Something wrong, 1846
THE HERALD OF FREEDOM
Wednesday, Feb. 13, 1846.
During the last six or twelve months, a greater number of slaves have absconded from their masters in this State and Virginia, than at any former period for years, Runways are advertised almost daily, and it is very evident to our minds, that the abolitionists of the North have some sort of secret influences at work amongst the slaves in Maryland and Virginia. We believe that these influences consist of a set of prowling missionaries, of both races, who under the cloak of religion, contrive to avoid suspicion, and thus reach and poison the mind of the slave with their worse than foolish doctrines of liberty and freedom. Inducements and promises, such as never can be realized are held out to him to desert the comfortable home of his owner, and to make his way into those States which guarantee to him the free and uninterrupted enjoyment of the blessings of liberty and equal rights - blessings, by the by, which both nature and education render him incapable of appreciating.
But what is the truth—the stern reality. Those of our readers who have travelled over the States of Pennsylvania and New York will bear us out in the assertion, that, generally speaking, the free negroes of these States are the poorest and most wretched class of human beings in the Union. Their social condition is far beneath that of the slaves of the South; and the larger portion of them are clad in rags and kept upon starvation allowances. They have liberty to starve in these blessed free States, and it is for the obtainment of this kind, of liberty, that many slaves abandon a kind master and a happy home.
We have been told by gentlemen of veracity, and doubt not for a moment the truth of their statement, that there are many anti-slavery men in Pennsylvania who receive, with open arms, the runaway negro, applaud his fearless independence, and forthwith offer him employment at high wages. He sets himself to work and labors faithfully for his employer until he earns a considerable sum of money, when he desires his pay, and is told that his master has recently been seen in the neighborhood enquiring for him, and that he had better "slope" with as little delay as possible. He of course becomes frightened and leaves, out of money and out of clothing, while his humane employer retains his hard earnings. It is alleged as a fact, that a loudmouthed abolitionist in one of the adjoining counties had, for several years, nearly all the work of his farm done by runaways, whom he paid in the manner above described. Now this fellow is able, and doubtless willing, to contribute freely to defray the expenses of loafing vagabonds who, being too lazy to work are anxious to travel South for the purpose of enticing slaves from their masters for pay. We believe, as we said in the commencement of this article that this fame is being played pretty extensively by the fanatics of the North and it behooves the citizens of this and other Southern States to be vigilant in the protection of their property.
Herald of Freedom
Slaves, Western Maryland
Western Maryland, 1800-1864