American Slavery as It Is: Testimony of a Thousand Witnesses

By Theodore Dwight Weld | Go to book overview

TESTIMONY OF JOSEPH IDE, ESQ.

Mr. IDE is a respected member of the Baptist Church in Sheffield, Caledonia county, Vt.; and recently the Postmaster in that town. He spent a few months at the south in the years 1837 and 8. In a letter to the Rev. Wm. Scales of Lyndon, Vt. written a few weeks since, Mr. Ide writes as follows.

“In answering the proposed inquiries, I will say first, that although there are various other modes resorted to, whipping with the cowskin is the usual mode of inflicting punishment on the poor slave. I have never actually witnessed a whipping scene, for they are usually taken into some back place for that purpose; but I have often heard their groans and screams while writhing under the lash; and have seen the blood flow from their torn and lacerated skins after the vengeance of the inhuman master or mistress had been glutted. You ask if the woman where I boarded whipped a slave to death. I can give you the particulars of the transaction as they were related to me. My informant was a gentleman—a member of the Presbyterian church in Massachusetts—who the winter before boarded where I did. He said that Mrs. T—had a female slave whom she used to whip unmercifully, and on one occasion, she whipped her as long as she had strength, and after the poor creature was suffered to go, she crawled off into a cellar. As she did not immediately return, search was made, and she was found dead in the cellar, and the horrid deed was kept a secret in the family, and it was reported that she died of sickness. This wretch at the same time was a member of a Presbyterian church. Towards her slaves she was certainly the most cruel wretch of any woman with whom I was ever acquainted— yet she was nothing more than a slaveholder. She would deplore slavery as much as I did, and often told me she was much of an abolitionist as I was. She was constant in the declaration that her kind treatment to her slaves was proverbial. Thought I, then the Lord have mercy on the rest. She has

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