War of the Rebellion: Serial 125 Page 0337 UNION AUTHORITIES.

Search Civil War Official Records

In the first case the woman Charlotte, in feeble health, advancing in years, with no means of living except labor in washing and ironing, pays to her master $260 a year for the privilege of supporting, by such labor, herself and her children. The man who received this human rental had literally furnished no equivalent. For more than fifteen years the woman had not received from him even a little aid in sickness. The children for whom he now demanded a rental of $100 each had cost him nothing. For fifteen years the mother had fed and clothed them, cared for them in sickness and in health; she continued, unrequited, to feed and clothe them still. Who, if not that mother, was entitled to their wages now? Who, except one in whom slavery had blunted every perception alike of justice and delicacy, would consent to receive and to use money coming from such a source as that?

In the second case, $372 annually had been paid for eleven years by the woman and him whom she called her husband, the law of the State forbidding that she should be his lawful wife. Four thousand and ninety-two dollars the master had received from them in that time, for which he had rendered nothing, except some $10 a year in the form of a gratuity to the man. Was this $4,000 considered by the master enough to take from these two working people? The mother in this case, as i the former one, had brought up her children clothed and kept. Were the father and mother, after the payment of this $4,000, after the care and cost of bringing up these children, suffered to enjoy the comfort of having them with them, and the aid which, as they grew up, they might be able to afford? Numbers While the children were a burden, that burden was thrown on the mother; she, too, as in the other case, earning a living as washerwoman. As soon as they were of an age to be of service they were removed to the plantation. And how treated there? The young girl was taken neatly and comfortably clad from her mother's care. One would have thought that the most common regard for decency, to say nothing of justice, would have suggested that the worse than orphaned child should have been kept, as the servant of a rich man, at least as reputably as the poor slave mother had kept her. Year she was suffered to go about the house before her master's eyes in filthy rags. One would have supposed that the recollection of the $4,000 received from the hard-working parents might have risen up to save-if Christian feeling could not save-this poor child, deprived of natural protectors, from brutal cruelty. Yet she was treated as no man with the least pretense to humanity would have treated a dumb beast.

Let not one say that these were cases of unusual hardship. The parties themselves evidently did not consider them such. There was no tome of querulous complaint. The facts came out only in answer to our direct inquiries, and neither of the women seemed to consider herself especially to be pitied. Charlotte thought a little hard of it that her master did not send her medicine when she was sick. The hire of her children did not seem to have suggested itself to her as any injustice. Even the other said she would be willing to part with the children if she only knew they were well treated. Had she been suffered to retain them, her gratitude to her master for his generosity would, it was evident, have been unbounded. One could see that the $4,000 subtracted from her own and her husband's earnings never

22 R R-SERIES III, VOL IV