An Arrival from Liberia

Source citation
"An Arrival from Liberia," Charleston (SC) Mercury, May 9, 1857, p. 2.
Original source
Atlanta (GA) Examiner
Newspaper: Publication
Charleston (SC) Mercury
Newspaper: Headline
An Arrival from Liberia
Newspaper: Page(s)
Date Certainty
Michael Blake
Transcription date
The following text is presented here in complete form, as it originally appeared in print. Spelling and typographical errors have been preserved as in the original.

From the Atlanta Examiner, May 4.

An Arrival from Liberia.

Quite an excitement prevailed in our city on Friday last at the appearance here of Jefferson, one of the liberated slaves of the late G. M. Waters, of [illegible] county, in this State.  It is know to most of our readers in this vicinity that "Jeff," with some forty other slaves, in accordance with the will of his late owner, was sent to Liberia in the ship Elvira Owen, Capt. Alexander commanding, which sailed from Savannah for that port on the 7th June last.  "Jeff," with his fellow passengers, in all numbering about 350, arrived safely at Liberia, but after a stay there of about seven months, during which, he states, that, of his own immediate family, mother sisters and brothers, six of seven of them died; and of the whose number that went not more than one half of them, after the endurance of great suffering, died also - we may say, actually perished from the want of wholesome food, and from disease common upon the African coast - Jeff, we say, determined to leave those diggins, and seek his old Georgia home. 

Accordingly, by shrewd management, "Jeff" contrived to effect his escape, we may term it, from Liberian citizenship and freedom, to Baltimore, on board the "Mary Caroline Stephens," which good ship arrived at that port on or about the 25th [illegible]; and from thence he took passage on a steamer to Charleston, and from Charleston by the Railroad through Augusta, he contrived to reach this place, as stated above, on Friday last.  For his good fortune in thus traveling from Baltimore to this point, unmolested.  "Jeff" says, that he, being a dark mulatto, with straight hair, assumed to be an Indian, and when asked if he was not, a "gentlemen of color," indignantly resented it as an insult, and put on airs that soon quieted all suspicion as to the true state of his case.  No sooner, however, had "Jeff" landed at our depot, than he made tracks for protection to the Misters Wallace, of our city, who knew him well, and to whom, in his old master's life, he had delivered many a wagon load of country produce.  To these gentlemen, in our presence, he stated to all the foregoing faces, and declared that all he wanted or desired was to reach the plantation of young Master, Mr. T. J. Waters, of Gwinnett, so as to be permitted for the balance of his life either to handle the plough, or to take up the shovel and the hoe.  Luckily for "Jeff" the Executor of the estate of his late master, Col. N. G. Hutchins of Gwinnett, was in our city, and about to leave for home, which "Jeff" hearing, in the "twinkling of an eye" his trunk was on the cart, and under the protection of the Colonel, he left here for the "old plantation," which he doubtless reached on Saturday last. 

This is, truly, a rare incident.  "Jeff" is not one of your stupid fellows, but an intelligent mulatto. His age is about 26, and we would take his opinion of the condition of the liberated slaves in Liberia as soon as that of any white philanthropist who has not actually visited Liberia and examined into the condition of those people.  Jeff says, with but very few exceptions, their condition is miserable indeed, and that ninety-nine out of every hundred of them would, like himself, gladly return to servitude upon the plantation.  As for the natives of Liberia, he pronounced them lazy, filthy, and on their diet, worse then beasts - worms and snakes and toads, and creeping things, being luxuries.  Corn bread and bacon were things only remembered; upon fruits and roots all had to subsist; and "you know, master," said Jeff, "that don't suit a Gwinnett nigger."  We asked him if he could get work there; his reply was, "no; un'ess he would work for nothing."  In fact, said he, there is no work to do there, and that is what makes everything so bad.  Of the snob aristocracy, the big niggers of Liberia, Jeff has a most contemptible opinion. They will [illegible], he sys, Northern niggers, but upon one who has been a slave, they look with contempt.  He could lick a plantation of them any day, provided the law was clear.

It is not time for the people in the South to legislate upon the subject of the emancipation of slaves, and to pass wholesome restrictions thereon.  

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