Saturday, February 21, 2009

An Unpleasant Incident. by Eyre Crowe

More negro-limning [drawings, illustrating] engaged me as I left Philadelphia next day for Baltimore. It was not, as it turned out, a cheerful incident which I was to cany out, though begun without any idea further than that of an ordinary passenger's likeness. It happened thus. On seeing a good - humoured negro attired in a chimney-pot hat, and leaning upon his modest linen bag (possibly his whole belongings), the sight was so novel I sketched him ; but presently the car-man came up with anger in his countenance and beckoned him away, saying, " Get into the first car, sir sitting here among white people, indeed ! "

He moved away as told ; a mother clasping her infant, in an adjoining cushioned compartment, looked pityingly on the scene, as I did too. I now saw for the first time an ill-lighted compartment next the engine, in which were already ensconced a young negro and his wife, or female companion.

Whilst on this topic I may mention a pathetic story we were told at Baltimore of a lax white trader, who, besides his legitimate offspring, left a second family of dusky-coloured children. Not knowing, what was a fact, that he was insolvent, he left them free by his will. The creditors, not to be baulked, sold these little mulattoes as slaves, to be sent down South.

Dire war has done this good that such fell purposes can never more be carried out on a free soil. --Eyre Crowe, 1853

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