The Liberator
John Ball, Jr.
Boston: 8 September 1854



Talks with the Slaves in South Carolina--the Sugar House.


  ...'Are the colored people of your acquaintance all discontented with being in bondage?' I asked.

  'Yes, sir, all on 'em. I knows lots and lots of 'em since I came here, and I's a stranger in the city: I's not been quite two years yet--not two years till next month, sir--and all that I does know wants to be free very bad, I tell you, and may be will fight before long if they don't get freedom some how. This country is the meanest country in the world. No, sir, I never has been out of it, but I knows that nothin' could be worse. I's been knocked about five or six years now very bad; but I won't stand it much longer; I'll run away the very first chance I gets. Massa, is a colored man safe in New York?

  I replied that I believed it would now be impossible, without a desperate and bloody contest between the municipal authorities and people of the city of New York, for a slaveholder to pluck a slave 'as a brand into the burning,' after he had once trod the soil of Manhattan Island, and that no attempt would ever again be made to execute the Fugitive Slave Law in our commercial metropolis. I said that perhaps a slaveholder might have succeeded in catching his 'property,' as late as a year ago, but that he certainly could not do so since 'Uncle Tom,' Purdy, and Nebraska Bill, and the Bowery (stage) Boys, and 'Eva' Howard, and 'Topsy' Dawes, and the dramatic Aitkens, and Stevens, and the scenic artist Rogers, and Free Soil Phineas, with his compromised 'Cabin,' had commenced their anti-slavery campaign.