The Liberator
Unsigned Reprint
Boston: 1 May 1857

From the Columbia [S. C.] Times.


  We would call attention to the following, from the Sumter Watchman of March 25th. Our readers will doubtless remember having read of the appearance of 'Mrs. EMERSON, the strong-minded woman,' in various localities in our State, delivering lectures, and conducting herself in a manner entirely unbecoming one of the gentler sex. We suspected from the beginning, when we first saw her name announced, that time would reveal one or two things, or both, viz.: that she was either some poor crazy fanatic of a woman, who had escaped from the guardianship of her friends, or, an emissary of Abolitionists. We inclined to the last-named opinion, and the developments and discoveries made by our friends in Sumter confirm its correctness. Her masculine deportment affords just ground for suspecting that Mrs. EMERSON is not all, but a great deal more than she appears to be. If she will only pay us a visit in Columbia, we promise she shall be treated with all the honors due to her real sex and designs; and we trust that this 'strong-minded woman' may not take her final departure from our State before this is done.

From the Sumter Watchman.


  GENTLEMEN:—As secretary of the Committee, for investigating the character and designs of a certain Mrs. Emerson, who lectured in this place Wednesday evening last, and was regarded with suspicion, by some of our most worthy and respectable citizens, having been appointed to make a report of the proceedings of said Committee to your honorable body, so that you might act in regard to the said Mrs. Emerson as should seem proper to you under the circumstances, I beg leave most respectfully to act in accordance with my instructions.

  The Committee, as soon as the lecture, or rather tirade of abuse against Southern ladies had been concluded, and the after performance of examining heads commenced, informed Mrs. Emerson of the injurious reports in circulation concerning her, and demanded, as an act of justice, both to herself (if innocent) and our quiet community, that she should state and prove her reasons for coming among us, and acting in such an anomalous manner. They said, that in the opinion of many respectable citizens, there were good grounds for suspicion in her case. She came from a portion of the Union, hostile to our section and institutions—openly advocated doctrines totally repugnant to the Southern mind and feelings, and her unwomanly mode of acting, worthy of the most abandoned of her sex, showed herself no unfit instrument for the accomplishment of the nefarious scheme or mission entrusted to her. Moreover, she came in a strange manner, no one with her, by private conveyance, carrying with her a lantern and side-saddle. In conclusion the Committee, in a respectful manner, asked that she would allow them to search her baggage, remarking that if she were really guilty, the community ought to know it; but it, on the other hand, she were innocent, it was important that her innocence should be made apparent.

  Upon her hesitating, and urging the great amount of trouble she would be exposed to, in overhauling all her baggage, the Committee offered to recompense her for the inconvenience she was put to, provided, upon a thorough search, the suspicions and charges alleged against her should appear entirely without foundation.

  Finding there was no way in which she could avoid an investigation, she at length consented to a search. Accordingly the Committee followed her to her hotel, where, upon an examination of her effects, they found matter which fully corroborated their worst suspicions. Upon inspection of her papers, they came to the conclusion that she was a philanthropist of the Madame Beecher Stowe order; and the her mission among us, if for no worse purpose, was to collect material for a work similar to Uncle Tom's Cabin.

  A list of correspondents was discovered, which embraced residents of almost every State north of Mason & Dixon's Line—most of them, indeed, appeared to live in Ohio—the very hot-bed of abolitionism, and she, herself, was proved to be from Cincinnati, after having said in the early part of the evening that she was from Virginia!!!

  Among extracts cut from various papers and found in her possession, were accounts of negroes being burned—insurrections—effects of negro preaching—advertisements of an individual wishing to purchase a likely young negro woman, &c. One of the Committee certified that he saw her extract a letter from an envelope and secrete it. She bitterly denied the truth of this assertion, but at any rate, the envelope was found empty, addressed to some one in Massachusetts.

  The Committee (wet and wearied, having been caught in a shower, while going from the lecture room to the hotel) convinced of her guilt from the partial examination they had made, did not think it necessary to go through all her baggage.

  Before the Committee was discharged, a motion was made to sell her conveyance and other things belonging to her—give her the proceeds, and send her and her remaining effects back to the North, by public conveyance, as speedily as possible; but the more moderated counsels prevailed, and it was resolved to report the proceedings and discoveries of the Committee to the town council, which, after due deliberation, might act as seemed most becoming, and also, that there should be a publication of the transaction in the Sumter Watchman, so that the people of the district, State and country at large, might be put upon their guard.

  The Committee beg leave to state, that they acted as gently and respectfully as they possibly could under the circumstances. But though a woman, she has put herself outside the pale of woman's privileges, and deserves no respectful consideration.

  The abolitionists, afraid of receiving the punishment due their rascality, and yet desirous of carrying on their nefarious schemes, are trying to carry out their plans and screen themselves from punishment by the aid and instrumentality of their women. Relying upon Southern gallantry and generosity, they pick up abandoned characters who will do anything for money, and send them down here to corrupt our slaves and belie our institutions, thinking because they are women, they will be safe from Southern violence and reproach. The above is a true statement of facts, and each and every member of the Committee call upon you to act decisively, and for the common good and welfare of our country.

In behalf of the Committee,