To the same.
You will make me write to you, you keep doing so many things that delight me!
I was moved to write you my thanks for “The two Watchers;” but I was busy working for the “contrabands” at Fortress Monroe
, and so I kept the thanks warm in my heart, without giving them an airing.
But that Negro Boat Song
at Port Royal
How I have chuckled over it and sighed over it!
I keep repeating it morning, noon, and night; and, I believe, with almost as much satisfaction as the slaves themselves would do. It is a complete embodiment of African
humor, and expressed
as they would express it, if they were learned in the mysteries of rhyme and rhythm.
I have only one criticism on the negro dialect.
They would not say, “He 'leaba de land.”
They would say, He “leff” de land.
At least, so speak all the slaves I have talked with, or whose talk I have seen reported.
What a glorious, blessed gift is this gift of song, with which you are so lavishly endowed!
Who can calculate its influence, which you exert always for good!
My David, who always rejoices over your writings, was especially pleased with the Boat Song
, which he prophesies will be sung ere long by thousands of darkies.
He bids me say to you that
One bugle note from Whittier's pen
Is worth at least ten thousand men.
So you see that you are at least equal to a major-general in the forces you lead into the field, and your laurels are bloodless.
You have of course read “The Rejected Stone
for it is the most powerful utterance the crisis has called forth.
God sends us so many great prophets that it seems as if he thought us worth saving; but latterly I fear greatly that there is not virtue enough left in the country to make salvation possible.
Slavery seems to have poisoned the fountains of our national life.
I do not know whether it is in the providence of God to allow us to be an example to the nations, or whether he intends to use us as a warning.
If we are saved, it will be better than we deserve.
I would sacrifice everything in life, and life itself, to preserve our free institutions; but if we must have the noble structure pulled down about our ears by the blind giant Slavery, I hope the poor negroes will have a rollicking good time over its ruins.
You have doubtless heard of Harriet Tubman
, whom they call Moses
, on account of the multitude she has brought out of bondage by her courage and ingenuity.
She talks politics sometimes, and her uncouth utterance is wiser than the plans of politicians.
She said the other day:
Dey may send de flower ob dair young men down South, to die ob de fever in de summer, and de agoo in de winter.
(Fur 't is cold down dar, dough 'tis down South.) Dey may send dem one year, two year, tree year, till dey tired ob sendina, or till dey use up all de young men. All no use!
God's ahead ob Massa Linkum. God won't let Massa Linkum beat de South till he do de right ting.
Massa Linkum he great man, and I'se poor nigger; but dis nigger can tell Massa Linkum how to save de money and de young men. He do it by setting de niggers free.
S “pose dar was awfu” big snake down dar, on de floor.
He bite you. Folks all skeered, cause you die. You send for doctor to cut de bite; but snake he rolled up dar, and while doctor dwine it, he bite you agin.
De doctor cut out dat bite; but while he dwine it, de snake he spring up and bite you agin, and so he keep dwine, till you kill him. Dat's what Massa Linkum orter know. ...
This winter I have for the first time been knitting for the army; but I do it only for Kansas
I can trust them, for they have vowed a vow unto the Lord
that no fugitive shall ever be surrendered in their camps.
There is a nephew of Kossuth
in Colonel Montgomery
A few weeks ago when he was on scout duty a mulatto woman implored him to take her to the Yankee
camp where her husband was. The mistress rushed out in hot
The young Hungarian
reined in his horse, and called to the slave, “Jump up, and hold on by me!”
She sprang on the horse, and they galloped away, under a shower of wrathful words from the mistress.
When they rode into the Kansas
camp, all the soldiers threw up their caps and hurrahed, and Colonel Montgomery
called out, “Three cheers for the Union
The young Hungarian
, Cassimir, is a sort of adopted son of one of my relatives, to whom he wrote the story.
It is well that war has some pleasant pictures.