Auction of Slaves


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Civil War Harper's Weekly, July 13, 1861

This newspaper features some really nice portraits of General Winfield Scott, and has pictures and a story on the Battle of Boonville. It also has a great picture of Abraham Lincoln's cabinet at the start of the war.

(Scroll Down to see entire newspaper page, or Newspaper Thumbnails below will take you to a specific page of interest)


The Battle of Boonville

The Battle of Boonville

General Lyon Biography


Texas Union Movement

Fort McHenry

Fort McHenry

General Winfield Scott

General Scott

Portrait of General Scott

Lincoln Cabinet

Abraham Lincoln's Cabinet


Civil War Ship "Colorado"

Philadelphia Volunteers

Philadelphia Volunteers

Cincinnati, Ohio

Cincinnati, Ohio

Slave Auction

Slave Auction

John C. Fremont

General John Fremont

White Springs

White Springs, Virginia

Description of a Slave Auction


Acne Treatment



JULY 13, 1861.]



on, and slept for a few hours well. When I awoke, the wind had risen, and the sign of the house (the Ship) was creaking and banging about, with noises that startled me. Rising softly, for my charge lay fast asleep, I looked out of the window. It commanded the causeway where we had hauled up our boat, and, as my eyes adapted themselves to the light of the clouded moon, I saw two men looking into her. They passed by under the window, looking at nothing else, and did not go down to the landing-place, which I could discern to be empty, but struck across the march in the direction of the sea.

My first impulse was to call up Herbert, and show him the two men going away. But reflecting before I got into his room, which was at the back of the house and adjoined mine, that he and Startop had had a harder day than I, and were fatigued, I forbore. Going back to my window, I could still see the two men moving over the marsh. In that light, however, I soon lost them, and feeling very cold, lay down to think of the matter, and fell asleep again.

We were up early. As we walked to and fro, all four together, before breakfast, I deemed it right to recount what I had seen. Again, our charge was the least anxious of the party. It was very likely that the men belonged to the Custom-house, he said, quietly, and that they had no thought of us. I tried to persuade myself that it was so: as, indeed, it might easily be. However, I proposed that he and I should walk away together to a distant point we could see, and that the boat should take us aboard there, or as near there as might prove feasible, at about noon. This being considered a good precaution, soon after breakfast he and I set forth, without saying any thing at the tavern.

He smoked his pipe as we went along, and sometimes stopped to clap me on the shoulder or take me by the hand. One would have supposed that it was I who was in danger, not he, and that he was reassuring me. We spoke very little. As we approached the point, I begged him to remain in a sheltered place while I went on to reconnoitre ; for it was toward it that the men had passed in the night. He complied, and I went on alone. There was no boat off the point, nor drawn up any where near it, nor were there any signs of the men having embarked there. But to be sure the tide was high, and there might have been some footprints under water.

When he looked out from his shelter in the distance, and saw that I waved my hat to him to come up, he rejoined me, and there we waited—sometimes lying on the bank wrapped in our coats, and sometimes moving about to warm ourselves—until we saw the boat coming round. We got aboard easily, and rowed out into the track of the steamer. By that time it wanted but ten minutes of one o'clock, and we began to look out for her smoke.

But it was half past one before we saw her smoke, and soon afterward we saw behind it the smoke of the other steamer. As they were coming on at full speed, we got the two bags ready, and took that opportunity of saying good-by to Herbert and Startop. We had all shaken hands cordially, and neither Herbert's eyes nor mine were quite dry when I saw a four-oared galley shoot out from under the bank but a little way ahead of us, and row out into the same track.

I never had any reason to doubt the exact truth of what he thus told me. The officer who steered the galley gave the same account of their going overboard.

When I asked this officer's permission to change the prisoner's wet clothes by purchasing any spare garments I could get at the public house, he gave it readily, merely observing that he must take charge of every thing his prisoner had about him. So the pocket-book which had once been in my hands passed into the officer's. He further gave me leave to accompany the prisoner to London; but declined to accord that grace to my two friends.

The Jack at the Ship was instructed where the drowned man had gone down, and undertook to search for the body in the places where it was likeliest to come ashore. His interest in its recovery seemed to me to be much heightened when he heard that it had stockings on. Probably, it took about a dozen drowned men to fit him out completely ; and that may have been the reason why the different articles of his dress were in various stages of decay.

We remained at the public house until the tide turned, and then Magwitch was carried down to the galley and put on board. Herbert and Startop were to get to London by land, as soon as they could. We had a doleful parting, and when I took my place by Magwitch's side I felt that that was my place henceforth while he lived.

For now my repugnance to him had all melted away, and in the hunted, wounded, ironed creature who held my hand in his, I only saw a man who had meant to be my benefactor, and who had felt affectionately, gratefully, and generously toward me with great constancy through a series of years. I only saw in him a much better man than I had been to Joe.

His breathing became more difficult and painful as the night drew on, and often he could not repress a groan. I tried to rest him on the arm I could use, in any easy position; but it was dreadful to think that I could not be sorry at heart for his being badly hurt, since it was unquestionably best that he should die. That there were, still living, people enough who were able and willing to identify him, I could not doubt. That he would be mercifully treated, I could not hope. He who had been presented in the worst light at his trial, who had since broken prison and been tried again, who had returned from transportation under a life sentence, and who had occasioned the death of the man who was the cause of his arrest.

As we returned toward the setting sun we had yesterday left behind us, and as the stream of our hopes seemed all running back, I told him how grieved I was to think that he had come home for my sake.

"Dear boy," he answered, "I'm quite content to take my chance. I've seen my boy, and he'll be a gentleman without me."

I had thought about that, while we had been there side by side. No. Apart from any inclinations

tilt backward with a white terror on it that I shall never forget, and heard a great cry on board the steamer and a loud splash in the water, and felt the boat sink from under me.

It was but for an instant that I seemed to struggle with a thousand mill-weirs and a thousand flashes of light; that instant past, I was taken on board the galley. Herbert was there, and Startop was there ; but our boat was gone, and the two convicts were gone.

What with the cries aboard the steamer, and the furious blowing-off of her steam, and her driving on, and our driving on, I could not at first distinguish sky from water or shore from shore ; but the crew of the galley righted her with great speed, and, pulling certain swift strong strokes ahead, lay upon their oars, every man looking silently and eagerly at the water astern. Presently a dark object was seen in it, bearing toward us on the tide. No man spoke, but the steersman held up his hand, and all softly backed water, and kept the boat straight and true before it. As it came nearer, I saw it to be Magwitch, swimming. He was taken on board, and instantly manacled at the wrists and ankles.

The galley was kept steady, and the silent, eager look-out at the water was resumed. But the Rotterdam steamer now came up, and apparently not understanding what had happened, came on at speed. By the time she had been hailed and stopped both steamers were drifting away from us, and we were rising and falling in a troubled wake of water. The look-out was kept long after all was still again and the two steamers were gone; but every body knew that it was hopeless now.

At length we gave it up, and pulled under the shore toward the tavern we laid lately left, where we were received with no little surprise. Here I was able to get some comforts for Magwitch — Provis no longer—who had received some very severe injury in the chest and a deep cut in the head.

He told me that he believed himself to have gone under the keel of the steamer, and to have been struck on the head in rising. The injury to his chest (which rendered his breathing extremely painful) he thought he had received against the side of the galley. He added that he did not pretend to say what he might or might not have done to Compeyson, but that in the moment of his laying his hand on his cloak to identify him that villain had staggered up and staggered back, and they had both gone overboard together ; when the sudden wrenching of him (Magwitch) out of our boat, and the endeavor of his captor to keep him in it, had capsized us. He told me in a whisper that they had gone down fiercely locked in each other's arms, and that there had been a struggle under water, and that he had disengaged himself, struck out, and swum away.

A stretch of shore had been as yet between us and the steamer's smoke, by reason of the bend and wind of the river; but now she was visible, coming head on. I called to Herbert and Startop to keep before the tide, that she might see us lying by for her, and I adjured Provis to sit still, wrapped in his cloak. He answered cheerily, "'Trust to me, dear boy," and sat like a statue. Meantime the galley, which was very skillfully handled, had borne down upon us, crossed us, and come alongside. Leaving just enough room for the play of the oars, she kept alongside, drifting when we drifted, and pulling a stroke or two when we pulled. Of the two sitters, one held the rudder lines, and looked at us attentively—as did all the rowers; the other sitter was wrapped up, much as Provis was, and seemed to shrink, and whisper some instruction to the stranger as he looked at us. Not a word was spoken in either boat.

Startop could make out, after a few minutes, which steamer was first, and gave mc the word "Hamburg," in a low voice as we sat face to face. She was nearing us very fast, and the beating of her paddles grew louder and louder. I felt as if her shadow were absolutely upon us when the galley hailed us. I answered.

"You have a returned Transport there," said the man who held the lines. "That's the man wrapped in the cloak. His name is Abel Magwitch, otherwise Provis. I apprehend that man, and call upon him to surrender, and you to assist."

At the same moment, without giving any audible direction to his crew, he ran the galley aboard of us. They had pulled one sudden stroke ahead, had got their oars in, had run athwart its, and were holding on to our gunwale before we knew what they were doing. This caused great confusion on board the steamer, and I heard them calling to us, and heard the order given to stop the paddles, and heard them stop, but felt her driving down upon us irresistibly. In the same moment, I saw the steersman of the galley lay his hand on his prisoner's shoulder, and saw that both boats were swinging round with the force of the tide, and saw that all hands on board the steamer were running forward quite frantically. Still in the same moment, I saw the prisoner start up, lean across his captor, and pull the cloak from the neck of the shrinking sitter in the galley. Still in the same moment, I saw that the face disclosed was the face of the other convict of long ago. Still in the same moment, I saw the face

of my own I understand Wemmick's hint now. I foresaw that, being convicted, his possessions would be forfeited to the Crown.

"Lookee here, dear boy," said he. "It's best as a gentleman should not be knowed to belong to me now. Only come to see me as if you come by chance alonger Wemmick. Sit where I can see you when I am swore to, for the last o' many times, and I don't ask no more."

"I will never stir from your side," said I, "when I am suffered to be near you. Please God, I will be as true to you as you have been to me !"

I felt his hand shake as it held mine, and he turned his face away as he lay in the bottom of the boat, and I heard that old sound in his throat—softened now, like all the rest of him. It was a good thing that he had touched this point, for it put into my mind what I might not otherwise have thought of until too late : That he need never know how his hopes of enriching me had perished.


ON page 442 we publish a picture of a SLAVE AUCTION AT THE SOUTH, from a sketch by Mr. Davis, our special artist, who lately traveled through the South in company with W. H. Russell, Esq., LL.D., Correspondent of the London Times. Mr. Russell thus describes slave auctions in a letter from Montgomery, Alabama :

The crowd was small. Three or four idle men in rough, homespun, makeshift uniforms leaned against the iron rails inclosing a small pond of foul, green-looking water, surrounded by brick-work, which decorates the space iii front of the Exchange Hotel. The speaker stood on an empty deal packing-case. A man in a cart was listening with a lack luster eye to the address. Some three or four others, in a sort of vehicle which might either be a hearse or a piano-van, had also drawn up for the benefit of the address. Five or six other men, in long black coats and high hats, some whittling sticks and chewing tobacco, and discharging streams of discolored saliva, completed the group. "N-i-n-e h-hun-nerd and fifty dollars ! Only nine h-hun-nerd and fifty dollars offered for him!" exclaimed the man, in the tone of injured dignity, remonstrance, and surprise, which can be insinuated by all true auctioneers into the dryest numerical statements. " Will no one make any advance on nine hundred and fifty dolloars?" A man near me opened his mouth, spat, and said, "Twenty-five." "Only nine hundred and seventy-five dollars offered for him ! Why, at's radaklous—only nine hundred and seventy-five dollars! Will no one," etc. Beside the orator auctioneer stood a stout young man of five-and-twenty years of age, with a bundle in his hand. He was a muscular fellow, broad-shouldered, narrow-flanked, but rather small in stature; he had on a broad, greasy, old wide-awake, a blue jacket, a coarse cotton shirt, loose and rather ragged trowsers, and broken shoes. The expression of his face was heavy and sad, but it was by no means disagreeable, in spite of his thick lips, broad nostrils, and high cheek bones. On his head was wool instead of hair. I am neither sentimentalist nor Black Republican, nor negro-worshiper, but I confess the sight caused a strange thrill through my heart. I tried in vain to make myself familiar with the fact that I could, for the sum of $975, become as absolutely the owner of that mass of blood, bones, sinew, flesh, and brains as of the horse which stood by my side. There was no sophistry which could persuade me the man was not a man—he was, indeed, by no means my brother, but assuredly he was a fellow-creature. I have seen slave markets in the East, but somehow or other the Orientalism of the scene cast a coloring over the nature of the sales there which deprived them of the disagreeable harshness and matter-of-fact character of the transaction before me. For Turk, or Smyrniote, or Egyptian to buy and sell slaves seemed rather suited to the eternal fitness of things than to otherwise. The turbaned, shawled, loose-trowsered, pipe-smoking merchants, speaking an unknown tongue, looked as if they were engaged in a legitimate business. One knew that their slaves would not be condemned to any very hard labor, and that they would be in some sort the inmates of the family and members of it. Here it grated on my ear to listen to the familiar tones of the English tongue as the medium by which the transfer was effected, and it was painful to see decent-looking men in European garb engaged in the work before me. Perchance these impressions may wear off, for I meet many English people who are the most strenuous advocates of the slave system, although it is true that their perceptions may be quickened to recognize its beauties by their participation in the profits. The negro was sold to one of the by-standers, and walked off with his bundle God knows where. " niXXers is cheap," was the only remark of the bystanders.

As I was returning to the hotel there was another small crowd at the fountain. Another auctioneer, a fat, flabby, perspiring, puffy man, was trying to sell a negro girl who stood on the deal box beside him. She was dressed pretty much like a London servant girl of the lower order, out of place, except that her shoes were mere shreds of leather patches, and her bonnet would have scarce passed muster in the New Cut. She, too, had a little bundle in her hand, and looked out at the buyers front a pair of huge sad eyes. "niXXers were cheap;" still here was this young woman going for an upset price of $610, but no one would bid, and the auctioneer, after vain attempts to raise the price and excite competition, said, " Not sold to-day, Sally; you may get down."


This Day Published:

MILITARY DICTIONARY : comprising Technical Definitions; Information on Raising and Keeping Troops; Actual Service, including Makeshifts and Improved Materiel; and Law, Government, Regulation and Administration relating to Land Forces. By Colonel H. L. SCOTT, Inspector-General U.S.A. 1 volume Octavo, Half Morocco, illustrated, $5.

Sent free by mail on receipt of price.

D. VAN NOSTRAND, Publisher,

192 Broadway, N. Y.

Toilet Articles.

Among the many compounds now offering to our lady friends, there are few that we can so readily recommend as those emanating from the celebrated house of JOSEPH BURNETT & Co. They possess two qualities to which we would especially call attention, viz., the entire absence of all deleterious compounds, and the certainty that they will perform all they are said to do. The unpleasant and oftentimes painful results upon the skin attending exposure to our most changeable climate, may be entirely obviated by the use of Burnett's Kalliston, which has now become so useful an auxiliary to the toilet, that no lady considers her dressing table complete without it.—Galveston News.


HOTEL, Long Branch, N. J., will open for the reception of visitors June 10, 1861 with the enlargement of dining-room, parlor, additional rooms, &c., since last season, will amply accommodate 500 guests. Address

B. A. SHOEMAKER, Proprietor.

Wanted 1000 Agents, to sell miniature Pins of Gen. Scott, Butler, and all the Heroes. Enclose from $1 to $10 for samples. W. A. HAYWARD, 208 Broadway, N.Y.

FEW DROPS of Lea & Perrin's Worcestershire Sauce, in Soup or Gravy, imparts a most    delicious zest.   


Union Square and Fourteenth Street, Sole Agents.


Manufactory & Salesrooms,
14th St., cor. 3d Av. N. Y.


Specimens by Mail on receipt of 2 postage stamps. EVERDELL 302' Broadway. N. Y.

ROMAN EYE BALSAM—For inflamed eyelids and for the cure of scrofulous and soreness surrounding the eye. In all diseases of this character it is almost a certain cure. Price 25 cents per jar.

For sale by A. B. SANDS & CO., Druggists, 141 William Street, N. Y.



One Copy for one Year . . . . . . . $3.00

Two Copies for One Year . . . . . . .5.00
Three or more Copies for One Year (each) . 2.00
And an Extra Copy, gratis, for every Club of EIGHT SUBSCRIBERS.

HARPER'S MAGAZINE and HARPER'S WEEKLY, together, one year, $4.00.


Illustrations of the War.

HARPER'S WEEKLY has now REGULAR ARTIST-CORRESPONDENTS at Fortress Monroe, Va., at Washington, D. C., at Martinsburgh, Va., at Chambersburg, Pa., at Grafton, Va., at Cairo, Ill., at St. Louis, Mo., and at Fort Pickens, Fla. These gentlemen will accompany the march of the armies, and will reproduce, for the benefit of the readers of Harper's Weekly, every incident of the momentous campaign which is now opening.

Harper's Weekly is, moreover, in daily receipt of valuable sketches from Volunteer Correspondents in the Army and Navy in all parts of the country. The Publishers will be glad to receive such sketches from members of our forces in every section, and will pay liberally for such as they may use.

The Publishers will send Harper's Weekly free to any Regiment or Ship of war which may supply them with the name and address of the officer to whom it should be forwarded.

The circulation of Harper's Weekly is about One Hundred and Fifteen Thousand copies.

They have already published, since the Election, over three hundred illustrations of the Southern Rebellion, and they feel confident that pages of Harper's Weekly will present a complete and exhaustive ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF THE WAR. No person who wishes to be informed with regard to the momentous events which are transpiring can afford to dispense with it.

Notwithstanding the great amount of space devoted to Illustrations of the War, Harper's Weekly continues to publish Mr. DICKENS'S New Story, "Great Expectations," which is pronounced the most successful of his admirable works. Its Editorial, Lounger, News, and other departments will be found, as usual, up to the time.



One Copy for One Year    . . . . $2.50

Two Copies for One Year .    . . . 4.00
Harper's Weekly and Harper's Magazine, one year, $4.00. Volumes I. II., III., and IV. of HARPER'S WEEKLY, handsomely bound in Cloth extra, Price $3.50 each, are now ready.

Muslin Covers are furnished to those who wish their Numbers bound, at Fifty Cents each. TWENTY-FIVE PER CENT. DISCOUNT allowed to Bookbinders and the Trade. * * To postmasters and agents getting up a Club of Ten Subscribers, a Copy will be sent gratis. Subscriptions may commence with any Number. Specimen Numbers gratuitously supplied.

Clergymen and Teachers supplied at the lowest CLUB RATES.

As HARPER'S WEEKLY is electrotyped, Numbers can, be supplied from the commencement.

HARPER'S WEEKLY will be sent gratuitously for one month—as a specimen—to any one who applies for it. Specimen Numbers of the MAGAZINE will also be sent gratuitously.





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