Friday, 16 May, 1828

Prince Edward County, Virginia

We stayed last night at the Bell Tavern (King's Inn), Prince Edward County. Started early this morning and passed Sidney College. Elegant buildings and beautifully situated and now contains only about seventy-five students. not far from this place is a Theological Seminary. Look on the extent of Slavery and the Moral degradation to which they are reduced, and by whom it is produced. To me it does not appear that much benefit has been produced by such an institution; but it may be in its infancy and not yet fully matured to shed its luminous rays on the inhabitants of this place and community. From all indications it will hear anything except the Gospel, centuries must yet be swallowed up and sink into oblivion before the inhabitants of this place can say they have no slaves.

We left Charlotte County a little before sundown. Nothing particular occurred. The roads tolerably good. Land poor and unproductive. Yet you could once in awhile see a beautiful plantation with neat comfortable and elegant buildings on it. But these are few and far between. These, I suppose, may be taken as an indication of wealth and the proprietors to be rather above the common level of his less fortunate neighbors, and were it not for the dark spots to be seen here and there in every direction I should think contentment had here found an abode. But, as it is, while thousands around them are destitute not only of common liberty but of the comforts of life and existence. I do not comprehend how a human being can be happy. But take the State of Virginia so far. You would not imagine there could be much wealth, yet it is said to be vastly so. Their property consists in slaves and show of person more than Land and convenience. The Blacks do all the labour. Convenience is not much studied, as it is plenty convenient enough for a Gentleman or Lady to get up and say, after walking twice the distance to help themselves, "Tom... or Silve... reach me that," or "give me a drink of water," or if anything is to be done it is no trouble to wait three times as long as it would require to do it, for a slave to come and preform the labour, to say nothing of the vexation necessary in telling them how it must be done.

I was much astonished at such apparent helplessness in Virginia. If a man wanted his horse from the stable and that not more than five rods distance from where he might be, he would call a servant if in order to get him he had to wait an hour and at the same time walk ten times the distance to his horse. Yet, to do the labour is quite too low and humiliating for the slaveholder. it is, I believe considered a disgrace. Or, it may be they think it indicates poverty to see a man wait on himself. Such scenes were not familiar to me and are not such I would recommend or practice.

Here men buy up Slaves for speculation and drive them farther South where they bear a better price, and it is no more deprecated or detested than the purchasing of cattle for market. Many individuals have made independent fortunes at this detestable traffic. From what little observation I was enabled to make, these slave traders were men more respected than the common people. Is not such a state of society deplorable! What, in a land of liberty and a Christian country, to hold in higher estimation the dealer in human flesh than the common, industrious mechanic or honest peasant.

We crossed the Staunton River at Coles Ferry. We forded it, water about three feet deep. Put up for the night immediately after crossing at Murril's Inn. Here I saw and heard one of those pretended Christians and a preacher too who held slaves. He had the impudence to insult the throne of Grace by asking a blessing at the table and to go to prayer after supper. Oh! Monster, how dare you insult Heaven. Will the Infinite God of Mercy harken unto such a being as you. How dare you open your unhallowed lips in aspirations to Himand ask for grace and Mercy to descend on you. Vile wretch, who has no mercy on these poor degraded creatures, held in bondage under your polluted hands. Do they not implore you to give them back to liberty and freedom; do they not on bended knees plead with you to spare them their wives and children, their fathers and Husbands when you are about to sell them to traders? And do you regard such pure entreaties, which you know is entirely free from hypocrisy? No, Stern Monster, you turn a deaf ear and grasp the betraying Gold. Go! Hide your head in some secret place, and never again cast a stigma on Christianity by your impious pretense of being a good Christian... much less a preacher of Good news and Glad tidings which shall be to all people, unless you endeavor to free your slaves. Such was my indignation at this man that I could with difficulty restrain myself within respectable bounds. indeed it seemed to me to be a sin sufficiently enormous not to be forgiven in this life or that which is yet to come. But who can remedy it? It must be so or at least it is so.