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Full text of "The narrative of Lunsford Lane, formerly of Raleigh, N. C., embracing an account of his early life, the redemption by purchase of himself and family from slavery, and his banishment from the place of his birth for the crime of wearing a colored skin"

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444 

, I' HI. 

NARRATIVE 



LITN8F0RD LANE. 



FOUMEFLY OF 



RALEIGH, N C. 



!R«f;Isr(5 AN 'crOUNT OF HIS EART,Y-a.rFE, THE P.i:i 'El VTJuN DV P- 
rn A.SB CI' HIM.SELF AND FAMILY FKOM t.LAVEffV. 

■ ' HT' C INISHMENT PROM THE PLACE OP HIS UTRTH r-MIi 7T(r 
ORIME or WEARING A COLORED SKIN 



P U B L'l S H E D BY HI M .S T. L V 



THIRD EDITION 



BOSTON . 

PRINTED FOR THE PUBLISHEl' 

1TT:a-ES and WATSON'S PRINT. 

/Z'^V.Mi y V ^'>^■ '50,...Consn:ess St 



VC 



L.-.-j3 '^45. 




Class P. 4.14. 



Book_ 



NARRATIVE 



i'if 



LUNSrORD LANE, 



FORMERLY OF 



RALEIGH, N. C. 



EMBRACING AN ACCOUNT OF HIS EARLY LIFE. THE REDEMPTION BY PTHl' 
CHASE OF HIMSELF AND FAMILY FROM SLAVERY, 

AKD HIS BANISHMENT FROM THE PLACE OF HIS BIRTH FOR THE 
CRIME OF WEARING A COLORED SKLN. 



PUBLISHED BY HIMSELF. 



THIRD EDITION. 



BOSTON : 

PRINTED FOR THE PUBLISHER: 

HEWES AND WATSON's PRINT. 

No. 69.... Congress St. 
1845. 



t-4 4 4- 



NOTE TO THE THIRD EDITION. 

The rapidity with which the first and second editions of 
this work has been sold, renders it necessary to put another 
edition to press, without any enlargement or material alte- 
ration. 

Thanks to those friends who have aided me in the sale 
of the former editions, — to those editors who have so fa- 
vorably noticed the work, — and to those who have so freely 
purchased. May I not justly hope for a continuance of 
the same kind regards ? 

L. L. 

Boston, July 4, 1845. 



Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1842, 

BY LUNSFORD LANE, 

In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of IMassachusetts. 



3sy 



6^ 



TO THE READER. 



The following Narrative has been prepared at the soli- 
citation of very many friends. Whatever my own judg- 
ment might be, I should yield to theirs. In the hope that 
these pages may produce an impression favorable to my 
countrymen in bondage ; also that I may realize some- 
thing from the sale of my work towards the support of a 
numerous family, I have committed this publication to 
press. It might have been made two or three, or even six 
times larger, without diminishing from the interest of any 
one of its peiges — indeed with an increased interest — but the 
want of the pecuniary means, and other considerations, 
have induced me to present it as here seen. 

I have not, in this publication, attempted or desired to 
argue anything. It is only a simple narration of such facts 
connected with my owti case, as I thought would be most 
interesting and instructive to readers generally. The facts 
will. I think, cast some light upon the policy of a slave- 
holding community, and the effect on the minds of the more 
enlightened, the more humane, and the Christian portion 
of the southern people, of holding and trading in the bodies 
and souls of men. 

I have said in the following pages, that my condition as 
a slave was comparatively a happy, indeed a highly favor- 
ed one ; and to this circumstance is it owing that I have 
been able to come up from bondage and relate the story to 
the public ; and that my wife, my mother, and my seven 
children, are here with me this day. If for anything this 
side the invisible world I bless Heaven, it is that I was not 
born a plantation slave, nor even a house servant under 
what is termed a hard and cruel master. 



IV TO THE READER. 

It has not been any part of mj^ object to describe slave- 
ry generally, and in the narration of my own case I have 
dwelt as little as possible upon the dark side — have spoken 
mostly of the bright. In whatever I have been obliged to 
say unfavorable to others, I have endeavored not to over- 
state, but have chosen rather to come short of giving the 
full picture — omitting much which it did not seem import- 
ant to my object to relate. And yet I would not venture 
to say that this publication does not contain a single period 
which might be twisted to convey an idea more than 
should be expressed. 

Those of whom I have had occasion to- speak, are re- 
garded, where they are known, as among the most kind 
men to their slaves. Mr. Smith, some of whose conduct 
wall doubtless seem strange to the reader, is sometimes 
taunted with bemg an abolitionist, in consequence of the 
interest he manifests towards the colored people. If to 
any his character appear like a riddle, they should remem- 
ber that men, like other things, have '' two sides," and 
often a top and a bottom in addition. 

While in the South, I succeeded, by stealth, in learning 
to read and wiite a httle, and since I have been in the 
North I have learned more. But I need not say that I 
have been obliged to employ the ser\-ices of a friend, in 
bringing this Narrative into shape for the public eye. And 
it should perhaps be said on the part of the writer, that it 
has been hastily compiled, w ith little regard to style, only 
to express the ideas accurately, and in a manner to be un- 
derstood. 

LUNSFORD LANE.. 

Boston, July 4, 18-15, - 



NARRATIVE 



The small city of Raleigh, North Caroli- 
na, it is known, is the capital of the State, 
situated in the interior, and containing about 
thirty-six hundred inhabitants. Here lived 
Mr. Sherwood Haywood, a man of consid- 
erable respectability, a planter, and the 
cashier of a bank. He owned three plan- 
tations, at the distances, respectively, of 
seventy-five, thirty, and three miles from 
his residence in Raleigh. He owned in all 
about two hundred and fifty slaves, among 
the rest my mother, who was a house ser- 
vant to her master, and of course a resident 
in the city. My father was a slave to a 
near neighbor. The apartment where I was 
born and where I spent my childhood and 
youth, was called ••the kitchen,*' situated 
some fifteen or twenty rods from the •• great 
house." Here the house servants lodged and 
lived, and here the meals were prepared for 
the people in the mansion. The '•' field 
hands," of course, reside upon the planta- 
tion. 

On the 30th of May, 1S03, I was ushered 
into the world ; but I did not begin to see 
the rising of its dark clouds, nor fancy how 
they might be broken and dispersed, until 



6 KARilATIVEc 

some time afterwards. My infancy was 
spent upon the floor, in a rough cradle, or 
sometimes in my mothers arms ; my early 
boyhood, in playing Avith the other boys and 
girls, colored and white, in the yard, and 
occasionally doing such little matters of la- 
bor as one of so young years could. I 
knew no difference between myself and the 
white children ; nor did tiiey seem to know 
any in turn. Sometimes my master would 
come out and give a biscuit to me, and 
another to one of his own white boys ; but 
I did not perceive the difference between us. 
I had no brothers or sisters, but there were 
other colored families living in the same 
kitchen, and the children playing in the 
same yard, with me and my mother. 

When I was ten or eleven years old, my 
master set me regularly to cutting wood, in 
the yard, in the winter, and working in the 
garden in the summer. And when I was 
fifteen years of age, he gave me the care of 
the pleasure horses, and made me his car- 
riage driver; but this did not exempt me 
from other labor, especially in the summer. 
Early in the morning, I used to take his three 
horses to the plantation, and turn them into 
the pasture to graze, and myself into the 
cotton or cornfield, with a hoe in my hand, 
to work through the day ; and after sunset 
I would take these horses back to the city, a 
distance of three miles, feed them, and then 
attend to any other business my master or 



MY YOUTH. 7 

any of his family had for me to do, until 
bed time, when, with my blanket in my 
hand, I would go into the dining room to 
rest through the night. The next day the 
same round of labor would be repeated, un- 
less some of the family wished to ride out, 
in which case I must be on hand with the 
horses to wait upon them, and in the mean- 
time to work about the yard. On Sunday I 
had to drive to church twice, which, with 
other things necessary to be done, took the 
whole day. So my life went wearily on 
from day to day, from night to night, and 
from week to week. 

When I began to ^york, I discovered the 
difference between myself and my master's 
white children. They began to order me 
about, and were told to do so by my master 
and mistress. I found, too, that they had 
learned to read, while I was not permitted 
to have a book in my hand. To be in the 
possession of anything written or printed, 
was regarded as an offence. And then there 
was the fear that I might be sold away from 
those who were dear to me, and conveyed 
to the far south. I had learned, that, being 
a slave, I was subject to this worst (to us) of 
all calamities ; and I knew of others in sim- 
ilar situations to myself, thus sold away. 
My friends were not numerous ; but in pro- 
portion as they were few they were dear; 
and the thought that I might be separated 
'from them forever, was like that of having 



8 NARRATIVE. 

the heart torn from its socket ; while the 
idea of being conveyed to the far south 
seemed infinitely worse than the terrors of 
death. To know, also, that I was never to 
consult my own will, but was, while I lived, 
to be entirely under the control of another, 
was another state of mind hard for me to 
bear. Indeed all things now made me feel, 
what I had before known only in words, 
that / 7vas a slave. Deep was this feeling, 
and it preyed upon my heart like a never- 
dying worm. I saw no prospect that my 
condition v\rould ever be changed. Yet I 
used to plan in my mind from day to day, 
and from night to night, how I might be 
free. 

One day, while I was in this state of 
mind, my father gave me a small basket of 
peaches. I sold them for thirty cents, which 
w^as the first money I ever had in my life. 
Afterwards I w^on some marbles, and sold 
them for sixty cents, and some weeks after, 
Mr. Hog, from Fayetteville, came to visit my 
master, and on leaving gave me one dollar. 
After that, Mr. Bennahan, from Orange 
county, gave me a dollar, and a son of my 
master fifty cents. These sums, and the 
hope that then entered my mind of purchas- 
ing at some future time my freedom, made 
me long for money : and plans for money- 
making took the principal possession of my 
thoughts. At night I would steal away 
with my axe, get a load of wood to cut for 



PLANS FOR FREEDOM. 9 

twenty-five cents, and the next morning 
hardly escape a whipping for the offence. 
But I persevered until I had obtained twenty 
dollars. Now I began to think seriously of 
becoming able to buy myself; and cheered 
by this hope, I went on from one thing to 
another, laboring '• at dead of night," after 
the long Aveary day's toil for my master was 
over, till I found I had collected one hundred 
dollars. This sum I kept hid, first in one 
place and then in another, as I dare not put 
it out, for fear I should lose it. 

After this, I lit upon a plan which proved 
of great advantage to me. My father sug- 
gested a mode of preparing smoking tobacco, 
different from any then or since employed. 
It had the double advantage of giving the 
tobacco a peculiarly pleasant flavor, and of 
enabling me to manufacture a good article 
out of a very indifferent material. I im- 
proved somewhat upon his suggestion, and 
commenced the manufacture, doing, as I have 
before said, all my work in the night. The 
tobacco I put up in papers of about a quar- 
ter of a pound each, and sold them at fifteen 
cents. But the tobacco could not be smoked 
without a pipe, and as I had given the 
former a flavor peculiarly grateful, it occur- 
red to me that I might so construct a pipe as 
to cool the smoke in passing through it, and 
thus meet the wishes of those who are more 
fond of smoke than heat. This I eflected by 
means of a reed, which grows plentifully in 



10 NARRATIVE. 

that region : I made a passage through tht 
reed with a hot wire, pohshed it, and at- 
tached a clay pipe to the end, so that the 
smoke should be cooled in flowing through 
the stem, like whiskey or rum in passing 
from the boiler through the worm of the 
still. These pipes I sold at ten cents a-piece. 
In the early part of the night I would sell 
my tobacco and pipes, and manufacture 
them in the latter part. As the Legislature 
sat in Raleigh every year, I sold these arti- 
cles considerably to the members, so that I 
became known not only in the city, but in 
many parts of the State, as a tobacconist. 

Perceiving that I was getting along so 
well, I began, slave as I was, to think about 
taking a wife. So I fixed my mind upon 
Miss Lucy Williams, a slave of Thomas 
Devereaux, Esq., an eminent lawyer in the 
place : but failed in my undertaking. Then 
I thought I never would marry ; but at the 
end of two or three years my resolution be- 
gan to slide away, till finding I could not 
keep it longer, I set out once more in pursuit 
of a wife. So I fell in with her to whom I 
am now united, Miss Martha Curtis, and 
the bargain between us was completed. I 
next went to her master, Mr. Boylan, and 
asked him, according to the custom, if I 
might '' marry his woman." His reply was, 
"Yes. if you will behave yourself" I told 
him I would. '-And make her behave her- 
self?" To this I also assented: a.r»H thon 



MARRIAGE. 11 

proceeded to ask the approbation of my mas- 
ter, which was granted. So in May, 1828, 
I was bomid as fast in wedlock as a slave 
can be. God may at any time sunder that 
band in a freeman ; either master may do 
the same at pleasure in a slave. The bond 
is not recognized in law. But in my case it 
has never been broken ; and now it cannot 
be, except by a higher power. 

When we had been married nine months 
and one day, we were blessed with a son, 
and two years afterwards with a daughter. 
My wife also passed from the hands of Mr. 
Boylan, into those of Mr. Benjamin B. Smith, 
a merchant, a member and class-leader in 
the methodist church, and in much repute 
for his deep piety and devotion to religion. 
But grace (of course,) had not wrought in 
the same manner upon the heart of Mr. 
Smith, as nature had done upon that of Mr. 
Boylan, who made no religious profession. 
This latter gentleman used to give my wife, 
who was a favorite slave, (her mother nursed 
every one of his own children,) sufficient 
food and clothing to render her comfortable, 
60 that I had to spend for her but little, ex- 
cept to procure such small articles of extra 
fcomfort as I was prompted to from time to 
|:ime. Indeed, Mr. Boylan was regarded as 
£l very kind master to all the slaves about 
him, — that is, to his house servants ; nor did 
fie personally inflict much cruelty, if any, 
pon his field hands. The overseer on his 



12 NARRATIVE. 

nearest plantation (I know but little about 
the rest,) Avas a very cruel man ; in one in- 
stance, as it was said among the sla.ves, he 
whipped a man to death : but of course he de- 
nied that the man died in consequence of the 
whipping. Still it was the choice of my 
wife to pass into the hands of Mr. Smith, as 
she had become attached to him in conse- 
quence of belonging to the same church, 
and receiving his religious instruction and 
counsel as her class-leader, and in conse- 
quence of the peculiar devotedness to the 
cause of religion for which he was noted, 
and which he always seemed to manifest. 
But when she became his slave, he withheld 
both from her and her children, the needful 
food and clothing, while he exacted from 
them to the uttermost all the labor they were 
able to perform. Almost every article of 
clothing worn either by my wife or children, 
especially every article of much value, I had 
to purchase ; while the food he furnished 
the family amounted to less than a meal a 
day, and that of the coarser kind. I have 
no remembrance that he ever gave us a 
blanket, or any other article of bedding, 
although it is considered a rule at the south 
that the master shall furnish each of his 
slaves with one blanket a year. So that, 
both as to food and clothing, 1 had in fact to 
support both my wife and the children, 
while he claimed them as his property, and 
received all their labor. She was a house 



TREATMENT OF MY FAMILY. 13 

servant to Mr. Smith, sometimes cooked the 
food for his family, and usually took it from 
the table ; but her mistress was so particular 
in giving it out to be cooked, or so watched 
it, that she always knew whether it was all 
returned ; and when the table was cleared 
away, the stern old lady would sit by and 
see that every dish (except the very little 
she would send into the kitchen,) was put 
away, and then she would turn the key upon 
it, so as to be sure her slaves should not die 
of gluttony. This practise is common with 
some families in that region, but with others 
it is not. It was not so in that of her less 
pious master, Mr. Boylan, nor was it pre- 
cisely so at my master's. We used to have 
corn bread enough, and some meat. When 
I was a boy, the pot-liquor, in which the 
meat was boiled for the ''great house," to- 
gether with some little corn-meal balls that 
had been thrown in just before the meat Avas 
done, was poured into a tray and set in the 
middle of the yard, and a clam-shell or pew- 
ter spoon given to each of us children, who 
would fall upon the delicious fare as greedi- 
ly as pigs. It was not generally so much as 
we wanted; consequently it was customary 
for some of the white persons who saw us 
from the piazza of the house where they 
were sitting, to order the more stout and 
greedy ones to eat slower, that those more 
young and feeble might have a chance. But 
it was not so with Mr. Smith ; such luxu- 
b 



14 NARRATIVE. 

ries were more than he could afford, kind 
and Christian man as he was considered to 
be. So that by the expense of providing for 
my wife and children, all the money I had 
earned, and could earn, by my night labor, 
was consumed, till I found myself reduced 
to five dollars, and this I lost one day in go- 
ing to the plantation. My light of hope now 
went out. My prop seemed to have given 
way from under me. Sunk in the very 
nigiit of despair respecting my freedom, I 
discovered myself, as though I had never 
known it before, a husband, the father of 
two children, a family looking up to me for 
bread, and I a slave, penniless, and well 
watched by my master, his wife, and his 
children, lest I should, perchance, catch the 
friendly light of the stars to make some- 
thing in order to supply the cravings of na- 
ture in those with whom my soul was bound 
up : or lest some plan of freedom might lead 
me to trim the light of diligence after the 
day's labor was over, while the rest of the 
world were enjoying the hours in pleasure or 
sleep. 

At this time an event occiQ*red, which, 
while it cast a cloud over the prospects of 
some of my fellow slaves, v/as a rainbow 
over mine. My master died : and his widow, 
by the will, became sole executrix of his 
property. To the surprise of all, the bank 
of which he had been cashier, presented 
a claim against the estate for forty thou- 



LABORING FOR FREEDOM. 15 

sand dollars. By a compromise, this sum 
was reduced to twenty thousand dollars ; 
and my mistress, to meet the amount, sold 
some of her slaves, and hired out others. I 
hired my time of her,^^ for which I paid her 
a price varying from one hundred dollars to 
one hundred and twenty dollars per year. 
This was a privilege which comparatively 
few slaves at the south enjoy ; and in this I 
felt truly blessed. 

I commenced the manufacture of pipes 
and tobacco on an enlarged scale. I opened 
a regular place of business, labelled my to- 
bacco in a conspicuous manner with the 
names of ^^ Edward and Lunsford Lane^^' 
and of some of the persons who sold it for 
me, — establishing agencies for the sale in 
various parts of the State, one at Fayette- 
ville, one at Salisbury, one at Chapel Hill, and 
so on, — sold my articles from my place of 
business, and about town, also deposited them 
in stores on commission; and thus, after pay- 
ing my mistress for my time, and rendering 
such support as was necessary to my family, 



* It is contrary to the laws of the State for a slave to 
have command of his own time in this way, but in Raleigh 
it is sometimes winked at. I knew one slave-man, who 
was doing ivell for himself, taken up by the public author- 
ities and hired out for the public good, three times in suc- 
cession for this ofience. The time of hiring in such a case 
is one year. The master is subject to a fine. But gener- 
ally, as I have said, if the slave is orderly, and appears to 
be making; nothing, neither he nor the master is interfered 
With. 



16 NARRATIVE. 

I found ill the space of some six or eight 
years, that I had coUected the sum of one 
thousand dollars. During this time I had 
found it politic to go shabbily dressed, and 
to appear to be very poor, but to pay my 
mistress for my services promptly. I kept 
my money hid, never venturing to put out a 
penny, nor to let any body but my wife 
know that I was making any. The thousand 
dollars was Avhat I supposed my mistress 
would ask for me, and so I determined now 
what I would do. 

I went to my mistress and inquired what 
was her price for me. She said a thousand 
dollars. I then told her that I wanted to be 
free, and asked her if she would sell me to 
be made free. She said she would ; and 
accordingly I arranged with her, and with 
the master of my wife, Mr. Smith, already 
spoken of. for the latter to take my money* 
and buy of her my freedom, as I could not 
legally purchase it, and as the laws forbid 
emancipation, except for " meritorious ser- 
vices." This done, Mr. Smith endeavored 
to emancipate me formally, and to get my 
manumission recorded ; I tried also ; but the 
court judged that I had done nothing ''meri- 



* Legally J my money belonged to my mistress ; and 
she could have taken it and refused to grant me my free- 
dom. But she was a very kind woman for a slave o^Tier ; 
and she would under the circumstances scorn to do such 
a thing. I have known of slaves, however, served in this 
way. 



BECOMING FREE. 17 

torious," and so I remained, nominally only, 
the slave of Mr. Smith for a year ; when, 
feeling unsafe in that relation, I accompa- 
nied him to New York, whither he was 
going to purchase goods, and was there reg- 
ularly and formally made a freeman, and 
there my manumission was recorded. I re- 
turned to my family in Raleigh, and endeav- 
ored to do by them as a freeman should. I 
had known what it was to be a slave, and I 
knew what it was to be free. 

But I am going too rapidly over my story. 
When the money was paid to my mistress 
and the conveyance fairly made to Mr. 
Smith, I felt that I was free. And a queer 
and a joyous feeling it is to one who has 
been a slave. I cannot describe it, only it 
seemed as though I was in heaven. I used 
to lie awake whole nights thinking of it. 
And oh, the strange thoughts that passed 
through my soul, like so many rivers of 
light ; deep and rich were their waves as 
they rolled : — these were more to me than 
sleep, more than soft slumber after long 
months of watching over the decaying, 
fading frame of a friend, and the loved one 
laid to rest in the dust. But I cannot de- 
scribe my feelings to those who have never 
been slaves : then why should I attempt it '? 
He who has passed from spiritual death to 
life, and received the witness within his soul 
that his sins are forgiven, may possibly form 
some distant idea, like the ray of the setting 
b2 



18 NARRATIVE. 

sun from the far off mountain top, of the 
emotions of an emancipated slave. That 
opens heaven. To break the bonds of 
slavery, opens up at once both earth and 
heaven. Neither can be truly seen by us 
while we are slaves. 

And now will the reader take with me a 
brief review of the road I had trodden. I 
cannot here dwell upon its dark shades, 
though some of these were black as the pen- 
cillings of midnight, but upon the light, that 
had followed my path from my infancy up, 
and had at length conducted me quite out 
of the deep abyss of bondage. There is a 
hymn opening with the following stanza, 
which very much expresses my feelings : 

'' When all thy mercies, Oh my God, 
My rising soul surveys, 
Transported with the view, I'm lost 
In wonder, love, and praise." 

I had endured what a freeman would in- 
deed call hard fare ; but my lot, on the 
whole, had been a favored one for a slave. 
It is known that there is a wide difference 
in the situations of what are termed house 
servants, and plantation hands. I, though 
sometimes employed upon the plantation, 
belonged to the former, which is the favored 
class. My master, too, was esteemed a 
kind and humane man ; and altogether I 
fared quite differently from many poor fel- 



PLANTATION SLAVES. 19 

lows v.^hom it makes my blood run chill to 
think of. confined to the plantation, with not 
enough of food and that little of the coarsest 
kind, to satisfy the gna wings of hmiger. — 
compelled oftentimes, to hie away in the 
night-time, when worn down with work, 
and steal, (if it be stealing.) and privately 
devour such things as they can lay their 
hands upon. — made to feel the rigors of 
bondage with no cessation, — torn away 
sometimes iVom the fev^ friends they love, 
friends doubly dear because they are few, 
and transported to a climate where in a few- 
hard years they die, — or at best conducted 
heavily and sadly to their resting place un- 
der the sod, upon their old master^ s planta- 
tion, — sometimes, perhaps, enlivenmg the 
air with merriment, but a forced merriment, 
that comes from a stagnant or a stupefied 
heart. Such as this is the fate of the plan- 
tation slaves generally, but such was not my 
lot. My way was comparatively light, and 
what is better, it conducted to freedom. 
And my wife and children were with me. 
After my master died, my mistress sold a 
number of her slaves from their families 
and friends — but not me. She sold several 
children from their parents — but my children 
were with me still. She sold tvro husbands 
from their wives — but I was still with mine. 
She sold one wife from her husband — but 
mine had not been sold from me. The mas- 
ter of my wife, Mr. Smith, had separated 



20 NARRATIVE. 

members of families by sale — but not of 
mine. With me and my house, the tenderer 
tendrils of the heart still clung to where the 
vine had entwined : pleasant was its shade 
and delicious its fruits to our taste, though 
we knew, and what is more, \yq felt that we 
were slaves. But all around I could see 
where the vine had been torn down, and its 
bleeding branches told of vanished joys, and 
of new wrought sorrows, such as, slave 
though I .was, had never entered into my 
practical experience. 

I had never been permitted to learn to 
read ; but I used to attend church, and there 
I received instruction which I trust was of 
some benefit to me. I trusted, too, that I 
had experienced the renewing influences of 
the gospel ; and after obtaining from my 
mistress a written pei^mit. (a thing always 
required in such a case,) I had been bap- 
tised and received into fellowship with the 
Baptist denomination. So that in religious 
matters, I had been indulged in the exercise 
of my own conscience — a favor not always 
granted to slaves. Indeed I, with others, 
was often told by the minister how good 
God Avas in bringing us over to this country 
from dark and benighted Africa, and per- 
mitting us to listen to the sound of the gos- 
pel. To me, God also granted temporal free- 
dom, which man without God's consent, had 
stolen away. 

I often heard select portions of the scrip- 



RELIGIOUS PRIVILEGES. 21 

tures read. And on the Sabbath there was 
one sermon preached expressly for the color- 
ed people which it was generally my privi- 
lege to hear. I became quite familiar with 
the texts, " Servants be obedient to your 
masters.'* — ^' Not with eye service as men 
pleasers." — " He that knoweth his master's 
will and doeth it not, shall be beaten with 
many stripes," and others of this class : for 
they formed the basis of most of these pub- 
lic instructions to us. The first command- 
ment impressed upon our minds was to obey 
our masters, and the second was like unto 
it, namely, to do as much work when they 
or the overseers were not watching us as 
when they were. But connected with these 
instructions there was more or less that 
was truly excellent ; though mixed up with 
much that wo aid sound strangely in the 
ears of freedom. There was one very kind 
hearted Episcopal minister whom I often 
used to hear ; he was very popular with the 
colored people. But after he had preached 
a sermon to us in which he argued from the 
Bible that it was the will of heaven from all 
eternity we should be slaves, and our mas- 
ters be our owners, most of lis left him ; for 
like some of the faint hearted disciples in 
early times Ave said, — '' This is a hard say- 
ing, who can bear it?" 

My manumission, as I shall call it — that 
is, the bill of sale conveying me to Mr. 
Smith, was dated Sept. 9th, 1835. I contin- 



22 NARRATIVE. 

ued in the tobacco and pipe business as al- 
ready described, to which I added a small 
trade in a variety of articles : and some two 
years before I left Raleigh. I entered also 
into a considerable business in wood, which 
I used to purchase by the acre standing, 
cut it, haul it into the city, deposit it in a 
yard and sell it out as I advantageously 
could. Also I was employed about the office 
of the Governor, as I shall hereafter relate. 
I used to keep one or two horses, and va- 
rious vehicles, by which I did a variety of 
work at hauling about town. Of course I 
had to hire more or less help, to carry on 
my business. 

In the manufacture of tobacco I met with 
considerable competition, but none that ma- 
terially injured me. The method of prepar- 
ing it having originated with me and my 
father, we found it necessary, in order to 
secure the advantage of the invention, to 
keep it to ourselves, and decline, though 
often solicited, going into partnership with 
others. Those who undertook the manufac- 
ture could neither give the article a flavor 
so pleasant as ours, nor manufacture it so 
cheaply, so they either failed in it, or suc- 
ceeded but poorly. 

Not long after obtaining my own freedom, 
I began seriously to think about purchasing 
the freedom of my family. The first propo- 
sition was that I should buy my wife, and 
that we should jointly labor to obtain the 



BARGAIN FOR MY FAMILY. 23 

freedom of the children afterwards, as we 
were able. But that idea was abandoned 
when her master, Mr. Smith, refused to sell 
her to me for less than one thousand dollars, 
a sum which then appeared too much for me 
to raise. 

Afterwards, however, I conceived the idea 
of purchasmg at once the entire family. I 
went to Mr. Smith to learn his price, which 
he put at three thousand dollars for my wife 
and six children, the number we then had. 
This seemed a large sum, both because it 
was a great deal for me to raise, and also 
because Mr. Smith, when he bought my wife 
and two children, had actually paid but five 
hundred and sixty dollars for them, and had 
received, ever since, their labor, while I had 
almost entirely supported them, both as to 
food and clothing. Altogether, therefore, 
the case seemed a hard one, but as I was 
entirely in his power I must do the best I 
could. At length he concluded, perhaps 
partly of his own motion, and partly through 
the persuasion of a friend, to sell the family 
for $2,500, as I wished to free them, though 
he contended still that they were worth 
three thousand dollars. Perhaps they would 
at that time have brought this larger sum, 
if sold for the Southern market. The ar- 
rangement with Mr. Smith was made in 
December, 1838. I gave him five notes of 
five hundred dollars each, the first due in 
January, 1840, and one in January each 



24 NARRATIVE. 

succeeding year ; for which he transferred 
my family into my own possession, with a 
bond to give me a bill of sale when I should 
pay the notes. With this arrangement, we 
found ourselves living in our own house, — a 
house which I had previously purchased, — ■ 
in January, 1839. 

After moving my family, my wife was for 
a short time sick, in consequence of her la- 
bor and the excitement in moving, and her 
excessive joy. I told her that it reminded 
me of a poor shoemaker in the neighbor- 
hood, who purchased a ticket in a lottery ; 
but not expecting to draw, the fact of his 
purchasing it had passed out of his mind. 
But one day as he was at work on his last, 
he was informed that his ticket had drawn 
the liberal prize of ten thousand dollars : and 
the poor man was so overjoyed, that he fell 
back on his seat, and immediately expired. 

In this new and joyful situation we found 
ourselves getting along very v/ell, until Sep- 
tember, 1840, when, to my surprise, as I was 
passing the street one day, engaged in my 
l3usiness, the following note was handed me. 
" Read it," said the officer, " or if you can- 
not read, get some white man to read it to 
you." Here it is, verbatim : 

To Lmisford Lane, a free man of Color : 

Take notice, that whereas complaint has been made to 
ITS, two Jvistices of the Peace for the county of Wake and 
State of North Carolina, that you are a free negro from 
another State, who has migrated into this State contrary to 



NOTIFIED TO LEAVE THE STATE. 25 

the provisions of the act of assembly concerning free ne- 
groes and raulattoes, now notice is given you that unless 
you leave and remove out of this State within twenty days, 
that you will be proceeded against for the penalty prescribed 
by said act of assembly, and be otherwise dealt with as the 
law directs. Given under our hands and seals this the 5th 
Sept. 1840. WILLIS SCOTT, JP (Seal) 

JORDAN WOMBLE, JP (Seal). 



This was a terrible blow to me, for it 
prostrated at once all my hopes in my cher- 
ished object of obtaining the freedom of my 
family, and led me to expect nothing but a 
separation from them forever. 

In order that the reader may understand 
the full force of the foregoing notice, I will 
copy the law of the State under which it was 
issued : 



Sec. 65. It shall not be lawful for any free negro or 
mulatto to migrate into this State : and if he or she shall 
do so, contrary to the provisions of this act, and being 
thereof informed, shall not, within twenty days thereafter, 
remove out of the State, he or she being thereof convicted 
in the manner hereafter directed, shall be liable to a pen- 
alty of five hundred dollars ; and upon failure to pay the 
same, within the time prescribed in the judgment awarded 
against such person or persons, he or she shall be liable to 
be held in servitude and at labor a term of time not ex- 
ceeding ten years, in such manner and upon such terms 
as may be provided by the court awarding such sentence, 
and the proceeds arising therefrom shall be paid over to 
the county trustee for county purposes : Provided, that 
in case any free negro or mulatto shall pay the penalty of 
five hundred dollars, according to the provisions of this act, 
it shall be the duty of such free negro or mulatto to re- 
move him or herself out of this State within twenty days 
thereafter, and for every such failure, he or she shall be 
c 



26 NARRATIVE. 

subject to the like penalty as is prescribed for a failure to 
remove in the first instance. — Eevised Statutes North Caro 
Una, chop. 111. 

The next section provides that if the free 
person of color so notified, does not leave 
within the twenty days after receiving the 
notice, he may be arrested on a warrant from 
any Justice, and be held to bail for his ap- 
pearance at the next county court, when he 
Avill be subject to the penalties specified 
above : or in case of his failure to give bonds, 
he may be sent to jail. 

I made known my situation to my friends, 
and after taking legal counsel, it was deter- 
mined to induce, if possible, the complain- 
ants to prosecute no farther at present, and 
then as the Legislature of the State was to 
sit in about two months, to petition that 
body for permission to remain in the State 
until I could complete the purchase of my 
family; after which I was willing, if neces- 
sary, to leave. 

From January 1st, 1837, I had been em- 
ployed, as I have mentioned, in the office of 
the Governor of the State, principally under 
the direction of his private Secretary, in 
keeping the ofiice in order, taking the letters 
to the Post Office, and doing such other du- 
ties of the sort as occurred from time to time. 
This circumstance, with the fact of the high 
standing in the city of the family of my 
former master, and of the former masters of 
my wife, had given me the friendship of the 



EFFORTS TO RE.AIAIX. 27 

first people in the place generally, who from 
that time forward acted towards me the 
friendly part. 

Mr. Battle, then private Secretary to 
Governor Dudley, addressed the following 
letter to the prosecuting attorney in my be- 
half: 

Raleigh, Nov. 3, 1840. 

Dear Sie, : — Lunsford Lane, a free man of color, has 
been in the employ of the State under me since my enter- 
ing on my present situation. I understand that under a 
law of the State, he has been notihed to leave, and that 
the time is now at hand. 

In the discharge of the duties I had from him, I have 
found him prompt, obedient and faithful. At this particu- 
lar time, his absence to me would be much regretted, as I 
am now just fixing up my books and other papers in the 
new office, and I shall not have time to learn another a\ hat 
he can already do so well. "With me the period of the 
Legislature is a very busy one, and I am compelled to 
ha\'e a servant who understands the business I want done, 
and one I can trust. I would not wish to be an obstacle 
in the execution of any law, but the enforcing of the one 
against him will be doing me a serious inconvenience, 
and the object of this letter is to ascertain whether I could 
not procure a suspension of the sentence till after the ad- 
journment of the Legislature, say about 1st January, 1841, 

1 should feel no hesitation in giving my word that he 
will conduct himself orderly and obediently. 
I am, most respectfully, 

Your obedient serv'ant, 

C. C. BATTLE. 
G. TV. Haywood, Esq., 

Attorney at Law, Raleigh, iV. C. 



To the above letter the following reply 
was made : 



28 



NARRATIVE. 



Raleigh, Nov. 3, 1840. 



My Dear Sir : — I have no objection, so far as I am 
concerned, that all further proceedings against Lunsford 
should be postponed until after the adjournment of the 
Legislature. 

The process now out against him is one issued by two 
magistrates, Messrs. Willis Scott and Jordan Womble, over 
which I have no control. You had better see them to-day, 
and perhaps, at your request, they will delay further action 
on the subject. Respectfully yours, 

GEO." W. HAYWOOD. 

Mr. Battle then enclosed the foregoing 
correspondence to Messrs. Scott and Wom- 
ble, requesting their " favorable considera- 
tion." They returned the correspondence, 
but neglected to make any reply. 

In consequence, however, of this action on 
the part of my friends, I was permitted to 
remain without further interruption, until 
the day the Legislature commenced its ses- 
sion. On that day a warrant was served 
upon me, to appear before the county court, 
to answer for the sin of having remained in 
the place of my birth for the space of twenty 
days and more after being warned out. I 
escaped going to jail through the kindness of 
Mr. Haywood, a son of my former master, 
and Mr. Smith, who jointly became security 
for my appearance at court. 

This was on Monday ; and on Wednes- 
day I appeared before the court ; but as my 
prosecutors were not ready for the trial, the 
case was laid over three months, to the next 
term. 



EFFORTS TO REMAIN. 29' 

I then proceeded to get up a petition to 
the Legislature. It required much hard la- 
bor and persuasion on my part to start it ; 
hut after that, I readily obtained the signa- 
tures of the principal men in the place. 
Then I went round to the members, many 
of whom were known to me, calling upon 
them at their rooms, and urging them for 
my sake, for humanity's sake, for the sake 
of my Avife and little ones, whose hopes had 
been excited by the idea that they were even 
now free ; I appealed to them as husbands, 
fathers, brothers, sons, to vote in favor of 
my petition, and allow me to remain in the 
State long enough to purchase my family. 
I was doing well in business, and it would 
be but a short time before I could accomplish 
the object. Then, if it was desired, I and 
my wife and children, redeemed from bond- 
age, would together seek a more friendly 
home, beyond the dominion of slavery. The 
following is the petition presented, endorsed 
as the reader will see : 

To tneHon/Gmrr^AssemNu'qii'fih Siate^p North Cawlina^ 

a^j^imiimatfif:^ mitim^y^i'^^m^m^l Line .ki^WiMji 










30 NARRATIVE. 

he can remove his family also. Your petitioner will give 
bond and good security for his good behavior while he re- 
mains. Your petitioner will ever pray, &:c. 

LUNSFORD LANE. 

The undersigned are well acquainted with Lunsford 
Lane, the petitioner, and join in his petition to the Assem- 
bly for relief. 

Charles Manly, Drury Lacy, 

B. W. Haywood, Will. Peck, 

Eleanor Haywood, W. A. Stith, 

William Hill, A. B. Stith, 

R. Smith, ^ J. Brown, 

William Peace, ' William White, 

Jos. Peace, George Simpson, 

William M'Pheeters, Jno. L Christophers, 

William Boylan, John Primrose, 

Fabius J. Haywood, Hugh M'Queen, 

D. W. Stone, Alex. J. Lawrence, 

T. Merideth, C. L. Hinton. 

A. J. Battle, 

Lunsford Lane, the petitioner herein, has been servant 
to the Executive Office since the 1st of January, 1837, and 
it gives me pleasure to state that, during the whole time, 
without exception, I have found him faithful and obedient, 
in keeping every thing committed to his care in good con- 
dition. From what I have seen of his conduct and de- 
meanor, I cheerfully join in the petition for his relief. 

C. C. BATTLE, P. Secretary to Gov. Dudley. 
Raleigh, Nov. 20, 1840. 

The foregoing petition was presented to 
the Senate. It Avas there referred to a com- 
mittee. I knew when the committee was 
to report, and watched about the State 
House that I might receive the earhest news 
of the fate of my petition. I should have 
gone within the senate chamber, but no col- 
ored man has that permission. I do not 
know why, unless for fear he may hear the 
name of Liberty. By and by a member 



EFFORTS TO REMAIN. 31 

came out, and as he passed me, said, ^'Well, 
Liinsford^ they have laid you out; the nigger 
bill is killed J ^ I need not tell the reader 
that my feelings did not enter into the mer- 
riment of this honorable senator. To me, 
the fate of my petition was the last blow to 
my hopes. I had done all I could do, had 
said all I could say, laboring night and day, 
to obtain a favorable reception to my peti- 
tion ; but all in vain. Nothing appeared 
before me but I must leave the State, and 
leave my wife and my children, never to see 
them more. My friends had also done all 
they could for me. 

And why must I be banished ? Ever af- 
ter I entertained the first idea of being free, 
I had endeavored so to conduct myself as 
not to become obnoxious to the white inhab- 
itants, knowing as I did their power, and 
their hostility to the colored people. The 
two points necessary in such a case I had 
kept constantly in mind. First, I had made 
no display of the little property or money I 
possessed, but in every way I wore as much 
as possible the aspect of poverty. Second, 
I had never appeared to be even so intelli- 
gent as I really was. This all colored peo- 
ple at the south, free and slaves, find it pe- 
culiarly necessary to their own comfort and 
safety to observe. 

I should, perhaps, have mentioned that 
on the same day I received the notice to 
leave Raleigh, similar notices were present- 



32 NARRATIVE, 

ed to two other free colored people, who had 
been slaves; were trying to purchase their 
families : and were otherwise in a like situ- 
ation to myself. And they took the same 
course I did to endeavor to remain a limited 
time. Isaac Hunter, who had a family with 
five children, was one ; and Waller Free- 
man, who had six children, was the other. 
Mr. Hunter's petition went before mine ; and 
a bill of some sort passed the Senate, which 
was so cut down in the Commons, as to al- 
low him only twenty days to remain in the 
State. He has since, however, obtained the 
freedom of his family, who are living with 
him in Philadelphia. 

Mr. Freeman's petition received no better 
fate than mine. His family were the prop- 
erty of Judge Badger, who was afterwards 
made a member of Mr. Harrison's cabinet. 
When Mr. Badger removed to Yv^ashington, 
he took with him among other slaves this 
family : and Freeman removed also to that 
(iit^fencMt^ t-^i^c}j^^^n,ijMrt.xS- resigned his 

n^tio¥$lier .^^f-^^^itoTjrJ^g Jig^ff n^^^o^^^ 
ti^, V(^tMi lT#jTteQkb^eo9F^st;|p/o^it%^jM^ 

^i jtib'Bf^Qigivo 'Wmwim'^immmii^i^mYrb 

oring to raise money to mak§^;fej^cg^i^9"h^s^j>g 



LEAVING THE STATE. 33 

State. I was bound to appear before the 
court; but it had been arranged between my 
lawyer and the prosecuting attorney, that if 
I would leave the State, and pay the costs of 
court, the case should be dropped, so that 
my bondsmen should not be involved. I 
therefore concluded to stay as long as I pos- 
sibly could, and then leave. I also deter- 
mined to appeal to the kindness of the friends 
of the colored man in the north, for assist- 
ance, though I had but little hope of suc- 
ceeding in this way. Yet it was the only 
course I could think of, by which I could 
see any possible hope of accomplishing the 
object. 

I had paid Mr. Smith six hundred and 
twenty dollars, and had a house and lot 
worth five hundred dollars, which he had 
promised to take when I had raised the bal- 
ance. He gave me also a bill of sale of one of 
my children, Laura, in consideration of two 
hundred and fifty dollars of the money already 
paid ; and her I determined to take with me 
to the north. The costs of court, which I 
had to meet, amounted to between thirty and 
forty dollars, besides the fee of my lawyer. 

On the 18th of May, 1841, three days af- 
ter the court commenced its session, I bid 
adieu to my friends in Raleigh, and set out 
for the city of New York. I took with me 
a letter of introduction and recommendation 
from Mr. John Primrose, a very estimable 
man, a recommendatory certificate from Mr. 



34^. NARRATIVE. 

Battle, and a letter from the church of which 
I was a member, together with such papers 
relating to the aflair as I had in my posses- 
sion. Also I received the following : 

Raleigh, N. C, May, 1841. 
The bearer, Lunsford Lane, a free man of color, for 
some time a resident in this place, being about to leave 
North Carolina in search of a more favorable location to 
pursue his trade, has desired us to give him a certiiicate of 
his good conduct heretofore. 

We take pleasure in saying that his habits are temperate 
and industrious, that his conduct has been orderly and 
proper, and that he has for these qualities been distin- 
guished among his caste. 

William Hill, R. Smith, 

Weston R. Gales, C. Dewey. 

C. L. Hinton. 

The above was certified to officially in the 
usual form, by the clerk of the Court of Com- 
mon Pleas and Quarter Sessions. 

My success in New York was at first 
small ; but at length I fell in with two friends 
who engaged to raise for me three hundred 
dollars, provided I should first obtain from 
other sources thQ balance of the sum required, 
which balance would be one thousand and 
eighty dollars. Thus encouraged, I pro- 
ceeded to Boston ; and in the city and vi- 
cinity the needful sum was contributed by 
about the 1st of April, 1842. My thanks I 
have endeavored to express in my poor way 
to the many friends who so kindly and lib- 
erally assisted me. I cannot reward them ; 
I hope they will receive their reward in 
another world. If the limits of this publi- 



AT BOSTON. 35 

cation would permit, I should like to record 
the names of many to whom I am very es- 
pecially indebted for their kindness and aid, 
not only in contributing, but in introducing 
me, and opening various ways of access, to 
others. 

On the 5th of February, 1842, finding that 
I should soon have in my possession the sum 
necessary to procure my family, and fearing 
that there might be danger in visiting Ra- 
leigh for that purpose, in consequence of the 
strong opposition of many of the citizens 
against colored people, their opposition to 
me, and their previously persecuting me 
from the city, I wrote to Mr. Smith, request- 
ing him to see the Governor, and obtain, un- 
der his hand, a permit to visit the State for a 
sufficient time to accomplish this business. I 
requested Mr. Smith to publish the permit in 
one or two of the city papers, and then to 
enclose the original to me. This letter he 
answered; under date of Raleigh, 19th Feb. 
J 842, as follows: 

LuNSFORD : — Your letter of the 5th inst. came duly to 
hand, and in reply I have to inform you, that owing to the 
absence of Gov. Morehead, I cannot send you the permit 
you requested, but this will make no difference, for you can 
come home, and after your arrival you can obtain one to 
remain long enough to settle up your affairs. You ought 
of course to apply to the Governor immediately on your 
arrival, before any malicious person would have time to 
inform against you ; I don't think by pursuing this course 
you need apprehend any danger. * * * * 

We are all alive at present in Raleigh on the subjects of 
temperance and religion. We have taken into the tempe- 



36 NARRATIVE. 

ranee societies about five hundred members, and about fifty 
persons have been happily converted. * * * The work 
seems still to be spreading, and such a time I have never 
seen before in my lite. Gforious times truly. 

Do try to get all the religion in your heart you possibly 
can, for it is the only thing worth having after all. 

Your, c\:c. B. B. SMITH. 

The way now appeared to be in a measure 
open ; also I thought that the rehgious and 
temperance mterest mentioned in the latter 
portion of Mr. Smith" s letter, augured a state 
of feeling which would be a protection to me. 
But fearing still that there might be danger 
in visiting Raleigh without the permit from 
the Governor, or at least wishing to take 
every possible precaution, I addressed anoth- 
er letter to Mr. Smith, and received under 
date of March 12th, a reply, from v.^hich I 
copy as follows : 

^' The Governor has just returned, and I called upon him 
to get the peiTnit, as you requested, but he said he had no 
authority by law to grant one ; and he told vie to say to you 
that you might in perfect safety come home in a quiet manner, 
and remain twenty days without being interrupted. I also 
consulted IMr. ]Manly, (a lawyer,) and he told me the same 
thing. * * *= Surely you need not fear any thing under 
these circtimsta7ices. You had therefore better come on just as 
soon as possible.-' 

I need not say, what the reader has al- 
ready seen, that my life so far had been one 
of joy succeeding sorrov/, and sorrow follow- 
ing joy ; of hope, of despair, of bright pros- 
pects, of gloom; and of as many hues as 
ever appear on the varied sky, from the 
black of midnight, or of the deep brown of a 



VISIT TU RALEIGH. 37 

tempest, to the bright warm glow of a clear 
noon day. On the 11th of April, it was noon 
with me : I iei't Boston on my wav for Ra- 
leigh with higli hopes, mtending to pay over 
the money for my family and return with 
them to Boston, which I designed should be 
my future home : for there I had found 
friends, and there I would find a grave. The 
visit I was making to the south was to be a 
farewell one : and I did not dream that my 
old cradle, hard as it once had jostled me, 
would refuse to rock me a pleasant, or even 
an affectionate good bye. I thought, too, 
that the assurances I had received from the 
Governor, through Mr. Smith, and the as- 
surances of other friends, were a sufficient 
guaranty that 1 might visit the liome of my 
boyhood, of my youth, of my manhood, in 
peace, especially as I was to stay but for a 
lew days and then to return. With these 
thouglits, and with the thoughts of my fam- 
ily and freedom, I pursued my way to Ra- 
leigh, and arrived there on the 23d of the 
month. It was Saturday, about four o'clock, 
P. M., when I found myself once more in the 
midst of my family. With them I remained 
over the Sabbath, as it was sweet to spend 
a little time with them after so long an ab- 
sence, an absence filled with so much of in- 
terest to us, and as I could not do any busi- 
ness until the beginning of the week. On 
Monday morning, between eight and nine 
o'clock, while f was making ready to leave 
3 



38 NARRATIVE. 

the house for ilie tirst lime after my arrival, 
to go to the store of Mr. Smith, where I was 
to transact my business with liim, two con- 
stables, Messrs. Murray and Scott, entered, 
accompanied by two other men, and sum- 
moned me to appear immediately before the 
police. I accordingly accompanied them to 
the Chy Hall, but as it was locked and the 
officers could not at once find the key, we 
were told that the court would be held in 
Mr. Smith's .store, a large and commodious 
room. This was what is termed in common 
phrase, in Raleigh, a ''call court.'- The 
Mayor. Mr. Loring, presided, assisted by 
William Boylan and Jonathan Busbye, Esqs., 
Justices of the Peace. There were a large 
number of people togetlier — more than could 
obtain admission to the room — and a large 
company of mobocratic spirits crowded 
around the door. Mr. Loring read the writ, 
setting forth that I had been guilty of deliv- 
ering abolition lectures in the State of Massa- 
chusetts. He asked me whether I was guilty 
or not guilty. I told him I did not know 
whether I had given abolition lectures or 
not, but if it pleased the court, I would re- 
late the course 1 had pursued during my ab- 
sence from Raleigh. He then said that I 
was at liberty to speak. 

The circumstances under which I left 
Raleigh, said I, are perfectly familiar to you. 
It is known that I had no disposition to re- 
move from this city, but resorted to every 



BEFORE THE COURT. 39 

hiwful means to remain. After I lonnd that 
I could not be permitted to stay, 1 went 
away, leaving behind everything I held dear, 
with the exception of one child, whom I 
took with me, after paying two hundred 
and fifty dollars for her. It is also known 
to you and to many other persons here pres- 
ent, that 1 had engaged to purchase my 
wife and children of their master, Mr. JSmith, 
for the sum of twenty-five hundred dollars, 
and that I had paid of this sum (including 
my house and lot,) eleven lumdred and 
twenty dollars, leaving a balance to be made 
up of thirteen hundred and eighty dollars. 
I had previously to that lived in Raleigh, a 
slave, the property of Mr. Sherwood Hay- 
wood, and had purchased my freedom by 
paying tlie sum of one thousand dollars. 
But being driven away, — no longer permitted 
to live in this city to raise the balance of 
the money due on my family,— my last re- 
sort was to call upon the friends of humani- 
ty in other places, to assist me. 

1 went to the city of Boston, and there I 
related the story oi' my persecutions here, 
the same as I have now stated to you. The 
people gave ear to my statements : and one 
of them. Rev. Mr. Neale, wrote back, un- 
known to me, to Mr. Smith, inquiring of 
him wlicther the statements made by me 
were correct. After Mr. Neale received the 
answer, he sent for me, informed me of liis 
havincr written, and read to me the reply. 



40 NARRATIVE. 

The letter fully satisfied Mr. >.eale and his 
friends. He placed it in my hands, remark- 
ing that it would, in a great measure, do 
away the necessity of using the other docu- 
ments in my possession. I then, with that 
letter in my hands, went out from house to 
house, from place of busines to place of 
business, and from church to church, re- 
lating, where I could gain an ear, the same 
heart-rending and soul-trying story which I 
am now repeating to you. In pursuing that 
course, the people, first one and then anoth- 
er, contributed, until I had succeeded in 
raising the amount alluded to, namely, thir- 
teen hundred and eighty dollars. I may 
have had contributions from abolitionists ; 
but I did not stop to ask those who assist- 
ed me whether they were anti-slavery or 
pro-slavery, for I considered that the money 
coming from either would accomplish the ob- 
ject I had in view. These are the facts ; and 
now, sir, it remains for you to say, whether 
I have been giving abolition lectures or not. 
In the course of my remarks, I presented 
the letter of Mr. Smith to Mr. Neale, show- 
ing that I had acted the open part while in 
Massachusetts ; also I referred to my having 
written to Mr. Smith, requesting him to ob- 
tain for me the permit of the Governor ; and 
I showed to the court Mr. Smith's letters in 
reply, in order to satisfy them that I had 
reason to believe 1 should be unmolested in 
my return. 



THE MOB, 41 

Mr. Loriiig then whispered to some oi 
the leading men ; after which he remarked 
that he saw nothing in what I had done, 
according to my statements, impUcating me 
m a manner worthy of notice. He called 
upon any present who might be in posses- 
sion of information tending to disprove what 
1 had said, or to show any wrong on my 
part, to produce it, otherwise I should be set 
at liberty. No person appeared against me ; 
so I was discharged. 

I started to leave the house : but just be- 
fore I got to the door I met Mr. James 
Litchford, who touched me on the shoulder, 
and I followed him back. He observed to 
me that if I went out of that room I should 
in less than five minutes be a dead man ; for 
there was a mob outside waiting to drink my 
hfe. Mr. Lor in g then spoke to me again, 
and said that notwithstanding I had been 
found guilty of nothing, yet public opinion 
was law; and he advised me to leave the 
place the next day, otherwise he Avas con- 
vinced I should have to suffer death. 1 re- 
plied, '"'not to-morrow, but to-day." He 
answered that I could not go that day, be- 
cause I had not done my business. I told 
him that I would leave my business in liis 
hands and in those of other such gentlemen 
as himself, who might settle it for me and 
send my family to meet me at Philadelphia. 
This was concluded upon, and a guard ap- 
pomted to conduct me to the depot. I took 



42 NARRATIVE. 

my seat la tlic cars, when the mob that had 
followed us sm-roiinded me, and declared 
that the cars should not go, if 1 were per- 
mitted to go in them. Mr. Loring mquired 
what they wanted of me : he told them tliat 
there had been an examination, and nothing 
had been found against me: that they were 
at the examination invited to speak if they 
knew aught to condemn me, but they 
had remained silent, and that now it was 
but right I should be permitted to leave in 
peace. They replied that they wanted a 
more thorough investigation, that they wish- 
ed to search my trunks (1 had but one trunk) 
and see if [ was not in possession of aboli- 
tion papers. It now became evident that 
1 should be unable to get off in the cars ; 
and my friends advised me to go the short- 
est way possible to jail, for my safety. 
They said they were persuaded that what 
the rabble wanted was to get me into their 
possession, and then to murder me. The 
mob looked dreadfully enraged, and seemed 
to lap for blood. The whole city was in an 
uproar. But the first men and the more 
wealtliy were my friends : and they did 
everything in their power to protect me. 
Mr. Boylan, whose name has repeatedly 
occurred in this publication, Avas more than 
a father to me; and ]Mr. Smith and Mr. 
Loring, and many other gentlemen, whose 
names it would give me pleasure to mention, 
were exceedingly kind. 



IN JAIL. 43 

The guard then conducted me througii 
the mob to the prison ; and I felt joyful that 
even a prison could protect me. Looking 
out from the prison window, I saw my 
trunk in the hands of Messrs. Johnson, Scott, 
and others, who were taking it to the City 
Hall for examination. I understood after- 
wards that they opened my trunk ; and as 
the lid flew up, Lo ! a paper ! a paper ! ! 
Those about seized it, three or four at once, 
as hungry dogs would a piece of meat after 
forty days famine. But the meat quickly 
turned to a stone ; for the paper it happened, 
was one printed i?i Raleigh, and edited by 
Weston R. Gales, a nice man to be sure, 
but no abolitionist. The only other printed 
or Avritten things in the trunk were some 
business cards of a firm in Raleigh — not in- 
cendiary. 

Afterwards I saw from the window Mr. 
Scott, accompanied by Mr. Johnson, lugging 
my carpet-bag in the same direction my 
trunk had gone. It was opened at the City. 
Hall, and found actually to contain a pair 
of old shoes, and a pair of old boots ! — but 
they did not conclude that these were incen- 
diary. 

Mr. Smith now came to the prison and 
told me that the examination had been com- 
pleted, and nothing found against me; but 
that it would not be safe for me to leave the 
prison immediately. It was agreed that I 
should remain in prison until after nightfall, 



44' NARRATIVE. 

and then steal secretly away, being let out 
by the keeper, and pass unnoticed to the 
house of my old and tried friend Mr. Boy- 
Ian. Accordingly I was discharged between 
nine and ten o'clock. I went by the back 
way leading to Mr. Boy Ian' s : but soon and 
suddenly a large company of men sprang 
upon me, and instantly I foand myself in 
their possession. They conducted me some- 
times high above ground and sometimes 
dragging me along, but as silently as possi- 
ble, in the direction of the gallows, which is 
always kept standing upon the Common, or 
as it is called "the pines.'" or "piny old 
field." I now expected to pass speedily into 
the world of spirits ; I thought of that un- 
seen region to which I seemed to be hasten- 
mg ; and then my mind would return to my 
wife and children, and the labors I had made 
to redeem them from bondage. Although I 
had the money to pay for them according to 
a bargain already made, it seemed to me 
some white man would get it, and they 
would die in slavery, without benefit from 
my exertions and the contributions of my 
friends. Then the thought of my own 
death, to occur in a few brief moments, 
would rush over me, and I seemed to bid 
adieu in spirit to all earthly things, and to 
hold communion already with eternity. But 
at length I observed those who were carry- 
ing me away, changed their course a little 
from the direct line to the gallows, and hope, 



IN THE HANDS Oh THE MOB. 45 

a laint beaming, sprung up within rue ; but 
then as they were taking me to the woods, 
[ thought tliey intended to murder me there, 
ui a place where they would he less likely 
to be interrupted than in so public a spot as 
where the gallows stood. They conducted 
me to a rising ground among the trees, and 
set me down. •• Now,'' said they, " tell us 
the truth about those abolition lectures you 
have been giving at the north." I replied 
that 1 had related the circumstances before 
the court in the morning ; and could only 
repeat what I had then said. "But that 
was not the truth — tell ns the truth." 1 
again said that any different story would be 
false, and as I supposed I was in a few mhi- 
utes to die, 1 would not, whatever they 
might think 1 would say under other cir- 
cumstances, pass into the other world with 
a lie upon my hps. Said one, ''you were 
always, Lunsibrd, when you were here, a 
clever fellow, and I did not think you would 
be engaged in such business as giving aboli- 
tion lectures." To this and similar remarks, 
I replied, that the people of Raleigh had al- 
ways said the abolitionists did not believe in 
buying slaves, but contended that their mas- 
ters ought to free them without pay. I had 
been laboring to buy my family ; and how 
then could they suppose me to be in league 
with the abolitionists? 

After other conversation of this kind, and af- 
ter they seemed to luive become tired of ques- 



4ft NARRATIVE. 

tioiiiiig me, they held a cousiiUalion in a low 
\vhisper among themselves. Then a bucket 
was brought and set down by my side ; but 
what it contained, or lor what it was intend- 
ed, I could not divine. But soon, one of the 
number came forivard with a pillow, and 
then hope sprung up, a flood of light and 
joy within me. The lieavy weight on my 
heart rolled off: death had passed by and I 
unharmed. They conmienced stripping me 
till every rag of clothes was removed ; and 
then the bucket Vv^as set near, and I discov- 
ered it to contain tar. One man, — I wi^^ do 
him the honor to record his name,— -Mr. 
WILLIAM ANDRES, a journeyman print- 
er, when he is anything except a tar-and- 
featherer, put his hands the first into the 
bucket, and was about passing tliern t'^ my 
face. •• Don"t put any in his face or eyes,'' 
said one.=^ So he desisted : but he, with 
three other '• gentlemen,'' whcse names _I 
should be happy to record if 1 could retM 
them, gave me as nice a coat of tar all over, 
face only excepted, as any one would wish 
to see. Then they took the pillow and 
ripped it open at one end, and with the open 
end commenced the operation at the head 
and so worked d^wnv/ards, of putting a coat 

I 

=* [ think tins was 3Ir. Bn.rns, a blacksmith in th'- jilaoc. 
but I am not certain. At any rate, this man was my frictid 
(if so he may be called,) on this occasion ; and it was tbr- 
tunate for me that the company generally seemed to look 
up to him. for wisdom. 



TAR AND FEATHERS. 47 

of Us contents over that of the contents of 
the bucket. A fine escape from the hang- 
ing this will be, thought 1, provided they do 
not with a match set fire to the feathers. I 
had some fear they would. But when the 
work was completed they gave me my 
clothes, and one of them handed me my 
watch, which he had carefully kept in his 
hands : they all expressed great interest in 
my welfare, advised me how to proceed with 
my business the next day, told me to stay 
in the place as long as I wished, and with 
oth such words of consolation they bid me 
gooa night. 

After I had returned to my family, to their 
inexpressible joy, as they had become great- 
ly alarmed for my safety, some of the per- 
sonr who had participated in this outrage, 
came in, (probably influenced by a curiosity 
to see how the tar and feathers would be got 
off,) and expressed great sympathy for me. 
TI ey said they regretted that the aflair had 
happened, — that they had no objections to my 
living in Raleigh, — I might feel perfectly safe 
to go out and transact my business prepara- 
tory to leaving, — I should not be molested. 

Slean while, my friends, understanding that 
I had been discharged fron,, prison, and per- 
ceiving I did not come to them, had com- 
menced a regular search for me. on foot and 
on horseback, everywhere ; and Mr. Smith 
called upon the Governor to obtain his 
official interference ; and after my return, a 



48 NARRATIVE, 

guard came to protect me : but 1 chose not 
to risk myself at my own house, and so 
went to Mr. Smith's, where this guard kept 
me safely until morning. They seemed 
friendly indeed, and were regaled with a 
supper during the night by Mr. Smith. My 
friend, Mr. Battle, (late Private Secretary to 
the Governor.) was with them; and he made 
a speech to them, setting forth the good qual- 
ities I had exhibited in my past life, partic- 
ularly in my connection with the Governor's 
office. 

In the morning, Mr. Boylan, true as ever, 
and unflinching in his friendship, assisted 
me in arranging my business, =^ so that I 
should start with my family that day for the 
north. He furnished us with provisions 
more than sufficient to sustain the family to 
Philadelphia, where we intended to make a 
halt ; and sent his own baggage wagon to 
convey our baggage to the depot, oftering 
also to send his carriage for my family. But 
my friend, Mr. Malone, had been before him 
in this kind ofler, which I had agreed to ac- 
cept. 

Brief and sorrowful was the parting from 

* Of course I was obliged to sacrifice much on my prop- 
erty, leaving in this hurried manner. And while I was in 
the" north, a kind friend had removed from the wood -lot 
wood that 1 had cut and corded, for which I expected to 
receive over one hundred dollars ; thus saving me the 
trouble of making sale of it, or of being burdened with 
the money it would bring. I suppose 1 have no redress. 
1 might add other things as bad. 



MY mother'^ freedom. 49 

my kind Iriends ; but the worst was the 
thought of leaving my mother. The cars 
were to start at ten o'clock in the morning. 
I called upon my old mistress, Mrs. Hay- 
wood, Avho was afiected to weeping by the 
considerations that jiaturally came to her 
mind. She had been kind to me ; the day 
before, she and her daughter, Mrs. Hogg, 
now present, had jointly transmitted a com- 
munication to the court, representing that in 
consequence of my good conduct from my 
youth, I could not be supposed to be guilty 
of any otfence. And now, "with tears that 
ceased not flowing," they gave me their 
parting blessing. My mother was still Mrs. 
Haywood's slave, and I her only child. Our 
old mistress could not witness the sorrov/ 
that would attend the parting with my 
mother. She told her to go with me ; and 
said that if I ever became able to pay two 
hundred dollars for her, I might ; otherwise 
it should be her loss. She gave her the fol- 
lowing paper, which is in the ordinary form 

of a pass: Raleigh, N. C, April 26, 1842. 

Know all Persons by these Presents, That the bearer of 
this, Clarissa, a slave, belonging to me, hath my permission 
to visit the city of New York with her relations, who are 
in company with her ; and it is my desire that she may be 
protected and permitted to pass without molestation or hin- 
drance, on 2;ood behavior. Witness my hand this 26th 
April, i«12.' ELEANOR HAYWOOD. 

Witness — J. A. Camfbell. 

On leaving Mrs. Haywood's, I called upon 
Mrs. Badger, another daughter, and wife of 



50 NARRATIVE. 

Judge Badger, previously mentioned. She 
seemed equally affected ; she wept as she 
gave me her parting comisel. She and Mrs. 
Hogg, and I, had been children together, play- 
ing in the same yard, while yet none of us 
had learned that they were of a superior and 
I of a subject race. And in those infant years 
there were pencillings made upon the heart, 
which time and opposite fortunes could not 
all efface. May these friends never be slaves 
as I have been: nor their bosom companions 
and their little ones be slaves like mine. 

When the cars were about to start, the 
whole city seemed to be gathered at the de- 
pot; and, among the rest, the mobocratic por- 
tion, who appeared to be determined still 
that I should not go peaceably away. Ap- 
prehending this, it had been arranged with 
my friends and the conductor, that my fam- 
ily should be put in the cars and that I 
should go a distance from the city on foot, 
and be taken up as they passed. The mob, 
therefore, supposing that I was left behind, 
allowed the cars to start. 

Mr. Whiting, known as the agent of the 
rail-road company, was going as far as Pe- 
tersburg, V^a. : and he kindly assisted in pur- 
chasing our tickets, and enabling us to pass 
on unmolested. After he left, Capt. Guyan, 
of Raleigh, performed the same kind office 
as far as Alexandria, D. C, and then he 
placed us in the care of a citizen of Phila- 
delphia, whose nam.e I regret to have for- 



RETURN TO THE NORTH, 51 

gotten, who protected us quite out of the 
land of slavery. But for this we should 
have been liable to be detained at several 
places on our way, much to our embarrass- 
ment, at least, if nothing had occurred of a 
more serious nature. 

One accident only had happened : we lost 
at Washington a trunk containing most of 
our valuable clothing. This we have not 
recovered ; but our lives have been spared 
to bless the day that conferred freedom upon 
us. I felt when my feet struck the pave- 
ments in Philadelphia, as though I had 
passed into another world. I could draw in 
a full long breath, with no one to say to the 
ribs, ''why do ye so?" 

On reaching Philadelphia we found that 
our money had all been expended, but kind 
friends furnished us with the means of pro- 
ceeding as far as New- York ; and thence we 
were with equal kindness aided on to Boston. 

In Boston and in the vicinity, are persons 
almost without n^umber, who have done 
me favors more than I can express. The 
thought that I was now in my loved, though 
recently acquired home — that my family 
were with me where the stern, cruel, hated 
hand of slavery could never reach us more — 
the greetings of friends — the interchange of 
feeling and sympathy — the kindness be- 
stowed upon us, more grateful than rain to 
the thirsty earth — the reflections of the past 
that would rush into my mind, — these and 



52 NARRATIVE. 

more almost overwhelmed me with emotion, 
and 1 had deep and strange communion 
with my own soul. Next to God from 
Avhom every good gift proceeds, I feel under 
the greatest obligations to my kind friends 
in Massachusetts. To be rocked in their 
cradle of Liberty, — oh, liow unlike being 
stretched on the pillory of slavery ! May 
that cradle rock forever ; may many a poor 
care-worn child of sorrow, many a spirit- 
bruised (worse than lash-mangled) victim of 
oppression, there sweetly sleep to the lullaby 
of Freedom, sung by Massachusetts' sons and 
daughters. 

A number of meetings have been held 
at which friends have contributed to our 
temporal wants, and individuals have sent 
us various articles of provision and furniture 
and apparel, so that our souls have been truly 
made glad. There are now ten of us in the 
family, my wife, my mother, and myself, 
with seven children, and we expect soon to 
be joined by my father,»who several years 
ago received his freedom by legacy. The 
wine fresh from the clustering grapes never 
filled so sweet a cup as mine. May I and 
my family be permitted to drink it, remem- 
bering whence it came ! 



BILLS OF SALK, 53 



I SUPPOSE such of my readers as are not accustomed to 
trade in human beings, may be curious to see the Bills ot 
Sale, by which I have obtained the right to my wife and 
children. They are both in the hand writing oX Mr. Smith. 
The first — that for Laura — is as follows : 



State of North Carolina, Wake County. 

Know all Men by these Presents, That for and in con- 
sideration of the sum of two hundred and fifty dollars, to 
me in hand paid, I have this day bargained and sold, and 
do hereby bargain, sell and deliver, unto Lunsford Lane, 
a free man of color, a certain negro girl by the name of 
Laura, aged about seven years, and hereby warrant and 
defend the right and title of the said girl to the said Luns- 
ford and his heirs forever, free from the claims of all per- 
sons whatsoever. 

In Witness whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and 
seal, at Raleigh, this 17th May, 1841. 

B. B. SMITH, [Seal] 
Witness — Robt. W. Haywood. 



Below is the Bill of Sale for my wife and other six chil- 
dren, to which the papers that follow are attached : 

State of North Carolina, Wake County. 

Know all Men by these Presents, That for and in con- 
sideration of the sum of eighteen hundred and eighty dol- 
lars, to me in hand paid, the receipt of which is hereby 
acknowledged, I have this day bargained, sold and dehv- 
ered, unto Lunsford Lane, a free man of color, one dark 
mulatto woman named Patsy, one boy named Edward, 
one boy also named William, one boy also named Luns- 
ford, one girl named Maria, one boy also named EUick, 
and one girl named Lucy, to have and to hold the said ne- 
groes free from the claims of all persons whatsoever. 

In Witness whereof, I have hereunto affixed my hand 
and seal, this 25th day of April, 1812. 

B. B. SMITH, [Seal] 
Witness— Tu. L. West. 



54 BILLS OF SALK. ^!. ^ 

State of North Carolina, Wake County. 
Ofice of Court of Pleas ^ Quarter Sessio?is, Apr. 26, 1842. 

The execution of the within Bill of Sale was this day 
duly acknowledged before me, by B. B. Smith, the execu 
tor of the same. 

In Testimony whereof, I have hereunto aflBixed the seal 

Tl s 1 °^ ^^'*^ Court, and subscribed my name at Office, 

•^ ■ 'J in Raleigh, the date above. 

JAS. T. MARRIOTT, Ckr^k. 

State of North Carolina, Wake County. 

I, William Boylan, presiding magistrate of the Court of 
Pleas and Quarter Sessions for the County aforesaid, cer- 
tify that Jas. T. Marriott, who has written and signed the 
above certificate, is Clerk of the Court aforesaid, that the 
same is in due form, and full faith and credit are due to 
such his official acts. 

Given under my hand and private seal, (having no seal 
of office,) this 26ih day of April, 1842. 

WM. BOYLAN,- P. M. [Seal.] 

The State of North Carolina. 
To all to 7vhom these Pr€S€?its shall come — Greeting : 
Be it Known, That William Boylan, whose signature ap- 
pears in his own proper hand writing to the annexed cer- 
tificate, was, at tlie time of signing the same, and now is, 
a Justice of the Peace and the Presiding Magistrate for the 
County of Wake, in the State aforesaid, and as such he is 
duly qualified and empowered to give such certificate, 
which is here done in the usual and proper manner ; and 
full faith and credit are due to the same, and ought to be 
given to all the official acts of the said William Boylan, as 
Presiding Magistrate aforesaid. 

In Testimony whereof, I, J. M. Morehead, Governor, 

Captain General and Commander in Chief, have 

caused the Great Seal of the State to be hereunto 

r ^ 1 affixed, and signed the same, at the city of Ra- 

•^ ■ ■ ■•' leigh, on the 26th day of April, in the year of our 

Lord one thousand eight hundred and forty-two, 

and in the sixty-sixth year of the Independence 

of the United States. J. M. MOREHEAD- 

Bi/ the Govermr. 

P, Rfa'not.ds. Private Secretarv. 



LIBRARY OF CONGRESS 




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