Friday, March 19, 2010
Amusing Trial, in Which a Yankee Lawyer Rendered a Just Verdict
Slaves auction. Image from http://www.gutenberg.org/files/17604/17604-h/17604-h.htm
Anonymous. Published at the Office of the Youth's Cabinet, 126 Fulton Street.New York. 1841.
A time there was, when no one thought
It sin, to hold a slave he'd bought,
And of his strength have the command,
As much as of his house and land.
A Yankee Lawyer long had kept
A negro-man with whom he slept.
And ate, and Sabbath day,
He half the time from church would stay;
When Cuff his master's garments wore.--
'Twas strange you say, but he was poor;
And though he cared not for Cuff's soul,
Yet such the times, that on the whole,
His slave must to the meeting go,
If 'twas for nothing but a show.
They lived on thus for several years--
One would not think, that many tears
Would fall from off that shining face,
So sleek and smooth, or he would trace
The chain which bound, or wish to break,
But choose to stay for his own sake,
Where he so well was clothed and fed,
And shared the lawyer's food and bed,
So well contented he might be,
He'd hardly know but he was free,
But make the fetters of pure gold.
They're hateful still, they gall, they hold,
And if the pill is sugared o'er,
'Tis still as bitter as before.
Cuff ponder'd much, but did not know,
If he his master left to go,
And seek his fortune, he could find
Another master half so kind,
And who would give so large a share
Of the small pittance he could spare,
And every privilege could grant,
Which he could need or ever want;
But then of freedom he had heard,
And ere the dawning light appeared.
Early one morning Cuff arose,
And quickly putting on his clothes,
Stole softly out; lest he should wake
His master, who would rouse and shake
The slumbers from his drowsy eyes,
And think that it was time to rise.
So Cuff went off. His master woke,
And Cuff was gone! It was no joke.
The Lawyer's work must now be done,
All by himself; and till the sun
Is slowly sinking in the west,
He'll scarcely have a minute's rest.
He felt his temper quickly rise,
Thinking his slave too rich a prize,
To be allowed to slip away,
Without a trial for "fair play;"
Said he, "My course is plain enough,
I'll take my horse and go for Cuff,
For he's my slave, and he shall give
To me, his service if he live."
Saddling his horse he mounts him quick,
Drives after Cuff with spur and stick:
But soon he paused his cause to try,
And thus he said, Why should not I
Be slave instead of Cuff, and he
As well be running after me
As I for him?--I'll let him go,
Whether he's free by law or no.
_For God who fashioned him and me,_
_No doubt_ MADE ALL HIS CHILDREN FREE.
So justice o'er his mind held sway,
And Cuff in freedom, went his way.
Project Gutenberg E Book.http://www.gutenberg.org/files/17604/17604.txt