Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 81.djvu/498

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492
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

tribes never recognized the right of intermarriage with the negro. The present chief or governor of the Creeks held slaves and is part negro. One official of the Creek tribe, who had sufficient negro in his family to exclude his children from the public schools of the nation under its laws and sent his children abroad to be educated, held slaves.

The most familiar aspect of this subject is that which existed in Louisiana. In "The Cotton Kingdom," by F. L. Olmsted, he says:

He said—a negro with whom the author was talking in that region—in answer to further inquiries, that there were many free negroes all about this region. Some were very rich. He pointed out to me three plantations, within twenty miles, owned by colored men. These bought black folks, he said, and had servants of their own. They were very bad masters, very hard and cruel—hadn't any feeling. "You might think, master, dat dey would be good to dar own nation; but dey is not. I will tell you de truth, massa; I know I 'se got to answer; and it's a fact, dey is very bad masters, sar. I'd rather be a servant to any man in de world, dan to a brack man. If I was sold to a brack man, I'd drown myself. I would dat—I'd drown myself, dough I shouldn't like to do dat nudder; but I wouldn't be sold to a colored master for anyting."

In "A Journey in the Seaboard Slave States," by the same writer, he says:

There are also, in the vicinity, a large number of free colored planters. In going down Cane River, the Dalmau called at several of their plantations, to take on cotton, and the captain told me that in fifteen miles of a well-settled and cultivated country, on the bank of the river, beginning ten miles below Natchitoches, he did not know but one pure-blooded white man. The plantations appeared no way different from the generality of those of the white Creoles; and on some of them were large, handsome and comfortable houses. These free colored people are all descended from the progeny of old French or Spanish planters and their negro slaves. Such a progeny, born before Louisiana was annexed to the United States, and the descendants of it, are entitled to freedom.

An intelligent man, whom I met at Washington, who had been travelling most of the time for two years, in the planting districts of Louisiana, having business with planters, told me the free negroes of the state in general, so far as he had observed, were just equal in all respects to the white Creoles. There are many opulent, intelligent and educated. The best houses and most tasteful grounds that he had visited in the state belong to a nearly full-blooded negro—a very dark man. He and his family are well educated, and though French is their habitual tongue they speak English with freedom, and one of them with much more elegance than most liberally educated whites in the south. They had a private tutor in their family.

The following paragraphs are copied from a footnote to an article on "Condition of the Free Colored People in the United States" in the Christian Examiner for March, 1859:

"A Wealthy Negro Family.—An immense estate in Louisiana, embracing over four thousand acres of land, with two hundred and fifty negroes belonging to the plantation was recently sold for a quarter of a million of dollars. The purchaser was a free negro, who is said to be one of the wealthiest men of the South."