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WHILE the gloomy prospect we have just presented hovered over Marston’s plantation, proceedings of no minor importance, and having reference to this particular case, are going on in and about the city. Maxwell, moved by Clotilda’s implorings, had promised to gain her freedom for her; but he knew the penalty, feared the result of a failure, and had hesitated to make the attempt. The consequences were upon him, he saw the want of prompt action, and regrette nike air max d that the time for carrying his resolution into effect had passed. The result harassed him; he saw this daughter of misfortune, on her bended knees, breathing a prayer to Omnipotence for the deliverance of her child; he remembered her appeal to him, imploring him to deliver her from the grasp of slavery, from that licentiousness which the female slave is compelled to bear. He saw her confiding in him as a deliverer,–the sight haunted him unto madness! Her child! her child! Yes, that offspring in which her hopes were centered! For it she pleaded and pleaded; for it she offered to sacrifice her own happiness; for it she invoked the all-protecting hand. That child, doomed to a life of chattel misery; to serve the lusts of modern barbarism in a country where freedom and civilization sound praises from ocean to ocean; to be obscured in the darkness and cruelty of an institution in which justice is scoffed, where distress has no listeners, and the trap-keepers of men’s souls scorn to make honest recompense while human flesh and blood are weighed in the scale of dollars and cents! He trembles before the sad picture; remonstrances and entreaties from him will be in vain; nor can he seize them and carry them off. His life might be forfeited in the attempt, even were they without prison walls. No! it is almost hopeless. In the narrow confines of a securely grated cell, where thoughts and anxieties waste the soul in disappointment, and where hopes only come and go to spread time with grief, he could only s nike air max 1 ee her and her child as they suffered. The spectacle had no charm; and those who carried them into captivity for the satisfaction of paltry debts could not be made to divest themselves of the self in nature. Cries and sobs were nothing,–such were poor stock for “niggers” to have; pains and anxieties were at a discount, chivalry proclaimed its rule, and nothing was thought well of that lessened the market value of body and soul. Among great, generous, hospitable, and chivalrous men, such things could only be weighed in the common scale of trade.
Again, Maxwell remembered that Marston had unfolded his troubles to him, and being a mere stranger the confidence warranted mutual reciprocity. If it were merely an act dictated by the impulse of his feelings at that moment, the secret was now laid broadly open. He was father of the children, and, sensible of their critical situation, the sting was goading him to their rescue. The question was-would he interpose and declare them as such? Ah, he forgot it was not the father’s assertion,–it was nike air max 90 sale the law. The crime of being property was inherited from the mother. Acknowledging them his children would neither satisfy law nor the creditors. What honourable-we except the modernly chivalrous-man would see his children jostled by the ruffian trader? What man, with feelings less sensitive than iron, would see his child sold to the man-vender for purposes so impious that heaven and earth frowned upon them? And yet the scene w nike air max sale as no uncommon one; slavery affords the medium, and men, laying their hearts aside, make it serve their pockets. Those whom it would insult to call less than gentlemen have covered their scruples with the law, while consigning their own offspring to the hand of an auctioneer. Man property is subvervient material,–woman is even more; for where her virtue forms its tissues, and can be sold, the issue is indeed deplorable. Again, where vice is made a pleasure, and the offspring of it become a burden on our hands, slavery affords the most convenient medium of getting rid of the incumbrance. They sell it, perhaps profitably, and console themselves with the happy recollection of what a great thing it is to live in a free country, where one may get rid of such things profitably. It may save our shame in the eyes of man, but God sees all,–records the wron cheap nike air max trainers g!
Thus Maxwell contemplated the prospects before him. At length he resolved to visit Marston upon his plantation, impress him with the necessity of asserting their freedom, in order to save them from being sold with the effects of the estate.
He visits Marston’s mansion,–finds the picture sadly changed; his generous friend, who has entertained him so hospitably, sits in a little ante-chamber, pensively, as if something of importance has absorbed his attention. No well-dressed servants welcome him with their smiles and grimaces; no Franconia greets him with her vivacity, her pleasing conversation, her frankness and fondness for the old servants. No table is decked out with the viands of the season-Marston’s viands have turned into troubles,–loneliness reigns throughout. It is night, and nothing but the dull sound of the keeper’s tread breaks the silence. His (Maxwell’s) mi nike air max 95 ssion is a delicate one. It may be construed as intrusive, he thinks. But its importance outweighs the doubt, and, though he approaches with caution, is received with that embrace of friendship which a gentleman can claim as his own when he feels the justice of the mission of him who approaches, even though its tenor be painful. Maxwell hesitated for a few moments, looked silently upon the scene. Trouble had already left its prints of sadness upon Marston’s countenance; the past, full of happy associations, floated in his mind; the future–ah! that was–. Happily, at that moment, he had been contemplating the means by which he could save Clotilda and the children. He rises, approaches Maxwell, hands him a chair, listens to his proposal. “If I can assist you, we will save them,” concludes Maxwell.
“That,” he replies, doubtingly, “my good friend, has engaged my thoughts by night and day–has made me most uneasy. Misfortune likes cheap nike air max 90 sympathy; your words are as soothing as praiseworthy. I will defend my children if every creditor call me swindler. I will destroy the infernal bill of sale,–I will crush the hell-born paper that gives life to deeds so bloody,–I will free them from the shame!” Thus, his feelings excited to the uttermost, he rises from his seat, approaches a cupboard, draws forth the small trunk we have before described, unlocks it. “That fatal document is here, I put it here, I will destroy it now; I will save them through its destruction. There shall be no evidence of Clotilda’s mother being a slave, oh no!” he mutters rapidly, running his fingers over packages, papers, and documents. Again he glances vacantly over the whole file, examining paper after paper, carefully. He looks in vain. It is not there; there is no document so fatal. Sharper men have taken better care of it. “It is not here!” he whispers, his countenance becoming pallid and death-like. “Not here!”-and they will swear to suit their purposes. Oaths are only worth what they br cheap nike air max ing in the market, among slave dealers. But, who can have taken it?” he continues, looking wildly at Maxwell. Consternation is pictured on his countenance; he feels there is intrigue at work, and that the want of that paper will prove fatal to his resolution. A man in trouble always confides in others, sometimes those whom he would scarce have trusted before. He throws the paper aside, takes a seat at Maxwell’s si nike air max 90 de, grasps him by the hand, saying, “My friend! save them! save them! save them! Use what stratagem you please; make it the experiment of your life. Consummate it, and a penitent’s prayer will bless you! I see the impending catastrophe-”
“We may do without it; be quiet. Let your feelings calm. I have consulted Franconia on the same subject. Woman can do much if she will; and she has promised me she will. My knowledge of her womanly nature tells me she will be true to Clotilda!” Maxwell speaks assuringly, and his words seem as balm to a wounded spirit.
The bill of sale was among the things intended for a more profitable use. Marston has satisfied Graspum’s claim; but he knew that slavery deadened the sensibilities of men. Yet, could it have so deadened Graspum’s feeling that he would have been found in a plot against him? No cheap nike air max ! he could not believe it. He would not look for foul play from that quarter. It might have been mislaid-if lost, all the better. A second thought, and he begins to quiet himself with the belief that it had become extinct; that, there not being evidence to prove them property, his word would be sufficient to procure their release. Somewhat relieved of the force of parental anxiety-we can call it by no other name-the troubled planter, with his troubles inherited, promises Maxwell, who has postponed his departure that he may aid in saving Clotilda and her child, that he will proceed direct to the sheriff’s office, give notice of their freedom to that functionary, and forbid the sale. Upon this resolution they part for the night, and on the following morning, Marston, sick at heart, leaves for the city, hoping to make arrangem nike air max classic ents with his attorney, who will serve notice of freedom with all the expense and legality of form.
The reader will excuse us for passing over many things of minor importance which take place during the progress of arrangements between Marston and the attorney, Mr. Dyson–commonly called Thomas Dyson, Esq., wonderfully clever in the practice of slave law–and proceeding to where we find the notice formally served. The document forbids the sale of certain persons, physically and mentally described, according to the nicest rules of law and tenour of trade; and is, with the dignity of legal proceedings, served on the honourable sheriff. We give a portion of it, for those who are not informed on such curious matters: it runs thus:–“‘The girl Clotilda-aged 27 years; her child Annette-aged 7 years, and a remarkable boy, Nicholas , 6 years old, all negroes, levied upon at the suit of–, to satisfy a fi fa issued from the–, and set forth to be the property of Hugh Marston of–, &c. &c.;'” as set forth in the writ of attachment. Thus runs the curious law, based on privilege, not principle.
The document served on the sheriff, Marston resolved to remain a few days in the city and watch its effect. The sheriff, who is seldom supposed to evince sympathy in his duties, conforms with the ordinary routine of law in nigger cases; and, in his turn, gives notice to the plaintiff, who is required to enter security for the purpose of testing the point of freedom. Freedom here is a slender commodity; it can be sworn away for a small compensation. Mr. Anthony Romescos has peculiar talent that way, and his services are always in the market. The point, however, has cheap nike air max trainers not resolved itself into that peculiar position where it must be either a matter of compromise, or a question for the court and jury to decide.
If Marston, now sensible of his position as father of the children, will yield them a sacrifice to the man trader, it is in his power; the creditors will make it their profit. Who, then, can solve the perplexity for him? The custom of society, pointing the finger of shame, denies him the right to acknowledge them his children. Society has established the licentious wrong,–the law protects it, custom enforces it. He can only proceed by declaring the mother to be a free woman, and leaving the producing proof to convict her of being slave property to the plaintiff. In doing this, his judgment wars with his softer feelings. Custom–though it has nothing to give him-is goading him with cheap nike air max its advice; it tells him to abandon the unfashionable, unpolite scheme. Natural laws have given birth to natural feelings–natural affections are stronger than bad laws. They burn with our nature,–they warm the gentle, inspire the noble, and awake the daring that lies unmoved until it be called into action for the rescue of those for whom our affections have taken life. ③

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