Roswell King, Jr.
[ January, 1839]
After finishing my last letter to you, I went out into the clear starlight to breathe the delicious mildness of the air, and was surprised to hear, rising from one of the houses of the settlement, a hymn sung apparently by a number of voices. The next morning I inquired the meaning of this, and was informed that those Negroes on the plantation who were members of the Church were holding a prayer meeting. There is an immensely strong devotional feeling among these poor people. The worst of it is, that it is zeal without understanding, and profits them but little; yet light is light, even that poor portion that may stream through a keyhole, and I welcome this most ignorant profession of religion in Mr. [ Butler ]'s dependents as the herald of better and brighter things for them. Some of the planters are entirely inimical to any such proceedings, and neither allow their Negroes to attend worship, or to congregate together for religious purposes, and truly I think they are wise in their own generation. On other plantations, again, the same rigid discipline is not observed; and some planters and overseers go even farther than toleration, and encourage these devotional exercises and professions of religion, having actually dis