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Mr. Benjamin Screws.

A friend has sent us the business card of a gentleman in New Orleans. It is not the custom of this newspaper to advertise gratuitously, but in this case we so far depart from our rule as to give this pleasing announcement without expense to Mr. Benjamin Screws. It is as follows:

Benjamin Screws,
Negro Broker,
will keep constantly on hand
field-hands, House-servants, carpenters and blacksmiths.
office--No. 159 Gravier Street.
New Orleans.


Now we do not intend to speak harshly of the enterprising Screws, as some of our more ardent brethren might do. We know it to be the custom of negro-owners to snub and to cut the negro-broker; but for our own part, if human beings must be purchased, and if this two-legged locomotive merchandize be absolutely necessary in social economy, and if without it this blessed Union cannot possibly be preserved, we do not see but that somebody must deal in it, and why should not that somebody be Mr. Benjamin Screws as well as another?

Our Southern friends are really too hard upon the Slatters and the Screws. As well might we at the North turn up our noses at our butchers and sneer at our bakers. As well might a Wall street gentleman, in a tight place, flout the accommodating philanthropist who lets him have money to pay his note withal. You are in New, Orleans and you want to buy a carpenter. Screws has first-rate ones constantly on hand. Your wife tells you that Venus, the cook, is really getting too old, and you take this superannuated piece of goods to Screws and exchange her for a more youthful article, paying such boot as Screws and equity may demand. Who will say that Screws is not a public benefactor?-a most useful and worthy member of society? We shall defend Screws. We see him in his office constantly striving to keep up a full assortment; we see him endeavoring to strengthen himself in the department of “house servants ;” we see him laying in a fresh stock of blacksmiths, or adding to his already large and well-selected [10] collection of field-hands; we see him inditing an advertisement of large and late importations from Virginia, calculated, he trusts, to please the most fastidious taste, both as to quality and price. This can be no light labor.

Screws does not get his little profits for nothing. He has to keep his eye out when the coffle-gang comes in; he must watch the market; he must buy to please the preferences of his customers; he must select healthy parcels; he must be artistic in picking out the pretty packages. In addition to this, Screws, being naturally a man of tender feelings, is exceedingly harrowed and rasped in the gentler departments of his soul by witnessing painful partings between the goods — the shrieks of the prime mother; the sobs of the warranted housemaid; the agonies of the Al carpenters and the griefs of the superior blacksmiths. This renders the business of Screws peculiar; for nobody ever saw two cotton-bales distressed at the idea of parting, and the emotion of separated sugar-boxes is yet to be observed.

Screws is in precisely the condition of the softhearted fish-wife, who is obliged to flay the eels alive, or in that of the good-natured butcher, whose customers must have lamb in the season. But Screws has a public duty to perform, and he performs it. It is a discredit to human nature that, after all these services, Screws should be so shamefully treated. He receives no vote of thanks, no service of ponderous plate, no canes with inscribed heads, no pistols with the gratitude of the donors. The customers of Screws pay him [11] his money, and then instead of asking him to dinner, or to partake of the friendly drink, instead of tenderly squeezing his hand upon parting, they shun him as if he were fever-stricken. A hard time of it has Screws; and if we could do anything to alleviate his woe, and bring negro-brokerage into good repute, perhaps we would. Unfortunately for Screws, we can not. Society has prejudices which are impregnable.

We must, however, try to correct a notion which is totally unfounded. The prevailing impression is that Screws deals altogether in black goods; and these being considered of a low and degraded, although useful kind, the reputation of the business among the genteel has suffered accordingly. This is all very unjust. A gentleman in New Orleans, in writing to his correspondent in New York, says: “If you have any prejudices against buying black carpenters or smiths, Screws can furnish you with white ones, or those who are nearly so.” Our readers will see that Screws deals in white folks. Hie is no mere “nigger” --broker, although with commendable modesty he so writes himself upon his business card.

In still another department, Screws might be useful. The New Orleans gentleman to whom we have referred, wants a wife. He had commissioned his New York friend to find him one, but Screws almost tempted him to withdraw the order. “From some samples” he writes, “which Screws showed me this morning, I am half inclined to recall my commission to your firm to furnish me with a wife, as I saw one [12] or two almost agreeable enough to satisfy even my fastidious taste. Price, $2,000 each. But I will not withdraw my commission, as you may supply me without the outlay of so much ready money. Besides, the two ladies I saw were from Virginia, and I do not much like the F. F. V.” Here now is an opening for Screws. He can go into the wife-selling business. But, alas! upon further reflection, we remember that he is in it already; nor has it enhanced his respectability a morsel.

Well, Screws must struggle on as well as he can; and since he cannot be respectable, must content himself with getting rich, which, no doubt, he will do, unless several of his most valuable parcels should abscond, or a few of his choice samples die of grief or fever. Meanwhile, we have endeavored to give him a hoist in the world, for which we have no doubt he will be duly grateful. But he need not trouble himself to write us a letter of thanks. It always gives us pleasure to assist the meritorious. We believe that very few of our subscribers deal in the staple commodity of Screws, but if any of them want to buy a man or a woman, we advise them to call at “No. 159 Gravier street New Orleans” before purchasing elsewhere.

April 14, 1857.

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