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Chains and Freedom / or, The Life and Adventures of Peter Wheeler, a Colored Man Yet Living

Chains and Freedom / or, The Life and Adventures of Peter Wheeler, a Colored Man Yet Living

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Chains and Freedom / or, The Life and Adventures of Peter Wheeler, a Colored Man Yet Living

Longueur:
229 pages
3 heures
Sortie:
Jan 10, 2020
ISBN:
9788835355946
Format:
Livre

Description

The slavery narratives of freedmen were a staple in the armamentarium of American abolitionists, since the narratives' authors could testify directly on the evils and hardships of their servitude, putting lie to the claims from slavery advocates that the practice was humane and beneficial to its subjects. Such works provided evidence for horrible mistreatment. They also added appeals to the principles of religion, making a powerful argument against the toleration of a system of human bondage. 

What makes Wheeler's 1839 work a very interesting variant from the standard treatment is that he was northern-born - in New Jersey - and illegally sold and taken into New York State, then grew to adulthood held in slavery in the newly settled region of western New York. His memoir is direct evidence that slavery was not merely a southern aberration, but could and did happen very close to the homes of the northern audiences for such accounts. 

Wheeler's narrative of his work in the farms, canals, households, and seagoing vessels he served on are also unique in their coverage. At the same time that abolitionists used slave narratives to substantiate and illustrate their position, deniers and apologists of the time searched diligently for errors or outright fraud in such witnessing, hoping thereby to dismiss all such accounts as fabrications if only one could be found faulty (just as Holocaust deniers do now with testimony from the Holocaust). 

Professor Hodges shows in his introduction how dissension among abolitionists led to suspicion of Wheeler's editor/amanuensis, the white Presbyterian minister Charles Edwards Lester, and the near-total eclipse of Wheeler's account until today; this is its first publication in more than 150 years.
Sortie:
Jan 10, 2020
ISBN:
9788835355946
Format:
Livre

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Chains and Freedom / or, The Life and Adventures of Peter Wheeler, a Colored Man Yet Living - Charles Edwards Lester

The Project Gutenberg EBook of Chains and Freedom, by Charles Edwards Lester

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Title: Chains and Freedom

       or, The Life and Adventures of Peter Wheeler, a Colored Man Yet Living

Author: Charles Edwards Lester

Release Date: January 1, 2020 [EBook #61074]

Language: English

*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK CHAINS AND FREEDOM ***

Produced by hekula03, Barry Abrahamsen, and the Online

Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net (This

file was produced from images generously made available

by The Internet Archive)

The cover image was created by the transcriber and is placed in the public domain.


PETER WHEELER.

J.W. Evans, Pinrt     P. H. Reason, Sc.


THE LIFE AND ADVENTURES

OF

PETER WHEELER.


CHAINS AND FREEDOM:

OR,

THE LIFE AND ADVENTURES

OF

PETER WHEELER,

A COLORED MAN YET LIVING.

A SLAVE IN CHAINS,

A SAILOR ON THE DEEP,

AND

A SINNER AT THE CROSS.

THREE VOLUMES IN ONE.

BY

THE AUTHOR OF THE ‘MOUNTAIN WILD FLOWER.’


Mind not high things; but condescend to men of low estate.

Paul.


New York:

PUBLISHED BY E. S. ARNOLD & CO.

1839.



Entered

, according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1839, in the Clerk’s Office of the Southern District of New York.



PREFACE.


The following Narrative was taken entirely from the lips of Peter Wheeler. I have in all instances given his own language, and faithfully recorded his story as he told it, without any change whatever. There are many astonishing facts related in this book, and before the reader finishes it, he will at least feel that

Truth is stranger than fiction.

But the truth of every thing here stated can be relied on. The subject of this story is well known to the author, who for a long time brake unto him the bread of life, as a brother in Christ, and beloved for the Redeemer’s sake. There are, likewise, hundreds of living witnesses, who have for many years been acquain’ted with the man, and aware of the incidents here recorded, who cherish perfect confidence in his veracity.

He has many times, for many years, related the same facts, to many persons, in the same language verbatim; and individuals to whom the author has read some of the following incidents, have recognized the story and language, as they heard them from the hero’s lips long before the author ever heard his name. There are also persons yet living, whom I have seen and known, who witnessed many of Peter’s most awful sufferings.


Of course, the book lays no claim to the merit of literature, and will not be reviewed as such; but it does claim the merit of strict verity, which is no mean characteristic in a book, in these days.

The subject, and the author, have but one object in view in bringing the book before the public:—a mutual desire to contribute as far as they can, to the freedom of enchained millions for whom Christ died. And if any heart may be made to feel one emotion of benevolence, and lift up a more earnest cry to God for the suffering slave; if one generous impulse may be awakened in a slaveholder’s bosom towards his fellow traveller to God’s bar, whose crime is, in being born with a skin not coloured like his own; and if it may inspire in the youthful mind, the spirit of that sweet verse, consecrated by the hallowed associations of a New-England home—

"I was not born a little slave

To labour in the sun,

And wish I were but in my grave,

And all my labor done."

it will not be in vain.


That it may hasten that glorious consummation which we know is fast approaching, when slavery shall be known only in the story of past time, is the earnest prayer of the

AUTHOR.


Certificate of the Citizens of Spencertown.

This is to certify, that we, the undersigned, are, and have been well acquain’ted with Peter Wheeler, for a number of years, and that we place full confidence in all his statements:—

ERASTUS PRATT, Justice of the Peace.

CHARLES B. DUTCHER, Justice of the Peace.

ABIAH W. MAYHEW, Deacon of the Presbyterian Church.

CHARLES H. SKIFF, M.D.

WILLIAM. A. DEAN.

JOHN GROFF.

DANIEL BALDWIN.

ELISHA BABCOCK.

PHILIP STRONG.

PATRICK M. KNAPP.

WILLIAM TRAVER.

EPHRAIM BERNUS.

SAMUEL HIGGINS.

WILLIAM PARSONS.

JAMES BALDWIN.

FRANCIS CHAREVOY.

[It may be proper to state that many of these gentlemen have known Peter more than thirteen years; likewise, that they are men of the first respectability.

Author.

]


CONTENTS.


BOOK THE FIRST.

CHAPTER I.

CHAPTER II.

CHAPTER III.

CHAPTER IV.

CHAPTER V.

BOOK THE SECOND.

CHAPTER I.

CHAPTER II.

CHAPTER III.

BOOK THE THIRD.

CHAPTER I.

CHAPTER II.


BOOK THE FIRST.


PETER WHEELER IN CHAINS.

DEDICATED TO

Every body who hates oppression, and don’t believe that it is right, under any circumstances, to buy and sell the image of the Great God Almighty; and to all who love Human Liberty well enough to help to break every yoke, that the oppressed may go free——God bless all such!

"I own I am shocked at the purchase of slaves,

And fear those that buy them and sell them are knaves;

What I hear of their hardships, their tortures and groans,

Is almost enough to draw pity from stones."

Cowper.


CHAPTER I.

Author’s first interview with Peter—Peter calls on the Author, and begins his story—his birth and residence—is adopted by Mrs. Mather and lives in Mr. Mather’s house—his "red scarlet coat—fishing expedition on Sunday with Hagar when he sees the Devil—a feat of horsemanship—saves the life of master’s oldest son, and is bit in the operation by a wild hog—an encounter with an old-fashioned cat owl in the Cedar Swamp—a man killed by wild cats—a short sarmint at a Quaker Meeting—I and John makes a pincushion of a calf’s nose, and got tuned for it, I tell ye—holyday’s amusements—the marble egg—I and John great cronies"—Mistress sick—Peter hears something in the night which he thinks a forerunner of her death—she dies a Christian—her dying words—Peter’s feelings on her death.

Author. Peter, your history is so remarkable, that I have thought it would make quite an interesting book; and I have a proposal to make you.

Peter. Well, Sir, I’m always glad to hear the Domine talk; what’s your proposal? I guess you’re contrivin’ to put a spoke in the Abolition wheel, ain’t ye?

A. Peter you know I’m a friend to the black man, and try to do him good.

P. Yis, I know that, I tell ye.

A. "Well, I was going to say that this question of Slavery is all the talk every where, and as facts are so necessary to help men in coming to correct conclusions in regard to it, I have thought it would be a good thing to write a story of your life and adventures—for you know that every body likes to read such books, and they do a great deal of good in the cause of Freedom."

P. "I s’pose then you’ve got an idee of makin’ out some sich a book as Charles Ball, and that has done a sight of good. But it seems to me I’ve suffered as much as Charles Ball, and I’ve sartinly travelled ten times as fur as he ever did. But I should look funny enough in print, shouldn’t I? The Life and Adventers of Peter Wheeler—!! ha! ha!! ha!!! And then you see every feller here in town, would be a stickin’ up his nose at the very idee, jist because I’m a nigger as they say—or snow-ball, or somethin’ else; but never mind, if it’s a goin’ to du any good, why I say let split, and we’ll go it nose or no nose—snow-ball or no snow-ball."

A. Well, I’m engaged this morning Peter, but if you will call down to my study this afternoon at two o’clock, I’ll be at home, and ready to begin. I want you to put on your thinking cap, and be prepared to begin your story, and I’ll write while you talk, and in this way we’ll do a good business—good bye Peter, give my love to your family, and be down in season.

P. "Good bye Domine, and jist give my love to your folks; and I’ll be down afore two, if nothin’ happens more’n I know on."


A. "Walk in—Ah! Peter you’re come have you? you are punctual too, for the clock is just striking. I’m glad to see you; take a seat on the settee."

P. "I thought I couldn’t be fur out of the way: and I’m right glad to see you tu, and you pretty well? and how does your lady du?"

A. All well, Peter.

P. You seem to be all ready to weigh anchor.

A. "Yes, and we’ll be soon under way.—And now, Peter, I have perfect confidence in your veracity, but I want you to watch every word you utter, for ’twill all be read by ten thousand folks, and I wouldn’t send out any exaggerated statement, or coloured story, for all the books in Christendom. You know it’s hard to tell ‘the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth;’ and now you will have plenty of time to think, for I can’t write as fast as you will talk, and I want you to think carefully, and speak accurately, and we’ll have a true story, and I think a good one."

P. "I’ll take good care of that, Mr. L—— and we’ll have a true story if we don’t have a big one; but I’m a thinkin’ that afore we git through we’ll have a pretty good yarn spun, as the sailors say. I always thought ’twas bad enough to tell one lie, but a man must be pretty bad to tell one

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