The Experience of a Slave in South Carolina

The Experience of a Slave in South Carolina

The Experience of a Slave in South Carolina

The Experience of a Slave in South Carolina

Synopsis

In The Experience of a Slave in South Carolina, escaped slave John Andrew Jackson seeks to educate his readers on the horrors of slavery. He spares no details in relating the murder of his sister, the separation of his family, and his own frequent whippings at the hands of a "Christian" master and mistress. He offers a scathing review of white religious hypocrisy, criticizing those who could not see the contradiction between worshiping a merciful God on Sundays and holding slaves under inhumane conditions. Jackson details his escape from slavery into Massachusetts as a ship stowaway after he is separated by sale from his first wife and child. He also describes his interactions with Harriet Beecher Stowe; his failed attempts to purchase the freedom of his family members; and his eventual escape into Canada following the passage of the Fugitive Slave Law. His work also includes a variety of carefully recorded hymns and antislavery songs. Jackson would eventually flee to England with his second wife before returning to South Carolina after the War.

Excerpt

In aiming to arrest the attention of the reader, ere he proceeds to the unvarnished, but ower true tale of John Andrew Jackson, the escaped Carolinian slave, it might be fairly said that “truth was stranger than fiction,” and that the experience of slavery produces a full exhibition of all that is vile and devilish in human nature.

Mrs. Stowe, as a virtuous woman, dared only allude to some of the hellish works of slavery—it was too foul to sully her pen; but the time is come when iniquity should no longer be hid: and that evil which Wilberforce and Clarkson exposed, and of which Wesley said it was “the sum of all human villainies,” must now be laid bare in all its hellish atrocities. the half has not yet been told; but appalling as are the statements made, yet when the fiercest organized effort to extend the monster evil of North-American slavery is being made, every patriot is called on to sympathize over the woes and sufferings of human kind, and plead for freedom and liberty.

Cowper long ago told his fellow-countryman that

“Skins may differ, but affection
Dwells in white and black the same.”

Therefore, kind reader, we ask your sympathy, while you peruse some of the iniquities perpetrated upon a suffering race, and that too often by men and women calling themselves Christians, and using a religious cloak to screen their monstrous, foul, and cruel acts.

Shrink not, gentle reader, when those fearful atrocities are brought before your notice. Such narratives as Jackson’s are wanted to arouse the people. the evil is afar off, and interested parties say, “Don’t believe it; it is false, or it is exaggerated.” Not so; the worst cannot be told. You cannot speak out, or tell a fraction of the [Page iv] horrid scenes enacted, where every child and feeble woman is at the brutal mercy of brutalised man; where marriage is a fiction, and five millions of people live practically in a state of unrecognised whoredom and polygamy.

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