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Series XVI No. 6 



Historical and Political Science 


History is past Politics and Politics are present History.— />^^man. 

Anti-Slavery Leaders 


North Carolina 


Professor of History in Trinify College ^ North Carolina 


Published Monthly 
JUNE, 1898. 



Hekbept B. Adams, Editor. 
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Anti-Slavery Leaders 


North Carolina 


When, about three years ago, I began to make a study 
of slavery in North Carolina I found that there were some 
men like Mr. Helper, Prof. Hedrick, and Mr. Goodloe, 
whose participation in the anti-slavery cause demanded a 
more extended notice than it was possible to give in a gen- 
eral treatment of the subject. Consequently, I have pre- 
pared the present sketches. I offer them to the public 
because it does not seem good that the personalities of 
North Carolina's contributors to the anti-slavery cause 
should be forgotten. 

For assistance in this work my thanks are due to Mr. 
Helper, Mr. Goodloe, Mr. Charles J. Hedrick, of George- 
town, D. C, and Dr. Dred Peacock, of Greensboro, N. C. 

J. S. B. 
April 15, 1898. 


The Home of the Anti-Slavery Sentiment 7 

HiNTON Rowan Helper 11 

Benjamin Sherwood Hedrick 39 

Daniel Reaves Goodlob 47 

Eli Washington Caruthbrs 56 

LuNSFORD Lane 60 

Anti-Slavery Leaders of North Carolina. 

The Home of the Anti-Slavery Sentiment. 

No section of the old South contained so much anti- 
slavery sentiment as did the western parts of Virginia, 
North Carolina and South Carolina, the northern part 
of Georgia and the eastern parts of Kentucky and Ten- 
nessee. This was due to causes entirely natural. The 
South Atlantic coast region is divided into two distinct 
kinds of country. Next to the ocean there is a strip of 
land, varying from fifty to one hundred miles in width, 
which is a fertile and well watered plain. West of this, and 
stretching to the mountains, is a hilly region, whose clay 
soil, though fertile in spots, is not naturally as productive 
as that lying on the river banks to the east. The eastern 
division was first settled. It fell almost from the first into 
the hands of wealthy planters, and soon held many slaves. 
The western portion, as well as the lands beyond the mount- 
ains, was occupied by settlers during the eighteenth cen- 
tur>*. These came chiefly from Pennsylvania, Maryland, 
New Jersey and New England. Many of them were Scotch- 
Irish, and not a few were Germans. Many were persons 
who had arrived in America a few years before, and who 
were still poor. Nearly all settled^n small farms, which 
they expected to work with their ow hands. Being remote 
from water communication, they ^^fff a long way from mar- 
ket, and consequently industry progressed slowly. Th«y 
raised most of the articles they consumed, and what they 
bought they got by carting their wheat or driving their 
stock from fifty to a hundred miles to Richmond, Va., to 

Fayetteville, N. C, or to some other point at the head of 

8 Anti-Slavery Leaders of North Carolina, [268 

navigation of the various rivers that traversed this section. 
Under such conditions the upland counties remained frugal, 
industrious, simple and democratic. Here slavery was in- 
troduced very slowly. From the conditions of industry, as 
well as from the habits of the people, slavery had at first 
little encouragement. Had not the eastern and southern 
edges of this section been opened to the cotton industry, 
and had not the raising of slaves for the far South become 
profitable, slavery very probably would have gained no 

foothold here. 

All the conditions of small farms, simple habits and dem- 
ocratic ideals which have been ascribed to this general 
region were emphatically attributable to that part of it which 
lay in North Carolina. The western part of this State, until 
the railroads were built, about the middle of this century, 
was very distinct from the eastern part. A line drawn from 
the Roanoke river at Halifax, through the western parts of 
Edgecomb, Greene and Lenoir counties, across the center 
of Duplin and the western part of Pender, thence straight 
to the Cape Fear river, then continued to the neighborhood 
of Fayetteville, then across the western end of Harnett, the 
eastern sides of Wake and Franklin, and thence to the Roa- 
noke river; such aline would enclose a territory which, save 
for as much of the valleys of the Roanoke, Tar, Neuse and 
Cape Fear as lay in it, was a level plain, covered with pine 
forest, and which was not very attractive to immigrants. 
This region was thinly settled, and until it was cleft, by the 
Wilmington and Weldon Railroad it was not well developed. 
It remained a "pine barren," and served to divide the east 
from the west. The counties west of this, except those along 
the Cape Fear and Roanoke rivers, contained few spots in 
which slavery had planted itself with any considerable root- 
age. In the West was, also, no great love of slavery. If a 
vigorous appeal could have been made against slavery in 
these counties, they could very likely, at any time 
before i860, have been carried for freedom. It is notewor- 
thy that all the anti-slavery leaders the State produced came 
from within, or near, this region. 

269] The Home of the Anti-Slavery Sentiment. 9 

Besides the economic and territorial differences between 
these two regions, one ought to mention a political differ- 
ence. The counties of the east were small as compared 
with those of the west. The State Senate was, by the Con- 
stitution of 1776, composed of one Senator from each 
county. The House of Commons was composed of two 
Representatives from each county and one from each of 
six designated towns. In 1835 there were in the west 
twenty-six counties, while there were thirty that might be 
classed as eastern in spirit. The eastern counties were 
much smaller than those of the west. This gave the pre- 
dominance of power to the smaller east. The importance 
of this is seen in the fact that the selection of the Governor 
and other executive officers of the State, the judges and the 
officers of the militia, was left to the Assembly. The west 
rebelled against this arrangement, and won its rights in the 
Constitutional Convention of 1835. It was then provided 
that Senators should be elected from districts formed on the 
>asis of p yhlir t^yatinn^ and that the members of the Hous e 
of Commons should be apportioned among the counties on 
the basis of ffH^ral pnpniQfi'rkn The relief for the west is 
obvious. Of the counties that now had four Representa- 
tives, all were western, and of those that had three, nine 
were western and three eastern; while of those that had 
only one, twenty were in the east and five in the west, three 
of the latter being mountain counties, which to this day are 
very thinly settled. At the samexQnventign the election of 
Gove rnor^ as giv en to the peop le. Still the gain of the 
west was not all that it desired/It saw that representation 
in the House of Commons on the t) a<^is q| fe deral p/tp^^^^^^^" 
bore severely, on. it. It was with difficulty that the party 
readers could keep this question out of the struggle for the 
abolition of property qualification for the election of Senat- 
ors, which was fought through and Y£00«-UjUlfiS7» after a con- 
test of nine years. Had not the issue of the war removed this 
inequality, it is safe to say that it would have become an 
issue between the two sections before many years had 

10 Anti-Slavery Leaders of North Carolina, [270 

passed. Indeed, if we consider the righteousness of anti- 
slavery in the abstract, and the superior strength of the vig- 
orous west, it cannot be doubted that, had the question 
been left to be determined in a peaceful struggle, the west 
would finally have removed the stain of slavery from the 

One other factor of the struggle in the west ought to be 
mentioned. I refer to the Quakers. There were in Guil- 
ford, Randolph and adjoining counties a large number of 
this sect.* These were as ardent in the cause of abolition 
here, in the face of slaveholders, as their brethren had been 
in Pennsylvania. By the time the colonies were committed 
to the cause of independence the Friends were committed to 
the cause of abolition. In the face of harsh laws which 
made emancipation very difficult, they worked on, liber- 
ating their own slaves, and sometimes buying slaves of other 
people that they might liberate them. Those that they could 
induce to go they sent to the free States ; those that would 
not go they transferred to the Society and held them in only 
nominal bondage. Thus by the middle of the century they 
had worked slavery out of their connection. They ever re- 
mained a nucleus for anti-slavery sentiment. They joined 
with their non-Quaker neighbors in the support of a Manu- 
mission Society. They accustomed the people around them 
to the ideas of anti-slavery, and that was a great advance 
for that day. 

Thus the economic, social and political forces of the west- 
em counties made them less friendly to slavery than the 
eastern counties. Of all the region of the later Confed- 
eracy, that which lay in these counties was very probably 
the strongest in anti-slavery sentiment. It is not strange 
that out of the sturdy inhabitants of this section there should 
have come leaders who went so far as to condemn certain 

^ The Quakers in the Northeastern part of the State were strongly 
opposed to slavery and supported emancipation; but they did not 
become so notable for anti-slavery spirit as their western brethren. 
This was probably because they were in a strong pro-slavery region. 

( • • • 

.' •• •••,•« • • 

' • ? ! • • •. • 

271] Hinton Rowan Helper. 11 

effects of slavery, and boldly to denounce the entire system 
as iniquitous and unprofitable. The most noted of these 
leaders were Hinton Rowan Helper, Benjamin Sherwood 
Hedrick and Daniel Reaves Goodloe. The first two lived 
within this region, and the third, although he was reared 
in a county which I have classed as eastern, belonged to the 
same class of people of small means as made up the mass of 
the people of the west. One other name ought to be added 
to these, as well for its prominence in anti-slavery efforts as 
because it admirably illustrates the conditions under which 
the contest against slavery must be waged. This person, 
Lunsford Lane, was a member of the enslaved race itself, 
and perhaps did his most effective abolition preaching in 
the way in which he rose above the condition of a slave, pur- 
chased his own freedom and that of his family at a cost of 
$3500, retaining at all times the esteem of the best people in 
the community in which he lived, and receiving the explo- 
sions of the wrath of the more violent element in the same 

Hinton Rowan Helper. 

Hinton Rowan Helper was bom in Davie county. North 
Carolina, December 27, 1829. His paternal grandfather 
was bom near Heidelberg, Germany, and came to North 
Carolina in 1752. His maternal grandfather, who was of 
English descent, was Cannon Brown, of Virginia. His 
father, Daniel Helper, married Sarah, the daughter of Can- 
non Brown, and the pair settled down on a small farm on 
Bear creek, a tributary of the South Yadkin river. Here 
there were bom seven children, the last of whom is the 
subject of this sketch. Daniel Helper died in the fall of 
1830, and the widow and her seven children, the eldest of 
whom was less than twelve, were left to support themselves 
as best they could. They had four slaves, a man and his 
wife and their two children, and from the labor of these the 
family managed to live. The training of young Hinton 
was such as many a backwoods boy gets : rough sports in 

12 Anti-Slavery Leaders of North Carolina. [272 

the open air, hunting and fishing, all kinds of farm work in 
season, a little schooling in the neighborhood schools, and 
finally a term or two in a neighboring academy, which, in 
this case, happened to be in the village of Mocksville. With 
such an outfit he found himself at the threshold of manhood. 
His health was not very robust, but as he grew older he 
became stronger, and he is now an admirable specimen of 
well-preserved manhood. 

When twenty years old he moved to the city of New 
York, which he made his home for some months. When 
he came of age, however, he started off to California, by 
way of Cape Horn, hoping to make his fortune in the gold 
regions. At Valparaiso, Chile, the ship stopped for provis- 
ions and masts, and this gave the young man his first direct 
acquaintance with South America, a country with which his 
later life has been somewhat closely associated. His stay in 
the gold region was short and unprofitable. In 1854, three 
years after he had set out, he returned to the farm and set- 
tled down to the life in which his boyhood had been spent. 
Such a life was too dull for him. His mind was active, and 
he had a store of observations made during his absence. 
Some minds seem to be set on ball bearings, they work so 
easily. Mr. Helper seems to have such a mind. His ready 
use of words and his incisive mental processes easily fitted 
him for writing. In the quiet of the farm life he wrote an 
account of his journey, which he called "The Land of Gold." 
In 1855 the work was ready for the press. He made arrange- 
ments for publication with Mr. Charles Mortimer, of Balti- 
more, then the publisher of the Southern Quarterly Review, 
and a strong pro-slavery Virginian. In his travels Mr. 
Helper had found no slave labor. He had been struck with 
the superiority of free labor. This, he concluded, was 
particularly true of the cities; and he thought that slaves 
should be relegated to the country. The work of printing had 
progressed to some extent when the publisher discovered 
these sentiments. He refused to print them. The author, 
anxious for the safe delivery of his first-bom, and having 
already paid $400 for work done on the book, was in despair. 

278] Hinton Rowan Helper. 18 


He hesitated as to what to do, and at length told the printer 
to do as he chose with the matter. Mortimer then cut out 
the objectionable passages and published the book. 

The result of this course was important. The young 
man, chagrined at what he deemed an outrage, determined 
that he would be heard. He returned to North Carolina 
and began an extensive study of the question of slavery. In 
a year he had formulated his views. In June, 1856, a few 
days after the nomination of Fremont for the Presidency, he 
started again for the North, taking with him the manuscript 
of "The Impending Crisis of the South." In Baltimore he 
stopped long enough to aid in forming a Republican asso- 
ciation, one of the first in the South, and destined soon to 
be broken up by a pro-slavery mob. He hardly expected 
to get a publisher for his work in this city ; but he, never- 
theless, tried to secure one. Failing completely, he went on 
to New York. Here he found more sympathy for his views, 
but only a little aid in putting them before the public. The 
work was offered to the Harpers, Scribner, Appleton and 
all the other regular publishers, but not one would take it. 
In his despair he offered the manuscript for nothing, but the 
offer was not accepted. They all declined, because to pub- 
lish such strong anti-slavery views, or to have them brought 
out in connection with their firms, would drive away 
their Southern patronage. Mr. James Harper, an Aboli- 
tionist himself, and a man to whom Mr. Helper had brought 
a letter of introduction, said to the young author, with great 
frankness, that while he concurred with the book in its hos- 
tility to slavery, and found it worth bringing out, yet, after 
consulting with his business partners, it had been decided 
that publishing it would cause the firm to lose at least twenty 
per cent, of their annual trade. In view of such a fact, they 
did not dare to undertake the work. 

These were no doubt wise business methods, but they dis- 
heartened the author. Between seven and eight months he 
spent going from one publisher to another. How much he 
suffered in the meantime will not be easily imagined. Con- 
vinced that he had a great principle at stake, he was deter- 

14 Anti-Slavery Leaders of North Carolina. [274 

mined to exhaust every energy to accomplish his task. This 
long period of waiting was endured with steadfastness. He 
was committed to the right of being heard on a question on 
which his opinions had once been suppressed. He felt that 
he was demanding vindication. At length, worn out with 
anxiety and disgusted at what h« thought a lack of courage 
on the part of the publishers, he decided to accept an 
offer made by Mr. A. B. Burdick. That gentleman, who 
was a book agent rather than a book publisher, agreed to 
issue the book in his own name, Mr. Helper having previ- 
ously secured him against loss. The venture proved a 
handsome success. Mr. Burdick made a fortune from the 
sales, but, unfortunately, lost it in stock speculation. 

"The Impending Crisis of the South" was well calculated 
to attract attention in the North. The author was a South- 
erner, not of the slave-holding aristocracy, but of the class 
of small farmers. He approached the question from the 
economic side, while other anti-slavery writers had ap- 
proached it from the side of the rights of the negro. The 
literary style was clear and cutting. The aut h or wrot e^in 
behalf of the^ non-slaveholding whites of_ the ^outju-for 
whom he claimed an qpp9rtunity to make^a.liyjin^. There 
was a grim directness in the following words, taken from 
the preface to the first edition : "The genius of the North 
has also most ably and eloquently discussed the subject in 
the form of novels. New England wives have written the 
most popular anti-slavery literature of the day. Against 
this, I have nothing to say ; it is all well enough for women 
to give the fictions of slavery ; men should give the facts." 
In the same preface he referred to the fact that he was a 
Southerner, as proud as any of his birthplace, and added : 
"As the work, considered with reference to its author's 
nativity, is a novelty, * * * so I indulge the hope that 
its reception by my fellow-Southrons will be novel ; that is 
to say, that they will receive it as it is offered, in a reasonable 
and friendly spirit, and that they will read it and reflect on it 
as an honest endeavor to treat a subject of vast import with- 

276] Hinton Rowan Helper, 16 

out rancor or prejudice, by one who naturally comes within 
the pale of their own sympathies." 

These were fair words ; but Mr. Helper must have known 
well when he wrote them that his book would receive little 
favor in the South. If he hoped otherwise, he was soon un- 
deceived. The appearance of thework in the summer of 1857 
was the signal for a flood of denunciation from that quarter. 
It was at once declared to come within the provision of the 
laws against the circulation of incendiary literature. To 
own a copy was against good taste, and traitorous to the 
interest of the South. In 1859 John A. Gilmer was the 
Whig candidate for the governorship in North Carolina. 
His opponents charged him with owning a copy of "The 
Impending Crisis.' His friends replied by declaring that 
John W.Ellis, the Democratic candidate, had a copy. The 
Raleigh Standard, the leading Democratic paper of the State, 
indignantly denied the charge against Ellis. The truth of 
the matter, it said, was that in 1858, while Ellis was in New 
York, Mr. Helper, who had known him in North Carolina, 
called on him and later on sent a copy of the book. This 
Mr. Ellis threw out of the window. Sometime later Gov- 
ernor Ellis received another copy through the mails, and 
that he used for lighting his pipe.* Making bonfires of the 
book was a mild feature of its reception in many parts of the 
South. The Northern papers reported that a number of 
persons were hanged or otherwise killed for having copies 
in their possession. The truth of the latter statement it 
has been impossible to prove. 

The enemies of Mr. Helper tried to break down his argu- 
ments by blackening his character. It was charged that he 
had taken fraudulently a sum of money from an employer 
in Salisbury, N. C, and that when accused of the crime he 
had admitted it, alleging that he was at the time only seven- 
teen vears old, and that another clerk had induced him to 
take the money. This charge was repeated by Senator 
Biggs, of North Carolina, in a congressional debate, in 

* Raleigh, N. C Standard, Aug. 10, 1859. 

277] Hinian Rowan Helper. 17 

dings, Dawes, Washburn and John Sherman, and by the 
most prominent Abolition leaders, among whom were 
Thurlow Weed, Wm. Cullen Bryant, B. S. Hedrick and 
Horace Greeley. The latter gentlemen declared: "Were 
every citizen in possession of the facts embodied in this 
book, we feel confident that slavery jv ould so on pass away, 
whik JL RegubncanlHu^^ 

tain/ ' It is of interest to know that of the amount collected. 
North Carolinians subscribed $165. Among the subscrib- 
ers were Professor Hedrick and Mr. Goodloe, whom the 
Raleigh Standard described as "two other recreant sons of 
this State.^ 

The plans thus set forth were accomplished. One hun- 
dred thousand copies of the compendium were printed in 
i860 and distributed throughout the doubtful States of 
Penrtsylvania, New Jersey, Indiana and Illinois. In their 
estimate of the book the Abolitionists were right. Its style 
cut like a knife. It showed clearness, conviction, and a cer- 
tain intensity which would likely make a more striking 
appeal to the voters than the more restrained statements of 
a more scholarly work. It was not free from the vivid rhet- 
oric to be expected from a self-taught young man from the 
backwoods, and yet, for the purposes in view, this was no 

The success of this circular was not calculated to soothe 
the feelings of the Southern Democrats, whose feelings were 
already at the highest pitch. Their newspapers took up the 
matter, publishing extracts to show that "The Impending 
Crisis" was incendiary. To the Southerners this was a de- 
liberate purpose of the Republicans to arouse the entire 
North against the South. Shortly after the. compendium 
scheme was assured there occurred John Brown's attacks 
on Harper's Ferry. The South was more convinced than 
ever of the harmfulness of the book which the Abolitionists 
were using to propagate their doctrines. While affairs 
were in this shape Congress met. The caucus nominee of 

* Raleigh Standard, Dec. 7, 1859. 

18 Anti-Slavery Leaders of North Carolina. [278 

the Republicans for the Speakership was John Sherman, 
who, with other Congressmen, had signed the above-men- 
tioned circular. To his election the Southerners opposed 
their strongest efforts. As soon as Congress met a resolution 
was introduced which declared "That no person who has 
endorsed and recommended [Helper's] book, or the com- 
pendium from it, is fit to be Speaker of this House." One 
of the fiercest debates in the history of that body now began. 
Southern members used the bitterest threats. Members 
on each side went armed, fearing a resort to force. The 
debate on the resolution was dropped long enough to take 
some ballots for Speaker, but without any election. Ig- 
noring the usual holiday recess, the contestants went on 
until, on January 30, i860, Sherman withdrew his name. 
Three days later Pennington, of New Jersey, was elected 
by the Republican and American votes.^ 

The attracting of public attention to "The Impending 
Crisis" had a most exciting effect on its sale, which hitherto 
had not been extraordinary. Tht demand for it was now 
immense. Copies might be seen in stacks on every news 
stand and in every book store of the North. Some pro- 
slavery men tried to prevent its sale. The president of the Railroad Company ordered that it should not 
be sold in the railroad cars, the gentlemen's waiting-rooms, 
or the railway stations.* Such efforts were in vain. By 
the autumn of i860, 142,000 copies, including the com- 
pendium, had been sold. It is doubtful if any other Ameri- 
can book not fiction, except, perhaps, Mr. Harvey's "Coin's 
Financial School," has reached so great a circulation in so 
short a time. Had the war not begun in 1861, which de- 
stroyed the occupation of more Abolitionists than one, the 
circulation would have gone much higher. 

A more impartial view of the book from a scholar's stand- 
point would be the book reviews it received at the time it 

> See the preface of the ''Impending Crisis," {i860). 
' See Garrison's Liberator, Jan. 20, i860. 

279] Hinton Rowan Helper. 19 

was published. The New Englander (Vol. 75, p. 635, 1857), 
in calling attention to the fact that the author wrote from 
the side of sociology, said : "On the subject in this depart- 
ment he has made the most complete and effective presenta- 
tion within our knowledge. It is thorough, reliable, demon- 
strating, overwhelming. It consists of facts which cannot 
be denied or gainsaid; facts derived to a large extent by 
careful examination and comparison from the census, which 
cannot be suspected of anti-slavery bias, since it was com- 
piled under the direction of an eminent statistician who is 
notorious for his pro-slavery principles and zeal." The 
Westminster Review^ having less interest in the conflict, and 
being more critical in point of style, said, with much just- 
ness : "The style of production is peculiarly American. 
Its language and ideas alike are often extravagant, and its 
allusions sometimes very personal. Statistics and other 
facts are well arranged and fully authenticated, but the con- 
clusions of the author are not always correct, and occasion- 
ally exhibit a want of practical political knowledge.^ 

The b ji rden of Mr. Helper's story was the benefiting p f 
the non-slave holding whites of the South . These ought _to 
b"e dist mguls hed from the "poor w hites? ' fPhe latter were 
a class, in themselves more or less shiftless, living around 

among the large plantations, without ambition and mostly r ^ 

in extreme poverty. They were largely wrecks, both indus- /;e<^ v-V-^-^ 
trial and moral, on the shores of society ; although a child (/ 
occasionally came out from among them whose efforts 
enabled him to reach a high place in societ]^ The former 
class were the small farmers who worked their lands with- 
out slave labor. They were most numerous in the west, 
among the Scotch-Irish and the Germans. They were 
thrifty and sturdy, and when they removed to the North- 
west, as many of them did to escape the effects of slavery, 
they proved valuable citizens, ^ mancipation of the slavey 
would have been a blessing to either of these classes. By 
it o ne class would liave been TaTseg^slQwIy from degrada- 

*Vol. 75i{i86i), p.8i. 


20 Anti-Slavery Leaders of North Carolina, [280 

tion to re spectability, the^other^from respectability to wcalthj 

What either of these classes suffered from the slaveholders 
is seen in this extract from Helper: He says there were 
several kinds of pine near his boyhood home, "by the Hght 
of whose flamable knots, as radiated on the contents of some 
half-dozen old books, which, by hook or crook, had found 
their way into the neighborhood, we have been enabled to 
turn the long winter evenings to some advantage, and have 
thus partially escaped from the prison grounds of those 
loathsome dungeons of illiteracy in which it has been the 
const ant policy of the nligarrbyjr^Jfppp thp masses, the non- 
slaveholding whites and the negroes, forever^ cpufined.!!* 

To improve the condition of this class it was necessary to 
abolish slavery. He started out to learn "why the North 
has surpassed; the South." He boldly attacked the notion 
that the South excelled the North in agriculture. From the 
census of Professor De Bow himself, who was a strong 
Southerner, he showed that in bushel-measure products the 
North was far ahead of the South, and that the hay crop 
alone of the North was worth more than all the cotton, 
tobacco, rice, hay, hemp and cane-sugar raised in the South. 
This comparison was also made in regard to farm animals, 
total wealth, gross expenditure and various other items from 
the census columns. These arguments, inasmuch as they 
attempt to prove the superiority of free labor over slave 
labor, were well taken. The North and the South had be- 
gun the period of national existence about equal in re- 
sources and opportunity. That the latter section had fallen 
so far behind must be due to slavery. In summing up this 
feature of the question he uttered the following character- 
istic sentence : "It makes us poor; poverty make$us ignor- 
ant ; ignorance makes us wretched ; wretchedness makes us 
wicked, and wickedness leads us to the devil." 

Sound as the argument was, there was much that was cal- 
culated to make Southern blood boil. It was a time of stem 

' The Impending Crisis, p. no. 
* Ibid., p. 74. 

281] HinUm Rowan Helper. 21 

conviction. Each side had little of the spirit of toleration. 
Mr. Helper ought not to be blamed, perhaps, that he did not 
rise above the spirit of his surroundings. Certain it is, he 
was no master of saying unpleasant truths in a palatable 
way. At times he spoke bluntly, often bitterly. In one 
place he exclaims: "No man of genuine decency and re- 
finement would have them [the negroes] as property on any 
terms."* Speaking of the increase that would be realized 
in the value of lands if slavery were abolished, he said, ad- 
dressing the slaveholders : "Now, sirs, this last sum is con- 
siderably more than twice as great as the estimated value of 
all your negroes, and those of you, if any there be, who are 
yet heirs to sane minds and generous hearts, must, it seems 
to us, admit that the bright prospects which freedom pre- 
sents for a wonderful increase in the value of real estate, 
ours as well as yours, to say nothing of the thousand other 
kindred considerations, ought to be quite sufficient to in- 
duce all the Southern States in their sovereign capacities to 
abolish slavery at the earliest practicable period."* In the 
same spirit he finds in the South "three odious classes of 
mankind; the slaves themselves, who are cowards; the 
slaveholders, who are tyrants; the non-slaveholding slave- 
hirers, who are lickspittles.". He arraigned severely "the 
illbreeding and ruffianism of the slaveholding officials" for 
their conduct in Washington, where, "on frequent occa- 
sions, choking with rage at seeing their wretched sophistries 
scattered to the winds by the logical reasoning of the cham- 
pions of freedom, they have overstepped the bounds of com- 
mon decency, vacated the chair of honorable controversy, 
and, in the most brutal and cowardly manner assailed their 
unarmed opponents with bludgeons, bowie-knives and pis- 
tols. Compared with some of their barbarisms at home, 
however, their frenzied onslaughts at the National Capital 
have been but the simplest breach of civil deportment, and 
it is only for the purpose of avoiding personalities that we 
refrain from divulging a few instances of the unparalleled 

» The Impending Orisis, p. 75- ' -'Wif., p. 107. » Ibid,, p. 118. 

22 Anti-Slavery Leaders of North Carolina, [282 

atrocities they have perpetrated in the legislative halls south 
of the Potomac. * * * a few years of entire freedom 
from the cares and perplexities of public life would, we have 
no doubt, greatly improve both their manners and their 
morals; and we suggest that it is a Christian duty, which 
devolves on the non-slaveholders of the South, to disrobe 
them of the mantles of office, which they have so worn with 
disgrace to themselves, injustice to their constituents, and 
ruin to their country."^ 

The last sentence brings up the non-slaveholders, whose 
wrongs he breathed out as fire. He said to the slavehold- 
ers "Do you aspire to become th€ victims of white non-slave 
holding vengeance by day, and of the barbarous massacre 
of the negroes by night? Would you be instrumental in 
bringing upon yourselves, your wives and your children, a 
fate too horrible to contemplate? Shall history cease to 
cite as an instance of unexampled cruelty the massacre of 
St. Bartholomew, because the world — ^the South — shall 
have furnished a more direful scene of atrocity and carnage? 
Sirs, we would not wantonly pluck a single hair from your 
heads ; but we have endured long, we have endured much ; 
slaves only of the most despicable class would endure more. 
* * * Out of your effects you have long since overpaid 
youselves for your negroes, and now, sirs, you must eman- 
cipate them — speedily emancipate them or we will emanci- 
pate them for you !'" This extract smacks of insurrection. 
In another place this is found: "In reason and in con- 
science, it must be admitted, the slaves might claim for them- 
selves a reasonable allowance of the proceeds of their labor. 
If they were to demand an equal share of all the property, 
real and personal, which has been accumulated or produced 
through their effort, heaven, we believe, would recognize 
them as honest claimants."* These sentiments seemingly 
grew out of a commendable sympathy for the slaves, and 
they had a certain justification in facts, yet it is impossible 

* The Impending Crisis, pp. 131-2. * Ibid,, p. 106. 

^ Ibid.f p. 142. 

288] Hintan Rowan Helper. 28 

not to see that preaching them to the slaves would have 
tended to arouse the negroes to insurrection. It is but just 
to add that such extreme statements occur rarely, and char- 
ity should prompt us to think that when they do occur they 
are but temporary feelings which sober action would repu- 

But it was the effect that the book might have on the non- 
slaveholding whites, more than its effect on the negroes, 
that the slave-owners feared. Well might they have feared 
on this score. In i8gQ the w hit e popula tiQn_.Qf .the_slaye 
States was 6, 1 84^472^ _^bp.uti^2og,oc»_ot have- 

been voters. Mr. Helper calculated on the basis of De 
Bow's census that no^jaortJiQ^cijoojOOO slaveholders we rq 
YPtgr?.^ Accordingly, the non-slaveholding voters must 
have had a vast majority of the votes. What must have 
been the result if these yotes could have been united against 
the slave power? H e appea led to the non-slaveholders. 
He told them that they had h'ad alllhe burdens of govern- 
ment and none of the benefits of legislation ; they had fur- 
nished the fighting force of the armies of the South, yet 
they had never received from the legislators even "the lim- 
ited privileges of common schools," while the slaveholders 
had gone to the North for their teachers and their skilled 
mechanics, and when asked to do so had contemptuously 
refused to redress the wrongs of the non-slaveholders. 
Today this may suggest the demagogue, but there is a deal 
of truth in it. The remedy must be political. He said: 
"Give us fair play, secure to us the right of discussion, the 
freedom of speech, and we will settle the difficulty at the 
ballot-box." His programme embraced seven principles: 
"i. Thorough organization and independent political ac- 
tion on the part of the non-slaveholding whites of the 
South. 2. Ineligibility of pro-slavery slaveholders; never 
another vote to anyone who advocates the retention and 
perpetuation of human slavery. 3. No cooperation with 
pro-slavery politicians ; no fellowship with them in religion ; 

* The Impending Crisis, p. 117. 

24 AnH'Slavery Leaders of North Carolina. [284 

no affiliation with them in society. 4. No patronage of pro- 
slavery merchants, no guestship in slave-waiting hotels ; no 
fees to pro-slavery lawyers ; no employment of pro-slavery 
physicians; no audience to pro-slavery parsons. 5. No 
hiring of slaves by non-slaveholders. 6. Abrupt discontin- 
uance of subscriptions to pro-slavery newspapers. 7. The 
greatest possible encouragement to free white labor.*** 

To put these measures into force he proposed the calling 
of a convention of non-slaveholders from every State in the 
Union. This should devise the means of fighting slavery, 
and should publish a platform of principles and invite the 
support of the non-slaveholders of the South and South- 
west. The tendency o f this scheme toward Republica n 
pnlitirs la eyidgnt. Of course the Democrats opposed it. 
Exceptions can only be taken to the methods by which 
they opposed it. It is not difficult to imagine the fate of a 
half-dozen Republican speakers, who, acting on Mr. Hel- 
per's suggestion, might have gone to North Carolina to or- 
ganize the non-slaveholding whites. An illustration of 
what would have befallen them we have in the experience of 
^ev, DanifL Wgr^|]. Were it not that slavery and the for- 
tunes of many good but mistaken people went down so 
disastrously in the avalanche of war, words could not be 
found too strong to denounce the false spirit that made it 
impossible to preach in a fair manner a doctrine of simple 
political principles and to appeal in a constitutional way to 
the best intelligence of those who were recognized as legal 
voters. More unfortunate than reprehensible was it that 
the spirit of intolerance had so taken possession of some of 
the leading people of the State as is shown by the incident 
which will now be related. 

Rev. Daniel Worth was a native of Guilford county. 
North Carolina, where, in early life, he had been a justice of 
the peace. Later he removed to Indiana, and at length be- 
came a member of the legislature in that State. Late in 
1858 he returned to the neighborhood of his birthplace as a 

^ The Impending Crisis, pp. 123-4. 

285] Hinton Rowan Helper. 25 

preacher in the Wesleyan Methodist Church. He preached 
the doctrine of his church, which was strongly anti-slavery, 
not without criticism, but, on account of the good feeling for 
his kinsmen, who were prominent people, without molesta- 
tion. He planted a church at Sandy Ridge, near James- 
town, in Guilford county, and his postoffice was New 
Salem. His church had but few members. He aroused 
the opposition of many Quakers, most of whom were for 
non-intervention in regard to slavery. Worth thought they 
should be more positive in their opposition. 

In December, 1859, after the Harper's Ferry affair, Mr. 
Worth was arrested on the charge of circulating Helper's 
book, and of preaching in a way "to make slaves and 
free negroes dissatisfied with their condition." He was 
required to give bond of $5000 for his appearance at the 
Superior Court the following spring, and of $5000 more to 
keep the peace. The first bond he gave. The second he 
thought unjust, and would not give. He was accordingly 
confined in the Greensboro jail throughout the winter. 
While there the sheriff of Randolph county arrested him on 
the same charge, and bound him over to the spring court. 
Other sheriffs waited around the place for him, fearing that 
he might be released and escape. While he was in prison 
five other men were arrested in Guilford and several more 
in Randolph, charged with having distributed Helper's 
book. One of these was Jesse Wheeler and another was 
an old man named Samuel Turner. All of these seem to 
have been natives who were converted by Mr. Worth's ap- 
peals. The Raleigh Standard bore witness to his success. 
It said that a few months before this occurrence only one 
copy of the New York Tribune came to Mr. Worth's post- 
office, and that came to Mr. Worth himself. Now twelve 
copies were received there. To this it added : "We think 
it probable that one hundred to two hundred copies of the 
Tribune are circulated in this State, together with numer- 
ous abolition pamphlets from Indiana and Ohio/' 
Wheeler alone was said to have distributed more than fifty 

26 Anti-Slavery Leaders of North Carolina, [286 

copies of "The Impending Crisis." On his trial before the 
magistrate that committed him, Mr. Worth read from the 
book in order to show that it was not incendiary, a proceed- 
ing which the Raleigh Standard seems to have considered 
especially provoking. 

The arrest occasioned great excitement in the vicinity, 
and for a time crowds surrounded the jail. A great crowd 
was in the courtroom when the case finally came to trial. 
The case was taken up and finished in one sitting. It was 
midnight when it went to the jury. In his charge the judge 
is reported to have said that "to sustain the allegation of 
seeking to excite the slaves and free colored people to dis- 
content, it was not necessary to prove that the book had 
been read by or recited to a free negro or slave, or that any 
such knew anything or any part of its contents.*'* The jury 
returned at 4 A. M. with the verdict of "guilty." The jury, 
said the Fayetteville (N. C.) Presbyterian, was composed 
largely of non-slaveholders.* The legal penalty was im- 
prisonment for not less than one year and the pillory or the 
whipping-post, in the discretion of the judge. The court 
remitted the whipping on account of the age and calling of 
the prisoner, and sentenced him to one year's imprison- 
ment. Many of the bystanders, said the New York Tribune, 
regretted the leniency of the court, and hoped that a more 
severe judge in another county might add the whipping. 
From this judgment the prisoner appealed to the Supreme 
Court of the State, and giving a bond of $3000, he was re- 
leased. He at once repaired to New York city, where he 
made anti-slavery speeches and tried to raise money enough 
to repay the loss of his bondsmen. His bondsmen were 
his sympathizers, and the court records show that they were 
required to pay the forfeited bonds. On appeal, the judg- 
ment of the lower court was confirmed. It is likely that 
the authorities of Guilford were glad to be rid of him, so 
much attention was his case attracting in the North. He 

^ See N C, Standard , Jan. 4, i860. Dec. 14 and 21, 1859. 
* Copied in The Liberator , June 15, i860. 

287] Hintan Rowan Helper. 27 

lived through the war that settled the question of slavery, 
and died within two years after its termination.* 

After the publication of "The Impending Crisis," Mr. 
Helper did not feel that it would be safe for him to return to 
his home. He accordingly remained in New York in busi- 
ness. In 1861 President Lincoln appointed him Consul to 
Buenos Ayres. He arrived at his post in the following 
spring. In 1863 he married Miss Mary Louisa Rodriguez, 
of Buenos Ayres. His official services at this place were 
satisfactory, but uneventful. In November, 1866, he re- 
signed his position and sailed for America. He made his 
home in New York city, where, with some interruptions, he 
has since continued to reside. 

It was about the time of his return from South America 
that he severed his connection with the old leaders of the 
anti-slavery cause. When he took up the study of slavery^ 
h-e took it up merely as it affeclid^the. white3. He never 
was an advocatcof the eq ual rights of t he negro. On the 
contrary, he has always had too violent aversion for them. 
To this day he will have nothing to do in a business way 
with any hotel or other enterprise that employs negroes. He 
regards the negro as an inferior race, without possibility of 
satisfactory progress, and would hail with delight the day 
when not one of the race should be in the country. These 
views are not wanting in "The Impending Crisis ;" but in 
1857 they were overshadowed, both in his own and in the 
popular mind, by the question of the evil effects of slavery 
on the whites. With the question of slavery gone, his mind 
turned to the negro. H-e saw how much the presence of 
the negro had retarded Southern progress, and he con- 
ceived a positive dislike for the whole race. While in 
Buenos Ayres a friend requested him to furnish American 
papers of protection to a negro, but he stoutly declined, on 
the ground that the "United States of America are already 
burdened with four million too many" of negroes. 

* Sec Helper's **Nojoquc", p. 199. 

28 Anti-Slavery Leaders of North Carolina. [288 

When he returned to North America the Republicans 
were coming to deal with the negro problem. Their attitude 
did not meet with his approval. His pen, always facile, at 
once went to work ; and by the middle of the next year he 
published "No[ojjue, a Question for a Continent." Mr. 
Helper's best friends must regret that he should have writ- 
ten this book. It is a severe, and, at times, an unreasonably 
violent, attack on the negro. It assailed, in the strongest 
way, what it stigmatized as the "Black Congress," and pro- 
posed an alliance between white Republicans and loyal 
Democrats, which, having secured control of the govern- 
ment, should offer the negroes aid to get out of the country 
by a specified time. Those that did not go should be sent 
away by main force or "be quickly fossilized in bulk be- 
neath the subsoil of America." The plan was, in short, to 
expel as many as could be persuaded to go, and to massacre 
the others. As a part of the history of the time, the book 
deserves no consideration. It is only in connection with its 
author, who did before this a great part in a most important 
work, that it need be mentioned at all. It is charitable to 
say that recent events had so accustomed Mr. Helper to 
death that he was inconsiderate of the value of human rights 
and human life. As to his estimate of the negro, it is 
enough, in view of the development of opinion on the sub- 
ject both North and South, to say that he underestimated 
the blacks. Two other books in the same spirit followed 
closely on "Nojoque." These were "Negroes in Negro- 
land," and "Noonday Exigencies." 

One result of these later books was to sever completdy 
his relations with the old leaders of the Abolitionists. His 
failure to accept the theory of the equality of man had always 
prevented them from receiving him with warmth. They 
now dropped him altogether, and Henry Wilson, in 1875, 
when he wrote the "History of the Rise and Fall of the Slave 
Power in America," failed to give him credit for the great 
influence of "The Impending Crisis." The cause seems to 
have been the views of the negro problem expressed in 
these post-bellum publications. 

289] Benjamin Sherwood Hedrick. 29 

Mr. Helper's later years have been given to the promo- 
tion of the Intercontinental Railroad, a scheme by which it 
is proposed to build a railway from some point in the upper 
Mississippi basin, through Mexico and Central America, 
across the highlands on the east of the Andes and across the 
plains to Buenos Ayres. Later developments would ex- 
tend this road until it should at last reach the Hudson Bay 
on the north, and the Straits of Magellan on the south. He 
removed to St. Louis, Mo., that he might better push this 
scheme. With characteristic ardor he offered large prizes 
for the five best essays on the advantage of his scheme, and 
then published these essays at his own cost. In various 
ways he has spent on this project $48,000 out of his own 
pocket. The recent Pan-American Congress took up the 
matter and secured appropriations by the various nations 
for the support of an Intercontinental Railway Commission, 
which has offices in Washington city. Three corps of engi- 
neers have been sent to survey the routes. Their work is 
accomplished, and the reports will soon be published.^ In 
the meantime certain roads have been built independently 
of one another, which may easily be used as sections of the 
proposed larger system. The evident advantage of such a 
road makes it certain that as the countries through which it 
will pass become more thickly settled it will necessarily be 
built. Mr. Helper's scheme, and the most commendable 
persistence he has shown in his thirty years of sacrifice and 
effort in its behalf, has drawn the eyes of business men 
toward the opportunity, and in the day when it shall be 
made a real fact the pluck of its promoter will be appreci- 
ated by the public. At present Mr. Helper remains a hale 
and active man of sixty-seven, kind to those who call on 
him, and ever hopeful for the project which he has on his 

Benjamin Sherwood Hedrick. 

Benjamin Sherwood Hedrick, eldest son of John Leonard 
Hedrick and Elizabeth Sherwood Hedrick, was bom in 

> This fact was recorded in 1896. Later information is not at hand. 

80 Anti-Slavery Leaders of North Carolina, [290 

Davidson county, near Salisbury, N. C, February 13, 1827. 
The name indicates that the family was sprung from the 
German stock, which had a large share in settling this part 
of the State. John^Leon^;d Hedrick was a farmer on .a. 
moderate, scale. He was able to give his children the ad- 
vantages of the neighborhood schools, and to give them 
enough property to serve for a start in life. The boy, Ben- 
jamin, attended the neighborhood schools, and fitted for 
college under Rev. Jesse Rankin, a Presbyterian minister of 
Salisbury. There is a story, told and reiterated in the heat 
of the controversy that afterwards arose, that his father 
offered him the choice of a college education or property 
enough to begin life on. For the boy there could be no 
hesitation in a case like this. He took the opportunity to 
get an education. In 1847 he entered the university of the 
State at Chapel Hill, and in 185 1 he graduated with the 
highest distinction. His mind was of a scientific turn, and 
he made fine progress in chemistry and mathematics. At 
this time Hon. W. A. Graham, Secretary of the Navy, 
and a native North Carolinian, asked President Swain, of 
the university, to recommend a young man to be appointed 
as clerk in the office of the Nautical Almanac. President 
Swain recommended Mr. Hedrick, who immediately re- 
ceived the appointment. The duties of this office seem to 
have been at Cambridge, Mass., and by this means the 
young graduate was able to take advanced instruction in 
Harvard College. While there he studied chemistry under 
the great Agassiz. In 1852 he was married to Miss Mary 
Ellen Thompson, daughter of William Thompson, of 
Orange county. North Carolina. In 1854 he was recalled 
to his Alma Mater to take the Chair of Analytical and Agri- 
cultural Chemistry. This position he held until October, 
1856, when he was expelled from the faculty for causes con- 
nected with his views on slavery. 

It is not hard to trace the development of Professor Hed- 
rick's views on slavery. His birth and his early surround- 
ings had put him in sympathy with that large number of 

291] Benjamin Sherwood Hedrick. 81 

small farmers in the western part of the State, who, as we 
have already seen, were generally opposed to slavery. His 
boyhood home was near Lock's Bridge, on the Yadkin 
river, and on the road that led through that part of the State 
from Virginia to South Carolina. He declared that he had 
seen on this road as many as two thousand slaves in one day 
going to the south, and most of them in the hands of specu- 
lators. This seems to have made a deep impression on his 
sensitive nature. In later life he became convinced that it 
was a very harmful taking away of property which ought to 
be left in the State to develop it. The people around him 
had great cause to complain of slavery. They were mostly 
workers themselves, and felt all the hardships that free labor 
must suffer in competition with slave labor. Many of them, 
through this very reason, had been driven from the State. 
"Of my neighbors, friends and kindred," said Professor 
Hedrick in his defence, "nearly one-half have left the State 
since I was old enough to remember. Many is the time I 
have stood by the loaded emigrant wagon and given the 
parting hand to those whose faces I was never to look upon 
again. They were going to seek homes in the free West, 
knowing, as they did, that free and slave labor could not 
both exist and prosper in the same community." This 
statement he supported by showing that in 1850, according 
to De Bow's census, which ought to be good Southern 
authority, there were in Indiana alone 33,000 native North 
Carolinians, while in all the free West there were 58,000. 
This was enough to make an Abolitionist out of a less re- 
sponsive nature than Professor Hedrick's. These facts had 
an early influence on him. His stay in the North only con- 
firmed this conclusion. It was easy enough for a young 
man of the planter class, used to the luxury of his Southern 
home, to spend some time in the North without becoming 
convinced that in general social welfare the North was ahead 
of the South. It was far easier for a young man of the 
middle class, used to the hardships and limitations of the 

33 Anti' Slavery Leaders of North Carolina. [392 

free labor of the South, to go to the North and come to an 
entirely opposite conclusion ; and it was not a very remote 
mental process to conclude, further, that this difference was 
due to slavery. Young Hedrick was sprung from the mid- 
dle class of farmers, and his mind naturally went through 
the process that has been indicated. 

All accounts of Professor Hedrick agree that he was a 
man of singular gentleness of character. In a private letter 
to the writer, Mr. Hinton R. Helper, who knew Professor 
Hedrick well, says : "With all his virtues, and he was full 
of them, modesty, amounting almost to bashfulness, was 
one of his peculiar characteristics." Such a man was not 
likely to create strife deliberately. Honest, gentle, intelli- 
gent, he was, it is but fair to think, more competent to know 
the right thing to do in the position in which he was placed 
than we whom a wide interval of time and interests has re- 
moved from him. Let us assume in what shall follow that 
he acted as properly as one might expect from a man of 
such a character. 

In August, 1856, there was an election of State officers in 
North Carolina. Professor Hedrick went to the polls in the 
village of Chapel Hill, in which the university is located, 
and voted for the Democratic candidates. A bystander 
asked him if he intended to vote the same ticket in the 
national election in November following. It is likely that 
his views on slavery were known, and that this question was 
asked to make him commit himself in public. He replied 
that he did not know. He was then asked if he would vote 
the Whig ticket, and he answered in the negative. Finally 
he was asked if he would vote for Fremont. To this he 
answered very frankly that he would so vote if a Republican 
electoral ticket should be formed in the State. There was 
no attempt to conceal his intention, and it at once became 
known among both students and villagers. Mr. Helper, in 
the letter already quoted, says that time and time again Pro- 
fessor Hedrick assured him that he never once sought to 

293] Benjamin Sherwood Hedrick. 33 

disseminate his views among the students or other persons 
around the place. 

This was in August. No active opposition seems to have 
been made to these views by those closely associated with 
him who held them. In the North Carolina Standard^ / 
Raleigh, N. C, the leading Democratic newspaper of the / / 
State, there appeared on September 13, 1856, a short article 
under the title, "Fremont in the South," the concluding par- 
agraph of which declared: "If _th ere be Frpmnnt men 
among us, lej ihem^Jbe silenced or. i::fiauLre(LlQ Jesyc— XA^ 
expression^ gfjbl ack Republ ican opinions in our midst isincomr 
Patibie withjmr honor and safety^asjk£,ejipkj^ If at all neces- 
sary, we shall refer to this matter again. Let our schools 
and seminaries of learning be scrutinized ; and if black Re- 
publicans be found in them, let them be driven out. That 
man is neither a fit nor a safe instructor of our young men 
who even inclines to Fremont and black Republicanism." 
The editor of the Standard, Mr. W. W. Holden, was a man 
of strong editorial ability. He is said to have boasted that 
in North Carolina affairs he could kill and make alive. It 
seems to have been in some such spirit as this that he now 
turned his guns on the Abolitionist in the university faculty. 
It was undoubtedly his deliberate purpose to drive Professor 
Hedrick from his position. Two weeks after the appear- 
ance of the article just quoted, the Standard contained a 
communication, signed "An Alumnus," which brought up 
the subject in a more direct manner. The writer began by 
calling attention to the danger of sending Southern youths 
to Northern colleges, where they would be taught "black 
Republicanism," and then shifted to the article in the issue 
of September 13, just mentioned. He goes on to say: "We 
have been reliably informed that a professor in our State 
university is an open and avowed supporter of Fremont, 
and declares his willingness, nay, his desire, to support a 
black Republican ticket, and a want of a Fremont electoral 
ticket in North Carolina is the only barrier to this Southern 

34 Anti-Slavery Leaders of North Carolina, [294 

professor from carrying out his patriotic wishes. Is he a fU 
or safe instructor fcr our young men?*' This professor, says 
Alumnus, ought to be dismissed from his position, and if 
the faculty and trustees have no power to dismiss him, the 
legislature at its approaching session ought to take up the 
matter. With feelings highly outraged, he asks: "Upon 
what ground can a Southern instructor, relying for his sup- 
port upon Southern money, selected to impart healthy in- 
struction to the sons of Southern slave-owners, and in- 
debted for his situation to a Southern State, excuse his sup- 
port of Fremont with a platform which eschews the fathers 
of his pupils and the State from whose university he received 
his station?" 

All this was plainly aimed at Professor Hedrick. He 
consulted his friends as to what he should do. He was ad- 
vised to say nothing, since any defence he should make 
would not be believed. One of his colleagues made a visit 
to Hillsborough about that time, and came back with the 
information that the articles in the Standard had made a 
deep impression on the inhabitants of that town. Several 
of the trustees were said to be denouncing Professor Hed- 
rick as an "Abolitionist," which he was, and as "a stirrer up 
of the poor against the rich," which he certainly was not. 
The accused remained silent no longer. He wrote a de- 
fence of his position, which was published in the Standard 
of October 4, 1856. Had he been playing a game with his 
enemies this would have been a bad play. It gave them an 
opportunity of bringing a definite charge against him. Had 
he kept silent, the burden of proof would have remained on 
them. Moreover, it gave them an opportunity of avoiding 
the real issue, and of proceeding against him for taking part 
as a professor in the university in partisan politics ; although 
it must be confessed that it was in the slightest sense partisan 
to express a preference for a party that was not organized 
or likely to be organized in the State in which he must vote. 
On the other hand, Professor Hedrick had his rights. 
He was a self-directing and a self-accounting citizen, and it 

295] Benjamin Sherwood Hedrick, 85 

was perfectly right for him to express his opinion on a public 
question about which he was being abused in the public 
prints. Regardless of the question of expediency, his course 
was ingenuous and manly. In the light of present knowl- 
edge, the South knows that he spoke the truth, and one 
ought not to criticise a man for speaking the truth, espe- 
cially if he be an instructor in an institution of learning, 
which ought at all times to be a leader of truth. 

Professor Hedrick's statement was made in a spirit of 
fairness, and with far less temper than either the editor or 
"An Alumnus" had shown. Owning readily that he was the 
man aimed at in the Standard, he avowed with frankness 
that he preferred Fremont for President, and gave two rea- 
sons — (i) because he liked the man, and (2) because Fre- 
mont was on the right side of the slavery question. Dis- 
cussing the latter reason, he branched out into an argument 
against slavery, perhaps the only anti-slavery argument ever 
admitted to the columns of the Standard, This feature 
made five-sixths of his article. He cited the views of 
Washington,. Jefferson, Henry, Madison and Randolph on 
slavery. The works of these statesmen were much read in 
the library of the university. He said that in the western 
part of the State popular sentiment was against slavery, and 
that a large number of people had gone from there to the 
West. He made the point that the continual taking away 
of slaves for the far South cut off a great deal of the labor 
of the State that ought to be left to develop it. He de- 
clared that he had nothing to do with the politics of the 
students, adding : 'They would not have known my own 
predilections in the present contest had not one of the num- 
ber asked me which candidate I preferred." Of '*An Alum- 
nus" he said : "I shall not attempt to abridge his liberty in 
the least, but my own opinion I will have, whether he is will- 
ing to grant me that right of every freeman or not. I be- 
lieve I have had quite as good an opportunity as he has to 
form an opinion on the question now to be settled. And 
when 'Alumnus' talks of 'driving me out' for sentiments 


S6 Anti-Slavery LecuUrs of North Carolina. [296 


once held by [Washington and Jefferson] I cannot help 
thinking that he is becoming rather fanatical." He closed 
by saying: "I do not claim infallibility for my opinions. 
Wiser and better men than I have been mistaken. But 
holding, as I do, the doctrines once advocated by Washing- 
ton and Jefferson, I think I should be met by arguments, 
and not by denunciation." 

Having tormented its victim until he had forced him into 
a position of public condemnation, the editor of the Standard 
now proceeded to destroy him in the most systematic man- 
ner. In an editorial in the same issue with Professor Hed- 
rick's defence it was declared that it could not be expected 
of " 'An Alumnus' or any other citizen of this State to argue 
with a black Republican." The editor repeated that a man 
who "even inclines to Fremont and black Republicanism" 
is not fit to be an instructor in the university. He added : 
"This is a matter, however, for the trustees of the univer- 
sity. We take it for granted that Professor Hedrick will 
be promptly removed."* A week later "A Trustee of the 
University" took up the matter in the same paper, saying : 
"This sentiment, avowed by one of the professors, will sink 
the institution, now grown to giant size and still increasing, 
unless the trustees forthwith expel that traitor to all South- 
em interests from the seat he now so unworthily fills. He 
should be ordered away as a foul stain on the escutcheon of 
the university to show to the country that the institution is 
a sanctuary from such vile pollution." A correspondent 
from Norfolk, Va., wrote also in the same strain. 

Before these two letters were written the university fac- 
ulty had considered the case. The defence had appeared 
on Saturday, October 4. The paper must have reached 
Chapel Hill not sooner than Saturday afternoon. At noon 
on Monday following the faculty was called together by 

* This editorial and Prof. Hedrick's defence were reprinted in the 
New York Trihune (semi-weekly), Oct. 17, 1856, and in the New 
York Herald (weekly), Oct. 18, 1856, and possibly elsewhere. 

297] Benjamin Sherwood Hedrick. 87 

President Swain, all the members being present. In call- 
ing up the matter the president said: ''In an institution 
sustained like this, by all denominations and parties, nothing 
should be permitted to be done calculated to disturb the 
harmonious intercourse of those who support and those 
who direct and govern it. And this is well known to have 
been the policy and practice during a long series of years."^^ 
The communication of President Swain was referred to a 
committee consisting of Professors Mitchell, Phillips and 
Hubbard. These reported as follows : 

• * Resolved : 

«'i. That the course pursued by Professor Hedrick, set 
forth in his publication in the North Carolina Standard of 
the 4th inst., is not warranted by our usages, and that the 
political opinions expressed are not those entertained by 
another member of this body. 

**2. That while we feel bound to declare our sentiments 
freely upon this occasion, we entertain none other than feel- 
ings of personal kindness and respect for the subject of 
them, and sincerely regret the indiscretion into which he 
seems in this instance to have fallen." 

After a brief discussion the resolutions were adopted, 
Messrs. Mitchell, Phillips, Fetter, Hubbard, Wheat, Phipp, 
C. Phillips, Brown, Pool, Lucas, Battle and Wetmore voting 
in the affirmative. Mr. Harrisse voted in the negative, 
''simply on the ground that the faculty is neither charged 
with black Republicanism nor likely to be suspected of it." 
He considered the whole affair as personal to Professor 
Hedrick. The students of the university expressed their 
sentiments by assembling on the campus as soon as the 
Standard containing the defence was received, and by burn- 
ing the professor in effigy to the tolling of the bell. 

On October ii, the executive committee of the board of 
trustees of the university met in Raleigh, Governor Bragg 
presiding, the sole purpose being, apparently, to dispose of 

^ North Carolina Standard, Oct. 15, 1856. 

88 AtUi'Slavery Leaders of North Carolina. [298 

this matter. From the minutes of the meeting I take the 

"The president laid before the committee a political essay 
by Professor Hedrick, published in the North Carolina 
Standard of the 4th inst., together with sundry letters and 
papers relating thereto. Whereupon, 

"Resolved, That the executive committee has seen, with 
great regret, the publication of Professor Hedrick in the 
Standard of the 4th inst., because it violates the established 
usage of the university, which forbids any professor to be- 
come an agitator in the exciting politics of the day, and is 
well calculated to injure the prosperity and usefulness of the 

"Resolved, That the prompt action of the faculty of the 
university on the 6th inst. meets with the cordial approba- 
tion of this committee. 

"Resolved, That in the opinion of the committee, Mr. 
Hedrick has greatly if not entirely destroyed his power to be 
of further benefit to the university in the office which he now 

These resolutions were passed unanimously. 

While the specific words were not used, this was in reality 
a dismissal. The next issue of the Standard announced, 
"with much gratification," the removal of Professor Hed- 
rick. Referring to his probable course in the future, the 
paper further said: "If the Abolitionists should take him 
up the history of his conduct will follow him, and they will 
know, as he will feel, that they have received into their 
bosom a dangerous but congenial and ungrateful thing." 
This was a bitter thrust at a defeated antagonist. It is 
worth noting, because it says not one syllable about the 
offence of writing a political letter. The Standard a week 
later took up the matter again, and laid down its general 
doctrine as follows : "We say now, after due consideration, 
but with no purpose to make any special application of the 
remark, that no man who is avowedly for John C. Fremont 
for President ought to be allowed to breathe the air or tread 
the soil of North Carolina." 

299] Benjamin Sherwood Hedrick, 39 

The cause assigned for the dismissal of Professor Hed- 
rick became afterwards a matter of dispute. The Wilming" 
ton Commercial said at the time, in reference to the action 
of the executive committee : "It was not extra-judicial, as 
some persons suppose. Some years ago, on account of the 
introduction of certain political influences into the univer- 
sity, the trustees established a standing rule that neither pro- 
fessors nor scholars should engage in political conflicts. It 
was under this rule that Mr. Hedrick was dismissed, in con- 
sequence of his perseverance in wrong-doing, after being 
duly admonished that he was violating a law of the institu- 
tion. The wisdom of this regulation will be quite apparent 
to every reflecting mind."* As to when Professor Hedrick 
had been "duly admonished," or in what sense he had been 
guilty of "perseverance in wrong-doing," does not appear 
from any evidence obtainable. On the contrary, Mr. Helper 
says that Professor Hedrick said time and time again that he 
never once tried to convert a student to his views. The 
above utterance does not seem to have been seen by Profes- 
sor Hedrick until his return to the State in the following 
January. Then he sent the Wilmington Commercial a com- 
plete statement, which is worthy of extensive quotation. 
He said, after quoting the charge above mentioned : 

"Now all this about the trustees having established any 
such a rule as the one referred to above is a pure fabrica- 
tion. No such rule exists, and, of course, I could not vio- 
late it or be 'duly admonished' in regard to it. But you say 
I persevered in wrong-doing after I was duly admonished 
that I was violating a law of the institution. This is utterly 
false. I was assailed in two different issues of the Standard, 
I was charged with being a dangerous member of the com- 
munity, and the editor called upon the mob to drive me 
from the State as an outlaw. Under these circumstances, I 
wrote my defence, declaring that I held no opinions inim- 
ical to the peace and welfare of the State, that in oppos- 

* Reprinted in the Hillsboro Recorder ^ Nov. 12, 1856. 

40 AnH'Slavery Leaders of North Carolina. [300 

ing the extension of slavery I was but holding the doctrines 
of the best and greatest of Southern men that have lived. 
The publication of this defence is the sum and substance of 
my offending. The editor of the Standard said, without 
waiting for the action of the committee, that he took it for 
granted that I would be removed. Several of the trustees, 
since reading my defence and the assaults of the Standard, 
have assured me that I acted just as a high-minded and hon- 
orable man should have acted under the circumstances. 

"The trustees have never been able to assign any reason 
for my dismissal, except that Holden and the mobocracy 
required it, and Holden and the mobocracy must be obeyed 
or the stars might fall, or some other equally great calamity 
happen to the State. 

**But some will say that I violated a usage of the faculty 
in defending myself against the attack of the Standard, 
That is as false as the charge of violating a law of the insti- 
tution. It is true the faculty have always refrained from 
taking any prominent part in the politics of the day. But 
they have always expressed their party preferences as freely 
as other citizens, who do not make a trade of politics, and 
when necessary have resorted to the press to give publicity 
to their opinions on this same vexed slavery question. The 
same 'usage' exists in regard to the judges. But during the 
late contest Judge Saunders, before I wrote my * defence,' 
addressed a letter to his political friends in Baltimore, which 
was designed to influence the election, and it was largely 
circulated by the party presses in the State. No one, how- 
ever, thought of dismissing Judge Saunders for his breach 
of 'usage.' And as he was one of the executive committee 
of the board of trustees, of course he had too much regard 
for consistency to vote for dismissing me for doing no more 
than he did himself. 

'The following sentence from an editorial in the Standard 
explains the whole matter. The editor says : 'Our object 
was to rid the State and the university of an avowed Fre- 
mont man, and we have succeeded.' This explains the ac- 

SOI] Benjamin Sherwood Hedrick. 41 

tion of the board, and there is no need to resort to 'rules' 
which never existed, or to usages which have nothing to do 
with the matter. 

"The act establishing the university says that the board 
of trustees may remove a professor for misbehavior, in- 
ability or neglect of duty, and they shall have power to make 
all such laws and regulations for the government of the 
university and preservation of order and good morals 
therein, as are usually made in such seminaries, and as to 
them may appear necessary ; provided, the same are not con- 
trary to the inalienable liberty of a citizen and the laws of a 

"If it is a misbehavior to defend oneself against the de- 
nunciations of a fanatical party paper, then the trustees 
have dismissed me with a show of reason. The 'inalienable 
liberty of a citizen' is little worth if it be to cost one the 
labor of years to claim a voice in the election of a President, 
and when accused of holding opinions dangerous to the 
community, not to be permitted to say to the slanderer that 
the charge is false. My defence has not been reprinted in 
a single paper in the State; and yet, in order to drive me 
from my home and kindred, it has everywhere been pub- 
lished that I was an Abolitionist and the mob excited 
against me. I have asked that my letter be published to 
speak for itself and me, but in every instance the editors 
have refused me even that, whilst at the same time many 
have not hesitated to circulate every paragraph that could 
work against me. 

"The papers which have in any way given currency to 
the notice that I was dismissed for violating any law of the 
university or the State, will, I hope, do me the justice to 
publish this note." 

To this plain argument the Commercial of February 5, 
1857, the same issue in which the above communication ap- 
peared, replied editorially : 

* See Laws of 1789, Chap. 20, section 8. 

42 Anti' Slavery Lenders of North Carolina. [303 

"In another column is a communication from Professor 
Hedrick, containing animadversions on the course of Mr. 
Holden, of the Standard, and the party to which he belongs. 
In regard to the 'established rule/ we do not recollect now 
who was our authority for it, but we well remember that we 
considered it reliable, certainly as mtKh so as any statement 
made by Mr. Hedrick can be. 

"Mr. Hedrick is hardly entitled to the courtesy we show 
him, for, by using the term 'Holden and Mobocracy,' he 
offers an insult to the great and powerful and patriotic party 
with which we have the honor to act. However, we let that 
pass, for our readers will have a great opportunity of ob- 
serving the great advantages of collegiate attainments and 
station in the charming style in which the professor turns up 
the 'pure Saxon.' Young man, too, we believe. Quite 
smart for his age, certainly. Very bad, indeed, that the 
youth of our university must lose the benefits of his fine 
examples and specimens of Addisonian purity and style of 
elegance and diction. Was he somewhat in a passion when 
he wrote the words false, falsehood, etc? Well I We won- 
der I His language being so strong, so argumentative, so 
convincing, we dare say his gesticulations would be mag- 
nificent. We trust that the faculty will permit Mr. Hedrick 
to recite the communication we publish to the scholars, so 
that they may lose nothing of its beauties, either as regards 
its sentiments or the lessons that may be derived from ac- 
tion. Action IS everything according to the notion of De- 
mosthenes — 'action, action, action,' was his motto. Let 
somebody see Mr. Hedrick act the thing." 

Here are two articles, each of which may be left to speak 
for the merits of the side it advocates. On the one side we 
have a clear, strong argument, unanswerable, a sense of 
outrage, a protest against passion; on the other we have 
an avoidance of argument in the beginning, a ruthless 
unwillingness to concede a desire for truth to the other 
side, an appeal to passion, and a supercilious tone of super- 
iority. It was a great misfortune for the South that the 

803] Benjamin Sherwood Hedrick. 43 

defence of slavery should have committed it so decidedly 
to habits of denunciation and intolerance. It was the em- 
bittering of tempers naturally sweet, to which only years 
can bring back their gentleness. 

On October 21, 1856, there was an educational conven- 
tion in Salisbury, which, it will be remembered, was near 
Professor Hedrick's boyhood home. Before the recent 
trouble Professor Hedrick had been appointed a delegate to 
this convention, and now he decided to attend. One object 
in going was to learn what was the opinion of the people in 
that part of the State in regard to his case. In Salisbury 
he stopped at the house of Rev. Jesse Rankin, who had pre- 
pared him for college, and who was then conducting a 
girls' boarding school in that place. In the evening he went 
to the Presbyterian Church, where the sessions of the con- 
vention were held. He took a seat in the gallery, and seeing 
his father in another part of the gallery, he went over and 
sat beside him. This helped to attract attention to his pres- 
ence. It was soon generally known that he was in the build- 
ing. A crowd began to collect outside, shouting his name 
and in various ways evincing an ugly disposition. Their 
object, said the town paper, was to disgrace him and to force 
him to leave the place. This made him the object of the 
gaze of a large part of the audience. Some called him 
''Fremont" in derision. The children, misunderstanding 
the allusion, thought he was Fremont, and looked on with 
wonder and dread. One of them remarked in his hearing 
that he "was a dreadful little man to be President." Pro- 
fessor Hedrick was embarrassed, and drew his cloak around 
his face. When the convention adjourned he started out, 
accompanied by his father and his former teacher. Directly 
facing the door he saw an effigy of himself, gotten up by 
some of the young men, and by the side of it a transparency, 
on which were the words : "Hedrick, leave, or take tar and 
feathers I" This effigy was burned in the presence of him- 
self and nearly every other member of the convention. The 
mob gave three groans for the object of their displeasure, 

44 Anti-Slavery Leaders of North Carolina. [304 

who, for his part, accompanied by his father and Mr. Ran- 
kin, retired to his lodgings. The passion of the mob was 
now aroused. They could not forbear to torture as long as 
their victim was within reach. Between 200 and 300 
marched to the boarding school, where they serenaded the 
hated Abolitionist in true ''Calathumpian style," as the 
Raleigh Standard pronounced it. They shouted, hisse'd, 
gave three groans and demanded that he leave town or take 
an application of "the juice of the pine and the hair of the 
goose." They even threatened to enter the house and do 
him personal violence. In the words of the local paper, 
they ''proceeded in a most riotous and reprehensive manner 
to compel Hedrick to leave town." Finally the mob was 
quieted by several prominent citizens, who do not seem, be- 
fore this, to have exerted themselves in the matter. The 
crowd went to their homes. Professor Hedrick agreeing to 
leave before daylight. Commenting on this occurrence, the 
Salisbury Banner said : "We regret this unfortunate occur- 
rence as well as every lover of quiet, yet it was a certain 
demonstration that black Republicans and their infamous 
principles cannot and will not be tolerated in this goodly 
land of ours. We admire the spirit, but regret the neces- 
sity of the manner, in which the condemnation was made."* 
Early next morning the young man, hunted from the 
scenes of his boyhood like a criminal, took his way to the 
house of his brother, who lived near the railroad station of 
Lexington. To the latter place he at length went with his 
father to take the train for his home in Chapel 
Hill. Fearing trouble, the two separated. The pre- 
caution was well taken. An excited crowd had 
gathered, and suspecting that Professor Hedrick might 
be on board, they searched the cars for him. By 

> The story as given in The Salisbury Republican Banner, Oct 
28, 1856, was reprinted in the Boston Traveller, Nov. 6, 1856. A 
slig^htly varying: account is that of the Raleigh Standard, Nov. 6, 
1856. From these two narratives as well as from facts furnished by 
Prof. Hedrick's family the above has been reproduced. 

S05] Benjamin Sherwood Hedrick. 45 

getting on the train at the last moment he was able to 
elude his pursuers, and to reach his home in safety. A few 
days later he left the State for the North. It was reported 
at the time that a meeting to express approval of the action 
of the university authorities was planned in Hillsborough, 
but that its promoters gave it up for fear that it might be 
turned against them and made to express approval of Pro- 
fessor Hedrick. 

In January, 1857, the fugitive returned to the State. The 
excitement of the campaign had subsided, and there was no 
further political gain in persecuting him. He was allowed 
to come and go in peace. It was at this time that he wrote 
his statement for the Wilmington Commercial. It was also 
at this time that the following, which I find among his 
papers, was written: 

University of North Carolina, 

Chapel Hill, N. C, February 2, 1857. 

The proceedings of the faculty in the foregoing case were 
dictated by the sense of duty ; and subsequent reflection has 
produced no change of opinion as to the course pursued. 
We regret most sincerely that a departure from the usages 
of the institution rendered [necessary] any action on our 

We repeat now, what w€ said then, that we entertain for 
Professor Hedrick none other than feelings of kindness and 
respect ; and we cheerfully add our decided testimony to his 
high natural abilities and scholarly attainments. We be- 
lieve that in these respects, especially as a mathematician 
and analytical chemist, he has few superiors of his age. 
(Signed), D. L. SWAIN, Pres., 

E. MITCHELL, Chem. Prof., 

F. M. HUBBARD, Lat. Prof., 

J. T. WHEAT, Logic and Rhet. Prof. 

What could have been the occasion for this paper I am 
unable to learn. It is possible that friends of Professor 

46 Anti-Slavery Leaders of North Carolina, [306 

Hedrick had asked for a modification of the former action 
of the faculty. It cannot have been meant for a letter of 
recommendation, for five days later these same professors, 
with one other, signed such a letter in regular form, in 
which they spoke most flatteringly of their former colleague 
as a man and as a scholar. 

From North Carolina Professor Hedrick went to New 
York. Here he was employed as a clerk in the Mayor's 
office, at the same time lecturing and teaching in the city. 
In 1861 he gave up this work to become a principal exam- 
iner in the United States Patent Office in the Department 
of Chemistry and Metallurgy, where he remained till his 
death. From 1872 till 1876 he was also Professor of Chem- 
istry and Toxicology in the University of Georgetown. 
During the war he relieved many distressed fugitives and 
prisoners from North Carolina. This was a work in which 
his gentle nature took great delight. After the war he was 
an earnest worker for the restoration of civil order in his 
native State. He died at his residence in Washington, Sep- 
tember 2, 1886. 

Of his scientific services in the Patent Office this is not 
the place to speak at length. His long period of service in- 
dicates that his work was entirely satisfactory. An asso- 
ciate in the Patent Office, in an article in The American 
Inventor (Cincinnati, Ohio,) September, 1886, speaks of this 
part of his career. From this article a few facts will be 
taken. When he came to take charge of his work, Profes- 
sor Hedrick saw that but few patents were issued, and the 
business of the officials seems to have been thought to be to 
"head off inventors and kill inventions. * * * There 
was no sort of sympathy with the inventors, and but small 
desire to aid them in perfecting and obtaining the patents." 
This he thought wrong. He adopted a more liberal policy 
in his own department. His associates were shocked. They 
thought him a radical. But the commissioner, Mr. Hollo- 
way, was broad-minded and fair, and Professor Hedrick's 
"anti-slavery record was so pronounced that no scorn or ill- 

S07] Daniel Reaves Goodloe. 47 

will had any adverse influence on him." He held his posi- 
tion, and in the course of time the whole office came to 
espouse his policy in reference to inventions. It was due 
chiefly to this movement which he set going that the Patent 
Office began its great development immediately after the 
war. Many of the patents that he granted were hotly con- 
tested, but the courts almost always sustained his judgment. 
In the course of time he was generally recognized as one of 
the most efficient, if, indeed, not the most efficient, of all the 
men in the office in which he served. 

Daniel Reaves Goodloe. 

Daniel Reaves Gkx)dIoe was bom in Louisburg, N. C, 
May 28, 1814. His ancestors came from Virginia to North 
Carolina. His father read medicine, but never practised it. 
He was a school teacher, although, from his early leaning 
toward medicine, he continued to be called "Dr. Gkx)dloe." 
Not far back in the family there was a fortunate combina- 
tion of English, Welsh, Danish and Huguenot blood. Mr. 
Goodloe's mother was of a Welsh family named Jones. In 
neither origin nor association was he connected with the 
class of large slaveholders. In his youth he attended the 
"old field" schools of the place, where he acquired the merest 
rudiments of knowledge. Later on he entered the Louis- 
burg Academy, which was supported by the prominent 
families of the neighborhood, and had the reputation of be- 
ing among the best schools of its kind in the State. His 
progress here was not great, however. When he left the 
school he could boast of no learning beyond the English 
branches, except a "smattering of Latin." Later in life he 
went to Tennessee, Lnd there, at Mt. Pleasant, Maury 
county, studied mathematics, with good results, under a 
Harvard graduate named Blake. When still a boy he went 
to Oxford, N.C., and entered a printing establishment there, 
his purpose being to learn the printer's trade. This period 
of his life he recognizes as of great formative value in his 

48 Anti-Slavery Leaders of North Carolina, [808 

mental development. Typesetting taught him, as he him- 
self says, ''to analyze sentences and to discard, in my mind, 
superfluous and inappropriate words. Perhaps the slow 
process of putting the types together was favorable to this 
result. At any rate, I have always regarded those years 
thus spent as not the (east advantageous to me in the matter 
of mental training." 

After two years and one-half of apprenticeship, Mr. 
Goodloe, then just of age, tried a newspaper venture of his 
own. He began in Oxford, N. C, the publication of The 
Examiner, The venture was ill-timed, and soon ended in 
disaster. The editor, encumbered with debt and disgusted 
with newspapers, went, after some wanderings in Tennes- 
see, back to Louisburg to read law. After a year's study 
he was licensed to practise in the county courts, and a year 
later, in January, 1842, secured permission to practise in all 
State courts. He settled in Louisburg and waited for cases. 
For nearly two years he waited, but with little success. He 
had no aptitude for public speaking, and did not succeed 
in acquiring the facility in argument which is necessary in 
the general practice of country courts. Mr. Priestly H. 
Mangum, a brother of Senator Mangum, and a lawyer of 
prominence, saw this deficiency in the young man, and ad* 
vised him that it might be overcome by running for some 
political office. The necessity of defending publicly his 
position, thought Mr. Mangum, would develop fluency of 
speech. Franklin county, of which Louisburg is the county 
seat, was at that time overwhelmingly Whig. Mr. Goodloe 
was a Whig. His most intimate friends were leading 
Whigs, and they offered to put him in nomination. "But/* 
says Mr. Goodloe, "I had a thorn in the flesh, which re- 
strained me. I had a profound conviction of the evils of 
slavery, moral and economical. The agitation had not then 
reached to fever heat, but it was rising, and it began to be 
seen that the interest of slavery underlay and touched every 
other question. I should have been called upon to define 
my views on the subject, which I could not have done with- 

309] Daniel Reaves Goodloe. 49 

out injury to the Whig cause, to my friends, and to myself." 
The proferred nomination was accordingly declined. This 
was a very characteristic action of the man. One of the 
most prominent traits revealed in his career is his honesty. 
After a year of idleness in Louisburg Mr. Groodloe went 
to Tennessee, hoping to find fortune more favorable there. 
This was not his first trip to that State. In 1836, just after 
the failure of The Examiner^ he turned to the West. In 
1836 he volunteered in Maury county, Tennessee, to go to 
fight the Indians. The forces were intended to fight the 
Creeks, in Alabama ; but before the command to which he 
belonged could rendezvous at Fayetteville, Tenn., the 
Creeks had surrendered. The volunteers then agreed to go 
to Florida, against the Seminoles. They went, serving six 
months as mounted volunteers. They had several skir- 
mishes with the Indians. They were at length mustered out 
of service at New Orleans. For this service Mr. Goodloe 
now receives a "service pension." On his second trip to 
Tennessee he found that there was as little of an opening 
there for a man who was both a printer and a lawyer as he 
had formerly found for a man who was only a printer. He 
accordingly decided to go to Washington City. There he 
arrived, with no money and few friends, January 22, 1844. 
At length Senator Mangum came to his assistance and se- 
cured him employment as assistant editor of a daily paper 
called The Whig Standard, of which Mr. Nathan Sargeant, 
a journalist of repute, was the editor-in-chief. The Stand- 
ard was not a financial success, and in a few weeks Mr. Sar- 
geant withdrew, leaving the entire management to his 
newly-acquired assistant. During the hotly-waged cam- 
paign of 1844 Mr. Goodloe had control of the paper, but he 
was not able to fix it so deeply in the affections of his party 
that it would supply more than a campaign want. On the 
defeat of Mr. Clay it suspended. He then edited the George- 
toTvn Advocate for a short while, and finally took a small 
school. He at length secured employment of a more per- 
manent nature when he became assistant editor of the 

50 Anti-Slavery Leaders of North Carolina, [810 

National Era, a prominent anti-slavery weekly, published in 
Washington, and edited by Dr. Gamaliel Bailey. This 
paper had been founded in 1847 ^^ order to advocate the 
principles of the Liberty Party. It had, however, says Mr. 
Goodloe, always remained free from party domination. On 
account of the illness and subsequent death of Dr. Bailey, 
Mr. Goodloe became at length the editor-in-chief. He had 
now reached a position in which he was thoroughly identi- 
fied with the anti-slavery clause. It is now time that we sec 
how he came to hold such views. 

In August, 1 83 1, there occurred in Northampton county, 
Virginia, the well-known Nat Turner Rebellion. The whole 
slaveholding South was highly alarmed. In Virginia the 
occurrence divided public opinion. Many people thought 
it proved one of the dangers of slavery and advocated the 
enactment of such laws as would look toward the gradual 
extinction of slavery. This proposition was most warmly 
supported in the western counties of Virginia. In January 
of the succeeding winter the legislature took up the matter 
and had a long debate on the question of gradual emanci- 
pation. The speeches made on this occasion were both ex- 
haustive and able. Slavery was handled with a great deal 
more freedom than it met with again in the South until it 
felt the rough force of Grant's army at Appomattox. The 
ablest men in the State took part in it, and they were mostly 
on the side of emancipation. Among this number was one 
worthy of special mention, viz., M r. Charles J. F aulkner, 
now of West Virginia. He was nTen k young man, and 
spoke ably and convincingly for freedom. The two leading 
newspapers of Richmond, the Enquirer and the Whig, or- 
gans, respectively, of the Democratic and Whig parties, 
were both for emancipation. Mr. Goodloe was then a jour- 
neyman printer in Oxford, N. C. These two papers came 
regularly to the office as exchanges. They were seized and 
devoured by the boy. In this way the arguments of the 
anti-slavery side were deeply impressed on his mind. In 
fact, the statesmen of Virginia who were opposed to eman- 

811] Daniel Reaves Goodloe, 51 

cipation did not attempt to defend slavery. They merely 
maintained that emancipation was impracticable. The 
planters of the eastern part of the State, where slavery was 
strongest, had a more eflfective measure than argument to 
use against the proposition. They saw that the life of 
slavery was threatened. They affected to believe that the 
debates would stir up the slaves to further resistance. They 
called indignation meetings, in which it was declared that 
the legislative debates were incendiary. The clamor they 
raised frightened some of the more timid members of the 
legislature, with the result that further discussion of the 
matter was dropped, not, however, before the friends of 
freedom had in one of the ballots come within one vote of 
winning the fight. "From that time," writes Mr. Goodloe, 
"dates the intense hostility in all the South to the idea of 
emancipation in any form, whether immediate or gradual. 
From that time the legislation of the Southern States took 
on a harshness never before practised. Negroes were for- 
bidden to learn to read, and to teach them to read was pun- 
ishable by fine and imprisonment. The statutes of every 
Southern State bear evidence to this effect." 

The Virginia debates were read with interest by many 
North Carolinians. Some of the State newspapers took the 
side of emancipation. This was notably true of the Greens- 
borough Patriot, then edited by William Swaim. Here was 
a man of strong talents and much ability in writing. He 
wrote a pamphlet about this time, which was an attack on 
slavery. Mr. Goodloe says that it would have done credit 
to any writer. It was reprinted by William Goodell, of 
New York, but a search in many places has failed to bring 
it to light. 

While at Louisburg, a lawyer without clients, Mr. Good- 
loe's mind continued to dwell on the moral and economic 
evils of slavery. It seemed to him an impossiblity that an 
institution manifestly founded on an injustice to a whole 
race could be economically wise or generally salutary. Says 
he: "The objections to slavery pointed out by Northern 

62 Anti-Slavery Leaders of North Carolina, [S12 

writers, that free labor was more efficient, and that a free 
man would do more work than a slave, failed to satisfy me. 
I was aware that nothing hindered Southern capitalists and 
Southern planters from employing free labor. But they 
gave the preference to slave labor as a matter of conveni- 
ence and of profit. Slaves, where the institution was toler- 
ated, were preferred to any other form of property. Lands 
in all the South had little market value. They rarely in- 
creased in value after the countrv became settled and occu- 
pied. Personal property other than slaves had no salable 
value, but there was always a market for slaves, either at 
home in the old States, or in the Southwest." Still it was 
impossible not to see that the slave States were far behind 
the free States in general development. Mr. Goodloe 
thought much over this disparity in the industrial, educa- 
tional, literary and social progress of the two sections. 
After much reflection he settled the question to his satisfac- 
tion. One day in 1841, while driving from Louisburg to 
the neighboring town of Franklinton, the conclusion came 
to him "that capital invested in slaves is unproductive, that 
it only serves to appropriate the wages of the laborer.'* This 
he proceeded to illustrate as follows : Two farmers live on 
opposite sides of the Ohio river, the one in Ohio, the other 
in Kentucky. Each has 100 acres of equally fertile land, 
and an equal capital in tools and stock. But the Ken- 
tuckian must own ten slaves to work his land at an invest- 
ment cost of $10,000. The two have equal amounts of 
money invested in land, and they raise equal amounts of 
produce. Now, when it comes to calculating the net re- 
turns of the voar, tlie Kentuckian will have to make more 
money clear in order to receive an income on the capital in- 
vested in slaves. Hence it takes more capital to conduct 
farming operations in Kentucky than in Ohio. "It is true/' 
adds Mr. Goodloe, "that the Kentuckian receives a larger 
proportion of the crop than the Ohio man ; but he receives 
It as the wages of the ten slaves, who receive nothing. But 
Kentucky, the community in which the slaveholder resides. 

313] Daniel Reaves Goodloe, 63 

is enriched to no greater extent than Ohio, where the farmer 
must divide profits with the laborer." The same would be 
true of slaves worked in a factory. "It may be said that he 
may hire the slaves. No matter ; they still are slaves involv- 
ing an unnecessary investment of capital. The State in which 
the factory is situated is the loser of actual capital, whether 
the employer of the slaves, as hired men, loses or not. The 
South, when the Civil War came on, held near 4,000,000 of 
slaves, which they valued at an average of nearly $750 each, 
and the aggregate value was nearly $3,000,000,000. This 
abstraction of so vast a sum from active use furnishes an- 
other explanation of the dearth of commerce, manufactures 
and all the conveniences of life from the South. The aboli- 
tion of slavery destroyed no property. It only changed or 
transferred titles." 

In regard to individual wealth, this view was wrong. If 
a slave-owner receives wages for slave labor that is a return 
for slave capital, and to that extent the capital is not unpro- 
ductive to him. At the same time the value of his slave has 
another element of gain in the offspring of the slave. In 
regard to social wealth, Mr. Goodloe's view seems mainly 
correct, if it be considered from the Northern standpoint. 
The North said that the slave was a person, a member of 
society. Consequently his own property was decreased as 
much as his master's was increased, and the wealth of the 
community was not affected. The South said, however, 
thaj the slave was not a person, not a member of society, 
but a thing. His property was not decreased by his not 
owning himself, because he was nothing. His master's 
property in him was, accordingly, a loss to the property of 
no member of society. On the contrary, it was a gain to 
one who was certainly a member of society, and for that 
reason a gain to society itself. Happily, we are all now 
agreed that the slave was a person in the eyes of all humane 
feelings, and that his rights were defeated by his enslave- 
ment. The theory, then, that capital invested in slaves is 
unproductive as social wealth is a good theory. The fur- 

54 AfUi' Slavery LecLders of North Carolina* [S14 

ther view that emancipation destroyed no property needs, 
however, some modification. Temporarily, emancipation 
did destroy property. Value depends upon usefulness. 
One of the conditions of usefulness is efficiency. When one 
recalls the disorganized condition of labor in the South just 
after the war, he will see that although the labor forces were 
outwardly undiminished, they were still not so efficient as 
they had been, because they lacked sufficient direction. 
This effect has been temporary. How long it has con- 
tinued, or will continue, depends upon the negro's acquisi- 
tion of the habit of working without compulsion, a process 
in which, it ought to be said, his progress seems satisfac- 
tory. An opposing force to this fall in the productiveness 
of negro labor has been an increased productiveness of 
white labor under conditions of freedom. What is the exact 
resultant of all these forces it would be interesting to dis- 
cover. On the whole, it seems in favor of the new regime. 
Mr. Goodloe's views were embodied in a pamphlet, and 
when he went to Washington he laid it before Mr. John 
Quincy Adams at his house, nearly opposite the Ebbitt 
Hotel. Mr. Adams examined it carefully and praised it 
highly. He asked the author if he proposed to publish it. 
The answer was that he was unable to do so. Mr. Adams 
then suggested a newspaper publication, and said that there 
was a young man named Greeley, who was publishing an 
anti-slavery Whig newspaper in New York, but that he, 
Mr. Adams, was not acquainted with him. On considera- 
tion he advised that the article be sent to Mr. Charles King^, 
a son of Rufus King, then publishing the New York Atner^ 
ican. This course was followed, and the article appeared 
in the American at the end of March, 1844. Two years later 
the author printed 500 copies of the article in pamphlet 
form. Later in life, while reading Mill's Political Economy, 
he was struck with the statement that mortgages are no 
part of natural wealth. Reasoning by analogy, he thoug^ht 
Mill must have his idea of slavery ; but further investigation 
showed that the arguments used in reference to mortgages 

S15] Daniel Reaves Goodloe. 55 

had not been applied, as might have been done, in refer- 
ence to slavery. Mr. Goodloe then sent his pamphlet to the 
distinguished economist and received a letter in reply, in 
which Mr. Mill said that Mr. Goodloe was clearly right, and 
that he would embody the idea advanced in the pamphlet 
in his next edition of the Political Economy, but he did not 
publish another edition. 

The National Era in its earliest days drew its patronage 
from the whole country, wherever there was anti-slavery 
sentiment. It was one of the few papers that were advo- 
cating that cause. With Mr. Lincoln's election a large 
number of papers appeared as supporters of anti-slavery 
principles. Against these papers the Era could not com- 
pete. Local Abolitionists turned to support their home en- 
terprises, and the older journal, after having fought the bat- 
tle through to victory, died as a result of the success of the 
cause it had advocated. Left out of employment by this 
collapse, Mr. Goodloe became Washington correspondent 
of the New York Times, then strongly Republican. On 
April 1 6, 1862, President Lincoln signed Senator Wilson's 
bill to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia. A sum 
of money not exceeding $1,000,000 was appropriated to pay 
for the liberated slaves, and it was provided that the average 
price should not be more than $300 each. To carry out 
this law a committee consisting of Messrs. D. R. Goodloe, 
chairman; Horatio King and J. M. Broadhead, were ap- 
pointed to value the slaves and to order payment for the 
same. The committee sat for nearly nine months, took evi- 
dence, heard arguments, examined the slaves themselves 
with the aid of Mr. B. M. Campoell, an expert slave dealer 
from Baltimore, and awarded such sums under the law as 
they thought just. In this way 3000 slaves were liberated, 
at a cost to the government of $900,000, in round numljers.* 

^ See Ingle: The Negro in the District of Columbia, Johns Hop- 
kins University Studies, nth Series, pp. 105-8. Some further details 
have been supplied from Mr. Goodloe*s own statement. 

66 Anti-Slavery Leaders of North Carolina. [S16 

For a year or two after this Mr. Goodloe was engaged in 
editorial work on the Washington Chronicle. In September, 
1865, he was appointed United States Marshal in North 
Carolina. This position he held until the inauguration of 
President Grant, when he was removed for party reasons. 
He remained in North Carolina for some years, but finally 
returned to Washington city, where he occupied himself at 
first with the compilation of a book, which was later pub- 
lished under the title of 'The Birth of the Republic." He 
afterwards wrote a history of the reconstruction period, but 
being unable to print it himself, he sold the manuscript to a 
prominent politician. That gentleman incorjiorated it in 
a book of memoirs, which he was about to issue to cover his 
experience as a politician, and he used Mr. Goodloe's work 
without giving him credit. Having purchased the work, 
he doubtless felt relieved from any obligation to acknowl- 
edge its connection with another. Later on Mr. Goodloe 
compiled a synopsis of the debates of Congress from the 
earliest times to the present day, but the work has not been 
published. He remained in Washington writing for the 
newspapers and investigating many features of our national 
history. In the winter of 1894-5 he published in the Raleigh 
(N. C) News and Observer a series of articles on the recon- 
struction frauds in North Carolina, which is undoubtedly 
the best thing written on the subject. In the spring of 
1896 he returned to Raleigh, N. C, where he still resides.' 

Eli Washington Caruthers. 

Few people, perhaps, who know Dr. Caruthers as an his- 
torian realize that he wrote a book on slavery. He was, as 
most of those who know of him will understand, pastor of 
Presbyterian churches around Greensboro, N. C, for over 
forty years. He was a man of conviction and was known 
to be opposed to slavery; but he made no display of his 

^ The facts for the above sketch are derived, unless otherwise 
stated, from data furnished by Mr. Goodloe himself. 

817] Eli Washington Caruthers, 67 

views. Finally, one Sunday morning in July, 1861, at his 
church at Alamance, he prayed that the young men of his 
congregation who were in the army "might be blessed of 
the Lord and returned in safety though engaged in a bad 
cause." The next day the officials of the church informed 
him that they needed him no longer. It was probably after 
this that he wrote his work on "American Slavery and the 
Immediate Duty of Slaveholders." This book was not 
published, and until recently few knew of its existence. In 
February, 1898, it was discovered by Dr. Dred Peacock and 
placed in the Ethel Carr Peacock Library at Greensboro 
Female College. 

Two prefaces were written ; one when the manuscript was 
prepared, and one in 1865, when the author made some 
changes in it. In the second preface he says : 

"The following work would have been published years 
ago, but for the last fifteen years its publication or circula- 
tion would not have been tolerated in any one of the South- 
ern States. It was written at the request of some valued 
friends who had expressed the wish to see my views in a 
more permanent form than the incidental or transient utter- 
ances of conversation, without any design of ever giving it 
to the public in its present form." 

Although slavery had then been abolished, it was decided 
to publish, because the people were thought to be in a better 
mood to understand and to do justice to anti-slavery argu- 
ments, and because "we have the authority of the Bible for 
holding up the calamitous events to the wicked actors in 
them as warnings." In the first preface is this statement: 
"There are some hard things in it [the book], and if there 
were not it could do no good ; for an evil of such an extent, 
enormity, and long standing cannot be demolished or re- 
moved by a little smooth talk. The whole truth must be 
told The language is not abusive, and was cer- 
tainly not intended to be so ; for neither my dispositon nor 
my principles allow me to employ harsh and vituperative 

68 Anti-Slavery Leaders of North Carolina. [318 

Dr. Caruthers was born in Rowan county, N. C, October 
26, 1793. He graduated from Princeton in 1817. It was, 
perhaps, while there that he shaped his views on slavery. 
Here he met Mr. G. M. Stroud, author of "The Laws Relat- 
ing to Slavery." From this work he took many of his facts, 
and it is possible that Stroud had a certain formative influ- 
ence on the views of his friend. 

A text was placed at the beginning of the book: "Let 

my people go that they may serve me" (Exodus, 10: 8). 
The author stated that he should treat African slavery as 
"viewed in connection with the covenant of redemption.** 
Plainly, he contended that the negroes should be free so that 
they might become Christians, and that they could not be- 
come such in slavery. How he developed this thought is 
gathered from the following abridgment of the Table of 
Contents : 

"L The Claim— Afy People, 

"i. On creation and preservation. Natural differences 
among men furnish no justification of slavery. The deep 
and long continued degradation of the Africans in their own 
land no reason why they should be enslaved. The alleged 
antiquity of slavery no justification of the practice. The 
orderings of Providence furnish no justification of slavery. 

"2. The Lord's Claim on the Africans and all other 
races and portions of mankind is founded on Redemption. 
The opinions of learned and good men in favor of slavery 
is no proof that it is right. Slavery originated in avarice, 
falsehood, and cruelty. 

"IL The Demand; * Let my people go* : The Demand 
enforced by Providence ; Human beings cannot be held as 

"HL Reason of the demand, 'That they may serve me/ 
Their powers can never be developed while they are in a 
condition of slavery. According to the present laws and 
usages of the land slaves cannot make that entire conse- 
cration of themselves to the Lord which the Gospel requires 
and to which the renewed nature prompts them. Under 

819] Eli Washington Caruthers. 69 

existing laws and in the present state of society slaves can- 
not have that equality of rights and privileges which is in 
the New Testament accorded to all true believers." 

The purpose of the book, as he said, was "to contrast the 
unjust, unchristian, inhuman laws of the South relating to 
slavery with the teachings of the Bible and the original 
instincts of Nature." He was impelled to write the book 
because he had never seen a treatment of the slavery ques- 
tion from this standpoint. Whatever other books may have 
been written on slavery, it is certain that none gave a more 
positive note of opposition than this. On the separation of 
families he was very hard. "Many a sad tragedy of broken 
hearts and ruined homes," said he, "has been the result [of 
separation]. I have known some instances in which they 
have been permitted to live on in great harmony and affec- 
tion to an advanced age ; but such instances, so far as my 
observations have gone, have been, *like angels' visits, few 
and far between.' Generally, in a few years at most, they 
have been separated — sold off under the hammer like other 
stock and borne away to a returnless distance." 

It was, however, against the law forbidding slaves to be 
taught to read and write that he reserved his strongest ana- 
themas. When this law was passed, he charged, the only 
argument made for it was that if slaves could read they 
would read the Declaration of Independence, the speeches 
in Congress, and the newspapers, and so become acquainted 
with their rights, discontented with slavery, and less profit- 
able to their masters. "It seems strange," he continued, 
"that a Protestant, a Christian people, — nominally such, at 
least, — are not ashamed to use such an argument." In 
another place he burst forth : "How dare you by your im- 
pious enactments doom millions of your fellow-beings to 
such gross and perpetual ignorance? How dare you say 
that neither they nor their unborn generations shall ever be 
taught to read the glorious revelation that God has given 
and designed for them as much as for you?" Still later, he 
returns to the subject and says : "When do you think that 

60 Anti-Slavery Leaders of North Carolina, [320 

you will hav€ made so much money by their labor that you 
will be willing to let them go? ... .If you believe, as 
you pretend, that the Lord's design in permitting them to 
be brought here was that they might be converted and pre- 
pared to carry the Gospel back to Africa, repeal your laws 
forbidding them to be taught ; give them the time, means, 
and motives necessary to improve them and send them back 
full handed and well instructed to the land of their fathers." 
It is doubtful if a stronger or clearer anti-slavery argument 
was ever made on this continent. 

This is enough about a book that was never printed. Its 
author was not, strictly speaking, an anti-slavery leader. 
He did not stand out as a teacher of opposition to slavery. 
He was not a leader. But he wrote one of the strongest 
arraignments of slavery in the abstract that ever appeared. 
His book was a sermon expanded. Along with the manu- 
script I found a manuscript sermon on the same text (Exo- 
dus, lo : 8), showing whence came the book. This book was 
not given to remove slavery, but to cure the wound made by 
forcible emancipation. When the South writhed in bitter- 
ness under its hard fate, it would have been a good thing 
for its peace of mind if it could have been made to see 
that the extinction of slavery was for the best. Had Dr. 
Caruthers lived his attempt in this direction would, no 
doubt, have been delivered to the public. It would, per- 
haps, have failed immediately. Ultimately, it would have 
reached those for whom it was intended. Today most 
people in the South acquiesce in the conclusion that slavery 
was an evil. But there are few who understand why it was 
an evil. No better foundation for the study of present social 
conditions in the South can be had than a complete sur« 
vey of the conditions of Southern slavery. For such a sur« 
vey. Dr. Caruthers' work is of great value. 


It is a fit thing that this series of sketches should close 
with the story of the career of a member of the enslaved race 

821] Luns/ord Lane. 61 

itself. This story will illustrate many sides of the slavery 
question in the South. Here is the blight of slavery on 
white and black, the exceptionable negro, who, by admir- 
able perseverance and endurance, struggles on to freedom, 
the mass of thoughtless and unambitious negroes in the 
background, the touch of human sympathy on the part of 
the better class of whites, and the maddened roar of the 
ignorant and infuriated larger class. How truly was this 
a picture of slavery and its surroundings. 

Lunsford Lane^ was a slave of Mr. Sherwood Haywood, 
a prominent citizen of Raleigh, N. C. His master was the 
owner of two plantations, one in Wake county, near the city 
of Raleigh, the other in Edgecomb county. Lunsford was 
bom in the early part of the century, and grew to manhood 
before the beginning of the severer attitude toward the 
slaves which came after the Northampton insurrection of 
1 83 1. His parents, of pure African descent, had been kept 

^This sketch is based on the "Memoir of Lunsford Lane/* by 
Rev. Wm. G. Hawkins (Boston, 1863). The narrative is not free 
from the extravagances of a zealous Abolitionist. In places conver- 
sations have been reproduced with a freedom worthy of the Greek 
historians, and at times the author has allowed his imagination to 
portray surroundings which are characteristically Southern, but which 
in this case did not exist. As for the main facts of the narrative, I 
have no reason to reject them. Information about the case is hard to 
obtain in Raleigh, but from an old resident I obtained a corroboration 
of the account of the mobbing of Lane as herein given. Still I have 
not found any mention of the occurence in the Raleigh papers of 
that day. One of these papers was edited by Thomas Loring who 
was the Mayor before whom Lunsford was tried, yet it is silent. 
It is likely that the matter was not published for fear of the effect 
it would have when copied in Northern papers. 

A letter from Mr. Hawkins says that the facts were obtained from 
Lunslord himself, and that on a visit to Raleigh after the war the 
''material facts outlined in the story " were confirmed by a number of 
colored people who had known, or were related to, Lunsford Lane. 
Mr. Hawkins closes thus : " He [Lane] impressed me as being a 
man of uncommon natural intelligence and truthfulness, and I have 
no doubt that the account of his life which I have given is sub- 
sUntially true." J. S. B. 

62 Anti-Slavery Leaders of North Carolina. [822 

in the town for family service, and thus their offspring had 
opportunities beyond the other negroes. Lunsford early 
learned to read and write, a privilege that would not legally 
have been allowed him a few years later. Many men of 
political prominence visited at his master's house, and from 
waiting on these he acquired much general information. He 
also learned a great deal from the speeches of great poli- 
ticians. He heard speeches from Calhoun, Preston^ of 
South Carolina, Badger, Mangum, and many others of less 
note. He waited on La Fayette when he passed through 
Raleigh in 1824, and was greatly impressed by the distin- 
guished Frenchman's devotion to liberty. Once he heard 
Dr. McPheeters, the Presbyterian minister in Raleigh, say : 
"It is impossible to enslave an intelligent people." This 
made an impression which he never forgot. His desire to 
gain his freedom grew daily, and all the spare money that he 
received as fees from his master's guests was put away 
toward that end. 

In the hope of acquiring liberty there was not a little en- 
couragement for him in the life of the negroes of the town. 
At that time a strict surveillance had not been established 
over the religious and social meetings of slaves. They ac- 
cordingly often in their chance meetings discussed means 
of improving their condition. The natural inclination of 
the negro to speech-making helped in this process. The 
following illustration of this faculty will be of value here. 
The colored boys of the town had a custom of assembling 
every Sunday afternoon at a • certain mineral spring in 
the suburbs of the place and discussing, in imitation of the 
whites, the issues of the day. Some of them, especially the 
slaves of prominent men, could repeat with great exactness 
speeches that they had heard during the week. The whites 
were often present at these meetings, and the master of a 
bright slave boy would feel a pride in the prowess of his 
negro and encourage him to improve. At last, however, 
they came to see that the effect of this was to turn the minds 
of the slaves toward freedom, and they forbade the meetings. 
In such conditions the boy Lunsford found himself placed. 

S2S] Lunsford Lane. 63 

His early savings for the puq^ose of buying his freedom 
had reached a considerable sum by the time the boy became 
a man. A part of this he lost through bad investments, 
and the balance he was forced to spend on his wife. As 
soon as he was grown he had married a slave of Mr. Wil- 
liam Boylan, a most excellent citizen of Raleigh. Shortly 
afterwards Mr. Boylan had to sell this woman, but he gave 
her the privilege of selecting for her new master anyone 
who would buy her. Lunsford was a Baptist and his wife 
a Methodist. True to the instinct of the race, she decided 
the matter according to church affiliations. His wife con- 
cluded that she would be better off if she were owned by a 
member of her own church, and he prevailed upon Mr. Ben- 
jamin B. Smith, a wealthy Methodist, to purchase her and 
her two children, the price paid being $560. Lunsford 
charged that Mr. Smith neglected to feed and clothe the 
woman properly, knowing that her husband, who was 
known to have some money, would not let her suffer. In 
this way he exhausted the balance of his early savings. 

Lunsford had been taught by his father the secret of mak- 
ing a superior kind of smoking tobacco, and this the father 
and son now began to manufacture for the market. To 
have free opportunity for this he hired his time, paying for 
it from $100 to $120 a year. It was some time near this 
date that his master died. Mr. Havwood had been an in- 
dulgent master. He had assured Lunsford that he should 
be allowed to buy himself. Lunsford now found himself 
the property of his former master's widow, and he feared 
that she would not be willing to fulfill the promise. He 
says, however, that she valued the good opinion of her 
neighbors, and that they would expect the fulfilment of Mr. 
Haywood's promise. Stifling his doubts, he worked all the 
harder. The demand for his tobacco was growing. He 
enlarged his plant and made arrangements to sell the pro- 
duct in the neighboring towns of Fayetteville, Salisbury and 
Chapel Hill. At the end of about eight years he had saved 

64 Anti-Slavery Leaders of North Carolina, [324 

$1000. With much anxiety he approached his mistress to 
propose th€ purchase of his liberty. Of this negotiation he 
says : "I casually asked her price, provided I should desire 
my freedom. She said she would be satisfied with $1000. I 
then very frankly told her I greatly desired my free- 
dom, and asked if she was ready to execute the deed, 
provided I could find some person whom I could 
trust by whom the purchase in my behalf could be 
made." A slave, it should be said, had no standing in law, 
and could not make a contract. Lunsford, therefore, had 
to get some trusted white man to buy and then emancipate 
him. He decided to entrust the affair to Mr. Smith, his 
wife's master. That gentleman, after making the purchase, 
applied to the courts for leave to emancipate Lane. Now 
by law slaves could be freed for meritorious services only. 
No such services could be shown in this case, and the appli- 
cation was refused. Mr. Smith, who was a merchant, then 
proposed that Lane should accompany him on his next trip 
to the North and have the freedom papers issued there. 
This was agreed to, and a year later the emancipation papers 
01 Lunsford Lane were recorded in New York city. 

Lunsford was, like most negroes, religious by nature. 
He savs that attendance on church services was a means of 
much instruction for him. He got the written permission 
of his mistress to join the Baptist Church. Every Sunday 
there was one sermon for the slaves preached by a white 
parson — a law of 1831 forbade any slave or free negro to 
preach to slaves. These sermons, he says, were usually on 
the duty of the slaves to obey their masters. The texts were 
usually like these: "Servants, be obedient to them that 
are your masters," and "not with eye-service, as men 
pleasers." One kind-hearted preacher, whom all the 
slaves liked, became very unpopular when he preached a 
sermon in which he argued that God had predestined the 
neofroes to be slaves. Lunsford found a friend in Dr. 
Heath, a Presbyterian minister, who afterwards became a 
popular temperance lecturer. He was a Virginian, and be- 

825] Lunsford Lane, 65 

fore coming to Raleigh had liberated a large number of 
slaves, and through the Colonization Society had sent them 
to Africa. His views of slavery were liberal, and he helped 
Lunsford in many ways. 

The business sense of Lane now began to expand his lines 
of labor. Although he kept to the manufacture of tobacco, 
he added the making of pipes, and began to sell almost 
everything kept in an ordinary village store. He also 
opened a wood yard, and bought horses and wagons for use 
in connection with it. He was patronized by whites as well 
as by blacks. In 1839 ^^ bought a house and lot, for which 
he paid $500. It had long been his object to buy his wife 
and children, the latter of whom now numbered six. Mr. 
Smith offered to sell them for $3000. This was thought to 
be too much, and after negotiating it was reduced to $2500, 
at which sum the purchase was effected. He gave Mr. 
Smith five notes for $500 each, and received in return that 
gentleman's obligation that when the notes were paid he 
would sign a bill of sale for the slaves. It is impossible not 
to notice here the rapid appreciation in the value of slave 
property. This woman and two of her children had been 
bought not more than eight years earlier for $560, and were 
now sold at an advance of $1940, and in the meantime the 
master had had her services. It was a happy day for the 
former slave when he brought his wife and children oui 
from the house of bondage and gathered them around his 
own fireside with good hope of seeing them soon as free as 
himself. His achievement had been wonderful, and is an 
indication of what a policy of gradual emancipation might 
have done in developing his race, could circumstances have 
been so shaped that it might have been entered upon. He 
had paid $1000 for his freedom. He had paid another $1000 
in yearly wages while he was hiring his time, had supported 
himself and helped to support his family in the meantime, 
had paid $500 for his home, and had a good business in his 
own name. 

66 Anti-Slavery Leaders of North Carolina. [S>6 

All this prosperity was beginning to attract the notice <rf 
the whites. Several other negroes in the place were making 
progress in the same way. Some of the whites thought this 
was likely to have a bad effect on the slaves generally. Fear- 
ing something like this, Lunsford had been careful, as he 
said, not to intrude his intelligence, but to seem to know 
less than he did know. He dressed as poorly and fared as 
simply as if he were still a slave. He also said that he was 
careful never to do anything which looked like leadership of 
the other negroes, that he had done nothing disorderly, and 
that he had never plotted to free the slaves. The good 
opinion in which he was held by some of the best men in 
the place is evidence that this is true. On the evidence of 
his biographer none of these things were alleged against 
him. Everything indicates that he devoted himself quietly 
to the one object of purchasing his family. Certainly with 
that object in view it would have been a most unwise thing 
to appear to be an agitator. Throughout the administra- 
tion of Governor Dudley, and through part of that of Gov- 
ernor Morehead, he was janitor and messenger in the office 
of the Governor's private secretary. Both the Governor 
and the private secretary testified to his great efficiency and 
integrity. To one class of whites, however, his presence 
and his success were becoming exceedingly objectionable. 
These were the younger and more adventurous members of 
the community. They were in most cases the poorer 
classes, although some reckless sons of the leading families 
acted with them. They inherited one effect of the system 
of slavery in the ignorance that all this class shared for 
lack of common schools. With untaught minds their pas- 
sions were often the impulse of action, and such seems to 
have been the condition now. They were unable to see far 
enough to understand that an industrious and progressive 
negro like Lane would be an advantage to the negro race, 
making them more conservative and restraining the ten- 
dency to excesses. They became alarmed, and soon con- 
vinced themselves that it would be a great calamity if every 

327] Lunsford Lane. 67 

negro could buy himself and his family at the good round 
l)rices that Lane had paid. They determined to run him out 
of the community. Inasmuch as he had been freed in New 
York, they concluded that he came within the provision of 
a statute which forbade free negroes from other States from 
coming into North Carolina to live. Free negroes violating 
this act and not removing out of the State within twenty 
days after notice of it had been served on them were liable to 
a fine of $500, in default of which they should be sold for ten 
years. About the first of November, 1840, Lane received 
notification from two justices of the peace as follows : "Un- 
less you leave and remove out of this State within twenty 
days you will be proceeded against for the penalty pre- 
scribed by the said Act of Assembly, and be otherwise dealt 
with as the law directs." 

There seems to have been no question that under the law 
Lane was indictable. He, for his part, appealed to his white 
friends. He went to see Mr. C. C. Battle, private secretary 
to Governor Dudley, who took up the matter with energy. 
Mr. Battle wrote to the attorney on the opposite side, men- 
tioning the services of Lane, especially during the session of 
the Legislature, which was then about to beg^n, and asking 
that the prosecution might be suspended until January i. 
No objection was made to this, and the matter was dropped 
for the time. The object was to stay proceedings until the 
Legislature met, and then to get a private law allowing the 
defendant to stay in the State until he had finished paying 
for his family, he agreeing to leave when that was accom- 
plished. On the day the Legislature convened he was again 
summoned to appear before the same magistrates and show 
cause why he should not be punished for remaining in the 
city twenty days after notice had been given. He easily 
gave bail to appear at court thirty days later. At the meet- 
ing of the court the prosecution was not ready for trial, and 
the case was postponed until the next court, three months 
later. He thus gained four months. In the meantime his 
petition was before the Legislature. The other free negroes 


68 AnH-Slavery Leader^ of North Carolina. [828 

in the town who were buying their families had received 
notices similar to that of Lunsford, and they, too, had peti- 
tioned the Legislature. The petitions were referred to a 
committee, which brought in a bill favorable to the negjoes. 
The fate of this bill was a matter of great concern to Luns- 
ford. No negro was allowed to enter the chambers of the 
two houses when the Assembly was in session. He found 
out the committee to whom the matter was referred, and 
then patiently traced it through its several stages until the 
day on which it was set for final decision. He waited anx- 
iously around the Statehouse, he interviewed the members 
as he could approach them, and he awaited the result with 
great concern. Finally a member came out and said: 
'*Well, Lunsford, the negro bill is killed." It was a severe 
blow to the poor man. To us, who view the matter after 
passions have cooled and the false theories of slavery are 
gone, it seems certainly to have been the doing of a great 
cruelty. It is to the great credit of Lunsford Lane and the 
other men who were in the same position that they bowed 
quietly and without open complaint to the decision. Slavery 
demanded, above all things, the certainty of its own perpetu- 
ation. Before that, all else — sympathy, confidence, gener- 
ous sentiments, industrial skill, and public intelligence — 
must go down. It accordingly developed a hundred eyes 
with which to discover, and a hundred hands with which to 
stop, any movement of the slave that looked toward his 

Nothing was now left for Lunsford but to make his prepa- 
rations for leaving, and for leaving without his family. He 
thought of some friends he had made in the North when he 
had gone there to be liberated. Thither he now turned his 
steps. When he reached Washington City he called on Mr. 
Joseph Gales, formerly the editor of the Raleigh Register^ 
but then Hying in Washington with his son, who was one of 

the editors of the National Intelligencer. Mr. Gales received 
him kindly, and undertook to help him on his journey. He 
gave him some recommendations, and warned him that he 

829] Lunsford Lane. 69 

might have trouble in getting through Baltimore, since the* 
railroad station in that place was being watched closely to 
stop runaway slaves from the South. As it turned out he 
did have some difficulty in Baltimore, though not exactly 
the same kind that he had been warned against. He came 
near falling victim to what seems to have been a plot to kid- 
nap and sell him into the far South from whose depths, if he 
ever reached there, his voice would probably never have 
been able to make itself heard by his friends. Shortly after 
he had reached the city he and a traveling companion were 
arrested, at the instance of a negro trader named Slatter, of 
rather unfavorable reputation, on the charge of being run- 
away slaves from the South. The case was tried before a 
magistrate named Shane, whom the negro friends of Luns- 
ford considered an accomplice of Slatter. Regardless of 
the fact that the two men had their freedom papers properly 
signed, the justice was about to give judgment against them, 
when a Mr. Walsh, a rising young lawyer of the city, who was 
gaining some note as being on the side of the slaves, rose 
and made so strong an argument in favor of the men that 
the magistrate was constrained to release them. Lane then 
proceeded to Philadelphia, where he found friends, who, in 
turn, sent him on to other friends in New York. Here it 
was agreed that he should be given countenance in going 
through the North to make appeals for funds to liberate 
his family. Returning at once to the South, he settled his 
affairs preparatory to his departure. He had already paid 
Mr. Smith $560 on his indebtedness, and he had received 
one boy, whom he took North and left with friends. Mr. 
Smith now agreed to accept the house and lot in Raleigh 
for $500, provided, the balance of $1440 should be paid 
in cash. It was arranged that the case then pending against 
him should be dropped, he paying the cost and leaving the 
State. With these things done, he left for the North just 
as the court to which he was bound over was convening. 

His hopes of assistance were not in vain. By lecturing in 
many places, chiefly in New England, presenting the simple 

70 Anti-Slavery Leaders of North Carolina, [880 

facts of his experience, he was able to collect in about one 
year the amount he wanted to raise. Early in 1842 he wrote 
to Mr. Smith, asking him to get the Governor to give him a 
written permission to come back to Raleigh to get his 
family. The Governor replied that he had no authority to 
grant such a privilege, but that he thought it would be per- 
fectly safe for Lane to come to Raleigh, provided he stayed 
no longer than twenty days. This seems to have been good 
law under the statute. On Saturday, April 23, 1842, the 
ex-slave arrived in Raleigh. He remained quietly with his 
family during Sunday, and Monday morning went to the 
store of Mr. Smith to have a settlement, hoping to be off 
as soon as possible. Before he could transact his business 
he was arrested and taken before the Mayor oa the charge 
of "delivering abolition lectures in the State of Massachu- 
setts." When asked to plead he said he did not know 
whether he was guilty or not. He recounted his early life 
in Raleigh, and recalled the story of his struggles, his perse- 
cution, and his expulsion. This story, he said, he had been 
telling in Massachusetts. He had told it privately, in 
churches, or wherever he could get a hearing. He had 
asked help in rescuing his family. The people had re- 
sponded to his appeals. He had never asked a contributor 
whether he was an Abolitionist or not ; but it was likely that 
he had received some money from that source. He closed 
by reminding them that he would not come back until the 
Governor had said that he thought it would not be a viola- 
tion of the law. The Mayor then called for further evi- 
dence. None was offered, and the case was dismissed. 
This course by the Mayor was eminently proper. The ac- 
tion which Lane had no doubt committed would have had 
the effect of exciting the slaves if it had been committed in 
the South ; but it was not in the State, and accordingly en- 
tirely without the jurisdiction of North Carolina courts; 
besides, the evidence against him was absolutely nothing. 
Nothing but the blindest feeling could have brought such 
a charge. 

881] Lunsford Lane. 71 

After the trial, Lunsford was about to leave the court- 
room, when he was warned that he would be killed in five 
minutes if he went into the crowd that was collected in front 
of the door. The Mayor tried to pacify the crowd, but was 
unsuccessful. He advised Lane to leave the town the next 
day. Lane said he was willing to go at once, and would 
trust Mr. Loring, the Mayor, to take his money, settle with 
Mr. Smith and send on the liberated wife and children to 
Philadelphia. This was agreed upon, and Lane succeeded 
in reaching the station as the train was about to leave. The 
crowd, however, followed him, surrounded the train and 
declared that it should not leave with the object of their 
wrath on board. The Mayor was present and appealed to 
the mob, but in vain. They demanded that the negro's 
trunk should be searched for abolition literature. While 
they turned their attention to this task. Lane's friends were 
glad to hurry him off to the safety of the jail. This moment 
is described by Lunsford himself. He says: "Looking 
from my prison window I could see my trunk in the hands 
of officers Scott, Johnston and others, who were taking it 
to the City Hall for examination. I learned afterwards that 
they broke open my trunk, and as the lid flew up the mob 
cried out, *a paper, a paper.* A number seized it at once, 
as hungry as hounds after a passing fugitive in the Southern 
swamps. They set up a yell of wild delight, and one young 
man of profligate character, a son of one of the most re- 
spectable families in the place, glanced upward toward my 
prison window and by signs and words expressed his grati- 
fication." The sheet, however, proved to be a local publi- 
cation and entirely inoffensive. After the trunk was fully 
examined the carpet bag was searched. In neither could 
the crowd find anything that was criminating, and they were 
temporarily quieted. 

Lane was advised to stay in the jail until night, and then 
go to the home of Mr. William Boylan, who was so highly 
esteemed in the community that his house, it was thought, 
would be a safe asylum. To this he assented. Between 

72 Anti-Slavery Leaders of North Carolina, [882 

nine and ten o'clock at night he left the jail ; but he had gone 
only a few yards when he was seized by a large number of 
people and rudely drawn away to an "old pine field," where 
the gallows stood, it being then a permanent institution in 
Raleigh. He thought they intended to hang him. At 
length they stopped. They began to question him about 
his abolition lectures. Finally a bucket and a feather pil- 
low were brought. "A flood of light and even joy sprang 
up within me," says he. It was to be tar and feathers. A 
journeyman printer put on the first daub of tar. When the 
dressing had been applied in regular style, he was given his 
watch and his clothes and allowed to go his way. He went 
to his home. Some of his persecutors went with him. 
They had given an outlet to their passions in the g^eat rough 
joke they had just played, and now they were in a good 
humor again. They laughingly watched him remove the 
tar and feathers, and told him that so far as they were con- 
cerned, he might stay in town as long as he chose. 

In the meantime his friends had become alarmed, and 
had appealed to the Governor for protection. A detail of 
soldiers was accordingly furnished, which guarded him at 
Mr. Smith's house all night. Next morning he settled his 
business matters and made ready to start with his family for 
Philadelphia. His old friends now showed him the greatest 
kindness. One gave him food enough to last on his jour- 
ney, and another sent a carriage to take him and his family 
to the station. He went to say farewell to his former mis- 
tress, Mrs. Haywood, who was then very old. She was 
much grieved at what had happened, and ended by giving 
him his aged mother to take with him. She added that he 
might pay her $200 for the old woman if he ever felt him- 
self able, and if not the loss should be her own. A g^eat 
crowd had assembled to see the family off. Most of the 
mob of the day before were there, and appeared to be hos- 
tile still. Mr. Boylan had arranged with the conductor of the 
train to stop on the edge of the town and take up Lane, who 
was to wait there while his wife and children got on at the 

• • • 

", > •••••• • • 

888] Lunsford Lane. 73 

station. The mob, not finding the object of their hatred, 
concluded that he would not leave on that day, and allowed 
the train to go. When Lunsford did get on he found one of 
them a passenger on the train. The rioter of the day before 
was very angry at the escape of his victim, and ran out as 
the train stopped at the stations, trying to excite the by- 
standers to go in and drag out the escaping Abolitionist. 
These attempts were unsuccessful, and in due time the fugi- 
tives arrived in Philadelphia. 

Of Lunsford Lane's residence in the North but little need 
be said here. After a short stay in Philadelphia he went to 
New York, and from there he went to the annual May meet- 
ing of the Anti-Slavery Society. Later he settled in Bos- 
ton. For some time he was engaged as a lecturer for the 
anti-slavery cause in New England. In this work he was 
said to have been very successful. On account of the severe 
climate of Boston, where he had lost three of his children, 
he at length removed to Oberlin, Ohio. Here another child 
died, and he lost through bad investments in real estate most 
of the money that he had been able to save. On the occur- 
rence of the notable Oberlin Rescue Case he returned to 
Boston. Early in life he had learned something of the 
medicinal value of the ordinary herbs in the fields of the 
South. Relying on such knowledge, he began the manu- 
facture of a medicine which he called "Dr. Lane's Vegetable 
Pills." In the sale of this he had some success. Later he 
removed to Worcester, and there remained for some time. 
He continued to be active in the anti-slavery cause until 
the war. When or where he died it has been impossible 
to learn. 

The fact that he rose from slavery to freedom, and to some 
note as a lecturer, against the most discouraging opposition, 
is evidence that Lunsford Lane was a remarkable man. He 
was a true son of toil. He was patient, and when he was re- 
viled, reviled not again. His biographer has given too little 
of a picture of his character. The annals of his native State, 
even when he was thought worthy of being mobbed, have 

74 Anti'Slavery Leaders of North Carolina. [884 

dropped his name. The little glimpse that we have of his 
real self shows what a promise of hope he was for the race 
he represented. We know enough to be certain that it was 
a most short-sighted policy in his State that drove him and 
a number of others out of the community, and made impos- 
sible the development of other negroes like unto him. Since 
the war we have sadly missed such strong characters in our 
negro population. Twenty-five years before the war there 
were more industrious, ambitious and capable negroes in 
the South than there were in 1865. Had the severe laws 
against emancipation and free negroes not been passed, the 
coming of freedom would have found the colored race with 
a number of superior individuals who in every locality would 
have been a core of conservatism for the benefit of both 
races. Under such conditions Lane would have been of 
great beneficent influence. This thought was impressed on 
the writer in a striking way during the past autumn. He 
was attending a fair of the negro race in a North Carolina 
city. Going the rounds of the exhibit of live-stock his at- 
tention was attracted by a placard which read: "Horses 
Owned and Exhibited by Lunsford Lane." Approaching 
a respectable-looking negro farmer, he said: "Who is 
Lunsford Lane?" "I am, sir," was the reply. "What kin 
are you to the original Lunsford Lane?" "Don't exactly 
know, sir; reckon he was my uncle." "What became of 
him?" said the writer, thinking to draw the colored man 
out. "Think he must 'a' emigrated," came the answer. 
Here was thrift enough to become the owner of a pair of 
very good farm horses, but not enough of intelligence to 
remember the fate of the most remarkable member of the 
man's family, who was still alive thirty years ago. How 
much did that family lose in the emigration of Lunsford 

Note: — On page 12 the publisher of **The Land of Gold" is 
g:iven as Mr. Charles Mortimer. The authority for the statement is 
Mr. Helper himself, (See Noonday Exigencies— pp. 155-163). A copy 
of ** The Land of Gold," which has only come into my hands at the 
latest possible moment before going to press, has this m print: "Bal- 
timore : Published for the Author, by Henry Taylor, Sun Iron Build- 
ing, 1855." At this late moment I am unable to reconcile these two 
statements. J. S. B. 



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