Friday, January 1, 2010

The gentleman who furnished us with the following . . .

. . . gives us the assurance of its correctness to the letter, except names. It is, however, nothing more than an every day scene in the slave marts of the south. – ED. GAZ.

My Last Day In Savannah.

From the Gallery of an Auction Bazar [sic].

(SCENE – Auction Room.)

Auctioneer and clerk. Thirty negroes for sale, large and small, male and female, of all shades from coal black to almost white. Fifty gentlemen, and six negro traders assembled to purchase.

Auctioneer takes the stand. Gentlemen, I am now going to offer you thirty likely negroes; mechanics, field-hands, house servants, seamstresses, and several children. Terms, one-half cash, the balance at ninety days with mortgage.

I will first offer you the quadroon girl, Lydia; 16 years of age, kind disposition, child’s nurse, and seamstress, warranted against the vices and maladies prescribed by law.*

What is offered for the girl Lydia - $900 – nine hundred dollars – nine hundred dollars - $1,000 – one thousand dollars – one thousand dollars - $1,100 – eleven hundred – eleven hundred dollars - $1,500 – Fifteen hundred dollars – fifteen hundred by a new bidder; fifteen hundred dollars. The Young gentleman near the west column will have to advance, or he will lose this pleasant looking girl. (At the same time giving the audience a knowing wink.) Fifteen hundred and fifty is bid – fifteen hundred and fifty – no one bids more – all done; last call – once, twice, three times. Sam Highflyer she is yours, and a likely wench she is too, and cheap at that.

I will now offer you this family of seven; Solomon Gumbo, Dorcas, his wife, and five children, Victoria, Albert, Achilles, Jenny, Lind, and the infant Floyd. All warranted against the vices and maladies prescribed by law.

What is bid for this family of valuable negroes. (Old gent in slouch hat.) Who in H-ll wants all those small whelps; put up the old ones separate, and they will sell better.

Auctioneer. – Can’t do it. I am instructed by the owner not to separate this family. What is bid for the family, in bulk - $1,700 – one thousand seven hundred dollars is bid. $1,800 – eighteen hundred is bid. Can I get no better offer, if not, I must knock them down – once, twice, three times. Judas Benjamin, they are yours. Judas (to “slouch hat,”) now sir if you want the old ones, I am ready for a trade; give me fifteen hundred dollars for them and they are yours. It is a bargain, and we will take the liquor on it. (Retire to the bar, and I departed.) STE. MAGUERITE’S HILL.

*Habitual drunkenness, and the habit of trying to escape from slavery are among the vices. Fits, defect of heart, and other disease are among the maladies prescribed by law.

– Published in The Davenport Daily Gazette, Davenport, Iowa, Saturday Morning, April 19, 1862, p. 2

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