He fainted with pain, only to be revived with cold water and freshly tormented till he begged Sisson
to shoot him. When this monster1
was wearied rather than glutted, he desisted.
The next day he mounted his horse for the homeward journey, and, fastening a rope to James
body, forced him to keep up on foot.
A second flogging, on shipboard at Savannah
, nearly finished the boy, and when his lacerated back was viewed by the Mayor
and other white men, they were shocked at a sight which no negro had ever afforded them.
To save his neck, Sisson
and his wife had to nurse James
as if he were their darling.
The worst details of these barbarities were concealed from Fanny Garrison
while she lived, by her wayward son. Before he had become a sailor, and even while living near his mother in Baltimore
(‘the noblest of mothers,’ he thought her), she had ‘lost the run’ of him, and was heart-broken when she learned that he kept away from her, who would have done anything to redeem him. At last ‘I crawled into her presence like one who had committed murder and was afraid of every one he met. We went into a room by ourselves, and Mother, falling on her knees, poured forth her soul in prayer to God to have mercy on her son.’
No influence, however, could overcome his inveterate habit and his roving disposition.
In spite of her entreaties, he chose the sea for his living.
“My parting from Mother on this occasion was dreadful.
I cannot describe my feelings.
When we came to shake hands and bid the last farewell, my Mother kneeled and took both my hands, kissed me, and gave me her blessing.
I could not say farewell.
My heart was full, and I trembled like an aspen leaf shook by the wind.
We parted for the last time on earth.”
In his trunk he afterwards found a letter from her which he could never read without weeping.
What intemperance and cruel suffering had spared of