Thursday, October 01, 2009


Letter from Vicksburg Mississippi, June 14, 1838, to sister. Unsigned, but identified on verso, "Abel Rawlins" Circleville Ohio. The letter contains a wealth of information and the entirety of the slavery related content. Highlighted excerpts:

"Perhaps you wish a description of this country...Well cotton, land and negroes constitute the wealth of this State. A man who has a cotton plantation that works a hundred negroes is rich, for each good hand is worth $2,000! Mississippi money and there are hundreds who have this much. But what to me is most extraordinary, there are so many Northern men, who were born and reared under different (and in my mind) better institutions of domestic economy, holding slaves here..."
"Notwithstanding Slavery does exist here. It has been much exaggerated (I speak of the city alone) by the reports of the Abolitionists. Once a day, on Sunday the Methodist Church is thrown open for them and one of our preachers preach to them. The Slaves are well dressed and well fed so far as I have seen and for the most part appear to be happy and contented with their lot. But
'Slavery thou art a bitter curse, Disguise thee as thou wilt.'"
Plus, commentary on the splendid climate, but "Wickedness abounds..."; high wages and high prices. "I get boarding for $5 per week, by sleeping on a bunk!"
The incomplete third page appears to have content on a childhood reminiscence and religion.

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