until she passed away in death, he would give her her freedom which she so much desired. The mother then told Allen of the meanness, the intrigue and the plotting of the younger members of the Bayliss family to get her to disregard her promise, and prove false to her trust. When the death of the invalid was near, they tried to induce her to leave her mistress and remain away until her death, and thus forfeit her right to freedom. They tried to persuade her to go to New Albany, Indiana, and remain for a month or two; but she was too wise to be thus easily led astray; she remained faithful to her trust to the very last. When death claimed Mrs. Bayliss, the minister, Rev. Mr. Bayliss, kept his word, and gave her her manumitting papers. After she had thus won her freedom she learned that a Mr. Bullitt and his family were going to New Orleans to spend the winter. This was her opportunity to go in search of her boys, she thought, if only Mr. Bullitt would employ her to


Page 165

serve the family as cook. When this was finally arranged she considered herself very fortunate in having this chance to visit New Orleans.

        Near the winter home of the Bullitt's in New Orleans was the parish prison. It was the habit of Allen's mother to visit this prison frequently to talk religion to the inmates; for she was a very zealous worker. She not only carried the gospel to the unfortunates but she carried knick-knacks as well. She soon learned the names of nearly all of the prisoners. One day, while distributing food among them, she observed a face she had not noticed before. On scrutinizing this new prisoner she recognized her son Major. The natural instinct of a mother impelled her to give him more attention than the others. She was grieved to see him in this place. She asked him why he was there. He told his story of twenty years of horrible treatment and tortures. She feign would have embraced her long-lost son, but the prison bars separating them, prevented. He told his mother that he was there to receive fifty lashes on his bare back the next day, being the punishment for having been caught reading a newspaper to the house-girl. His owners did not know he could read, and when, by accident, it was discovered, they decided to punish him. Sally, the house-girl, was combing her young mistress' hair, and her mistress was reading a newspaper. Sally was curious to know the meaning of a picture in the paper and asked her mistress to read to her what was in the paper about the picture; but the mistress refused. Sally then said: "I don't care ef yo' don't read it ter me; I'll ask Uncle Major to read it fer me." The mistress was astonished. She asked Sally if she was certain that Major could read.


Page 166

"Yesem," was Sally's prompt response. This revelation resulted in Major's being sent to the parish whipping block to be given fifty lashes on his bare back, for no other reason but that he could read.


Page 167

CHAPTER XV

        THE IRREPRESSIBLE CONFLICT--THE FICKLIN FARM--SOME SLAVE SUPERSTITIONS--ALLEN TURNS MUSICIAN--IGNORANCE OF NATURE'S LAWS CAUSE MUCH DREAD AMONG THE SLAVES--ALLEN JOINS HOSPITAL CORPS OF 44TH ILLINOIS--FIRST EXPERIENCE ON BATTLE FIELD.

        THIS question of the education of the Negro gave the slaveholders a great deal of trouble from time to time. It was one of the unique and curious problems. The slaveholders contended at first that the Negro could not be taught,--that he could not learn to read or write or cipher. To support their contention they made it a crime to attempt to teach the Negro, or if, in some mysterious way, the Negro acquired the knowledge of letters and figures, he was punished for doing the very thing his masters declared impossible.

        It was now the spring of 1861. By this time it was quite evident that the great, irrepressible conflict was on. The horses which Allen cared for were booked for the fall races on the Oakland race course near Louisville. But the impending war conditions forced the suspension of all preparations for racing under the auspices of any racing association. "Marse" Fred was called south on business. He was not certain when he left Louisville that he would be permitted by the Federals to pass through their lines. If he succeeded in getting


Page 168

through the Federal lines he was not certain about passing through the Confederate lines near New Orleans and Mobile, his objective points. The situation had its perils for "Marse" Fred. He was greatly puzzled. Notwithstanding the existing conditions, he left his property in the hands of Mr. James Ficklin, who took charge of the stable crew and horses and carried them to his farm in Jefferson County. "Marse" Fred never returned. So Mr. Ficklin disposed of his property as he saw fit.

        A number of the horses were seized by the Federal authorities. The men and boys were put to work on the farm. Here Allen found a number of bright young fellows from Louisville, who had been sent out by their masters to defeat their efforts for an education. Having an interest in common, these boys formed a combination to encourage each other in their ambitions to acquire knowledge.

        Mr. Ficklin was what they called a "mean man." So much so, that the boys all hoped that he would take sick and die. They resorted to every known device to realize their hopes. They tried every remedy known to the superstitious among them. They had heard that if the face of the picture of a person were covered with ink, and the picture buried in the road where a great many people would walk or drive over it, the owner would dwindle to death. So some of the boys took from the house a daguerreotype picture of their common enemy, covered the face with ink, buried the picture, and waited for him to die,--but he didn't die. This superstition, firmly believed in by the slaves, never worked where white people were concerned.

        These boys also heard that if one would take a lock


Page 169

of hair of a person, bore a hole in a hickory tree, put the lock of hair in the hole and then stop it up with an oak peg, the owner would die of headache. It is amusing to hear the Colonel in his reminiscent mood, tell the story. "So I watched for 'Marse' Jim to have his hair cut. One day when 'Marse' Jim called for the farm barber to cut his hair, I said, 'Now I've got it.' As soon as Eph finished the cutting, I made it convenient to get my long-wished-for lock of hair. With an augur I went to the woods where I found a big hickory tree; I bored the hole; took great pains to make an oak peg to fit it perfectly; drove it in tight; cut it off smooth, and rubbed some mud over the place, and patiently waited to hear 'Marse' Jim say, 'I have a headache.' But his head never ached; at least, he never complained; and he never died either." This story shows the terrible grip that superstition had on the minds of the slaves.

        He had quite an experience on this farm. His duties were very exacting. They covered all seasons. He had duties for sunshine and duties for clouds. During the rainy season there was corn to shell, peas to hull, and various other things to do indoors. He was placed in charge of the farm shoemaker, where he was taught to patch, heel and half-sole the shoes of the slaves. This task appealed to his mechanical genius and it was not long before he became quite an adept in the art of shoe repairing.

        For their amusement, the farm hands were permitted to organize an orchestra. Allen was assigned the duty of mastering five instruments, which he successfully accomplished, the tambourine, triangle, snare drum, bones, and Jew's harp and he mastered them all. He was


Page 170

quite a musician. In addition to manipulating the above-named instruments, he was the figure caller at the country dances. He was quite pompous when he called out: "Gentlemen, select your partners," for he was a man of importance. They had quite a time attending these dances. Occasionally they could obtain passes to visit other plantations for that purpose. To do so the slaves employed a sort of diplomacy and cunning. They were largely dominated by fear. They could not imagine that their masters would ever care to see them enjoy themselves; and so, when they were to have their dances, the plan was secretly made and their attendance was effected by subterfuge. The slave was in constant dread in the presence of the slave-driver and white men generally. He was especially afraid of officers of the law. This fear was proverbial, a matter of fun and ribaldry when they were out of sight of officers, but a matter of great anxiety when near them. Much of this fear is explained by heredity, through long habit and superstition. The slave feared mysteries, conjuration, magic-working, skeletons, the dead, lightning, thunder, sudden changes in the weather, heavy, black storm clouds, weird and unusual sounds, eclipses, explosions, and other phenomena that they did not understand. All these fears came from his ignorance of the laws of nature and from his vague imaginings. But the slave's greatest fears were felt in the presence of the master. So these poor people could never come boldly before their masters to ask permission to attend a dance; they had to get to the dance by indirection and pretext. They would plan to have a dance just about the time they were required to take corn to the mill for grinding. This trip to the mill afforded


Page 171

them an opportunity to meet the slaves from other plantations. It was enough for only a few to be told about the dance. The others would get the news; for the slaves had ways unsurpassed for the transmission of any news of interest to them. Those who gathered at the mill would inform the others, giving date, place and other necessary information. The slaves on the Ficklin farm, among whom Allen was a leader, would, for instance, receive permission from Mr. Ficklin to go coon or 'possum hunting; and oh, the noise they would make calling the dogs preparatory to starting; the object being to mislead Ficklin. They had already brought one or two coons and 'possums from the city market, as it would never do for them to go hunting and fail to bring back game, it might furnish a good excuse for denying them the privilege again. After the dance the slaves would return to their home plantation, hang out their bought game, so that Ficklin could see it, and retire. "Marse" Jim seeing the game the next morning, would say to Uncle Dan, the chief among the slaves: "I see the boys caught some game; when you cook it, send me in some." This is the way Allen and his companions fooled "Marse" Jim. Once, these slaves went some distance from home and held their dance until late in the night, and did not return to the cabin before four o'clock in the morning. Uncle Dan was a little slow. He fell some distance behind the boys, and when he went to his cabin, "Marse" Jim was sitting there with a cowhide in his hand ready to extend him a warm morning welcome. Allen was not present to see Uncle Dan dance, but was told that he danced to "Marse" Jim's music. After this Uncle Dan said he was going to bring into use an old Virginia conjure root and fix "Marse"


Page 172

Jim, but his conjure root didn't work and "Marse" Jim still lived.

        "Marse" Jim did business with the Bank of Kentucky, in Louisville. Virgil McKnight, its president, asked him if he had a likely boy who could be had for house service. "Marse" Jim answered in the affirmative. The next time he went to town he took Allen with him and turned him over to Virgil McKnight, who in turn, turned him over to Mrs. McKnight. This new home pleased the boy, as it was near the city of Louisville, where he could see his mother and sister often. Besides, he had opportunities to meet the city boys. And, too, he had opportunities to wear fine clothes. These fine clothes, however, were "Marse" Virgil's castaways. "Marse" Virgil was of great avoirdupois, so there was considerable unworn material in his clothes, which could be used for Allen. This outfit made him a regular dandy among the boys.

        The war conditions were causing many changes in all fields of activity. In Louisville and all around the McKnight place the martial spirit seemed uppermost. It was not long before it was reported that Bragg was marching on Louisville, and the first thing the people knew, the Federal forces were concentrating in and around the city. The McKnights were just within the Federal lines. Many military organizations were camped about their place, and Allen met quite a number of the men and officers. He stated to one officer his history of woe, and expressed a desire to be free. He was invited to become a member of the hospital corps of the Forty-fourth Illinois as a nurse. He accepted the invitation. So when the troops were ordered to the front, he went with them. They marched to Louisville


Page 173

on the Salt River Road and up Main Street, passing the Bank of Kentucky, of which McKnight was president. To avoid being seen by McKnight he disguised himself. To do this, he dressed in an old suit of soldier blue, plastered mud over his face, put an iron camp kettle on his head for a hat, and marched boldly up the street and right by the bank.

        This was Allen's third start for Canada, the land of freedom. He thought he would certainly obtain his freedom this time. Marching north on Main Street, he recognized a number of persons who would have known him had he not been disguised. Around his shoulders was a rolled blanket, and a number of army trappings were carried in his hands. Thus, tramp, tramp, tramp, he was marching, he knew not where; but he was with the soldiers and was satisfied that he would be well protected, and that all would end right.

        On the porch of the Bank of Kentucky stood "Marse" Virgil, and the attaches of the bank, and in front Uncle Billy, the janitor. Allen's head was up and to the front, while his eyes were to the left. About five o'clock they went into camp a short distance above Louisville. While in camp, he concluded to write "Marse" Virgil a letter, giving him information of his whereabouts. He informed him that he had been suddenly called to Cincinnati, Ohio, and would go from there to Chicago. This was at the suggestion of a soldier who did the writing for him. His object was to mislead in case of pursuit.

        As he was attached to the hospital corps of the regiment, he took orders from the Doctor. He appreciated his new position and cheerfully did whatever was assigned him to do.


Page 174

In the morning the army struck tents and continued the march. Nothing of an unusual nature occurred until they overtook the rear guard of Bragg's army. Finally they received word down the line that they would have a big fight at Perryville. The first thing they knew the cannons were booming and the troops were forming into line, and their department was preparing to take care of the wounded. The forces that Allen was with soon went into line and it was not long before wounded men were being brought in for treatment. Finally the battle ceased, the enemy retreating, and Allen's department began a forward movement toward Bowling Green. Here they had a change of command, Gen. Buell being relieved by Gen. Rosecrans. It was not long before they were under orders and on their way south. Passing through Nashville, they went into camp. While in camp Allen formed the acquaintance of a number of folks at the division headquarters. One day Tom, who was the servant of the division's surgeon-in-chief, came to the brigade headquarters where Allen was on duty and informed him that Old Jim Ficklin was in camp looking for him; that he had authority from the General commanding to take him back to Louisville; that old man Ficklin had promised him five dollars if he'd go down to the camp and invite Allen to meet him. As an inducement, and to disarm Allen of any suspicion of danger, Ficklin invited him to come up and enjoy some of the luxuries he had just received from Kentucky. Tom informed Allen of the scheme and advised him to look out for his enemy. Allen reported these facts to brigade headquarters. The doctor in charge informed him that he need have no fears whatever, that he could not be taken away unless he


Page 175

was willing to go. Tom informed Mr. Ficklin that he saw Allen, but that he was too busy to come, so the old man concluded to risk an interview with Allen himself, and endeavor to persuade him to return with him to Kentucky. Having authority to pass through the lines, Ficklin came to the camp and asked to see Allen; being assured that he was safe, Allen submitted to an interview. The old man expressed gratification at seeing him, and told Allen that he thought that he must be tired of military life and would like to return home. He told Allen that he was making a great mistake. He also informed him that his mother was grief-stricken because she was afraid he would be killed. "Yes," thought Allen, "not by the army people; but by Ficklin, if he got him back to Kentucky." Ficklin asked Allen why he didn't tell his mother that he was going away. Of course, his safety being assured, he was free to speak as he felt. So in answer to Ficklin's question, Allen replied, assuming an air of dignity and importance, and injured pride at Ficklin's audacity, "I do not tell everybody my business." The old man grunted, and the officers and soldiers who were standing around and overheard them, laughed, and Allen looked wise. In the meantime the brigade commander learning of the presence of old man Ficklin and the object of his visit, came to the tent, and asked him what he wanted. When informed, the Colonel told him to get out of the camp. The old man sneaked away. The soldiers standing around watching the outcome, were told by the Colonel to hoot him out of camp. He got into his vehicle and was hurriedly driven away amid the sneers and jeers of the men; and some of them attempted to pull the wheels off his vehicle. Allen smiled and said,


Page 176

"Thank the Lord." That was the last he saw or heard of Jim Ficklin. This was one of Allen's first victories.

        The Union army having rested, word ran through the camp that Gen. Rosecrans was going to give Bragg's army as prisoners to the United States for a Christmas gift. It was not long before the entire army was closed in on Bragg. So about December 30th, the Federal army was in front of the Confederates a little over a mile away. About twelve o'clock in the day heavy artillery firing was heard on both sides and the wounded commenced coming in. The two forces fought all the afternoon and early evening. Nearly all night the nurses were busy in the hospital with the wounded. About daylight on the 31st of December, the entire corps, under the command of Gen. McCook, was being driven from their position. Riderless horses were running past the hospital tent to the rear; men with and without guns were running into the hospital, many of them severely wounded. Allen went inside and told the doctor what was happening. The doctor took a look at conditions and said, "Let's get out." They got out. Allen caught an unmounted horse and turned his head toward Nashville, Tennessee, and kept him going until he reached that city. He wandered around the city for some time, finally reporting to a general hospital in charge of Dr. Gordon, from Georgetown, Ohio. He took Allen in and assigned him to duty. It was not a great while before the wounded in large numbers were brought in from Murfreesboro. Dr. Gordon finally received orders to fit up the commissary steamer, St. Patrick, and place as many of the wounded on board as possible and proceed to Evansville, Indiana, and place them in the general United States Hospital there. He took


Page 177

Allen along with him. On arriving at Evansville, Allen was given a chance to go ashore and this gave him great pleasure. This walk in Evansville was the first he had ever taken in his life on free soil. And now he felt that he was certainly on his way to Canada.

        The doctor, after delivering his patients, obtained a leave of absence and went to his home in Georgetown, Ohio. Their attachment for each other having become mutual, Allen accompanied him home, where he received a hearty welcome by the members of the doctor's family, and for the first time in his life, felt that he was a free person. A great transformation took place in the South when the two armies came together. It rendered it possible for the slaves to stand up straight, to get the curve out of their spinal column, to look white men squarely in the eyes, and they have been doing so ever since.


Page 178

CHAPTER XVI

        UNFRIENDLY ATTITUDE OF MEN TOWARD EACH OTHER--DR. A. J. GORDON'S GREAT HOSPITALITY--ALLEN ENLISTS IN UNITED STATES NAVY--HIS RAPID ADVANCE.

        In the mad, onward rush of our big, unsympathetic world today, men take little or no heed of each other, and spare little or no time from business to exchange the casual salutations of friends. Too many men and women in all walks of life find themselves practically friendless at one time or another. Men's interest in each other is simply commercial. Their thoughts of each other find expression in such phrases as "How much can I make out of him?" "Can I profit by the transaction with him?" Fast friendships are rare among the best of men. Jealousy, misgiving, suspicion, are in nearly every heart and mind. Confidence is the chief corner-stone in business, but in the social world it is an uncertain quantity. Sympathy, genialness and kindness are admirable qualities, but they are rare among men; parents for their children, husbands for their wives, classes for classes, and castes for castes, are the grooves or channels to which these admirable qualities are limited. Many thousands of men and women in our large cities sicken, suffer, go through the agony or travail of death and are carried to the silent grave, leaving no one behind to grieve, no one to feel a pang of anguish or desolation or bereavement. To be thus


Page 179

friendless and alone in the world is pitiable indeed. To have no one to comfort in sickness, or minister in the sad, dark hour of the crowning sorrow, is in the nature of a tragedy. In the great crowd, the multitude of the big city, individual men are lost, or if seen at all, only for a brief moment; and when one falls in the vortex, no sky is darkened, no gloom is felt, no shadow is cast over the spirits of the masses, no hearts beat with tenderness or sympathy. The inexorable gap in the path of life is opened, the form is hastily laid away--it may be ruthlessly pitched aside; the multitude moves on and the frail form is lost to the memory of men forever. Deep indeed must be the feeling of those who carry the burden of the world upon their hearts and brains. They know the condition of the hopeless, and they appreciate what it means for one to be friendless in the world. To have no loved ones; to wander through life without friends, in loneliness, without the light and joy which come from the consciousness that somewhere in the world are true and noble hearts beating with interest and affection for him, a man presents a pathetic spectacle. But intense as the feeling may be in the hearts of those who suffer in our day, either from despondency or lack of friendship, it can never match the melancholy and hopelessness of the slaves in those dark days out of which Allen Allensworth was just coming in 1863. He had often abandoned all hope of ever becoming a free man. He had often felt that he had not a true friend in all the world except his mother, that life was hardly worth living, that he would rather welcome death than continue to suffer the tortures to which he was subjected. At times his discouragement and dejection were almost unbearable.


Page 180

        But just when he had reached his majority, he saw in the distance the dawn of the day of freedom. That glorious day came when he landed in Georgetown, Ohio, and was invited to the comforts and plenty of the beautiful home of Dr. A. J. Gordon, a surgeon in the Army. Here he was received in the family with evident pleasure. A neat, well furnished room with a good bed was provided, and the courteous treatment he received by every member of the Gordon family made him feel that he was a gentleman. For the first time in his life, he had the honor of eating at the table with white folks. He was in the land of the free, himself a free man among sympathetic, gentle-hearted friends.

        In April, 1863, after his agreeable experience with the Army, and realizing that the war was an issue on slavery, he concluded to enter the government's service. Being advised to enter the Navy, he decided to make application for enlistment in that branch of the service. A number of light draft gun-boats were being fitted up at Cincinnati for service on the Mississippi river and its tributaries. He presented himself to acting master J. C. Bonner, the recruiting officer. Since he had seen previous river service, Allensworth and two other young men, whom he had met on the St. Patrick on his way from Nashville to Cincinnati, signed up and Allensworth was shipped as a firstclass seaman at eighteen dollars per month. This was his very first employment as a free man with pay. He was assigned to the gun-boat Queen City. The fate of this boat later on attracted considerable attention throughout the country.

        On reporting for duty on the Queen City, Allensworth was selected as wardroom steward with pay at thirty dollars per month. This advancement in rate and pay,


Page 181

coming so soon, made him feel the responsibility of his position very keenly and set the young man to thinking seriously about meeting the requirements of his new station. He felt that he must prove himself equal to the demands made upon him. He was now a petty officer and his duties were exacting. Promotion in the service came only to the men who faithfully discharged their duties, and this Allensworth knew. In his association with the cooks on the Mississippi river, while en route from New Orleans to Louisville, he gained valuable experience, and he made that experience count in his place as petty officer on the Queen City. His experience and observations also on the St. Patrick from Nashville to Cincinnati had contributed to his fund of information in the "rounds" and ways of steamboat life. Thus he was well equipped for the work before him. As wardroom steward Allensworth rendered services that proved very satisfactory to his commanding officer.

        After receiving a full complement of men, the Queen City was ordered to Mound City, Illinois, where her equipment as a gun-boat was completed. The trip from Cincinnati to Mound City was a most interesting one to young Allensworth. The scenery along the banks of the river thrilled him with new emotions; for unconsciously he appreciated the beauties of nature even in slavery, but his vision of the world was now expanding and a conscious feeling of real joy filled his being as he looked on the moving panorama on either shore of the river. When the gun-boat had reached Mound City she was anchored about midstream. This gave the men no chance to go ashore. The young men who shipped with Allensworth began to feel that they were kept too closely confined,--that they were prisoners, and they began


Page 182

to complain. They wanted to go ashore, but the government furnished no water-walking shoes or airships to sailors, and so they must remain on board of the boat. These young men began to realize that it was a serious proposition to be a member of the United States Navy. Allensworth's companions made it known to him that they would take "French leave" of the boat as soon as they got a chance. Allensworth supposed that they were simply joking, but when the opportunity came, they kept their word. A coal barge was brought alongside of the Queen City and the men worked until late into the night unloading coal from the barge to the ship. During the night the two companions of Allensworth deserted, leaving him alone among strangers, the only Negro on board of the vessel. But Allensworth looked the situation squarely in the face. He took a philosophical view of the matter, and the wisdom of his decision the next morning, after he found that his friends had deserted, indicates the qualities of character that entered into his long and useful service and won for him the honors which he has received as a citizen and soldier. Allensworth meditated for some time; conflicting impulses moved him, but he finally decided that he would prove true to his oath, that he would stick to his job. He was a man of honor, and whatever the temptation, he could not be led to violate this high sense of honor which he brought out of the shadow and darkness of slavery.

        This was fortunate for Allensworth, for he became captain's steward and was rated as a firstclass petty officer, drawing thirty-five dollars per month. His exclamations, as he contemplated his rapid rise in the world, were, "My, my, me! How rapid I am climbing


Page 183

as a free man!" He found no difficulty in discharging his duties. The captain of the boat was a Cincinnati man and liked his steward, and Allensworth liked the captain as well. This mutual admiration led to a certain freedom which the rigid discipline of the service would have prevented in other petty officers. Allensworth enjoyed the special privilege of obtaining the use of the "dinkey" to go ashore whenever he desired. He was a favorite among the men on the vessel. His cheerful disposition won him many friends. Out of his first month's pay in the service, he sent his mother in Louisville a part of the money and also bought her a pair of good white blankets.

        It was found that the Queen City's draft was a little too heavy for the Tennessee river; on that account this gun-boat was ordered to the White river. The commanding officer of the Queen City was transferred to the Tawah for service on the Tennessee river because he was well acquainted with that stream, and assuming command of the Tawah, he took his steward and clerk, Allensworth, with him. The Tawah had the same size battery as the Queen City.


Page 184

CHAPTER XVII

        ALLENSWORTH ON THE TAWAH--HOW SOME REBEL SOLDIERS WERE TRAPPED BY THEIR WIVES--ALLENSWORTH COMPLETES HIS TERM OF ENLISTMENT--AGAIN ENTERS THE NAVY--IN 1867 ENTERS INTO BUSINESS IN ST. LOUIS--ENTERS SCHOOL.

        THE Tawah with other vessels composing the district fleet, was engaged in patrolling the Tennessee river from Paducah to the Muscle Shoals, and the commanding officer of the Tawah was in charge of the entire district. This fleet of gun-boats destroyed various kinds of boats used by the Confederates in crossing and re-crossing the river. In this work, the Tawah and the other vessels were very much annoyed by guerillas, who would take positions in lofty cliffs on the banks of the river and fire down on the vessels. Allensworth had many narrow escapes from death while on the deck of his vessel. He was often terror-stricken, as the storm of shot and shell filled the air with strange and unwelcome sounds. Alarmed and stupefied at times, he would say with bated breath: "Mother must surely be praying for me; mother must surely be praying for me!" He was a believer in prayer himself, and in these dark hours he offered up reverent devotions to God for sparing him in the midst of the harrowing destruction of life and distressing sights of human suffering.


Page 185


                         "More things are wrought by prayer
                         Than this world dreams of. Wherefore let thy voice
                         Rise like a fountain for me night and day.
                         For what are men better than sheep or goats
                         That nourish a blind life within the brain
                         If, knowing God, they lift not hands of prayer,
                         Both for themselves and those who call them friend?
                         For so the whole round earth is every way
                         Bound by gold chains about the feet of God."

        Whole engaged in this service, Allensworth witnessed one of the noteworthy incidents of the Civil War, the manner in which a Confederate officer was captured. The officer on returning to his home on leave was trapped by his own wife who did not believe in the justice of the cause and plotted with the Union officers for his capture. Desiring to have her husband leave the Confederate service, apparently in honor, reported to the captain of the Tawah when she expected her husband home on leave of absence and arranged with him for his capture. So, on the date set, the Tawah anchored up the river far enough to return by midnight. No one on the vessel, except the captain and his clerk, knew anything of the details of the capture. The captain gave orders to the executive officer to arrange for a raid. The men knew something was about to happen, but did not know what, nor where. With the oars of the various small boats muffled, the vessel was dropped quietly down the river to a short distance below the anchoring place, and the landing quietly made in the small boats. The men then went up the bank stealthily, surrounded the officer's house, aroused the occupants, and demanded admittance. The wife protested, exclaiming she was alone and unprotected; but


Page 186

the commanding officer of the Tawah knowing the situation, insisted on admission; all the while the husband was being secreted. He knew nothing of the arrangements his wife had made for his capture. A diligent search was made and finally the officer was found in some previously arranged and understood secret place, which had been shown to the captain when arrangements were made for the invasion of the house.

        The Tawah was destroyed at Johnsonville, Tennessee; Allensworth was then transferred with his commanding officer to the ironclad gun-boat Cincinnati, which vessel was under repairs at the time at Mound City. In a short time after Allensworth was assigned to the Cincinnati, that vessel proceeded under orders to New Orleans for transfer to the West Gulf Squadron, the Mississippi having been opened by the fall of Vicksburg. On their trip to New Orleans the crew on the Cincinnati learned that the gun-boat Arizona had burned on her way from New Orleans to Mobile. This left the commander of the Arizona, Captain Brown, without a vessel. He was assigned to the Cincinnati, and Captain Goudy was transferred back to the Mississippi river squadron and placed in command of the ironclad gun-boat Pittsburg. Allensworth, being his steward, was transferred with him. But before the Pittsburg was ready for commission, Allensworth was again transferred from the Pittsburg to the Great Western for discharge from the service, he having completed his term of enlistment in the navy. This was April 4, 1865. His honorable discharge from the navy and the large sum of accumulated pay from the government which he drew, filled his heart with gladness. It was a welcome day to him. He hastened at to Louisville to Louisville to greet


Page 187

his mother. She was overjoyed to see him again and this time a free man. They together had a season of prayer and thanksgiving to God for his wonderful providences.

        Allensworth felt a little odd in civil life after two years of strenuous life in the navy. He hastened, however, to obtain employment, for he was an industrious young man. He returned to Mound City where he was employed as Commissary to the commandant of the Mound City Navy Yard. Here he remained until 1867, when he and his brother, William, went to St. Louis and started two restaurants in different parts of the city. The business was a success from the very start; so much so that it demanded larger quarters. Hearing of a clothing dealer on the square below one of their restaurants who was going to move, they decided to apply for the storeroom for their Market Street restaurant. The rent, of course, was rather high,--$125.00 a month in advance. Allensworth, having funds on deposit in the bank at Cairo sufficient to pay the first month's rent, went immediately to that city and got the money and paid it over to the clothier. This was on Wednesday. Saturday morning William was informed by the clothier that the owner of the house refused to allow him to rent the property to them on account of their race. William, therefore, demanded the return of the money. He heard the clothier tell his clerk to go to one or two stores where he had obtained change, and inform the proprietors that they had made a mistake and sent him a counterfeit twenty-dollar bill and therefore he wanted them to take it back and send him good money for it. They denied making the mistake. The clothier and his clerk then held a conversation between


Page 188

themselves, talking softly to each other, and finally the clothier came to William and told him that his brother Allen had given him the counterfeit twenty-dollar bill at the time he made the payment, and that he must therefore take it back. This William denied, because he knew all the bills brought from Cairo were new,--there was not an old bill among them and the counterfeit was an old one. The Jew clothier then refused to pay over the money. William then left him and proceeded to make the Saturday market purchases for the restaurants. To Allen's surprise a little later, the Jew came with a policeman, saying to him, on entering the door of the restaurant: "That's the fellow," pointing to Allen. The policeman informed Allen that he wanted him to go with him, advising him to take his overcoat along, as in all probability he would need it during the night. Allen was conscious of his innocence and therefore was not uneasy. On reaching the station house, the Jew made his report and Allen frankly stated his side of the case. The station house officer refused to confine or detain Allen, saying there was no case against him, but sent him to the United States Commissioner at the Customs House. Before reaching this place he was overtaken by his brother. They, together, informed the United States Commissioner what had happened. The Commissioner said the Jew evidently had the bill on his hands, not knowing where he had gotten it, and wanted to force these people to take it, charging them with having passed it on him. He stamped the bill "Counterfeit" and turned Allen loose. If he had gone to jail for this alleged offence, the shame and disgrace might have wrecked his life, and rendered impossible


Page 189

the useful career which he subsequently carved out for himself and for the uplift of his race. Fortunately his brother had overheard the conversation between the Jew and the clerk, else the latter would have fastened this charge upon Allen, and in all probability, an innocent young man would have been a victim of conspiracy and suffered great injustice.

        This lesson made a lasting impression upon his mind. He always considered well all reports and charges against persons thereafter before believing them, knowing how easy it would be for a person to become a victim of conspiracy or unfortunate circumstances, and be punished and disgraced for life.

        Shortly after this incident, the brothers, having a good offer for the two restaurants, sold out, William going into another line of business in St. Louis and Allen returning to his home in Louisville, seeking employment. The first offered was that of coachman for A. L. Shotwell, a wholesale commission merchant. The Shotwells were very peculiar people of the old Southern type. They were hard to please, especially in the matter of cooking. During the first month that Allen spent with this family they had nine cooks. Every time a vacancy occurred Allen was called on to prepare the next meal. Finally a proposition was made to Allen to take charge of their culinary department. He accepted, the pay being good and the service easy. He gave entire satisfaction, so much so that from time to time his pay was increased. But when the Shotwells broke up and went to their plantation on the Ohio River, Allen remained in the city and found employment with M. L. Belknap, of the big iron firm of W. B. Belknap


Page 190

& Company. He remained with these people until he "got religion" and joined the Fifth Street Baptist Church.

        By this time the American Missionary Society of New York had organized a Normal School for freedmen in Louisville. As soon as Allen discovered that a building was being erected for this school he made application for the position of janitor, and was engaged. He felt the need of more education than he had been able to acquire and so, when the building was completed and turned over to him for care, he registered among the first pupils. This school was known as the Ely Normal School. This being the first time in Allen's life that he had ever registered in a regular school for instruction, he naturally felt very proud of his future prospect. His means of support were rather meager. He carried a double burden. He had to support himself, furnish himself with clothing and render assistance to his mother. In order to meet his expenses, a good American family, wishing to help him, supplied him his board for the chores he would do about their place morning and afternoon. He walked eleven squares to school every morning and after cleaning the seven rooms of the building he walked back to his home in the afternoon. The school work kept him busy, but he managed to make friends among the boys who would pitch in and give him a little help from time to time, after school hours. Allen remained here until the Freedman's Bureau was opened for the establishment of schools in the state.


Page 191

CHAPTER XVIII

        STARTS OUT AS TEACHER AND MISSIONARY--ENTERS BAPTIST INSTITUTE--PREACHED IN MISSION CHURCH WHILE ATTENDING SCHOOL--ONE OF THE FOUNDERS OF STATE UNIVERSITY--INFLUENCE OF NEGRO PREACHERS--HE ENTERS THE PASTORATE.

        MAJOR BEN P. RUNKLE, officer in charge of the Freedman's Bureau, made application to Professor Hamilton, Principal of the Ely Normal School for a young man to go to Christmasville, five miles south of Louisville, to teach a small school. It was offered to Allen, who, feeling his insufficiency, reluctantly accepted the position. He reported to the trustees having the school in charge and began work in due time and was very successful, the people being loud in their praise of his work. His training in the navy proved valuable to him. Having come under rigid discipline himself, he knew how to bring others under discipline. This was in 1868.

        The officers and members of the Fifth Street Baptist Church in Louisville of which he was a member, observing his piety, splendid character, and ministerial gifts, and discovering in him evidences of a Divine call to preach the gospel, ordained him to the work of the Gospel ministry April 9, 1871. He had through this considerable experience as a teacher and missionary in the state of Kentucky. After teaching school at Christmasville,


Page 192

he was asked to take charge of a school at Cave City and later at Hopkinsville. At each of these places he rendered good service; but he was more and more impressed with a sense of his own inefficiency. Many of the students who had enjoyed superior opportunities were more advanced than he, and they frequently embarrassed him by asking questions which he could not answer.

        It was not long before Allensworth was selected by the First District Baptist Association as one of its traveling ministers to operate in southwestern Kentucky. The more he traveled as a minister, the more he felt his lack of qualification for the ministry. He had many theological battles to fight. Being attacked by stronger and more experienced disputants, he frequently went down in humiliating defeat before them. He finally concluded that he would make application to the Baptist Theological Institute at Nashville for admission as student. His application was received and he was admitted by Rev. D. W. Phillips, D.D., President of the Institute. His funds were very scarce. He exercised the strictest economy and managed to get through the first year. The second year he had proffers of assistance from the Judson Missionary Society of the Second Baptist Church, of Cleveland, Ohio, furnishing the school fifty dollars a year for his support in return for letters of a missionary character written for the society. He also preached for a congregation of about thirteen members of Franklin, Kentucky, a short distance north of Nashville. In order that he might have opportunity to preach and get his board on Saturdays and Sundays he tendered his services to this little church. The people agreed to give him the expense of


Page 193

his railroad fare and entertainment while there. These people had no regular house of worship. They needed one very much. This being his first regular pastorate, he had several battles to fight. First, to organize the people for the securing of a house of worship of their own. The members, though few in numbers, entered heartily into the proposition. They had half interest in a church with the Methodists. They offered to the Methodists to sell their interest, and the Methodists finally accepted the proposition. This left the Baptists without a church or meeting place.

        Rev. Allensworth's church was then in a position to organize a Baptist Sunday School. Before that, having been in a Union church, they had a Union Sunday School--a Sunday School composed of Methodists and Baptists. The members and children of the congregation met on the porch of a brother's house one Sunday morning and organized a Baptist Sunday School. This school continued on this porch during the summer. By fall the people had sufficient funds to build a small house of worship. This was done, which gave great encouragement to the members. This was his first experience in raising funds for a church building.

        The second battle he had to fight with the members of this church was that they were "Holy toners." They had but one objection to Brother Allensworth, he did not "tone" when he preached. But since it was a case of Hobson's choice, they concluded to make the best of it until they could do better. After remaining with them several years and a year before finishing his course at the Baptist Institute (having increased their membership from thirteen to one hundred sixty, placing them in a building finished and paid for, with a thriving


Page 194

Sunday School) and finding they were in such good condition that they could accept his resignation and call some brother who would give them his entire time, they called another preacher. After resigning this church, Rev. Allensworth devoted the remainder of the year to completing the scientific and Bible study courses at the Baptist Institute.

        In the fall of 1875 he was tendered the position of teacher of the school at Georgetown, Kentucky. This he accepted and entered upon his work in the fall. On the Sabbath he visited the surrounding towns and held preaching services for children. He became very popular as a preacher to children. He remained in Georgetown in charge of this school until he was engaged by the General Association of the Colored Baptists in Kentucky as their financial agent. The object of the association was to establish a school for religious training of teachers and preachers. Its object appealed to him and he accepted the position. The work was responsible and laborious. He was happily blest by having the co-operation of all the ministers of the state in the Baptist denomination. The formation of this association, of which Rev. Allensworth was secretary, was the first effort put forth by the enlightened Negroes of Kentucky to establish an institution for the moral and intellectual advancement of their race on a self-supporting basis. The first step taken by the association was to incorporate an educational department. This educational department founded a school, called, The State University, which became one of the best institutions of learning in Kentucky. Allensworth was not only the secretary of the association, but he was one of the incorporators and founders of the school. After the


Page 195

school had passed through many trying vicissitudes, due to the poverty of the people who were called on to support it, Allensworth and Mr. William H. Steward urged Rev. W. J. Simmons, pastor of the First Baptist Church at Lexington, to accept the presidency. But he consented only on condition that Allensworth and Mr. Steward would be responsible for his salary. He knew that the financial support of such an enterprise, depending on poor people, must be a precarious proposition; and so, Rev. Simmons insisted that these two men of influence and standing should hold themselves responsible for his salary. These two noble, self-sacrificing men guaranteed the regular and prompt payment of the president's salary, and Rev. W. J. Simmons became the first head of State University. The faculty was organized and the school began its uphill career. While it has seen turbulent times; times of severe strain and financial difficulties, it has been able to keep its doors open, and many fine young men and women have gone from it to do good and useful service in the world. Rev. Allensworth remained a member of the Board of Trustees for a number of years. From the very beginning, Allen Allensworth identified himself with those enterprises and movements calculated to promote the moral welfare of his people. Allying himself with this educational institution and assuming the responsibility of one-half of the president's salary, considering his meagre start in life, was no small and inconsiderable task. But he did his share faithfully, and even to this day (1914) his name is reverenced throughout the state of Kentucky for his generous aid to the struggling institution.

        Rev. Allensworth was called, in company with a number of Baptist ministers of Louisville, to Elizabethtown,


Page 196

Kentucky, to act as an advisory council in an effort to adjust the affairs of the First Negro Baptist Church of that community. The council found the affairs of the church in a tangled condition and the men were much perplexed, both on account of the financial difficulties confronting the small, struggling congregation, and the low spiritual pulse of the people. The pastor of the church was a young, inexperienced man of limited executive ability and education. He was requested to resign for the benefit of the organization, and the members and officers of the church were recommended by the council to accept his resignation, which they did, but not without bitterness of spirit. These people were just learning to adjust themselves to the new order of things. This young man resigned, but he left the people divided and without a leader or spiritual adviser.

        Thirty days after the meeting of the council and the virtual dismissal of the pastor of the Elizabethtown church, Rev. Allen Allensworth was surprised to receive a telegram informing him that he had been unanimously called to serve as pastor of the church, and that an immediate response to the telegram was urged. Regarding the unanimous call as a very special testimonial to him, he did not hesitate to accept it; but when he reached the town, he was confronted with formidable obstacles. He found that the church was pretty equally divided, about one-half of the members assuming the responsibility of calling him in the name of all the rest. To adjust the trying situation required patience, prudence and energy. A less gifted man would have increased the feeling and caused confusion; but he knew what was expedient, for he was a wise leader. The disgruntled element in the church was the more ignorant


Page 197

and superstitious element. This element was known as the "Holy-toners," those who witnessed strange sights, and experienced wonderful things when they "come through." They were extremely emotional, but non-progressive. The deacons and trustees were men of more or less training. They constituted the progressive element. About half of the membership was with them in their call for the services of Allensworth. The minister had the advantage, therefore, of the co-operation of the officers of the church. With this advantage he set to work to bring about harmony. He found it no small task, however, for there was a bitter feeling existing between the two elements.

        In that day, after the Civil War and Emancipation, the Negro was in his infancy. His ignorance and superstition, the heritage of the slave system, told tremendously on him. Criticism of the Negro's religious views and moral code of that period should begin with his preachers, for they held the religious type of the race in their hands. It may be, notwithstanding the marvelous progress toward independent thought and action in religious matters since that period, that the Negro preachers are largely responsible for much of the backwardness in the mass of the race even today. The tendency of the preachers is to cling to the customs of the past and belittle whatever of dignity and refinement the educated members of the race have acquired and display in their religious worship. But a very large portion of the Negro preachers have made great advancement and improvement over the "Holy-toners" of Allensworth's day in that little town in Kentucky. The greatest need of the Negro church today, perhaps, is a broader and better trained ministry; preachers


Page 198

whose lives will not give the lie to their teachings,--men who appreciate fully the grave responsibilities resting upon them in the work of religious uplift. As a rule the average preacher does not begin to grasp the situation, or realize his true power for good, nor recognize the vital needs of his people.

        Allensworth found that the little church at Elizabethtown was not conducted on business principles; that the accounts were not properly kept; that owing to the lack of system in financial dealings, one could not tell how much the church owed, or how little, nor to whom it was indebted.

        Among the plain people of that day, and nearly all of them were plain, the preacher was highly esteemed,--he was a man of God, to be trusted in all matters and in all the relationships of life. Whatever he said in public or private was usually sanctioned by his flock. His apparent sanctity, frequently ill-deserved and ill-won, nevertheless gave him power with the people. His masterful art of flattery, his assumed dignity in many cases, and his positive pomposity, while inspiring awe and veneration in the minds of the ignorant, appeared to the more enlightened as ludicrous. Judged by the standards of white men, the work and methods of the Negro preacher at the time that Rev. Allensworth took charge of the church at Elizabethtown, were superficial and crude. Again, among the poor, ignorant Negroes, the preacher, being the only leader, commanded supreme power over the masses; his position gave him freedom to do as his inclinations dictated. Many open and hidden sins and deceptions were too frequent, such as the drinking of spirituous liquors, illicit relations with members of his congregation, telling falsehoods, and giving


Page 199

tongue to unbecoming reports. The ignorance, too, of a large part of them was appalling,--most of them were without the knowledge of the simplest truths of the Bible; indeed, a large percentage of them was illiterate, and could not read or write.

        But in spite of pretensions and superficiality, there was nothing so real to the "Holy-toners" in Allensworth's church as religion. Naturally excitable and emotional in his ignorance, the Negro allowed his feelings to take full control of him when stirred by the appeals of the preacher. He was easily worked up into a frenzy over the pictures of heaven and hell so vividly drawn by the eloquent preacher. Faith and knowledge were synonymous terms with these ignorant "Holy-toners." Lack of thoughtfulness and will-power characterized their religious devotions, which were often riotous and unrestrained expressions of spiritual joy. The "Holy-toners" entertained a conception of hell and heaven quite unique, but nevertheless real. Heaven to them was an eternal resting-place, where exclusive reservations are made for them; and they sang of their heavenly home, their place in the arms of Jesus, "Sittin' on de right han' of God," and wearing golden crowns, silver slippers, pure white gem-decked robes, and living on milk and honey. These beautiful pictures of heaven thrilled their hearts with anticipatory gladness. They were sure they would yet talk with angels and associate intimately with Jesus and God; their fancies, though couched in broken English, were realistic. Their pictures of hell were equally vivid. Hell to them was a place where sinners were to suffer eternal "torment" in a lake of fire. The gruesome picture of eternal punishment portrayed in such a matchless fashion by those


Page 200

who knew so little about natural laws, was terrible indeed. It was the effort of Rev. Allen Allensworth to eradicate this gross superstition and give the people sane and reasonable views concerning the future as well as the present.

        In preaching his introductory sermon, laying the foundation for anticipated trouble (physical or otherwise), Allensworth went into the pulpit with the Bible in one hand and the Penal Code of the state in the other. He announced to his congregation that he was there to teach the unsearchable riches of Christ, and for that purpose he would use the Bible, and with the laws of the state he would manage any unruly or turbulent element which manifested itself. He gave them distinctly to understand that he expected the hearty co-operation of Christians and good people in his work, and that he was there to serve the entire community, accomplishing the most good to the greatest number; and that if anyone disturbed the religious service in any way, by his presence or otherwise, he would have him arrested and punished by the court. This made the rebellious element more defiant, rendering it necessary to discipline the entire number and they were excluded from the church.

        To test his determination, this entire element appeared at church meeting (contrary to their own church rules and regulations) and refused to vacate when requested to do so, that business might be transacted. In order to prove that he was in earnest, and meant what he said, he gave them ten minutes to leave the house or be arrested for disturbing, by their unfriendly presence and threatening attitude, the religious business of the meeting. He had the church clerk take their names,


Page 201

selected in their hearing a number of officers as witnesses to their conduct, and informed them that he would, on the morrow, secure warrants against every one of them for their arrest.

        After the lapse of five minutes, one of the old deacons with an impediment in his speech, arose and said: "B-b-b-brother M-m-m-moder-r-ator, m-m-may I talk to these p-p-p-people a few m-m-m-minutes without the t-t-t-time being t-t-t-taken out of t-t-t-t-their t-t-t-t-time?" Permission was granted. He proceeded to inform them that the pastor meant what he said, and advised them to leave this house. He reminded them that it was cold and lonesome in jail that time of the year (January) and that it was best to give up the fight. This speech was labored and halting as the brother stammered furiously.

        After about a minute Sister Ann, a tall, dark, narrow-faced, red-eyed woman arose and said: "Brother Helm, we will go for you, but we won't go for the other folks," and she left the church followed by all the others. Realizing the intensity of this battle Allensworth proceeded to drill his forces individually for an active campaign among these people to disarm them of their malice and hate. Here he showed great skill. He was advised not to accept an invitation to take a meal with any of these people, as they would not hesitate to poison or hoodoo him. He would not heed this advice, as the success of his work depended upon his personal contact with these individuals, even to assisting them to consume a repast of a well-prepared chicken. Invitations were accepted, but the fact never mentioned to his friends, lest they continue to feel uneasy for him.

        Finally one by one these people returned to the


Page 202

church, confessed their error, and were restored to fellowship, becoming his staunchest friends and supporters.

        Allensworth knew the value to his people of organization. Organization has its peculiar advantages, its useful ends. In it men and women of varied talents and viewpoints learn to know each other, and here they cultivate faith in each other. In the organized body they gain information of importance; here they learn that they must, in order to work harmoniously together, show one another courtesy, deference and respect. By participation in debate and friendly discussion the members acquire courage in public speaking and learn the uses of fairness and frankness in the expression of their opinions.

        These lessons Allensworth had already learned in the hard school of the United States Navy. He felt keenly the need of organization among his people; but that organization would be of little practical utility if it failed to establish among the members confidence in each other. He always spoke with firmness, clearness and force. He employed simple words. He could not know the ultimate possibilities of his race; but he knew that the race had just started to school and that it was folly to dogmatize concerning its possibilities. The work which the Negro pulpit had in hand at that time required something more than spouting big words and giving expression to rhetorical vagaries. Allensworth believed that it was his duty to expound the common moralities, setting forth simple truths suited to the needs of the people. He believed that in his pastoral work it was his duty to build up a strong Christian family government on the foundation of virtue and right-doing. He did not try to puzzle his hearers with


Page 203

technical terms, learned disquisitions, or with "considerations from the cosmological standpoint" arguments for the "existence of God."

        Allensworth visited each member and ex-member and discussed matters with them personally, thus preparing them for church life and work in what is termed a "school of the soldier," before placing them in the squad or company, this being a lesson learned from the science and art of war. Special attention was paid to detail work among the children, as he had charge of them in the common school, the teaching of which was part of his pastoral duty. As there was no public school system, it was necessary to teach on the "dollar-per-pupil-system," that is, the pastor, if he had the ability, opened a school and taught all who came at one dollar per member per month. This relation served a double purpose. It gave him an opportunity to teach the children personally, and provided part of his support.

        After a pastorate of two years, he received an urgent appeal from what he termed his "pet church," the Alpha Baptist Church, at Franklin, Kentucky, this being his student church while attending the Baptist Institute at Nashville, and his first charge. It had proved a success in more ways than one, and he was very proud of it. He had seen the congregation grow from thirty to one hundred and sixty members, a Sunday School from sixteen to two hundred and fifty. When he resigned to complete his last two years' studies, they acted upon his advice and called as a pastor, a young man who was well educated and accomplished. They gave him a salary of six hundred dollars a year. He was young and considered inexperienced, yet the officers believed that his deep piety, grace, and intelligence, would form a combination


Page 204

that would prove a great benefit to the community and church. He was handsome and of attractive personality. But during the second year of his administration, by various unwise acts, he caused great confusion and discontent in the church.

        The members remembering what a pleasant relation existed between them and their former pastor, and what pleasant conditions obtained, concluded to release the young man from the pastorate and call their first pastor, "Brother Allensworth." This call appealed very strongly to Allensworth, and since he had accomplished a great work at Elizabethtown, he concluded to accept the call, and return to this field again and continue the battle. This, however, was a mistake on his part, and that battle was lost. Both parties were disappointed. The members of the church thought that if he returned to them the condition he left them in would also return, and he thought that with very little difficulty he could bring things to pass. In this he was mistaken, as two years' time had made a great change in both the church and Allensworth. He was not the same to them, nor they to him. This change was not taken into consideration by either party, and he learned from this experience, that a pastor is not likely to be successful returning to a former field after the ministrations of another pastor. He therefore made preparations to retreat from this battle field as soon as he could do so in good order.

        The Harney Street Baptist Church in the southwestern part of the city of Louisville, Kentucky, being without a pastor, and occupying a very important field, tendered him a call. This call he accepted. Upon arriving on the ground and investigating affairs he


Page 205

found that their former pastor (who was a good, but illiterate man) had created a large number of debts most of them contrary to the rules and regulations of the organization. The purchase price was due on their lot, outstanding bills were owing for materials used in building, and conditions were in a general chaotic state.


Page 206

CHAPTER XIX

        THE IGNORANCE OF THE NEGRO--EDUCATION NEEDED--WHAT CHRISTIANITY ACCOMPLISHES--THE MORAL PHILOSOPHY OF SLAVERY DAYS--WHAT THE WHITE MAN SAYS HE MEANS BY SOCIAL EQUALITY--IN WHATEVER DEGREE BLACK MEN ARE UNEQUAL TO WHITE MEN, WHITE MEN ARE UNEQUAL TO EACH OTHER.

        THE more enlightened members of the Negro race realize that the mass of their people has yet a veritable mountain of ignorance to overcome--that they are, in too many instances, coarse, vulgar, ill-mannered and indiscreet. It is impossible to climb the mountain in a decade. These people must be schooled; they must have the same chances to develop their intellects and characters that the whites have had for themselves. This is largely the duty of white people, for they kept the blacks in ignorance. They legislated against their education, and tried to defeat all efforts at self-improvement, as is illustrated in Allensworth's struggle to learn--the discouragements through which the blacks have gone would have killed all ambition in almost any other race.

        Education is a prime necessity to the people of a republic. Ignorance is the most baneful influence with which people must contend. The policy of an enforced ignorance is illogical, un-American and un-Christian. It is indefensible on any grounds of social or political


Page 207

wisdom, and is not supported by any standards of ethics or justice. "If one fact is more clearly demonstrated by the logic of history than another, it is that education is an indispensable condition of wealth and prosperity. This is a universal law, without exception. Ignorance is a cure for nothing."*

        * Bishop Charles Galloway.


        What is here stated is fundamental. The heated controversy over slavery in the United States took on many queer phases and turns in the moral philosophy of the times. But the system was defended only by patent sophistry, and its advocates argued from the fact to the right of it rather from the right of it to the fact, adapting the right so as to accommodate and sustain the fact. The black people were ignorant (under the system they could not be otherwise, for their ignorance was enforced); they were liable to make many gross errors. They had been subject to unnatural conditions. With their advancement in civilization, however, they have been put to new tests. They must develop conscience. It is strange what arguments were directed against the blacks in the days of slavery, as to their equality and their rights. Even today men filling exalted places in the church and state are setting forth reasons for the continued debasement of the Negroes. One clergyman writes: "Our social relations are such that we refuse to incorporate the Negroes into our own organic structure. Some of our churches are reluctant to admit them to membership, and in none of our presbyteries are our colored ministers allowed to take part in the proceedings. We will not countenance anything that looks toward social equality. I am not talking about intermarriage. What we mean by social equality


Page 208

is such an interchange of social courtesies as recognizes no difference in rank between the parties. We will not consent to this. We will not invite Negroes into our parlors, to our bed and board, no matter what attainments they may make in intellectual and moral culture. I do not say that we are trying to depress them. They are as low as we want them. We are simply unwilling that they shall step upon our social plane. Their social sphere must not only be separate, but inferior. We insist, and mean to insist, that in our intercourse with the Negroes their social inferiority shall be recognized. This unfriendly social relation hinders religious work among them."

        In all the days of slavery more cold-blooded contempt and malignity toward people of African origin was scarcely expressed. Here is a Christian acknowledging that the position he and others hold "hinders religious work" among the Negro people, but determined, even if men "perish for whom Christ died," to maintain the hindrance at all hazards! And such views prevail among Southern Presbyterians! Such people evidently do not believe in the common origin of the human race, and they must question a "common salvation."

        Another clergyman, Rev. John Henry Hopkins, D.D., LL.D., just before the deadly civil conflict was well started, hoping to set the entire country right on the question of equality, wrote a strong book in which he made a powerful argument against the equality of man. But this argument, it would seem, proves the inequality of white men as compared with each other, as well as black men compared with white men; FOR IN WHATEVER RESPECT BLACK MEN ARE UNEQUAL TO WHITE MEN, WHITE MEN ARE LIKEWISE UNEQUAL TO EACH OTHER.


Page 209

The system of slavery did not want for defenders and apologists. Men of scholarship, teachers in schools and colleges, philosophers, scientists, lawyers, doctors, judges and even clergymen of high standing, defended the institution. In their sophistry, however, these men failed to recognize the fact that, rich or poor, high or low, for days, weeks, and months, after children come into the world they are ALL alike helpless, indigent, and dependent--in this respect all human beings are born equal. And whatever their aptitudes, these children must all be taught, else they may never measure up to their highest possibilities.


Page 210

CHAPTER XX

        ALLEN ALLENSWORTH'S VIEW AS TO DUTY OF INDIVIDUAL--HIS WORK AT LOUISVILLE--HIS EDUCATIONAL PLAN IN ADVANCE OF CONTEMPORARIES--LEAVES LOUISVILLE FOR BOWLING GREEN--FINISHED CHURCH BUILDING--ENTERS POLITICS.

        ALLENSWORTH, by association with business men, and on account of his position as a leader among his people, devoted much thoughtful attention to the various difficulties with which his race had to deal. The people endured insult and outrage, contempt and humiliation, at every turn. They aspired to the equality promulgated by the Declaration of Independence and which he had learned was the foundation of Democratic government, a government whose constitutional provisions assure all citizens equal protection. The problem, in his way of thinking, was then and is now, largely one of the individual. In the individual life each separate soul must, by unaided toil, in loneliness of spirit, in hours of hard labor, in striving and ofttimes disheartenment, develop the vital qualities with which it has been endowed by its Creator.


                         "There are no beaten paths to Glory's height,
                         There are no rules to compass greatness known;
                         Each for himself must cleave a path alone,
                         And press his own way forward in the fight."*

        * Paul Laurence Dunbar.



Page 211

        It is the problem of each individual life under freedom, to develop character. This was Allensworth's view and in preaching to his people he put special emphasis on the building up of character.

        When he learned that the people of Louisville wanted him to serve as pastor of their church, he was elated; for he realized that God had placed within his reach a great opportunity to teach and preach the Gospel of aspiration and hope. Then, too, he wanted to get back to Louisville because his mother still lived in that city, and he wanted to be near her in her declining years. Still another good motive was cherished by him. He was now thirty-four years old; he had passed through as many hardships as a human being could well stand and live, and he thought it time to keep a pledge he made to a girl whom he had met years before. They were members of the same church and were both born in Kentucky, and Allensworth was not without sentiment.

        He went to Louisville fully determined to make the very best of the situation. He found the brick school building abandoned where he took his first lessons after returning to Louisville from St. Louis. This building was originally erected for the Ely Normal Institute, but was now owned by the American Missionary Association. He made application to the Association, requesting the use of the building for a chapel in which to conduct religious services. The Association readily granted his request; moreover it was necessary to have the building occupied, or it would go to ruin and decay. It was the plan of the Association to sell the property and apply the money to the support of Fisk University at Nashville, Tennessee, but the time was not ripe for the sale.

        Allensworth entertained convictions concerning the


Page 212

influence of the church and religion that made him a strong factor in the moral life of the community.

        In his work as a teacher, he saw the importance of religious training and of Christian schools, as a means to good citizenship. In this work he saw the devotion and self-sacrifice of white men and women that touched his heart deeply. In the development of a religious community he found it best to conduct the church work much on the order of a school. His church should be an educational institution, carried on as a rational, healthy system, involving the co-ordinate development of body, mind and spirit--the hand, head and heart. In this view he was far in advance of many of the Negro preachers of his day.

        Christian education must be conducted in the interest of morality. Daniel Webster once said, "unless your morality is based upon individual responsibility to a personal God, your laws are not worth the paper they are written on." Christian schools are pledged to the doctrine that God is as infinite as the universe and as personal as man. When God speaks to man one person speaks to another, albeit one is infinite, the other finite; one independent, the other dependent; one Creator, the other creature. All teaching that depersonalizes God desentimentalizes man and demoralizes society. We do not weep over sins against a cosmic influence or a natural law. We weep over sins when we can say to the God above us, "Against thee and thee only have I sinned and done this evil in thy sight."

        While he did not realize it at first, when Allensworth accepted the pastorate of the Harney Street Baptist Church in Louisville, he was about to wage one of the hardest battles of his life; for in this church there were


Page 213

many discordant elements to be harmonized. The fact is, he had to reorganize the membership and start the work anew, just as if there had been no church. He succeeded in this and named the new church the Centennial Baptist Church of Louisville, Kentucky. The American Baptist Home Mission Society of America, having decided to establish and support a model church among the Negroes of the city, adopted the Centennial Baptist Church as a model for the work which the society was sure Rev. Allensworth would be able to develop. He gladly accepted the responsibility of this new work, and proceeded to demonstrate the need of the movement. He organized and conducted one of the largest Sunday Schools of the city. The fame of his work spread abroad. He was a great Sunday School teacher and popular with the children. His style of address was particularly attractive to the little ones.

        In this new church, Allensworth, though faithful to his trust, found in a short time many difficulties to overcome. Jealous ministers of other churches opposed him because he attracted to his church the children of the community who naturally belonged to their churches, and also because he had the support of the American Baptist Home Mission Society. But he heeded not the opposition. His organization was incorporated under the laws of the state, and was the first Negro Baptist church in the state of Kentucky to become incorporated. In this matter, as in other efforts, Allensworth set the pace for the ministers of his denomination. The membership of the Centennial Baptist Church increased rapidly. From forty-five members at the start it grew to two hundred and twenty in three years. The organization purchased a lot in a suburb of the Western section of


Page 214

the city called "California," upon which was erected a fine building.

        Having accomplished his purpose in Louisville, and being invited to Bowling Green, Kentucky, where the State Street Baptist Church was in need of a pastor, he accepted the call. The people of this church were especially anxious to have a pastor who could instruct their children in both the Sunday School and the common school. The need of a live, energetic teacher was keenly felt among these people, and the reputation of Allensworth as a preacher and teacher had already reached them. Bowling Green is in the southwestern section of the state and appealed to him as an important field.

        A large number of the members in this church had desired Allensworth as their pastor for four years or more, during which time they had tried four pastors. His ability and piety were acknowledged, but some doubted his ability to keep the congregation together and raise sufficient funds to pay its indebtedness, and finance their building to completion. The building was a large brick structure commenced by the Rev. J. F. Thomas, who was an indefatigable worker. The walls had been erected and roof put on. It was large enough to accommodate over a thousand persons. But the work must be finished and Allensworth was given that task.

        The members were industrious and enterprising. They organized under the direction of Rev. Thomas a brickyard and ran it in the interest of the church, making sufficient material to furnish brick for their building, besides some to contractors in the city.

        During the administration of the four pastors preceding the call of Allensworth, the membership became involved in many entanglements, owing to the character,


Page 215

mal-administration and illiteracy of their pastors. There were two objections to Rev. Allensworth as a minister. One was that he was not a "Holy-toner," which a number felt was essential to any man to induce contributions from the members; second, he was unmarried. When this last fact was made known to him, he effected a compromise by removing one of their objections and married the woman to whom he had long been engaged. The field was to his liking, as it was one in which both he and his wife could enter heartily.

        As in former pastorates, he was expected here to teach the children of the members in the common school branches, there being no common school system in the city. He organized a school system of his own. He was a man of initiative, and it was while serving as a preacher that he showed this to as good advantage as in later life. After organizing his school, he graded it, and with his wife taught the children until the city voted to establish a graded school system for all children in the city. The public school system in that section of the state was of slow growth.

        On receiving a call to that church, he informed his fiancée that he was ready to consummate their betrothal vows. She consented, and they arranged for the marriage ceremony to be on September 20, 1877. The First District Association, of which he was Secretary, held its meeting at Hopkinsville, in September. He arranged to visit Trenton, the home of his bride, have the ceremony performed and visit the Association on their bridal tour. This marriage met the approval of all his ministerial friends in the Association and the members of the State Street Baptist Church. Returning to Bowling Green with his bride, a reception was held by


Page 216

the members of the church, who gave him and his bride a very hearty welcome. His wife, being a woman of some accomplishments and attainments, particularly in music, proved pleasing to the women of the congregation. They were proud of Mrs. Allensworth. The Baptist Herald, the organ of the First District Association published the following item: "Married. At Trenton, Ky., Sept. 20th, 1877, by Rev. James Thomas, Rev. Allen Allensworth, of Bowling Green, Ky., to Miss Josephine Leavell.

        "Immediately after the two were made one, the parties came to Hopkinsville. The attendants were Miss Anna Thomas and Rev. C. C. Vaughn.

        "We were invited Thursday, Sept. 20th, by Mrs. Lou Glass to dine with Rev. Allensworth and his lady. One o'clock found us at the hospitable cottage, where we were joined by Mr. Brown, of Bowling Green, Miss Anna Thomas, Miss Jennie Glass, Messrs. Campbell and Gray, of Hopkinsville, Revs. Vaughn, Thomas and Jones, of Clarkville.

        "This entertainment was characteristic of that generous, flourishing Kentucky hospitality. It was a very enjoyable affair. We were very favorably impressed with the appearance of Mrs. Allensworth, as well as the Reverend, and we congratulate them, and invoke the divine blessing for them. May they realize in their union all that was intended for that relationship.

        "Rev. A. Allensworth has been called to the pastoral charge of the church at Bowling Green, Ky., and entered upon the discharge of his duties there. May success attend him."

        Allensworth and his wife commenced their work of organizing


Page 217

the membership into various departments. He was a splendid organizer. He realized the necessity of putting every member to work. To do so, various departments of church activities were organized. By this means he was able to secure the co-operation of all. The matter of salary was of secondary consideration. He did not allow them to give him a definite salary, but said that they could give him one collection a month, and that collection would constitute his pay for the month, so they would not be indebted to him for services. If that collection amounted to more than $35.00 the surplus, he assured them, would be returned to the church. The question of finance is the big question in every Negro church. At this time there was no system except taking collections on Sabbaths. All offerings were voluntary, and the collections by Sabbaths were appropriated to certain work. The first Sabbath, pastor's salary; the second Sabbath, church debt; third Sabbath, current expenses; fourth Sabbath, building fund; every fifth Sabbath, missionary fund.

        This method encouraged the members. They soon discovered that it was superior to the "Holy-tone" method. There was system, and system appeals to the Negro. This one fact soon disarmed them of opposition to his methods and manner of instruction. Another plan favorable to advanced methods of instruction, was to have occasionally one of the most pronounced "Holy-toners" supply the pulpit, thus giving the members an opportunity to make a comparison between sane, intelligent preaching, and the emotional and sensational methods. Thus, gradually they grew more favorable to intellectual teaching, as after they attended Allensworth's


Page 218

services they could remember more and have more to talk about than under the old method, when all they would remember was, "they had a great time."

        While in Bowling Green he became interested in national politics, and was elected by the Third Congressional District to represent it in the National Convention at Chicago. He was elected by the Republican State Convention as a member of the Republican Electoral ticket at large. He made an active canvass for Garfield and Arthur, and as elector for the state at large, led his ticket. He was from time to time chosen for public offices, but refused to enter into or act in such capacity unless it was in keeping with his profession as a minister of the Gospel.

        He also became noted as a public lecturer. He was versatile, of pleasing personality and had a fine command of language.


Page 219

CHAPTER XXI

        ALLEN ALLENSWORTH ENTERS LECTURE FIELD--FINE NEWSPAPER COMMENTS ON HIS WORK--HIS LECTURE "THE BATTLE OF LIFE AND HOW TO FIGHT IT."

        AFTER Allensworth had settled down to his work in Bowling Green, more was required of him than teaching and preaching. Frequent invitations came for lectures,--lectures for young people, for colleges, for literary societies and for the larger public. He took high rank as an orator. He possessed wit, humor and pathos, and his eloquence was simply irresistible. In his talks to children he used the simplest terms and drew his illustrations from the commonest things about them. He demonstrated the power of simple statement. He did not depend altogether upon his natural gifts as a speaker; he devoted much time to hard study.

        Allensworth was the recipient of many complimentary notices in the newspapers and many fine letters from public men concerning his lectures. He wrote, while located at Bowling Green, five lectures which gave him fame. His subjects were: 1. "Masters of the Situation; or, the Five Manly Virtues Exemplified." 2. "Humbugs and How They Live." 3. "The Battle of Life and How to Fight it." 4. "America" (used abroad). 5. "Character and How to Read it." A sample of the numerous press notices given while on a


Page 220

lecture tour through New England under the auspices of the Williams Lecture Bureau, Boston, Mass., follows:

        "It was well said of him in fighting his life battle, he has already mastered the situation. He was born an orator, and so well educated that there is nothing provincial in his accent or pronunciation. The attention of the audience was won at once and the interest sustained throughout." Boston Watchman.

        "His is no ordinary mind, and besides he possesses the happy faculty of knowing how to express himself in the most pleasant and learned style, his reasoning being logical and winning." Franklin, Ky., Favorite.

        "Those who failed to hear Rev. Allen Allensworth, missed a great treat. Mr. Allensworth is a striking example of what culture can do for the Negro. He possesses fine logical powers, a bright and scintillating wit and a fund of pathos, which is all the more effective because sparingly used." Woodford Sun, Versailles, Ky.

        One of the newspapers, commenting on his strongest lecture, after he had gone into the army as a chaplain said:

        "Those who failed to hear Capt. Allen Allensworth deliver his famous lecture, 'The Five Manly Virtues,' at the Zion Baptist Church last Tuesday evening, missed one of the grandest treats ever offered the public in the shape of a lecture. The five manly virtues are Industry, Fidelity, Gentleness, Fortitude and Prudence. The lecturer spoke of the true principles of these virtues, illustrating the same by comical, but correct comparisons, showing that true manhood is not complete without these virtues; that the present stage of enlightened


Page 221

civilization is entirely due to their presence in our forefathers, and that our future progress depends upon their presence in the individuals of our nation."

        Following is one of his most thoughtful lectures:

"THE BATTLE OF LIFE, AND HOW TO FIGHT IT"*

        * This lecture is not given here in its complete form, but much after the manner of the newspaper reports of the time.


        The civil and military history of the world has turned on a few decisive battles. Had they resulted differently, the whole history of mankind might have been changed: On the field of Marathon, Greece was saved from the heel of Persian despotism; on the field of Arbela, Alexander conquered the Oriental world. The battle of Marengo, placed the iron crown on Napoleon's brow; Waterloo swept it off. The American Revolution turned on the pivot of the fight at Saratoga, and the struggle for Union and Liberty, on that at Gettysburg.

        There is a bright side to life, and a heroic and noble side to human nature, as exemplified in the lives of many men and women who have conquered in the battle of life. These inspire us with noble ideals, and prove by their example the possible fruitage of human endeavor. Of such class, Benjamin Franklin stands almost alone in his ability to overcome adverse circumstances, and while such heroism is not, and probably never will be, an every day occurrence, rightly studied every life should serve as an impetus to those who "having eyes see not" the satisfaction in store for all that equip themselves properly for the duties and responsibilities of life.

        In considering the characters that have made history,


Page 222

it is interesting to note that a large per cent of them were cradled in obscurity, and attained a notable place on the world's roll of honor only by refusing to acknowledge environment master of their destiny: The father of Columbus was a weaver; of Homer, a farmer; of Demosthenes, a cutter; of Virgil, a porter; and of Franklin, a soap boiler. While a large per cent of the world has become perverted, so that labor is considered demeaning, it is not the less true that mental development and stability are dependent upon muscular activity. Health and happiness are acquired only by those who work more or less with their hands. Elihu Burrett, the blacksmith, had a healthy brain because of his natural physical development, as did also Buxton, the philanthropist. Count Tolstoi of our day serves as an illustration of the truth that even one's literary efforts may be broadened and rendered more effective by combining with the mental labor, a goodly amount of physical activity.

        Not all life's battles are fought in the bloody chasm, nor on fields red with gore; neither have all its victories been won by an Alexander, a Nero, Napoleon, Grant nor Sheridan. In the humbler walks of life have been found men and women who have done grander deeds and won more enduring laurels. Their deeds may not have been published in newspapers, nor their names embalmed in libraries. Fame has refused to herald them abroad,--obscure and unknown they have acted their part in the drama of life and have passed on; but, if we mistake not, a record of their deeds will be found in the book of life.

        From the first inception of this great nation, industry was the vital spark, the embryonic promise of its


Page 223

future glory. The Pilgrim Fathers in their quest for civil and religious freedom planted on Plymouth Rock the habits of industry, which, as the generations passed, became so thrifty and fruitful that "all have got the seed."

        It was impossible to separate from the Puritan character the quality of industry. It was interwoven with his religion, his love of freedom and his frugality. It stood him well in hand during the days of monarchial oppression, when George the Third issued his arbitrary command that the Colonists should work no more in wood and iron; when his soldiery patrolled our forests, marking as the "King's own" our giant sentinels. Thank God there was no abatement of their infant industries until the call to arms; and today this scorned command is answered from ocean to ocean, from the Great Lakes to the Great Gulf, in the shrieking of ten thousand engines; in the whirl of burnished steel, in the ceaseless turning of innumerable wheels.

        Consider in a wider and a more general scope what industry has done: It has built the Pyramids on Egypt's plains; erected the gorgeous Temple of Jerusalem; reared the Seven Hilled City, scaled the stormy, cloud-capped Alps, and tunneled their interior; leveled the forest of a New World, and reared in their stead a community of States and Nations. It has brought from the marble block the exquisite creations of genius; it has put in motion millions of spindles; harnessed as many iron steeds to as many freight cars and sent them flying from village to city, from nation to nation; it has tunneled mountains of granite, and annihilated space with the lightning's speed; it has whitened the waters of the world with the sails of a hundred nations;


Page 224

navigated every sea, and explored every land. It has reduced Nature in its thousands of forms to as many sciences; taught her laws; prophesied her future movements, measured her untrodden spaces, counted her myriad hosts of worlds and computed their distances, dimensions and velocities.

        All of these wonderful things and more it has accomplished in the physical world, the conception of which in their entirety would have been impossible in our fathers' time, and yet monuments of constructive genius are not to be compared with the living domes of intellectuality, sparkling temples of virtue, and the rich glory-wreathed sanctuaries of religion which industry has wrought from the minds of men. The most potent forces of life are those which are silent and unseen,--whose subtle workings are the concomitants of that mysterious mechanism that belongs to the boundless and indefinable realms of thought. The toil-sweated productions of wealth, piled in vast profusion around a Rothschild or Rockefeller are nothing when weighed against the stores of wisdom, the treasuries of knowledge, and the strength, beauty and glory with which this victorious virtue has enriched and adorned a great multitude of minds during the march of a hundred generations.

        The industry of Newton, Howard and Channing means much to us who have profited by the months and years of earnest effort employed by them to make the world better for their having lived in it.

        Those who have engaged in the battle of life should be sure that the cause in which they have enlisted is a good one,--one that God and Nature sanction--and then they should be true to it and fight for it. The


Page 225

victory is to the strong, and to those who throw mind, heart and soul into an undertaking, not considering the results so much as the accomplishment of today's duty.

        If you would win friends, be steady and true to yourself. Be the unfailing friend of your own purpose; stand by your own character, and others will come to your aid. Though your ideal of today appears far removed, it is well to reflect that every step takes you nearer to it.

        So closely are industry and fidelity united that the one is ever associated in our minds with the other, though fidelity does not necessarily suggest the degree of activity that industry presupposes. Both qualities may be cultivated to an extent such as to round out the character and make man master of himself, though I believe that at birth the virtues exist in embryo and that in some they are much more strongly marked than in others. For this reason life is a far greater struggle for some than for others, and those who have worked industriously to cultivate these qualities often succeed in eclipsing those to whom Nature was much kinder.

        Gentleness, the virtue which softens and gives amiability to our disposition and behavior, is possibly more potent in its objective influence than any of the virtues, though we would by no means confuse this characteristic with a passive tameness of spirit that is suggestive of indifference and absence of character. Conformity is not gentleness but weakness. Gentleness presupposes intelligence and sympathy, hence in order to aid in bringing about proper conditions, the gentlest person may often appear to the ignorant and unthinking as cruel and unkind.

        True gentleness, therefore, is to be carefully distinguished


Page 226

from the mean spirits of cowards, and the fawning assent of sycophants; it renounces no just right from fear; it gives up no important truth from flattery; it is, indeed, not only consistent with a firm mind, but it necessarily requires a manly spirit and a fixed principle in order to give it any real value. It stands opposed to harshness and severity, to pride and arrogance, to violence and oppression.

        Added to the virtues already expanded, in order to become equipped for the great combat of life, one must possess fortitude in no small degree. I have thought that if the battle is not always to the strong, the victory is often his who has learned to bear the vicissitudes of the strife with hope and patience.

        Though fortitude and courage are generally considered as identical in meaning, there is a distinct difference between these leading manly characteristics. Courage resists danger; fortitude supports pain. Courage may be a virtue or a vice, according to the controlling circumstances; fortitude is always a virtue,--we speak of a desperate courage, but not of a desperate fortitude.

        Fortitude is strongest in those who have endured most. The skilled mariner obtains his best experience amid storms and tempests, thus augmenting his self-reliance and courage and learning the highest discipline. So from the storms of life, from its rude shocks of misfortune and its blasts of adversity does man become strong, courageous and victorious.

        In order to succeed one must possess in addition to the four virtues named, a goodly amount of Prudence, or, in other words, a knowledge of what is to be desired and avoided, else failure may be expected. A wise discrimination


Page 227

as to choice both of ends and means, and a power of suiting words and actions with reference to controlling circumstances are indispensable to one who engages in the battle of life; provided time is utilized to a purpose.

        While it is true that human nature is moulded by a thousand subtle influences--environment, precept, education, literature and precedent, man must ever be the active agent of his own well being and doing. This is well illustrated by the works of scientific men in the caution with which they present their ideas. Though the science of today is in many respects as absolute as mathematics, yet they who have delved to the greatest depths recognize the vast treasuries of knowledge that lie beyond the grasp of even the wisest, and they realize that we are still compelled to reason from relative premises. In the moral world, however, there is no occasion for humility, since man may be an arbiter of his own fate, and in the degree that he depends upon outside influences to do for him what he is capable of doing for himself, he is guilty of weakness such as to preclude the possibility of growth. One must learn to govern self before attempting to direct or govern others, otherwise his influence is of little value. The superficiality of self-constituted leadership is acknowledged by all classes of people, yet comparatively few recognize the principle that underlies its weakness. Though wealth and position may not be the inheritance of all, provided one is capable of conceiving of true character, there is nothing to interfere with one's possession of it, nor any excuse for the weak links in the chain. In most cases they are there--this cannot be gainsaid--but only because one is unwilling to "sell all" that he


Page 228

has in order to secure it. What we care for most, we get. If one is willing to subordinate every other faculty to the acquisition of wealth, he may get wealth; if to knowledge, he may acquire it. And if one desires above all else to possess the five manly virtues--or character--it may be his in abundance.

        When the shadows of earth are passing away and the realities of another life shall dawn, I fear there are many so-called victors who will take inferior positions, since the time has come when true worth alone will pass muster. Sometimes in vision I see the great ones of earth putting in their claims for recognition: The orator challenged, pleads past eloquence that has swayed thousands like corn in the summer wind; moved them to tears and incited them to passion; the poet urges his claim, in that he brought people to tears through his songs of love; the painter begs for recognition because of his careful reproduction of Nature and its influence in lifting up, and civilizing, his fellow men; the sculptor boasts of his ability to give speech to marble and breath to plastic clay. Last of all the warrior begs consideration in that though he has planned mighty battles, slain thousands, caused kings and empires to tremble at his will, all was done in the cause of mercy to prevent a fiercer struggle and a bloodier carnage.

        Still in a dream I see them all pass on to great and sure reward, each having improved his talent and fulfilled his duty according to the light given. And yet the vision is incomplete--I marvel that the richest diadems are reserved for these, when suddenly a great and surging throng are thrown on canvas! They are without scepter or laurel wreath, the purple or ermine of


Page 229

kings; I recognize no Demosthenes, Homer, Michael Angelo nor Napoleon, but challenged, I hear a weak response: "I have loved and cared for little children"; and another, "I have visited the sick and imprisoned, and offered the cup of cold water in His name."

        All life is a battle, and every man has his decisive one. We all have our moral Marengos and Waterloos, where we win or lose the crown of victory. A "yes" or "no" has cost many a man his fortune and has revealed limitations that even the possessor did not dream existed. It is well that a few simple rules of moral welfare should be remembered when decisive conflicts are imminent:--

  • Never place on guard a doubtful principle. Your sentinel will be sure to betray you.
  • Never change your position in the face of an enemy. This was a fatal policy to Russians at Austerlitz; it has caused many a disgraceful defeat in moral and spiritual warfare.
  • Never abandon the high ground of right for the low lands and swamps of expediency. No man was ever lost in a straight road.
  • Never yield an inch to the enemy. It is hard to recover a line that has begun to retreat.

        It appears to be the natural desire of every human heart to live to a great age, and yet a large per cent exist without purpose, and can give no logical reason for desiring it to be extended. Unrest and dissatisfaction are on every hand, and the question as to the utility or value of life is uppermost with the majority. There is a practical solution of life in the minds of nearly all thinking people, which could become effective,


Page 230

if there were less incredulity existing among those who long for humane and proper conditions. They recognize wrong and selfishness, but believe it to be inevitable, and therefore make no effort to surmount precedent. If we put on the armor of the five virtues and wear it with credit, we can by example alone overcome much of the skepticism that exists concerning the possibilities of human nature--its strength and stability. There is much latent force both in men and women of which the world knows nothing, simply because the conditions of their lives are such that their strongest gifts remain dormant. It is questionable whether even the noblest and best have a full comprehension of their own heroism. For instance, in the case recently quoted of an obscure laboring man meeting death while closing a switch, the failure to do which would have cost the lives of a large number of people,--in all probability this was the outgrowth of kindness and brotherly love, the depth of which the man was not conscious until put to the test. And yet, "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend."

        That which raises a country; that which strengthens it; that which spreads its power and creates its moral influence is character! And of this we can all be possessed.

        "This above all, to thine own self be true; and it must follow as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man."



Page 231

CHAPTER XXII

        ALLEN ALLENSWORTH STUDIES ORATORY IN PHILADELPHIA--SUFFERS FROM SELF-DEPRECIATION--UNIQUE EXPERIENCE IN JOY STREET BAPTIST CHURCH IN BOSTON--APPOINTED MISSIONARY BY AMERICAN BAPTIST PUBLICATION SOCIETY--ATTENDED NATIONAL REPUBLICAN CONVENTION--EX-GOV. KELLOGG OF LOUISIANA.

        WHEN the graded school system was established in Bowling Green, Rev. Allensworth took the examination and was given a teacher's certificate and became eligible to teach the city school. He was eagerly sought by the school authorities, tendered a position, but declined in favor of another. He was always willing, however, to serve, and at various times he filled temporary vacancies as a matter of accommodation to others. He was much esteemed by the Superintendent of Schools in Bowling Green.

        During his pastorate at Bowling Green he visited New England on a lecture tour. His popular lectures were well received everywhere. He placed himself under the management of the Williams Lecture Bureau in Boston, Massachusetts. His object in visiting New England was first, to raise funds to pay off the indebtedness on his church, and second, to realize his hope of broader experience, culture and acquaintance. As he was about to pass through Philadelphia, he realized


Page 232

that he was handicapped by his Southern brogue, and a feeling akin to dread overcame him when in the presence of white people. He suffered a sense of inferiority, the result of ancestral oppression. He could not rid himself of the feeling of timidity and nervousness when facing an audience of white people or when conversing with a white man. It required considerable training and conscious effort on his part to rid himself of that feeling. This trouble was common to many of the slaves; for in their ignorance and superstition, they feared the harsh slave-driver. His stern look cowered them. Much of their fawning and cringing was due to this mental ailment.

        He resolved to correct this peculiar defect in his mental equipment, for he felt that this was within his power, and so he entered the National School of Elocution and Oratory in Philadelphia. The president of the school, Mr. Schoomaker, took very special interest in him and devoted to him much personal attention. He used the lectures he had already written for practice, and his delivery became fluent and in some degrees powerful under the tutorage of this master of elocution. When he had satisfied the president of the school that he was capable of delivering these lectures acceptably, he proceeded to Boston. Arriving in that city, he was soon located. His first engagement was in Newburyport, where he was booked to speak before the State Baptist Association, which was to convene the following week; here he expected to meet a number of ministers with whom to plan an extended tour of New England. He was to leave Boston for Newburyport on Monday morning; but on Sunday, he found himself without funds, he had but fifty cents in cash and


Page 233

was three dollars in debt for board and lodging. He was not a man to quail in the presence of difficulties. He had already suffered discouragements and disappointments before. While he did not know at that time just how he would get to Newburyport, still he felt certain that he would reach that town.

        On Sunday morning he started out to visit some of the Negro churches. He found his way to the Joy Street Baptist Church. This church, as it proved, was without a pastor. On entering he found the members holding a prayer meeting. He was not seated long until one of the officers of the church approached him and asked if he was a preacher. On receiving an affirmative response, he was requested to preach for them at the evening service. He gladly accepted this invitation to serve these people. After the regular offering that evening, one of the trustees asked him, with some hesitation, if he would accept an offering as a show of appreciation of the people for his great service to them in preaching so eloquent a sermon. He gladly and hopefully consented to the after-collection. The attendance was large that evening and when the collection was "lifted," the amount was put into his handkerchief, securely tied, and handed to him. He modestly deposited the little bundle of small coins in his pocket, and after pronouncing the benediction, went to his boarding house. When he counted the small coins he found to his delight that the people had given him $15.00, quite enough to pay off his obligations and meet his traveling expenses to Newburyport. It would be hard to prove to Allensworth that there is not a special Providence for him who honestly believes.

        On his return to Boston a short time afterward, he


Page 234

was again invited to visit the Joy Street Church, and the officers of the church offered him $48.00 per month if he would remain in Boston and serve them as their pastor. He remained with the Joy Street Church for about four months, during the time he filled lecture engagements throughout New England, preached in the church on Sundays and attended one business meeting each month.

        After completing his tour in New England, he again turned his face toward the South. In a short time he was again in his Kentucky home at Bowling Green. But on his way to Kentucky, he stopped in Philadelphia, and visited the headquarters of the American Baptist Publication Society. This great organization tendered him the position of Sunday School Missionary for the state of Kentucky. This work being much to his liking, he accepted it, because it afforded him opportunities to speak to children. It was a part of his duty to lecture to teachers both in the Sunday School and in the day schools, and this appealed to him. The Colored Baptist State Sunday School Convention of Kentucky also appointed him to the position of State Sunday School Superintendent, with authority to visit Sunday Schools throughout the state, examine their condition and make recommendations as to the purchase of literature, etc. He was pleased to have this appointment as it strengthened his position with all the churches and Sunday Schools throughout the state. He became well and favorably known in Kentucky as the children's preacher, and he well deserved the fine reputation, for they were won by his faithful endeavors in behalf of the moral and religious training of the younger folks of his race.


Page 235

        Being settled in his home in Bowling Green, he invited his mother, who was then in her ninety-sixth year, to make her home with him. This privilege he had long sought, but up to this time in his ministerial life he had been unfavorably situated. His mother had prayed for the opportunity of living under the roof with her youngest son, and now her prayers were answered. This devoted mother had prayed to witness the marriage of her youngest son, and to see him begin a career worthy of the world's recognition. Realizing the fulfillment of that prayer, her heart overflowed with gratitude and gladness. Mrs. Allensworth engaged with her husband in the work of uplift and she performed well her part. This pleased the minister's mother. This dear old soul felt that her son would surely become one of the great men of the times, certainly one of the most useful, and she was satisfied. After a brief illness, she surrendered her hold on life and departed in peace, August 2, 1878, at the age of 96. A large concourse of people attended the funeral. She was everywhere regarded as a kind-hearted, gentle, sympathetic, hospitable soul. The funeral sermon was preached by Rev. Bartlett Taylor, pastor of the African Methodist Episcopal Church. She was a faithful member of that denomination for over sixty years.

        Allensworth continued to rise in the public esteem. His power was widely felt; he became one of the leaders in affairs affecting the interests of the Negro race wherever he worked in Kentucky. He was called into counsel whenever the economic, industrial or political interests of the race were debated among the white people; for he commanded the fullest confidence of the


Page 236

white people of Bowling Green. His sincere and frank manners, his perfectly square dealing, his high moral character, added to his influence and power. In 1880, at the instance of John Q. Adams, he was made elector at large by the Republican State Convention and his name placed on the National ticket. He made an energetic canvass for Garfield and Arthur, and received more votes than any other member of the Electoral ticket.

        In 1884 the Third Congressional District of Kentucky sent him to Chicago as a member of the National convention, with instructions to vote for the nomination of the candidate showing the greatest strength on the field. Arthur was his personal choice. The Arthur managers learned how he stood and endeavored to secure his vote for their candidate. It was one of the true political battles of his life, to spurn the temptation to stultify his conscience; for in the political conventions many of his men had lost favor by compromising their principles.

        He was approached repeatedly by suave managers, who with unctuous benignity, attempted to ingratiate themselves into his favor. They appealed to him to give their candidate his entire support. But he was not to be swerved from his steadfast purpose by fulsome and fawning praise. He was a man of honor. He had given his word. Allensworth was several times called into conference by the Arthur managers in reference to his support. He informed the managers that he would vote once for Arthur, to satisfy his own inclination, but because Blaine was the strongest man, and he had been instructed to give his support to the strongest candidate, he would have to give Blaine his


Page 237

support. The Arthur managers then asked if he would give the vote to Arthur when it was most needed. To this proposition he consented. Arthur showed considerable strength on the second ballot, and it was on this ballot that he was called on to give his support. The showing made was so gratifying to the Arthur people that they could not resist the impulse to use the usual device not only to keep the votes they had already gotten, but to secure others. And so, the question was asked Rev. Allensworth, "What kind of consideration would induce you to abandon your original plan and instructions and give your entire support to Arthur?" Here is where his manhood and honor was put to the test. He demanded but one thing, and that was the unbroken support of the New York delegation in the convention for Arthur. No money consideration could move him. In this convention he supported John R. Lynch of Mississippi for temporary chairman of the convention. In this same convention was Hon. Theodore Roosevelt, who supported Edmonds.

        The Chicago newspapers were unstinted in their praise of the behavior of the Negro delegates in this convention. Referring to these delegates, one paper said, editorially: "All parties will have to acknowledge that the colored delegates have borne themselves like men throughout the exciting contests in the convention. Some of the best speeches were made by colored men, and they have at all times been courteous, polite, and attentive to their duties."

        Another paper said: "There was no more notable feature of the late Republican National Convention than the honorable part borne in it by the South, and more especially by the colored element. From first to last


Page 238

that element deserved and enjoyed not only the respect, but the admiration of all who witnessed the proceedings, going far to justify the theory that Ethiopia, and not India, was the cradle of civilization.

        "The first appearance of the colored man as a delegate in a National convention was at Philadelphia in 1872. He was then the merest tool in the hand of white leaders. He had no individuality. In 1876 there were faint indications of manliness, and that was about all. In 1880 he had some mind of his own, but felt shy of self-assertion. A colored Vice-President was once called to the chair, but he seemed to feel like one who treads for the first time a giddy height. But in the convention of this week the colored men, in proportion to their number, not only compared favorably with their white associates, but they actually bore off the honors. No one could have followed those proceedings from day to day without feeling proud to claim those delegates as fellow American citizens. It is conceded that Mr. John R. Lynch made a most admirable presiding officer. His rulings were clear, his presence commanding, although modest and frequently during the uncontrolled turbulence of the proceedings under the permanent chairman one could but wish that Lynch held the gavel.

        "When it came to addressing the assembly the colored delegates won distinction. Mr. Lynch discussed the proposed change in the basis of representation so ably that he won to his views such men as Curtis and White, who confessed that his logic was simply unanswerable. When it came to the speeches of Thursday evening, Mr. Lynch and Mr. Pinchback commanded admiration for their force and good taste. Each was brief, to the point, and persuasive. They made no attempts at


Page 239

rhetorical flights, but succeeded in presenting capitally their reasons for favoring the nomination of President Arthur.

        "But it was when the ballots were taken that the colored delegates appeared to best advantage. They had all been elected as Arthur men, whether pledged or unpledged. Early in the week the air was full of rumors of treachery and corruption. There was nothing to be done but to abide the result. The friends of Arthur had no intention of making merchandise of them, even if it were possible to do so. When the ballots were taken, one after another, the roll-call showed that all such rumors were grossly unjust. So far from being a flock of sheep making haste to follow the bellwether over the wall, they stood firm, and in some cases were 'faithful found among the faithless.' They were the 'old guard' of 1884. They had no Roscoe Conkling to lead them, but like the immortal '306,' they had the courage of their conviction. It was not until the fight was really over that they surrendered. By the time the fourth ballot was taken everybody knew that the struggle was over. In the previous ballots they were almost a unit, lacking just enough unanimity to show that it was manliness, and not clannishness, which inspired them.

        "The Inter Ocean has no disposition to embarrass the campaign by dwelling on exasperating bygones, but we must say that if the white men in the convention who professed to be satisfied with the administration had been as consistent and as persistent as the colored delegates, they would have achieved victory where they experienced defeat."

        Allensworth's attitude in this great convention won


Page 240

for him and his race a standing that had not been attained before. He proved that he was a man of integrity and honor, and the other Negro men in that convention deported themselves in a manner creditable to their race. These men of character, in their relations to the political leaders of the white race, gained friendship, confidence and a worthy place.

        It was Allensworth's firm conviction that without character as a sure foundation, a place and fair reputation among his fellow-citizens could never be gained, whatever the talk of talents, education, culture, and the pretensions to theoretical rights. Confidence and esteem are based on honorable character, and character must be based on honorable principles, honest and industrious habits and devotion to duty. Such is the foundation upon which a worthy human character is built.

        One of the most friendly to the race in political life was former Governor William Pitt Kellogg, of Louisiana, who expressed himself as indignant with an American journal which tried to besmirch the character of colored men who attended political conventions, and who issued the following statement: "In my opinion colored delegates cannot be bought. When I was Governor they always stood by their pledges to me. In 1876 four colored men were electors. Fortunes were offered them to change their votes, to one of them alone was offered $100,000 for his vote. If one had yielded Tilden would have been President." Governor Kellogg was associated with Negro delegates in a number of National conventions.


Page 241

CHAPTER XXIII

        BLESSED WITH TWO DAUGHTERS--SEEKS BETTER ENVIRONMENT--FIRST EFFORT TO SECURE APPOINTMENT IN ARMY--CINCINNATI PAPERS PAY HIM TRIBUTE--APPOINTED CHAPLAIN WHILE PASTOR OF UNION BAPTIST CHURCH IN CINCINNATI, OHIO.

        ALLENSWORTH'S exacting duties as a missionary kept him almost continually on the road, traveling from village to village, town to town, and city to city. This arduous work precluded the possibility of that self-improvement and intellectual advancement which he so greatly desired to make. He felt his own insufficiency to cope with men who occupied more exalted stations in life than he. His inadequate knowledge of public affairs was the frequent cause of embarrassment and humiliation. While he did not lack in the essential moral fitness to meet the demands of his position, he was, nevertheless, conscious of a lack of mental equipment. He therefore had good reason to seek a change. He fairly hungered for the knowledge which his environment and association could not impart.

        After four years of active service among the children in the state of Kentucky, he turned his attention to more promising and advantageous fields of labor. His family had increased. He was now the happy father of two beautiful girls. He had begun to devote much of his time to the serious consideration of their future. He craved for them more favorable environment than was


Page 242

afforded them in Bowling Green. This was perfectly natural with a man of his temperament and aspirations. He was often troubled by anxious thoughts concerning his family's future. The stultifying conditions under which the mass of his people lived throughout the state of Kentucky, gave no hope of the attainment of his own ideals, either for himself or his family, or even improvement of present conditions. The situation was not propitious for either high moral discipline or intellectual culture. His wife, a gentle, refined, sweet-tempered woman, had endeared herself to all the people of the community. The humblest of the women loved her, for her sympathy and commiseration had often eased their burning hearts in crushing sorrows. With the knowledge of this fact in his mind he found it difficult to leave Bowling Green.

        But Allensworth and his wife were both profoundly concerned about the future of their children. They often spent entire evenings talking about their welfare. This man and woman were sane, sensible people. They shared each other's confidence. No sudden, capricious, superficial affection brought them together. Their love for each other was true, enduring, permanent. There was in this union that natural affinity, that adaptation of hearts and souls to each other, which characterizes the ideal marriage. Mrs. Allensworth sympathized fully with her husband in all his battles of life and rejoiced with him in all his victories. She felt keenly his disappointments, discouragements and sorrows, and welcomed with delight his honorable achievements. As these good people contemplated moving from Bowling Green, a battle of considerable magnitude presented itself; for the people needed the elevating influence which


Page 243

he and his wife exerted over the community. The battle with his own conscience, between duty to his family and duty to the community, became a strenuous one. In all his actions toward his wife and children and the community at large, he exhibited a noble spirit. His wife gave him cordial co-operation. She was vitally interested in every good movement inaugurated by her husband. She accorded a warm-hearted reception to the poorest among the people, and her hospitality was limited only by the contents of her cupboard.


                         The soul that has known the pangs of pain,
                         That has measured its loss in another's gain;
                         The soul that has known long lonely hours,
                         And yet can gather the sweetest flowers;
                         The soul that has learned its lessons in tears,
                         And yet can forget the bitter years--
                         Ah! that is the soul that can feel and love,
                         With the tenderness born of God above,
                         That can soothe and reach with the gentlest hand
                         The troubled, sorrowing heart of man.

        It was therefore fortunate that a "call" came to Allensworth from the Union Baptist Church of Cincinnati, Ohio, just when he was considering the problems before him.

        The Union Baptist Church had been without a regular pastor for about five years. The officers and members of this church were rather particular. They wanted a man who had a reputation for high moral character, the true elements of leadership, training and experience in the ministry, and Allensworth combined all of these. The favorable reports which had reached them concerning him pleased them very much, and so the "call" was extended. Allensworth readily accepted


Page 244

the invitation to go to Cincinnati, for in this great city he knew he would find within easy reach public libraries, museums and other institutions of the kind open to him; and, too, here he would meet men of talent and association with them would help him in his intellectual strivings. But not for his own improvement alone did he decide; the thought of the advantages which his children would enjoy also played an important part in leading him to accept this "call."

        The Union Baptist Church membership was composed of a number of the very best citizens of Cincinnati, men of high intellectual, social, commercial, political and religious standing; such men as the Hon. George W. Hayes, T. J. Monroe, Dr. Eugene Cox, and others. The church was free from debt and owned its own cemetery property. Its Sunday School was large and progressive. Its financial department was well organized with Mr. T. J. Monroe, as secretary. The church membership was organized in all departments. At the expiration of one year's successful trial, Allensworth was requested by unanimous vote of the membership to continue as their pastor. Among the new organizations inaugurated was a church building fund society. This was to raise funds to build a new house, which was subsequently done, after he entered the United States army.

        In 1882, a Negro soldier called Allensworth's attention to the fact that the chaplains of Negro regiments in the regular army were white men, and urged him to use his influence to secure the appointment of Negro men on the retirement of these white officers. Learning that the chaplain of the Twenty-fourth Infantry would retire in about four years, Allensworth concluded to make his own way to the place. He laid out his plans


Page 245

and looked forward with anxiety to the time when he might be appointed a chaplain in the Army. While he did not expect the vacancy to occur under a Democratic president, he made up his mind that he would not be deterred on account of the political shade of the administration. He had as much right to the appointment under a Democratic administration as under a Republican administration. He did not apply as one seeking reward for political service; his application was made on the merits of character and efficiency, and character and efficiency alone. He had strong friends among the Southern Democrats as well as among the Republicans. Some of his Democratic friends were very enthusiastic in their support of him and used their utmost influence to secure his appointment; but one said, "Now, Allensworth, you know I have a lot of 'mad' fools to deal with, just as many as you have, so you must not mention the fact that I am supporting you." The most loyal support given him was from Democrats who would not care to have their constituents know that they were interested in a Negro's appointment to such a high office.

        Among the first men in public life to tender his good office to Allensworth was Hon. Charles P. Jacob. When this distinguished Southern man was approached he said, unhesitatingly: "Certainly, Allensworth, I will give you my endorsement with greatest pleasure. I have been waiting for years to embrace just such an opportunity to comply with a promise I made to your mother during the Civil War. Your mother was serving our family when the Federal Government was seizing the horses belonging to Southern people. The young ladies in the family asked your mother to save the carriage horses for them. This the dear old woman did.


Page 246

There was but one way she could hide these horses from the Federal troops, and that was to take them to her own room in the back yard, near the big house. When the soldiers came 'round in search of horses they did not suspect that the old woman had two of the finest in her own room. So, Allensworth, I will go to Washington and see the President personally in your behalf." Here is his letter on the subject:

Nov. 15th, 1885. PENDENNIS CLUB.

My dear Sir:

        I have just returned from Washington, which will account for no notice having been taken of your two letters.

        I took great pleasure in seeing the President in your behalf and he was so interested in what I said in regard to your surroundings, qualifications, etc. etc., that he requested me to write "just what I had said" to him to the Hon. Sec'y of War, which I did and handed it to him in person. I hope you will be successful.

Very truly your friend

(Signed) CHARLES P. JACOB.

Rev. Allen Allensworth,
No. 391, W. Courst St., Cin.

        Notwithstanding his strict adherence to principle, he was often misunderstood by both white and colored people. He found politics a pretty serious proposition, a real battle. "The Cincinnati Enquirer" took the trouble to send a reporter all the way from Cincinnati to Bowling Green to investigate his character and standing. Finding nothing against him, the reporter, writing in a lighter vein, sent the following story to his paper.


Page 247

"Correspondence of the Enquirer,
Bowling Green, Ky., Feb. 13, 1886.

        "And now a colored mugwump from Kentucky wants to be appointed a Chaplain. His name is Allen Allensworth, and the last place in which he distinguished himself politically was Bowling Green. The people of this place remember him well. He came here from Tennessee, and made a good impression upon his people. He was chosen pastor of one of the churches, and soon became a political as well as religious Gospel preacher; in fact, he became something of a power in politics. He had been a slave, and at the close of the war could not have been much over twenty-three years of age. How he obtained his education is unknown here but he certainly was able to speak with remarkable fluency and grammatical correctness, wherever he acquired it. Allensworth always entertained an exalted idea of the rights and privileges that should be accorded to his race, and never failed to endeavor to enforce those rights in his own case, but to insist upon others of his people doing the same. Not a little of the trouble which has been given to the railroad companies of the state is traceable to his influence. An interesting story is told of him when he was canvassing this district in behalf of the Republican candidate in opposition to Congressman Halsell, four years ago. The Republican committee sent Allensworth over into Edmonson County to answer Halsell. There were but two hotels in the little town in which they stopped, one Democratic and the other Republican. Allensworth put up at the Republican hotel. They could not put him out, for they were afraid if they did that Allensworth would come back to Bowling Green and oppose their man in favor of Halsell. So


Page 248

they let him alone. He sat at the same table with the whites, and although no breach of decorum or of dining room etiquette was reported of him, his white political associates were very much incensed at his impudence, and in consequence the party lost fifteen or twenty votes in that place.

        "Allensworth left Bowling Green and went up about Lexington and Cynthiana. He was put in charge of the Sabbath Schools of his church, and I think is now living in Covington or Cincinnati. He never goes anywhere that he does not take an active part in politics. It was a genuine surprise to the people of Bowling Green when they learned that he was being backed in his application for so dignified a place as Chaplain in the navy by such men as Speaker Carlisle, and that the President had really told him that he would like to appoint him. The people here say that Allen is a good preacher, and if he doesn't teach orthodoxy he makes heterodoxy interesting, and that it might be a healthful turn for the sailors to hear some home truths from the lips of a half-breed Negro.

        "Allensworth behaved himself like a good citizen while in Bowling Green, and, although he has written or is about to write a book on 'Slavery from a Democratic Stand-point' the people are willing to forgive him, and should the President appoint him over the heads of old Democrats to minister to the spiritual wants of a crew of white men, they will find a way to bear up under it, if the sailors can.

ROBERT."


        The newspapers, instead of impeding and thwarting his plans, really brought him into prominence and helped him make his way to the coveted goal--accelerated


Page 249

his speed successward. His friends were devoted and true.

        Among his strongest personal friends was Senator Joseph E. Brown, of Georgia. Allensworth took the subject up with him, telling him of the approaching vacancy in the Negro regiments, and asked him to urge that Negro chaplains be appointed by the President to fill these vacancies. He stated his reasons. Closing his letter to the Senator, Allensworth gave the names of the gentlemen supporting him. Under date of March 31, 1886, he received the following letter:

"UNITED STATES SENATE,
Washington, D. C., March 31st, 1886. Rev. Allensworth,
Covington, Ky.

Dear Sir:

        I received your letter informing me of your wish to be appointed chaplain to one of the colored regiments in the United States army, stating that you were endorsed by a number of names you mention, including Willis of your state, ex-Governor Hoadley &c. I called today and placed your letter before the President and had a consultation with him about the matter. He said he would look carefully into it, but he could not give any assurance about it one way or the other. I think, however, he was inclined to consider it favorably. I have not seen either of the gentlemen referred to in your letter since I received it, and as already stated, I left the letter with the President.

Very truly &c,

(Signed) JOSEPH E. BROWN."


        In another letter received a month later Senator Brown said:


Page 250

"UNITED STATES SENATE,
Washington, D. C., April 8th, 1886. Rev. Allen Allensworth,
Cincinnati, Ohio.

Dear Sir:

        I have received your telegram today and note contents. I was very much gratified when the President nominated you for the position of Chaplain, and trust there may be no difficulty about your confirmation. I hope you may find the service an agreeable and useful one. I saw the President the day after I wrote you and had a second talk with him, and he told me he would send your name to the Senate. I am,

Very truly &c,

(Signed) JOSEPH E. BROWN."


        And here is the third letter on the subject showing Senator Brown's interest.

"UNITED STATES SENATE,
Washington, D. C., April 20, 1886. Rev. Allen Allensworth,
262 Richmond Street, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Dear Sir:

        I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your letter of recent date. I think it reflects credit upon its author. I took an interest in your behalf and saw the President twice on the subject before he sent in the nomination. At the last interview, he told me he should do so and it came to the Senate that afternoon. I now take pleasure in announcing to you, that the nomination has been confirmed by the Senate, and you are now legally appointed to the position of Chaplain of the Regiment, to which it relates. I have no doubt you will


Page 251

enter upon the discharge of its duties with zeal and energy, and I trust you may find the work agreeable to you and that your labors may be blessed to the Regiment of which you are Chaplain. I fully agree with you that it is to the interest of both races to work together in harmony, to deal justly and kindly towards each other, and not to forget the kind relations which existed between the races during the slavery period. I see no reason why the white people of the North should be any better friends to the colored people, than the white people of the South are.

        There are more ties of friendship existing between the two races in the South than there are between the colored race of the South, and the white people of the North. I think practical experience will show at no distant date, that it is the interest of both races, in the South, to act harmoniously together, and deal justly with each other.

Very truly &c,

(Signed) JOSEPH E. BROWN."


        And again, we have a fourth letter showing increased interest and enthusiasm:

"UNITED STATES SENATE,
Washington, D. C., June 6th, 1886. Rev. Allen Allensworth,
Cincinnati, Ohio.

Dear Sir:

        I have the honor to acknowledge receipt of your kind letter of 1st inst. and note what you say about the two copies of the American Baptist. I have no doubt I shall read it with pleasure. The cover that you mention for them did not come to hand by the same mail that brings your letter, but I will look for it. I will with pleasure,


Page 252

convey to the President, the message you send him, when I have an opportunity to confer with him. After knowing all the facts, I think he appointed you very cheerfully and know he wishes you well. Trusting that your connection with the army may be a pleasant and profitable one, both to you and the regiment, I am,

Very truly &c,

(Signed) JOSEPH E. BROWN."


        The following letter to the President was sent by ex-Governor Leslie who was appointed to an important office in Montana during Cleveland's administration:

        "This will introduce to your notice Rev. Allen Allensworth. I take pleasure in commending him in the highest terms as worthy, and a man of intelligence and learning, and one who has a full comprehension of the present and past relationship between the white and colored people of this country. And has the courage of his convictions and wisely applying himself in the high position he holds.

        I bespeak for Mr. Allensworth your patient and careful consideration. He is a Kentucky born and raised man, in the Green River County, and his character, before and since the time of emancipation, is and has been all the time unblemished.

Very truly, your friend,

(Signed) PRESTON H. LESLIE.

Frankfort, Ky."

        It was while serving as pastor of the Union Baptist Church in Cincinnati that Allensworth was appointed Chaplain in the Regular Army of the United States. At the time his commission was delivered at his home


Page 253

he was away on business. On his return his wife handed him the document and congratulated him.

        The following news item appeared in one of the local papers: "Rev. Allen Allensworth, pastor of the Union Baptist Church, of Cincinnati, O., was appointed Chaplain of the 24th Infantry with rank as Captain, April 1, 1886; he accepted April 30, 1886. Resigning his pastorate, he was given a reception by the church June 24, 1886. At this reception he was presented a gold headed cane, with expressions of love, appreciation and best wishes in his new field of endeavor. The day following he took train and reported for duty at Fort Supply, Indian Territory, July 1, with his regiment, the 24th Infantry."

        Following is a copy of his first order:

HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
Adjutant General's Office,
Washington, June 3, 1886.

        Extract. "Special Orders,
No. 128

        15. By direction of the Secretary of War the following-named chaplains, recently appointed, will report in person on July 1, 1886, as hereinafter indicated:

        Chaplain Allen Allensworth, 24th Infantry, to the commanding officer of his regiment, Fort Supply, Indian Territory, for duty.

         By command of Lieutenant General Sheridan:

(Signed) R. C. DRUM,
Adjutant General.

Official:
(Signed) Thomas Ward,
Assistant Adjutant General,

Chaplain Allensworth,
262 Richmond Street, Cincinnati, Ohio."

Page 254

        This order was received with a great deal of interest, as he was anxious to learn when he was to leave for his station. The Department allowed two months' time in which to settle up his business and prepare for the change from duties in civil life to those in the martial world. This was a blessing to him, as it enabled him to accept an invitation from the church to remain with it until the last moment on full pay, while the government allowed him full pay also for the two months. Army officers are required to pay their own expenses incident to reporting to their first post of duty. Chaplain Allensworth found himself under heavy expense. He had to arrange for the trip from Cincinnati to Dodge City, Kansas, thence across the country one hundred miles by stage to Fort Supply, Indian Territory. Mrs. Allensworth concluded it would be best for the Chaplain to leave her with the children in Cincinnati until he was settled in his new surroundings and prepared to receive them. They knew nothing of the character of the quarters they were to occupy in the Fort.

        The Chaplain lost no time in ordering his uniform. In due season it was ready for him. Oh! how fine it looked and what vanity it aroused in him. On Sunday he put on the fine black cloth coat and trousers, shoulder straps, shepherd's crook in center, fine braid frogs across the front of coat, nine black buttons down the front. He looked on that suit as a boy would his first "red top boots." He had some business down in Louisville and he wore that suit. An old man met him on the street, gazed at him intently for a moment and then said:

         "Mister, what 'siety turning out today?"

         The Chaplain replied, "None that I know of."


Page 255

         "I thought thar was. I see you got on 'siety close'."

        His military suit attracted considerable attention, especially among the boys.

        All classes of citizens of Cincinnati regretted his leaving them, but they rejoiced likewise with him and his family that he was the recipient of honor. The church was particularly proud of him and the fact that it was furnishing a model Chaplain to the army, as it had also furnished a great Negro historian from its pulpit, in the person of Hon. George W. Williams, the first Negro to serve as a member of the Ohio Legislature, and the author of "The History of the Negro Race."

        Another consistent supporter was Rev. T. U. Dudley, D.D., LL.D., Bishop of Kentucky, Diocese of the Protestant Episcopal Church. Rev. Allensworth acquired the unique habit of writing at intervals to those friends, who in any way contributed to his success. Following is a letter from Bishop Dudley, showing the friendly relations which existed between them.

"716 Third Street,
Louisville, Kentucky. Feb. 28, 1901.

Reverend & Dear Sir:

         I write this line to thank you for your letter of the 23 inst. and to express my gratification at hearing of your continued usefulness and happiness.

Sincerely yours,

(Signed) T. E. DUDLEY,
Bishop of Ky.

Rev. Allen Allensworth,
Angel Island, Cal."


Page 256

CHAPTER XXIV

        CHURCH TENDERS CHAPLAIN GRAND RECEPTION--DAILY PRESS RECOUNTS HIS WORTH--EXPERIENCE IN HOTEL AT KANSAS CITY--RECEPTION AT THE GARRISON--HIS EFFICIENT WORK IN CULTIVATION OF SOIL--WHAT IT MEANS TO BE AN OFFICER AND A GENTLEMAN--ARTICLE IN NEW YORK AGE.

        ON the twenty-fourth of June, 1886, the Union Baptist Church in Cincinnati tendered their pastor, now a Chaplain in the Army, a grand reception. There were present many of the most influential and distinguished people of the city and state. Laudatory resolutions were adopted and words of praise spoken by eloquent orators. The daily press recounted his useful services to the community.

        On the morning of June 25th the Chaplain left Cincinnati for his post of duty. An amusing incident occurred while he was waiting for his train at the railroad station. He was arrayed in his new uniform. A woman mistaking him for an employe of the railroad approached him and said:

        "Porter, what time does the 8:45 train leave?"

        The Chaplain promptly replied:

        "At fifteen minutes to nine, Madame."

        This was the second time his army uniform was mistaken for what it was not.


Page 257

When he arrived in Kansas City he discovered that his train was late and that he had missed connection. It was necessary to wait over in Kansas City until the next day. He was directed to the Blossom House just across the street from the station where he might secure lodgings for the night. He entered the hotel, proceeded at once to the office and asked for a room, paid the rate for the night and followed the bell boy into the elevator to be carried up to his room in the hotel. The clerk of the hotel approached him, stared at him a minute and then asked:

        "Are you a colored man?"

        The Chaplain looked at the clerk sharply and replied, "That's a nice question to ask an officer of the United States Army."

        The clerk then said, "I can't help what you are, if you are a colored man you can't stay in this house."

        The Chaplain assumed an air of injured pride and responded: "Well, Sir, if that's the way you insult a gentleman, I don't want to stop in your hotel. Return my money and I will leave."

        The rate for the room was returned and to the street at 1 o'clock in the morning the Chaplain of the United States Army made his way. Chaplain Allensworth began to "philosophize."

        July 1st was near at hand and the Chaplain was due at Fort Supply on that date. The men of the post, officers and soldiers were all looking forward with much interest to the coming of their first Negro officer. These questions were uppermost in their minds, "How will he be received?" "What sort of man will he be?" "What will the officers do with him socially?"

        The garrison was made up of the Headquarters and


Page 258

band and two companies of the 24th Infantry, a Negro regiment, and four troops of the 5th Cavalry, a white regiment.

        "How will the 24th Infantry receive their Negro Chaplain was the question asked by both the white officers and the Fifth Cavalry. The custom long established in the army was to have some officer, where there is no general mess, to entertain the new officer until he is settled in his quarters. In Chaplain Allensworth's case this was found unnecessary, as, after the question, "Who will entertain the Chaplain?" had gone the rounds, the Quartermaster, a Texan, answered the question for all the rest, by proposing that the officer occupying the Chaplain's quarters move out, select a "striker," that is a servant, for the Chaplain, put his quarters in order, issue on memorandum receipt, a cot, necessary bedding and other furniture, and furnish a supply of commissary articles. The "striker" was to have everything ready for the Chaplain's reception. All of the suggestions of the Texan were carried out to the letter. When the Chaplain arrived he found a messenger awaiting him to direct him to his quarters. His quarters consisted of an eight-room house. After making necessary preparations, the Chaplain reported to the commandant, Colonel Zenas R. Bliss, commanding the regiment and post. He was cordially received by the commanding officer of his regiment, Col. Bliss, and was assured that he was welcome. As he passed along the "line," however, he noticed the soldiers peering at him; each face wore a broad smile. The white soldiers of the Fifth Cavalry had already declared that they would not salute a Negro officer. Both sets of soldiers were watching the junior officers to see if they


Page 259

would salute the Chaplain. This introduction of a Negro officer marked a new epoch in the post.

        The Chaplain's first callers were the Quartermaster and Adjutant, who wanted to learn if he was properly provided for, but incidentally to "size" him up. He found that an intelligent member of the band had been selected to serve him as "striker," subject to his approval. This employment of the soldier as "striker" means $5.00 per month extra to the soldier. Duke McEwing was the Chaplain's "striker" and he was always eager to serve him. Writing to the former Chaplain of the post for instructions in reference to his duty, the Chaplain received this brief response: "See nothing and hear nothing but your duty."

        Chaplain Allensworth, after he had reported to the Commanding Officer and settled himself in his quarters at Fort Supply, proceeded to take in the situation and conditions as they obtained in the garrison. He was surprised to find that his regiment was not together at one post. At this point were the headquarters, which contained the Commanding Officer of the regiment, his staff and the band and two companies. Being a post where it was necessary to have cavalry and infantry, there were four troops of the Fifth Cavalry with a field officer present.

        Surrounding these frontier posts were quite a number of Indians, and it was necessary to have cavalry to escort supply trains from the railroad station and protect them from Indians. Two companies of this regiment served at Fort Elliott, Texas; four at Fort Reno, I. T., and four at Fort Sill, I. T.

        The second day after reporting he was detailed as post treasurer. The order detailing him instructed him


Page 260

to receipt to Lieutenant Little for all property for which the post treasurer was held responsible, including also the funds of the post. He was detailed as post librarian, with one soldier as assistant librarian who had charge of the reading room and served the patrons of the library. The post library consisted of many volumes of all classes of books and periodicals.

        Chaplain Allensworth also receipted for all garden implements and tools, as at this post there was a post garden to supply the command with vegetables, a sergeant being detailed in charge of the men tending the garden. The Chaplain was subsequently detailed as post garden officer at Fort Bayard, New Mexico, where he made quite a reputation in directing the culture of tomatoes and sweet potatoes. He had also to receipt for the printing office and all supplies belonging to it; also the bakery and its equipment. He was also detailed as superintendent of schools--all this in addition to his duties as Chaplain. The regulations required him to preach once on the Sabbath, attend the sick, and officiate at the burial of soldiers. Thus it will be seen, his first order gave him something to do.

        He proceeded to address himself to the task of obtaining the necessary information to perform properly the functions of his office. To do this he made a careful study of the regulations in detail, and the various customs of the service. His success as an officer depended upon his carrying out the requirements of the regulations, and required familiarity with the service, which includes both military and social activities. One peculiarity of the military service is that it requires an officer to act as a gentleman whether he is one or not. If he is not a gentleman, he must become one in manners,


Page 261

at least, for any conduct compromising the service will subject him to trial for "conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman."

        The Chaplain drew upon all available sources for the necessary information to equip him for his duties. To his surprise, no religious services had been held in the garrison for some time, as the former Chaplain was on duty at Fort Elliott. So, the first thing he did was to prepare for religious services. These preparations were left entirely to his discretion. No one interfered in any way with his religious duties. He complied with the regulations by holding one service a week. He was left to arrange his service in any way and at any time that he pleased. He was wholly and solely responsible for the success of his work. He soon found that he had a case of bricks without straw on his hands, as there was no place for services, no books, no organ, in fact, nothing to commence work with. The only available place for service was a small room devoted to school purposes. This was selected as a place to hold religious meetings. The order of service was soon prepared and reported to the Adjutant to be issued to the command. So on the first Sunday in July the Chaplain commenced his first Christian work. This service was well attended by officers, soldiers and their families. Some who had never attended service before were out to see and hear the new Negro Chaplain. Volunteer teachers for the Sunday-school, and leaders of the singing were called for. A number of members of the band tendered the use of their instruments to form an orchestra, and members of their families offered to help in the Sunday-school.

        The Commanding Officer encouraged attendance by his own presence, as the attendance of officers and their


Page 262

families depended largely upon the attention given to such service by the Commanding Officer. He made no special pretensions to Christianity, indeed, he claimed to be a skeptic. Yet he was an honest one, as he recognized the Sabbath, and dispensed with parades and all unnecessary duties on that day. His wise observance of the Sabbath, as a rest day for his command, was in wide contrast with the policy of the commander of Fort Bayard, New Mexico, to which post the 24th Infantry was later changed. This commander held dress parades and Sunday afternoon band concerts, which attracted to the post great crowds from Silver City, a town near that post. When the 24th Infantry was stationed at that post, Col. Bliss pursued the same policy with respect to Sunday observance that he had done at other posts. As a result many of the citizens of Silver City were disappointed over the change, but the church people were much pleased over the more quiet Sundays that followed. The ministers and church members of Silver City were profuse in thanking the Chaplain for exercising his influence in prohibiting the desecration of the Sabbath by drawing the members of their congregations out to the Fort. They were surprised, however, when the Chaplain informed them that it was through no act or influence he exerted on the Commanding Officer, but that it was the influence of the Commanding officer's mother, as she had said to him he should "Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy." He said her teachings had never left him and in honor of the memory of his mother he did nothing on the Sabbath along military lines that could be dispensed with.

        While the preachers were showering praises on Chaplain Allensworth, the livery stable people were heaping


Page 263

curses on him. They charged him with breaking up their livery business; claiming that the people, before he came there, would have every rig in the stable out Sunday, going to the Fort; but after he came, nothing was out; thus charging him with putting them out of business on the Sabbath. He also informed them that they could withdraw their curses and give them to the Commanding Officer. He didn't care to receive credit from the preachers, nor discredit from the liverymen.

        The interest in the meetings increased and they soon had a large attendance. Immediately on the sounding of the church call, there was a race for the chapel between the Fifth Cavalry people and the Twenty-fourth Infantry for seats, as accommodations were too limited. On studying the situation the Chaplain found it necessary to have special subjects for discussion--subjects that would prove attractive, interesting and instructive to both officers and men.

        As an illustration, he found it necessary to teach a number of the members of the Fifth Cavalry their duty toward an Officer. According to regulations, on the approach of an officer, men who might be sitting would rise to "attention," and stand until the officer passed. The bakery was beyond the barracks of the Fifth Cavalry by which Chaplain Allensworth had to pass on his way on Monday morning for inspection, etc. He noticed that whenever he appeared, and the men were sitting on their porch, they would run inside to avoid saluting him.

        The men of the Twenty-fourth Infantry, sitting on their porch across the parade in their barracks, were opposed to the habits of these soldiers. It did not please them, but they could do nothing but witness this


Page 264

infraction of a regulation. The Chaplain could, however, whenever a soldier refused to salute, prefer charges against him. But he concluded to disarm them of their unmanly spirit without resorting to such harsh methods. He announced at the Sunday evening service that on the following Sunday he would preach from the subject: "An Officer Hung for the Want of a Salute." This brought a large attendance from all the command. He took the case of Haman, who planned the destruction of Mordecai because he did not salute him, and made the point that Mordecai should have saluted Haman regardless of his personal opinion of him; that Haman should have been considerate of this subject and should not have planned to destroy him because he refused to salute him. The Chaplain stated with great emphasis that had he been Haman, he would not have cared to have such a man salute him, that it was just as distressing to have to receive the salute from such a man, as for such a man to be forced to make the salute; and that he would prefer to go out of his way to avoid receiving a salute from such a man, who, having sworn that he would obey the rules and regulations of the army, would thus violate his oath.

        The next morning on going by the barracks, the porch was well filled with men of the Twenty-fourth Infantry to see what would happen. As he passed down the company street, numbers of the Fifth Cavalry men stood at "attention" and gave the usual salute; and the Twenty-fourth Infantry rejoiced that their Chaplain had secured obedience to duty without putting men in the guardhouse. This policy was followed during his entire service.

        On one occasion a soldier passing the Chaplain refused


Page 265

to salute him. The Chaplain called the soldier to "attention," and entered into conversation with him, asking him about his regiment, about his service, about his family life; if he wrote to his mother, and urged him not to forget her, and at the conclusion of the interview he "about faced" without any further remarks and without giving the soldier an opportunity to say anything. Other soldiers who were looking on expected to see the Chaplain call the soldier down. Ever thereafter that and other soldiers who saw the affair gave the proper salute.

        Two months after he arrived at Fort Supply Mrs. Allensworth, their two daughters and a niece joined him at that post. Mrs. Allensworth immediately aided him in his Sunday-school work, and it was not long before an organ was secured, and she became his organist. In due season, his two daughters, Miss Eva as organist, and Miss Nella with her violin, added much to the musical features of his religious services.

        It was while located at Fort Bayard that Chaplain Allensworth sent the following article to the "New York Age," giving his views on the "Social Status of the Race":

        "A great deal has been said and written about the causes that operate against our success in competing with the white man for an equal chance in the race of life, but the writers and speakers overlook the fact that we are handicapped by weights that we alone can remove. We are continually complaining of what we call color prejudice and charging our individual failure to that cause, without taking into account existing conditions and facts. It is a condition that we are to deal with and not color; true, color and features indicate us


Page 266

as the subjects of this condition. This condition has been brought about by permission of public opinion; all the laws against us are merely public opinion in legal forms. To change these laws we must change public opinion by meeting its demands. Public opinion refuses to enforce laws upon the statute books made for our protection, but enforces those made against us and when an appeal is made to the Supreme Court of the land, by us, it decides against us because of our condition. What are we to do? Educate public opinion.

        "Our people are educated by our leaders, by men who are selected for places of trust and honor; men who are supposed to voice our sentiments; men whose social and financial standing among us are supposed to be equal to that of those who occupy similar positions of leadership among white men but too often they betray us by conduct that scandalizes the race. We do not realize, as fully as we should, that we hold to many false ideas and practices in social life, that militate against us more than any other sociological factor. We have among us as leaders men who feast and fatten upon our credulity and generosity. Some of the most vicious of the country are our reputed leaders. We have no rigid rule of exclusion by which our homes and families may be protected against the incursions of fat indolents and dangerous libertines; our social condition must be greatly improved before any such rule will ever be generally enforced or observed. We must keep the education of the home up to that of the school house, that we may be able to enforce at home the rules of decency and morality, the laws of pure and safe homes the world over.

        "This is done in some homes, but at the expense of being charged with being 'stuck up and trying to get


Page 267

away from the race.' We have some, but we need more, leaders, who will encourage the people to draw around their homes a rigid line against the intrusion of dissolute and scandalous persons who impose themselves upon us, and declare that one colored man is 'just as good as another.' We should refute the white man's slander, 'all colored people are alike.' The public is affected by the tendency to ignore the leadership of our deserving and safe professional men, men who by education and position should be accepted as leaders. These professional men who are entitled to leadership are too often forced aside by certain ministers, who are fitted neither by nature nor training for such work. It makes no difference with what immorality some of our ministerial leaders may be charged, he is still retained in the pulpit and allowed to lead, even when the charge is proved. What effect can such leadership have upon the morals of our people?

        "Yet when our professional men of Christian culture and refinement fail to unite with our churches, with such officials and pastors with less knowledge of the Bible than an ordinary Sunday School pupil, we charge them with trying to get away from the race. We must improve our social status, we must have social distinctions; we must draw a line between the refined and unrefined. Jesus drew the line and had His intimate social friends and why not we?"


Page 268

CHAPTER XXV

        HOSPITAL WARD FOR CHAPEL AT FORT BAYARD--USE OF STEREOPTICON TO ILLUSTRATE SERMONS AND EDUCATIONAL SUBJECTS--LITERARY ENTERTAINMENTS IN GARRISON--SALT LAKE NEXT STATION--WHAT THE TERM "FRIEND" MEANT TO DESPONDENT SOLDIER--CHAPLAIN'S SCHOOL WORK--GOES TO MANILA--EDUCATIONAL SERVICE IN PHILIPPINES.

        AT Fort Bayard, New Mexico, in 1888, a ward of an abandoned hospital had been set apart for a chapel. This room was used for social and religious purposes. While there was a room, furniture was scarce and chairs had to be borrowed from an adjacent building on the Sabbath to accommodate the audience. Finally the Chaplain made application to the War Department to grant him a leave of absence of four months to make a lecture tour to raise funds with which to purchase chairs for the chapel. The Commanding Officer, appreciating the necessity for this furniture, put a strong endorsement on this application and recommended that the request be granted. The application was returned with the endorsement, "Disapproved," and with the information that the quartermaster's department had been ordered to supply the necessary furniture for the chapel.

        While at Fort Bayard he introduced the use of the stereopticon in connection with religious services, delivering


Page 269

sermons on such subjects as the "Pilgrim's Progress" and other illustrated themes. This proved to be attractive. There being no funds to supply the stereopticon and slides, he purchased these from his pay. He also held special literary entertainments, asking the command for voluntary contributions to pay expenses; to this the men readily responded.

        At Salt Lake City, the next station of the command after leaving Fort Bayard, he found a very neat chapel with anterooms for class work. The building was heated by a coal stove which took up considerable room. Application was made to the War Department for the installation of a furnace. A small amount was appropriated which was not sufficient. The men of the command were called on to contribute their labor in making the necessary excavations, and Sergeant Abraham Hill contributed his services to lay the foundation for the furnace. Thereafter the house was comfortably heated.

        Chaplain Allensworth was given very hearty and cordial support by the best class of people of Salt Lake City when he started the organization of religious work among the soldiers. A number of the city people tendered their aid and it was not long before they had an excellent Christian Endeavor Society, and other auxiliaries of religious work. One member who was particularly active was Mrs. George Wake, who rallied the Christian workers to the post and contributed considerably to their success.

        At Fort Harrison, near Helena, Montana, the accommodations for religious work were poor, being a room in the Administration Building. Here Mrs. Allensworth and her daughters were a great help to the Chaplain. The men of the command recognized their worth


Page 270

through the many years of the Chaplain's service, and presented them, on the Chaplain's retirement, with a silver candelabra, candle sticks, and tray.

        While at Fort Bayard the Chaplain made a request to be placed on duty at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, so that the companies serving at that post could have religious instruction. The following endorsement was placed on his application by his Commanding Officer:

"Chaplain Allensworth temporary duty at Fort
Huachuca, Arizona. 1st Endorsement.
Headquarters 24th U. S. Infantry,
Fort Bayard, N. M., Jan. 28, 1896.

         Respectfully forwarded. It seems right that the garrison of Fort Huachuca should have the benefit of the Chaplain's services, and I recommend the approval of his request. He is an exceptionally earnest worker in behalf of the interests of the enlisted men and deserves encouragement.

(Signed) J. Ford Kent,
Colonel 24th Infantry,
Commanding Regiment.

A true copy:
(Signed) John B. Sanford,
1st Lieut. & Batt. Adjt., 24th Infantry."


        This application was approved and the Chaplain was ordered to Huachuca for a tour of duty. While at Fort Huachuca he conducted religious instruction, delivered a series of educational lectures, and organized a literary society. The men were greatly benefited and inspired by the service rendered. This is another evidence of the Chaplain's splendid usefulness in this field of labor.

        A monthly report was required of all the religious


Page 271

services conducted by Chaplains, giving an account of sermons preached, hour held, number in attendance, including the Sunday-school, the number of visits made, the number of persons seeking advice, any funerals held, or marriage ceremonies performed. These reports were made to the Commanding Officer for his inspection and endorsement, forwarded to the Department Commander for his inspection and endorsement, and by him to the adjutant general of the army for his inspection and endorsement and for filing with the record of the officer for future consideration. The following is an endorsement by a Department Commander:

"Copy of Endorsement on Monthly Report of Chaplain Allen Allensworth, 24th Infantry, dated Fort Bayard, N. M., Feb. 1, 1896. 2nd Endorsement
Headquarters Department of the Colorado,
Denver, Colo., February 5, 1896.

         Respectfully forwarded to the Adjutant General of the Army. I am glad to commend the excellent service rendered by Chaplain Allensworth, 24th Infantry, whose intelligent and earnest efforts are accomplishing most satisfactory results in his Regiment.

(Signed) Frank Wheaton,
Brigadier General, Commanding.

Official copy respectfully furnished Chaplain Allen Allensworth, 24th Infantry, Fort Bayard, N. M., through the office of the Post Commander. By command of Brigadier General Wheaton:

(Signed) I. Volkmar,
Assistant Adjutant General.

Hdqrs. Dept. Colo.
Feb. 5, 1896."

Page 272

        These reports are examined by the Inspector General of the Army. If anything either objectionable or commendable was found in the officer's report, an extract of the same was sent through military channels to the officer for his information. The following is a copy of one made by a Department Inspector:

War Department,
Inspector General's Office,
Washington, D. C., April 19, 1892.
Chaplain Allen Allensworth,
24th Infantry, Post Chaplain,
Fort Bayard, N. Mex.

Sir:

        The following extract from the report of an inspection of Fort Bayard, N. Mex., made Feb'y 28 to March 6, 1891, by Major A. R. Chaffee, Acting Inspector General, Department of Arizona, is furnished for your information.

Very respectfully,

(Signed) J. C. Breckinridge,
Inspector General.


        'Regimental Chaplain Allen Allensworth, 24th Infantry, performs the duty of post chaplain. . . . He is credited with being very energetic and greatly interested in his duties.'"

        A Chaplain's position is very trying. He is appointed by the government to serve the entire command with which he is serving. He is to know no creed nor color. He is to do the most good to the greatest number. He is not to use his office as an opportunity to advance the interests of the denomination with


Page 273

which he is identified. Although Chaplain Allensworth was a Baptist, this did not deter him from administering to all. As an illustration: On one occasion a white civilian employed in the quartermaster's department came to him to baptize his child. The Chaplain inquired to what denomination he belonged. He replied that he was a Catholic. The Chaplain asked if he wanted the child baptized in that faith, and the man answered in the affirmative. The Chaplain said, "It will be done." He didn't stop to tell the man that he was a Baptist and believed that immersion was baptism, but simply said that his wishes would be granted. He went that afternoon to Silver City, saw the Catholic priest and informed him that a man at Fort Bayard wanted his child baptized, made an appointment for the priest to meet the man at the Chaplain's quarters, arranged for the ceremony; the child was baptized, and the man was happy.

        A few days later a man of the Twenty-fourth Infantry requested to have his child baptized. The Chaplain asked him his denomination and he said he was a Methodist. He asked the man if he wanted his child baptized in the Methodist faith, and he said he did. The Chaplain said he would arrange for it to be done; so he went to the city and asked the pastor of the Methodist Episcopal Church to come out and baptize the child. A civilian came also to have his child baptized. The Chaplain asked him his denomination; he answered, "Lutheran." After ascertaining that he wished to have his child baptized as a Lutheran, he informed the man that there was no Lutheran minister in the city, but the nearest to a Lutheran was the pastor of the Methodist Church.


Page 274

As this was the best he could do, the man consented. So the Methodist minister came out to the post, and the little Negro baby and the little white baby were baptized at the same service. The question came up which should be baptized first, the little Negro baby or the little white baby. The Chaplain was a little afraid that some feeling might be aroused, but concluded that the 24th Infantry ranked above the civilian; therefore it was decided to baptize the little Negro baby first. This was done and all were happy. This illustrates the peculiar position the Chaplain occupied.

        The Post Surgeon finally called upon him for duty at the hospital. A number of men would seem to be sick when nothing was really the matter with them. They were probably discouraged and needed cheering up. On one occasion a young man was disappointed by the requirements of the service and attempted suicide. He was placed in the hospital with a well developed case of melancholia. The doctor could not get any information from him and could not, therefore, intelligently diagnose his case. The case was reported to the Commanding Officer of the post, and he in turn commanded the surgeon to turn the case over to the Chaplain. The Chaplain then proceeded to the hospital and after an hour's attempt at conversation with the man and failing to elicit a single response, began casting around to retreat in good order. As a last resort he asked the man if he had a friend; and he responded, "No." That was the only word that touched him. Chaplain Allensworth informed him that he would be his friend, and that he could have anything he wanted as soon as he got off the sick list. The man


Page 275

was soon in normal condition again, was examined and discharged on account of disability, as being unfit for a soldier. This word "friend" has a deep and profound meaning to men in all walks of life.

        On entering upon his duties at Fort Supply he was made superintendent of schools. He was to see that the enlisted men were instructed in English branches, particularly the history of the United States, and that the children of such officers and enlisted men, as desired instruction, were to be taught. Army regulations allowed the detail of enlisted men for teachers of the soldiers at the rate of one for each fifteen soldiers enrolled. The Chaplain found one man detailed for this duty when he reached Fort Supply and that this man was acting as regimental clerk. He found that few soldiers attended the soldiers' school. He organized a children's school, applying for the detail of a soldier from the Fifth Cavalry as principal; and for the enlisted men's school, a soldier from the 24th Infantry as principal. The Chaplain examined the rules and regulations covering such schools. Finding nothing beyond the mere provision for enlisted men's schools and what the men should be taught, he applied to the general superintendent of schools, on duty at St. Louis, for printed matter and further instructions. The superintendent informed the Chaplain that there was nothing except the regulations; that his (the superintendent's) duty was to receive monthly reports, consolidate them and send them to Washington and nothing more. There were no books nor charts for use. The regulations provided for the purchase of school books, if any funds were available for this purpose in the post treasury. Usually the


Page 276

funds in the post treasury were appropriated for other purposes by the post council, so that there were seldom any funds for this purpose. The regulations designated the object for which post funds should be appropriated. Usually by the time the item for post schools was reached there were no funds left.

        Chaplain Allensworth felt that it was important to make a success of his school work. He therefore proceeded to prepare a course of study, one that would meet the requirements of men and children. He devised a graded course for each school. First grade for privates; second grade for corporals, and third grade for sergeants. The company commanders were requested to encourage the men to take these courses, and, all other things being equal, to select from among the privates who had taken these courses the non-commissioned officers in the companies. A number of company commanders adopted this method, which qualified a great many of their non-commissioned officers for the better discharge of their duties. A preliminary course was prepared for the children, so that when they left the post and went into civil life they would have no trouble entering the grades of their respective ages.

        These courses were approved by the Post Commander, and the Department Commander recommended it to the Commanding General of the Army for general adoption. Superintendents at other posts, hearing of this course, which was printed by the post printer, made application for copies, and the course was soon put into operation in their schools. There being no appropriation for charts and other necessary appliances, Chaplain Allensworth purchased them with


Page 277

his own funds, as he was determined to let nothing stand in the way of the success of his work.

        His work in this matter stimulated the men, and the War Department became interested in the education of the men, and issued additional orders on the subject. The regiment changed stations to Fort Bayard, where the organization of the work was continued with practical results, as shown by the following letter:

"WAR DEPARTMENT,
Inspector General's Office,
Washington, D. C., March 31, 1891.
Chaplain A. Allensworth,
24th U. S. Infantry,
Fort Bayard, N. M.

Sir:

         The following extract from the report of an inspection of Fort Bayard, N. M., made March 26, 1889, by Lt. Colonel G. H. Burton, Inspector General, is furnished for your information.

Very respectfully,

(Signed) J. C. BRECKINRIDGE,
Inspector General.

'Chaplain Allensworth has made commendable progress in organizing the school for enlisted men, under the provisions of recent orders on the subject. He has four teachers already detailed, and 118 men booked for school. He is just now principally drilling the teachers and organizing his classes. The Commanding Officer speaks in high praise of this Chaplain's energy and efficiency.'"

        On changing from Fort Bayard to Salt Lake City, the scope of the school was enlarged for the instruction


Page 278

of the enlisted men. The school for children was discontinued, as the children of the post had access to the city schools. The post school therefore was extended in several departments. They had a school of printing, the teacher on duty was the post printer. Men who wished to learn printing were placed on duty under the post printer. There was also a school in baking. A number who desired to learn this art were placed on duty in the bakery, one baker being put on duty as teacher. Telegraphy was taught also, one of the operators being detailed as teacher. These men were prepared for practical military duty and for telegraphy in civil life. The teachers detailed for the various departments were also formed into a normal class, where the Chaplain taught them personally the art and science of teaching. The school continued successfully until suspended to engage in the Spanish-American War.

        During this period the Chaplain was ordered to the Philippines. On arrival of the 24th Infantry at Manila, the companies being scattered through Northern Luzon, the Chaplain was placed on duty in Manila in charge of the Manila Headquarters of the 24th Infantry. He was appealed to by a number of American soldiers for instruction. He proceeded to open a school, under the following authority:

"HEADQUARTERS 24TH INFANTRY,
El Deposito, Luzon, P. I.,
Sept. 18, 1899.

Circular:

         Upon authority contained in a letter from Gen'l Theo. Schwan, dated Manila, P. I., Sept. 16, 1899, Chaplain Allen Allensworth, 24th Infantry, will open a


Page 279

school for such enlisted men as may apply for instruction, in a room in the building now occupied by him, 24 San Sebastian, Manila, P. I.

         He will make an occasional report to these headquarters, 24th Infantry, of the success of same.

By order of Lieut. Col. Keller,

(Signed) W. B. JACKSON,
1st Lieut. and Adjt. 1st Batt. 24th Inf'y
Acting Reg't Adjutant."


        The establishment of the schools as mentioned and his religious work among the men were a heavy tax upon his physical, as well as mental energies. The Chaplain's hard work in the Philippines told heavily on him and he applied for leave of absence, which was approved by the Regimental Commander and recommended in the following letter:

"4th Endorsement of R. L. R. 4/18/1900.--Chaplain
Allensworth's request for sick leave, etc.

"HEADQUARTERS 24TH U. S. INFANTRY,
Tayug, P. I., June 17, 1900.

         Respectfully forwarded through military channels. Chaplain Allensworth has been continuously with the regiment with the exception of five (5) days, for the last four years. His service has been diligent, energetic and valuable ever since he joined the regiment. This application after such a record is strong proof of the necessity under which Chaplain Allensworth lies for recuperation; and diligent inquiry has made this necessity more apparent. I comprehend that a failure or delay to grant his request would be likely to result in grave consequences to an estimable and valuable officer, and I therefore recommend approval for two


Page 280

months, with permission to apply for an extension for two months; if this is found necessary for the restoration of his health.

(Signed) CHAS. KELLER,
Lieut.-Col. 24th Infantry,
Commanding Regiment.

A true copy:

(Signed) John B. Sanford,
1st Lieut. & Batt. Adjt., 24th Infantry."


        His faithful service in the Philippines is further shown by the following from General Thompson:

"47 Commercial Block,
Salt Lake City, Utah,
Feb. 4, 1904.
To
Chaplain Allen Allensworth,
24th U. S. Infantry.

Sir:

         Referring to your service in the Army, I desire to go on record as saying that I consider you the most all round efficient Chaplain I have known in the Army during my entire service.

         For years you have retained the respect of officers and men with whom you have been associated. You have at all times worked for the improvement of your regiment and the service.

         In educational matters at Posts you have always been in the lead, and your influence over men in discipline and conduct has ever been for the best.

        I especially wish to refer to your efficiency in the field during active operations in the Philippines in 1899-1900


Page 281

and 1901 when your hard work was of great benefit to officers and men.

Sincerely yours,

(Signed) J. M. THOMPSON,
Brig. General, U. S. Army, Retired.

A true copy:

(Signed) E. B. Gose,
Capt. and Adjt. 24th Inftry."


        While in Manila, the Chaplain's visits to the hospital were always welcome, not only by the members of the 24th, but by others. Having charge of the reception of the mail of the 24th at the transport ships and its distribution, after dispatching the same to several organizations in the field, he visited the hospital and distributed letters to the sick. He was impressed by the relief it gave the men to receive letters from home, so he encouraged friendly people and church societies to write letters to soldiers who appeared to have no friends to write to them. These letters were of such help to the men that one man asked a comrade near him to let him read his letters, and accommodating him, he found that even they were a great source of comfort to him.

        On his return to the United States, being placed on duty at Fort McDowell, California, his success there is mentioned in the following report:

"WAR DEPARTMENT,
Inspector General's Office,
Washington, July 25th, 1901.

Sir:

         The following extract from the report of an inspection


Page 282

of Fort McDowell, California, made January 15, 16, 1901, by Lieut. Col. M. P. Maus, Inspector General of Volunteers, Inspector General Department of California, is furnished for your information.

Very respectfully,

(Signed) J. C. BRECKINRIDGE,
Inspector General. Chaplain Allensworth, 24th Inf.,
Fort McDowell, Cal.

'The post commander speaks in the highest terms of the work done by Chaplain Allensworth. He states he has personally taken great interest in the instruction of men, teaching and lecturing to them on interesting subjects which he illustrates by the sciopticon and maps and charts, and that large numbers of men have volunteered to attend school and lectures.
I am impressed with the fact that Chaplain Allensworth is doing good service.'"


Page 283

CHAPTER XXVI

        THE MILITARY GARRISON A GOVERNMENT--REQUIREMENTS IN CASE OF FIRE--THE INSPECTION--PAYING SOLDIERS--HOBSON'S CHOICE IN NEGRO REGIMENTS--GOOD STATIONS--JOHN M. LANGSTON--OPPOSITION TO COLORED SOLDIERS--PREACHING IN SALT LAKE CITY CHURCHES.

        CHAPLAIN ALLEN ALLENSWORTH soon found, after his arrival and introduction to the regiment, that his usefulness to the officers and men extended far beyond the simple duty of preaching the Gospel. A military garrison practically consists of a dual government (civil as well as military). It is a municipality, with the Commanding Officer as mayor; the members of his staff as civil council; the Adjutant as the city clerk and secretary to the mayor; the Quartermaster, custodian of city property and undertaker; commissary officer, storekeeper for the government in charge of their provisions; the Chaplain as exchange officer in charge of the department store; the Post Surgeon, health officer in charge of the sanitary department; officer of the day, chief of police; the soldiers detailed for guard duty each day, members of the police force; the officer, detailed as fire marshal, in charge of the fire department; members of the fire department consist of soldiers detailed from each organization under the direction of the fire marshal, with complete fire equipment;


Page 284

and a summary court with its officer in charge as the police court. Officers detailed for general court martial duty do the work of a superior court in trying officers for conduct unbecoming "an officer and a gentleman," and enlisted men for conduct prejudicial to military discipline and good order. The hospital serves as a city hospital, the guard-house ("the soldier's place of rest and silent meditation"), the place of confinement, where enlisted men await trial and serve their sentences. The Provost Sergeant with his detail has charge of the street cleaning department. Once a week the Company Commander makes a minute inspection of his company in every respect, the barracks and their condition, soldiers in person and their equipment. Once per month the entire command is paraded for inspection and muster. At this time every officer and soldier is accounted for. The name of each soldier is called in the presence and hearing of the Commanding Officer and his staff. The muster rolls are then prepared by the company clerk and the first sergeant, superintended by the company, battery, or troop commander. The rolls, as thus made up, are forwarded to the paymaster. The paymaster, after ascertaining the amount to be paid each company, supplies himself with sufficient funds for this payment. In some instances he visits the post with his clerk and the funds, and in person, witnessed by the Commanding Officer of the organization, pays the command. Sometimes the paymaster makes up the payment of a command, placing the amount due each soldier in an envelope, bearing his name and the amount. This is shipped by express to the Commanding Officer in the post. He details an officer to go to the express office, obtain this


Page 285

money, and pay it to the troops. This officer is furnished with a corporal and a guard to accompany him to protect the funds while in his possession. The most available officer at the time is detailed for this duty. This is as likely to fall to the Chaplain as to any other officer, as seen by the following order detailing Chaplain Allensworth for this duty, the amount receipted for being $7,000.

"HEADQUARTERS
TWENTY-FOURTH U. S. INFANTRY,
Fort Harrison, Montana,
January 22, 1904.

Memorandum for Chaplain Allensworth.

         You are designated to witness the payment of troops on the December pay roll. You will proceed to Helena at once to procure the funds.

By order of Col. Buchanan,

(Signed) E. B. GOSE, Capt. Adjt.

Chaplain Allensworth is authorized to
receipt to the Great Northern Exp.
Co. for the funds.

(Signed) E. B. Gose, Adjt."


        The Twenty-fourth Infantry had served in contiguous country nearly thirty years, while the regiments composed of white troops were changing positions and given what was called "desirable stations," but the Twenty-fourth was confined to Texas, Indian Territory, New Mexico and Arizona. This condition had a bad effect upon the regiment. In the first place, cadets upon graduating had a choice of regiments according to each one's class standing. For years, cadets with high class standing selected regiments composed of


Page 286

white troops, with which they might occasionally be stationed near cities and have social advantages not enjoyed by officers serving at posts remote from cities. When the time came to fill vacancies in the Negro regiments, the cadets with high rank having selected white troops, the cadets of lowest rank were assigned to the Negro regiments. This worked to the disadvantage of the colored regiments, until a change was made in the order of the promotion of officers. Until recent years promotions below the rank of major were limited to regiments; that is, no officer below the grade of captain was promoted to a vacancy outside his own regiment. Consequently, when an officer from the military academy was assigned to a colored regiment, as second lieutenant, he would not be promoted out of that regiment until he became the captain of longest service, and consequently of the highest rank, in his arm of the service. This was often more than thirty years, and might be forty years. As a result of this system there was no opportunity either for an officer to get out of a colored regiment, nor for a colored regiment to have promoted into it any of the officers who took high rank in the military academy. This worked to the prejudice of the colored regiments and to the dissatisfaction of both officers and men. In recent years a new system of promotion has been inaugurated by which the second lieutenant longest in service, and therefore having the highest rank as second lieutenant, takes the first vacancy of first lieutenant in whatever regiment the vacancy may occur. The same rule applies to all officers. This puts the colored regiments on an equality with white regiments. Promotions became lineal. Thus an officer had an opportunity of going from a


Page 287

Negro regiment to a white regiment. This condition, however, operated to the advantage of Chaplain Allensworth, as at the time his nomination was sent in, two officers of the regiment, the Colonel and a Captain, were promoted, one to Brigadier-General and the other to Major, thus creating two vacancies in the regiment.

        Prominent officers in the regiment were averse to having a Negro Chaplain and were preparing to make a fight on the confirmation of Chaplain Allensworth's nomination. They took the ground that the law stipulated that the enlisted men should be Negroes, while the officers should be white. They held, therefore, that it was contrary to law to appoint a Negro Chaplain. They soon learned, however, that a fight was being made against the confirmation of one of the officers of that regiment, who had been nominated for promotion. They desired his promotion, as his promotion would create a vacancy by which a series of promotions in the regiment would occur. This incident happened under the old regimental system of promotions. All were interested in bringing this about, and they needed all their forces to get these two officers out of the way so that they could gain promotions to higher rank. Under the circumstances they let Chaplain Allensworth alone and concentrated all their forces on securing the confirmation of the nomination of these officers. Therefore the Chaplain won his appointment.

        It was not long after the Chaplain joined before the subject of change of stations was being discussed, which was an annual occurrence, as it was the custom of the department, for various reasons, to transfer regiments from one part of the country to other parts of the country, eastern troops relieving western troops,


Page 288

and northern relieving southern. But the colored troops, as a rule, were kept on the southern borders. The officers and men expected their Negro Chaplain to secure the good offices of the Negro politicians in getting them a "good station." This, however, was a delicate question, as the matter of change of stations belonged exclusively to the Commanding Officer. When the Chaplain was approached on the subject he replied to both officers and men that it was out of his line to undertake matters belonging to the Commanding Officer; that the officers should use their influence with the Commanding Officer to secure through his friends in the War Department the transfer of the regiment to such stations as he desired.

        The Commanding Officer of the regiment, Colonel Bliss, felt that the War Department had its plans and it would be contrary to soldierly conduct for him in any way to make suggestions until invited to do so, but he was ready at any time to respond to a request from the War Department for an expression of his wishes and the wishes of his officers. Therefore the Chaplain, notwithstanding the officers insisted that he should use his good offices in this direction, felt great delicacy about interposing in the matter of the transfer of troops. He remembered the advice given by his predecessor to "see nothing, hear nothing and do nothing but your duty." However, yielding to their importunities, he took the matter under consideration. He knew he dare not send a politician to the War Department without giving him a message, for when he would approach the Commanding General on the subject the General would want to know where he got his information and it would be necessary for him to say, "From


Page 289

Chaplain Allensworth." This in all probability would bring a letter from the Adjutant General requesting an explanation from the Chaplain of his action. He therefore watched for an opportunity to act by indirection. An opportunity soon came. One of the soldiers of the regiment on being discharged at the expiration of his term of service, told the Chaplain that he would not reenlist because the regiment was kept in an undesirable class of stations. The Chaplain seized the opportunity and had an article written for a New York paper setting forth in detail the reasons why the soldier would not reenlist, and sent it to the "New York Age." Soon after its publication, the Chaplain sent it with a letter of explanation to Congressman John M. Langston, urging him to use his influence in the matter. This resulted in the reception of the following letter:

"HILLSIDE COTTAGE,
Washington, D. C.,
March 3, 1896. Rev. Allen Allensworth,
Chaplain 24th Infantry,
U. S. Army.

Dear Sir:

         Your note of the 18th ultimo has been received and its contents duly noted, especially the change in your postoffice address. I have the honor to advise you that I have finally had a full and satisfactory interview with General Miles upon the subject about which you have heretofore written me, asking my good offices. I was permitted, since he is an old and kind friend of mine, to bring the subject to his attention in a full and agreeable manner.


Page 290

I even went so far as to submit to him, in its entirety, in my own reading with explanations, the article written by Mr. Shanks Davis as published in a late number of 'The New York Age.' The General heard me through patiently, and after stating that no discriminations were made in the Army in the matter of stations for the troops, declared it to be his intention at an early date to institute and maintain such regulations with regard thereto as to meet, in all probability, the objects which you have in view in this matter. He was kind enough in our interview to explain to me the present location of all our colored troops; and with high praise for their heroic devotion and conduct he promised me that their interests should, while he was in command, be duly and impartially considered and promoted. I am confident he meant all he said to me; and that the colored troops will be given such change of stations for the future as may tend to please the officers and give to the regiments ample opportunity for the best display of their individual and collective good behavior.

         On closing our interview the General was kind enough, by his cordial invitation, given in generous whole-soul manner, to encourage me to call upon him again according to my pleasure.

         I would have been able, had it not been for the absence of General Miles from the city, to have seen him sooner and made this report much earlier. However, I hope that you will find my action welcome and satisfactory.

I am with great respect,
Very sincerely,

(Signed) JOHN M. LANGSTON."



Page 291

        True to General Miles' promise, as the result of Mr. Langston's visit, when the annual changes of regiments were made, the 24th Infantry was ordered to relieve the 16th Infantry at Fort Douglas, Utah. As soon as the order was issued, the editor of the "Army and Navy Register" in Washington, wired the Chaplain of the change and he had the pleasure of breaking the news to the Commanding Officer of the regiment. It occasioned great rejoicing among the officers and men of the regiment.

        The change being secured, the Chaplain had a big battle on his hands, as great opposition arose to the location of these Negro troops at Salt Lake City. The citizens of Salt Lake had formed very unfavorable opinions of colored troops and brought all their influence to bear to have the order changed. The Senators from Utah were petitioned to wait upon the Secretary of War and demand a change, and certain newspapers also came out against the colored regiment. The following was in the leading Republican paper, "The Salt Lake Tribune":

AN UNFORTUNATE CHANGE

        "Readers of the morning paper yesterday saw with sorrow that the Sixteenth Infantry is to be sent away from here and is to be succeeded by the Twenty-fourth. Their sorrow had a two-fold cause. The first was at losing the Sixteenth. The regiment has been here for several years; the closest social ties have been formed between the regiment and our own people, and their going away will sever many and many warm friends.

        "There is another reason. They are to be substituted by a colored regiment, and while the colored man


Page 292

is just as good as the white man; while he ought to have every privilege that the white man has, there is no occasion on earth to try to force a change in conditions which will involve a strong revulsion in the minds of the best people in the city. The residence portion of Salt Lake is on the way between the main business part of the city and Fort Douglas. When our theaters are running the best people of the city, in crowds, have to take street cars to go home at night.

        "They do not want to be brought in direct contact with drunken colored soldiers on the way from the city to Fort Douglas. By that we do not mean to say that the colored men will drink any more than the white men do, but a drunken white soldier naturally shrinks from getting on the car with ladies and gentlemen, whereas, the colored soldier, under the same conditions, will be sure to want to assert himself. We mention that case as a sample, and our judgment is if the facts were laid before the Secretary of War, he might still be influenced to make the change, send the colored men to some other station, where they would be just as comfortable and where they would have just as many privileges and where they would not be a source of apprehension and uncomfort to the people of a large city like this."


        The Chaplain immediately got busy. He communicated with his friends in Washington and informed them that the regiment would make good and vouched to them that he would bring sufficient moral influence to bear upon the men to quiet the fears of the citizens. Finally Secretary of War Lamont informed all those who were against the 24th Infantry that the order had been issued and would not be changed, and the battle was won.


Page 293

        To make good his guarantee for the good conduct of the regiment required a great deal of personal work on the part of the Chaplain. He undertook to locate every man who was weak and likely to make an exhibition of himself when under the influence of liquor. The men had been on the extreme frontier during their military service, and were not used to the wicked influences usually found in and around large cities. Here they met Negro friends who were greatly pleased with having colored troops at Salt Lake. Unfortunately they manifested that pleasure by the "treating" act. It was consequently not an easy matter to keep the weak ones sober, especially on pay days, when they would go to the city in large numbers and spend their money freely. Whenever the Chaplain met a man in the city who was affected by drink, he ordered him to the post. For three or four nights after the men were paid the Chaplain would go to the city and when it was time for the men to return to the post, he would be on the street cars. His presence was sufficient to keep them quiet, if any were disposed to be boisterous. On arriving at the city limits where the cars from the post met the city cars, he returned to the city so as to come back on the next car and continue this going and coming until the last batch of soldiers had returned to the post. The street railway officials recognized his effort in improving the men and gave him a book of complimentary passes, so that his transportation back and forth was of no expense to him.

        After the regiment had been stationed at Salt Lake for a year the Chaplain called on the editor of The Tribune, who had vigorously opposed colored troops being stationed at Salt Lake, and invited his attention to


Page 294

the conduct of the colored troops as compared with white troops. As a result of the interview the following editorial appeared in the issue of that paper of November 6, 1897:

        "On the eve of the arrival of the 24th at Fort Douglas, an article appeared in the Salt Lake Tribune, which was not very complimentary to the regiment. In justice to the Tribune, however, it can be said that it was not at that time acquainted with the 24th. The article referred to was but a reflection of the sentiment prevailing at the time among the people of Salt Lake. A year's sojourn of the regiment at the post has wrought a change in that sentiment, and the Tribune, which believes in doing justice to all, contained the following editorial in its issues of October 24th, which is considered the 'amende honorable':

TWENTY-FOURTH INFANTRY

        " 'The Army and Navy Journal prints the report of the surgeon-general of the army for the past fiscal year. The health of the army has been excellent, practically up to that of 1895, which was the best record of any year to date. The death rate was 5.44 per 1,000. The chief improvement in health has been among the colored troops. The non-efficiency among them was 25.75 per 1,000, against 34.72 among the white troops. The colored soldier lost 9.42 from debility, the white soldier 12.71, and the average time of treatment of each case was among the colored soldiers 10.84 days, against 11.22 for the whites. In point of health the department of Texas had the worst record, that of California the best.'

        " 'By this we are reminded that the 24th regiment


Page 295

has been at Fort Douglas a year. The time moves on very swiftly. When it was announced that the regiment was to come, the Tribune said it was an unwelcome announcement. The ground of the remark was that Fort Douglas lies above and beyond the most pronounced residence portion of the city; that the soldiers would ride on the cars, drunk as well as sober, and that an intoxicated colored soldier is more offensive than an intoxicated white soldier. It is only fair to say that the 24th has lived down the apprehensions which were aroused at the announcement of their coming. They have been on their good behavior every day; they have less rowdy characteristics among them than any white regiment that was ever here. Indeed, that is hardly fair, for if there is any bad, real bad character among them, such an one has kept his real nature concealed. They are less addicted to drinking than the ordinary white regiments in the army, and almost all the trouble that comes to soldiers in time of peace comes of drinking. The rank and file of the Twenty-fourth has seemed to act all the time as though each soldier was upon his honor not to cast a reproach upon the uniform he wears or the flag above him. There seems to be a double influence for good always with this regiment. One is the pride which the soldier feels in his profession, the other the counsels, influence and example of Chaplain Allensworth. Then, as the officers and men of a regiment, like those of a ship, take on, in a measure at least, the bearing of the commander, so the spirit of Colonel Kent pervades the officers and men at Fort Douglas, and there is order without friction and law without bitterness.

        " 'On many occasions the soldiers have paraded in


Page 296

this city; on many occasions the splendid band has supplied music, and it has always been with a hearty and cheerful spirit. As we said above, the regiment has lived down the apprehensions awakened when the announcement of their coming was made, and they are now appreciated at their worth, as citizens and soldiers above reproach.

        " 'As for the officers of the regiment, we do not believe that they realize just how much the citizens of Salt Lake esteem them.' "


        The Chaplain found by this time that he had another battle before him. In order to keep the soldiers within the post and away from influences militating against them in the city, the Chaplain effected various organizations at the post for their entertainment and to contribute to their contentment in the garrison. The liquor influences in the city soon discovered this, and united in establishing near the post a barroom with dive annex. The faithful soldiers reported this to the Chaplain. The Chaplain said to his men that whatever happened in that community it would be charged against the regiment; if the value of property decreased, it would be charged against the regiment; and the regiment could not afford, under any circumstances, to permit the saloon and dive to live. He proceeded to organize the entire command into a corps of "sappers and miners," including the families of the enlisted men. This organization was without machinery. The only requirement for membership consisted in answering this question in the affirmative, which was put to the enlisted members of the garrison: "Will you mine and sap the life out of everything that militates against the reputation


Page 297

and efficiency of the members of the 24th Infantry, and that interferes with the peace and harmony of this garrison?" They all answered: "I will." They were then instructed that when they met with difficulty anywhere, each member should ask the Chaplain for instructions as to how to handle it. This is all the machinery that was used in this organization. They had an occasional meeting at which the members reported the battles fought and victories won or lost. At one of the meetings they reported that the big saloon and dive had been put out of commission.

        Chaplain Allensworth, with other officers, was very popular in Salt Lake City. He was frequently called on by various organizations for lectures, and by churches, for sermons. The Utah University extended him an invitation to deliver his popular lecture, "The Battle of Life and How to Fight it," before the students. This invitation was particularly pleasing to the Chaplain, as the students of this University had planned to meet the Twenty-fourth Infantry at the depot on its arrival to take station at Fort Douglas, and receive them with hisses.

        During the Chaplain's stay at Fort Douglas, the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Salt Lake resigned. This was a congregation of white people. The Chaplain was invited, from time to time, to supply the pulpit at its morning service. This he did. At the close of the first sermon he received many congratulations from the members of the congregation, and an especially pleasing compliment from one of the officials, who stated that they would remember him from the treasury of the church. In Tuesday morning's mail he received a check


Page 298

from the treasurer of the church for a very neat sum, stating that that was what they gave ministers who supplied their pulpit in the absence of the pastor.

        One member of the congregation informed him that it was the best sermon he had ever heard. The Chaplain told him he had been deluded; that he had heard many sermons from his former pastor superior to his, but to this one he gave better attention than to the others, being particularly interested in what was being said and how it was being said, because this was the first Negro to occupy that pulpit. When a pastor was called, among the scattering votes reported, were a number for Chaplain Allensworth.

        Another very pleasing report from this service came from a Negro member of the Salt Lake Grammar Schools, who reported that one of the male teachers had said to the class (he being the only Negro in it) that prejudice was not such a hard thing to handle as some people thought; that prejudice against the Negro race was largely on account of conditions more than color, this question being under discussion, at the time in the class. He stated that he had strong color prejudice; that when he visited the First Presbyterian Church and saw the Chaplain from the Fort in the pulpit to preach, he thought it was out of order, that the Chaplain was out of his place, but after he had observed his manner in the pulpit and heard the sermon, he concluded that he was mistaken. He decided that Chaplain Allensworth was as much at home in the pulpit of the First Presbyterian Church as if it had been a congregation of Negroes, and that he believed it was a question of ability, refinement and culture rather than race; that a man


Page 299

possessing such characteristics would eventually win his way in the world. He further said that when a majority of the race reach such a point most of their difficulties would vanish.


Page 300

CHAPTER XXVII

        CHAPLAIN ALLENSWORTH JOINS MCKEAN POST--ELECTED DELEGATE TO CINCINNATI G.A.R. ENCAMPMENT--DELIVERS MEMORIAL DAY ORATION AT SALT LAKE--AT FORT HARRISON--THE TRIAL OF GOINGS--SAMPLE OF OFFICER'S REPORT--RANKING STAFF OFFICERS.

        CHAPLAIN ALLENSWORTH, being a Grand Army man, joined the James B. McKean Post No. 1, Salt Lake, Utah. He was elected a delegate of the Department Encampment to the National Encampment at Cincinnati. He was also selected by the Memorial Day Committee to deliver the oration at the cemetery May 30, 1897. The next day he met a prominent citizen of Salt Lake who frankly informed the Chaplain that when the Grand Army Committee selected him, being a colored man, he thought it had made a mistake; that he went to the Cemetery with misgivings; that he stood on the outside of the crowd to watch the impression made upon the audience and to hear what was said by the audience; now he felt like congratulating the Committee that it had made no mistake.

        The following is an extract from the report published in "The Salt Lake Tribune":

        "Once more the dwindling remnant of the nation's battle-tried patriots paid tribute to the nation's dead. Prayer and song, martial music and the salute of great


Page 301

guns joined again in a memorial ceremony, and the graves of departed heroes were covered with tender blossoms. It was a fair picture of the coming and going of man. The soldiers that were, the gray comrades of the Grand Army of the Republic, marched with soldiers that are, the dark-skinned members of the Army and Navy union, and the members of the Utah National Guard. With these marched the soldiers that are to be,--a regiment of school boys, whose patriotism received its greatest nourishment in the history of the great Rebellion. The three generations vied in honoring the dead. And then crowds of citizens, in cars, in carriages and afoot went to the burial ground on the hill, Mt. Olivet Cemetery, each to place a bunch of flowers on the lowly mounds and listen respectfully to the words of praise heaped upon the memory of those who died for freedom's cause. When it was all over a final tribute was paid to the gaping ranks of the Grand Army by the little school maids, who, at the end of the return march, bestowed upon each old soldier a fragrant bouquet.

        "An air by the band of the Twenty-fourth U. S. Infantry was followed by Chaplain Allensworth's fine orations, as follows:

        "'There is no anniversary that makes a stronger appeal to our finest sensibilities or cherishes deeper sentiments of patriotism than Decoration Day. It is a day of retrospection, of dispassionate review, of loving reminiscence. However, in the dim receding past, now marked by more than thirty milestones, as we count the years, opinions differed and men were aroused to defend the principles they held dearer than their lives, our country today mourns with equal sorrow all of her fallen


Page 302

heroes. Across our broad continent, from ocean to ocean and from the Great Lakes to the warm Gulf, the busy east, the magnificent west, the great north and the beautiful south are united by the common good evolved from common suffering. The voice of the people heard throughout our land since the cry of war was crushed and peace proclaimed and freedom vindicated, has been full of devotion to its highest interests. There can be no prophecy of evil, no restless fears, no murmur of malice while we continue to keep and guard the sacred memories, the charity and good will that first prompted the commemoration of this day.

        "'Out of the darkness and woe of battle we have emerged into the sunshine of tranquil happiness, not the calm that precedes the storm, but the deep harmony that prevails in the strengthened covenant of union, sealed with blood and hallowed with tears. That holy covenant was first made when the thirteen colonies, under the general government, formed an inseparable sisterhood of states. Bound by the years of Revolutionary struggle, crowned with victory and independence, it was consecrated and renewed after internal strife had threatened our dissolution and thousands of the best and bravest of the Nation's defenders had sacrificed their lives on many desperate fields.'

        "Speaking with reference to the bloody conflict between the north and south and commenting upon the fact that the south left her cause to the arbitration of the sword, and lost, Chaplain Allensworth said: 'With peace came a change of public sentiment. The north became charitable. The south had not suffered in vain. Bravely she gathered up the broken threads of her eventful history and holding them in humbling hands amid


Page 303

the ruin and desolation war had wrought she wove them securely into tendons for the banding together of those principles upon whose foundations her broader freedom and greater glory rest.'

        "The speaker then dwelt at some length upon the horrors of the strife, in which fathers, sons and brothers were often upon opposing sides of the terrible conflict, which looked at the inception as if it would be short-lived, but developed by degrees into a bitter and uncertain struggle, which left in its wake despoiled and ruined homes, impoverished fields and all the horrors and ravages of cruel war.

        "It was but natural, however, in recalling the events of the conflict to dwell upon the illustrious leaders of the army and their brilliant victories. In letters of deathless fame the names of Grant, Sherman, Sheridan, Hooker, and Butler are written in American history; we breathe softly when speaking in memory of those grand heroes of the Nation.

        "'Their brave example,' the speaker continued, 'was not lost and their sacrifices were not made in vain, for as we now recount their illustrious deeds, and remember their discouragements, their hardships and their perils, we feel that one of the highest uses of this day is to foster the spirit of faithful allegiance to the Union they preserved, and to show our loyalty to the old flag now drooping at half mast over the splendid mausoleum of our beloved Grant and the graves of his brother officers.'

        "Chaplain Allensworth then expressed himself as favoring a most liberal pension policy, as every man engaged in the country's service, from those who answered to the first call for volunteers to those who enlisted when


Page 304

the beginning of the end approached, deserves the substantial thanks of a grateful nation. 'The country,' the speaker added in this connection, 'owes its old soldiers a debt that money cannot pay. The value of their services is beyond any compensation of silver and gold. A small pension will be but an acknowledgment of our common gratitude, and a proof of our consciousness of their higher and incalculable deserts.

        "'The war of the Rebellion,' Allensworth declared, 'was unprecedented in all the annals of war in the history of the civilized world, more battles being fought during the four years than were fought during a score of years in Europe, when Napoleon was keeping the whole of Europe in constant turmoil, and more men were being killed and wounded than met a similar fate in the wars of England from the reign of William III to the present time.'

        "After recounting some of the most thrilling episodes of the conflict, Chaplain Allensworth referred to the lamented Lincoln whom he characterized as 'one of those grand and stalwart characters that amid a million gleaming lights outshines and attracts them all. Without assumption or conceit the honors which he achieved and all that were bestowed upon him became his quiet grace and dignity. His character was independent, strong, and self-reliant. His perceptions were keen, his judgment cool, his course direct, his arguments convincing. Not before his sudden and tragic end was his great worth realized. Every action during his administration, the most trying and turbulent in our history, has been weighed in the balance with critical accuracy by those most conversant with the momentous affairs of the nation, but in manly principle and close adherence to


Page 305

duty, they have never been wanting. His paramount object he said to Horace Greeley was to save the Union, and he succeeded.'

        "In conclusion Chaplain Allensworth paid a tribute to the noble women of America for the heroic part which they played amid the desolation, hopeless grief and cruel havoc wrought by the conflict. Poets and artists, he said, had depicted it to the full power of pen and brush, but words and color were alike inadequate to render its deepest expression."

        The Chaplain was identified with a number of fraternal organizations and his services were in great demand among them. At the Inter-State Competitive Drill held at Garfield Beach, August 12, 1897, the following organizations of uniformed companies took part, Independent Order of Odd Fellows, Ancient Order of United Workmen, and the Knights of Pythias. The committee having charge of the drill applied to the Commanding Officer of Fort Douglas to select three officers of the command as special judges, who were to witness the drill and pass upon the movements of each organization. The first inspection consisted of the following movements: 42 movements, Manual of the Sword; 11 movements, School of the Company; 25 movements, Display Movements. Chaplain Allensworth being the ranking officer of the three captains selected by the Commanding Officer of the post, was the presiding officer of these judges. This drill was witnessed by a large concourse of people from Salt Lake City. At its close, the decision rendered by these three judges gave entire satisfaction to all concerned.

        The following notice from a Missoula paper will show the character of duty performed while visiting posts


Page 306

where battalions of the regiment were stationed and had no Chaplain to serve them.

        "Chaplain Allen Allensworth, regimental chaplain of the Twenty-fourth Infantry, has been on a short tour of duty at Fort Missoula. During his stay he delivered a very interesting and instructive course of lectures, among which were the following:

        " 'Document No. 202, A.G.O.,' illustrated with stereopticon slides, with comment by Post Surgeon Captain Ashburn.

        " 'A Trip to the Wonders of the World.' Historical.

        " 'Temperance,' illustrated with the following sets of slides on the subject: 'The Drinker's Progress,' 'Ten Nights in a Bar Room,' 'The Drunkard's Children,' and 'The Gambler's Career.'

        "In connection with the lectures the following illustrated songs were used: 'Whisper Your Mother's Name,' 'The Bridge of Sighs,' 'Sweet Adeline.' Subjects without slides: 'The Battle of Life and How to Fight It,' 'The Chevron and What It Stands for,' 'Amusements and How to Secure Them.'

        "An amusement committee was organized in each company, and on the Sabbath, a Bible School with a full complement of officers was organized.

        "Sunday afternoon a sermon was preached on the subject: 'A Soldier of Honor.' At night, picture sermon: 'The Pilgrim's Progress,' with projected hymns. The attendance at each meeting was large, and much interest, it is reported, was taken in the course.

        "The Chaplain left yesterday for his station at Fort Harrison. His visit promises to result in much good."

        In addition to the Chaplain's ministerial duties he


Page 307

was frequently converted from preacher to lawyer. It was not an unusual thing, for him after delivering a sermon on "Honesty" on Sunday, to be called on on Monday to defend a man before a general court, charged with dishonesty and various misdemeanors.

        To illustrate: At Fort Harrison, Montana, a private was charged with failure to attend drill and guard-mount; also of entering a tailor shop, frightening the tailor by firing a shot through the window and through the ceiling, closing the door, locking the same, and refusing to admit his Commanding Officer. Chaplain Allensworth was detailed to defend this man against these charges and the specifications. The Company Commander thought that with all these charges against him, the soldier would be discharged from the service and sent to prison. His comrades expected nothing less. The trial proceeded, and after an earnest prosecution and defense for his client by the Chaplain, the man was acquitted, to the surprise of the Company Commander and the members of the garrison.

        The following is the Memorandum of the Chaplain's detail:

        HEADQUARTERS

        Twenty-Fourth U. S. Infantry.

        Fort Harrison, Montana.

        May 24th, 1904.

        MEMORANDUM for Chaplain Allensworth:

        You are detailed as counsel for Pvt. . . . Co. "B."

        24th Inf., in case against him, before G. C. M.

        By order of Col. Buchanan.

        W. C. SWEENEY,

        1 Lt. & B. A. 24 Inf. Asst. Adjt.


Page 308

        Another illustration: A private soldier was charged with burglariously entering the quarters of an officer, with intention of committing theft. The man was arrested by the guard while coming out of the back door. Conviction was thought sure, but he selected the Chaplain as his counsel. This case had been examined by the soldier's Company Commander and by the Post Commander, as is required in all cases where charges are preferred for a general court, to be sure that the evidence is sufficient to convict. These charges were then sent to the Adjutant General of the department for examination and approval. In this case they were returned approved, and the man ordered to trial. The Chaplain called this man before him and advised him to tell him the truth concerning this case, but the soldier, like many clients, proceeded to state a falsehood. He said that he was drunk at the time and did not know what he did or what he was doing. The Chaplain charged him that his statement was false; that he was not intoxicated; that he was there visiting Rosie, the housegirl; that in going down the steps he fell, making a noise, and that Rosie screamed and aroused the mistress of the house, who hoisted the window and called the guard. The soldier admitted that this was true, and that he had made the false statement at the preliminary examination to save the girl. He was informed that his statement was equivalent to confession of being guilty of the charges, and that he would be sent to the penitentiary; but that the Chaplain did not intend that he should be sent to the penitentiary upon that charge.

        The soldier was instructed by the Chaplain that he would be put on the stand as witness, and when asked why he didn't tell the truth at first instead of the story


Page 309

he worked up to save the girl at the first examination he would be at liberty to state that he was not then under oath; but now being under oath he felt it his duty to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. As anticipated, this question was asked and answered according to instructions. While on the stand he was required to describe and locate the furniture in Rosie's bedroom. This he did. The court adjourned and visited the bedroom to see if the description was true. It was. Thus the circumstantial evidence that was expected to prove him guilty of burglary, fell to the ground and the accused was acquitted.

        The War Department requires all Regimental and Post Commanders to render annual reports to the Department on the efficiency of the officers under their command. The following is a copy of the report made by the Commanding Officer of Fort McDowell for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1901, concerning Chaplain Allensworth:

    "Efficiency Report in Case of

  • Name: Allen Allensworth
  • Rank, regiment
    Chaplain 24th Infantry
  • Reported by (Signed) Carver Howland
    Major 29th Infantry,
    Comdg. Fort McDowell
  • Date: June 30th, 1901
  • Summary of Report.
  • Capacity for command; Excellent
  • Professional zeal, etc.; Excellent
  • Conduct and habits; Excellent
    Page 310

  • Condition, etc., of men; Excellent
  • Can he be trusted with important duties? Yes
  • Scientific attainments; Good
  • Is he qualified mentally, morally, and physically for all the duties of his position? Yes
  • Peculiar fitness for staff duties or detail; Any, requiring executive or administrative capacity."

        In addition to this report each officer is required to make a personal Efficiency Report. The following is a copy of the blank that is furnished him for that purpose:

        "Individual Service Report of. . . . .
for the period from June 30, 1900, to June 30, 1901:

         Station,. . . . .

         Date,. . . . .

         To the Adjutant General, U. S. Army,
. . . . .

         Sir: I have the honor to report that during the period between June 30, 1900, and June 30, 1901:

         1. I was present for duty with my regiment or corps
. . .months,. . .days, and present sick. . .months,. . .days.

         On detached service,. . .months,. . .days.

         On ordinary leave,. . .months,. . .days.

         Absent on sick leave,. . .months,. . .days.

         2. Married or single,. . .Number of minor children. . .

         Outside of the routine duties of my positon, I have studied or pursued a course of reading--

         3. In the line of the military profession,. . . . .

         4. Professional or scientific study and investigation


Page 311

other than military. If graduated from any college or school other than the U. S. Military Academy, so state,. . . . .

         5. Foreign languages studied,. . . . .

         Able to speak. . . . .

         Able to translate. . . . .

         Special knowledge of any particular line of work, whatever its nature,. . . . .

         6. Business experience, nature and extent of,. . . . .

         7. Subject of titles of books written or published, essays prepared, lectures delivered or papers read, when and where,. . . . .

         Remarks,. . . . .

         8. On the reverse side of this sheet give a succinct account of services since June 30, 1900, with dates of battles, actions, etc., in which engaged. If in prior reports this was not stated, give the information here. In the case of officers of Volunteers, a full statement of service from entry into service or from May, 1898, should be given.

         I certify that the entries herein made are true to the best of my knowledge and belief.

         ------"


        As a rule, civilians do not understand the importance and value of an officer's rank. In addition to the pay that it carries, it gives him certain prestige not obtained otherwise. To illustrate: An officer in reporting for duty or going into a new garrison makes a selection of the available quarters according to his rank. As in the case of Chaplain Allensworth at the last post he joined, there were but two officers who ranked him, the Commanding Officer and Senior Major. Therefore


Page 312

there were but two officers to select quarters before him. Chaplain Allensworth made his choice over and above all other officers in the post, save these two.

        At public formalities, as a Staff Officer, all officers junior to Chaplain Allensworth took their position on his left. So during his entire service he was the ranking Staff Officer in his regiment, and all Staff Officers took their positions on his left. On Boards of Survey he became its President in case he ranked the other members.

        In reference to an officer's rank, Senator Bacon on the floor of the Senate in the debate on the Army Bill says: "An officer's rank is almost as dear to him as his character would be. Of course, his character is more dear than anything else, but his rank comes next, possibly, so far as he is personally concerned. This proposition is confined in its effect to officers who are old men, men to whom their rank is dear, and justly dear; and it ought to be dear to them, and we ought to protect them in it if we can." Hence it is clear to any one why Chaplain Allensworth should be proud of his rank and pay as a Lieutenant-Colonel retired in the United States Army.


Page 313

CHAPTER XXVIII

        ETHICS OF ARMY LIFE--CHAPLAIN ALLENSWORTH CALLS ON GOVERNOR--SOCIAL QUESTION--ARMY LIFE HAS VALUABLE LESSONS--FIVE MANLY VIRTUES--SOCIAL LIMITATIONS--ONLY TWO CLASSES OF WOMEN IN ARMY--UNUSUAL MARRIAGE CEREMONY.

        IN Army life certain rules of social ethics govern the officers in their intercourse. But strictly speaking, the Negro officer, whatever his rank, is not given the consideration outside of purely official duties granted white officers. It was quite remarkable that Chaplain Allensworth was able to hold his own without friction.

        Many outside people were interested to know how this colored officer would stand with his associates; if he would be affected by color prejudice, or, as the Chaplain expressed it, "condition prejudice." He was frequently asked if he was ostracized by his brother officers. In answer to this question the Chaplain would say, "No," explaining that to be ostracized implies that the person must have been within a certain social circle and was forced out of that circle by his social equals. The Negro, not being in the circles of the Caucasian, cannot be put out. Only those are ostracized who are barred from the privileges of the social set in which they live and move. This was the Chaplain's view of the matter.

        He would be asked how his white brother officers


Page 314

treated him. In answer he would say, just as he treated them; being an officer and a gentleman, he treated them as such. But as far as "condition" prejudice was concerned (the Army being composed of people from the South as well as from the North), they were affected by their training and home influences, just as civilians are affected. Army officers have their likes and dislikes. The delicate question of selecting one's friends and intimate associates is regulated by personal preferences.

        But color prejudice is reduced to a minimum in the Army, being neutralized by the officer's culture and rank. The Chaplain's rank was recognized, and he was given due consideration in all official relations. In regular formations on the drill ground he, with other officers of the staff, would take their positions in the rear of the Commanding Officer, and other officers of the staff, whether regimental or post, would take their positions on Chaplain Allensworth's left, according to rank. As he was the ranking Staff Officer, he occupied this position during his entire service, the right being the place of the officer of the highest rank. Only once did prejudice show itself in this matter of position in staff formations. A Surgeon with the rank of First Lieutenant (the Chaplain's being that of Captain), who was a Missourian, could not consent to stand in public with a Negro on his right as his superior. He therefore applied to his senator to secure for him a transfer to another Post, his reasons being given to his senator. In his application to the War Department for a change he did not give this reason, as there it would not be tolerated.

        The Chaplain had the advantage over the other officers in a military garrison. All officers were invited to


Page 315

collective social functions, being members of the same military family. They were forced, therefore, to associate with a brother officer whether he was congenial or not. But the Negro officer had the privilege of choosing only those officers who were congenial. On one occasion he was told by an officer of the regiment that a number of visiting officers had remarked that they liked the Chaplain very much, and that it was a pity such a pleasant, genial man was a Negro. The Chaplain replied to this officer that his dark face was his protection; that if he were invited to their convivial functions it would militate against his usefulness in the regiment if he were to accept the invitations. He asked the officer if he, the Chaplain, were regularly to visit the club and participate in the games and other recreations, would he be respected and esteemed by the officers and men? The officer answered, "No," but that he had no objection to a Chaplain doing as he pleased. This social question frequently came up among the officers.

        At Fort Douglas a civilian asked an officer if they had any trouble socially with the Chaplain. He replied, no, that the Chaplain and his family were religious people, engaged in religious work, and that the officers' social frivolities did not appeal to them. On all public occasions, however, such as receptions, the Chaplain participated freely with the other officers. When the officers of the regiment called upon the Governor of the state in a body to pay their respects to him, the Chaplain was among the number and was received as cordially as the other officers. And when receptions were tendered to the Governor and his staff, and to officers of the state militia and their families, the Chaplain was always present with his family. At a certain


Page 316

time the Commanding Officer of his regiment, with his staff and other officers of Fort Harrison called upon the Governor of Montana, at Helena; Chaplain Allensworth, being a member of the regimental staff, was received by the Governor and his family with as much cordiality as were the other officers.

        Yet the social relations in Army life were very embarrassing to the Chaplain and his family at times, especially when the regiment was located near the large cities. The enlisted men of the regiment were instructed by the Chaplain to inform their acquaintances, on arriving at a new station, not to expect him and his family to exchange social courtesies with them; that if soldiers were invited to a social function at which the Chaplain and his family were present, the soldiers would feel ill at ease, and the same would be true of the Chaplain; that people should consider which would be of greater advantage to them,--to associate with the small circle composed of the Chaplain and his family, or with the large circle composed of the enlisted men and their families, for they could not associate with both. These folks invariably accepted the larger circle. The social chasm between the commissioned officer, white or colored, and enlisted men is as broad and deep as that between the Negro and Caucasian.

        These rules are rendered necessary for the discipline of the men and to maintain the dignity of the service.

        It was frequently the case that the men and women forming the social circle of the soldiers were employed in a menial capacity by the officers. The Chaplain could not mingle with that circle, being an officer. On one occasion an officer of high rank was the guest of a prominent citizen. The Commanding Officer of the garrison


Page 317

assembled his staff to accompany him to the reception. To the Chaplain's utter surprise, he found on entering the house that a prominent Negro of the city, a man of excellent qualities, an intellectual and social leader among his people, who had called on the Chaplain and his family and had been entertained by the Chaplain, was here employed as a servant. This man had the good sense not to recognize the Chaplain and the Chaplain did not recognize him during the function. The Chaplain reflected, however, that this unique experience could hardly come into the life of a white Army Officer.

        On a certain occasion a leader of Negro society served as maid at a reception given by the officers of the Post where the Chaplain was stationed. It was on account of such experiences that the enlisted men were quick to tell the people that the Chaplain could not accept their social considerations.

        An officer, talking with a visitor on the subject, said: "I have discovered that he is a cultured gentleman, yet I am afraid to call on him because of what other people will think and say; while at the same time I am associating on intimate terms with white men whom I loathe." One officer's wife, it is said, cried because of the mental conflict between duty and fear. She said to her husband (as the officer told the Chaplain later), "It is my duty to treat that lady as I would any other lady, but I am afraid of the opinions of others." He said to his wife, "It is with you. I appreciate how you feel as I have felt the same way in calling on the Chaplain, but we must remember that we are governed largely in our social circle by the opinions of others. We must consider how many will drop us or scorn us, and whether it is better to lose four or five to gain one or two. And


Page 318

furthermore, life is too short to worry our brains fighting the battles of others: let them work out their own salvation." It is plain that the social club wielded by the Caucasian is very powerful, and that the main excuse for not treating the cultured Negro with what Caucasians are pleased to term "social consideration" is on account of the Negro's social status, and of ideas generally prevailing of social propriety. Negroes are frankly told by white people that since the Negro takes his social companions and leaders from among those who are servants of white people, the whites cannot be on terms of social equality with them.

        An officer of the medical department said: "I am waiting to see how you people of the Twenty-fourth are going to treat your Chaplain. Although I am a Virginian I am ready to go as far, and do as much, as anyone, and especially to do my duty; but you people of the Twenty-fourth must lead the way." While the Negro felt the effect of "condition" prejudice, the Caucasian had his troubles over the same, likewise. Yet the Chaplain found upon discussing the matter with various officers that in the majority of cases their hearts were right, but each was afraid of the other.

        This color prejudice would sometimes affect the administration of official affairs. To illustrate: At the first muster and inspection after reporting for duty, the Chaplain received no notice to report. Serving with a mixed command, white and black, caused him to feel that he was purposely omitted. The soldiers of the regiment thought the same, and felt considerably chagrined in thus being publicly humiliated before members of the Fifth Cavalry by having their Chaplain omitted in this manner because of color. The Chaplain took the matter


Page 319

up with himself and discussed plans for the battle. At the end of the month, on the day before muster and inspection, he made it convenient to have business with the Commanding Officer at his quarters. Just as he was leaving he remarked to the Colonel, "I notice tomorrow is muster and inspection. I presume you will expect me out, Sir?" The Colonel said, "No, it is not necessary." The Chaplain then remarked to the Colonel, "If I am not out, the men of my regiment will think that you don't want me out because of my color, and it won't do to have them think that, Colonel." He said, "That is so, so you will report." The next day when the first call sounded for assembly, the Chaplain appeared in his nice, new uniform, and when the members of his command saw him take his official position, a broad smile went over their faces and they said, "Our Chaplain is there, thank the Lord." He did not fail to attend parades thereafter, except when he asked to be excused.

        In connection with the above it is well to state that, as a matter of fact, the Commanding Officer's omission to have the Chaplain attend the first inspection and muster was not occasioned by color prejudice, while many thought so, for when the Chaplain invited the Commanding Officer's attention to the omission, the Commanding Officer said that a number of Chaplains did not have uniforms and therefore did not care to attend on such occasions. The Colonel of the Twenty-fourth had recently come from a regiment that had no Chaplain and where only Post Chaplains served. At that time there were no Regimental Chaplains except in the four colored regiments, other Chaplains being designated as Post Chaplains. This illustrates the fact that many apparent slights were more imaginary than real. This is not


Page 320

to be wondered at, as so many indignities are heaped upon the Negroes, and especially on intelligent, progressive Negroes.

        Army life has its valuable lessons, and the Negro Army officer learns to pick his company. There are circumstances even in civil life which justify social ethics. This point is illustrated by an incident which occurred in one of our cities. A prominent Negro Attorney was a member of one of the leading social clubs of a certain city. A judge, having occasion to visit the municipality, was given a club reception. His colored valet had also been one of the social leaders in that city and had entertained this Negro Attorney. The Negro Attorney wanted to show the judge some special mark of respect, and being at liberty to invite a guest to any of the social functions, he invited the judge's valet. When the judge appeared and found his valet a guest on equal terms with himself he demurred, and came very nearly disrupting the entire entertainment. The result was that this club passed a resolution that no member could invite a guest, on any occasion, without first submitting the name and obtaining the approval of the house committee. Whether this was a mistake on the part of the Negro Attorney is left to the reader to judge.

        Here is another illustration. After some of the officers had become well acquainted with the Chaplain they frequently expressed their surprise to him that he would enter the Army where the ordeal through which he was compelled to pass as an officer was so humiliating. He would reply; first, that men of their ability, who ought to make great judges or great merchants, who would leave the cultured circles in which they moved in civil


Page 321

life to unite with the Army and live on the frontier among rattlesnakes and coyotes, did so, he supposed, because it was a field in which they could do better than in civil life, and so did he. And second, that it was his ambition to prove to the world that a Negro could be an officer and a gentleman; and further, to educate the Negro soldier up to the point where he could prove himself a man and a soldier, and to educate the Caucasian down to a point of recognizing that a Negro possesses sufficient manly virtues to comply with all of the conditions required by the Army regulations and military custom.

        The Chaplain states that while prejudice in the Army is reduced to a minimum, and that while he received the recognition due him as an officer (as seen by letters and testimonials from officers with whom he served), still there is no place on earth where the crucible is hotter for a Negro officer than the Army. He is completely isolated from social companionship, except that of his immediate family. His own men expect him, in addition to being a model Christian, to be a perfect officer and gentleman. They look upon him as their model and a man to be superior, if possible, to the Caucasion officer; and as a matter of fact, in a number of particulars he must be. As in the case of Chaplain Allensworth it will be seen that he conducted himself in such a manner as to become the ranking Chaplain in the United States Army, the first to be promoted to the grade of Major because of "exceptional efficiency."

        The Negro officer must not in any way show that he recognizes the existence of color prejudice in his official association with his brother officer: no intimation of a servile or cowed spirit is to be shown if such should


Page 322

exist. Discipline requires that there be no social relations between him and enlisted men of his race, no difference who among them, nor how many of them, are educated, cultivated and refined. An enlisted man could not be invited into his parlor nor sit at his table. This is not only true of the Negro but is also true of white officers.

        At a Post where the Chaplain served, the son of a general was an enlisted man, preparing for a commission. This young man although the son of a general, and himself studying for a commission never presumed to enter the quarters of an officer excepting on duty during his entire service at the Post as a soldier. He had to report to the Chaplain for examination whether the Chaplain called on him for school duty or not. The Chaplain knew his attainments and his ambitions. The adjutant asked the Chaplain to point him out to him so that he might not humiliate the man because of his omission of some small duty. Not until he received the commission in hand and reported to the Commanding Officer for duty, would he enter, socially, an officer's quarters. But as soon as he reported for duty as a commissioned officer, he was invited to become the guest of one of the officers and he moved his belongings from the barracks across the parade ground to the officers' quarters, and did the enlisted men farewell, socially. After that the enlisted men in the barracks who were his friends and former associates no longer knew him as such.

        In the Navy where the Chaplain served as captain's steward and clerk, the brother of the Commanding Officer of the vessel was a sailor on the vessel. This brother was never seen in the cabin, the officers' quarters.


Page 323

He would pass and repass his brother as any other enlisted man--saluting but never speaking. This is discipline. It is said to be necessary to maintain a discipline that will hold good on the field before the enemy.

        The Negro officer's position required him to bring to the surface and into requisition the five manly virtues. When Chaplain Allensworth joined the Army it was currently supposed in the Post that he would not be able to confine himself within the limitations required, that a Negro's social instincts being so highly developed, he could not stand such isolation, that he would either resign or break over the line. Chaplain Allensworth recognized the existence of these conditions and was fully determined to disappoint the expectations of the Negro's enemies, and to meet those of his friends. The Negro officer, between his duties and books and official association with his fellow officers, can manage to get along very well, but the hardship falls upon his wife, if he should happen to be married, for she is subjected to many social limitations. But in the case of Mrs. Allensworth, she was sane, practical and intelligent. She devoted herself to the care and training of her daughters and assisting the Chaplain in his religious work. This occupied her mind and time. She was, however, frequently annoyed by the girls' reporting to her that the children from the families of officers would ask them if their help sat at the table with them, and would openly ask the help if they would as soon serve a colored officer as a white one. Not only did the children ask these questions, but the officers themselves would sometimes seek to obtain this information. Notwithstanding these meddlings, she


Page 324

was never without the necessary help who was faithful and loyal to the family.

        With the children, conditions were not so irritating. The only difference their children knew during their younger days was the line drawn between them and the children of the enlisted men. Of course this condition soon impressed them that they were the children of an officer, and all of their associations were with the children of officers. On the playground or tennis court they were together, in the vehicle transporting them to the city schools they rode side by side, in the schoolroom they formed a group, and in the children's parties they were socially together. Hence their lives in the garrison were lives of pleasure until they became young women, and by that time the Chaplain was retired.

        One peculiar idea prevails among Army officers, that there are only two classes of women, the "lady" and the "laundress." All officers' wives are "ladies," and all enlisted men's wives are "laundresses." Army officers entertain queer notions.

        When a soldier wishes to marry he must obtain the consent of his Company Commander, approved by the Post Commander. In his application he is required to state that his intended wife is a woman of excellent character and will do nothing to militate against the soldier's efficiency. If follows that she is willing to serve the officers as laundress or in some other capacity. The Chaplain is not expected to perform a marriage ceremony without the permission of the Commanding Officer. The following is a sample of the application with endorsements in the language of the soldier who made it:


Page 325

"Fort Bayard, N. M., May 28, 1891.
To the Post Adjutant,
(Through Comd'd Officer N. C. Staff & Band).

Sir:

         I have the honor to respectfully request that I may be granted the authority of getting married. The ceremony to take place at this Post by the Post Chaplain. Hoping, Sir, that my request may receive a favorable consideration,

I am, Sir,
Most respectfully,
Your obedient servant,

.....,
Private Band 24th Infty."


        On the back of this application appears the following:

"First Endorsement
Fort Bayard, N. M., May 28, 1891.

Respectfully returned.

         The Commanding Officer does not object to Pvt. ..... marrying; but Pvt. must understand that he will not be allowed to build any quarters or to bring his wife to live in the Post unless she quarters in the premises of some officer.

By order of Col. ....."


        One of the most interesting and unusual marriage ceremonies ever performed by the Chaplain was the following case: An officer and his fiancée were sitting on the porch of the quarters of her father when the Chaplain was passing. The officer hailed the Chaplain and informed him that they were going to be married and wanted him to perform the ceremony. The Chaplain


Page 326

agreed and assured the couple that he was at their service. So uncommon was this sort of request that the Chaplain spoke of it at once to Mrs. Allensworth. Never before had a Negro Chaplain been asked to perform such a ceremony. Mrs. Allensworth had her misgivings. She apprehended that the young lady's mother would object to having the matrimonial ceremony performed by a Negro, and she so expressed herself to the Chaplain. She enjoined her husband to say nothing about it. But a day or two after this several officers in the garrison congratulated him on being selected to perform the marriage ceremony, for they, too, recognized that this program was rather extraordinary, and the Chaplain and his wife knew that the matter was settled. Elaborate preparations were made for the wedding. A large amusement hall was properly decorated with muskets, small cannons, flags and buntings to indicate a high military function. An elaborate ball was provided for after the ceremony, and a sumptuous supper was also to be served.

        A day or two before the wedding the neighboring children while playing with the Chaplain's children, inquired of them if their mother and father intended to eat at the wedding supper with the other guests. This was a revelation to them, for now it was seen that the social question was up, "What must be done?" Here is a battle; to eat or not to eat, was the question with the Chaplain and his wife. So with the Chaplain's "better two-thirds," the matter was discussed and a line of action decided upon. Knowing the sentiment of a number of individuals in the garrison he decided not to draw their fire upon the mother and father of the bride. They therefore decided that they would not stay


Page 327

after the ceremony to participate in the ball; but would mingle with the guests freely for awhile and then return home and await results. When supper was ready an orderly appeared informing him of the fact. But the Chaplain returned his compliments to the lady's mother and informed her that he and his wife had an engagement and begged to be excused for the remainder of the evening.

        Two days after the wedding the bride's mother was visiting in the neighborhood and dropped in to have a chat with Mrs. Allensworth. The Chaplain met her at the door and after she was seated in the parlor she remarked, "I am sorry that you were not at the supper." The Chaplain replied that they never embarrassed their friends. He informed her that he knew the sentiment entertained by a number of persons in the garrison and that he was certain that his presence at the banquet table would have caused a discussion likely to result in ill-feeling among the officers. But he assured the lady that at some future time Mrs. Allensworth would be glad to accept her hospitality. She assured the Chaplain that she appreciated his consideration of her interest in the matter, and upon second thought that it was wise and gentlemanly on his part as well as lady-like on the part of his wife. She made it clear to the Chaplain, however, that while she was a southern woman she was no snob, and informed him at the same time that it was her suggestion that the Chaplain be requested to perform the ceremony.

        This latter statement of the lady was a revelation to both the Chaplain and Mrs. Allensworth, as both felt that any objections raised would come from that quarter. In one sense this was a social victory and it had


Page 328

the effect of endearing Chaplain Allensworth to the men and officers in a marked degree. Ever after that the Chaplain was a welcome guest at nearly all the social functions and his good sense in avoiding friction was depended upon.

        This action enhanced the regard in which the Chaplain and his family were held with members of the garrison and citizens of Salt Lake. It is plainly seen that this is one of the methods of dealing with the social question. This is not the only instance in which this method was adopted by Chaplain Allensworth. When he was elector for the state at large on the Garfield and Arthur ticket in Kentucky, he went over to Edmonson County to deliver a political speech. He was near the Mammoth Cave. The manager of the Cave being a Republican of New York, sent him an invitation to become a guest at the hotel and to take a trip through the Cave the next day. The Chaplain responded, thanking the manager, but informing him that he was well situated, and that on the next day he would be pleased to visit him and accept his invitation to go through the Cave. The next day he informed the manager that it would have been bad policy for him to accept the hospitality of the hotel. He knew the sentiment of the people in such matters and did not propose to do anything t hurt his cause. He came there to make votes for the Republican party, and if the people of the community learned that he was a guest in the hotel he would do more harm than good.

        But the Negro officer's life is not all rosy. It is at times a lonely, isolated existence. His companionship is limited. Congenial society is rare.

        Some Army officers are a snobbish, conceited, vainglorious


Page 329

class. The Chaplain had to put up with their haughty airs, in some cases for months, working out the problem of harmony in his own way. He was always slow to give offense.

        At one Post a junior officer passed and re-passed the Chaplain for six months without speaking to, or saluting him, as required by regulations. But the Chaplain paid no attention to him. When this officer learned of the fine qualities of the Chaplain he became one of his staunchest friends, finally moving into quarters adjoining the Chaplain's in order to avail himself of closer companionship with him. An officer of the Tenth Cavalry passed and re-passed the Chaplain for three months without speaking or saluting--a mark of contempt in the Army--but he, too, having learned of the esteem in which the Chaplain was held by officers and men, hailed the Chaplain one day with a salute and said, "Chaplain, with your permission, I wish to speak, Sir." The Chaplain replied, "You are at liberty to speak." He then said, "Chaplain, as we pass, let us speak," and from that day on they were the best of friends.

        Another officer, a North Carolinian, was ranked out three times in his effort to avoid living next to the Chaplain. He, too, passed and re-passed without the usual salute. The Chaplain noticing this concluded that the officer was not game and would back out if he had an opportunity. The opportunity came. This officer was Judge Advocate of a court, and the Chaplain counsel for the prisoner. It was necessary for the Chaplain to see the charges preferred against his client. He could have sent an orderly for them, but he concluded that here was an opportunity to force this


Page 330

officer to speak, so he went to his quarters. The officer met him at the door, spoke pleasantly, and invited him in, and they sat and chatted for an hour and a half. After that they were friends. These officers who refused to salute him could have been reported to the Commanding Officer, but the Chaplain concluded that there was another weapon to use in fighting this battle. He used it and won.


Page 331

CHAPTER XXIX

        RACE PREJUDICE--STRANGE ALCHEMY AT WORK--WHAT THE WHITE MAN MUST LEARN--PARLIAMENT OF RELIGIONS--CHAPLAIN'S SERVICES IN COLUMBIAN EXPOSITION--SELECTED TO ADDRESS NATIONAL EDUCATIONAL ASSOCIATION--TO BE A GOOD SOLDIER MAN MUST BE GOOD CITIZEN--THE CHAPLAIN'S ADDRESS IN CANADA.

        RACE prejudice is not amenable to legal codes, religious creed, fraternal obligations, Army regulations or the claims of humanity. Its inexorable exactions in certain sections of our common country preclude the possibility of the white man and the black man working together side by side in the same shop, or worshiping God at the same altar, or eating food at the same counter. It is a malignant poison that makes impure the very fountain and stream of social, religious, political and Army life in the United States. Its iniquitous virus enters into the brains and souls of men, weakens their judgment and unseats their reason. Its potency is felt in all the avenues of life, breeding aversion and antipathy between the races, and rendering close intimacies and friendships between whites and blacks distasteful. By its stubborn behest racial estrangement is given the appearance of being natural and of divine origin. Science, history, philosophy, religion and even Providence are invoked to justify its wicked decrees.


Page 332

        At bottom of race prejudice is ignorance. Ignorance exaggerates and magnifies racial antagonism and militates against race harmony. In life's complicated equations, it is ignorance which substitutes color for merit in measuring men. Intelligence and broad charity will solve our race problems.

        Our boasted civilization will surely go the sad and woeful way of Sodom and Gomorrah of other days, unless common justice and fraternity can gain a firmer grip on the hearts and brains of the men and women of America. No civilization, whatever its achievements, can become lasting if a white skin is always to be the one only and indispensable passport to justice, honor, opportunity and distinction. This lesson can be thoroughly understood only by the increase of intelligence. The Negro race has passed through the crucible of a most intense heat of racial hatred and is still sorely tried on account of it.

        It appears to be the definite program of a large and increasing number of white people in this country to try to get happiness for themselves by increasing the miseries of the Negroes. They are living under the weird delusion that their advance will be more rapid if they can stay the onward march of these black people. They hope by some strange alchemy to get more rights for themselves by depriving the Negroes of all rights. They are the slavish votaries of a peculiar code of ethics; with them it is humiliating even to be kind or polite or considerate to humble black folks. This spirit is everywhere manifesting itself. The more intelligent Negro is crying out as one in utter despair, "What of the future! What of the future!"

        Not the shape of the head, texture of the hair, facial


Page 333

contour, complexion of the skin, weight of the brain, thickness of the skull, set of the teeth, color of the eyes, length of the arms, arch of the foot, angle of the body or any other physical characteristics should determine a man's status in a republic. Intelligence, mental habits, ideals, thoughts, actions and intrinsic moral worth only, as revealed by character, should fix a man's place in the body politic.

        Real wisdom consists in knowing the truth, and real virtue in living up to the truth. To live right is of more importance to society than being born in a particular house or place or of a certain race. In a republic, justice and liberty should be for all. Injustice must not thrive if security and happiness are to be enjoyed. No man is really secure in the enjoyment of his rights so long as his neighbor, rich or poor, high or low, is deprived of justice and fair play. The white man in the United States must learn that one race cannot be persistently unfair and dishonest in its dealings with another race, and hope to permanently be either honest or just to itself. Kindness and generosity have never degraded any people, nor meanness vindicated any man's claim to superiority. A virtuous man, black or white, is an asset to his town or city. A vicious man, whatever his racial identity, is a deficit.

        One of the greatest influences exerted upon public opinion with a view to reducing race prejudice was that exerted by the World's Parliament of Religions and the Brotherhood of Christian Unity, held at the Columbian Exposition at Chicago. In this splendid movement Chaplain Allensworth took a conspicuous part. The formula given out by this organization was, "For the purpose of uniting with all who desire to serve God and


Page 334

their fellowmen under the inspiration of the life and teachings of Jesus Christ." Associated in this movement were such noble men and women as: Hon. Chas. C. Bonney, New Church; Dr. John Henry Barrows, Presbyterian; Dr. Lyman Abbott, Congregational; Capt. Allen Allensworth, Fort Bayard, N. M., U. S. Army Chaplain; Bishop B. W. Arnett, African Methodist Episcopal; Dr. Carl Von Bergen, Stockholm, Sweden, Independent Lutheran; Dr. W. F. Black, Christian; Dr. George Dana Boardman, Baptist; Rev. Geo. G. Candlin, Missionary to China, Methodist New Connection, England; Mrs. Laura Ormiston Chant, Independent, London, Eng.; Rev. Dr. Augusta A. Chapin, Chairman Women's Gen. Com. World's Parliament of Religions, Universalist; Dr. W. B. Derrick, A. M. E., Missionary Sec'y for the West Indies and Africa; Dr. Chas. H. Eaton, Universalist; Bishop Samuel Fallows, Reformed Episcopal; Dr. Edward Everett Hale, Unitarian; Rev. B. C. Haworth, Missionary to Japan, Presbyterian; Mrs. Chas. Henrotin, Vice-Pres't Woman's Branch World's Congress Auxiliary; Rev. Robert Hume, Missionary to India, Congregational; Mrs. Julia Ward Howe, Boston; Most Rev. Dyonisius Latta, Archbishop of Zante, Greece; Mr. G. Boney Maury, Prof. of Protestant Theology, Paris, France; Bishop J. S. Mills, United Brethren; Dr. Alfred W. Momerie, Church of England, London; Prince Momolu Massaquoi, Vey Territory, Liberia, Episcopal; Dr. Paulus Moort, Monrovia, Liberia, Episcopal; Rev. O. S. Noestegaard, Missionary to China, Lutheran; Mrs. Potter Palmer, President Woman's Branch World's Congress Auxiliary; Mr. J. W. Plummer, Friend; Dr. Philip Schaff, Prof. of Sacred History, Union Theo.


Page 335

Seminary, New York; Miss Jeanne Sorabji, Bombay, India, Church of England; Prof. Minas Tcheras, King's College, London, Armenian; Dr. Hiram W. Thomas, Independent; Rev. Floyd Tomkins, Episcopal; Rev. John Z. Torgersen, Evangelical Lutheran; Bishop J. H. Vincent, Methodist Episcopal; Miss Frances E. Willard, President National Woman's Christian Temperance Union.

        When an act of Congress was passed permitting Army officers to serve on duty at the Columbian Exposition, at Chicago, Chaplain Allensworth said, "That suits me, I will be there." This determination was prompted by the fact that no position of prominence had been given by the Exposition management to any member of the race except Hon. Frederick Douglass, and he could not be credited as representing the Negroes of the United States, for, by the request of the Haitian government, he represented the Republic of Haiti.

        There were many persons who applied to the management for positions, but they could not tell what they wanted. They just applied for "something." The management insisted that they should ascertain what they wanted and apply for that. Many applications were made but the positions sought for were not available. Chaplain Allensworth proceeded to ascertain first what he could do and what position of usefulness he could fill. He obtained leave of absence from the War Department and visited the director-general and members of the various departments to find out for himself where he could fit with credit to his race and to himself.

        He finally decided to recommend the establishing of a Statistical Exhibit of the progress of the Negro in the


Page 336

United States. He presented the subject to Dr. Peabody, in charge of the Department of Liberal Arts, under which department such an exhibit would properly belong. Dr. Peabody approved his suggestions and plans. But upon estimating the expense of such an exhibit it was found that no money had been appropriated for such a purpose. Dr. Peabody advised with the management for an appropriation, but received word, "There are no available funds." Dr. Peabody suggested to Chaplain Allensworth that he see Dr. Bonney, who had charge of the World's Fair Congresses.

        On reporting to Dr. Bonney, the Chaplain was referred by him to Dr. Barrows, who had charge of the Parliament of Religions and Religious Congresses. Dr. Barrows stated that the Chaplain was just the man he wanted as his assistant, and would therefore, through Dr. Davis, make an application for him. This was done. It was necessary for the Chaplain to make application through military channels accompanied by the proper endorsements. In addition to the endorsement of the Regimental Commander, the following other endorsements were filed.

        Letter and endorsements to Director-General Davis recommending Chaplain Allen Allensworth, 24th Infantry, for an appointment in connection with the World's Columbian Exposition.

"Fort Bayard, N. M., August 22, 1892.
To the
Director-General,
World's Columbian Exposition,
Chicago, Ill.

Sir:

         "Having been informed by Chaplain Allen Allensworth, 24th Infantry, of his intention to apply to you


Page 337

as an Army officer, for a position in connection with the Exposition, as a representative colored man, I take great pleasure in recommending him to your favorable consideration. I have known him since July, 1886, the time he joined the regiment, since that time he has by his industry, faithfulness to duty, interest in the advance of his people, loyalty to the service, and prudence, won the respect and esteem of every officer with whom he has served. Should you desire his services, as sought by him, you will find him prompt and true, faithful and conservative in the discharge of all duties imposed upon him. His administrative and executive ability is of a high order, and business qualities good. He is thoroughly prepared, by knowledge and experience, to represent his people in the Exposition management.

(Signed) J. MILTON THOMPSON,
Captain 24th Infantry."


        "Los Angeles, Cal., August 31, '92. I fully concur in all that Captain Thompson says of Chaplain Allensworth, 24th Infantry, U. S. Army. I know of no better object lesson than the Chaplain himself--illustrating as he does the wonderful progress of the colored people of this country from slavery and ignorance to free--enlightened--and patriotic citizenship. I congratulate you on being able to obtain his services. Chaplain Allensworth is an excellent officer--and a splendid representative of his race. An extensive knowledge of his people--does not enable me to name a superior. I cheerfully recommend him to those in highest authority--as being in every way deserving of the best consideration.

(Signed) HENRY C. CORBIN,
Asst. Adjutant General,
Department of Arizona.



Page 338

        The following is a copy of the letter from General Nelson A. Miles:

"HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE MISSOURI,
Chicago, Ill., September 26, 1892.
Director General George R. Davis,
World's Columbian Exposition,
Chicago, Illinois.

Dear Sir:

         I take this method in introducing to your favorable notice Chaplain Allen Allensworth, 24th Infantry, U. S. Army. Chaplain Allensworth is a man of high character, and has a high reputation for industry and efficiency and for zealous effort for the advancement of his race. He desires, if possible, to do something in this direction in connection with the World's Columbian Exposition. If you can do anything to further his desires in this respect, I believe you will find him thorough and efficient in anything he may undertake.

Very respectfully,

(Signed) NELSON A. MILES,
Major General, U. S. A."


        The Chaplain's application was approved and he was promptly detailed and ordered to report to the Director-General for duty. He was assigned to duty as assistant to Dr. Barrows, in connection with the Parliament of Religions. The Chaplain had charge of all papers that were to be read before the Parliament. These papers were all inspected and corrected by an expert literary critic to suit the ideas of Dr. Barrows. They were then turned over to Chaplain Allensworth, who saw that four copies of each were made. He occupied a very important position. He had charge


Page 339

of all invitations extended to prominent persons requesting them to take part in the Congresses. This kept him very busy until the day the Congresses were in session. He was furnished with stenographers and other support in the discharge of his duties.

        After the close of the Parliament and Congresses he had charge of the Bureau of Information, immediately under Dr. Bonney. In addition to these executive responsibilities he found time to direct his friends and army acquaintances over the Fair Grounds.

        He was also invited by Dr. Lyman Abbott, Dr. Carl Von Bergen, Dr. George Dana Boardman, Mrs. Henrotin, Mrs. Potter Palmer, and a number of others to unite in forming an organization to be known as the Brotherhood of Christian Unity, already referred to on another page.

        At the close of the Fair, on being relieved, he received the following letter from the President of the World's Congress Auxiliary and the World's Columbian Exposition.

"THE WORLD'S CONGRESS AUXILIARY
of the World's Columbian Exposition,
Chicago, October 30th, 1893.

         In relieving Chaplain Allensworth from duty in connection with the World's Congress Auxiliary, in compliance with the order of the Secretary of War the President of the Auxiliary avails himself of the occasion to express his great satisfaction with the manner in which Chaplain Allensworth has discharged the important and responsible duties of his office in this connection, and his sincere regrets at being compelled to relieve him from the duties in which he has been engaged.


Page 340

         The President of the Auxiliary takes pleasure in adding that he is sure the removal of Chaplain Allensworth from the service of the Auxiliary will also be sincerely regretted by all who have come in contact with him in the course of his service.

By order of the President;

(Signed) CLARENCE E. YOUNG,
Secretary.

A TRUE COPY:

J. C. Dent,
Major 24th U. S. Infantry."


        At the Fair, as at other places, the social question was ever in evidence. Applications of prominent Negroes were rejected (so some of the officials informed the Chaplain afterwards), on the ground of their social standing; that their official positions would necessarily bring them in contact socially with Caucasian representatives who did not wish to meet them. All female applicants for prominent positions among the women's work were rejected on the same ground. It appears that some would have received recognition had there not been a contest between the Negro society leaders as to who should be recognized as leader. The Exposition management stated that it did not have time to settle the Negroes' social differences; that as soon as they selected an acceptable person as leader to represent them, they would favorably consider his application. This situation was referred to by Hon. Frederick Douglass in his address on Colored People's Day, which address was quoted by one of the leading daily papers in the following article:


Page 341

THE WORLD'S FAIR CONGRESSES

        "The series of congresses held in the Art Institute Building on the Lake-Front during the last five and a half months was one of the most notable features of the Fair. It included 210 congresses, with a total of 1,245 sessions, at which 5,974 speakers were heard by more than 700,000 people, and over a million documents were distributed. The discussions were participated in and listened to by men of every rank and almost every race on the surface of the globe; also by numerous representative women, chiefly from among the English speaking peoples. The vast variety of subjects, including the most important that engage the attention of mortals, were handled not only with the talent promised but with a uniformity of good temper and courtesy surpassing the most sanguine expectations.

        "The great Parliament of Religions, occupying seventeen days in September, was the most remarkable of the gatherings. It is estimated to have been attended by fully 200,000 persons, who were addressed by more than 1,200 speakers. These were distinguished exponents of the different forms of faith and worship among the peoples of China, and Japan, India, Persia, Turkey, Russia, the southern half of Europe, and the United States. All the great religions of the world were represented, with many of their subdivisions, and their leading characteristics were stated in perfect peace if not harmony. For once the advocates of the different religions agreed to differ. Next in importance as measured by attendance was the Congress of Representative Women, held in the second half of May. Others of the most numerously attended were those of


Page 342

the Public Press, Medicine, Moral and Social Reform, Commerce and Finance, Music, Literature, Education, Engineering, Art, Government, Africa, Dentistry, Science and Philosophy, Social and Economic Science, Agriculture, and Real Estate.

        "Of course the great majority of addresses were delivered in the English language, but these were diversified liberallly by talks in other tongues, even the Chinese and the sign "language" finding a place on the list. One of the noteworthy facts of the gatherings was the facility with which those attending from far distant lands spoke the tongue common to the people here, indicating that the language of the United States is recognized all over the world as highly convenient if not absolutely necessary to knowledge and usefulness. Not less of a surprise to the many was the intimate acquaintance with Western lines of thought displayed by those who came from every part of the vast Orient, and especially their ability to give ingenious, if not solid, reasons for holding opinions opposed to those which pass current among us. These people showed that culture of manners, refinement of thought, logic in argument, and the study of history are far from being confined to the area of what many suppose to belong exclusively to our modern civilization. In this and other respects the influence of the congresses should be for immeasurable good in helping the peoples of other lands better to understand and appreciate each other and ourselves, and not less in extending and deepening our knowledge of the rest of the world. Other of the congresses besides that of religion must result in a wonderfully broadened perception of the great truth first announced by Paul in his sermon on


Page 343

Mars' Hill, that God 'hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth.'

        "Very much of the success that has attended this unique and magnificent collateral of the great Fair is due to the man who first proposed it to the directors, Mr. C. C. Bonney. It was he who had the honor of suggesting this novel feature, of proposing its plan, arranging its differentiations, and personally supervising the performances in each case, the latter including the opening address in all the departments. He has thus been intimately identified with the congresses in detail as well as in general, has become personally known to a far greater number of distinguished men than any other person connected with the Fair, and the impression they have formed of him must have been highly favorable, since his labors were crowned with eminent success. It is all the more so as the idea was one previously untried and so novel that many doubted the possibility of carrying it out without intolerable friction. If there were no other supreme feature of the Fair the congresses would have constituted one in which the Columbian celebration has surpassed all which have preceded it as the sunlight pales the rays of the full moon."


        On being relieved from duty at the World's Fair, the Chaplain was ordered to join his regiment in New Mexico. A very high compliment was paid to Chaplain Allensworth while on duty in New Mexico by being selected as director and manager of New Mexico's educational affairs in the National Educational Association, the only Negro occupying this position in the history of the Association. The Chaplain noticed that


Page 344

all the Negro speakers selected to address the Association at its general meetings (except one) had but one subject to discuss, and that was some phase of the Negro problem. He concluded that it was time for a Negro to discuss some other subject. He therefore selected one that was entirely new to the members of the Association, and requested the president to have this subject discussed, namely, "The History and Progress of Military Education in the United States." The president thought well of the subject and requested Chaplain Allensworth to prepare a paper dealing fully with it. This paper was to go into the records. He read his paper before the meeting at Toronto. It was at this time that Chaplain Allensworth finally succeeded in reaching Canada, the place he started for when he ran away in Kentucky forty years before. It took him a long time to reach Canada, but when he did reach it, he reached it as a representative educator and not as a fugitive slave. The following is the report of the address as given by the Toronto Globe:

        "Then Rev. Allen Allensworth of New Mexico, a colored gentleman who is Chaplain to the 24th Regiment of Infantry, read a paper on Education in the United States Army, which was listened to closely as showing how important is the work done in training the young men who constantly pass through the Army schools. The following are extracts showing in a measure the trend of thought of Mr. Allensworth, who is a fluent and forceful speaker as well as a graceful writer:--

        "In order to comprehend the military education of the United States and that of its Army we will consider:--


Page 345

  • The relation that the United States Army sustains to national education or to the people at large.
  • The specific or technical education of its officers and privates.

        "In the earlier history of the Army it was considered sufficient for a soldier to be able to march and handle his musket. This view has been changed. Now, to be a good soldier a man must be a good citizen; therefore the United States government aims at giving its soldiers a fair English education. It does this not only with a view of utilizing their increased knowledge in its defense, but with the object of returning them to civil life more intellectual citizens.

        "To accomplish this purpose, the War Department is aiming to secure additional legislation to enable it to increase the efficiency of its present defective system, which was established in compliance with the provisions of Section 1,231 revised statutes, which says:--'Schools shall be established at all posts, garrisons and permanent camps at which the enlisted men may be instructed in the common English branches of education, and especially in the history of the United States, and the Secretary of War may detail such officers and enlisted men as may be necessary to carry out this provision.

        " 'It shall be the duty of the Post Commander to set apart a suitable school room or building for school and religious purposes.'. . .The system adopted proved unsatisfactory and many efforts have been made by the War Department to improve it so that the schools would be of service to the government and a blessing to the soldiers and their children.

        "General Sheridan while in command of the Army,


Page 346

in an annual report to the Secretary of War, said on this subject:--'While the subject (education) is one of much interest the present scheme of education in the Army still remains a partial failure, owing to the radical defects of the system. To make it a success education should not be purely elementary: attendance must be part of the duty of the soldier, and the hours fixed during the time of the day allotted to the performance of duties.'

        "I will here state that this view has recently been adopted by the War Department, and now going to school by men in their first and second enlistments, if they cannot pass a prescribed examination, is made a military duty. In reference to teachers General Sheridan said:--'The teachers must be thoroughly fitted for their important position, and possess suitable rank to secure attention and respect: for obvious reasons should not be subject to the fluctuations of change of stations--at one point leaving a school without a teacher to arrive at another where from local or other reasons, the teacher will find himself without a school.'

        "He further says:--'The question of education in the Army will always remain one of importance, demanding thoughtful attention and consideration, but without legislative action on the above suggestions, the system must necessarily remain in its present condition more or less barren of results.'

        "General Schofield, the successor of General Sheridan, concurs in his predecessor's opinion, and says in a report to the Secretary of War that: 'It is now a rare occasion to find a soldier who cannot sign the payroll, but there are a good many of them who do little beyond that. In these days of open order firing and


Page 347

extended formations there is no telling when a short written report from an observant soldier may produce very important results. If reading and writing have become necessary to the soldier for the proper performance of his duty, the qualifications that will fit him to meet these new demands can require of him, with as much propriety as these, the compulsory education to which he is now to submit in being taught to read and record the signs of signal service, the object of both being to prepare him to meet satisfactorily some accidental military emergency.' . . .

        "Our present Secretary of War, the Hon. Redfield Proctor, in his annual report pleading for the soldier, says: 'Give the soldier an opportunity to improve himself, that when he leaves the service he may be better fitted for civil life than when he entered it.'

        "The department desires legislation by Congress to enable it to improve its common school system within the Army. I quote from the report of the Secretary of War asking for legislation on this subject, he says: 'The most pressing necessity for giving to a successful educational system in the Army is a supply of competent teachers, the experiment of detailing enlisted men for such duty having proved unsatisfactory and embarrassing, statutory authority should be given for the enlistment of 150 competent instructors, with rank and pay of commissary sergeants.'

        "The essayist dealt at length also with the education of children connected with the Army and then went very thoroughly into the question of specific or technical education in the United States Army, commencing with the West Point Military Academy established for theoretical instruction in military science and art by the first Continental


Page 348

Congress. The views of Washington and the statesmen of the period on the question of education and the necessity of the establishment of such an institution were given very fully and were of a very interesting character. The writer then explained the manner of the appointment and administration of cadets in the U. S. Military Academy, touched on the necessary qualifications of candidates, the character of examinations, and gave generally a vast amount of information of a very instructive character."

        Among the interesting cartoons in one of the educational newspapers of Toronto was that of the great host of teachers coming from the United States to Canada, being received by its city officials and by the educators of the provinces. Among the great number of teachers who appeared in the picture there was only one Negro and that Negro was Allen Allensworth.


Page 349

CHAPTER XXX

        THE SPANISH-AMERICAN WAR--CHAPLAIN'S ADDRESS TO DEPARTING SOLDIERS--ON RECRUITING DUTY--VISIT TO LOUISVILLE--PECULIAR ADVERTISEMENTS--CHAPLAIN SUCCESSFUL RECRUITING OFFICER--DRAWS ON KENTUCKY FOR 456 MEN.

        THE story of the Spanish-American War has gone into history. At the time war was declared, Chaplain Allensworth was stationed at Fort Douglas in Utah.

        As the companies marched from their barracks and took their places in line, with the right in front of the Commanding Officer's quarters, the Company Commander ordered: "Attention to the Chaplain." Chaplain Allensworth rode to the front of each company sitting in his saddle upon a magnificent mount and delivered the following address: "Soldiers and Comrades: Fate has turned the war dogs loose and you have been called to the front to avenge an insult to our country's flag. Before leaving this lovely home, leaving family and friends behind, I will say to you, 'Quit yourselves like men and fight.' Keep in mind that the eyes of the world will be upon you and expect great things of you. You have the opportunity to answer favorably the question, 'Will the Negro fight?' Therefore I say, 'Quit yourselves like men and fight.' After recall shall have been sounded, let it be said of you what General Butler said, in a speech on the floor of the House of


Page 350

Representatives, of the charge his Negro soldiers made at New Market Heights.

        " 'Now, sir, you will allow me to state how I got over my prejudices.

        " 'I came into command in Virginia in 1863. I there organized twenty-five colored regiments, and disciplined them. Still, all my brother officers of the regular army said my colored soldiers would not fight, and I felt it necessary that they should fight to show that their race was capable of the duties of citizens; for one of the highest duties of citizens is to defend their own liberties and their country's flag and honor. I went myself with the colored troops to attack the enemy at New Market Heights, which was the key to the enemy's flank on the north side of James River. When the flash of dawn was breaking, I placed a column of three thousand colored troops, in close column by division, right in front, with guns at right shoulder shift.

        " 'I said: "That work must be taken by the weight of your column: no shot must be fired;" and to prevent their firing I had the caps taken from the nipples of their guns. Then I said: "Your cry, when you charge, will be 'Remember Fort Pillow' "; and as the sun rose up in the heavens the order was given "Forward," and they marched forward, steadily as if on parade, and went down the hill, across the marsh, and as they got into the brook they came within range of the enemy's fire, which vigorously opened upon them. They broke a little as they forded the brook, and the column wavered. Oh, it was a moment of intensest anxiety, but they formed again as they reached the firm ground, marching steadily on with closed ranks under the enemy's fire, until the head of the column reached the first line of abatis,


Page 351

some one hundred and fifty yards from the enemy's works. Then axemen ran to the front to cut away the heavy obstructions of defense, while one thousand men of the enemy with their artillery concentrated, at the redoubt, poured a heavy fire upon the head of the column hardly wider than the clerk's desk. The axemen went down under the murderous fire; other strong hands grasped the axes in their stead, and the abatis was cut away. Again, at double-quick, the column goes forward to within forty yards of the fort, to meet there another line of abatis. The column halts. And there a very fire of hell is poured upon them. The abatis resists and holds; the head of the column seemed literally to melt away under the shot and shell, the flags of the leading regiments go down, but a brave black hand seizes the colors; strong hands and willing hearts seize the heavy, sharpened trees and drag them away, and the column went forward, and, with a shout which now rings in my ears, they went over that redoubt like a flash, and the enemy never stopped running for four miles.

        " 'It became my painful duty, sir, to follow in the track of that charging column, and there, in a space not wider than the clerk's desk and three hundred yards long, lay the dead bodies of five hundred and forty-three of my colored soldiers, slain in defense of their country, and who had laid down their lives to uphold its flag and its honor as a willing sacrifice; and, as I rode along among them, guiding my horse this way and that way, lest he should profane with his foot what seemed to me the sacred dead, and I looked on their bronzed faces upturned in the shining sun to heaven, as if in mute appeal against the wrongs of that country for which they had given their lives, and whose flag had only been to them a


Page 352

flag of stripes, on which no star of glory had ever shone for them,--feeling that I had wronged them in the past, and believing what was the future of my country to them,--among my dead comrades there I swore to myself a solemn oath: "May my right hand forget its cunning and my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth, if I ever fail to defend the right of these men who have given their blood for me and my country this day and for their grace forever;" and, God helping me, I will keep that oath.'

        "Should you be ordered to charge the enemy, as your brothers then said as they charged, 'Remember Fort Pillow,' so when you are ordered to charge, say to your comrades, 'Quit yourselves like men and fight,'--and 'Remember the Maine!'

        "Should there appear before you insurmountable obstacles, remember Napoleon's question. 'Is it possible to cross the path?' asked Napoleon of the engineers who had been sent to explore the dreaded pass of St. Bernard. 'Perhaps,' was the hesitating reply, 'it is within the limits of possibility.' 'FORWARD, THEN,' said the Little Corporal, heeding not their account of difficulties, apparently insurmountable. England and Austria laughed in scorn at the idea of transporting across the Alps, where 'no wheel had ever rolled, or by any possibility could roll,' an army of sixty thousand men, with ponderous artillery, and tons of cannon balls and baggage, and all the bulky munitions of war. But the besieged Massena was starving in Genoa, and the victorious Austrians thundered at the gates of Nice. Napoleon was not the man to fail his former comrades in their hour of peril.

        "The soldiers and all their equipments were inspected


Page 353

with rigid care. A worn shoe, a torn coat, or a damaged musket was at once repaired or replaced, and the columns swept forward, fired with the spirit of their chief.

        " 'High on those craggy steeps, gleaming through the mists, the glittering bands of armed men, like phantoms, appeared. The eagle wheeled and screamed beneath their feet. The mountain goat, affrighted by the unwonted spectacle, bounded away, and paused in bold relief upon the cliff to gaze at the martial array which so suddenly had peopled the solitude. When they approached any spot of very special difficulty, the trumpets sounded the charge, which re-echoed with sublime reverberations from pinnacle to pinnacle of rock and ice. Everything was so carefully arranged, and the influence of Napoleon so boundless, that not a soldier left the ranks. Whatever obstructions were in the way were to be at all hazards surmounted, so that the long file, extending nearly twenty miles, might not be thrown into confusion.' In four days the army was marching on the plains of Italy.

        "When this 'impossible' deed was accomplished, others saw that it might have been done long before. Many a commander had possessed the necessary supplies, tools, and rugged soldiers, but lacked the grit and resolution of Bonaparte. Others excused themselves from encountering such gigantic obstacles by calling them insuperable. He did not shrink from mere difficulties, however great, but out of his very need made and mastered his opportunity.

        "If a company or squad should find itself in close quarters, remember Horatius, who, with two companions, held ninety thousand Tuscans at bay until the bridge across the Tiber had been destroyed;--remember that


Page 354

Leonidas at Thermopylæ checked the mighty march of Xerxes; that Themistocles, off the coast of Greece, shattered the Persian's Armada; that Cæsar, finding his army hard pressed, seized spear and buckler, and fought while he reorganized his men, and snatched victory from defeat; that Winkelried gathered to his breast a sheaf of Austrian spears, thus opening a path through which his comrades pressed to freedom; that Benedict Arnold, by desperate daring at Saratoga, won the battle which seemed doubtful to Horatio Gates, loitering near his distant tent; that for years, Napoleon did not lose a single battle in which he was personally engaged; that Wellington fought in many climes without ever being conquered; that Ney, on a hundred fields, changed apparent disaster into brilliant triumph; that Perry left the disabled Lawrence, rowed to the Niagara, and silenced the British guns; that Sheridan arrived from Winchester just as the Union retreat was becoming a rout, and turned the tide by riding along the line; that Sherman signaled his men to hold the fort, though sorely pressed; and they held it, knowing that their leader was coming.

        "I urge you to be prompt in obeying orders--lest you lose your life. Cæsar's delay to read a message cost him his life when he reached the senate house. 'Delays have dangerous ends.' Colonel Rahl, the Hessian commander at Trenton, was playing cards when a messenger brought a letter stating that Washington was crossing the Delaware. He put the letter in his pocket without reading it until the game was finished, when he rallied his men only to die just before his troops were taken prisoners. Only a few minutes' delay, but he lost honor, liberty, life!


Page 355

        "In a few moments the order, 'Forward,' will be given and as you go, remember to 'Quit yourselves like men and fight.' "

        This address filled the men with enthusiasm; they marched away with cheerful step, inspired for the service before them.

        At the time a call for troops to go to the front to meet the demands of the Spanish-American War was made, Fort Douglas was left with only two officers on duty, Chaplain Allensworth and one other. The Commanding Officer of the regiment called Chaplain Allensworth to his office and suggested that while he would be missed by the regiment at the front, there would be other chaplains who could render the services required, but could not render the more important service of securing men to fill the two companies that were without men, and vacancies that would be made by various casualties. Therefore he wanted him to remain in the States and do special recruiting for the regiment. He then applied to the War Department for authority to place Chaplain Allensworth on regimental recruiting duty. While waiting for this authority, Chaplain Allensworth was detailed as recruiting officer for Fort Douglas, and commenced recruiting for a regiment composed of white troops.

        The first man to apply for enlistment was a young railroad clerk, a very capable man, and one the Chaplain needed at the time to take charge of the office. Among the various questions put to recruits is this one: "What is your object in enlisting in the Army?" To this question the young man answered, "To become an officer." The Chaplain, in his fatherly way, said to him that he would withdraw the question until he gave


Page 356

him some instruction. He then told him that it would be necessary for him to become a soldier before he could become an officer; that it would be to his interest not to make known his chief object until after he had joined an organization and become familiar with the requirements of the service; that if his purpose were known he would be in danger of serious handicaps; and that the proper answer to the question would be, "To become a soldier." The question was then put to him, and he answered, "To become a soldier." The young man is now a first lieutenant in the Army.

        It was not long before the Chaplain received the following order:

"HEADQUARTERS 24TH U. S. INFANTRY,
Tampa, Fla., May 20, 1898.

Special Orders,
No. 61.

         Under authority contained in telegram of this date from the Major General Commanding the Army, Chaplain Allen Allensworth, 24th Infantry, will proceed without delay to Louisville, Ky., for the purpose of assisting in recruiting for the regiment. He will observe such instructions as he may receive from time to time, from the Regimental Commander.

By order of Lieut. Colonel E. H. Liscum,

(Signed) C. E. TAYMAN,
Adjutant 24th U. S. Infantry.

OFFICIAL:

(Signed) Chas. E. Tayman,
Adjutant 24th U. S. Infantry.

Chaplain Allen Allensworth
24th Inf.,
Thru Comd'g Officer
Fort Douglas, Utah."



Page 357

        Chaplain Allensworth then proceeded to Louisville, Ky. On arriving there he visited the local recruiting Officer, Capt. Webster, and made arrangements with him to enlist his men. He then rented an office near that of Capt. Webster and announced through the daily papers his presence, and invited recruits. They were very slow to respond. He soon realized that something out of the ordinary must be done. He therefore formed the acquaintance of the newspaper reporters, which resulted in the following local notice the next morning:

        "CHANCE FOR NEGRO PATRIOTS
SEVEN HUNDRED COLORED RECRUITS
WANTED FOR REGULAR ARMY

         KENTUCKY MUST FURNISH THEM

         CHAPLAIN ALLENSWORTH HERE TO RECEIVE
MEN WHO WANT TO ENLIST

         NEGROES MAY BECOME OFFICERS


        "Seven hundred colored recruits are wanted for the Twenty-fourth Infantry, United States Army, and Louisville and the state of Kentucky are expected to furnish the men. This number is desired to fill up the required quota of the best colored infantry in the United States.

        "Chaplain Allen Allensworth of the Twenty-fourth Infantry arrived in this city yesterday and opened a temporary recruiting station in Capt. Webster's office, on Fifth Street, between Main and Market. He came directly from Fort Douglas, Utah, to Louisville, under orders from headquarters.

        "Chaplain Allensworth was selected as recruiting officer for this territory on account of his extensive acquaintance throughout the state. He formerly resided


Page 358

at Bowling Green, and was up to the time of his appointment as Chaplain of his regiment prominent in political circles as well as in religious matters. He lived in Louisville for awhile and had charge of the Centennial Baptist Church while here.

        "The Chaplain expected to secure a large number of men in this city under the second call for volunteers. Kentucky will not allow a regiment, which Governor Bradley expected to make up of colored patriots. This is an opportunity which should not be overlooked by the colored men, as it is claimed that it is better to go to the front with well trained regulars than to go with volunteers who have no experience whatever, and also give those who enlist a chance to receive the proper care and attention while on duty.

        "Chaplain Allensworth claims that the idea that colored men will not receive appointments as commissioned officers is all a mistake. All who pass the same examination will be recognized by the government and will stand their turn at being promoted."

        As no funds were provided for advertising he had to resort to diplomatic methods to obtain it without funds.

        Capt. Webster very willingly consented, upon being authorized by the War Department, to do the enlisting of men for the Twenty-fourth Infantry. Therefore the Chaplain wired the War Department, requesting it to authorize Capt. Webster to enlist all men presented to him by Chaplain Allensworth for his regiment. The Captain was glad to do this as it would increase the number of enlistments credited to his office. Among the first to apply for enlistment was a man named Henry Bacon. He was appointed clerk of the office and subsequently became regimental clerk.


Page 359

        One of the attractive methods used by Chaplain Allensworth was this: Whenever there was a public parade, the Chaplain would employ a covered wagon, with drum and fife inside and placards on the outside stating, "An excursion to Cuba for young, unmarried, Negro men, fare and lunch furnished free. For information apply to 260 Center Street." This advertisement brought a large number of curious young men who wanted to know the particulars of this excursion. This gave the Chaplain an opportunity to explain the stipulations of the service. When enlistments lagged he put an advertisement in the evening paper, such as the following, "Wanted immediately, ten young Negro men for the National Police Force; uniform and equipments furnished free. For information apply to 260 Center Street." The limited number of ten would cause the men to rush to the office in order to be first. In an hour after one of these advertisements appeared, 60 men applied for "membership on the national police force." They were informed that the United States Army was the "national police force," and that it was the duty of the force to protect the flag and property of the United States; that they would be on duty at different places, would be given employment for three years, and that there were various other benefits accruing from the service.

        In order to reach the young men in various towns he communicated with the pastors of the churches and tendered his services to deliver one of his popular lectures free of charge, on condition that the pastors would secure for him a large audience. He would have the pastor understand that he could have for his church or other work, all funds that he could get out of the lecture.


Page 360

He then went to the railroad people, stating to them that he was making traffic for the road and that he wanted transportation to the town. They would give it. After delivering his lecture he would then appeal to the young men of the audience to unite with his regiment. From twenty to thirty would indicate their willingness to join. He would then organize them into a volunteer company, appoint one of their number captain, and one clerk, and authorize them to secure others who wanted to join the service. Upon obtaining seventy-five or more, he would have the Captain wire him at Louisville at his expense. This was done. Capt. Webster would then ask the War Department for authority to visit the town with his recruiting party, enlist the men and send them to the recruiting rendezvous, near Atlanta, Ga. From fifty to one hundred men would thus be secured and sent to the front.

        The following is an article from one of the local Negro papers concerning his work:

        "When Chaplain Allen Allensworth, of the 24th U. S. Infantry, came to this city in June, his regiment needed 720 men to put it on a war footing. He began the work of recruiting with a sentiment against its success in this state, but, by lectures and by private conversation, he has aroused a spirit of patriotism and secured 350 men for his regiment. While eight or nine of the recruiting officers in other parts of the country had secured about the same number. The sentiment he has created, and the enthusiasm he has aroused has added a large number of men to the other regiments which were seeking recruits in this section. Our people entertain quite a different opinion of the Army from that which they held when he came to the state, and a better


Page 361

class of men have been secured for the service. Kentucky is more largely represented in the regular army at this time than at any time in its history, and the men have higher aspirations and nobler conceptions of duty. The state is proud of Chaplain Allensworth and his record in this special work as well as his record in the Army since his appointment."

        The quota of the regiment having been filled, the Chaplain was ordered to return to his post at Salt Lake for duty. On his return, "The Salt Lake Herald" contained the following interview concerning his experiences:

        "Chaplain Allen Allensworth of the 24th Infantry, who returned recently from Kentucky, where he had been recruiting for his regiment, talked interestingly yesterday to a 'Herald' reporter of his experiences in the recruiting field.

        "The Chaplain stated that when he first returned to Kentucky, his old home, the sentiment among the progressive colored people was not favorable towards enlistment in the Army, and he at once recognized three elements that were working against his success; they were politicians, preachers and plantation owners.

        "The first objected on account of the loss in votes, the second, on account of weakening their flocks, and the third were in need of all their hands on the plantation. The feeling was so strong against the government that from the pulpit a preacher said that he would rather advise the members of his congregation to unite with Spain against the United States than to join the Army of the Republic.

        "To overcome the feeling against enlistment, the Chaplain introduced a series of lectures and sermons,


Page 362

and before many weeks had passed a complete change took place, and he was able to pick from the best. None but the best men were taken, and a man had to have a good character in addition to a good physique before he was accepted. To illustrate how very careful they were in this regard, in one instance, out of fifty-two men who offered themselves, only ten were accepted. One man who came up for examination had both ears split, five razor cuts and four gunshot wounds on his body, and as we were not after such civil life veterans, we were forced to reject him. Two men were refused on account of tattooed nude female figures upon their persons, and all who were accepted were required to have a certificate of good character.

        "Married men were not accepted in any instance, and in a great many cases the wives came and offered to sign an agreement not to claim any pension whatsoever if we would only take their husbands, but as the government is not in soldier business for sentiment, we were forced to refuse, and so the poor wives were left to their fate. One of the chief arguments used in procuring men was that the plantation hands are able to earn only about $10 a month, on which they can merely manage to exist, while a soldier gets his board, clothing and $13 a month.

        "The Chaplain recruited 456 men, and the regiment, as it now stands, has 1,272 men enrolled, about 20 more than required on a war footing."

        As a number of the above men were promised that they could return home at the close of the Spanish-American War if they wished, a considerable number of them embraced the opportunity to return home and mingle among their people and relate their experiences.


Page 363

        This necessitated the making of a special effort to recruit the regiment to its full strength, so authority was obtained from the War Department and the regimental commander gave Chaplain Allensworth another tour for recruiting duty. The same was granted and the following order was issued:

"HEADQUARTERS 24TH INFANTRY,
Fort Douglas, Utah, March 7, 1899.

Special Orders
No. 42.

         By direction of the Secretary of War, as contained in letter from Adjutant General's Office, under the date of Feb. 24, 1899, Chaplain Allen Allensworth, 24th Infantry, is hereby detailed on special regimental recruiting service, and will proceed to Nashville, Tenn., Tuskegee, Alabama, and other points in that section of the South, with a view to selecting recruits for the 24th Infantry. The recruits so selected will be cited to the nearest recruiting station either at 145 North Cherry St., Nashville, or 930 Market St., Chattanooga, Tenn., with a view to their enlistment should they meet the necessary requirements.

         Chaplain Allensworth will remain on this duty until directed to re-join his regiment by his regimental commander.

         The travel enjoined is necessary for the public service.

By order of Colonel Freeman;

J. D. LEITCH,
1st Lieut. and Adjutant 24th Infantry.

OFFICIAL:

(Signed) J. D. Leitch,
1st Lieut. and Adjutant 24th Infantry."



Page 364

        The various schools and colleges were visited and a number of recruits obtained. The Chaplain emphasized the fact to the young men that an opportunity to rise from the ranks would be given. Strange to say, those who were prepared intellectually did not care to enlist and take their chances for a commission unless the commission was guaranteed before enlistment. This the Chaplain agreed to do in some cases but on condition that they comply with the regulations governing the giving of commissions to men from the ranks. Only one young man accepted the invitation on these conditions, and that was John E. Green, of Walden University, at Nashville, Tenn., who is now a first lieutenant in the service. What he did, others could have done, had they possessed the same qualities as Lieutenant Green.


Page 365

CHAPTER XXXI

        CHAPLAIN, EXCHANGE OFFICER AT FORT MCDOWELL--JOINS REGIMENT AT FORT HARRISON--ORGANIZES EXCHANGE--BECOMES POST TREASURER--SPLENDID TESTIMONIALS TO THE HEROISM OF NEGRO SOLDIERS--THE CHUG OF BULLETS--HARDSHIPS OF THE PRIVATE SOLDIER--PICTURES OF DISTRESS WERE THE MEN WHO CAME OUT OF THE BATTLE--THE COLOR LINE--EDITORIAL FROM NEW YORK TRIBUNE.

        AFTER the service mentioned in the previous chapter we find Chaplain Allensworth in California.

        While on duty at Fort McDowell, opposite San Francisco (a garrison composed exclusively of white troops), Chaplain Allensworth was detailed as exchange officer, to decide whether the post exchange (the canteen) could be successfully conducted without beer as an article of sale. The Commanding Officer had about made up his mind to close the exchange because of the order prohibiting beer and other intoxicants as articles of sale. Therefore in obedience to the following order, the Chaplain receipted to the former exchange officer for property and funds.

"Fort McDowell, California,
July 2, 1901.

Special Order
No. 105

         Par. 2:--Major Carver Howland, 29th Infantry,


Page 366

U. S. A., is hereby relieved from the duty of Exchange Officer at this post. He will turn over all the property and money pertaining to this office to his successor."


        The Chaplain found an efficient Sergeant in charge. In a short time the Chaplain had the Exchange well stocked with such articles as were in demand among the men. He demonstrated that the Exchange or post store could be run on a paying basis without the sale of intoxicating liquors.

        On being relieved to join his regiment at Fort Harrison, every cent had been accounted for and no theft by employees. To guard against money thefts, the combination to the safe was known to only one person and that was the steward who was held personally responsible for its contents. The Chaplain was more fortunate in this respect than his successor, as more than one person knew the combination of the safe, and immediately after a heavy payment on one occasion, one of the employees appropriated the contents of the safe, amounting to three or four hundred dollars and deserted.

        On arriving at Fort Harrison an exchange had to be organized and completely equipped. The operation of a post exchange requires a great deal of detail work. An inventory is taken every month. Receipts, expenditures, assets and liabilities reported; number of civilians and enlisted men employed; the character and condition of the quarters occupied by the exchange; and a fuller statement covering all details and particulars is made at the end of six months. This is referred to the council of administration for auditing, is examined by the Commanding Officer of the post, and referred to the War Department.


Page 367

        As Post Treasurer, the Chaplain was not only responsible for the safety of such funds as were entrusted to him, but he was expected to manage the business so as to secure an increase of funds. As the flour ration of the soldier is converted into bread, it is the duty of the Post Treasurer (who has under his charge as many bakers as may be necessary) to see that it is properly baked. As a rule there is a saving of thirty per cent of the flour; sixteen ounces of flour to the ration is converted into sixteen ounces of bread. The addition of other ingredients increases the weight and reduces the quantity of flour used to obtain the sixteen ounces of bread. Every ounce of flour must be accounted for, and and every ration of bread baked and issued must be accounted for. As an illustration, on the morning of the 8th of December, there were 298 lbs. of flour on hand, 4,000 lbs. of flour drawn. To be accounted for 4,298 lbs.; consumed that day, baked, 500 lbs.; on hand P. M. 3,798 lbs.; rations on hand 2,227, baked, 6,640, total to be accounted for 8,867. The number of rations issued to each organization is here reported. At the close of the day 665 rations of bread had been issued and sold leaving 2,702 lbs. with which to begin the next day's work. The importance of a well regulated system to keep track of every ounce of flour and ration of bread is obvious.

        Some bakers would take advantage of an officer who was not familiar with the detail workings of the bakery, and would bake flour into rolls, cakes and pies and sell them. Occasionally they would appropriate a whole sack of flour, take it to the city and sell it to some family for a small sum. On one occasion the Chaplain, while inspecting the bakery, found a sack of flour secreted


Page 368

under the bread stand. The chief baker, who was a German, was called to account for the presence of that flour. He stated that he found it under there when he took charge of the bakery; that he did not report it to the Chaplain for the reason that he was waiting for him to find it himself, or for the one who put it under the stand to come for it.

        On another occasion the bakers carelessly spoiled a batch of flour. It being winter, they buried the dough outside in the earth where it remained until summer, when the heat from the sun started it to fermenting. To the Chaplain's surprise he discovered it oozing up through the earth. The estimated amount of flour lost was deducted from the monthly pay of the bakers. It was necessary for the Chaplain to have a thorough system of accounts and to make repeated visits to the bakery to see that there was no waste.

        At the end of the quarter, the expenses of the bakery were paid from the accumulated funds, and the remainder divided pro rata between the organizations interested. An account was kept with each organization for the number of rations of flour turned in, number of rations of bread drawn, and the amount of flour remaining to the credit of each organization was sold back to the government at contract price.

        Chaplain Allensworth witnessed, during his services, some radical changes of opinion concerning Negro soldiers. For a long time there was among Army officers a certain prejudice against serving in Negro regiments. But he heard a Lieutenant in the Ninth Infantry say with a show of genuine enthusiasm one day: "Do you know, I shouldn't want anything better than to have a company in a Negro regiment? I am from


Page 369

Virginia, and have always had the usual feeling about commanding colored troops. But after seeing that charge of the Twenty-fourth up the San Juan hill, I should like the best in the world to have a Negro company. They went up that incline yelling and shouting just as I used to hear them when they were hunting rabbits in Virginia. The Spanish bullets only made them wilder to reach the trenches."

        "Officers of other regiments which were near them on July 1st are equally strong in their praise of the Negroes. Their yells were an inspiration to their white comrades and spread dismay among the Spaniards."

        A captain in a volunteer regiment declares that the Twenty-fourth did more than any other to win the day at San Juan. As they charged up through the white soldiers, their enthusiasm was spread, and the entire line fought the better for their cheers and their wild rush."

        Spanish testimony to the effectiveness of the colored soldiers is not lacking. Thus an officer who was with the troops that lay in wait for the Americans at La Quasina on June 24 said:

        "What especially terrified our men was the huge American Negroes. We could see their big black faces through the underbrush, and they looked like devils. They came forward under our fire as if they didn't care the least about it."

        The 10th Cavalry also had this effect on the Spaniards. At San Juan the 9th Cavalry distinguished itself. The 25th Infantry, played an especially brilliant part in the battle of El Caney. The other troops had been fighting hard for hours and the arrival of the 25th was a blessing. The Negroes went right ahead through the tired ranks of their comrades. The charge


Page 370

up the hill, which was lined with Spanish rifle pits and a stone fort, has been told. It was the work of only a part of the regiment, the men coming chiefly from three companies. Col. Miles had intended to have his whole brigade make the final charge, but the 25th didn't wait for orders. It was theirs to take the hill, and take the hill they did.

        One of the Spanish officers captured there seemed to think that the Americans were taking an unfair advantage of them in having colored men who fought like that. He had been accustomed to the Negroes in the insurgent army, and a different lot they were from those in the United States Army.

        "Why," he said, "even your Negroes fight better than any other troops I ever saw.

        "The way the Negroes charged up the El Caney and San Juan hills suggested inevitably that their African nature had not been entirely eliminated by generations of civilization, but was bursting forth in savage yells and in that wild rush, some of them were fairly frantic with the delight of battle. And it was no mere craziness. They are excellent marksmen, and they aimed carefully and well. Woe to the Spaniard who showed himself above the trenches when the colored regiment was in good range."

        In the entire Santiago campaign, the four Negro regiments showed themselves of the greatest efficiency. The men endured the hardships and the labors with the greatest fortitude. They withstood the effects of the heat admirably, as was to be expected. They were cheerful under all kinds of trials and privations. Their powers of physical endurance were remarkable. Altogether,


Page 371

they fully justified the expectations of those who believe that the Negro makes a first class soldier.

        The Negro soldiers demonstrated heroism which should not be overlooked by the historian. We are permitted to make the following extracts from the note book of a staff officer of the First Division, Fifth Army Corps made during the Santiago campaign:

        "Men do not die in battle as they do on the stage; there are no aspirated cries of mother, or of God or country, they just go down in a lump without cries, without jumping up in the air, without throwing up their hands. It is like a meal sack falling in a slump or like a clod of grass; the chug of bullets striking flesh is sometimes perfectly audible. The most impressive feature of the battle to me was that these smokeless propellants were inaudible and the Spanish were invisible. Their grim projectiles go silently to their mark; there is heard a spat if it strikes a leaf or twig, a plunk if it buries itself in the earth, a thwack if it buries itself in a tree trunk, and a chug when it strikes human flesh. Any man who has ever been on a rifle range knows when the z-z-z-z-zip is heard that sound shows the bullet has passed over your head; you can smile at it because you don't hear it until it has passed.

        "Most of our heroes live unknown, unrecognized, and die with brief mention or no mention at all. The private soldier or regular swears, sweats, and in Cuba, is unprepossessing in appearance. He wallows through muddy places, tears his trousers in barbed-wire entanglements, swelters through stiletto-pointed thickets, assails fire-crowned heights, and is taciturn and indifferent about his own doings. Dust, thirst, and hunger, khaki


Page 372

clothes or woolen clothes are all the same to him. He does not know the meaning of such words as 'apotheosis,' or such phrases as 'the noble son of his country,' or 'the survival of the fittest.' He faces the miseries of war as things comprehended in his contract, to 'well and truly serve the United States of America,' etc., as expressed in his enlistment papers. There was no excitement or enthusiasm when he assumed his government gray blanket. Such things as fighting fever and famine were possibilities, perhaps probabilities, not worth making any fuss about. The god of battles is an unknown algebraic expression to him, but the colors of his regiment are sacred. Some Christian will quote Timothy, 4th Chapter, 7th verse, to him: 'I have fought a good fight,' and he will tell what Kent's Division of the Fifth Army Corps did in assailing, capturing, and holding San Juan on the 1st day of July, 1898--a seemingly impregnable position, not supported by any red-legged artillerymen.

        " 'Out of the jaws of death, back from the gates of hell;' back from Santiago! Through the tan and bronze of open air life, the pallor of dysentery, the yellow fever, and the starvation of camp, show unnaturally. Faces are pinched, cheeks are hollow, eyes fixed and glassy; our Cuban army of invasion is a tottering skeleton of the army, wasted by disease, vigor-sapped, daily becoming less effective. Every wan, haggard, plain-lined face is a document in itself. I read in that document that it is not the fault of the victim that he is physically wrecked. This is the pity of it, and a sob rises in my throat and I feel a tightening of the muscles and watering of my eyes, that I cannot repress or what is worse, express: not at this time. The men look as if


Page 373

woke from a dread dream, dusty, miserable, listless, fleshless. This is the land where the fever attacks the living and the land crabs and the vultures attack the dead. Our war outfit resembles a hospital rather than a camp, nursing, diet and treatment have supplanted drill. It is an army of sufferers and incapacitated men who have won battles for, and changed the map of the nation. In all wars soldiers expect privation and wounds and worse--our expectations have been fulfilled."

        Of course, battle is only a small part of a soldier's life; in peace, the colored regiments are as admirable as in war. The men are a picked lot and represent the best of their race. It is no wonder that their huge frames struck terror into the hearts of the Spaniards. In a platoon of one company of the 25th Infantry only three men are appreciably under six feet tall. The other twenty-seven range in height from a trifle under six feet to six feet four inches. Compared with the rather undersized Spaniards, such men were giants. They are nearly all educated. Since the present regulations have been in force, no illiterate men have been accepted. There remain a few soldiers whose service is older than the law who cannot read or write, but that class is dying out. Indeed, some who never had any schooling have learned to sign their names to the payrolls, so as not to be shamed by their more enlightened fellows. The signature is a mechanical copy of the pattern which somebody wrote; it is made with a deal of pains, but the soldier receives his money in the proud belief that everyone believes that he can read and write.

        Most of the recruits of the 24th and 25th Infantry and the 9th and 10th Cavalry are from the Central and New England States. Many came from Massachusetts,


Page 374

New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Illinois, some big fellows from Tennessee and Kentucky. Southern Negroes are not so well educated as those from the north; they know less of the world, and are less ready to learn the advantages of Army life. The fact that the men came so largely from the north led to certain troubles in Florida before the 5th Army Corps sailed for Cuba. Having been stationed in the northwest where their color subjected them to no great inconvenience in dealing with white people, the men of the 10th Cavalry resented the restrictions placed on them in Lakeland. There was some rioting in consequence of their being unable to buy articles in shops patronized by white men. It is not pretended that the Negro soldiers are Sunday School saints, but, in general, they are even more amenable to discipline than other men. In the ordinary routine of Post life, they are more tractable than white soldiers. Most of them have been accustomed to obey, and they do it readily and cheerfully.

        The praise of the Negro soldier was on the lips of every man immediately after the Spanish-American War. One of the rhymesters sang about the colored soldiers in the Philippines:

"THE COLOR LINE"*


By Alfred Damon Runyon.


                         "Two men were caught in a Moro trap, and the Datto's guns sang near;
                         And one wore an officer's shoulder strap, the other a private's gear;
                         One was a black of the Twenty-fourth, and one was a Southern man,
                         And both were caught in a dark defile by the lines of the Moro clan.


Page 375


                         "Oh, wonder it is, and pity it is, that they send the Scouts alone
                         To die in the silent jungle paths with never a word or groan;
                         Wonder it is, and pity it is; but the two stood back to back,
                         And never a word between them passed as they waited the first attack.


                         "What prayers they said they said them low, and to their beating hearts,
                         That thumped so loud and out of tune; and now the battle starts,
                         A ring of flame about them ran; a tongue of fire shot through;
                         Then as machines their muscles moved, and aimed their rifles true.


                         "The bullets whizzed, the wounded shrieked, the rifle bores grew hot,
                         But still the two stood back to back, and answered shot for shot.
                         And now the Moro fire dies down, and now there comes a hush--
                         And white and black, with bayonets fixed, await the bolo rush.


                         "They heard the Moro chief call out: 'O black man, hark to me!
                         You give to us the Christian dog and you shall go out free.
                         Heed you the call of color and blood--what need we longer fight?
                         In color and blood you're brother to me. O black man, give the white!'


Page 376


                         "Now one was a white of the Southern breed, and cheap he held the black;
                         And little he'd thought, as the two had fought, of the man behind his back;
                         He loved to live as the White Man lives, but the Datto's words rang true;
                         And he had no doubt, as the chief called out, what the black behind would do.


                         "Two men they stood them back to back, and never a word they said;
                         But, face to face with an easy death, what thoughts were in each head!
                         'You go,' the white man spoke at last; 'for you owe naught to me;
                         You go; for I can die alone, that you may go out free!


                         "'You and it seems your time has come to draw the color line--
                         You and your breed owe naught to me, nor certainly to mine.
                         I'll go to death as my fathers went,' between his cold, set lips--
                         'My fathers, who used to use your kind for trade--and poker chips!'


                         "One was a black of the Twenty-fourth, and his face was washed with fear;
                         And his breath came thick, and his bowels were sick, as he thought of the knife blades near.
                         Then, steady his hands swung to his belt, and back to the bolt again--
                         And he loaded and fired, as a well-drilled man, and counted his dead to ten.


Page 377


                         "And: 'Man,' he said, 'in ole Kaintuck a mammy she prays foh me;
                         An' laks toe lib lak yo' laks toe lib, but ouah end it am plain toe see.
                         Ouah colah an' blood it ain't de same, but we sets toe de same old boahd--
                         An' if we diffah in skin an' blood, w'y, we pass dat up toe de Lawd!


                         "'Ouch colah an' blood it ain't de same, but de flag dat covahs us bofe--
                         It neveh has changed on de colah line, an' dey didn't colah ouah oafe;
                         Yo' go yo' route to de Gates o' Gawd, an' I shell trabel mine--
                         An' we shall see, when we reach His knee, how He's drawin' de colah line!


                         "'Doan' fink Ah'm fightin' for lub o' yo', or de breed dat yo' laks toe brag--
                         Ah'm fightin' foh mammy, in ole Kaintuck--an' lub o' mah kentry's flag--
                         Yo' watch dem niggahs along yo' front, an' Ah'll attend toe mine--
                         An' we'll up toe de Gates o' Gawd toe settle de colah line!


                         "Two men they stood them back to back, the white man called to the chief:
                         'He's answered the call of the color line, and his answer will bring you grief.
                         We don't declare as brothers-in-blood, or the burden of friendship drag,
                         But we do unite on a color line, and our color's our country's flag.'


Page 378


                         "Two men lay dead in the jungle path, and their faces stared at the sky;
                         And out in the bush on each man's front the Moros were piled waist high.
                         And when the warriors they went in to mutilate the dead,
                         They found them lying back to back, but white and black were red!


                         " 'How strange it is,' the chief, he cried, 'these men should choose to go--
                         They did not love each other's kind--in blood they differed so.
                         For one was black, and one was white, and yet they chose to die
                         Because they served a single flag--in honor they shall lie!


                         " 'What Gods they worshipped I know not; what Gods I do not care--
                         They fought me well, and for their flag, and they shall have a prayer.
                         For be he white, or be he black, his flag be what it may--
                         All honor to him who dies for that--my men, kneel down and pray!'


                         "Two mounds they stand in a jungle path; they buried them back to back;
                         And the wondering Moros tell the tale of the white man and the black.
                         Oh, the warlike Moros pass that way to kneel in silent prayer,
                         And ask their gods for the spirit of the men they buried there!"

        The New York "Tribune" published the following editorial on the question of race prejudice:


Page 379

        "Ever since the war began we have closely followed the doings of our troops in field and camp and taken note of manifestations of public opinion in every section of the country concerning generals and privates, regulars and volunteers. While the soldiers were at Chickamauga and Tampa we saw a disposition on the part of some people who had nothing more important to do than nurse their prejudice to make life unpleasant for the Negroes who were going to fight their battles in Cuba. But when there was fighting about Santiago, when it came time for the 25th Infantry to storm the stone fort at El Caney, when the Rough Riders were hard pressed at La Quasina and the 10th Cavalry came to their rescue, when the 9th and 10th Cavalry stood like rocks at San Juan, and when the 24th Infantry in its enthusiasm went beyond all orders and, charging up the hill drove the Spaniards from the position the generals had thought too strong to be attacked, we never noticed a whisper that the black heroes of those brilliant exploits were not fit to stop Mauser bullets. When the Negroes were helping white soldiers in the Cuban camps to improve their hard conditions nobody heard any complaint that a white man's dignity was lowered by taking a piece of hard-tack or a cup of coffee from a black hand. It is only now, when there is no question of a Negro's holding a position in which otherwise a white man might have suffered or of sharing his rations with a white man who otherwise might have starved, that we see that wonderful manifestation of self-respect which prompts white soldiers to refuse to receive their money from the hands of Negro paymasters.

        "Race prejudice is something which will not give way to argument. It exists, and whites and blacks will be


Page 380

better off if they frankly face its existence. No theory of equality will reconcile whites in the South to riding in the same cars and eating at the same tables with Negroes, and anybody would be foolish who wasted efforts trying to force the association. Nor do we think that any argument about the rights of black citizens under the law to office on the same terms as white citizens ought to secure the appointment of black men to places where the circumstances of the case make it impossible for them to perform the Government's work as well as white men. Certain classes of Government work are always done by women, and no claim by men that they were discriminated against would be seriously considered, simply because everybody knows that women can better serve the public in the particular work. But such regard for the fitness of a person or class of persons for the functions they are called upon to perform does not mean surrender to rowdyism which cloaks itself in the garb of race prejudice, is ready to be cheek by jowl with the Negro at one instant and treat him with indignity the next. It is not strange that white people should object to an illiterate and unsavory Negro holding an office which brought him in close daily contact with them and their affairs. Perhaps they ought to object as much to a white man of the same stripe, but race prejudice adds to the repulsion. But what rhyme or reason is there in assuming the same attitude toward a refined and educated Negro with whom one must have a simple business transaction? Yet we find some white volunteer troops making themselves at once troublesome and ridiculous in their opposition to two colored paymasters in the Army. We know nothing of Mr. Wright, one of the paymasters. The other, ex-Congressman John R.


Page 381

Lynch, is probably keener, better educated, more polite and more agreeable as a companion than a majority of the men who have refused to receive their pay from him. If he were a private citizen who owed any one of them a debt his creditor would be exceedingly glad to receive the money from him and would take no special pains to disinfect it.

        "The fact is that the trouble over the two Negro paymasters is at basis rowdyism pure and simple. It is not the natural race prejudice fairly to be taken an account of as an elemental human trait, and as such put up with by statesmen. It is an artificial exhibition, and the best proof of this is that the disorder is manifested more in Northern and Western Regiments than in the Southern, whose members because of the long antipathy to the Negro in office might be expected to be the first to show bitterness even to a Negro like Mr. Lynch. The Northerner has no reason for such prejudice. He can offer neither the excuse that he dislikes personal and social contact--for the paymaster does not come in intimate relation to him--nor that he had political antagonisms. His insubordination is nothing but a vicious desire to make trouble. As for the few Southerners who have objected to the Negro paymasters, how shall they look in their home camps, which they have never left, acting like spoiled children who won't eat their bread and butter because it isn't on the plate they want, beside the Negroes who in spite of insults at Chickamauga, in spite of annoyance in Florida, went on to Santiago and showed that they knew how to fight for the United States with the best of soldiers, that they could march and suffer and die with white men, even if they couldn't ride in the same car. When the United


Page 382

States as it faces the past of holding tropical lands begins to talk about the need of more Negro troops to endure the hot climate, it does look a little grotesque to receive white volunteers who are anxious to be mustered out of service and turn the disagreeable garrison duty in our new possessions over to Negroes making a fuss because two black men are sent to hand them some rolls of money."


Page 383

CHAPTER XXXII

        TWENTY-FOURTH RETURNS TO FORT DOUGLAS--LETTERS TO CHAPLAIN--TRIP TO THE PHILIPPINES--DESCRIPTION OF SEAPORTS--BURIAL AT SEA--ARRIVAL AT MANILA--HOW MANILA PROVIDES AGAINST EARTHQUAKE.

        IN another chapter the story is told of the good impression made of the Twenty-fourth while stationed at Fort Douglas and the patriotic address delivered to the men by Chaplain Allensworth just before they started to Cuba. The welcome accorded the men by the citizens of Salt Lake on their return shows that they took the Chaplain's advice, that they did "quit themselves like men." The following account from a local newspaper tells eloquently of the enthusiastic reception accorded the Twenty-fourth as that organization entered the beautiful city. "The gallant Twenty-fourth is home. The coming of the soldiers was the occasion of demonstrations of joy, mingled with sorrow--gratification that so many heroes of the war had safely returned, and regret because Capt. Dodge, Lieutenant Augustin, Lieutenant Gurney, and several more of their comrades-in-arms had sacrificed their lives to the cause of liberty and Cuban independence. No regiment won more laurels in the late war than did the Twenty-fourth Infantry, and it was fitting to give the brave colored boys an enthusiastic welcome on their return. When, on April


Page 384

20th last, the regiment marched from Fort Douglas to help administer an effectual death blow to Spanish atrocities on Cuban soil, the people of Salt Lake City cheered the Infantry men on to victory, and gave them their blessings, for it was a righteous cause. But on that chill, black day everyone was apprehensive that all would not be spared their lives, all would not return. Vacancies have occurred in the ranks, and the recruits have filled their places. The home-coming of the laurel-crowned regiment yesterday was amid a heavy down-pour of rain, snow and sleet from frowning clouds. The tears from heaven sanctified the glorious achievement of the marching heroes, and the dead and wounded soldiers.

        "Thousands braved the storm Friday to welcome the victorious regiment, and the disappointment in the delayed arrival was keen indeed. On Friday everybody in the city would have participated in the greeting. Yesterday the welcoming throng was not small: it numbered nearly 20,000 patriotic men, women and children, who braved the wet, chilling storm to do honor to the nation's heroes.

        "The regiment arrived at the Oregon Short Line depot from New York Friday night at 10:15, and reposed in the palatial sleeping cars until morning. In the morning each soldier had a cup of coffee and patiently waited for the command 'Forward: march.'

        "At 10:20 the command was given, and the last part of the journey to Fort Douglas was commenced. Headed by a platoon of police, the line of march was taken up on South Temple to Main Street. The paved sidewalk was taken instead of the muddy street. The thousands of citizens at the depot cheered the Infantry as they marched eastward. The cheers increased in


Page 385

violence and vigor. The throng swelled in numbers from every direction. Soon were whistles blowing, bells ringing and salutes fired. At Main Street the street pavement became the line of march. The street, not-withstanding the snow and the rain was a mass of humanity. Each seemed to vie with the other in shouts of welcome, amid all the noisy demonstrations of greeting flags and kerchiefs were waved exultantly.

        "When the last steep hill was ascended the regimental band played 'Home, Sweet Home.' It warmed every soldier's heart to hear that grand old tune as through the mist the barracks became visible. Every face was turned toward old Fort Douglas--home. Expressions of joy were on every lip, but regrets for their dead comrades were often heard.

        "At last, and shortly after the noon hour, the Post was reached. Orders had been given by Major Thompson to get the tired, cold, wet and hungry soldiers under cover of the barracks as soon as possible. Without loss of time the men were marched to their respective company quarters. The heavy burdens were unloaded and warm handclasps and affectionate greetings were offered by friend and kindred. The officers hastened to their home quarters to receive the loving welcome of family and their fellows in command.

        "As the officers and soldiers were going to quarters, the regimental band took its position in the bandstand and played 'Tennis March,' 'Landjigger,' 'Second Corps Cadets March' and 'Home, Sweet Home.' The music went out on the thick snowy air as a fitting close to a joyous and yet sad chapter in the history of the Twenty-fourth Regiment.

        "The elaborate decorations on the business houses


Page 386

gave the city a gala day appearance. On the principal streets the buildings were veneered from cornice to pavement with the red, white and blue, and flags were hung out on many private residences.

        "The decorating committee prepared a number of banners, bearing appropriate patriotic inscriptions, which were stretched at intervals across Main Street.

        "The one which most deeply touched the hearts of the troops was in commemoration of the death of Captain Dodge and Lieutenants Augustin and Gurney. The words were: 'Dodge, Augustin, Gurney, Hail and Farewell!' As the soldiers passed beneath they came to a 'port arms,' and officers and men were deeply moved. The other banners bore the following sentiments: 'A Hundred Thousand Welcomes to the Heroes to the Heroes of San Juan,' 'You Have Remembered the Maine,' 'The Ocean and the Battle Gave You Back,' 'We Give You Hearty Greeting,' 'Honor to all who Serve and Die in the Cause of Freedom and Education,' 'Heroes Alike in Battle and Pestilence. You are Most Welcome,' 'Out of the Cuban Jungles You Brought Immortal Fame,' 'The Thanks of Millions Now, the Thanks of Millions Yet to be, Are Yours,' 'You Have Quit Yourselves Like Men--Welcome!' 'Welcome! Our Kent! We Hail His Name, Dear Son of Memory!' 'Great Heir of Fame!' 'To the Hero When His Sword Has Won the Battle for the Free. Welcome!' 'You Have Fought a Good Fight, You Exalted Your Race, Welcome!' 'Now, Welcome! Welcome! Twenty-fourth. Now Welcome to Thy Home.'"

        In the "Commercial" the following telegraphic report


Page 387

appeared telling of the fine showing of the regiment:

        "Veterans who are comparing the losses at the battle of San Juan, near Santiago, last Friday, with those at Big Bethel and the first Bull Run, say that in only one or two actions of the late war was there such a loss in officers as occurred at San Juan hill.

        "Three companies of the Twenty-fourth Infantry are without officers. The regiment had four captains knocked down within a minute of each other. Capt. A. C. Ducat was the first officer hit in the action. His second lieutenant, John A. Gurney, a Michigan man, was struck dead at the same time as the captain, and Lieutenant Henry B. Lyon was left in command of Company D, but only for a few minutes, for he, too, went down. Liscum, commanding the regiment, was killed.

        "Company F, Twenty-fourth Infantry lost Lieut. Augustin, of Louisiana, killed, and Capt. Crane was left without a commissioned officer. The magnificent courage of the Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas Negroes, which make up the rank and file of this regiment, is the admiration of every officer who has written here since the fight. The regiment has a large proportion of southern born officers, who led their men with more than usual exposure.

        "These men had always said the southern Negro would fight as staunchly as any white man, if he was led by those in whom he had confidence. This question has often been debated in every mess of the Army. San Juan hill offered the first occasion in which this theory could be tested practically, and tested it was in a manner


Page 388

and with a result that makes its believers proud of the men they commanded. It has helped the morals of the four Negro regiments beyond words. The men of the Twenty-fourth Infantry, particularly, and their comrades of the ninth and tenth Cavalry, and the Twenty-fifth Infantry as well, are proud of the record they made.

        "The Twenty-fourth took the brunt of the fight and all through it, even when whole companies were left without an officer, not for a moment were those colored soldiers shaken or wavering in the face of the fierce attacks made on them. Wounded Spanish officers declare that the attack was thus directed because they did not believe the Negro would stand up against them, and they believed there was the faulty place in the American line. Never were men more amazed than were the Spanish officers to see the steadiness and cool courage with which the Twenty-fourth charged front forward on its tenth company (a difficult thing at any time to do) under the hottest fire. The value of the Negro as a soldier is no longer a debatable question. it has been proven fully in one of the sharpest fights of the past two years."

        It was not long after the regiment returned to Fort Douglas, that it received orders to proceed to the Presidio of San Francisco. Thence to the Philippines.

        Testimonials are not wanting which go to prove that the regiment made a magnificent showing during the Spanish-American War. Even the Governor of the state of Utah, in a private letter to Chaplain Allensworth, of which the following is a copy, bore testimony to the esteem in which the regiment was held by the citizens of Salt Lake City.


Page 389

"STATE OF UTAH,
EXECUTIVE OFFICE,
Salt Lake City.
April 14, 1902.
Chaplain Allen Allensworth,
24th U. S. Infantry, Fort McDowell,
Angel Island, Cal.

My dear Chaplain:

         Your letter of the 7th instant is before me. It would afford me untold pleasure to see the 24th Infantry back at Fort Douglas and to renew the friendly associations with the officers who have won renown in two hemispheres since the old days when they won our hearts in the beautiful little garrison above our city.

         I think of the old heroes of the 24th very often, and am proud that I have so intimate an acquaintance with Gen. Kent, now retired, and whom I sometimes see on my trips to New York; Col. Liscum, who met death so valiantly in China; Capt. Brereton, whose sad misfortunes ended in a pitiable death that wrung our hearts, and all the others whom the war has and has not spared, including your good self.

I have the honor to be,

(Signed) HEBER W. WELLS."


        One of the most trying experiences through which the Chaplain passed during his Army life was the trip to the Philippines and his services in that country. There was much sorrow and sadness exhibited at the Presidio when the officers and men of the Twenty-fourth were about to leave for the Philippines. These soldiers were about to cross the Pacific Ocean to contend with an unknown enemy, and peculiar climatic conditions.


Page 390

From reports already circulated this foreign service was dreaded; but the men were soldiers. They bade farewell to their families amid weeping and deep sorrow.

        Chaplain Allensworth made all necessary provisions for the maintenance of his family during his absence from the United States. He bade them farewell and left for the steamer, the "City of Para." Before leaving, however, he did what all men should do; that is he informed his wife of his financial condition, told her about his obligations, and provided for settlement of them in case of emergencies.

        Mrs. Allensworth and her daughters bid the Chaplain farewell. His rank entitled him to good quarters on the vessel. He was given the seat at the head of the table. In due season with its human freight the "City of Para" launched out into the deep on her mission across the Pacific Ocean.

        When the ship left San Francisco for the Philippines there were 975 men and 45 officers on board. The first stop that the "City of Para" made was at Honolulu, where it remained in port about three days. During the three days the troops were taken ashore and marched to Waikiki where they had the pleasure of dipping in the surf. Honolulu is a coaling station and it required three days to take the ship's supply of coal.

        Honolulu is one of the principal ports in the Pacific, and had been the residence of a king. It is the capital of the Sandwich Islands. It is also the rendezvous of the American whaling fleet. It was discovered by Capt. Cook in the year 1778. The island Oahu, on which is situated the city of Honolulu, which contains some very pretty scenery, has of late years become very popular in the commercial world, and is a


Page 391

port of call for many large mail steamers running between China, Japan, and America. It is very convenient for ships in distress or those requiring re-fitting, as it contains workshops, foundries, ship yards, stores, and many skilled workmen; in fact all that can be required to fit vessels for the sea. The island produces the most delicious fruits in great variety. The houses are generally built of wood, often but one story high, with neat verandas, surrounded by pretty gardens filled with choice and delicate flowers. There is a museum in the city containing many interesting relics of past ages. The government house has a very good library. The streets are wide and well planned and there are several public parks. One street is occupied entirely by Japanese stores, which should be visited, as the gardens surrounding them make quite a show. The back part of the town is almost hidden from view by tropical trees which partially embower the houses. In the outskirts are the native grass huts almost buried in the shades of the forest. The inhabitants, by whom English is generally spoken, are most kind and hospitable, and extend a hearty welcome to strangers. Not far from the town is a most beautiful and picturesque valley, a lovely resort for the inhabitants of Honolulu. Its slopes are clothed with the most exquisite foliage, and are dotted here and there with pretty villas, which are occupied by the wealthier members of the population. Streams of silvery water run down from the mountains. Some of the peaks of these mountains on either side of the town rise to some thousands of feet, and to add to the perfection of the scene, the stillness is rarely broken save by the notes of the various song-birds. At the head of the valley, on each


Page 392

side, stand huge rocks nearly 3,000 feet high, and below, looking seaward, are the coral reefs and shores of the island.

        After an uneventful voyage the regiment reached Manila and reported to the Commanding General for duty. The Chaplain's regiment immediately went to the front and was divided into the garrisoning of a number of stations. He, in the meantime, was left in Manila in charge of the city regimental headquarters, where he was kept busy performing various duties. As the sick and wounded were brought into the hospital he visited them, giving them their mail and issuing clothing to them. He was also acting regimental postmaster, assigned to receive and superintend the distribution of mail. He was fortunate in having a clerk, Priv. John E. Green, Company H, but he finally advised Green to go to his company. He told Green that while his services were desired, yet, if he were kept on detached service he would lose the opportunity to distinguish himself with his company. The Chaplain therefore asked him to be relieved in order to return to his company. Green acted upon this advice, and soon after reporting to his company was appointed a corporal, and subsequently appointed second lieutenant. Lieutenant Green is the young man referred to in another chapter who attended Walden University, in Nashville, Tenn.

        While enroute to Manila, Private Cosley Reed, Company A, passed away. His remains were prepared for burial at sea. His body was wrapped in heavy canvas and completely sewed up. This was his casket, and at 3:00 P. M. the entire command assembled on the berth deck of the ship to witness the consignment of the remains


Page 393

to the deep. Heavy weights were attached to the body and it was placed on a large plank with one end resting on the guard of the ship. The Chaplain then proceeded to deliver an appropriate address and read the burial service of the sea. At a given signal, the flag at half mast, the Quartermaster sounded the bell to the engineer. The great propeller that had been whipping the ocean ceased to move, and all was perfectly silent. The heavy ship with its human freight stood fast and in this silence in mid-ocean, was consigned to the deep all that remained of Private Reed. It was a solemn scene.

        Manila struck Chaplain Allensworth as a strange city. Magellan, who was the first man to complete the circumnavigation of the globe, discovered these Islands about the year 1521, and he lost his life in the same year in the Island of Mactan, which forms part of the group, consisting of some 1,000 small and large islands.

        Mactan is only a short distance east of the Island of Zebu. The Spaniards founded a settlement here about the year 1561, and called the northern part of the group of islands the Philippines, in honor of their then reigning monarch, Philip the Second. The Islands are of volcanic formation, and during past centuries have been visited by most terrible earthquakes. These unpleasant phenomena are still of frequent occurrence, but in a milder form. The Island of Luzon contains two volcanoes, Albay and Tealen; and these, which are more or less constantly in action, form a vent for the internal fires, and the streams of molten lava they emit have the effect of harmlessly exhausting their forces. The capital has been several times


Page 394

destroyed during the last two centuries, and the ruins of the old Manila city are to be seen at no great distance from the present capital. The earthquake of 1852 caused immense devastation, and is said to have been one of the most terrible on record. Everywhere are found traces of the havoc which has been wrought, and amongst these the most interesting are the ruins of the old Cathedral, which must at one time have been a magnificent structure.

        Manila is the capital and is situated on the southwest coast of the Island of Luzon. It is a very busy port, and has good harbor accommodation for ships of all sizes. The town stands on a sandy plain in a beautiful and picturesque situation on the River Pasig, and in front of it lies the splendid bay of Manila, which is about 30 miles across; and for extent, as well as for the lovely and romantic scenery surrounding it is hardly excelled by any other place in the world. The whole island abounds in beautiful scenery, and the objects of interest in and about the city are numerous. The lofty mountains in the neighborhood add much to the striking character of the country.

        The town is of great extent and has a businesslike appearance. The streets are regular and well planned, and notwithstanding the frequent occurrence of earthquakes they contain some handsome buildings; the churches, as a rule, are elegant structures. In the Plaza stands the Governor's palace, a large and handsome building of stone, with an interior of the most gorgeous kind. The Cabildo commands attention. The Cathedral, which contains the splendid statue of Isabella II., is one of the most beautiful and attractive sights in the city. The churches are numerous,


Page 395

and some of them very handsome, the interior fittings and decorations being of the most costly and unique description. The Exchange, public offices, banks, hotels, consulate, etc., are all buildings in good style, and occupying prominent positions. The Lunetta is the most fashionable drive and promenade. It is the resort of the aristocracy of Manila, and can boast of a capital display of handsome and spirited horses. The plantations surrounding the town are full of trees bearing numerous kinds of delicious fruits. The shops, of which there is a considerable number, are very attractive and display many rare and curious articles, which, as a rule, are to be purchased at moderate prices. The Castle of St. Philip contains much to interest a visitor. The Barracks and fortifications are extensive, and although they have not the appearance of possessing any great strength they are an interesting study. There are a great many convents, and many of them are most pleasantly situated.

        To diminish as much as possible the dangers arising from earthquakes, the houses are generally built but one story high, and those of the natives are very peculiar in construction, the framework being of bamboo and nipa grass, with a roof formed of the leaves of the palm tree. They are often placed on piles raising them some height from the ground. The residences of the aristocracy are large and handsome, and principally built in quadrangular form, with extensive and airy courtyards. The villages, a short distance from the city, are a curious sight, and form a good illustration of the peculiarities of native habits and ideas.


Page 396

CHAPTER XXXIII

        CHAPLAIN SUSTAINS PAINFUL INJURY--MANILA PAPER GIVES ACCOUNT--CHAPLAIN TREASURER--ORGANIZED FIRST CHRISTIAN ENDEAVOR SOCIETY IN PHILIPPINES--ON RETURN TO UNITED STATES STOPS AT NAGASAKI, YOKOHAMA, AND TOKIO--BATTLE FOR CONFIRMATION AS MAJOR--RETIREMENT--FINE TESTIMONIALS--TEXAN'S RESOLUTION.

        WHILE on duty in the Philippines, on returning one day from the postoffice with mail for the command, the vehicle occupied by Chaplain Allensworth collided with another vehicle. The horse took fright, and while the driver was endeavoring to bring it under control, the Chaplain, apprehending danger ahead, attempted to leave the vehicle; but the step gave way, and he fell and dislocated his knee. This was a very painful accident. The following account of it is from a Manila newspaper:

        "Another accident has been added to the list of casualities which illustrate the dangers attendant upon our present mode of street travel in Manila. It does not matter whether one rides or walks, like Riley's goblins, the quiles 'will git you if you don't watch out.'

        "Last Wednesday Chaplain Allensworth was riding from the postoffice to his home on Calle San Sebastian in a quiles, and had just crossed the Crespo bridge,


Page 397

when his vehicle collided with another, going in the opposite direction. The sudden jar and jerk disrupted some of the harness on the Chaplain's rig and broke one of the shafts. The broken shaft dropped to the ground, but this did not stop the pony which had become unmanageable. The Chaplain now concluded it was time for him to get out, and opening the door, and remembering the street car caution never to step off with your back to the horses, he undertook to get out of the rig with his face to the front. As he let his weight down on his left foot which was then on the step and was preparing to catch himself on the ground with his right foot, the step gave way and let him go down with a fall. He received considerable injury in one knee, and was generally shaken up, so that he is now confined to his bed. The injuries, however, are not serious, although painful, and the Chaplain expects to be about again in a short time."

        This accident disabled the Chaplain for sixty days. By this time he made an application through military channels to leave the Philippines for the United States.

        While in Manila the Chaplain was practically the treasurer for both officers and men. The officers would send their pay accounts to him and he would have them cashed. He would send to the States the proceeds of said accounts as requested by the officers. He also held for safe keeping, funds for the soldiers, and according to instructions would send sums of money to the wives of these soldiers in San Francisco. Such sums were sent through Mrs. Allensworth and she would hand them over to the women as directed. As the money was always sent by checks, it was necessary for Mrs. Allensworth to go with the women to a bank in


Page 398

order to identify them. On the arrival of each transport from the Philippines, scores of these soldiers' wives would call on Mrs. Allensworth to ascertain whether she had received anything for them. The Chaplain was thus doing double duty for his regiment. He looked after the affairs of the men in Manila and Mrs. Allensworth attended to the affairs of the women in the United States.

        In addition to these kindly services the Chaplain also assisted in religious work at the Soldiers' Institute, where he organized the first Christian Endeavor Society formed in the Philippines. Here he remained actively on duty until granted a leave of absence on account of disability. The following is a copy of the official document granting him two months' leave:

"HEADQUARTERS DIVISION OF THE
PHILIPPINES.
Special Orders,
No. 92.
Manila, P. I., July 19, 1900.
(Extract)

         2.--Leave of absence for two months, on surgeon's certificate of disability, to take effect on arrival in the United States, is granted Chaplain Allen Allensworth, 24th U. S. Infantry.

By command of Major General MacArthur:

M. BARBER,
Assistant Adjutant General.

OFFICIAL:

P. Whitworth,
Aide-de-Camp."



Page 399

        The following paragraph appeared in one of the papers as he was about to leave for the United States:

        "The Christian Endeavor Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church gave Chaplain Allen Allensworth of the Twenty-fourth Infantry a farewell reception at the Soldiers' Institute on Thursday evening, and a large number of people were present to say good-bye and God speed to the popular Chaplain. In speaking of the good work which Chaplain Allensworth had done in Manila, Mr. A. W. Proutch, referred to the fact that he organized the first Christian Endeavor Society in the Philippines, and had always been ready to do whatever he could to help along any good cause."

        In due time he obtained transportation on the government transport, Thomas, and bid the Philippines farewell, stopping enroute at Nagasaki and Yokohama, and Tokio, Japan.

        "The approach to Nagasaki is very interesting. The town is situated at the head of a beautiful bay of the same name, and on the south side of the Island of Kiu Siu. Seen from the sea, the town has a picturesque appearance, being surrounded on three sides by a wonderful natural amphitheatre of mountains. It was the first and for some time the only port opened to Europeans. The streets are regular, and contain many good shops. Here, as in other parts of Japan, valuable curios may be obtained, especially in tortoise shell ware. Nagasaki is famous for this kind of ware. The houses, which are generally very low, are built of wood and coated over with cement and straw; and in consequence of their inflammable nature great care is taken to guard against fires, which has, notwithstanding, more than once reduced the town to ashes. The Europeans


Page 400

reside in very pretty villas, standing in a healthy and picturesque situation on the hills. The residence of the English Consul occupies a site well selected for vantage of view. On the top of the hill not far distant, is the Catholic Church, whence a beautiful view may be had of the town and the country round. The environs are extremely pretty, the most lovely sights having been chosen for the many temples erected there. Desima was for some time the only place allotted to Europeans, and here may be found ruins of the old Dutch factory, built about 1630, and destroyed some years ago by fire. This place has played an interesting part in the early commercial history of Nagasaki. Papenburg is not far distant, and affords the best scenery round Nagasaki. Here occurred many years ago the horrible massacre of Christians; about 4,000 of whom were taken to the top of a high cliff and forced to cast themselves down on the rocks below."

        From Nagasaki the transport went to Yokohama. Here the Chaplain saw many grand and curious sights, some of very ancient date. It may be mentioned here that anyone intending to visit Japan should make no delay, for year by year its characteristics seem to diminish, giving way to the spread of European ideas and customs; and it is now only in the interior that its original character can be seen, while even there it is to be feared that in a few years much that is beautiful, and many of the ancient institutions will have disappeared, so that a great deal of the interest of the country will cease to exist. Should the ports be closed again a visit will be impracticable.

        On sighting Japan, the sacred mountain of Fujiyama is the most prominent object. It is said to rise to


Page 401

about 15,000 feet above the level of the sea and forms a perfect cone. On entering the harbor of Yokohama one finds himself among a number of peculiar Japanese junks, and in the midst of a charming scene. The city has a good, safe harbor, with accommodation for many large vessels. A great number of mail steamers run between there and North America and other ports. Not many years ago Yokohama was nothing more than a small fishing village, but it has grown with marvelous rapidity and is now one of the finest and most important towns in Japan. Its streets are broad and contain many fine buildings. The wealthy classes and the English inhabitants reside in very pretty villas in the most beautiful part of the town, called the Bluffs, from whence a splendid view is obtained of the surrounding country on one side, and the ocean on the other.

        The Japanese are noted for their extreme courtesy and kindly manners. Their dress is somewhat peculiar, retaining much of the style of past centuries. The Japanese paintings seen here in the United States give a more correct idea than many would suppose of the costume of a great number of men, and to add further to their peculiar appearance some of them are elaborately tattooed from head to foot. Yokohama affords many sights of interest, and abounds in curio shops, where rare and curious articles are for sale. The market is worth a visit. Among other things offered for sale are numerous birds, of rare beauty and delicate plumage. The tea gardens are everywhere to be seen, and some of them are very attractive places. Almost the only mode of conveyance for travelers is a vehicle called a jinricksha, having somewhat the appearance of a large perambulator, which is drawn by natives with


Page 402

remarkable rapidity, and at times for considerable distances without apparent fatigue.

        On arriving in the United States the Chaplain found his family, occuying, through the courtesy of General Shafter, comfortable quarters at the Presidio. From the Presidio he and his family were transferred to Fort McDowell. While there, preparing to return to the Islands, although still using a cane to support himself in walking, he suffered another painful accident. He was aboard the Steamer McDowell, and while walking on deck his cane slipped and he suffered a fracture of the patella. This required an application for extension of disability leave, which was granted. He was placed on temporary duty at Fort McDowell. While confined to his bed his wife and daughters took charge of the religious services at the chapel and carried them on ably, aided by members of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew, and officers and their families of the garrison. Although all of the members of the garrison belonged to the white troops they were very attentive to him and loyal in their support of Mrs. Allensworth and her daughters in carrying on the religious services, which were as well attended as if led by the Chaplain himself. On his recovery he was placed on permanent duty at this post until the return of his regiment to the States.

        His application for retention at Fort McDowell bore the following endorsement:

"1st Endorsement.

Fort McDowell, California,
February 3rd, 1901.

         Respectfully forwarded. I respectfully recommend


Page 403

that Chaplain Allensworth be retained at this Post in accordance with his request. His services are acceptable and agreeable to the command. Aside from religious services he has enlisted men's meeting once a week which is very largely attended, the men taking part in debates with much interest. His conduct of the Post School is very satisfactory; supplementing ordinary instructions with lectures illustrated with stereopticon views.

(Signed) CARVER HOWLAND,
Captain 4th Infantry,
Commanding Post."


        This endorsement was complied with and the following order was issued:

"Special Orders
No. 51.
HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,
Adjutant General's Office,
Washington, March 2, 1901.
Extract.

         28. By direction of the Secretary of War, paragraph 18, Special Orders, No. 284, December 4, 1900, from this office, is so amended as to direct Chaplain Allen Allensworth, 24th U. S. Infantry, to remain on duty at Fort McDowell, California, until further orders.

By command of Lieutenant General Miles:

H. C. CORBIN,
Adjutant General.

OFFICIAL COPY:

Chaplain Allensworth,
thru Commanding Officer,
F. McDowell."



Page 404

        The following letter was furnished him by Major Carver Howland, his Commanding Officer:

"Fort McDowell, California,
February 28th, 1902.
Chaplain Allen Allensworth,
United States Army.

My dear Sir:

         On leaving this station where I have served with you for over a year, I desire to leave with you some acknowledgment of appreciation of your efficient service as Chaplain of the Post and the discharge of other official duties.

         In connection with the Post exchange you have shown exceptional executive administrative and business ability; and have in every way aided the Commanding Officer in the discharge of his duties in addition to performing your own. The enlisted men have been much benefited by your work, and your success in providing them amusing entertainments from time to time is unquestionable.

         I sincerely hope that after your retirement you will obtain some position where you will have an opportunity to exercise the same authority and show the excellent qualities you possess for dealing with soldiers.

         The contentment and good behavior of the men of this garrison is largely due to you and your work.

         Personally, I regret parting with you and your family, and thank yourself and them for their kindness to mine.

I am sincerely yours,

(Signed) CARVER HOWLAND,
Major 29th Infantry,
Commanding Fort McDowell."



Page 405

        The last battle the Chaplain had to fight on the active list was to secure the confirmation of his appointment as Major. On April 21, 1904, an act was passed providing for the promotion of Army Chaplains, from which the following is an extract:

        "That hereafter the President may, from time to time, select from among the Chaplains of the Army any Chaplains having not less than ten years' service, in the grade of Captain, who shall have been recommended as worthy of special distinction for exceptional efficiency by the regimental or district commanders with whose commands they may be serving as Chaplains, approved through regular military channels, and may, with the advice and consent of the Senate, promote such regimental or artillery Chaplains to be Chaplains with the grade, pay and allowances of Major."

        "It will be observed that the following conditions must be fulfilled:

  • A Chaplain must have had 'not less than ten years'' service in the grade of Captain to be eligible for promotion.
  • He must be commended 'as worthy of special distinction for exceptional efficiency by the regimental or district commander' with whose command he may be serving as Chaplain.
  • The commendation must be 'approved through regular military channels.'
  • The total number so advanced on the active list 'shall not at any time exceed fifteen.'
  • Promotion must be made 'with a view to active service,' as distinguished from promotion for the mere purpose of retirement."

        The records of fifteen Chaplains were referred to


Page 406

by General Davis, the Judge Advocate General of the Army for examination, and he was to determine as to who were entitled to promotion under the law. In this case no promotion was to be made upon any recommendation since the passing of the law. The record must be made up from his records on file at the War Department, made through the Chaplain's various Commanding Officers. This record must prove that the Chaplain had shown exceptional efficiency, that it was not a question of performance of duty in a perfunctory manner, and was therefore worthy of special distinction.

        The following is the report of the Judge Advocate General:

        "Judge Advocate General Davis says in his opinion that the cases of the following named Chaplains are believed to be worthy of consideration, with a view to their advancement under the authority conferred by the statute: Chaplains Allen Allensworth, Henry Swift, Charles C. Pierce, Edward J. Vattman, and Cephas C. Bateman."

        These are the only Chaplains whom he mentioned as having fulfilled the conditions laid down in the statute for promotion. Thus Chaplain Allensworth, coming in first, makes him the Senior Chaplain of the Army, and thus fulfilling the statement made to his friend, T. J. Moore, a member of his church in Cincinnati, that he intended to reach the top, as there was room there for him.

        The Chaplain was surprised on reading the following Associated Press dispatch in one of the daily papers:

        "Washington, August 1.--Through a combination of circumstances not foreseen by the War Department,


Page 407

it seems probable that Allen Allensworth, the Negro Chaplain of the Twenty-fourth Infantry, will be retired, at his own request, with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. The story is of unusual conjunction of law and fact.

        "It has been discovered that Chaplain Allensworth served in the Civil War. President Roosevelt is said to have intended that Chaplains should never rise above Majorities, but the act making it possible for him to rise above Captaincies does not contain any clause which can be constructed to hinder Chaplain Allen Allensworth from enjoying further promotion."

        The Chaplain learned that an effort would be made to prevent his confirmation as Major, notwithstanding he was nominated to be Major according to the law.

        "The Army and Navy Journal," commenting upon such a course said editorially:

        "It was announced that Chaplains who had Civil War record would not be made Majors previous to retirements since their Civil War career under the law would promote them on retirement. There was a certain injustice in this, of course, inasmuch as a Chaplain who was otherwise qualified for promotion to the grade of Major should have also the benefits of promotion on retirement on account of Civil War service. There appeared no reason why the exception should be made so much against the Chaplains and there was no satisfaction in the reason that it enabled the department to less pointedly refuse an application for advancement of a chaplain whose promotion to the grade of Major would have been something of a farce on account of exceptional efficiency.

        "Why the President should take the stand that an officer who had faithful service in the Civil War and an


Page 408

honorable discharge, and that his advancement to a higher grade was given for that service and no other, should be deprived of his regular Army efficiency service because he was entitled to the Civil War honors was not apparent. His position in this matter appeared to be inexplicable and hard to reconcile with his 'square deal' policy."

        The Chaplain immediately obtained leave of absence and went to the front to engage in this battle. He succeeded in securing confirmation of his nomination to be Major and thus won that battle.

        The following letter will show in what high regard he was held by the Post in Salt Lake:

"HEADQUARTERS
JAMES B. MCKEAN POST No. 1, G. A. R.
Salt Lake City, Utah, July 12, 1904.

To Chaplain Allen Allensworth,
24th U. S. Infantry.
Sir:

         This Post is in receipt of your communication informing it of your contemplated retirement from the Army, under the provisions of a recent act of Congress, allowing the Civil War veterans to retire upon an advanced grade.

         This Post has by resolutions directed me to write to you telling you that it holds your character and service, both as a soldier and Christian man, in the highest esteem and it would be most highly gratified by your promotion to which your long and faithful services most certainly entitle you.

(Signed) WILL D. GABY,
Commander.

(Signed) C. W. A. Schnell,
Adjutant."



Page 409

        His last order while on the active list.

"WAR DEPARTMENT,
Washington, April 7, 1906.
Extract.

         By direction of the President, the retirement of Major Allen Allensworth, Chaplain, 24th Infantry, from active service, on April 7, 1906, under the requirements of the act of Congress approved June 30, 1882, is announced, and he is placed upon the retired list of the Army, with the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel from April 7, 1906, under the provisions of the act of Congress approved April 23, 1904, the Senate having duly advised and consented to his advancement.

By order of the Secretary of War.

(Signed) J. C. BATES,
Lieutenant General, Chief of Staff.

OFFICIAL:

F. C. Ainsworth,
The Military Secretary.

Lieutenant Colonel Allen Allensworth,
820 W. 30th Street,
Los Angeles, California."


        During the last year of his active service in the U. S. Army, Chaplain Allensworth was the recipient of many complimentary letters. The following is one of them:

"Fort Harrison, Mont.,
April 20, 1905.

Chaplain Allen Allensworth,
24th Infantry.
My dear Chaplain:

         As I am about leaving the Post of Fort Harrison and


Page 410

have, by promotion, severed my connection with the 24th Infantry, I would fail in my duty if I neglected to express to you my appreciation of your services and careful attention to your work, officially and your energy in entertaining and amusing the enlisted men by lectures and other historical sketches.

         The great and long-felt want in our service is amusement for the enlisted men. I know of no one who has contributed more to this end than you have. Your work in the pulpit and in the school room has been marked by success.

Respectfully yours,

(Sgd.) JAS. A. BUCHANAN,
Brigadier General, U. S. A.

A TRUE COPY:

Albert Laws,
Captain & Comsy. 24th Infantry."


        And here follow others equally commendatory:

"47 Commercial block,
Salt Lake City, Utah, Feb. 4, 1904.

To
Chaplain Allen Allensworth,
24th U. S. Infantry.
Sir:

         Referring to your service in the Army, I desire to go on record as saying that I consider you the most all round efficient Chaplain I have known in the Army during my entire service.

         For years you have retained the respect of officers and men with whom you have been associated. You have at all times worked for the improvement of your regiment and the service.

         In educational matters at the Posts you have always


Page 411

been in the lead, and your influence over the men in discipline and conduct has ever been for the best.

         I especially wish to refer to your efficiency in the field during active operations in the Philippines in 1899-1900 and 1901 when your hard work was of great benefit to officers and men.

Sincerely yours,

(Signed) J. MILTON THOMPSON,
Brig. General, U. S. Army, Retired."


"Fort McDowell, Cal.,
Aug. 2, 1902.

         Chaplain Allen Allensworth, 24th Infantry, joined his regiment (in which I was then a captain) about sixteen years ago. During the seven or eight years following, in which he was under my observation, his good sense, ability and hard work, and what he accomplished, made a deep impression upon me and evoked my praise on many occasions. Since that time I had been separated much from the regiment, or at least from his locality, but he has since, not only been successful in his own regiment, but while serving at other places, with other officers, as shown by testimonials.

         Chaplain Allensworth undoubtedly possesses administrative and business ability, and tact of high order. He is also thoughtful, industrious, and what adds to his usefulness and strength more than a little, he does not consider himself charged with the settlement of political or social questions, but is content to do and do well smaller things.

(Sgd.) A. C. MARKLEY,

A TRUE COPY:

(Signed) E. B. Gose,
Capt. & Adjt. 24th Infantry."



Page 412

        It was the Chaplain's habit to send out each year his "Annual"--a pleasant reminder of the season. In acknowledging the receipt of the "Annual" for 1888 Captain Markley wrote:

"Fort Sill, Indian Territory,
January 1, 1888.

Hon. Allen Allensworth,
Vice President and General Manager,
F. S. & B. L. R. W. Co.
My dear Chaplain:

         I beg to acknowledge receipt of the courtesy of an "Annual" on your L. & P. Branch--which I accept as a compliment, both neat and graceful.

         The great Thackeray makes one of his characters say that it is easy to be good when one has money; I want to be good, and am trying to get into that position which makes it easy.

         I hope that when I arrive at the terminus, I will find that we have been fellow passengers, and that our train has not even 'slowed up,' at any of the objectionable way stations.

Very truly yours,

(Signed) A. C. MARKLEY."


        Here is another letter of this kind showing the friendly relation sustained by the Chaplain with men of influence and high standing:

Watervliet Arsenal,
West Troy, N. Y.
Dec. 29, 1904.

My dear Chaplain:

        I am greatly indebted to you for the check on "The


Page 413

Bank of Good Cheer," and will present it for payment in due time. If it is honored, as I hope it may be, with the blessings that I already have, I shall be a multi-millionaire, in blessings at least. I trust that you had much good Christmas cheer and I wish you and yours every blessing for the new year, and in this my family heartily joins.

Truly yours,

(Signed) J. FORD KENT.

Chaplain Allen Allensworth,
24th Infantry."

        In the following letters, Chaplain Allensworth is endorsed for membership in the Order of the Loyal Legion:

"Angel Island, California,
March 24, 1902.

Colonel W. R. Smedberg,
Recorder, California Commandery,
M. O. L. L., U. S.
My dear Colonel:

         I understand that Chaplain Allensworth, U. S. Army desires to join our order, and I believe he is eligible. His color has been no bar to his being commissioned in the U. S. Army, nor was it so considered in the days of the Civil War, when he gave his services, as you and I did, to his country.

         I have known the Chaplain for several months. He is a most worthy gentleman and a good Chaplain, and I wish to be placed on record as recommending his election.

Fraternally yours,

(Signed) G. O. GOODALE,
Col. 17th Infantry."



Page 414

"Fort McDowell, California,
May 7th, 1902.

Colonel Wm. R. Smedberg,
Recorder, California Commandery,
Military Order Loyal Legion.
Dear Comrade:

         Chaplain Allen Allensworth, 24th Infantry, stationed at this Post, is an applicant for commission to the Military Order of the Loyal Legion. As I understand his war service makes him eligible, I take pleasure in most heartily endorsing his application.

         I have associated with Chaplain Allensworth since I have been stationed here and consider him a gentleman and a comrade, in every way qualified to become a member of our honorable order.

Very respectfully,

(Signed) MORRIS C. FOOTE,
Colonel of Infantry."


        Serg't Abram Hill recently retired from the 24th Infantry, United States Army, speaking of the Colonel's attitude toward the soldier, said that he had known Colonel Allen Allensworth, and came in official contact with him from 1886 to 1910, and during this time he knew him to be an officer and a gentleman in the most acceptable definition of that phrase and he was so regarded by all enlisted men who came in contact with him. The Sergeant says that from his personal point of view Colonel Allensworth always sought to elevate the enlisted man and to help him in any way that he could, "I have often known enlisted men to call upon him when in trouble and they were never disappointed in securing justice. He was known as the friend of the common soldier, and his counsel was always considered wise."


Page 415

        After reading his manuscript, the pastor of one of the largest Presbyterian churches of Salt Lake City, Utah, wrote him the following letter:

"Salt Lake City, Feb. 19th, 1898.

My dear Chaplain Allensworth:

         I have read your lecture of the "Five Manly Virtues" with interest. Your subject is fruitful and practical and your treatment of it bright and wholesome. Your military illustrations seemed especially fresh and strong to me.

         With love abounding, good humor and ability to speak well what you have written well, I am sure you can make the lecture even more pleasant to hear than it has been for me to read.

Yours sincerely,

(Signed) W. M. PADEN."


        Many calls for the story of his life have come to him from various sections of the country. The following resolution was passed by the citizens of El Paso on the occasion of his visit to that city in 1911.

"May 28, 1911.

         WHEREAS: We, the citizens of El Paso, Texas, have been visited by Colonel Allen Allensworth, Allensworth, California, who has delivered a number of lectures which were highly edifying, and among them a sketch of his life:

         Therefore, be it resolved that we request him to give his life in book form to the public, that it might furnish an incentive and inspiration to the Young People of the Race.

Respectfully submitted,

(Signed) JASPER B. WILLIAMS,
President of Young People's Club,
EL PASO, TEXAS."



Page 416

CHAPTER XXXIV

        THE RECORD--HARMONY AND CONCORD HIS OBJECT--WHAT THE COLONEL SAW IN HIS DAY--BISHOP CHARLES B. GALLOWAY ON THE NEGRO--WHAT THE NEGRO HAS DONE IN THE LINE OF INVENTION--QUOTATION FROM H. G. WELLS OF ENGLAND.

        DURING his twenty years of active service in the Army, Colonel Allensworth witnessed many improvements in the conditions and facilities provided for Army Chaplains. At the beginning of his service it was largely a case of making brick without straw. There was much to be done. There was no school employing scientific methods, and the whole school system was poor. He immediately addressed himself to the task of correcting the defects. Being fresh from civil life he realized that he must go about the work cautiously; he hesitated to take the initiative, except in inviting attention to the needs of the service through his monthly reports. His reports were well received and his suggestions heeded. This, and the favorable comments on his school work by his post commanders, helped to create sentiment in official circles favorable to Army Chaplains. In a short time he united with one of the senior Chaplains in the Army, Post Chaplain Orville J. Nave, whom he felt was thoroughly prepared to take the initiative in the matter of building up a better school system in the regular Army. He made no mistake. Chaplain Nave was alive


Page 417

to his opportunity. In 1888 he was elected Corresponding Secretary for the Corps of Chaplains. He edited and published the "Army Sword and Shield," for the purpose of promoting this movement. Definite lines were formulated and changes advocated. In 1891 Chaplain Nave addressed the following letter to thirty post and four regimental Chaplains.

"Fort Niobrara, Nebraska, April 16, 1891.

         Dear Chaplain,--The failure, along with other attempted army legislation, to secure the passage of a bill providing for an increase of chaplains, necessitates one of two things--an abandonment of all effort to secure us and our work a better status; or, a renewed, united, and more thoroughly co-operative effort to secure results. The former course I can hardly imagine will be the determination of the corps, for it would humiliate us, and show us lacking in the very qualities in which we should be pre-eminent; namely, determined, resolute, indefatigable devotion to our cause and the highest interests of the community we are called to serve. If the three-battalion movement can stand repeated repulses and failures, and each time renew the assault, we can urge without discouragement the moral and religious interests of the army, even though seven times we are not heard.

         "A new Congress imposes upon us the necessity of doing over again much that was well done before. It is imperative, before anything is done, that the matter be thoroughly recanvassed, and a definite policy determined upon that will secure the support of all the chaplains. This can not be done by correspondence; neither can any one chaplain shape it. I therefore urgently


Page 418

appeal for a conference of chaplains. To proceed, this is required; and to discontinue all effort, equally demands that a council be held. I therefore suggest a meeting at Leavenworth, Kansas, May 13th, at ten o'clock, in the parlor of Delmonico Hotel; the place for subsequent meetings to be provided for before that day. I take the responsibility of calling this meeting on the ground of the confidence reposed in me by the corps during the last three years of toil along these lines.

         ["]I have sufficient assurances from chaplains to justify the expectation that at least a sufficient number will attend to assure a representative body. Surely it is to the interest of each and all for as many to reach the meeting as possible. Out of this conference should evolve a policy that will commend itself to the army and to the Churches--a platform on which we can stand as ministers, fully capable of dealing with the difficult and delicate duties we serve, and that will redeem the corps from the odium attaching to it ever since the War.

Yours fraternally,

(Signed) ORVILLE J. NAVE."


        A number of Chaplains responded to this call and entered heartily into the work.

        Among the results of this agitation were the abolition of post traders, and finally of the canteen, which was substituted for the traders; abolition of Sabbath inspections and parades, establishing an orderly rest day for officers and men; an increase of chaplains from thirty-four to sixty-three. Causes of desertion were carefully examined; many changes in modes of recruiting were made; standards of qualifications of recruits were elevated; the soldiers' table fare was improved by adding


Page 419

to the ration; barracks were improved; examinations for promotion of officers were inaugurated; systems of studies were prescribed for officers, resulting in radically changing the habits and life in army garrisons. Since then, instead of the days and evenings at army posts being spent in poker games and comparative idleness, a post is a school of incessant and hard study of the sciences and arts relative to armies and war.

        The radical changes in army life began in President Harrison's administration, and under the impulse of church agitation promoted by Chaplain Nave. The momentum obtained then has increased with succeeding administrations, the public being easily induced to support a liberal policy toward the army. Among the late results of the wide interest in the moral welfare of the army felt in the churches, has been the appropriation of $1,500,000 for libraries, gymnasiums, and post exchanges, carrying out the policy that was marked out in the earlier years of this agitation. No officer in the Army has been so fully identified with the leaders in the later constructive work for the Army as Chaplain Nave. His long service, his acknowledged leadership, and knowledge of the needs of the service, as well as his unhesitating courage in carrying forward the work to which he devoted so many years, led friends of the army to look to him for guidance in recent legislation.

        Chaplain Allensworth co-operated with energy and effectiveness in this great movement for the betterment of the Army and contributing his influence in bringing about such happy results. The Chaplain, with other chaplains, had the satisfaction of supporting the bill prepared by Chaplain C. C. Pierce to increase the efficiency of the Chaplain Corps. When Chaplain Allensworth


Page 420

entered the service but one grade existed for Army Chaplains, that of captain, with the pay of first lieutenant. The passage of this bill created three grades, first lieutenant, captain and major with pay and allowances of mounted officers in each grade according to rank.

        When Chaplain Allensworth entered the Army April, 1886, there was but one other colored officer, Capt. H. V. Plummer, chaplain of the 9th Cavalry. It was his privilege to welcome the following officers: Benj. O. Davis, First Lieut., 9th Cavalry; John E. Green, First Lieut., 25th Infantry. These two young men have demonstrated to the world that a Negro can enter the army as a private, comply with the rules governing the obtaining of a Commission in the army and successfully reach the grade of officer. What they have done others can do.

        Charles Young now a Field Officer with a rank of Major, who entered West Point as Cadet in 1884, passed thru the crucible, but was graduated and commissioned a Second Lieutenant. Since then he has successfully passed the regulation examination for First Lieut., Captain, and Major and is a living example of the possible achievements of an energetic Negro.

        John R. Lynch, Paymaster with rank of Major. Capt. T. J. Stewart, Chaplain 25th Infantry, who was Chaplain Allensworth's sole companion in the Philippine service. Together they labored explaining to the bewildered natives the seemingly inconsistent position of the Negro soldier who having apparently a similar fight in the States, was doing all he could to subjugate the Filipino. Major William T. Anderson who served as Chaplain of the Tenth Cavalry. Capt. G. W. Prioleau, Chaplain of the 9th Cavalry. Capt. W. W. E. Gladden


Page 421

who succeeded Chaplain Allensworth as Chaplain of the 24th Infty. First Lieut. Oscar J. W. Scott, Chaplain 25th Infantry. First Lieut. Louis J. Carter, Chaplain Tenth Cavalry.

        And now, dear reader, you have the record before you. You have the story of the introduction of slavery on the North American Continent, the history of its development, expansion and growth, the swift-running narrative of the romance, the adventure and fascination of the grim turmoil of the terrible Civil War and its outcome, the feeble struggles and the strivings of the Negroes under the new order of freedom--all interwoven with the story of the career of a charming personality, a man whose life-span is now seventy-two years, and who came out of chattelism, lived a splendid life of useful, unselfish service to his day and generation, and is still vigorously waging his battle for justice and fair play in American life.

        Colonel Allen Allensworth has labored always, in season and out of season, against racial bitterness and class antagonism. He has never been a minister of malice--a sinister messenger of malevolence and ill-will--though never forgetful of his early trials and difficulties. Harmony and concord between the races has always characterized his doctrine to his people. His position in the latter years was such as to place him in command of men, and while his position required austere, stern and exacting characteristics, yet Colonel Allensworth maintained throughout his experience in the Army a tolerant, genial and kindly attitude toward all men. Being a man of God, he has always exhibited large sympathy toward those under him. In the sorrows of others, he


Page 422

has shared with a tender-heartedness truly commendable. By his life he has demonstrated that a man whose heart is right, who is intelligent and energetic, can rise superior to the handicaps of his birth and of poverty, and can sustain an honorable relation to the best men of his day. The noble, pure, unselfish soul makes for itself an easy path; but the sordid, impure, selfish soul invites confusion, misfortune and catastrophe. The Colonel learned early this lesson and he has never forgotten it. It was his unswerving resolve even in the days of slavery to improve his inner life, to keep his mind pure, to cherish lofty ideals and to entertain only those thoughts calculated to bring success and victory.

        He is a man of a philosophical turn of mind, and his genial disposition has enabled him to stand in places where other men would have fallen; indeed, where other men did fall. With patience, courage, hopefulness and fortitude, the Colonel has stood his ground amidst the battles of life. As an Army officer, he sought to prove himself efficient and to perform his full duty wherever placed, and he stimulated the men of his regiment by his example. To make a good soldier a man must be physically well developed, morally well poised, and mentally fit. If this be true, then it is important that all citizens be provided with the facilities of a good education; for it is from among the plain citizens that the soldiers are drafted. The efficiency of the soldiery depends upon the intelligence of the citizens. The soldier's loyalty and patriotism to the country depend upon his physical, moral and educational training as a citizen. This Colonel Allensworth constantly emphasized to the men who came under his tutorage, while Chaplain of the regiment.


Page 423

        In his life Colonel Allensworth has witnessed wonderful changes in the condition of the Negro race. He has seen his people come out of slavery four million strong--untutored, superstitious, unorganized, without property, without well defined Christian convictions, and develop into a worthy, fairly well educated race of nearly twelve million souls. This race has become an important factor in the political and economic life of this great Republic; owning and controlling fifty million dollars' worth of church property, thirty million dollar's worth of school property; four hundred thousand homes, scattered throughout the United States, and valued at over seven hundred million dollars; one hundred and fifty thousand farms valued at eight hundred million dollars, and four hundred million dollars' worth of personal property. Out of the mass of ignorance fifty years ago, this race has developed under freedom over three thousand lawyers, some of them of national reputation; five thousand doctors, many of them known around the world for their skill; fifty thousand school teachers; fifty thousand ministers of the Gospel of various denominations, and a number of authors who have written over six hundred useful books. Out of this mass of ignorance of fifty years ago have come bank presidents, proprietors of drug stores, grocery stores, shops of skilled handicraft, factories, and thousands of men and women engaged in all sorts of independent, gainful commercial enterprises. Out of this mass of gross ignorance of fifty years ago the Negro race has developed historians, philosophers, scientists, poets, novelists, musicians, inventors, journalists and other professional men and women throughout the country.

        The Negro's achievements have not been attained


Page 424

without the friendly aid and encouragement of white men. These men believed in his possibilities and his future for they went to the Southern States immediately after the Civil War and established institutions of learning in the towns and cities, and these institutions have ever since proved fruitful of good results to the nation. In political conventions men of the black race have taken active part. While many adverse criticisms were expressed concerning their fidelity and trustworthiness, some of the men of the South who were not favorable to them formerly have freely testified to their loyalty and faithfulness.

        The late eloquent Bishop Charles B. Galloway of Mississippi, an uncompromising champion of justice and manhood rights, said: "Whatever the cause or causes, there is no disguising the fact that there is great unrest and growing discontent among the Negroes of the South. They are beginning to feel friendless and hopeless. The frequent lynchings that disgrace our civilization, the advocacy by some of limiting to the minimum the school advantages provided for them, and the widening gulf of separation between the younger generations of both races, have produced a measure of despair."

        Speaking of the Negro as a citizen, he says: "They (the Negroes) must be guaranteed the equal protection of the law. To do less would forfeit plighted faith and disrupt the very foundation of social order. All the resources of government should be exhausted in protecting innocence and punishing guilt. There should be no aristocracy in crime. A white fiend is as much to be feared as a 'black brute.' The racial line has no place in courts of justice. Offenders against the peace and dignity of the state should have the same fair trial and


Page 425

the same just punishment, whatever their crime or color of skin."

        As to the education of the Negro, he says: "The right education of the Negro is at once a duty and a necessity. All the resources of the school should be exhausted in elevating his character, improving his condition and increasing his capacity as a citizen. The policy of an enforced ignorance is illogical, un-American and un-Christian. It is possible in a despotism, but perilous in a republic. It is indefensible on any grounds of social or political wisdom, and is not supported by any standards of ethics or justice. If one fact is more clearly demonstrated by the logic of history than another, it is that education is an indispensable condition of wealth and prosperity. This is a universal law, without exception. Ignorance is a cure for nothing."

        Hon. William P. Frye, in his address on "Citizenship," had the following to say: "Citizenship does not mean alone that the man who possesses it shall be obedient to the law, shall be kindly to his neighbors, shall regard the rights of others, shall perform his duties as a juror, shall, if the hour of peril comes, yield his time, his property and his life to his country. It means more than that. It means that his country shall guarantee to him and protect him in every right which the Constitution gives him. What right has the Republic to demand his life, his property, in the hour of its peril, if, when his hour of peril comes, it fails him?"

        It is a common error to depreciate the present and all its agencies and achievements. We are living in a great age. Nature has committed her wonderful forces to man's control. It matters not where he is located,


Page 426

the forces of nature are his obedient servants. If he is in the torrid zone, he can modify and temper the season by artifices of clothing. Located in the frigid zone, he resorts to the artifices of fire. On account of his knowledge of chemistry and electricity, man can dissipate the darkness of night by artificial light, thus prolonging his active hours, and affording opportunity for increased social enjoyment. By his remarkable progress in civilization, he is no longer the prey of the accidents of the seasons. If the harvests fail in his own immediate neighborhood or in his own country, by his great system of commerce he is able to satisfy his needs from other lands. Oppressed by hunger, fishes migrate in the sea, and innumerable flocks of birds direct their flight through the air; but civilized man, without calling into action his own locomotive powers, stretches his arm across the globe, so to speak, and satisfies his wants.

        Those who assert that the American Negro has not contributed anything to the civilization of the age, show an inexcusable ignorance. Over four hundred inventions are registered in the United States Patent Office in Washington, patents which have been granted to colored men, and demonstrating the fact that the Negro is not wanting in resourcefulness and inventive genius. Elijah McCoy, of Detroit, Michigan, has thirty-five patents relating to lubricating appliances for all sorts of engines. Granville T. Woods, of Cincinnati, Ohio, has over thirty patents, confined almost exclusively to electricity, and covering a very wide range of devices of a useful character. W. B. Purvis, of Philadelphia, Pa., has twenty patents relating to paper bag machinery. F. J. Farrell, of New York City, has fifteen patents on


Page 427

valves adapted to a variety of uses. George W. Murray, Ex-Congressman of South Carolina, has ten patents relating to agricultural implements; Henry Creamer has ten on steam traps.

        Following are some of the most useful and successful inventions of Negro men during the past fifty years:

        The biscuit cutter, in common use in every household, is the invention of A. P. Ashbourne, out of which, thousands of dollars have been made by manufacturers and dealers. In 1834 henry Blair invented a corn planter, that has yielded many fortunes. In 1836 this same Henry Blair invented a cotton planter which is used today in the southern states. The ladder-scaffold support, in common use by fire departments in American cities, is the invention of William Balais. The patent was granted August 5, 1879. A rotary engine was invented in 1892 by A. J. Beard. Mr. Beard invented also a car-coupler which is used on a great many railroads throughout the United States.

        In a table showing over four hundred inventions by American Negroes, the following articles are named: Furniture castor, folding cabinet bed, motor cistern cleaners, razor stropping device, pool table attachment, portable basin, curtain rod support, apparatus for holding yarn skeins, extension banquet table, foot power hammer, sealing attachment for bottles, water evaporator attachment for hot air registers, portable weighing scales, heating apparatus, gas burners, automatic street railway locking switch, rotary dining table, grass receivers for lawn mowers, velocipede, piano truck, pencil sharpener, fire extinguisher, lock nailing machine, lasting machine, elevator, attachment for bicycles, oil heater or cooker, mandolin and guitar attachment for pianos,


Page 428

air ship, machine for making paper bags, electric railway switch.

        Edward Lewis of Springfield, Mass., has recently invented a smoke extinguisher, several of which have been installed in large steam plants in Boston.

        Mr. H. G. Wells, of England, in his remarkable series of papers entitled "The Future in America," said some rather pertinent things concerning the American Negro, under the heading, "The Tragedy of Color," from which the following is taken:

        "Whatever America has to show in heroic living today, I doubt if she can show anything finer than the quality of the resolve, the steadfast effort hundreds of colored men are making today to live blamelessly, honorably, and patiently, getting for themselves what scraps of refinement, learning, and beauty they may, keeping their hold on a civilization they are grudged and denied. They do it not for themselves only, but for all their race. They know they have a handicap, that they are not exceptionally brilliant nor clever people. Yet they stand, one likes to think, aware of their representative and vicarious character, fighting against foul imaginations, misrepresentations, injustice, insult, and the naive unspeakable meannesses of base antagonists. Every one of them who keeps decent and honorable does little to beat that opposition down." And Allen Allensworth has occupied a conspicuous place in the ranks of these men.

        Colonel Allen Allensworth appreciates the great and inspiring possibilities of the United States of America. If a soul bogged in the awful mire of misfortune at the beginning of its career can lift itself out by sheer force of character, similar deliverance from prejudice and


Page 429

wrong to a lowly race may be realized by a nation like ours. For such a soul to come out of a darkness, penetrated by few glimmers of light, and conquer so triumphantly, seemed in the early sixties utterly impossible. The triumphs of such a soul should inspire the reader with a vision of far-reaching importance as relates to the Negro race. The spectacle of a human being breaking the fetters that bind it to the lowest levels of degradation and rising by its own innate force of high purpose and aspiration, is worthy of sober contemplation,--such a spectacle should arouse ambition to worthy achievement in other beings of its kind.

        America has a great destiny before it. The possibilities of the Republic cannot be accurately foretold. When one observes the seething multitudes in the great eastern cities, the majestic mountains of the new west, the fertile plains and barren deserts yet to be reclaimed, the Great Lakes, some of them as expansive as oceans, the constant stream of immigrants from foreign countries, the wild and incessant rush for supremacy in commerce, industry, invention and science, he is impressed with the fact that marvelous things are in store for this country. The imagination of the most virile, speculative writer of fiction is feeble when it assumes the task of foretelling the future destiny of the United States, or what the development of this wonderful land will mean to the countless hosts in the coming years. But it is the fervid hope of such characters as the hero of this story, and all fair-minded men of every race, those who cherish the noblest sentiments of patriotism for the nation, that this great Republic will, in the future, become indeed the land of the free and the home of the brave to the black man as well as to the white.