The Liberator
James L. Hill
Boston: 22 October 1852


From the New York Evangelist.

  MR. EDITOR:—I see in your paper that some persons deny the statements of Mrs. Stowe. I have read her book, every word of it. I was born in East Tennessee, near Knoxville, and, we thought, an enlightened part of the Union, much favored in our social, political and religious privileges, &c.,&c. —Well, I think about the year 1829, or perhaps '28, a good old German Methodist owned a black man named Robin, a Methodist preacher, and the manager of farm, distillery &c., salesman and financier. This good old German Methodist had a son named Willey, a schoolmate of mine, and, as times were, a first-rate fellow. The old man also owned a keen, bright-eyed mulatto girl; and Willey, the naughty boy, became enamored of the poor girl. The result was soon discovered, and our good German Methodist told his brother Robin to flog the girl for her wickedness. Brother Robin said he could not and would not perform such an act of cruelty as to flog the girl for what she could not help; and for that act of disobedience old Robin was flogged by the good old German brother until he could not stand. He was carried to bed, and some three weeks thereafter, when my father left the State, he was still confined to his bed from the effects of that flogging.

  Again: In the fall of 1836, I went south for my health, stopped at a village in Mississippi, and obtained employment in the largest house in the county as a book-keeper, with a firm from Louisville, Ky. A man residing near the village, a bachelor, 30 years of age, became embarrassed, and executed a mortgage to my employer on a fine likely boy, weighing about 200 lbs., quickwitted, active, obedient, and remarkably faithful, trusty and honest—so much so, that he was held up as an example. He had a wife that he loved. His owner cast his eyes upon her, and she became his paramour. His boy remonstrated with his master, told him that he tried faithfully to perform his every duty, that he was a good and faithful 'nigger' to him, and it was hard, after he had toiled hard all day, and till 10 o'clock at night, for him to have his domestic relations broken up and interfered with. The white man denied the charge, and the wife also denied it. One night, about the 1st of September, the boy came home earlier than usual, say about 9 o'clock. It was a wet, dismal night; he made a fire in his cabin, went to get his supper, and found ocular demonstration of the guilt of his master. He became utterly enraged, as I suppose any man would, seized a butcher knife, and cut his master's throat, stabbed his wife in twentyseven places, came to the village, and knocked at the office door. I told him to come in. He did so, and asked for my employer. I called him. The boy then told him that he had killed his master, and his wife, and what for. My employer locked him up, and he, a doctor and myself went out to the house of the old bachelor, and found him dead, and the boy's wife nearly so. She, however, lived. We (my employer and myself) returned to the village, watched the boy until about sunrise, left him locked up, and went to get our breakfasts, intending to take the boy, to jail, (as it was my employer's interest, if possible, to save the boy, having $1,000 at stake in him.) But whilst we were eating, some persons, who had heard of the murder, broke open the door, took the poor fellow, put a long chain round his neck, and started him for the woods at the point of the bayonet, marching by where we were eating, with a great deal of noise. My employer hearing it, ran out and rescued the boy. The mob again broke in, and took the boy, and marched him, as before stated, out of town.

  My employer then begged them not to disgrace their town in such a manner; but to appoint a jury of twelve sober men, to decide what should be done. And twelve as sober men as could be found (I was not sober) said he should be hanged. They then tied a rope round his neck, and set him on an old horse. He made a speech to the mob, which I at the time thought, if it had come from some Senator, would have been received with rounds of applause; and withal, he was more calm than I am now in writing this. And after he had told all about the deed, and its cause, he then kicked the horse out from under him, and was launched into eternity. My employer has often remarked, that he never saw anything more noble, in his whole life, than the conduct of that boy.

  Now, Mr. Editor, I have given you facts, and can give you names and dates. You can do what you think is best for the cause of humanity. I hope I have seen the evil of my former practices and will endeavor to reform.

Very respectfully,


  Springfield, (Ill.,) Sept 17th, 1852.